3 Easy Tips for a Saner Holiday Season

The holiday hype is in full swing and, as usual, I’m feeling pretty mixed about it.  To help me navigate the next six weeks with some modicum of sanity, I will be relying on these three simple things to anchor me:

  • meditation
  • protein
  • fiber

I imagine that, for the majority of the population, the holidays probably bring up a range of emotions.  There are things to celebrate and be grateful for, there are things (or situations) we tolerate (because it’s the holidays) and there are things we choose to not deal with and try to forget.  All of which means it’s a little trickier than usual to stay balanced, calm and grounded.  In other words, sane.  Add to that factors like traveling, extra traffic, heightened emotions and expectations and constant changes to schedules and it’s no wonder that we need plans and strategies to get through this “most wonderful time” of the year.  I find the combination of meditation, protein and fiber especially useful during the holiday season because they don’t require specialized equipment (no extra trips to the store), can be done anywhere (no excuses), take very little time and are pretty easy to remember.

Meditation: A breathing meditation, a sitting meditation, a moving meditation, a guided meditation – it doesn’t really matter what kind of meditation you do.  What matters is setting aside the time to do it every day.  The crazier the days are, the more necessary it is to carve out that time for yourself.  Even if it’s just three minutes of sitting still with your eyes closed and doing nothing more than listening to your breath.  If you’re more ambitious, use the time to connect with gratitude and love.  You can choose to take those minutes to get real with your emotions, to get to the core of what matters and/or just bask in the flow of love, joy and gratitude. Those three (or thirty) minutes are well worth it.

Protein: More often than not, hunger shows up as crankiness or spaciness.  Either way, it’s unpleasant to be around and even possibly dangerous.  I find that protein helps me feel fuller longer so it’s easier to resist temptation.  Plus, I make better choices when my stomach’s not rumbling.  I usually have a snack bag of almonds stashed in my bag (very helpful when I haven’t eaten since lunch and I’m stuck in late afternoon traffic).

Fiber: The holidays often involve richer foods, more hectic schedules and traveling so it’s best to up the fiber intake.  The fiber will help keep the extra weight off and help ensure proper elimination.  Because it’s important to let go of things that no longer serve us, whether that’s in the physical body or the emotional body.  The fiber helps the physical body while the meditation helps the emotional body process and release.

What tips, plans and strategies do you have for the holidays?


9 Simple Holiday Safety Tips

I was going to write another post about the importance of practicing gratitude – it seemed timely given that Thanksgiving is next week – and then I thought better of it. Thanksgiving is one time of year when we get reminders to be grateful from pretty much every media outlet so I decided to share some holiday safety tips instead.

As important as it is to recognize and express how grateful we are for what we have, it is also important to remember to be mindful and practical as to how to keep our homes safe. This is especially true during the holiday season, when we may be distracted by our own thoughts, obligations and busy schedules. Here are some simple tips I got from the Los Angeles Police Department website: http://www.lapdonline.org/crime_prevention/content_basic_view/1376

– Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.

– When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.

– Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.

– Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

– Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

– When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.

– Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.

– If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.- Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

Work From a Place of Authenticity

“Something in us knows that we are not just here to toil at our work.” – Jack Kornfield

Do you find your daily schedule packed with work-related activities and all the things you “should” do?  Are your identity and self-worth dependent on how much you work, how closely you adhere to the way you are supposed to be?

After long long days (weeks, months, even years) of working to the point of exhaustion, do you ever find yourself wondering, “Is that all there is to this life?”

I have found myself at those points too many times.  And I am grateful that each time I have found my way out with new insights about myself and my growth.

Looking back, I have noticed that it is when I have lost my connection to the greater purpose of my being that hours spent working becomes draining and pointless.  Sure, working to pay the bills is important and necessary.  Yet that is not enough.  Our existence has to be about more than just getting up, slogging through the day and putting in the hours to get a paycheck so that we can then pay someone else.

I find such a significant difference in my energy and attitude as well as the results of my efforts when I act from a deeper knowing. From the outside the actions may look the same and yet the internal experience is vastly different.  It’s a lot like when I practice yoga as a form of offering, as a moving meditation, as an expression of my inner being versus when I practice mindlessly and just making my way through the poses, looking at the clock and counting the minutes until I would be done.

In my business it is the difference between having a soul-less conversation with someone and just focusing on them as a potential client when we meet at an open house versus having a meaningful engagement with someone and interacting from a place of service. From the outside, it may look like I am having the same conversation and yet my experience of the interaction is dramatically different: the former is depressing, deflating and an energy drain whereas the latter approach is much more authentic, energizing, enlivening and purposeful.

