The Ultimate Serenity; Unconditional Self-Love

Self-love isn’t arrogant, selfish or egotistical, it is complete acceptance, caring about and believing in yourself. Laura Putman

Your Key to Joy

Beginning a life of authenticity is a journey to true happiness. Whether there are “others” in your life that expect conformity lovingly or unlovingly, no one’s opinion of you but yours matters. Unconditional love of self is about liberating your individuality with joy and acceptance from head to toe, inside to outside. Unconditional self-love is believing you’re worthy of love and accepting your uniqueness. There is no one like you, so it’s incumbent upon us to bravely and boldly peel away the false front to allow ourselves to be just as we are, that is unconditional self-love. That is the foundation for happy and healthy relationships with yourself and others and that truly transforms your life.

Oh, to love myself

I’m finally completely at peace with who I am, at long last I have confidence with my uniqueness. Even though feeling this way could have happened at any time in my life, I didn’t believe in myself enough to allow it to be. One example of a memorable life experience happened years ago when I took myself out to dinner one evening. I love Irish food and music, so one evening I decided to go to my favorite Irish pub. I was enjoying a delicious meal when things unexpectedly changed. The pub owner (who was from Ireland) pulled up a chair in a corner not far from where I was sitting to sing and entertain the diners with some of his favorite Irish tunes. For some reason he looked directly at me and asked across the room if was dining alone, I felt awkward but I answered yes. He said so you’re having dinner with your best friend. I should have been flattered, but the restaurant was full of diners and I was humiliated that my being alone was pointed out. I was so uncomfortable that as soon as I finished eating I left the restaurant. While that might not seem like much, to me it was devastating and a glaring example of a complete inability to love myself. That was one of the many experiences I had to bring me to where I am now.

Choosing to nurture your well-being

Did you know that when a caterpillar enters the chrysalis stage, their DNA completely transforms as they become a beautiful, amazing butterfly. Your DNA completely changes with self-love reversing the effects of stress, anxiety, self-deprecation and the lack of self-respect. Your brain and DNA are completely transformed with healthy thoughts, shifting from toxic/[prone to disease to healthy/prone to a life of well-being.

“You’re speaking to your genes with every thought you have. The fast growing field of epigenetics is showing that who you are is the product of the things that happen to you in your life, which change the way your genes operate. Genes are actually switched on or off depending on your life experiences, and your genes and lifestyle form a feedback loop. Your life doesn’t alter the genes you were born with. What changes is your genetic activity, meaning the hundreds of proteins, enzymes, and other chemicals that regulate your cells.” Huffpost

How your brain appears with toxic thoughts and with healthy thoughts.
How your DNA appears (LEFT) when you’re stressed and unhappy and when your DNA has recovered when you change your self-perception and ways of thinking (RIGHT).

Build your path to self-love (From Wanderlust.com)

1. Identify Your Why

If you want to make the shift from desiring self-love to embodying self-love, you must be emotionally connected to that journey. Why is self-love important to you? The answer to that question strengthens your ability to seeing it through.

2. Commit

Be 150 percent committed to your journey to self-love. No excuses. Make self-love a major priority in your life and treat it as such. Don’t let anything get in the way of you and your relationship with self.

3. Forgive

How can you expect to move forward in your life if you’re being weighed down by anger and resentment? It’s simple. You can’t. It’s time to forgive. Forgive yourself, and forgive others. You’re not condoning their behavior when you forgive other people for their wrongdoings, you’re simply giving yourself permission to let go and move on. This is a tough step, but a very mandatory one.

4. Take Back Your Power

Drop the victim mentality and take ownership of your life. No more pointing the finger at others or blaming your circumstances. It’s time to own up and take control. The moment you take ownership is the moment you gain back the power to create change.

5. Let go

Let go of anything that is not serving you in the highest good. This includes relationships, friendships, habits… Get rid of all that is holding you back. This step can ignite feelings of loneliness, but that will pass. Replace toxic people with good people; replace destructive habits with good habits.

6. Surround Yourself With Good

Immerse yourself within the company of uplifting people; people who serve you in the highest good. Surround yourself with people who truly love you, support you, and respect you. If you don’t have those people around you, find them. Seek them out and don’t stop until you do.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Go easy on yourself. Instead of being your toughest critic, be your own best friend. Talk to yourself the way you want to be talked to. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. And continue to forgive yourself along the way.

8. Take Care of Your Needs

Do what you need to do to take care of your needs yourself. No more waiting for others to fulfill those needs—you can do this. Honor your needs as they arise and don’t push them aside for any excuse.

9. Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are incredibly good for you. They protect your needs and honor your worth. Never hesitate to set healthy boundaries. A tip to help you recognize when a boundary needs to be set is to listen to your intuition. If an interaction feels icky, a line has been crossed. Take that as a sign that you need to set a boundary.

10. Commit to Daily “LoveHabits”

Daily acts of self-love (“LoveHabits”) are a beautiful way to show yourself the love, respect, and level of care that you truly desire. Plus, they make you feel really good. Select LoveHabits that work well for you—habits that feel uplifting, regenerative, and/or energizing. The key is to unapologetically commit to daily LoveHabits.

Self-love is your divine responsibility. When you commit to a deep, loving relationship with self, your entire life will positively shift in the most incredible ways. Follow these 10 steps to cultivate self-love and live a life that truly honors your highest good.

Real life experience

Finally, most people don’t have the capacity to love themselves because they create their lives based on what someone else perceives them to be. This TedX talk is confirmation that self-love and living authentically are creating the best life ever for yourself.

On January 22nd of this year Thich Nhat Hahn left his earthly body, leaving a hole where his spiritual teachings filled many with love, joy and hope. These are his rules for life.

Will You Join Me – Home Cooking, a Benefit of Pandemic Coping

“At a scale not seen in over 50 years, America is cooking, a healthy move in the middle of a pandemic.” Hans Taparia/New York Times

The kitchen is my second favorite room in the house. I consider it a place where my creativity and love of delicious food unite to create a combination of ingredients to nourish myself and share great tasting food. Cooking and being in the kitchen gives me comfort and peace in such a strange and difficult time. My mother who created wonderful meals led the way for me, she was my teacher in the process of making food with love. While my mom passed away in 2013 she’s never left my side, whenever I cook she’s right there with me. I cannot imagine a more soul satisfying way to spend days at home then enjoying the process of making delicious, healthy meals that satisfy my intention to eat mindfully.

While there have been many negatives with COVID-19, there are a few benefits, one most prominent is the return to the core of family and cooking and serving real meals at home. Cooking at home isn’t only a means of satisfying our appetites, it is a cultural pillar of socialization that stems from the love of family, friends and the essential human bond of togetherness. This terrible situation has forced people to return to family closeness and better health.

When I was growing up, going out to eat was uncommon, our togetherness and the terrific food were matchless. Did you know that since the inception of the pandemic over 100,000 restaurants have closed, not just independently owned, but many major chains have had to close either some or all of their restaurants? My personal opinion is that eating out has become too common, as ordinary as filling a car with fuel. I see this pandemic as an opportunity for people who treat food as necessary to discover homemade food as a personal link to the care of their body as well as a fun and creative way to enjoy food.

A simple but lovely prayer that I found:

May this food that you provide
and that I prepare
bring nourishment to our bodies
and renewal to our souls.
Amen (Simon Carey Holt)

Cooking at home is a primary element to good health. A few people who have tried to promote the benefits of cooking at home made far less impact then COVID-19. A turn of events that has the potential to improve the overall health of many Americans who had previously relied on take out and restaurants in place of cooking at home. Around 30.3 million people in the US have type 2 diabetes and 84.1 million are prediabetic. making this pandemic a perfect storm to take the time to learn to cook and find ways to improve our health through fresh and healthy ingredients.

The need to home cook has never been higher, since the coronavirus has been most threatening to people with food-related chronic diseases. About 90 percent of those who become seriously ill due to the virus have an underlying condition — hypertension and diabetes being the most common. New York Times

Above and beyond the nutritional and health benefits is the connection with the ingredients that feed your body. We are evolving away from institutional, commercial food to fresh food. A better environment is created when meals are made and enjoyed at home and mental health benefits are considerable. We pay more attention to what goes in our meals and the way we feel when we eat. For instance, I’ve been slowly reducing the amount of sodium in my food to adding no salt recently. So, I’m ramping up the herbs and spices to make healthier food that is full of flavor and it’s a big success. I consider myself a home chef because I am able to create many meals without the use of a recipe, so I followed the chef standard of adding salt to everything, even sweets so this was a big change for me, but one that is driving a new creative path and a new relationship with the ingredients.

I recently watched a show where a group of people, a historian and archaeologists left the 21st century to immerse themselves in the simple and hard life on a farm in the Victorian era for a year. If you think cooking is a challenge now, just consider the life of someone who cooked using a charcoal fueled stove and oven, preparing food from scratch that they gathered from their garden where animals were butchered that they’d hand raised. That is the true spirit of home cooking embodied in a life lived naturally and self-sufficiently.

The act of cooking should be a spiritual practice that fuels the soul. Create a kitchen that is not only peaceful and beautiful but a sacred space. Here are some methods to connect the kitchen and preparation of food to the earth and all of life.

  • Declutter your kitchen, keep it clean
  • Keep in mind that this is a space where everyone will participate in the important rituals of treating their body and heart with special care
  • Make the meal cooking process an event, whether you’re cooking with someone or you’re on your own
  • Turn off and remove any electronic communication devices to increase your consciousness around the food you’re preparing
  • Be respectful of the room, of the food that is created and what the room represents, your loving care will be predominate
  • Organize the counters and cupboards for beauty and ease of use. What I had duplicates of or didn’t need, I donated. Whatever changes you make do it so you feel inspired such as adding candles, pots of herbs or flowers
  • Cook mindfully and with love paying attention to all of the dishes that you’re making. Always keep in mind that your energy effects everything around you including meal preparation

Finally, think about how you show up in the kitchen, just as you do in your relationships with people, be thoughtful and mindful of your relationship with the room and the process of preparing food. Fall into step with nature and the beauty of creating meals whether simple or complex. Enjoy and celebrate the food that you make. Let your imagination soar, with access to millions of recipes on the internet, anything is possible in the kitchen.

What the World Needs Now is the Power of Optimism

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (in reference to Covid-19), “There must be room for faith and optimism at this time…the kind of faith that believes, as Moses commands in the Book of Deuteronomy, that “God will bless you in all that you do.” We must do. We must act. We must fight…”fear will weaken, rather than embolden, our resolve. It will undermine our health. Depression will sap our energy and make us partially give up. But faith, optimism and hope will compel us to do the right thing in a time when exercising wise judgment is the difference between life and death.

My fundamental character has always favored optimism over hopelessness so I concentrate on the good in my life. It isn’t always easy, but it feels better than hopelessness so whenever I’ve faced difficulties, catch myself complaining or focusing on the negative, I stop and reflect on all of the luxuries that I am surrounded by. No matter what the circumstances, optimism, faith and belief are the catalysts that have kept me strong knowing to keep going forward and that something will change.

Having a positive attitude isn’t and has never been about ignoring what someone is living through, it is about finding the light and remembering that this too shall pass as everything does. Not everyone around you will agree or may think you’re not seeing the world as you should, but if you think about it that, like everything else, is their perception of the world based on their experiences and how they feel.

It’s been eleven years since I stopped living a conventional, expected life and began the daily practice of living mindfully, intending to make the world a better place. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to the Optimist’s Creed. The words may seem “pollyanaish” but I believe that aligning with the author’s intent are a way to encourage positivity and raise my level of happiness.

I’ve discovered that being optimistic lifts the spirit, eliminates stress and worry that anyone’s health surely does not need. Being optimistic takes determination, grit and an attitude of faith, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed, it will make a difference in your daily life.

About the author of the Optimists Creed: Christian Larson was an American new thought leader and teacher (1874 – 1954), who changed the way people thought; this was his belief:

That all people have a tremendous latent power within them, which could be harnessed for success with the right mind and proper attitude.

To support his beliefs, in 1912 he wrote the following creed, something I thought I would share. I’ve observed this to a fashion, but now I intend to include these ideals in my daily practices, especially with all of the negativity and challenges surrounding us all.

 Sir Ernest Shackleton (an Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic) said: ‘Optimism is true moral courage’. 

In an article about optimism, Dr. Jon Blakey, a coaching expert wrote that he believesit takes courage to be an optimist because it takes courage to fail. It takes courage to be wrong. It takes courage to be unlucky. It takes courage to have a go. Much easier to drift into the background and shelter in cynicism, negativity and despair.”

Did you Know that Pets Enhance Living Mindfully?

Pets are more than something to care for or a four-legged companion and friend to spend time with. They teach us trust, unconditional love, peace, wisdom, presence, understanding and strength. When it comes to leaving a left brain life behind and taking those brave steps toward a life of creativity, heart and mindfulness, our animal friends are one of our greatest teachers.

My current best friend and life teacher is Mandy, a rescue cat who chose my mom and I in a pretty dark hour of our lives. When mom left the earth, Mandy was lost, she didn’t understand and showed it. I am glad I was experienced and observant enough to understand that it was my turn to return the love and help her heal.  She has recovered and enjoys a happy, healthy life with me. She is feisty, funny, unique, very smart and so loving that I can feel it, even when she’s sleeping.

Mandy the Heart Centered Feline

Shifting to a heart-centered life would never be what it is for me without an animal companion/teacher to share this path with. For if anyone knows about living in the moment and unconditional love, it is our animal friends. They never ask for more than what they give.  Learning to love like that can only come from them, for they’re built that way, that is how they are meant to affect our lives and what they are here to teach us.

I don’t believe in owning or dominating a pet, I see my pets as an equal, a companion to share my life with for as long as they are on earth.  I’ve learned so much from them.  I’ve seen them go through pain and continue to love, I’ve seen them struggle through change and continue to love, I’ve watched a last dying breath and she continued to love.

From first-hand experience, I know that they are incredibly smart and understand a lot more than we think they do. Mandy understands tone, she comes when she is called, she knows her name and she knows the change in my behavior when I am leaving the house, she shows me that when I am with her she is safe and feels at peace by sleeping right next to me. I know that she is sharing her wisdom with me all of the time, sometimes I just forget to pay attention.

When we take in a pet, we take on a commitment for more than their physical health and nutritional needs. We take on a commitment to have a special relationship that requires us to be loving, kind, connected and compassionate just as if we were adopting a child.  When we adopt children, we prepare our home and our lives for a life-long relationship that requires that we become flexible, understanding, loving and aware of what that child needs and has been through before they came into our lives. This is how having an animal in our life must be, I see no difference.

Where did we get the idea that animals are a lower form of life and separate from us and they don’t have the capacity to affect our lives as dramatically as they do? Dogs and cats are being used more and more for healing for people with serious illnesses, as companions for the elderly, as best friends for children with medical challenges. If not for animal companions where would all of that love and healing come from?

When our human relationships get to be too much, our animal friends are the perfect antidote to having unconditional love and lots of fun in our lives. But more than that, we can learn from them to love those who have hurt us, those who have left us, those who have betrayed us, those who have turned away when we needed them most, because they know the heart and how to love.

When you’re on a path to live mindfully, yes, there are many human teachers that help us become better, but our animal friends are some of the best teachers because they are always doing it with love no matter what.

To learn more about your connections with pets, go to Mindful Connections.

Thank you for stopping by.

Scientific Evidence that You can Help Heal Yourself

mindovermedicine

For years I’ve done research and written about ways to be involved with our state of health by implementing practices that are natural instead of being completely dependent on mainstream medicine.

Rather than relying on someone else to take our lives in their hands, we should participate in the healing process so we can enjoy our true state which is vital and healthy.

When we take steps on our behalf using natural and scientifically proven techniques with the support of a nurturing healthcare provider, we can reduce our reliance on pharmaceuticals and western medicine to live a healthful life.

Dr. Lissa Rankin was a conventional medicine doctor when she discovered that when we participate in our state of well-being, we can transform our health.  She has created her own mind, body practice, The Whole Health Institute.  It is well worth your time to listen to Lissa to learn practical and simple ways to be involved in your state of wellness.

You can learn more at http://lissarankin.com/, also be sure to check out her blog http://lissarankin.com/blog.