A Mother’s Day Meditation

Close your eyes and take a deep breath in.
As you exhale, imagine any stress or discomfort leaving your body.
Do this for 3 more breaths, allowing each one to get a little deeper.

Now focus your attention on your heart.
Think of someone who has been a mother to you – either your actual Mom or another person in your life who has cared for you, loved you, and guided you to the person you are now.

Feel the love this person has given you.
Allow that love to travel throughout your body, filling you up until you are overflowing with it.

Now take a moment to send this person silent blessings.
Thank this person for sharing her love with you.
Imagine this person overflowing with joy because of you.

Notice the circle of love created by this exchange of giving and receiving.

Extend this love to all the mother’s and children of the world.

Know that this flow of love is a universal life force that exists within each of us and that you are never too old to need this love. From the day you were born you required this love to survive. Tapping into this nurturing energy can remind you that you are loved unconditionally, each and every day.

Take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.

No matter how you plan to spend this mother’s day – with or without family – without or without your Mom – take a few minutes to practice this meditation and bring unconditional love into your life.

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A Mother’s Day Meditation http://tinyurl.com/lowprtg @Gratitude2Bliss

Did you know Paul McCartney wrote Let It Be about his Mom who died of cancer when he was fourteen? Years later she appeared to him in a dream and was the inspiration for this song.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Wishing you a mother’s day filled with unconditional love.

If you liked this meditation, please share your comments below or on my Facebook page!

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Hold On To What is Good

Hold On To What is Good: Gratitude and Spirituality

(part four of a five part series on gratitude and nutrition)

Today we circle back to our conversation on Primary Foods, with our focus on spirituality. (For more on primary foods, check out The Four Areas of Your Life You Need to Be Feeding).

Research shows that having some form of spirituality is key to leading a healthy, happy life. But don’t worry, even if you’re not religious you can still bring spirituality into your life. Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to do this!

This past weekend I had the incredible pleasure of giving a reading at my cousin Tina’s Catholic wedding ceremony. The New Testament reading she and her now husband, Marc, chose was from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 12:1-2, 9-18).

While I won’t include the entire passage here, I will highlight a few sections that stood out for me:

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let love be sincere, hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.

There it is, right in the New Testament: “hold on to what is good.”

When we practice gratitude, we are doing just that: holding on to what is good. Focusing our mind on “what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

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My gratitude practice helps me hold on to what is good. @Gratitude2Bliss http://tinyurl.com/px7m4kx

While many, if not all religions emphasize gratitude as paramount to being ‘holy’ or “whole,” we do not need to be religious to be grateful. But being grateful keeps us connected to ourselves, to our spirit. It reminds us what we hold dear, what we consider holy and what makes us feel whole in body, mind and spirit.

Practicing gratitude on a daily or weekly basis helps us keep what is good on our radar so that we may stay in a positive light and shine our light onto others and to the world.

What I love about my gratitude practice is that it allows me to stay connected to what is important to me. What “good” means to me.

gratitude042215_blogLast week my son and I joined my husband at a business conference which was held at a five-star resort. While I enjoyed sitting by the pool and having a break from cooking, there were a few simple things I missed: organic food, green juice, cacao smoothies, and filtered water.

You see, these are things I hold dear. Things I write about in my gratitude journal. Things that contribute to my bliss.

If it was up to me, I would have much preferred to vacation at a yoga retreat than a 5-star resort. But this trip was important to my husband and to his business and I was happy to support him and to take pleasure in “what is good” — being together, new experiences, and building personal relationships with his colleagues.

So what is your “good”? What are the things you write about in your gratitude journal?

Please share your “good” in the comments below or on my Facebook page!

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The Gratitude Smoothie

The Gratitude Smoothie

I don’t know what it is about spring, but every year I feel completely transformed and alive with energy.

I love this time of year and I love living in New York, a place where if you’re paying attention, tiny miracles abound – the sweet tweets of birds reappearing after a long, icy winter, tiny new leaves sprouting up through dead grass and dirt, bright purple crocuses sprinkling the landscape with color, and sun-shiny mornings that flow into warm, inviting afternoons.

This past weekend my family and I attended a Passover Seder on Saturday and an Easter breakfast on Sunday. What I love about these spring holidays is how they both celebrate hope, freedom, and renewal.

Perhaps that is why I feel so good this time of year. For me, spring is a time to get outside and be free! It is a time to let go of layers (gloves, hats, scarves be gone!), to shed excess weight (hello exercise!), and to bring in yummy delicious foods that energize me and put a spring in my step.

To help YOU celebrate spring, I give you the Gratitude Smoothie Recipe…

gratitude_smoothie

1/2 avocado – rich in good fats to fuel your brain and keep you satisfied
1/2 banana – high in potassium and fiber
5 fresh or frozen organic strawberries – rich in antioxidants, help reduce sugar cravings
1 handful organic spinach – rich in B vitamins and folate
1 sprig of parsley – has a cleansing effect and is a symbol of fertility
1/2 tbs cacao powder – rich in magnesium and antioxidants and a natural mood booster
1 cup water – energizing
1 cup ice – invigorating
1 sprinkle Vitamin G – rich in serotonin and a natural stress-reducer

Blend and serve!

The gratitude smoothie can help you start your day remembering that:

  1. You are free to love your body.
  2. You are free to nourish yourself with whole, energizing foods.
  3. You are free to live without symptoms, cravings, worry, or fear.
  4. You are free to choose positive thoughts and to surround yourself with positive people.

Tweet Now:

I am free to choose positive thoughts
and to surround myself with positive people. @Gratitude2Bliss

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So now I’d like to hear from you! Please share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page, what you love about spring!

 

The Gratitude-Exercise-Sleep Connection!

The Gratitude-Exercise-Sleep Connection!

(part three of a five part series on gratitude and nutrition)

This week’s post brings us back to our conversation on Primary Foods, with our focus on physical activity! (For more on primary foods, check out The Four Areas of Your Life You Need to Be Feeding).

Physical activity is one of the primary foods your body must have to stay in balance.

According to a study done by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, two of the leading researchers in positive psychology, people who kept a weekly gratitude journal over a nine week period reported spending 19% more time exercising than those who didn’t keep gratitude journals.

To understand why this happens, let’s take a look at one of the many physiological effects practicing gratitude has on the body:

Engaging in thoughts of gratitude has been proven to boost levels of serotonin in the body.

Low levels of serotonin can cause loneliness and depression and can also trigger carbohydrate and sugar cravings, causing a viscous cycle of ups and downs.

When you boost serotonin naturally through your gratitude practice, however, you are effectively giving yourself the energy you need to get out and exercise. I don’t know about you but I find it much easier to exercise when my mood and energy are up.)

When you exercise, your body produces even more serotonin, as well as endorphins which lift your mood even more (think “runner’s high.”)

Along with physical activity, our bodies also need adequate sleep. What many people don’t realize is that when you sleep, your body is actually working to remove toxins and balance hormones. So when you deny your body sleep, your hormones can quickly get out of balance causing you to crave sugar and other comfort foods in lieu of exercise.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health discovered that feelings of gratitude activate the hypothalamus which is responsible for many essential bodily functions including sleep. The hypothalamus has a huge affect on metabolism, stress and eating.

Another crucial aspect of practicing gratitude – something I know to be true from my own experience– is that when I’m focused on what I’m grateful for, including my body, I find it easy to reward myself with a good night’s sleep, prioritizing my health and happiness over work or other distractions. I’m also more likely to see exercise as something I “get to” do rather than something I “should” do, and I choose activities I enjoy the most, like yoga or going for a brisk walk along the water.

So it’s easy to see how a simple 5 minute daily gratitude practice can lead to more exercise and better sleep, more energy and a better mood, and ultimately greater health and happiness for yourself!

5 minutes of gratitude improves exercise, sleep and mood!

 

Tweet now:

5 minutes of daily gratitude improves exercise, sleep and mood! @Gratitude2Bliss

For more info on how to get started with your gratitude practice, click here: Getting Started with Gratitude!

 

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So now I’d like to hear from you! Please share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page, how gratitude helps you exercise more or sleep better.

5 Reasons I Love to Cleanse

5 Reasons I Love to Cleanse

This has been one rough winter here in New York, but Spring is almost here (yay!) and that has me thinking all about cleansing.

While there are certain things I do all year round to stay clean – like avoiding junky food, junky products and junky thinking – I like to take two weeks out each spring to refresh my healthy habits and add one or two new ones.

When I do a cleanse, I use this time to let go of what I no longer need in order to make space for new growth. Spring is the perfect time to do this because nature is right there with me, supporting me as I make room for new life to bloom.

For me, cleansing has become a way of life (I even co-wrote a book about it!) and it is very closely tied to my gratitude practice. In fact, I see cleansing as a practice too. It is found in many cultures and religions in the form of fasting. Cleansing a way for me to take extra special care of myself for a few weeks each spring and to show my body how much I appreciate it.

gratitude031115_blog

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I love my body and everything it does for me. @Gratitude2Bliss


Here are five reasons why I love to cleanse:

  1. To me, cleansing is one of the highest forms of self-love. When I cleanse, I am telling my body, “You matter to me,” and “I love you for all you do.”
  2. Shedding excess weight and toxins from my body clears up my mind and my spirit.
  3. When I cleanse, I am practicing healthy habits that I can then take with me, one at a time, into my daily life. It’s the perfect training for a healthy life.
  4. Cleansing keeps me connected to my body in a new, fresh way. It helps me notice how my body feels as a result of how I treat it.
  5. Cleansing helps me feel excited about life. As I clear away old stuff, I feel energized and excited to welcome in new, fun experiences that are coming my way.

Remember that not all cleanses are the same and not all cleanses are right for everyone. Where you are in your lifestyle and what your goals may be will determine how you will want to cleanse.

LM_signatureSo now I’d like to hear from you! What questions do you have about cleansing? What is your favorite way to cleanse? Please share in the comments below.