Are you at the top of your priority list? If not, why not?

We have been taught to look outside of ourselves to feel worthy or good enough and to create this perceived perfect version of our self.We think by being busy, chasing our goals, creating this perfect version of ourselves or attaining that relationship, we will feel worthy and good about ourselves. But it doesn’t work, it isn’t enough.

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Reflection and Realignment rather than Resolutions.

Now that January is upon us, we will have countless images shoved under our nose to change our physical body and whole life (in about 30 days, so no pressure!!). We will be encouraged with ‘New Year, New You’ bullshit and led down a path of guilt and shame as we sign up for new gym membership or take the first step on the weighing scales. The weight loss/ diet industry makes BILLIONS each year (64 billion in the US alone in 2018) by marketing and selling products that we are led to believe we need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. Advertisements and whole magazines will be dedicated to making you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, fulfilled or healthy if you’re not the size of the airbrushed models shown.

We know all about Photoshop and filters, but these headlines still trigger our insecurities and draw us in because that is what they are intending to do. Millions are spent creating campaigns and researching the psychology behind it all so don’t feel bad if you feel like you are being sucked back into a 30-day detox after the Christmas holidays. Our worth is not measured by the number on the scales or the measurement of our hips. Our health is not defined by what size our clothes are, I can range between 2-3 sizes in different shops. We are all made up of different shapes and sizes and often we strive for a body shape/ weight that is so far out of reach that we could spend a lifetime eating ‘clean’ and working out and still not achieve it. But rest assured there will be a continuous stream of new diets or exercises regimes to try. Diets don’t work, they are restrictive and obsessive and short lived. They only prove to cause fear, anxiety and control around our eating habits and reward this behaviour with cheat meals and binge eating.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t eat healthier or set an intention to get fitter or stronger. Making positive changes to our lives is a good thing. Growth should always be encouraged and supported in all areas of our lives. We are constantly changing, learning, growing, letting go and blooming once again. We live our lives in cycles as does nature and so as the winter cycle comes to an end, it makes sense that we would want to prepare for the spring. However, it is still winter, a time to nourish and heal, a time of introspection and reflection. A time where we can look back on the past year, take the lessons and blessings and carry them with us into the new year as we realign with our values, with what lights us up and fulfils us and with the desires for the next cycle to come.

Screenshot_20181231_142902Usually at New Year people make grand plans and resolutions because they feel they are lacking in some area of their life. They feel as if they ‘should’ be doing better. They feel as if they have failed to succeed or achieve something. They feel as if they need to reach a certain destination or goal to be happy, fulfilled, healthy or successful. They are told again and again by advertisements and media that who they are is not good enough. This conditional thinking and living encouraged by those who profit from our insecurities will actually be the rope that binds us to this way of living rather than set us free. When we make a call to action from a place of guilt, shame, lack we are acting because we think we ‘should’ and therefore we will spend our time constantly striving and never arriving at the place we so desperately seek.

This January instead of making a list of resolutions that evoke guilt, shame and resentment and low self-worth, I suggest taking a few weeks to reflect and realign with what you truly want to bring into this coming year. Let’s get the garden ready, clear the soil, get rid of the weeds and dead leaves, chose the seeds you want to grow, nourish, nurture them and tend to them daily and watch as they grow and bloom as the year unfolds. Remember the grass is greener, where you water it. We know when we tend to the garden that the seeds are growing, in the time they should, we don’t keep digging back up the soil to see if the seed is still there. Know that you are changing and growing in your own time too, trust and enjoy the process.

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Here are some journal prompts to reflect and realign on in January, to help clear the garden and decide what flowers to plant. Writing this stuff down can bring huge insights and healing, give yourself the time to write it down.

  • What are your proud moments/ achievements of the past year?
  • What did you learn this year? What lessons learned were necessary for your growth?
  • What lessons were particularly hard? Are they healed/healing/ in need of external support and if so, where can you get it?
  • What are the highlights of the past year?
  • What are you most grateful for this year? (read more on gratitude here)
  • Who was your greatest support this year? Do you need more support going forward? What or who might that look like?
  • What are you leaving behind and not bringing into the next year? What no longer serves you, your growth or your happiness? What do you want to let go of?
  • Write a list of all that things that light you up, that make you deliriously happy, peaceful or content. Think about when you were younger and what you loved to do. Write everything down from the simple to the grand e.g. fresh bed sheets to travelling to faraway countries. Make time and space in your life for these this year.
  • What feeling/ emotional state do you want to feel more of this coming year? Why? Sit with this for a few moments and really feel it in within your whole being. We want things and set goals because we think that once we achieve them, we will be happier, fulfilled. We forget that we can evoke these feelings and emotional states every day by being present and by doing more of the things that light us up. Instead of getting stuck in a cycle of set a goal, be unfulfilled and lacking in an area of our life until/ if/ when we achieve it, we can realign with the emotional state/feeling /value that is at the core of our action.
  • What is your heart and soul calling out for? More….? If you weren’t afraid of anything, what would you love to do/see/feel/ be? If failing wasn’t an option, what would you love to do/see/feel /be? Sit with this one also and see what comes up for you, you may be surprised at what shows up, the most important thing is to listen and trust what you hear.
  • Write down the baby steps you can take over the coming weeks/months/ year. This is a guide and may (most likely will) change as you move through the year. Don’t try to micromanage every step, stay aligned with what your heart and soul is truly calling out for and make small steps towards it.

