Posts tagged self-awareness
Living in Alignment

What does it mean to live "in alignment"? Alignment is the feeling we experience when we are living in harmony with our souls! We experience alignment when how we show up in the world is in congruence with the truth of who we are and with our mission on this Earth. 

Alignment means we are using our unique strengths, gifts, talents and intrinsic motivation to create, serve and be. When we are living in alignment, time seems to become irrelevant and we are graced with the people, opportunities, learning experiences and resources to move forward in the flow of life.

How do we know when we are in alignment? Simply put, our bodies let us know. After all, our bodies are more than just a collection of tissues, organs and nerves- they are the energetic vessel for our souls! I remember how it feels to be out of alignment in my life- nearly constant feelings of anxiety, depression, self-consciousness, dread or fear of the future, and using behaviors to "numb-out" the nagging feelings I had inside. Looking back, I have to laugh because I can so clearly see how my own body was sending me signals, saying WAKE UP! and PAY ATTENTION!

Once I began to tune into the flow of life and actually align with my JOY-those interests and curiosities that LIT ME UP from the inside- anxiety transformed into excitement. When I began to experience exciting glimpses of my truth, depression faded away. When I began to actually live in authentic alignment with who I truly am, behaviors and opportunities to numb out fell away and I began craving the feeling of being fully alive and fully ME! Allowing myself to be aligned in the flow of life has led me to massive personal growth, healing of health issues and harmful habits, continual spiritual awakening and most importantly- experiencing the joy of simply existing in this human body.

When we say YES to living in alignment with the truth of our souls, we begin to notice how to small synchronicities in our lives are connecting us to an intentional path. We can even look back and reflect on how all of the seemingly random events of our lives have connected the dots to bring us right to THIS MOMENT- the exact, perfect moment you are meant to be in RIGHT NOW.

Our pain and struggles are our teachers and even give us clues on the pain or problems we are uniquely designed to alleviate or help others overcome. When we discover something we are amazing at or love doing, we can listen to the message that it holds  We begin to see the world in a different light- how everything we experience is not done TO us, but is rather FOR us. We begin to see every experience as a lesson and an opportunity for growth, awakening and self-awareness. We begin to wake up every morning excited to see what life has in store for us and for the all the opportunity available in each moment. We begin to embrace the totality of the human experience as a welcome part of our journey- the dark, the light, the heights, the depths and every feeling and emotion in between, because they are all a part of our grand adventure.

WE WE ARE LIVING IN ALIGNMENT WE ARE CLAIMING OUR ROLE AS A CO-CREATOR OF OUR LIVES RATHER THAN A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE.

This is all available to you NOW. And it all starts with saying "YES" to committing to a life of alignment. The moment you say yes with all of your heart and your soul, you will begin to notice the feelings, experiences, synchronicities and intuition that is your internal guidance system and your connection to the vast, expansive energy of the Universe. You will be connected to the guides, teachers, books, information, resources and people who will propel your forward into your mission. You will begin to feel connected to a reality far greater and more vast than what the eye can see or the mind can comprehend. You will begin to clearly see that you are being guided towards a greater purpose! When things get tough, you will still say "YES". When there are challenges, tests, roadblocks and setbacks- you still say "YES", because being in alignment with the truth of your soul feels like the most noble and worthy cause there ever was.

I have outlined three important tools that have supported me in my own journey of alignment and are consistent practices I use to stay centered, awake, mindful and embodied.

CONNECT TO YOUR STRENGTHS Our strengths- the highest, most powerful qualities we possess and the things we feel exceptionally suited to do- are our guideposts to our soul's alignment. Begin to connect your strengths through asking yourself- "What am I good at?". "What do I love doing?'. "When do I feel most connected to myself and others?". "What activities make time irrelevant for me?". You can even asks friends and loved ones to tell you what they think your strengths are! Begin connecting to your strengths and feel yourself blossom with a new appreciation for how you are able to serve on this Earth. You can also do a free Character Strengths assessment here: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey

MEDITATION Meditation allows us to transcend the distractions and noise of our lives and tune into the deepest parts of ourselves. Meditation is a tool that can be used with many intentions- to increase concentration and focus, to become more mindful, to reduce anxiety, etc. When I meditate my intention is to connect with the deepest parts of my soul. The other benefits of meditation are still certainly the side effects! But I feel motivated to meditate when I know that this practice is a key to my alignment and allows me to get quiet and still enough to receive guidance and to experience the space of being purely a soul without commentary from the "monkey mind". I simply set a timer for 30 minutes, use an eyeshade, set an intention, lay down and allow myself to melt into the surface below me, releasing all tension from my body. Afterwards, I will journal any messages or insights that came up for me.

BREATHWORK I often use a 3-part pranayama exercise before meditating to quickly bypass the mind and connect deeply with the energetic and emotional body. Breathwork helps us access deeper parts of ourselves, clear emotional blocks and stagnant energy, and access non-ordinary states of consciousness such as those utilized in shamanic journeying. Breathwork has transformed my meditation practice from very "mental" to very "embodied" in nature. The breath goes like this- Through the open mouth, take a breath into the belly, then a breath into the chest, then out through the mouth. Five to ten minutes of active breathing in this way is usually sufficient to drop me into a deeper state of consciousness while I relaxing into mediation.

COMING BACK TO THE BODY During times when I feel "out of alignment", I notice that all my energy is up in my mental space, churning with "what ifs" and trying to maintain a firm control over every aspect of my life. When I notice that my mental chatter is clouding out the connection to my truth, my soul-centered self, I begin to breath into each one of my limbs, starting at my feet. I take a deep breath in, sending the breath down into my feet, then my legs, then my hips, etc. working upwards until I've breathed into every corner of my body. Instant embodiment + soul connection!

AUTOMATIC WRITING One of the barriers to starting a journaling practice for many people is self-judgement of their writing, or overthinking what journaling "should look like". I love automatic writing because it bypasses the brain and goes straight into the subconscious. This practice looks like setting a timer (I do 20 minutes) and just allowing whatever wants to come out to be put onto paper. It absolutely does not have to make sense! I find that my deepest, most enlightening moment of self-awareness happen when I allow the mind to relax and make space for my truth to emerge with no filter. 

I support clients to discover their truth and live in alignment with their soul. If you are ready to say "YES" to living in the flow of life, guided by your truth, let's schedule a session.

 

 

Accessing Your Intuition

Yesterday, while walking outside in the gentle post-rainstorm mist, I came upon a tree bearing flowers of majestic, otherworldly beauty. I had noticed this tree before in passing and each time it seemed to beckoning me to come closer. As I walked up to the tree I noticed there was one flower perfectly within my reach. Over the past couple of weeks I have been studying the art of flower essences- medicine made by imprinting the energetic makeup of a flower into water using sunlight- and knew in this moment, this flower was my medicine.

Gently asking the flower for permission and receiving a positive feeling, I gingerly picked the flower (a Royal Ponciana), said a prayer of gratitude and returned home to meditate with the flower and create a positive mind-space with which to prepare the essence. Upon researching this flower, I learned that this flower's medicine is confidence, clarity of purpose, and supporting laser-focused action to move forward. My heart began to dance with joy- this was MY flower! My intuition moved me to this medicine as a nudge forward in bringing to life all of the ideas and concepts floating in my mind and my notebooks lately.

This story is less about the flower and more about the process of intuitive guidance. In the moment it is easy to think that we just have random urges to do things, but looking back we often notice the dots that connect and lead us to a moment of truth, discovery or clarity. Our intuition is a system of inner guidance located in the consciousness of our bodies. For some, it's a "gut feeling" or a twinge of energy in the heart. For others it's a soft whisper, a "hit" in the sacral chakra or an energetic reading from the environment. Think of a time when you walked into a room and felt intuition about what had just transpired- is the energy tense after a heated discussion? Is it joyful with celebration? Is it awkward as though you are not welcome? That bodily sensation is your intuition speaking through energy.

Intuition is not "one size fits all", which is why science has a difficult time wrapping it's evidence-based head around the concept that we each have our own unique, subjective experience of very real energetic signal. Discovering and connecting to our unique sense of intuitive guidance is a thrilling adventure. The more we begin to tune in, the less random life feels. The more we listen, the more guided and supported we feel on the path to our most authentic self. The quieter we get, the easier it is to sense the messages that emanate from within. The more we trust, the easier it is to care for our physical, emotional and spiritual form. Intuition is both our connection to ourselves and to the greater intelligence of life.

Intuition guides many aspects of our lives if we allow it to: Finding our "medicine" (plants, dance, meditation, art, stillness, tea, friendship, nourishing food...anything that feels healing), navigating relationships, finding our meaning and purpose in life, knowing if a loved one needs help or healing, choosing the right foods for our bodies, living a creative life, perceiving the energy of our surroundings, knowing when to exert energy and when to rest, feeling into making decisions of our "next move"...when we learn to access our intuition in daily life we may begin to notice ourselves "feeling into" life as much as or more than thinking about it! 

In a society that praises the power of the mind and generally ignores the wisdom in the body, re-connecting to this source of intelligence is an empowering act. Balancing the mind, body and spirit brings us into our wholeness, allowing us to access the entirety of who we truly are. Below I have outlined a few tips for getting out of the mind and into the body to deepen your access to your own intuitive guidance for more clarity, health and direction in life!

Exercises for accessing intuition

1. CREATE TIME FOR STILLNESS. One of the simplest ways to begin accessing our intuition is by sitting in stillness and allow whatever thoughts, messages and feelings to arise and float past your awareness. I find some of my best creative ideas and inspiration come during or right after my daily meditation. Set a timer for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes- whatever feels accessible to you- and simply be still and breathe. When time is up, take a moment to write down any thoughts, ideas, feelings, urges, images or messages that came through during your time of stillness.

2. WALK WITH NO DESTINATION. This practice is easy and fun and allows your intuition to guide you on an adventure. Go out on a walk with no planned route or destination and allow your intuition guide you. Maybe you intuition says "go left" or "keep walking straight" or "go stand under that tree". After your walk, take a few minutes to journal anything that felt significant, enjoyable or interesting about your adventure and the ways your intuition guided you.

3. START AN INTUITION JOURNAL. Begin a journal to write down moments of intuition and the ways these messages were expressed for you. Where in your body did you feel it?  Was it a voice or a sense of "knowing"? Was it in a dream? While walking? Driving? Meditating? What was your intuition trying to tell you? Did you take action or wait it out? Did you trust the feeling or question it? If you followed the feeling, what was the outcome? Getting to know our unique expression of intuition is a powerful way to feel more guided and supported in our choices and our life path. Approach this with a sense of curiosity rather than judgment!

4. CREATE A HABIT OF TUNING INTO THE BODY. It is common to be so conditioned to stay in the mind- this is exhausting to our energy and cuts us off from some of the most important guidance and messages we have access to in the energy of our bodies. These messages can often come in the form of restlessness, contentment, anxiety, discomfort, pain, and other physical sensations such as hunger, cravings, thirst or fatigue. These messages helped our ancient ancestors know to take care of a need, to change their environment or move to a new one, to pay attention to something or to follow the thread of an instinct. To create a habit of listening to and understanding the messages of the body, set an alarm to go off every hour one day a week and check in with yourself during each alarm. What do you need in that moment? Maybe you are content. Maybe you need a healthy snack or a glass of water. Maybe you need to get up and stretch. Maybe you need to explore an uncomfortable emotion. Maybe you need to take a moment for gratitude! Whatever it is, honor the message and trust that whatever comes up is exactly what was needing to be noticed or seen.

An excellent resource for developing many aspects of intuition through clear information, guided exercises and journaling prompts is the book "The Intuitive Way" by Penney Pierce. Whether intuitive living is a new concept for you or you have been exploring this way for many years, there is wisdom there to be gleaned!

Interested in receiving 1-on-1 support for connecting to your intuition and natural intelligence for health and wellbeing? Head over to my Health Coaching Programs to learn more about how I could support your unique journey of health and wholeness. Schedule a free call with me to experience the power of coaching and find out if one of my programs is the perfect solution for you.

MESSAGES FROM PLANTS: The Sunflower

Plants have been a source of comfort and wisdom for me throughout my life. Always captivated by their beauty, intelligence and humility, I have gleaned many simple yet profound lessons by simply staying open to their messages. I truly believe plants are our allies for healing- in mind, body and spirit!

