Never give a gift with strings attached.

When you give a gift, really give it away.

Never give it with strings attached.

That expectation of something coming back in return will lead to disappointment.

Maybe even resentment.

It will definitely kill your joy.

When you give a gift… Let Go. Let Go. Let Go.

Your love will soar.

PS. The same thing goes for accepting gifts. Never take one with strings attached. It’s not really a gift.

Your sensuality can bring peace to the world.

I’m pretty sure you’d love to be a part of the solution, bringing more peace, love, and acceptance to the world.

You know you can’t give what you don’t have, but how do you find peace inside you during these troubled times?

Meditation is one of the proven ways to experience more peace, acceptance, and compassion, so you could start there.

  • But what if you don’t have 20 extra minutes each day to chant and breathe and be calm
  • What if you’re already meditating regularly and still feel anxious at times?

By using the sensuality of your body as your guide, you can find the peace within you and share it with the world wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. This will help ease you into meditation if you don’t already practice. It will extend your experience throughout the day if you are already practicing.

Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your mind on an anchor. When you do that your mind stops jumping between the future and the past. You land in the present moment and can access the peace that is always inside you. The more specific the anchor is, the greater your focus will be.

So why not let your anchor for meditation be the sensations in your mouth every time you eat?

Your mouth is a dark moist cave of pleasurable potential. Eating is a sensuous act. By focusing your attention on

By focusing your attention on the flavors arousing your tastebuds and the juices filling your cheeks, every bite can draw you into the pleasure of that very moment.

When you are truly present in the moment as a living experience rather than a lofty concept, you touch the still peace that is always inside you, even during turmoil.  When you access that peace you experience a calm joy as well as compassion and acceptance for yourself and others.

Keep it simple and make it doable.

If you’ll give your full attention to just one bite of every meal, you’ll fill your day with sensuous, meditative moments.  The moments of presence will link together until more and more of your days are experienced in this simple state of peace.

When your thoughts and actions come from that state you are a beacon of peace and love in the world.

All of us rush through meals at some time, barely paying attention to this sacred act. If you’ll pay attention to just one bite, you’ll alter your relationship with time and fill yourself up with nourishment.

Here’s a guided eating meditation from my book The Power of Pleasure.

 

Thanks to Elizabeth Grojean for knowing how to enjoy a peach, and to Cheryl Himmelstein for capturing the moment.

Eight ways to Override Overwhelm at Times like This

It’s easy to get overwhelmed right now.

It seems everywhere you turn it’s fires,  floods or your friends and family in crisis.

But there’s a way to override overwhelm, be of service, and live in peace.

Keep turning in the direction of beauty.

Because no matter what else is going on, beauty’s right there. She sits on the shoulder of death, she flows in the tears of heartache, and she dances in the chaos of destruction.

Now it may seem irresponsible and even heartless to turn towards beauty when there’s so much suffering going on, but here’s why I recommend you try it.

With news and social media, we have more information about tragedies all around the world as they happen. We can be up close witnesses to earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and angry white supremacists, even if it’s all happening thousands of miles away. We see it on the news and our friends post it online where we can watch it again and again.

And while a friend of mine said, “Now is a time we have to be vigilant”, we’re at risk of becoming hyper-vigilant;  fueled by anxiety we watch for potential threat everywhere, increasing our stress levels in a vicious cycle.

Though technology has evolved rapidly, our biology has not.

When you watch a disaster on a screen your nervous system responds as if it’s real. It prepares to fight or flee for your survival while you sit unmoving, glued to the image. That can leave you traumatized. A study shows that people who had repeated media exposure to the Boston Marathon Bombing showed higher levels of acute stress than those who were actually present at the bombing.

By staying informed and vigilant are you helping, or are you doing more harm? You’ll know by the way you feel. Letting yourself go down the rabbit-hole of exposure can put you in survival mode and you may not even know it. It can lead to anxiety, depression, problems sleeping, digestive issues and a host of problems that can make it hard for you to be part of the solution.

So what are you going to do?

Turn yourself in the direction of beauty. 

  • Look at things that make you feel good. Whether it’s your kids, some flowers or a work of art. There is still beauty around you.
  • Laugh. Get with friends to laugh, play games, tell jokes, make music together. Sh*t’s still funny, even now.
  • Shut off technology. Give your nervous system long breaks without any electronic input. When I recommend social media breaks to my clients 100% of them feel more creative, optimistic and better about themselves when they do. I know I do too.
  • Let yourself feel. Weep, mourn, feel your fear. It’s not a time to override what is real. Let the feelings move through you so you don’t get stuck.
  • Move your body. A great way to shake the images and thoughts from your mind is to shake your body. Dance. Walk. Run. Jump on a trampoline. It doesn’t matter what. Just move!
  • Give where you can. Whether it’s donating to a cause, volunteering your time, calling a friend who needs cheering up or saying a prayer, give and you’ll feel less helpless.
  • Be silent. There is so much energy coming at you all the time, and an endless list of things to do. Take a few minutes every day to be silent and listen to yourself. Rumi said, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” There is such loving wisdom inside you. It will guide you in exactly the right thing to do if you will listen. Sometimes withdrawing from the world is the most powerful way to be engaged.
  • Rest. Get more sleep. Take naps. Give yourself a break from pushing too hard. Times of great stress require great recovery. If you’re feeling stressed by it all, rest more. Ideally after you’ve moved your body 🙂

Some would call the way I live “sticking my head in the sand” because I can’t feel good when I  expose myself to too much of what’s going on. I don’t watch really violent or scary movies. I haven’t watched the news in over a decade and I don’t log much time on social media, but what I need to know still reaches me.

I’ve been able to give to organizations helping victims of floods and fires, without watching any footage. I check on friends in area of danger, without monitoring the threat. This Sunday I’ll show my support at the local Racial Justice meeting that’s being disrupted by White Supremacists, because a neighbour told me people were needed.

The above are just 8 ways to turn towards beauty. These simple practices can calm your nervous system, strengthen your capacity to handle stress, and make you better able to help when needed. If they work for a weakling like me, imagine what they might do for you.

How do you turn towards beauty, even at a time like this? I’d love your ideas in the comments below.

Love Debra

Tweet these ideas and help others override overwhelm.

Gratitude. When Less is More.

You’re probably thinking you don’t need to hear one more thing about gratitude. Everywhere you turn people are telling you how important it is to be grateful. You get it. Thank you!

You probably know that being grateful won’t just make you feel better. It will impact others around you as well. It’ll improve your relationships. Boost your self-esteem as well as your physical and mental health.

So the more the better, right?

Well … yes … and … no.

Thinking about all the things you’re grateful for, and expressing your gratitude can do wonders for you. But I’ve noticed that we can treat gratitude the way we treat many things in life. We rush through it – stating all the things we’re grateful, racing to the end of the list. We jam gratitude into a practice because we think we should, and we do it without really experiencing it. Like “I love you”, we can say it without feeling it.

Maybe that’s not your experience, but if you’re curious whether less could be more for you, try these two different ways:

1. Gratitude of Many:
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now and say three words that describe it.
  • Now think of all the things you’re grateful for.
  • Say them out loud if you can. (Otherwise make a list silently in your mind).
  • Stop once you’ve listed all the things you can think of.
  • Now notice how you feel. Use three words to describe it. 

You’ll probably notice a change in how you feel because gratitude opens your heart and gets you in touch with the love inside you.

2. One Gratitude:
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now and say three words that describe it.
  • Think of one thing you’re grateful for. JUST ONE.
  • Have you got it? Can you see it in your mind?
  • Say why you’re grateful for that.
  • What difference does it make in your life? Be as explicit as you can.
  • How does that difference make you feel? Feel it and describe it. (even if you just describe it silently in your mind)
  • After you’ve done that, notice how you feel right now. 

For me, feeling the depth and breadth of just one thing for which I’m grateful easily shifts my energy, mood, and being in a profound way. I’m very interested to hear what works best for you.

If you liked the One Gratitude practice feel free to try it every night before you go to bed. It’s a simple way to ease into sleep.

I’ve just started sharing simple practices like this and others you won’t find here, on Instagram, so feel free to come join me over there. 

Money as a Love Story.

I met Joel Solomon just before he invested in our business, SPUD, which provides online home delivery of organic, local, sustainable foods. Catching up with him on a path snaking through the woods of Hollyhock Retreat Center, on Cortes Island, BC,  I nervously introduced myself. He responded, “What are your politics?

I’d never been asked that before, and frankly I’d never thought about it. I was much more of a doer than a thinker. I blurted out “I believe corporations are the most powerful source of change. I only see that growing. I’m working on shifting the course for good, from within.” That 15 second exchange probably sealed our fate.

This week I was delighted to sit back and crack open his new book, The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism

Believe me when I tell you, this is no ordinary book about money and power. Though you’ll read about corporate greed, environmental destruction, and political corruption, and you’ll understand how money has systematically moved America’s democracy into more of an oligarchy, the book is surprisingly uplifting and provides enough direction to give you hope, and more importantly – actions to create a better world. Part memoir, part how-to guide, this book is in many ways a love story. A story only Joel Solomon is uniquely fit to tell.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to know Joel as a patient investor (in two businesses), an inspiring boss, (when I worked with him and Carol Newel, and Martha Burton, in the early days of their seed fund, Renewal Partners),  a fun playmate, generous mentor, strategic match-maker, risk-taker, goofy dancer, late night drummer, truster of people, supporter of artists, activists, and long time friend.

Though Joel admits to writing this book from a position of privilege, as a middle aged rich white guy,  Joel’s got more vast and varied life experience than anyone I know.  In our first meeting he told me about his 500 year plan. Though it was a metaphor, he really wasn’t kidding. He’s equally at home as the best dressed man at a boardroom table, or foraging for food on a deserted island. He’s studied French Intensive Bio-dynamic gardening, worked on Jimmy Carter’s campaign, granted $50 million to environmental groups through Endswell Foundation, and is the Chairman and Co-founder of Renewal Funds, investing $98m of other peoples’ money in organics and enviro tech companies in the US andCanada. His personal experience alone makes the book worth reading. But you’ll get much more than that.

Joel says, “…. money has no values of it’s own. Money doesn’t account for fairness, justice, beauty, consciousness, or love. That’s our role, and it’s ever more crucial that we assume it. We need to start to talk about money in ways that dethrone it and make it subject to human ethics and standards of love and decency.”

So let’s talk.

Debra: Joel, congratulations on your book. It’s quite a feat. Was writing a book ever part of your 500 year plan?

 Joel:  The idea of a 500 Year Plan certainly is supported by my book, “The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose & Capitalism”. I reflect a lot about our responsibility, and obligation, to think about true security, where ecology, soil, species, and the very biosphere that makes life for people possible, can thrive forever. We have a stewardship responsibility that we ignore at peril.

My intention is to raise consciousness around these long term responsibilities, and how we can use money in a more regenerative way, rather than investing in damage and destruction. We have lost too much sense of our past and future. We must think long term, for the chance of a good future for the generations to follow us.

Debra: Why a ‘revolution’?

Joel: I use the word revolution as a wake up call. It’s a revolution of mind set, or actively choosing, or owning the truth of what we do to other people and places by owning, investing, and making choices with money.

We are fighting complacency, accepting old norms, and neglecting to ask serious questions, demand better financial and consumer products, and leaving money in hands that we would never trust our personal matters to. Yet, our money can be a powerful force for good.

We must wake up, empower ourselves around the wealth management hypnosis of “maximum financial return, regardless of who and what is damaged”, and make choices that align with our values, mission and purpose as people.

We may be kind, respectful, and help people directly. Can we let our money support slavery, poison other people’s children, and start wars?

Debra: Who’d you write this book for?

Joel:

  • People with affluence and money.
  • Their children, who stand to inherit $50 Trillion by 2050 in NorthAmerica alone.
  • The wealth advisors.
  • Super motivated young people considering and navigating the careers they will enter.

 

Debra: Your life takes really interesting twists and turns, all the different routes mysteriously  weaving together to take you where you are today.  How did the study and practice of French Intensive Bio-dynamic gardening, or the study of Orcas, prepare you to be a mission based investor and philanthropist?

Joel: All my adventures and experiences added elements to who Ive become.

From exposure to French Intensive Bio-dynamic gardening, I learned a lot about complexity and diversity as essential strengths, awareness of the cosmic elements, beneficial relationships between plants, insects, birds, etc., the sacredness of soil, and hard work.

The life, habitats, and patterns of Orcas, the largest brained mammal on the planet, reveal a quite advanced language, social system, mutual support, and intelligence, in another species, as a quite obvious example that can be found throughout nature.

My diagnosis with a degenerative form of kidney disease, took me to imagining my death bed, pondering my legacy, and deciding to live as if on that death bed mindset, and consider each day precious, each interaction sacred, and to align my life the best I can , with principles I am proud of and would hope to share.

Debra: Though you deal a lot with investors and philanthropists, how can someone earning under $100,000 a year, just trying to raise their kids and save for retirement, play a role in the Clean Money Revolution?

Joel:

  • Consider banking with a Credit Union and keep your money mostly in your community.
  • Buy food that aligns with your values.
  • Shop at locally owned stores where jobs and wealth stay in your community.
  • Read labels and protect your family safety and health.
  • Research companies that make products you might buy.
  • Find out what is in them, how workers are treated, and what environmental damage may be done. Learn about the practices of companies, institutions, and professionals you engage with.
  • Talk to friends and ask how they figure this out. Share what you know.

 

Debra: I’ve worked alongside enough activists to know that fighting the good fight can lead to pretty serious burnout. From working with you, I learned the importance of having fun. How the heck can people have a good time with this revolution?

Joel: Start with inner skills practices. We must examine our own feelings, sensations, and thoughts, discovering the awareness possible. Awareness first, then choice is possible.

Explore mortality. As clear eyed as we can be about the inevitable reality of death, the more fully we can live today.

Gratitude practice, ideally daily, can increase our clarity of choice in how we respond, interpret, and act, on a good outlook that empowers self love, compassion for others, and sense of larger responsibility.

Maintaining joyous physical activity, as well as other intentional practices for keeping the body vibrant and flexible, helps.

Learning adaptive response and fluid approach to challenges, hurts, disappointments, and blockages, improves resilience, wisdom, and mastery that assists in joy.

Flow and glow.

Debra: I love that! And I loved the chapter on Evolutionary Leadership. These principles apply whether you’re leading a business, a community, your family, or directing your own life path. In it you say, “Consciousness practices grow clean money revolutionaries!” Can you explain that a bit?

Joel: Consciousness opens opportunity for choice. Empowered living can follow. Aligning money with values, meaning, and purpose, is our joyous duty.

As it becomes clear to us the role of money, its positive power to cause and fuel change, and realization that there is more than enough money on the planet to solve most all our challenges, we become clear on the need to shift trillions of dollars from damaging uses to regeneration.

Debra: So, there’s enough money, but is there the will?  I was amazed to read in your book that, “…the average amount the entire world needs to invest in clean energy annually to hit the 2-degree target of the Paris Climate Conference is only 7 percent more than American citizens invest in car loans each year.” Since clean energy yields more jobs per dollar than fossil fuel energy, it’s unthinkable that we lack the political will to make a change that seems like a no-brainer. What can we as individuals do?

Joel: Our responsibility as individuals is to be in lifelong learning, loyalty to future generations, and stewardship of the commons. Health of ecosystems, human relationships, are the base for global stability and effective societies.

Examine the self. Ask questions. Be informed. Improve that which we can influence. Give younger people all the insight we can. Be models. Make conscious choices. Live our values. Know our meaning and embrace our purpose.

Remember the future. Be all in for the chance of good ways for future generations. We are the ancestors who are making a good world for those who follow.

Debra: I’ve always been impressed with your ability to ask questions that get people thinking and acting from a wiser, more authentic part of themselves. What questions can we ask to open the conversation about clean money?

Joel: Where is our money, what is it doing to people and places, right this minute?  Is my money representing the values I hold dearest? Our name is on our money. Are we ok if with that money, we may own slaves, poison other peoples’ babies, and start wars, simply to earn a higher return rate?

The financial system can do better. We have the power to ensure money is used for creating a clean, green, more just civilization.

The time is now. 30-50 trillion dollars will change hands over the next 3 decades, from older people to younger ones. Now we have access to vast information. We have the tools and ingenuity, and the money, to solve the major problems facing us today.

It’s time to ask questions and invent and support better answers to how money is a force for good, ready to be unleashed for the long term true security of civilization.

Love and intention are the raw material for a good future for all.

Consider being a billionaire of good deeds. You may find you are also a billionaire of love.

Debra: Ah, it always comes back to love. Thanks so much Joel.

Get your copy here and join The Clean Money Revolution.

