Category Archives for Beliefs

Living In The Depths Of Solitude, You Preserve Your Own Soul

Updated 4/14/22

“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no whenever you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing” – Eve Ensler

It was really interesting in locating a photo for this quote. I looked up woman in solitude, and 90% of the photos showed women who were depressed, some even suicidal with a hangman’s noose besides one woman and suicide by pills in several others. I couldn’t believe that solitude was paired up with depression and suicide.

Solitude is critical to being able to love oneself. This is not being an isolationist, which could become unbalanced when taken to extremes. But rather as a sign of being balanced, because you are happy with your own company. Being alone doesn’t make you lonely. It took much longer than I thought to find a photo that actually displayed that kind of joyous feeling within it.

As a woman you give so much of yourself away.  You constantly see to the needs of others.  Solitude is how you can balance this out, so that you are not giving too much of yourself away.  Solitude is strength.

At various times of the year, it is vital to have some solitude to review the past few months and do some deep thinking for how you want the rest of the year to be for you. 

  • What dreams did you bring into reality? 
  • What dreams did you sideline? 
  • What dreams need to be released, as they no longer fire your soul with passion to be accomplished? 
  • What dreams are waiting to come into your life? 

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul” –  Marcus Aurelius

In reading anything that talks about the “crowd mentality”, it talks about how if you feel you must always be with people, it can be a sign of weakness.  This is because you may become prone to follow whatever everyone else is doing, just to belong.  

  • You can determine this by how afraid you are to speak out against the crowd when you don’t agree? 
  • How important is it to be considered “normal”? 
  • How often do you avoid doing something you want to do, just so that you won’t stick out?

I think most everyone would say they are afraid to stand out, not be “normal”, or speak out against a crowd.  The real dividing line is do you let that fear stop you?

There is nothing more freeing and empowering to like your own company and be your own person no matter where you are.  It is more fun to be considered weird.   Be the orange fish in a sea of blue fish.  Go your own direction.  Be weird.

  • W is for wonderful; 
  • E is for exciting;
  • I is for interesting; 
  • R is for real and 
  • D is for different.

I love the first quote because it shows great courage to do things like take trains to somewhere you have never been by yourself. To go so far away that you lose the fear of finding your way home. That you will do something that you know in the depths of your soul is yours alone to do, even when everyone you know disagrees. 

“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves”  –  Katrina Kenison

I believe that you have that kind of courage, but sometimes you are still letting life hold you back. I believe this is true of all of us. 

There are moments of indecision.  Of not being sure of your way.  In the end, the only way out, really is, to go through. To step past the place of safety on the sand. You need to actually cross over the line into adventure, stepping into the sea. 

“True happiness is impossible without solitude…, I need solitude in my life as I need food and drink and the laughter of little children.  Extravagant though it may sound, solitude is the filter of my soul.  It nourishes me, and rejuvenates me.  Left alone, I discovered that I keep myself good company”  – Sophia Loren

Only by being alone with yourself can you come to true honesty with who you are, and how you are being reflected in the world.  It is in this place of honesty, you are able to authentically release the parts of you that are not you, and own in the real world the parts of you that are crying to be released into life. 

Only to the extent that you expose yourself to the changing tides of the sea, can you transform into who you are becoming. I think that we all want to find out what we are doing here, and we can’t do that staying safely on the dry land.  You have to step over the line to experience adventure. Here is to smooth sailing!

For an idea of something that you can do with relative ease, try Forest bathing.  It is the practice of immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way.  It has a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health. It comes to us from Japan and is known as Shinrin-yoku. ‘Shinrin’ means forest and ‘Yoku’ stands for bathing.

Forest bathing in nature allows the stressed portions of your brain to relax. Positive hormones are released in the body. You feel less sad, angry and anxious. It helps to avoid stress and burnout, and aids in fighting depression and anxiety.  Immersing yourself in the solitude of you and the forest is very healing to the body, mind, and soul.

A forest bath is known to boost immunity and leads to lesser days of illness as well as faster recovery from injury or surgery. Nature has a positive effect on our mind as well as body. It improves heart and lung health, and is known to increases focus, concentration and memory.  Certain trees like conifers also emit oils and compounds to safeguard themselves from microbes and pathogens. These molecules known as Phytoncides are good for our immunity too. Breathing in the forest air boosts the level of natural killer (NK) cells in our blood. NK cells are used in our body to fight infections, cancers and tumors. So spending time with these tree is a special form of tree bathing.

