Advice, Healthy & Beautiful

Every Woman Should Empower Herself Financially

When I was in my 20s which was (ahem) almost 20 years ago, I (naively) believed I would find a good man, get married, and never have to worry about my financial future again.  Throughout those years, I had a lot of fun – I traveled, partied, moved to Seattle, San Diego, and back to D.C., bought luxury cars, went shopping for the latest fashions, but NEVER saved a dime.  In fact, I put myself in a lot of debt, living my carefree lifestyle, enjoying every bit of it. I justified the high balance on my credit cards by claiming I couldn’t just sit at home and live a boring life…

In the first half of my 30s, I started my own company, which was accompanied by a huge dip in income in its first year. I went from spending recklessly, to searching for pennies to feed myself, almost overnight.  I missed birthdays, baby showers, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, weddings, and other of my friends’ life milestones because I had no means to bring a gift, or even pay for parking/gas to get there.  I was so embarrassed by my financial situation that I would decline their invitations, citing I wasn’t feeling well (mentally, I wasn’t), or that I had work that needed to be done, because I was on a deadline (trying to make sure I could get paid in a timely manner). I looked back at my twenties and cursed myself for not having saved any money, yet also longed for the fun I had been having, which told me that if I had had the means, I would have kept on with my fast and carefree lifestyle.    It wasn’t until I was married (and subsequently divorced) in my mid-30s did all of that change, forcing me to face my “demons” head on, and change how I viewed/handled money.

When you throw yourself into a situation of having to take care of someone else because they, themselves, make very little, AND you’ve been surprised with a puppy (which I’ll admit, was the greatest surprise of all time); you’re forced to grow up.  I went from a carefree, crazy lifestyle; to almost being homeless; to making a modest income, while having to a support a “family”.

Being married puts a very different lens on how you live your life, as well as the choices you make.  Purchases I used to make independently now affected not just myself.  If I wanted a new top, I had to think about whether I was able to buy enough food for the week, for two people, and still afford it.  While I could go without a lot of food, my ex could not.  There were times it drove me crazy to not be able to even go to Forever 21 for a cheap t-shirt, but I also knew that there were long-standing lessons I needed to learn out of this, and that one day, it wouldn’t be so bad (or so I kept telling myself when I was home on Saturday nights).

To compound this, we moved to San Diego to start a new life together (as D.C. had left me with nothing but sub-par memories and a lifestyle I couldn’t afford), and it meant that my ex (who was a bartender by trade) had to search for work.  We had no idea how hard it would be to 1. Find him a job, because bartending positions were hard to come by; and 2. Find him a bartending position that actually paid decent (sometimes, he came home with $20 cash, since tips are split on a sliding scale).  This meant that rent, utilities, food, car payment, gas, puppy care, mounting debt payments, etc. all fell to me.  While it was the second most stressful financial situation I had ever been in, it was also one of the most gratifying and empowering.

While I had been keeping a spreadsheet of my expenses for years, I started to plan out an entire year’s worth of finances, assuming I was the only one making a solid income every month. I put us on a year-long plan to save as much as I could in case one of us (including the pup) had an emergency, and that meant making large sacrifices in the short term (i.e. never going out unless it was a day trip to the beach, or somewhere else that allowed us fresh air without costing us anything).  This included anything leftover from budgeted financial line items (i.e. we didn’t use all of our grocery or gas money), which would go into savings, as did the small amounts of cash he’d bring home from work.

Unfortunately, this belt tightening led to us moving on from each other, as he didn’t understand why we had to make financial sacrifices in the first place.  He didn’t seem to understand the realities of being on a modest salary, as he had always lived with his parents (he’s from Europe where family life is very different), and didn’t worry about much beyond any money he may have borrowed from them.  He found our situation to be too constrictive and thus, our chapter ended.  Sure, it was painful, but I also found solace in 1. Knowing I was only responsible for myself and my little furry son; and 2. Having a better understanding of what it meant to be financially free, while saving as much money as I possibly could.

In the last 2 1/2 years, since I moved back to D.C., I made good on my self-promise to save more and spend less.  Even while getting raises and bonuses, I opted to save that money, and invest it, so that I could focus on my bigger life picture (including having enough money in my bank account for six months worth of expenses, in case something happened to my job).  I got rid of my car (perks for living closer to the city), saving me almost $1000 a month, which also went into savings.  Before I knew it, seven months ago, I was able to buy a home with a small down payment, and still sock away enough money into some investment accounts and three different savings accounts.  Next year, my savings plan is even more aggressive.

