Are You Living Your Dharma?

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

Have you ever thought of your career as a primary food?

According to Joshua Rosenthal, Founder and Director, Institute of Integrative Nutrition,

“Finding work you love is essential to living a healthy, balanced life.”

One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Deepak Chopra, shares the concept of dharma in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. This little guide has been my go-to source for inspiration and clarity for several years now. In fact, I began using it daily around the same time I started practicing gratitude.

Dharma is a sanskrit word that means “purpose in life.”

According to Deepak, everyone has a unique purpose in life. There is something you can do that no one else can do, and when you match this gift with the intention of serving others, you achieve “the ecstasy or exultation of (y)our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.”

In today’s world, a great deal of emphasis is placed on career. Our sense of worth gets all tied up in your career or job and the amount of your paycheck. But dharma is so much more than that.

Your dharma has 3 components:

1. To discover your true self – this is your spiritual journey
2. To express your unique talent – what is it that you can do better than anyone else in the world as a result of your unique talents and experiences?
3. To match your talents with service to others – how can you share your gift in a way that helps others?

Practicing gratitude supports these three areas. As we’ve already touched on in a previous post:

Practicing gratitude helps you stay connected to your true spirit
and help you stay focused on what brings you joy.

This helps you prioritize those things in your life and consciously — or unconsciously — seek out opportunities that make you happier. With this goes opportunities to share your gifts and help others.

This doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every minute of your job in order to be healthy and happy. What it does mean is that becoming more aware of yourself and your sense of purpose in the world, through practicing gratitude, can help you shape your life in a direction that is in alignment with who you truly are.

Sometimes this turns into a paying job, sometimes it is a hobby or a calling, and sometimes your dharma is simply being there for the people in your life, again and again and again.

When my Mom passed away in 2010, I was surprised to learn how many people she had helped at her job as a school secretary. Unbeknownst to me, she was the person at school people confided in and she found great pleasure in helping them find peace and clarity in their personal lives. Her talent for caregiving went beyond her family and was a true example of someone living her dharma.

If you haven’t yet figured out what your dharma is, don’t worry. Pay attention to the voice inside and trust that it will guide you to a place of joy and life satisfaction. Let your gratitude practice be the tool that connects you to your true purpose.

To give you an idea of how this works I will share a testimonial I received from a Gratitude To Bliss  journal user. After practicing gratitude for several weeks, this person began noticing that she often wrote in her journal about how she enjoyed being around people of different ethnicities. (This is why I always say that repeating is OK.) This made her realize a career option that involved working with different ethnic groups and she was quickly able to make a job change that became much more fulfilling for her.

So if you’re looking for a more satisfying career but don’t know where to start, start by practicing gratitude. It will lead you to wonderful things!

 

Gratitude connects me to my true purpose.

Tweet Now:
Practicing gratitude keeps you connected to your true purpose. @Gratitude2Bliss

Find out how I connected to my dharma.

Did you like this post? Please share you comments below!

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The Bliss Chocovado Smoothie (and why I LOVE it!)

In 2012 I embarked on an amazing adventure with my awesome friend – a fellow Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Lindsey Smith (a.k.a. the Food-Mood Girl).

Together we created a program that combined all the things we love most about our work – those very things that have helped us in our own lives.

While our separate journeys have been very different, we realized that we both found success by using the same approaches to overcoming our challenges with depression, anxiety, fatigue and self-doubt and that we are both super passionate about sharing those “behind-the-scenes” approaches with our clients.

We decided to join forces and create something I am so very proud of, The Bliss Cleanse: Your Two-Week Mind, Body, Spirit Guide to Greater Health and Happiness.

The Bliss Cleanse is a collection our very best strategies for turning struggle into ease, stress into joy, and moodiness to bliss.

At its very core, this two-week program helps you create a healthy lifestyle that goes way beyond food. Yes, there are recipes, meal plans and eating guides, but before you can find success with anything we give you in relation to food, you must make sure your mind is working with you. That is why this unique cleanse is a mind, body, spirit journey.

Tweet now!
Life is more blissful when you start from a place of love and gratitude. @Gratitude2Bliss

When we don’t align our thoughts with what our heart wants (love, kindness, ease and joy) and we tell ourselves we have to struggle, or that our body is too ugly, fat, lazy or old, we don’t stand a chance in making healthy choices.

But when we start from a place of love and gratitude for our body, for ourselves and for our life, it’s easy to change.

And that is what I want for you. For you to be able to make the changes you desire for yourself, with ease, joy and gratitude, and most importantly love.

All of the recipes in the Bliss Cleanse come from a place of LOVE. They are clean and easy to make and use natural, wholesome food that is nutritious and satisfying.

One of my favorite recipes is the Bliss Chocovado Smoothie.

Bliss Chocovado Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 avocado
1/2 or 1 banana (preferably frozen)
1/2 cup almond or rice milk
1 tbs raw cacao powder

Directions:
1. Blend well in blender.
2. Add ice for a thicker texture.
3. Serve immediately.

Why do I love this smoothie so much? Because it tastes like a chocolate milk shake yet is dairy-free, sugar-free, and chemical-free. It has loads of antioxidants, magnesium and healthy fat – all things your body needs to balance mood and satisfy cravings.

The Chocovado Smoothie is just one of the many seasonal recipes you’ll find in the Bliss Cleanse – an online program you can do on your own, any time, any where!

Once you become one of our cleansers, you are automatically added to our private Facebook group and can cleanse as a group with us up to four times a year – for life.

You get to “practice” healthy habits over and over until they become a way of life for you. You get to choose which habits you want to focus on each time. It can be as simple as drinking more water or saying a positive affirmation each morning, or you can try something more challenging like giving up coffee, sugar, wheat or dairy. It’s completely up to you what you want to focus on and we guide you every step of the way!

Take a break this summer to focus on you.

Our Summer 2015 Bliss Cleanse is happening 7/12-7/25 so plan ahead and register now – you’ll be amazed how much fun cleansing can be!

To learn more, please visit Bliss Cleanse.

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My Gratitude Walk

The other day I got up and went for a walk. A really big walk. Let me explain.

Two years ago I came home from the hospital after delivering my son, a child we had been wanting for eight years. I had a 36 hour labor resulting in an emergency c-section followed by major blood loss. While I was ecstatic to finally bring my son home and so grateful he was healthy, I felt as though I was going to die.

Each day I woke up to the fear that I would not be able to take care of him. I was so terrified I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. My body became inflamed and I remained depleted for a very long time. Breast feeding was a struggle. Getting through the day felt impossible. I had postpartum depression and anxiety that lasted four months. I was so stressed I cracked a tooth. I had a weird problem where I couldn’t fully bend my left thumb and it freaked me out. On top of that, I had intermittent pain throughout my body and was constantly thirsty, tired and anxious. This experience rattled me to the bone and tested my physical, mental and emotional strength like nothing else ever has.

The only thing that kept me from completely falling apart was the deep inner knowing that everything would eventually be OK. While at times it seemed as if my world was unraveling and that my life was in danger, I held on to the idea that I would somehow make it through. It wasn’t easy but I told myself to focus on all the things I had to be grateful for, especially my beautiful, healthy son. Having an active gratitude practice in place was instrumental.

Fast forward to today. For the first time in two years I feel like I have my body back.

Up until a few days ago, I was still having painful hip and back issues that affected the way I walked and hindered my ability to exercise. But last week I turned a corner.

I had a few private yoga sessions with Gail Grossman, the beautiful yogi who created Om Sweet Om Yoga Studio.

I also had a session with Adam Hakim, a cranial sacral therapist with magic hands. I don’t know how he does what he does but let’s just say he put my muscles and bones back where they needed to be. But that is only part of it. He talked to me during my session and helped me release all the fear that got stuck in my body when I went through that trauma two years ago.

Which takes me today. Today I can walk without pain, tightness or feeling off balance.

When you get so used to living with something, you almost don’t even realize there’s a problem. But when you can release it, you feel brand new and whole again and it’s as if a miracle has taken place inside your body.

To celebrate, I went for a walk. I walked up a steep hill without getting out of breath. I played my Gratitude Playlist on my iPhone and felt grateful. Grateful for every person who played a role in my healing these past two years – family who came to visit, friends who brought food, neighbors who checked in, babysitters who were wonderful caregivers, healers who I called upon to help me, and my husband who was a rock through it all.

Next, I thanked my body. While it was challenging for me to accept the limitations it had placed on me, I never once lost faith that my body would heal.

I also thanked myself for doing what I could to stay positive and focus on what I had to be grateful for. I acknowledged myself for taking the time to make healing a priority.

This is something my gratitude practice has given me–permission to appreciate myself, my body and my own happiness.

I share this story with you in the hopes that it will inspire you to keep going. Whatever struggles you face, listen to the voice inside that can guide you to your own success.

If you have health issues, know that your body can heal.

If you have relationship challenges, know that you are loved.

If you have financial troubles, know that you are supported.

If you feel lost, know that you are guided.

When in doubt, practice gratitude.

Most of all, know that you are always right where you need to be. Know that every step of your journey matters. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth. And know that your gratitude practice can be your best friend when times are tough, moving you out of darkness and into the light.

I invite you to go on your own gratitude walk this week. Get out in nature and appreciate everything, even being able to walk and to be alive.  I promise you’ll feel good all week!

Tweet Now:

When in doubt, practice gratitude. @Gratitude2Bliss

To get started with your own gratitude practice, download the free iTunes or Google Play Gratitude to Bliss App and start today!

Already have a gratitude practice? Please share in the comments below or on my Facebook page how it helps you stay grounded through difficult times.

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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.

Tweet Now:

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.”

Tweet Now:
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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