Review Category : Martha O’Regan

Kindness is the key to being cool

By Brittney Hiller

Recently our community experienced the eye-opening tragic consequences regarding bullying. Addressing the reality of bullying has become more prevalent in conversation — as it should — and anti-bullying campaigns have been streaming on social media. We want to get the word out that we do not stand for bullying.

One of my intentions in teaching yoga to young people is to help them understand they have the power to choose how they want to feel.

As the eldest sister of five girls, I want to create strength in my sisters’ personalities that will allow them to understand that other people’s opinions about them do not equal truth. In addition to my sisters, I hope to instill this in all the young people I have the honor of teaching in my yoga classes.

Honestly, I hope to instill this in all of the people I teach because no matter what our age is, we have this wonderful power of choice. We have the ability to create our inner happiness, our positive thoughts, and our fantastic life. In knowing this, we are able to understand that what others may say to us or about us does not equal what is true — nor does it have to cause us negative feelings.

The old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” rings true as we are each blessed with the power of choice. To choose happiness even in the turmoil of other’s negative opinions may seem daunting, especially when we begin to believe that everyone must feel the same way about us, which is simply untrue.

Going through an experience of losing a job I loved, I believed everyone was against me and felt that everyone who worked with me, who were my friends, were now taking sides against me.  The powerful lesson I learned from this was to rise above my own deceptive thoughts and choose happiness, choose to learn the lesson life has given me and to move on. I was thankful to learn years later that my thoughts were incorrect — people were not against me — I was indeed welcomed with open arms by those I thought had turned their backs.

“Perception is reality” is a phrase my husband loves to use. Although there is some truth to it, we must also remember that perception is malleable — it can and does change. Perhaps your perception of another deems them to be rude and arrogant. This perception you have created towards this person rings true, but only for you.  After your perception is made, you may begin to spread this idea to others thereby creating a perception for them.  Notice what you are doing: you are not speaking truth, it is only your opinion of another, yet you are creating a wild fire of negative thoughts toward that person all because of one bad experience.

Perhaps we can try something new by shifting our perceptions geared toward others to first include a positive thought, even if we are angry with them. Look at another through the eyes of love and compassion and prevent the reactive outburst, the harsh punches of opinion, and the words that hurt. Often when we use words that hurt we are only speaking out loud the fears that we have about ourselves.

Radiate love and compassion to others and notice your life change. Shift your perception of others to the idea that we are all one — we are all in this together — and notice how you begin to significantly treat others how you want to be treated.

I have a simple challenge: Take 30 days to do one act of kindness a day for someone you don’t know and notice how you feel toward others at the end. I guarantee you will notice a shift.  Let me know how your experience goes, I bet it will not only surprise you, but you may notice that kindness is the key to being cool!

Brittney Hiller is known as one of the happiest Yoginis — she has practiced yoga for over a decade and can be found at every yoga studio in Beaufort. Visit her website at www.brittneyhilleryoga.com or email brittneyg82@gmail.com.

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Go for the f low!

By Ifetayo White

Let’s just lay it on the line: Flow is the secret ingredient to healing what keeps us from the full experience of joy, of freedom! Remember the feeling of freedom that we had as children — moving fluidly, easily, flexibly, full of energy and vitality? This is the flow of freedom from constriction, holding, resistance, tension and pain.  This is the energy of joy.

Ifetayo White

Ifetayo White

Take a moment to feel in your body where there is tightness, hardness, sensitivity, pain, numbness, spasm or immobility. Check out your shoulders, upper back, middle back, lower back, neck, head, face, chest, heart, upper arms, hands, lower belly, stomach, buttocks, hips, legs, and feet. What can you sense?  Are there spots where you can feel any of the sensations mentioned above?

What awareness do you have of feelings or thoughts or beliefs that you are holding onto or can’t let go of?  What experiences of loss, of disappointment, of betrayal, of abuse, of trauma, of fear are you recalling? These are also energies of constriction, resistance, tension. No flow. Less freedom. Less joy.

We have learned so much in the past several decades about the relationship that our feelings, thoughts, and past experiences have with our bodies. We have learned that when there is a release of energy on either the emotional, mental or physical level — stuck feelings, beliefs, rigid muscles, inflexible joints — there is a corresponding release on the other levels. More freedom, more flow, more joy is experienced throughout our beings.

