Live with Purpose and Passion

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso

A few days after working with an energy worker, I had a revelation: I understood that as a young child, I was captivated by people. I observed and empathized with them. It was natural for me to help them in whatever way I could. I can remember giving my little four year old hand to an older blind girl to help her down the steps. I even closed my eyes and walked around to feel what it was like to be blind.

I believe that at the cellular memory level of the body we not only hold repressed emotions and trauma, we also hold the innate gifts, talents and desires of the authentic inner child—knows who we are and why we are here. Before this core essence got diminished through parenting practices and cultural norms, we were in touch with what preferences and activities made us feel ALIVE—our life purpose. Some of us got disconnected from the joy of our purpose but lived it anyway, and others had to squelch it in order to survive.

During my revelation, I realized that my inner child loves reaching out to others to understand and inspire them—to make a difference in their lives. It was quite a shock to realize that in my profession as a helper and writer, I give this curious, open hearted little girl the opportunity to do her thing. Now, I must recognize and reconnect with the joy of living it. On paper what I experienced sounds like nothing; at the time I had this epiphany it was earth shattering.

If you are fulfilling your purpose but are not feeling the joy in it or if you are not sure what your purpose is, many resources are available to help you to live your core truth—Internet, books, workshops, coaching, etc.. At any age, you can design a lifestyle that is filled with purpose and passion.

Life Purpose – What is it?

  • Your life purpose is a statement of truth about who you are and why you are here. It aligns you with your authentic self.
  • Your purpose fills you with passion when you do it.
  • Your purpose is your beingness: You lived it in the past, live it in the present, and will live it in the future.
  • Your mission is your doingness. Your mission represents the way in which you express your purpose.
  • Your purpose does not change; it is your essence. Your mission changes over time; it is based on the phases of your life and your resources.

Questions that lead to discovering your purpose:

  • What am I doing when I feel the most alive?
  • What gives meaning to my life?
  • What have others said they value about me?
  • What are my natural gifts and talents?
  • When do I feel the best about myself?
  • What would I make better in the world if I could?

Once you think you have identified your life purpose, look back to your childhood to see how you were expressing it then. You may recognize that you have been living your purpose since you were a young child. However, once you consciously connect with your purpose and take action to honor it, you will feel passionate about life at any age, and your relevance will never diminish.

Your Life Purpose serves you in many ways. It gives meaning to your work and your life. It guides your choices and shapes the direction of your life. With your purpose firmly in mind, you can make moment-to-moment choices with real integrity. When you are “on purpose,” you feel fulfilled and make a difference to yourself and/or others.

To live well longer, live a purpose-filled life. The joy and wonder of your inner child will be your companion on this grand adventure.

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Inner Stillness in the Fast Lane

Whether we are raising children, working in a job, running a business, or retired, we cannot escape the fast pace, stress induced life that surrounds us. Life has lost its simplicity: I need three to five gadgets to work my TV; it takes six steps to download an ebook from the library; and I still do not know how to use my new cell phone. When we add busy schedules, medical appointments, whole food preparation, commuter traffic, and multi-tasking, we are off to the races. This kind of stressful lifestyle plays havoc on our health, sleep, well-being, relationships and soul. If we do not make inner stillness a priority in our lives, we pay a high price.

Looking back to my childhood, I remember opening the door to my Catholic church and being inundated by the silence and stillness of this sanctuary. Whether it was the mystery associated with Jesus Christ or the church environment itself, I do not know. The stillness spoke to me at a young age because it was a time out from the loud, high stress family in which I lived. Interestingly, my parents did not attend church so I could enter the inner quiet without parental intrusion. I walked or drove with relatives, and when old enough I attended myself. To this day, I crave the stillness and silence that replenish my soul and have found ways to make it happen on a daily basis.