The tricky part, sometimes, is that when people walk into an open house, they’re not always energetically open to having that kind of exchange with me.  My job, and this is effortless when I am strongly connected with my inner self, is to hold that space for those who are open to it so that we may have the meaningful exchange.  Just because we are talking about the number of bedrooms, the square footage, the functionality of the fireplace, etc. does not mean that I have to hide my inner self.  It would not be authentic for me to not allow my spirit to come through.

I used to think that when I was in my real estate mode, I had to send my yoga self off to a separate room.  It was as if I was playing dress up and I would put on my real estate mask to cover up my yoga self.  And that was not authentic.  And it made me feel horrible.  Not to mention bad for business (would you want to work with someone whom your gut could tell was not being completely real and authentic?).  I now realize that my yoga self and my real estate self can and need to co-exist, to show up together if I am to operate as an authentic and whole human being.  As much as I know that, there still are days when it’s a little scary to be so open.  Being authentic can feel a bit scary because it requires us to be vulnerable.  And yet, it’s totally worth.

Why waste time and energy on anything less than the authentic?

Many Paths to the Divine

A colleague recently mentioned how stressed he was and how much he wanted to learn meditation because he had heard it would help with stress management.  And that conversation got me thinking about how often we look outside for answers.  On the one hand, I know that we are Truth, we are Light, we are Love.  I know that simply connecting with breath may be all that I need to find peace and connection with spirit.  And yet I also know that I sometimes forget or lose my way and it is through the guidance of teachers that I find my way back to my own knowing.  I guess it’s about being open to both the possibility of finding our way in to experiencing the divine on our own and recognizing that, sometimes, finding the teacher guides along the way is the path through which we come to connect with and experience the divine.

I love this reminder from Jack Kornfield as to how there are many different ways in which we may awaken to spirit.  In After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, he writes “We can go to India or Jerusalem – and some of the most magical stories…might have us believe that this is the way a spiritual life must begin.  But it also begins in a moment of gardening, in the simple act of returning home after a voyage and seeing it fresh, in the touch of an inspired piece of music, a poem’s song, the flight of a bird.  Every pair of eyes we look into can become the eyes of the Beloved.”

New Beginnings

The number one is often associated with new beginnings and this being November 11 (11.11) I got to thinking: what new journey, what next step, what new path am I embarking on and supporting?

Something about it being Monday and all those ones are inspiring me to take new, more focused, deliberate and directed action towards creating the life I want.  I find it interesting that I had just completed a specific 40-day meditation cycle yesterday and am starting a new one today.  And to tend to the practical, this-life-in-this-dimension-on-this-earth-reality, I’m spending the morning in a business planning workshop to map out my goals for 2014.

So there’s new beginnings, planning and envisioning on the spiritual level and the physical level.  My goal as I continue to grow and evolve in my personal practices is to be more consistently connected to my embodiment so that my inner self and my outer self are more fully integrated.  Yoga taught me how tending to my body can help clear my mind.  My physical body is the home for my spirit.  So perhaps it is not surprising that now, as a real estate professional, I view houses as the structure for housing the physical body and how they support the spirit.  My personal experience is that, just as there are certain practices that are more suited for different physical bodies as they move through their transformation, certain physical spaces are more supportive than others of that journey of personal transformation.

If you were free to pursue your passion, what would you do?  What is stopping you?  What ONE thing can you do to begin incorporating more of that passion into your life, beginning today?

Share Your Beauty

Beauty matters.

True beauty can inspire action, bring joy, give hope and lift our spirits.

I’m not talking about artifice passing as beauty.  I’m talking about real, authentic beauty.  The kind of beauty that has nothing to do with the application of make up or having the perfect body.

I’m talking about the beauty you experience when in the presence of nature.  Or an incredible piece of artwork.  Or musical performance.  Or a meal cooked with love.  That kind of beauty.

And I’m talking about the kind of beauty we can infuse into our daily interactions.  This is the beauty of our presence when we show up as our authentic selves, when we act mindfully, when we speak with kindness, when we show respect for each other and recognize the humanity in the other.

It doesn’t really matter what it is that we may be doing or where we are, we can always bring more beauty into the moment.  We just have to set that intention and act accordingly.

Which may be easier said than done sometimes.  Like when I am sitting in traffic.  And yet, being angry isn’t going to get me to my destination any faster.  Me sitting in my car being frustrated by the situation isn’t going to change anything other than give me more wrinkles and up my stress level. Stewing in all that negativity just makes me less attractive.  Generally speaking, don’t you think people who are pleasant, happy, smiley, kind and nice are just more attractive?

Will you be bringing more beauty into your daily life?  How do you bring beauty into your life?