Peace on Earth . . .
As the calendar presents us with the end of a year and the promise of new beginnings, I wish you a vision of expanded wellness that contains much love and peace.
My intention is to be the place where peace and love shows up, even when it’s difficult. What’s your intention for 2017?
Do you have this intense burning desire to transform a part of you life that isn’t serving you? Are you looking for a little less stress in your life? Are you desiring to feel more love? Do you want to feel really, really well?
These 13 Tips for Transformational Wellness will take only 13 seconds to read. Then you can choose one to practice–and of course practicing them will take MORE than 13 seconds–but they are all capable of adding to your well-being. And all of them are filled with love.
We get to take one step at at time on our wellness path. Which one will you choose for your next step?
- Intend to be well
- Listen to your body
- Nourish the body/mind temple
- Live in the present moment
- Pray and/or meditate
- Seek balance and pleasure
- Speak your truth with kindness
- Reframe worrying
- Cultivate forgiveness
- Practice peace
- Love radically
- Don’t complain
- Magnify gratitude
If you would like suggestions for implementing each of these tips, you will enjoy learning more in my book, Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit.
Please let me know which one you picked to play with today! Please leave a comment here or come on over to my SusanTateCommunity Facebook page and share your thoughts.
©2016 Susan Tate
We are living in extraordinary times. Clearly, it is important to know about things that can keep us safe. But what is being splashed in front of us at a rapid rate is repeatedly fearful information aimed at keeping us on edge. Do you think it’s time to boldly create a revolution based on love and not fear? I do.
I recall the drills we had in the 1950s when we tucked ourselves underneath our little first grade desks to practice saving ourselves in case we were attacked by Russia. I don’t want to duck my head anymore. I want to look out more with a vision of peace, a sharing of our abundance, and a mindful caring for our fellow human beings, whether they live in the United States or some other place on this globe.
I want the children to walk upon this planet with light and love-filled steps and a trust in the adults who are guiding their way. I want our children to make safe, healthy, and loving choices.
During the 1990s, I was the Director of Health Promotion at the University of Virginia. “Make your choices based on love, not fear” was the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross quote we selected to be printed on the back of the condom packs provided during our Peer Health Education workshops. Yes, stop and think about it. We wanted students making safer choices because they had a respect and love for themselves (what a concept!) more than they feared unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.
Today, I would like to see this quote boldly printed on the nightly news, at our banks, in our work settings, in our cars, in our grocery stores, and all over social media.
We can speak and think from a place of fear or from a place of love.
“Make your choices based on love, not fear.” We have the choice to shower our world with love or react with fear. I’m choosing love. How about you?
Here are my suggestions for how to choose love over fear. Feel free to add to the list.
11 Ways to Choose Love over Fear
- Notice when worry or fear creeps into your thinking. Observe the fear, release it as you exhale, and then breathe in love instead. Repeat if necessary.
- Pray, meditate, chant, or sing.
- Observe and give gratitude when sacred peace envelops you.
- When fear invades your thinking, move your body. Walk, run, swim, dance, bike, do Nia, yoga or other physical activities that create endorphins from your body’s inner pharmacy. If you move through your day in a wheelchair, take time to get outside and connect your wheels to the earth and breathe in love.
- Observe your tendency to judge others and gradually lose interest in doing so.
- Be the place where love shows up.
- Notice your surroundings and the people in it with appreciation. This may result in being more accepting of people who don’t think, look, or act like you.
- Choose to no longer view the “other” as “other.”
- If you watch or read the news, use it to support your prayer practice. And then spread good news whenever you can.
- Forgive someone. Feel free to put yourself at the top of your list.
- Choose love.
In what ways to choose love over fear? Please feel free to leave a comment here or come on over to my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.
©2016 Susan Tate
Spiritual wellness is a uniquely personal journey for each of us. As we awaken each day, we get to choose how we will view world events, our country, our local community, and the life experiences we are experiencing in this moment. We get to choose peaceful thoughts or worrying thoughts, loving thoughts or fearful ones. I don’t know about you, but lately, prayer and meditation have been more valuable than ever in sustaining my spiritual wellness. This prompted me to share an excerpt from my Wellness Wisdom book. May you enjoy it with a sense of sacred peace.
Chapter 7: Pray and Meditate
However you choose to pray, you will deepen the communication between you and the Divine. I view praying as a reverent act of deeply communing with or talking to God. The message goes out as if we were talking to someone on the phone. I view meditation as listening to God via a heavenly phone—to recognize that voice we must be quiet so we might hear.
Declarative prayer is one of the many ways of communicating with God. With declarative prayer, you state that you accept the quality or thing you want in your life right now. An example would be, “I accept radiant health and wholeness.” Until a few years ago, I had always prayed using the “Please God” begging method. Now I assume divine help and support. Everyone prays differently and I certainly believe God listens to us however we pray; but I really like this positive, trusting, affirming method and it has been extremely powerful in my life. I’m learning to give up a time line, to trust divine guidance. I’m also learning to give up being right about many things. And there are times when I still get down on my knees, sometimes weeping with a “Please God” at the beginning (and the end) of my prayer. God listens.
Some people love reading the Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, The Course in Miracles, or from the Vedic texts. Others enjoy poetry or philosophical readings to connect them to Spirit. You may find the prayers of your childhood to be soothing. Find what works best for you.
There’s a beautiful meditation that I have found to be simple yet profound. It’s from an ancient Hawaiian practice known as Ho’oponopono (meaning “to make right.”) The words are simple and powerful: “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you.” What’s your favorite prayer?
In the early nineties, I had the honor of meeting monthly with my sangha “sisters” to enjoy dinner together, to listen to “what’s up” for us, and to pray. (Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means “community.”) We then shared our prayer requests for the month and agreed to pray for each other in between our meetings. Would a gathering of your own prayer community support your spiritual wellness?
I don’t think God minds whether we declare what we most desire or simply ask for it. God is ever-present and knows you well, so praying the way that feels best for you will keep this part of your spiritual wellness sacred. The ritual of praying the rosary or reciting the Hebrew words that hold a place in your heart may be the way you connect and become closer with the Divine. If you are one of many seekers who yearn to heal wounds created by old religious beliefs, you may enjoy reading Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Journey to God. She offers inspiration to women and men who want to create new ways of prayer and connection to Spirit.
I’ve heard it said that prayer changes us, not God. It can be an empowering way of shifting so we know what the next best steps might be. Have you heard the saying, “Pray and move your feet”?
Meditation, a very ancient practice, is growing in popularity in our fast-paced western society filled to overflowing with cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and BlackBerry technology. How interesting that meditation needs no expensive electronic equipment, just a quiet mind. Not too many years ago, if you lived in North America and told someone you were meditating they may have looked at you a little funny. Today, many people join meditation groups or classes and are aware that it is a practice done daily by many people worldwide.
Swiss-born psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the ground-breaking book On Death and Dying said, “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.” It may seem intriguing to think we might need to get in touch with silence—it seems like such a simple act. Yet, for many of us, our mental chatter is in high gear during most of our waking hours. Taking the time to sit in silence opens up an avenue of peace that adds richness and deep wisdom to a spiritual practice. Take some time to listen, observe, and not judge the thoughts that pass through your head. Like clouds in the sky, thoughts pass by us and are replaced by new ones. Your gentle breath can guide you as you breathe in and breathe out.
As with prayer, many styles of meditating are available. Some individuals prefer to listen to their iPod or to CDs that provide guided meditations full of soothing words and images. You might enjoy listening to Karen Drucker’s tender song Morning Prayer at the start of your day—it’s one of my favorites. Other people meditate by sitting still or lying still in complete silence, quieting the mind of all thoughts. When a thought enters the mind, the idea is to notice it, observe it and let it pass. You can say, “That’s a thought,” and watch it melt away. Eventually, the noisy mind becomes still and you have access to divine wisdom. That wisdom is always there, I believe, but it has a tough time getting through our constant, sometimes flood-like stream of thoughts.
How would your day be different if you started it with just five minutes of silence? Ten minutes? How would your day be different if you added one of the above suggestions to your spiritual practices? If you’re interested in experiencing the simplicity of silence, you can try taking a walk alone or planning an hour to move in silence with no TV, computer, music, or cell phone.
Like prayer, meditation is a gift you give yourself. Talking to God, listening to God—what a high and holy conversation. I can just hear God saying, “Can you hear me now?”
What practices do you have in place that sooth your soul? As I have strengthened the spiritual dimension of my own wellness path, these seven spiritual activities and resources have added blessings to my spiritual wellness. Everyone defines “spiritual wellness” in their own way and I want to note that the following resources are not affiliated with any religion. I encourage you to explore which activities feel right (if any) for you to add to your own practices of spiritual wellness.
Seven Practices to Enhance Your Spiritual Wellness
- Start your day with five minutes of inspirational reading, music, or meditation. I often begin my day with Karen Drucker’s beautiful song, “Morning Prayer.” (From her latest CD Songs of the Spirit IIII.)
- End your day with your own thank-you prayers or by mentally listing ten things you were grateful for that day.
- Consider learning about the powerful Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono. It has simple, peaceful, and poignant lines: Dear God (Or whatever you call the Divine) I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. And I thank you. You may want to Google “Ho’oponopono” to explore resources that appeal to you.
- Listen to healing music that sooths your soul. My favorite is the music to support the “healing stream” practice created by Bruno Groening (www.bruno-groening.org). This free music is available by clicking on “download” and then “music.” My personal favorite is an instrumental entitled, “II Gitarre 2.”
- Subscribe to a daily message that uplifts your spirit. Abraham-Hicks Publications (www.abraham-hicks.com) has a daily quote I read at the start of my day. The top corner of their banner says, “You are loved. All is well.” If I read nothing else, it’s a great reminder that makes me smile each morning.
- Create or discover a daily affirmation or short prayer that inspires and directs your day. Gay Hendricks shares what he calls the “Ultimate Success Mantra” in his empowering book, The Big Leap. “I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.” I love this affirmation since it includes others too.
- Find ways to access the healing power of love. If it calls to you, check out Robert G. Fritchie’s work through the World Service Institute (www.worldserviceinstitute.org). This organization teaches people how to apply Divine Love as a healing energy to amplify spiritual wellness.
Excerpt from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit, 2nd ed (2011) by Susan Tate
Do you have practices that support your spiritual wellness? I’d love to hear about it here or over on my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.
©2000 – 2016 Susan Tate
We have over 60,000 thoughts a day and most of them were also bonking around in our heads yesterday. These thoughts most often reflect our subconscious beliefs. So, the power in a positive affirming statement is that it can slowly but surely become a welcome part of those repetitive thoughts and eventually become a belief. You can affirm something peaceful or affirm something to create worry or suffering. You get to choose. And although most people find daily affirmations make their lives feel better, they do not “work” simply by saying, “I am getting healthier every day” while you are sitting on the sofa eating bonbons. There’s a saying I love, “Pray and move your feet!”
Here are the “Affirmations for Wellness” I share in my Wellness Wisdom book. At the end of these affirmations, you’ll find resources to support you in reprogramming your subconscious beliefs, which are about 95% of your thoughts. I think of affirmations as a way of “recording over” the old beliefs. Have fun in your own personal recording studio!
AFFIRMATIONS FOR WELLNESS
I accept balance in all aspects of me; including my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional self.
I am enough.
Every cell in my body vibrates with health.
I forgive myself and I forgive others for any behaviors or beliefs
that have caused pain.
I release and bless all thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve
my highest purpose.
God (or whatever you call the Divine) is at home in me.
I am filled with gratitude for the abundant blessings I constantly receive
I allow myself to love greatly and be greatly loved.
I am constantly discovering my joy and it is powerful.
I am surrounded by feelings of harmony and peace.
I accept and receive all of my good now.
I lovingly accept joyful health to flow in and through my body.
I accept radiant health and wholeness.
I am a generous giver and a gracious receiver.
I commit to taking more time each day to be silent and still.
I know that now is the God moment.
I express my emotions with authenticity and clarity.
I speak with kindness, truth, and compassion.
I joyfully live a life full of integrity.
I mindfully choose my response to any circumstance
I am grateful for my body.
I revel in wholeness.
Affirmations from my book: Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Susan Tate
Resources, affirmations, and support for re-writing that old script in your head!
Become What You Believe: Free 21-day meditation series from Deepak Choprak & Oprah Winfrey (started 11-2-15)
The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton
The Tapping Solution by Mark Hyman, MD and Nick Ortner
It recently dawned on me that any time I have felt like I was walking on eggshells, I was actually the one that had put them there. Has that been true for you too?
Looking back, I now realize I had put those imaginary eggshells there because I had a fear of speaking my truth. But not anymore . . . I now have the intention to communicate in a loving, kind, and timely manner—even when it’s difficult. It is my intention to speak directly to the person (rather than text or email). And here’s the important part; I need to let go of the result.
Going back to the eggshells for a moment, sometimes those eggshells may be there to protect us from harm. Sometimes we intuitively know that it may not be safe for us to speak our truth to someone who may not be able to access his or her own highest and best self. In this case, I encourage you to seek professional support for handling this situation and creating empowering ways to stay safe, grounded, and to not feel like a victim.
At other times, those eggshells might appear when we are afraid to speak the truth (with loving-kindness and respect) to a boss, co-worker, friend, or family member who we think holds power over us. Okay, so you may not want to lose your job or your inheritance, but do you want to be treated poorly? We teach people how to treat us. If there are patterns of behavior that have created well-worn (rather than wellness-worn) paths, consider changing the destination on your GPS. In other words, if you’re walking on eggshells, you might want to walk down a different path.
I’ve also been consciously observing negative energy or situations and realizing that I can either absorb it (which feels awful) or pause and lovingly and without judgment, simply observe it all. Oh, the observing feels so much better! My good friend, Donna, would call that being an “observette.” Would you rather absorb it or observe it? Do you want pain? Or do you want peace?
Tate’s Tips for Becoming a Loving Observette
1. Observe, rather than absorb stressful feelings and situations.
2. Speak the truth with kindness, clarity, and compassion.
3. Let go of the result.
4. Teach people how to treat you.
5. Seek support when dealing with someone who is capable of
inflicting physical harm.
Note: I wrote this article a few years ago but was compelled to share it again now. In the past few months I have heard more people expressing sadness and discomfort about feeling it was never a good time to say what was really on their minds. I still have feelings like this, although I find it to be less and less as the years pass. These five steps above have been a good guide for me. Wishing you peace.
Excerpt from Chapter 31:
Wellness Wisdom by Susan Tate
Expressing gratitude ignites the light within us and is a sure path
Adopting a conscious attitude of gratitude can bring increased joy into our lives. Remember, what we focus on expands! Oft-quoted Meister Eckhart, the medieval Christian mystic, said, “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Gratitude for what we have makes us appreciate everything even more. If you awaken in the morning and give thanks for the sky, the birds, the air, the wind, the rain, your heart beating, your ability to breathe, the people in your life—the list is endless—you can’t help but to step into a more joyous day.
My former husband told me more than once, “It’s hard to stay sad when you’re in gratitude.” He was right. I’ve tried switching my thoughts to gratitude when sadness gets overwhelming and it works for me. It doesn’t eliminate the sadness or its cause, but I’ve learned that if I take time to observe and feel the sadness, I can then move away from the painful thoughts through that doorway of gratitude. The more things we are thankful for, the more things to be thankful for will show up in our lives.
Taking time to craft a hand-written letter of gratitude to someone for their kindness is an act that makes at least two people feel great. Please don’t wait for Thanksgiving to consider writing a gratitude letter to a family member, co-worker, or friend. E-mail works too, but there’s something special about receiving a hand-written letter, especially if it was penned with gratitude.
You may want to consider keeping a gratitude journal by your bed. Making a gratitude list at bedtime can help to create a peace-filled sleep, as well as become a wonderful addition to your spiritual practice. Or, you may just choose to close your eyes and rather than count sheep, count all of the things that happened that day that created gratitude.
Several years ago, my friend Roberta gave me a small circle of ten beautiful beads. Each night, I gently touch each bead and say “thank you” for a specific person or event that day. Her simple gift has provided a great way for me to magnify gratitude and it invariably sends me into a peaceful sleep.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center in California, shared a powerful statement about gratitude during his 2007 guest appearance on Oprah. He was discussing the Law of Attraction as he said; “Nothing new can come into your life until you are grateful for what you already have.” You may want to read that sentence again.
Celebrating and magnifying gratitude is a wonderful practice that brightens the light of wellness wisdom that resides within each of us. With gratitude as your guide, I invite you to laugh, love, play, and pray your way into the continued nourishment of your mind, body, and spirit. Honor your wellness wisdom within.
. . . I am grateful for you.
Ways to Magnify Gratitude
- Start the day by giving thanks. As you open your eyes, you might say, “Thank you God! I get another day!”
- Don’t complain. The universe typically provides us with more of what we speak or think about each day. So the more you complain, the more you’ll find reasons to complain! The more gratitude you acknowledge, more things to be grateful for will appear in your life.
- Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Having a gratitude journal by your bed and writing just a few things in it each night can be a beautiful closure to the day.
- If journaling isn’t your thing, call to mind ten things you are grateful for before drifting off to sleep.
- Write and send thank you notes, not just for something given to you recently but to acknowledge appreciation for something someone did for you in the past.
- Don’t wait for Thanksgiving or a special holiday to express gratitude, love, or appreciation to those you love. Call someone now. You’ll make at least two people feel better.
- Consider gratitude as a way of being. The suggestions above offer things to do that are supportive in developing the practice of gratitude. The next step is to know you can go even deeper and allow yourself to be the place where gratitude flourishes.
Excerpt from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Susan Tate.
My son’s son is turning 18 this month and he lives 3,000 miles away in Pennsylvania. My daughter’s daughter will be celebrating her first birthday next month—farther away in Fiji. So this grandmother is feeling rather emotional and overflowing with love at the moment. This letter is for all my grandchildren, my future great grandchildren, and for the children you love, and for all the children of the world.
Prompted by my dear friend, Fran, I originally wrote this “Letter to my grandchildren and great grandchildren” in 2009. I placed the hand-written version in my notebook that contains my Last Will and Testament, along with my notes and wishes for when they will be needed. But this week, after seeing all the pictures on Facebook of the sweet faces of all the children heading off to school, I was compelled to send this yesterday to my grandchildren. I mean really, why wait till I’m dead? And then I thought I’d share it here with you.
Please enjoy and share this letter. Feel free to adapt and change words and send this to a child you love.
Dear Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren,
First of all, I want you to know that you are a precious being, inside and out. You are infinitely loved—loved and treasured beyond words. You have been loved long before you were born to your incredible parents. You picked them, and they picked you! You have special things to teach each other.
You are so deserving of all good. You are enough. Never, ever doubt that, no matter what the world around you might say.
Whenever you encounter a tough choice or decision, get quiet and ask God or Spirit or whatever you call the Divine, to light up the way to the answer. You will probably find the answer delivered to your heart, not your head.
When you grow into adulthood, don’t feel compelled to fall into the stress of “earning” a living. Create your days doing what you love. You don’t need to earn or strive, but be who you are and use your gifts and talents to share with the world.
Be of service. Be a force for love. Offering your gifts to the world can unfold in many ways.
Let generosity flow. And notice how important is to both give AND receive graciously.
Oh yes, when you choose your life’s path, it gets to be your path, not your parents. Be all that you are and don’t copy anyone else. You are an original!
Love deeply and love passionately. Be sure to not give up any part of yourself to please others. Take care of yourself first, not in a selfish way, but in a self-FULL way.
Never let anyone silence you. Your respectful and honest voice deserves to be spoken.
Practice forgiveness. (Oh, it does take practice!) When you forgive someone, it doesn’t make their actions right but you will find yourself released from the pain. And sometimes it’s important to feel the anger first, (righteous anger, I’ve heard it called) before you can get to the forgiving part.
Don’t worry about the future but make healthy decisions today so your future will be grand and the planet will be better than it ever was when you arrived. Leave it better for your children and grandchildren.
Know that peace begins in your heart. And know that having peace in your heart is where world peace can blossom.
When things are overwhelming and challenging and you are not sure what to do, offer all of it over to the Divine. You can do this in your head, or you can write it down, or you can throw your hands up and say, “Here! This is Yours!” Then listen for the next best step to take—and take it.
Be grateful. Every night before you go to sleep, think of at least ten things to be grateful for so you are smiling as you drift off to dreamland.
And know, that as you read or re-read this at any age in your life, I am either loving you from this earth or from beyond.
There is only love.
Love never dies.
I love you!
Originally written by your grandmother, Susan Tate, in 2009. Expanded for you on September 3, 2015.
Feel free to share your comments on my
Susan Tate Community Facebook page.
The spiritual component of wellness is highly individual, as each of us can choose to know God (or whatever you call the Divine) and create our spiritual practice through the lens of our own religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs. May this prayer bring you peace and gentleness today.
My Prayer for You
May you see the infinite possibilities that exist with each sunrise.
May you make wise choices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit.
May you allow your soul the freedom to express who you really are.
May you allow yourself to love greatly and be greatly loved.
May you know that good self-care ultimately supports all those around you.
May you discover peace-filled solutions in the opportunities of conflict.
May you allow yourself time to grieve.
May you use your gifts and talents to create a better world.
May you listen to others with ears of compassion.
May you forgive yourself and others for any behaviors or beliefs that have caused pain.
May you feel God’s presence in every cell of your body.
May you be filled with gratitude for your daily blessings.
And so it is.
Steps to Take If You Want to Get to Know God Better
1. Create quiet time each day. You can start by taking just one minute before you get out of bed. Then gradually add to this precious ritual or practice as you begin your day. Some people like to light a candle, read from a holy text, play spiritual music, or just quietly breathe. Pick something that works for you. Treasure and protect that time. Quiet time for some may come, if only briefly, after you fall into bed after a long day. Breathe. Open your heart. Listen. God’s there.
2. Explore places where you feel closest to God and hang out there when you can. Examples include but are not limited to: churches, synagogues, mosques, chapels, temples, beaches, forests, mountains, with your family, or in your garden.
3. Take time to talk with God. And then, take time to listen to God. You’ll love the results. Praying doesn’t change God—it changes us.
4. Remember that what you focus on expands. So, focusing on God can provide a greater awareness of the Divine in your daily life. This doesn’t mean you need to become a monk or priestess! It just means that the more you look for good and God, the more you’ll discover both.
5. What, if any, rituals or prayers from your childhood hold special meaning for you? Add or create a new practice if you like. Enjoy reading the next chapter (“Pray and Meditate”) for more ideas.