Yesterday's morning tea and meditation (with the most gorgeous organically grown sunflowers by my side) ended with a channeling of lessons from the noble sunflower. 

The sunflower's existance is literally characterized by a quest to find and drink in the light. Growing above all the rest of the plants, sunflowers have created a life of continually seeking how close they can be towards their source of energy- the Sun. They have even developed a massive surface area for which to absorb and transmute this coveted light.

Sunflowers love light so much they have intelligently designed their entire being in reverence and response to the Sun. During the day they actually follow this light source, always seeking to be connected to and energized by the light. We see divine beauty in the sunflower because yes, they are aesthetically beautiful, but they also hold for us a subtle lesson in following our own Truth, our own source of Light.

The sunflower teaches us about a life of seeking, responding and growing towards our "Light"- anything in life that gives us energy. This Light can be those things you love and feel most drawn to, the habits, attitudes and behaviors that feel life-giving, our sense of connection to divine/spiritual guidance and the guidance we feel from following our intuition.

APPLYING THE SUNFLOWER'S WISDOM

SEEK WHAT GIVES YOU ENERGY IN MIND, BODY, SOUL.

MIND What thoughts, beliefs and intentions fill you with positive energy? And those which drain you of energy- is there a way to change them to be more life-giving? The sunflowers asks us to keep our thoughts about ourselves and other positive so we may stay in the growth-giving powers of the Light.

BODY What foods and health habits give you the most energy? Foods vibrate at different frequencies, some holding more energy than others. Foods fresh from the Earth are filled with the pure energy of the Sun and are life-giving! Processed foods have been altered so drastically that their energy content has been compromised. When you choose foods, do you choose mostly high-energy or low-energy foods? When you choose the habits and activities that make up your day, do you choose those that add to your energy or drain your energy? The sunflower asks us to choose our habits and behaviors based on how they align us with the life-giving qualities of our brightest Light.

SOUL Do you regularly allow yourself to listen to the subtle messages of the heart and soul? The light of the sunflower is the Sun- our own Light is our unique form of inner and divine guidance and our truth. Following our Light means taking heed of what lights us up and responding to what make us feel most alive. When we are aligned with our Source of Light, we feel a sense of trust in our personal quest. We know, deep inside, that our Light will not lead us astray.

REMEMBER THAT LIGHT STILL EXISTS EVEN ON THE CLOUDIEST DAYS.

On overcast days the sunflowers does not shrivel up and become despondent. They keep their heads up high, knowing that behind the clouds the Sun is still shining. The sunflower teaches us to continually seek the Light, even during those times when it may feel difficult or impossible to see and feel it.

The sunflower knows that they have a connection so deep with the Light that they have become a reflection of the Light. This Light runs so deep within them that they can actually brighten a cloudy day with the radiance of their very being!

Channeling the wisdom of the sunflower, we remember that by simply seeking the Light, we become the Light. The yellow of their petals corresponds to the Third Chakra- the solar plexus. This chakra is the source of our Light- our personal power. This chakra asks us to "radiate our power into the world". The more Light we seek and allow to shine onto us, the more we become a powerful Light both for ourselves and for others.

Any time we feel in need of inspiration to connect back to our Light, we can simply call on the energy and wisdom of the sunflower as our guide.

Below is a meditation based on the energy sunflower to open and activate the personal power of our Solar Plexus Chakra.

Simply lie down comfortably, close your eyes, listen with headphones in and relax!

Overcoming Holiday Self-Sabotage
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Oh, the holiday season- full of family, fun, food and festivities! It's a time to be grateful, jolly and joyful. But- let's be real- the holiday season can also be overwhelming.  We may be traveling away from home or all around town to parties and events and feel stress from the organization and planning that can be a part of the festive season. There are gifts to be bought and appearances to be made. We may also be faced with making choices around indulging in rich foods and drinks that make us feel sluggish, bloated or just out of whack. Maintaining balance during the holidays might be the last thing on our minds with everything else that is going on! 

Unfortunately, all these distractions, stressors and demands can be quite ungrounding, pull us into a vortex of mindlessness, and even a lead to "numbing out"- especially with the promise of a "new year, new me" right around the corner. 

When we are working on creating new, healthy habits, the busyness, expectations and social agenda of the holiday season can sometimes throw a wrench in our normal, healthy routines. When we are distracted, stressed, surrounded by our favorite comfort foods and with family (which can often bring up old programming) that may not help us feel aligned to our goals, we can slip into "self-sabotage mode".

Behavior is self-sabotage when it creates problems and gets in the way of long-standing goals. Perhaps we have been making an effort to cut down on sugary foods because it makes us feel sluggish and anxious, but during the holidays, the old programming about the way the holidays have been in the past and "should be" creeps in and leads to choices that no longer feel nourishing. Maybe friends or family even make this more difficult- for example, when we feel pressured into indulging in food, drinks or conversation that doesn't serve the healthiest version of ourselves. 

Interestingly, self-sabotage always has a positive intent. They are behaviors that we turn to in order to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. When we self-sabotage, our brains think they are protecting us from danger or from losing love and safety. Sometimes it feels easier to just eat the second piece of pecan pie than to feel as though by saying "no thanks", we are hurting someone's feelings, will be judged or will be seen as less lovable. Overcoming self-sabotage means facing these fears and coming forth as your most authentic self, firmly rooted in your goals and vision for your health and life.

Regardless of whether you are home or traveling, entertaining at home or going out, here are some tips for overcoming self-sabotage during the holidays (and all year long).

SET AN INTENTION Create an intention for this holiday season that describes how you want this time to be. Do you want this time to be a reminder of the gratitude you have for the blessings in your life? A time for connection and love with family and friends? A time for giving and receiving? A sacred time of mindful choices and self-care? Whatever resonates with you- write it down somewhere you will see it often or just create a ritual of reading and remembering your intention, daily.

MAKE YOUR INTENTION INTO A GAME We always win the game we are playing. Rather than playing the "screw my healthy habits and self-care, it's the holidays" game (or whatever story is your self-sabotaging equivalent) play a game that ties you to your intention. Some examples of fun games to play at your next holiday gathering: 

  • The "Deep Breathing and Mindfulness" Game
  • The "Radical Self-Care" Game
  • The "Meaningful and Genuine Connection to Loved Ones" Game
  • The "How Many Different Vegetables Can I Eat at This Party" Game ;) 
  • The "Give Every Person in the Room Appreciation or a Compliment" Game
  • The "Slow and Mindful Eating" Game

BEING "AT CHOICE" Being "at-choice" is the practice of making deliberate choices around who you are being and how you are being in every moment. Sometimes, we just want a cookie and eggnog- and that is great! But when we do this, rather than feeling guilty and "eating behind our own back", we fully own the choice, honor our desires and savor every delicious moment. Or maybe you love eggnog, but this year you choose to plan ahead and make a plant-based version with almond milk, spices and dates to share with everyone at the party. When we are "at-choice" we are empowered to own our choices and to mindfully participate in our lives.

WAY OF BEING Before each social and family holiday event, decide on your "way of being". This helps us to choose who we are being in each moment and to stay aligned with our long-term goals. Empower yourself to show up in the way that you want to show up! Whether it is as a health-seeking individual, or just someone who strives to bring positive energy to the space, this way of being will help you align your actions with the best version of you.

MENTAL REHEARSAL Before each event, go through a mental rehearsal of how well it is going to go. Imagine your way of being, and what it would look and feel like to honor your intention.

SET BOUNDERIES It is a fact of life- sometimes we have to deal with difficult people or social situations. Remember that is is ok to say "no", and it possible to do so with kindness. Sometimes when we make healthy habits, our families and friends don't understand our goals and may try to offer us (or even force upon us) foods and drinks that don't fit in with your lifestyle. A gentle "no thank you" may be sufficient, but if someone is questioning or taunting your choices, a "I could eat/drink it if I wanted to, but I am choosing not to at this time" creates a stronger statement.

 SAVOR THE MOMENT This is a beautiful time of year, filled with the energy of giving, love, joy and celebration. Remember to savor and fully enjoy each moment. The more we are enjoying ourselves, the more others will follow suit. Be the example of a mindful holiday for others- they will surely appreciate your calmness and presence!