I invite you to recharge your life with moments of inner stillness. Here are six easy-to-implement techniques that nurture your soul, nourish your body and quiet your mind:

Morning ritual: Before getting out of bed, connect with your inner stillness with a mantra or prayer as you set your intention for the day. Morning rituals depend on how much time you can give them. But, minutes work! Devotional reading, yoga, meditation, visualization, prayer, and more, can start your day with purpose and serenity.

Breathing techniques: You can manage stress and striving by doing breathing techniques that work for you. As you focus on your breath, your mind stops its incessant chatter and your body relaxes. For example, this is one technique you can do for 5 to 10 rounds: Inhale for four counts, hold for seven, and exhale through your mouth for eight. It takes a few minutes.

Yoga and meditation: Stretching and meditating accelerate the path to a quiet mind and still body. When it becomes a habit, you can accomplish this after only a few moments of stretching and focusing. As little as 20 minutes can start your day with a strong spiritual connection of inner quiet and effortless flow.

Visualization: Use the mind to take you on a journey that leads to your own sanctuary of inner peace. I like a particular temple of silence visualization that leads to a palpable, restorative silence. Media recordings abound with journeys into silence, stillness and inner peace. The more you use them, the easier it is to experience stillness quickly.

Mantra or chant: When the mind is focused on any of these three, it is not incessantly thinking. Being immersed in a focused repetitive thought, induces a trance like state that can lead to inner peace. The Catholic Rosary and “Om Mani Padme hum” chant lead to inner stillness if you do them with mindful awareness and experience the energy shift in your body.

Mindless activity: Immerse yourself in a task with present moment awareness. When your mind is open and relaxed (receptive), it is not striving toward a desired outcome. Instead, you are available to inner stillness, and your intuition can deliver creative insights or solutions to problems. Bathing, exercising, performing household tasks, or walking in nature are perfect times to be available to inner harmony and higher wisdom.

Inner stillness leads to improved well-being and physical health and provides a pathway to a Higher Power. The following benefits have been verified: tranquility, experiencing the divine, mental clarity, improved problem solving, insights, enhanced creativity, improved ability to learn, stress reduction, relaxed muscles, lower anxiety and pain, reduced heart rate, better digestion, and increased energy.

The key to making inner stillness become a part of your life is to have short, intermittent periods of inner quiet throughout your day. While you are living life to its fullest, it is possible to create moments of “down time” in just minutes. With little effort, you counter balance the fast lane with periods of rest and rejuvenation.

A sanctuary of inner peace await you if you will enter this sacred place. Your mind, body and soul will flourish, and your life will be filled with ease.

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The Upside of Depression

Periods of sadness, apathy, hopelessness and discontent have been part of my life’s journey, and I assume that is true for most people. How we deal with those feelings matters. They can lead to personal transformation and lifestyle changes or disempowerment and a pessimistic outlook.

In my life, periods of depression accompanied 1) the ending of my two marriages; 2) the awareness that being a full time mom was not fulfilling me; 3) the realization that my religion had lost meaning for me; and 4) the two health crises that changed my body (to name a few). Life looked bleak in those times; I had no idea what would replace the known. I did my best to cope and reach for support from others. Grace did the rest as these situations became turning points that made me a better person and brought more abundance into my life.

Situational depression is different from chronic depression or grief. Chronic depression could mean a lifetime of medication, and grief is a natural response to significant loss—person, job, home, health, business, and more. A complicated grief response may also require medication. That being said, depression can be overcome in a variety of ways. Our job is to make our lives easier by recognizing the symptoms, identifying the available resources, and knowing when to ask for professional help.

Incidence and Symptoms of Depression:

As reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a major depressive disorder affects an estimated 15 million American adults (6.7% of the population) in a given year. According to Healthline.com, 80% of individuals who have symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any treatment, and the number of patients diagnosed with depression increases by approximately 20% each year.

Ten symptoms associated with depression are these: chronic sadness, self-loathing attitude, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, irritability and isolation, anxiety, fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, change in appetite and body weight, moving or speaking slowly or feeling restless, and suicidal tendencies. The disorder negatively affects work, self-care, home care, and relationships.

Integrative Wellness Tips to Heal Depression

In the article, Seven Proven Ways to Overcome Depression Naturally, Deane Alban lists strategies that may not only reduce or alleviate symptoms of depression but also contribute to optimal health: (To learn more, go here)  http://reset.me/story/7-proven-ways-to-overcome-depression-naturally/

  1. Eat real food and avoid processed food, fast food, and commercial baked goods. You will increase the nutrients your brain needs to function.
  2. Eat healthy fats in order to balance omega-3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids in your blood.
  3. Get physically active in order to increase endorphins, the feel good hormones, and increase levels of brain growth factors that regulate the neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants. Outdoor exercise will replenish vitamin D levels which will lift your mood and reduce the winter blues.
  4. Practice meditation because it is one of the best ways to heal depression. This mindful practice increases levels of serotonin and reduces cortisol and brain inflammation as well as quiets negative self-talk. Other mind-body healing techniques are biofeedback, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, yoga, breathing exercises, autogenic training, acupuncture, biofeedback and neurofeedback.
  5. Develop an attitude of gratitude because it reduces underlying toxic emotions such as envy, frustration, resentment and regret, to name a few.
  6. Consider using herbal remedies: Chinese medicine uses artic root, Asian ginseng and ginkgo. Ayurvedic medicine uses aswagandha to reduce stress and cortisol; turmeric (curcumin) to increase serotonin and dopamine; and saffron to improve serotonin metabolism.
  7. Explore Homeopathic remedies such as arsenicum album, aurum metallicum, naturium muraticum, sepia, and pulsatilla nigricans. However, homeopathy works best when an expert is guiding the healing.

These integrative wellness strategies involve the body and mind—my kind of approach. Prescription drugs are the conventional treatment for depression; however, used in conjunction with other holistic strategies, a positive mood may occur sooner, have more intensity, and last longer. Psychotherapy is another effective method to overcome depression because it may uncover dysfunctional mental and behavioral patterns that can be changed with insight and purposeful actions. Emotional Freedom Techniques has been used successfully to eliminate depression and the negative thinking associated with it.

From my personal experience and observations of others who struggle with situational depression, I believe depression can be a stepping stone to greater aliveness. When we feel sad, powerless and apathetic, we have an opportunity to look around, notice what is not working, ask for help and make changes. One of the most important things we can do is trust that a Higher Power will carry us through this darkness—the Footprints in the Sand Prayer. Looking on the bright side of life enables us to see life from a higher perspective and trust that a positive outcome is within reach.

An integrative approach will not only alleviate or eliminate symptoms of depression, it will also lead to great health, a sense of well-being and a life filled with personal satisfaction—prevention at its best.

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Super Spices and Herbs Promote Radiant Health

Super herbs and spices as well as superfoods go hand in hand to promote optimal health. Do not wait until you are diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Be proactive and prevent illness by eating foods that promote health and longevity. In general, the conventional medical establishment does not research the healing properties of food, spices and herbs because it promotes drugs. However, thousands of studies in journals on nutrition throughout the world confirm the profound effect food, herbs and spices have on our health. Read more »

Superfoods Promote Super Health in 2017!

At the beginning of each New Year, I take time to reflect on the past year, acknowledge what has gone well, and learn from what has not. Armed with this wisdom, I set my intentions for the coming year. Looking back over 2016, I saw that my health and well-being were a priority. I made more lifestyle changes to reduce stress, took my spirituality to a new level, and made food my medicine! Read more »

Give the Gift of Kindness

“Kindness is like snow—it beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahil Gibran

Let the joy, compassion and kindness of the gift-giving season begin.

After almost a year of political incivility, I feel as though my body and soul need a reminder that human beings are also compassionate and kind. While the media aggrandizes and normalizes aggressive behavior, it is easy for compassion and cooperation to go underground or be viewed as weak. During this festive season of Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa, I encourage you to allow compassion and kindness to lead the way. Read more »