We've all experienced a tough moment, a rough-day, or even a challenging period of time. Sometimes these life events are what I’ve often called the “big stuff,” such as illness, a job loss, or a difficult move. But so often it’s the “small stuff” that has our full attention …
You know that “stuff …”
> It takes the wind out of your sails just for a moment, or longer.
> It’s when you realize things aren’t what you thought they were.
> Or, you’re faced with a person, or a situation you were not expecting.
And, so there you stand … either frozen in shock, in tears, or downright angry. This “stuff” can happen at any time, and often catches us completely off-guard.
So, what do we do when this happens? I know for me personally, I’m often floored. I get the deer-in-the-headlight syndrome going. I’m as frozen as a possum … what the heck just happened?!!! Or, I will simply have a big old melt down with lots of tears, tissues, stuffed up nose and then that glorious headache that comes from all of that emotional release.
But, I can’t really stand being in that space for too long, so the key for me is to be more like Tigger the tiger and do what I call …
I believe it’s okay to feel sad, angry, etc. But, I also strongly believe it’s not in my best interest to linger there. I want to move myself into a better emotional state as soon as I'm able.
After I’ve felt what I’ve felt, and recognize that I’m not feeling my best, I’ll probably call out the troops. Who are my troops? My troops are God, the Archangels, my personal God-given angels, and guides. Sometimes I’ll listen to an inspirational recording, read a book I love for guidance, pray, journal my feelings, or I’ll call a close friend. Lately, I’ll just completely change whatever it is I’m doing to “break the evil spell,” so to speak (like get up from where I’m having my pity party, and go outside, or do the dishes).
This is what I call Self-Love, and I love myself enough to Bounce-Back as soon as possible.
Ahhh, but it’s not easy you say. I know it’s not easy. It’s been a struggle, but each time I do this that Bounce-Back timeframe gets shorter and shorter. And, in that mindset of taking control of my thoughts, my mood, my involvement in whatever pulls me down, I take my personal power back.
We all want to be happy; we can all agree on that. Learning the art of Bouncing-Back as soon as you’re able will give you more of those happy moments, days, weeks, and months. We live in a world that can offer us many opportunities not to feel so great. At the end of the day, it’s the Bounce-Back that I want to master, so that I’m not only happier, but feeling empowered and living a more peace-filled and calm life.
I’d like to be more like Tigger and be bouncing for all of the right reasons ... back to my Joy, my Happiness, and my Self-Empowerment. Wanna join me?!
If you’re feeling particularly challenged by the "small stuff," one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding “miracles and magic in the mess.” Contact me and let’s have a conversation that matters … one that allows you to see how life can offer us lemonade from lemons, even when we at-first we cannot fathom such an outcome.
Have you ever wanted something really badly? You waited patiently. You may have even waited impatiently, and …
All you hear is crickets.
There’s a job you want, a promotion you’re hoping you’ll get, a baby you’re trying to have, a settlement that seems it’s taking forever to finalize, or a home you want to sell desperately, and again …
All you hear is crickets.
We’ve all been there, or we’re right smack-dab in the middle of it at this very moment. I’ve been in this place for some time now. It’s certainly not fun. And, I have been learning the big lessons of faith and trust on a level I’ve not yet experienced --- But today it dawned on me!
What if I made friends with the crickets?!
That’s right!...friends with those gosh-darned crickets. I know this sounds crazy, but here’s the inspiration I received this morning, and am inspired to share.
I’ve been cursing those crickets! I’ve been telling everyone about my irritating crickets. I’ve been lamenting, worrying, fretting, obsessing … well, you get the point … about those darn crickets.
And, often to our dismay, you and I both understand that whatever we focus on tends to get bigger, right?! It’s the magnifying glass affect. Like, that irritating person at work who always seems to hover around your work area, or how you always get stuck in traffic, or you’re never the one recognized for the work you do --- blah, blah, blah …
Fortunately, life shows us exactly what we’re thinking and speaking. That’s the power of our words, and of those unspoken, but often-played “tapes” rolling around in our heads damning our own lives with pitiful and victim-filled thoughts. Those are the “silent killers” in my book.
Look around your life; what’s happening? If it’s not what you desire, it’s more than likely that you’ve been focused on “crickets.” The beautiful part of all of this is we get to choose our focus.
So, today I’m choosing to bless my crickets.
Yep, we’re becoming best-buddy-pals, and I’m seeing what the crickets might have been trying to teach me. It’s not only faith and trust in life’s process and timing, but they’ve shown me where my focus was not lined up with what I want. I was lined up with (focused on) crickets --- what I don’t want.
Ugghhh … so what’s next then?
I can certainly choose better thoughts. I can stop resisting what is. I can begin focusing my attention on the positive aspects of my life, like how I am blessed with family, friends, my health, a home, food on the table, fresh running water, clothing, and a running vehicle.
I can become more aware and self-correct each time a “cricket” thought pops in my head, or slides off my tongue. That’s self-empowerment. That’s clarity, and I’m all about both of those qualities in my life.
So, what might you learn from your “crickets?” Is there a part of your life you’re obsessing about? Is it stealing your joy? Is it taking your focus off of all the things you do have to be grateful for, and placing them --- in a magnified way --- on what you want, and still don’t have?
Make peace with the crickets.
Everything happens when it’s ready to happen, right? This has been my life experience. My life has given me solid evidence that things eventually always do work out. Rock solid evidence ... why should it be any different this time?
