Tag Archives: Enlightenment

Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Years of babysitting and nannying have allowed me to spend a lot of time around children. Although I’ve changed my fair share of diapers, sat through many temper tantrums, and wiped away thousands of tears, I’m always left in awe of these little beings. Whenever I have a chance to really evaluate my interaction with children, I always come back to the same thought; adults can learn so much from children!

Somewhere along the line, we lose touch with our childish nature. While many people see “growing up” as a necessity, I see much of it as a loss. While some maturation is inevitable, I really think there are (at least) five areas that it can serve us to remain childish in.

1. Seeing the world as our oyster   

As children, we see the world as a place of endless possibilities! When asking a child what he or she want to “become,” a whole spectrum of answers are given. Often, the adult asking will quietly laugh and think to himself, “That’s so sweet, but one day she’ll realize that becoming a ______ isn’t really likely.”

Sure, there are some things that are a bit harder to bring to fruition (my life experience tells me I will probably not become a professional pole-vaulter within this lifetime), but I feel that most adults live in a world full of limiting beliefs. Sometime during the growing up process, “I can be anything,” turns into, “I can sit at a desk for eight hours a day and stare a computer screen.”

Be realistic, but let go of those limiting beliefs! If you are truly in alignment with something, it will happen.

2. Experiencing emotions fully

Children are such good examples of this. While their emotions may not always come at ideal times (e.g. a tantrum at a supermarket), they’re completely comfortable experiencing them. When a child is upset, you will know it. When a child is happy, she expresses it (side note: I can’t think of many things that are as beautiful as a children’s laughter). It’s not until adults start expressing disapproval that a children begin to suppress their emotions.

Awhile back, I made a video called It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. I made it because I had been struggling with a “need” to be always up-beat, positive, and happy. While I am a strong believer in the power of positivity, I also think it’s important to experience one’s emotions and not refuse them. If you’re feeling sad, give yourself permission to cry. If you’re feeling angry, really feel that emotion. If you’re feeling giddy, dance and twirl and laugh! Accept the flow of life and don’t condemn yourself or others for experiencing the full spectrum of emotions.

3. Releasing emotions

In the same vein, most children are good at allowing their emotions to flow and releasing them. If you’ve noticed, children don’t really hold grudges the same way adults do. If a child feels the emotion of sadness, he cries. But as soon as that emotion is gone, he’s back to neutral. As adults, many of us have a tendency to hold onto our emotions. We get caught up in them. Sometimes, we even become so identified with being sad, or angry, or happy, that we link ourselves with that specific emotion. When this happens, people can get trapped and revert to this emotion…even when there’s not a real reason to feel it.

One of my good friends has a quote, “You are the sky and your thoughts are the clouds.” For adults, most emotions are simply reactions to thoughts. When we view ourselves as a clear sky and our thoughts/emotions as clouds, it allows them to flow freely and be released.

4. Viewing life as a playground / feeling child-energy 

One of the most fascinating things about children is their ability to play anywhere! While some of this ability is being hindered by constant exposure to technology, children are naturally content to play with anything. Life is their playground and they are full of abundant child-energy.

As we get older, it seems like we develop a constant need for new/different stimulus. We’re no longer content to just sit and “be.” Similarly, we lose the element of play in our daily lives and get caught up in the routine of things. When we really tap into that pure child-energy and allow whatever we’re doing to be a form of play, life becomes blissful!

5. Respecting our desires / needs

Another one of my favorite things about children is how in tune they are with their desires and needs. When a baby is hungry, she cries. When she is happy, she coos. When she is tired, she sleeps. But when that same baby starts to grow up, adults gradually remove her natural instincts. Even if she’s not hungry, she has to sit at the table until she finishes dinner. Although she feels a strong need to get up and play and move, she has to sit at a desk all day.

While routine can be beneficial, I feel sometimes we’re doing ourselves a disservice by relying on it. Why eat if you’re not hungry? Why force yourself to stay awake if your body needs sleep? Why stay in an environment you feel uneasy in? Almost always, our first instinct is the correct one. Instead of shutting out your natural intuition, try tapping into it and see how much more in alignment you’ll feel!

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We Are Constantly Seeking Presence

We Are Constantly Seeking Presence

During my recent trip to Costa Rica, I had a moment of inspiration. I was laying in a hammock and focusing intently on the words I was reading in the book Proof of Heaven. For a long while, there were no thoughts in my head, only the mental comprehension of the words. When a thought finally popped into my head, it came in the form of a question. I wondered if part of the reason I’ve always loved reading is because it is an activity that allows me to be intently Present. In fact, reading almost forces a person to be attentive – maybe you’ve also had an experience where your mind wandered and you had to go back and re-read an entire section!

The extension of my thought about enjoying reading for the Presence it elicits is that we tend to like activities that call us into the Now. This can easily be seen with adrenaline activities (try jumping off of a 100 foot bridge if your mind is elsewhere!), but it is also evident when it comes to things like sex, alcohol, drugs, and situations that evoke intense emotional reactions. I wonder if this principle could also be applied to travel – when you’re in a new city everything is fresh and you’re very attentive to your surroundings.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with engaging in activities that center you in the Present, but I do think it’s important to note that we can experience Presence outside of circumstances. After all, it’s all internal! I really enjoy frequent meditation and yoga – I find these two things in particular really facilitate presence.

I’d love to know if you’re on board with the thought that everything we do is trying to draw us into the moment or if you think there’s more to the picture! Also, what activities do you find really center you in the Now? 

 

Find romance in all facets of life!

Find romance in all facets of life!

A lot of us have a tendency to expect our romantic partners to fulfill all of our needs. The thing is, it’s totally unrealistic to expect one person to do so! Take the pressure off of him/her and start finding romance, joy, and fulfillment in all facets of your life!

The Weekend Experience – Escape from mediocrity!

The Weekend Experience – Escape from mediocrity!

The Weekend Experience - Escape from mediocrity!

Fellow adventurers, I would like to introduce you to a very special individual, Kyle Cease.

If you’ve not heard of him, your world is about to be rocked! Kyle is an extremely accomplished comedian, turned transformational speaker. He is completely unique in his “conscious comedy” and has reached hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe. I bring him up to you, because he is having an event this July, The Weekend Experience. If you are into self-development, transformation, consciousness, comedy, or are just ready to say “screw it” to mediocrity, this event is for you.

I encourage you to go to www.KyleCease.com for more information – tickets are selling very quickly – and I look forward to seeing you there!

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and That’s OK!

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and That’s OK!

To clarify, I am still moving to Europe at the end of this summer! I realized it might sound a bit confusing – I was more so referring to not knowing my “life plan.”

30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge

Hey, guys! Before I reveal the big news, I figured I’d give you an update about what the next month is going to consist of for me.

 

- LOA according to Abraham Hicks: http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/videos.php

- Kyle Cease’s thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHNdfin-Gzk&feature=player_embedded

- Self-Development Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/nicholasandrea/self-development/

 

Transformational 2012

Transformational 2012

For me, the year of 2012 was one of monumental changes…

Shortly before ringing in the new year of twenty-twelve, I spent a weekend with someone who was quickly progressing in the realm of self-development. Little did I know that our time together would begin an inner process – one that would eventually alter how I saw reality. In a matter of days, he helped me recognize how out of touch I really was with the Now. He introduced me to the work of Eckhart Tolle – if you don’t know him, I heartily recommend looking him up – and sparked my interest in really delving into the process of self-discovery. Although the time we spent together was comparatively short, his impact was lasting.

The months following were filled with transformational self-exploration. Formerly strongly tied to the future, it was not easy for me to begin rooting myself in the Present. Although I still struggle with letting myself succumb to worry, months of practice have helped me stay more consistently grounded. It was during this time that I reconnected with an old acquaintance. We had met a few times in years past, but had never really gotten to know each other. Through social media, I realized that years passing had lead to us having similar interests! Although we barely knew each other, I invited her to travel from Ohio to my home in Tennessee. Though she didn’t have enough money to get here, fate was in our favor. Things were in alignment and the financial means presented themselves to her. It was at this time that I got to know one of the beautiful, soulful, kind, genuine people I have ever met. She helped me become even more in touch with my inner light and the beauty of life.

On a mid-summer’s day, I was speaking with a close friend about my plans for graduate school. I was frustrated, because I was unsure if my chosen path was really “right.” Despite this, I had been emailing back and forth with various programs, studying copious amounts for the GRE, and trying to make a decision that would dictate the next four years of my life. It was then that she asked me what would happen if I invested this time and money into a program, only to graduate and realize it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. For the first time in my academic career, I considered altering my plan. Previously, I had not really considered any other option beside continuing my education. Being a psychology major doesn’t really lend to many post-grad opportunities. After this conversation, I realized I didn’t need to be tied to this specific path. Previously, I had found validation through my academic standing. My self-exploration lead me to realize that nothing I will ever achieve academically, monetarily, or relationally will ever determine my intrinsic value. With that, I decided to use my youth to its fullest extent and postpone graduate school to travel Europe!

The past year has been a highly transitional time. I strengthened old relationships and made new ones. I shifted my focal point to the Now and started to make constant, conscious effort to stay positive. I realized fully that Present moment is all we really have and we need to take full advantage of it. I became introduced to people that have such a wealth of knowledge to share (you’ll do yourself a big favor to check out Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, Katie Freiling, Kyle Cease, and Mike Dooley). It’s not always easy to internalize, but I now know that my value and worth is not contingent upon anything I can ever achieve. I am so excited to see what 2013 holds and I plan to live it – and every year after I am blessed with – to its fullest extent! I wish all of you the very best!

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 Stay positive, be Present, and set your intentions!

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Highlights of 2012

- Decided to move to Europe

- Went skydiving

- Participated in a yoga flashmob

- Grew my own (little) garden

- Fully recognized the power of synchronicity

- Went bridge swinging

- Saw my baby sister graduate high school

- Went to a couple music festivals

- Attended my first APA conference

- Flew to Ohio for less than 24 hours to be a wedding date

- Realized my value isn’t contingent upon my actions

- Maintained a vegan diet for seven months

- Became introduced to raw foodism

- Saw my grandparents celebrate 50 years of marriage

- Watched Back to the Future with friends, on the side of an abandoned building, laying on a gravel parking lot

- Sporadically attended the World Yo-Yo Championship

- Did barrel rolls in a plane

- Made my first YouTube video

- Finally visited Disney World

- Adopted a kitten and named him Ug

- Went off-roading

- Started a blog

- Started living in the Present and not for the future

 - Randomly moved into a house and realized it was perfect!

- Got a cabin in the mountains with friends and made a ton of guacamole!

- Went on a girls’ road trip to Chicago

My dear friend/housemate and I playing in the leaves!

Became friends with the newly appointed world champions of yo-yo (Check out In Motion!)

Became friends with the newly appointed world champions of yo-yo (Check out In Motion!)

My wise grandfather and baby sister

My wise grandfather and baby sister

Megan Amigo and me watching the Goo Goo Dolls across the river (at a random house party we attended)!

Megan Amigo and I watching the Goo Goo Dolls across the river (at a random house party we attended)!

Megan Amigo and I belly dancing in the mountains of Tennessee

Megan Amigo and me belly dancing in the mountains of Tennessee

Yoga Flashmob

Yoga Flashmob

Girls' trip to Chicago

Girls’ trip to Chicago

Floating in bliss

Floating in bliss

First time at Disney World!

First time at Disney World!

Revelry after Summer Fest 2012

Revelry after Summer Fest 2012

My best friend since pre-school

My best friend since pre-school

First pair of climbing shoes!

First pair of climbing shoes!

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Joyous children like this are why look forward to being an au pair

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Kissing Princess, the camel!

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Eating way too much ice cream!

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Amazing people in Orlando, FL!

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Enjoying an outdoor concert in TN

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Exploring nature with Megan Amigo

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I got to see my baby sister graduate high school!

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“We just jumped out of a plane!”

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My delectable, organic tomatoes!

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Emma Parker’s “Yellow Chair Project” for charity

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One of my delicious vegan creations – Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

First time bouldering!

First time bouldering!

Haley and I had our first, Southern off-roading experience!

Haley and I had our first, Southern off-roading experience!

Casual train yoga!

Casual train yoga!

APA Conference 2012

APA Conference 2012

Oh, just about to jump off a 100 foot bridge!

Oh, just about to jump off a 100 foot bridge!

I wish I could express how much I adore yoga, laughter, and friends!
I wish I could express how much I adore yoga, laughter, and friends!

Soaking up some vitamin D

Soaking up some vitamin D

Loved the looks on my family member’s faces when they realized I’d driven seven hours to surprise them!

Imitating the statues

Imitating the statues

Nothing like playing dress up in a country store

Nothing like playing dress up in a country store

Got to love football matches!

Got to love football matches!

Little kitten, Ug.

Little kitten, Ug.

Nothing can compare to nature.

Nothing can compare to nature.We're a silly family!

Happy NYE from the Nicholas sisters! Try and ignore our glowing eyes...

Happy NYE from the Nicholas sisters! Try and ignore our glowing eyes…

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Vlog: Travel Update

Vlog: Travel Update

Hi, lovelies! A lot of people have been inquiring as to my current game plan for Europe. Here’s a quick update on my plans!

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  • During late July and early August a few girlfriends and I are trying to arrange it so we can travel around together! The biggest hinderance is finances! Any tips on ways to make/save money on the road? We’ll be using www.helpx.net, www.couchsurfing.com, and staying in hostels to travel as cheaply as possible. 
  • At the end of August, I will move to Lausanne, Switzerland to be an au pair for a spectacular Spanish family! This is a great opportunity, because I adore Switzerland and would love to brush up on my Spanish. Although I will be doing some traveling on the weekends, I will be saving a lot of the money I make to put it toward further travels. Additionally, I’ll have to be putting a portion of it toward student loans.
  • The last week of November will mark the end of my Swiss living. That means I have December to travel around and hang out with friends…
  • If you are around wherever I am, I’d love to meet up! There’s a small possibility that my parents will try and come over and visit during this time. That would be great, seeing as I have no idea if I’ll be spending Christmas alone in a hostel (I doubt that would happen, though, as I have a knack for randomly meeting new friends!)…
  • In January, I will move to Torino, Italy to become an au pair for another beautiful family. I am thrilled!  I will stay here for a least six months.
  • After Italy, I will hopefully return to Switzerland for another three months.
  • Then…who knows!

Spirit Quest in Nature

Spirit Quest in Nature

This past spring, I saw a video of a beautiful woman, Megan, whom I had met a few times many years ago. To my delight, she was dancing around to African tribal music while juicing! In case you don’t know, I adore juicing, dancing, and tribal music…

After I realized we had so much in common, I invited her to come stay with me. Megan packed up her belongings, bought a bus ticket, and came to Tennessee! I had such a magical time exploring nature, eating raw foods, belly dancing, conversing, and doing yoga with this enlightened woman. I am so thankful that the universe guided us to each other.

The time she stayed with me was incredibly enlightening. Megan has one of the most positive, loving spirits I have ever encountered. Although we were practically strangers, there was no awkwardness whatsoever! I love her dearly and she is my soul sister.

Naturally, I was thrilled when she divulged to me that she was creating a Spirit Quest video detailing our experience! So now it’s here for you to enjoy….

The Power of Setting Intention

The Power of Setting Intention

While slightly off the topic of travel plans, I have the irrefutable urge to briefly share about the power and impact of internal choice. Friends, there are infinite amounts of love, equanimity, happiness, and connectivity within this world! So many people go through daily life without realizing many of the things they yearn for are truly accessible. In fact, all you have to do is reach out and grab them!

The first step to attaining _________ (positivity, love, success, peace, productivity, etc.) is to make a conscientious effort to send out into the world what you want to receive. This principle has been expressed in many ways, over many years, and in many contexts. In the Christian faith, it’s the Gold Rule. Like many others, I grew up hearing the maxim, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This foundational concept of Christianity can be appreciated despite one’s religious beliefs. In philosophy, it appears as the concept of synchronicity. By this standard of thinking, synchronicity is the uncanny merging of two seemingly unrelated events. Sometimes, situations just seem pan out in an astonishingly perfect way—to me, this is the work of synchronicity. In the New Age way of thought, the related idea of setting intention emerges. The key to the practice of setting intention is genuinely believing that there is an abundance of _________ (fill in your need) in the universe just waiting to be taken advantage of. Consciously setting your intention allows for said intent to be engrained deep within you. In this regard, an intent can be far more impacting than a goal. Goals are set frequently, and often forgotten just as frequently. Unlike goals, intentions aren’t simply a wish or desire that you write down and refer back to at the coming of a new year. Setting a sincere intention also involves staying consciously aware of your intent and being open enough to let the universe work on your behalf.

I heartily recommend incorporating intent setting into your morning ritual. It’s a wonderful way to frame your entire day!

Tell me, friends, what intention are you going to set today?