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New Year Better YOU

Each new day we wake and it is essentially a reset button, a chance to start anew. And as we approach the New Year, this is truly an exciting opportunity. Each year you hear people setting New Year's resolutions, but what does that mean anyway? And… why do most people fail at their newly set promises after one short month?  

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I personally believe that the problem is two pronged. Part one is that we set resolutions or goals from our egos rather than our souls. What does that mean? When you live from the ego you do things to please others because it is somewhat expected of you. When you live from your soul you do what FEELS good to you and what brings you true joy from within. The other part is that we set goals based on what we feel society deems acceptable, and this is often in opposition to the calling of our souls. 

So, when you set your intentions to go to the gym three times a week, or to lose ten pounds, or to stop eating desserts, or to give up fried foods… these resolutions often do not last because deep down they do not satisfy your soul. You do not want to go to the gym because you want to workout, you go because ultimately you want to be loved and accepted by others and you feel that losing weight and being fit will get you that result. That is the subconscious mind at work. Therefore, the more realistic New Year's resolution would be to work on loving yourself and self acceptance. Working out may be a part of that. The same can be said about improving your eating habits, but the desire to change has to come from within yourself. 

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When setting New Year's resolutions, I would encourage you to look at them as separate goals for the year ahead rather than one big thing.  For example; set small easily attainable goals, medium size goals, and then perhaps one really big goal. Giving yourself some challenges is good because it is through the challenges that we grow, but we also want to set ourselves up to succeed. We want the new year to truly be a chance to grow into the best version of ourselves to date. You will not stop growing at the end of 2018, this is a beautiful life long journey.  It is about learning what worked in 2017 and what you could do a little better. For 2018 visualize the new things that you want to try, the exciting places you want to visit and the ways that you can contribute to make the world a tiny bit better. 

The easy part is setting intentions or goals. The hard part is following through with them. The magic happens through our actions. So once you set your intentions, find friends or mentors who will hold you accountable. Manifest your intentions by writing them down and taking action toward them each day. Another great idea that was given to me by a friend is to hang sticky note reminders to yourself on the bathroom mirror (maybe to love yourself), or on your refrigerator (to make wise decisions), and in your car (to release the road rage, and use the time in your car to relax through music or comedy or maybe just quiet reflection). Regardless, these little kind reminders to are a fantastic way to stay on track and they really do work!

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I am incredibly grateful for 2017. It was NOT my best year. In fact it was rather difficult and I am definitely ready to move forward. I know that 2018 is going to be amazing! My personal resolutions for this coming year are to eat plant based, sleep more regularly, organize my home better, waste less food, give my time serving others (volunteering), travel to new places and to grow my online business, which will include videos and yoga tutorials. Those are my BIG goals : )

  Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Whatever your New Year Resolution may be, remember most importantly to practice:

  1. Awareness each day: How are you feeling, check in and see how your goals are going….
  2. Acceptance: If you fall off track a day or a week do not give up! Simply start over or where you are, it is NEVER too late! Be gentle with yourself.
  3. Forgiveness: IF you fall off track, get derailed or decide to change course, forgive yourself first and foremost. You are allowed to change your mind. 

Always F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself)

It is with great gratitude, love and excitement that I wish you all a Happy New Year full of health, love, happiness and abundance. May all of your dreams come true! 

Peace & Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - Please help me raise the vibration as we close on 2017 and welcome 2018 and share your New Year's resolutions, goals & intentions for the year ahead in the comment section below. By writing them down we are putting them into motion and therefore into action. Thank you for helping me on my journey! Together as a community, I know we will soar to new heights in 2018!  

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Nothing is What You Think it Is....

Is life really a grand illusion? Perhaps that is why we are fascinated with magic tricks? Nothing is really what we think it is. Nothing is what you expect. Expectations are really the root of so much heartache. Why is it that we put so much emphasis on external factors? We wear masks to protect others from who we really are. We post photos that make us look as if we live a grand or fun filled life all the time when in reality most of us struggle to keep our heads above water with busy schedules, hectic lifestyles and tight budgets. 

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What is it that is really important to you? What would bring you peace of mind? Just contemplate those two things for a moment. And then ask yourself, What really IS peace of mind?

I would like you to consider peace of mind really being ultimate enlightenment. Isn't that what we all strive for? Isn't it a place of happiness where worries, struggles and fears fade away? Perhaps it is different for each of us? I do not pretend to hold all the answers, but I do believe that it makes sense to think that when we arrive at a place where we accept and are happy with ourselves, we can then accept everyone as equals around us. Through acceptance we then discover ultimate happiness.

