Meditation Series Update – Cultivating Calm

As you may recall, I registered to participate in Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s free Meditation Series, “Expanding Your Happiness”. The series was 21 days. I completed 15 days and then lost track. Overall, though, I enjoyed the experience, and I would happily do it again. Meditation, calm, relaxation, and the journey inward are all part of a practice, and for me it really does take practice. It wasn’t a perfect journey, but I enjoyed the days that I did put the effort in.

I thought I would share the 15 days’ worth of centering thoughts that were so helpful to me:

1. “happiness is my true nature”
2. “I am filled with spirit”
3. “I am peace”
4. “I am love”
5. “I am playful”
6. “hope lights my path”
7. “I am wholeness”
8. “we are here to enjoy”
9. “my actions have purpose”
10. “I am content just as I am”
11. “kindness expresses the gentleness of the soul”
12. “life makes me smile and laugh”
13. “I am thankful for all I have”
14. “my happiness energizes and inspires me”
15. “my happiness shines everywhere”

I’m slowly trying to cultivate more calm in my life, and that can mean a lot of things from sitting quietly without electronics to spending time in the garden to focusing on simple words to help me sleep. I also love Calm.com for a quick chill-out in the middle of a work day, and this great one-minute meditation video:

What do you do to ‘keep calm’ ?

Happy September!

From today until the end of 2015, I’m going to be working on 16 months’ worth of goals and self improvement. For the most part, this will include working on becoming very healthy, restructuring our finances to meet our 2016 goals of buying a house and being financially ready for TTC, making the most of my career, improving my emotional well-being (managing anxiety) and spending more time and effort reading and learning. My efforts in these areas will be the focus of the blog going forward.

I thought I would start today off by doing a little healthy food meal prep. Our garden has been offering some beautiful harvest recently and it’s a great time of year for cheap local produce.

I started the day off with some green juice- garden kale, garden cucumber, local zucchini, and local bell peppers.

Next I made a variation on eggplant parm – local eggplant, garden tomatoes and herbs, Ezekiel breading, and a basic cheese sauce (mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese and egg – just trying to use what we have on hand).

Finally I made a roasted eggplant and pepper dip for chicken etc. with local eggplant, local and garden bell peppers (green and purple) and local jalapeno with lemon and butter.

sept1

My first priority on this journey is truly my health. It’s so true- where I slack, I lack. I look forward to putting better effort into taking care of myself, which will in turn allow me to succeed in my career, which will in turn propel our finances forward, which puts us closer to so many of our goals. If I don’t take the time and effort to take care of myself, I don’t get to see myself progressing. This is priority one.

The Importance of Work

 This is an exercise from my personal development binder outlining the purpose of working and working hard/working smart. Of course, work can mean any way you contribute in life and does not necessarily mean work for pay.

This is only my particular exercise about my particular work life {again, the only life I know how to live is my own}. This is not one size fits all – everyone’s list would be a little different. This is a wonderful exercise though, and I thought it was worth sharing. It really gives my career goals some weight when I get down to the MEANING behind them.

Because this is real life, I do not necessarily give my very best every single day, but this a helpful reminder of why I should be committed to doing just that. This is a good page in my binder to turn to when I’m feeling unmotivated or discouraged, and it helps me remember why my career goals are so very important. It’s a good, simple way to renew my focus.

Essentially the exercise is to answer the following questions:

 why bother setting goals to succeed in my career? what is my motivation? why is it important to do my best at work?

CAREER
Why I always strive to do great work:

To contribute to society: to participate in making the world better, to do something to help

For my loved ones: to contribute to our marriage by doing my part to help my husband, bear his burdens and make his life easier & to make my family & friends proud

For my coworkers: To make sure I am a valuable team member and the work load is fairly divided

For the clients: To be delivering a premium quality service for client satisfaction (and thus continued contracts)

For our financial freedom: to make money to finance our daily life and contribute to our financial goals/make our dreams come true

For my emotional health: To feel needed, to feel proud of the work I do, to relieve stress {“as a cure for worry, work”), to be confident

For my physical health: to be productive {which is essential for health & happiness}.

For my mental health: to keep growing and learning, to exercise my brain and stay sharp

To guard my character: I do my best work as a point of honor: to have a clear conscience, to sleep well knowing I have done my best, to honor my commitments, and to be glad to sign my name to my work reputation.

To show my gratitude: to make the most of this amazing work at home opportunity

To make the most of my time {don’t phone it in. we spend more time working than doing anything else- make sure that time is well spent}

To respect the training: to make my student loans and years of education count for something important

To invest in the future: so I will be prepared and qualified for and open to amazing future opportunities by growing my reputation, references, resume. {who knows what the future may hold?}

 

Happy Monday! What gives your work life meaning?

Goals Binder

One of my current binder projects is a personal development / life goals binder. This is something I have been using for a couple of years now. Since I’m working on a fresh start, I decided to completely destruct and reconstruct my binder to keep everything current and to have another good read through everything.

