Category Archives for "mindfulness"

How to enjoy the holidays

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, but sometimes it can be a challenge to enjoy the holidays. Maybe it’s been a tough year, or there’s a conflict with someone in your family, or you’re working a second job to make ends meet, or whatever. And once it gets going down that road, what to do then?

Choose. Choose to enjoy the holidays.

Yep. Make a conscious choice to enjoy the holidays anyway.

Here’s the thing – our life situation is really only responsible for about 10% of our happiness. The other 90% of happiness is attributed to, you guessed it – choice. How we perceive our life, and choose to view it and respond to it is THE number one factor in us experiencing JOY.

For example…

You’ve seen it – the person with no money and a terrible life circumstance that somehow rises above it all to show kindness to others, or the homeless person who volunteers to help out the “less fortunate.” All you have to do is take a 5 minute tour through FaceBook to see one of those heart-warming stories that makes you cry over the goodness of humanity and the ability to overcome.

Now, I’m not saying this is easy. Not by any means. I’m sure the people in those stories didn’t FEEL like life was full of sunshine and roses as they walked through their days under such hardship. I would imagine that it seemed like an unbearable load most days.

However.

Each of the people in those inspiring videos did the same thing. They CHOSE to see things differently. They CHOSE to rise above the hardship and spread love and light ANYWAY.

Know what the best part is?

Those people in the tear-jerker videos don’t have any special super-power. They are just regular people who decided to enjoy life no matter what.

And you can too!

If choosing to enjoy the holidays as a whole is too daunting, try enjoying today. If there is a particularly challenging event or get-together coming up, decide now to see the joy that IS there. Because there is always something to enjoy and be grateful for. And I can guarantee if you truly change your perspective about that thing you are dreading or hate, the entire scenery of this season will change. The lights will twinkle brighter, the songs will sound sweeter, and YOU will be filled with joy, because you chose to be.

So, tell me – how will you choose to enjoy the holidays this year? Let me know in the comments below!

What to do when. . .Tips for nurturing

I know it’s happened to you. And it happened to me just last week. Let me take you there:

The week has been kinda busy, but not too bad. I am heading out for a yoga training, and truly excited to be going. I gather all my stuff and a good friend arrives to take me to the airport. As we open the door to take my luggage out, my dog Finley, who is typically very well-behaved, decides this is the best possible time to run out the front door! Seriously?!?! She’s off like a shot and we can’t find her anywhere. We walk down the street, we drive around the neighborhood. No dog. And it’s time to go! I can’t spend anymore time looking for her, so I call my husband who’s at work and THANKFULLY someone has already found her and just called him to let him know. Whew. We make it to the airport in time and I get on my flight. I arrive at my connecting airport, have a fantastic dinner and get on flight number two. Once I arrive at my destination, I get my rental car. I can’t locate my phone charger right away, so I opt to use the car GPS instead. This creates the first snafu (that I’m aware of). The darn thing doesn’t work very well and I end up getting lost three times. Ugh. It’s late and I need to get to bed! I (finally) arrive at my hotel. As is my common practice, I get all my materials ready before calling it a night only to realize that I have left MULTIPLE items on one flight or the other! Including my phone charger (brand new, of course) and other items that I could really use this weekend. Sigh. I won’t bore you with the rest of the weekend, but suffice it to say that this first evening on the way to my hotel was only the TIP of the iceberg!

So what did I do? How did I survive the craziness (mostly caused by myself)? It took all my efforts and, honestly, it has taken me a few days to recover. I took out all the stops and went immediately into nurturing mode!

If you have felt this way, and wondered what to do, perhaps some of these ideas will help as you develop a nurturing environment:

  • Snuggle on the couch with a soft blanket.
  • Use a grounding essential oil. I love Balance Blend from doTERRA, but any of the woody or resin-y oils work really well here. White Fir, Frankincense, Sandalwood, etc.
  • Take a bath with Epsom Salts and/or add your essential oil.
  • Eat heavier, soothing, unctuous foods. Think soups, root veggies, etc. Earthy foods!
  • Rest when you can. Even a 10 minute rest can work wonders.
  • Allow more than enough time between appointments. Hurrying will only make things worse!
  • Give yourself the same grace and compassion you would give your child or best friend. Sometimes we are simply too hard on ourselves and our expectations are too high.
  • Stay away from those cravings! Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol – all those things will exacerbate the issue. Show yourself love with real food and nurturing care. Drink plenty of water.
  • Meditate. Maybe a few times a day! If this is new or you have a hard time with it, I highly recommend getting a Meditation App on your phone. There are so many to choose from. A few of my favorites: Headspace, Mindful, Calm, Meditation Studio.
  • Carry a favorite crystal or wear a favorite piece of jewelry. Sentimental things can really help us feel nurturing through yogacalm, connected and relaxed. Grounding stones include: Bloodstone, Hematite, Smoky Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Black Kyanite, Garnet, Tiger’s Eye.
  • Use a mantra or affirmation. The most important aspect of a mantra of affirmation is that you state what you WANT, not what you don’t want! So, instead of, “I am getting over being so tired all the time,” it would be much more effective to say, “I am giving my body the rest it needs and enjoying the energy I have!”
  • Get a massage or have some energy work done. Is there anything more nurturing than this?
  • Go to yoga class! For releasing stress and regaining focus I recommend a Gentle or Restorative Class. There are plenty of other days to do Power Yoga. This time is for ultimate care!

I know this list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully you found at least one tool you can use to help you get over “one of those days!” It has taken concentrated effort, but I am definitely on the mend and I am feeling very nurtured by my steps towards this level of loving care.

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to care for yourself in the middle of a crazy day, week, or time of life? We have all discovered ways to work through difficult times. Let’s share them together!

7 tips to start your day with love!

On Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the OM Wisdom Summit 2016! In that interview I talk about Absolute Lifestyle Revolution and many ways you can find true transformation in your life today! (Watch the replay!)

In the interview I also discuss several ways to start your morning off with love. But before I get ahead of myself – have you ever had a morning like this…

The alarm goes off. Your first thought is not, “Good morning, bright and beautiful world!” but something closer to, “Seriously? I can’t do it. I’m EXHAUSTED.” You roll over and grab your phone and start scrolling through Facebook with bleary eyes. After you get “caught up” on what’s happening, you stumble out of bed and start rushing to get ready. So many things to do and not nearly enough time! Maybe you forgot to get the stuff for the kids’ lunches at the store, or you left your own lunchbox at the office. Argh. Now you’re behind and need to squeeze in a stop at the grocery to grab something quick and easy. Or not. Is it really THAT bad to eat out of the vending machine? Again? In your rush out of the kitchen, you grab your coffee mug and head out the door. You set it in top of the car while you throw your stuff in (like always), and then it tips over and you now have coffee all over the clothes you have to wear for your first meeting or appointment of the day. Sigh. Why does this ALWAYS happen???

Why DOES this always happen? start your day with loveThat’s a great question. It can be hard to chase down the exact cause sometimes, but regardless of what got you here, I have some great tips to start the morning a whole different way. With love. And peace. And calm.

Doesn’t that sounds good? I know I like to mornings that start with intention and peace.

Check out my great tips for starting YOUR morning off with love.

Gettin’ crafty!

I’m not sure what it is, but around the holidays I get all crafty. I think it stems back to my childhood when I gave homemade ornaments to my relatives every year.

Anyway – I have three projects under way this year: Pumpkin Bread (dowload the recipe here), Dryer Balls (which are an awesome replacement for dryer sheets!) and Chakra Bracelets (oh how I love to bead!).

What is it about making gifts that moves me? I think it’s because it’s so grounding. As a culture, we are spacey, and hurried and UN-grounded. We live most of our lives in the top 14 inches of our body. In the Spring and Summer, I love to go for long walks and take my shoes off at every available opportunity for this reason. It helps me re-connect to the earth, to my deeper self. But in the winter, it’s too cold! And the lower temps and drier air contribute to the problem.

What’s the remedy?

It can be lots of things. For me, it’s crafting! Working with my hands and getting into that mind space where there is no electronic input slows me down and helps me get a grip again! It can also be cooking. The methodical chopping, the cooking, the stirring, the baking – all of it – brings us back into our bodies and settles us down. I even calm down THINKING about it! Warm baths are also a great way to settle down and re-connect.

What is it for you?

 


2015 holidaysWith the holidays coming upon rather quickly, complete with the end of semester finals (for my kids) and traveling around to see family and gatherings with friends, things are getting kind of busy around here.

Not to mention that it’s time to do my end-of-the-year reflections and planning for 2016. With that in mind, I’ll be taking some time off from blogging and facebook-ing to glean the most from 2015’s lessons and set 2016 up to be the best it can be!

I’ll be back in the saddle around mid-January. In the meantime, I am wishing you a wonderful holiday season and grand start to the new year.


If you are looking for some thoughtful gifts for someone you know and love, check out these items. I will be finishing up taking orders this weekend and mailing the final batch of goodies on Monday. So, if you want something, let me know right away! Here are the highlights:

2016 Shining Year Workbooks

This workbook has changed my life! Both on the personal level AND the business level! It’s a must-have!

Order yours today!

 

 

Tommy&TinaYogaFunTommy & Tina’s Yoga Fun Series

If you have kiddos or teach yoga to kiddos, I cannot speak highly enough of these books! My friend Lindsey wrote them (I got to edit them!) and they are THE BOMB! Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, and there’s also an accompanying album available to sing along!

Get yours today!

 

 

Travel Chakra Balancing Essential Oils Kitchakra oils

I travel everywhere with these oils. Not only do they help with balancing chakra energies, they all have multiple purposes like helping with upset tummy, lightening mood, opening stuffy noses, cleansing a cut, providing immune support and MORE!

Order it now!

Deeply transformational mundane activities

Come again? What in the world is a “deeply transformational mundane activity????” We read about and long for something to change us. That magical moment when, all of a sudden we are made new.

As a teen and young adult, I had the opportunity to go on regular spiritual retreats. So, I tended to “save” my transformational energy for those glorious weekends and weeks when I could really focus on my inner journey. But as those opportunities faded away, I was left to figure out my own growth and I was unsure how to facilitate it.

As a result, for far too many years, I kept “holding out” for the chance to take a retreat or vacation or go to some super-spiritual conference where I would finally experience that transformation again. Like I could order it up, add a side of glowing wisdom, pay in advance, and pick it up at my convenience.

I hate to be the one to break it to myself….but ummmm….that doesn’t really happen.

Bummer.

While I was trying to “survive” the day-to-day activities until said transformational event, I was missing out on thousands of opportunities in the “mundane” activities of life to facilitate that transformation I so desperately wanted.

Let me illustrate.Warrior 2

As you may know, I am a yoga teacher (and trainer for YogaFit Training Systems). One day I saw one of my students at the gym. She hadn’t been to yoga class in awhile, and it was great to see her. She said, “I’m sorry I haven’t been to class lately. I have been working with weights here at the gym so I can get strong enough to make it through your class.” Hmmm. I was befuddled. Why would she go to the gym to get in shape for yoga class? I asked her what part of class she found challenging. She said it was the crocodile (or chaturanga) poses. Ahh…I see. I replied, “You know, I think it’s great to work out at the gym. There are tons of benefits of being able to move weight outside your own body. However, if you want to get better at Crocodile pose….?” The light went on! “YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE CROCODILE POSE!!!!” She exclaimed.

Yes!

In that moment I was the teacher…and the student.

All of a sudden my own light went on. All that transformation I was waiting for so I could deal with the mundane daily activities of life? Yep. You guessed it. If I want to be transformed in daily life, that transformation is most likely to happen in those same mundane activities.

Now, I will say that going to the retreat or on vacation or to the super-spiritual conference is AWESOME! And I wouldn’t trade those treats for anything. BUT – much of my deepest transformation comes in the middle of the school pick-up line, working through a crazy morning at home, driving down the highway, and even preparing dinner. If life is pushing on me as I prepare dinner, I do my best to pull back and observe and see what I can learn here. And it seems that those lessons have more staying power than the fun retreat or serious conference. Why? Because I became strong enough for that “pose” of life by practicing it, right there in the moment.

Iridescent Dragonflies Facebook pageAnd this is why Iridescent Dragonflies is a thing. Once I fully embraced that my deepest transformations come from my own awareness and intentionality in the day-to-day activities of life, I realized that I am probably not the only one who is interested in finding the glorious, spiritual, transformation in the quiet moments as the day starts, shopping for groceries and checking email. And, if I like daily (or even hourly) reminders to pause and observe and intend to live from a more centered place, I thought I might as well share them in case you like them too. Those reminders happen on our Facebook page. If you haven’t been there, check it out and see if it resonates for you.

So, dragonfly, what mundane activity can you find deep transformation in today? If you’re not quite sure, I’d start with breathing. Yep. Breathing. Pay attention to your own breath for 5 slow breaths. It’s amazing what can happen when we pause for that short time and shift our focus.

Sea urchin hugs! Wait. What?

As you may know, the fam and I recently went on vacation. One morning, we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was very cool! All kinds of amazing ocean creatures were in huge aquarium tanks where we could see them all swimming around.

I must admit, my favorite part was the section where we got to reach into tiny pools of water and actually touch different sea animals. We got to touch jelly fish! Who knew they are dense and spongy? We got to touch anemones, too. They are kinda slimy or coarse – depending on which one you reach out to.

But the ones that really blew my mind were the sea urchins. I had experienced sea urchins last summer when we went diving in St. Croix (read about that here), and those were not happy experiences! My husband accidentally stepped on one and he definitely paid the price! As far as I knew, sea urchins were not to be messed with and certainly not enjoyable to experience.

So…when the seemingly nice lady at the aquarium encouraged me to touch one with my bare hands, I did not immediately do so! No way! Was she kidding??? So I told her my St. Croix story and emphasized the part when Brad had sea urchin spines stuck in his foot. I thought for sure this woman was mistaken! Surely you cannot touch sea urchins – she needed to be warned! She listened in an understanding way, and then simply said, “If someone was trying to step on you, wouldn’t you try to defend yourself too?”

Hmm.

I had to admit, this makes sense.

So….after a long pause, and intense consideration, I asked her how to touch them so they wouldn’t hurt me. She explained that if I reached out to them and touched their spines with two fingers, that they would hug me back!

Seriously?!?!?

Well, that was enough to make me curious. Now I had to know.

I put my hand in the freezing cold water and very cautiously, touched the sea urchin’s spines.

sea urchin

My son, Caleb, getting a Sea Urchin hug!

And, what do you know?

She was right!

That sea urchin (now adorable in my eyes) hugged me!!!

I couldn’t get enough! I had to touch all of them and got sea urchin hugs by the dozens!

So what does this have to do with life in general?

Here’s my takeaway: when we encounter things in life, sometimes we push too hard, and then we get hurt in the process.

However…

When we pause for a moment and learn more about the situation and then proceed mindfully, the same situation that caused us pain, can actually hug us back when we lean into it!

lean into transformationWhat is happening in your life that you can lean into? Perhaps it’s something that you have previously been hurt by. Or something you have been afraid to engage. Or something that seems too unknown.

The next time this happens, try leaning into it and see what happens! Leaning in doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump in, or jump ship – it just means to lean into the possibility.

It’s amazing what happens in our minds when we consider what can happen. Our minds shift from absolute certainties into a brand new world where anything is possible! Think of the transformation that could take place with a shift like this!

Are you ready for life to hug you back?

Flipping the negative

Check out this AMAZING painting by my son’s girlfriend, Lydia. She painted the negative. Then she flipped that negative around to show the positive. It is mind-blowing to me! She is SO talented at showing not just incredible detail in her art, but also capturing the moment. (check her out on Facebook – yes, she does commissioned work!)

You can do this too!

I don’t mean become a phenomenal artist necessarily, but you can learn to take the negative and flip it around to see the positive.

Let’s practice!

Stop for just a moment and listen to what’s happening in your thoughts…what are you thinking about? The chances are high that those thoughts are following some sort of pattern. And the chances are also fair that those thought patterns going on are giving you a hard time about something.

Do you hear anything like this:
“Why did you say that?”
“Why didn’t you say that?”
When are you going to get your life together?”
“What were you thinking?”
“You always make such a mess of things!”

Do you wish you heard this instead:
“That conversation went perfectly!”
“You handled that really well.”
“When you establish your goals and live them out, amazing things happen!”
“All that hard work has really paid off!”
“You did a great job!”

If you are experiencing the first set of thoughts more than the second, THERE IS HOPE! Will it take some work to flip the negative? Absolutely! Will it be worth it?

YES!

Oftentimes when we get stuck in that rut of yucky thought patterns, we can begin the process to turn it around by creating some space!

Give this a try.

Think about your life. Where is the place you would enjoy having less clutter and more space? Is it somewhere in your home? Spend one hour cleaning out a closet, or your desk, or the garage. Is it your schedule? Clear out 1-2 hours to relax and care for yourself with a soak in the tub, or a long walk or some leisure reading. And watch the process begin to flip the negative around to the positive!

I bought a coloring book…

Yesterday, I took myself to the Barnes and Noble bookstore and bought myself a coloring book. Yep. A coloring book. For me. Not my daughter. Not my niece. Not the little girl down the street. Me.

And while I was at it, I bought a lovely set of colored pencils. Grown up ones. All sleek and beautiful. In their own special case. I am a sucker for great packaging. I once bought a lipstick I didn’t even like the color of because it came in a really cool case. For reals.

Anyway…

I bring it all home and wait until (I think) the kids are in bed. I take it out of the bag, find a page I like and start methodically coloring the page. Choosing just the right color, following the lines around the page, and thoroughly enjoying the whole process.

And in walks my son to say good night…one more time. He takes a look at my shiny new coloring book. “Whatcha doin there mom?”
“Oh, just coloring.”
“Coloring?”
“Yes.” (maybe starting to get a little self-conscious at this point…)
“Ok…how long have been doing this?” “Since today. I bought this book today. Um…isn’t it great?”
“Sure mom. Whatever you want. Goodnight.”

Oh well. Perhaps there is something he or I needed to learn in that moment.

Once I got back into it, it reminded me of being a girl and how much I loved to color. I would get in my own little zone and everything that was bothering me would just disappear, at least for awhile. And then I realize that is exactly what’s happening NOW! As I am picking just the right color for the next section and adding in shading, I realize that I am no longer thinking about the woman who literally screamed at me in the school parking lot this morning, I’m not worried about the malfunctioning smoke alarm anymore, I’m not even wondering how I’m going to get all my tasks done tomorrow. All I’m thinking about it this. precise. moment.

Ahh.

The thing I realized is how important it is to take time to do things that allow our minds to be still and think about only what’s happening right now. And for me, today, it’s coloring.

But, it doesn’t have to be a coloring book. If you are attracted to gardening, go get some plants and a new spade. Or maybe your thing is Bonsai trees, or painting, or waxing cars or dancing or cooking or any number of other amazing activities.

Today, what would allow you to create that mind space?

No wifi? No problem.

So I am at my local Starbucks to get some work done. I get this fabulous Caramel Macchiato, sit down, open up my computer, and proceed to try to login to the wifi only to realize that wifi is down for my entire region of the state.

Hmm.
No wifi. I am perplexed.
No wifi? What to do?
I find myself needing to use my critical thinking skills. I just sat down with 20 beautiful ounces of coffee and now cannot answer emails and stuff. What can I do as I sit here and sip this creation of amazingness?
I come up with two choices. First – write this blog post. ; ) Second, I decide that while this isn’t my original plan, it is also NOT the end of the world. I decide I can stay here, enjoy the moment, TALK to people, and notice what’s happening around me.
So…welcome to my unplanned exercise in mindfulness.
I hear the noise of the coffee grinding, the milk steaming for lattes, the beep of the scanner when people pay. I see people in line, some of them are talking to each other, others are staring off into space, some are on their phones. A young couple is hugging. Most of the people here right now have come in twos, which is kind of intriguing to me. It’s the middle of the afternoon. It seems more of them should be at work or something. But here we all are. There are 5 employees behind the counter, and watching their well-orchestrated movements to make a custom beverage every two minutes is fascinating! Such harmony and grace and efficiency!
Now I turn my attention to myself. I notice that the stress I was feeling about my inability to get stuff done is subsiding. My shoulders are relaxing. My breath is settling down. The expression on my face is softening too. I must look more open to conversation now. Three different people start up conversations about everything from the wifi, to shoes to helping next door neighbors! This is something I would have missed entirely if I was head-down completing tasks like crazy! When I take some time to look up from my computer, my eyes are able to release tension, too. It’s nice to get out of “computer head” for awhile!
Wherever you are right now, can you stop for 5 minutes to take a mindfulness break? If you choose to try this exercise, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you noticed. We can learn so much from each other as we share our stories of mindfulness. Perhaps you bring your attention to something that I never even considered before. Maybe I see something that has previously escaped your attention.
No wifi?

No problem.

The meaning of life found in chocolate chip cookies

My daughter came home from school and announced, “I’m making cookies on Thursday afternoon!”

I had a friend over and we were working together. My friend asked her, “Why are you making cookies?”

My daughter says, “Why am I making cookies on Thursday afternoon? I dunno. Because I want to. I don’t need a reason.”

What wisdom.

Why do we wait for some special occasion to do fun things in life? There’s really no reason, right?

friends

During this same fun afternoon, me and my friend were fixing ourselves a beverage and decided to mix orange juice and coconut water. It was SO YUMMY! We were going on and on about how yummy it was and my daughter said, “You guys are so cute! You are getting so excited about orange juice and coconut water.”

But why not?

Why not be excited about whatever is happening RIGHT NOW?

Whether it’s making cookies on Thursday afternoon or working at the office or going on vacation or even having a challenge in a relationship, there is something to celebrate. The fact that we can make cookies, or have a job, or the chance for vacation, or relationships that teach us and stretch us. Every single one of these is a gift of utmost benefit.

What is happening right now in your life that you can choose to see the excitement in?