Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning for Body, Mind, Spirit and Creativity

I recently embarked on the JJ Virgin diet in an effort to cleanse and lose weight. I’d never done anything like this. JJ virgin asked that I give up 7 foods – gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, dairy, eggs, and sugar – for three weeks and then slowly reintroduce them, one weekly, to see how each affected my body. It’s been an amazingly enlightening journey. Through this process I’ve learned a lot about my willpower, what I crave, how I think, and what does and doesn’t work for my body. As a result, I’ve made significant adjustments in my eating habits that have subtly, and unexpectedly, shifted other habits and ways of being in my life.

Given that today is the Vernal Equinox and marks the first day of spring, I began to link the cleansing that I had done, to “spring cleaning” and how we might look at the areas of our life that need cleaning out, or at least readjusting. Perhaps for you it’s not what you eat, but maybe what you think, what you do repeatedly, or how you feel in your body. While cleaning out is about getting rid of, it also relates to revaluing, reorganizing, assessing what we want to keep, and about moving things around to better serve us.

In the South Bay area of Los Angeles, there is a marvelous little vegetarian restaurant called The Green Temple. They have an amazing space filled with color and life. One day I complimented the owner on her space, how it changes constantly, and how good it makes me feel. She thanked me, and told me that it was intentional; they routinely rearrange, clear, and clean, because it keeps the energy moving, and reinvigorates. Perhaps there is a way to apply this philosophy to our lives, to our body, mind and spirit, and the way we engage with our creativity and inner wisdom.

Consider the following as you enter the first day of spring, where night and day are of equal length – tomorrow we move into bringing more light into the world.
  • Mind – What do you think about? Are your thoughts filled with doubt and fear, or your inner critic ridiculing you? Do you focus on the future, hold onto regrets concerning the past, or stay centered on present moment?
What if you became aware of the type of thoughts you hold throughout the day? What would it look like if you took control of your thoughts and cleared out the ones that don’t serve you?
  • Body – How do you feel - healthy, or not so good? Tired, bloated, energy-less? Are you happy with your weight, the amount of exercise you get, what you eat?

What if you revalued your body, the very temple that enables your marvelous imagination to manifest its dreams - housing your wonderful brain, the arms and hands that help you to do your creative work, the legs that support you as you dance? Have you given your body the credit it deserves? Not because you “should”, but rather out of gratitude?
  • Spirit – Are you experiencing synchronicity, feeling enthusiastic, joyous and overflowing, or dragging, feeling disconnected and discontent? Have you been meditating, creating art, allowing time for self-expression, taking care of self?
What if you cleared your calendar or rearranged meetings to accommodate taking care of you longings, cravings, and inner stirrings?
  • Creativity – When was the last time you gave into a creative yearning? Perhaps you have a series of unfinished projects, or maybe you’ve written tons of ideas, but never started them. What about cleaning those out – either do something with them or let them go?
Get rid of, let go, shed, so that what’s underneath can blossom, emerge and spring forth. Rearrange, reconsider, renegotiate, reinvigorate.

Shine light on the area of your life that you want to address. No need to take it all on at once. Allow the first thought – the first thing you think of - to be the best thought, and act on that – start small, but start!
Embrace the wonder that is you!

Are you taking care of yourself, truly loving and valuing your magnificence? I hope so. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need a creative boost, check out my upcoming workshops and classes, consider walking the candlelit labyrinth with me tonight to meditate on what the next several months will bring into being.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Balancing Your Inner Voice and Outer World

Focusing on what's going on inside of us can be very challenging when our daily life is packed full and we don't have a minute to spare.  Believe me, I've been there.  However, listening to our inner voice and managing our outside world is a two way street.  To find true balance, you must engage both, remembering that you hold the power to bring order and solace to your life.

I'd like to share a personal experience with you and give you some of the tools I used in hopes that you can begin to bring your goals and dreams to fruition.

After spending two years reacting to everything around me, much like I discussed in January when I posted Patience as We Process, and doing almost nothing that brought me any real joy, I paused.  I looked inside of me for what I really wanted, then I looked at my world and realized that the two were not at all well-aligned with each other.  Over a four day period, I looked back in my life to a time when things came together and flowed smoothly; I was productive and happy.

An old calendar I created.  Color coding
not necessary; just something I need to do.
That time was in college and I remembered a weekly calendar I used to use, so I recreated it, but it didn't work this time.  I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that I used the calendar when I was single and my life was entirely my own.  Besides incorporating my family into the new calendar, I looked at what I was doing personally and it did not line up with what I wanted to be doing or where I wanted to go.  In essence, my inner voice was not being heard or represented in my external world.

I needed something else.  Remember when Chantel talked about ways to approach New Year's resolutions?  Did you make yours?  Did you set goals?  I listed my goals and priorities, but that wasn't enough.  I needed to join my goals with the way I was spending my time during the week.

There is only so much time in a week and that is where the challenge was for me, in establishing a manageable process, finding a balanced approach to turning my goals and dreams into my reality.  With my priorities in hand and my weekly calendar filled in, I drew a circle on a piece of paper and looked at how much time I was spending doing things each week and what things I was actually doing.  I didn't like what I saw.  But, I didn't attempt to change everything all at once.  I eased my way into the things I wanted to do, while easing my way out of some of the things that were time sinks I didn't need to be doing.  Some things were easier to phase out than others, but once the process started, it got easier to see how I could manage my time and spend more of it focused on things that mattered.

Balance is a thing of beauty.
 A few months later, I reevaluated the way I was spending my time and compared the first circle to the second one.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I had refocused my outer world to align with my inner voice.  Once you begin to realign your outer world with your inner voice, you will not only find balance, but the time you need to achieve it.  I felt balanced, productive and happy, something which continues to grow today.

As you go through this process, remember to ask yourself these questions:  How full is your plate? What's on your plate?  Is what's there what you want to have on it?  How well are your inner voice and outer world supporting each other?  Have you achieved some balance?

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom
Over the next two weeks, take the time to either record the amount of time you spend on each task you do or estimate it.  You can simply list each item and record how much time you spend on it as you do it each day or use the tools I've posted on my website for you to accomplish this assessment.  Then, using my 'how full is your plate?' circle (also on my website), apply your week to the plate in the percentage of time spent on each task.  How does it look?  If it's not the way you'd like it, how can you change it?  If you're interested in some personal coaching, let me know.  I'd be happy to help.