Unleashing on Low Vibrations

In my quest to be love ‘n’ light and high vibes, I must admit that I fell off the wagon this week.  I know that hiccups will happen occasionally, but I’m disappointed in myself because despite all my positive work to be better and do better, I lost sight of the bigger picture and began thinking and acting like the masses instead of consciously promoting good when I had the chance sitting right in front of me.  Literally. I took the easy road instead of the right one and I did it just so I could have a spectacular view of Niagara Falls.  

 

Yeah, that’s it.  A view.

 

If you haven’t been to the iconic falls before, you really should go; they’re stunning.  With both the Canadian and American falls visible from the side ‘O The Maple Leaf, there are two views to choose from.  This, in and of itself, is well worth the drive to Niagara.  However, if you are looking for an even more intimate experience than a walk alongside the misty promenade, the Maid of the Mist boat tours will take you for a 15 minute up close and personal tour by positioning you within feet of the roaring falls. The majesty and grandeur will remind anyone, not preoccupied with snapping selfies, of nature’s spectacular awesomeness.   

 

I opted to be awed and found myself in line for the tour with 50ish people ahead of me, where it was certain that I would have a front row seat.  When I finally reached the ramp to the boat, madness ensued as people started getting pushy and aggressive.  

 

There was a bit of a lip between the pavement and ramp which was presenting as an obstacle to a gentleman pushing a woman in a wheelchair.  Obviously concerned about holding up the line, and likely feeling the pressure to secure his own good viewing spot, the man was clearly struggling to get the wheelchair over the bump.  I could tell by his face that he was slightly panicked, likely from the overwhelm of the crowd.  He was bent slightly as his arms attempted to encourage the wheel up over the bump and at the same time his neck craned upwards, pivoting;  keeping a nervous eye on his surroundings, no doubt.  He had very little room to work with as the eager crowd squeezed past him.  Once one of the wheels had yielded to the man’s efforts, there was even less room to maneuver around and people were contorting all stealth mission like between the chair and handrail.   I was no different, choosing to contort my body a la mission impossible to keep up with my party so that I could have the very best seat possible.  

 

Too consumed with my human need to get the most out of the $94 I had spent to take the boat tour, I ignored the voice in my head which was urging me to help the man out, and b-lined to the upper deck for the tour.  Glancing back confirmed that everyone else was doing the exact same thing, so I settled momentarily with the unsettling notion that I wasn’t the only a-hole running rampant at the falls, no, other people were ignoring the duo with the wheelchair, too.  But truth?  None of this matters because at the end of the day, I had the choice to make a better decision and instead, I chose greed over love and I’m a donkey’s backside because of it.

 

I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t enjoy my ride to the falls.  It was just as majestic as I remembered it being when I first took the voyage as a kid, perhaps even moreso now because of how much more in tune I am with Mother Nature and her amazing vibration.  But in the back of my mind, shame was percolating.  Back at the ramp I had the choice to do something right and in alignment with the person I’m becoming and instead I operated incongruently to fulfill a meaningless desire to get ahead.  

 

I’m not proud of the decision I made and if I could go back in time, I would do things entirely different.  One thousand percent.  I can’t presently time travel, nor can I personally apologize for my actions.  So now what to do?

 

I’ve made the following list of things to do to help me get back on track.  Given I’m not the first or last person in the history of the world to miss an opportunity to do good, perhaps if you find yourself in a similar situation,  you too might find this action list helpful:

 

  • Forgive yourself.  Sitting in regret isn’t very vibe-a-licious.  

 

  • Meditate.  Particularly if you need some guidance on how to forgive yourself or even some reflection on the situation in question, I suggest a good dose of ommmm to put everything back into perspective.

 

  • Set a positive intention for your future self like, “I am a helpful, contributing member of society.”  or “I help others when I can.”  Chances are the universe will throw something atchya so you can perform.

 

  • Be kind.  Consider completing a good deed like holding the door open for someone or a random act of kindness.  It won’t change what happened in the past, but it will certainly help to raise your vibration.

 

  • Practice self compassion.  You’re human, you effed up.  So chin up, soldier; now you know where you can improve the next time; don’t go too hard on yourself.

 

Xo, unleighshed potential

Unleashing the Things

(aka Unleighshing the Things)

Everyone needs a thing.  To be without one is extremely dull.  I would know, sadly, because I went nearly twenty years without having a thing.  


So what exactly is it?  I define a
thing as

  • the special interests you have that totally get your mojo going,
  • the activity you fall asleep thinking about doing the next day,
  • the fun project you make time for despite how berserk your life is,
  • the activity that revs your internal motor, growling for more fuel whenever it can, and
  • the pursuit of delirious excitement

I now have a thing.  In fact, I am the proud owner of several things.  But up until two years ago, I had nothing.   And it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy doing anything, quite the opposite, really, it’s just I didn’t give myself permission or time to cultivate any one thing which was just for me.  And that life- well, it was rather drab.


In hindsight I can see that my
thinglessness was pretty obvious to others and I’ve been able to date it as far back as university when I was seeing this uppity brainiac-turned-politician who first pointed it out to me.   One afternoon he annoyingly interjected his thoughts over a cup of coffee:  “You know what your problem is,” he started, “You don’t have any passion.”

Gulp.

“Yeahhhhh, I doooooo,” I said all sing-songy.

“Like what?” he shot back.

Silence.

“Seeeeee,” he replied.


I dumped his ass the next day but his words resonated for years and came back to haunt me half a decade later when I found myself in the hot seat for a new job position.   I panicked when the cursory chit chat began and I was asked to tell the panel a little bit about myself.  Double gulp. The realization hit me square between the eyes that between awkward giggles and stupid attempts at flirtation, I was making shit up.  Like, complete rubbish.  I wasn’t even embellishing as one tends to do in an interview when they’ve canoed the Grand River with a guide and go on to boast in an interview that they are accomplished at solo portaging in Algonquin Park.  Nope, I didn’t even have that kind of thing to hold on to as I found myself making up total crap.  I’m sure my prospective employers saw right through my
thinglessness, and surprise, surprise; I didn’t get the job.


At this point, I was wise enough to know that I had to find a
thing. But instead I got all busy with seating charts, mortgages, and diaper changes until I found myself, now a good decade past my university date, face-to-face with a new acquaintance.  Still oblivious to the fact I didn’t have a real thing yet, we were discussing his love of music when he very simply inquired about what I like.  

Like?  

Through an uncomfortable silence, a light flickered to a spot in the Rolodex of my mind as it dawned on me that there were several things I had once enjoyed doing in my youth that I had long forgotten about.  

Holy moly, I thought, I have things!  

I wondered how I had forgotten about all of the things.  The aforementioned life is to blame in part, because let’s be honest, after kids it can be difficult to get back on track.  But if I am being truthful with myself, my thinglessness developed because I didn’t make myself a priority.  As such, I hadn’t given myself the gift of time or even the necessary permission to have and develop things.  That old way of thinking dissipated once I realized how much richer life would be with a slue of things to do and enjoy.


Assisted by some meditation which helped me to further discover my interests and passions, I had this spectacular, life altering, opening up where creative pursuits began flooding into my consciousness.  In less than a year, I was experiencing a great deal of
things which have now become some of my most favourites like: becoming a runner, taking on RAOK projects, falling in love with meditation & mindfulness, starting to write, creating a blog, returning to my piano and – and – and ….


My list of wonderful
things is ever expanding.  


Once I gave myself permission to have and cultivate
things in my life, the opportunities to do more of these things appeared, and I am now the proud owner of many things.   

Here are some quick tips to helping you identify your thing:  

  1. Think back to what totally got you all jazzed up and excited before you were 10.  Do those things.  Do them now.

  2. Without thinking about it, jot down a list of things you currently derive enjoyment from.  Like binge watching Scandal, dusting, or organizing your trinkets. Go back to said list tomorrow  and see if you notice any common themes between the items.  They might be pointing you in the direction of your thing!

  3. At the end of your day, take a few minutes to write down the stuff you did.  Give some thought to any items in particular that made you happy.   Even if it was mundane like folding laundry, it could be that you’re destined to experience origami projects!

Listen, it’s entirely possible to go from thinglessness to someTHING and it can happen rather easily, if you’re open to it.  And, if you’ve already got a thing going on, celebrate it.  You’re lucky to have found it, so hold on to it and practice it every single moment you can find to do it.
Xo, unleighshed potential

Why No is really a Yes (aka Unleighshing More Yes)

I embarked on a business venture with a skin care line back in May which lasted all of 48 hours before I bailed.  I’d struggled with whether or not it was the right move for me for several weeks before committing and in the end I wound up taking a giant leap of yes, because I had just finished Rhime’s book that I talk about in first post on yes and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by joining the business.  Thing is, I didn’t feel right about the gains either. Not one bit.  A few hours into my new venture I realized I wasn’t operating in a way that felt congruent to my most core beliefs and I couldn’t continue on a journey selling people a product I wasn’t wildly passionate about.  So I up and shut the whole thing down by saying a big enormous no to something that very well could have been one of my seven strains of income and the rest is history because as it turns out, I was really saying yes to a deep desire to be fully aligned with my most core beliefs.  My true self.
When I delved into the concept of yes-ing: which is essentially a step towards allowing ourselves to take full advantage of  the opportunities to thrive, some readers weren’t overly thrilled about the idea, particularly those who work diligently to maintain healthy boundaries for themselves by using the sacred no.  I wasn’t suggesting people shouldn’t have boundaries, no not at all; they are absolutely critical for everyone’s well being.  But what I do believe is that when you’re handing over a no on certain things, what you’re actually issuing is a mighty YES to something else.  
Lemme break it down for ya’ll. 
Let’s say you’ve kind of always had a deep seeded desire to live dangerously on the edge and you’re asked to hold for a random acquaintance.  Stay with me.  Chances are it’s not going to to feel entirely right to you, even though you know it could be a super exciting opportunity trying not to get caught, and you know that there is some quick cash waiting for you on the other side, and you’ve also never done anything like this in your life, so it’d make you feel a bit bad-ass to take advantage of something completely out of the ordinary.  Deep down it probably doesn’t feel super good to you, so chances are you’re going to say no to the weird acquaintance and go weed your garden instead.  Now, technically you have said no to something that could make a hilariously awesome story in a few years, when you remember back to that time you did something so unlike you, but that’s the point, really.  It’s so unlike you because it doesn’t align with your core beliefs.  So in actuality what you have done is gone ahead and said yes to something in your life that you hold more important, like, say, your moral compass.

 

There’s nothing wrong with maintaining your personal boundaries.


Now suppose you are a hard core vegan who has never handled a firearm in your life and you’ve always wanted to shoot pop bottles when suddenly your buddies invite you out for a beer guzzling hunting trip.  You know that shooting a gun is on your bucket list and now you have the opportunity to do so.  Awesome.  But hold on a sec, killing an innocent animal goes against your belief system because it’s so-not-you.  I’d venture to say you’re going to take a pass on the trip with your bros and look into booking some time in a shooting range instead.  See, you haven’t said
no to an incredibly awesome weekend, you’ve said yes to honouring your beliefs whilst finding a way to make your bucket list a reality.    
See, most nos are probably yes’ in disguise, especially if “the thing” doesn’t align with your core values.
It’d be like when your boss asks you do a gazillion more things that are kind of exciting and could advance your career, but you say no so that you can focus on the career jetting stuff you’ve already got going on and ensure you get your quality 6 hours of sleep each night.  Sure, it’s a boundary you’re sustaining with your employer, but it’s an even bigger YES to the chance that the stuff you’ve currently got on the go is going to produce results too.  
Butttttt: if on the other hand you’ve been dying to try public speaking and someone offers you the chance to hold a mic and address a crowd, that’s a big freaking YES waiting to occur.  Even if your brain is saying no because you’re shy or worried you’ll eff up, at your very core you probably know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s really scary at first, because it’s something that completely aligns with who you are and what you’re all about.  The same would be true for joining a slow pitch team.  If it’s been on your bucket list and a neighbour mentions they’re starting a team and need another player, but you’re freaking out because you’re not an athlete, the chance is there for you to seize it.  So do.  
Saying yes is all about maintaining your boundaries, but also expanding them at the same time.  So by all means, have boundaries because you will feel a million times healthier if you have some that you can maintain.  But know that just because you’re declining one thing, it probably really means you’re just really psyched about another that totally gets your mojo going and is representative of the awesomest version of who you really are.

 

Bottom line, folks: if the thing you’re invited to do doesn’t align with your core values, then say yes to something more fitting like that tap dance class or hitting send on that scintillating text.

 

Xo, unleighshed potential

 

High Vibes ‘n’ Hiccups  (aka Unleighshing the Hiccups)

With a tiny brood at home, life can sometimes feel chaotic.  Mornings are especially hectic and seem to be the time when the vast majority of hell breaking meltdowns occur.  As we currently have 3 different start times to our day and only one adult who can get each party to their appropriate locale –  on time, on time is key – things can start to come apart rather quickly.

 

If I embraced an entire laissez-faire approach to life, we’d be skipping with flower halos into our various drop off locations at whatever-the-eff-time-we-felt-like-it,  but that’s not our reality… yet.  So there are still humanly expectations by which I must adhere to, like being prompt, and with that comes some stress in my routine, and I must admit that I sometimes vibrate low.

 

Truth is, I’m not fluttering around in bubbles ‘n’ glitter all the time.  Shit gets real sometimes and I have to work extra hard to stay at the high, positive vibration I wanna be at.

 

When one child won’t put their socks on moments before take off, and it’s like the 8th time in the week where I’m repeating myself like a banshee on crack, it’s not all zen up in our house.

 

When someone is missing their ball cap and can’t seem to find it in the exact location I know it resides, not even my salt lamp can calm the teeming lunacy lurking under the surface of my otherwise rational mind.  

 

And when the offspring decide to pummel one another seconds before the ignition turns, I’m not exactly vibin’ high on anything but sheer frustration.  I have low vibrational moments but I think it’s quite normal.  

 

While I believe at my very core that a high vibration is a choice I need to make in every moment to maintain the happy-happy-joy-joy which I admittedly feel the best at, I’m not always able to achieve my highest vibrational goals.  But I know that, and knowing is half the battle.  See, if I didn’t know what the alternative could look like, the banshee squeals and fumes rolling from my brow would be the only thing my children would recognize as their mother.  And it’s not ‘cause I work extremely hard in almost every other moment of my day to be disciplined in my quest for happiness and calm.  So the brood sees and feels high vibrational moments, but they also experience the low ones too, sometimes.  But I know the difference and I’m able to recognize what needs to be done to start living at a higher level of positivity.  Life is a quest for betterment, and I’m on that path indeed.

 

So if you’re a human being who recognizes your own need to be at a higher vibration, know that it is work which takes time to develop.  I’m not here to tell ya’ll that if you choose happy and have a hippy-dippy mantra that your life is going to change right away.  It probably won’t.  I’ve been on this journey for 18 months now and I’m still working at finding my ommmm in the oh-hell-no moments.  But stick with it because there will be times when you realize your old self would have completely lost their shit because the produce aisle was out of celery, and instead you choose to pick up a cabbage and skip contentedly to the register.  

 

Point is, you will start to notice a difference in your life if you stick with high vibrational intentions instead of the low mucky stuff.  Just sayin’.

 

xo, unleighshed potential

 

Unleashing on Unleighshed Potential

Mindful Monday, Terrific Tuesday, What If Wednesday and High Vibin’ Friday are some of the daily posts I make each week for you, brought to you by Unleighshed Potential on Facebook, Instagram & WordPress.    Monday is devoted to mindfulness and meditation.  Tuesday posts are focused on inspiring quotations I come across which I hope will encourage badassery and spark you to happiness.  On Wednesday I pose a What If question designed to make you think about some of the ways you can work on transforming your own life and on Friday’s I like to focus on posting about anything that can help you to positively #raiseyourvibration.  Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are currently free-for-alls designed to ignite your amazing vibrational capabilities.

 

Aside from the the fact that there are many, hundreds of thousands of people who share these kinds of posts through social media, many of whom inspire me as well, I like to share content which is almost always originally mine, from the words to the pictures; #terrifictuesdays, of course, are the exception here.

 

So why am I doing it?  I’m getting asked this question a lot lately and the best way for me to explain it is to call this a passion project where my main objective is to inspire you to raise your vibration and bring awesomeness into your life and the lives of the people you interact with.  I’m not selling anything except for the idea that you can totally transform your life and vibrate higher.  If you want to, of course.  And at the heart of all of my work lies an answer to an elevated calling, or what Davidji describes as the process of allowing “yourself to surrender to the fire of transformation [and to] … invite your true self to shine through.”  So Unleighshed Potential is designed to be a shining, glowing ball of energy, all packaged up in motivational awesomeness.

 

So if you haven’t joined already, come on over to unleighshed potential!  Annnnnd, if you happen to live in the province of Ontario, I have a giveaway happening on my Facebook page right now where you can enter between now and August 6 for a free copy of “You are a Badass”, by Jen Sincero, a book which totally kicked my transformation into higher gear.  

Whether you want to be a quiet observer or an obnoxious supporter of my little project, I’d love to have you along for the high vibin’ ride!

 

Keep being completely, extraordinarily you!

 

Xo, unleighshed potential

 

Unleashing Inspire Nation (aka Unleighshing Inspire Nation)

Good Mindful Monday to ya’ll!

The sun is shining where I am and my coffee cup is full.   Life is good.

I’ve spent a fair number of Monday’s talking about the awesomeness that is meditation and today I thought I’d throw in a lil somethin’ different to the mix for today’s #mindfulmonday post and focus on a transformational lifecoach (& my personal wellness rockstar), Michael Sandler, host of Inspire Nation.

The Inspire Nation Podcast is adorned with all the wellness bells and whistles you need to start transforming your life today.  And Michael has an amazing roster of expert guests, too.  Whether you’re well on your way in your personal journey or just beginning to give your life direction some thought, this is a life improving podcast which will give you practical tools to get you thinking about where to go next with your life.  

Aside from the phenomenal content on Inspire Nation, Michael is a dream for your ears, yes, even when he’s WooHoo’ing to his guests.  He is the calmest, most centered podcaster I’ve ever heard who moves his interviews along at a decent clip, but far beyond the monotony of space-filling-um-humming upon which some podcasters rely.  His interview skills alone are extraordinary as he’s able to smoothly zone in on the key most important details his guests deliver.  And nothing gets by him: if he senses for a moment that the audience might be wondering about something his guest has said, he will drill down until the rich core of the concept is gently exposed and there is understanding among all parties.  He goes above and beyond in his research of a guest or the book he’s reviewing so that he isn’t reiterating the fluffy stuff you can find anywhere; no, he likes to delve in and he brings his guests alongside him for the ride.  

When all is said and done, you will feel infinitely better just for having listened to his show.

Listening to Inspire Nation became part of my wellness regime each morning on my commute into work and it is what inspired me to kick my own transformation up a few notches.  Michael’s energy sparking positivity is also the catalyst behind Unleighshed Potential.   If his plan is to inspire the nation, he’s succeeded indeed with this listener, and I’m positive he will continue to ‘shine brightly’ for future fans, too.

So if you aren’t already convinced to check out this podcast, here are 3 gigantic reasons to listen in to Inspire Nation:

  1. It’s crazy digestible.  Like even topics like quantum physics can be become malleable in Michael’s hands.  And if something the guest says doesn’t make much sense, Michael can sense it and will dig around until it does.  
  2. It’s enormously practical.  Michael doesn’t just do the podcast for the sake of speaking to the masses, no, he really wants you to get something out of what he or his guests have to say, so embedded at the end of every episode is a piece of homework- something you can be doing at that exact moment to start improving your life.
  3. It’s so incredibly mindful as many of his podcasts end with a meditation to help bring your life back into focus along with a nugget of wisdom about how to inspire passion and excitement for life in your kids.  

 

If you haven’t already checked out his podcast, you must do so now.  No, seriously, go do it.  

And if it isn’t quite up your alley, don’t sweat it because maybe there is something equally awesome awaiting you in the virtual corners of the podcast universe that could reignite your passion for life.  If you find it, let me know as I’m always looking for inspiring content because  when you’re on fire for the stuff you’re into and things you’re all about, you will raise your vibration to bring more of that positivity into your life.  And that, as Michael likes to say, is very  woohoo-worthy.

 

Xo, unleighshed Potential

 

Unleash the Yes (aka Unleighshing Yes)

Shonda Rhimes, writer of Scandal, my opiate, also penned the underwhelming Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, which, despite my critique, is actually an extremely valid text about vibin’ high and and living your life like the old Nike saying to “Just do It.”

I absolutely love Rhimes’ edict that “there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”  Absolute gold.  

That tattoo you’ve always wanted?   Get it.
The band you’ve always wanted to see?  Go see ‘em.
Dance lessons?  Why in the hell not?
Public speaking?   Hand over that mic!

Rhimes’ inspiration to say yes prompted me to dig around in my past and have a real good think on all the “Nos” I’ve issued in my lifetime and there have been a lot.  Like,  some 30 years of one no-thank-you after another.

Here’s what made the shortlist:

  1. The White Water Rafting Trip
  2. Kissing my crush under the canopy of stars in the thicket
  3. Taking that job in Northern Canada
  4. Backpacking Europe
  5. Buying the two-piece-bikini

When I added up all of the wild ‘n’ crazy things I took a pass on in my years of becoming an expert in N-O, it all amounted to a giant W-T-F.  

Why?  Why on earth had I said no to so much?  Fear.  This is an ugly four letter word that messes with each of us on the daily. Fear is what each pass on life boils down to.  And I bet that when you examine your own list of No, you’ll  come to a similar conclusion about why you didn’t take the leap because fear is this scare-based-play-it-safe mentality which quietly needles its way into our psyches until we politely decline the opportunities presented to us that have potential to truly raise our frequencies.

But fears and N-O’s don’t define me anymore.  And they shouldn’t define your story either.  Nope;  sometimes you gotta be in the here ‘n’ now and just say Y-E-S.  Eleanor Roosevelt, purported to have spoken these words, is so damn right when she encourages people to “do one thing every day that scares you”.  And Mastin Kipp takes it all to one ginomrous kick-ass step further when he says that we should all make a list of the top 10 things that scare the living shit out of us and do the very first thing on that list today.  Like, really, just go for it and tackle it head on.

Say Yes.

I’m obviously not suggesting that you take off for the trip of a lifetime to Bali when your single BFF offers to take you along for the ride and you’ve got legit obligations at home to say, pick your kids up from school by five or something, but I am encouraging you to give a little less thought to the voice in your head telling you not to do something in place of a yes.  And maybe you can’t afford impulsivity anymore, but perhaps you can go home and research some amazing travel destinations in Bali and then book that trip for yo self.  You wanna go?  

Make.  It.  Happen.

Similarly, when you venture across someone who has a really neat opportunity for you, take it.  No, seize it.  Make it yours.  Because it quite possibly could be the most fun you will ever have. And when you’re energized about something that totally jazzes you up, you’re vibin’ high.  And when you’re vibin’ high, you’ve raised your frequency.   And when your frequency is hollering out to the world that you are living your truest version of yourself, you’ll attract more ‘n’ more of that awesome into it.  

Make a Yes List.

So how do you know if you’re taking full advantage of the biggest yes ever?  Your heart’ll palpitate, and your palms will become tsunamis of sweat and your brain will slow you down to a hazy crawl whilst wildly whispering, umm, maybe not.  And that’s when you gotta look life square in the eye and say: fuck-yeah, let’s do this!  

And then, yes, magic.

Xo, unleighshed potential

Unleashing Meditation (aka Unleighshing Meditation)

Meditation is da bomb.

For realz.

In my thirty-some years of seeking ommmm for my over-active brain, few things have quieted it like the effects of meditation.  And now I am hooked.  Whether I’m looking for some time out,  insight or even a hippy dippy trip (sans hallucinogens, of course), I’ve discovered the joy of zenning  out a la meditation.

I was a skeptic at first, though, not gonna lie.  To begin, the time commitment, alone, was daunting.  Never in a million years could I see myself meditating for days on end at a weekend retreat, let alone for an hour. Also, the prospect of what might be uncovered during a session was frightening.  Spirts?  Future self?  No thanks.  Finally, there was the logistical concerns about how to even get started.  How do I sit?  How do I breath? All of my apprehension quickly melted, of course, when I made the decision to just go for it.

So here’s how I actually got started.

I went to my iPhone podcast app and typed in “Meditation.”  You can do this too, by the way, from any device you own with access to an app store.  I listened to a couple of meditations without any intent on actually finding my ommmm.  Why?  You will quickly discover as I did that not every zen master is a good fit for you.  Their voice, both pitch and pace, might irritate the shit out of you or you might find the background noise of them slurping on a refreshment or a lawn mower running in the backyard to be a turn off.  Everyone has their own kind of meditation, too.  Some take you through a good 10 minutes of guided breathing before starting in on the actual meditation and some begin right away with vigorous drumming and chants.  Taking a bit of time to sample what’s out there to suss out what you like will save you the stress of being disappointed midway through a session when you’re all quiet and relaxed.  

 

Next, I found a space that is quiet and relaxing to me.  Truth: I meditate in my washroom where there is one door in and out that I can lock to keep people out.  Sounds anti-zen, I know, but I further my blockade by plugging in a pair of headphones so that it is just me and my meditation.  Airplane mode for the device is good for this too so  you don’t get interruptions of beeps ‘n’ whistles ‘n’ hey-respond-to-my-text texts.  Anywhere you know you can be uninterrupted will work.  Outside can be nice for this too, especially if you really want to feel grounded.

 

I bought myself a $7 journal from Winners so that I could record any and all thoughts that I had post-meditation, but you can find cheaper varieties of this at dollar stores, too.  This meditation journal helps immensely because one of the tricks to meditating is to simply observe:  take in what you get, be it images, words or scenarios, acknowledge them and move along to the next thing.  I don’t work on discernment during a meditation, which has been a huge practice for me and another blog post altogether, but simply allowing thoughts and ideas to emerge and move on, is how to get the most out of a meditation.  When I’m done, I record all the juicy bits that I can recall in my journal.  

 

Finally, I made time.  And it’s hard, I know, but once you start to value something it’s funny how you find ways to build it into your day.  For me, I still can’t spare more than thirty minutes to this practice, though I endeavour to do so some day.  Instead, I’ve discovered  some quick ‘n’ dirty ways to get my zen in when I’ve only got 15 minutes to spare.  It is possible and there are lot’s of meditations like the ones led by Chel Hamilton that are meditation minis:  less than 20 minutes for your daily dose of enlightenment! There are some apps out there like Calm.com  which allows you to decide how much time you’ve got to breathe ‘n’ relax.  And I’ve become so practiced at meditating for short moments that I can do as Meggan Watterson indicates, and drop into my center/chi/ommm when I’m in line at the grocery store.

If you want to get hooked on the zing of daily enlightenment, here are 5 Reasons Why You should Meditate:

  1. It doesn’t cost anything.  Sure you can purchase a singing bowl kit with some sage to burn and a nice pillow for your rump to zen out on because they could enhance the overall experience, but they certainly aren’t necessary.  Free is free.
  2. Deep breathing relaxes you and your nervous system and who doesn’t want to look a little less stressed in their day?!
  3. Tapping into your intuition can give you the answers you need to make the next step in your journey, whatever that may be.  If you can’t decide on what colour to paint your kitchen, a lil meditation might settle the debate for you.  And if you’re contemplating leaving a relationship, your intuition could guide you towards the best solution for that too.
  4. It clears your mind.  We have too many things to remember, to do, to participate in, to organize, and the list could go on.  Meditating, like Mastin Kipp says, is like a shower for your mind.  And who doesn’t like feeling a little squeaky clean?!
  5. Me time.  And you deserve some.  Enough said.

xo, Unleighshed Potential 

Unleashing Happiness aka Unleighshing Happiness

Born with DNA pre-programmed to ‘optimism’ and a RBF to throw you off, my default has generally been happy.  I  always tend towards a sunny disposition, even when my face eludes me.  And yet, through the shaky teen years, followed by colossal changes of young adulthood and then to the yawn-inducing-trials of early parenting, my mood toggled to a lower barometer reading of sour.  Like so many of you, I have experienced my fair share of the difficult don’t-wanna-get-outta-bed-kinda-days and have had my bit of weeks and yes, sometimes even months, of the dreary doom ‘n’ gloom.    Fortunately those dark days are behind me and I live at a much higher vibration due to continued work on my part.

 

But what is happy, really?

 

Back in the Bible-thumpin-days of my youth, I ran with a God-Lovin’group of friends who got into the then-heated-debate over the concept of love. To this day, and especially now as a grown-ass adult who’s spent a decade with the same human being, I don’t understand how me and my 17 year old girlfriends were even able to begin to scratch the surface on this debate:  is love a feeling or a choice?  As I write this, I have some inklings as to which it really is, but ask me again ten minutes from now when I scan the after math of my better half’s attempt at what is supposed to be a “clean kitchen” and I’ll probably have changed my mind even then on whether love is a feeling or a choice.

 

Many of my then-teeny-friends preached the virtue of choosing to love someone every freaking day, a cursory point when one considers that only two-thirds of their days were actually spent with their then-partners.  No one, to my knowledge, had to go home and share a bathroom with their partner.  But nevertheless, many felt that one had to choose to love another person in order to maintain a healthy, flourishing relationship.  Sitting pretty in the other camp, where I might have resided then too, though I can’t be entirely certain, were my more Disney-fied-friends who held the romanticized notion that love is something that sweeps over a couple, completely independent from brain function.  My adult-self accounts for rampant hormones and tingly bits influencing this school of thought, but alas, the question of love being choice or feeling infiltrated our discussion in the lunch room so much so that it has stuck with me into adulthood as I contemplate the concept of happiness.

 

So, is happy a feeling or a choice?

 

Holding my children for the first time ever elicited such happiness & joy, completely independent from much thought, that even when my post-partum hormones were wreaking havoc on me, I still felt happy-happy-joy-joy overcome me at times.  Legitimate, warm, happy feelings.  Not forced. But on the point of PPD and  PPA and all the other mental health issues that come with after-birth, finding contentment wasn’t especially easy with two little ones putting demands on me and my chaotic life.  My post-partum days were not always sunshine and rainbows, even when I wanted them to be.  I was choosing to be happy rather randomly, but it wasn’t flowing to me very easily.  A wise counsellor pointed me in the right direction during those early days of motherhood and insisted I do one thing each day that made me happy.  Impossible, I thought, as there was no time in my day for anything but diapers and feedings.  She persisted however, and encouraged me to find one activity I could do each day, be it only for 20 minutes.  Truth be known, she asked me to work up to the twenty minutes by 5 minute increments.  Whether it was sitting down with a trashy magazine for five to mindlessly flip through the glossy pages or fixing myself a teeming cup of tea, where I would only enjoy a sip, she was adamant that I had to find one activity a day that brought me joy, even if it was for the teeniest amount of time.  I begrudgingly indulged her request and noticed as time went on that my days got easier when I had that specific chunk of time set aside that I could look forward to.  Trust me when I say, it was hard work to build happiness into my day; a conscious effort which never seized.  But over time it became second nature, so much so that my family even began to recognize its importance too.  And guess what?  My mood improved drastically as sour was removed from my vernacular when I chose to carve out a part of my day that made me feel happy and alive.  Me Time became joy-inducing.  Actually.  And even today, whether it’s ten minutes or ninety, having time for myself legitimately lifts my spirits and gives me much to be thankful for.  And I choose to ride that happiness wave as much as I can and encourage others to do the same.

 

Like I said earlier, though, being in a happy mindset can be a lot of work, especially when forced to step away from the built in time designed to bring you enjoyment.

 

When my personal life got rocky 18 months ago, I was contemplating throwing in the towel on nearly everything I considered extraneous- work & friends, namely.  Life was wearing me down and I let it sweep me up in its miserable current.   Even though my DNA kept tapping me on the shoulder to remind me that I wanted to be happy, I was fixated on the fact I wasn’t and spent an obstinate amount of time wishing I were instead of doing anything about it.  During this period of time I stumbled upon a powerful discovery that would alter the trajectory of 2016.  I learned about affirmations.  These are positive statements, much like the ones I publish on Unleighshed Potential, which repeated over time, can actually improve one’s outlook on any given situation.  There are lots of good articles out there that can describe the science behind the phenomenon of positive thinking for you, so I won’t attempt to try, but do look it up if you’ve found yourself scratching your head over this.  Point is, when you change your thinking you can change your life.  Epic.  Let me say that again:  when you change your thinking, you can change your life.  True story.

I put the words “Happy, Healthy, Thriving” everywhere, from my dashboard to bathroom mirror so that when the going got tough I would see the words umpteen times a day, forcing me to think more positively. I even built the language into the bedtime routine with kids as I reminded them that they are “Happy, Healthy, Thriving” kids.  Hubby and I would repeat these words first thing in the morning and right before bed.  I got all hell-bent on being happy and found that this affirmation alone was wildly effective.  Even now when I start to find my thinking shifting to a more negative space, I’ll dig this handy affirmation out of the vault to reinfuse the happy into my life.  It works.  Actually.

 

So is happiness a feeling or a choice?

 

I describe it as both because the uppy-joy-vibes of contentedness can sweep over you at any point, sure, but holding on to its essence through your entire day is a deliberate decision.  It’s work, really.  Good work, but work nonetheless.

 

So if you aren’t happy and can’t remember the last time you were, what are you going to do about it?  To start, I hope you’ll hop onto Unleighshed Potential (available on FB or Insta) for your daily dose of hells-yeah and high-vibin’ energy.  Next, see what taking a few minutes out of your day for JUST YOU does to your state of mind and throw in a positive affirmation for good measure.  There are lot’s of those on my social media sites to get you started, too, so don’t’ be shy!

 

Wishing happiness to all (it is possible, trust me)

 

xo, Unleighshed Potential