By Jackie White
It’s the season of new lunch boxes, backpacks, notebooks, and pencils! The anticipation of preparing for school to start even reaches those of us without kids in the home. What if we took advantage of that excitement and spent this month learning something new that will help us live a happier and more fulfilled life?
With learning anything, we have to be diligent to study and practice what we learn so that we become proficient at it. One of the most interesting and important subjects we all have access to is learning about ourselves, but rarely do we do it. Think about it. What if we took a little time each week to explore and learn about ourselves? We would soon be experts on who we are and what we want out of our lives.Think of it as mini-course of self-discovery. Perhaps the most interesting class you have ever taken. It should be because it’s all about you!
Many feel a twinge of resistance when they think about working on themselves. They put it on the back burner or use the excuse that they don’t have time to spend time on themselves. Not having time, most of the time, equates to not feeling the subject you do not have time for is a priority. Let’s put it this way, what if you were given one million dollars for spending some time with yourself learning about who you really are. That would be amazing! I bet that if you truly were going to get one million dollars for doing that, time would suddenly be available to work on this priority.
So, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t have a million dollars to offer you, but I can roll out the red carpet that leads to greater life satisfaction, happiness and meaning. That might actually even sound better than a million dollars. It certainly will buy you happiness with nothing more than a little effort on your part.
To help you get started on your self-discovery mini-course, SoulShine has put together a personal inventory for you to begin assessing where you are spending your time and how you’d like to show up in your life. You can access your own copy of the inventory here:
Then join Jackie and Erika on Facebook, on the first Wednesday of each month at noon to talk through strategies and ideas on how to best balance your own personal inventory.
This is a class you should easily ace because, heck it is all about you! Stay with us here at SoulShine for more curriculum you can work through to learn something new about yourself!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
The best lessons in life are right in front of us, if we just have the presence of mind to pause and pay attention. One such lesson uncovered itself after watching my 2 year old Lucy on the playground. Shakespeare is attributed with the quote, “And though she be but little she is fierce”, which describes Lucy to a tee particularly when it comes to playground interactions. She has no hesitation to direct her playground compatriots on where and when to go or point out a playground faux pas like climbing up the slide. She also sees no distinction between her size and ability and those of, say, her 9 year old brother’s; if he can climb the giant climbing wall, obviously, then so can she!
Oye! The palpitations this determined girl gives me! But, this leads me to our lesson, DreamChaser, straight outta the playground. When describing Lucy and her playground antics to other parents and our friends, I find myself saying, “She definitely has more confidence than ability”. After saying this a few times, two things dawned on me. First, this is how we all should be living. And, two, this would be the best t-shirt phrase...sorry, I call dibs on that one.
Whether you have come to terms with it or not, you have goals and dreams in your heart and mind. Your SoulShine Inspiration Catalysts (that's us...Jackie & Erika!) hope that you act on them, and our mission is to help guide you to do just that. What gets in the way? So many things but a big one is having a lack of confidence due to a lack of ability.
Ready for a truthbomb? This is such ridiculous and backward thinking! The reason something is a goal or a dream is because you don’t have it yet. Since you haven’t achieved it, you don’t have the ability yet to make it happen. So, waiting to have the ability before you have the confidence to go for it means...drumroll...YOU WILL LIKELY NEVER HAVE IT! You have to believe you can find a way, harness just a smidge of confidence, and take the first step so you get going on the path to having whatever it is you want.
Want that goal or dream? DreamChaser, it’s time to embrace that inner child and go for it with all the confidence of a toddler on a 10 foot climbing wall! Believe you can. Trust that you will figure it out. Will you fall? Probably a time or two. What does a toddler do? They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go at it again...let’s be real, toddlers know that admitting defeat means they have to leave the playground where all the fun and excitement is. That’s exactly why you stay in the goal-getting, dream-chasing game...that’s where the fun and excitement of life is!
Confidence over ability, DreamChaser, that’s where it's at. Let’s do this and enjoy the view from the top!
By Jackie White
Some people are wired to see life through a positive lens. They find the silver lining even in troubled times. How do these people do it because we know that not everyone finds sunshine on a gray day?
The question begins with are some people just genetically positioned to be positive, happy people? A depression study done by Stanford University looked at whether some people were genetically predisposed to having higher life satisfaction.
What they found was that 50% of life satisfaction can be attributed to genetics, now if you are a glass-half-full kind of person you will see that the other 50% is under your control (40% with intentional activities and 10% related to external events). What that means is even if you are a glass-half-empty person, you can shift your life experience through intentional activities.
