07/13/16 8:00am

The Healing Powers of Self-Kindness

Bridget-FlowersThe Healing Powers of Self-Kindness
by BlackLion

One of the most neglected ways we fail to take care of ourselves in our Western culture is self-kindness. Systemically, we work more, stress out more and worry more all the time. Rarely do we take the time to nurture ourselves or love ourselves for who we are.

So what are some simple and profound ways we can take care of ourselves through kindness?

Give Yourself a Break. Taking a break from constant self-help is a kind way of letting yourself be who you are in the present moment. There is no right or wrong way to be in this moment. You are simply who you are right now as the culmination of all the decisions, thoughts, and feelings you have made throughout your life. It just means you are who you are, right here and now.

Let Go of the Past. Of course we all learn from our past mistakes and triumphs. Our decisions now are guided by what has transpired. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look at the world with fresh eyes. We are not the same person we were 5 years ago, a year ago, a month ago, or even in the last hour. And frankly, neither is the rest of the universe the same. If we assume it is the same, and judge ourselves and our circumstances by old standards, we are probably being unkind to ourselves.

Do Something Fun. You know what feels really good, right? Something that gets your heart-rate pumping, your joy-o-meter rising and your smile a-beaming. Joy is a form of kindness where you are living in the moment, enjoying what you are doing and letting life be awesome. Because, after all, what is the point of living if you aren’t enjoying the ride?

Allow Another to Be Kind to You. Often we are good at giving, but we don’t let ourselves receive. Let someone hold the door for you. Let someone buy your lunch. Let another be supportive. Let someone into your heart and allow them to nurture you. Without your say so, no one can help you (or hinder you). By allowing the universe to give you what you need right when you need it – being open, aware and ready – you are letting the kindness shine in.

Forgive Yourself. The greatest relief you can find is letting yourself off the hook. No matter whether you screwed up royally or missed an appointment or were late for a meeting, just forgive yourself. And with this one simple kind act, you’ll feel a palpable relief that will relax your tense shoulders and ease your worried mind. Forgiveness, especially with yourself, is an elixir to heal your soul.

For more on kindness, you can join our upcoming event, Cultivating Self-Love – a live online workshop that helps you transform self-sabotage into self-confidence.

06/29/16 8:00am

The ABCs of Joyful Living

Stuffed SharkyThe ABCs of Joyful Living
by Starcat

Wouldn’t it be great if your life came with a user’s manual? It doesn’t, of course, and even if it did, you change and grow so much that the updates would be nearly constant. Luckily, your heart is wise, and you can follow its intuitive urges. It brings puzzle pieces of wisdom to you all the time.

Sometimes these pieces of wisdom come in the form of lessons that other people have learned and then share with you. They can provide new inspiration and clues to living more joyfully.

In the spirit of sharing puzzle pieces with my fellow spiritual travelers, I’d like to share these ABCs of joyful living. The list begins with my Word of the Year for 2016, which is Authentic, and from there I’ve followed the trail of the lessons I’ve been learning so far this year.

If you’re in the mood for sharing, we’d love to hear your own recent puzzle pieces!

A is for Authenticity. Being your true self makes life more fun, and besides, the world needs your unique gifts and talents.
B is for Boundaries. Boundaries protect your sacred space. They help you feel safe and held in a good place from which to share yourself.
C is for Compassion. Having compassion for yourself and others allows you to keep your joyful focus, rather than getting all judgy.
D is for Delight. What brings you delight in life? You know, those little pleasures that make life more fun – embrace them.
E is for Encouragement. Offer it to everyone around you. It will flow back to you when you need it most.
F is for Fun. We get trapped sometimes into thinking life is a serious matter. Remember to relax and have fun, regularly.
G is for Gratitude. This is one of the best ways to bring more of what you desire into your life – by being grateful for the people, things, and experiences that already surround you.
H is for Hugs. Share at least one hug every day, like a multivitamin for the spirit.
I is for Imagination. Use it or lose it! Let yourself daydream, doodle, and create.
J is for Joy! Have you lost yours? It’s time for a quest. See letter Q, below.
K is for Kindness. As my Mom says, it doesn’t cost anything to be kind to others. I would add being kind to yourself to the top of the list.
L is for Love. We’re all made of it. Open your heart and share your love with the cosmos!
M is for Mindfulness. Be present in the moment as often as possible. Remind yourself when you forget.
N is for No. Sometimes, in order to say yes to what you want, you have to say “no thanks” to things that just aren’t quite up to snuff. Use your “no” power to fuel your joy.
O is for Open. Stay open to what shows up in your life. Expect the unexpected, and leave room for miracles.
P is for Play. It’s not just for kids, you know. Playing is vital to cultivating fun, joy, and imagination in your life!
Q is for Quests. A friend and I have a definition of “quest” as a mission that only you (or you and your chosen companions for the experience) care about.
R is for Rest. Get plenty of it. Seriously. This means you.
S is for Superhero. You are one! Now, what are your superpowers? How will you use them to help the world be an even better place?
T is for Trust. When you let go and trust the Universe, things flow more smoothly. You don’t need to micro-manage every little thing. It’s pretty much impossible – so relax and enjoy the ride!
U is for the Unknown. Embrace it! You can’t know everything that will happen, but why assume that’s a bad thing? Magick is just around the corner.
V is for Visualizing. Just five minutes a day of envisioning what you want more of in your life will bring amazing results.
W is for Wishes. Make them everywhere you go. Chuck pennies in fountains. Blow out the candles. Wish upon a star. If you already feel abundant, make new wishes for your friends and loved ones!
X is for Xylophones, pianos, drums, guitars, bass, voices raised in song – and dancing to the music that carries you along. If you don’t already have a soundtrack for your adventures, it’s time to make one. Try our Positive Playlist as a place to start.
Y is for Yes! Follow your heart’s yesses to more adventure and fun!
Z is for Zest. Cultivate your zest for life, and your joy will continue to expand exponentially.

What would you add or change on this list of ABCs? Leave a comment and let us know what you’d include.

P.S. Are your days full of stress and not enough time for yourself? Get our Guided Meditations for Self-Care and nurture your spirit in just ten minutes of relaxation. A perfect start to a new daily spiritual practice…

06/8/16 8:00am

Authenticity: Being Yourself, Trusting Yourself

MagickalStarcatAuthenticity: Being Yourself, Trusting Yourself
by BlackLion

You’ve been taught time and time again that there are others “out there” who know better than you do about you, your body, what foods to eat, what to study, what to understand, who to trust, where to live, what job you should have, and on and on. In the face of all this external energy, where is your authentic voice and what is it telling you? Or do you even listen in the first place?

One of the challenges we all face is to know what is truth and what may not be so truthful when it comes to living our lives. The thoughts you think are a conglomeration of inspiration, instruction, and repeated thoughts (aka beliefs) that become ingrained and “second nature.” When we want to find out what our “first nature” is, we must seek within and clear away all these tangled webs of ideas that may or may not be our own.

Through introspection, relaxing, letting go of stressful situations and people, and letting the mind-chatter settle down, you can begin to hear your spiritual voice calling to you with love and serenity. Though it may not always be easy to get into this mindset, you’ll totally thank yourself for making mindfulness a regular part of your day.

Some of the questions you may be asking yourself are: Who am I? Why am I here? What is important to me? What is my relationship to spirit? What is my place in the natural world? Who is the Goddess?

Now, here is where it gets interesting. When you do check within every day, you’ll start figuring out these answers through flashes of insight, inspiration and joyful feelings. These feelings are helping you to refine and redefine who you think you are and what really brings joy into your life. You know the thoughts you are thinking are in alignment with your inner knowing when they feel oh so good!

Sure, there will be uncomfortable moments, yet these are signposts to past thinking or thoughts that others have instilled in you when you were younger. As you explore and trust your inner guidance, you can more clearly and more easily let go of this past programming and really live the life that best suits you, personally, uniquely.

Authenticity is the conduit to your best life because it allows you to tailor and celebrate your own ways of living and loving life. And as you play into your new and more loving understanding of your authentic nature, you’ll welcome these tranquil moments of serenity every morning. You’ll seek and find people, places and experiences that lift you up and share your common uplifted vibe. Be who you have always wanted to be and let that be enough, perfectly so.