MEDITATING, ACCEPTING, MANIFESTING—WHO'S IN?

Hello hello, is this thing still on? It's been a beat... how are you guys all doing out there? Thank you for stopping by today. Grab a cup of tea, coffee, water or whatever you fancy and let's get to it.

 Wellness, Inspirational Addict Writer, Yoga Instructor, Sonoma Mama, World Traveler Wife with Erik Almas Photographer

Do you practice meditating, accepting and manifesting? What kind of energy you are putting out into the universe? Are you attached to outcomes constantly? Questioning, worrying and shaking your crystal ball trying to predict situations before they happen? Does this clutter up your happiness?

When you get still, can you release your resistance with accepting things as they are and move into a more mindful place? These are important questions I ask myself, not just once but consistently and especially during challenging moments. Let’s start manifesting from this opened awareness.

I have been on a bit of an unintentional hiatus from writing recently. Practicing acceptance was high on my list these past few months as I got derailed from my usual track.  I had to excuse myself while I was shooting a movie that wrapped the first week of June and from there rolled right into having tons of family and friends arrive in our hometown of Sonoma to celebrate our wedding which launched us to enjoying our baby girls first birthday! Yes you heard it… I am now a happily married woman to the most incredible man, Erik Almås and together, with great joy, we survived our first year of parenthood!

With an eager desire to get back into my groove, I jumped at the opportunity to join Deepak and Oprah for another 21 Day Meditation experience, “Energy of Attraction” that started July 23rd.  I hope you loved it as much as I did if you just finished doing it too. Boy has it been an energetic game changer for me lately.

Often the smallest shifts can make big differences and encourage us to graciously accept things as they are a little easier. Who loves a good reminder to check-in with yourself when you have a lot happening and you feel your attitude slipping into glass half empty mode? Take a deep breath and SMILE… we just created some awareness together.  

Life is incredible and I am surrounded by love and support so it's frustrating to sense my negativity internally and then give it more weight by vocalizing to anyone who is forced to listen. Do you ever annoy yourself in this way? I’m confident I’m not alone here because we are human. The good news is our awareness can propel us into a place of transformation. By quieting our minds and settling into some stillness we can release what’s not serving us with clarity and nurture what is, again and again. Let’s take some steps in the right direction.

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TIPS FOR MEDITATION

  • Where do you go to get quiet, connect with yourself and breathe? It can be a yoga class for me or early morning as I wake up and sometimes as I wind down for bed. It’s anywhere I can pause for 10-20 minutes and use a mantra or phrase to repeat internally and meditate. Challenge yourself to create a consistent form of meditation that speaks to you.
  • Try not to forcefully push the negative or limiting thoughts away but see them and say “hi there, I hear you” and as gently as a fluffy cloud passing by in the sky, release them. If using a visual of your choice helps, do it. I love putting them in a balloon that I release or feel a gentle breeze lift them off me and carry them away. Get creative and change it up.
  • Honor yourself with compassion as distractions and rumblings in your mind most likely find their way back in. Consider the importance of observing your thoughts to be far more effective than emptying your mind out. Make sense? Continue to repeat the process of deeply breathing accompanied by your choice of mantra, visualization or simply focusing on your breathe with non-judgmental acceptance.
  • Clarity will start to arrive no matter what form of meditation you create for yourself. The pause from your daily schedule is what will significantly affect your ability to connect to acceptance more gracefully and consistently. Present state of awareness is what we’re going for whether for you; that’s on a hike, in a gym or sitting somewhere quietly. Rejuvenating the mind is how we can let go of the overwhelming feelings and pressures that can get in our way of being calm on a regular basis.
  • Pay attention and notice how this calm state influences your reactive mind and your responses to the situations that might ordinarily get you really flustered. We all want to be as happy as we can be right? So if there’s a way to use our minds to assist in our moment to moment well being, I ask why wouldn't we all want to do what it takes to slow down the chatter in the mind we are inundated with from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep?
The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms
— Thich That Hanh

May I inspire you to check out the various styles of mediation at The Secrets Of Yoga for a wonderful and brief breakdown of each to explore.  

Additional Resources I Love

  • I will always be grateful for the Deepak and Oprah Free 21-Day Experiences they offer as it was the source that jump started my commitment several years ago and benefits my life greatly. I love the guided aspect and having an intention and mantra provided. I often re-listen to the opening talk for inspiration in teaching my yoga classes and at night to fall asleep peacefully. Going to the online library and choosing one for a family member or friend makes a great gift too! And it’s Deepak and Oprah, come-on:)
  • I’m a fan of Light Watkins who has a great book on Meditation titled, “Bliss More”, a TED Ex talk and fun interview on Mindbodygreen’s podcast. He is such a delightful human.
  • Mindsail is an emotional well-being App that I was honored to do the VOICE for the moodboosts component which you can access prior to subscribing. Two of my wonderful yoga clients developed this self-help vault giving you unique insights and tools to make better choices and live a happier more fulfilling life. 
  • I also have done an online course with Ziva Meditation as I deeply related to Emily Fletcher’s lifestyle which lead her to study and create ZivaMind. With mindfulness, meditation and manifesting being the structure, students get the tools to be at the top of their personal and professional game.

Yoga and meditation are incredible practices that have changed my life. They have looked a little different since I've become a new mom but I've not lost site of their importance or my commitment. I'm profoundly more gracious and accepting of all the things I don't get done and take time to reflect on all the things that I do, which is a freeing space to be in. The awareness you create with mindful exercises will expand your life whether you had that intention or not (but that intention is a good one). It's pretty great when it surprises you and suddenly you now know what to shift around to make them a priority for yourself. I trust they've been healing my soul and guiding me to a healthy lifestyle from the inside out for years now. It's an ever-evolving journey that thrills me as I jump on my mat over and over again and embrace the challenges of being able to sit quietly with myself. My passion for writing about it and sharing it with students as a certified instructor comes from what it's done for me. I will always encourage you to find the physical and mindful activities that make your spirit soar, that shake you up and make you feel alive. You will never be sorry for finding a way to incorporate them into your days regularly. Go get'm!  

 Happiness Blogger, Wellness Influencer, Healthy Sonoma Mama, Andrea Bogart Inspirational Addict, Yoga Instructor, Traveler Wife and Erik Almas Photography

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience with me and continuing to support Inspirational Addict. I look forward to writing and sharing so much and hope this was my kick back into consistency. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome here. Have a beautiful weekend! 

XOXO ANDREA

How To Give The Gift Of Being Present

Have you ever wondered how to be more present? We hear it all the time, we potentially think we are and yet so easily our minds wander, our attention bounces to the past or future and suddenly we're missing out on what's happening right in front of us; here and now. 

 Wellness Influencer, happiness blogger, Sonoma New Mamma, yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart with Photographer fiancé Erik Almas get present.