You might be wondering, “Does she actually go out and have any fun, or even see the world?!”  From my other blog posts, you can see the answer to that 🙂  I am lucky to be in a great relationship, in which I’m able to share some of the household expenses, allowing for an increased “entertainment” budget.  Compared to most people’s going out in D.C. expenses though, it’s highly modest.  Below are some of my tips on budgeting and how you, too, can save for the future, while also being able to enjoy life too!

  • Consignment – You love to shop, especially luxury brand names (my weaknesses include shoes and handbags).  Go through your closet and pull out any items you aren’t using anymore, and consign them at your local consignment shop, or on a consignment site, such as Poshmark.  If they are luxury goods, head over to The Real Real and set up an account (best site for that), and opt for store credit when you consign. I allow my sales balance to grow before I purchase a new item on there so that the money I spend comes from the items I’ve sold – not a credit card, or additional cash from my bank account.
  • What to do with a raise – Treat it as though you never got it, and invest it! When I got a raise at work, I took that additional cash and threw it into a ROTH IRA (for now).  I don’t ever miss it, because it’s auto-debited on purpose!
  • You have extra money in your checking account from budgeted items that you didn’t end up purchasing – Throw that into a savings account!  Those cents/dollars add up quick!
  • Budget for a whole year – include EVERYTHING you think you will spend money on – this includes birthdays, weddings, engagement parties, hair, nails, makeup, food, weekly gas, vacations, etc.  Set a budget for each of these items, and be realistic, yet not too conservative.  You might spend $30 on someone’s birthday gift, but estimate $50.  You might spend $100 a month on getting your hair colored, but what if you need a haircut 3 months later? Did it also include tip?  Seeing a budget helps put in perspective your spending habits.
  • Plan for vacations a year in advance – Yes, I’m serious and no, you don’t need to pick a location right away, although it’s helpful!  We’re planning on a 10-day California adventure for November 2018, and we know we want the experience to be everything we want in a trip like this.  I put together a spreadsheet of our drive down the coast, which includes places to stay, the cost per night/person (including taxes), and the URLs so I don’t forget; things we want to see that cost money; the car rental, the one-way flights, etc.  We vowed to start saving January 1st so we wouldn’t have to worry about money on the trip. (Note: It’s also always wonderful to have things to look forward to, and if you get closer to your vacation date, and you can’t go, you’ll be amazed at how much money you have now saved!)
  • Become your own chef! I budget $200 every two weeks for food (for me), I buy food on Tuesdays, and meal prep for the week (I can’t make poor eating decisions/spend money on takeout when I’ve done this).  I’m not saying don’t eat out, I’m saying reduce how many times you eat out in a week – it adds up!  I go out to eat once a week, and I grocery shop on Tuesdays because that’s when all of the sales/deals come out – buying generic brands definitely helps too, as they oftentimes get deeper discounts.  Sounds old-ladyish, but I’ve actually saved anywhere from $20 – $40 by shopping on that day!  I then take that money, and put it into savings, or throw it towards another part of my budget.
  • Be realistic with your evenings out – I used to get major FOMO when I didn’t go out, but I paid for it dearly in credit card debt. Ubers/Lyfts and drinks ADD UP BIG TIME!  It’s one of the hardest habits to curb when you like to have a good time.  For me, I had to stop going out, little by little, allowing myself only a night a week.  While it sounds miserable, it has done wonders for my waist line, my mind, my sleep patterns, and my wallet.  I also find myself looking forward to those evenings more, knowing it’s my one night to enjoy myself. Still, if there’s a special event, such as a concert, musical, or a charity event I want to go to, I have to work through what I’m sacrificing to be able to go to it.  Usually, it’s one of my weekends, or something else in my budget I can live without. And yes, I have friends, which means it’s also a lot of pot luck dinners at each other’s homes!
  • Staying on fashion trends while not breaking the bank – I’ve learned that trendy clothes are rarely worth the pricey investment, yet I love to look my best.  For my staple items, such as jeans, coats, classic shoes, etc., I’ll spend money on those investment pieces, knowing I’ll have them for years.  For the trendier stuff, I have no shame in admitting I go to Forever 21 🙂
  • Reward yourself – Whether we want to admit it or not, we are a reward-based society. I’ve learned that there are milestones in my life that I want to be able to celebrate (no matter how small), and if I don’t have the means, it brings me down a bit.  Thus, I set aside part of my bonus, or even part of my tax return, for monthly rewards that allow me to feel like I’m not so restrictive.
  • Find ways to make a passive income – There are SO MANY WAYS to do this!  Back in the day, I took writing side gigs.  These days, I’m opting for honing my writing craft on evenings and weekends to publish my books, and sell my screenplays – something that will net more passive income in the future, than if I were to take on other writing projects in the short term. Find something you’re good at, and find a way to monetize it!
  • It’s okay to have a credit card (as long as you’re responsible) and if you do have one, make sure you get rewards!  I have a United card, which equates to MILES!  Every purchase I make, is on that card (which I review the expenditures daily to ensure I’ve not overspent on my budget).  Using this card for everything has allowed me to spend a total of $22 on two flights for next year (which would have totaled $800 otherwise), as I racked up enough miles using that card (responsibly).
  • My Amazon Prime account is worth every penny – From movie and music streaming services, to Kindle books, free shipping, Prime Pantry, and Prime days, I’ve saved A LOT of money on things that bring me daily joy.

