FINDING THE COURAGE TO CHOOSE HAPPINESS
Our society is on the perpetual hunt for more happiness. As a Transformational Coach, I encounter a LOT of people who want to be happier in their lives. Just this morning, a client expressed to me: "I just want to be happy!". Happiness has turned into something that people believe is outside of themselves as if they play no role in creating it, like something you can buy at the store.
What I see more than anything is that people are longing for deep fulfillment, not just happiness. People want a sense of richness, depth, purpose, direction, contribution, freedom and joy in their lives. What's amazing is that in every state of "unhappiness", nearly 100% of the time people know what it is that is making them unhappy. And they KNOW what they need to change in order to become more fulfilled in their lives.
HAPPINESS ISN'T THE ISSUE.
The issue then may not actually be happiness or unhappiness. The issue really becomes about the courage and willingness to do what it takes to make yourself and your life "happy". The feeling of living a miserable life arises when we are too afraid to acknowledge or own what we need to change. The feeling of boredom, dried up, I-don't-even-know-where-to-begin, emerges when we are living out of alignment with our truest nature. The fear of changing the status quo keeps us stuck in our misery; in our small, old, habitual way of the familiar, yet suffocating "comfort" zone.
In our society, we are terrified of disappointing others, we are terrified of the unknown and of rocking the boat. It is the loyalty to this fear that keeps people stuck, miserable and playing small. It is your lack of courage to change that is making you feel "unhappy". To be truly fulfilled in your life, you must allow yourself the sheer pleasure, the gift and the responsibility of structuring your life so that it is in alignment with your most authentic truth inside. If you are someone who needs space in your calendar to be creative and thrives when you experience collaboration and variety, then most likely you will be unfulfilled in an administrative job that requires you to work rigid hours. If you are someone who loves to talk about current world affairs and marvels at the rich experiences of your life, then most likely you will be unfulfilled at a dinner party where people are focused on fashion and reality TV. If you are someone whose truest nature is to be visionary, inspired and playfully express yourself, then most likely you will be unfulfilled in a romantic relationship where your partner is threatened or uncomfortable with you in the spot light. You can begin to see where living out of alignment with your truth is actually the thing causing your unhappiness. Under different circumstances that reflected and celebrated your truest needs and authentic nature, I'd be willing to bet that you'd be radiantly HAPPY. Our true nature is happy... and it's simple. We allow fear, assumptions, worry and lack of trust to overcomplicate things for us.
FINDING THE COURAGE TO CHANGE.
So how do we obtain and strengthen the courage to change? Here are 5 key steps that will help you muster up the courage to change things in honor of living your most radiantly juicy and deeply fulfilling life:
1. Acknowledge your dream. I have a question for you: What do you OWE to yourself? What will you regret at the end of your life if you do not make it happen? What is the dream inside of you that you have buried so far down below that you can't remember what it even is? If you want to have the courage to create more happiness, then you need to be willing to look under the bed, dust off the boxes and take your dream out once again. You need to put that dream in the light and tend to it daily, watering it with your loyalty and intention, caring for it by making it a priority once again. The first step to finding the courage to change is admitting that you actually desire happiness and to clarify what that looks like for you. You will not be able to develop the courage to change if you're not willing to admit that you want something different than what you've got now. You must let your dream live. Let it shine!
2. Make your dream more important than your fear. Are you going to feed your desire for happiness or feed your fears? Are you going to prioritize your dream life or prioritize your sense of obligation to others? If you are not living your dream than you are living someone else's, and in all likelihood, that's keeping you miserable. So you're at a moment of choice: you can choose to stay stuck, stay small, stay co-dependent, stay worried or you can choose to honor this amazingly radiant, loving and authentic truth and knowing within you. You can choose to let your fear drive the bus of your life or you can step into the driver's seat yourself. It's your life and it becomes whatever you choose to make of it, so the choice is yours. The time is now to choose a new direction of loyalty to your happiness. No more loyalty to your fear and tiny comfort zone.
3. Step into Radical Responsibility. As Katherine Woodward Thomas says, "Life happens through us, not to us". You are not a passive victim in your life. In order to live the life that you truly desire, you must be willing to accept Radical Responsibility for your circumstances and all aspects of your life. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner landscape. If you are focused on what's not working then not much will work for you. If you are tending to your happiness and taking responsibility to change yourself then change and happiness will happen. The good news is that taking radical responsibility puts you in a wonderfully empowered position. Own the fact that YOU are the one who will change your life and you'll be much more excited to jump in and do so.
4. Be willing to say NO. One of the biggest roadblocks that people have when trying to create a truly fulfilling and rewarding life is their fear of disappointing others. I'm going to give it to you straight: I guarantee that you will disappoint at least one person in your life by choosing to walk down the path of YOUR truth and happiness. AND... that's a really great thing! It means that you're beginning to honor what's true for you instead of just going along with others or with whatever is presented to you. It means you're starting to be intentional and give energy to those things and people that light you up instead of pull you down. When you say NO to one thing, you say YES to something else by default. (You can read my full blog article about that HERE). So let yourself say NO. Say NO to the job that is sucking you dry. Say NO to the relationship that isn't what you actually want. Say NO to the incredibly lucrative, sexy, potentially delicious opportunity that is being offered to you but doesn't feel right somewhere inside. This will fill your courage tanks to FULL. I promise you that you'll be OK (actually, I bet you'll be more than OK - you'll be HAPPY) after you enforce boundaries with others and choose instead to follow the energy of your YES. I promise you that you'll be happier by taking the risk of leaving behind what so clearly isn't working for you. Let yourself step into happiness by practicing saying NO to all that isn't working for you.
5. Shift your perspective about the unknown. Many people in our society are more comfortable when there is a plan and when the future is "secure". I am guilty of this myself at times. The unknown can be a wildly scary land to explore and yet, it's the only guarantee we have as we cannot predict the future. Thank goodness we cannot predict our future - can you imagine how boring life would be without any mystery at all? I invite you to embrace the unknown and instead of seeing it as a daunting, threatening thing, start to view it as a yummy, juicy place where you can anticipate and taste your happiness growing and growing. The whole point is to experience what you haven't known before because what you've known thus far hasn't been fulfilling for you (if it was, you wouldn't want more happiness). So let yourself step into the unknown with delight, curiosity, trust and yummy anticipation for all of the wonderfully new and fulfilling things you are creating. See it as a journey to the best place you've ever been.
Change is risky. There is always a risk, no matter how you slice it - leaving your current situation for hopes of a better one doesn't come with a guarantee. What you know in this moment is that you're unhappy. So I invite you to take a risk. Take that leap of faith that feels so right and tingly inside even though you're so afraid that your teeth are chattering. Take the risk of walking towards your happiness and creating a totally NEW way that is actually freaking amazing and unknown. Take the risk of allowing life to provide for you once you own your YES. The day will come when the risk of playing small is greater than the risk of shining. I invite you to seize that day, jump in with both feet and GO FOR IT! Your utterly happy dream life awaits you.
RADIO SHOW WITH CAROLYN CJ JONES
Yesterday I had the privilege of being interviewed by Carolyn CJ Jones, a "Forgiveness Coach", Best Selling Author and radio show host. She has a weekly radio show and asked me to come be a part of it!
I LOVE the topic of forgiveness. It shifts us from anger into acceptance, from illness into healing and from a closed heart to an open, connected life filled with possibility.
During this 50 minute show, I speak with CJ about how practicing forgiveness is a critical part of being able to live our truth. I touched on my own healing journey and the role that practicing forgiveness towards myself and others played in opening me up to live the life of my dreams. We spoke about anger, love, being the curious "Observer" of your emotional experience and so much more. It was a fun, rich and authentic discussion! I invite you to check it out and to get interested in what opening the gates of your heart can do for the rest of your life. It may just lead you to bliss!
I am a big fan of clarifying one's vision at the start of any new cycle and the new year is a powerful time to get clear, intentional and empowered. In doing so, most people make a list of New Year's resolutions, focusing predominantly on what they want to accomplish during the year. While this is helpful towards achieving one's goals, most often New Year's resolutions loose their relevance and excitement by March, falling flat. In this video, learn why New Year's resolutions don't work and learn how to engage in a beautiful, invigorating, meaningful and powerful intention setting ritual that will connect you to your purpose, power and joy as you manifest easily in 2013! I welcome your comments below - feel free to share your intentions for the year!
SEEING LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF 'THANKS'
And so again, Thanksgiving is upon us. The holiday in which we are reminded to give thanks as we celebrate time with family and the abundance of the fall harvest. Honestly though, gratitude becomes so cliche around Thanksgiving that it is almost easy to breeze right over it. We focus on having a big meal, on travel and on holiday shopping. Or, we are grateful for a day or two and then go back to normal. What would it be like to always see life through the lens of 'thanks'?
In my personal world, I have an enormous amount to be grateful for at this time. I just got married 10 days ago! Woo hoo!! It was the most thrilling, authentic and celebratory experience I've ever had and I can honestly say that I am over the moon happy. It's easy for me to look at life with grateful eyes right now. But what about those times when it's not easy? What about when life gives us lemons? What does it mean to possess an "Attitude of Gratitude" and how do we cultivate that?
THE HOBBLING BRIDE
Two weeks before my wedding I sprained my ankle. In a clumsy, frenetic moment in which I was running around scattered, I tripped and injured myself. I couldn't believe it. A sprained ankle before the wedding?! How was I going to dance or to walk down the aisle? What about the fabulous heels that I bought for the occasion? After a short lived solitary pity party in which I came to terms with the disappointment of adjusting to unexpected circumstances, I realized that a gift had been placed in my lap. Ironically, the thing I wanted most was to be well rested and grounded before my wedding weekend. The Universe delivered. Despite the pain and the frustration of hobbling around during one of the most important weeks of my life, I was given the chance to slow down. I slept a ton, caught up on my emails and actually enjoyed reading a book before my wedding. And thanks to my sprained ankle, I ended up wearing cowboy boots under my wedding dress, which is the most fun thing I've done in a while! It put me in the most festive mood! Most importantly, I truly began to see everything through a lens of gratitude. I leaned on gratitude and it came through for me, shifting my focus to the truly important things, showing me how much love exists around me whether I'm in heels or in my pajamas. I became grateful for my body that has the power to heal itself. I became grateful for my legs, my arms, my breath, my toes and for the strength and generosity of the people around me. It connected me to grace and spirit during a very special time in my life. That is the power of gratitude.
