Monthly Archives: September 2016

I like to inspire others to take actively participate in their own healing.

Love Yourself!

Someone recently reminded me that many people believe loving yourself is selfish.   This is absolutely not true!  It is perfectly normal to have compassion upon yourself, to take care of yourself first before you can serve someone else.  It is not intended to ignore the needs of others.  It is merely understanding that in order to help others, you must love yourself first.

I was taught to put others first, to self sacrifice, and basically ignore my own needs.  Living like that, I was very ill.  I could barely help myself.  I could not function and felt guilty for having any needs.  I felt guilty and bad for being sick.  I could hardly stand to ask for help because I felt so unworthy and guilty; therefore, I didn’t receive the help with a positive attitude nor gratitude, which greatly hindered my healing progress.   The greatest barrier to my mental wellness was the lack of love for myself.

In loving yourself, it’s okay to say no when you’re tired and just can’t give anymore.  It’s okay to take a break and put your feet up or go sleep.  It’s okay to eat when you’re hungry.     It’s okay to make choices that are good for your soul.   It’s even okay to pamper yourself!    Let no one judge how you love and take care of your mind, body, and soul.  Be true to you.  Love yourself!

Love is free and unconditional.   When you love yourself, you show others how treat you, and to love themselves, as well.  We are able to heal our emotions, body, and soul just by loving ourselves.  Loving ourselves, first, actually fosters better communication, unity, and service to others.  It brings in more love to share with others.   It brings peace and harmony to the community when we are coming from a place of love and compassion from our own hearts, which, naturally expands to those around us, and the world.   There is no guilt nor shame in loving yourself, only freedom.     Love drives out fear which makes us more accepting and giving to ourselves and others.     Love yourself!

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Confidence Story

I share this story because sometimes I forget there is a process to gaining confidence.  I remember when I was Basic Training while I was in the Army.  In training, one of the tasks is you have to learn how to put on a gas mask.  You put it on clear out the air, then seal it.  I was having  a lot of trouble.  There was a 3 step process, and it had to be done within a certain time limit.  This was 30 some  years ago!

However, I remember in the final test, even after numerous training exercises, I still didn’t have the process down.  I was so scared and nervous going into the final test.  We had to go through numerous field situations where I had to properly put on my gas mask.  I failed in the first one.  I ran straight into a tree when we got tear gassed.  I was trying to run away from the gas.  An officer helped me up.  When I got up, holding on to his arms, I said, “Officer, officer, I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe!”  He said, “Obviously, you’re breathing, soldier, if you’re talking to me right now!”  This was the funniest moment in my training.  Well actually,  I had numerous funny moments but this one takes the cake.   He helped me to calm down, then showed me how to put my mask on properly.

So in the next test, I remembered what he had shown me.  I had been putting it on improperly which is why I couldn’t breathe or I was taking in the tear gas.  My point is, that is how you gain confidence;   you learn, practice, and do it.     If you don’t get it right the first time, keep on trying!  Ask for help if you need some extra assistance!  It’s all good!   Deep breath….

Happy Endings, New Beginnings!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

It’s the last day of the freedom plan blog challenge and now time to reflect.   As I type this, I’m listening to one of my favorite inspirational classical songs, called Canon In D by Johann Pachelbel.  I started listening to it after downloading an album of 50 classical songs for babies when my first granddaughter was born.  I noticed I kept going back to it and wanted to find other versions of it;  like there are some arrangements with the violin, piano, harpsichord, etc.  In my search for other versions, I noticed the song is most often played at wedding ceremonies.    Wow, I am always learning something new!  Being an introspective junkie, I wondered why I liked it so much.  For me, it sounds fresh.  It’s invigorating.  It’s hopeful, delightful, it makes me smile and cry at once.

As we come to the close of the blog challenge, I find myself feeling invigorated, alive, hopeful, delighted, smiling and crying at once.   It was quite the trip as I stretched myself way out of my comfort zone to write a different type of blog post.  I really had to work hard to think about my posts because for me, since my blog is about “Enlightenment and Aha Moments”, the challenge was the aha!.  Looking at my vision, plans, and why I do what I do all created aha moments for me.  It was a bit awkward, but I’m used to writing out my thought processes.  I just had to think about things a little bit differently.

My favorite blog post was the second one because it’s about freedom.  It’s what we all want and strive for in it’s many forms.  It’s the one that made me dig deep to get at the heart of why I write, blog, and share my stories.   It’s also the one that I would go back to when I thought I just couldn’t blog anymore!  Hehehe.   The times when I thought I had enough, that I couldn’t do it, yet I didn’t stop.   Yes, there was a lot of releasing of the old and in with the new.  It was a time of shedding fears to bring in the new me; the one that is emerging from her cocoon.  It is the end of hiding.   It’s a fresh beginning of a new way to live in freedom.   I really am free to be me!  I can only do me like no other!   It’s my time to shine.

I’m taking away from it that confidence and strength to keep going  and expanding , and to not sit idly on my dreams.  I also realized, I’m closer to getting to where I want to be than I thought.  I thought my dream was way off in the distant future, but now I know I can take action steps, gain information, attend some classes to get me there.   I’m going to keep on taking steps to my personal freedom, and take as many people with me as possible!   I’m opening the door, stepping outside to a new adventure or chapter in my life.   Thank you Natalie for this wonderful opportunity.

 

Working Vacation Adventure

Last year, my husband and I went on a phenomenal two month long road trip vacation across the US  for a total of 8,000+ miles!   It was fun and interesting.  We went from Arizona to New Orleans and drove up the Mississippi River historic route all the way to Lake Itasca, Minnesota where the mighty river begins.  He would work for part of the day at he hotel, local library, restaurant or in the car.  Then we would go sightseeing, rest, or travel.

The best part is we planned, before we left home, all the special places we wanted to visit and it was quite the adventure.  If we went to a town where we didn’t have plans, we checked online to see what was happening in the town like an outdoor concert, or special community event   We did have to reroute somewhere in Illinois to get off the path of a tornado.  There were also detours traveling along the Mississippi River due to water on the road.

We stayed in lots of hotels and also rented a room on AirBnb if we were going to be in a town for a while.  On one occasion, we rented a loft for a week, that we found on AirBnb.  The room in the house and the loft were the nicest stays since it was more like home.    If I were to take an extended working vacation in Portugal or perhaps Spain, I would want those types of accommodations.  It’s a nice way to connect with the locals in new places.   We also made a point to avoid chain restaurants to try something new or unique to the area.

There were some places in the northern part of the US where we didn’t have good cellphone service, GPS, nor internet.  It’s definitely something to consider if planning to go on a road trip or somewhere there might not be service.  Still, it was a wonderful trip.   I loved calling my daughter back home on skype to catch up with her and my grand-daughters.

Connections with others, nature and landmarks are important to me no matter where I am working.   Life is sweeter when it is spent with others, and maintaining a spirit of adventure, which brings openness and an awareness of the majestic beauty of our world.   It also inspires new ideas for creating the life we want to live and the legacy we will leave to the future generations.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9

Tai Chi In The Park

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8

 

Before I learned of today’s blog challenge, I had already planned my adventure.  I started attending Tai Chi sessions about a year ago, and this was my fourth time.  It’s at a park about 30 miles from home, and I love it, but I just haven’t fully committed myself to the drive.  I leave early so that I don’t have to rush up there.   I mean, what’s the point if I speed through traffic to do an exercise that is slow and gentle?   Besides, I generally like to drive at a slower speed.  Every time I go, I say to myself, “I really wish I would do this more often!”  I really love the park.   I love being outside.  It’s the nicest experience of exercising slowly.  I love the people and the leader, too.

I know the first time I did it, I thought, “Oh my, I knew we were going to go slow but this is slow (in a good way)!”   The movements are slow and deliberate, easy form, gently moving your energy, and lots of breathing!   It has a surprising relaxing and peaceful effect on my mind and body.   It feels soothing to  the soul.   It makes me smile and shine from the inside out.     The entire experience served as great reminders to:   Relax, take it easy, make deliberate choices, spend time with people who brighten your day, love your yourself, and just breathe.

Dilly-dallying

Today’s blog challenge is to write about how I plan to work through or move beyond procrastination.  There are countless ways people waste their time and sabotage their success.  For me personally, writing is a big deal.  Words, language, and expression in its many forms is very important to me.  Yet, many times I neglect it.  I want to be clever, funny, and eloquent in my writing, and since I know it’s not perfect, I dawdle and take my time.  Writing is healing for me, and it’s also one of the ways I get my aha moments.   So when I don’t do it, I’m actually stalling my personal growth and inspiration.  I overthink, over analyze, over critique everything and pretty soon, I’ve got nothing!

When I think about all the time I  waste on not doing something, I know it’s just a waste of time.  I know it’s going to come together.  There will be some perfecting, editing, and tweaking to do.  I may as well get started, right?   I love to be around little children, and watch them learn and play.  They don’t start off running around getting into everything.  They cry, squirm, scoot, crawl, stand, lots of falling, little steps, fall, get back up, and soon enough they’re running!  Most of their growing years and learning to solve problems is through play.  Sure, they might get frustrated, and sad, but they keep trying until they get it right.   They get some coaxing, comforting and praise or feedback from their caregivers.   They laugh with glee when they get it right, too!   I think it’s a very good model to follow.

Your initial work won’t be perfect.  It will have errors.  You will look back later and wonder stuff like:   What was I thinking?  Why did I think that was a good idea?  Why did I write that bull crap?  It doesn’t even make sense!  When I find myself doing this, I just laugh, hug myself, dust myself or keyboard off, and get back up.   It’s going to be okay.

In order to perfect my craft, I let go of the idea of perfection.   When, I started this blog challenge, I hadn’t written anything in a long time except for a little bit of writing here and there for my next book. This is helping me get back on track.   I’m going to keep up the momentum!  I’m so proud of myself.  This is my 7th blog post in a row!  Oh, in case  I forget to do it later, thank you!    Remember to be grateful and celebrate your successes, it helps to keep the momentum going!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7

Amazing Coaching

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

I’m just going to be honest here and and admit I initially balked at the idea of a coach or mentor. I had been dealing with all flavors of mental health workers for decades so I thought after I did all my healing work, I was good to go.  I could go start my new life on my own with nobody’s help.  It soon occurred to me, I was very misguided.   See, I had spent so many years dealing with mental illness, I thought I would struggle with it for the rest of my life.  Well, I got better and had to change my course.  I no longer structured my life around psychiatrist and therapy appointments.  So I wondered, “What do I do now?”  I didn’t need therapy, however, I could use coaching to discover my next step steps and purpose in life.

I had to change my mindset from the mental patient to whole person who has a purpose in this life beyond merely surviving and existing.  I slowly learned to make choices and take steps in order to create or reinvent myself by working with coaches.  As I opened myself up to coaching, my life slowly transformed into ways I never imagined nor dreamed.  I learned how to trust my intuition, accept, believe in, and love myself; I have a voice and stories to share with the world.   I have already worked with some wonderful, talented, very patient, and compassionate coaches.   Did I mention patient? I’m very thankful to the coaches I’ve worked with so far.

However, I would love to ask Loretta LaRoche, author and stress management consultant, how she got to started in that work, and can be so lighthearted around serious people?   Many years ago, while I was deep into depression, I read some of her books.  Her books inspired me to use humor to handle the stresses of life.   She is funny and hilarious.  It’s really hard to stay stressed and depressed while reading her books or watching her videos.  I’ve also always wanted to meet her, give her a hug, and say thank you.

 

Balance For Success

This blog post was challenging since right now I don’t have a routine but somehow I get work done.   When I was in the Army, I remember getting up at 4:30 in the morning so we could “be all that you can be in the Army”.   The structure and routine was good for me since I was young and undisciplined.   However, after my military service ended, I no longer needed to do Army stuff and I wasn’t sure what to do with my time.  I didn’t structure it and later having kids with no routine just made my life more complicated.  At least when they started school, I had to get up, prepare meals and take care of life maintenance stuff by a certain time.  Now I am well beyond those days and finding myself with the need to restructure again, since now I know it’s important for my own well being.

My years of struggling with my mental health has also taught me there are some things that are non negotiable.  Actually, anytime your mental or physical health has declined, it is a good sign that something is out of balance.  It means to take a look at what you’re  doing, notice areas where you neglected yourself, and do some self care.  It took me a long time to realize this, too.  I believe success is an abundant life of health, wealth, relationships, and happiness.  I schedule my days around what creates the most meaning to me within the context of what is success.

In the morning, about 5:00, I walk or bicycle for a strong mind and body.

6:00 Clean up and put on clothes suitable for the day.

6:30 it’s breakfast and coffee; must fuel the body to be efficient.

7:00 I meditate for clarity and centering.   This is a very important part of my mental health, spirituality, and healing.

Much of my day will depend on client schedules but will include:

Check email, notes, and see what’s on the calendar.

Prepare to see clients.

Short break between clients.

Lunch or light healthy snack to rejuvenate.

Work on material for workshops.

Write for my blog, journal or letter to a friend.

Spend time with friends or family.

Play or get away for an adventure.

Time to prepare and eat dinner.

Network and collaborate with others for new projects and ideas.

Sleep for at least eight hours.  I simply do not function on little sleep.  I know some people can stay up late and get up early but that’s not me.  I’m also a morning person, therefore, I shut down at night.  It’s important to know your personal rhythm and what your body needs.   Most importantly, I strive to be flexible for changes in the schedule and make sure I’m not compromising myself.  It’s all about balance!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superpower Wizdom

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

Today’s blog post is about my superpowers and what I like to do.  Learning I have superpowers has been my ultimate aha moment!  This is like writing a resume except it’s who I am without my credentials or degrees.  These are my character strengths.  My superpowers and what I like to do tie in together beautifully and directly to my goals as an empowering, motivational, healing, and inspirational author, healer, and coach.  My superpowers:

I like to have fun, or make the best of a bad situation.  When I have to do a challenging task or just something I don’t want to do, I sing, play music, or dance while doing it.  I also believe in the healing powers of laughter.

I write and tell stories about my personal healing journey to inspire others.   Others frequently tell me they were inspired by my book or something I wrote.

I am resilient; I’ve been through a lot of stuff and lived to tell about it.  This means I don’t give up on myself.  It also means I’m very patient with others.  I know it takes time to make those baby steps before progress can be made.  Even if it’s a tiny step, that’s progress.   I’m not just a survivor but I’m thriving after years of trying to just get better.  I have overcome more than I ever imagined.

I am sensitive and compassionate.   I know what it’s like to struggle with things.  I’ve needed my own therapists and supportive soul purpose coach.  Sometimes, I just didn’t get things done unless someone was standing on the sidelines cheering me on.  While I was putting the finishing touches on my book, I was struggling with doubts about my ability to actually get it published.  I could not remember how to do some basic wordprocessing since I hadn’t done it in decades.  My coach said to me, “Sophia, you’re a strong woman with a beautiful heart.  You got this!”  To this day, I still remember those lifegiving words and they echo in my heart and mind to keep going.  In order to heal myself, I had to learn to be gentle with me and compassionate.  Basically, I’ve been given it and it’s what I live.    I pay it forward.

I believe in magic.  I use positive energy and positive thinking everyday.  It is how I healed with the help of my therapist.  It is what took me out of years of darkness and now into the light.  I believe anything is possible by just believing in yourself, therein lies your magic, work it!  Belief in yourself is powerful.

 

 

I like to inspire others to take actively participate in their own healing.

My Perfect Day

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

I wake up just before the sun rises, say a quick prayer, stretch and jump out of bed.  I munch on a granola bar as I fill my water bottle, and get my gear ready for an hour’s bicycle ride on my red Trek Navigator.   Before I leave the house, I give my husband a kiss, and tell him it’s time to get up.  When I return home, I jump in the pool for a nice cool down then take a quick shower.  After I’ve showered and dressed, I start a pot of coffee and fry a couple of eggs in coconut oil.

After breakfast, I go into my room to meditate, pray, and center myself.  I walk down the hall to my home office to check emails and voice mail.  I’ve been busy lately traveling around the country for workshops and book signing tours.   The workshops I attend are part of a movement in the mental health field on raising awareness of the holistic healing of the mind and body.  Many mental health professionals and advocates are collaborating to change the way people presenting with mental illness symptoms are treated.  They are inspired by my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself!  I make a few calls to accept or decline offers.  My wonderful assistant gently knocks on the door and enters.  We greet each other and I tell her my dilemma of balancing my time.  She lovingly suggests video conferencing.  Yes!

The doorbell rings and my first client of the day has come to work out in my home gym.  It’s a simple program of offering exercise equipment and assistance to women who want to work out in privacy and a little encouragement along the way.  I also give table talk wisdom, energy healing, and inspiration for those who request it.  After an hour, the next client arrives.  She has brought her two small children with her since she is a stay at home mother and doesn’t have a baby sitter.  My assistant and I provide fun activities for them like coloring, reading and playing with toys while she exercises.   After one more client, it’s lunch time.   My assistant and I eat a salad together and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.

After lunch, I head down to the community center where I co-lead a Laughter Club.  It’s a blast as always and the numbers are growing.  I head back home, it’s the perfect time to work on my next book for about an hour.  I sit on my comfy patio chair near a lovely water fountain, blooming plants, and surrounded by crystals.  It’s the perfect setup to inspire my stories and daydream.  I write for about an hour then I allow my eyes to rest for a quick snooze to rejuvenate.

When I am ready, I start dinner and prepare for when my family arrives to have a sit down meal with them.   Everyone is happy we’re having my favorite meal again; it’s spaghetti and meat balls with garlic toast!   After dinner, everyone chips in to clean up.  Then we watch TV or play our favorite board games before jumping in the pool for pool games.  I wind down with a hot bath and drift off into sleep land with my husband by my side.