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Mirror, mirror: discovering your true self

Week three. Time is flying! How are things on your end? Here’s the weekly update:

It was a SUPER stressful week, especially the weekend. To be completely honest with you, I’m in a terrible place right now, mentally and spiritually. Things have not gone as planned. Famous last words. So why does that still catch me by surprise and throw me off course? That’s the million-dollar question for me. And I’ll tell you right now, when things don’t go well and when things get stressful, I turn up the heat on myself. I pull out my worst “tape,” push my internal “play” button and let it rip. It’s not pretty or healthy, and it certainly doesn’t take me where I want or need to go, but it’s comfortable and familiar, the road most travelled, and so I take it. Even when I know I’ll regret it later, even when I know it’s likely to lead me to other unhealthy decisions — like eating the wrong food or staying up too late or skipping prayer time. This is why I’m head cheerleader for the tribe, because I have endless experience with this struggle. I’ll tell you this, however: Although I often feel history repeating itself in my life, the time I’ve spent working on my habits, journaling, and becoming more mindful have made me more aware. Even when I’m not following the Cravings “rules,” I’m well aware of where things have gone off track and how I might pull it back. The trick is getting from awareness to action. Read more

Cravings Reboot: getting beyond the dieting delusion

We are one week into our journey! How are you doing? Is it easier or more difficult than expected? Are you feeling any shifts — emotionally, physically, spiritually? I know it’s early in the game, but sometimes the push-off can be dramatic, making us aware of our habits and triggers. And awareness is a big part of this transformation process. Take a look back at your journal from this past week, if you’ve been keeping one, and see what your days looked like. I’ll give you a few insights into mine: Read more

Resolve to Evolve in 2018

We were debating the merits of the latest Taylor Swift album with our teenage daughter one Saturday morning recently, when the conversation morphed into a larger discussion on the way people in general and artists in particular evolve over time. How many singers or painters or authors have been criticized when they’ve taken a new path, one unfamiliar to their most loyal fans? They are often seen as traitors for nothing more than testing out new waters or pushing the boundaries of business as usual. We don’t like change. And yet who among us stays the same year after year? Even if we try our best to hold tight and maintain the status quo, life has a way of demanding growth or evolution. And that’s a good thing. Read more

Cravings Reboot: What’s on your plate in 2018?

Bring on another new year. We are not afraid. Or are we? So often, we enter the new year disappointed by what didn’t happen the year before and overcommitted to an unrealistic set of resolutions for the year ahead. Which starts a vicious cycle of being perpetually dissatisfied and overwhelmed. This is the year to say, “Enough.” As in, YOU ARE ENOUGH. Just as you are. Sure, you might want to make some changes, maybe even some “improvements,” but that doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful as is. Don’t let the world convince you that you won’t be good enough until you’re thinner, richer, more popular, more successful, more something. That’s a losing battle, one designed to keep you spinning your wheels and searching for a kind of perfection that doesn’t exist, at least not outside of fairytales. Read more

You say you want a revolution…

Happy New Year! If you’ve frequented this blog before, you know that we do not do resolutions here at Not Strictly Spiritual. Why? Because they don’t work. Why stick with a losing proposition? Think big. Think evolution. Think revolution.

We are not starting out this new year looking to drop pounds and dress sizes or simply start a new exercise routine. We are looking to go much deeper than that, to a place where we can dig into the fertile soil of our soul, a place where there are ideas and experiences and adventures trying to poke through the surface and blossom into the life we deserve, the life we’ve been dreaming of. Stop counting calories and counting steps and counting sheep and start breathing deep, sitting still, looking inward, reaching outward, living life with attention and INtention. Read more

We are one

We live in a divided world, where our differences are driving a wedge between us, creating an ever-widening chasm that threatens to cut us off from each other completely. Or so it seems. When we confine ourselves to what we see and read in the news or on social media, it’s easy to think we’re already standing on the edge of the precipice, staring down into the darkness that division leaves in its wake. But, if we’re willing to sit face to face with someone and listen to their story, we’re likely to find that there is no division after all; we are one. We just don’t realize it most of the time. Read more

Self-care: Getting an expensive wake-up call

When I gave up my home-based business to start working in an outside office full time more than two years ago, I gave up a lot more than writing in my basement while wearing yoga pants and burning incense. I stopped exercising. I stopped cooking healthy dinners. I stopped eating healthy food. I stopped doing yoga. I stopped blogging. I stopped using my downtime as downtime and turned everything (even vacations) into work time, or at least work worry. That’s a lot of stopping. Did I start doing anything new? Why, yes, now that you ask. I started drinking coffee by the bucketfuls. I started eating at my desk without even noticing I was eating (exactly what I tell everyone NOT to do in my book Cravings). I started skipping prayer and meditation time. I started turning into an absolute basket of nerves.  Read more

Everything is blessing. Yes, even that.

‘Tis the season to give thanks, but what if we change things up a bit this time around? It could be a gratitude throw down of epic proportions, if we all make an effort. We already know that counting our blessings in an intentional way is good for us. It not only makes us more grateful, but more content. Suddenly the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning or the sight of a hawk circling overhead serve as entry points to something much deeper. But, can we take that idea one step further, into the murky waters of struggle and sorrow, and find blessings even there? That’s our challenge. Read more

With every step, say, “Jesus”

I was recently sitting in a log-cabin chapel on a beautiful lake in the lower Adirondack Mountains when the woman next to me offered a prayer intention during Mass: “For all those in the process of dying.” Although I had a dear friend who would die that very night and for whom we had been praying throughout the weekend retreat, I heard those words not only in relation to my dying friend but in relation to myself and to all those around me, because we are all in the process of dying. Read more

Spiritual medicine from a wise Trappist monk

The past few months have been quite a spiritual roller-coaster for me due to an experience in early summer that pushed me past the breaking point. I couldn’t even bring myself to attend Sunday Mass, something completely out of character for me. My family would head off to church, and I would stay behind, feeling cut off, unable to rouse the slightest spark of spiritual connection. Read more