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How to beat the holiday blues

 

Do you tend to feel sad or low this time of year?

I am generally a happy person, except during the holiday season. There have been many labels attached to the holiday blues, and even more reasons why people experience them.

The why does not really matter; we always ask why, but when we figure that out, do we feel better? Maybe, but only for a short while.

Why not try a new way of thinking? I made the decision to make this year the last of my holiday blues.

I’d like to share with you the tools I use to keep my vibration high, regardless of what is going on around me. The objective is to focus your attention on your desired result, which is, of course, feeling good.

It is all about your internal frequency. It is easy to get sucked into the negativity of the times or our surroundings. This is why internal calibration of your feelings and your energy is crucial to your state of being.

That feeling of calm, security, comfort, contentment and gratitude can only come from within, and it is up to us to create this within ourselves.

Language of the soul

One of the most beautiful writings are those of Neale Donald Walsch, who says that feelings are the language of the soul. This is how the Divine communicates with us, and feelings never lie.

Your feelings will always reflect your internal state. Your vibrational frequency will speak louder than any words or actions. This is a foremost tenet of Psychoneurology—that your vibration is everything.

I’m not oversimplifying this, because it literally takes only the subconscious a few seconds to change its state.

The rest is drama. And yes, sometimes drama is entertaining, until it no longer serves you.

When you give in to your negative feelings, you just feel worse than you did. The trick is to change the feelings by increasing your energetic frequency.

Does this mean you will never again feel negative emotions? Nothing could be further from the truth. You are human, after all.

The final outcome is that you are able to calibrate your emotions. When you feel the negativity creeping in, make a decision to go with it, or change it.

Silent time

The holiday blues are the perfect example. If you normally have that feeling two to three months of the year, and you decide it no longer has power over you, you can say, “I’m changing it.” Then the months become days, and then hours, and then nothing at all because you no longer entertain the feelings.

I would normally wait for the blues to leave on their own; in the meantime, those around me are affected by my state. But if I decide to feel better, I’m happy—and those around me are happy, as well.

I like referring to silent time as enjoying the pleasure of my own company. When you can be alone and enjoy it, you experience a freedom that is inexplicable.

This silent time can mean meditation, focusing on your breath or just staring into nature. This is something you need to remind yourself to do, because it is often the last choice.

By incorporating silent time into your daily routine, you send a very strong message to yourself and to your subconscious that you are safe, secure and steady, and, most importantly, that you are well.

Start with two minutes a day; remember to be kind to yourself while doing this, and gradually build up to 15 to 30 minutes a day, until you can go a full day of being by yourself.

If that is not possible because you are always surrounded by people, find a way to evolve your silent time into a deep meditation of 10 minutes a day. The important thing to remember is that this is your time to go inwards—and to like what you see inside.

Choose your tribe

Surround yourself with people who make you happy. You become the people you hang around with, so choose your tribe.

If you are surrounded by negativity, get out; if you can’t get out, focus on how to make yourself happy, rather than expecting a spouse or friend to make you happy.

We expect our loved ones to make us happy. That never works. Recognize when you are surrounded by frequencies that do not reflect your own. When that happens, change your environment internally.

Here is where the magic happens: when you change your frequency, more often than not, the frequencies of those around you change, as well.

Do more of what makes you feel good. We say this a lot in the practice of Psychoneurology, because our focus is on self-love. When you are thriving in SouLove, you practice unconditional self-love and acceptance.

When you recognize that you are not feeling good, make the decision to change this by doing things that make you feel good. This way, you are nurturing yourself.

If this means being with certain people, call them and set a date. If it takes watching a movie in a middle of the day, do it.

Check your body. Sometimes a good workout or a great yoga session or dance class can make you feel good.

I feel that the best way to be happy is to keep moving. Supplements can also help. Check with your doctor; sometimes even a fungal infection can lead to the blues if untreated. Some studies have also shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to feelings of anxiety and restlessness and, yes, even the blues.

When it comes to supplements, please check with your doctor so they don’t counteract any medications you are taking. You may also want to stick to what I refer to as “happy food.” These are fresh produce that make you feel good about yourself and your body.

Fruits and veggies are number one. Avoid processed sugar, as this only leads to weight gain and will contribute to making you feel low.

Learn to say “no.” You do not have to say yes to every single invitation you receive or feel pressured to buy everyone a gift.

There is no need to make an excuse, either. Practice saying “no,” and watch your stress levels decrease. Here’s a rule of thumb: When you say “yes” to someone, make sure you are not saying “no” to yourself. If your yes stresses you out, try saying no, and your body and psyche will thank you for it.

These tools are suggestions that you can utilize to create your own formula for easing the holiday blues. Your way is the only way that will work for you.

Published on Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column by Lia Bernardo on December 13, 2016.

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#SouLove360: SOULOVE AND SELF LOVE

“You’re not leading with your heart.” 

My friend Jenn said this to me last Saturday. 

Shortly after that my friend, Mawi invited me to a special Mother Daughter SouLove Yoga workshop that was being held at SouLove Center.

For those of you that don’t know, SouLove Center opened it’s doors last February 10th. They offer someone like me, the opportunity to find another community to connect to be a part of. This is not a yoga studio.

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It’s a CENTER.

