Week TWO

Connecting with YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF

 

During the second week, we will be working on helping you get more connected to yourself.

We have a tendency to mindlessly go through our days.

This will help you become more present, plug into things that make you feel good,

and remind you of all the wonderful things about you!

Week TWO

ConNecTing With Your Authentic Self

 

Day EIGHT

The Present of Presence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of our section on Connecting to Nature, we talked about becoming more aware of your natural surrounds. Today we are going to talk about being present. Being present means having your attention focused on what is happening, what you are feeling, what you are seeing and hearing and tasting, right at that moment. You cannot connect if you are not present. Think about that word, present. To be present is the opposite of being absent. If you are present, you are fully in the moment. You are not lost in your thoughts, daydreaming or worrying. If you are lost in your thoughts, your body may be present, but your mind—your attention—is absent.

One of the biggest things I noticed about the people living in small villages all through Middle America is that they live in the moment. I believe this is KEY to making solid, healthy connections in all the areas of your life.

 

I confess, I have a tendency to have my head on the clouds. I am always dreaming up some idea or mentally tracking down clues to solve life’s mysteries. It took a while for me to learn to bring my attention into the present moment. And how I first learned to do that came from an unusual moment for me.

 

I was spending time with some friends who were locals in Mexico. We were sharing a meal, chatting and laughing, and just having a good time when the conversation shifted to something I was really excited about. The discovery of a new cenote. A cenote is an opening to the water-filled cave system that runs for hundreds of miles beneath the Yucatan Peninsula. They are beautiful crystal-clear pools in the jungle, often decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, brilliant blue butterflies and tropical vines plunging into the cool waters where swimmers can soak and snorkel for hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was something I felt held tons of potential for future activities and my mind quickly went into overdrive considering all the possibilities. In my enthusiasm, I started sharing my ideas. We could….and then we could…and we could….and then…

 

But, rather than joining in my excited dreaming, my companions fell silent. I was a bit confused and thought perhaps they simply did not understand me, so I tried to be more careful in my explanation of all my future dreaming. Still, they did not respond, but rather looked at each other in mild confusion.

 

Finally, one friend piped up and asked, “But, why would you want to do all that?” he asked. “I was thinking we could just go swimming.”

 

It was a hard pill for me to swallow. I was disappointed that my friends really had no interest in showing their find to the world, taking photos and video of it, advertising it, taking people on cenote tours, and making tons of money. I felt a bit deflated and, when my friend suggested we just go swimming, I stopped expounding on my grand ideas and reluctantly agreed that just enjoying the cenote ourselves was a good idea.

 

Looking back, I realized that my friends really were not interested in making long-range plans. As they talked about the new discovery, long-range plans never even occurred to them. That was why they looked confused when I started talking about all the things we could plan. Their focus was on the joy that spending an afternoon swimming and hanging out in that newly discovered paradise could bring. Their goal was immediate happiness, not labor and time and money to develop an idea.

 

So, let’s look at that a little closer.

 

First let me say that there is nothing wrong with developing ideas. I, obviously, am a writer and to write I must make a plan. But, while making a plan to bring lots of people swimming in a beautiful setting can being you some joy—the joy of anticipation—GOING swimming brings more joy. You must admit; slipping into the cool waters of a jungle pool and hanging out for the afternoon with friends sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

 

We have two types of activities here. One tangible and the other in-tangible. Dreaming happens in your mind. Swimming happens with your body. And while dreaming offers some good feelings, it doesn’t offer sunshine, and fresh air, and cool water, and the exhilaration of jumping off a cliff into a cavernous pool in the jungle, and belly laughing, and catching your breath at unexpected beauty, and the feeling of blood pumping through your veins as you swim down deep and try to touch the bottom, and the bliss of relaxation as you stretch out on a sunny a rock after an invigorating swim.

 

I still make plans. I still enjoy dreaming. But I have learned to take time every day to be in-the-moment. To DO. To use my senses. To have an experience. To get out of my head and into the world at my finger-tips. Because this is where living takes place.

 

It is possible to spend so much time in your head that you completely miss life. You get so lost in all your dreaming or thinking or worrying that tangible, pleasurable experiences pass right by you with you even noticing.

 

Have you ever been driving down a familiar road and all-of-a-sudden you realize you are not where you thought you were? You are miles farther down the road and you don’t remember driving there? It is amazing how you can be doing something as important as driving a car and have your mind be absent. Your body was present in the car. But, it was set on auto-pilot. Your mind was somewhere else completely. Pretty scary!

 

In order to make good connections, you need to show up. You need to BE there. Trust me, plugging into what is going on right in front of you will enable you to increase your happy factor immeasurably. In fact, without it, you will find yourself feeling more disconnected than ever. And this disconnection leads to worry, stress, discontentment, and ultimately anxiety and depression. And we don’t want that.

 

So, over the next few weeks, as we look at each of the four points of connection: Your Authentic Self, Other People, The Natural World, and even The Supernatural, we are going to constantly be working on staying present. I have an exercise for you to do today to help make you aware of what it feels like to be present. This is the first of many simple exercises that you are going to incorporate into your days over the next month. It will help you stay focused on being in the moment and, after a little practice, by the time you reach the end of this month, being present will come to you much more naturally.

Today's Activity

The most basic and easiest place to begin cultivating presence, is by becoming aware of your own body. To do that, take a minute and try this little activity:

 

I want you to shift your attention from what you are reading to how your body is feeling right now. Focus on how you are physically feeling. Just stop reading for 60 seconds and become aware of your arms and legs, you neck and shoulders, your cheeks and fingers. When you finish come back here.

 

Did you do it?

 

What did you notice? I bet that, all of a sudden, you realized you were a bit chilly or warm, or you noticed a few small aches and pains, or maybe you realized you are tired or hungry.

 

Ok, now let’s get a little more specific. I want you to go through each of your senses. Ask yourself these six questions and take your time to answer each one.

 

1. What do I see?

Look around. Look up and look down. Look out the window. What draws your attention?

Find something that gives you a nice feeling and focus on it for just a little minute.

What color is it? What shape is it? What do you love about it?

2. What do I hear?

You might want to close your eyes so you can more fully focus on your sense of hearing.

What sounds do you hear near-by? Far away?

What “white” sounds do you hear, like a fan or refrigerator or heater running

3. What do I smell?

Take in a slow deep breath. Breathe out and do it again.

What do you smell? A candle burning? Food cooking? Crisp, fresh air? 

4. What do I taste?

OK, if you have nothing to eat, you might not be tasting much.

But if you have something nearby to drink or snack on take a sip or a bite.

Focus on the taste sensations. Is it cool? Warm? Crunchy? Sour? Sweet?

What does it feel like in your mouth?

5. What do I feel?

Focus on your skin. It is cool? Warm? Are you wearing a woolly sweater or a silky blouse?

Are you wrapped up in a soft blanket or is the sun shining on your skin?

6. What do I sense?

I am talking about your intuition, your sixth sense. Sit quietly and see what your intuition is telling you.

Do you feel safe? Vulnerable? Is there a lot of positive energy in the room?

Is there an undercurrent of stress? A sense of peace? What are you aware of?

 

 

Add to Your Daily Routine

Make time to focus on your senses at least four times during the day.

 

You can do this when you are waking up in the morning. I do it as I am laying in bed. I listen to see what I hear before I even open my eyes. Think about your normal schedule and decide when the four best times will be for you. You can even set an alarm on your phone if that works for you. Actually, it’s a GREAT way to stop you in your tracks, take stock of what you are doing/feeling at that moment, and then consciously plug into the present.

 

You can try doing it at interesting times too. Try doing it in a busy place, like when you are shopping or even out for dinner with friends. Or try it while you are in a quite place, like in the bath. A great time to do it is when you are working and you hit a bit of a wall. Take two minutes and look like you are just staring off into space thinking, but really be focusing on becoming present again.

 

Another powerful way to use this tool is to focus on your senses when you are feeling stressed. Stop thinking and ask yourself all six questions. It can just take a minute or two, but it will bring you out of toxic thoughts and back into the present moment.

 

No matter how you decide to do this, make sure you do it at least four times during the day each day. This will help your body remember each TOMORROW to stop and plug back into what is going on right in front of you. And the goal is to shift your awareness so you are spending more time being present each day.

Day NINE

Embrace the Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t have hot water for three years. I took showers in rain water. Rain that was caught on the roof (or sometimes on a big blue tarp and then funneled into a bucket)

 

It’s the truth.

 

All through Central America, most homes are without the luxury of hot water. People take cold showers, and, interestingly enough, when asked if they would prefer a hot shower, the answer is often, “No.”

 

Now keep in mind that, for the most part, taking a cold shower in Central America is not the same thing as taking an icy shower in Canada in the winter. The water is cool and the air is warm. So instead of calling today’s assignment, “Take a Cold Shower,” we could call it, “Take a Cool Shower.”

 

So why on earth would you want to take a cool shower?

 

Many Eastern cultures suggest that taking a cool shower in the morning is a great way to wake yourself up, get your mind clear, and get your energy flowing. They say that a warm shower should be reserved for nighttime when you are ready to relax and go to sleep.

 

Seems like simple enough logic.

 

So, feel this. (I would say picture this, but this is more of a feeling type description). You are groggy, a bit cranky, and seriously still in zombie mode because you have not had your morning coffee.  You turn on the shower and let the water warm up. Then you step in, eyes still half closed, and let the steamy water ease your transition out of those warm snuggly covers you were under just a few minutes ago.

 

You run your fingers through your hair and let the water fall over your drowsy body. Then slowly you begin to turn the temperature down. Incrementally, you go from hot to warm and allow your personal temperature to adjust to the temperature of the water until the two feel almost the same. Then you go from warm to cool, letting the decrease in temperature increase your awareness. You start to feel the fog lifting. Sleep finally pulls back its covers and your mind begins to clear. Then you turn the temperature all the way down if you are in a warm climate, and almost all the way down if you are in a cold one (no reason to shock yourself with water that is just above freezing!) You let the cool water run down your back, its chilly fingers pleasantly awakening your energy and encouraging you energy to move and breathe within you. You begin to feel invigorated, awake, aware, happy, motivated, and ready to start your day.

Today's Activity

Sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed. Breathe normally and turn your attention to how your body and mind feel. Allow yourself to relax and hold onto that feeling of relaxation for a minute or two.

 

Now tell yourself that you are going to give yourself the gift of awakening energy in your body and clarity in your mind. Just sit for a minute and image how good that will feel.

 

Now go get a fluffy towel and turn on the water in the shower to let it warm up. Set an intention to treat your shower as a ritual. (This is another opportunity to practice being present) Start with nice steamy water and slowly adjust the temperature until it is tingly cool, focusing your awareness on how the change in temperature makes you feel.

 

When you get out of the shower, dry off by rubbing your skin vigorously to encourage blood flow and then just allow yourself to be completely naked for a few minutes, letting your skin air dry until you are completely dry. Focus on how good you feel as you get dressed.

 

Simple enough, right?

Add to Your Daily Routine

Now you can add, Take a Cool Shower to your daily routine. See, I told you this would be easy =)

 

 

 

Day TEN

Compliment Yourself

One of the biggest things I noticed about people living in quaint little villages in the islands and rain forests and jungles of Latin America, is that they are not hung up on feeling horrible about themselves. They really are happy people. They see their good points and their bad. The woman feel good about being a bit round and the men glorify their own chubby tummies. They don’t worry about what kind of car they have or how big their house is and they never ask someone what they do for work. They DO enjoy sharing a great catch of fish with their neighbors, cooking together as a community, and letting the kids play freely without any worry about them getting their hands dirty.

 

They also have no trouble telling you how long they worked building a canoe, how many children they have (the more the merrier), or how to make the best tortillas on the planet.

 

And all of that they do with little or no false ego.

 

They get really excited about the things they do well and genuinely are happy to tell you all about it.

 

In short, they have great self-esteem.

 

Just imagine how wonderful it would be to be fifty pounds heavier than you would like to be (according to modern standards) and HAPPILY climb into a two-piece bathing suit. Just think how great it would be to have no idea how to cook and have a whole village of warm, caring women excitedly enthusiastic about teaching you, with no judgment at all. Just think how great it would feel to bumble over a new language and have the locals tell you that you are doing great when all you know how to do is ask for two beers and then ask where the bathroom is!

 

The point here is that there are people in the world who feel really GOOD about themselves and want YOU to feel really good about yourself too!

 

What a tremendous relief to be able to walk into a party and be comfortable in your own skin or invite people over and not worry a t all about what they will think of your house. What a tremendous blessing to have people see your failings as part of your growth and cheer you on. Imagine playing guitar and singing in front of people and they ignore every mistake you make and applaud with gusto when you finish!

