Be Still…take time to Meditate

meditation-video-still-newYesterday I watched part of a show on the mysteries of the subconscious mind—fascinating. There was a part where they were talking about the power of meditation and its healing ability for stress. The doctor on the show illustrated scientific evidence that supported that sitting and meditating for 15 minutes a day can and will alter the stress in your body.

Stress inflames the cellular structure in our bodies, which then causes illness like heart disease, crones disease…but meditation will literally reverse the effects of stress on our bodies. Our bodies are amazing!!

So, I am challenging any one who would like to become healthier, happier and physically better to take 15 minutes a day and meditate.

Here are some good suggestions to help…

Monkey Mind: I have heard and experienced ‘Monkey Mind’—the whirl of chatter, to do lists, problem solving, the ability to not focus and on and on. Continue to work through this and just breathe. Your mind will begin to find a quiet space.

Focus on a word or your breath: In the show the doctor had people focus on the word PEACE. Many meditations have you focus on your breath and the in and out movement.

Breath deeply: breathing deeply helps you relax, your heart rate slows

Find what feels right for you

Ways to be Creatively INSPIRED!

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This one is for you Mom!!

My darling Mom went back to work after taking care of kids for forty years of her life. She is the ultimate creator…play write, song writer, has created boutiques, blogger, dancer, decorator,  published author, and a artist in a variety of mediums, all while being a mom and devoted wife. She has always been a women of ideas, loves the creative process and thrives in it. Going back to work has been a challenge for her creative balance and she has been feeling very unfulfilled in this area, so I thought I would dedicate this blog post to her. Mom, I hope you find inspiration in its ideas. I hope you will be able to catch your breath and take a moment to get creative, not just for you, but for all the people who will be touched by your talent. Love you.

Get outside–Take your camera and get outside. I have been trying to get out the last week and capture any moment of beauty, whether the clouds circle the sun or a leaf shimmers from the rain. Nature holds many treasures if you take the time to look. Go on a walk and look at all the textures, the details, the colors and hues.

Try something new–Is there something you have always wanted to try? What about that photography lesson you have put aside? What about a watercolor class? What about chalk drawing on pavement? What about a dance class (Zumba, Ballroom, Hula)? What about a cooking class?

Try something that doesn’t take a lot of effort–while out on my walk yesterday I drew a heart in the snow and took a photograph of it. You could sit down with a mandala coloring book and just color.

Go to the library or bookstore and look at books–the library/book store is a one stop food for the creative soul. You can find books about anything and everything. Sit down in the lounge and peruse through magazines, cook books, illustration or photography books, leather tooling or decoupage how to’s, the ideas are limitless.

Learn about what lights you up–When you are at the library or book store notice what books you are drawn to. You may have a sincere interest in water color, where a book about noodle making doesn’t do it for you. You will notice what interests light you up and then you can go from there on how to create something truly inspired. You will find true inspiration on projects that you get excited about, so don’t waste your time and energy on something that does NOT light you up!

Learn about something completely new to you-–take something like typography, calligraphy, art history, photography, multi-media, wood working, fabric, recycled art or a history of artists and learn something that seems to interest you.

Be inspired by others–Check out online portfolio sites and creative artistic ideas–check out sites like Flickr, Carbonmade, Behance, Pinterest, etsy (homemade items)

Your creative surroundings--When you are trying to write, paint, dance, cook, anything that comes from the creative medium within you, you need to be encouraged, motivated, inspired. You may be creating from a desk, a studio, a kitchen, the outdoors, an office, how are your surroundings? Do they have images and words that inspire, quotes that are dear to your heart, colors that soothe and reflect your needs, music that stirs your soul…look at where you create and make sure it is filled with the musings of your heart.

Stress free please–Stress is NOT the friend of creativity, so when you begin to create anything, make it a time when you are not affected by outside noise, whining children, distracting influences, time crunches and stress inducing limitations. Try to create space for your creativity and welcome it with open arms and a heart that is ready to be inspired.

Buy some magazines–go to a thrift store or local market and buy some magazines that may have something that may inspire you. Maybe you need to revamp your creative space, maybe you want an idea to paint your dining room table, maybe you want to try logo design or scrapbooking. Find something that appeals to you and buy the magazine. Look at it as an investment in your creativity. There is always something that will jump out and make you take a second look…a vibrant color, a jar full of sea glass, a pot full of succulents, a hammock hanging in a corner, a bow tie pasta beautifully prepared, a piece of jewelry that looks organic, a photograph that stirs your soul. Creativity is everywhere. You just need to take the time to look and find what inspires you.

Create a vision board–see my directions under my post category “Self LOVE” and the title is “Tap into the vision for your life”

Just do it! You may feel like you are in a creative rut, too tired, not inspired, but NOTHING will happen if NOTHING is done. Even if you set aside fifteen minutes a day to something creative then you can feel that something is being done. You can write daily pages, go on a fifteen minute walk and take a picture, you can listen to something inspiring (a Ted talk, podcast, some mozart, a creative youtube) for fifteen minutes, do daily exercises that get you creating…just do something to get the creative juices flowing.

I would LOVE and appreciate any other ideas that you have.

Happy Creating!! Love you Mom.

DANCE. RISE. SHINE. SHARE for LOVE

HAPPY VALENTINES! A good way to spread LOVE today.

This video made me cry just thinking about women throughout the world who have lived in fear, who have not felt loved, who fight to survive, who try to be heard, who are standing up today to make a small difference in the world.
I did what I could and danced with my little girl in our kitchen and through our hands up in the air showing our support with one another.
I challenge any and all of you to get your families, your sisters, your daughters, those you love and dance in some way to show your love and support for those dancing to make a difference in the world!!
What a great message of LOVE!!
Peace and love to you.
You can check out the organization and see other groups all over the world dancing to make a difference. http://www.onebillionrising.org

Create your own Couples Retreat

CoupleHoldHandsBeachIn the spirit of LOVE week I want to offer you some additional ideas on making this week of love special. If you missed my other ideas check back in the archive on creating a couples bucket list, putting a little love in all you do (little ideas to share love & some great connection questions for all the people you love), Valentine ideas for those you love and so much more…I have tried to fill the last couple weeks with lots of LOVE.

Here are some ideas to make tomorrow night memorable…

How to create your own couples retreat

“To LOVE is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.”  -Gottfried Von Leibnitz

To retreat is to step away from the daily noise, to relax into another element of who you are, to look at your life with a new perspective, and to see your world through different lenses. You may approach a retreat with resistence for the time it takes, the questions, the necessary relaxation, but shift your thoughts to wonderment and necessity.

These retreat ideas are meant to bring you together as a couple, to help you reach beyond the daily and replenish your soul. It is time to be quiet, time to think, to communicate, to nurture one another.

Plan your night to include quiet time, a relaxing/fun activity, some yummy food and time for reflection.

Here are some activity ideas:

Create vision boards together (directions for this are in my archive) or write down a fun couples bucket list of activities to try together in the upcoming year.

You could have a night of Q & A to learn more about one another.

You could create a PLAY retreat, where you plan activities that would have you playing from morning to night.

You could create an evening of nothing but relaxation by giving one another a gentle massage or lying together in quiet meditation.

You could create an evening of romance

The activities are endless, but here are some ideas to help you plan a great activity…go on a walk together, practice mindful eating as you enjoy a delicious dinner you create together, write down ten things you appreciate in one another and then go out to dinner and share them over your favorite dessert, have a romantic movie night, take a moment and sway to the music, go to a flea market or thrift store and give each other $5 to buy the best present for the other, go to a wishing well and make wishes for your future together, plan to watch the sunrise/sunset, create a dessert night and make all your favorites, visit a museum or gallery and learn something new, have an evening of milk and cookies by candlelight, have breakfast in bed (morning or night), take the evening and reminisce about special moments like your first kiss, first date, when you met, etc. Take the evening and lay beneath the stars, Say I love you in a foreign language, go golfing with a fun lunch planned on the 9th hole, go to a amusement park and ride the ferris wheel, learn a new game together, cuddle…the ideas are limitless. You just need to plan it together, so both of you have an enjoyable time.

The food: After you plan a fun activity make sure you plan something yummy to eat. Food is a must in any type of retreat, it soothes the soul, it helps you to slow down and savor the moment. You could get take out for two, head to your favorite restaurant, create something from scratch or take a trip together to the store to find the right ingredients of a quiet meal at home. You decide. Are you in the mood for fondu, a picnic in the park, an outdoor bistro or a steak dinner by candlelight. It is your evening together, so take the time to plan something special.

Don’t forget the music. Your retreat should be a time of togetherness, so make sure your music selections (whether your driving in the car or lying by a fire) are in harmony with everyone. Music can break or make the special moments together. Music has a beautiful calming quality, so play it softly and definitely take a moment to pause in each others arms and sway to the quiet melody.

Time for reflection: No matter what you do together take some time at the end of the evening to reflect on the day, the moments that connected you, the close feelings you shared. Express your love to one another and be grateful for the relationship you have. Talk about what you are grateful for and share the things you appreciate most about your life together.

“Love really is the answer. We’re here only to teach love. When we’re doing that, our souls are singing and dancing.”  -Gerald Jampolsky, MD

Best wishes for a beautiful Valentines day. Enjoy those you love. -Heather

Your Harmonic Connection

ImageIn the spirit of LOVE week, moments of couples dancing, love songs to be sung…here is to the power of how music moves you. How it inspires us, touches our soul and connects us. Bless you with love this week.

“You know what music is?? A harmonic connection between all living things.”  -Wizard, August Rush

I truly believe this…music holds a key that we rarely tap in to and hardly learn anything about. Recently I heard about Mozart and his ability to almost translate music from the heavens. I was in ah of the thought that someone could have such a divine gift. I instantly downloaded a podcast of Mozart music and began searching for stories and articles on music and the harmonic connection it holds.

I googled information on Mozart and found an article by CBS news about a young prodigy named Jay Greenberg. The article talked of this young boy who has composed five full-length symphonies by the age of 12 (Apparently talented composers might write 5 or 6 symphonies in a life time). The article asked him How is it possible? Jay told the writer (Scott Pelley) he doesn’t know where the music comes from, but it comes fully written—playing like an orchestra in his head. “It ‘s as if the unconscious mind is giving orders at the speed of light,” says Jay “You know, I mean, so I just hear it as if it were a smooth performance of a work that is already written, when it isn’t.”

It was an amazing thought to me, that someone right now (not 200 years ago) is able to hear the harmonious connections between heaven and earth—wow. That is a true gift. An inspired notion of how small we truly are.

I also came across an article about Einstein’s access of Mozart’s gifts. It mentioned how he turned to the simple beauty of Mozart’s music when he struggled with the extremely complicated mathematics that led to the general theory of relativity.

“Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music,” recalled his older son, Hans Albert. “That would usually resolve all his difficulties.”

Einstein once said, “that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart’s was so pure that it seemed to have been ever present in the Universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.”

This is pretty powerful information when looking at the deep connection music can literally play within us. I believe when we become in tune with who we are meant to become, this is when our higher power can freely grant us the power that resides within us. When we feel good and feel grateful for the beauties of this life, this is when the music within will play freely and we will soar to the extent God sees in us. When we are in tune to our divinity, this is when we will truly be free.

“When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer—say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep—it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them.”  -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Be willing to sit quietly in a morning hour and ask to be touched within, to hear the trees sway in the wind, to listen to the birds, to feel a higher presence in all things.

We are Fearfully and Wonderfully made.

ImageWe are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I just had a tear filled conversation with my mother-in-law about one of her grandchildren who are in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). She was filling me in on the details that have happened the last couple of days—spinal tap, surgery to put in a pic line that feeds the little one through a small tube, pneumonia, lung collapse…

It was heart wrenching to imagine this little child that was born not quite a week ago, going through such pain. Then I envisioned her mother (my sister-in-law), the new mother of triplets and the pain I know she is going through, feeling like she isn’t bonding to this child, while the others are doing well, wondering what she is doing wrong as a mother, looking at the nurses with envy as they speak to her baby and having thoughts of her baby possibly dying…

Then my thoughts went to my mother-in-law who had lost two sets of twins after they had been born. I asked my mother-in-law how she was doing. She broke down and said, “We are trying to be positive. It is hard, but Lacey (her daughter) doesn’t want to be alone and neither do I, so we are sticking together through this. Everything will be alright.”

She was holding on to hope and faith, like any good mother, knowing in the back of her mind it is essentially not up to her. That anything can and will happen. She had been there many times.

Yesterday my sister-in-law was having an especially tough day, so I sent her a letter and some inspiring quotes to post around her house to help her remember she is not alone and that this experience is a time for growth, hope and faith. One of the images was the one above–I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

When I saw this image it reminded me of the humility we need to have through life. Every day, every moment is a gift that we are given. Life experiences may be scary or cause us to be fearful, but through those moments we learn so much. Through these experiences we learn the important things like faith, hope, true love, empathy, gratitude, sacrifice, etc. We learn the lessons our soul seeks to devour. It is through these faith building moments that we know we are not alone and that God is there to hold our hands. That fear can turn to an ah-filled wonder and that is where we find grace and humility.

I want to send her my best wishes and blessings. Please send her a blessing if you have a moment. Thank you.

Blessings to you today.  -Heather

Are you important?

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“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”  -Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

I pulled into a local supermarket and as I parked a young girl in her twenties approached the car next to me. I noticed she was in tears, I rolled down my window and asked her if she was okay, she hysterically responded about her boyfriend and how terrible he was to her.

Just then two elderly people (her grandparents) approached her and tried to calm her down. They were not exactly calm themselves. I patiently watched and noticed a small boy in the back seat. I continued to watch the situation, wondering what I could do. The couple noticed that I was concerned and began to share a few details. I listened and slowly got out of my vehicle to help. Many thoughts ran through my head as I surveyed my vehicle looking for anything that may help the situation.

I looked over at the young girl who continued to cry and I said, “You are beautiful, things will work out. Everything happens for a reason.” She graciously said thank you. The grandmother jumped in, “That is her problem, she is too pretty.” My heart sank and a deeper understanding filled me.  I shuffled through my purse looking for a business card and handed it to the young girl and told her to call me anytime for anything.  The older woman looked at me and said, “Are you important or something?” I was taken back, “No, I just like to help people. So please call me if you need a ride, help with your little boy, anything.”

I could tell the situation was calming down, so I left it at that. They were all very gracious.

When I walked away I thought about the comment, “Are you important or something.” The small gesture of giving someone a business card seemed to be a symbol of self-worth in this woman’s mind. I tried to put myself in the perspective of someone dealing with someone’s pain, trying to help her grand child, yet seemingly misunderstanding the deeper worth of a soul.

We often do not see our own value or personal worth, we see job titles, material trophies, the paths that seem to be lit with a seemingly brighter light. We wish and hope for more, thinking that it will help us feel better about our lives.

We forget that we are divine. We forget that we need to go through tough experiences that will bring us closer to our spirit, our inner joy and connection. We forget that we are given everything we need, we arrive happy, but it is our choice what we do with that happiness. Do we nurture it through self-love, giving and gratitude or do we starve it by seeking happiness outside of us??

Ask yourself…Are you important? How do you feel when you ask yourself that question?

Do you look at your life and feel worth (you feel you are moving in a direction to be your personal best, to have a worthwhile life) or do you feel weighed down by life (things seem to be an energy drain, you feel heavy and unfulfilled).

During this month of February, I urge you to take the time to step back and evaluate where you are on a personal level. Do you feel love toward yourself?

Here is a simple exercise to get your feelings flowing… Mirror Mirror

Precious jewel, you glow, you shine, reflecting all the GOOD things in the world. -Maya Angelou

1. Take this work seriously. You could easily just walk away and avoid your feelings for fear of what you will face. Do not walk away from this activity. Take this seriously.

2. Be honest with your feelings.

3. You can use a full body mirror, a wall mirror or a hand mirror for this activity.

4. When you talk to yourself, make sure you look into your eyes. There is a needed connection on a deeper level.

5. Look yourself in the eyes and say, “I love you”

Write down any thoughts and feelings. Be honest. This may be very hard for you to do, so look within for any thoughts or feelings that will help you with the inner work you need to do. (ie maybe you do not like how heavy you look, so you have a hard time looking at yourself…notice these feelings)

6. Ask yourself, “What do you see?”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

7. Ask yourself, “Who are you?”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

8. Then say, “I love you just as you are.”

Write down any immediate thoughts or feelings.

9. Finish with, “I deserve love.”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

10. How do you feel? Did any surprising emotions or thoughts come up for you?? Did you cry? Were you honest with your thoughts and feelings?

Make sure you take the time to journal any thoughts or feelings that came up for you. You may need to work on processing your feelings through self love, acceptance or forgiveness. You may need to go deeper to understand why you had these feelings and explore the reasons.

If you did not have any thoughts or feelings…make the statements again. Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself, “I love you.” Sit with this statement and repeat it if necessary until you have a reaction of any kind.

If you had loving personal thoughts, embrace these warm feelings and see their strength and beauty.

If you had a mix of loving and hurtful thoughts, embrace the good and seek understanding with the rest.

Nurture and love yourself through this process.

Lots of love to you.   -Heather