Time Management

Work smart, not hard…is my approach to time management. For me it’s all about making life’s activities daily activities more efficient so I can spend time on the things that really matter.

In life there are things that must be done and things you want to do. To get them all completed in a timely fashion, you will want to implement some kind of time management system.

Step 1: Prioritize

This means differentiating between those things that must be done today and things that you would like to do. Some examples of things that must be done today are: appointments, school, work, morning routine, taking out the trash, daily exercise, laundry, grocery shopping, and other errands. An example of things you would like to do could be: researching a topic you’re interested in, taking a course online, listening to podcasts, painting, hobbies, watching a tv show, or other enrichment activities.

For me the things that must be done today take precedence over the things I want to do so I will tackle those first and use the other activities as a reward for completing tasks.

Step 2: Pick 3 goals per day. Work with your SMARTER goals, but only give yourself 3 main goals for the day.

As part of my end of day review, I set up my three main tasks for the next day. First, I look at my schedule and see if there’s any important appointments or activities, then I look at my long term goals and pick tasks from there. An example of three main tasks for a day for me could be:

  • Chiropractor
  • Work on the garden
  • Write a blog

Having only three goals doesn’t mean that you’re limited to doing only three things. I pick only three main things to build confidence and to monitor daily progress toward the larger goals. As a high-functioning anxious person, this will put my mind at ease knowing that I have completed enough to be satisfied for today. I also believe that we live in a culture that celebrates being “busy”. What I’ve noticed in my own life is that when I am “busy” either realistically or artificially, I miss the flavor and depth of day-to-day happenings.

Step 3: Set a Time Limit/Window

If you have a lot going on in life like working full-time, going to school, raising a family, or some other time consuming life events, you can still achieve your other goals by carving out a window of time each day. For example, if you want to learn how to play an instrument, start a business, or begin a meditation practice, you can set a specific amount of time each day that you will dedicate to this activity.

An example from my life is setting up a two hour window in the morning for my morning routine. I make it a point to wake up 2 hours before the first thing on my schedule. This allows me enough time to get ready for the day, get in a good mindset, take care of any at home tasks, stretch, etc. without being rushed. This time is super important for me because it sets the tone for the day.

Step 4: Take Breaks Between Tasks

A good rule of thumb for work or longer projects is to work for 50 minutes followed by 10 minutes off. This helps to keep your brain fresh for endurance tasks.

With multiple different tasks, you can try breaking up the tasks with a water break or a snack. If the task is something like research or a meeting I like to take a few moments to journal any thoughts, feelings, or questions that may have come up. This helps determine the next step on a project.

Step 5: Remove Non-essential Tasks

Every now and then, its a good idea to have a look at the grand to do list and cross some things off that are not essential for completing your long-term goals. For me this often ends up being things like watching a certain movie, reading a particular book, or something that’s no longer relevant because I shifted the long-term goal along the way.

This process is similar to getting rid of old clothing. The trick is to put everything on a hangar, and every time you do laundry, you hang up the clean clothes on the right side. After so many months, the clothes you never wear will be on the other side and you can donate them.

With your to do list, this would be the stuff at the bottom. If it hasn’t been done in three months, you probably won’t get to it. Take a load off and delete those items. If they are important enough to you, you’ll remember to do them at some point in the future.

Step 6: Re-evaluate

Time management is a continuous re-evaluation process. Your life goals or situation may change drastically and you will need to reprioritize different aspects. You may discover a new work-out routine or method of completing tasks which can cause a shift by making you more efficient with your time. Either way, as you work with time management, you’ll get to know yourself better and how to use your time wisely.

Do you have tips or tricks for time management? Write them in the comments below!

End of the Day Reflection

It’s the end of the day and things are winding down. Time to take stock of what happened and review. This is a great moment to reflect on the good things in your life, recognize areas where you have improved, and notice other things that came up to work toward.

The act of writing down your review of the day will help to solidify in your mind the direction of your life. It is a great way to track your physical, spiritual, and emotional progress. I encourage you to build your own end of day reflection routine. Remember to keep the routine simple and achievable so you know that you will do it every night. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

What went well today?

How often did I feel happy? What was I doing when I was happy?

Did today matter?

