Spring Cleaning

Take a moment or two to reflect on the Spring Cleaning you can do energetically. What thought processes can you squash? Which emotions can you release? I challenge you to take a look at your surroundings and do an honest assessment of your clutter on all levels. Only you can make you feel better - why not try something new this spring and start from the inside out?

Out With The Old

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Written By: Colleen Petrunich

Aside from a new wall calendar, the new year doesn't necessarily guarantee new beginnings. New beginnings start whenever we muster up the courage to let go. Whether we're holding on to old habits, beliefs, tendencies, or [insert as you wish] - we cannot start a new year truly anew if we are still holding on to the past. Much like showing up to the grocery store with a cart full of food from the last visit, how can you expect to have room for fresh food if you don't unload and sort out the old stash?  Sure, certain things look fresh in the beginning (say, fruit for example), but if you don't eat them during the intended time period, they are likely to go bad and cause a greater mess for you to clean up later. Whether consuming the nutrients (lessons) or tossing the junk (burdens no longer serving you), sort them out and lighten the cart (the self). Moving forward entails self-reflection and modification as necessary. Not dealing with issues is like leaving your cart of groceries out to whither away and rot (and letting your hard-earned money go to waste in the process). The sooner you acknowledge your mental and emotional "grocery cart," the sooner you can clear away what's gone bad. Sound familiar?  

We can't expect to bring in the new if we're not willing to show the universe we are willing to let go of the old. Sometimes it is only a matter of stepping back and realizing you might not always know what's best for you. We get so caught up in our ways of knowing best but it may or may not be a trick of the ego. Don't be fooled! Ignoring unresolved issues is like piling fresh fruits and veggies into a cart on top of moldy food. Yes, losing 10 pounds in the new year is a positive goal, but what about shedding weight emotionally/mentally/energetically? Focusing your energy on allowing your higher self to step in and take over may be enough to clear a whole lot of energetic smog holding you back and perhaps putting you on track to lose those 10 pounds. 

It is perfectly normal to possess the desire for something new - a new job, a new hobby, a new workout plan, a fresh start...but we can't move forward until we deal with the issues in front of us. The longer we set things aside, the longer it will take to resolve. If you find yourself working from the outside in, try shifting your energy to work from the inside out. What good is a new car when you're out of gas? A quick (though not necessarily easy) way to break your cycle is try doing the opposite of what you would normally do. If you are struggling with a relationship or can't figure out how to improve a situation, reflect on your typical responses and consciously do something totally out of your norm. It may just surprise you. I struggle in relationships (romantic and otherwise) to speak my truth when something is bothering me. I used to internalize issues and try to deal with them on my own without communicating. I was so afraid of hurting people's feelings that I ended up just hurting myself. I realized this was a pattern for me that I wanted to change. I applied "do the opposite of what you would normally do," and when an issue came up, I simply talked about it openly instead of holding it in. Guess what? The sky didn't come tumbling down. By being honest and upfront with our feelings, it clears the way to closeness and intimacy with others and with ourselves. It also squashes any insecurities and anxieties at the source without letting things fester (cue rotting food image). If you don't feel comfortable talking out your issues, write them down. Sometimes just the process of releasing the emotions is all that is needed. Perhaps a new year's resolution may be to start a journal or a sketch book. If you are musically inclined, spend some time learning a new instrument. Any creative outlet is a productive way of self-expression and can be kept private. By expressing yourself, it clears the throat and heart chakras - an essential step of clearing out old emotional patterns.

Another good way to get started with letting go of old energy would be to smudge your home and work space. The places you spend the most time in retain the energy you carry with you. This energy remains stagnant until it is cleared out. Think of it as your energy field collecting dust (it will keep building up until you intervene with a Swiffer duster). Smudging is an ancient Native American ritual known as a "smoke bath" used to clear the air and aura. This can be done by burning sage, Palo Santo wood, or other natural herbs. Incense works too. If you're not into all the smoke, smudging materials are available in spray bottle form. I personally use both. The spray is good for work (because obviously I'm not trying to set off a smoke alarm and get fired), for inside your car, and for your aura. I prefer to burn sage at home because the smoke floats into all those hard-to-reach places. I also use Florida Water cologne every day to clear my chakras. The possibilities are endless. If these suggestions feel out of your comfort zone, you can skip the supplies and start by quiet meditation and prayer to cleanse your home. It all comes down to that anyway - by setting an intention to clear and bless your space. It may not sound like much, but the mind is a powerful thing. 

So before trying to incorporate new things in the new year, start by releasing the old. Release, let go, and say "good riddance!" Make a conscious effort to hit the grocery store with an empty cart this year. As Marty McFly says, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!" Mind over matter. If you are following your gut to set yourself on a new path, you can't go wrong. 

Trusting = Gratitude

Written by: Colleen Petrunich

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Usually around Thanksgiving, we feel the need to reflect on what we are thankful for. It is good practice to acknowledge and express gratitude. But what about putting this into action daily? An effective, practical way to do this may surprise you and can be done at any given time, anywhere, without even sharing it with anyone (or posting it): by trusting spirit. By putting into practice that five letter word - trust - it sets the intention of your energy back into the universe tenfold. What better way to show your gratitude? Think about it. Have you ever given someone advice and had them thank you later? "I took your advice and it really helped me." Or have you ever taken someone's advice that really benefited you in some way? The act of taking someone's advice entails you to trust in the words said. Even without directly expressing the gratitude, trusting in the advice helped you in a positive way which assists in raising your vibration (just like the feeling you get when someone takes your help). If someone has ever "lifted your spirits" or gave you an "energy boost," this is raising your vibration. "Good vibes" make you feel positive and lighter and therefore strengthen your connection with spirit. Trust = gratitude = more trust. Talk about full circle.

Now apply the "trusting someone's advice" to trusting in spirit. This could mean trusting your intuition (the little voice inside your head that told you to drive instead of taking the train which in turn saved you from a major delay) or trusting a powerful dream you had. Trusting could mean following your gut when everyone around you is saying something different. Your intuition/dreams/gut feelings are your body's way of relaying spiritual guidance in a way that you will understand. By trusting in these things you are telling spirit, "Hey, thanks for the advice!" The gratitude is simultaneous with the trust.

Trusting isn't always easy and takes practice. We are wired to second-guess ourselves, especially when it comes to things of a spiritual nature. We don't want to be judged or labeled as "cuckoo" so we learn to suppress signs from our guides or we notice them without trusting them. One of my signs from spirit that I trust is seeing or hearing airplanes in the sky. Might not seem like the most significant thing especially for someone who lives near several airports...but once you take mental note of something (whether it is out of the ordinary or not), your guides will keep presenting them to you for validation and help along the way. A few years ago I was struggling with a breakup. The relationship wasn't healthy and I expressed not feeling like we were "copilots" of the same plane. One morning on my way to work, I was feeling like maybe I had made a mistake breaking off the relationship when an airplane flew overhead. It gave me a weird feeling like maybe it was significant. The plane then flew in sight for a big chunk of the ride until I acknowledged it as a sign - that I needed to soar on my own in order to get to the destination that would support my highest good. Ever since then, I notice planes in the sky when I'm in need of guidance. Sometimes if I'm at home and I'm asking for guidance (or sometimes when I least expect it), I'll hear a plane fly overhead. Instead of second-guessing myself - which I did plenty of times in the beginning - I take a deep breath, acknowledge the sign from spirit and modify my thinking if necessary. Sometimes trust is a matter of stepping back from inner denial to accept higher knowledge. I know I'm guilty of going against my gut (aka spirit!) but it is a work in progress. It is a common life struggle especially for those with intuitive gifts. When I trust my signs over denial and doubts, I am grateful 100% of the time (a plane just flew overhead no joke).

So this holiday season and every day ahead, express gratitude in the form of trusting higher guidance, and watch how it transforms your life.

Forgiving Yourself

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I've been reflecting on my past recently. I've attempted to bring awareness to past decisions and choices I have made without judgment. I believe it’s because memories keep presenting themselves in my mind for some reason, but I don’t know why. I think it’s because my human self tends to bury emotions so I don’t have to deal with them. I’m sure many of you can relate. I’m feeling centered now, so these instances keep resurfacing in random bouts, flashes of vivid memories and feelings, replaying in my body. I've also been trying to make decisions on how to better myself for my highest good. I try to live by the saying, “live with no regrets,” but sometimes we make choices we seemingly regret. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean or we unintentionally hurt someone we love by our actions, or even hurt ourselves. Maybe we don’t even know we’re making a “choice” at any given time; we’re just living life, and sometimes we cannot predict what will happen.

I know I'm hard on myself,  and I feel like I've had a lucky life so far, but there are some ways I've acted or treated my body that I can pinpoint and say, I'm not okay with it. I’m not just going to brush it under the rug and act like I didn’t do those things I didn’t approve of. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now. I'm moving forward with awareness of my actions, so when faced with similar circumstances in the future, I can make better choices. That's part of life, right? Learning, experiencing, improving. We get stuck in these life cycles that we’re supposed to learn from, and sometimes we don’t notice. We don’t notice until the cycle has gone around three or four or five times until a light bulb clicks on. We immediately distract and busy ourselves from our feelings; we don’t take a moment to feel or digest. Sometimes we have friends or people who love us who help us during these times and yet we are still blinded by our actions. It does take time, but I’m hoping we all notice and can expand our knowledge about ourselves to reach that higher self. Can you reflect on any past mistakes you've made and forgive yourself without any judgment? Going forward, just try to acknowledge and notice your actions, accept it, put it in your back pocket and keep going. The most important person in your life is you, and you don’t need to hold any resentment towards yourself. Put your hand on your heart and take a deep breath: forgive yourself, love yourself, and be open to a lifetime of getting to know that beautiful self because you’re important. You get up every day, you make choices, you live. And that life lived should be free, forgiving, open, and loved, among many other reasons. You can insert yours here.

Finding Beauty in the Sunrise

My favorite part about driving to work in the morning (despite waking up, forcing myself out of bed, and getting ready… I'm really not a morning person) is driving up an overpass before I enter the highway, and seeing the sun rising from the east. Every morning, I take a deep breath, take it all in, and smile. I smile because every rising day, the sky is the same sky, yet it always casts a different depiction of its personality. It dances, it cries, it shows its emotions of how it's feeling; I compare that as a reflection of everyday life.

We are always the same person (as the sky is always the same) yet we change momentarily - a reflection as the sky changes. One day, it’s radiant; those overpowering rays cast upon me, and I inhale - close my eyes for a split second - and feel gratitude. Some days, it's gloomy and I feel its sorrow, and accept it is part of life, and we need the pain. Mostly I feel its gratitude, in which I know the light shining upon me is planned, just as every day has been laid out before me. I like to think the Angels paint the skies, and they do it because they know I’m watching; they know we’re watching. So when you look above and get those goosebumps, or feel the feels, or get the chills, know that it’s Spirit. They give you that extra breath, that extra inhale you feel. Know they’re watching. And they know you know.

The world is much bigger than us. Sometimes we forget. Just know they always notice the little things. Always. When we pay attention and see, they know we’re watching. I always like sending my gratitude and acknowledge them for giving me the ability to notice. 

Being Self-full and Creating Boundaries

I have written about redundancy of routine in past posts, but if we go outside to better ourselves and take care of our temples (a.k.a. our bodies), we do just that.

I enjoy delving deep into projects: party planning, making plans for the future, envisioning my next vacation. Don't get me wrong -- I love keeping busy and enjoy these things, but have come to realize my true intentions.  

Personally, not "over-committing" is a challenge. Making time for myself and my priorities… what IS that? If I don't want to do something, I need to be honest with myself and the people I'm possibly letting down (empaths always think they are letting others down, even if they aren’t). We put a huge burden on ourselves with those expectations. Perhaps Sally won't even care I can't go to her nephew’s third birthday party. I'm sure her nephew won't even notice I'm not there!... I'm not saying I'm not reliable. I would never commit and not show. It's a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s actually my BIGGEST pet peeve. Rather than committing and not showing up, just speak your mind initially. If the people you love don’t understand, then perhaps you should re-evaluate the relationship.  

I have spent most of my days trying to please others - always making sure everyone is happy without acknowledging why I'm doing it. Do you ever question why you do things for other people? Does it make you happy? Do you feel like you’re helping someone? I’m one to always volunteer first, but have I set my boundaries? I should think of these questions prior to saying “yes.” A Reiki practitioner once told me, “You give too much, don't you? You need to be less self-less and more self-full.”  This resonated with me because giving can be epically depleting.  We have to learn how to protect ourselves and create boundaries, especially so we don't get taken advantage of. Can you pinpoint a situation in which you felt you were giving too much and you needed to back down? Did you feel like you were under-appreciated and needed to pull back? Message me if you need to build on your boundaries or willingness to pull back from certain people in your life. Mahalo.

 

Practicing Self-Love

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As human beings, without even realizing, we occasionally rely on each other to find happiness. I know it’s hard to find contentment within ourselves - sometimes it’s a struggle for me. I once read that happiness isn’t a constant state of mind, it’s an emotion. It is unrealistic to be happy 24/7, but I do think we can reach a level of self-satisfaction - a place where we are joyful within ourselves and can take pleasure in some time alone. I don’t think we realize how much pressure it is to put on someone - the expectation to make ourselves happy. That’s not really fair when  you think about it. I wouldn’t want someone to expect that of me, if my intentions weren’t there. Only we can control our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I believe others can enhance and enrich our lives - make us laugh, smile, and help motivate us to be better people. I don’t think that is enough.

What’s wrong with self-love? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “we need to put ourselves first in order to take care of others.” Easier said than done, right? I will say that nobody has ever been able to make me feel better about myself than me.

I wanted to share some suggestions for practicing self-love that have worked for me in the past. Please feel free to give it a try and let me know if any specific suggestions help:

-Be good to yourself. Forgive yourself. Tell yourself: I’m sorry - thank you - I love you. I’m sorry for not taking better care of you, thank you for being there for me, I love you. I know I’m always very hard on myself. Sometimes I need to just forgive myself and let it go. Would you give yourself the same advice as you would a friend? What would you tell yourself if you needed advice? I’m sure you would be more understanding in response to them as yourself, so be kind.

-Take yourself on a date. Go to a movie or dinner alone. Go for a walk or read a book in a park. If you’re worried about someone judging you for being alone, let it go. If you’ve never taken yourself on a date before, trust me, it’s very fulfilling.

-Sing a love song to yourself. I know it’s normal to think of a lover or friend when you’re jamming out in the car, but why can’t you be the subject of the song? Give it a try - it’s fun!

-Write down 3 things you love about yourself daily, for as long as you want. It may be a hard task at first, but the list is endless and will get easier each day.

-Take a couple minutes to yourself by relaxing on the floor. Take a few deep breaths and do a body scan slowly from head to toe to check in to see how your body is feeling. Be mindful of what body parts are connected to the floor.  Are there parts that feel tense or tight? Try to melt and release that body part into the ground. Take a moment to place your hands on your heart and give yourself some gratitude.

-Hold yourself accountable. How can others rely on you if you can’t rely on yourself? If you make plans to read a book, get a massage, or take a bike ride, stick with it. You know what your body needs the most.

-Let go of whatever doesn’t serve you. You don’t need negative energy surrounding you, especially if someone cut you off on the road or someone is rude to you. You can create an energy shield: imagine a gold light around you and say, “no negative energy can enter the gold light, only good energy in and out, even my own.” You can also brush off the energy by doing a sweep with your left arm underneath your right side and sweep all the way up under your armpit and down the arm, then repeat on the left side. Take a deep breath in and out afterwards. There should instantly be a sense of lightness or refreshment.

Always keep in mind that your body is a temple and you only have one. How you fuel your body and how you stay physically active is important. Think of it as maintaining your vehicle. You have to take care of it properly (water, food, exercise) if you want it to last 100 years. Self-love is just as important as a healthy lifestyle - it’s a good place to live emotionally when you’re comfortable with yourself. Don’t forget to tell yourself “I love you” today. I suggest saying it in the mirror. It could be a challenge but it’s a great way to start the day.

Never give up on yourself! It’s definitely a lifelong work in progress.

Being Present

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Do you ever just stop to take a deep breath?

We get so stuck in our busy daily routines. Sometimes I notice that I haven’t gotten up from my desk in a while, or that I’ve been staring at my computer screen for hours - I’m not even aware of my breath and notice I’m not even breathing.

I leave little post-its on my desk reminding myself to be patient and mindful. Sometimes that gets overlooked. It blends into the routine, among the other post-its and clutter that surrounds me.

I once read that in order to bring mindfulness into our daily routine, we must specifically concentrate at the task at hand; for instance, folding laundry. A majority of the time, we’re not folding the laundry, we are thinking about our long to-do lists and bills we have to pay. If we just focus on the task at hand, being aware of every crease we make in our t-shirts and towels, even if for a few moments, we are present in space and time in that exact moment.

It’s a hard task considering the way our brains are wired. We’re constantly receiving data and information from social media that we have grown accustomed to this overloaded way of life. I think back on the times not so long ago when we didn’t have to scroll through news feeds during the day and before bed, reading hundreds of people’s thoughts in a few minutes, and checking emails as soon as we turn off the morning alarm. We can literally get any information we have ever imagined and so easily, given it’s direct access right at our fingertips. We are never giving ourselves, our minds, a break from absorbing all of this information so quickly.

Take a moment today, or perhaps two or three (I try to start first thing in the morning) to just pause, take a deep breath and be aware of that sacred breath, exhale and repeat. These days that are turning too quickly into years passed and are flying by because we’re missing our moments. Being aware that the greatest gift we have is the ability to breathe without even thinking - we can’t forget that. Slow down and start to notice the why and what. Are you picking up your phone because you need it or it habitual? Stop to think, am I enjoying this moment?  If you bring awareness to each moment, even when you feel frustrated, it will help you be present. If you get stuck in a traffic jam, it won’t change anything and you won’t get to your destination faster. Just know you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be at that exact moment. If you’re angry, stop to think - if it won’t matter in five years, what is its importance now? It’s just added stress you don’t need. I need to remind myself of this often.

Whether it’s folding laundry, getting stuck in traffic, or leaving yourself post-it notes, do it with mindfulness and grace so you can enjoy your daily busy routine a little bit more. Even if it’s just a little effort each day, your days won’t turn so quickly into years that pass you by. Enjoy every moment.