#Self-Love September and Retreats Part 1

Women's Retreat 2017

River’s Bend Retreat Center, Philo, California.

Everyone needs and deserves a retreat at least once a year. This video was filmed last Wednesday, September 6th, and I was hitting the road to go on women’s retreat. After attending a couple of women’s retreats, I’ve made the decision to go at least once a year and it is one of the best ways I express self-love.

The women’s retreat I attended was found through my spiritual organization, but there are plenty for non-spiritual folks to choose from (just Google “retreats near me” and you will be amazed!). There’s a retreat type for every person.

Here are a few reasons why a retreat should be your next getaway: 

  1. You get a chance to get a break from the monotony of life. A retreat takes you out of your comfort zone and plops you into a place of tranquility and serenity. A change of scenery offers the senses a chance to play in a new area, which allows us to recharge and to grow.
  2. You can do as much, or as little as you’d like on your retreat. Most retreats offer several workshops during the course of the days you’re attending. During my first retreat, I attended every workshop. I skipped workshops on my second retreat because it was more important for me to recharge in solitude than to do lots of group activities.
  3. The hustle and bustle of life falls away and you get back to your own internal clock. My one wish for the retreats I attended was to serve breakfast later in the morning because I wanted to follow my own internal wake up clock.
  4. This is a time to get inspired. I used my oracle and tarot cards as journal prompts. I created all sorts of crafts in our retreat’s craft temple. I meditated on what how my business could grow. Inspiration was found in the conversations with other women and in my own conversations with myself. I learned I actually am crafty and now I can take that back to my regular life, as a tool to decompress when need be.
  5. Unplug. Hopefully where you retreat there will be no cell phone service. If there is, turn your phone off. Retreat means to pull back from the world. Let the world miss you for awhile.

We all need to retreat, to go within and to sit with ourselves. Even if it means creating your own retreat by booking a hotel room or cabin for a long weekend – invest in your mind, body and spirit. You are so worth the the time, money and effort and your sanity will thank you later for it.

Much Love and Blessings, 

Kim 

Abundant Life Tarot 

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The Haves and the Have Mores

Hearst Castle

My photo of Hearst Castle July 2017

This summer, my husband and I decided to celebrate our fifth anniversary by visiting Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California and it truly was a wonder to bear witness to. What appears to be an endless estate perched high up on a hill that overlooked the sea, was built during the Great Depression, during abject poverty.

IMG_20170904_093503_043

Hearst Castle, Grand Dining Room July 2017

I was struck by how Hearst was able to imagine such a kingdom, in a time when all around him was going bankrupt. There were times Hearst himself faced financial hardships, but what differentiated him from the rest of the world, was his belief that he remained affluent and abundant, even through the depression. He had an attitude of abundance and his legacy was assured, simply because he believed and imagined.

That’s the lesson for me in visiting Hearst Castle – one must keep an attitude of being wealthy, abundant, and healthy, if they are to have those attributes begin to show up (and stay) in their lives. The dips of financial wealth do not bind our future  to poverty – but a lack mentality will most certainly lock you to a fate of struggle. Do not allow negative feelings towards your today’s lack experience to color your tomorrow’s financial experiences.

Tying your worth or even your ability to generate money energy by your current bank account balance will surely keep you in a low funds lifestyle. Tying your overall health and wellbeing to today’s pain and suffering, will surely foster more future agony. I say this from a place of knowing real, true physical and emotional pain and with the authority that even with all the pain there is in this world, you can still carve out a few seconds to allow yourself to feel your way into manifesting how you truly want to feel.

Even for just a few seconds a day, hold your highest goals and thoughts in your heart and mind – to begin the paradigm shift needed to change course to your right direction.

You must look past the current circumstances and how you do this is by setting goals, creating and saying affirmations daily, and taking action steps in the general direction you’re trying to go. As with any change in life, initially there will be evidence of struggle and at times chaos, but in time, as your thoughts begin to purify from lack-filled ruminations to ones of abundance, your life will start showing signs of change for the better.

Right or wrong, for better or for worst, Hearst held the belief he was to have and hold abundance for generations to come and guess what, that’s what he got. All you and I want in this life is to experience a colorful, abundant life. Let’s be like Hearst and know abundance is already ours for the taking.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley 

Cultivating Your Spiritual Practice

Image courtesy of Spirit On Hook Displays Spiritual Body Or Purity by Stuart Miles from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Spirit On Hook Displays Spiritual Body Or Purity by Stuart Miles from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

There are day to day activities we do that are chockfull of spirituality. Your spiritual rituals and rhythm can be found in your chores, errands, daily commute, daily work tasks, exercising and spending time with family and friends. Oftentimes, we think of going to church, praying, and meditation as the only means to cultivating a spiritual practice. But, when we recognize how natural and easy it is to carve out a spiritual connection, the world seems abound with many spiritual growth opportunities.

Here are some ways to cultivate your day to day spiritual practices:

  • Stay on the lookout for pockets of time you can take to meditate or to think on what you’re grateful for. Book a conference room at work for you to turn down the lights and meditate. It only takes a few minutes for a mindfulness reboot. If you can’t book a room, go to your car, or do a walking meditation around the block on your breaks.
  • Download phone apps, such as Calm or Nature Meditation Sounds to have on hand to easily meditate. Or, consider creating a YouTube subscription to all of your favorite guided meditation or nature sound videos.
  • When you find yourself in a limiting or defeating thought, consider Esther Hicks/Abraham’s suggestion of the Seventeen Seconds Process where you countdown seventeen seconds as you shift your thoughts to something lighter and better serving. Rae Zander and Heather McKay Novak of Everyday Attraction Podcast’s June 5, 2015 show “The Most Powerful Alignment Practices of All Time” discuss the Seventeen Second Process in greater detail (http://www.unity.fm/episode/EverydayAttraction_060515). They sourced their information from the originator of the Seventeen Second Process, Esther Hicks/Abraham-Hicks of http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/index.php.
  • Keep Your cell phone or MP3 player full of positive, New Thought, or inspirational Podcasts to listen to on your commute. I look forward to my twenty minute drives to work thanks to the inspirational Podcasts that spark my imagination and inspire me.
  • There’s nothing more spiritually uplifting than calling an old friend to catch up on life and laughs. When you need a pick-me-up, call up a friend and be their pick-me-up.
  • Take a walk. Even a brisk, ten minute walk in the sun is enough time to get mindful and connected to your inner thoughts. Say some affirmations, think of what you’re grateful for, or, clear your mind.
  • Keep a little journal near you to capture random divine coincidences, things you are grateful for, or even ideas and sparks of interest you want to explore. Make sure its small enough to fit in your back pocket or purse so there’s no excuse to be without it.
  • Read spiritual text and holy books. Read all there is – blogs, books, memoirs, poems and journals, just to name a few. Even if you can only manage a couple of pages a day, you will gain some spiritual nourishment and insight to any give situation.
  • Let the music carry you away. What’s your favorite music genre? Why did you fall in love with that type of music? Fall in love all over again with a long lost genre you used to groove to. Spirituality can also be found in singing songs, so sing away.
  • When exercising, have inspirational Podcasts, affirmations (create your own for a powerful experience), or music that allows your mind to run free playing through your earbuds. I like combining my workouts with spiritual practice because I’m a busy lady and I need to combine my activities.
  • Play in the recesses of your mind. Daydream, get lost in your thoughts and fall in love with the Inner You.

Janice Campbell of Receive Your Life Podcast reminds us that all of us have a spiritual practice that feeds our soul and it’s up to each of us to nourish our spiritual selves everyday on her May 28, 2015 show, “Your Spiritual Practice” (http://www.unity.fm/episode/ReceiveYourLife_052815). It was Janice’s May 28th Podcast that inspired me to write this post to remind us to honor what it is that moves us and have our being.

Can you find spiritual fulfillment in the mundane, like housecleaning or your daily work duties? It doesn’t take a lot to indulge daily in what makes you spiritually connected and happy.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

March is Blood Clot Awareness Month

Blood clots kill one person every six minutes, on average. Many deaths can be prevented with recognizing the symptoms and getting immediate medical attention.

Being aware of the symptoms makes the difference between life and death. Here’s my post from March 16, 2014, in which I share some life saving tips. Feel free share this information with friends and family.

I Choose Life

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick, published on 17 February 2012 Stock Image - image ID: 10073347, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick, published on 17 February 2012 Stock Image – image ID: 10073347, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

March is Blood Clot Awareness Month and since I had a clot in my left lung last summer, this is a great time to share some life saving tips to my friends. 350,000 – 600,000 people in the United States develop blood clots every year. About 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from blood clots, which means that about 1 in 3 may die.

The difference between life and death is awareness of the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention at an emergency room. Quick medical intervention is what saves lives. A devastating and unfortunate occurrence is misdiagnosis – medical professionals confusing blood clot symptoms with other conditions like pneumonia.

Even if you do not personally experience symptoms, a friend or relative might and you can urge your loved ones to seek immediate medical attention. I choose to live and I want others to live long lives, too.

Blood clotting is your body’s natural way to prevent bleeding out when you sustain a serious cut or wound. Sometimes blood clots form when and where they are not supposed to, which could lead to pulmonary embolisms, strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood clots that are created inside a blood vessel,can cause swelling in your legs and travel up to vital organs. In my case, we’re not exactly sure, but my clot may have started in my leg when I bumped it on the edge of my bed, and then traveled up to my left lung, causing a pulmonary embolism. Link to my blood clot story: https://abundantlifeinitiative.com/2014/01/04/kimbery-jo-cooleys-blood-clot-story/

I am still on blood thinners, but I also say this affirmation: “My blood clots when and where it is supposed to.” Update: I now  say, “my blood flows freely and does what it needs to do to sustain my body.”

I am blessed with attentive and knowledgeable medical providers and a great resource in http://www.stoptheclot.org.

I have to emphasize there are some people who exhibit NO risk factors and still have spontaneous blood clots, which is why I find writing this blog post necessary. It’s still important to know the risk factors and critically important to know the symptoms.

According to Stop the Clot, the risk factors are:

  • Family history of blood clots, especially in parents, sisters and brothers
  • Recent hospital stay or surgery
  • Chronic medical illness or long-term bed rest
  • Limited ability to move
  • Recent trauma or injury
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Knee or hip replacement surgery
  • Obesity
  • Using birth control pills or hormone replacement
  • Pregnancy or immediately after having a baby (C-Sections further increase this risk)
  • Traveling more than 4 hours by plane, car, train or bus (without walking around)

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs and Symptoms

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs but sometimes in your arm.

  • Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
  • Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
  • Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
  • Leg (or arm) warm to touch

These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm. Contact your doctor if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.

Pulmonary Embolism: Signs and Symptoms

Clots can break off from a DVT and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

I now have to take frequent work breaks to walk around as I have a sedentary job where I sit for hours each day. I take blood thinners and go to my medical provider once a month to have my blood checked to ensure no blood clots will form based on my blood levels (Update: Sometimes I have to go to the clinic more frequently when my medication needs adjustment). It has been an eye opening experience, to say the least. But, I choose life. I choose to share what I’ve learned from my experience with others, so they can choose life, too.

Additional Resources:

http://www.stoptheclot.org/

http://bloodclotrecovery.net/

http://www.bloodclot.org/

~Your Curator of all things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Reference:

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2008.

http://www.stoptheclot.org/learn_more/blood_clot_symptoms__dvt.htm

Are Your Health Goals in Alignment with Your Values?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, 2013, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, 2013, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

I and many others are embarking on a health and wellbeing journey. It has not been easy, but it has already reaped rewards and it’s because my resolutions are in alignment with my values (finally!).

Weight Management: I am not particularly interested in calorie counting or counting pounds. In fact, I am not going to weigh myself until my biometric screening in June. Counting lost or gained pounds are counterproductive – especially when one is building muscle mass as they work out.

Others find solace in seeing lost pounds, whereas I find solace in feeling great, having tons of energy and sleeping well at night. I want overall wellbeing – few to no colds, a general sense of great health, and a knowing that my body is thriving.

There’s no right or wrong way to look at weight management. What’s most important is whether or not your weight management styles are in alignment with your true values.

Nutritious Diet: I value consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. My mother gifted me a NutriBullet for Christmas and I now I am cultishly juicing/extracting everyday. I’m hooked. Now I crave fruits and vegetables over chips and cookies. Juicing assists with my value of consuming a large amount of fruits, vegetables and nuts. I don’t beat myself up over having a meal at a diner or a dessert. I know I am in the land of the living and sometimes I want to indulge. I make all the conditions in my life to allow me to easily eat or drink when and what I want.

Moderation is key. Because I am on blood thinners, I can only consume a small amount of alcohol, so I save drinking for special occasions. I eat everything in moderation and never feel compelled to finish everything on my plate. I am a lifelong naturally slow eater, which I’m told is a good thing (a pain for my friends and family, but a good digestive/metabolic thing for me).

Exercise: I was the biggest gym rat ten years ago – going five to six times a week. Before that, I would rally up friends to take belly dancing classes with me. I do not have a gym membership presently, but I do have my beloved elliptical machine in my garage, some great 1980s ab workout videos and YouTube exercise How-tos. I also have my sneakers and long, suburban blocks to walk. There are several parks in walking distance that I can jog to. I may get a gym membership, but I have exercise at my fingertips right now, free of charge.

So many of us think we have to go to the gym and that there’s one way to fitness. Fortunately, there are many paths to great physical fitness that can be aligned to our personal values – not just what’s the latest fitness fad or what others are doing to stay fit.

Meditation: My relationship with meditation has strengthened over the last year. I carve out ten to fifteen minutes of my lunch break most work days to meditate. I book an empty conference room, turn down the lights, tune in to my YouTube meditation channels on my cellphone and I meditate. Sometimes, it feels like I’ve left my body, the building, the planet, only to become aware of reentry into my physical being when the music or chants stop. Meditation is what grounds us and at the same time releases us from the clutches of worry, anxiety, and earthly issues. I am most proud of myself for continuing to meditate on a regular basis, even at work.

Singing: I don’t sing for others, I sing for myself. I sing when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m driving, and when I’m feeling silly or serious. Singing is a form of exercise and meditation for me, all mixed into one. After losing my breath during my pulmonary embolism episode, I value feeling good and breathing. I can breathe, damn it!

What makes us beautifully human is our ability to sing, dance and be merry. Love your body, this earthly vessel that carries you. When we forget to love ourselves, our body communicates to us what is needed to get back into alignment. Sometimes that communication is illness, injury, or depression.

When we start to recognize and honor our values, our goals naturally flow and align to and from them, effecting lasting, positive changes in our lives.

~Your Curator of All Things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Be Abundant

Image, "Beautiful Seascape" courtesy of foto76, from  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image, “Beautiful Seascape” courtesy of foto76, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

You are already abundant.

Like the oceans, you are inherently abundant. All that you need is in you, and through you by God.

Take a look around. Feel the sensations in and outside your body. Notice your breaths and deepen them. Thank God for each breath and the ability to deepen them – not everyone can. Notice the twitch in your right big toe, or your stomach signals of fullness or hunger, or how you have goose bumps. Behold your extraordinary body! Behold the abundance you already are and that’s around you.

Your body is the vessel for your soul. Nurture it and be grateful for the great health you continuously experience. Be grateful that at age ___, you’re still able to __________ (name something that’s awesome that you can do, no matter what it is and no matter what age you’ve selected).

Your connection to Source is what sustains you – and you are forever buoyed by this Knowing and Being. Your Source is not external of you, but can produce external things as the fruits of your Creative Thoughts and cooperation with Spirit. Source is not just internal of you. It can be anything and everything – the only limitation is the beliefs you continue to hold on to. Spirit is intrinsic of you and you are intrinsic of Spirit.

Be the abundance you seek. Once you realize your Source comes from within and radiates out, then you will know true abundance. Once you know there is an eternal spring of Source to tap into, you will know you are eternally abundant.

Turn within, look within and be within. The answers to your questions, needs and wants are not outside of you, but are within and from within. Sometimes, stillness is where the answers lie, and sometimes movement and fellowship the answers will come. The only way to know which way to go is to look within and see where Intuition and Spirit is guiding you.

It’s important to take a few moments to sit in stillness. Take five to ten minutes each day this week to sit in stillness, keep a notepad close by so when you’re done meditating, you can jot down the revelations you’ve received.

To walk and be in abundance should come easier with this Knowing. This Knowing is evidenced all around you and is a Universal truth so many deny themselves. Don’t deny yourself this truth – you ARE an abundant being.

Image courtesy of manifestprosper.com via pinterest.com.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Hibernation

Image Courtesy of papaija2008, published on 31 January 2014, from  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image Courtesy of papaija2008, published on 31 January 2014, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Hibernation is a survival strategy designed to conserve energy when conditions are harsh. – animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/hibernation.htm

Over the past week, I withdrew from social media, electing not to blog, not to Facebook, and to just Be.

Do humans hibernate? Should they? I think we do – and I think it occurs when external and internal conditions are harsh.

I am in the throws of downsizing, and self evaluating where I am and where I’m going. When I am in stressful situations, I withdraw from the world. I do not post every thought or concern in social media world. I retreat, until I am rested and ready to share again.

Do you hibernate? Do you retreat and if so, what are the conditions that compel you to disconnect? When you do disconnect, what do you do?

We have to share so much of ourselves in our everyday lives, both in reality and virtuality. Sometimes, it feels like we are always turned on and available. And, sometimes, it can be too much.

I will be back to blogging and social media connecting before long, after the harsh conditions of moving subside.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley