My Thoughts & Realizations about ‘Adventures for Your Soul’

I spent January reading ‘Adventures for your Soul’ by Shannon Kaiser. This book was filled with reminders of how to push towards your dreams and live to your full potential. She reminded me that to truly find our passions and live them we have to be true to ourselves, we have to love ourselves honestly and openly. Shannon outlines ’21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential’ breaking it down into action items for the reader to put into place right away, creating new, positive thought patterns. She shares examples in how she actively changed her life to a life she loves by sharing her story and how she overcame her challenges. I loved how Shannon included notes of awareness of habits that are creating blocks of the happiness we desire and motivational mantras.

Some of my favorite parts & Lessons:

“Emotions are the way that you assess or react to a situation. Emotions are rooted in assessing situations, whereas feelings are grounded in truth in the moment. Emotions are often in your head, whereas feelings are inspired by your body and heart……Distinguishing between the two is an important step in moving forward in life with clarity and confidence.”

“We lean into love by recognizing that everything is in our life for a reason, that we are in those situations to help us grow and to learn……They lead us to new opportunities and to new doors that may open, but life is an ever-expansive journey where we are growing, changing, and morphing into what we want to be based on where we have come from.”

“Accept where you are fully to reach where you want to go faster. You are not broken; there is nothing to fix.”

“……it doesn’t matter what our life “looks” like, it matters how our life feels.”

“…….ask yourself what you want, and what feels good for you in the moment. Aligning with your own truth in each moment will help you become who you want to be.”

What I realized reading this book is that I shared so many of the beliefs Shannon was sharing in her book but I have been limiting myself. I have only been going halfway in. I need to commit to my beliefs, my passions and my dreams, go all in, allow them to lead me in my life. 

You can check out more about the book here.

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page.  
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Why I’m Putting Myself First

Earlier this week I wrote about the anxiety I was feeling and how much it had been kicking my butt and overwhelming my brain. This week I made it a goal to focus on myself and my goals, after all it is a new month and for me that always presents itself as a new beginning. It has made a huge difference in my thought patterns with putting myself back in focus.

So this week I made it all about me. It was tough at first because I felt selfish and it felt out of character for me a little. The challenge is finding the balance. I can get so wrapped up in doing things for everyone else that I end up leaving myself in the dust. I needed this week to find myself again. Putting myself first didn’t mean I was neglecting everyone else but it did mean I had to say no to some things that weren’t what I needed that moment and it meant that I said no to negativity and it meant that I needed to make time for the things I wanted to do and needed to do. I still spent time with family and friends this week but I also made it a priority for “me” time. I made the time to have a counseling appointment so I can work through my thoughts. I made time to go to the gym. I spent the time with my friends walking instead of drinking a beer and eating all that yummy not-so-good for you food. I made it a priority to blog each evening – which I did at the kitchen table with my mom so we could chat too. I said no to eating out last weekend so I could be home where I wanted to be…and I cooked which was relaxing.

I just got home from the gym from my first personal training appointment. Fitness is something that I know is important for me to have in everyone of my weeks yet so many times I push it aside to make time for other things. But because this week was all about me, I was able to commit to something that I needed to commit to and it feels awesome. I feel more energized, my mind is clearer and I’m motivated to do more. This week I started a new fitness journey with my personal training and I’m really excited about it. Although I do have the physical goal of toning up a bit, my real goals are to build strength, endurance and energy. I learned this morning that I’ll be learning to do RDLs and Deadlifts – who would have thought a couple years back that I’ll be weight-lift training?! 

See here’s the thing. We as a society want to do so much for everyone else which is amazing and we should but what we many times don’t learn is that we have to take care of ourselves too. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish if you do it the right way. Self-Care and Self-Love are not narcissistic, they’re part of a healthy life and routine. In truth if you are truly loving and taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to do so much more for everyone else and you’ll be able to do it for the right reasons.  Spend time with loved ones because you want to not because you feel obligated. Go to the gym because you want to better yourself not because you want to fit in. Eat healthy because you want to fuel your body not because it’s the trendy thing to do. See where I’m going with this? Let the love you build for yourself energize your day and your actions. Be nice to people because you want to be a nice person. We spend so much time looking outside of ourselves for motivation, strength and hope but really it’s all inside of us.

What I found out this week is that a lot, well most, of my anxiety was stemming because I had fallen off track, off my track, my path. I had stopped thinking about me, or I was thinking about me in all the wrong ways. I got stuck thinking about what mistakes I had made instead of looking forward to what I was working on. When I looked back I saw things I did wrong instead of the lessons I had learned and how far I had come. 

My “Me” Goals:

Exercising several times during the week. Being active daily.

Journaling – whether it be writing or art-journaling, something to relieve thoughts and emotions from my mind.

Choosing to eat healthier because I feel better when I do – minus the McDonalds I indulged in yesterday!

Stop focusing on what everyone else thinks and just be myself. The only standards that really matter are the ones I set for myself. 

Work towards my goals and dreams every day, no matter how little or how big of a step I make forward, to do something everyday. 

When I focus on taking care of myself, everything else falls into place. 

My advice for the week: Go look at yourself in the mirror and say this: “I am beautiful. I am strong. I will overcome this and anything else that comes my way. Pain and troubles are temporary. Today may be hard but another day will come and I will beat it.” 

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20 Things That Make Me Smile

Happy Positive Thinking Day!!!

A good day starts with a good thought. Wake up every morning and think happy things to get your day going. To celebrate Positive Thinking Day I made a list of twenty things that make me smile. A simple trick but a trick that works – If you’re feeling a little down, think of something wonderful in your life. Gratitude is a gateway to happiness. Train your mind to see the bright side of everything. 

  1. Having breakfast with my son.
  2. Flowers.
  3. A good laugh.
  4. Talking on the phone with my mom.
  5. Having a beer and chatting life stuff with my best friends.
  6. A hot cup of tea.
  7. Snuggling with my pup.
  8. Getting my nails done.
  9. Brownie batter. Yum!
  10. Making my loved ones smile.
  11. Having my artwork in an art show.
  12. Looking at the stars in the night sky.
  13. Laying on the beach.
  14. When my favorite song comes on the radio.
  15. Dancing in the kitchen.
  16. A good Netflix binge.
  17. The sunset.
  18. Curling up under a cozy blanket with a book.
  19. A long hike.
  20. Crossing something off my bucket list!

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~ anonymous

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How Yoga Changed My Life

I awoke that morning filled with energy. I climbed out of bed without the aches and pains I had felt so many mornings before. I could stretch my arms above my head without feeling sharpness in my neck, standing tall without the soreness in my knees. I stood in front of my closet that morning trying to find something to wear, none of my clothes fit…

Two years ago, I would wake up in pure pain all through out my body. Each day I started exhausted and filled with anxiety about the day ahead. Then I found myself without a job. The main stress driver in my life had been lifted off my shoulders. Without all of that in front of me I saw what I had become. I was 50 pounds heavier, worn out and my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia had stripped me of some many things in my life. That’s when I knew it was time. I had the chance to reinvent my life, my body and how I chose to feel every day.

I had bought a yoga mat a several years back and it sat stored on the top shelf in my closet, still in the wrapping. I started doing yoga at home twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before bed. I started with just 10 minutes a day using a Yoga app I found and downloaded to my phone. A month later I attended my first class at a yoga studio. I was amazed I could do tree pose without completely falling over, though I still wobbled (and still do today). Six months later, I was down 40 pounds and off the pills and injections for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I found myself filled with more energy and happier. I had a thirst for life and adventure again.

Today I’m two and a half years into Yoga, still learning, still growing, still consider myself a newer yogi. I have fallen in and out of daily routine and each time I tell myself the story of how Yoga changed my life to remind myself why I practice.

Photo Credit: Anthony Machcinski. Check out more of his work here – Photos by Anthony Machcinski. His work is beautiful and each photo has a story behind it.

10 Ways Art is Therapeutic for Your Mind, Heart, & Soul

Today’s #ArtThursday is brought to you by me…and the benefits of Art Therapy. Did you know that practicing art or even by doing a craft it can act as a meditative practice for you? When we channel our energy into creating something it can have many therapeutic properties.

1.) Art is relaxing and has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and decrease worry.

2.) It can teach us insight, empathy and acceptance.

3.) It promotes self-expression and can help us express and process emotions or stress that we may have suppressed.

4.) Art therapy stimulates the mind.

5.) It can encourage self-discovery, self-observation and encourages the discovery of our subconscious.

6.) Art empowers us.

7.) It helps teach us constructive ways to deal with tough feelings and traumatic or stressful situations.

8.) Art Therapy improves emotional, cognitive and sensory processes.

9.) Art can help us see beauty in rough times.

10.) It provides us with many learning opportunities and provides a sense of worth and accomplishment when we complete projects.

Now it’s your time to share! Link up your current artwork and projects! DIY Arts & Crafts, thoughts on art, Art Bucket List, all welcome!

What kinds of art and projects do you do to relax?


Why It’s Important to Nurture Yourself First

This phrase has stuck with me for several years now, “The grass is greener where you water it.” 

So many times we look at others and their lives, especially with all the social media “glamour” out there nowadays, that we wonder what it would be like to be in their shoes. The thing is, we don’t know their story, we don’t know what they went through to get to where they are. We cannot be anyone other than ourselves in truth but we can focus on nurturing ourselves and building our lives to be what we want and get what we want out of life. That’s where the truth comes in, that if we water our own grass we can make it the green we want it to be. If we are not taking care of our own selves and focusing on our lives then our grass will never be green and even if we were to go to another lawn, that grass would soon become dry too.

Look at your self and your life as your lawn – If you water it, feed it, take care of it, it will be healthy. If you feed it poison, allow it to be dug up, and do not give it the nutrients it needs then it will not grow, it will not flourish. This quote taught me to stop looking outward and to start looking inward. What was it in my life that I was missing? What was not fulfilling? Changes are never easy, but through reflection we can see how necessary they are. My journey has encountered much heartache and many hard choices but I came out at the other end a stronger, happier and better person. I’ve let go of toxic relationships, I’ve learned to forgive, and I’ve learned to make myself a priority. 

My tip to all is that the next time you are feeling down, beat-up, and sad – look inward – what can you change to work towards building a healthier and happier life for yourself? What can you water and nurture within yourself? Do not focus on what you do not have, take a good look at what you do have and work towards growing that. Before you know it, you’ll see things falling into place. You’ll see dreams growing in front of you. Focus within yourself and then project that out. We do not create true happiness from external circumstances, we make happiness within ourselves. 

Why Working Towards Minimalism Is Important To Me

I see a lot of posts about minimalism that focus on owning less stuff and de-cluttering, this isn’t what minimalism is about for me. For me, minimalism is more emotional than functional. Minimalism is about learning to make room for things that have meaning to my life, things that bring value and joy to me, and about letting go of the things that don’t. It’s about clearing space for better things in my life, allowing space for things to grow. It’s about following my heart and soul’s desire to have more in life, more than just stuff, things bigger and more inspiring. It’s about filling my life with adventure, love, and about filling a fiery desire to live life to the fullest. 

When my Grandparents passed away I found myself in a very emotional state, I became almost materialistic in a way that I needed to possess all of their material things so that they would always be there with me. Maybe this was how I was coping at the time but in the end, having all of their stuff didn’t help me mourn any better. Time is the only thing that can heal a sorrowful heart. 

I grew up with the idea that having stuff meant you were making it in life. I had all of these ideals in my mind that in my life now just don’t make sense any more. Minimalism is about having less stuff, but not in a way that whoever has the least stuff is a better minimalist. It has a much deeper meaning than that. Moving towards minimalism is freeing for me. It is a process of letting go, learning to be detached. It is about letting go of clutter that I thought was providing me safety but really was creating chaos. It is about letting emotions flow through me and not staying stagnant within an object. It is a journey for an understanding that living with less can mean that I’m living with more. 

I have been working towards minimalism for about 6 months now and I’ll be honest, I still own a lot of stuff but I’ve also let go of a lot of things as well. My thought processes are evolving and that is why I continue to work towards minimalism. I am finding more joy and less confusion in my freedom of being able to let go. Yesterday, my Mom’s new puppy climbed on my dresser and knocked down a whole bunch of things, most of them breaking as they hit the floor… a couple of years ago I would have been a mess, one of those items being an oil lamp I inherited from my Grandparents and other treasures I had collected over the years…but in the moment, I wasn’t worried about the stuff, I was worried about the puppy cutting herself on the glass. It is just stuff after all, it is not breath or the essence of life, just stuff. 

As I learn to let go, I find myself less stressed and happier. Calmer in the things that happen in my life, both good and challenging, both big and trivial. I find myself watching less tv, only buying clothes I love (even though I’m still struggling to let go of the clothes I still have), and more focused on working towards the things I really want out of life – like checking off a gigantic bucket list! I am by no means a role model for minimalism but I’m proud to be working towards it and someday I may just get there and some day I will feel as if I can truly call myself a minimalist but for now I’m okay with being a “minimalist in training”. 

Powerful Lessons of Discovery from Confusion

I found this poem in a folder from my childhood. This poem speaks of how I perceived confusion as a child.

Confusion is the dark gray of a stormy sky

It sounds like the crying of starving children

The taste is of stale crackers

And the smell of a salty sea

An evil curse upon a prince I see

Confusion makes me feel as if the world

Has turned against me

I think that confusion in many ways feels the same to me today as it did to me as a child. Confusion can stem so many more emotions in our lives. It creates frustration, doubt, and sometimes even anger. As adults, we like to control the things and experiences we have in our lives, and confusion steals that power from us. I have learned that confusion also has its purpose though. It leads us to discovery, to lessons that need to be learned. Confusion can push us to look deeper into a situation, to see larger meanings. I am learning to take steps back when I find myself enveloped in confusion. I try to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn and to grow, asking myself what do I need to know that I do not know now. Confusion does not mean we have failed, it means there is more to know, more to understand.

Even though it is uncomfortable, I choose to embrace this opportunity, I choose to learn.

How Powerful Core Beliefs Will Guide Your Life & Happiness

Our beliefs can transform our lives. Many of my beliefs I have carried with me year after year,  helping shape me into the person I am today and the person I strive to be. These beliefs have continued to inspire and motivate me in each of my days. They give me strength and hope and the fire to keep going no matter what obstacles or heartache come my way.

Your beliefs become your perspective. 

What you put out into the world is what will be returned to you. Life is a circle, if you send good energy out, that is what you will be returned with. Although not all things in life will be roses, choose not to only see the thorns. Each experience that you have in life is preparing you for something much grander. If you chose to believe that, then you can be at peace in knowing that good things are coming no matter where you are in life right now. Keep your head up and keep pushing forward towards your goals and dreams and you will arrive when the time is right. Creating a positive mindset will help you get there. We each have the ability to change our way of thinking, to control how much power we give to negativity and circumstances, and the power to not allow situations or people control our emotions, feelings, and outcomes.

Create strong core beliefs and hold on to them to get you through anything. 

Fit Body, Mind, & Spirit: My 12 Rules For A Healthy, Happy Life

I’ve been spending some time reading over old posts and it’s been enlightening seeing how far I’ve come. Nothing brings me more comfort than knowing that I am continuously growing and moving towards become more like me and working towards creating a life that I love and am destined to live. 

In 2014, I wrote a list post “If I knew what I know now (in reference to if I knew what I knew then when I had been nineteen) some particular things stuck out to me:

“I would have spent less time trying to “fix” other people and more time focused on myself.” 

“I would have appreciated the things I already had more and less time worrying about the things I didn’t have.”

“I would have accepted failure as steps to success.”

About a year ago, I wrote a post of things I had learned about myself – What I’ve Learned About Myself in which I discovered more some simple things like how managing my blood sugar levels also helps me manage my moods but also things such as alone time and organization are key factors to staying balanced. 

Once again I’ve come to reflect on how much I have grown, how much stronger I have become, and how much progress I have made with my internal goals…and how much further I have yet to go. 

1. Do not judge. 

2. Let go of anger.

3. Be patient, with life, with yourself, with ones around you.

4. Focus on the present.

5. Do all things in love.

6. Live simply.

7. Only allow things that bring value and joy into your life.

8. Take care of yourself first.

9. Live your life like you are an example.

10. Live with intention not regret. 

11. Take a break once in awhile.

12. Keep learning, keep trying, and keep growing. 

I have many plans in mind for myself and this year that focus will not change. I am very happy of how far I’ve come and that motivates me to continue to strive for more. What do I have in store for myself this year? I plan to work towards a more minimalist lifestyle, continue working towards becoming a pro at self care, continuing to focus on steps to make my dreams come true, refocus on my spiritual studies, and yoga & meditation practices, and become all-around more fit – in mind, body, and spirit.