All Posts by Sheryl Silbaugh

Living Your Life From A Place Of Curiosity

Albert Einstein traced the root of his accomplishments to curiosity.  What triggered Sir Isaac Newton to discover gravity from a falling apple, as apples had been falling from trees hundreds of years.  Had no one ever got curious as to why the apples fell in a downward motion?  How much of the world around you, do you observe with wonder?

Awe is a part of wonder and curiosity.  Psychology Today has described awe as “an overwhelming, self-transcendent sense of wonder and reverence in which you feel a part of something that is vast, larger than you and that transcends your understanding of the world.”

Taking a walk in nature can result in being awestruck.  I love that word.  If I am going to be struck with something, please let it be awe.  To suddenly see something with new eyes will send you off with a sense of adventure.  To me it is like the photo of these two boys.  They will question everything they see.  They haven’t yet entered into the age where they think they already know everything.  They will ask a lot of “why” questions seeking to understand.  They will see things in a different way, because they don’t yet know the “rules” of how something is supposed to work.  And that is where the sense of discovery, wonder, and curiosity begins.  It is the beginning of an adventure.

“Noticing the world as constantly changing can help us dance with the flow of life.” – Sarah Jane Shangraw

In reading an issue of Mindfulness Magazine, they stated the following steps in taking a walk in nature what will bring “awe” into your life.

  • turn off the electronics on your person.
  • believe you are going to experience awe during your walk
  • use all of your senses in discovering that sense of awe
  • go someplace different – a new park, or a different path
  • look at the details, see the veins of the leaves, the depressions in the bark or look up into the higher branches instead of just seeing what’s at eye lever
  • slow down, powerwalking is not a voyage of discovery
  • pay attention to the details, listen into what you thought was silence and hear the breeze stir the leaves, rattle the branches or hear the small creatures digging into a hiding place

Curiosity and exploration floods your brains with dopamine, which makes you feel happier.  It gives you higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, and greater satisfaction with your life.  It’s a skill that can be developed. It is a habit of applying wonder, and feeding your desire to learn more.

Curious people want to try new things – so next time you go to a restaurant, try a food you have never eaten before.  Curiosity begins with asking questions.  In searching for different answers.  In making a new or different connection.  In taking what you discover and using it to make sense of your newly expanded world.

“Becoming happier is one of the most vital and momentous things that you can do for yourself and those around you.”  – Sonja Lyumbomirsky

Some adults think that asking questions somehow implies they lack knowledge.  But what I have found through the years, especially with the meanings and emotions triggered by words, is that there are a lot of words that I think are communicating one thing, but were received as another.  Words can have more than one meaning.  So I try to communicate what I have to say, using a lot of examples and analogy’s.  Then I watch how it lands.  If it seems to have landed wrong, I then use another analogy.  I keep doing this until I know that what I meant, is what is understood.  I ask a lot of questions, seeking understanding and connection.

Asking yourself the right questions can make a huge difference in how happy you are.  We can train our brain to look for answers by asking it to focus on a certain task.  If you ask yourself these three key questions everyday, your brain will step outside of the negative self judging that your mind tracks down.  These questions will help rewire your brain to focus on the positive.

  • What have I done well in the last 24 hrs? (Celebrate it!)
  • What is one thing I want to improve in the next 24 hrs? (Discover, investigate from a place of curiosity, not judgment)
  • What is one action step I can take to help make this happen? (Curiosity, ask more “how” questions)

Curiosity is a strength within the virtue category of wisdom, one of the six virtues as described in Positive Psychology.  The other strengths in the wisdom category are creativity, judgment, love of learning and perspective.  According to Wharton University, curiosity has a genetic component, which can be grown or limited according to ones environment.

NASA’s rover on Mars is named Curiosity.  She’s been on Mars since 2012 and since her battery is thought to be able to last for only 14 years, she’s nearing the end of her lifespan.   NASA is looking for answers by collecting data on Mars.

It will certainly be interesting to see what they discover in that adventure – answers they were looking for – did Mars ever have the proper conditions for life to survive.  So far they’ve discovered that Mars had sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – all key ingredients for life.  What things will be discovered that no one knew to ask?

From Britannica Curiosity Compass, “10 Ways to Improve Your Curiosity”

  • Power up your passion – doing what you love keeps those curiosity juices flowing
  • Ask awesome questions – “tell me more about that”, “why do you believe that or why is that important to you” – then listen with an open mind/heart
  • Teach and be taught – ask about someone’s most treasured memory, their biggest passion, favorite hobby – all of which helps you to “know” something about someone.  It stirs your curiosity to learn more.  It opens doors to others teaching you something new, to learn about something in a new way
  • Connect the dots – how can you use the fundamentals from a game or the basic elements of cooking in other areas of your life?
  • Walk it out – taking a walk stirs your natural curiosity and stimulates your senses
  • Get uncomfortable – Try something new.  Push yourself to do the thing you are scared of trying.
  • Embrace thine enemy – Part of being a critical thinker is understanding the other persons viewpoint – argue both for and against all of your beliefs.  You will gain empathy and learn something new about your own beliefs.
  • Tech Time-out – play a musical instrument; drawing; cooking; any hobby that doesn’t involved a screen.
  • Explore your environment – walk in a new direction; check out a park; hike in the woods.  Get to know something new.
  • Mirror, Mirror on the wall…, – Reflection is also an important part of having a curious mind.  Through reflection comes a higher understanding and brings you even more curiosity.

Curiosity makes your brain more receptive for learning.  It is like a muscle and the more you use it the stronger your mind becomes.  When you are curious, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to what you are curious about.

One of my favorite things about Jim Rohn was when he would get this look on his face, with his hand on his chin and say, “I wonder what happens next?”  It was his way of not going into negative emotions when something you might judge as a bad experience happened.  He used the analogy, when someone cuts you off driving down the road – instead of getting angry, say “I wonder what happens next?”  I started saying, “Thank you for getting in front of me, because you are in a hurry and I don’t want to be the person you rear end when you follow to close.”  This is because I have been rear-ended several times and gotten hurt twice.  So I am truly grateful when this kind of driver passes me, even if he is cutting me off.

So using curiosity, and “I wonder what happens next?” thinking – what things happen in your life, could you turn around from a negative experience?  How instead, could you turn it around, staying calm and centered in wonder?

Life is full of change.  Seasons change.  You change.  Use the fall season to complete and release what no longer serves you.  Use the winter season to rest, digest and restore yourself.  Use the spring season to get curious about what new things can you seed into your life to grow you as a person.  Use the summer season as a time to harvest the new beginnings that you started in the spring.

So go on some new adventures.  Ask open ended questions.  Listen intently and ask others why this is so important to them?  Give others experiences instead of things.  Learn a new hobby.  Go on long walks, listening, looking, smelling, – using all of the senses to discover what you have missed.  Live a full, happy life!

The Darkness You Go Through Defines Your Light

Are you a half empty glass or a half full glass kind of person?  I think that neither one of those statements are true.   I don’t believe in either or statements.

I think that the truth is always contained in an “all of the above” kind of answer.  I think that every answer depends on the situation and the day it happens.  Sometimes you will view your life through your limitations and sometimes you view it through your strengths.  It’s all up to you and the choices you make.  Your emotions will always be the colors of how you see your life.

Sometimes you will allow your limitations to rule your emotions.  What if it is your limitations that make your story have real value in helping someone else in their own life journey?  When you think about the “feel good” books, movies, stories that we love to watch and listen to – isn’t that what makes the heroes journey so amazing?  The fact that they were able to rise above the limitation?  It’s what separates your story from simply being an “ordinary boy meets girl, falls in love and marries to live happy ever after” kind of story.

There is no growth of character in that story.  It is the overcoming of the obstacles to true love that gives the story a reward.  If Snow White had no wicked stepmother that was jealous and wanted her dead; if Sleeping Beauty wasn’t cursed by the evil fairy; if the Little Mermaid didn’t foolishly trade her voice for legs with the Sea Hag; all of those wonderful stories we grew up with wouldn’t have survived through the centuries.  It is the drama of overcoming the limitations that feeds our souls, not just the “happy ever after” ending.

It is from the damage you have had in your life, that the gold within you is purified.  It is the refining of your soul through life’s fires that makes it into pure gold and shines out brightly for others to see.

“The light you’re seeking out there is already within you.  You hold the light of millions of stars inside your own beating heart.  Stardust runs through your veins and comets shine through your eyes…, My beautiful friend, no one can dull your spark because it comes from within you, it’s yours.  Your spark comes from being wildly yourself; it comes from accepting yourself – strengths and flaws and all.  It comes from being the person that you’ve always wanted to be.  And the more you align with your heart, the more you allow your true light to shine.” – Nikki Banas

It isn’t that some people are heroes and others are not.  It is in the overcoming of the obstacles, the living through the adversity to the other side, that you are revealed as a hero.  It is in the doing of the thing that you thought you couldn’t that your inner strength is revealed.

J.K. Rowling said, that if she had succeeded in anything else, her true calling would never have been called forth.  The one place that she belonged, would never have been uncovered.  So when you think that you’re just a failure, think again.  It simply means you are still revealing who you really are and what you were born to do.  Failure is simply a matter of opening the wrong door.   Keep walking down the hallway and trying more doors.

Adversity is a stepping stone, not a stumbling block.  Boiling water soften potatoes and hardens eggs.  It’s not about the water boiling, it’s about who you are and what you are made of.  You have the strength to be a shining star in the dark night.  Just keep taking one more step.  Don’t look at how far you still have to go.  Just keep taking one more step and give it all you  have.  You can do this!

“People are like stained-glass windows…, when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Just remember each time you made it to the goal line.  Each time you climbed another mountain.  Each time you were defeated and got back up again.  It is in the conquering the challenge, that you begin to understand just how strong you are.  Every time a doubt enters your mind, think of all of the times you conquered a similar doubt.  Every time a fear tries to stop you in your tracks, think of all of the other fears that you have walked through.

A really good friend of mine has a different kind of bucket list.  His list isn’t of the places he wants to see, or the things he wants to do.  It’s a list of the things that he’s afraid to do.  And every year he crosses out one or more things on that list.  He loves the feeling of conquering a fear.  It gives his life a special meaning.  It lights him up.  He sails high on the adrenaline rush for months afterwards.

“Do the things that light you up from the inside out.  Write that book that you want to see written.  Make the pottery that you want sitting on your shelf.  Cook the delicious meals that you want to enjoy.  Fill your walls with art that you adore.  You are meant to live your life beautifully and entirely yours.  You are meant to fill it with all of the colors and art and wonderful things that fill you with delight…, You are meant to live in a way that lights you up from the inside out.” – Nikki Banas

Are you living through a challenge right now?  Get excited about it.  Get passionate about fighting for your dreams.  About living your passion.  About tearing down the barriers.  About crossing the line and living the life that scares you.  Discover what you are made of.  Broaden your horizons.  Learn something new.  Experience something that scares you and makes you heart beat faster just thinking about it.  Create a bucket list that challenges you and changes you.

“Be a warrior.  Fight for what you believe in and never, ever hold back.  Fiercely go towards your dreams with boldness and lust.  Hold your ground in the face of conflict.  Knock barriers down with courage and grace.  Do not give up when you find yourself face to face to an obstacle, instead continue forward with abandon.  Keep the fire in your heart burning strong and do not ever let your flame fade away.  Remind yourself that what you are fighting for is worth it.  And remember that you will overcome everything that comes your way – because my beautiful friend, you are a warrior.” – Nikki Banas

This Letter Is To You

I love that we are all the same at certain points in our lives.  No one is perfect.  No one lives a life without getting scars, both the kind you can see and the kind that no one is allowed to see.  There are days when you feel all alone.  But in truth you never are alone.  Not in what you are going through.  Not in how you feel.

When the storm is raging through your life, there is that moment of calm, right before it all blows away.  The sun comes out and the winds blow away all of the clouds.   In a short time you can’t even tell that there was a storm.  It seems like life has gone back to “normal”.  But you know what changed.  You know that sometimes nothing can be the same again.

So when life’s storms batter you, and leaves you feeling lifeless on the ground – you must remember that you are loved.  And while it might not be in this moment, or even this week,  the day will come again, where you will be having the best day of your life.

“Don’t forget while you’re busy doubting yourself, someone else is admiring your strength.” – Kristen Butler

Until then, remember you are loved.  There are people like us everywhere, who are just waiting to know you and love you.

You are like a wildflower, so let yourself be scattered by those winds when they come.

  • Grow wild wherever you land.
  • Grow tall and brave to face whatever the weather brings to your door.
  • Grow in the cracks of the brokenness of your past.
  • Grow into your full potential.

Put your face to the sun.  Let it warm your soul.  You may have blemishes.  You may have scars.  You may feel tarnished and dirty and like something the cat dragged in.  But beneath the dirt and dust your soul is shining like a jewel.

“I am changing…, but not in a way you’d expect.  I am changing how I view myself.  I am changing how I talk to myself.  I am changing what I allow and who I allow in my life.  But most of all.., I am no longer changing myself for others, the pressure to fit it and be anything other than myself.  I am creating a revolution in my own self care.” – @ MOULE_T

When you look at the word struggle, it seems too much.  It has a weight to it that makes you feel like it can’t be lifted.  But if you just adjust the meaning, a tiny little bit – you see it hides the sparkle that is laying beneath it.  Struggle is like see the sign on the highway, rest area ahead.  Your journey has been long.  You might need a bathroom break.  You might need to just stretch your legs.  You might need to grab a snack or something to drink.  Struggle means:

  • Change, and change is good.  It means something new and exciting is entering your life.
  • Growth – Remember as a child measuring your growth against the wall and seeing how tall you were?
  • Expansion – a good stretch and walk to widen out the boundaries.
  • Progress – Remember when you were in grade school and you took home a progress report?

If you change your definition of something that seems scary, like struggle and change – you widen your worldview to see how all of those words are something to celebrate, not fear.

I learned something a long time ago about decisions.  It came from antique shopping, of all things.  I had started collecting those green milk glass dishes because my grandmother had them and they reminded me of her.  There were times where I found a unique piece, but it was a stretch financially to purchase and I would vacillate on whether I should spend the money or not.

Sometimes I didn’t, then I would go back a few weeks later to buy it, and (heavy sigh) it would be gone.  So I started asking myself this question – “If I come back tomorrow and this is gone, how upset am I going to be?”  Sometimes the answer was “oh well”.  And sometimes the answer was “very upset”.  I always walked away from the “oh wells” and bought the “very upsets”.

“Trust the wait.  Embrace the uncertainty.  Enjoy the beauty of becoming.” – Unknown

I started making decisions in life the same way.  Opening up my heart and asking “what if…?” this works or doesn’t work.  How will it affect me?  How will it affect my life?  How will it affect those I love?  When you get quiet in your soul and ask the right questions, the right answers are found there, just waiting for you.  You have to step out of the wants, needs and desires of others.  You have to feel into that space of inner calm and see what surfaces.

It really is simple.  Living life as your true self is what will make you happy.

  • It sounds hard.
  • It sounds like you are being selfish.
  • It sounds like you will lose those you want to love you.

But those are the lies that are told to keep you in that place of being the good girl and doing what you are told.  That place that leaves you unhappy inside.  That says you are not enough and just need to try harder.  That is the place that you need to grow from.  The place that needs to be expanded, so that you can grow into your full potential.  To be the sweet wonderful person you are at a soul level.

“The only difference between where you are and where you want to be is the steps you  haven’t taken yet.” – Rigel J Davidson

Don’t Live Your Life On Other People’s Terms

I love words.  They are so much more than squiggly lines on a page.  They have width and depth to them.  They affect our emotions.  They have layers and layers of meaning.  So I love when I have the chance to explore a words meaning beyond the formal dictionary definition.

Some words change meaning over time.  In Biblical times the word shambles (which means a mess to me) meant the meat market.  Thomas Crapper was an inventor and he invented a toilet, and in time his last name took on a whole new meaning because of his invention.

This past week I was reading an article that was really talking about decision making.  It was focused around two words, Anxiety and Entitlement.

Anxiety (which is fear fully expressed) is triggered in response to the perceived threat of our values.  If one of your values is around honesty, truthfulness, integrity – whatever word you choose to mean you don’t tell lies (you hate, hate, hate, being lied to), and you suspect that this value is being threatened, this would create anxiety for you.  Say for example, your mom told you to lie and say she wasn’t home.  You want to tell the truth, but your mom (authority figure) is telling you to lie.  Do you go against your values?  Or do you tell your mom no?

Anxiety lives in the space of worry about how to make the decision.  You might make a trade-off for example, and “squish” the truth, telling them that she’s not available at the moment.  Once you’ve compromised yourself in some way, that is when anxiety morphs into something new.  It becomes resentment.  “How dare mom make me tell a lie.”  You blame the other person for your compromising your values, rather than taking responsibility for the decision you made.

“All of us have the privilege and responsibility of choosing our attitudes, no matter what circumstances or situations we find ourselves in.  The key word here is choosing.  Attitudes don’t just happen; they are the products of our choices.” – Joyce Meyer

This is where I came across a new shade of a word that we’ve heard a lot about, entitlement.  For me entitlement was always about “the right” I have to something.  I am entitled to an education, for example.  It also has the meaning of special privileges, which is where the words “white entitlement” has come from in reflecting the ways that racism has been expressed in society.  When you feel entitled to something it amplifies your anxiety, feeding it so that it grows in guilt and blaming others for your current situation in life.

This article I was reading was discussing how denying the reality of your situation is a form of entitlement — and entitlement breeds resentment.  When you deny the reality of your situation, what you produce is anxiety – which is a fear of something.  Going back to the example of your mom asking you to lie about her being home.  Is there a more creative way to do what your mom is asking and not be lying?  Can you protect your value of truth and honesty and still obey your mom?

There are probably many ways of doing this, but what came to mind for me was what if you said, “My mom can’t talk right now, but maybe I can help you?”

My mom once told one of my sisters to answer the door and say that she wasn’t home.  So my sister answered the door and said, “My mom said to tell you that she’s not home”, needless to say, that was the last time my mom did that.  LOL.

“Your life and how you experience it is entirely your making.  Only if this absolutely sinks in, will you make the necessary changes” – Sadhguru

So lets just say that as a child you were asked to lie for your mother on a regular basis.  As a result your value of truth and honesty was constantly being bombarded.  Now imagine that you are in a working environment where you are being asked to lie.  Telemarketing comes to  mind as a kind of job that could impact a persons values for honesty.

I remember back when we still had a landline that my husband answered a call that was from a telemarketer about home loans.  She said that was she was returning our call, pertaining to the refinance of our home.  That we had asked to be contacted regarding reducing the mortgage payment for our home.

She went into her sales pitch and once she paused my husband asked her why she was working for a company that required that she lie with her first sentence.  He told her that not only had we never contacted them regarding a refinance, but that his wife worked for a bank and that if we were interested in refinancing that is where we would do it, because of the benefits for employee loans.  He suggested that she think about finding a job where every sentence she said wasn’t a lie.

She was neglecting her values, by failing to take responsibility for them.  She probably blamed her job for this.  She probably felt in conflict with meeting her financial obligations and keeping her job and failing to live up to her own personal values.  She was probably ignoring the inner conflict, tapping it down.  Her inner emotions would be in a turmoil and her whole life would be impacted.  Feelings of guilt can turn into anger and rage.  When you live a life in this manner, you think that you’re mad at the unreasonable demands of your job, but in reality it is because you are failing to be responsible to your own internal values.

“How people are is their choice.  How I am is my choice.  No matter what they do, no one can make me angry, happy, or unhappy.  These are privileges I have kept to myself.” – Sadhguru

When you hate Mondays, because you hate something about your employment – it is time to take a look at your inner values.  If you find yourself in a relationship either with a person or a job that is creating a lot of stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil – it is time to take a look at your inner values.

Don’t neglect them.  Take responsibility for your own inner conflict, your own needs and priorities.  Don’t blame others for the misery.  Instead start making changes to bring your life back into connection to your inner values.

You need to create psychological safety for yourself.  You need to experience the “truth” of what is happening in your life, the reality – not the story you are telling yourself and others.

The choice is always yours.  You can fix yourself – make the changes in a job or a relationship by staying true to your inner values – or you can try to “fix the truth”.

Fixing the truth, or bending your values and choosing to stay in relationships with a person or a job that is not in your best interests just keeps you in conflict and misery.

“Privilege can either blind or be an eye-opener.  The choice is ours.” – Renita Siqueira

  • It is your Privilege to live in an “anxiety free zone”.
  • It is your Privilege to “face the fears” and conquer them.
  • It is your Privilege to stop being “entitled” and denying the truth and the reality of where you are.

Take a stand.  Stop letting others push you into denying your values.  Instead, put life on a pause.  Take the time to regroup.  Make the time to nurture your soul and start taking small steps to live your life from the place of your values.   Always have faith that God will lead you where you need to go.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken

“The day you find yourself will be the most beautiful day, because after that –  you will never accept less than what you deserve. – Ruby Dhal

It’s not about “finding yourself” in the terms of you being lost.  It’s about remembering yourself – finding that person you were before life started shaping and molding you into who others wanted you to be.  There are so many stories of people who go through the proverbial hero’s journey to re-discover and fully accept who they are.

“Don’t spend all of your time trying to FIND yourself.  Spend your time CREATING yourself into a person that you’ll be proud of.” – Unknown

From earliest childhood we all knew that one of my sisters was gay.  But she never acknowledged it.  When she got married we were all shocked.  My mom tried to talk to her about it, but my sister just pushed it away.  She had a daughter Kelly, and when Kelly was around 4-5 years old my sister was in a car accident.  She had fallen asleep at the wheel and went off a ravine.  She spent over 6 months in a hospital for back injuries learning how to crawl.  She was diagnosed as a parapalegic and told she would never walk again.  All those months in the hospital and almost dying scared her enough that she finally came to terms with her sexuality.

You hear similar stories, like the man who was in college to be a lawyer.  He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 6 months to live.  He quit school and started playing the violin.  He loved music and it gave him great happiness and joy.  6 months passed, then a year.  His cancer had went into remission.  He continued his musical career and left behind the legal field that his parents wanted for him.

“There will be very painful moments in your life that will change your entire world in a matter of minutes.  These moments will change you.  Let them make you stronger, smarter, and kinder.  But don’t you go and become someone that you’re not.  Cry.  Scream if you have to.  Then you straighten out that crown and keep moving.” –  Unknown

Both these examples highlight, that it wasn’t a matter of the person not knowing themselves.  It was a matter of accepting who they were, and pursuing what made them happy.  As children you learn to please others.  To put others desires above our own.  You have to unlearn the thought that pursuing what makes you happy is somehow selfish and wrong.

“Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money.  It’s about finding your authentic self – the one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.”  – Kristin Hannah

When people are in hospice or extended care through the transition of life, the most common thing that they regret are the things they didn’t do for themselves.  The things that others wouldn’t have approved of.  They realize how much they missed of the life they really wanted to live.  That belief that they weren’t good enough or deserving of the happiness that they saw in others lives.  They let their fears of judgement and insecurities hold them back.

“To work on yourself is the best thing you can do.  Accept that you are not perfect, but you are enough.  And then start working on everything that destroys you.  Your insecurities, your ego, your dark thoughts.  You will see, in the end you’re going to make peace with yourself.  And that’s the greatest thing in the world.” – DogTrainingObedienceschool. com

It’s extremely important to accept and acknowledge who you are.  To live your own life, your own way – without regret.  Let go of the compulsion to conform.  Instead be drawn, pulled in the directions of what you love.  Creativity, curiousity, exploring playfully whatever grabs your attention.

