Sunday, September 27, 2009

Be Our Best Self

“Our essential purpose is to
become the best version of ourselves.”
~ Matthew Kelly

Understand the Power of NOW

Understand the Power of Now
3 simple steps to embrace the moment
by Martine Jeanne Craughley

If you've taken a yoga class you might have been asked to "stay present." What on earth does that mean, you wonder. If you're here, aren't you "present"?

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, in his now-classic, bestselling book, The Power of Now, attempts to break it down for us. He suggests that being fully present, or living with joy, means to be absorbed in this very moment - without thoughts rattling around in our heads. Tolle says we exist in our purest state beneath the frantic chatter of the conscious, ego-driven mind.

Buddhism for every day life
If you've ever been in an emergency where you felt supercharged, and responded instantly with a startling clarity of action - you've entered the state that Tolle believes is our natural mode of being. But how do you stop the chatter in your head that blocks this pure state of mind? With so much to do and think about all the time, we need to learn to quiet the compulsive thinking of the mind.

Below are three simple steps to help you get in touch with your natural state of mind - without the chatter. In other words, it's how you tap into The Power of Now.

Pay attention to what you're thinking as you're waiting in line for a latte or receiving a stack of papers from your boss. Observe your thoughts and judgments - about others, about yourself, or about situations. Listen for repetitive mental statements such as "things never work out for me," or "she has it so easy." Once you're aware of the contents of your mind, you can make conscious changes.

If you're sitting on the subway, feel the temperature of the seat beneath you. Notice the change in the air when the doors open, be aware of how lightly or heavily you sit. Are you perched, or slumped? How many sounds can you distinguish? What are the scents in the air? In really noticing your body and your senses, you'll have a fuller appreciation of your reality and of the moment.

Go somewhere with natural beauty - even a quiet garden will do. Allow yourself to really look with deep interest and intent at the natural world. Examine the soft petals of a rose, the gleam on a beetle's back, the shades of yellows in a sunflower's center. Give yourself a moment to be in touch with nature, like you were as a child. After a few minutes of close observation, look up and see if somehow you feel different - because you will!

Do these exercises every day. Soon, these little actions will break the spell of the mind, where you're so lost in thought that you're unaware of your own surroundings, unaware of the present moment. Tolle advises those who want to experience the world beneath the (noisy) world to resist nothing - to accept life as it is, to feel the feelings this brings up, and to watch them be transformed through attention and observance. You will then live in the now, and feel its power in everything you do!

Stay Present In the Present

Be Where You Are
Stay present in the present
by Christina Julian

Often times we find ourselves putting off the idea of enjoying our lives fully until such-and-such happens, or when so-and-so sweeps in to save us from our current life. And let's not forget the ever-popular, waiting for a glorious knight or queen to appear out of nowhere.

But hey, that's the stuff that fairy tales are made of, right? In the real world, all we're really guaranteed to have is right here, right now. So why not learn to love your life in this instant, instead of planning to celebrate when something better happens? You're here! That's reason enough to be happy. Now make the most of it - with or without royalty.

Fiction, fantasy or reality
Harry Potter is fantastic. So is Sex in the City, and Entourage - as entertainment, that is. Not as models for living your life. Reality TV aside, "reality" should reign. Why, you ask? Because it's real, it's experiential, and it is the one thing you can count on right now. While it's easy to get sucked into the "idea" of a perfect life - you know, the one you aspire to, read about and dream of - that doesn't work for embracing the moment. Especially when you start pontificating or obsessing about the "what if..." scenarios. These only convince you that all that jazz is a lot better than where you are in the present. Stop yourself from even going there in your head... before you float too far downstream.

Reality check
You can't cuddle with a fantasy, nor can you have stimulating conversation with your TV. Feeding your fantasy and fiction needs at the local Barnes and Noble is one thing, but when those urges get in the way of enjoying your "real" life, it's another matter entirely. If your life somehow feels like it doesn't measure up to the glamorous ideal you aspire to, it's time to turn off the boob tube, shut the glossy magazines and close your titillating novels. Waiting for your ideal ship to come in can mean a long and lonely wait, especially if it is at the expense of embracing "the now."

Ask yourself
Are you where you are? Or dreaming about where you hope to be? Find out by answering these questions:

1.Do you walk into a party, pan the room, and look for Mr./Ms. Right? When they don't appear, do you begin trolling websites on your iPhone, looking for the next "singles" event you can wedge yourself into, because this party is the pits?
2.On the day after landing your dream job, do you kick yourself for not asking for more money when you had the chance? Maybe you panic because your "dream" gig just turned into a dead-end job overnight, and then dive onto to score a better one, stat!
3.Do you amp yourself up for a night on the town weeks before you head out the door, then, once you're at that hot new club, decide it is not quite hot enough - so you leave the scene swiftly and start searching for the next "it" place?
4.Have you been called a dreamer one too many times?
5.Do you cry when you see happily married people walking down the street, because you and your squeeze have not committed to life-long status yet? After all, you've got a rock-solid future, but maybe you could do better... ?

