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  • Create Aliveness in the Holiday Season

    The most transformative moments in our lives are those moments when all of a sudden something important is illuminated.

    When we have those big Aha’s!

    The trigger could be a simple or profound insight, or a life changing event – like a birth or a death, a marriage or a divorce – or the trigger could even be an experience like the one we might have standing on top of a mountain for the first time.

    What we are feeling is ALIVENESS!

    And it is in these trigger moments, good or bad, that we actually are the most alive. We feel a certain type of energy in the air. We feel the skin on our body and the beating of our heart. We feel totally connected.  We are present in the moment. It’s electric – it’s what some call a peak experience. Because in those moments and during those life events we know we are really HERE! It’s visceral!

    And that’s just it, we feel these peak experiences so intensely because, during them, we are smack dab in the middle of the power of life.

    What’s happening the rest of the time?

    We’re still alive, of course, doing our thing, going through the motions, perhaps even fairly consciously.

    But what if every moment in our lives or at least lots more of them felt just as electric as a peak experience? What if we were fully tuned in far more of the time? What if we could have that heightened “electricity-in-the-air experience” all the time?

    I remember when my son was born. We were given a book titled “On the Day You Were Born”. It showed every aspect of nature, on our own planet earth, and our own planet in motion with everything else –  the entire universe. And all of it was welcoming our baby into life … into the world, into the motion of everything … into the flow.

    It was such an exciting feeling to see these connections so clearly in that pivotal moment.  We are all part of the flow. We ARE the flow.

    Everything is connected, and everyone affects all things at all times.

    Those momentous peak experiences simply remind us of this fact. But in reality, we are always in the flow. And even more, we are directing it all the time.

    We just don’t know it or notice it.

    But here’s the thing:

    We DO have the ability to be present to that connection daily. And WOW! What an opportunity that is.

    To wake up, grab our life force and really show up in our lives. No matter what we are doing. To take off the filters that cloud our connection and, with the intention of being fully present, step into the aliveness of the moment.

    And intention is all it takes to begin to learn how to feel that aliveness every day and to learn how to keep that feeling going.

    Here are some simple ways to practice …

    Right now, as you’re listening to me, notice if your brain has taken you to the next item on your to-do list, taken you away from being where you actually are in this very moment. Are you here? Or are you thinking about what’s next? Or what happened earlier today?

    In order to be present in this moment, I’d like you to do a quick experiment. First, find your feet. And put all of your attention/concentration in your feet. Feel them. I’m doing it too. Second, Feel your feet connected to the floor or ground. And now BREATHE … breathe all the way into your feet … and, as you do, feel your breath move through the rest of your body.

    Perfect! Thank you for doing that with me. You are now in your body. And once you are in your body you are on the road to being present.

    The more you breathe into your feet and feel that you are actually connected to the earth, the more the rest of your body will start to show up too. Because what you are doing is taking your energy and attention out of your head and bringing it home into your physicality – into your physical being … into the present moment. And it only takes a minute.

    Once we are in our bodies we can really see where we are. Our focus is fully on what is around us, our vision is zeroed in on the now.

    Our culture makes multi-tasking seem attractive, but when we are doing one thing and thinking about another, or doing multiple things at once, it’s pretty hard to breathe and be in your body … and, therefore, it’s difficult to truly feel alive or to simply enjoy the present experience of being fully engaged in a task.

    To build on the exercise we just did and help you become even more present, walk around the room you are in or, if you are outside, even better.

    First connect to your feet, take a breath and walk slowly forward. As you do, feel your footsteps … the bottoms of your feet connecting to and releasing their connection with the floor or earth. Then, as you walk, begin to name aloud or silently to yourself every object or being you see, taking each in fully.

    Really notice what is around, you …

    The lamp with the burlap shade, the wooden table, the striped cat, the woman with the red coat, the mirror with the gilded frame, the crazy patterned pillow, the tree fallen in the path.

    With every object or being you name as you walk, you will become more and more present to the moment, more and more grounded … feeling more and more alive.

    For those of you who feel anxious from time to time – this exercise alone is a great anxiety reducer. Again, just a few minutes spent doing this exercise will make a world of difference.

    We’ve all heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” And most of us take that saying as a caution to slow down, to take the time to enjoy life, to stop doing too much. It might be just the ticket.

    It’s good advice at times… and it may sound a lot like what I’m talking about – but it’s not.

    And perhaps it’s not the most helpful advice for today’s fast-paced world or in times of real stress.

    We need to realize that at whatever speed we’re moving, no matter what is happening – good or bad – and regardless of how much we have on our plates, we can and need to be fully present and we want to feel fully alive.

    Aliveness has nothing to do with stopping. It has nothing to do with how much we have going on. If we stop to smell the roses, we might not actually be smelling them if we’re thinking about what we have to do next.

    And in fact, sometimes the most alive we feel is when we’re moving at lightning speed …

    As long as we stay in the present.

    So, don’t stop and smell roses … instead learn how to get into the present regardless of how fast you’re moving or what is happening (and yes you may need to slow down to do that at first), but after you practice and learn it …

    Move fast, move slow, do a lot, do a little, take breaks, get back to it … and through it all … BE PRESENT … LIVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE IN THAT ZONE – fully connected, fully in the flow, fully alive.

     

    Confidence and Pancakes

    Liz's Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Liz’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    December 2013

    The other day I was making banana chocolate chip pancakes (see recipe below).

    I have begun making them quite frequently as they have become a favorite. The consistency of the batter is a bit different. The liquefied bananas make them a bit harder to flip and they take a bit longer to cook.

    I noticed that when I was feeling confident about the flip it worked seamlessly, and when I had doubt, the pancake inevitably folded or fell on another. In short, it was a mess—sometimes I could fix it and sometimes it just turned into a ball of cooked goo. From a taste perspective all was perfectly wonderful but … not as I had planned.

    So I did an experiment. Prior to each flip I chose to be confident or concerned. Each time I chose to be confident the flip was perfect. Each time I allowed doubt into the equation there was something that wasn’t quite right. It became a game with fascinating conclusions.

    Let’s think about the things we do in our lives that are affected by a similar thought process. How often do we begin a task—simple or complex—with a preconceived notion of doubt or concern? How often do we begin a task or performance or project with total surety? What would happen if we left the worry out? Whether we believed it or not, we proceeded with utter and complete confidence? What if we fully acted as if we felt completely sure of ourselves? Would the complex become simple?

    I believe we can choose. Start with something simple like flipping a pancake or locking your bike. Basically start with anything that you are not sure you can do with ease. Begin as simply as possible and do your own experiment. I know when I try to lock my bike at times I struggle with pulling the cord through etc. etc. Next time I will approach it with complete confidence and see what happens.

    There are so many ways to live our lives with more ease, reduce stress, feel happier, and be healthier. Let’s start with confidence and pancakes.

    Let’s build the muscle and see what happens. I would love to hear your adventures. Please post. Share with me at info@yourinspiredchoices.com or on Facebook.

    With confidence,

    Liz

    Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    2 cups unbleached white flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    ¼ cup unrefined sugar (can use less)
    1 tsp of baking powder
    1 cup of milk (amount to preferred consistency)
    1 egg (optional)
    3 ripe bananas – Place bananas in blender or Vitamix with a small amount of water and blend to a fluid but not watery consistency
    1 tablespoon of oil – if desired
    1 or 2 pat(s) of butter for the pan or griddle

    Mix ingredients in the order listed.*

    Pour some batter into a one-cup measuring cup and add mini chocolate chips. You must add chips based on the amount of chocolate you prefer in the pancakes.

    *It is not advisable to add the chocolate chips to the entire mixture. This recipe makes enough to save and use again within the next couple of days. If saving is not desired to reduce proportions.

    Let butter melt in the pan- when bubbling- mix batter with chips and spoon out to create the pancakes. Heat till bubbles appear and flip with confidence.

    Happy eating!

