If I were to take seriously . . . that my body is a temple, how would I live? Would I do anything differently? How can I turn this into a New Year/New Moon/1st day of Spring intention for myself?
First, what does it mean to declare, “My body is a temple?” a temple for what?
I believe we are souls riding in our bodies. The soul is our infinite self and the body has its own separate infinite wisdom.
Therefore, if I were to treat my body as a temple for my soul, I would make conscious choices. I would be mindful of what I put into it; what I drink, eat … that’s one category that can help us get started here.
If I were to treat my body like a temple by being mindful of what I eat and drink. There would be no smoking cigarettes. There would be no junk food or processed anything. Alcohol would be restricted and drug use would definitely not be used. Instead, I would only eat foods that I knew were good for me and helped my body to thrive . . . maybe even counter some aging and keep me from getting ill.
If I were to treat my body like a temple, I would keep it in good shape. I’d exercise regularly to keep my organs running at full capacity and other parts of my anatomy to be as good as it can be.
If I were to treat my body like a temple, I would pick and choose my thoughts. I know . . . this is a challenging one for most – until we can get the hang of it. Then its simply a matter of self-discipline. Negative thoughts don’t need to drown me, hook my brain in a loop, or be sent to those people we are unhappy with. Thoughts are energy just like food and exercise are. Thoughtful energy feels good to us and helps us stay positive and even gives us a sense of resilience and self-reliance.
If I were to treat my body like a temple, I would make time for quiet each and every day. Mediation or contemplation are portals into creating and inhabiting a harmonious inner life: A safe haven from life that takes place externally and out of our control.
If I were to treat my body like a temple, I would connect to my heart and live from that space every day. It’s where we feel most spiritually connected to whatever, whomever we know is Spirit. I’d see other people’s temple through out the day and therefore see the spirit in them.
If I were to treat my body like a temple, I would connect with nature every day. Even if that means opening my heart to the green hills while I wait for the traffic light to turn green. Or gaze at the clouds out my window. Whatever time allows for. Saying hello to the Seagull on my way to the car. Being careful not to step on a snail in the grass as I head for the front door, acknowledging and feeling its importance in my world. Nature has a way that balances us out. Nature is magical medicine.
If I treated my body like a temple, I would scrutinize what I watch; movies, TV shows and news. I’d be mindful of what images I want to digest, and what tone/vibe I want to allow in. Just like choosing our friends, what kind of friend makes us feel good? One that rants on and on about their bad day? The overall energy of the tv show, movie or news has an affect on our sense of well being.
Lastly, If I treated my body like a temple, I’d make sure my environment – where I am staying or living – feels good, and is healthy. In other words, there would not be much clutter, the space would be clean and safe. Since my body is occupying time in the space, it would need to reflect health and well being. Things that are pleasing to my body in color, shape and form, too.
Since this is a pretty long list, which one would you prioritize for yourself? What, if anything is preventing you from making it happen? Can you envision this new reality? Does it excite you? If it feels overwhelming, then can you reach out for help?
Did I forget anything? I'd love to read your additions, thoughts and challenges.
3 Simple Tips:
First off, notice and consider if there is anything in particular you are grappling with in life .. something that seems stuck or won't change no matter what you try. Decide to focus on that one thing during your retreat, with the intention of peeling away the layers of confusion to learn and achieve clarity.
Second, embody the concept that you can heal yourself. Commit to that belief.
Third, provide the time and space. Choose an amount of time that works for you and won't feel like too much of a sacrifice. Be realistic with the environment you choose to be in by taking into account all possible distractions such as pets, phones, computers, roommates, partners, kids, friends and neighbors. So that if you do decide to do it at home, you go into it knowing what you do and don't have control over when it comes to creating the silence.
Here is how I did mine:
My overall desire, was to UNPLUG from the outside world. We just had Christmas and as a mother, that entails a lot of energy to make Christmas for five people (see Kristen Wig's Saturday Night Live skit for how not to do it, lol). So to unplug, for me, meant the following; No social media (turn off notifications too), no friends/social life, no news (most crucial), and no news (lol). Decide if you really need to read your emails or not. Maybe you decide to devote a certain day to read them or you turn on your "I'm on vacation" option for automatic reply. This creates the silence. Which makes it much easier to hear and listen to Spirit/Higher Self/Guidance.
