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Conscious Inklings Blog. IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INK-SPIRATION. / connect

The Art of Balance

The Art of Balance

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of balance.  It’s one of those things that we often take for granted, like our health, but once we’re struggling to maintain it, its value becomes abundantly clear.  Losing your balance physically can be an uncomfortable and even scary experience.  One moment you might be standing with your feet planted firmly on the ground, but then the surface beneath you shifts, and your body must immediately respond in order to regain stability.  Luckily, our bodies are built with systems that work automatically to maintain physical equilibrium.  We don’t have to think about how to adjust when we feel ourselves becoming unsteady; our limbs simply move into place to attain balance once again.  But, what happens when the loss of balance occurs on an emotional or spiritual level?

 We can lose our emotional balance in a number of ways.  Unexpected life events sometimes leave us feeling as if the ground beneath our feet has shifted or we dedicate too much of our time or energy to only one aspect of our lives.  Over time, too much or not enough work, play, sleep, or food eventually take its toll on our wellbeing.  Addictions, emotional struggles, and unfair expectations lead us to push the boundaries of what is healthy for ourselves, and we restrict, over-indulge, pressure, or neglect ourselves until we feel completely disconnected from our own centers.  We suddenly find ourselves living lifestyles that aren’t sustainable, but how do we stop?  How do we find the balance that we lost?

Any yogi can tell you that balance is a skill that must be practiced and honed.  It is not a static state that will necessarily persist once attained, but requires constant maintenance.  You might find your balance, then start to lose it, recalibrate, and find balance again only to feel it slip once more.  While our physical response to losing balance is automatic, it is still an ability that can be refined and the same is true of our ability to maintain emotional balance.  It is through the practice of staying present in each moment and staying connected to our inner truths that we build a deeper awareness of the unique set of factors that lead to a strong spiritual foundation in each of our lives.  As we becomes more tuned in to our emotional states, we see more clearly the signs that let us know when we have pushed ourselves too far or have neglected something that is vital to our sense of wellbeing, and we give ourselves the opportunity to become experts in the never-ending art of creating balance.

Want to stay present, tuned in, and balanced in your every day life? Click HERE and see which message is speaking to you today. 

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Behind the Ink: “I can begin again…”

Behind the Ink: “I can begin again…”

“It looked like a death sentence,” says Collins King about the moment she got up at 3am to reflect on her cancer diagnosis. But fast forward nearly a decade and now she is celebrating 7 years cancer-free! “I'll be 7 years out in November 2017 for Triple Negative Breast can-sur. I don't even spell it out and give it merit.“

But after chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, at 53, Collins started having body issues. Then Collins saw Conscious Ink tattoos  pop up in her Facebook newsfeed. Collins had decided to start a workout regiment. She wanted something positive on her skin that was visible to keep her on track, keep her positive and so she began wearing a Manifestation Tattoo on her right wrist every day before a workout.

You are loved.

Love your body.

Empowerment.

These were the words that she wore to remind her of her own strength. “Every time I look down at that tattoo, I am reminded that I can begin again.”

Collins can’t have tattoos (needles) in her arm and these tattoos allowed her the beauty and purpose of a tattoo without the actual ink, needles or permanence.

“I love wearing them and when my friends ask, ‘did you get ink?’ I say ‘temporary on the skin, indelible on the soul’ to them.”

In the end, it comes down to the words we choose for ourselves.

Collins says that if she could leave a single message to the world, it would be:

“Life is a Journey, not a destination. Go with God. Oh,and of course cancer sucks!”

***
We are honored to be a part of our Inkers journey towards healing.

Have you struggled with an illness? How did you overcome it? What mantra would you claim (or have you claimed) for strength for the journey?


Share your story of healing with our Conscious Ink family. Our collective stories are powerful when we allow them to rise.



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Stand

Stand

There are few things more powerful than the simple act of standing.

Gandhi stood for peace. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equality. Mother Teresa stood for compassion. Hardly pushovers.

So what makes this standing so powerful?

When we stand for something, we have an unwavering commitment toward it. It’s clear and definitive. There’s no wasted energy thinking and rethinking, deciding and un-deciding, hemming then hawing. So those who stand for something enjoy super-concentrated energy.

And that’s just the beginning.

Since the entire universe loves clarity, it naturally and bountifully supports it. For example, a tree is definitive in being a tree. The universe abides by the tree’s decision and thus fully supports the tree by supplying everything it needs – sun and water, etc. The same holds true with us. When we stand for something authentic within us, we will be supported by the entire universe. Yeah, baby, yeah … now we’re talking!

Let’s take a look at how it works the other way around. Until we make a conscious commitment to stand for something, we stand for nothing. And when we stand for nothing, we’re lost in no man’s land. And in no man’s land, we can eat up a lot of energy quickly … perhaps by standing then sitting repeatedly, or standing until someone tells us to sit, or standing until someone sees us standing, so we quickly sit in fear of judgment.

What a mess.

No worries though. It’s an easy fix. First, simply get in touch with something that’s authentic within the “real you” – your essence. Then make a conscious decision to stand for it.

Simple as that.

Now, here’s the trick: Make this decision when there’s no pressure to make this decision. Don’t wait for a set of circumstances to come up before you decide what you stand for! For example, if your essence likes the idea of integrity, make a decision right then and there that you stand for integrity. So then when a situation arises that might compromise your integrity, you automatically and effortlessly say no.

No questions asked. No energy leak. The decision has already been made. If, let’s say, certain circumstances arise before you’ve decided to stand for integrity, you may unconsciously get caught up in a particular story, rationalizing this or that, and ultimately make a dishonest decision.

The standing must come first.

One last thing …  sometimes, before we can stand for something authentic, we must surrender something false, which may first require us to fall to our knees.

 

Want to make statement about what you stand for?
Check out our tattoos that are designed to affirm, inspire, and support you on your journey!
You can find them in the Conscious Ink Store!
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Loneliness: Optional

Loneliness: Optional

I used to have this crazy recurring nightmare in which I would awaken from sleep to find that I was the last person left in the world.  I would run through the streets, searching shops and homes, trying to find out where everyone had gone, but as I ran, I realized that I was completely alone.  It was terrifying.

I couldn’t have imagined anything worse.  To never be able to share things with other people, to never be able to connect

 

with another person again was a completely horrifying idea.  Without those things, I can’t imagine that life would hold anywhere near as much joy or laughter.

The funny thing is that the chance of there being a total apocalypse, while not completely impossible, is pretty unlikely, and it’s even more unlikely that if all human life suddenly ceased to exist, I would somehow be the only one to survive.  So why, even after waking, did this dream send shivers of panic through me?  Why did this dream continue to plague me night after night?

For much of my life, I have had a very hard time being alone.  Growing up, it seemed I was always with other people, whether it was my sister or my friend next door.  Even throughout college, I often slept over at friends’ houses because I never wanted to go home.  I never wanted to be alone.  I think, somewhere along the way, I developed this idea that if I was alone, I would feel lonely, and who wants to feel that?

In recent years though, various life circumstances have led me to spend a lot more time by myself and, quite unexpectedly, I have come to appreciate time spent in my own company.  I actually can’t even remember the last time I had the apocalyptic nightmare and I think the reason is that I finally shone a light under the bed where the monster was supposed to be hiding and found that the fear was not based in anything true.  Rather than finding loneliness in my time away from others, I found a greater sense of intimacy with myself, an ability to be more authentic, and a deeper sense of peace



Not only did my experience of being alone shift,

but the way that I approach my time with others has changed as well.  While I certainly still love to meet new people and to spend time with my friends and family, I don’t feel such a strong need to constantly surround myself with others.  This allows me to be more thoughtful about the ways that I share my time with the people in my life and leads me to be so much more grateful for the moments I share with them, the learning that can come out of each experience, and the opportunities I have to share myself and my gifts with the people around me.  I am more present for each moment, and as a result, the sense of connectedness I gain through these experiences is so much more profound.


Since I have started being alone more, the interactions I do have with other people seem to carry more weight, and I find that I am more aware of the ways I interact with people.  The exchange with the person ringing me up in the store, making eye contact with someone I pass on the street, even conversations with people that I still speak to regularly, but much less frequently than I used to, become illuminated and I feel more attuned to the impact we have on each other and the importance of taking every opportunity to share positivity and love with others.

Another thing that I have become more attuned to is the way that loneliness does not really result from being away from others.  Loneliness can strike whether you are living a solitary life on a mountaintop or spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week surrounded by people, because loneliness is not so much a result of being physically alone.  Loneliness is the result of an emotional sense of being alone, a sense of disconnectedness, and the great thing about that is that is that it really is only a feeling.  The truth

is that we are all connected in infinite ways.  We are never truly alone, well, unless of course there actually is an apocalypse, but even then, we can connect with all the love

that we have shared, the memories of everyone who has touched our lives, and be filled up with the beauty and joy of these experiences.  We always have that choice; so as long as we choose to stay conscious of that connectedness, there may be times in life where we find that we must be alone, loneliness is always optional.

Stay conscious of your connectedness with Conscious Ink Temporary Tattoos!
They were designed to help you connect with others, with yourself, and with a wondrous state of bliss and they are available in The Conscious Ink Store

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Conscious Communication.

Conscious Communication.

About a year ago, I set an intention for myself...for conscious communication.  I have always admired people who don’t necessarily talk a lot, but save their words for truly meaningful dialogue.  Unfortunately for anyone who is stuck in close quarters with me for any extended period of time, I come from a long line of long-winded people, and realistically, I will never be the silent type.  So, I decided to start with a goal that felt more attainable, that honors who I am while still challenging myself to be the best version of me I can be.  I decided to simply try to be more mindful of the ways that I communicate with people.

The process of turning my attention to my communication habits allowed me to notice all sorts of patterns that I hadn’t really been aware of before.  For example, I noticed that I frequently drift off mentally while in conversation with others.  I start thinking about my day or my life and am no longer really tuned in to the person who is speaking to me.  I also noticed that quite often when I am “listening”, I am actually just waiting for my turn to talk, and that when I talk, I am often doing so to fill empty space, to distract myself from uncomfortable feelings, or to seek validation.

All of these things are pretty normal, and I would guess that most of us find ourselves falling into these habits from time to time, but any time I notice a pattern in my life, I like to ask myself some questions.  How is this pattern serving me?  Is this a pattern that I want to continue?  Or, is this a pattern that I learned long ago, but isn’t actually useful anymore?

The simple answer is that, while these patterns may have served me at one time, they no longer achieve the desired effect.  The greatest part of communicating with others is the connection that comes from sharing experiences.  If I am not actually being present with the person I am communicating with and really listening to what they have to say, then I am missing out on a lot of the gifts that they have to share with me.  It is very comforting when friends are willing to be sounding boards as I try to sort through my thoughts and feelings, but talking endlessly about an issue until I sound like a broken record is really only a temporary distraction from actually dealing with whatever is troubling me and doesn’t honor my friends’ time or attention.  Also, if I find myself continually seeking validation from others, and the need doesn’t seem to be getting adequately filled, perhaps it is a need that must be filled from within, from quieting my mind and really listening to myself.  After all, that voice inside, the one that can so easily be muffled over with endless chatter and mental busy work, may be the most important voice to listen to of all and there is only one person who can actually hear it.

So, my commitment to try to be a better listener continues.  I try to listen intently when people are speaking to me.  I try to be more conscious of what I am saying and why, and I try to be quiet often enough to hear my inner voice, the greatest guide I have.  Some days I find myself succeeding and other days I completely miss the mark, but all I can do is set my intention every day and know that, even if it is only inch by inch, I am moving decidedly in the right direction.


Conscious Ink tattoos were created to remind you to listen, be present, and be the very best you that you can be!  Check out the temporary tattoos featured in this article and many more in the Conscious Ink Temporary Tattoo store!
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Fear According to Frank

Fear According to Frank

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really a big fan of fear. Sure, it’s fun to seek out a little scare every once in a while in the movie theater or on a roller coaster, but in general, fear is something we want to avoid, right? Not so, says Frank Gjata
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The Power of Words

The Power of Words

How much power does a single word have? The great American poet, Emily Dickinson, has said, “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word."
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