Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It is never ok to discount your feelings or experiences.

From The DailyOM: Universal Feelings

Every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset about the breakup of a relationship, for example, because at least we have food to eat and a roof over our heads.

While awareness of the pain of others in the world can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people's emotions leads to denial and repression. Over time, an unwillingness to experience your own feelings leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others.

Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity. We honor and value the human condition when we fully inhabit our bodies so we can experience and feel life fully. Accepting our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel them connects us to all human beings. Then, when we hear the stories of other people’s suffering, our hearts can resonate with understanding and compassion—for all of us.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you want to be happy, be.

Some inspirational quotes that made me feel good today!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Devil Made Me Do It

This blog made me laugh today. I've been writing my ebook on the Self Help Jungle and this help to keep me lighthearted and not-so-serious!


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boredom Rocks

I'm always excited when I see articles that help me reclaim something that I usually beat myself up about. Here's an article on Boredom.

Personally I like it when I feel bored (even if I do beat myself up about it when it happens). It's usually a temporary feeling that allows me to do a litmus test in my brain. I scan the possible things I could do and whatever my heart jumps for, I know is good. It's fun to observe the things that I'm interested in in that moment. For instance, cleaning the fridge might be very exciting to me when I'm bored rather than when my plate is full. You just never know where you'll end up when you're bored. Find a way to be with it rather than struggling to accomplish something, no matter how long the feeling lasts. Eventually you'll discover the things you want to do. It's like a clean slate or a pausing of Life.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

The Freedom of Disappointment

I was on my yoga mat yesterday (doing yoga...) feeling really connected to myself, having a blank mind and an open heart and this message fell into my heart:

"Write about how being a disappointment to others frees you up to be yourself."

I love inspired moments like that. It's been 15 hours since that idea was planted and my fear-mind has taken over saying "being a disappointment isn't a good thing, don't write about that, people will come out of the woodwork and tell you how wrong you are."

But there is some truth in the idea.

If you're like me, you care a lot about what people think about you, to the point of almost forgoing what you think about yourself. I've worked most of my life to make sure people like me and that my friends love me. I've wasted A LOT of energy trying to keep people in my life.

Anytime I lost a friendship, it was devastating to me, naturally. I took it very much to heart and blamed myself for not being the kind of friend they needed me to be. Again, energy waster, all in the hopes of keeping people happy. If someone hated me, it felt like I didn't deserve to be alive. It was a hole of dispair I could never crawl out of and I did everything to never be in that hole.

In the past 3 years I've lost three friends because I stood up for myself, or created a boundary, or chose myself over them. I got a lot of negativity thrown in my face, naturally. It hurt deeply.
Sometimes you have to disappoint other people in order to get back to yourself. It's crucial. I never wanted to lose friendships, but I had to in order to keep myself.

I am just now learning to experience the freedom of disappointing people. And there is a freedom in it, it means fully embracing who I really am and being that person full-out regardless of whether people agree with it or not. It is so freeing to be myself and to have compassion for all that I am! I almost look forward to those moments when someone is disappointed in me because it means I've kept true to myself rather than to what other people want me to be. There's so much more energy available when I am true to myself. Coming from someone who's been a people pleaser for a long time, it is liberating and scary to come into my own.

While I'm not going to go out of my way to make people dislike me, and it will still sting when someone doesn't agree with my choices, I'm going to continue to honor myself first and live free rather than keep the peace and slowly lose who I am.

It's a risky process, y'all!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008


My best friend is a very engaging person. She has a huge heart and expresses herself very well. She is a wonderful speaker and I love to hear what she has to say. But what I love most about my loquacious friend is she is the best listener. I know a lot of people and I trust a few of them with my thoughts, feelings and general craziness, but many people don't offer the kind of listening my best friend gives.

She listens without judgment.

As a personal life coach, I learned to listen without judgment, without putting my own agenda or ego into what another person is saying. It is a very difficult thing to do, to let someone speak, to let them talk about things they are doing that you would never do, and just let them say it. There are of course limits: if someone is truly hurting themselves, then speaking out of concern is necessary. But it's a gift to find someone who will listen without prejudice; someone who will let you live your life without putting their own agenda on you or telling you what you need to do (unless you ask, of course!).

Another aspect of being a good listener is how you respond as someone is speaking. Are you busy waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can say something? You're not listening and you are making the conversation about you rather than you and the other person. Are you looking around or doing other things while someone is talking? You're not listening. Yes, there are times when it's okay to focus on other things, but if someone is confiding in you, then eye contact and full attention can distinguish a bad listener from a good one. When you turn your attention to other things while someone is talking, it looks like you don't care (even if you do). If your body is facing a different direction or if you aren't making eye contact with the speaker, you might as well just walk away because your body language is saying "You're not important to me."

The gifts of being a good listener are you get to know someone better, you get to learn about another human being's journey, you get to share in someone else's experience. If you're a good listener, you probably have very deep relationships with people who trust you and who readily share themselves with you.

How do you become a better listener? Do just that: listen. Listen without thinking about what to say next. This is a risk for some people because once the other person stops talking, what if you don't have anything to say? Silence between two people can be scary. If you are going to say something afterwards, let it be in the spirit of sharing, of connecting, rather than forcing words out for no reason. Another way to become a good listener is to learn to honor that what the other person is saying is from their perspective, their life experiences. Let them have their perspective and experiences, no matter what yours are. Everyone is unique, everyone experiences the world differently. Honor their perspective, there are many fascinating ways to look at things! Challenge yourself to be more of a listener in your life and just see what happens.

Another great tip to being a good listener is to ask questions about the other person. This is a GREAT strategy for us shy folks at parties, especially when you might be around a lot of people you don't know. Ask questions; have some standards in the back of your mind to break the ice. Become interested in people in general, your sincerity in asking questions will go a long way. People LOVE to talk about themselves. Some people, like me, are shy in opening up, but will readily answer questions if someone asks.

People who ask questions are far more interesting than those who talk about themselves, I don't care how cool their stories are. At the end of the day, you'll connect with the person who asks you questions rather than the person who talks TO you.

You'll look like a hero in your own circle of friends if you hone your listening skills. You'll gain more trust in people, which can take you to wonderful places!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just Do It

I've worked in theater for almost 15 years. One thing I have learned is that plays are meant to be watched, they are meant to be performed. Sure, they can be read, but you get so much more out of the experience (emotionally, mentally, energetically) by watching words come to life. I mean just think about it, it's called "play" for a reason.

The same goes for reading self-help books. I've read a ton and I've gotten a lot out of them intellectually. I understand myself and humanity a little more and I may even have more compassion for all of us.

I also tend to forget the things I read and therefore my life really doesn't change the way I want it to.

There is something to be said for living the teachings, taking what you've learned and applying it with intention. I have integrated so much more by doing the work than just reading about it. Doing the work over and over brings it into my heart, into my body, where it eventually, unconsciously, becomes a part of me.

What helped me the most to integrate the self help books I've read was being a part of a book group, where I was encouraged to do the work. I joined to hold myself accountable to doing the work...that's another reason I hired a Personal Life Coach: I will do my work when someone asks it of me, it's a challenge to simply do the work on my own. And that's okay. That's why there are so many options (and some of them free!) to bringing theories into your life to change it for the better. So many ways to get your hands in the earth, to feel, to breathe, to live!

Find ways to integrate it, to experience things viscerally, just do it!

Words are just words until you breathe life into them.

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New Year

For the past week or so I've heard this sentence over and over again: Thank God 2007 is over.

I've never been one to think that Jan 1 of any year is going to wipe away what happened during the previous 365 days. I get that energy shifts to newness this time of the year, but I just never thought that because something new begins, the old just disappears. Being in the Fearless Living program has allowed me to embrace the passing of things with a little compassion and grace.

One of the challenges Fearless Living author Rhonda Britten gives at the end of any year...or the end of any phase, relationship or the like, is to do 100 Gratitudes and 100 Acknoweldgements. It is simply a way to wrap up the time/situation in a positive light rather than a negative one.

There is a Fearless Living tool of doing 5 Acknowledgements and Gratitudes A DAY, especially when you are going through a transition, trying to reach a goal, but also just as a daily habit. Those daily daily nuggets are like drops of water...the more you do, the bigger the body of positive water you're swimming in. You eventually begin to retrain your brain to see the positive, you gain more confidence in yourself, you tap into your intuition and you see the changes you have made in your life. Life will always be up and down, but with A&G's the waves get smaller and smaller.

If you are up to the challenge, acknowledge yourself in writing for everything you did that was a risk, or outside your comfort zone this year, even if you think it's not "good enough" or that it wouldn't be a big deal to other people. It's your life, acknowledge it. Then see how many things you can be grateful for this year: the extra challenge is to think about those people/situations/experiences that really made you angry or disappointed. Look around and see if you can find the gift in it. Because there are gifts in everything if you just choose to see things in a new light. That's another benefit in doing daily gratitudes: you'll find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation and you just KNOW that something good is coming out of it. It certainly doesn't mean ignoring your feelings (and believe me, I've been known to hide behind knowing the purpose of something ill in my life rather than acknowledging that I'm hurting), because those need to be processed, it just means that the energy in your life gets higher and it takes the edge off of the pain.

I wish you a new year full of high energy and love!

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I was out for a walk today and realized that essentially, what I do as a Personal Life Coach is support people through transitions.

We're always going through a transition, whether we know it, whether it is something we bring on ourselves or something that happens in our lives that we didn't expect. It's always up to us to process our way through, and to be honest, no one really teaches us how to make transitions. Most of the time we simply react. That's what my business is about, supporting people through transitions, giving them the tools to go through their process as gracefully and as fearlessly as possible (and to even help them discover what transitions their souls want them to make).

The self help world is full of powerful tools. The more you use them, the easier the transitions get, the more you understand your process, the better life becomes. Think about all of the transitions you've gone through: from moving away from home, to getting married, to letting go of people, to meeting new people, to becoming happy, to losing weight, to loving yourself. Life is always changing and we're always transitioning, sometimes we know it, sometimes we don't. I'm fascinated by it and scared by it, too.

If you are going through a transition, no matter what kind, know that there are a variety of self help tools, including Life Coaches and therapists, out there just waiting to support you in learning some amazing tools to aid in your process.

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I've been thinking about the expectations I have on success. If I were honest, I'd say that in order to be successful to the outside world, I have to have a high powered job, a ton of clients, be married with kids and living in a beautiful huge house on the wealthy side of town. Trying to live a life like this does not make me feel very good, actually! I'm kind of tired. It's not me.

So I have been working on redefining what it means to be successful for myself, regardless of what anyone else says. Being successful in my world entails:

Being able to make decisions from my heart most of the time,
Spending most of my energy doing whatever I love to do (whether that is personally or professionally),
Enjoying my own company and
Truly embracing the love that I have in my life.

I think if I were to redefine success it would be more like "a sense of personal satisfaction."

So, how do YOU define success for yourself? When do you get that feeling of personal satisfaction?

What can you do TODAY to create more success for yourself?

At the end of my day, all I want is to feel good about myself and who I am. I get to choose how to make that happen for myself.

In her book Change Your Life in 30 Days, Rhonda Britten talks about about how you must embrace the life you have to get the life you want. In other words: where you are now is exactly where you need to be in order to get where you want to be. Everything has been set up as such. And in order to move on to something new, it's important to be able to have gratitude for the gifts that are being presented to you now. If you want to get another job because you hate the one you have, you will only move on to another job you hate. If you embrace the gifts that your current job is giving you in order to move forward, you will move on to a better place. That's right, the job that you feel is sucking the life out of you is actually full of precious gifts! That neighbor who keeps bugging you might be teaching you how to stand up for yourself!

You will love where you are and you will be able to move towards something else with grace. For instance, I've worked in Theatre Marketing for 10 years. It's not my passion, but because of these past 10 years, I have learned to market myself. I know TONS of people who can support me in that. I've met thousands of people working at a Box Office, many of whom love me and would help me grow my business and they have helped me to learn how to deal with the public. I know how to make my own business cards, flyers, brochures, website, press releases. I have press contacts. I am so fortunate to be in Theatre Marketing and when I leave it, I will do it with so much love and gratitude because it has set my future up beautifully.

Where you are is perfect if you can learn how it's helping you get to where you want to go next!

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Feelings...nothing more than...

Today I was in line at the grocery store, in front of a mother and her (probably) 6 year old son. The boy wanted some candy and the mother said that he had already had some chips and a cookie and that there was plenty of food at home.

I remember my mom saying those words to me as a child. Maybe I protested, maybe I didn't. I remember what it felt like to want something, to be caught up in those feelings so deep that no action, other than getting what I wanted, was good enough. Oh those feelings! How could they be so wrong if they felt so strong?

And there was the mother, bringing in the reality, the logic. She had a higher vision and had the best interest of her son at heart. She knew what the boy did not. She was in her heart. He was in his emotions and probably in his mind, since the two go hand in hand.

Oddly, the boy didn't protest. No hissy fit. I wondered to myself: Did he understand her logic and was able to let go of his feelings? Or did he press down his feelings? Was he able to simply feel what he was feeling and release it in a healthy way? (all of this subconsciously, of course). The mother and son left the store before I had a chance to read the child's face for some sign of what was going on inside him.

I see myself in this little boy, with all of my adult emotions, they feel the same as my childhood emotions:

I want.
I am drawn to this.
I must have it.

Sometimes I go after it, I get it and having it feels so good. Release!
Sometimes I go after it and it runs from me. Disappointment!
Sometimes I go after it and having it doesn't feel right. But I still want it!

That's when I want a Big Mommy to say, "You don't need this. You have enough right now." or "There is something better coming. Wait for it."

But, knowing me, I'd probably throw a hissy.

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Think Again

My favorite line from a Shakespeare play (or at least, the one I always remember) is "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (That's from Hamlet)

There is nothing either good or bad. Thinking labels it one or the other. And who is doing this thinking? Me. Who is labeling things as good or bad? Me. And how have I been labeling things? Mostly as bad.

How could this possibly help me feel good?

What if there is nothing bad about your life? Does that change anything?

I know for me, just thinking about the idea that there is nothing wrong/bad about me, my life, my choices, my feelings, lets me off the hook. I get a rush of energy. I feel happier.

What do I get out of labeling things in my life as bad? I get to feel sorry for myself, I get to play the victim, I get to keep my heart closed. I get to feel bad. I'm just setting myself up to get hurt because nothing can feel good all the time, right? So why not just feel bad all of the time and spare myself the fall.

What are the costs of labeling my life as bad? I don't enjoy life. I have low energy. I don't experience love as fully as I want to. I FEEL BAD.

What if I choose to see everything as good? I have compassion for myself. I get to learn. I have high energy. I experience love just by breathing. I have deeper relationships. I laugh more. I FEEL GOOD.

It's a choice. It's neither good nor bad.

What are you choosing? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being high and 1 being low), how often do you choose to label your life, your choices, your actions as bad?

How does it feel to consider that maybe everything in your life, EVERYTHING is working for you? Everything is going as planned...maybe not what *you* planned, yet planned somehow with the best possible intentions for you.

What if there is a good reason for all of it that you aren't allowed to see? What if everything is an opportunity to learn? Is that something that might make life better?

I don't know if there is a good reason for anything, all I know is that when I choose to let go of labeling everything about myself and my life as bad, I feel better.

*That's* freedom.