Thanksgiving just kicked the holiday season into high gear and I'm thinking about how to give myself the gift of being more present in all that I do... are you ready to join me? I know we will benefit from this awareness and I can assure you the people and situations you interact with will appreciate it too. With a million ways to be distracted today... being present is a GIFT to rapture in. 

There are so many examples throughout the day where I am deeply connected to the present moment and others where auto pilot is taking me through the motions and I'm not present at all. Does this sound like you too? Of course this is natural but my gosh, doesn't it feel good to catch yourself and breathe into that realization and just be in the moment? It's a practice. Like with most things, if we take the time to practice this, we get good and this particularly should feel simple rather than like a task.  We will always have distractions, interruptions and a multitude of things that can cause worry but if we truly work on being present we can alleviate the external emotions often attached to these deterrents.

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Check-in with your moment to moment awareness in some of these areas;

  • Making dinner... cooking can be such an enjoyable process, tasting & sipping
  • Driving... see your surroundings notice the trees, a house you love
  • Playing with your kids... I'm not sure there's anything better than this one
  • Doorways... what space did you just enter, why are you there, who is there
  • Social Media... how much time is spent here, whats your purpose
  • Spouse or partner... daily wrap up with significant other, yummy intimacy
  • Work environment... offering support in a meeting, for a co-worker
  • Daily schedule... smooth sailing or over committing, smiling throughout your day
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers
— Thich Nhat Hanh

My Key Helpers

  • Yoga– making time for this regularly is a game changer for my ability to be more present. Dropping into my breath, linking the mind, body, spirit connection activates your awareness and focus on the here and now. There is often a sense of release I feel from anything that's been bothering me. The eight limbs that are explored in yoga have a way of sneaking into your everyday life offering more lasting vitality. 
  • Meditation– learning to be aware of your mind, quieting down all the chatter and disconnecting from the complexity of the world can bring you to such simplicity and stillness. I've replaced a ton of waiting times with meditation and it's incredible how different my energy is about the circumstances. (Examples; pumping breast milk, casting rooms, Dr. offices, dentist visits, airplanes) 
  • Digitally disconnecting– unplugging or powering down from our digital accessories for specified times is essential today. The phone is probably one of the biggest distractions to date, we rely on it for everything and often feel lost without it. Leaving it at home, turning it off,  putting it in another room, are all great ways to NOT let it rob delicious present moments away from you. 

My favorite part about all this is that it is actually pretty basic when you think about being present. It doesn't mean it doesn't come without it's challenges... but I believe it's the world in which we live with an unbelievable amount of stimulation that has altered are senses of how important it is to just BE. I heard on a Tim Ferriss podcast recently, "remember we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS," I love that. Find gratitude in everything that you do, appreciate the smallest of tasks, seek joy moment to moment and feel how amazing anything can be. Remember it's a practice. Each step is a step with grace and wonderment. 

Thank you guys for dropping in! Cheers to the happiest holiday season and being more present in all we do! You are always welcome to leave a comment or tips for me... we're in this together. 

xoxo Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Mindful Ways To Invest In Yourself

When you think of mindfully investing in yourself what do you think of? Why is it important to do this for ourselves? Getting to the "why" does wonders for taking action... give it a try.

Nothing happens until YOU decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward
— Oprah Winfrey

This can look different for all of us depending on what your priorities are and where you are hoping to find growth. Mindful investments in myself mean something a little different than investing in say; getting my hair highlighted because it makes me feel presentable or buying that pair of boots that suit me just right. You catch my drift here? So let's play with four ideas that help me over and over again. 

QUIETING THE MIND

Stopping our minds from the endless chatter of rapid thoughts firing all day long is difficult to do. As we create some awareness around it, think less about needing to stop it and more about slowing it down. Find a place that feels calming for you. Get comfortable and bring your attention to your breath. I have found this to be the most efficient way to unwind the mind. Having a consistent meditation practice is wonderful and while I encourage you to strive for that, there are many suitable forms. Simply taking time out of your day to be present and find stillness is essential to your wellbeing. I find a quiet mind when; I practice yoga or nursing my baby-girl, my dad does mowing the lawn, my mom, reading a book, my fiancé, Erik finds it when he runs. Explore some and trust that whatever you do to get quiet will lead to you doing it more as you discover it's many benefits.

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EAT NUTRITIONALLY

I have a pretty 80/20 rule with this. Once you really get in tune with how the food you eat makes you feel, you are a lot wiser with the choices you make. I love food and I've found so much joy in learning about how to make my own tasty, clean meals. I don't shame myself for indulging in things I really want to enjoy that may not be at the top of my healthy list either. I have found the less rules, restrictions and negative talk I have about my choices, the healthier I am. I'm personally dedicated to choosing organic for myself and our family whenever I can. That lead to removing all processed foods and addictive sugars out that have made it into our food and beverages far more than necessary. We can not rely on anyone but ourselves right now to take action when it comes to what we put into our bodies and our kids need our help. I have concern and care as I learn more about our food industry and all the hidden dangers that are detrimental to our overall health and quality of life. So many of our ailments; joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, stress, etc.... can be transformative and dramatically improved with proper food and balancing what makes the best sense for you. 

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JOURNALING

Isn't journaling wonderful? I implore you to write a little bit everyday. There's a great book called The Five Minute Journal I often gift to friends that is perfect place to start. If you're not a big writer, try an amazing app I've blogged about called Gratitude 365.  My daily journaling of three gratitudes has been consistent for a few years now and made a signifiant impact on my happiness and daily perspective. Meditating and then free writing can be incredibly theraputic and a great way to filter out fear and worry and transform it into positivity. If you happen to be a traveler like me, I love to write about places I've been and what those experiences have brought to my life. I'm newly experimenting with Moleskins Smart Notebook as I love handwriting things down but for blogging I am always wishing some of those ideas and journal entries would magically appear in my notes or documents on my digital devices– and this does that. I'm kind of a journal junky... ton's of creative inspiration and clarity come from writing regularly. Have fun doing it and take note what it does for you. 

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

I love moving my body so this is a natural one for me, but I realize not for everyone. I thank my mom who put me in dance at age three and I grew to love it. I've been actively stretching my entire life so far.  I don't know about you but as I age gracefully I want to maintain a nice range of motion in my body. Let's not confuse healthy stretching with the need to be abnormally flexible, that is not what I'm suggesting. When I see elderly men and women out walking, stretching in a park or showing up consistently in my yoga class, I'm inspired, knowing that's the kind of vibrancy I want to have. Both of my grandmothers were pretty active women and as they stopped moving regularly their quality of life declined significantly too, it pained my heart. Our activity level will naturally slow, muscle mass will weaken but stretching can help us reverse the aging process and improve our agility. I rarely miss a day of stretching but I noticed several things show back up while I was recovering from giving birth. That was a circumstance of slowing down I was going to honor but it was interesting that my joint pain in my knee I haven't felt in years came back, shoulders stiffened and tightness crept in. I started stretching my upper body again first and returned to my yoga practice after six weeks. The decline of mobility occurs when we become inactive. I was able to help my dad with suggesting some stretches I thought he should do daily at 68 years old and he does them everyday now and say's he feels such a difference. I'm a believer that even if you don't get in the fitness routine you'd like to, daily stretching is going to contribute to your overall wellness forever. 