Now for the first step, and for some real words of advice … none of this will even be possible if you don’t take stock of you and your life first.  I had to ask myself a lot of difficult questions to get here, and many a time, the truth was ugly.  I was spending to fill an emotional hole because I didn’t want to face some of my harsher realities.  When I was depressed with absolutely no self-confidence, I’d spend more to make myself look better.  When I was happy, I’d spend less, opting to save the dollars.  I had to take a look around to see if anyone noticed my shiny exterior, and as it turned out, it didn’t matter what wrapper you put around me, my dull light within was noticeable, far more than a pair of Louboutins.

If you’re one of those that is reading this, and feeling totally helpless because you are where I was 10 years ago, there is always HOPE and always TIME to change this part of your life around!  Start small – one week, go grocery shopping, and each time you have the urge to go out, take that money you would have spent, and put it towards your credit card, or throw it into a savings account, but DON’T SPEND IT! Otherwise, you’re not moving any closer towards your goals.

Or, for another perspective, take your net income, divide that by how many hours you work in a week, and ask yourself if that purchase is worth x hours of work?  For example, Sally wants a new pair of shoes that are $200, and would probably not be worn very much.  She calculates that it would take her four hours of work to afford them.  She realizes she’d rather put that towards a much-needed night out, and leaves the shoe store.

Regardless of how you approach heading towards healthier habits, it’s an incremental process that (literally) pays off in the long run.  I hope that through this, I’ve at least inspired some of you to set yourselves up for better, freer future selves that will certainly be able to breathe a lot easier when you’re ready to retire, make that big purchase, or are able to proudly say you are no longer paycheck-to-paycheck.  And remember, if you HAVE to borrow, you SHOULDN’T spend!

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 17: How Hope Goes Viral

10-19-15-Blog-Pic

I once had a boss that no matter what I did, I was never good enough.  I was constantly micromanaged, belittled, and picked apart, regardless of the fact that I increased her small business by $1.2 million in less than a year.  She just didn’t like me and she thought that by using negative tactics, I’d mold myself to who she wanted.  When I left, she threw me a party, to thank me for leaving.  I left relieved but incredibly scared that I wouldn’t be good enough for my new job, and unfortunately, that had a rather negative impact on my entire being, often forgoing sleep to get ahead on the next day, ensuring I was always the top performer.  It wore me out a year later.

I’ve learned a lot since that experience, namely that confidence is everything and if you waver, it leaves you highly susceptible to bullies, and other negative types of individuals. This was a key lesson for me to continue to remember when I eventually became my own boss. I learned a lot about how when other people are controlled by another force, those people, in turn, will do the same to you, whether that’s adhering to another culture, personal work style preference, etc.