A center for healing.

A center to build community.

And a center to learn more about how to take better care of yourself.

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Gia wasn’t able to attend the workshop with me, because of her volleyball practice, but because I had been wanting to experience SouLove Yoga, I didn’t let her absence deter me from attending. There would be other people I knew in attendance, but truth be told, it didn’t matter whether I would know anyone in class or not, because I was ready to start working on me…for me…

Confession: It’s been about two years since I have attended a yoga class. I have had every intention of getting on my mat, but it seems time and circumstances got in the way of me taking better care of myself.

That morning, I woke up in a fierce mood, and I set out to be kind to myself by attending this workshop

In case that statement may sound a little like a paradox, let me explain.

I have often talked about these moments in your life that change you. They shift your perspective and when you come out on the other side you KNOW you are a different person than you were before.

Sometimes, these moments can be good. They can be moments filled with love, moments of clarity, and realizations about just how good God is. They can involve people who are dear to you, or even someone you have never met.

Sometimes these moments that change you are NOT so good. It usually happens when LIFE throws you a curve ball. These moments are usually filled with disappointment, anger, a lack of understanding, and maybe even resentment.

At any rate, when I look at these two totally different types of experiences, I see them BOTH as an opportunity to learn more about myself and the relationships that I choose to nurture.

So life has thrown me a curve ball. And YES, I will not only come out different than I was before…I dare say that I will be an even BETTER person than I was before…

This is why it was so very important for me to attend the workshop that Lia, Jenn, and Ryan put together for SouLove…for MY Self Love.

Lia opened up the workshop by introducing SouLove.

SouLove is a STATE OF BEING.

  • It is pure unconditional love for the self.
  • It is radical self acceptance.
  • It is intense gratitude for all that is.
  • It has INFINITE potential.

How do you achieve this state of being?

By MOVING.

By LEARNING.

AND By Growing.

After the short talk by Lia, we were ready to move to another room and practice the yoga part of our workshop. I found my mat and knew that I would have the opportunity to reconnect with myself. Yoga is about the union of self. No matter which kind of yoga I have practiced, I have always come out of class feeling better.

  • physically
  • mentally
  • emotionally
  • spiritually

Soulove Yoga as led by Ryan and Jenn was a restorative type of yoga. It was the return to me. It was a little taste of what I know I need to continue doing. Taking care of myself. There were lots of heart openers. Chanting. And reminders to tune into what I was feeling and where I was feeling it.

What I promised myself, was that not matter what I was feeling, I was going to recognize it, acknowledge it and begin to HEAL from the most recent curve ball that life had thrown me.

Towards the end of class, Jenn led a seated meditation that I found myself crying through out her guided script. I know I needed to release so much of the negative stuff I had been carrying around, so I welcomed it, but I was also conscious not to let the flood gates open because I didn’t want to disturb anyone else’s experience of what was already a wonderful class so others could return to their own center.

At the end of class, we opened up the room to a circle and we were lovingly serenaded by Lee Grane. I was so pleasantly surprised by the calming energy of her voice as she strummed the strings of her guitar.

I even started following her on Spotify. (You should too.)

When our teachers had wrapped up our class, we enjoyed vegan snacks by Saffron Plates to couple with our cool drinks which were from Holy Carabao earlier in the day.

I went home feeling refreshed. Renewed. Lighter. And like I was beginning the process of coming slowly back to center…and if I’m right, I think that’s exactly what SouLove Yoga is all about and what SouLove Center embodies.

To learn more about SouLove and Self Love visit the Center.

SouLove Center
Unit One, 3 Don Jesus Blvd.
Alabang Hills
(next to Welcome convenience store)
0995-474-1401

Website: SouLove
Facebook: SouLove Center
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nstagram: @soulovecenter
Email: soulovecenter@gmail.com

Written by Michelle Aventajado

Published on Momma ‘N Manila, June 15, 2016.

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#SouLove360: After losing my job, I discovered soul love

It is understanding my own faults and accepting my imperfections while still striving to be the best version of myself

I was writing a script for a client, and during my research, came across a United States study with some very disturbing information. Most young girls believe they do not measure up in some way through their looks, school performance and relationships with both family and friends. They also feel insecure—not pretty, thin, stylish or trendy enough.

The study further revealed that girls with low self-esteem were significantly more likely to suffer from eating disorders and start smoking, drinking  and cutting (or injuring) themselves, among others.

As a mother of two teenage girls myself, I became concerned. Recently, on two separate occasions, I found myself having to reassure my daughters that there was nothing wrong with them. This got me thinking about my own experience as a teen, remembering how insecure I was about being too thin compared to the more voluptuous girls.

Is there a self-esteem crisis that needs to be addressed? Where does low self-esteem stem from? What causes such insecurities related to body image?

I turned to my friend Lia Bernardo to get some answers. Lia is a psychoneurologist who has spent the last 12 years counseling adults. She is also the founder of SouLove Center, a venue for people to discover, develop and empower themselves through movement, creativity and meditation.

Infinite potential

Lia says, “Here, all the activities and workshops are based on the concept of ‘SouLove’— that state of being in which you fully embrace your true identity, living in your full, infinite potential. SouLove is your path to yourself… the source and creator of your own reality.”

Did she actually say that I can create my own reality? Call it a coincidence (or not), but at the  time I was going through a huge life crisis. The company I had worked in for 10 years just dissolved my department; I found myself out of a job in 30 days. I felt helpless and lost. I was definitely looking for a new reality.

Lia’s words resonated so deep within me that I slowly immersed myself in this SouLove state of being.

I started the process by taking various classes offered in the Center. I tried gentle flow yoga with Ryan Camarillo. I warned him that the last time I did yoga was 37 years ago. Ryan smiled and told me not to worry. The class turned out to be a wonderful rediscovery of myself, and I actually did better than I expected.

I was grateful to Ryan for gently easing me back into the practice; it spurred me to try another class, Gentle Nia, a practice combining dance, martial arts and yoga. I was at first intimidated because of my two left feet, but our instructor Cecilia Shriver reassured us that there would be no judgment and that we could go at our own pace. Halfway through the class, I was in a state of exhilaration, dancing and loving it. It was completely liberating!

As I made more time to focus and allow myself to indulge in the classes that I enjoyed, I began to discover this new place within myself slowly blooming, where there was nothing but complete joy. A first I couldn’t figure out where this inexplicable joy was coming from.

But during a first, fateful and life-changing Kundalini Yoga class taught by Madonna English, I finally figured it out. As I let myself get lost in the beauty and high of the meditative movement, I felt my chest open up, and from it I imagined beautiful white light radiating brightly outwards.

I realized that my newfound joy was coming from within me, from my heart. The realization that I created this joy myself was so pure, beautiful and mind-blowing, I couldn’t contain the tears as they streamed down my face.

Self-acceptance

But only during my most recent SouLove yoga class, taught by Jenn Rivera, as I pushed myself to my boundaries during a camel pose (which I didn’t even know I could do yet) did I finally, truly begin to understand the concept of SouLove.

It is growing and thriving in mind, body and soul well-being. It is unconditional self-acceptance—understanding my own faults and accepting my imperfections while still striving to be the best version of myself.

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THROUGH the guidance of SouLove Yoga teachers, Ryan Camarillo and Jenn Rivera, students learn to love and accept themselves with no judgment, while connecting to the infinite source of creation, teaching them to pursue their limitless potential.

I have since started working as a communications consultant, while simultaneously launching training camps by MothersAtWorkHub, an offshoot of my blog www.mothersatworkhub.org, and an advocacy aiming to empower the busy working mothers.

I’ve also been actively teaching and sharing the gift of Yu Hezu, the Art of the Bamboo Wand—all in a span of two months.

Through SouLove, I learned the joy of basking in my life’s true purpose. It took a crisis to fortify my faith and trust in God.

I asked Lia what inspired her to  advocate the SouLove state of being by opening the SouLove Center. “In the last 12 years that I have been counseling adults, I have learned that 100 percent of the problems that my patients encounter start with self-love issues,” Lia says. “A hundred percent of relationships fail because of self-love; angst stems from lack of self-love. Traditions teach us that it’s wrong to love ourselves and that we must give until it hurts. I don’t agree. We must teach our children  to love, appreciate and accept themselves unconditionally. Only then can one truly be happy.”

As the teacher of the Yu Hezu Bamboo Wand class in SouLove Center, I also began incorporating the SouLove concept in my classes and found that not only did my students respond  in a positive way, but I also found myself growing and learning new insights as a teacher.

I wanted to share this SouLove state of being with young girls and my own daughters, who feel they aren’t good enough, or that they don’t measure up. How wonderful it would be to empower them by saying that they are perfect in their imperfections, that they, too, can create their own happiness and reality. As Lia declares, “Self-love is the foundation for happiness. Period.”

To supplement the classes already ongoing at SouLove Center, workshops will be offered to continuously advocate the values of self-love and self-acceptance. SouLove Center is also offering a Creativity Workshop Series. SouLove Center is at Unit 1 Don Jesus Blvd., Alabang Hills, Muntinlupa City. Call 0995-4741401.

Written by: Mawi de Ocampo

Published on Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle Section, June 4, 2016.

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Why movement is essential to well-being

A HUGE PART OF SELF-LOVE IS LOVING THE BODY YOU ARE INt0412nia-soul-2-660x493

A NIA class can be a fun way to get a workout. Classes are in Mandaluyong, Makati and Alabang.

The body needs to move in order to function effectively. Moving with spiritual intent leads to a healthy, radiant and thriving body. A body that thrives is a foundation for a balanced physical, mental and spiritual lifestyle.

I started doing workouts only last year. I had been averse to any form of exercise—stubbornly citing such factors as having small feet, and preferring meditation instead.

The result: aches and pains, weight fluctuations, limited and heavy movements, falling on a flat surface, and a general feeling of bearing the weight of everything in my life.

I chose to start working on my body when I began teaching about self-love.  I had to learn to accept myself completely before I started to teach others. 

Self-love is the foundation of happiness, and a huge part of it is loving the body you are in.

Loving your body is probably the most difficult part of appreciating yourself; at least it was for me.

Go ahead, pass a mirror. What is your “mirror word?”  We unconsciously say a “mirror word” when we pass by a mirror. Take note of that word and if it is positive, keep it. If not, you need to change it.

We program our own thoughts and feelings, and our words and thoughts form our self-programming. I would always say things like “fatty” or “hide your arms” when I passed a mirror. I  realized that I was loving my soul and my mind, and justifying this as self-love. I was actually masking the issue.

Balance

There needs to be a balance. I couldn’t just be all mind and soul—studying, learning, teaching, meditating, working with clients. These were fulfilling, but there was still a gap.

Self-love is radical self-acceptance  in body, mind and spirit. So I decided to make movement my act of self-love for my body.

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KUNDALINI yoga teachers Marisa HarNadh, Madonna English, Rosan Cruz. Classes are offered in Makati, BGC and Alabang.

It started off as an exercise, but I soon realized that movement is such an essential part of well-being that it doesn’t just focus on the body. It is part of the integration of body, mind and soul.

Just as nutrition is not just for the body, movement is also an integral part of wellness. This is for anyone who wants to experience his/her body and learn to accept it as uniquely special.

I’m sharing what worked for me. You can explore other movement options. There are just as many activities as there are personality types. Try and choose what works for you and what resonates with your body, mind and spirit.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga is referred to as the yoga of awareness. Initially I resisted doing it because I thought I would have a hard time holding the poses.  I did not realize then that those were physical, emotional and mental blocks.

It turned out that Kundalini yoga is the best way to release blockages in our body and cellular memories. It has been so life-transforming that I cannot imagine not practicing it.

The meditations, poses and chanting make for a highly unique practice that will definitely create joy and happiness.

No two classes are alike; each one is a unique experience. It needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Try a class near you. Log on hereKundalini Yoga or SouLove Center for schedules in Makati and Alabang.

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YIN Yoga with Reiki releases stress, tension and aches. Classes are offered in Alabang.

Nia technique

Nia is a combination of dance, martial arts and yoga. I normally tell people to go to YouTube and search for Nia Technique to see a sample class, because that is how unique it is. 

Each class is a specific routine, choreographed to beautiful music that focuses on one part or parts of the body. This is why each time you come to class, it is also a different experience. 

The beauty of Nia is that it is done at the student’s own pace. There is no such thing as limits in Nia. Young and not-so-young can enjoy it, from those with disabilities or recovering from illness, to professional dancers and athletes. There are three levels of movement within each class, so each one goes at his/her own pace. And I do it because it makes me happy.

I think a Nia class is the perfect way to experience the joy of movement. This is a class I would recommend to anyone at any age, even those with injuries or seniors.  They can be reached here for Manila classes.  Nia is also available in Cagayan de Oro and Davao, contact them at Nia Phils. Manila classes currently have a “Bring a friend to Nia for free” promo.

Yin yoga

I practice Yin yoga because I love the stretching and the meditative quality  that allows you to really get into your body. This form of yoga has helped me know and communicate with my body. 

It works on releasing stress points, and allows the body to extend, slowly and effectively, into stretch poses. I would consider this a must for those who really need to stretch and get into an awareness of their body. 

Maricar Sumulong conducts community classes combined with Reiki Healing in Alabang; contact The Center by SouLove at (0995) 4741401. Yin yoga is also being offered at The Romulo Peace Center on Wednesdays.  You can contact Lourdes Jimenez here.

These are the movement practices that I have come to enjoy.  Again, you are not limited to them. Even a walk in the park is considered movement, as is tennis or badminton. I am simply sharing what has worked for me, and what you can do if you have resisted movement all this time. I’m looking forward to moving, learning and growing with you.

Published April 26, 2016, Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove Column.

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Learn to receive, and not just give

There is absolutely nothing selfish about caring for yourself first

Make the hand the gesture of giving, and notice that it is exactly the same as receiving.  Yet we are so caught up not in receiving, but in giving.

Think about it, and focus on how many times a day you give and give.  Look at the dynamics of your family life, friendships, relationships. People love so much that they believe that loving others means giving all of themselves to those they love.

Just look at a new mother, and you will see this expressed in the most vivid way. She will not even attend to any of her needs, as long as those of her infant are met. That giving until it hurts is the best way to love is just a belief—and it can be damaging.

Let’s use the analogy of a glass of water. You are the glass, love is water. In order for you to be happy, your water level needs to be at the rim. Full equals joy, happiness, love, bliss and a fulfilled life. Now, let’s say you are constantly giving. Your water level will decrease rapidly; the more you love, the faster the water level drops.

You start to feel depleted, cranky; you start expecting your water level to be refilled, and you begin to feel lack. Lack of water leads to all sorts of negative responses because you become desperate; without it you will die. But there is no water in sight, because you have used it all up, giving it to others.

Drained

How many of you can relate to this analogy? How tired, spent and drained are you from your everyday life because you are only doing what a loving person is “supposed” to do? The way you are feeling is an indicator of your state of being. If you are feeling drained, you are giving too much and not receiving.

There is only one way to allow yourself to  receive, and this is to change the belief that loving others means to give of yourself completely. We will also add the belief that “In order to give to others, I need to give to myself first.”  And, “I am the source of my own completeness and love.”

How do you do this? This is the fun part. When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself what you can do for yourself. It might even help to say your own name and speak to yourself in the third person. You talk to yourself a lot during the day anyway, so you might as well manage those negative thought patterns.

Say, “What would you like me to do for you today, (your name here)?” A thought, an idea, an activity, a non-activity will enter your head. Do the first thing that comes to your head, provided that it is loving and kind towards you. Cooking dinner for your family is giving. Tutoring your kids is giving. Driving for your mom is giving.

I’m not saying stop the giving; I’m saying, add an act of service for yourself. It could be one of the following:

Whenever I pass by a mirror, I will say, “Hi, beautiful!”

I will only say nice things to myself about myself today.

I will not judge myself or anyone else today.

I will wear lipstick.

I will smile at everyone today.

It does not have to be some grand gesture.  It is any act that makes you feel good about being you.  Once I tried to set my alarm every hour for eight hours, and each time it would ring I would say thank you to God for whatever it was I was doing at that particular moment.  It made me so happy that whenever I feel that that world is not being fair to me, I do this, and it instantly makes me feel good.

Source

This teaches you that you are the source of your happiness, and you alone can create happiness in your life.  It isn’t easy to do an act of service for yourself, only because you really never have. Don’t you think it is time to start?

In giving to yourself everyday, you are actually reprogramming your brain, thoughts and belief systems into focusing on the fact that it is safe for you to receive, that you can receive without guilt, that it is okay to take care of yourself first. The only way to true happiness and fulfillment is through self-love, self-care and self-acceptance, and there is absolutely nothing selfish about caring for yourself first.

On the contrary, if you care for yourself first, you are validating to the universe and your brain that you are the source of your own love and fulfillment. That source is within, and never external.  You will never find it in a spouse, a job or even the best friend in the world. You will always be searching for external validation unless you give it to yourself.

By filling your own water glass, you create more and more love, which you are now free to give to whomever you wish without expectation. Expectation that ruins all relationships. Yet the only way we can free our loved ones from expectations is to love ourselves. Then what you give becomes free, pure, authentic and without strings attached. That is true giving.

And when you give without condition, because you are no longer depriving yourself, you open yourself to receive.

Let’s go back to the glass of water. It is now full because you filled it up from your own source, and are not depleted in any way, now you can receive. Your stores will never run out because you are  your own supply, and whatever you receive is just the  icing on the cake that you give thanks for on a daily basis.

This is the true nature of abundance. This is the cycle you focus your attention on, and I guarantee that happiness will be a constant in your life. What have you got to lose?  You won’t know unless you try.

Give yourself a week. One act of service to yourself, for yourself, for seven days. If it doesn’t work, stop. If it works, make it a part of your daily ritual. You will not look back.

Published March 1, 2016 in Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

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7 ways to honor yourself

We all have our own ideas on how to honor ourselves. And how you choose to do so will be very different from how another person will. That said, we’ve pulled together a few helpful tips to get you started in the practice of honoring yourself all the time—and not just for one day.

1) Have your “me” time.

This can be an hour, or two, or three, or the whole afternoon. You can even have a me day. Have a manicure, or go to the spa for a body scrub and a massage. Or do nothing at all.

If you need to pencil in the time for you to do nothing, please do so. If you are having difficulty with this idea, or are making snide remarks in your head, we encourage you to do this all the more. All your problems will still be there tomorrow, and the day after. But you will feel different. So do this for yourself.  You will thank yourself later.

2) Read a good book.

And when we say a good book, we mean something that you can get caught up in, regardless of the genre. Go ahead, pick up that romance novel. If travel books are your passion, go for it. A how-to book is still a book. Pick one up, and set aside the time to read it. In this crazy world we live in, even carving out space to read a book can be difficult, which is why we ask that you mindfully create the time for it. Allow yourself the enjoyment that comes as a good book takes you to another world and time.

3) Eat what you want to eat.

Have that chocolate cake, and enjoy every single morsel of it. Buy an ice cream cone and eat it slowly, and mindfully. And yes, you can honor yourself by eating healthy food as well. The energy of a bowl of fruit, for instance, is so powerful that it can instantly elevate your mood, and hold it there longer than processed sugar. It is all about intention. So, today, make everything about honoring yourself.

Something new

4) Join a class.

I really enjoy my Nia Technique class because it is an hour of dancing that allows me to be free. When I go to a Nia class, I see it as a gift to myself. But you can join any class—jewelry making, painting, tai chi, yoga. Because there really is something about joining a class that totally validates you as a person.

Learning something new or being with like-minded people is definitely one way you can honor yourself. You can even enroll in something that awakens your creativity. Better yet, get out of your comfort zone and join something that interests you but you feel you are not good at. You’ll be so thrilled and surprised by what you can actually do.

5) Buy an adult coloring book.

You may not realize this, but coloring is a form of meditation. So, zone out and just color.  The more immersed you become in this activity, the more you destress. Isn’t it a great way to honor yourself?

6) Spend time with friends.

Bonding with people you like can automatically lift your spirits. But all too often, we reserve this for only the most special occasions. And while it is wonderful to invite your friends over for an elaborately planned dinner, an impromptu cup of coffee or a run in the park can be just as uplifting.

The key is to choose who you really want to be with— and to make sure it really happens. We already make many concessions, and often end up spending time with people out of a sense of obligation, or due to circumstance. It’s healthy to release yourself from such pressures and, every so often, to take the time to enjoy the company of those you choose to be with.

7) Binge-watch your favorite TV series, use the expensive hand soaps you’ve been saving, go to your spinning class. The list can go on and on. And, by now, you get the picture. So go ahead, honor yourself, and be awesome!

Published on February 9, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.

positive-blog

5 ways to create a positive mindset…

Alexia 2015-01People as a rule try to be more positive in whatever way they can. Whether it is a new year or not, people do try to create a positive outlook in life. But why do we find ourselves reverting back to negativity? It is not for lack of trying. The intentions are there but it is the follow through that seems to be lacking. It is easy to revert back to negative thought patterns. However, when we use these tools I’m about to share with you, positivism becomes a natural response. All you need to do is be mindful of these 5 things in your life.

Here are 5 easy to do and sure ways to create a permanent positive outlook which you can implement into your life right here, right now.

  1. Gratitude

The best way to shift your perspective from negative thinking to positive thinking is gratitude. The most popular study on gratitude is currently being conducted by Robert Emmons, Ph.D. at UCDavis. There now exists empirical evidence that gratitude can shift our health by shifting our moods and our emotions.

Start a gratitude journal. This is a great way to teach your kids gratitude too. Every night write down 3 things you are grateful for that happened during the day. This will turn your focus from negative to positive instantly. This exercise teaches your brain to focus on what you have rather than what you do not have. The result is, you will attract more positive things, incidences and thought patterns into your life.

Just a piece of advice though: When things start going well, please continue doing the practice of writing down 3 things you are grateful for every day. Most people stop when things go well and wonder why they are in a roller coaster ride. Continue this practice and create amazing shifts in your life now.

  1. Love yourself

There is only one secret to happiness and it is self-love. The only way you can achieve true happiness is by learning to love yourself and accept yourself purely and unconditionally. This means, no to self-judgment, no to self-sabotage, no to false humility. False humility is putting yourself down in order to lift others up.

With every action, every re-action and every thought, ask yourself: Am I honoring myself? Am I accepting myself? Am I judging myself?

You will find that half the time you are your worst judge. Remember that if you do no wrong, you are no longer a human being. Accept your humanity. You will make mistakes and those mistakes are an opportunity to learn and evolve. Making mistakes does not make you flawed, it makes you human. A person who practices self-love will ask himself or herself the following questions: What made me react that way and how can I react differently next time? What did I learn from this? What about the other person irritated me and how does this reflect on me being that way?

This way you focus on your own growth. Remember you have all the power in the world to create shifts within yourself, but zero power to change another person.

  1. Blame no more

If you catch yourself blaming another for anything that is not going well in your life, stop immediately. There is no one to blame. Everything that is going on in your life is a direct reflection of your relationship with yourself. There is nothing outside of you that is making you miserable or happy for that matter. You are creating all of this and you and you alone have the capacity to maintain your own happiness or to release yourself from misery. Please do not give anyone or anything the power to make you happy or miserable. First, it isn’t true happiness but on the upside it isn’t true misery either. Second, it is all drama. When you learn to live without drama, you learn accountability. Questions you ask yourself evolve from: Why me? to What did I do to create this? What do I need to learn from this? What is the lesson here?

  1. Forgive

When you truly forgive, you release the incident, people and circumstances from ever causing you pain again. Not that you forget the incident, you release the incident from your space because you have already learned your lesson. This is based on the knowing that life gives us people and incidences as experiences from which to evolve into the highest version of ourselves. We have a choice. We either choose to grow or we choose to remain bitter and wounded. Would you actually give someone that much power over you? If someone has hurt you so much that it paralyzed you into feeling, why would you give that person that much power? Whereas if you take that pain and transmute it into a learning, a lesson, and point of soul evolution and growth, then you transfer the power to yourself. You now use this very painful incident and grow from it, learn from it and evolve from it. That is the only time you can truly forgive. Forgiveness is about releasing the pain and taking the lesson so that you can implement it into your life and be a better person because of it.

  1. Receive Love

 

Learn how to receive. In my practice I come across this on a daily basis. People love to give of themselves, especially to those they love; but they do not allow themselves to receive. It is just as important to receive, as it is to give. Here is a very accurate muscle test for you to try:

Face north

Say yes. Your body will naturally lean forward. If you are not moving drink a glass of water and try it again.

Now say no. Your body will start moving backwards.

Say My name is (your name) your body will start moving forward for yes.

Say My name is (make up a name) your body will start moving backwards.

Now say: I know how to receive love

Then say: I know how to give love within healthy boundaries

If you move forward you are ok and you are balanced. If you test no, then just practice the tips I gave above and you will find that your beliefs will change as well.

Remember that making positive changes in your life is a decision, just like everything else. Take these tips and implement them in your life and you will see very obvious changes in a short amount of time. The key is to stick to it. Old patterns are not difficult to change, provided that you are committed and dedicated to the positive changes that are about to happen. We can all use more positivism in our lives.

path-blog

Lessons learned from taking a journey on self-awareness

I unequivocally state that the only way to true happiness is learning how to accept yourself fully, which means the good, the bad and the ugly.  There is really no other path.  One’s happiness can never be found outside of the self.  It is not in religion, it is most definitely not in a significant other, nor is it in financial freedom or even your dream job.  All the answers and all the happiness you can generate for yourself lies only within you.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for religion or anything that connects you to the Divine, but to see religion as your redemption is putting the responsibility outside of you.  It is just the same as saying, finding the perfect partner is the answer, it is not, but it would be nice to have a great partner.  Operative word there is partner, not someone that you expect to bring happiness in your life and fill a hole that you yourself created.  Self-awareness, Self-love, Self-acceptance are really the only ways towards achieving wholeness, happiness, positivity and tranquility in your life.  Here are some lessons I have learned, and there are more that I am continuing to learn.

It is always about you

Everything that happens in your life is created energetically by you. The universe is a mirror of what is going on in your life.  If you find yourself irritated at someone, ask yourself this question:  What about this person is irritating me?  The answer is 100% of the time something within you or something that is present within you that you refuse to accept. This is true for close, intimate relationships but also for casual encounters.  You will find that the greatest irritants in your life are actually people who are your greatest teachers.  Adjust, fix, accept what you are not acknowledging within you (this is why it irritates you in the first place), then you will find that the action of the other no longer bother you.

We are our own worst judge

Taking from the lessons learned in No. 1, note the number of times you judge others during the day.  If you find that you have stopped judging others, hats off to you, because this means that you have stopped judging yourself and that you have already achieved self-acceptance in your life.  If you realistically and without judging your thoughts and actions, just make a mental rundown of how many times you said something negative about another person.  Whether it is their manner of speaking or manner of dress or even just their social media posts.  Whenever you judge another, this is an alarm bell to tell you to stop judging yourself.  The same goes for people who get irritated at others who judge.  It means you judge yourself a lot too.  When you stop judging yourself even those who judge others will not bother you because you just see it as a fact, without judgment and without pure neutrality.

We are beings of shadow and light

Just as you would stay away from someone super toxic and super negative, you  ought to stay away from those overly positive people who pretend they are perfection personified.  True spiritual beings, teachers, seekers, and practitioners  know and accept both their shadow side and their amazing positive side.  You are all that, shadow and light.  To ignore your shadow is to deny a part of you.  You need to acknowledge your shadow, know what triggers it and allow yourself to experience emotions such as anger, sadness, melancholy etc., because this is part of your human existence.  Being happy doesn’t mean you will never be sad again, or that you are skipping through life, it just means that your are able to accept everything about you.  These are not negative emotions, they are real emotions that are part of your being.  Learn to be mindful of these emotions so that you can experience them when necessary but go beyond them and focus on your light because you realize that the shadow is only temporary.  To deny your shadow will make it fight to live and it will try to surface so that you can acknowledge it.  Accepting your shadow will trigger temporary shadow responses but will not try to take you over because you have embraced your light.

Mind your own business

You have all the power, resources, capabilities and abilities to change anything about yourself that no longer serves you.  You have zero power to change another human being, including your own children.  This journey of self-awareness is about you and only you.  Not because you are selfish but because you understand the need to be whole in order to fully give. Everything and everyone in your life is a mirror of your inner relationship with yourself.  See everything as an opportunity towards self-acceptance.  What is it about me that I need to accept today?  Note, that I am not saying what is it about me that I need to fix or change?  That point of view comes from a perception of lack.  There is no lack, there is only acceptance.  You are not flawed, you can adjust and enhance but there really is nothing to fix because you are not broken.  It is simply rewiring so that you accept who you are, which means recognizing and acknowledging everything that is good about you and adjusting what no longer serves you and accepting what is not so nice about you as part of who you are that you can tweak accordingly.  It may sound like wordplay but that’s exactly what it is, it is all in the phrasing.  If you speak, think and act in the positive you will draw the same towards you.

Like will always attract like

I’ve written about this many times.  Just remember this law.  When you learn how to accept yourself, you will have zero drama in life. That’s a major reason right there.  You will also experience love, acceptance, trust and openness like you have never experienced or felt before.  You will easily and effortlessly accept others for who they are, because you have already done this for yourself.  You will look through anything or anyone you have ever judged before, including yourself.  You become neutral.  This is happiness.  Where nothing affects you, and when it does you just adjust yourself because you know now that this is a part of you that you need to address.  You just become you… the best version of you.

angelsamongus

Angels Among Us

It is really life changing when you come to realize that angels are so easy to reach, feel, communicate with and that they are only more than happy to assist us when called. What I like most about working with angels is that they are always positive. They will never tell you what to do, but they are there to guide you, protect you and shower you with unconditional love.

Here are some tips to help you communicate with your angels:

  1. ASK

You need to ask for their help, advice, guidance and presence in your life. Although, your guardian angel or angels are always with you, they never interfere with your free will. If you want your angels to communicate with you, intention is the literal key. Ask for them to reach out to you, ask for their help, ask them to guide you and they will make their presence known to you. They have no free will and act completely through God’s commands. Angels that assist you are acting on God’s orders.