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These four suggestions are not rocket science but sometimes we just need a little nudge to put investing in ourselves into actions... so consider this your nudge and a lovely reminder for myself I may add! Thank you for popping by and your suggestions, comments or perhaps your own experience are always welcome here. Enjoy the last few days of October...we are cruising through fall. 

 

xo Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Evacuation Experience from The Sonoma Fires

I'm still in shock with what was a beautiful start to a day taking such a dramatic turn for the worst. Nothing could have prepared Northern California for the devastating fires that have swept the lands this past week. 

Let's Rewind

Last Sunday morning was a special one for me. While Cornerstone Sonoma offered to let me host my first yoga event in their Garden Barn and word had been spreading throughout the community, I was feeling the warm welcome from many. Kevin Paris, our talented musician soothed our senses playing his acoustic guitar as we flowed between utter bliss and joyful tears.

 Inspirational Addict wellness influencer Andrea Bogart leads yoga and live music event with Kevin Paris at Cornerstone Sonoma Garden Barn 

It was a great turn-out and everything went so smoothly. As one yogi commented after saying “I wish we had this every Sunday, it felt like going to church,” I was delighted. I took the feelings of a loving, supportive community home with me and couldn’t wait to start planning the next one. It was a beautiful day…

 Inspirational Addict wellness influencer Andrea Bogart leads yoga and live music event with Kevin Paris at Cornerstone Sonoma Garden Barn

Cut To The Evening

Later, back at home, the sun started to dip over the mountain and the weather took a shift. The wind howled and haunting sounds took me to bed. That jumpy feeling you get from watching scary movies swallowed me… Aaaaand BLACK OUT, suddenly we loose power. Candles are lit and there’s a quick shuffle around to find flash lights. I resettle myself, read our baby girl a few books (a little more for me than her I think) and tried to comfortably tuck in. We finally sleep. Just after 1:30AM I’m awakened by hearing our names being shouted outside the window with a flash of light peering past the curtains. Our neighbor, an Angel, waking us with the news that there is an entire hill side across the way is on fire and we should evacuate our home. She says to grab some things for a few nights and get out as fast as we can.  She gave us a meeting place if we needed support.

My heart pounds. I see our baby-girl sleeping so soundly and take some deep breaths. I can’t even begin to describe what kind of fear sets in knowing this is not just about our safety anymore, it’s about this little human you will do anything to protect. But I quickly decide fear is not an option. It’s; think fast, keep it together and get out safely.

Erik and I make a quick plan to get down from the mountain. We need to get our renters in our Airbnb evacuated and our neighbor there who manages our property whom we couldn’t reach by phone. The drive down was daunting for many reasons… I’m focused on the winding road as there are huge branches and debris down everywhere. I can see the entire ridge to the East on fire, it’s massive. This just got even more real. We divide and conquer, pounding on the doors and yelling to get everyone out and succeed. We headed to some friends just off the square to regroup and decide what’s next. It’s approximately 2:30AM and the usual quiet streets are packed with groups congregating in various areas clearly not sure what to do.

We spend the next hour+ taking in the situation, getting opinions of neighbors (a retired fire chief being one,) and mulling it over with all our friends who’ve met here. We are well aware the smoke is getting worse, we know we have to get our three month old out of this. Erik secures a hotel in about 45 minutes toward San Fransisco for us and we take off. Roads are closed on the way out but relatively clear. An hour later, now 5:30AM we are checking in and getting our wee one tucked back in safely. I won't take you through a play by play for the next seven days as all the details are unimportant. I will tell you that I’m grateful we got out when we did as it was the best decision for our newborn and her tiny developing lungs and I’m in awe of how amazing my love, Erik, is time and time again.

I share a part of this all with you today to express extreme gratitude and heartfelt condolences. The fires are not over but after we got confirmation today that our home survived the fires and our rental property did as well, we feel so incredibly blessed. When two of the larger burning fires became one by Wednesday and the winds kicked back up we really questioned what could happen as our homes sat in the middle of it all. We prayed and we asked everyone we knew to pray for us and all those in the midst of extreme duress. It has been an emotional roller-coaster of getting notifications that things are ok and then it would all change at a moments notice. One of our closest friends lost their home like so many have. The sadness you endure for others is real, the unknown of what your own reality may be is almost paralyzing. We spent our days being consumed by updates and news hanging onto any hopeful information that came our way. Having a newborn is a godsend. They keep you in good spirits because they sense what you're feeling. I started to really loose it multiple times and Em's little lower lip curled down and I could see she was going to loose it too... I did't want that. We sang and played and were able to take a lot of down moments and relish in the joy of having her. I practiced non-attachment daily knowing that having each other in the end was all we needed and the rest is replaceable. It's NOT EASY... you think about all that you'd loose and it hits you like a brick wall. I really love our home. I really love where we've settled to start our family life. I couldn't make that go away. I did however keep praying for the best. I visualized people returning to their homes and a strong community coming together to support the process of rebuilding. That will all continue. Sonoma Country and Napa County will need a lot of love in the coming years. 

Our firefighters and first responders are our hero's. The hours and effort it's taken to bring so many of them together to manage the unmanageable is unbelievable and deserving of so much support and praise. I know our family will be forever grateful for their courage and do whatever we can to join others in giving back. We have been overwhelmed with support from our families and new and old friends during this time. Erik, Em and I thank you so very much. Prayers are constant for so many of those who’ve lost everything and continue to struggle with the unknown fate of these fires. Stay strong and believe there are wonderful people all around who are coming together to support each other. 

If you've been affected by the fires please sign up for disaster relief assistance at www.disasterrelief.gov

I'll work on putting together a great list but here's a place to start if you'd like to donate https://www.youcaring.com/victimsevacueesandfirstrespondersforsonomafires-977708

Little Bit Of Our Story

We, like so many others hope to get to return home soon. All my love and blessings. 

xoxo Andrea

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NOTE: All Photos of Fires pulled from Internet resources-I take no credit and used just to show visually the Northern California Fires near Sonoma Valley of Oct. 2017.

MINDFULLY START YOUR DAY BEFORE YOUR FEET EVEN HIT THE FLOOR

Happy Soulful Sunday... are you ready to start your week off with a bang? I am, I hope you'll join me with some thoughtful intentions leading the way.

 Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Intentions

Are you set on auto pilot? How much of the first few minutes of your day are spent going through the motions without much awareness? Do you have multiple alarms set for waking up or reach for your phone and immediately start responding to things or possibly shower and brush your teeth with your eyes half open? All of which are things I've gotten caught up doing at various times in my life. Think of creating awareness as a gift to your soul... rather than inflicting any sort of shame on your behaviors. These are the places from which we grow.

