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Yoga has been a part of my life since 1999…that’s 18 years! I’ve been teaching for 15 of those years, since 2002. That’s a long time, right? People frequently ask me about my yoga practice, and that’s cool. It’s great to know people want to know what I do and how I do it. But you want to know a secret? I totally freak out when people ask me these questions! Seriously, I’m not kidding!

You are probably wondering why in the world I would freak out when people ask me about my yoga practice. Allow me to explain.

The way I practice has changed a good bit over the years. At this point in my life, my practice is about where I can make time for myself and being mindful of how I feel. I have to get a bit creative with how and when I practice due to many reasons…I’m a wife, a mother, a dog owner…I work a full-time job, while teaching yoga and indoor cycling part-time. Oh, and there is that pesky chronic illness that I have, which constantly saps my energy and causes me muscle and joint pain. So when it comes to my yoga practice, I do what I can. Sometimes it’s a solid 75 minutes of movement, but sometimes I literally sit on my mat and focus on meditation for 5 or 10 minutes. It’s all yoga to me, as long as I am being mindful of what I’m doing.

When I first started pursuing my yoga certification, I was told by every teacher that if you’re going to be a good teacher, you need to practice yoga every single day. Back then, I was practicing a more vigorous vinyasa style of yoga. I wasn’t sick yet, so I had the energy to do those vigorous and powerful practices. Did I practice every single day? Ummm…well, this IS a confessional post, so I will tell you that I did NOT.

At least, I didn’t think I was. Because back then, I thought that if I wasn’t getting on my mat and sweating it out to a vigorous and powerful practice, then I wasn’t practicing yoga. Now I know different. As my life has evolved, my yoga knowledge has evolved. Which means my practice has evolved.

However, if you follow yoga blogs like I do, or if you search out yoga things on social media, you might run into the same thing I do, which is second-guessing yourself. This is because everywhere you turn, there is some yoga challenge out there, or some weird and crazy new style to try. You’ve probably seen it…30 days of handstands, 108 days of Sun Salutations, Naked Yoga, Beer Yoga, Goat Yoga, take a picture of yourself in a new pose each day…you get the idea. And if you let yourself, you can start to beat yourself up when you see all this stuff out there and it seems unattainable to you.

Here’s where my confession comes in. Are you ready for it? I’m proud of my practice, so here is my open and honest account of what the practice of a busy person, who happens to have a chronic illness, looks like.

I never finish 30 day challenges in 30 days.

I love to sign up for all kinds of challenges that are time-boxed because I always think that if I commit to one, it will hold me accountable and suddenly I’ll be amazing at whatever it is the challenge is targeting. I’ve signed for so many yoga challenges over the years, and I look forward to getting an email each day that breaks down what I’m supposed to do that day and usually has some wonderful words of wisdom and inspiration. In all honesty though, I make it through the first several days and then life steps in. Something will come up with one of my daughters, or there’s an emergency at work, or I simply have a bad day in terms of my illness. When that happens, I must adjust my expectations. I have made peace with this and rather than feeling like a failure, I give myself permission to do the type of yoga that suits my mood and needs on that day. Whatever challenge I am doing will still be there when I am ready to step back in, and that’s comforting.

I have been known to practice yoga in my pajamas.

Like many people with a chronic illness, there are days when it takes every ounce of my energy to get out of bed and force myself to walk among the land of the living. A girl’s gotta make a living after all, and I rarely get the opportunity to skip work or doing day-to-day things just because I don’t feel good. On weekends, sometimes I allow myself to spend a whole day in my pajamas if it’s been a rough week. And when that happens, I go into my yoga room, roll out my mat, and incorporate a gentle or restorative practice…in my pajamas. On other days, I really want to squeeze in a quick yoga session before I head out to work, so I pick a quick practice from YouTube before hopping into the shower. I figure it like this: it is more important to show up on my mat and practice in a way that suits me and my lifestyle.

My practice is often interrupted.

