Take this time to reflect!

“Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept things as they are” – Karen Maezen Miller

I know I know, just what you need, another self-help type blog post. But before you click the x and go back to your daily social media scrolling, take a couple minutes and hear me out.

Trust me, I get it. There are TONS of articles and blog posts being sent out about health, fitness, diet, nutrition, immune systems, business plans, courses you can take, you name it. What they all have in common unfortunately is this conception that because you have all this “time” being quarantined, you “should” take advantage and be “productive”. Notice I put time, should, and productive in quotation marks. That’s because those three words are all relevant to what each particular person is going through. Productive for one person might mean having a clean house and dinner ready by 5 pm, while for others may be just simply getting out of bed by noon and taking a shower. (We’ve all been there). Constantly seeing and reading these posts can have a negative impact on our mental health and psyche. We WANT to be productive, but we’re also just trying to survive. I get that.

Here’s where we can start to shift this mindset.

What if I told you that you can be productive without actually doing anything at all?

You would think that’s a trick right? There has to be some type of catch. NOPE. No trick, (treats optional 🎃 ), just facts. Or words. One word actually. That word is embrace. Yes, really EMBRACE this quarantine. The world has slowed down, dramatically. Events are cancelled, weddings are postponed, schools are online, restaurants are take-out only, gyms are closed, the list goes on. While this is not great for our economy, it IS great for us. We are finally given this opportunity to really SLOW down and REFLECT on our current lives.

But D-rob, how do I embrace the quarantine?

By first ACCEPTING it. You need to accept the current situation for what it is. It’s not going anywhere. No matter what our leaders are saying, it seems that the virus will not fully go away until we get a vaccine, which can take up to a full year. I know when people hear that time frame, they start to worry and get anxious about what that will look like. Try not to think that far ahead. Accept that time frame. Your anxiety and thoughts will not change that.

Okay, so I’ve started to embrace this, now what?

Awesome question. Once you accept and start to embrace this, you’ve already won half the battle. Now you can look inward. Really look inward. Slowing down naturally allows us to reflect on our life. This is where you can start to ask yourself some important questions. Notice I just said ASK. Not answer. You don’t have to answer anything that you are not ready for. By simply asking yourself these questions, you will trigger your subconscious to actively start answering these questions without you thinking about it. I like to call this process “marinating”. Just let those questions marinate for a while. Your answers will come to you when they are ready.

I want to reflect and ask myself the right questions, but I’m afraid I won’t know what to ask. What are some good questions to ask myself?

This process can scare people away because we don’t know the correct questions to ask. And for each person the questions will be noticeably different. Here are three general questions to get your ball rolling. (Physical Education teacher reference 🏀).

1) Are you happy with your current _____?

Simple, but effective. Are you actually happy? Happy with your job? Your relationship? Friends? Health? Weight? Whatever the topic is can apply. Happiness is something that gets overlooked. We get comfortable with our current situation and are often blinded by that level of comfort. However, comfort is not always happiness. Ask yourself that question with each topic and let those marinate for a while. No rush to answer. Remember, you now have all this “time”.

2) If you can change anything in your life, what would that be?

Change scares us. Just seeing that question probably made you cringe. That’s normal. Hopefully for you, the weight of that question is lifted somewhat because you do not need to come up with an answer. Just ask the question. That’s it. Simple.

3) What is your DREAM ______?

Same concept as question number 1. Fill in the blank with your life, relationship, job, health. Many times, we lose track of what our dreams are, or simply become off-course. This question jumpstarts the process to get back on track. Your subconscious is filled with your inner most dreams and desires. It’s time to wake them back up.

How do I ask these questions? Do I read them aloud? Write them down? What works best?

Each person will have a different approach. What I have found that works best is writing them down with a pen and paper, like in a journal or notepad. For some people writing it in their phone works best. For others, repeating the questions aloud helps them. Find what works for you. The key is being relaxed when asking these questions. Right before you go to sleep is often the time when you are most relaxed. Use that to ask yourself these questions. As you sleep, your brain is doing ALL the work for you. Answers will come. (Just like that father who appeared in a baseball diamond in the middle of a Iowa cornfield 🤔⚾️🌽).