If you’re feeling particularly challenged by some gosh-darned crickets, one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding “miracles and magic in the mess.” Contact me and let’s have a conversation that matters. Contact me for a complimentary, ½-hour discovery session.
Some of you know I’ve been volunteering weekly at a senior center for the past few months. It began as a way to “show up” and be of service in my community.
I have always loved the elderly. My first job was at a retirement center where I had the joy of serving seniors their dinner meal. They delighted in me recalling their favorite beverages, or desserts … buttermilk, V-8, rainbow sorbet, to name a few.
Their joy in the simple things had an impact on my life.
So, when I set out to volunteer some of my time, I simply took the first step to find a senior center near me that felt good. I was fortunate to find one close to home. The online employee reviews were glowing: “I love working here; I love our residents; we’re all a family.” Well, that did it! This was my place.
Long story short, I volunteer by calling out Bingo numbers, playing varying themes of the game, and then I read short stories for an hour. Many cannot read any longer due to changes in their vision, so being read to is a big treat.
Interestingly, when I set out to volunteer, I had no idea I’d wind up in a Memory Care facility. This particular facility just shifted to serve people with early onset, and full-blown dementia and Alzheimer’s in January 2017. Their website did not indicate this, at least not that I noticed. So, as I began working with these amazing people, funny things began to happen.
They would tell me stories about their lives, because I’d asked. Many are in their 80’s, 90’s and even one dear lady is 102! Boy, the stories they can tell! Later I discovered that some of their stories were made up. They were fabricating parts of their past – Ha! I would’ve never guessed! They seemed so serious and “real!”
My initial, human response was “she lied about that?!” Then, my next thought was “isn’t that just adorable?!”
You see, they don’t care…
They are in a state of being in between worlds; the one they lived in, and the state they’re in now. Some are still aware enough to know they’re struggling with their minds, others haven’t a clue … and, there seems to be some "magic" there.
Of course, not for those family members who are watching their loved ones “slip away,” but for me --- the outsider, I see magic. I see a joyous detachment from any striving. I see a relaxed state of acceptance. They don’t care so much what others think. They are just (mostly) happy.
I have learned a lot from these folks. I have learned that life is a gift. I have learned it all passes far too fast. I'm reminded of this each week. I have learned humility from watching them gracefully, and in a state of acceptance, navigate things that were once so easy for them, and are no longer.
So, what if - like them - we didn’t care so much?
Of course, it’s good to care, but sometimes we care too much …
We’re too attached to our stories, our “truth, or reality,” instead of simply just being in a state of wonder, in a state of humility, or gratitude for the simple things like someone remembering we love buttermilk with our dinner … accepting 'what is' without struggle, and therefore living in that state of grace. I don't know about you, but I want more of that please!
I am reminded it’s all about how we hold things in our mind … our perspective. Wisdom can come from anywhere, even from those who society would label “difficult, challenged, or mentally slipping.” They remind me weekly to let go a bit, relax, and allow things to be as they are.
Thank you Eleanor, Jean, Babe, Lee, Kenneth, Doris, Laverne, and sweet, 102-year old Lillian, and the rest of you. You are forever etched in my heart and mind as some of my dearest and most brilliant teachers, as you teach me to remember what’s important here and now. I honor you!
If you’re feeling particularly challenged to see the beauty, grace and gifts in a difficult situation you’re facing, one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding “miracles and magic in the mess.” Contact me and let’s have a conversation that matters … one that allows you to see how life can offer you lemonade from lemons, even when we at-first we cannot fathom such an outcome.
You’ve heard the old saying “what you focus on gets bigger?” It’s known as a fundamental law of the Universe, called the Law of Attraction. Follow me here, I’m going to tell you a story …
Today, I was mixing up some bread. Yep, homemade pumpkin bread. As usual, when the mixing is over and the bread’s in its pan, I lick the beaters. And, I scrape the bowl with my spatula to get all of the delectable morsels left there, too.
We all did this as kids, right? My mom always divided the beaters up amongst us, and the luckiest one got the bowl and spatula. Mmm-mmmm!
Now, most might tell you “that’s unsafe; there are raw eggs in that mix!” (blah, blah, blah)
I never died, much less ever got sick from this childhood pleasure. And, herein lies my conclusion based upon this Universal law.
What we focus on gets bigger (aka, the magnifying affect).
Ever notice when things go bad, they go downhill fast? Ever wonder why that is? How we “hold” something in our minds has a lot to do with the outcome. If you want to test it out, just follow your negative thoughts and see how things seem to spiral downhill fast, one thing after the next (aka, the domino affect).
Awesome thing is with the Law of Attraction, your feelings are a pretty good indicator that if what you’re doing or looking at is loved, liked, or appreciated, it’s going be okay (unless you stuff yourself with raw eggs, of course – this isn’t where I’m going with this!).
So, unless you want more of that stuff you don’t want, stop looking at it, focusing on it, talking about it, stewing over it, sharing it, blogging about it, posting it on social media --- you get my point. That focus will just make it not only bigger, but bring more stuff just like it into your current reality.
The morale of this story … lick the beaters! Pay attention to how you feel. If it’s joyful, you’re probably okay (of course, inherent in this proclamation is ‘do no harm’).
Worry about the stuff that really matters, but keep it to a minimum unless you want a whole lot more of it. If you’re unfamiliar with this law, try amping up your happiness and joy intentionally --- smile, say a kind word, offer a nice gesture and see how great things go from there! Lick the beaters! I promise you, you won’t die!
