RHYTHM AND FLOW HEALS THE SOUL BY MOLLY BROUGHER
My love affair for music started with a humbling beginning. I was 21 years old, and far from living in the light. Broken by low self-esteem, battling my way through addiction. I would spend my nights in a dark place; both physically and mentally. I had yet to discover the tools I already possessed for healing, but I had an IPA, and would spend hours pouring through YouTube. I had recently stumbled across progressive house/electronic music, and would spend my time getting wrapped up in endless playlists. My favorites, (then and now), were long hour-plus mixes, with soothing female vocals and uplifting, progressive beats in the background. To this day, 5 and a half years later, I swear when I play these mixes I get transported to a whole new place, and a bright new realm opens up in my mind, full of hope and courage. My anxieties drop, fears dissipate, almost like a child being sung a loving lullaby. For myself, it is truly soul music, my “happy place”. I go back to that childlike state, where pure bliss feels like it’s literally bubbling out of my heart.
What I'm Carrying With Me Into This New Year by Maria Shriver
Happy New Year!
These are the first days of 2017, a whole new year. Amazing, isn’t it?
We have a chance to make this New Year our best year yet — personally, professionally, and politically.
On December 31, I wrote down all of the things I want to bury, burn or just stop bitching about moving forward. I also made a list of all of the positive things in my life that I want to carry with me into 2017.Read more
Exhaustion, stress and overwhelm—I rarely talk with a woman who isn’t experiencing at least one of these emotion-draining states. We over-schedule our calendars, we forget to eat, we don’t dedicate time to spiritual growth, and we make excuses about why we don’t exercise. We know what we should be doing, but life gets in the way and we put our own self-care at the bottom of our to-do lists instead of the top. Sound familiar?
I recently began a series of four articles based on the Top 10 Everyday Stressors of Women, shared in one of my morning devotionals. self-sabatoge and lack of good time management are two major areas of our lives that cause anxiety, feelings of failure and chaos in our lives.
The third key area is our lack of commitment to ourselves. Instead of nourishing our own mind and spirit on a regular basis, we feel guilty for spending time renewing and refreshing our souls. Instead of taking good care of our health, we try hit-or-miss diets that only lead to weight gain after they end, and say we are too busy for a regular exercise routine.
Self care should be one of our highest priorities, as we have been entrusted with God’s beautiful creation. As the scriptures say, we are His temple, bought with a priceless sacrifice, and we should love ourselves as He loves us. But women are the worst about making themselves a top priority.
Better self care should be non-negotiable! Here are a few ways to “fill your own cup first” instead of allowing it to become drained.
Fuel your body.
- Know your body! Trust your intuition when things just "don't seem right." Don't put off regular wellness exams to catch any problems early. Ask your doctor or holistic practitioner to do a comprehensive blood panel, and take those results to another physician for a second opinion. You may be surprised at their different recommendations! Test for hormone imbalance. Here’s an article about my experience with estrogen dominance.
- Eat whole, nourishing foods. I have cut out sugar, gluten, nutrient-poor starches and caffeine, and I feel so much better! For some great recipes and articles, check out The Holisticates and The Gluten Free Homestead. Keep a food journal to determine where you are eating those “empty calories,” and where you need to re-balance your diet. Check out this article from Redbook.com for the best apps to make food journaling easy. Many also track your nutrient intake.
- Get plenty of rest. Gone are the days when we could stay up all night and function during the day. Adequate rest is absolutely critical for your productivity, memory, and emotional health. It affects your blood pressure, heart and ability to fend off illness. The Creator fully intended for us to rest. Even He took one day off after six days of work! And Jesus spent plenty of time in prayer and solitude to keep Him fueled and focused.
- Exercise. Ugh, I know, I know. It’s hard to develop the discipline for a regular workout. But just 20 minutes of activity every day dramatically reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia. It keeps your muscles young, and it actually regenerates twice as many brain cells during your lifetime, which translates to better memory. A daily walk cuts your risk of premature death by almost a third, while keeping your weight in check. If you don’t do it for you, do it for the ones you love. Find an exercise buddy and set up a Fit Bit challenge for more fun!
Fuel your mind.
- Exercise your brain to keep it healthy. One term for this is “neurobics,” engaging different parts of the brain to do familiar tasks. Try writing with your non-dominant hand, switching the hand you use for your computer mouse, doing crossword puzzles, painting and reading. Write the question “If I were an animal, what would I be?” Record the answer with your non-dominant hand. Then ask a series of “Why?” and explore the creative answers written with your non-dominant hand.
- Unplug from electronics. We have become so addicted to our technology that now there is an official term for it! NOMOPHOBIA is the fear of being without your phone! The distractions of smart phones, tablets, and social media are having profound effects in the workplace and in our personal relationships. Plus, they keep us from thinking clearly. Put away the phone, enjoy some silence and be present with those you are with.
Fuel your spirit.
- Start your morning with an”unhurried” time for prayer and meditation. For many of my clients, that seems like an impossible task at first! But just try five minutes in the beginning, setting a timer if necessary. I promise it will become one of your favorite parts of your day! A quick devotional such as First 5 will inspire you, and setting your intention for the day will keep you focused. You might even try the 6-Minute Miracle Morning “guaranteed to transform your life before 8AM!”
