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A Three-Minute Vacation: Flower Meditation


Please join me (Charlene) to learn how to meditate with a rose to bring more happiness and love into your life by watching the video below. Give yourself a gift of three-minute vacation by meditating. If you’d like to learn more about how to meditate or enhance your meditation practice, please click the link below to sign up a meditation class. Happy meditating! May your day be filled with happiness and love.
Link to the July 29th meditation class: http://bit.ly/2u26LaM
Link to the video: https://youtu.be/6VtKt7_otPI

Simple Routines that Make Life Better

 

Young woman walking away alone on a forest path wearing a red overcoat

On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, I discovered the real definition of what it means to slow life down. There were fewer deadlines, less overall hustle and bustle, and an emphasis on enjoying what the day gave you.

Even in the rain, there were people strolling to the beach with their dogs. Kids were building sandcastles. Life for them seemed like a vacation.

And that’s when I realized that some simple routine changes in my life could create a “personal Island Time” of my own. Here’s what I decided to do.

#1. Consciously choose to step outside of the material world.

Money does buy happiness. For a short period of time, anyway. Maybe being wealthy can increase that amount of time. At the end of the day, however, it is our relationships and experiences that provide true happiness.

So focus on what really matters to you. Make time for the people you care about every day. Have dinner with your family with the TV off. Go shopping together. Take a walk together. Find your own beach and enjoy it, whether it’s raining or sunny, and make time to build sandcastles.

#2. Take personal control of inner being.

Finding time to make meditation a habit will also be extremely beneficial. When you’re in control of yourself, then it feels like you can be in more control of the world around you.

With that control, it becomes easier to set meaningful priorities. Watching a sunset until it’s over feels a lot better than rushing from personal deadline to deadline. Time will always want to have control over you. Be willing to explore a different approach.

Just 10 minutes of meditation per day can make a real difference. My personal preference is for 20-30 minutes each day, but even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

#3. Decide to keep it going.

If you’re anything like me, then you’re willing to let Island Time be available on weekends, holidays, and vacations right now. Once you experience a better routine, you must make a conscious decision to keep it going.

There may be some rebellion experienced when you slow life down, especially if everyone around you is operating at a hectic pace. They may want you to speed up because it is more convenient for them.

Sometimes you must do what is best for you and your family. Just don’t compromise away the benefits of a better life because you’re trying to please others. Sometimes you have to be Priority #1.

#4. Do something kind for a random stranger every day.

Kindness is something that makes a lasting impact on you, the individual(s) involved, and the people who happen to see an act of kindness performed. It gives us all hope for humanity.

So I’ve decided to incorporate at least one random act of kindness every day into my daily routine. It can be something small, like picking up trash in the park. It might also mean serving at the local soup kitchen on a Saturday. Or volunteering at the local food bank. Or spending an afternoon at the nursing home, talking to people who may have not had a visitor in years.

Be kind every day. Do it in your own way. And life will seem much better because of it.

When life feels like it is out of control, it’s usually because you’re staring at your own reflection. Take back control with these simple routines that make life better. In doing so, you’ll be able to find your own Island Time.

How do you slow life down when it seems to get too busy? I’d love to hear more about your own routines and how you discovered they could be so helpful.

7 Steps To Loving Life Every Day

practice mindfulness

Far too often, we treat our lives as if it were a ship passing by the world blindly at night. Instead of looking at the twinkling lights on the shore, it is possible to be actively involved in the daily events of our lives. Instead of waking up one day and wondering what happened to your life, you can wake up every day and look forward to what might happen.

These 7 steps are proven to help you love life more every day.

#1. Disconnect

3 out of 4 kids sleep with electronics on in their room. For adults, the figure is closer to 90%. Electronic devices are nice to have as they connect us to a wealth of information and entertainment, but they can also disrupt sleep patterns. Texts, calls, or notifications at night can even wake you up. Disconnect the electronics overnight and give yourself time to breathe.

