Why It’s So Hard To Meditate – And What To Do About It

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If you’ve ever considered or even tried meditation and it hasn’t really worked for you, I totally feel ya! Here’s the reason I believe meditation is so hard in the beginning…and I’m also sharing how you can make it easier for yourself and really reap its benefits.

I’m also going to debunk some of the myths around what meditation actually is and what it isn’t..

This message is so important! Seriously.

PS: Here’s the video I’m referring to about the 557 Breath:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_9OL1m39QI

3 Things We Can Learn From The Plant World

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I love my little green, flowering and sprouting friends! Here are 3 things we can learn from plants:

1) Do things in your own time
2) Love and accept yourself just the way you are – don’t try to be something you’re not
3) You have more life in you than you think

Do you have any plants of your own that you take care of and can learn from?

Much love!

Paula

A Powerful Technique For Quick Calming Down

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I used to think that I had absolutely no control over my emotions, and that they, in fact, controlled me.

Until I learned this simple, yet powerful technique that has helped me to avoid quite a few emotional breakdowns and stay calm and centered even when everything goes wrong…

How To View Strong Emotions As Personal Power

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Feeling intense emotions can be scary…but they are also an expression of our life force and personal power. Watch this video to learn a powerful reframe for dealing with intense emotions, and find out what public speaking and high sensitivity have in common.

Prefer reading? Check out the in-depth article here.

3 Tips For Finding Your Life Purpose

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Why is it important to discover your life purpose?
And how do you go about finding it?

1) Look at your natural gifts and talents
2) Do what lights you up
3) Uncover your true desires

It’s a gradual journey, but one thing is for sure: You have to make the journey INWARDS to uncover it.

Have fun watching and digging deep! 😉

My Whole30 Journey

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I did it. Today is the last day of my first Whole30! Woohoo! 🙂

So first of all, what is the Whole30?

It’s a program designed to help you eliminate cravings, get better sleep and feel energized all day without coffee and sugar. How is this magic possible you ask? By eating only whole, fresh, unprocessed foods for 30 days straight without slip ups or cheats or exceptions. For the last 4 weeks, my kitchen has been stocked with organic meats, fish and eggs, a rainbow of vegetables and fruits as well as lots of healthy fats like coconut oil, olives and avocados. And I’ve absolutely fallen in love with eating this way! It’s so delicious, fun, nourishing and satisfying 🙂

Here is why I started this experiment in healthy eating and food freedom:

  • I found myself getting in the habit of having a beer or a glass of wine almost every night to unwind
  • I would often feel tired and sluggish in the morning and throughout the day
  • I would often get migraines and headaches
  • I get this super annoying, stubborn acne on my chin pretty regularly
  • I’m super addicted to caffeine and I was hoping it’d be easier to ditch the caffeine once the rest of my system was cleaned up
  • I already knew that eating low-carb, dairy free and gluten free was good for stabilizing my blood sugar and energy levels and preventing migraines – but I’ve never been fully committed to eating this way. I’ve always made room for exceptions and would be rather impulsive about having sweets, alcohol or baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, I was eating pretty clean before I embarked on this journey – but never truly consistently. And my highly sensitive body feels every single slip up!

I had been looking at the program 2 or 3 times in the last 2 years before I actually decided to commit to it. 

I was terrified that it would be sooooo hard, and that I’d fail at staying on track and not letting my cravings get the best of me. I was afraid that it’d be too much effort to prepare all my meals at home, every single day. But I knew this was the perfect opportunity: My husband went on tour for a month, so I’d be home by myself for the most part – free of distractions and excuses 😉

About a month before my start date (January 30th, 2017), I started planning. I ordered the Whole30 Guidebook and read through it, I journaled about my goals and motivators, planned the meals for the first couple days, made emergency plans for food cravings and just mentally prepared to a full 30 days of eating whole foods.

During the first week I still experienced a lot of cravings. 

Not so much during the day, but in the evenings after dinner my body was definitely demanding a drink…or some ice cream. Hello, no alcohol OR sweets after dinner?! Come on! 😀 I countered those cravings with herbal tea and after-dinner protein snacks, and sure enough, on day 5 the cravings were gone! I haven’t misses the alcohol or dessert at all anymore. First win! 🙂

By the end of week 2 I was totally rocking the Whole30 style of eating:

It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to whip up a delicious, nourishing breakfast, lunch is either a salad or leftovers from dinner the night before, and for dinner I try out new recipes or cook something slightly “fancier”. I love getting super creative in the kitchen, trying out new food combinations, using lots of herbs and spices and discovering new favorite meals.

