How to Forgive Yourself for a Sh**ty 2014 & MOVE On

Have you found yourself looking back over the past year and realizing it was a near failure? Are there things you regret, or were you too scared to make a much needed change?

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. There are millions of people out there just like you (us), wishing that they had the internal strength to free themselves from their sad prisons. Whether it be a horrible relationship, boring or frustrating job, limited thought patterns, disgusting eating habits, or fear-based living, the good news is that you don’t have to wait until the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2015 to make a change.
It all starts now.

I once sat in a Marianne Williamson lecture in Los Angeles where a woman asked a huge question: “How do I get out of my abusive relationship?” She then continued, “I keep thinking it’s going to get better, but it doesn’t. And if I leave, I know I’ll be a big disappointment to my family, and I’ll leave my husband high and dry. I don’t know what to do.”

Williamson looked her straight in the eye and said, “Honey, you are not in prison. You need to make the decision for yourself alone. Freedom can be yours.” She then pointed off into the distance and said, “There’s the door. All you have to do is walk out and never look back. There’s the door, walk out!”

It occurred to me in that moment that we all have so much more power than we know. We can change our life’s course in a millisecond, and here’s how:

1. Throw your failures out the door and look for new successes. We all made mistakes in 2014. The beauty of it is that we don’t have to think about them now. Ditch the suckers and look for something good to happen RIGHT NOW.
“Every thought is over. That’s grace. No thought: no problem. It’s not possible to have a problem without believing a prior thought. To notice this simple truth is the beginning of peace,” writes author Byron Katie.
In other words, let the past be the past and move on.

2. Let go of the people dragging you down. A friend of mine moaned and groaned the other day about a friend that keeps making her feel horrible. “She just breaks me down and makes me feel like shit,” she said.
It’s safe to say that she is allowing herself to feel like crap. No one should ever hold so much power that they inspire her to feel less than precious and amazing. Once again, I hear Williamson’s words ringing through my mind… “there’s the door, walk out!”
Why do you think the award-winning “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen is such a hit? Letting go of what doesn’t serve you opens up the infinite world of possibility.
We all need to let the negative voices in our lives go, or we’ll have an even shittier 2015 and beyond.

3. Get passionate. Do everything you can to infuse yourself with the childlike passion you once owned. If you hate your job or you aren’t doing enough constructive things with your free time, make the needed adjustments.
Take steps toward making a career change, schedule the trip you’ve always wanted to take, find your relevance in the world, and don’t be afraid to be beautifully you.

4. Don’t let “the world” define you. Much of our frustrations in life have lots to do with the fact that we don’t claim our authenticity. The easy road is letting the people we know, politics, religion, and other forces shove us into the corner. And then, we secretly wish we could be as bold and powerful as the people we read about or see on television.
Ask yourself what is limiting your potential. What’s wrong with letting your uniqueness out of the box? Are you afraid of losing the people in your life?
It’s time to realize that where there is fear, there is no love — and where there is love there can be no fear.
What’s the worst thing that can happen if you let the real you come out of hiding? If you lose friends or a lover, they obviously aren’t really your friends or your ideal match.
If you lose a job, it wasn’t meant for you. And if you’re nervous along the way, that’s just fine. All growth comes with bits of pain. The secret is pushing through it.

5. Choose to limit suffering. The world we live in is painful and it isn’t always fair. We lose people to disease, our fortunes can be lost in an instant, we fall and bruise our knees, our kids make wrong choices, and the list goes on.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself,” writes famed author Haruki Murakami.
If we’re all going to have an amazing 2015, we’ve got to will our minds to stay positive. To know that life isn’t perfect, and that we’ll all hurt, yet in every moment we can choose to see the positive. Feel the pain, but don’t suffer for days, weeks, and months to come.
Focus on the now.

The secret of all secrets, is that it’s still possible to have a kickass 2014. Right now, right here. Will it to be better, and set yourself up for a freakin’ stellar 2015.

Original article by Jen Engevik:

Are You Letting Joy or Stress Dictate Your Holiday Season?

 I stumbled across this article today and it struck a chord with me.

It seems like every year between Halloween and Christmas, but especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas, people seem to get a little crazy.....ok, a lot crazy!

They push to buy more, to entertain more and cram more expectations into their already busy lives. As the clock picks up speed and the dates on the calendar become blurred, exhaustion sets in just as the most festive, joyous holiday arrives.

Are You Letting Joy or Stress Dictate Your Holiday Season?

Sometimes holiday stress overrides our joy. 
We get caught up with decorating, buying gifts, and the plethora of other overwhelming holiday expectations.

We miss out on the daily pleasure and joyful opportunities all around us because stress is taking precedence.

All of this stress isn’t necessary. It comes from placing our attention on all of the materialistic aspects of the holiday season and getting distracted from what is most important.

When we get distracted we end up missing out on the entire point of the holiday.
This is a time of year for gratitude, appreciation, love, and joy.
Yes there will be stress and a feeling of pressure and urgency at times, but we can learn to balance this with some holiday cheer.

Here are four ways to help you have more joy during the holidays.

Lower your expectations

First thing first, don’t take the holiday so seriously. Everyone has different traditions but allow yourself some space and cut yourself some slack if something doesn’t happen exactly how you expect. Don’t make it things a problem unless they really are a problem. The holiday doesn’t have to be perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and just do your best.

Allow yourself to take a break

Sometimes our responsibilities and obligations get in the way of our health and well-being. We have so many worries and things to take care of that we forget that life is meant to be enjoyed. Make sure to give yourself a break when you are feeling stressed out. Just slow down and do one thing at a time.

Focus on connection 

The holiday season is really about spending quality time with friends and family. Make this the focus of this holiday season. It isn’t about the gifts as much as the joy of giving and showing our appreciation for those we care about.

Be playful

What if you could take this holiday season less seriously? Not do less or be irresponsible, but be more playful with what you do. Think about when you were a child and how much fun you had. Make decorating playful. Sing songs, watch holiday movies and dance. Go sledding or have a snow ball fight! Don’t let stress get in the way or you having fun.
Life’s too short to not live joyfully. It is a choice we can make but one that requires commitment. It requires letting go of outcomes and the concentration to be present and savor the moment.
Are you committed to being joyful this holiday?

The original article by Joe Wilner can be found at:

One Of The Most Freeing Things We Learn In Life

25 Minutes of Meditating Eases Stress

Even brief sessions of mindfulness meditation—25 minutes for three consecutive days—can alleviate stress, new research suggests. 
“More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for stress reduction and health benefits,” says lead author J. David Creswell, associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.

For the study, researchers had 66 healthy individuals aged 18 to 30 years old participate in a three-day experiment.

Some participants went through a brief mindfulness meditation training program. For 25 minutes for three consecutive days the individuals were given exercises to help them monitor their breath and pay attention to their present moment experiences.

A second group of participants completed a matched three-day cognitive training program in which they were asked to critically analyze poetry in an effort to enhance problem-solving skills.
Following the final training activity, all participants were asked to complete stressful speech and math tasks in front of stern-faced evaluators. Each individual reported their stress levels in response to stressful speech and math performance stress tasks, and provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone.

‘Automatic’ Mindfulness?

The participants who received the brief mindfulness meditation training reported reduced stress perceptions to the speech and math tasks, indicating that the mindfulness meditation fostered psychological stress resilience. More interestingly, on the biological side, the mindfulness meditation participants showed greater cortisol reactivity.

“When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it—especially during a stressful task,” says Creswell, lead author of the study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

“And, these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production.”

Creswell and colleagues are now testing the possibility that mindfulness can become more automatic and easy to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training, which may result in reduced cortisol reactivity.

Additional researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Virginia Commonwealth University took part in the study, which received support from the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Opportunity Fund.