This is a truly excellent personal development program for developing your own binder/life plan with maximum success: http://mylifebook.com/

My binder has evolved over time, but essentially, I have a divider for each significant aspect of my life {career, personal finances, my marriage, etc} and this is where I put my life’s vision {kind of like The Secret about my life}, inspiration, date ideas, plans, to-do lists, reading lists, goals etc. for each of those areas. I snapped this picture of a sampling of the binder’s contents: some vision boards in progress, motivational quotes, to-dos, a workout schedule, some faux ‘blank checks’ to visualize my earning goals & debt repayment goals, even mine & my husband’s Love Language profiles

{ http://www.5lovelanguages.com }.

pdbinder2

I just wanted to introduce my goals binder here, and I look forward to sharing some of its contents further as I construct my new binder and work at clearly defining my 16-month goals and getting to work on them.

Meditation Series Starts Tomorrow!

What a great way to start a Monday and have a great morning– Oprah & Deepak Chopra have a new, free 21-day meditation experience beginning tomorrow, August 11th, 2014. It’s called Expanding Your Happiness. Don’t you just love that? I’m so excited.

It runs through to the end of the month, and I love that this is a great tool to get connected and ready to be at my best- just in time for September 01, 2014 when I start working on my 16-month goals.

As previously mentioned, I’m looking forward to participating, and I’m just posting this little reminder in case you’d like to join in:

https://chopracentermeditation.com/

meditate

{this little beauty arrived in my inbox when I registered}

If you’re nervous (or just curious), here’s a good beginner’s resource:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/deepak-chopra-answers-questions-about-meditation

For the record, I am totally one of those people who is terrible at relaxing… I need this more than most people probably. It doesn’t come easy to me, but I’m doing it anyway. Life happens outside your comfort zone!

Here’s to being calm and connected and to Expanding Happiness!

Life Reset

Sometimes I get in a lull and feel like I’m spinning my wheels. We all get like that sometimes, right? So I keep this list on hand of ideas for a ‘life cleanse’ or ‘life reset’. Choosing even a few of these to put into action can really make me feel like I have a fresh start to be motivated and ready to work on my goals.

    Reset Your Life Ideas

1. “I accept myself unconditionally right now” out loud in the mirror for 30 days (from the Hungry For Change documentary)

2. meditating for sleep: breathe in thinking of the word REST, breathe out thinking of the word SLEEP {I love this one, this really works for me!}

3. When I make a mistake and have done what I can to repair it: “I forgive myself immediately and permanently.”

4. step onto my yoga mat, even just for a few minutes

5. I have a Nap button on my alarm clock that I can set in 15-minute increments, and sometimes 15 minutes can really recharge me.

6. ink shedding: set a timer for 10 minutes, a get a pen and paper or open a word document and just write to clear my mind- Don’t over-think anything, just keep writing. This is good for writer’s block.

7. work out. sweating is cleansing to the body.

8. when I feel anxious… take a few deep breaths and think to myself “you are safe.”

9. when considering a purchase… ask myself whether this purchase will enhance my life

10. detox from social media. we all get social media burnout from time to time, and it’s okay to take a break for an hour, a day, a week.

11. further to that, a break from electronics entirely can really reset my pace in life. a walk outdoors, a bike ride, tending to the garden, a long bubble bath… a small break from our screen-filled world can make a big difference.

12. limit caffeine. It has a time and a place in life and when I’m pushing myself beyond the limit, I notice.

13. respecting my money. making smart plans for it and putting it important places.

14. eat something (or ideally, many things) green. this small thing is a big deal.

15. stop for a minute (especially before unhealthy food) and consider what my body is truly hungry for.

reset

What do you do to hit the RESET button in life?

Recipe Binder

It’s a holiday here, making it a nice long weekend! This gives me more time to tackle projects around the home to help get organized. I go back to work tonight and so I may not have as much time this week to be working on larger projects, but I’m going to keep making baby steps in the direction of my goals and spending this month getting ready for a great September and beyond. I’m just going to work on one thing at a time and keep trying to progress. I love this quote (I’m not sure of the source) that says “Progress is progress, no matter how small” and I also love that Tony Robbins says “Progress equals happiness”. In other words, baby steps in the right direction are a powerful force.

My project for today is to start a recipe binder. I have a few “binder projects” that I’m presently working on, so watch for a couple more binder posts in the future.

Like most people out there, I have a stack of cookbooks, a recipe box, and a hefty Pinterest board full of recipes. It’s time to get them all in one place. One of my best friends has had great success with having a healthy recipe binder and using that to meal plan and do her food shopping, and it’s time I take a lesson.

Basically, the reason for the recipe binder is two-fold:
1. To organize all my recipes, and have them in one convenient location, to encourage meal planning, money saving, and time saving.
2. To make it simpler to eat healthy and to encourage good choices.

I went to Pinterest (where else?) sure that I would find a great free printable kit and this wonderful website did not disappoint.

This is the printable I used:

http://www.fabnfree.com/2014/06/10/free-recipe-binder-in-3-color-options/#more-2099

And I like Martha Stewart Home Office (Staples) divider tabs.

Here are some quick photos of my binder in progress:

recipeblog

Now I’ve just started and got the basic layout organized. I’ll work, little by little, on transferring recipes and getting my binder well stocked.

How do you organize your recipes?