We have all heard this before: “An attitude of gratitude”. But in the midst of what can feel like uncertainty, it is vital. Let me say that again… it is VITAL that we keep our minds right. Drenching our minds in the news and social media is not going to make things better. But making sure we practice self-care, keep our minds clear and continue to stay calm is something I urge everyone to do.
I went to bed last night thinking a lot about our countries current situation, my life, and what I can do for my family right now and all of you.
Each night my family (my husband and our three kids) and I all pray together and after we all go around and say who or what we want to pray for tonight.
And as we went around I was reminded to not forget the little things. It made me think about how we all can still be grateful for the little things, and remember how we can impact our communities despite such circumstances.
My prayer is for you all to consider a local business to pick up food to go, or inquire about delivery, shipping gifts to that friend or family member or just letting the world know what they are doing as they struggle to remain open, or if they have already made the decision to close.
During this time, I urge you to continue to practice gratitude. To continue to go beyond and help another, even if it means having to take an extra step or two to do that.
Yesterday I made an egg and book delivery (yes I have chickens) to our amazing local cafe Perc Place and I usually just drop and go when delivering eggs or books. But I decided to grab a drink to go and support them.
Perc Place is my office away from my home office and I can’t imagine not having them in my backyard to go to for inspiration. As I stood there in the cafe all I felt was gratitude for the owner and all her staff during this time. So many unknowns, and it’s easy to think “one small act WON’T make a difference”. But, when 10, 25, 100 people all do the same thing. It all adds up. Gratitude adds up!
In order to stay mentally and physically strong in the midst of this unprecedented time. I urge you all to continue to engage in things, activities and with people who lift you up. Help you feel good. And keep you in the right frame of mind. This is VITAL!
What can you do to stay in gratitude each day?
Go for a walk with your family and talk about positive things
Get enough sleep
Drink plenty of water
Dance in the sunlight
Write down what you are grateful for each morning
Listen to meditations or positive recordings/books
Let’s maintain that positive attitude that helps others when we come into contact with them…even if it’s virtually.
I always ask myself “am I a part of the problem or a part of the solution?”
Let’s write out our ideas to make us and our businesses better. Write out plans and goals that you will do during this pause in life, and what you’re doing afterward.
Then get out any anxiety that may be clouding our heads and hearts out and into the daylight by writing it down. When we write it down, it isn’t as scary.
Then once you write it down… Take action! Get on your yoga mat! Go for a walk! Read, meditate.
You know what?
These can be scary times, but we are so resilient. I’m encouraged by all of the good I see in the world, and how many people are working to help others.
Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) said in times of crisis, look for the helpers. I say WE are the helpers.
Let’s keep getting up and taking that time for ourselves each day to better help where we are able.
And to HELP…. I am giving all of my meditations away for $1.
Why a dollar? Well, I believe that everything is an exchange. And my heart and soul are in those offerings and I ask that you simply be a part of the exchange back. 🙂 [And these were all professionally recorded just for you.]
>>>>> MEDITATION BUNDLE OF 6 FOR JUST A $1 <<<<< CODE: MEDITATION1
I believe that we are the ones most responsible for our own health and well-being. It is our privilege that we practice self-care and engage in the right things. And the results will always be better than if we did not.
So remember what you do have control over. Remember how you can impact those around you, by first you being calm, centered, and full of gratitude.
I never thought that yoga would become such a huge part of my life. To be honest, I didn’t even know what yoga was until a co-worker said to me one day, “You look like someone who would practice yoga.” Hmmmm…thanks? I guess?
You know, those moments in life that just hit you like a ton of bricks? Well, at 17 years old, that is exactly what that moment did to me.
I truly believe that life has a way of nudging you in the right direction. Of course, it’s up to us if we decide to follow that nudge or not, but, nonetheless, it’s there.
Destined To Do Big Things
I’ve never shared this before but when I growing up, I always knew that I was meant for more. As a child, you could usually find me tucked away, inside of my closet, stapling papers together to create books. Not books to share, but books that I planned to store away with the intent to be found by someone one day when I was gone. That someone who would say, “Wow, this is amazing.” Okay, looking back–maybe that was a little weird BUT the point is–I always knew that I was going to do big things. I knew I was going to be known for something more.