 

This Is The Part Where You Find Out Who You Are

Just be yourself

Revised 4/14/22

“It is not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not” – Denis Waitley

I was recently talking to my coach about my book that is being published this summer.  It is a collection of 90 of my posts and it will be called, ‘Timeless Treasures for Today’s Living’.  We were talking about how to promote the book and she was telling me of something that she had read about another author.  They had created a program, where if you bought 50 books, you became an ambassador of the book and author.  In return she included a bunch of bonus items wrapped around some personal coaching calls, her monthly subscription program etc…

The first thought in my mind was I am not worth someone spending that much money on me.  No one would think that what I have is that valuable.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This quote includes not letting your own negative mind talk make you feel inferior.  Immediately check those thoughts of being unworthy.  What was so interesting is that I had been looking for new graphics for a post, and I saw this picture with her hand on the mirror and looking away.  I felt immediately called to write about self-love.  My intuition was telling me that another layer of not accepting who I am was about to be revealed.

You wouldn’t let anyone tell you that you’re not worthy or capable of doing whatever is in your heart to do.  So why would you allow your inner negative critic to do so?

It used to take me awhile to recognize that “Cami” was running my mind and was in control of my thoughts.  I named my negative mind talker Cami, because she is so good at camouflaging herself.  She sneaks into random thoughts, inserts herself into conversations and just all around makes a pest of herself.  Cami and I journal together sometimes.  I will write down a question for her, and then just detach from the answer and wait for her to tell me what to write down.  She comes from a place of fear.  She puts the worst interpretations on everything.

Have you ever been at work, just minding your own business and you get a call to go into your boss’s office?  What is the first thought that comes into your head?  Is it, “Oh no!  What is wrong?  What did I mess up?  Am I going to get fired?”  And then you go into your boss’s office, and they just have some random question for you?  That is your own internal Cami at work.

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” – Marcus Aurelius

Your Cami is just trying to protect you.  She is afraid of everything.  She criticizes you to keep you within her designed comfort zone.  Within that zone she controls the world and keeps you safe.

The problem is that you’re busy expanding that zone.  You’re busy learning new things.  You have dreams that you want to grow.  So, when you are looking for ways to expand your own comfort zones, you will need to confront, reason, and work with your own version of Cami.

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are” – Elizabeth Gilbert

The quickest way to bring your own Cami around to your way of thinking is to take what you want to do in steps.  Kind of like when you take a small child to learn to swim.  First you hold them and get their feet wet.  Then they would stand, and you would walk out deeper and deeper into the water.  Each step is a new victory.

The only way to be confident of your own talents, gifts and abilities is to do what you are afraid to do.  So, make your Cami a deal.  You will walk so far and then you will talk and negotiate a new distance to explore.  Eventually you will have her swimming in the deep end of the pool with a new comfort zone.

If you try to bulldoze her, she will trick you.  Like being lost in the forest, you will walk in circles. You will think that you are making progress, but little things will keep drawing you further and further away from your chosen destination.

Have you ever had a day, where you planned out this list of things that you were going to get done – yet you find yourself 12 hours later, exhausted and you only were able to cross off 1 thing?

That is your Cami at work again.  Bright shiny objects grab your attention.  A sudden desire to clean out a closet.  You went to the grocery store just to buy milk and you came home with a months’ worth of groceries 3 hours later.  Cami struck again.

“I am strong because I know my weaknesses.  I am beautiful because I am aware of my flaws.  I am fearless, because I learnt to recognize illusion from real.  I am wise because I learn from my mistakes, I am a lover because I have felt hate.  And I can laugh because I have known sadness” – Unknown

By trial and error, you too can find a way to deal with your Cami.  Maybe like me you will learn to journal and negotiate with her.  Maybe you will be successful with willpower and bulldoze your Cami into submission.

There are over 80 different kinds of hammers.  Most of us are familiar with one kind.

Now you can use that hammer for a multitude of projects, and sometimes it will sort of work out.  You might have a few dents, scratches, dings, but you will have a finished product.  Or you could use the right kind of hammer, and end up with a beautiful work of art.

Take the time to learn who your Cami is.  What she is afraid of.  How she wants to communicate with you.  Learn how to reassure her.  Appreciate that she is doing what she thinks is the right thing, based on your own past experiences.

  • What are your dreams, visions, your life purpose?
  • Are you on track to bring them into reality and complete them?
  • Have you allowed distractions to sidetrack you?
  • Are you unclear on what your life purpose is or how to bring it into reality?

If you want some assistance to name your Cami, to discover who he/she is – contact us.  We are here for you.  Keep trying to find the right hammer for your progress.

Be Yourself, An Original Is Worth More Than A Copy

Revised 4/13/22

Mother Nature freely expresses herself every day, and she doesn’t apologize for it. Most of us learn at an early age what we are taught as “good manners”. Good girls are seen, but not heard. Don’t express a different opinion. Never contradict an authority figure, even if they are wrong. And so on, and so on.

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be” – Unknown

Have you ever been in a building like a lighthouse when a really strong storm comes into shore?  The whole cliff shudders and shakes.  The waves are so strong it feels like it can actually tear apart the bedrock foundation of the lighthouse.  Sometimes you have so bought into being the story of pretending to be someone else, that you have totally forgotten who you really are.  It takes a severe storm to shake up the foundations and uproot your life.  It is time to bring you back to who you are, and what your purpose in life is.

I love the writing of Don Miguel Ruiz and his book The Four Agreements. The Four Agreements have more to them than this, but this gives you a taste of them.

Be impeccable with your word– I love how it includes not speaking against yourself. How many times have you called yourself dumb or stupid or something equally demeaning?

Don’t take anything personally– What people say and do is a projection of their own reality, not yours.

Don’t make assumptions– This is for me the most important thing, as you assume you know what someone else is thinking and they think they know what you are thinking and the truth is that most of the time we are having two totally different conversations.

Always do your best– The only way to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret is to do your best.  I love that saying, when you know better, you do better.

Don’t be afraid to be who you are.  Don’t let fear convince you that you are less than you really are.  What people think about you is really none of your business. 

What you think about yourself should be your primary concern.  Be the best you can be, and when you make a mistake (like we all do) then own it.  Clean up anything that needs to be cleaned up and move on.  Don’t pack it in your suitcase and carry the weight of it around for the rest of your life.  That kind of baggage creates limitations and keeps you in a cage, afraid to be who you are. 

When you have reached the place, where you no longer require validation from others as to who you are, what your gifts are – that is when you become the most feared person on the planet.

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and not your friends) Am I really a writer?  Am I really an artist?  Chances are you are.  The counterfeit innovator is wildly self confident.  The real one is scared to death” –  Steven Pressfield

Reveal your authentic essence, the part of you that isn’t watered down.  This is what makes you a “one of a kind” authentic original human being.  The world, especially the social networking world. will judge you for who you are. So why not just be what makes you happy?  Be proud of who you’ve become.  Hug yourself with both arms and be passionate about how you live your life.

When you pretend to be someone that you aren’t, you are only hurting yourself.  This habit you have of saying what you think others want to hear, is what leads to so much miscommunication.   The mask you put on talks to the mask he puts on.  So no one talks to the real people behind the mask.  Miguel Ruiz really speaks to the removing of these masks you have created in your life.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place” –  Unknown
Your inner core contains your true self.  You don’t have to find it, you just need to let it out.  You are a magical being, a miraculous soul put here on this earth, in this time and space for a reason.  Your soul is calling out to the universe.  You are a vital piece of what the world needs now.  When you own who you are, you are able to enjoy every magical step of your personal journey.
So the best advice is taken from the moon – be yourself and blow some minds – and if you make some waves, just provide some beach towels.  When you show up authentic, you create the space for others to do the same.  So walk in your truth, and don’t be afraid to make some waves.
  • What are your dreams, visions, your life purpose?
  • Are you on track to bring them into reality and complete them?
  • Have you allowed distractions to sidetrack you?
  • Are you unclear on what your life purpose is or how to bring it into reality?

