Ellen Livingston, M.A., RYT, presents her Top 10 Tips for Essential Wellness: 10 Things People Who Love Their Lives Do Every Day. A natural raw food diet, yoga and present-centered, positivity-oriented life coaching and mentoring are the primary tools of Ellen’s unique, from-the-heart teachings and guidance. Ellen healed herself of several serious conditions and has benefited from a raw vegan diet since 2002. Ellen has inspired and assisted hundreds of people to make lasting, life-changing health and lifestyle improvements.
Ellen’s range of wellness services include public presentations, workshops, teleseminars, yoga classes, one-on-one and group coaching programs, and retreats, including popular annual weeklong retreats in Costa Rica. Ellen has launched a book, The Ultimate Raw Food Diet Detox and Wellness Program; a two-hour recipe DVD, Simple ‘n Healthy Raw Cuisine; and a yoga DVD. Numerous journals have featured her articles, and she is a well-loved public speaker, known for her sincerity, knowledge, delightful stories, compassion and wisdom. Visit Ellen’s website at EllenLivingston.com.
1. Wake up with gratitude for another day to play and serve in the grand adventure called life. We are all creating all the time. We don’t get an option to not create. An attitude of gratitude helps us create the best experience and opens us to receive the wonderful, joyful abundance of the Universe. When we wake up and our first thoughts are of lack and overwhelm (“I didn’t get enough sleep,” “I have so much to do” …), we unwittingly drain the vibrance from our day right from the first breath.
An especially nice morning practice is to simply visualize yourself (while your eyes are still closed and you are still in bed) in a life you love. See yourself with the health and abundance you desire in a beautiful environment with people who love you and doing work that enlivens you. Open your eyes, name a few gratitudes and begin your day with a happy heart, knowing you are headed in the direction of your dreams.
Here are some words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama that I have hanging on my wall: “Every day, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ ”
2. Ask themselves, “What would I love?” This may be the most important question you can ask yourself. The heart never lies, and when you trust that and follow your heart, you really can’t go wrong. Most of us make decisions and lead our lives from the head—thinking our way through things. People who love their lives use their heads too, but they let their heart lead. A heart-centered life is an authentic life. You have a unique song to sing in your lifetime, and that song must be released from your heart and from your soul. Too much thinking gets in the way and oppresses the sometimes subtle whisperings of the heart. Let yourself feel your way to what you would do.
To listen for your heart’s wisdom, sit quietly with your eyes closed and ask yourself, “What would I love?” In a daily journal, write down everything you hear from deep inside your soul. Dare to act on one of these longings today.
3. Tune in to what has energy for them, what makes them feel inspired and alive. It’s what you love that makes you feel inspired and alive. When you act on what you would love, and what really has the most energy for you, your actions will be true and meaningful for you and for others. So often we do what we think we should do even when deep down we are aware that it is not what we really want in our heart.
We are afraid to follow our heart because often the messages we get from our heart seem impractical, inconvenient or even impossible. We are afraid we might be ridiculed or frowned upon and, above all, we want to fit in. Perhaps worst of all, we are afraid we might fall short if we dare to step into our real dreams. People who love their lives are people who dare to take risks, because they know that anything that doesn’t work out is simply helpful feedback and that a life you love is worth some risk and will require some recalibrations as you find your way.
Notice where your energy wants to flow. Pay attention to what inspires you. Follow the urges that motivate you. Trust your intuition.
4. Choose natural fresh foods that nourish their body. We need to eat for two basic reasons: fuel and nutrients. It is imperative that we eat the foods for which we are biologically designed because these foods contain the right fuel-to-nutrient ratio for us, ensuring that we will be able to meet our nutrient needs without needing to over-fuel (or overeat on “empty calories”). Rather than “living to eat,” a healthy person “eats to live.” Happily, our natural diet tastes delicious and is satisfying on all levels.
If you want to feel your best and free up the energy you’ll need to create a life you love, you need to eat the foods your body is designed for. Imagine what you could do if you were free of dis-ease and woke up every day feeling refreshed and fully alive, eager to play and learn and grow. Being in control of our health is extremely empowering and gives us the strength and courage to go after our dreams. Please see my book, The Ultimate Raw Food Diet Detox and Wellness Program, for more information about our natural foods.
5. Move their body. Just like all the wild animals, we are designed to be fit and active. You cannot truly be healthy if you are not fit. The best physical activities for you to do are the ones you love—as long as they love you back. By choosing to move your body outdoors whenever feasible, you will get much needed fresh air and, hopefully, some sunshine. People who are committed to living a life they love realize the importance of health. They know that without health, nothing else works very well. A healthy body promotes a sound mind, balanced emotions and a naturally positive and courageous outlook.
