How to Create a Solid Meditation Practice

Welcome to week one of my Tools for your Spiritual Journey series – How to Create a Solid Meditation Practice. As we begin a new year, many people will be setting new goals and making resolutions they desire to achieve over the course of 2018.

In the next seven weeks, I will provide you with seven fabulous tools you can put to use immediately for personal and spiritual growth. If you can commit to create a solid meditation practice, it will change your life.

How to Create a Solid Meditation Practice

My own meditation practice is young. I have only been meditating for about six months. I admit that my own practice is not as solid as I would like. This is one of my goals for 2018. Even so, meditation has improved my everyday life immeasurably. So let’s begin.

What do I consider a solid meditation practice to be?

The meditation goal I am personally working towards is twenty minutes, twice a day. I am not there yet, but I am committed to achieving this goal in the coming year. One size does not fit all. Your meditation practice may vary slightly or drastically from my own.

Some people meditate only seven or eight minutes, once a day. Others spend hours a day in deep meditation. You can even meditate for two minutes at time while waiting in line or for your child to get out of school. I’ll explain this technique in more detail later in this post.

You will have to discover for yourself what will work for you as you create a solid meditation practice in your own life. And I definitely do not recommend trying to sit still in silence for twenty minutes on your first attempt. At six months in, I can get still and quiet for about sixteen quality minutes.

What is required for you to create a solid meditation practice?

You really only need two things if you truly wish to create a solid meditation practice. The first and foremost is to simply show up. Commit to doing your best every day. Meditation isn’t as difficult as many people believe.

Choose a time in your day that you will meditate and stick to it. At that same time each day, show up to work on your practice. I like to meditate first thing in the morning and at 8:00 pm in the evening.

My morning session helps me to get my day started off right with clear intention and intuition. My evening session helps to clear away all of the unnecessary information I have accumulated throughout my day.

The second requirement for a solid meditation practice is patience. Quieting your mind can be very difficult for many people. You may feel you are failing to meditate properly because you can’t eliminate your thoughts completely or your meditation doesn’t immediately relax you. Be gentle with yourself.

It’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect at this!

Meditation doesn’t have to be this deep state of thoughtless relaxation. In fact, for the vast majority of us, it isn’t. We think, a lot, all the time in fact. Thoughts are going to come and go even while you are meditating. Let them.

No matter where you choose to meditate, noises are inevitable. Your child might knock on your door. The neighbor may be outside. Someone may honk their horn in the not so far off distance. That is all fine. Just smile and let the sound come and go, then get back to focusing on your meditation.

I often hear geese flying overhead during my evening meditation. I have come to appreciate and enjoy the addition to my stillness.

Start small. A few minutes a day is all that is required for you to get a taste of what meditation can give you. Once you feel the power of looking within, you can gradually increase the time you spend doing it.

You can create a solid meditation practice anywhere!

There are no rules about where you should meditate. You can meditate indoors or outdoors. Sitting on the floor, on a cushion, in a chair or lying flat on your back. It is completely up to you. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and your back is straight.

I have meditated in my living room, my bedroom and my office chair at work. My personal preference is to meditate sitting up in my bed. I can close the bedroom door if I need to and it is also a place I associate with relaxation.

Another goal for me, in 2018, is to dedicate an entire corner of my bedroom to be my meditation space. I believe this will enhance my ability to create a solid meditation practice of twenty minutes each morning and each evening.

There are many forms of meditation available. Find one that suits your practice.

My recommendation, if you are a beginner, is guided meditation. I still enjoy and use guided meditations. I think they are awesome. You can find guided meditations on YouTube and there are also many apps to choose from that can be downloaded directly to your device.

When choosing a guided meditation make sure you find the voice guiding you to be soothing. You want your meditation practice to be something you look forward to. If you are listening to a voice you find irritating, that won’t happen.

One of my favorite guided meditations is Rebecca Campbell’s light sourcing meditation which is free for you to download and try for yourself.

Another type of meditation I find very useful as a beginner is binaural beats meditation. These are very specific sound frequencies, often set to music, designed to alter brain activity.

