Tag Archives: serene

35 Happy Thoughts for Inner Peace

mindPart of maintaining a positive, soulful balance in life is to notice our thoughts and where they’re focused. Our mind is capable of dragging us through mud and muck, taking the pleasure out of life as it creates tales of unfounded betrayal, potential ruin, armageddon, loss, disaster, or just plain disgust and fed upness.

One of the challenges many of us face is to redirect our thoughts, to let the mind know who’s in charge. Left to its own devices, the mind can be a tyrant, beating away at our inner peace.  The most powerful way I’ve gained mastery over my own mind, which can be quite creative and wild in its imaginings, is through meditation. But I also believe positive focused thought can be very powerful, can change the course of things, can turn panic into peace.

Here are 35 of my favorite “positive focused thoughts.” Use them freely to gain a little mastery over your own inner tyrant, help it lay down its club, take a rest, and give you a much needed break from its assumptions.

  1. I dance to my own rhythm
  2. Life is a gift
  3. I’m comfortable being myself
  4. My body knows how to maintain a healthy balance
  5. I am enough
  6. I am complete
  7. I am completely healthy in every way
  8. Every day I’m more optimistic
  9. I have the power to choose
  10. All is well in my world
  11. I follow my heart
  12. I am alive and well on all levels
  13. I remain in balance
  14. I’m steady, strong, and peaceful
  15. I make conscious, positive choices
  16. I have the kind of inner fortitude that succeeds through anything
  17. I live in true comfort and joy
  18. My mind is sharp
  19. I feel great
  20. I accept love
  21. I am open to learning about myself
  22. Abundance surrounds me
  23. All of my needs are easily met
  24. I am divinely guided and protected
  25. Everything around me is for my best and highest good
  26. My body and mind are vibrant
  27. I am an absolute genius at creating harmony in my life
  28. I allow the life force to flow through me
  29. I allow myself to be happy
  30. I forgive myself for everything
  31. I am open to positive change
  32. I flow easily with life
  33. Life is interesting, fun, and exciting
  34. I am loved
  35. I am safe

Use the Earth to Energize Your Body, Mind, & Spirit

on the earthThe earth offers us food, clothing, and shelter, but also offers healing energy to energize and balance us. “Healing energy” from the earth might sound odd, but when we connect deeply with the earth and either imagine, sense, or hold the intention to fill ourselves up with its energy and light, a natural balancing occurs. Anxiety fades, depression lifts, worries and struggles soften, and it’s easier to approach others with more love and compassion. For these benefits and more, see how often you can get your feet on the earth and use its energy to harmonize you.

In Reiki, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi, energy is drawn from the earth, but you don’t have to learn those forms unless you want to. You can do simple processes. It’s important to begin by connecting with the earth. One of the biggest maladies of our modern era is that people are not connected to the earth. This is associated with addictions, fears, and mental and emotional distortions of all sorts. Especially now when we are inundated with technology to further disconnect us, it’s wise to be aware of the life and essence of the planet beneath your feet.

In my work with clients, the first thing I do is connect people to the earth. I do this visually, which is highly effective. You can do it yourself by standing tall on the earth (barefoot is best) and imagine roots extending from your feet, anchoring you deep into the earth. Be perceptive of the energy in the earth beneath you. We have a living, breathing, powerful life force beneath us, yet who takes note? This simple practice is powerful enough to drain away excess emotions, soothing chaos and frazzled nerves.

Another way to connect is to imagine dropping an anchor of light from the base of your spine into the center of the earth. Then, bring bright light up from the earth into your body. Alternatively, sit on the ground, “drop anchor,” and absorb positive earth energy upward into your body. How do you bring light into your body or absorb positive earth energy? Imagine it, intend it, sense it, feel it. In doing so, you’re making it happen.

6 Ways to Be in Charge of Your Own Emotional Life

puppet womanLast week I wrote about how we can victimize and weaken ourselves by blaming others for hurting our feelings. In fact, taking greater responsibility for our own responses and reactions to what others might say or do is a path to emotional balance and maturity.

Despite what well-meaning people have told you, other people don’t exist to make you happy and they’re not responsible for how you feel. Likewise, you’re not in this life to jump through hoops in order to make others happy. You’re here to keep yourself on your own life path in the healthiest way possible, while harming none. This is not to say you accept abuse or remain in a relationship that isn’t supportive and loving. It just means you don’t allow yourself to be tossed about in stormy seas without a sail.

Here are my basic 6 ways to get in the driver’s seat of your emotional life. If you practice them, you’ll find you won’t be as susceptible to being hurt by off-hand or unfiltered remarks from others.

1. Develop good boundaries. If you’re not sure of what you think, believe, or want, you’ll be prone to being tossed around in someone else’s stormy sea. Be mindful of what emotional “stuff” belongs to you and what belongs to someone else.

2. Be yourself. This is mandatory! You’re here on the planet to be you, not a copy of anyone else.

3. Let go of the expectations of others. This means you get to live your own life and dismiss what others think you should or should not be.

4. Allow yourself to be imperfect. Give yourself some space to be real. Offer the same to everyone in your sphere.

5. Nurture the relationships with people you can trust who accept you as you are and who forgive (or ignore) your human foibles.

6. Free your mind from the judgment that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. Have no doubt that all is well and in perfect alignment.

My Thoughts on Doing a Silent Retreat

533796_3292120096307_1066899692_3043234_1472076028_nEvery year I do a silent retreat or two for at least a week at a time. And each time, people look at me puzzled when I tell them this is what I’m doing. After all, it’s so strange to not talk incessantly, or be talked to. Isn’t it?

Sometimes I join a group, other times I go solo. Often, in April, I like to do a solo retreat in Maui or Kauai (or both, let’s be honest). It’s my birthday month and I love to be immersed in the island vibe. But this April, since I was in Maui last September finalizing the last chapters of my new book, I decided to do a silent retreat in a place where I won’t be able to check messages because there’s no wifi, let alone cell phone service. I’ll be with about 100 others, who come together from distant places, all with a similar idea: let’s take a little breather from the madness, check in, tune in, and listen to what’s real and true, if only for a week.

I very much look forward to no talking, writing, reading, computers, television, or electronics of any kind. No checking email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no CNN, no Orange County Housewives. Am I in the minority when I think we’ve become a completely distracted, unbalanced society through this media? At any rate, there will be the sights and sounds of nature along with deer, turkeys, maybe a fox or two, hawks, lizards, sunshine and intermittent fog.

And, oh yes, I almost forgot—the sound of my own thoughts. The chatter of my inner 5 year old, my inner sullen teenager, and various other inner selves all interrupting my older, wiser self. There will be unexpected random memories, songs from 1983, compulsive planning, weighing the pros and cons of letting my hair go gray, living room redecorating, and ideas of what I should have said to someone 15 years ago. This chatter will go on at least for the first couple of days until it exhausts itself and my mind surrenders to balance and spaciousness.

The first time I attended a silent retreat, I had signed up for 10 days at a meditation center in the Massachusetts countryside. I’d been told by one of my professors that it was the best thing he ever did. Better than any sort of therapy. Incredibly transformational. So I jumped right in and attended the New Year retreat when we entered this millennium. It was lights out by 10pm on December 31, 1999. No fanfare, noise, champagne, nothing. We were awakened by the sound of a bell at 4:00am on January 1, 2000 to continue meditating. It was odd, but delightful.

So here I am 13 years later, still longing to get immersed in my week of silent meditation. Still looking forward to not knowing what’s happening in the outer world. It feels a little defiant, actually, in this information age, to simply turn my back on it all and ignore it. I won’t speak for a week, or be spoken to. I won’t hear my neighborhood’s leaf blowers, screaming children, or the Harleys going down Hwy 1 on Sunday. Instead, I’ll have the opportunity to engage inwardly, locate my deepest center, learn to love the rhythm of my own breath, and release a bit of what doesn’t belong to me.

When it’s over, I’ll return home with greater inner peace, with more love to share, and a greater tolerance for all that is noisy and alive. Now why would anyone not want that?

Communing with Your Higher Self

green goddessYour Higher Self is the wise, all-knowing part of you that is connected directly to All That Is—the Divine Source. It knows why you’re here, where you’re headed, and carries much knowledge and awareness accumulated through eons of time. I believe it’s the part of us that helps us hold our integrity in life. It keeps us moving forward toward positive expansion.

In this age of constant distractions—shiny, sparkly objects catching the attention at every turn—it’s easy to become detached from the Higher Self. At worst, this detachment leads to self-abuse such as drug-use, violence, physical neglect, and negative mental states. At best, it’s a nagging feeling that you’re not living the way you were meant to.

Accessing your Higher Self connects you to your wisest self which has answers for you and knows what step to take next. Communing with your Higher Self requires that your mind be quiet enough to hear its wisdom. Being in silence, settling inward, and getting in touch with the body and breath is one path to linking more strongly with your Higher Self. Experiencing joy is another way. Real inner joy, coming from experiences that raise your vibration high enough that you transcend the ordinary mundane world, can link with your true higher nature.

We not only can touch our soul essence in meditation by tuning into the body and breath, or when we allow ourselves to be truly joyful, but we can gain guidance from our Higher Self and begin to allow it to be the guiding force in our lives. Once you’re in touch—ask, wait, listen, and trust. It’s always been talking to you, but hasn’t always been heard. So give it some practice because there is no guidance better for you than your own wise counsel.

Insomnia? Sleep Well to Nourish Your Body, Mind, & Spirit

sleepYour body heals during sleep. It rejuvenates, renews, and recharges, mending what needs mending. 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. is a peak time to deeply nourish yourself after a busy day. If you’ve suffered from insomnia, you can sleep well to nourish your body, mind, & spirit.

If you’re not asleep by 10 o’clock, allow yourself to deeply rest from then on–stop work, turn off all electronic devices, no food or TV. Instead, deliberately calm your mind. Read an enjoyable novel, meditate, write down your thoughts, listen to a mind-balancing audio designed for sleep–begin a ritual to send signals to your mind that it’s time to prepare for deep, restful sleep.

Getting to the root cause of insomnia and returning to balance and wholeness is the holistic approach that sustains your body, mind, and spirit. (Using street or prescription drugs is like applying a bandage that remains on the surface and doesn’t truly heal. You know it.)

Here are 16 ways to sleep well, beginning with natural nutritional supplementation.

  1. Get adequate magnesium and calcium. I take a food-based magnesium supplement before bed and within 20 minutes I can hardly keep my eyes open.
  2. L-theanine is an amino acid that calms the mind and can be taken in the morning and again before bed. It’s especially good if you have a racing mind.
  3. Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics (available online) reduces cortisol levels to lessen stress and help you sleep–important for anyone living a high-stress lifestyle.
  4. Hyland’s Calms Forte is a homeopathic remedy that can help calm nerves and promote restful sleep. Find it online or in any natural foods store.
  5. MyoCalm PM by Metagenics is a combination of herbs and minerals for overall relaxation and sleep with no side effects.
  6. Drink relaxing tea, such as chamomile, in the early evening. There are several relaxing herbal teas specifically for bedtime at www.mountainroseherbs.com.
  7. Exercise daily, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk.
  8. Avoid caffeine during the day, or have green tea only in the mornings. Even chocolate in the early evening is enough to keep some people buzzing late into the night.
  9. Clear your bedroom of clutter, including computers, electronics, and television. Some people say they have to have the TV on to sleep. Really? That is a health problem waiting to happen!
  10. Stop answering the phone in the evenings if conversation activates your mind. Turn off your phone and all wifi at night. I know, it will cause anxiety initially, but you’ll get over it in a few days!
  11. Move electronics away from your bed and if possible, don’t have any in the bedroom. I have one electronic device in my room–an air filter–and I keep it many feet away from the bed.
  12. Calm your mind and spirit in the evenings by turning off the computer and television at least an hour before bedtime. Yes! Just do it.
  13. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body will thank you.
  14. Write down your thoughts and feelings to get them out of your head and onto paper. This way, they don’t swirl manically through your brain at 2:00 a.m.
  15. Meditate for a few minutes before bed to clear your mind.
  16. Put some sleep inducing music on your iPod and get your headphones ready. My favorite site for the best sleep-promoting CDs is www.monroeinstitute.org. You’ll find numerous amazing CDs for every sleep issue.

