Category Archives: ideas

Home Stretch 2017: How Will You Keep Yourself Motivated?

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After our discussions so far this week, you’re probably excited about achieving at least one of your goals by the end of this year.

What will you do, though, when you hit the inevitable rough patches?

For instance:

~Not having as much time as you thought:

Remember, several holiday celebrations are coming in the next few months and your time might get swallowed up in preparations as well as the many parties that you’re invited to;

 

~Feeling discouraged or sad about the slowness of your progress:

As December approaches, you may find that you haven’t made as much progress as you thought and you are at serious risk of not achieving the goal you selected this week;

 

~Worry

This is turning out to be harder than you thought and you may be wondering if it’s all too much for you;

 

~Frustration:

Perhaps you keep running into roadblocks, challenges, and setbacks….

 

When you find yourself in a rough patch, naturally you’ll turn to the tools we devised this week: your visualizations, your affirmations, and your habits and routines. You may find that you’ve been a little slack in one of these areas–not taking full advantage of these tools–and with a little tweaking, you can get yourself through the rough patch.

What if that doesn’t work–or if it works only a little. What do you do then?

Today, make a list of the things you can do, the resources available, that you can turn to.

For instance, for technical help–help related to your goal you’re working on–you can turn to a mentor, a colleague who has more experience than you; you can read books, magazines, and reliable information online. You can go to your local library and also the library of a college or university or community college nearest you and ask the reference librarian for assistance in finding help….

For personal help–resources that can help you cope with the emotions and feelings during this time–you can call a trusted friend or loved one for encouragement; you can read inspiring books and biographies; you can meditate; you can listen to uplifting music; taking a nap; going for a walk….

Make this list today while you aren’t in crisis and you can think clearly. Jot down everything you think will help. Keep this list handy and refer to it when the going gets tough.

Help yourself stay motivated! Help yourself to take one more step…!

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Crafting a Soul-Prospering Life: It’s Easier than You Think to Figure It Out

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Crafting a soul-prospering life sounds great, but how do you actually do this?   It’s easier than you think.

It’s easier because you already know what it is that will give you a soul-prospering life. All you need to do is turn away from what the world says is valuable and worthy, quiet your mind, and follow the Still Small Voice within.

What if you can’t hear it?

Remember the brainstorming session we did last week? Remember those wild and crazy ideas you came up with?

Yeah, those ideas that were totally nuts…look at them again. This is your soul speaking to you!

Do you notice any patterns, any common threads? Whether you do or not, choose one of the ideas–no, not the practical one or the reasonable one. Go for the way out there, completely terrifying idea.

Yep.

Start working on that one.

It’s what will help you take the cotton and your fingers out of your inner ears so you’ll FINALLY begin hearing what your soul has been telling you all along!

Go for it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Motivation: Idea Generation!

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Yesterday we took the time to ask ourselves what we’ve gotten used to in our lives. Today, let’s do some brainstorming regarding what we can do about this.

A reminder: we’re brainstorming so that means all ideas are worthy of being jotted down and considered.

This means:

~NO judging

~NO dismissing

~NO blowing off

~NO pooh-pooh-ing

~NO disparagement of any kind

 

of ANY idea, no matter how crazy or outlandish it is.

 

Also, do NOT:

~worry about the practicality

~fret about the money involved

~angst over how much time an idea might take to work out

~lament over the very few ideas you’ve come up with

~freak out over how may ideas you’ve come up with

~despair over the illogical ideas your brain produces for you

~feel like an idiot because of any idea that your creativity has gifted to you

 

We may find that a piece of one nutty idea combined with a piece of an outrageous forms a blockbuster action that move us forward faster and better than any rational or logical idea we’ve come up with so far!

Take the time today to write down as many ideas as you can. Don’t worry about the number of them, just write down all that come to you in the time you’ve allotted–I recommend 15-20 minutes of quiet uninterrupted time, perfect to do during your lunch hour (just sayin’!). Keep a notepad and pen, or other device handy, so you can jot down ideas that come to you during the day–trust me, they will!

Tomorrow we’ll talk about these. Be sure to make time in your schedule for 15 – 20 minutes of quiet uninterrupted time.

WooHoo! This is GREAT stuff!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Self-Mastery: Thoughts

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At the very bottom of the foundation of our lives are our thoughts–whether they uplift us or discourage us. For this reason, the very first thing we must master if we are to live soul-prospering lives is our thought pattern.

We know this requires mindfulness and we also understand that it involves being positive and optimistic.

