Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning Your Life


As we do each season, my friend Shawn and I were reflecting last week on the change into Spring. Even though Minnesota just had a late winter blast of 8 inches of snow on Friday (oi!), the temperature has since shot back up and the snow is finally melting. On behalf of the rest of Minnesota, can I just say, "Whew!"

As hearty Minnesotans and others from the Midwestern states begin emerging from their caves of winter hibernation, Spring cleaning begins. Not only is Spring a time to clean the house, the garage, and rid those old dusty closets and of their clutter, but Spring is also a good time to clean-up your personal life and reduce the emotional "clutter".

"Emotional clutter?" you ask. Yep. Just like old clothes and unused shoes, old unresolved feelings of anger, jealousy, pain, or any other emotions can linger around, collect dust, and take up valuable space in our lives. Stale thoughts and worn out beliefs can weigh us down and impede our ability to make healthy decisions

"Okay okay," you say. "I'm starting to follow your analogy. But how do I 'Spring clean' my life?" Start by thinking two simple things: 1) What is working; and 2) What is not. Whatever is 'working' in your life are those aspects (thoughts, feelings, beliefs, relationships) that are serving you - they are in alignment with who you are. Actions and changes made in these areas will have powerful effects on your well-being. Whatever aspects are 'not working' in your life are giving you information about where to place your focus and make changes - or clean-up.

Is it time to Spring clean areas of your life? I think you'll find that with focus, patience, and courage, Spring cleaning can be a time of powerful change resulting in feelings of relief, happiness, joy, contentment, and better balance. It's your choice!

To Better Balance,

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.



Monday, March 24, 2014

The Power of Focus


The shorter way to do many things
is to do only one thing at a time.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Last week I was driving in a (what I hope is our last) snowstorm. As I barreled through the windy whiteness, my complete attention was on maintaining my course and staying on the road. Several cars along the way had already slipped off the icy road and into the ditch, but I'd decided that wasn't going to be my fate—not today. I needed to stay focused, and that is what got me home.

In our busy world, we may often find it challenging to focus our attention. Since our minds have difficulty concentrating on more than one thing at a time, prioritizing what we focus on becomes increasingly important. Focus involves concentration, which comes when we have fewer distractions. We have the ability to limit our distractions by using our power of choice.

Focus is like RAM (random access memory) in a computer. The more programs that are running simultaneously, the less efficiently RAM operates. Eventually the computer’s performance becomes sluggish, or in a worst-case scenario, it crashes. Similarly, the more ideas, tasks, and responsibilities we are thinking about, the less capacity we have to stay focused. Our brain can also overload and, like the computer, “crash.”

So to help maintain our focus, we can simplify our distractions. Just like closing computer programs, we can reduce clutter by prioritizing our activities, choosing how and with whom we spend our time and energy, and by expressing our thoughts and feelings through speaking or writing. Activities such as journaling, making lists, and jotting notes throughout the day are great ways to make more space for new thoughts, increasing our creative capacity and helping us to maintain our focus.

This week, practice focus. Simplify your activities and reduce your distractions. And when you are performing a task or speaking with a friend or colleague, give them your full attention. See how learning to maintain your focus will have a powerful effect on your sense of balance. It's your choice.

To Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nourish Your Spirit


We need silence to be able to touch souls. 
Mother Theresa

Each of us is a tri-part being comprised of a mind, body, and spirit. The voice of our mind is our thoughts; our bodies gives us feedback in the form of feelings; and our intuition is the language of our spirit—our connection to God, Source Energy, Creator, the Universe, or whichever name you use to describe the power that connects us all. With practice we can become aware of our thoughts and feelings, but our intuition is quiet and often difficult to hear. Getting in touch with our intuition can be achieved by using silence to create a space for our intuitive voice to be heard.

Silence is like a spiritual retreat or a healing center—a place where we can go to be alone and reconnect with ourselves. While traditional counseling is healing for the mind and physical therapy is healing for the body, silence is healing for the spirit.

You can create a space for silence by simply unplugging from the world and turning down the noise. Technology provides us with powerful means for connecting with others, but the point of silence is to connect with yourself. At first it may seem like you are missing out, but unplugging for periods of time will raise your frequency—and over time, can significantly strengthen and enrich your personal connections. When we lower the volume on the outside of our lives, we raise the volume on the inside. In silence we can discover the true benefits of being still and listening to the calm rhythm within.

This week, spend some time in silence and notice the benefits. Silence can be achieved by doing something as simple as taking a walk by yourself after lunch, or by just closing your eyes for 5 minutes during an afternoon break. By practicing a little bit of silence each day, you can learn to appreciate the value of stillness; and taking time to nourish your spirit will always bring more balance to your mind and body.

To Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reboot Your Body


 Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one.
Astrid Alauda

The body is like a car. Cars come in different shapes and sizes, colors, makes, and models. But all cars have three things in common: They are unique, they require fuel, and each needs a driver. Keeping a car running smoothly and in alignment requires regular maintenance including oil changes, fluid checks, and replacing parts when necessary. Regular cleaning helps reduce rust and keeps the body strong.

Like a car, the human body comes in assorted shapes, sizes, and colors. Our bodies require fuel in the form of food and drink, and each of us has a driver in charge of operation and maintenance. A body neglected will not operate efficiently. We can care for our body by fueling it with foods that support strength and good health; we can schedule regular check-ups for health and wellness; and we can choose to keep our bodies clean, fit, and strong.

This week, make a commitment to paying attention to your body. Select foods that taste good, feel good, and resonate with your body's natural energies. Move naturally by taking the stairs instead of the elevator; take a walk at lunch or after work; if it's cold out, go to the mall and window shop as you get in some extra steps; pay attention to how you feel as your breathe; drink an extra glass of water before every meal. Notice how your energy changes as you gently shift your activities.

As you take care of your body and listen to its messages, you will be guided to better health, strength, and balance.

To Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Declutter Your Mind



Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.

Albert Einstein

Whether it's due to the expansion of technology or the plethora of choices that we face each day, our ability to filter information and stay focused is a constant challenge. You have the potential to make healthy choices and balance your priorities no matter where you are on your life journey. However, change doesn't come easily—it takes courage, dedication, and commitment. Lasting change comes in small steps. Each step evolves into a new habit, and over time, healthy habits become major life changes.

When you find that your mind is becoming cluttered with too many thoughts, try a quick and easy exercise called "Brain Drain." Begin by taking out a piece of paper and pen (or start an electronic page), and set an alarm for fifteen minutes. Write down everything that is currently going on in your mind. You can write about anything—your feelings about work, what to do for Mom's birthday, how to pay off that student loan faster—whatever thoughts are swirling through your head at the moment. No rules, no requirements. When fifteen minutes are over, stop writing. Take notice of how you feel. Relieved? Less stressed?

The goal of this exercise is to "drain your brain" of the chatter that prevents you from sifting through your thoughts and feelings. The act of writing allows us to release energy onto the page instead of allowing it to occupy valuable space needed for creativity and focus (think of increasing your personal RAM). Try using Brain Drain first thing in the morning—it can help to clear your palate for the day. If you want to make some serious progress, increase your time to 30 minutes and use Brain Drain every morning for a week. Notice if your ability to focus improves as you declutter your mind. With new space released, new creative ideas can begin bubbling to the surface.


Be Balanced!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Nudge


 We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.
We are spiritual beings on a human journey.

Stephen R. Covey

Something I learned early-on in my healing work was to give my thoughts, feelings, and intuition a "voice"—a way for me to better understand my mind, body, and spirit. We all have the ability to perceive information via our senses, and information is constantly being filtered and transmitted through our thoughts, feelings, and intuition. Often, we put words to our thoughts and feelings and experience them as a voice within. But what do we hear?
 

Usually the loudest voice—our Mind—is busy analyzing information and making conclusions. Simultaneously, our Body is translating all the visual, audio, and tactile stimuli of our busy world and giving us feedback through the voice our feelings. Logic and emotion—the constant balance between head and heart. But while our minds and bodies are "doing", our spirits are just "being". In fact, our Spirit is working with the power of our intentions—consciously and subconsciously—and the voice of Spirit is always coming from a place that knows what we really want, versus what our minds and bodies think we want.

The quiet voice of Spirit gives us little nudges and leaves us with that “tingly” feeling in the pit of our stomach. The nudge may come in forms such as, “I should hold this door open for that next person,” or “I can spare some change for the woman ahead of me in line at the store.” Spirit never asks from us more than we can give at a given moment. Spirit knows our boundaries. In fact, Spirit lets us exercise our healthy boundaries and create new ones, while our Mind may have us thinking in old patterns or behavior and repeating the same mistakes. Been there, done that!

So if you pay attention to those nudges, you will get closer to tapping your natural intuition. In fact, if you get quiet and really listen, you will start to hear the calm rhythm within. And once you start accessing your Spirit, you can bring your thoughts and feelings into better alignment with intuition, and activate that knowledge to create better balance in your life—awareness, alignment, activation: the balance formula is complete.

How can you be quiet and listen to the intuitive voice within you this week?


Be Balanced!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com to learn more.


Monday, January 6, 2014

The Key is Activation

 
The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu

Last week we celebrated the new year. Did you make any resolutions for 2014? Part of finding better balance in life comes from creating intentions—and those new year's resolutions are based in our intentions. So why do we often find it so difficult to follow through? Because we are attempting to activate an intention without properly preparing ourselves. Actions without full awareness and alignment are simply good ideas.

Need some help with activation? Try my simple 3-step formula:

1) Awareness brings your attention to the critical factors affecting your balance;
2) Alignment helps focus your energy internally and externally; and
3) Activation puts theory into practice and ideas into motion. Activation is the key to implementation and a critical step to finding better balance.

As you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and intuition, you'll be able to take action on them, knowing that the internal nudge is coming from your deeper purpose and authentic self. Learning to connect with yourself is learning how to "begin within".

Focusing on activation helps us make changes in our lives and reminds us that manifesting our truest purpose and our dreams both depend on our ability to take action.

Happy New Year!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com to learn more.