Then came yoga. Practicing yoga was a saving grace to me. It was my lifeline. Every Wednesday night, it gave me hope that I could do it. It showed me I was strong. It showed me what I was capable of. It showed me that I was meant for more.
Yoga changed my life.
Then, randomly one day, my yoga teacher casually suggested to me that I consider teaching yoga. Funny how life works, right?
Yoga Was My Nudge
My first search–“How to become a yoga teacher”–landed me on an ashram in Rollingsville, Colorado. Don’t ask me how or why, but I just knew that this was the place for me. Without hesitation, I signed up, gave them my money, and booked my tickets. However, it wasn’t all quite that simple. The catch–I had finals during my month stay in Colorado. I know what you are thinking– “Ok, Hope, that’s not that big of a deal.”
Here is the thing– I went to a Catholic university and I was off to an ashram to learn how to teach yoga SO it was sort of a BIG deal. The two couldn’t be more different. That next week, relying on my faith and a prayer, I asked my professors if they would consider letting me take my finals early. They all said yes. My stars were aligning.
My Yoga Teaching Journey
There was no hiding it–I was scared. I was still struggling with an eating disorder and there appeared to be no real hope or end in sight. I wanted to stop. I desperately wanted to be able to live a normal life. But I knew I still had a long way to go.
I still remember my first day in our yoga teacher training at the ashram. Eleven of us sitting in a circle and everyone was at least 15 years older than me. I was determined to step aside from my fears and make the most out of this month-long stay–all 98 pounds of me. I was praying to God this would heal me. This 30-day stay would be just what I needed to clear my head and conquer my addiction–for good.
That afternoon, sitting in a circle on the freshly carpeted floor, I knew this was where I belonged. That day I heard a voice inside my head and it told me eleven things I would do going forward from that day. These were things that I never thought I would do. They were things that were never in my scope of dreams. However, to be honest, struggling with an eating disorder, depression, and a laundry list of other issues–survival was the only thing I could focus on. But I pulled out my yellow legal pad and printed out one goal on each line. I tore off the sheet and folded it up. I was on my way.
My Yoga Training Forever Changed the Course of My Life
My yoga training gave me hope that all the prayers that I had said and all the things that I had been through would not be a waste.
That yoga training was hard. It rocked me to my core. It challenged on what I thought about life, movement, and myself. It challenged my faith to go deeper into myself and see wh at and how I really connected to God.
I believe we all need those moments in life in order to truly get to the bottom of who we are. We are all here on this earth for a purpose and it is us who gets in our own way and downplays our potential for greatness.
My yoga training taught me that we are all worth it.
You Are Worth It
For you, it may not be enrolling in a yoga training class. (If it is, please reach out to me if you have questions. I would be happy to help you find the right fit!) Whatever it is, remember–you are worth it. You are better after it and there are never any mistakes in life. Just opportunities. Opportunities to learn and soak up all that is waiting to be had.
Picture a day when you are no longer struggling to get out of the gutter. Instead, you are leading others from it.
A day when you are no longer asking for forgiveness, but receiving gratitude from those around you.
A day when you are not searching for the next best thing. Instead, you find yourself attracting what you desire all the time.
Picture a day when all you have been through was absolutely worth it.
2020 is here! And that meals setting your goal(s) starts now!
Let’s do the party dance! Yes, sure, you are right… It’s just another day. But it doesn’t have to be. You can make 2020 be great!
Do you set goals? Do you set goals and are you someone who disciplines oneself to reach them?
Here’s what I discovered after years of feeling like I failed when it came to promises to change my life…
5 Things I Was Doing That Sabotaged My Success:
1. I was trying to change too many things at the same time. 2. I forgot that I needed to ASK safe people for support 3. I only saw the big goals, I didn’t know how to set or see the small ones. 4. I’d mess up once and think “failure”. 5. I was afraid to be doing something others around me weren’t.
This is only a small list. But my thinking was so black and white.
So unrealistic, and unwilling to start small that I just keep stumbling. I had this idea that if I couldn’t “do it” and it be right from the beginning then somehow I was sucking.
