time

Schedule a sacred date with yourself ~ You deserve time for your life.

I did just that…. schedule some time for myself this past week.

A friend and I attended a 2 day yoga nidra retreat at the Christine Center in Willard WI on the 27th and 28th. Not that the trip needs any justification… I turned 60 on the 26th.

Curious about the center and yoga nidra, it was an opportunity too good to pass up. If you have never been to the Christine Center I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful retreat setting in northern Wisconsin and they offer many retreats and programs for spiritual development.

I find it interesting that this is the card I drew for this week. I am viewing it as confirmation (as if I needed it) that gifting myself a mini-retreat was a good thing.

My body agrees.

What is yoga nidra?

Often called “yogic sleep,” it is deep relaxation in a conscious state. It is healing.

Yoga nidra brings the physical mind, the brain and the entire nervous system into their deepest state of relaxation without any effort. It is an effortless method of deep meditation.

Stopping, calming and resting are preconditions for healing.  Thich Nhat Hahn

Below is a video by Dr. Richard Miller, founder of the Integrative Restoration Institute.  He calls his program iRest and it is his ministry.

There are many videos available on YouTube to experience yoga nidra within your own home. I invite you to give yourself the gift of TIME this week – 30 to 40 minutes to experience the deep relaxation benefits of yoga nidra.  I’d love to hear about your experience.

courage

Take the leap ~ Your courage will see you through.

COURAGE.

serenity-prayerI am going to go off program this week to visit the past. Five years ago (August 2010) I wrote a series of posts on the Serenity Prayer. I was inspired to do so by Dr. Emmett Miller who created a delightful guided imagery for healing based on the Serenity Prayer. The posts are located on the Creating Heart Connections blog which I am no longer using.

The Serenity Prayer is posted on my bedroom wall and it resonates deeply for me, especially the COURAGE part.

I have included links to all four posts.  The first one introduces Dr. Miller and some of the beautiful imagery he offers.  The second post is about acceptance and “new age” guilt. Living well with chronic illness (or aging) takes COURAGE and finally…wisdom.

Here are the links.

The Serenity Prayer ~ Meet Dr. Miller

The Serenity Prayer ~ Acceptance

The Serenity Prayer ~ Courage

The Serenity Prayer ~ Wisdom

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Maya Angelou

 

blessings

Count your blessings ~ A grateful heart attracts more joy, love, and prosperity.

Emotional Guidance ScaleThere are many benefits to the practice of gratitude. This week’s card is inviting us to count our BLESSINGS and/or BLESS our mess.

… And it is true, a grateful heart does attract more joy, love, and even prosperity.

“To be grateful is to notice the good amidst the bad, the color against the backdrop of gray, the lovely even as it’s surrounded by the ugly. It’s to count your BLESSINGS and recognize how beautiful life is even when life isn’t going as planned.” (Marc & Angel Chernoff, 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently).  The Chernoff’s believe that gratitude must permeate the soul to bring happiness to our being. Challenges become opportunities.

“When we are grateful, our problems don’t disappear, they simply occupy less space in our hearts, minds, and lives.”  – Marc and Angel Chernoff

I often use gratitude to shift my moods on the days that I find myself wallowing in self-pity or when I am trying to make sense of what is happening around me. Turns out that research supports the practice of gratitude for mood-shifting (Is that even a word?). Click here to learn more.

If you need more information to convince you that bringing an attitude of gratitude to your life consider this: Gratitude and joy have a similar energetic vibration.  See the chart to the right from Abraham-Hicks. Notice what happens around number 7/8. How many times have you experienced disappointment, discouragement or shame?  Or anger and revenge? Our bodies certainly can’t heal at those frequencies.

Download a printable Emotional Guidance Scale.

One more thing before you go…. Here is a lovely 11 minute video about gratitude and living a life of joy. Enjoy!

Many BLESSINGS!

Related Posts: 2015 ~ a year of self-care

gelatin

gummiesWhen I was young I observed my mother drinking gelatin mixed in water. She said it was to grow strong nails. I don’t know why she just didn’t just eat jello….

I have forgotten all about that until recently when I began drinking bone broth to heal my leaky gut. My fingernails are less brittle these days and my eyelashes, which had all but disappeared last year, have returned. My knees are loving it and I am assuming that my gut is enjoying its benefits as well.

A few months ago I started making gummies.  So easy to make and nutritious, too.

Before I share a few recipes and resources, I will briefly describe the benefits of adding gelatin to your diet. (We’re not talking about JELLO. I use this brand from grass-fed beef).

According to Katja at Savory Lotus, gelatin:

  1. is loaded with protein,
  2. improves digestion,
  3. helps heal food allergies and intolerances,
  4. is good for bone and joint health,
  5. helps your body release toxins,
  6. gives you better hair, nails, and teeth,
  7. improves the elasticity of your skin,
  8. helps speed up wound healing,
  9. can improve your quality of sleep, and
  10. can help with weight loss.

After almost a year of daily use I am experiencing first hand the benefits of gelatin.

I alternate between drinking bone broth and eating gummies. Follow this link to my favorite gummy recipe. It works great in a 8×8 pan or these cute little silicone molds.

Homemade bone broth is also a great source of gelatin, and especially healthy if you use bones from grass-fed animals (beef, pork, lamb, poultry). I buy my bones at the Conscious Carnivore and use them 3 to 4 times before tossing them. Each batch nets about 4 to 5 quarts of broth which I freeze in quart jars. I drink the broth and use it in cooking.

My favorite recipe for making bone broth.

Turns our mom was right…. gelatin does a body good.

 

retreat

Take a mini-retreat ~ Listen to the voice in your soul.

I am one who knows the answers lie within my heart.
I am one who knows the answers lie within my heart.

I am all in with this week’s card. Indeed, I have lots of ideas to share with you about creating a mini-RETREAT.

But first, to create a successful and meaningful mini-RETREAT you must begin with the commitment to do so.

You don’t have to travel to some exotic location or spa (though they are heavenly). You also don’t need to a whole day.  Some of the best mini-RETREATS I have had have been only a few hours in my home.

My go-to resources for creating a mini-RETREAT are:

The Woman’s Retreat Book; A Guide to Restoring, Rediscovering, and Reawakening Your True Self – In a Moment, an Hour, or a Weekend by Jennifer Louden.

A Retreat of My Own; Personal Healing Guide by Karen Ely

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (just reading this poem opens my heart and invites me to go within).

Karen Ely offers the following outline for a 4 hour  RETREAT. (Unplugged, uninterrupted, and uncensored time).

Begin with an opening ritual to create sacred space. You can light a candle, create an altar, or brew a pot of tea.

Meditate for 5 to 10 minutes to quiet and center yourself. Add some music to open the heart.

Reflection/journal exercises (she offers 4 different options).  I am going to share the gratitude sample.

  1. Make a list of 10 events/people/situations that have helped make you the woman you are today.
  2. Did any of these surprise you? Were you able to see the gifts in each of them? Why were some more difficult than others?
  3. I am most grateful for…. Make a list of 20 things you are most grateful for today.
  4. Did some of these surprise you? Was the list difficult to complete?
  5. Start a gratitude journal.

Take a 30 minute walk or move in any way that feels good. Dance. Do yoga or qigong. Notice the sights and sounds around you.

Meditate to re-center yourself.

Listen to music.

Celebrate the beautiful woman you are…. “Plan something special that speaks to you. I’d suggest that you create a collage [or SoulCollage® card]. Leaf through magazines and cut out images, phrases, and words that touch your heart, ones that show the many facets of you.”   Personally, I would make a SoulCollage® card.  You can learn more about that here.

The closing ritual can be an inspirational reading, writing a letter to yourself or simply blowing out the candle.

I hope that you will make time this week for a mini-RETREAT…. or at least schedule one in the near future.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you like the company you keep in the empty moments.  – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Related Posts: 2015 ~ a year of self-care

About the image: The name of this SoulCollage® card is “heart wisdom.”  I made it when I was on a mini-RETREAT with two friends. It represents, for me, the power of RETREAT…. of taking time for quiet reflection so the heart/soul can speak.

wisdom

Let go of the need to control ~ Trust in the wisdom of a Divine plan.

knowing yourself is the beginning of allMy life would be so much easier if I heeded this advice. I have huge control issues and they get me in trouble… a lot.

I didn’t intend to make this post a confession but it sure is turning into one. I’ll shift gears in a minute but first a few examples of my biggest control challenges – my children’s weddings.

My two youngest children got engaged a week apart a year ago last Christmas (2014). My son was married in October and my daughter’s wedding is coming up in August. Now you need to know that they are both in their 30’s so they aren’t necessarily looking for guidance from me even though I have tried to give it. My son, in desperation, asked me to stop offering suggestions, as they were overwhelmed with all the ideas being freely given.  Guilty.

My daughter, however, has difficulty making decisions and even though she doesn’t seek my opinion often, I need to step back when she does. Her wedding is in 65 days and she has much undone but appears unconcerned. Things will get done when they need to be done.  Her approach is totally challenging my need to control. I have to trust her and her process. My working on letting go of the need to control and awareness are allowing us both to grow…..

Now back to our card…. WISDOM.

I am not sure I would have named this card WISDOM based on guidance it offers.  For me, the word control grabbed my attention (stating the obvious). Equally important is trust and the concept of a Divine plan. Each part is and has been its own self-care card.

I relate WISDOM to intuition… a deep inner knowing. I also have a sense of the sacredness of WISDOM.  I love the writings of Joyce Rupp author of The Star in My Heart; Experiencing Sophia, Inner Wisdom. (Sophia is the Greek word for WISDOM).  She writes:

… I believe that Sophia is most always heard if I allow my knowledge, insights, and events to gestate in my heart. This means I must have some solitude for reflection. Taking time for this has been an ongoing struggle and tension in my life. I know intellectually that I must have time, space, and quiet in order to have this gestation occur. I yearn for this time, but my life gets so full, so busy, that I never seem to “have enough” of the time for solitude and quiet that I long for and need. ….. Sophia can give light and perspective on the things that stir and struggle in the heart.”

The quiet spaces in my life are necessary if there is to be a movement form the head to the heart, for it is in the heart that wisdoms are born. I can know and experience many things, but they remain only knowledge until I allow them to sink into the depths of my heart, there to toss and turn, to weep and to wail, to leap and to dance. Sophia helps me to take facts, data, events, experiences, down into my spiritual womb. There they sit in me, gestate, and are transformed into truths which are eventually  brought into the light of my consciousness. These discovered truths give my life a right ordering, where the best of who I am can come to be realized.

There is nothing more to add. She has beautifully captured the essence of WISDOM, in my opinion.  So I will stop here.

What does this card, WISDOM, mean for you this week?

Related post: 2015 ~ a year of self-care

passion

Resurrect a childhood dream ~ Let your passion take flight.

PASSION, as used here, is defined as a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. I don’t recall any one thing from my childhood that I was or still am PASSIONATE about.  I have always struggled with the answering the career coaching question: “What did you like to do as a child?” 

Until a few years ago I thought that there was something deeply wrong with me because I would be curious about something new and learn all I could about it. I finally found my PASSION only to become bored with it after a few months or a year or two.  So fickle am I.

I met Susan Reid when I was working on Seasons of Change Coaching Certification. Susan is a small business coach who writes about multiple streams of PASSION.  Her words resonated deeply.  I no longer feel like an oddball.  I have good company with the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci and Hildegard of Bingen though my aspirations are less lofty.

As a person with multiple streams of PASSION, I have discovered and developed many skills. Now that I am no longer in the workforce, I am grateful for the variety of interests (PASSIONS) that keep me engaged and empowered.

Even if it may no be possible to resurrect a childhood dream, it is balm for the soul to take part in activities that you love or are able to offer in service to another.  It is healing for the mind and spirit to pursue and embrace, with PASSION, the our current life as it unfolds.

I did not choose my health issues but I am PASSIONATE about learning to live well with them…. to create, to learn, to serve, to heal.  To truly live “what is.”

Maybe that’s all there really is.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on PASSION.

What does living a life with passion mean to you?  Are you living it?

Related post: 2015 ~ a year of self-care

peace

Embrace your confusion ~ Let there be peace in not knowing all the answers.

Find your peace and everything will fall into place.What does it mean to sit in the unknowing?  To trust that with patience the next step will become known?

I wonder what my life would be like if I waited instead of took action or “control” of the situation?

My tendency is to act quickly and confidently when confused or uncertain. Most of the time it works out, I think…. or does it? Really?

I go into “control” mode when I feel anxious. In “control” mode I am NOT at PEACE. I am seeking PEACE through a false sense of control and I become attached to how I think things should be.

When I look deeper…. it is fear.

Fear of not knowing the answer… of failure… of being discovered… of not being good enough… of not making the right choice…..

You get the idea?

Instead, this week’s card is suggesting that there is PEACE in not knowing… in loosening the “control” reigns and allowing life to unfold.

When I imagine it I feel a deep sense of relief and PEACE.

Oh… I want more of that. How about you?

So this week I am going to throw out a challenge. The next time we (you and I) experience confusion or uncertainty about which way to go or what to do next – let’s just sit with it.

That means NO taking action or playing out scenarios in your mind.

Pause.

Take a breath…. or two. (Or take as many as you need).

Make PEACE with the uncertainty.

I invite you to share what happens next.

PEACE.

Related Posts:  2015 ~ a year of self-care