Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Tag: wellness

Thoughts From The Trail: Joy is a Verb and the Accidental Gratitude Review

   Hey There, Well-Beings!

I originally had my regularly scheduled Gratitude Review planned for today, but sometimes life has other plans. I’d gotten two paragraphs deep when I realized providence was trying to teach me a lesson in the quiet stillness of my writing time. So, I tabled the review and gave my heart room to speak. Boy, did she have a lot to say! Some of those things, of course, were meant only for me as they were answers I’d asked during my prayer and meditation time. Oh, but this nugget of truth was too good not to share! And it just so happens that this turned out to be something I’m incredibly thankful for, so my post will end up being about gratitude regardless of where I thought I was headed when started writing this morning.

The man in my life and I took a nature walk on a favorite local trail of ours yesterday. I’m a little ashamed to admit that it had been at least a year and a half since we’d been there, but I think that’s going to change. The moment we had our feet on the soft earth of the trail, we both uttered similar sentiments about how instantly happy we were and how much we’d missed being outside. We definitely savored our time, but amid the rocks and the trees we kinda got real with ourselves and each other about how we’d gotten so far off track with our hikes. That night before he left, we made loose plans to meet up at the trail in the morning, but I sat with our conversation for a while before I went to sleep. The weather was a factor beyond my control, but was everything else I told myself really just an excuse? What the hell was I excusing myself from exactly?

This morning I got up about an hour earlier than I’d planned to. I sat out to write, but as I mentioned, I got more than I bargained for. I got an answer to my question and it was equal parts beautiful and truly sad. I’d been excusing myself from joy.

In the last 4 years especially, I really struggled with depression and anxiety. I told myself often that staying in and resting were forms of self care, and trust me, in so many ways they really were. Maintaining peace is important and I do believe that learning to set healthy boundaries have contributed in a large way to my overall happiness, however there have been times when staying in and “taking it easy” were big, fat excuses, and I knew it. Joy isn’t something that just comes to you while you’re sitting on the couch in your sweatpants (unless you’re burned out, in which case proceed and maybe watch some cartoons). It’s something you shower and show up for. It often requires action on our part in, at least, the form of meeting it where it is rather than waiting for it to stop by. That’s why we weren’t out there every weekend. Joy is a verb. It’s something that you do, not something that you have. It’s a choice, and it’s one we stopped making when it came to putting on our hiking gear and piling into the car for a short drive and long walk. That’s why this morning when the alarm went off, I’d already made my choice. Sitting here writing this, I don’t regret it in the slightest. It will flavor everything else I do today with accomplishment and gratification.

Irony being what it is, I was given an answer to this question earlier this week before I’d even posed it. It showed up in the form of the quote in the photo below. The great thing I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten older is that if you miss the lesson the first time, life doesn’t quit on you. You get an opportunity to try again many, many times until you learn what it is you’re supposed to learn. Yes, it’s true that sometimes we end up with an uncomfortable lesson if we aren’t open to learning when it’s presented to us in gentler ways first, but I’ve learned to be thankful for those experiences, too. It’s proof that I’m worth the repeated attempts at growth that are sent my way, and guess what? You’re worth it, too.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,


Depth Perception: How to Fix Your Gratitude Problem

bench-1245994_1920     Hi There, Well-Beings,

It’s been a while since I have been able to get a post up. The website went a little wonky in the past couple of weeks and it took some time to get those wonks ironed out. I’m back though, and ready to share something that’s been on my heart lately.

I’ve been preaching gratitude for a while now. I still believe in its transformative powers, and I think it’s a good place to start whenever you’re down and out and don’t know what to do. If I’m being honest though, life has thrown me so many lemons lately that I stopped making lemonade, because I’d gotten kinda sick of drinking it. In moments that felt totally overwhelming, I used to find comfort in being able to rattle off a couple of things that I felt thankful for and it helped me save the day, even if only a little, but I was so burned out that even my never-fail list felt empty and ineffective. Great. Even the thing I tell people “changed my life” isn’t working anymore. How do you bounce back from that?

I’d been going over old Facebook posts, notebooks, and journal entries and wondering what happened. One of the things that really stuck me was how much more detail I used to use in describing things. Then, scribbled in the corner of page in one of my idea notebooks was a quote by Marie Forleo that helped me to see why my practice was failing, “When it comes to gratitude, the dividends are in the details.”

I’ve changed the way I’ve been thankful for things in the past week, and I believe it’s making a big difference. Rather than rattling off three things and getting on with my day, I’ve tried giving myself just one thing to focus on and then really experiencing it in as much detail as possible, by journaling about it or making it part of my daily meditation practice. For example, if I was thankful for my dog, (and you bet I am), I might recall how sweet it is when he curls up next to me while I’m writing, or the way he gives run by kisses when I’m in the kitchen filling his food bowl. I might also remember what a comfort it was having him in my life while I was grieving, or how his love of a sunny spot in the grass on a nice day reminds me to slow down and enjoy life a little more. I couldn’t forget the goofy little dance he does when I make popcorn and “accidentally” drop a few pieces. See? Quality, not quantity. There’s always a lot of quality when you take time to notice it.


I want to know how you’re doing. Are things humming along or have you started to forget the words? Do you have any tips for bringing more depth to your gratitude practice? Leave a comment below and let’s talk it out. You never know how your contribution might set off the spark of gratitude in someone else.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,




 Depth Perception

My Top 3 Methods for Managing Stress

table-384802_1920    I had a conversation with a friend who didn’t know that I completed my life coaching certification last year, and she had a lot of questions about exactly what a Stress Management Coach does and how someone decides to become one. After sharing some background about what I’ve been up to since we’ve seen each other (it’d been 15 years!), I detailed some of the time I spent battling grief and chronic illness and how I faced a pretty serious decision between giving up or teaching myself how to get better. We talked about all of the tools I added to my arsenal as I learn how to heal myself from years of chronic stress and dis-ease, and then she posed a question that I absolutely loved she said, “How would you help me get started?” I want to share my answer with you because I think it is an opportunity to help many of you who may just be getting your self-care footing. Below are my top three methods for lessening stress in my life, and I hope they help you do the same:

  1. Meditate – This probably scares some of you, but I promise you there’s nothing scary about it. In fact, if you can just muster 1 to 5 minutes to sit in a quiet room by yourself and pull up a short video on your phone to listen to while you close your eyes, you my friend, can meditate. When I was first trying to figure out what this whole meditation thing was all about, I used guided meditation as my training wheels. It did eventually lead me to certify as a teacher of seven different types of meditation, but I started with what was accessible and comfortable to me, and we all must start somewhere. Try listening to a few short ones until you find one that resonates with you and make time to use it every day for a week. Then repeat the following week with a different meditation. Practice for as long or as short a time as you wish, as long as you give it your all and remain committed to doing so at least a few minutes a day, every single day. If you are consistent, you’ll begin to see and feel results quickly. When things get crazy in your life, you will be tempted to quit because you think you need the extra time, but this will be the most important thing you do all day. Show up for yourself. You’ll never be sorry that you took time to meditate.


  1. Get Outside – I struggle with my day job. It’s not especially in line with my soul’s purpose and it drains me to the point of total exhaustion sometimes, but I still need it to pay my bills right now. Sometimes the only thing that gets me through my shift is stepping away from my desk and taking a lap around the building. There is something about nature, even the small patches of flowers and grass in the shopping center where my office is located, that grounds me in an instant. If you can’t spend all afternoon hiking, or you don’t have a backyard with a lovely garden that you can tend and get your hands dirty in, sit outside with a book on your lunch break or sip some tea on your apartment balcony. Make it a point to get outside once a day and be present in nature. As I’ve made the effort, yes even in the rain and snow, I’ve witnessed it change the energy in my body in a way that’s allowed me to handle whatever I have to do with more grace and ease. It can do that for you too, if you let it.



  1. Gratitude – If you’d said this to me while I was on my descent into chaos several years ago, I would have a digitally signaled my contempt and probably used some colorful language to make sure I’d made my point. Gratitude is everything, though. Make yourself, and I mean force it if you must, write down three things to be thankful for each day. Do it at the same time every day, and don’t plan to move on to the next thing until you’re finished with the exercise. This is why I like to do mine at the end of the day as part of my winding down process before bed; nothing can get in the way. It might feel a little insincere at first, but even if all you can find to feel thankful for is the ability to write, a pen, and a piece of paper to write on, then start exactly there. More will come. That’s the beautiful thing about gratitude. If you are consistent about practicing it, it begins to bubble out of you. You’ll find more and more things to feel thankful for until one day, thankful is all you feel. I mean sure, you’ll still have other emotions, but the pervasive one will be gratitude. A thankful person is a happy person. Trust me on this. When I started, the only thing I had to feel thankful for was the fact that my illness hadn’t killed me, and now I have no trouble spouting off 100 or more things that I feel a deep sense of gratitude for. You can do this.


I could easily expand on any of these topics and add about 16 more tips, but these are the absolute basics that I started out with when I was finally ready to stop letting stress control me. If it were any more complex I’m not sure I would have tried and that’s all you have to do. Try these methods for one week at a time and before you know it, you’ll have conquered stress and people will be coming to you for advice. That’s exactly how I did it, and you can do it too.

Wishing You Total Well-Being (and Lots of Success),



The Surprising Connection Between Gratitude Journaling and Your Health

journaling     Hi there, Darling Hearts! I’ve been a busy bee the past few weeks.  I took a life-changing class in Craniosacral Therapy, spent an evening seeing a comedy heroine, and am about to check another bucket-list show off of my list in a couple of days. Since I didn’t want to leave you high and dry, here is the latest article I wrote for Inner Child Magazine.  Speaking of gratitude, I’m pretty dang thankful for the ability to write for such a cool publication.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, please take the time to peruse the website.  There are some very talented and beautifully kind-hearted souls over there.  I’ll bet you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.  Have a lovely week, everybody!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,



With Thanksgiving being just around the corner, it’s not uncommon for people to focus their thoughts on thankfulness. That feeling of warmth and happiness we gain when we gather around a holiday feast and share the things we have been most thankful for is doing more for our health than we realize. Scientific research points to the practice of keeping a gratitude journal as a viable way to maintain health and good feelings year round.


In April of this year, the American Psychological Association published findings which showed that those who practiced gratitude on a regular basis experienced a better overall mood, slept better, suffered from less fatigue and experienced lower levels of inflammation, as it related to cardiac health. Dr. Paul J. Mills of the University of California took 186 men and women in Stage B heart failure and split them into two groups. One group received regular medical care and wrote down things each day that fostered a feeling of thankfulness, while the other group only received regular medical care. The group that utilized a gratitude journal and wrote down three things they were thankful for daily for 8 weeks not only had significant overall improvement in their health and well being, but experienced a marked improvement in the inflammatory response that contributed to their heart disease.*


Two leading researchers in the field of Positive Psychology, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, conducted a study in which their participants were split into two groups and asked to journal weekly for 10 weeks. The first group was asked to review their week and write about things that upset them or caused them stress and the other group was asked to write about things that they were grateful for during their weekly review. When the 10 weeks concluded, those who wrote about the things they were thankful for were overall more optimistic and had a better outlook on life. Interestingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than the group who focused on stress and annoyances.**

journal and phone

Ready to get started cultivating gratitude? You don’t need a doctor to start this healthful and helpful practice. You don’t even need a traditional journal. While many enjoy the tactile experience of handwriting their blessings into a beautiful blank book, others may enjoy keeping an on or offline journal of their thoughts on a computer or tablet. There are even phone apps which allow you to take a moment for gratitude literally anywhere you may be. The tip amongst researchers and writers that stands out the most? No matter which platform you choose for your writing, focus on quality vs. quantity. The more specific you can be about the qualities of the person, place or thing you are thankful for, the better benefit it will have on your overall well being and the more it seems to generate similar feelings of gratitude for other things in your life. Happy thanks-giving!







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