Being Kind to YOU

I think every now and then we all need a little kindness for ourselves. Who are we usually the hardest on? Who do we usually talk the harshest to? Who do we belittle about our body shape? Who do we starve, pick apart & find flaws with? Who do we say things about that we would never say to someone else…that’s right, ourselves.

So, today I am going to find some great tools that I have come across and share them here with you. I hope you will try them and see how you feel. Do you feel a little calmer? Are you ready to take on work without a great big Ahhh! Do you feel a little more grateful? Do you feel a little kinder to yourself? Hopefully these ideas will awaken something very needed on a personal level. Because when you take better care of you, when you are kinder to yourself—then you are kinder to everyone around you & are able to take better care of those who need you.

I LOVE this…LOVE Letters are always a good thing. I think this is an easy one that every single one of us can try—thanks Soulpancake

Tapping technique with Gabrielle Bernstein—helps to achieve emotional freedomhttp://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=54067

3 Minute Guided Breathing Meditation that will calm your body and mind. 

Just-Breathe-imageBetter breathing=Better You. Talking about Breathing–check out these tips by Pam Grout about Taking more deep breaths & how it enhances your metabolism. According to Pam Grout, breathing coach and author of “Jumpstart Your Metabolism,” breathing is the key to sustainable and long-lasting weight loss. Grout, who teaches people how to change their breathing patterns to lose weight, says clients report losing a pound a day. 

And yet nine out of 10 of us aren’t breathing properly, she says. “Put one hand on your chest, the other on your abdomen. Take a normal breath. If the chest hand goes up rather than out, you’re breathing wrong.”

If you don’t breathe properly, you’ll take in a third of the oxygen your body needs. “And when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can’t burn through fat,” says Grout. 

What’s more, proper breathing can rev your metabolism, lower stress chemicals which cause your body to retain fat, and keep you centered so you’re less likely to binge or stress eat. The goal is to take long, deep breaths into your abdomen. To practice this, lay on the floor with a book on your belly. On your inhale, make sure the book rises. On the exhale, the book should come down. “Slow, deep inhales and exhales are best,” says Grout. 

Once you get the hang of belly breaths, she recommends trying the 1-4-2 breath, which is specifically designed for weight loss. Here, breathe through your nose to whatever count is comfortable. Hold the breath inside your body for four times as long, and then exhale through your mouth for twice as long. So if you breathe in to the count of 4, lock it into your body for 16 (4×4) and exhale for 8 (4×12). “It will get deeper and longer as you can get better at it,” she says. “Do 10 of these, twice a day.” [taken from Totalbeauty.com]

Negative-self-talkTalk to yourself in a loving way. Don’t belittle, judge, criticize. Begin to focus on the little things you like about you. I laugh at myself when I look through pics I have taken & most of them are of my manicured feet. I don’t enjoy taking pics of myself & that is something I am working on. We all have things we may not love, but we can begin small & work on the bigger picture.

PowerofSmallSliderFill your day with FEEL GOOD energy activities. Don’t surround yourself with people who drain you. Do things that make you feel good, whether its 15 minutes of painting, going on a walk with your dogs, listening to good music, gardening, making healthy meals…do things that make you feel good. You will feel the difference in the energy.

timthumb.phpJust ASK. We are such a small part of this universe, so we would be foolish to not just ask for things we need. Whether we need direction, patience, guidance, help, a warm feeling, intuition, an answer…we just need to believe that we are capable and worthy to just ask. Ask and it is given. Have faith and find the kindness for yourself in that. You are so loved.

compass-or-gps-3Love this—Say YES to yourself. Say YES to Yourself. “I love that the word ‘compass’ is nestled in that word compassion. So is the word ‘passion.’ In self-compassion, the compass points to yourself; the passion for self-understanding is part of our mission. Self-compassion is self-love, self-empathy, self-mercy. Self-compassion is the act of saying YES to yourself, of sending the message, ‘I matter,’ and of experiencing self-love even when self-loathing has the louder voice.” – Courtney Putnam [taken from psychology today]

Well, I just wanted to put a few ideas together for you–for all of us. Please be gentle with yourself and create a little more kindness within all you do.   Peace to you.  -H

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Have faith beyond yourself

“You start to live when you commit your life to a cause higher than yourself. You must learn to depend on divine power for the fulfillment of a higher calling.”  -Lailah GiftyAkita

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I wanted to share a divine, personal experience that I recently had. In order for us to believe we are not alone, we are doing divine work, we are guided by something bigger than our small selves, we must have testimony of it. We must experience moments that we can share with others, which will enhance a larger faith in something bigger and beyond ourselves.