Possessing an Attitude of Gratitude means looking at the glass half full and focusing on all that is going well for you regardless of the current circumstances. It means seeing the gift in everything. During the week of my honeymoon, my extended family members in Israel experienced the frightening reality of being surrounded by political unrest - literally running into bomb shelters to protect themselves and their children. Who am I to complain? There is way too much to be grateful for. We take the basics for granted.
FOUR EASY TIPS
Cultivating gratitude is actually quite easy. It can be done within a matter of seconds, any time, any place. All it requires is having your focus on it. Like with anything in life, what we focus on becomes our reality. Here are a few of my favorite ways to open to gratitude and look at life through the eyes of 'thanks':
1. Wake Up Grateful. Before getting out of bed, mentally list 5-10 things you are grateful for. I recommend starting small and taking nothing for granted - be grateful that you have a bed, be grateful for your cozy comforter, be grateful to your body that breaths on it's own while you sleep, be grateful for the morning sun, etc.
2. Start A Gratitude Journal. At the end of each day list 10 things that you are grateful for in your life. Simply by taking note of this, actually writing it down every day, your whole life can change. Be grateful for the person who held the door open for you, be grateful for the smile from the stranger, be grateful that your pen still has ink in it, be grateful for your children's curiosity.
3. Be Grateful For What Is To Come. It is incredibly rewarding and uplifting to be grateful for all that is coming our way. Yes, having gratitude for those things that haven't happened yet! This is especially powerful when we are feeling down or sorry for ourselves with regard to a certain situation. For example, being grateful for your soul mate who is making their way towards you at this very moment can turn loneliness into excited anticipation and hope. Being grateful for the unknown possibilities and surprises of the coming year can turn year-end gloom into wonderment, spontaneity and possibility. All that is coming our way is a gift. It's easy to forget this. Think of how grateful you are for the friends you have in your life now whom you didn't yet know ten years ago. Imagine all of the wonderful people you will know and love in a few years from now!
4. See The Gift In Everything. Yes, everything. See the gift in your health crisis. See the gift in your relationship crisis. What are these things awakening you to? What blessings and opportunities are being divinely handed to you? Sometimes it is our most challenging interpersonal relationships that establish the playing field for personal growth by teaching us surrender, forgiveness, authenticity, compassion and empowerment. Aren't you a better, more grounded and loving person because of this? Haven't these dynamics helped you in other areas of your life? See the gift in your loss. Even grief can present the opportunity to relish in the precious moments that were had with another. There is always opportunity to see the blessing and to be grateful for what you've had and currently have. Magic is all around.
ONE MORE TIME
I was recently exposed to a very simple gospel song titled "One More Time". The lyrics are "One more time. One more time. He's allowed us to come together one more time". Regardless of whether you believe in God or if God is male, female, etc., the message within these lyrics is clear: be grateful that we've been given yet another opportunity to come together again at this time. It's miraculous and special and beautiful that life has worked out such that we can share in this experience together right now. Be grateful.
So I invite you to be grateful this holiday season. Be grateful for the people around you at the table. Be grateful for the food that nourishes your body and brings you together. Be grateful that you have a home and a table to sit at. Be grateful that you have money to spend while you are amongst the overwhelming holiday crowds. Be grateful that you have legs to carry you through the stores. Be grateful that you have people to give gifts to and people to receive love from. Be grateful that you can breath in the fresh holiday air one more time. Practice looking at life through the lens of "Thanks". I'll bet you'll be thankful you did.
I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to my amazing coaching clients, group and workshop participants, my readers and Facebook followers. I am in awe of your willingness to show up and evolve yourselves daily. It is a true honor and joy to be on the path with you. Thank you to my phenomenal community of friends and colleagues who provide connection, inspiration, laughs, support and truth as I express myself and my purpose fully in this life. Thank you to my beautifully loving family and to my newly extended family who cheer me on and provide a sense of home, foundation and love. And most of all, thank you, thank you, thank you to my most special husband, who is the rest bed to my heart, the perfect companion to my soul and the most illuminated mirror of love in my life. It is a blessing to walk the path in partnership with you.
Wishing all of you and your loved ones a most joyous, illuminated and nourishing holiday season!
Happy, happy Thanksgiving!
EMBRACING YOUR INNER SNAIL
LOVING "HERE" AND MOVING FORWARD ONE STEP AT A TIME
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." - Lao Tzu
I love this photo. Doesn't it capture those moments where you feel like the path to self realization is sooooooo long and you'll never get "there"? So many people are dying to get "there". They ask me: "how'd you get there?", what do I need to do to get there?", etc.
Where is "there"? There is where we wish we were; a fantasy we create of how life will be better later, once we're thinner, stronger, wiser, clearer, more grounded, more aware, more in touch, more easy going. There is where we'll be once we've healed, we've learned, we've integrated and become. Most of us want to get "there" so badly that we fall into over-doing mode, trying to do everything we can to get us closer to "there". We spin our wheels doing everything we can to improve our current situation only to later hit burn out or worse, get bored. Our efforts self combust and that's when we back pedal and end up self-sabotaging ourselves and our dreams.
I admit to falling victim to the get-there-quickly mentality from time to time. For example, as I dedicate time towards planning my upcoming wedding, other areas of my life, such as my business, naturally receive less of my focus. While this is a conscious choice on my part, my Saboteur can't help but speak up occasionally, feeding me the propaganda that I'm loosing valuable business opportunities by dedicating one day a week to the wedding. Along those same lines, I remember when I was in the midst of my physical healing process. I was so nervous that I was wasting precious time by resting and recuperating instead of going on dates and trying to find my husband. Ironically, it was my process of healing (physical on one level but ultimately emotional, mental and spiritual healing) that lead me to my fiancé. Similarly, the fact that I am consciously taking time away from work to design my wedding and this wonderfully sacred right of passage is actually igniting my creative juices and feeding my entrepreneurial spirit. We have time for it all. And actually, right now in this very moment, you're happen to be on your way "there".
WHAT IF "HERE" WAS AS GOOD AS "THERE"?
So what if here was as good as there? What is slow was better than fast? What if the lessons, gifts and opportunities for growth existed by being instead of doing? What if now brought us to later?
When we can accept where we are in this very moment then it actually creates the growth we desire. Appreciate your current life, learn from it, relish in the gifts that exist here for you. These challenges are the opportunities that have shown up for you because you're ready for them. The very act of embracing "here" will ironically open you up to the next step and inherently move you forward. Who would have thought?! The very thing we're fighting is the very thing we need to embrace. The opportunity for healing and evolving only exist right now. That's because this is where you are whether you like it or not. It's time to acknowledge where you are in this moment. It's time to name your experience, name your current emotion and let it be so you can grow past it.
I'm not promoting settling. I'm not saying take no action nor am I saying to wallow in where you are now without dreaming of where you wish to be. I am a HUGE believer of taking big, bold leaps in life so as to reap the big rewards. Without those risks and decisions we simply do not move forward effectively. See my article on Dreaming BIG for more on that. Rather, what I am pointing to is that often we're in such a hurry to get "there" that we miss the opportunity for evolution that is here now, right in front of us. When we seize that opportunity, then the growth actually happens. It can be small growth in the form of one step or it can inspire you to leap further than you ever have before.
TIPS TO EMBRACE YOUR INNER SNAIL
The inner snail-ness that I'm referring to touches on two ways of being. The first is getting present to what's here now. The second is about appreciating the next tiny step you can take instead of needing to win the whole race. This is important because most often, when we're itching to get "there" it means we're in a process of learning and that we're new at something. Imagine that you were learning to play baseball. Your first step in mastering the sport might be to simply get comfortable holding the bat. Then you'd practice swinging over and over before moving onto throwing and catching. You wouldn't expect to go out and win the World Series upon your first attempt at playing the game. Keep this in mind and your inner snail will gracefully and easily guide you through your process of growth.
Questions to ask to help you become present to this moment:
1. What am I noticing about myself right now?
2. What do I need in this moment?
3. How can I lovingly honor my feelings and needs in this moment?
4. Where am I rushing to?
Questions to ask to identify your next step:
1. What do I know about this in my gut?
2. What do I need to practice so that I can be more of the person I want to be?
3. What is one way to BE today that aligns with my higher purpose and path?
4. What one step can I take that will inch me closer to _________? (i.e. to being vulnerable, authentic, brave, truthful, embodied, etc. - This is the goal you have of how to be or how you want your life to be. You could also say closer to being in a loving, committed relationship, etc.).
The next step is going out to "swing the bat" if you will. Simply practice that little step. You may hate it and long to be the World Series pitcher, but for now you simply need to practice swinging the bat. See what it opens up for you. You never know!
Get ready because your ego and Saboteurs will not like this new way of being. They reside in a place of limited beliefs and they like quick results, quick fixes and impulsivity. They'll feed you all kinds of stories and illusions about why slowing down is dangerous. That's because they're threatened when we do slow down to pause and tune into our deeper inner wisdom that empowers us to make the right choices. Instead of resisting it, acknowledge your Saboteur as well. By doing so, it will actually shrink in size and will gently move out of the way.
An old coach of mine used to tell me to enjoy my "cozy slippers" phase; i.e. that period of many months in which I was inwardly focused, in which life wasn't glamorous and I rested my body and quietly fed my soul. Oh how I frowned at those damn cozy slippers. Thank goodness for them though because they quieted me down long enough to hear my dreams whisper to me; long enough so I could sense what it would feel to be grounded in love, inspired by my authentic career and empowered by being my truest self. Ironically, those cozy slippers lead me to my current "here" and oh how grateful I am for that.
Everything works in divine timing. In between your obvious, deliciously bold leaps on the path, I invite you to slow down, take a deep breath and allow yourself to grow from where you are right now.
AWAKEN TO YOUR TRUTH
On August 13th, I was interviewed by spiritual friend and radio host Jeff Daugherty of NC Kaballah radio. Hundreds of people tuned in to join the conversation and learn how simply BEING YOURSELF is one of the most potent doorways to accessing the divine.
In this juicy hour long show I share the following:
* How to identify what has meaning to you
* How to get in touch with and realize your dreams.
* Tips and small steps to easily bring spirituality into your daily life.
* How the right brain can be used to bring your dreams alive.
* The critical connection between nutrition and spirituality.
Here's what people have said about the show:
"Folks, this is one lady that GETS IT. She is the one you have been looking for to help you get to the next level." - Jeff Daughterty
"Amazing talk last night. It's insane how many of your messages have been completely in line with has been going on in my life. Thank you for the reminders. Look forward to reading/listening to more." - N.M.
"That was great! I listened to the whole thing and it really touched me because I have been feeling out of alignment lately. Thanks so much!" - M.P.
To listen to the FREE Replay, visit here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nckabbalah/2012/08/14/nckfriends
I'd love to hear your comments and questions after you've heard the show! Feel free to share below. For more information on Jeff Daughterty visit his website HERE. To read my personal story of awakening and how the Embodied Truth Coaching Program can change your life click HERE.
Thanks for tuning in!
Although dreaming big, leaping and risking big are all required to seize your dreams and make them real, the choices we make throughout the day-to-day are the ones that keep us on track, intentional and ultimately allow us to integrate transformation over time. Watch my latest YouTube video to learn how you can shift your day and ultimately your life in just two minutes! I welcome your comments below!
LEARNING TO LET GO OF HOW WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE
Oh expectation. Like our favorite item on the highest shelf of the cupboard that we simply cannot reach, you tease us and beckon us to loose ourselves before you.
We have all had the experience of being disappointed because of not having our expectations met. It can show up simply or it can consume us. Attachment to expectation is a powerful force that can potentially pull us completely out of center, out of being grateful and present in the moment. It has the power to put our Saboteurs in the drivers seat, to create strife and adversely affect our relationships and opportunities for growth.
Think of a time when you went to see a movie that everyone raved about. Because you expected to be thoroughly entertained, you ended up being let down. As compared to other times when you didn't even know what the movie was about and you ended up loving it. While being let down by a movie is a simple example, it demonstrates how casually we get sucked into the pattern of expecting things to be a certain way. The disappointment from unmet expectations around larger experiences in life can feel devastating and be potentially destructive. This tends to be particularly relevant for most people when they develop expectations regarding major life events such as birthdays, marriage, having children, a new job or relationship, etc. Sometimes it's just not what we thought it would be.
A PERSONAL CONFESSION & LEARNING
Recently, as some of you may know, I got engaged. There was some build up to the anticipated event in the months leading up to the proposal and I admit that I began to develop oddly specific expectations of how I thought the big question would get asked. In fact, as I reflect back on the occasion, I unknowingly came into it with a life time of expectation - years of societally influenced dreams and hopes of how my Beloved would one day propose to me in the most overly romantic and perfect way. I also came into it with a pesky, unfamiliar pressure to have a sensational engagement story to share with friends and really society at large. You can hear the Saboteur in this already, the drama and illusion of perfection and the pressure to be over the top. Of course nothing in life is exactly how we expect it to be and most things are not "perfect". Indeed, as the Universe would have it, my phenomenal fiance proposed in a most beautiful way that truly represented who we both are.... And, it was quite different than the elaborate and inauthentic vision of perfection that I envisioned of how I thought it would go. Admittedly, I had to practice self management during the event so that I could appreciate all of his efforts and see the gifts in front of me instead of attaching to an idea that I had conjured up in my head. In being honest with my phenomenal fiance about it later, we both had great learning around letting go of expectations and releasing parts of ourselves that no longer serve us. We also were able to name what is truly important to us and therefore able to appreciate that in one another even more.
Thank goodness that he proposed the way that he did! He captured the true essence and spirit of our relationship wonderfully and in a way that was beautifully authentic. Had my detailed fantasy expectation been played out, we would have missed out on the authentic little moments that represent our relationship. My expectation was unrealistic and not truly aligned with who I am becoming or who I want to be in my relationship.
Key Learning: More often than not, our expectations are unrealistic and while they point to our hopes and dreams, when we attach to them or require them to become reality, then they will turn on us and keep us contracted and small. How then do we balance dreams and fears? How do we decipher that which is really important and that which we should insist on, from those things we can let go of for the sake of our learning?
LOOK FOR UNDERLYING CORE VALUES
The answer lies in identifying our core values. Ultimately, high expectations are a sign that we long for something; that we have vision, hopes and dreams or that something is very important to us. If we are really contracted around our expectations, then they are a signal that something important to us is being overlooked or stepped over. Attachment to expectation can inform us of our core values if we allow ourselves to look beneath the surface. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you catch yourself in the grips of high expectations:
1. What is truly important about this to me?
2. What am I looking for the final outcome to provide me with?
3. What value(s) of mine if any are being stepped on here?
4. What values or parts of myself do I need to honor?
By getting clear on what you're actually after at the end of the day, it will help you open up to accept it in various forms. You can then begin to see it everywhere - beyond just in the way or place that you thought it would be. This is the Universe's magic. When we let go of what we want the most, then the Universe showers us with the very thing we wanted in the first place.
WHAT WE RESIST PERSISTS: HOLD ONTO ESSENCE, LET GO OF FORM
It is our great lesson as a people to remember our true nature and to evolve based on what is in front of us at this present moment. On the path of personal development and spiritual awakening, we are being called to dance in THIS very moment and to see everything as an opportunity for transcendence and evolution. When we hang on tight to our expectations then we miss the opportunity for dynamic change and growth. Resisting this change creates frustration, anger, resentment, self pity, stress and illness as what we resist only persists. There is a difference between envisioning our dreams and clinging to what we think it is supposed to look like. One is open, free, full of possibility and the other is closed, particular and insistent.
Therefore, we must learn to let go of WHAT we think it should look and instead, remain connected to how we intend the experience to FEEL. This is about letting go of the form something takes and choosing instead to connect to the essence of it; the underlying intention. In the example of my engagement, after fumbling around in the land of expectation for a short while, I was able to let go of the physical details I expected and instead appreciate the underlying effort, love and joy being expressed to me. That allowed me to relish in the entire experience and recognize the enormity of blessings in my life that I was being invited to receive. It didn't matter anymore what form it took, where we went, what we did, etc. because everything was a reflection of effort, love and joy. Feel the difference?
Begin practicing finding the underlying essence in your daily life. Let go of what you think it should look like (the form) and instead choose to recognize the essence of what is before you. Is the person in front of you expressing love even if they say it differently than you would? Are you experiencing fulfillment in your work even though this job is different than what you thought would make you happy? Does your body feel relaxed and peaceful despite the situation being different than what you thought would bring you peace? Start to tune in.
BECOMING OPEN & ACCEPTING THE FED-EX PACKAGE
By letting go of expectation we become OPEN. The funny thing is that we flatter ourselves thinking that our imagination is going to yield the best possible dream. How foolish! The Universe gives us blessings that are WAY more amazing than what we could ever imagine. This doesn't mean to stop dreaming or to not live intentionally. The opposite. This means live on purpose. Get super clear on what is most important to you, stick to that and let go of the rest. Let go of what it is supposed to look like.
I joke with my girlfriends that my Beloved showed up in a package that I didn't expect. His age, features, job, etc. were different than the image of my life parter that I always expected in my mind. For a long time, I innocently overlooked that fact that he was the one for me. It was like the Universe was handing me a golden Fed-Ex package and I kept insisting that they delivered to the wrong address. The more time we spent together during our courtship however, the more I could FEEL in my body and soul that I was at home with him. When I let go of how I thought it should be and instead allowed the joy of what was actually happening in the present moment, then it was like a light bulb went off and we recognized each other as soul mates.
The truth is that we cannot control what anything will be like. All we can do is set intention and do the important inner work to become very clear on our values and priorities. We can choose to act in alignment with our values and express our authentic truth. The rest is for us to release into the wind. The rest is for us to co-create with the Universe, like two teammates who create life together. We do our part and then we hand the rest over to a force larger than ourselves to provide the greatest lessons, blessings and opportunities for self actualization, connection and awakening.
I invite you to identify and release one expectation that you're currently attaching to that you know is holding you back. Get clear on the values and priorities that lie underneath it and then set it and yourself free. By doing so you'll be proving to yourself just how much you trust yourself and life in general; and you'll be opening to receive life's true gifts.
Happy releasing! Please share your comments below - I'd love to hear what opens up for you around this!
ARE YOU AT THE FRONT OF YOUR OWN LINE
OR IN BACK BEHIND EVERYONE ELSE?
Recently, I was asked to share my story of transformation. On the surface, it is a story of physical healing and the basic emotional growth that takes place when one undergoes a physical healing process. On a deeper level and at it's core, my story is actually one of putting myself first and adopting Self Love. It is a story of seizing the life I knew I was meant to have, of taking back control of my destiny and learning to love myself first and always.
When my clients first start working with me, some of them desire a quick fix and a plan to get from A to Z. Many people want me to tell them what to do. While we can create the most comprehensive "plan", it is irrelevant if you aren't willing or ready to put your dreams first and take the steps to make them a reality for yourself. You can go to healers, coaches, gurus, enlightened teachers and mentors. But if you aren't willing to love yourself through the transformative process then the healing and growth won't occur. Only you can evolve yourself.
Each of us is worth it. Each of us deserves all the good in the world and each of us can conquer those obstacles that feel insurmountable. The trick to following your transformative path begins with SELF LOVE. It starts with putting yourself and your dreams FIRST, even though it might be scary.
PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST. NOT KIND OF FIRST. REALLY FIRST.
In my own story, I realized that in order to heal my body and create the life that I TRULY wanted, I had to put myself first. I mean really first - before EVERYONE and EVERYTHING else that I knew. EVERYONE and EVERYTHING: My clients who provided my income. My sister who was going through a life-altering divorce at the exact same time that my health issues hit and needed my support. My parents who needed me to explain my symptoms. My girlfriends who needed a friend to listen. My work community that required me to network regularly to remain successful. My social plans that kept my calendar full and exciting. The men who wanted to date the fun, outgoing version of me that I no longer resonated with being.
I had to put myself and my dream life first. The real me. The me that always knew I was destined for greatness. The me that knew I would marry the right partner. The me that came here to fulfill a purpose and make an impact. The me that at that time resided in a body that was struggling with relentless fatigue, digestive and immune issues. The me that needed time out to rest and recharge.
Putting myself first required great honesty with myself. First I had to admit that I actually had needs. Then I had to swallow the fact that if I didn't address these needs that my health and life would suffer. I would remain in a mediocre place of life being good rather than glorious. Then I needed to accept my needs as valid and I had to practice not judging myself for having needs. Then I needed to communicate these needs and boundaries to other people. I had to learn to receive support from people. And finally (and most importantly), I had to let go of needing to please everyone else. I had to let go of needing to be perfect. I had to let go of the fear that others would be un-fixably disappointed or damaged if I put myself first.
AFRAID OF BEING SELFISH
Many people, especially women, are afraid to put themselves first. Society labels this as "selfish". We are fed the story that in order to be generous, kind, loving and connected to our loved ones, we must be self less. There is a common fear that we will disappoint others if we tell them no or not right now, if we put our own needs first. We are so afraid that others will be mad at us if we do what makes us happy, if we speak our truth, if we have boundaries and practice self love. We are so afraid of what we might loose by putting ourselves first that we don't even consider how we actually feel or what we truly want in the first place.
The problem with this is that it keeps us from becoming our full, true selves. We become tired, resentful, lazy, needy and unable to give to others the way they actually deserve. However when we put ourselves first and voice our needs, it allows us to recharge our tanks, to be happy and full. From that place our capacity for others increases exponentially and we can actually give generously and thoughtfully.
WE GAIN MORE THAN WE LOOSE
At first it can feel counter-intuitive to put yourself first but over time you'll gain so much more than you're afraid of loosing. I have a client who was focused on being a good provider to his family. His initial assumption was that he couldn't properly provide for them if he followed his dream career so he remained stuck in mediocracy until he couldn't take it any longer. As we worked on developing and actualizing his dreams over time, he began to see how much more he provided for his family once he was aligned with his life's purpose and making that a priority in his life. Not only was he able to provide financially for his family, but he became a wiser, calmer, more supportive and engaged husband and father. That is priceless!
Personally, by putting myself first, I gained my dream life. Seriously. Looking back, I now laugh at what I was afraid to loose because those things are so out of alignment with my truth and dreams. They were simply familiar and that's why I was afraid to let them go. Turns out that I didn't love my old career and when I chose instead to follow my passion, I finally became deeply fulfilled and financially successful. Turns out that the honest, difficult conversations between my sister and I served as an opportunity to share ourselves fully and become very close and accepting of one another. Turns out that some of my old acquaintances and colleagues didn't interest me to begin with and when I admitted that I was finally able to create deeper connections with others. Turns out that the men I was afraid to disappoint by being the real me weren't actually conscious or grounded enough to be potential life partners for me anyways. They certainly didn't embody the qualities that my life partner so naturally does. Wow! Wow! See how much can open up for you when you start putting yourself first?
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
So, what do you need to be honest with yourself about? What needs do you have that are begging for your attention? What type of self care are you in need of? What might you gain if you put yourself and your dreams first? What tanks might fill up by taking the risk to make putting yourself first a priority?
Consider this: how might your genuine capacity and generosity for others expand if your tanks were actually full, if you truly came alive by putting yourself first?
PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST
Putting yourself first is an act of self love and a generous, loving act towards others. It creates room for inspiration and ideas as well as energy to execute on them. It creates space to listen and hear others' opinions. It creates capacity to make a positive impact on others. Putting yourself first doesn't mean ignoring your children, your partner, your friends or clients. It means that you respect yourself enough to love yourself as much as you love them. It means that you prioritize showing up as the best version of yourself for them. It means enforcing boundaries so that you can tend to your own needs in addition to tending to others. Self love is an act of surrendering to our true selves and to our basic needs. It is an act of open-ness and receiving support from the right people on our journey.
Think about the emergency precautions speech that is given every time you take a flight. We are reminded to put our oxygen mask on first before putting it on someone else in need. Here are a few tricks to help you start putting yourself first so you can be happy, aligned and positively generous with others.
1. LISTEN TO THE WHISPER.
Honor your inner whisper by giving it your full attention and promising to follow it. Often times it is a very quiet voice inside that tells to us what we need or what feels right. Practice listening to that voice and identifying what you truly need in any given situation.
2. SPEAK UP.
Once we identify our needs, we must learn to communicate them. Otherwise change won't happen. Practice speaking your truth completely honestly and saying no when you need to. No doesn't mean never, it more likely means just not right now. Be grateful when declining invitations or setting boundaries. Let people know that you will be happy to oblige once your tanks are refueled. Answer questions truthfully, take a risk to say what you really think or feel. Ask for help. See what opens up for you.
3. SMALL DOSES WORK WONDERS.
Often times people won't put themselves first because they believe they don't have the time. I see this with mothers who over extend themselves regularly. People believe that they don't have time to rest, paint, sing, go for a walk or take a break. That's simply not true! Feel free to read my article on how you must make the time for pleasure HERE. A simple 5 - 15 minutes can make all the difference. Sit in your car for 5 minutes and meditate before picking up your kids. Paint for 10 minutes before you head out the door. Take a 15 minute power nap. Walk around the block. It is unrealistic to wait for everything to be perfect before putting yourself first.
I invite you to take the risk of putting yourself first. See if you can do so in the most loving way to yourself and others. See what tanks of yours become full and how your capacity for others increases by doing so.
Please share your comments! I would love to hear what shifts for you once you allow yourself yourself to step to the front of the line. Enjoy!
"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life."
- Eckhart Tolle
The other day I was talking to a woman on the phone who expressed her longing to make some art. We had an entire conversation about the things she could create and how much she craved it, however when I asked her when she would do it she said: "Oh, I'm too busy with paperwork and obligations at home, I don't have the time. I have to find the time for it."
I was struck by two things. First, that she longed to engage in her creative side but wasn't making it a priority. And second, that she believed she had to find the time instead of understanding that it was her responsibility to make the time for the things she loves.
We've all done this to some extent before. I'll go running this weekend - tonight I need to finish this pile of paperwork. I'll go on vacation later in the year after my big project is complete. I'll go shopping for new clothes once I loose the ten pounds. I'll make time in my schedule for romance when I find the right person. I'll quit the corporate world to follow my dream after I make a little more money. I'll eat lunch after I finish these emails.
A COMMON OVERSIGHT
This is very common. The problem is that this is a passive approach to life. It assumes that things just happen to us or will happen if they're meant to be. It overlooks the fact that we create our own reality. I see this all the time with people and I'm guilty of forgetting this important responsibility myself at times. I talk to people on a regular basis who approach me about wanting to coach together. Many of them are ready to say YES to themselves and the life they truly want right now. I applaud them for it and I jump in with them right away. Yet many are hesitant to say YES to themselves right now. They know they want change, they know that what' they've been doing so far is not creating the level of fulfillment and excitement they want. Some have even moved on from the job, the relationship or the location that wasn't working for them. And yet, they believe that later is a better time to jump on the journey of YES to their DREAM LIFE. Later this year is a better time to engage in the personal work that will create fulfillment, empowerment, connection, purpose, joy and love. Later when I have more money. Later when I have more time. Later after I just do this one other thing. Really? The love of your life, the passion and purpose, health and energy you crave can wait until later?
A HARD TRUTH
Over time what happens is that nothing changes. The dream relationship, job, home, health, balance, etc. do not just show up. We fail to engage in making the necessary changes in our life now, so... things stay the same. Unfortunately, later never happens.
ARE YOU LETTING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES RUN YOUR SHOW?
This cycle of being stuck where you don't want to be occurs for several reasons. The first is due to the fear of moving forward (ie "what if I fail", etc.). The second is because we think that everything has to be perfect or figured out before we can do what we truly want. Each of these reasons are separate topics that warrant their own blog posts and I will write more about them in the future. The third and major reason that most people put fulfillment off for later is because they believe that their circumstances determine how they live and what choices they get to make. People believe that they cannot afford to take a vacation, set boundaries or engage in activities that bring them joy because of family, work, money, health issues or other responsibilities. While indeed there are some circumstances that we cannot change, more often than not, we are in the drivers seat of our own lives and it is our responsibility to choose what we make a priority and what we don't. Your happiness is not waiting for you out there somewhere in the future. Your happiness is yours now and it will continue to be available in the future if you start allowing for it to exist today.
Later never comes. This is because we continue to engage in the patterns that we are involved in today. In fact, today is yesterday's later. Are you on vacation in Hawaii? Are you feeling the breeze touch your face on that afternoon walk or covered in clay in that pottery class? Are you in the relationship or job of your dreams? Most people are not. We must be intentional and make the conscious choice to prioritize pleasure in the midst of work and responsibilities. It doesn't just happen on it's own. We must create room for it, prioritize it, schedule it, pay the money for it and seize it now.
I'm not saying that you need to engage in reckless, irresponsible behavior that threatens your stability or well-being. Rather, I am inviting you engage in what you long for now. Don't wait. Do it anyways, in addition to everything else. Take a much needed short vacation this weekend. Indulge in morning meditation before you check your email or phone. Make room in your closet for your ideal lover now even though you've never met them. Pay for the class you are dying to take even though you don't know how you can afford it. I guarantee you that doing so will light a fire in you to work harder and generate the extra income you need. I guarantee you that your determination to heal your heart and find your mate will become unstoppable. I guarantee you that the joy you get from painting for 20 minutes today will give you that extra energy you need to finish the rest of your tasks around the house. That is the magic of now.
THE POWER OF ENGAGING IN THE NOW: A USEFUL TRICK & 2 SUCCESS STORIES
You can start practicing all of the above by creating what I like to call "in-between" moments. These are moments throughout the day that we insert into more structured, daily routines. You can create an "in-between" moment in the middle of a busy work day, while you are with your kids, in overwhelming social situations, anywhere. They can be as short as a deep breath and as long as a week's vacation.
To illustrate the power of this practice, I am inspired to share two client success stories. I have two clients each of whom used to power through working at their desk all day, making them tired and resentful at the end of the day. They begun practicing taking a break from their desk to get a glass of water or take a walk around the block outside to breath in fresh air. They would insert these refreshing moments "in-between" everything else they were doing. This helped them become balanced and allowed them build the muscle of engaging in the now. Over time, this muscle became so integrated into their daily life that they began to honor their dreams fully. A simple break for fresh air was no longer enough. One of these clients ended up leaving the corporate job that she didn't like and branching out on her own to become a successful and happy solo-prenuer. The other client learned invaluable lessons around creating and expressing boundaries which ultimately gave her the confidence to heal important relationships with loved ones and create deeper connections in her life. Wow - all of this from engaging in the now!
START THE REST OF YOUR LIFE NOW
One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie When Harry Met Sally. It is in the scene towards the end of the movie in which Harry runs across town to profess his love to Sally. He says to her: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." I invite you to take on this attitude towards your life and your dreams. Engage in them now. Give them your attention, your time, your money and your energy in the smallest and biggest ways you can imagine. Go for it! Don't wait until later. You will be enormously grateful that you allowed yourself to experience more joy, freedom, balance, health and purpose in between all of life's other moments.
I am excited to hear what opens up for you in the now! Please share your comments and questions below.