Do You Have Healthy Boundaries?

Do You Have Healthy Boundaries?

This week I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life regarding healthy boundaries. It was very sad to do, yet completely necessary. Just typing that sentence has made my left hand start to shake. I can intellectualize my choice, but perhaps my body is telling me that there is so much more that I do not even know about this situation. Maybe there is a resistance that doesn’t want me to share such intimacy with you, buried emotions that aren’t ready to be reveal, or an invisible thread that wants to pull me back?


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

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

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:

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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Do I Have a Drinking 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.

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What Does "As Within, So Without" Mean?

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,

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Why Do We Seek Validation and Approval?

Why Do We Seek Validation and 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.

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The Importance of Every Journey

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.

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5 Tips for a Strong Morning Routine

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?

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The 5 Love Languages - A Book Review

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.

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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


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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!  


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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! 

 


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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.


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

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.


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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.


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

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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!


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday

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.


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday