Category Archives: Inspiration

Gettin’ Better

I feel better after writing yesterday’s post. I think releasing all of that pent-up emotion helped me feel better about the things going on in my life. Btw, the hubby read the post and mentioned that it sounds like I am really down, and that people might feel worried for me. What I’m going through isn’t that bad -I’m thinking that it’s far worse than it actually is, but I know these are serious emotions that people feel.  What I’m trying to say is that I can relate and that it’s okay to go through the natural cycle of moods.  When it gets rough then lift yourself up.  If you start to feel helpless, bitter, and angry more than you feel enjoyment, then figure out ways to bring that joy back into your life.

As for me, focusing on being grateful, exercising, and talking to loved ones have really helped me so far.  Thankfully, I’m on the right path to gettin’ better.

Image via ffffound.com

Dog Days Are Over

I’m totally digging this tune these days.  Love every bit of this song – the tempo, the chorus, the artistic vision, and the way it makes me feel.

Enjoy!

What’s The Point Anyway?

You may be wondering why I’m writing this blog, what direction I want to go with it and what the point of it is. Well, here’s how The InnerPeace Project started and what the goal is…

My quest for innerpeace started about seven years ago. I was 23, newly married, a college grad, just came back from backpacking around Europe for almost two months, had great friends and family – basically had a fantastic life, but I would suffer from intense anxiety. I was anxious about my career path, the state of my friendships, my family, not having enough savings, not having the latest purse, carrying on a few extra pounds…the important stuff, right?

I would get these terrible stomach aches that would literally stop me in my tracks and cause me to double over in pain. I saw several doctors and they diagnosed me with ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, and lactose intolerance. I had none of those.  I finally saw an insightful doctor who took the time to ask about my mental state. I told him my list of worries and he diagnosed me with trapped gas caused by anxiety. Hmmmm….anxiety was what was giving me these horrible, debilitating stomach aches? Interesting.  It turns out how and what I was thinking about was causing a physical/physiological effect on my body. Wow.

I went on a low dosage of an antianxiety medication and started to feel a bit normal again. I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh this is what it’s like not to worry so much.’ I was more even keeled – maybe a little too even keeled because I realized not only was I not experiencing the lows, but I wasn’t experiencing the highs either.

I got off the medication (it’s not easy and if you are thinking of doing this, please consult a doctor). After about two weeks of horrendous withdrawal effects, I started to feel normal again but the nagging thoughts were beginning to creep back into my head and I was starting that whole vicious cycle again. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who is the most empathetic person I have ever met. He would listen to my worrisome thoughts and finally he said, “Clear your head of the clutter.” That phrase struck a chord and made me realize, yes, I will not worry about things I have no control over and I will not feed that ego-driven aspect of my personality anymore.

Once I let go, things started falling into place for me. Because I wasn’t so preoccupied with negative or worrisome thoughts, I was open to broader and greater opportunities.  Great books fell in my lap, inspiring people came into my life, and I finally got that challenging and exciting job opportunity . Don’t get me wrong, I still went through trials and tribulations, but with my newfound attitude, life was just a bit easier to deal with.

I had all this free time to read as many books as I could. As I read and read, I would share information with my friends and family and could see that they were benefitting from the information as well.  I’m opinionated and love to help people. My dear friend, Megan, is very similar so we thought we would start a blog to share our thoughts, new information, and our stories.

As for the present moment…

Megan is heading down her own path right now and wants to help others in a different way. I will share her exciting situation as she progresses.

As for me, I will continue to read and meditate in pursuit for real happiness, MY innerpeace. I want to be a positive role model for my children, my husband, my family, my friends and to people who share a desire to live their best life possible. I try my best everyday and it’s HARD. I’m very far from perfect, but I am going to do my best to share what I learn in hopes of inspiring just one person. We don’t have to be a miserable society with jealous, hateful and negative thoughts.

This blog is my way of thanking the universe for all the opportunities that have been presented to me.

Let’s do this together and see what kind of difference we can make.  Good luck with your journey and wish me luck with mine!

Channeling Your Inner Kid

You know what the best thing about being a parent is?  Getting to relive your childhood again with your kids.

I encourage everyone with or without children, old or young to go out there and have fun for a day or even an hour.  Check out an amusement park, hit the swings at your local park, play hide and go seek with friends, sing at the top of your lungs, put your favorite song on and dance your heart out, shoot some hoops, have a water balloon fight, read a comic book, go fishing, ride your bike with no hands, LAUGH. Whatever it is, have fun.  As adults, we take everything so seriously.  Make a conscious effort not to worry about whatever it is you think about on a daily basis.  Put it aside for a bit and embrace that inner kid.

Encourage the people around you to do the same.  They will thank you and you might be surprised by how good you feel afterwards!

Nananana Booboo!  You can’t catch me!

I Finally Found It!

Reading about food and the way it affects people has been a passion of mine for the past couple of years.  I have family members who suffer from illnesses and watching their food intake is no joke.  So they have inspired me to dig deeper to figure out how food effects my body.  As a kid and into adulthood, I suffer from a fair share of sinus infections and I wanted to figure out why.  After many conversations with doctors and reading copious amounts of books, I realize it may be due to the drastic weather change (I live in Chicago, nuff said) and the food I eat.  So unless I move somewhere warmer (crossing my fingers) I am going to control what I can and that’s the food I put into my body.

I have searched for an interesting AND informative book that not only inspires change, but allows the reader to fully understand the consequences of “toxic” chemicals in our bodies – from food  to environment.  It may behoove you to check out this book if you are lethargic, have heart problems,  have allergies, get sinus infections often, have anxiety, IBS, depression, get brain fog, feeling ‘off’ or have family members who suffer from any of these conditions, including cancer.

At the end of the book there’s a guide to walk someone through a detox if they are feeling up for it.

I AM FEELING UP FOR IT!  And I am going to use the blog to update you on my process.  I’m hoping that if I commit to it and announce that I’m doing it, it will keep me motivated.  I hope you don’t feel used…

First, I’m going to prepare my body by doing The Elimination Diet:

  • Environment – Avoid and replace what you can to lower daily exposure. According to the book, everyday sources of toxicity are: cleaning supplies, car exhaust, gardening and lawn chemicals, dry cleaning products, air conditioners, chlorine, lead paint, aluminum-containing deodorant, fluoride-containing toothpaste, cosmetics, pots and pans with cooking surfaces coated with aluminum or Teflon and cell phones.
  • Diet – Eliminate the toxic foods (the duration of this step depends on your current lifestyle and habits).  THIS IS THE STEP I’M ON! This is a toughie for me because I love sweets and good food in general.  No matter what the cuisine, there is a restaurant on my block.  According to Clean, I need to stay away from sugar, processed foods, wheat, caffeine and alcohol – basically my whole diet summed up.

After you “prepare your body” you are ready to do a 1, 2 or 3 week detox, which consists of 2 liquid meals a day (juicing – YYYYEEES!) and a meal that consists of fruits, veggies and organic meat.  Dr. Junger includes some recipes that actually sound pretty decent.  Also, he encourages getting rid of “toxic thoughts” by meditating.  He’s claiming that after you finish the detox, your health is generally better, you’re in a better mood, your energy levels are high as ever, mental clarity and weight loss.  Sounds good to me!

I’m on my 4th day of trying to eliminate the “toxic foods”.  Has it been easy? No way, jose.  The first few days I had headaches, was extremely tired, and irritable.  I cheated several times (I justified it as easing my way into this) but it’s getting easier.  I’m jotting down what I eat, I went to the grocery store and purchased my favorite produce, I drink a boat load of water and stopped my nightly cocktail. I am going to keep this up for another week or so then move towards the detox.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress!!!

Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

What do you want in life? (hmmmmm…?)

Would you like to lead a happy life? (um, yes.)

What’s “happy” to you? Traveling, feeling passionate about your life’s work, a white picket fence, a thriving business, innerpeace, a big family, early retirement, a healthy life, fame, a fancy car? Whatever it is you want, you can get or so they say.  My sister is an excellent example of someone who thinks about what she wants, visualizes and things happen.  Pretty cool, if you ask me.  She’s always telling me, “Ashley, figure out what you want and visualize it.”  Okay, sounds easy enough.

A couple of months ago, I started by writing down short-term goals and some long-term goals on a post-it, and now, I try to visit the list as often as possible.  I remember doing this activity freshman year of highschool in health class.  I’m back at it, and I look forward to seeing how everything will pan out!  Should I put my goals on here?!  (kinda scary!)

Here’s a start:

My dream "green" house. I would love to live in an open, modern, electrically efficient home that's surrounded by nature.

I see myself wearing comfy clothes, sitting with my husband and children, reading books, laughing, listening and playing music while sharing our thoughts with one another.

May all our dreams come true!

Music Inspiration: M. Ward, She & Him

Ahh, listening to the music from M. Ward puts me such a relaxed and dreamy state. Matthew Ward is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Oregon whose talent is effortless and innate.

My husband Neil introduced me to his music a few years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Last year we went to a show at The Vic and I was blown away by this man’s talent. He was on stage pounding his piano and jamming his guitar with such soul and passion – it made my heart pump with (musical) excitement.

His song Rave On (featuring Zooey Deschanel) from the Post War album makes me want to grab my kids or my husband and dance around the house.  When I listen the songs Rollercoaster and To Go Home, it mentally transports me back to 2006 when we were listening to his music and figuring out life with a newborn (Stella).

Now M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel collaborated again and came out with another upbeat record for their band She & Him.

Check it out!  It’s lovely.

Words to Live By In 2010


I received this forward from my friend and favorite yoga instructor Shannon Galton. Every line is simple and true. Great words to live by.

HANDBOOK 2010

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:
11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Feel free to share if you agree!

A.M.

Lady Gaga – Role Model?

Repost from Jan 16th, 2010

Blood-drenched lace costumes, fierce props, eccentric wigs, exotic makeup, outrageous and theatrical describes Miss Lady Gaga. She’s the latest rage these days, but has been around for quite some time, studying and performing as a young child and into her teens.

I caught her on Oprah and was quite surprised by her humbleness. Heightened humbless, I’m sure, due to the nature of the program (and exhaustion?) Nevertheless, her creativity is undeniable – her visions extremely clear and thought-provoking.

The confidence she exudes on stage is commanding and quite impressive. I’m sure her parents played a huge part in developing this creative “monster”. According to Gaga in an interview with MTV.com, her mother stated “Little baby girl, you can be whatever you want, and you are beautiful and you are talented and you could rule the world“. Powerful words in which Gaga took to heart.

While the formula for the recent rise in female pop stars relies heavily on looks, simple lyrics and with vocals fed through processors, Lady Gaga fuses performance art with thought-provoking lyrics and has the musical chops to back it up. As a mom of a young girl, do I think she’s a role model for women? Yes. In fact, I think she’s an untraditional inspirational role model because she follows her heart and makes no apologies.

Green Tots In Full Effect


So far the kiddos have been pretty receptive towards this whole recycling project. Stella loves doing art projects, so she was jazzed about making a recycling bin. First, I talked to her about recycling and why we do it. Here’s Stella totally on her own, including princess transformation.
Me: “Stella, it’s important that we continue to recycle our plastic containers, paper and cans instead of throwing them in the garbage.”
Stella: “Why Mom?”
Me: “Because it’s good for the Earth.”
Stella: “Why?”
Me: “Because we can reuse those items and make them into new things. Plus we don’t want to add to our already huge landfill.”
Stella: “Why? Uh, what’s a landfill?”
Me: “A really big pile of garbage.” hmmm…”Why don’t we start our art project by going to the store and buying a bin for our recyclables?!”
Stella: “And decorate it?”
Me: “Of course.”
Yup, she’s at that age where “why” is her go-to question/response about 99% of the time. I didn’t want to get too technical and lose the “magic” of this whole process. So we went to Target and bought a bin for about 10 bucks and glued some letters on it. I got some help from parents.com in regards to what to recycle along with pics of them. As she decorated, she decided to slowly transform herself into a princess during the process.

The Bin

Getting ready to glue the pics of what to put IN the bin

Applying the letters with her new hat and gloves on

getting her glue on - gloves were a bitch to use glue with

the princess shows off her finished product

Harry making sure it works after the ladies did all the work...

Now looking forward to the Green Tween years…