    Mindfulness and Creativity in Healing in Miami

    mindfulnessLast week I had the honor of leading the opening meditation session and two workshops on Mindfulness and Creativity in Healing at the (CCA) Colon Cancer Alliance National Conference in Miami. I say honored because I was surrounded by people who are engaged in the joy of living, who are fighters and who want to change the world and the survival rate of people with colorectal cancer. So here is where people begin to turn away. One fact I learned is that people don’t really want to hear about this most preventable form of cancer because of where it is in the body!!

    The focus of so many of the survivors of stage 4 and (lower) colon cancer is to increase the rate of screenings for people under the age of 50. There are so many people being misdiagnosed and diagnosed late with colon cancer. All we need is prevention to save thousands of lives. Survivors and their families are working tirelessly to spread the word, implement screenings in areas they do not exist, and find funding for colonoscopies for those that do not have insurance or cannot afford to have them. Their work has saved many lives.

    Find out about your family history, talk with your physician about early screening with or without a family history, and listen to symptoms that seem unusual, no matter what. You know your body best. If you are concerned that something isn’t right, persevere! We all know the prep for a colonoscopy is not a lot of fun, but it could save your life.

    Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) is an amazing resource and support community. A great book about being a your best health advocate is: When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests by Leana Wen, MD, MSc, George Washington University.

    We had a lot of fun doing some Qigong, being truly present in the moment, participating in a guided imagery and using art materials to express the vitality and emotion within. CCA conference participants, you are a great group!

    Liz

    The Goddess is YOU!

    goddess

    The Goddess is YOU!

    When I created A Group for Women About Life, I had no idea what fun it would be and how impactful it would be for me as a leader and for all the women who have explored the Goddess archetypes through story, art meditation and self-expression.

    But the most powerful is the sense of community that evolves. Women of all ages and walks of life have shared their experiences of being a woman;  moving through the multidimensional roles and expectations, true feelings of heart and health.  Maiden, mother or crone we offer a richness of knowing as we walk the path on the earth today.  If we do not know, we learn about women who went before, and we create the archetypes of the women who will follow. Oh! and please don’t be put off by the word crone and don’t worry if you aren’t a mother because we are all mothers on this planet and we all feel older and wiser at times. There is grace and beauty at every stage of life.

    It is very exciting to take this 10-week program and allow its evolution into a wonderful retreat in which women may live the goddess each day in a different form. See a fabulous part of the world while experiencing the practical and the spiritual feminine while inhabiting a personal journey within a community of multifaceted women and beautiful and exciting surroundings.

    Stay tuned for more from France in August…

    Liz

    Yourinspiredchoicees.com

    liz@yourinspiredchoices.com

    We Who Seek

    unnamed

    What is it that we seek?

    Some of us want to know our mission on this planet; some of us simply want to be free of pain.  Some want to recapture the essential joy they have known over time but find illusive in the moment.

    It is hard to understand that complete knowing and flow exists simultaneous to what appears to be the density of everyday life. We find ourselves “up against” something rather than flowing with it. We want to feel whole.

    We look outside ourselves for guidance, clearing, assistance and knowledge. When we use these helpers as stepping-stones we are walking the path of our soul. When we become dependent on someone else’s word, approval or sanction it is hard to find the true meaning of the moment or trust the wisdom that is our own.

    Understanding that density is an illusion; allowing ourselves to realize that we have choice in how our lives and emotions come to fruition; understanding that emotion follows thought, are all key to recapturing the flow of essential energy and attaining the release of old patterns.

    Confusion sometimes arises when we are in touch with the calling of our soul and our soul potential and we find limitation in the physical form. The contrast seems so great between that which is eternally in our makeup and that which is transitory. For a time the transitory has more impact, but our unlimited essence is the truly powerful player.

    Do we need assistance to learn the techniques and have the tools to proceed? Yes. Sometimes it will be mediation tapes; sometimes a teacher of mindfulness or holistic integration; sometimes counseling or therapy; sometimes yoga or art; sometimes the book that pops out at you at the library or bookstore.

    Reach out. Find your way to living a more balanced and joyful life.

    Liz

    www.yourinspiredchoices.com