If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll always be amused, right? I do amuse myself at times – which is a good thing. So, the furnace started making a noise – one that I interpreted as a “scary noise.” We had just paid out a chunk of change in car repairs. As I listened to the scary furnace noise, I started to feel anxious at the thought of replacing the furnace too.
“Maybe it’s something simple,” I hoped. Maybe the furnace just needed a new air filter. I checked the date, and yes, it did need a new filter so I replaced the furnace filter.
Suddenly, the furnace stopped making any sound at all. No scary noise. No fan. No motor hum. OH NO! I started to feel a little panicky and began searching for the name of the great HVAC guy who helped us out with a furnace issue in the past.
I checked my files, then checked my phone contacts. I couldn’t find the furnace repair guy’s name and I started to get frustrated. After repeating the same steps and still not finding the contact information, I felt more frustrated.
Then, I had that moment of awareness! Just breathe! I stopped and took a breath. I got my focus out of my head and into my heart. I felt an urge to go back to the furnace again and followed my intuition. As I stood in front of the furnace, my eye fell on a switch. I flipped the switch and the furnace kicked on again – this time without the scary noise.
When I replaced the furnace air filter, I had accidently bumped the motor switch to Off. Hahaha! It’s good I can laugh at myself because it does keep me amused quite regularly.
Luckily, I only spun in crazy panic circles for a couple minutes before my wisdom tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, “hey, try the easy path over here.” I am sure glad I listened because it saved me the cost (and embarrassment) of having the furnace guy come out and flip the switch for me.
I call this skill of toggling out of fear and into wisdom, Spiritual Pilates. This skill strengthens your inner spiritual core so you can shift more gracefully away from anxiety and into peace. When you access your inner peace and innate well-being, you can hear your own wisdom within and recharge your batteries when you feel depleted.
Want to learn more? I offer a course in Spiritual Pilates: Aligning Body, Emotions, Mind and Spirit. Message me to set up a phone call and see whether the course might be a next right step for you. email@example.com
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.
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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.MasteryInTheArtofLiving.com
Doggie 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.
Actively commemorating the Season of Non-Violence, between the dates of Ghandi’s and ML King’s deaths, January 30-April 4, gives me an opportunity to send out a boomerang for peace.
During the Season of Non-Violence, I invite you to pay particular attention to any negativity you send out before it comes back at you like a boomerang. I experienced this first hand one morning when we were rushing to get to an event on time. In a crabby mood, I fussed at the kids about their lack of preparation and the possibility of arriving late. The tension in the air escalated. I fumed in the kitchen, hurriedly throwing together ingredients for a dish to bring to the third event in a day with back-to-back activities. In a careless, not-at-all-mindful moment, I knocked over a can of olives, sending the liquid flying all over the floor and behind the stove.
I took a deep breath, recognizing that I had just magnetically attracted that experience into my morning. Like attracts like. My negativity had come back to me like a boomerang.
Pulling the stove out to the center of the room, I cleaned the floor and the wall behind the stove while imagining that I was cleaning the negativity from my aura. The day got brighter. On that specific day, I had to focus several times on mindfulness in the moment.
Some days require the extra mindful awareness to my responses. The fellow in the next car flips me off because he doesn’t like the way I am driving. Breathe. When I am mindful of being the change I want to see in the world, I send a boomerang for peace, “I hope the rest of your day goes better.” If I am not paying attention, or if I have already collected too much negativity in the day, I may boomerang negativity back at him – which will come back to me later.
I invite you to bring mindful awareness into your daily interactions. Are you sending a boomerang for peace or for violence?
While attending kids’ sporting events in the past few years, I have sometimes noticed adults yelling or speaking rudely to players or refs. My daughter and I commented on a poster at a kids’ basketball tournament, which read: “Remember, this is a game. The players are kids. The coaches are volunteers. The refs are human. This is not the NBA. Have Fun!” I invite you to be aware of the level of respect in your tone of voice at your kids’ sporting events. Are your comments contributing to hostility or to fun?
Today, I had the opportunity to talk with middle-schoolers about non-violence. Gossip presented as the hot topic. One student suggested that when she hears negative talk about a friend, she weighs what she knows about the person and chooses not to believe negativity. Another student says that she walks away from negative talk and will come back when her friends change the topic.
A couple years ago, while assisting with two situations requiring conflict resolution among adults, we found that the root of the conflict started with miscommunications via electronic media. When volleying email and text messages back and forth, I invite you to be mindful of your intention. Others cannot hear your voice and may misinterpret your words. Misunderstandings over electronic communication can mess up relationships. When I get an email or text message that feels prickly to me, I try to communicate verbally in person or via phone call to sort out the underlying message.
Being the change I want to see in the world, as Ghandi urged, requires that I put mindfulness into practice in my daily life. It takes one set of skills to be mindful of my thoughts while sitting peacefully in meditation. Being mindful during daily interactions requires another set of skills. In what ways are your thoughts, words and actions contributing to peace or to violence? What is on the boomerang you are sending out today?
Leah Skurdal teaches classes on meditation and wellbeing at the Wellness Circle in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. For more information, click here. Or visit her website, www.MasteryInTheArtofLiving.com
When did you learn efficiency of time? Daughter #2 and I arrive home at the same time. I shovel snow, eat a snack, pack an overnight bag for an away basketball tournament, throw in a load of laundry, clean up the kitchen and am ready to go – in the time it takes for Daughter to finish packing the bag she started the night before. When do we learn that level of efficiency? Apparently not at birth. Is it a personality characteristic or a mommy tool honed over years of supervising multiple activities? Perhaps both. Sometimes that efficiency overlooks an important detail: ME Time. Sometimes I get so focused on getting things done that I neglect adding “Down time for myself” onto the TO Do list. Maybe you are like me and squeezing in an hour of yoga, 20 minutes of meditation and a cup of tea before bed is the best quality ME Time you get. Actually, that’s pretty good for one day, but paltry as the sum total for the week. Some weeks feel like a roller coaster with hairpin turns. Maybe you land gracefully, ready to dance on Friday night. Maybe you catapault into a heap on the sofa with a bag of potato chips and a soda. By the end of the week your inner battery needs serious recharging. When your batteries run low, here are three tips for efficiently recharging your body, mind and spirit before running off to your next activity. Breathe. Find a quiet space for five minutes. Yes, you can. Go sit in the bathroom. Imagine that you are breathing through a nose in the center of your chest. Touch your thumb to each finger while saying, “I am at peace.” Repeat for ten heart breaths. Notice your energy move from your head to your heart. Listen to your inner voice. Move. Find your own body rhythm and stretch. Reach overhead, up on your toes, stretch side to side, bend down low. Listen to your heartbeat. How does your body want to move? Notice, stretch and breathe into an area of tightness. Relax the back of your tongue. Wow! You didn’t know your tongue was tense until you relaxed it, did you? Ask. What would feel good now? A luxurious, sweet smelling bath? Clean sheets on the bed? A foot massage? Extra care washing and moisturizing your face? Choose and schedule a self-pampering activity. Then, be sure to do it. Efficiently recharging your batteries on a regular basis helps you stay out of depletion mode. You stay available for your loved ones, remain productively in the flow of the things you love to do, and you can monitor your own wellbeing. Periodically, though, a deeper recharging of your batteries benefits the entire clan as well as yourself. A weekend spa sounds great but not practical with our schedule. A half-day to myself feels doable and luxurious though. Dedicate some extended ME time just for yourself to nourish and renew yourself and to recharge your batteries. You will be glad you did.
When you are living your life on purpose, you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. You feel grounded and anchored in your core values. Your inner compass is set to Due North and when you get off track you can easily check your inner coordinates and get back on track. Mastery in the Art of Living helps you connect to your inner GPS and create the life you choose.
All images on my web pages, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages come from paid subscriptions or OpenSource, royalty free stock on Shutterstock.com, Pixabay.com,Unsplash.com or from personal stock. Much gratitude to the photographers for sharing their images!