Now, imagine working for the world’s greatest boss, where you are encouraged to thrive, think outside of the box, take on new skill sets, and learn from your failures.  He encourages you to keep pushing forward, praises you when you do great things, and helps you become better at the things that need work.  In other words, he instills the hope and confidence in you that you can be great, resulting in great work, and even greater performance.  (Shout out to my current boss, who is THE BEST!)

The reason I give these examples is to show what today’s practice is trying to teach us.  The more we encourage others, and not intentionally try to change them, the more hope and confidence are instilled in them, to be better for themselves and for others.  The more we encourage, the happier we are, the happier we are, the more positive place we are all in.

 

So whether you are the controller/the great “boss” that encourages people, and/or the recipient of this, it’s important to remember that kindness and encouragement, from an internal place of nurture, are key to instilling the right hope in others.

My ask to you is to find one person you know who could use a compliment and PAY it!  Yes, it must be sincere.  But I guarantee you that that little compliment will brighten both your days and you will soon find that, that happy/peaceful feeling is addicting 🙂

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 16: Reigniting the Spark of Hope

PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek_HelpingHand_Shutterstock_0

I’m sure you have heard the term “pay it forward” and perhaps, you’ve even been lucky enough to receive unexpected kindness from another.  I constantly hear stories from people I know who were randomly treated to Starbucks, a door was held open for them, or some other act of kindness was paid upon them for no reason at all.  Even I’ve been the bestower and the receiver in my life (I’ll never forget the time I held the door open for an older man and he was so touched that he insisted on paying for my coffee). In turn, I’ve seen my friends bestow countless, selfless acts of kindness on others, knowing that at the heart of it all, we’re all humans who could use a little pick-me-up now and again.

What we don’t realize is that with each act of kindness we’ve either bestowed or received, we are instilling a little ray of hope in more of the human race.  It’s that ray of hope that can flourish into so much more, the more we all pay it forward.

SO – the next time you see someone who could use a brighter spot in their day, or you feel like making someone’s day for no reason at all, do it!  Let’s spread “hope” by giving someone the best gift of all – a smile and a warm heart 🙂

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 15: The Inner Child Reborn

love-inner-child-burning-man-sculpture-1

While I’ve never been to burning man, I absolutely love this photo.  It depicts, so well, what “inner child” truly means (at least to me).

When we were young, we were innocent – free from judgment, criticism, and ego.  We were naive to the world, happily playing outside, dreaming big things.  When we started to get a big older, and understand the difference between right and wrong, particularly as it comes to personal feelings, we started to develop a sense of mistrust in another, perhaps maybe due to some abuse and trauma, which triggered our psyches to eradicate most of our naiveness to the world.  It is through these triggers that we developed into the adults we have become.

As adults, we know the difference between right and wrong, well.  However, we have enough life experience behind us to now choose how we will handle certain situations, as we now understand what it means to place meaning behind something, and what the outcome will be.  But what is so fascinating is a trigger that set off a particular emotion as a child, can certainly trigger that same emotion as an adult.  The only way to change that particular behavior is to remain present and self-aware.

For years – even through my early 30s – my parents could say something to the effect of they were disappointed in me, or lecture me on something with “that tone”; and I’d immediate revert back to a childhood response that was less than adult.  It was weird to me because I’d never react that way to someone else.  As I got older and started to see my friends become parents, my perception changed, and I started putting myself in my parents’ shoes.  It was then that I realized if my “Inner Child” is going to come out, it should only be for the fun stuff.  Here are some examples:

  • My mom still has an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter… and it’s still super competitive
  • We still rip through presents at Christmas like kids, with the same excited reactions when we see what we get
  • When my mom or dad announces they are taking us on a trip, all four of us girls jump up and down like giddy 8 year-olds
  • When a sister and myself get together, we tend to revert to childhood foods, snacks, drinks, and movies, desperately wanting to wear feet pajamas

The point with bringing up these examples is, finding that inner child to have a good time with, helps bring you back to your true self.  That wonderment and excitement you felt when you got the toy you wanted, or someone was proud of you for doing something great, etc. – that feeling deep down is something you want to hang onto and find more of. It’s that feeling that brings out the best in us, enlightens us, and affects others.  It’s something that keeps us young, and keeps us reaching for more.

To conclude, if I could still get away with playing with my Barbie collection and building lego mansions, while dreaming of starting (another) business, I would.  Instead, I have to give a shout out to Lisa Frank for developing “adult coloring books”.  You’re my hero.  I’m going back to my pillow fort now…

Namaste

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 14: Living by the Light of Hope

Arch2O-Festival-of-Lights-03

“There are over 7 billion souls on this planet, all with a different way to live in the light.” — Deepak Chopra

When Deepak said this, during my meditation this morning, it reminded me of just how different we all are – that we, as individuals, are unique from one another in our hopes, ideals, customs, cultures, etc.  It’s these differences that make each soul special in a unique way, and touch all of our lives, whether we know it or not.

 

I love traveling to different parts of the world, experiencing different cultures and customs.  It’s an almost indescribable feeling to allow the entirety of your being to immerse itself into a different world, so far from your own.  To be able to remain present and experience something perhaps slightly outside of your comfort zone, is exhilarating.

I’ll never forget my travels to India and what that did for my soul.  I was 100% in a different part of the world that held extremely different ideals and customs that required a shift in my thinking, and in my presence. When you go to any part of the world that is unlike your own, if you’re able to remain open and present, your experience is even that much more amazing!  I realized that over a billion people can exist in a country, in harmony, simply be remaining focused on themselves, while accepting that each soul they are surrounded by, is simply living their life as well!

When you think about this and apply it to your own life, you start to take stock of who you are and what you contribute to this world.  Don’t think you’re contributing?  You are!  Here are some examples of how:

  • The clothes you wear – you have an individual style that was an inspiration from someone, who was inspired by a different culture, location, era, etc.  However, when you wear those clothes, you are exhibiting a unique style that’s exclusive to you!
  • Any hobbies you have taken on – While many of us can have the same hobbies, we each bring a unique contribution to it!  No two people will paint the exact same way, dance the same way, debate the same way, etc.
  • The thoughts we contribute – No two people will apply the exact same meaning to a situation.  Each of our contributing thoughts will be delivered in a different tone, in different words, with a different level of education.
  • Life experiences – No two experiences in life are alike.  It’s our experiences that contribute to the overall world we live in.

Understanding that you ARE contributing to the world we live in, regardless of how big or how small, shows that you are living in the light – your own light – that helps to make this world brighter!

As a feel good exercise, list out some of your unique contributions and read it back to yourself.  Celebrate that you are a unique light in this world that is making a difference!

Namaste

 

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 13: Finding the Key to Renewal

how-to-renew-body-mind-soul

Whether we know it or not, we are growing and changing every second of every day- whether that be mentally and/or physically.  We forget that each second that goes by is one second we will never get back, as it’s sent off to join all the other past seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years that we’ve lived.

We’ve all heard the sayings, “Don’t waste your time” or “life is too short”.  When you put into perspective how fleeting our lives are, it reminds you of all of the times you could have been doing something more positive in your life, or at least something that would better yourself in the long run – we all do this.

However, as the saying goes, “there’s no time like the present” to start anew…

That’s the greatest thing about time – it doesn’t matter if it’s right this second, 30 seconds from now, or even tomorrow.  You can always start anew – ALWAYS.

I’ve heard friends of mine say, “Yeah, I would have loved to have done (x) but it’s too late now – I’m too old to do it.”  Tell that to the myriad of senior citizens out there who have accomplished great things later in life that we would have deemed “too old” to do.  For example,  a couple of years ago, Doreetha Daniels became a college grad at the age of 99. Alternatively Kimani Maruge didn’t begin primary school until age 84 in Kenya. John Glenn was the first man to orbit the Earth in space at the age of 77.  Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until age 76. And the list goes on.  What all these people have in common is that they realized they are never too old to start something – they don’t see time as having passed by – there is always time to go onto doing something great.  Thus, YOU have no excuse 🙂

The more we realize that life is precious, the more we want to live a great life, full of beautiful stories.  The more we want this, the less time we want to waste, and the less we want to remain the same.

I’m very appreciative of what meditation has done for me in terms of being so in love with life, that I’m literally the kid in front of the TV, eager to see what happens next.  It’s possible for you too!

Meditation Day 12 had you listing out what you wanted to change for the better, and then putting a plan together for how you do it.  Today, take one of those fears and START making the change!  Believe it or not, taking that first step is you already on your way to a great self-renewal!