Each year in our lives is like a snapshot of laughter and pain, growth and release, achievement and defeat. Some years are lighter than others, some we wish we could live again and again while others we can’t wait to say goodbye to. Whatever your past year felt like, know that a new year, with a whole set of chapters is awaiting you and you get to write and direct each one. You don’t need to achieve it all in the first month and you don’t need to spend lots of money to achieve it. You are perfectly worthy and whole as you are. All the answers you seek are within you and the guidance and support of friends, loved ones or professionals can be found. When we reconnect and realign with our heart and soul, the right people will suddenly appear to guide and support us on the next section of our journey.

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I can’t wait to see how we bloom and grow this year!

Mel x

 

10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace

As most of you know the late, great Dr Wayne Dyer is one of  my favourite teachers. His shining light, humour, wisdom and joy of learning and service drew me into the world of motivation and personal growth nearly 10 years ago and has taught me so much about myself and life. His teachings continue to teach me each day and when I look back through his books with many underlined quotes and hearts beside important things to remember I smile and I am so, so grateful. Below, is my interpretation of some important life lessons he shared with the masses that I find invaluable. 

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1. Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.

“No one ever knows enough to be a pessimist”. Open yourself up the to idea that in this infinite universe you are open to the abundance within it. When you open your mind to seeing things differently and experiencing new things you are opening yourself up to all of that abundance because you are attached to nothing. If you feel yourself attaching to an idea, thought, word, phrase within your own mind or someone else’s, think ‘That’s interesting’ or ‘That’s one way of looking at it’. Attachment feeds off the fear and disillusion that without x, y or z you cannot be happy. Attachment only feeds the ego. The ego’s need to look a certain way, act a certain way, have certain things, personify a certain image. Ask yourself the question; Who am I?  To know ourselves on the deepest level means detaching from materials things, labels, body shapes, expectations or careers or relationships – all these man-made conditions that we strive to achieve and or judge ourselves when we don’t reach them. You are not your name, your physical body, you’re not your nationality or race or religion, you’re not your emotions or thoughts, you’re not your personal history or financial status, you’re not your job or political view. YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!! When we are attached to these ideas we are committing to the fear, saying that I cannot be happy if I don’t have x, y and z or I cannot be happy if you don’t do or say a, b or c. Happiness, peace, success, love, manifestation comes only when we choose to be open to everything and attached to nothing.

 

2. “You can’t give away what you don’t have”

You can only attract what you are not what you want. If you want love, peace, happiness, joy, abundance etc. you must share it and be it and the you can receive it. The Law of attraction is a big magnet – so when you are resentful, hateful, stressed, frustrated, feeling broke, unloved that is what are attracting back into your life. Why? How? The more and more you’re in your head about the things you want and need because at that moment you are ‘lacking’ those from your life and therefore ‘unhappy’ or ‘unfulfilled’ the more you’re attracting that ’lack’ into your life. If you are trying to resist thinking of if ‘it’ you are still in the vibration of that which you don’t want in your life. You will always be in the mode of constantly striving and never arriving at what you want. You can go to the ocean of abundance with a truck or an eyedropper, you choose!! Practice being in the receiving mode through gratitude and meditation. Practice feeling that feeling as if you have already received the things you want. When you give help, give guidance, give kindness, give gratitude to others it comes right back to. The universe is saying back to you – what can I now give you? So ask yourself and the universe, what can I give today?

3. There are no justified resentments.

This is one of the hardest things for people to overcome but one of the most powerful for our healing and peace in life. When we carry resentment or blame for anything or anyone (even those who really wronged and hurt us) we are the only ones who suffer. When a snake bites someone it is not the snakebite that kills the person. We cannot be unbitten, we cannot ever change the fact that we have been bitten. It is the venom that travels through the body in the blood and does the damage and destroys us. When we carry resentment, anger, rage and blame around within us we carry the venom, the very poison we want to direct at the person who hurt us and drink it ourselves. We control the venom, we control the poison. How do we choose to not drink it?

  • Send blame away – don’t step into the victim role and give more of your power away to that person. When we wait for someone else to change or apologise we are stuck waiting for something that might never happen. Instead, send the blame away and take your power back and make the choice to move on and change your life for the better.
  • Practice sending love instead of fear, resentment, anger, blame out into the world. Remember you attract what you are not what you want so practice sending love instead of resentment and it will come back to in many shapes and forms. The vibration of love is stronger than that of anger and resentment so find ways to cultivate more of it in your daily life. Love is the message of all the great spiritual teachers, it is the common denominator in all teachings.

4. Don’t die with your music still in you.

Follow your purpose, follow your true path, follow the path that lights up from the inside out and makes you feel alive inside. We all show up with a purpose – maybe it is as a mammy, a teacher, a musician, an author, a healer, a business woman, world traveller, an artist, an athlete whatever it may be. It doesn’t need to be your ‘job’ or something you make money from. It is that one thing that gets you into your own unique groove like when ‘your’ song comes on and you can feel every beat in your bones as if it was written by you, for you and is now playing through you. So many people have been asked on their deathbed, what do you regret, and the majority say their biggest regret is not living their life doing the things they love with the people they cherish. Find your groove and dance passed the fear and doubt forgetting about those looking on, they are probably too afraid to join in.

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5. Embrace the silence.

You can’t heart the answers if you are busy, busy, busy and rushing, rushing, rushing. You can only hear the answers when you slow down, calm down and connect with your soul. In doing so you connect with your source/ universe/God, it doesn’t matter what you call it, just plug in and connect. There is a famous saying that ‘You cannot get wet from saying the word wet’. It doesn’t matter if you call the connection God, soul, consciousness, the universe, Allah.  It is not what we call something that gives it it’s substance. Call it what you may, just connect. Our world now is made on divisions between one and another – black and white, up and down, right and wrong. However, silence is silence no matter how many times it is divided, reminding us that when we plug in, there is no division between us and our source – We are one!!

When you connect you are tapping into an infinite well of well-being, healing, love, light, peace, joy. Take the time each day to get quiet, get peaceful and meditate.

 

6. Give up your personal history.

If you don’t have a personal history to carry around anymore you also don’t have the expectation and judgements that go along with it. If I said give me the bag right now, you would probably throw it at me in delight and cartwheel out of this room. We drag around these personal histories for two reasons I believe. The first because we attach to it and play the role of the martyr thinking I have to carry this cross out of shame and or guilt (Deeply ingrained Irish fears and ideas). Or the second reason is because we are afraid to give it up for when we do we might not know who we are or what is next. When we give up our personal history, our old sorry story we have to make up a new one and often that is scarier than ditching the old one. Wayne likens the bag to a bag of manure that we carry around and every now and then we take out a handful of manure and spread it all over ourselves and wonder why there is a smell or s@*t. Now, you cannot just dump the bag and say job done! First, we embrace the bag, your personal history. You acknowledge and accept that you had to go through all of that to get to where you are now, and the evidence is that you are here, you got through it. Once you have embraced it, accepted it, understood it (maybe with the help of a professional) then you toss it and merge into the here and now and start living your life – your new story.

 

7.You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it – Einstein.

Our thoughts are all imagined illusions in our mind – sorry but this is true. Our map of the world is based on how we perceive a situation in that very moment with all the other factors of our memories, passed experiences, upbringing, schooling, class etc. It is a thought, a picture that we have created and believe to be true. To change our problems, we must change our mind because it is our mind where these problems live, where they were created, where we experience them.  First step is to admit when we are wrong. Not necessarily wrong in comparison to another person or in a judgemental way. Wrong in the sense that we have been making choices that no longer serve us, now or anymore and choose to change it up. There is no need for guilt or shame, just an honest admission to yourself that it didn’t work for you so now you are going to try something else. And for the people or situations that were at the root of these ‘problems’ send only love and light to them and keep them there.

 

8.Acting as if.

Treat yourself as if you have already created what you wold like to become, as if you already are that. This is using the Law of Attraction again, visualise and FEEL yourself as if you already have the thing that you most desire. This also works in day to day life when we are scared to be or do something. Be it our job, standing up and staying true to what we believe in or in doing what lights us up. See yourself as already ‘being’ what you want to be and act as if. Then, after a while, you will realise you are no longer ‘acting’ and that you just are.

9.Treasure your divinity

Trust your divinity, now that you are a divine creation and that there are no accidents. Treasure your uniqueness, your creativity, passion and flair for certain things. Don’t reject any of your ideas and creations. Trust that there is no separation between any of us and the source. Everyone is as equally connected as the next person and just as able to create, grow and shine bright in their own light.

10. Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you.