- Practice gratitude, which is vital to having a nourished spirit. Keep a gratitude journal or a joy jar, and add something new every day. Take a gratitude walk, breathe in your surroundings, and note the goodness all around. When you are feeling down, reflect on the things you have recorded to boost your spirits. Remember to be grateful for YOU!
Think of it this way…if you saw your friend withering away from stress and lack of self care, wouldn’t you try to get her to slow down and take better care of herself? Treat yourself like you would your best friend! Loving yourself through radical self care honors God as you nurture one of His greatest miracles.
You are in charge of you. People won’t force you to slow down, say no and practice better self-care. They have been trained by you that you are on a mission to manage the universe! But if you don’t hit the pause button occasionally, you’ll end up exhausted, sick and perhaps even depressed. In the grand scheme of life, it is really important to push yourself that hard?
When you are 90 years old and look back on your life, what will you be most proud of? Will you have any regrets? Few people wish they had worked longer hours to achieve more. Most wish they had taken more time to deepen relationships, explore new things and love life.
If you are overworked, over-stressed and unfulfilled, I'd love to be your guide and accountability partner to get you back on track! I offer a holistic approach to coaching, helping you successfully integrate your faith, family and career to create a flourishing life. Click here to request a complimentary 30-minute Clarity Session if you'd like to explore your opportunities!
Christian Life Purpose Coach for Professional Women ~ Mentor ~ Speaker & Trainer ~ Author
In my last post, “Are you leading your life or is your life leading you?”,http://darlenetempleton.com/blog/are-you-leading-your-life-or-is-your-life-leading-you I share with you the five strategies that will help you begin to lead in your life, instead of your life leading you. There are several of those strategies that are really difficult for me too, but the one that is the most difficult is #5…learning to say NO!
Choose carefully – I never learned how to say “NO, ” and that became a huge problem for me. I finally learned that when you say “yes” to something, you are automatically saying “NO ” to something else in your life. Remember that, consciously or unconsciously, you are already making these choices, and therefore you want to weigh those significant decisions carefully, as they might have a lasting impact on your life.
I want to share with you some things that are working for me, as this has been such a difficult one for me to learn and put into practice. When I do say “NO”, I feel guilty, and that I must give them a complete explanation of why I had to say NO. This used to make me feel better, and then I was justifying why I did not say yes. Then I would continue the “replay” in my head of “maybe I should have said yes and what would have been happened, etc. “. Does anyone else very do that?
The one thing that has helped me the most is that “NO is a complete sentence”. Choosing what you say yes to and what you say NO to is critical to getting and maintaining the balance in your life. It does get easier when you learn that you can say NO without all the drama that used to accompany the decisions. No explanation, no feeling guilty and guess what, IT WORKS!!
- NO is a complete sentence. Nothing else is required,no apology, no story or no explanation. However, I don’t do that anymore. I will say, “You know that just doesn’t work for me at this time. Thank you for the opportunity, but I can’t do it right now”.
I am very active in many organizations and this year, I was asked to be a vice president of one organization and I was nominated for the president –elect of the other big organization that I belong. WOW, I felt SOOOOOOOOOOO honored, and very special. However, I know myself and I give 150% to anything that I do. I also am at a “turning point” in my business and my personal life, and I have very specific goals for this year and next year. After much “soul searching”, I knew that the answer was NO to both opportunities.
What a hard decision for me, but it was the right one. When I told both organizations, of course, they were disappointed, but interestingly enough, they all applauded me for making the decisions that are best for me. One woman told me that I had set a great example for other women and volunteers. I will still continue to work in the organizations, as I am a board member of one and on a very active committee in the other.
I am working on choosing carefully and learning to say NO without any guilt. I would love for you to share some of your stories or experiences where you are choosing and saying NO. Good Luck!
Confidence can be fickle. One moment you are on top of the world, knowing you’ve got this then, a harsh word, an arrogant look from a superior, or a flash of a painful memory and your confidence has left the building!
Would you like some practical empowerment tips so this will never happen again? Here are 3 simple, yet powerful ways to help you prepare in advance so you can hold on to your confidence!
1. Eat something in advance – When we are hungry, we act differently than when we are satisfied. Our nerves are more on edge, we can get a little cranky and certainly not be our best. Even if you are attending a dinner, eat a little snack before you go. Grab a handful of almonds, or eat a piece of fruit or a protein bar. One of the worst impressions you can make is to head straight to the food at a party. Watch for the subtle difference you feel when you are not focused on food at an event.
2. Empty your head trash – Comparison is a killer. There is only one “You” in this world. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be the very best version of “You” that you can be. Focus on what you have to give to others and not what you can get from them. Give a smile, a nod of the head or some form of acknowledgement to those in the room who may look a little uncomfortable. Get your mind off of yourself. You are good enough. You are smart enough. You ARE enough! When we think only of ourselves, we become “self-conscious”. Think about how you can help make someone else feel important or valued. Empty your “head trash” and you will have a great time!
3. Act as if you belong – Think about it. You are at this event because someone invited you. You belong there. Have you ever gone to a party where you knew you were invited, but you didn’t feel like you belonged? Remember, that is only a feeling. Feelings are real, but not necessarily true. The truth is, you were invited and you belong, so ACT as if you belong! This is one of the secrets our ambassadors and diplomats are taught. You must act as if you belong because you do!
Jan Goss-Gibson is America’s #1 Master Confidence strategist. Jan and her team empower the people behind top tier brands to make their very best First Impression every time.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
You are invited to join me and my very special friend Melissa Murray for a powerful, free webinar on “Mastering Your Holiday Influence”.
For some, the winter holiday season is a glorious time of year: a joyful time to gather with family and friends, to celebrate life and all its endless possibilities. We are grateful for the present and excited for the future. The days and nights are filled with starlight and song!
Others are facing their first holiday season after the loss of a loved one -- to illness, or a tragic accident, or a miscarriage, or... there are too many possibilities. It's a difficult time of year: a sad time to gather with family and friends, struggling to make sense of life and its unpredictable cycle. We are confused in the present and uncertain about the future.
It has been 15 years since my daughter Sara died of cancer at age 26. Even after all that time, as the holiday festivities begin, I find my broken heart still aches when I think of Sara in all her flawed, beautiful being-ness. I miss her beyond words. However, over the years I have found ways to honor her life at Christmas: little rituals and traditions that keep me breathing and functional.
Sara was born on Valentine's Day. On each birthday, her cake was decorated with candy cinnamon hearts. So it seemed fortuitous that on the first Christmas after her passing, I found a red shiny glass heart that I now hang front and centre on our family Christmas Tree in her memory. It makes my heart feel good to see that precious ornament in its place of honor each year. Hearts and Sara go together.
As a young adult, Sara loved to celebrate unexpected challenges and adventures by sipping on a glass of expensive single malt Scotch, and eating thick slices of New York-style cheesecake. So we make sure we have both on hand, to toast her throughout our holiday family gatherings. By speaking her name with love and respect, sharing her favorite foods and drink, and spicing it all up with a little black humor, we make her short life meaningful. Always loved, never forgotten. Family, cheesecake and Sara go together.
I no longer hang Sara's red felt stocking over the fireplace with the others, but I still take it out of its Christmas tissue wrapping, and hold it to my heart. I allow myself to sit for a few quiet moments with it, remembering her excited, blue-eyed grin as she hung it "by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Nicholas soon would soon be there!" Sara believed in the magic of Santa Claus for longer than most. Magic and Sara go together.
We play music and sing Christmas carols throughout the holiday season. As an actor and musical theatre performer, Sara thrived on entertaining people. She lit up in the spotlight. Music, singing and Sara go together.
Sara grew up in a log house. When she was born, a dear friend gave her a patchwork quilt made of deep blue, apple red and snow white squares. That quilt laid across the foot of her bed throughout her childhood, and traveled with her to each new home as a young adult. I have it to this day, and when no one is looking, I wrap it around myself and breathe in the almost-lost scent of her. I allow my aching heart's hot tears to roll down my cheeks unashamedly.
Recently I have discovered that for me, honoring Sara's life means embracing the whole of her existence: her birth, her short life and her early death. And, if I need to speak her name, wrap myself in her memories or sing her favorite tune, I do. I do it by myself or with others who knew and loved her. Good, precious memories and Sara go together.
Every person's grief is unique. How you choose to honor the passing of a loved one is up to you. If I could say one thing to others dealing with loss in the midst of these festive times, it would be this: Give yourself permission to live through the holidays however you need to. Create your own traditions. Take comfort wherever you find it. Remember the good times.
Holidays, heartbreak and happy memories can go together.
Follow Pat Taylor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PatTaylorCR
When I was growing up, we went to church every Sunday and I gladly went because it meant I got to put on my little high heels and feel like a big girl. It was a day of frilly dresses and lace. For Easter Sunday, my mom would take me to pick out the perfect Easter hat to highlight my 9-year old curls. It was the fanciest day of the year and as a young fashionista in the making, I relished Sunday mornings flaunting my pretty dress and heels.
As I got older, those pretty dresses became the subject of ridicule and judgement. How dare a Christian be so flamboyant and care so much about what she wears?
As I got older, I began to pursue a childhood dream of working in the fashion industry. A dream that fit my desires and personality to dress up in nice clothing and all things lovely. Along the road it didn’t take me long to realized that it was God who had created me just as I am, placing a uniqueness in me to see the beauty in all things: His creation, His trees, His flowers, His nature. Even the beauty of clothes and they way they are designed or feel to the touch and how they can make a woman feel confident and beautiful.
Clothes no longer became just about what the latest trend was. They became a reflection of who I am; who He created me to be. I am a woman who loves The Lord and others, a mom on the go and an easy spirit who you will find with a cup of coffee in hand every morning. My clothes reflect my ease of life and love of beauty through my favorite jeans or a classic fit dress or pencil skirt on Sunday mornings. Either way, both define my personality and classic style and I it was then I decided that if people wanted to call me bougie or anthing else, well, that would be okay with me.