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 12: Finding the Courage to Change

MediaBakery_CRB0069973-300x300

In the first 11 days, our practice has been focused on looking deep within ourselves, pulling out what it isn’t working, and beginning to figure out what it is that we truly want with our lives – what will shape us into the human beings we want to be.

In this practice, we are now focused on finding the courage to make this change.

Letting go of the “old” can be incredibly scary.  Perhaps you tried at some point in your life, and it was met with a negative reaction, or even a failure.  Perhaps that one moment made you realize you were “better off” being the way you are.  What makes trying again so hard is the fear of reliving the pain from that experience.

But what if I told you that you would never have to relive that particular pain again because you actually grew and learned from it?  What if I told you, you have the power to not make the same mistake twice?  If we never experienced pain and set backs, we would never grow as human beings – we would never evolve into the best version of ourselves.

 

So how do you get started?

  1. Meditation is absolutely a must.  It will help you to learn to ease your mind and find a place of peace.
  2. Write down a list of fears you would like to conquer.
  3. Write down steps you know you could take to start easing those fears – even if it’s little, and make sure to add a reward you would like to give yourself, once you’ve conquered it.
  4. Each month, pick a fear you would like to work on – meditate on it, and take the steps you’ve written down.
  5. Make sure to journal, each day, about what you’re feeling and the progress you’ve made.
  6. When you’ve conquered that fear, REWARD yourself!

Following this process is guaranteed to get you on the right track to giving yourself the utmost courage to change into the person you want to be!

Namaste

Advice, Healthy & Beautiful, Style

Blocking Harmful Negative Energies With Elegance

IMG_9184

A few months ago, a girlfriend of mine in Seattle, had posted a picture of a futuristic-looking pyramid, and a question, “Which one speaks to you?”, along with a link to more of these pyramids.  Having no idea what they were, I flipped through all these beautiful, celestial-looking structures, amazed at their beauty.

What I came to find out later is that these pyramids server an extremely valuable purpose – their beauty is just a “byproduct”.

The website my girlfriend posted is http://litethelight.bigcartel.com and the pyramids are called “Orgone Energy Devices”.  The creator of these beautiful pieces, Michelle Hood, has been featured on Alanis Morissette’s blog (which I STRONGLY recommend you read), which gives a great interview on Michelle, how she got into making these, as well as why these are so important.

So what does an Orgone Energy Device do?  According to the card that came with mine, “The materials they are made out of amplify and restore harmonic balance.  They function as self-driven continuously-operative, highly efficient DOR – POR (negative to positive) energy transmutation generators.”  What does that mean… possible experiences include:

  1. Turns negative energy into positive energy
  2. Mitigates harmful effects of EMF
  3. Strengthens Nature’s own ability to prosper
  4. Awakens psychic senses
  5. Purifies the atmosphere, detoxifies water
  6. Deepens sleep state

If I sound crazy, note that this pyramid really works.  Out of this list, #’s 1, 2, 5, and 6 have all been true.  How do I know?  Because the last place I lived in I was getting migraines, the air felt stale, I was tired all the time, and I always had trouble sleeping.  In my new home, I’ve been happier, more energetic, I’ve been sleeping better, and I’m no longer getting headaches.  In fact, this pyramid works so well that if I put my cell near it, it cuts off my call and/or decreases my signal, including wi-fi.  While that seems concerning, this pyramid is in my office and everything still operates just fine – it just proves that it’s blocking the majority of EMF, which is so important!

According to Michelle (yes, she reached out to personally thank me for my purchase), the experience is different for everyone and, I managed to snag the only one of its kind.

The materials used to make mine: Celestite, Black Tourmaline, Optical Calcite, Metatron’s Cube Disk, mSL, Blue – this combination is used to enhance meditative practices, clear negative energy, purify the air, strengthen mental abilities, promote calm, deepen sleep, and awaken psychic abilities.

Note that Michelle makes different ones for different needs.  They come in three sizes and when you purchase, you should take into account how big your home is and what room this will go in.  You should also take stock of what you want to improve in your life, while selecting one, since different stones have different functions.

This was my very first purchase for my new home, and I’m so glad that it was.  It is absolutely worth the investment!

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 11: Compassion Changes Everything

5e3487a32958c09978debd2d8196f641

I remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I came home from school one day, complaining to my mom that a classmate was picking on me.  My mom asked what happened, and I explained that the girl got mad and said I couldn’t hang out with her.  My mom’s first response was, “Maybe she’s having a bad day or something is happening at home.”  It turns out, I was just an extremely sensitive child, and no one had a clue what to do with me (I digress).  But, those words stuck – my mom was teaching me compassion.

It’s not an easy thing to show – especially when you’re faced with a seemingly negative situation or person that dampens your mood.  You want to blame them for ruining your day or a particular moment, so as to shift the blame and feel better (pain avoidance).  Instead, we need to show selflessness and compassion and ask the other person if they are okay, or if there is anything that you might have done to upset them.  Chances are, it’s not you, and that they are battling something that caused a projection.

Humans are funny creatures.  We create complications where things can be simplified.  We put meaning behind things that are neutral, creating conflicts.  We project negative emotions onto others because we want to offload pain.  And all those things are EASIER than simplifying our lives to a state of peace, ease, and happiness.

Because of my mom’s words, I’ve always had a genuine interest in other people’s stories.  I’ve learned so much about so many that when I hear someone complain about another, I let them know that all is not what it seems, and to cut the other person some slack.  Having compassion isn’t just about trying to make an alternative excuse for someone else’s behavior – it’s getting to know who they are, accepting and appreciating their differences from us, and genuinely understand their position in life.

I’ve come a long way since the days of the playground, opting to choose friends who are like-minded, but accepting and understanding that everyone else has their own path in life.  I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty behind our differences, using it as a tool to expand my own mind and heart.

Compassion is one of the easiest, selfless (and cheapest) things to give another.  It heals souls and hearts.  The more we can show compassion for each other, the happier we all will be!

Namaste

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 10: The Reality of Inner Strength

inner_strength

After going through this meditation, I was honestly a little taken aback by Deepak’s intro before he dove into the meditation.  I realize that this meditation was created out of the need to help millions of people who felt complete despair after the election, but was hoping the political agenda behind it wouldn’t truly be revealed.

Then came the mention of “Why does one person appear to get all the power, while millions of others give it away?”  This was followed by a message to stand tall, speak your truth, and take responsibility.

While this can be translated into everyday life, it was still too much, too soon and certainly not right, considering meditation teaches us to not judge.

As a human race, we have unfortunately become very fragile.  Between most of our lives being spent/displayed on the Internet, reality shows being the normal thing to watch, and more kids growing up latch key; we’re in a society of weaker-minded, lost individuals that don’t know how to find their inner strength to actually DO things that will make a difference in this world.  No, I’m not saying ALL humans are like this but certainly, there is a very large shift, particularly with this newest generation.  And instead of doing something to curtail it, people find it easier to shut it off by taking on the burden for the other, in order to move forward.  It is this horribly repeated cycle that is causing a generation of lost souls.

Yesterday, I wrote of the need to find yourself first before bringing someone else into your life.  Today, I’m asking for you to reach deep down inside yourself and pull out your greatest strengths, examine them, nurture them, and then USE them.  Each one of us has amazing gifts to share with the world, and there should be no shame or fear in pursuing them – even if it’s a side hobby.  Are you someone that by day wears a suit, really wishing you were at Burning Man, artistically expressing yourself through costume?  DO IT!  Share your artistic brilliance with the world!  Are you someone that really wants to spend more time helping those less fortunate (or even just the general population), and know you can make a difference?  What’s stopping you?  Or, do you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly and know you are better than that?  Step up and be “better than that”.  These are just a few examples but the point is, there is no need to live your life in fear.

So what happens when you come out from the shadows:

  • You are at peace
  • You are strong
  • You no longer feel anxious
  • You feel the world is full of endless possibilities – and you take advantage of it
  • You are able to take on any challenge life throws at you, and you welcome it

I know it’s so much easier said than done, so start small.  Take a class in something that interests you – even only if it’s one time.  Or, if you feel bogged down emotionally, there’s no harm in seeing a therapist – no one has to know but you.  If you can go totally out of your comfort zone and you need a true break, take a drive somewhere, stay the night in a hotel, and just relax – pamper yourself! Start getting to know who you are and learning that you’re your own BFF.  Treat yourself with the same care you would treat others.  Before you know it, you’ll be that kitten in the mirror, staring at a lion 😉

Namaste