Peaceful Living

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Spiritual Or 'Spirit-full', 3 Tips To Finding Your Way

posted 16 Mar 2016, 09:57 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 16 Mar 2016, 10:27 ]

By Tim Elliston

Life is fast-paced, high-pressured; we’re always on the go, even when we’re sitting still, our minds are racing away and before we know it much of life has become the same tired routine. Joy fades like a childhood memory and seems impossible to reconnect to, despite the vows we make every New Year, or the dreams we stick on our bucket lists to do ‘one day’.

Our spirit is something we often link with a need to be religious, as Karen says in her video. We often ignore this part of us, feeling we simply are not spiritual. In truth we have probably become disconnected from ourselves and much of the world around us. We have forgotten the innocent wonder we once lived by when we were full of spirit and fun.

So instead of thinking about being spiritual try at being ‘spirit-full’ and reconnect with yourself and your life in a more honest, simple way.

Tip 1. Take any opportunity to become an observer. We live so much in our heads believing all the thoughts that tumble around in there. We become so involved in all the details and perceived imperfections, we rarely take time to observe what is going on around us. Pause for a few moments take a few deep breaths and just watch what is going on outside the window. It can surprise you to notice the colours, the smells, the sounds. To notice and actually experience a moment.

Tip 2. Disconnect. You are probably reading this on your mobile phone or tablet. As a technologist I love gadgets, but I know first-hand how being constantly plugged into the digital world can increase stress and keep us away from real life, people, nature, actual joyful experiences that will be remembered and relived over and over again. Turning off the gadgets early in the evening can really help us fall back into a more natural pattern of sleep and rest. Having a day where we leave the technology alone can be liberating, Ok, scary at first but checking our status or social network feeds is just another habit we have created. Switching off allows us time for meaningful interaction, even sun light and fresh air and activities to really talk about and share

Tip 3. Change the pace. For many we are on the go from the moment we wake to the time we fall into bed, always on the go, often multitasking. There are many ways to be active even when we are sitting down, our minds are active, problem solving and striving. We find ourselves just moving though our day and not really feeling or experiencing it. When having to get things done, simply focusing on one thing at a time, we are not over loading brains. When moving from one activity to another, take a moment to rest. Feel three deep conscious breaths. We focus so much on our work and other people, we forget ourselves. Do a hobby or sport remember those resolutions and lists take part in them and feel the reward to yourself for doing so. These activities tend to involve connecting with the senses. Painting, listening to music, playing an instrument, doing a gym workout, dancing, singing and many more activities all give us the chance to be with your senses.

Doing these 3 simple things daily can help us find some quiet moments from our thoughts and busy lives, to connect with ourselves and by doing so, with others too, in a meaningful and some might say spiritual way.

Tim Elliston

What I need to know about love

posted 7 May 2015, 11:06 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 13 May 2015, 11:34 ]

By Andi Evans

I find myself being more conscious about love and the decisions I make, the steps I take. I am more aware of the consequences of my words and opinions, and find myself thinking before I act.

Yesterday the topic of responding to painful situations came up on my radio show. And I recognized the importance of asking myself the question, who is responding? If my ego is responding, the situation will likely escalate and end up in an uncomfortable place. If my heart is responding, I know I am standing up for love, and pointing myself in the direction of my truth.

By taking some time to breathe and stepping away from reacting to life, we allow our true self to shine and guide us. The outcomes to situations are more pleasant, and more truthful. We live in authenticity instead of a fabricated tug-of-war.

Asking myself who is reacting? who is responding? who is judging? helps me to remember who I am at my core, and live a more peaceful, love-filled life. When I ask love to guide me I am comforted and content. I am allowing life to flow through me. I also realize life is a lot easier when I let love show me the way. There are no tough questions. The answers are always right here for me. I just have to be willing to hear them.

Andi Evans

Get Past It Instead of Getting Even: Revenge Isn’t Winning

posted 7 May 2015, 11:06 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:43 ]

By Craig Ruvere

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first thing many of us think of after someone has wronged or disrespected us is how to get even—how to hand out a dose of that person’s own medicine in an attempt to feel totally vindicated.

Most of us have thought about revenge at one point or another.

Maybe it’s a co-worker, a classmate, a family member, or even a boyfriend or girlfriend, but regardless of the relationship it’s often an instinctive reaction when someone attacks the deepest, most fragile part of ourselves

Does this really accomplish anything positive?

We might gain some personal, though temporary satisfaction, but it does little to ease the pain others have inflicted upon us.

I recently received an unexpected email. While the sender was certainly a surprise, the content of the message and its motivation were not.

The sender was my father, and in what has become my parents’ only way of communicating with me over the last few years, it was a familiar message filled with anger, blame, and defensiveness.

Though this wasn’t the first time my parents had defamed me in this way, it still saddened me for much of the next few days.

Children, especially adolescents, are known for “mouthing off” to their parents while growing up, but it’s hard to imagine this coming from someone who taught you that this was disrespectful.

My relationship with my parents has become difficult to maintain as a free-thinking adult.

I suppose some might say that we should always forgive family members for their faults, especially parents.

But regardless of the relation, at some point you grow tired of others not telling the entire truth; tired of having to defend yourself; tired of being referred to as the cause of someone else’s issues.

Growing up I had a great deal of respect for my parents. They provided for all of my worldly needs, taught me invaluable lessons and skills, and maintained a true sense of family and tradition within the walls of our home.

Yet something was missing for me, as I was burdened by an inner need to always seek my parents’ approval and acceptance, which rendered me incredibly insecure and anxious growing up.

Eventually, I became completely dependent on them for emotional stability and continual guidance. I didn’t love and trust myself enough to be the keeper of myself, so I allowed my parents to fill that role for me.

As I evolved into an adult, found someone who loved me without conditions, and began to develop a deep appreciation for the person I was, I realized I no longer needed the family dynamic that I was so dependent on for so long.

My parents, however, had a difficult time understanding that I was no longer that insecure, anxious, easily manipulated little boy trying to find his place in the world. I was now an adult, ready to chart his own course.

We started arguing regularly, and many times rather than deal with the repercussions, I would just say I was sorry and return to how our relationship had always been.

This dynamic continued on for many years until one day I offered my opinion and perspective on a complex, delicate matter they were considering. I questioned their motivation and feared the possible outcome, and thought voicing my concern would be appreciated.

I was truly stunned by their reaction.

Letters, emails, character attacks—they even posted hateful comments on a newspaper’s website I contributed to frequently, dragging my name through the proverbial mud in an effort to convince people that I wasn’t the man I proclaimed to be.

I never expected something so heinous from my own parents. I was so taken aback, hurt and angry that my first thought was how to get back at them—to do a little mud-slinging of my own in an attempt at destroying their character, just as they had done to mine.

Then I stumbled upon the following quote, and suddenly everything I thought I understood changed.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” ~Gandhi

How could I possibly be so naïve to believe that seeking revenge on my own parents would make my actions any better than theirs, let alone change the course of what had already been done?

My revenge would only keep the wound open longer, perpetuating my bitterness and squandering my time on something I couldn’t change. Though never easy, acceptance is key in putting the pain behind you and moving forward with your life.

I began to ask myself: Will I find any inner solace by propagating my anger? If I succeed at getting even, will it really change my reality? Does it make me the better person to do to them what they’ve done to me?

As difficult as it was, instead of arguing and trying to defend myself, I simply said nothing. No replies, no rebuttals, no communication, nothing to engage us in the kind of negative confrontations we were accustomed to.

I’ve learned that living without the drama that so many people thrive on is the only way to live a meaningful life.

I’m far from perfect and those feelings of retribution still creep up now and then, especially when I get an email or letter as I did the other day. But each time the thought pops into my head, I begin to realize something:

Regardless of how justified you might believe you are in seeking your revenge, it’s important to remember that life isn’t a game and simply getting even doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle; it just means you’ve lost your self-respect.

It’s taken me a while to accept that I probably will never see my parents again. Yes, there will be times when I miss the family unit I remember from when I was a little boy; but then I’m forced to remind myself that things will never be as they were again.

It saddens me that my parents are missing out on getting to know the man I truly am, instead of the insecure, anxious little boy they’re convinced still exists.

In truth, I would not be the person I am today without them—a person of character and integrity who’s managed to touch the lives of many, even theirs I’m sure.

In my heart I forgive them for everything that’s gone on, and the peace that provides me is much greater than the fleeting satisfaction of seeking revenge.

Though it might seem impossible, even the bad things that happen in life have a funny way of leading us to a better place. At least, they did for me.

Craig Ruvere


posted 7 May 2015, 11:05 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:44 ]

By Karen Lang

“There is no one as strong as a person whose heart is always filled with gratitude.”- Daiksu Ikeda

Have you ever noticed, that when a room full of people are whingeing and complaining about life and someone says something positive, how that suddenly changes the entire mood of the room and makes everyone consider their next words.

Gratefulness is a gift. It can shift the most difficult moment or help overwhelming sadness come to a lighter place. Overtime, if you practice gratitude, you will find it is easy to see the good in every situation. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.

In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

“Sometimes we complain without thinking much of it, but the frightening thing about complaining is that every time we do, a cloud descends over our heart, and our hope, appreciation and joy gradually wane”.

Why is it that we wait until we have lost before we are grateful for what we had? In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this situation I am in?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?” These are difficult questions to ask when you feel let down in life and yet, in becoming conscious of these questions we can shift our negative belief into a positive.

The first step is to become aware of how much you complain. Just for three days, make a conscious effort to see how many times you are not happy during the day. If you find it is more often than you were aware of, make a conscious effort to change your negative thoughts into grateful thoughts.

Have some perspective as well. Ask yourself, “Are you dying?” “Are your children dying?” and then reconsider how bad life is? We can learn a lot from the poorer countries, who always seem content even amongst the chaos of their environment. They grow up with so little and yet, are appreciative of the smallest blessing.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

Life is a gift. The fact that people lose their loved ones everyday should awaken you to the fragility and preciousness of life. Every morning try letting the first words you say be”thankyou” and the last words you say before bed be “thankyou.”

Turn every situation into a gift of gratefulness and realise that even though some days are harder than others, everyday is another opportunity to start again.

“It is this sense of appreciation that elevates, enriches and expands the human spirit. A lack of gratitude is actually a sign of arrogance.” - Daiksu Ikeda

Karen Lang

Life’s journey is a never ending classroom

posted 7 May 2015, 11:04 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:46 ]

By Craig Ruvere

The other day I came across this quote by Charlotte Joko Beck, which really made me think.

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru.”

Interesting, right?

“The teacher we need at every moment” – I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the journey of life in that way before, but looking back it makes total sense.

I’ve learned invaluable lessons through the challenges life’s handed me over the years.

And while they certainly were stressful and difficult to navigate at the time, I emerged with a greater sense of who I am, what I want and where I need to be in life.

And you know what? I’m not done learning – none of us are.

I suppose we all reach an age when our ego tells us there’s nothing left to learn in life. But “the teacher” is always there – imparting wisdom on a situation whether we want to accept it or not.

American Novelist and Poet Don Williams, Jr. once remarked that “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

My journey has led me down many different pathways, but the classroom of life continues to educate me – and all of us. That is if we’re still willing to listen.

The post Life’s journey is a never ending classroom appeared first on The View from Here by Craig Ruvere.

Craig Ruvere

Understanding Anger

posted 7 May 2015, 10:59 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:48 ]

By Karen Lang

“I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight…..I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence” Thich Nhat Hanh

How many of us were told as children, not to show our anger or tears? Where does all that anger go when it is suppressed over a long time? Unfortunately it doesn’t go away and if you were not taught how to let go of anger, it can be a time bomb just waiting to explode.

Of course anger is unleashed everywhere in society today. It’s almost a given right now to show your anger to anyone who is in your way. Road rage, Disgruntled employees, Students angry at teachers, Husbands, wives and children all fighting about who isn’t doing enough or that no-one feels listened too.

It never feels good to see someone get angry or lose control but the only reason people lose control is because they have ignored their feelings. When we don’t acknowledge and deal with the first signs of anger or rejection, we allow a build up of emotion.

People will forget what you said to them….but they will never forget how you made them feel. Carl W Buechner

We need to become aware of our feelings each day, we need to let go of our fear of being heard and become conscious of our thoughts towards ourselves and others.

How often do you share a story with someone about how you have been wronged by a family member or friend that was rude or angry at you. Instead of us saying something to the right person at the time, (which takes courage)…..we decide it’s easier to spread the negative story to friends, which in turn helps our anger grow, and feeds our victim-hood.

Anger blinds us and fatigues us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Although anger often gives us a feeling of power and allows us to intimidate others, when we give in to anger, we continue to foster the situations that feed that rage.

We discover we are constantly surrounded by unfriendly people, from the shop owner or work colleagues because anger unconsciously invites others to feed off our irritation and resentment.

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. Rumi

Genuine power lies in the ability to practice peace when confronted by someone else’s fury. When we don’t engage in the drama of another person’s anger we can learn to see the pain in ourselves and others.

Don’t pretend that anger is not apart of our emotions, feel it and let it go. If we can practice stillness and peace each day, we will learn to see the emotional blockages we have created and allow change and freedom in our life.

Any time we feel those negative emotions come up, it’s a voice from deep within ourselves asking to be heard. Somewhere inside, there’s a being that is crying out for love and caring, because it’s feeling hurt, afraid, lonely, or is just simply in pain. That suffering being is you.

To create peace, you have to let go of your need to be right. If you believe you can’t experience peace until you have worked through your anger, you are wrong. We need to make peace a conscious choice each day and allow forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves and others inside our heart.

” Love knows no answer for it does not question.” -silent lotus

Karen Lang

Courage doesn't always roar

posted 7 May 2015, 10:58 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:50 ]

By Craig Ruvere

I suspect few of us would classify ourselves as being “courageous” – me being one of them.

I’ve never rescued anyone from the scene of an accident, or stood on the frontlines of battle during wartime.

But then I began to wonder if acts of heroics were the only actions allowing someone to be classified as courageous?

After doing a little digging, I came across this statement by Mary Anne Radmacher, which pretty much answered my question perfectly.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

While I’m in no way discrediting the selfless individuals out there who risk their own lives for the protection of others, I know how difficult it can be sometimes to look at another day with any kind of hope.

To gather your strength, put on a happy face and try to make today a better day.

And for all those individuals who understand exactly what I’m talking about, know that your determination to say “I’ll try again tomorrow” makes you some of the most courageous people in the world.

Craig Ruvere

Change is inevitable

posted 7 May 2015, 10:56 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:59 ]

By Craig Ruvere

Since the beginning of time, humanity has always shared one thing in common – change is unavoidable. The realization might not always be evident, but each and every day our lives are evolving in directions we never thought possible, and often the evolution is beyond our control.

But change tends to get a bad reputation. Be it a relationship, a career or anything that involves making a long term commitment, change is not something we’re willing to adjust to, nor accept easily. We develop a sense of security in our lives, and sometimes we can’t always see the benefits altering our “comfort zone” could possibly bring.

The dictionary defines “change” as “to alter; to give up for something else; to change one’s intention.” This altering can lead to great things. And while the direct results are not always obvious, change can be just what you need – bringing your life to new heights that far surpass your current state of being.

But for many of us, we have trouble letting go of the past for something new. For some it’s holding on to the 1950 Chevy we first learned to drive; for others it’s the uneasy feeling of moving from the home where our family was raised. The truth is no matter how much our lives change and where they leads us, one thing can never be taken away – the memories that live in our hearts and minds.

Life is like an endless novel – each chapter representing another place and time in our lives, forever evolving. And all it takes to ignite the feelings of the past are the sweet smell of flowers on a spring day, the soft sound of music playing in the background or the feeling of an old woolen blanket upon our skin.

As we all get older, we start to realize how vital these memories truly can be. They keep us company on days when we’re lonely, keep us warm when we’re feeling cold, keep us happy when we’re feeling sad.

I’m sure we all have friends or family members that send countless emails designed to inspire and motivate – some even claiming riches or health if we pass them along to ten other people in the next five minutes. For the most part I tend to delete such messages before I ever read them. But recently my wife sent me an email with a request in the subject line stating “please read” so I figured how bad could it be.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this: “The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. We have the choice to live fully each and every day. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”

It takes courage and strength to fully embrace change, and so many times the results far outweigh the inconvenience. Change is something beyond our control, and no amount of worry or stress will have any effect on the final outcome.

No one is saying that change is easy, but it is a turning point in our lives. Change forces us to evaluate where our lives our going, giving us the opportunity to better not only ourselves, but the world around us. Change is unavoidable – but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

Craig Ruvere

11 tips to create the perfect gratitude journal

posted 7 May 2015, 10:56 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 01:58 ]

By Louise Jensen

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot” - Hausa Proverb.

In my early, dark days of first acquiring a disability I didn't feel I had an awful lot to be thankful for. It was like I had spent my whole life getting to the point where I had a thriving holistic therapy practice I loved, great friends provided an amazing social life, my beautiful dog who I would regularly take into the country for long walks and my adrenaline pumping exercise routine. Life was perfect. I had so much to be grateful for but then it was suddenly snatched away.

I was left with constant pain, immobility and three children I felt I couldn't care for properly. So what did I have to be grateful for right? Well I was alive yes. Some people may say that's enough but they are probably either a) people not dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis or b) those with a far more positive mindset than I had at that time.

I thought back to all the advice I had given to my therapy clients over the years on healing emotional pain and moving forward but even though I knew it worked from the positive feedback I received, I couldn't apply it to myself. The problem was I was very good at talking it but as I had always felt good about my life I had never actually had to put it into practice.

The previous ten years had been the best I had ever experienced and I was naturally appreciative of all I had. After my accident appreciativeness soon turned to hurt, to anger, self-pity and eventually self-loathing. I caused myself more pain by resisting the enforced lifestyle change and couldn’t see a purpose in anything. It was at this point I knew I had to make a change.

I looked at the handout sheets I had previously given to clients (practical tips for living a positive life) and loving writing, gratitude journaling seemed to be an obvious starting point.

That night I sat with my journal, intending to start with three things I was grateful for that day. Just three. Piece of cake right? After an hour I gently closed the cover on the tear stained, still blank first page and cried myself to sleep, mentally adding failure at journaling to all my other perceived shortcomings.

A couple of days later I decided to try again. Determinedly opening up the book I quickly wrote my children, my home and food to eat. Feeling a smug sense of satisfaction I replaced the pen lid. I was done right? Objective achieved.

The next day I opened the book and froze. What could I write? The three things from the day before were all I could think of. I couldn't repeat them and yet nothing else came to mind.

I laid the now incredibly crumpled but virtually blank book down again and rested my head against the window. I watched a Robin tentatively sitting on the garden fence anxiously watching all directions whilst trying to keep an eye on the bird seed my son had put on the feeding station before school. For half an hour this beautiful bird made several trips, came back with friends and triumphantly cleared all we had offered.

It dawned on me that while I had been watching I hadn't felt sorry for myself once. I had felt in awe of nature and how beautiful it can be. Excitedly I reached for my book again. I ripped out the first page and discarded it. Yes my children, home and food were things to be grateful for but I just put them for the sake of reaching my goal. I wasn't really feeling anything at the time I wrote them and I knew the exercise had been an empty one.

That little tiny bird, with its beautiful red breast had evoked a truly positive emotion and from that I started to become more and more aware and recognise these precious moments as they occurred, which they generally do if you watch for them, each day.

It hasn't been easy. It is now 5 years on and journaling has become an important part of my life and has really helped me change my mindset and move forward. There is joy everywhere but that can be overshadowed by pain if you allow it. When I have a bad day now I read back over my journal and I remember that life has so much to offer. I still such a lot to be grateful for. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. I have a life and I love it.

If you want to start a gratitude journal I recommend the following: -
  1. Don’t just go through motions – make a decision to be consciously more grateful. Don't reluctantly journal because you think you should. Feel what you write. Believe it. 
  2. Don’t set yourself a minimum number of things to write per day. This is a toughie. Many sites will recommend 5 or so things per day. In my experience there are days I have less and that's perfectly ok. On balance there are days I can fill a page. Don't put yourself under pressure to stick to the same amount each day. Be flexible and don't take the joy away by being too regimented.
  3. Don’t wait for the right time. I try to integrate this into my bedtime routine but if I have a joyful experience I often write it down straight away, this reinforces the positivity felt and ensures I don't forget anything.
  4. Elaborate on why you are grateful allows you to really explore your feelings. If, like me, you intend on flicking back through your journal make it clear why you are grateful for the items you add, i.e. for the first entry I put ‘my children’. On day two I wrote ‘my children for putting on a sock puppet show after school and making me laugh’. That triggers so many memories each time I read it and always makes me smile.
  5. Focus on people rather than things. As much as I love my iPod it can never give me the same warm, fuzzy, loved feeling my partner instills by making me a surprise breakfast in bed.
  6. Don’t rush, savour every word. Don't see this as another chore to get through. The fact you can make a list of things that make you feel grateful should make you feel, umm well, grateful! 
  7. Include surprises. Unexpected events often elicit a greater emotional response and are great to look back on during a day you feel life is mundane and the same old routine all the time. 
  8. Keep the negative out. If you want to keep a diary to record how you feel this can be really constructive but leave your gratitude journal as a purely, positive only exercise.
  9. Mix it up – don’t put same thing every day. Expand your awareness. The more you do this the more you start to really appreciate what a gift life really is. The world is beautiful. Learn to really experience it.
  10. Be creative. Who says a gratitude journal has to be full of lists? Mine contains everything from concert tickets, to photos and restaurant receipts. Have some fun with it.
  11. Give it a fair chance. It takes, on average, 21 days for a new habit to form. Don’t give up or dismiss it as not working before then. Commit to just three weeks and then see how you feel. What have you got to lose?
I would love to hear how you get on.

8 Simple Tip On Meditating

posted 7 May 2015, 10:52 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 02:01 ]

By Andi Evans

Last night I was inspired by a lovely woman who has attended a few of my workshops. She shared with me that she would like to add meditation to her day, but she ‘can’t meditate’. Well, that’s all I needed the hear (the word ‘can’t) to know it was time to share a few tips. In my humble opinion, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. As long as you are willing to try to quiet you mind, you are giving it a go! If you put up barriers and rules about meditation, you are sure to loose the enjoyment and see it as a chore. And it’s not a chore, you are not being scored or judged, it is a personal vacation from your conditioned self (the one we create), and a loving visit with your true self (our inner spirit) and the Divine.

For me, the idea behind meditation is not to follow any specific rules, it is to allow myself a break from the world we experience outside ourselves. Any way you can find the time to do that is meditation. It may mean a quiet walk without headphones in nature, where you allow yourself just to listen, and ask the clutter to back off for a bit. You’ll tend to those thoughts later. It may mean while you are washing the dishes or folding laundry, you completely focus on the act of what you are doing. You choose to be fully present, breathing in and out slowly and mindfully, and excusing other thoughts. You may even choose to have a mantra in your head while you do this. It is up to you!

If you would like to sit and meditate in a quiet room, and really devote some time to it, here are a few tips that help me, and I hope they (or your interpretation of them) will help you!

(By the way, don’t worry about time. If you can devote just a few minutes to this, you are giving yourself a magnificent gift)

1) Set up your space. If you have an alter, or table you can use as an alter, set up this space with pieces that mean something to you. You may choose things like: candles, books, oracle cards, gemstones, photos, religious symbols, keepsakes or some sort of aromatherapy. Have this area be devoted to your spiritual beliefs.

2) Light a candle and say a prayer of intention. You may choose to ask for assistance during your meditation, to help you quiet your mind. Or maybe you just express gratitude for this time of connection with the Divine, and your higher self.

3) Write down your intention. This is very powerful. Gift yourself a special book in which you write down what you are grateful for, and your intentions during your meditation. Write down your intentions as though they have already happened, and you are grateful for them. So if you intend to have a peaceful meditation, you may write something like: Thank you for this loving meditation I have received today. I also include a mini version of my ‘vision’ board, or the things I would like to see in my life. I write them as though they are already here. And usually, they are!

4) I love gemstones and they hold great meaning for me, so I hold the ones that I resonate with that day in my hand, and declare their vibration and my vibration are aligned. You many use a religious symbol, mala beads, a card or photo that has great meaning to you. Whatever you choose, trust that it is the right symbol for you.

5) Make an agreement with yourself to allow your meditation time to be what it is. If thoughts or outside disruptions happen, it’s ok. Try not to become frustrated, acknowledge them and let them pass. Try not to judge yourself on how much time you devote to your meditation. Whatever it is, it is what is meant to be that day.

6) Take a deep breath and imagine what it would feel like to let all the thoughts in your head get together in a group, hop on a cloud, and float away. Another visual I find helpful is to imagine that my thoughts are weights on my shoulders. I imagine the weights being lifted, one by one, and with each breath, I feel lighter and lighter.

7) I then take my temperature (in my mind). How am i feeling today? I may choose to imagine my chakras open and in complete alignment. Or I may ask myself how much happiness and joy am I allowing in today…and imagine that amount increasing. You may choose a visual, like a cylinder. Imagine it being filled with air (joy) and sand (what could be joy, but is in the way!) Imagine with each deep breath, the air (joy) grows, and the sand gets pushed out of the cylinder, leaving more room for joy. Maybe you can rid the cylinder of sand altogether. I promise you, you will smile with each breath, and feel lighter and lighter, and more joyous.

8) Now that you have put yourself in a joyous place where you feel comfortable, repeat a mantra in your head. As you repeat your mantra slowly, (it can be whatever feels good to you that day) focus on the breath coming and going through your nose. Stay with that mantra and be kind to yourself. If other thoughts come to mind, just acknowledge them, and let them go. They are not in your way, they are just passing. Continue with this mantra until you feel it fading, and allow yourself to experience quiet and stillness. You may acknowledge the prayer or intentions you have written while preparing for your meditation, but just by writing them (or thinking them before you begin), they part of your spiritual practice.

And now, you are on your way. Enjoy the stillness, trust and love.

Andi Evans

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