When I practice at home, interruptions are standard. I have a dedicated yoga room, and I always shut the door when I go in to practice. But inevitably, one of my dogs will decide it is a good idea to sit outside the door and sniff really loud, or cry for me to open the door. If I open the door, they join in with me, licking me and falling all over me in the process. When I go into my room to meditate, I announce to my family that I just need 10 minutes to meditate and to please not interrupt me. Do they listen? Nope! Every single time I try to take that measly little bit of time for myself, I get, “Mom! Blah blah blah!” Or “Honey, can you blah blah blah?” Seriously! I’m just asking for TEN minutes, people!

I don’t feel guilty that my practice is not perfect.

I used to beat myself up when I couldn’t get that vigorous practice in, or if I skimped out on a challenge I’d signed up for. But you know what that did? It made me miserable, and that’s not what yoga is all about. More recently, I’ve come across more articles that encourage people to do something each day, even if it’s only a short breathing practice. All of a sudden, I started to feel like maybe I’m not so bad after all, because I definitely AM doing something mindful each day, and that counts. I show up on my mat (or my bed, or a chair) when I can and how I can. My yoga practice is truly part of my life, so it evolves as I evolve. I am not going to spend my time stressing about doing yoga differently. I practice yoga to make me feel good and keep me healthy inside and out. Yoga is not about beating yourself up and about feeling guilty about not doing things the way everyone else does. It is about going with the flow and what you learn during that process.

Fellow readers, what are your secrets and confessions? Tell me in the comments!

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. ~~ Attributed to Hanoch McCarty

Several posts ago, I wrote about how I’ve dubbed myself the Happiness Advocate. I truly feel it’s my mission to help everyone, including myself, find happiness. We all deserve happiness, in my opinion. It’s our God-given right. He didn’t create us in His image with the intention for us to be miserable all the time, after all.

In my last post, I admitted I’ve been struggling with my own journey. I’ve gotten a lot better when I do the mirror exercise, though, and I am finding it easier not to pick myself apart in terms of what I see from a physical aspect.

But there is another area in my life where the struggle is worse than it’s been in a LONG time…my insecurity with being “good enough” in the things I do. Constantly feeling like I’m “less than” everyone else and feeling like I don’t measure up. I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with this…am I?

NotGoodEnough
(My daughter, Morgan, graciously helping me out for this post)

Being noticed for what we do or make is something we all crave. It helps us feel affirmed, to know that we are of value and that we are significant. It’s not wrong to want this, but it can certainly make us feel very vulnerable at times…sometimes to the point of detriment. When we aren’t noticed, then sometimes we resort to comparing ourselves to others.

It’s not uncommon to compare ourselves to others…this is also part of human nature. The unhealthy part about it is when we start to talk ourselves into the notion that the people we are comparing ourselves to are better than us.

    She’s beautiful.
    He’s so amazing with calculations.
    She has a successful career.
    She’s a kick-ass yoga instructor.
    They have more money.
    She gets to stay at home with her kids.
Her house is so pristine…it’s like a museum!

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you know that low self-esteem is something I struggle with, and I thought I’d been very diligent as of late to address it in order to find my happiness. So why has the past month been so hard for me in this area? I seem to constantly be comparing myself to everyone around me, and I come away most of the time feeling like I am just not good enough at the things I do.

Last week, I really started to get frustrated with myself for doing this. I wondered, “WHY? Why have I been beating myself up these past few weeks? Why do I feel “less than” in every aspect of my life…as a professional, as a yoga teacher, as a wife, as a mother, and as a friend? WHY?”

So I took a self-imposed time out and meditated on it a bit. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the source of the problem.

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t done the things I need to do for myself. When I get super busy, I tend to just PUSH PUSH PUSH, like a well-oiled machine, focusing on the task at hand until it’s done. I’m such a perfectionist that I can’t stop comparing myself to how others are doing “it” better than I am, so then I get paranoid and start over, trying to be better than before. I drive myself crazy when I do this, but this is how I roll, apparently.

When I get this way, I forget to stop and take some “me” time. As I thought about it, I realized I didn’t remember the last time I’d meditated. And that I’d been very sporadic with my exercise habits. I’d been missing more yoga sessions than I cared to admit. No WONDER I’d been such a wreck and was acting really horrible to myself…again!

During my “time out”, I came to realize two things:

  1. I create these comparisons to others all by myself. No one told me I needed to be better at anything…I did that to myself. It’s ME who subscribes to the “he/she is better than me” mindset.
  2. I have the power to do something about it. It is MY reaction, MY brain…which means I control how I react.

As I meditated some more on it, I knew that I needed to get better at changing my thought patterns and habits. It’s not an overnight change, though. It takes a lot of hard work and practice, and self-forgiveness, to teach yourself to realize how awesome you truly are. So here’s how I plan to tackle this and get my life to a point where I can be happy with exactly who I am, and be comfortable that I am exactly who God intended me to be:

  1. Try new things. A change in routine can be a great way to give yourself a boost. For me, I decided to take golf lessons. My husband found me a nice set of used clubs for a great deal, and then I saw a Groupon ad for lessons at a good deal, so I figured this was a sign from above. I’ve had two lessons now, and I am really loving it. By no means am I the female version of Tiger Woods, but I am loving the way the club feels when it makes contact with the ball and goes (generally) in the direction I want it to. I love the way it feels to be outside on the green, soaking up the sun and feeling the nice breeze. And I like my teacher. He is kind and patient, and he tells me stories that make me laugh when he sees me getting frustrated…when I start laughing, he says, “Now that you’re loosened up from all the stress, try hitting the ball again…Even Tiger doesn’t hit a good shot every time.” And I usually find that I do much better once I let go of having to be perfect and just have fun with it.
  2. Take care of yourself. This means, for me, making sure I exercise regularly, meditate, get enough sleep and eat right. I’ve been doing really well lately with eating the right things and not letting my cravings win. I’ve also recently gotten back into my strength training…I’d forgotten how good it makes me feel to lift heavy things! And I have also picked back up with my yoga practice, as I had let my busy schedule get in the way too many times to count. Now I need to get dialed back in to my meditation practice and getting my sleep back on track. Baby steps and patience will get me there. I deserve to give myself the gift of health.
  3. Be honest. Know your triggers so that you can be aware. When they hit, you’ll be better able to figure out how to take yourself out of the situation before it becomes a problem. Be open with others and tell them how you feel…it’s so therapeutic to share with others. If you keep everything to yourself, it’ll eventually drive you mad. Many times, when you share your feelings with others, you find they totally get it…most of the time, people tell me, “OMG! I feel the same way sometimes! I am glad I’m not alone!” That makes me feel better instantly…to know I’m not all by myself when the poop hits the fan.
  4. Know your strengths. We all have them. Every. Single. One of us. For example, I have a good sense of humor and love making people laugh, and I also love to build people up. I also have a knack for making up silly lyrics to the tune of popular songs, which always makes my older daughter cringe a bit in embarrassment (tee hee hee)! When you can recognize your strengths — and embrace them and be proud of them — you’re less likely to pick yourself apart.
  5. Practice, practice, practice! Life happens and things won’t always be sunshine and roses, so don’t be so hard on yourself when you slip now and then. Practice not criticizing yourself at every opportunity by taking a deep breath and taking a moment to reflect before beating yourself up. Remind yourself of your strengths, that you are loved, that you are beautiful, there is no one else like you, and that you deserve happiness. The more you practice, the more you will be able to resist the urge to compare yourself to others.

At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are all different and we are all beautiful. I need to remember this and believe it for myself. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I know I can do it. Another strength of mine just so happens to be that I am stubborn! And right now, that is a very good thing!