I hope this post serves to help you in this reflective process. Reflecting doesn’t have to be this big scary thing. We naturally are reflective creatures, the trick is quieting the noise around us. And in this time, that is the hardest part.

Be patient with this process, and be patient with yourself.

Peace and love,

D-rob ✌️🧘🏻‍♂️

If you liked this post and want to learn more about what questions to ask yourself, you may be interested in my services as a Life Coach. A qualified Life Coach will continue to help and guide you in this reflective process making sure you are asking all of the right questions. They will help you create and work towards new goals and dreams to start improving your life. If you’re interested in what I have to offer and what makes me different, click on the menu tab and select “Who is D-rob?”. That will bring you to my bio and contact information and fill you in a little bit about me. Leave your contact info or shoot me an email! I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to helping you live your best life!

My Monadnock Adventure

Doesn’t that sound like a Lord of the Rings title? Like a prequel to the Hobbit? (Book and movie reference right off the top).

My Monadnock adventure doesn’t just happen overnight. It was thought about DAYS in advance. Weeks actually. You see, recently I’ve had a few friends and colleagues who’ve shared with me their strong and persuasive recommendations of hiking this majestic New England beauty, so I began to do some research and looked up various reviews and articles that described what hiking Mount Monadnock was like. I looked at the time it took to drive there, what time of day it was heavy populated, which trails to take up and down the mountain, parking, pictures of the trails, and how prepared I would need to be in terms of water, food, and gear. Those answers were planned, but the day I decided to make the drive was just this past Friday. I began looking at the weather for Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where Mount Monadnock is located, and despite showing showers on Saturday, said Sunday would be sunny with a high of 69. Various reviews did point out that if it rains, the gigantic rocks that line the trail become rather damp and slick, making it even more difficult to hike in and reach the top. (Which they were not making up as I will go more in detail later on). But I didn’t want to wait. When I saw the weather was sunny and comfortable, I knew that was a sign that it would be my day to go. So I did. Below is a breakdown of how that day went. Buckle up and enjoy! 😝

The 4:30am wake up

Yes, you read that right. I woke up, on a Sunday which is designated time for teachers to sleep in, at 4:30 in the morning. My plan was to hit the road by 5:15, without missing any of my morning tea and meditation of course.🧘🏻‍♂️ (Turmeric ginger tea is my go-to). Once I finished my tea and deep breathing, I packed my bag with all of the essentials; extra pair of socks, cold-gear under armor, an extra t-shirt, my water, cliff bars, a banana, electrolyte tabs (thanks whole foods), chapstick, sunglasses, band-aids, my muscle roller (great for warming up pre hike), and my car charger. My hoody was already on and I would put that in my bag for the top of the mountain just in case. That was everything. I brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom and off I went. (Hey, I’m just being honest. Bathroom before a long drive is a must c’mon people 😂).

The morning drive

I would be lying to you if I didn’t say how much fun the morning portion of the drive was. Especially when you’re solo. Driving to your destination, on the open road with little to no traffic, to the sound of your favorite music blasting as loud as you want, is the epitome of bliss. Then, add in the sun rising in the crisp, dark September sky, providing vivid colors of orange, pink, and red blending along the horizon, and you have bliss magnified. It was amazing. The two hours and 15 minutes that it took to get there only felt like a quarter of that. Also, when I reached the state border of New Hampshire, the sun began peaking through the tall trees lined up along the sides of the road, giving me even more visual satisfaction for the remainder of my drive to Mount Monadnock. Smaller highways guided my last half hour, which led me to fully take in the beauty that New Hampshire is. (Seriously, it’s beautiful).

Arrival

Okay. I have a confession. When I pulled on the road that led to the entrance of Mount Monadnock, I got a little scared. Out my driver’s side window, stood the highest point in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, or 3,165 feet to be exact. It looked MASSIVE. It even had the fog and clouds that is in every movie or tv show hovered near the top, only showing hints of the peak. However my thoughts of doubt quickly went away as the word “DOPEEEEEEE” came out of my mouth. (Dope is one of my favorite words to say and I probably say it way too much but hey, 🤷🏻‍♂️🤓). I was instantly excited. I pulled in, talked to one of the park attendees who was still setting up, and parked. Made it. (And beat the GPS by 10 minutes, take THAT GPS!).

The trail/climb up

All of the reviews I had read in the previous weeks, as well as from my recommendations from my friends and colleagues was that there were A LOT of rocks on this trail, and that I had to be prepared for some challenging rock climbing once I got closer to the top. It’s not that I didn’t believe they were telling the truth, I just had never seen or hiked a trail as the one they described, and they couldn’t be more right. The trail starts off on a gradual incline, filled with many tree roots and small to medium rocks that stick out of the ground looking for weak feet and ankles to sprain. The trail is plenty wide, so much so that you don’t feel cramped or tight when several people pass by on their hike up or down the trail. As I made my way up, the tree roots tend to get less and less only to be substituted by bigger, larger rocks. As I kept climbing up, it was easy to follow the trail, as trees and rocks are painted with a large white circle, (The white dot trail is the one I took. It’s the steepest quickest route up the mountain), so it’s hard to get off course. I saw people hiking in front of me going up or down the mountain, so that helped map out the course as well as affirm that I was in fact going in the right direction. (Mount Monadnock is one of the most hiked mountains in New England, so even though I began hiking around 8 a.m., the trail was already being put to good use). Once I got past the medium size rocks I officially graduated to the large ones. And I do mean LARGE. These rocks were relatively smooth too. Oh, and in terms of the incline, yeah, it’s pretty steep. Definitely the steepest I’ve tried to hike. I tried to follow the grooves or edges on the rocks and planned where to step, especially since I didn’t have the correct footwear. I decided to hike the mountain in older training sneakers that had sturdy support but so-so grip. That was almost my biggest mistake of the trip. There were a few times my feet slipped but I was lucky and athletic enough to regain my footing and catch myself in good positions where I could keep on climbing. (Thank you functional training). Going from a trail that was damp and soggy did not help in the matter as well, but going slow, planning where to take my steps, using my hands and body, all helped me in climbing the trail. I was also lucky, (Some say luck, some say synchronicity. It’s me, I say synchronicity), that there was an older couple, a woman and man, probably around 45-50 years old, who had hiked the mountain previously come up behind me and take the lead to show me the best route to take once on the steep, smooth, and slippery large rocks. The last portion of the hike was tricky. I reached a spot where I saw this gorgeous view below that appears between two perfectly placed trees, only to realize that I still had another 20 minutes to the very top. For a first time Monadnock climber, those last 20 minutes were some of the most thrilling hiking I’ve done, because when you’re on the rocks, its just YOU and the rocks. That’s it. You look down and its more rocks, EXCEPT it’s on an incline. It kind of reminded me when I was young and you’re on a playscape, you go down the slide the correct way, then you try climbing back up? YEAH. That is how the climb up to the top during the final leg of the hike was like. Oh, and yea, you’re pretty high up, so if you don’t like heights, just keep looking at the rocks. By this time, there was a slight drop in the temperature and the wind started to pick up. I started to pass by gigantic piles of smaller rocks that lined the path up to the peak. Even though there are dots that still show on the rocks, there are many ways you can choose to climb up. (On many reviews and trail sites they call this a scramble to the top). I chose a way that had edges, crevices, or a large side of the rock sticking out to grab on too when picking the spots to climb. I also made sure that every step I took I was balanced with my arms just in case I was to slip. I’ll save you the drama. I never fell.

