Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Meditation Cheat Sheet--How to Receive the Benefits of Meditation Without Actually Meditating

By now, you've probably heard about the comprehensive, clinically proven benefits of meditation.

But let's be honest: what good are those benefits if you don't actually ever, well, meditate

Because lots of people love the concept of meditation, while the act itself never seems to really materialize. It's the just sitting there that seems to be a deterrent: in this world of do-do-do and go-go-go, for many, putting the brakes on can feel unpleasant to the point of being unbearable.

That's why I thought I'd provide these five meditative meditation alternatives. By doing at least one of these things for just a short time every day, you'll be getting a lot of the same benefits of meditating. You'll also be getting into the very positive habit of setting aside time for serenity, and for your own self care, which will in turn open the door to actually (one day, maybe?) meditating.

So, in lieu of meditation, try this: set a timer for at least 5 minutes, and then do one of the following. In time, you can work your way up to 10, 15, or even 20, but 5 is great too. Especially when you consider that setting aside those 5 minutes will make all your other minutes significantly more enjoyable and productive.

1. Pet your cat or dog. According to WebMd, "It only takes a few minutes with a dog or cat...to feel less anxious and less stressed. Your body actually goes through physical changes in that time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered."

2. Dance. BerkeleyWellness.com states that, "Dancing...has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and boost self-esteem, body image, coping ability, and overall sense of well-being, with the benefits lasting over time."

3. Read a novel. A new article in The New Yorker says that, "Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers."

4. Take a walk. A number of studies have shown that walking outside (especially barefoot!) blesses us with numerous perks, including significantly reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn strengthens one's immune system and overall state of mind.

5. Blow bubbles. I'm not sure if any studies have been done on blowing bubbles, but the fact remains that like meditation, bubble blowing promotes deep, conscious breathing and present moment awareness. Also, simply being outside has many proven health benefits that are similar in many ways to those of meditation.

Friday, June 19, 2015

5 Ways to Celebrate Midsummer in 5 Minutes or Less

In the Northern Hemisphere, Midsummer is upon us!

This upcoming Sunday (also Father's Day) is the longest day of the year and the time when we celebrate the golden sun's radiant power. One of the most sacred of all points on the Wheel of the Year, it's also a time of polarities: just as the fiery sun reaches its zenith, it simultaneously moves into the watery moon sign of Cancer. And while the days have expanded to their full brightness, the dark half of the year is born as the days begin to wane.

For magical and spiritual folk, Midsummer (also called Summer Solstice or Litha) is a time of expansion, prosperity, energy, sensuality, radiance, and love.

And while longer rituals and celebrations are certainly wonderful, if you'd like to observe the holiday in less time-consuming ways (or to supplement your more elaborate efforts), I've got you covered. Here are five ways to celebrate in 5 minutes or less:

1. Wear gold sequins or gold glitter. The magic of the sun is sparkling, radiant, lucky, and abundant. Try anchoring these qualities within your physical being by wearing shiny gold sequins or glitter. I, personally, am planning to do both.

2. Bring sunflowers into your home. Bright, cheerful, and expansive, sunflower blossoms literally follow the sun as it moves steadily across the sky. Bless yourself and your home with the sun's magical benefits by bringing a bouquet inside.

3. Empower an orange in the sun, then eat it. Oranges embody the sweet, vibrant energy of the sun in a surprisingly tangible way: each orange is a miniature sun in fruit form. Empower one by holding it in the bright light of the sun, silently invoking the sun's vast power and energy. Then, mindfully, peel and eat, bringing this beautiful, health-giving energy into your being.

4. Drink a cup of cinnamon tea as the sun rises. Midsummer is often observed during the sunrise, as a way of greeting the sun at the precise moment it emerges on its most expansive day. Cinnamon, an herb aligned with the fiery and abundant nature of the sun, will help you bring yourself into resonance with the sun's glorious power.

