Hello my name is GRATITUDE

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Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.

Not only did it make me crave my mothers yummy turkey dinner but it also got me thinking about being thankful.

About gratitude.

I think being grateful is one of the best things we can do to assure more happiness in our lives.

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Being grateful has truly been a life changer for me in this past year.

Giving thanks and being truly grateful for the things in my life had such a positive affect on my happiness because I truly appreciate what I presently have and the things around me more.

The way I practice being grateful is by being engaged with it.

By writing it down.

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By acknowledging it and even by saying it out loud sometimes. I usually take a few minutes in the morning and at night when I am in my bed to think about what I am grateful for.

In practicing more, gratitude comes much more naturally for me now. It is easier for me to see the things that I am thankful for.

The best discovery I made about gratitude, was realizing that I found it in the most simplest of things.

The little, simple, normal everyday things.

The little things that may not always appear to be something you think to be grateful for, but are usually the important ones in enhancing your life.

Gratitude is something that you practice, something you cultivate. And I believe that it should be practiced every single day.

And that is why I am suggesting a “30 day practicing gratitude challenge”.

Let us start a gratitude journal. Everyday for the next 30 days we write down the things we are grateful for. At the end of the 30 day challenge I am convinced that our life will be filled with more joy, happiness and appreciation. All it takes is 5 minutes a day. Let’s do it and see!

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I’m starting my 30 day practicing gratitude challenge right now!

Here is what I will be the first entry in my journal.

On this Catday I am grateful for:

-Being able to express my self freely by writing this blog

-Skype. It letting me connect with my friends and family and being able to have a 2hrs conversation about life today with one of my besties in Canada.

-Living in a peaceful and quiet apartment near to the forest

-This wonderful, chill Catday and being able to spend it with the greatest guy I know. My love.

and

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I hope you join me in my “30 day practicing gratitude challenge”and you ask yourself What am I grateful for today?

Lots of love,

Brandi xox

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Notes on Yoga- Part 1

Today is all about YOGA!

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I would like to talk to you about my recent discovery of YOGA! How yoga came on my life’s path, and why I will keep yoga in my weekly routine.

When I moved to Oslo last September I had a lot on my plate. A hole new life was waiting for me. Making new friends, finding a job, learning a new language and getting to know a new city. As I had moved countries before, I thought this would be a walk in the park.

Boy was I wrong!

I had a first hard couple of months.

I felt so much pressure learning Norwegian, because it meant without it I would not be able to find employment.

I felt discourage cause the only responses I was receiving in my inbox were rejection emails from the jobs I had applied for.

I began to think I was maybe not meant to be here.

Everything seemed difficult. I felt like my life was turned upside down. And this is also where all the questions about life started popping up again. The ones I have been writing about in some of my previous posts.

However I decided to tough it out, to push forward and not give up. At this time I made the decision to accept my situation and therefor let a space be created for things to just fall into place. A place for positive change.

I felt like I wanted something to help me create this space. So after a long winter, the sun was finally starting to appear, the days where getting longer and brighter. It was time to make positive change in my life. I joined a gym and started exercising regularly again. I was also looking to join a group or activity. I had a look at dance studios around town. But I wasn’t really feeling it.

I had been hearing a lot about yoga from one of my best friends from Canada. She was in the midst of doing her yoga teacher training in Bali. She shared with me how yoga enhanced her life in such a wonderful way. I got very curious about it.

Somehow the universe sent yoga into my life, because out of the blue, last May, I saw a posting on a facebook group from two girls who make up Leelayoga and they were offering donation based yoga classes in a park (Frognerparken) downtown Oslo. That little voice in my head said to go for it! I’m I ever glad I did. It was just what I needed.

It was the right time for yoga to come into my life. I was ready and open for it. For me choosing yoga, meant choosing positive change. And through that simple positive change a chain reaction was set off in my life. Good things where happening. I was finishing up my language course and feeling comfortable enough with the language to do a 1 hour interview in Norwegian that lead me to get getting the job. I started enjoying the city of Oslo more and exploring what it had to offer. And I finally started to realize what the important things are in my life and I had a better idea of what kind of life I wanted to live.

Through yoga I meet some wonderful and inspiring people and some of them became my friends. And one day while having a conversation over coffee with one of them, I was questioned about my dreams and what I was passionate about. One thing led to an other and I started writing again.

Yoga got me into meditation which for me helps me be more mindful and letting go of things that no longer serve me.

Yoga is important part of my weekly routine because it makes me feel good and I feel like I belong to a community. And mostly because it is much more than just a physical practice on my mat. What I’ve learned and practice on my yoga mat has somehow transpired into my everyday life. Breathing and being more aware on the mat has brought more awareness to my life. Being more flexible and balanced on my mat, has also brought more flexibility and balance to my life. These are just a few examples of the many things yoga has giving me.

I love yoga and I want to promote it!

I have become a yoga ambassador for a new yoga project that will be launched in a little over 1 week. It is called MyYogaPro. They say :” It will be a revolutionary online yoga resource helping beginners and advanced yogis grow their practice together with real yoga teachers. You will get HD streaming videos, workshops, how-tos, articles and expert insights.”

See what it is all about here: http://go.myyogapro.com/ 

And If you are interested in becoming a yoga ambassador for this project like I am, then join me and countless other yogis here to become one: http://www.doyouyoga.com/ambassador/

Last but not least, if you are looking to give yoga a try and you live in the Oslo area, check out theses two awesome girls (Kelsi and Tonje) that make up Leelayoga (http://leelayoga.no/ ). I love to practice with them. They are teaching vinyasa flow and Power yoga.

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Keep an eye out for the opening of their new yoga studio this upcoming December.

If you prefer to do yoga in the comfort of your home you could try out this great website: www.myonlineyoga.com or Erin Motz’s free 30 day yoga challenge at http://www.doyouyoga.com/challenge/ .

I hope I peeked your curiosity about yoga.

Happy Yoga Catday everyone!

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Look out for my next notes on yoga. I’ll be writing about the positive benefits that yoga has had on my life.

Lots of love,

Brandi xox

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Let loose and live a little!

On a lighter note today, I’m writing a short post on letting loose and having fun.

I am visiting Munich this weekend. I am here to celebrate a birthday party Oktoberfest style. Being here reminded me that life doesn’t always have to be so serious. It is good to forget our worries and let the questionings go. Sometimes is just what we need 🙂

Today’s Catday is dedicated to letting loose and having fun!

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Setting aside days to rest and chill are great, however I think there is a time when what we need is to live, let loose, laugh and have fun. Get that energy out! Get crazy! Enjoy the life you are living and the people in it. Enjoy what you have around you. Maybe your city has cool, fun activities for you to discover and to experience.  Get together with friends and family. Plan a boys/girls weekend getaway. Take advantage of life’s pleasures once and a while.

Don’t take life to seriously today and get out there let loose and have fun!

If you prefer letting loose in the comfort of your own home today, that’s ok too! How about dancing to this song I like by Florrie called “live a little”. Perfect for today’s post 😉

or you can always listen to some good old fashion Oktoberfest music like I am today! Here is the link to my “Ompa” playlist on spotify.

So in honor of letting loose, for this Catday, I am enjoying good friends, yummy food, and amazing German culture. I’m dancing on tables, and singing my little heart out.

Cheers to acting silly, being our weird selves and enjoying life!

Direct from Munich Oktoberfest 2013, Prost to living our life!!!!

Lot’s of love,

Brandi xo

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30 things to do before you die- Taking charge

Hi everyone and welcome back to Catdays!

I first want to start this post off by saying thank you for taking the time to read my blog and thank those of you who sent me kind and encouraging messages, either through facebook or on this blog. I really appreciate your comments and your support. I am so happy to be writing again.

Today is Sunday, my best day of the week because it’s my Catday! It is cloudy, rainy and blah day here in Oslo today. But for me, those are the perfect ingredients for the best Catdays. I love it! I started my day with 35 minutes of yoga, 15 min of meditation. Then a nice healthy breakfast. Now I’m ready to write to you 🙂

As you can see on the photo below, it is super cozy here, with candles, warm tea, a comfy sweater, listening to Imogen Heap on Spotify and my cute cat. This cozy set up makes it ideal for me to write.

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So here it goes with today’s post. 30 Things to do before you die. Taking charge.

We live in a amazing world. However it is filled with many ups and downs, maybe even more downs than ups. It isn’t always easy. Most of the time we are struggling. Be it, struggling with our daily routine, with the haunting of our past, with our weight, with our our jobs, with our kids, our relationships. Struggling to get where we want to be and who we want to be. But In the end life is worth it! Because the wonderful thing is, we choose. We choose to bring change to our lives. We choose how we want it to be. It is simple if we want it to be. Take charge. Choose to be happy. Choose to make you life the way you want it to be.

So that is why I though I would share this list with you. It is not my list, I have not written it, however I connected with it and I wanted to share it with you all. I came across it a few months ago and have keep it at my desk since. It is a list of 30 things to do before you die. Of course this list is easier said then done, but for me it is a daily reminder of the little things that I can do to enhance my life. It is a list that reminds me that I have control.  I have to power to make the changes. That I do not have to give in to emotions and be steered by them.

We are the leaders of our own life. So take charge. Choose to make today different if you want it to be. Choose to be happy.  And now is the best time to do it.

30 things to do before you die:

1. Stop worrying about debt.

2. Forgive your ex-lovers.

3. Stop trying to control your outcome.

4. Look in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally.

5. Leave the job you hate.

6. Find your purpose and live it full heartedly.

7. Adopt a furry friend.

8. Don’t feel guilty for holiday weight gain.

9. Trust that everything is in right order.

10. Travel to the place you keep thinking about.

11. Try something that scares you daily.

12. Be open to change.

13. Let go of your past.

14. Stop trying to change people.

15. Stop looking for answer outside of yourself.

16. Stop thinking you did something wrong.

17. Be your weird, crazy, beautiful self.

18. Follow your heart.

19. Risk everything for love.

20. Reject rejection.

21. See the world as a beautiful, safe, and loving place.

22. See everyone as equals.

23. Give up all attachments to stuff.

24. Recognize the journey is the reward.

25. Stay hopeful and optimistic in difficult situations.

26. Welcome all life lessons.

27. See the opportunities in every challenge rather than give up.

28. Live your values.

29. Inspire others by your own bigness.

30. Play with the world.

For me this list is basically saying :

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How would you make this list your own? What you you add to it ?

I hope this list inspires you to take charge, make things happen and to choose to be happy.

Happy Catday to you all!

Lots of love,

Brandi xo

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You don’t always need to know

I have had many big changes in my life in the past 10 years. Moving to different countries were mainly the major ones. I first moved from a little tiny town in the east coast of Canada to the capital, Ottawa. Then from Ottawa, to Munich, Germany. And last but not least, from Munich to Oslo, Norway. Living in 3 different countries and 4 cities, brought not only change in scenery but change within myself. These 4 major moves also brought upon a lot of questioning. Questions about life.

Questions like: What do I want out of my life? What is my mission? What am I destined to do?  Why am I here? What is my passion? What would be the best employment for me? How do I feel about marriage and children? Where do I want to live, establish myself, where do I want to settle down? To name a few.

Do you sometimes ponder upon these same questions?

I am usually a quite organized person. For the most part, I like to have things set and know a little where I am going. I plan a bit in advance and try to have things under control. But sometimes life doesn’t let you do that. Especially, if like me, you decide to embark on a 1 year traveling around Europe adventure, and find yourself 5 years later still on that same adventure.

What I have come to discover during these moves and especially during my last one to Oslo, is that it is ok not to know the answer to all these questions just yet. It’s ok to be unsure about your destiny. I don’t always need to know. I can trust my destiny, and by doing that, create it. I am ok with just having idea of the direction I want to go.

If we always knew what lied ahead, it would take away the spark of life. We wouldn’t put the effort and hard work into the life that is really worth having.

You don’t need to know what your dream or mission is in life if you don’t have one at the moment. First, maybe you have to take the time to get to know yourself again.  Look at your past and how you were before. What type of experiences you had. What have you learned from them? Have a look at how you got to where you are now. Maybe you knew all along where you were going. Maybe the answer lies in the path you have been on all this time. The things you once thought you wanted or needed may have changed without you really noticing it or maybe they are still the same as you always wanted them to be, but you somehow forgot about them. Maybe you just got lost a bit. Look back, turn around. You are right there, now. You always were. You always are. You can trust that your life is going exactly the way it is supposed to be.

For me, once I realized that I don’t always need to know, and I let go of looking, once I accepted my current situation, and I started being truly grateful for what I have, a shift started to happen. The things I wanted started to develop, they where happening. I had a better sense of where I was going. Things started happening for me because I was not forcing them to happen. Because I had finally created a space for them to happen by just letting them happen and by trusting that in the end I am on the right path.

I believe that sometimes we just have to let life work it’s magic. Just let it happen and trust a little more in ourselves. I believe that we should also trust a little more that all events in our lives are bringing us to where we need to be, good or bad. That in the end, these events bring us to only one place. To the now! To who we are.

To end this post, I would like to share a story with you. A story of my own little experience with the magic in life.

One week ago I ordered “Magical Spell card- by Lucy Cavendish”. They had been suggested to me by a friend, and I decided to give them a go. I received them today. I fallowed the instructions, shuffled the cards, thought of a life issue that I wished to receive guidance on, then divided the pack of cards into 3 packs with my left hand. Put the pack back together again and flipped the top card. Guess what the card was?!

DESTINY.

I had to laugh. Because that is exactly what I was writing in this post witch I had already been working on my last Catday, last Sunday, and a bit yesterday also.

The destiny card basically says that if the universe has chosen this card for me it is because I may be at a crossroad in my life, experiencing a stalemate, feeling that something needs to change or having anxiety about the outcome of a decision. It also adds that if I got this card that I am being asked to remember my life lessons. What comes up over and over again.

And so once a card picks you, it’s time to cast the “spell”. 😉

The spell is supposed to help me clarify where I’m going and reveal how and where I have been in my life holds all the answers I need to understand my life path.

So in finishing this post, I believe trusting destiny means trusting ourselves, knowing that we have the answers we are looking for. I also believe we should all have some form of magic in our lives. It can be a nice way to add awareness to it.

The type of magic with these cards, for me, just means something a person can choose to use to help and guide them in a positive way. To help them be more aware of a current situation. It doesn’t mean that you have to play with these cards, or even believe in magic. Maybe you believe in other things like God or something spiritual that help you see life and situations in a positive way. Whatever works for you.

I choose to believe in magic, the magic that I already have within myself. I choose to trust in destiny, the destiny I create.

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I hope you let a little magic find its way to you too!

Lots of love,

Brandi xox

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A simple, peaceful and flowing kinda of life.

I have been thinking a lot lately on what kind of life I want to live. Though I am not 100% sure of exactly how yet, these 3 words keep on popping up in my mind. A simple, peaceful and flowing kinda of life.

Have you been feeling that you need to slow things down a bit? Have you been searching for ways to be at peace with yourself, relax and enjoy life a little more? I know I have! So here is a list of things that I have realized that is important to live a peaceful life.

Doing something you love

Not sure what that is just yet? Experiment. Try out new things. For a few years I struggled finding something I like to do other than my daily job. A true hobby other than doing my nails all the time ( LOL), not that doing your nails can’t be a fun and creative thing to do. But I was searching for something else. It took me a few years to figure out what I was interested in and finally I discovered that I love writing and practicing yoga. If you are unsure what you love to do, I suggest making a list and going at it by trial and error. Here are a few ideas: creative writing, cooking, painting, knitting, hiking, yoga, sports clubs, fishing, playing an instrument, body-building, taking dance lessons… and the list goes on. It doesn’t have to be something you are good at. As long as it makes you happy and you feel inspired by it.

Keeping it simple

Look at the simple side of things. They don’t always have to be complicated. You can enjoy life in everyday little things. It is the little things make up the big ones, so if we find pleasure in doing the simple daily things, we will find ourselves happier and more content on the big scale.

De-Cluttering

When I decided to move to Europe from Canada, I was forced to de-clutter. There were only certain items, mainly clothes, that I could bring with me. I sold some things, gave some to friends and to charity. It was a bit of a painful experience, it felt like I was giving my whole life away. However something unexpected happened, I felt lighter. I felt less attached to material things. I could now concentrate on more meaningful things like relationships with others and with myself. It has been 5 years now since I first started de-cluttering, and I still practice it. Every 6 months or so, I re-evaluate what I have, and what I need. Because what I realized is the things I want are not always the things I need.

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Scheduling “me time”

Sometimes all we need is a calm moment during the day with a nice warm cup of our favorite tea. Or be it 5-10 min of meditation. Or practicing our favorite sport or activity. I find it very important to have time to myself. Time to get grounded.

For me it’s sitting out in my garden with a big cup of tea, enjoying the morning sun and just watching the trees or gazing at the ocean. It’s also my Catdays. Days that are dedicated to me. Days that I take care of myself. My Catdays, Sundays, are my favorite day of the week, because I have decided that they are me days. I usually do not make any plans with friends on this day. It is my day. If it is not possible for you to take a full day for yourself, then how about scheduling a few hours a week?

Writing it down

Why not? Get it out and down on paper. It can be in a journal, a song, a poem or even just point form. If you need inspiration why not have a look at the “Quotes” section on pinterest and write the ones that fit with you. When we write our thoughts down, things that bother us, or even things we are grateful for, it liberates us. I feel so much lighter after I have put my thoughts down on paper, it is a great form of release and I love reading what I wrote again a few months later.

Getting proper shut eye

Our body and mind needs rest. If we don’t get proper sleep it can affect how we react to certain situations and not to mention the effect it has on our energy levels and our well-being. Turn off the computer and put away the android and set yourself a “peaceful sleep time” that wont be disturbed . Get yourself at least 7 to 8hrs of sleep. For me sleep is the most important thing. I need a lot of it to feel refreshed and to have a positive outlook on life. I also recommend going to bed a bit earlier and waking up earlier. Also waking up at the same time every day helps keep you balanced. I know this is not always possible for everybody because of job situations, or just plainly not everyone is a morning person, but maybe going to bed 1 hour earlier and then waking up 1 hour earlier could be just what you need.

Learning to say no

Saying no isn’t always an easy thing to do. Actually it is one of the things that I struggle a lot with. It is hard to say no because sometimes in doing so other people will be disappointed or think of it as being selfish. However we can’t do everything, and we sometimes have to choose. It is important to prioritize the things that are important to you and to your flow of life. Saying no is a healthy way of being true to yourself and your limits.

When the time comes where you find it difficult to say no, keep this thought in mind: “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

Accepting the annoying little voice in your head and then let it go

Don’t fight it, don’t judge it, just observe it and accept it. And then let it go. Breathe in new energy and then breathe out the bad ones. To help you with this I suggest meditation or yoga. Or just taking in 5 deep breaths. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Following your heart

Be who you are, follow your heart and listen to your intuition. You know the answer deep down inside of you. You always know best. You don’t have to follow everyone else’s path or everyone else’s expectations of you. When I think about living a peaceful life, I think of being more myself. Listening to what I really want and being true to myself by simply being me!

This is a great quote: “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else.”

Don’t sweat the small stuff, it is all small stuff

Ask yourself, will this situation, or problem matter 6 months, 1 year or 10 years from now? Shit happens, but it’s the way we react and perceive it that matters. Turning inwards and realizing that solely you are responsible for your feelings is a complicated thought. Our reactions to bad situations are mostly quick, unconscious and we tend to blame others and situations for the way we feel. It’s time to take responsibility for our reactions and the way we feel. We are the only ones responsible for the way we feel.

When you are faced with something difficult, irritating or stressful just remember “This to shall pass”.

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Practicing acceptance

Stop resisting life. Stop resisting what happens and start accepting your situation and the flow of your life. I’m not saying here that you have to accept and then do nothing about it. What I am saying, is that once you accept what is as it is, there is a shift in perspective, a chance to see things in a positive light, there is a space created for you to see things more clearly and then opportunity arises for you to change the things you can change. There will always be things in life we cannot control, that we cannot change, so why fight it? As soon as we make the conscious decision to accept it, we immediately become free of it. And by doing so, your life flow is able to continue just the way you want it.

Being grateful

Practice being grateful everyday. Ask yourself what you are grateful for. Why not make a list of the things you are grateful for? I found in doing so, it helped keep me in check with what is important in my life. In addition it helped me appreciate what I have.

In the process of trying to find my simple, peaceful, flowing life, I had to first be aware of my current lifestyle. Then I had to decide how I wanted to live a new, more peaceful life, and then once that was determined, I had to take action and align my activities and my daily routine with how I wanted things to be. Keep in mind that this is a process and that things just don’t happen to be peaceful the next day because you said you will be more peaceful. It takes a conscious effort on your part. Little steps, little changes everyday.

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It is possible! You just have to want it!

Lots of love,

Brandi xox

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Our true voice within

Have you ever thought of doing something new, but then you were interrupted by a little voice in your head telling you not to do it, or that you are not good enough to do it?

I’m sure you have. We all have it. That is what I am struggling with at this exact moment writing this post.

Since I’ve made the decision to start writing publicly, I am filled with overwhelming emotions. I feel very excited about this new project and at the same time I have a little voice in my head saying that I’m not good enough, I don’t know enough and I’m not interesting enough to start this blog.

So this is exactly what I want to talk about in this post. The fact that we always have these negative, annoying thoughts interfering with our projects, dreams and our true selves.

We are not those thoughts that we are hearing. We are what is above those thoughts. We are the observer of our thoughts. We are the voice that can tell the thoughts, you are wrong and I will show you! We have the power to change that train of negative thinking.

Here are 3 simple steps to help you travel back to your true self thinking.

The first step is to be aware of it, Yes, as simple as that! Just being aware of what is going on in your mind, what kind of thoughts you are having. How are they making your feel? Just feel that feeling.

Step two is to realize that you are not those thoughts. That is not the “real” you thinking those negative thoughts. The “real” you is above those thoughts. You are the person hearing those thoughts.

The final step is to take a conscious decision to switch to the “real” you thinking. This thinking is also known as your “gut” thinking or your intuition. This is your true voice within. This is where you are you! And this is the little voice that we all should be listening to. The one we should be trusting. The one which allows us to be our true selves. To just be.

Go ahead, try it now. Take 2, 5, 10 min and try it. Sit silently in a comfortable position, someplace where you have no distractions and just listen. Do not judge or try to change what you are hearing. Do not analyze it.  Simply listen, just observe. What do you hear? Lots of chatter going on? If your answer is yes, you are completely normal! 🙂  We all have this chatter.

And the key to hearing our true selves better is to try to decrease this chatter as much as we can. We can do this by practicing meditation or yoga, calm walks in the nature, or whatever activity that works for you. Sometimes I just like to sit there and watch the water or even the trees and just be still.

For most of us, with our busy, fast paced lives, we tend to not take the time to listen to what is going on inside of us. We deserve this time. We are worthy of this time.

Since I have become more aware, I have begun to discover myself again. Piece by piece, little by little. I learn to let go of the chatter, the repetitive negative thoughts. I can say that I am more and more at peace with myself and I am beginning to just BE more. To trust and accept myself more. To go ahead and be brave and do the things that I really want to do. The things I love to do!

This is something that takes time and practice. So be kind to yourself and know that it is ok when you fall into unhealthy thinking patterns. And when you do, just be aware of it and accept and then release it. And then get back on track 🙂

For a helpful guide on listening to our true voice within, try this book-“Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises From The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. http://www.amazon.com/Practicing-Power-Now-Essential-Meditations/dp/1577311957

Here is a great complementary little prayer to my post.Image

Lots of love,

Brandi xo

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