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Amused Not Stressed

If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll always be amused, right? I do amuse myself at times – which is a good thing. So, the furnace started making a noise ­– one that I interpreted as a “scary noise.” We had just paid out a chunk of change in car repairs. As I listened to the scary furnace noise, I started to feel anxious at the thought of replacing the furnace too.

“Maybe it’s something simple,” I hoped. Maybe the furnace just needed a new air filter. I checked the date, and yes, it did need a new filter so I replaced the furnace filter.

Suddenly, the furnace stopped making any sound at all. No scary noise. No fan. No motor hum. OH NO!  I started to feel a little panicky and began searching for the name of the great HVAC guy who helped us out with a furnace issue in the past.

I checked my files, then checked my phone contacts. I couldn’t find the furnace repair guy’s name and I started to get frustrated. After repeating the same steps and still not finding the contact information, I felt more frustrated.

Then, I had that moment of awareness! Just breathe! I stopped and took a breath.  I got my focus out of my head and into my heart. I felt an urge to go back to the furnace again and followed my intuition. As I stood in front of the furnace, my eye fell on a switch. I flipped the switch and the furnace kicked on again – this time without the scary noise.

When I replaced the furnace air filter, I had accidently bumped the motor switch to Off. Hahaha! It’s good I can laugh at myself because it does keep me amused quite regularly.

Luckily, I only spun in crazy panic circles for a couple minutes before my wisdom tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, “hey, try the easy path over here.” I am sure glad I listened because it saved me the cost (and embarrassment) of having the furnace guy come out and flip the switch for me.

I call this skill of toggling out of fear and into wisdom, Spiritual Pilates. This skill strengthens your inner spiritual core so you can shift more gracefully away from anxiety and into peace. When you access your inner peace and innate well-being, you can hear your own wisdom within and recharge your batteries when you feel depleted.

Want to learn more? I offer a course in Spiritual Pilates: Aligning Body, Emotions, Mind and Spirit. Message me to set up a phone call and see whether the course might be a next right step for you. serenityebook@gmail.com

Try compassion

Today it felt good to play the hero for a newborn baby. Everyone in the store could hear the baby squalling. On and on and on and on. I said under my breath, “pick up the baby.” I saw a young mother wheeling a shopping cart with the crying baby strapped into a car seat.

Another woman angrily approached the young mother and said, “that is abusive!” The woman held her phone as if she were threatening to call an authority to report the mother for child abuse.

I remembered how, as a new mother, I had felt overwhelmed and clueless about how to get the baby to stop crying. I mosied on over to the young mother.

I heard the mama say something about how the baby hated the car seat but she wanted him to be safe. “My babies hated the car seat too,” I empathized. “I just picked them up and held them.” She took the baby out of the car seat and as she held him to her chest he stopped crying. I think everyone in the store breathed a sigh of relief.

“Babies like to feel mama’s heartbeat and feel loved,” I said compassionately. She murmured something about him always wanting to be held. “Yes,” I assured her, “babies do like feeling mama close. That’s why I carried mine in a baby sling all the time.” The mama said she had tried a wrap that didn’t work but she had a baby front pack that she hoped would work. She set Baby back into the car seat without strapping him and he remained calm. I wished her well as she wheeled away.

The situation de-escalated easily through simple and compassionate communication. The angry woman did not help the baby because the mother became defensive and self-conscious. Who knows what was going on with the mama. Maybe she had depression. Maybe she was so sleep deprived she felt numb. I remember those days of no sleep.

I am telling this story because many miscommunications contribute to stress and anxiety. Next time you see a stressed-out mom in a store, empathize with her. Murmur some soothing words to her: “it is hard when Baby is colicky.” “Newborns are a lot of work but they are so precious.” “I remember when my baby cried a lot.”

As I returned to shopping, a different woman thanked me for intervening and helping the new mom. Having determined that I was a compassionate person, the woman then proceeded to show me the clothes she was choosing to get my opinion on what to purchase. I murmured something that sounded compassionate and moved away. I am not that compassionate.

Mindset Secret for Finding Your Natural Calm

Are you relaxing into summer? Or is your tension headache putting a damper on summer fun? Are you making time this summer to do more of what you love? Summer is the time to slow down, kick back and savor the iced tea by the poolside.

Recently, I savored a favorite summer-time activity by taking two teenagers to a festival in the park.  As the teens walked around by themselves, I enjoyed watching the little kids and parents interact. Parents, love on those babies! They will be teenagers walking around on their own before you know it. Ten years fly by in the blink of an eye!

I reminisced about going on the merry-go-round with my kids when they were little. Do you enjoy the merry-go-round at the fair? Or does it make your headache worse? Does the merry-go-round at the fair remind you of your life? Do you want to get off the merry-go-round of life? Enjoying the merry-go-round depends on your perspective.

If you are focusing on “Oh, I hate this! The lights, noise and vibration are giving me a headache! Get me off this thing!” you will not enjoy it. If you are focusing on “I hate the commute to work! There are too many dishes in the sink! The dog barfed on the rug,” life can feel like a never-ending merry-go-round—up, down, up, down, round and round, same-old, same-old.

Yes, if you stay in the same old patterns of thought, emotion and behavior, the same neuro-pathways in your brain get triggered and stuck in a rut. You get more of the same. What goes around, comes around.

But, if you lift the circle into a spiral by learning the lesson and by mining your truth out of each situation, then, when the pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior comes around again, you have more resources to deal with what life throws your way.

For example, I am a recovering chocolate addict. It took me many turns around the spiral to overcome my sugar and chocolate addiction. It did feel like a never-ending merry-go-round. I ended up with a nasty candida yeast imbalance that went around in a circle for years while I fed the candida with sugar.

I first lifted the circle into a spiral when I noticed the relationship between sugar and how I felt physically. Then, I lifted the situation up the spiral again when I noticed that I ate sugar when I felt an emotion—sad, mad, glad, anxious. Pretty much any emotion triggered my sugar craving. I learned the lessons, integrated the wisdom and lifted the situation up the spiral to overcome the craving for sugar.

Yesterday, I savored a few spoonfuls of my favorite ice cream and that was enough. In my past, I would have eaten the entire container. Because I was connected to my state of inner calm, I had no craving to finish the whole container of ice cream. My body, mind, emotions and spirit felt happy about that choice.

I’ve just written a book about finding your natural state of inner calm.  The book is called Seeking Serenity: How to Manage Anxiety and Love Your Life. I am super excited to share my book with you. I’m proud of the personal and professional work I’ve done over thirty years to collect stories to share with you. The book is full of tools and techniques that, when you practice them, will help you find your center when you lose it. Everybody gets off center sometimes, but with practice you can get back to feeling re-centered, grounded and in the flow of life quickly.

The book, Seeking Serenity: How to Manage Anxiety and Love Your Life, is available for pre-sale now. Here is the link. The book will be available to download for free on August 1.

If you want to get started right way, message me (651-472-3995) and we’ll set up a time to chat about your journey and ways I can support you. I would love to help you find your natural state of inner calm so you can enjoy the heck out of each moment this summer.

Joyfully yours,

Leah

Mothering Yourself

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“I want to look as put-together as you when I grow up,” I tell my friend.  Her sincere response warms my self-doubting heart. “You are you and that is enough,” she says.  This time, I get it! I am enough just as I am.

Some women have a natural sense of fashion and flair.  Their make-up, hair and accessories accentuate their inner beauty.  That would not be me.  My minimalist style and natural sense of laziness require my inner beauty to stand on its own.  But, I get it!  I am enough!  I feel nurtured, nourished and mothered by the exchange with my friend.  I smile and allow the feeling of “being enough” to penetrate my layers of resistance.

Words of affirmation resonate with me as a tool of self-love and self-mothering.  We are not always so fortunate to hear words of affirmation from another person when we need it.  All too often, the words we say to ourselves sting and prickle – words that we would never say to another person we say to ourselves.  Sometimes, allowing ourselves to receive kind words from another person expresses self-love and self-nurturing.   Other times we need to nurture ourselves with kind words like wrapping loving arms around yourself in a self-nurturing embrace of self-mothering.

Last weekend, I presented two workshops on Mothering Yourself at the 35th Annual Women & Spirituality Conference in Mankato, Minnesota.  Workshop participants spent 90 minutes in a blissful state of self-nurturing using the 5 Love Languages as a framework.   The 5 Love Languages, from work by marriage and family therapist Gary Chapman, codify people’s preferences to receive love in five ways:  words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch.  Typically, a person prefers one or two of the five ways to show love and appreciation for another. If you pay attention to another person’s loving behaviors, you can often guess how to best show love and appreciation for them.

My workshop participants first identified their own love language of preference, then explored mothering themselves in all five love languages.  Each participant basked in love coming from the Divine Source of unconditional love through a guided meditation.  Everyone gave herself a foot massage with particular attention to reflexology points.  Then, she wrote meaningful words of affirmation to warm her own heart.

Comments I heard included:  “This was just what I needed today!”  “I never think about massaging my own feet.  It feels great!”  “I didn’t know how good this would feel!” “I feel all filled up!”  “I am so glad I came to this today!”

Good News!  You didn’t miss out on this self-nurturing opportunity.  The Mothering Yourself workshop is available for your group, too.  Organize a group of friends, co-workers, or church members and I will set up 90 minutes of pampering your soul to leave you feeling nourished and replenished.  Set up a session for your group now and stay refreshed during the busy holiday season approaching quickly.  Click here for details.  When your cup runneth over, you have more to give your loved ones and more to give to the rest of your life.

Spiritual Detox for Body, Mind & Emotions

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Are you in emotional recovery and ready for a spiritual detox? 

Are you ready to let go of old resentments that are still holding you back?

Are you willing to shed the emotional weight of drama?

If you are ready and willing to experience more joy, inner peace and grace in your life, then I’ve got a deal for you!

I am looking for 8-10 people to engage in a door-opening, short-term, individualized project of self-discovery.

The project includes three 90-minute sessions:

  • a 30-minute spiritual guidance session of guided imagery, meditation, written exercises and creative movement;
  • a 60-minute bodywork session of therapeutic massage, energy healing, essential oils and sound therapy

Over the past five years, my regular massage clients have experienced personal growth as well as enjoying a relaxing massage.  A couple clients have chosen to change jobs and do more of what they love.  One client ended a bad relationship and is making room for a new love.  Several clients are better managing work-related stress.  Several clients have released emotional baggage associated with illness and surgery.   I want to see what a few committed individuals can create for themselves with focus and intention while using more of the tools I have to share from my toolbox.

Before I launch this program in a larger way, I want to pilot the 3-session project with a few committed souls who are excited by personal growth and who will give me feedback for future programs.

My commitment to you includes:

  • tuning in to your Soul and listening for spiritual guidance about what will serve you best;
  • sharing tools and resources that support you in gently releasing and moving beyond old hurts and negative thought patterns;
  • co-creating with you an individualized plan for you to know your best self and experience more joy in your daily life.

Your commitment includes:

  • setting an intention and doing the homework before each session;
  • offering constructive feedback;
  • allowing 2 hours for each session;
  • contributing the deeply discounted monetary cost.

The value I am putting on these sessions is $315 – although, it is hard to put a price on inner peace.

For this select group of 8-10 individuals, however, I am offering a
Pre-Launch Discounted Price of 30% off – or only $225.

If your heart is saying: “YES!  Now is the time!  Pick me!”  then call or text me and we’ll get started right away.  651-472-3995.
Or email leah.skurdal@gmail.com

If you are thinking this might be a fit for you and you would like more information, please give me a call and we can discuss whether this is right timing for you to join the program.  651-472-3995.

If you are interested but not yet committed and would like to stay on the list for the future program at full price, let me know too.  Email me leah.skurdal@gmail.com

Allowing me to focus my healing energy for your benefit and supporting you to embrace your own wisdom is an honor and privilege.

Let me know if you would like to join the personal growth project at this time.  Call or text:  651-472-3995  or email leah.skurdal@gmail.com

Be well!

Leah

Toggle to a Future We All Desire

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When your vision becomes more powerful than your memory, your future becomes more real than your past.  ~ Roger Hamilton, Futurist and Social Entrepreneur

500 years ago, smart, well-meaning people believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Copernicus showed they had it backwards.

500 years from now, will our descendants look at our belief in resolving conflicts with violence as equally misguided and ignorant?  We have a disagreement, so we kill each other’s children.  Makes sense, right?

The Copernican Revolution in the 16th century turned long-held beliefs upside-down, which contributed to changing the trajectory, or path, for future generations of scientists.  Folks in the 16th century left a legacy of scientific advancements, innovations, and reformation.

What legacy will our current generation leave for our collective descendants?  Whether or not you have physical descendants of your own, you still share our generation’s collective descendants.

I envision we will leave a powerful legacy for our collective descendants.  I envision our generation creating an unstoppable trajectory, or path, toward a world of peace 500 years from now.

What if you live your life today in ways that ensure both you and the next seven generations could thrive?  What if, after seven generations of thriving, you and I had helped set an unstoppable trajectory toward a world of peace and prosperity for all?  What if we focused on the world we DO want our descendants to live in 500 years from now and held the door open for them to walk through?

Whether our descendants attain the world we envision for them, or something better, doesn’t matter.  Our intention and the trajectory we set matters.  That is what we have control over.  Are we on course for fear, suffering and devastation?  Or are we on course for peace, harmony and prosperity?

I choose to live my life, day by day, moment to moment, so that my children’s children’s children will thrive on a trajectory of peace, harmony and prosperity.

Is my hostile attitude in this moment adding momentum to or detracting from my trajectory toward peace?    Time to self-correct.  (I hope to get to auto-correct, but I’m not there yet.) I consciously choose to toggle, or switch the screen of my awareness, AWAY FROM fear and what I do not want TOWARD what we PREFER and DO WANT.

We DO want healthy children thriving and contributing to healthy, thriving communities.

We DO want clean air, fresh water and delicious nourishment for all.

We DO want more love, more joy, more prosperity, and more vitality for all.

We DO want well-being for all.

The scientists of 500 years ago would be mystified by our cell phones, micro-wave ovens and airplanes.  They couldn’t have imagined what we would do with the trajectory of scientific discovery they set in motion.  Or did they?  Did someone imagine walking on the moon back then?

Set your personal intention and our collective trajectory in the direction of peace and harmony for all within 500 years.  The longest journey begins with a single step.   In which direction is your next step?

Leah Skurdal, inspirational speaker, teacher and author is available to speak to your group.  Click here to check out her You Tube video Soul Cookies.

Toggle to Joyful Center

gyroscope 5Attend my workshop, Toggle to Joy, as my guest, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6-7:30pm at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Student Services Bldg, Riverview Rm SC200. In Toggle to Joy, learn about shifting the screen of your awareness from the small, outside shell of ego, to the ever-present, Infinite Joy at the Center of your being… struggle, toggle, JOY.  struggle, toggle, JOY!

Also, if you have wondered about how to integrate Complementary & Alternative Medicine into your career, check out the Anoka-Ramsey College Integrative Health & Healing Certificate Program when you come to the workshop.  http://www.anokaramsey.edu/classes/Certificates/Integrative%20Health%20and%20Healing%20-%20Certificate.aspx

Toggle to Joy

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In sync.  Out of sync.  In sync.   Some days my outer light flashes green and red like my wifi connection needing to be re-synced.  Funny thing is that the inner light of joy is always on – like the internet is there waiting for me to reconnect.  Your inner being is always joyful and loving.  It is the connection between the inner and outer that fails.  When our inner light shines through to the outside, we feel joy.  When we drop out of joy, it’s time to re-sync.

I call that connection re-sync to the inner light, Toggling.   On your electronic device you can toggle between screens.  When we are paying attention, we can toggle between the inner and outer screens of our awareness.  We can toggle between the screen of Always Joyful Inner light, spiritual center, Soul or whatever you call it to the outer light of Sometimes Joyful ego- personality.   I notice that I just barked at someone. “oops!  I just dropped my Joy Connection.”    Usually these days, I stay in joy most of the time.  Sometimes, though, I notice my dropped connection more often.

Someone cuts me off in traffic and I cuss.  Yikes – just dropped my joy connection.   Toggle to Joy.  I am way short of sleep and I grouse at the kids.  Oops – Toggle to Joy.

If my internet provider dropped my wifi connection as often as I drop my connection to my joyful center, I would get a new internet provider.  However, I am my own connector to my joyful spiritual center through my awareness.

Personal mastery is not that you never drop the connection to your joyful spiritual center, but how quickly you get the connection back.  Personal Mastery is a process – not a destination – and toggling is a tool for your tool belt of personal mastery.

I am offering two opportunities to play with Toggling in my Toggle to Joy workshops:

Sunday, April 3, 2:00-3:30pm
Unity North Spiritual Center
11499 Martin Dr. Coon Rapids MN
Cost:  Suggested Love Offering $20

Tuesday, April 26, 6:30-8:00pm Save the Date!
Anoka Ramsey Community College
Integrative Health & Healing
Complementary & Alternative Medicine Club
Student Services Bldg.  Riverview Rm SC200
11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids MN
Cost:  No charge

Please join us for one of these Toggle workshops so you stay in joy more often too!

Call me with questions or to pre-register.  651-472-3995

The light in me sees the light in you!  Namaste!  Leah

Nurturing Your Spiritual Health

 

bright sunYou’ve been there. You had peaceful thoughts and felt connected to your Spiritual Center – then something changed and you lost it. Some days, your peaceful feeling changes like Minnesota weather patterns. Sixty and sunny changes to thirty and snowy in a few hours. Some days we lose it entirely.   I recently facilitated a small group discussion on how to reconnect to your Spiritual Center when you lose it. I want to share the group’s insights with you.

At the Lakes Area Women in Business monthly meeting, we drew on member’s expertise to discuss Physical, Mental/Emotional and Spiritual Health. I was asked to facilitate a small group discussion of Spiritual Health and report our collective wisdom back to the large group.

When I asked our small group what Spiritual Health feels like, most people seemed to know the feeling in their gut and in their hearts. Spiritual Health feels like a sense of calmness, where you breathe easily, with no feeling of constriction. You can see Spiritual Health on another’s peaceful face. Spiritual Health also includes a feeling of connection to a deeper part of yourself and connection to others outside of yourself. You feel centered, grounded and whole.

I asked the small group, “What do you do to get back to your Spiritual Center when you lose it?”

The group’s collective wisdom for staying spiritually healthy fell into five categories:

  • Physical wellbeing: Honoring your physical body through exercise, yoga and massage.
  • Meditation: Taking quiet time, deep breathing, listening to music, going home to where you feel grounded, getting out in nature, stepping back to observe and not letting the outside in, soaking in a hot tub with a glass of wine.
  • Intention: Prevention – start the day with prayer, prioritize and plan your day, intend that you will stay centered and in the flow today.
  • Gratitude: At the end of the day, review what the best part of the day was for you, keep a gratitude journal, express appreciation for the good that you have.
  • Love: Connect to others, hang with the dogs for pet therapy, family meal time, express unconditional love.

The group highlighted the basics. Take care of your body which is the physical vessel of your spirit. Take time to quiet your mind and emotions. Be intentional about how you spend your time. Count your blessings. Express love.  That is a basic recipe for Spiritual Health. What will you do to nurture your spiritual health today?

Three Ways to Nurture Your Spirit

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Fall time – a fun time of new beginnings, fall sweaters, pumpkin spice latte.
Fall can get stressful for me with the added parent meetings, workshops, and new projects to complete.

 

 

Three simple things I do when I am feeling stressed to nurture myself and nourish my spirit are:

  • Breathe – Most of us severely under-rate breathing on our daily importance scale.  With less oxygen on the planet than 100 years ago, our bodies have to work harder to stay oxygenated.  Breathing fully and deeply into the bottom of your lungs gives your body an energy boost from the extra oxygen.  Count in 4, hold 4, count out 8.  Try 4-5 of those full breaths several times a day to relax, restore and regroup.
  • Move – Physical movement helps you process the energy of the day moving through your life.  Feeling anxiously overwhelmed?  Try some aerobic exercise to jump start your fire and digest the energy more efficiently.  Feeling angrily stressed?  Try calming yoga movements to slow down and just be present.  I set aside time to move however my body wants to move in the moment.  Whatever movement you choose, MOVE to get out of your head and into your body where you can take action to reduce your stress.
  • Nourish – Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and the cleanest meat you can get.  The artificial ingredients in processed foods clog your system like cheese clogging a sieve.  When I am feeling stressed, a fresh veggie sandwich and pro biotics like fermented vegetable sauerkraut or a pro-biotic drink like kombucha gives me a lift.  Giving your body higher quality fuel will give you more stamina to deal with daily life.  If you can’t get high quality food, bless the food you do have with gratitude and raise the vibration of the food you are consuming.

When I want to push the refresh button on my life screen, I retreat.  Sometimes retreating to the bathtub for an hour suffices.  Other times, I am ready for the full weekend retreat get-away.  I was fortunate to get that weekend retreat away last weekend with a group of amazing women.  We laughed, danced, meditated and ate delicious food prepared especially for us.  I came home feeling refreshed and full of life.  I would like to offer you two delightful retreat opportunities!

Here are two retreat options for you to renew your spirit.
http://masteryintheartofliving.com/classes-and-workshops/

I hope you can join us!
Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Day!
Be Well,
Leah