I decided to do my silent retreat at home. (Other ideas to consider is going to a campground, or a backpacking trip, a cabin in the woods, an airbnb, or other vacation rental.) I chose a week when I knew my kids would be with their Dad. So all that was left to deal with at home were the cats (2), TV subscriptions such as HULU or Netflix, and my phone. My lap top has been in the background (unused) lately so I didn't view that as a distraction.
I also decided to turn up the LOVE. What I mean by that is, each act I do for myself this week was treated as an act of loving my self/nourishing my soul/softening my heart. This doesn't seem like a big deal but believe me it is! By the time I was done with a week of living this concept It felt like a huge love bomb had gone off and I was flooded with warm fuzzies, deep connection with my spirit and CEO of my body temple.
For example, each meal was lovingly prepared. On the first day, I made a huge pot of soup. As you know, there is something magical about homemade soup . . . The herbs you choose to season it with, the stock you use becomes the foundation for comfort and having it simmer on the stove revealing all of it's scents to wander about the kitchen and into your being is so soothing! I also had to compliment the soup with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread. There was a bit of a hunt involved to find it, which made for an even greater reward/feeling of satisfaction when I got to dip it into the vegetable soup I made. So yummy and seemed like the ultimate comfort food. Not to mention, it was also eating clean - nothing processed or difficult to digest in this meal, that lasted for the first five days of my retreat.
Eating right was a priority for me- without meat, dairy, processed foods, corn, soy or sugar. I took a liver detox supplement to add extra attention to my liver. And drinking lots of water with lemon in it, as well.
Each day I vowed to get outside and spend time in nature. Whether it was an actual hike or just a stroll or place to briefly visit. I made this a priority. Other ideas: You could vow to watch the sunset or sunrise each day. To look up at the stars each night. You could walk/hike each day.
I dedicated my mornings or bedtime hour to coloring mandalas.
What this did, was foster creativity for me. Choosing the colors,
getting lost in the colors, appreciating the design and the outcome
of each was a process that I enjoyed. When I was done I felt
relaxed, inspired to work on something or just plain grounded.
I dated each one, so that I could see how my process played out over
the days and it was interesting to see how each one was so
different. Other ideas: Begin a painting or a different type of
artwork that you add to each day. The focus is on creativity and
getting into that flow that opens up our entire being and sense of wellness.
Because there were certain house chores/duties I had been neglecting, I decided to make them a part of my day so that I could feel good about the fact that I took care of them. For example, that bucket of shoes my mother left for me to sell or give away. And those things in the garage cupboard that block the entrance that needed to be sold of given away. Clearing out stuff always makes me feel good. I didn't spend a lot of time on this, just a bit. Because I wanted to stay true to my overall intention of listening to Spirit and increasing that connection. Other ideas: Clean out a section of your closet or your kitchen pantry.
I practiced my Sufi chants and prayers each morning. Other Ideas: Any type of mediation or religious study.
And keep moving . . . I mostly did yoga to keep my body happy. I kept my mat out where I could see it. Which helped any spontaneous poses that wanted to come out.
Ceremony. Have at least one. I did a fire ceremony on day one to mark the beginning of this sacred time. Other Ideas; fire in your fire pit, several lit candles, a bath (water can be scented and oiled), a dance, a circle (calling in the directions), a special mediation.
And Music. Music is so healing for me. I tuned into a certain station on Pandora and magically the songs played were in synch with how I was feeling at the time.
Lastly, journaling. I journaled each evening to sum up the day and give gratitude. In the beginning days, I documented what was happening throughout the day.
I might have left something out, but those are all the key ingredients to creating a silent retreat at home that can be personal/customized just for you.
By the time I was done, I felt peaceful inside. I wanted to stay longer. Go deeper.
And I had a renewed awareness of my connection with Spirit that previously, I felt I had lost touch with to some degree.
I felt centered, strong, calm, balanced, and clean of all previous toxins I had been ingesting.
Ask away if you are curious or would like the details of my food menu, music choices, or what have you.
LOVE yourself up!
Best intentions for your own beautiful retreat!
Certainly we have all experienced grief this past year, in some shape or form.
Here we are in December, the end of the year and you might be reviewing (as I am), the previous month's experiences. It's timely. Next month we start a new year with hopefully a better outcome.
Traditionally, the New Year has brought hope for fresh starts and new motivation. However, this one will contain a bit of lackluster. COVID0-19 is still running rampant and our governments are implementing lock downs. We don't know how long this will last.
A solution is close at hand.
Can we manufacture our own light at the end of the tunnel? Despite all of the unknowns?
Can we spark our own fire from within to help us feel driven to move forward regardless? (WIth whatever means available)
Sure we can, but first things first. Sorry I am not going to be your cheerleader. At least not at this point.
First, we need to feel our feelings. Letting a sob or two or three happen, is our best way to break out of this awful year. I say this with great confidence, because I know by personal experience. Each time I let myself go - release - the tears . . . I feel like I have unloaded a big weight heavy on my heart. So naturally I feel lighter and more capable of moving forward. You will too!
HOW? I know, I have been there too. We have stuffed those feelings to the point of gaining extra pounds, having too many glasses of wine, or what have you. How do we go there and shed those tears when we are so used to stuffing our feelings?
Here are some tips for releasing those tears:
For more tips you can subscribe to my Newsletter. I'm happy to share with you!
WHY would I do such a thing and go off Facebook, you might wonder? The Social Dilemma! This is a documentary that absolutely convinced me that this is what I want to do. Not that I was a big "user" and I wouldn't even call myself addicted (at least, not entirely!) . . . I felt compelled to try it for at least a week. Here is how it went!
I spent a good ten minutes turning off all of the notifications. This is one of the documentary's key main points: We are addicted to receiving notifications! I was definitely surprised by how extensive and detailed this process was - - to simply turn them OFF. So many details/styles of notifications! After that was done, I remembered Instagram . . . and while my account isn't a big one, it still should be considered a part of the detox, so I turned that social media app off as well. The documentary tells us to turn them ALL off! (And for good reason - - I highly recommend watching!)
My initial reaction for this morning was, "Wow, it's so quiet!" and the reality of not checking and answering my notifications as a part of my daily morning routine began to set in. The thought crossed my mind: What else would I do in the beginning of each day that could give me that same kind of reassurance: I matter! My meditation practice feels like a separate category. I guess I will have to learn how to give that to myself on a regular basis!
My workout on the eliptical was difficult! Usually I would pass the time by scrolling through my newsfeed, reading friend's updates, checking in on groups and the latest happenings, or getting caught up on news bites. No more. Instead, I had to find my mental "zone." The minutes ticked by slowly.
I begin my plan with substitution: I receive the two new books I ordered and begin reading them. And I continue with the plan to work out every day.
Today, I am noticing my feelings more than usual. In fact, I had a pretty good wave of grief pass through and found myself weeping. It felt good to release that.
Lunch time meals that included scrolling now happen without that, and so I focus more on the process of eating the food. Enjoying the way it tastes. Feeling the spaciousness of the moments.
I begin to worry, whether my friends know or not - Do they know about my declaration? Will they miss me? (haha) So I send out personal texts to let them know. Then I worry about what I might be missing from their posts. Only those thoughts didn't last that long, haha. I know I can count on our friendship. And the ones that don't, are simply not meant to be. I recall how certain friends have gone through several struggles around friendship on facebook vs friendship outside of facebook. The whole concept of friendships is reviewed in my mind and felt in my heart.
More reading. And another work out.
Today I am really missing the morning notification routine. I feel like I NEED that scrolling sensation . . . and that answering notifications sensation. In the documentary, The Social Dilemma, we are informed how these simple acts of behavior were designed to give us doses of Seratonin. Specifically called, "Intermittent Positive Reinforcement." It's a foggy morning and I realize I need to do something to clear my brain fog. I decide to work out and the routine goes much easier than before. Instead, I get a more natural boost from Endorphins.
