Getting inspired to create

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How do I find inspiration for something to write bout?

It is few and far between some days. I feel like the busier my life gets, the less creative and imaginative I feel. The more I jam pack into my days and on to my “to do lists” the less room there is for creativity to flow, for ideas to marinate and expand.

I hate being busy. What a buzz kill, man.

I do have some fall back ways, however. Things I know I can do, to slow life down and to find inspiration. You know? Really light up and tap into my creative side.

What works for me, I know has always worked for me. These are my tried and trues.

Nature time

I know when I go into nature and peace-out from the noisy city world, specifically when I go on my own, that my heart and mind start to slow down. Its like every cell in my body breathes a collective sigh of relief… “ahhhhhh“…

There is something about being among the threes and the greenery of a hike that just hits my reset button and lights up my heart. Maybe it’s the peace and quiet. Maybe it’s just feeling at home and feeling undistracted. Whatever it is, when I am in nature, in the woods, on a hike… everything else just settles away and I get real with myself again.

I often have wondered when I have been on those paths and among the trees of thick dense nature, how many pains and hurts have been pounded into the dirt… walked into the earth… how many sighs of relief have been exhaled, as the weight of the world melted away… how many secrets and thoughts that the trees has absorbed by hearing friends vent and share, or how many times trees have just picked up and gently pulled away the bad vibes or sad thoughts that individuals carry when they arrive, before they have relaxed and settled into the peace that surrounds them.

Nature is a miracle worker.

This is where I reset the best, to find inspiration and motivation to write. This is one of my happiest places to be. The place I feel most like myself.

Clear your space

I don’t know about you, but my work space… whether it be a table or a desk or a couch… it needs to be uncluttered. The weird thing is, I feel like my creative mind reflects the state around me. If I have literal space, a tidy work area or simply an obvious display of what I’m working on, I create faster. If my work space is cramped and messy, then my mind feels small and messy. If there are too many projects and “things” spread out across my work area, I feel like there are too many “things” or thoughts in my cluttered brain, too. I make space to feel space. And that’s when I feel things can flow more freely and how I tap into inspiration and creativity quicker.

Conversations and inspiration 

I love Super Soul Conversations with Oprah and her guests. I listen to youtube videos or podcasts and absorb all the wisdom and treasures of the thoughts that are being shared. They are such powerful and spirit-filled conversations, I just want to be in them, too. I listen intentionally, not to steal ideas or think, ohhh Im going to write about that, but instead I listen because often it makes me question things inside of my own heart, which leads to ah-ha moments, which can lead to creativity and inspiration.

In a recent podcast I listened to on Super Soul Conversations, Oprah had Iyanla Vanzant on as her guest. What a conversation this was.  Iyanla said, “you know you’re completely out of alignment when you’re not at peace.” I thought to myself, whoa.

Why did that hit me so boldly? Because I dont feel at peace most days. It got me wondering, where could I be out of alignment? And so, some inside work began. I start to look at myself and take the wisdom shared and attach what feels right, to something in my life. In this case, her one simple sentence has cause a week long pondering which has in turn lead to a fork in the road… which in turn has lead me to make some tough decisions. Wow, right? And it’s from these moments of totally getting real with myself, that creativity and inspiration arises.

Unplug

When I need to feel my creative side be nurtured, I get offline. I walk away from Facebook. I put down my phone. I tune myself out. I unplug from the constantly buzzing, turned on, tech savvy world, and I turn myself off and settle into a meditation.

Sometimes this can be easier said then done.

I, for one, can not just stop thoughts from flowing and stop worries from surfacing. Or stop my mind from wandering back to the vacation photos I saw on Facebook, for example. No. Abruptly stopping my thoughts like that just does not happen.

But I move to a place of meditation, simply to focus on breathing in long slow inhales and long slow exhales. After a few minutes of doing this, I feel my body, heart and mind to begin to slow down. The more I slow down, the more of the mental clutter can start to fall away.

And the more mental clutter that falls away, the more room for spacious creativity to emerge or for spirit and angels to enter in and do the communicating. Rather than my ego-brain yapping about Facebook and what everyone else is up to.

There are many different ways we can grow our creative and inspired side, when we have a desire to do so. Less is more, in my opinion. Start removing noise, distractions, thoughts and people, and more space, inspiration and creativity will emerge.

It takes some work and maybe even some planning to get there, but it is so worth it. To be in that flow, that space, that light.

I hope you go there.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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How to maximize your weekend

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Do you ever feel like you just don’t have enough time on the weekends? I mean, Friday hits and, YES, it’s here! But then you blink and it’s Sunday night and you think, where did the time go? What did I do with my life the last two days?

It can be such a bummer, man.

I’ve figured out a few ways that help ME make the most of my personal time on weekends. Curious? Well, I got you babe. Here are some of the things I do and don’t do, to ensure I maximize the free time and what I feel like I got from it.

  1. I don’t do laundry.

For me, laundry is done on either Wednesday or Thursday nights. I use the following morning to fold it and put it away. I find if I tack on an hour or two during the evening in the week, I can save myself that much more time for fun stuff on the weekend.

  1. I plan me time.

I absolutely plan myself some “me time.” For the most part, I know what I want my weekends to look like. And so by the time Friday comes around, I know that Saturday morning I am hiking by myself or I know that I have carved out an hour for yoga at noon on Sunday or plan to read alone in my backyard Sunday evening. I literally schedule myself something that I know will feed my soul. And then as plans come up for the weekend and time slips away, I’m already committed to something for me, and I won’t be chaotically trying to cram it in somewhere.