#2. Embrace

Our senses help us to experience the world in unique ways. Sights, smells, and sounds can help us to embrace new cultures, learn new things, or find new favorites. Touch helps us to be in contact with one another. Taste, which includes the sixth sense umami, has elements of all the other senses. Slow down, experience what each sense has to offer, and you will find a world of possibilities is open to you.

#3. Perfection

Each moment we experience has a small piece of perfection to it. In good times or in tragic times, there is always something good that can be taken out of each moment, although sometimes we don’t recognize those moments until they have passed us by. Actively engage each moment, seek out its perfection, and you will find that there is much more to love about life.

#4. Passion

Being busy is a state of mind. You don’t always have to be busy. You can choose to make time to pursue a passion. Include a new hobby as part of your daily routine for the next several weeks. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. As you explore your passion, you’ll be exploring a bit of yourself at the same time.

#5. Engage

What has happened in the past is history. What will happen in the future is unknown. What we have is a moment, right now, that we can control. Anxiety and worry are always going to be part of our lives, but they don’t have to be a controlling part of our lives. Take control, engage your worries, and then resolve anything that might be bothersome. You are in control of where your ship sails, but only if you’re steering.

#6. Delegate

Power comes from control. In today’s world, this leads many people to want to control the world around them. This causes people to eventually burn out because the only thing in this world that each person can control is themselves. By learning to delegate the control we feel we must have over others, we can embrace the joy that is often surrounding us at any given moment. This allows us to love what life has to offer.

#7. Contentedness

There will be good times. There will be bad times. Instead of going on the rollercoaster ride of hills and valleys, find a way to be content every day in some way. Certainly there will be challenges and stresses which will create moments of doubt in our contentedness, but these can be overcome. Accept life as it is and you may discover that it is already amazing!

Loving life every day isn’t always easy. With these steps in mind, however, life doesn’t have to be something that just sails by one day and you discover it is gone. Allow yourself the opportunity to experience everything that this universe has to offer you and you will find that falling in love with life in new ways every day is one of the best adventures we have.

8 Life Changing Resolutions For 2016

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Resolutions are something that many people make every year. We attempt to set goals that can create meaningful changes in our lives, but 90% of people will give up on their resolution by the end of the first month. Here are 8 life changing resolutions to make for this year, which can be started at any time throughout the year, so that you can reach your goals consistently.

#1. Embrace the differences of other people.

What makes us different as humans can make us stronger. Unfortunately far too many people try to make others be just like them instead of embracing those differences. Instead of making assumptions, experience the many ethnicity and cultures this world has to offer. The end result? There will be much more compassion in your life.

#2. Make the most out of your emotions.

Anger isn’t a bad thing. It is the choices that get made when angry that lead to negative life experiences. Fuel your emotional energy into positive things. Take time to calm down if you experience anger that is overwhelming. Catch yourself before you lose control and you’ll have fewer emotional icebergs to navigate.

#3. Build bridges with people.

It’s easy to carry a grudge, especially if someone has wronged you on purpose. Righteous anger is one of the most difficult emotions to handle. This year, try to build bridges with others instead of burning them if you feel you’ve been wronged.

#4. Focus on appreciating what others do around you.

On the other end of the spectrum is the random compliment from a stranger. Appreciation from people we don’t know lifts up the spirit as much as righteous anger brings it down. If you see someone doing something great, then appreciate them in that moment. You may just start a chain reaction of appreciation.

#5. Be happy when others succeed.

We’re “always keeping up with the Jones’ family” in today’s world, it seems. We want that promotion. That raise. That new house. The fancy iPhone. When other people get these things, it can feel like a punch to the gut. This year, try to choose happiness when you see others succeed instead. If we think of humanity as a community, we all succeed when one person experiences success.

#6. Meditate.

