Tag Archives: dawn gluskin

From Intent.com: Practice Forgiveness

Compassion

You have likely heard the old adage that holding onto anger is like holding onto hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else. The importance of forgiving others, while not always easy, is one we learn as a part of understanding compassion. We practice forgiveness as a component to understanding mercy, grace and kindness.

We’ve seen the effects of guilt and shame. We’ve also seen the effects of being unforgiving on a person who’s been wronged. No one wants to wake up and realize they’re the bitter, angry person who couldn’t let go and couldn’t move on from even some of the worst hurts. No one wants to know they let someone else control their decisions and freeze their lives in a terrible moment, unable to break free and move forward in freedom. But what about when we are the person at fault? What do we do when the finger of blame is point straight at ourselves? Continue reading

The Power of Looking Fear in the Eye

speaking

A common fear amongst writers and other creative sorts is pouring your heart and soul into your latest masterpiece only to have it ripped apart by way of criticism and negative feedback. This is especially true in the digital arena where people often sling mud at strangers from behind their keyboards without batting an eye. I’ve seen this fear actually paralyze many talented artists from really going for their dreams and putting their work out there. In my own writing, I used to find myself playing it ridiculously safe, careful not to stir the pot too much or offend anybody. Continue reading

Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Own Greatness

Priska climbing the classic Star CheckRecently, as I found myself sitting in front of my laptop, tapping away at the final touches of my book  proposal, I’ve drifted away from my usual writer’s bliss and instead have been, oh you know, totally freaking out! You see, the deadline to submit the proposal to my dream publisher, Hay House, as part of the contest they’re holding for participants of last April’s ‘Writing from Your Soul’ conference is quickly approaching. And, wouldn’t you know, all of a sudden, my ego is totally tripping out on me! “Who would even want to read my book” “What are the odds of getting picked with over 500 others in attendance?” “I bet there are some pretty amazing book ideas out there.” As I’ve allowed these thoughts to creep into my brain, they have literally taken over, sucking the creativity and joy out of what is usually one of my most favorite activities, writing!!  I even started creeping into the “why bother?” territory. Yikes!

With just a little over a month away to finish up, fine-tune, and put my best step forward, I didn’t have time for this self-sabotage crapola and needed to snap out of it, stat! Through all of my spiritual work, deep down, I know that this is just the fearful illusion of my ego, trying to keep me “safe.” In reality, I don’t truly believe this crazy-talk deep inside. At first I thought it was fear of failure or fear of rejection. Then, I realized that it was a much deeper fear. All of a sudden, I had an a-ha moment as I heard Marianne Willamson’s voice in my head with her world famous quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Yes, this absolutely rings true! I was on the brink of psyching myself out into playing small. We all do this. It really is our own light that frightens us the most.

You see, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a writer. When deciding what to major in college, I shied away from pursuing writing as a career because I didn’t see how I could make a living at it. I chose a different path to pay my bills. But, in more recent years, I have been strongly guided towards it again. It truly feel it is my calling. I’ve amassed a lot of experiences and wisdom through the years in my entrepreneurial and life adventures and through my spiritual studies, which has all helped me tremendously with my own personal growth and transformation. I feel that it is my duty to share this information as I know it can help so many others as well.  And, through my blogging, I’ve made so many beautiful connections with readers and affirmed this truth. So, I had to give myself a little Marianne Williamson-esque, “who are you not to be a writer?”

I share this story with you because I want you to be aware of your own potential greatness! But, also to be aware of your own negative self-talk that will try so hard to snuff out your fire. You are meant to shine, baby!! We all are. And by shining your light, you are helping others to do the same.

Try these 4 steps that I used to put a muzzle on my own negative chatter:

  1. Be the observer. Instead of owning these thoughts as if they came from you, “I won’t win” “I can’t do it” — take on the role of observer, as if somebody else is saying them to you. This is called separating yourself from your ego. While the ego may have good intentions of keeping us safe, instead it keeps us living in fear and not taking chances or reaching our full potential. That voice is not who we really are!

  2. Notice how silly it can be. As I listened to my ego voice as an observer, I actually giggled out loud. “Where do you come up with this stuff? You aren’t very nice!,” I thought to myself. Then, I said, “thank you for trying to protect me, but I’ve got this.”

  3. Channel your Marianne Williamson. ”Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Remember this line always. Seriously, who are you not to be?! Print it out and put it somewhere you can always see it. You are not alone. We all go through this, but you can rise above. You are meant for greatness!

  4. Remember who you really are. For me, I had to remind myself of my deep passion for writing. Also, I am not doing this for me, but I feel a calling to share information to help others. I’m not doing myself or the world any justice by copping out. Same applies to you! The world needs what you have to offer. Don’t hold back!

