Unleash Your Joy!

Sometimes your joy can be the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Children seem to have an unlimited reserve of joy and express it as often as possible. They love to be silly and share their joy with others. They smile and laugh and play. They invite you to play and laugh and smile with them. Their joy becomes your joy and your joy becomes their joy. They dance, wiggle and spread their arms out wide. They are unashamed of being silly and allowing their soul to express itself. It is a wonderful thing!

It’s a shame that, for many, this joy gets packed away or stifled along the way. We feel like responsibility and maturity no longer includes happiness or that silliness and imagination have no place in adulthood. We aim for contentment when there is so much more possibility available to all of us. Where did the joy go? The good news is that it never left. It is right here. Where it’s always been…patiently waiting for us. And you can tap into it whenever you like.

Joy

Let’s not take ourselves too seriously…let’s make time and create space for joy. Whether you are dancing in the kitchen, playing sports, building a sandcastle, putting on a magic show, singing in the car or whatever form your joy wants to take. It is yours to express and you’ll be amazed at how good it feels.

Here’s a classic video to help get the joy flowing! Enjoy 🙂

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The Art of Balance

rock balancing

One cannot experience balance without paying attention.

The never ending quest for finding balance in one’s life. That’s really it. This is never ending. It is a quest with no finish line and even though one day you feel in harmony and balanced, the next day may bring surprises that weigh the scales in a completely different way. That is life. No two days are exactly the same. Each day has a unique set of weights, challenges, emotions and joys that need to be taken into account and checked in on regularly.

Therefore, it is true that one cannot experience balance without paying attention. Try just to stand on one foot absently with a plethora of other thoughts and stimulus happening around you. Coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other, trying to have a meaningful conversation with your spouse, get work done, take care of the kids, arrange social gatherings…our perpetual to do list swirling around. Things we must do. Things we want to do. Don’t forget to balance on one foot! It’s not easy right?

Now, the easiest way to balance is to focus on what it is that we are trying to do in this moment. Not what happened yesterday, or what may happen in 5 minutes. Right now. We must be here in the present moment and hone in on our center of gravity to make any major or minor adjustments as necessary to keep our balance. When we are able to achieve it, we will realize it is because we are invested in and dedicated to the here and now, focused on the task at hand. Balance does not work any other way. Over time, it becomes easier, almost subconscious as we discover what is needed.

True, we are not in the practice of literally balancing on one foot, however, the same principles apply to real life. We must check in with our center of gravity periodically, see how it’s doing and make any major or minor adjustments necessary. We must allow ourselves the time and space to do this practice and to figure out what it is that is going on each side of the scale. When one side has a lot of weight to it, the other must be equal in order for the scale to balance. Can we remove something from one side, or do we need to add something to the other side? We must be dedicated and invest in the here and now. We must take the time to check in with ourselves. We must listen and be honest with how we are feeling and forgive ourselves for tripping from time to time.

Without knowing what doesn’t work, we can never figure out what does. There is no perfect science to the art of balance. That’s why they call it an art. Good thing you have an amazing artist inside 🙂

Choose Your Own Adventure

Fork-In-Forest-darker

As a child, I LOVED choose your own adventure books. The ability to be the creator of the story, to have options and choices at various turning points and ultimately to decide how everything is going to turn out was right up my alley! Sure…I cheated a bit. I used to skim through the various options ahead of time and then, satisfied with what was going to happen, I made my choice and headed along in the adventure. These books resonated with me and I have realized that I am still fascinated by choices and the adventures our choices lead us on.

Life is a series of choices and consequences

When making decisions, I find myself back to that place as a little girl reading choose your own adventure books, skimming through possible future outcomes in my mind, and then when satisfied, making a choice and heading off on my journey. If I choose this, this could happen. If I choose that, that could happen. It could be good. It could be not so good. It could be stressful. It could be risky. It could be amazing. It could be heartbreaking. Am I ok with that? Can I accept that? If the answer is yes, then turn to page 52 and have fun! If the answer is no, perhaps this isn’t the choice for you. Let’s explore other options.

The only certainty is the existence of choice and the necessity of acceptance.

Sometimes the book of life turns itself to page 32, or someone else’s choices result in heading to a page you never intended to go. Ugh…page 159. Sometimes we can take action and choose another path or direction. Sometimes though, the only choice we have is the choice of acceptance. Choosing how we feel about it. That might be the most important adventure of all.

Have fun!

Humility.

Humility is defined as the state or quality of not thinking you are better than other people.

Trees

I am forever a student. I am forever learning. I am not a master of life. I make mistakes. I accept myself in the same light that I accept others. I accept others in the same light that I accept myself. Today, I plant the precious seed of humility. I will tend over it, each day, until it grows strong. When it is strong, I will tend over it some more.

Each day, we make assessments or judgements on a variety of things. Many of these assessments are designed to keep us alive. That is a good thing 🙂 We need to be able to determine whether something is dangerous or whether it is safe. We need to be able to make decisions, problem solve and use this rational thought process to weigh our options. Sometimes, this essential thought process can overflow into other areas of our life in a form of unhealthy and unnecessary competition. We start competing against ourselves and as an extension we are competing against each other.

Judgement in our world today is complicated. With over 7 billion people currently living on Earth there is a lot of competition to be noticed or to be unique or special. To be famous, to be good looking, to have a nice car, nice house, nice family, amazing job, etc. For most of us in the developed part of the world, we are no longer making assessments for our basic survival. We are making judgements about our surroundings and others in relation to each other. That is where the problem begins.

When we try to find our place in the world in this way, we are quickly assessing whether:

I am better than YOU – You are better than ME

Mine is better than YOURS – Yours is better than MINE

What would life look like if we dropped the rope and re-trained ourselves to think differently about ourselves and our lives? What if we stopped competing with each other and started appreciating and accepting ourselves…and each other? What if it became ok to be who we are instead of what we have or how we think of ourselves in relation to others?

I am a recovering competitive person! As a child I competed with my sister for the adoration of my parents. As a student, I competed with my classmates and compared grades. As an athlete, I competed to gain higher scores, faster speeds and obtain more medals…preferably GOLD!

I realized that my self-success meter was misdirected and I had been seeking external landmarks to measure my self-worth. There was very little that I did simply for myself and in this way I gave myself credit for nothing. It took a friend to make me realize this was happening and I am forever grateful for the humble pie 🙂

I love this quote from Yoda! And it’s so true…

Yoda

I am forever a student. I am forever learning. I am not a master of life. I make mistakes. I accept myself in the same light that I accept others. I accept others in the same light that I accept myself. Today, I plant the precious seed of humility. I will tend over it, each day, until it grows strong. When it is strong, I will tend over it some more.

 

 

Alpha Waves

Meditation is something I find really useful to my daily life. When I meditate, I feel more alive. I feel clear, relaxed, positive, authentic and more myself. There is a marked difference in my state of being when I do and when I don’t take the time to unwind and ‘Be’. I live a busy life, I work a lot, and I work at home after my working hours more times than I care to admit.

Sometimes it’s just not easy to get to that place in meditation where thoughts, worries and our perpetual to do list dissolve away and we can truly relax. I found myself there last week while trying to de-stress and spend a little one on one time with myself. I got into my comfy position, closed my eyes and tried to let it go. A few minutes in, I was thinking of an email to a colleague I need to write, how best to tackle a new project, what to say in an upcoming meeting, what to do with the rest of my day, that I should call my mom. “Let the thoughts drift in and out,” I said to myself. Gahhh.

Ok…time for plan B. I went onto youtube for one of my trusted 10 minute guided meditations. It was ok…it got the job done, but instead of my voice, it was the voice of someone else telling me to “Relax” and to “Inhale” when I was already exhaling. Truly…I can never get my breathing in sync with whatever pace they are trying to set. I don’t bother trying much anymore, or I find myself worrying so much about breathing that it becomes hard to breathe! How is one supposed to relax when they are worried that they may never be able to breathe right again!?! The act of breathing is normally subconscious and automatic…taking nice, deep, cleansing breaths should suffice. No?

NOTE to SELF: If I ever make a video on meditation, do not include when to breathe in and out…

It was after the 10 minute guided meditation that I noticed a few links to Alpha Wave Music. I clicked on one of the links…Eureka!

What’s an alpha wave you ask? Ok…so I’m going to geek out here for a second!

Brain

The brain is like an electrical circuit board, emitting electrical impulses of various frequencies to various brain cells called neurons. The frequency or wave can be measured and is called a brain wave.

Common types of brain waves and when we use them:

  1. Beta: Wide awake. Consciously alert. Doing stuff. Problem solving. We live most of our waking lives in this state.
  2. Alpha: Associated with a relaxed mental state. Some might call it a state of relaxed wakefulness or mindfulness. A state of presence, being and ‘now’. Sounds nice huh?
  3. Theta: Light sleep or deep relaxation. This is where our ‘stuff’ is kept. Our subconscious. This is the state that we have vivid dreams when sleeping or experience during deep meditation. We are withdrawn from the external world.
  4. Delta: Deep, dreamless sleep. Deeply penetrating waves, like a drum beat.

Note to readers: In satisfying my curiosity, I read about other types of waves too, but I’ve only named 4 here. It gets crazy out there!

Brain function is a hot topic right now and tons of new information is coming out about neuroplasticity, subconscious thoughts, how to train your brain, etc. Essentially, mind over matter. I find myself curious. If the brain and neural system use a language of electrical signals, waves and impulses, then why wouldn’t music, or light be an amazing tool to help us with our brain, body and thought performance?

Anyhow, I’m getting off topic. Alpha waves. Meditation. Right.

I played the music, closed my eyes and was amazed at how quickly I was able to reach and sustain a relaxed state of mind. With the alpha wave music playing, I was easily able to let go, clear away outside thoughts and distractions and get in sync with the music. Afterwards, I felt focused, energized and rejuvenated. It was amazing. I loved it so much, I started play it multiple times a day when I feel myself getting out of balance or stressed or just needing a little extra help quieting my mind.

I’ve inserted one of my new favourites from YellowBrickCinema. They have a ton of great meditation, relaxation and sleep music available on youtube. There are other good links too, but this one is the one I’ve used most often. Enjoy!

Beginnings

Welcome!

I can’t wait to get started! Thank you for being part of this journey.

New beginnings are never easy. Putting oneself outside of the box of comfort and security is a RISK! Change can be scary at times, but no one ever moved forward without tipping their center of gravity forward and putting one foot in front of the other.

Comfort Zone

We all have hopes and dreams. We all have fears and insecurities. Why not choose to live in the realm of hopes and dreams? Life is about living, and living requires action. Right foot, left foot, here we go.

In order to take risk, we must choose to also be vulnerable. That is not always an easy thing. It isn’t easy for me either. To put one’s self out there and say to the world “Here I am! I have something to say!”

Life is about living, and living requires action.

Yes I have fears and insecurities just like everyone else, but to accomplish something great and go after my dreams, I must begin by putting one foot (or one post in this case) in front of the other. Here’s to new beginnings 🙂