December 15, 2015
There’s nothing like the holidays to show us just how human we are. I, myself, just realized we are only a few weeks from that special morning of ritual, family, and lots of shiny objects under the tree! Now I gotta go get those shiny objects! I have to admit that this time does bring me both lots of joy and lots of stress, which can lead to bad moods. Now, I know I’m not alone in this, and the last thing any of us need (or our family and friends!) is a lack of joy. Especially with all the sad and scary news we are hearing daily, what we need to do is really focus on the power that this season of gratitude and spirit has to lift up all of our spirits and shift our focus to all the wonder we live with daily.
So here’s what I do to kick my bad mood to the curb! Try my SHOUT recipe for yourself and let’s get the cheer on!
S is for SILLY! Get Silly! Drop everything you are doing and stomp out that stress immediately. One of the easiest and fastest ways for me to do this is with my daughter, Nia. She just loves to be silly and forget the world we’re in and trade it in for a world of imagination! We love to take silly pictures together!!
H is for HAVE! Have Your Pity Party! Have you heard this before? “I don’t have enough time, energy or money for this!” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Shout it out to whomever will listen, stay in your jammies and eat ice cream for a while and wallow. Then, shake it off and get going! It really isn’t normal for us to not acknowledge when things don’t feel right and just keep pushing. It’s actually very healthy for our body, mind and soul to consciously choose to sit with how we feel for while before we move forward. Wallow on, but not for too long!
O is for OUT! Get out of your head and your body! This is one of those Tony Robbins strategies I just love and truly believe in. He tells us that in order to change how we feel and get the results we want to experience, we must CHANGE OUR STATE. One of the best ways to do that is to get up and get out! Sometimes I change my state with a hot and/or cold shower or bath, and many times all it takes is a speedy walk in nature.
U is for UNDERSTAND! Understand that it really isn’t that bad! This is about perspective. Our emotions and added stress tend to put us on that elevator that drops us down to the darkness. With some understanding we take that elevator back up to the light and see that we really got it good. This too shall pass.
T is for TRUST…Your Trusted Advisors! Sometimes, nothing works better for me than picking up the phone and calling one of my best buddies to dish to! I feel blessed that I’ve got many trusted advisors in my corner– both family and friends who listen to my silly rants and let me get it all off my chest so I can go get silly! So go shout it out and forget it!
I can honestly say that by using one or all of these simple steps (that may not seem so simple in the moment!), that I can regulate my mood fairly quickly and not let those shady thoughts linger and interfere with what’s really important.
Can one of these work for you? What strategies can help keep that bad mood at bay this busy holiday season?
Would love to hear your shares!
July 28, 2015
It’s always fun to spend time in the Boston, MA area, where my husband grew up. More specifically, he was raised in Malden, where his parents still reside. Even though Boston is not my home, it “feels like home” if you know what I mean. In fact, when I travelled there with my husband (my boyfriend at the time) for the first time in 1994 it was meeting his parents and extended family that sealed the deal for me. Family was everything for them. We still joke that one of the similarities between our families (mine: Cuban; his: Irish/Italian) is that we all are so family oriented (and love to dance!). We both love spending time with our family members.
It wasn’t until our trip this June 2009 that I really got to thinking how going home was a way of “plugging in” for my husband—recharging his battery, especially since we don’t visit as often as we used to. The things we do when we are in Boston are things that for him are essential to charging his spiritual energy. It goes something like this…
- Arrive at Logan and be greeted by Mom and Dad.
- Tune into the local stations for “the best music ever”.
- Come home to homemade chicken wings, meatballs and sausage in “gravy”, and homemade pizza (among many other delicious goodies).
- Sit out on the deck with the lighted palm tree decoration and drink a few cold ones (usually Sam Adams) and talk about “the days” while taking in the cool air.
- NEXT DAY…the itch begins…we must go to Nahant (40 Steps) to see, hear and touch the ocean. This is the place where my husband’s dreams were born—his love for the ocean, what’s underneath the ocean, and scuba diving.
- Having a Maine lobster or “lobsta” roll.
You get the idea. The list continues for us…a check-off of sorts of things to do (whale watching, seeing old friends, a Sox or Pats game, etc.) before we head back home. This time, however, I noticed how truly important these activities are to my husband, as small as they may seem. It’s almost like he’s on a mission—quiet, yet excited; eager, yet meditative, until he’s filled his cup. These are things “of the soul” that keep him charged so he can go back to his “adult life home” in Miami and get back to living. During our trips, I know not to say “no” or ask “why”—it’s clear that it is something he truly needs, an hourglass that continually empties and needs to be filled again.
And isn’t it the same for us all? I compared my husband’s experience to my own and I do believe that there are times in our lives that we all must reconnect and fill our souls so that we can continue on our journeys. For me, since I live in my home town, it’s more about connecting with those things about my life’s experiences that were meaningful to me and helped to make me who I am today, like spending quality time at least once a year with my middle school girlfriends, eating my favorite childhood meal or dessert when I feel I need “soul food” (arroz con pollo and arroz con leche—yum!), listening to music that reminds me of the “old times” especially the music my mom played, driving through my grandparent’s old neighborhood (Little Havana), etc.
So why not plug in when we need it? We all need to recharge at different times, perhaps when we are feeling a bit disconnected, unfulfilled, or when things just seem a bit mundane. What is it about these experiences that recharge us? It seems to me that the feelings we are trying to reconnect with are those of love, belonging, familiarity, comfort and excitement. So when you need a dose of these feelings, here are at least 10 ways you can recharge your soul:
- Take a trip! If it’s been a while since you’ve visited your home town, why not take a few days and make that trip. Or, if taking a trip is not a possibility, how about picking up the phone and having a nice conversation with a loved one? If you live in your home town, why don’t you take the time to visit with a relative you hardly ever speak with or see? Web cams provide another great way to connect with those you love and/or miss.
- Girls/Boys Night Out! Same concept here, but with your childhood or close friends. Even if it’s for a few hours, schedule a dinner or cocktail with one or more of your close friends you don’t get to see too often. Reminisce and catch up. Have a few laughs!
- Have some soul food! Gosh… there is nothing like some good soul food! If you can’t actually make it out to that favorite restaurant or to your mom’s house where she can whip up your favorite dish, how about making it yourself or ordering out? It’s the feeling of eating the special dish that you’re after, so eat up and leave the guilt at the door.
- Visit that favorite place. For my husband that place was Nahant. What is it for you? Can’t visit? How about find a photo, frame it and hang it up in your home or office?
- Rent a movie. We all have that favorite flick that get’s us going. For me, it’s either Grease or Footloose. I have very distinct memories of reenacting these movies in front of my living room wall-to-floor mirror! What movie makes your energy soar?
- Turn up the dial! Does music lift your spirits like it does for me? What songs from your childhood/youth do the same for you? Find them and play them.
- Scrap. Photos have a way of instantly creating that connection once again. If you’re anything like me, you probably have many boxes stored and filled with photos from childhood and up. Why not sort through them, pick a few favorites that recreate those feelings you crave and create a scrap book? It also feels good to create photo albums or scrap books for others.
- Blog. There’s no better way to reconnect these days than through the internet. If you have not yet connected with those dear friends or relatives on Facebook, you can always use a blogging tool, like Blogger or WordPress to create a personal blog to keep you connected with your family and friends. You can share photos and keep everyone up-to-date on your life’s happenings.
- Take up a hobby. This doesn’t have to be too time consuming; a simple game can do the trick. What board game did you play with your relatives or friends that made you smile? How long has it been since you played it? Dust it off and get going. Or, was there something you truly enjoyed doing that you wouldn’t mind doing again, like playing an instrument, or taking a dance class. I’m all for finding some time to do those activities that create excitement and purpose for me. What are they for you?
- Journal or write a letter. Writing can be a soothing and healing process for many. When our lives are too hectic and we long to create or connect with something more meaningful, jotting down our thoughts, remembering experiences that put smiles on our faces, listing those things we are grateful for today, or writing a letter to someone who we miss dearly or appreciate can send our energy right back up again. Purchase a simple, beautiful journal—one that calls out to you—and give it a try.
Remembering the past doesn’t always mean living in it. It’s important to make that distinction as I’m a believer in living in the moment. This brings to mind Daughtry’s song “Home” where he says… “I’m going home, to a place where I belong, where your love has always been enough for me.” Going home means different things to different people. For some it is literal and for others, a cup of coffee, a song, or a conversation can create that feeling that will put us back in balance and provide us with some needed energy to keep moving forward in our lives with a sense of meaning and with a smile on our faces.
What creates that feeling of home for you? Add to my list! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
All my love to our family and friends in Boston who always make us feel at home!
May 19, 2015
So, what are those things that tend to turn down our happiness or keep it at bay? There are certain “buttons” that may be unique for each of us, but for the most part, these may be some of the culprits:
- Sudden change
- Loss or grief
- Poor health
- Financial distress
You get the picture, and I’m sure you can add more items to this list. The specifics behind the culprit may not even be that drastic and yet still can bring us into a state of unhappiness. I’ve written many times about moments when little things threw me way off, like a silly comment by someone. Perhaps my HQ was a 10 before that comment, but suddenly fell to a 4! My mind chatter grew stronger and stronger as I realized how I let that comment drown my sunshine—my happiness!
So, in moments like that, or even heavier ones, how do we pick ourselves up quickly and turn up our HQ? Well, here’s a simple to remember tool that I whipped up that may work for you. And, it happens to be called “H.A.P.P.Y”! Ask yourself one or more of the following questions when you feel your HQ dropping quickly, and see it rise just in time to put you back into an optimal state.
H – (Hope) – How can I be hopeful right now?
A – Acceptance – How can accepting this situation help me?
P – (Patience) – How can I bring patience to the situation?
Is it realistic to drive up our emotions when some things are not within our control? With regard to the house chores, I could ponder if I need to do everything right now? What can wait? Is my need to ‘do it all now’ typically lower my HQ? An important question I could ask and see if there is a pattern within that need.
Using a new example, let’s say you had an argument with your significant other and are very eager to state your feelings and get the conflict resolved. If you are angry in the moment, how do you think the conversation will go? Would it be better to create some space between your intended discussion to think of what and how you will communicate to him/her? Patience provides this space, and most of the time, a more positive outcome.
P – (Perseverance) – How can I persist; rise above?
Some situations that keep us from feeling happy are difficult and may not be resolved as quickly as we’d like. For example, perhaps we are dealing with a very sick relative and we are anticipating their loss. The feeling of loss is one that can easily permeate throughout all areas of our life. Understanding what healing we can bring to the situation and creating within us a feeling of fight and survival can really pull us through. We may not know what the outcome will be, but wouldn’t it feel better to intend for a positive result? Perseverance can lift our spirits, and therefore our HQ, because we are fighting for something that is worth our time and attention, regardless of how negative it may seem in the moment. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!
Y – (You!) – How are YOU responsible for your unhappiness?
This is my favorite. The key to happiness is within each of us…its power is within YOU! We have all heard this before, but it is always worth repeating and believing it—the only person that can make you happy is YOU. We must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. Understanding how our thoughts often sink us is important. YOU create your thoughts…so create powerful and empowering thoughts in every moment for many happy moments!
Interestingly enough, we also can do something as simple as smiling to lift our spirits. In an article I once read in Oprah, the author explains how when we smile, or even sigh (release), our Vagus nerve is working behind the scenes to reduce our heart rate and calm our immune response. Cool! No wonder smiling feels good.
Additionally, the article sites the importance of the hormone, Oxytocin, which releases when we do things like watch sentimental commercials, or laugh at funny tv shows. It is the hormone that uplifts us. Ahh! Evidence that we simply could sit on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch funny movies, or cry at heart tugging commercials!
So, although happiness can be explained scientifically (via the Vagus Nerve and the creation of Oxytocin) and we can cause it by smiling and laughing, we also can drive happiness in our lives by paying close attention to our thoughts— changing them, and acting upon our new, powerful thoughts.
What new thoughts and actions will you create to shift up your HQ? I’d love to hear from you!
In closing, here’s a great quote that is woven into a beautiful dish towel that my wonderful friend Lou gifted to me a while back—“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself!”
Now, smile, laugh, and go create your fabulous, HAPPY life!
March 25, 2015
What inspires you, and how do you best tap into your inspiration?
One of the great things I’ve learned about honoring who we are as individuals is understanding that we are uniquely different in many ways, including how we each access our “inner genius”. What’s our Inner Genius? Well, I define it as that bank of ideas and knowledge that we’ve deposited coins into all of our lives. Everything we see, touch, smell, hear, feel, and learned ends up in this “bank”. Over time, all of that information mixed together with INSPIRATION— that which does not come from us, but from a universal source — creates our Inner Genius. Accessing our Inner Genius doesn’t always come easy. Let’s face it, folks, we aren’t always listening!!! In fact, we’ve got so much inner dialogue happening constantly, that sometimes it’s hard to quiet the chatter so we can tap that inner knowing and also be open to outside inspiration. Yes, one of the very best ways for all us to open those channels more widely is via meditation or mindfulness. We can access some really juicy stuff that way! But, I bet you have ways that are unique to you. Do you know what they are? And, if you knew, could you tap your Inner Genius more often? I really enjoyed this past weekend. It was an active one— some fun family and friend time, cultural activities, and some quiet time around my home and neighborhood. It was through some of those activities (the more simple ones), that I realized what those inspiration HOT buttons are for me, and they include WALKS, WINDOWS, and WATER! Walks do it every time! I don’t know what it is about taking a walk, but the inspiration is quite spectacular! Perhaps it is being out in nature and just taking it all in. I get some of my best ideas on walks. Windows do the same! I did a bit of work over the weekend, and I have a lovely desk that sits by one of my large windows facing my Oak Trees and butterfly plants. At any given moment starring out the window I can see Blue Jays or Cardinals (my favorite!), wild parrots, or lots of butterflies! Just sitting quietly and watching, can spur on some great ideas! Finally, being in water is a sure-fire way to get me going! Whether it’s a nice long shower or tub, the inspiration literally flows! I love being aware of my Inner Genius triggers, because when I have those moments of frustration or stagnation, all I have to do is take a walk, look out a window, or get in some water, and voila!!! How do you tap your Inner Genius? What gets those ideas flowing for you? It’s your life. Lead it well!Monique
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December 22, 2014
December 15, 2014
As we approach the holiday season, I invite you to join me in slowing down, in appreciating what’s in front of us in each moment, to paying close attention to those significant relationships in our lives, and to connecting with our spirit—what never goes away!
I love this time because I feel more connected to myself, to others, and to the world. If you think about what spirit is, it’s what we came into this world with—naked! And it’s what we’ll leave with as well. No matter how successful (or not!) we are on this earth, our spirit won’t judge us. And best, it won’t leave us! It’s ever present. And it contains that SPARK of something special that we can never truly put our finger on, but we know we have it, and we know we’re lucky for having it!
This time of year is a great time to soften our intensity. To be reflective. To be grateful. To be giving. To be LOVE. And it’s a great time to connect with our SPARK to light things up for our new year.
As part of my Journey to Wellbeing program, which is wrapping up it’s 3rd month, we are now working on TWO things:
- Becoming clear of any deeply held thoughts and beliefs that don’t serve us. We are allowing them to rise to the surface. We are acknowledging them. Thanking them for their service, and we’re bidding them adieu!
- Choosing ONE overarching Intention for our New Year. It’s not a goal to achieve. It’s not an item on a checklist. It is a new Thought. A new Belief. A powerful, authentic, and empowering Feeling that will GUIDE our decisions and the small, yet effective steps that will take us to our destination.
I invite you to join us and do the same! What’s that one thought you need to get rid of and kick to the curb? What’s that inspiring intention that will be the tipping point for all that you do in 2015? Please share them with me in our comments section below, or on Facebook.
My husband may kill me for this, but I want to share a story that I feel will help all of us get into the SPIRIT of our SPIRIT! Here it goes…
When my husband was a boy he had a lot of energy (that’s the nicest way to describe it! LOL!). In fact, there were very few things his parents could do to calm him and get him to sit still and/or rest. In fact, he usually just collapsed at the end of the day, falling asleep in unusual places, like chairs, or under tables, etc. BUT, the one thing that did calm him—in fact it mesmerized him, was sitting in front of the Christmas tree and staring at the lights! Who knows what thoughts he was thinking. Who knows why it calmed him. But, I’d love think that in those mindful moments, he was at peace; at one with his SPIRIT.
So why not try it out for yourself? Whether it’s a Christmas tree, or a menorah, or a child playing in the snow. Indulge in the simple things of the season and just BE with WHO YOU ARE. With what is unchanging.
October 28, 2014
I still feel like I’m floating! My post today is simply to express gratitude for having been in the presence of amazing trailblazers this past weekend at Oprah’s Life You Want Conference. I am grateful for being surrounded by such wisdom, and a confirmation that I’m on my path. What’s a life of seeking without confirmation? As human beings we are always seeking because we don’t know everything. Or as many believe, we know, but have just forgotten. The amazing Eckhart Tolle reminds us that seeking too much takes us away from our purpose, which is always in this moment, and that’s exactly what Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vazant reminded us of at this magical gathering. Our homework–the reason for attending this conference was to claim your new vision. I’d love to share my simplified version with you, which we were asked to post on Twitter or Facebook 24 hours after the culmination of event.
I know that one of the reasons I exist is to learn and share. And so today, that’s what I’d like to do. It’s my gift to you. Below you’ll find some of the juicy nuggets of wisdom I captured during this event, as well as some photos and videos. I hope that something I’ve shared today provides you with some confirmation as well that you are doing your work to Live the Life You Want! So many of my friends and professional colleagues were “in the house” as well, and each of us took away something unique–what our souls needed to hear. For me, it was simplified into my vision or mantra above, focusing on the fact that I am everything I need to be right now in this moment, that only in this moment is where I will be on purpose, and that my breath and connection to spirit by being aware and being guided (by the whispers!) will allow me to fulfill my earthly contract and live a magnificent life.
Finally, I want to thank my mother, Ellie Kane, who treated me to this conference. What an amazing way to spend time together! It’s one of those Mommy/Daughter moments I won’t forget. Love you, Mom!
Nuggets of Wisdom
• All real success comes from being connected to spirit.
• We all have been called; nothing is an accident.
• Your legacy is every life you’ve ever touched. (via Maya Angelou)
• “I am the master of my fate; the captain of my soul!” Her mantra.
• You can be a better you than you can be a pretend anyone else!
• Knowing what you want to do is just as important as knowing what you don’t want to do.
• Our lives speak to us in every moment. We have to listen! Listen for the whispers before they turn into rocks! The whispers will guide us.
• If you can’t get paid for it (i.e., what you want to/love to do), then let it pay you! The miracle is in service.
• For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
• You co-create your life with every intention.
• Who you are right now is what you have believed you are. You become what you believe!
• Your greatest power is in your ability to love.
• Gratitude is the best way to share your vibration.
• Don’t let the voices of the world drown out your voice from within.
• You accomplish more via the Law of Least Effort; living from the level of your soul. (Source: 7 Spiritual Laws of Success)
• There is no point of arrival (i.e., I have arrived!), it is in the right here and right now. That’s all we have.
• 7 Ways to Accelerate Synchronisity
1. How you see the world is a reflection of your inner state. Shift from fear to love.
2. Understand the essence of relationships; validating others for who they really are; honoring them.
3. Create intentions not only for yourself, but for the common good.
4. Learn to center yourself thru meditation.
5. Free yourself from emotional hostility; it’s like drinking poison. Create a ritual of release.
6. Embrace both the masculine and feminine aspects of yourself.
7. Keep yourself healthy!
And, a few final tidbits from Liz (Author of Eat. Pray. Love), Rob, and Iyanla…
• If you’re planning to change your life don’t expect it to be easy and painless. All movement brings the risk of injury! (Liz)
• We all have stories, but one never goes away, our Hero’s Journey (must stick with it, endure the pain to come out glorious on the other side!). You can hear Liz speak about a Hero’s Journey on Super Soul Sunday.
• We co-create our lives by listening to what the world is telling us; by paying attention to the signs (whispers) and following them. (Liz)
• We are miracles! Breath brought us into our lives and takes us from our lives. The fact that we are breathing is a miracle. Each moment is a miracle. Embrace the life that you have in this moment! This is the art of the spiritual life. (Rob)
• The sound we make when we breathe (Ahhh!) is the name of God in all religious traditions! Breath is life; breath is being connected to spirit. (Iyanla)
• The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it! (Iyanla)
• If you made it through the past, you passed!
Any of these tidbits inspire you to Live the Life you Want? I’d love to hear your shares!
It’s your life. Lead it well!