If you can meditate for 20 minutes every day this year, you’ll change everything. Maybe you can’t start at 20 minutes right away, but you could build up to it. Try adding 1 minute per day to increase your time. You won’t believe the difference it could make.

#7. Find a way to be content.

Gratitude isn’t looking at others who don’t have it as good as you and trying to feel blessed. It is an attitude of contentment in both the good and the bad that life has to offer. When we can accept our circumstances in life, then we can begin to change them. Every moment has something perfect to find within it, so try to find those perfect moments this year.

#8. Stop playing the blame game.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that when we blame other people for what we think is wrong in this world, there’s a good chance that what we’re really doing is shirking our own responsibilities for what is going on. Take ownership. Take a good, hard, and long look at yourself. Pointing fingers only works if you’re pointing at the truth.

For the next year, self-reflection will lead to self-confidence. Diversity will lead to strength. Being content will lead to happiness. What are your resolutions for the coming year?

7 Ways to Increase Your Happiness

7 ways to increase happiness

Happiness is a choice. Happiness does not come from possessions or external circumstances. But simply knowing that happiness is a choice is not enough. Fully experiencing it still requires a conscience decision to do so each day. A little effort can go a long way in increasing happiness.

1   Get physical.

Physical activity is a great way to reduce our stress levels and pump up the endorphins. Sometimes the best way to increase our happiness level is to have a good workout. If you are feeling lacking in the happiness area think about the last time you worked up a sweat. Physical activity boosts your confidence and your mood.

2   Outweigh negative thoughts with the positive.

Give your negative thoughts a spanking and slap on three positives to outweigh the negative. Figure out where your negative thoughts are coming from by trying to find three positive things about the topic. If you find more positives than negatives keep the source around. If you don’t, it is time to toss it out and start thinking instead about the positive effects of moving away from the source of your unhappiness. Take action towards the positive instead of letting the negative thoughts consume you.

3   Drop the worries—focus on what you can control.

If you can’t control it don’t worry about it. So many of us get wrapped up in what-if land that we start feeling at home in it. Figuring out solutions to worst-case scenario gives us a false truth that we are somehow more prepared or more control of things that we have no effect on. It is better to focus your energy on things you can control and things that can make you happier.

4   Do a happy activity every day. Give yourself small acts of kindness.

Consider a time you were really, truly happy. How did you feel in that moment? Don’t you want more of that? Figure out what things make you happy and do one thing that makes you happy every day. This way, when things are not going as well as we hope they would we can find ways to lighten our mood and change the direction of our lives back to happy land.

5   Smile—a smile attracts happiness of others! It is a magnet that lights up the world.

One of the most unique things each person has is their smile. The shape of our teeth are actually pretty interesting and I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who looked better frowning than they do with a big ol’ smiley face! I honestly believe that we are each here to make a positive impact on others in our own unique way. One way to do that is to smile at others let them smile back and enjoy the unique energy flow that comes from a smile exchange.

6   Accept your life.

When we focus on our dreams we are more likely to achieve our dreams and as a result feel more content with the direction our lives have taken. To do this most effectively we have to push past the life un-acceptance speeches that start with “What if?” “If only? or “Someday” and rewrite our mentality with action verbs towards our dreams. Like Chris Prentiss says in Zen And the Art of Happiness “Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that could happen to me”. Be the author of your moments and do what you can with your resources to reach your dreams but also accept life for what it is. You can’t change the past nor should you try. You are exactly who you are for a beautiful reason. Each of our happiness really depends on doing the work required to allow that reason to be expressed to the world.

7   Live in the present.

It is happy time all the time! Every moment is a new opportunity for us to be more alive and more in tune with the sounds, actions, and feelings of each moment. When we are present or “in the moment” we once again take our happiness away from its dependency on the happiness prescribed by our mind’s chatter to the happiness found at our present state. We become more aware, and with the intent of finding a greater sense of contentment our many senses begin to resonate with each moment to its fullest potential. Time slows down and we are at ease with the natural course of our lives.

Could Your Stress Relief Be Making You Unhappy?

wandering mind

Allowing the mind to wander is often a way to remove oneself from a difficult situation. We can create a fantasy environment where the bad stuff disappears and we are happy. These daydreams can help to fill many voids, but they might also do something else: make us unhappy.

Here’s the problem: daydreams aren’t real life. This makes them more of a distraction than a real coping skill. By allowing the mind to wander without direction, what we’re really doing is equal to watching a couple hours of TV or listening to some songs on the radio. Eventually those problems are going to come back around.

Instead of letting your mind wander and create fantastic daydreams about how things could have been, try these tips to help you make the real moment, the right now, become a more attractive place to be.

#1. Experience this moment. The moment you have right now will never come back again. History is created with every second that ticks off the clock. Every moment has something special about it that deserves to be found. Instead of ignoring these moments by letting the mind wander, consider observing the moments to see the different kinds of perfection it may contain.

#2. Be proactive about resolving issues. When you know a problem is lurking around the corner, it becomes very easy to focus on the problem. You dread the work it will take to resolve the issue. You might even hate the steps required to resolve the issue that is coming up. When you decide to be proactive and take those steps, however, the problem is never as big and the negative feelings are never as strong.

#3. Create a plan. Although some days it doesn’t feel like it, there is always some free time around that can be enjoyed. By creating plans now about what direction our lives should go when this free time can be utilized, there will be a greater joy felt because there is satisfaction in seeing a well-executed plan go your way. This also works for structuring your work day, organizing your schedule, and any other tasks you may need to accomplish.

#4. Take off your shoes. Sometimes just getting back to our roots is enough to bring the mind back to its center. Take your shoes off at some point in the day and feel the ground beneath your feet – though maybe not in a public bathroom! Experience the grass, soil, or carpeting. You’re feeling the foundation of what makes up “you.”

#5. Use your memories to your advantage. Your experiences also help to define who you are. Remembering them and the lessons learned can help you avoid future issues with regret, anxiety, and fear. We all make mistakes. We all choose the hardest path possible sometimes. Once you begin to choose the hardest path over and over again, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a choice you’re personally making for some reason. Use your time daydreaming to relieve memories, although difficult, so that the future can be improved instead of defined by the past.

Letting your mind wander aimlessly might feel good for a moment or two, but what happens when the stress comes back? Implement these strategies and every day may become a little happier.

7 Habits of Those Who Are Consistently Happy

Choose Happiness

Happiness really can be a choice that we each make for ourselves every day. We can choose to be happy in all things. Far too often, however, we tend to look at the darker side of life. The people who experience the most happiness are following specific habits right now that can help them take advantage of the power of positivity. Here are the 7 habits you’ll want to consider adding to your life as well.

#1. Confront fear.

Life is too short to be worrying about everything. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us. Instead of trying to hide from fear, those who are consistently happy are willing to confront it head-on. This allows us to gain more knowledge about what makes us be afraid and that knowledge builds confidence. In return, the fears can be conquered.

#2. Let the past go.

We all have regrets. We can’t change our actions from yesterday. We can learn from mistakes so that they aren’t repeated today or tomorrow. Holding onto regret will only cause happiness to stay away for good.

#3. Forgive yourself.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we wind up making the same mistake more than once. This is because we all learn in different ways. Sometimes the first habit that must be established is the habit of never giving up. Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and work hard not to keep repeating them.

#4. Take a risk.

Every choice presents a new opportunity. With more than 20,000 choices made every day, there are plenty of roads to explore. Instead of letting others dictate what choices you should make, follow your own path instead. Pursue a passion. Cultivate a hobby. Go after that dream job. Sometimes the best steps we take on our journey through life are actually leaps of faith.

#5. Create balance.

Is life too busy? Not busy enough? We are in control of our life’s balance, but sometimes we lose sight of that control. Structure your day to let every passion have a chance to grow and happiness will soon follow.

#6. Have a conversation.

Humans are social creatures and it doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or an introvert. Have a real conversation with someone. Talk about anything that is important to you. Actively listen so others can do the same. Together you may find depths of happiness within a single conversation that you never imagined could exist.

#7. Trust your intuition.

The only person who really knows you is you. You know what you want. You create plans. You make choices. We just start learning not to listen to our intuition because everyone seems to say that those intuitions are wrong. Trust yourself, trust your intuitions, and the noise of the outside world will fade into the distance.

You can choose to find consistent happiness. You can become the person you want to be every day. These habits will help you to discover your passions and give you permission to pursue them. Now is the day to begin because tomorrow might just be too late.

How Mindfulness Meditation Leads To Real Happiness

meditation

Have you ever noticed how so many people spend their day trying to find a way to be happy? Sometimes that happiness can never be found. Here’s a secret that makes finding happiness easier: it’s a choice.

We choose not to be happy. We choose to remain unbalanced. Many times we don’t even realize we are making these choices. Negative attention is better than no attention, so often we’ll choose to be unhappy because at least that allows others to send some attention our way.

This is where mindfulness meditation can really help. Instead of trying to find joy in fleeting moments, mindfulness helps us be able to discover the perfect joy that exists in every moment. Even when the bad things of life strike and pain is everywhere, there are still moments of joy that can be found. Why? Because mindfulness meditation helps us to choose happiness over any other emotion.

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Transform People?

There are thousands of articles online today that talk about how stress, emotional stability, and mental healing can all come from the practice of meditation. These are all wonderful benefits, but they are not benefits that transform people. What mindfulness meditation does is connect your mind to rest of the world.

It’s a practice that Carl Jung once called “individuation.” In essence, it’s the quest to seek out what we each consider to be divine. Many people use individuation as a way to seek out a supernatural being or long lost prophet. It’s a way to connect the spiritual side with the physical side so that every moment of the physical and spiritual worlds can eventually be experienced.

Individuation doesn’t have to be the pursuit of a deity. It can also be the pursuit of your own local awareness. Focus on the closest window next to you right now. Is it cold? Firm? Warm? Now go beyond these sensations. How does the firmness of the window feel against your fingertips? Does the cold of the window send chills through your nervous system? Then do not allow the moment to stop. Choose to keep experiencing it.

That’s What Leads To Choosing Happiness

In order for an athlete to become a professional, they must put in thousands of hours of practice to achieve their goals. Mindfulness meditation is not going to lead to happiness overnight. It isn’t a magic solution to all of life’s problems. What it does do is provide exposure to the mechanisms that are necessary for mindfulness to begin growing roots so it becomes easier to choose happiness over time.

If you’re ready to get started, then today is as good a day as any to explore mindfulness meditation. Take a few moments right now, close your eyes, and let the outside world fade away. What do you hear? What do you feel? Now take these feelings and find the perfection that exists within them. In doing so, you’ll be taking the first steps toward a life that is filled with real happiness.

6 Tips To Increase Your Happiness Right Now

Choose Happiness

Most people spend their lives waiting for happiness to happen to them. The truth is that you can choose to be happy at any moment. Happiness isn’t something that just happens though. It’s something you need to actively pursue. Below are 5 tips to help you find true happiness.

#1. Don’t be overly critical of yourself. It’s really easy to look around and feel like you’re missing out on something great. The only problem is that the grass really is never greener on the other side of the fence. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like others might have better opportunities than you. Loving yourself means being content with your circumstances, no matter what they might be.

#2. Allow yourself to laugh. We all tend to take ourselves a little too seriously from time to time. Our thoughts sometimes demand that we take ourselves seriously. Instead of acting on each thought that you have or judging yourself on them, allow yourself to laugh at the sometimes ridiculous thoughts that you have. Life is supposed to be fun. You don’t always have to listen to the serious thoughts.

#3. Treat yourself right. It is easy to judge yourself harshly when you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. It’s going to happen. Instead of being your own worst critic, give yourself the opportunity to make things right by forgiving yourself. Being negative to the point where a person hates themselves does no one any good.

#4. Exist in each moment. It’s hard not to control everything around some days, but that’s what you’ve got to do. Let others drive the ship from time to time. This will allow you to focus more on the perfection of each moment and less on the tasks that are at hand.

#5. Make some time to meditate. Your body needs time to recharge. When you don’t get enough rest, then you start making decisions that are questionable at best. When your mind doesn’t get a break from stress and worry, then moods can become unstable and it may feel like you’re out of control. Just 20 minutes of meditation for 4 straight days can make a huge impact in your life.

#6. When in doubt, just breathe. A deep breath is always helpful. You can always come back to the task at hand after you’ve taken a moment or two. Focus on the process of the deep breath. Feel it fill your lungs and stay in control while you exhale. Keep focusing on this process and those tension knots in your back and neck might just release.

Happiness is really achievable for all of us. It is determined more by what we think than by what happens to us in life.  Start by developing good daily habits and positive thoughts to begin your journey to happiness now!

Meditation Allows You To Choose Happiness

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Happy 2015! This is a world where a fast pace of life is almost demanded. A fast pace of life might be monetarily rewarding, but money can’t buy happiness. Only slowing down and choosing happiness can do that.

If you’re ready to get out of the fast lane for some time every day and slow the pace of life down, then here are some ways that you can use meditation to allow yourself the chance to choose happiness.

#1. Change the Focus of Your Results

We all stress ourselves out every day by trying to meet deadlines. It creates an enormous amount of pressure that creates negative emotions as a side effective. What if you took the approach of meeting a time-sensitive deadline and applied it to your routine of daily meditation? It would give you more time to meditate daily because it would become a higher priority. This change in focus forces a slower pace of life and that allows more perfect moments to be experienced.

#2. Let Life Unfurl In Real Time

Have you ever been so busy with a project that you completely lost track of time? You start to feel hungry after awhile, think that it’s time to get some lunch, and you look up to find that the clock says it’s 8pm instead. By making a little time for meditation, even if it is only 10 minutes during the day, you can keep track of those missed moments and enjoy the happiness that unfurls with every passing moment. Just the experience of a deep breath can connect you to a perfect, happy moment.

#3. Eliminate the Idea of Boredom

The #1 reason why people say that they don’t slow down is because a slower life is viewed as boring. A slower pace of life is just as busy as any other pace of life. The difference is in the perspective. Would you rather be “busy” trying to juggle 3 different projects at once while trying to make time for family or friends? Or would you rather be “busy” exploring the peace and joy that each moment is able to provide? It’s difficult to slow down when a fast pace of life has become habit, but when you do, you’ll be able to see all of the components of life that you’ve been missing in the fast lane.

#4. Take Care of Yourself

Although slowing life down seems uncomfortable, true discomfort comes from living a life in the fast lane. A fast life relies on unhealthy habits and defines them as success. Instead of deep, meaningful relationships, quick hitting unhealthy relationships are relied upon. Instead of a home-cooked meal, a fast food hamburger and a 64 ounce soda are consumed during the commute. We have fooled ourselves into thinking that we’re too busy to care for ourselves. We’re not that busy. Take care of yourself and you will find that time for meditation will be readily available.

#5. Change Your Personal Dynamic

You can’t be happy if you’re always treating yourself in a negative way. Don’t call yourself “stupid” or some other name. Mistakes happen. Forgive yourself.

By choosing meditation and time for yourself, you’re also making the first choice to experience true happiness. If you are willing to choose a slower pace of life, then you may just find that the experiences of life are more incredible than you could have ever imagined.

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