Remember that LemonadeMakers is here to walk alongside you.  We love the deep conversations 🙂

Bridging The Gap Between Knowledge And Action

Revised 1/12/22

The biggest gap in your life is between what you know and what you do – Bob Proctor

It is up to you to be a prisoner of your past, by remaining in it; or to be a champion of your future by building it. If your life path was to travel from one of these formations in the above photo, to the next one and so on to the end, how would you do it?

You could anchor yourself and rappel down the mountain, then walk to the next peak and scale up that peak.  Then cross the peak, rappel down the mountain and repeat over and over again.

We are human.  We are not perfect.  We are alive.  We try things.  We make mistakes.  We stumble.  We fall. We get hurt.  We rise again.  We try again.  We keep learning.  We keep growing.  And we are thankful for this priceless opportunity called life – Unknown

Or, you could become a bridge builder.  You could build a temporary bridge out of ropes or wood, or a bridge designed with stone or steel that would last for many years.

Neither way is wrong or right. Just different choices. You could for sake of argument take opposing viewpoints on the better, faster way to walk this path. You could discuss how those that follow you would make better speed with some type of bridge that you are building.  Or how scaling up each peak would define you and make you stronger. For me, rock climbing would be facing the fear of falling to my death.  It would test my faith in ropes, cords, carabineers, slings, anchors, and harnesses.

At the end of the day, the analogy is that each of us has our own path of divine destiny to walk.  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to walk the path.  The lessons will come to you regardless of what you choose.

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things – Rainer Maria Rilke

Some time ago I self-identified a pattern that I have.  I call it one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas.  It began with a childhood experience when I was four years old.  I was very motivated to the best in school and when I was an adult to climb the corporate ladder.  I was also very introverted and didn’t like to be seen and noticed.  This pattern of drawing attention to myself by being a master at my job, and then shrinking back when I got the attention used to drive me crazy.

I finally through years of self-improvement identified this pattern and started working to shift and transform it.  Every time I feel like I am walking in slow motion, or pushing a boulder up hill, I know that this pattern has reentered my life.  It is an energetic signal that I am being blocked in some way.

Have you ever had a project you wanted to complete and every time you sat down to work on it, you would remember something else you had to do?  It might be an email that simply must be written and sent now.  It might be laundry or dishes that have to be done.  You notice a spider web on the ceiling that must be removed.  You have to run to the store.  Your mind is looking for something to distract you away from the project.  Suddenly the whole day is gone, and you didn’t work on it at all.

Put gaps in your life:  moments to reflect, prepare, meditate and breathe – Jody Adams

For whatever reason your life pattern is trying to shift you away from the project.  There is something about this project that it wants to avoid.  In some manner, this project is pushing up against the boundaries you have set in your subconscious.  It sees a danger, and so it works hard to gently distract you away from it.  The completion of the project will in some way change and shift your life – it could be that you are aware of it, or it could be some unforeseen possibility that your subconscious wants to avoid.

In my case, I started shifting the pattern first by writing these blogs.  It felt safe because I am unseen and unknown to you.  Then I started speaking on stages about my transformational work.  This was also not too hard, because with the lights on a stage, it is hard to see the audience.

They aren’t up close and personal.  The hardest thing to shift was being able to walk into a room and not be terrified of meeting and having conversations with strangers.  Of not being judged as “not enough”.  Of feeling like I was an imposter.  Negative thoughts of self-judgment.  Places I was afraid of.  “Who was I” to think I had something to say you would want or need to hear?

Negative thoughts are like rotten or missing boards on a bridge.  It is scary to think of stepping out on this bridge.  What if I fall?

This pattern of “having a foot on the gas and brake at the same time”, is really great at camouflaging itself.  It has chameleon qualities.  When I started with this Facebook page, I knew that I needed a website for the blog posts.  Instead of 30 – 45 days it took me nine months and the hold ups were all from me.

t took me months to actually sit down and start writing my first book.  Every time I start something new, “Cami” my own personal chameleon puts the brakes on.  The good news is that it is taking less time for me to recognize what she is doing and shift her efforts at slowing me down.

I may not have gone where I intended to go. But I think I have ended up where I needed to be – Douglas Adams

Many teach that we came into this life to have a certain experience. Mine seems to be dealing with this pattern of foot on the brakes, when I am pushing hard on the gas to accomplish a goal. Now that I recognize it has chameleon like qualities, whenever I am not progressing towards my goals, I know to go looking for that sneaky lizard.

  • Here’s to the space, the gaps, the pauses, the silence.
  • Here’s to embracing five minutes of slow every day.
  • Here’s to savoring that cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or glass of wine.
  • Here’s to watching the wind in the leaves.
  • Here’s to sitting in a swing and enjoying the feeling of flying as you swing up into the sky.
  • Here’s to lying on a sandy beach and listening to the surf as the waves come into the shore and retreat back into the ocean.  To the smell of the salt air and the cry of the seagulls.
  • Here’s to lake fishing along the shoreline, casting out the line and sitting in companionable silence as you reel it back in and cast again.
  • Here’s to listening to the laughter of your children and grandchildren.
  • Here’s to sharing a meal with new friends and old friends.
  • Here’s to roasting marshmallows and making smores around an outdoor fire pit.
  • Here’s to turning off your phones and having a conversation.

The best thing in life is to go ahead with all your plans and your dreams, to embrace life and to live everyday with passion, to lose and still keep the faith and to win while being grateful.  All of this because the world belongs to those who dare to go after what they want.  And because life is really too short to be insignificant – Charlie Chaplin

This life pattern is my GAP – Gods Area of Preparation. This is where you learn about new ways that your life pattern has shifted, and you learn new ways to build bridges to close that gap.

The winds of life will try and pull you off course.  The space between your values and behavior is called the Integrity gap.  It is the places where what you say you are doing and what actions are actually taking place, have a gap.  It isn’t that you are purposefully not living in integrity.  It is that sneaky chameleon who has disguised itself to put up roadblocks to the actions that you intend to do.

Go back to places where you feel like you might have had the brake and gas on at the same time.  Once you recognize the patterns, it becomes easier and easier to release the brakes and have your actions spring back into gear.

Can you see GAPs in your life pattern? Do you see where you need to learn to build bridges to close off the gap to get to your destination?

Don’t be afraid to explore and discover what the broken pieces of you are trying to say.  Mosaics at made from broken pieces, and they are a beautiful work of art.  All of life experiences come together to create who you are.  To expose the divine gifts you have, you rearrange the pieces to uncover the hidden treasures you have buried deep within yourself.  To show you just how every shattered dream, served to provide just what was needed to move forward in strength.

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

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.

 

 

 

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.”

Freedom From Expectations

Right from the moment you are born, you are taught to pay more attention to what others expect of you, and to ignore your own wants and needs.  You are taught to be “unselfish” and put the needs and wants of others before your own.  As a child were you constantly being compared to others?

  • Did  a parent or loved one ever say “why can’t you be like “so and so”? in comparison to how they dressed or acted?
  • Did you ever hear “why can’t you be an “A” student?”
  • If you were in sports or played an instrument, did you feel like you disappointed your parents or loved ones because you weren’t the best?
  • Were comments made comparing how your body looked – too short, too tall, too skinny; too fat…,  compared to some idealized person?
  • Were you ever made to feel like you took up too much space – like you shouldn’t have any needs at all?
  • Did your parents or loved ones have the “favorite” child and you were just the “extra” one?

Or maybe it was the opposite and you were really talented, got good grades, outshined others.  Did you feel peer pressure to be less than you were capable of being?  Did your friends or siblings make you feel bad because they couldn’t or just didn’t want to put in the effort to excel – and they wanted you to be the same way?

Most schools have the cliques – and the “nerds” were never treated the same as the “jocks”.  Comparisons start at an early age and seem to follow us throughout our lives.  If you spend all of your time trying to live up to, or down to others expectations, it can feel like you’re in an ocean surrounded by sharks.  They surround you just waiting until you can no longer keep your head above water.

“In therapy I have learned the importance of keeping spiritual life and professional life balanced.  I need to regain my balance” – Tiger Woods

I thought that these quotes by Tiger Woods really revealed how from a young age he had spent most of his life, first living up to his fathers expectations, later coaches expectations, and then the expectations of his fan base.  It can cause you to become extremely imbalanced between your career and the rest of your life (relationships with spouse, children, your health, your spiritual life…, etc).

Part of what you have to do is to back off from living up to others expectations, and take the time to consider who you really are or what you really need.  Especially when you are in sports or some other field of entertainment, you can get so caught up in thinking that you are only the “golfer” or the “basketball player”.  Christopher Reeves became known as superman, a sterotype that became his public and private persona.  The truth is, that you are more than just whatever talent you might posses.  If the ability to play golf, or basketball, or play the part of a superhero goes away, you are still the same person.

You need to stop ignoring the calls of your soul/spirit or heart.  You do not have to stop being who you really are inside, in order to fit into the expectations of the world.  Choose to listen to your soul.  Listen to the deepest needs of your heart.  Choose to be free of the shackles of others expectations.

“To being trustworthy?  To being successful?  How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model?  There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror:  Are You Committed, or are you not?”  – Lebron James

 

As a mom, you can feel incredible pressure to be “super woman”.  To hold down a fulltime job, and be a fulltime mom, and the sexy wife.  To have the perfect children who are the best at whatever they do.  To drive the kids to sports, to music lessons, to every extraculricular activity.  To have a spotless house with nothing out of place.  You create the weight of mountains on your shoulders and push yourself to always be doing, doing, doing.  Until that day you drop dead of exhaustion.

“20 things that women should stop wearing after the age of 30:  #1-20:  The weight of other people’s expectations and judgments.” – Maura Quint

As a dad, you can feel incredible pressure to work 80 hours a week to meet the ever upward constantly changing goals.  To convince your boss, that you are ready to take on more responsibility, you feel that you have to work longer and longer hours.  To be the last person to leave at night and the first person into the office in the morning.  They may even joke that you must sleep at work.  I always remember this line in the movie “Baby Boom” where the boss says something like “he doesn’t remember how many grandkids he has, but he knows to the cent how much money the company makes on a daily basis”.  So many men fall into the trap of working so many hours to get ahead in their career, that their family suffers from them never being around.

“Expectation feeds frustration.  It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t” – Dr. Steve Maraboli

You are not supposed to live your life meeting the expectations of others.  You are supposed to define your own individuality.  To be your own unique person.  To follow your own path.  To choose your own adventure and strike out on the road less traveled.  Be extraordinary instead of the rat in the maze trying to find the same piece of cheese.  You are the person who gets to choose what matters and what doesn’t.  The meaning of your life is whatever you want it to mean.  It’s the meaning that you give to it that makes it your life.

“The secret to happiness and peace is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.” – Marcandangel

As you leave behind the expectations of others to discover who you are and what’s important to you – remember to allow the same for others that you love.  When you live your life according to who you are, and don’t put the weight of expectations on others on how they should live their lives, you create the space to be happy.  You no longer feel disappointed because you “failed” to live up to the expectations of others – and, you are not disappointed by the actions of others not meeting your own expectations.  You learn to live in the world of “what is” instead of “what it should be”.

“No more expectations.  Just gonna go with the flow and whatever happens, happens”.

Going back to what Tiger Woods said, achieving some kind of “balance” in your life is what is important.  Living according to who you are, and not putting pressure on others to meet your expectations doesn’t mean “whatever happens, happens”.  It doesn’t mean that you don’t try to do better, and be better.  It doesn’t mean that you stop trying to rise to your full potential in your life.  It means that you have a good working balance between taking care of your family, and yourself – which includes your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual good health.

I thought that this quote from Stephen Hawking was so spot on.  He said, “When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one, really appreciates everything one does have.”  Sometimes you have  something happen in your life that changes everything.  Maybe you get a medical diagnosis of ALS like Stephen.  What you thought was important suddenly isn’t.  You are just happy that you are still alive.  You experience a freedom, that sort of says – ok, I am in the basement, the bottom of what’s possible.  Anything I achieve from now on is good, great, and better than anyone thought it could be.  Just think of everything that Stephen Hawkins accomplished from that space of “zero”.

So free yourself from the expectations of what others expect from you.  Get still and start from zero –

  • Accept that this is who you are.
  • Accept what it is that makes you happy.
  • Accept what you can be the master of – what your strengths are, your talents and skills that are so easy for you to accomplish?
  • Having balance your life, so that you have time for yourself, your family, your friends, and your spiritual beliefs and practices.
  • Put on your oxygen mask first, then help others.  You can’t help others unless you take the time to fill up your own cup first.
  • Relax, taking a deep breath and just “chill”, take the time to smell the flowers and find the beauty of nature.
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