Posts tagged: mindfulness

Snow Day

snow day

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky – unbidden – and seems like a thing of wonder.”  ~ Susan Orlean

Snow Day

Nothing like getting winter all in one week!  As I’m writing this on Sunday morning, a cardinal, blue jay and several winter robins are eagerly pecking at the bird feeder outside my window before the next storm hits.

In summer, we have beach days. In winter, we have snow days. I love a good snow day when you are forced to slow down, snuggle up and take stock of what you have.

These impromptu vacation days for me are filled with things that bring me joy. It could be a slow cooked roast in the oven, watching a movie or reading a book by the fire, even working without interruption. There is no expectation of the day.  There is no plan. I don’t have to be anywhere at any time. Instead I get to create my day.

Take Time Every Week to Slow Down

How can we take the lessons of a snow day to our regular days?

  • Remove expectations – Prepare for your day and then let go. Recapture the joy of the moment.
  • Be honest with time – You can’t do it all, so focus realistically on what you can do. Watch stress melt away.
  • Schedule time off – Take your vacation. Plan your personal days. Put them in the calendar and honor them.
  • Treat yourself – Snuggle in bed and read. Set the coffee to go off in the morning so it is ready for you. Take a walk alone.
  • Slow down – It is not a race…it is a journey
  • Tell someone you love them…every day.

This week try one or two of these.  Or, let me know what you do to carry the feeling of a snow day back into the regular world.


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Sacred Space

sacred-space

My Sacred Space

Most mornings I journal.  What I write about isn’t as important as writing.

This morning I pondered why this daily ritual was so important.  The truth is, my journal is my sacred space.  When everything seems to be moving at the speed of light, I know each morning, there is a friend patiently waiting just to listen to me.

A sacred space is an oasis in your life where you can sit back and reflect without interruption.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a church, temple, or the ocean going there reminds you to slow down and listen to the wisdom of your inner voice.

I often crave time alone to decompress.  Just like you, I have whirlwind days.  After a 12-14 hour day I thankfully flop into my bed falling asleep after barely closing my eyes.  Alone time consists of driving from place to place.

When I don’t journal I feel out of sorts.  I get grumpy and frustrated.  Give me some peppermint tea and my journal in the quiet early morning hours and all becomes right with the world.

This week notice what sacred spaces you have created.  They don’t have to be traditional. Cooking sauce from a family recipe.  Reading a favorite novel.  Watching a fire glow in the fireplace.  It doesn’t matter where your sacred space is.  All that matters is you recognize the wonderful gift it brings into your life.

Less is More

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Summer Lessons

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Waning Summer

My sister and I were talking on the phone the other day lamenting the end of summer.  It seemed to come as such a miracle to us here in New England this year, it is hard to see it pass.

A reader of my Monday Inspirations reminded me throughout the summer that “Vacation is a state of mind.” (Thanks Wayne!) It has been a mantra all summer long.

Now in the twilight of the season, I realize the quote above is also a subtle mantra I have been adopting this summer.

Getting Caught Up In Stuff

Summer allows us to shed what we don’t need.  We live out of beach bags.  We open the windows and simplify our homes.  The garden grows of its own accord.

As I put my fall calendar together, I find myself slipping away from the vacation mindset being replaced by “I’ll get through it.”  I am getting caught up in stuff again and it doesn’t feel as good as summer did.   A familiar stress seeps back into my life.  I feel my shoulders tighten as I add another to do to the ever expanding list.  I sit back and sigh.

I take a deep breath and then another.  I repeat “All I have is all I need and all I need I have in this moment.”  I grab a water and stroll through the garden marveling at all that has been provided for me.  Gratitude replaces the stress.

Summer is Gratitude for What Is

I’ve learned the vacation mindset isn’t just about getting away.  It is about letting go of the stressful stuff and giving thanks for all that is in your life.  It is looking beyond your four walls and seeing there is a beautiful world out there full of wonder, surprises and yes, everything you need.

If you feel your summer being cut short, take a moment and get back into the vacation mindset.  You have everything you need to be happy.  Take a moment and look around.

Meditation Anywhere

Meditation is refreshment,If we bump into each other at the gym, fair warning, I might be on the treadmill with my eyes closed so don’t laugh.

I know I am on the treadmill to get my heart pumping, I’ve found a different goal…meditation.

It sounds crazy, right?  Why would you meditate at the gym?

Let’s be honest, being on a treadmill isn’t the most stimulating mental activity so I began listening to audio books.  One stressful day, I decided to meditate, and my world shifted.

Treadmill time is my daily mini vacation.

Taking small breaks, helps you stay focused. They make you feel re-energized.  This week, try to take 15 minutes during the day and do something just for you.  Read a chapter in an inspiring book.  Have a quiet cup of tea somewhere beautiful.  Take a walk in nature.

Whatever you choose for your meditation vacation, do so with love.  Let go of the day for those few minutes.  You’ll come back a different person.

The Best Solutions Come From Love

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“The best solutions will be found through loving thoughts and perhaps a good cup of coffee.” ~ Jen Vondenbrink

What I’ve found to be true is the best, most creative solutions have come when I’ve given up the “have to” thoughts and instead focused on loving thoughts.  When the solution presents itself, I find myself saying, “Of course, that is the right way to go.”

Loving thoughts are those that have no agenda but the good for all concerned.  In the business world, this may be called a “win-win” solution.  No one loses.  Everyone gains.

When you engage in thoughts that are not loving when trying to find a solutions, you will arrive at a very long to do list that feels overwhelming.  Literally your heart will not be in it.  As you proceed, you begin to dread each action.  Soon what seemed like the perfect solution, ends up being pushed to the side, ignored or faced with obstacle after obstacle.

I’ve seen this in my own personal life with my financial goals, weight loss or even relationships.  The more I solely focus with my head, the more off track I become.

I’ve also seen this in corporate and business goals.  At the beginning of the fiscal year, anything seems possible.  Budgets are refreshed.  Outlooks are positive. Goals are set with heads.  By this time of year, panic sets in because you haven’t looked at those goals in months.  When you do, you realize you are off the mark.  Then you spend the rest of the year trying to make up the difference.

I fall into this trap.  Every year I dedicate a notebook to the following year’s goals.  I engage my brain in what logically makes sense.  I write plans.  I write calendars.  When I look at this year’s notebook, sure I’ve accomplished some of those objectives, but the women’s retreat I’m planning for October wasn’t even on my radar.  That solution came strictly from my heart and it has been a joy to work on.

If you have a problem you are struggling to solve, grab a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite beverage.  Find a quiet spot and engage your heart in a solutions discussion.  If doing this is new, you will need to pay attention to the small whispers.  They won’t seem like much, but capture them for they are the seeds of something great.

Back to Reality?

lao tzu quotes reality

Back To Reality

I’ve been thinking…all last week I kept saying I was getting back to reality after the holidays, but what does that really mean?

Our work, our families, our obligations, our fun are all part of our reality.  So why after vacation does it feel like you are leaving a dream world and going back to something else?

I found the quote above when I was reading this weekend.  I loved it because it took away the bummed out feeling I was having after the holidays.

Reality is this moment.  Like it or not.

You can choose to have a reality you want to get away from or one you enjoy like a vacation.  Believe me, I’m not totally there yet, but I’m going to work on this.  What about you?

Choosing A Giving Nature

Jen Vondenbrink Quotes - Giving Nature

Underground Thoughts

Louise-Hay-Quotes-we-create-the-situation

 

I had a little chat with myself this morning.

Although I consciously try to monitor my thoughts, the more closely I listened the more I heard my ego speaking silently, but forcefully in the opposite direction.  I grabbed my journal to capture the thoughts.  After re-reading them, I realized how much of my experience these scribbled words created, especially with my father.

Then as part of my daily inspirational reading, I came across this quote from Louise Hay.

Since my father moved in, my personal experience has gone from peace to daily frustration.  I blame him for everything; my mess, his mess, my finances, his finances, my life, his life.  There are days I explode over a trivial incident because my frustration bubbles over. That’s not how I want to live my life.

The words in my journal and Louise’s quote made me realize there’s a lot more going on in my head. Those deeply held thoughts over ride my conscious affirmations.  They counter what I’m trying to achieve.

Today I’ve come up with a new affirmation.

I control my experience.  I am willing to change my old thoughts about my father.  I choose to think differently and create a loving experience for myself.

 

 

 

Are You Creative?

Life Simplified: Do You Have An Imagination?

photo credit: Sand Creation via photo pin cc

 

Diagnosis: No Creativity

When I was 12 years old, I thought I wasn’t creative. Although my mother told me everyone was creative, I figured she was just being nice.

My grandmother painted, created needlework patterns, drew,  and much more.  My mother sketched.  My younger sister made up cartoon people.  My creativity went as far as a stick figure.

I channeled my creativity toward math and science.  I spent hours copying whole sections of dinosaur books into a notebook or doing math problems while my sister drew.

My Imagination Run Wild

Fast forward 25 years or so.  I’m sitting in my coach’s office.  It’s my first visit so we’re getting to know each other.  She asks me what I like to do.  For the next 20 minutes (or more) I rattle off hundreds of things I love to do.  When she gave up taking notes, she said, “You are certainly creative.”

What happened in those 25ish years?  I discovered being creative didn’t need to look like what my mother, sister or grandmother were doing.  I learned what I loved and my creativity took root there.

What Do You Love?

Sadly, when I ask clients what they like, they stare at me for a few minutes and then say, “I don’t really know.  I’m so busy all the time I haven’t thought about it for a while.”

I’m giving you permission today to think about it.

Write down all the things you love.  Be gentle with yourself.  Start small.  Do you love your first cup of coffee in the morning?  Write it down.  Do you love taking a walk after work?  Write it down.  Do you love cooking a new recipe?  Write it down.

Don’t judge.  Just write.

Grab your coffee and start right now.  Jot down at least one thing you love  in the comments.  It will loosen you up.  Ready.  Go.

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