  1. I plan social time.

I like to have something specific “booked in” at a certain time on a certain day. So, whether it is drinks at a pub Friday night, a walk with a girlfriend Saturday afternoon or coffee with my sister Sunday, I know when my social time is coming and, again, I can plan around it. I know this might seem weird and rigid. But, for me, it works better for me to know a layout, rather than just continuously reacting to all that is thrown at or offered to me.

  1. I don’t do any trips to the grocery store, if I can help it.

I would just way rather spend my weekend on me, right? Are you seeing my theme here yet? Having fun and unwinding (rather than already being in the next week, by prepping for the next week) is how I try to build my weekends and free time. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to know what is going to happen in the next week for yourself. But I don’t give anytime to Monday, until Monday happens. Does that make sense? Be where you are, when you are there.

So instead of going to the grocery store on Sunday like most peeps, and getting all their new food and produce for the week, I also choose a weekday to do this. Typically, the grocery store is less busy weekday nights.  So, I add on less than hour to the end or start of my day during the week, and that means I don’t have to give away any more of my precious time on the weekend.

  1. I dial down.

Sundays are usually my day to detox from social media and emails. Sometimes I do the whole day, and sometimes I start this detox Sunday afternoon and carry it through to the next morning. Why? Because we waste SO much time scrolling and liking and comparing our lives on Facebook, instagram or twitter.

I want to savor all my free time and not only that, I don’t want to create any stress or anxiety by going through work emails before the work week has even started. Monday mornings don’t start Sunday night. Don’t get into work mode before the weekend is over. Force yourself to hold off on work stuff until your – gasp – back at work.

  1. One day of my weekend, I get up early.

It feels good to get up early on the weekend and see ALL the hours ahead of me that are mine to play with. Sometimes if I sleep late, I find that I am playing catch up on the day. So, one of my days off I set an alarm to rise and shine. It really depends on what you have going on that day and if this will work for you. But for me, it makes my weekend feel a little bit longer. Which is what I’m going for.

  1. But I also sleep in, at least one day.

It also feels good to just cruise and start the day slow. Especially if I was up late the night before. If I know I am going to allow myself a good sleep in with no alarms, then I am less likely to feel “guilty” about not getting up and making the most of my time. Because in this case, I AM making the most of my time. You really have to honor what your body needs and sometimes it’s just a great big snooze. I am also a big fan of naps. Just saying.

  1. I don’t hang out with people just because I feel like I “should.”

Heres the thing. Your time is precious. Do you beleive that? Just because you have free time, and Susie-the-brat asked you to go for drinks, doesn’t mean you have to go if you don’t want to see Susie-the-brat. Yes you have free time, and yes you feel like going out for drinks would be fun. But don’t give any of your time or energy away to energy vampires. Hang out with people you really want to hang out with, hang out with people you know are going to leave you feeling lifted up and loved. Ditch the shoulds. Go for the good vibes only.

  1. I don’t clean.

Again, this is something I tack on during my week days, where ever possible. An hour or so added to a day or two during the week doesn’t seem so bad when you know you won’t have to devote anytime to it on the weekend. It’s like getting your homework done and then being free.

Work hard during the week, play harder on the weekend.

  1. I work out, but work out in the morning.

I love to get a good sweat on any day of the week, but for my time to be maximized I do it in the mornings. The gym is usually quiet, I only shower once, right after the work out, and I’m also set up for hydration and healthy eating for the rest of the day.

Hope this helps you make the most of your weekend. Play with it, focus on what makes you feel good, and what works with your life. The point is to make YOU happy, so however that works for you, go for it!

Happy Friday!

Xoxo

McDooogs

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Amazing people…

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Okay, listen.

I know there are some really messed up people out there. The news and media makes sure we know that.

Right?

And, I know there are some really mean strangers out there; we’ve all encountered them and been on the brunt end of their rude, harsh ways.

And.

I definitely know that there are some really awful people directly in our lives, who we have allowed to overstay their welcome and who we have allowed to hurt us, simply because we love them and have a past with them.

But listen.

I also know there are some really amazing, awesome people out there.

People who buy your coffee when they are in line ahead of you at the coffee shop. People who offer for you to go ahead of them at the grocery store, because their order is bigger than yours, and they don’t want you to have to wait while theirs is rung up. People who offer to take your shopping cart back to the storefront for you, after you have emptied it of your bags and loaded up your car with the goodies.

There are really amazing people out there who stop and smile at little birdies playing and splashing around in rainy day puddles. People who close their eyes and breathe in the smell of fresh cut grass on a warm summer day. People who get excited and giddy and proceed to talk in baby talk to a strangers dog, as they pass them by.

There are really awesome  people who snort when they laugh, laugh at their own jokes, or laugh easily at yours. People who hug you so tight, that when you are loosening up to let go of them, you realize they are still holding you tight and not letting go. People who mail handwritten cards or letters for your birthday and the people who compliment strangers simply because they see their beauty.

There are awesome people who notice the tiny flower growing in the crack of the cement. People who notice the sun setting and stop to take it that beauty in, before it’s completely gone for the day. People who pick up the ladybug or spider from the corner of their home and move the sweet little life carefully outside, doing no harm.

There are some really amazing awesome people out there.

Right?

Notice them. They walk around you everyday.

Even better, choose to be one.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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Acceptance? Yah right.

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Acceptance is something that is coming up a lot for me lately.

What a toughey.