But what about the days when it isn’t possible to do this, what do we do then? Perhaps we had a difficult day at work and, to top it off, we had to stay late. Or maybe we’re handling challenging situations in our personal life. It just might be, though, that we’ve been working on moving toward our soul-prospering lives but the progress is tiny, and now we’re plain old discouraged. During times like these, we just don’t have the wherewithal to monitor all our thoughts and when we try to be positive, it feels like we’re being incredibly naïve and foolish.

Mindfulness doesn’t mean ferreting out and hearing every tidbit of a thought that we have and then measuring each one with some sort of positivity scale. It would be an impossible task and, most likely, we’d drive ourselves batty if we tried it.

Also, it isn’t reasonable to expect that every thought is going to be positive. We’re allowed to be discouraged, sad, angry, worried, and the like. Feeling our emotions is what make us human and is what adds depth and richness to our experiences. “Negative” emotions are “bad” only when we find ourselves wallowing in them or when they are the only emotional responses we have.

To get a handle on our thoughts, schedule time to learn what triggers negative thoughts in us. For instance, we know when we’re with certain people we tend to become easily annoyed, or when we’re called on to give a presentation we know we become tense, nervous, and worried. We may discover that when we’re faced with an unfamiliar task, whether in our professional capacity or in our personal lives, we find ourselves thinking I can’t or it’s too hard.

As I said, it’s okay if we find ourselves responding in a knee-jerk fashion with the thoughts we’re accustomed to thinking. As we work with mindfulness and adding more uplifting thoughts into our thought patterns, we’ll lessen these habitual responses.

When we identify our triggers, prepare phrases and words ahead of time that, when you need them, they are handy.

Don’t stress over making these phrases and words positive. Instead, strive to make them as uplifting as possible. They’ll ring truer and be more believable, especially when the circumstances are particularly difficult.

Here are some thoughts that uplifted me when I felt foolish using positive statements:

~I’ll figure it out somehow. I don’t need all the answers right now; I just need one bit of information at a time;

~I only need to take one tiny little step–just do what seems to be the next best thing;

~I can call or I can ask my mentor/friend/librarian/colleague;

~Right here, right now, I am okay;

~Universe, I put this in Your Hands to work out because I have no clue what to do next. Show me what I need to do and make it very clear!

~Universe, I have no idea how You’re going to work this out because it seems impossible to me. I trust that You have it all figured out and that You’ll let me know when it’s my turn to do what I can.

 

Let me know if any of these helped you. Also, let me know what uplifting thoughts you use. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Fresh Perspective: Change It Up!

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To get a fresh perspective on your circumstances, change your location!

If you live in the city, try getting out to the country. If this isn’t possible, go to a neighborhood park that you’ve never been to. If your only option is to go to your usual park, then go to a different part of it–not your usual walking path and not the usual place where you sit. Change it up! The slower pace may be just what you need to let go and open to your inventiveness.

If you live in the country or a town, go to a nearby city–or a town that’s bigger than yours. Is it busier than what you’re used to? Is it noisier, too?

Perhaps you feel discombobulated because the pace and the noise are jarring. Change your thoughts about this. Instead of thinking of this experience as confusing and upsetting, think of it as stimulating and energizing you in a new way. How is this sparking your creativity–how can you think of this in a way that does spark your creativity?

Have fun with this!

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Fresh Perspective: Shake It Up!

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What would I see if I would look at this situating from the top, from underneath, from the side, or at an oblique angle?   To do this when you’re looking at problems–a difficult co-worker or trouble with your personal finances–it’s metaphorical to look at it up, down, backward, inside out, and you can also do this literally.

For instance, if you live in an urban area, is there a tall building with an observation deck or a restaurant that overlooks the city? If you live in a town or out in the country, is there a scenic overlook where you’re viewing the town from a higher elevation. Is there a place where the view gives you a wide open perspective of endless open space?

Also, is there a place where you can go low? Perhaps there’s a small valley or low spot in your town. Do you have a basement you can sit in quietly for a time, or maybe there’s a restaurant or other public place that’s in a basement-like area.

The point of this is to shake it up, change the way you’re looking at your situation. This is all exploratory so you aren’t committing to anything. You’re trying to jar loose some ideas that are different from the ones you usually get from your habitual ways of thinking.

Have fun with this!

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Silence and Meditation: The “Bad Stuff” About Meditation is Actually Some of the Good Stuff!

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Some of the “bad stuff” about a practice of silence and meditation is that it’s too darn hard because our minds wander, we fidget, we just don’t wanna do it!, or we fall asleep!

Yep. At one time or another all of those things are going to happen to us. And, once we’ve established a practice and we’re humming along with it like clockwork, we shouldn’t be surprised if we’re blindsided by a phase of restlessness, inattention, boredom, and lethargy.

What’s up with that?!

We use this to justify not developing a practice thinking that we really don’t have what it takes, it isn’t right for us, or we’re hopeless and doomed….

No worries! Believe it or not, all of this “bad stuff” is really the good stuff!

When you’re fidgety, when your mind hops from one topic to another to another to another, when you fall asleep, when you feel resistance to doing your practice, this is your mind and body trying to tell you something!

When this happens, go with it and be the observer, as if you’re an anthropologist or sociologist who’s studying a people in order to understand their way of life.

For instance, if you’re having trouble focusing your mind, observe what topics or issues your mind gravitating toward. Observe what’s going on in your life that your mind keeps coming back to this issue or topic. Think about it on a little deeper level to find what the core issue is, such as abandonment, unworthiness, incapability, etc..

On a more practical level, take a look at the time of day and the place you’re choosing for your silence and meditation. Perhaps they aren’t conducive to quieting yourself. Consider using another meditation method or a different way of silence and meditation.

Perhaps you’re restless and twitchy. Again, your body is speaking to you. Take a moment to tune in and find out what’s going on in your life that you may be avoiding because the squirming might be because you’re trying to get away from a situation or issue in your life.

Also, consider switching to a movement-based form of silence and meditation. Let your body work off the extra steam and energy as your meditating!

Maybe you find yourself falling fast asleep in less than two seconds. Again, tune into yourself. It might be that you aren’t getting enough sleep or taking enough rest breaks throughout the day. Perhaps you aren’t eating enough or the food you are eating doesn’t have enough nutrition. Falling asleep can be an avoidance issue so make sure you take a look at the larger scope of what’s going on in your life.

Also, experiment with changing the method of meditation or the type of meditation, for instance do a standing meditation or a walking meditation. Additionally, change the time of day that you’re meditating.

You may find that you just don’t wanna do it! Like a toddler who’s just discovered the word “NO!”, we can have the same frustratingly stubborn way, even though we’ve been a grown-up for decades! You have to work with yourself when you’re feeling this way. When I’ve felt this resistance, I’ve chosen a repetitive activity that’s fun that can be done quietly. For instance, my favorite is to blow bubbles (click here for my YouTube video about it!). Another thing I enjoy doing is doodling. I’ve also discovered that daydreaming as I gaze out my window is another method to circumvent the resistance.

The trick is to do something fun, that you enjoy; something that can be done alone and done quietly. I’ve found this helps calm my mind and my body and then I can do a little deeper pondering.

Meditation isn’t always about blissing out. It’s about discovering more about ourselves and our purpose in the world. It’s about building a deeper and richer life as a result. Yes, sometimes we get to bliss-out over it but there are times when we have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty!

As an aside, when you work with yourself through the “bad stuff” about your meditation practice, you may discover issues that are too big or too much for you to handle. In that case, I wholeheartedly encourage you to reach out to a counselor, your spiritual or religious leader, a health care professional, a support group, a trusted friend or loved one. Don’t go it alone when there is so much help and support out there for you!

Let me know the ways in which you work through the “bad stuff” of meditation. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren

Attitudes and Expectations: Expect That…

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Expect that you can do it, because you can;

Expect that you’ll figure things out as you go along, because you will;

Expect that you and your life are improving, because it’s true;

Expect that your dreams are meant for you to achieve, because they are;

Expect that you are getting better at being your authentic self, because you are;

Expect that every day is a new opportunity, because it is;

Expect that every morning is a fresh start, because it’s true;

Expect that at any moment you can begin again, because you can;

Expect that you’ll find the help you need when you need it, because you will;

Expect that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams, because you do;

Expect that the Still Small Voice within you is telling you the truth, because it is.

Follow it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Morning Routines: Fun Stuff!


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Yesterday we explored the idea of what if we added “fun stuff” to the serious stuff that we already do such as meditating and exercise. Today, let’s list fun things we can do.

 

~Blow bubbles

As you know, right now this is one of my go-to fun activities.

 

~Singing any old which way you feel like it in the moment

This was offered by a long-time reader of this blog.   This is a great way to oxygenate your system, a fun way to move around and get a little exercise, and you can’t help but feel better after singing at the top of his/her lungs!  🙂

 

~Taking the time to make a delicious breakfast

This was suggested by a friend of mine who enjoys home cooking but doesn’t always take the time to make breakfasts she loves such as pancakes, waffles, and vegetable scrambled eggs.

 

~Sitting outside with a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper

A neighbor offered this one.  He has a small “grove” of pine trees and in it nestled an Adirondack chair.  Now with it lighter in the mornings, he sometimes sneaks out there to read for a few minutes before heading off to work.

 

~Reading in a fun book

A young mother who does a lot of technical reading for her job loves to wake up a little early and read her latest fun book–or mind candy book, as she calls it!  🙂

 

~Doodling

An artist friend of mine enjoys doodling first thing in the morning.  She doodles shapes, symbols, or random strokes; sometimes she uses graphite pencils and sometimes she used magic markers or crayons.

 

~Origami

A friend of mine has a high pressure management position and she likes to fold origami.  In the mornings when she does it, the activity becomes a meditation for her.  And afterward, not only is her soul nourished but she has a pretty flower or animal to show for the efforts, which boosts her spirits.  And the origami also boosts the spirits of the person she gives it away to.  Cool!

 

~Ironing

I know what you’re thinking:  what the heck is ironing doing on this list of fun activities to do in the morning?!  Believe it or not, I have a friend who enjoys ironing early in the morning.  She likes that it lends itself to meditation.  She also likes the smell of the hot iron on the cotton fabric–it connects her to her childhood and memories of her mother.  And she and her family have crisply pressed clothes in the bargain!

 

 

As you can see, there are a variety of different activities. The common thread through them all is pleasure.  Each of these activities weren’t something that the person had to do; they were activities that the person chose to do for the simple fact that it gave them pleasure.

Feel free to share the activities you enjoy doing in the morning. Thanks!  Remember to add them to your morning routine!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Start the Week off Right: Get Up When Your Alarm First Rings

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I was listening to James Allen’s Byways to Blessedness, a Librivox recording.  The first section of the book talks about beginnings.

James Allen states that there are beginnings we have no control over, for instance we may have been laid off from work and now we’re facing the beginning of unemployment and the process of looking for a new job.  He advises to not focus on these beginnings, aside from taking care of our responsibilities, but rather to focus on the beginnings we have total and complete control over.  He says that these types of beginnings are of vital importance because they create the complex web of results that then make up our life.  He went on to say that these beginnings are controlled by our thoughts and mental attitudes, and the resulting daily conduct and actions we take.

According to James Allen, the first beginning to focus on—the easiest one to take control of—is the start of a new day, namely when your alarm clock first rings. He suggests answering these questions because “…much happiness or unhappiness depends upon the right or wrong beginning of the day…”:

 

~At what time does the alarm go off?

~Do we immediately get up?

~In what frame of mind do we enter the sacredness of a new day?

~How do we go about getting ready for the day?

 

One of his suggestions is to rise at an early hour, even if we don’t have to because this will help “…start the day strongly by shaking off indolence.”

 

Then this statement jumped out at me: “…How are you to develop strength of will in mind and body if you begin every day by yielding to weakness?”

 

He’s telling us to stop hitting the snooze button and to get up when our alarm first goes off. 

 

I get his point that by hitting the snooze alarm, we aren’t really getting a few extra Zzzz’s—in fact researchers have shown that hitting the snooze alarm does not help; the “extra sleep” you get is not restful.  James Allen is saying that when we hit the snooze alarm what we’re actually doing is telling our mind and body that it’s okay to procrastinate, it’s okay to indulge ourselves, it’s okay to go for instant gratification.

James Allen goes on to say:  “Self-indulgence is always followed by unhappiness.  People who lie abed until a late hour are never bright and cheerful and fresh but are the prey of irritabilities, depressions…and all unhappy moods.”

He then goes on to say that hitting the snooze alarm is like an alcoholic taking a nip in order to brace him/herself and steady his/her nerves for the upcoming issues in the day.

 

It’s our self-indulgence in hitting the snooze alarm that creates indolence and avoidance that is creating the issues–it’s our weaknesses and our pandering to our moods and emotions that are at the root cause of the issues that we’re avoiding!

 

James Allen adds:  :…Men and women are totally unaware of the great losses which they entail by this common indolence (hitting the snooze alarm):  loss of strength of both mind and body, loss of prosperity, loss of knowledge, and loss of happiness.

James Allen isn’t the only one who urges getting up early and getting up right away.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer and other successful people join him in this.  One of James Allen suggestions for this “extra time” is to take a gentle walk in Nature.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, and others advise filling the time with studying sacred and/or inspirational writings, studying the industry in which we work, and pursuing other avenues of self-development and education.

Wow.

Usually I get up the first time the alarm rings.  Occasionally, though, I’ve let myself sleep a little later, commonly on the weekends.  I have noticed that James Allen’s statement is true:  I seem to be a little less focused and less productive on the days I allow myself to catch up on my sleep.  In fact, I had been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to get up at my normal time and take a short nap during the day if I need it.  I guess James Allen’s answer would be YES!!!

This week’s challenge is to get up on time—when the alarm first rings. Let me know the differences you notice in your week. Feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren