Thanksgiving Meditation: Giving Thanks vs. Being Thankful

By Alicia Sparks

“Thanksgiving is, after all, a word of action.” – W.J. Cameron

This has always been one of my favorite holiday-related quotes. During Thanksgiving, we feel thankful for all we have…but do we actually give thanks for those blessings? Do we pay our blessings forward so that others might enjoy a little of what we have?

Tomorrow, many of us Americans will devour feasts fit for a king, but how will you actually give thanks?

Will you:

  • Pray for or meditate on your blessings?
  • Volunteer to help others less fortunate than you?
  • Donate to a local charity to help those in need?
  • Send a care package to a lonely overseas soldier?
  • Visit a hospital or nursing home to let others know they aren’t alone?
  • Spend some time with a shelter dog or cat?
  • Invite over a family who can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal?
  • Sponsor a child in a less fortunate part of the country or world?

These are just a few ideas on how you can mindfully give thanks tomorrow –how YOU can turn “Thanksgiving” into an action word — rather than just feeling thankful.

Does your family have its own mindfulness giving thanks traditions? We’d love to read about them in the comments below!



How My Late Father’s Death Helped Keep Me Alive

By Alicia Sparks
CC: Alicia Sparks

CC: Alicia Sparks

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, and I’m completely at peace with it.

Over the years I’ve heard so many people talk about how a part of them died when they lost a loved one. Hearing this makes me sad. A part of me did not die when I lost my father; if anything, a part of me came bursting to life. Everything he’d ever instilled in me came to a head and, at that point, it was up to me to use it or lose it.

I chose to use it.

I did not die with my dad, and frankly, he would have been pissed if I had.

Continue reading… »



12 Quotes to Refresh Your Body and Mind This Winter Season

By Alicia Sparks

BodyMindQuotes.jpg

Although he’s not quite here yet (there are still a few red and orange leaves clinging for dear life), Old Man Winter is definitely heading up the driveway.

Personally, I love winter. I love snow and fireplaces and hot chocolate. I love snuggling up with my dog (and other loved ones!), decorating for the holidays, and baking warm goodies.

However, winter is hard on some folks. For many, it’s difficult to nourish our bodies and minds when we’re overwhelmed by the cold and dark. Some people deal with seasonal affective disorder, while others simply cope with the winter blahs.

Below are 12 quotes that can boost your spirits and keep you going throughout the rest of autumn and the upcoming winter months. As always, take what works for you and leave the rest behind.

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Invest in Your Appearance and Boost Your Self-Confidence

By Alicia Sparks

Mirror.jpg

Last Saturday was cold, rainy, and—in my opinion—the perfect day to go to the mall.

I had no plans and I needed things.

Now, you might be thinking, “Did you really need things or did you just want things?”

Yes, I needed them.

I needed jeans. I needed skin care. I needed makeup…

…and yes, as superficial as that all sounds, I still stand by the idea that I, personally, needed them.

Continue reading… »



I’m Terrified of Yoga Inversions (& Other Random Confessions)

By Alicia Sparks

As a practicing yogi, you’d think I’d at least try to embrace all challenges that come my way. After all, among many other things, yoga is all about centering oneself—finding peace and balance both on and off the mat.

Yet, when my yoga instructors suggest headstands, handstands, and other yoga inversion poses, I’m ready to run screaming for the door.

I start feeling panic and anxiety, and later I’m a little depressed that I didn’t give it a try—three emotions yoga intends to reduce, not encourage.

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The Day I Realized I’d Stopped Eating (& What I’m Doing About It)

By Alicia Sparks

So, I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last two weeks.

Don’t congratulate me; I wasn’t trying.

You see, I’ve been a freelance writer and editor for the past decade and, as such, I juggle several clients and a variety of projects during any given day. Having been at it as long as I have, I’ve learned how to effectively manage my time. I know how to handle responsibility—whether it’s responsibility to my work or my overall well-being (i.e. any activities that enrich my mental, emotional, and physical life unrelated to my work).

However, I’ve taken on a new project and although I LOVE IT, I’ve let it consume most of my waking hours. I’ve become so obsessed with doing this project and doing it well that I’ve…

…forgotten to eat.

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#ThrowbackThursday: Fall Foods for Good Moods!

By Alicia Sparks

Happy Fall, y’all!

It’s that time of year again! We’re not quite bundled up just yet but we’re definitely enjoying some crisper air, gorgeous leaves (especially if you live in certain parts of the east coast), and…

…delicious fall-inspired foods!

I’ve already made two pumpkin rolls this fall — how naughty of me ;)

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“I Want to Look Better Naked!”

By Alicia Sparks

You might not believe it (or, maybe you might) but one of the most common answers I get when I ask people why they exercise is…

…”I want to look better naked!”

Setting aside the fact that what “looks better naked” is subjective, as someone who firmly believes that diet and exercise can help improve so much more than just our physical appearance (such as our mental and physical lives), I always want to educate them on the other benefits of regularly working out.

So, while looking better naked is great, below are an additional five benefits of exercising.

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7 Simple Ways You Can Get Involved in Your Community

By Alicia Sparks

I spent last Saturday at a local music and arts festival – and when I say “local,” I mean LOCAL. Organizers held the venue in my city’s park, all food vendors were from “mom-and-pop shops” around town (no national chains), artists from around the area displayed their jewelry, paintings, clothing, and other merchandise, and all musicians were from within the tri-state area. I had a great time shopping, eating, and listening to great tunes with family and friends, and I’m grateful for everyone who worked so hard to put together the festival.

I’m a firm believer that getting involved in your community is beneficial for both your mind and your body. There’s a sense of connection, solidarity, and strength that comes from organizing or participating in an event within your own neck of the woods.

With that being said, below are seven ways you can get involved in your own community.

Continue reading… »



First Thought Photo: Why Are You Looking Back?

By Alicia Sparks

Spiral Stairs

This post is part of the Your Body, Your Mind “First Thought Photo” series. The point of the series is simple: share your first thought upon seeing this photo. Of course, the rules are flexible :) Share your second, third, and fourth thoughts, too, if you want!

I love this photo; not just because I have a love of spiral staircases, but because this picture makes me think of a few things:

  1. I’ve come so far.
  2. I want to be there again.
  3. I still wish I hadn’t done/said those things.

I believe we all get to a point (or, points) in our lives when we stop and look back. The important question is: Why are we looking back? Naturally, we’re looking back at all the events that led us to this point.

Still, looking back goes a bit deeper and, subsequently, can be helpful or hazardous to our health.

Think about it: Unless we’re wishing we still lived in the past, looking back at happy times can be fun. It can remind us of all the good times for which we have to be grateful and encourage us to keep moving forward to experience more happiness.

On the other hand, unless we’re remembering to learn from our mistakes, looking back at regrets can be miserable. It can prevent us from moving forward with any significant hope and possibly even program us to believe there is nothing to look forward to, preventing us from even trying to make better times for ourselves.

Looking back is inevitable. It’s what we’re looking at — and how we’re interpreting it — that’s important.

Tell me, when was the last time you looked back? Were you cherishing memories? Taking pride in how far you’ve come? Lamenting regrets? How did looking back benefit or harm you?



 
 

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Recent Comments
  • Alicia Sparks: Indeed they will! Cherish them forever!
  • Pam: Beautiful memories will always be with you!
  • Alicia Sparks: Thank you :) I hope it brought back happy memories for you.
  • Evanston Psychologist: Alicia, wonderful post, it was deep and moving. It made me think of my own father.
  • Alicia Sparks: Thank you, John, and thank you for taking the time to read it. I sincerely appreciate it. :)
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