Conscious Living

What’s your typical day like?  Are you crazy busy running from one commitment to the next?  Is it habit to schedule schedule schedule without     taking     a     breath    to     check      in    with   how you’re feeling……….is this what I really want to be doing?

All those hours add up to days add up to weeks add up to years……

How are you spending your hours, your days…..your life?

Are you willing to take a breath, take some time for yourself to wonder, to ask the question:

Does the way I spend my time match my values of what’s most important to me?

Here’s a quick exercise to give you some insight:

Draw a circle and divide it into 8 pie shape pieces.  On the outside of each section put a label representing something that’s important to you….for example family, work, friends, health or fitness, sleep, volunteering, a hobby, etc.  Put whatever comes up for you with no editing.  There are no wrong answers.

Next, within each section put a dot representing the amount of time you spend towards that part of your life.  At the center of the circle is 0 and at the outer rim is 10.  Do this for each category.

Now, connect all the inner dots.  Look at the visual representation of how you spend your life.

Does it fit with how you’d like it to be?  Does it match your values, what’s most important to you?

If so, Bravo!

If not, now you have an idea of where to start making some shifts.

You already taken a step simply by taking the time to do this exercise.

You’ve just given yourself a gift.  Enjoy!

 

I was planning on attending that meeting tonight.  I imagined myself sitting with this particular group and wondered to myself, what do I want to contribute at this meeting or what do I want to contribute to the event they are planning?  I thought about the volunteer opportunities involved.  I had whole body “no’s” to taking a leadership role this time.  I had a full body “yes” to agreeing to show up for the event and help out the whole day.  The thing is, I know I have great leadership skills.  I’ve been there, done that, and I really like to lead.  I also want to be fully engaged and use my leadership skills doing something I feel passionate about.  So, there are times I say no.  I have a few moments, well, maybe a few more, where I consider the “I should because” way of thinking.  But I am so clear that when I say yes because I think I should instead of saying yes from that organic absolute “yes I want to” place, I create stress for myself.  I create stress because I am out of integrity, doing something for an unknown someone’s  reasons instead of honoring my own knowing of what I want.  I have an absolute no to doing that.

I have a withhold.  I have made the successful transition to being vegan for about 2 years now, but I have been holding back from saying much about it here.  After I read about the realities of food production in the world, I was passionately determined to not participate in factory farming.  It was Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that initially motivated me to make the decision to stop supporting the meat and dairy industry. I was so appalled at what I learned!  I had never before been ready to face into the reality of where my food was coming from with my eyes wide open. Friends and family have asked if it was my bout with breast cancer that influenced my decision to be vegan.  I don’t have a conscious knowing that this was what ignited my interest, but I am aware that I had just completed my treatment around the same time that I chose to read Eating Animals.  What I know is that I felt an impulse and curiosity that I was very drawn to follow. What’s matters is that I listened to what I really wanted and followed my desire to learn about and ‘try on’ being vegan.  I’m so glad I followed my impulse.  I felt (and still feel!) such a delicious whole body yes decision to be vegan, for my health, the animals(WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DIFFICULT TO WATCH) and the environment.

I haven’t written much about this here because I thought you would judge me.  (Yeah, so?) Think of me as radical! (I am!) And then of course, I would cry.  Smile!  You wouldn’t trust me to be your coach if you knew.  After all, vegans are those weird, hippie people who just eat granola and sprouts, right?  Bigger Smile!   Being vegan has given me another opportunity to be a very tall and proud sunflower in beautiful bloom.  I delight in fully owning my authority, my authorship of my life, which now includes caring about animals such that I don’t want to contribute to their suffering or violent deaths.  I choose to eat consciously to support my best health and my best energy.  I choose to care about the my environmental footprint and do my part to make it smaller.

 Why does conscious living equal being vegan for me?   I am so clear I am living in integrity, doing the right thing, taking right action, for me.  I feel deeply aligned with my values of nonviolence, living in awareness and taking 100% responsibility for the life I am choosing to live.  I also feel loving, accepting and respectful of every person’s right to choose what they eat.  (Of course, I always wish they would eat less meat!) Most every vegan used to eat animal products at some point in his or her life.  Being vegan is about compassion and education and advocacy, not about making judgments.

Being vegan has also opened up a new avenue for me to express my creativity.  I savor the joy of  writing, coaching and vegan cooking.  I continue to educate myself about living and eating compassionately.  I feel so grateful for all the vegan bloggers and activists in the world who teach me so much everyday and motivate me to do more to make the world a kinder, smarter and more aware place.  If this leaves you with any desire to explore veganism and lean in that direction, check this out.

Ahhhh.  The joy of fully revealing!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.”  Dr. Seuss

Don’t you just have to smile?  When you notice yourself thinking a thought that you were going through your day thinking was “The Truth” and then you realize it was JUST A THOUGHT.  Just a bunch of letters grouped in a particular way floating through your brain.  POP!  The “TRUTH” is that.  It’s just a thought.  How delightful to relax into watching thoughts as possibilities, ideas, and drifts and not rigid TRUTH.  Being with my thoughts in motion, appreciating my brain for its brilliance and silliness and busyness and savoring my health and my body’s amazing capacity!

On Oprah’s last show, one of the most important lessons she wanted to leave with her audience was that each of us is 100% responsible for creating our own lives.  Not our parents, not our boss, not someone who did something or said something to us last year or last week.  And when we REALLY GET THIS, really, really GET THIS, then we will feel incredibly free. Free to respond how we choose in every moment and free to design our lives the way we really want them to be.

It’s my response-ability, my ability to respond to whatever the universe is blessing me with and/or challenging me with in any moment that shifts power in my direction. I am no longer at the effect of someone or something but am standing in my own creative space.

Try it out.  The next time you find yourself blaming someone or something for whatever your predicament, try this on:  “It’s true, this has happened.  I can’t control everything that happens to me or around me.  But, I do get to choose how I want to respond.  Do I want to live my life as a victim? What kind of person do I want to be?  What kind of life do I want to have?  My response is my power to create my life in my own way.  So, what do I want to do or say; how do I want to act?”

Can you feel the power in expanding your response-ability?

How do you know what you are feeling when you are actually feeling it?  Wait, back up.  Do you ask yourself “hmmm, I wonder what I’m feeling right now”?  That would be the best way to start.  Take a breath and ask the question.  Then listen.  What do you hear?  What sensations do you notice in your body?  Keep breathing.

Right now I’m feeling my even, spacious breathing flowing through me with ease.  I feel a little smile on my lips and a little tickle in my lower belly.  My body feels solid and strong.

If I was sad (I try this on), I feel pressure in my chest, tears behind my eyes and pricklies on my face.

If I was angry (ouch!), my jaw is clenched, my neck is tight and sore and my teeth are ready to grind.

If I am afraid (I’ve been here before), my breathing is shallow, my lower belly feels like it has elephants running around in it and I am holding myself more rigidly, more cautiously.  I am contracted.

If I was feeling amorous or simply turned on (I like this!), I feel a buzziness through my body especially in my erogenous zones.  I definitely have a smile on my face.

If I was feeling joy (yes, I try this on, too), my whole body feels filled with energy and love and about to explode with elation!

These are the five core feelings we ALL experience.  These are the feelings we need to get to know in our bodies to become emotionally literate and be able to recognize what we are feeling when we are feeling it.

This is the first step.  With practice noticing your body sensations, you’ll be able to discriminate between different feelings, for example, fear and hunger, both of which you may experience in your belly.  The next step will be to know the true source of your feelings…….have you not eaten? or are you facing a challenging situation?  or perhaps you are simply scaring yourself with stories about what might happen tomorrow.

There may be many explanations and guesses about why you are feeling what you are feeling.  Again, with practice, you will learn to feel resonance in your body when you have identified the true source of your feelings.  Your whole body and mind will simply be clear about knowing what’s true.

Be patient with yourself if you are a beginner in knowing what you are feeling when you are feeling it.  Life is crazy busy and we are often focused outside of ourselves with things that need to be done, others that need to be cared for.  Try and remember to include yourself in your life by taking some time each day to listen to your body.  It will let you know what you most need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

This is a bumper sticker that I bought at the Michigan VegFest last Sunday.  So what does it mean?

I am a non violent person and would love it if we lived in a peaceful world.  I also love feeling peace in my mind, thus the name of my coaching business, Peace of Mind Life Coaching.  One of the best ways to get peace of mind, is to live with integrity.  When my values and my behaviors are in alignment, I feel whole and grounded.  I feel a resonance throughout my body that I am living my beliefs.  So the bumper sticker spoke to me, since going vegan 14 months ago, nothing I do in the kitchen harms any animals.

I think that if more people in the world were vegan believers in nonviolence and compassion towards animals and ALL living things (including humans!), we would have less war, between countries and between smaller groups and individuals. Someone who cares about the fate of the least defended is not someone who is going to be violent with another person.  So, if there were more vegans in the world who cared about the horrific killings of animals on factory farms, I’m going to make a leap of faith that these same folks would be horrified at participating in violent acts against people.

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