If you have been weathering unexpected rainstorms, loss or tragedy, one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding “miracles and magic in the mess” of this sometimes unpredictable and crazy life. Feel free to drop me a line, and let’s have a conversation that matters … one that allows you to see how life can offer us lemonade from lemons, even when we at-first we cannot fathom such an outcome.
So often we find ourselves faced with dilemmas, a crisis, or a challenge. That’s life, right?
We’ve often heard the wisdom of “it’s how we walk through those times that defines us.” Yeah, yeah, yeah … but when I’m knee-deep in a crisis, I am not always thinking clearly --- and, more often than not there is a sense of panic, chaos, and no semblance of logic. Been there, as well? Me too, and more times than I can count!
So, how do we determine what we should be “freaking out” over and what is just “small stuff?”
What are the Mountains, and what are the Molehills?
This week, all over our world natural disasters are rearing their ugly heads. For those of us in “safe harbors,” we are affected only by what we hear, those we may know who live in, or around these areas, and as well we may be affected if we’re sensitive to the suffering of others (or have been though this ourselves at one time).
It is at these times, we get to put things in perspective.
If it’s not life-threatening, and you know it’ll pass, then it’s a Molehill … a small challenge that in short order will simply be forgotten, such as ---
-A traffic jam
-Being cut off on the highway by a “jerk”
-A low test score
-A bad meal at a restaurant
-An argument with someone
These are what I call “small stuff.” What many are facing around our world is what I call the “big stuff.” Natural disasters, losses beyond comprehension, death, devastation … THIS IS the “big stuff.”
The trick is knowing the difference and responding appropriately.
After losing everything I owned in a natural disaster, including the temporary loss of my health, my family’s health and all of my material belongings, I learned swiftly what life’s “big stuff” was. Only in hindsight did I come to understand there was a gift underneath the losses, the pain, confusion and heartache.
Even now, my responses to what others term a crisis is mild, and I’m sure it’s due to the losses and tragedy I myself endured … which, turns out made me a stronger, more solid person. It taught me up-close-and-personal just what Mountains are and what a Molehill is. I learned about perspective.
So, what are you sweating? The “big stuff,” or the “small stuff?”
I would encourage you to step back when faced with a challenging situation and ask yourself the question … is this a Mountain or a Molehill? A good litmus test is to ask “will this matter tomorrow; how about next week, or next month --- even next year?” If the answer is “no,” it’s a Molehill.
Walk through those smaller things with confidence that you’ve overcome much before, and you’ll overcome again. For those at ground-zero in the midst of chaos, my heart, my compassion and my deepest sympathies go to you during this time of uncertainty.
I will share this with you --- You will survive, you will be stronger, and it will end. I promise! Until then, hold onto those you love, and keep the faith.
If you have been weathering unexpected rainstorms, loss or tragedy, one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding “miracles and magic in the mess” of this sometimes unpredictable and crazy life. Feel free to drop me a line, and let’s have a conversation that matters … one that allows you to see how life can offer us lemonade from lemons, even when we at-first we cannot fathom such an outcome.
You know how you wait, and wait and wait for something? Seems like that thing, event, or circumstance we wait for will never come to pass. And, so we wait some more …
It might be a dream you have, a planned vacation, winning the lottery, getting a raise or promotion at work, meeting the person you’ve dreamed of, etc. Waiting can be no fun, that’s for certain.
I know I’ve waited. I’ve waited in lines, I’ve waited for time to pass at dull and boring jobs, I’ve waited on money to come in the mail, and I’ve waited for dreams to come true, as well.
Well, today I was given a big reminder of this truth:
Things can change on a dime!
We had a completely un-forecasted and unexpected thunder and rain storm. Mind you, it was 105-degrees outside, or more. Forecast said 0% chance of rain. Ha!!! Suddenly, out of nowhere, I began to hear a loud noise outside. It was so out of the norm, I didn’t even suspect what I heard was thunder.
And, then it began. Out of the blue, trees began to blow violently and huge raindrops fell. Before I knew it, water was coming down in buckets right in the middle of this extremely hot day. What’s even funnier is I had planned to visit a friend and take a dip in her pool, just to beat the heat today.
So you see, my plans changed on a dime, too!
I’m sure this has happened to you, as well. You have made plans, and suddenly everything changes. Life can be like that. I have learned to be a bit more spontaneous as the years have passed, and don’t mind an occasional spur-of-the-moment change, but not when it comes to something I’ve waited for a long time … that can be a bit trickier.
So, today Mr. Weatherman reminds me to “be in the flow,” to be easy about life, and allow the unexpected. Sometimes, like today, it’s a welcome break from what's been going on.
What have you been waiting for? Are you worked up, anxious and impatient about it not showing up? Just like the unexpected rain today, what we dream of, wish, hope and plan for can simply change on a dime …
Keep the faith! Good things are always unfolding as they should, and even more good is on the horizon if we have the eyes to see.
If you have been weathering unexpected rainstorms, loss or tragedy, one of my favorite subjects to coach around is finding miracles and magic in the mess of this sometimes unpredictable and often-crazy life. Feel free to drop me a line, and let’s have a conversation that matters … one that allows you to see how life can offer us lemonade from lemons, even when we at-first we cannot fathom such an outcome.
Have you ever wondered what a “God Box” is? If you hang around in my circles long enough, you’ll eventually hear me talk about mine.
I first learnt of a God Box at Unity Church. The concept of a God Box really fascinated me when I first heard about it. I wanted to get one, or make one for myself right away!
Why?! Well, let me explain.
The premise behind the God Box is simple. Those things we cannot control are concerned or worried about, have a “place” to go --- literally. It starts by recognizing that which is in our life that’s occupying too much heart and head space. You know what they are; we all have them …
large bills we see no way of paying, illness, outcomes we desire, yet see no clear way of making happen ourselves, even the weather, say for instance, on a day where there’s a special outdoor event planned well in advance
Simply write out your desire on a slip of paper and place it in your God Box. That’s it!
Well, not quite! Your job is to let it go. And, we all know that’s not the easiest, as most of us have been trained to worry, fret and believe we can control things. So, the trick is to really set your intention to trust God (Universe, Spirit, Source) for the outcome. And, let it go…
If you find yourself worrying again about that “thing” you desire, you are to take the piece of paper out of the box and carry it in your hand all day until you’re really ready to release it ---- ahhh, now that’s hard! But, that’s the idea … release your concern, worry, and control, or carry the “burden” yourself.
It’s a choice, right?
I’ve had so much success with my God Box, my kids tell me to put their worries and concerns in there, too! They understand the power it holds on some level. The real power is in the letting go, of course!
a few examples of mine include getting paid a large sum of money owed me by someone who didn’t want to pay-up; the perfect house to live in at a time when the home I was in was being sold from underneath my feet, and free website design
When we let go, we make room for God (Universe, Spirit, ,Source) to do its work; we get out of the way, so to speak … and that’s when the miracles and magic happen.
Our part is to trust. Trusting something bigger than us can handle the stuff that’s seemingly out of our control, and in this we feel a great sense of release … our energetic hose gets un-kinked! Now, the real work can get done.
Mind you, this is not to say, if there are “steps” you can take with respect to your concern, worry, or desire that you don’t take them. We have a big our part in what happens in our lives. And, by all means, do (and be) what you can. But, when the rubber meets the road and there’s nothing left for you to do, then trust and let it go.
I’d love to hear your feedback on your “God Box” experiences! I have two God Boxes. One for small slips of paper with concerns, worries, and desires, and a larger one that holds bills, etc. The larger box was recently obtained … a gift from one of my daughters (in fact, the other smaller one was bought by the other daughter!), and it’s already proven trustworthy. Of course it has!
God has my back, and I’m watching evidence of this over and over again by letting go and letting God.
I have spoken and written a lot about self-love over the past several months, and there’s a reason for that. I want to understand it a bit more, and bring more of it into my everyday life.
One of my first and earliest realizations was self-love is not always (but certainly can be) about giving ourselves things and experiences, such as a new outfit, or a massage. For me, an even more profound realization was the incessant chatter in my head was often definitely opposite of self-loving. You know that voice - we're all familiar with it; it sounds something like this:
“You are this,
You are that,
You should do this,
You should do that,
You need to be, or do this,
You are so…”
On and on this little chatterbox goes, and often times unchecked! As I became more aware of this, I caught myself in the middle of the chatter more often and did whatever I could to stop it in its tracks. I realized I didn’t talk to others this way, so why did it seem so perfectly okay for me to talk to, or treat myself like this?!
Recently I was given a gift. A gift of understanding something about me and my own words that was life-altering. And, I feel compelled to share it … hence this blog.
Someone noticed I say a lot of “I need to’s.” This person brought to my attention how different it might be if instead I said “I want to, or I choose to…” A big light bulb went on! I had that ah-ha moment. Can you feel the difference?
One feels like punishment (e.g., need to) versus choosing, which is empowering and feels a whole lot better. This is a game-changer for me. I’m upping my self-love game around such a simple thing. But, it is in these small, very subtle ways that we show ourselves love.
If this resonates with you, I challenge you to join me in noticing how often you say to yourself ...
“I need to, I should, I have to, etc.”
It’s one thing to take responsibility for our lives and move through our days with wisdom and sense of dignity, accomplishing what’s required of us; I get that aspect of life. But, we can also choose to live life in a more gentle and kind way toward ourselves, just by noticing where our self-talk isn't very supportive or joyful.
If you want an accountability partner in your journey towards more self-love and care, that’s what I love doing as an Inspired Life Coach. Feel free to contact me on my webpage at www.inspiredwithdana.com.
Great question, huh? Well, as you might well guess I am not talking about financial riches. I’m talking about the kind of wealth and riches money cannot buy.
It’s obvious to most of us just through simple observation of our world that money truly does not buy happiness. It might make us a bit more comfortable, reduce worry or concern, but it certainly does not buy us happiness, or even better yet, deep joy. You know the kind …
The kind money cannot buy!
Most of you who keep up with me know I’ve been on an internal exploration around allowing more self-love into my everyday life. Some might ask, why would you want to do that?! The easy and perhaps best understood answer is that being kind to oneself causes a ripple effect. If our intentions are pure (not egoic in nature), as we give care and attention to ourselves it has the capacity to “spread.” It shows up around us like kindness, patience, and understanding where there may have been intolerance, impatience and judgment before. One reason for this is our "cup is full."
When our cup is full, we’re not looking to others to fill it up!
Aside from bringing more peace and kindness into your life by being more peaceful and kind, if you’re anything like me you feel a deep satisfaction and joy when you take time to fill up your own cup. There are so many easy ways to do this on a daily basis. Some of the things I’ll share below I practice almost daily. You may also find yourself doing some of the same things. This is evidence we are really better at loving ourselves than we give ourselves credit.
And, I just love that … self-love was there all the time!
Some of my self-love favorites are…
When I personally got clearer about what I loved to do, not what others expected from me, and was more intentional about bringing more of that into my day … my joy increased. My mood got better. My heart was filled with more gratitude.
I felt richer, truly rich … in a way money could never buy!
My challenge to you is to find ways to fill up your own cup. Life can be tough enough, but running around with an empty cup is a sure way to feel poor on many levels. When we fill up our cups by taking better care of ourselves, we have something to give others. If you don’t feel like giving to others, forget that part – give to yourself! I promise it’ll spill out and have a ripple effect on those around you. And, I can almost guarantee a full cup equals a much better day!
I’d love to hear how you fill up your cup! Jot a note in the comments below.
Here’s to your cuppa joy, and untold riches awaiting you through the practice of self-love!
Sometimes life’s routines and schedules don’t offer us much time for reflection, or simply just a moment to ourselves to offer a bit of self-love and self-care. I remember years ago being on a tight schedule with three young children, a full-time career and a commute. As I reflect back on those crazy, busy years I recall ways in which I carved out small bits of “me time” throughout my days. And, no - this did not happen at the beginning of my day.
The idea of waking up any earlier than 5:45am was out of the question!
I had three little ones to get out of the door before 7am. My mornings were like running a marathon in a suit and pumps, with backpacks and diaper bags fully-stocked and in tow. Two stops, and it was off to the “races” on the congested Los Angeles freeways for a lovely 30-45 minute commute.
Despite my busy schedule, I have always been that person who craved quiet, introspective time.
I knew I needed it. I was a busy mom and a successful business woman. I took care of a home, a yard, a car, the bills, and three kids. Time was at a premium to say the least.
So, the question goes “how does someone so busy with everyday life find time for his/herself?”
The simple answer:
You do, if it really matters.
It mattered a lot … I knew I mattered a lot.
I learned with just a bit of self-love and self-care, I would be a better person all the way around. I would even like myself a bit more! Being a calm mommy topped the list of importance, and without
re-charging my battery on a daily basis, I was not going to be a very happy and calm mommy with everything on my plate.
So, I took notice. I found ways to wedge in bits and pieces of “me time” all day long. One strategy I found was leveraging my work commute. I listened to uplifting recordings, books, or music. What was key here is I paid attention to what I needed, and wanted … and I honored it.
We have to feel worthy enough to honor what we deeply need.
Isn’t it obvious when we’ve taken a bit of time out for ourselves, we’re so much happier and pleasant to be around? This has certainly been true for me.
The other thing I frequently did was to drive my mini-van to a quiet neighborhood on my lunch hour. I’d find a nice shady tree to park under and leisurely eat my lunch, read a book, or listen to a tape … and many times I’d take a power nap. When the babies were young, this was a life-saver!
I love that I loved myself that much, even “back then!” (Wow, she says to herself as she types)
Notice that none of these activities took time away from anyone else. So often (especially women), we feel unworthy or guilty to take time away from our families when we work outside the home. I’m here to remind you, you are worthy – you are worth it – and you are valuable to everyone around you!
Life is meant to be enjoyed! Our fast-paced society demands we find creative ways to reconnect to ourselves, to God – the Universe – the Divine. Coming “home” to ourselves feels like love, it feels like happiness, and it feels like a re-connection to what’s most important.
I hope my story provides you with the inspiration to find a few nourishing moments for self-love and self-care each and every day.
I call them gentle pauses … just a short a few moments can work miracles.
Take time to love yourself. I promise you won’t regret it!
Do you find yourself a bit more edgy at this time of year? The holidays can definitely cause tensions to rise. There are requests being made for time off, families attempting to make plans to see one another, airline tickets being purchased, more congestion on the freeways, and lots of shopping taking place … not to mention the wrapping that comes after all of that shopping.
We are in giving mode … give, give, give, and so often we leave ourselves out of that equation.
No matter how much you love the holiday season (I know I do), this time of year certainly can bring with it heightened emotions. Even the stress others are feeling can have affect on us. Have you ever noticed you can actually feel tension in the air? Try shopping at the last minute; how do those around you feel while waiting in the long check-out lines? My point exactly …
So, before we find ourselves dealing with the aftermath of reacting to an ugly moment in time - giving away our peace, I am suggesting we try a new approach. This holiday season, I’m going to be right alongside you doing my best to …
A C T instead of Reacting
It’s like the old adage - “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” When we’re faced with a stressful situation, where the heat’s turned up and we feel our internal sirens blaring, we can choose to A C T, instead of reacting. This is what we can do:
A = Acknowledge (“stop”) the stressful moment, our feelings and how our body’s reacting. Breathe, and collect ourselves to the best of our ability in the moment. We honor ourselves in this way. We’re human and we have emotions; there’s no justice in denying our feelings.
C = Consider (“drop”) carefully what just occurred. Try to give yourself what I like to call the grace of space, or the theater room view by distancing yourself from what just happened. Sometimes that means leaving the room, or excusing ourselves and finding solace in the restroom. Take the time to reflect on the response that will empower, offer love, or healing, or simply diffuse emotions – your own, or those of others.
T = Take action or a Time-out (“roll”) … sometimes a situation deserves a response, and sometimes it simply doesn’t. Just because we’re faced with a challenge, doesn’t mean we need to react. We can even choose to put off a response until the raw emotions pass, and we’re in a better position to respond from a place of calm, centeredness, wisdom and personal power.
Well, breaking old patterns take practice … that’s a given. This little acronym is intended to keep it easy to remember when you’re in the heat of the moment. Cut yourself some slack if you “lose it.” Simply, try again next time. Remember, practice makes perfect, and self-love reigns.
This is the season of giving, and giving peace of mind to ourselves is the greatest of all gifts! When we do this, we have truly so much more to give others!
Wishing you all a magnificent holiday season (at my house we call it Christmas)! Here’s to more joy, more cheer, more love, and most certainly more peace!
Why does it take the loss of a loved one, or an unexpected accident to get us to open up our hearts? This is the question that hit me squarely upside the head this week.
When I say “open our hearts,” I mean feel more, appreciate more, and realize how much we’re blessed and truly living moment-to-moment in what I call a state of grace.
This week a friend of mine unexpectedly lost her son. I was deeply saddened by her loss. No mother is ready to say goodbye to her child. Ever. This is pain I don’t want to know, and can never know. My heart split open wide for my dear friend, and her family.
Then, another sweet girlfriend of mine was in a motocross accident. Yep, it was just that … a freak accident. No one was at fault, and it seemed it could not have been prevented. But, in that instant her life stopped as she knew it. Her plans for the days, weeks, and more than likely months ahead just came to a screeching halt. My heart, again, split wide open with compassion and sadness for my friend.
And, so I noticed. I softened. I opened up. I was propelled into gratefulness. I was grateful for every moment of safety for myself, and all of those I love. I felt more gratitude for my health, provisions, joy, and smooth-sailing days.
And, in this heart-open-wide state, I realized just how good life mostly is.
Of course we can always find things about our days we don’t like. But, as the late Richard Carlson coined it – that’s the “Small Stuff.” What my two friend’s experienced this week is the Big Stuff. The Big Stuff is the stuff that affects us long after today is over, next week passes, and next month, etc. The Big Stuff gets our attention. This week it certainly got mine.
Then, the self-inquiry began …
How often do I find myself having an internal dialogue of complaining, whining, or worrying? Unfortunately, more than I care to admit. It’s easy and almost culturally accepted to complain, and carry on, isn’t it? We hear it all of the time. And, to what end?
Life’s too short …
So, it is with deep gratitude to the Universe, and a big slice of humble pie that I give thanks.
My challenge for you is to have the eyes to see, and the heart to feel - all that is so very well in your world. Is it Small Stuff that’s got your panties in a waddle, or is it the Big Stuff?
Big Stuff brings us to our knees, humbles us, makes us weep, opens our hearts, and often causes us to adopt a new attitude, take another direction, or make better choices. Sometimes, Big Stuff just happens and we never know the reasons why. Not knowing why is okay, as long as we can find peace in our hearts about not having to have all of the answers. I don’t have all of the answers, but I have been awakened.
I am Humbled. I am Grateful. I am Still Learning.
(In memory of Ian, and love for his mother & love and prayers for Kitty)
Photo by Gregory Colbert
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love analogies and metaphors. Short stories, thoughts, or ideas that lead to us simple, and new (even fun) ways to look at life. Nature can be a great teacher. It has a way of showing us things, offering us hope, or even a promise.
That’s how I see rainbows.
Have you ever been driving down the road, just minding your own business, and there it is ... a beautiful rainbow in the midst of fickle, crazy weather?!
And, isn’t it amazing how rainbows always seem to surprise us when they show up? The rainbow appears when the rain ceases, the clouds part a bit, and the sun is allowed to shine through. Rainbows show up right in the middle of a storm.
Our lives can mirror nature sometimes, and be like that unpredictable storm.
The question is how do we deal with those storms when they show up? Are we supposed to do anything with the storm once the clouds part, the crazy ceases for a bit, and our heads are clearer? Do our personal storms offer us some sort of hope, or promise, maybe even a silver lining?
I firmly believe that none of life’s storms should be wasted.
Certainly most of us would want to avoid repeating a bad situation. And for that reason alone, I think it’s wise to look for the silver lining, the hope, or the promise after a personal storm.
Maybe the sole purpose of the storm was to reveal a life-lesson, a gift of clarity about a situation, a relationship, a career, or a choice we’ve made that no longer serves our best interest. Maybe after the storm we’re lead to safety, peace and the promise of wonderful new journeys. Maybe the storms of life are on purpose...
What?! Storms on purpose? I’d never do that to myself, you say.
Well, what if there’s more going on here than we can actually see, or completely understand? There are times when so much seems to be out of our control, but as most would agree it’s how we walk through, and survive our storms that ultimately determines our character. Could it be we’re creating our storms to become more of the person we really know we are ... that powerful, “can do” person? It sure beats being pitiful Polly; wouldn’t you agree?
We can stand firm in the storm, or be blown over like a tree in a hurricane, never fully recovering. In the end it’s our choice. We can repeat the storm, or learn from it. I would encourage you to look for that silver lining, the promise or the hope when life’s storms show up. Who knows, the storm might even offer us pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
I'm always looking for Magic and Miracles in the Mess.
We all remember that one, right? “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” We’ve heard it all of our lives. But what does that really mean?
I was struck today by the thought, can we really love our “neighbors” if we truly don’t love ourselves? Wow! Great question, I thought. Is there something to this? So, I asked...
How do we know if we love ourselves?
When asked, people often say, “of course I love myself.” Well, let me share a bit of my story with you. Maybe you can relate. I thought I loved myself, and I mostly did, but there was a whole lotta room for more. With the loving guidance of some fabulous coaches, I learned I could amp up my self-love a notch, or two.
It starts with being better with receiving.
Yep, receiving. How does that play out in my life? It means I let people buy my dinner when they insist; I no longer argue. It means I ask for help when I need it, and I gratefully receive it. It means when people want to give me something, I don’t refuse it (out of some crazy thought I’m being humble, or I don’t deserve it - goodness, where do we get this stuff?!). It means I say “thank you” when someone compliments my hair. It means I can even receive from myself. If I’m feeling especially tired I give myself and nap, and I receive that nap. Self-love, and self-care requires you to be a good receiver. It also means I accept the idea that I’m worthy of receiving.
This is a biggie for some. So many of us don’t feel worthy on a deep level. We’re really, really good at giving; we could give all day, right?! But, what about receiving? And, how does all of this fit in with “loving your neighbor as yourself?” Well, love is reciprocal.
Without reciprocity ... giving and receiving ... the circle is incomplete.
So, if you’re not “lettin’ in the good stuff” others want to give you, you’re blocking their love, and you’re most certainly blocking love for yourself.
You know how it feels. You’re at the coffee shop, and you want to buy your friend’s coffee...because you love them, and you’re feeling generous. Then your friend goes on, and on about how it’s not necessary, pushing your hand away from paying. Why do we do this? We do it because no one taught us how to receive. We’ve been taught it’s selfish, or un-holy, or something dumb like that. Really?!
So, if we won’t let others love us, how can we possibly love ourselves, and others (our neighbors, per se?). We can... but, it’s been my experience it’s not as BIG of love as it could be. We’re holding back. Learning to receive all that life brings to our table is BIG. When I was first introduced to this idea, I welled up with tears. Well, that was a sign in itself; I had some work to do. So, I went to work...
My experience over the past months has taught me this receiving thing is BIG. It means I freely give, and I freely receive. The way it’s showing up in my life is that my heart has opened up in a way I’ve not experienced before. There’s a tenderness, a calm, and a peace. I feel more worthy (truth-be-told, I was always worthy; I just didn’t really embrace it). And, all of this because I got out of my own way!
I have allowed others to give me gifts, celebrate me, offer me fist-bumps and high-fives, buy me lunch, and dinner.
This Sunday I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m throwing myself a birthday party. Sound selfish, and self-centered? It’s not; it’s self-love. I invited friends and family that love me. And, you better bet they’ll get a better, more loving version of me than they’ve ever experienced.
I’ll be “loving my neighbor as I love myself,” and it’s going to be fun! They’ll be lots of giving and receiving on both sides of the fence. And, of course with an exchange like that, they’re will be a lot of gratitude, too! A complete cirlce, whatdayaknow?!...feels really good, too. And, isn’t that what we all want?
Give it a shot, and let me know what you experience as you “let it in.” I’d love to hear about it!
A typical day for most folks includes frustration, anger or disappointment with people in our lives. No, not every day, and not all of them...but I bet you can name a few. Have you ever noticed the same “kinda” people keep showing up?
Doesn’t the genie in the sky know we’ve had enough BS, drama, irritating and disappointing people (aka, “them”) to last a lifetime?
What if I told you life is very kind?
What if everything (insert “them”) that shows up was reflecting back to you something for your benefit? Now, hold on...don’t get your panties in a waddle over this one! I’m talkin’ kindness and love here. I know it’s a stretch, but bear with me... Would you agree that life has taught you a lot? And, would you agree that in the long-run, you’re usually better off for it? I know that when we’re in the middle of times with “them,” we’re usually spitting nails, pounding the steering wheel, kicking the dog, and ranting to anyone who’ll listen to us. But, when it’s all over and time has passed, most of us can agree that hindsight’s 20/20, and ultimately the challenge was to our benefit. Sometimes, this 20/20 perspective takes years, sometimes just days.
Eventually, we see that we grew; we became better at handling life; we matured.
Now, what if you’re having a really bad time with “them?” Maybe “them” is someone at work who angers you because they’re a negative-Nancy, or don’t pull their own weight. Maybe it’s a child who never listens, or follows through on their commitments to you. Maybe it’s a partner, or spouse who is aloof, distant, and is not wanting things to improve. We can all think of at least one “them” who gets us going, right?
But what if that person was a gift to you?
I believe life is meant to be kind to us. It shows us where we have room for improvement.
It does that by having the “thems” show up in our lives to reflect back to us un-finished business.
For example, your son says he’ll do his homework and then he consistently disappoints you by not keeping his commitments. You get angry, he promises to be better, and the cycle continues. Why does it continue? Well, it may have to do with you. Back to that “life is kind” thing... When the “thems” show up in our lives and make us angry, irritated, or uncomfortable, it might be because we need to work on ourselves, and they’re simply mirroring back to us what we need to know to become that improved version of ourselves. I know, that’s a tough one for some of the “thems” in your life. You may think you have nothing in common with “them;” you could never be “them!” Well, let’s examine how we might benefit from “them,” on the premise that life is kind.
This is how we do it...
We start by turning it around. We look into the mirror.
Ask yourself where you disappoint others, don’t keep your commitments, are aloof, and even not trying in your own life?
It doesn’t need to be specifically with “them,” just think broadly over your entire life. What are they mirroring back to me? If we’re honest, and we want to improve our lives, and world around us, we’ll take a moment and reflect. This is powerful, even if it’s uncomfortable. You may even thank yourself later for being brave and courageous enough to inquire. You see, when we do this, we stop pointing fingers at others (have you ever noticed when we point at another, three fingers remain pointing back at us?!). We get real with life, and ourselves.
And, life gets really kind.
You may ask then, how could this possibly improve my life? How does this make my son do his homework? For time and memorial, philosophers, and metaphysicians have said that our outer world is simply a reflection of our inner world. If this is so, once we clean up our own messes, our outerworld just seems to look brighter. It’s as if the lessons we learn no longer show up in the faces of those around us. Amazing, huh? Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it. I’ve personally experienced this. Not once. Not twice. Many times. And, you know what? The outcome is “them” improves, changes, or they simply are no longer a part of my world. Sometimes, I realize I was the one with the problem all along, and that takes a lot of courage to admit. In all cases, my life is better all the way around. Life becomes less chaotic, more peaceful, and there are seemingly fewer of “them” showing up. Funny how that happens!
Yes... remarkable, and so kind!
How much control do we actually have over our moods, energy and ultimately, our lives?I remember as a child my mother asking us to help her with the yard work on weekends. Like most children, that was the last thing we wanted to do.
We wanted to do what we wanted to do --- play, have fun, and be children.
remember the “dread” we would feel, and the drama we’d create with our body language, dragging around like we were lifeless zombies. We weren’t being of much help. Our attitudes were one of discontent and pouting, much to my mother’s disappointment. Then, my mother said a very profound thing. Of course, I did not understand just how profound it was then. She said ---
"If I said we were going to Disneyland today, I bet you’d find all the energy you’d need, and your attitude would change immediately!” (said with motherly sarcasm, of course)
With just the mention of the word “Disneyland,” I could feel joyful energy pulsing through my veins --- just the thought of Disneyland thrilled me. And, the worst of it was --- she was right!
Oddly so, that simple and profound insight has carried me through many of my adult years. I was able to take the understanding of how I felt differently in a moment of doing the “unthinkable” on a Saturday morning, along with a glimpse into how my mind worked, and use it to my benefit.
By learning that how I looked at things made a BIG difference.
learned how to “trick” my mind by telling myself a “new story” about something I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to do. Oddly enough, it worked! And, I was suddenly moving forward doing exactly what I was resisting moments prior.
For example, I would frequently tell myself the story that unexpected guests were arriving in 15 minutes. I’d use the idea of their visit as motivation. Suddenly, I’m moving around the house, picking up toys, fluffing pillows on the couch, and touching up the restroom.
It was like magic!
Not only did my house feel better after 15 minutes, but so did I, whether or not guests showed up!
Any lackluster doldrums I was feeling were now gone, and replaced with a sense of power, and capability --- resulting in a spurt of happiness, increased energy, and less feelings of exhaustion.
Of course life is always presenting us with things that need to be done; that’s just life. The next time you find yourself faced with an “unthinkable” task, you might want to ask yourself how can I turn this around for my benefit? How will I make this “thing” I’m resisting serve me --- make me feel good - in charge - powerful - capable - energetic?
We always have a choice.
So, which is it --- Doldrums or Disneyland? That “magic” is always ours to tap into.
Have you ever encountered a situation and thought “Oh My!”? We all have, right? Here’s my story about one such experience, and how a shift in my perspective changed my entire outlook.
First, a bit about me (ahem)…I tend to be a tidy-nut. I like a clean house, with everything in its place and a place for everything. It serves me well, but it doesn’t always serve me, if you get my drift.
In the fall of 2013, I meet a man. He’s funny, genuine, and attentive. We seem to hit it off immediately. Eventually, he invites me to his home. I step in, and what do I see?!
A motorcycle in the middle of the living room! --- Oh My! Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback (stunned is a better word for what I really felt!). I winced quietly --- thinking to myself, “Hmmm, how does this fit into the picture I’ve created in my mind of our potential future together?”
I quickly learn it’s just one of many motorcycles, and other “projects” this wonderful man enjoys. He’s crazy about motorcycles, and music (he has a full drum kit in the living room, too, as well as two guitars, huge speakers --- you get the picture). Gosh darn! I really like this guy, but motorcycles everywhere? Oh My!
With a bit more time, I grew more in love with this man… and, then it happened!
Drum Roll Please --- My perspective shifted!
Yep! Miss tidy-nut herself could suddenly, and happily overlook the once perceived “mess.” I even surprised myself! How did this happen you say?
I realized this man really, really loves life. He has hobbies that make his soul sing. These things are his happy places. And now I get to experience those things with him. He plays his drums, guitars, and sings to me--- I even get to ride on cool motorcycles. I’m on the receiving end of his fun, and I like it.
Now, I’m happier, too!
So, the moral of this story is how often do we quickly judge something as “bad” and miss the joy? Of course, seeing things differently takes a willingness to do so. My willingness-and-want-factor was high. I really, really liked this guy.
With a bit of self-introspection, I soon realized it was ME who needed to let in some joy, pick up some new hobbies, lighten up, and have more fun. He was leading me back “home” to myself.
He didn’t need to change a thing (although, he did move the motorcycle out of the living room at his son’s prompting). A change in my perspective brought me peace, and more joy. And guess what?
Life has taken on a new sweetness!
What will you let in? How might you see things differently simply by being willing to shift your perspective? --- and, then maybe...just maybe, your life will get sweeter, too!
Creating Life’s Sweet Spots,
I help others see Magic and Miracles in the Mess of this journey we all life.