It was probably a couple months ago–I was in a deep sleep and just before I woke I saw a vision, a picture popped into my head of my art displayed in some type of museum. It looked like a children’s museum. I woke up energized by such an idea. I have had children’s books whirling in my creation for years & over the last year I had created some art that was to help connect parents with their children. I just finished the book within the last few months & the thought of trying to get it out into the world was very overwhelming.

A couple years ago I did the children’s book venture—went to a few workshops, some writer conferences, took classes, turned in a few manuscripts, but my work didn’t go anywhere. Honestly, I could have tried harder, but it wasn’t quite right.

LBCloudBBearSo, with this last book that I just finished a couple months ago, I had a different feeling. I wanted it to soar into the world, to touch families with its interactive activities. I loved the whole concept & was almost dreading trying to figure out how to get it into the publishing world when VOILA!! A beautiful gift, a magic, a mystery, a vision literally was given to me. I had NEVER thought of this type of direction—an interactive display at a children’s museum. I was lit up!! I sat up in my bed and the ideas began to whirl. I grabbed my phone and began to write them in my notes. I was so excited. I loved the idea. I looked up to the heavens and said, Thank you.

The next few days I contacted a few children’s museums across the county and asked everyone where I would begin to get an idea into a museum. I had many wonderful people send me their thoughts– I heard big costs to put exhibits together (literally $500,000-millions), people inviting me to museum conferences, sharing links and ideas from other museums, and the director of one of my local museums suggested going to local libraries and doing a test idea. I was so grateful for the giving hearts and attitudes of people across the country.


LBCloudBPage11I was still not sure where to begin, so I thought I would start at a local library & see if my ideas would fly. I wanted to have interactive stations (about 10) that showcased my art and interactive reading and activities that parents and children could do together. i.e.: an image of giraffes that spots were covered in things to be grateful for. The parents would then sit down with their child & create their own paper giraffe & fill it with spots of personal things they were grateful for.

I had a variety of ideas that I took to the library. I arranged a meeting with a sweet children’s librarian to share my thoughts and ideas. She was so great to work with. She expressed that she loved my ideas and my art so much that she wanted to put it on permanent display. Wow! I was humbled at the thought and grateful that she saw the potential of the concept. I was honored that she wanted my art to be hung for all to enjoy, but I was a little worried that the full idea would not be utilized or explored. I didn’t think she would have the time or patience to do the activities, so I have been a bit hesitant.

After a great first run, I thought, why not!! Why not just send my ideas to the local children’s museum and see what happens. Why NOT!! So, I created a professional look book with all my ideas, thoughts, visions and sent it off with a prayer in my heart & lots of prayers out loud while driving. smile. smile. I don’t know what I was thinking–I sent it the week of Spring Break. I knew a children’s museum over spring break would be busy, so I knew I would need to be patient. I patiently waited.

A couple days ago I received an email from my local museum that was wonderful!! The director and her director of Interactive exhibits had looked at my ideas and they wanted to offer me an opportunity to be mentored by the Director of Interactive Exhibits. He is suppose to be one of the best in the West!! My heart jumped and I was elated!! What an opportunity!

I walked out on my deck, looked at the sky and said, Thank you for opening this door of opportunity. Please help it to be a great door that will help me get these ideas out into the world to help families. Please help me to continually be an instrument in thy hands.

It was very humbling to know—we are not alone. We have ideas, visions, creations, that are sparks, little divine gifts that truly can light up the world. We are given these sparks & if we miss them or dismiss them–they are gone. But, if we believe and see the potential and see the gift, then we will be given greater direction and even more doors of possibility will be opened.

This whole experience has been a true testament to me—to have faith beyond myself. To look for little miracles, to believe in the doors of possibility. To have faith in that!

I hope you can find the faith to believe in something beyond yourself and to know anything is possible.

Peace to you.  -H

A Golden Pause

IMG_1604I recently found this great, brass bell from a Polynesian Island, at a garage sale. I immediately remembered something I had read from Richard Carlson about “A Golden Pause.” I knew I had to have it to remind myself to take moments and pause.

I ring it and listen to the ding and something soothing does happen. It not only makes me smile, but stopping to pause and listen to a ding, a simple ring, makes you take a moment.

Here is Richard Carlson’s take on “A Golden Pause” 

excerpt from EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Kris and I attended a life changing weekend meditation seminar a few years ago in Oakland, California. The highlight of the seminar was a series of short, unannounced breaks the organizers called “Golden Pauses.”

These pauses, which took place approximately every hour and a half or so, lasted five or ten minutes and were wonderfully received by everyone in the room. First, a pleasant little bell would ring, signaling the beginning of the break. All at once, everyone in the room — hundreds of us — became suddenly calm.  We ceased all conversation and dropped everything we were doing.  We were instructed to sit in comfortable positions and to simply relax.  It was a time to be still, quiet and calm–a time just to appreciate about the fact that we were alive.  Our only remaining instructions were to breathe and to focus on the beauty of the breath.

Whenever Kris and I go to a workshop, we try to take something with us that will hopefully stay with us forever. The idea of Golden Pauses has stuck like Velcro! We have found that Golden Pauses have the power to make the most impossible day manageable, giving us the perspective we need to get through it. Many times, I have been angry or irritated at someone on returning home from a long plane trip or just feeling beat up and tired and Kris will smile at me and say that it’s time for a Golden Pause. We “pause” for just a few minutes, but this little break invariably interrupts my negative thinking and readjusts my mental attitude. It’s such a simple, yet powerful way to change the course of a day.

A Golden Pause takes any day you feel tired or irritated day and infuses it with positive energy. For me, it’s a plane trip that can put me in a bad mood, for others I know it’s a long commute, or a hard day at the office. A five-minute Golden Pause (or even a two-minute pause if that’s all the time you have) usually reverses all of that negativity and then some.

But you don’t have to be tired or irritated to benefit. A Golden Pause can even make a day that’s already wonderful even more glorious! Often, Kris and I are having a completely peaceful day already yet one of us will suggest a Golden Pause just to “remember” and appreciate the joy we are feeling. The pause reinforces and deepens feelings we are already having.

I once mentioned the concept of Golden Pauses during a lecture on the East Coast. Several months later, I met a man at another lecture in Las Vegas who had been in the East Coast audience that day. Steve came up to say hello after my speaking engagement in Las Vegas and shared with me the following story.

Steve referred to himself as having been an “over-reactive hot head.” During a particularly stressful period of time in his business, someone took advantage of the lack of business experience on the part of one of Steve’s employees. He said that when this happened, he was about to “lose it.” I asked him what “losing it” was likely to mean for him. Steve explained that it may have meant a physical fight, a lawsuit, or a very least, a huge embarrassing scene in front of lots of people.

But in that moment of great stress, he said, some part of him suddenly remembered the notion of the “Golden Pause.” Why he chose this instant to give it a try, we’ll never know, but he did! Instead of losing it that day, Steve imagined a tiny bell ringing, signaling the beginning of a Golden Pause.

He sat down comfortably and began paying attention to all that he had to be grateful for. His mind became clear of negativity. His body relaxed and he felt calmer. He started to breathe in and out several times and to appreciate the gift of breath. According to Steve, the entire Golden Pause went on for about 5 minutes, at which time he imagined a bell ringing again to signal the end of the break.

When it was over, he said, his body language was entirely different. He was relaxed and calm. The furthest thing from his mind was to fight with or sue someone.

I often practice a Golden Pause several times a day, usually when the day seems to be speeding up too quickly or when life seems to be wired too tightly, but often when things are going just fine, too. Golden Pauses have a way of transforming my relationship to the world. Once the pause is over, I see the world and everyone in it quite differently. It’s like stepping into a temporary place of euphoria where everything is more peaceful. When you step out, much of the benefit stays with you.

A Golden Pause might take only a few minutes of your time — five to ten minutes at absolute tops — but the change in you will be substantial, quantifiable and lasting.

So give the Golden Pause technique a try. It’s easy to implement, very relaxing, and can be done virtually anywhere. They only take a few minutes, yet Golden Pauses alter your entire perspective on life, teaching you the value and wisdom of a calm, quiet mind. Golden Pauses are one of the highlights of my day. I hope they will become so for you as well. In fact, why not begin right now? Ding!

So, when you find a little golden bell–buy it & create a special space to invite “A Golden Pause” moment.

Peace to you. -H

BEAUTIFUL YOU. Tips from Audrey Hepburn

In keeping with this weeks previous post, I am posting a few quotes from one of my favorites…Audrey. She has some great life lessons that are always a beautiful thing. I LOVE Audrey. If you do not know her story–I will post a little of it here, but it has also been made into a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. It is a movie that illustrates Audrey’s real life story and gives you a better sense of where this beautiful, strong woman truly came from. Great story. Great lady.

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A little summary of Audrey’s life— taken from http://www.audry1.org

Biography Introduction

Audrey Hepburn (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was an iconic Academy Award-winning actress, fashion model and humanitarian.Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Brussels, Belgium, she was the only child of John Victor Hepburn-Ruston, an Anglo Irish banker, and Baroness Ella van Heemstra, a Dutch aristocrat descended from French and English kings. Her father later appended the name Hepburn to his surname, and Audrey’s surname became Hepburn-Ruston. She had two half-brothers, Alexander and Ian Quarles van Ufford, by her mother’s first marriage to a Dutch nobleman.

Audrey had the reputation of being a humble, kind and charming person, who lived the philosophy of putting others before herself. She showed this side particularly towards the end of her life in her work for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). New Woman magazine called Audrey the most beautiful woman of all time, in a 2006 poll. She was ranked as the third greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

Life During World War II

Audrey attended private schools in England and the Netherlands. Her mother was very strict and her father left the family when Audrey was young. She later called his abandonment the most traumatic moment of her life (years later she located her father and sent him money and wrote him many letters). After the 1935 divorce of her parents, she was living with her mother at Arnhem, Netherlands when the German invasion and occupation of World War II occurred. At that time she adopted the pseudonym Edda Van Heemstra, modifying her mother’s documents to do so, because an “English-sounding” name was considered dangerous. This was never her legal name and this lead to a lot of confusion regarding Audrey’s name and many biographies incorrectly state her birth name as Edda.

After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, things grew worse under the German occupiers. During the Dutch famine over the winter of 1944, brutality increased and the Nazis confiscated the Dutch people’s limited food and fuel supply for themselves. Without heat in their homes, or food to eat, people in the Netherlands starved and froze to death in the streets, particularly so in Arnhem, which was devastated during allied bombing raids that were part of Operation Market Garden. Suffering from malnutrition, Audrey developed several health problems. She would stay in bed and read to take her mind off the hunger, and she danced ballet for groups of people to collect money for the underground movement. She resorted to digging up and eating tulip bulbs to survive the famine. The impact of these times would shape her life and values.

Rise to Stardom

After the war, Audrey and her mother moved to London, where she studied ballet, worked as a model, and in 1951, began acting in films, mostly in minor or supporting roles as Audrey Hepburn. She got into acting mainly to make money so that her mother would not have to work menial jobs to support them. Her first major performance was in the 1951 film The Secret People, in which she played a ballet dancer. Audrey had trained in ballet since childhood and won critical acclaim for her talent, which she showcased in the film. However, her ballet teachers had deemed her “too tall” to be a professional ballet dancer, since, at 5’7″, she was taller than many of the male dancers. She was chosen to play the lead character in the Broadway play Gigi that opened on 24 November 1951. She won a Theatre World Award for her debut performance, and it had a successful six-month run in New York City.

Audrey was then offered a starring role opposite Gregory Peck in the Hollywood motion picture, Roman Holiday. Peck saw her star quality and insisted she share top billing. For her performance, she won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Actress. Years later, when asked by Barbara Walters what her favorite film was, Audrey answered without hesitation, Roman Holiday, because it was the one that made her a star.

After Roman Holiday she filmed Sabrina with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, with whom she had a brief romance. Many believe Holden considered Audrey to be the love of his life, and she would go on to appear with him again in the comedy Paris, When It Sizzles.

Having become one of Hollywood’s most popular box-office attractions, Audrey co-starred with other major actors such as Fred Astaire in Funny Face, Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper in Love in the Afternoon, George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cary Grant in the critically acclaimed hit Charade, Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, Peter O’Toole in How to Steal a Million, and Sean Connery in Robin and Marian.

Many of these leading men became very close to her. Rex Harrison called Audrey his favorite leading lady; Cary Grant loved to humor her and once said, “all I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn;” and Gregory Peck became a lifelong friend. After her death, Peck went on camera and tearfully recited her favorite poem, “Unending Love.” Some believe Bogart and Audrey did not get along, but this is untrue.

Work for UNICEF

Soon after Audrey’s final film role, she was appointed a special ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Grateful for her own good fortune after being a victim of the Nazi occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the world’s poorest nations.

Audrey-Hepburn-tiffanies1Love you Audrey. Peace to you.

Well, that is a taste of Audrey’s life, but I would suggest reading a biography or watching the movie that gives you a better overall sense. She was a wonderful, loving woman. Bless you Audrey.

Have a beautiful day!! -H

Do you feel BEAUTIFUL or AVERAGE?

3044850-inline-i-1-dove-is-really-reaching-with-this-new-stunt-that-forces-women-to-walk-through-doors-marked-aThe following Dove ad was sent to me by my sister and it holds a great question—Do you feel BEAUTIFUL or AVERAGE? I put myself in this situation and asked myself which door I would choose.

