Tag Archives: Journey

prioritizing your life, notes from a waiting room

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This past year my life has been in a constant state of transformation. Sometimes easy, other times painful. I have been struggling to live and thrive in two very different worlds: Corporate America, and Healing. For months I’ve been asking the universe for clarity. Where should I focus my energy? How do I start a business? What is the most effective way to network?

Then I received an unexpected answer: All you have is your health, and timing is everything.

The universe can reset your life in an instant. In my case, it was a phone call. I was stunned to receive a message from my doctor on Monday morning, asking me to return for additional scans. My only priority from that moment on was getting an appointment at the imaging center. I dropped everything and headed uptown.

Sitting in the waiting room, in my ill-fitting beige gown, I wasn’t worried about work, my social responsibilities, or to-do lists. My primary focus was my health. It was ironic to be staring out through an enormous window at a beautiful view of the Hudson River on a warm, sunny, clear day, surrounded by women who looked as scared and uncomfortable as I felt.

Why can’t we find answers when things are moving along fine? Why should it take something as monumental as a health crisis to force you to reevaluate your life.

It suddenly struck me that these test results would determine whether I would return to my usual routine, or if my life would be forever changed.

After two hours of stressful examinations, I received a clean bill of health. There were moments, dark moments, when I truly believed the outcome was going to be very different. As I started getting choked up, the nurse said, “I bet you’ll have a glass of champagne when you get home.” I was very grateful, and I knew how lucky I was. Judging by the long faces of some of the other women there, life was going to be drastically different for them. It was heartbreaking.

Walking out of the building, I vowed not to waste this experience. Afterward, I came up with a few daily practices to keep me on track. I hope you find them useful as well:

  1. Nurture yourself: Tune in, not out. Pay more attention to how you feel, how much sleep you’re getting. In what areas can you make improvements? How can you implement those improvements? Monitor burnout, eliminate long hours at the office, delegate more, and participate in activities that make you happy.
  1. Reimagine your thoughts: Pay attention to negative thoughts and comments, then steer them away. By shifting your outlook, everything can change. Pick up the book A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen. For me, it was a game changer.
  1. Get moving: Staying active is essential for mind, body, and spirit. Commit to walking 30-minutes a day; slice and dice it anyway that works for you. Take time to decompress while listening to good music—it can be energizing and it’s good for your soul.
  1. Laugh: Surround yourself with people that bring out your best. Life is supposed to be enjoyed, not taken too, too seriously. Try a hula-hoop contest with friends. You may look ridiculous, but you’ll have a great time.

Here’s to a healthy and happy life!

being present

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How did you make out last week meeting new people? Was it fun, did you learn anything new?

I kept busy all week engaging people in conversation. Monday evening, while waiting for takeoff from Chicago to New York, I chatted with a pleasant woman sitting in my row. On Tuesday, while riding the elevator, I introduced myself to a neighbor I often see at the gym but had never spoken to before.

At a stressful doctor’s appointment, the receptionist had me cracking up and went the extra mile to get me in sooner than expected. An hour later, I was helped by an equally lovely person at the Apple store. Although the store was busy, he patiently answered all of my questions. (I tend to ask a lot of questions.)

It’s fascinating who comes your way when you’re kind and put yourself forward.

My focus for this week is about being present. I know, what does that mean? Is it different for everyone? You’ve heard people mention it before, but usually it feels like a throwaway line instead of an opportunity to learn something.

How many times have you been out with friends and you’re there, but not really there? The stress of juggling calls, commitments, and endless errands, while staying connected, that leaves little time for focus or fun.

Have you found that you’re the most present while on vacation? On past spa vacations, phone use was restricted to designated areas. It surprised me how freeing it was to be disconnected from all of my devices. Conversations were richer, laughing out loud came more naturally, and connecting with others was simpler.

Below are five of my tips for living in the moment. They can be useful in everyday life, not just when on vacation.

1. Dinner With Friends: Take in the ambiance, savor the delicious aromas, read the menu instead of scanning it. (I’m a big scanner.) Engage them in conversation, by listening, and not always waiting until they take a breath for you to speak. Don’t be too timid to interrupt or to probe. As conversations go deeper, you’re apt to give and receive more.

2. Mindful Eating: Eating slowly, while focusing on your food, this enhances the flavors in your meal with the added benefit of improving digestion. I tried a Mindful Eating class while on a spa vacation and was amazed at how delicious my blueberries were once I ate them slowly, one at a time, instead of shoveling in three at once. (In the land of full disclosure, while visiting a test kitchen last Monday, I was popping the most delicious bite-sized blondie’s into my mouth, two at a time, and I went back for seconds.) We’re not aiming for perfection; life is to be enjoyed.

3. Try Your Best to Avoid Haste: Instead of rushing everywhere, allow yourself a few extra minutes to enjoy the route you’re taking. It’s still summer for a few more weeks. Flowers are in bloom, and you may pass by a beautiful garden if you slow down and take the time to look around. Rushing everywhere, and I’m guilty of having done this for too many years, this leaves little opportunity for unexpected surprises along the way. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

4. Get Outside of Your Head: Mishaps are more likely to occur when you’re inside your own head instead of paying attention. Here are some telltale signs that I’m not paying enough attention: accidentally spilling full glasses of water on my nightstand; walking around my apartment aimlessly (I usually wind up in my kitchen, not sure why); leaving home without my phone–I usually realize quickly what’s happened, but instead of getting angry with myself, I course correct instead, get out of my head and start being present.

5. Do One Thing At a Time: I’ve found multiltasking to be more mindless than mindful. I rarely do all the tasks well. It would probably take less time on the whole if I accomplished one task and then moved on to the next. A perfect example is reading an email while talking on the phone. The person on the other end can hear the typing, so they know you aren’t fully engaged (which is, let’s face it, kind of rude), and it takes a couple of tries to comprehend the email let alone send a coherent reply. Multitasking, for me, is a losing proposition.

For next week, try paying attention to whether you’re present or not. Course correct when you feel yourself slipping. And please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how my tips are working for you.

Enjoy your journey. xoxo B

warrior wednesday

How did your week go, trying to incorporate my five tips into finding more happiness and fun into your schedule? Were any new activities more exciting than you expected? Were there challenges trying to find time, or any pushback from your family and friends about trying to make time for yourself?

On Wednesday night, I created a relaxing environment by lighting my favorite vanilla candle, I dimmed my lights and played soft jazz music in the background (since I live in NYC there were a few sirens as well).

Looking over my lengthy list (see below) it isn’t surprising that I wasn’t able to accomplish everything. Although I was able to find time to work on my blog and business, I missed out on my evening meditation practice, Qi Gong only happened once, and I wasn’t able to make yoga on Saturday morning due to a splitting headache.

Missing activities that reduce stress and increase creativity impacted my week more than expected. I was more tightly wound than usual when last-minute projects rolled in and I had to figure out other ways to tap into “the zone” since I didn’t make it to the gym (my temple for creativity) during the week.

Being perfect isn’t the objective; making time for yourself and having fun is. This is a work in progress. We’re all a work in progress. Good luck with the week ahead and drop me a line to let me know how you’re doing.

xoxo. B

Activities planned for the week:
• Meditation: 2x a day
• Dinner plans with friends: 1x
• 7-hours of sleep: 7x
• Qi Gong: 3x
• Yoga: 1x
• Work on my blog: 2x
• Work on my business: 1x
• Go to the gym: 4x

What I accomplished:
• Meditation: 1x a day
• Dinner plans with friends: 1x
• 7-hours or more of sleep: 4x
• Qi Gong: 1x
• Worked on my blog: 1x
• Worked on my business: 1x
• Gym: 1x

5-steps to having fun and feeling great

Do you ever feel like your life is moving too fast and there aren’t enough hours in the day?

I sure do! I lead a dual life, graphic designer by day and healer by night.

The challenge of working full-time, making time for a spiritual practice, and building a business is a daily balancing act. Some days run smoothly while others are “hair on fire” days. I try to remember it’s about the journey not the destination. Sometimes that’s easier said then done.

I am trying an experiment over the new few weeks to find better balance and structure while having fun and feeling great. I hope you guys find it helpful as well.

My 5-step game plan:
1. Find a quiet spot with a journal to get your “Zen” on
2. Create a list of activities that bring you joy and  add some structure
3. Mark your calendar with your new activities (you can give them fun code names)
4. Keep a journal of how you feel during the week
5. Review your list

Drop me a line and let me know how it worked for you. What activities were you able to add  or remove? Were you able to get back into the flow of your life instead of working against the current? Stay tuned for progress reports over the next few weeks.