Finally, turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Get the unfolded laundry out of there, pick up the papers on the floor and put them in a different room, remove anything from under the bed, get comfy sheets and change them often.

If you still don’t sleep well through the night after you’ve tried these suggestions, see an acupuncturist, herbalist, naturopath, homeopath, or holistic practitioner. Each can help you with sleep disturbances. There is great hope and a solution waiting for you!

The Power of the Mind to Heal

power of mindThe mind is so powerful that it alone can help you heal. You have the ability to focus your thoughts on what you want and how you want to feel. In each moment you can notice where your mind has gone, whether to worries, fears, judgments, and other negativity, or to thoughts that are aligned with what you want for yourself.

The first step is to have an ongoing practice of noticing and managing your thoughts. This isn’t easy to do if you’re addicted to the television culture, where mass media offers a never ending stream of negative concepts into your brain. Or, if you like to get online and read the daily headlines followed by stories of horrific occurrences around the world. Or, if you like to “trauma share” with friends and colleagues about the annoying things that happen to you.

In the case of serious physical illness, we might find ourselves in a doctor’s office listening to negative possibilities and statistics that don’t sound promising. Because we are susceptible to these predictions, we often believe the bad news and accept it as fact when it isn’t. This can hinder the ability to heal because the mind is powerful enough to create what it believes.

We hear stories about people on their “deathbeds” whose families don’t tell them what the doctors have said about their dire situation. The person gradually gets well and goes on to live a full life. The mind didn’t have the opportunity to grasp onto the negative concept of doom, and instead believed in wellness. Our unwillingness to integrate the power of the mind into mainstream medicine is a hindrance in modern healthcare. If we were masters over our own minds we could enhance and improve the entire medical system.

There are few more important things you can do than to shift your mind to the positive. Any negative thought can be transformed by focusing on its opposite. Writing down the opposite thought, even drawing it out, helps change the negative thought pattern. Notice what you think about. Are you hooked in to the latest gory or fear-based story on the nightly news? Do you have people around you who enjoy talking in negative terms, going over and over the same dark topics? Do you do this yourself? If so, noticing these times and making an effort to change them is your path to making a positive mind a habit.

The best conversation I had over the past holidays was with a friend at a dinner party who said, “I’m focusing all of my attention on seeing the best in people. I’m simply not talking negative about things. My challenge is to practice this even when others around me are being negative.” Isn’t that a challenge we all could be willing to take on?

That was a conversation I could have carried into the wee hours of the morning. When you find another person who’s behaving as if their positive thoughts make a difference, it’s inspiring, uplifting, and life-affirming. This is where true healing begins.

 

Transforming Depression into Wisdom

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

The way you think about the world, others, yourself, and the conditions of your life will correlate to your mood. Your perceptions of your relationships, your health, job or career, housework and chores, your money and bills will become your habitual state of mind. Often, these mental states creep in quietly and before you know it, they’ve become normal. Though it’s not fun to hear this when you’re in the midst of depression, you have the choice as to whether your mind states are pleasant or not.

Thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions alter brain chemistry. So does pollution from air, water, and electricity, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and even a lack of protein absorption. Dark moods can be triggered by loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crises, financial worries, and even unexpected change. Is there any wonder depression is so common?

But common as it might be, depression is a wake-up call to pay attention. What is the deeper meaning depression brings? What have we not been addressing within ourselves? Depression asks us to listen to its subtle messages so we can gain understanding and wisdom. We, as a culture, have been satisfied with avoiding deeper meaning. We seem determined to skim the surface, taking a pill whenever we don’t feel quite right. But when we act with courage to look within and alter habitual beliefs and thoughts, life expands and takes on new meaning.

There are many ways to be vital, strong, positive, hopeful, and joyous. Journaling and exercise, meditation, visualization, energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, going out in nature, proper nutrition, the use of mood-lifting essential oils, becoming more fully your authentic self, shifting your thoughts toward the positive, releasing the energies and expectations of others (often done through methods that access your unconscious mind such as energy work, hypnosis, biofeedback, or even simple visualization) ~ each of these can help you manage dark places.

Never allow yourself to despair for long. It’s okay to allow some blue moods, but if they stretch out for weeks, commit to getting assistance to help you through. There is hope and the journey is not that long.

Life Survival Skill #1: Adapting to Change

all shall be wellSurvivors throughout history are those who have best adapted to change. Charles Darwin, famous for his theory of evolution said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” But change often brings up fear. Clinging. Panic. People don’t want to venture into the unknown and leave what they know behind. Willingness to go forward into the unknown requires faith in the future, or at least, an adventuresome spirit.

Change means letting go of the past and that which was familiar. Clinging to the past causes undue suffering and prevents new, often better, circumstances from entering our lives. Resistance to change is resistance to the forward flow of life. When you are more conscious of allowing change to happen, even when it is scary, you create fluidity. You become more in sync with the natural flow.

To help hone your life survival skills involving change, let’s answer a few questions to gain clarity.

When in the past have you responded well to change?

When have you not responded to change as well as you would have liked?

How do you feel when you know there is a big change coming? In what way does your resistance reveal itself? For example, eating more, worry, insomnia, anger, etc.

What is your usual reaction to sudden change?

What is the worst that can happen if everything in your life were to change?

You can use affirmations to help settle your mind around change, such as:

  • I easily adapt to change
  • I will adapt to this new way of life
  • I can flow with what life brings
  • If it’s happening, it must be ok, and I will also be ok.

Focus on how you want to feel when change comes: happy, confident, secure. And finally, when I’m resisting change, I keep in mind a quote by 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich ~

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing(s) shall be well.”

Self-Healing with Energy

lightThe earth offers us food, clothing, and shelter, and it also offers healing energy. The idea of drawing healing energy from the earth might sound odd, but when we connect deeply with the earth and either imagine, sense, or hold the intention to fill ourselves up with its energy and light, a natural balancing occurs within us. We become more serene physically, mentally, and emotionally.

One method you can use is to stand tall and imagine roots extending from your feet, anchoring you deep into the earth. A more powerful and healing way to do this is to stand barefoot on the ground. Feel the bottoms of your feet connecting to the living planet beneath you.

Another way is to imagine dropping an anchor of light into the center of the earth extending down from the base of your spine. Then, imagine drawing bright light energy up from the earth into your body. Alternatively, sit on the ground, “drop anchor,” and absorb earth energy upward into your body.

Just as you can pull energy up from the earth, you can also pour light into yourself from above. Simply visualize light pouring into you. It can be golden, blue, green, silver, or whatever color you imagine. See or sense it as energized, refined, and uplifting, filling your entire body.

These practices can be used by anyone regardless of their beliefs. Whatever your image is of God, the universal awareness, or even if you don’t consider yourself to be spiritually connected at all, you can use light and energy from the earth to heal and balance you on many levels.

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