Happiness First, Success Follows

Most of us have spent our lives thinking that we need to be successful first and then we will be happy. Shawn Achor’s entertaining TED Talk proves otherwise.

If this inspires you, consider joining the Happiness First, Success Follows Facebook Group for inspirational ideas. A 21 day journey starts tomorrow, although any day you join would be a good day to start being happy.

10 Tips for a Peaceful Day

A few reminders for all of us:

  1. When you wake up in the morning, thank the Universe for giving you the day ahead. Expect that your day will be wonderful.
  2. Sit in silence before getting out of bed – even 5 to 10 minutes will make a difference. Quiet your mind and simply observe the sounds of your room without judgement.
  3. Walk in nature, even if it’s simply in your neighborhood. Listen to the sounds of nature – the birds chirping, the wind in the trees.
  4. Eat foods that grow from plants and trees; slowly eliminate manufactured food.
  5. Drink plenty of water.
  6. Smile and speak positively to everyone you meet.
  7. Help someone in need.
  8. Get in touch with a friend or loved one.
  9. Forgive someone who hurt you. Make peace with your past so you can move on in peace.
  10. Before you go to sleep, thank the Universe for all the blessings of the day; send love and blessings to everyone.

Namaste

Timing Our Day Consciously

Taking part in Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Experience Manifesting True Success has given me food for thought. In particular, today I am thinking about how I spend my day.

Too often I feel unsatisfied at the end of the day. Whether it was not having time for fun or not accomplishing something that I had planned to do.

Today’s meditation “Timing For Success” showed how we can look back at our day and feel good about it, if we follow the model for mastering time from psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Siegel. His work shows the best way to have a healthy brain that supports a person’s well-being. He suggests dividing our time into seven different ways each day.  They are:

  • Sleep time – to get a full night restful sleep
  • Physical time – to move and let your body be active
  • Focus time – to be alone for awhile to concentrate on what matters to you
  • Time in – for meditation, prayer or self-reflection
  • Time Out – for simply resting or existence
  • Play time – for fun in a carefree mood
  • Connecting time – intimate private time between those you love and care for

Deepak goes on to explain that this isn’t just about having a well-planned day.  Each step optimizes different areas of the brain which leads to expanded awareness and a sense of fulfillment.

I like that. It makes sense to me.

We can strive to be masters of our time each day and have a map to help us on our way.

Reflect and Rejoice

January 1 is typically the day that many people make New Years Resolutions.  While that can be a worthy practice, I prefer to do what I call “reflect and rejoice” in early January.

Allow me to explain.

The start of a new year provides us all with the opportunity to change our calendars to a new one. If you are like me, the old calendar will have birthdays, anniversaries and appointments scribbled all over it. Before you recycle that old calendar, take the time to go through each month looking at the various days and the notes written. Reflect on the memories that each one provides and rejoice or give thanks for the experiences they provided.

Whether the past year was happy or sad, each day provided an opportunity for growth physical, mental or spiritual. In the end, it’s all good.

Happy New Year!

Moving On Slowly and Gently

Sometimes life throws a curve ball at us. When it does, it can be hard to find any peace or happiness for a time. Life becomes a struggle.

But there is a way to get out of it. It takes only a moment in time.

Start by observing what you are going through. Don’t try to change it. Don’t act on it. Don’t judge it. Just observe where your thoughts are taking you and what feelings you are having.

Then, slowly and gently, make a conscious effort to look at something else in the room or outside. Pay attention to one item. It could be as simple as looking at a chair or a picture hanging on the wall. Really look at it, as if seeing it for the first time. Look at the tiniest details. Don’t judge it. Just observe.

Then, listen to any sounds that you hear around you. Perhaps it’s a clock ticking, the fridge humming or a bird chirping. Put all your attention on the sound. Again, just observe. Just listen.

Then, take a brief moment to give gratitude to whatever you observed – yourself, something in your home, office or outdoors, the sound.

Do this as often as you like throughout the day. Take only a few seconds to start with, then eventually allow it to expand into longer periods.

Observe the change over time. Be gentle with yourself and know that it’s all good.

The Healing Power of a Drum

Last night I experienced the comfort and loving sounds of what it must have been like to be in the womb and hearing my mother’s heartbeat.

It was during a community drumming circle where about 50 or 60 people were sitting in ever larger circles. Each person had a drum to play and were instructed to drum a heart beat.

BOOM… boom, boom… BOOM… boom, boom… BOOM… boom, boom…

I was invited to lie on a yoga mat with 8 other people in the center area for what was called a “rhythm cradle.” I closed my eyes and could hear the heartbeat around me.

More than that, I could feel the vibration of the drums throughout my body… all in time to the heartbeat.

Then people with native hand drums began to drum over top of my body. I could feel the power of the drum literally coursing through my feet, my legs, my arms, my entire body. Two men playing didgeridoos in the background came over and played their instruments right into my body. I could feel the rush of air and feel the amazing vibrations going right to my core.

Slowly the drumming over my body and the didgeridoos drifted away. I was left with the steady heartbeat of the drum in the background. BOOM… boom, boom… BOOM… boom, boom… BOOM… boom, boom…

Then all was quiet.

I lied there for a few minutes. The sensation was so powerful.

So healing!

If you live in an area that has a drumming circle, go experience the healing sensations of the drum. In Calgary, Alberta we are so fortunate to have Judy Atkinson’s Circles of Rhythm.

Six Spiritual Paths of Zen

I recently had an audience with Zen Master Nissim Amon of Israel. To say it was enlightening experience is an understatement. He shared six spiritual paths and encourage us to go out and share them with others.

Therefore, I am sharing these paths with you as I interpreted them.

Six Spiritual Paths

  1. Accept all stages of life, all experiences, without complaint (or at least try to complain less)
  2. Say “I love you” every day, to others and to yourself
  3. Gain wisdom, read books especially inspirational passages before bed
  4. Indulge in pleasurable experiences occasionally without self-criticism (drink, eat, nap)
  5. Ponder a question over time (years) without answering it rationally. BE the answer.
    • Question to ponder: A million things return to one. What does one return to?
  6. Experience nature (hike, garden, walk in grass barefoot, play with a dog)

Remember: It is all good.

This brief list pales in comparison to sitting and listening to Zen Master Nissim Amon explain each path. My hope is to provide a glimpse into his teachings. If you have the chance to spend time with Zen Master Nissim Amon, I encourage you to do so.

It will be a profound and life changing experience.

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