When my kids were small, I put off writing until they were all in school.  Then with working fulltime and having 4 kids, I put off writing until they were all grown up.  By that time, the habit was to put off writing for the magical someday, when I had the time.  Then my nephew was murdered and the only way I could process the grief was writing.  I started posting what I was writing and before you know it LemonadeMakers was born.

“Finding yourself is not really how it works.  You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket.  You are also not lost.  Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.  Finding yourself is actually returning to yourself.  An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got its hands on you.” – Emily Mcdowell

I know how hard it can be to let yourself be drawn by what you love.  You tell yourself you don’t have any talent for it.  Or you can’t make money doing it.  It isn’t the career for you.  Nobody will want to read what you write.  Everything you want to say, has already been said by lots of other people.  And so you constantly put it off to someday.  Please don’t deprive the world of your talents and gifts any longer.  You will be shocked at how much they will be valued and how much they are needed.

“You don’t have to be what other people want you to be.  You don’t have to be interesting or agreeable or entertaining.  You don’t have to tone yourself down, quiet your voice, or hide your feelings.  You don’t have to be outgoing or spontaneous or sociable.  You don’t have to be thin or beautiful or anyone’s definition of attractive.  You don’t have to be anyone other than who you authentically are, and you sure as hell don’t have to spend your time and energy trying to convince people that you’re worth keeping around.  The right people are going to recognize your worth.  They are going to respect you, appreciate you, and accept you, without forcing you to compromise who you are.”  Daniell Koepke

Just like a fingerprint, you are absolutely unique when you live authentically who you are.  The things you find interesting, the things you find humorous.  Your sarcasm, your wit, how you approach everything in your life has its own individuality that belongs to you.

It’s self judgement that keeps you from being who you are.  When you relinquish judgement, you let go of the feeling that you have to be different than who you are.  That is when the beauty of who you are shines out. It is your difference that is the beauty of who you are.

“Finding yourself is a time of harmony because you develop that philosophy or belief system that will carry you throughout the rest of your life.  When you love yourself and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life’s pain and pleasures.” – James Spector

 

What would your life be about, if you fell so deeply in love with who you are, that you spent the rest of your life doing whatever it was that would make you happy?  No guilt, no labels of selfishness.  No more living a life to meet others expectations, but rather creating a life of meeting your own expectations for you.

What if you picked up the keys of self discovery and took yourself for a drive?  Seeing each new sunrise and sunset with new eyes, breathing in the fresh air of change and transformation.  Listen for the symphony of living life to your own music.  Hearing the beauty of your own soul.

So lean in.  Hear the calling of your own soul.  Be brave enough to cross that river, taking only the essential parts of you and letting go of everything else.  Be courageous, be authentic, and trust the magic of new beginnings.

The Unending Silence of Grief

This blog is a little heart rendering, so I am warning you ahead of time.  It might be the one you need, and it might be the one you want to avoid.

I thought I knew what grief is all about.  My mom died from cancer when I was in my 30’s.  I was one of the primary caregivers the last three months of her life.  It was a wonderful gift to be able to care for her as she made her transition.  I thought I was ready, but I don’t think that anyone can ever be ready to lose a parent.

About a year after her death a lot of secrets came out of her closet.  It was probably the hardest year of my life, even harder than losing her.  It ripped that window of grief wide open.  I thought that I had made it through the grief process.  I was wrong.  I had to then  process the anger of what she had hidden.  The anger of not being able to talk it through with her , so she could explain it all.

Eighteen years later I lost my 19 year old nephew when he was murdered.  Starting this blog was how I started processing the loss not only of him, but what we all lost in relationship to our sister.

Nine years later I lost my birth father and had to process the grief of not just losing him, but losing the opportunity to have the kind of relationship I always wanted, but he wasn’t able to provide.

The following year I lost what I call my bonus dad.  He had a long journey of heart disease that slowly took away his health.  His was probably the easist death to process, because in the 15 yrs he lived with us, he had cleaned up what needed to be cleaned up with me.

I thought that with all of these losses, I knew what the grief process was all about.  I had experienced it many times.  I understood the grief stages.  More importantly I knew I would survive.  I thought, “I know how to do this”.  Then a few months ago, my three year old grandson was killed in an accident.  I now know grief in a totally unique way.

This journey I now understand is not only individual to the person, it is individual to what has been lost.  The loss of someone so young rips apart your heart.  Then experiencing the loss through your own child, as you witness his struggle to find his way through the grief process, turns your heart to ashes.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with a limp.” – Anne Lamott

The truth is that grief for every person is a solitary journey.  I can’t know how great my son’s pain is.  I can’t understand the anger and depression that he is currently working through.  I have no real idea of how to help.  I struggle for the right words to say, and even if I feel I have found them, I struggle to know the timing of when to say them.

I also know from my own history of grief that just showing up and giving a hug can get someone through one more day of loss.  What tends to happen with loss, is that at first everyone is there to support you.  But time moves on for all of those dear friends and family members.  They have  processed the loss.  They have moved on with living life, because that is what life does, it goes on.

When you have a loss that happens too soon, that feels too much to bear, your time line moves much slower.  So it becomes a solitary journey. No one but you knows how great the hurt is. No one but you can know the gaping hole left in your life, especially when that someone is your little boy. And no one but you can mourn the silence, that was once filled with laughter as he ran around your house chasing the dog. It is the nature of love and of death to touch every person in a totally unique way.

“You’re under no obligation to be the person you were before life flattened you. You’re just not. Trust yourself to navigate this part of the journey.” Stephenie Zamora

 

Grief is not a journey in which you just push yourself through the stages and arrive at the end.  There is no pushing through.  What there is at the end is acceptance.  You absorb it deep inside and it lives forever in your broken heart.  Like a deep cut, it eventually scabs over.  It is a healing process, where you pick at the scab and it bleeds and produces a new scab, over and over.  Until one day you are picking at the scab and it just falls off.  It leaves a scar that fades with time, but never completely goes away.

Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, but the price of love.  If you find yourself stuck in stage for a long time, it is time to seek a qualified therapist that can help you unblock the dam that has been created.  If you find your friends and family are worried about you; if you find yourself putting on the fake smile and working hard to create the impression you have moved on (when you haven’t), it’s time to seek counseling.

“Grieving is a process. There’s a process of the shock, the anger, and then coping with the situation. You have to experience all of those levels to move forward, and sometimes you need help in that” Angela A Bridges

5 Facts about the stages of grief

  • 1 – Our grief is as individual as our lives. Each person is unique in how he or she copes with feelings of grief.
  • 2 – Not everyone will go through all of the 5 stages of grief
  • 3 – The five stages of grief do not have a predictible, uniform or linear pattern
  • 4 – You can switch back and forth between each of the five stages of grief
  • 5 – The five stages of grief are simply tools to help us frame and identify what we’re feeling

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hallow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” favin.com

3 things to know about the denial stage of grief

  • 1 – it’s normal. It is a defence mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of the loss
  • 2 – it’s temporary. It carries us through the first wave of pain
  • 3 – there is a grace in it. It’s nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.

“A thousand moments I had just taken for granted…, mostly because I assumed there would be a thousand more.” Morgan Matson

Anger – You may feel as though the whole world seems to be conspiring against you.  You are mad at everyone, especially God.  You feel as though you are walking a road to your own death, burning in the fires of your devasting anger.  I think this quote describes perfectly why there is so much anger.  You’ve lost all of those future moments.

“In grief, depression is a way for nature to keep us protected by shutting down the nervious system so that we can adapt to something we feel we cannot handle…, as difficult as it is to endure, depression has elements that can be helpful in grief. It slows us down and allows us to take real stock of the loss…, Allow the sadness and emptiness to cleanse you and help you to explore your loss in its entirety. when you allow yourself to experience depression, it will leave as soon as it has served its purpose in your loss.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Depression – I think it has to do with the hole in your heart.  It is consumed with emptiness.  You can’t fill it up or sew it back together.  So you mask it.  You deny to others that you are continuing to grieve.  You’ve run out of tears, out of anger, out of the ability to cope.  So the quiet emptiness just grows until it consumes you.  You’ve shut off the support system and isolated yourself behind the mask.  You are alone and feel like you will be alone until you die.  You feel that your family and the world would be better off without you.  You think that you are all alone in your grief, that everyone else has moved on.  It’s depression that is controlling the mindtalk and thinking.  When the grief turns into this kind of depression it’s time to take off the mask and seek help.  Even though you think you can’t escape the sadness, therapy will help you see past the depression.

At the end of the grief process, it is not so much a moving on, as a moving forward – as you bring your loved one along in your heart and your very breath. They are a part of you now and always. You move forward with them.  You continue to engage in life because you’ve become inspired by this love.  That is my wish for all of us.  To reach that space where we are able to continue our journey with a peaceful heart.  With the good memories that make us laugh and smile.  With that inner knowing that your loved one is still in your heart.  The connection is still there, it is still real, it has just changed form.

To Understand Your Full Potential, It Is Necessary To Step Into The Unknown, Part Two

In part One of this blog we talked about how:

  • Every story has a story.
  • How the story is shaped and defined as you grow.
  • The way forward is never down a straight and narrow path.
  • Growth is like what happens in the “Alice In Wonderland” story, where you do “Six impossible things before breakfast”.
  • We think that growth is a linear measurement.  It isn’t.
  • All growth doesn’t happen with forward momentum.
  • Progress can happen when it feels like you’re sitting still; when it feels like you’re backing up
  • Progress can happen even when you are walking in circles lost in the woods; when it’s one minute before the midnight deadline

Charting your course means that you need to be open to adjustments, revisions, false starts, rewriting your goals, refocusing your passions.  You need to be able to both dig in your heels and let go at the same time.  You must, must, must have a willingness to change.

Step 1 – Be Curious

Step 2 – Live life as an Imperfectionist

Step 3 – Have Dragonfly Eyes

What I love about “Alice In Wonderland” is that nothing that she experiences was normal, predictible behavior.  Her journey gets started because she is curious.  She follows the white rabbit, who was talking to himself about being late and holding a timepiece as he runs by.  Curious, she follows him down a rabbit hole and falls into an unbelievable world.  She is faced with choice after another choice, with no reliable way of knowing what one is the right one.

Along the journey she meets The Caterpillar with his famous line, “Who are you?”.  He helps Alice to adapt to Wonderland by eating the magic mushroom.

She meets The Cheshire Cat several times in her journey.  He floats, evaporates and disappears and shapeshifts throughout her journey as he offers cryptic pieces of advice.  He is the only character who actually listens to Alice as he attempts to help her navigate Wonderland.

In Alice’s adventures through Wonderland she is faced with truly “wicked problems” as she trys to get back home with her head still attached.  It is her curiosity that gets her through as she meets  new characters and tries to understand the stories strange rules of how life operates in Wonderland.

As you live your life you will come across many rules that others blindly follow, without asking themselves ‘why’.  When you ask why, they will say, “that’s the way it has always been done”, because they don’t even know why.  They have no curiosity about the rules.  “It’s just the way they do things here”, they will say.

Step 4

“Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way. We become each and every piece within the game called life.” – Allan Rufus

Each chess Game consists of 32 initial pieces.   The game of chess has specific rules on how each of the pieces can be moved.  In theory it is possible for a game of chess to never end, with an infinite number of moves.  Consider the whole board when making a move, because each move impacts the entire board.

When my kids were teenagers I used to try to get them to understand the importance of the decisions they were making in their lives using the chessboard analogy.  I taught them that while the move or decision that they were making might be according to the rules and thus legal, it didn’t make it the right decision.  Sometimes the right decision is to take another path.

The chessboard shows up in Alice’s journey in Wonderland.  “Chessboard Behavior” in this quote refers to how in playing the game of chess you make strategic moves.  You think ahead to the piece you are contemplating on moving.  You try to guess the other players response and then your response in turn.  You envision out multiple moves and then then go back and think through another move and contemplate it out several moves.  You keep doing this until you can choose the best strategy.

While you are guessing on the other players moves, as you get to know how they play the game, your guesses become more and more accurate.  You gain knowledge, skills, and with natural talent you can make winning choices.

“The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us.”
– Thomas Huxley

Step 5

There is an article published called “Brain-Heart” which contains way too much information and is in such detail that it isn’t easy to put into a simple sentence or two.  In this article, he links spiritual traditions and science together in an interesting way.  He is demonstrating Dragonfly Eye thinking, by combining the boxes of both science and religion to see what else could explain how in quantum physics atoms could be linked across far distances.  That energy is informed by what David Bohm called the implicate order and what physicists now regard as the quantum vacuum or zero-point field.

The experience of the universal domain of consciousness, is the same in all religions, and in all religions it inspires a sense of oneness and belonging. Michael Beckwith affirms that “when you strip away the culture, history, and dogma of every religion, the teachers of those religions were teaching very similar principles and practices that led to a sense of oneness.”

Ervin Laszlo says, the quantum vacuum is like  “the Akashic Field of ancient Hindu spiritual tradition. The Hindu say the Akashic record is a field from which all the universe is formed and which holds all that ever was, is or will be.   The Hindu also say that the Big Bang that started the universe, and the big crunch that will happen when the universe goes into reverse and collapses back into itself, is only a part of many cycles of universes, just like ours, appearing and disappearing, just like the subatomic particles in our world.”

Putting this into a simple example that I read about many years ago, is what happened around the world when 9/11 happened.  Scienctist have for many, many years recorded the magnetic waves rising from the earth into space.  Many months had passed since 9/11 and they were looking back over time tracking the waves on the report when they noticed a huge spike simultaneously around the world.  When they tracked backwards they discovered it happened just as the planes were hitting the twin towers.  It was if the information had been communicated around the world at the exact same moment.  It was the field.

I remember the day as though it was yesterday.  Literally 20 minutes before the crash I was writing in my journal before work.  In my journal I recorded how I couldn’t comprehend how someone could become so wrapped up in hate and dogma that they felt that God wanted them to kill people they didn’t even know, who had done nothing to them.  They hadn’t committed an act of atrocity that required revenge.  The actions themselves are designed to create fear, chaos and hatred – to cause separation.  The planes hit the towers as I was driving to work.  It still gives me goose bumps as I feel that in that moment of writing I had tapped into the field.  I didn’t know what was about to happen, but somehow I knew something was about to happen.

When you tap into this field, I think you tap into divine guidance.  In mediation, in journal writing, in walking through the forest – there are times when your mind is freed from the controlling structures you keep it in.  When intuition comes forth.  It’s how you get the idea to call a friend or family member.  It’s how when you have that thought, the phone rings and it is them.  It’s a connection to the field.

Step 6

Storytelling engages the emotions required for actions.  Show and tell is how you connect others to your story.   When you want to sell something showing through storytelling is like sitting them in a theater to watch an engaging drama.  You can make them cry (pictures of abused animals or a small child in torn dirty clothing looking like they are going to cry).  Commencement speakers tell how they graduated from this college, share the story of their careers.  “I did this and so can you” is the motivational theme of the speech.

Using the show-and-tell mindset you are bringing whomever you are talking to into the picture you are creating.  You need to be clear in your own  mind what actions you want to flow from your story, what idea or thought process you are trying to change.

In the graphic above, you can imagine that the children pictured are trying to talk mom or dad into paying for them to join a sports team or a dance class.  In the child’s imagination they are going to be a star.  What is it that would make mom and dad open their wallets?

If you can get the person you are talking with to enter into your vision, you need to create a moment of “awe”.  This past month two different billionaries left the atmopshere for a very short time and saw something amazing.  The astronauts say that when you see it you can’t help but be transformed.  The saw the earth from space.  It is called the Overview Effect.  It creates a cognitive shift, something changes when that happens.  An emotional cracking open of yourself, a blast of realization and resonance.

I have felt this moment of “awe” a few times.  The first time was holding my newborn son.  I don’t think that it is possible to explain the shift that happens in that moment.  The transformation that happens when you realize this small tiny baby depends on you for life, and that you would give your life for that child in a heartbeat.  Awe is something that happens in a heartbeat.  A shift that says your world has changed, and it can never be what it was before.

If you can tell your story with “awe”, there is nothing that you can’t do.  Nothing you can’t accomplish.  “Awe” draws those who are listening to your story to see all of its potent possibilities.  All of the paths of the chessboard that you can move in.  It takes you in to Dragonfly Eye thinking.  You are floating through the field and soaking up the knowledge of the universe.  You see the hand of the divine in the story as it unfolds.  You embrace uncertainty as your closest friend.  And curiosity takes you on a new adventure.

 

 

 

To Understand Your Full Potential, It Is Necessary To Step Into The Unknown, Part One

Every story has a story.  How the story is shaped defines how you grow.  The way forward is never down a straight and narrow path.  Growth is like what happens in the “Alice In Wonderland” story, where you do “Six impossible things before breakfast”.

We think that growth is a linear measurement.  But all growth doesn’t happen with forward momentum.

  • Progress can happen when it feels like you’re sitting still
  • Progress can happen when it feels like you’re backing up
  • Progress can happen even when you are walking in circles lost in the woods
  • Progress can happen at one minute before the midnight deadline

Charting your course means that you need to be open to adjustments, revisions, false starts, rewriting your goals, refocusing your passions.  You need to be able to both dig in your heels and let go at the same time.  You must, must, must have a willingness to change.

Step 1

In starting any journey of self discovery, it is important to engage your curiosity muscle.  When you are around a little child you see that muscle in action moment by moment.  From the minute they are born, they are wide eyed looking at everything.  Everything is new and wildly uncertain.  They are on a mission to discover and understand this new world they were born into.  They grab onto everything.  They put everything into their mouths.  When they start talking, everything becomes a “why”?  For every answer you give, you get three more “why’s”?

For some reason you lose this voracious appetite as you grow older.  You start thinking that you know the answers, or you are afraid that everyone else does but you.  So you stop asking why.

A great exercise to start bringing more attention to your curiosity muscle, is to start putting a question mark behind your first thought when trying to solve a problem that has come up in your life.  Start asking why is this, the way it has to be done?

Most things in life can be successfully completed in a variety of ways.  There are usually multiple solutions, and multiple paths.

Focus on using curiosity as a focal point for engaging with creativity.  Sometimes you have a better journey when taking the long way home.

Step 2

Uncertaintly is hard to live with.  You want to know everything there is to know about something, so that you can feel that you’re making the perfect decision.  That your work will be perfect.  That your life will be perfect.  But that isn’t how anyone’s life is.  If you were to talk to anyone who you think has the perfect life, they will tell you that fame, fortune, status – whatever criteria you want to measure by – doesn’t make their life perfect.  They still have problems.  They still make mistakes .  They still make bad decisions.

When you throw away the word perfect, you are left with imperfect.  Which is how we all are.  We are all perfectly imperfect.  We are all left feeling like we are blind as to how to make the best decisions in our lives.

So what are we left with then?  Uncertainty.  We are left with blindly following rules that have a multitude of exceptions, based on faulty or fuzzy logic, and sometimes just plain guesswork.

Watch any good mystery or crime drama and at some point someone is going to say, “I have a bad feeling about this”, or “My gut is telling me not to walk away”, or something similar.  In the real world you use your gut instincts or intuition a lot.  Subconsciously you may be making decisions without your mind even knowing why you just turned right instead of left.  It just felt like the right way to go.

One thing that I have learned in the corporate world, you can make facts and figures, statistics say pretty much whatever story you want to tell.  I love logic, but I also know from experience that if I walk out my front door feeling like there is something I am forgetting – I am 99% of the time forgetting something.  I have sat in my car ready to leave going down a mental checklist as I tell myself that I can find nothing that I have forgotten.  But the minute I get to my office and sit down in my chair, a random thought surfaces with the thing I forgot.  My intuition was right.

Knowlege is always provisional and incomplete.  There are always new facts that surface as time goes by.  New evidence comes to light.   If this wasn’t true then there would never be a drug company being sued for side effects discovered as time went by.  No airplanes would fly in the sky.  The world would still be flat.

So when you think you know everything there is to know, just be aware that you don’t.  So what do you do?

Step 3

Dragonflies have large, compound eyes, with thousands of lenses and photoreceptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light. Although we don’t know exactly how their insect brains process all this visual information, by analogy they see multiple perspectives not available to you.  Dragonfly-eye perception is common to great problem solvers, as they take in 360 degrees of perception to encompass multiple viewpoints and ideas at once.

Kalidescope eyes that view life through multiple lenses. This way of thinking is a way to see beyond the familiar patterns that your brain pushes into place. By widening out the periphery of your vision, you can look out beyond all of the filters your mind sees the world through.  You look at a problem from multiple perspectives.  This is where compassion comes in.

When a two year old has a meltdown at a store, many times you will see a mother about to have one herself.  A compassionate viewpoint sees two over-tired individuals, not a bad child or a bad mother.

  • The two year old that doesn’t know how to express his/her feelings in any other way.
  • You see a mom who is also overtired.
  • A mom who worried about if she is just doing this whole motherhood thing wrong?
  • A mom who is flinching from her own self judgment and self perception, that she is now being judged by those who are witnessing the meltdown of her child.
  • A mom who has a million other things she has to get accomplished on her “to do” list, and now she’s wondering if she just go home and forget life altogether as this is a complete disaster.

Your brain like to think in patterns.  Good or bad.  Black or white.  This or that.  Putting things in containers that belong together free’s up your brain to think faster.

By using dragonfly eye’s, you can view the world around you in an entirely new way.  Whatever problems you are facing; whatever decisions need to be made; you can start to see the many possibilities and probabilities in front of you.  Instead of just:

  • Rabbit holes – unlocking secret doors and passageways, or
  • You can start down a new life path and go to a tea party, or
  • This way or That way, or
  • Wrong way or Right way, or
  • Down here or Down there, or

You see “and” not “or”.  You can go up, down, backwards, forwards, straight, crooked, ladders, slides, caves, etc…,  you see all of the possibilities at once.  The secret to developing a dragonfly-eye view is to “anchor inside yourself” rather than outside as a starting point.  To work on that curiosity muscle.  To develop more trust in your intuition muscles.  To exercise your compassionate view of yourself when you try to be perfect.  To embrace uncertaintly.  To have dragonfly eyes.

1 – Be Curious

2 – Live life as an Imperfectionist

3 – Have Dragonfly Eyes

 

In this blog we covered steps 1-3 of the below diagram.  Read the next blog for part 2 as we review steps 4-6

 

Say Yes To Living An Inspired Life

If there is one thing that is making a big turnaround today, it is the thought of how you influence and inspire others.  For years in social media many have had this misconception that you can create a perfect life online.  That somehow this “perfect” version of yourself would inspire others.  All of the posts were about these “perfect” moments that were happening in a persons life.  Nothing was posted that didn’t fit into this perception of perfection.

Like the years of photoshopping models into this idea of what a perfect body should look like, instead of inspiring others to reach towards perfection, it created the opposite.  It fed into the lie, that some how you are not good enough.  Not rich enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough – that your breasts were too small, your stomach not flat enough, your thighs were too large, you had the wrong kind of hair, the wrong color skin, etc…, this idea of perfection (which shifts with the seasons and years) is not how we inspire others.

The problem is that perfection isn’t how life is.  It’s messy.  It’s imperfect.  Most of the time it feels like a disaster.  Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not the advertising agency or the social media influencer.

“Seek the approval of no one.  Never change who you are.  Don’t fit the mold that others have created for you.” – Adverstu.com

I worked fulltime when my kids were growing up.  I tried bribery, threatened grounding and created punishments.  Nothing convinced my kids that they should walk into the house and put their things in their bedrooms when they got home from school.  Nothing I tried convinced them that when they finished raiding the refrigerator because they were starving, that they were capable of putting those dirty dishes in the sink – let alone the dishwasher.

