The Power of Positivity

dancing-flower-girlHave you ever stayed quiet in a conversation even though you wanted to shout your truth from the balcony?

Then when someone asked you what’s wrong, why aren’t you talking? You say something silly like, “I don’t have anything to say.” All the while you are convincing yourself and anyone that listens that you are “trying to be positive”, and didn’t want to say anything that would stir the pot.That’s BOLOGNA!

Positivity is not hiding your truth or swallowing your words. True positivity comes from recognizing why you have certain thoughts, feelings, reactions and then using positivity to set a new foundation for more powerful, inspiring thoughts, visions, words and actions.

Its like cultivating a garden, you wouldn’t just sprinkle some seeds in the ground and hope for the best. You would dig up the old soil, the weeds, the debris and then put down new soil, maybe you’d mix in some of the old soil because it does have some valuable nutrients and earth minerals (ie lessons and growth and experiences). You know that this new soil gives your plants a better foundation and more possibilities to flourish.

Sometimes we use “I was trying to be positive” as an umbrella term. The problem with “trying-to-be”-anything is that it will eventually come back and bite you in the ass. Literally like a dog chasing its tail, you will keep going in circles every time the same situation or words are spoken. In the game of life you can’t just go under the positivity umbrella and protect yourself from the rain.

In life we must dig deep into our hearts and bring up all the crap that we have attached ourselves to, the words of rejection by the mean girl in middle school, or the feeling of unworthiness when our parents left us. Whatever it is, you have to bring it up to recognize that that isn’t you! That girl’s words or your parents actions don’t define you.

It feels like they define you because you have identified with those thoughts in the confines of your own mind! The beauty of recognizing, bringing it up and turning it into, “that wasn’t personal, it had nothing to do with me. I am worthy and wonderful.” That’s positivity! It’s a choice based on knowing and acknowledging the truth about what really happened.

A few weeks ago, my husband in the span of a few days kept asking me, “what’s wrong with you?” Now to an outsider, these are simple words and should not cause any harm. Yet, every time he used these words, I seemed to experience sharp pains in my heart and the natural “positive” reaction was let it go, don’t say anything, he’s not using any words that are hurtful.

Finally day 3 or 4 of dog-chasing-the-tail (because the universe will keep presenting you with these same situations until you finally address it) I kinda exploded, “Really, what’s wrong with me!?!?! Nothing is wrong with me!! I’m just in a rush and trying to get a lot done! AND there is nothing wrong with that!!!!”

Uh no, there is nothing wrong with that, but there is something obviously wrong with your reaction girlfriend! So after some soul searching, I realized I was upset by these words, because all my life, I have been telling myself, “something IS wrong with me;” I was unlovable, shameful, tainted based on my childhood traumas and experiences.

Recognizing that I was identifying with my childhood experiences and that a simple question could set me off, helped me break old habits and thought processes, and turn my lesson into growth. That to me is positivity, recognizing something is wrong, digging deep to find out why, bringing it up and choosing to turn it into the fertilizer that will help me bloom.

“When shit happens, turn it into fertilizer.” ~Kurt Blacken

 

Photo Credit: http://www.findyourmiddleground.com

Just Become Aware

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So many times I hear people tell me, “I can’t meditate. Its too hard. I don’t know how to do it.

Let’s start in baby steps. First, “Do you know how to breathe?” There is no point in attempting meditation either by sitting still or being in motion and focusing on breathing if you aren’t even breathing properly.

Proper breathing is so important, it increases blood oxygen giving you clarity, focus, relaxation and life-energy! Proper breathing is when your belly comes down and out when inhaling and up and in when exhaling. Do not force it because then you are compensating with using muscles of your chest, shoulders and back.

The best position to teach yourself proper breathing is by laying down, in this position your back and shoulders are supported and your abdominals are relaxed allowing your diaphragm to really be the only muscle you use for breathing. So before bed tonight or when you wake up, lay there and become aware of how you are breathing.

Become aware of your breathing throughout the day, especially in moments of tension or stress when our breath becomes shallow, our muscles become tense, and no oxygen is getting in, therefore no clarity is coming through. Breathing slow, deep, proper breaths allows you to quiet the mind (ie this is a form of meditation!).

When you can quiet the mind by focusing on what’s going on with your body and breath, you allow space to become aware of your thoughts.

Even reading this blog, be aware of your thoughts:
Are you thinking this girl is full of shit?
Are you becoming annoyed?
Are you skipping sentences because you’re thinking about what you need to do tonight?

Becoming aware of our thoughts allows us to understand ourselves better. Do we appear mean, judgmental, critical, fearful, ashamed because our thoughts tell us to be?

Your thoughts do not define you.

They are just thoughts, some call this part of you the ego. It’s what we have taught ourselves to think over time. The world is a tough, scary place and our ego is a protection mechanism we create to survive.

When we become aware, we can then begin to shift, if we want to. Some of have become used to our egos, it protects us by keeping us disconnected, it makes us right by allowing us to be arrogant, it keeps us in the dark, and for those that don’t like change, this is a place of comfort and we don’t want to know any better. And that’s ok! Its your choice!

The rest of us want to shift our energy, our thinking, so that we generally feel positive, calm, relaxed, happy. This awareness of wanting better allows us to ask questions like:
I have everything I want, why do I still feel like a failure?
Why am I upset about this situation?
Why did her words make me feel angry?
Why do I say things I don’t mean?

Naturally when we ask questions…we want answers. Those answers start to come in the form of whispers. These whispers are messages from our higher self. The messages are so profoundly full of wisdom and yet simple enough to make us want to be vulnerable and real and better in every situation.

These whispers are constantly occurring throughout the day, in the car, in the office, in the bathroom, even while we are engaged in conversation, but we don’t hear it or we ignore it, because we are not aware.

Becoming aware of the whispers is like noticing the real you. The you that is vulnerable, sensitive, loving, peaceful, some might even say this is the part of you that is connected to God/Universe. This is the only part you enter this life with (that’s why babies are so fresh and innocent; they are solely an expression of their higher selves).

Over time, your higher self becomes masked and hidden based on life experiences, trauma and things that were said to you. This higher self is always alive in you, it believes in you, it knows your great potential and its been awaiting your awareness.

Becoming aware allows us to open up space in our hearts, minds, bodies, spirits, to hear its whispers.
And when you hear it, it says things like:
“Forgive.”
“Give her love, she is scared.”
“Say thank you until you mean it.”
“Hug him.”

You may not listen to the whisper the first time or the second or the 10th, but you are aware of it; And being aware of it is enlightenment!

Even Buddhist monks don’t start out by sitting still and meditating for long periods of time. They had to work up to it, they had to take baby steps. They had to learn that meditation is not just about sitting and breathing, its about becoming aware in every moment that you feel anything but harmony and love.

Know that the awareness will become your guide, your guru (fun fact: guru means bringing one from darkness into the light). The awareness will become your true voice, your true actions and one day, it will tell you its time, its time for your next step. Until then ….shhhh listen.

Saying Yes To The Best

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I went to the #LivetheLifeYouWantNJ weekend with OPRAH! It was everything an O-admirer could have hoped for, inspiring, motivating, lots of waving of the hands trying to get her to notice you. She was wonderful and her “trailblazers” were equally phenomenally motivating.

During a Q&A someone asked, Rob Bell, how do you begin to “pump the brakes” on busy lives.

He responded: take a look at your life this week. Reflect back on it and then choose the moments that were good and the moments that were the best.
You will have to learn to say No to the good, so that you can have more Yeses for the best!

Amazing right? It’s the kind of answer where you say, “I know that!” Yet, how many of us actually DO that? For me it took a lesson in daily practice to recognize the very profoundness of this answer.

From the time my girls were little, I would put them to bed singing prayers and songs of love and a peaceful night’s sleep. As they grew, the songs became more age appropriate, and now we actually just “talk.”

And then “life” happened. You know, “life”, like when someone asks, “hey what happnened?” and You respond, “Life.” Also known as “too busy.”

I actually stopped having nightly conversations with my kids and started to give them quick good night kisses and hugs and I love yous, and would walk out, close the door and go meet “life.”

Life, the BS I think is more important, like washing dishes, making lunches, laundry, paying bills, watching the rated-R shows, I can’t watch when my kids are awake.

Last night I actually sat in my daughter’s room and wanted to have a conversation about an incident that happened. I realized that she was acting a certain way out of fear: Fear of speaking up for something she wanted, Fear we would say no.

I did an exercise from Oprah’s own workshop, where I had her close her eyes and imagine someone she loved very much and then I had her bestow all kinds of gifts unto this person, what do you want for this person? After she listed all the material things, she added thing like happiness, peace, being brave, fun, laughs and smiles followed.

After I told her that all the things she wanted for this person she loved dearly is things she wants for herself. Its easier for us to want happiness for others before ourselves. She was amazed. So she closed her eyes again and I said imagine yourself. Now imagine you have happiness, peace, you are brave to say what you want, you have no fear. What does that feel like?
She actually said, “I feel free.” Full quote! Amazing!

She literally opened her eyes and her entire aura, her facial expression and spirit had shifted to being lighter. She was smiling! She got it!

Then she had a question, “When we see other people not being themselves, should we say something?” BLESS HER! Really this question out of a 6 year old.

I answered with, “If someone pointed out to you that you aren’t being yourself. It may make you feel upset, especially if you think you are being yourself. If we are being 100% of ourselves, 100% of the time, like being happy, peaceful, loving, all the things we see ourselves as, if we are doing that every minute of every day, then we may…”

She interrupted me to FINISH my sentence and say, “If we are being ourselves all the time, then people will just see us and want that for themselves. We won’t have to tell them anything.” AHHHH SERIOUSLY my heart is still melting writing this!

So back to Rob Bell, thank you, for helping me recognize that this moment is a BEST in my week. This moment is the one I would to say Yes to every time. And although I could have read (which is my all time favorite things to do) a chapter from a book and it would have been good, tonight I said No to the good, so that I could have the best with my daughter.

THIS IS LIFE! This is how we should be defining life. Its not controlling and overwhelming and exhausting. Its love and peace and moments like this! So stop blaming LIFE for your melancholies, and the so-so moments and the upsets and the daily mundane routines, because that’s not life, that’s your choices!

You have a choice to start embracing Life for the lessons and the wonderful moments, to start making each moment the best. And to say in the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “here’s to life!”

When I shared this story with my best friend, she said pointed out something wonderful, she said, although its sad and terrible to think what-if, “what if this person were not in my life?”

What’s sadder is what-if we never got to say the things we wanted to them or do the things we wanted with them. These moments, these people in our lives are gifts, sometimes only momentarily.

So make each moment the best, because the good is just not good enough.