Namaste,

Melanie

On August 20th, I completed my self-imposed “30 Days of Positivity” challenge, where I committed to listing three positives each day for a total of 30 days. It’s funny…I was initially challenged to doing this for only 7 days, but I ended up feeling like I needed to commit to doing this for a full 30 days. After all, I am a worrier by nature and have issues with anxiety, so I could really use some help with being positive more often. I knew that if I could focus on more of the positives around me, I would be more likely to get better at keeping my stress levels down, as well as to make some progress in figuring out my next step for my yoga/wellness career.

I’m happy to report that doing this challenge faithfully for 30 days really has made a difference! As I sat back last night and thought about everything that had happened during, and following, this challenge, I have to be honest…I am getting SO EXCITED about things to come! Here’s a little rundown some of the improvements I’ve seen for myself over the past 30 days:

  • I am pursuing how to become a Yoga Health Coach, so that I can merge my yoga training with Ayurveda to help others implement healthier and natural lifestyle changes.
  • I signed up for a 21-Day Meditation Challenge (I am currently on Day 15), which is focusing on how to be happier.
  • I got my daughter off to college without completely breaking down, and I am genuinely happy and excited for all that she will accomplish, rather than dwelling on the fact that I don’t have her at home anymore.
  • I have purged quite a few things from my house that I no longer need. My goal is to get rid of the things that don’t serve me…I noticed that getting rid of things I don’t need makes me less stressed. So now I am on a mission to de-clutter as much as I possibly can!
  • I’ve connected with more friends. By making my physical, emotional and mental health top priority, I’ve been spending more time with my friends and family, and that has done wonders for my happiness level.
  • I’m now deeply committed to making sure I take one day off a week. One day where I don’t work, teach, or do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. That may take a little time to get this to happen each and every week, but the couple of times I’ve been able to do it so far, I’ve noticed HUGE differences in my ability to stay relaxed and it’s helped me to sleep better. So that’s my incentive to make it happen as often as I can. Plus, my new doctor said I need to do this, so I consider it my “prescription” for better health.

Though I am done with the 30 Days, I’m not really done. I’m just not publishing every little positive thing on Facebook anymore. I feel like committing to the 30 day time period really helped me to establish this practice as a new habit. I’ve noticed that I now wake up each morning looking for all the good stuff around me. In light of this, I’ve decided to change the structure of how I post my blogs.

I’ve been focusing my posts over the past few months on more of the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga, rather than on specific body parts or poses…after all, your feedback indicated you wanted more of this type of content. These aspects are just as important as the physical poses we practice, but incorporating the spiritual and philosophical practices are sometimes more challenging because many times, it involves changing a mindset completely. And for many of us, that’s not always easy to do. At least, not unless we practice, and practice…and practice some more!

So, rather than posting weekly like I have been, I will now be posting monthly instead. This means we’ll be focusing on a particular topic for the entire month, which I feel will give us plenty of time to work through what we need to in order to make it a permanent and lasting part of our lives. My hope is that we’ll use the comments section of each blog post to communicate with each other about challenges we come across, as well as successes. I think it’s important to share what works and what doesn’t with each other.

So what do you think? Are you with me? Are you ready to dig in to your yoga practice with me in a different way? Please say YES! Pretty please…I am so excited about this opportunity for all of us!

I’ll be posting the focus for each month during the last week of the preceding month…so September’s focus will be posted sometime this week, prior to 9/1/2014.

I know some of you don’t follow me on Facebook, so I thought you might want to see how my 30 Days of Positivity progressed throughout my journey. Here it is below, all together in one spot!

Day 1 Positives:

  1. I’m alive and functioning…that’s a big positive, in my book!
  2. My family is awesome…they are always there for me, no matter what.
  3. I’ve got a job that provides me and my family with decent health insurance…this is not a luxury that many people I know have, so I appreciate this!

Day 2 Positives:

  1. I get to exercise with my buddy,Patty Benjamin tonight!
  2. I slept good last night…feeling refreshed today because of it.
  3. I got to spend time with my youngest last night, which let us connect and catch up…LOVE!

Day 3 Positives:

  1. My husband got up to do yoga with me at 5:15 a.m….the dogs joined in as well. We may not have accomplished masterful poses, but we had fun getting kisses every time we got down on the ground.
  2. Several of my acquaintances are now becoming true friends to They may not realize how much they’ve helped or inspired me these past couple of weeks, but I am truly thankful for them, and they are a very positive influence in my life right now.
  3. My legs and feet are hurting less today than they have been the past few weeks. Woot woot! I’ll take it!

Day 4 Positives:

  1. My oldest daughter and I got to attend a Hot Yoga class together last night. It was just what I needed, and I enjoyed having time with her before she heads off to college next month.
  2. The tomatoes in our garden are rockin!
  3. I was a little sad yesterday, and my dogs could tell…they snuggled extra with me when I went to bed last night…they always make me feel more positive.

Day 5 Positives:

  1. The creek in my backyard is making the most awesome, relaxing sounds, thanks to all the rain we’ve had.
  2. The Deep Stretch class I taught last night was full of the most wonderful students I could ask for. I loved the questions they were asking, because it showed me that they are really invested in making the most appropriate changes for bettering themselves.
  3. I came home from said Deep Stretch class to a wonderful dinner cooked byMorgan Leigh Deal…she even made separate things for me, due to my food restrictions…what a thoughtful girl!

Day 6 Positives:

  1. The sun is shining!
  2. I got great feedback from the little “after party” we had after the Chillax Yoga class last Friday…people enjoyed not just the wine and snacks, but getting to know each other, which was what I truly hoped for…Yay!
  3. My cousin’sson spent the night with us last night. This is the first time I’ve ever had him for this long (he’s 16 years old), and I must say….I am very proud of the man he is becoming. My cousin, were he still here, would be so very proud!

Day 7 Positives:

  1. After 7 days of doing this, it’s getting easier and easier to find positive things around me. I feel like this is something I will continue to do, though maybe not on Facebook.
  2. We dropped Casey off at camp today, where she will be for a whole week with no way to contact us. She was so excited, and she is looking forward to making new friends…I am so glad she isn’t afraid to try new things!
  3. Thanks toGayle Boissonnault Stefanelli, I am committing, starting now, to giving up ANY food or drink that has been artificially sweetened. I am so thankful to people who pass amazing info my way, as these things are all helpful in more ways than you know.

Day #8 Positives:

  1. My co-worker,Timina Wilkerson Stengel, wrote an article about me and yoga for our division’s monthly newsletter and submitted it to the head of Corporate Communications for review. He sent me a personal e-mail this morning saying that the article struck him so much so, he wanted to know if I was OK with it being published in the weekly newsletter that goes out to the whole company! Wow! I feel so honored! And thank you, Timina, for writing such a wonderful piece!
  2. All my strength training must be paying off. A few days ago, someone told me my legs were “rock hard”. And last night, my hubby told me my arms were looking really strong.
  3. It is a gorgeous day outside…I am loving the cooler temps and the bright sun. Namaste!

Day 9 Positives:

  1. God
  2. Yoga
  3. Meditation

And yes, these three things go together beautifully!

Day 10 Positives:

  1. My new doctor…I met him yesterday and spent 2.5 hours with him…one of the things he “prescribed” for me is daily yoga. How cool is that?
  2. My love of research. My new doc gave me lots of homework to do between now and when I go in again…good thing I love researching and learning all about health and wellness!
  3. My yoga practice this morning…it was just what I needed.

Day 11 Positives:

  1. It’s Friday, which means I get to teach my FAVORITE class of the whole week!
  2. The yoga article about me was published to my division today, and I’ve already had 3 people at work ask me about how they can get started! I can’t wait to see if more people respond once it goes to the whole company next week. BOOM!
  3. My new chakra bracelets, made by my friend, the lovelyPatty Benjamin. Aren’t they gorgeous? I need to buy the last 3, but these first 4 are where I need the most work right now.

