Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

The Joy of Listening

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Listen carefully because I need to tell you something really important…We don’t listen. Yes! It is so true. None of us (or very few) truly listen to each other or to our bodies. We often don’t even listen to the small voice inside–you know the one you may call intuition or your gut that is your innermost guide to what works for you.

We don’t listen to our spouses, our children, our families or our friends. We don’t listen to clients. We don’t listen.

As a part of my course in Nutrition at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, listening is taught as a very important concept for both personal wellness and coaching others. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So why don’t we do it?

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Well we all have our reasons. Usually it’s because we are thinking of ourselves or thinking about what we are going to say next. Often it’s because we think we are smarter or know better than the person that’s talking. Sometimes it’s because our minds are wandering or fretting over all the things on our to do list. It may be because we are distracted with social media (put your phone down please!) or television or our kids or our dogs. I mean seriously could we have any more distractions in our lives?

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So I am going to be brutally honest here—isn’t listening the only way we really learn and help others? As I really started to think about the reason that I personally don’t listen the way I should to my family or my clients I learned that for me it’s a matter of time. I’m always in a hurry. I never feel like I have the “luxury” of listening. And I think that is really sad. It goes back to my post last week on “having my plate too full”. I realized I feel this constant pressure to get things done and so every meeting, every encounter whether with friends or family or my business associates or vendors I am in a race against the clock to blurt out all the important things that I feel must be said before that imaginary buzzer in my head sounds and tells me it’s time to move on to the next thing. And I wonder why I always feel so stressed!! Living in this self-imposed fight or flight mode has the cortisol pumping 24-7 in my body and the repercussions on my health and relationships is detrimental.

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Then I started thinking about the JOY that comes with listening. And I am depriving myself of that connection with others when I am harried and on a deadline for every conversation. It is most evident when I think about my pre-teen daughter. I want more than anything else to stay connected with her as she grows like my mom has connected with me. And I’ve now had the light-bulb moment about listening and I realize this means clearing my plate so that I have time to listen to her. Real time. Eye contact. Being fully present.

And that is not semi-listening while on my laptop. It’s not pseudo-listening while I am cooking dinner. It’s real listening maybe while we go for a walk, or drive in the car or head out for a frozen yogurt and sit across from each other and smile. I have been drawn to a quote for a while that says “Time without attention is worthless”. These are powerful words. I think it goes to the heart of idea of quality time. But I feel like quality time has become one of those things that Americans give lip service to, don’t you? Most of us consider it “time with family” if we are in the same room or house with them while we multi-task on a million different things. And then there’s the problem of not listening to ourselves.

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Yes, there is the whole debacle of me not listening to my body. Seriously, could it scream any louder when I am out of balance. I suspect some of you can even hear it screaming where you are right now, ha! But all joking aside, when your joints ache and your pants don’t fit and your feet hurt and your brain is foggy, wouldn’t an intelligent and logical person listen? One would think, but so few of us do. That’s why we are all overworked, sleep-deprived, stressed out, and depressed. It’s why we need alcohol and anti-depressants, mindless TV and Facebook to numb us from hearing that persistent voice inside telling us exactly what we already know, but don’t want to hear. For me the message is SLOW DOWN! DO LESS! RELAX! It’s saying please, please, please I beg of you to go up to your yoga room, or take 20 minutes and meditate, or go out for a walk and breathe all that fresh air! What message is your body telling you?

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So I am turning my focus now not to listening (ironically), but to getting things off my plate. My need to open up whitespace in my life, to prioritize and say no. I need to remove more deadlines and stress and quite honestly to love myself more. This is the only way I will be able to listen—truly listen, to those precious people and clients and colleagues that are most important to me. And it is definitely the only way I will ever hear myself.

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I know in my heart and in my gut that listening is one of the things that can bring me the most JOY this year. I want to listen to my heart, my loves and my body more than ever before.

Will you join me in finding the Joy in listening? Tell me your answer—I’m listening.

Joyfully yours,

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Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Finding Your Passion

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Passion. It’s what sets me on fire. It’s what drives me. It is what has made me work like a dog for 17 years–or really my entire life. But don’t get me wrong. I have loved working that hard because I am passionate about Interior Design and product design, and I am even more passionate about being an entrepreneur. Building businesses, creating revenue streams, reaching my business goals–these things keep me up at night and get me up in the morning. Work. It’s what I do. I am passionate about my work.

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And yes, it can be hard. But I am one of the lucky ones. My passion is my purpose. I have never had to make a living doing something that doesn’t inspire me, that isn’t fun, that I don’t like. I work in my passion every day. And yes there are days that my job is hard and moments that are less fun than others. There are days that I wish I could rest, but I don’t. I push harder. I work a little longer. I make my dreams happen. Why? Because I can’t NOT do it.

So what is Passion? Well it is defined in a few ways…

  1. An intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
  2. The state or capacity of being acted upon by external agents or forces
  3. A strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object or concept

And when it comes to my passion(s) these all make sense. I definitely feel “an intense, driving feeling” and sometimes like I am being “acted upon by external forces”.  And my passion is certainly a “devotion to an activity or concept”. I can’t turn it off. Working at what I love is not elective or optional for me. And because of that, I have a really hard time stopping or relaxing. For better or worse, my passion is often all consuming.

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My daughter is 10 and a half and she is crazy about baking. She says she wants to own a bakery when she grows up. I don’t know if she will really want that when the time comes to choose a career, but at the very least I believe it will be her passion for the rest of her life. She bakes several times a week and often everyday. She feels a “devotion” to baking.

She loves cooking too. She cooks her own meals and often cooks my husband’s even though I cook all the time and would be happy to prepare meals for the family. They have the same tastes in food and she loves to take good care of her daddy. She never thinks of baking or cooking as a chore.

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And although I have an extremely busy life myself full of my own passions, I am having a fun time being her trusty baking assistant. I think it is important to help her pursue her interests and dreams. I think it’s critical for me to invest in her passions at an early age. Plus her creations are so pretty and delicious and she’s getting orders from our friends and my clients, how could I not support that?

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And she’s going after her dreams in a big way. The week before last she made a chocolate chip bundt cake for the family of a close friend of ours who passed away, she made 3 dozen cupcakes for another friend of mine to deliver to the doctors and nurses that helped my friend through cancer treatments, she made 4 dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies for her classmates because they were studying the Ghirardelli company and the history of chocolate. That same week she also made the birthday cake for one of my very favorite clients, another bundt cake for a friend, and 2 dozen cookies for my nephew who is away at college. Whew! And if that weren’t enough, she and I made Chocolate French Macarons and 15 mini loaves of Banana Bread in our spare time. This week she was back at it again making 3 dozen cupcakes for my friend and spa-owner’s business event. And though I make sure she is safe, she does all of this baking and cooking on her own with very little help from me.

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Do you know what I call her love of baking that happens every single day including week nights and all weekend long? Crazy?..Well maybe. Exhausting?…Sometimes. But what I really call it is passion. My little chef and mini entrepreneur is passionate about baking. She never grows tired of it. She’s always up for making a new recipe whether it’s early in the morning or late at night. I think it may really be her purpose. It will be fun to watch her life unfold and see if she thinks so too long term. At the very least, it’s her purpose right now. She’s making people happy with her confections. And it keeps her happy, and energetic, and out of trouble, and from being bored. It gives her confidence. It feeds her soul. And if she’s not in the kitchen concocting something, she’s watching a cooking or baking show like Master Chef Jr. or the Kids Baking Championship on TV or Netflix and planning her next meal or recipe.

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This child literally “eats” and breathes baking and cooking (pun intended) and every gift she gets or dollar she spends has something to do with her passion. She received REAL junior cookware and junior Wusthof knives from Williams Sonoma for Christmas and boxes and bows and ribbons and tags and a personalized stamp with “from the kitchen of” and her name so she can dress up all her creations and let people know they were hand-made by her. And this month when other kids were wanting candy and stuffed animals and sweets for Valentine’s day, she asked for a red hand-held Kitchenaid mixer for Valentines day. This girl is hooked!

