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.

My Younger Self Would Have Greatly Benefited From Mindfulness, How About Your's?

Is there an activity in your life today you would have greatly benefited from in your adolescences? What are some of the most essential things you'd share with your younger self in today's world?

For me that is answer is YES. Especially now that I'm a mom, it's got me thinking about my youth and how I can raise this little person to be a strong, compassionate and loving human.  A desire commonly shared in parenting, I have no doubt.  

If I knew how much yoga and meditation would have impacted my life for the better, you bet I would I have grabbed on to the practices sooner. I didn't get committed to either until my 30's. I was incredibly dedicated to being a dancer and tumbler as a young girl. With that came discipline, hard work, developing a passion, busy schedules, tons of joy... and let's not leave out anxiety, nervousness, failure and thoughts about never being good enough. Although these things help shape us at a young age, isn't it equally important to learn how to cope, manage and understand the more difficult emotions we encounter? It would be incredible to see more effort focused on acquiring self-help tools and practices and less on dramatic labels and prescriptions in my book. There is so much going on in the world today. We are more and more inundated with information coming at us, sharing our lives in a fantastical social-media manner, stripped of the simple things and horrified by devastation time and time again. Mindful practices continue to bring me back to gratitude and compassion and that always provides a shift into something great. 

While I am thankful for great parents who did a tremendous job guiding me, not everyone grows up with such direction and support. And even if you do, sometimes outside sources, pressures and the circles you fall into can have a negative impact. I know yoga and meditation would have only strengthen my mind, body and spirit connection, complimenting my active and competitive lifestyle all through my youth. We only have so much time for our extra circular activities outside school when we are younger, which is why I find it inspiring to see more and more school systems implementing yoga into their curriculum. It's truly more than just a physical practice when guided by skilled, trained, passionate instructors. Children are beginning to learn yoga and mindful practices in pre-school now. Some schools are using meditation during detention and evolving the mindset of troubled kids. Not to mention companies like Google, Apple, Time Warner, YAHOO and AOL offering meditation and wellness programs on-site for employees. How amazing is that? If we are continuously seeing the scientific benefits of mediation, yoga and mindful practices significantly making a difference in the work place, I sure hope we unite as a society and encourage more of this for our youth. The same goes for nutrition, but that's another blog. 

I share my enthusiasm for these things because of the exponential growth and transformation I've experienced from consistently practicing them for years. I am a mom now, I have a responsibility and desire to be a great one who's full of vitality. Helping our baby-girl see how important wellness is; mind, body and spirit is a gift I simply want to pay forward and educate her with early on. I believe that proper nutrition, the power in breath work, regular stretching and being able to sit with ourselves quietly, are a key elements that will encourage awareness of our health, continuous growth and expansion with-in. I'm excited to be a part of a wellness shift I feel happening in the U.S. and pray we as individuals care enough about our wellbeing and that of our families, we learn as much as we can so we can make wise choices.

Sonoma Mom Inspirational Addict Blogger and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart with Daughter and Erik Almas Photography

If any of you are curious about meditation there are wonderful apps out there you can get started with. I personally love Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21Day Meditation Experiences they offer several times a year for free. The next one, Making Every Moment Matter starts Oct. 30th if you want to join me? 

As a fun exercise, try writing a letter to your younger self sharing the lessons that have impacted you the most so far. This can be incredibly therapeutic and give you some clarity about what you really appreciate and serves you well today.

If you have great resources you love, share them with me. I'm all about creating community and helpful tips for one another! Have a beautiful week. 

XO ANDREA 

 

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