 

It’s time for you to applaud yourself with gusto.

 

Trust me, this is very therapeutic and, by the time you are done, you will be amazed at what an AMAZING person you are!

 

Today's Activity

The directions are easy. Write down everything you can think of that you have done, learned, discovered, accomplished, practiced and improved, or even just started and are still a newbie at but are excited about. You can do it for the past year. Or if you like, you can go back further, just depending on what feels good to you. There is ONE rule. If you think of something, you HAVE to write it down. No skipping anything.

 

Your tendency may be to overlook things you think are not good enough. That is not allowed. If you think of it, you have to write it down.

 

So here is how this will probably go:

 

At first you will have a hard time thinking of anything at all. You might come up with one or two things. But as you start to write, other things will come to mind. You are not allowed to stop until you just cannot think of anything else. I mean you sit there for five full minutes and can think of NOTHING more.

 

You can put down things like: I started taking a watercolor class. I got a new job. I got a raise. I read 5 books. I spent more time playing with my grandchildren. I painted my living room. I started being kinder to myself. I forgave my uncle. I cut back on smoking. I started eating healthier. I traveled to a foreign country. I started a garden. (The list is endless) Include anything that made you push some boundaries, or you feel good about.

 

When you are finished, go back to the beginning and read your list out loud.

 

When you look back over a whole year, it is AMAZING how much you have grown and accomplished. We just normally live day to day and each day rolls into the next and we are unaware of how much has really happened.

 

If you want, you can post your list on social media somewhere and encourage other people to do this exercise. It is so empowering, and it is a wonderful thing to help your friends and loved ones see how wonderful THEY are.

 

Oh, and then you can put THAT on your list…I encouraged my friends.

 

Add to Your Daily Routine

At the end of each day, before you fall asleep, think of all the things that you did during the day that you are proud of! And feel good about them!

 

 

Day ELEVEN

My Favorite Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took Ulbadino and Ani shopping. Ulbadino and his little brother were orphaned early in life and managed to find a nice Ngobe man to live with on an island in Panama. Unfortunately, they didn’t have money for school clothes, so I took them to the local store and helped them find everything they needed so they could attend the local school.

 

They tried on new navy-blue pants and bright white shirts and gym clothes and shiny black shoes. It was a little like Christmas for the boys and they were delighted.

 

But as we got ready to leave, Ulbadino came to be with something a bit odd in his hand. It was a colorful scarf. Not the kind that keeps you warm, but the kind that a woman wears when she wants to dress up and go out for the evening.

 

Really wondering what kind of reason the teenage boy was going to give me for wanting the silky accessory, I asked Ulbadino why he wanted the scarf. He quickly explained it was for the lady who lived next door, the older woman who always hugged him and called him her grandson.

 

It was just the sweetest thing. Yes, Ulbadino was able to get the clothes he needed to go to school, but the thing that meant the most to him was being able to buy a small gift for his adopted grandmother.

 

It made me think about the necessity of a scarf for an older indigenous woman living on an out-island. Would she even want a scarf? Would she wear it? Would it get in the way or just get dirty? Would it end up torn and in the trash in a couple of short weeks?

 

In the days to come, I paid attention to how the women on the island dressed. I wasn’t sure why it had escaped my notice earlier, but sure enough, everyone of them carried pretty accessories. A colorful scarf, a rhinestoned purse, a flowered barrette. They adorned themselves in inexpensive, but pretty extras and they took really good care of these little luxuries.

 

They may not have had a roof that could prevent the rain from coming in, or a bed to sleep in, but they almost all had something little thing to make them feel pretty.

 

I used to see small accessories as unnecessary and maybe even felt that wanting them was a bit shallow. But, I have since changed my mind. Of course, I have plenty of things to dress up with, but I had stopped wearing them. I have silver bracelets that belonged to my mother. I remember she would get up every morning and ask my opinion about which one she should wear that day. I loved all of them and could never help her decide.

 

Well she passed away when I was in my early 20’s and I inherited all her jewelry, including the silver bracelets. Not long after my experience with shopping with Ulbadino, I decided I would start wearing my mother’s bracelets. They reminded me of her and lended a bit of happy to my day. But when I got them all out and tried to decide which one to wear, I ran into the same problem my mother had. I could not decide which one.

 

As I was sitting there with a small stack of silver bangles in front of me, my mind went back to the indigenous women in the villages. I pictured their wrists adorned with stacked of beaded bracelets and I decided that I didn’t need to make a decision. I would just wear them all at once.

 

Happily, I piled all the bracelets on and, as I did, I felt something release inside of me. I had always fancied myself a bit of a hippy and I had always loved seeing women with all kinds of bracelets going up their arms. It was like a part of me that had always wanted to come out and play was finally allowed to have her way.

 

To this day, I still wear at least four silver bracelets on one arm and two beaded ones on the other. I LOVE connecting to my past, to pretty things, and to my inner hippy. It is such a simple thing, but every time I play with them, I get a satisfied happy boost!

 

Today's Activity

Go look in your closet, wardrobe, drawers, and jewelry box and find your favorite things. Pull them out and lay them all over your bed. A shirt you love but you never wear, a favorite pair of shoes, a hat, a necklace. Lay everything out on your bed and then just sit in the middle of the pile looking at each thing, picking it up and touching it, letting it bring up feelings.

 

You know, we get so caught up in things and feeling that they will make us happy and then, when we realize that happiness doesn’t come from things, we have a tendency to go the other way all together and almost create an aversion to “things” within ourselves.

 

Having a few things you love is a blessing. There is nothing wrong with it at all. Indigenous people have been making necklaces and bracelets from shells and seeds for eons. They have been adorning their clothes with beautiful patterns and colors and adding decorations to their hair, tattooing their skin, painting their faces, and accessorizing their wardrobes for centuries. There is a reason for it. We feel really good when we dress up. We attach meaning to the things we wear. And this meaning can have a powerful impact on how we feel throughout the day.

 

As you go through your favorite things, see if there are specific memories that come up, or feelings you have when you hold certain objects. Are there a few items that really stand out to you? Maybe you love the energy you feel in some stones (I love turquoise and amber) Perhaps there is a certain color you are drawn to and you have scarves and hats you can add to your outfits that give you a punch of that favorite color. Or maybe you love the earthy smell and texture of your favorite leather belt or wallet.

 

Pick out your favoritest (I know, it’s not a word, but it seemed kind of fun) things and put them where you have easy access to them.

 

Now pick out something, or a bunch of things, and WEAR THEM!

 

Add to Your Daily Routine

Every day, wear something you love.

 

 

 

Day TWELVE

Chocolate (Sweet…I know, right?)

The Bribri people who live in the mountains of Costa Rica cultivate sacred chocolate forests.  They harvest the golden-red cacao pods guarded by warriors and crocodile carved from stone and ferment the raw beans until they are ready to be ground into a stiff paste that is used to make a drink they revere and drink constantly throughout the day.

 

They are also one of the longest-lived people on earth.

 

The Bribri call cacao The Mother of Us All. And with good reason. This raw form of chocolate, known as The Food of The Gods or Theobroma (God-food) Cacao, is full of compounds like serotonin, dopamine, and anandamide (called the “bliss molecule” and a close relative to THC) Together these compounds create a feeling of everything-is-right-with-the-world. They alleviate stress and promote happiness, energy, and clarity of mind.

 

For a tad more information about raw cacao, see page 33 in your copy of

FEEDING YOUR INTUITION: A Cookbook & Guide to a Healthy Pineal Gland

 

So, today’s ritual will be all about chocolate. I am sure you are already excited about this one!

 

Today's Activity

You will need raw cacao powder, sea salt or Himalayan salt, honey, coconut oil, your favorite mug, a spoon, and a comfy place to relax.

 

Now, you get to make the drink of the Bribri. The original Bribri cacao drink is made with only cacao and water. I have added a bit of salt and honey because it tastes awesome that way! If you want to be super authentic, follow the recipe below but don’t add the honey and salt. You will still need the coconut oil unless you buy unprocessed raw cacao powder that still has all the cocoa butter in it)

 

  • Fill your favorite mug to the brim with water, spring or filtered is preferred of you have it.

  • Pour the water into a small sauce pan

  • Add a heaping teaspoon of raw cacao powder, ½ teaspoon of salt (sea salt or Himalayan salt are best), a teaspoon of honey, and a ½ teaspoon of coconut oil. (The coconut oil is to replace the cocao butter that is removed when they process the cacao into powder.)