5. Light an orange or yellow candle. As you do so call on the blindingly bright light of the sun, and say:

As I greet the sun's bright light,
I welcome the expanding night.
May I be blessed on this long day,
May I be blessed in every way.
Thank you!

P.S. Please check out my brand new book, Holistic Energy Magic!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Open the Door to Wealth--A Simple, Super-Effective Prosperity Ritual

If you're really working on expanding your finances and prosperity consciousness, try this extremely simple ritual from my newest book, Holistic Energy Magic. You can do it once per day for an entire moon cycle, starting at the new moon (or today is close enough). Or, you might do it at the new or full moon, every time you clean house, or really anytime you feel like it. The summer solstice (this coming Sunday) would be an excellent day for it too.

Here's what you do:

Open your front door. Standing at the threshold, facing out, say or think these words:

I now open the door to wealth.
I invite in blessings, luxury, and abundance.
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Find Holistic Energy Magic at your local bookstore or check it out on Amazon here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Get Rid of That Huge Pile of Clutter Once and for All (3 Places to Start)

So you have a huge pile of clutter. Perhaps your entire home feels like one. 

If you had to describe the way you feel about this pile of clutter with just one word, I'll bet I can guess what that word is: overwhelmed. How do I know? I've found that it's a word that comes up almost universally when people are talking about their clutter...Or when people who have a lot of clutter are talking about their lives. Overwhelm and clutter go hand in hand. Which came first? It doesn't matter, because by getting rid of the clutter, you get rid of the overwhelm. You suddenly have more time to do stuff. It's magically way easier to clean. You feel healthier, you sleep more deeply, and everything just flows better.

But here's the rub: when you feel overwhelmed, it's hard to know where to start - am I right? You feel exhausted before you even begin, and so you don't.

That's where these three simple tasks come in.

But first, here's a ground rule. Starting now, don't think about the enormity of the pile of clutter. Just think about one single, finite step at a time: starting with these.

(HINT: here's how it works: once you create clarity in these areas, it will be easier to continue. Remember the famous Lao Tzu quote: "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.")

1. Clear and clean out your fridge. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love cleaning out the fridge. There is something so liberating about getting rid of all the expired and unwanted stuff and making the inside of the fridge sparkle like new. And then every time you open the fridge for the next few months, you'll feel so on top of everything! The world will be your oyster...Or at least the kitchen will be your oyster - which is also good.

2. Clear and clean out your medicine cabinet and bathroom cupboards. I don't know about you, but my bathroom cupboards become cluttered at an alarmingly rapid rate. And then it's suddenly like, where did all this stuff come from? But just like the fridge, when you open your medicine cabinet and cupboards and all your toiletries are super sparkly and organized, whoa. You are a superstar...Or at least the whole hygiene thing is way easier and more enjoyable.

3. Clear and clean out your clothes closet. Last but not least, take everything out of your closet. Everything. Then sweep, dust, and/or vacuum the inside and maybe even smudge in there with some incense or an aromatherapy spray. Then only put clothes back in that you actually love and feel great in. Donate the rest or bring it all to a clothes swap. Seriously, the power of opening your closet and only seeing clothes you feel great about cannot be overstated. Even if there are only a few things left in there, go with it! Once you set the boundary with yourself - only flattering clothes that fit with my style allowed - it will be much easier to naturally attract a wardrobe you adore and that is perfect for you in every way. And then, from this place of confidence-boosting stylishness, clearing the rest of your clutter will be a breeze...Or at least you'll feel effortlessly attractive while doing it.

...And now you'll have the rhythm and the system down: choose one finite area and then ready, set, clear! Take your time, put one foot in front of the other, and whittle that pile down. Nothing can stop you now!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Create a Positive Life Momentum with These Three Little Habits

You are a pattern of energy with a vibrational signature all your own. This vibrational signature characterizes your thoughts and feelings, and attracts even more things that are in alignment with itself, in turn affecting your thoughts and feelings in an endless feedback loop. This loop takes on a momentum, and thus defines everything about your life and the way you experience it.

But as an aspect of infinity (which is not limited in any way), you have the ability to reach in and shift your vibrational signature according to your will. Naturally, this changes everything else. This is what we mean by working magic.

When we work magic holistically, we look at the whole momentum of your life experience, not only a part of it. And any seemingly tiny shift can contribute to the shifting of the whole. That's why the following three things, done regularly, will go a long way toward getting you into a positive life momentum. This doesn't mean you won't encounter challenges (that would be boring anyway), but it does mean that you'll begin to feel like life is (generally) interesting, fun, expansive, and filled with laughter, excitement, and joy.

Here they are. Try them for ten days as an experiment and see what happens. Then - when you're convinced - continue!

1. Once a day (ideally in the morning), open your front door and say or think the words, "I am totally open and receptive to all forms of positivity, abundance, and luck. I happily invite these things into my life now." Then conjure up the feeling that you are extremely lucky, wealthy, and joyful as a matter of course. Do your best to fully expect to embody these qualities in the day ahead. (This only needs to take a few seconds.)

2. Once a day (ideally after dark), light a candle or some white Christmas lights (we are going for gentle and flattering lighting here) and gaze into a mirror. Take a moment to breathe and say - aloud if possible but inward is fine if someone is within earshot - "I love and approve of you." If necessary, say it a few more times until it feels like you mean it. Gently forgive yourself for anything you think you've done or not done, and give yourself at least one authentic compliment. (If this feels difficult, keep coming back to it every day anyway, and let yourself look at any unhealed stuff that comes up. Cry if necessary, and repeat until you've cried it all out.) On an average day, this needn't take more than a minute or two.

3. Make a list of all the things you want to have, experience, and achieve. If time, money, and responsibilities were no object, what would you really, really, honestly want? List each one as if it's already true. (For example: "I regularly take fun and exciting trips all over the world.") Whatever you do, don't judge the true desires of your heart. Let them be what they are. Then read your list daily, silently or aloud, tweaking it whenever you notice your desires shift.

So what do you need to do to remember to practice these habits for ten days straight? A post-it note on the bathroom mirror? A reminder in your phone? Or maybe a sheet of gold star stickers to put on your calendar for each day you remember? Decide what tactic will work best for you, and get it going. Then, 10 days from now, let me know your results in the comments!

(And for more about holistic magic, check out my new book, Holistic Energy Magic!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Who Else is Feeling Pushed Out of Their Comfort Zone?

You may have noticed that we are in the midst of some serious shifting! Perhaps it's (at least in part) Mercury retrograde and all the astrological stuff happening this week. 

I mean, generally, I try to avoid the new age habit of thinking the energy of the whole world is topsy turvy simply because my own life is feeling that way. But from my intuitive counseling work as well as from talking to friends and family, it really seems like everyone is feeling pushed out of their comfort zone and called to make some serious changes right now in one major life area or another.

Perhaps that's why lately, I've felt spontaneously motivated to sing or think this Goddess chant:

She changes everything She touches and everything she touches changes.
She changes everything She touches and everything she touches changes.
Rising, rising, the earth is rising.
Turning, turning, the tide is turning.

In case you've never heard it, it sounds like this - only I just sing the chorus and instead of the verse I sing "Rising, rising, the earth is rising. Turning, turning, the tide is turning." That way it becomes like an affirmation or mantra.

This chant seems so perfect right now because it allows us to move with the changes: to embrace them instead of fighting them, and to invite in the Goddess and Divine Wisdom to shine light on everything and facilitate the most ideal possible outcomes.

You can wake up and sing it in your mind, meditate and sing it, sing it while you're driving or walking or riding your bike, and bring your mind back to it any time your thoughts seem to veer into anxiety or fear.

Because, after all, life would be boring without changes, and how on earth would we learn and grow? Anyway, resistance is futile. So let's dance with the music of change and embrace, embrace, embrace.

Sending love and blessings to all!

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