I wasn’t a daily drinker but I did binge drink on the weekends for a long time. I worked in the field of social work and the day to day of emotional stress would take it’s toll on me. I found myself drowning the emotional stress by partying over the weekend in an attempt to erase any traumatic happenings from the work week. Not to mention my past growing up in a household that didn’t know how to handle alcohol. Like many who discover that alcohol is like a poison to their mind, body or spirit, it often runs in the family.
If you are reading this then I am sure you are on the "soul growth path" with your life. You know, the path that asks you to be mindful, present, and aware while exploring what is in your highest good? Asking yourself, is this in my highest good? Does this serve myself and others on their growth path?
Walking on the "soul growth" path is not an easy path to take but it surely seems worth it as the lessons of love, compassion, strength, healing and joy emerge. In my coaching practice and personal growth practice, I find obstacles of resistance arise along the way. It's at these times when the soul growth path may feel more like a darkening tunnel than an enlightening journey. This is when I turn to the wisdom of how nature grows to light my path once again.
When I consider all the work that goes into a flower or plant to grow from the dark soil of the dirt all the way through to just below the surface of the earth to burst through to the other side of light, I simply have to take a deep breath! The amount of strength, momentum, and faith it takes to bust through the surface of the earth to reach the light on the other side reminds me of how powerful growth and unshakable trust and faith is in the process of unfolding.
There is this natural tendency to grow upwards towards the light. Just like the plant growing in the dark soil underneath the ground, it's natural tendency is to grow upwards to break through the barrier of the earth to reach the light. How does it know there is light after breaking through the surface? How does it know what it is growing for/towards?
The soul growth path requires a certain amount of unshakable faith that this path is worth the beautiful unfoldings we have yet to experience. Just like the plant unfolding, we do not know if we are to be revealed as a rose, a pepper plant, or an orchid. It's in this unknown, with a deep commitment to the soul growth highest good path, that we can let go of the end goal and unfold into the unknown of our beautiful light and growth to be.
When you discover resistance on your path, take a moment to sink down into the rich dark soil of your beginnings and truly take note of how you have already expanded through the surface to the light. Use your moments of unshakable faith to carry you through to your next unfolding.
In light and love,
Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness
Since we often operate in a bouncy ball game of craving for something else, whether it's a future event, tasty meal, arrival of something, etc., we get lost out of observing what is and we move into an imaginary state of "what will be" and this often comes with expectations and attachment so that when the imaginary expected moment comes, we are not with it just as it is but rather as a comparative moment from the past imagination of what it was to be.
Further, when we are not craving for the future moment, we may find ourselves in a moment of aversion; a moment that feels unpleasant so we may feel that urge to escape as soon as possible. Again, the moment is not spent on observing the present time experience but rather it's spent on the escape plan. The mind has many avenues of escape; you can check out with a daydream, escape to future thoughts of an external stress reliever of food, drink, etc. You can also escape physically by finding a way to get up and walk away from the moment. Either way, what I've learned is that you can be in any moment and be with it just as it is, even if you are labeling it as unpleasant. Try on this for size, the next time you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, see if you can detach yourself from it and simply observe your thoughts about it. Just notice how you are breathing, how your body is feeling and what types of thoughts are happening for you. Challenge yourself just to be with it before you decide to physically or mentally find an escape route. Just like in a yoga class, you may have poses that don’t feel as good, but if you can ask your mind and body just to settle into it, the struggle and fight lifts and you realize the many great benefits to surrendering and letting go to the moment just as it is presented to you.
The realization comes from accepting that we have so much influence over how the moment feels and goes. For example, when we experience something unpleasant, our mind and body can start to react with negativity, thus further attaching to the negativity of the moment and this can make the observed unpleasantry work double time because now we are associating with it and attaching to it like a bunch of negativity magnets piling up on each other. If you can stay in a more objective place and just notice, it can keep the bunches of negativity magnets at bay and this will allow for a more timely passing of this unpleasant moment. Patience is your friend with this practice, since patience does not involve a reaction; it simply sits and observes without expectations of time.