How to Walk on the Sunny Side of the Street:
By being intentional and implementing any or better yet, all of these 5 tips, you too will find yourself walking on the sunny side of the street!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
The hot weather of summer has water on my mind! That may have conjured images of pools and floaties, lakes and waves, or beaches with your toes in the sand. While a splash session is refreshing and fun, and perhaps the savior on a hot summer day, this isn’t the most important water in your life. Know what is? The water you hydrate with! You guessed it, DreamChaser...today’s wellness topic is all about water!
Let’s refresh our minds. You are made of 60-70% water. You use water in nearly every bodily function from transporting nutrients, removing waste from the body, digestion, and making new cells. You use and lose water all day, every day. Yet, even though water is crucial for function, you cannot make water on your own. You are dependent on the water you consume through drinking and eating to keep this all going. We are quite inefficient beings...lol.
Since water is used in so many body functions, there are a wide range of effects insufficient hydration has on the body. These include but are not limited to the following:
Before you start complaining that you “don’t like water” or “it’s so boring”, I’m going to give you some tough love. It’s time to drop the excuses! You need to get over this negative mindset and find a way to embrace hydrating with water. It is honestly one of the best actions you can take to start yourself on your healthy living, best life path...not to mention easy and inexpensive. And, during the hot summer months, it’s even more important to up the hydration game.
To help you out, here are 7 Fresh Ways to Up Your Hydration:
You might be wondering how much hydration is enough hydration? Often you hear about drinking eight 8 ounce glasses but the truth is...it’s complicated. The right amount of hydration depends on many factors from your size to activity level to even the weather. A good place to start is eight 8 ounce glasses per day with a goal of half your body weight in ounces. Listen to your body and up your hydration on days that it’s hot or you have a strenuous workout or are feeling ill. Your future self is already thanking you for this lifestyle upgrade!
Shine (and hydrate) On!
By Jackie White
Ancient Hawaiians penned a prayer of forgiveness that can shift your perception of what forgiveness is and is not. It is so simple and can be applied to oneself in order to clear burdens or negative self-worth issues.
Ho’oponopono means to put things back in balance. Your life needs to be in balance for you to feel happy, secure, and content.
The prayer was originally designed to help divided families reconcile. Today it is commonly used as a mantra of forgiveness towards others or in the process of healing yourself.
The prayer is simple and concise to effectively address problems big and small. These four simple statements can release a world of hurt and resentment when prayed upon with intention.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
How can something so simple clear deeply engrained patterns of negative self-talk and evaluation? The answer is in its simplicity. Let’s break each statement down to see what it means and how it can restore balance and peace.
I’m Sorry: This statement acknowledges the wrong that was committed. Saying you are sorry that something you may have said or done hurt someone or hurt yourself. It doesn’t excuse the wrong, but in a loving way understands and acknowledges that a problem exists.
Please Forgive Me: Asking for forgiveness allows you to apologize to others, to yourself or to The Universe. Asking for forgiveness from the heart begins to clear the pain that was caused. It is much bigger to forgive than to carry the burden of blame. This is essential for moving forward with a clear and unburdened heart.
Thank You: Saying thank you acknowledges that you see grace being extended to you by someone else or to yourself. Grace is a kindness that is filled with hope.
I Love You: Ending the prayer with an expression of love is essential because love bridges all gaps of pain and hurt. The compassion in love is the connection needed to heal wounds of the heart.
Utilizing the Ho'oponopono prayer as an intention of reconciliation is effective and strips issues down to what is really important. Feeling that you have been heard or acknowledged that there is a problem and on the forgiving, you release the negative energy and blame you carry in your part of the hurt.
The resistance that comes with forgiveness is that people mistake forgiveness for condoning or excusing the wrongdoing. That is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is about acknowledging and freedom from the restraints of resentment and blame.
The Ho'oponopono prayer is especially helpful with building self-esteem and self-worth. Use as a mantra to work through critical inner thoughts. Use it as a way to release yourself from negative feelings against yourself. Use it daily as a preventative measure to keep yourself in balance.
There is such power is these four simple sentences. Use them with intention and love and see how the Ho’oponopono Prayer can lift your burdens and fill you with loving intentions.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me, Thank you. I love you.
By Jackie White
Do you remember the days when you just were cool? You had the look, the cool fashion and you were well-versed in pop culture of the day. You spent a lot of time on your makeup and hair, but you had the time. You looked good and damnit you were relevant.
Then one day you wake up, three kids later, a paunchy tummy and grey hairs sprouting up and you think what the hell happened? You are wearing yoga pants, big baggy sweatshirts and your face hasn’t seen much more than chapstick and moisturizer for years. Yikes! You have lost your mojo.
Truth be told, somewhere along the way you have crossed over into midlife. It sure would have been nice if there was a flashing neon sign that says “Proceed With Caution”, but no, you just start slipping into it, without even knowing what hit you.
So, listen, the world isn’t ending! There is good news, getting older doesn’t have to be painful or awkward!
How to Get Your Mojo Back!
Here are 5 things to consider as you tippy-toe into your middle life.
If you are cresting the break of mid-life, it’s all good! Embrace these days, leave the past in the past and learn to love just being you.
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Hey there, DreamChaser...so glad you are here! Living your best life is a continued journey of mind, body, and soul wellness. Today, we are going to chat about real food, as in whole and unprocessed food, but with a unique SoulShine twist.
There are so many healthy reasons to make an effort to swap out processed foods for whole foods. To simplify your life, here are my 5 Real Food Best Reasons:
That, DreamChaser, is why you should care about eating real food. Now, let’s talk about what I mean by real food. I already hinted at it, unprocessed and whole foods. We have all heard that before, right? At least, I know I have. But, school is always in, even for the pro. Recently, a good friend of mine described real food in a unique way...it was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me.
Before you put the food in your shopping basket or cart, ask yourself this simple question to determine if it is real food or not. Was this once alive? Real food was once alive, either as a plant or as an animal. The more removed, or processed, from being alive or that original state, the less it is food. This is a simple way to cut to the chase when making choices at the grocery store! Here are a few other tips to get you away from processed junk and back to real food:
-Fresh vegetables instead of canned (try sauteing in extra virgin olive oil to preserve those nutrients)
-Fresh, lower sodium deli meat instead of pre-packaged (even better, roast chicken or baked ham instead. Have some for the evening meal and save some for sandwiches)
-Bakery bread instead of packaged bread (remember, go for the whole wheat!)
-Fruit instead of fruit juice
-Fresh, whole grain, or quinoa pasta instead of boxed pasta
-Brown or multigrain rice instead of white rice (or, try a super grain like quinoa)
-Oatmeal with fresh fruit instead of sugar cereal (steel cut oatmeal is an even better choice)
Living your best life means caring for your whole self - mind, body & soul. This is true wellness! Your food is the fuel behind all of this. Making intentional choices towards better food choices is the best decision you can make and choosing real food is the foundation to build on. It is easy to get overwhelmed or confused on where to start when it comes to nutrition and getting healthier, which results in doing what is easy or familiar. Switching to whole, real food is worth the effort. Start with these simple suggestions and ask yourself the simple question, “was this once alive?”, and you will be well on your way!
By Jackie White
Life is short, eat the cake! Great advice, right? How about life is short, get out there and spice life up by taking on some adventures? Eating cake is one thing, but getting adventurous is a whole other ball of wax, right? For those of you (including me!), who feel adventure is maybe too big, too exhausting, or too risky and you’d rather sit on the sidelines of adventure, well, this blog is for you!
Adventure is important in life because it makes you feel life again. It pulls you out of the ho-hum of everyday life and adds a splash of spice. Sometimes you have to just do something different to remember what joy feels like.
How To Do Adventure
For the adventure-deprived, you may need to start with just dipping a toe into adventures to help you break out of your everyday activities. Adventures are plentiful, but for any adventure you need to commit to it and get it on the calendar. When you prioritize adventuring in your life you are deciding to live life with more gusto and when you do that you build courage and strength in how you feel about yourself. Imagine conquering a fear of heights by trying ziplining! That is a huge accomplishment! One other very cool bonus of taking part in adventure is that you become a more interesting person by trying new things!
The Adventure Bucket List for All Kinds of Adventurers
Hike a nearby park
Rent a kayak
Try a new cuisine
Roadtrip somewhere you’ve never been
Run your first 5K, 10K, ½ marathon
Rapel down a bluff
Learn to scuba dive
Ride in a hot air balloon
Go whitewater rafting
Backpack the Grand Canyon
Climb a mountain
Go on safari
You see adventures don’t have to be crazy things like taming a lion, they can be things you have always wanted to do or try. They can be stretch activities to conquer a fear or to achieve something you have always wanted to do, but thought you couldn’t.
This summer put a few adventures on your list of “to-do’s” and begin to taste the spice of life!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
You have probably heard of the idea of a bucket list. Perhaps you are wondering what the big deal is...why should I bother with making one? The more traditional bucket list is one to do with life, basically your big life “to-do list”, which usually includes those big goals and dreams. This is a fun and comprehensive way to keep track of all that you want to accomplish. Writing them down is great with the next step being setting a plan to do these things on your heart. A bucket list is an awesome best life tool to maximize the fun and adventurous experiences of your life.
In a similar fashion, the summer bucket list is a popular idea. Like Olaf in Frozen (sorry, we are in a HUGE Frozen kick in our house these days), we all dream of summer. Pools and lemonade, bike rides and ice cream shops, building a sandcastle with our toes in the sand...ahhh, so many things to do! If you are a Midwesterner like myself, summer is a fleeting season; it is here and gone before you know it. Which is exactly why a summer bucket list is such a great idea! Let’s be real, if you don’t have a plan, all those summertime adventures you look forward to in the frozen landscape of February will not happen.
It’s time to trade in the tennis shoes for flip flops and get your summer set for fun, adventures, and, most important, lasting memories! Here’s how I go about my summer bucket list planning and executing:
1. Brainstorm All the Things - This is the fun part. My kids and I do this together, adding new things as well as bringing back things we always want to do. If you need a place to start, check out this image!
2. Prioritize - Some things are more important than others or only happen on certain days. If those are must-dos, make sure to put them at the top of your list. Adding the dates is also helpful.
3. Grab the Calendar - My ride or die for life...my paper calendar and phone app. Take a few minutes to get organized, add in dates of work commitments, sports, camps, family reunions, graduations parties, weddings. Once these are in, you will know what days you can start planning your Summer Bucket List adventures on!
4. Schedule It In - Scheduled time is protected time. Once you find a time slot for your Summer Bucket List adventures, schedule it in and treat it like a work commitment, one that you won’t break unless you absolutely have to. Trust me on this...the only way to actually do these things you want is to schedule it in.
5. Fun Times Ahead - Have the best summer ever making memories you will cherish for a lifetime (or until next summer!).
Okay. I hear you already. This sounds lovely but how will I have time to do all these things on our list....I don’t want to disappoint. Oh, the mom guilt… I get it; here’s your solution to maximizing the bucket list...Summer Bucket List Bundle Adventures. And, so you don’t have to think of them yourself, here are 5 to try (adjust as necessary for your crew!):
Doesn’t this already sound like the best summer of your life?!? From one mom to another, adding in the Summer Bucket List has been the best idea to up the fun, adventures, and memory-making, all it takes is a sprinkle of intention and a dash of mindfulness. Get out there and have fun! As always, Shine On!
P.S. As an aside, I’m not sure why the other seasons don’t have a bucket list associated with their fun activities. I would recommend making a Fall, Winter, and Spring Bucket List as well. This might be some extra fun and joy to a season that you normally don’t look forward to!
By Jackie White
Dreams are born in a place in our hearts where creativity and inspiration reside. They are put there to make sure you have a road map to happiness and life satisfaction. Wait, what? There is a road map to happiness? Yes, it’s called your dreams.
So, yea, dreams are that important. Today I want you to think about dreams in a completely different context to explore the possibilities that lie within your dreams. By examining a few questions about your dreams, you see why they are so important for you to follow.
Let’s play a game of “What If”:
What if you followed your dreams and you suddenly felt like the person you are really supposed to be?
What if the truth is that if you follow your dream you will finally feel comfortable in your skin and you would feel truly fulfilled?
What if the point of following your dream is to fill you up with contentment and happiness?
What if you stopped putting your dreams through tests to see if your dream was logical?
What if dreams aren’t meant to follow logic?
What if dreams are meant to be big and sometimes badass and because of that logic doesn’t always apply?
What if you go with your gut and follow your dreams?
What if you stopped comparing your dream to the dreams of others? Having dreams is not a contest! No one’s dreams are better than others.
What if your dream was your roadmap to happiness? Uh, hello are you getting ready for the road trip of your life?
What if you are worthy of your dreams? Your dream is so perfectly tailored to fit only you. There is no need to consider if you are or are not worthy because your dream has been made especially for you!
What if your dreams are there to satisfy your purpose or passion in life?
What if your dream popped into your subconscious mind as a gift from the Universe? And hey, there are no return receipts with a gift like that, so maybe you should just go for it!
What if the Universe has super-awesome plans for you and those are woven in the fabric of your dreams?
Now, what if all “what ifs” are true? If that is so, then I think you know what you need to do. You need to take the leap and get on the road to follow your dreams!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.