Tag Archives: how to

On Your Best Day

your best day

I’ll be turning 40 in less than 6 weeks. I’m excited to enter a new year (2015!) and a new decade (my 40s!). For some reason, I’m excited to turn 40. Eager to see how my life unfolds from that point forward.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t, and the gift that growing older gives. As I think about entering a new phase of my life, I know how I want my life to feel. Goals and excessive planning have little interest for me. In my opinion, people set goals for desired feelings in the future, that are completely possible in the present. I don’t believe in setting goals, I believe in setting up an environment to foster feelings.

This month, I decided to get a head start on the new year and create a daily practice that I will work to maintain throughout the year. The purpose of this practice is to create the ideal day, that fosters ideal feelings, that evolves into an amazing year, and adds up to a extraordinary life.

I have a few things on my list that are always keys to feeling my best. I haven’t designed my perfect day yet, so I’ll just share with you a few of the things that I am planning on incorporating into my daily mix & plan.

These are in no special order, I’m listing them randomly.

  • Waking up early, when the morning is silent & fresh.
  • Drinking plenty of water, 1 – 2 liters during the day.
  • Exercising & deep breathing first thing in the morning.
  • Having liquid meals, especially green smoothies & juices.
  • Meditative & reflective moments, time taken for stillness in action.
  • Being creative & self-expressed in all that I do.
  • Eating a nourishing whole-food homemade vegan meal.
  • Taking care of what is most important, living my priorities.
  • Sharing my work and myself with others openly.
  • Maintaining a neat, minimal & organized home environment.
  • Getting fresh air in my lungs & warm sunrays on my face.
  • Being honest with myself & others, living my truth.

When that list is a part of my day, I have a great day! I feel great, I have great energy, and I go to bed reflecting on a day well spent — eager to do it all again the next day.

In the next few days, I am going to design a daily practice, a step-by-step routine, that I will follow for 2015. It doesn’t matter to me that each day goes as written. What does matter to me is that I am living my values and setting standards for myself. I want a great life, and it all starts with a great day — over & over, becoming better & better, getting sweeter with time.

What are you like on your best days? What are you doing? What does it feel like? What usually starts it or sparks it? Is there a way that you can make it a daily habit or practice? What would a dedicated year of those activities & feelings give you? How would it change you? Would it be the best year of your life?

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Filed under best life, good habits, perfect day, setting goals

May I Be Frank

may i be frank ferrante movie

I know, I know… I often recommend documentaries on Sunday Is For Lovers. But if I could have an ongoing list, I’d place the documentary May I Be Frank near the top. Not because it’s high-quality, mind-blowing or super-unique, but because it has the most heart. I rarely get choked-up while watching films, and this film had me on the verge of tears. It’s about a guy named Frank Ferrante that goes through a transformation. I’m not going to say anymore than that. I’m just going to say that…. (did I just say I wasn’t going to say anymore?) ….he completely changes his life on every level; physically, spiritually and emotionally. I think the footage from the film is from 2005, and if you see him today, he looks amazing and his energy is so inviting and wonderful. He is still on the path of transformation, and he is still inspiring others along the way. It’s people like Frank that make me feel madly in-love with life. It’s people like Frank that generously show others what is possible. I’m so grateful for him, and for all the others that helped in recording and sharing his journey.

FRANK BEFORE:

FRANK AFTER:

Another film that you could watch, that would follow May I Be Frank beautifully is, Hungry For Change. The poster/artwork for the film is a terrible choice, but the film itself is excellent. It’s not as ‘entertaining’ as May I Be Frank, but it is informative, and Frank Ferrante is in it, along with a few other faces you might recognize.

PS! Both May I Be Frank and Hungry For Change can be found everywhere. They are online for free from various websites, they are also on Netflix, Amazon, and lots of other movie outlets.

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AimeeLovesYou aka The Rainbow Farmer (sowing the first few seeds)

butterflies nature

Over the last few weeks, I planted my first seeds of being The Rainbow Farmer. The name was given to me by my partner & friend, and it’s basically a term of affection/poke-fun-at-Aimee tease. The rural land that I hope to move to (not sure when, maybe in the next year or so) has the name Rainbow. It’s the land’s legal name. So since I plan on cultivating and living on that land, hence the name The Rainbow Farmer.

As I make a transition from city dweller to country farmer, there is a whole list of things that need to be put into place. I’m slowly working with each to-do item on the list, and doing the best I can. The items on the list vary greatly, some are things I can do and cross off rather quickly, while other items require more time. Some of the things are also experimental, and are in place just to see what happens and where they might lead to next.

new seed unfurlingI started a new blog, and I opened a vintage shop. Both of these things are crucial parts of the city to country transition. On the new blog, (appropriately titled The Rainbow Farmer), I will share whatever I’m interested in or inspired by, as well as how my projects and experiments are coming along. And hopefully the actual move from city to country, featuring the process of setting up a self-sustainable off-the-grid home.

The vintage shop (The Rainbow Farmer on Etsy) currently features all of my personal things that I want to sell. These are things that I am not taking with me on the move. And I will continue to add to the shop as I continue to evaluate my things and reduce my belongings to the bare minimum. The shop is also instrumental in other ways, it helps to raise money for the move and for The Rainbow Farmer projects (like creating ‘how to’ & DIY videos, as well as helpful digital books, and possibly if the store really takes on a life of its own, it will help fund meditation retreats on the land — helping people get in touch with nature, each other, and themselves).

Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, what I’ve planted are only my first seeds, just a small sprinkle, the tiny beginnings of a few ideas/projects. I have no clue what might come of it, or in what direction it might grow. But in whatever unfurling and the beginningdirection it grows, and whatever fruits it may bear, my goal is to pass it on. To continue to share how I am living and what I am learning in a practical way, so that anyone that wants to live a little closer to the ground can do the same. You might not be able to move closer to nature, but you can be reminded of your own true nature. Your innate intelligence. What is always with you and in you, but forgotten in the hustle & bustle of city life.

When I was visiting the land in July, I thought, “I’m not sure if I can do this, I have no idea how! I’ve been in big cities my whole life.” I had to calm myself and reassure myself that it’s very much like riding a bike. The balance is already within you, you just need to surrender and work in harmony with your surroundings. Sometimes you need training wheels to slowly build your trust. Sometimes you need to fall to learn. Sometimes you just need someone to cheer you on, and tell you you can do it.

We can all benefit from a similar process/practice, to get us back in tune with our own innate intelligence and abilities. Finding our own sense of balance, and what it means for us (individually) to get back in touch with nature (with our own nature, and nature itself). I learn and benefit from you, and you from me, everyone from everyone. Before we know it, if we continue to trust & try & fail & cheer, we’ll all be experts in what it means to live more sustainably, more naturally — and what it means to have fun in the process.

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Filed under revolution, transformation

Empowered by One Change

sarah+britton+vegetarian

“What does one change look like? What is one thing you can do today to improve your health?”, said Sarah Britton (holistic nutritionist, chef & blogger) during her TedTalk in Amsterdam.

I would like to change that to: What is one thing you can do today to improve your life?

Sarah is one example how one change can not only positively impact one life, but many lives (see video embedded below and link posted above.) Every one of us has the DAILY OPPORTUNITY to make a change in our lives — and as a result, change many lives. The world is in the state it is in because of the choices we have made. Do we want to keep choosing in that direction, or do we want to choose something different? The same goes for our individual lives. Do we want to keep them as they are, or do we want to create something better? If I told you that 15 years from now, your life would be EXACTLY as it is, every single part of it the same. sarah+britton+green+smoothieWould you be super happy, or would you feel some disappointment? If you wouldn’t be filled to the brim with joy about it, it means there is room for change. It means that you could feel better, and those around you could too. And if you have the opportunity to create something new on a daily basis, why not accept the opportunity with open arms, and celebrate it with a little courage & gratitude? What would your life look like if you did? What would the world look like if you did?

“With every bite of food we take, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our food becomes us. Literally.”  – Sarah Britton

I would like to change that to: With every choice we make, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our life choices become us (creating our self, our life and our world). Literally.

[Photos by Sarah Britton, even better pics on her My New Roots blog. She’s a great photographer! You can also find her on Facebook & Twitter.]

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Do you want to be right or happy?

carousel+freedom

There is always room for blame. There is always a reason, an excuse, a point-of-view; why things are the way they are. Why people are they way they are. Why the world is the way it is. It’s easy to say “That’s not right. Someone or something is wrong.” But who’s job is it to correct it? To make it right. To set it straight?

The answer is never outside of ourselves. Life is always a mirror. When we see something we consider wrong; something a mess or amiss, there is always a reflection of something we personally need to clean-up or set straight. It could be a matter of ‘letting go’, or it could be a matter of taking personal responsibility for correcting in ourselves what we dislike most about others. It’s easy to say “I’m not like that” or “I didn’t do that.” But an individual life or personality is vast, there is always something within ourselves that we don’t want to see or acknowledge. Something we are doing or being that isn’t in alignment with our highest values. There is also deep-rooted misery within ourselves that we desperately need to discharge, release or defuse (if only for a moment), through pointing the finger or through seeing life as lopsided. It takes the responsibility off of us, & sets it somewhere else. This misery, or this thing we can’t put our finger on, is the very thing that gets triggered easily by others, or by life itself.

If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.
– Ajahn Chah

When I see a ‘mature’ person. It touches me deeply. I feel the truth & the wisdom in who they are being. When I say mature, I am using the word as this quote does: Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself (quote by John Macnaughton). But when I read that quote, I don’t think that it means to put yourself or your personal needs aside & to place everyone before you — but to see that there is no separation between you & anything in the world. Turning a blind eye, tuning out, being defensive, judging harshly, or being cruel — it only means that you are ultimately treating or viewing yourself that way. In the end, everything comes back to you. Each life happens through the eyes of the one living it. Therefore, we can either fully open up to life; trust it, get intimate with it — or we can shut down, close ourselves off & wonder why life is so difficult.

carousel_lonelinessWhen there is a strong need to be right about ideas we have, or about the way life should be, or about the way people ought to behave, we set ourselves up for suffering. We actually begin to confuse ourselves, because we start to live life from the mind instead of the heart. We let fear & ego take a position of power, instead of simply allowing life to flow, & allow love to be the driving force in all that we do.

I often think of the quote: Do you prefer that you be right or happy? (quote from A Course in Miracles T-29.VII.1:9). I think of it when I see someone suffering over an idea they have about the way things should be, or when I find myself hanging on desperately to something as ephemeral as a thought. A thought that I know isn’t getting me what I ultimately want. And what can we all say we ultimately want? Everyone wants to be happy. Yet many of us are on a mind-game carousel that takes us nowhere, or better yet, to a place of pointless suffering & energy wasted. Many of us would like to get off this ride. If only we could see that we ourselves, no one else, has the power to stop it.

For me, self-inquiry helps to stop the mind-game carousel. To simply stop; to look nowhere for answers but within. To be honest with myself. To ask myself questions. To get to know myself on a deeper level. It doesn’t matter what others are doing or saying. But to witness with compassion what I am doing & saying, what I am thinking & feeling, & why. After that, my mind slows down. I become more spacious & patient, more open & tolerant — more understanding. I begin to see everyone as the same, & life itself as perfect, unfolding as it should. My breathing goes from shallow to full. My body releases its tension. My attitude lightens up. My face brightens up. My heart opens up. And my mind follows my heart, it too opens up. There is no longer a need to be right, not even a desire. To be happy is more than enough.

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Filed under awareness, peace & bliss, relationships

Afraid of the Light

head in the sand

When do you feel your best?
When do you not feel your best?
What gives you energy, inspires you & lifts your spirit?
What takes your energy, leaves you uninspired & low in spirit?
When was the last time like you felt fulfilled, content & complete?
When was the the last time you felt unfulfilled, discontent & incomplete?

Take the time to answer the questions. Don’t formulate the answers, just allow them to present themselves. Quiet down, relax, & allow the answers to effortlessly appear. Write down the first thing that pops in your mind after reading each question. Don’t edit the answer. Don’t second guess it. Just write it down & accept it.

Notice. Simply notice all of the answers. Noticing is one of the most profound steps someone can take to transform their life. It’s effortless, but it’s daunting. For some it is scary. Because once they see what is going on, they will never be the same. They will forever be awake to what is happening in their life. They can no longer sleep-walk through their days & then wonder why they always feel tired, or always feel like year after year, they never reach their desired destination.

Begin to see what is there, & you will not only see that what is making you unhappy is being chosen (by you) repeatedly, over & over again — but you will also see that the peace, joy, energy, & inspiration is always there for the choosing as well.

Imagine a room in your house is buried with things that are unwanted, unsuitable for you, or unneeded at the present moment.  Because of that, you will not be able to see the things that are the most appropriate for you; the things that are perfect for you in this moment. It also doesn’t allow any room for anything new to come into your present life. That cluttered room is filled with the past. Past choices. Past solutions. Past desires. Things that no longer serve you.

buried covered unseen hidenMaintaining a jumbled existence doesn’t allow for room to play freely.  It makes it difficult to see & choose what might serve you best now. Spaciousness (physical & mental) is the freedom that many of us are seeking. And it’s not found in more stuff, or more experiences. We have plenty of those! It is found in being spacious. Being clear. Being open. Being ready & available to what might come our way next.

One way to be clear, is to clearly see. To see what is already there, right in front of you. Be clear about it. Then begin to dig, & clear out what is behind it. Go deep. Don’t be afraid to excavate (figuratively & literally). Dig & clear out your stuff. It’s taking up space, & it’s blocking you. These blocks (stuff being held, be it mental or physical) impede your energy flow. They also block the light. This heaviness or tiredness that people feel is often because they feel weighed down by the things they are carrying unnecessarily. Physical & mental blocks (or baggage) are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, both need to be cleared out. Both need your attention.

Awareness is key. Without that, you are lost. You’ll be on the hamster wheel of life, wondering why you are always chasing after something (or being chased by something). Wondering why you are always falling short of your self-expectations, falling short of what you know you are capable of being or achieving. To meet your best self or your best life, you must first meet who you are now. Have you really met you? Or do you constantly avoid you? I know that sounds funny or silly — but I’m being serious. So many of us are moving through our lives so fast, & we are so busy with work or family or entertainment, that we haven’t really sat with ourselves. When I say sit with ourselves, I mean with open eyes & open arms. We haven’t said, “Ah. I see you! I see how you have been hiding. And I see that you are buried. I love you. And I am going to unearth you, unburden you. I’m going to set you free.”

It’s simply an act of self-love. And unconditional love of ‘the self,’ is unconditional love of all selves (all people). So self-love isn’t a selfish act, it’s a self-less act. There is no separate self, separate from the rest of the world. Also, your life is a mirror. When you see love & perfection (or hate & imperfection) in you, you see it everywhere. Meet yourself where you are today. See what you see & feel at this moment. At this stage in your life. Meet yourself where you are. Then develop the relationship from there. Your relationship to the whole world will improve.

Don’t be afraid of the light. Just as you shouldn’t be afraid of the dark. Shouldn’t isn’t the right word. What I mean is, accept it. Embrace it. Make peace with both light & dark. Find the balance & the harmony between the two, & you will find harmony & balance within yourself. Make friends with the unknown. Meet what scares you. Sometimes the thing that we are most afraid of, is the very thing that would serve us best.

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Filed under awareness, fear & challenges, unlearning

Express Yourself & Refresh Yourself: How to Detox Your Life (with AimeeLovesYou!)

refresh express

[This blog post was written on Saturday, January 12th.]

Today has been one of the best days I’ve ever had. Yes, it’s special because it’s my birthday (I turned 38 years old). But another reason that it is special, is because I’ve made some changes in my lifestyle & they are proving to be very effective. I’ve been on a happy kick lately — feeling more alive than ever.

For those of you that have known me over a long period of time, you might know about my past. I’ve written about it before, but basically, it was clouded with toxic thoughts & toxic foods, deep-rooted shyness, as well as, lack of motivation — due to the fact that I thought life was pointless. I viewed life as a stupid game that everyone was in a race to play. The way life seemed to be laid-out or predestined for everyone was unrelatable. I had no interest in it. And when I say ‘past’ I mean as early as kindergarten. So this view had really shaped my life. Until my adult years, when my life finally started to change.

Things began to change for me the moment I made a choice. I was either going to live completely & fully — or not at all. I was in a very supportive relationship at the time, & this person really provided a nurturing environment for me to work on myself. Self-expression & deep healing became a priority. I began to educate myself on physical, spiritual & mental health. I took it on like it was my full-time work. My whole life revolved around it. I soon made a list of my fears, & I began to conquer them one by one. A few years to work on myself quickly turned into 15 years. Which leads me to where I am today.

I’ve learned a lot, & I’ve been through a lot. And every step of the way, be it painful or joyful was a gift. I’m grateful for every bit of it. And I am EXTREMELY grateful for everyone that has either stood next to me, or was a stand for me, as I made a transition from a person merely surviving, to a person happily thriving. Every year gets better. Every year I learn more. Every year I see that the healing I needed to go through was part of a universal plan. It gave me who I am in the world. And it gave me something to share with others. Which I do weekly through this blog, & daily through the people I am in contact with in my day-to-day life. But I would like to take it a step beyond that.

I decided to offer some companionship, support & guidance, for anyone who feels drawn to it. I’m offering three options, you can choose which program is best for you. The programs are geared towards anyone who is serious about making room in their lives for more light: for a brighter more brilliant self. If you have any questions about the programs, feel free to email me.

Both programs include guidance & support on the following:

  • The 7 Keys to Radiant Health & Positive Living
  • Discovering Your Passion & Living What Lights You Up
  • Insights on Relationships & Personal Challenges
  • The Meaning of Love: How to Practice Unconditional Love
  • Practical Methods for Stress-Reduction & Improved Energy

There is so much (too much) to cover in a short amount of time, so if you have a particular interest, or something you would like to focus or work on, just let me know in advance. That way I can give you more attention & detailed information in that area.

fresh refresh detox cleanseI made the programs inexpensive intentionally. I did that so people can do two different programs back-to-back, or they can sign-up for the same program repeatedly. One thing that I learned over time, is that there is always something to clean-up in one’s life. There is always room to go deeper, or get clearer — always. There is also an ongoing need for support, encouragement & motivation. No matter how evolved one is, it can always be useful.

I look forward to working with you, & meeting you in person. (Via Skype or phone.) We are in this together! No worries, I will be on a program along with you. Mine may differ, because it will be geared towards my needs, & yours will be geared towards your needs. But if you would like to know what my personal program is, I can tell you all about it. I will tell you everything I am doing & everything I have set-up for myself. And if you feel inspired to take part of it on, feel free! We can incorporate it into your program.

You can choose from the following:

Vitamin A – 21 days ($115)
Love, Peace & Happiness — What Else is There?
Includes…
2 Conversations via Skype or by phone
6 Personal emails (2 per week) to answer your questions
3 Informative PDF files (1 per week) to guide you through your program

Vitamin B – 40 days ($165)
Brave, Beautiful, Brilliant, Balanced: Life is Awesome!
Includes…
3 Conversations via Skype or by phone
12 Personal emails (2 per week) to answer your questions
4 Informative PDF files (1 every ten days) to guide you through your program

Vitamin C – 3 days ($75)
Ray of Sunshine :)
Includes…
2 Conversations via Skype or by phone
3 Personal emails (3 in one week) to answer your questions

In the future the three options might turn into group programs, but at the moment, I am only offering private programs. I will update this blog post if any changes are made.

Please note: When we work together, I will share with you my training, as well as my personal experience & personal views. Sometimes my views are intuitive, & sometimes they are based on technical information. In the end, they are just words. Ultimately, your progress depends on how open & available you are. You must show-up (for every meeting, & for every day of the program), & you must be willing to be either diligent or fearless — preferably both. This is no different from working with a personal trainer at the gym, or working with a doctor of some sort — if you are lazy & uninterested, you will get lazy & uninteresting results. You’ll be wasting money & time. When working with me it’s not tedious or boring, it’s fun. But fun is not always easy. Sometimes fun takes heart (courage & vulnerability), a place many are afraid to venture into.

If you are interested in working with me & signing-up for a program, please email me.

Thank you! …& Happy You Year!
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Filed under addiction, detox, transformation