Mindful Break: How To Cure Worrying Too Much

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I was at a trendy breakfast spot in Soho.

Modern, super delicious food, hip New Yorkers.

In the far corner were three people who stood out from the crowd.

That’s hard to do in New York City.

You could wear phosphorescent green, ultra-skinny jeans… and in NYC, you’d fit right in.

You could be a conjoined twin with two heads of different ethnic origin… and in NYC, you’d fit right in.

You could say out loud, “Jezamachafreeakmakamaka!” And in NYC, somebody would say “Screw you!” but somebody else would say “I hear ya brother!”

Point being… it’s hard to stand out here!

So just who were these three people who stood out from the crowd in Soho?

They were monks in full robes enjoying Sunday brunch.

As one of them walked passed me I said to him, “I have to let you know… your energy is awesome. Do you have any worries whatsoever?”

He said, “Of course I have worries. I live in this world. But I have learned to trust the Universe completely. I always have exactly what I need.”

His Complete Trust was calming and soothing. It made me feel spacious in my mind and heart, as if I was 22 and lying on the beach listening to Jerry Garcia play an acoustic version of Ripple. I had not felt this way in so long. 

And it really hit me. My spirituality has become shallow.

It’s easy to collect Pinterest quotes, and watch Super Soul Sunday, and do your meditations, and practice yoga, and talk about Trust all you want over almond milk chai lattes with extra cinnamon.

But real Trust is not what you say, but what you DO when you keep bumping up against the same frustrations, the same daily blues, the same obstacles day in and day out.

*****

Scholar Joseph Campbell describes the origin of “panic.”

In Greek mythology, the god named PAN would instill “a sudden groundless fright” into anyone who ventured into his domain.

Even the slightest sound like the breaking of a twig would flood the trespasser’s mind with great danger.

Thus, the origin of the word “PAN-ic.” 

But wait. 

The mythology states that if you paid your respect to PAN before venturing into his territory, he would bestow all the wonders of nature upon your lucky soul. 

It’s a message so perfectly embodied by the three monks brunching in Soho. 

Come to it differently.

Show your faith.

Pay your respect.

Take the rest of the day to Trust completely. 

Worst case scenario? You relax into a soothing energy and take a load off.

Best case scenario? You bust loose and become the all-time greatest version of you.

What Yoga Taught Me About Getting Through The Storm

I’ve been taking a few yoga classes a week for three years now. I don’t consider myself a serious yogi but I love my practice and I’ve been focused on learning more about it, beyond just the physical movement and poses. This has meant reading a few books and also actually listening to what my yoga teachers say during class and trying to be thoughtful about it.

Yoga is much more a state of mind than it is twisting into a crazy shape (although if I am honest, I will tell you that I totally get pose envy when my mat-neighbor does something I can’t do.) And one of the things I’ve been trying to do more is bring what I learn in yoga into my life off the mat.

A few months ago my teacher said something that has stuck with me since. And for the first time I actually put it to use this week — and I wanted to share it with you.

revolvedtriangleDuring that class, we were in a revolved triangle pose. It’s REALLY really difficult. And it hurts in lots of spots if you’re as tight as me.

Our teacher looked at our pained faces and said:

“I know you are hating this pose right now. I know it hurts. I know it’s difficult. But can you breathe through the difficult and find a way to be OK with it anyway.”

This really struck a chord with me. As I’ve shared here before, my life is pretty nuts and stressful most of the time. And sometimes I find myself waiting for the storm to calm down to feel calmer and OK. I feel like I just need to deal with it, get through a stressful time, and then I will chill out and catch my breath.

Thing is, that is a really bad idea. There are always going to be stressful periods in life, there are always going to be storms, there are always going to be difficult times. Waiting for some perfect stress-free time to breathe and to carve out a little time to catch your breath might mean you’re waiting forever. Instead, I think we all have to develop and nurture the skill of finding islands of rest and taking care of ourselves while we are in the middle whatever storm is going on in our lives.

So the next time you’re in the middle of a stress storm — at home, at work, with friends, anywhere in your life — can you find a way to breathe through it instead of waiting for it to be over?

Carson’s Top Fashion and Style Tips For Fall

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Hi Happiers!

This time of year always reminds me of back-to-school shopping with my mom, headed to Hess’s: Allentown, PA’s most glamorous shopping destination in the 70s. Armed with new corduroys and a silk print shirt, I felt new and improved and ready to take on the world! (At least in 3rd grade!) Anyway, the tradition of back-to-school shopping forever instilled in me the power of a fresh fall wardrobe! Here are 10 tips to start fresh this fall:

 

  1. Go back-to-school shopping even if you’re not actually going back to school. (Note: taking the Happier Makeover course counts as going back to school!)
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  3. Get some new nail lacquer: Try hot new moody colors like Navy and Merlot.

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  1. Killer outerwear. The key piece for fall is the parka. Since you wear it every day as the cold weather approaches, get a good one — it’s worth the investment.
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  1. Go for a long skirt.  It’s great for every figure and can add drama to pieces you already have (like a simple white blouse).
  1. Try pleats. (Just try them. You might really end up liking them.)
  1. Add a touch of leather. You don’t have to invest in leather jeans – who looks good in them anyway? — but try adding touches of leather or faux hides in sweater-patch details, leggings with racing stripes, or a cute motorcycle jacket. For even more edge, go for the new liquid-like faux leather.
  1. Refresh your intimates! If you haven’t bought new bras and panties since the Reagan administration, it’s time to freshen up the underwear drawer. Undergarments affect how you feel and improve how everything on top of them fits. Change your bra = change your life!
  1. Buy some new kicks to motivate a back to the gym mentality. If I think I look cute, I’m more likely to go to the gym.
  1. Add a bit of animal print. I always have some in my collection for shopHQ and this fall is perfect for touches of muted cheetah and python. Muted versions in grays and browns act like a neutral and pair with everything!
  1. Go green. Green is having a moment. While everyone is still rocking cobalt and deep purples, stand out from the crowd with green — the color that’s about to be the next big trend. Try emerald all the way to olive drab.

Inspiring Humans: Apollos Hester Is Motivation Personified

inspiring-humans-apollos-hester-092414You may have seen this one already, this week, but it makes me happy, so I’m bringing it here. Check out this amazing Texas high school football player, Apollos Hester, explaining how his team came back from a rough first half to win the game. Except… I don’t think he’s talking about football, not really.

This week we salute Apollos Hester for being an inspiring human, because that sort of positivity and enthusiasm should be more common than it is.

Mindful Break: #1 Reason To Relax And Believe Today

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My friends’ father passed away.  I say “friends'” in the plural because at some point in my life, I have been friends with all four of the siblings who called this great man their father.

A few days after the funeral, they tried to get back to their routines when something very interesting happened.

They live in the rolling hills of Kentucky. As they were all together, one looked outside to see a hot air balloon had landed on their property. Let me say that again: a hot air balloon landed on their property, if you can imagine such a thing.

(As one of the friends explained, this gave him goosebumps because his father had a hobby of flying hot air balloons. One time he surprised his son and picked him up from school in a hot air balloon to take him home. How awesome is that?)

Turns out the balloon could not land at the usual spot because of strong winds which forced the balloon down…right on the family’s property. NEVER before had this happened.

They were certain this was a sign from above… that their father was with them.

I told a person of faith this story… how the balloon landed right on my friend’s property, and she said, “OF COURSE IT DID!”

She didn’t question, didn’t ponder it, didn’t doubt it.

That is what Einstein meant by saying, “… either everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle.”

Either this is the height of coincidence, or proof that their father was tipping his cap and saying “all is well… see you soon!”

One or the other. What will it be? You can’t choose both.

*****

I took a birthing class with my wife yesterday. I wasn’t sure what to expect but found myself totally fascinated.

The teacher said that in moments of fear, your body sends out a hormone called catecholamine which awakens you (adrenaline), triggering a flight or flight state.

