Inspire

A Lesson On Living


I have been volunteering at an assisted living facility for 10 weeks now and I didn’t think it would have as much of an impact on me as it has.  I think I have learned more about what it means to live from those 10 weeks than in my entire life.  As I sat, trying to write a paper on my experience, one quote played on repeat in my mind.

“We all have a story to tell, a story we created, we may not have much of a future anymore, but we can tell you exactly how we got here…”
– Justin, 87

Justin then went on to talk to me about how important it is to decide how you want your future to look so you can start making decisions that will lead you to that today.  I answered all of his questions about my dreams, and goals, and relationships, and told him my name and major at least 50 times in less than an hour.  But this single quote, really made me stop and reflect. And here is the lesson on living I took away…

Every day, we make decisions.  Every day we are creating and writing a page in our story. Every day we are given an opportunity to end one chapter and start another, or to add a plot twist.  Sometimes we get to create the plot twist and exciting moments, other times, they are just put in there due to life circumstances.  Either way, we get to design it, we get to write it, we get to live it, and the way we live will be the way we die.  The way we live today, the way we live this very moment, will be the way we live until our last breath.  Because the way we live our life is the way we write our story.  What perspective are you going to take while writing your story… the hero, the captain, the boss, or are you going to be the victim. Trust me, I know, it is so easy to write in the perspective of a victim. “I couldn’t do ___ because of ____ situation.”  “I can’t believe ____, did this to me, how dare they.  I won’t be able to do anything now.” “That toxic person just caused me too much damage, I could never open up again.”  “I always dreamed of doing that, but because of ____, ____, ___, ____, ____, & _____, I won’t ever be able to.” Do these sound familiar? (they do for me, I have past chapters filled with sayings like these. I’m working on re-interpreting those chapters)

The way you handle today will determine how you view your life in the end.  Don’t just be the writer of your story, because in all honestly we all write our own story.  So instead, write your story in a perspective that sustains life, happiness, and love, most importantly love, because when the day comes when you no longer have much of a future to look towards, you will be reading your story and if that story was written in a perspective other than one focused on life, happiness, and love, then how do you think you will feel at that point in life?

Let’s start to change the perspective we write our stories in now.  Remember we can close one chapter and start another, maybe in this chapter you can finally shift your story telling perspective, to one that puts you in charge and leads you to a life filled with love.

I am so beyond grateful my life crossed paths with Justin and all the other residents that I learned so much from at the Assisted Living Facility.  This lesson I learned on living will be one I hope to share (and remind myself of) continuously on my journey because when the final days do come, I know I will have created a story filled with love. ​

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Eat

Why I Ditched “Vegan” for Mindful Eating


So for almost two years I have been vegetarian, and for about 3 months I have been a “transitioning” vegan. I decided to do this not so much for the animals, but to stop supporting the meat and dairy industry. This industry alone is the cause of many of our environmental and social issues. They are hurting our small scale farmers by demanding land be used to grow corn and soy to feed the animals, they are one of the main contributors to world hunger since the meat industry requires so many resources which take away from the production of food that could actually feed more people, and don’t get me started on the environmental problems. (If you are interested in learning more about this, just go on netflix and start binge watching all of their food documentaries… or just bring it up to me and be ready for an hour long rant.. sorry, but not sorry)

Vegan seems to be the new trend these days. My friends like to say “You know when someone is vegan because they will tell you in the first ten minutes of meeting them”. Yeah, I’m totally guilty of this, and I’m not even a full on vegan, my week days are, but my weekends are filled with cheese pizza and not the soy cheese type. During this transition time, I started to notice myself getting so caught up in this idea of how “trendy” and “cool” it was to be vegan, so much so that I totally lost sight of my reason for doing it. So I have decided to ditch vegan and try a new thing and that is just simply, mindful eating.

Mindful eating is the idea of paying attention to what you are eating. Sounds simple, right? But let me explain something… Every time you eat a chocolate chip cookie, you are not just eating a chocolate chip cookie. You are eating flour (probably overly processed and bleached four), sugar (also probably overly processed), eggs (most likely not chosen from your local farm), milk (also most likely not taken from that local family cow, and most definitely over processed), chocolate (probably harvested using slave labor), oh and then you have all the food dye and preservatives. So now, by just buying and eating that seemingly simple chocolate chip cookie you have supported the exploitation of animals in the diary industry, the processed food industry, and slave labor… When you start to look at what you are eating in that way, you gain a new perspective on your food and start to realize how every buying decision you make really affects the world you are living in. Instead, maybe make your own chocolate chip cookies from scratch with local eggs, farm milk of mylk alternatives, and use maple syrup, ground almond flour, and fair trade chocolate chips. Yes, it may be extra work, but I would say it’s worth it…

It’s time we all start to put our money where our mouth is… If we don’t want GMO crops, don’t buy soy based or corn based foods that are almost always (http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsource/gmo/what-percentage-of-u.s.-crops-are-gmo) genetically modified. If you want companies to stop using chemical pesticides on produce, buy organic. If you want our food system to be more locally based, start buying locally grown food. If you don’t want companies to use slave labor, buy fair trade. If you don’t want animals to be treated poorly, don’t buy meat or diary products. We all know money talks, so why aren’t we using it? The big corporations are, why can’t we?

Mindful eating could be our answer, it could be our chance to really make a change in our own life and the world around us. Are you in?

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Inspire

Why You Are Better At Meditating Than You Think…

 

I’ve been told by so many people this statement: “I suck at meditating.”  I usually follow it with the question, “Why do you suck at it?”  Which, in return I get almost the same answer every single time… “I can’t seem to shut off my mind.”  I can’t help, but laugh because the fact that you are noticing that your mind won’t shut off is a huge first step in practicing meditation.  Here are a four reasons why you are better at meditation than you think…

1. You catch yourself when your mind starts to wonder

  • Yeah, so your mind may have gone grocery shopping during your meditation time, or made a to-do list for when you are done with meditation, but you noticed it.  You noticed your mind as it began to drift away from your breath or mantra.  YOU NOTICED! We call that part of you that notices when your mind drifts off the “witness mind” and the more you connect to this witness mind the more your witness mind will kick in and step up.   The “witness” mind is so important because once it notices your, what I like to call, “squirrel mind” drifting, you can focus your thoughts back onto your center, even if it is just for a split second before your mind begins to go grocery shopping again.

2. You spend time meditating

  • Honestly, I think this is the most important thing.  As long as you are setting time aside in your days to meditate you are doing way better than most.  Just sitting in silence for a few minutes is a huge step and honestly something a lot of people can’t seem to do.  Go you!

3. You have an intention for your meditation practice

  • To me, having an intention for anything you do is key to making it sustainable and purposeful.   My intention for my meditation practice is to connect and become one with the divine being in me.  Your intention can be anything from physical, to emotional, to spiritual, but have an intention so you can keep the motivation to spend time meditating.

4. You have something you use to clear your mind

  • It may not work all the time in the beginning, but pick something that helps you center your mind and stick with it.  This can be bringing your thoughts to your breath, or maybe its counting, or maybe it’s a mantra you repeat over and over again.  If you use one of these while you are meditating then you are on the right track because using these tools will help you continue to grow your practice.

I promise, you don’t “suck at meditation” it’s just part of the journey.  You are starting to train your “witness mind”  to control your “squirrel mind”  and that may take a while, but don’t give up!  You totally got this. ​

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Inspire

Who is an “Engaged Spirit”?

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An Engaged Spirit is someone who actively pursues an inner positive transformation and who seeks to find peace in themselves in order to engage with others around them and create a positive change in the world.  They are an activist for peace and a change agent in the communities they belong to.  They are the ones that seem to never loss hope for the future.  They are the ones that aren’t ignorant to the evils in this world, but believe that there is more kindness than evil.  They are the ones that are out in their communities speaking up for the speechless.  They are the ones that are standing up for injustices.  They are the ones engaging with the people around them to create thriving communities. They are the ones spreading their light.  

My goal is to truly live the life of an Engaged Spirit.  What about you?  Are you an Engaged Spirit?  Join our community by entering your email at the bottom of page! 

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