Good Things

Here Comes the Sun

Good morning, friends – we haven’t caught up in awhile…Happy New Year! Hope your 2022 is exactly what you want it to be – back in the day, we all would’ve had massive resolutions and promises of change for the new year, but after the past couple of years, I think we’ve all really been through it, so expecting grand transformation seems like it’s just too much. Putting on pants some days now is just too much, amIright? Whatever you’re doing to be your best you, JUST DO IT. I wish good things for you. ✨

I didn’t set any resolutions this year, because I’m only going to break them anyway because I’m human, so…why bother? Instead, I’ve set some goals for myself: I will read a minimum of 60 books this year (13 days in and four books are already done – woot! woot!); I will do some yoga at least three times a week (I hurt my back before the holidays so was hindered from starting this, but I’m finally walking properly – and not like I shit my pants – so it’s go time for this one!); I will write more; and I will make my family and myself – and our lives/happiness/joy my TOP priority. Work can wait, everyone outside of our love bubble can wait – we.come.first. ALWAYS. I predict this attitudinal change will make a huge difference in our year. Stay tuned! 🙌

My last goal for the year is to learn a bunch of new things. I’ve not put a number on it, but I am going to learn some stuff. Yesterday, I learned how to make a whiteboard animation video – I love those! It was fun to learn and im excited to learn more – I will make one to share here soon. Prepare to be dazzled! (Okay, maybe dazzled is a strong word, but…let’s go with it, shall we?)

I hope your 2022 is off to a great start – I can’t wait for us to catch up and spend some more time together. Sending you buckets of love and hugs! ✨

Xxx

Good Things

Sage Advice

Someone I know posted this online, and I had to share it with you – I seem to think it’s something Drew Barrymore posted on Instagram, but I could be wrong (it’s been known to happen):

How’s that for some truth? My life je more than half over, sadly…and I really feel this need to make the second act the BEST act. I’ve got to enjoy what health I’ve got going on, I’ve got to prioritize the things and people that matter, I need to simplify simplify simplify…and I need to forgive myself for all my wrongdoings. I’ve not turned out THAT bad – but why not use the time I have left to be the very, very best version of me that I can be?

Seems like a good use of time if you ask me. ✨

Xxx

Good Things

Rainbow Connection 🌈

Do you find it easy to connect with people? I do – on a surface level. I’ve never met a stranger, only friends I haven’t met yet. I can find common ground and something to talk about with pretty much everyone…which makes life really super-fun. However, as friendly as I am, I have a lot of difficulty finding people that I can connect with, that I feel that I can trust, and that I feel safe, comfortable, and happy with. Those people are super-rare, unicorns walking amongst us – they are really hard to find.

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How do you know when you meet someone that they are going to be good and trustworthy peeps that you want to have on your Phone-A-Friend list for ‘Who Wants to be a Millionnaire?’ I have done A LOT of thinking about this issue, and have spent considerable time researching this idea – because, obviously, I have made some grave errors in judgment in this area in my lifetime. I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have, I’ve been wary of people who were probably very worthy of my trust – and I blew it because of my own stupidity. I came across this article on trustworthiness that touts the “CRAC” method : Credibility, Reliability, Attention Ability, and Communication Ability. The author suggests using these 5 core questions to guide your assessment of someone’s trustworthiness when it comes to figuring things out.

Credibility: Does the person speak truthfully? Not in partial truths, but in complete truths. Does the person speak with accuracy? Can the information shared be verified? Is the person consistently and proactively transparent? Do they proactively share ways for you to validate their credibility? Can what you see and hear from them be validated by others? Do they demonstrate competence? Do they provide information in simple, uncomplicated terms – terms that you understand?

Here are some questions to consider about a person’s Reliability: Does the person consistently do what s/he says? Is there consistent follow through? Does the person have a reputation for being reliable? What do others say about the person’s reliability? You can often glean great information on reliability via comments made in various social media channels, especially Facebook. Is the person consistently on time? Look for patterns of meeting/not meeting time commitments and deadlines. Are they surrounded by other reliable people (social network)? If not, watch out. People of a feather tend to flock together.

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Here’s a few to think about when determining a person’s Attention Ability: During conversations, does the person consistently focus on him/herself? If someone shows strong signs of inward focus (overuse of “me”, “I”, and “them”), be careful. Trustworthy people demonstrate an “other” focus by using terms of inclusion and collaboration such as “we”, “our”, and “us”. Does the person consistently do brand promotion (lifting other people up) or brand assassination (tearing other people down)? Does the person demonstrate under-appreciation for your thoughts, comments, and ideas while over-promoting the value of their own? If so, you have a clear warning sign of concerning behaviors.

