Welcome Awesome Readers!! :)

This blog is for all you Awesome Readers who wish to journey along with me, discovering Zen Living Simply...Living from the Heart!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Precious Present

This summer I had an amazingly refreshing vacation.  My children and I experienced a Slow pace of living in a mountain chalet.  Taking in the vast beautiful views of the mountains, listening to the crickets and frogs at night, and enjoying the "precious present" was priceless. 

In addition to the fun tourist activities, we enjoyed quiet times of reflection. 

Some of our past vacation experiences have been fun-filled but exhausting, going from theme park to theme park, continuously rushing.  This vacation in the mountains incorporated some slowing down, being aware, and enjoying the present moment. 

Today I read the awesome book, "The Precious Present" by Spencer Johnson, MD. I look forward to sharing it with my kids; it is a very short, easy read.  I encourage you to share the story with others. 

Enjoying the present--not being in the past, not jumping out to the future--but being fully present, is a key to happiness.  Especially as our lives get even more busy with the onset of the school year, it is important to carve out "vacation time" for yourself and your kids.  With or without children in the home, fall brings holiday activities that seem to speed up our lives and can decrease our awareness of the "precious present". 

Incorporating "vacation time" activities in daily life can promote our awareness of the "precious present".    Some ideas:

** An Electronic-Free Day--no television, computers, gaming devices, ipods, etc
** Have dinner as a picnic on a blanket in your back yard--or your living room floor.

** Simply appreciating nature, wherever you live--the beach, mountains, a local park, lake, indoor plants/herb garden.

** A day of natural light, without electricity.  As darkness falls use flashlights and candles to enjoy an evening of fun with kids...or a relaxing bubble bath by candlelight for yourself.

** Work on a soul collage: cut out pictures from magazines that appeal to you, arrange and glue on poster board, utilize stickers, glitter glue, ribbon, etc. Write a Title on the back along with the date.  See the official website for Soul Collage for more details.

** Journal writing, Gratitude List, Arts and crafts projects for kids.

What other ideas do you, Awesome Readers, have for incorporating "vacation time" activities into our daily lives?  Or we can call them "time out" activities--time out from the mindless busy-ness of our lives, time out from the "rat race" that can consume our time.   Time out to appreciate the  "Precious Present"!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free At Last!!

"Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty we are Free at Last!!" --Martin Luther King, Jr.

What have you Freed yourself from?  Or what should you Free yourself from? 

Do you need to be Free from an unhealthy relationship, that you know is not good for you? 

Do you need to Free yourself from regrets of the past?  Or unknown fears of the future? 

There are various methods to utilize in order to Gain more personal freedom in your life:
  • Set Boundaries with your loved ones.  Verbalize your boundaries and stay firm.
  • "Say what you mean, without saying it mean."
  • Stay True to Yourself. By living authentically, you will naturally follow your own path of peace. How do you wish to spend your time?  In a state of anxiety, "walking on eggshells", reacting to situations/your partner/spouse...OR In a state of Peace, living from a proactive, productive, peaceful center, living from the Heart.  Free yourself from stressful situations.  "Detach" from the situation by removing yourself physically, or "detach" by letting go of the struggle with the other person; take a time out and revisit when perspectives may be more clear.  If there is not an agreement to be reached, agree to disagree.
  • Establish your "bottom lines" for your life, what you refuse to tolerate, and you will be Free from negative influences you may have tolerated in the past.
  • Free yourself from regrets of the past by casting them to God.  Cast them to God, then try not to reel them back in.  If you reel them back in, recognize that you are thinking about your regrets again and Cast them back to God.  Do this over and over, until you feel lighter, more Free.
  • Free yourself from unknown fears of the future.  Remember, God is in control; we are not.  We can not control the future.  We can do our best;  live with positive energy, expecting an abudndance of peace, health, beauty and prosperity in our future.
We are ALL held in the Heart of God...We only need to recognize that fact...especially through difficult times.  Set yourself Free...Free At Last!  What are you going to set yourself Free from this year?

Monday, April 4, 2011

God, Grant Me The Serenity...

Gotta love the Serenity Prayer.  This one prayer/meditation can help you navigate through rough times in your life, as well as deal with daily dilemmas. 