Similarly, we have to be aware of those pleasant moments that we want to last and last and last. Those joyous, happy, loving moments that feel oh sooo good. When we become attached to those pleasant sensations, we also create a certain game of craving for those moments and we can feel a sense of loss when they are not there. This holding onto those moments can create cravings for more and more of it, which can lead you on a dangerous lovable moments chase, which again can easily lead you out of the present moment.
Again, the idea is to be with what is as much as possible. Just start by observing how much time you spend thinking of the past or planning for the future. Just observe it and see if you can practice coming back to what is happening now. Of course, we all have jobs and things we need to plan for, but see if you can leave those to designated times instead of whenever it seems to pop up. Observe what it feels like in your mind, body and/or spirit when unpleasant moments arise and see if you can sit with it just as it is without moving away from it and without reaching for something external to soothe it. Again, patience here is your friend :-).
This takes a consistent practice; a truly diligent and strong effort, but believe me, it's worth it! You will start to experience a more even balanced way of living, where the roller coaster of life will not take you on a bumpy ride since you will be able to detach more from the ups and downs and just observe it all calmly and with deeper sense of appreciation. It will allows for more love and compassion to enter into your heart and you will have more focused energy so you can serve others from your highest ways of being.
If you want to find out more about Vipassana mediation, visit their site here: http://www.mahavana.dhamma.org
If you want to learn how to practice a more balanced mindful life, send me an email and we can set up a time to sit and have a session.
Liz Myers, MA
Founder, Rooted Living Wellness.
Meditation serves many purposes. It can be used to calm the mind, settle the body, connect with spirit while you give your being a full dose of a much needed slow deepened breath in and out. Take a few pauses today to really connect with your breath. Pause, feel the air enter into your nose or mouth, feel yourself let it out, emptying yourself completely.
Allow yourself a few moments to slow down and breathe in big and deep, pause, and breathe out big and deep and pause again before breathing in again. Dropping your breath into your belly while you do this can give you a very nice relaxing feeling! Start with just a few of these nice deep breathes in and out at times when you need it most or can remember to do it today!
Liz, Rooted Living Wellness.
One of my best friends once told me, "you know, people come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime". That statement impacted me on a deep level. Seeing the human connection as a temporary entity can create feelings of both relief and anxiety. It's in the attachment of relationships that we can feel the greatest joy and pain. It's that beautiful connection with another bright soul that can feel so invigorating. At the same time, the beautiful connection that made us feel so good, can also make us feel at our worst when it feels like that connection has died.
As the buddha stipulates, the root of all suffering comes from attachment. Being attached to a permanent idea of a certain connection can get us into trouble quickly, as there really is no permanency in this life, there's just the illusion of it. If you can understand that connections and things happen as they do and then they are gone again, then you can have an impermanence about your living, and in theory, you will experience no suffering. Practicing having an open heart for your connections in the moment while being able to let go after the interaction has ended can support your ability to practice this concept of non-attachment.
However, for those who you have lost a deep loving connection to another beautiful being in the physical world along the way or who may be out of reach for a long period of time, I also find it very powerful to engage in heartfelt connections from a far. You can place one hand on your heart, bring a loved one (whether alive or dead, whether we still connect in the physical world or not) and you can send them some love from your heart and spirit. This activity is not about attachment, it's about sending a loving connection. When I do this, I instantly feel connected to them without having any expectations on the relationship; it's just a simple heartfelt connection.
But what about those times when you feel like you do need to let go of what has felt like a longer lasting relationship? Those times when it feels like it would be best for this person to have been for a "reason or a season"? It makes me think back to the time when I lived an unsober life; a time when alcohol was more of the ruler of my decisions than a true heartfelt connection. This focus seemed to draw in more heavy drinkers into my life. As I embarked upon the path to sobriety, it was evident that I had to let go of certain relationships if I wanted to be successful with my new direction. This letting go provided a combination of guilt, loss and relief all rolled into one.I didn't want to say goodbye to people I had spent much time with, but I realized that much of the time was centered around alcohol and it was clouding my spirit.
Sometimes we stay in relationships with others out of a sense of pure obligation or routine. We don't want to leave others or have them leave us. But, if we can come back to the fact that people come into your life for a "reason, season or a lifetime", you can practice a certain letting go of the mind's attachment to forever and struggle/control over others. All relationships have their ups and downs. When the road feels like a continuous rocky path that takes you further and further away from your authentic light self, it may be time to practice a letting go. Feel into your light and look at the reason, honor the seasons and breathe into the lifetime. The fact is that we simply don't know how long relationships will last nor how long we or others will live.
By Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness
There are so many aspects to wellness that it can be challenging at times to feel like you are juggling them all in balance. I'm sure you have seen this image of the "wellness wheel", which breaks down the different areas of focus for your balanced well-being. The main categories tend to focus on the following key areas: Spiritual, Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Social, Environmental and Financial wellbeing. Of course, your personal wheel may vary a bit depending on your unique life.
When finding yourself out of balance with a certain area of your wellness wheel, it helps to first bring awareness and focus to that area with a sense of compassion. Observe and ask what that area needs in order to feel/be more in balance and well. Do your best not to attach to any judgement arising from the current situation. Instead, focus on what that area needs in order to be nourished so it can flourish and flow.
Now, you may look at this wheel and find that more than one area, if not several, are in need of a nurturing tune up. However, I invite you to choose one at a time. Focus on that one that is calling just a bit louder for action than the others. Once you've chosen that area, follow these simple steps to resolution!
In the brilliant book, The Kaizen Way: One Small Step Can Change Your Life (Maurer, 2004), the main lesson is centered around making small steps for success. It's concept is very similar to the familiar phrase, "take it one day at a time". The greatest example I can share from this book relates to creating financial wellness. The identified piece of the wellness puzzle is financial and the identified balancing component for this example is to create savings. We all know it can be a challenge at times to save money, especially during the holiday season. However, the ease of this task comes with the small steps it takes to be successful. Since we have 365 days in the year, we can use this one day at a time mantra to our advantage. Start by committing to saving just $1 a day. Having a daily commitment of just a dollar a day will get you in the habit of saving up those dollars one day at a time. At the end of the year, you will have a guaranteed $365! It may not seem much to some, but to others that is a great success. And the achievability of reaching this goal with ease will bring a positive energetic flow to your relationship with money. It will allow you to enjoy and engage in the art of saving. If you are artistic, it can be fun to decorate a savings jar. If you are more into electronics and seeing those dollars raised online, create a separate savings account for your fun 365 dollar adventure. Be sure to mark off your daily success on the calendar, it will give you a good dose of happy success endorphins.
If $1 feels too easy, start with $2 a day or choose one month where you change it to $2 or even $3 a day just for that particular month. Whatever you choose, be sure that it's small enough to commit to over the long haul. Success and habit creation are the keys to this wellness equation.
This daily commitment can apply to any area of your life. You can add something in once a day or take something away once a day. Maybe you could benefit from taking one less sip of caffeine each day. Or how about squeezing in one extra sip of water each hour. Make it something you commit to and be sure to checkmark your progress.
Happy wellness balancing folks!
~ Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness
Maurer, R. (June, 2004). The Kaizen Way: One Small Step Can Change Your Life. Workman Publishing; New York.
As the New Year approaches, the pressures for resolutions increase. This may come to you with ease or it may feel like fingers nails scratching against a chalkboard, screeching loudly for a an idea to put into action. Did you know that about 50% of the population sets a New Years resolution? Did you also know that research indicates that only 8% of those who set one, actually follow through?! Believe me, those statistics are shocking to me too!
When faced with this New Year, I like to first take a look at the past year and look at what I've learned. If everything I went through, made me the powerful woman I am today, then I have no regrets, and I have many lessons to refer to moving forward. This New Year, take a moment to embrace and reflect on the lessons learned with the understanding that all you go through is meant to happen for your growth to be where you are today.
If you feel called to take that next step and make a resolution, make a small one to start. Small goals create a likelihood of following through as the fear response stays off and your strengths are able to shine through. As we know, success feeds upon success so your accomplishment with that small goal will invite in a feeling of personal strength which will lead you to set another goal that you will be sure to be successful with. If you need some support, coaching, retreats, etc, you know where to find them for your New Year :-). Sending happy well wishes for an amazing 2015.
~Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness
One of my favorite mindfulness activities rests in the meld of photography and nature. Looking through the lens of the camera shrinks the world down to that rectangular view, allowing a simplified focus and appreciation of the beauty through the viewfinder. Wishing you many mindful moments of appreciation for all that you already are and all that you experience each and every day. Sending much love your way <3.
Want a healthier version of a super amazingly delicious dessert for the holidays? Try out this kickass raw chocolate recipe. It's super easy and quick to make! As always, this recipe can be adapted any way you like. Allergic to nuts? Ditch em. I love dried blueberries so sometimes I substitute these for the goji berries. Explore with your favorite dried fruit.
3/4 cup cacao butter
1 cup cacao powder
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 cup goji berries
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp almond butter (Optional)
1/3 cup coconut shavings
1 Tbsp maca powder (optional)
1 Tsp Cinnamin
1/2 Tsp salt
First, measure out the cacao powder and put it in medium size mixing bowl. Next, gently melt the cacao butter and almond butter together in a pan. Low heat is necessary to avoid burning this aromatic butter. Take mindful moments to smell this beautiful delicious cacao aroma! When the butter has just completed melting, pour into the bowl over the cacao powder. Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, maca powder, cinnamon and salt to taste. Mix with love! This is your base chocolate.
Next, place in the dried fruit, seeds, nuts and coconut shavings. Be sure to SAVE a bit of the nut, seeds, fruit and coconut shavings to add over the top.
If you are using a mold, place a couple of pieces of dried fruit in the bottom of the mold then fill up almost to the top. You can place more coconut shaving, dried fruit and/or nuts on the top of the chocolate once you've filled the mold most of the way. If you do not have a mold, you can spread the chocolate over a plate and add the extra dried fruit, etc on the top. Place in the freezer for up to an hour. Remove from the molds or plate and enjoy! For long lasting raw chocolate, keep it in the fridge for freshness and to avoid melting :-).
Why Raw chocolate?
A few amazing benefits from Yates article in Rejuvenated for Life:
• Cacao is a powerhouse full of antioxidants!
• Cacao has been studied for its ability to reduce blood pressure and has been shown to produce “a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure by 2-3mm Hg in the short term” (Schardt, 2013)
• Eating cacao makes you happy! It contains phenylethylamine, which is responsible for our state of mood and pleasure and the same feelings you get when you are in love.
• Acts as a stimulant and can improve mental alertness.
• Cacao also contains serotonin and dopamine – which also stimulate good mood and ‘pleasure’ feelings :-).
Just a tip that this chocolate can be quite stimulating so watch out for those late night chocolate snacks :-). Thanks for stopping in for a healthier holiday treat! Please share your recipes, variations and feedback too.
~ by Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness
Yates, Claire. Rejuvenated for Life. Retrieved http://rejuvenatedforlife.com/your-ultimate-guide-to-raw-cacao-powder-butter-nibs/
Schardt, D, How Bittersweet It is, 2013, Nutrition Action Healthletter, Dec
Some of you may thoroughly enjoy this busy time of the year. However, many of you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the buzzing energy and tasks to tackle. Holidays can bring up some old memories or bring you closer to events that you would rather avoid. Finding balance during this busy and often emotional time of year takes some effort on your part. Here's a few tips to keep you in check and smiling through the madness!
1) Slow it Down: If you find yourself racing on the treadmill of "to do's", take a break. Check out your list and erase a couple of things you are doing just out of pure obligation.
2) Ask for Support: You don't have to do it all yourself. Ask a friend, partner or loved one to give you a helping hand.
3) Stick to a budget: I often see people break the bank during this time of year just to impress others or show they care. However, when January comes and you can't pay your credit card bill, those others concerns won't matter any longer. Consider home made gifts or attending bazaars. It's holds a much more heartfelt effect for sure and your wallet will thank you!
4) Exercise: Stick to exercise and other healthy activities to keep your stress level down.
5) Eat without Guilt: This is a time to eat amazing and often decadent food. Enjoy every bite. It's the guilt that makes it harder for your body to break it down and digest properly, so enjoy! However, make sure to take breaks from too much of those sugary treats to avoid getting sick.
6) Create New Holiday Traditions: How many traditions do you take part in that seem to cause more stress? Find some time to create fun and uplifting traditions for yourself and your loved ones.
7) Celebrate! Take some time to really enjoy opportunities to reconnect with loved ones.
~ By Liz Myers at Rooted Living Wellness
Liz Myers, MA, RYT200
Spiritual Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
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