  • Heat until steaming, but not boiling. Boiling is too hot and will kill off much of the good stuff.

  • Pour the hot cacao drink into your favorite mug and grab a spoon so you can stir it occasionally as the cocoa powder does not completely dissolved in the hot water.

  • Now find a comfy place to relax.

 

When you are relaxed, hold your cacao mug in both hands. Feel the warmth for just a minute. (practicing being present again!) Then, bring the mug up to your face and enjoy the chocolaty fragrance. Feel the steam on your face. Then take a small sip and hold it in your mouth for a couple of seconds, really focusing on the flavor. Then, as you swallow, picture the warm cacao drink as if it were golden-red light, like the color of the cacao pods. Feel the warm light going into the core of your body, relaxing, warming, spreading happiness all through your body.

 

Try drinking your entire mug of cacao this way, stirring occasionally to keep all the chocolaty goodness well mixed. Notice how you feel by the time you are done with your mug of chocolate.

 

Add to your Daily Routine

Now you get to add cacao to your daily routine. You can replace your coffee and drink the cacao we used for the ritual. OR…

 

Here are a few other ways to add cacao to your day:

 

Add a spoon of raw cacao powder to your coffee. Stir well.

Add it to a morning shake. You might want to try my recipe

 

Breakfast Cacao Shake

½ a banana

½ cup of unflavored yogurt

a handful of berries

a heaping teaspoon of raw cacao powder

ice

water

honey (optional)

 

Directions: Put the banana, yogurt, berries and cacao powder in a blender.

Add enough ice to make the blender about ½ full. Pour in water so it fills up all the cracks.

If you like it sweet, add a teaspoon of local honey. Blend well.  

Add a teaspoon of cacao to your meat recipes! You will be amazed at how easy it is to hide chocolate

in almost anything! It loves beef, chicken, turkey, and any kind of sausage.

Add a teaspoon to your favorite recipe, especially soups, chilies, and things with sauce that has bullion in it.

(OK, maybe not a cheese sauce)

 

For more recipes that include RAW CACAO see your free digital copy of FEEDING YOUR INTUITION. You will find some delicious recipes that include cacao powder there.

 

  • Banana Cacao Pancakes

  • Avocado Chocolate Bread

  • Chocolate-Avocado Mousse

  • Fruit and Chocolate

  • Chocolate Coconut Bars

  • Cranberry, Orange, and Chocolate Smoothie

  • Banana, Peanut Butter, and Cacao Smoothie

  • Original Bribri Cacao Drink

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate

 

Raw cacao will give you an energy boost, but it isn’t from the caffeine in the chocolate. There is actually very little caffeine in cacao. The energy boost will be more gentle, last longer, and not give you that crashing feeling when it wears off. The Bribri people of Costa Rica drink 5-6 cups of cacao every day. Try drinking 2-3 cups a day and see how you feel. Then if you like, add more. Do it for a least a week and take note of your overall mood, clarity, and energy level. I think you will be amazed!

 

Day THIRTEEN

The Laughing Parrot

I have a friend who lives in a little Mayan pueblo. Her name is Eugenia and she is a Mayan grandmother. Her home is always filled with activity and good vibes. There are usually children about and kittens and maybe chickens (yes, in the kitchen). There is always fresh fruit on the table and plenty of hot tortillas coming off the grill. But one of the most telling things about Eugenia’s home is the language of parrot who shares her home.

 

The parrot is one of the pretty green and red ones that lives in the wild jungles of the Yucatan. He was injured and was unable to fly, but now he gets yummy food and lots of company and he has successfully learned the most commonly used type of language in Eugenia’s house.

 

It laughs!

 

Take a look at some of the marvelous things a good belly laugh can do for you:

 

  • Overall body relaxation for up to forty-five minutes

  • Increases oxygen intake

  • Releases endorphins which make you feel good

  • Reduces cortisol—the stress hormone that makes you feel like you’re being chased by a tiger

  • Improves your immune system

  • Causes your body to release its own natural pain killers

 

Today's Activity

So, what is today’s assignment? That’s an easy one. LAUGH!

 

Find something to watch that is funny. A TV show or movie, your favorite YouTube comedian. Anything that find really funny. Make time today to have a really good belly laugh.

 

Add to Your Daily Routine

Adding in even a couple minutes of doing or watching something to make you laugh will increase your happy factor significantly throughout the day. You can sign up for humorous quotes in your email, watch your favorite shows, play with your dog in the back yard. Play a game with your kids. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do a least ONE thing every day that is guaranteed to make you laugh!

 

 

 

 

 

Day FOURTEEN

Let the Music Move You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music is such an important part of the culture of Latin America. It is rich, passionate, and emotional. A raw energy you can feel behind the words and melodies reaches beyond your logical mind and deep into your primal instincts. It literally moves you.

 

My friends all through Mexico and Central America listen to music all throughout the day. They sing and hum and whistle. They seem to always have a song on their lips.

 

Take a look at these awesome things listening to music can do for you:

  • Listening to music causes your brain to release the neuro-transmitter dopamine which gives you a natural high

  • It reduces the level or the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body

  • Listening to relaxing music for 45 minutes before bed helps you sleep better and a good night’s sleep significantly (up to 90 percent difference!) reduces depression during the day

  • It is more effective than medication at reducing anxiety

  • It naturally reduces pain

  • It raises your IQ and increases your memory

 

 

 

Today's Activity

Pick a song you love, one that resonates with you, that you can lose yourself in. Dedicate a few minutes to solely listening to that song. Turn your attention to it completely. Close your eyes and let it penetrate your being. If you want to dance, dance. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to lie on the floor and soak in the music’s peaceful swirling waters, do that.

 

 If you find yourself having a difficult time letting go of your thoughts and being completely caught up in the music, give yourself some grace. Realize that you have spent most of your life entertaining random thoughts, playing host to these “thought guests” who sometimes overstay their welcome. Tell yourself it is OK to let the world’s trouble go for just a few minutes and try listening to the song again to see if you can let go more completely and get lost in the music.

 

After you listen, take a minute to think about these questions and answer them as honesty as you can:

 

  • What kind of physical impact did the music have on you?

  • Do you feel energized?

  • Relaxed?

  • What emotions did you feel arise?

  • Were you comfortable with those emotions?

  • Listening to music can propel you to a completely different place. Do you feel different after listening deeply?

Add to Your Daily Routine

Listen to music every day. Try different types at different times of day--something happy and energetic in the morning and something to help you relax in the evening.  

 

Here is a relaxing piano recording I think you will enjoy. Its great for studying, meditating, or winding down at the end of a stressful day.

 

WEEK TWO REVIEW

 

So, by now, you should have 14 things added to your daily routine.

Let’s go over what that might look like.

 

  1. Wake up and lay in bed, eyes still closed. Listen to the birds singing.

  2. Open your eyes. Ask yourself the six questions about how you feel. What do you See? Hear? Feel? Smell? Taste? (OK, you will have to wait for your morning raw cacao for that one) and Sense?

  3. Get up and get in the shower. Start with warm water and gradually turn the temperature down to cool so you feel energetic and invigorated and ready to start your day.

  4. Scrub your body with a wash cloth dipped in herb and flower infused coconut oil

  5. Get dressed and put on at least one thing you love to wear. 

  6. Make yourself a cup of Bribri Chocolate with raw cacao powder in it

  7. Sit down and sip on it while you watch a short funny video, read a comic strip, or check your email to read something funny from the comedy list you signed up for.

  8. Make a yummy breakfast with happy foods like a fresh egg omelet stuffed with spinach, mushroom, and feta cheese with sliced tomatoes sprinkled with chili powder and sea salt on the side.

  9. Turn on some music (or listen to it in the car on your way to wherever you are going) to get your blood pumping and your happy going and start your day.

  10. Take a break in the afternoon and go for a walk. Turn your face toward the sun and breathe in the fresh air.1

  11. Ask yourself what you feel, hear, see, smell, taste, and sense and bring yourself into the present moment.

  12. Find a quite spot to stretch out on the ground as you finish you walk. Prop your feet up on a rock and allow energy to sink into your core and refresh your whole body and clear your mind.

  13. Finish out your day and snuggle up in bed in a blissfully peaceful, dark bedroom

  14. Drift off to sleep thinking of all the wonderful things you did during the day that made you feel good about yourself

And on to week three…

 

© 2015 by Laura LaBrie

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