But in moments of relaxation, your body releases endorphins, which serve as natural painkillers that create a soothing, tranquil, even euphoric condition.

Here’s the thing: Your brain cannot create catecholamine (fear) and endorphins (relaxation) at the same time.  It’s one or the other.

So it is with Belief.

As much as we like to think we can find a comfortable place where we partly trust the hot air balloon was Guided and partly believe it was mere coincidence, that puts us into neutral, and a neutral state of mind is like living with your hand break on.

So just for today: release the hand break, shift out of the fear response, and move beyond the doubt. Say to yourself…

Today, I commit fully to the awesome power of my life.

Carson Kressley is here! On our actual blog!

photoEvery once in a while we’ll bring you a special series of Premium courses with exclusive content and access to world-class experts that you can’t get anywhere else. We think you’ll love what you get and we’re working hard to keep these unique opportunities ridiculously affordable and easily accessible to anyone.

Our first Premium course is Happier Makeover with Carson Kressley, an inspiring 7 day course to help you feel great from the inside out. To get you as excited about it as we are, we asked Carson to stop by and share some thoughts before the first day of class.

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Hi Happiers! It’s me, Carson! Just to prove that I practice what I preach — and teach — about choosing to be positive about yourself — here are Ten Things I Like About Me:

1.  I’ve got great legs.  Shopping is my cardio and it’s paying off.
2.  My smile.  It’s not perfect but it cost a lot of money and I love it.
3.  My hair.  Somedays I like it more than others but at least I’ve still got it. For now.
4. My skin. I drink lots of water and try to take care of it but I’m just lucky, I guess, as it’s naturally good.
5. My ab. Yes, you read that right.  Just the beginnings of a two-pack.  But it’s better than nothing…
6. My clavicle.  It’s one of my best features. Boat neck sweaters anyone?
7. My hands.  People always comment on them.  I really think I could have been a hand model. #itsnevertoolatetofollowyourdream
8.  My lips.  (Here’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons:  As a kid, I was playing “make your own seesaw” with my brother.  Bad idea.  The board went flying and whacked me in the face.  I got a dozen or more stitches in my upper lip.  It gave me a pouty look that people now seem to love.  Always a trend setter and way ahead of The Real Housewives with this look!)
9.   My waist. It’s pretty good for a guy who basically lives on champagne and Swedish fish.  Again just lucky – and grateful!
10.  Did I mention my nail beds?
Now it’s your turn to be positive about yourself! See you in class!

Mindful Break: Are You Loyal? Take The Test

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Loyalty.

What does it mean to you?

  • MARRIAGE

To the married women out there, what if you were on a girls trip in Vegas and Ryan Gosling made the moves on you in the wee hours of the morning?

Could you walk away or would you succumb?

One sacred text says to be really careful as lust, along with anger and greed, are the 3 great dangers on the human journey

  • FRIENDSHIP

When you are down and out, which of your friends stays true?

Take a moment to think who that person is and send them a little love today!

  • SPORTS TEAM

Look at Captain Cleveland, the most hardcore Cleveland Browns fan.

He has been committed for 35 years; even though the Browns haven’t been to the playoffs in 10 years and haven’t won a playoff game in 20 years.

  • ANIMALS

I love the story of a dog named Tommy who would accompany his master Maria on errands and to church.

When Maria died, Tommy would still show up at Church everyday when the church bells rang, paying homage to Maria.

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Of course, we could always be more loyal to our spouse or our teams or even our pets.

But how about loyalty to THE MOMENT.

If you are not present, you miss all the encounters, revelations, and visions that Life delivers right to your doorstep.

It’s like going to a 4 star restaurant and ordering the most amazing meal, but leaving before the food comes.

Sometimes we all get restless when we have to wait.

As it says in the Tao Te Ching, if you feel weak, it is only because you were once strong. If you feel poor, it is only because you were once rich. If you feeling hungry, it is only because you were once full.

Presence is Loyalty.

Show up fully and watch what happens.

Your Meal is coming, your Team will win, your Sun will rise again!