Gratitude and blessings!

Hello everyone! This post will be what may possibly be the shortest post I’ve ever put on here.

I simply want to let all my subscribers know about a great contest I just launched on my new wellness website, Begin Within Wellness. As you may know, I’ve been involved in charity work in various capacities for many years, including the work I do here at Unlimited Smileage.

Through the years I have been blessed in so many ways. I work to find new ways to show kindness to others and offer my services. Most recently, I’ve been sewing special pillowcases for cancer patients. Each one comes with a poem and a pocket inside for holding wishes and dreams. This contest has come as a part of that project.

The grand prize is valued at over $500 and it is free and easy to enter. You will find more details here.

Stay tuned, in the not to distant future, I hope to offer the pillowcases for sale in order to fund this project. All proceeds will go back into making more pillowcases.

Thank you for your support as I have taken this journey.

What do people thank you for?

As we are set to enter a new year I’ve stopped to reflect on my life since I started this journey. I’ve experienced many blessings as well as times I wasn’t sure why I was on this journey.

I searched my heart for a question that would give me some answers. The question I came up with is, “What do people thank you for?” I’m not talking about things like holding the door or stopping at the store on your way home. I’m referring to things that go deeper and that are consistent in your life.

What is consistent in my life? Thank you for listening, when no one else will. Thank you for supporting me in the most challenging times of my life. Thank you for being honest with me even when it may not be what I want to hear. Thank you for fun times.

I answered the question and the answers were revealed. I know why I am on this journey. I am blessed.

Find what people thank you for and you will find your purpose.

Meditation, am I doing it right?

I used to ask myself this question all the time when I first started practicing meditation. Am I doing it right? With all the latest research pointing us to use meditation as another tool to living a healthier, happier life, I thought it would be helpful to give my readers a long overdue post and dedicate it to the practice of meditation.

Defining the actual act of meditation can be difficult as there are many traditions and countless ways to practice. It is a heightened state of awareness that requires you to be fully present in the moment without judging what is in that moment.

Generally meditation consists of simply sitting quietly, focusing on your breath, a word or a mantra. However, anything we do throughout the day can be an act of meditation, walking, standing, even washing dishes. The key is to be focused on the present.

Many who are new to meditation will ask, “How do I know if I am doing it right?”. The short answer is “If you feel better at the end, you are doing it right.” It is natural for there to be internal chatter and this isn’t a sign that you are doing something wrong. Acknowledge the thoughts and chatter and then let them go.

Most people who are drawn to meditation are seeking ways to reduce stress and quiet the mind. It is a very effective stress reducer.

The 4 most important elements in meditation practice are a quiet location with as few distractions as possible, a comfortable position whether walking, sitting, or lying down, focusing your attention, and an open mind.

Meditation may be used as a compliment to traditional medicine (not a replacement of) for various health related issues:

  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Emotional issues related to chronic illness
  • Overall health and well being

Meditation teaches us to focus attention and be mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations and too observe all these in a nonjudgmental way. The result is a mental calmness and physical relaxation.

Be here now!

Kindness Times Two

In my last post I mentioned I would have the opportunity to share with Nimo again. This evening was very special to me, it was an evening of inspiration at HopeWell Cancer Support Center. It was a wonderful evening of sharing, hugs, kindness, love, smiles, tears, music, and a few bubbles.

This facility is in an amazing location, surrounded by nature. I was sitting on the front porch watching a doe grazing in the grass not more than 50 feet from me. She didn’t have a care in the world, neither did I.

I’m not sure I can highlight just one thing about the evening so I will give you a few.

Ellie, from the Empty Hands Music crew was filming guests as they arrived, asking what was one thing they were grateful for. Do you have any idea how tough it is to pick just one thing you are grateful for? She later did her best to piece them all together as part of the Gratitude video. It was a wonderful surprise.

Survivors, caregivers, and family members shared their stories and inspiration. There were so many beautiful people in attendance.

I gave a little background into my journey and shared the story of the handmade kindness cards I leave in random places. Everyone was so excited to be taking home their own they asked if they could just start passing the box around while I was sharing. Before I could finish a wonderful woman stood up and started sharing. She thanked me for helping her know why she was there. She had been scheduled for surgery in the morning and they sent her home, she didn’t understand why and what the message was until I spoke of the cards. The joy I felt at that moment was absolutely overwhelming.

The entire evening was filled with these “kind” moments. Wherever you are, if you have the opportunity to be a guest for an evening of inspiration with Nimo and Empty Hands Music, don’t pass it up. You will be forever grateful and blessed.

A very fitting photo to cap off the night-Heartfelt!

Gone too long!

Hello everyone! Wow, I really have been gone too long. Life as a health coach, caregiver, yogini, and the many other hats I wear, can get a bit crazy. Just know that you are always in my thoughts even when life doesn’t allow me the time to write on the blog.

I hope you have been out spreading kindness and love everywhere you go. I would love to hear some of your stories.

For today, I would like to share one of the best nights I’ve had in quite some time. Last Wednesday I had the honor and privilege of meeting some of the most amazing people who all share a desire to spread love and kindness in their own special ways.

To my left was the guest of honor and a very special musician, Nimo. Empty Hands Music is a labor of love created by Nimo as his gift to the world. I invite you to go to his website where you can download his 10 track album absolutely free. I guarantee you will love it!

Although the name is Empty Hands, Nimo’s music will fill your heart with joy. I handed out Kindness Cards and simply had a wonderful night. I now have the opportunity to do it again this week at a cancer support center. I’m so excited!

A bonus to the evening, I now have new friends and someone to guide me in accomplishing a life-long dream of volunteering in India. Thanks Nimo!

Because I’m Happy

The song of the hour, as most of us know, is “Because I’m Happy.” I admit, I am hooked. I can honestly say that at least once a day that song plays and replays in my head. However, as catchy as that song is, do most people understand true happiness? In my opinion, no. In talking to people, I find that most peoples happiness depends on outside circumstances or other people. What happens if those circumstances change or those people go away?

True internal happiness is a moment by moment process, easier for some than for others but attainable by all. My own personal experience has shown me that in my life there are many ways for me to achieve a level of happiness each day. One such way is through adventure, new discoveries. I would be hard pressed to find a day in my life that I don’t find at least one new exciting adventure that I hope to embark on. Today is no exception.

Does an adventure need to involve leaving where you are? Can we have an adventure right where we are at this moment? I believe we can. An adventure can be something as simple as trying out a lifestyle change, maybe what we eat or the form of exercise we get. Maybe the adventure is learning something new and expanding our minds.

Expanding my mind to learn things I had never thought possible is one of my most exciting, daily adventures. I’m currently on a year long journey with a training I believed would never be possible for me and yet the universe provided. (More about this later.)

Have you ever started researching something and found that in doing so, your research had a sort of domino effect? One thing leads to another, and another and before you know it you have forgotten where you started out in the first place. I believe we are guided to what we need. We simply need to listen for that inner voice and follow.

I followed that voice today and found this beautiful mantra video. I want to share it with you, “Because I’m Happy.”  It was a graceful, serene, highlight to my day.

Live each day in the knowledge that each of you is important to me and to the world. You are loved and appreciated. The light in me honors the light in you.

Namaste

Expanding my mind..

I want to open with an apology for being away so long. I have been very busy expanding my mind and the journey has just begun.

I was given an opportunity to study to become a registered yoga instructor and learn from wonderful instructors, Rachel Wilson and crew, from the Om My Yoga Academy. My training started last October and I graduated in March, RYT-200. This was, by far, the most enlightening and wonderful training experience I have had to date. If any of you are considering teacher training, I would recommend you check them out.

I have known for years that I wanted to study yoga but in my mind it was a form of exercise. It was all about poses and flexibility. Wow, was I wrong. Yoga is about so much more. Most importantly it is about love. Love for yourself and for each of your students. It is about putting love into every part of your life, your day, each moment. Poses, flexibility, and exercise are all just small pieces of a much bigger picture.

I could write a book on all the things I learned that had nothing to do with poses and the learning isn’t over. What comes to mind for this post is simply–connection–connection to ourselves (body, mind, and soul), connection to others, and connection to a higher power.

Through this training I have learned so much about myself and my purpose here on earth. I have made new friends and gained new skills. I hope to have the opportunity to share what I have learned with you in future posts. “Yoga as it relates to life” may come up often.

For now, I will leave you with a picture of the graduating class of the Om My Yoga Academy class of March 2014!  Namaste!

"Omies forever!"

“Omies forever!”

 

Grateful Living

How many times have you heard, “Be grateful for what you have.”? What happens when life seems to be going all wrong and gratitude isn’t what we are feeling? Can we find the reason to be grateful in what we perceive as negative?

Life can be challenging and I’m grateful for that. It is in those challenges that I learn who I truly am and gain strength.

Sadness comes into our lives and gives us reason to be grateful for the happier times. Without sadness we could not know happiness.

A feeling of powerlessness over our situation is cause for gratitude in the knowledge that in these times we can turn to others for a helping hand. It deepens our connection to those we love.

Fear is always something to be grateful for. Fear at a primal level will keep us out of harms way. Fear that doesn’t come from a place of survival will lead us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and live life to the fullest.

Most of us would say it is easy to be grateful for family, food, and fun times. My challenge to you is to find something to be grateful for in every situation throughout your day and your life.

Enjoy the following video on Gratitude. I’m sure that in no time you will be singing along. Each day is filled with gifts waiting for you to untie the ribbons!

Kindness Starts With You!

We all have those days when we believe our kindness goes unnoticed and we wonder, “Where are all the kind people in the world?”

You are cut off in traffic and shouted at by the driver. You ask for customer service and what you get is someone who could care less about the customer. Everyone around you seems to be having a bad day. On these days it is so easy to give up and give in to the negativity. It is these days that we need to push forward with kindness and bring our awareness into the moment.

Even if the only thing you can do on any particular day is to be kind to yourself, do just that. Treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally indulge in. Look at yourself in the mirror and see your true beauty. Being kind to yourself helps you to see the kindness around you.

Opening your heart allows energy to flow through. Resist the urge to close your heart to the world around you, a closed heart is a stagnate heart.

Be Inspired! I found this very fitting poem quite some time ago, I’m not even sure where or just who wrote it, but it is very fitting for this post.

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the flowers,
Kind deeds are the fruits,
Take care of your garden,
Keep out the weeds,
Fill it with sunshine, kind words and kind deeds.

 

Dream it! Wish it! Do it!

Do you dream of doing things in your life that seem impossible? Every dream starts out that way. It’s up to us to bring that dream into reality and it starts with small steps. The first step, believing that you can accomplish whatever your heart desires.

I ask myself two key questions when determining if I believe a specific dream can become a reality. Will this dream serve the greater good of the community and world? Will I grow from the accomplishment? If the answer to both is yes–I have a winner.

After getting that resounding yes to my two questions, my dream has gone from impossible to probable. So how do you get from probable to inevitable?

Here are a few steps to get you started on the path to realizing your dream, whatever it may be, getting healthy, weight loss, education, conquering addiction, getting out of a bad relationship. These steps can be used for nearly every goal you may have.

  • Decide on something you can do right now, this moment, toward that dream. It may be something as simple as research, a phone call, or meditate on the next step to realizing your dream.
  • Next you will need to decide what it is you can do each day forward.
  • Take out a pen and paper or sit at the computer and write out a few things each day that would bring you closer to your where you want to be.
  • Tell someone else about your dream. If we share our goals with others we are more likely to continue working on them.
  • Ask someone to hold you accountable. Find a friend that supports you and believes in what you are doing and ask them to check in with you once a week to see how things are going.
  • Create a vision board and look at it daily. If we can see our dream, it becomes more real to us.
  • Express your gratitude on a daily basis. Being grateful for what we know is our reality coming to life will bring more of that reality to be grateful for.

Celebrate your victory.

I’m going to share one of my dreams with you and you can hold me accountable. I enjoy what I’ve been doing for the last few years with Unlimited Smileage. I enjoy coaching survivors, speaking to groups, and spreading kindness wherever I go. One of my biggest dreams is to take a specific training that I believe will facilitate my growth as a coach and allow me to contribute more to my community and the world. This training has always been financially out of reach. I’ve changed the way I view this and although I don’t know how, this training will happen in the very near future.

What are some of your dreams? Dreams become reality, one choice at a time!