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!

 

Child’s Play

Have you ever noticed that most children have no filters? They show raw emotion. They say whatever is on their mind. Many times they seem fearless. I have a granddaughter who always trusted someone would catch her and would climb up onto anything she could find and jump, even if no one was close. I can remember running to stop her from certain injury, as she laughed and jumped. I’m sure all of you can think of a child like this. Maybe you were that child.

Children will do things we as adults only wish we had the courage to do. I was recently reminded of a story involving one of my nieces. She was about 9 years old, out with her mom, when suddenly she took the change she had in her hand and threw it on the floor of the store. How would you have reacted to that? Probably the way my sister did, first in shock and then questioning why she would throw money on the floor. What happened next is not what you would expect.

Was she just an ungrateful child? Nothing could be further from the truth. Her answer to her mom was simple and profound. She stated, “Mom, haven’t you ever seen the joy on a child’s face when they find money on the floor?”

My phone rang this evening, it was one of my brothers. He was filled with joy and had to share his evening with me. He had just been at my youngest daughter’s house. He said, her oldest son was in bed because he was tired out from a long day with friends. He came downstairs, walked over to my brother, wrapped his arms around him and stated, “I’m tired, but I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would come down and say hello.”

I’m sure you have witnessed many of the wonders of a child. Think about the child you see dancing when there is no music. When is the last time you did that? At what point in our lives do we transition from that child who acts on what they feel to the person who is more concerned about what people may think of them if they do something just because their heart tells them to?

Have you ever wanted to pick up the phone and just call someone to say thank you for being you and then decided that may be silly? Have you ever wanted to say thank you to someone for smiling and saying hello? Maybe you just want to put a little dance in your step. What stops you from doing the things that are in your heart? Are you too busy thinking about what others may think of you?

My challenge to you-think outside the box as you go through your day. How can you make a difference, what can you do that is nothing more than child’s play? Here is an example: I recently enjoyed a meal at a dining establishment near me. I observed the normal things, the host was polite, my waitress was prompt and courteous, and the food was delicious. However, it went beyond the norm, I noticed how beautifully the food presentation had been done which made the food even more appealing. How many times do we acknowledge the person who preps our food?

At the end of my meal I asked the waitress to please call out the person that had prepared my food, both seemed a bit nervous. In a society that focuses more often on the negative, I’m sure they were wondering what was coming next.

As the young lady approached, I asked, “Are you the person who prepared my food?” I wish you could have seen the look on her face when I handed her a Karma Card, a hand written Karma Companion Card and a tip. Let’s just say, it was priceless, a smile for miles.

Find just one thing you can do that will brighten someone’s day today. Tip the cook, say hello to a stranger, dance without music, call someone you haven’t spoken to in quite some time and say hello, thank someone you love for just being who they are…jump and trust that someone will always catch you.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t dance!!

Where do the experts go?

Have you ever wondered where your doctor goes if he or she is sick? Who does Tony Robbins talk to when he needs coaching? If you are considered an expert, the best at what you do, does that mean you never need a mentor, someone to turn to for guidance? Do these people ever fail? Do they ever make a mistake?

Think about how many times in life we put someone on a pedestal, we believe they are super-human..after all they are the best at what they do. They are the best at their sport, their coaching skills are unmatched, they are always on top of their game. You can apply this to whatever someone is good at.

In thinking about so many recent headlines, Lance Armstrong and his doping confession is the first to come to mind. In my years of working side-by-side with him and his foundation I have defended him on more than one occasion. When the confession went public, I will admit to feeling betrayed, feeling foolish for having believed in him, for having put him on a pedestal.

Was I as much to blame for this as he was? As I look at it now, I take some responsibility. I was no different than anyone else who idolizes another human being. I expected super human powers from ordinary people. Those people we idolize, although not blameless, are under extreme pressure to live up to our expectations. That doesn’t seem fair.

This post is not about any one particular situation, it is not about Lance. This post is about why we choose to look at people as if they are more than human. It is about why, with my expertise in overcoming extreme life challenges, I find it nearly impossible to admit to anything remotely human. It is about why I find it difficult to tell the world, I found a challenge I don’t know how to handle.

I’m going to lay it on the line. I want nothing more than to have my “random acts of kindness” movement be successful. The journey is not going as I had envisioned it would. Does that mean I give up? No way! Does that mean I change the way I envision things will go? Maybe. Does it mean I look for advice, coaching, and a mentor for myself? Absolutely! Advice, coaching, and mentoring doesn’t need to come from someone who is skilled in those areas, it doesn’t need to come from someone who makes their living doing these things. We need to be open to finding answers wherever they may be presented and from anyone who may be in our lives. Anyone can be a teacher.

Here is a piece of advice from a great friend, 🙂 Kristin Pedimonti, that is stuck in my head, “Be sure the voices you are listening to are your own.” I have decisions to make and I’m not sure the voices I’m listening to are my own.

Here’s where you come in. I would love to hear what tools you use in your life when you have major decisions to make. How do you know the voices you are listening to are your own?

Sincere Smiles!

Someone Is Praying

I recently saw this statement on a piece of wall art and a T-shirt, “Someone is praying for the things you take for granted.” I couldn’t help but wonder, what do I have in my life that I take for granted that others are praying for each day. As many of you know, I live a very minimalistic lifestyle. I have slowly eliminated much of the “stuff” in my life. Somehow I knew that there would still be things that I was taking for granted that someone was praying for.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with the most obvious answer, clean water. I started researching the numbers, they are staggering. In one year, 3.4 million people will die from water related diseases, 780 million people lack access to clean, safe water, stats made available at Water.org. Just seeing those numbers accomplished two things, I was really thirsty and I was sure to enjoy every drop of my glass of water.

In our daily lives, there are so many things that we take for granted: clean air, a place to call home, clothing, shoes, access to medical care. How about the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, and breath fresh air? The list is long and it isn’t always something tangible. Family, friends, community, do you think about how blessed we are to have them? What do you have in your life that you take for granted? Can you change that? Can you live a more conscious, gratitude driven life? Yes, we all can.

I apologize for for getting so caught up in “life” that I have taken my few followers for granted and not posted regular posts on the blog. It is amazing how you make plans and then life has different ideas. I will do my best to change that.

There are so many new things happening for me, some wonderful..some not so much..all will be lessons…and I will share them with you. As always I’m grateful for everything, and everyone that comes into my life. I may not understand why things are happening when they are happening, but I will always strive to learn the lesson.

I will leave you with a few of my favorite thoughts.

Love the unloved!

Give your life away!

Be someone who makes someone else look forward to tomorrow with a smile!