Why It's Not Too Late To Re-Invent Yourself!

Why It's Not Too Late To 

Re-Invent Yourself!

June 13, 2016

Fauja Singh was born on April 1, 1911 in India and did not develop the ability to walk until he was five years old. He struggled with his weak, thin legs and his lack of co-ordination throughout his childhood. 

When Fauja grew into his 20s however, he grew stronger and decided he wanted to become a runner. He ran and ran and ran. He loved it, but after a few years, the practicality of life took over. Responsibilities of work and family

required all his time and energy, and he ceased running entirely.

The years passed by, decade after decade, until one day when he was 81 years old, he decided it was time to try again. He threw himself into training wholeheartedly and 8 years later, ran his first marathon at the age of 89!

When it was all said and done, Fauja ran 8 marathons, the last of which took place in London in 2012 when he was 101 years old. 

Sponsored by Adidas, he became the oldest man to ever run a marathon and was even featured in an advertisement alongside David Beckham and Muhammad Ali. Not bad for a guy who didn't start training until he was 81.

Fauja famously said, "The secret to a long, healthy life is to be stress-free, be grateful for everything you have, stay away from negative people, stay smiling, and stay running." 

If we want to make a change or try something new or go on an adventure or change the world or re-invent ourselves in some way, 

it helps for us to get clear on how we feel about our lives, in ALL areas. 

If you have a moment, I encourage you to go through the following list and rate each category from 1-10 (1 being the least satisfied and 10 being the most). In addition, it is also helpful to write an emotion next to the number, like "bored", "lonely", "proud", "unfulfilled", "over the moon!", "ok", "crossroads","fed up"….etc.

Rating these categories can give us a snap shot into our lives, like a personal balance sheet. If we ask ourselves which categories are assets and which ones are liabilities, we can get a good idea of where we need to focus our attention. 

Personal Balance Sheet Categories:

1. Meaningful Work/Career

2. Artistic Self Expression

3. Romance/Love

4. Spirituality

5. Physical Health and Well-Being

6. Mental and Emotional Health and Well-Being

7. Personal Growth and Learning

8. Family

9. Money

10. Friends/Community

11. Contribution/Giving Back 

Now, I want you to consider this post to be your permission slip to re-invent yourself in any of these areas, as soon as possible!  Even if you are not ready. 

In fact, it's even better if you are not ready! 

I love the quote, "Jump and find your wings on the way down" because nothing happens until we decide to take action. And then when we are forced to find a way, WE FIND A WAY. 

I mean look at these baby ducks!

Change can be scary and often feels dangerous and unsafe, when in actuality, it's just unfamiliar and different. Here are some suggestions to encourage you to re-invent yourself and transform any area of your life in which you are not completely fulfilled.

A Few Encouraging Thoughts For Embracing Change:

1.

Start small. Just one little action taken in the direction of your dream is forward progress and that is all we want!  Send an e-mail, do some research, write an outline, or ask a question. Small things add up to BIG things. 

2.

Celebrate any progress you make!

3.

Look at your re-invention like an exciting adventure, not something you are trying to "fix" about yourself or your life. 

4.

Remember that action, even in the wrong direction, is better than standing still.

5.

If you are bored, set a bigger goal. 

6.

 Question the way it has always been! Don't settle!

7.

Whenever you feel discouraged, remember Fauja Singh. He re-invented himself and decided to chase a dream at 81!

In 5 years you can be 5 years older, or you can be 5 years older having learned the guitar, created a website, improved at jiu jitsu, started a business, or written a book! Think about that! 

And when you feel the fear of change, when the forward motion feels unsafe, remember what Mark Twain said, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened."

It's time. Let's do this!

And that is what I was thinking about today.

Thank you so much and have a great night! 

See you tomorrow!

What I Learned From 3 Weeks of Writing!

What I Learned From 3 Weeks of Writing!

Day 21

June 11th, 2016

Today marks the 21st day of my quest to write every day for 3 weeks, and, to be radically authentic, the only reason I followed through on this is because I made the commitment and told everyone I knew I was going to do it. 

If you are someone like me who has trouble following through on things, I would encourage you to try this approach. Making a commitment liberates you from ever entertaining the thought of quitting, and frees up time and energy that you desperately need to accomplish what you have set out to do. 