Where thoughts go, energy flows. Every negative thought you think has the energy behind it to weaken you, your heart, your mind, your soul. Think about the negative things you think and say to yourself. Would you say them to 5-year-old you or ten-year-old you? These negative thoughts that come to us in times of stress, frustration, anger are all coming from a place of fear and only serve to dis-empower us. When we feel them bubbling, flip, it, shift it, re-frame it to a thought that is empowering. If you are saying ‘I can’t’, flip it to ‘I can’t yet’ or re-frame it to I am ~insert positive, loving affirmation here~. Change your thoughts and you can change your life.  Remember what Henry Ford once said, whether you can, or you can’t – you’re right. Choose positive, affirming, empowering and loving thoughts.

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What Masks are you Wearing???

In a world of filters and Photoshop it has become glaringly obvious that we don’t want to have to analyse the stories and posts we scroll past to see what is real and what is fake? Calling out, judging and shaming people in the media and our immediate worlds has become the norm for most people whether they do it openly in the comment section or silently in their minds. We are crying out for the truth in every corner of our lives. But mostly we are just living a life in drag, portraying carefully constructed, entertaining characters to the world.

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Rewriting Your Story

Your life story is important and can have profound effects on others when shared to help or inspire. However, often we get fixated on ‘our stories’ or lack thereof. We forget our stories are not who we are but what we have lived through and lived by up to this point. Our stories tell of the lessons, blessings, tragedies and miracles that have happened to date. They teach us, help us to grow and develop on our journey but they should not define us.

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3 Steps to start a Daily Mindful Practice

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Mindfulness is defined as paying attention, on purpose in the present moment, in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness or meditation doesn’t mean sit there and think of nothing. It is simply a practice of awareness. In the practice you bring your awareness to your breath, to your body to whatever thoughts or emotions are floating around and instead of being consumed or overwhelmed by them you just observe as they pass by like clouds.

snowglobe-nail-artThink of a snow globe, when you shake it the snow goes everywhere, and it is hard to see anything except the snow. When the snow globe is placed back down, eventually the snow settles and it is easy to see again. When we are stressed, anxious, overwhelmed it is hard to have clarity about the situation or life in general. However, when we slow down, breath and allow all the thoughts or emotions to settle we can see clearly again. Our mindfulness practice allows us to do this.

There are so many benefits of practising mindfulness, here are few;

  • Less stress and anxiety. Felt not only on a mental and emotional level but felt on a physiological level from the nervous system first and then the other organs.
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Makes us feel better, happier
  • Increased patience and compassion
  • Lowers blood pressure and regulates our heart rate
  • It calms and balances us in mind, heart and body
  • Increases our energy levels
  • Increases the strength of our immune systems

Apart from the health benefits on a physiological, emotional and mental level mindfulness practice can realign us with who we really are. Most people are running and racing from one activity to the next, never slowing down or pausing to check in with themselves. They become accustomed to stress, anxiety, ‘busyness’ or switching off in front of the TV for hours as a part of modern day living. They see and believe that they will feel better when they get over what happened in the past or reach the point in the future that will make them feel better.

sailboat

This way of thinking however is not very helpful or beneficial to us. When we think like this we are like a boat floating without a rudder in the middle of nowhere. Sure, we may be staying afloat and moving but we have no real direction or destination in mind.  Mindfulness helps us to stay in the present moment, to respond instead of reacting unnecessarily to things that bump off the side of our boat. It helps us to settle the boat when the water is rough. It fine tunes our awareness so that we can see the big waves coming towards us and instead of trying to fight the wave (that is coming either way) we let it pass and say, ‘surf’s up’ or get ready for a ‘wipe out’. It also allows us to take control of the oars or the wheel again and move toward the destination we want.

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3 Steps to getting started

  1. Commit

The first step in starting any new skill or habit is to commit. Commit to yourself first. Maybe even sit with your thoughts on this for a few minutes. Why do you feel drawn to this? What is your intention for this practice, what do you want to get out of it? Less stress or anxiety, more peace? Then tell a friend or a loved one about the challenge you have set yourself so that they can support and hold you accountable (in a non-judgemental way – if you feel you have no such person then you can share with me in the daily posts)

  1. Prepare

You don’t need any special equipment to start your mindful practice. You just need somewhere to sit comfortably with a straight spine (on a chair, in lotus position, on a cushion or bolster) where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. You can set the timer on your phone (then turn it on aeroplane mode) and bring your attention to your breath. If you want to light a candle or play some relaxing music this can help to get you into a relaxed state.

  1. Pick a time that will best suit your lifestyle and routines and try to stick that time as best as possible. Of course, things will get in the way but if you pick a time that is least likely to be interrupted it will be easier to establish and maintain the practice for the month and hopefully after.

Remember as with everything in life the practice is an informance not a performance, informing us of where we are at that particular day on that particular time.

Join me on my instagram page for the Mindful March  challenge and take 5-10 minutes each day for yourself to establish a mindfulness practice and reap the benefits in mind, body and soul!!! I will be sharing lots of tools and techniques each day to help you to create a practice that suits you best!

Love and Light,

Mel