Allow yourself to feel the glory of your body’s movements. Feel the joy in walking outdoors with a spring in your step or in flowing with your breath through a series of yoga postures or in dancing as if nothing else matters and no one is watching. Your body will thank you, you will naturally want to choose healthier foods and you will feel better all over.
6. Believe in themselves. Your biggest barrier may be your doubt about your belief in yourself. If it’s hard to believe in yourself, can you at least believe in the awesome presence that walks with you? Trust me, you have so much more than you are aware of—more love, more talent, more gifts, more resources and more support—way more than you realize.
A very helpful exercise is to visualize yourself often as who you wish to be. See yourself with all the health, love, peace, joy, purpose and abundance you wish for. The more you visualize this, the more familiar this higher version of you will become to you, and gradually you will come to believe in the possibility. If you can see it and you can believe it, you can start to live it, and you will become it. This is how the Law of Attraction works.
People who love their lives believe they are deserving of a life they love.
7. Listen moment by moment for what is next. Ready, fire, aim. You can’t plan an inspired life. When you tune into your heart’s real desire and align yourself with what feels right and true for you, you align with a force much bigger than you, the loving energy of the Universe, which wants what is true for you. All sorts of seemingly magical synchronicities begin to occur when you commit to your truth, and if you stay awake and aware and listen closely, moment by moment, you will always be guided to the next step of your journey. This is a path of love and trust, not simply of intellect and willpower.
Meditation can help us learn to listen more deeply. Mahatma Gandhi said, “In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.” Lao Tzu asks, “Do you have patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
“Ready, fire, aim” is a fun play on words. Most people’s deepest dreams remain inside of them because of their fear that they won’t have the skills or the money or the time or the whatever they imagine is needed to make their dream come true. Dream-building takes great courage and the willingness to risk firing (taking action) before we have all our “ducks in a row.” With a minimum amount of readying, we can go ahead and try something, knowing and trusting that we can continue aiming as we go along and keep learning more of what we need to do. People who love their lives have a low requirement for knowing how they will do what is required before making a decision for what they would love.
8. Let go of worrying about what other people think. This can be a tough one! We are hard-wired for survival, to seek to fit into the tribe. We may not have to fight off lions or band together to fend off starvation anymore, but we do still need each other. One of our very biggest fears is separation from our fellow humans. It feels like it could even spell death. Is it any wonder we will deny our own soul’s desires to protect our place in the pack?
But doing this causes another kind of “death.” We are also meant to be aligned with our own unique soul song. We need to find expression for this, and we need to be seen and known in all our authenticity. It takes a whole lot of energy to live a “fake” life—a life we don’t feel completely connected to and alive in.
When you follow your heart and stick your neck out for what you believe and what you would genuinely love, you are likely to catch some flack. Other people may feel uncomfortable when you give yourself permission to follow your heart. To cope with their discomfort, they may criticize you when, really, they may wish that they had the courage to do the same. When you let your own light shine, you ultimately give permission for others to do the same.
When you learn to let go of what other people think of you and let your own heart lead your way, you will reap the magnificent benefits of a life that truly enlivens you and, in time, you will see that others respect and admire you for it.
9. Pay attention to what they are paying attention to. To create a life you love, you will need to think in a whole new way. Creative and inspired success is so different from traditional ideas of success. You will realize a new way to work and a new way to live. You will need to download a whole new operating system. The old ways don’t work for a life in which you feel deeply inspired and truly alive. You will be learning how to be moved to do what’s never been done before—to sing your own unique song—on your authentic, inspired path.
The Law of Attraction states that thoughts become things and that what you think about expands. Buddha tell us, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make our world.” Hold a constant vision of what you would love, and practice engaging only with the thoughts that support your vision. You can learn to “catch your thoughts” and shift negative and unhelpful thoughts into thoughts that help you go where you want to go. My favorite personal mantra is an African proverb that says, “Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you.” The only thing that stands between you and a life you love is your thinking.
10. Count their blessings at the end of the day. So often we collapse into our bed at the end of the day berating ourselves for all the things on the to-do list and the wish list that did not get accomplished that day. When we count our failures instead of our blessings, we head into sleep disappointed with ourselves and our lives. And often we then awaken the next morning already feeling a sense of lack and overwhelm. What a vicious and unsupportive cycle!
The daily transition times of going to sleep and waking up are beautiful opportunities for positive reflection and self-compassion. We can infuse these special times with conscious, quiet moments of pure and simple gratitude. Feel your gratitude for the precious gift of life, your gratitude for another day, your gratitude for love and kindness and all that is good and pure.
At the close of day, notice all that you have and all that you love. You can trust that everything in your life is lined up perfectly to support your growth, to support your unique journey to becoming ever more aware of who you truly are. All is well, and life is meant to be loved.
Many blessings on your way!
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Hungry for more? Check out Ellen’s Fruit Wraps recipe!