Beyond the value of commitment, I also learned and re-learned, discovered and re-discovered several other important insights: 

1. When I got discouraged, bored or uninspired during this 3 week commitment, I gained strength when I was able to shift my focus away from "poor me" and towards "How can my message help others?" 

2. I received a lesson in releasing my need for approval. I had to accept the fact that I had no control over whether my posts were liked, ignored, mocked, or hated. 

 3

. I learned it’s easy for me to write a blog post filled with great advice on how we should live our lives, but that going out and living those principles was a different story. I was reminded everyday of the importance of good practices and habits.

4. 

Doing this 21 days of writing required me to let go of trying to make my writing perfect, and often, because of the time constraint, I had to post something of which I was not particularly proud. But as Petra Kolber says, "Your imperfect voice is better than your perfect silence." 

5. I re-discovered that when we get clear on what our values are, it’s easier to make decisions that are in alignment with the person we want to be.  As Nico and Vinz say,

"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"

. My values kept me on track and helped me stick to only writing about what is important to me. 

6

. When in doubt, we just need to keep throwing ourselves into the arena. Something always comes of it. At the very least, we get comfortable being uncomfortable. 

8. I learned that reaching out to people, expanding my community, and collaborating with others leads to new ideas, new opportunities,and lots of love and support.  

9. I was reminded of the power of faith. "Trust that everything always turns out ok in the end and if it's not ok, it's not the end." 

10. I discovered that a grateful mind is a powerful mind.

11. I re-learned to focus on what I want (the solution), not on what I don't want (the problem). 

12. I re-discovered that enjoying the journey in a state of sufficiency is as important as getting where I want to go. 

13. Martin Luther King once said "Peace is not merely a distant goal, but a means by which we arrive at that goal".  The same is true for staying present in the moment.  I learned that mindfulness is a practice and a goal. 

14. At every fork or obstacle in the road The Force, the Collective Soul, God, my Invisible Ally, whatever you want to call it, was always there waiting for me to reach out. I was never alone.

Those are some of the things that came out of this for me. Thank you so much for reading! I hope you got something out of it too!

Love, 

Annie

10 Meditation Strategies For People Who Struggle With Meditating.

10 Meditation Strategies for People  Who Struggle With Meditating

Ways to help you travel within and wake up to the light!

June 1, 2016

Back in the early 90s before I had any real responsibilities, I lived for the nights and weekends. I was passionate and on a bit of a mission! I was obsessed with discovering and experiencing a better buzz than the day before.

I was not an addict. Miraculously, I had somehow dodged that gene. No, I was in complete control of my actions.

I got up every day, went

to work, and would watch the clock until 5:00pm when I would race out of the office and begin my routine of trying to get as chemically altered as possible.

I did this for no particular reason other than that I found my work uninspiring, my life meaningless, was plagued with anxiety, and I loved escaping to another world.

A world that felt like magic to me, where I could be myself, where my anxiety and lonliness would disappear.

I became an acid dropping, mushroom eating, pot smoking, binge drinking, speed snorting, nitrous inhaling, prescription drug popping, free spirit hippy who made altering my state of consciousness the primary focus of my life for several years.

I was a very happy drunk and druggie, never got angry or into fights that I can recall.

I think most of my friends at the time would have said I was pretty fun.

I don’t think I can claim that I was the LIFE of the party, but I was a solid ADDITION to the party.

I was up for anything.

Drugs and alcohol allowed me to enjoy my life at a time when I was lost. I would dance the night away, get into deep, serious, seemingly epic conversations about the meaning of life, sing and laugh and for a few hours I felt great! 

In the moment, I felt connected.

I felt important.

I felt safe. I felt a sense of adventure. I felt like I was contributing. I felt like I was learning about and exploring my consciousness. I felt like my existence mattered. Most of all, I felt The Force, the intelligent energy field that connects everything in our world.

Back then, drugs and alcohol were meeting most of my basic human needs beyond the physiological but that was only during the nights and on the weekends. The rest of the time, I was left feeling depressed and guilty about all the partying. My relationships suffered, I was tired and unfocussed at work, and I felt like I was wasting my life.

Little did I know at the time that there was something I could have been doing that would have provided many of the same benefits, without the negative side effects and consequences of drugs and alcohol.

I could have been meditating! A practice, according to study after study, that provides massive amounts of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits.

Based on the data, here is some of that we know about the benefits of meditating.

