Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Spring. Go Green!

If you stop and think about how much waste is created on a daily basis, you will notice how fast it adds up: more garbage + more pollution = higher expenses = less money, not to mention our abuse of the planet. It's not a pretty picture. 

Perhaps you've heard my favorite muppet Kermit the Frog crooning in his song, "It's not easy being green..." I've been thinking about the green movement lately, and even though it may be challenging for Kermit, being green is rather easy for us once we raise our awareness and start paying attention to our choices and actions.

There are more than enough resources available about greening your life. Allow me to highlight some simple habits you can quickly adopt to respect our planet, keep our lakes and air cleaner, and benefit your own balance (and budget!) as well.

 
Simple Tips for Greening it Up:
  • First and foremost, start paying attention to what you use, keep, and throw away. Keep in mind the 3 R's of the 21st century: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Everything you discard has one of two fates: garbage can or recycle bin.
  • If you like paper towels, buy the "select-a-size", which uses half the amount of a regular towel each time you tear one off (also makes great napkins!)
  • Reuse gently used paper towels or napkins as handy wipes for wiping food from dirty dishes, greasy pans, or for quick clean-ups.
  • Use the backs of previously printed papers in your printer. Most of what we print at home isn't that important, so save the new paper for special things.
  • You know those handy little Ziploc bags? Unless you're filling them with pudding or peanut butter they can usually be reused once or twice.
  • Ask for a ceramic mug (instead of paper cup) at your local coffee shop and take a moment to stop, relax, and enjoy your java or tea.
  • Consider replacing your coffee with green tea (blended with jasmine or lemongrass rocks). It's green and full of antioxidants.
  • Buy electronics with rechargeable or solar-powered batteries instead of disposable ones.
  • Reuse hotel sheets and towels. Do you change your sheets and towels every day at home? Then don't do it when you're on vacation.
  • Use reusable shopping bags. Save a plastic tree!
  • Reconsider bottled water. Consider purchasing an aluminum bottle or go back to the tap. Seriously. The bottled water craze is more hype than hip.
  • Consider non-chemical cleaning supplies and health supplements. Natural and essential plant oils replace any synthetic cleaners and healing supplements. Young Living is one fantastic organization I've used for years.
This week, I encourage you to think about where you can Go Green by reducing, reusing, and recycling more in your life. You'll feel good about the planet and your pocketbook. And by showing Kermit that you understand what being green is truly about, you'll make him a happy frog.

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg


Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life.

Liked this post? Then please comment or share it with others!

Photo courtesy of insideclimatenews.org

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Universal Mirror


Mirror [mir-er] Noun. A reflecting surface, originally of polished metal but now usually of glass with a silvery, metallic, or amalgam backing (dictionary.com)

Mirrors are a part of our daily lives. Mirrors reflect visual data back to us, giving us more information. A plane (flat) mirror not only allows us to view what is behind us, but provides a virtual opposite of what we are perceiving before us. We have learned to accept the information from mirrors as valid and trustworthy.

Likewise, our lives are also mirrors. The energy we are putting out into the world is being reflected back to us much like a mirror. And it all starts with our thoughts.

Thoughts contain energy. We are all energetic beings emitting an energetic frequency—or a vibration—just like a radio station broadcasting music. Whatever "music" we are playing, people "hear". Meaning, whatever vibe we are emitting creates our emotional state of being. Have you ever noticed when someone is having a good day or a bad day? You might pick it up through their attitudes, actions, or words. You can feel it in their "vibe".

The response to the energy we're putting out is reflected back to us in all areas of our lives through circumstances, events, and occurrences. That is the way our energetic Universe works.

Why is this important? Because once you understand this principle, you realize that you are the creator of your experience. When you focus on things you don't want or like, you will experience more of them in response to the vibration you are offering. Conversely, if you focus on things that you do want or like, you will experience more of those things.

So what if you are experiencing an abundance of things you do not want in your life, how do you change your broadcast? According to Alfred Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” We simply cannot continue in the same chronic pattern of thought and create different results. The powerful Universe is responding to whatever we are thinking and focusing on regardless of what it is. THAT is the creative process.

To change your broadcast you need to change your mind. Every event is an opportunity—a point in time for us to make a choice. We choose how we feel about something in every moment, and we have the choice about what to believe. When we start acting in mindful, thoughtful ways, we can respond to anything with informed, intelligent, and response-able actions.

What are you creating? How are you responding to what is happening around you? Are you paying attention to what is being reflected back to you?

This week, pay attention to what you are broadcasting and what information you are receiving in response. Then try "changing your tune" and see what is reflected back to you. The mirror never lies!

To Your Better Balance,

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life.

Liked this post? Then please comment or share it with others!

Photo courtesy of www.glassworksaiken.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

Losing Your Religion?

 

Religion. Spirituality. God. The Universe. Source Energy. Life. Death.

What does it all mean? Nobody knows. Let me repeat that. NOBODY KNOWS.

Not a single person on this planet knows what any of those things really mean. Oh, we certainly have an abundance of theories, ideas, and beliefs, but ultimately, none of us really knows the meaning behind it all.

But we spend a lifetime trying to figure it out.

Isn't that what our lives are all about: Questioning? Answering? Creating? Believing? And why is everyone so upset about our differences? Don't we all look, speak, and act differently? Isn't that the whole point of humanity? And shouldn't we believe different things? It seems that would only makes sense.

Religious and spiritual beliefs have been a topic of conflict since the beginning of time. The differences over this one topic have caused more turmoil, pain, arguments, and wars in our world than any other. In its simplest form, what we are seeing in our world is the opposite of what it is truly about: Love. What we are experiencing so often is Fear—the opposite of Love.

However, if we stop and think about it from a scientific perspective, not understanding something [because it's different from what we believe] causes a natural resistance. It is new information, and we are naturally wired to question something that is new.

Fear is a natural reaction in it's most primal form—a response by the human brain to what it cannot understand. And while feelings of Fear are automatic and natural, the response to Fear is not. Responding to Fear with anger, violence, abuse, resentment, or hatred is a chosen response—a choice—and that is what sets apart the natural from the unnatural. 

Reacting is natural; responding is thoughtful. We are human; therefore, we are response-able.

We always have choices. We choose how to respond to every situation, thought, and feeling in every moment. We can choose to respond to Fear negatively, or we can choose contemplation, compassion, and curiosity. Our choices create our reality. If you think your attitudes, actions, and words don't matter, think again. It ALL matters. We ALL matter. Everything we think, feel, say, and do matters—whether we realize it or not.

What are you choosing today, and how is that causing a ripple effect in the world around you? Which words are you using? How are you supporting what you love instead of pushing against what you don't? When we start remembering that we are all creating the world we currently live in by each word and deed, we might start taking ourselves—and our actions—more seriously.

Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same. And above all else, "Live and Let Live", for that is what we came here to do.

Namaste

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life.

Liked this post? Then please comment or share it with others!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Nudge


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

Stephen R. Covey

Ever get a "nudge" to do or say something? 

Something I learned early-on in my writing and coaching work was to give my thoughts, feelings, and intuition a voice—a way to better understand the language of my mind, body, and spirit. We all perceive information through our senses and this information is being filtered and translated into our thoughts, feelings, and intuition. We can use our words to describe how we're thinking or feeling, but how do those internal voices work?
 

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 Spiritual energy 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. I equate intuition as a "gut feeling", or sensation in the pit of my stomach.

Since Spirit is the eternal part of our tri-part being, the quiet voice of our Spirit gives us little nudges and hints throughout the day. This nudge may come to us as, “I should hold this door open for that person,” or “I can spare some change for the woman ahead of me in line.” Sometimes it's even just a smile to a passing stranger. Spirit never asks from us more than we can give at a given moment. Spirit knows us and our boundaries. In fact, our 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!

By paying attention to those little nudges throughout the day, you can get closer to hearing 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 the energy of 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?


To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg


Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life. You can also tune into Michael's recent radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell at: (Michael starts after 31:00).

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com 

Liked this post? Then please comment or share it with others!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our Chronic Thoughts


Thoughts are extremely powerful. In fact, our thoughts create our reality as we experience it. Much like a captain navigating the sea, our thoughts command the wheel of our ship and point us toward a destination.

I asked one of my coaching clients last week about a potential employment opportunity to which he replied, “I can't do that. I've never done that before." As we continued, I could see a pattern unfolding. His perspectives about everything in his life—his career, relationships, choices and experiences—were coming from a place of lack. He felt that his life was filled with so many things he didn't want. It was just never enough.

My next question was, “So what do you want?” To which he had a difficult time responding. Since he’d been so focused on what he didn’t want for so long, he couldn’t clarify what he wanted. He’d lost his focus. Everything he was experiencing in his life was a direct result of his chronic thought patterns.

Each of us have an "emotional default setting" that was formed at an early age—usually during our impressionable childhood years—by the environment and the people around us. In turn, this default became the foundation for a set of matching beliefs and the chronic patterns of thought associated with those beliefs. This is helpful if our patterns of thought are positive; but can be very challenging if they're negative. Negative belief systems create what are called limiting beliefs.


