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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are You in a Mess?

A disorganized environment adds stress to your life.
IS YOUR HOME OR DESK A MESS? Feeling that your living environment isn't quite as organized as you would like it to be is a personal call. Everyone has their own level of comfort of tidiness. If your environment isn't aligned with your level of expectation it can make you feel uncomfortable, scattered, and stressed.
Our living spaces are a reflection of ourselves.  When the mind is scattered it flows out into the environment manifesting as disorganization.  
Everyone has their own level of comfort when dealing with how they keep their environment.   Some are perfectionists, one item out of place, or one dirty dish will start the mind chatter. Others are more relaxed with how much clutter can accumulate before it bothers them. If it begins to bother you with mental chatter: "This is a mess. I really need to clean this. I hope no one comes over and see this mess.", then it's time to take action. If it is bothering YOU, then start to reorganize and freshen it up. 
 To regain comfort and peace in your living spaces, choose one small area where you spend a lot of time, and freshen it up by cleaning and organizing it.  Start small, and as you feel the resulting peace of mind and calmness, you will be encouraged to continue cleaning another day. Be gentle with yourself as you move into a more peaceful environment! ♥
Be happy, my Friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lighten Up!

LIGHTEN UP! Would you rather be right or happy? Do you take yourself so serious that when you meet people with a difference of opinion you feel the need to set them straight?  Do you feel irritated or even threatened by listening to opposing points of view? Is it your job to teach everyone to think like you do? Ponder how these tendencies make you feel. 
Today, practice being an observer or a listener without getting into debates. Make an effort to hold your tongue without putting in your two cent point of view- even if you think they are totally wrong.  This is a valuable skill which will provide much less drama in your life.

Confidence is being able to share your opinions; Wisdom is not being attached to them.

Be Happy, my Friends,
Laura Barrette Shannon

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Help! "I Can't Stop Thinking!"

"I CAN'T STOP thinking about _____and it's upsetting me." We have all been there at one time. It may be a past pain or a future worry that is disturbing your peace of mind. You may have tried to be present to keep the thought at bay, but it just keeps coming back. Here are a few hyper-focus techniques that will effectively block those haunting thoughts:

Play games: Playing games will focus your attention enough to stop all other thoughts from taking over your mind. If you are alone, try puzzles, word games, or Sudoku. Scrabble is my favorite. Playing board games has the added value of nurturing relationships. (I highly recommend this to all families.) Playing sports has the added benefit of exercise. Even watching sports can sometimes be enough to grab your attention and keep your focus outside of your head.

Music: Singing happy songs will hyper-focus your mind on breathing, tone, rhythm, etc. Karaoke adds the benefit of having to read at the same time. This will keep your mind from wandering onto negative trains of thought. You also get the bonus of deep breathing! Playing a musical instrument also requires your full attention. These activities are like musical meditation!

Service: When we are helping others we are focused away from our own problems. Volunteer in your community or church. When you are of service, you are not only being a productive member of your community, you will feel better about yourself.

Create: When you focus on a new garden project, cooking, or redecorating a room you are paying attention to the process of creation. This usually will keep your attention enough to quell negative trains of thought. My favorites: cooking, sand castles, finger painting.

Dance: Take a class, or make up the moves as you go. Any kind of dancing will do the trick! Make dancing a regular part of your life.

Of course, keep practicing breathing and being present as much as possible, but sometimes these hyper-focus techniques may be just what you need to break the negative train of thought and force you into the NOW.

Be Happy, My Friends,
Laura Barrette Shannon

Friday, June 24, 2011

How Can I Make Peace with My Past?

ARE you letting excess baggage from the past weigh you down? Are you holding onto grudges, rehashing past trauma, or thinking about what "should" have been? Ponder how these thoughts are pulling you down and making it harder to take steps forward in life. The first step is to recognize those heavy thoughts for what they are: Needless emotional suffering. When we indulge in these types thoughts, we work ourselves up into negative emotions. This is unnecessary. The past is over. There may have been suffering in the past, but it is over now. Truly, it's time to let it go. It's your choice: Either begin to make peace with your past, or continue suffering in the present.
How can you make peace with your past? Making peace with your past is an important step in achieving peace of mind and happiness. The first step is to stop rehashing the stories that cause you suffering. By repeating these stories, you reinforce the negative emotions. The next step is to eliminate the habit of focusing on past emotional baggage. This is accomplished by becoming aware of when you are thinking about such issues, then, immediately jumping off that train of thought. One of the easiest techniques for jumping off negative trains of thought is to bring your awareness back to the present moment by focusing on your five senses. Get outside of your head and become fully present. Pay attention to life as it is happening, instead of living life in your head thinking about the past. The more you practice, the less the thoughts will come, and the easier it will be to let go of your past pain.
Be gentle with yourself as you practice moving into a more present and happy state of being.
Be happy, my Friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Don't Forget to Breathe

‎"DEEP BREATHING techniques increase oxygen to the cells and are the most important factors in living a disease-free and energetic life. When cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not and cannot occur.” ~Dr. Otto Warburg (President, Institute of Cell Physiology and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine TWICE!)

We can use breathing exercises in many ways.  One that I use is taking a slow deep breath when I feel a twinge of irritation.  For instance, if I spill coffee on my shirt.  I will feel a brief moment of agitation, then I will take a deep breath allowing the emotion to pass through my body and exit with the exhale.  This allows me to move forward with my day without carrying the residual negative emotion from the event.  Most stress is caused by a buildup of numerous minor irritations throughout the day.  When we consciously breathe, it refocuses our attention on the present moment, which effectively breaks our train of thought.  This is an invaluable tool for transformation.
Deep breathing can also be used for relaxation and physical well being.  Try this simple breathing exercis
1. Inhale slowly to the count of five, filling your lungs as much as possible. Feel your lungs expand. Visualize healing energy coming into your body.
2. Hold the breath for a count of three.
3. Exhale slowly to the count of five, squeezing every bit of air out. Feel your muscles contract to expel the air. Visualize releasing toxins from your body.
4. Hold for the count of three.
Repeat at least ten times.
For a more advanced technique, slow the inhale and exhale to a higher count.

Relax, breathe deeply,
and Be Happy, my Friends!
Laura Barrette Shannon

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Mule in The Well

There once was an old mule who fell into an old dry well. He brayed and brayed until the farmer heard his cries. The farmer looked down at the old mule in the well and knew it would be impossible to try to lift him out. He thought about the situation and decided that since the mule and the well were old and useless, he should fill in the well, burying the mule to put him out of his misery. He started to shovel dirt into the well on top of the mule. Then, something surprising happened! As each pile of dirt came down on the mule, instead of being afraid and letting himself get buried, he would shake it off, and climb on top of it. Eventually, he was high enough to jump out of the well.
When life seems to throw dirt your way, trying to bury you or keep you down, shake it off and rise above it! This is when you realize that even what seems to be a problem or a tragedy can be used as a lesson to move you to a higher level of being.  In fact, it might just be what you need to push you out of the situation. 
Be like the old mule, some may think you are useless, weak and afraid, but that's not how you have to see yourself.   Like the mule, rise above what others think of you, shake off what ever dirt comes your way, and always look for the deeper meaning and lesson that can be learned from a situation or event.  In this way, you will elevate your awareness and understanding of life and yourself. 
Be Happy, my Friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are You a Doormat?

Learn to set boundaries.

DON'T BE A DOORMAT! Do you have trouble setting boundaries? In any relationship (whether it be family, spouse, or friends), it is our own responsibility to set the boundaries of how we allow others to treat us. It is not their fault if we allow them to use us, verbally abuse us, or take without ever giving back. Loving someone does not mean you need to let them use you. If there are people in your life that you feel are using you, you need to reset the boundaries. Learn to say, "No" as necessary. People only treat us as bad as we allow them. You can love someone without letting them in the inner circle of your life. The inner circle should be reserved for those who love and support you. Your presence and companionship is a gift. YOU are the one who decides who to give it to. You can't change them, but you can change how you interact with them.
Be Happy, My Friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Looking for Love?

(photo from

LOOKING FOR LOVE? If you want to draw more loving relationships into your life, first you must GIVE more love to those around you. When we give ourselves to others in service and genuine loving kindness we open our heart, which allows us to receive more love. If your heart isn't open, then how can love get in?

OPEN HEART CHALLENGE: This week, tell 10 (that's right 10) people that you love or appreciate them for being part of your life. Don't just say it, follow it up with details. 
Examples: Coworker- "I really appreciate the the time we share at lunch. You are a good friend." Neighbor- "I love being your neighbor. You are always so friendly, I feel blessed to have you next door." Mailman: "I've never really had a chance to tell you that I appreciate all the hard work you do delivering my mail. Thank you!"

You get the idea. Be creative, seek out people who are often ignored in their role in your life, janitors, sales clerks, long lost relatives and distant friends. This exercise will effectively open your heart and also spread love to others, sometimes making their whole day better with just a few simple words. Spread the seeds of happiness and you will be amazed at how good you feel too. Practice opening your heart and you will be amazed at the response from people around you. They will be drawn to you like a magnet! 

Be Happy, my Friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are You Punching Yourself in the Mirror?

"JUDGE NOT lest ye be judged."
Most of us have heard this warning, yet many do not really understand the deeper meaning. When we judge others with our criticism and condemnations we are expressing our beliefs about our own selves. For example, if you are disgusted when you see fat people wearing tight clothing, you have is...sues within yourself about being overweight, or being seen by others in unflattering clothing. If you tend to nit pick the world, always seeing every little thing that is wrong, you will have these same feelings about your own self, never being satisfied with who you are. The world is a mirror. Be aware of this valuable tool of self introspection. The better you understand yourself and why you act and see things the way you do, the more awareness and personal power you will have for self transformation! Judge others less, and you will judge yourself less.
Be Happy, my Friends!
Laura Barrette Shannon

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stop Waiting!

Are You a Clock Watcher?
Life has become so busy that many of us feel rushed and stressed throughout the day. Some of these feelings arise from the annoyance we cause ourselves by always waiting for the next activity. When you are in a mindset of "waiting", you are not present. If you are at a stop light, in a checkout line, or a Doctor's office you are in a traditional "waiting" situation. By switching your state of mind to being present, you can relax and enjoy these few minutes of non activity. In a busy day, these moments give us a much needed opportunity to take a break.
Many people have experienced the agitation of “waiting” while stopped at a red light. For some reason there seems to be a lack of acceptance when it comes to traffic. Logically, we know that red lights, detours, and accidents are a normal part of traffic. Yet, when faced with a couple of minutes at a red light, some people feel irritated. They spend these couple of minutes dwelling on how long the lights are, how many lights are on their route, how the car in front of them should have gone through the yellow light so that they could have sped through the light before it changed red. Sometimes they even start to verbalized derogatory names about other drivers. In these few minutes, instead of peace and relaxation, these drivers have worked themselves up into a fit of anger.
Its time to stop waiting and start relaxing. . Use this time to take a few deep breaths, feel your body, hear the music of life, and be aware of the details around you. When you bring your attention to your physical body and it's surrounding environment you are forcing your awareness outside of your head. This is an automatic tension reliever. Nothing can bother you when you are present in the moment.

When you are in a waiting situation, give yourself a break!

* Take a few deep breaths. Slowly inhale feeling the air expand your lungs. Then feel the tension leave your body with each exhale.
* Think an affirmation of gratitude for these few moments of tranquility that you are about to experience. “This is wonderful! I am so grateful for these few minutes of peace.”
* Bring your attention to your surroundings. Engage your senses and be aware of sights, sounds, and smells. Get out of your head and reconnect with the world.

Start actively relaxing in situations where you would normally find yourself waiting. It's time to reclaim these precious minutes of your day! Begin to experience the peace and serenity that you can enjoy in these same few minutes. This is one simple step to enjoying life.
Be happy, my Friends-
Laura barrette Shannon

Friday, June 10, 2011

It Is What It Is...

ACCEPTANCE- When we cultivate acceptance, it will begin to strangle the weeds of discontent. You’ve probably heard the saying, “It is what it is.” When we can begin to accept that certain things in life are beyond our control, then we can understand the uselessness of complaining about them.   When we complain, we are planting seeds of misery in our minds, and spreading those seeds to other people.  Complaining will amplify your fixation on a negative circumstance.  If you can change what it is you are wishing were different, then have the courage to do it.  If you choose not to, then stop complaining.  If it's something beyond your control, then the complaining serves only one purpose- to aggravate yourself and others around you.  
Be aware of what you talk about, and see if you can notice how much you complain, and how others will complain about the littlest things.  Be aware of hoe this makes you feel.  
Practice focusing on the positive aspects of life.  This will improve your moods, and raise the moods of others around you.  Living with acceptance doesn’t mean that you condone the imperfections of this world, it means that you have chosen to see beyond them in order to allow yourself to enjoy life.
Be HAPPY, my Friends!-

 Laura Barrette Shannon

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Wild Boar

Two men from different villages were out hunting for food. They both had hungry families at home waiting for some small bit of meat to cook into a stew. They didn't see each other in the dense forest, so when they both aimed and shot at a wild boar each man thought it was he who had hit it. As they approached the wounded boar, who was just lying there, they began to argue about who shot it and who had the right to bring it home. As they argued, they didn't even notice that the boar wasn't dead and had run away.

Don't be so caught up in arguing your point of view and trying to be right that you miss the big picture. When we come from a place of selfishness and lack, we are operating out of fear. The fear in these two men blinded them to the fact that there was enough to feed both families. Be aware of the benefits of working together toward a common goal.  When you are too attached to your view point it will hinder seeing other view points, which might prohibit you from seeing win/win resolutions to problems. Otherwise, everybody loses. 

Many Blessings-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is It Hard to Accept a Compliment?

DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO ACCEPT A COMPLIMENT? When we shy away from compliments, uttering something to diminish the praise, or even negate it, we are showing and reinforcing our lack of self worth.
See if you can catch yourself diminishing compliments and ponder why you do this.  How does it make you feel?  How do you feel when you give a compliment and someone doesn't receive it well?  Can you see the lack of confidence in others when they do this?  This is what you project to the world when you shirk off a compliment. 
Next time someone wants to praise you for your efforts or for just being you, practice responding with a self confident smile and replying with a genuine "Thank you." Remember, you are an amazing person! Let others acknowledge this when they experience your awesomeness! 
Feel your self worth and Be Happy my Friends!
~ Laura Barrette Shannon

Friday, June 3, 2011

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

 FLOW WITH LIFE like water going down stream. When rocks appear, effortlessly flow around the obstacles without even slowing down. The only dams you will encounter are the ones you build yourself: 
Attempting move against the current (moving backwards).
Getting stuck in a whirlpool (repeating the same mistakes over and over).
Attempting to run off course (moving away from your dreams). 
These movements are unnatural and filled with resistance. If you feel like your natural flow is off track, ask yourself if you are causing this resistance by choosing not to flow with life.  Row gently down the stream, and be merry!
Be Happy my friends! ♥ ~Laura Barrette Shannon