I'm not quite sure where I picked up my actions from, but a while ago, my curiosity about how I started my day inspired me to make some changes. Upon waking, I sit up in bed and take three deep inhales and exhales linking my breath to a seated sun salutation. As I finish the third one with my hands at heart center, I set an intention. This is a way for me to mindfully start my day before my feet even hit the floor. This action rippled into more rituals (morning and night) that even with a newborn, I try to diligently make happen daily. 

 Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Awareness with photography by Erik Almas

My introduction to setting intentions came from a consistent yoga practice, which I love and incorporate into my own teachings today. I never had much thought around mindfully starting my day before yoga and it's a big part of why I am always curious about how to better myself. Prayer has been and will always be a part of my life but there is something different about setting intentions that feels purposeful. I can attest that you really don't make changes in your life that stick until you want to make changes and commit. 

To mindfully start your day with a morning routine you absolutely have to make one that's right for you. We all have different lifestyles and commitments. I suggest you doing something you may enjoy or be curious about trying for starters. I tend to stack things into what I'm already doing and find that helps me be consistent. For example, in addition to doing my three breaths which ground me and give me a little stretch as I set an intention, I also use my early morning breastfeeding sessions for meditation and doing my three daily gratitudes. I take down a glass of water first thing, which I set next to my bed the night before.  My man and I make a Vega One protein drink after we stretch for 10-15 minutes. These are all things I enjoy and yes, are challenging at times but have become more habitual now and if I miss doing something... I have that feeling that I didn't do part of what supports my productivity throughout my day. This is me... what's your morning look like for you? Believe me, it was different when I was single. It was even more different before my yoga practice began and with a beautiful, growing baby girl, I'm sure it will take a new shape again soon. Being open to the shifts and changes with your lifestyle is also a dynamic part of you being mindful. Trust in that. 

My talented fiancé, Erik Almas, and I wanted to shoot something together that we created. This was very much inspired by how I make great efforts to mindfully start my day... I hope what ever your morning looks like, you have an awareness around your actions and do at least one thing for yourself that feels, grounding, uplifting and provokes some joy that carries you throughout your day!

At the beginning of your day when you wake up; express your aspiration “May I practice three difficulties, may I see what I do. When it happens, may I do something different, and may that be a way of life for me.”
— Pema Chodron

Thank you for stopping by... I love hearing from you if you've got any fun morning rituals you want to share, let me hear them! 

XO Andrea

 

How To Make Sleep A Priority In Your Life With Recommendations From Author, Arianna Huffington's Book "The Sleep Revolution"

Ahh the beauty of sleep and the not so beautiful reality of how little we get sometimes, right?

 Photo By Erik Almas in Hotel Alma Barcelona, Spain.

Photo By Erik Almas in Hotel Alma Barcelona, Spain.

Is sleep a priority in your life? Author, Arianna Huffington, pointedly presents “We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis," in her book "THE SLEEP REVOLUTION: Transforming Your Life One Night At A Time." 

As I opened up to my own awareness, it took a lifestyle shift to recognize how valuable sleeping seven to eight hours a night is for me. “I can function really well on just four to five hours of sleep,” used to be a coined phrase of mine. I don’t think I’m alone in this cultural way of thinking, as at large, society wears our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. I could give example after example where sleep was at the bottom of my priority list as I thought less sleep would give me more hours in the day to be creative and productive as I worked hard to fulfill my dreams. It did the very opposite. Emotional, irritable, decision fatigue, relationship turmoil, being unprepared, and running late were at the top of my list for lack of sleep affecting my days negatively. Does this sound like you? Making a commitment to sleep has kept me healthier, happier and more inspired than ever before. You can always make changes, remember that. 

TIP #1 IDENTIFY WHY SLEEP IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

Sit down for 10 minutes or more and journal why sleep is important to you and how you can make changes to ensure you get more of it. I love asking myself WHY. When you have a visual written down you gain clarity and are more likely to connect with doing what it takes to make it happen. For example: Sleep is important for my health. My immune system is stronger when I'm well rested giving me energy for my days and I rarely get sick. To maintain good health I need eight hours of sleep a night. 

TIP #2 CREATE A BED TIME RITUAL

Say "NO" to late night TV and power down your devices at least 30 minutes to one hour or more before heading to bed. Make a cup of tea and grab a book. Or maybe it's turning down the lights, reading a story to your kids and taking a bath. Whatever it is, let it be 20-30 minutes of winding down and shutting off the work and prepare yourself for a peaceful sleep. I'm a big fan of some romantic time with my honey, meditations, writing three gratitudes in my journal and singing or reading to our baby girl. I constantly struggle with doing things on my phone at night. Part of why I love that Arianna suggests we leave them out of the bedroom, so we are not tempted to be on them disrupting our bed time rituals. 

TIP #3 ALIGHN YOUR SLEEP WITH YOUR NATURAL BODY CLOCK

Even if your schedule is different daily or you can sleep in on the weekends... try to goto bed and wake up at similar times daily. Notice when you naturally get tired so you'll be less likely to toss and turn. Let your internal clock guide you, which helps with supporting the quality of your sleep. If you're interested in Ayurvedic sleep cycles you'll eat light, be in bed by 10PM and naturally wake up when you're well rested. When I do this, I almost always wake up right before my alarm.  

My fiancé and I just welcomed our newborn into the world so with compromise and support we hope to still be a well rested family. That may be laughable but we will strive for our best as we both understand we are better for ourselves, each other and supporting our work ethics and lifestyles when we have proper sleep. If you have yet to figure out a way to make sleep one of, if not the most important thing you can do for yourself…grab this book immediately and try the tips I've recommended. 

Whether you are a sound sleeper or you struggle catching a proper nights rest, this crucial element to our health and well being can easily fall into a place of neglect. Arianna takes us through multiple dimensions of our relationship to sleep from the time we are babies to adulthood. Her exploration of science reveals there are endless imposing disruptions that can lead us into a place of denial and disillusion about how much sleep plays a role in our overall health and happiness. As a holistic-wellness influencer, I appreciate her tackling the sleeping pill industry in hopes to encourage us all to create a sanctuary in our bedrooms, leaving our devices out of this space to embrace a bedtime routine that supports you falling into a mindful and well rested place of sleep not aided by the overuse of pills. I have found grace in night time rituals to wind down while I am still working on leaving devices out of our bedroom. This book takes you through several examples and habits we all have experienced or may still be experiencing. With personal examples, advice and investigative research it's a great read to open up your own awareness about your own sleep. Take back control of turning off the work and powering down and notice how you can transform your life one night at a time.  

Thank you for popping by... I've been reading and listening to so many books for years now, I'm excited to share one's that have really helped me make changes in my life for the better. I'm always up for a great read too, if you have any you want to toss my way, leave them in comments or subscribe and e-mail me. Have a beautiful week and make getting proper sleep a priority for yourself! 

xo Andrea

 

What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media?

Let me start by saying whooo hooo! Unplugging from social media is G L O R I O U S. 