Finally, after doing all of the above, I sat down with more focus and clarity then I have had in a long time. The words just flowed out of me. I reconnected with my purpose. I might not be good at a lot of things, but writing is definitely my calling..

And, of course, this does not mean I am a shoe-in for the Hay House prize by any means. But, winning or losing this contest is not what matters most. It’s about pushing through personal boundaries. And, at the end of next month, I will have a completed book proposal. That is a big deal for me, regardless of the outcome. I will continue to push towards my dreams, silencing my own negative chatter along the way.

What about you? Can you think of a time when you were talking yourself out of your own greatness? How did you get back on track? Have you ever missed out on an opportunity because of your own inner-critic? We can all learn from each other and would love to hear from you in the comments below!

For more from Dawn, check out www.dawngluskin.com and join her inspiring Facebook community

Teaching Children Meditation & Mindfulness

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.35.56 PMIn today’s high-tech, fast-paced world, it’s pretty easy to become over-stimulated. Busy schedules directing us to go, go, go and electronic devices constantly in our hands, sucking us into scattered digital directions make inner-peace a fleeting want. Enter tension and fatigue. This is true for us, as adults, so imagine children as they absorb the energy of their parents and of the environment which they live in. Then, we send them off to school where they are expected to concentrate and focus.

As an adult, to be able to accomplish all of the above is a pretty remarkable feat. Imagine learning these tools as a young child and then being able to use them your entire life! What if an entire generation of children were blessed with this gift? While mindfulness is catching on and currently being taught in a handful of schools across the country, it is largely up to the parents to teach this powerful tool. And studies have linked mindfulness to better concentration, increased focus, and boosts of memory – so it’s well worth it.

The tips I’m about to share are my own experience as a parent and what has worked in our family. They are geared towards younger children, but much of it can apply to older kids as well. (If you are an adult looking to learn more about meditation, you may want to check out this article.)

Introducing Meditation and Mindfulness to Young Children

  1. Lead by example. As a parent, it is most important to first develop your own meditation practice and then show your children the way. They will naturally become curious as they so often want to emulate the behaviors they see in their parents and others whom they look up to. My five year old daughter has grown up her whole life witnessing meditation, and I even have many fond memories of her as a toddler coming out of bed in the morning and plopping herself down on my lap while I was in the midst of meditating! Once there is a genuine and natural interest, you can begin to help guide them into a better understanding and foster the growth of their own practice.

  2. Make it relatable, on a child’s level. There is a wonderful book about meditation called Peaceful Piggy that I’ve read with my daughter many times and would highly recommend. The story-telling approach is a wonderful way to connect with young kids. Above that, they suggest a really simple do-it-at-home experiment to demonstrate what meditation is all about. It says to take a jar and fill the bottom with a bit of sand. Then, cover with water. Shake the jar so that all the grains of sand begin swirling all around. Tell your child that each of those grains of sands represents a thought. It could be a happy thought, a sad thought, an angry thought. But, the grains swirling around represent all of the thoughts buzzing around our heads throughout the day. Next put the jar down and allow the sand to settle. See how the sand “thoughts” become calmer and the water becomes clearer? The thoughts are still there, but they are no longer all “crazy.” Peace and stillness have taken over. Explain to your child that this symbolizes the effect of meditation on the brain.

  3. Encourage discussion of their own feelings and emotions. Ask them for examples of different experiences: when something made them really happy, or really sad, a time they felt upset or their feelings were hurt, a time they felt scared. Give a few of your own examples to show them that we all feel this same array of emotions on a regular basis. Even young children, who seem to have such simple lives, still have a lot to sort through and deal with. They may share some emotions such as: happy on a fun family adventure, upset when mommy or daddy wouldn’t let them do what they wanted, sad when a family member or pet became ill, or feeling hurt when a friend in school said something mean. For children who are a bit older, the standardized testing system seems to be a source of worry. Meditation can help settle the overwhelming feelings and bring them to a calmer place in their thoughts. Being able to get outside of the whirlwind to just observe instead of being engulfed is truly a powerful gift.

  4. MinfulnessRealistic Expectations. It’s important to cover that there is no way to do this right or “wrong.” Like exercising, results become more apparent with repetition. Frequency is key to really seeing benefits over time. That being said, this should be an enjoyable experience for them and not feel like a chore or something they are being forced to do. Encourage their interest, efforts, and willingness. If you are into reward systems, this could be a good time to implement some small ones. “Let’s practice a few minutes of meditation and then we can play a little game” or “have a little treat.” This type of system is very encouraging for young children. Make it special! Designate a specific area for them in the house that will be their meditation spot. Make it welcoming with their own pillow or special pillowcase. Encourage them to bring a few trinkets that have special meaning to them: perhaps a family photo, their favorite artwork, a remnant of the earth such as gemstone or even a plant.

  5. Use a Timer. It’s great to have a goal time, but start small. Depending on the age, 3-5 minutes can be a reasonable beginner goal. A timer is nice because it is finite and they know to expect an end time. There are many great meditation apps that you can download for your smartphone. I like ones that use singing bowl sounds for start and finish. Let your child start the timer and put it somewhere they can see it. Encourage them to not worry about the time. Instead, just relax and know their meditation is over once they hear the singing bowl ring again.

  6. Guide them. Sitting down in lotus posture with eyes closed is not a must (although that is perfectly fine). Like I said, there is no right or wrong way. The point is to get them into a practice of settling their minds and become more mindful. Keeping the eyes closed allows for deeper relaxation, so would be suggested. Naturally, they will want to peek – this is okay! Lying down while meditating presents an opportunity to become a little too relaxed and possibly even fall asleep, so some sort of sitting position is best. Small children will be fidgety. Just encourage them to try their best to sit still with eyes closed until the timer goes off. Most important is to focus on the breath. Breathing is something we always take with us, so this can literally be practiced anywhere. Have them simply notice their breathing as their chest rises and falls. Then, start to encourage long, deep, slow breaths where their belly rises up on the inhale and contracts to small again as the exhale it all out.

(A fun visual: “Blowing out the Candle.” Have them clasp their hands together and raise their two index fingers, holding them in front of their mouth. Inhale slowly and deeply. On the slow exhale, have them imagine blowing out a birthday candle. Blowing out a candle is something all children can relate to, and it’s pretty fun too! When my daughter is having a tough time with something, I can simply tell her “breathe, blow out your candle” and she knows exactly what to do to calm down.)

  1. Let it be. Sitting still may not comes naturally at first. It is okay for minds to wander. It is okay to fidgety. As a matter of fact, expect it. Just encourage them to try their best to relax and refocus them back to focusing on their breath as often as needed. Know that over time and with regular practice, they will be able to sit still longer and they will begin to experience many of the other wonderful benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Don’t push it, but gently encourage them to practice regularly.

Our children are the future, and we have infinite love for them. What a beautiful gift to give them and to the world by teaching them to meditate. Namaste.

Do you meditate with your children? Do you have any of your own tips to add? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

For more by Dawn Gluskin be sure to get on the free email list for exclusive content direct to your inbox and join the inspiring Dawnsense Facebook community.

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Why Real Life Will Always Be Better Than Social Media

CBR003159A recent study by the Public Library of Science shows that the more somebody uses Facebook, the more their satisfaction of life decreases. Apparently, many frequent Facebookers are scrolling through their newsfeeds feeling bad because they don’t think their own lives stack up to the fabulous accomplishments, vacations, and photo-shopped and filtered images they see plastered on their computer screens.

I love social media just as much as the next person, with the ability to easily stay in touch with long distance friends and family and to reach a broader audience with my blog posts. However, the dark side is it can cause some to experience negative feelings which can morph into criticism, judgement and competition with others or even depression and lowered feelings of self.

The deeper concern here is looking inward, not outward, for peace and adopting an “I am enough” mentality. We will never be happy when comparing ourselves to others. But, before taking that deep dive, it is important to scratch the surface and for people need to realize that social media is not even the real deal. It is simply a snapshot of a life — the very best moments that we all choose to share with our audience.

If I take a closer look at my own life and the lives of those in my social circle, there are many of us modern day ‘super-women’ types out there. We use our powers to do cool things like create beautiful babies, build a kick-ass career, leap tall hobbies and ambitions in a single bound, make the world a better place, and look darn good doing it all! Some run their households like a tight ship carting the kids to school and various extracurricular activities with ease, whipping up healthy & Pinterest-worthy meals without breaking a sweat, and a keeping spotless house.

While juggling such full plates with style and grace and making a difference in the world is certainly commendable, don’t you often wonder what is really going on behind the scenes?

Here’s a peek into my own life. Just last week, I was thanking my lucky stars for a busy day at the office as my tech company was finally picking up a little steam, after a very lackluster 2012. I was happily bouncing from customer call to PO processing to, oh crap! I was running late (again) in leaving to get my 5 year old daughter to dance class. Little twang of mommy-guilt ensues. Later, I was playing outside with my girls, when I realized “oh crap” (again), as it just dawned on me that I forgot to reply to an important client email that I had promised to deliver. Ugggh. Time to whip out the iPhone and sneak in a quickie one-handed email while bouncing the baby on one hip and pushing the five year old in the swing. People seem to get the impression that I totally have my sh*t together, but honestly it’s a never-ending quest for balance! I have to work really hard on it and often come up short.

And, sure, if I invite you over for dinner, my house is going to be squeaky clean, smelling divine, and I will be fresh-faced and greet you with a big smile, ready to be your hostess with the mostest. But, if you show up at my house unannounced, expect to find me in yoga pants, no makeup, possibly un-showered, frazzled, with kids and animals running around, toys strewn all about, and a possibly a mystery smell in the air. It could be the cat box, dirty diapers, garbage that needs to go out, or a smelly dog. Hopefully, it’s not me!

What is my point with all this? I’m just keeping it real. It gets messy behind the scenes. People usually post the happy and photogenic moments to share with their virtual followings, and I’m not going to judge that. I mostly do the same. Frankly, nobody wants to see photos of me un-showered, in my yoga pants and with regurgitated baby food stains on my shirt. Nor do I want to share every gut-wrenching decision I have to make or twang of mommy guilt that comes my way. And, I cringe anytime I see people post all their dirty laundry on social media. (I’m so not going there!) But, that doesn’t mean there is not a deeper story going on. The same applies to everyone online.

Think about an iceberg and how the majority of it is underwater and out of site to the naked eye. What people choose to share on social is just the tip of their iceberg. While social media can be a great way to keep in touch, it is no substitute for in-person interaction and you have to realize that you are only getting a small glimpse into people’s lives – usually the highlights reel.

To have your social media and your happiness too, the lessons to take from this are:

  1. Limit your social media browsing. Study after study continues to bring its dark side to light. Like all good things, moderation is key. If you are slightly obsessed (and, yes, it can be highly addicting), try setting time limits or even take a little time off. Enjoy your new-found happiness!

  2. Spend time doing what you love. What are you super passionate about? What works in your life for you and your family? If you invest all of your time and energy diving deeply into whatever passion burns inside of you, then you will simply not have the time or energy to aimlessly peruse the internet all day. Fall in love with you and chase your dreams. You are amazing and have much to offer the world.

  3. Remember all that glitters is not gold. Behind every shiny and polished exterior, there is most definitely a deeper story sure to include some struggle and sacrifice that has gone on behind-the-scenes. Remind yourself that what you are seeing is only one snapshot of reality. Don’t do the comparison thing! Just don’t. You are enough.

  4. Take notice & log off. If you notice yourself feeling a little down or upset when browsing Facebook, then that is a major sign its time to log off for a bit. There was life before social media – remember? Sometimes less is more. Get yourself out into the real world and live it up! And no need to post all about it, either. Spend that time actually enjoying and savoring each moment.

  5. Spend more time face-to-face. This same study associated spending more time interacting with real people with an increase in life satisfaction. Go figure. You get much more of the real enchilada in-the-flesh than on the computer screen, anyway. Spending more time being “real” social makes for both healthier relationships and better self-image. Get some friends together and leave your iPhone off. (Just for an hour or two. The world won’t end – I promise!)

  6. Don’t hate, elevate! Remember, the life you are currently living is a by-product of the thoughts and choices you have made along the way. If you are feeling a little down or even a little envious, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is just a gentle nudge for you to look deeper inside and figure out what direction you want or need to go with your own life. So, choose wisely how you react. Don’t let those feelings turn toxic. Instead, bless and congratulate others. Then take that positive energy and use it towards working on elevating your own existence. You have infinite potential!

Hopefully we can all learn to take social media for what it is and not allow it to become a negative component in our lives. In the meantime, maybe we can all start a ‘keep it real’ movement where we start posting “real life “pictures, like  when we first roll out of bed, pre-coffee (or green juice) and make-up. And, no editing or filters! Go ahead … you go first. 😉

What about you? Are you addicted to social? Are you one to “put it all out there” or just the highlights like most people? Have you witnessed or experienced a correlation with too much social and a decline in happiness? Sound off in the comments below!

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For more from Dawn Gluskin, join her inspiring Facebook community & sign up for her weekly love letters and receive a complimentary digital copy of her new ebook, “Make it Happen! Guide to Manifesting”.

Why Competition is an Old Model of Living

UnityCompetition is an outdated model of living. There is a strong calling for us all to begin recognizing our unity and working together, instead. Easier said then done, I know. We have all been taught from birth that we are separate from each other with every man or woman fighting for themselves in this so-called ‘dog eat dog’ world. We compete to get into the best schools and then to get the best jobs so we can buy the best things and everybody will think we are cool. But, is that really why we are here? So that other people think we are cool?? Prettiest, smartest, funniest? You get the point. Surely, there has to be something more! So much more.