  1. AWARENESS

Once you have asked or invited the angels to come into your life and communicate with you be aware and conscious of synchronicities. I like to think of synchronicities in my life as the angels’ way of saying hi. Angels communicate in many ways. Lyrics to a song that just suddenly pops into your head or a song playing on the radio that seems to be speaking directly to you, is one way they communicate. They can give you advice through a friend’s pep talk or even the theme of a movie you are watching, sometimes it’s a line in a novel you are reading.   In other words, angels come to you in many ways. Once you invite them in, they will find a way, it is up to you to be aware of these messages. They will not appear from the sky with thunder and lighting, that’s for sure. The most common way angels speak to you are through repetitive number sequences. 11:11 is the most common, but numbers like 777, 88, 999, 0 or even 000 are signs that your angel is trying to communicate with you. You can Google angel numbers by Doreen Virtue to get their meanings.

  1. LISTEN

A lot of us pray but talking to God, we talk and talk and talk….. Here’s the trick, be still, stay silent and listen.   When an angel number appears you can look it up but more importantly listen and stay still for a message with come to you. Messages from the angels again are not gongs and cymbals, they are subtle thoughts and higher feelings. They come in the form of knowing, understanding and positive feelings. Fear, negativity, messages of doom etc are not angelic messages. Nor are they from an evil source. Negativity is your ego and fear interfering with your enlightenment. Once you learn how to get rid of negative chatter, the angels are given the freedom to enlighten you with messages for your higher purpose and higher good.

  1. TRUST

Know that the universe works in ways we cannot even imagine. Sometimes you will see a feather come out of no where. A butterfly suddenly flies in front of you. You get this AHA moment, you feel secure and just know all will be fine. That is what trusting in your angels feels like. They come in many forms, feathers, butterflies, even babies. Believe or not, your most irritating co-worker or family member is more often than not being used by your angels to teach you a life lesson. Trust that this is the divine working in your life.

  1. LOVE

Angels speak one language and that is the language of love. So if you come from love, you will be responded to with love. Know that this is so for God will only send you love. Fear and negativity are products of our own mind. Come from love and you will receive love.

Namaste

Living today as if it were your Present

I write this now because one of the most difficult things for me to do is not to worry about the future. I worry about the future constantly that I forget about the present. A client of mine once asked me to write an article on how to get rid of worry. It was then that I realized that I did not know how. Worrying was so part and parcel of my day to day mind game that I did not even realize that I was worrying or in a state of worry by default. I know that were not to sweat the small stuff, true; but what about the big stuff. It is easy to say do not worry when it comes to day to day trivialities but what about telling a mother to stop worrying about her child. Or how do you not worry about your dwindling bank account and there are still no job offers after several months of trying. How do you not worry about your future? Here are some tips that have helped me out and I hope will help you too.

The law of like attracts like

If ever there was a deterrent to worry, this would be it.

One of the better known energetic laws of the universe is the law of attraction, the main gist of it is that like attracts like. As such, if you are fearful and live in constant fear of something, it actually happens to you because you attract it. Hypochondriacs (those who fear illness) are sick a lot. Those that fear losing, fail a lot. Those that worry carry the same energetic frequency as fear. Worry about something enough, you will actually cause it to happen. Worry that you will never have enough and you won’t.

Counter worry with positive thoughts. If you are going to focus your energy on worrying try focusing it on the opposite of what you are worrying about. For instance, you are worrying about not having enough cash to pay for your medical insurance. Rather than worry about not having enough cash, focus your attention on how to raise the cash between now and the time your premiums are due. Or if you worry constantly about your son driving home at night when he is out. Get him to use a car service like Uber so that you are assured he will get home safely even if he has a bit too much to drink. Focus on the positive solutions rather than worry about the problem.

Gratitude

A great way to retrain your brain to focus on the positive instead of worrying or pondering on the negative is gratitude and appreciation. I hear a lot of people complaining about their jobs, my answer is always be thankful you have one. You will never know the value of something until it is taken away from you. So next time you complain, you might want to think of what will happen if that person or opportunity were not in your life. Appreciate what you have and do not dwell on what you don’t have. For instance, if your meralco bill makes you cry each month, find a way to cut down on your electric costs, but also when you write the check and pay the bill say thank you that you have enough money to cover the bill and that you can have the luxury of electricity. Because these little luxuries are taken for granted more often than they are appreciated. You never really think about our water and electricity at home until a typhoon comes and deprives you of it for a couple of days and then it becomes the most important thing in your life.

What you are grateful for and appreciate will multiply just as what you are worried about will multiply. So find a way, as difficult as it may seem sometimes, to look at what you appreciate and are grateful for. It will make you a much happier person and believe me, it will also attract into your life, more of what you are appreciating or better.

You only have today

       Think of today as your gift, that’s why it is called the present. It is not easy, I know that, I’m the first person to have difficulty with this. So I consciously make a decision everyday that what I do today, what I do now, what I accomplish today is what matters. Not tomorrow. Tomorrow may never happen but what I do today can make a difference in my life an another person’s life. I pay the bills I can pay today and create a plan of how I can pay my future bills. Knowing that my plan is sound and in place I work each day and focus on each day, literally one day at a time in order to get the stress out, the worry and anxiety out. Take care of today and then tomorrow will follow. It is a mind set and a discipline that requires commitment and determination. Somehow our brains have been defaulted to negativism and worry. It is up to us to rewire our brains towards positive thinking in the now.

Namaste