Category Archives for Self Improvement

The Beauty of Simple Pleasures

The Beauty of Simple Pleasures winter sunset

How often do you take time to appreciate moments of simple pleasure? Do you recognize simple pleasures when they come to you? Have you asked yourself lately what constitutes a simple pleasure?

Simple pleasures can mean different things to different people. It may depend on the season of life you are currently in. If you are a new parent of one or more young children, your simple pleasure may be five minutes in the bathroom by yourself. If you are an older person like me, your simple pleasure may be the sounds of your grandchildren’s voices screeching with delight as you offer a warm home baked cookie. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a busy day, it may be your commute home, listening to your favorite music. It may be a walk in nature, the stunning orange hues of a brilliant sunset, or the calming chorus of the crickets on a summer night.

The important thing is to take a moment to stop; a moment to look and listen. 

The simple pleasures will find you. The magic happens when you look to the sky and it speaks to you in the form of a beautiful cloud formation, or you sit down with a cup of tea and a butterfly lands on your toe. Have you ever thought about someone you haven’t spoken to in months and the phone rings? There they are!

These are synchronicities of life which the universe uses to reach out to you, to find you, and bring you the simple pleasures.

Don’t we all need them? What happens when we don’t take the time to appreciate our own personal simple pleasures? I know if I don’t, eventually I find myself feeling overwhelmed with life.

The key to finding and appreciating simple pleasure is to stop. Don’t put it off till you have a free moment. The free moment may not come, and the simple pleasure that was waiting for you will go on to find another.

To quote the famous Rumi, “What you seek is seeking you”. So don’t miss your chance for today’s moment of pleasure.

My call to action for you is to stop right now if you are able. Take five minutes. Set your intention to find a simple pleasure and ask it to find you. Look around wherever you are. Step outside for a moment and look at the sky. Pick up a book and read one paragraph. Do you have a favorite pet at home? Stop for five minutes and connect with him/her. Stroke his head or scratch her ears. Then look at the expression on his/her face. Does that not bring a simple pleasure to your heart?

Simple pleasures are everywhere.

Stop, look and listen. Enjoy the pleasure because that is its sole purpose. Then pause for a moment of gratitude for that person, that animal, that sight or sound that found you and fulfilled its purpose today, by bringing you a simple moment of pleasure.

In health,

Linda Carney, INHC

Your Path Forward

Laughter Shared is Healing Multiplied

laughter shared is healing multiplied image four women laughing
Laughter Shared is Healing Multiplied header four females laughing
An Apache myth tells of how the creator endowed human beings, the two-leggeds, with the ability to do everything – talk, run, see, and hear. But he was not satisfied until the two-leggeds could do just one thing more – laugh. And so men and women laughed and laughed and laughed! Then the creator said, “Now you are fit to live.”
~Larry Dossey~

It is said that laughter is medicine. As I ponder this thought, I realize that laughter is a universal medicine that has the power to bond and the ability to cross language, cultural, philosophical and spiritual barriers. Laughter gives the ability to help us tap into our commonalities and use them to heal, rather than using our differences to divide and destroy.

Laughing together with another person can unite your heart to theirs, without using a single word or even understand the other’s language.

Think about your reaction when you hear or see one of those gut busting belly laughs from an infant. What is your first instinct? Mine is to laugh! Baby belly laughs have the power to lift a sorrowful mood, sometimes in an instant. It’s not something we have to summon or choose. It’s an automatic response.

Think also about the moments you have made eye contact with an infant and they respond to you with a big smile. Doesn’t it warm your heart like nothing else? That infant has no ability to understand or form a spoken word to communicate verbally with you.

But that smile and that eye contact is heart to heart communication. It’s magic. It’s powerful. It heals!

Here are just a few ways that humor and laughter can heal our bodies:

Laughter can:
* Increase the number and activity of natural killer cells (which attack infected cells and some types of cancer cells)
* Increase the number of T cells (these cells are “turned on and ready to go” to fight infections).
* Increase the level of the antibody IgA (which fights upper respiratory tract infections).
* Increase the levels of gamma interferon (which activates many immune components).
* Increase levels of complement (which helps antibodies to pierce infected cells).

Even better is that with laughter as medicine, it costs you nothing and you run zero risk of negative side effects! 

Now please understand that I am not saying that laughter should replace medicine as a tool to help a person’s physical or mental health. However, I am saying that laughter is a powerful complementary tool to add to your toolkit!

Next time your body, mind, or soul feel under the weather, go ahead and feel that feeling. It’s healthy to acknowledge pain or sadness and give yourself permission to feel it. But I encourage you to not set up camp there. Try your best to look for the humor, because it can be found in almost any situation.

If you can find even a speck of something to make you smile, your load has lightened. Allow yourself to take a break from sadness, if even for 5 minutes. Watch a funny video (perhaps of a baby belly laugh) or turn on a funny TV show that you enjoy. Write a story or a poem with a funny ending.

Use the power of memory to recall that time in your life when you laughed the hardest. That memory for me is the time my daughter, now in her 30’s, referred to graham crackers as graham “crappers”. I thought I would hit the floor right there in the grocery. 

So go find your funny! Then, call a friend and share your funny! Because we all need healing right now, do we not? We all need immune boosting laughter. It just might heal your heart, your community, and our world.

Because laughter shared is healing multiplied.

This is my two cents’ worth for today. That and a buck might get you a cup of coffee! 😊

In health,

Linda Carney, INHC

Your Path Forward

Thanksgiving Reflections

Hello beautiful ones,

I’d like to share my reflections on this Thanksgiving.

The Law of Attraction seems to be a popular buzz phrase currently, as well as the concept of manifesting your hopes and dreams.  I even teach and encourage this concept in my coaching practice.  I encourage my clients to visualize their dream life; to see it and describe it.  I encourage them to rewrite their story with a new perfect ending.  

But we all know that our reality isn’t always “happily ever after”.

What is this concept of “The Law of Attraction”?  

In a nutshell, it means that what you focus on in your mind, heart and soul….you will attract into your life.  It will manifest itself into your reality.  In other words, if you are focusing and maximizing on the positive aspects in your life, you will attract and manifest more of it.  If you are focusing on your negatives, more of the negative will find you.  I used to think that this concept was a bunch of baloney.  Until the day I realized I was surrounded with so much negativity that I just couldn’t deal with it.  It was pulling me down into a negative spiral and I was beginning to feel unable to find my way out of it.

I was introduced to the concept of The Law of Attraction many years ago by a very kind doctor.  She gently suggested I read the book “The Secret”.  That day I went out and bought that book.  I went home and read the first few pages, and for the next several years, it sat on a bookshelf collecting dust. 

Fast forward to that day I came to the realization that my life was full of negativity, and I wondered if I really had some control over it.  I remembered the suggestion by that kind doctor to read that book.  You know what?  I still didn’t read the book!  However….I began to consider The Law of Attraction as a possible way to dig my way out of that negativity. 

I began to think of myself as a “healthy” person.

I began to look in the mirror and tell myself:  I can get healthy… I will get healthy…  I am healthy!

I began to get out of bed in the morning  get showered and dressed, as if I had somewhere to go, something to do, and people to see;  even though I didn’t.

Do you see where this story is going?   I began shifting my thoughts away from my negatives, and toward the beautiful possibilities.  I had no idea how those things could happen.  But as I shifted my thoughts, slowly but consistently, I began to see changes!   I began to feel a little more energy.   I began to experience and enjoy my life again.  I was discovering that there was something to this thing called The Law of Attraction. 

Since then, I have learned to practice this concept daily.   I feel so blessed and fortunate to have been connected to better health, the opportunity to return to work, and meet so many lovely people who have become dear friends.    I now realize that all it took to get the ball rolling, was to just tweak my mindset a tiny little bit.  I believe in baby steps and that was my first one.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with Thanksgiving? I was hoping you would ask.

I would like to take this concept back just one step.   Are you feeling this Thanksgiving, like you are having difficulty finding something to be thankful for, or something you feel positive about?  Or do you know someone who feels this way?  There is no shame in that.  We all have pain stories.  We don’t escape this life without them.

If this is you, or a loved one of yours, I want to encourage you (and them), to take one step back.  Try to put this Law of Attraction to work for yourself.   Is there a way to attract an attitude of gratefulness and positivity into your heart, if you just aren’t feeling it?   I suggest that there is. 

My call to action for you is this:

Take five minutes right now, tonight, and close your eyes.   Visualize and focus your mind’s eye on something you love.  It may be that cozy blanket you are under, or it may be the beloved pet lying next to you, who always demonstrates his/her loyalty to you.  It may even be the child or grandchild that you are separated from this holiday by miles.  But you love them with all your heart.   Whatever it is, or whoever it is, take a moment to feel that feeling of love.   Now capture it, visualize yourself putting that love into a bubble and blowing it out into your circle of family, friends, community, neighborhood, or the world in general.  You know, someone needs it.  

You have just practiced The Law of Attraction.   You have taken a positive feeling, a feeling of love from your own center of being, and have extended it beyond yourself.   Think on that for a moment.  This means there is goodness, beauty and love within you.   Now the added benefit is that you have just sent out a love magnet, which is going to return to you, like a boomerang.   So wait for it, look for it.  It works.  I promise you!

This, my beautiful ones, is something to be grateful for.

So practice this.  Make this your first baby step tonight.   It can, and it will change your world; and this is how we change the world around us for the good. 

Blessings, love and light to you all this Thanksgiving!   You are each truly a blessing in my life, and I am so thankful for you!

In health,

Linda Carney
Your Path Forward

Take Yourself on a Date

Take Yourself on a Date
Take Yourself on a Date

Do you remember your first date?  Remember how excited you were?  

When that day came, you had butterflies in your stomach, and you excitedly thought about what you would wear.  Perhaps you even went shopping to pick out the perfect outfit.  Then you had to decide which shoes, jewelry, and accessories would match your clothes, or bring out the tone of your eye color?  It was all part of the experience, right?  You wanted to look nice for that special person.  Even more so, you wanted to feel beautiful!    You wanted to present yourself in a way that the special person you would be spending the evening with could get a good first impression of the person you are on the inside, as well as the outside.

The simple reality of this is when you are happy with yourself, with your look, and with the first impression you are giving, you carry yourself a little differently.  You carry yourself with more confidence. Your posture is more positive and outward, rather than pulling yourself and your posture inward.  People are attracted to self confidence, and self confidence comes when you feel great about who “you” are.  When you feel great about who “you” are, you are not afraid to put yourself out there; whether it be for a date, or for a job interview, or a speaking engagement.

Have you ever considered the fact that when you get up in the morning and get yourself ready for the day, you are actually getting ready for a “date” with yourself?  You are going to be spending the day with “you”.  How do you feel about that?  When you look in the mirror, do you think, “I look forward to spending my day with her/him”!  Why or why not?  

When you are getting dressed, doing your hair, picking out your accessories, why not pick out an outfit that makes you feel good that day, or pick out a scarf that makes your eye color pop!  Because after all, you are spending the day with that person in the mirror!  Pamper her by making her feel like a princess!  Perhaps you wake up feeling a little sassy?   Go with that!  Be a tiny bit sassy with your choice of outfit for the day!  You see, your process of getting ready in the morning can be a creative process, in which you get to pick how you want to present yourself for the day.  Do you want to go with comfy, or perhaps sassy, or maybe a little edgy?  It’s all good, but go with it!  This is part of your daily self care!  You are worth the time and the effort, and if you want to splurge once in awhile and buy yourself a nice outfit for your next date with “you”….you are totally worth it!  

Sometimes, you are required to present yourself in a certain way.  You may have to wear a uniform to work, for example.  If this is the case, you can still pamper yourself by enhancing your required look/attire with accessories that will still make you feel unique, and tell the world a little bit about yourself, without having to say a word!  You can fit in…..and stand out at the same time!

For many years, I did not like who I saw in the mirror and I did not relish the idea of spending my day with her.  I would throw on the first thing I came to in my closet (sometimes the same thing as the day before).  Preferably, that thing would be something pajama like, and would not show even a tiny bit of the body underneath, that I hated.  

It took years for me to change my opinion of myself.  I was ill with a chronic autoimmune issue, spent my days at home alone, and felt like a nobody.  But I began to realize that I was the only one who could change that.   I began a long journey of self discovery, self acceptance, and finally self love.  Something that helped me tremendously was to tell myself that no matter how I felt when I woke up, I was going to get up, get dressed, as if I were going on a “date” with myself.  I was going to pamper that person in the mirror and I was going to make her feel special and beautiful.  Because, darn it, I was determined to not look as tired as I felt.  Sometimes vanity is a good thing!

Keeping these things in mind has made a huge difference in my life.  I realize that it should not totally be about what I look like on the outside.  But if I am going to be real with myself….and we all need to be real and honest and accepting of our true selves….it’s important to me to feel pretty.  When I feel good about the outfit I chose for the day, or when I have a really good hair day, or if I have chosen a look that reflects my mood that day….it makes me feel great.  When I feel great on the outside, I also feel great on the inside.   It’s ok to pamper yourself.  It’s not self – ish.  It’s self – care.

Here are some facts to keep in mind as you get ready for your next date with you!

1) Self Pampering improves mental and physical health.

“People who are able to comfort themselves have a better immune response to stress, so they don’t get as anxious, especially in social situations,” says Kristin Neff, Ph.D., associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin, who’s conducted extensive research on the trait. “They also have less body-wide inflammation, better immunity—they get fewer colds and headaches, for example.” (1)

2) Researchers at Bishop’s University in Quebec found that when you learn to be kind to yourself, you will also eat healthier, exercise more, and sleep better!

3)You can change your look without having to change your body.

Free Lance Writer Sally McGraw writes, “Making changes to your wardrobe and style can affect how you view your body, even if your body itself hasn't changed. Throwing on a skirt that works with your curves instead of against them allows you to embrace those curves. Slipping on a fantastic pair of boots can illustrate that those legs are damned fine just as they are. Finding styles, colors and textures that enhance your natural assets can help you see how gorgeous you are right now -- and have been all along. Just by changing the clothing, shoes and accessories that adorn your body, you can change your relationship with that body for the better. Minus the oppressive workout plan, restrictive diet and nip/tuck.” (2)

4) You Get to Choose! 

Free lance writer Sally McGraw also writes, “You get to choose what to express and what to hide, what to display and what to mask. It's a lot of power, don't you think? Since you've got to get dressed anyway, why not take the opportunity to broadcast a few key pieces of information about yourself to the observing world? Doing so can build pride and confidence, establish your uniqueness and help you decide which aspects of your inner life you'd like to highlight and share. (3)

5) The Look Good – Feel Good Connection 

Free lance writer Sally McGraw goes on to say , “Caring about how you present your physical self to the world makes you more present in your body. Presence in your body feeds itself, creating more care. The cycle of self-care feeding self-love, creating more self-care allows you to broadcast a profile of self-respect and power. It reminds you that you can control how you feel about yourself. And that's powerful good stuff.” (4)

MY CALL TO ACTION TO YOU is for you to think of tomorrow as “a date with yourself!”  

Before you go to bed tonight, think about your activities for the day.  Try to think of one thing you can do to treat or pamper yourself.  Perhaps you might leave 15 minutes earlier for work, and stop to treat yourself to your favorite coffee drink.  Whatever you choose… put some thought into it, just as you would if you were planning a date with your significant other.  Plan your outfit and lay out your clothes.  Choose a fun accessory and shoes.  Go ahead and make a statement.  Wear it proudly!

You are worth every minute, every thought, every dime that you spend on yourself.  When you love you, and show the world that you love you…..your world will change….I promise!

I’d love to hear your comments about this and I’d love to hear about your next date with “You”!

(1) Quote taken from SHAPE Magazine,” 5 Reasons to Pamper Yourself”, by Mirel Ketchiff

(2)  (3) ( 4)    Quotes taken from Huffpost Online, Issue 12/7/2017, by Free Lancer Write Sally McGraw