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It’s so fun to see how people react to my daughter’s cooking skills and abilities. It’s not unlike how people react to my Interiors. It’s great to see how much they love her food. And I believe the response is because people can tell when you are passionate about something. People love to support others in their pursuit of their passions. It is fun. It’s exciting. It’s inspiring.

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For a happy and fulfilling life, I think finding your passion is everything. And yes, you may have more than one. But there is only room in your days for a handful of things to be really passionate about. My daughter is lucky. She is 1o and she has already found one of hers. I am lucky, I have been working in my passion for almost 2 decades.

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Where are you on the path of finding your passion? Do you listen to your heart and do you follow it to make your passion your life’s work? And if you don’t, why not? Maybe you know what your passion is (or what it used to be) and you’ve lost it. Well that happens to us all. Author and peak performance expert Brendon Burchard (author of the fabulous book The Charge), says there are 4 things to help you re-ignite your passion…

  1. Rest–a good night’s sleep on a regular basis keeps you energized and engaged in your passions. When you get too tired, you often fall off the wagon of living your passion or in your sweet spot. Can’t get enough sleep at night? Try taking a nap or meditating for similar benefits.
  2. Visualization–Get away from other people, your job and your phone on a weekly basis so you can dream again. Go to that place physically and figuratively where you can visualize what you really want. In the busyness of work and life, we lose sight of what we want most. Try to visualize your dreams every night and every morning to keep it top of mind and keep your passion for those things stoked and focused.
  3. Triggers–Set up triggers so you are reminded of your passion regularly. Try reminders on your phone or your mirror, or listen to certain videos, affirmations, or music that inspires you. Only you know what will trigger you to go to your passion place so make these triggers unavoidable.
  4. Celebrating Wins–Allow yourself to celebrate even small wins when they occur–which may even be daily. So many of us just go from one accomplishment to another without ever patting ourselves on the back, writing it down, or acknowledging  these wins at all. By celebrating them, it helps you stay connected with the emotions you feel when you do win, and that can reconnect you with your passions more often.

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So go out and find or re-ignite your passion. To do that you have to listen to your heart and take action. Your passions are waiting for you.

And don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t feeling your passion right now or you’re experiencing burnout. It happens to all of us. I have been going through that very thing just recently. But I am excited to say practicing these tips above, especially rest, has helped me move beyond being stuck and back into a place of motivation so that I can reach even bigger dreams and live in my passion this year.

Yes, finding your passion is the secret sauce to a life that is happy and fulfilled. Good luck!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

IMG_5077Speaking of Celebrating our successes, try celebrating with my family’s favorite cake. Here, my daughter made the recipe in her mini bundt pans so we could each have our own personal celebratory dessert!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake:

1 Yellow Cake Mix

1 pkg Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix (3.9 ounces)

1/2 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Water

3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs, beaten

1 Cup Sour Cream

1/2 Cup Semi-sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees. Grease and Flour 10″ bundt pan. In electric mixer, add cake mix, pudding and sugar. Add oil, water, eggs and sour cream and mix until well blended. Fold in Chocolate Chips. Bake for 50-60 minutes in preheated oven. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

 

New Year’s Shopping Guide

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During this, my favorite time of the year, I am busy preparing my goals and resolutions and plans for an exciting 2016. I am giddy with excitement about moving closer to my best self in the coming months. And I am working on making the New Year my best year yet.

To be the best Me I can be, I have a major goal of putting myself first next year. This is something I find really hard to do, do you? Well in that spirit of self-care and healthy living, here is my shopping guide for a fabulously healthy 2016. These are the things I need to be my best and I hope they will help you be your best too!

Meet me back here later this week for my tips on writing resolutions that work, goal setting and my word of the year for 2016.

Happy (and healthy) shopping friends! xo,

Tobi Signature

 

 

 

 

 

1.Columbia Fleece Vest–Layers are a must for working out in Arkansas weather. It can be 70 degrees at Christmas like this year and 20 degrees in March. You just never know. So having some great Columbia fleece vests in my favorite colors are perfect for layering on cool mornings or freezing afternoons for my walks. I got a white one for Christmas and can’t wait to wear it.

2. Northface Thermal Leggings–To be my best and most healthy self, I have to have a “no excuses” mentality for exercise. And thanks to these awesome Northface leggings, even on cold days I am hoofing it to stay in shape.

3. Fitbit Charge–Take your fitness to a whole new level with the fitbit Charge. I have been using a fitbit for years but this new model has all sorts of amazing features including a clock so you no longer have to double up your fitbit and your watch, they are now all in one. And if you get the Fitbit HR, you can keep track of your Heart rate too so you ensure you are exercising at your optimum level.

4. Nike Leopard or Snakeskin Running Shoes–How do you make exercise fun? Well for me it’s by wearing fun workout clothes and shoes (yes I am a shoe girl even when it comes to athletic ones!) So why not jump on the trend of leopard and Snakeskins we are seeing all over the runway and bring it to our workout gear. They even have the leopard print in sizes for your kids so you can keep them active and healthy too!

5. Massage Bolster–In a moment you will see my great link for an in-home massage table in fabulous fashionable colors. And if you go the route of having a massage room all your own, a bolster for propping up your ankles and knees is the best way to make your at-home experience seem like a professional one.

6. The Best is Yet to Come Journal–Journaling has been a lifesaver for me to relieve stress and get in touch with my innermost self and writing down what I really want out of life. That’s why I love this encouraging quote from old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Because I really do believe that the best is yet to come for us all, so why not remember that in your daily journaling exercises!

7. Pebble Journal with 3-ring Binder–I love to keep one journal for my thoughts and another for my gratitude for all my many blessings. I am crazy about this 3 ring journal because you can add pages to it. So when you have boundless blessings like I believe we all do, you can add more space to write them down.

8. Pajamas–one of the most important parts of healthy living is getting enough sleep. I think a great pair of Pj’s is the perfect excuse to go to bed earlier this year and these pretty black and white ones will help us sleep stylishly.

9. Sleep Mask and Memory Foam Pillow–Being comfy and relaxed is an important part of your sleep routine too. How about this fabulous Memory Foam pillow so you are comfy and wake up feeling great? And it’s paired with this fab sleep mask with built-in headphones. They’ll keep it dark in your space any time of day and allow you to listen to relaxation yoga or meditation tunes so you drift off easily to your happy place and stay there all night long.

10. Yoga Bolster–Yoga has been a life saver to me. Particularly Yin-style yoga. I get my cardio by walking out in nature and breathing in fresh air and for me yoga is about stretching and restoration. So for that I need great props like this oversized rectangular bolster.

11. Yoga Blocks–Getting into some of my favorite Yin yoga poses require the help of yoga blocks. So add these to your tools for staying healthy this year. You can also do some amazing before bed stretches and release all the tension from your neck with a great yoga block ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep.

12. Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel–Nothing annoys me more than slipping on my yoga mat. That’s why I love my Yogitoes Yoga Mat Terry Towel. It makes your mat comfy and slip resistant all at once. So now you can Nama-“stay” on your mat!

13. Calypso Massage Table–Massage is a must for my healthy lifestyle. I try to get at least one a month and more if time and budget allow. Having an in-home massage table and home massage space is one of the ways I squeeze massage into my busy lifestyle. So when I can’t get to the spa, my massage therapist can come to me.

14. Yoga Strap–To really get deep stretches for my hamstrings to counteract all the sitting at the computer that I do (and sitting on airplanes too) a great yoga strap can really help. I’m not as young and flexible as I used to be so my yoga strap is one of my BFF’s these days! 

15. Personalized Yoga Mat–And to add a little fun to your yoga time, how about a personalized yoga mat. I love the idea of having my name on it, but even better an inspirational quote that makes me want to be on my mat everyday. Whatever it takes, right?

16. Yoga Blankets–If restorative yoga sounds good to you, creating a sanctuary for your practice is a must. For me that means a lovely and quiet place, lots of candles and several cozy blankets for helping with stretches or covering up during Savasana and lingering just a little bit longer than usual.

17. Massage Table Sheets–Making your massage table especially soft can help you get to your happy and relaxed place faster that normal. I love these high thread count massage sheets from Wamsutta that really help me have sweet dreams while getting my massage on!

18. Massage Table Electric Warmer–I don’t know about you but I get chilly easily. I am known to use an electric blanket on a chilly summer night (even if it’s chilly because my hubby is blasting the A/C), and I am the same way during my massages. So having an electric warmer for your at-home massage table is the perfect way to make sure you are cozy and relaxed every time.

19.Fitbit Scale–I’ve been using a Fitbit cardio step counter for years. But now I am ready to take Fitbit’s capabilities to the next level with their scale that measures weight, body fat and BMI. It can be programmed for up to 8 different users so my family can use it too. I am thinking this might be one of the things that keeps me most accountable in the new year!

20. Vitamix Blender–Oh how I love my Vitamix. It’s the way I get my fruits and veggies in everyday with my regular morning Green Smoothies. I have tried other blenders and trust me, there is no comparison with the Vitamix. So if you haven’t tried this amazing blending machine, I highly suggest you do. It will help you get your smoothie on all year long.

 

 

 

 

Self-care Saturday: Feeling Good

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Happy Self-care Saturday Friends.

Today is a great day for taking care of Y-O-U! There’s no accident it’s called “practicing” self-care because trust me, you will not be perfect. You will have to keep practicing until you get better and better at putting yourself first and making choices that make you feel your best.

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Remember when I said my ONLY intention for this year is TO FEEL GOOD? Well let me be honest, you’re not the only one who struggles in this area. It’s not a straight line of progress for me either. Yesterday I made a decision to eat a sugary dessert and it wasn’t a good decision for me. I didn’t use my litmus test of “Will this make me feel good?” and so today I am feeling the pains–achy joints, headache and more. It is shocking to me the affects I get from sugar the very next day! Sugar is not my friend.

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Through my journey to getting healthy over the last 3 years, I have really learned what foods and exercises are right for me. Are you aware of your own body and what makes you feel good? Do you know if eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, or a green smoothie, or pancakes make you feel best in the morning? It takes awareness. You have to pay attention to how certain foods make you feel, how much sleep you need and what kinds and how much exercise your body needs. And it is actually liberating to learn the parts of your very own puzzle for feeling good. Because then you can be in control of your own healthy destiny.

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I keep giving up diets, and then when I fall off the wagon and put on a few pounds, I seem to want to go back to a quick fix. But it never works. The only thing I have found to really make me feel my best is healthy eating and healthy exercise. And doing them consistently. So I have learned to embrace the healthy foods I love, not force myself to eat things I don’t like. And I have learned which exercises feel good to me or which ones are fun and those are the ones I choose. No forcing myself to do exercises I dread, I just won’t stick to them. And when I fall off the wagon like I did last night with sugar, I just get back on the next day. No guilt and no procrastinating. It’s back on the wagon I go.

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When I notice food making my body feel bad, I can’t help but think of the long-term food affects on my health and aging. When I can eat sugar one day and feel real pain in my joints the next day, I can’t help but think how so many of the things we put in our body are responsible for the diseases we have as a nation–cancer, diabetes, heart disease. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be involved in making my own body sick. Are you feeding disease in your body with the foods you eat? I know I did for years. But it’s never too late to make better choices.

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And if you haven’t tried yoga and meditation, today would be a great day to give it a whirl. There are many exercises and activities that I just don’t stick to, but yoga and meditation feel so good, I can’t stay away from them. They feed my body and my soul. They clear my mind, they take away pain in my back and hips and neck, they make me feel strong and in control of my life. And feeling in control is so empowering.

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So when it comes to feeling good, I think this is a great rule of thumb…if it’s good for your soul, do that!

Wishing you a happy Saturday full of loving yourself through good food and soul food. You deserve it!

xo,
Tobi Signature

Resolutions Recap…Living in the Present

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So as promised, this week I want to take a look at my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions and see how I am measuring up so far. Am I better than I was yesterday? Well, for the next 5 days, we will look at each of my resolutions for 2013 and see what my report card looks like so far. And I’ll share with you my tips for success with each of my resolutions, so maybe you can have success in these areas too.

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My first resolution for living an “Inspired 2013” was to savor the moment, every moment. And believe me, I have moved into this one more than I can even believe myself. My mom even complimented me in front of a group of people just last week about how I really am living in the present more than ever before. WOOHOO! People are starting to notice, so I must be making progress, right?

Back in January my resolution was “I want to will savor the moment. Every moment. I want to slow down. Be in the present and truly experience and remember every meal, every sunset, every workout, every word my daughter says. Presence. Enlightenment. Inspired Living!”

Now don’t get me wrong…this one is definitely a practice and practice is never perfect, but I’m making great strides for sure! It is one I have to recommit to every single day. But the payoff is HUGE so I am willing to make it a priority every day. 

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So maybe you are struggling with this one and want to know how am I doing this? Well one way is to journal each day. I started a habit of journaling during my weight loss journey last year, and it gets me centered to start each day. I put any fears or distractions there on paper and out of my head so I don’t spend time worrying about the past or the future instead of living right now. Once I close that book for the morning, those worries are locked up tight and don’t interfere with me having an amazing day!

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And then I journal again each night before bedtime. This is where I practice gratitude by writing down all the amazing things that happened that day and giving thanks for them. Adorable things my daughter said, special moments I had, sunsets I watched, time in my hammock, a wet kiss from my pups, I write them all down so I will embrace and remember them and how special they are. It makes for happy thoughts for a good night’s sleep too!
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I know, I know…who has time to journal twice a day, right? Well I do and you do too if it’s a priority. I just keep a gorgeous journal by my bed with a pen tucked inside so I have no excuses. At first I was inspired to write because the book was pretty (who doesn’t love a gorgeous journal) and the pen was great…my favorite gel version–yes, I’m a geek. But over time, I saw the MAJOR benefits of a happier life, fewer worries and better sleep that journaling brought to me and I was hooked. Now, it is a habit that I just can’t live without. Why worry when I can leave it all to God or the Universe to figure out while I am out having an amazing life?!?

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We all know that the only time we can really control is the present. The past is gone and the future may never be. So living in the now, is the best way I have found to live a happy life. And it’s when we create the life of our dreams too!

So how will I finish strong in this area for the rest of 2013?  Well my plan is to amp up this area even more. Six months from now, maybe I’ll be so present I won’t even recognize myself.

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And one way I will do this is ask myself daily, “if this were my last day, am I spending it the way I would want–living and enjoying the now? Or am I trapped in the past rehashing problems or the future worrying about new ones, both wasting precious time?” Asking this question has a way of making me really Live My Bliss right now, while I can. And isn’t that what we all want? Thinking of death may sound morbid to you, but let’s get real…we are all going to die sometime, so why not spend less time worrying about it and get on with living it.

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Just last weekend, my daily email from Brian Johnson at en*theos said this…

“As it is with a play, so it is with life–what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is”. –Seneca from Letters from a Stoic.

Same with our lives!!! Let’s quit worrying just how long it’s gonna be and focus on how well we play our part, shall we?

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So I hope you are making great strides living in the present too. And to make the present even better, I hope you will start to think about what kind of home, or Sanctuary, can best support you in living in the now. Here are a few space with the kind of creature comforts that help me do just that…I would love to curl up and journal or relax and meditate in any of these gorgeous spaces. How about you? Where are you most at peace and living in the present?

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Pinned from Tumblr with no image or design credits

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Design: Jennifer Worts
Featured: _House & Home_ July 2010

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Photo from blog.decoratrix.com

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Dirk Denson in Architectural Digest

Designer: Dirk Denson
Featured: _Architectural Digest_, January 2011

See you soon for another resolutions recap and helpful hints for living your bliss. I’m off to journal and maybe a bit of meditation too. 🙂

xo,

Tobi Signature

 

 

 

p.s. Find all these gorgeous and inspiring photos on my Pinterest boards here.