Tag Archives: gossip

A Different Kind of Cleanse

jan22_2017

Point to Ponder:
What is there from 2016 that you do not need to bring into the New Year?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whether you are iGniting in Austin or in San Diego, both cities have experienced severe and very scary droughts as well as incredible recent rainfalls. For Austin, a fierce drought that started in 2011 ended in May, 2015, and in San Diego, off and on the city has been bone dry, but especially since 2014. When my family moved to San Diego in August 2015, I vividly remember driving to our neighborhood that sits in a valley of rolling hills and canyons and being confused. What I thought was going to be lush, green fields of Birds of Paradise, was instead brown, hot, dry and dusty terrain. What I didn’t realize was that San Diego was in a drought, which is what makes the current rain so extraordinary. Amazingly, the drought has been lifted!

For sure, too much of anything is too much: too much rain can be depressing and too much sun can also have a similar effect, but there’s one thing that’s certain, and it’s that the weather is wonderfully unpredictable, which leads me to the opportunities that the recent rainfall and somewhat crazy weather has given each of us (especially the extreme winter highs and lows in Austin).

For starters, weather always serves as a brilliant reminder that as much as we might like to be in control, we never are, and to quote Austin Meteorologist Troy Kimmel, he said, “I’m convinced that Mother Nature likes to remind us that we don’t know everything.” And thank goodness for that! As much as I often times wish I had a crystal ball so I can be adequately prepared for everything that comes my way, one of the sweetest parts of life is seeing how it reveals itself and the necessary lessons, opportunities and surprises that unfold. Like weather, the surprise can be a gorgeous sunny day or much needed overcast cloudy and rainy day to force us indoors to rest. Thanks to the rain in San Diego, excitingly we’ve been able to wear our rain boots and use our umbrellas- Whew!! Furthermore, thanks to the heavy rainfall on Friday, class was moved indoors and I was able to teach one of my personal favorites that I haven’t taught in San Diego yet– Cardio Kickboxing. It’s always good to mix it up!

Next, weather shows us that like in life, there are fruitful times of great harvest and times of substantial scarcity. It’s never always one way or the other, but instead, life is a constant ebb and flow of “Amazing, we did it, give me a high-five!”, to my toilet not working because Barbie was flushed down it. Yep, that recently happened in our house, because anything goes when you have a sassy and unpredictable three year old who out of the blue makes Barbie her archenemy.  As a dear friend recently coined, at times our lives can feel like a flat-out disaster, and then within minutes, things can shift and we can experience our best day ever. And so, what I feel like weather teaches us is to be flexible, open to change and to manage our expectations. This is not at all to suggest that we should have low expectations, but instead, we should expect highs and lows and rain and sunshine. Weather gives us the refreshing perspective that change can be good, change is inevitable and nothing is permanent. Some days will be fruitful while others not–and that’s the consistency of life.

Finally, rain presents two important roles: it’s cleansing and nurturing. Like a baptism, rain gives us an opportunity for renewal and growth and as a result of the recent rains that we have received, I feel like Mother Nature has given us the ideal opportunity to cleanse ourselves from anything that we cannot control and/or things that do not serve you. Some examples are: a relationship, unrealistic expectations you have placed on yourself, people’s opinions and actions, assumptions, unrealistic expectations that other people have placed on you, guilt, pride, resentment, negativity, control, trying to please others, taking things personally, social media, gossip, busyness, comparison, and anything obligatory that is left over from 2016 that you transferred to your 2017 list that doesn’t excite you. It’s all your choice, which is the best part!

I can only speak for myself, but I am amazed that we are only twenty-two days into 2017. Normally, time feels like it flies by, but for me, I love that it’s only Jan 22. Technically, it’s still the New Year, which means that I have plenty of time to set my 2017 intentions and goals, but for now, I’m going to create space for 2017 surprises by following Mother Nature’s lead and spend time determining what I need to let go of–the unproductive thoughts, behaviors and actions that need to be washed away with the rain and will allow my body, mind and spirit to be cleansed, nurtured and refreshed. I sure hope you will join me! (If you’re interested in a physical cleanse that will also benefit your mind and spirit, I encourage you to join us in our 10-day Self-Care Body Re-Boot, taking place in Austin from Feb 2 through Feb 13. Couples are welcome!!)


Action Item:
Make a list of the behaviors, thoughts and actions that do not serve you and work on letting them go.


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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

iGnite - keep focused

Point to Ponder:
Are you a fearful person?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve always been of the mindset that children have it figured out. It stinks that we have to grow up and often times become jaded, cynical, insecure and obsess over our perceived pudgy legs and numbers on a scale. Children don’t worry about how many steps they take in a day or how many hours they spend exercising. Instead, they simply play — run, jump, spin and dance. They ride their bikes for hours, climb on the monkey bars and enjoy a high-calorie treat without feeling guilt. They stop eating when they are full, don’t talk about others, and without fear or doubt of what others think, they proudly proclaim what they want to be when they grow up, just as my five-year old nephew Cole did at his pre-school graduation when he announced that when he grew up he wanted to own a doughnut shop. Awesome!

Last week while finishing a hike and walking along the beach, I noticed a man, probably in his forties, standing alone in shin-deep water and jumping over every wave that came his way. Like a six year-old would do, each time a wave rolled in, he’d hop over it! It was the most playful, inspiring and refreshing sight. I watched him for several minutes and it was a great reminder that nature gives us everything we need to calm, invigorate and feed our body, mind and spirit. And what I loved so much about this guy was that while he was playing, he wasn’t worried or fearful about what those of us around him thought. In my opinion, the enormity and magnificence of the Pacific Ocean made his fears of what others might think insignificant, while also putting troubles and life stressors in perspective. At least that is what nature does for me. It swallows my doubt and fear and allows me to shine!

Robin Roberts, the always shining and inspiring co-anchor of Good Morning America, has a great line about doubt and fear in her book Everybody’s Got Something. She says:

“We all have doubts and fears. The thing about fear is that it only needs the tiniest space, the size of an eye of a needle, to get through and wreak havoc. Maddening, but true. So, when I was struggling in doubt, I would simply take the next small step. I would stop and think: No, life is not tied up with a beautiful bow all the time, but it’s still a gift. I’m going to tear away the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.”

What I love so much about Robin’s wisdom is that instead of running from her fear and doubt or dreading it, she sees it as a gift and looks forward to tearing into it to see what it is, just as a child would and just as Kayla Montgomery, the eighteen year old in the video below, who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis and losing feeling in her legs when she runs and when her body heats up, was determined to not only run, but win! It’s their child-like perspective that has kept them curious, eager and willing to conquer their fear, doubt, and SHINE! What a great example for all of us!

Action Item:
This week, try facing situations with the fearlessness, playfulness and confidence of a child.

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Entering a Gossip-Free Month

Loving Yourself & Others, Part I

Speak Positively

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

Point to Ponder:
Are your conversations about others wholesome and beneficial?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Have you ever gone shopping and purchased something that was impractical, impulsive and too expensive? Then, as soon as you arrived home you hastily ripped off the tag, tossed the receipt, and fully expected “it” to make you feel happy and satisfied…but within less than 24-hours, you realized that “thing” that you are now stuck with is something you don’t want, can’t return and as a result, have buyer’s remorse?!  This is how I feel after I’ve shamefully engaged in gossip. Upon the initial engagement of gossiping, it can feel harmless and even fun, but afterwards I always have ‘gossip remorse’ and wish I could take it all back. However, the damage to my heart and to the heart of the person I’ve talked about is already done. It’s gross, nasty and immature, and makes me want to soak myself in bleach and ask for forgiveness.

As you are aware, Valentine’s Day is on February 14th.  While I think Valentine’s is sweet and I do participate in the sweetness of it, I also think it’s a silly scheme to make us spend money on superficial love items that men feel obligated to buy women. And for women who aren’t in a relationship, it’s just a depressing day. Furthermore, it’s like New Years Eve or the prom, it’s over-rated and more disappointing than fun because it’s glamorized and expectations are unrealistic and too high. I promise I’m not jaded (even though my first Valentine’s with Russell came with diamond earrings, and now I get roses because those were his mom’s favorite flower — even though I have communicated to him that they are my least favorite flower…). Instead, I’m just proposing we use the month of February for a purpose that will provide real long-term emotional and spiritual fulfillment to ourselves and others, which is loving ourselves and all people by avoiding gossip, not engaging in gossip and when in a circle of gossip, courageously suggesting that the conversation end.

In addition to the month of Valentine’s, February is also American Heart Month. Heart month is intended to raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease awareness, which remains to be the #1 killer of women. When I think of heart disease, my tendency is to think one-dimensionally: diet and exercise.  However, stress of any kind affects the whole body and heart, and there’s no doubt that gossip absolutely has an effect on two hearts: the person gossiping and the person who is being gossiped about. I love visuals, which is why I love the picture above. We may not be able to make someone change their diet or exercise, but we can choose to hold both of our hearts responsibly, with kindness and compassion.

I really do feel like Ephesians 4:29 (the verse above) advises perfectly.  Just think how good we will feel and the goodness ripple effect that will take place as a result of us not engaging in unwholesome talk, and only talking about what is useful for building others up according to their needs so that it may benefit those that are listening. This also includes people we don’t even know but like to talk about anyway — like celebrities. We’ll be counter-culture, total misfits and oh what a good month this will be!

Action Item:
Avoid all gossip and instead choose words that are useful for building others up and will benefit those that are listening.

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Speak Life

Raise Your Words

Point to Ponder:
Imagine a world where the words you speak appear on your skin.
Would you be more careful of what you say?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve heard the song “Speak Life” hundreds of times on the radio, but last week its words pierced my heart more than ever before. I suppose I was feeling exceptionally vulnerable and likely powerless, which must have been why my eyes welled up with tears and I was given hope at the same time. More than anything, the song reminded me of the power of my words and forced me to look inward and analyze the words I speak to and about any and everyone, including myself and people I don’t even personally know but have an opinion about. What’s that all about?! Ultimately I determined that my words and tone are power, and they are either speaking life into someone or taking heartbeats away.

Also, you know how sometimes we’ll say more hurtful things to the people we love most or participate in gossip as long as it’s with trusted friends? While “quote shopping” I ran across the following question that brought me to my knees in shame and for forgiveness: “Imagine a world where the words you speak appear on your skin. Would you be more careful of what you say?”

Moving forward, this is absolutely going to be one of the ways I choose to consider my words. If they aren’t kind and life-giving enough to be tattooed all over my body for the world to see and read, then I don’t need to be speaking them.

And so, not only do I invite you to read the song lyrics and watch the video below, but if like me you believe that words are power and you want to be a positive and life-giving force, I also encourage you to join me this week in our self-improvement series by only speaking uplifting words. And, like we’ve always been taught, if we don’t have anything nice to say then we don’t need to say it at all- even if they’re spoken “in confidence” or in the privacy of our own home. They all have power. Just imagine if we all only spoke life?! The outcome would repair damaged relationships, heal hearts and I think, change the world.

“Speak Life”

Some days, life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain’t workin.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.

Though it’s crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…
You speak Life.

Some days the tongue gets twisted;
Other days my thoughts just fall apart.
I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t,
It’s like I’m drowning in the deep.

Well it’s crazy to imagine,
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion,
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die.

Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.

Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.

Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.

You speak Life….Some days life feels perfect.

Action Item:
Join me this week in our self-improvement series by only speaking uplifting words.

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Creating Your Ripple Effect

Rain Drop Ripples

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.
– Unknown

Last week I had the fortunate opportunity of having dinner with a very dear friend whom I have tremendous respect for. Unfortunately, we are in different chapters of our lives, making it difficult to connect. However, when we are able to spend time with one another, our conversations are rich, candid and I inevitably leave feeling more centered, wise and filled with an uplifting breath of fresh air.

During dinner, our impromptu topic was energy — about how the energy we give is directly proportional to the energy we receive. Basically, energy out = energy in, and while I know this to be true, it reinforced that having a consistent positive attitude, avoiding gossip, negativity and treating all people with kindness, patience and love has infinite power. In fact, our attitude (positive or negative), thoughts, actions and words have a ripple effect  — like the ever expanding ripples across water when an object is dropped into it — that can either add value to or take value away from our lives and each and every life around us. Pastor Charles Swindoll says it best:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

I believe that creating the healthy and happy life of our dreams is as simple as our attitude and the ripple effect we create. What we all have to determine is whether or not our ripple effect is working for or against us.

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Point To Ponder:
Is your attitude attracting positive relationships and energy or is it creating a perpetual cycle of exhausting drama?

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Action Item:
Determine the areas of your life where you’d like to see improvement, then decide how you can make changes to your attitude so it creates a ripple effect of positive and life-giving energy.

To Your Health,

Neissa

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