Finally, one of the greatest ways to determine if someone is trustworthy is their Communication Ability: Does the person demonstrate active listening? This is evident by virtue of the person… Restating what has been said to check for understanding Demonstrating appropriate body language such as navel intelligence Asking open-ended questions during conversations Does the person set expectations that are clear and specific? A bonus question that is also a great one to ask involves availability.

This list is by no means exhaustive….there’s a lot of other factors at play. Think about the person you’re wondering about – are they consistently available? Availability requires intentionality, and people who can be trusted always make themselves available to invest in others. Think about how you feel when you’re with them – do you feel comfortable? Safe? Content? Engaged in the conversation? All of these are good indicators of comfort and trust in someone. Some people just feel inherantly more trustworthy, and you pretty much feel it from the first moment you lay eyes on them – others take awhile. (they’re the grow-ers not the show-ers…surely you’re familiar with them 😉 )

I often wonder how I come across to other people. Do they think I’m friendly? Open? Trustworthy? Honest? The kind of person that they want to be around? I hope so. What does it mean to have a sense of presence? I have always wanted to be one of those people who makes a place better simply by being there. I’m just not sure how to make that happen? Maybe I’m just too hard on myself, which made me think of this article that I read awhile back: 29 Signs You’re Doing Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

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You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.

You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.

You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.

You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.

You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.

You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.

You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.

You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.

You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.

You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.

You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.

You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.

You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.

You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.

You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.

You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.

You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.

You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.

You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.

You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.

You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.

You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.

You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.

Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.

You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.

You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.

You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.

You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

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I’m pretty crazy about this list, because it brings up a lot of great points – especially for someone like me who is so bloody hard on herself all the damn time. When you think about it, I have a roof over my head, a beautiful family, a great job, and a pretty decent life. Maybe I do bring a certain presence when I move through the world around me…and maybe I’m not doing half bad, after all. 😉

xxx

Good Things

Happy

In the spirit of sharing something positive, have a look at this piece courtesy of MindBodyGreen:

11 Encouraging Truths To Accept For A Happier Life

by Sonia Kumar

Life can seem like an uphill battle if we meet it with resistance. There are circumstances beyond our control and expectations that will be shattered. Rather than resisting life, if we meet it with acceptance, compassion, and an open mind, it will begin to flow more freely. Acceptance is the key that sets us free.

Here are some truths I’ve learned on my journey that keep me on the path to happiness:

1. You are doing the best you can.You are only doing the best you can with what you know. Once we accept this, we begin to be much more gentle with ourselves. There’s no point in beating ourselves up about past choices and actions, as we only did what we thought was best at that time. We are all a work in progress, and we are all constantly learning. Let go of perfection, and let go of harsh judgment.

2. Everyone’s journey is different.Your path will be different from that of your friends or your family. Whether you put your career aside to travel or get married much later or earlier than your friends, there’s no need to compare. Your life journey is completely unique; it’s OK if not everyone understands it either. It’s about you, not them.

3. You can’t keep everyone happy.This is a losing battle. Everyone has different likes and needs, and they will be different from yours. Not everyone will be accepting of you and your decisions either. And that’s OK. That doesn’t mean that you need to keep trying to please them or gain their acceptance. You could lose yourself in trying to do so.

4. You can’t change people.Maybe you’ve been in a relationship in which you thought you could change the person for the better. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who you think needs fixing or saving. Most of us have learned the hard way that we cannot change people. No amount of pushing, preaching, or nagging can change a person. Change has to come internally from them. All you can do is accept them as they are and set an example.

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5. What goes around comes around.Every action accumulates karma. Be mindful of your actions and how you react to situations—even when you feel wronged by someone. Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” Remember to think before you act and take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

6. Age is just a number.Age is just a concept created by our minds. It’s easy to let age-related expectations interfere with our lives. Some of us have arbitrary ideas of when we should have our career in a certain place or when we should get married. Life can’t be lived on a schedule. Do what feels right for you. Don’t let anyone else’s idea of what’s “right” or “normal” influence your choices. You’ll be much happier.

7. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong decision.If we put too much pressure on ourselves to make the “right” decision, we may feel paralyzed and be unable to make any decision at all. Try to think less in terms of the right and wrong polarity. Even if we feel that we have made a mistake or chosen the longer road to get to our goal, you learned lessons you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Same goes for our career and relationships—even if we make a slight detour, we learned from it. There’s never a wrong choice.

8. Judgment only limits our minds.Every time we judge a person for their actions or appearance, we only end up limiting ourselves. A closed mind is a breeding ground for ignorance. Try to foster an open mind. Learn to see others with compassion, empathy, and understanding. Likewise, if someone judges you, that is a reflection of a limitation in their mind. It may not have anything to do with you on a personal level.

9. The world is a classroom, and we are the students.Life will give us many lessons—some more painful than others. Our job is to look for the lessons in every situation and every person we come across. We attract people that will give us growth. Next time you feel hurt or triggered by someone, look for the bigger lesson behind it. A lesson will keep repeating itself until it is learned.

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10. Setting boundaries is not a bad thing.There are times that we will need to put some boundaries in place. We may have come across relationships or situations that feel toxic and leave us feeling depleted rather than refreshed. In situations like these, give yourself permission to say no or limit the time spent in draining situations. You are allowed to protect yourself. You deserve it.

11. If one door closes, another will open.Try not to spend too much time grieving over lost opportunities, jobs, or relationships. If something doesn’t work out, take it as a blessing. Know that there’s something much more suited to you out there. When doors close, we are forced to think in new directions, and eventually we open our eyes up to bigger opportunities and healthier relationships.

I have struggled more than once with workplaces during my time here in the US, so I am putting my concerns out to the universe, and hoping that a power so much higher than me will take care of me and put me where I am meant to be. I spend A LOT of time at work, so it’s best when it’s a place that you like to be. 🙂

What do you believe is necessary for a happier life, my friends? Whatever it is, I hope that you find it!! 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Accentuate the Positive

I wrote what’s below about five years ago; I’m so happy to see how far I’ve come in that time. Let’s walk down memory lane together, shall we?

I marvel sometimes at the level of sheer stupidity that walks around us…if you ever need confirmation that you are smarter than the average bear, read the annual Darwin Awards coverage – you’ll feel like a Mensa candidate, guaranteed. I, too, seem to attract more than my share of stupid people and things – and this is something that has got to change. I’m done wasting my time on people who are unworthy. Done. Finished. Kaput. Life is way too damn short – as I have been reminded of too many times. I’ve not a second to waste.

I’m interested in the idea of attraction, and how we can attract the things that we want into our lives. However, my wee brain happens to play host to some ugly-ass little demons with vulgar mouths, so attracting positive things to come my way when I keep hearing a soundtrack of negative thoughts running through my head is really difficult. So, I’ve decided that the best way forward with this is to work on removing the negative things from my life, toss those demons out of my head once and for all, and then I can focus on attracting the good stuff in. It’s a multi-step process, but I’m up for the challenge. 🙂

So….let’s start with some ways to remove negativity from our lives! Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not an expert in this area, and I don’t play one on TV. However, I do seem to have an amazing arsehole sonar that brings all the jerks and jackasses to my yard (in droves), so…I certainly have picked up a few tips to chase them away over the years.

Here are my suggestions:

Don’t spend time with people who are toxic – if you’re related to them and kind of stuck with them, I’m sorry….get in, get the visit over with, and get the hell out. Carry Jackass Repellent in your bag (take a can of Deep Woods Off and make your own Jackass Repellent label – the smell is offensive enough to scare away most people, plus it’s an excellent conversation starter), don’t listen to a word of the crap that spews from their mouths, and just be your usual, awesome self. Don’t spend a second more than you have to around people who harsh your mellow – it’s not worth it.

Set boundaries with everyone in your life, even those you like. In order to get people to respect you, your needs, and your personal space, you must make sure that everyone knows where your personal ‘bubble’ ends. We all put up with too much shit from those around us (says Understatement Queen herself), and the only way out of this kind of hole is to be very clear about your expecations. Stick with them! If you say that you aren’t going to be treated like shit anymore – don’t. It’s as simple as that. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 🙂

Like attracts like, so….find some positive people! Don’t join the Moaning Myrtle Club at your work place – instead, find the most optimistic people around and pull your chair right up beside theirs! Call those people who always have nice things to say to you – and, for the love of all that is sweet and holy, stay the hell away from the chronic complainers!! They suck the life out of EVERYTHING!! For realz!!

