Why I decided to be more vulnerable in 2019

I have struggled with lonliness for the better part of my life. I have always been connected to my family and have been blessed with great friendships through the years. So from the outside, it would seem odd that this is an issue for me. However, the feelings of connectedness and closeness come from our friends and family responding to our vulnerability.

All. The. Cold Sweat.

I pride myself on being strong and steady. I feel ashamed to have big emotions. Just like everyone else, I want to appear to have my shiz together. I avoid the V word to the point of isolation.

Statements like if they really knew me, they would judge me or not be my friend plague me regularly.

It has been a process for me to begin to be vulnerable with my closest people beyond my husband. Somehow I have been able to be open up to him which is in part why our marraige has been very fulfilling to me. Here is what I have learned so far. Vulnerability is so much easier when you love yourself.

Think about it. When you don’t love all of you and are afraid to show people the less than stellar parts, the space between you and vulnerability is like the Grand Canyon. You will need all the courage you can get to make the leap across.

But when you love yourself, and I mean all of you, you don’t worry so much if someone else doesn’t. And when you’re less afraid of rejection, you step right into that place of openness. Vulnerability takes practice. Just like any other skill

So this year, I will practice vulnerability. One day at a time.

Why you need to review your year before planning the next

Goal setting.

New Years Resolutions.

Intentions.

We have all heard these words on repeat recently. We might dislike this seemingly random pressure as we begin another year. We already have so much on our plates. A list of things to be more perfect doesn’t help. Or we might love the chance for a fresh start.

No matter how we approach the new year, the end of the year is a natural time of reflection, whether we embrace it or not.

Where I fear I have failed, I have an opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. Where I fear the year has been less than I hoped. Reflection allows me to see that there are so many things to celebrate.

Taking time to intentionally reflect and write allows me to see and recognize growth I might otherwise have missed.

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Let’s use this time to celebrate the victories no matter how small. Let’s look back on our year not with a harsh hand but with kindness.

We can use this as an opportunity to check in with what went right, what didn’t, and what just went.

Let’s review lessons learned. Gleaning what will benefit us as we move ahead.

Take a moment to truly soak in what brought you joy. What resonated. We can use this to enter the next season with more purpose. Aligning our lives with our greatest desires.

Why is it so hard to hold on to the good that happens in our lives?

The hard things are like super glue. Our old brain were so useful in keeping the human race alive for generations when most threats were life and death. However, for most events in our modern day life, we don’t need that super glue. We need something lighter. Like a sticky note. What we do need is super glue for the good stuff. The reflection exercise below can help us reflect more lightly on the hard things and more powerfully on the good.

Check out this list below as you take 15 minutes to reflect. I will join you all for this in Instagram and Facebook LIVE and link it here. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.

To get started, take a few grounding breathes. Inhaling through the nose. Exhaling out the mouth. Now, let’s rewind together.

Happiest new year. Be well beautiful friends.

Ethical Gift Ideas That are Sure to Delight Your Partner

Hello Lovelies,  Have I shared about my incredible friends recently?  These amazing women have taken ethical purchasing to the next level.  They use their dollars to support what they believe in.  That is our power ladies!  One of these beauties does not succumb to fast marketing or fast fashion.  She always looks incredible and she can walk through Target and not buy any clothing.  She is my hero.
My friend Amy is gorgeous, pregnant with her second baby, and is helping all of us shop more ethically all the time not just during the holidays in her Noonday Shop.  Amy and I have known each other for over a decade.  We both found our passion for yoga together.
For several years, we had an intimate little studio in my living room that met every Monday night.  Some of my fondest memories of those years is our practice together.  We would follow our ritual each week lighting candles and brewing steamy cups of tea to make the space perfectly hygge.  We were into self-care before it was a trend.  Amy is an incredible woman inside and out.
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Here is a quick interview I did with her about Noonday, an online shop filled with unique jewelery and accessories handmade by Artisans across the globe.  Yay for unique items, but the best part for me is that they are committed to fair trade.
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Bex: How did you find out about Noonday?
AFB: I work in international development. I was at a conference giving a presentation and was distracted by my colleague’s earrings. After the meeting, I confessed that I had been coveting them during the presentation. It turned out that she is a Noonday Ambassador and got me hooked on the organization’s mission to build a better world.

Bex: What made you decide to join the Noonday team?

AFB: Jewelry is such a great entry point for people in the U.S. to learn about other countries and to help on a micro-level. After working in international development for over a decade, I’ve come to believe that helping individuals on a small scale is the most effective way to lift communities. The fact that it also helps families in the U.S. who are in the adoption process is an additional bonus!

Bex: What is your favorite thing about Noonday products?
AFB: I love that everything is a little different and has a story. You can feel connected to the people who made it. Also, I love unique earrings, of which Noonday has a wide selection!
Bex: How can people shop the collection?
AFB: Lots of ways! Shop my website anytime or contact me through the website to host a trunk show. There are so many of benefits to hosting, but mostly its an excuse for a great afternoon with friends playing adult dress up 🙂
Ok friends.  It’s that simple.  Fun, friends, ethical gifts, using your money to support positive business.  This is an awesome chance to source some incredible, unique gifts.  I highly recommend checking Noonday out during your holiday shopping.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of these ideas.  Stay tuned for a few more leading up to the New Year.
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Yoga poses that will make Thanksgiving remarkably blissful

Blissfully Calming Yoga Poses to Kick Holiday Stress to the Curb

Hello beautiful people.  I wanted to share with you a practice to keep you present and grounded throughout this week.  Here are 7 yoga poses to practice if you would like to take control of your joy over Thanksgiving.  They can be done as a short sequence or selected one by one, holding for anywhere between 10 breaths and several minutes.


1. Mountain Pose

Place your feet hips width apart or wider on the ground. Connect the feet to the ground and ensure that the toes are not gripping.   Spend a moment to note whether you can feel each foot connection point on the ground beneath you. Grow taller with your breath, as you feel the chest rising and falling with the breath. Keep the palms facing forward to open yourself up to receiving positive energy and calmness.

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2. Standing Forward Fold

This is an instantly calming pose known to relieve stress and fatigue while energizing the body as the blood flows to the head. Hold this pose with a gentle or generous bend in the knees and shoulders free of tension.

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3. Seated Forward Fold

Stretch your legs long in front of you and fold forward.  Take note of how the hamstrings feel nothing that the stretch should come from the middle of the muscle.  Find length along the spine.  Feel free to generously bend the knees. Even resting the forehead on the knees.  Remember this is a restorative practice.  We aren’t giving out medals for the bendiest person.

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4. Warrior II

Warrior II is an extremely powerful pose.  Stand tall, stand strong, and settle into your pose. Try closing your eyes. Feel the muscles in the body working to hold you steady as you connect to the absolute power that resides within.  Reach both in front and behind with the arms, stretching the body wide.  Remind yourself in this practice that you control you and your responses.  This is your power friends.

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5. Child’s Pose

A restorative pose for instant calm! Keep toes towards each other and knees as wide as your mat.  Gently reach your arms long on the mat resting the forehead.  Try rocking the forehead left to right on the mat for added massage and relaxation.

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6.  Legs-Up-the-Wall

If you only have time for one asana, please work this into your day.  I love to do legs up the wall just before bed.

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 7. Savasana

Savasana is THE relaxation pose. It truly encourages the body to come to a still position and just breathe, bringing us naturally to a more peaceful state.  Lay down on your mat, the floor or your bed.  Splay the feet out to the sides.  Check in that the lower back is connected to the floor.  Adjust the pelvis as needed.  Drop the shoulders away from the ears.  Tuck the chin slightly so that the muscles along the back of the neck length along the mat or floor.  Breath naturally.  Soak up the bliss.

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Bonus: Meditation

Find a comfortable seat.  Take a few long slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  You can count the breaths as an anchor to keep you focused.  One on the inhale, two on the exhale, three on the inhale, and so on until you get to ten.  Then you can start again.  Start with one minute.  You can build from there, a little more each day.  Remember, this is about your intention.  If you are taking the time to slow down and be intentional, then you are meditating!  Keep up the good work friends.

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Just a few minutes can bring you to a place of absolute calm, preparing you to enjoy this holiday season with an energized body, calm mind, and full heart.  Please send me a message if you have questions about this practice.

Happy Thanksgiving lovelies.

Here are a few items I love to keep my practice comfortable.



Meditation 101: tips and how to’s for beginners

Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits, and a Beginner’s How-to

by: Inner IDEA

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist — so how do you learn how to meditate?

“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. It’s a family of activities, not a single thing,” University of Wisconsin neuroscience lab director Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., told The New York Times. And different meditation practices require different mental skills.

It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind.”  In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.

CONCENTRATION MEDITATION

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.

In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.

OTHER MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response” after conducting research on people who practiced transcendental meditation. The relaxation response, in Benson’s words, is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”

Since then, studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation

Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice yields long-term benefits, and noting positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. Yet it’s worth repeating that the purpose of meditation is not to achieve benefits. To put it as an Eastern philosopher may say, the goal of meditation is no goal. It’s simply to be present.

In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is the liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. The liberated or “enlightened” practitioner no longer needlessly follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.

Here are some helpful tools I use to support my practice: