How To Overcome The Poverty of Thought And Make Your Dreams Come True

  Robin Martin is driven by her passion for yoga and the pursuit of excellence. Many yoga poses require practice and determination to achieve. Photography by Paul Garrett

Robin Martin is driven by her passion for yoga and the pursuit of excellence. Many yoga poses require practice and determination to achieve. Photography by Paul Garrett

What often holds us back from achieving our dreams are our limiting thoughts, beliefs and habits. In a way this is a form of poverty that keeps us in a state of lack and hopelessness. By understanding how our conscious and our subconscious minds work, we can literally reprogram our minds for success and to start living our dreams. Please watch this informative video by Dr. Bruce Lipton. He does an excellent job of explaining how our brains work and how to reprogram them:

Now that you have an overview of the brain, let’s dive deeper into some of the things that make us feel stuck and suggest some ways to overcome these barriers:

Limiting Words

Words have power. Limiting words like “I can’t,” “I should,” and “I have to” often control our actions based on programming from our childhood that no longer serves us. They also prevent us from taking ownership over our destiny by keeping us trapped in old belief systems regarding what we are “supposed” and “not supposed to” do in order to be accepted. When we become conscious of the power that these words have over us, we can take our power back by turning them into empowering questions. “I can’t”, for example, becomes “How can I?” “I have to” can become “What do I really want to do?” Doing what we love often feels effortless and fun compared to doing what we hate to do. Click on the link to this article titled, “10 Limiting Words You Should Never Say” to learn more about limiting words.

Limiting beliefs

Our thoughts and our words become our beliefs. And beliefs in a way are thought habits that are engrained within our psyches and have a huge influence over how we view ourselves and the world. If we grew up in an environment where we were told that we would never succeed, chances are that this would become a self fulfilling prophecy. The good news is that we don’t have to accept the negative labels and limiting beliefs that were given to us. Through awareness and the repetition of new and empowering beliefs, we can reprogram our brains for success. This is were the repetition of mantras becomes a powerful tool for tricking our subconscious minds into believing what we want them to believe as we learned in the above video by Dr. Bruce Lipton. Over the past three years I have been able to overcome my own limiting beliefs through self study and practice. As a result, this has helped me to develop the confidence to pursue my passions with enthusiasm and the feeling that I will succeed. According to Tony Robbins, “Certainty” is a huge motivator. If we are certain that we will succeed, then we are much more apt to face big hurdles and conquer them to achieve our goals. Certainty is a belief and we can trick our minds into believing that we can do whatever we want to do in life.

  Ben pulled off this handstand after running a 200 mile race around Lake Tahoe. The first step toward success is believing that you can do what you want to achieve. Photography by Paul Garrett

Ben pulled off this handstand after running a 200 mile race around Lake Tahoe. The first step toward success is believing that you can do what you want to achieve. Photography by Paul Garrett

Learned Helplessness

According to PsychCentral.com, learned helplessness is “A condition in which a person or animal has come to believe he or she is helpless in a situation, even when this is untrue.” Learned helplessness is one of the reasons that people who are the victims of domestic violence often do not try to get away from their abuser. Through emotional manipulation and conditioning, they succumb to low self esteem and the belief that they cannot make it on their own. This is also true of children who grow up in poverty and feel that they can never rise to a higher standard of living. In reality we can all succeed on our own if we believe in ourselves and are willing to recondition our thinking for success.

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

What we hold to be true in our minds has incredible power over us and our destinies. Change the way that you think and you will change your life. Success is a mindset that can be learned and put into practice through awareness and perseverance. We live in an abundant universe where all things are possible when we believe in them. Never let anyone’s opinion, or your own limiting thoughts and beliefs hold you back from living your best life. We are all here to thrive so I encourage you to pursue your dreams with passion and energy.

All the best,

Paul

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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Alcohol is a growing Problem

Alcohol is a huge problem that many Americans do not want to admit. It surrounds us on television, in movies, and at movie theaters, restaurants, bars, and even sometimes at work meetings. Yoga studios are even hosting events like vino & vinyasa and asanas & ales to lure people in. Consuming alcoholic beverages has not only become the social norm, but it seems almost expected of us. Beverages are marketed to appeal to younger people and make drinking appear sexy. There is even hard water which is 6% alcohol. It tastes like fruity sparkling water and is marketed as a low calorie healthy alternative. To make matters worse, apparently fake ID’s are easily attainable and inexpensive so please talk with your underage children and know what is happening in their lives.

The more people I talk to about drinking, the more I realize that they (including myself) are truly awakening to the destruction that it can also bring. According to Beachway Therapy Center, “Each year, alcohol can be linked to almost 90,000 deaths around the United States and plenty more injuries, stemming from alcohol poisoning, accidents, reckless driving, vehicular fatalities, domestic violence, and drug interactions, not to mention the stress it places on friends and family.” If you know anyone who has been in long term rehabilitation, you have probably witnessed the devastation it brings both physically and mentally.

  We often consume alcoholic beverages to lift our spirits, when in reality they can also bring us down making us feel isolated and lonely. - Photography by Paul Garrett

We often consume alcoholic beverages to lift our spirits, when in reality they can also bring us down making us feel isolated and lonely. - Photography by Paul Garrett

How Do You Know if You Consume Too Much?

If you have trouble remembering things when you have been drinking, experience blackouts, experience shakiness when the effects of alcohol wear off, if you avoid social experiences because they do not include drinking, if you experience moodiness, nausea or vomiting, if your appearance changes and you retain water or have puffy eyes or a red nose, these may all be signs that you are consuming too much. We do not need to label ourselves as alcoholics, problematic drinkers, or borderline problematic drinkers. What I believe is most important is to recognize the signs that your body may be struggling from regarding the effects of alcohol, while being mindful that we all respond differently. Once you are an adult there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, but what does that really mean?

I fell into the trap of drinking at least two, and sometimes three or four glasses of Cabernet each night. I convinced myself that this was “normal and acceptable” even though sometimes I repeated stories, slurred my words and forgot a lot of movies that I watched. We tend to compare ourselves to others who drink more in an attempt to justify our own actions, when the reality is it still does not make either one right. We also tend to go into denial as a defense mechanism. Once you surround yourself with people who do not drink daily or binge drink, you begin to realize that there are other healthier options. In addition there are a few important factors to consider, including why you are drinking in the first place, as well as the negative statistics regarding the consumption of alcohol. Once you are aware, like most things in life, you can begin to transition into a lifestyle that promotes your personal growth and happiness rather than masking the discomforts that you drink to avoid.

This is one of the best videos that I have seen, which shows the effects of alcohol upon us and explains why we act the way we do with multiple drinks.

WHY WE DRINK:

  1. We drink to numb pain and discomfort. Maybe bills are piling up, you experienced a divorce, got let go from work or you are overwhelmed by life in general….

  2. We drink to relieve anxiety. This was a big one for me. I would have a glass of wine BEFORE going out for cocktails just to supposedly build my self esteem.

  3. We drink because it has become the social norm. Why not consider calling cocktail hour social hour instead?

  4. We drink because we feel we cannot have fun without it. This is definitely not true and in fact alcohol makes us literally dumb as it affects both our nervous system, as well as our brain.

  5. We drink because it has become a habit. Eventually, no matter why we started in the first place it will become a habit and then a lifestyle. Habits, as we know, are very difficult to break and require a mindset that knows that we deserve better.

THE ILL EFFECTS OF DRINKING (Stats from Talbott Recovery):

  1. Alcohol poisoning kills 6 people every day.


  2. Alcohol impaired driving accounts for 30% of driving fatalities per year.

  3. More than 15 million people struggle with alcohol use disorder and less than 8% receive treatment.

  4. More than 65 million Americans reported binge drinking last month.

  5. Teen alcohol use kills 4700 people each year, that is more than all illegal drugs combined.

Drinking has long term side effects that most of us do not ever think about including liver damage, nerve damage, brain damage involving permanent memory loss, heart disease and cancer. Withdrawal from drinking is said to be more deadly than withdrawal from any drug. I have known several people who have been through long term treatment (all under the age of 55 by the way) and recovery, as well as friends that have gone through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). I went to both AA and Alan-on meetings months ago as part of my research and also just to check in with myself honestly. I started to silently question whether I was drinking too much and THAT is a surefire sign I most likely was. I went to the AA meetings and felt like I absolutely did NOT belong. Alan-on, on the other hand, I could somehow relate to.

Fortunately I am very awake and aware in my life. After a couple months passed by I started weening away from my normal wine “habit”. I recently went four days without it and had no issues. I began drinking tons of water with electrolytes and a lot of iced tea. Suddenly I had a huge desire to rid my body of toxins. As a result of hydrating in a healthy manner, the skin on my arms, legs and face all look less wrinkled and dry. I had no idea I was so dehydrated. Although I consider my drinking to be mildly problematic, it is certainly worth giving up on a daily basis. I did recently enjoy a couple glasses of wine at a family dinner, free from guilt. I am not saying that I am giving it up forever, but for now I will save my wine for special occasions, rather than allowing it to be a daily habit.

Sometimes change is not so gradual or optional. I have known people who try to quit drinking and their body goes into severe withdrawal causing their heart rate to spike and putting them at a higher risk of stroke and possibly death. If you are drinking large amounts of hard alcohol or drinking all day or night, seek advice and help from your physician. Some withdrawals take a 3-5 day hospital stay with anti anxiety medicine, as well as blood pressure medications and aids to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It is highly advised to follow up with a long term care facility when possible and to look into a support group such as AA. Consider a new friend circle that may be less toxic and find activities free from alcohol that excite your soul.

Life is truly magical. And it is even more magical when we can see clearly and think logically. You deserve to thrive! Please practice mindfulness if and when you choose to consume alcohol. Just like when you crave dessert, one scoop of ice cream is acceptable, but a gallon will make you feel bad. Know your limits, consume in moderation and really consider what moderation is. Furthermore, honestly ponder what drinking responsibly means to you. Together we all weave a tapestry that interconnects us. Every choice that we make not only impacts to our own life and well being, but it may also affect the people around us. Always be mindful that in the blink of an eye our lives can be shattered by the adverse consequences of drinking.

The best part about cutting back or quitting any addiction is obviously the betterment of your health, but you will also save a lot of money that you can sock away for fun vacations and adventures that will create lasting memories for you and the people who you love. Be confident in social atmospheres. You can always sip on a sparkling water in a wine glass, a glass of tonic with lemon, or a non alcoholic beer if that makes you feel like you fit in better. Life is short. Don’t waste it away in a state of numbness and pain. Please seek help if you have a drinking problem, or other addiction, so that you can start experiencing the fullness of love and joy in your life. Yoga and meditation are both a great way to get in touch with the “self” and get to the root of the problem for which you are drinking. Many recovery centers use yoga as a therapy treatment.

We were all designed to thrive and sometimes we need to reach out for a little help, but all things are possible with perseverance, determination, and a spiritual belief. By practicing honesty, awareness, forgiveness and acceptance with ourselves, we can successfully overcome the many challenges that we encounter as we journey through life.

Live the Life You Love and Love the Life You Live,

Libby


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

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What Does "As Within, So Without" Mean?

What does “As Within, So Without” mean to you? This expression is considered to be a universal truth or law which shows us that the outside world is a reflection of our inner world. What we feel and what we believe have a tendency to manifest in our lives. For this reason it is very important to raise our awareness regarding this universal truth and to understand how it applies to our lives.

For example, have you had periods in your life where bad things keep happening to you and it feels like you never get a break from the problems and challenges that keep weighing you down? Stop and think about this, remembering that your outer world is a reflection of what you think, believe and are feeling inside. To shift back into and upward spiral you have to change your inner world. As you transform your negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones, you will begin to attract the people, opportunities and outcomes that inspire you to pursue your greatest dreams.

  Sky above me, Earth Below me, fire within me. Live the life you love and say “YES” to life’s Challenges. - Photography by Paul Garrett

Sky above me, Earth Below me, fire within me. Live the life you love and say “YES” to life’s Challenges. - Photography by Paul Garrett

Years ago when I was going through my divorce, I naturally experienced many negative emotions which mainly revolved around fear and rejection. In this low vibrational state, it seemed like nothing was going my way. Fortunately I made a conscious decision to break this cycle by changing my inner world through self study (self improvement), exercise and by improving my nutrition. Over time I faced the fears that were holding me back and turned them into an opportunity to grow and pursue new interests and dreams. More often than not, the worst things that happen to us can actually become blessings in disguise because they move us out of our comfort zones, compel us to grow and make us stronger. The more that I learned about myself, the more that I came to understand the importance of self love when it comes to creating a beautiful life. In addition, by reprogramming my belief systems to align with my authentic self, my purpose and vision became clear. As a result I started attracting people and opportunities that truly supported my life’s mission. As soon as I understood this aspect of the Law of Attraction, life became magical and exciting again.

  The answers you seek lie within you. Open your heart to new possibilities. - Photography by Paul Garrett

The answers you seek lie within you. Open your heart to new possibilities. - Photography by Paul Garrett

5 Ways to Transform Your Life From Within

  1. Get to know yourself: Self knowledge is vital for living an authentic life.

  2. Love yourself: You cannot fully love another person until you love yourself.

  3. Let go of fear: Fear can hold us back or it can make us stronger by overcoming it.

  4. Take time out for you: Invest in your wellbeing and in your growth. This will raise your vibration, calm your mind and help you to grow into the best version of yourself. People often say that they don’t have time for themselves. In reality we always find time to do what we value, so make yourself a priority!

  5. Become conscious: This sounds silly, but most people are only fully conscious 5 to 10 percent of the time. The rest of the time they are reacting to life based upon programs within their subconscious minds without really thinking about it. In fact, many of our unconscious thoughts aren’t even ours. They were put there by others, such as our parents. This is one of the reasons why so many people feel stuck, trapped or unhappy. They are still under the influence of other people’s expectations and not their own. Master your thoughts and you will have the freedom to direct your destiny.

  We change the world by changing ourselves. - Photography by Paul Garrett

We change the world by changing ourselves. - Photography by Paul Garrett

To live our best lives it is so important for us to be true to ourselves and to take ownership over our feelings and our beliefs. Once we do this we also begin to make the world a better place. Inner peace creates outer peace. In addition, by being true to ourselves we no longer have an overwhelming need to seek validation and approval from others, as Libby discussed in our previous blog post.

Take some time to really think about “As Within, So Without” and how it pertains to your life. Notice how your thoughts and beliefs manifest themselves into your daily life. As you consciously take ownership over your thoughts and your feelings, you will feel a positive shift take place. This is a form of awakening that has the power to transform your life into a Total Soulful Journey.

Wishing you growth, happiness and love,

Paul


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

Why Do We Seek Validation and Approval?