 Photo by  Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

For anyone who's missed my announcement... my fiancé and I are having our first baby and decided to take a much needed break from all work as best we could to be together, relax and create a family plan before our little bundle of joy arrives in July. I've been intrigued by the friends I've seen take a month off from social media and decided that this would be the perfect time to take a break as well. Our seven days may not seem like much but it served us both so well. Kauai is a magical place to embrace & explore and really sink in to it's beauty. Now I'd like to pay it forward. 

Have you guys ever unplugged in any kind of way? I've definitely limited use of phone at times and shut things down for a day here and there but since the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.. I've become pretty consistent with posting content I enjoy sharing and don't often miss a day. I find myself most active on Instagram. With my own posting commitment I also spend time looking through feeds of those I follow for all kinds of reasons; motivation, happiness, a good laugh, style, friends & family, education, shopping, world news... it can be an abundant and overwhelming time-suck at times right? 

I would be remiss if I didn't admit; somedays creating a post is far too time consuming. Checking to see who's viewed or liked it happens periodically out of habit and I often catch myself going directly to Instagram when I picked up my phone to make a call, put something in my calendar, send an e-mail and such. It’s apparent how easy this monkey mind subconscious can take over. Is anyone else with me on this?  Now the key is to use these unplugging tactics to sustain new habits.  Limit yourself to be on social media for an allotted time that serves you well but doesn't end up highjacking you of precious time that would be better spent elsewhere. 

My mind is often blown when I see how many followers some individuals and brands have and I wonder will I get there, do I need to, does my brand become better if I do? All logical questions I guess when you are a blogger looking to grow your audience and reach to the masses in an inspiring way... but really how important is this pertaining to what I truly value in my life? I hope we're all questioning this at times. 

My purpose on social media is inspiration and branding; seeking and providing. I hope to connect in a positive way with those that may enjoy a little insight into what's helped me along my journey as an actress, yoga instructor and human who seeks sustaining happiness, acceptance and pleasures in everyday joys. I made a deal with myself when I entered the social media craze that posts should be; kind, fun, inspiring and thoughtful and even a little goofy at times... never straying from my authentic self and integrity. It wasn't a place to rant complaints, judge or be negative. My fiancé, Erik and I hope to instill these same morals as we expand our family. We remain curious and interested in how to be great partners and parents with our digital lives. It's fun to connect with family and friends on this level. In addition, those I follow are aligned with my brand Inspirational Addict and provide intentions that support my mind, body & spirit well. 

What I learned:

  • I am far more present in my surroundings and conversations when I'm not scrolling and posting.
  • There is a sense of contentment that arrives when you let go of needing to share everything or see what others are up to.
  • The voices of comparison and questioning how good or useful my content is dissipated. 
  • You pick up where you leave off. Nothing changes, I never felt as though I was missing out... I loved not caring. 
  • How enjoyable it is to listen intently, talk and feel heard and connect organically to each moment of your day.
  • It feels darn good to simply take a break from it all. Meditating and yoga felt even calmer & more connected to myself.

tips for mindful social media:

  • Ask yourself why you're on social media? Get clear about it.
  • Decide the allotted time you should spend per day and stick to it; brand versus personal fun (if you have a brand)
  • Be authentic to who you are with honesty, integrity and wise intentions in your posts.
  • Create content that you enjoy sharing and the audience that loves you for you will come.
  • With-in your allotted time you've established; like and comment with the things that bring you joy.
  • Take a break from all social media every so often. Schedule power down's and observe how that can help you grow. 
 Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

This has been a particularly special time in my life. Feeling this baby girl growing in my belly day by day and being with Erik traveling to yet another beautiful place I'd never been. I cherish that we both took time to just be together and get connected to what's most important in life; LOVE and FAMILY. No matter where you are geographically or spiritually you have an opportunity to pause and let go of the chaos that being on social media too much can bring and create a healthier digital life. It will not only help you grow as a person but will deepen your connection to everyone you cross paths with. Delight in that.... it's just lovely.

fun fact:

I'm happy to report amongst the long list of National Day's the www.NationalDayCalendar.com added National Day for Unplugging.  It's the first Friday of March every year as of 2017. 

Thank you guys for popping by, I love hearing from you so if you have comments or questions or tips for me, send them my way! Share your unplugging story back with me... Biggest Hugs! 

xo Andrea

 

YOGA AROUND THE WORLD, READY TO WANDER WITH ME?

Does your yoga practice go with you when you travel? My Instagram feed may give the impression I just stop and do yoga photos in some pretty magical places… but behind the feed there is a commitment to the time I spend on my mat no matter where I am in the world. I often seek out a studio in the city I’m in to take a class and experience something new.  What I continue to connect with over and over again is that uplifted feeling I have after I meditate and create space to practice, stretch & breathe; mindfulness is something you can practice anywhere. When I do land in those magical places, often mesmerized by nature, I find that familiar connection to something divine and indulge in the present moment. It's a feeling I want more of. How about you? 

 A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

I have to pinch myself when I scroll through the photos of places I’ve traveled to in my life. It’s more than just a blessing to get to see parts of the world you’ve not been to. There are experiences that stay with you, teach you new things and expand your heart in ways you never imagined. It evolves my capacity to love and appreciate people and different cultures in a beautiful way. Are you with me on this?

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions
— Peter Hoeg

Together, my soon-to-be hubby, Erik Almas and I are creating a body of work we hope to publish in a book someday. Our travels provide such diverse landscapes that inspire us to dance between looking for the right place and letting the image find us.  We both are beyond grateful for what adventures can do for our souls.  Embracing the moment is what it's all about. As we take in our surroundings and I float into a yoga posture, my talented man is behind the lens capturing something we both have found to be a special place or eyeopening point in time for us. 

Are you ready to take a trip around the world with me?

Big Sur, California

The sun glistened across the mountain tops. Oceanside serenity washed over wave after wave. The majestic trees of the cavernous forest told stories hundreds of years old. 

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica 

Warmth caresses my skin. The rain falls tenderly. Then blue skies and powder puff clouds swirl into shapes floating by. The sun kisses the moon goodnight and silhouettes emerge from the earth. 

Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

Every shade of fall illuminates this city. Before it is awakened by sounds of foot traffic and children's laughter, the streets are quiet and the canals whisper your name. Alone but not lonely. Beauty lies at every corner of your eye. Energy incapsulates your being.  

Barcelona, SPAIN

Historical monuments lay forth and draw you in to something old world. Pastel colors waltz together in the skyline. Very early in the morning as the street lamps are still lit and the cobblestone alleyways have been swept clean the ambience is full of hidden surprises revealing themselves moment by moment. 

TRONDHEIM & RØROS, NORWAY

Traveling to Erik's home town of Trondheim, Norway was undeniably special. We had a winter wonderland adventure to Røros and each storybook moment engaged my inner child influencing me to play. 

LONDON, ENGLAND

Leaving no cobblestone un-walked upon, London has the capacity to massage your heart and surprise your instincts. Treasures can be found in the nooks and crannies of the streets lined with history even beyond those familiar landmarks subtly grabbing your attention. Walk everywhere and let the city guide you. 

INDIA: OLD DELHI, NEW DELHI, COCHIN, KOVOLAM, AGRA, VARANASI, SARNATH, JAIPUR

Nothing prepared me for the adventures I had in India. We landed in Delhi and for the next 20 days explored from the North to the South and back to the North by plane, bus, train, boat, rickshaw and tuk-tuk. The people, places, stories & culture filled our senses and cracked us open in ways we’ll always cherish & appreciate. The opposing emotions one faces in India grounds you in finding comfort in your discomforts. 

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

Between the lush, green rolling hills and acres of vineyards harvesting some of the best grapes for wine making in the world,  Sonoma's quiet charm and easy breezy, kick-back style is a calming escape and adventurers delight. Surrendering in nature and all it's wonder and some dangerously good vino. 

DUBAI, U.A.E.

I'd never felt such warmth & softness in thousands of tiny grains of sand laid like the rippling ocean waves beneath my feet as the red dunes of Dubai. A gracious breeze danced & mesmerized my soul. Soaking up the early morning rays is an exhilarating way to indulge in the sun putting a spectacular glow over the city. 

All photos shot by Erik Almas

Thank you to my generous man who lends his talents in our travels to shoot photos together where we get to create something that has intention and purpose, making our adventures that much more special. My parents always took my brother and I places... even if they weren't far away or exotic they sparked a sense that going places meant exploring and having stories to share was fun. That has carried with me and I relish in every blessed opportunity I get to go somewhere new. May my wanderlust ways inspire yours and visa versa. Go places and do more... you will never be sorry for it. 

I have so much more to share so stay tuned and I hope we all get to say that for the rest of our lives. Where are you off to next? Do you have a great adventure bucket list? I love hearing from you guys, leave comments, ask questions, share your favorite travel spot with me... all is welcome!

XO ANDREA

BATHING YOURSELF IN LOVE...

Who doesn't love to run a hot bath and slip into some bubbles once in a while? This is not just for the ladies, gentlemen... if you've neglected to treat yourself to this form of relaxation, what are you waiting for?  Come one, come all, fill the tub and set up for the mood you're in.  You can create any kind of environment you want here. A hot tea and a good book with the window cracked, let the fresh air blow in. Or how about dimming the lights, fire up a few candles and sip a glass of wine with some calming classical music, maybe you can talk your partner into washing your back?  What if you put on some fun tunes, let the kids grab their water toys and add some extra suds for them to splash around for a bit?  Bath time can be such a lovely way to unwind and settle-in to some self love and create space for that necessary unplugging time.

When a cozy tub presents itself in a lovely hotel room you can bet I will find time to enjoy it... you ready to go to a few of them with me?

 Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

As all the leaves have been beautifully changing through fall & winter and the cold is sweeping over LA I'm reminded of my time in Amsterdam where we landed at The Dylan for a few days. It's by far one of the cutest, hippest and comfiest places I've stayed. I looked for the seven dwarfs for a moment, the vaulted wood-beam ceilings reminded me of the cottage from "Snow White." Quaint with so much personality and a to-die for deep, ceramic encased tub perched delicately in front the autumn colored trees dancing in the view from the window.  I slipped in with an aroma therapy candle lit, read a few chapters of "Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks" before drifting into a day dream, feeling the crisp air gently brush over my face. Wonderment ensues.

Next tub stop is The Grand Ferdinand Hotel in Vienna, Austria. A sexy stand-alone, white-porcelain, antique claw foot tub. This one claimed my attention with a glass of wine, bubbles and some music.  What a delightful way to warm up after an afternoon in the cold exploring with my man while he was on location shooting. Relaxing ensues.

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Well hello there from down under... we've now arrived at a private island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef exclusively hosting the One&Only Hayman Island Luxury Resort, Australia. This modern soaker complete with glowing ground effects was plenty spacious for two. It blatantly invited us to fill it to the brim,  stretch out and unwind.... so that's exactly what we did. Romance ensues.

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Last stop for this tub tour is The Battery, San Fransisco. Let's face it, I fell in love with this entire bathroom. Another gorgeous, stand-alone acrylic haven accented with the handy caddy for setting your cup of tea and book on. Why haven't I thought of using that before? After rising before the sun to shoot a job in the chilly SF morning temps... I couldn't wait to kick off the heels and return to this space. I pressed play with one of my Deepak Oprah Guided Meditations, set the phone on the caddy and felt my mind and body settle into this delicious present moment.  Mindfulness ensues.

If you guys ever venture to any of these places, I hope you take up my suggestion to find some time to soothe your soul a bit in this fashion. These hotels are all worthy of more then just tub talk but that will be another post! At some point we all need a Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman bath tub moment singing your favorite song, allowing yourself to just feel, embracing the very simple idea of a darn good bath. You deserve it.

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DETOX SOAK: 20 min max

  • Mix up 1 cup of baking soda, 2 cups of epsom salt  (Tree Hut) and 10 drops of some mood enhancing, certified organic, therapeutic essential oils (Doterra). I love wild orange, lemon, peppermint for invigorating and for relaxing I combine lavender & bergamot. 
  • Moisturize yourself after with some organic coconut oil to rehydrate your skin
  • Consult your doctor if you're pregnant before bathing in oils or have any other concerns to your health.

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you have any great soaking tips for me, send them my way in comments. Any great hotels with amazing bathtubs you've experienced are welcome to please. Make time for you... you won't regret it, ever. 

XO ANDREA

Inspirational Addict Celebrates One Year... I'm Sharing Tips, let's cheer together?

Awe it's been another Soulful Sunday for me, how about for you guys? Are you ready to rock this week? I feel your smile getting bigger... well keep it up, I need a cheer section because I'm celebrating and I'm bringing you guys with me!

 Photo By Erik Almas in Amsterdam

Photo By Erik Almas in Amsterdam

One year of sharing INSPIRATION as a blogger has me super giddy! The blessings of world travels, snapping photos everywhere go and journaling my fingers off is supplying me with a blog library filled to the brim. I’ve experienced joy in writing like I never knew I could and it feels darn good to pay forward the things that help me in life with the hopes to inspire even just one person.  My dedication to writing has improved and I’m thrilled to keep it up! It has not come without challenges, frustrations, mistakes and resistance at times but I've been accepting that as part of the process of learning. The support with Inspirational Addict has been such a gift to my soul. All the partnerships, comments, likes, shares, insights and some incredibly beautiful e-mails have touched my heart in ways you can't imagine. It's exactly the kind of community and connection with all of you I was looking forward to. THANK YOU for sharing pieces of you back with me.  

The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible
— Maya Angelou
 Photo By Erik Almas in Kovalam, India

Photo By Erik Almas in Kovalam, India

I remember, for years…literally years, writing in journals, “start your blog.” Constantly brainstorming names, subject matter, ideas, lessons, passions and writing a lot, but never doing it. I was researching how to start a blog forever it seemed. So as I celebrate one year, I'm proud to say "I finally did it!!"  It took some helpful resources and hunkering down with a plan to figure out how I'd get the first one published. 

Do you have anything you want to celebrate with me? Of course you do… these are the treasures that we can build more inspiration, love and enthusiasm on! So think of something your proud of AND let’s cheer together! We all have daily wins... big and small, cherish them and use them as building blocks of goodness to take you higher. I know you have aspirations, brilliant ideas and goals you'd like to put energy into, right?  As we close another year it's such a great time to think about 2017. What amazing things are you going to accomplish this upcoming year? These basic tips can help get you going and be applied to anything that you're going to get focused on. 

Tip #1: brainstorm as a free write what you'd like to accomplish

Give yourself some freedom here. Set your timer for 10 minutes and jot down all the things that come to mind you'd like to see in 2017. After your timer goes off, circle one that instinctually feels most important to YOU. Just start with one. You can circle your top 10 later doing the same process for each.   

Tip #2: Outline briefly what it will take to get there

When you can visualize and see it written, you will take those steps to make happen. Let there be as many steps as there needs to be. This will help you get clear on your commitment. 

Tip #3: create accountability for yourself

This is potentially the most powerful part. Whether you grab a buddy and have check-in's or you jot down deadlines for your steps... you must hold court and do your best to be accountable. Remember it's a process lead with positivity and patience if something isn't fully met.  Having a partner, friend or family share this experience is a great way to bond and support one another.  

Several things lead to the extra nudge I needed to launch Inspirational Addict and it all circulated around me taking hours for a few days to sit at a coffee shop with the book "Your Best Year Yet". You've probably heard me mention, The New Hollywood, the women's goals and philanthropy group I joined in 2015 as well that's been an integral part of my growth and dedication. In support of what My Best Year Yet offers, TNH provides a useful guide book that I choose to put in that same effort with and NEWSFLASH; It's going to be available to the public in 2017.  Breaking down the year into quarters and what I'm going to focus on each quarter with my partner is a great way to see accomplishments and not overwhelm yourself. Between the support with this group of incredible women and with Erik, my fiancé and I always communicating about these things, really listening and offering assistance on how to help... I'm feeling like one blessed human whose thriving and being held accountable in a gracious manner.  I see my life unfolding not perfectly and not with every goal I wrote down being checked off but so filled with love and happiness and 90% are things I wrote, visualized, prayed for and kept positive thoughts about. I'm grateful for an incredible year. 

So hop to it over the Holidays... have some fun, create YOUR 2017 in writing, with vision boards, send yourself a long VM recording... whatever works for you! 

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 Photo By Erik Almas in Delhi, India 

Photo By Erik Almas in Delhi, India 

Are you an Inspirational Addict too? Lend me your comments on what that means to you if so? I'm excited to have you all continue to be a part of this piece of me that hopes to blossom more and more and see this community of LOVE grow into something really special for us all. 

XO Andrea

Stepping Away

The work is piled high, deadlines are hanging over our heads, we’re begging for more hours in the day to attend to our priorities, we’re not sleeping enough, we don’t have time for play or nurturing ourselves… does this sound like you? Take a deep breath in and let all the air out please. Feel better?

I love when someone in my tribe says to me, “take some time for yourself Andrea.” So here I am on our Soulful Sunday to pay that forward and remind YOU to celebrate YOURSELF as much as you do your work and daily demands. In fact when relaxing and nurturing yourself becomes part of your daily demands you should feel really darn proud, even if it’s just stepping away from all of your responsibilities for 15 minutes. It’s so important. Pay attention to who your tribe is too, as we are all transmitters and receivers. An environment filled with love, compassion, support and encouragement will serve everyone best when it’s happening in both directions.  

I’m traveling again right now accompanying my man, Erik Almas, at the Xposure International Photo Festival in the UAE and it’s incredible. I’m getting more free time than usual but Erik has had a taxing schedule and work is pouring in more than ever. He is so good to me when I’m slammed and feeling overwhelmed and always reminds me to take time to listen to what I need and honor it. It’s my turn to see if I can inspire him to stick to his mindful rituals and encourage some fun in the mix of the busied days.

Today Erik and I woke up to catch a sunrise and shoot a little together. We cherish the early hours that often are filled with magic and when the alarm goes off 30 min prior to sunrise it's a good time for us to visualize that magic. He has a ton on his plate so I know sleeping in would have been more appealing and yet we made the choice to get up and go. The sunrise was stunning. We laughed as we heard a boat of partiers still going strong and I dropped into my few little stretches so we could start snapping some yoga shots. The morning came with gorgeous colors illuminating the water which carried us blissfully into breakfast. The ocean was so enticing we then had to get paddle boards and take a cruise. All of this by 10AM and man did it feel great. We both could have spent the entire morning working away but we know how important it is to make time for some fun, creativity and quality time together too.

 iphone snap by Erik Almas

iphone snap by Erik Almas

Whether you’re married, in a relationship or single, having a give and take with support will only make all your relationships stronger. As you encourage and inspire others, allow others to encourage and inspire you. Get in touch with being receptive and motivating, be open and giving with it all. 

So next time you sense a friend or loved one getting a bit bogged down, can you be the motivator and offer a change up in action for a bit? Suggestions don’t have to be big and elaborate, think small and simple. My goals partner I check-in with for our weekly focus always includes something like; take a walk with hubby and the kids. It can be as easy as that. 

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud
— Maya Angelou

Thanks for popping by you amazing souls. 

 

 

Soothe Your Soul Sunday

What's something you can do today to soothe your soul? 

As I sit in my Vancouver hotel room watching the rain pour down, I'm embracing the mood to snuggle myself a bit. How often do we get fixated on all of our to-do lists that we actually forget to slow down, even stop, to just unwind and say, "I'm going to relax"? 

 Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

Start by carving out an amount of time that seems manageable and sufficient. I have a few requests; you won't punish yourself for neglecting anything or anyone, you will honor yourself with love and compassion, you will be specific about what you want to do with this time and it must soothe your soul. Deal?

For example, I don't often have a day that isn't scheduled back to back, nor do I usually have access to a hot tub, pool and sauna as I do currently in my hotel. I brought an actual pile of to-do list's I'm hoping to condense into one, so there's no shortage of things I'd like to accomplish. But, at some point today I am going to take one hour to do my 10 minutes of priming (#GMBB4) in the sauna and just enjoy myself with a little swim and hot tub time. These types of self-care acts inspire more of a connection with-in, expanding our self-awareness, deepening our ability to relax as we with drawl energy from the senses. The yogi's call this pratyahara.  We all need moments to let go of pressures we put on ourselves and to hit re-set. Most of us don't realize we have the tools to do this anytime, we just need practice accessing it.

 Photo by Me

Photo by Me

Challenge yourself next time you're in place you feel your patience running thin. You're on a tight schedule, you're completely annoyed, flustered and would rather be anywhere than where you are. See if you can come back to mentally soothing your soul in some way. My go-to's are a few deep breaths and a positive affirmation flipping the situation and/ or taking some accountability instead of placing blame.

Smell the roses where ever you are!

Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures
— LaoTzu

Have a heart warming, delicious soul soothing Sunday everyone! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, I love hearing from you guys so much. 

Learning Value In Rising Strong

As a member of The New Hollywood I'm blessed to be introduced to many wonderful things that may not otherwise cross my path. This year our gift book, group read is Rising Strong. Although I love the act of curling up with a hard copy book when I can, I've also been listening to it on Audible  and equally enjoying it. This book is resonating with me on so many levels. I'm feeling the need to share and shout out through my cheerleading mega phone... THIS IS YOUR SUMMER READ! 

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I was first introduced to Brené Brown via a her TED talk "The Power Of Vulnerability" which circulated all over social media and 25,538,752 people have viewed.  The more I listen, read and take-in what Brené is sharing, I am having an experience that triggers the undeniable enthusiasm to live at my greatest potential. As a yoga instructor, I honor the responsibility of wanting to learn, love and share in a way that just may inspire you in the way others are inspiring me.  Leaders like Brené, dedicating themselves to research that speaks to the masses invites you into a place where you truly understand you are not alone in this game of life. 

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage
— Brené Brown
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How many times have you exhausted yourself with acting out your feelings in a way that you later regret? You say something you can't take back, you raise your voice, you cause a scene, you hurt someone's feelings, your thoughts are literally draining you as negativity overpowers the positive.  Seeing, believing and accepting the good gets blurred by old stories, bad habits and self doubt. If you're human you've experienced this at some point, haven't you? When do we decide enough is enough? How do we wake-up and prepare ourselves for the muck we're going to wade through to grow into a healthier place? Everyone's path is different, there is no question. From the wise words of another favorite human of mine, Pema Chodron, says Start Where You Are. 

There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery
— Brené Brown, Rising Strong

When we're ready, we begin choosing to do things that create mindful awareness and shift the grappling with our choices into more of a soft snuggle. We are not handed a perfect life but we can create a life that feels perfect for us and find contentment with what we have. Shall we dive into the process of being kind, loving and experience our greatest good by peeling back our layers and trusting we have the courage to rise strong from every experience we endure? Let's do this.

I absolutely believe in the power we have with-in to change and give ourselves permission to start where we are. I hope you take me up on this summer read or at the very least join the millions and check out Brenés' TED talk. If it speaks to you in some way or you have anything you'd like to share.... I love hearing from you. Thank you for popping by! 

Take a slow cruise around www.BrenéBrown.com for several more resources and encouragement.  

 

Connecting With Yourself

Can you take a moment each day to connect to your energy source? Can you let it ground you, center you and create space for that connection to carry throughout your day? YOU CAN. We always have choices to connect with our awareness and use this connection to challenge ourselves in situations that take place all day long. This awareness creates change. It allows you to feel into a response rather than quickly react. Be brave with your ability to expand and grow!

Ask yourself, what is one thing you do every morning as you wake up and start your day? With-in these actions, can you fold-in a mindful act that connects you to yourself? 

As I sit myself up and turn the alarm off, before my feet hit the floor I take three rounds of deep inhales and exhales, each round includes an internal "thank you for..." (takes less than a one minute). Does it happen every morning you ask? No, is the answer but it happens more often than not and that's better than when I never did it at all.  May I inspire you to start thinking? 

Great pockets of space I've found for me are: 

  • Brushing my teeth, sometimes I do squats. Yes I do:)
  • Taking a shower, say at least three gratitudes. (my man gave me that one)
  • Driving, take my deep breaths and internal thank you's, if I missed it as I woke up.
  • Putting on make up, I listen to something inspiring, my new jam is Becoming Wise podcast by Krista Tippett (short ones)
  • Washing dishes, as much as I dislike doing this I'm finding podcasts to listen to or simply enjoying the calm, the quiet. 

Important reminder: You are not me, you are you, get creative with where this can work for you and your schedule and the life you currently have. You got this!

We can always create space we just have to put our thinking caps on and bring some awareness to it. I'm starting to challenge myself to find more little pockets of time in a busy day where I can enfold something mindful. It's also been encouraging to slow down as well. Do you feel too busy, too overwhelmed, too chaotic to even think of what you'd do? I certainly have days like this so creating the patterns is what has helped me most. I know that when I wake up I'm going to take those deep breaths, I'm going to say some thank you's and jot down gratitude's and going to feel more connected to myself with these choices.  You can do this too. Start with anything, just start. 

When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you. A joy
— Rumi

Have a beautiful day connecting!  If you have any tips that are working well for you please do share! If you need more ideas let me know, I'm happy to make suggestions for you. Thank you for popping by!

Just BE in India

 

I'm amongst a group of twenty with my favorite yoga Goddess, Andrea Marcum, who's leading an International Yoga retreat through India.  I've taken 3 flights, a rickshaw ride, several hotel cars, two long bus rides, a few boat rides, one wood canoe ride and the journey isn't quite half over.  With limited wifi access and so much internal travel, this is a place to unplug often and I'm loving it.  After spending the night in a lagoon houseboat in city called, Alleppey Lakes in South India I'm filled with inspiration and appreciation for being here. 

2 days ago:  I step onto our 3 bedroom floating bungalow and I immediately fall in love with it's charm and for obvious reasons I realize this is another great day to power down from the laptop and devices and absorb where I am.  We are set to cruise the vivid backwaters of Kerala, India, which is the delta between the Arabian Sea and water coming down from the mountains.  With a crew of three quickly preparing an authentic Indian style lunch, aromatizing smells of turmeric, coconut & ginger are in the air and I'm ready to sit back, relax and take in all the picturesque views.  

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It's in these moments where our senses truly open up and India has been doing that for me since I arrived.  I take in deep breaths of gratitude as I feel very alive.  Visually stimulated by the color pallets of women in saris, wooden canoes sporadically lining the shore,  school children's wide smiles waving to get our attention and beautiful palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze has my attention to say the least.  You could certainly capture something beautiful through the lens no matter which direction you point it.  

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I sip a coffee in between snapping a photo here and there and stretch out my legs to catch the rays of sunshine, the humidity creating that little bead of sweat above my brow and enjoying the stories that already are beginning to permeate as my mind absorbs it all.

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To see this body of water being used by villagers as a place to bathe, wash their dishes, brush their teeth and transport themselves, I witness the cultural importance of staying close to mother nature in a ritualistic way. 

Dusk starts to settle in and the light is creating such serenity across the lagoon and I'm reminded that living in the moment is spiritual, it's an opportunity to connect to something bigger and embrace right where you are and just be. 

Wherever you are, be all there
— Jim Elliot