Archive for category Thoughts

CELEBRATION OF THE GODDESS

Blessings to each of you as you celebrate your own inner Goddess! We are just coming out of a very long winter and it is so wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun once again. For those of you up north I know it was a bitter cold season for you. It is time to celebrate the birth of summer and new life. As I read this eloquent poem, I was reminded that I wrote my last book, Dancing in Rhythm with the Universe, based on the theme of this poem.
It is my wish for each of you that you will take time apart just for you. Self-renewal and reflecting on your life can give renewed strength. Life can pull us in so many directions that at times we are not certain which way to go. Taking time to meditate, get a massage, or a facial, or take a walk in the woods. This can be just the anecdote to open your mind and heart for what the Universe has to offer, and renew your soul.
Blessings,
Barbara

CELEBRATION OF THE GODDESS
We give birth to ideas, to relationships, to works of art,
to hope, to peace, to children, and to each other.

Allow the rhythms of Nature to whisper to you.
Feel the waxing and waning of the moon, the changing of the leaves,
the brewing of a storm, the flame of love.
Accept the emotions these rhythms bring
and dance with them.

Teach me the wisdom of laughter and the blessing of tears.
Teach me to love without expectation and to trust my intuition.
Teach me to feed my soul.

—author unknown

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ACCOMPLISHING YOUR GOALS—YES YOU CAN!

We are the only life source on the planet that can choose our goals. We can create anything we can imagine in our minds. Do you have a clear mental picture of what you want for your life? Are your personal gifts in alignment with your goals? The answers to your life are held within you. They are just waiting to unfold and reveal themselves.
Taking time to reflect on what you really want for your life is the first step towards pursuing your dreams. Maybe you have so many different things you love tugging at you for attention that you cannot seem to focus on which one to choose. My life coach, June, (yes, coaches have coaches) said an amazing thing to me in one of our sessions, and it resonated loud and clear. I was rambling on about all the things I intended to accomplish, and she graciously listened, but finally stopped me asking me to choose just one goal to focus on. Her advice to me was, “Barbara, you could dig many holes to represent all the things you want to accomplish, but let’s focus on just digging one hole deeper.” That is profound advice for all of us. This does not mean you cannot have many goals, it just means putting your all into your most important and challenging goal. Once I took this advice it helped me to understand the value in focusing.
Interestingly, I just received a delivery of a new book I am about to read titled, Focus, The Hidden Driver of Excellence, by Daniel Goleman. He is also the author of Emotional Intelligence. According to Mr. Goleman, if we are going to make significant accomplishments, with so many distractions demanding our attention, we must learn to Focus.
So let’s not try to do everything all at once by digging many holes, let’s dig deeper and hone our skills to be the best we can possibly be. I actually call myself the Focus Coach, because I want to help all of my client’s dig a deeper hole!
I have attached a link to my YouTube Channel of a 17 minute talk I gave on goals at the Indian Creek Country Club in Miami, Florida. I hope you enjoy it!
Wishing you all the best for 2014.

Barbara

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Meditation

We are now approaching the fast-paced holiday season! Although it is a wonderful time to share with friends and family, it can also be hectic and demanding. Sometimes we just need to step away from all the noise and turmoil of life and quiet our busy mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation is a great way to bring calmness and centeredness to the churning rapids of our lives. What is mindfulness meditation? It is an exercise of focusing on the present moment and not allowing outside thoughts to creep in, like what is for dinner tonight? Meditation is also about proper breathing. That is why guided meditation encourages concentration on your breath which helps keep your mind from wandering.

While meditating try stepping away from yourself like a silent observer and just concentrate on your breathing—slowly in—slowly out. Sense the quiet spaces. Do you like yourself in these quiet spaces? Are you okay with you for company? Get alone with you—come apart and get some rest. You may have had a friend or family member try and counsel you at some stage of your life. Their advice might be to try and get your mind off your problems by doing something constructive and stop focusing on everything that is wrong in your life or health. It is good advice and if you really could step away from yourself and look back, what might you see? Often we are too close to the problem and that is all we can see. As acceptance of yourself and your life expands to create more space for life—the focus is turned outward instead of being self-absorbed.

Meditation is a great way to hone your intuitive skills because it quiets the mind and wakes up your intuition. Some have a more developed intuitive power than others. Many have expressed finding answers to issues in their lives through mindfulness meditation. I have found that over focusing on a question or problem can stifle intuition. However, relaxing my mind through meditation seems to free my intuition to provide the answers I am looking for. Meditation is the perfect way to take a break and relax.

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WHAT IS LIFE COACHING

Life Coaching is one of today’s fastest growing professions. A Life Coach is skilled in the art of listening. The Life Coach listens carefully to what their client has to say and guides them to reach a more balanced and fulfilled life. It is very important that the client’s needs and desires come first. The coach must resist the temptation to implement or force their own beliefs and values onto the client. This is accomplished by making suggestions or presenting options in a caring way as opposed to telling the client what to do. The Life Coach asks significant questions to help the client become more focused on their goals. This allows the client to feel more empowered to establish their priorities and define what they want to accomplish. The client is encouraged to gain clarity for their goals, and thus reach their highest potential.
If you are struggling to accomplish your goals and manifest your dreams, you may need a Life Coach. Perhaps you are tired of making the same mistakes in men and don’t know how to change it. Maybe you are struggling with getting rid of those added pounds and just need someone to talk to and encourage you. Maybe you need to make serious changes in your life and are not getting the support you need to move forward. The value of coaching is beneficial if you are seeking balance in relationships and life. If you feel you are on the wrong track and don’t know what to do about it, you may need an impartial mentor to help you develop skills that enable you see more clearly. Enhance your self-image through Life Coaching as you create balance and happiness in your life, mentally, physically, social-emotionally, and spiritually. A Life Coach will help you focus your efforts toward your goals, not backward to your past. You already have everything inside of you to meet life’s challenges head on!

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Hope everyone enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July and reflecting on what a privilege it is to live in this amazing country.

I just read an article in Time magazine on The Pursuit of Happiness, and I was pleased to read about the amazing resilience of the American people. From the beginning of this ‘young’ country, we have had major challenges and setbacks, from wars, stock market crashes, the great depression, plagues, and of course, 911. Americans have always risen to the occasion and managed to bounce back and reclaim their right to The Pursuit of Happiness.

Is happiness all in our head? Well, yes, actually it is. Happy marriages, friendships, close family ties, acquaintances, fulfilling work are all factors in how happy you will be. A positive outlook on life and strong values seem natural ingredients for those who are connected. Also, learning something new is a great stimulator for happiness genes. The brain thrives on meeting new challenges; even if you volunteer in a hospital, your brain loves it. According to Tel Ben-Shahar, PhD, a Harvard University lecturer, to be truly happy we must be fully engaged in our day to day living and not be constantly anticipating something happening to make us happy. His holiness the Dali Lama says, “If you want to be happy show compassion. If you want others to be happy show compassion.”

There are good reasons to be happy. A Mayo Clinic study done on 2282 participants over 65 years of age showed that the happiest individuals were less likely to die early or become age-disabled. Positive emotions played a major role in who lived the longest and were the happier people. The study also revealed that the immune systems of happy people were more resistant to illness, weight gain and high blood pressure. Happiness must be cultivated from within. The following are some tips for living a happy life.

• Live in the moment.
• Develop caring relationships.
• Share what you have with others; time, talent and treasure.
• Open up your heart to receive love.
• Laugh and make optimism a daily habit.

Own your happiness and recognize where it resides—inside of you!
How would you rate your happiness level? How do you compare your own degree of happiness to others? What makes you happy. Please share your opinion and advice on happiness.

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YOUR LIFE YOUR WAY

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.” Elizabeth Taylor

If you could really start living the life of your dreams at this very moment, what would your life look like? What would you be doing differently than you have done in the past? Is someone else controlling you and stopping short any plans you have for yourself? Maybe it is time to take charge and reclaim your life dreams. Refuse to let “dream robbers” snatch away your future. Step out of your comfort zone and start living the life you have desired. Evaluate what steps you need to take to set the wheels in motion. Perhaps you need added education in order to better prepare you for an exciting career, or maybe like me you want to relocate. It is never too late to follow your dreams and add color and dimension to your life.

I use examples of courageous women in “You Lost Your Marriage Not Your Life” to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. My three beautiful friends, Karol, Marilyn and Barb are living examples of amazing women who had a vision for their life and refused to let “dream robbers” hold them up and steal their future! They did not allow it and neither should you.

What goals do you have for your future? Maybe you need to take the risk of commitment and challenge yourself by sharing your goals with others. Remember you have the power within you to accomplish anything you set your mind to! If you desire a new life, I encourage you to write down how you see yourself living the life of your dreams. Map out a plan and take the first step to move you towards where you want to go. Remember you have the power within you to accomplish anything you set your mind to!

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SHALL WE DANCE – An Excerpt From Dancing in Rhythm with the Universe

A great way to give yourself a cardiac workout and flood your body with amazing feel good hormones is to dance! If you love dance and don’t have a dance partner you may want to check out Zumba. This great Columbian exercise is a combination of dance and aerobics. Zumba, pronounced zoomba, was created by Alberto “Beto” Perez, a celebrity fitness trainer. Beto had forgotten his aerobic CD for his class and had a CD of Columbian music he decided to use and walla!  Zumba was born!

According to Wikipedia over 12 million people take Zumba classes weekly, and I am one of them! That makes for a lot of happy hormones surging through millions of bodies every day! Zumba has many levels and because it is low impact, it appeals to all ages. Zumba is amazing for burning calories, about 1000 calories per hour! It is a great way to tone your body as well as reeve up your metabolism. Rigerous dancing like Zumba stimulates the brain to create new cells and also strengthens your heart! I just joined a Zumba classe at our local YMCA. Shake it up baby!

It is not unusual to walk into a Zumba class and see your mother or grandmother doing their “happy dance.” Zumba means move fast and have fun, and of course to upbeat Latin music!  If you are bored with treadmills and optical machines, make Zumba your own “happy dance.” Some instructors mix it up a bit and combine resistance training. It is a great way to tone up the entire body as well as get the blood pumping! Inactivity is literally a killer. Slow down fat gain by keeping your body active. Zumba is amazing for trimming belly fat, so find a Zumba class near you and shake your booty—belly!

 

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What is on your bucket list? An excerpt from my soon to be released book, Dancing in Rhythm with the Universe, 10 Steps to Choreographing Your Best Life

While on a trip to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands with my husband David, we found a zip-lining excursion. We got on a tour bus that took a group out to the jungle. I was so excited and at the same time scared to death! When they strapped me into the harness and fitted me with a hard hat and thick gloves, I started having flashbacks of my tubing excursion. Oh boy! I then noticed this elderly couple and I thought ‘What in the world are they thinking?’ We walked to our first station and climbed a few steps and one by one we were hooked up to the line and instructed as they pushed us off for our first adventure.ziplining crop

I thought ‘So far so good’ and I actually might live through this madness. However, as we got to our next stations, the steps were higher and took far more effort to get to the top of the trees. We started noticing the elderly couple was struggling to climb to the top. They kept stopping to catch their breath and others were assisting them. I thought ‘oh my goodness, they should not be out here; it is far too dangerous for people their age.’ However, there was no way back through the jungle except the zip lines that would now carry us back at over 50 feet up and 50 miles per hour! What was I thinking!

I had noticed earlier that each of the trees where we zip-lined to, had padding on them. All I was thinking at that point was ‘Thank God’ because I might just go slamming into that tree. I flew in at the speed of light while the guides were yelling, “Slow down!” I crashed into both of them and then hit the tree. Fortunately they broke my speed enough that I was okay. David came crashing in right behind me and, much to our horror, we both stood with mouths gapping open as the older woman came screaming in! She flew right through the guards and hit the tree, face first. As she stood there hugging the tree, we totally expected to watch her slither down unconscious, but no way! She stepped back shook her head, turned around threw her arms up and yelled, “I did it!” Along came her husband with the same exact scenario, “I did it!” Everyone cheered and screamed, “Yeah!”

I was ashamed of myself for judging them and their ability and desire for adventure. Maybe it was also on their bucket list—I applaud them and their courage. That zip-lining experience was a life lesson for me in conquering fear and following my dream. Whatever you have on your bucket list, no matter how old you are—do it! You are enough—imperfections and all. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable or you may never realize your dreams. It is normal to be afraid of being exposed, but if we compromise our deepest desires out of fear of criticism, then we may lose out on an amazing future.

 

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”  Maya Angelou

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Dance of Solitude

cvrFollowing is an excerpt from my soon to be released book, Dancing in Rhythm with the Universe, 10 Steps to Choreographing Your Best Life

While on a cruise with my husband David, we decided to take a side excursion in Dominica to a beautiful rain forest. We were there to go tubing down what were supposed to be gentle rapids. I started getting nervous when I was strapped into a heavy duty life jacket but it was too late to turn back as I would have been left alone in the jungle. So off we hiked to get to the river and begin our mile gentle ride down. The river looked pretty calm as we slid on top of our inner tubes and lined up neatly in a row. Not too bad, I thought. Oh boy, it wasn’t long before I began to feel the speed picking up; I tried to pretend I did not hear rushing rapids ahead. I struggled frantically to keep my inner tube balanced as many ahead of me were spinning out of control.

            I watched in horror as three people flipped upside down then desperately attempted to grab their run-away inner tube. This was beginning to look more like Niagara Falls to me than gentle rapids!  I saw a few people standing nearby and trying to reach others in trouble. I made it down without flipping and thought this must be the most difficult part of our ride. Wrong! I hit bubbling, churning rapids, and all I could think  was ‘I am going to die.’ Over I went with a death grip on my inner tube. I was upside down, frantically attempting to avoid the rocks while choking and screaming at the same time. The next thing I knew, arms were grabbing me and pulling me to safety.

            The last thing I wanted to do was climb back onto that inner tube, but one of our guides, whom by this point I hated, said, “It’s okay, Miss. It is calm ahead and when we reach the end, there is a beautiful pool that is so calm it looks like glass.” He could tell I was still shaken from my ordeal and didn’t totally believe him. He said, “I will pull you and your tube the rest of the way until we get to the pool.” Now that was a deal. He paddled us along while I relaxed and for the first time got to look around this magnificent forest. And sure enough, he had told the truth and he floated me to the middle of the most beautiful, breathtaking, calm pool I had ever seen. I took a few deep breaths and just simply allowed myself to be one with the nature around me. I left all my worrying, striving, thrashing and fear behind. I had left the churning rapids for the calmness of the sacred pool.

            This is exactly what we need to do with life. Leave all the turmoil behind and step away to a quiet sacred space and quiet our minds, like the tranquil pool at the end of the rapids. Life can keep us churning and spinning until we feel like we are upside down and gasping for air. Retreating to a quiet place is what our soul needs to restore balance and peace once again.

 Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  John Muir

             By now most of us have taken down all the Christmas decorations and packed them away for another year. I came back from a Christmas cruise with bronchitis and a lung infection. I thought I was going to dive into this new year with a passion and instead I cold barely crawl out of bed. Sometimes life has a way of altering our plans as a means of getting our attention. It was time for me to be restored and get some rest.

           As we enter this new exciting year with goals and resolutions firmly in our mind, take time for yourself by stepping out of the fast-paced real world into a quiet space.

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LIVE OUTRAGEOUSLY

What is the most outrageously fun thing you have ever done?  There are many decisions I have made over the years that many would consider outrageous, like leaving my home of 27 years and moving alone to Naples, Florida.  Even though this was a bit extreme, I am talking about doing something that made your heart pound as you resisted the urge to flee!  You may not find my experience so extraordinary, but it definitely terrified me and I did it anyway.  I kissed a Stingray!

I was vacationing and took a side tour on Grand Turk Island to swim with the Stingray.  That is a far cry from kissing one.  As we swam along we could see several Stingrays closing in on us.  Actually it was our guide they were following as he had the food.  We stopped in chest deep water and were told to stand still as he did not want us to step on one.  I felt a tickled on my ankles and as I looked down I saw a tiny baby Stingray circling around my ankles in an effort to get close enough to catch falling morsels of fish as the big guys were being fed.

I was not prepared for the challenge that followed when the guide encouraged any brave soul to kiss a Stingray.  Not just any Stingray, but the biggest one there.   Our guide demonstrated the process which was to stand directly in front of her; it was a female, keep arms at our sides, lean forward and pucker up!  I thought whoa man you must be kidding, especially when he said, if any of you have just eaten fish its bye bye lips!

I watched nervously as a few brave souls walked up actually kissed her.  I thought, okay, if they can do this so can I.  Pucker up!  I did it, I actually kissed a Stingray and lest any of you question my story, I have added the photo and yes, that is really me.  Pucker up and dare to live with outrageous abandonment!

Please share about your outrageous self.

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