The peak

Inhale. Smile. Have the wind almost take my hat off. Exhale. I made it to the top. Cue the picture taking. The peak WAS amazing. There were panoramic views of what seems like the entire country. There were several other people on top of the mountain during my time at the top, which in a way actually felt amazing. Here are other people who were celebrating and enjoying their climb, taking in pictures, sitting down eating snacks, or just taking in the view. They’re doing what I was doing. Just being present. Soaking up the moment. It’s that connection we all constantly search for. I felt that this entire hike. (More on that coming up). The wind at the peak was strong and cold, but not cold enough for my hoody. You do need to be careful at the top, as the wind gusts can get to 40 mph from what I’ve read AND experienced. Once I got my pictures, (Thank you to the bro I met who so kindly took my picture!), 🎶 “imagine if I never met the broski’s” – 🎶 (drake reference 😎)

I descended 10-15 feet and sat down beside a large crevice, blocking the wind gusts and facing the sun. It was majestic. Breathtaking. Peaceful. I felt like I was on top of the world. Nothing else mattered at that very moment. I was one with the mountain.

The climb down

The descent wasn’t as strenuous as the way up, but it was still challenging. Descending from the peak and traveling down the rocks on such a decline, I took my time in the placement of my steps and continued to brace my core and use my arms for balance. As I continued down the mountain foot placement becomes the theme as those same rocks I hiked on the way up are back in full force ready to chop away at my ankles if I wasn’t careful. I took the white dot trail back down the mountain, which was not recommended in reviews. The white cross trail is the less steeper of the two and is often the one that hikers take on the descent. But upon my descent, that couple who helped me trace my path up the peak, told me the white dot trail is prettier and more fun than the white cross, and that’s all it took to persuade me. More fun you say? Psss heck yeah, lets do it!! They were right. It WAS more fun on the way down. But not for the reason that most would expect. What I liked most about the way down was all of the connections I made. Remember how I said earlier that Mount Monadnock was the most heavily hiked trail in New England? Well, on my way down, I didn’t go 2 minutes without passing hikers on their way up. So, what did I do? I made sure that I greeted EVERY single person or group with a smile, greeting, and small talk. Not everyone gave back the same energy or enthusiasm that I did, but that’s OK! Some people did! And it was awesome! I even got a high five from a toddler that couldn’t be more than 2 or 3 year’s old that was on her dad’s shoulders in one of those piggy back seats. (Kudos to dad of the year right there). Those connections are what makes hiking so special. Everyone out there is hiking to enjoy nature, to get away from life, to be with family, to move, and to live! And I wanted to soak in that experience during Mount Monadnock, and soak it in I did.

The small town straight out the movies

Once I got back in my car, the first thing I did was search for food. I knew what I wanted. Breakfast. And a lot of it. I found a diner in a little town called Peterborough, about 15 minutes away, and set off. This town literally looked like it was right out of a movie. A small downtown equipped with old buildings and rusting paint, little restaurants and shops, and of course, the diner. When I walked in the diner, I didn’t know if it was just me or if everyone suddenly stopped what they were doing and stared, but it definitely felt like that. All of the booths that lined the diner (maybe 8 total) were full so I grabbed an empty chair at the bar. An older waitress came up to me right away and gave me the old “Ready to order hunny what would ya like?”. I knew without even having to look at the menu. “Two eggs over easy with a side of hash browns, no toast, full stack of blueberry pancakes, extra blueberries, and the real maple syrup please”. With a grin wider than the trail I had just hiked, the waitress responded, “You gonna eat all that hunny?”. I loved the hospitality. I smiled and said “Oh yeah”. What I didn’t realize is this brief interaction opened up a line of communication with what seemed to be every waitress in the place. They all started talking to me. I was flattered. I honestly felt like a celebrity. At one point in the conversation, a waitress, older than me, said “You aint from round here huh sweetie”. I said, “No maam, what makes you say that?”. (I really did say ma’am). And she goes, “Oh nothing, we just don’t see fellas like you come in”, giggling. I laughed myself. I probably was blushing too. BUT WHO SAYS THAT? Honestly. I thought that only happens in movies!! Nevertheless, breakfast was a lot of fun. It was delicious too. I thanked them for all of the compliments and love and headed back to my car. Time to drive home.

The drive back

The drive back home is never as fun as the one getting to your destination, but I was on so many endorphins from my post hike and breakfast that I knew I would still enjoy it. Traffic was heavier during this time, but it didn’t dampen my mood. I blasted my music on the way back, this time changing it to my country playlist, and sang like I was the headline act at the Xfinity theater in Hartford. (Can you imagine? Hey you guys going to see Zak Brown band tonight? D-Rob is headlining. 😂 maybe in an alternate universe). Anyways, I couldn’t be any happier to how my entire trip went. My drive home allowed me to reflect on what a tremendous day I had. I was grateful for all of the people I met. The sights, the sounds, the views, everything went better than I could have expected.

And that’s where I’m finally getting too.

To find what we’re looking for, sometimes we have to leave our expectations behind.

I’m so glad I was finally able to hike Mount Monadnock,

because life is an adventure, and it’s meant to be explored.

Go out and explore yours. 🤙🙌⛰

Peace, love and good vibes, ✌️❤️

and like always, thank you for reading. I know this was a long one.

D-rob

Living as an “empath” and what you can do to protect yourself from negative energy (Energy series part 1)

Are you someone who lives with a heightened ability to feel what others are feeling?

Are you someone who’s mood can change by who you surround yourself by?

If you answered yes, then you are someone who may be an “empath”.

The definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

What I’ve found, is there are people who do this at a much higher ability than others (often labeled “empath’s”) as well as those in the world who lack it, and often find that those who are able to fully empathize with others, are the ones that get hurt more in the process. If you are someone who is empathetic, this article will provide you an important tool to protecting yourself from unwanted energy. If you aren’t empathetic, I encourage you to continue to read on as you may also learn a tool that can also help you.

What I’ve learned from various research among books, articles, and following spiritual and natural healers on social media, is that about 15 percent of people classify as highly sensitive. Usually, we label these individuals, “empath’s. But that isn’t entirely true. These people are really good at showing empathy yes, but it’s their sensitivity to feeling everything so vividly and deeply, plus at a more intense level than the norm that separates them from everyone else. Often these people are the ones who are always being drained of their energy. They take on the energy of other people, often at the expense of their own harm. Doing this, mostly without fully recognizing it, is harmful to the body also at a physical level. It’s no coincidence that there is a correlation to empaths developing some type of health disorder or auto immune disease in life because of the stress of feeling so much negative toxic energy from others. That is why I became so interested in this topic during the last few months. Learning about myself, understanding I classify as being highly sensitive, and learning how to deal with toxic unwanted energy has been a life saver that I want to pass on so you too can start to heal and protect yourself.

One of the problems is not being fully prepared to “shield” oneself from toxic negative energy. I know you know what it is. For example, have you ever walked into a room where you could sense there was a argument or fight? How did that room feel? Heavy? Weird? Awkward? Sense of unease? Yes, all of that is correct. That is your body’s ability to read energy.

(Sidenote: Without getting too far into left field, the science is that we’re all made up of matter and this matter is simply energy. The words we say and even our thoughts are made up of this energy. Speak positive and thinking good thoughts will have you living life at a higher frequency. Speak negative, complain, and thinking negative thoughts will have you living at a lower frequency. Those people who are living at a higher frequency generally have good health and live a great quality of life. The opposite can be true for those living at a lower frequency. People fluctuate between the two energies all the time. The key is realizing what frequency you are at, change it to a higher frequency, and consistently trying to maintain that.)

So let’s say you work or live in an environment where it is surrounded by people who are living at a lower frequency. (These people can be easily pointed out, they are often the ones that you feel suck the energy right out of you”.) Going into this environment on a daily basis is harmful to your health, but there is a helpful tool that can protect you from this energy!

I’m going to give you a solution that I learned through a book I read, “Energy Healing” written by Kris Ferraro. (She wasn’t the originator, this tool has been around since ancient times and can be found in various books about eastern medicine.) She states that this simple tool to equip you is called “shielding”. Yes, a shield like a spartan warrior would use to protect them in battle. (Or the one Captain America uses.)

What you need to do is imagine a 3 foot bubble forming around your entire body. You really have to visualize it and imagine the shield is building around you. This can be done by first closing your eyes for one minute, and relaxing the body by focusing solely on your breath. Once you are relaxed, on each exhale, start the shield or bubble first extending from your heart. On each next exhale, visualize the bubble getting bigger and bigger until it is fully formed into your protective shield. (I like to think of mine as the ones Wakanda uses to protect their land. Second marvel movie reference in case you’re counting).

Once you’ve done this, the next thing to do is to repeat an affirmation consisting of resisting negative energy, and allowing positive energy in. An affirmation is the state of affirming, or using words to state something exists or is true. Using an affirmation like, “This shield will protect me from unwanted negative energy, and it will only allow positive loving energy in. Thank you for your protection” helps strengthen the ability of your shield.

When you get good at this, you won’t need to breathe and relax and make it a huge process. Saying in your mind or out loud but quietly, “shield up” or whatever else comes to mind will do the trick.

Teachers, this also works with challenging students! Once those students realize they can’t get through YOUR shield, you can start actively attacking their wall with love and guidance that they’ve resisted. But that’s an entirely different topic.

What I’m still learning through this practice is it will take time for your shield to develop its strength. The more you practice and better you get at visualizing, this will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your shield.

Now that you are equipped with this knowledge and skill I sincerely hope that it helps you and that you pass it on to anyone else who may need it.

Look for my next post, where I will write about effective ways to restore and even improve your energy to help you live and maintain that higher frequency.

Have a great day, and happy shielding. 🧘🏻‍♂️😎🤙

When it’s time to be selfish

This summer has been amazing.  It’s been relaxing, exciting and fun, with some small periods of stress sprinkled in the mix.  Two bachelor parties out of state, two stags I helped throw, one wedding including the best man’s speech for my twin bro (yes, I have a twin, and yes, my speech was phenomenal), and to top it off, some serious improvements on myself.  Oh yeah.  BIG TIME improvements. To the naked eye, they may not be as big, but to me, they’ve represented a shift in my viewpoint of what being happy truly means.  And you know what that is, being God damn selfish (sorry Mom I know you hate when I curse). Let me explain.

My entire life I have been a people pleaser.  I am a “go with the flow” type person, super laid back, the type to want to just have good vibes and avoid conflict.  Growing up this turned me into a “Yes man”, always wanting to do the right thing, to never let the other person down, to seek that sense of approval.  I think this view also represents the current state of a majority of people who use social media.  We are always seeking some type of validation for our posts, whether its on our main feed, our stories, whatever the case may be.  I myself also fall into this mix, and throughout my adult life, I’ve restrained from some of the posts I may or may not have put because I was afraid that it wouldn’t get that “approval” I was subconsciously seeking.   I don’t know what finally switched, it could have been a variety of factors, but sometime during the last few months, heck even the last year, I started being selfish.  Selfish with my thoughts.  Selfish with my communication.  Selfish with my time. Selfish with what I would say “Yes” too. Selfish with what I would post. Everything.

Here’s what I started to notice.  Freedom.  Freedom from the people who would take advantage of me. Freedom from my thoughts of any self-doubt.  Freedom from the opinion of others.  Freedom from the forced validation and competition of social media.  I started actually LIVING for me. No fear. No competition. Just doing what was right and best for ME. And in doing this, some of my passions that have been “dormant” or almost “hiding” have started to reemerge.  New passion and career paths have started to motivate me to new goals. I’m excited at everything I plan to accomplish within the next five years.

Heck, even in writing this, I feel back to my true creative self. I started this small blog because one I always wanted to help people, but two, because I LOVE TO FUCKING WRITE (sorry again Mom but the “f” word was needed in that sentence). So here I am again, being selfish in not only this blog post, but in how I’m spending my Sunday afternoon. I’m eating a salad, I’m drinking a seltzer, and I’m sharing my thoughts with the world (or to the 20 people who actually decide to read this), and yes, I couldn’t be happier.

Peace be the journey,

-Derek

(Always have to throw in a movie reference) 🤙