Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: December 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

The Best of Always Well Within 2013


Writing for each one of you brings meaning and joy into my life.  In fact, it’s all I would do if I could!

I know I will never hear from the vast majority of you, but I feel an invisible connection to you and am so very grateful for your readership. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.

The Best Always Well Within Posts of 2013

As I browsed through my 2013 blog posts this morning, I felt pleased.  I feel my best posts dig deep, ask compelling questions, and present a unique view. I’m so delighted to share them with you.

Here’s the top twenty:

  1. Limits:  The Key to a Thriving Life
  2. 4 Reasons I Don’t Believe in the Law of Attraction
  3. A Bundle of Joy and Peace:  21 Inspirational Quotations from Thich Nhat Hanh
  4. The True Meaning of Non-Attachment and How It Sets You Free
  5. How to Cultivate a Spacious Mind
  6. What Hooks You and How to Overcome It
  7. How to Deconstruct Pesky Thought Patterns and Wacky Emotional Habits
  8. Three Essential Elements of Personal Power
  9. Are You Fighting or Flowing?
  10. Cultivating Compassion:  Begin with Impartiality
  11. Walking the Labyrinth to Your True Self
  12. How To Master the Art of Quiet Time Off
  13. Drop Into Your Heart:  It’s Easier Than You Think
  14. 108 Quotations to Inspire Love, Happiness, and Freedom
  15. Step Into Uncertainty
  16. What Are You Willing to Do to Save Another Person’s Life?
  17. How to Cope with the Suffering of this World
  18. A Simple Way to Balance Your Emotions and Revitalize Your Body
  19. Is It Always Smart to Follow Your Heart?
  20. True Happiness Begins with the Right View

More Goodness

For more Best of Always Well Within, check these posts:

Looking Ahead

I try to stay in the present moment and not look ahead too much.  But, I still have aspirations for Always Well Within in 2014, which  include:

  • Post a new article once or twice a week.
  • Offer my e-course Living with Ease:  21 Days to Less Stress once each season.  The next session starts Jan. 6th and you can register now.
  • Create at least one new course and/or write an e-book.
  • Check in with you through a reader survey.

Most importantly, underlying these practical wishes is this all-pervasive aspiration:  May whatever I write be of true benefit to others, helping to free them from suffering and bringing them more happiness and ease.

I’m immensely grateful for all the loving support I’ve received this year, especially during the launch of my new course.  Thank you for sharing my posts, commenting, connecting via email or simply reading my posts.  I’m so happy to be connected with you!

I’d love to hear your aspirations for 2014.  What’s ahead for you?

I’m so glad you’re here! If you enjoy my articles, please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

One Powerful Word: A Simple Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Star and Clouds

Each year, I choose one word as my guiding star.  I find this a simple and enriching process.  This single word – or phrase – keeps me aligned with my most important focus for profound personal growth.

If you would like to explore how to discover your word for the year and how to remember it, please enjoy my previous posts on the topic:

I hope you find the perfect word that accelerates your personal growth and leads you to more peace and happiness.

Have you selected your word for the year yet?  I would love to hear about it.  Mine might be “practice.”

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

A Bundle of Joy and Peace: 21 Inspiring Quotations from Thich Nhat Hanh

More quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh on peace, love, and mindfulness.

Respected and dearly loved Zen master, poet, champion of peace, and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us to touch peace with every breath.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the universal truths contained within these uplifting quotations.  Use these inspirational seeds as daily reminders to tap into love, compassion, and wisdom every step of the way.

Seeds of Inspiration

  • “We do not need to escape reality to harness the joy and peace that is possible with every breath we take—the power of mindfulness can heal us from the suffering caused by the many stresses that surround us.”
  • “If we are able to look deeply into our suffering and embrace it tenderly, great compassion can be born.”
  • “True power comes from within. What we seek, we already have.”

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15 Compelling Questions to Enrich Your 2013 Personal Review

Twilight Over Lake

I try to spend the least amount of time possible dwelling in the past or anticipating the future.  Living in the present moment brings so much more ease and richness into my life.

At the same time, I feel it’s so important to consciously capture our life lessons and to reinforce them.  Otherwise, due to the power of habit, we may just keep playing the same old songs.

The end of the year offers a natural time to pause, acknowledge and celebrate your positive changes.  Inner reflection also gives you a chance to spot the sticky, tricky, icky parts of your life. Without this recognition, personal change may never occur.

So cozy up with yourself!  Find a quiet corner or inspiring natural environment and consider one or more of these 15 sets of essential questions.  Take the time to consolidate your 2013 insights so you can enter 2014 with clarity, focus and good heart.

Questions to Enrich Your 2013 Review

You can use these questions as writing or journaling prompts to dig deeply.  Or, you can work with them lightly to paint an impressionistic picture of your year.  There’s no need to respond to every question.  Just pick the ones that call to you.

1. Describe your year in a single word, sentence and paragraph.

2. Look back at each month of the year.  Write one sentence to describe each month.  Or, write a sentence that elucidates the most important lesson learned each month.

3. What were the highlights of your year?  The low-lights?

4. Read through your journals, highlight the juicy bits and compile a mega list of lessons learned.  Then whittle your list to your top 3 life lessons from 2013.

5. Who/what were the significant people, events, and places during the past 12 months?

6. What would you like to forget about this year?  Do you have any regrets?  Anything you would like to have done differently?

7. What was the emotional tone of 2013?  What were the dominating emotional patterns?  Don’t forget the good ones!

8. Capture your year as a color, a taste, a feeling, a visual or a smell.

9. Look through your photos and chose the ones that best represent the year.  Write an evocative headline for each.  Create a photo collage that represents the essence of your year.

10. What did you accomplish?  What challenged you?

11. List your most important insights about your body, emotions, mind, spirit, work, finances, and/or relationships.  And, any thing else important to you.

12.  What lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to carry forward into the new year?

13.  Is there anyone to forgive, including yourself?

14.  Did you choose a single word as your guiding star this year?  If so, how did it go with your word?  Did you remember it?  Did you bring it alive?

15.  Create your own question about the past year.

Don’t forget to remember all the goodness of your year, and your own inner beauty!  Don’t just focus on the problems and challenges.

Dancing with Uncertainty

Overall, it’s been a remarkable year for me.  Surprisingly, some of my deepest and strongest patterns shifted.  I came to understand on a gut level that so much of my closely held fear was a construction of my own mind.  I opened to receive love in a new and more complete way.  I let go of some very heavy baggage this year.  Life is all the more sweet for having done so.

Of course, I had my challenges too; like a bout of bronchitis that I thought would never go away.  As difficult as they may be, I know there’s so much wisdom to be gained from the difficulties.  And that keeps me going because life is uncertain.  We never know what will come next.

Have you started your 2013 personal review?  What stands out for you from 2013?

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

Perfect Gifts: 13 Life-Changing Books Plus Beauty from Fibre Tibet

Monk Contemplating

Words are powerful.  They can ignite positive change in your life and bring you more happiness and freedom.  They can transform the world into a better place.  That’s why I believe the right book is priceless, and indeed the perfect gift.

However, it may not be helpful to read too many books.  The key is to contemplate what you learn and then put it into practice instead of skipping immediately onto a new book.  Otherwise, it’s like leaving a collection of supreme knowledge to gather dust on a book shelf.  And then, just continuing on with automatic habits that leave you discontent.

I read less these days, try to capture the essence of what I read, and then do my best apply it.  My method is to draw a few key points from what I’ve read.  I’m beginning to play with mind maps as a simple way to remind myself of what’s truly important.  I sometimes journal or blog about an important theme from a book as another way to nudge the information more deeply into my being.

These are some of the amazing books that have touched my life in positive ways.  They might make a perfect gift for someone in your life.  That might even be you!

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A Simple Way to Relieve Holiday Stress

Pine Tree with Snow

Do you remember a time when you felt stressed to the max, and someone kindly told you, “Just breathe.”  You probably wanted to smack them square on the jaw.  Or fling them into the nearest wall.

Friendly advice like this – at the wrong moment – may, in fact,  just exacerbate your stress response further.  On top of feeling all the amped up, you may then feel belittled, ashamed, or out-of-control too.

Here’s the problem.  Once, stress is dialed way up, it’s not that easy to quickly dial it down, especially if you have habitually caved into the stress response.  That’s how your brain and body are now wired.

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