4 Tools To Remember Life Is Awesome!

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Let’s just say it…. This life we lead can often be challenging, frustrating, overwhelming, exhausting, and even downright difficult, unpleasant or plain old SUCK!  Or so it seems at the moment…

When I was younger (teens and early 20’s), I went through cycles of time when those seemed to be the dominant experience and it really got me down a few times. While I was reflecting, and possibly inspired by some thoughts from a book that I do not recall now (I used to read a lot!!), I decided I just really didn’t want to do that anymore and I started looking for – and finding – things I like to refer to as “tools”. I even started calling it my “personal toolbox” about 10 years ago.

In the beginning, I mostly called upon the different “tools” when I really felt I needed them; then I started doing some of them regularly to strengthen my resiliency and life enjoyment (aka FUN!) as a preventative and as a new way to live.

As time went on, sometimes prompted by new challenges, I would search more and add more tools to my box. I reached a place several years ago where I was happier than I had ever been in my whole life and it seemed everything would just keep getting better and better! Which seemed hard to imagine at the time…

Then I started feeling funny… Not funny in an enjoyable, playful way, but funny in a sick way. Having been a “health nut” for 20+ years at that point, I delved into my library of reference materials, read, adjusted my diet, searched online, talked to healthcare practitioner clients and friends, consulted with my healthcare practitioner at the time, etc. To no avail, in fact, I just kept feeling worse. Then my father passed away and it just got worse from there.

I felt so crappy that it was all I could do to just continue to make it to work, clean my own house, do laundry and make my healthy foods while doing my compromised best to maintain my relationships. All those great habits seemed to fall by the wayside, one at a time. Exercising got further and further apart and finally just became really low-key and intermittent (like walks through the neighborhood). Several other self-care habits that had been in place for quite some time also started to disappear.

Finally, I met a woman who had gone through her own similar experience and, after working with a specialist (functional medicine doctor) to figure things out, she made large diet, lifestyle, cleansing and healing changes in her life, and her family’s lives, and was healthier than she had been in years. I decided to go for it even though it was minimally covered by insurance and very expensive. I felt that my life, health and happiness were all on the line and you cannot put a price on that!

Now, after two years of working with this doctor, extensive testing, diet experimentation, cleansing and healing, I am definitely feeling better. A couple weeks ago I even started exercising every day (my body demanded it), and an amazing thing happened! What I was doing and how I was doing it made me so happy that all my cells started to tingle and dance around. Then tears started to run down my cheeks because I felt so great… and I realized that I hadn’t felt that way in several years!

This reminded me of the personal tool box that had been collecting dust in my mind. I realize now that I had been building up to that experience by doing some of the other things I started doing several months ago, but I wanted to remind myself of some of my favorites and share them specifically with others because sometimes we all just need something to help pick us up and brighten our day.

Here they are:

1- Meditation – One of the very first things I started with a couple months ago was this. It not only serves to soothe and calm body, mind and soul, but also relaxes, rejuvenates and brings joy and gratitude, especially if you practice the types I do. My current two favorites are Sonia Ricotti (you can get a free meditation by her here) and the Abraham Hicks meditations (you can experience one of my favorites here). I actually purchased Sonia’s Bounce Back system because I really felt like I needed it. It includes a number of meditations and some great music. The meditations in the bundle are specifically designed to set the tone for your day, assist you in creating peace of mind, allowing more abundance in your life, visualizing your life how you would like to create it, and laying the foundation for a peaceful, rejuvenating night’s rest. I also have the set of several meditations from Abraham Hicks for some of the same purposes as well as physical well-being. Both are highly recommended by me.

2- Dancing and movement – When my body first gave me the directive that I needed to start exercising every day or else I would need to go on medication for my blood pressure (which I really did not want to do), I listened by re-incorporating in one of my prior huge loves – exercising by doing some type of dance workout. I have primarily done NIA which combines various types of dance from around the world (modern, jazz and world dance) with other movement forms like martial arts (both harder forms like karate and softer ones like tai chi), as well as yoga and body awareness techniques (Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique) to come up with an hour workout that is not only athletic, but energetically rejuvenating and fun! (you can experience a brief description of their latest workout technique and a little sample of it here). You can also pick up a dvd of this fun workout here. There is a teacher, Chantal Pierrat, who is trained in the NIA Technique that has created her own modification of it and has a DVD out that I have and really enjoy called Soul Sweat (you can get it here). I love this workout! It is not only fun, but challenging, varied in its styles, offers both a 30 and 45 minute version and has a yoga stretch cool down.

3- Music – Over my life, I have listened to music for many, many purposes, as do most people. The power and depth of its impact and influence are beyond words. I highly recommend using it consciously and having a repertoire of styles that speak to you for different reasons, and tucking that info into your toolbox for any moment you need to pull one out to aid you for what you need. Some of the music I really enjoy is fun and playful (think Weird Al), some of it is meditative, some of it energizing, some of it gets you fired up, some of it is relaxing, some of it is inspiring, some of it guides your soul and mind, etc. Here are some of my favorite picks:  fun and playful (Weird Al here and Somebody That I Used To Know – Walk Off The Earth here); meditative and relaxing (Goldmund here and Roy Estel Hughes here); inspiring (Helen Jane Long here and Deva Premal here); energizing (Black Eyed Peas here and American Authors here); and to get fired up (Michael Franti here and Green Day here and here); spiritually uplifting (Deva Premal (see above) and Karen Drucker here and here). I have also done my own personal gratitude meditation while listening to the The Gratitude Song from counselor Mica Akullian, M.S., you can check out here. You simply chant thank you along with the song while thinking of people and things you are thankful for in your mind’s eye. It is really awesome to do!

4- Humor and Laughter. I mentioned in last week’s post that Norman Cousins, an American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate, was stricken by a devastating auto-immune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and was not expected to survive, but brought on a recovery by using intravenous Vitamin C and using daily bouts of intense laughter to aid his immune system. Anyone who has laughed until they have tears running down their cheeks or pee their pants knows exactly how powerful laughter can be. You can be in a low energy place or even in a down and out funk, but laughter of this type can grab you heart and soul and pull you right out of it! Powerful and FUN!!! For some reason, I really get a kick out of the Jimmy Fallon Lip Sync contests and pull them up off and on to get a really good chuckle (see what I mean here and here), but I also enjoy this silly British skit from The Mighty Boosh (here) and there have been a number of really humorous Star Wars voiceovers lately – here are a couple (see here and here).

Looks like I may have to do a Part 2 to this post as I am thinking of a couple other things that I would like to include, but need to get this published. I hope you decide to check some or all of these out and that this post inspires you to create your own Personal Tool Box, tailored to your needs and benefit, so that you can pull out whatever tool you need for any given challenge that comes along.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

Do you already have a Personal Tool Box?   What actions or activities have you found to help you bring yourself to a better place?

We’d love to hear from you!  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other; remember, we are all in this together!

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