Day 12 Positives:

  1. Casey comes home from summer camp today! I haven’t seen or talked to her since we dropped her off last Sunday, so I can’t wait to see her beautiful face and to hear all about the things she did at camp.
  2. I have now been free of all artificial sweeteners for 7 days. And I never had one craving for it at all during the 7 days…AND, my legs aren’t hurting today. Wonder if there is a connection to this, after all?
  3. I am here for another glorious day…I am planning on making the most of it!

Day 13 Positives:

  1. Today I begin purging. My plan today is to get through all of my books and get rid of the ones I don’t need to keep around.
  2. Casey had a blast at camp, and said she can’t wait to go back again and again. I am so happy she met some new friends and tried some new things.
  3. I get to attendJennifer Hunt’s amazing Restore & Renew class at Synergy Yoga’s Rock Hill location tonight. She is an amazing teacher! If you want 90 minutes of total Restorative Yoga, come on down and join us. Class starts at 5:45 p.m.!

Day 14 Positives:

  1. I am an intelligent person.
  2. I love learning new things.
  3. I am strong and independent.

Day 15 Positives:

  1. My early morning walk withPam Johnson Juliano this morning. It was great to finally get to catch up, AND get some exercise in at the same time!
  2. Seeing Casey get so excited about books. She used to HATE reading, but now she loves it. I bought her a new book last night, as it’s the final book in a trilogy she’s been reading, and you would’ve thought I gave her diamonds…she was so excited…LOVE!
  3. I am choosing to take the necessary steps to make my dreams come true.

Day 16 Positives:

  1. Being sick doesn’t scare me anymore. I look at it as an opportunity to dig deep and find my strength to fight it.
  2. Trying new things, if they will help me become happier or better in some way, is wonderful! I’m constantly looking for new things that fit this, and I never regret it, even when it doesn’t work out. It’s how I will fugue out my true purpose.
  3. I tried a regular Coke yesterday because my throat was sore and HATED IT! I ended up throwing it away after only a few sips. I think I’ve finally and totally kicked my love of soda!

Day 17. OK…I have to admit it was hard to find 3 positives today, since I am still dealing with a fever and major body aches. But…I dug really deep and came up with the following:

  1. My mom. She is awesome! She always makes me feel better. Especially yesterday.
  2. My dad. He is also awesome, and never lets me forget how much he loves me, no matter what. It meant a lot that he took the time to let me vent yesterday.
  3. My walk this morning. Yes, even with a fever and aches, I made myself get up and meet my friend for a walk. It did me good because it made me focus on something other than feeling like poop.

Day 18 Positives:

  1. My fever seems to have broken, and my body aches are definitely not as bad today. Yay!
  2. Casey impresses me more and more each day. She has really taken the initiative with starting a pet sitting business…she came up with the name, designed business cards, and then put them in all the mailboxes in our neighborhood. She’s got 3 “clients” now, and Iam super impressed with how diligent she is. She truly loves taking care of people’s pets…dogs, cats, hermit crabs…you name it! She is really making me proud!
  3. My yoga students, each and every one of them is a positive in my life. Cool story…last night after the Deep Stretch class I taught, one of my students came up to me and said, “You know, Melanie, I’ve been practicing yoga for 36 years. And I have to say, you are the best teacher I have ever had.” Man! What a compliment! I was speechless and humbled and brought to tears. This is why I do what I do…wow!

Day 19 Positives:

  1. I get alone time with each of my girls today. That is a very rare thing as they get older, it seems, so I’ll take it!
  2. The rain. I love heavy rain in the summer.
  3. Kundalini Yoga. I tried this type of practice today…it’s been a LONG time since I’ve done Kundalini yoga, and it made my shoulders and hips feel so much looser. Just what I needed.

Day 20 Positives:

  1. Diligent banks. Wells Fargo called me yesterday to ask me about some suspicious transactions from Arkansas and Paris. Obviously, I didn’t make those purchases, so we closed my account and I’ll be getting a new card. I am so thankful they caught it before whoever stole my identity wiped out my checking account!
  2. Travis and I make a great team. We got a lot accomplished in our basement yesterday…we should have it ready to be our “entertainment room” in no time.
  3. No plans. I don’t have anything today that is demanding my time, so I get to do whatever I want…which is to continue working on the basement. Never thought I’d hear myself say THAT!