It is funny though, because most of the time, the things we struggle with are most often the place where our biggest lessons lie dormant, waiting to be breathed to life.

Think about that for a moment… What are you struggling with? Do you hate it? Resist it? Want to ignore it? Chances are that’s a sure indication that you have something to face and a lesson to learn.

You may be confused or unsure how to accept something (or someone). I know I have been feeling defeated in that sense a lot lately. I go back and forth between two extremes. In one extreme moment I feel wronged, shit on and wanting to change them and the situation… and in the next moment, I am wanting to just release it all, let it go and be peace.

How do we get there? To that point of acceptance? For most of us average folks, it’s a process. We can’t just take a deep breath, declare “it is what it is,” accept it, while moving on in life gracefully and peacefully.

(Although, if that’s your experience, high five).

Most of us, though? Most of us struggle with it a bit.

In my experience, I do not rock the acceptance card right away. My tendency is to want to control.

Yup.

As in, I want to have things go in a way that I am comfortable with, in a timeline that works for me, ending with the results that make me feel at ease.

Yuck.

Sorry, people in my life.

But with that realization, I have learnt a lot about myself, about acceptance and how it all unfolds. It is this:

Acceptance might not happen in one moment. It’s most likely process. A long process. It might take days, weeks, months. It might take hurt and frustration. It might take long, reflective talks with friends or therapists. It might take tears and repetative “whys.” It might take pizza and wine, long strolls in nature, self help books, meditation or drawn out country back road drives with loud country music.

It might even take a combination of all of these.

Isn’t life FUN? LOL (… by the way, I am not LOL-ing…)

There is no recipe for how to get there.

What is important though, is that you entertain the idea of GETTING there. What is important, is that you want to welcome acceptance into your world, into your relationships and into any area of life that you’re feeling the need to control, change or dominate. If you are willing, the way will appear.

I have also learnt that accepting a situation that I do not love, or even like, means that I have to be willing to see things from a point of view that is not my own.

This can be tricky.

It’s almost like taking on the role of a witness. You just watch from the outside, but aren’t directly tied emotionally or physically to the situation. Rather, you just look in at it.

As I watch from there, I can usually slow my thoughts and emotions down enough to say something like, “this is their lesson. This is their choice. There is nothing wrong here. This has nothing to do with me. It is their path to growth, lessons learnt, healing and expansion. Even if this is not how I would have things go, even if it looks and feels WRONG or painful for me, I can be willing to honor that it is not my choice or in my realm of power to have things go any other way. The more I fight that, the unhappier I will be. The more I relax, let go and accept that this IS what is, the more peaceful and happy I will be. I must trust that I am serving as an important part of their lesson.

As well, it is imperative to point out and know that while practicing acceptance you don’t just drop all your standards, walls and barriers. You don’t just lay down to be walked all over and emotionally beat on, simply because you’ve chosen to “accept what is.”

No.

When you accept someone, it does not mean that you have to stick around and accept abuse or toxicity. You can accept someone as they are and accept what is, all while leaving the relationship and the close proximity, for your own souls health and safety.

Even if the person isn’t physically dangerous, you still have permission to accept them or the situation while distancing yourself to a new space, for your own well-being.

Acceptance is a part of any spiritual path. If you want to learn unconditional love for yourself or others, learning to practice acceptance will surely show up in your life.

Isn’t that the way life works its wonderful magic?

You’re damn right it is.

What you need/want to learn will show up again and again, until you learn it and live it authentically.

Life will gently guide you to whatever edge you dread the most and while you stand there uncomfortably, it will ask you to either jump into a new magical level of living, or it will allow you stay there and be unhappy, “safe” and the same.

Your choice.

I say go for the jump. Practice acceptance and all the other goodies and lessons that are tied to it… anything that is hard, uncomfortable and scary.

Jump… the net will appear.

Plus, I’ve got your back. Hell, I’ll even jump with you.

Here we go…

Sending love, hugs, and buttslaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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Open letter to my best friends new man

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To my best friends new boyfriend…

I know her better than she knows herself. I know her past relationships should have turned out better. She deserves better.

I’ve seen her struggle with tormenting thoughts and ‘what if’ statements. I’ve witnessed her lowest of lows. When I thought her heart couldn’t possibly break into any more pieces, there it was… breaking to what looked to be unfixable.

Some how, those days, that pain, scarred over. The mark has been made, but the initial rage of the pain has subsided.

Somewhere in there, she met you.

Now, she is starting to see and feel the sun again. She is beginning to smile when she looks at her phone and sees your name lighting up the screen.

But, I know her. I know her.

I know she still hurts. I know there are still very tender wounds deep inside her.

Fear. Doubt. Pain. A void.

Men who never deserved her were always given more time then they should have been granted. More love than they deserved was handed out faithfully. More trust. She has always given so much of herself away for love. She has always tried to see the best in others, and this unfortunately meant loving men for their potential, not for who they actually were.

In return, she was lied to, cheated on, belittled, frightened and broken.

I know her better than anyone. I know her.

And she never deserved that pain. It changed her.

Yet, here we are. The worst of the hurt, of the darkness, is hopefully behind us. She’s dating you now. How can I protect my best friend from hurt terrorizing her life again? How can I spare her of any potential damage you will inflict? Why should I believe that you won’t be the same as the scum in her past?

She is sensitive.

Soft.

She is still healing, even though she appears whole.

I need you to know this. If you care about her happiness, you will learn about her past pain.

It’s true; the past is in the past. And I agree that the best place to be is truly in the present moment. But in those moments, when she pulls back, questions, quiets or tenses up, you should know why. You should want to know why, where that comes from.

