You Don’t Have To Be A (Fill In The Blank) To Get Ahead


Let’s be honest, we’ve all come across these people in our lives, the mean, the rude, the cold, let’s just say it, the jerk? The good news is you don’t have to put up with it or stoop to their level, IF you’re mindful of your own reactions, thoughts and actions. When you come across these characters, you’ll realize that it’s actually the perfect time to use your mindfulness skills, stay grounded and exhibit the fact that no one can shake your core, not even the jerks.

I’m not saying it’s always easy to do, or that at times you won’t be tested, but when you let people walk all over you, you’re the only one who suffers. Some behavior just cannot be tolerated and it’s up to you to determine when enough is enough, whether it’s with friends, relationships, strangers, co-workers, acquaintances…you have the choice to not accept or allow it in your life.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe and make changes if your morals and goals don’t align with your current situation. It’s more important to take care of yourself and live out your values than it is to live your life catering to other’s needs and desires.

Take the time to think about it, what do you want out of life? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? It’s fun to care and be passionate and strong. This isn’t rocket science, it’s pure mindfulness. It’s up to you to decide how you want to live your life and it’s up to you to surround yourself with people who love and support you. I decided that there is no longer room in my life for toxic people, and let me tell you, it’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s a peaceful, joyful and an inspiring place to be.

I’d like to thank those people who “challenged” me along the way, it lit my fire and kept me pushing forward. It forced me to make (good) decisions I may have never had the courage to make. The best part is that at the end of the day I can hold my head up high knowing I did it with respect and dignity.

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I Want It And I Want It Now


We all know that’s no way to actually get what you want, it’s not very mature and it’s certainly not mindful. But it’s easy to have this mindset when you get impatient and frustrated with the pace at which you’re moving forward in your life and with your goals. Sure, we’ve all heard it before, patience is a virtue. But what does it actually mean? It means having the ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset, and it’s a valuable quality to have.

Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you wait. Do you keep a good attitude when things aren’t going as planned, when they are moving slower than what you expected? Maybe you’re patient with others but not even with yourself. If you’re honest with yourself and mindful of what’s actually go on around you, you’ll realize that some things really are worth waiting for. When we let go of control and allow life to unfold, we find moments of joy, freedom and peace. Why? Because when we’re in a state of mindfulness we’re relaxed, flexible and able to stay grounded as the chaos of everyday life continues to flow around us.

“Simplicity. Patience. Compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world” (Lao Tzu). The simple, patient, compassionate frame of mind allows you to live a life filled with love, courage and joy. We live in a world that is always changing, always evolving and, certainly, always connected. It’s important we disconnect at times, remain patient with ourselves and others and practice gratitude for what we do have.

I believe settling is a way of choosing to live life with what is given to you, and that rising to the occasion is living and creating the life you want and deserve. Wait for what you deserve and, most importantly, never settle.

Just be patient.

Happy Just The Way We Are


Is it possible? Do we really believe this to be true in our own lives? Or are we always competing, comparing and saying to ourselves, “If I only would have tried harder.” People who have low self-esteem tend to internalize external events and situations, whereas people with high self-esteem tend to brush things off and point to external sources outside themselves as the cause for disappointment. This is very interesting to me. Why can some people quickly move past “failure,” while others dwell on the fact that they just aren’t good enough (and might not ever be)? Why can’t we all be happy just the way we are?

I don’t have the answer, but I am going to guess it has something to do with their thought patterns or that maybe they practice internal grounding (mindfulness). Or, it could be that they really do not care what other people think of them and aren’t afraid to stand alone at the end of the day. Even if we aren’t the top executive at our company, the smartest person in the room or an idealized movie star, I believe we all still deserve happiness and should accept ourselves just the way we are.

There are so many different paths to choose in life, sure some options may be harder to achieve due to economic status or family ties, but at the end of the day, the actual willpower, courage to try just one more time, and acceptance of ourselves, comes from within. That’s something no one can take away from us and something we have access to each and every day. And yet, so many people struggle with not feeling worthy enough to have what they feel they deserve.

I hope you really take time to think about the person you want to be. That you put yourself first AND help others along the way. I hope you decide to be the person who never gives up, who accepts yourself the way you are and is determined to reach your goals, whatever those may be.

“To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections.”
-Sandra Bierig

10 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About The Brain And Mindfulness


  1. MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker.
  2. Reframing negative events in a positive light literally rewires your brain and can make you a happier person, as can regular meditation.
  3. The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000.
  4. You have a finite amount of will power each day because to exercise will power you need energy in the form of oxygen and glucose, that’s why it’s harder to say ‘no’ when you are tired or not feeling yourself.
  5. Until relatively recently scientists thought that the brain was the only area of the human body that didn’t generate new cells. We now know that’s not true and the brain does reproduce shiny new cells for you to use.
  6. Concentration meditation, in which the meditator focuses complete attention on one thing, such as counting the breath or gazing at an object, activates regions of the brain that are critical for controlling attention. This is true even among novice meditators who receive only brief training.
  7. The brain is very poor at concentrating for long periods of time and needs to clear it’s head so to speak about every 90 minutes or so.
  8. The old adage of you only use 10% of your brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function.
  9. Mindfulness meditation offers freedom for people with anxiety, in part by changing the way the brain responds to negative thoughts.
  10. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain even though it is where you actually experience pain in your body.

Sources: A Daring Adventure, Brain Training, Scientific American, Mindful.org, Fineartamerica(image)

I’ll Be Your Fire When The Lights Go Out


KJC

Lyrics from a pop ballad, the song was inspired by the imagery of a destructed city after Armageddon, and how the survivors carry on with their lives, with love being the only thing they can hold onto. Composed as an uplifting track, “Ghosttown” features instrumentation from organ and drums, with minor vocoder effects on Madonna’s vocals, and a big chorus. The second I heard this song I fell in love! I’m not surprised since it’s written and performed by the one and only Madonna. 🙂

Madonna told Rolling Stone that Ghosttown “is kind of looking at the world in a way, seeing civilization collapse around us, for lack of a better word. And at the end of the day, if we run out of oil and we don’t have electricity and we don’t have all the modern conveniences, and we have no phones and computers, all we’re going to have…

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It’s Never Too Late


To start again, to get in shape, to say sorry, to reach that goal or change your path. We impose limitations on ourselves and create self-doubt when something feels uncomfortable or new. When we were kids the possibilities were endless and the energy uncapped. Then there comes a time when we grow up and become adults, and it’s like all of a sudden we no longer have choices, passions or motivations. You would think we’d be wiser, smarter and more rational when we get older, but this is usually not the case. As we age, we get caught up in what other people are doing, what we can’t accomplish and give way too much attention to what “impossible” obstacles might stand in the way, therefore, giving up all hope for a better future.

It’s definitely easier to stay where you are, do the same routine and repeat your habits day in and day out. Mindfulness challenges this way of living and thinking. Mindfulness is all about being fully in tune with yourself and continuously flexing to what might come next. It’s about staying present so that you’re paying attention to life as it unfolds and not obsessing about the past or future. Mindfulness gives you the foundation you need to stay grounded and centered in your own thoughts and beliefs, while you continue to take on risks and conquer new adventures. This practice removes all judgments so that you aren’t spending all of your time imposing your way of life on others and aren’t using judgments to stop yourself and limit your own potential.

Clear your mind of can’t and fill it with thoughts of determination, encouragement and fun, new dreams. Failure is nothing to be afraid of, it’s simply an idea in your mind that you told yourself you had to achieve and an idea that you placed a lot of self-worth on. When we lower expectations, become curious instead of fearful and try our best, there is no room for failure. We are, instead, able to shift our focus and attention on the new doors that start to open and begin to recognize other opportunities that may be just as good, if not better.

It’s important to remember that your mind is very powerful. Your mind takes cues from how your body reacts to and judges events and situations. This is why the breath is so important in meditation and mindfulness. When you feel like you just can’t take anymore or you’re upset because you didn’t reach your goals, stop, breathe and get ready to try again. Or get ready to try something else, try something new. You never know what’s out there or what tomorrow might bring. Enjoy the moment. And when you don’t get what you want, take the necessary steps to pick yourself back up, set new goals and create the new beginnings you deserve.

Making the Best of Our Days


Do you ever sit back and wonder what it is you did yesterday, who you talked to, what you wore and what you ate? Sure, we all forget once in a while, get busy and simply don’t try to remember every little detail about each day, but are we letting it slide too much by not remembering the small things? Are we using excuses to not remember, to forget what we said we would do and end up losing ourselves in the shuffle?

Have you ever stopped to smell the roses and connect with your own being, your inner core? Sometimes we ignore our own thoughts and feelings so we can attend to others and end up spending all of our own energy making those around us happy. What if we woke up each day acknowledging what we are grateful for, what we love about ourselves, took a little extra time to reflect about yesterday and set a few small goals for the day ahead. I wonder if we’d feel more relaxed and connected and be able to better manage stress.

I believe in taking care of ourselves before we try and take care of others. Our health is important, without a grounded mind, body and soul we can’t possibly survive in the chaos that will always exist around us. In time our bodies will say no and begin to slow down, we will become fatigued and eventually, give up. But when we give up, we are choosing to say no to life, no to the everyday beauty that comes with being alive. We are choosing to say no to the loved ones around us, who care about us and we eventually put ourselves in danger of shutting down. You soon realize that you’re slowly becoming that person who you fear to encounter in your own daily life…that tired, crabby and unpleasant person who you don’t want to be around.

On the flip-side, there are those people you meet who you can tell are truly happy and seem to always be enjoying life. That’s the kind of person I want to strive to be, while at the same time still recognizing that there will be trials and tribulations along the way. I try to remember each day that we get one precious life, one precious chance to make a difference, so why not love with all our hearts, smile a little more freely and be grateful for what we do have. Because you never know when it may be all gone, just like that and sometimes without warning. Live each day to the fullest and live mindfully, in the present moment.

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (Socrates)

I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller…


I wish I was a baller

I wish I had a brand-new car
So far, I got this hatchback
And everywhere I go, yo I gets laughed at
And when I’m in my car I’m laid back
I got an 8-track and a spare tire in the backseat
But that’s flat

And do you really wanna know what’s really whack
See I can’t even get a date
So, what do you think of that?

Some of my readers may be all too familiar with these lyrics which come from Skee-Lo’s song called, I Wish. As you read the lyrics you realize he wishes for a lot of different things and admits that he thinks his life is a joke, that if only he had these things, then he would be happy and his life would be perfect. I know it’s a catchy song and it’s fun to sing along, but I do have to disagree with the message itself.

This brings me to the idea of us wishing things were different, wishing things were easier or wishing things didn’t happen the way they did. Well, we do this because this way of thinking is easy, but we need to be aware that it is a maladaptive way of coping with life’s struggles. It is also avoidance in its purest form, which if you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you’ve learned that confronting uncomfortable situations instead of avoiding them is a very important skill that is taught in mindfulness. Mindfulness teaches us to face the truth, face our emotions and accept the facts, instead of avoiding them.

When we avoid we disengage and detach ourselves from reality. We become obsessed with what could have been, we live in the past and choose not to enjoy the present moment. Our faults, mistakes, successes and milestones make us who we are, shape us into the person we want to become and put us back on track when we head down the wrong path. All too often we have our lives all planned out in our heads and assume a smooth ride ahead, and then life happens, struggles happen and we get kicked when we’re already down. Then we start to think that the pain will never pass and that this is how it will always be.

The good news is that we can dance in the rain and smile through the sadness. Emotions, events, pain, happiness and even excitement all pass at some point and soon we’re on to the next, living life to its fullest, in the beautiful and present moment of today.

Ain’t nothin’ gonna to break my stride


KJC

Nobody’s gonna slow me down, I got to keep on moving. Matthew Wilder said it right in his song, Break My Stride. With a bouncing keyboard riff and a mild Jamaican flavor, this was by far the biggest hit for Wilder. This is definitely a song you want to be stuck in your head because it’s pretty awesome.

This song was described as “a gift to myself” by Matthew Wilder in an interview with People Magazine. How he never had any support in the music industry and was turned away by everything. This song was a big confidence booster for Wilder to continue taking on the music world during the roughest of times. Little did he know that it would become a very successful single and a very catchy tune that a lot of people would associate with the 1980s in the decades to come.

I think it’s an important…

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