Again, you can find binaural beats meditations on YouTube and many apps are available. Headphones or ear buds will be required to get the full effect from this type of meditation.

Look for Theta and Alpha frequency recordings to aid your meditation. I like to use Delta frequency recordings to promote sleep on nights when I didn’t get my evening meditation session in.

The online course I am using to create a solid meditation practice in my life.

There are many forms of meditation I have not touched on, including mindfulness, continuous breathing, concentrating your attention, as well as chanting mantras and using vibration in your practice.

I am learning about each of these forms of meditation practice through a fun and practical online course provided by meditation master Davidji and HayHouse online learning.

The course is The Art of Meditation: A Real World Guide to Balance, Inner Healing and Self-discovery. This is where I learned Davidji’s sixteen second meditation practice. You can literally do this any time and anywhere.

Ready? Let’s do it. Get comfortable. Close your eyes (after you have read and understand the next steps). Take a deep breath in for the count of four. Hold it for the count of four. Slowly and gently breath out fully, emptying your lungs, for the count of four. Hold that emptiness for the count of four.

Woohoo! You did it! The sixteen second practice. Use this to calm yourself throughout your day. I like to call it the sixteen second miracle!

If you are interested in reading the other posts in this series, I have included links below.

Thanks for reading and wishing you a stellar 2018!

Week two – Daily soul writing for your spiritual journey

Week three – Using positive affirmations to kick the negative self-talk habit

Week four – What is mirror work and how can it help me?

Week five – How to use the energy of crystals for your spiritual growth

Week six – Try a manifestation box instead of a vision board

Week seven – Pay attention to your inner guidance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do your favorite stones and gems say about your journey?

The connection between humans and crystals is as old as time itself. Crystals have been used throughout history for jewelry, armour and other adornments. They have even been found in ancient grave sites, apparently intended to accompany the deceased into the next life.

Stones (crystals) and gems come directly from the Earth and have undergone their own process of transformation. They contain their own energy and vibrations just as we do. Throughout the ages crystals have been believed to have the power to influence our own energies and have been used to promote health and healing, for protection, to attract love and to attain inner wisdom.

There are times you may be drawn to a certain stone or gem and times when the crystal you require finds you, such as when you receive one as a gift.

I’d like to share with you some of my favorite crystals, how they came to be in my life and a brief description of the stone’s qualities. Feel free to click the link on each if you would like to know more.

 Most children like rocks and I was no exception. I remember a rather large piece of Rose Quartz I found as a young girl. I’m sure it wasn’t a naturally occurring substance in my neighborhood. I don’t know where it came from or how it got there, just that it ended up in my hands and I was very fond of it. 

This was quite possibly my very first experience with crystals.  I no longer have this piece, but the memory of it has never left me.

Rose Quartz is considered to be the stone of unconditional love. It carries a soft, feminine energy of compassion and peace. Dissolving emotional wounds, fears and resentments, Rose Quartz allows one the capacity to truly give and receive love from others.

My love affair with the Opal began early in life. It isn’t my birthstone, my birthday is in August so I’m a Peridot. Both my mother and sister have October birthdays, but neither seemed to embrace the Opal as I have.

I had always heard that the Opal was bad luck if it was not your birthstone. I either didn’t believe it or I didn’t care. I wanted an Opal.

My first Opal was a ring gifted to me in my late teen years. The stone was lost when it came loose from the setting and my boyfriend had to replace it. The replacement Opal was even more stunning than the original, but after a short time, the entire ring fell down the sink drain and was not recovered even after removing the pipes to look for it.

I decided that maybe there was more to the bad luck rumors than I thought. Or perhaps my subconscious mind had believed the rumor all along. Either way, I gave up on the Opal, for a very long time.

After my divorce in 2009, my love of the Opal resurfaced. It began with a pair of earrings, I purchased for myself. I was then gifted a beautiful loose Opal by a neighbor, which I later had set in yellow gold with a pink tourmaline and citrine to match the earrings.