More reading. It feels satisfying.
Today I begin reading the news. Whaaaat? Usually, I try to avoid the news and would receive what I need to know on Facebook - it would inevitably find me. I subscribe to the local paper and read some of the articles online. One article in particular is fascinating and gives me a boost of something that makes me feel good.
I notice that my emails seem more important now. And I find myself reading them more thoroughly. Instead of a quick scan, I actually open up the city council reports and read them. Interesting things my city is going through!
I also feel the desire to begin some creative and home projects. I even feel the desire to organize my garage!
My workout flies by.
Overall I get a sense that I can get used to this.
I miss my morning notifications routine. I begin to think about Friday - the day I have told myself I can get back on Facebook. I look forward to it. I go for a long walk.
My Sufi mentor/guide talks about the documentary too! He shares the importance for us all to pay attention to the message it provides.
I'm looking forward to posting tomorrow. I go for a long kayak/paddle and feel it's rewards immensely, and I'm excited to share my video/photos of it on facebook. I feel excited to catch up with people. And I contemplate how much time I want to spend on facebook.
I get my teenagers to watch the documentary. One is complaining (the one who is addicted the most) and the other is taking it in like a good meal. After the movie is over, one goes right back on his phone. The other does not. Later, he tells me with a smile, he feels inspired! And he goes to bed with a good book instead of his phone. I feel somewhat gratified. And wonder what it will take to get the other one to decrease his screen time . . . willingly - without my rules and regulations. Personality differences seems in great stark contrast to one another tonight.
Hooray, it's facebook day! I get to go on, but I don't . . . Instead, I choose to write up this blog and, it's past my morning routine craving time! I find more pleasure in the sunshine and my cup of tea. And although my head feels heavy from not a good night's rest, I manage to delay the gratification. Now as I near the end of this article, how do I feel?
I feel hesitant to go on facebook. Almost like it's a daunting task ahead of me. Something that could trap me and hold me hostage. I do my self-check: Do I NEED to go on facebook? The answer is no, but after all this anticipation of going back on, my mind wants to follow up. Ridiculous. I don't even miss what is on there. I DO however, miss my groups and wonder what gems are inside . . . My body relaxes. I got this. I remember I am in charge - not the facebook robots. At least for now!
Will I go another week off facebook? I am feeling it. Yes! So while I was not a "heavy user" of facebook (and Instagram even less), I DO feel like I could use more time off. And I suspect others that spend more time on them than I do will have greater detoxing effects. So, just be aware. Being aware and more present is the overall feeling I have now in my life. And it's the key to knowing what we need!
Finding a Turkey feather bouquet = feeling lucky 🥳
Earlier I was feeling the grief of what’s happening in Brazil with the rainforests on fire. And I thought it’d be a good guidance for us to go within, give ourselves permission to grieve ... there is so much out there to grieve over . . . Do we allow ourselves to cry or release our sadness and anger? Or do we keep going, pushing it down ... I would say most of us to the later. Who wants to make time to grieve? I mean, it’s not an appealing thing to do, ya? But just like we have to wash the dirty dishes - otherwise they will pile up in the sink and make the job of daily living even greater. Let’s consider that. Grieving as a part of our self-care. Which definitely needs to be a priority these days ya?
A couple years ago I was guiding people to triple size our self-care, and now I’d increase that even greater. To include grieving. What would that look like for us? How would we do that? And are there any fears around that (like oh geez, what if I let myself cry and couldn’t stop... like I’d get SO low that I could never come out of it- kind of fears).
Recently I attended a workshop where all we focused on was grief. It felt awkward at first . . . I mean, I hadn’t had anyone close to me pass, I hadn’t lost a job or a relationship. . . And yet, as our teacher spoke in poetry about grief and how the indigenous people made grief a part of their regular community, my heart opened up to all the possibilities; there were many national and worldly events that impacted me emotionally, and there were things in my past that actually had more layers to them . . . Who knew? Until I provided a space for them to be revealed ( like during this workshop). I made a vow to myself to continue what I started and incorporate grief into my self-care.
Why? So I could be freer. So my heart could continue to open in new and bigger ways. To experience even greater joy. To have a greater capacity to love. To shed away layers of darkness or release shadows I had unknowingly suppressed.
And so, here we are. In times when grief is present for everyone.
We can choose to feel it or not.
Solo practices like journaling, meditation or releasing rituals. Therapy.
Wouldn’t it be wild if we actually acknowledged it consciously and it came up in conversations with our friends?
Like, how are you doing today . . . Not well, I’m grieving the rainforests today. Wow, me too ... we could say. Let’s meet up later, I could use some company. Great, and maybe we turn it into ceremony and light a candle or do a bonfire or a song or prayer. Ohhhh that would feel so good to me, yes let’s do it! Hey and I know others that might want to join us . . . And so it could begin; our acceptance of grief.
What do you think?
Soulful Sunday: How to Grow New Roots
I love how this tree found a way to grow here! After my own recent uprooting of a plan I had thought was solid, I thought I'd take you through the process of letting go of that loss of those roots. Teach you how to transmute it into something different. Wouldn't it feel so much better?
1. First step is always to feel the feelings.When we try and skip this step it only comes back later only stronger and in ways that interfere in our relationships. It's also the place where grudges are born. Grudges are simply stuck emotions. And stuck emotions will take hold of our body somewhere. That sudden back ache isn't a fluke.
2. After we let ourselves feel the disappointment, anger, resentment, jealousy ... whatever it may be, Begin - just begin (because it might take a while), to imagine a different outcome. Start directing your energy toward how we would like to feel. Try the flip it method - choose the opposite of what we feel now. Choose a word to help us get there. Consider that maybe there's something to learn here to help us grow.
3. Set our intention to shift our energy to that new emotional space. (Generous of heart, happy, content, satisfied, hopeful, curious, wonder, excited, flexible, open, caring...and so on) This is where we commit and declare it to be so.
4. Let it go. Take action to help our energy get to that new emotional place. Maybe it's coming up with a new plan. Or calling up a friend for support. Maybe it's actively spending time doing something to take our mind off it like going for a hike or to the gym to work out.
5. If and when those painful emotions creep back in (painful because now that we have felt some space from them we can feel just how painful those feelings are!), decide they are "old feelings" and now in this present moment we are feeling .... x,y,z ..." Sink into our new roots, breathe, allow space for them, meditate with them. Realizing we are the captain of our ship to the degree that we can re-direct in order to feel better.
6. After time has passed, check in with ourselves to see how we are. If there is any remaining sting or loss, go back to step one and repeat the process until at this point most of what felt terrible has been neutralized and we can feel good again.
7 Tips for Managing the Holidays
It's here, the holiday season! The following tips are for those of you who want to enjoy the holidays and get into the spirit, free of stress.
1. Keep your regular schedule as much as possible. In other words, don't let extra errands and tasks push away your meditation practice or yoga class.
2. Increase self-care. That's right: slip in extra acts of kindness for yourself here and there; whether it's a few minutes or more, they add up and help us breathe through the emotional triggers. Self-care = patience, compassion, presence.
3. Center. Hand over heart. Breathe. Yes, this practice of tuning into ourselves helps us to manage stress. Keeping that connection going helps us to remember we are not alone and that we can handle anything.
4. Gratitude. Don't forget how this powerful energy of feeling grateful and appreciative helps transform any depressive thoughts. Appreciate the darkness (light up your house with candles or Christmas lights), appreciate the scents (hang up a wreath inside your house), feel and appreciate the songs you hear (Silent Night is one of my favorites). You get the idea . . .
5. Give. Take pleasure in your ability to give to others. This time of year offers all different types of ways to give, whether it be a food drive, toy drive, volunteering your time, sending a check to a charity of your choice, donating to the shelter... Giving comes in all shapes and forms as you know, but it also takes us out of our own head/negativity if there is any. Focusing on giving increases happiness.
6. Discern. Keep your Queenly self present. Don't fall victim to all of the messages to "buy buy buy" spending money you don't have or truly want to spend. Choose your activities wisely to conserve your energy rather than scatter it in places that don't serve your or your family.
7. Love. Truly the message of the season is to love. Take time to feel into your heart and send it some love. My book offers plenty of meditations for that. Whether it be self-love, demonstrating love to your family and friends, or a complete stranger; love is the answer to any hardship you may have.
I am always here if you need some individual support/attention. To make an appointment for life coaching, call me here: (805) 748-9822. email@example.com
Lots of love! Injoy!
If emotions are energy (which they are), then will you take the reins and direct them?
What does that mean?
Let's say you wake up in the morning and discover that you don't feel refreshed from last night's sleep. You decide to make the best of it and go forward with your day, making coffee/tea and your typical morning routines. But then you pay your bills and your mood immediately shifts. You feel resentful, like you don't have enough money and worry about some debt you recently put on your credit card.
If emotions are energy, then this mood previously described can either direct your ability to feel good, bad or something in between, Yes?
What if you could step outside of the emotion and decide in that moment what you wanted to do with it?
Using the emotion that occurred from paying your bills; there are several options or choices after you become conscious of this feeling.
"Damn, I feel so broke! (anger) . . . " or "I'm depressed now (sadness) . . . " or "How am I going to pay off my credit card? (anxiety). . . " or "This really stinks, having to pay such a high utility bill (resentment) . . ."
Well, any one of these emotions can be used for your next step.
Getting conscious means realizing you have the ability to choose what you'd like to do.
Anger could get you to the point of sitting down to write out a plan to pay things off. (Feeling motivated)
Sadness could get you to the point of making a new budget. (Feeling empowered)
Anxiety could get you to deal with the present moment. (Feeling capable.)
Resentment can flip into gratitude - "I'm glad I have the money to pay this bill!"
Is there anything greater than that? Being able to use our emotion so that it serves us?
Yes, actually there is.
Our emotions can also give us information about ourselves.
But that's a different topic for next time.
Until, then happy days to you, being the director of your emotions!
It's a New Year with a chance for a new beginning. Not only for ourselves but for our nation (USA). While I see our new leader for who he is I also CHOOSE to see it as a time to start over again. Whether that means REVOLUTION (notice the core of this word is LOVE?) outside of ourselves or within!
So how do you pump yourself up to create positive change?
I find and help my clients to first feel empowered. Most of us (especially if you are a woman) have been in the habit of giving our power away.
Consider work, family, relationships . . . How much of your energy are you feeding these things?
What is left for yourself?
It's challenging to feel empowered if we give our power away to people and things that don't feed us.
Realizing this is huge!
Consider a plant. When the leaves get old they dry out but they stay on the plant most times unless they are leaves on a tree and they simply fall off.
Meanwhile the plant continues to send nourishment even to the dead leaves, if they are still connected to the plant.
However, if the dead part of the plant/tree is cut away or broken off, it is no longer connected and allows the plant/tree to use its energy more efficiently. Suddenly, the plant begins to thrive because there is more energy to feed itself without the dry/dead parts there.
So what parts of your life are old/dead and yet you still send your energy to?
When we give our energy to something, it's nice to get a beneficial response. Yes? Give and take. However, some friends/people are simply "takers." When we do all the giving we are left feeling a bit drained/tired, maybe resentful, yes?
Maybe it's a "thing" such as an old car we've told ourselves that we will fix some day, but we don't and in the meantime we see it every day we drive past its large presence on our driveway. Ugh!
I challenge you to watch what happens if/when you decide to break off relationships or get rid of "things" that drain your energy.
For starters, in your next meditation, see if you can imagine what it would be like without that person/thing in your life.
Wouldn't it feel good to have more energy this year? More energy to give to your own dreams, your own goals, your own space . . .
To set up a FREE consultation with me. (We might be a good team!) Click here to contact me.