If today was my last day, would I be happy with it?

List 5-10 things I’m grateful for.

How can I make tomorrow better?

Who can I forgive?

What can I let go of?

What was today’s lesson?

How would I describe today in one word?

What didn’t go well today?

What did I learn about myself today?

Where can I send some healing energy out into the world?

What did I do that was nice today?

Here are some activities that you could add to your end of day reflection time:

  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Day Dreaming
  • Drinking Tea

Here’s a sample of my end of day reflection prompts:

What does your end of day reflection look like? Do you have any additional questions to suggest? Write me below in the comments!

Morning Mindset

You are a tiger coming out of your lair, getting ready to devour the day! In order to shake off dream land and get in the zone you need the perfect blend of “get-up-and-go”. Utilizing the first 20 minutes of the day to get pumped can set your day up for success.

There are many ways to get into your ideal morning mindset. I encourage you to craft your own set of daily prompts. Here’s a list of different ways to get into the flow:

Activities

  • Drink Coffee
  • Meditate
  • Yoga
  • Play with Pets
  • Journal
  • Listen to Music
  • Write down your dreams
  • Sing
  • Write out your long term goals
  • Look at inspirational quotes

Questions

  • What are my top 3 goals for today?
  • What things must be done today?
  • What can I get excited about?
  • What is one thing I could do to strengthen a relationship today?
  • What are my long term goals?
  • If I was a coach, what would I say to inspire myself?
  • What 5 things am I grateful for?
  • What is my intention for today?
  • What is something I could do today that is outside my comfort zone?
  • What kind of person do I want to be today?
  • What are my affirmations for today?
  • How can I brighten someone’s day?
  • How can I bring more consciousness to my day?

You only want to spend 20-30 minutes getting into your morning mindset. An example of a morning mindset routine could be:

Do push-ups and sit-ups for 10 minutes while listening to music that gets you in the zone. Write out your top three goals for the day. Set your intention for the day. Write out three affirmations and five things you are grateful for, check your schedule for the day, and have a hot cup of coffee.

Do you have any suggestions? What is your morning mindset routine? Write in the comments below!

How I got into Thai Yoga Bodywork

I was supposed to be a rockstar. Doing bodywork was never on my radar growing up. If you told me that I would be working in close proximity with people like this when I was younger, I would have called you crazy.

In my spare time when I wasn’t working toward being a rockstar, I studied. I started with the first philosophers and worked through them up until present time, then I read about psychology, metaphysics, quantum physics, and eventually intuitive medicine.

I have been studying intuitive medicine from different perspectives since 2006. I started with sound, voice, and music healing. Then I worked with the Tomatis Method, Thetahealing, Chakra healing, Vapassana Meditation, Guided Meditations, Affirmations, the metaphysical connection between the mind and body, understanding the beliefs and patterns that are associated with different diseases, and Reiki.

I wasn’t a big fan of talk therapies at that time. I kept on searching for something that resonated with me. It was when I studied Reiki that I finally found something I could work with. Hint, hint….it wasn’t Reiki.

I was studying at a place in downtown Milwaukee and I loved the space so much that I emailed the owners and told them I had to work with them (not, could you hire me? do you have any openings? no, I HAD to work for them). I offered the services I had at the time of cleaning or answering phones. They said they needed more Thai Massage people and I replied, “Where do I get training?”

I started my training in Milwaukee and then started working. At first I was terrified to work on other people’s bodies. I felt it was such a huge responsibility and I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I continued. As I worked through that first year and a half I noticed the healing benefits of the work. I wanted to learn more.

A client of mine recommended the Thai Massage Circus which is taught in Laos every year during the month of February. I wanted to learn from the source and signed up for the training in 2016.

It was a life-changing experience. I felt that in Milwaukee I learned the A-B-C’s of Thai Massage and in Laos I learned how to write paragraphs and tell stories.

When I came back home, I opened Firewalker Arts and started practicing at my own space. Since then I have been back to Thailand to for additional training and learned foot reflexology.

And again, with foot reflexology, I was a non-believer when I started, but after several years of practice and hearing stories from my clients, I realized that the similarities were not just a coincidence.

I love this work and hope to continue to do bodywork for as long as I can. I have had countless clients come in and enjoy the transformative experience of Thai Massage.

SMARTER Goals!

You may have heard of SMART goals, which can help you to reach great heights, but did you know that SMARTER goals takes this concept to a whole new level? The last two letters stand for “Evaluate” and “Revise” and I believe they are an essential part of the process.

When you take the time to evaluate our progress, it gives you time to reflect on questions like:

Is this goal still something I want to go for or did new information present itself that is inspiring me to shift my course?

Do I need to break down my goal into a smaller step because I am missing some information or a specific skill?

After evaluating you can Revise your goals to reflect the shifts that you want to make.

SMART goals were first mentioned in an article by George T. Duran. If you haven’t heard of SMART goals before, let’s review the process briefly.

S – Specific

First you need to choose a specific area of improvement. This could be in the area of relationships, career, finance, hobbies, learning a skill, fitness, and so on. Let’s say for the sake of this article we focus on the area of fitness. Some great questions for setting a specific goal are:

What do I want to achieve?

Why is this goal important?

M – Measurable

Now we select a bench mark. Some fitness goal examples are: 1. Cardio three times a week 2. Play sports twice a week 3. 100 sit-ups a day –and so on. The goal needs to be measurable so you can know when you have achieved success.

How much?

How many?

How will I know when the goal is accomplished?

A – Achievable

Now we want to make sure that this goal is achievable. If it’s not achievable at this time, maybe the goal needs to be broken down into a smaller step first to get to a point where it’s achievable. For the fitness example, do you have all the equipment you would need? Do you need a gym membership?

Do I have all the resources I need to achieve this?

How realistic is it based on my constraints?

R – Relevant

In the fitness example, you may have a broader goal of becoming fit or being healthy. If that’s the case, your fitness goal aligns with your values of being fit and healthy.

Does this goal align with your long-term goals and values?

Is it the right time to work toward this goal (seasonal, political, financial, or other restrictions)?

Is it the right time in your life to work toward this goal?

T – Time Specific

Setting a time frame can really help you to become motivated to achieve your goals. In the fitness example this could mean engaging in cardio 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

When will you see results?

How long will you engage in the activity for? Minutes? Weeks? Months?

Do you want to complete this goal by a specific date?

E – Evaluate

As mentioned above, this step can be important in determining if you need to correct your course. You might be struggling with achieving your original goal, or find that you don’t like a particular exercise and need to switch to something else. This phase of evaluation will help you to recognize a change is needed.

Is this goal still relevant?

Is this goal still achievable?

Did I learn new information that inspired me to change course?

R – Readjust

Now that you’ve evaluated your progress you have the opportunity to adjust your original goal. You might also change your approach to achieving the goal. Let’s say you started your fitness program at home, but found yourself unmotivated. Maybe attending a class at a gym would help to keep you accountable to your goal.

Readjust may also apply to your mindset. Take a moment to consider the thoughts you have that arise when you are engaged in activities. If you find that there’s a lot of negative chatter, try using some positive affirmations to make your work easier. Say to yourself “I can achieve anything I put my mind to” or “In it to Win it” before your activity.


Let me know how your SMARTER goals are coming along! Write me below in the comments.

References:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/smart-goals

https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/brief-history-of-smart-goals.php

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

How to Handle Mars Retrograde 2020

September 9th – November 13th

2020 has been a year for the books. We have seen a lot of things come to light in 2020 vision and the ride is not over yet. While each of us have been clearing out the dense energies and emotions, the next couple of months will be like a highlight reel of the year so far.

Things you have already cleared will come up one last time to “say good-bye” and that’s exactly what you should do. Just wave and let it pass you by. If you find that these are bringing up deeper emotions try and just sit with them and watch them until they pass. What you don’t want to do is grab on and develop an attachment. Simply let it flow through you by focusing on your breath and recognize that this pattern presenting itself is an old version of you.

Mars is the planet of action and when it’s in retrograde your plans may feel like they are not moving forward. There’s a possibility to see people more frustrated during this time period because they are trying to push through this mud. To work with the Mars retrograde energy, it’s better to wait until the energy moves you forward. Sit in contemplation and re-evaluate your goals one more time. This year has been a major course correct for many people and even if you have already “Mari condoed” your life path or your home three times, it may be time to take one last sweep through to really focus and clean up. Come November, the train will start moving forward again at full speed ahead. You want to make sure that you are ready for this energetic shift.

Mars retrograde will also be bringing up anger issues. You may throw tantrums or see others throw tantrums. The best advice when you are witnessing this is to just hold this person in a compassionate way and wait until this is over. They are just letting go of anger and it’s important that you also don’t hold on to this release.

This is really good advice for the whole year and life in general. Humans are like a flickering flame, constantly in motion and never the same from one moment to the next. When someone is having an emotional reaction, hold them in compassion and when it is over, let it go with them. Holding on to emotions keeps us trapped in the past. We want to be continually showing up in the present moment and to do that we need to let go of our old selves.

This time will feel like the energy of the phoenix rising. The old will be burned off and the new you will rise up from the ashes. This will just happen due to the alignments at this time, just allow the energy to work on you and let go of your old self.

Much Love & Light!

-Ananda

Fundraising for Mali, Africa

This summer I’m interning for International Solidarity for Africa – Mali. Their mission is to ensure a path of sustainable development for the people in Mali by supporting collective participation in several different projects.

Some of their projects are:

Revitalizing Communities Through Sustainable Growth

Restoration of Soil Degradation and Adapt to Climate Change

Providing Drinking Water and Sanitation by Installing Three Wells and Providing Sanitation Materials

Providing Support to the Association of Women of Magnambougou via Market Gardening

The objectives of this virtual internship are to spread awareness of their organization and raise funds for their various projects.

We have been working with the head of the organization Adama and another American intern, Ashley, in developing an English version of their French website so their organization can better reach an American audience. You can see the two sites here:

English

French

It has been a pleasure to work with the head of the organization, Adama, who has been incredibly supportive and grateful for our efforts. He has dedicated his life to this project and it really shows in all the good things they have accomplished already. To help them continue to mission, you can donate to a fundraiser:

1000 Cranes for $1000

All funds raised will be delivered to SIA for use on their projects, specifically on the ones related to women’s empowerment.

How does it work?

The fundraiser will run for the month of August, 2020.

For each $1 raised, 1 Origami Crane will be made.

Each $1 donated is 1 entry into a raffle. The raffle winner will receive all the Origami Cranes (shipped by mail).

Each Origami Crane has a positive affirmation written on the inside, like a fortune cookie, so you can continue to spread the love by giving them away!

There’s more:

You can tune in to the fb live event and watch the making of the Cranes! First we will do a short tutorial of how to make a crane, then we will listen to podcasts and YouTubes on the topic of sustainability!

Follow Firewalker Arts on FB to get a notification of when we go live!

After the fundraiser is complete, we will make a short video thanking all of the donors for their support.

Encyclopedia of Hip Stretches: Frog Pose

This stretch is both amazing and challenging. It opens the hips and literally looks like frog legs. Because this is a more difficult hip stretch, caution is advised in entering and exiting the stretch. To get into frog pose, you will first need a yoga mat. Start in table pose on all fours. One at a time move a knee to the side, in line with the hip. When you have both knees out away from the center, check the angle of the bend in your knee. Adjust the angle to 90 degrees. Then come down on your forearms.

To adjust the difficulty of this stretch you can widen your knees. You can hold this position for one minute and work up to holding it for longer times. To exit this pose, crawl your arms forward until you are laying on the ground, then bring your knees in. This will avoid putting unnecessary strain on your groin muscles.

Variations:

Health Benefits:

  • Prevent Diabetes
  • Improve Digestive System
  • Relieve Anxiety and Stress
  • Strengthen Hips, Back, Knees, and Ankles
  • Reduce Fat from Belly, Hips, and Abdomen
  • Enhance Kidney and Liver Function
  • Treatment for Menstrual Cramps

Contraindications:

  • Pregnant Women
  • Ulcers, specifically Peptic Ulcers
  • Abdomen Post-Op (even if it has been several years, caution is advised
  • Severe Migraines
  • Full Stomach
  • Severe Back Pain

References

https://www.rishikulyogshala.org/top-7-health-benefits-of-mandukasana-frog-pose/

https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/mandukasana/contraindications

Encyclopedia of Hip Stretches: Psychological/Metaphysical Connections

What does this mean?

If you have ever read Louise Hay or studied the yoga postures, you probably came across the idea that we hold emotions and belief patterns in different areas of the body. It is believed that specific areas of tension mean certain things. I believe this is true in a very generalized sense. Every person’s story is a bit different, but on the whole human emotions occur on a similar spectrum. In this blog we are going to review the spectrum of emotions that can get caught in the hips.

Louise Hay is a huge person in understanding the metaphysical connections to the body. In her book “You can Heal your Life” she goes through the entire body to show you both the possible causes and the affirmations to heal certain emotional states. She believed that Illness however mild or severe is an indicator of your emotional state, caused by your thoughts and focus.

For Louise the Hip is about carrying the body in perfect balance. They are the major thrust in moving forward. If you have hip pain you may have a fear of going forward with major decisions or feel like you have nothing to move forward to.

Affirmations: 

I am in perfect balance. I move forward in life with ease and with joy at every age.

What do affirmations really do?

Affirmations are a way to reprogram your mind. Whatever you focus on in life will grow. These phrases focus your mind to allow the feeling of “being in perfect balance” to grow in your life. 

As a hypothetical example, if you wake up every morning with hip pain and also think “There’s really no point in getting up because nothing I do ever matters.” That is going to impede your desire to move forward. If you take the time to meditate on the above phrase and ask these questions: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Does this improve the silence? If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to take control of your inner voice and focus it into a new direction. You probably wouldn’t say something like that to your friend so why would you say it to yourself?

You can take control of your thoughts and your outlook on life by focusing on positive phrases. 

Our Spiritual Nutrition

One of my favorite quick reference metaphysical online resources is “Our Spiritual Nutrition”. It a comprehensive collection of psychological connections and metaphysical explanations for aches, pains, diseases, and mental health disorders. The only downside to this site is the lack of positive affirmations as remedies to the dis-ease, but if you take a few extra moments when reading you can create your own positive affirmations.

Here’s what Our Spiritual Nutrition Says about the hips:

Represent our comfort (or lack thereof) with letting go of the past
Issues that can arise:
Arthritis – Inability to move forward for fear of leaving someone or something behind. Unable or unwilling to release an out-dated belief system. Can be a fear of being left behind (abandonment) or of becoming useless
Broken – Anger that one is being forced to change because of changes that occurred that were beyond one’s control. Victim attitude.
Bursitis – Anger and distress about the constant chang
es that life brings

The Spiritual Meaning of Hip Pain

  • Fear of making major decisions.
  • Feel as though you have nothing to look forward to. 
  • Feeling a lack of physical and/or emotional support.
  • Resistance to current experiences.
  • Fear of moving forward in life, career, relationship.
  • Fear of the future.
  • Fear of change. 
  • Inability to let go of the past.
  • Feeling unable to stand alone. 
  • Anger at parents.
  • Concerns about your life purpose. 
  • Fear of intimacy.
  • Holding on to past hurt. 
  • Withdrawing energy from a person or relationship.
  • Feeling as though you are on shaky ground. 
  • Feeling insecure.
  • Feeling useless.
  • Wanting to move away from a person or situation.
  • Carrying too much emotional weight for others. 
  • Finding it hard to be independent.
  • Conflict between moving forward and holding on. 
  • Anxiety.
  • Fear.
  • Financial Fear.

It’s a good time to stop what you’re doing, pause, take an inventory of your life, and slow down before making any major decisions. Reevaluate the pace of your daily life. 

Right hip: What you express, give out, and assert. Pain in this hip could be an unresolved issue regarding one of these topics.

Left hip: Represents the mother, family, nurturing. Pain in this area could be unresolved issues regarding these topics.

Other Affirmations

I am always connected to the infinite love and gratitude of the universe and no one can hurt me.

I honor it is not knowing the HOW but focusing on my desires.

I carry myself in perfect balance.

I am able to process, metabolize, and release all emotions.

I release any fear I have stored in my hips.

I release any anger I have stored in my hips.

I am free to move.

My hips are strong and healthy.

I allow myself to believe I deserve to heal.

I let go of the past with ease.

I am confident.

I am useful.

I am abundant.

You can create your own custom affirmations to heal whatever hip pain you may be experiencing. The easiest way to create an affirmation is to look at a phrase like “I fear change” and state the opposite starting with “I” or “I am”. For example: say “I allow change in my life” or “I adjust to change easily and effortlessly”

Comments:

Do you have any questions about the psychological and metaphysical connection between thoughts and hip pain?

Did you come up with some amazing affirmations you want to share?

Comment below and start a conversation!!

References:

Louise Hay

http://www.ourspiritualnutrition.com/is05.htm

https://www.insightstate.com/health/hip-pain-spiritual-meaning-causes-healing/

https://www.healing-affirmations.com/24-emotional-issues-directly-linked-to-hip-pain/

Encyclopedia of Hip Stretches: Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose was the first hip stretch I ever learned about therefore it is here marking the first entry in the encyclopedia. I was drawn to this yoga posture because you were encouraged to take the position and hold it for a longer period of time. I really enjoy long stretch holds because they allow me to breath more deeply into the posture and relax my frame at my own pace. This allows me to come to a greater understanding of what it feels like when I hold tension in my body and conversely what it feels like when I release. Essentially this posture taught me how I “let go”.

We can store a lot of tension and trauma in the hips so be aware that you may have strong emotions that accompany this position or come after. This is totally normal, just allow the emotions to flow out of you. When you consistently practice releasing the tension and emotions from the hips it will become easier for you to both let go and keep your energy clear.

The Benefits of Pigeon Pose:

  • Stretching the Glutes, Groin, and Psoas muscles
  • Stimulate Internal Organs
  • Alleviate Sciatic Pain
  • Relieve Impinged Piriformis
  • Help with Urinary Disorders
  • Improves Posture
  • Releases Stress, Anxiety, Fear & Trauma
  • Relieve Back Pain
  • Reduce Chances of Knee Injuries
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Builds the Mental Strength to Endure Uncomfortable Situations

Contra-Indicated for:

  • Knee Injury
  • Sacroiliac or Back Injury
  • Ankle Injury

Let’s Do It:

I like to get into Pigeon Pose from a downward dog. Be sure to practice with both sides. In these instructions I’ll just describe the right side. From a downward dog, swing the right leg through between your hands and then lower your whole body while laying your right leg in front of you. Line up your right knee with your right hand. To adjust the difficulty you can change the angle of your leg by moving the ankle closer or further from your torso. Once you have found a suitable position (not totally comfortable, but not too unbearable) you can bring your arms forward and relax every muscle in your body, letting gravity do the work of stretching the hip.

You can spend some time just hanging out in this pose. I like to listen to my favorite song, which is about 3 minutes long, to time how long I should hold the stretch.

Variations:

If you are not able to get completely into this stretch, use a yoga block, pillow, blanket, or whatever you can to brace your body. You don’t have to be a yoga master to get the most from this stretch. The most important thing is to go at your own pace.

Other variations are ways to make this stretch deeper. You can move your right ankle further away from the torso, bend your left leg and grab ahold of your left foot, and even lift your body up and bend backwards. All of these are different ways to get more out of pigeon pose.

Partner:

In the Thai Massage practice, I perform what I call a “reverse pigeon” pose with the client. Starting with the client face up, place your right knee outside of their left hip. Create a table for their legs with your left leg. Drape both of their legs over your left leg. Then figure 4 their left leg. Create a straight line from your right shoulder, elbow, and wrist through their knee and pointing to their left shoulder. (remember not to place your hand directly on the knee. I usually place my hand just below the knee on their thigh). Lean forward and let gravity do the work of the stretch. For more leverage, you can move your anchor knee (right) further away from their body. To bring variation to the stretch for them, you can adjust the position of their ankle with your left hand. (Do not apply downward or leaning pressure with the left hand).

Interaction:

Let me know how your pigeon pose journey is going. Do you have any questions or insights you’d like to share? Please comment below or send an email to: firewalkerarts@gmail.com

References:

https://www.active.com/health/articles/pose-of-the-month-pigeon-pose

http://harmonyyoga.com/article-1

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/hip-connections

https://www.doyou.com/how-to-do-pigeon-pose-for-everybody-26609/