Welcome Joy.

Joy lifts the heart and nourishes inner peace.

What’s the spark and what’s the fuel?

The Practice:
Welcome joy.

Why?

Positive emotions—such as feelings of gratitude, love, and confidence—strengthen the immune system, protect the heart against loss and trauma, build relationships, increase resilience, and promote success. Based on studies that have already been done, if a drug company could patent a happiness pill, we’d be seeing ads for it every night on TV.

Technically, emotions can be organized along two dimensions: intensity (how strong they are) and hedonic valence (how good they feel). Tranquility, for example, has low intensity but can feel really really good, a profound inner peace.

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From Monkey Mind To Mindfulness

Although it feels like New Years was weeks ago, we are still very much in the conversation of "New Year, New You!" Even though every January we tend to engage in a dialogue about what we can do to revamp or upgrade our lives, each year we see a few new concepts or practices added to the "what's trending now" lists. In the past few years, the concept of mindfulness or being mindful has become a crucial part of the self-care conversation. 

From the boardroom to the kindergarten classroom to centers and apps dedicated to the practice, mindfulness trainings are widespread and have become mainstream. Credited with reducing stress and anxiety and having several other physical and mental health benefits, mindfulness is often defined as the practice of bringing your full mind to a singular object or situation or, as Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and leader in the field of mindfulness, defines it, mindfulness is "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally." 

Although being totally present to one thing for even five to ten minutes might seem like a no-brainer, for many it is a challenge. Described as a practice that takes practice, many beginners are encouraged to practice mindfulness by bringing their attention to day-to-day activities, even something as simple as drinking a cup of tea or eating food. We are urged to smell the food, taste the food, chew the food, and truly be in the experience of the food. 

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Let Us Not Forget the Healing Power of Touch

With the recent #metoo and #timesup movements, I’ve been thinking a lot about touch.


The focus lately, of course, has been on the wrong kind of touch.


The kind that makes us feel shame and fear and anger.


Used, violated, helpless, traumatized.


Powerless.


The uninvited kind.


The kind that crossed a line.


The kind that has put women on guard, time and time again, and made them leery of being touched.


The kind that destroys a healthy relationship with touch.


A world full of women are walking around with PTSD of one level or another from being touched inappropriately.


And yes, many men, as well.


Say what you will about social media, but it has helped birth a movement which is determined to change this story of power and disrespect.


But today I want to say good things about touch.


How it heals.


How it’s a basic human need.


How living without it can make us emotionally and physically sick.


I learned a great deal about touch when I studied Ayurveda.

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How The Divorce Diet Became The Integrity Advantage

As you may know, this past week, my first book, The Integrity Advantage, was released. It was a pinnacle moment filled with a smorgasbord of emotions. It quickly turned into a somewhat surreal experience watching this baby being birthed out into the world, seeing people holding the book in their hands, and knowing that they would soon be reading my words.


Many people have asked me why I committed to this concept of integrity as a way of life a few years ago. I was recently invited to write a guest blog addressing what motivated me to write this book and what I hoped the reader would get out of it. Since it was my own pain and chaos of living out of integrity that brought me to living and realizing the advantage of living an integrity-guided life, I thought I would share the blog here. 

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Does Everything Really Happen for a Reason?

When we are going through a difficult period in our lives, or are dealing with a crisis, it can feel like our lives are over. I’m sure that these last few months have felt very challenging for you, as they have for me, with the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and, the most recent, the shooting in Vegas! During these challenging times, many well-meaning people will say things like “well, everything happens for a reason,” or “behind every gray cloud, there’s a silver lining.” Oftentimes, it is these types of statements that make us want to scream at the top of our lungs, “you just don’t understand, nothing will ever be the same” or “leave me alone … you have no idea.”


When we are in the midst of such periods, these age-old sayings can be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to believe. I get it. I have been the one to say it … and the one to scream … all at different times.


But, what if it were true? What if everything really does happen for a reason? What if we lived from a perspective that every experience that we have in life is designed to be an opportunity for growth, expansion, awareness, and dare it be said … for Love?


Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been lucky enough to have had some rough patches; but, experiences that, when looked back upon, can be seen with appreciation. Others have lived through downright catastrophes – where there seems to be no good reason whatsoever. Broken hearts, financial ruin, abuse or even the death of a loved one can leave us with more questions than answers. The why’s of it all, no doubt, cause pain, sadness, anger, illness and depression. We all see these challenges differently. For some, the pain is so devastating that they can’t get out of bed; while others can take what happened, and turn that energy into motivation. Why such different responses in similar circumstances?

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Transforming Suffering Into Grace

When you look back at your own life, you see that with the suffering you went through, you would have avoided it each time if you possibly could, yet when you look at the depths of your character now, and the fact that you’re sitting here doing this work, you see it’s all a product of those experiences.

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The Freedom of Yes – Allowing Life to be Just as It Is

I often quote the psychologist Carl Rogers, who said, “It wasn’t until I accepted myself, just as I was, that I was free to change.” In other words, this acceptance — this recognizing what’s going on inside us and this deep unconditional tenderness — is the prerequisite to change.

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Where Does It Hurt? Healing the Wounds of Severed Belonging

I recently heard about a man who attempted to sneak his pet turtle onto a flight by placing it between two buns and wrapping it in a KFC wrapper. When he was discovered, he told the officials that he just couldn’t leave his beloved pet at home.

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Is It Time to Let Go of Being a Victim?

There comes a time in our lives where we make a decision. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice and sometimes it stems from an experience that we can no longer deny. Either way, we arrive at a point in our lives where we know or feel that it is time to move forward.

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My ego overpowered my intuitive understanding

This past week, I posted a inspiration from Lao Tzu. It said “ The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.” Intuitive understanding. That's a huge concept to learn and apply to one's life and it jettisoned me back to the afternoon when I was kicked by a mule. How does one distinguish bravery and overcoming fear with intuitive understanding?

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A catastrophic bump in the road

As the needle pierced my skin, my eyes rolled back in my head with relief. Modern drugs are amazing. I knew the pain was still there but finally the intensity had subsided. Drunk on the drugs and drifting in and out of consciousness my body responded in relief. We had been at the hospital emergency for what felt like hours and up until this point, I had been refused any pain medication due to preeminent surgery. My husband rushed me to the hospital from our small town medical clinic when the doctor there was unable to find a pulse in my ankle – inferring I might loose my leg.

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The real Kicker

The looks I receive when someone asks how I was injured are actually quite comical. “Really? A mule kicked you?”. “Yes” I say, and “I am so grateful”. That's the real kicker – to be grateful for the mule, the injury and that Spring day in 2010, when my life took a HUGE turn. It's been one eye-opening journey and I would NEVER trade it in for anything.

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