The following year I received, as a gift, the most amazing piece of jewelry I own. A bracelet containing seven opals and eight mother of pearl set in Sterling silver.

The Opal inspires love and hope, innocence and purity as well as luck and happiness. Mother of pearl is a stone of protection and it stimulates clarity and intuition. As for my birth stone, the Peridot, it has some very interesting energies I would not have expected.

While some Peridot are born of Earth, others have extraterrestrial origins, found in rare meteorites and comet dust. Peridot promotes responsibility, forgiveness, self-worth and inner-radiance.

Shortly after moving across the country, in my early twenties, my best friend and soul sister gave me a small polished Malachite stone to keep in my pocket.

I still have this blessed gift in my possession. Malachite is a stone of transformation, aiding one with changing situations and personal growth. What an appropriate gift!

On my forty-sixth birthday I received a Blue Sapphire ring, set in white gold. This was my very first Sapphire, of any color.

To the ancient and medieval world, the Blue Sapphire signified the height of celestial hope and faith, believed to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight.

Most recently I have been crazy about the Pink Tourmaline. This pink gemstone infuses love and spirituality and  encourages compassion and gentleness during times of changes and growth.

I encourage you to explore the meaning and energies of the crystals and gemstones that have chosen you and influenced your own journey. crystalvaults.com is a great resource for your research and discovery. The website has a wealth of information available on each type of crystal. It’s definitely worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open your heart to divine guidance

We all have divine guides waiting and willing to help us along our path here on Earth. But how can we open ourselves up to receive this blessed help? And who, exactly, are our guides anyway?

I was struggling with these same questions, so I took a class. Yep, there was a class available, right here in my town, called Hearing your Divine Guidance, taught by psychic medium, Dr. Sandra Monroe. Here is some of what I learned from this class and other research:

Our divine guides can, and probably do include our deceased loved ones, our deceased ancestors from generations past, personal guides that have previously lived their own Earth lives, and Angels. Cool, right?

The first thing to know is you do not have the power to connect to your guides. They must come to you and you have to invite them in. Ask them for guidance.

The next is that spirit needs energy in order to connect. Everything is energy and we are no exception. It is possible to receive guidance from higher or lower vibration guides, so you want your vibration to be as high as possible to receive your best, most divine messages. Check out this great post for more information on this.

There are a few things you can do to clear your energy to help your guides connect with you.

Drink lots of water. This keeps you hydrated and flushes toxins from your system. A cleaner diet can also help with this. Eliminating fast foods, processed foods and anything containing hormones or pesticides is always a good choice.

Physical exercise raises your vibrational energy making connection easier. Practicing gratitude and smiling also raise your vibration.

And finally, my personal favorite, is to meditate. By quieting your mind and slowing your thoughts, you give your guides the opportunity to sneak their message in.

Your receptors are your six psychic senses. Yes, I said six, because your mind is actually your sixth sense, your intuition or inner wisdom, so to speak. Paying attention to what your psychic senses tell you is the key. Let’s explore each of them a little further.

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance is the most widely known and means clear seeing or clear vision. This is when you receive your guides messages visually.

Clairvoyance is not received through your physical eyes, but through your minds eye. Some refer to this as your third eye. The message may come to you as a vivid, complete picture or it may be very subtle, such as seeing only a number or symbol.

Clairaudience

Clairaudience means clear hearing. This is the inner hearing of things outside the common field of awareness.

This can take the form of spirit voices, which may sound very much like your own voice, music or other sounds. It can be difficult, at times, to distinguish between the guide’s message and your own thoughts. I’m told this becomes easier with practice.

It is possible for clairaudient messages to be external as well. This can happen if your guides really want to get your attention and fast. Try not to shake this off. Follow your guidance. This is likely important.

Clairsentience

Clairsentience is clear feeling. This is not necessarily when you just know something, but when you actually feel it.

Maybe you feel a cool breeze but no windows are open or you feel as if someone has stroked your hair.

It’s possible you may be able to feel the emotion being presented to you as well. This would also be clairsentience.

Clairalience

Not as common as those above, clairalience is clear smelling. It is pretty self-explanatory.

Occasionally you may smell your deceased grandfather’s cologne or the pipe tobacco he smoked. If there is no one else around, my guess is Grandpa wants you to know he’s there for you.

Clairgustance

Also rather uncommon is clairgustance, or clear tasting. This would be tasting something without having actually put anything into your mouth.

Claircognizance

Claircognizance is when you intuitively know something but have no idea how or why you know it. This your sixth sense!

It can be the strong impulse you get to take a different route to work today or when you suddenly know to call your friend because she needs you.

I think we can all relate to this one. I’m sure you all have experienced this at least once.

Okay, so now we know we can clear our energy, pay more attention and try to hone our senses to allow for better connection with our spiritual guides.

One super easy way to ask for guidance from your angels and spiritual guides is to use Oracle cards. You shuffle your deck while concentrating on what you want to know. Ask your angels and guides for help and then pull one, three or five cards.

The deck I use, shown in the photo above, is Angel  Therapy Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue. A guidebook for reading the cards is included.

If you want to go a step further. Try getting a reading from a psychic medium. My girlfriend and I attended the Mystic fest in Omaha, Nebraska yesterday. This was a fun event where we experimented with a few different types of readings.

We both received and were impressed with a connecting with your deceased loved ones reading. Dr. Sandra Monroe, mentioned above, was our psychic medium of choice and she was wonderful. I definitely recommend this if you worry about your loved ones and wish to know they are okay. They are!

We both tried a tarot card reading as well. The psychic medium we chose seemed very in tune to our respective personalities and did a great job. I think my friend enjoyed this reading a bit more than I did.

My friend tried a past lives reading. She was not impressed with this one. This was not a regression and no hypnosis was involved. It was a thirty minute reading and unfortunately, she didn’t feel a strong connection with her reader.

I tried Reiki for the first time. This is a life force energy technique used for relaxation, stress reduction and healing. My practitioner also asked that I be sent guidance for my spiritual path.

I enjoyed the treatment and was able to feel some energy flow but not as much as I expected. When the treatment was over, however, she warned me to get up slowly and remain on the table until I recover. 

I’ve heard this from massage therapists after treatment and was expecting a similar experience.

After having only been on the table for ten minutes, I sat up slowly and honestly could not believe how dazed and unsteady I felt. Something definitely happened to me while I lay on that table.

I have yet to receive the guidance my practitioner promised but, then again, something told me I should write this post.

I hope you have fun with this. I did. And a big “Thank You” to my good friend for sharing this with me.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soulwork – find peace inside of you

Have you ever just looked around at your life and wondered “How did I get here?” I think most of us probably have at one time or another. This question hit me hard about six months ago. And it wasn’t the first time for me.

I was humming along just fine, happy and grateful for all of the blessings in my life, when something inside me shifted. The outer forces that may have contributed to my shift were that my fiftieth birthday was fast approaching and I had been laid off from the job I love due to lack of work coming in.

My transformation had begun. Who am I? Who do I really want to be? Is this the life I was meant to live? Who do I show to the world? What do I hide and why? Do I have a deeper purpose? I started using Google search like a magic eight ball. Every question that popped into my head, I threw at the search bar.

I couldn’t get enough information. I suddenly wanted to learn and know everything there is to know. I buried myself in a huge pile of books. I started journaling again. Why did I stop? Writing has always gotten me through life’s biggest challenges.

I started meditating and I was completely and pleasantly surprised at how great I started to feel shortly after beginning. I started remembering my dreams, so I now keep a dream journal on the night stand, next to my bed. I began taking nature walks that provide me with a powerful connection to life on this planet.

The answers started coming. I was led to books and people and blogs that could help me on my way. I would find one awesome resource that would lead to another, and that one to another after that.

I started listening to my intuition and taking actions I had previously feared. I ended a long-term relationship that wasn’t serving either of us, willing and longing to be alone so that I could truly discover the real me that lay under the layers of guilt, insecurity and repression.

We walk around blindfolded, unable to see our true reality. Everyone is searching for something. Everyone is trying to fill some hole inside of themselves. But when we are willing to look, very deep inside of ourselves, we will find the answers. The answers that can open our hearts and free our minds.

We are more than what we think we are!

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. All of the answers to all of the questions can be found within ourselves, if we are willing to search the depths of our soul. You have the power to be more!

The ego, or who you perceive yourself to be, is a master at blocking your soulwork and discovery of your authentic self. It will make excuses, fill you with fear and stop you from moving forward. The ego needs to be understood so that it can work for you, rather than against you.

Everything started moving in the right direction for me when I realized, without a doubt, that the only way I would truly be able to love others unconditionally was to somehow learn to love myself in that very way. Being able to accomplish this one task was the key difference between this journey and past self discovery missions.

When you can embrace EVERYTHING that you are, miracles happen. I realized, with great clarity, that we are all interconnected by the fabric of life. There is no separation between you and me. We are one. We are the same. When I look at you, I am looking in a mirror. If I see anything I don’t like, it is simply a reflection of myself. Something I must work on to improve.

When you love yourself, you love life, all of life, everything and everyone in it. You stop seeking to find happiness from external sources. Life loves you back. You will begin to attract the things that are required for you to shine your light on the world.

There is no one else quite like you. The world wants you just as you are. Fly your freak flag high in the air. Celebrate your weird, embrace your inner nerd, give your cat lady self a little kiss. You are already perfect.

Smile and hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to live a happy life – 13 actions you can take today

I originally intended for this article to be a list of fifteen actions you can take today to live a happier life, but with today being Friday the thirteenth, I thought a list of thirteen might be more appropriate. Enjoy.

1.  Practice Gratitude

It is so easy to take the beauty in life for granted. It seems sometimes that we are built for negativity. Practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to realize how wonderful your life already is. It’s not always easy to feel authentically grateful, especially if things aren’t going your way. The good news is that gratitude can be learned. You can fake it until you make it.

I challenge you to practice gratitude for thirty days. Start a gratitude journal and each morning, for thirty days, list three new things in life that you are thankful for. It can be something huge like divine guidance or something small like warm socks or anything in between. If you would like to see my gratitude journal, it will be posted weekly, for a limited time, on this blog. At the end of your challenge, I would love to know if this practice improved your life and how.

2. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness will set you free. Holding a grudge only hurts the person choosing to hold it. Why spend your precious energy all worked up over something you can’t change. The past is done, there is no undoing it. You can’t change the fact that you have been hurt and you can’t force anyone else to change their mind or behavior. What you do have some control over is your own thoughts and actions. Rather than wallowing in your own hostility, why not change the way you think about the situation. Wish your adversary love. Pray for them.

The most important person for you to forgive, is you, and this is often the most difficult task to accomplish. If you can forgive and love yourself, you will find it much easier to forgive others in your life as well.

One good way to get started is to send love and blessings to one person or thing that is irritating you each day. This can be yourself, someone else or not even a person at all. I list mine right after the three things I am grateful for in my journal. Repetition is encouraged on this practice as it may take some time to truly forgive the hurt that runs deep. You will be training your brain by doing this practice daily and it does work.

3. Write your stories.

Start a journal. Writing can be a very powerful tool for healing. Spill your emotions and fears onto the pages in whatever way feels therapeutic to you.  Write poems, write stories, write letters you will never send. Try writing a letter to God, the Universe or your higher self. If you can’t take the chance of someone finding your written words, feel free to burn the page when you are done. What is important is that you release what is bottled inside of you.

4. Learn to say no and yes.

It is time to start saying no to people, events and things that drain you of your life force. It is not your responsibility to deal with other peoples issues. Take care of yourself first. Ask yourself “Am I doing this out of love or out of fear?” For example, are you doing someone a favor because you love them and are happy to help or are doing it because you are afraid the person will think less of you if you don’t? Choose love.

It is time to say yes to your life. Yes to contining to learn everyday. Yes to new experiences. Yes to change. Yes to the things you love. Yes to your intuition and yes to the power of believing in you!

5. Meditate

Start a daily meditation practice. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me to be present, see clearly and remain calm. We spend most of our time either dwelling on the past or looking to the future. The past is over. The future doesn’t exist yet. Now is all that matters. Meditation can teach you to focus on now. A large commitment of time is not required. You can experience the benefits in as little as ten minutes a day. There are many phone apps available for guided meditation. Play around and find something that fits your style. Give it a try.

6. Get out in nature

Go for a walk, or a run or maybe just sit under a tree. Feel the force that connects everything on this planet. Look with wonder at all that you see. Get grounded by walking barefoot on the sand or the grass. Get your toes, or your hands, wet in the stream or the lake. Listen to the wind, the birds, the gravel beneath your feet. Drink it all in. Unplug for just a little while each day. It will be worth it.

7. Do nice things for yourself

Make your happiness a priority. It isn’t selfish to take care of you for a change. In fact, I think it’s necessary if you want to stay healthy. Take the time you need to do the things on this list. You are worth it. Treat yourself to a massage or a little gift, something you’ve had your eye on. Take a class or go out with friends. Indulge in a bit of self-love.

8. Give

It is better to give than to receive. It has been proven that people tend to feel better about themselves if they give to others in need. I personally believe that the more you give, the more you get. The time is always now, even if you feel like you don’t have enough to spead around. No matter what my situation is, I am generous with what I have, there is always someone else who needs more than I do. So donate your money, your time or your stuff. Feel those good vibrations!

9. Spend some time alone

This is never a problem for me. I love my time by myself. Some of you may feel the same way. There is a trick to this, though. You need to be alone without distraction. Yep, that means no television, no texting, no social media. Most people will find it extremely difficult to just be still and quiet with themselves. The reason we are uncomfortable with this is because we will be forced to listen to our own thoughts. When you engage in this practice, be kind to yourself. Remember to practice forgiveness as you do this as well.

There is no better way to become aware of your thoughts and what is truly important to you than being alone without anyone else to influence what is on your mind. If you want to expand on this experience, take a trip by yourself. Go away for a couple of days and only do what you want to do. If this scares you, you may want to ask yourself why.

10. Trust your instincts

Many of us are not willing to act on our instincts or intuition.  We don’t trust ourselves. We may be afraid of failing or of what other people might think of what we are doing. Your intuition is what your soul wants, what your heart desires, it is your higher self giving you inspiration. When you ignore your intuition, you turn your back on your authentic self. Don’t feed your fears. Trust your intuition.

11. Embrace your demons

Have you hugged your demons today? We all have a dark side. If you have taken some of the actions listed above, you may be seeing some of yours by now. This is key to learning self-love. There are parts of ourselves that may be difficult to love, like, or even admit to.  The first step here is awareness. What are you ashamed of? What makes you angry or sad? What are afraid to talk about openly? It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge at first, but it will become easier with time.

The next step is acceptance. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. These perceived imperfections are necessary to the human experience. They are something we all share. Without our darkness, our light would not shine. To experience wholeness you must accept all of yourself.

Finally, it’s time to embrace. Release your shame, your anger, sadness and jealousy by gently trying to see it’s source. Where does it come from? Do not judge yourself. Treat your demons with compassion and understanding.

12. Chase your joy

One of my definitions of joy is watching my son grow, learn and develop in his own way. Another is being curled up with a great book, hot coffee, a blanket and a vibrating cat on my lap. I feel calm, at peace, like everything is right in the world.

What brings you joy? Once you define what that is, start using your energy to chase your joy. My home is rarely as clean as it used to be. Cleaning does not bring me joy. My time is better spent on things that do.

13. Walk into your fear

Whatever you are most afraid of, is what you should be paying the most attention to. Our conscious mind will always choose fear to block us from true awareness. Your authentic gifts can be revealed by facing what scares you. Walk into your fear. Walk into your greatness!

Happy Friday the thirteenth to you!!