The Conscious Living Blog

A Resource to Live Life Consciously

Hello spring! Blooms are all around us now and it is amazing how quickly those blooms become their full expression with no resistance, nor hesitation – only a knowing and a trusting.

Spring is commonly known as the season for renewal as well as cleansing – “spring cleaning” anyone? But, how many people take inventory of their internal spring cleaning or rather take conscious inquiry of the blooms that are happening within, but yet are confronted with resistance time and time again?

This week’s edition of CLF offers a Conscious Question to have you begin an inquiry about your own internal spring cleaning. Also included in this edition is one of the most versatile and healthy foods we can offer our bodies- the avocado! In addition to the internal cleansing, I’ve included a minimalists approach to spring cleaning and just for fun, I also included Bea Johnson’s “Learn how you can wear one dress twenty-two different ways” for anyone who is looking to really clean out their closet!

Enjoy!

Conscious Question

What is within me now that is ready to be expressed? What am I resisting?

Conscious Food: Avocado

If I was stranded on an deserted island and could pick just one food to eat, it would be hands down the avocado! It’s creamy, rich texture is so satisfying. There is something about consuming an avocado that just ‘feels’ right. It is probably because it is jam packed with nutrients for the body, including 20 different vitamins and minerals!

The avocado or (alligator pear) is a unique fruit in that it is high in healthy fats as opposed to carbohydrates which is typically what fruit consists of. There are many kinds of avocados, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and colour (from green to black) can vary between them. The most popular type is called Hass avocado.

Avocados are native to Central and South America and have been cultivated in these regions since 8000 B.C. The major commercial producers of avocados today are the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia with California producing 95 percent of all avocados grown in the United States.

Here are just a few reasons why avocados made the list for Conscious Foods:

Reduce Arthritis Symptoms

Avocado’s contains a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. These help to reduce inflammation in your body or even preventing it in the first place!  Avocado’s can further reduce inflammation because they are rich in vitamin E and vitamin C, two vitamins that are also antioxidants and we all know antioxidants help to fight against the damage that may occur as a result of chronic inflammation.

Better Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most common health problems that people experience. One nutrient that plays a critical role in regulating your blood pressure is potassium. In fact, avocados supply you with about 14 percent of the potassium your body requires every day. This is even more than you can get from a banana!

Boost Brain Power

Avocados are a powerful brain food because they contain high amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients are critical for brain health because they ensure the brain gets the blood it needs to be supplied with nutrients. So, eating avocados essentially makes you smarter and it makes it easier for you to make decisions!

Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Avocado is a high fat food with 77% of the calories in it derive from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence! But before you get scared away, they don’t just contain any fat, the majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.

Aids with Weight Loss

Don’t be intimated by the fat content of the avocado because they are rich in fibre and monounsaturated fatty acids. The fibre helps you to experience hunger pangs less often since your body digests it slowly. With the healthy fatty acids, your body does not store them as fat, but as a type of slow-burning energy. This means that you are not going to feel hungry as often, allowing you to not consume as many calories and lose more weight.

Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers

“Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, skin and prostate,” said Flores. This is “due to the unusual mix of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.” Furthermore, a 2007 study in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology found that the phytochemicals in avocados encourage cancer cells to stop growing and die!

Avocados Can Help Your Body Absorb Nutrients

When it comes to nutrients, the total amount of them is not the only thing that matters. We also need to be able to absorb them what we eat. Some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K as well as antioxidants like carotenoids. Adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa for example is not only highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating!

Provide Protection For The Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

When Selecting Avocados:

If you don’t need them immediately, it’s much better to buy avocados unripe, rather than ones that feel soft in the middle at the store for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you can’t tell how long the avocado has been ripe for. If you bring home avocados that feel ready, they may actually be overripe. Secondly, if an avocado has been on display at the store for so long it has ripened, it’s probably had many fingers squeezing into the middle of it and will be full of brown fingerprints or bruising from falling off the shelf. A much better way is to buy your avocados unripe. Simply place the unripened avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days until they begin to ripen. Gently squeeze the avocado without applying your fingertips as this can cause bruising. It’s ripe if it yields to firm gentle pressure. It’s unripe if the if the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure and feels “firm.”

Conscious Recipe

AvocadoThese ‘eye candy’ avocado boats are so easy to make and can really be customized to whatever your individual taste buds enjoy best. Our family loves roasted chickpeas so it only made sense to combine them with the delicious avocado!

Now that the weather is warming up and perhaps some of you are dusting off that barbecue, try grilling your avocados! They taste AMAZING on the grill and add a nice flavour to this recipe too!  Simply preheat a grill to medium-high heat, remove the pit of each avocado, brush each avocado half with the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil, place each prepared avocado half (flesh side down) over the hot grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until grill marks appear and the avocado is warm, but not overly mushy. Voila!

AvocadoOr how about this… Avocado ice cream! If you know how to make a smoothie, you know how to make ice cream…you just need a few more hours for freezing time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 /4 cup raw honey
  • 1/ 4 cup full fat coconut milk or other milk (almond milk, hemp milk, raw milk….)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • squeeze of lime Instructions:

Instructions:

  • Peel avocados and scrape out the flesh.
  • Place in blender and blend until no longer lumpy.
  • Add in the raw honey and coconut milk (milk of choice).
  • Blend on medium until you get a nice smooth consistency.
  • Take out and freeze for at minimum 2 hours.

***Note to all chocolate lovers out there, you can easily turn this recipe into chocolate ice cream instead by simply adding about 1/2 cup of raw cacoa powder. Not only do you get a satisfying chocolate snack, but you will increase the nutritional profile by adding in some magnesium and iron via cacao!

Minimize your External Spaces to Maximize your Internal Spaces

We’ve spent some time talking spring cleaning from the inside whether it be the questions you ask yourself or the foods you put into your body, but what about our external environments?

Taking a minimalist approach or in other words what I like to say: “The less you own, the less that owns you,” subconsciously declutters the mind. When our environments are cluttered so to are our minds. Here are a few simple tricks to get you started cleansing your external world that will ultimately end up cleansing your internal world too.

Take inventory of the organizing ‘helpers’ you already ownAre they just more “stuff” accumulating (e.g., is your footwear swimming around an inefficient shoe rack; is that multi-binder system for recipes too complicated for your regular go-to recipes)? Donate these items to charities or schools, they will be very grateful and so will you.

Only keep what brings you value and or a ‘peaceful’ feeling when you are in the presence of whatever it is.  Ask yourself, “Have I used this in the last 6 months?” or, “Do I truly love it?” If both answers are “no,” it’s clutter.

Once you’ve made up your mind to donate, recycle, or keep something, don’t hesitate. Act right awayPostponing action creates piles on the floor or countertops and even more clutter, whereas decluttering in real time keeps your space consistently clear and you will be less likely to hesitate.

Check out how Bea Johnson minimizes her closet by transforming 1 dress into 22 different looks!

Conscious Book

Bea Johnson has been an incredible source of inspiration for our family as we downsize and minimize the things we own. She has also been an incredible resource in helping us find ways to drastically reduce our own waste consumption. We set a goal to not create any of garbage in a two week garbage cycle just last month and I am very proud to say that we have been successful with that goal! Now that we know we CAN make this happen, we will continue to reduce our garbage consumption. It’s actually kind of fun and we make it into a game/challenge which helps bring some creativity rather than feeling deprived in the process. Now, reducing the amount of recycling we accumulate is a whole other story!!

If you missed Bea’s episode on the Conscious Living Podcast, check it out here and hopefully you will take away some cool tips and tricks that will inspire you to make your life and planet a little more cleaner.

In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. Today, Bea, her husband, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year, and their overall quality of life has changed for the better. They now have more time together, they’ve cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40 percent, and they are healthier than they’ve ever been.

This book shares essential how-to advice, secrets, and insights based on Bea’s experience. She demystifies the process of going Zero Waste with hundreds of easy tips for sustainable living that even the busiest people can integrate: from making your own mustard, to packing kids’ lunches without plastic, to canceling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption. Zero Waste Home is a stylish and relatable step-by-step guide that will give you the practical tools to help you improve your health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for your family—and the planet!

Conscious Quote

“Stuff weighs you down. With less stuff — and less waste — life becomes so much easier and more meaningful. The zero waste lifestyle is about having less and living more.”
– Bea Johnson

Have You Heard?

After much contemplation and heart led conversations, I have decided to retire the Conscious Living Podcast and put my time and energy into other Conscious Living projects that are calling me to! To learn more about these projects, keep in touch via Instagram (natashaagrey) as well as HERE, this blog! Interested in raising your consciousness? I know you are or you wouldn’t be reading this? You guys are in for a real treat and I can’t wait for you to experience what is coming up!

Listen here to receive your gift as a loyal listener of the show.

I love, love, love bringing to you information and resources that will keep you living a conscious life; that is living life on purpose and with purpose. Does Conscious Living Fridays bring value to you in some form? If so, you can support this work by forwarding this email to someone you feel would benefit and you can also become a Patron! To learn more about how you can become a Patron, simply click on the button below.

With love and gratitude,

Natasha

It’s true! You did not read the title wrong…

I have a deep passion for having authentic conversations with people who have and are wanting to become conscious of their life. I love having meaningful discussions around what is possible and how to see life as working for us rather than against us. Shining light on love and compassion rather than fear and hatred is what I was created for!

I am dedicated to continuing to live my passion and bringing forth to you inspiration and empowerment. I look forward to growing, learning and teaching with you!

So what happened to Casey?!

Casey has a deep passion for making the world a better place by building to a higher standard that ultimately helps the earth and our health; he sees a problem that needs to be solved in the way we build our homes and at this time, he feels called to follow that endeavour. Although, he loves having conversations with authentic, game-changing people, he knows that his heart and skill set can be best used by serving the building industry.

If you’re interested in following what Casey is up to, you can check out the links below. He and his team have a lot of exciting things coming down the pipe so be sure to check in regularly or sign up to their email list to be in the know.

The Conscious Builder
The Conscious Store

Just Like Life…

We are always evolving and changing. We are looking forward to continuing to live on purpose and with purpose and support you in doing the same! Stay tuned as I’m working on some cool stuff for you that I know you’re going to love!

With love,
Natasha

Goals. What do they mean to you and how do you feel when you set them for yourself? According to Webster Dictionary, a goal means “The end toward which effort is directed.” This time of year, especially, there is so much pressure to set goals, but how inspired are you to do so and how likely is it that you will follow through?
If you find yourself setting goals only at New Years and don’t usually follow through, it is more than likely not intrinsically driven, but rather extrinsically driven by an outside source or because you feel like you “should.” This isn’t going to keep you going and won’t sustain you through the not-so-fun aspects of getting what you want. However, what could sustain you is using different language and having fun in the process!
I like to use a different kind of language to get to my results (or rather, reach my “goals” in life.) As a women with many different roles (wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, etc.),  I work hard at remembering to keep in touch with my femininity which often gets lost when I “set goals” for myself.  When I think about setting goals, I instantly feel restricted, pressured, limited and confined.  As a result, I become very rigid, controlling, rushed and always needing to be doing. When I am rigid, controlling, rushed and needing to be doing all the time, it takes me away from myself and from my femininity and, as a result, I lose a very important part of who I am which is to be abstract, creative, receptive, tranquil and nurturing.
Don’t get me wrong, I have very high standard for myself and the life I lead. In fact, until I learnt this about myself, I had spent most of my life “setting goals” but not really enjoying the ride. Often I would attain or reach my goals, but not be connected to myself. I lost the flow, the flexibility, the openness of who I was and replaced it with linear, controlled thinking which isn’t who I am. I have since learnt that to attain the results or intentions I set for my life, the best way is to remain connected to my essence in the process. In order to do this I changed my language from “this is my goal” to “this is what I look forward to.” The power of this simple switch in language has been very powerful to me (and I hope for you too).
Focusing on what I am looking forward to in the days, weeks, months to come, I can then pour energy into making that happen, but in a way that is true to my nature which is to be creative and open. I like to practice flow and freedom when setting “goals” for myself. So, rather than saying “I want to accomplish x goal,” I ask myself “what am I looking forward to today? This week? This year?” This is a much kinder way to bring forth your intentions if “setting goals” isn’t working for you. Where focus goes, energy flows. So, if you are focused on achieving your goal, or rather what you are looking forward to, then energy will flow in that direction. I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life looking forward to what I want while remaining true to who I am in the process. After all, life is happening while you are planning for the future!
What brings me joy is being who I am and that is to be creative, open, expressive, and nurturing. I understand the importance of “goal setting,” and that is why I have replaced “setting goals” with “what I am looking forward to” I know that by having a clear outcome of the results I want, I am able to create a direction for which to attain them.
Here is an example of what this may look like:
  • “I am looking forward to running a marathon in six months.”
  • “I am looking forward to losing 25 pounds by summer 2016.”
  • “I am looking forward to spending an extra few hours every week with my kids.”
  • “I look forward to opening my own business in eight months.”
When I remind myself of what I am looking forward to experiencing, then I get inspired to make change happen without compromising myself as pure feminine energy. I become enthused and excited for the future without compromising who I am.  What I want to experience this year is more joy; better physical and mental flexibility; even more love for my family and friends and the world at large. What I am looking forward to this year is everyday being in touch with my flow, openness, creativity and love. I am looking forward to watching my loved ones grow and be with them on their journey.
If setting goals IS working for you, DO NOT change. However, if “setting goals” isn’t working for you, but you want to change something in your life, try asking yourself “What am I looking forward to?”
So, what are you looking forward to today? This week? next month? This year?!
Photo credit: faith goble via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: faith goble via Foter.com / CC BY

1. Use LED Lights

For your green Christmas, start by using LEDs. These small Light Emitting Diodes use 80% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Look for the Energy Star seal for ones with the highest energy efficiency rating.

2. Limit Lighting

Turn Christmas trees on only when you’re in the room to enjoy them. Also, make sure to turn outside decorations off before you go to bed at night, or put them on a timer.

3. Send E-Cards

Replace snail mail cards and letters with e-cards and e-mails to save paper and mailing expenses. Not only is this great for a green Christmas but it can be used all year round. This will also reduce your carbon footprint since it eliminates the fuel used for transporting standard mail (not to mention the manufacturing process for the cards). Win-Win-Win!

4. Shop Online

Rather than burning gas driving around searching for that perfect Christmas present, shop online instead! Not only can you find (and buy) locally, but you can do it from the convenience and comfort of your living room. Etsy is great for this!

5. Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

If you have to buy gift wrap, make sure it’s made from recycled materials. You can also make your own gift wrap from cloth, burlap and other materials. Of course, always make sure to save wrapping paper and bags from gifts you receive to use the next year.

6. Get a real Christmas Tree

I bet you didn’t expect this one when you were thinking you wanted a green Christmas… Visit a local Christmas tree farm and cut down your own tree. Not only is it a fun family activity, but many experts believe artificial trees actually have a greater negative environmental impact when all aspects of their life cycle are considered. Earth911 has a great article on this!

7. Make Natural Decorations

Rather than buying plastic ornaments, wreaths, and decorations shipped from overseas, make your own from pine cones, holly, seashells, river stones, and evergreen branches. Makes for a great activity to do with the kids too!

8. Recycle Decorations

Make sure your green Christmas ends on a good note! After the holidays, be sure to recycle your Christmas tree and other natural decorations rather than sending them to the landfill. Most cities do this now but Today’s Homeowner can bring you up to speed on this.

Photo credit: darren131 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: darren131 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

9. Meal Ideas

The family meal is a time to connect and celebrate. Here are some tips to help make the experience even more enjoyable by showing your support your local farmers and making sure your family has the healthiest options posible:

  • Choose as much organic and free-range produce as possible;
  • Choose a heritage turkey or grass-fed, organically raised roast;
  • Choose organic fruits and vegetables when possible;
  • Choose local fruits and vegetables when possible.

David Suzuki has a great article on the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

10. Decorating for Meals

For a Centrepiece, create it from natural elements such as pine wreaths and beeswax candles. Bring nature indoors!

Also, make sure to skip the disposables! Bring out the fine china, utensils and cloth napkins! Make your meal as special as your family is 🙂


 

2015-11-14 07.14.22At a time when the world is reminded about how fragile life is through the recent Paris attacks, I was blessed to be surprised by some of my closest friends and family. This post was inspired by, and is dedicated to, all the people who showed me their love this past weekend. Especially my wife, Natasha. I love you all.
The Backstory
Knowing my wife, Natasha, I had a feeling she was working on something for my 30th birthday but I had no idea what or when it would happen. To my surprise, it happened this past weekend, one week before my actual birthday.
2015-11-14 09.53.49This past Saturday, my day started off as usual with the exception that we didn’t have Sullivan since he spent the night at Nana’s. I read, meditated, did a workout, had a green smoothy (thanks to my wife) and then hit the road. I normally cut my own hair but decided to treat myself to a haircut since I had some extra time.
After my haircut, I picked up my dad, did some running around and then we ended up at The Canadian Tire Centre early where we were going to enjoy watching the Sens play the Rangers. We decided to grab a bite to eat and then joined my brother, Chad, and his friend, Ken, for a somewhat boring hockey game. Luckily for us, the boring game ended with excitement! Seeing how I spend most of my waking hours working on the businesses, working on myself or hanging out with my family, I had no idea that the NHL had introduced 3-on-3 overtime. This is exciting hockey and was the best part of this particular game! Unfortunaltey, the Sens ended up loosing in the Shootout but it was all well worth the afternoon hanging out with the guys.
After the game, we proceeded to work our way through the usual game-day traffic and grabbed a bite to eat at Moxies where my brother wanted to treat me to an early birthday dinner. Interesting enough, our conversation mostly revolved around our Bucket Lists and travelling.
Side Note on Bucket Lists
I have to admit, I do a lot of work on myself and personal goals I want to achieve but I have never written out or put much thought into a “Bucket List”. The first thing that came to mind was growing the businesses that I’m currently working on as well as the businesses that I have plans for in the future. Although exciting to me, these things are long term goals. The next things that came to mind were travel (although I’m not sure where yet), sky diving and flying a helicopter. After that, I didn’t really have anything… I decided that it was time to start a list.
This is something that I think we can all benefit from. We spend so much of our time doing things for other people that we often forget about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I personally believe that true fulfilment lies in serving others, however, I also know that we can’t give what we don’t have. If we don’t take care of ourselves, love ourselves and bring excitement to our own lives, how can we expect to do those things for others?
2015-11-14 07.14.33Alright, Back to the Story…
After dinner and the thought provoking conversations, my dad and I parted ways with Chad and Ken. As dad and I rolled up to my place in Manotick, I quickly realized that this whole thing was planned. The street and our long driveway was lined with vehicles. I looked at my dad with a smirk and said “you guys are sneaky.” To which he replied, “I’ve never had to lie so f*%#$@! much in my life.”
I entered the house through the garage door to a house full of my closest friends and family. Friends from high school, friends from work, family from the other side of the country, family from across the border, team members from The Conscious Builder and business partners. People from every part of the last 30 years of my life! People who have influenced me, mentored me, changed me, shaped me, supported me, helped me, laughed with me, grew with me and made me into the man I am today.
2015-11-14 06.57.19Every part of this surprise was absolutely perfect! Natasha got every little detail just right. A sign of a true soul mate. All the right people were there, there was live piano music, the food was all healthy, the cake was vegan, organic and gluten free (and made to look like a piece of wood), the dishes were being washed instead of using plastic, there was freshly pressed green juice being served, the servers and piano player were all friends of our nanny and were all young people who wanted to help and could use the extra cash and, most importantly, it was all held in our Passive House which was ultimately built for bringing people together.
2015-11-14 09.09.12To everybody who was at the party, both physically and in spirit, thank you. Thank you for bringing the love into our home. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As I write this, I am filling up with so much emotion that it’s coming out in the form of tears. I could not have asked for a better life. I only hope that I have had as much of an influence on your life as you all have on mine.
With Unconditional Love,
Casey
2015-11-14 09.56.48

Living in a culture that has so many options, I find myself at times becoming so overwhelmed with what to do. While I am grateful for the abundance that surrounds us, sometimes too much is simply too much and we just have to take a step back and say “Whatever choice I choose, IT’s OK!”
To put this into context (and my hope is that you will be able to relate), I had a family reunion and a wedding in the same weekend. As you can imagine, there was a lot of food, however, for someone who practices a more plant based way of eating, its a little more difficult to get variety living in an environment that is still eating a predominately SAD (Standard American Diet). I found myself resorting to eating a less than optimal way (for my body) and compromised my values in hopes that the opportunity for people to judge me would be lost. The irony of this was that I was judging myself with the choices I was making (in this case food choices). People were going to judge me no matter what choice I made.
When I became conscious of the idea that I was judging myself for choosing to eat foods that would compromise my body it was such a relief. IT’s OK to eat or not to eat the food that is available was very liberating for me. When I recognized that, yes people are going to think I am crazy, weird, snobby, etc, but at the end of the day we have to take care of ourselves and our bodies that take us through our life. I found myself compromising my values and for what? In fear of what people would think! How many times do we do this to ourselves?! How many times do we go against our own hearts (creating judgements on ourselves) just because of what we “think” others are going to think about us (judging others)!
People are going to judge us. That is what humans do and we do this for very good reasons – to make sense of our world. The thing is, while we can’t control what others think of us, we can control what we think of ourselves and at the end of the day, that is going to determine the quality of our lives. People are going to judge. We are going to judge. I am going to judge. BUT, I am going to make a vow to you today that I am going to wake up and become conscious of how I am judging – how I am judging others and how I am judging myself (which by the way is the same. How we judge others is what we are judging about ourselves).  Usually how we are judging others is what we need to take inventory on about ourselves. So for example, “how can I use that judgment that I just placed on that person onto myself and grow from it?” By becoming conscious of our judgements, we free ourselves. Its almost like all weight is lifted off the poor person we are judging and also OURSELVES! We are saying “Hey, here is what I noticed and this is what I am going to learn about it. – IT’s OK that I am judging because I am conscious of it and even more, it’s making me a better person because I am learning from it!”
Get conscious of your judgements. It’s OK to judge as long as you are aware and are learning from them. You are human!
With Unconditional Love,

This journal entry was inspired by my life and those in it as well as our dear friend of The IT’s OK Project! The ITs OK Project is about sharing and spreading the ITs OK vibe in the world. They celebrate life and embrace Being Human!
What do you say when someone asks you the question: “How’s life?”
We were at a wedding this past weekend enjoying the beautiful weather and catching up with friends and family. When you haven’t seen or spoke with people for a while, its not uncommon to ask questions like “How’s life? Or what’s new?”
So, in the interest in learning about our friend’s and family’s lives, we asked the question: “How’s life? What’s new?” We began to notice a pattern between all the conversations that we were having. And that pattern was this: We would ask: “How’s life? What’s new and exciting?” The common answer was “Not much. Same old, same old.” Or something along those lines. Why was this the answer for so many people?  We can definitely relate to this response. We used to say the same thing until we became conscious of how we were answering. It was our go-to answer time after time.
We began to ponder this question: “How’s life and what’s new and exciting?” And while there maybe nothing new and exciting happening in someone’s life at that given moment, the answer of “Not much. Same old, same old” was interesting to us because it wasn’t necessarily the words, but rather how the words were spoken – shoulders shrugged, monotone voice and little if any eye contact.  Why are we settling for “same old, same old” in life?
Why are we settling for anything less than a life that gives us joy and fulfillment? Or do we have some great things happening and we just don’t want to share them because we think the other person will think we are crazy for doing what we are doing? Perhaps we think that they may not understand or don’t want to hear what we have to say. Whatever your thinking is about it, isn’t it about time to enjoy ourselves and our life; isn’t it time we take the risk and share with people who ask us the question, “How’s life?” After all, if they are asking, obviously they want to hear!
Ask yourself now and BE HONEST! “How’s life? What’s new?”
Listen to the answer that comes. Does the answer feel good or not so good? Is your answer something like: “My life is incredible! I am doing and being everything that I desire.” Or is it something like: “My life sucks; I am miserable.” Both answers are great! The reason the latter is great is because pain moves us. When you are in pain, you are more likely to make a change. This is a good thing.
The worst place to be is in the middle. The “same old, same old” place or the place where things are OK or just good. The place where you have become too comfortable. This place of comfort is what keeps us stuck living a life that brings no growth and no joy. Is this where you are? Be honest. Nothing will change without honesty.
In our continued growth and development, its our experience that the most important part in answering this question (that we will all be asked over and over again) is to get conscious of how we answer. The language you speak at any given moment will dictate your experience in any given moment. If you say to someone that you are living the same old life, then that’s what your experience is going to be… the same old life. But, if you say to someone “I have many exciting projects and ideas in the making, would you like to hear about them?” Then that is what your experience of life is going to be – sharing your exciting projects and ideas! We get to choose! However, we have to be aware first of what we are choosing to speak and therefore choosing to experience.
As I was thinking about this journal entry this morning, I came across a quote by Dr. Steve Maraboliand thought I would share it in hopes to inspire you to create the life you deserve to live.
“No matter what your history has been, your destiny is what you create today. What are you going to create today?”
Now we ask you… How’s life?
Please feel free to share all your exciting news, ideas and creations with us. We love hearing what you’re up to!
With Unconditional Love,


 

Warning: This journal post may increase the quality of your life, make you more joyful and save you money. Read at your own discretion.
Let’s think about what thinking is for a moment…

What is thinking? Thinking is merely a serious of asking and answering questions in our mind. We aska question and our brain in turn searches for an answer. Our brains are designed to answer the questions we ask automatically. That’s what our brains do – they solve our problems! This is why it is important to being aware of the quality of questions we ask ourselves. The quality of question will determine the quality of answer we get and this will ultimately determine the quality of life we have!

What ends up happening, however, is that we can get in the way of our brains solving problems that actually help us by way of us asking ourselves the wrong questions or not asking quality questions. We can get into patterned ways of thinking which (if we are not conscious about it) can get us “stuck” in behaviours that may not serve us or the world around us. In other words, we are not asking quality questions and therefore not receiving quality answers. So, for example, we may ask ourselves a patterned question, such as “why am I always in debt?” With this question, the brain will come up with answers such as “because you don’t make enough money, you don’t know how to budget, you don’t have a good job,” etc.  If you were to see a therapist, the therapist would recognize your thinking patterns and break it by way of asking a quality question such as “How can I have enough money to cover all my bills and do any activity I want?” Can you see the difference in question? Can you see how the brain will want to get creative in finding answers? Guess what? Now you don’t need a therapist to do this for you, you can do it for yourself (and in the process save yourself a lot of time and money).You can break your own patterns! You can solve your own struggles simply by learning the skill of asking yourself quality questions!

There is good news and not-so-good news about all this. The good news is that our brains do all the work as they search for the answers. The not-so-good news is that we have to be conscious and aware of what we are asking ourselves in the first place… this is easier said than done.
A simple example of this would be if someone were to cut you off in traffic, I don’t know about you, but I used to ask myself, “what is wrong with that person?” (implying like they are wrong/bad/inconsiderate/etc). After I asked this question, my brain would search for an answer and would come up with something like “because he’s a jerk! He doesn’t know how to drive!” This would result in me feeling annoyed, frustrated, upset and countless other negative feelings.
On the other hand, if I were to ask a quality question in that moment such as “I wonder why that person is in such a rush?” (implying compassion/curiosity/concern/empathy/etc), my brain would answer with something like “I hope everything is okay.”A simple switch of a question and I instantly feel completely different. The experience is the exact opposite. Now I’m feeling empathetic towards the person and coming from a place of love.
Has this happened to you? If you have your license, I’m sure it has. If you don’t, it could have been something as simple as getting the wrong sauce on your sandwich or having your coffee order done wrong. In simple situations like these, are you conscious of the questions you ask yourself?
What about the more important areas of life? Are you conscious of the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis? When you’re kids come running into the room screaming, what do you ask yourself? “What are they screaming about now?” Or “How can I help them?” When your partner does something that annoys you, what do you ask yourself? Instead of asking yourself, “Why does he/she always do this?” which probably isn’t true, why not ask “Why does this annoy me?” and perhaps follow it up with “How can I make sure this doesn’t annoy me in the future?”
I know for myself, a big question I used to ask was “Why can’t I be more like that person?” As I’m sure you can guess the answer that would always come to me were things like “because you aren’t smart enough. You aren’t funny enough. You aren’t young enough. You don’t have the money. You don’t have the credentials.” The list goes on and on… No wonder I never felt empowered! I was constantly beating myself down.

I’m sure you can see how this patterned way of thinking was keeping me stuck and not feeling good about my life.  When I learned the magnitude of simply learning the skill of asking a different question, everything changed! Now, instead of asking a question that was limiting and disempowering, I ask myself the question “How can I be better at being myself?” With this question, comes much better answers to say the least. The best part is that the answer changes as I change and grow whereas before the answer was always the same and always made me feel horrible and stuck. There was nothing good that came from my old question. Don’t get me wrong, that old question does creep up every now and then, however, I am conscious of it and am able to follow it up with my new question. It is a practice; a daily practice.

I encourage you to begin to become curious and conscious of the questions you are asking yourself. Then become aware of the answers that arise. After that, simply explore whether the answer that you get is serving you or hurting you. If it’s hurting you, what are some quality questions you could ask yourself instead that would help you get the result or outcome you desire?

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves, this isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes practice. However, with a little self compassion and humor you’ll begin to notice how funny and ridiculous some of the questions are that you are asking yourself. Like anything in life, the more you practice, the better you will become. There’s no quick fix. The quickest way is to practice more. Our brain is a muscle, you need to work it out if you want it to grow. You wouldn’t expect to go to the gym once in your life and expect to be fit for life, would you?
Questions have the power to change everything. The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the quality of questions we ask ourselves. They dictate the meanings we attach to things and therefore the experiences we have in any given moment.
What are some quality questions you can begin to ask yourself every day that make you feel good? Perhaps it is simply that question! – “What are some quality questions I can ask myself everyday that make me feel good?! I encourage you to listen for the answer. It may be subtle but I promise it will be there. Have fun with this; get curious and playful and remember there is no right or wrong just what works for YOU.
With Unconditional Love,

This journal entry was inspired by Martha Beck.

I was inspired to share this question with you:
Are you conscious of your feelings? I mean really aware?
This question (as obvious as it may seem) wasn’t so obvious for me in my consciousness. I spent the  weekend pondering and reflecting on this question at a workshop entitled, The Desire Map, which was created by Danielle LaPorte. It was such a liberating experience. Our facilitator, Kate Durie supported and guided the group as we explored some pretty powerful, life changing questions.
During this journey, I learned that I was constantly in search of a “good feeling” and if I wasn’t feeling a good feeling then I would try to numb myself. As a result, I felt numb and wondered why I wasn’t feeling anything. I felt like I was missing out on all feelings. Which, in a way, I guess I was. I didn’t come to this realization until this past weekend when I consciously prioritized the time to really get to know what I was feeling. What did I want to feel more of on a daily basis?
It wasn’t until I cleared all the noise and distractions in my environment that I was able to become aware of these feelings. The feelings that drive everything in our lives. After all, the only reason why we do anything in life is for the feelings we want to experience (whether it feels good or not so good). Think about it. What feeling did you get when you purchased your last new car? What feeling do you get when you eat certain foods? What feelings do you get when you hang out with your group of friends? What feelings do you get when you jump out of a plane? Everything we do is to experience a feeling.
I realized that I wanted to feel “good” but what did that really mean?! What did I have to do to feel good? Usually it was always a reliance on others or on external events, but I realized (after removing distractions and getting quiet) that I was living in the past, looking towards the future or expecting something out of my control to give me these good feelings. It was difficult for me to really relish in the present moment and experience what was unfolding right here, right now – especially if it was a feeling that didn’t feel good, such as loneliness or boredom!
These teachings and insights I received this past weekend helped me so much in becoming consciousof what and how I want to feel on a daily basis. Yes, there are going to be moments (probably everyday) that will deter me from feeling the feelings I want to experience; however, now I know that I get to choose how I feel at any given time. Sometimes I may choose to feel sad, but in that moment I can be conscious that I am choosing to feel that way. Its not about denying any feelings, but rather becoming aware of the feelings and then deciding if that’s what I want to experience in that particular moment.
I am the only one in control of this experience we call our life. I encourage you to bringconsciousness into your life and then decide what feelings you want to experience. Come up with a few ways you can make that happen for yourself! Perhaps its putting on your favourite music that triggers joyful thoughts or calling a friend who always makes you laugh (if you want to feel playful). Perhaps its watching your child explore the world (if your looking feel curious or adventurous). Whatever it is, do what works for you and remember… Life is all about feeling.
What do you want to feel?
Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.
With Unconditional Love,
During my guided meditation with Deepak and Oprah this morning, I was reminded of something very important. I was reminded that we cannot give what we don’t have.
This is obvious for material things or money but what about the things we can’t see or touch? Things such as love, respect, empathy and compassion. The same rule holds true for these things. How can you give love if you don’t love yourself? How can you respect others if you don’t respect yourself or your body? How can you have empathy or compassion if you are not empathetic or compassionate towards yourself? I’ve probably done this meditation a dozen times before but it never resonated with me until now (or at least I wasn’t conscious of it).
I believe the reason this resonated with me so much this morning is because I’ve been struggling to show my wife love the way she needs to be loved. If you’ve read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you will know what I’m referring to here. I know my wife’s love language is words of affirmation but it’s a foreign language to me. I’ve shown love in many ways but words of affirmation was never one of them.
When I went to bed last night, I asked God (or source or whatever you want to call the all-encompassing power of this Universe) to give me what I needed to continue to learn this foreign language. He responded by waking me up at 4:30AM and guiding me to this meditation.
I have to admit, I am very hard on myself. I work hard (although I don’t like to call it work because I love what I do) and I strive for excellence. The fact that I’ve been struggling with words of affirmation for my wife has been tearing me apart. Not only because I feel I “should” be better at this but, more importantly, because I know that my wife needs it.
God delivered and I received exactly what I needed this morning. The meditation reconnected me with my source. The power that is within us all. I now know (again) that I need to be easier on myself. I need to respect where I am right now. I need to be compassionate and empathetic towards myself. Most importantly, I need to love myself. If for some reason I continue to have trouble doing it for myself, I will do it for my wife because she deserves nothing less. By loving myself I will be able to love my wife the way she needs to be loved. It starts with me but I’m doing it for her.

With Unconditional Love,

Casey+Natasha