Step Away And Get Clear

Sometimes you just need to step away and get clear.

I’ve found myself feeling a little guilty lately that I haven’t posted a blog in over a month. IClarity. Yet another amazing pencil drawing. LOVE her work. was feeling like I was supposed to(which is always a good indicator of untruth), or if I didn’t it meant I wasn’t committed. Then there was the other part of my brain, the creative side that said – but I’ve got nothing to say. Which is funny because my mind is always running at warp speed. What I’ve determined though is that I have been spread in so many directions and putting so much of me into multiple efforts that I just had nothing left. Even for something I’m passionate about and enjoy.

Several times in the past month I have sat down and drafted a blog post, only to determine that I wasn’t even interested in reading it – why the heck would you be. I was trying to force it.

And this got me thinking…

What other things in my life am I forcing? And as a result am I delivering something that is less than what I’m capable of or than others- and I deserve?

Are you trying to be everything to everyone and as a result being less than you can be? My teacher and life coach Dr. Martha Beck describes a cycle of play. Rest until you feel like playing and play until you feel like resting. Play is a broad term, it includes all that you’re passionate about, all that drives you. Your play may be your work, it may be your fitness routine, it maybe your spiritual discipline, it may be caring for your family. But whatever it is, you must find the balance in your life and take the time to rest and rejuvenate so that you can be at your best when it’s time to play again.

I’m feeling rested now – so it’s time to play! Game on!

Posted in Gratitude, Life Coaching, martha beck, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Self-Concept

‎”How you perceive yourself determines what you think you are able to do and that determines in turn what you will try. So the self-concept has a tremendous effect upon the intelligence of the individual.” -Dr. Arthur W. Combs

There are many factors that create our self-concept and they begin at birth. Factors including gender, race, age, family, culture, social standing, etc. These factors become so ingrained in us that we believe that they make up who we are. When in fact, they only make up who we think we should be. It’s through this lens that we begin to see and judge ourselves.

Every wonder why you don’t do those things you say you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

It’s entirely possible that you don’t really want to do it in the first place. Not only can our self-concept hold us back from trying things, it can also give us false information about what’s really important to us and what we want from life.

We have this crazy battle going on inside our heads. It’s a war between our social self and our essential or true self. The social self is governed by the totally whacked out Ego – that lunatic voice in the back of our head that says we have to be “cool”, we can’t fail, we can’t let anyone see that we’re anything less than fabulous.

Meanwhile our authentic self if miserable because we’re not following our true path. The ego is a powerful force and is not easily taken down. But there are some tricks you can employ to keep it under control. Here are just a couple.

1. Listen to your body. It won’t ever – can’t – lie to you.  If something gives you strength and joy, it’s the right thing for you. Pay attention to how your body physically reacts to a situation or thought. Take your queues from your body not your mind, that’s where your Ego lives.

2. Question your thoughts.  We tell ourselves a lot of crazy things that are not at all true. Yet, we believe these thoughts and they drive our actions. If you really stop and take a minute to ask yourself – is it true? – you’ll find that in most cases it’s not.

As renowned thought work leader Byron Katie says, “don’t believe everything you think”. All thoughts are not true and it’s when we attach ourselves to these thoughts and believe them that we get in trouble.

So, pay attention to what really lights you up and gives you strength. Let go of the self concept that has been created by untrue thoughts and outside influences. Live at your best and scrap the rest.

Posted in Life Coaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Sometimes We’re Just Naive and Sometimes We KNOW

Thirty years ago I pledged Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and made of pledge of friendship forever. At the time I think is was a nice idea and probably thought I believed the words. But how do you really know. Seriously – FOREVER!? Turns out – Yeah! Forever! Or at least thirty years later.

I’m supposed to be packing and getting ready to leave this morning for a long over due reunion with a group of my “Sisters”. Many of them I have not seen in 25 years. And some that I saw just days ago.

People come and go out of our lives, we learn from them, we teach them, we love them, and we move on. So, thirty years ago when we made that vow it seemed like just words. Today it blows my mind. It feels like yesterday that we sat around the dining room table drinking coffee, reliving stories of “last night”, and planning our lives.

Today we get to sit around the table drinking coffee champagne reliving the past 30 years and planning the next thirty. And what I know now is, it really is forever! How cool is that!

Posted in Champagne, girlfriend getaway, Relationships | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Another Year Older – Yeah!

I’m feeling a little reflective this week. I have a birthday coming up and well, it’s cause to reflect.

I’ll never tell you I wish I was 25 again because I’ve been there, and I’ve been here and man am I glad that’s over. I remember reading an article in Glamour back when I was in college. It was a compilation of stories of women in their 40s and 50’s (old people) talking about how great life is at that age and that life gets better every year. I remember thinking, yeah right and what else would you say, you don’t have any choice right? Well, now here I am and I’ll be damned if they weren’t right – it does get better every year.

So, here’s my “going on 48” reflection on why it’s better to be 48 than 28.

1. I don’t live paycheck to paycheck – that feels good and relieves a lot of stress

2. I have the peaceful life that I dreamed about someday having. The man I chased after is hanging out on the couch with me and the dog I always wanted is sprawled out on the floor.

3. I have a job I love. And not by accident but by choice. I took the risk that’s sometimes needed to find what’s really right in life. I also discovered that what I like to do – I’m pretty good at. Isn’t it cool how that happens:)

4. I don’t worry about what other people think. I’ve learned what’s important to me and sometimes it’s not popular with everyone else, and that’s OK. They can do what’s important to them.

5. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I remember a time when I got caught up in all the gossip and hype and criticism going on around me and I probably contributed my fair share. I don’t get sucked in it anymore, it just doesn’t matter.

6. I have great people in my life. I have always been blessed with great friends and the older I get the better my relationships get. I have friends all over the world. Friends with unique and varied lives and backgrounds. My friends are fascinating. When I was 28 my circle of friends was still pretty small and my circle of influence even smaller.

7. I have great experiences to draw from. It practically goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – with age comes experience. I don’t mean, “I’ve been around the block” kind of experience, I mean real living experiences. Seeing things, meeting people, doing things, going great places.

8. I’m at peace with who I am. I still am discovering who I want to be and I’m totally enjoying the journey!

Here’s to getting older and more experienced! Cheers!

Posted in happiness, Relationships | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

How Are You Using Your Voice

“They” say there are moments in your life that remain significant or pivotal for a lifetime. The quintessential times of your life. Some say we only experience them a few times in our life, I think that pivotal moments happen for us every day, we just don’t always pay attention.

I experienced one of these moments last weekend when I had the great fortune of attending a U2 concert. I’ve always been a fan, not a lunatic fan, but appreciated the music and universal work of Bono in particular.

First off, the show was absolutely incredible, the stage, the lighting, the sound, the setting, everything about the experience was perfect and everything about it was intentional. As an event planner I am all about the experience. When planning any event the very first thing I need to ask myself is – what do I want my audience to experience? how do I want them feel? how do I want them to react as a result? From that point is where I begin to build the experience it self. Watching the experience of the U2 concert unfold it was clearly evident that incredible thought went into the experience of the audience. The other thing that was evident was that this stage – this tour – was not put in place with a singular purpose. In fact, playing music felt like a means to a greater end. The end being, an opportunity to be in front of millions of people delivering a message in a way that speaks to them. Through their music and the show experience Bono delivers his messages of peace, of universal love, of tolerance and freedom.

Throughout the show the messages appear. Subtle, in the case of world issues and astounding statics of destruction and abuse being displayed on a mega screen prior to the start of the show. Blatant, in the case of stories of suffering and injustice being told through pictures and words. They created an energy that was contagious, an energy that continued to build through the night and touched every one of the 60,000 people involved in the experience.

The gift of an audience, especially the size of the U2 audience is big responsibility. And through history we have seen countless abuses of this gift by people in the public eye. I found it so refreshing and so empowering to see a public figure with such reach using his stage for a positive purpose.

We don’t all have a stage the size of U2’s but we all have an audience. And it’s up to us how we use our voice and how we deliver our message to our audience. This blog is my stage today and what I want you to experience and to feel is the power you have to use your voice – whatever your stage is. Everyone has influence, everyone has reach and the power to make a difference in the live of others. When we recognize this and become intentional about it we can’t help but use our stage in more productive ways.

What’s the message you’re sending from your stage today? What is the experience you’re leaving with your audience?

Posted in intention | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s The Little Things

I’m traveling this week on Workation. One of the great joys in my life is being able to explore new places and enjoy the change or scenery. This weeks adventure takes place in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA. I’ve been here before, in fact in the same hotel, so there is sense of familiarity.

Sometimes it’s easy to let that sense of familiarity blind you to what’s special about some place or even someone. I’ve decided to challenge myself to see and recognize the little things that make this visit unique and special. So, here are a few of the little things I’ve experience so far.

The sound of ship horns blowing in the distance

Bridges – lots of bridges

The paddle wheel ferry that docks outside my window

Champagne bubbles in my glass

The eclectic pairing of musicians playing during dinner

Crazy great teamwork among class participants

The fun of eating with your fingers

Lavender blooming in the planters along the waterfront

Laughing with friends – old and new

Full moon

Celebrating a friends success

Sincere hospitality

Crystal Light packets – Cherry Pomegranate

All State Mayhem commercials – they make me laugh – check out the Raccoon

What are the little things you might be missing today. Look past the familiar and watch for the “little things” that make today special.

Posted in travel, Uncategorized, Workation | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Song In My Head

For the past 48 hours I’ve had the same song repeating in my head – Man Who Can’t Be Moved – performed by Xenia on The Voice. It’s a beautiful song and she is incredible. So, I’m not entirely annoyed by the fact that I can’t get it out of my head. Still, it makes me wonder, why is it that some tunes/messages stick and others don’t.

I’m grateful today that the tune/message in my head is a beautiful one. It’s positive, it’s a about love and never giving up. The song makes me smile and I feel happy when it’s dancing around in my head.

Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the messages that surround us have a measurable impact on our physical body. We also know that through repetition – I listened to that song several times in the past few days – we can embed messages into our subconscious. This is the theory behind daily affirmations. Your subconscious does not know the difference between reality and thought, it only knows that its role is to bring about what the thought instructs.

I’m not going to get into how to do affirmations and all that stuff, there is plenty of literature on that. What I do want to talk about are the messages that we allow into our lives and our subconscious.

If you believe as I do, that all messages – in fact all things – carry vibrations that all interact, then it’s easy to see why a negative message will have a negative effect on your body and positive messages create positive effects. It’s why you feel energized when you’re around happy people, and why you feel zapped when you’re around crabby people.

We all know “that person” who just sucks the life right out of you, they leave you feeling weak and exhausted. Take a moment and think about that person. Why do they wear you out? Likely, the answer will narrow to the projection of negative thoughts and messages. Are they argumentative, discriminating, mean, pessimistic?

They have a song in their head and it’s playing over and over and it carries negative vibrations that are wearing off on you. Your energy can not help but be impacted.

You can however remove yourself from the situation or counteract it with a stronger more positive song. Try this test with me for the next four days.

  • Listen to only positive music, happy upbeat songs
  • Watch only movies or television shows with a fun message or those that make you laugh
  • Turn off the news. That means, TV, Radio, Newspapers, Internet feeds – anything delivering negative messages
  • Avoid those people who pull your energy down
  • Identify one person who always brings you good energy and make a date with that person – suck in their great vibrations
At the end of your four-day experiment pause and ask yourself if you feel any different. Do you feel lighter, more energetic, more happy? If not, you were probably pretty happy to begin with. If yes, then ride the wave and continue to create a more peaceful and positive song in your head. I know the people around you will appreciate the good vibrations. I know I will. 
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Have You Had Your Bliss Today?

Do you even know what bliss feels like for you?

For me, bliss is like a warm and bubbly sensation that just washes over me. It comes on quickly, it makes me smile and it allows me to breathe.

When in bliss I have soft eyes that see with greater periphery, I have soft ears that hear within and without. Bliss brings awareness. Bliss brings understanding, bliss brings contentment and bliss brings joy.

Sometimes bliss is very fleeting, sometimes bliss will linger, it rarely comes with warning and when it’s gone I’m left with a feeling of gratitude and wonder. Bliss can not be forced, it just appears. It comes from peacefulness and “rightness”. When I feel bliss, I know that I am in the right place and doing the right thing.

Just one 10 second dose of bliss can energize me all day. I feel blessed, that I can find my bliss nearly everyday. I have no magic formula for finding bliss and that road to bliss might be different for everyone – I have no idea, but here are some of the things that bring about bliss for me.

Pay attention/and don’t – Pay attention to the beauty around you. There are amazing things happening everywhere, right under your nose. Right now I’m watching a Gold Finch in the pine tree outside my window. Its tiny bright yellow body against the deep green pine pop with a brilliance of a big glass bulb on a Christmas tree. Watching and listening to it brings a smile to my face.

To see these amazing and beautiful things we need to slow down a bit and pay attention. It’s easy to let our attention be sucked in by the negative. The negative messages are so loud and so plenty that it’s nearly impossible to avoid them.

Here’s a challenge, see if you can go an entire day without encountering a negative message. I guarantee you, you’ll need to leave the television off, you’ll need to be very selective about the people you spend your time with and hardest of all, you’ll need to monitor your own thoughts. The human brain processes 60,000 thoughts a day, and 80% of them are negative. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself and how you’re treating yourself. Are you sabotaging your own bliss with negativity and self-destruction?

Find the good – when you’re paying attention you can choose what you see and experience. Even in a situation that seems negative you can look for and find the good – if you choose to look for it. Often times I find my bliss at the most unlikely times, like driving in rush hour traffic, or sitting in a boring meeting, or standing in a long line at the airport. These are the times when I appreciate bliss most, when it comes out of no where.

For me, bliss is like a shot of adrenaline and a sedative all in one. It brings about joy and contentment and it provides energy.

What brings you bliss? Where do you find it and how does it show up in your life? Have you had your bliss today?

Posted in Gratitude, intention | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Play Like A Dog

I have spent the past seven days in a beautiful house on the shores of South Carolina. There are many many joys associated with such an adventure and one of my favorites is watching the dogs play on the beach. 

We’ve gotten to “know” the dogs and the packs they hang with. And each morning I watch for my favorites to emerge from the grassy dunes.

There are the Sprinters – the young agile dogs who bolt out onto the beach on a mission to catch the sand pipers pecking around in the shallow surf. The sprinters run with wild abandon never imagining that they will not achieve success and catch themselves a bird. They never give up. They keep on running, ears floppy, tails waging and tongues hanging, never looking back.

There are also the Explorers. These are the dogs with their nose to the sand, sniffing, digging, rolling in who knows what. They move at a steady pace traversing all aspects of the beach. They don’t want to miss a thing. They glance at the Sprinters with only mild interest and continue on their mission to discover the next great treasure of the beach.

Then there are the Observers. These are the wise, older dogs. They stick pretty close to their people as they take in the activity around them. They occasionally wander off to explore a bit, but mainly are happy to just to be strolling in the fresh air. They sometimes stop to watch the Sprinters, perhaps with a bit of longing for their younger days where they too could sprint, or maybe just to take in the crazy antics.

The one thing that all of the dogs have in common is their zest for living and their appreciation of the moment. Whatever they do -sprint, explore or observe – they do it without reservation or apprehension. They are not looking around to see who’s watching, or if anyone is judging them. They don’t care if they look silly and they don’t hold back. Whatever their role, they play it all out and they enjoy every step of the journey.

Today, I’m going to Play Like A Dog! You should too!

Posted in Dogs, Gratitude, travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

This Is No Ordinary Life

Ordinary: an early bicycle with a very large front wheel and small back wheel

There is nothing ordinary about that! Perhaps it was ordinary in its day, but things change, perceptions change, we learn, we grow and the ordinary becomes obsolete or untrue.

In fact, I don’t believe there is such thing as an ordinary life. When we live in a state of gratitude and wonder we see beyond what we have defined as ordinary to realize that it is all quite magical.

How is it that we have come to personally define what is ordinary and what is extraordinary or special? Is it through the expectations of ourselves? Perhaps our perceived expectations others have of us? Or is it a search for external happiness and acceptance?

I see so many people trying to escape from or avoid what they have defined as an ordinary life and I fear that in this struggle they are losing sight of or ignoring all that is extraordinary.

An extraordinary life does not manifest from the outside, it comes from within. What is ordinary to one person maybe earth shattering to another.

Let’s look at two individuals: We’ll call person one Amy.

Amy lives in a modest apartment in a suburb of Chicago. It has all the modern conveniences and is in a nice neighborhood. She shares her modest apartment with her husband – the love of her life. Amy commutes each day by car to a job she enjoys and pays her a good salary. She has a group of friends that she gets together with regularly. She works out at a nice gym in town. She does some volunteer work. She travels periodically both for fun and for her job. Amy is in good health, has great medical benefits and access to any physician she may require.

And she is searching, searching for a life less ordinary. A life that’s exciting, that’s special, that set’s her apart.

Meet Swarasati – Nine years ago, Swarasati’s husband abandoned her and their little girl, Lima. She worked as a servant to try to survive. Thankfully, Swarasati enrolled in a CARE program that helps  destitute women save money and start businesses. Today, Swarasati sells sarees and purchased a goat that is pregnant with twins. With the money she has earned, Swarasati now has electricity for her one-room house and bought a fan and a bed. She can also afford better food and visits to the health clinic for herself, her daughter and her mother-in-law.

Would Swarasati see Amy’s life as ordinary? Pay attention today as you go through your ordinary day and be grateful for the magic in each moment. There is no such thing as ordinary.


							
Posted in Gratitude, intention | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments