Wedding Singer

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Last week I had the honor of singing at a good friend’s wedding down in Florida. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful they wanted me to be a part of their special day. It was my first time singing and playing the ukulele in public. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Performing in front of people alone is never something I have been comfortable with or had the guts to do. I have wanted to be a singer for as long as I can remember. That day, as my big performance was quickly approaching- it hit me: I AM a singer. Not just a shower or car singer anymore either. That day I was a wedding singer. I felt grounded, calm and more than ready. It was a feeling I didn’t expect, as I tend to be an anxious worrier, especially when it comes to stuff like this. It was the most amazing feeling in the world realizing that one of my life long dreams was coming true.

Don’t ever stop following your dreams, my friends. You never know where they might lead you. Even more importantly, keep your heart open, never stop believing in yourself and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s always worth in in the end. Always. You are amazing and can do anything your heart and soul desires. Never forget that!🙂

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” is one of the songs I learned for Sarah and Nick’s special day. I am seriously so in love with this song. Thanks for listening! 

Light and Love,

Lindz

I’m Alive

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I have always loved singing . I have also always wanted to learn to play the ukulele. In September my dad gave me his ukulele and I immediately fell in love with it. Learning to play has been so calming and therapeutic for me. The first time I heard the song ‘Proof’ by Alex G it took my breath away. The lyrics, the message. It’s perfect. I knew I needed to learn how to play this song.

This last year proved to be the hardest year of my life so far. It’s amazing that having a broken heart doesn’t kill you, because it sure feels like it should. This song has seriously helped carry me through. This song helps remind me that even though my heart is broken, the pain is proof that I’m alive. It’s ok (and necessary) to allow myself to feel, to process. To not push these feelings away. To be gentle with myself. To take life one day (or even one moment) at a time. Sometimes life is really hard. Sometimes it hurts so much that we feel like we are going to die. They say the only way out is through. All we can do is try to embrace and accept the pain, the weight, the heavy absence, and at the same time allow ourselves to feel grateful for being able to feel and love so deeply. To be alive and to have experienced something so real, so significant..something that is so hard to let go of.

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Being

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MEDITATION

What if we all focused more on being rather than having?

Hmmm.

This is thought that I have been pondering a lot lately.

We so easily get swept up in our crazy thoughts, the latest drama, the news, our relationships, jobs, the stuff. We focus on getting here or there, on our faults, our diets, what is or isn’t happening for us. We need to have this or that; energy, time, material possessions. We worry about what other people think; about us, about everything. We get lost in the hustle of our everyday lives. We worry, we fear, we stress, we feel helpless. We should, we shouldn’t. We could, we couldn’t. The list goes on and on.

That isn’t how it has to be. I know this well, yet recently I found myself stuck in a downward spiral of yuck. I was feeling depressed, confused, and stuck. Nothing seemed to help. This went on for months and months. Then one day, a couple of weeks ago, it hit me. I was being my own worst enemy. I wasn’t doing anything to help myself aside from think and worrying about what was or wasn’t happening. I was searching for answers to my problems in all of the wrong places. I let myself forget everything that yoga has taught me.

When I discovered yoga, I also discovered how to stop focusing on having, wanting, worrying. I slowed down enough to finally get to know myself. To let go of everything else. Yoga helped me discover BEING. 

Just being. No more, no less. Just me. My mind, my body, my soul.

For me, focusing on just being taps into an unlimited source of unconditional love and acceptance. Connection; to myself, the universe, to the people and the world around me. It makes life worth living.  Yoga helped me discover that I am whole, I am complete, and that all that I need is within me. Always. No matter what is going on around me, or inside me. Happiness and contentment are an inside job. When I take time to focus on being, whether it’s through yoga, meditation or watching my breath, it brings me back to that realization, as it’s all too easy to forget.

Unlimited and endless inspiration and potential lies within each of us. The answers we seek are always, always, always inside. We just have to slow down enough to discover this truth and all that is possible.

When I stop focusing so much on having (or not having) and bring my attention to just BEING, my world becomes  a very different, more beautiful, peaceful  and positive place.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Your nose is directly linked to your brain and your nervous system. That is one reason why in yoga we focus so much on the breath. We use it as a tool to calm our minds and help create that mind-body-spirit connection. Focusing on the breath not only brings us right in to the present moment, it also directly affects our bodies and minds on a cellular level by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps calm the mind and relax the body. The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of our sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the fight-or-flight response. Even just taking deep belly breaths can start to change your brain chemistry, almost immediately.

There are so many different breathing exercises out there, many of which we practice in yoga. I want to share with you my absolute favorite breathing exercise. It’s called nadi-shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing. Of all the breathing techniques out there, I use this one the most. It’s calming, yet energizing, and lowers your heart rate. It clears and boosts your energy channels. It helps relieve anxiety and stress.  It’s effective, you can do it anywhere, and it just plain works.

Air alternately enters the nose through the left and right nostrils about every 90 minutes or so. Each nostril, or nadi (energy channel) has a different connection to our bodies and minds. The left nostril is receptive and cooling. It’s influence affects the parasympathetic nervous system. It is connected to the right side of the brain, which is associated with feelings, emotions and creativity. The right nostril activates and warms. It intensifies activity of the mind and body, and it affects the sympathetic nervous system. It is connected to the left side of the brian, which is rational, analytical and logical. This simple exercise helps balances both sides of the brain.

I am going to walk you though this breathing exercise, step by step.

1. First you’ll want to pick a hand position to use. Try them both out and decide which one feels best for you. Which ever position you choose, it is traditionally practiced using your right hand.

First option:  Bring your pointer and middle finger in to touch your palm, by the base of your thumb. Then when you bring your hand up to your face, you’ll use your ring finger to block the left nostril, and your thumb to block the right nostrilaltnerate nostril #1

Second option: Bring your middle and pointer finger to your third eye, on your forehead, in the middle, just above your eyebrows. You will use your ring finger to block the left nostril, and your thumb to block your right nostril. This is my favorite way to practice this. There is something calming about placing your fingers on the middle of your forehead, slightly above your  eyebrows.nadi-shodadam-2

2. Find a comfortable seat. You  really can do this exercise anywhere, but when you are first learning, you might want to sit down and give yourself time to relax and concentrate. It takes awhile to get the hang out it. Before starting just take a second to check in with yourself. Notice how your breath feels. Notice how you feel mentally and physically. Don’t judge, just observe. Keep an open mind.

3.  Now it’s time to breathe! First just start by closing your eyes. Let your hands rest on your lap. Bring your attention to your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose. Start to slow your inhales and exhales, breathing slowly and steadily. Make each inhale and exhale smooth and even. Maybe counting to five on the inhale and counting to five on the exhale.

4. Pick a hand position that feels right for you. Bring your right hand up, finding that position. Inhale and exhale. Then close your right nostril with your thumb and INHALE through your left nostril. Then close the left nostril with your ring finger and EXHALE through the right. Keeping your left nostril closed, inhale through the right. Close the right nostril and exhale out the left. This completes one cycle. To continue on, keep the right nostril closed and and inhale through the left, then close the left nostril, exhale and then inhale through the right, and so forth. Continue on with this cycle, keeping your inhales and exhales steady and smooth. Do this as long as feels good in your body.

5. Once you are finished, keep your eyes closed and continue to breathe slowly and steadily through both of your nostrils. After five or so breaths, slowly open your eyes.

I hope you find this breathing exercise as helping and effective as I do. You can do it anywhere, and it just plain works. Anytime you are feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, anxious, or whatever it might be – give this exercise a try.

The Choice is Yours

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“You can count your days or make your days count for something. The choice is yours. ” –  Louise Caiola

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Waking up on the right side of the bed everyday is a choice.

Living life the fullest and enjoying every breath you take is a choice.

Allowing yourself to be here in the present moment is a choice.

 Loving yourself and those around you is a choice.

Being generous and giving back is a choice.

Being happy is a choice.

Treating yourself and your loved ones with respect is a choice.

 Being grateful for everything you have is a choice.

Appreciating the beauty of the world around you is a choice.

 Dealing with your problems, instead of running away form them, is a choice.

Being honest with yourself is a choice.

Feeling your feelings is a choice.

Surrounding yourself with people who only lift you higher is a choice.

Eating right and taking care of your mind, body and soul is a choice.

Following your passions is a choice.

Doing what makes your soul shine is a choice.

Saying yes (or no) to whoever or whatever is a choice.

Making your wants and needs known is a choice.

Letting go of anything (or anyone) that’s no longer serving you is a choice.

Doing your best and giving your all, in everything you do, is a choice.

Doing what you need to do for you is a choice.

In every single moment of your life you have a choice.

Creating the life we want for ourselves is completely up to us and our choices. The choices we make on a day to day, moment to moment basis.

Everyday. Every breath. Every moment.

I think that is amazing.

 

Self-Care Promise

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“I have come to believe that caring of myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” – Audre Lorde

“Make a promise to yourself to make her own well-being sacred.” – Unknown

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As life gets busier and busier, I find myself neglecting to do certain things because I feel like I don’t have the time. There are only so many hours in the day, right? Getting up early to practice yoga or meditate most days seems impossible. Eating out or eating a frozen meal seems easier faster than cooking healthy meals. Clean my apartment? Yeah, I’ll do that later. Getting eight hours of sleep a night?  Um, yeah right. I find myself putting too many things on my plate; saying yes to things I don’t really have time for. I’m sure I’m not the only one who lets this happen. Especially when life gets busy, it’s easy to put ourselves last.

Last week, as I was feeling completely exhausted and worn out, it hit me. I need to slow down. Take time for me. Get back into the practice of actually taking care of myself.

Self-care is THE most important thing we can do for ourselves. When we take care of ourselves, we give ourselves the opportunity to be our best selves. There really is no other way. If we neglect to meet our needs, fill ourselves up first, and nourish ourselves from the inside out – we aren’t doing ourselves, or anyone in our lives, any favors.

I like to use the analogy of one of those pyramids made of drinking glasses. One of them on top, with different layers of other glasses below. Pretend you are the empty glass on top. Now imagine you have a pitcher of water. The water represents love, joy, rest, health, time, compassion, and so forth. Instead of trying to evenly fill all the glasses at once, fill your glass first. Fill it up ALL the way until it overflows. When you do that, the overflow from your glass will effortlessly trickle down into the other glasses.

When we fill ourselves first, we have more love, compassion, and joy to spread to others. We are also happier, healthier, and  have more energy and patience. In turn, the time we once thought we didn’t have enough of becomes abundant, and we are able to do everything we need or want to do. Taking care of ourselves enables us to be our best for those people in our lives we love and care about the most.

I am making a promise to myself, right now, before all of you – to start taking better care of myself. I am going to start implementing a morning practice again. Yoga, meditation, journaling. I am also going to start going to bed by 10pm during the week. I am going to get back into cooking healthy meals. No more eating out or frozen meals. I am going to take more baths and find other ways to relax besides mindlessly watching TV. Give myself permission to say no and/or do what I need to do for me.

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I know I feel better when I do all these things, so instead of feeling bad about not doing them, I am just going to start doing them again. I want to feel good, have more energy, lose weight, and be my best self. It’s totally up to me to make these things happen. No one has been stopping me, except me.

I deserve to be happy, healthy, full-filled, taken care of and so do you.

I invite you to join me in making a self-care promise to yourself. A promise to start doing what you need to do for you. Put yourself first. Make better choices. Take care of YOU! Incase you didn’t realize – YOU are the most important person in your life.  

What are you going to do to start taking care of you? What are some of your self-care practices? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comment section below.

Recreate Your Life Story

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One of my blog posts was selected to be a part of the curriculum for the first ever Tiny Buddha e-course called “Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the Hero”. I couldn’t be more honored or excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity! I have been following the Tiny Buddha blog for years now. I thought being a guest blogger on the site was exciting, but this is just a dream come true.

This e-course is amazing and I encourage you to check it out and give it some serious thought. You will not regret it! Lori Deschene, the founder of Tiny Buddha and the woman running this course, is such an inspiration.

Click this following link to find more info about this life-changing e-course:

 

Going with My Gut

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GUT

I recently began flirting with the idea of possibly buying property, most likely a condo or a townhouse. I’m tired of throwing my money away to rent and it is so frustrating that every year, for no reason that I can see or benefit from, the rent goes up and up and up. Also, I love the idea of having a place that is truly my own. Everyone in my life seemed to be on board and think this idea was worth exploring. That made me even more excited!

Last week I met a realtor and last night I met with a mortgage guy. I just started to explore all my options, looking at what I can afford and started learning about how the whole process works. Last saturday I even looked at a place! It ended up being totally gross and not something I was even remotely interested in, but it was still fun to look. I’m due to re-sign my lease at the end of this month, so exactly one week from today.  My plan was to have an idea if buying is something I really, really want to do by the that time and then go from there.

The idea of buying something seemed like a smart move and something I really wanted to do. After talking to the mortgage guy I knew it something that was actually possible for me to do to.  My plan was to take this slow and really explore every option, looking at a ton of properties and wait till I found the perfect fit.

I’ve been doing SO much thinking the last week about my lease, about looking at properties, about finances, about where my life will be in a couple of years. I was feeling just slightly overwhelmed.  I honestly wasn’t sure which way I was going to decide to go with this decision. Also – where the heck would I buy something? I’ve always wanted to live in Minneapolis, but that seems so inconvenient now.

Today I had lunch with (who I consider) my second parents, Joan and Kit Grier. They are my best friend Jenny’s parents. They are moving to Florida in one week to start chapter of their lives, a new adventure. Talking with them today about what lies ahead for them, and what lies ahead for me… I realized that I don’t want to buy a house. Sure, it’s a good investment and I wouldn’t be throwing away my money to rent, but at the same time it takes away something I’m not ready to give up yet.

It takes away the flexibility  and possibility for change that comes with renting. If I look at my life and how much it has changed in the last 2 years, it makes me realize that I still don’t know exactly what I want to be doing, or where I want to be down the road in a couple of years. I know I want to continue teaching more and working at the clinic, but I don’t know what life is going to send my way. If an awesome opportunity comes up for me to move somewhere (where it be to Minneapolis or California), I want to be able to take it without the hassle of selling or renting a house. If my boyfriend and I decide to move in together, it makes that situation less complicated too. I don’t want to be anchored down anywhere just yet. I don’t know exactly what life has in store for me in the next couple years and I LOVE the idea of that. I love the idea of keeping my options open. Not that buying a house would make any of those things impossible, but it adds a level of complication I’d have to deal with that I don’t want to worry about.

I definitely found some clarity today. I wasn’t even talking about the idea of moving when it hit me. The moment I had this realization though, I just knew. My head quieted down enough for me to listen to my heart. My gut is telling me it isn’t the right thing to do, and I always go with my gut. It hasn’t proven me wrong yet. So…I am not going to buy a house. It was fun idea to explore (and I definitely learned a lot), but I am not ready for that yet…and that is ok. I have too many dreams and ambitions that just might lead me down a different path. That path might keep my in Burnsville, MN, which I would be more than ok with, but I’m not ready to decide where I’m going to end up just yet.

So, I’m staying put…for now!🙂

My “Non-Negotiables”

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“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Tony Robbins

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –Life’s Little Instruction Book


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An assignment from my health coach was to come up with “non-negotiable” things that I am supposed to do everyday, no matter what.  The idea is to pick things that are supposed to help ground me, motivate me, bring me home, keep my calm, and support me in the best way. I LOVE this idea. It’s makes so much sense.

Here are the three things I chose:

Yoga        Meditation      Journal

These are things that I did do everyday at one time or another, but the consistency piece was not there. I do notice such a difference in every aspect of my life when I keep up with this stuff. So, I set an intention to make these my non-negotiables and stick to it for good. If only it were that easy…

At first I was doing GREAT with this. My plan was to do them in the morning, because  my evenings are so busy. Also – it’s just an awesome way to start off my day. I got up 15 minutes earlier everyday and did each of these things for just five minutes. This went on for a couple of weeks. I was also going to bed earlier, so that getting up earlier wouldn’t be so hard. Some days if I couldn’t do all three, I’d at least do one of them. It was going well. I was motivated and proud.

Then life got busier, I got lazier and started to slack. I haven’t done my non-negotiables for a couple of weeks now. I will do these things on and off, randomly. But definitely not all three of them, everyday.

Oops.

Why can implementing positive changes into our lives be so hard? This things are GOOD for me and will only help me and inspire me.

So, after beating myself up about this for the last couple weeks I decided to knock that off (what good does it do?) and get back on track with this. I have no reason not to. Just because life gets busy is not a reason to stop doing these things. I need to do them everyday. They are non-negotiable! I know that I will not regret doing these things, ever.

If you had to pick three non-negotiable things to do everyday to help support you, motivate you and ground you…what would they be? No really…think about it! Really think about it and then pick three.

Now I am going to ask you to join me in sticking to those three non-neogtaibles….everyday.

Feel free to share with me what you choose, or don’t. We can help inspire each other! If you’re anything like me, all the motivation and support I can get makes all the difference.

Here’s to making positive changes that stick. We can do this!