Tag Archives: balance

spring has sprung

21 Mar

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photograph by Luisa Brimble 

Spring has officially arrived! Granted this means less when you live in sunny southern California (most winter days felt like spring around these parts) but it does signify a rebirth and renewal no matter where you live. The earth reawakens from her slumber, and explodes with new life. In our own lives, spring can be symbolic of starting new projects, sewing new seeds and coming forth with new ideas. I love the new energy spring brings. I also love that our sweet little boy will be arriving this spring season. He will most definitely be the best thing I have ever hatched in spring!

I had lots of plans yesterday to celebrate the Spring Equinox ( the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north) but I instead had to go with how my body felt and take it easy. At 31 weeks pregnant it seems to be the new normal around here. But that didn’t stop me from thinking (from my couch) about how certain aspects of spring can be incorporated into our daily lives.

RENEWAL

The earth starting to green up represents renewal: clear out the old to make space for the new.

It’s Spring cleaning time! To be honest I have been in spring cleaning mode for the last two months. I think it has something to do with the fact there’s a baby on its way. I’ve been obsessed with cleaning out closets and drawers and saying goodbye to things we don’t need or use. I want the house to feel open rather than cluttered. Brian is not a fan of such activities- that boy loves holding onto things we “might” need one day. But I believe-  if you haven’t used it in the past year, let it go. LET IT GO! Holding on to your old “material stuff” is also a representation of holding on to your old “emotional stuff” in my opinion. We still have a few areas to tackle before I will feel like the job is done but we are almost there.

I also believe that this is the perfect time of year to sage one’s home. Have you ever tried it? I wrote a post about it a while ago that explains the process if you’re interested.

BALANCE

The equal hours of day and night represent balance: a balanced life is a healthy life. Where can you find more balance in your life? I’ve personally realized that I need to find more balance in my work/play life. The last few months have been all about play, downtime and relaxation. Makes sense considering I’ve been growing a human and haven’t been working. I’m not going to lie, it’s been enjoyable but I am starting to feel unbalanced! There are only so many yoga classes one can go to and movies one can see before they start to go crazy. I’m craving order and structure. I miss working and focusing my energy on creative projects. While I know it’s probably not the right time to throw myself fully into work. I have been thinking about how I can find more balance in the day so that part of me still feels alive and well even with impending motherhood.

GRATITUDE

I find that the start of a new season is a good time to give thanks for all the joys, gifts and lessons that the last season brought. What did winter bring you this year? Give thanks for what you have and trust the Universe to continue to bring you more of what will serve your highest good.

What are your thoughts on the spring season?

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“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav

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the four rooms

21 Jul

 

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There is an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a mental, a physical, an emotional, and a spiritual. It is said that most of us live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete person.” Interesting thought, don’t you agree? The idea is based on the principle that when our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in alignment – we can more fully manifest the life we desire. This idea resonates with me. I find that when one of my rooms is out of sorts it affects everything in my life. I feel unbalanced. Off kilter. Anxious. Reactive.

So how does one balance their four rooms?

I pulled some excerpts from the beautiful site The Intentional Workplace that explain how to tend to your four rooms. Again, not my words. Enjoy!

Room one- the mental room 

The power of thought is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Some would say – the most powerful. We don’t usually give a second thought to thinking, but our thoughts are constantly creating our experiences.

The language we use – to think and speak – is the narrative of our inner and outer world . Look around the room you are sitting in now; in the purest sense, everything in it is the product of someone’s thought. Our thoughts are the domain in which we can exercise our greatest control. Not rigid or authoritarian control, but choice. In the moment to moment choices we make, we demonstrate the power of our thought.

The scope of our control over thought continues to be understood through neuroscience. According to a recent study discussed in Nature, researchers stated,“Individuals can rapidly, consciously and voluntarily control neurons deep inside their head.” While it is important not to underestimate the challenge of controlling our thinking (especially where there is history of emotional or physical trauma) the news from science is very encouraging.

We’re entering an era where we understand that our thoughts need not be victims to external influence, but are the epicenter of our own life force and behavioral direction.

Room two- the emotional room 

This is the room where our feelings reside. Neuroscience has shown that our feelings do not simply emanate from one part of our brain (the limbic system), so we can imagine that this room is vast. It encompasses our entire body. You have more neural networks for feeling in your stomach and heart than anywhere else in your body.

Some of us ignore this room. It’s like the extra back room, filled with clutter, that seems like just too much work to organize. Others spend way too much time in the emotional room, reacting on auto-pilot to life’s events, rather than using the knowledge of the mental room for balance.

The tools of emotional intelligence can give us a whole new level of freedom in which to explore this room. We tend to think of this room as a messy place filled with anger, anxiety, resentment, impatience and frustration. While there should be a welcome sign on this room’s door for all of our feelings, remember that this is also the room where calmness, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, love, joy, empathy and compassion live. There is room for all.

The way we breathe is an important clue to how we relate to our emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration are all emotions that contracts us physically (and mentally). These feelings pull us in, forcing our breathing to become very shallow, even halting. Yet, when we experience feelings of contentment, calmness, elation and gratitude, we feel a sense of breathing out – of expansion. Even emotions that some might think of as sad, such as empathy and compassion – provide us with a feeling of release.

I have long contended that every emotion has the potential to be a resource in our lives. Feelings are an exquisite source of information about our experience. They do not lie. They are a blueprint of the truth of our experience. They reliably chart whether we are living our values or not. They brilliantly point to how we are meeting our needs or not.

The emotional room is a powerful place to reflect on your truth. Visit it with curiosity (one of the “neutral” emotions) and leave your judgment by the door. You are there to listen, learn and be humbled by your humanness.

Room three- the physical room 

Being awake and alive requires many of us to basically shift our relationship to our bodies. Most of us are spending too much time “in our heads,” cut off from our senses and the messages from our bodies. Most of the time, we’re not listening – we’re pushing. Our miraculous bodies often take a beating from us and deserve more TLC.

More rest. Better nutrition. More movement. Better posture. More hydration. Less criticism. Less stress. More self-love. It all counts. The body serves us over and over even when we deny its basics needs. How often do we “thank you?”

The core of our being is our breath or Prana in Sanskrit, Ha in Hawaiian and Chi in Chinese. In order to regain our natural connection to our body’s life force, we need to change our relationship to how we breathe. It is the key that unlocks the door between the mind and the body.

As we race from one task to the other, we rarely given our bodies a thought. Too many of our bodies are anesthetized by busyness. The reclamation of our relationships to our bodies should be one of our highest priorities.

Enter the physical room often. Bring your appreciation. Bring your respect. Celebrate this glorious temple of your life.

Room four- the spiritual room 

This room isn’t about doing – it’s about being. It’s doesn’t have to be about religion or ideology. It is the room where your spirit comes alive – where it feels free. It is the room that reflects and shares the immensity of YOU. So many wonderful gifts live in this room – too many untouched.

The gifts in this room don’t have to be marketable, branded, explained, justified or perfect. They simply need the space to go where your intuitive sense takes them.

Living in this room requires that we more closely define what inspires and brings us joy. Whatever the experience – being in nature, working with passion, being with those we love, sharing ideas, caring for those in need, painting a picture, creating a wonderful meal, traveling to places we love – bring us into alignment with the spiritual room.

Whenever we visit this room, we integrate all four rooms in harmony. In this room, we find new sources of creativity, energy and peace. Here we discover what truly feeds us – the source of the real needs behind the endless quest for self-expression.

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project 30 – erin

5 Feb

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Erin, 33  / Erin Joy Henry 

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You are good enough. You are not your career, your bank account, your weight or your ex-boyfriends. Light up the room when you walk in, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I forgive you for being so hard on yourself. Start a self-care regimen, practice yoga and kindness and surround yourself with positive people. If there is too much drama in your life, take responsibility, and ask yourself how you are contributing to it and what you can do to change it. Save ten percent of every paycheck. Build strong friendships with other women, and lift each other up. Soul search until your heart is content.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

The luxury of time. I lived by myself and had a flexible schedule. I ask myself now, what was I doing with all of that time? I could have gotten so many more things done! I could have taken so many naps! Now that I have a baby, time is so precious, but so is he.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

The opinions of people who didn’t have my best interest in mind. Those people naturally fade from our peripheral vision anyway. Why would I have cared what they thought?

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Heading off to India with less than two weeks notice with my friend, Signe, and a group of meditators, to stay for two weeks at an ashram at the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a life changing experience, and I went back by myself the next year. If you are ever called to India( or anywhere) find a way to go. It will never be convenient or the right time, but these are the memories that shape the rest of our lives, and these deep pulls on our heartstrings to visit places are never an accident.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Good question! I was never someone who planned out my life like that. I never had the wedding planned, the career completely sorted or even the place I would be living, though Southern California was always in the back of my mind. I thought I would be on to another career beyond modeling, which is what I had done since the age of 15, and maybe settled down a little, but 30 seemed SO far away!

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I turned 30 while living as a single person in New York City. I had a great career as a model, a cute little apartment, I was writing for small publication and forming some life changing female friendships I am so grateful for 30 still seemed very young. I dated often, though nobody was promising as far as something long-term was concerned. I was happy, but knew I was coming to the end of a chapter. I started longing for more space, clean air and some trees. I also was ready for a real relationship, as I had been single for several years. I started planting the seeds to move to California, though I had no good reason! I just knew that’s where I was supposed to be. I finally made it happen about six months later and went back to school at the same time. I had no idea what I was doing leaving my career in New York, but I had faith it would work out. I walked into the classroom and spotted my now partner of three years, Alex, who is also the father of my fifteen month old son. It was pretty much love at first sight. Things got very stressful for a while, moving my life across the country, but it was obviously the best decision, and I”m so glad I listened to that voice again.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Are you kidding? YES! I was always a person that worried even when things were great, that the other shoe was going to drop and I needed to be prepared for the rainy day. I was a big worrier! It wasn’t until I learned how to meditate, and breathe my way through whatever feeling I was in, that it got better. The thing is, there will always be ups and downs, that’s just the way life is. I learned for me, if I can just stay as present as I can in any moment, I will get through whatever life throws my way. I’ve gotten this far, so why wouldn’t I? Knowing this, I can put more of my energy into the positive things in my life, and be grateful, especially when things are good, rather than taking up space in my mind worrying what may go wrong. It’s still something I work at. Just after my son was born, I worried I would never work again, and another career would never fall into place for me. That was such crazy thinking. I tried my best to be present as a new mom, and enjoy the time I was lucky enough to have to stay home. Months went by, but slowly my old modeling clients started calling again, and the nutrition business I have been working on for years finally came to fruition. I still can’t believe I worried things wouldn’t fall into place. There’s a saying I love- “spirit meets us at our point of action,” meaning, keep plugging along and doing the work, and things will align, but maybe not how or when we thought they would.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

The things that once seemed so hard, are easier. That comes with self-confidence and self-love, that at least I didn’t have so much of in my 20’s. I think in our 30’s we have a much clearer idea of who we are and what we want in life, so the path to get there isn’t so rocky.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope I have a healthy family. I would like to have more children and some dogs, and live in a beautiful place with clean air and a big yard. It will probably be more North of Los Angeles, but I”m not sure where that is yet. I hope to continue working with people on their health goals, working in a career I love. I hope to have really good friends, and be close with my family and my partner Alex. I hope to travel often, and introduce my children to other cultures. I I hope to have financial freedom. I hope I”m still learning, reading books I never though I”d get to, and practicing yoga I never believed I could do. I hope I”m a role model, and that I worry less, and make others feel good about themselves. It’s only seven years away, but forty still seems like an eternity away!

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I am not religious, and if you aren’t either, you can replace the word God with Universe, Spirit or whatever fits for you, but I love this one.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

connect with Erin – blog / twitter / instagram / facebook / pinterest 

inspiration, gratitude & surprises

7 Jun

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what inspired me this week?

Brian’s new photography site went live this week and I LOVE it.

Jen Pastiloff’s Project 30’s Q & A and then this follow-up vlog she did in response to it.

reminding myself that it’s ok to want to slow down a bit the next six months and simply enjoy the small things- taking care of myself is important.

an incredibly sweaty but AH-MAZING yoga class with Tamal and some of my favorite girlfriends Rachel, Katie & Sophie. Tuesday nights are fast becoming my favorite night of the week

“don’t give your mind so much power. most of its inner dialogue isn’t even rooted in reality. it plays upon your fears, insecurities and the more attention you feed it, the bigger the anxieties become. manage your mind, change your life.”
– Grace Yoga

my personal essay writing class at writing pad with Taffy Brodesser-Akner – she might be the funniest person I know.

what am I grateful for this week?

I had a really lovely afternoon visiting with my aunt Michelle and my mom-mom (grandmother) this week. One of the many joys of freelancing is that sometimes you have a Wednesday afternoon available to sit around with two of your favorite women and eat cheese and crackers and sip white wine. My mom-mom hasn’t been in the best health recently and it’s been really hard for me to accept, so moments like these are cherished.

what surprised me this week?

how many damn things one needs to purchase when getting a new puppy 

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