Tag Archives: how to be happy

How to Set Boundaries for Healthy Relationships

originalAre you depleted, irritable or overwhelmed? It may be time to reset your boundaries.

Setting healthy boundaries is the foundation for having positive, fulfilling and uplifting relationships.

Many years ago, I “broke-up” with my best friend. I was devastated, sad and depressed. Like any other gut-wrenching heartbreak – it took me months to garner the courage to break up and years to finally surrender and let go. She was a dynamic, charismatic, gorgeous, charming artist. We fell in love at first sight. Best friends. Soul sisters.

But…she was a flake. A huge flake. Inevitably, our dates were cancelled with lame excuses. I put up with this because she was such a delight. First, I felt slighted, then irritable, then downright angry. Finally, it just wasn’t ok anymore.

I needed new boundaries. I communicated my needs, but she simply wasn’t capable of following through on our commitments. I had to break up. Maybe, (hopefully) we’ll reconnect someday…but I needed to grow strong, respect my needs and find friends who could consistently show up.

HEALTHY EGO = HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Establishing and gracefully maintaining healthy boundaries is a direct result of having a “healthy ego” – nothing to prove and nothing to hide. This is a function of the 3rd Chakra (Manipura) – the core or “power center” of the body-mind. The 3rd Chakra governs our sense of Self. When we have a strong sense of Self, we feel positive, empowered and confident and naturally create boundaries that honor our needs as well as the needs of others.

Healthy boundaries are permeable, yet firm.

When we have low self esteem (deficient 3rd Chakra), we tend to seek love and validation from others. We may overextend ourselves or allow someone to take advantage of us. If you consistently feel depleted, irritable or inundated – it may be an indication that it’s time to deepen and structure your boundaries more solidly.

An excessive 3rd Chakra (defended and “trying to prove something”) results in rigid boundaries and aggressively forcing, manipulating or pushing our agenda on someone else. These are defense tactics of a “High Ego”.

Seek middle ground.

One of my favorite definitions of intimacy in a relationship is from Harriet Lerner’s book The Dance of Intimacy.

An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices or betrays the Self. Instead, each party expresses strength, vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.

3 TIPS TO SET CLEAR  BOUNDARIES THAT EMPOWER YOU + THE OTHER PERSON

1. HOW ARE YOU GIVING TOO MUCH? ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED.

Are you abandoning your truth?

At work:

In a relationship: 

  • Are you allowing someone to treat you in a way that is disrespectful?
  • Are they not honoring your needs, even though your needs are valid?

To begin setting boundaries, you first need to communicate in a healthy, positive way. Avoid the shame – blame game. Get clear and grounded in what you want and need. Consider writing out exactly what you want in bullet points.

Approach the conversation from your most empowered space. Do a quick meditation before you approach the other person. Sit quietly. Get centered with a few deep breaths. Feel the energy rising up and down your spine. Call in your Highest Good and the Highest Good or Spirit of the other person. Visualize the conversation going smoothly and peacefully. Pray for clear communication, understanding and that both of your deepest Truths be served. Ask Spirit to speak through you.

Then, approach the other person confidently and humbly. Ask specifically for what you need. Expect that your needs are going to be met and that the other person will hear and honor you.

Finally, ask them what they need. How can you show up with more integrity, generosity and thoughtfulness? Think WIN–WIN.

2. DO CORE WORK (aka Mirror Work)

A good way to build your inner strength is through mirror work. Sit in front of a mirror, preferably first thing in the morning when you’re at  your most human and humble. Look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself:

  • I love you.
  • I want you. 
  • You are special to me. 
  • You don’t have to be afraid anymore.
  • I am here for you.

These are what we call the “Good Parent Messages”, which build self love from the inside out. We begin to mother or father ourselves and become the “inner parent” who provides love, support, understanding and resilience from inside. When you feel the source of love inside, you naturally stand up for yourself in the outer world, just as a parent would advocate for their child.

3. FRIEND  + FAMILY BREAK-UPS

Sometimes we have to shift relationships because someone is not changing and we need to create safety for ourselves.  See the first paragraph above. This is especially true if you are dealing with a narcissist or an addict. If you ask repeatedly for what you need and do everything in your power to uphold your boundaries with little response – you may need to eliminate or minimize contact with someone.

Ask for help, get support, find a friend or mentor you can confide in or reach out for professional help if you need it. Hold yourself accountable and responsible for creating empowered relationships that enhance your life – in work, romance, family and friends. As soon as you strengthen your core, you will attract those people into your life who want to joyfully meet your needs.

What relationship is the most challenging for you to hold your boundaries? Leave a comment and share how you uphold your boundaries.

The Highlight of my Summer: Wanderlust, My Spirit Junkie Sleepaway Camp

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My summer began with a series of retreats and live events. I kicked off retreat season with a debut appearance at Wanderlust Festival in Vermont. As a new yoga teacher it was an honor to be invited to share my work with the Wanderlust community of hardcore yogis.

As I drove up the mountain toward the festival entrance, I felt a rush of energy pass through my body. It was a familiar experience–the same feeling I had each summer as I arrived at sleepaway camp. Throughout my whole life I’ve gotten high off large-scale gatherings of like-minded people. Wanderlust was my new camp!

The next morning I journeyed into the main festival tent to get mic’d for my talk. I felt the energy of the community as hundreds of high-vibe yogis entered into the space. I hit the stage and a power greater than me took over before I even said a word. That lecture was the highlight of my summer (so far), and I’m psyched to share it with you.

Enjoy the video from my Speakeasy talk at Wanderlust Vermont:

More pics from Wanderlust!

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“The Science of Happiness”: One Incredibly Powerful Tool You Should Try Right Now!

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 11.16.21 AMIf there were one secret we could find the answer to, one code we could forever crack and have access to, it would be happiness. Because fundamentally, everyone wants to be happy, right?

We’ve heard this question a thousand times: Is there an ultimate key to happiness? And if there is, then why doesn’t someone spread the good news? The reality is that there isn’t a pill you can simply take to forever say goodbye to grief, anger, dissatisfaction, etc. No single possession or lifestyle condition can forever change your emotional state for the better, and the internal shifts that can often seem daunting and unrealistic.

Though we may not be able to hand you a “one size fits all” recipe for happiness, there are several tools you can incorporate in your life that are bound to have a profound affect. And top on the list is gratitude. Research has shown that shifting your outlook to one of gratitude and appreciation can enhance your overall feeling of well-being, as can engaging in acts of kindness and selflessness.

But nothing is more powerful than seeing these studies play out in real life. Soulpancake decided to test the gratitude theory out on a group on volunteers, not previously briefed on the reason for the experiment. Participants took an initial survey measuring their happiness, then did an amazing gratitude exercise (which you’ll see in the video below), and finally took another happiness survey, with slightly different wording so that they wouldn’t know exactly what was being measured. The results were staggering. Check it out!

It is so simple, and yet easy to forget, that the surest way of increasing our immediate happiness is to reach out to someone in love and gratitude. By the same reasoning, the best way of increasing overall happiness – the deep and satisfying joy we all long for – is to cultivate a heart that is open to both receiving and expressing love.

Express gratitude regularly, all the time, whenever you feel it! And let us know if and how this affects your overall feeling of happiness.

What to Do When Others Don’t Support Your Spiritual Path

When we embark on a spiritual journey, so many awesome shifts begin to happen. It’s easy to become overly enthusiastic about them and want to share every detail with your loved ones. But the new developments in your life may not be easy for people to understand, especially if they’re not on a spiritual path of their own. In this video I offer up tools for how to handle people who don’t support your spiritual path.

Related Articles:

Find Yourself in Others

Dive in Fully to Who You Want to Be

A Fool-Proof Tool to Help You Rise Above Negativity

Gabrielle Bernstein on How to Meditate

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Satnam, friends! I’m super psyched to report that on Saturday I taught my first full Kundalini yoga and meditation class. I’ve been in teacher training since September, and leading a complete class was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life!

In today’s vlog I’m spreading even more Kundalini love. So many of my readers and viewers struggle with meditation. Whether you’re a meditation newbie or have had a practice for years, the powerful act of tuning in can be challenging at times. To amp up your meditation practice and demystify the experience I’ve created this video on how to meditate.

Enjoy today’s vlog—and if you want further guidance, you can check out my guided meditation albums here. If you’re new to my work, you can opt in at the top of the page for my free guided meditations.

Welcome Your Emotions… They Won’t Bite.

In today’s episode on 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Natalie and Iman meet with Alyssa Nobriga, a relationship counselor and life coach. Alyssa has a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology, and she leads Natalie and Iman each through a counseling session. Iman confronts the pain surrounding his recent break-up. Natalie struggles with feelings of inadequacy and regret after leaving a career in professional soccer. We interviewed Alyssa on the relationship between spirituality and emotional health.

The Chopra Well: Hi, Alyssa! To kick things off, what does spirituality mean to you?

Alyssa Nobriga: To me spirituality is life, one in the same. It is about waking up from the ideas that have been created about life and experiencing it directly as it is in reality. Not a thought about reality, which would compartmentalize and separate life into categories, but the actual experience happening now without our interpretation of it.

CW: How do you see the relationship between psychology and spirituality?

AN: I see psychology/therapy as a resource to support spiritual awakening. As you gain a larger vantage point of the conditioned mind, you are no longer caught in it and can more fully experience the fullness of who you are. This is the deepest level of healing because unless you gain awareness of the beliefs, behaviors and identifications that create psychological suffering, the ego will continue to replace the previous “problem” with a new one. In the investigation of who we have taken ourselves to be, this identification with the personality begins to fall away and a deeper seeing of our true nature is possible.

CW: If there is one thing you could advise everyone to do regarding their emotional health, what would it be?

AN: Learn how to welcome all emotions without identifying with them or buying into the stories the mind may create and attach to the feeling. We tend to label some things as good and others as bad and try to avoid the “bad” feelings. But what I have found is that these so called bad feelings actually aren’t what we think they are when they are experienced. What I have found is that when we try to avoid certain feelings they actually imprison us. Our energy will either be used up trying to repress or avoid feelings or it will be freed if we have the willingness to allow and meet whatever comes up directly in our body moment to moment.

CW: How do people react to this advice? Is there ever the fear that once we allow certain emotions in they’ll never go away?

AN: I find that sometimes clients want to stay talking about the feelings and this is a subtle form of avoiding it because it keeps the feelings at a distance, rather than feeling them. I mention this because some of these tendencies of avoiding can become so sneaky even to ourselves I offer it as something to watch for. As we accept ALL of what comes up, without judgment or identification, it naturally moves through and lets go. If we can really open up to experiencing the raw energy of say sadness or anxiety, it actually moves through quickly and usually reveals a gift within it. We have to be willing to fully surrender to the emotion, not indulge in it or avoid it but just simply allow it. The feelings will pass, everything does. My experience is that the reservoir of unexpressed past emotion dries out, it’s not endless.

Alyssa Nobriga offers individual and couples counseling and leads spiritual retreats in Bali.

CW: Natalie asks, “How do you love the parts of yourself that are the most misbehaving?” How would you answer that question?

AN: I would answer this question differently to different people, depending on what their intention is. If they were only interested in feeling good then I would ask them, who do you feel so incredibly loved and accepted by? I would have them bring forward this person in their awareness, get in touch with how they feel with this person and ask them how this person would see that part of them. As they connect with that person’s presence and unconditional love more fully in their body, I would invite them to allow it to touch that part of them that they have judged. Essentially to allow that love the other person evokes in them to wash over the part of them they judge; to be able to see it through the eyes of unconditional acceptance is healing. Whatever we judge we hold in place and it holds us back, whether we are judging someone else or ourselves, it’s the same. When we allow what has been judged or hurt to intimately be met with love and acceptance, it opens the space for deep healing to unfold.

If the person asking me is interested in discovering and living the truth of who they are, I would invite them into a deeper inquiry. I would invite them to find what in them is already loving, regardless of the mind judging or accepting their experience. I would guide them into recognizing this presence that is prior to the mind’s interpretations of who they think they are. In this way there is an opportunity to awaken from the one they have identified with as problematic or broken. In waking up to this game, actually being able to see from this larger perspective no longer identified with a limited self, you can realize that this love that is always here, is what you are. This field of awareness unconditionally welcomes everything – the hurt, the joy. It’s just the way life dances with itself.

CW: What is your intent in sharing your work with the Chopra Well? What do you hope it will bring the participants?

AN: My intention is to support people in discovering true lasting love, that which could never be separate from who they really are. In sharing with the Chopra Well my hope is that it will inspire people to learn how to use their relationships as vehicles to awaken consciously and come home to themselves.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and see where Natalie and Iman go next!

Would you like to work through some difficult emotions or memories? Try Alyssa’s advice, and let us know how it goes!

Alyssa is offering a FREE Couples Counseling Consultation to Intent readers!

Please email Connect@AlyssaNobriga.com to set up your appointment.
Offer valid for new clients in California only.

4 Steps to Awaken Your Authentic Power

When I was twenty-five I became a devotee of the spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. One of her books in particular hit me straight in the heart: A Woman’s Worth. After reading it, I was awakened to a power source within me I had never recognized before. This awesome awakening occurred upon reading the following passage:

“A queen is wise. She has earned her serenity, not having had it bestowed on her but having passed her tests. She has suffered and grown more beautiful because of it. She has proved she can hold her kingdom together. She has become its vision. She cares deeply about something bigger than herself. She rules with authentic power.”

At the time I couldn’t comprehend what it would feel like to “rule with authentic power,” but it sounded really groovy. I wanted to perceive myself as a powerful woman, but deep down I felt like a weak girl seeking my self-worth from outside circumstances. This passage helped me recognize that there were no shortcuts on the path to my authentic power. I would have to show up for life’s assignments and pass my tests to release all that was blocking me from being my highest self. I did just that. Soon after reading this passage I became a student of the text A Course in Miracles and began to unlearn my false perception of myself.

For the past seven years I’ve been a student of the Course. Through my dedicated practice I’ve come to understand that my outside need for approval is what blocked my authentic power. I was searching for meaning in the meaningless world I had projected. My awareness of these blocks was the first step toward releasing them.

The spiritual journey I embarked on left me no wiggle room for small play. I had to surrender to a new perception and chose to seek my power in an internal condition rather than an external circumstance.

Once I became willing to stop looking out there and look inward instead, my entire life changed. I began to earn my serenity and learned to find my source of peace and purpose from an inward condition. My neediness melted away, my insecurity weakened and my self-doubt transformed into self-assurance. In time I became a queen, and today I live in my authentic power.

I work hard each day to maintain my authenticity. A major part of the maintenance process is to know the difference between what it feels like to be living in my truth versus living in my ego. When I’m living in my truth I breathe slowly, I feel fulfilled regardless of what’s going on in my external world, and I exude a genuine confidence that cannot be manufactured.

Living in my ego is quite the opposite experience. When I’m in my ego my energy is frantic, I compare myself to others and I try to be something I am not. Knowing the difference between living in my truth versus acting out from my ego keeps me conscious of when I’m not aligned with my authentic power. This awareness is the key to staying on a path toward authentic truth.

You too have the capacity to live in your authentic power. If you feel out of alignment in any area of your life, use my tools below to recalibrate your authenticity. Follow these steps and you’ll awaken a powerful force within that has been eager to come through you.

Step One: Become Conscious of When You’re out of Your Truth

This exercise will heighten your awareness of what it feels like to be in your truth in opposition to what it feels like to be out of alignment. Take out your pen and paper and describe the differences between what it feels like to be in your truth versus what it feels like to be in your ego. How do you act differently, talk differently, think and even breathe differently? Pay close attention to the differences in how you feel.

Step Two: Welcome the Assignments

I’ll let you in a powerful secret: When you begin to look at your ego’s false behavior, you’ve unconsciously asked for a miracle. The slight willingness to see things differently is the catalyst for spiritual shifts. These shifts can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable—but that’s a good thing. Remember that we must “pass our tests” to grow into our authentic power.

Step Three: Show Up For the Assignments

Welcome the life assignments that come your way and stay committed to connecting to your authentic truth. Have faith that there are no coincidences and that as the Course says, “no one is sent to anyone by accident.” Every experience you have will be a powerful opportunity for you to strengthen your internal condition. Continuously recite the prayer, “I am willing to know my truth.” Trust that you will be guided.

Step Four: Learn What Authentic Power Means to You

Authenticity is different for each person, but the one defining factor is that authenticity is a feeling, not an action. Throughout this process of awakening your authentic truth, you will come to feel an internal shift. You may not be able to put this shift into words. Simply trust that you’re being led to know much more than what you once perceived to be real. Allow this new feeling to pass through you, guide you and energize you to experience a newfound self-awareness.

Though these steps seem subtle, you can trust that they are igniting transformational shifts within you. Stay committed to this process and invite the energy of the Universe to support your assignments and spiritual growth. Be faithful that your authentic power is all you need to truly share your light with the world.

To learn more about your authentic power join me on 3/9 for my lecture entitled, Your Highest Self – Awaken Your Authentic Power. Details Here.

photo by: eriwst

VIDEO: Practice What You Teach

This video is for anyone carrying an inspirational message. The goal of this vlog is to remind you to always practice what you teach. If you’re teaching gratitude, BE GRATEFUL. If you’re teaching compassion, BE COMPASSIONATE. If you’re teaching forgiveness, PRACTICE THE F WORD. Walk your talk. 🙂

The Bearable Lightness of Being

 Have you ever noticed that when people lose weight they also tend to lighten up? It’s as though the shift carries with it a gratitude switch that turns on when we turn from how heavy things are to how light they can be. I wonder if it takes an actual physical change to activate that switch or that switch causes a physical change. Whichever, things have lately become very heavy and I think its time for us all to lighten up.

One obvious source of the pervasive heavy atmosphere that engulfs us all is the availability of negative news 24 hours a day. Whether on cable, talk radio, the tabloids or even here on the Internet, the sheer volume and intensity of bad news is enough to blot out the sun and leave the impression that all we have to look forward to is doom and gloom. I’ve read that the spill cam on the BP site is more popular than Kim Kardashian’s latest bikini or even Lindsay Lohan’s SCRAM bracelet. How many times can we watch the same footage of birds drowning in oil, commandos mounting an assault or refugees living in squalid conditions before we begin to believe that our world has tilted out of orbit?



So here are four simple suggestions to help lift the heaviness and restore the balance:



1. Take an hour off. Turn off the TV or radio and put down the rag for just one hour a day. I can assure you all the negative stuff you crave will still be there when you return. But for just one hour, give up on Keith and Rachel or Glenn and Rush and instead take a walk or take a bath, but no matter what, take a break. 

2. Put an hour in. Either alone or preferably with your family, do something for somebody else. Why is it we can play voyeur to other’s pain and yet when it comes to actually doing something about it we’ve all got a hundred or so excuses. We Americans are among the most charitable on Earth and now its time to take it up a notch. Sending money if you have it is easy, but I’m suggesting something beyond that. Instead of (or in addition to) investing money, invest yourself. There are plenty of causes and groups that could make great use of you for that hour. Why not give them the opportunity? It could be as simple as watching your neighbor’s child while they look for a job or bringing a home cooked meal and some groceries to a family out of work.

3. Dump some heaviness. Express gratitude for just one thing. Gratitude is what will lift the pall, remove the veil and let the sunshine in. No matter how bad it seems and how bad it actually is, we still have blessings and abundance far beyond what could be if we had been born in another time or place. Whether you call it God, Allah, Mother Nature, The Force, Spirit or by one of the thousand names it calls itself, take just a moment and to find that one thing in your life for which you can be grateful. Then expand on that. Look around for the for the joys and wonders that here for us now and if you turn your focus in that direction you will be surprised on what you will find. Look for lack and you will find it. Look for something to be great-full for and soon you will discover it, even if it’s just for your next breath.

Lighten Up. Connect and have some fun. You don’t have to be serious to be serious. Call someone up and thank them for being in your life. Father’s Day is coming and Mother’s Day has just passed. Why not make everyday a special day for yourself and for someone by connecting. Connect with friends, your kids, your grandkids, a co-worker or even your petty tyrants, just to let them know you appreciate who they are and recognize the lift they add to your life and to share the Light you have with them. No need to tie it to a specific day or event. So my delicious DeLight today is I call my granddaughter Haley, and tomorrow is Jason Day. Whose day is it for you?

 

 

How to Appreciate People You Don’t Like (And Reduce Your Anxiety in the Process)

Make a list of the people you don’t like who you routinely correspond with or who impact your life — on your computer, on paper, or at least in your mind.

This may include those in your professional and personal world, and those in the public eye, who get on your nerves, who make your skin crawl, or who — if you didn’t believe in kindness and compassion or at least in avoiding jail — you’d flat out enjoy punching in the nose.

I’ll bet a few people spring right to your mind!

Create this list, and then consider each person on your list in this regard:

What is it about this person that is worth emulating?

Instead of focusing on their disagreeable qualities and actions, that is, for each person on your list shift your perspective to what their best qualities are … more particularly, to the one, two or more aspects of their character that YOU could learn from and perhaps use more of.

Discipline? Patience? A happy-go-lucky attitude?

Everyone has something worth emulating. Everyone. Though certain people may deserve to be fired, jailed, or impeached, even they have qualities that are worth appreciating and emulating.

It is our reactionary egos that are prone to completely trash those who seem to have a negative influence in some way on us. Our egos are primitive; if somebody strokes them, that somebody is good, and if somebody kicks them, that somebody is bad.

This lingering reaction creates the notion of “dislike,” or hate, which blocks our eyes, mind and heart from focusing on anything but the negative. But by focusing on the negative in anyone – “I really don’t like that person” — we are doing by far the most damage to ourselves.

Honing in on what we don’t like in people (or in situations for that matter) won’t change them, but it does add considerably more anxiety to our lives and sucks away from our productivity and happiness. It becomes a habit that perpetuates the self-damage. Plus it makes us considerably less attractive to others.

This is not a call to tolerate being taken advantage of or abused by “people we don’t like,” of course; if changes need to occur to avoid those circumstances then by all means do what is ethical to make those changes.

But it IS a call not to let those people – really, your own ego – pull you down into discord and disharmony where you don’t deserve to be.

The key, then, is to try to focus on what is worth appreciating and emulating in the less-than-your-favorite-people people – even if (especially if) they are your “opponent,” such as in or on court – versus letting your ego, your emotional reactions, rule.

So the first step is to get your practice by making that list of people you don’t like and considering each person from that angle.

And then the second step is to extend that practice to daily life.

The next time you encounter someone who seems to be doing the opposite of their part to make your life fabulous — in person, on T.V., in your head — instead of focusing on what makes them such a lousy human being, focus on what it is about this person that is worth emulating. Keep striving to do this until, typically two to three weeks in, it becomes a habit you don’t even need to think about.

 

You will be quite surprised at how this shift in your perspective reduces your overall anxiety and enables you to achieve more … and achieve it happily. 

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