Crushing the Daylight Savings Time Blues

     It’s that time of year again! The clock changed and it didn’t take long before the memes started rolling in. People are always pretty upset around this time of year when they lose an hour of sleep. 

     I was definitely one of those people until this year. My husband and I got out of bed Sunday morning excited. See, we had an activity that we really wanted to do outside but there wasn’t enough daylight when he got home from work. DST arrived and we got one more hour of sunlight back! The days are longer and it gets dark later, so we are able to do more together as a family and enjoy the outdoors.

     It’s all about perspective! When you feel groggy and irritated with the whole DST process, try to look at the silver lining. Go outside! Enjoy an extra hour of sunshine! We always say that there aren’t enough hours in the day but we have just been given an extra hour. Go spend it doing something beautiful. Enjoy it!

Namaste. 

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The Three Journals of Positivity

       I’ve always been interested in journaling, but not about the day’s events. That felt too mundane for me and I would almost immediately quit. As I grew older, I became very interested in positive reading and music. I wanted to compile my favorite inspirations somewhere other than my Facebook wall. I felt every bogged down by the world’s negative energy. I needed to recharge-to boost my happiness level and stay positive. The idea struck me to start a happiness journal and it actually stuck!

    First, I purchased the handmade sari journal from a B&N in D.C. in 2014. I started collecting quotes and anything that inspired me. It is a very special journal that calms and grounds me. I can’t even explain my love for this one. I even keep a bucket list in the back (it is a work-in-progress).

     The green notebook came next. I started coming up with five things that I’m grateful for every morning. This stemmed from my efforts to make my days more positive and productive. I needed something to write them in and grabbed a cheap journal (notebook) while I was in the store. Hey, at least it’s cute and fits me perfectly!

     The yellow journal is one that I am very excited about. I am planning on visiting an ashram in about a month, and wanted something to take notes in. I started getting back into chanting and decided to also keep chants/verses and notes on yogic living in this journal also. This way, I always have them together and accessible. 

     I find this type of journaling relaxing and uplifting. Most people like to read inspirational or positive quotes. Why not compile your favorites? It has been a very positive change, and I can’t wait to see how it grows and helps me to spiritually evolve. 

Namaste. 



Sanskrit in the Mountains

   Last year, I was invited to a place called Yogaville. Hidden in the mountains of Virginia, this retreat proved to be just what I needed. Not only did it provide me with a relaxing weekend, it completely changed my life. I have craved that place since I left it. The spirit, positive energy, and genuine beauty of the people and the ashram were nothing short of inspirational.

    Before that visit, I had never experienced chanting. I remember walking into the room terrified, because I knew that my first guided meditation session would include chanting. I survived it with little embarrassment, and found it to be very relaxing. Fast-forward to the Saturday night ceremony and I was absolutely, 100% terrified. I went from being a stay at home mom and isolated student, to sitting in a room full of strangers chanting Sanskrit. I had a choice to make: I could allow my embarrassment to ruin the experience for me, or I could dive in and and learn as much as possible. I chose the latter. I thought about our human nature and how we are so easily embarrassed-an emotion that forces us to miss out on many of life’s greatest moments. So, I chose adventure. 

      I fumbled my way through the words and appreciated the music being played. I watched the other attendees swaying back and forth, eyes closed, lost in verse. I envied them. I wanted to feel free. 

      Something amazing happened and halfway through the ceremony, I felt it. I felt the energy rush over me like a wave of peace. I felt connected to the words that I previously feared, and I was completely devoted to the ceremony. When it was over, I felt relaxed, collected, energized, and awake to the world around me. I wanted to stay in that world forever. 

     Sanskrit is a beautiful language that is intimidating at first glance. Fortunately, there are many websites and videos that offer assistance with understanding and pronouncing the verses. There is something magical hidden within those words. Once you learn how and the words slide off of your tongue, you are hooked. It is also open to any religion, and is not limited to practicing Hindus. There are unrelated chants that can be used by anyone. Buddhists use chanting, and that is a philosophy that does not praise any god or idol. So, don’t feel like you are betraying your current belief system by practicing a chant.

       I am working on an at-home practice, and will be visiting another ashram within the next couple of months. I hope that this story brought hope to someone who has been afraid to try chanting, for fear of being embarrassed or doing it incorrectly. Free yourself. As long as you are practicing and are reciting them from a place of truth, you will feel the calming and restoring effects of the chant. 

Om Namah Shivaya.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

                 (More on that later)
Namaste. 

If Today Were My Last Day Alive

     I read somewhere that we should ask ourselves one question every morning: If today were my last day alive, how would I want to spend it? 

     Obviously, my mind immediately attaches to family and travel. In the simplest sense, my mind is correct; however, there is a much broader way of thinking that is required in order to think so abstractly. It isn’t realistic for most of us to abandon all of our responsibilities each day in order to do something more meaningful to us. For daily life improvement, this question requires us to think a bit deeper than that.

     Everything that we do and every reaction to it is a choice. The dishes still need to get done, but how do I want to feel about doing them? I still have that meeting today, but what do I want to get out of it so that it isn’t wasting my time? The kids are already bouncing off of the walls, so how do I want to handle my parenting attitude today? It is so easy for these daily situations to cause stress or negative reactions. What isn’t easy, is training your mind to create positive feelings and reactions, but it is worth it. 

