Posts-February 2014

5 Ways to Make this Your Best Week Ever

The best ever is never far off.  In fact, it’s much closer than you think.

While on a hike in Griffith Park this past weekend, I had a long conversation with a friend. As she spoke, I heard a lot waiting. I heard that she’ll be happy when this or that happens. If only her living situation was different…  If only she could finish writing the show she’s been working on…

And I started to think about I used to do something similar, always putting off happiness for a future date. But I started to see that this “future date of happiness” never came. It was always a day or a week or an event away. Never here, now.

So with the help of my coach, I made a new commitment. I committed to seeing this as the best day ever. This is the best week ever.

“But how can you say that?” you might ask. Rather than have me explain it, I invite you to make the shift yourself. Here’s 5 ways to begin:

  1. Be still for 5-10 minutes today. We have a tough time feeling content when we’re so busy rushing anxiously around.
  2. Affirm this truth. One of my powerful daily affirmations is, “This is my best week ever!” and each day I see evidence of why it is.  With affirmations we train the subconscious mind to be open to the possibility, and then the conscious mind sees it out in the world.  
  3. Keep a gratitude journal. You don’t even need a “journal” to begin. Just bust out a sheet of paper and write down all the ways your are blessed. Note the times where things went your way. Where you were provided for just at the right time. What else makes you light up? Write it down!
  4. Practice laughter. Joy is your beacon towards living the life of your dreams. As you resonate more frequently with this feeling, you are more able to move towards lasting happiness because you know what it is. Flex your happiness muscle! We all have it.
  5. Do something fun to celebrate YOU! Make a point to take yourself out at least once a week. Watch a movie. Take a bath. Go for a leisurely drive. Breathe the fresh air and smile knowingly as you recognize all the great work you’re doing.

Your entire life has led you to this moment. You were never more knowledgeable, compassionate, gentle or powerful than you are now. As you feel the truth that this is your best week ever, not because you achieved something or attained something, but because it simply is, you will see more and more reasons why.

This is a shift towards abundance – a leap towards prosperity – a step towards realizing your inherent greatness, simply being yourself.

Welcome to your best week ever.

 

Stress Release Tip

Talk to someone today about what’s on your mind. What are you passionate about? What drives you? Instead of the same old gripes about work, inspired ideas (and we all have them) have a way of lifting us up. Once you’ve shared, be completely open and available to the other person.

Mindful Moment

“I hate the phrase ‘having it all’ — no one has it all, and trying to is the surest way to make yourself feel like a failure. I try to think of it as ‘having what matters.’ What matters to me right now are my family and my work. Keeping focused on the two things I care about helps me not beat myself up for the 17 things I’m not doing at any given moment.”
- Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine

Posts-February 2014

The One Thing That Can Make Your Heart Sing

Happy Tuesday, friend!  I hope you enjoyed Dana’s touching story last week.  She’ll be penning an issue of ZenLife Weekly again soon, sharing more of her tales.

This week, though, I invite you to relax your tendency to rush.  I offer you a moment to slow down.

You’ve probably felt it before.  You may even be feeling it now.  That subtle sense that something isn’t right.  That you have to do something – move, fidget, work, check your phone, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

And this feeling might be scary to you.  This fear causes anxiety that prevents us from doing the very thing that can cure it.  
If you experience this feeling when you are still – a telltale thought that “this isn’t it,” be grateful.  You are aware.

With this awareness, you can take action. 

The best action, in this case, is inaction.  We must commit to being still and rooting ourselves in breathing.  Only when we have the courage and compassion to sit with whatever is coming up does it arise, burn up in the fires of our awareness and pass away.

The stillness and contentment we seek is not an external phenomenon.  It isn’t a destination “over there” to arrive at.  It’s right here, waiting to be uncovered.

Beneath our layers of plans, agendas, worries, roles, obligations, demands, and frustrations is something pure, whole and complete.  It is you.  It is the call of your heart, singing.  Can you hear it?

Each of us has a tune all our own.  It is the song of your authentic journey.  Your true path, just waiting to emerge.

So what’s that one thing?  Stillness.  Through the stillness, you will hear the song of your heart already calling.  Be still today, if only or 5 minutes, and listen…

What’s yours saying?

 

Stress Release Tip

Take a break today, my friend.  Go out and breathe the fresh air, raise your arms high above your head and stretch!  Feel the aliveness of the body, and see if you can wake it up even more.  Sitting at our desks all day every day is boring for the body!  What would you do right now if you were 5 years old?  Would you be able to sit still any longer?  I didn’t think so.  Sometimes we just need to check it with our inner child to know the next step.  Now go!  :)

Mindful Moment

Mindfulness is the key that opens the doorway to much more open and flowing experience of life.  To engage all of your senses – which is what mindfulness is all about – you will likely have to slow down at first.  Our minds race, disconnecting us from our bodies, disconnecting us from our senses.  But when we bow-out of the race, we can return to feeling.  To knowing.  And then to trusting.  We can trust in our experience because we are alert, responsive, here.

Posts-February 2014

Freedom in Love

“Where there is love, there is life.”

                           ~ Ghandi

 

Hello, Friends! Happy Week of Love! It’s Dana, Adam’s partner-in-crime over here at ZenLife.  I’d like to share a story that my mom once told me.

Not long ago, I was going through a really rough patch as a single mom, working long hours, getting sick from the pressures at work. My boss wanted me to cover up for him and if I didn’t, he threatened to fire me. I didn’t know what to do, I desperately needed the job and the paycheck. That’s when my mom reminded me of a time during her childhood.

My mom grew up during World War II. At the time, when war was about to hit their village, my mom’s dad, my grandpa, had a plan to hide my mom and all her siblings on a steep hill at the village graveyard so soldiers can’t find them. 

Right before the village was invaded, Grandpa told my mom to take all the children to hide in the graveyard and stay there till it was safe to return.  “I won’t be going with you,” Grandpa told my mom. 

See, my grandma couldn’t walk — she had bound feet. The hill was too far away and too steep for anyone to carry her. So Grandpa had planned to stay behind with her.

Back then, it was customary to have arranged marriages and take on concubines — second and third wives — but Grandpa, when he married Grandma — declared to the entire village that this was not an arranged marriage. He married her for love — and he made a vow that he would always love only her, that he would never take another wife, and that he would never leave her side.

But Grandma said to him, “What about the children? You must go with them.”

Grandpa replied, “The children are old enough to take care of themselves. My place is with you.”

By now, my mom and her siblings, all crying their eyes out and scared, begged Grandpa to go with them. 

Seeing the children like this, Grandma said, “But you’ll have a chance to live.”

Grandpa took one look at Grandma and said to her, “What’s the point of living, if I can’t live with myself?”

That day, my mom had escaped with all five of her siblings and left my grandparents behind.

A few days later, when the bombings finally stopped, my mom brought her siblings back home.

The village was utterly destroyed. Bodies strewn in the streets, signs of torture were obvious on them.

When my mom reached her home, she found all their valuables had been taken, the house in shambles, the furniture destroyed and— 

Grandpa and Grandma still sitting where she had left them — alive and unharmed.

Turned out the soldiers that had found them, were so touched by the scene, they left them alone. My grandparents were the only lives spared in the village during that invasion.

Grandpa and Grandma ended up living very long peaceful lives, watching their children and grandchildren grow up, and both passed of natural causes and old age many, many years later.

When my mom told me this story, I knew what I had to do. I had thought I was trapped, powerless, and under the mercy of a horrible boss. The power of love gave my grandpa the courage to stay true to his vow. His act made me realize I have the freedom to choose my own path.

As scared as I was about losing my job, I stood up to my boss and refused to compromise myself. In the end, as you can guess, I wound up in a much better position today.

So the next time you are tempted to compromise who you are, remember, “What’s the point of living, if you can’t live with yourself?”

Dana 

Stress Release Tip

When you find yourself in a pressure-cooker situation, being asked to do something that is against your integrity, take a step back and breathe. No one has control over you. You have the freedom to choose, always. Go you!

Mindful Moment

If you are blessed to have a special love in your life like Dana’s grandparents, take a moment to write that person a love note. If you are single, that’s wonderful! Write a love letter to yourself — after all, your relationship with yourself is the most important. Happy Valentine’s Week!

Posts-February 2014

Meditation: The Ultimate Cure?

“Look within.  Be still.  Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of the way.”

                           ~ Buddha

 

Sit still, and be amazed at what happens.

Happy Tuesday, friend!  This week I want to share some exciting discoveries with you.  

Chances are very good that you’ve tried meditation, but did you know how good it is for you?  You might be surprised.

Research has been pointing to the powerful benefits of meditation for years, and a recent study cited in the Journal of the American Medical Association speaks to this.  The scientists found that meditation can help ease anxiety, depression, and pain when done consistently.

Another study found that meditating just a modest amount may help curb cigarette smoking, even in smokers who don’t intend to quit.  After a few hours of meditation, smokers puffed significantly less and had increased activity in brain regions associated with self-control — without even knowing that their behavior had changed.

Less anxiety, less depression, less chronic pain, AND less cigarettes.  How cool!

So what does this mean for you?  It means that you have an amazing ability to cure yourself.  Just by sitting still.  With regular practice, things that have bothered you or caused you hardship for years can fade away into happiness.

I see a lighter, more joyful tomorrow for you, no matter where you are.  And it begins with just 15 minutes a day.

Take a nice breath right now to get a head start, and have a great week.

Adam

Stress Release Tip

Take responsibility for what is happening in your life.  When we claim 100% responsibility for everything that happens, we shift from a victim mindset into one of empowerment.  100% means no blaming others for your unhappiness, even when you could so easily make a case for it.  100% means seeing today’s circumstances as a series of choices you made long ago coming to fruition.  100% means congratulating yourself on being such a badass.  Rock on!

Mindful Moment

This is technique used by emergency workers to counteract tunnel vision.  Sit quietly.  Pay attention not to what’s in front of you but to the periphery of your vision: the sides, up, and down.  As your attention naturally and inevitably comes back to the center, gently bring it back to the periphery.  Repeat this a few times, for about 5 minutes.  Use this to familiarize yourself with the power of a focused mind.  Mindful awareness is focus.

Stress is Optional Kick the Habit