I even learned to socialize without alcohol! 😀

When I first get to a concert venue I might still long for a beer, just out of habit, telling myself I would need it to “loosen up” – but that desire only lasts for about 5 minutes. I’ve actually noticed that I’m having much better conversations when I’m sober: I’m more present with whomever I’m talking to, I come up with more interesting things to talk about and feel generally more open. Who would have thought?

Another big lesson was about the importance of sleep. 

When I get my 8-9 hours of sleep, I’m good with 3 meals a day. When I get less sleep, I feel more like grazing and need one or two snacks in between my main meals. Not that that’s a big deal – but it’s interesting to note. I’m also very proud of how well I got by on just 5 hours of sleep at work last weekend – the day at work after a night out used to be pretty miserable, but the last time wasn’t that bad at all!

Overall, my energy levels are much more stable and I wake up feeling refreshed in the mornings an hour earlier than before and without an alarm. I also fall asleep quickly and with ease. I still wake up once at night, because…

…there’s one more thing I need to do: And that’s quitting caffeine. 

I allowed myself to have coffee and tea during the Whole30, as it’s technically allowed and I didn’t want to make too many changes at once. But, the acne persists – damn you, coffee, you are clearly exposed as the culprit! Quitting cold turkey is not an option for me, as I get really intense withdrawal symptoms. So I started weening off caffeine slowly about a week ago. I’m aiming to be caffeine free by the end of March (Yes, it takes a while to gently let go of caffeine…it is a pretty highly addictive drug, after all!). The most important thing is that I feel empowered to let go of this last unhealthy habit: With my newfound Food Freedom I know that I can do it!

I already have less headaches, more energy, and close to zero cravings – if I do get cravings, they only last for a couple minutes. That way, I was able to resist the fresh-baked cookies one of the sales reps brought to work yesterday. I was there all day by myself, just me and the cookies, and feeling a bit blue…but I stayed strong and resisted the temptation! 😀 In fact, after the first couple minutes I had completely forgotten about them. Who would have thought that that’s even possible? 🙂

And who would have thought that I would actually be able to commit to 30 days of whole foods.

I had my doubts. But now, my doubts are like my cravings: They come up, but they generally only last for about 5 minutes. And then it’s on to new accomplishments! 🙂

Check out the Whole30 Guidelines here.

Would you be interested in achieving Food Freedom Forever, cleaning up your eating habits and saying goodbye to cravings altogether, either with this program or a similar one?

Much love from the finish line,

Paula

PS: If you’re looking for a healthy snack, these guys are a true life saver!

 

 

Healing On Individual & Global Levels

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I’m always amazed by the way the macrocosm and the microcosm mirror each other. Let me explain what I mean by this cryptic message by giving you an example… 😉

For instance, our bodies are made up of trillions upon trillions of cells that are so small that we can only see them under a microscope. Together they form this amazing miracle that is the human body. Now imagine zooming out from the planet and into space, further and further away from the Earth, further and further away from our solar system…until the beautiful spheric shape of the Milky Way comes in sight. A whole galaxy, made up of trillions upon trillions of stars and planets.

See what I mean? Many small pieces coming together to build one big, miraculous whole.

So many people these days are stressed out.

They’re overwhelmed by their emotions, their responsibilities, their choices and opportunities (or lack thereof). Feeling stressed out is uncomfortable. So we try to run away and hide from what’s really going on inside. We numb ourselves with comfort foods, alcohol, drugs, TV, shopping, or staying so busy that we don’t have a second to think about what’s really going on.

This behavior is understandable: We instinctively shy away from pain and discomfort. But the problem is that when we keep shutting down our feelings, we miss out on some vital information on what we need, crave and desire, on new ideas and inspiration, on how much we can handle and how we can make positive choices for the better.

So when life gets really, really busy and our insides feel really, really stressed we have to do the opposite of what we instinctively want to do: We need to get back into our bodies, instead of running away from them. 

We need to learn to get grounded in our bodies, listen to the sensations and emotions we are having, interpret them, work through them and let them guide us to healthy, conscious choices. That’s when healing takes place – individually and with the people in our lives.

Now here’s where the whole spiel about the macrocosm and the microcosm comes in:

For the last 10.000 years, we as humans have moved away further and further from our home, our mother: Nature.  We were seeking more comfort. More reliability. So we began to settle down and use agriculture to grow our own food and domesticate animals. No more hunting, gathering, and traveling with the seasons.

With agriculture came a whole host of new discoveries: Science, organized religion, large-scale politics, trade and money, technology…but with each new solution, it seems, came a new problem: New illnesses, overpopulation, less human interconnection and more digital living, exploitation of resources, global warming, animal extinction. And there’s some old problems that haven’t really budged: Hunger. World Wars. Poverty.

It seems that we thought we could outsmart Mother Nature through more and more advanced technology, more and more sophisticated cultures, more and more civilized living. But I believe that at the end of the day, we have to go the opposite direction: Not further into the digital and technological world, but back to the roots. Back to nature. Back to the natural cycles of the seasons, of night and day, of the waxing and waning moon.

Back to our bodies. 

Our bodies are still very similar to the way they worked 10.000 years ago. Evolution moves slowly. They are hardly equipped for the abrupt environmental and lifestyle changes of the last couple thousand years. And our planet is suffering with us.Just as we are stressed out and challenged as individuals, so is Mother Earth.

We can heal as individuals by turning inwards and getting back to the wisdom that lies in our bodies and our emotions. We can heal the planet and the human species by returning to our source: Our beautiful planet Earth.

Now, I’m not saying that we all should abandon our homes, toss our cell phones and go back living in caves. Neither do I suggest that I have all the answers. But what I know for sure is that there’s something very powerful, very healing and very magical about returning to our center. Globally, that’s our planet. Individually, that’s our bodies.

There are very striking connections: For example, once we truly learn to listen to our bodies again, the cravings for artificial, highly processed foods that were grown in a lab start to fade away, and the need for real, organic, whole foods comes back. Once we detox from social media and TV binges, we reveal the need for real, loving human interaction. Once we leave the city and take a breath of fresh air in the mountains or at the sea, we realize how important it is to keep our planet clean and healthy…

And while these things are no fully formulated master plan to save the Earth, they point us in the right direction.

It all starts with a first step, right?

What is one thing you can do today to reconnect to and cherish your body?

What is one thing you can do today to reconnect to and cherish the planet?

Welcome home. 

 

 

 

 

The Parallels Between Public Speaking & High Sensitivity

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I’m highly sensitive. I’m afraid to speak up. I don’t want to hurt or bother anyone. I don’t want to look stupid. I’m afraid of judgement, criticism and confrontations. I’m afraid to take up space and be seen. I’ve learned that being quiet and pleasant is the safest way to behave.

So I did the most logical thing in the world: I joined a public speaking circle! 😀

But not any public speaking circle. One that makes me feel safe and celebrated. (check it out here if you’re interested).

Initially, I wanted to try it out because I thought it might help me feel more confident speaking up in life in general, not necessarily on a stage. But I found an interesting parallel between public speaking and high sensitivity that may well be a huge game changer:

When you’re about to speak on stage to a group of people, you feel A LOT. All eyes are on you, and everybody’s energy is focused on you. That’s A LOT of energy. So no wonder you’re feeling a whole bunch of sensation inside of yourself!

Most people call this feeling fear, panic, terror, anxiety, nervousness. But when you think about it, you NEED this high level of energy on stage so you can match the energy of all the people in the room that are looking at you! You need it…and you can make it work for you.

High sensitivity is very similar: You feel a lot. You absorb tons of different energies from the outside. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and anxious, not just on stage, but in everyday, normal situations. So the approach to become a more confident public speaker is very similar to that of managing high sensitivity:

Be really, really grounded in your body.

Especially (but not just) women carry a lot of wisdom, intuition and strength in their bodies. When faced with a challenging situation, we get very lost when we try to work things out on a mental level only, like telling ourselves to “just be calm”. (Did you ever feel like punching someone in the nose when you were really agitated and they told you to “just relax?” :))

So in order to prepare for speaking in front of a group of people, the most important thing is to ground your energy and connect to your body.

You can do so by dancing, breathing or visualizing sending energy into the earth…there’s some really fun exercises and rituals out there to get really comfortable and centered in your body!

As a highly sensitive person, grounding is something you want to do every single day. Every time you feel anxious, overwhelmed, tired, or simply spent the day with a lot of people, talking, socializing, providing customer service, or being in a big crowd. The tools that bring you back to your center are the same ones that can be used to prepare for a public speech.

I love two things about this comparison:

  1. It makes it really simple to explain to others what being highly sensitive actually means. Ask them if they’ve ever experienced a fear of public speaking… they almost certainly have, as some surveys show that we fear public speaking more than death itself! Then simply explain that this is how HSP’s can feel even in normal, everyday situations.
  2. Learning valuable public speaking tools can be incredibly empowering in all areas of life. It can help you feel more sexy, confident, strong, grounded and loving – both on and off stage. It can help you embrace your sensitivity and your sensations and “make art of it“, as KC Baker puts it so beautifully.

Sometimes, a simple reframe of our emotions can be really powerful, such as changing the label from “fear” and “panic” to “excitement” and “power”. Intense feelings can be scary…but they are also a sign of an incredible amount of life force and personal power. Don’t be afraid to use that power! All you need is some good tools to manage it.

You got this! 🙂

Much love and happy grounding!

Paula

PS: You can find more tips and tools on how to handle your big, scary, beautiful emotions in my free Ebook From Overwhelm To Inner Peace.