The Light Within Us

I came across this lovely saying by L.R. Knost, reminding us of the light we have within us:

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness in the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” – L.R. Knost

I especially love the phrase in “and all things can be mended, not with time, as they say but with intention.” How very true this is, as it is often our own settled purpose that leads us to healing; a capturing of our own light to help us to repair and mend. What a lovely reminder that we experience both love and suffering in our ultimate journey of growth.

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The Art of the Compliment

Compliments are powerful. We may not think that a few words of praise will do much; however, compliments are probably the easiest way to show someone you appreciate them.

Sometimes we may struggle in giving a compliment; perhaps you were not praised very much as a child, perhaps you ascribe to the belief that giving someone a compliment is going to “give them a big head,” perhaps you wait to be complimented first. Regardless of the reason, verbally appreciating someone feels foreign and uncomfortable and so you hesitate. The good news is that the art of the compliment can be honed; first by recognizing its value, second by practicing your skills.

Compliments can be about appearance – “You look so handsome in that suit,” or about something you have just benefited from – “What a great supper, thank you, I loved the chicken recipe.” It can be about someone’s qualities – “You are so good at negotiating, I learn so much from watching you,” or about our own sense of pride – “You really worked hard, I’m proud of you.”

When we compliment someone, the overall aim is to appreciate. We want the recipient to feel listened to and seen. The best way to achieve this is through authenticity – through warmth, we best deliver praise to someone. They will automatically feel the compliment, not just hear the words.

It is amazing how sometimes the fewest of words can build and support. If given the opportunity to compliment, do so. The energy sent and recieved benefits the greater good. 🙂

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6 Mantras to Help Get Us Through Tough Moments

We all have days that just don’t go well for us. Sometimes it is simply a measure of our busy lives, other times it may be a part of our bigger struggle. Having a phrase that we can say to ourselves to get us through a tough moment is a way that we can shift our focus to a place that feels safer; it also helps to temper some of our emotion with reality. Here are some possible mantras to adopt:

  1. One day at a time. Probably the most popular and well liked; it reminds us that the sun rises again tomorrow, and with it the promise of a new day.
  2. “I won’t feel like this forever.” Very often, our immediate feelings overwhelm us and we can be remiss in remembering that our feelings, both joyful and sad, have a place in our growth.
  3. “I’m stronger than I think.” We can often lose the perspective of our own strength and capability in the midst of overwhelming emotion; this mantra brings us back to our courage.
  4. Slow and steady. Much like the turtle that wins the race, this mantra reminds us that movement, regardless of speed, still gets us somewhere.
  5. Head up, heart open. I can’t remember where I first heard this mantra, but I have really appreciated it in my own life. It is a poetic reminder that we can stay focused, while maintaining an open and compassionate view of ourselves and others.
  6. “No matter what, I’ll be okay.” My personal favourite and one that I have used many times in my own experience with trying times. A lovely reminder that we can get through adversity and be okay.

Having a mantra for the tough moments is a healthy practice that often keeps us from “going down the rabbit hole.” Choosing something that feels right for you is a good first step in adopting a mantra that supports healthy internal dialogue and reinforces resilience. 🙂

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Finding Our Filter

Ever say something that you wish you could take back? Perhaps said in hurt or anger; regardless, it was a knee jerk reaction that left someone else stung and you regretful?

Do you know someone who doesn’t have a filter; often leaving people in their wake either shaking their heads or doing damage repair?

Ultimately, we are responsible for how we speak to others; if we say something that we later regret, repair is necessary or the sting will linger. Perhaps a healthier option for the long run is to pause before saying something that immediately comes to mind, and instead ask ourselves:

“What is my intention before I make this choice?”

“Is it my intention to hurt this person? Is it my intention to be right? To feel superior? What will I ultimately gain from saying something sharp or insensitive?”

“Or, is my intention to strengthen the relationship, build trust, respect, empathy?”

We are much better served to slow down and think about how we are feeling, so as to best preserve the relationship. Finding our filter is a grounded place; one that focuses on effectiveness, compassion and growth.

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A Lovely Reminder About What We Can Learn From Children

I saw this post recently and it brought to mind the innocent spirit of children:

“Children speak the language of the flowers and understand the whispers of the wind.

They’re in tune with the subtle songs of the forest; they can listen to the trees, interpret the chatter of the rivers, and intuit the meaning of each sparkle of the sun.

Our job isn’t to correct that, but to nurture it, to preserve it, and perhaps even to remember it ourselves.” – Cristen Rodgers

We will often get caught up in the logic of life and we forget the magic and adventure of slow days, of adventure and of wonder. Let’s make a date with ourselves to find it again 🙂

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Let’s Talk About Sex with Dr. Phil

I have been listening to Dr. Phil’s podcast series on relationships. In a recent episode entitled “Relationship Reality Check: How Much Fun Are You to Live With? – Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Leading Sex Expert,” Dr. Phil is chatting sex with Dr. Lehmiller. The overall message of the episode was about communication and how important it is to include being able to talk about our sexual needs with our partners. Two points that Dr. Lehmiller spoke about that I especially thought were interesting:

“The overall average for having sex in a committed relationship is once a week. Studies show that both sex and happiness increase up until once per week, but having sex more than once per week doesn’t make people happier. More sex won’t necessarily make you happier.” He went on to speak about the importance of having quality sex and creating more meaningful encounters rather than focusing on the quantity of sex.

“We need to go into relationships realistically – you can establish sexual compatibility early on and up front, but that doesn’t mean over the entire course of your lives, things aren’t going to change……..our sexual needs might change, we encounter life stressors and hormonal changes; these can affect our sexual desire and we have to continually check in with our partners to make sure we are getting those needs met.”

Dr. Lehmiller was leading his conversation with facts from various studies and the latest research; it was an interesting podcast which aims to take a difficult topic to a more comfortable level.

To listen to the full episode:

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5 ways to Increase Gratitude

Yesterday’s post looked at the science behind being thankful; today we look at 5 ways we can increase gratitude:

  • Being mindful of what is around you. When we are consciously focused on slowing down and being attuned to what is happening in our day, we make room for noticing little things such as the sunrise on the way into work, the dog happily meeting us at the door, hugs from our loved ones, the food in front of you at dinner, the cozy way your bed feels at the end of the day.
  • Make room for joy and beauty. When we build our week to include moments that bring joy and beauty into our lives, we instantly feel more thankful.
  • Write down what you are grateful for. Start a journal or a gratitude jar. Writing down what we are grateful for not only cements it for us, it also makes us more conscious of appreciating the little things.
  • Work on shifting your inner narrative. Wake up kind of cranky? Feeling like life is getting you down? When we work on overall acceptance, it helps us to recognise that we can find the good even when we are faced with life’s challenges.
  • Act as a model for others. When we are authentic in our gratitude, we set the example by focusing on creating a satisfying life.

We know that it serves us well to be thankful. It creates for us an overall contentedness and a belief that even in our trying times, we can remain thankful for everything we have.

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The Science Behind Gratitude

In an article entitled “Neuroscience Reveals: Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to be Happier” featured on DailyHealthPost, we read about how the effects of actively being thankful can benefit us. Here are some research findings (paraphrased):

  • It leads to an overall increase in feeling positive and optimistic about life.
  • It improves sleep quality and reduces anxiety and depression.
  • When we are focused on feeling grateful, the areas of the brain that show increased activity are those linked to reward, empathy and value judgement, leading to an increased sense of positivity towards others.
  • By affecting the hypothalamus, gratitude increases dopamine, our feel-good hormone. It also tends to have a positive metabolic effect on stress.
  • The practice of gratitude increases our sense of self-worth and compassion for others.

By consciously increasing our levels of gratitude we can increase our overall sense of well-being. The act of being thankful also tends to increase our ability to be open minded, as the focus naturally creates a direct path to our feel good emotions.

To read the full article:

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Self-Reflection Question 8

Today, in our ongoing series of self-reflection questions (the rest can be found in the categories section), we focus on:

“Am I achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself?”

Soon we will be entering a new year. As 2020 approaches, we can begin to ask ourselves if we have been working towards the goals we have set for ourselves. Sometimes those goals come in the form of New Year’s resolutions; other times they may have been goals that are more general in nature such as “I want to travel more,” or “I need to slow down the pace of my life.” They can be work related, personal, linked to our physical health, involve reducing a bad habit, or something tied to our emotional health.

In any case, we are much better served to become quite specific about our goal. Want to travel more? Have the next two trips planned out in terms of timeline and where you would like to go. Set aside time in your calendar 2 months before to book flights and accommodations; as soon as those are complete, the fun planning begins!

Want to reduce a bad habit? Write down the best way you are going to get there with tangible stepping stones and a timeline. Do I need professional help to guide me? Need to be part of a connected group? What are the specific behaviours I need to do in order to succeed? What are the rewards I can earn on my way to achievement?

Goals are an important part of movement and growth. They don’t have to be big, they don’t have to be achieved overnight, but it is important that we have them as they help us to feel grounded and connected to our own sense of accomplishment.

“Am I achieving the goals I have set for myself?” As we come in the new year, let’s give that some thought 🙂

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Photo credit: Me! This is a picture from our fall trip to Chicago as my niece and daughters enjoy posing near “the Bean.”


Some Encouraging Words from Maya Angelou

I came across this quote by Maya Angelou; inspiring and hopeful words that we can use as a thoughtful intention for ourselves, our loved ones, and the greater good:

“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

— Maya Angelou

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