Limiting beliefs can be recognized by statements such as:
  • "I have no choice."
  • "Life is a struggle."
  • "I made my decision and now I need to stick with it."
  • "Things never go my way."
  • "I always seem to mess things up—that’s just my nature."
  • "Other people always seem so much happier than me."
  • "This is just the cruel hand life’s dealt to me."
They may also take the form of questions:
  • "How come I never get what I really want?"
  • "Why is life so difficult?"
  • "What is wrong with me?"
  • "Why do bad things always happen to me?"
  • "How come everyone else is succeeding while I’m failing?"
  • "How can I possibly be a good friend/mother/brother/coworker when I can’t even be good to myself?"

Each of those statements and questions come from limiting beliefs. What they don't consider is often they've been created by simple observations (i.e., one experience or one observation), or have been passed down to us by others and we've chosen to believe them with limited firsthand experience.


There is another perspective that brings hope, clarity, and relief: it’s called reframing.

Reframing is the practice of recognizing that how we respond to something is just as important (and sometimes more important) than the actual event. We can choose our attitude just as easily as we choose our clothing!

Reframing includes developing a higher tolerance for ambiguity and being willing to take a new perspective without have the proof to back it up. Reframing requires trust and facilitates hope. Reframing always gives us options, especially regarding limiting beliefs:


  • "I have no choice," becomes,
  • "I always have choices, even if it's only my attitude."
  • "Life is a struggle," becomes, 
  • "Life can be challenging, but it's helping me grow."
  • "I made my decision and now I have to stick with it," becomes,
  • "I realize that things change, and I can always choose again." 

Can you see how this works?


This week, make the conscious choice to become aware of your limiting beliefs (catch yourself when you think or say them!) and practice reframing your perspective. You may quickly notice your energy shifting and your mood improving. Eventually, your limiting beliefs can become unlimited beliefs and you'll start navigating your ship towards new destinations. Think: The Bahamas instead of the cold Atlantic!

To Your Better Balance

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life. You can also tune into Michael's recent radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell at: (Michael starts after 31:00).

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Image courtesy of discovery-zone.com

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Favorite Things


Last evening during the 2015 Oscars celebration, Lady Gaga sang a 50th anniversary tribute to the movie The Sound of Music, a 1965 American musical film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

Thinking back to the first time I saw the stage version of that musical (which I'd actually auditioned for and didn't get... *sigh), I remember one song that always made me smile: My Favorite Things. I liked the song because it was about remembering those things which bring us happiness. Sometimes, just thinking about our favorite things can help put us into a spirit of appreciation, which reminds us to be thankful for what we have and love.

So on a semi-regular basis (especially on those "down days"), I will start a list of my Favorite Things, and soon I will start to feel lighter... or, as Julie Andrews' character puts it—"...then I don't feel so bad."

Although my most recent list doesn't contain Raindrops on Roses or Whiskers on Kittens (listen to the song), it does contain many things that give me a lift whenever I think of them. So here's a recent list of my 50 Favorite Things. How many of these things can you relate to?
  1. Sitting around a campfire
  2. A fresh cup of coffee
  3. Warm fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies
  4. The feeling right after good exercise: body buzzing with life and energy!
  5. Staying up late with friends talking, telling stories, and laughing until my face aches
  6. Going for a walk through freshly fallen snow while it’s still soft and sparkly
  7. The anticipation at the beginning of any game, show, or concert
  8. The holidays and that renewed feeling of appreciation
  9. Comfortable shoes
  10. Music that makes my body want to move
  11. Moments of peace and quiet
  12. Moments of loud crazy fun
  13. Prolific pontification stimulating engagement in apophenia
  14. Cool stuff that lights up
  15. One of those excellent books you can’t wait to keep reading
  16. A personal epiphany—or "light bulb moment"
  17. Bacon
  18. A new haircut
  19. The fact that I don’t know how to file my tax return, I don’t want to know how to file my tax return, and I am happy to pay someone to do it each year
  20. That my family are best friends and my best friends are family
  21. Trees
  22. Being by water, over water, under water, on the water, in the water... etc.
  23. Traveling. Anywhere. Especially places with mountains
  24. That feeling right after watching a really good film where you were transported to another world and having to adjust back to “reality” (whatever that is...)
  25. Things I don’t understand or never seen/heard/thought of before
  26. Muse driving, muse walking, muse traveling, muse (anything): just following my nose
  27. The unexpected
  28. The expected
  29. Making lists of favorite things
  30. Meeting people who change my life
  31. Freedom of choice
  32. Starting with an idea, expanding the idea, trying different approaches, revising the idea, adding more to the idea, refining the idea, review, rewrite, spell check, run past a friend for feedback, revise, edit, and then realize your final product has changed drastically and looks only remotely like your original idea, but the process was well worth it and now your idea is absolutely awesome!! (still with me...?)
  33. Playing cards and board games with my parents
  34. A blank piece of paper
  35. A new baseball cap
  36. Heights
  37. Walking through busy airports while Lisa Gerrard serenades me from my iPod
  38. Lying on my bed staring at the ceiling while Lisa Gerrard serenades me from my iPod
  39. Lisa Gerrard
  40. Remembering that we are all a version of source (God) energy in human form, and that we are creating our experience with every thought, word, and deed
  41. Making someone’s day by not doing anything but spending time with them
  42. Someone making my day by not doing anything but spending time with me
  43. Puppies
  44. When I get a check in the mail and don’t know how much it’s for
  45. When I get a check in the mail and know how much it’s for
  46. Trying something new that excites and scares me at the same time
  47. The feeling of starting a new project
  48. The feeling of completing a project
  49. Sitting and talking
  50. Sitting and listening
How about you? What are some of your Favorite Things? Try making a list and see how you feel after you read it. Perhaps you, too, will experience the feeling of alignment and happiness that comes with appreciation.

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life. You can also tune into Michael's recent radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell at: (Michael starts after 31:00).

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Image compliments of post-movie.net

Monday, February 9, 2015

Simplify Your Life


Many people are looking for better balance and happiness in life. Through my writing and coaching, I help guide people towards those goals by providing them with options. One of my favorite lines of questioning includes challenging the complexity of people's lives.

Some questions include: What things are you currently experiencing in your life that you no longer want? How are complex or difficult relationships helping or hurting you? In what ways can you simplify areas of your life to bring you more peace and happiness?

Here are tips in three areas of your life to help get you started down the road to simplicity:

Simply Your Choices
  • Just because you can doesn't mean you should. To optimize your power of choice, pay careful attention to the results of your choices. Make your choices and notice the consequences. Be willing to try something new. And remember you can always choose again. Sounds simple, but not always easy.
  • Like a good parent or teacher, give yourself options. For example, I choose from three different health-related activities each day: swim, gym or nap. I need to choose one activity each day, but I don't have rules about which activity or how often I can choose it. I give myself the choice and allow myself to go with whatever I'm feeling that day—no judgments.
  • Help out your health. Keep a supply of healthy food choices stocked in your cupboard, refrigerator, and desk drawer at work. Avoid running low on healthy snacks or you might be tempted to binge on something you don't really need. Save the treats for special occasions!
Simplify Your Relationships
  • Take inventory of your current relationships. Which people are adding to your life? Which people are taking too much of your time and energy? Who is really supporting you, or who is waiting for you to do something for them? Think carefully. Choose which relationships to nurture accordingly.
  • Invest more in the most important people. I know this sounds obvious, but there is a tremendous power in incremental investments. Think of your most cherished relationships like a savings account. Adding a small deposit each week equates to large payoffs down the road.
  • Rise to meet conflict by softening your stance. Think about the outcome (what you really want out of a situation), and stay focused on the goal while you approach it with curiosity instead of coercion. Better resolution comes through collaboration rather than collision. Seek to win-win!
Simplify Your Outlook
  • I'm not speaking about your Outlook email account (although that could be another blog!), but rather Simplify your outlook on life. When you see that all of your choices—and ultimately your experiences—stem from your own unique perspective, you can learn to accept that your perception does, indeed, create your reality.
  • Develop a higher tolerance for ambiguity. There are so many unknowns and variables in our world. Developing a higher tolerance for ambiguity means learning to be more at ease with "not knowing". In other words, by allowing yourself to learn from the momentum of your experience, you don't need to figure everything out right away. Be patient. Watch. See what happens.
  • Learn to accept all things and people as they are. Right now. In all ways. Simple? Yes. Easy to do? Not so much. When you start to allow the things and people in your environment to exist without judging them (if they are "right or wrong"), then you are in harmony with nature. Pay attention to your own path and allow others to keep theirs. We are only responsible for our own journey, not the journey for anyone else.

My hope is that by making a few small changes here and there, you will notice how simplifying your life in subtle ways can have a profound on your feelings of balance and equilibrium. Besides, balance is already within you, so let it shine.

To Your Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Need a bit more motivation? Pick up a copy of 21 Days to Better Balance, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life. You can also tune into Michael's recent radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell at: (Michael starts after 31:00).

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com