Day 21 Positives:

  1. My friends. Some have been sending me some GREAT music links, some have been letting me vent, and some have been helping me in other ways. Thank you!
  2. Having a plan. I am really working hard to get my life as stress-free as I can. I am finally feeling like I have a solid plan to get there, which I hope will help me in many ways.
  3. I’ve got faith that everything will work out in the best way and according to God’s plan for me.

Day 22 Positives:

  1. I matter. As Charles Dickens said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” And I believe I lighten the burden of my friends and family to the degree that I can.
  2. The unknown is teaching me what I’m made of. It’s scary to venture into new territory, but I know I’ll never move forward if I remain stagnant. So I look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn.
  3. I am getting better at making decisions. I definitely feel like I am able to make a decision and feel good about it more frequently now.

Day 23 Positives:

  1. I can laugh at myself, and I do…a LOT!
  2. The little things. Someone took the time out of their busy day today to check in on me, as they know I’ve had a rough week. That meant so much, and lifted me up.
  3. Letting go. I’m learning day by day to let go of things that don’t serve me.

Day 24 Positives:

  1. River kayaking. Got to do that today on the flat water, and it was very relaxing and beautiful.
  2. Spending time with Travis and the girls. It’s rare that all four of us get time together. I enjoy every minute I can get.
  3. Epsom salts baths. Man, do they make me feel and sleep better!

Day 25 Positives:

  1. Sleeping in. I rarely ever get to sleep in, and my body (and mind) definitely needed it. I am glad I got to today, as I feel so refreshed!
  2. I got the opportunity to devote an entire 40 minutes to meditating yesterday, and 20 minutes today. Lately, I haven’t had that much time to devote, and I could feel the difference…so glad I am finding more time for something so important.
  3. Random acts of kindness. There have been two occasions this week alone where a stranger has taken time out of their own day to do or say something nice to me. It totally makes me happy and puts a smile on my face when these kinds of things happen, and it inspires me to continue doing the same for those I come into contact with.

Day 26 Positives:

  1. I only cried a little moving Morgan in to her dorm. Ok, maybe a little more than a little, but definitely not as much as I thought I would, and THAT is a positive in my book!
  2. Time with a family friend last night. One of our oldest friends from VA is moving to SC, and I got to spend time with her last night. I am so happy she will be closer!
  3. Caramel Frapuccinos. On a hit day like today, they taste like a piece of heaven…yummy!

Day 27 Positives:

  1. Morgan had a good first night at USC. She seems to get along with her roommates, and she connected with a high school buddy today.
  2. Casey is all set to begin middle school tomorrow. Her backpack is ready to go, and she’s already got her outfit laid out.
  3. I was very productive today and feel relaxed because of it.

Day 28 Positives:

  1. Casey had a great first day of 6th Grade…Phew!
  2. I had a great workout atPushpointe ..I love, love, LOVE the Hange10 class! I don’t know if I’ll be able to drive to work tomorrow, but I’ll do my best!
  3. I am loving the book my new doctor is making me read, called “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?”, by Datis Kharrazian. It’s helping me understand the neurological issues I have been experiencing and offering amazing suggestions as to how to improve them. I can’t wait for my next appointment with my doc in September, so we can put a plan in place to get me all better!

Day 29 Positives:

  1. The rain. I know we’ve had a lot of rain this summer, but I still say that nothing beats a summer thunder storm. I love the way it smells outside afterwards…that’s one of the best smells to me!
  2. Less uncomfortableness. Last week, I had to prepare for a food sensitivity test by eating all the foods I’ve been avoiding these past two years, so that we can see if my body builds antibodies to any of these foods over the next few weeks. I thought I’d love eating all those foods again and not having to worry about looking at every single ingredient with scrutiny, but I was MISERABLE…puffy, itchy and lots of joint and muscle pain. I finally went back to my restrictive regimen on Sunday, and today, I feel a LOT better.
  3. Feeling more complete. As I really dig in and start to work on making things happen, I am feeling less stressed and more complete. I finally see progress!

