Category Archives: Mind

The Unknown. Exciting or Scary?

I used to be one of those people who really disliked the unknown.  Not knowing what was going to happen next was frustrating and scary.  I used to do everything in my power to plan, plan, plan.

These days there are a few unknowns in my life and I’m okay with it.  I’m going to roll with the uncertainty and have faith that I’m on the right path even though I have no idea where this path is leading me or my family.  It’s sorta exciting – a feeling I find liberating.  The future is in the palm of my hands. Can I actually direct it by thinking positive thoughts and visualizing?

What do I want?

To simply be happy so I’m a great parent, wife, mentor, friend, sister, daughter, person.

What do you think of the unknown?  Exciting or scary?

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

Is Your Mind Like A Blizzard?

Have you ever felt like other people are controlling your thoughts, your emotions, your inner dialogue, the way you feel about yourself?  The next question is – without them knowing it? You just do it to yourself?  Whether you are in a situation and you take something a person says, and in your mind,  you twist and turn it into a negative experience without that even being their intention?

Do you ever compare yourself to others?  Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough?  Well these negative thoughts have crept into my mind as of late and it’s starting to drive me crazy.  How can I be strong enough to combat these negative emotions? I consider myself an open-minded, free-spirited kinda gal, so I am able to realize that I’m on the path that I’m supposed to be on (even though it wasn’t planned by me and it’s, quite frankly, sometimes not that fun (but it is)). Why do those stinkin’ negative emotions come into my mind and weaken me?  I find myself feeling depressed in a literal sense.

Is it the cold-ass weather (there is a serious blizzard going on in the midwest as I type).  Is it this depressed economy?  Is it that I haven’t seen the sun in over a week?  Is it because I think I’m not challenging myself in ways that I used to when I was younger? (but I am) Regardless, I want to stop being so freaking hard on myself.

So how do I do this? I giggle and sigh because I have no clue.  I guess all I can do is educate myself on ways to make myself happier by reading books, websites, talking to those who seem to be happy and asking them what their secret is, keeping my mind still so the answer can come to me, and to do things that make me happy.

In the meantime, I will be shoveling my way out of this funk with a smile on my face.

I Wanna Love Who I Wanna Love

Lately there have been a lot of disturbing reports about homosexual teens committing suicide because of being bullied and not being accepted by their peers.  My goodness, this truly breaks my heart. I can’t even imagine feeling so down about life to actually take it.  I know I’ve had my trials and tribulations growing up, but it definitely doesn’t compare to what these teens are going through.  This intense teasing, fighting, picking on, ignorance, etc. HAS GOT TO STOP.

According to The Trevor Project, “Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2009).”

Why is there so much hatred out there?  Why are people taking such strong stances against those who simply want to love and be themselves?

I hope that with all the attention brought to this matter people will realize a few things:

1. People just want to love and to be loved.  It shouldn’t matter if they choose to be with the same sex.  We shouldn’t be going against LOVE.  Let’s embrace it and allow others to do it the way they want to – as long as it doesn’t cause any harm.

2. If you notice someone who may feel isolated, reach out to them.  Ask them how they are doing.  Have you ever felt down in the dumps? Nowhere to turn but someone, whether it was a stranger on the bus, a teacher, a friend’s parent or an acquaintance asked you how you were doing, lent an ear and was supportive?  Be that person.

3.  Let’s DEMAND that all schools take notice to bullying and do their best to stop it.  I know teachers and administrators are busy educating and have enough on their plates, but  if schools promote an ANTI-BULLYING policy then students will know that any behavior of the sort is absolutely unacceptable and intolerable.

Being a teenager is hard enough.  One of my closest friends Jill, who’s a lesbian, provided some thoughtful insight about this topic.  She says, “The headlines lately have really focused on this issue as it revolves around teenagers.  Part of the reason being that many of these teenagers are still in a process of self-identification and learning who they are. They are at a more vulnerable time in their lives.”

We are all made up of the same matter…skin, blood, organs, a brain.  The only thing that separates us is our DNA.  If we are all the same then why can’t we love one another?  I know, this is way too idealistic and simple, but please take a moment and think about it.

As they say, sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.  I truly hope this is one of those cases.  For those of you who are feeling lonely, don’t worry, IT GETS BETTER.  This will pass.  Surround yourself with positive people, try to have positive thoughts and envision a positive future.  From the bottom of my heart, I truly hope things get better for Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

Here are some websites that may help those who either need help or for those who want to help others:

The Trevor Project – A national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth.

It Gets Better Project – A site that promotes a positive future for LGBT youth.

Suicide.org – Suicide awareness, prevention and support.

Stop Bullying Now – A resource for  adults to teach kids about awareness, prevention and intervention.  This site has cartoon webisodes for children who are bullied.

Image via ffffound.com via Richard Heller Gallery

I’m Baaack!

I apologize I have neglected this part of my life – the innerpeace seeking blog.  To be honest I haven’t felt super peaceful these days. think a large part has to do with allergies and my sinus issues.  Chicago is such a lovely place this time of year.  It’s still sunny and green, the flowers are still in bloom, and there’s a nice breeze in the air. But something about barometric pressure that wreaks havoc on my ability to be my best.  There are days when I just can’t step outside for the life of me.  My body is tired, my face feels so heavy, I feel spacey (not in the good way), I’m irritable and I can’t seem to focus.  It sucks and I am always trying to figure out a way to combat this feeling (Clean, Juicing).

I am doing a few things to help me get stronger, mentally and physically, to recapture that spark that started to fizz out a bit.

This is what I did:

  • began meditating.  Megan sent me this link one day and I began meditating.  it’s bringing me so much clarity, a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, and it began to stir up some excitement within myself.  Thank you for thinking of me, Meg!
  • Started telling myself to be happy.  That worked. I also forced myself to smile more.
  • I am reading a ton more again!!  I am reading books about organic gardening in small spaces, how to decorate your home using recycled materials, fashion/decorating/beauty magazines (a pastime of mine), researching business plans (thinking about going into business with my mom), a thriller, etc.
  • Crafts.  I found a project that gets me excited and pumped to do.  Can’t tell you what this is yet because I’m going to give it to my good girlfriends and family as birthday and holiday gifts.  SO excited about that.
  • Exercising.  Got back into Pilates and my body is thanking me by getting stronger every time I work it out.

I think I’m back.  No, i know I’m back. I feel ready to go, pumped to embrace what the world has in store for me head-on.  I am at home everyday with my 2 and 3-year-old (yes, lucky me).  I have to be a strong mom for them.  I want those kids to feel so loved they don’t know what do with themselves, I want to nourish their brains with what their hearts yearn for, expose them to as many positive situations and learning experiences as possible in hopes that they will grow up to be happy and well-balanced people.  Is this too much to ask?  Apologies for the diversion.

My point is let’s get this party started! I’m back and ready to share and I hope you are too. It’s going to be a fun and healthy fall 2010!

Btw, how does the change in weather make you feel?  Am I the only one who needs a little time to adjust?

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!

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!

Put It In Perspective, Will Ya?!

Nothing annoys me more than a person who doesn’t appreciate the good things in life. Okay, I know I’m guilty of it sometimes – ya know, feeling sorry for myself during the days I have a million things to do, a house to clean and two toddlers wanting every ounce of my attention. But I am able to sit back and appreciate the greatness that is in my life – health, joy, family, and the ability to recognize that life isn’t all about ME.

I am experiencing a situation with a close family member of mine who does not realize how blessed he is. He goes on feeling sorry for himself and cannot recognize the positive people/things he has in his life. As I listen to him complain “woe is me” I cannot help but feel a bit of disgust. Why disgust and not compassion for a person who is extremely close to me? because his priorities are backwards and truly mixed up in his head. the thoughts he chooses to emphasize are EGO related and for some reason it bugs the crap out of me. I feel like yelling, “PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE, WILL YA?!”  He can’t grasp that there’s more to life than his own feelings, reputation, status, and how much money he has in his pocket. I wonder if he will ever realize there’s more to life than himself.

What would you do if you knew someone like this? I’ve suggested many things that could help him such as meditation (a incomprehensible act for someone who is so EGO-driven), church, volunteering, spending more time with family, tai chi, vacations, etc. None of it has helped. I’ve spent many years trying to help him out, but he doesn’t seem to get “it”. The whole situation makes me sad and I’m at the point that I set up major boundaries when I’m near him – I do not let him express his thoughts to me about particular subjects, but then I feel bad about not listening to him.

How do you help someone who’s not willing to help themselves?

It’s not up to me to save the world, but I do want to help out those so close to me and who have given me so much. This is my last attempt. Do you have any suggestions on helping someone gain innerpeace when they are extremely EGO driven? How do you help them put life in perspective?  Or should we just not care?

Lack of Discipline or Just A Free Spirit?

Routine and I are not on good terms.  Not sure why, but when I start to do things multiple days in a row (this does not include hygiene) I start to get this queezy feeling in my stomach and I stop.  Even if the routine is beneficial.  I know routine is good, kids and adults thrive from it, it keeps things predictable and it helps to manage the daily tasks, but I really shy away from it.  I view myself more as “free-spirit“.  I enjoy doing different things everyday – I like to shake things up and not settle. I thrive off of spontaneity, but I’m beginning to think my dynamic lifestyle may not be the best for me.

I started thinking about this the other night when I was too lazy to wash my face before bed…I took out my contacts, brushed my teeth but didn’t feel like washing my tired face.  I spend tons of money of potions and lotions to keep my face looking young(ish), but I don’t take 30 seconds to wash all the pollution and makeup off my face?!  My sister, who was an Estee Lauder consultant in college, told me if you don’t wash your face at night you add an extra 7 days to your looks…eeek!  Knowing that, I still don’t do it.  Another example, today I went to a Pilates boot camp class (think 2 intense hours of fatiguing just about every muscle in your body) then I came home and ate oreo cheesecake…my instructor would kick my ass if she found out.  What’s wrong with me?!  Is it lack of discipline or am I a creative soul trying my hardest not to confine myself to the monotony and boredom that a routine can evoke?  However, I do think it’s time I start buckling down and doing what’s best for me and my fam.  I should be predictable, right…?

How do I start working on discipline?  Do I see a psychologist?  Do I read a book on the subject?  Should I sign up for a martial arts class?  I brought this up to my husband today and he told me, “no need to spend any money – just do it”.  Seems pretty simple enough. Wish me luck again.

BTW: Trusting my gut is doing me well.  I feel happier, I feel more present, and I feel like the pressure I tend to put on myself has alleviated a bit…I’m enjoying the ride. Thank you for your positive thoughts.