The Benefits of Meditating

1.   Reduces stress and thereby reduces cortisol levels

2.   Improves memory

3.   Slows the aging process

4.   Cultivates a sense of peace

5.   Help us find clarity of purpose

6.   Help to heal the body of disease

7.   Makes us happier, less lonely and less depressed

8.   Increases the oxygen levels in the blood and thereby its alkalinity

9.   Helps kick addictions like binge eating and smoking

10. Helps us stay mindful and present throughout the day

11. Allows us to respond instead of react to our emotions

12. Helps kids with ADHD and asthma

13. Shrinks the amygdala, the oldest part of the brain, home to our instincts of fight or flight.

14. Grows the “new” part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex that has evolved to help us regulate our primal ways.

15. Lastly, meditation is a gateway to The Force; a way of connecting to the spiritual realm. 

Meditation allows us to connect to the loving, intelligent, every present energy field from which we emerged as babies and in which we operate right now; the invisible force that keeps our hearts beating all day long and creates cool stuff like redwood trees and mountains and the seasons, and is smart enough to link up the ovulation cycles of women with the lunar cycle!

Now if there was a pill that made us feel better, look better, have a healthier, stronger body inside and out, a happier, more fulfilled life, and a spiritual connection, all without any negative side effects, that was free and readily available, we would all be taking it.

So why aren’t we doing this?

This is the most important thing we could do for ourselves, for others and for the planet.

Meditation allows us to journey to a place of awareness, peace, clarity and connection, where our physical bodies can take a break from all the pressures of unconscious thinking and stifled emotions that can pervade our day. And, when theta brain wave states are achieved, it provides a safe place to enter an altered state of consciousness, so we can see the world from a different perspective, much the way the psychedelics allowed me to do during my younger days.

Without a daily meditation practice we are actually in danger of losing our minds.

Wim Hof, the Ice Man, says it well, 

The mind under control is your best friend The mind wandering about is your worst enemy. Make it your best friend, to the point where you can rely on it. Your mind makes you strong from within. It is your wise companion. The sacrifices you make will be rewarded. Life doesn’t change, but your perception does. It’s all about what you focus on. Withdraw from the world’s influence and no longer be controlled by your emotions. If you can grab the wheel of your mind, you can steer the direction of where your life will go.”

A calm mind is a productive and powerful mind. 

Giving our bodies and minds a break everyday through meditation, enables us to create more, build more, help more, inspire more, change more, do more than we ever dreamed possible.

It's all about finding the meditation style that works best for you. 

Here are some ideas:

1.

HeadSpace

www.headspace.com

2.

Deepak 21 days Challenge

www.chopracentermeditation.com

3.

 Wim Hoff Meditation

www.icemanwimhof.com

4.

Shamanic Jouney 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Gj23t_ZqQ

5.

Dancing with Gabrielle Roth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvfL6Xsf1OY

6.

LIstening to Nature  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8myYyMg1fFE

7

. I am that I am Meditation 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aFf0NOMkWs

8. 

Meditate with a buddy or start a mediation group!

9.

Hire a coach!

10.

Meditate at stop lights, full service gas stations, and waiting in line at carpool!

Try to take some time every day to travel within and connect to your inner wisdom, your invisible ally. 

This guiding Force is here to help us, and I am convinced that connecting to it is the way to peace, love and happiness. No drugs necessary!

Come Join Me!

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Love, Annie

Do You Have This One Trait That You Need To Survive?

Do you Have This One Trait That You Need To Survive?

May 30th, 2016

Day 10

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one who is most adaptable to change.”

-Charles Darwin

My friend, Ingrid, threw a fabulous BBQ this weekend and while we were relaxing out on her deck, we fell into a fascinating conversation about adaptability that I feel I must share with you.

We were trying to figure out why it is that some people embrace change and new situations and others don’t?

I am someone who loves change. I seek it out and I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself.

When I think back to my childhood it actually isn’t that surprising, and I can begin to connect the dots pretty quickly.

My life growing up was filled with unpredictability, as anyone knows who has ever lived with an alcoholic. You never know what each new day is going to bring, so you have to be ready to adapt at all times.

When I look back on it now, I wouldn’t trade my youth for anything and I consider my mother to be my greatest teacher. Because of her, I learned adaptability and resourcefulness and self reliance. Her unpredictability has made me a more confident and optimistic adult in the face of change.

When there is little predictability and lots of unknowns, it is easy to feel unsafe, but if we can embrace and move toward the uncertainty, we can focus on the solutions instead of the problems.

This is the essence of the “Growth Mindset” that Carol Dweck talks about in her book

Mindset

.

She says, “In the growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s my chance to grow.”

Can we master adaptability? I think so, but to do so, we need to challenge ourselves on a regular basis. That is the practice.

I think professional boxers and MMA fighters understand adaptability at a high level, and I got a small taste of this when I wanted to challenge myself back in 2013. 

I decided to fight in a boxing match for the Haymakers For Hope organization that raises money for cancer research.

Each day of training camp leading up to the fight was a lesson in adaptability because every time I got in the ring I had no idea what was going to happen. I would set my game plan ahead of time, but inevitably things would happen that I hadn’t prepared for, that I didn’t see coming. I had to keep adjusting and adapting in between rounds based on the knowledge, awareness and information I had gained in the previous round.

Fighters are constantly acquiring new information and making adjustments while simultaneously staying focused on their game plan and their goal. This applies to all of us in every day life as well. 

Having an open, flexible, adaptable mind in the face of challenges, opens the doors of possibility and creates the environment for us to shine. 

If we go through life with a fixed mindset, one that is closed and rigid, it is way too easy to get caught up in the set backs and failures of Round #1. We have to let them go, adjust our course, and move onto Round #2.

An adaptable mind is a flexible mind and a powerful mind, and we have to remember one very important thing. Living our lives with an adaptable, “growth” mindset is a practice, just like mindfulness, patience, and non-judgment. We need to consciously immerse ourselves in this lifetime learner philosophy, everyday, until we've mastered it, until it becomes who we are.

So go out there and challenge yourself and see what happens! The one thing I know for sure is, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

That’s all for today!

Have a great night and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

Love, Annie

P.S. “When something goes wrong in your life just yell,

Plot Twist!,

and move on!”

Building My Courage Muscle

My New Perspective On Courage

Day 7

Mindfulness and Authenticity

May 27th, 2016

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”

- Mary Anne Radmacher

So here I am on day 7 of my 21 day commitment to blogging about mindfulness authentically, and to be truly authentic, my enthusiasm is waning. This seemed like a really fun, exciting idea a week ago, but yesterday it felt like a chore.

All the confidence and certainty I had had in the beginning was replaced by insecurity and anxiety and I entertained rationalizations of quitting.

I started to say things to myself like, “Barely anyone reads this anyway. No one is going to care if you bail. You don’t care what people think, right? Just give yourself a break…….etc.”

These thoughts in my head were calling to me like sirens, luring me in, giving me all sorts of reasons to abandon my goal.

But then I started to think, “Why am I doing this in the first place?”

As some of you know, I am beginning a new chapter in my life. This next chapter marks the end of my 15 year marriage and full time motherhood, and the start of figuring out who I am and what I want to do next.

When I started to remind myself of this, one thing became clear right away. l

wanted to learn something, to become a master at something, to become an expert.

But what did I want to master? And how would I do it? And how long would it take? And where would I start? 

And here is what I have decided. I want to be a writer.

I want to master writing by writing everyday for the next 10 years starting now. I figure if I blog every day for the next 10 years, I will become pretty good at it. That is my plan.

Instead of 21 Days of Mindfulness and Authenticity, I think I am going to rename it

3650 Days of Mastering Writing

. Sounds great, right?

There’s only one problem.

I am one of the most undisciplined, unfocussed people on the planet. I get so excited in the beginning of a project. I LOVE setting goals, but following through? That is challenging for me.

E.E. Cummings once said “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” I know, I know, but how, E.E.?  You left out the HOW.

Then I spoke to my life coach, Lynne, this morning, and she pointed out something that clarified everything for me. Here is the gist of it.

“Annie, it takes boldness to start a project. You have a lot of boldness. It takes enthusiasm to finish a project. You have so much enthusiasm. But it

takes courage to get through the middle. It takes courage to stay the course. To get up every morning and do it again and again when the end is no where in sight, and the excitement of the beginning is over. You just need to grow your courage muscle.”

Thank you Lynne! One thing I know how to do is grow muscles!

So that is what I am going to do. I am going to show up and build my courage muscle every day and see what happens.

As the saying goes, “Show up, do your best, forget the rest.”

Thank you for reading and I’ll be here tomorrow.

With love and gratitude, Annie