Then Spread the Love by Tweeting it out:

 

 

Tune for a Tuesday Afternoon #7

At some point in your life you feel like you don’t belong. 

Transferring to a new school mid-term, starting your first day on a job, finding your way into a conversation at a cocktail party, siting at the Christmas table with your in-laws, learning another new language a few months into your trek through Asia, scrolling everyone’s cropped, filtered, and perfected social media posts.

Sometimes this lack of belonging comes from external circumstances. And sometimes it’s just an inside job. No matter where it begins, that sense that you don’t belong is part of the human experience. It can be fleeting, or last a life time.

This winter, I headed up to Washington to start renovations on our new house, a week before my husband was to join me. Before I left, my friend Tara sent me this song; Home by Phillip Phillips (why someone with the last name Phillip names there son Phillip is a whole other conversation we should have some day).  The song was perfect.

Even though I’d spent only a few days there before buying a house, this little town felt like home to me. Before I even arrived I hired a contractor who treated me like a daughter, looking out for my best interests, investigating ways to save me money, shopping for things I wouldn’t know how to find. My painter Ben took such good care that I felt myself relax from our first email exchange. Even the folks at Home Depot called me by name and Rick in the paint department gave me a Christmas card and home-made fudge. My neighbor Kathy told me who to call for water and recycling, taught me the history of my house and its owners, and brought me to my first town meeting. She also hemmed all my curtains and made me laugh. Sue and Clare who own the bed and breakfast down the street, treated me to the most delicious breakfasts, loving conversations and true kindness. Farmer Clark introduced me to his pigs and walked me through his renovated barn with  pride.

I can’t remember a time I’d been so immediately embraced, and yet..

On December 19th, during the darkest and coldest time of the year, I was alone in a strange house with furnace problems and a long night ahead of me. Back in LA my husband and friends were at Nancy and Brain’s annual Christmas party. They’d be chatting and laughing in their fancy clothes, softly lit by dozens of twinkling candles, drinking fabulous cocktails and eating delicious food. I wanted to be there. I didn’t belong here.  Even though everything up till that moment had felt so right, suddenly it all felt so wrong. When the sun rose all was well again. But the memory of that black hole in my solar plexus is strong.

I’ve learned that you’ll never know what’s going on in the lives of most people you come across, and everyone’s going through something.

Someone you’ll come across today feels like they don’t belong. You can’t change all the circumstances in their life, but you can make a difference in the moment:

  • Give up a seat. Hold a door open.
  • Let someone cut in front of you.
  • Shake hands. Hug. Wave from across the street.
  • Smile. Make eye contact. Say thank you.
  • Listen.
  • Invite her – to join your table, come to your party, have a say at the meeting.
  • Make her favorite dish.
  • Learn some words in his language.
  • Protect them. Defend their rights.

What has made you feel like you belong? What will you do today to make others feel they belong? I’d love to hear your ideas and experience in the comment section.

Right now there are people who’ve lived their whole lives in your neighborhood and suddenly feel like they don’t belong. People who use to love coming to this country, (including Canadian school children), now feel unsafe to do so. 

As our current administration tries to normalize hate and bigotry you can choose to be force of love. Above are some ideas of what you can do individually. And this link shows what a small town is doing collectively, as a response to an incident that happened in a school.

If we want to be open-minded, civil and loving, we have to be conscious.  

Good and evil both start small … and grow.

Whether you agree with me or not. Love or hate what I’m saying and doing. YOU BELONG HERE.

Love Debra

Before you do anything for Earth Day, do this…

Whether you’re participating in a rally, celebrating at home, or forgot all about it until just now, here’s a simple little something I invite you to do as your own intimate celebration of earth. And it will only take a minute.

Go outside.
Take off your shoes.
Stand where you are.
Feel the earth through your feet.

Bring all your awareness down into your feet. Feel your soles touching the earth. Is it grass you feel, or rock or sand? Let your body rest into it. Feel the texture and temperature. Let the earth hold you up.

You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll be back up in your thoughts, wondering, planning, rushing ahead.

Come back down.
To the only home you’ll ever have.
In this body.
On this earth.

Be in it.
Breathe in it.
Feel your soul in your soles.

You probably spend most of your time in a building, in a car, in shoes and on sidewalks. All of this can disconnect you from the earth and from yourself.

This is a chance to connect to yourself. And connect to this place. Let yourself have it.

As you touch down you’ll become more grounded. When you’re grounded you’ll access the peace that’s within you. When you access the peace inside you, that’s what you’ll share with the world.

So before you do anything on earth day. Take a moment to connect your body to your earth and and feel yourself come back home.

And if by chance you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and hopeless because things seem so batshit crazy right now, it’s good to remember that Earth Day sprung from a tragedy almost 50 years ago. And it created so much good.

Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin witnessed the destruction caused by a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969 and got the idea for Earth Day. He gathered energy, expertise and commitment from Republicans, Democrats, experts and educators, to raise the political will to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. That energy led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Much of what was created by the will of the people is shockingly in danger again.

Yes, there is darkness all around, but that’s when we really get to see the light. You can choose to shine.

Don’t get overwhelmed and try to act from that place.
Feel your feet on the ground. Breathe. Then act from that place, if you choose.

Happy Earth Day.
Love Debra

For simple ways to experience more of the peace, joy and wisdom that are within you, check out my new e-book here. Turns out I’m not the only one who loves it:

“I’m about halfway through your book and I’m loving it so far.  Just reading it makes me slow down, take a breath, and start enjoying the moment.” 

~ Elizabeth Walling, LivingTheNourishedLife.com

How to know what you really value.

I bet if I asked you right now what you value most, you’d think for a moment and be able to rattle off the things that are truly important to you.

But how would you know that what you say is true? Just saying that you value something doesn’t make it so. So really, how would you know?

Turns out it’s a great time of year for figuring that out. Not only is it Spring, which is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, but you either just did your taxes or you’re about to do them. (check out my post that will help you love doing your taxes)

As you look back at your year financially, that will give you one aspect of what you value. You spend your money on things you value, whether you claim them on your taxes or not. If you’ll also look back over your calendar of the last year you’ll get another clear sign of what you value – how you spent your time.

If you say you value something, but don’t spend any energy on it – money, time or other, it probably isn’t something you truly value. It’s a nice concept. Something you care about, something you think you should value, but not truly one of your core values.

If you say you really value time with your family, but your calendar is chock a block full of work, it could be you actually value your work more. There’s no right or wrong with this. It’s just an opportunity to get to your truth. Maybe you have to work most of the time to provide just the basics for your family. You value providing for your family most. If however, your family has much more than they need, you may value your work, and the stuff it provides, more than time with them. There is no right or wrong. Just an opportunity to get clear.

If you value nature, did you get outside much? You value human rights, did you contribute to causes with your time or money? You value your health, did you spent your money on good food and time cooking, moving and getting enough sleep?

If you look over your calendar and your finances you’ll get a pretty clear view of where your values were last year. If you’re surprised to see that how you spent your time and money don’t line up with what you really value, you’ve just become conscious of a disconnect in your life. Now you have the opportunity to align your actions with your values and decrease stress.

Knowing what you truly value right now, (values change over time), and aligning your actions with your values can help you overcome guilt that you “should” value something else. You value what you value. There is no right or wrong.

And if you haven’t done your taxes yet. Here’s a way to elevate the experience.

This is always affecting you, whether you know it or not.

Throughout each day this influences your thinking, sways your judgment, affects your mood, and impacts your relationships.

It can determine whether you feel open, warm and compassionate, or cold and judgmental.

It’s happening right now. Do you know what it is?

As you read this, take a moment to notice what you’re sitting on. Is it a cozy couch, a cushion on the floor, or a hard chair? Now breathe and notice how you feel.

Are you holding anything? A warm mug of tea or a hard plastic phone?  Bring your attention to your hands. Take a few breaths and notice how you feel.

Now do you know what’s affecting you?  Yep – it’s touch.

Every inch of your beautiful body is wrapped in glorious skin. It’s sensitive and strong, and wonderfully responsive. Full of sensory receptors, it’s registering textures and temperatures all the time. Mostly you’re unaware of what’s touching you, but it’s affecting you all the same.

If you want to boost your mood, shift your thinking, or feel more connected, notice what you’re touching first.

Want more trust, compassion and connection in your relationships? It can help to sit in a cozy chair and hold a warm mug of tea or coffee when you connect. The same part of your brain that registers physical temperature also registers interpersonal warmth, so as crazy as it may sound, holding something warm will make you feel warmer towards others.

Find yourself judging your partner and being too rigid in your negotiations? Move out of that hard chair. Notice if anything touching you feels stiff, rough or scratchy. Touching coarse or rigid materials will tilt your judgment and emotions towards those same qualities. Touch something more comfortable and you’ll be kinder. The shift can be subtle, but profound.

Here’s an added benefit of noticing what’s touching you – you’ll become present. And that’s the simplest way to access your true nature, which is peaceful, loving and accepting. Living from that state will bring you joy.

The most direct path to presence is through your body. Just by bringing your attention to what you’re touching, and noticing how it feels, you’ll drop out of thinking, judging and fearing. You’ll be right where you are in this moment. Even a few seconds free of thinking can bring you peace.

Noticing what’s touching you can become a meditation you do throughout the day. You’ll discover often that you’re uncomfortable, but you hadn’t noticed until you paid attention. Your clothes are scratchy, your shoes pinch your feet, your chair is hard and your butt hurts. Being uncomfortable sucks. That would make anyone cranky.

Every time you notice what you’re touching and how it feels, make a choice. Is this how you want to feel? Do you want to shift to feel better? It all starts with awareness.

If you do that throughout the day, you’ll lift your moods, thoughts, and relationships without working too hard.

Here’s a Touch Challenge for this next week.

  • Staring tomorrow: Notice what’s touching you, three times every day. 
  • Pick something to remind you.  Set three alarms on your phone. Or decide to do it during each meal. Etc.
  • Don’t rely on your memory. I promise you it won’t happen. You need to decide on a trigger before you begin.
  • When it’s time to notice what’s touching you, just breathe, bring your attention to what’s touching you, and notice how you feel.
  • Three times a day you’ll become present through your body.

I’d love to hear what you discover. You can comment below.

For more simple ways to access your true nature, and life a life you’ll love, check out my new e-book, The Power of Pleasure

 

 

 

Within Every Loss Lies Your Opportunity to Win.

I don’t watch the Academy Awards every year because they usually don’t hold my interest. But this year, recovering from a little surgery, I snuggled up on the couch with a friend, her dog, my man, and together we watched the spectacle.

And something happened that has never happened before. I’m sure you’ve heard about it, even if you didn’t see it….

LALA Land won the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. And Then They Lost It.

But within that loss they had a win.

About 60 seconds after producer, Jordan Horowitz, gave his acceptance speech ~ one that encouraged others to use love to champion bold and diverse work that inspires us all towards joy, hope and empathy, he learned that a mistake had been made. His film had NOT won best picture. Moonlight had.

In less than a minute, the ultimate honor in his field was given and then taken away. Any of us in his situation, with millions of people watching, would have been shocked, confused, maybe a bit heartbroken and embarrassed. But as soon as he learned of the mistake he announced it to everyone, held up the card showing Moonlight had won and said, “I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from Moonlight”.

That was the ultimate win of the night. 

Before he offered up his award so quickly and gracefully I had no idea who Jordan Horowitz was. But that moment of love was a true win, and made him memorable. I was glad Moonlight got the award. I loved that film and thought it more deserving. But the bigger winner in my heart was Jordan Horowitz.

All of us have losses. Few will be as public as this one. But many will be deeper:

  • You may lose your job and not know how you’ll support your family.
  • You may lose a loved one and not know how your heart will ever heal.
  • You may lose your civil liberties under a repressive government.
  • You may lose a chance to achieve your dream and believe it’s too late.
  • You may hurt someone’s feelings and lose their trust and respect.

I can see how sickness led to a new richer life. I can see how a failed business led me to finding a more fulfilling way to give. I can see how the loss of my first marriage helped me discover who I really am.

Sometimes we can’t see the win within the loss. We are only focused on the loss. We can’t know what would have happened if we’d “won”. We just assume it would have been better.

When you face loss now, you can choose to win by responding with love:

  • You can be afraid, and turn towards love anyway.
  • You can grieve, and feel your love along side it.
  • You can still love your dreams, and nurture them in a new way.
  • You can feel hopeless, and then unite with others to fight lovingly for freedom.
  • You can feel ashamed of hurting someone you care about, then come back to love, forgive yourself, apologize and make amends.

What loss are you experiencing now?  In there lies your opportunity to win. Find it.

For simple practices to live the love that is always inside you, check out my new book: The Power of Pleasure.