Original article found at:

Learning to Let Go

As I read the following article by Stephanie Harper, I could relate to a lot of what she said.  Letting go of the expectation of not only others, but of myself.

Letting go of the past is something I think everyone struggles with. I have found that if I am constantly looking over my shoulder,  I can't enjoy the view ahead.

Letting go of what I can't control is one of the most freeing gifts I have given myself. I am much happier for sure!

"Anyone who witnessed the 10-1 ratio of Elsa vs. Everything Else this Halloween is probably somewhat familiar with the concept of letting go. And, there's a reason for that. Beyond the popularity of a movie or the catchiness of a particular song, the idea of just letting it all go is the ultimate freedom for many of us. But, it's also much easier said than done. 

I've struggled with this concept immensely -- not only how to let go of certain aspects of my life, but in identifying which of those things need to be let go of in the first place. Letting go can feel like giving up, giving in, not working hard enough to make something succeed. I'm overcome with a fear of quitting, of losing out, on looking back at decisions I make with regret. And this makes me cling, hold on with dear life, to some of the worst things. 

The key, for me, has been to identify those areas in my life where letting go can lift the most weight and engender the greatest long term happiness, and then finding the strength to follow through. 

Letting Go of Life Expectations/Frustrations
There are several reasons why life expectations and frustrations go hand in hand. We create an image in our minds of what we expect our lives to be. And, it's important to have goals and dreams, something to strive for. This can help us lead a rich inner life. But when these expectations aren't met through a variety of ever-changing circumstances, the frustration sets in. This can be incapacitating.
This cycle of unmet expectations and the onset of frustration has been an incredible struggle for me. I dream big, idealistically -- I want to change the world. This passion is a fundamental part of who I am and how I interact with everyone around me. And, while I've never been keen on the five-year plan, I certainly have things I want to do and places I want to be. 

And, of course, I haven't done all those things and gotten to all those places just yet. There have been setbacks, road blocks, changes in plans. I've found myself at times lost, at times questioning what I was doing and even who I am in the face of these obstacles. I see people around me who seem to have it a whole lot more together than I do, and I sink deeper into those feelings of frustration and failure.

In these moments, I have to let go of those expectations, met and unmet, and learn to roll with the changing tides of what's happening in my life. I still dream, I still strive to work hard for the life I envision for myself, but I also appreciate where I am now and what I've been through to get here. It's in this place of acceptance that I can begin to put my frustrations in check and just live. 

Letting Go of the Past
"What's done is done" has been a platitude I've fought in many aspects of my life. In fact, I think letting go of the past is one of the hardest things to do. First of all, letting go of the past means letting go of pain, sadness, and trauma -- those moments and memories that have left lasting scars, have become a part of who we've grown to be. 

I have my fair share of those wounds and I have spent much of my adult life trying to run and recover from those memories. The hurting brought on by bullying and rejection has affected my concept of self-worth and I've fought an often uphill battle to let go of these painful memories and continue to put myself out there in life and love. 

I've also learned that sometimes letting go of the past means letting go of the people in that past. I am not good at this. I love deeply and I put a tremendous amount of effort into all of my relationships. I pride myself on being a passionate and loyal person when it comes to the people in my life. And, I have a tendency to hang onto toxic connections far longer than I should. 

I think we've all had at least one of those relationships. And if you're anything like me, the idea of cutting ties with someone seems impossible. Not only does it feel like erasing the memories you worked so hard to create, but it feels like giving up on someone completely. 

When I begin to consider letting go of a relationship with someone, I start to ask questions like "Have I tried hard enough? Loved enough?" But these are perhaps the wrong questions to ask. Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you've tried, how much you've loved, things just aren't going to work for any number of reasons.

And letting go doesn't mean you have to stop caring, stop loving, it just means putting distance between yourself and bad situation. This takes a far greater strength then staying. 

Letting Go of What's Out of Your Control
One of the most important lessons of my adult life has been that there are a whole lot of things out of my control. I can't control health problems. I can't control what other people do or don't do, say or don't say. I can't control the economy, the state of the world, the weather. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

The problem is that even though I recognize that so much of life is out of my control, I still get frustrated, angry, bitter even. And, all this does is breed negativity, making it harder to focus on what I can control. I have to let it go.

Sometimes, life is a mess. But instead of living in a perpetual state of expecting the worst, getting lost in the whirlwind of everything that happens to me, I have to just go with it. What I can control is my attitude, my outlook, how I choose to internalize things and what I do in response. By letting go of what I can't control, I can turn my heart toward what I can, and this opens the door to incredible possibility.

Letting go is never easy. It can be painful and complicated and an ongoing process. But, if I can let go of some of the things that hold me back and weigh me down, I might just find that I can float out here in this big world all on my own."

Original article:

Everyone You Meet Serves A Purpose In Your Life

Don't Let Toxic People Rent Space In Your Head

What Can You Let Go Of?

I couldn't help but think of EFT when the lung and colon meridians were mentioned in the following article. Symbolic of breathing in the good and ridding the body of toxic waste, I immediately realized that physically tapping on these meridians could be added to the advice given.

The acupressure points associated with both of these meridians as it relates to tapping are located on the hand, specifically the Karate Chop point, the index finger and the thumb. Participating in a few rounds of tapping and adding in the gamut points on the hand should cover them all!

Randy Heinitz

What Can You Let Go Of?

The Autumn season and Metal element in the body is governed by our Lung and Colon meridians. They have a reciprocal relationship of receiving (or inhaling) the very highest quality of life, of Spirit, and then a release of what is no longer useful for us. And if we are not letting go, then we are not making room for new “inspiration”. This is true on all levels – physiological, mental, emotional, spiritual.
So I’d like to focus on the letting go aspect. Much of the world’s suffering exists today because of grasping, clinging, attachment. Holding on to a particular idea, thought, emotion, experience. We say all the time, “I wish this moment could last forever”. And people try and try with all their might to create a reality in which that feeling endures. Our expectations and preconceived notions really get us into trouble – what a friend should be, a partner, a son, a teacher, what a parent SHOULD be. Why trouble?? Well, most of the times our ideas of what people SHOULD be very rarely coincides with how we they actually express themselves in the moment. Then can we watch our reaction… can we observe without judging, criticizing, blaming or labeling? This takes a lot of practice, luckily, we never seem short on opportunities!
 As my Grand Zen Master used to say…”Put it all down!”. Not that its a terrible thing to have desires, opinions, preferences, etc., but we must watch how we cling to them. If we are holding on so tight, then we allow for a sort of mental constipation which is NO FUN! There is no mental constipation that won’t find its way to manifest physically. That may be in our actual Colon, but it can manifest as any sort of stuckness – bloating, pain, insomnia, depression, etc. An important thing to remember is that the Colon meridian is not only charge of disposing of its own trash but all the garbage from the other meridians as well. So if there is a back-up, we can see “symptoms” coming from any of the meridians… which is a reminder that symptoms do not always point you to the root cause.

So what we can do? Well, on a physiological level… keep your Lungs and Colon healthy. Keep your lungs filled with pure, clear air and that they get plenty opportunity to “breathe” – yoga, meditation, aerobic exercise. For the Colon, we certainly want to encourage the physiological releases! Good dietary sources of fiber, omega-3 fish oils, aloe vera juice/gel, and plenty of water to name a few. On the deeper layers, many alternative therapies are wonderful for encouraging our processes of inspiration and letting go – of course, acupuncture and massage… but how about dance, drumming, martial arts, music. Utilizing rhythm and/or the voice… really powerful! On a more quieter note… journaling or a creative art project

What’s most important is that we are checking in with ourselves internally. It would make a wonderful daily practice, ask yourself, “What am I holding on to?” or “What can I let go of today?”. Watch how it can not only ease your suffering, but those around you as well!

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at

The original article can be found at: