The old saying, “Take time to smell the roses,” is so applicable right now as the holiday season is here. I am amazed at how the commercial energetic juggernaut has almost made Thanksgiving irrelevant, with the infringement of traditional Black Friday to grey shades of Thursday. I was shocked when opening the newspaper on Thanksgiving morning to discover that Target and other department stores were starting Black Friday sales at 5 pm on Thanksgiving! I found out that Macy’s started the push for people to start shopping on Wednesday evening, even though the Black Friday prices wouldn’t take effect until Thursday at 5 pm.

This was eye opening for sure, and it made me realize that there are always going to be external forces pushing you to do things, and if you don’t stay centered and present, you will find yourself compromising your truth. Staying consciously aware and taking time to dial in to your center from time to time, is essential to living aligned and on purpose.

It’s a lot easier to allow others in authority, or with influence, to take the lead.  Determining your true path makes all the difference. I have learned and experienced that there will be challenges even when living on purpose, however, when your inner light shines brightly, no obstacle or challenge is ever too big to overcome. Inspiration combined with determination, desire, and being aligned in your values, is necessary to rise above any set backs or disappointments.

Know that when you are inspired and aligned in your values, outside forces are easier to deal with. This doesn’t mean that you may not slip backwards from time to time.  Being conscious of what you want is essential to achieving your goals and establishing your own internal happiness.

Happiness is a choice, even if your mind or ego tries to tell you otherwise. A practice member, Sam Kasnetz, recently shared an acronym for ego – edging God out. It’s such a profound statement, and so true. Anytime you choose fear, outside forces, or a perceived authoritative force, you are letting the ego run your life. This is where all the should’s, have to’s, need to’s, and ought to’s come flooding into your mind instead of the want to’s.

The first step to take, is to listen to your thoughts, and become aware of when you are using these terms. Anytime you have to motivate or push yourself to do something, take a pause and ask yourself if it is something you really want to do. I would bet, if you sit and ask yourself the question, the answer will be no. Your conditioning from outside influences – parental, school, peers, and past good/bad experiences, are usually the true stimuli, and that has probably pushed you to do things that you really don’t want to do.

The second step is to connect with your body and intuition to see what your internal answer is, for confirmation. Muscle tightness, abdominal issues, pains, nausea, dizziness are all signs from your body, letting you know that you really want to say no.

Last but not least, ask your body to find the yes or no answer. The way to do this is to focus and think about something that uplifts your soul, such as a loved one or a place that inspires you. Check to see how your body feels and responds when you focus on something that brings a smile to your face and that happy buzz in your body. This is your yes answer. Now think of a challenging person or situation and check how your body feels. I bet it doesn’t feel too good, and hence, this is your no answer.

Now when you ask yourself a yes or no question, if your body’s response is not the same exact feeling you had when thinking of something uplifting and inspiring, the answer is NO! There is no maybe or it’s close, it has to feel the same.

Learn to honor your truth and by connecting with your body, be in alignment, and don’t be in your ego, and “edge God out.” Be grateful for all that life brings, the good and bad, and live your life.