Day 30 Positives:

  1. I successfully made it through 30 days of being able to find 3 positives each day. Many days, I found more than 3 but only posted the 3. It’s nice to look at things from a positive perspective more and more often! It really lifts one up!
  2. I had two productive meetings at work, where we had consensus on all fronts! That rarely ever happens, but when it does, it makes me SO HAPPY!
  3. Love from my old hound dog, Beta. She’s 14.5 years old and hides under the bed most days now. But last night, she hung out in the living room with us and just gave us some love. I love when she’s got the energy to hang with us!

Namaste,

Melanie

“Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.” ~~ Joel Osteen

LoveYourself(Picture above Courtesy of Date Safe Project)

Before I get into the meat of this particular blog post, I want to take a moment to thank all of you out there. You probably don’t realize it, but you all provide me with SO MUCH inspiration…all the time! Many of you have taken the time to respond to my posts and also to tell me what you’d like to see more of. And it seems like most of you want to see more things that will inspire you to be a better person. Perfect! I want the same for ME, so it looks like we’re on the same page. WINNING!

The cool thing is that, as I work to find things to inspire all of you, I end up finding inspiration for myself. And your comments inspire me even more, which inspires YOU even more, and….well, I think you get the picture. It feels like we’re starting an Inspiration Revolution, wouldn’t you say? Woot woot!

So this week, for kicks and giggles, I wanted to see what would happen if I posted a Daily Challenge on my Facebook page. I’ve only posted three so far, but already I’ve gotten some decent response. If you’re not one of my Facebook friends, here are the three I posted this week:

  1. Say something nice to YOURSELF today.
  2. Say or do something nice for someone else. Pay it forward.
  3. Get outside! Spend at least 5 minutes outside today, sans distractions (that means put your phone away!) and simply notice the sights, smells and sounds that you encounter. This is good for the soul!

It’s interesting…the first one got 18 “Likes” and a few responses. The second one got only 5 “Likes”, but also got a fair number of responses. The last one…well, I only posted it this morning and I am writing this post during my lunch break…but it’s surpassed the first one already.

It got me to thinking…is #2 really that difficult, or is it just coincidence that it got the least number of “Likes”? Is it really that hard to say or do something nice for someone else? Maybe. In my opinion, we first have to like and be nice to ourselves before we can authentically do the same for others. If you’re not right with yourself, you’ll come across as “fake” when trying to do something for other people. And don’t you agree that it’s hard to be nice to others when you’re down on yourself? If talking positively to yourself is new for you, start by finding something good to say to yourself when you’re on your yoga mat…it can be as simple as saying, “Wow, my hamstrings are feeling more flexible today!”

It all ties back to the whole positive energy thing I’ve been writing about for the past two weeks. The more positive we can be, the more we’ll exude that vibe to those we come into contact with. And once we’re there, it’s easy to do items #1 and #2 each and every day, not just when someone (i.e., ME) challenges you to do so. It shouldn’t be a challenge to be nice to yourself and to others…it should come NATURALLY. But so often, it just doesn’t. For a variety of reasons. We need to stop that, and I mean NOW!

So my plea to you this week is to do all three of the things I listed above. If you’re having trouble with #1 and #2, then doing #3 might be a good place start. At this time of year, how can you help but come away from a walk outside with anything but gratitude? OK, OK….I know it’s really hot in some locations right now, but surely you can find a time of day where you can retreat within nature and get away from all the stress and distractions for at least 5 minutes. For me, first thing in the morning, as the sun is coming up, works great. Or right as the sun is going down. I resonate with sunrises and sunsets, so maybe that’s why I like being outdoors at those times, no matter what time of year it is.

Let me know how these three things go. And if you want to get in on my daily challenges, send me a Friend Request on Facebook and get in on the action. Until next week!

Namaste,

Melanie

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