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So start loving yourself.  Work through anything you are holding onto from your past. Forgive and  honor yourself, and work toward this ultimate goal. Believe me when I tell you it IS attainable and YOU are worth it. Life is a journey of awareness and mindfulness. Be kind and gentle with yourself and with others. If you need help, it is ok to seek counsel and read self help books, for knowledge is power when put into action.

As you begin this work week be mindful to practice acceptance and observe how much happier you start to feel as a result.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Libby 

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love; 3 Ways to Combat Violence using Yogic Philosophy

There is so much tragedy in this world. The sad truth is we are not guaranteed tomorrow. However, it is important to step out of fear and darkness and live the life we love each and every day. Go after your dreams, tell the people you love that you appreciate them, and say the things that matter. Horrific incidents, such as the massacre in Las Vegas are reminders to Live the Life we Love EVERYDAY. We have to try to find something positive in everything bad or we run the risk of feeling helpless and depressed. As we send healing prayers and hold the families who are grieving today and in the coming days, weeks and months in our hearts, it is important to use this time to rise up and come together as a community.

Terrible events like this mass shooting, as well as any obstacle I come across in my personal life, remind me to return back to my personal Yoga Philosophy.  There are three main principles that I live and breathe by that have helped me get through countless difficult times including; my physical and verbal abuse, recovering from PTSD, counseling and supporting others, helping my parents go through physical set backs, nurturing my own children and the ups and downs of my daily life. The following three principles when followed will truly lead you to a better place; one of growth,  lightness, clarity, strength, compassion, and most importantly a place of universal oneness.

  1. Awareness - It begins with the physical practice on the mat and carries into daily life. Be aware of your words, actions and feelings. Then be aware of those around you.
  2. Acceptance - Accept yourself exactly where you are in each moment. You do not have to be perfect, you just have to show up and try your best. Strive for progress. And then accept those around you where they are, as well. Let go of expectations.
  3. Forgivenesses - Forgive yourself for any mistakes you make along the way. Consider those mistakes a way to learn and grow. Forgive those around you. Holding grudges and shaming people causes resentment and negativity.

Above all practice self love. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y.) then love all others. Once we realize we are all in this together, the feelings of separation, anxiety, hatred and violence vanish and unity takes their place. Once we get to this place of ONENESS, life is beautiful.  

Of course, in times of mass shootings the subject of mental illness arises as we search for a reason for how and why a human being could take so many innocent lives. And then, of course, there are issues of gun control that feed our fears and cause more division among us. The truth is we will never have all the answers, but let's avoid circular arguments that make us feel self righteous and realize that such acts of hate most often, at their roots, result from an absence of love and other stigmas that make a person feel an overwhelming sense of darkness.  

When someone in our family suffers from cancer or another disease, we wrap our arms around them, bring them meals and nurture them with tender loving care. But when someone we know is diagnosed with a serious Mental Illness, our discomfort and shame often hold us back from helping and comforting them because of the negative stigma associated with a serious mental health issue. That person then isolates and disconnects from society. When they withdraw, their perception of reality becomes even more distorted. These stigmas around mental health issues create even more damage in the long run and contribute to the downward spiral of the person who needs love, support and treatment from mental health providers. Mental health is not a topic that we can afford to sweep under the rug and out of sight. It should be talked about and treated like any disease. 

In my research I discovered some startling statistics that I would like to share with you about mental health. 1 in 5 American adults have a mental health condition - thats over 40 MILLION Americans. Mental Health problems among our youth are also on the rise. In 2011 8.5% were depressed and in 2014 that number rose to 11.1%. What is even more startling is that 80% of those youth were either insufficiently treated or not treated at all. Compound this with the media’s negative attention on horrific situations such as these mass killings, and the people who need help tend to shy away and hide rather than coming into the light to seek help. 

It is not wrong to view mental illness as a disease, but to assume it is hopeless and to associate it with shame only worsens the situation. The last thing we want to do is make the person feel so desperate and void of love, connection, emotion and empathy that they become compelled to murder. Also, people who play video games while isolated, often disassociate the feelings of human connection with real life people. This process of desensitization can carry over to real life violence when one’s sense of reality becomes completely blurred. 

Ultimately we need to turn these tragic events into a time to reflect on love. It is a reminder that what the world needs now more than ever is Love Sweet Love.  What we ALL need is love sweet love. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the negative energy of this sad occasion. Instead hold the lives of the people lost up with the honor that they deserve. They were special people. They each had a story. They each had a dream. Unfortunately, for reasons that we will never understand, their lives ended too soon and abruptly. May peace be with their families and friends.  

There are many things in life we cannot understand. It is important, however, that we simply keep going. Pray and believe that better days are coming. Continue to give love. Understand that it is ok to feel every emotion and it is also ok to not know and not to understand why this happened. 

Fall reminds us that life is ever changing. Take a moment this season to reflect on what really matters to you. Use this time to set your intention for how you can become the best version of yourself. Live the life you love TODAY, tell the people you love that you love them! Just as the trees shed their leaves, think about a few things you might need to let go of in order to make room for improvements in your life. You were created to be a joyful and successful being. Connect with friends and family. Avoid isolation and reach for the stars!  If you feel that you might suffer from a mental illness, do not feel alone for there is hope and help for you.

Remember that light always overcomes darkness, just as love overcomes evil. When we love ourselves we are able to love others. So I ask you especially in these times of darkness to dig deep, plant your roots of compassion and shine your love light. Show the world that peace and love will conquer evil and that love is really all that we need. 

Love and Light,

Libby

 

P.S. ~ If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD, there are people who can help you. Witnessing a horrible event like the concert shooting in Las Vegas can trigger symptoms for months to come. If you were at this concert or have friends and family who were there, please practice awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be gentle and loving with yourselves. I am sending you healing vibes and much love.

• Click here for PTSD Hotline & Crisis Phone Numbers

Oh Powerful Wizard of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road... Those words may sound very familiar to you. Well, Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore. The Wizard of Oz is a beautul story about connections and about finding your purpose and true path in life. As Dorothy discovered along her journey, the answers we seek are in us all along, but having supportive friends makes our lives a little easier and gives us the courage to perservere.  

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It feels good to plug into collective energy. Remember, we ARE energetic beings, so, when we share our energy with other people, it gains momentum and spirals upward. There is power in numbers so to speak. This is why being a member on a sports team is so exhilarating. It creates a feeling of acceptance and a sense of appreciation. Team spirit is powerful. This applies not only to sports, but to any group that cooperates for a common cause such as family, a work community, or a group of friends.  When you realize you are a part of something much bigger than yourself, that is when the magic happens.  

When you feel connected, you feel a sense of purpose. You then wake up with a great drive and determination. This gives your life meaning and you are less likely to focus on unimportant things that once caused stress. With a strong support network you also have people who share your burdens so that in difficult times you are no longer isolated and alone. People who consider themselves part of a network or a community tend to be healthier overall and are able to better cope with stress and difficult situations. 

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There are five Blue Zones in the world where people are proven to live well over the ripe old age of 100 free from disease. Scientists are saying that air quality, nutrition, and social connections have a strong correlation with this remarkable life span and may in fact, in combination with a positive attitude, be able to alter our own DNA. Yes, waking up with purpose and feeling connected is THAT important!

People come and go like waves in our lives. Some stay only short amounts of time and teach us what we need to know and others stay longer, but each one adds an important lesson. The most valuable people bring out the very best in us. They allow our spirits to shine and that synergy (shared energy) is irreplacable.  

The last two years I have experienced the power of community first hand by having the privilege of volunteering my time to lead the Sycamore Community School Lady Aviator Water Polo Team in a once a week Yoga cross training session. Not only is it amazing for them to build core strength, open their shoulders and work flexibility and agility, but it gives me the distinct honor of getting to know these amazing young ladies.  If I can teach them to pause and breathe, it might mean the difference between making a goal or a penalty shot under pressure in a game. If I can teach them to lean on each other and support one another and practice compassion, then I feel like I have added greatly not only to their skills as a team, but to their life assets. I hope the awareness and acceptance that I instill on that mat carries off the mat and into daily life for each of these Ladies. That is what the journey is about for all of us; it is the journey of the self. 

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These ladies are absolute sharks in the water with determination and teamwork that is off the charts impressive, but out of the water I watch as they support other teams with unbelieveable sportsmanship and class. They are kind, respectful and compassionate. I am so incredibly honored and proud to be even a tiny tiny part of their experience. It is thrilling to me! I cannot even imagine how it must feel to be them! They are having a great season and every game has been incredibly intense. If you have never been to a water polo game, I highly recommend it. It is super fun to watch, albeit absolutely exhausting and not for the faint of heart. 

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So, follow the golden road to your own destiny knowing that it is within you all along (there is no almighty Wizard behind the curtain). You will also gain strength by surrounding yourself with a supportive community and by adding to that collective yourself. Get involved. Go find your true purpose and passion. Don't make it complicated. It is just something you enjoy. Add your passion and talents to a greater collective energy and watch that momentum build. You will have victories that you never imagined possible. You are capable of so much more than you even know. Just take the challenges that life offers. You have the power to weather the storms in your life, just as Dorothy survived the tornado that launched her on her journey to self discovery. 

In Victory of Light,

Libby  

 As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks, I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude. I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful. It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose! All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week. Believe me when I tell you it is worth it! 

As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks, I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude. I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful. It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose! All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week. Believe me when I tell you it is worth it!