I believe we do this and more as a way to protect ourselves from failure. Because who wants to feel the pain of failure. But what I have come to discover is, the pain of not trying is worse.
Have you ever been there? Are you there?
I’ve got news for you…you don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to be honest. And as underwhelming as this might be… starting small goals is a sure fire win to build a new habit, avenue and a finish line that you can feel proud and amazing with!
So this year- 2020, I’m older, smarter, stronger, and wiser (I think)… And want to share with you what I have done for myself when it comes to reaching my goals.
My 2020 Jump-start New Year’s Goal Plan:
1. Revisited my TOP 10 GOALS I had set for myself. 2. Looked at each and revisited my mini goals that create the road map to get to those goals…. (this is critical). 3. Asked myself what I NEED to make these happen: scheduled time to workout, yoga, walk. GET TO BED BY 10PM, Drink 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water EVERY SINGLE DAY! Finally, not scheduling clients in during my family time.
I know these might seem simple, not that fancy. Or even obvious. But the thing is… For YEARS I never wrote down my goals.
So I want you to know something today. If you don’t write it down… It’s not going to happen. If you don’t take the time to make a plan, don’t expect your life to have time to experience it.
Notice what you resist. Notice what you tell yourself is dumb, or small. Notice what you avoid.
These are probably, most-likely the VERY things you need to start doing RIGHT NOW!
It’s such a mind game it’s crazy! Don’t wait. Stop with the excuses and get to it.
You don’t need yoga 7 days a week, if you can’t even get to the mat for one. You don’t need to stop eating every bad food for you on the planet, if you can’t even get yourself to eat one good food. You don’t need a new life, maybe all you need first is a new perspective on your life.
I believe you can do this. I believe that 2020 can be a great year for you. I believe that anything truly is possible, but first you have to start telling yourself it is, and showing yourself with steps you can easily get to for a good WIN!
It’s a yearly tradition to deal with broken promises to take better care of ourselves. Whether we planned to lose weight, adopt a new exercise routine, eat healthier, or eliminate a bad habit, we seem to repeatedly let ourselves down. The fact is, only about 20% of us keep our New Years Resolutions, most of which are in some way fitness-related.
Over the years, I have been notorious for bogus New Year’s goals.
Having spent most of my life as an addict, though, I’ve accumulated some stepping stones that have helped me keep on my path. I consider this realistic goal-setting for a healthy life. I urge you to see your resolutions in a new light.
Here are 5 Ways to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions:
1. Be realistic.
Be honest about what you are capable of achieving. As I tell my yoga students often, “It’s not about how many classes you should come to a week, but how many classes you think you can continue to come to without dropping off.” Your goal could be to stop eating after 9 p.m., and then in a month, it bumps up to 8 p.m. and so on. Changes should never be all or nothing. Give yourself grace by setting realistic expectations for yourself.
2. Don’t use the same resolution again.
Set a new goal. This is a new opportunity to do something great for yourself. If you struggled to achieve that goal last year, maybe it needs to be rethought.
I’m sure the same tape plays in all of our heads during the holidays: “I’m just going to eat and enjoy myself. After the New Year, my diet starts.” This line is used by countless people, but it means nothing. If you are going to eat chocolate throughout December, then own it! In the New Year, if you say you aren’t going to eat chocolate, then good luck. But if you have said this before, odds are the same cycle is going to repeat itself.
3. Let everyone know about your goals.
As an addict, I know that the more you keep things secret, the harder it is to attain your goals. Even things like weight loss, new food choices or exercise plans should be shared with an accountability partner, family, or friend. Working through recovery has taught me that the more people you have on your side and the fewer secrets you have, the more successful you become.
Are you too embarrassed? Own up and be proud that you have recognized a change you need to make. Don’t go at it alone. Ask people to hold you accountable. Odds are that they will be proud to be an inspiration and support system for you.
4. Just Drink (More Water, that is).
When the body and brain are dehydrated, we feel sluggish. We confuse hunger for thirst, and we don’t function as we should.
If you are partaking in a fitness-related resolution, I urge you to drink up. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces a day, as a starting point. I begin each morning with an eight-ounce glass of warm water with lemon essential oil.
5. Watch for Self-Sabotage.
We all claim that we don’t have time, are too tired or stressed, or don’t have the money. Well, walking outside is free, screen time can be exchanged for exercise time, and it’s possible that your eyes and mind are drowsy from constant staring at the computer screen. You may just need an exercise boost, or to get to bed a little bit earlier!
Call yourself out about all these excuses! Be honest, because from honesty, new things begin.
If you are considering working with a coach to help you achieve your goals, consider joining me in my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass, starting in January 2020! We are offering a Beta Course, four months of coaching, for just $497 ($1,000 off original price).
Happy New Year!
Here are more New Year’s Resolution and Goal Setting Resources:
No words can describe how I felt that day. It’s interesting because it’s over a decade later, but I still have that feeling of what it was like. I don’t think that ever goes away. For those of you who have lost a loved one—that numbness, that void, you don’t even know what to feel, or how to explain what you’re feeling. I remember walking out of the hospital thinking, “Every mom walks out with a baby. I’m a fraud. I’m not a mom.” And that process of grief, and learning how to live with loss, really settled in that moment.”
– Hope Zvara
In an episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, I was interviewed by Heather Stang. Through my own experience, I have learned firsthand how yoga and mindfulness can help calm the mind and help us take a step or two away from self-defeating behaviors, such as addiction and eating disorders. I have also learned how to cope with the reality of loss by living my life in honor of my daughter, Faith, and helping other people live their best lives.
But all that didn’t come right away.
What my daughter Faith has shown me is the HOPE Process: Helping Others Purposefully Excel. This actually came to me at a point where I always say when we see a butterfly, it’s Faith saying hello. One afternoon I was thinking about her, and thinking about what a butterfly means. I Googled it and to my surprise, it means hope.
For those of you who lost someone, it’s not a textbook experience. It’s not, “you’re gonna go through this, and then you’re gonna go through this, and then you’re gonna go through this.” It is such raw emotion. What yoga has taught me through working through addiction and being in recovery now for 15 years, and losing my daughter, and finding life after the loss of my daughter is that you have two choices… You either choose to live, because they don’t get to anymore, or you choose to die with them.
No words can describe what I felt that day. For those of you who have lost a loved one, that numbness, that void. You don’t even know what to feel or how to explain what you are feeling.
If you are going through grief, loss, or addiction, I have a special meditation of Hope for Grief & Loss. I also have a course in my online studio that I offer to you for free, so that you may find a way to transform… to see your butterfly. Here is a Practice in Mindfulness that will help you move beyond grief.
Yoga Found Me and Saved Me
First came yoga. For me, yoga has transformed my life. I remember walking out of my first yoga class… and thinking “Oh my gosh. I have no thoughts.” Once I befriended my breath and was able to get back into my body, I began the journey of rediscovering my life’s meaning. I had to choose life because my daughter didn’t get to. Every single day after she had passed away, I had to wake up and tell myself that. I had to look in the mirror and say,
I have to live because she didn’t get to. Please give me my purpose.”
I always say that my Wednesday night yoga class became my weekly ritual of second chances. Those second changes eventually lead me to a yoga teacher training. That training became a platform for me to really heal and feel. Not only that, it put me in a position to teach others what I had learned through the HOPE process.
When I first found yoga, I did not realize I was holding my breath all the time. I don’t think anyone ever told me that I was breathing. Until that point in that first yoga class, and then in my training, I didn’t realize that this whole breathing thing was really important.
Helping Others Purposefully Excel – The HOPE Process
My marriage not only survived the death of her child, but it thrives because of mindfulness and mutual respect. We can grieve differently, but we don’t have to grieve alone. Losing a child can strain a relationship, but in our case, it brought us together.
Through all of these struggles, through all of this challenge, through middle school and high school and through my early twenties, something always kept telling me to keep pushing forward and keep going. At the suggestion of a caring soul, I found yoga.
Breath, Body, and Belief
Breath, Body and Belief are the pillars of the HOPE process. These three things are the cornerstone of everything that I teach. Everything to do with yoga, with healing, and with finding your path and life beyond grief.