We all have different insecurities, we may have things we feel are inadequate or even undesirable, but I believe in the end we all have things we also find beautiful. I think the world puts too much emphasis on the outer, the shell, the cosmetic…but I took this beautiful vs average question & focused on the things that are beautiful about me, within me, the lessons learned, the growth, the talents, the whole. How can you ever make such harsh, cruel judgements about yourself when you only look at a small piece?? It would be like looking at a painting and making a statement about it, but only being able to see one corner of its beauty, its possibility, its brilliance.

So, with that, I ask you to watch the following ad & put yourself there. Ask yourself what you feel is beautiful about you and then walk through the door. Do you still feel average OR beautiful??

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I LOVE these quotes, but this last quote—what a great exercise for all of us. If you could truly take in and believe YOU ARE EVERY LOVELY WORD—what would the world be like? What would that look like? Here are some lovely words to put into practice and exercise them on yourself. Try it…I AM…Beautiful, Unique, Loved, Special, Cared for, Lovely, Precious, Strong, Empowered, Secure, Thankful, Gracious, Stunning, Present, Gifted, Awesome, Charming, Delightful, Extraordinary, Fabulous, Glorious, Heavenly, Incredible, Joyous, Kind, Magnificent, Outstanding, Remarkable, Superb, Fantastic, Terrific, Valued, Wonderful, Caring, Fun, Amazing.    Feel free to add to this list and make it your own.

Now, ask yourself, Do you feel BEAUTIFUL or AVERAGE?    Have a beautiful day -H

BIG LEARNING: It’s a mental thing.

Just-a-quote-on-the-wall-at-college-always-believe-that-something-wonderful-is-about-to-happen-true-2I am very intrigued by the power of the mind, so I thought we could take some good lessons from a few different places. BIG LEARNING should come from a variety of places—movies, legends, amazing interviews.  I think I may try to incorporate a new idea of BIG LEARNING & hit topics like the mind/body connection, energy, thoughts, feelings, etc. So, if you see BIG LEARNING—take a look, there is bound to be something you can take away. I will make it a good mix.

There is a great scene in The Princess Bride. Do you remember this movie?? There is a great scene in the Fire Swamp where you have Princess Buttercup feeling quite negative and hopeless, but then you have Westley trying to put a good spin on the situation. It is a great example of…

POSITIVE VS NEGATIVE THINKING, ATTITUDE, PERSPECTIVE…

PrincessBride_165Pyxurz

[Buttercup and Westley have just entered the Fire Swamp]

Westley: It’s not that bad. [Buttercup stares at him in disbelief] Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.

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[after Westley rescues Buttercup from the lightning quicksand]

Buttercup: We’ll never succeed. We may as well die here.

Westley: No, no. We have already succeeded. I mean, what are the three terrors of the Fire Swamp? One, the flame spurt–no problem. There’s a popping sound preceding each; we can avoid that. Two, the lightning sand, which you were clever enough to discover what that looks like, so in the future we can avoid that too.

Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?

Westley: Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist. [immediately, an R.O.U.S attacks him]

positive-quotes-0With that great example in mind, here are some great things to put into action and think about. I was listening to a great interview with Pam Grout and I loved her positive outlook, so I wanted to share some of her thoughts…

You can be out looking for problems and train yourself to look for problems or we can get grateful, which then brings more things to be grateful for. It brings more love, joy and peace into your life.

Pam grout wakes up every morning and her motto is…Something Amazingly Awesome is going to happen today!! This attitude and energy help you create new and exciting things for your life. This type of energy wants to create an exciting life. That is why we are here!! To create the good, the holy and the beautiful. We are all creators! 

Pam Grout also has a 2.2 Step Process: Number One, wake up and say SOMETHING AMAZINGLY AWESOME IS GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY.  Number Two, look for blessings and miracles and then text them to someone.

two-wolvesWhenever I think of positive vs negative, it always reminds me of this great Native American Legend, Two Wolves     

An old cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside of you—and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I love that metaphor & it is a good visual to remember when you are having a mental struggle. Just ask yourself, Which Wolf are you feeding?

I hope these thoughts give you something good to think about.

2f42a00e22e1c9ca311f8810c37fb447positive-thinking-quotes-1Good-life-quotes-3albert-einstein-thanksgiving-quoteWell, little bits of BIG LEARNING is always a good thing, so take it, make it yours in your life and enjoy.

-Peace to you. Heather