February is for Fun Lovers

“Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.” ~ Nina Dobrev

“’Have fun’ is my message. Be silly. You’re allowed to be silly. There’s nothing wrong with it.” ~ Jimmy Fallon

This is month 2 in our year of joy-full living. Last month we discussed the magic of tidying up your physical space. This month we will discover falling back in love with fun.

So what’s the last really fun thing you did? Was it so long ago you can’t even remember?

There’s an old sales adage that says people buy emotionally but they justify their purchase with logic. That’s the opposite of how we view fun in our life. We don’t buy into having fun because of other’s emotional needs and override our urge with logic. Logic says we’re too busy, it’s not important, or everyone else’s needs are more important. We get frazzled and flustered and just forget about fun.

Well, here are some interesting tidbits of information that will help you put logic in the back seat and let fun drive for a while.

Did you know that according to research done by Penn State University professor Dr. Careen Yarnal a life without fun is actually unhealthy. Dr. Yarnal says,

“Our research has shown that when women get out there and play, the benefits are amazing. They cope better with stress, which sets up protective mechanisms that contribute to health and well-being. And if they play with others, it creates bonding and they get the benefit of social support, as well. Just as we know play is healthy for children, helping them blow off steam, learn, experiment, and make friends, we’re finding the same to be true for adult women. When it comes to stress prevention, play is like wearing a suit of armor.”

Furthermore, the latest Japanese research revealed that spending as little as 2 hours a month laughing or listening to your favorite music has as big an effect on blood pressure as eliminating salty foods or even shedding 10 pounds!

Have I got your attention yet? So here are some tips on putting the joy of fun back into your life.

Find Fun in Your Flow

What causes you to lose time and get in the flow? Is it riding a bike, reading a novel, knitting, baking, gardening, or hiking? Get back in the flow of those activities. If it’s been so long you can’t remember, try some new ones and see which ones light up your life.

First Fun Then Work

Prioritize fun. There are many things that take up our time that are not necessary. Where can you turn the tables and put fun in front of chores, errands, or other extras in your life? Studies have shown that housework is not an effective cortisol reducer, so it doesn’t lower your stress level whereas play is a sure fire fix. So wouldn’t it feel better to play first and then get to that other stuff from a more renewed place? I bet you get more done with less time.

Fashion Fun with Your Fingers

Do something creative. Let your inner child come out to play. Paint, finger paint, draw, quilt, garden, write, cook, take up a craft. Discover something you can do with your hands that takes you back to your childhood feelings of fun and excitement.

Funky Fun and Fancy Footwork

Add music to your every day life. Have a playlist that brings up your mood and makes you want to move your feet. It’s ok to dance in the kitchen when cooking dinner or doing the dishes. It’s ok to rock out in the morning as you’re getting ready. Play tunes that evoke fun memories or jazz you up for the day ahead. Either way, get out of your head and into your body and have fun.

Fun with Fitness

Here is where you can really be a kid again. You could go to the gym and walk on the treadmill but that’s what all the adults are doing. Why not burn calories hula hooping, jumping rope, or skipping? Find fun in active play and make your logical mind and your inner child happy. You will feel good and feel good about it at the same time!

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” ~ Dr. Seuss

February’s joy-full lesson is to feed your life with jolts of fun. You don’t have to take time off work for a vacation or learn a new skill; just find little ways to insert more fun into your daily life. This month allow yourself to fall in love with fun again.

 

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2016: Creating a Year Filled with Joy

“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

Dear friends as we approach this new year I want us to travel through this year on a quest for joy. Every month we will discover a new portal for obtaining more joy in our life. I want to kick off this new year with my personal starting point of joy, a wonderful experience I had that shifted so much in my life.

Last year I had a radical transformation. I came across a new way of thinking that changed everything. And it all started with piling all my shirts on my bed and sorting them. Actually, it was a little more involved than that, but not much. I discovered Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and indeed it changed my life.

“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.” ~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

So here we all are at January, our clean slate month: the start of 2016. Everything has the possibility of being brand new. So this year let’s take a personal journey together and co-create a joy-full year.

“Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.”
~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

This month I will discuss the life-changing magic tidying up has had on my life and encourage you to discover it for yourself. For the next 11 more months of 2016 we will examine a different topic and assess how it can be used to bring joy into your life. 2016 will be a tidy package of joy-full moments for you so please join me on this enchanted journey.

My Personal Tidying Up Story

“[T]he best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Someone I respected told me about Marie Kondo’s book; she gushed about the difference in her life just from a few simple steps of organizing and interacting with her piles of physical stuff. It was one of those When Harry Met Sally moments and I thought, “I’ll have what she’s having, please”. So I took her advice and got the book. And more importantly, I actually read it and put the practices into action!

But I want to be real. It was not easy. The first step is to pile all your shirts on your bed and sort them. Then you move on to pants, shorts, seasonal, dress clothes, etc. The point is to take all of one thing at a time and examine each piece in order to decided to keep it or discard it. But you sort by only one criterion: “Does this item bring me joy?” Simple but not easy.

“Many people carry this type of negative self-image for years, but it is swept away the instant they experience their own perfectly clean space. This drastic change in self-perception, the belief that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, transforms behavior and lifestyles. This is precisely why my students never experience rebound. Once you have experienced the powerful impact of a perfectly ordered space, you, too, will never return to clutter.”
~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I wish I could tell you I breezed right through it, but that’s not true. There where moments I broke down crying, as I was totally overwhelmed. There were moments I wanted to stop because I was ashamed at the sheer number of items I had. There were also moments I was embarrassed because I had clothes I could no longer fit into and I got into a struggle with my self-esteem because of that fact.

One of the wonderful aspects of this process is it is not easy to run away from it. For example, since I had to collect all my shirts and pile them on the bed I had a mound of clothes. When I mentally slipped into negativity I could not just turn on the TV, or decide to do it later. If I had organized things in small batches like a drawer at a time, or a small section of my closet, then I would have a back door to slip out of when discomfort arose. But then I would have missed out on the most important lessons that tidying had to teach me.

“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The lesson is each of those times I had slipped out of the magic of the process I had slid into old negative beliefs. The magic is the power of being in the moment with your things and either experience appreciation for the joy they bring you or acknowledge your gratitude for the role they played in your life as you set them free. So it is a seesaw of appreciation and acknowledgment. These are the hinges that swing open the door of joy and magic in your life.

Doing this dance is the purpose. The tidying is the cherry on top. Learning that it’s ok for you to fall out of joy is the first step. By accepting this dance as a natural part of life, you can distance yourself from self-judgment. It just is, it’s not wrong and you didn’t fail. It’s just an essential part of the process. Noticing you have slid into old negativity is another good skill. The more you practice this the shorter your time in the ditch will be. And thirdly, learning how to get back on track is invaluable. Having the confidence that you can turn around your thoughts and actions will give you the power to do so.

I wanted to start with physical items to practice on this month because they are easier. By beginning with items you can hold and interact with you can practice being in this magic, careening off the road into self doubt, shame, overwhelm, and then getting back on track, shifting back into the moment, and picking up where you left off.

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” ~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I invite you to pick up Marie Kondo’s book and kick off your New Year with a magical encounter with the physical stuff that supports and loves you. Revel in the notion that your things all yearn to please you and when they have fulfilled that purpose, they yearn to move on so they can please another. Bathe in the gratitude that everything in your home desires to support you, to make you look good, to allow you to create, to sooth your senses, and to nurture your life.

“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” ~ Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

January’s joy-full lesson is to discover the joy that is all around you. And by paring down to only the things that currently serve your highest good, you amplify that in your life. Find great joy in freeing yourself.

 

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The Secret to Creating Joy This December

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

December is a cusp month. It’s the ending of this year and the lead into next year. That alone is anxiety provoking; it’s the last opportunity to meet your yearly goals, it’s a time to reflect and measure your success, and it’s reminder that time is passing quickly, whether or not you’ve met your goals or caught the brass ring of success. On top of all that, we pile on some major holidays that ramp up the anxiety with expectations of fun and togetherness, which leads us to overspend, overextend, and over indulge.

Ugh! No wonder many of us dread December. But it doesn’t have to be that way this year. This year you can create a December that is full of joy. How? By meaning to, I mean really getting clear about your intention and using it to guide your actions. Joy doesn’t happen accidentally; you must actively allow it to show up in your life.

So here’s your secret three-step process to creating joy this December.

  1. Create Intentional Outcomes

“It’s very easy to confuse confident motion with being productive – and they’re not the same thing. Productive to me means measurable outcomes that apply to my most important to-dos that positively affect my life. That’s it.” ~ Timothy Ferriss

Clarity is essential to creation. You must have some concrete idea of what life looks like when joy is present, otherwise you’ll never know if you have it or not. So here’s an easy way to craft what joy looks like in your life.

Get a large index card or a piece of paper. Write these three headings: The World, My Loved Ones, and Myself. Under these three headings write 3-5 bullet points of what joy would look like if it were present.

For example, under The World heading you would list things that feel joyful as it pertains to your activities in your world. So one bullet point could read, I will express appreciation to all the people who wait on me, check me out at the store, or otherwise help me navigate my day. I will do this with a smile, a sincere thank you, and a compliment. Another could be, I will look for at least one opportunity to help someone less fortunate this month, such as visiting someone at a nursing home or helping underprivileged kids. Your third bullet point might be, I will make a donation to Heifer International so some third world family will be able to rise from poverty and change their life.

This heading helps you focus on the positive impact you have in the world. It’s really hard to feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you are sincerely helping someone else. This shift allows joy to be part of your December celebration.

The first heading focuses on action, but the next two headings should focus on feelings. Write down at least three ways you want to feel when you are with your loved ones. Under the Myself heading write down at least three ways you want to feel this month, or about your year, or about some aspect of yourself you are usually critical about.

Once you have your list you are ready for step two.

  1. Take Intentional Actions

“The right actions undertaken for the right reasons generally lead to good outcomes over time.” ~ John Mackey

This is where people often go off the rails. We all have good intentions for how we want to be, what we want to do, and how we want to show up in the world. Yet, we then often go out and do the exact opposite of what we want and wonder what went wrong! Please dear reader, this seems simple but it’s not easy. This step is designed to keep you on track.

Here’s how this works. If you wrote under your My Loved Ones heading that you wanted to feel more connected, then script out how that might happen. Does that mean you will call them more often? And when you call does that mean you will ask questions about their life and listen without giving your two cents worth? And can you say something encouraging on the call so they feel connected to you?

Maybe under your Myself heading you said you wanted to feel more energized. So does that mean making a commitment to turning off the TV and computer 30 minutes before a reasonable bedtime so you wind down and get a good night’s sleep? Does that mean taking a 10-minute walk at lunch?

When you take the time to intentionally craft actions that support the results you want then you are 100% more likely to reach them. These purposeful actions allow joy to come into your life.

Now that you have crafted the actions needed to reach your intended goals, you are ready to move to step three.

  1. Intentionally Re-Engage

“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.” ~ Vince Lombardi

OK now you have a list of what you want and you’ve brainstormed some actions that will get you to those goals. However, life happens. You got up from the table and went out and did the exact opposite of what you just said you wanted; and you know that because you are experiencing the exact opposite feeling from the one you wanted to create.

So you assess your actions. Keep your list handy, carry it with you so you can pull it out and review it. When you get off track immediately check your list, get back in the mindset of joy, and do something that matches your desired end result. Do something right away; even something small, and you will feel back in the zone. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t dwell on your mistake, just make it right with your next right action. You learn how to ride a bike by getting back on after you fall off; otherwise no learning occurs.

The process works if you work it. Here it is again:

  1. Create Intentional Outcomes
  2. Take Intentional Actions
  3. Intentionally Re-Engage when you get off track

Let this three-step process joyfully guide you through December. I hope your holidays are filled with love, peace, and happiness. Give thanks for 2015 and all she brought with her and I will see you next year!

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November Gratitude Contest

“The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.” ~ Henry Rollins

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~ A.A. Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~ John Milton

November is our national month of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is such a lovely name, it sounds so warm and encouraging. Unfortunately for most of us when the turkey has been reheated for the final time and the last guest has left that’s not the feeling that comes to mind. Have you found this to be true for you?

As wonderful as the holiday sounds it’s full of stress, expectations, and unpleasant family dynamics. You cook for days and the meal last for an hour. Everyone rushes in to be together only to slip into old patterns and fights occur. Every year you resolve to do better, take it easy, put on a happy face only to see your resolve crumble after the hundredth snarky comment from your mother-in-law.

Hey I’ve been there. I know what you’re dealing with! So this year I thought I’d give you a treat; a new approach for Thanksgiving that focuses on gratitude and appreciation. This approach is designed to fill up your bucket, bolster your reserves, and change your focus so when the big day comes you go into it from a new place.

This year please join me in the November Gratitude Contest. This game starts now – as soon as you read this then it’s time for you to begin. The game is simple – it’s like a scavenger hunt only instead of clues you are searching for ways to spread gratitude and appreciation.

Here are five guidelines to help you succeed.

  1. Give Someone an Unexpected Complement

I started with the easiest first because this little appreciation can be extended to anyone. Try it at the checkout counter. Say thanks to your mail carrier or your barista. But be as specific as possible; hearing “Good job” is less rewarding as, “Every time I come in here your smile makes my day”.

If you feel a bit awkward, I promise after the first or second time you will be looking for people to complement. There is a wonderful energy exchange when you put this into play. Try it for yourself and see what I mean. You will be the one filled up with appreciation.

  1. Make a Genuine Offer of Help

Another way to show appreciation is to help someone out. By reaching out you are connection appreciation and action. Everyone needs help but we are not trained to ask for it or receive it well. So the important part of this piece of the game is to ask in a specific way. “Can I help?” or “Let me know if there is anything I can do” does not count. The other person is programed to say, “No thanks, I’ve got it”. After all, that’s what you’d say, right?

So find a specific request you can make. Something like, “Can I carry those bags for you?” or “ I know you are working on that volunteer project, can I help stuff food bags this Saturday?” is specific and much more likely to get a “Thanks, I’d appreciate your help”.

  1. Express Your Admiration

Congratulate someone on their success. If you’ve read a book you really like, tell the author. If you read in the paper that someone got an award or started a company, send a note saying you admire their accomplishment.

Make this a way to surprise someone with 100% appreciation, nothing more. And give yourself a bonus if you can include how whatever it is has affected your life. Again, the more specific you can be the stronger the reward.

  1. Apologize to Someone You Hurt

Say what? Hey what just happened here? You had me until now. Is that what you’re thinking? Well hold on and let me explain. Regret is a universal blocker of gratitude and appreciation. Doesn’t matter what the regret is about or if it has anything to do with what’s going on in your life right now. So clean it up. Today would be good.

Just approach the person you let down and say you are sorry. Don’t justify or try to make them understand why you did what you did. Don’t let them know that by the way you think they are at fault too. Those things make lousy apologies.

Just say you are sorry, say why you are sorry, and take 100% of the responsibility.

Do you have a teenager? Here’s an apology that will shift regret; “I’m sorry I yelled at you for [fill in the blank], my intention is to treat you with respect and I totally blew it. Please forgive me”. Try this at home and see if it doesn’t also boost your work atmosphere. Everything is connected so get going and find someone you can say you are sorry to right away.

  1. Acknowledge Someone Who Believed in You

Seek out someone from your past and say thank you. Thank them for the impact they had on you. Did they see something in you that you didn’t see? Did they give you encouragement or a safe place to vent? Did they boost your self-esteem or help you through a rough patch? Then let them know! A good place to look is old teachers, coaches, bosses, and friends: basically anyone is fair game. Just reach out and express your gratitude. Send a note or make a call. If your old teacher has passed away, then if possible let their kids know what an impact their parent had on you. Believe me it matters. Your life will overflow with love, gratitude, and appreciation the more you give it away.

What’s a game without a prize? I’m glad you asked. I want to say thank you to you for reading my articles and give you a little incentive to get going on our game so I created a contest. Each section has a point value and it’s as follows:

Unexpected Compliments = 15 points

Offering Help = 25 points

Expressing Admiration = 20 points

Sincerely Apologizing = 30 points

Acknowledging Someone = 30 points

When you reach 100 points you can be entered into a drawing for a free session with me. Here’s how you enter; keep a scorecard and when you reach at least 100 points email me at donna@donnaburick.com with November Gratitude Contest in the subject line. Include your name, phone number, and your scorecard details. If you’d like to include your experience with this game I’d love to hear it too. On December 1st, 2015 I will randomly draw from all the entries and notify the winner.

This prize is a bonus incentive. Just by playing the game you are a winner. Your November will be more amazing than you can imagine. Go ahead – give it a go and really experience Thanksgiving.

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How to Make Friends with Your Intuition

“The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.” ~ Gisele Bundchen

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

One of the topics I’m most passionate about is how to live more intuitively. I teach my clients how to really get in touch with their own inner guidance so their lives can unfold more easily. But there is a threshold that you must crossover to reap this benefit. Until that point, relying on your intuition is a frustrating, uneasy process. So I wanted to give you some ways to create a friendship with your intuition so the two of you can have a much more fun, exciting relationship.

Here are five steps to strengthening the bonds between you and your inner voice.

Stop Crowding

Your intuition needs space. She’s like a shy doe that needs a quiet clearing before she will come out of the protection of the woods. Too often though you expect it to rush into an arena filled with shouting and chaos. I’m here to tell you, that’s not going to happen.

If you haven’t yet seen the animated Pixar movie, Inside Out then please watch it. It’s a really cute representation of how our emotions control out thoughts and actions. So imagine that in your head fear is running around, waving her hands in the air, screaming. And anger is stomping up and down, while panic is ricocheting off the walls. During all this cacophony, your intuition is the wallflower, pressed up against the wall with her eyes shut and her hands over her ears. Needless to say, this is not when you will get the most out of her.

Stop Nagging

The second mistake I see my clients do is to create a nice quiet spot for their intuition to step into and then they immediately start barraging her with questions. They pounce on her with what if’s, and incessant questions about outcomes and assurances. So it’s nice you’ve coaxed her out, but unfortunately she’s on the floor in the fetal position with her eyes closed and her hands over her ears. Probably not the outcome you were hoping for.

Start Listening

I know the first two steps are hard. It feels like controlling a kindergarten class hyped up on Mountain Dew. But you must corral everyone else into their seats and calmly open the floor to your intuition. It’s only then can you begin to hear her voice. And you must really listen because at first you won’t really recognize her unique voice. Have you ever watched a TV show and the bad guy uses that machine that disguises his voice? That’s what happens when you hear your intuition through your filters. To make sure you hear the clear, true voice of your intuition you must remove your filters of judgment and expectation you have about a situation. Without doing this the distorted voice you listen to will lead you in the wrong direction and you’ll believe your intuition is not on your side.

Stop Dismissing

Ok – you’ve quieted all the voices of panic and fear, you’ve drawn your intuition out and she’s spoken to you. What do you do next? You dismiss her of course. I’ve seen it happen time and again. You ask for a sign. You get a hunch and then you poo-poo it with logic and rationality. You’re told to go to a certain place and immediately decide that you don’t have time, or it’s further away so you’ll go somewhere closer, or any other logical thing that pops up. And since your logic makes perfect sense you follow it. However, the point you’re missing is you asked for magic. You asked for synchronicity. You asked for the unseen universe to conspire upon your behalf. Your intuition tried to deliver it to you, except you allowed logic to laugh it out of the room.

Start Trusting

Trust is an action verb. It demands you act on your hunches. It wants you to get going when you get a green light. Start small if it frightens you. Ask for hunches on little things and then follow them. Start building a track record. All good friendships are built on reciprocity. When your intuition gives you something give back by honoring her gift and following through. This way when something big comes around the two of you are old friends and know you can count on one another to see yourselves through this issue.

These steps are simple but not easy. I’m here for your questions and if you need any additional help to strengthen your intuition. If your hunch is telling you to reach out, then please do it. Call me at 336-540-0088, email me at donna@donnaburick.com, or leave a comment below.

 

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Want to Always Make the Right Decision?

Its-not-hard-to-make-decisions-when-you-know-what-your-values-are“The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert 

“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.” ~ Jarod Kintz,

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” ~ Michelle Obama

 

Have you ever been paralyzed by an upcoming decision? Not able to make any choice? Or do decisions plague you causing angst and turmoil for days, leaving you exhausted by the time you choose?

You are not alone! Many of us have trouble with decisions. So today I wanted to give you a 5-step process to allow you to always make the right decision.

  1. Acknowledge Your Inherent Grief

“The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led.” ~ Lisa Wingate

Making a choice means also choosing not to take other options. This part of decision making is hard when you don’t make it part of the process.

By bringing in the idea that you will feel grief over what you passed up you are freer to make better decisions. This is one of the reasons you agonize over decisions, so acknowledge to yourself there will be things you will be letting go of and feel your feelings about that.

This is not a sign that your decision is incorrect. This is just a normal part of the process.

The word decide has “cide” in it, much like homicide and suicide. Decide means death of choice because you are collapsing your option into one committed, definitive choice.

Please relax into this side of choosing, knowing that all options have equally good opportunity for giving you experience and wisdom.

  1. Acknowledge Your Overthinking

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

When faced with a decision do you constantly overthink it? Churning the options around in your head until you are totally confused and unsure?

The best way to handle this aspect of the process is to acknowledge your thoughts. You can do this by stopping and really listening to them. Take out a piece of paper and write them down. By paying attention to them they can stop knocking at your consciousness. Once they feel heard and so they can make space for your heart to speak.

Next take out another sheet of paper and sit quietly. Write the question you have on the top of your paper and just sit in a relaxed position. You are allowing time and space for your heart to give you its feedback but you must slow down and open up to receive this information.

Write whatever comes to you without censoring it. Just write until there is no more. If you need help with beginning start by writing a sentence like, “The information I need to hear about this decision is…” Sometimes beginning to move your hand primes the pump and the information flows.

  1. Acknowledge Your Values

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ~ Roy Disney

Decision-making is easier when put into a holistic context. First get clear on your values and then put your choices in that context.

If your #1 value is family then passing on that promotion that includes lots of travel and overtime is much easier because there is no confusion about what outcome you want to achieve with your decision. All you need to do in this situation is ask yourself some value based questions like, “How will this impact my family” and/or “What will making this choice change?”

  1. Acknowledge Yourself

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Have great confidence in yourself as a decision maker. Often you don’t give yourself enough credit for knowing what’s right for you. Trust your inner guidance.

Here is another easy way to access your inner guidance in order to make a decision – flip a coin. If you get the answer and then have an immediate negative reaction to it then that’s a sign of what you really want.

By making it a game the mind gets out of the way a bit and allows your inner knowing to guide you in the form of an initial reaction.

  1. Acknowledge Your Actions

“Action expresses priorities.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Action means you are moving forward. Action is the only way to express your self in the world.

The only wrong decision is no decision because you are withdrawing from the process instead of actively participating in your life.

Any decision you choose is the right one for you at this time. Every decision will provide you with a unique set of experiences and knowledge so there cannot be a wrong choice.

By following these 5 steps and by believing that any choice you make is right for you right now is how you can always be assured of making the right choice!

Have fun with this and please let me know if you have questions or comments. I’m available by phone, email, or post a comment below. I love hearing from you!

 

 

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Lessons in Trust Learned in a Float Tank

trustyourself“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” ~ Billy Wilder

“Trust each other again and again. When the trust level gets high enough, people transcend apparent limits, discovering new and awesome abilities of which they were previously unaware.” ~ David Armistead

I decided to take my own advice and do something totally differently and just see how it turns out. So I headed to Asheville for a weekend of R&R and against my nature I did not plan my activities.

I did not have dinner reservations already made for each night. I did not have a schedule of things to do. I did not have any idea what would unfold. What I did do is make room for something amazing and waited expectantly for it to show up. And it did!

I was in this wonderful teahouse there, Dobra Tea, having a nice cup of green tea, sitting on the floor cushion, just hanging out. The two young men next to me were discussing an appointment one of them was headed to in a few minutes to experience a float tank.

A float tank is a sensory deprivation tank that has a few inches of salt water in it. You are placed in the tank, the door is closed shutting off all light and sound, and you float on your back in the buoyant salt water for an hour.

This sounded so amazing I just had to apologize for eavesdropping and find out more information. As it turns out an Asheville spa, Stillpoint Wellness, has an amazing float tank. Right then and there I called Stillpoint and they had an opening the next day, so of course I grabbed it!

This experience was really wonderful and illuminating. Spending an hour in total isolation taught me a few things about trust and I’d like to share some of them with you today.

My Breath is Enough

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.” ~ Gregory Maguire

When I was totally cut off from all other sensory inputs what I had was my breath. I could feel it like never before. I could hear it in my head as I inhaled and exhaled. I knew that as long as I focused on my breath then that was enough.

Your breath is an anchor. It has the power to calm and restore you. However since it’s so automatic and other things are brighter and louder, the breath gets overlooked. Breath can reset your nervous system and expand your energy. Notice right now how deeply (or not) you are breathing. Track not only your inhale but how fully you exhale. Trust your breath – when you get overwhelmed or freaked out lean into your breath and let it support you by bringing it fully in and letting it fully out.

Trust Creates a Dance

“The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.” ~ Gisele Bundchen

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was only in about 12 inches of water but I felt totally supported and buoyant. As I floated around this large, dark tank I was able to really let go and unwind the stress from my body and mind. As my muscles deeply let go my body literally began to bend and dance in the water. My arms swayed back and forth, my torso bent in half causing my arms and legs to meet each other in a flowing dance.

By trusting the water to hold me I was free to move in ways I’m not able to do when on land. I could feel my tension slip away and my total consciousness, both physically and mentally, get lighter and lighter.

How You Handle the Wall is Key

“Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we need to get around in order to resume living our life. It’s part of our life. “ ~ Aimee Mullins

“Having hit a wall, the next logical step is not to bang our heads against it.” ~ Stephen Harper

When being instructed on the tank I was told to gently push off the walls when I bumped them. If I pushed off too hard then I would be propelled into the reciprocal wall. So as I floated about I would bump up against the wall and I would gently push off, just enough so I’d glide to the center where it was most expansive and I had the most room.

It struck me how this applies to life also. When we are in the creative dance of life we will bump up against walls. If we trust the flow to take us to the most expansive place then we treat the wall gently. However, if we think we need to “make it happen” then we tend to push off with great force, thinking erroneously that’s better, only to find ourselves hitting another wall very soon.

Without the more global insight we don’t see the correlation between how we treat the wall and our outcomes. They seem independent of one another. But I tell you it is amazing what you can “see” when you are in total darkness.

So trust the flow, the next wall you come up against push away as gently as you can. Give the smallest amount of effort or reaction and see if the result isn’t more open and freeing.

By being open for wonderful things to happen I allowed myself an experience I wouldn’t of had. I did not know about this floatation tank so it would have not been on my to do list. I would not have had the time to fit it in if I had already pre-scheduled myself.

I just went with the expectation of having a magical time and was alert for possibility. And lucky for me it showed up in the most unexpected place and led me to a most unexpected but wonderful experience.

Engage that level of trust in your life. This week announce that you are open to something wonderful just dropping into your life and then be watchful for it. And when you see it grab it – I did and it was magical!

Have fun with this and please let me know if you have questions or comments. I’m available by phone, email, or post a comment below.  I love hearing from you!

 

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Spice Up Your Summer

summer-sayings“The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it.” ~ Daniel Gilbert

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.” ~ Diane Ackerman

Here we are in the middle of summer and it’s hot! The kind of sticky hot that drains your energy and the only antidote is a cool shady spot with a tall glass of iced tea and mint. Somehow everything else seems like too much work.

I originally wanted to title this article How to Heat Up Your Summer but I thought you’d pass, saying, “No thanks, don’t need any more of that!”

However spice was a better word because I’m talking about inner heat not outer heat. Heat is a transformational element. It changes things from one state to another. The process isn’t always good feeling but the results are spectacular!

So are you willing to spice up your summer? Are you ready to add some heat into your life to get a different outcome?

Your World

Add some spice to your life this summer to heat things up. I know it’s hot, but use that as a touchstone. Every time you realize you’re hot, pause a minute and ask yourself, “What about this situation/my life can I look at differently right now?

Use the external heat to trigger your conscious mind to remember to have a new perspective, see someone else’s side, or just react differently to see what new outcomes you can produce.

For example, if you have a child that you are in a power struggle with and they say something that triggers annoyance or anger in you, pause a moment and instead reply, “That’s interesting. Tell me more about that.”

Your Senses

Tap into the power of your senses to spice up your summer.

Eat something new. Try a dish a bit hotter than normal. Eat with your nose pinched shut so your taste buds need to inform you of the flavors you are experiencing. Did you know that according to a University of Nebraska study about 75% of what you perceive as taste is really smell? See if shutting off your smell sharpens your taste.

Change your location. Typically dinner tables end up with “assigned” seats, so switch it around. Sit in a different seat and see if that opens up a different view, both literally and figuratively. You not only see what the other person sees you have a chance to see things from their eyes too.

Your Choices

They don’t call it the summer doldrums for no reason. Make choices this summer that are fun and stimulating. Don’t forget the power of heat to transform.

Watch sensory stimulating movies. Here are two of my all time favorite delicious movies. Both of these are a feast of food & love!

Chocolat is a story of a woman and her daughter who come to a very rigid French town and shake things up with their chocolate creations. Vianne, played by Juliet Binoche, creates magical transformations in the lives of the townspeople with her combination of flavors, spices and chocolates. And of course Johnny Depp’s character gets a nod for portraying the transformational power of love.

The Mistress of Spices tells the story of an Indian woman who is trained in the art of spices. She serves her clients by providing them with the correct blend of spices to accomplish what they desire. She is sent to San Francisco to open a spice shop and fulfill her calling. This movie is a visual delight.

If you haven’t seen either of these check them out. If you have other movies that satisfy the senses, please let me know so I can see them.

This month do things that are visually stimulating, sensory stimulating, and get your juices flowing.

There are some fantastic art galleries and museums in this town and within a short drive. Get inspired, get creative, and get enthused by a piece of art.

Get moving and get motivated. Go listen to the roar of the ocean and let its vastness open up something in your life. Hike the cool forest paths that abound in our state and connect with the power and promise of nature. Bike the greenway, grow vegetables, or show up at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Get out there and grab the amazing things that are waiting for you.

Get in your car, crank up the a/c and go discover an exciting adventure.

Grab a cold glass of iced tea and connect with the natural beauty surrounding you.

But most of all please do something different, something stimulating, and something inspiring. Allow the heat of summer act as an agent of change in your life.

And please don’t forget to let me know how it goes. You can email me at donna@donnaburick.com, call me at 336-540-0088, or leave a comment below.

Happy Summer!

 

 

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The LAMP Effect: How to Light Up Your Asking and Receiving

genielampsky“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

 

“What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language.” ~ Jane Goodall

 

You are costing yourself an unlimited amount of happiness, support, and abundance. This atrocity is going on almost daily in your life and you just don’t know it. That’s because you don’t realize how much you are hampering yourself by not exercising your asking muscles.

What is the last thing you wanted but didn’t ask for? Did you need someone to explain something a second time but didn’t want to look foolish so you just pretended to understand? Did you think your spouse should know what you were thinking so you didn’t ask AND then resented them for not being psychic? Did you need a hand with a task but didn’t want to seem weak or unable so you didn’t ask for it?

How much less do you settle for everyday just because you don’t ask? You deserve to be heard, supported, and get what you want. The only catch is you have to communicate by asking, which for most of us is a sticking point.

Regardless of your childhood programing, it’s not nobler to not ask. You are just hampering the flow of love and support that wants to come into your life. Perhaps these situations occurred just to give you the opportunity to ask.

Think back to that last time you wanted something and didn’t ask for it. What could have happened if you had asked? Could someone have had the pleasure of helping you? Could you have the pleasure of getting what you wanted?

Yet, those things don’t spring to mind when the situation arises. Instead you are plagued with fears and insecurities about yourself and the way you appear to others.

It’s at this moment that you cripple yourself. You choke off the love and support that is knocking at your door, wanting to come in and expand your life.

So how do you solve this problem? By powering up your asking with my LAMP Effect.

My LAMP Effect address four core issues that block you from asking for and receiving what you want.

These four core issues are as follows:

  • What are your core beliefs about asking?
  • What are your childhood scars around asking?
  • What power does the word no have over your life?
  • Do you only ask for what you believe you can have?

 

LAMP stands for the following:

L – Limiting Beliefs

A – Apathy

M – Meaning of No

P – Perceptions about what you can have vs. what you really want

 

Your Limiting Beliefs

What are your core beliefs about asking for what you want? Do you think that it’s rude to ask? Do you believe that if someone loves you then they should know what you want and if you have to ask for it then it doesn’t count? Do you believe that people will reject you? Or perhaps you think you aren’t worthy of help?

Many of us grew up with negative programing about asking for what we want. If you watch a little child they ask unabashedly. That is until someone shames them, criticizes them, or ignores them. Then they learn that asking is “bad” and at that point their world gets very small.

Open up your world! Reject that programing. Ask someone for something. Don’t do it for the response but for the information it will give you about yourself. Listen to your inner voice. By making that request you are allowing your inner beliefs an opportunity to surface where you can examine and shift them.

So, when you ask someone for something listen. Hear what your inner voice says about your asking and then check it out. Is what it’s telling you still feel true? Do you have to believe what it’s saying or can you free yourself to believe something else? Maybe something that is more expansive? Believe something that views the world as a place of support and love, all directed at you.

Your Apathy

Apathy is the result of your childhood programing. It’s a direct correlation for how beaten down you were around this topic. To measure your apathy level, notice how many times you respond, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” when asked a question. Even simple questions like, “What do you want for dinner?” or “What do you want to do this weekend?”

Open yourself up to what’s possible and believe you can have it. You don’t know you can order lobster if you’ve only ever eaten McDonalds. Look for opportunities to try new things. Pick up a different magazine and look for something interesting. Talk to someone new and get a different perspective. Dream. Pay attention – lots of wonderful things are going on around you so tune into them.

Your Meaning Around the Word No

What’s the meaning you give to the word no? Is it a personal rejection? Is it an indicator of how good your ideas are? Is it a stopper for you?

The meaning you give no has a direct relationship with your comfort level of asking. If no is a personally painful experience because it is a rejection of you, then you will not risk asking unless you are either really sure or really desperate. Both of these scenarios are not ideal.

Take the sting out of the word no. See no as not yet. It only means that your request did not line up with the person you asked. Maybe the timing was off; maybe the request did not speak to them. But that’s all it means. It’s not personal nor is it a rejection. It’s just a misalignment.

So make some requests where you are unattached to the response. If you get a yes great, if you get a no great! Just practice the asking and don’t put any weight on the response. Do this until you can take no lightly.

Your Perception

Your asking is colored by your perception. Do you ask for what you believe you can get or do you ask for what you really want? Do you temper your asking because you don’t want to be disappointed?

Ask full out. Check in with yourself next time you make a request and make sure it’s really what you want – not just what you’ll take. Go for it! You don’t help yourself by reigning in your requests.

 

By using my LAMP Effect to light up your asking you will also light up your life. The world is a place teeming with support and love for you, however you need to allow it to come into your life by asking for what you want. Asking opens the door so this energy can flow into your life.

I ask you to take on a challenge; ask for something, anything, totally detached from the response. Do it just for the practice of asking. Do this for 30 days and see how much more expansive your life feels.

I love to hear your feedback so let me know how it goes! You can leave a comment below or give me a call at 336-540-0088.

Most of all have fun with this. Trust that you are loved and supported. And of course, if there is anything I can do to help you, please ask!

 

 

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Do You Make These 3 Happiness Mistakes?

happinessquote“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” ~ Buddha

One of the perks of having coached thousands of clients is the ability to see beyond what’s being said and pick out the theme. As different as we all appear, there are some universal themes that we gravitate toward that really block our happiness.

These themes are not readily apparent because when they are triggered it seems like we are doing what we need to do to move forward, but instead they just keep in stuck in our pain.

Here are three common themes I see that on the outside look like progress but only in hindsight do you realize you’ve ended up right back where you started.

Are You Living in Your Past or Present?

“Asking ourselves, ‘Where am I right now?’ gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts.” ~ Laura Harvey

As simple as this question about living in your past or your present sounds, it’s really insidious when you are in an uncomfortable spot. As long as your past is informing your present you will get the same results, over & over!

So, how do you know if you are living in your past?

  • Are you experiencing emotional pain?
  • Are you thinking negative thoughts?

If you can answer, “YES” to either or both questions then you are in your past.

In the right now there are only possibilities. Try this out: stop right now and ask yourself, “Am I OK in this moment?” Focus only on this moment and the answer almost always will be “Yes”.

Client Case Study:

Nancy came to me in the middle of a nasty divorce. She was angry at her husband for all the injustices she experienced while in relationship with him. But her major source of pain was her fear of not getting a fair settlement. This trepidation had her in daily agony.

I noticed that every thought she had about her husband, their relationship, the divorce, and her future was totally infused with anger, resentment, fear, and pain. And all these feelings were about the past. She was stressed out, not sleeping, anxious, and paralyzed by her overwhelmingly painful thoughts. At the moment she was with me, none of those things were happening. Her husband wasn’t controlling her, she wasn’t destitute, and she wasn’t a victim, it only felt that way.

Once we cleared away all the things she was pulling from her past to clog up her present, she was able to shift her energy around her divorce. Possibilities now had the space to open up for her.

Her newfound peace and clarity allowed her to end her relationship with grace. And she received a fair and acceptable settlement.

Now she no longer spends her days crippled from past pain. As those feelings come up she can easily navigate back to the present moment where she is clear and happy.

The past is for learning and the present is for living. If you can keep these two states aligned with their purpose you will discover how easy and fun life can be for you.

Are You Moving Toward or Away from What You Want?

“Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part.” ~ Glenda Millard

Living in your past or your present usually is a reflection of how you feel about something. Moving toward or away usually is a reflection of how you think about something.

When we are in a situation that feels bad our thoughts are engaged in figuring out how to get away. We are wired to have stronger, quicker flight reactions. Just like touching a hot stove, we immediately pull back.

However, focusing on flight just keeps us in a loop of having things to flee from. Without a clear vision of what you want to go toward, it cannot appear.

Client Case Study:

Mary came to me wanting to change careers. She was in a job that no longer excited her. And to make matters worse, her boss was overbearing and inconsiderate.

In the beginning Mary was very invested in cataloging all the ways that her boss made her life miserable, how the job had changed over the years, and how justified she was in her decision to leave.

She was so focused on escaping that she looked surprised when I asked her, “What do you want to do next?” She had not given any thought to what she wanted or where she wanted to go.

After her focus shifted to creating her vision of what’s next for her, her action steps were easy and clear. She was able to get out of her rut of discontent and actualize her dream job.

The sticky part is flight feels so natural, we think we are doing what’s needed when the exact opposite is happening.

So if you have a situation you feel like fleeing, stop and create a forward plan. Give your creative powers something to go toward in order to break out of your backing up cycle.

Are You Addressing Your Source or Symptom?

“We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.” ~ Wangari Maathai

This theme is the sneakiest. You will absolutely convinced you are addressing your source only to find out it’s just a symptom.

Chasing your symptoms will only keep you running here, there, and everywhere. The chase absorbs all of your time, energy & effort and you end up exhausted and frustrated. It’s like living a whack-a-mole nightmare.

Client Case Study:

When Jane came to see me she had lots of constant complaints about her family. She was disconnected from her husband and her relationship with her daughter consisted mostly of them screaming at each other.

She was sure that their behavior was the source of her pain, but in fact it was only a symptom. We followed the trail of her feelings and reactions all the way back to her childhood.

Once we were able to isolate the source, Jane was much more open to taking responsibility for her part of the family drama. She was able to listen and interact differently with both her husband and her daughter in such a profound way that their household is one of laughter and connection today.

By doing the work to dig down to the source you have access to transformation. It’s only at this level that you have the ability to hit the re-record button and create a new life.

What’s going on in your life right now? Is there something you are mentally fleeing from? Are you polluting your present by dredging up past pain? Do you feel exhausted by chasing symptoms instead of addressing the source?

You can live a life of ease and joy. Call me today and discover how we can co-create your unique metamorphosis.

I love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your thoughts below. Or I’m available at 336-540-0088. I look forward to hearing from you.

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The Hidden Gift in Self-Sabotage & How to Use It

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“Most of us don’t fear that we are not enough; what most of us really fear is our own greatness. Most of us have a fear of success. Why? Because we don’t think that we deserve to be successful in anything. This is why people recklessly spend their money or don’t work as hard as they could or do things that they know are wrong. They are hindering their own success on purpose, because they don’t think they deserve it. They cut their own legs out from underneath them on purpose. They are self-sabotaging.” ~  Lisa Bedrick  

“Sometimes you hit a point where you either change or self destruct.”  ~ Sam Stevens

Self-Sabotage has its own gravitational pull. You are like a planet stuck in an orbit of insanity – a never-ending loop of doing the same thing over and over, even when you don’t want to. If you’ve ever been in this situation, if you’ve ever had things self-destruct, or if you’ve ever started something you didn’t complete then you know the helpless feeling of being affected by this force of inner gravity.

How Self-Sabotage Manifests In Your Life

We each have our unique blend of self-sabotaging behaviors.

Here are 3 common ways it may show up in your life:

Procrastination:

You aren’t feeling well and need to go to the doctor but you keep putting it off, thus creating a much bigger problem than it needed to be if you’d just made the appointment earlier.

You need to balance your checkbook but you’d rather not look at your finances so you ignore it, and now you have extra fuss and the embarrassment associated with bouncing checks.

You have a work project due and instead of managing your time you avoid it until the very last minute so your final result is much less than it could have been if you had put more time and energy into it.

Distraction:

Instead of focusing on an important project due in a few days, you turn on Netflix to binge watch your favorite show.

You want to have a closer relationship with your daughter but when you have an opportunity to be together you both end up parallel playing Angry Birds.

You have an important To Do list but you fritter most of the day away checking emails, looking at Twitter, or getting lost on Pinterest.

Self-Destructive Behaviors:

You stay up late on the computer or watching TV, even when you know that you are torpedoing the energy and clarity you need for work the next day.

You plan to go by the grocery store and cook dinner at home but you get on Facebook and 3 hours have passed so you just pick up fast food instead.

You mean to go the gym but you are just so “busy”! Somehow you can’t seem to get done the things you want to, yet at the end of the day not much else has happened either.

This list can go on and on. Basically, any behavior that keeps you from the outcome you want is how your self-sabotage manifests. You are probably all too familiar with your special pattern of self-destructive behaviors so we don’t need to spend too much time on discovering them.

How Self-Sabotage Became Part of Your Life

We all have self-sabotaging behaviors. They may not look the same and they may show up in different aspects of our life, but they are universally present. That’s because self-sabotage is a manifestation of some fear-based belief rooted in our childhood.

Believe it or not, your self-sabotaging behavior that you dislike so much is actually trying to be your friend and protector!

Your subconscious is repeating a pattern you created in early childhood because it worked, or was meant to work as a protection, an explanation, or some other helpful reward in response to something going on in your world.

As children we could only perceive the world from a child’s point of view so the decisions we made, the interpretations we created were the best we could do at the time.

How To Discover the Gift Buried in Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior

The hidden gift is the immense power encased in this gravitational pull. What would life look like if this power were harnessed to support your success?

Recognize the helpful nature of these behaviors. They are there as a protection, keeping you safe, secure, and unhurt. That’s why they only pop up when there is something new, scary, stressful, or exciting. Because they are all situations that trigger this self-protection shield. Your mind can’t distinguish between “good” or “bad” so there is no way to have it work only 50% of the time.

But what if you could access this wonderful energy and use it to propel your life forward?

How to Use the Gifts Hidden in Your Self-Sabotage

All your childhood information got encoded in your subconscious as your unique view of the world. And that tape is still playing that same song, even though things look very different now, or so it seems.

The reason your subconscious hasn’t evolved over time as your outer world has changed is because it is hardware instead of software. (For all you computer people out there please know I’m using these terms metaphorically so please excuse any inaccuracies.)

To update software you just download the new version, the code gets rewritten, and voila you easily have upgraded to the latest and greatest.

Hardware is a different matter. If you want to change the size and resolution of your computer screen you can’t just download an update. You need to remove your old screen, replace it with a new screen so you can have a successful outcome.

Here’s the formula: Extract Old Version + Get New Version = Success

Here is an explanation of this 3-part formula. I’ll use an example so you can see how to access and use the gifts buried in your self-sabotage.

  1. Extract Old Version

First of all, go behind your self-sabotage to uncover the belief system fueling your behaviors.

For example, your procrastination could be a result of the belief, “I’m not good enough”. Something happened that birthed that belief and ever since your procrastination has been trying to help you avoid repeating that situation.

Once you’ve uncovered that underlying belief, create a picture of it as an entity outside of yourself. You may see it as a blue dragon, or a polka dotted cat, just create some picture that separates it from you.

Then have this representation say this belief to you in the 2nd person. We often hear our limiting beliefs as “I” statements, but frame this as a “You” statement. “You are not good enough.”

Now as a 3rd level of distancing from this belief, imagine where this belief came from, who it sounds like when it speaks to you this way, or what it reminds you of. It could be what it felt like at school, or sound like your critical mother, or reminds you of how your father felt about his life.

  1. Get New Version

Now that you’ve extracted this belief, create a new version. Turn this belief around with an “I” statement that supports what actually is real in your life now.

So if your sabotage is work related an example to, “You’re not good enough” could be, “I’m good enough. I produce good work and my skills are growing every year”.

Give this new belief color, depth and shape by creating a happy, supportive image, like a smiling puppy or a beautiful rose. Visualize this image hugging you, sitting on your shoulder, or patting you on the back. Feel it attaching to you in a nurturing, constructive way.

  1. Use This Gift for Success

Now that you’ve invented a newer version, continue to replace your old belief with this more supportive one.

Siphon off any energy that comes up from your old, self-sabotaging belief and use it to fuel your new, supportive belief. Whenever you catch yourself either thinking your old belief or acting in a self sabotaging way, stop, thank your old friend for meaning well, and engage with your new, better version of support. This will begin the power transfer and before you know it your newer version will become stronger & stronger.

If you need more help turning around your self-sabotaging beliefs I’d love to help you. You’ll be amazed at how much joy is waiting for you on the other side of your pain.

I love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your comments below.

Have a Happy Spring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Love What Is … Even if It’s Crappy

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Have you ever been in a lousy situation and one of your friends, who was only trying to be helpful, said something silly like, “It’s all good”, or maybe worse yet, “Make the best of it”? Didn’t you just see red?

That’s because your friend was reaching out to you on the same level as your problem. You don’t find any transformation when you are mired in muck. You need to get up, wash off, and walk away from the muck pit in order to experience a different state.

But here’s the big kicker – just leaving your bad situation is not transformation, it’s change. And the difference between the two will rock your life!

A Typical Client Scenario

I’m going to illustrate this process using a scenario I see a lot: someone comes to me because they are unhappy with their job. But feel free dear reader to substitute any situation you are unhappy with so this speaks to you directly.

So typically someone walks in and talks about how much they hate their job, how the boss is unreasonable, their co-workers are not doing what they are supposed to, and that basically it’s an all round terrible situation. So they are going to quit. And they came for their appointment to work out the juiciest way to walk out at the end of the day because they are totally fed up!

Have you ever been in a situation like this? One in which you were at your breaking point and so you made a change?

Why I Talk Them Off the Ledge

Here’s the problem with change, it’s a short-term band-aid that only covers the wound. And some wounds fester when covered, so you end up down the road with a growing, infected wound that begins to take up more and more space in your life. But at the time it seemed like a solution instead of the quagmire it really is.

How to Create Transformation

Change is very surface, however transformation completely shifts a situation into a new experience.

So, if my client had just quit this job in their same mental state then these problems would manifest in her next job, eventually. Sometimes even worse. That’s why sometimes life feels like a hamster wheel comprised of the same type of people and issues.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like you’ve been in relationship with the same type of person over & over? Or you’ve had one bad workplace after another?

That’s because you’ve made changes but nothing has been transformed.

So here is the advice I give my clients. Love what is even if it’s crappy right now.

And here is how you actually do that:

  • Mentally thank your job for helping you sort out what you don’t want so you can more clearly attract what you do want.
  •  Mentally thank your job for paying you while you search for something better.
  •  Notice what part you are playing in the “my job is awful” drama and shift your involvement.
  • Question your assumptions. Is your boss really ignoring you or has he just been busy? If some of your co-workers are negative and hard to be around can you just detach from their story and focus on things that move you toward where you want to go?
  • Decide you deserve better and begin to take action.

How You Can Have Real Joy Right Where You Are

Transformation is based on your mid-set. Once you shift that then everything else shifts. And the really big bonus about transformation is that places everything back in your control. You can’t control the actions of your boss, you can’t control who your co-workers are, and you can’t control the commute, the company car, or any other factor associated with your job.

But you can control how you frame them, how you feel about them, and how you show up everyday. And that’s where you can harness the awesome power of transformation for your life!

If you are in a stuck spot and would like to transform your life, I’d love to help you through this process. You’ll be amazed at how much joy is waiting for you on the other side of your pain.

I love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your thoughts below. Or give me a call at 336-540-0088. Thanks so much for your participation.

 

 

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Spice Up Your Relationship Using Your Most Overlooked Body Part

happyvday2015

“Romance is one of the sacred temples that dot the landscape of life.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Attraction is a funny thing. It’s all about that first blush of contact. As you would expect studies show that men are initially attracted through their sense of sight and smell. Things like a woman’s smile, lips, eyes, waist size (which varies by culture – proving there is no one size that’s correct) and smells like vanilla and sandalwood top the list.

Also, like you’d expect, studies show that women are initially attracted to a man’s character. Things like does he have a good sense of humor, does he show respect, is he a good conversationalist?

Attraction is propelled by lots of variables and is ruled by chemistry. So let’s leave that topic for another day. Today we are going to discuss keeping up the pizzazz in your long-term relationships.

So dear reader, the topic is your most overlooked body part when it comes to romance, your ears. Your ears qualify for this honor because we all think we are listening when we are merely hearing.

Hearing is the faculty to perceive sounds. Listening is something entirely different. Studies show that we listen about 25-50% of the time. So at least half of what you say is being lost and you are not present for about half of what someone else is saying.

“Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.” ~ Emma Thompson

The consequence for couples is a sense of disconnection and loneliness. If you’ve wondered what has happened to your marriage over the years, this is one way to get it back on track. Powerfully listening to your partner will absolutely rekindle that fire you had at the beginning because it re-initiates the focus you once had in your relationship.

Here are 5 steps for powerful listening. Put these into action in your relationship and see how quickly things begin to sizzle.

Stop Talking

“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” ~ Simon Sine

OK this seems like a no brainer but it’s actually harder than it sounds because by stop talking I mean stop mentally talking. No internal chatter about your opinions of what’s being said. No mental construction of your next argument or idea while the other person is talking.

This also means no interrupting. Interrupting is just a sign that you’re more concerned about what you have to say than what’s being said. Bring nothing to the table but focused attention on the speaker and openness to what’s being said.

Show Up Fully

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” ~ Bryant H. McGill

Come to the conversation with your full attention. Stop half-listening while you read your email or think about your errands. Also, when you cannot show up fully communicate that. Perhaps your partner wants to discuss something and you’re right in the middle of a project or you are in a loud place that’s full of distractions. Express your willingness to participate in the conversation, but acknowledge you need to do it at another time, or when you can get to a quiet room, or whatever you need to be fully present. Postponing the conversation is much better than having it in a half-hearted manner.

Listen for Feelings

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Conversations are multi-layered. When you are paying full attention you can listen to the words that are being said and the information that’s being transmitted under the radar. Listen for words that have strong emotions attached to them. Watch your partner’s body language. Pay attention to things not said.

What emotions can you feel coming off them? Are they angry, afraid, or embarrassed? Watch yourself to make sure you are not overreacting to their feeling instead of allowing them to have them. Powerful listening allows space for your partner to share all aspects of himself or herself, even if it’s uncomfortable for you.

Engage in the Process

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” ~ Karl A. Menninger

By engagement I mean actively participate by acknowledging that you’ve heard what’s been said and by asking clarifying questions. Interrupting or jumping in with your thoughts is not engagement. Acknowledge that you’re listening by nodding and smiling, having an open body posture and by inserting a yes or an uh huh.

Ask clarifying questions like, “What I think I hear you say is…” or “Sounds like you are saying…”. You can also directly state what you’ve heard, like “You are irritated about the choice I just made”. At first these questions might feel silly but do them anyway. The result of being powerfully connected is worth some minor discomfort.

Respond Appropriately

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

Great! You’ve made it almost all the way through the conversation. You’ve given your partner your full attention, you’ve listened for their feelings underneath their words, and you’ve let them know that you’ve heard them.

Now comes the most important part; what do you do when they stop talking? How do you respond appropriately?

First of all, by not jumping in and trying to solve their problem. That undoes all your good work up until this point. Often trying to make someone else feel good is a screen for making you feel good. Perhaps you have some fear or guilt about what they just expressed. The easiest way to mask that is to “solve” their problem. But that’s not listening.

Listening is in itself a powerful solution. When your partner feels like you’ve fully heard them there is much less emphasis on action. So please resist the temptation to “fix” things and just “be”.

Also, resist the temptation to engage in “Mine is Worse than Yours”. Responding to your partner’s share with either your own version of the events or other things that you’ve experienced is also a disconnect. The point of conversation is not to compete but to connect. So if your response connects then you are on the right track.

Some connecting actions are treating your partner like you know they like to be treated, which may or may not be your way. Ask yourself what are my partner’s love languages? Do they appreciate physical contact? If so maybe a hug would be your best response. Or maybe they prefer words of affirmation so you expressing your confidence and pride in them are the best response.

Powerful listening is one of the most intimate things you can do in your relationship. It is a magic elixir of connection that is hard to resist. So if your relationship is in the doldrums then use these skills to spice things up this Valentine’s Day!

Have fun with this and please let me know if you have questions or comments. Just leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

 

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15 Small Changes for Big Happiness in 2015

hny2015“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” Charles Kettering

Is New Year’s Eve a magical time for you? Does it always live up to your expectations of fun? I didn’t think so.

New Year’s means many things to many people. For some it’s a free pass to blow it out. They take all their pent up stress and use the night as a way to break bad and obliterate boundaries as they drink, revel, eat and whatever else comes along to excess.

For others it’s a time of dark depression. They think their life has not measured up to some imagined yardstick of happy because they don’t have a date, didn’t lose that weight, or whatever else makes the list. They spend the evening berating themselves for another wasted year.

The thing that both groups have in common is they are using the night to create imbalance. Both groups wake up on January first unhappier than they need to be if they would just readjust their focus a bit.

You can tap into the magic of beginning a new year but you have to be willing to focus less on what you don’t like about your life and more on great things you’d like to bring into your life.

Ditch the tired old resolutions you and everyone else makes – stop focusing on losing weight, making more money, or finding the right person.

This year just look inward. Pick one of the below suggestions and try it on. See if it fits what you’d like to have in your life in 2015.

You have the power to create what you want; the only caveat is you have to do it. You can’t create a wonderful life by accident. Things don’t just go your way without any intention on your part.

So drop resolutions and pick up intentions this New Year’s Eve and have a rockin’ good time. Below are 15 great suggestions for you. Chose any that speak to you.

 

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” ~ Helen Keller

Get to Know Yourself

“If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.” ~ Cyril Cusack

“Figure who you are; then do it on purpose.” ~ Dolly Parton

So if you are the only you, what makes you light up? What do you dream of but don’t know how to do yet?

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How can you bring forth your strengths more and get support to bolster your weaknesses?

Spend time in meditation and reflection to discover who you are right now. You’re always evolving so it’s important for your inner concept of who you are to evolve too. Is your inner concept still of that awkward teenager from high school or as a person who has had a failed relationship? Drop those past inner images and take stock of all the good things about you right now. That’s the person who is entering 2015 with a clean and bright slate.

Don’t Compare Yourself with Anyone Else

“I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even. Nine times out of ten, we compare ourselves to people who are somehow better than us and end up feeling more inadequate.” ~ Jack Canfield

There is always someone who is better, brighter, funnier, and more successful than you. That’s just the way it is. By the same token there is always going to be someone who is in more pain, sicker, poorer, and lonelier than you.

The point is comparisons with others are a waste of time and energy. Only compare yourself to you. Have you grown, learned or transformed something? Celebrate that this New Year’s Eve!

Celebrate Other’s Victories

“Because I was more often happy for other people, I got to spend more time being happy. And as I saw more light in everybody else, I seemed to have more myself.” ~ Victoria Moran

Proactively look for ways to cheer for others. Start at home or the office. Look for small victories in other’s lives and celebrate them. Has your brother gotten a promotion? Has your co-worker contributed a good idea in a meeting? No matter how small, the more you look for the good in other’s lives the more good spills over into yours.

Good feelings are contagious so spread them around. The more you do, the more they will impact your life.

Remember It’s Just a Feeling-State

“Realizing that our actions, feelings and behavior are the result of our own images and beliefs gives us the level that psychology has always needed for changing personality.” ~ Maxwell Maltz

We make a lot of assumptions and base a lot of actions on our feelings. The feeling you are having right now will pass and you’ll feel differently in an hour, or a day, or a week. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about how the chemical response of most feeling-states actually only lasts about 90 seconds. After that, the chemicals are flushed through. It’s our thoughts that keep us in a state or response any longer than that. The big takeaway? Let the response be there, feel it move through your body, and then stop thinking about it and let it go.

Affirm that You can Trust Yourself

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~ Golda Meir

If you want to convince yourself of something pose it as a question and then answer in the affirmative. This method is much more effective than just stating an affirmation. So ask yourself, “Am I able to trust myself?” and then answer, “Absolutely!” Then to help reinforce this new thought tell yourself 3 reasons why you believe this – so come up with three things that back this up like, “I follow through at work, people say they trust me and I am a dependable person.”

Don’t look for Evidence that You’re Not Confidant

“If you’re presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything.” ~ Katy Perry

We see what we look for so catch yourself when you fall into the trap of looking for your faults. There is a mountain of evidence that you are a confidant person who excels at life, yet that’s often passed by in search of your one failure of the day.

Actively seek out any evidence of your successes, even the tiny ones, and see what a difference it makes in your day.

Finish Strong

“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” ~ Diana Nyad

Resolve to finish strong. Most of us get to about 90% and then we peter out. All those things that you’ve left hanging are like weights around your neck. Commit to go that last 10% and finish. Be complete with everything you begin and set yourself free.

Take Time to Appreciate 3 Things About Yourself

“I seriously feel like the best days are ahead, and I like the idea of getting to do everything I did before but with more knowledge, experience, and street smarts. There’s a certain love, appreciation, and gratitude that you have at 40 that you don’t have when you’re younger, and it makes every accomplishment feel so much better.” ~ Jennifer Lopez

Get in the habit of writing down 3 things you appreciate about yourself. They can be small things like you listened to someone in need, you finished a task you’ve been working on, or you are kind and attentive to your cats.

The important thing is to capture these things to have a list of your awesomeness. When you are feeling down or afraid, re-read this list and give yourself a self-esteem boost.

Get Out of Your Head

“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 guy who’ll decide where to go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

When you catch yourself over focusing on inward thoughts and begin to spiral down that whirlpool of anxiety then shift gears. Refocus on outward things you can do something about. If there is something about the topic you are obsessing about you can do then do that. If not, do something else. Doing something is better than nothing, even if your actions are unrelated.

Engaging with something short circuits the spiral of over-thinking and keeps you in an alert, attentive space.

Perfect your Super Power Stance

“I love dressing up in superhero outfits and in fact, when I dress up as Wonder Woman, I actually think that I’m more powerful.” ~ Olivia Munn

Your body is a mirror for your mind so how you hold yourself reflects how you feel about yourself.

Practice that Wonder Woman stance where your feet are apart and your hands are on your hips and your chest is open and strong. Hold your head high and feel your power. This feeling will stay with you the more you practice this pattern. You can do it at home in the bathroom mirror if you want to keep your secret identity under wraps.

Take a Chance on Something New

“The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.” ~ Temple Grandin

We crave newness and excitement. Capture this feeling by trying something new. Sign up for that class, or join a book club or pick up a new hobby or volunteer for a cause you feel strongly about.

We need to be involved in the world to feel happy. So get involved, learn, volunteer, or organize.

Care for Yourself

“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”~ Parker Palmer

Take the time and energy to keep yourself healthy and looking good. Even the smallest of actions will reap large rewards. Go for a 15-minute walk after dinner before you turn on the TV. Make sure your clothes are clean and comfortable so you feel relaxed and confident. Eat mindfully, without distraction of the TV, Facebook, or driving. Pay attention to what you eat and how much.

Eating can be a very grounding exercise and food connects us to the planet. But you don’t reap these benefits if you eat in a distracted way or you consume artificial foods.

Stop Struggling

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Pushing against anything only sets it in stone. If you are struggling with trying to understand something, stop and just accept it. Something not going your way? Embrace what is.

You can’t fight your way to peace or struggle to success.

Stop Making Excuses

“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.” ~ J. Michael Straczynski

Excuses are disempowering. Take 100% responsibility for your portion and move forward from that space.

Take a Long View

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.” ~ Dalai Lama

It’s very easy to get swept up in the drama of what’s happening right now. Instead take a long view and step back and see what you want to take from this situation to create your next step.

When you want to scream, “I deserve better than this” instead think, “I can be better than this”.

** Here’s a Bonus Change for a Really Happy New Year! **

Embrace Everything

“I feel like life is really short, and it’s important to enjoy yourself and embrace whatever comes your way, whether it’s a challenging day or a great day, just welcome it with open arms. No matter who you are, you can’t escape challenges; they are part of life.” ~ Miranda Kerr

We tend to sift and sort our experiences as good or bad. We run toward the good and away from the bad. Well, all that running keeps us in an endless loop of emotional turmoil. To break free trust that everything that’s happening is right for right now and move forward from there.

Fear is a natural part of trying something new so accept it as part of the process and move forward.

Obstacles are inevitable. They have to to occur, just like heat must occur in order to transform ingredients into cake. It too is just part of the process.

The trouble we have is the false expectation that it shouldn’t be like this, not the reality of what is.

So drop your expectation and use all that extra energy to make 2015 your best year ever!

Have a Happy & Sweet New Year! Please let me know how these 15 suggestions work for you for you. Please post your comments below.

 

 

 

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Give Yourself the Gift of Surprise This Holiday Season

surprisedlady“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” ~ Boris Pasternak

“Sometimes you surprise yourself with what you can handle, and if you come out the other end with some wisdom, then it’s not such a bad thing.” ~ Boy George

“I’m a great believer in the beauty and the power of surprise.” ~ Mark Gatiss

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself this December is the gift of surprise. Now I know usually other people are needed to surprise you – if you threw yourself a surprise party it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. However there is a way you can create your own surprises by not doing, being, and acting the same old way. Surprise is all about something new happening.

December is one month that is very encoded with our past. It’s a month where we get together with extended family to do traditions & rituals that we’ve done for years and years. We tend to have a holiday rut. How many times have you been asked about your holiday plans and you began your answer with, “We always…” and then you fill in the blank – we go home, have a big party, or take a Christmas trip, etc.

By giving yourself the gift of surprise you can break out of your holiday rut without doing anything different. That’s because your environment doesn’t need to change in order to raise your happiness level.

I’m going to give you a three-step process to create surprise in your life. Then I’m going to demonstrate the steps with an example of a hypothetical sister. However, for you to get the most out of this information it would be helpful for you to read it through once with my example to see the steps and then go back and re-read it putting yourself in place of the narrator and someone specific to your life in place of my example. That way you can play it out in your mind’s eye to see how it could work for you.

Step One: Hear Your Inner Voice

First of all, notice I said hear your inner voice instead of listen to your inner voice. The distinction is a small but significant one. You know how to listen to your inner voice; you do it all day, every day. But do you actually hear it for what it is? We often think of that voice as us. It even “sounds” just like us! But it’s not us- it’s our narrative, made up of judgments and criticisms. It’s always assessing every situation looking for right/wrong or looking good/avoiding looking bad.

When I ask you to hear your inner voice I’m asking you to detached yourself from it enough to be able to look at it as if it were a separate thing. Like you are witnessing it rather than being it. Creating this small gap between you and your inner voice opens up room for something new to happen.

Try this exercise right now. Sit for a minute and hear your voice. For some of you it will be easy to distinguish this voice, for others not so much. For those of you in the latter category know that your voice is the one saying, “What voice. I don’t have an inner voice. This is hogwash!” When you actually hear that you know you’ve found it.

Now that you’ve isolated it you can loosen its grip on your life.

Step Two: Look Behind the Curtain

This step can only be taken after you’ve isolated your inner voice because you need that space for this to happen. This is where you see situations differently. Do you remember in the Wizard of OZ how everyone had one reaction to the Great & Powerful OZ when they saw his giant, glowing face but when they peeked behind the curtain they had a different reaction when they saw that he was just a normal man with disappointments and worries?

This exercise is just like that. There are situations where you have reactions based on what plays out in front of you and I’m going to take you behind the curtain and surprise you.

Step Three: Act As If

This third step is where you act out the element of surprise. Once you’ve isolated your inner voice, and been able to peek behind the curtain, you are now in a position to act in a surprising manner.

To begin this process, choose a role model. Pick someone who has the qualities you’d like to emanate. Maybe it’s the poise of Princess Diana or Jackie O, the compassion of Mother Teresa or the Dali Lama, the humor of Erma Bombeck, Steve Martin or Dr. Seuss, or the wisdom of Oprah or Maya Angelo. Pick someone who has very big energy and is a strong icon. Also pick someone who’s positive. For example, Erma Bombeck saw the humor in everyday situations while Joan Rivers has a sense of humor based on poking fun at others. It’s very important you pick an affirming role model for this exercise to work correctly.

Next, act as if you were that person. The purpose is for you to take on the personality of your icon and act with their energy. By doing something different in the same old situation you will create a new, surprising outcome.

Bonus: Practice Exercise

So here is how it works. Suppose every year you spend the holidays with your sister. And she’s fine for the first day or so but after that it turns into a series of snippy comments, and sarcastic digs where she claims she’s just kidding when pressed. Plus, she’s always trying to one up you in front of your parents, interrupting and wedging herself in every conversation so she’s the center of attention.

First of all, notice what your inner voice is screaming at you. Hear it but don’t listen to it. Put some space in between so you can witness that it’s telling you that she’s doing it again, and that she’s so annoying, and that it’s not fair that she gobbles up everyone’s attention. That’s the narrative that typically drives your next action, but now you are going to surprise yourself and everyone else by creating a new outcome.

Next, peek behind the curtain. Now that you’re not filled with the upset and adrenaline resulting from your inner narrative, you have the space to really see what’s going on. You can now look beyond her direct actions and see what’s driving those actions. Notice how insecure she is and how unhappy her life is. Look for the worries, hurt, and fear that is fueling her words and actions. See the frightened little girl behind the curtain of bad behavior and cutting remarks.

Lastly, call up the personality you’ve already picked and step into that role. If it’s Princess Diana pull out a royal demeanor and elegance. How would she react to someone who interrupts and pushes in front of her in a conversation? Wouldn’t she just smile and wait? Wouldn’t she stay engaged, knowing that she will have another opportunity to speak soon? After all, she’s an icon for elegance and poise so you’d expect her to handle herself in that manner. I think they teach that in royalty training school.

Or tap into the wisdom and compassion of the Dali Lama. Would this situation ruffle him? I don’t think so. How would he react? With kindness and love? Compassion? Then act that way.

Channel whichever icon you chose and see what surprising changes these three steps will present in your life.

The great thing about this gift is you get to enjoy it and so does everyone else. Try it this holiday season and make it the best ever. This can be the December that everyone says they enjoyed the most, just by you giving yourself this gift of surprise.

Happy Holidays and please let me know how it goes for you. I always love it when people email or call me with their experiences. I appreciate being able to help you unwrap the gifts that are uniquely yours to share with the world.

See you next year!

 

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