OK, I would like to make something clear right here. There is a difference between someone or something making us feel good, and our creating the permanent channels of joy within ourselves by opening to more flow. A release or a letting-go has to take place for energy to flow where it had been restricted before. We begin this process by becoming aware of and feeling the constriction, pain or inflexibility in our body or emotions or thoughts.

The next step is to make a choice to let this painful or limited experience go.  Then, we need to learn: what can I do right now to change this condition or what support do I need to accomplish this?

Creating more flow in our bodies, minds, emotions can be as simple as taking as many breaths into the restricted space as needed in order to create more energy of openness and flow there. Sometimes slow rhythmic movement to music or wild, passionate dancing will provide an initiation of release and create more flow within.  Slow rhythmic walking, yoga, qi qong, tai chi, bouncing on a rebounder or exercise ball, applying heat are other remedies for constricted flow. Spending time in nature is always healing.

Oftentimes we will need to find someone who can provide us with the support we need to release what is blocking our freedom, our flow, and our joy, to unblock the stuck places, to help the knots unwind, to let the tears flow. There are many experienced and compassionate practitioners and therapists in Beaufort who can share “their way.” Hands-on therapies, energy work, movement, change and empowerment coaching and therapies, are a few of the tools available to create release and the creation of more flow in the body, mind, emotions.

Go for the flow and enJOY more freedom, more living.

Ifetayo White has been a holistic healing practitioner since 1989.  She offers support to her community through classes and meditation at TheraVista, in addition to providing life empowerment coaching, Reiki training and treatment, trigger point therapy, integrative bodywork, childbirth preparation and education, birth and postpartum doula services through her businesses.  Ifetayo can be contacted at 843-271-1923 or neesamoon@gmail.com.

 
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Return to nature to find your nature

By Jennifer Ross

Although Thursdays may not typically be the most common time for fun get-togethers, a couple of weeks ago this Ross household actually had two opportunities present themselves.

First, Jennifer Ross “Body” decided to have virus come over bringing fever, aches, and chills as courting gifts. Quite a display! Shortly after, Jennifer Ross “Spirit” received an invite out from Nature to go to the beach. However, Jennifer Ross “Body” was throwing such a pity party in the house that the couch seemed pretty enticing. Then it hit me…that I blessedly couldn’t even remember the last time I had been sick, and that this was NOTHING compared to what my daddy wore a happy face through with his cancer. So I grabbed my flip-flops (casual date), ditched the party, and headed out the door.

Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross

It was 10:15 at night, and as I crossed the street to the beach path, the darkness enveloped me like walking into a dimmed theater. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed the moon acting as my usher and lighting the boardwalk leading to my seat. The forgiving sand acts as the perfect cushion beneath me, and the warm balmy breeze off the ocean wraps around me like the gentle arms of a lover. Looking off in the distance, I see a stage crew of four fishing boats lightly illuminating the ocean surface to set the tone. The serenade of crickets in the dunes behind me, and the crashing waves ahead supply the most beautiful surround sound symphony. Then as I looked up, the few clouds in the sky parted like a curtain to reveal a canopy of brilliant twinkling lights — the stars of the show.

The salt in the air, combined with the salt in my tears of gratitude, washed away any aches and pains in both body and spirit, causing me to hop up and give a standing ovation to the universe: Laughing and clapping, what a show! Before I turned to leave, the white tip of the tide rushed up to kiss my toes goodbye — every date should be so good.

Now, I’m a fairly recent addition to the Lowcountry, so it’s very easy for me to be in awe of the style of beauty here that wasn’t readily available in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, Nature calls to you no matter where you may be, in its own unique way.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good glass of vino like the next person, and it’s not like I’ve never comforted my woes with a pint of gelato (Haagen Dazs Peanut Butter Pie? Oh yes!) or a plate of nachos (with guac please). But these days I relish in those things for simple enjoyment and allow the offer of healing from Nature to soothe my inner aches and angst.

It doesn’t take a grandiose show like I attended for Nature to cure what ails you. Studies show that simply living around a green area promotes health and reduces stress, so being out and immersing yourself in it is icing on the cake. And with this oasis we all are blessed to reside in, Nature’s help is just around every corner! While a trip to the beach is always grand, relaxing on your favorite park bench, strolling down one of the many oak-lined streets, or sitting by your local dock to smell the marshy water will all do the trick.

So when you get asked out by Nature, I highly recommend saying “Yes,” it is a relationship worth forming!

Jennifer Ross loves to create harmony within ALL of the homes of her clients — both body & house — through her Omm At Home teachings and services. She can be reached at ommhealer@gmail.com.

 
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Attraction or distraction?

By Martha O’Regan

Attraction or distraction: Which one is it? What if it is both? And, how do you know?

With the Law of Attraction, science tells us we create our own reality through our thoughts, perspectives and personal beliefs. I believe there must also be a Law of Distraction, where we create reasons to fall off course, procrastinate or basically lose focus.   Sometimes it’s subtle, like a video post that you felt compelled to watch, and other times, more obvious like an illness or drama in a relationship.

Journeying along my path, feeling the twists and turns, noticing what is showing up or not, I have discovered how often both “created” and “built-in” distractions show up to divert or slow down progress. Although these distractions may create great annoyance, it helps to understand that they are somehow programmed in for our highest good. For example, when something shows up in our life that pulls us off course, creates laziness or procrastination, did we create a distraction or did we actually attract an opportunity to percolate on an idea or avoid something more difficult or dangerous? Did that “wrong turn” provide an opportunity to meet someone who ultimately supports our journey?

I believe we are all created for a unique purpose with an ultimate destination while here on planet earth, and by design, spend years or decades zigging and zagging along trying to “find our path” until we tire of being lost or create limiting pain, eventually bringing us back into focus of our originally planned journey.  Once aware that we even have a personal path, there is still much work to be done to stay on it — it is a life-long adventure.

So, we wake up to the idea that we live in a friendly and abundant Universe and begin regularly setting intentions and praying for more joy, peace and prosperity, yet often find ourselves broke and frustrated. What’s up with that? Don’t give up, it is all part of the grand design. Instead, begin paying closer attention to what is showing up in your life and realize that you are attracting exactly what you are putting out there, as a collective vibrational energy within and “out with” you.

My favorite example is the person who thinks positive thoughts, enjoys daily walks in nature, eats high frequency organic foods, yet has the 24 hour news station blasting because they need to have “background” noise, and wonder why they aren’t finding their bliss.  Guess what? If the negative frequency of the news overrides all the positive frequency of your actions, by law, you will attract more of the negative. It is really that crazy simple … just not always easy.

Start paying attention and being curious about everything that shows up — your thoughts, people, phone calls, billboards, songs — and asking “why did I attract that into my life?”

Check in to how it feels in the body, where you feel it and what emotion you would label it with. Let’s say it feels like frustration, then ask, “where else is frustration showing up?” Immediately you think about your teenager’s messy room which makes you feel the same feeling of frustration.  Ask yourself why that situation is frustrating and work with what comes to mind. Whether a reason is identified or not, see if that frustration could be replaced with something else, even something as simple as gratitude that you don’t have to sleep in that messy room. Now, every time that room is passed, shift to gratitude, then begin to pay attention to things that show up that you are grateful for.

Our body and life create the perfect feedback to what we are “putting out there” at any given moment, allowing us to observe how we are doing. But, you have to begin by paying attention to everything. Every experience is coming to you, from you, for you, so even when the tough ones show up, try to muster a “gee, thanks, just what I asked for.” Puts it in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?

Martha O’Regan, B.E.S.T. Practitioner, Coach and Speaker, teaches ways to manage the energies of mind, body and spirit for a healthier and happier YOU!  Contact her at theravista@gmail.com.

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Now is the time to prune

By Susan Stone

The weather is finally starting to break and our landscapes have taken the winter rather hard. It’s time to cut back overgrowth and cold damage. As I drive around the county, it seems that our palms have suffered the worst. February is the typical month for cutting roses, crepe myrtles, grasses and palms.

Susan Stone

Susan Stone

Your roses, no matter the variety, will thank you for a hard pruning. All shrub varieties such as knockouts and grandifloras can be pruned down to 12” above the crown. Climbing roses will benefit from pruning them by half. A monthly dose of organic fertilizer applied from April to September will go a long way to help your roses avoid problems throughout the season. You can help protect your roses from deer by planting society garlic and other smelly and fragrant plants nearby.

The pruning of crepe myrtles has been at the center of controversy among gardeners for generations. To prune or not to prune is the question. Many who prune them into arthritic knuckles are accused of crepe murder! The truth is that crepe myrtles bloom on new growth. If you have an older specimen that isn’t blooming, it’s time to cut it back. Hard pruning will help to keep it the “right size” for your landscape.

All grasses, including muhly, pampas and cord grass can be sheared to 12 to 24 inches. Liriope and mondo grass can be cut to inches above the ground. Many of the tender grasses such as fountain grass may not come back after such a cold winter. Muhly grass is considered a semi-tender grass. Those beautiful soft pink plumes have become very popular in Southern landscapes, but will only be viable for three to five years before they run out of steam and need to be replaced.

Those poor palms! Most of them are going to be just fine, but they need to be cut back if they are going to look good this season. Whatever is brown will never turn green again, so cut away. You may need a professional to climb and prune the tall ones. When it comes to prevention, most palms are on their own due to their size, but sago palms can be spared by protecting their hearts with an old towel or wadded up sheet.

As for the shrubbery, leave the azaleas alone until they have finished blooming. You will have until the first of July to get to them. After that they will start setting their buds for the following spring. Varieties such as loropetalum, ligustrum, viburnum, pineapple guava, hollies and boxwoods, go ahead and prune away. This is a good time of year to do some shaping and re-sizing. Many of our landscape plants need to be rejuvenated from time to time. Be brave, you really can’t hurt them. If they’re really big and need to be half their size, use a pruning saw. I recommend hand pruning. It takes a little longer, but doesn’t “chew” the plant. Clean cuts will keep your plants healthier. And speaking of clean, make sure your tools are sharp and clean as well. You do not want to spread fungus or disease from plant to plant. If you suspect a problem, spray or wipe down your tools with a weak bleach solution.  The exceptions to hand pruning would be boxwoods, privets, yaupon holly and other tiny leafed shrubs. They thrive on being sheared.

As an organic gardener myself, I am concerned about the amount of chemicals we use in our landscapes. We live in a very environmentally sensitive area, not to mention the effects of these chemicals on our own heath. The next time you are tempted to reach a jug of Round-up, try this recipe instead. You will need 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup pickling salt and 1 cup cheap dish soap. Mix together in a pump sprayer (make sure you dissolve the salt. Warning: Do not spray this on anything you don’t want to kill!

Happy Gardening!

Susan Stone is a Garden Guru and Manager for Outdoor Architecture. You can contact Susan via email at susan@outdoorarchitecture.com.

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Awakenings: Life’s only constant is change

They say the only constant is change, so here’s to creating constant change! I am very excited to announce the transition and expansion of what you have previously known as the Live Well .. Have Fun column by Martha O’Regan to Awakenings, a column to be shared by the many teachers at TheraVista, each with something magical to express and share with you. Knowing that we are all on our own unique path and at various stages of waking up to what is important in life, we intend to touch on new ideas and perspectives to support your growth and evolution while still living well and having fun. Our teachers, also students of life, offer a wealth of information and are very excited to share what they have learned through their “been there, done that” years of experience. We hope you will enjoy the many expressions of their gifts and talents.

With all that said, it is my honor and pleasure to present Brittney Hiller, of Brittney Hiller Yoga, as she shares about new beginnings, which seems quite appropriate as we transition to our new column. In Joy, Martha O’Regan

 By Brittney Hiller

I love setting intentions! This year I set my intention of 2014 to be my year of connection plus abundance.  I choose to set intentions instead of resolutions as I often cannot think of something I absolutely must resolve in my life.  However, I do have a lot of room for intentions.

Brittney Hiller by John Arthur Photography.

Brittney Hiller by John Arthur Photography.

To me, an intention gives me the space I need to create questions that I would like to answer. For example, as my 2014 opens with an intention of connection, I ask, “how may I incorporate more ways to connect with others in my life?”

I answer this question by connecting with others more so one on one or in the case of this piece I write to you today. I am getting out of the digital social media world that I have been hiding behind in 2013 and allowing myself to connect on a more personal level.

How does abundance show up — or better yet, what action steps can I take to receive abundance? For me, abundance comes in all forms, mostly showing up in love and gratitude. Setting an intention of abundance has allowed me to become more mindful of what I have to be thankful for already. I am becoming more clear on how to show gratitude toward everyone and everything that shows up in my life, thus feeling abundant.

So, have you set a resolution this year? How is that working out for you? If it may not be working, allow me to offer this tidbit — set your intention for this year. It can be anything. Do you want more love in 2014? Set an intention that 2014 is your year of love. The key to setting intentions is to listen, be still, have patience, and trust. Perhaps you ask yourself, what do I need to adjust in my life to receive more love? Are you holding on to negative feelings toward a person who is no longer a part of your life? The act of letting go or forgiveness may be all you need to do to allow more love to show up for you.

Know that your intention is for you and make it your own. Let go of the resolution and set an intention today.

Be bold, bountiful and prosperous in your new year, day and even this moment!

Brittney Hiller is known as one of the happiest Yoginis — she has practiced yoga for over a decade and can be found at every yoga studio in Beaufort. Find out more information on her at www.brittneyhilleryoga.com.

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Have you ever stopped to think …

By Martha O’Regan

“Have you ever stopped to think and forgot to start again?” When I saw this bumper sticker many years ago, I laughed out loud with a response of, “Yep, all day long!”

How many times a day do you get distracted by all the “bright shiny objects” that continuously vie for our attention?  Do you get to the end of a day with that to-do list still full? And, who doesn’t walk into a room and wonder “why did I come in here” and have to retrace your steps to remember? Or, is it just me?

We come by it naturally because, the truth is, we live in a world of information and stuff overload and our brains are so jumbled with conflicting data from so many experts or too much stimulation from all of our technological gadgets, making it difficult to focus, even when we desire it.

Unless we are living on a deserted island, we all have the propensity for one of the many “alphabet soup” syndromes labeling our inability to give undivided attention to a specific task. Understanding how the brain works helps to create methods to teach ourselves ways to focus our attention on what is important for a healthy, joyful life, ultimately eliminating procrastination and self-sabotage.

Every morsel of information that we are exposed to through our five senses goes into the brain and either begins building a new neural pathway or gets connected with one already formed.  If we repeat our experiences or emotions, or receive certain information continuously, that pathway gets more grounded and familiar, contributing to our behaviors and patterns — both good and bad.

So, just by living in our current world,  we are continuously bombarded with too many bits of unimportant, unfiltered, and nonsensical information that just gets jumbled in with the other bits of the same, never really taking hold, resulting in confusion or deficits in our attention.  If we could periodically “defrag” our brain like we do with our computer, we could clean out or organize the bits of data that are just floating around in there.  But, that hasn’t been discovered … yet.

In the meantime, one tool we all have is self awareness. Becoming aware of each moment allows us to focus on just that moment, not the other gazillion moments on the horizon.

Start by tuning into those times when you feel overwhelmed, scattered or unfocused and just note where or how you feel it in the body.  Then, allow yourself to stop or slow down for a moment, close your eyes if practical, take a deep breath and just be in gratitude for clarity and focus. Continue this process until you feel less scattered or a direction reveals itself to you.  Quieting the mind allows that small, still voice — often referred to as our “inner wisdom,” “higher self” or God — to be heard.  Being still and quieting the chatter, allows our intuition and inspirations to occur with greater clarity and wisdom than we can achieve with our own ego mind running amuck thinking it’s large and in charge.

As you practice self-awareness, you will begin to hear and sense the differences between the frazzled mind and the calm one. One is fast talking, loud, scattered and/or repetitive, while the other is more subtle and surprising.   One is based on your knowledge while the other is based on your knowingness, which comes from deeper within and is far more brilliant.

When we learn to honor the wisdom and guidance that this still, small voice provides, we can begin to trust that we truly know more than we think we know, allowing life to flow more gracefully with clarity and ease. This sure beats expending unnecessary energy zigging and zagging through life confused, lost and upset.

So, next time you stop to think, take a moment to breathe and allow that small, still voice to rise up from deep within and re-direct you for your highest good.  It just might surprise you.

Live Well … Have Fun!

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Wake up, wake up, wake up, I say …

By Martha O’Regan

Apparently, as a small child, this was how I nudged people in my family to get them to stir, but my mouth couldn’t form the “w” well so it sounded more like “ake up.” Don’t you just love those family stories about experiences that you can’t even recall and haven’t a clue whether they are true or not? Either way, they have landed in the legacy file that we carry with us throughout life only to pull out from time to time, sometimes when we least expect it, like right now as I write about awakening.

So, are you awake? If not, what will it take to nudge you?  And, if yes, then how awake are you? I believe each one of us goes through many stages of wakefulness in our life experience, often dancing back and forth through those phases based on our perspective of what is happening at that particular time.

There are times we feel like we just woke up from a long, hard slumber and it takes a while to get our bearings on where we are and how we got here. Often, our surroundings don’t feel familiar and we have a difficult time focusing. Maybe we feel a little stiff and sluggish as we begin moving our body in an attempt to get clarity of the moment. As we proceed, we feel like we are still in a dream or, at times, a nightmare and spend the rest of the day wishing we could go back to sleep where we don’t have to think or be what we don’t authentically feel is real. This state of wakefulness can last a day for some or weeks, months, years or decades for others.

The next stage usually begins when something really big happens in our life, like an illness, a tragedy, a job loss, divorce or financial failure, but awakening usually doesn’t happen right away.  At first, as we seek help from family, friends, counselors, sermons or books, we will begin getting information on how to deal with our particular problem and through that begin to see a glimmer of hope and trust that life doesn’t have to be so hard and that healing can occur. Then, we begin feeling our own nudges within to learn more, prompting a desire to take action, resulting in an awakening to our personal power to create change in our lives. Maybe we begin by fueling our body with better nutrition or moving our body in ways we never knew we could move or begin hanging around with more joyful people. Whatever the catalyst, there comes a time where we begin to look at that really big thing that happened as a gift that prompted the next phase of our growth and evolution as a human being and we feel alive again.

Once truly awake, we notice that we move through our day with a little more ease and focus, we find we are more grateful for the simple things in life, enjoy learning new things or taking on new activities. We generally feel better than we thought we could just a short time ago.

Then, as life will happen, we often find ourselves getting distracted and falling away from those things that helped us to feel better or we just feel “stuck” and have a hard time remembering how good we felt just a short time ago and suddenly we are back in our slumber again as the cycle repeats.  But the good news is that it usually won’t take another huge life event to create the wake-up call, but rather the ability to sense and follow the nudges more clearly and quickly to get back on track with what we know helps us to feel better.  Life is so much more fun when we are awake, so wake up, wake up, wake up, I say!  Live Well … Have Fun!

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Totally astound yourself this year!

By Martha O’Regan

“Let’s totally astound ourselves this year” is a quote from a past calendar marking the month of January that continues to be my official mantra for each brand new year, so full of possibilities. Have you set those resolutions yet? What will make this year astounding for you?

Consider changing the word resolution which is “the process of resolving something such as a problem or dispute” to intention, which means the “quality or state of having a purpose in mind.” Resolutions sound so admirable when we make them, but the mere fact that we have failed so miserably in the past can conjure up those same memories of failure and tend to doom us right out of the gate. They have become the brunt of so many jokes and often fall in the “why bother, it’ll never happen?” club. Intentions have a whole different connotation allowing for a fresh start, and a new perspective. Resolutions fix a problem whereas intentions follow a purpose.  Is your life a problem or is it about fulfilling a purpose?

So, what is your purpose and who benefits from it? Tune into your initial reaction to this question: Is it “I’m not sure of my purpose” or “I don’t have time to fulfill my purpose right now” or “I feel so lousy, I can’t possibly think about my purpose much less try to achieve it”? Or, are your already on your purpose filled journey?

Consider making the commitment for this year to be different in all areas of your life, not just one or two. Life is a multidimensional journey and continuously overlaps with health, relationships, career, spirituality, etc. So instead of resolving to fix one problem in one area, intend to be balanced or find harmony in all areas.  Write down a vision of where you would like to be in all areas of your life by the end of 2014.  Get creative, dream big, and have some fun. Mark your calendar at various intervals, such as monthly or quarterly, to review and update this master list.

Next, start a list of only the first steps to achieving each one of your goals.  Make them small and reasonable steps with an intention of devoting an hour a day to them as a whole, not an hour for each or always at one time, but in varying increments. Put this list where you will look at it daily, checking off steps as they are achieved, then adding the next small and reasonable step.

If you don’t believe you can find one hour a day now to devote to your health and well being, how will you find 24 to be sick or dead? Consider finding this hour for those you know, love and serve because they need you and your purpose.

Despite making a commitment, we all have a tendency to lack follow through and before we know it, we are at the end of year forgetting we ever made a list.  If you fall into this category, consider finding a wellness or life coach, or a good friend, to help you set goals and keep you accountable to them.  Find someone who will not judge your slip ups but will gently guide you toward your purpose.  Once you gain your momentum, then let go and fly on your own.

No matter what direction you take to making this your best year ever, intend to “totally astound yourself” on a regular basis. Live Well … Have Fun.

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Happy, grateful, thankful

By Martha O’Regan

When I first learned that what I thought about, I brought about, I just knew I was destined for a life full of frustration and uncertainty because the majority of my thoughts and conversations were centered around all the above. It is also what our culture supports when you really listen to the news, advertisements, and general gossip in many circles. Think about how many conversations begin with statements such as: “I am sick and tired,” “I don’t know, but…” or “I can’t because there isn’t enough.” If you really listen, you will hear these and many equally disempowering statements from just about everyone in your life, including yourself. More often, it is just out of habit or learned behavior, but when we say it over and over, we can actually become what we say or think.

Every word that we use either out loud or in our head, every minute of every day has a vibration or frequency that has the potential to affect our health, happiness and success either positively or negatively. With science telling us that we have upward of 25,000 thoughts per day with the majority of them negative or in judgment of self or others, it’s no wonder we have such a high incidence of depression, anxiety, chronic pain and poverty.

“I am sorry” is likely one of the most common habit phrases. When we put “I am” in front of any vibration, we are anchoring it into the body and with “I am sorry,” we anchor in “I am pitiful, pathetic” or worse, which is simply not true, especially if we say it for every little misstep in a given day like bumping into someone or forgetting to call.  “Pardon me,” “excuse me” or “oops, human moment” all share the same sentiment without affecting our physiology. As I was learning this many years ago, my daughter was caught in the “I’m sorry” habit and at first, every time I would point it out, she would say “I’m sorry” for saying “I’m sorry”!  We humans are so quirky, aren’t we? Eventually, she would catch herself and immediately shift to “ooops, no I’m not” until, eventually, it was no longer a habit. Listen for your habit phrases. You will be amazed at how often you or those around you use them.

The good news is once we become aware that our thoughts truly do affect our reality, we can choose new thoughts to create a new reality.  Fortunately, at a time when I was feeling pretty sick and tired, I had a coach tell me to force myself to begin or end every topic, thought, or response with “happy, grateful, thankful.” At first, it often came with cynicism or sarcasm because it wasn’t truly what I was feeling or thinking, but I continued to repeat it anyway.  Over time, it became more natural and sincere because I was actually beginning to notice the many things that I was authentically happy, grateful and thankful for. And, the funniest part is that I began to hear it come from other people in my family and sphere of influence; at first mockingly but eventually authentically.

What are your habit phrases or those of your family and friends? Take the time to really hear them and notice how they feel. Choose your own favorite phrase to shift to repeatedly, even if it is with rolled eyes or gritted teeth at first. Keep doing it and see what begins to show up for you. This time of year may be easier to begin such a project since gratitude and joy are common themes during Christmas. I am happy, grateful and thankful for each of you who keep reading this column and encouraging me to continue. Wishing you peace, love and joy. Live Well … Have Fun!

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