While it is true that, as individuals, we need to create our own destiny, putting others down or feeling bad about ourselves in the process should never be a part of the equation. But, those are the exact things that manifest when we feel separate and the need to compete or prove ourselves. With everything going on in the world today, we really need to ban together. The power of collective consciousness is the only way to trump many of the serious challenges that we are facing and will continue to face. We need to respect each other and work together.

Competition is rooted in fear – fear that you are not good enough, smart enough, special enough or unique enough. This is the ego’s way of keeping us separate and small. It’s also a huge distraction from our life’s mission — to spreading all the goodness we can possibly spread. When you are taken over by feelings of jealousy, anger, animosity, and lack on one end of the spectrum, or vanity, superiority and self-righteousness on the other end, then how can you possibly be at your best performance to help the world?

And, believe me, I know. I am far from perfect and have to continually work as I grow along my own spiritual path. For instance, it used to really bother me when somebody would come to me and say, “I think so and so is copying you. Didn’t you just post something similar or doesn’t this sound way too familiar?” It has happened in both my business and personal life. It used to really bug me, as my ego desperately tried to cling to my perceived specialness and uniqueness. It was my own immaturity and insecurities coming out that made me feel like I needed to get the credit or the pat on the back. It has taken much work and shining the light on this weakness of mine, but I’ve learned to just be happy to see how far the ripple effect can go. Ideas and inspiration are supposed to be shared (as long as actual copyright or intellectual property is not being trampled on in the process), and we’re all so much better off when they are shared.. Who am I (or anyone else) to try to hoard them?

We’re all unique, like snowflakes. While we may have some similarities, there is nobody else in this entire world that is just like you or me. We all have our own very unique journey, life experiences, and perceptions. And, the world needs more of the special gift that each of us has inside. We should all feel encouraged and free to put our own unique spin on similar ideas and offer them to the world. There is plenty of space for all of us to do so! Instead of concerning yourself with what others are doing and how you compare, focus on what you love and what lights you up. Everything else will naturally fall into place!

Take me, for example. Sure, there are a million other self-help blogs, life coaches, and female entrepreneurs out there, but that doesn’t stop me from spreading my own perspective on common ideas. People need to hear these same concepts in many different ways! We each have our own unique light to shine and impact to make. I don’t spend my time worrying about how I compare to others because I don’t give my heart and soul for the pats on the back and recognition. I do it out of love and to hopefully make a difference to someone. It’s all about intention. When intent is rooted in pure love, you dreams will grown and manifest faster than you could ever imagine.

“When you want only love you will see nothing else” is a teaching from A course in Miracles. I find this very true in my own practice. Stay focused on offering your gifts and love to the world, in service, and any need to be “the best” or “the first” or “the coolest” will just fade away into the darkness, where it belongs. Instead, you will feel only love.  That’s what it’s about. Now, go out there and make your impact! Namaste.

To download a free copy of Dawn’s ebook “Make it Happen – Guide to Manifesting” – click here.  And, be sure to follow on Facebook as well for more inspiration & support!

Super Thoughts: 5 Ways to Make Yours Empowering

Beata Zita“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.” ~Author Unknown

I’m a long-time believer in the power of our thoughts, and I tend to focus on the positive. But, sometimes, those darn thoughts just spin out of control and go on their own little tangent, taking us along for the ride. This happened to me recently, but it served as a good reminder of just how powerful our thoughts are.

I was messing around online when an article caught my eye. There was a local headline about a fatal motorcycle crash. Eeek, bad news, for sure. Normally, I would avoid clicking on such an article just because I prefer not to fill my conscious with the gruesome details of the unfortunate things going on in the world. However, I couldn’t help but click this time. You see, my father sometimes rides a motorcycle and the crash happened within a few miles of his home. I felt a strong urge to read more. When I clicked on the article and started reading the details, my heart sank. While the identity of the motorcyclist was not released, the details of the crash had it taking place on a road, in a direction, and at a time that could have easily been my dad. I gulped. Very aware of my own body, I could suddenly feel my heart rate quicken and my breathing become more shallow as my chest tightened up. It was an uneasy, although not completely unfamiliar feeling. I started to feel a deep sadness and worry. I did not like it at all.

“Okay, wait a second,” I said to myself. I had no idea how many motorcycles drive down that road on a given morning, but it had to be a lot. It was a very busy intersection, after all. Plus, I didn’t even know for sure if my dad drove his bike that day, or if he even took that route. There was no real logic behind the sudden panic feeling. I was being crazy, and I knew it. In fact, I did confirm shortly thereafter that all was well with my father. Phew.

This example of the human mind at work is something we can all relate to. It’s just how we’re wired. From back in the caveman days, we were programmed with a “fight or flight” trigger, which used to have a very real purpose (you know, running away from dinosaurs and such). Though we have evolved quite a bit since then, our brains are still wired very similarly. The reaction I felt in my body was actually a defense mechanism. My brain was preparing me for danger. And, despite the incredibly low probability of that bad news actually pertaining to me, from a logical perspective, my brain treated it as if it was actually happening to me. In fact, the feeling was so real that it was indeed my reality for those few moments while the feelings took place. I had created my own illusion just like each and everyone of us go around creating our own illusions on a daily basis. Our perception is our reality.

I tell this story to help others become more acutely aware of their own thoughts and just how incredibly powerful they are. Isn’t it funny how our brains work? From worrying about something that hasn’t even actually happened to reliving a moment in the past to making assumptions that what other people do or say has anything to do with us at all – these are all ways that our mind likes to create illusions for us! And, yes, we are ALL a little bit “crazy” like this at times.

The good news is that as powerful as our thoughts are, we can work to take control of them and harness that power for good. Here are a few pointers on how to do just that.

  1. What are you thinking? Notice whenever your mind starts reeling and also take note of the physical changes in your body. Knowing really is half the battle. A mentor of mine, Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success, says there are really only two types of thoughts: empowering ones and dis-empowering ones. Simplify it to that level, and learn to ask yourself in any given moment, how is this thought serving me?
  2. Check Yourself. Don’t get me wrong sometimes we really are in danger … but, usually not. Is there really a “dinosaur” chasing you? Is it really about you? Give your self an ego-check. In addition to trying to protect us from (often imaginary) danger, our ego likes to make us feel really special and like everything is about us. But, upon a little logical reasoning, we can realize that whatever dis-empowering thoughts we are having are not actually about us or even real at all. With this awareness in hand, we can then work towards changing them.
  3. Just breathe. This simple nugget of wisdom can be applied to just about any uncomfortable situation. Breathe it out. Deep breathing actually has a physiological effect on our nervous system that sends out neurohormones to basically tell the stress hormones to take a chill. Visualize as you practice breathing. Inhale peace slowly and deeply through your nose into your diaphragm and exhale stress slowly and completely out through your mouth. Continue this until you feel calmness restore.
  4. Fill your consciousness with positive and uplifting ideas. Since thoughts are energy and they turn into our reality, why not feed your brain with some good stuff? From the articles you read to the people you hang out with, to the TV you watch (or not), you are setting the stage for what kind of thoughts will go into that beautiful little noggin of yours. Fuel your mind with knowledge that empowers you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
  5. Practice Mindfulness. I can’t recommend a mindfulness practice enough. It helps us become so much more aware of our thoughts and what’s going on with our bodies. It keeps us connected with our core being and intuition. While meditation is definitely at the top of the list of becoming more mindful, there are many other ways you can practice. Yoga is another wonderful one. However, it can also be taking an introspective walk or doing your favorite in-the-flow activity: maybe painting, sewing, or playing an instrument. Regularly practicing these mindfulness enhancers will help you stay grounded, and to keep those crazy thoughts at bay.

Learn to harness the power of your thoughts and enjoy the reward of unlimited peacefulness and joy!

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photo by: ckaroli

6 Tips To Start Balancing Your Life Like a Boss

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.23.25 PMAs an entrepreneur with two young daughters and who holds family time as sacred time, runs a small tech-firm by day and, by night, works passionately building a second venture with a mission to empower others, I am constantly being asked, “How the heck do you balance it all?”

The truth is …. I don’t! And, before you click off this article thinking ‘well, thanks for nothing, lady’, just hear me out here! Nobody does. The word “balance” itself implies that some sort of destination has finally been met where the weight of one’s life has been distributed evenly in every regard: career, family, health, personal growth, relationships, self-care, etc. And, in this line of thinking, since you’ve already arrived, there is no need for improvement in any of these areas. But, it just doesn’t work that way! Even if all things are perfectly balanced for a moment (hooray!) – don’t blink because it just takes one of life’s infamous little curve balls to be thrown our way to completely knock everything out of whack.

So, instead, I personally work towards balancing my life. That little “ing” at the end of the word is oh so important. It implies that an action is taking place. And, balancing your life takes a lot of action. Daily action, even. It’s about developing a strong sense of awareness and checking in with yourself and your beloved ones on a regular basis to identify any areas that can use improvement. Are you getting enough quality times with the kids? Is your spouse feeling loved or neglected? Is your career or business running as smoothly as you would like? How are you feeling physically? Emotionally? Stressed? Are you feeling fulfilled at a soul level?

Keeping all of the balls in the air is no easy feat … especially if you are diving fully into the person you want to be. And, frankly, some days will be better than others. As humans we can only try our best. But, it is important to work consistently towards that sense of balance so that you can help others, take care of yourself, and make your impact in the world as stress-free and full of joy and love as possible.

When any one area of your life is significantly off-balance, it throws you off in every other aspect, taking you out of your “A” game and making you feel a little less awesome than you actually are.

Here are a few guidelines that will help you to maintain the harmony, peace, and balance in your life that we all yearn for!

  • Be your beautiful authentic self. You have to let go of any preconceived notions of what your life is “supposed” to look like. Definitely steer clear of comparing yourself to others. We all have different paths, circumstances, and dreams. What works for others might not work for you. Instead, focus on what you stand for. What is the impact YOU want to make in the world? Learn to be totally comfortable in your own authenticity. If there’s an area of your life that you are not completely satisfied with, then put in the work to change it! But, only do it because it aligns with your soul’s calling, not because it will make somebody else happy. You will never feel peace living the life somebody else has envisioned for you.
  • Accept with Gratitude. Life isn’t perfect. It gets messy sometimes – for all of us. So, we all need to learn how to dance in the storm. Your house is not always going to be spotless, you won’t be able to attend every single social event, you’re inevitably going to let your spouse or your kids down every once in awhile, and you may need to pass up on some seemingly awesome business opportunities. Being okay with that, accepting the imperfections, and seeing the beauty of your life with intense gratitude no matter what will give you that sense of balance even in chaotic times.
  • Prioritize. At this moment, what is most important to you? What or who lights you up? Are you spending a good amount of your time with the people that you love deeply and working on the projects you feel most passionate about? If not, where might you be a little off balance and need to pay more attention? Is there something sucking up a lot of your time that just doesn’t serve you or drive you closer to your vision? It may be time to cut back in some areas. (Yes, I’m talking to you Facebook and TV!)  And, most importantly, are you carving out some time for yourself too? Remember: If you crash and burn from not taking care of yourself, you won’t be any good to anybody else either.
  • Plan. Schedule everything! And, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to opportunities. Spontaneity sounds lovely, but reality is that if you have big dreams include balancing all aspects of your life, you must plan accordingly! I use technology to my advantage here with digital calendars that sync up to my apple products. Everything from date night to kids schedules to business meetings and workouts to when I am going to write (which is also planned in a separate editorial calendar) all get put on the schedule. I then have reminders pop up to keep me on task.  Take some of the pressure off yourself by extensively planning your days. Take time to step back and look at your big picture. Then take a step back in and plan out all the details. Whatever works for you, just use it consistently.
  • Check your Slices. A fun activity is to do is a goal wheel where you draw a circle and divide it up into even sections, like a pie cut into slices. Each section represents an area of your life. Perhaps your “slices” would be named: family, career, fun, personal growth, spiritual, relationships, self-care, money, etc, or whatever resonates with you. How much energy are you putting into each area and how satisfied do you feel? It’s normal to have a slice or two that are totally dominating while others are just a few puny crumbs. Identify this and work to even things out.
  • Reevaluate from a Birdseye View. Make sure you pop your head out of the weeds and grab yourself an aerial view of your life on a regular basis so you can get a good honest look at where you’re at. Where are things going well and where do you need to revamp or recharge? If it’s not easy to get your head out of the muck to really evaluate things, than hire yourself a personal coach to help you hone in.  A coach is one of the best investments you can ever make! But, if you just can’t afford it right now, at least get yourself a network of peers, friends, or family members who can help guide your way on. Multiple brains are better than one and sometimes it takes an outsider to really call us out on our sh*t.

Don’t worry about achieving perfect balance because that will never happen –  life just isn’t designed that way. However, making a conscious mindful effort to regularly check-in and evaluate things will help you tremendously in the delicate act of balancing.

How do you find balance in your life? Please feel free to share and discuss in the comments below!

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The “F” Word: 5 Steps to Practice Forgiveness

How to heal a broken heart:By Dawn Gluskin

No, not that “f” word. The other “f” word: forgiveness! The Buddha compared holding onto anger to grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else. You, of course, are the one that gets burnt. So, why is it that we often walk around holding onto resentment, grudges, and animosity? Sometimes for years or even a lifetime. Why do we recycle unpleasant circumstances in our minds and keep those wounds open?

Although counter-intuitive, the answer is to protect ourselves. Albeit going about it the wrong way, our ego mind wants to keep us safe. So, if a past situation has hurt us, our ego mind likes to replay it over and over, keeping the memory and feelings alive to prevent the same situation from occurring again. But, in reality, we’re not protecting ourselves at all. By holding onto the grudge, we’re actually keeping those wounds wide open, fueling the flames of the negative emotions, and causing even more pain.  Even if we feel we are directing these feelings at somebody else, it’s really ourselves that is being hurt by living in the past with a closed heart and vengeful mind.

This is a subject that I continually practice to become better at myself – we all need to! Human nature is that people aren’t always good to each other, unfortunately. When you’re on the receiving end of some unkind treatment, it’s not always easy to just let go and move on – especially when you find yourself feeling hurt and angered by it. It’s in these moments that you grab onto those hot coals and start sizzling away from the inside out.

Forgiveness (of both self and others) is the most powerful spiritual tool we have, and it is accessible to all of us. Forgiveness is synonymous with freedom, one of the most important conditions for happiness. In the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” But, while it is easy to say forgive and forget in theory, it’s not always so easy to put into practice. If somebody wrongs us, why should they be let off the hook for being awful? What about how they made you feel? You didn’t deserve that, right?

But, here is the thing. Forgiving somebody does not mean that what they did is okay or that you are going to be BFF and have them over for Sunday dinner. It just means that you are releasing them and are no longer going to let them have any control over you, your feelings, or your energy. You owe it to yourself to completely let go of any animosity so you can live your most peaceful and joyful life. Need a little help putting the “f” word into practice? Here are a few tips that can help guide you along your way:

  1. Take it to your journal and just let it all out! Why are you are upset? How have you been wronged? How did it make you feel? Be completely real and raw. This is a private conversation, so don’t hold back. Venting to a friend has its merits too, but a well-meaning friend can inadvertently fan the flames even more by agreeing with you, making it even more difficult to rise above and let go. A journal gives you the therapeutic effects of venting, without the potential of making the situation even more volatile. As the words flow out of you, imagine letting all of the negative energy and emotions surrounding the subject being released out of your body with them. (In some intense situations, a journal might not be enough as outward feedback and guidance is needed. In those cases, I would suggest working with a therapist or other professional)
  2. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with them. Again, this doesn’t make them right or what they did okay. But, why do you think they acted in such a way? Perhaps they had a difficult upbringing or some pretty hard knocks in their lifetime. Maybe they are going through a rough patch and you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught some of their shrapnel? Maybe they just don’t know any better and they’re dealing with the pain in their life the best way they know how. Practicing empathy and letting a little compassion flow is very healing. It’s a reminder that we are all from the same human family, none of us without flaws or mistakes. We’ve all needed forgiveness at some point in our lives.
  3. Send them love and light. Find it in your heart to bless them and let go of the hurt feelings. Picture them as being happy and allow yourself to feel happiness for them. This one is the toughest of them all. It takes tremendous strength to wish joy on the one who has done you wrong. But, it’s also the most important step to freeing yourself. Everyone deserves happiness. If you can master this level of forgiveness and compassion, your heart will always be free of worry and full of love.
  4. Forgive yourself, too! Sometimes you can be hard on yourself for what happened. Or maybe you are even beating yourself up over not being able to forgive and forget easily. If you do find your brain going back to that unforgiving place, just know that your mind is creating this thought, but that doesn’t make it reality. Your soul and spirit are above this. When you identify that a thought does not align with your spirit, just allow it to come without attachment and look at it from the “observer” role, letting it pass by. Practice being gentle and loving with yourself. You deserve happiness!
  5. Be grateful for what they have taught you. Every situation in our life, but especially the negative ones, can teach us something. Think of these people and experiences as spiritual assignments. Especially in the case of not being able to forgive easily, that is an indicator of a potential major “a-ha” moment or awakening waiting to happen. Show up for these assignments and be ready to receive the lesson. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

You might need to find yourself repeating some of these steps before finally getting it all out of your system and and moving on. Especially if somebody really got under your skin, you will need to dig deep into your heart to find the forgiveness needed to let go. In the meantime, remember it is only yourself that is hurting more, so try to go to that place inside where love resides sooner than later. Who can you practice the “f” word on today? Do it for YOU!

If you have your own forgiveness story, please feel free to discuss in the comments below.

For more inspiration and guidance from Dawn delivered right to your inbox, sign up here for the Dawnsense email list.  You can also join her Facebook community and visit her website for more blogs and videos.

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Dawn-GluskinDawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.

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