Posted on Leave a comment

Mindset Secret for Finding Your Natural Calm

Are you relaxing into summer? Or is your tension headache putting a damper on summer fun? Are you making time this summer to do more of what you love? Summer is the time to slow down, kick back and savor the iced tea by the poolside.

Recently, I savored a favorite summer-time activity by taking two teenagers to a festival in the park.  As the teens walked around by themselves, I enjoyed watching the little kids and parents interact. Parents, love on those babies! They will be teenagers walking around on their own before you know it. Ten years fly by in the blink of an eye!

I reminisced about going on the merry-go-round with my kids when they were little. Do you enjoy the merry-go-round at the fair? Or does it make your headache worse? Does the merry-go-round at the fair remind you of your life? Do you want to get off the merry-go-round of life? Enjoying the merry-go-round depends on your perspective.

If you are focusing on “Oh, I hate this! The lights, noise and vibration are giving me a headache! Get me off this thing!” you will not enjoy it. If you are focusing on “I hate the commute to work! There are too many dishes in the sink! The dog barfed on the rug,” life can feel like a never-ending merry-go-round—up, down, up, down, round and round, same-old, same-old.

Yes, if you stay in the same old patterns of thought, emotion and behavior, the same neuro-pathways in your brain get triggered and stuck in a rut. You get more of the same. What goes around, comes around.

But, if you lift the circle into a spiral by learning the lesson and by mining your truth out of each situation, then, when the pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior comes around again, you have more resources to deal with what life throws your way.

For example, I am a recovering chocolate addict. It took me many turns around the spiral to overcome my sugar and chocolate addiction. It did feel like a never-ending merry-go-round. I ended up with a nasty candida yeast imbalance that went around in a circle for years while I fed the candida with sugar.

I first lifted the circle into a spiral when I noticed the relationship between sugar and how I felt physically. Then, I lifted the situation up the spiral again when I noticed that I ate sugar when I felt an emotion—sad, mad, glad, anxious. Pretty much any emotion triggered my sugar craving. I learned the lessons, integrated the wisdom and lifted the situation up the spiral to overcome the craving for sugar.

Yesterday, I savored a few spoonfuls of my favorite ice cream and that was enough. In my past, I would have eaten the entire container. Because I was connected to my state of inner calm, I had no craving to finish the whole container of ice cream. My body, mind, emotions and spirit felt happy about that choice.

I’ve just written a book about finding your natural state of inner calm.  The book is called Seeking Serenity: How to Manage Anxiety and Love Your Life. I am super excited to share my book with you. I’m proud of the personal and professional work I’ve done over thirty years to collect stories to share with you. The book is full of tools and techniques that, when you practice them, will help you find your center when you lose it. Everybody gets off center sometimes, but with practice you can get back to feeling re-centered, grounded and in the flow of life quickly.

The book, Seeking Serenity: How to Manage Anxiety and Love Your Life, is available for pre-sale now. Here is the link. The book will be available to download for free on August 1.

If you want to get started right way, message me (651-472-3995) and we’ll set up a time to chat about your journey and ways I can support you. I would love to help you find your natural state of inner calm so you can enjoy the heck out of each moment this summer.

Joyfully yours,

Leah

Posted on Leave a comment

Mothering Yourself

20161022_160647

“I want to look as put-together as you when I grow up,” I tell my friend.  Her sincere response warms my self-doubting heart. “You are you and that is enough,” she says.  This time, I get it! I am enough just as I am.

Some women have a natural sense of fashion and flair.  Their make-up, hair and accessories accentuate their inner beauty.  That would not be me.  My minimalist style and natural sense of laziness require my inner beauty to stand on its own.  But, I get it!  I am enough!  I feel nurtured, nourished and mothered by the exchange with my friend.  I smile and allow the feeling of “being enough” to penetrate my layers of resistance.

Words of affirmation resonate with me as a tool of self-love and self-mothering.  We are not always so fortunate to hear words of affirmation from another person when we need it.  All too often, the words we say to ourselves sting and prickle – words that we would never say to another person we say to ourselves.  Sometimes, allowing ourselves to receive kind words from another person expresses self-love and self-nurturing.   Other times we need to nurture ourselves with kind words like wrapping loving arms around yourself in a self-nurturing embrace of self-mothering.

Last weekend, I presented two workshops on Mothering Yourself at the 35th Annual Women & Spirituality Conference in Mankato, Minnesota.  Workshop participants spent 90 minutes in a blissful state of self-nurturing using the 5 Love Languages as a framework.   The 5 Love Languages, from work by marriage and family therapist Gary Chapman, codify people’s preferences to receive love in five ways:  words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch.  Typically, a person prefers one or two of the five ways to show love and appreciation for another. If you pay attention to another person’s loving behaviors, you can often guess how to best show love and appreciation for them.

My workshop participants first identified their own love language of preference, then explored mothering themselves in all five love languages.  Each participant basked in love coming from the Divine Source of unconditional love through a guided meditation.  Everyone gave herself a foot massage with particular attention to reflexology points.  Then, she wrote meaningful words of affirmation to warm her own heart.

Comments I heard included:  “This was just what I needed today!”  “I never think about massaging my own feet.  It feels great!”  “I didn’t know how good this would feel!” “I feel all filled up!”  “I am so glad I came to this today!”

Good News!  You didn’t miss out on this self-nurturing opportunity.  The Mothering Yourself workshop is available for your group, too.  Organize a group of friends, co-workers, or church members and I will set up 90 minutes of pampering your soul to leave you feeling nourished and replenished.  Set up a session for your group now and stay refreshed during the busy holiday season approaching quickly.  Click here for details.  When your cup runneth over, you have more to give your loved ones and more to give to the rest of your life.

Posted on Leave a comment

Toggle to a Future We All Desire

When your vision becomes more powerful than your memory, your future becomes more real than your past.  ~ Roger Hamilton, Futurist and Social Entrepreneur

500 years ago, smart, well-meaning people believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Copernicus showed they had it backwards.

500 years from now, will our descendants look at our belief in resolving conflicts with violence as equally misguided and ignorant?  We have a disagreement, so we kill each other’s children.  Makes sense, right?

The Copernican Revolution in the 16th century turned long-held beliefs upside-down, which contributed to changing the trajectory, or path, for future generations of scientists.  Folks in the 16th century left a legacy of scientific advancements, innovations, and reformation.

What legacy will our current generation leave for our collective descendants?  Whether or not you have physical descendants of your own, you still share our generation’s collective descendants.

I envision we will leave a powerful legacy for our collective descendants.  I envision our generation creating an unstoppable trajectory, or path, toward a world of peace 500 years from now.

What if you live your life today in ways that ensure both you and the next seven generations could thrive?  What if, after seven generations of thriving, you and I had helped set an unstoppable trajectory toward a world of peace and prosperity for all?  What if we focused on the world we DO want our descendants to live in 500 years from now and held the door open for them to walk through?

Whether our descendants attain the world we envision for them, or something better, doesn’t matter.  Our intention and the trajectory we set matters.  That is what we have control over.  Are we on course for fear, suffering and devastation?  Or are we on course for peace, harmony and prosperity?

I choose to live my life, day by day, moment to moment, so that my children’s children’s children will thrive on a trajectory of peace, harmony and prosperity.

Is my hostile attitude in this moment adding momentum to or detracting from my trajectory toward peace?    Time to self-correct.  (I hope to get to auto-correct, but I’m not there yet.) I consciously choose to toggle, or switch the screen of my awareness, AWAY FROM fear and what I do not want TOWARD what we PREFER and DO WANT.

We DO want healthy children thriving and contributing to healthy, thriving communities.

We DO want clean air, fresh water and delicious nourishment for all.

We DO want more love, more joy, more prosperity, and more vitality for all.

We DO want well-being for all.

The scientists of 500 years ago would be mystified by our cell phones, micro-wave ovens and airplanes.  They couldn’t have imagined what we would do with the trajectory of scientific discovery they set in motion.  Or did they?  Did someone imagine walking on the moon back then?

Set your personal intention and our collective trajectory in the direction of peace and harmony for all within 500 years.  The longest journey begins with a single step.   In which direction is your next step?

Leah Skurdal, inspirational speaker, teacher and author is available to speak to your group.  Click here to check out her You Tube video Soul Cookies.

Posted on Leave a comment

Toggle to Joyful Center

Attend my workshop, Toggle to Joy, as my guest, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6-7:30pm at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Student Services Bldg, Riverview Rm SC200. In Toggle to Joy, learn about shifting the screen of your awareness from the small, outside shell of ego, to the ever-present, Infinite Joy at the Center of your being… struggle, toggle, JOY.  struggle, toggle, JOY!

Also, if you have wondered about how to integrate Complementary & Alternative Medicine into your career, check out the Anoka-Ramsey College Integrative Health & Healing Certificate Program when you come to the workshop.  http://www.anokaramsey.edu/classes/Certificates/Integrative%20Health%20and%20Healing%20-%20Certificate.aspx

Posted on Leave a comment

Toggle to Joy

In sync.  Out of sync.  In sync.   Some days my outer light flashes green and red like my wifi connection needing to be re-synced.  Funny thing is that the inner light of joy is always on – like the internet is there waiting for me to reconnect.  Your inner being is always joyful and loving.  It is the connection between the inner and outer that fails.  When our inner light shines through to the outside, we feel joy.  When we drop out of joy, it’s time to re-sync.

I call that connection re-sync to the inner light, Toggling.   On your electronic device you can toggle between screens.  When we are paying attention, we can toggle between the inner and outer screens of our awareness.  We can toggle between the screen of Always Joyful Inner light, spiritual center, Soul or whatever you call it to the outer light of Sometimes Joyful ego- personality.   I notice that I just barked at someone. “oops!  I just dropped my Joy Connection.”    Usually these days, I stay in joy most of the time.  Sometimes, though, I notice my dropped connection more often.

Someone cuts me off in traffic and I cuss.  Yikes – just dropped my joy connection.   Toggle to Joy.  I am way short of sleep and I grouse at the kids.  Oops – Toggle to Joy.

If my internet provider dropped my wifi connection as often as I drop my connection to my joyful center, I would get a new internet provider.  However, I am my own connector to my joyful spiritual center through my awareness.

Personal mastery is not that you never drop the connection to your joyful spiritual center, but how quickly you get the connection back.  Personal Mastery is a process – not a destination – and toggling is a tool for your tool belt of personal mastery.

I am offering two opportunities to play with Toggling in my Toggle to Joy workshops:

Sunday, April 3, 2:00-3:30pm
Unity North Spiritual Center
11499 Martin Dr. Coon Rapids MN
Cost:  Suggested Love Offering $20

Tuesday, April 26, 6:30-8:00pm Save the Date!
Anoka Ramsey Community College
Integrative Health & Healing
Complementary & Alternative Medicine Club
Student Services Bldg.  Riverview Rm SC200
11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids MN
Cost:  No charge

Please join us for one of these Toggle workshops so you stay in joy more often too!

Call me with questions or to pre-register.  651-472-3995

The light in me sees the light in you!  Namaste!  Leah

Posted on Leave a comment

Nurturing Your Spiritual Health

 

You’ve been there. You had peaceful thoughts and felt connected to your Spiritual Center – then something changed and you lost it. Some days, your peaceful feeling changes like Minnesota weather patterns. Sixty and sunny changes to thirty and snowy in a few hours. Some days we lose it entirely.   I recently facilitated a small group discussion on how to reconnect to your Spiritual Center when you lose it. I want to share the group’s insights with you.

At the Lakes Area Women in Business monthly meeting, we drew on member’s expertise to discuss Physical, Mental/Emotional and Spiritual Health. I was asked to facilitate a small group discussion of Spiritual Health and report our collective wisdom back to the large group.

When I asked our small group what Spiritual Health feels like, most people seemed to know the feeling in their gut and in their hearts. Spiritual Health feels like a sense of calmness, where you breathe easily, with no feeling of constriction. You can see Spiritual Health on another’s peaceful face. Spiritual Health also includes a feeling of connection to a deeper part of yourself and connection to others outside of yourself. You feel centered, grounded and whole.

I asked the small group, “What do you do to get back to your Spiritual Center when you lose it?”

The group’s collective wisdom for staying spiritually healthy fell into five categories:

  • Physical wellbeing: Honoring your physical body through exercise, yoga and massage.
  • Meditation: Taking quiet time, deep breathing, listening to music, going home to where you feel grounded, getting out in nature, stepping back to observe and not letting the outside in, soaking in a hot tub with a glass of wine.
  • Intention: Prevention – start the day with prayer, prioritize and plan your day, intend that you will stay centered and in the flow today.
  • Gratitude: At the end of the day, review what the best part of the day was for you, keep a gratitude journal, express appreciation for the good that you have.
  • Love: Connect to others, hang with the dogs for pet therapy, family meal time, express unconditional love.

The group highlighted the basics. Take care of your body which is the physical vessel of your spirit. Take time to quiet your mind and emotions. Be intentional about how you spend your time. Count your blessings. Express love.  That is a basic recipe for Spiritual Health. What will you do to nurture your spiritual health today?

Posted on Leave a comment

Three Ways to Nurture Your Spirit

Fall time – a fun time of new beginnings, fall sweaters, pumpkin spice latte.
Fall can get stressful for me with the added parent meetings, workshops, and new projects to complete.

 

 

Three simple things I do when I am feeling stressed to nurture myself and nourish my spirit are:

  • Breathe – Most of us severely under-rate breathing on our daily importance scale.  With less oxygen on the planet than 100 years ago, our bodies have to work harder to stay oxygenated.  Breathing fully and deeply into the bottom of your lungs gives your body an energy boost from the extra oxygen.  Count in 4, hold 4, count out 8.  Try 4-5 of those full breaths several times a day to relax, restore and regroup.
  • Move – Physical movement helps you process the energy of the day moving through your life.  Feeling anxiously overwhelmed?  Try some aerobic exercise to jump start your fire and digest the energy more efficiently.  Feeling angrily stressed?  Try calming yoga movements to slow down and just be present.  I set aside time to move however my body wants to move in the moment.  Whatever movement you choose, MOVE to get out of your head and into your body where you can take action to reduce your stress.
  • Nourish – Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and the cleanest meat you can get.  The artificial ingredients in processed foods clog your system like cheese clogging a sieve.  When I am feeling stressed, a fresh veggie sandwich and pro biotics like fermented vegetable sauerkraut or a pro-biotic drink like kombucha gives me a lift.  Giving your body higher quality fuel will give you more stamina to deal with daily life.  If you can’t get high quality food, bless the food you do have with gratitude and raise the vibration of the food you are consuming.

When I want to push the refresh button on my life screen, I retreat.  Sometimes retreating to the bathtub for an hour suffices.  Other times, I am ready for the full weekend retreat get-away.  I was fortunate to get that weekend retreat away last weekend with a group of amazing women.  We laughed, danced, meditated and ate delicious food prepared especially for us.  I came home feeling refreshed and full of life.  I would like to offer you two delightful retreat opportunities!

Here are two retreat options for you to renew your spirit.
http://leahskurdal.com/classes-and-workshops/

I hope you can join us!
Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Day!
Be Well,
Leah

Posted on 2 Comments

Creating Positive Work and Home Environments With Intention

Rice Experiment 001

The Rice Experiment opened more than a few teenage eyes on how their words and intentions impact their environment. Hopefully, the lesson will translate into their homes and future workplaces. The middle school teens at our spiritual community conducted the Rice Experiment. After cooking a pot of rice, they placed a scoop of rice into separate, identical jars and sealed the lids. On the outside of one jar, they wrote “LOVE” while on the other jar they wrote, “HATE.” For the next week, they talked to the jars filling the LOVE jar with kind, loving, compassionate intentions and thoughts. They told the HATE jar it was stupid, ugly, mean and nasty. Then, they watched the results.

A year later, these same jars sit on the shelf of our teen room, telling the story of our intentions. The LOVE jar, filled with our divine, loving intentions, remains filled with white fluffy rice. The HATE jar started decomposing right away and quickly turned into a grey, slimy sludge. No kidding.

Vibrating energy patterns make up everything in the Universe – even your thoughts. The vibration of your thought patterns affects the environment around you. That phenomenon caught me unaware in my early 20’s. A boyfriend had given me a lovely, potted, flowering plant which flourished under my tender care. As soon as the boyfriend dumped me, the plant died. “I’m sorry little flower. I didn’t mean to kill you!” My negative thoughts about the giver of the plant had created a toxic environment in which the plant could not thrive.

How many times have you been in a toxic work environment where your life force felt jeopardized? Other peoples’ toxic thought vibrations set up a dissonance in your personal space. The complaining and whining can bring your vibration down until it affects your physical health – like the decomposing HATE rice jar.

The Good News: we control our own thoughts! Sweet! I don’t have to send out negative thought vibrations that ricochet into someone else’s negative thoughts adding to the cesspool of toxic emissions circulating through the office or home. I can choose to think positive, loving, kind, compassionate thoughts.

How do you get the train rolling down a different track once it’s in motion down the track of negativity? Switch tracks! Toggle the screen of your awareness to a new thought. Find something to appreciate: your amazing hand, the song on the radio, a color, a shadow pattern, a shimmering light. Toggle. But she said …. toggle… but they did that to me… toggle, toggle, toggle.

Appreciation changes the vibration of your thoughts to an upward spiral. You don’t have to switch to the JOY track right away. Switching from complaining to joy might require too big of a leap. Sometimes, when I am really mad, the best I can do is get to neutral. At least in neutral, you are not adding to the negative cesspool. From neutral, take one small step in the direction you want to go. Appreciate one thing. Then another. Then appreciate ten things. Notice any positive change in your environment. You might not notice a change in people around you right away, but keep it up and you will. Guaranteed.

Research by Dr. Masaru Emoto provides more elegant evidence than our rice jar experiment about the effect of thought vibrations on your environment. Dr. Emoto led a team of researchers to photograph frozen water crystals. Emoto found that frozen water crystals from a beaker labeled with positive words – love, joy, Mother Theresa – or submitted to healing music, created symmetrical crystal patterns that look like beautiful snowflakes.

Frozen water crystals taken from a beaker of polluted water, however, or one labeled with hateful words or submitted to heavy metal music, produced crystals that looked asymmetrical, broken, dark, cloudy and misshapen.

Even more importantly, Emoto’s team found that the broken crystal structure of the polluted water could be repaired. Misshapen water crystals became symmetrical and beautiful again when infused with loving, kind intentions – prayer therapy.

Now we know why prayer works on our bodies. The human body is over 50% water. When we pray over the body, the water molecules respond to the higher vibration thoughts. Other researchers, notably Dr. Larry Dossey, have shared research on the power of prayer in medical situations. Researchers documented that patients’ health improved when someone prayed for them – even when the patient did not know of the prayer.

Harnessing the power of your thoughts – toggling from a negative to a positive thought – will help you achieve your dreams and create an environment where you flourish. Try sending thought vibrations for harmony and wellbeing to the people around you to help foster a more harmonious work and home environment. When we humans learn to collectively harness the power of our shared vision, we will create a world that we DO want where all creation can thrive and prosper. Please join me in toggling to a life that includes more love, peace, freedom, harmony, prosperity and joy.

 

Leah Skurdal, is a public speaker, workshop facilitator, energy healer and author. Leah offers classes through her business, Mastery in the Art of Living in Lino Lakes, MN and other locations. She is author of the forthcoming book, “Toggle to Soul: Live in Joy.” Leah is available to speak to groups at breakfast or lunch meetings, social groups, classrooms and spiritual communities. She can be reached at leah.skurdal@gmail.com www.MasteryInTheArtofLiving.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Live Life Like Someone Forgot to Lock the Gate

Sophie runningDoggie friends, Sophe and Ziggy, live life like someone forgot to lock the gate. Sophe’s human companion Jim McDonnell lives by that motto too.   Jim proudly displays the trophy and blue ribbon that Sophe won in their partner race. This picture of Sophe running for joy shows her ears flying like sails. Jim runs and snowshoes for joy too; although his ears don’t flap in the breeze, his kilt does.   Sophe’s high-spirited nature charms Jim’s friends who marvel at her zest for life.

Our doggie neighbor Ziggy’s expression of joyful abandon infects everyone around her, too. Remember: don’t forget to lock the gate when Ziggy goes out.

Mean Mom doesn’t care to take on the responsibility of her own doggie family member, so my deprived, poochless kids get their doggie fix through neighbor dogs- especially Ziggy. My daughter thought she was in heaven when the neighbors offered to pay her to dog-sit for a couple days. I swear she would have paid the neighbors for the privilege of caring for Ziggy.

I do admit that I kind of enjoy dog-sitting at someone else’s house. Like a grandparent, I get to love them up and then go home. Ziggy, the pug-mix, overjoyed to see us and exuberant to go outside, races across the hardwood floor sending the rug skidding into the door which makes us laugh. Buster, the loving pug-mix, sends my daughter home perfumed with dog slobber. Like a starry-eyed girl after a first kiss, she doesn’t want to wash the love off her cheek.

Lesson for the day: find a job you love so much that you would pay someone to let you do it.

We observed another life lesson in action watching Ziggy and Buster interact. Ziggy squeaks her toy loudly in Buster’s face, prances back a few steps, then advances squeaking again to entice Buster to chase her. Buster’s food-focused priority enabled him to steal Ziggy’s sweet potato breakfast during her antics.

Second lesson: Seize the day! Focus on your priorities! Engage your friends in playful banter but eat good quality food first.

This week, I am on a road trip with my friend attending a seminar in Kansas City. WooHoo! Someone forgot to lock the gate! At the seminar, I marvel that I get to do work I absolutely love – work that feeds my Soul and allows me to contribute my gifts and talents to the world. My friend and I enjoy ourselves immensely savoring fabulous Thai cuisine, delicious bruschetta, grilled vegetables and even a glass of Chardonnay while learning skills to enhance the work we love to do. Doggie lessons one and two – check!

In the evening, I check in with the family to see if homework got done and how everyone’s day went. I left the family with plenty of food in the fridge, instructions to eat breakfast, and a schedule of the extracurricular activities to attend. I am both pleased and dismayed that they can function without my oversight. Maybe I can lighten up on the oversight.

Doggie Lesson Three – enjoy Sophe’s and Ziggy’s zest for life on a daily basis and in all areas of my life. I will work on that lesson when I get home.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mouse Musings

Our pet mouse, Isabel, died today. Well, not actually my pet mouse. She is (or was) my daughter’s pet mouse. Isabel came home at the end of a 5th grade science experiment about the merits of fruits and vegetables.

My surprise at the passing of Isabel the white mouse is that I might miss her just a teeny bit. As I cut up vegetables for dinner, I realized I would no longer save tidbits for Isabel. Never did I dream that I would save vegetable scraps for a mouse. Curious things we do as parents. Living with Isabel the white mouse has taught me a few other things about life.

For a while, Isabel ran on her wheel every night. We shut the door so not to listen to the squeaking plastic wheel turn all night long. One day, we realized that we had not heard the wheel for a time. When we investigated why Isabel had stopped running, we discovered that the wheel had become lodged during a cage cleaning and would not turn. We adjusted the wheel so that it turned properly again, but weeks later, Isabel still would not run.

We mused that Isabel had failed so many times at turning the wheel that she quit trying. Even though one more try would have proved that the wheel turned freely, Isabel Mouse would sit in the wheel but she would not run.

How often do people behave like Isabel? They feel dejected over failure and refuse to try again. When have I quit trying, when one more attempt would have created success?

Towards the end of her life, Isabel appeared agitated and climbed the sides of the cage regularly looking for a way out. Maybe the cage was too stinky. Now, Isabel Mouse is free. Her carbon atoms buried under a tree combine with the carbon of the earth. Her life force energy combines with the Universal Life Force. Isabel Mouse finally got out of her cage.

Do you notice, as I do, how often people trap themselves in a cage of their own making – prisoners of old patterns of thought? Where in my life do I cage myself in my old stinking thinking patterns?

During meditation, I free myself from the stinking cage of my limited thinking mind. Focusing awareness on my breathing, I watch my thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky. With an open heart, I experience the freedom of aligning with Universal Life Force. I align with my Soul, connect to God, and feel free.

Thanks for the life lessons, Isabel Mouse. May you rest in peace.