"ACCEPT the things I can NOT change"
  • can NOT change other people
  • can NOT control other people
  • can NOT "fix" other people
  • can NOT make someone happy

 "COURAGE to change the things I CAN"
  • CAN change my self
  • CAN change my attitude toward other people and situations
  • CAN set new boundaries with others
  • CAN change my "bottom lines"--what I will allow into my life /what I will not tolerate
  • CAN choose to disengage from an argument--"let go", stop doing "the dance"
  • CAN change the way I react to situation

"WISDOM to know the difference"---Discerning between the things I can change and the things I can not change.

When you have a problem or dilemma, break it down using the Serenity Prayer:
  • What aspects of your situation can you NOT change?  A spouse, family member or friend? 
  • Accept that you can not change the other person. 
  • Next, what CAN you change about your situation?  What can you change about yourself?
  • Pray/meditate for Wisdom to know the difference between what you can change about your situation and what you can not change.
  • Pray/meditate on building the Courage & strength within yourself to change the things you can.
Have you applied this in your life?  Have you tried to change someone else, then realized that the Only person you can change is Your Self? 


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Zen Living Simply: Who are You Without Your Stuff?!

Zen Living Simply: Who are You Without Your Stuff?!: "So often in today's culture of 'more is better', 'bigger is better', we can be consumed by our desire for more, bigger, better Stuff. ..."

Who are You Without Your Stuff?!

So often in today's culture of "more is better", "bigger is better", we can be consumed by our desire for more, bigger, better Stuff.  It is a never-ending cycle perpetuated by our consumeristic society and marketing tactics promoting the latest Stuff.

I can so get caught in the consumeristic trap; I like this question--

Who are You Without Your Stuff? 

---without your Cars?
---without your House?
---without your Furniture?
---without your Clothes/Shoes/Handbags?
---without your latest greatest Tech gadgets?

Who are You Without Your Stuff?
Are you:
---a Patient,Loving parent?
---a Loyal, Trust-worthy partner or spouse?
---a Peace-seeker?
---a source of Positive energy toward Yourself and others?
---a Dependable friend?

Our Stuff does not define the Divine Luster of who we are--God's children, Precious and Free. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let Go, Let God!

One of my all-time favorites:  "Let Go, Let God"!!

Let Go of:  Resentments
                 Past Failures/Mistakes
                 Future Worries
                 Trying to Control other People & Circumstances
Let God:  Bring you back into the Present
                Heal you from past wounds
                Lead you on Your Path
                Work things out for Your Good

God is in Control; We are Not.  How Freeing is this concept.  We do what we can...and leave the rest for God to work out.  Worrying about the future or regretting the past is a waste of energy. 

"Let go" of trying to control others, especially those closest to you.  Stop trying to "fix" them.  The key is to Focus on Yourself!  Whatever you may be expecting someone Else to give you or do for you, affirm you, compliment you, listen to you or be attentive toward you---Give it to Yourself! Contentment is an "inside job" where we work on ourselves, not "depending" on others for our state of being. 

You can not "make someone happy", just as they can not "make" you happy.  You may believe that if you just cooked more then he may be happy.  Or perhaps if you organized the house better, cleaned more, did everything exactly as he wanted, maybe then he would be happy.  You may believe that if you bought her more jewelry, a better car, a better house, maybe then she would be happy. Wrong!  Each persons' happiness is their Own responsibility!! 

So, "Let Go, Let God"! 
What are you "Letting Go" of?  And what are you "Letting God" do in your life?  : )

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let Go of Your False Beliefs!!

Have you ever stopped to think how many of your core beliefs, the ones you operate from on a deep unconscious level, are truly false?  Maybe the beliefs were instilled in you through the functioning of your family unit.  Maybe the beliefs were instilled in you through your own perceptions of people and events.

Examples of False Beliefs:
1.  "We are responsible for other peoples' happiness"---Totally False.  Every one of us is responsible for our own happiness.  Our internal happiness, or state of being at peace, is Not dependent on other people.  And we are Not responsible for others' state of being.  Striving for happiness and peace is an "inside job".

2.  "We can control other people"---Totally False.  Every one of us has our Own path to travel.  It is not up to us to try to manipulate, control or change other people.  It is a waste of energy and is sure to backfire with negative consequences.  I love the phrase "Live and Let Live", so short yet so powerful.  Live your own life to the fullest!  Likewise, allow others to live their own lives, to be themselves, and even to suffer their own consequences in order to grow.  It is not our job to "rescue" others from their own destructive behaviour. 

3.  "We are not good enough"---Totally False.  Every one of us is a divine creation, created in the image of God.  We are divine luster.  We just become "blind" to seeing our luster as a result of people and society conveying the message that we are not good enough. 
Marketing geniuses utilize this tactic at every turn--"if you buy our newest latest coolest expensive gadget then you too will be cool...don't be left behind and be "less than", they tell us in very covert messages.  People who are close to us can also convey this message, that we are not good enough in their eyes-- if only we would change to suit them.  We may be told directly or it may be the disapproving "look" that is given to us.

We are perfectly imperfect human beings. 

Let Go of those false beliefs, Free yourself from them!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 5 Fun Activities teaching kids Zen Living Simply

In todays fast paced world, filled with cell phones, computers, gaming devices, ipods and television, it can be difficult for children as well as adults to step away from technology and focus on what truly matters. 

Top 5 Fun Activities to promote Zen Living Simply to our Children:

1.  Be Fully Present.  Being present for our kids is truly a gift to them, as they crave our undivided attention.  I turn off my cell phone so our special time is uninterrupted.  Especially in todays society, being "busy" is often applauded, and we can find ourselves over-scheduled, maxed out and exhausted.  Even if only for a short period of time each day, Stop...and Be fully present for our children...and listen to them.

2.  Enjoy Nature Together.  Kids see nature with an eye of wonder.  How fun it is to share experiences in nature together.  I love taking my kids to the beach and watching them run around gathering shells.  Enjoying nature together, whether it be a hike on a trail, a walk around the neighborhood, feeding ducks in a pond or a picnic in the backyard, is promoting zen living.  Nature is free to us, no purchase necessary.  Being in nature is non-consumeristic--- no advertising  promoting our kids to want infinitely more "stuff".  I want my kids to know that more stuff does not equal happiness.

3.  Teach our children meditation.  Have fun expanding our kids' knowledge of meditation.  There are many websites with free downloads of meditations made just for kids.  When I play meditation CDs in our car my children calm down, relax and enjoy the words of affirmations.  These nurishing words going into their minds can be transformative, unlike many of the songs on the radio.

4.  Plant a garden with our children.  I look forward to planting some vegetables with my kids, as this is something we have not yet done.  This is a very low cost activity, teaching them to grow some of our own food while spending quality time together in nature.

5.  Model Zen Living Simply for our Children.  Modeling zen living can be difficult for us parents, working either outside the home or inside the home, rushing to take kids to their activities, taking care of household responsibilities, trying to do too much.  Slow down and breathe.  Take a time-out from the outside world that promotes busy-ness, working too much and consumerism...and just BE.  Remember that we are "human BEings", not "human DOings". 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Drama!

Shun unwanted drama that creeps into your life.  Recognize it as quickly as possible so you can resist getting hooked into it.  The drama may be generated inside yourself, regretting the past or jumping out into the unknown future with worry. Acknowledge that you were engaging in regretting or worrying then bring yourself back into the present.  If time and circumstances allow, do some meditation or listen to guided meditation to clear your mind. 

Unwanted drama can also come from people in your life, especially those closest to you, who have a need for drama.  Resist getting hooked into "the dance" with the other person. Try to recognize "the dance" that usually occurs between the two of you-- unhealthy patterns in your relationship-- and make a change within Yourself.   

In practicing zen living, choose your path of peace as often as possible!  :)

Honor yourself, Speak up!

 As a people pleaser, it can be difficult to speak up. 

First, be true to yourself.  Honor yourself.  When you speak up regarding a difficult issue, and you come from a place where you have already "honored yourself", you will be coming from an honest place, speaking from your heart. 

Having the courage to speak up can be challenging, especially for those who may have an unconscious fear of abandonment.  When we speak our personal truth, we are building intimacy with other people.  We are allowing them to truly know us.  We are living authentically, and we are building even more strength within ourselves. 

Speaking up, speaking from your heart is an important part of Zen Living, living your own personal truth. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zen Living

Zen Living....Wow, how far I have come, since I first started reading Leo Babauta's Zen Habits a few years ago.  And how far I have to go, in striving for zen living...while balancing my career and two children.  But the Joy is in the Journey. 

Zen Living, at this point in my life, is choosing Peace.  No longer do I have an unconscious need for drama.  

Living in Peace, living from our Heart, following our dreams, staying true to ourselves, meditation and listening to our Higher Power's plan for our lives, are all part of Zen Living. 

What is Zen Living for you, at this point in your life?  I would love to hear from you!  :)