Our Need for Approval

The vast majority of society seeks approval or validation from others. We learn at a young age to occassionally look up at mom and dad, waiting for that nod or smile to show that what we are doing is ok. As we grow we look to teachers for praise. Once we are adults we need to be told we are doing well at work and we even look to social media for likes and comments. All of these are forms of validation and approval.

  Social Gatherings can leave us feeling especially vulnerable and needy for approval.

Social Gatherings can leave us feeling especially vulnerable and needy for approval.

The Question is WHY Do We Seek This Validation and Approval?

We seek validation because we ultimately lack self trust and confidence. Sometimes we are simply trying to please others, which is fine to an extent, but not when we compromise our own desires. We each were born with a unique gift to share with this world and we are robbed of sharing that opportunity when we conform to what others want. This is somewhat compounded by others judging us. No one likes to feel judged or like they are on the hot seat. It is also compounded by acceptance. We all want to fit in and we seek love, even through friendships. When we are ousted because of a choice we make, not seeking approval, it hurts. It is important to allow others to react however they do, we do not control that.

In my personal experience, sometimes people distance themselves or even walk out of my life because of a decision I have made. Truth be told, no one else has to approve or like what I do with my life. What is critical is to be sure each choice we make brings us happiness and does not cause anyone else harm. Compassionate decision making is what I call this. Sometimes we even make mistakes, but it is important that our friends and family continue to love us through those mistakes rather than try to control the situation to protect us, which often makes it worse and can cause a sense of isolation. For example; if my parents do not like who I date I may not spend much time with them. Someone seeking approval may defend the boyfriend or even decide to see someone else even though he may treat you wonderfully. It is great to set boundaries and to respect those of others. But we do not need approval for our actions. Once we stop seeking validation and approval we natually relieve stress in our lives. It is stressful to constantly worry about what other people think of us.

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

Five Steps to Letting Go and Living Authentically:

  1. Free your mind from the confines that hold you back. Go deep within and ask YOURSELF what you want and need.

  2. Do not compromise who you are to please others

  3. Speak your voice.

  4. Slay the chameleon within, meaning stop trying to “fit in”. Wear the clothes YOU like, take the job that excites YOU, feel free to shed toxic relationships so you can grow…

  5. The last Yama in the 8 Limbs of Yoga is Aparigraha. Aparigraha means non possesiveness, non grasping, non needing and letting go of what you no longer need. You do not need approval or validation from anyone. Stand firm in your opinions and standards. Do not let anyone hold you back. People may get upset or give you a cold shoullder, but simply allow that. If they truly love and care about you they will process it in their own time and more than likely return with even more love.

  As we learn to love and respect ourselves, our need for approval fades into the background.

As we learn to love and respect ourselves, our need for approval fades into the background.

The more authentically you live your life, the more you will earn the respect of others. Just remember to do all things with kindness. And remember, it is Ok to agree to disagree respectfully. Trust yourself and you will never seek outside validation or worry about trusting others. You have got this!

With confidence,

Libby


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

The Importance of Every Journey

For the past four weeks I have been on a solo journey across the western states of the USA. I’ve traveled over 5000 miles while visiting beautiful National Parks such as Glacier, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite and the Redwoods. Along the way I have enjoyed countless conversations with people from across America and from around the world. Inevitably Total Soulful Journey came up in these conversations along with a host of questions about life, reaffirming that people are hungry for actionable information on how they can live their best lives.

  Jump into life and reflect upon your journey and your goals. Photography by Paul Garrett

Jump into life and reflect upon your journey and your goals. Photography by Paul Garrett

Every trip has both an inner and an outer journey. Our best adventures not only inspire us and renew our energy, they also change and grow us. At the end of those long miles and adventures, we return home transformed. Time on our own helps us to examine ourselves and question where we want our lives to go. Self examination is critical not only to self growth, but also for helping us envision our futures. Without a vision, it is hard to know where to go and easy to feel lost and aimless. From time to time it is important to step back from our fast paced lives and take a time out for ourselves, question where we want to go and set a new course that aligns with our purpose and our dreams.

  Get out of your    comfort zone    if you want to see the big picture. Photography by Paul Garrett

Get out of your comfort zone if you want to see the big picture. Photography by Paul Garrett

At the beginning of this trip I was not 100% sure where I was going to live next since my time in Washington had just come to an end. I knew what my priorities and wishes were, but I needed confirmation from the universe to make my next move and this trip gave me the time and the signs to know exactly where I need to be. My mission has also become completely clear, which is a beautiful blessing.

If you feel lost or struck in your life, take a break from your daily grind and routines. Give yourself the gift of time and space for self reflection. Ask yourself questions such as, “Am I really living the life of my dreams? Or am I living according to someone else's expectations of what I should be doing with my life?” The quality of our questions often determines the quality of our lives. And remember that life is about the journey and not about the destination as we continually strive to become the best versions of ourselves. In other words, life is about growth. When we stop growing, we start dying. This is just like how our muscles start to atrophy if we stop working out. The satisfaction in our lives is also dependent upon being true to ourselves. If we can’t be authentic, then we tend to suffer in silence and fail to live up to our full potential. As Libby has said before, “Be bold, be you!!”

  Take time to enjoy the destination, but remember that there is always a new horizon to discover. Life is a continuing journey of growth and discovery. Photography by Paul Garrett

Take time to enjoy the destination, but remember that there is always a new horizon to discover. Life is a continuing journey of growth and discovery. Photography by Paul Garrett

I’m so stoked to write a bold new chapter in my life and I encourage you to do the same. Let’s continue to inspire and encourage one another to pursue our dreams. We all have so much potential to share with the world and now is the time to step into action!!

Wishing you a Total Soulful Journey,

Paul


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

5 Tips for a Strong Morning Routine

Rise and Shine! We have all heard that popular saying, however, most of us wake up and hit the snooze button rather than jumping out of bed with enthusiasm to begin our day. The first hour of the day determines our success. Do you immediately reach for your phone upon waking to check texts, emails, or social media? I know I sure did. I use to use my phone as my alarm and until  I became aware of how mindlessly I was scrolling through it and I could not change my habit. Our mindset determines our habits and our habits & thoughts determine our outcomes. I realized I want to thrive rather than simply survive, don’t we all?

  A positive morning routine sets the tone for the day. Photography by Libby McAvoy

A positive morning routine sets the tone for the day. Photography by Libby McAvoy

So, forget the phone first thing in the morning. No one knows when you are awake anyway so it is the perfect time to nurture yourself. Once you treat yourself like the important person who you are, your life will improve. Follow these five morning tips to create a more mindful day:

  1. Before you even leave your bed take five minutes or so to think of all you are grateful for. Gratitude will immediate shift you to a positive attitude.

  2. Workout and sweat! Working out will motivate you, energize you and create more confidence.

  3. Journal. Journalling builds awareness and leads to personal growth. Write down your goals for the day and consider revisiting them in the evening to see if you accomplished them.

  4. Eat a healthy breakfast to fuel yourself with energy.

  5. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you”. Practicing self love is incredibly important. When we love ourself enough we will work hard to achieve our goals.

  When you change your habits, you change your life. Photography by Paul Garrett

When you change your habits, you change your life. Photography by Paul Garrett

Go to bed a little earlier each night with determination and wake with enthusiasm. Life is so good and once you adopt these habits it will continue to get better.

Make it a great day,

Libby


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Blog Every Tuesday and Saturday

The 5 Love Languages - A Book Review

 “The 5 Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman, is a New York Times Bestseller. According to the author, we all have one primary love language. If your partner speaks a language that is different from yours, it is difficult to effectively communicate. This is also true when it comes to each others love language. When we fully understand and respect the 5 love languages as identified and explained so beautifully in this book, we are then able to understand our partner, as well as ourselves and work together to effectively communicate.

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

The 5 love languages are:

Words of Affirmation: This includes sincere compliments, word of encouragement, kind words and humble words. This makes sense since one of the deepest human needs is to feel appreciated.

Quality Time: This mean giving your partner your undivided attention, doing quality activities together, having quality conversations and sharing self revelation. As I have stated in a previous blog, “Time is Love.”

Receiving Gifts: Gifts are symbols and expressions of love. They remind us that he or she was thinking of us. In addition to material gifts, there is also the gift of presence which means being there for your partner when they need you.

Acts of Service: This means doing things you know that your partner would like you to do. You seek to please him or her by doing things for them like taking out the garbage, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn or paying the bills.

Physical Touch: This includes, hugs, kisses, holding hands, sitting close to each other, massage and sexual intimacy. Learn how and where your partner likes to be touched, especially if this is their primary love language. Remember that positive and productive communication is critical to the success of all of your relationships.

  By honoring each other’s love language, your relationship will soar! Photography by Paul Garrett

By honoring each other’s love language, your relationship will soar! Photography by Paul Garrett

Many couples struggle because they are unaware of the significance of the 5 love languages. Often they will unconsciously practice their love language on each other and then wonder why their partner or spouse does not appreciate what they do for them. Eventually this may lead to loneliness, resentfulness and feeling unappreciated or unloved, which creates distance between couples. So if your partner’s primary love language is quality time, then make time to have quality conversations and do meaningful activities together. When they feel loved, they will naturally feel closer and want to please you, as well. This creates an upward spiral of love. In addition, If you do not understand your primary and your secondary love languages, it is difficult for you to communicate your needs to your partner. Good communications skills and self knowledge are vital to healthy relationships. You may have more than one love language that resonates with you, but if you really think about it one of the love languages will stand out as your primary.

“The 5 Love Languages” is an important book for all couples to read. It will give you helpful information for creating a loving and a fulfilling relationship that lasts. If you are currently in a relationship that is struggling, read this book together. It will give you the tools to get your relationship back on the road to lasting love, deeper fulfillment and happiness. Furthermore, by becoming conscious of the 5 love languages and by using them with your significant other, you will deepen the intimacy in your relationship as you both feel new levels of love and appreciation from one another. Practice patience and loyalty while still enforcing firm boundaries and please consider reading our blog on male vs female communication. Remember that we are all in this together. The more that we revisit these important topics and conversation, the more that we can learn and grow.

Happy reading,

Paul


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

Learn to be Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations

It is all too easy to stick within our comfort zones, but watch out because they are a trap. Comfort zones keep us from realizing our greater potential. Challenges intimidate our ego and sometimes make us feel small when we fail to rise to the occasion. We must not fear failure. By coming to value the lessons that we learn from our mistakes, we will advance as we journey through life. In addition, by learning to accept what intimidates and makes us feel uncomfortable, we develop a new level of confidence when we push ourselves to new levels of growth.

  Hiking the Zion Narrows can be intimidating, but ultimately rewarding when you rise to the challenge of hiking up this river. Photography by Paul Garrett

Hiking the Zion Narrows can be intimidating, but ultimately rewarding when you rise to the challenge of hiking up this river. Photography by Paul Garrett

Anytime I accept an invitation for a new group or try a new yoga studio for the first time, I feel anxious, nervous and intimidated. But, when I push through that discomfort it is almost always a great experience. When we enter the unknown we become vulnerable. Vulnerability is difficult, but is so necessary as it is the gateway of all emotions. Some people are more likely to take risks. People who have suffered trauma, particularly in early childhood, are less likely to explore and take risks. Vulnerability requires great courage because it reveals our authenticity and requires us to show our true selves by taking off the mask we so often wear to try to please others.

Sometimes my closest friends, you know the two or three who know me intimately, will ask why I do not heed my own advice. The truth is that we are all on this journey together. I do not believe that anyone is perfect. I am learning and growing everyday. Sometimes I write or post on social media the content I most need to hear. Yes, that’s right you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth! I admit wholeheartedly that there are things I need to work on and improve, but  I feel fortunate to have that awareness. Once we awaken we are able to improve. So please step out of your comfort zone. YOU are worthy of accomplishing all of your dreams. Although each of our journeys are a little different, ultimately our purpose is to become the best possible version of ourselves. We must learn how to take risks and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

  My Blogging Partner, Paul Garrett, loves to hike and explore, but standing on the edge of a cliff is totally outside of his comfort Zone.

My Blogging Partner, Paul Garrett, loves to hike and explore, but standing on the edge of a cliff is totally outside of his comfort Zone.

Just as children have physical growing pains, adults too have growing pains, but usually our pains are in the form of mental and emotional anguish, frustration, and sadness. Learn to commit more to your dreams than to your comfort zone and you will soar! No one is alone. My own door is personally open all the time if anyone wants to bounce ideas off me or simply needs a listening ear. The minute we isolate ourselves we start a downward spiral. My greatest desire is for each of us to reach abundance in all areas of our lives. When we join together and help one another, we become stronger. Please feel free to message me on Instagram or comment below, and on days when you feel strong or have a little extra love please consider reaching out to someone around you to offer them support and kindness.

With Love & Courage,

Libby


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

 

How to Deal With Anger

How often do you get angry? Anger is one of the most common human emotions. It’s a very natural reaction when we feel hurt by someone, when our expectations are sadly unmet, when someone offends us, when we don’t get our way, when we are grieving and even when we are embarrassed. Anger is often a mirror of what we see in ourselves, but do not want to face. It can also be a secondary emotion that is a reflection of pain,  sadness, fear or shame.

The problem with anger is when it becomes chronic or uncontrollable. You know those angry people who fly off the rails at the slightest offense, or are always looking for a fight. Chronic anger is especially harmful to our health. It puts us under ongoing stress as our bodies are constantly under the influence of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, chronic anger can lower our immune system’s ability to fight common diseases such as colds, and possibly lead to heart disease, hypertension and even cancer in some cases.

  Sometimes you just want to scream! Photography by Paul Garrett

Sometimes you just want to scream! Photography by Paul Garrett

Anger also puts our bodies into a lower vibration. As a result, angry people repel happy people and attract angry folks instead. This lower state of vibration also draws other problems into our lives. Notice how bad things often happen to angry people. Well according to the Law of Attraction, this all makes sense.

Years ago I was much more prone to frustration and anger if things did not go my way. There were times, for example, when my computer was not working properly while editing videos that needed to be completed for clients ASAP and I wanted to throw it out the window. Of course I didn’t do that, lol, but the frustration was there.

Over the past three years, I have learned how to manage anger to the point that it never has much of an influence over me. Through meditation and other mindfulness exercises I can now smile and even laugh in the most frustrating of times. Another helpful technique that I use is Libby’s method of Awareness, Acceptance and Forgiveness. When my car got hit by another driver this summer, I was aware of my emotions and remained calm, I accepted that accidents happen and I was grateful that no one was injured. I was able to immediately forgive the other driver and myself for the accident, and as a result, the other driver was also calm and cooperative. Had either of us resorted to anger, this situation would have been so much worse. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Looking for the lessons and learning from them is a gift that can save us from even worse situations in the future.

  Through awareness we can manage anger. Photography by Paul Garrett

Through awareness we can manage anger. Photography by Paul Garrett

Another method that is very helpful under stressful situations is breath work. By becoming aware of our breathing and by taking deep breaths, we can practice “The Pause” and heighten our self awareness. Anger is often the result of old triggers related to past pain, sadness, fear or shame within our subconscious minds. When you are in a situation where you feel like you are going to become angry, stop and take a deep breath. This will slow down the situation and make you aware of your emotions in a manner that you will be able to control. This is the difference between reacting off the cuff with anger or responding in a calm manner. Remember that what we put out into the world comes back to us. If we react in anger, other people are likely to react back with anger. This is especially important to remember when you are dealing with your partner, your spouse or your children. Angry words are often hurtful and they cannot be taken back.

A Total Soulful Journey becomes possible when we practice self mastery over our mind, our body and our spirit. Through self love we become more compassionate toward ourselves and anger fades into the background as our egos hold less influence over our emotions. This doesn’t mean that we will never feel angry again. What it does mean is that we can recognize our anger quickly and process it before it becomes a problem. Once again anger is a natural emotion, however, life is too short to let it control us. Choose peace and happiness for they are foundations for a great life!

Wishing you peace and happiness,

Paul


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Yoga as a Path to Mental Well-Being

There are a growing number of mental health concerns plaguing our country as well as places around the world including, but not limited to; addiction, anxiety, and violent aggression. Addictions include alcohol & drugs, sex, food, social media, and the biggest most common addiction that I see daily is to the phone. My biggest concern is two fold. One; people are not practicing self love and acceptance AND they are not reaching out for help when needed. Two; doctors are prescribing medications rather than exploring the root cause of the emotional triggers and reactions.

Yoga connects the body and mind through breath. Awareness begins with the physical practice on the mat and then carries into daily life. Once we are plugged into ourselves we are better able to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other emotions rather than try to put a Bandaid over it to cover it up. Yoga centers us and raises our confidence and self esteem. When we are not centered we become extreme. When we are centered we can cope.

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

There is no easy fix that will work in the long run. We must stay comitted to our mental well being and revisit and reevaluate ourselves daily. We have to want to stand firm against our inner demons and to grow into the best version of ourselves. Love and truth set us free. We must face problems head on in peaceful productive ways and set firm boundries.

Support groups such as AA, Al-Anon, and Co-Dependency all suggest following the 12 steps. I have had clients ask if I had been through one of these programs because they said what I spoke of and taught in class was so similar. I was curious for a long time so I finally attended both AA and Al-Anon groups to understand both perspectives. I was thrilled to learn that many long term treatment centers for addiction use Yoga as therapy. I then ordered The Big Book and Al-Anon Works to deepen my understanding of the twelve steps. Although the twelve steps are similar to the 8 Limbs of Yoga, there are some differences. After much reflection I combined what I found most helpful from both and created my own steps for the Foundations for Living the Best Life. I am starting a Meetup group here in Cincinnati, and I hope that it spreads to create a community of people who want to better themselves through discussions, volunteer work, and outdoor activities, including yoga. My study will continue in December when I take a weekend course for Yoga and addiction and trauma therapy. I look forward to continuing to learn, grow and help others.

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The truth is that we all face obstacles in life and at any given moment we cannot know what others are truly facing. Many times we keep our biggest struggles to ourselves. No matter how happy or confident someone may appear we all have days when we feel we are falling apart. Sometimes we are cracked open to allow our light to shine and to keep pushing forward. We are never alone, but sometimes we need to take responsibility, reach out, ask for help, and tell someone we are not Ok in that moment. You are not a mess and life does not end when we fall down. We need to have the courage and strength to stand up, shake it off and face our insecurities. It is important to pause, breathe, and respond with respect to both yourself and others. Yoga teaches us awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. For me personally I have become more patient, confident, and focused. This does not mean I never have bad days, but rather that I am more equipped to handle those days with grace and love. When I feel down or unsure, the first thing I do is get on my mat. If I have low energy I may only move a little, but it always brings me back home, grounds me, and brings great clarity.

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I hope that when you face the next obstacle in your life that you will reach out. Ask a friend to try yoga with you, visit a support group, or read and try my Foundations for Living the Best Life. We all deserve to be happy and to have abundance in our lives. We all have a divine spark within. So be your authentic self and shine bright. You never know who you may help by sharing your story or even asking someone how they are doing. When we accept our differences and learn from each other, we grow stronger as a community.

Mindfully Yours, 

Libby

 

P.S. Please register for our newsletter and if you leave a positive comment below or private message us on social media you will be entered into a drawing to win 2 tickets for Wanderlust 108 Cincinnati!  


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Remembering 911 - A Tribute to the American Spirit

My current journey across the western USA reminds me once again how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful and diverse nation. On this 17th anniversary of 911, I am also reminded of the amazing fortitude and the heroism that was demonstrated on that horrific day. It is also a day to remember and honor the fallen, all of the innocent people who lost their lives, not only in NYC, DC and in Pennsylvania, but to also honor the brave men and women who gave their lives or were wounded in the military actions that ensued in the following years.

The United States of America is special because we believe that all people have the right to rise above their current standing to live the life of their dreams. That is the American Dream, to have the freedom to create our lives, to prosper from the fruit of our labor and to live in peace, free from the tyranny of government. These values are also desired by many good people all over the world who are denied these beautiful human values.

 Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park - Photography by Paul Garrett

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park - Photography by Paul Garrett

 As a people we are hard working, innovative and friendly. We may have been victimized at times, but we are never victims. Together we rise to any occasion and never give up, even during the most difficult times. You can say that Americans have an indomitable spirit.

 A week ago I attended the Zac Brown Band and One Republic concert at Safeco Field in Seattle. There was such a collective feeling of unity and happiness that evening. I was happy to see so many smiles from all walks of life. This feeling of friendliness has continued this past week as I have met so many gracious people each day of my road trip. We all have so much in common! Yes we have differences because we are all unique. Diversity, however, is something to celebrate and not to condemn. By bringing our wide ranging talents and points of view to the table we create a stronger country. 

 Grand Teton Nation Park - Photography by Paul Garrett

Grand Teton Nation Park - Photography by Paul Garrett

 We may never understand what really happened on 911, but we do know that Americans are a strong and peaceful people. We value freedom, family and our country. We also acknowledge that evil exists, but we never cower to it. There have been critics who have tried to say that America’s best days are behind us. You have to question their motives for saying such nonsense. In my humble opinion, our best days are still ahead of us and this will continue to be true as long as we remember our values, stand up for them and continue to become the best versions of ourselves. We all matter and we all have something to contribute to the greater good of our nation and to the world. So on this day of remembrance, think about how you can contribute to making world the best that it can be. We are one and we are strong!

God bless,

Paul

P.S. - We are grateful each and everyday for our military and first responders who serve and protect us, as well as the emergency room personell. Thank you, thank you, thank you and peace to everyone! 

 


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Tantra, What the heck does THAT mean?

We are all a part of a great tapestry and when you weave us together we become one, which is the key to Samadhi, or ultimate enlightenment. When we think of tantra we typically associate it with tantric sex. Our society, as a whole, would like us to believe that sex outside of the intent to recreate is dirty or taboo. But sex is truly a beautiful act between two people in love and during which they literally reach the highest state of becoming one with each other.

 Photography by Libby McAvoy

Photography by Libby McAvoy

So what prompted this blog? Well, I am currently reading, “The Book of Secrets” by Osho. It is a very long, information packed, deep book. But I am learning a lot about tantra and why it is often related to love and sex. In a society where sadly we are flooded with mental health issues, depair, and violence we need to rejoice in respectful SEX and in LOVE because the world needs more peace. Ok, so according to The Book of Secrets, “the word tantra means technique, the method, the path.” This is different from philosophy that has us asking “why” in that tantra is a science that looks at and shows us “how” so we can answer our own questions through life experiences. We cannot seek answers outside of us and we all tend to lend advice where we ourselves do not heed that same advice. According to Osho, “Tantra will give us a technique to attain answers.”

I have spoken many times about the importance of breath, but Osho explains it as each exhale being a moment of death and each inhale being a moment of rebirth. So, when we understand this we can find strength in knowing that with each breath we take is a chance to start anew. At the center of our being lies our heart. Love is ultimately the link between us and the divine. There is no separation. When two people are deeply in love there is also no separation. When those two people share the act of intercourse, and during intercourse, they remain still without words and momentarity they become sex, they become love, and it is no longer an action but a transcendence which is why tantra is often seen through tantraic sex. But it is more than sex. It is a divine union that takes us to a place of utimate bliss. 

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We have to allow every situation to be. Tantra explains the importance of acceptance. We need to surrender rather than suppress our emotions and undertsanding. Sometimes, especially during times of unrest, we cannot possibly undertsand the “whys” and we have to simply surrender and sit with it. In my own city of Cincinnati, we just experienced a tragedy as a gunman opened fire in our Fountain Square and Fifth Third Banking Headquarter building. Unfortunately three innocent people lost their lives and two others remain hospitalized. It is in these tragic and difficult times that we all search for answers and understanding. But we have to simply accept what is. There are metally ill people, people who make grave mistakes, and terrorists, but Tantra explains that there is no division between good and bad. No one is a bad person, but some people do bad things. It is in these times that we are challenged the most. We must forgive, which is incredibly difficult, but holding grudges only hurts us more in the long run. This goes for all challenges that we face. Religion is fear based where spiritality is love based. Love conquers all. So be love, give love, and most importantly practice self love.

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So love more, enjoy tantric or long unspoken intimate sex with your life partner, and practice awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness each and every day. We are never promised tomorrows so we need to make the most of each day. Rise up to your greatest potential. Great things are coming. Accept what is and have faith in what will be.

Lovingly,

Libby

 

P.S. - Please stay tuned for our blog Tuesday by Paul Garret, which will honor and pay tribute to all who lost loved ones on 911 and in any tragic event.


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New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

September is National Preparedness Month

Are you ready for the unexpected? You never know when a disaster might strike your community, so it is vital that you prepare in advance to make sure that you and your family have plenty of supplies and a plan to carry you through.

When I worked for a major movie studio in Los Angeles years ago, the company brought in experts to teach us how to be prepared in the event of a disaster, such as a major earthquake. While living in LA, I experienced the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, as well as the Rodney King riots in 1992. During both of these events people rushed to the grocery stores for staples. Milk, bottled water, bread, batteries, flashlights and toilet paper flew off the shelves and were difficult to purchase within a couple hours. 

  Hanalei on the island of Kauai after a flash flood took out roads and damaged cars and homes in 2018. - Photography by Paul Garrett

Hanalei on the island of Kauai after a flash flood took out roads and damaged cars and homes in 2018. - Photography by Paul Garrett

At the studio I was taught how to prepare a disaster kit that we kept inside of a large recycling bin with wheels. In case we had to evacuate on foot, we could easily wheel it with us. I was also instructed to have a bug out bag for the car and to create a family communication plan if my family was separated during a disaster. My mobile kit contained all of the essentials, including a tent, blankets, food, water, a camping stove, medical supplies, personal hygiene items, spare clothes and cash. Instead of using a recycling bin, you may choose to fill a large duffle bag or a backpack with your emergency supplies that you can quickly put in your car if you need to quickly get away. Also make sure that you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and blankets in your car. 

Don’t wait until a disaster strikes, because the time to prepare is now. Please visit the following links for more information. The first link has a suggested emergency supply list to help you get started.

https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist3.pdf

https://www.ready.gov/september

https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/september-preparedness-month

  The communities beyond Hanalei were cut off by landslides that blocked the road and had to receive relief supplies by boat. - Photography by Paul Garrett

The communities beyond Hanalei were cut off by landslides that blocked the road and had to receive relief supplies by boat. - Photography by Paul Garrett

As you know, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires, floods and civil unrest can happen without much notice. We encourage you to prepare an emergency kit and make a preparedness plan this month. By doing so you will be able to get through a difficult event and you will also be able help your community during the recovery process. In the wake of a major disaster it may take days for help to reach you so it is best that you are able to take care of yourself. Once again, visit the links above for more information. Preparedness will not only help you through a crisis, it will also give you peace of mind.

Wishing you the best,

Paul

P.S. - We are reading "The 5 Love Languages" this month for our TSJ book club. We hope that you will pick up a copy and join us for the review and discussion at the end of September.


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Follow Your Arrow

Congratulations to those who know your purpose and path in life, you are the minority. My suggestion for the rest of us is to first declare what and where we ultimately want to go in life. Now, visualize a map with your starting point in the bottom left corner and your dream destination for life in the top right corner. We must know where we want to go in order to start traveling toward our ultimate goal. Hard work, practice, and perseverance are our “gas cards” so to speak. Knowing that we must spiral upward to achieve our greatest dreams. There will be some obstacles, maybe even road blocks along the way, but at least we are headed toward our destination now rather than feeling lost. 

 Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

For those few people who have already started your Total Soulful Journey, it can still a slippery slope. There are speed traps and cliffs along the way. We must be careful not to fall too deeply into life’s potholes by repeating mistakes or feeling stuck, but instead continuing forward momentum. We must all try to visualize the shortest path to get to where we want to go, and be careful not to walk in circles. 

Be mindful of time. Be mindful of actions. Each choice we make can pull us back or launch us forward. We all need to re-evaluate our mission from time to time. It is ok to change directions or take side trips, it is even ok to turn the “car” around and go back. 

 Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

My daughter, Morgan, just started undergraduate school at The University of Kentucky this fall. Morgan has wanted to be a Veterinarian since she was three years old. Choosing which school to attend was a big decision, the first in starting on the map toward success. But she has pulled her arrow and begun the process with positive momentum. As her parent, I accept that she too may need to re-evaluate and make adjustments along the way. I feel my role as a parent, this is all brand new to me, is to be aware of her direction, allow her to make her own decisions and comfort and encourage her. It is never easy all the time for any of us. But, I recognize my path as well as hers and ultimately I know our side trips together will always remain precious. We each have to learn to “do me” and let others “do them”. 

Life is a beautiful journey. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry. Sometimes we are pulled back and then move forward. It is all ok. Just know everything happens exactly the way it is meant. Accept each moment as it is and have faith in what will be as you "follow your arrow wherever you go."

Happy Journeys,

Libby


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Why Self Love is the Foundation of a Total Soulful Journey

Do you love yourself?  I’ve been called to revisit the subject of self love (click here to read Libby's blog on this topic) this week because I've noticed on social media and in my own life that so many people are currently struggling with the issues of self worth, self doubt and of feeling unloved. I have also struggled with these challenging feelings at times and have come to realize that self love and self knowledge are vital foundations for living a Total Soulful Journey. My hope is to help you come to love and appreciate yourself fully by creating awareness and by sharing inspiration to encourage you along your journey. We are all here on this planet for a reason. There are no coincidences and as Libby and I often say, we all have a mission and a purpose that is unique to us. This means that you matter and that you have a story to share with the world. You may not feel important now, but you are. In addition, when we love ourselves, share our God given talent and live our mission, the human collective benefits as well.

  Photo featuring Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

Photo featuring Elli Yokochi - Photography by Paul Garrett

To overcome our insecurities and issues of self worth, it’s important for us to discover the root causes behind them. There are many ways to go about this including self study, spiritual practices and working with a therapist or a life coach. Sharing our pain and other perceived weaknesses requires us to be as honest as possible, and I understand how vital this is from my own life. Those of us who have experienced trauma know that taking the path of healing is not easy, but the pain will not go away on its own. By shining the light of truth upon our painful memories we can transmute and release them. Healing is an act of self love that liberates us from the chains of our past so that we can become the greatest versions of ourselves.

When we learn to truly love ourselves we come into harmony in mind, body and spirit. This is what is meant by wholeness. As a result we develop self respect, raise our standards and set new boundaries. Toxic people, who once controlled us no longer have influence over our lives as we let them go. Furthermore, when we love and appreciate our bodies, we stop eating unhealthy foods, take an interest in exercise and are turned off by our old unhealthy ways. I, for example, can’t believe that I used to drink soda pop and ate certain junk foods often. Today it turns my stomach just thinking about that former lifestyle. Love yourself by taking care of your body!  Without energy and good health it is difficult to feel joyful and to fulfill your potential. Make yourself a priority! That is another act of self love.

  Photo Featuring Danica Johnson - Photography by Paul Garrett

Photo Featuring Danica Johnson - Photography by Paul Garrett

An additional truth is that we cannot fully love another person until we fully love ourselves. To love and be loved is one of our greatest desires, but how can we give and receive love when we do not feel lovable? So often we expect our partners to complete and heal us. We expect them to fill our love void and put our broken pieces back together, but that is impossible for them to do. In fact it is an unfair burden to put that responsibility upon our partners when our love void stems from trauma that we experienced long before they ever came into our lives. It is our responsibility to love ourselves first in order for us to fully experience love with another person. By doing the self work and healing, we gain the courage to open our hearts and allow ourselves to experience the richness and the beauty of healthy unconditional love. 

Watch the first 4 minutes of the above video featuring Tom Bilyeu, who has an inspiring YouTube channel called, "Impact Theory." The thoughts that we feed to our minds are as important as the food that we feed to our bodies. Negative self talk brings us down and reinforces our old stories of being unloveable. Positive thoughts and positive self talk, on the other hand, help us to rewrite those old negative stories with new ones that tell us that we are lovable. Surround yourself with positive people, read self help books and listen to inspiring podcasts. They will help you to change the way that you think about yourself.  

There is a GREATER LOVE that lies within us. Dedicate yourself to finding it and building a solid foundation that is based upon this divine energy which connects us with all of creation and the ultimate feeling of oneness. Start each day by saying "I love you," while you look at yourself in the mirror. Repetition is important for reprogramming the old beliefs in your mind that made you feel unloveable. You matter and life is short. Do not delay living and loving to your fullest potential. You owe it to yourself to make your life count, to live it well, to share your gifts with the world and to experience all of the love and the joy that is possible!!

Wishing you love and happiness,

Paul

P.S. - Libby and I are starting our bookclub back up again. This September we'll be reading and reviewing "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Pick up a copy and join us for the review and discussion of this important book at the end of September. It is a quick read that will help you create a stronger communication skills and a more loving connection with your partner.


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Forget About Cultural Appropriation and Practice Love & Acceptance

We associate the word yoga with peace, relaxation, acceptance and healthiness. Unfortunately, however, the business of yoga is competitive and often judgemental. I have been instructing for about seven years now and I am saddened by a lot of what I see. There are still some amazing studio owners, albeit not too many, who are trying to survive the corporate world of Yoga and who know the history, lineage and want the best for their clients. Yoga, in Sanskrit, means to yolk or come together in union. So if this is the case, why is there such controversy in the last several months about “white” yoga instructors adopting cultural and spiritual practices into their lives and teachings such as wearing Mala beads and lighting incense or sage before class? I am THAT girl. I am a white yoga instructor who has never been to India, although I hope to eventually. I am well educated and continue to study yoga history and philosophy. I am classically trained in Ashtanga and I live by the 8 limbs of yoga. I have adopted many of the Indian practices such as taking my shoes off when entering a studio (because the feet are considered impure), lighting incense, I have Hindu dieties such as Ganesha to remind me to listen more and talk less and I wear Mala beads not only when chanting mantras, but most of the time. 

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All of these things deepen both my physical and my spiritual practices. Not all people who wear malas know their meaning. Many wear them purely as a fashion statement, but what is really wrong with that? Their wearing them shows that they like them and maybe, just maybe, eventually they will learn the meaning. Which, by the way, each stone has healing significance and the term Mala is dervived from the Sanskrit term japamala, which is a string of beads used for prayer similar to the Rosary in the Catholic faith. 

Try to keep an open mind, listen to understand and create your own opinions based on love and respect. The above video is the opinion of a YouTube channel called Honest.

To me it is a coming together of a variety of religions and traditions, which brings us closer to unity, oneness. Cultural appropriation, according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.” According to Wikipedia it has more to do with minority cultures' traditions being adopted by a dominant society. I can tell you with great certainty that I do not believe in cultural appropriation in its current form. In fact I believe it has become very divisive and in a day when we need to let go of differences and come together as one, this only stirs controvery. I deeply respect the traditions that I have adopted. Why can’t we let our differences in color, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual preferences go and all learn from each other. Adopting things from other cultures should be a compliment. Why is it causing such arguements? I am open minded, so if you want to leave a constructive comment below I am open to learning and undestanding all views. The famous Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen, was just recently accosted on her blog and on Instagram over this topic. I feel for her because as instructors we are still human. We do our best and try to incorporate these traditions into our yoga classes to spread the love and the history behind this beautiful practice. 

 Meru Beads makes wonderful malas! 

Let’s continue to let go of our egos, live with love & embrace all cultures in a respectful way. Rather than live and learn from fear, let’s teach and learn from a place of love and acceptance. My personal yoga philosophy that I talk about often is awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. I am not saying you need to practice this, but I share it because I deeply believe through my own personal experiences that these three things help us overcome our greatest obstacles. I know when I look through the exterior bodies of strangers that within them is me and within me is them. So I try everyday to embrace the fact that we are all on this journey together as one.

One Love, 

Libby


Coming up on Tuesday's blog, Paul continues the topic of the importance of self love. We hope that you will join this conversation! Have a beautiful weekend!


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How to Overcome Procrastination

What’s blocking you from getting your work done? Both mental and emotional blocks create resistance within us and can hold us back from making progress. When we put off things that are unpleasant or uncertain, we not only fail to complete what we need to get done, we also create energy leaks that make us feel tired and lead to greater procrastination. When someone asks you how you are doing and you answer them with a big SIGH, chances are that you are probably being weighed down by procrastination.

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

Perhaps you are putting off making an important phone call because you don’t have a plan of action? By delaying this action another day, the resistance grows making it even harder for you to make this call the following day. The resistance, however, will most likely grow and grow until you take action. After all, problems rarely go away by ignoring them. Even if the answer that you get when you make your call is a big “NO,” you have your answer and you can then move forward with a new plan of action. 

A very common emotion that blocks our actions is the fear of rejection. What if we don’t get what we want? What if we are so nervous that we fear seeming foolish during the call? This leads to more uncertainty and more loss of energy. The best answer to this predicament it to just take action and practice acceptance that whatever will be will be.

  Face your fears and you will become more confident. Photography by Paul Garrett

Face your fears and you will become more confident. Photography by Paul Garrett

Before you go to bed tonight, write down three intentions for tomorrow. When you wake up in the morning complete the intention that has been causing you the most resistance first. If it is a difficult call that you have to make, psych yourself up by saying to yourself with positive energy, “I can do this” and then make the call. This will put you into a positive state of being, which will bring confidence to your voice. After you complete your call, notice how much lighter you feel now that you have it behind you. Next complete your second and third intentions. Congrats, you’ve got this!

Wishing you a successful day,

Paul


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Back to School Blues

It's that time of year again for my fellow mom and dads, school teachers and coaches and students of all ages. Summer seems to fly by ever so quickly these days. Now it's back to school shopping and preparations while still trying to soak up the last of summer time fun. This year is different for me though. I would like to share with you some intimate details about what is happening in my life in hopes that you can either share advice or similar experiences with me. Well, I feel like I blinked and she went from diapers to preparing for college. My daughter has been a true gem her entire life and I have enjoyed every minute of the journey, but now is the time that I have to trust that her father and I have prepared her for being a responsible adult in this world. I will be driving her down to move into her dorm at University of Kentucky (UK) this Friday.

  Go Wildcats!  Photography by Libby McAvoy

Go Wildcats!  Photography by Libby McAvoy

Oh boy does saying that bring a rush of emotions to my head and to my heart. I sit here typing with tears welling up in my eyes. I am beyond happy and excited for her next leg of this journey. I believe deeply that Morgan will accomplish her greatest dreams and be a successful student. She will be in the College of Agriculture with an undergraduate in animal sciences hoping to go on to Vet School. Needless to say this life transition brings with it uncertainty. Morgan is nervous as well as excited, but will miss her family, friends and pets. I am sad to “lose” my daughter and quite frankly best friend. I am scared for the experiences that will bring her challenges and heartaches, dissapointments and fears, but that all comes with growing up. I know that she will learn by leaps and bounds and excel. And I, of course, am looking forward to her visit home for Thanksgiving, the phone calls and the many text between us.

  So many proud achievements over the past four years.

So many proud achievements over the past four years.

For those of us who are sending a child away for the first time this year, UK did a phenominal job in their parent orientation sharing ideas that help students excel. They explained to us parents that sending a text before big exams or papers are due and calling after to see how it went really helps students (our children) feel that we are there with them in spirit. He also said that small care packages from home are well always received. I have taken notes and plan to stay close to her even from a distance. 

  Bonding time hiking with my son at Red River Gorge.

Bonding time hiking with my son at Red River Gorge.

 This transition also brings change for my son. Corwin is entering 8th grade this year. Having his sister away from home brings great changes to him in multiple ways. He is used to her driving him places and they are very close. It is a great way to teach him that our love for people does not change because of the distance between us. He is looking forward to having special visits with his sister without his parents around too, especially for a basketball game. But as he too goes back to school I am also excited that I will now have more time with him. This is a very important year for Corwin as he prepares for high school next year. Being the second child sometimes means taking a back seat or not having things be new and as special for him. But, at least he knows I will do drivers ed a little better when it's his turn and his sister definitely paved a good path for him. I also look forward to making special memories with Corwin while Morgan is away.

Some parents cannot wait for school to resume. I have never felt this way. I love time spent with my kids and the relaxed schedule of summer. However, I am excited to finish projects of my own including my upcoming book about stress. I believe that although we are parents, it is also important to remember our own unique identity and purpose. Using my positive thinking I am excited to dedicate more time to organizing, updating a couple rooms at home, and getting back to a more disciplined routine of working out. 

  Celebrating Graduation with Family and friends.

Celebrating Graduation with Family and friends.

Although transitions do bring uncertainties, it is important to embrace them as we have discussed in our latest blog series. Uncertainties, such as the transitions back to school, also bring new opportunities, positive changes, unlimited possibilities and growth. Now is the time. Get excited if you to are in this season of change with me. It is time to give our children wings and launch them lovingly into a new level in their lives. Of course, being the energetic beings that we are, as they launch into new begininings we too follow. Life is exciting. Let’s see what this amazing school year brings to us all.

Peace and encouragement,

Libby

P.S. - For those parents who have been through college transitions or have moved children away from home, I would love to invite you to share ways to communicate anything that helped your child or yourself. You can comment in the box below or on our latest post on Instagram.


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Why You Should Not Fear Death

I have two friends who passed and went to the other side before coming back into their bodies. They both experienced the most beautiful unconditional love and peace while they were on the other side. It was so wonderful there that they didn’t want to come back. They were both told, however, that it was not their time and then they were drawn back into their bodies. This experience had a profound effect upon both of their lives. Today they no longer fear death and they have an incredibly strong sense of purpose on this planet. As a result they live more fully than before and have a positive impact upon those who are blessed to know them.

Embrace the magical moments that life offers. Photography by Paul Garrett

In Libby’s last blog titled, "Live the Life You Love," she wrote about the fear of death and how it has a tendency to hold us back from fully living. This fear is so common and yet there are countless stories from people who have died and come back to life that the other side is a beautiful place that we should not fear. You see death is not the end. Instead it is a transition from this plane of existence to another dimension where our souls continue on their journey. I was with both of my parents when they passed away. Although it was sad saying goodbye, the process itself was very peaceful. I once wondered if it would be painful missing them after they were gone. The reality is that I feel their warm presence everyday and that is very comforting.

So live your life to the fullest extent and do not fear death because there is nothing to fear on the other side. You have an important purpose while you are here and it is your job to discover that purpose and use your God given talent to make this world a better place. There are many ways to do that and each of us has our own unique mission to fulfill. FEAR has been described as False Evidence Appearing Real. For the most part it isn’t real. It is just a product of our imaginations most of the time because we think and worry way too much about the future. Therefore, live fully in the present moment for it is all that we really have.

Life is incredibly light and beautiful when we let go of all fears. Photography by Paul Garrett

See if you can release your fears starting today. By letting go of the heavy dense energy of fear, you will feel lighter, happier and more energetic. In addition you will be able to manifest positive things into your life like never before. It's important for us to acknowledge and face our fears in order to release them. When we stuff our fears down or just plain ignore them, often they cause energy blocks that lead to other problems within us including disease. In his New York Times best selling book, "The Untethered Soul," Michael A. Singer writes at length about clearing trapped emotions and transmuting them through your heart. You can read my review of this book by clicking on its title above. 

Let’s give power to our courage and inspire each other to fearlessly live our very best lives!!

Wishing you happiness, great health and courage,

Paul

P.S. - Thanks so much for your support, your likes, your comments and your DM’s on Instagram! Your encouragement truly inspires us to keep writing. Know that we love and appreciate you all!  Libby and I would also like to give a personal shoutout to all of our new readers in Boardman, Oregon. You guys are awesome!!


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday