Note: This post was originally published in August 2016. Modifications have been made to the original post. This post also appears in our June 2019 newsletter. Get future newsletters by subscribing here.
Love has this amazing ability to spiral out into the Universe as a ripple effect. And love is something that all humans can draw on at any given time, in any given place, especially when others are in need. Our planet, and all the life it supports, needs love to ripple out in waves more than ever right now. But figuring out how to create such waves from a place of positivity, empowerment, and trueness can be puzzling and even debilitating. The first step in practicing the ripple effect is realizing that it starts with you.
I believe that love is not something we receive from the outside, but instead, something we find from within. Finding it, however, can be tricky. We must let our ego slip and allow ourselves to be present in the moment. This is not about what we "should" be doing for someone or something else. Instead, it's about believing in the inherent goodness of love and realizing that all of us are deserving of love. Only when we tap into our inner love in such a way, can we return the kind that genuinely radiates out into the world.
I always admired my parents for this gift they had of reaching out to those in need. But, I'm not sure it was always from a true place. By that I mean they were somewhat guilted into practice, as we all are, by norms and voices that say we should give to others. So, one of the first things you can do to practice the ripple effect is unravel the judgmental voice that we should do something. Now, this is a hard thing to tackle. I'd like to tell you a story of my own ripple effect experience in the hopes that it helps you create your own ripple.
"Love has this amazing ability to spiral out into the Universe as a ripple effect."
In 2016, I received a phone call from someone letting me know that a family member of mine was in jail. We didn't always have the best relationship growing up, but I knew then that this person needed my love. But before I could support them, I needed to forgive them. I worked on it and worked on it, both personally and with the professional help of others. But, that practice was worth it because when I drove to visit my family member in jail, I was able to meet them with unconditional love and support. This was the beginning of our journey to an amazing friendship and connection, which spanned beyond just us.
As I opened up my heart to this family member, they in return were able to open up their heart to their fellow inmates. One of those inmates continues to feel that ripple effect today. 'David' (as I'll refer to him here) has been incarcerated for 25 years and has many more to go, as he is carrying out a life sentence. I didn't know much about David other than he was friends with my family member, who told me that David often wanted to just 'give up' because he thought nobody cared about him.
One day, to David's surprise, he received a letter from a total stranger – me! I don't remember why I wrote that first letter and I'm not sure it really matters. What matters is that he felt love and connection from that letter. According to David, he felt as if God was saying, 'see I am worth it - you are loved!'
It's important to practice fully opening your heart and letting our ego-self and consciousness go – in that moment we can feel what true love is. We are not separate from one another. All living things are connected here on this Earth, sharing the same resources among one another. We could all use some strong, bold, and impactful ripple waves of love. So, start practicing. Let's keep the ripple going until it's a wave that has such force, we are all riding it together.
According to David, he felt as if God was saying, 'see I am worth it - you are loved!'
PS: The ripple is spreading – David received a surprise letter for the first time in 28 years from his son!
We recently celebrated Earth Day. In honor of our planet and the change of seasons, I'm sharing three health benefits that come from grounding with the Earth. By grounding, or making physical direct body contact with the Earth’s surface, we can reduce inflammation, improve our sleep and decrease stress. This concept is commonly referred to as 'earthing' or 'grounding.'
BENEFIT 1: REDUCED STRESS
If you go outside and put your toes in the grass, walk along the seashore, or touch the trees in your backyard, you'll likely experience a feeling of relaxation. When our body makes contact with the ground, it soaks up charged electrons that come from the Earth. Our nervous system is electrical and when we pump it with these negative electrons, we can induce a state of calmness and reduce stress.
BENEFIT 2: IMPROVED SLEEPING
While we no longer sleep on the ground as our ancestors did, we can still derive benefits from grounding with the Earth's surface. Emerging research suggests that earthing can shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and relaxation). In addition, scientists are finding that grounding the body during sleep might be important for setting the biological clocks regulating diurnal body rhythms.
BENEFIT 3: REDUCED INFLAMMATION
Earthing can enhance your health by reducing inflammation and pain in the body. The connection we have with the Earth enables free negative electrons to flow upward through the body, mitigating the effect of positively charged free radicals that are generated by inflammatory factors. Moreover, earthing normalizes cortisol levels, which can improve inflammation.
Wow! Now that is a proactive health boost that is doable, simple and loving to yourself. Let's pump our bodies with feel good vibes by soaking up those negative electrons. Take some time each day to make direct contact with the Earth. This simple act of earthing can help your body heal inflammation or pain, reduce stress, and help you sleep better.
Feel the gratitude and give thanks to the connection you have with Earth and the life that flows through everything!
How Wendy Practice Earthing
Gardening and nurturing plant life
Sitting on the ground or leaning against a tree, watching the surrounding insect and bird activity
Immersing her body in the water
Walking the beach and feeling the connection with the sand, rocks, shells and waves
Taking off her shoes before walking on her lawn
How will you practice grounding for your well-being? Share in the comments below and join our conversation in my private Facebook group, Mindset Masters Unite!
As we emerge from our deep winter hibernation, we move toward a spring thaw of love and growth. It's the perfect time of the year to transform our fixed mindsets into growth mindsets.
We are not born with a fixed or growth mindset. Instead, our mindsets develop as we grow. As such, we tend to take on mindsets similar to those that belong to our family unit. To illustrate this pattern, I’d like to share my personal story, which highlights how we can develop fixed mindsets from an early age. Keep reading to learn about the traits of both fixed and growth mindsets and how you can practice a growth mindset.
Understanding A Fixed Mindset
The relationships we have with our parents early on play a key role in the foundation of our mindset, which in my case, was fixed.
As a child, I didn’t feel good enough for my parents. It was as if I couldn’t live up to my mother’s expectations of me and while my father certainly loved me, he eventually left Michigan for a new life in Florida and I was left behind. Frankly, these things left me feeling like I wasn't lovable or good enough.
As a young teenager, I would shy away from activities and hobbies that made me feel stupid, uncoordinated, or bad about myself. My mom signed me up for various lessons: guitar, clarinet, organ, tennis, horseback riding, posture, swimming, and art. But, I never stuck with any one thing long enough to become skilled or interested in it enough to pursue it further. And during the time spent on each activity, I didn’t put forth the effort needed to get better. I would give up long before that. Why did I do this? Unconsciously, I was validating my core belief — which was that I wasn't good enough. Deeper than that, I was unlovable.
A bit later, this insecurity played out in my relationships, which always seemed to be full of drama. I tried to be what others wanted me to be, never really knowing what I wanted, or what my opinions or were. As I was not aware of my own needs, or how to ask for them in a healthy way, I became passive aggressive and instead, codependent on my partners’ needs. This wound rippled into all areas of my life, keeping me stuck in a fixed mindset. Here was my old thought process:
If you resonate with any of the above examples, you might also benefit from a growth mindset.
Understanding a Growth Mindset
A person developing their growth mindset practices a different thought process:
To truly live a growth mindset is to find value in the effort that it takes to create the life we want to live.
Practicing A Growth Mindset
I now value curiosity in new activities, people and places. The fear of ‘failure’ is gone. Instead of running away, or feeling unlovable, I now look at it as if I have something to learn. But, getting to this point takes practice.
And remember, practice means practice! For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll become a rockstar overnight if you decide to pick up guitar. It takes continuous effort. The key to changing your mindset is to practice daily. Start small, make it doable, find accountability and put forth the effort.
Need an accountability buddy? We are here to support you in the Attuned Coaching private Facebook group, Mindset Masters Unite! Our community comes together to share our daily mindset accomplishments and struggles. Find daily motivation and tips on kicking ass with a Growth Mindset by joining us here!
Start with these growth mindset practice activities:
1. Acknowledge which mindset you generally fall into — fixed or growth. Come out of hiding and truly own where you are right now. Look back and have compassion for your child-self that unknowingly developed this mindset.
2. Start a growth mindset journal and ask yourself these questions:
a) What can I learn from today’s fixed/growth experience(s)?
b) What step(s) did I take to achieve growth today? What step(s) can I take tomorrow?
c) Where am I falling short and what do I still need to educate myself about?
d) Do I still have some exploring to do? What is the root cause of my trigger? (You might want to find a coach to work with when practicing this step).
e) How did I keep going when things were tough and I wanted to quit? How can I continue to be my own cheerleader?
3. Decide on an area of your life that you’d like to improve. Now, focus on that area for 15 minutes a day, or less. Within two months, you’ll have dedicated around 15 hours of focus to this area of your life!
4. Practice active listening. Seek to first understand, then be understood.
As you begin your adventure, remember:
Now, close your computer or turn off your phone and go BE in the present moment. Stay curious and have fun!
I spent most of my February in a dark place. It was depressing, scary, and cold. Yes, I spent most of February in a basement storage area tackling my big decluttering project. And it only took me thirty-six years to start on it!
While I was digging through one of many boxes, I found a paper I wrote my first year of college called “The Art of Packing.” How odd — to be finding it as I was unpacking my life, thirty-six years before I started packing it all up.
I was only a senior in high school when my mother passed away. Since my parents were divorced, I was left responsible for packing up a three-story colonial home. As I worked my way through each and every drawer, dresser, and cabinet, I divided the items evenly between me and my two siblings.
Yet, my brother and sister did not want much to do with the memorabilia I saved for them. So, I took on the role of caretaker. For thirty-six years, I held on to everything. Each time I moved to a new home, so did the boxes. I carried them around like a heavy weight from place to place.
I KEPT THE BOXES FOR
I’ve patiently waited for my siblings to show up at my house so I can pour them each a glass of wine, turn on some music, and go through the memorabilia together. I had this vision of a happy-go-lucky gathering. But, it never happened and it might never have happened. So I had my own party. Except it didn’t go exactly as I had envisioned.
There was no wine, no music, and no laughter. Just me alone, venturing into the dark storage area to retrieve box after box. Each item, whether it be a piece of paper or a picture, was painfully examined. Throughout the process, it felt like I was re-attending the funerals of both my parents. And even my own.
"We all lived with my mother in a three story colonial house. The house now stands silent filled with the lives of four people. These possessions that fill up our house now needs to be packed and put away." — An excerpt from my college essay, The Art of Packing, 1983
In the end, I filled up twenty contractor bags of trash, made two trips to Habitat for Humanity, dropped off two loads at my local second hand store, sold some items, and gave others away. This decluttering project was messy, heavy and depressing as hell. And I was left thinking about why I had held on to all of these things?
Keeping all of these mementos meant that I valued my life and the things I’ve helped create. These items represented my years of motherhood, building a business, banding birds in the field, and being part of my small, Upper Peninsula community. And keeping all of my family’s memorabilia meant that I cared about my parents and valued their lives. Otherwise who would? I thought, ‘why do we live these lives if nobody remembers or cares about us after we’re gone?’ But, this thinking kept me stuck. And it kept me feeling heavy.
"My mother had forty-five teacups and saucers. To be fair about the division, we cleared the family room floor, smoked a joint and preceded to put all forty-five cups and all the saucers on the floor." — Wendy Wagoner, The Art of Packing, 1983
I had to let go of my parents, again. I had to let go of the belief that I am a ‘bad’ person if I let go of my mother and father’s childhood pictures or their yearbooks. And I had to drop the role of caretaker that I had shouldered for thirty-six years.
In the end, I could feel in the deepest part of my being, that no picture or box filled with memorabilia represented a life well lived. It was just stuff. And that stuff doesn't define me as a child, sister, or mother. And that is what truly sparks joy in my heart!
"There is no graceful way for me to way good-bye, even to a house. The house is packed and gone, school has ended and I must move onward." — Wendy Wagoner, The Art of Packing, 1983
Start 2019 off with a deep peace that can be found in the stillness of the beautiful 80-acre Northwoods. Snowshoe across a small wildlife lake, sit amongst the trees, and listen to the winter birds, all in silence. Using a grounded balancing breath practice, we will explore the stillness within ourselves and around ourselves. Afterwards, we’ll take the opportunity to share our experiences with each other over refreshments and nutritious soup.
Why would we want to participate in a snowshoe into silence? Many of us spend our days thinking, moving, doing, judging, and evaluating. Our minds are scattered with a constant barrage of information, which can cause depression, anxiety, and stress. Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, walking in nature and being nurtured by connection with others can alleviate anxiety and stress, improve concentration and focus, and reduce inflammation.
Foster deep well-being and experience the stillness and silence of the woods. Do you need to find some balance and clarity in your life? Join us on our magical 80-acres of sacred beauty. We offer participants a chance to tap into your own inner peace and well-being.