Category: Whole Life Coaching

Does Your BUT Make Your Life Look Too Small?

 

but“In truth, the only restrictions on our capacity to astonish ourselves and each other are imposed by our own minds.” David Blaine

“Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination.” Immanuel Kant

 

Let’s discuss constriction and how it is strangling the life out of your life. The dictionary defines constriction as a tightness or inward pressure and that inward pressure is what’s affecting the quality of your life.

So let’s take a step back and examine the origin of this constriction by asking, “If the pressure is inward how did it get there?” Well, if it’s an inward pressure then we placed it there. How else does anything get inward? Like the food we eat and the supplements we take, they get in us by our direct involvement.

The great news is since we put those constrictions in our life we can remove them. They are not dependent on changes from any outside source, person or environment in order for our shift to take place.

So, if that’s the case how do we go about flushing these constrictions out of our lives? I’m glad you asked – here is a simple 3-step process for expanding the life in your life.

Step 1 – Discover Where You’re Living Small

The first step is to discover where your constrictions live. What aspects of your life have you most constricted? Here’s a simple exercise to discover where you’ve created this restriction.

Imagine for a moment an area in your life where you feel constriction. Where you are not having all that you want, or are experiencing lack or dissatisfaction.

Usually, just by asking you to imagine this area an area pops into your mind. The answer comes quickly. However, if you did not discover any particular area then pretend and pick one. This process can only open you up to more wonderful things so any area will do!

Step 2 – Discover Your Personal Constrictions

Now that your area is chosen, get out a piece of paper and fill in these 3 statements.

 

I want to do/be/have ­­ ­­­­­­_________________ BUT ________________________ .

 

I can’t do/be/have ___________________ BECAUSE _____________________ .

 

The REASON I don’t/can’t/will never do/be/have ____________________ is __________________ .

 

Now I know some of you like to do these exercises in your head but you will really get more benefit if you actually write these down so you can examine them later. Also, for those of you sitting in your doctor’s office or somewhere public, the magazine is free so take it home and do this later. Really, they will deliver more so don’t feel bad.

Step 3 – Discover How to Break Free and Live Fully

Notice all the ways you’ve internally restricted yourself. These are all individualized to just you. If I asked 100 people to respond to the same general area of life they wouldn’t have the exact answers you do.

Yet they feel like fact, as if they are true and concrete. Here’s why:

According to the dictionary, but is used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned or used to indicate the impossibility of anything other than what is being stated.

BUT is a negator! It either derails the first part of the sentence or it dismisses the possibility of it ever happening. The only thing left after the dust settles is the negative when you use BUT. So anything positive you proclaim you want is totally obliterated when you use BUT.

BECAUSE and REASON are identical cousins. They are not totally the same but they are closely related to one another. They have a very symbiotic relationship.

BECAUSE builds itself upon the foundation of REASON. BECAUSE is defined as, for the REASON that. This foundation of REASON makes BECAUSE appear strong and real. Like, of course that makes perfect sense. However, let’s look at REASON.

REASON interestingly enough, is defined as a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action. [Emphasis mine]

So REASON is a house of cards. It’s not an actual fact; it’s the justification or explanation of our belief about something.

Basically, it’s a false constriction appearing real. And they appear so real we forget to really question it or imagine other possibilities. This is all due to the fact that all 3 of these constrictions seem reasonable, they feel solid, and we get lots of assent when we share them with others.

Well my job is to swim against the tide of how your life is going to create an opening for what’s really possible for you. So when you relate all your BUTS, BECAUSES, and REASONS you won’t get from me an affirmative nod and agreement on the reality of you living a very confined life.

 

I know there is much more in store for you and I’m committed to you having it!

 

So look back over those things you wrote down as your BUTS, BECAUSES, and REASONS. Cross them off your paper.

 

Now start a new list, put your new possibility in these blanks as you ask yourself these questions:

 

How could I create _______________ in my life?

 

How would I feel if _____________________ happened?

 

Who could help me in creating ____________________ ?

 

Release your inner constrictions and live a full, big life. You can do it! I believe in you!

 

I love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your thoughts below. Thanks so much for your participation.

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How Your Pets Speak to You: Signs & Symbols Series ~ Part 3

catandbloodhoundI’ve saved the best for last in this Signs & Symbols Series. In part one we examined how nature speaks to us. In part two we looked at how animals speak to us. In this last part we will discuss how our pets speak to us.

Our pets hold a special place in our hearts. And because of their close relationship with us they become a blend of their natural consciousness and our influences. So for example, their natural consciousness is to live in the moment, to be very aware of their body and to have a heightened sense of well-being. Left to themselves they will heal very quickly.

However, as part of our environment their consciousness gets mixed with our personal struggles because the family becomes their “pack”. And as such the family can influence their nature to such a degree that they may not heal as quickly. This is especially true if there is an overriding reason for them to be sick, either as a sign to heal something in your own life or because you need them to need you.

Pets speak to us loud and clear. Often observing their behavior is a window into the group dynamics of our family. They love us to such a degree they will mirror our strengths and weaknesses in order to act a supportive guide.

I am going to discuss the consciousness of our three common pets, dogs, cats and horses.

How Dogs Speak to You

Dogs give us the symbolism of interacting with others without judgment. They have an overriding interest in being part of the “pack”. They have great capacity to love, and will take on any suffering or illness as their gift to the pack. They take loyalty to a whole new level.

Here is a moving story of an Argentinian dog’s loyalty to the leader of his pack:

The bond between dog and master goes beyond the grave, as evidenced by Capitán’s unyielding loyalty to his master Miguel Guzmán, from Argentina. Capitán went missing for a few days, but he was eventually found lying in the cemetery next to Guzmán’s resting place.

The remarkable part about this story is that Miguel died in a hospital, and his body was taken to a funeral home far away from where he lived. Capitán had never been to the cemetery before.

The first time the funeral director saw Capitán, he arrived at the cemetery alone. The dog did a few laps through the tombstones before finding his master’s grave — all on his own. Capitán continues to visit his old master every single day, at 6:00 p.m., like clockwork.

If this isn’t a display of true dedication, we don’t know what is. This story was found on Mashable.com.

Dogs represent sacred bonds; so if you have a sick dog, please make sure you are willing to clear your life of any imbalances in your physical or mental health. They are speaking to you as a teacher and guide with their actions and behaviors.

How Cats Speak to You

Cats symbolize the ability to experience bliss and fulfillment in even the simplest aspects of life. They take pleasure in just being. Cats are less likely to take on an illness, but they do facilitate healing by laying on and area of injury or illness.

I had a cat that was very turned into imbalances. Normally, she was very standoffish but if someone was sick she would lay on him or her for hours. We got to the point we knew something was wrong if she showed up and spent time with someone. I had a friend come over who was 7 months pregnant and Yin, my healer cat, would not stop lying on her belly. Every time my friend sat down Yin was atop her. We laughed about it but inside we know that was a sign. This was my friends 4th child and he was born with Cystic Fibrosis. We thought back and new that Yin was trying to heal this child in the womb.

How Horses Speak to You

Horses symbolize freedom and divine power. They are very noble animals that have entered into a contract to be with us on our journey as helpers and guides. They have great reserves of stamina and strength. They are also well suited for teamwork.

Horses demand authenticity and balance from us if we are going to be productive partners with them. They are so quick to “speak out” when they sense your inauthenticity that many rehab programs use them as part of the therapy.

So if your horse seems agitated look at your energy. Realign yourself and get to a balanced, centered place in yourself. See if that doesn’t shift everything. By the way, you can use this tip if you’re with others who seem agitated. Try it and see how quickly it works in every situation!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on signs and symbols. I would love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks so much for your participation.

 

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How Animals Speak to You. Signs & Symbols Series ~ Part 2

wolfsign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like, and I can’t say the same thing about people.” ~ Doris Day

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~ Martin Buber

Last month we examined how nature speaks to you. We discussed how nature is a subtle communicator and that when looking for nature signs it’s best to be fully present to your experience and then reflect later to discern your message. See my last blog post for the full text of that article.

This month we are going to delve into how animals speak to you. Animals have a more direct symbolic representation in our life. Our lives are permeated with animal references and images. We talk about out foxing someone, getting one’s goat, or being as busy as a beaver.

Animals in the wild are great sources of practical wisdom. By observing what shows up you can be directed toward all kinds of ideas and answers. The way to access these signs in your life is to ask for a sign and then pay attention to what shows up for you.

Two Stories of How Animals Spoke to Me

Here are two examples how animals spoke to me when I asked important life questions.

One day early in my life-coaching career I was contemplating whether this would be enough to support my kids and myself. As I was walking I considered posing this question to the universe and this was my response. Not a few minutes later a mother robin and a young robin landed in the middle of the street right in front of me. The mother robin had a worm that she placed in her young’s mouth and then they both flew away!

Wow – I was blown away with the quick, clear message. I’ve had a deep level of trust from that day on that my career was on the right track and that all would be well.

Another instance, many years later, I was concerned about my youngest son’s transition into high school. I wanted to be sure that as he grew in independence I was appropriately guiding him without over managing him, as he chafes with that sort of structure.

So as I was walking, I asked for a sign on how I could best interact with my son at this time. I live in a very wooded area so there are a few hawks in my neighborhood, although I only really see them in the distance. But on this walk a hawk swooped down in front of me, not three feet away. That was nice but my mind, of course, thought well maybe that wasn’t a sign but just unusual timing.

So after I was home about five minutes I looked out my back door and that hawk was sitting on my deck railing. I have never had a hawk come into my yard before or since so I know that I was being clearly told to keep a watchful eye but from a distance, as hawks symbolize not getting caught up in the details but taking a wide view.

How Animals Might be Speaking to You

You too might be receiving messages from the animal world, but just not noticing them. You just need to tune in and start paying attention, especially to repetitive patterns.

For example, perhaps you are in an office environment that has a few people who are bossy or aggressive and they make the place not so nice for you. Because of them you are considering leaving a job you like and finding something new to get away from these toxic people. But you are unsure and want some guidance so you go for a walk in the woods.

As you walk you notice that there are some Blue Jays that are squawking and squawking, make a great racket. So you head into a different direction because you are looking for some peace and quiet on your walk. But it seems like wherever you go they follow! Soon you realize that the symbolism of this is there are always going to be people who act how they act. After all the Blue Jays are just being true to their nature. So instead of leaving this job, perhaps you open up to some new ways of interacting with these folks that shifts your workspace.

You can gain guidance from interacting with the animals directly or just by noticing that certain animals are showing up in your field of vision.

You may not run into a dolphin, but perhaps you see someone’s dolphin keychain, then you get a card with a dolphin on it and an ad on TV shows a dolphin jumping out of the ocean. If you get this sign multiple times then maybe you are being called to put more playfulness and cooperation into your life.

Some Common Animal Themes

During my session with clients, often an animal image will come up. I wanted to give you some of the most common ones. See if any of these resonate for you.

Land Animals

Lion – Hold your head up and keep your dignity, no matter the situation. Lion’s are all about acting deliberately instead of making rash decisions.

Raccoon – Be open to curiosity and exploration. Despite any doubts you have, the resources you need are there for you, just be guided by your intuition.

Skunk – Be open to your sensuality. Skunks are about respect and self-esteem.

Deer – Seek safe, nurturing situations and people. Trust your gut instincts. Be gentle with yourself and others.

Birds

Blue Heron – It’s time to go for it with gusto. Take time for reflection before starting to get clear on your goals, motivations, and actions.

Hummingbird – Be flexible with the twists and turns of life. Open your heart and draw in more emotional sweetness into your daily life.

Cardinal – Someone or something is looking for your love and attention. Observe your surroundings and life, paying attention to your inner guidance.

Owl – Meditate at night for clarity. Nighttime is going to be your most creative time right now so use it to tap into your inner wisdom and to focus on creative projects.

The world is full of signs, symbols and direction. Animals are one of the more direct ways to receive messages. So ask for clarity about an issue and then notice what things are repeating in your day.

I’d love to hear about your animal signs, so please share your thoughts below.

Next month we will discuss how our pets communicate with us. Until then, have fun with your animal adventures!

 

 

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How Nature Speaks to You. Signs & Symbols Series ~ Part 1

Heart-Cloud

 

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” ~ John Burroughs

 

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I’m doing a 3-part series on signs and symbols that surround all of us because I wanted to open you up the possibility of re-attuning to your environment.

Our lives are very full of distractions; cell phones, long lists of tasks, worries, and a barrage of media. According to CBS News, in the 1970’s we were exposed to about 500 ads a day, but now we are exposed to about 5,000 ads a day. Our lives are flooded with sensory input, people and tasks that pull on our attention so it is no wonder we face an ever-increasing sense of anxiety and overwhelm about our daily lives.

So in the spirit of summer I thought this would be the best time to capture the natural energy available to us in this season – the ability to slow down, connect with the Earth and take a break from our daily routines and in this space I want to discuss how our environment communicates with us if we are attentive enough to listen.

So in this first installment, we will discuss how nature speaks to all of us. In the second installment we will discuss how animals speak to us and in the third installment we will discuss how our pets speak to us. We will take the perspective that all three of these aspects are oracles, always at the ready to help, clarify or inspire if we would only slow down and notice their still, small voice.

How Nature Speaks

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~ Khalil Gibran

I believe we are all interconnected. And this does not just mean as humans we’re connected, but that we are connected to everything – including plants, animals, rocks – everything! That connection is a form of communication available to us if we can just hear and understand.

However, much of our life is disconnected from the rhythm and language of nature. We are like fish not aware we are in water because we are buried in our cell phones, whizzing by in our cars and going through our life confined in concrete boxes 90% of the day.

The great news is you don’t need any special training or skill to master connecting to the messages in nature, just a willingness to practice and trusting what comes to you. The first step is to ask with an expectation of receiving and then look for an answer.

What to Look For

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein

Nature is a subtle communicator so once you ask a question you must be alert to what you notice. Especially be attentive to repeating patterns, as that is one of the strongest ways nature is able to communicate. Whatever captures your attention is there for you.

I am going to explore three different aspects of how nature can communicate support and guide if you are open to your surroundings. These are examples of what’s possible for you.

The most important thing is to experience fully first. Don’t try to form messages from what you see – just be fully present and enjoy yourself and when you reflect later then what is there for you will have the space to bubble up.

Color: The Language of Vibration

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

One of the ways you can receive nudges from nature is through color. Colors have symbolic meanings so notice repeating patterns in nature as a sign.

For example, if you see a bouquet of red flowers on someone’s desk and then you go out and a cardinal is sitting on your car and then after dinner you take a walk and see a red vine climbing up a neighbor’s mailbox post then you are being given a sign. Red symbolizes energy, passion and action on one side and anger, aggression and fear on the other.

So maybe you are feeling stuck and nature is telling you to take action. Or perhaps you are feeling angry about a situation and nature is telling you it’s time to transform you anger into action.

Landscapes: The Language of Circumstance

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” ~ John Lubbock

Another way that nature speaks to you is by the particular landscapes you are attracted to.

For example, beaches are about adapting to unique challenges. Imagine how hard the plant life must work to survive the winds, salt, high temperatures and dryness.

City landscapes are about adaptability and community. Plants have to adapt to foreign environmental constraints to flourish. Cities are about working together to thrive.

Deserts are about ability to harness resources to survive. It takes a special focus and strength to navigate life in the desert so those who have survived there are hardy and tenacious.

Forests are about growing without constrains. Life is abundant and lush in the forest.

So, which landscape are you most attracted to? Are there ones you feel more drawn to at certain points in your life? Your vacation daydreams might just be sending you a message if you’ll tune into it.

Clouds: The Language of Imagination

“I remember just lying in the grass, staring at the clouds, wondering where they drifted off to after they floated over Texas. I never would have imagined that one day I would follow one of those clouds and find myself in Hollywood.” ~ Renee Zellweger

Cloud “readings” are one of the oldest forms of looking for signs and symbols from nature.

Clouds can often look like specific things, like a dragon, which might be saying turn up your imagination, or a dog, which might be telling you to find joy in the simple things. Or clouds could symbolize concepts, like a cloud that looks like forward movement or a plateau.

Let me give you an example from my own life. When I was 16 I was going to the hospital to visit my mother. On the way I saw two clouds that looked just like the Michelangelo painting of God and Man touching fingers. At that moment I knew she had passed away. Sure enough when I arrived at the hospital I was informed that she was no longer alive.

The cloud symbolism not only informed me but it also helped reassure me – the imagery of the connection between us and the Divine helped me process the loss of my mother.

So recapture your childhood and spend some time cloud gazing to see what’s there for you.

You are surrounded by a world that is on your side and wants to help make your life lush and wonderful. Go out and spend some time in nature. Be open to what you see. Use all your senses, listen for what you hear, see what colors jump out at you, look to the sky and see what you see.

Next month we will discuss how animals speak to you as signs and symbols. Until then, please feel free to email or call me with your discoveries of personal signs for your life. Or if you like to write, please comment below and share your experiences there for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Unstuck Before Lunchtime No Matter How Many Years You’ve Been Jammed Up!

get-unstuck“I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres

“We have magnificent brains, but we use a great deal of our brilliance to keep ourselves stuck and ignorant, to keep ourselves from not shining. We are so afraid of our beauty and radiance and brilliance because it scared the adults around us when we were children.” ~ Patricia Sun

Getting you unstuck before lunchtime is a pretty bold claim, right? Well if I’m going to make good on it we better get down to it.

But before we solve this dilemma, let’s define it. What is being stuck?

According to the dictionary stuck is a state of:

  • Caught or held in a position so that you cannot move
  • Unable to solve a problem and continue working
  • In a situation that you do not like but cannot avoid
  • Forced to have, use, or deal with someone or something that you do not want.

While those definitions clearly describe this state, what’s really important to you is how it makes you feel. In your real, everyday life it feels like you’re trapped; entangled in an ever tightening web that constricts tighter and tighter with every passing moment and every attempt to break free. Time is not on your side, effort is not on your side, and there seems like there is no way out.

When you are ensnared in that web you have ideas but not the energy to sustain them, you believe the ideas you do have won’t work, and you feel like nothing is going to fundamentally change anyway so why try?

You feel hopeless, confused, tired, defeated, trapped, overwhelmed, alone, lost, heavy, angry, aggressive, short-tempered, cranky, and scared.

What does it cost you to be so totally entrapped? Only all your creativity, joy, freedom, choice, expansion, aliveness, connection, growth, energy, enthusiasm, and clarity. Being stuck basically sucks the life out of your life.

So now that we’ve established how yucky being stuck feels, let’s turn everything around. Here is a three-step process you can use to finally get unstuck – no matter how long you’ve been struggling!

Nothing Happens Until You Decide

“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

So how can I make such a bold claim in my title and feel like I can deliver?

Here is the golden nugget; nothing happens until you decide and when you do decide then transformation is available to you in an instant.

Here’s an illustration of this point.

Place a pen in your hand. Stand up and hold your arm out in front of you.

First of all I want that pen to be stuck in your hand so do nothing but hold it tight.

When you get tired of that then try to drop it next. Notice that when you try to drop it you don’t actually drop it.

When nothing happens after that, decide to let it go by opening your hand and letting it fall to the ground.

You see it doesn’t take any longer to let it fall to the ground if you’ve been holding it for 1 second or 15 minutes or 20 years. Once you decide to do it and act on that decision transformation is available to you in that instant.  So with your participation we can get you unstuck before lunchtime today.

Release the burden of thinking that problems that have been with you a long time are harder to break free from and renew your enthusiasm for creating something wonderful in your life.

Step One:

Decide to make a change and commit to taking action, no matter how small.

What You Don’t Know is Infinitely More Important

Than What You Do Know

“One day, right after my mastectomy, I went for a walk in Central Park, and there was this mob of people blocking the road. I thought, ‘Oh, great, now I’m stuck!’ but then I suddenly realized that it was a breast cancer walk.” ~ Hoda Kotb

Your best thinking has gotten you here.

Here is the golden nugget; as long as you are committed to staying confined in what you think you know then you are stuck. Once you open up to what you don’t even know you don’t know then you can bust free. (You might want to re-read that last sentence – it’s a mind-buster.)

The way you access what you don’t know is through questions. You see our own thinking traps us all. Our minds are wired to make associations and this pattern runs an autopilot program of dragging what we already know (i.e. our past experiences, thoughts and outcomes) into our future (i.e. our new ideas, choices and behaviors we want in our life).

So, by relying on what you already know you cannot help but repeat the same old patterned outcomes as before. And you don’t even know you are in control of that because it is such a stealth program in your life.

So to break free you must ask questions like, “What’s going on here?”, How can I make this easier or more fun?”, “What can I do to shift this right now?”.

Step Two:

Ask empowering questions. Questions which allow you to trust your intuition and create new outcomes so your past patterns aren’t just repeated over & over again.

Allow Someone to Throw You a Line and

Help Pull You Out of Your Muck

“The worst thing that can happen is if you’re stuck within a bubble and you think that is what life is all about. It’s great to see other people and hear from people of different ages and opinions.” ~ Alber Elbaz

When we are stuck our thinking gets fuzzy and even things that normally would make sense we tend to forget, and asking for help is on that list.

Here’s the golden nugget; your “I’ll figure it out for myself” zone is nothing but a deadly trap. The one thing that “being stuck” needs more than anything is for you to think you must go it alone. The moment you bring someone else’s fresh perspective into the mix then an opening is created and “being stuck” loses its totalitarian hold on you.

Did you know that a new study at the University of Louisville discovered that figuring things out yourself takes longer, with far less accurate results, than observing and communicating with others in the know. Interacting with experts — and asking them for their expertise — results in a faster, richer learning curve.

Step Three:

Call someone you trust, admire, or has an expertise for help. Ask them to examine your questions, fears, and assumptions, allow them to explore new ways of viewing your situation, and even ask them to help brainstorm new possibilities for you. The most important aspect of asking for help is the crack it creates in the concrete of “being stuck”.

“Think about a seed. Once it lands, it’s stuck. It can’t move to find better soil, moisture or sunlight. It’s able to create every part of itself to grow and reproduce with the help of air, water and sun.” ~ David Suzuki

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to do these three steps before lunch today. Pick an area in your life you want to get unstuck. Decide you are going to take action. Jot down some open ended questions about this area of your life. And most importantly, call someone for help. They can help ask questions you didn’t think of. They can help you stay committed to the actions you decided upon. They can loosen the grip that “being stuck” has on your life and assist in setting you free

And always remember, I’m just a phone call away if you need my support.

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Lose 15 Pounds of Confusion in 3 Days


“Clarity is the most important thing. I can compare clarity to pruning in gardening. You know, you need to be clear. If you are not clear, nothing is going to happen. You have to be clear. Then you have to be confident about your vision. And after that, you just have to put a lot of work in.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.” ~ Meredith Monk

“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” ~ Carl von Clausewitz

Confusion is heavy! OK we both know it doesn’t have any actual mass, but it feels oppressive nevertheless. It crowds your brain with a thick, dense fog, it sits on your shoulders like a set of iron chains and it jams up your stomach like a big ball of lead.

Wouldn’t it be great to get this 15-pound mental monkey off your back? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to experience the lightness of clarity instead? Imagine all the brilliant direction, ease, and purpose that would be immediately available to you!

Well you are in luck! Here is a simple 3-day process that will pull back the blackness of confusion and let the clear light of clarity shine in your life.

Day 1 – Weed Out Confusion from the Garden of Your Life

The first step towards clarity is to gather up all the debris that is choking out the beautiful things that are trying to grow in the garden of your life. If you’ve clogged your life with negative thoughts of fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety then peaceful, successful, connecting thoughts have no room.

Imagine you are a beautiful lamp and your life is a 1000-watt bulb. Over the years you have painted that bulb with a stroke of black ink with every negative, fearful or angry thought you’ve given intense attachment to. So your result is a simple cause and effect – you can’t shine brightly not because the lamp is broken you’ve just covered it over.

So here’s your Day 1 process for scraping off the blackness.

Spend a day with a notebook and some quiet. Write down all the things which anger you, cause you pain, fear, or anxiety. Write all the things you think you might lose if you made decisions to move your life ahead or negative belief systems you have about yourself, others in your life, or success.

Purge, Purge, Purge!

Purge yourself of all those thoughts that have taken hold and keep you small, confused, or afraid.

Once you have totally purged yourself get a large metal bowl and a lighter. Go to a safe place outside and burn your pages in the bowl. Do this carefully – if you have lots of pages burn them in small batches. Be mindful of your surroundings and the wind conditions.

The awesome power of transformation available to you by the use of fire is important, so do this step.

Before you begin your burn ceremony, create a prayer or affirmation that reinforces your process of letting go. Release these negative beliefs back to the light or turn them over to God. Whatever works for you, use that. This process is about really letting it all go once and for all so participate with that goal in mind.

Bonus Tip:

This process is like weeding the garden of your life. Sometimes when weeding you only pull up the part of the weed that’s above the ground and with time it regrows. It is not a sign that you didn’t do it correctly the first time, just that you need to re-do it more deeply. So if in a few months things start springing back up in your mind and your life, then re-do this process and dig deeper into your fears, your anger and your negative belief systems. Weeding is an ongoing process, so keep up with this and the weeds will thin out and your life garden will flourish with abundant beauty.

Day 2 – Create Brightness by Sowing New Seed

Nature abhors a vacuum so now that you’ve weeded you must sow something new.

Here’s your Day 2 process for creating something new in your life.

Take up your pen and paper and start writing all the positive things you want in your life. If you need to prime the pump begin by writing the things you dreamt about when you were a kid. Do not filter yourself by what you think is possible, what you think you should want, or have a right to want. In fact, the more outrageous the better. Write about things from all aspects of your life – your relationships, family, career, money, everything! Again, no one is going to see this so go all out.

Once you have poured out all your dreams then again, gather up your bowl, papers, and lighter. This time you are doing a different type of releasing ceremony – this one is an offering. Create a prayer or affirmation that invites God, the Universe, or your Higher Power to become an active co-creator in your life. Release your dreams and offer them up through your burn ceremony. Then know they are received by your intentional act of transformation.

Bonus Tip:

By sowing these seeds transformation begins, but does not show immediately. You cannot dig up the seeds you’ve planted to see if they are growing and expect to successfully produce the fruits of your labor. Your responsibility is three-fold after you sow your seeds – you feed, weed, and wait. There is no need for worry because the transformation must happen if you do your three steps. No one needs to help seeds bloom at the level of the seed – that is done from a different power then the one you have, so trust that part of the process is happening and only focus on your part.

Day 3 – Plug In Your Power Source to Feed Your Seeds

If you are a lamp and your light is the bulb, then gratitude is the plug that connects you to your power source. So this third step is the one that powers your transformation.

Here’s your Day 3 process for powering up your results.

On Day 3 commit to a practice of writing down at least 5 things you are grateful for each day. Make sure every day they are different things. They don’t have to be big or complex things.

Make this a fun game – wake up wondering what wonderful things are going to come into your life that you can capture for your gratitude list. It’s like a daily scavenger hunt!

This step is how you feed your seedlings. This is your contribution of essential nutrients to insure their growth.

By tapping into the power of gratitude you allow the things you want to have an access point to come into your life. You have created a fertile ground free of weeds so your dreams have the space to flower.

Bonus Tip:

If you have trouble gathering up at least 5 things to be grateful for each day then create some. Do random acts of kindness and be grateful for the opportunity you’ve had to enhance someone’s day. Pay for the person behind you in the drive though line or compliment a stranger to brighten their day.

Whatever it is, have the courage and creativity to positively impact someone else. That will quickly jumpstart your gratitude list and before you know it the floodgates will open and your list will grow exponentially.

I want so many good things for you. The people who love you want good things for you. But the only thing that matters is if you want good things for yourself.

And the way you want them is by your actions. I’ve given you a framework to create a shift in your life. I’m also here to help out if you need more.

But you create your life through your focus, attention, and actions. You are already whole and complete, you just need to clear away anything that is blocking that from flowering in your life.

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The Fab Four Elements of Rockstar Apologies

“Sorry is hardest to say when it matters most.”  ~ Ebehi Iyoha

“Sorry means you feel the pulse of other people’s pain as well as your own, and saying it means you take a share of it. And so it binds us together, makes us trodden and sodden as one another. Sorry is a lot of things. It’s a hole refilled. A debt repaid. Sorry is the wake of misdeed. It’s the crippling ripple of consequence…. But Sorry, really, is not about you. It’s theirs to take or leave.

Sorry means you leave yourself open, to embrace or to ridicule or to revenge. Sorry is a question that begs forgiveness, because the metronome of a good heart won’t settle until things are set right and true. Sorry doesn’t take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap. Sorry is a sacrament. It’s an offering. A gift.” ~ Craig Silvey

The words, “I’m sorry” have been mired in a cultural tar pit of lies and I want to liberate you from the muck. We have constructed some rather large cultural fabrications around this simple phrase, like “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” or “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness”. Women say it too often and men don’t say it enough. But why? Why is this topic so charged?

The why can be found hidden in the big cultural falsehoods around apologies. Edward R. Murrow, the famous newsman said, Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit.” And that’s what we’ve done. The naked power of authenticity of sincere apologies has gotten covered up by these falsehoods in order to take the sting out of being vulnerable and open with another.

The litmus test for a big cultural lie is to look at the outcome – if the lie delivers the exact opposite of its promise, then you know you found one. So for this situation both the above statements meet this criterion. You will never have love in your life for long without saying you’re sorry and you will never have strength without knowing how to truly apologize.

Apologies are very powerful when used properly. That’s the kicker, how does one wield this power correctly? Well, here are four essential aspects to creating apologies that rock the house!

Make it Timely

“When you realize you’ve made a mistake, make amends immediately.  It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.”  ~Dan Heist

Apologies repair connection. That’s the truth of it – when a connection is broken somehow, an apology is the way to begin the repair. If the wound was real, then the closer to the actual offence the cleaner the cut, which is easier to repair. Time erodes the edges of the wound, making it harder to sew up. That’s why it is so important to address the wound as quickly as possible. When there is anger or hurt festering, time is not your friend.

Make it Specific

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~ Kimberly Johnson

Use direct, declarative sentences devoid of blame, excuses or justifications. When crafting a rockstar apology get clear on what the offence was so you can rectify it. You want to acknowledge that there was a rift and that you take responsibility for it.  This is not about blame or judgment – this is about repairing a relationship so that’s the focus of your apology.

A good example of an apology is: “I’m sorry I was offensive.” This statement acknowledges your responsibility and address the rift.

A bad example is: “I’m sorry you were offended.” Or “I’m sorry if I was offensive.” Both these statements evade personal responsibility and put the other person on the hook for the damage.

The way you frame your apology is paramount to how it is received. Please know that your apology is to mend a rift between you and another, so even if you feel it is not totally your fault or you didn’t mean to cause a problem that’s not what you are addressing with your apology.

Apologies are about the other person’s feelings. You are taking responsibility for the rift; it is not the forum for explaining what you meant to do or how you perceive the situation differently. You can be right or you can be happy – that is the choice you are making with your apology.

Make it Sincere

“Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.”  ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

Sincerity is transmitted by the words you use and the energy you infuse into the conversation. So while it is imperative to take responsibility through your words, it is also imperative to be in the proper place energetically. Don’t enter into your apology irritated or sarcastically. Don’t use it as a means to reopen the discussion about what happened and who has the correct assessment of the situation.

Enter into this conversation with the intention of a sincere desire to make amends for the disconnection. Take your focus off your perceptions about the event and focus on the connecting part only if that makes it easier for you to move into this place of authenticity. Know your energy is going to speak 100 times louder than your words, so don’t disregard this aspect of your apology.

Make it Openly

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”  ~Paul Boese

Lastly, make your apology with an open expectation of the outcome. Don’t expect that your apology should mean the person no longer feels upset with you or that now they should apologize to you. Both these expectations are centered on using your apology to control or manipulate a situation, rather than to reforge a connection.

Your job is to apologize sincerely, accept responsibility and then let the rest go. Go into it without expectations of the outcome to allow the other person the space to feel what they feel and heal as they heal.

I’m not saying apologies are easy. They take vulnerability. They take accepting responsibility. They take courage, openness and a willingness to put happiness over that delicious feeling of righteousness. But I want that for you. I want you to be courageous. I want you to feel a deeper connection to the people in your life through your vulnerability, authenticity and openness.

Start small, maybe with someone you are not so emotionally entangled with, to practice this skill. But start. Pick up the phone and call someone right now. Patch up a rift in a relationship and feel the rush of even a small success. I am here for you – behind you all the way. So count to 3 and just do it.

 

 

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Relationship Mysteries – Solved!

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” ~ Khalil Gibran

“Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

Ahhh February, the month of love. We are surrounded by hearts, flowers, and little cupids a-flight. Isn’t wonderful to be in love? Is there any elixir any sweeter? Love is magical, but we’re not discussing that. You don’t need any help with falling in love but I’m guessing you could use some relationship assistance, so that’s what we’re focusing on this month.

Relationships are a totally different experience than being in love. Love is a feeling; a heady, uplifting whirlwind. But relationships are the day-to-day connections we engage in. Some are romantic, but most are collegial, familial or even temporary, like the clerk in the grocery line. Basically, you are in relationship every time you engage with another, if only for that moment.

Regardless what type of relationship you want to focus on, these steps will work for you. They improve your relationship with your spouse and your boss, your kids and your mother. That’s because they are about you. If there are relationship issues in your life, guess what? You are the constant.

Take Off Your Defensive Helmet

“My father never kissed me, hugged me or told me that he loved me. As my only living parent, he became the filter through which I saw myself, the possibilities for my life, the world and all men. He was a conflicted and dark filter.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

“If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.” ~ Richard Bach

We all walk around with invisible, protective helmets on. Yours might be a hard hat, or a bonnet, or a tiara. These helmets filter all the information in our environment and categorize it for ease of handling by your brain. Basically they file things into folders that are pre-set up as your personal default ways of seeing the world. The helmet is not trying to cause you problems, it is trying to make your life easier and you feel better by shifting every new person, place and experience into something familiar.

So here’s what it looks like as you walk around with your filter helmet on. For example, say you have a belief running in your subconscious that you are unimportant. What you say doesn’t count, people disregard you and you are practically invisible. So as you interact with people your helmet is always scanning for confirmation of your belief.

You see the Universe does not judge what you want it just looks for it. It’s happy when it finds a match – it’s like Christmas to your subconscious. That’s awesome if your belief systems work for you but a real bummer when they don’t.

OK back to our story. So someone says or does something. That in of itself is neutral. Our helmet then files it into one of our folders to match it to what we are expecting. So you take it as a slight or a dismissal because that’s a match for you.

Here’s an example of how it plays out in your life. You have an appointment with someone and they are late. That is a neutral event. Something happened on their end that caused them to not be with you at the appointed time. Period. But if you believe you are unimportant suddenly their tardiness is an affront to you. It is a complete lack of respect for you and your time. And this is because that’s what makes this neutral event a match for your “I’m unimportant” belief. This is all happening inside your head.

Now your juices are flowing, your emotions are rising and what feels like a negative is really a celebration that your subconscious found another match for you. That feeling of tension is the excitement of all those subconscious high-fives that are happening in your inner control room. After all, excitement and anxiety feel almost identical. Think about it. Similar physiological responses felt in the similar places in your body. You just call it different names and label it good or bad.

So how do you stop this knee-jerk reaction? First of all, acknowledge that you have these filters. Secondly, notice when they get activated. You will know it by the party that breaks out – the one that feels like anger or disappointment or some other negative feeling.

Lastly, start transforming your belief systems to ones that serve you instead of derail you. There are many energy therapies, like The BodyTalk System™, that access your subconscious beliefs so you can shift. Imagine how wonderful your life could feel if your subconscious was looking to match success, happiness and abundance instead of unworthiness, fear and shame.

Get Out of Your Problem Mud Puddle

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The question is not, ‘Do you have a problem?’ The question is, ‘Does the problem have you?’” ~ Joel Osteen

You can’t solve your problems in the same place as you created it. There is no solution in the problem. You must move away from the problem to find a solution. I could say it a fourth time but I think you get the idea. Why is this so important? Because you must create a space for the solution. Problems take up all the available creativity, they shutdown all input and output and they are self-generating so they can live forever. You have to break free from this constraint in order to have the space for a solution to drop into your life.

Here is an example of how this plays out in your life. If you are having a problem with your spouse, then stop focusing on it. I know you just raised your eyebrow and said, “What? You want me to stop talking about his lack of communication? How in the world are we going to fix it if we don’t talk about it?” See above. You can’t fix it while you are talking about it. If you really want to fix it then stop talking about it!

Let’s say your goal is to feel closer to your spouse – after all that’s why you want him to be more communicative, right? So you feel closer to him? Well, if that’s the case then stop talking about his problem and start focusing on what you can do to feel closer to him. What’s his favorite meal? Cook it. What’s his love language? Speak it.

Re-channel all that energy you put into his problem into creative ways to surprise him. Like loving one-line texts or a note in his pocket. Now, please only try these if you want to change things. If you are secretly happy in your misery then disregard this advice.

If you want to break free and create something new but aren’t sure what I’m saying makes sense, then pretend. Really – just pretend I might be right and try it for 30 days. The most it can cost you is 30 days of fighting.

Wherever There’s a Problem, There You Are

“You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” ~ Eldridge Cleaver

“If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.” ~ Stanley Kubrick

Notice when you block the solution. The funny thing about relationships, if you haven’t noticed yet, is they really are all about you. More specifically, they are about you taking 100% responsibility for your part in the relationship.

So let’s stick to our above scenario with your spouse.  You instituted changes in your behavior so things are going along better and you are both moving toward feeling closer. But then something comes up, a tense subject or maybe he says something slightly hurtful.

You now have an important choice. You can revert to your knee-jerk reaction or you can take a beat and pause before you jump in. In the space of that pause you have the power to create a new belief system – one that supports you instead of spinning you out. You have the power to derail your progress or strengthen it.

So if you derail then notice, take responsibility, and apologize. Get back on track. If you strengthen then you are rewarded with more of what you want – it doesn’t get any better that that right?

These relationship steps work on all relationships: spouses, bosses, kids, friends, even your mother. If you’d like help uncovering your subconscious belief systems and shifting them to ones that bring you pleasure instead of pain then let me know, I can give you some guidance in determining what protocol is correct for you.

Also, in the spirit of February if you want more information on how to improve your couple’s relationship, call my office at 336-540-0088 and I will email you my list of 37 Ways to Put More Oomph Back in Your Relationship. My gift to you ~ Happy Valentine’s Day!

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A Splendid Wisdom Buffett ~ Make 2014 Your Most Delectable Year Ever!

As 2013 comes to a close and we get ready to start a new adventure that is 2014 I wanted to pause right here in-between and celebrate with you.

So I’ve laid out a feast – a Wisdom Buffet to usher in this New Year.

Each serving has 3 ingredients; inspirational quotes, practical guidance and follow up questions to direct your actions. Some are light like appetizers, others are heavy like entrees, and some are mere palate cleansers.

The one thing they all have in common is a direction to receive support for the shifts you want to make in 2014. You can join in with a buddy to participate with you or you can join up with a coach who can address the blocks you have around moving forward. Whatever works for you is your right choice.

I invite you to now approach the smorgasbord. I’ve set out 14 delicious dishes for you to sample. Take what you like, pass on the ones that don’t attract you and feel free to come back for seconds and even thirds!

A splendid table is set before you so please join in and celebrate with me the wonder that is store for you in 2014.

1. Tap Your Tenacity

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.” ~ Amelia Earhart

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”  ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let me tell you a story about tenacity. A woman was on a four-hour layover on a train and a book idea popped into her consciousness. She didn’t have a pen that worked and she was too shy to ask anyone to borrow one so she spent hours developing the story all in her head. It took her seven years to finally finish the story and during that time she got married, then realized her husband was abusive so she had to flee with her infant daughter to get away from him. She was then so poor she was on welfare. She also lost her mother during this time. Yet she wrote on. Staying with this project through thick and thin.

She would walk her daughter to the local coffee shop so the baby would be lulled to sleep so she could write in short spurts. When she finished she was turned down by twelve publishers. Twelve is a lot of rejection! Her book was finally accepted but they made her change her name because they thought that a woman’s name on the book would discourage sales – this was 1997 not 1897! But she was tenacious. She held fast to her dream regardless of what obstacles came her way.

And the rest is history. This is the story of Joanne Rowling, A.K.A. J.K. Rowling. She is author of the Harry Potter series and is now one of the wealthiest women on the planet.

1. What is your obstacle?

2. Write down 5 ways, no matter how crazy or far out there, you could go over, around or through it.

3. What support would help you most?

2. Take a Wide View

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” ~ William James

“Start wide, expand further, and never look back.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

The widest view you can take is to look from the peak of your intention, purpose, or vision. By taking a long, wide view you do not get bound up in the mundane or the obstacle right in front of you.

So set an intention, define your purpose, or step into your vision. With those eyes you will only see opportunity instead of obstacles.

The widest view also comes from the smallest moment in time, the now. Time reacts oppositely – the wider the timeline the more limiting. You can’t do anything about the past except let it stay there. You can’t do anything about the future except allow it to unfold. But everything is doable in the now.

Right now you have your hand on the break that regulates how much past pain seeps into your today. Right now you have the ability to define your future through the choices and actions you take. And right now you have the opportunity to engage in your vision, purpose or intention, or not.

1. What is your highest intention for 2014?

2. What is the obstacle that keeps you from realizing it?

3. What type of support would you like to realize this intention this year?

3. Give Yourself the Gift of Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” ~ Eileen Caddy

We live in a microwave, drive thru, and instant communication world. Never before have there been more distractions, more inundations upon our senses and more expectation of the instantaneous than this time. But what’s the cost? Connection. Ironic isn’t it? The more we seem connected the less we actually are. That’s because we have slipped into being engaged observers instead of being actually engaged. So it feels real but it’s faux.

For example, have you ever witnessed people in a restaurant at a table together but each is staring at their phone? They are forfeiting engagement with the actual person they are with, engagement with their surroundings, with their food, and with the atmosphere of the location all for the false sense of connection via their Twitter feed?

A loss of gratitude is the casualty of this insidious nouveau connection. And that’s too bad because gratitude is the glue that binds us. It acknowledges that our actions, achievements and lives are not merely our own but a gift that rely on our community, family, and circle of friends. We do not operate in a void and the more we acknowledge these connections the stronger we become.

The more energy we put into appreciating the things outside of us, the more we benefit internally. We become more stress resilient, we have greater self worth and we are less toxic because toxic emotions and gratitude cannot occupy the same space.

Gratitude allows us the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the gifts of the present moment.

1. When are you consistently not present?

2. What is your favorite mode of distraction from the present? Is it social media, the Internet or games on your phone?

3. How can someone help you be more present so your life is filled with more gratitude?

4. Captain Your Own Ship

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~ Albert Ellis

Blame is delicious. It is just so luxurious to marinate in it. We savor the lingering finish because we feel so cradled by the thought that if it all is someone else’s fault then we are off the hook, and that feels so freeing. Yet the opposite is true. It is like Pinocchio’s
Pleasure Island where everything at first seems so lovely and then its true darkness emerges once you are hooked.

The reality is the more you give away your power to others in the form of blame the less you are able to change in your life. Only when you take ownership for your actions, reactions and circumstances can you turn the ship in another direction. No one steers the boat from the promenade deck – you have to be willing to get into the captain’s chair if you want to set your own course.

1. Where have you blamed others for something that is not working in your life? Make a list.

2. Pick one small item on your list and brainstorm new ways you could handle the situation. Start small to build your skills.

3. What help can you get to boost your skills to steer your own ship?

5. Dish Up a Big Dose of Happiness

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” ~ Woody Allen

If you polled 100,000 people they all would put being happier on their list of New Year’s Resolutions. In fact if you pulled back the curtain and looked behind almost all New Year’s resolutions the implication is if I do this thing (lose weight, get a new job, etc.) then I will feel happier.

Ironically this thinking is the reason for most of your failures. Because when you get that thing and it doesn’t solve you underlining feeling of unhappiness, then you lose your enthusiasm and your resolve dissolves. You then set your sights on the next thing in the hopes that it will do the trick. And so on.

The irony is that your happiness is buried in all the things you want to fix or change. Once you accept them and everything else about your life as it is right now then you are able to be happy regardless of outside circumstances. From this vantage point you can make real, lasting changes and enjoy the journey at the same time.

1. What are the things you think need to change in your life to make you happy?

2. How can you embrace them just as they are right now?

3. What support would make this process easier for you?

6. Ignite Your Passionate Curiosity

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”  ~Albert Einstein

What are you passionately curious about? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, or learn or someplace you’ve always wanted to see?

Use this as your #1 and only New Year’s resolution. Ditch the restrictions you are about to set upon yourself and list the things that come to mind when you ask yourself this question. This alone will make 2014 look so differently for you. It will feel like a year of living to its fullest instead of the same old grind. Shift your focus from your traditional list to this list and see what magic opens up in your life!

1. What are the things you find exciting, fascinating or interesting? Prioritize them from most urgent or interesting to least.

2. Pick your top 5 and brainstorm ways you can experience them on some level, even on a small level. For example, if you are fascinated by African culture but cannot go to Africa right away, then try the new Ethiopian restaurant that just opened as a first step.

3. What support can you get to help you create these experiences in your life so they actually materialize in an easy, smooth way?

7. Say YES to Life

“The oldest, shortest words – ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – are those which require the most thought.” ~ Pythagoras

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” ~ Yogi Berra

What’s your default response? Don’t think you have one? Check again. We all have one we favor and it usually doesn’t serve us – whether it is Yes or No. Most people fall into one of two camps – they say No immediately as a default because they see everything as a problem and so they avoid. The other camp of people say Yes when they really don’t want to because they fear disappointing someone. Either one is crippling you! I know that sounds harsh and I’m sorry but this one thing is causing serious havoc in your life!

Here’s the solution – say YES more often but really mean it. Say it with an air of excitement and expectation of wonderment. But only say it more often when you mean it and say NO the other times.

Say Yes to situations that you’d normally pass on. For example, when someone asks you to go out with the office for happy hour say YES, when you are given an opportunity to go speed dating say YES (even though you normally would never do that), say YES whenever opportunity pops up in your life. But say NO to obligations that you don’t really want to take on. If you’re asked to spend all day Saturday to help a friend move and you’d rather not then say NO. It’s OK, you have my permission. Or say, “I can help for 2 hours from 10-12pm but then I have to leave” if that makes it easier.

Setting good boundaries open up your life, they are not ways you fence yourself in. So really think about your answers – if you get that feeling in your stomach, you know the one, then say NO. But if it is something you’d just default to a NO for no reason in particular then say YES next time.

1. What is your default answer?

2. Be more aware of how you respond to opportunities that pop up in your life.

3. What support can you get to help you see what your default thinking is costing you in terms of happiness?

8. Let Go to Lighten Up

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” ~ Ann Landers

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

When you have been really upset, or mad, or hurt has anyone ever told you to just let it go? At that point did you just want to hit them in the face?

The madding thing is not knowing how to let it go. Otherwise wouldn’t you?

Here’s an easy process for releasing those uncomfortable emotions.

First of all realize you are not your emotions. You are not mad, you feel mad. You are not hurt, you feel hurt. This may seem trite but by separating you from your emotion creates the space needed to make the shift.

Secondly, bring that emotion alive right now – really feel your feelings. Once you are there ask yourself, “Can I let this feeling go?” and feel what your answer is. If it is NO then accept that you have decided at this time to hold onto this negative feeling. (That’s important because it gives you the power of decision – it doesn’t have you, you are consciously deciding to hold onto it). If the answer is Yes, then feel yourself releasing it. Feel your jaw unclench, feel the tension slip away, feel yourself becoming more relaxed. You’ve all had this experience – it feels like getting good news when you’ve been waiting for test results or some other report of some kind.

Know that releasing these emotions isn’t giving another permission to treat you unkindly or saying what they did was OK. It is simple freeing yourself from the chains of negative, heavy emotions that are weighing down your life.

1. List the situations that have active, negative charges for you.

2. Go through the above steps to release those heavy emotions.

3. What help can you get to release those emotions you said NO earlier in this process?

9. Feast of Kindness Challenge

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” ~ Dalai Lama

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~ Bob Kerrey

I challenge you to a 30-day kindness feast! Doesn’t that sound better that setting a resolution to diet?

Every day in January do at least one random act of kindness. Keep a journal – it will be fun to go back and remember them and it will keep you on track if you have to record them at the end of each day.

A random act of kindness is anything you unexpectedly do for someone else – it can be holding the door for someone, paying for someone behind you in the drive thru, or scraping the ice off a neighbor’s car.

We are all connected and this connection is the clearest during these acts. The more you delight another the more delightful you become.

So be alert for your daily opportunity to do a radically kind act and see how much kindness flows back into your daily life.

1. Commit to doing at least one random act of kindness every day in January.

2. Write down your acts in a journal.

3. At the end of the month re-read your entries and notice how much happier you feel because of your actions.

10. Embrace Your Life

“You don’t know when you’ve hit a peak until you’re coming down. And you don’t know when you’ve hit a trough until you’re climbing out. It’s all good.” ~ David Brent

“You couldn’t have strength without weakness, you couldn’t have light without dark, you couldn’t have love without loss.”  ~ Jodi Picoult

When you flip a coin do you think that heads is good but tails is bad? No, they are just different sides of the same coin. But you need both sides to make the coin so they both serve a purpose.

Too often we assign value to our life experiences. If this happens then it’s good but if that happens it will be bad. But we need dark to appreciate light and weakness to produce strength. They are just pairs. Both are needed equally to turn the wheel of life.

So embrace everything. If you are going through a difficult time then appreciate the gifts this event is bringing you, and know that this too will pass. If you are at the top of your game then appreciate all the gifts this event is bringing you, and know this too shall pass. And so the wheel turns and turns and turns.

1. How do you perceive the events in your life right now?

2. What are the gifts hidden in this process?

3. What type of support do you need to help you embrace what is? 

11. Love with Wild Abandon

“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

Love with wild abandon. Just love more when you get into a tight spot. Love more when someone is rude to you. Just love more for no reason.

How, you might ask? By adding in a healthy dose of compassion. When we put ourselves in another’s shoes then we can open our hearts to them. If that guy in the checkout line is rude to you, you have 2 choices – get angry or be compassionate.

We all know how to get angry but if you want to do it differently then remind yourself you don’t know what he has gone through today. Maybe he is scared because he was just laid off from his job. Or maybe he is angry because his wife just announced she is leaving. You have no idea what another is struggling with at that moment so extend some wiggle room and open up your heart. Smile instead of scowling, that smile might just be the one thing that shifts everything for them.

1. When you feel yourself getting agitated or angry with another remember to pause and react compassionately toward them.

2. When you feel yourself getting agitated or angry with yourself remember to pause and react compassionately toward yourself.

3. Reach out to someone to help you expand your capability for compassion and love.

12. Your Intention = Your Outcome

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

“We either live with intention or exist by default.” ~ Kristin Armstrong

We all have a super power – we see exactly what we look for. So if you get out of bed excited about what a great day you are going to have then that’s what you get. On the other hand, if you get out of bed dreading your day then you will get a miserable one.

Your intention sets your direction. You get exactly what you look for. Like attract like. There are lots of ways of framing it but the result is the same; you frame your experience by your thoughts. Good thoughts = good experience, bad thoughts = bad experience. So think good thoughts. Every morning before you get out of bed say out loud, “I wonder what marvelous thing is going to happen today?” Then look for that.

1. How many times today did you expect to have a bad experience?

2. If you are thinking about a task and you are telling yourself it will be hard or horrible or you are dreading it, then shift your thoughts. Neutral is better than negative so even if you can only manage neutral thoughts that’s an improvement.

3. What do you need to help you switch your thoughts more often so that positive thoughts become your default?

13. Live Simply

“Simplicity is the essence of happiness.” ~ Cedric Bledsoe

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Live Simply. However the simple isn’t easy. But it doesn’t need to be hard either. The answer to the equation is to appreciate what is.

How many times have you criticized what is? Perhaps you are annoyed because you did not get a response back from someone quickly enough. Or your friend is redoing her bathroom so you notice how out of date yours looks. Or you get distracted by Internet shopping for hours so now you are feeling rushed and behind at work.

My son calls these First World Problems. They are your best opportunities to simplify. What you focus on multiplies so intentionally focus on the simple pleasures. For example, when was the last time you went for a relaxing walk? Sat by a fireplace for a few hours? Met a friend for a long coffee catch-up session? Or when’s the last time you soaked up the beauty of a sunrise or sunset?

Slow yourself down and you will create more time. Simplify and things will feel easier. Relax and the world relaxes around you.

Remember to enjoy!

1. Notice what you criticize and when you catch yourself shift into appreciation for what is.

2. Strip away the unessential time grabbers, attention gobblers and energy suckers.

3. Get the support you need to simplify your life to make it richer and fuller.

14. Laugh Out Loud More Often

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~ Milton Berle

Laugh more, it really is good medicine. Scientists studying the positive effects of laughter have found these surprising benefits:

  • Blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally — expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow.
  • Immune response. Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.
  • Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.
  • Relaxation and sleep. The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin’s memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.

Aside from the health benefits it’s just plain fun. So what’s your favorite funny movie? Do you have a copy so you can watch it more often? How about a diet of 20 minutes of funny cat videos? Spend 15-20 minutes a day tickling your funny bone.  You’ll feel better in no time.

1. Play 15 minutes a day by engaging in funny activities.

2. After about a week notice what things have shifted for the better. Are you more relaxed? Are you sleeping better? Feel more alert?

3. Who can you join up with to swap funny stuff? By using the buddy system you’re more likely to stay with this longer.

2014 is before you like an empty banquet table. What dishes are you going to serve yourself this year? What support are you willing to get to make this the most delicious year of your life?

The Universe is an unlimited pantry and your thoughts, words, and actions mix the abundant ingredients together to cook up your experiences. Whip up something delightful this year.

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Stop Holding Yourself Hostage Part 3 ~ Align With Your Inner Expectations

“Observe how the mind labels an unpleasant moment and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

“My inner dialogue is kind and loving. My thoughts create only good experiences.” ~ Louise Hay

“Expectations are a form of first-class truth: If people believe it, it’s true.” ~ Bill Gates

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” ~ Earl Nightingale

 

What If Everything You Thought About Your Inner Life Was Erroneous?

This is the 3rd and final installment of my 3-part series on how we hold ourselves hostage. Part one was in October and it examined how we hold ourselves hostage with our inner image. Part 2 was in November and it uncovered how we hold ourselves hostage with our inner vision of our impact. So in this this piece we will discuss how we hold ourselves hostage by our inner expectations.

Your Life is a Funhouse Full of Mirrors

We are all very certain of our life. We are sure that the events we experienced happened just as we recall them and that the things we encounter during our day have the meaning we think they do.

But like a funhouse mirror what we think we see is not what’s really there. It just feels solid when in fact it’s fluid. Science has been able to absolutely prove that our memories can be influenced to playback events in a skewed fashion. We are also certain that we encode meaning onto events and then react from that overlaid meaning rather than the event itself.

For example, if your boss walks pass you in the hall and doesn’t speak to you, you might start to wonder if she is angry with you. Maybe you did something that upset her. You then go on to think that now that she’s angry you think it’s not a good time to ask for those days off so you start feeling stuck and underappreciated.

So you have worked yourself up into a lather and the only thing that actually happened is your boss passed you without speaking.

It’s Not Your Fault – You are Wired to Survive

We overlay meaning to events as a survival mechanism. We are ancestrally wired to assess danger, to know when to stay or flee or to know if it is safe to sleep. However, while these traits are still very active they are often not helpful. Most of us are not in danger most of the day, yet our survival mechanism is still working at capacity. It has just turned its focus on relationships, imagined disasters and our own shortcomings.

Unfortunately, since we are never without these things in our daily life, we become totally fatigued because we are never without a heighted sense of danger alert. There is no down time – you are never far from a reaction – unless you create your own safe mental space.

The Easiest Way to Overcome Your Primal Urges

Our minds are meaning making machines but this process is not serving you. But how do you make a change? By disengaging the event from your judgment of it.

Take our above example of your boss passing you without speaking. You know your mind will start firing off reasons why – and most of them will be negative to you in some way. Once you realize that this sequence has begun, stop and ask yourself, “What do I really know to be true?” Actually what you know is that the event happened. But do you know to be true that she is angry with you? Do you know she’s angry at all? Could there be a multitude of other explanations?

This is the key. You don’t have to know what’s really true – you just have to know that you don’t know. It doesn’t matter what’s actually true for her – you just need to open up enough space to let in the fact that it may not have anything to do with you. Once we remove our personal attachment to an event then we are free to observe it without it wearing us down.

The Grass is Always Greener Where You Water It

There is power in awareness. If you yearn for some peace in your life then this is a great technique.  By opening up the possibility that there are multiple other explanations for the events that send you into a tailspin, you are using a super-soaker on your green patch of serenity.

To put this into practical terms let’s look at December. It’s a month where we have the pressure of the holiday season and all that entails for us.

Well, here’s what you do. As you are planning and thinking about your holiday celebrations review past gatherings. If your family is anything like mine there are a few constants. Your family members usually act a certain way, there are some topics of discussion that are better left alone and there are the typical family dynamics, all colored by past hurts and disappointments.

The most effective way to utilize this new skill is to practice it before you go live. Rehearsal is your key to success because it is really hard to employ something new in the trenches of patterns that have been dug over a lifetime.

You can either recall past gathering or you can imagine gatherings – either one will work for your rehearsal. Once you call up your scenario then play the most likely way things unfold. As the scenario plays out in your mind’s eye, listen for the soundtrack of your judgments and assumptions. Jot them down.

Now rewind and replay out the same scenario with the idea that you don’t know if anything you thought was the motivator for your families behavior is true. Notice how much lighter you feel.

If you’re the type that likes to go for extra credit, take a moment and jot down either some compassionate reasons or some positive ones that might be fueling your family’s actions. Replay the scenario a third time inserting those reasons in place of your judgments. Doesn’t that color everything in a different hue?

So here is an example. Your brother always ends up in a yelling match with your dad. This exchange makes the whole evening tense. Everyone is tiptoeing around hoping that this year it doesn’t happen and then they are annoyed when it finally does. You think your brother is immature and is always causing the family trouble.

So play that scenario without the judgment that your brother’s a big pain in everyone’s festivities and see if you can witness the exchange without getting emotionally riled up.

Once you are able to see it play out without having an emotional reaction, then replay it thinking that your brother might be in a lot of pain to be that angry. You know that anger is always a front for hurt feelings and so he might be suffering from the idea that your dad never believed in him.

Aim for feeling neutral when mentally playing through your family’s common rough spots. If you can get there and there is still time, stretch a little and see if you can actually input some compassion into these situations.

The most important factor is for you to change your reaction. The event just is, but you control how you relate to it.

Step into your power. You can create the shifts you want. If you are ready then the way will open up. If you get inspired to reach out for help then do it.

My wish for you is that you realize you deserve to take your life to the next level of success, happiness and fulfillment. This year put the Happy back into your Holiday season.

 

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Stop Holding Yourself Hostage Part 2 ~ Align With Your Inner Impact

“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself. ”  ~ Geneen Roth

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” ~ Anita Roddick

 

What If Everything You Thought About Your Impact Was Inaccurate?

Last month we discussed how your inner vision of who you presented yourself to be was a greatly diminished version of who you really are. If you’d like to go back and read last month’s article go to NaturalTriad.com for the October 2013 issue or go to my blog at donnaburick.com and then click on the blog tab.

This month we want to continue our discussion of how you entrap yourself by examining the disconnect between the impact you think you have and the impact you really have.

Have You Ever Been Wrong?

When is the last time you’ve been wrong about something? Here’s the process: you are sure of a piece of information, you totally believe in it and even talk about it with confidence, then some new idea or information comes to you and it shifts what you thought you knew and now you believe something else. This is not a mistake; it’s just the process of growth. So please keep an open mind when it comes to you and your impact in this world.

Your Power Scares You More Than Your Lack

Marianne Williamson did the most exquisite job of explaining why we all diminish our self-notion of the impact we have. Here is how she expressed it in her poem, Our Deepest Fear:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  

The thing that attracts me to this poem most is her clarity of not only why we diminsh ourselves, but also the damage it does to those we come in contact with.

Ever Wish You Could Just Snap Out Of It?

Motivation is a funny thing. If this was a sales training you’d be told to get in touch with your “Big Why”. That part of you that you think you are doing all this for. But that’s a surface position. I can say that with certantiy because I have seen people who are crystal clear on their “Big Why” still fail.

To dig deeper you need to tap into your “I Am” to see what is really behind your daily thoughts and actions.

Try this quick excersise: Take out a sheet of paper and write “I Am” on the top and then list all the things that immediately spring to mind that describe you. Go on – ok at least do it mentally right now before reading more – the things which spring to mind first are important so really take 10 seconds and do this.

Now look over your list and see which category you fall into.

I Am My Roles – Did you make a list of your different roles? You know, mother, wife, teacher, friend, sister, etc??

If you are in this category then your most predominate way of assesing yourself is by how well you think you are doing your “jobs”.

I Am Far From Perfect – Did you list 85% or greater negitive things about yourself? You know what I’m talking about, too fat, not smart, angry, critical, in a dead end job, etc??

If you are in this category then you have a very well-developed “inner meanie”. That’s that inner vioce who thinks the best way to protect you from any harm is to hurt yorself first, so no one else can beat you to it.

I Am Realistic – Did you put down some good things about yourself but wanted to make sure and pepper some negitive things too, just to be realistc?  You know, you said kind but what you really meant was unable to say no so you get overwhelmed easily, and then you said funny but then you quickly put down a little overweight because you didn’t want to seem too egotistc?

This is the hardest category to be in because it seems, well so real. This push-me pull-me just keeps you spinning in place so you can’t move forward. It’s psychological ping-pong and yet it is so easy to rationalize because it feels right somehow.

I Am Fantastic – Did you have a handy list of great things to say about yourself that were actually about your essence not your acomplishments?  Things like smart, comfortable with myself, cheerful, compassionate, and happy?

If you’re in this category congratulations – you are in a small group of people who don’t feel a driving need to squash their light.

Use Your Inner Light to Illuminate Your Path

The good news is that your inner vision was installed to help you. Even if the outward manifestion of its guidance is not what you want right now, its intentions are good. So embrace that part of you and say, “Thank you for all your love and protection”. Awareness is the first step in all personal journeys. From here you can go about acknowledging your inner guidance and redirecting it when needed so you begin to outwardly manifest from a place of centered clarity.

You impact everyone you come into contact with. So to think you are playing small is an illusion. Since the reality is you do eminate power, the question for you is do you want to use your powers for good or not?

I honor your impact and I am grateful for our connection. I am looking forward to contuning our discussion next month, when we dive into the ways we hold ourselves hostage with our inner expectations.

 

 

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Stop Holding Yourself Hostage ~ Align With Your Inner Image

 “Step Away from the Mean Girls…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.

This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“Let me ask you something, in all the years that you have…undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No? It’s because he doesn’t care! He’s in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery. I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Excerpt from Eat Pray Love

What If Everything You Thought About Your Image Was Misfigured?

Have you ever thought that you were your own worst enemy? Well, apparently you are not alone. It is all too common for women to be their harshest critic.

In this first installment of my 3-part series, Stop Holding Yourself Hostage, we will look at how we entrap ourselves and others with our poor body image.

This topic was inspired by a Dove campaign where they took a sketch artist and had him draw 2 pictures – one where a woman described herself and one where someone who just met that woman described her. You can go to my blog and see the results. It was a real eye opener. (A shout to to my friend Lucy Wellmaker at the Women’s Resource Center who sent me the video – thanks Lucy you rock!)

So how widespread is this issue? Well, studies show that currently 80% of women are unhappy with their appearance. 80% is a lot of women! Plus, there are over 10 million women suffering from easting disorders. So why is this?

Of course one of the main reasons is that our concept of beauty is very skewed. Think of it as a perfect storm. As American women have had an increase in their weight our media models have had a sharp decrease.  In 1975 the majority of models weighted about 8% less than the average population but now they weigh about 23% less.

And with the increased prevalence of media in our culture our youth are shifting their ideas about their future self from real people (i.e. wanting to look like their mom or a friend’s mom) to the unrealistic ideal of emaciated models. So girls have now made Angelina Jolie their grown up target rather than something that is realistic.

Your Role as Typhoid Mary of Body Image

If the concept of body image for women was quarantined to just the media it would be easier to dilute. However, there is a real-life amplifier and that is you. The tricky part is you are both infected and a carrier – often times unaware of either in your life.

So when you are looking in the mirror and the main thought you have is, “If only I could slice off a few inches from my thighs” or “I hate the way my arms look” know that you have been infected. But the piece you may not be aware of is that you spread your infection as soon as you engage with it.

So as you are judging yourself you are also contributing to the rushing stream of negative body image energy. It’s like sneezing and passing along an airborne disease. Your self-deprecating contribution to the “cloud” of negativity then jumps from you to your co-worker and then it gets brought home to her teenage daughter and so on and so on.

Researchers have coined the phrase “thin-heritance” and it shows a direct correlation between a mother’s view of her own body, her eating habits and the remarks she makes about her body and the self image of her child.

The Trickle Down Effect of Pain

You may feel discomfort about how you look but I beg you to consider the damage your self-image is causing our girls. I am shocked and saddened by the following statistics.

  • According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42% of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
  • A study in Pediatrics reports that about 2/3 of girls in the 5th to 12th grades said that magazine images influence their vision of an ideal body, and about half of the girls said the images made them want to lose weight.
  • By adolescence, studies show that girls are receiving an estimated 5,260 “attractiveness messages” per year from television commercials alone.
  • And per Teen magazine, 35% of girls ages 6-12 have been on at least one diet, and 50-70% of normal-weight girls think they are fat.

Cure Yourself First and Others Will Follow

So in essence by freeing yourself from your hostage situation then you weaken the energy of this negative cycle and open up space for others to break free also.

“That sounds great but how would I do that?” Great question! Here are some practical ideas to get you from here to there.

Be Aware – This mindset is so prevalent in our life that it runs automatically. When you glance in a mirror and wince, stop and really look at yourself. Stand tall – even do the wonder Woman Power Stance with your hands on your hips and your feet set apart. Then counter that one negative with at least 3 things that are great about you.

Don’t Postpone Your Joy – Don’t use the idea that life would be different if only you lost 15 pounds, or your arms didn’t jiggle or you had less expression on your face. A friend of mine used to say, “You can get glad in the same clothes you got mad in” so I’m here to tell you, you can be happy with what is right now. And in fact the happier you are with what is the more likely you are to actually create change in your life. Ironic huh?

Release That Active Memory That Keeps You Stuck – We all have those moments that make us cringe when we recall them. Maybe it was the time you were teased as a child, maybe it was something unkind you overheard your mother saying about you or maybe it was just some mistake you made in your past. You can energetically disengage the negative emotion from the incident so you are free to recall it without any of the paralyzing effects. Once you are at a neutral spot then your life shifts. The relief this one energy healing technique brings often astounds my clients because it is so powerful.

So go easy on yourself. Really. Nothing bad will happen if you don’t drive yourself into the ground at every opportunity. Relax & breathe.

 

Dove Experiment Video

 

This is a fascinating article where women are shown what they think they look like compared to what they actually look like. Through the magic of computer-generated images this side-by-side comparison is really eye-opening!

 How Women REALLY See Themselves

Next month we will continue this conversation on how you hold yourself hostage by downplaying your impact. Watch for it and please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

 

 

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Discover Your Parenting Superpowers

“Parenthood…It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.” ~ Peter Krause

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”  ~ Debra Ginsberg

Life is a funny thing. Things you thought you knew for certain turn out to be not true. And wonderful things you didn’t even see coming land in your lap. It’s the twists and turns that keep things interesting. And there is no more interesting adventure than the adventure of parenting. It’s back to school time so I thought I’d do a special parenting article.  Now before you click away and move on, I want to let you know these principals apply to you even if you don’t have any children of your own. But that’s my surprise ending so I’m not going to give it away just now; I’m just teasing you with it to keep you invested.

Back to School Special

“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” ~ Jane Goodall

I chose this topic because every September I am always affected by the energy of back to school. It marks another cycle of growth for my own children as they advance through their schooling and it always holds the promise of new beginnings. And that sense of a new beginning is what I want to give you this month. Then, as it always happens, I came across a wonderful little video I by Jack Canfield, the author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series that described exactly what I was thinking about sharing with you.

The Story of Bobsie

“You try as a parent. You love beyond reason. You fight beyond endurance. You hope beyond despair. You never think, until the very last moment, that it still might not be enough.” ~ Lisa Gardner

Here is the story Jack Canfield told on that video that captivated me. (By the way you may view the video on my blog. Just go to donnaburick.com and click on the blog tab at the top of the site.)

“There was a little boy named Bobsie and he woke one morning in terrible pain. So his parents took him to the doctor and after several specialists looked him over it was discovered he had a quick growing form of terminal cancer. So his parents, knowing he did not have the luxury of growing up and realizing his dreams, asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said he wanted to be a fireman. So his parents went to the Make A Wish Foundation and arranged for Bobsie to be a fireman for a day. However, the Phoenix Fire Chief went above and beyond and made Bobsie Chief for the Day, including his own custom made fire uniform with Chief hat. Bobsie had a great day and his vital signs rallied for a short while. But the day soon arrived when Bobsie was slowly slipping away. His parents called the Fire Department to see if they could send over a representative and again they went over & above. Five firemen came through Bobsie’s third floor window to be by his bedside. As they rocked the boy Bobsie looked up and asked if he was a real fireman and the Chief responded, ‘Bobsie you were always a real fireman. ’And with that Bobsie slipped quietly away.”

Now this is a very touching story but it was even more powerful because of what Jack Canfield said next. He said,

“We are all touched by this because this little boy realized his dream. But tonight when you are brushing your teeth, do something different and stop for a moment. Look into the mirror into your own eyes and see the eyes behind them; the eyes of your little child looking out, searching for a way to make their dreams come true.”

The Secret to Your Parenting Superpowers

“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.” ~ Bill Cosby

In this kernel of truth is where your parenting superpowers lie. But this truth lies hidden in the illusion that parenting has to do with our children, when in fact parenting is all out how we treat ourselves. It’s also why this lesson applies to everyone, including those without kids.

What? You say that can’t be and you want proof? OK here you go. Sit down and make a list of all the things you admire about your child and all the things that annoy you about him/her. (If you don’t have any children substitute your spouse or a close friend or co-worker.)

Then make a list of all the things you admire about yourself and the things that annoy you about yourself – you know bad habits, faults, those negative things your parents said about you (these are way important to list because even if you don’t think these are true write them down because they affected you nevertheless).

Now compare the two lists. How many similarities are there? Are you surprised?

You are the Answer

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ~ James Baldwin

So if you want to ramp up your parenting superpowers then focus on you! Where are you not being gentle on yourself? Where are you abandoning your needs, wants & dreams? Where are you making unhealthy choices, short-term decisions or living in fear?

Please, for the sake of your children, family, friends and most importantly for your own quality of life, this September decide to have your own new beginning. Do something you’ve always dreamed of. Ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something for the first time?” If there is an issue that’s bothering you get a life coach and move through it. Get help. If all you can do right now is imagine then imagine what it would feel like to look into that mirror every morning and really love and appreciate the love and light shining in the eyes looking back at you.

Now is Always the Perfect Time to Start

“Do or do not, there is not try.” ~ Yoda

Recapture that excitement that surrounds that first day of school. Make this feeling yours. Just take that first step, whatever it is, toward a new way of life.  Even if that first step is discovering what your first step might be. There are people ready, willing and able to help you make this process a fun and exciting one. So pick up the phone, make a list or do whatever you do to get organized and going.

My wish for you this month is that you harness the power of excitement to propel you toward a life full of joy and laughter. Rediscover that childlike enthusiasm that lives deep inside you. When you can tap into that then your parenting will take on super powered qualities that will transform not only your life but also the lives of everyone around you. You deserve that and so do your children.

Below are two videos – one of Jack Canfield telling the Story of Bobsie and the other is a great TED Talk on Conscious Parenting. Both are worth your time.

Please let me know what you think.

Blessings,

Donna

 

 

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The 3-Question Happiness Quiz

“The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” ~ Woody Allen

“Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” ~ Miguel Angel Ruiz

Many people say they are seeking answers but that’s like looking for love in all the wrong places. The power lies in the question. Answers can only be a reflection of the question you ask – much like the relationship of the moon to the sun. But the question has the energy to create space, connections and choice all of which are the stepping-stones to your happy place.

There are three types of questions that have the power to change your life. These power questions fall into 3 categories: The Perspective Shifter, The Clarifier and the Totally Absurd.

Here is a quick quiz to demonstrate how these questions can change everything for you.

The Perspective Shifter

This type of question is used when you are in a negative situation and you are looking for a quick shift. This question has the power of transformation by taking a “bad” situation and changing it into a happiness multiplier for you.

Quiz Question:

You have just been given a less that stellar job performance review.  Which of these questions are most like your inner dialogue:

  1. Why is it I always take the blame for everything? If I had only gotten my Masters Degree then I wouldn’t be in this stupid job. Man, I really blew it.
  2. My boss is such a jerk. He is totally unrealistic if he thinks I’m going to work harder when he treats us all like crap. Plus the pay stinks – he’s lucky I show up at all.
  3. What part of this feedback can I use to improve myself? What shifts do I need to put into place so I can expand my potential?

If you circled #1, you are a self-blamer.  If you circled #2 you are an other-blamer. Either way blame is like cement to misery. Blaming questions don’t create the space for growth or change but they can be very alluring because they are delicious to talk about to your friends and family. It feels really good when you can whip up a chorus of support from others. However you just continue to get more of the same old stress and misery.

If you circled #3 then you’ve asked some perspective shifting questions. These questions open up the space for growth, create a connection between the information you received and a positive outcome for you while creating the energy of choice and freedom. These questions lead you to new outcomes by inspiring action instead of complaints.

The Clarifier

These questions offer you the opportunity to clarify what outcomes you want rather than keeping your focus on what’s going wrong in your life.

Quiz Question:

You are on your way to work and you are totally frazzled. Your morning was another hectic mess. The kids were fighting at the breakfast table, your spouse forgot to make their lunches even though you asked 3 times and you are already exhausted and the day has just begun. Which of these is most like your inner dialogue?

  1. Why does this always happen to me? My life is miserable! When did I let it get so bad?
  2. For just one day can’t I have a smooth, peaceful start to the day? Is it really too much to ask? If they loved me they would act differently!
  3. What is it I really want? What would be more fun than the morning I just had? What can I do to move in that direction?

Again, #1 & #2 are blaming questions. They keep you laser focused on your problems until that’s all you can see. And from that point you can only create more of the same.

However, #3 is a clarifying question. It asks your conscious & subconscious mind to create something new. By opening up the space of looking toward what you’d like and creating a clear vision of it, you give yourself the connections needed to make new choices.

 

The Totally Absurd

This type of question is so different I will discuss its merits after you answer the quiz question.

Quiz Question:

You co-worker has just gotten something you think you want. Fill in the blank with a new job, gotten engaged, become pregnant, gotten divorced, lost weight or whatever you think is something that will make you happier than you are right now. Which of these is most like your inner dialogue?

  1. Why can’t I ever be happy? I never catch a break. My life is the pits!
  2. Great – like she needed that – her life is already a bed of roses. She’s got it so easy. I wish I had her life.
  3. Do you expect a toddler to be able to do high-level calculus?

Ok – so this was a bit of a trick but hear me out. Of course by now you see that questions #1 & #2 are blaming questions and they only serve to keep you in that whirlpool of stress, misery and unhappiness.

But what about #3? The totally absurd question is one used by professionals to jolt you out of a rut. We often get so ingrained in our stories we need something to dynamite us out of our groove. So, the answer to question #3 is probably not, but on occasion it could happen but would you really want it if it did?

So when we are comparing ourselves to someone else we never fully know the whole truth so the outcome is off-target. Our view of their life in comparison to ours is like expecting a toddler to do high-level calculus – the problem is not the toddler but with our expectation.

Of course a toddler can’t do calculus – but if we expect it we are the ones that are going to be disappointed over & over again. And, if we point to the one in a thousand who can actually pull off that feat as reinforcement then we are digging an even deeper hole.

Comparing your life to someone else’s always leads to disappointment because you only see the façade – you can never really know what is really going on so you are chasing an illusion. But if you hold your life up to someone who is in the one in a thousand category then you are going to be really disappointed – but ask yourself, would you want to be in that category?

Have you really thought through all the stressors of being famous, a genius, or whatever you think someone else has that you don’t? The trick to being happy is to be happy with what you have so you can create more things to be happy about.

The old adage garbage in garbage out is especially true when discussing the questions you ask yourself. You cannot get life-affirming, happiness producing answers from blaming and complaining questions.

So please go through your day asking yourself, “What would be more fun that this?” or “What would be the best outcome of this situation?” Play with asking yourself different questions and see what amazing answers pop into your life.

 

What are the questions that shift your perspective? Please let me know!

Blessings,

Donna

 
Here’s a funny happiness video showing how the magic of the unexpected can change everything!

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Love, Work, Self and Other 4-Letter Words

“You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.” ~ Joel Osteen

In our culture the 4-letter word refers to words categorized as profane or vulgar.  But if you dig deep enough most of these words have roots in religious practices or bodily functions. Which in of itself are not profane at all. But these words got singled out by their ability to shock someone else by uttering something that at the time was considered scandalous. So the truth is it’s the essence and intent that defines the word – just as it is the essence and intent that defines your life.

Words are our most powerful tool. They bestow upon us the power to name a situation, thus giving us the power to define it. We create with words like painters create with color and shadow. This is an ancient core belief, one that is expressed in Genesis,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  (Genesis 1-3, emphasis mine.)

We as a country have experienced many difficult things this year. Mass shootings killing innocent children, huge tornadoes creating mile long swaths of destruction of life and property, and random bombings on American soil just to create chaos and fear. And while it is so easy to see the manifestations of these events on a macro level, what if I told you that you had the same power to harm or help on the tip of your tongue?

Have you not experienced a loss of innocence and joy from someone’s scolding or hurtful words? Have you not experienced destruction in your life from verbalized anger or hate? Have you never created fear and chaos from the words you used to frame events in your life?

You are powerful beyond belief – and I literally mean beyond belief because we tend to really believe what we can see yet so often we don’t really look at what’s in front of us. How would the landscape of your life right now change if you looked at it with eyes that searched for the results of what you’ve spoken into being.

Now I understand that the most common response to this kind of realization of great power is to turn away because with great power comes great responsibility. And the “R” word usually is enough to send you running in the other direction. But what if you thought of it this way? With great response-ability comes great freedom. What would change in your life if you had the conscious power to freely sculpt your experiences?

You do have that power – you just need some training in how to use it. So here is an exercise that flexes your response-able muscles thus shifting your outlook, and we will use as our example the most powerful 4-letter word in your daily experience.

Love

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Love is the most powerful 4-letter word in your life because it holds the most power of being a sacred experience or a totally profane one. We have all been at the ends of the extremes both ways over the course of our life. However, we are not at the mercy of outside circumstances in this matter of the heart. Most of our difficulty lies in our expectations about what love should look like.  We get into relationships with others and have these hidden landmines which are laying in wait for our family or spouses to step on one. In addition we use them as the yardstick of how we asses their love for us. Did they trip a mine this week? If not then we feel good about our relationship, if so then they don’t love us correctly and we need to push back to make ourselves feel better.

But what if you really had the power to paint the perfect picture of love? One that would give you that consistent feeling of connectedness and joy? You do have that power- you’ve just never been trained to use it. Here’s how to turn your love life around: notice what you are noticing. You can do that by listening to what you talk about. Get a small notebook and just listen to the words & phrases you use when talking about any of your relationships. Write them down. Now don’t change anything. Just talk as you normally do now, only write down the things you focus on in your conversations.

Look over what you’ve written at the end of one week. How many times did you talk about negative things when describing your spouse, kids, or family? What are the recurring drums you beat over and over during the course of the week?

Now for the second part of this experiment. Actively look for good aspects of your spouse, kids, or family to talk about and stick to only them. Pay such close attention that you only speak of good things when discussing these 3 areas. You may not be able to control your thoughts but you can control your words. It might take some practice but it 100% in your control.

Fully commit to this exercise for a few weeks – it might take 3-4 just to get good at it. Then reassess how you feel afterward. Are you actually happier with your loved ones? Have you had fewer rough spots?

Work & Self

“All things are difficult before they are easy. “~ Thomas Fuller

Once you’ve mastered this go on to your work and yourself. Both of these are also loaded with negative talk that creates the very things you don’t want in your life. Pick one aspect of each of these topics and be vigilant in noticing what you highlight and bring forth with your words. This could radically shift your life in a very short amount of time if you will pay attention to what you are saying.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” ~ Maya Angelou

We are not born with many life skills – and it seems like the ones we really need we are never taught so don’t feel like you are alone in this struggle. Help should not be seen as a 4-letter word. If you’d like to turn around and head in a more positive direction then get a co-captain to assist you in creating a new course for your life.

We are all in this together – as you bring in more joy into your life you show others that more joy is possible. So please take an assessment of your life and pick one of these themes and pay attention to the power you are wielding. You are the master artist drawing your life in full color with the paintbrush of your words.

 

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