6.Are you constantly seeking out, sometimes maniacally, life's next buzz?

If you answered "yes" to just one of the above, or even flinched reading about it - it might be time for a little lesson in learning to love your life.

Stop, live and love
Take these steps to live in the now...

1."One day at a time" is not just for those suffering from addictions anymore. It's a mindset and way of life that everyone can benefit from - because it keeps you present. You can't change the past, and you really can't influence your future - but what you can do is make the present moment a good one.
2.Stop running, and start standing still. Notice and revel in what you're feeling right now. Maybe it's great, maybe it's not, but regardless what the feelings are, they will pass soon enough - so embrace them.
3.Wake up. Pick one thing that you love today. Maybe you and your hair woke up on the right side of the bed. The sun is shining, you still have a job, the dog isn't barking, the kids aren't crying, you have love in your life, the mail was delivered on time - whatever it is, big or small, notice the good that sits before you. If you can't come up with anything, choose to enjoy the still and calm nature of the moment.
4.Embrace your body. It is who you are, and it and you are fabulous exactly as you are.
5.Love something - anything, anyone.
6.Smile. Breath. Repeat. It's contagious!

Be happy in the shoes you are wearing. Embrace your place in life. Love yourself - now. Reality is good, exciting, tumultuous, exhilarating and infuriating. In all of its intensity, life is what you make it. Remember, it's up to you - in one simple choice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Art Of Non-Attachment

The Art of Non-Attachment
Make it work for you!
by Jessalyn Marchal

Many spiritual books and meditations these days talk about incorporating the Buddhist art of non-attachment into our everyday lives as a means of relieving stress. For some, this process may bring up visions of having to give away all of your personal possessions and move to a mountaintop.

If that doesn't quite sound like the choice for you... don't worry. Practicing non-attachment doesn't mean that you stop wanting things - it means that you're open to what the Universe has to offer you, and the possibility that life can be different and better than you've imagined. Non-attachment teaches us how to get out of our own way and stop limiting the outcomes of our dreams, goals and wishes to our own constrained ideas.

Often when we really want something passionately, we attach a whole set of specifics to our dreams - including exactly what we want, and how we expect it to manifest itself. But when we do so, the art of non-attachment suggests that we have set ourselves up for suffering. Love is a great example - wanting love in your life is a beautiful desire. The struggle comes when we attach ourselves to the belief that a certain person offers the only path to achieving happiness in love. By practicing non-attachment you allow yourself to feel the desire, but you allow the Universe to bring it to you without dictating what package it comes in.

Resistance is futile
Along with non-attachment comes the idea that you are exactly where you need to be right now. Loosen up and relax into the flow of life - instead of struggling against the current. Eastern thought tells us that suffering is part of life - the human condition. By giving up the struggle, we free up huge amounts of energy that can be put to better uses.

This doesn't mean that difficult situations will not arise - but that they simply will not be as difficult because you're not fighting against them - you simply accept that these situations (the ones that create suffering) exist, and you will counter them as they unfold. We all know our parents will probably die before we do, but it doesn't mean that this looming suffering should interfere with enjoying every moment they are with us. By accepting the suffering that will come with their eventual deaths, we can then let that go and enjoy the moment more.

Monkey mind
Giving your full attention to what is right in front of you stops that "monkey mind" (those wild random incongruous thoughts) from interfering with your intentions. By living each moment as it comes (non-attachment), we allow ourselves to engage our higher Selves, which are more universally connected. If your next task is to wash the dishes, then feel the bubbles and plates and cutlery, smell the soap, and observe the details - instead of rushing through that chore to get to the next one. If you find your thoughts wandering to the future or the past, don't judge yourself - just notice the wandering, and gently return to the matter at hand. In this way each moment becomes a form of meditation, connecting us with ourselves and the universe. It is from this centered place that we birth our own enlightenment.

By making the choice to accept - rather than fight against - suffering, and not limiting your options, you'll achieve the healthy type of detachment. By leaving the particulars up to the Universe, you'll get to realize the freedom of unlimited potential, and live in the moment.

Are You Expecting Too Much?

"The great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness."
~ Bernard de Fontenelle

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Portion Distortion

Avoid Portion Distortion
Are you eating more than you think?

In 1979, a bottle of soda pop contained 6.5 ounces. Today, soft drinks come in a 20-ounce jug. It's called portion distortion, and experts say it's one reason behind America's obesity epidemic.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Buy the Book "Chakra Foods for Optimun Health"

A Must Read!, June 14, 2009
By Bryan Dudones (Jacksonville, FL) - See all my reviews

Dr. Minich's amazing book, Chakra Foods for Optimum Health, has really made it easier for me to understand the relationship between food and the body, mind and spirit. Her vast knowledge has helped me embrace a healthier lifestyle by making me more aware of what I eat. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Craving Chakra Foods Knowledge, June 12, 2009
By Jill Daniel "EmpoweredMom" (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews

Until I read this book, I never thought about the HOW of eating, only the WHAT. Deanna points to the equal importance and the studies behind who we're eating with and how the meal takes place. For example, she cites a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine from Drs. Christakis and Fowler. They demonstrated that patterns of body weight gain were directly connected to our social networks. What does that mean? The greater the connection an individual has with obese friends and family (even if miles apart), the larger the influence on he or she developing obesity. If you're emotionally close with overweight people, there is also a higher chance of you becoming obese. As a mom, this makes me thing about being in great shape for my kid's healthy future and my own too! This is only one of many amazing insights and studies presented in Chakra Foods. It will have you thinking about food in a whole new way, an empowering way.

the rainbow review, June 15, 2009
By A. Riner (Silverdale, WA United States) - See all my reviews

Deanna takes a wealth of knowledge and weaves it into an everything book. It is both educational and inspiring. Like the vibrational colors of the rainbow, she leads you on a journey to a pot of gold. You will become aware of new aspects and attributes of food that will empower your soul, energize your body and bring joy into living. The information is presented in easy to understand topics which lead directly to practical guides for applying these ideas into your life (including awesome recipes!) You will learn to look at food in a holistically new way!

Coach Sherrie says: She also talks about Rainbow Eating or eating all the colors in the rainbow. You can find this book on Amazon.

Attitude Makes the Difference

"A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug."
~ Patricia Neal

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Embrace Uncertainty

Embrace Uncertainty
Give your life some wiggle room
by Adrianne Stone

Do we know anything for sure? When you really think about this question, it becomes rather daunting… especially in these hard economic times, when people are questioning whether anything really lasts. How can anyone ever know anything for sure? But some people do - at least, they think they do.

They brag about how they're positive that their risotto is the most authentic. Or that their job is the worst - or that their religious path, political candidate or favorite sports team is unparalleled. These are all intriguing, inspiring possibilities, but they are not absolutes.

Set in stone
Sometimes, it's necessary to reassess these supposedly proven ideals - and maybe modify them. Think about all the times this has happened to you. You were so sure that the apartment you rented was perfect, and then you outgrew it - and looked elsewhere to live. You thought the guy you'd been dating was the one you'd marry, start a family with and grow old with - only to break things off before you'd even walked down the aisle. Or perhaps you thought the career you'd chosen was the right one for you, only to stumble upon another one that made you feel more fulfilled. So what does all of this mean?

Escape clause
It's when you opened yourself to change that you wound up on a different (probably more suitable) path. Your life path should usually should be the path of least resistance - literally. Why put up brick walls that impede your progress? Without leaving yourself an escape clause - the option to change your mind (which is anyone's prerogative, right?) - you force yourself to stick to your guns, even when you realize it may not be what you ultimately want or need. This can be true of jobs, relationships, where you live - and even friends who are not good for you.

The more you know...
So maybe it's uncertainty itself that we need to embrace - the sense that you really can't be sure about "everything," because life is an ever-changing painting of many palettes. When you give in to this possibility, you open up your options. That movie/song/artwork that you've always claimed was your favorite may just be replaced by another one five years down the road. That vegan diet you've been following since your college years might open up to accept some cheese now and then, or your lifelong decision to never have children could just change once your biological clock starts ticking more loudly.

Living life in a mindset of "absolutes" instills a sense of rigidity that is often hard to escape. Why impose too many restrictions on yourself? It's all right to be almost sure about something - because that way you give yourself some wiggle room, in case your views alter.

An exercise...
Try this in a quiet moment. Make a list of 10 things that you're absolutely certain about. Now, being completely objective, review each item on the list, and honestly ask yourself what it would take for you to become less than certain about them. You're not being negative - just looking for an honest, hypothetical response. Do any of those responses seem plausible? If so, congratulations! You've just embraced uncertainty! Now there's less pressure to live up to a list of your own making.

You will feel a sense of freedom from this exercise, because you've just given yourself permission to live your life with a more open mind, less self-imposed stress, and the possibility of changing your path, if you so desire. Good luck!

Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?