Get in tune with your breath every day. Practice meditation. Practice just noticing your breath for a minute a few times a day.
Use your body with purpose. Move it every day. If you need a place to start, my Mindful Movement Online Studio is only $9.99/month and has a variety of classes, tailored to your needs.
Finally, it comes down to your belief. Pray, meditate, and give thanks to the universe for the life that you have. Live your live in honor.
Nothing in this world is constant. Everything in this world is an opportunity to change, leap forward and grow. There may be people who don’t understand your journey, but there’s no reason to let them stop you. This story will teach you four lessons in dealing with unsupportive people.
Meet the Grasshopper
Once, I was driving with my mom and kids in the car with my moon roof open. Out of nowhere, a grasshopper leaped into the car and sat on my thigh as I was driving. All of us squealed in excitement for different reasons. My kids thought a grasshopper in our car was silly. My mom and I instantly thought about leaps forward in my life.
The grasshopper hung around for a while, then I cracked open my window and it sat on the edge for a few minutes. My mom commented,
Hope, you teach us in yoga to meet our edge, honor it and see what we can learn from that view.”
With the thought of sending it home, I gave it a small tap. Out of the window it flew, and back in it came. We all laughed, and my mom and I said at that moment,
Remember to trust. Big leaps forward in my life are necessary and present for me right now.”
I believe that life is constantly giving us signs and constantly telling us things helpful to our life. If we choose to listen. My little grasshopper friend was a confirmation to me that everything I am currently practicing and living is all part of my leap forward. Like a grasshopper, sometimes when you are about to leap forward, unexpected things come into play to try to throw you off.
How many times in your own life have you been confused for something you are not? Or have you been confronted with someone who won’t let go of your past persona and see you for as you are? How many times have you said one thing and because someone is unhappy with their own life, they turn it around to try to stop you from leaping forward?
Together, We Are Leaping Forward
Maybe you are a little like me: you go to the beat of your own drum, not like the norm, see purpose and learning opportunities in everything, and want to continue to change. You want to grow, and you notice when the growth is very prominent, on the cusp of leaping from well-cut grass to a tall, grassy hillside. There are unsupportive people and things in your life that come out of nowhere to try to steal that away from you.
You are the kind of person who tries to be honest. Sometimes, unsupportive people confuse that honesty with judgment. And usually, because those people don’t want to hear the truth. They try to stop your leap in mid-air because they don’t want anyone else around them leaping if they aren’t going to. Like a grasshopper, what works for others will not necessarily work for you. Even more so, what works for you will probably not work for anyone else.
So how do you be like that grasshopper and not get squashed in the process?
1. Like the grasshopper, it is important to understand that at times you may need to stay still.
Take it in. Don’t say a word and just let others do the talking. At other times or at a moment’s notice, you may need to take a huge leap into the air and land somewhat blindly. You must trust that it’s right.
2. Trust your inner voice.
Like a grasshopper’s inner ability to sense sound with their legs, sense the sound of your inner voice and trust that your navigation is on par.
3. A grasshopper has an inner sense of knowing when to make its leap.
Your progress is made in the form of mostly leaps, rather than steps. Likewise, your progress will most likely not be slow and steady, but a playful combination of leaps, hops, bounces, and strides. Like a grasshopper, those can sometimes be misunderstood. Know that your hop will only make sense to you, and it is not necessary for you to try to get others to understand.
4. Finally, a grasshopper can leap up to twenty times its height.
Our grassy friend can only leap up or forward, never back. So sure, glance back and see how far you have come. But for you my friend, the only way is up and forward by leaps and bounds. Not everyone will understand it, but other grasshoppers will. When you need it most, you will know to leap to a sunny mound and meet your fellow grasshoppers there. Then you can glance back again and see what you were able to overcome.
This post was originally published September 2012 on MindBodyGreen.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this website is to provide community support and knowledge of various lifestyle topics. This website is for informational purposes and should not be seen as any kind of professional advice unless stated otherwise. We are not physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, or therapists. All our advice is based on our own experiences. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new diet or exercise program.