Instead, this was our pattern.  On Mondays the house looked presentable, because I had spent the whole weekend cleaning.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our house slid downhill in a mountain of toys, discarded clothing, schoolwork that fell out of bookbags, whatever the dogs and cats had played with or destroyed, and of course dirty dishes.  By Friday I would collapse under the mountain and pray that no one would come knocking at my door expecting entry.  My house never looked like the perfectly organized home I always dreamed of.

You don’t inspire others by being perfect.  You inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections.

“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best version of themselves” – Steve Maraboli

For me the inspiration came not from working myself into exhaustion.  It didn’t come from yelling and screaming at my kids in frustration.  It came from doing the things that I knew were the most important.  Those things changed as my kids grew older, but it all started from the same place – spending time with my kids.  Sometimes that was just relaxing and watching T.V.  Sometimes it was watching them play in the back yard.  Sometimes it was taking them to the movies and watching something that I never would have chosen to watch, but that they did.  We went roller skating, to bonfires on the beach, to backyard bar-b-ques with friends and families.  As they grew older, it was transporting them to outings with their cousins and friends.  Then it was the terrifying years of being in the car with a student driver.

It was different activities, but the inspiration was the same.  Supporting my kids in whatever way I could to grow up happy and healthy.  Now that they are all grown up and having families of their own.  Now I get to laugh at them going through the same states of imperfection in raising their children.  And I get a lot closer to that imagined state of a perfectly organized home 🙂

What is being inspirational to others about?

  • You seek inspirational people to inspire you – without the burden of putting them on a pedestal and thinking that they don’t fall short themselves.  Remember no one is perfect.
  • You try to always come from a space of love – everyone has something going on in their life that they need to be shown love to make better.
  • You are mindful and compassionate first with yourself, and then with others.
  • You have a curiosity to understand and explore who you really are deep inside, which then deepens into a curiousity to better understand others.
  • You are passionate about living your life.
  • You are open to learning and understanding more about yourself and others.  You realize that todays truth may be discarded tomorrow, when your opinion is changed by a deeper truth.
  • You give without expectation of how that gift will be used, or of getting anything in return.  Your gift is a hand up, not a hand out.
  • Having a value filled life.  Living with a strong sense of purpose, reflected in both professional and personal life.
  • Living a life filled with possibilities.  Seeing and reaching for the highest expression of your human potential.

Simone Biles demonstrated what being inspirational is all about in the 2020 Olympics, when she pulled out of some events to focus on her mental health.  There is greatness in listening to yourself and advocating for your needs.  She identified within herself where she was.  She drew her own boundaries in order to keep herself safe and healthy.  Like Naomi Osaka, she recognized the interconnectedness of mental and phsyical well-being.  When Simone decided she couldn’t compete in several of her events, she stayed and supported her team.

She took a different path than expected and it took tremendous courage to stand up before literally the whole world and do this.  She demonstrated the courage to protect her heart, soul, mind, body and spirit.

I love the thought, that each decision we make to walk our own  path, is a comma, not a period.  The path didn’t end.  It is continuing onward.  There are times when we need to stop and refuel.  It isn’t a period, it is a comma – a pause to take a breath.  You refuel so that you can have the energy to finish – it’s the finish which is a period.

And at the end of each finish, you get to choose what new adventure awaits.  You get to start down a new path of self discovery.

 

 

 

Dare To Choose Better

You  might think that when I chose to create this quote and graphic that I was thinking of judging and forgiving others.  It is very true that when you seek to understand others, that judgment goes by the wayside and patience comes in for the struggles that they are having.  However, when I was thinking about what to write about this morning, it was in connection to self judgment.

“Self awareness is not self judgment.  It is looking, and seeing, and discovering who you really are.  So check your judgment at the door.” – Trans4mind

You set goals, dreams, ideas of how your day is going to go.  You are plan your life out.  You will grow up, graduate college, get a job, marry and have a family, climb the corporate ladder, live in a nice home with the white picket fence, and live happy ever after.  And then it happens.  Self sabotage enters into the picture and you do it wrong.  You destroy what you’ve built.  You crush someone else.  Self judgment burns you like a fire that is raging out of control.

Negative self talk enters your head:

  • How could you be so stupid?
  • Can’t you do anything right?
  • You are the worst!
  • You’re not good enough!
  • You are a fake and a phony!
  • Everyone hates you!

“What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgments about these things.” – Epictetus

You are not perfect.  Nobody is.  So you will make mistakes.  Some of those mistakes will be disasters.   Some of life’s disasters happen from things not in your control.  Your mom dies from cancer; your nephew is murdered; your grandson is hit and killed by a delivery truck.  Life just happens.

You can’t go back and change what happened.  But you can in any moment create a new beginning.  Starting over. Let it go.  Done is done.  Stop carrying the emotional baggage of your past.  Take responsibility for your actions.  Rectify whatever can be shifted into a better place.  Then free it from your mind.

As part of your self awareness journey, you have to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions, both of yourself and others.  You need to learn to communicate clearly.  It is one of the hardest lessons.

Sometimes you are so scared of what the other one might say, that you don’t ask the question that you know in your soul needs to be asked.  Or, you lie to yourself that you can make something happen that you know is not really in anyone’s best interest.

Self awareness takes a lot of courage.  It is the only way to avoid the misunderstandings, drama and sadness that happens when we ignore the signs and continue walking down the wrong road.

“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are, or the way they should be.  And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.” – Stephen Covey

It might be time to start examining all of your assumptions.  Get curious as to what you things in life you think that you understand.  Years ago there was an aquaintance in the church I attended.  Someone had seen her having dinner in a restaurant with a strange man.  When they left the restaurant they were holding hands and the man kissed her goodbye.  That person went around telling everyone that she had a boyfriend.  The gossip took off like a wildfire.  What really happened was that her brother was traveling and stopped off to see her for dinner on his way to another location for business.  The person who saw her made an assumption and they thought what they saw was the right interpretation of facts.  It wasn’t.

How many assumptions about yourself, others, and life itself do you have that could have another interpretation?

I love the writing of Joseph Campbell.  He talks about the cave you fear to enter.  There was a demonstration of this in the original group of Star Wars movies.  When Luke is being taught by Yoda and he enters into the cave.  He asks Yoda what he will find inside and Yoda tells him, only what you take in with you.  Per Joseph Campbell, “The cave you fear to enter has the treasure you seek.”  You need to find your own cave.  Own the fear(s) you have and enter it.  Like Luke you will learn something powerful about yourself.

“Own the fear, find the cave, and write a new ending for yourself, for the people who you’re meant to serve and support, and for your own culture.  Choose courage over comfort.  Choose whole hearts over armor.  And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid.  At the same exact time.”  – Brene Brown

So set your intention to keep moving forward.

Create the space and intention to remove the armor that keeps you feeling like you’re stuck.  You’re not really stuck.  You just need to check the thinking that created the circumstances you find yourself in.

  • Life is messy.
  • Life is complicated.
  • There will always be something that you’re afraid to face.
  • Life has painful moments – show up anyways.
  • Life can be awkward – live it anyways.

Focused Creativity And Inspiration Make Dreams Come True

If you were to concentrate in this moment, what is the one thing that you most desire in your life right now?

Someone out there would give anything to:

  • To meet and marry their perfect mate
  • To take the chance and reach out for that promotion at work
  • To start interviewing and land a new job, that is in line with their life values
  • To receive the amazing gift of giving birth to their own beautiful child
  • To achieve the dream of buying their first home
  • To buying their first brand new dream car
  • To having just one more day with a loved one that has died

This list could go on and on.  Some things on this list are within your control to obtain.  The dream of the new home or car; the promotion or the new job – all things that you can work for and earn or obtain.

It might be that you’ve tried to get pregnant, had medical procedures to assist, and still can’t get pregnant.  It might be that obtaining this dream means that you have to adjust to a new reality of foster care or adoption to have children.  To match your dream of a child, to the child’s dream of parents to love them.

Some things might take a different path altogether.  Being with a loved one who has died, you might take the path of talking to them in a praying meditative state.  Or maybe the path of writing that letter telling them everything you never had a chance to say.

When you were a kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass or even just a glass and focus the suns energy on a piece of paper until the heat got hot enough that it started a flame? It takes focus to keep the glass still and just wait until the paper gets hot enough.  If you keep moving the paper around, it will never get hot enough to create the flame.

Creativity generates ideas.  Inspiration takes those ideas to the next level by thinking about them.

It takes focus to follow the trail that the idea came from.  It takes getting outside of the normal day for just a few minutes to say, “I wonder what happens next, and next, and where does it go from there”.  It takes focus to not get lost down the rabbit hole of other thoughts and ideas and just stay on this one trail with no distractions.  You have to harness your creativity and focus your thinking down a particular path to reach the destination.

Let’s just take the first dream on the list above and “find the perfect mate”.  Maybe the first thing you do on this path, is to take a piece of paper and write down all of the details of what your idea of a perfect mate is.  Write down as many things as you can think of, even what seem like silly details, such as they put the cap back on the toothpaste.  What their character is like; how they look; what their dreams are; what music they like; do they need to sing karoke with you ever Friday night?  Do they love to line dance at a country western bar?  Do they love chocolate?  Go all out and write down everything your heart and imagination can think of.

Once finished put that list in a drawer and forget about it.

Now start a new list.  This list is the most critical list of all that you’ve ever made.  This list is about who is that person, with all of those qualities that you just wrote the pages about, who is he/she looking for?  This is going to be about the list of changes that you are going to make in your own life, to attract that dream partner into your life.  This list is the secret of how the only person you can change is yourself.  This list is about the secret that when you start making changes in your own life, your life dramatically changes.  Your life improves by the amount of focus, power, brilliance and energy that you use to implement changes.

Focus means that you have to say no to anything that is not moving you forward in the direction of attracting your life partner.  You are surrounded by people who will take you off the path you are walking down.  There are constant distractions trying to sidetrack you.   So you say no to going out Friday night with your girlfriends because want they want to do isn’t in line with anything that you wrote down your perfect mate would want to do.

Remember that you wrote down that your perfect partner loves to line dance in country western bars.  You’ve always wanted to try it out because it looks like fun.  You never have because you don’t know anyone who would go with you.  So you’ve never gone.  So focusing on making changes to youself means, you check out some country western bars and find one that has free line dancing lessons.  You go to the next lesson and start learning how to line dance.

Just keep making these small changes to how you live your life in line with the values that you say you want in your life.  Step by step you become the perfect person for the perfect mate you are wanting to attract into your life.  You focus on what matters and let go of the rest.

Keeping in line with attracting that perfect mate, you’ve now went through all of your closets and dresser drawers and have space allocated to that perfect mate to use.  You are ready  – now those dormant forces are going to align to collaborate and transform your dream into reality.  There are so many wonderful stories out there about men and woman who have done this and attracted their perfect mate.

You can use this process to achieve every single dream you have.  You make the changes in your life that are necessary to create the space for your dream to come true.  Feel right now, how you imagine you will feel then.  Bring those emotions into your reality today.  Life the life today, that you have been projecting into your future.

“Stay focused on your goals, your peace, and your happiness.  Don’t waste your time on anything that doesn’t contribute to your growth.” – ihearts143Qutoes

Light Up Your Life, Shine Brightly

Sometimes simple things are the hardest concepts to put into action.  Anne Frank is quoted as saying, “Whoever is happy will make others happy too”.  Such a simple yet profound statement coming from a young girl who was in hiding from the Nazi’s makes it even more impactful.

I really love the days when I wake up happy and feeling like this is going to be a good day.  For me, it’s kind of a bouncy energy, light and airy.  Have you ever felt that way?  I’ve even used the analogy of the energy being like a balloon.  I feel like I am filled with a bouyancy that will allow me to fly through my day with no obstacles.  Then someone comes along, who is filled with negative energy.  Their balloon doesn’t lift up, but instead drags on the ground.  The negative energy is contagious and loves to come along and pop others balloons.  Just a simple statement coming from someone shooting out negative energy can steal your happiness in a moment.

About 10 years ago I received a promotion that I had been working for all of my life.  When my then boss called me into his office and delivered the good news it came with a caveat.  He said, “It doesn’t come with a raise and it doesn’t really mean anything.  Title’s are pretty worthless.”  Talk about taking  out all of the positive energy in the room – he gave me this beautiful balloon and then immediately popped it.  He made me feel like what I had worked so hard for all of those years was meaningless.  The goals I had set from highschool for myself were meaningless.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading around how managers are becoming more like coaches than bosses.   This past year, I received my “Inner MBA” which is a MBA course from NYU in being a  Compassionate, Resilient, Mindfulness Leader.  I am also getting certified in Positive Psychology.  I think that both of these courses have really expanded my view of how one negative person in your personal life, or work life – can negatively impact not only your relationship with them, it also muddies the water of every other relationship you have.

“Neurologist claim that every time you resist acting on anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.” – Positive Energy Quotes

Everything that I read about the energy field that we have as humans, reflects that it is like a magnet and positive attracts to positive.  One of my favorite philosopher’s is Jim Rohn.  He had this way of making everything so simple.  When I lived outside of Los Angeles, I would listen to his recordings on my commute back and forth to work.  California drivers can be pretty aggressive.  Jim talked about how you can shift your mind to not allow others to pop your balloon of positive energy.

So when someone cut me off or was driving aggressively, I started to practice what he talked about.  My immediate first reaction was anger.  I wasn’t an aggressive driver, so I wouldn’t try to cut off the bad driver in revenge.  But it would pop my balloon of positive energy and drain it completely dry.  So part of my practice was to catch myself letting someone else drain my positive energy.  It took a few weeks, but I got to the space where I was able to be grateful they were in front of my car – their cutting me off was saving me being rear-ended by them when they couldn’t stop fast enough.  I would actually say out loud, “thank you for getting in front of me”.

You can apply this to anyone in your work or home life that constantly has negative energy.  In your mind you can practice the Jedi mind trick – “I’m not the person you are looking for.  You can go about your business.  Move along, nothing to see here”.  Send them on their way, being happy that you were able to keep your balloon flying high.

Just as negative energy is catching, so is positive energy.  Have you ever been in a creative space with others and seen this happen?  It’s like the idea that one person generates takes on a life of its own and touches each person in the group. They take the idea and reshape it.  Expand it.   Evolve it into the perfect thing that is needed to move the project forward.  It is a Eureka!! moment.  It’s like everyone in the group is holding on to a large number of balloons of positive kenetic energy.

“Vibrate so high that toxic people if your life fall back, because they no longer know how to approach you.” – Unknown

When you get into this space of positive energy generating a field around you, those people in your work and home life just stop coming around.  They don’t understand you.  They even have a term for you, being a “Pollyana”.  Pollyana had a game she called the glad game.  So take it as a complement and keep shining out your brilliant light of positivity.

“The game was just to find something about which to be glad about, no matter what it was…, you see, when you’re hunting for the good things, you sorta forget about the other kind.”  Pollyana

They can’t relate to someone who refuses to enter into the drama that they create.  You never have to get rid of those relationships.  When you keep that positive field generating around you, they will stay away themselves.  It is sort of like a repellant, and they consciously don’t even realize that they are avoiding you.  You just have to stay close to those with a positive energy, people and places that make you feel glad to be alive.

Like most things that I talk about, this is all about doing the work on the inside.  You have choices every moment in your life to let someone into your energetic space or keep them out.  It takes work and time to learn, but it is so worth it.  Instead of having your mood reflect everyone else’s day, it can begin to reflect what you have personally chosen to accept.  When someone comes into your space with a low frequency, negative vibration, choose to energetically push them on their way.  “This is not the droid you are looking for.  Move along.”

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