     Positivity training takes time and a lot of effort. There will be difficult days that test your patience and dedication to your practice. It is important to maintain some thread of positive thinking, even if it means having someone hold you accountable or leaving notes to yourself around your home. The best time for me to practice, is first thing in the morning before I get out of bed. I’ve noticed that my attitude about the day is set before my feet hit the floor. Really pay attention to your morning routine and see when your attitude about the day is set. It is likely that it happens before your feet hit the floor, but it could be different for everyone. Tailor your training to your schedule and needs.

     So, today is your last day alive. How are you spending it? Is it full of frustration and anger, or love and appreciation? 

Namaste. 

PerceptionĀ 

My hand hurts. Duh, right? I broke it.

Well, when my hand is hurt, so is my heart and mind. I can’t do some of the things that I love to do each day that put me in a great mood: yoga, hooping, playing the ukulele, etc. I was seriously bummed about this for the last few days. Then, I had a very obvious realization: I still can. I can play songs with two or three chords, I can hoop on-body, and I can practice hatha yoga. Turning my can’ts into cans completely changed my mood. 

My hand hurts and there are some things that I genuinely can’t do (such as hand-washing the dishes, I know, sad face), but turning my can’ts into cans reopened my day to happiness, peace, and joy; not just because of my ability to do those specific things, but because I had control over my day and my mood by not carrying around a defeated attitude.

Everything that is broken can be fixed, except for our day. Time is something that we can’t redo. Don’t waste it by listing the things you can’t do and start living it by experiencing the things that you can do.

Namaste. 

Rolling With the Punches

Right when it was getting good…

I was just getting into a yoga groove and feeling like I was establishing a habit within the past week. That has come to a halt. Yesterday, I was playing football with my two older kids, when  I made a bad catch. I am 99% sure that my pinkie is broken. One thing is for sure, it is too painful to use it and I am unable to move it without screaming in pain. So much Zen…….not. 

     I will say that it has at least taught me a valuable lesson (aside from how not to catch a football). It has been a challenge in positivity. I may not be able to practice hatha yoga right now (for the most part), but that leaves room for more meditation. There is always a silver lining and a way to look at the bright side. We can always be thankful for something. In this case, meaning even if at the least, I am thankful that I didn’t break my arm and that I have health insurance to see a doctor. It is all about gratitude and perception. 

Namaste.

Eating Frogs

     Mark Twain may have revolutionized my days with that single quote. The idea is that if you do the worst thing that you have to do first thing in the morning, then your day can only improve.

     I am going to share my daily schedule ideas with you later, but I felt like I needed to explain this idea first. In the morning, I eat frogs. I make sure that I do whatever I am dreading first so that my day can only improve. So far, this is proven to be very helpful. I feel like the rest of my day is open to more things and I can actually look forward to my day rather than dreading it because of tasks that I’m not looking forward to. I procrastinate less and feel more productive. It also makes it easier to maintain a positive outlook because I can look forward to my day. 

So, go eat some frogs and enjoy the rest of your day.

Namaste.

You want me to WHAT in bed?

I have seen so many articles that suggest doing yoga in bed as a great way to start the day. Let’s be honest-that sounded strange to me at first. I immediately imagined someone waking up and balancing atop their quivering mattress while they struggled to hold a mountain pose in their groggy state. 

Wrong. I woke up this morning and decided to give this bed yoga thing a try. I stretched my body within the comfort of my blankets and I am now a bed-yoga believer. Have you ever actually watched a cat stretch after waking up? That is exactly what I felt like. I felt like a cat. So much so, that I was distracted by this humorous thought (because I tend to have racing thoughts at the most inappropriate times-sometimes entertaining ones). 

It was even more helpful that I waited until my husband was out of bed so that I could utilize the entire space. I OWNED that bed. I didn’t have to share. I rolled around, twisted, and stretched until I felt like an energetic kitty ready to pounce on the day. It was truly refreshing, especially for someone like me who doesn’t sleep well at all. I usually wake up feeling very tired and with a general feeling of “ugh.” This technique was actually helpful. 

If you have morning grogginess and laziness, give it a go! The worst that could happen is you get tangled up in your blanket. 

Namaste.

New BeginningsĀ 

Have you ever “woken up” one day and realized that you have somehow lost yourself? Somewhere between the late night study sessions, running around with the kids, and daily responsibilities, your spirit drifted away. You can vaguely feel it there. It’s calling to you; desperate for you to rediscover it. You make several desperate attempts to find it through bar dates with friends or vacations, but you always return home feeling just as lost as you were when you hustled out of the door. Something is missing and you have absolutely no idea what it is, but you would do anything to reclaim it…but how? How do you find something that is lost when you aren’t sure what it is? You aren’t the same person you were ten years ago before starting a family and a career. You are a new development-designed and built from every decision that you have ever made. So who are you NOW?

That is how I felt. I can’t remember the exact day that it happened. For me, it was gradual at first before hitting me like a proverbial ton of bricks. I became filled with an overwhelming anxiety that grew in intensity the longer I ignored it. My husband noticed also, and we tried to think of ways for me to rediscover who I am outside of the many hats that I wear. We both knew it was time to do something, before I am lost forever.
This is my journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance. My new beginning. I am taking you with me so that you can see what works and what flops. Hopefully, you find something that inspires you to embark on your own journey.

Namaste.