My mission with LIPH has always been and will always be to help others create peace and harmony in their homes.  My tag line, Everything begins in the home is a simple message that clearly expresses my view that everything in life absolutely, positively begins in the home.

Because this month is American Heart Month and also the month we celebrate love, this post is about your heart, your most personal HOME.  A healthy heart is crucial to a healthy body much as your homespace needs a strong foundation in order to support the structure you dwell in.  And, a heart needs to be healthy in two important ways:

  • Physically
  • Emotionally

A physically healthy heart

I’m not a doctor so I won’t even begin to try and preach specifics about physical heart health.  Just know I have had up close and personal experience with family and friends that have experienced heart problems or worse – heart attacks.

Here are some simple facts of heart disease to ponder:

  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of all deaths in the U.S. each year.
  • One-third of those that suffer a heart attack do not survive it.
  • In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women.
CeCe Hampton loving life

CeCe Hampton loving life

Speaking of women, my dear friend CeCe Hampton is a survivor of a heart attack herself.  I admire her greatly as she has chosen to be a spokesperson for the fight against Coronary Heart Disease.  CeCe’s heart attack came at the ripe old age of 31.  I spoke with her the other day about this and asked her what her message would be for other women on heart disease. This is was she said,

“Women need to listen to their bodies and look for any warning signs that something is askew.  We women will take our husbands or our children to the doctor right away but for some reason most of us ignore our own health and put it off for another day.”

CeCe told me that when she felt unusual pain in her chest, she practiced what she now preaches.  She listened to her body, went to the doctor and now is alive to tell her story.  By the way, if you want to hear more of her story go to:

http://www.goredforwomen.org/inspiring_stories.aspx

Thanks CeCe for allowing me to share with others an up close and personal experience of yours!  You go girl and while you’re at it – continue to follow your bliss!

An emotionally healthy heart

This is the part of heart health that truly fascinates me.  As I said earlier, I’m not a doctor, but it just makes sense to me that our hearts are affected by our emotions.  I believe that our bodies work from the inside out.  By that I mean that first we feel the emotion, then we physically respond to it.  For several years in my own life, stress wrecked havoc on my body.  All the chronic stress my body was under made war on my body like pollutants to destroy me physically.  I had to pay the Piper for all the trauma-drama in a myriad of ways that I still deal with today.  I believe that there is such a strong connection between the heart, mind and body that it is imprudent to separate them from a cause and effect scenario.  Each affects the other in my view.  And, there is plenty of compelling data to support this.  For example in the book, The Heart Speaks cardiologist, Dr. Mimi Guarneri “speaks” to this very subject.  She says that loneliness, grief, sadness, bitterness, hurt and anger can greatly impact a healthy heart.   Dr. Guarneri says people truly can have so much emotional damage to their heart that they die of “a broken heart”.  I believe it.

So, imagine if starting today each of us took a better look inside our hearts and posed the question, “How emotionally healthy are you dear heart of mine?”  Today, I would be able to honestly answer, “Pretty darn healthy dear friend.”  When I asked myself this same question a few short years ago the answer was just the opposite.  I knew I needed to reduce the stress in my life in order to be more emotionally heart healthy so I began to make some hefty changes in my life. By making these changes, I have made my heart emotionally strong.  Here are some of the ways I have done it:

  • By choosing to meditate.
  • By choosing to spend time in Nature as often as possible.
  • By choosing to focus on positive memories.
  • By choosing to add humor to my daily life.
  • By choosing to smile more.
  • By choosing to be positive.
  • By choosing to live in the moment.
  • By choosing silence.
  • By choosing to use the word “love” as a verb.

The operative word here is “choosing”.  After all, everything we do is a choice.  Nothing is going to change unless you choose to make changes.  It’s that simple.

Here’s the challenge ~ begin today to actively work on making your heart healthier both physically and emotionally.  Start with baby steps if you need to.  Baby steps progress into bigger steps for sure.  Remember, the choice is yours.

Choose to have a heart full of all the best in life you can have.  And by the way, just when you think your heart is full of all the best, something new will come along and add to your heart happiness.  Mine did just recently as a matter of fact.  My youngest son, Jimmy (my baby) officially chose the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.  She is a wonderful fit for Jimmy.  She loves the outdoors and even loved getting engaged in a tree stand deep in the woods in the cold of December 2011. Welcome to my heart HOME, Lailuma!  My heart swells with joy knowing my son is so deeply happy with you in his life!

Lailuma Miller in the great outdoors

Lailuma Miller in the great outdoors

To loving life and having a happy, healthy heart…

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The energy within our homes is comprised from many different sources.  An old home may have the energy of previous owners still lingering or a new home may have the builder’s energy or a very mixed energy from so many people going through it. When I speak of energy, it’s not the electricity provided by the power company but rather the feeling and vibration of a space, object or person.

Have you ever entered a room after an argument just took place there?  Even though the conflict is over, the charged, negative vibration remains.  Or, have you ever gone house hunting and for some reason, couldn’t put your finger on why the house just didn’t feel right or felt so welcoming?  Our homes are not only a reflection of us but of the other people who have entered or reside there.  Even a short visit by an angry person can affect the energy of a home or office.

The energy of conflict, anger, judgment, victim or other low levels can linger long after the event or person is gone.  It is important to clear and shift the energy in your home in order to create a space that reflects your vibration. This energy or vibration can be shifted through intention and action.

Rituals do the job

Practicing regular rituals to cleanse and elevate the energy of your home sets the intention of how you want your home to feel.  How does your home feel to you now?  By first building an awareness of the current energy, you will become sensitive to when a shift occurs.

Visioning how you want your home to feel to you when you enter is a good way to begin to build a home with the energetic vibration that reflects you.  Do you want to feel like you’ve entered a sanctuary?  A place of fun and high energy?  Joy? Tradition?

Native American Smudging Ritual

One common ritual to clear space involves smudging.  This is a Native American practice in which sage or cedar is burned to cleanse the energy.  You will need a sage smudge stick, a glass bowl or shell, and a feather if you wish.  Place a piece of sage in the bowl and light it.  It will begin to smoke and smolder.  Walking through your home, gently move the smoke in a circular motion with the feather or your hand.  You may choose to speak your intentions for your home out loud or in your mind.  Playing music that sets the tone for your intention is also a great addition to a smudging ritual.  Smudging accessories can be purchased online or at many book, botanical and new age stores. For a more detailed description of how to smudge your home, check out http://www.wehug.com/smudge-sage-ceremony.html

Quiet Space creates good vibes

Earth energy

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Another energy shifter I recommend to clients is to set aside a space where you meditate, pray or simply seek solitude.  This space can be a corner of a room or really anywhere that you can close the door and be quiet. Some people like to have an altar or focal point for their meditation or prayers.

Altars can be anything with meaning to you.  It may contain articles reflecting your spiritual beliefs, crystals, items from nature, candles, memory tokens or ancestral relics. Perhaps the décor changes with the seasons.   Ultimately the purpose of this space is to remind you of who you are and provide you with a private place to reflect, give gratitude, find peace and go inward.  It can also provide a focal point for meditation or prayer.

Other energy elevators include playing music, burning candles or incense, bringing nature inside with flowers, water, rocks and crystals, removing clutter and old belongings which no longer serve you and having colors and décor that reflect your spirit.

Boundaries protect Home energy

Learning to protect your home is also a good idea. Having good boundaries about whom and what is allowed in your sacred space is essential to maintaining a positive flow of energy.

One client used a very powerful energy shifting ritual prescribed by Sonia Choquette in her book “Trust Your Vibes.”  She was going through a difficult divorce and her future ex-husband kept entering her home unannounced and for no reason.  She used a ceremony called Green Fire to shift the energy.  It involves taking a large cooking pot and lining it with foil.  Place it in the main room or center of your home on more foil or a tile to protect your floor.  Pour Epsom salts into the pot and enough rubbing alcohol to cover the Epsom salts.  It doesn’t take much to get a really hot fire going so start small.  Think about the intention you have for your home.  (In the case of my client, she wanted the home to be hers and her ex to stop entering it without her consent.)  Light the mixture with a match.  You may want to stay near the fire until it burns out, saying affirmations for your intention out loud.  My client’s worked so well that the next time her ex came into the house he actually asked her “what the —- she had done to the house. “  It was the last time he came in without her permission.  This ceremony is a cleansing one for your home’s energy.  Holding good intentions for your space is positive.  In this example, the home’s new energy was so abrasive to her ex’s energy he was uncomfortable.

There is no wrong way to clear your home.  As long as your intentions for the space are clear, that is what will be conveyed.  Action is a powerful addition to intention because it gives intention form.  By holding both high energetic intentions and using ceremonies and rituals, your space will take on a beautiful vibration unique to you.

Honor your space…

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Where there’s work, there’s stress.

Deadlines, meetings on top of meetings, difficult bosses, unpleasant co-workers, they all can put a little stress in your life.  Try incorporating these changes into your day to help remedy work stress.

  1. Don’t Bring the Ring – Designate a chunk of your day to interruption-free time.  Turn off the cell phone, mute the ringer on your landline and log out of email.  The silence will be sweet music to your ears.
  2. Go Out to Lunch – Instead of grabbing a snack from the vending machine and working through lunch, take a break.  Give your mind a rest and your body a chance to refuel.
  3. Manage Your Time – If you give up your free time to get work done, you might pay for it with stress-related symptoms such as an upset stomach, backache or headache.  Schedule your work time to get regular work done, plus handle any unplanned projects that might crop up.  Then be just as vigilant toward planning in free time.
  4. Get Physical – Exercise can alleviate stress and it doesn’t have to be strenuous.  Think you don’t have time to exercise?  Yoga at your desk can make a difference.  Light yoga exercise and meditation can do the job.  It will help to relax the mind and energize the body.
  5. Talk it Out – Find a friend to laugh, cry and complain with but preferably not a co-worker.  It’s hard to carry the burden of your feelings all by yourself.  You will feel lighter by unloading some of your concerns with others you trust.
  6. Learn to Say “No” – Most of us want to be the nice guy but sometimes enough is enough.  If you don’t have time to do something, speak up.  Don’t commit because you feel you have to help others.  Learn to say “no”.  Listen to your feelings.  If it feels like a burden to you, it probably is.  Tell yourself, it will take time to do this, but you can do it.

Try these tips for yourself.  Not only will you reduce stress at work, but also you will be calmer, happier and more energized to enjoy the time in your home after a long day at work.

Stone lantern in meditation garden

Photo Credit: David Solganik

Think calm…

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About three years ago I buckled under the weight of some health issues.  I firmly believe these issues had manifested physically due to years of mental fatigue and stress from severe trauma-drama.  In fact, while going through some of the worst of the trauma-drama I even told myself that I knew one day all this was going to wreck havoc on my body.  It only made sense.  The trauma-drama had been like toxic fuel coursing through my body, carried throughout each part damaging it in ways I could not have begun to understand.

So, I decided that I needed to take ownership of being part of what created the mess.  If stress could create health issues by golly then, learning to de-stress could possibly change things for the better.

Meditation called to me.

Now here’s the funny thing about meditation.  I first learned of meditation in junior high school.  If I remember correctly, it was in Miss Hahn’s geography class.  We had someone come speak to our class about “T.M.” or Transcendental Meditation.  It sounded so intriguing and something I wanted to learn.  I went home after school and announced to my mother that I wanted to learn how to do this.  I still remember her look of horror- after all, she was a good Catholic!

With absolutely no preamble she said,

“No! That is hippie stuff!  It used to worry me that you would become a nun and now this? No!”

End of discussion.  Period.

(You see, I remember my grandmother, Nana telling me that my mother worried over how “religious” I was and she sure didn’t want me to become a nun.  I guess she wasn’t such a strict Catholic after all!)

Meditation, the best use of “Quiet Space”.

But, once in my early 50’s, I knew meditation was something I wanted to explore.  Thankfully, in my search I found Ranjit Deora with Charlotte Meditation.  After meeting with Ranjit, I called this time in my life a “before and after” time as meditation opened the door to an entire shift in me.  There was the “before meditating” and the “after meditating” division of my life and what a blessing.  Oddly enough, I sought to learn to meditate for my health.  What it brought to me was so much more.  It brought me full circle to the very essence of who I am ~ a loving, spirit filled child of God.  Thank you Ranjit for being at just the right place at just the right time for me.  I am truly forever grateful.  By the way, feel free to check him out on his website, www.charlottemeditation.com.  Tell him Jamie sent ya!

Now I meditate at least once a day.  It has become as important as taking a shower, brushing my teeth, eating, exercising and sleeping.  My body needs it and I have even created a private quiet space in my home specifically for the purpose of meditating.

I know lots of people that meditate as well.  For example, my daughter, Sammi meditates.  My brother-in-law, Dave Buergler practices what is called “conscious relaxation”.  This is a technique he first learned while his children Blaire and Carl were learning ways to prepare for dives and dive matches.  I know Carl uses “conscious relaxation” constantly as it helps him to visualize the entire process of a dive.  It is amazing that in doing this, his mind and his body work together to produce the best results of his athletic endeavor.  (By the way, today Carl is considered an elite junior diver.  This makes him one that college coaches watch and follow for the future.)

Consider learning to meditate.  It certainly takes practice but, the changes in your life that you will get from it are immeasurable.  In my view, meditation is the best way to achieve the benefits of being quiet.  And, as a Reiki Practitioner, I have learned first hand its’ benefits.

Silence is rejuvenating.

So, what does all this mean for you?  Do you make time for quiet?  Better still, while reading this are you understanding what quiet does for you?  Your children?  Your partner or spouse?  Your students, staff, friends?

Here are some interesting things to consider:

  • In many countries, certainly America- we are a nation(s) of chaos with many of us going, going, going- just like “The Ever-ready Bunny” on the commercial.  We are teaching our children to do the same thing.  This going, going, going greatly increases our stress levels.
  • Periods of “quiet time” give the mind and the body time to relax and center.
  • “Quiet time” is non-competitive.  Most everything else we do in life is.
  • “Quiet time” needs no special place- you can simply sit on a rug in your bedroom with the door closed; find a private spot in the yard; rock on the porch; swing in a hammock; walk in the park.
  • Breathing often changes during quiet moments making the mind more peaceful.  Blood pressure often drops as well.

Make a quiet space in your home.

Having said all this, creating quiet spaces in the home does help point you in the direction of observing silence.  Think about incorporating both “quiet time” and “quiet space” in your own homespace.  It can be as simple as a reading nook or a corner of your garden.  Or you can find a great place in the backyard for a hammock- my parents did and ask any of my nieces or nephews, they all remember being squished in together for quiet time while Papa served Tom Collins’s (boy, he could make the best) to us grown-ups at cocktail time around the pool.  And, my step-grandchildren Addison and Austin used to head straight for the backyard hammock whenever they came to visit while we lived in Charlotte.  Memories in the making!

The possibilities for creating quiet spaces are endless.  So, get started. And once you do or if you already do, feel free to share with other readers your ideas.  You never know, your idea of a unique “quiet space” might inspire others to make one, too.  Oh, and look for Sean Kalooky’s upcoming post on his Zen Garden.  You will love it!

One thought…

Silence is golden.

Sunset over rooftop

Photo credit: Sammi Blake

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