If you care, you will learn about what has shaped her. You should know the kinds of burdens she carried. You should learn all about the things she has hidden in fear, frustration and shame.

If you want to love her, learn about her. All of her.

She deserves a fairytale kind of love. I want to protect her from anything that falls short of that.

She’s dating you now, but I know her more than she knows herself. She’s been deeply hurt. And while she looks whole and complete now, know that there is pain still deep inside.

I hope you will rise up and help her heal that which you didn’t cause. I hope you will help heal her past, in order to see her be truly free of it.

She’s my best friend. She deserves this and so much more. Treat her like no one has treated her before and I promise you, your life will never be so rich, so vibrant, so strong.

Signed,

Her best friend

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Lessons from 2016, Hopes for 2017

 

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While it is a few days into 2017, I haven’t quite gotten out of the momentum and energy that swings us all into the new year. You know that energy, right? The feelings of being excited and motivated for the new, for welcoming change. It tends to hit us all at the end of each year, and this is the time of year where most of us reflect and game plan.

I’m no different.

I love lists, game plans and goal setting. I love learning and reflecting on learning.

Naturally, looking at and writing down my lessons from 2016 and hopes for 2017 was a part of my personal blueprint to move forward with that momentum for change.

I think that when we release and let go of something from our past, we energetically create space for something new to come in. When we look at our year, and let go of the experiences that moved or rocked us, all awhile keeping the lesson it taught us, we can propel ourselves into more life, more excitement, more love.

So here are a few of my lessons from 2016 and what I hope by letting go will bring me in 2017.

  1. Lesson: Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

This one keeps showing up for me. Maybe I haven’t fully gotten it, to the depth that I need to. But 2016 had many moments where I felt bummed or hurt, yet was reminded that just because love wasn’t being given to me the way I thought I needed it, didn’t mean that the other person wasn’t loving me their hardest, in the best and possibly only way they knew how.

HOPES: Love is love. I hope for 2017 I can be gentler with how I receive these gifts, in whichever form it comes. I want to give up the right to be right about what it should look like and just surrender to receiving.

Speaking of giving up the need to be right… that brings me to lesson two.

  1. Lesson: Give up the need to be right.

This was a late in the year lesson, but when it came into my life, holy moly was it hard to sit with. I was surprised how quickly I (and even others, as I observed) are quick to justify and explain ourselves. Personally, I felt I needed to explain my actions or feelings in order to justify them, ahem… in order for them to be seen as right.

Yuck!

When I started to witness this, it was hard to bite my tongue. And was even harder to control a hurricane of emotions going on inside my body. But, surprisingly enough, as I did… life just went on. It didn’t stop or freeze just because I didn’t explain myself. And I think, as a result of not dominating the other person with how things were for me, the “stuff” got put in the “not a big deal zone” a lot quicker.

HOPES: Ahhhhh… peace. Who doesn’t want more of that?! I hope for 2017 I can continue to work with giving up this “need” to be right. Cause there is no right or wrong, right? Only our perspectives. And letting it go just feels so much more peaceful.

  1. Lesson: Speak up when you need or want something.

Duh. This seems like a no brainer, right? But for months, I thought I was keeping the peace with a friend, about something big that was actually bothering me. The way I had it was as so: if I didn’t bring it up, then they would eventually and that would mean they were ready to talk about it and that it could then be problem solved for. Just wait it out.

Nope.

Don’t bottle crap inside you, lovelies. It’s exhausting. And honestly, if you don’t say something, there is no guarantee that the other person will.

HOPES: Confrontation is tough sometimes. Especially with people we care about. I hope for 2017 I can honor my gut feelings a lot quicker, rather than waiting for months and months sitting on them. What a waste of time and emotional energy.

  1. LESSON: People are just scared.

Seriously.

People are scared. Of themselves. Of each other. Of failing. Of trying.

And because they are scared, they act weird. They act tough. They act small. They just flat out aren’t their true authentic selves.

When I started to see people as scared or, hell, as actors (for lack of a better word) I started to have more compassion for them and what they were hiding. We are all fighting some sort of internal battle that the outside world doesn’t know about. We all have internal wars we wage on ourselves. What is going on in the inside always dictates how we act on the outside.

HOPES: Oh man… I hope for 2017 I can be be an example for people. A strong, yet soft example of authentic bravery. A reason for people to see that it is okay to stop hiding and to realize that they don’t have to be scared, of each others or of ourselves. We are all scared in one way or another but we don’t have to be. I hope that I can quit the addiction to fear and the character it makes me act as, and really just be my strong, badass independent self more frequently.

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  1. LESSON: When you get in a deep funk, they are hard to get out of. Stop yourself before it takes control.

Man, I hit some funky deep waters this year. And before I knew it, I was so in over my head in sadness and loneliness that it seemed impossible to see myself as any other way. I just let it get too out of control and take over. It snowballed quickly. Not that I was depressed, but I sure was a ways away from being happy.

HOPES: What a reminder this was that what you focus on will increase. I hope for 2017 that I focus on what I have, not what I’m with out, in order to have more consistent episodes of happiness. I don’t want that sad crap creep in. But if it DOES creep in, I’ll have the power and the momentum to nip it in the butt a lot faster, before it drags me down.

  1. LESSON: Get coaching.

We pay instructors to teach us how to learn a sport, or we pay instructors to help us learn train our dogs, we pay for trainers to train our employees in the fields we want them to learn and excel in… basically, we pay people to help us learn things we don’t know how to do in SO many areas of our lives. So why don’t we pay for coaching in our personal lives more?

Do we think we know how life works just cause we have lived 30 some years and have been around people our whole lives?

It’s a shame that it took me until 2016 to start taking personal and professional development courses. The coaching, instruction and ideas I have gotten from these courses have been invaluable. Not to mention the friendships and connections I have made. I can with out a doubt say I will never be the same person, after taking the Landmark Forum. (google it if you don’t know what the heck it is). It changed my life for the better and has since put me in seminars and weekly classes to learn about being a better boss, a better student, a better friend, a better sibling, a better daughter, a better human… a better, more peaceful ME.

HOPES: Learn, learn learn. I love to learn. I hope for 2017 I can continue to apply all the tools I have learnt in my courses and coaching, to continue to improve and expand the quality of my life.

  1. LESSON: I get to choose what I leave behind.

I use to “feel bad” for cutting someone out just because we were friends when we were little and grew up together. While we once were the same, as we grew older we became totally different people and had different ideas of strength, peace, toxicity and love. Yet, I allowed these people a spot in my life simply because they had been around awhile.

Well, that’s since changed.

I wont be friends with someone simply because they have clocked a lof of time into my past. I’m building a specific and strong future. Not one of baggage and drama of the familiar faces.

HOPES: Who doesn’t want more love and peace! I hope for 2017 to be surrounded with amazingly wonderful, loving people. People who strive to lift me and others up, and who shine the light, just by being around. Not only do I want to be around these people, I want to be one too. We are an average of the five people we spend the most time with. Who are you on the path to be? And is that in line with what you want?

  1. LESSON: Carve out me time.

When I don’t take the time to love on me and do the things that bring me peace – read, meditate, walk in nature, practice yoga, write – I am a gawd damn nightmare to be around. I am so out of balance and everyone around me can feel it. I’m emotional and easily frustrated.

But when I do me, and do the things that are good for my soul and my heart, I’m just a better version of me and more comfortable in my own skin. And as a result, more enjoyable to be around.

HOPES: Balance. It’s all about balance. I hope for 2017 I can consistently keep balance and peace in my life by honoring what I need, before I scramble to meet the needs of others.

  1. LESSON: Forgiveness is ongoing.

I have come to realize my journey has a lot of forgiving in it.

And I am starting to see that the deeper I go with working on myself, peeling back the layers of my past and my heart and opening myself to others, the more forgiveness I find I need to practice.

I have found myself hurt by the past over and over. The past! It’s not even real any more, people! Yet it creeps up when I think it’s been well and dealt with. So for me, I just keep practicing forgiveness. New depths, new focus, new love. I don’t want to be tied to pain or people that caused me pain… it’s an ongoing practice. Not a “one and done” shot. But, continuous work. The deeper I go on self-work, the more I see to be healed. The more forgiveness I am faced to deal with.

HOPES: This is so important to me. I hope for 2017 I can practice forgiveness easier and easier… while it may be a conscious effort now for some situations, I hope to get to the point where forgiveness just flows right out of me, with peace and deep love.

  1. LESSON: There is nothing wrong here.

Again, this lesson came late in the year for me. But the moment I started reciting the words “ there is nothing wrong here” in my head, when I was sure there was indeed something wrong here, was the moment peace became a real part of a moment for me.

I like to meditate, do yoga, and walk in nature to tap into that peace… but these words have helped me feel peaceful so much quicker, with out having to do as much.

If you think about it… there IS nothing wrong here. It’s our perception that makes it so. This lesson for me ties in nicely with the lesson I learnt about giving up the need to be right.

When you find yourself in an emotional situation where things have the potential to go bad, try to remind yourself “there is nothing wrong here.“

HOPES: Again, it comes down to more peace in my life. I hope for 2017 that practicing “there is nothing wrong here” becomes so second nature that I don’t even think twice about it. I just tap into peace and calm instantly.

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I know we have all had a tough 2016. But like I said, keep the lessons and leave the experience. Use the lesson to help you realise what you want the future to look like and what you want life to be like. You can be purposeful in how life unfolds. You don’t have to just react to what is happening, you can have a say in it.

I am wishing you so much love, peace and adventure for your new year. I know you deserve it.

With love and butt slaps,

xoxo

McDooogs

Gratitude. A way of living.

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Recently, I have suffered quite the crazy knee injury. In my MMA fight back in April, my ACL, MCL and meniscus all blew out. I pretty much exploded my knee.

It hurt. Ummm. A LOT.

My new ACL, created from my patella tendon, had to be put down with a double bone graft. It was a pretty serious injury. The road to recovery has hardly been ventured on. I’m only about two months into my healing. I probably have 4 or 5 more months til I can get back to training like I was. To BEING who I was.

Needless to say, it’s not exactly a smooth, exciting time in my life. I miss training. I battle internally who I am now, if I am not a fighter. A fighter FIGHTS. I am not fighting. I can’t for awhile. SO, who am I? What am I doing now?

Bah.

That thought process is something I have to work with almost everyday. Some days are better than others. Some days, it’s not so bad. Some days suck, and in turn, I’m a real pooh head to be around.

But one thing I know for sure, one thing I practice no matter how crappy things are, is gratitude.

Gratitude?

Yes, gratitude.

I know that it may seem like there is very little to be grateful with this current situation of mine. And some days that feels true for me. Somedays, all I can tell myself is that I am grateful this isn’t permanent. That it is just a transitional period of my life.

What I believe about gratitude is this: we are in constant dialogue with life. Whether we understand it, believe it or even realize it. Our thoughts and words matter, and will be reflected back to us, the same way a mirror reflects to us our image. What we choose to say and think, we will see more of.

Well then.

If I believe that, does it support me to say my knee sucks, that this is always hard and that I hate it? No, it doesn’t support me at all to think or say those thoughts, cause I definitely don’t want more of it. Does it support me to say that my knee is getting better, that it’s gotten easier and that I am okay? Yes, that supports me so much more…  I practice what I know works. Gratitude works.

For this situation specifically, I say I am grateful for how well and wonderful my strong, left leg has been, since it has been working overtime to carry my body weight. It is working so hard for me! I say I am grateful with how far my injured, right knee is coming. How great it is doing, how strong it is getting and how healed it is.

I tell my body ‘thank you for working to make me 100% again.’ All those little cells, creating new muscle, new attachments, new bone… my body fought off infection and illness when I was as vulnerable as I was in surgery and recovery. Its sole purpose has been and still is, to make me better. Billions of cells working in my favour. How amazing is that? That is easily something to be grateful for.

I think and say grateful thoughts about how my knees feel, how good and how well they are both doing. I say and think grateful thoughts about the support system I have in my friends and family, how I can afford to do physio-therapy multiple times a week, how I have people who message me just randomly, out of the blue to see how I am doing and how my spirits are. That is so special. I think and say grateful thoughts about how I have time to work my knee and exercise it on my own, how I have ice packs ready to rock and a strong knee brace to help me when I need it. I really have SO much to be grateful and thankful for. From little to big, I have so many grateful words and thoughts to share for this situation.

These ideas of being grateful and thankful are also shared in the book Life Loves You. I’ve made it my mission to share something from each chapter, with my readers. This is cool for me, this specific chapter on gratitude. I love reading those ideas and words… all of which I believe and lived even before reading this chapter. And the fact that they are being shared in a book I love, by someone else who I look up to and admire, (author Louise Hay), is just awesome. It kind of reaffirms to me that, yes i am doing something right. I’m on the right path. I am going to be okay.

The book says, “gratitude always brings a new awareness… you will see the world differently.”

This is so true.

How dark would my world be right now if I looked at it and sulked about my knee? It would be so dark and I would be a real drag to be around, that is for sure.

But instead I choose to see the good in it… to see the light, to see the things that are going well. One of Louise’s affirmations, which I LOVE, is “every experience in my life benefits me in some way.” I’ve been writing this over and over in my journal lately. I love the way it sounds and flows. i love repeating the words on paper, over and over. I love the way it makes me feel. The ease it gives me. The anxiety and sadness of the knee injury are dissolved with those words…

If I choose to believe this experience will benefit me, then I choose to be grateful for it. And from this point of view right now, there isn’t much better than that. That is where I want to stand and see things. i want to see things to be grateful for. The more I choose to see, the more I will see. Period.

Is there anything less than ideal happening in your life right now that you could find some gratitude for? Is there something, no matter how small, that you could recognize? Considering filling this in: “one thing I am grateful in my life is…”

The more you choose to see, the more there will be to see. Whether it is good or bad, positive or negative.

Go forth and rock it, my grateful friend.

With love, hugs and buttslaps,

xoxo

McDooogs

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Getting in front of the mirror. *Cue the scary music*

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Recently, I have picked up the new book, “Life Loves You” written by authors Louise Hay and Robert Holden. Louise happens to be one of my all time favorite authors. It was her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” that began my journey of self-discovery and awareness, a deeper healing and connection with myself, and as a result of that, a deeper and better connection with others. You Can Heal Your Life literally changed my life. I am pretty sure that the first year I read it, that I gave at least 5 or 6 copies of it away as gifts. I wanted my close friends and family members to experience the break through that I did.

So, fast-forward about 9 years later. I now hold Life Loves You in my hands, and I know just by reading chapter one, that it will be another life changing book.

I decided against buying a bunch of copies for friends and family (just yet), and instead decided I would share my love and admiration for this book on my blog, as I make my way through the chapters, assignments and ideas.

Chapter one talks about the importance of mirror work.

Mirror what?

Mirror work. Yes. I know. Not a concept I was super familiar with, either. The idea is that you look in the mirror, right into your own eyes and affirm to yourself nice things. The affirmation that Louise and Robert suggest starting with is “I am lovable.”

Take it from me, it can be hard to look into our own eyes. It can be hard to hear the sound of our own voice talking. It can be hard to not stare and judge and pick out all the things you don’t like about yourself. If you experienced any of that, you are not alone.

The first time I did this, I judged myself a lot. I remember thinking, my voice sounds so funny. My eyes look sorta crossed eyed. WTF. I wish I had better shaped eyebrows. Is that a pimple? And so on, and so on.

We are kind of mean to ourselves, eh?

In fact, I am willing to bet we are nicer to friends and strangers, than we are to ourselves sometimes. Ahem… most times.

Looking, not glancing, at yourself is going to take some getting use to. Hearing yourself speak such kind, loving words to yourself may make you uncomfortable. Carving out some time from your day to stand in front of the mirror and talk to yourself may sound silly. But it is a practice that will do nothing but improve your quality of life.

Why shouldn’t we look at ourselves with love and compassion? Our body does so much for us, every second of every day. Why shouldn’t we hear loving words spoken out loud to us? We want a lover or family member to say it, but we can’t accept when it comes from ourselves? And why shouldn’t we carve out time in our day to say an affirmation, such as “I am loveable” ten times in the mirror. Are we not worth those few moments of connecting with ourselves?

I’m not 100% there yet with this exercise. It feels silly sometimes. I want to fix parts of me when I look at me. There is a long process of letting go and accepting, as we practice mirror work. But I think it’s worth it. This relationship with myself is one I will have for the rest of my life. Longer than lovers will stay or family members and friends will be around. It makes sense to strengthen that relationship and love it deeply.

If you are interested more in mirror work, Louise is pretty much the pioneer behind it. Research her and you will find more information on the benefits and practices of mirror work.

I will leave you with an idea that the book ended chapter one with. It says, “L

I hope you give mirror work a try. Let me know in the comments below, if you are comfortable sharing your experience. In the meantime, I am sending you love, hugs and butt slaps.

Xoxo

McDooogs

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Be willing to look stupid

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Hi peeps!

Sooooo… I read something pretty awesome the other day. I felt that it was so rad and powerful, that I had to share it here with you, too! I hope you dig it:

Until you are willing to be vulnerable, you will not be able to trust yourself. You will not know how far you can go or how much you can do. You will not know what makes you tick or what will make you crack.

Until you are willing to let down your guard and lay your defenses, you will not know how far you can push yourself or how you will handle what happens when you get there. Unless you are willing to be vulnerable, to let people know that you don’t know how, but that you are headed there anyway, you will not be equipped to deal with the reactions of those you will meet when you get there.

Unless you are willing to be vulnerable, to make a mistake, to be taken advantage of, to look stupid, to fall down and stumble when you are trying to get up, you will not know how durable or dependable you are. And as long as you don’t know how strong you are, you will not benefit from the power or realize the beauty of your authentic self.

Good stuff, right? Right away, I related it to fighting.

It’s so true, or it least it has been in my experience…. If I’m going to make the decision to fight (or do anything in life that I care about), I need to make peace with the idea that I may screw up more times than I shine. But, if I don’t allow myself that vulnerable experience to possibly be great or possibly be humiliated, then what? Is life just lived inside a safe, sanitized, little bubble?

It is important to remember that there are a lot of unknowns in life but if we do not act fearlessly and pursue them, we’ll never know where they lead, whether they lead somewhere or not. It will be impossible to know how many times we can bounce back from the mistakes made, how gracefully we can handle defeat or how we indeed can survive adversity with class and dignity.

If we don’t trust ourselves to do what we want to do and try what we want to try, how will we ever know what’s on the other side? The truth is, we won’t know. So, we just have to be willing to look a little stupid in order to find out.

Just go for it.

Love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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Give pain a purpose

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Let’s talk about heartache.

Ahhh, heartache. We are all too familiar with that one, aren’t we?

When someone leaves us, the result is often a large gapping hole in our heart and soul. It feels like there is a void, like we are now incomplete, damaged and wrecked.

What do we do when this happens? Do we sit in those sad memories, tormenting ourselves by replaying the events, asking “why me” and then filling ourselves with anger, pity or regret?

Or when this happens, can we give the pain a purpose and make it work in our favor?

Changing the way we look at hurtful situations is hard. It takes determination and a conscious effort. But losing something shouldn’t leave us broken and devastated. Is that the point of pain? Is it truly meant to ruin us forever? I don’t really believe it is, my dear.

Here is what I am starting to discover about life: the losing of one thing should always lead to the discovery of another.

Fall gives way to winter, and winter to spring, and spring to summer. We lose what we have all the time. But something else will always emerge.

Are you getting angry with me yet? “You don’t know my story. It’s not easy to move on. You don’t know how bad I’ve been hurt and how hard this is.”

You’re right. I don’t know your story. But may I suggest that you take a look at what it means for you to cling to this claim? What role are you trying to adapt from this heartbreaking situation? Are you trying to define yourself as the victim, alone and incapable of strength? Are you really going to let that be your story?

I think you are sooo much more capable than that, sweet thaaang.

I’m not trying to minimize the significance of what you or anyone feels when the pain of a dark hole takes home in our hearts. I’ve 100% been there. I’ve lost two of my best girlfriends to Cancer. TWO. I’ve lost family members. I’ve experienced heartache more times in romantic relationships then I think one person ever should. I’ve lost opportunities I’ve been wanted, I’ve lost fights that meant the world to me, I’ve been rejected by others (and myself) more times than I could ever count. But, I am starting to discover that if I can get my shit together when I’m knocked down and hurting, if I can take a deep breath and just breathe, then I can give myself the opportunity to step back from that hole of pain, and the chance for my true self to emerge. And that self is a person of power, strength and capabilities. The decision to be strong doesn’t make me unique. It makes me human. We all have this ability.

When you give the pain a purpose, things will begin to work. It doesn’t stop the pain on point, but by turning it into an opportunity to change, help, serve or grow often can help ease the pain and dissolve it quicker. Think about the wonderful qualities of the people who you love… chances are they have a real sense of purpose in their lives. They are on point, focused and fulfilled. They don’t live in their pain, but rather when they experience it, they put it to use for them. How attractive and inspiring is that, right?

Step back and see if your true self will emerge from the hole of pain. Your life will be so much better when you define yourself as a capable hero who handed heartache with dignity and grace, rather than a victim who is alone, stuck and destined to hurt.

Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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This fall day, and what I know for sure…

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Getting out in nature is one of the best things for me.

Today, I took my journal and went and sat among the trees. After taking it all in – the sounds, the temperature, the breeze, the insects – this is what I wrote into my journal…

On this fall day, these are the things that I know for sure…

– Taking my journal out and sitting in nature always makes me feel open and calm.

– The sound of the far-off park water fountain is soothing.

– Reading a printed book compared to a book on my iPad is always a little bit more fulfilling and satisfying. I can underline, circle, doodle little stars and make notes. I can highlight with my iPad, yes, but there is just something about the printed version.

– Watching a family do family portraits in this beautiful fall weather, hearing their laughter… it’s wonderful and it makes me smile.

– Going out of my way to step on crunchy leaves will never cease to be pleasurable. 

– Ducks quacking, birds chirping, squirrels scurrying… nature is flat out awesome. 

– I use to squash spiders; I don’t anymore and I haven’t in a long time.

– Sometimes, the iPhone just doesn’t need to come. And if it does, it can be off. 

– There is something about writing in a journal… pen to paper… seeing my own penmanship… the scribbles, the misspelt words… it makes me remember and love what I am when my heart speaks and my hand translates. 

– A cool, late afternoon breeze can remind you who is in charge and how insignificant our attempts to control and manipulate things really are. Nature always wins. As it should. 

Taken right from my journal page, to share with you. 🙂

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps,

xoxo

McDooogs

It’s okay to be proud of yourself

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How often do we just reflect on something we’ve done and say, “holy horses, I did really great there. Hooray to me! Everybody! Look what I did!”

It’s not very often that we high-five ourselves, look for high-fives from others and be innocently proud of a well-deserved accomplishment.

It seems as though society shuns this attitude. Society wants us to be quiet and humble. “Being proud of yourself!? Shush child, that is rude! Don’t be so in love with yourself!”

Whoa…

When did we make that okay for us? When did accomplishing a goal or changing a behavior for the better become something we need to whisper about?

Maybe, you’re like me. Well… maybe you’re like the “once upon a time” me.  Maybe, like the old me, you think you can’t be proud of yourself. Like, there is just no way that you can do that. In fact, you actually have to be hard on yourself. Continuously and purposefully. I mean, SOMEONE has to belittle me to make me work harder and do more… right? How, I use to wonder, can being proud of myself motivate me to do more, in the ways that being hard on myself does? I’ll never get anything done if I’m always satisfied with myself…

I actually use to think this way. A few years ago, at a self-betterment seminar I remember the facilitator asking, in what way was being hard on ourselves serving us? How was this choice and act making life easier or better? I remember thinking, “Oh I got you there, coach…  tell me then, how will I reach my goals, if I don’t rag on myself to get there?”

The facilitator suggested instead we try being nice to ourselves as a way of encouragement. “Try being proud of yourself for all that you’ve done and or are doing. Try talking nicely to yourself and see how that changes things and how much more you will be able to do.”

Yuck.

That didn’t sit right with me.

But, thankfully, I’ve come to realize that being a douche to myself does not get me to reach my goals any faster. It actually just makes me feel bad.  And, really flippin’ sad. That’s all. It doesn’t speed me up, motivate me, and drive me to be better, like I use to think. It actually only ever did the opposite.

But when I actually choose to love on myself? When I’m actually proud of my accomplishments and my behavior? Now, that feels good. That is when I feel motivated to do more and achieve more.

It is okay to be proud of our selves. Tell yourself you do awesome when you do! Heck, tell yourself you do okay, even when you don’t think that you do. This is a hard lesson.

But I can promise you this… if you do it, you will feel better. It makes more sense to be encouraging. There’s less clashing, and more flowing… less noise and more trippy buzz… less panic and pain and more peace and love…

We can accomplish so much more if we are being our own cheering section, rather than a joining the darkness of the nasty critics. Trust me when I tell you that there are enough haters and jerks out there, wanting to see you fail. Don’t join them by giving up a free place to rent in your head or heart. Reserve that space for high-fives and love. Tap into that space when you need a reminder to feel good about yourself, when you have something, no matter the size, to be proud of…

When you do awesome, do the world a favor and be awesome, by being proud of yourself.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps… AND high-fives!

xoxo

McDooogs

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I am grateful! Day 30: oh, this life…

Day 30!

I have hit day 30 of 30 of my Grateful Project. 30 straight days of sharing the things in my life that I am grateful for. Everything from cookies to my dog to my friends to MMA training.

Sometimes, I found it hard to think of things I was grateful for. And sometimes, it was a breeze and I could have listed a million things at once, in one breath. One thing is for sure, this little project forced me to find the goods in my life, everyday. Regardless of how tired, sad, happy, busy or excited I was.

And so today is the final day of the project. What is my grateful today?

Life.

Just life.

As simple and as complex as that may seem. That is my grateful today. My life is so blessed and is really so wonderful. I’m healthy, I do what I love daily, I have friends and family who love me, and I am safe. There are a lot of things I want, that I don’t have. But I have all of my needs met. And on top of that, I have a lot of my wants met, too. All in all, I have plenty of kick ass things to be grateful for in my life.

Yes, my life is pretty awesome. But I am human and I do get bummed out about things from time to time. Sometimes, I feel stuck and frustrated. Sometimes, I feel lonely and left behind. But I know and believe that I have a great life, regardless of the temporary shadows that cast darkness and make it hard to see these awesome things.

And for this life of mine, I am grateful.

Thank you for staying with me on this 30 day journey. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and made you reflect on your own gratefuls… we are all blessed and we all have things to be thankful for. Sometimes, you just have to force yourself to look for it.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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