Meditation Has a Secret: 5 Questions to Consider

Meditation-Has-a-Secret-5-Questions-to-Consider-by-Ashley-Barnes-TheWellnessUniverse-WUVIP-Secret
Meditation has a secret.

It doesn’t work for everyone (GASP!).

Of course, this isn’t what we’re told about this powerful, ancient practice. The list of amazing meditation benefits for mind, body, and spirit are practically endless (and easy to Google). Need to get more grounded and focused? Stressed out? Experiencing pain? Want to connect to your inner guidance? Meditation is the cure for all your ills.

But if you ask the average person, they’ll tell you (likely in great detail) the TRUTH about meditation; how they can’t sit still or quiet their mind, they can’t fit it into their day, or they tried it and didn’t like it or didn’t get any effect.

It could even be said that meditation benefits all people, but not all people benefit from meditation. 

The true dirty secret of meditation involves the pressure we feel to always be doing something, and to do it as a means to an end, which creates for us a meditation practice that is more like a checklist than personal development. In turn, this can lead to some pretty undesirable outcomes.

READ THE REST HERE: http://blog.thewellnessuniverse.com/meditation-has-a-secret5-questions-to-consider/

6 Practices to Mind Your Holiday Mindset

Christmas is not a Date is a State of Mind

It’s almost time!  We’re in the last week before Christmas, with the last mad rush of shopping and baking and parties upon us.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to escape the hectic nature of the season.  Besides the hustle and bustle of holiday activity, world events keep many of us feeling stressed, bewildered, and hopeless.  It’s safe to say the energy this year is different than in years past.

How do we cope?  Especially in the face of events over which we have no control? 

This has been a personal struggle of mine for years.  The holidays have often been less fun as they could be for me because of the stress they bring with them.  I usually want to simply curl up under the covers and hide all month.  However, my struggles a few years ago with adrenal fatigue and the debilitating symptoms that accompanied it forced me to seek more balance in all areas of my life:  diet, physical activity, sleep, time management, and especially mindset. It’s a daily challenge to find balance in all these areas (and admittedly, I still struggle), but I NEVER want to feel that bad again.

As I said, I’m not perfect, but over the years I’ve cultivated some practices that have helped me keep my energy more balanced and my stress low.  I share these tips below in hopes they’ll help you too, not only to get through the holidays, but to actually ENJOY them.

  • Choose not to stress.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  However, when you recognize that stress is based primarily on your perception, rather than the situation or the other person’s behavior, it helps you feel a whole lot less controlled by outside influences.  Breathe deep and find the peace that exists inside (I promise it’s in there).
  • Banish guilt. ‘Tis the season of overindulgence. Don’t beat yourself up over the past or things that can’t be changed.  We make mistake and poor judgements on a daily basis.  Life is too short to carry around that much guilt.  Do the best you can and do better tomorrow.  That’s all you can ever ask of yourself (or anyone else).
  • Learn to say no. It really is ok if you don’t go to every party or get a gift for every person you know.  We all have limits and boundaries and we need to honor those.  Saying no can be empowering.
  • Practice trust and forgiveness.When you allow yourself to let go of some of those feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment that pile onto your heart from the daily injustices we all encounter, it can be incredibly powerful.  It doesn’t require letting anyone off the hook for doing something terrible.  Rather, choosing not to carry a few heavy things offers a way to lighten your energetic load and allows you to feel brighter & more joyful.
  • Reframe.  When you choose to see the positives aspects of all situations, you’ll soon you’ll start seeing the world differently without trying!   Can’t see the positive?  Create one!  Use your imagination to create a positive perception, even if it’s only in your own mind.  For example:  “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m mad and disappointed.”  Consider instead, “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m sure they just wanted a small guest list.  They’re my friends and I know they care about me. ”  Work with this process until it becomes natural.
  • Have faith.Tap into your personal beliefs, whatever they are.  Trust that everything is right, in this moment, just as it is.

Do you have any tips or practices that help you through your holidays or other stressful times? Reply to this email or head over to my Facebook group and join the conversation!

Love and light,
Ashley

8 Tips to Make YOU a Priority this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again.  The holidays.  It’s one of my favorite times of year, yet it also can bring with it a great deal of stress.

I love the decorations and music, time off with my children, and visiting family. I love the sights and sounds that accompany Christmas, and especially the traditions.  We pick out a live tree, the kids trim the house in a nauseating array of snowmen, glass figurines, poinsettias, and lights.  We bake sugar cookies and the kids take great pride in creatively decorating each individual one with homemade icing and sprinkles.

At the same time, I have so much internal pressure to accomplish my to-do list that I tend to overbook myself, both physically and energetically.  I stress about finding the most perfect, thoughtful present for each person.  I spread myself too thin with arbitrary activities and deadlines.  I try to fit everything into a short span of time, while neglecting my self-care for fear of neglecting something else that’s just as important.  In no time, I feel overwhelmed, irritable, and exhausted. I start canceling plans, shuffling commitments around, and feeling like a human game of Tetris.

Do you do that too?  Or do you have holiday stress conquered?  Let’s share our best tips and tools for staying grounded and peaceful this holiday season!

This week, our focus is on how to make ourselves a priority in spite of all we have to accomplish.  Below are eight tips to remind you to take care of your whole self:  body, mind, and spirit!

  • Take time for you.  Spend 5 minutes (or more) just for you every day –you deserve it!
  • Breathe. When you feel stressed, take a few deep breaths. This too shall pass.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep causes stress & irritability. Make it a priority to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep every night (7-8 is even better!).   Take power naps when you can. Find time for a 15-minute snooze, even if you have to forfeit something else. Your body & mind will thank you!
  • Watch your sugar intake. Too much sugar can make stress worse. For a sweet fix, grab some fruit instead! Eat your greens! Counter the rich holiday foods with healthy, nourishing green vegetables. A nourished body is less stressed!
  • Don’t over commit. There are so many opportunities & expectations. Prioritize your activities against your values—what really means the most to you—and stick to it.
  • Exercise. Don’t use the busyness of the holidays as an excuse not to work in some movement. Just 15 minutes a day for a brisk walk, yoga, or even stretching will help reduce any stress you’re feeling!
  • Be present. Don’t worry about the future or the past. Simply show up for the people around you, and especially for yourself.   It will all get done, or it won’t and then it will be in the past and you’ll be on to something new anyway.
  • Mind your energy.   When we get frazzled, it’s likely because energy is going out in all directions and not coming back in to us.  Sit quietly, visualizing yourself surrounded by white, healing light, and allow yourself to simply receive.

What tips do you have to share that keep your stress levels in check over the holidays?  What one item from this list will you commit to do for yourself to ensure more peaceful holidays this year?

Love light,
Ashley

Too Much Mind and Not Enough Soul

I have not written for weeks, or meditated
It’s as if my very soul is being pulled out of me
One piece at a time
It’s been cold, snowy, rainy even
No sunrise or sunset, only grey
The entanglements of life and work creep in
Crowding out soul space
Too much living
And not enough life

I miss the sweet sound of my spirit voices
Although I know they’re nearby
I’m too spread thin to hear, to commune
Work consumes me and it’s not even a job I love
Some days fulfilling, many days positively soul draining
Too much working
And not enough joy

I can feel the stress symptoms returning
Fatigue, body aches, down in the dumps
No time for exercise, weather doesn’t help
My body, mind, soul — they all cry for more
More life, more love, more joy, more gentleness
More time for soul growth and soul rest
Too much mind
And not enough soul