Don’t worry about things until they are real – this is rich coming from me, I know. I am the fretting queen, and if catastrophizing was an Olympic sport (is it even a word?), I would be a multiple medallist. However, there really is no point in worrying about things that might happen – that only cultivates further anxiety and misery, and who wants that??! Not this girl! When you find yourself fretting and feeling crappy about what might be, take a moment, step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘Is this the hill I choose to die on?’ The answer will likely be no (since nobody really aspires to bite the dust on a hill) – so just let it go. Worry about things when and if they become realities. It’ll save you a lot of misery, heartache — and wrinkles! 😉

Spend as much time as possible doing the things that you enjoy. While I know that very few of us will ever choose to devote our days to housework and other chores, they are necessary evils – but get in, get ’em done, and get out…and do what you love! Read the books you fancy, go to the movies (whether you’ve got a date or not!), window shop, try clothes on your pets (maybe it’s just me that really enjoys doing that….), whatever it is that you like to do, be like a Nike wearer and JUST DO IT. Find ways to do the things that make you the happiest every single day – and, if there are people who try to stop you from doing the fun things, tell them to go to hell. We don’t need that kind of crap in our lives. 🙂 One of the things that I enjoy doing is eating appetizers for dinner while having a night in at home – so, this weekend, this is what I shall do! I will hit up Trader Joe’s for all of my favorite yummy goodies, I will put on some of my favorite movies, cuddle up on the couch with candles going and vino in my hand, and just eat, drink, and be merry to my heart’s content. It will be AWESOME! 🙂

Fill your home with things that make you happy, and focus on making your abode a happy sanctuary where you want to spend your time. Surround yourself with pictures of happy times and people you love, paint your walls whatever bloody color you please (if you fancy having a bright orange bathroom, I highly recommend it – one of my amigas from Canada did this in her casa, and it’s positively STUNNING!! Gorgeous – just like her!), have treasures all around you, and let your heart feel super-happy when you lay eyes on them. In mi casa, I have rose quartz crystals all over the house (there are dozens of them, no lie) – they look pretty, they remind me to feel the love that’s all around…and I love them. Yaaa! 🙂 I recently repainted/redid my bedroom, and I’m crazy for it – I still need to finish hanging pictures and sprucing the place up, but so far so good. I love it! 🙂 I didn’t do anything big or fancy, but the vibe in the room has somehow changed, and I’ve been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER lately – woohoo!! Mission accomplished!!! 🙂

Try to love what you do for a living. This one has been a struggle for me over the years – I’ve always loved the work that I did, but I wasn’t always enthralled by the locations where I did it. Thankfully this changed dramatically a couple of years ago when I was hired in my current position. Even though there are days when I am as annoyed as a person could possibly be at my job, I have never stopped loving what I do, and I have never stopped loving where I do it. When I was stuck in my miserable jobs, I worked like a friggin’ mo’fo to get out of there, and I eventually did. Was it easy? God, no!! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!! If you aren’t happy where you are, do everything in your power – and then some – to change it. We spend more time at our jobs than we do anywhere else (at least I do), so it had better be somewhere that we don’t mind to be. Do what you love, and love what you do – and you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s the truth. 🙂

How do you combat the negativity that seems to thrive everywhere around us these days? What do you do to make your home a retreat from the madness of the world around you? I can’t wait to hear from you – hit me up with some comments! 🙂 xxx

I’m so happy to report that I have made SIGNIFICANT progress with this over the past few years – wow. It’s humbling to see how far I’ve come – we should all find ways to check in with ourselves like this, you know? I have become greatly more discriminating when it comes to how I spend my time – if I don’t enjoy someone’s company, I don’t see them. Simple as that. Of course the pandemic has helped with this considerably, but I was already well on my way. I’ve learned how to say no to people and mean it, and I’m really getting good at setting boundaries. I rarely have to deal with toxic people anymore (apart from the ones in my family), and I minimize contact and always approach like Teflon, ensuring that their bullshit bounces straight off me. And it feels GREAT. Highly recommend!

I’ve tried finding others who are as positive as me, and while that has presented some challenges, I am making progress. Being around optimism is EXHILARATING, and we all need to do it more often.

Same thing with focusing on things that make you happy – I’ve struggled with doing what I think I should do, or being what I think others want me to be for years…and been so miserable. I’ve made real headway with this one in the past couple of years – I’ve taken up painting which I love, I’m signed up for Transcendental Meditation training this weekend (SO excited!), all sorts of things designed to make just me happy….and I’m so much a better person for it. Funny how that works, eh?

I would love to hear from you, and hear what you do to focus on YOU – drop me a line, friends! ♥️

Xxx

Good Things

Hard Advice

I just want to share this article with you – please read it, carefully, and let the words soak into your brain. There’s good stuff here:

19 Radical Truths I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

by Fran Sorin

Something happens to a woman when she turns 50. Call it an awakening of sorts—a tipping point. For me, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and I could finally see what really mattered in life. The realization hit me hard. I’d been on this earth for a half a century and my time was limited. This coming of age, for me, came with a feeling of freedom and urgency. It’s a time to take stock of your life: where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve failed, opportunities you’ve passed up and those you’ve taken advantage of. Ask yourself what you love and what you want to change. How do you want to journey through this next phase of your life?Reflecting on my younger years, I wished an older, wiser woman had taken the time to help me create a road map for a life of meaning, creativity, and joy.It would have saved me a lot of time, confusion, and worry. And it would have given me clarity, a sense of calm, focus, and self-assuredness as I journeyed through this very complex world of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the things I would’ve liked to tell myself a few decades ago:

1. You have to be your own top priority.If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have much more energy to help others. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.

2. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.Although our culture talks a lot about de-stressing, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you realize that most diseases are related to lifestyle choices, you might get serious about integrating exercise, nutrition, and relationships into your daily life. You’ll be astounded by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel.

3. The people around you should be those who love you and support your growth.How many times have you spent time with a friend or family member who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for the toxic people in your life. Anyone who is consistently negative needs to be kept at a distance. Your five closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish.

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4. To get anywhere, you have to get comfortable with saying no.It takes practice to catch yourself if you tend to say yes out of habit. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be delighted to see how much time and energy you have to pursue your passions.

5. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.People who fill their lives up with stuff they think they “should” do rarely feel fulfilled. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Spending time chasing the approval of others will not only drain your energy but will keep you from uncovering the best parts of yourself. When you catch yourself in self-doubt, call on your wise inner self to remind yourself that you only need to please and receive approval from yourself—no one else.

6. Doubts hold you back; affirmations propel you forward.Women spend so much time questioning whether or not they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. As soon as you hear that inner critic, replace that voice with the phrase, “I am enough” or “I am the artist of my life.” I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.

7. There’s always time to be still.Our culture places a high priority on productivity and keeping busy. If you give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time the morning, you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state, so that no matter what happens you’ll be able to respond thoughtfully rather than react instinctively.

8. You need to become a person you can love before you try to love anyone else.Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning and say “Good morning. I love you.” It may sound hokey, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you really are. You’ll discover internal beauty and great self-love by making this one small change.

9. Gratitude really does change your life.Develop a daily gratitude practice. It takes five minutes. I love sitting with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for each morning. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and sink into the sensation of appreciation you feel for that cup of coffee.

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10. It’s cool to be your own best friend.Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations, and deepest desires is critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours. How do you feel? If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it. Figure out why. Notice when you feel pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creativity: Being aware of these positive experiences means you can find ways to incorporate more of them into your life.

11. You are responsible for yourself—and only yourself.Blaming external circumstances for your unhappiness will only perpetuate it. Instead, when you find yourself bemoaning the state of the world, affirm to yourself, “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”

12. You need to believe in your own abilities.Once you own that you have the power and ability to create a life that you deeply desire, you’ll experience—deep in your soul—the power you possess, which, in turn, will inspire you to make changes. You’ll also understand that there is a solution to practically every issue and that you have the ability to figure out what that solution is.

13. You’ll always learn more from listening than you will from talking.Whether with an old friend, a stranger, a family member, or in business, learn the art of listening. Becoming an excellent listener will enable you to develop more intimate and deeper connections. You’ll also have more interesting conversations and it will keep your mind active and growing.

14. Curiosity is the key to never being bored (or obsolete).We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative life, you need to expose yourself to new concepts and practices. And even in areas you’ve been exploring for years, there’s always more to learn. Let go of perfectionism. Be willing to fail. It will reveal so many possibilities.

15. Hatred costs everything. Forgiveness costs nothing.So many of us hold deep grudges indefinitely. Often, an inability to forgive others is a sign you struggle to forgive yourself. Catch your inner voice making critical or angry comments about others, and acknowledge that what you’re feeling toward them is actually a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just by noting these feelings and reminding yourself to let them go, you’ll begin to dissolve these feelings of anger and judgment. You’ll experience a rush of positive energy, relief, openheartedness, and compassion.

16. Spending 20 minutes a day in nature is one of the best things you can do for yourself.It’s a profound way to de-stress, clear your mind of clutter, jump-start creativity, and experience feelings of well-being, calm, and awe. Take just a few minutes a day to awaken your senses and you’ll reap magical benefits in all areas of your life.

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17. You’re much better off doing one thing really well than three things poorly.We’ve been led to believe that success means multitasking all day long. When you slow down and practice being present and focused each moment, you’ll experience a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life. Try this: Stop whatever you’re doing, sit still, clear your mind, and take three deep breaths. Then start again.

18. “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”OK, so I borrowed that one from Oscar Wilde. Life is a paradox. Knowing how to integrate fun, laughter, and playfulness into your pursuit of a meaningful life will jump-start your creativity and enable you to develop deeper connections. Think about it: After you’ve had a good laugh, don’t you feel more light-hearted, happier, and able to continue your day with more ease?

19. Your job here is simple: to create the life of your dreams.We all have moments of self-doubt. In those moments, let your wiser self remind you that you’re highly intelligent and creative. All it takes to make a difference is the desire and drive to keep making it happen. If you set your mind to it, believe in yourself, and take action, you’ll always find a way to create an extraordinary life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Great, right? I have come to a lot of these conclusions myself, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve found my way to this knowledge – imagine how different my story would’ve been had someone told me this when I was younger? Although, I likely wouldn’t have listened, but…still. It might have been nice to have the advice. 😉

xxx

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To Make You Feel My Love

You know what this world needs? More love. The kind of love where your picture is on their phone as both their wallpaper AND their screensaver. REAL love. Some of us express it well – others, not so much. Psychology Today offers this suggested list for those people: 10 Ways to Express Love

Keep love alive from wedding day to every day with spouse, family, and friends. Love is a choice as much as it is a feeling or a decision. Those who give love receive love. Recently we have seen research talking about conflict resolution and conflict recovery in terms of lasting romantic relationships. Each of the studies had me rethinking the work of Elizabeth Schoenfeld, a researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who revealed that men and woman show love through affection – but that each takes a different tact.Wives did so “by enacting fewer negative or antagonistic behaviors, husbands showed love by initiating sex, sharing leisure activities, and doing household work together with their wives.” Love Knows No Gender Difference – Health Information – Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Ten Ways to Express Love

Here are 10 ways to express love to your special someone, your friends, family, children. By expressing love we bring ourselves joy knowing that love is not just a Valentine moment, but an ongoing, free flowing experience that enriches our lives.

Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

Send flowers for no reason other than to say “Thank you for being you.”

Set aside time to give the gift of listening. Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little neighborhood place, for coffee or a drink and just listen to each other’s thoughts.

Keep anger at bay. During stressful times think of this image. If an ember flies from a fireplace onto your rug, it will burn a hole. Flick it off immediately and the rug is safe.

Be thoughtfully generous with gifts. Remember what is special about a person in your life and buy gifts that are unique to them. I had to forgo a trip to Paris because it conflicted with a business meeting in San Diego. My sister purchased a designer umbrella picturing the Seine, the Pont Neuf, and the Eiffel Tower as a reminder that there will always be another time for Paris.

Order fortune cookies with love sayings or Italian Baci candies with love notes and keep a glass jar in your home filled with them. You might also intersperse with gratitude sayings.

Offer an act of kindness. Say to your love or someone you care about, “What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?” Then do it.

Write a note and send it via the U.S. Mail. Here’s a simple start: “I am so grateful that you are in my life. I love you for a million reasons.

Make time to be together for events that bring you both pleasure.

Be forgiving. We all have quirks. When one surfaces that makes you want to scream, either gently say something or switch to the positive-quality channel.

In the book, “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings,” Fox challenges us to make this commitment by saying: “I have chosen the path of Love. My own heart is to be my workshop, my laboratory, my great enterprise, and love is to be my contribution to humanity.”

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All of these are good ideas, most of them not exactly earth shattering…but I am pretty crazy about the idea of the “positive-quality channel” – I kind of love that, don’t you? It’s so easy (way too easy) to get sucked into the negativity drain that seems to be everywhere around us, instead of focusing on the things that are going right. This is something that I have been working so hard on – I don’t know if I’m making progress or not, but I am trying. I really took it to heart when I heard this gem: is it better to be right or to be happy? I’ve always HAD to be right (because I usually am 😜)…being right mattered so much. I wanted to be the smart one who does everything right – and I’ve no idea why I ever cared. Being right fills me with indignant satisfaction, which can feel nice in the moment – but happy makes me fuzzy and lasts a much longer time. I like happy.

Wherever you go today, I hope that you are loving someone…and that they are loving you. Out loud. With a picture of you on their phone and everything. 🙂

Xxx