Tag Archives: energy

Music Uplift

Certain music raises your emotional vibration. So I suggested that my Positive Living group find a piece of music that uplifts them. And in time, they could put together an entire playlist, which they could listen to whenever they want to feel happy or energised.

Last night, I scrolled down my iPod to see what I would place on my uplifting playlist. My choices had me shimmying, singing along to the lyrics and smiling as I was flooded with lovely memories. Here’s what I came up with…

1. Happy Face – Destiny’s Child

This song helped me put on my happy face when I was going through a tough time in my early twenties.

2. You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall & Oates

If you’re a fan of the film (500) Days of Summeryou’ll remember the scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt dances through the streets after a night of passion with one very lucky lady.

3. You’ve Got The Love – The Source feat. Candi Station

This track reminds me of being spun on the waltzers by a sexy carnival bad-boy, and later, the emotional final scene of hit series Sex and the City.

4. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction

No explanations, no justifications. Now excuse me while I check out some of their newer music videos. For research purposes.

*17.32 minutes minutes later* Yep, feeling pretty good alright.

5. Intro – The XX

Cooler than a pair of Ray-Bans.

6. Drumming – Florence and the Machine

This music had me dancing with wild abandon in my bedroom.

7. Taro – Alt-J

And this gets me belly dancing round the flat.

8. Halcyon – Ellie Goulding

I recall feeling hopeful and alive as I raced through the rain while Miss Goulding belted out the lyrics: “It’s gonna be better!”

9. A Real Hero – College feat. Electric Youth

I couldn’t put the treadmill on a high enough speed when this song came on my I Work Out playlist. And anything Gosling-related is feel-good if you ask me.

10. Instant Crush – Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas

Cruising along the coast, windows down.

Bonus Track: Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

Another tune from (500) Days of Summer, this brings me back to sunny days lying on the grass and gazing at a clear blue sky…

I’d love to know what would appear on your uplifting playlist!

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Being Negative For A Change

All day, I’ve had an anxious feeling in my chest. I haven’t been able to take deep, satisfying breaths. I had a busy day so I just pushed on through, hoping it would pass.

Tonight, I was about to watch television and simply ignore how I was feeling. I realised that I didn’t want to do that. I’m an advocate of sitting with your emotions and listening to what they have to tell you. So I sat. I slumped into the armchair, feeling down, frustrated, angry and fearful all at once.

Then, like the good writer and avid list-maker that I am, I reached for a notepad and pen. I decided, rather than run from the things that were annoying me, I’d write them all down. I don’t usually give so much energy to the negatives but, this time, I felt it would be therapeutic to have a look at what had been festering.

As synchronicity would have it, I came across this quote by Jill Bolte Taylor today: “Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.”

And so I moaned and doubted, raged and self-victimised all over two sides of an A4 sheet. I tore out the page and turned to a new one. Here, I wrote how all of my grievances were making me feel. Let’s just say that I don’t know if many other negative emotions even exist because I was feeling all of them.

Although I don’t believe in focussing on the negatives in life (and who’s to say what’s “negative” anyway?), it became clear to me that this was a really beneficial exercise.

I had been feeling this way for no apparent reason. However, when I asked myself what had been upsetting me, I was able to fill two entire pages with reasons.

I also realised that some of the things that were irritating me were things that don’t usually annoy me when I’m feeling good and energised. All of the small stuff was mounting up and creating a massive lump in my chest. It was robbing me of my peace. Or rather, I was allowing it to. But how was I to know what I was allowing when I hadn’t even given any of it my attention?

As I worked my way down the list of feelings that had arisen from all of my perceived problems, I recognised that there was one thing that would set me free. Acceptance.

I could accept the situation. I could accept other people as they are. I could accept what they had done and hadn’t done. I could accept that the past is the past (even if it only happened yesterday, it’s still old news). I could accept how I’m feeling right now. And most importantly, I could accept myself exactly as I am.

Acceptance melts resistance. Acceptance and struggle cannot coexist. Neither can acceptance and anger. Or acceptance and judgement.

When you accept something, you let go of the desire for things to be different. And with that, you become truly present. With that, you can breathe again…

freedom

Attitude of Gratitude

The other day, I was complaining about how long it takes to blow-dry my hair. My mother informed me that, when she was a child, she had to towel-dry hers. I felt grateful for the invention of hair dryers. A couple of my friends then told me that they wish they had thick hair like mine. Again, I had to be grateful for what I was lucky enough to have.

This quote comes to mind: “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

Gratitude is something I practice every single day. It instantly lifts my mood and brings enjoyment to all the little (and the big) things that I have in my wonderful life.

I would like to own my own house some day but, right now, I give gratitude for the lovely little flat I’m living in. It’s cosy and central and I have it all to myself.

Yesterday, I met a woman who has been through cancer twice. She lifted her shirt to show us the scars from her double mastectomy. A wave of gratitude and admiration for this brave woman enveloped me.

She spoke of the fun she used to have with the fellow patients in the hospital. She remembered how the nurses would bring her tea and toast at 2am if she couldn’t sleep. “They didn’t have to do that,” she added. In the face of such a huge challenge, this lady was still able to express gratitude. She is an inspiration.

If you’re experiencing dissatisfaction, envy, frustration or a feeling of lack, try replacing it with gratitude. Think of a few things that are grateful for today. What you focus upon multiplies. And soon, you’ll marvel at the sheer abundance in your life.

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Leaning into Life

Listening to the Hay House World Summit at the weekend, I heard one of the speakers say: “Successful people do what they want to do, not what they feel like doing.” At the time, I didn’t really get it. The following day, it hit me.

For quite some time, I’ve been teaching myself to get quiet and listen to my body. I’ve learned how to say “No” and how to know what’s right for me at any given moment. I thought the best motto for life was to “go with the flow”.

Then, I came across an article by Noor Shawwa, who wrote about the three ways we approach life. He suggested that we can go with the flow (lean back), walk away (quit) or make the most of it (lean in). A couple of days later, I read another article, this one by Jack Canfield, telling us to “Build Momentum by Leaning into It.”

Going with the flow is a welcome relief after a lifetime of resistance and control. But upon reading these articles, I realise that there is something empowering about leaning into life. If I always sit back and do what I feel like doing, I’d skip the workout and eat lots of cake. Alternatively, if I were to do what I want to do, I’d do things that make me fit and healthy and full of energy. Yes, I might feel like watching the latest Ryan Gosling flick (and that’s okay too) but I might want to prepare an inspiring Positive Living class more.

So today, even though I don’t feel like it, I take myself out for a cycle. And boy am I tested on that, as yet, uncertain balance between going with the flow, leaning in and downright quitting!

The wind is strong. No matter which direction I go, it blows against me. I huff and puff in annoyance. I want it to stop. A plump bumblebee dives onto my head and bounces off my eyelid. As I pedal along, a dog chases me, barking incessantly. I reason with it in a sing-song voice, trying to appeal to its gentler nature. Eventually, it gives up. Just before I cycle right into a giant pothole. I am totally jarred but I remain upright. Minutes later, two tiny flies simultaneously suicide-bomb into one eye each. I pull over and rub my eyes vigorously, only burying them further into their watery graves.

I sit back on the saddle and laugh. Up until this point, I thought everything was against me. Now it feels more like nature is working with me in order to wake me up. There is nothing I can do about the weather. I have two legs that are working hard to bring me into the beautiful countryside. The wind is warm (and it’s not often you can say that in Ireland!) and it’s forcing me to get more out of my workout.

Just as I relax into it, it begins to drizzle, thus breaking the weeklong spell of glorious sunshine. I can’t change the weather, I mutter. But I can change my attitude. I understand that leaning into life still requires going with the flow. It’s just about adding momentum. So I lean into the rain and keep going. I’m like a human hearse carrying two tiny insects who have sacrificed themselves for the cause – my awareness.

Tuesdays with Morrie

I pick up a little book called Tuesdays with Morrie while on holidays in Spain. I saw it years ago but avoided it because the blurb on the back made me worry that it’d be a depressing read. It is about a dying professor (Morrie Schwartz) and his younger student (Mitch Albom). This time, I am ready. I devour it in two sittings. And I cry and cry and cry.

It isn’t that it’s unbearably sad. It’s just so touching, it moves me like nothing else has for a long time. I can feel Morrie’s energy with me as I finish the memoir. I love him. I can honestly say that he (and the endearingly honest Mitch) has changed my life. The gradual shift in Mitch’s attitude inspires me almost as much as Morrie’s wisdom.

Morrie allowed himself to let go, to be vulnerable, and to ask for help. He observed that, when you’re an infant, you need help from others and, when you grow old, you require their assistance also. However, what we fail to acknowledge is that we need other people in between times too.

Morrie told the tale of the little wave that witnessed other waves crashing against the shore. The wave wailed, fearfully: “Oh no, look! This is the fate that awaits us. How horrible!” Another wave reassured him: “Don’t fret, little one, for you are not a wave, you are part of the ocean.” As Rumi wrote: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”

Morrie’s message has made me realise how closed off I’d become. I’d tell myself that “I like my own space”. I’d go home while co-workers would sit and have tea, a chat and a laugh. I’d stay alone in the flat watching episode after episode of The Good Wife. I’d spend weekends preparing classes instead of exploring the countryside with loved ones. I’d retire early rather than spend time with friends.

I still believe that there should be a balance between rest, work and play and between stillness, silence and moments of noise and interaction. But Morrie’s story has shown me that the most important thing in life is to love. To share what you have with others. To give another human being the gift of your time. Morrie said that he was always 100 per cent present with whomever he was speaking. When he was talking with Mitch, he thought only of Mitch. This resonates with me as I am often in the company of others when I’m not really there. I’m thinking of what needs to be done, or how I shouldn’t have eaten that or I might even be putting a photo through Instagram while somebody attempts to converse with me.

Morrie’s big, brave, generous heart has made me resolve to really live life, to connect with people, to appreciate nature, to question the values we’ve been brainwashed into adopting, to understand that love and peace are what’s true and priceless compared with ever-changing, unreliable material and physical possessions. One of my new goals is to do something that makes me feel alive every single day. I also promise to be present with people, as if each encounter were our last, and to ask, in the words of Robert Holden in his book Loveability: “How can I love you more?”

I have a couple of hours before I have to head for the airport. I could go for a last swim at what the locals call the “healing beach”. But it’s a bit of a walk, I mentally argue. And it’d mean packing a wet bikini. Then, I remember that I’m living life. So I set off in my flip-flops, carrying a pink towel. A line of ants and a yellow butterfly cross my path. A lone purple wildflower on this dry dirt track reduces me to tears. I offer an Hola and a smile to an old man sitting alone. He returns my smile, its corners clipped with surprise. An elderly couple stroll ahead, hand-in-hand. Yet again, my eyes mist. I beam as I spot a set of keys a stranger has carefully balanced atop a bollard.

My breasts bob and sway as my feet flap upon the sand. I feel like an ancient elephant striding across the desert. I inhale the scent of my sweat that has collected in cracks and creases. A homeless man sits on a wall behind the beach. I abandon my beach bag and strip. I don’t suck in my stomach. Not today. I duck my head into the ocean even though my hair was freshly washed this morning. I am alive.

Mitch and Morrie used to say, “We’re Tuesday people” because they usually met on Tuesdays. And I am writing this piece on a Tuesday, watching the waves surge and retreat, with tears in my eyes and a heart that’s breaking… wide open.

Image: Author's own

Image: Author’s own

Under Pressure

This morning, I travelled to Dublin for a seminar which was cancelled. I arrived home with a free day to spare. It occurred to me that I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t set aside much time for fun and relaxation. I’ve been occupied with work, courses and going to the gym. And even when I have a couple of hours in the evening, I haven’t been able to sit still long enough to watch a movie or even a television programme.

It’s good for our ego when we’re busy. Society is so obsessed with doing doing doing. Laziness is frowned upon. One must constantly be striving, improving, achieving and accomplishing. People love to tell us about their hectic schedules and full timetables. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of nonaction once in a while. In fact, the Chinese insist upon it as part of their medicine. Resting, relaxing and doing things we enjoy is all part of boosting our Yin. In everyday language, it’s called having a work-play-rest balance.

We all know how it is when we have too much on. We become cranky and overwhelmed. Little things get to us. We’re irritable and exhausted. Everything takes more of an effort. And when we do take a break, it’s extremely difficult to switch off and unwind. That’s why holidays are vital as it can take a while before the body and mind fully relax. It’s also important to set aside some time to be quiet and alone on a regular basis. Perhaps in the countryside or by the sea. And away from your phone and internet.

This week, the importance of self-care has become very apparent to me. If we don’t look after ourselves, how can we hope to be of any use to anybody else? It’s like when the air hostess advises us, in case of emergency, to apply our own oxygen masks before attending to young children. Otherwise, nobody would survive. This is not being selfish. This is being smart.

Being nice to yourself comes with extraordinary health benefits. So this afternoon, I’m going to light my stove and curl up in a big blanket with a mug of tea and a couple of episodes of Modern Family.

For more on boosting Yin energy, read here.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

Feel good (in an instant)

Below are some simple, speedy ways to uplift yourself… instantly!

  • Smile (Simply put, this will tell your brain that you are happy.)
  • SIT UP STRAIGHT (When you’re depressed, you slouch. Change your posture, change your mood.)
  • Get out in nature (Energetically speaking, nature has a high vibrational frequency, which will override the low frequency of a bad mood.)
  • Sing
  • Put on your favourite tune (And dance!)
  • Read an inspiring quotation or watch an encouraging video (Buy a calendar that has a daily quote or subscribe to a blog / YouTube channel / Facebook page that posts regular uplifting updates.)
  • Write down five things you are grateful for
  • Say (aloud) five things you love about yourself
  • Light a candle
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Put on a slick of lipstick and your favourite perfume / your best shirt and sexiest aftershave
  • Buy yourself a bunch of flowers (You’ll smile every time you walk past them because 1. they’re beautiful  and 2. they’re a reminder that you’ve done something wonderful for yourself.)

Do one of these things right now and observe the change in your mood. Then, work your way through the list. Soon, you’ll be doing these things automatically because feeling good is so natural. Enjoy!

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh

What if I told you…

What if I told you that you are safe? That you are perfectly supported by the Universe. What if I told you that your essence is eternal? That you and nature and everyone around you are connected. That you all come from the same source.

What if I told you that your natural state is one of peace, love and happiness? That abundance is right there for you if you would just ask for it and believe that you deserve it. What if I told you that you are perfect? That you are energy flowing from and towards and with God. What if I told you that everything is happening for a reason? For you to learn. For you to get to know your self.

Would you resist these words and choose to believe that to live means to struggle and to suffer; to feel insecure, angry, afraid and alone? Or would you realise that these are the only truths we need to know so that we can create peace, connection and total love? So that we can experience and enjoy the beauty and light and radiance of simply being.

magazine.macs-salon.co.uk/2011/12/loathe-the-end-of-the-summer-sun-2/

No More Excuses

It’s all well and good having brilliant flashes of insight into our behaviour. It’s marvellous to come to some understanding as to why we might be miserable. We can have many an Aha moment as we read tonnes of self-help books and watch endless YouTube clips of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. But what’s the point if we never actually change? We moan:

“I’m exhausted because I push myself too hard. I’m constantly striving for perfection. Because I think I’m only worthy of love and acceptance when I’m perfect.”

What a wonderful realisation! But what can we do with it? We might take a little rest (if even) and resolve to love ourselves unconditionally, before falling right back into our old self-destructive patterns. Working too hard, exercising and dieting to excess, and denying ourselves any morsel of pleasure in life… until the next time we binge or act lazy or reconnect with a bad habit; until we fall ill or get depressed and can no longer do all those things that make us feel we deserve a space on this planet. And yet again, we punish ourselves and cry, and wonder what’s the point of life… And if we don’t break down completely or (worst case scenario) decide to take our own lives, we pick ourselves up, wipe away our tears, root out those Mooji clips and dusty Thich Nhat Hanh books and start all over again…

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. At least we’re trying. I know I do the exact same thing, time and time again. I thought my life would never be the same after watching an inspiring movie, after being introduced to Byron Katie’s work, after reading Awareness, Mutant Message Down Under, Veronika Decides to Die, The Power of NowAnd I really believed it. Every single time. Until my next spell at rock bottom, when I was left wondering where it all went wrong.

Maya Angelou wrote, “When you know better, you do better.” So, if we know what’s to be expected from that sort of conduct, why not save time, energy and heartache and just change, once and for all?

All the motivational books and videos and quotations do help. But they can only bring us forward a certain amount. It’s not called “self-help” for nothing. Ultimately, it’s you, and only you, who can help yourself. People can give you advice, tips and recommendations, but if you’re not ready to take them on board or if you’re unwilling to change, then it’s not going to do much good, is it?

“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realise the answers are already inside them.” Galileo

It’s much easier telling others how to live their lives, and to spot where they’re going wrong. We can talk all we want about needing to transform our thinking, but when it comes to actually making a change, most of us chicken out. Because it’s unfamiliar and scary. It takes courage, determination and persistence to change.

I’m not going to finish this off with a persuasive video clip or a book list that’s guaranteed to change your life.

Just change. Do it.

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The Gift of the Present

We spend far too much time in our heads – worrying, remembering, giving out to ourselves, complaining… Imagine how much energy we waste on our thoughts… Do we really need them? Could we go on without them? Picture how free we would be if we cut most of them out…

"I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time." Charlie Brown

It’s extremely difficult to break the habits of a lifetime but it is possible and so worth it. Everybody’s got to start somewhere. So, here are a few simple exercises that you can try right here, right now…

1. Close your eyes and really feel what it is that you’re feeling. If you’re anxious, find out where that anxiety is. What parts of your body are affected? Give it a colour, a shape. Allow it to expand. There is nothing to fear. When we move out of our thoughts and into our feelings, we take a huge step towards being present.

2. If you’re experiencing pain somewhere in your body, don’t run away from it. It’s trying to tell you something – that you need to take a rest, slow down, make a change… Give the pain a name. Describe how it feels. I know it’s “sore” but what else? What’s the first thing that pops into your head? Homeopaths find the most effective remedies when people describe their symptoms in peculiar ways as it really narrows down the search (there are thousands of remedies). Is the pain digging or dragging, stabbing or burning? Does it feel like tiny needles or grains of sand? Is it hammering or pulsating? When you acknowledge the pain and allow it to express itself to you, it may shift or alter or even disappear completely.

3. I found this next exercise in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now

“Close your eyes and say to yourself: ‘I wonder what my next thought is going to be.’ Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse hole. What thought is going to come out of the mouse hole? Try it now.”

How long did it take before a thought came in? Are you amazed at how quickly one invades your mind? Did you notice the gap in thinking – the stillness, the “state of intense presence”? Wasn’t that nice? Do you want more of it? Don’t worry, you don’t have to force anything. The more aware you are, the wider the gaps will become.

Being present is being aware. Of what you’re experiencing right now. Not what you think about it or what you think you should do about it. But what simply is. It’s so simple, in fact, that we dismiss it for that very reason.

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness." James Thurber

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