If I could let you know one thing about me, it’s that
“I want you to love the life you’re living.”
You see, I know that our bodies are wired for joy and resilience. I know that our minds are designed for calm and clarity, that peace begins within each of us and,
I know that you can love your life.
In this article, I’ll share some of my own experiences and insights that have helped me love my life and myself. I hope this will help you find your own way and keep at it.
Before we get going, I’d like to ask you a few questions that I love asking my clients.
1. What would a life you love living look and feel like?
2. How would you know you’re living a life you love?
3. What do you perceive as stopping you?
Take a few minutes to sit with these and then come back to them a little while later.
Now, let’s fall in love with life!
Earlier today I was sent this quote:
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.” Rumi
It reminded me of another quote by Rumi that gave me permission to BE ME many years ago. It goes like this:
“Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi
As I write this, many years later, I’m in England, house and dog sitting with a dear friend and work partner. We’ve called our tour of England and Europe “180 Days of Miracles”. We don’t know where this will take us, who we’ll meet or what adventures we’ll have. We have some things lined up along the way but most of it is a mystery to us. We know that we’ll continue to offer transformational coaching services and connect with anyone interested in having miracles in their life, but we don’t know what exactly that will look like.
Right now, this is how I live a life I love. I follow the “stronger pull” and the "beauty" of what I love. They are my compass and guide along the way.
To me, life is an adventure and a love affair. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I freak out and lose my cool, I might feel lost, fearful and disoriented but, I recently heard someone say, “Without fear, there is no adventure”. I don’t let the fear stop me and that allows me to have many wonderful adventures.
I didn’t get here by doing life in a conventional way. Of course I did have jobs, kids, a marriage, mortgage, car payments and all those things. But, my guiding light always led me to follow the beauty I loved. I never did “normal” because Rumi’s advice made more sense to me and taught me to trust my instincts.
Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
#1. Ask “What do I love?” then go do it. You’re not alone if this is a totally foreign concept for you. I’ve worked with so many people that have no idea where to begin with this. They don’t know what they like or what they would want to try.
Asking “What do I love?” led me to study, study, study and create, create, create. I studied every healing and transformational modality that caught my interest. I read loads of books, took a ton of classes and worked with anyone who valued my skills and teachings. I also have a long list of creative and cultural interests from pottery to language studies, set dancing to choirs that keep me feeling inspired and connected.
This kind of living has led me here. I see something that interests me and I find a way to explore it. I often share what I’ve learned with others so they can benefit as well. I love this way of life! I love the adventure and relationships I create along the way and I also love working with people who are ready to find their own wellspring of joy and inspired purpose. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling vocation.
If you’re hesitant, my advice to you is just start trying small things and see what appeals and what doesn’t. My second bit of advice is, approach it from a place of curiosity and don’t get attached to the outcome. Curiosity will guide you.
If you don’t find anything you like, I suspect something else is going on and there’s an opportunity to mend some hurts left behind from previous experiences. Be gentle with yourself and find someone who can help guide you through this healing process.
If you get stuck at the “go do it” part because of some sort of obstacle, the shortest route to overcoming this is to…
#2. Decide that one way or another this is going to happen. Start researching, asking around and making plans. Save your money, get a side hustle if you need to raise funds (babysit, bake bread, bartend…anything safe and legal to finance your curiosity). Let nothing get in the way! Even if you just dip your toes or do it on a small scale at first. The money, resources and opportunities will start to show up in unexpected ways.
Here’s an example from my life:
I now create massive stained glass windows. This requires a large amount of materials, expense and skill that I didn’t have when I started. My first projects were with 8x10 sheets of plexiglass, clear silicone and coloured glass beads. I still have those little creations. They cost a couple of dollars to make but were what led to what I do now.
Eventually I took a class and made my first small project. Next I used Christmas and birthday money to buy some supplies. I also discovered that I could purchase scraps and cutoffs from the local stained glass store for a small cost. Then when I made my first project or two and posted pictures of them on Facebook, people started offering me glass that they had sitting around. I eventually had window frames and all sorts of other supplies given to me. Now I have enough to fill a small trailer and most of it was gifted to me. I would have continued to make stained glass windows regardless, but it was my determination that attracted the support I got.
Here’s another thing I’ve discovered:
#3. Life isn’t linear, it’s messy. Stop trying to make it neat and tidy! There is no direct route to where you want to go. The heart leads us on a zig zag path of discovery and exploration. There will be bumps and bruises along the way, and those too are gifts.
It’s as though tacking back and forth like a sailboat on the open water is built into the process as a way to more fully prepare us for our destination. That’s just how it is. Do your best to find a way to enjoy this meandering route. It will serve you in the end. Like anything in nature, it’ll flower at it’s own time given the conditions it’s exposed to. You have some influence over this but not complete control so just let it run its course.
#4. Stop trying to get it right. There is no “right or wrong” way of doing things. There may be a better, kinder, gentler way but each way has its advantages. You will learn and grow regardless of which way you do it.
#5. Let go of what weighs you down and know that life will support you. Forgiveness is in our best interest as is a belief that the world is conspiring in our favour. I would rather move forward joyfully than be held back by hurts and limiting beliefs so I seek out teachings and practices that help me let go of the heaviness and repair my psyche. It makes life far more enjoyable and lets things move faster. This was tricky at first and there are times when it still feels difficult. After a while something clicks in place and the process becomes more intuitive.
#6. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude and find the good in people and situations even if it feels like a stretch at first. My bet would be that if you could create a graph that shows the relationship between gratitude and contentment, the numbers would speak for themselves. Like in all things, where attention goes, energy flows. So if we place our attention on what we’re unhappy about, we get more of that. If we place our attention on what we’re grateful for, we get more to be grateful for.
Here’s an example of how I see the universe working:
Have you ever given someone a gift that you thought was really special but their lack of enthusiasm was so disappointing for you? When that happens you might vow to never give them anything again. My sense is that the universe feels the same way. But, if we’re given a small gift and our response is to be lit up and overjoyed, life seems to want to keep giving to us. More and more and more.
Don’t do gratitude because it means you’re a better person, do it because it works in your favour. Gratitude in and of itself feels really good and feeling good is its own reward.
#7. Give thanks for the things you don’t yet have. Try this as an experiment and see what happens. Don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Think of it as a parcel in the mail that will be delivered at some unspecified time and in an unspecified way. Give thanks for love, kindness, laughter and opportunities that haven’t yet shown up. This will speed the process and allow miracles to start to flow.
#8. Laugh whenever you get the chance. Learn to find humour everywhere. We can laugh at jokes and comedy but we can also laugh when things go wrong. Laughing makes me feel good and helps me to lighten up when I make a mistake or something isn’t working. I might still be frustrated, but I laugh regardless.
#9. Do less of what you don’t enjoy, more of what you do enjoy. Find some things you don’t enjoy that you can start saying “no” to even if they’re small. There will always be things we have to do that aren’t really fun so reduce what you can that isn’t fun and try to enjoy the rest of it as much as possible.
I’ve found that most times when someone changes plans or cancels, there’s something else I’d rather do anyway. Try saying “no” rather than keeping commitments that drain you and see what happens. It might be just the gift the other people needed but couldn’t ask for.
#10. Let your life be unique to you. People may not get you or why you do things the way you do. That’s a pretty good indication that you’re doing what makes sense to you and that’s awesome. The more okay you are with you and your process, the more others will be too. That’s just how it works. If someone has a problem with how you live, that’s unfortunate but not yours to fix. Empower them by setting an example of a life lived in joy and harmony.
#11. You’re probably not as hopeless as you think. Focus more on what you’re doing well or what’s going well than on what isn’t. Often the first place I start with new clients is finding where they’re already doing what they say they want to be doing. For example, if they say, “I want to be more resilient”, we look for places where they’re already resilient. Then we build on that. It starts by showing them that they have a reference point and it gives them the confidence to go deeper with it.
#12. Lead from your heart. The more you come from your heart, the more you’ll connect with others and find a deeper love for all of life and living. Speak from your heart to theirs. Be generous. Allow them to find their own way. And when all else fails, ask, “What would love do?”
Let’s come back to the quote that inspired this whole train of thought:
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.” Rumi
To me the words “silent” and “stronger” stand out. Finding direction, following intuition and being guided are generally subtle nudges that can easily be missed or dismissed. When you tune in, you’ll find that what you love pulls you more than what you don’t love.
My hope for you is that you start allowing yourself to be curious and playful, have more fun and love much bigger. I hope that your heart opens and swells of love pour out for all things and beings. May you truly fall in love with Being You and living your life!
I’d like to leave you with one final quote that I love.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
Here’s to coming alive and living an extraordinary life!
Do you ever feel like you wish you could just escape from your own mind?
What if I told you that your mind is doing exactly what you’ve trained it to do?
I don’t want to upset dog lovers by drawing a comparison, but basically an untrained mind will bark, bite, beg and whine until you do something about it.
The mind can also be looked at like a computer. It runs the programs you install and regurgitates the information you’ve saved on its hard drive. If you want your computer to perform better, you’ve got to clean up old files, delete unwanted programs and empty the trash.
As we continue this discussion, I encourage you to stay in a place of curiosity and exploration. Changing mental habits can be difficult at first, but once you get a few of the basic principles down, you’ll start to find your groove and hopefully have a little fun with it. In fact, the more humour and play you bring, the easier it’ll be.
Let’s start here:
What kinds of thoughts are swimming through your mind most of the time?
This is pretty normal. And yes, at times I too am guilty of all of the above.
Life requires all kinds of things of us. At first it might seem that playing thoughts over in our minds is a great way to solve problems, figure out things that confuse us or come to terms with difficult circumstances. While that may happen, the reality is that most of the time this approach is ineffective and we become trapped in our self-created hell of worry, fear, frustration or sadness.
Thoughts aren’t the problem. It’s that we allow them to play on repeat. When you find thoughts repeating and taking over your mental space, you know you’re just spinning your wheels. This moment of realization indicates something is up. It’s showing you that you have something deeper to look at and address.
Not only is this spinning ineffective, it also affects our sense of wellbeing. Cycling thought patterns can cause us to lose sleep, be distracted and irritable, sabotage productivity, damage relationships and it negatively impacts our health.
Many of us know intellectually that our thoughts create our reality. When we’re feeling good, we are aware that positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes. But when we’re tired, frustrated, upset or fearful, we might truly believe that our current thinking content is appropriate and even necessary in that situation. We forget that our thoughts are making a neutral situation look unpleasant. We buy into the idea of good/bad luck, victim mentality, feeling stuck and out of options.
Just like dog training, we’ve got to stay on top of thoughts to maintain good habits.
Here are four things to keep in mind at all times:
Here’s a little experiment:
Let’s say you’re at the supermarket. A distracted lady with her thoughts on other things cuts in line ahead of you. If you’re in a really good mood you might just laugh to yourself and be happy to help make her day a little bit easier. But, if you’re in a bad mood and you’ve decided that life is giving you all kinds of obstacles, you might be really irritated with this lady and insist she finds her place at the back of the line.
Your mood colours your thoughts and your thoughts influence your feelings. If you find that you regularly have low feelings, you’ll want to trace your steps backwards to your thoughts and find ways to consistently improve your mood.
SHORT TERM STRATEGY:
What do you do when your mind won’t stop spinning or when you’re convinced that you just need to keep having these thoughts in order to fix whatever situation you’re in?
FOLLOW UP STRATEGY:
LONG TERM STRATEGY:
There comes a time when mental chaos just becomes too much. It interferes with too many things and compromises health, relationships and mental state.
It can also be really boring. If you want an extraordinary life, you can’t be led around by a runaway mind. It won’t work, you won’t get anywhere and what you can achieve will be greatly diminished.
The mind run amok is critical, doubting, anxious and self-defeating. It thinks its job is to keep you safe so it’s seeking out any possible scenario that might cause trouble. It wants to prevent further harm.
These are great motives, but most of the time, they’re unnecessary and unhelpful. We need to grow our faith in a gentler way of flowing with life instead of trying to control it.
Here’s a way to work with the mind instead of against it:
1. Decide to change how you think and what you think about.
Like any tool, the mind can be used for creation or destruction. It’s up to you what you do with it. The mind doesn’t mind what it thinks about. You are the driver, the programmer, the content creator. You get to choose what goes in, what gets repeated and for how long. Put your foot down and develop a zero tolerance for low quality input.
2. Make friends with it.
Your resistance and frustration will only prolong the situation. You want to create a relationship with your thoughts and thinking that’s light and easy. Laugh at yourself when you catch your thinking slipping. It’s totally normal and ok to despair at times. Be encouraging and remind yourself that you know what to do and you’ll get through this.
3. Get real about what you do want.
The noise in your head is good at tuning out the genuine desire of your heart. Your heart longs to be playful, creative, joyful, connected and adventurous. Your head thinks its job is to keep you safe and it thinks that there’s risk involved in trying something new so it yammers on about all the reasons you shouldn’t do things.
“What do I want?”
“What do I really want?”
“If I could have/be anything what would I really really want?”
4. Look at your beliefs. Look at your stories.
Call them stories and please don’t believe everything you think. As soon as you start asking what you want (see #3 above), all kinds of objections will pop up. This is great! Now you can clear out your cupboards and drawers of all the stale, old, worn, outdated, faded and boring limitations you’ve been saving for later.
Get curious and ask yourself:
“What’s the value of believing this?”
“What’s the value in repeating this in my head, over and over?”
“Who would I be without this thought/belief?”
5. Turn objections around and find reasons why something might work out, why it’s a good idea.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
It’s a good idea because…
6. Choose optimism. Because it works.
Train your mind to support what you want in life. Even if you’re not generally optimistic, increasing your faith and trust in the process of life is just smart. So much time and energy are wasted needlessly on doubts, fears and insecurities. Choose beliefs that bring you closer to what you want.
Here’s an example:
If you believe you’re terrible with money, find the one way you’re good with it. Maybe you know how to find deals or make a meal on a tight budget. That’s a place to start. Then look for other ways you can expand on that until you recognize, you’re actually not that bad at all and you can learn to be even better.
Suggested helpful beliefs:
7. Give thanks.
Give thanks for what you do have or have had. Give thanks for what you don’t yet have, the things you’re asking for. This is more powerful than you can imagine.
Start with: “Thank you for a clear and peaceful mind.”
The Good News...YOUR MIND IS A PLACE FOR MIRACLES!
Your mind is designed to live in harmony with the flow of life. We are designed to be radiant and at peace. Life is here as a partner. Our mind is as much a creator as our hands. The things we think and the beliefs we hold are all creating. If we believe that the world is a dangerous place, it likely will be. That’s the creative element in action. But, if we believe the universe is here to serve and support us, that will be just as true.
You are responsible for what goes in, so choose wisely. And, if unhelpful thoughts arise, remember, you don’t have to believe everything you think.
Have you ever tried to get from where you are to where you want to be without taking any steps or action towards that goal? It’s like trying to cross the street without picking your feet up and putting one in front of the other. It just doesn’t work.
People try all kinds of ways of getting what they want without taking the steps. They try things like complaining, hoping, wishing, dreaming, researching and planning. But, instead of getting anywhere, they find themselves feeling stuck, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, depressed, disillusioned and hopeless. They might find themselves coming up with all kinds of reasons they can’t have what they want and they might even defend all those reasons if someone tries to show them a greater possibility.
It’s pretty safe to say, we’ve all been that person at one point or another. It’s not a fun place to be and it feels real. We are convinced we’re out of options and there’s just no way to have what we want.
In this article, I want to address knowing what your path is and how to take the steps to get you there, wherever that is.
1. How To Know What You Want
2. Things to Avoid Along the Way
3. How to Get There
How Do You Know What You Want?
My dad would say, “That’s a great question”. So, how do you know?
The short answer is, you may not know.
You may have lived so many years doing the “right thing”, the expected, logical, responsible thing that you have no idea what You actually want.
I remember waking up in my 20’s not knowing what I thought about certain things, not having my own opinions and especially not having my own preferences. It was a strange sensation to realize this and I spent many years consciously cultivating my own awareness. Looking back it’s easy to see what I wanted, what lit me up and what I would do differently but at the time I was in a total fog. It’s not that anyone intentionally tried to suppress my nature. I think it’s that our culture relies on a level of organized conformity as a practical measure to keep things running smoothly.
We are taught to line up, sit quiet, learn this now, don’t do that, do it this way and our natural inclination toward movement, expression and following our own innate wisdom and insight is overlooked. As adults, these natural inborn resources have shrunk and hidden themselves away. We see the results as stress, depression and anxiety. That what happens when we go against the pull of our true calling and sense of purpose which would light us up and guide us. Instead however, we have mass depression, mental health disorders, and a whole bunch of unhappy people looking for solutions everywhere but the one place they can be found…within themselves.
When we live in harmony with our passion, truth and purpose, we experience far less depression, confusion and overwhelm. Many call this the “flow state” because in it we learn to navigate the obstacles of life in a more joyful and harmonious way. We might get bumped around a bit, but like a boat moving down stream in the river, a set of rapids becomes an exciting adventure rather than a terrifying death trap.
So how do you know what you want?
1. Start by letting it be ok that you don’t know.
As long as you are frustrated and discourage by not knowing, you will keep yourself stuck in not knowing. It’s ok not to know things because it naturally loosens things up.
2. Get curious…about everything.
Curiosity is a secret sauce to discovery. When you’re not upset by not knowing, the doors to curiosity start to open. You can start to ask questions about what you like, what you want, what would be fun, rewarding and meaningful.
3. Pay attention and acknowledge what you do know.
You are already started on the path to having what you want. I don’t think I’ve had a single client that gave themself enough credit for what they are already doing well. My advice to them is “write it down”. Every time you know something you like, enjoy or want, write it down. You’ll be amazed by how much information you already have and this will help you know how to move forward.
What are you curious about? What have you always wanted to try? Make a list, pin it up, throw a dart and try something. Experimentation will give you all kinds of information about what works and doesn’t work for you. Make this a regular part of life.
5. Enjoy the process.
There’s no need to make your experiments significant. You’re just collecting experiences and maybe even skills or knowledge. As a kid you would have tried all kinds of things just to see what would happen. If it worked you’d be delighted and maybe push the experiment to the next level. If it didn’t work, you’d try something else. You might even laugh about it or tell the story about your grand failure.
As you continue to get curious, experiment and acknowledge, you will start to see what you really enjoy, what you’re good at and what you would like to try next. What you want will become more and more obvious.
Things To Avoid:
1. Stop trying to get it right.
When you are starting out on your journey of discovery, your only objective is to learn and have fun. There is nothing else, no right and no wrong. You either enjoy it or you don’t, and that alone is learning. Now you can go back to getting curious about what else you’d like to experiment with. Maybe you want to be more creative but painting isn’t your thing. That’s good to know. Now you can try pottery or stained glass.
I've had this quote front of mind for the last 20+ years and it still comforts me. It reminds me that my path is unique and beautiful in it's own right.
"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground." Rumi
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
We all know this…and we all still do it. It’s natural to look at what other people are doing that brings them so much joy and think that we have to do what they do, the way they do it to have the results they have. If only that were the case. It is useful to find out more about how they discovered this for themselves. Getting more details often delivers great insight into how we might apply some principles to our own journey. We can also ask for suggestions, connections, resources etc. that could help us on our way, but trying to replicate or copy someone else’s success is not the way forward.
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”
― Joseph Campbell
3. Try not to get discouraged.
Finding your path can seem like a tough slog. Sometimes you feel like you’ve got so much riding on it that if you don’t see results soon all will be lost. You just can’t rush these things. It takes time, trial and error, experimenting, failing and trying something else. The one thing that will speed the process up immensely is finding a way to enjoy every step of the process. Think of the joy a child has learning to walk. When they stumble they plop down with a big grin on their face and get up and try again. They have no concept of not being able to succeed. It never occurs to them. They know they will walk, they know they’re almost there…and so do we. We know if they keep doing what they’re doing, they will be walking and making messes all over the place.
4. Don’t put it off.
I asked a potential client what other excuses he could come up with that would allow him to delay having the changes he would like in his life. His response was equally humorous as it was revealing. He would say anything, including “I have to wash my hair that day” to get out of taking responsibility and getting uncomfortable. That’s where he is right now and I know that one day he will step forward and do what it takes. How long he’ll allow himself to suffer is up to him.
How to Get Where You Want to Go:
Once you have an idea of what you want, it’s go time. I believe that what we want is also what wants to be created through us. I believe that projects, businesses, art and ideas need an outlet, a willing participant to bring them to life. The creative aspect of the universe is actively partnering with us to bring beauty into the world. That’s why we use terms like “inspiration” to describe the process of having a great idea ignite the creative energy within us. Inspiration is waiting for you to be open, receptive and ready to act. You can’t do this if you are second guessing, delaying, feeling sorry for yourself or focussed on getting it right.
When inspiration comes you need to be ready to:
1. Take a step.
Not take “the right” step. Just “a” step. Sometimes we call this “the next best step”. We’re still experimenting, that continues to be part of the process. We’re also still being curious.
Taking the next best step lets the universe know you’re ready to partner with it and bring this idea to life.
2. Ask questions.
Start sharing parts of your idea with people who may be able to help. Find out everything you can about how to get things done. Read books, research online, watch videos, listen to podcasts, interview experts, attend classes. You’ll start to discover that there are lots of resources to help you on your way and you may even find people willing to help you out.
3. Look for reasons it can work.
There is always a way. If you have an idea or a calling, there is a way for you to get there. You don’t need to know how. This is where faith in the process comes in. All you need to know is that there is a way and you will find it.
4. Say YES to what feels right, NO to what doesn’t feel right.
Life isn’t linear. It’s not clean, tidy and organized. Life is messy, chaotic and full of wild cards. You can’t possibly know what is going to work before you try it. The most random, unrelated things often lead us to where we want to go. I love that about life! It’s full of surprises and the more you trust the flow and just try stuff, the more doors that will open and the more opportunities that will present themselves.
This doesn’t meant that everything about trying new things is going to be fun but you will learn and gain valuable experience along the way. Then you can try something else.
5. Take risks.
This can’t be avoided. There is no safe zone in creating a life you love living. Faith in the process is an element of creation. It’s like trying to get bread to rise without yeast…tricky. You can start with small risks and work your way up as you build your confidence. My guess is you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
6. Go all in.
As long as there’s a backdoor you won’t commit. You doing what you love has got to be a priority. You need to know that nothing will stop you. You will do whatever it takes to live a joyful life of meaning and purpose. This is your gift to yourself and the world.
5. Get grateful to your bones.
I know it sounds cliché but if there’s one thing that will shift your life more than anything, it’s gratitude. Be grateful for everything that has come before, the good and the bad. Be grateful for everything in your life right now, good and bad. Be grateful for everything to come. If you do nothing else, do this…daily.
You living a life you love is important not only to you but to the people you love, your community and the world.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
- Howard Thruman
Ask “What am I being called to create?”
This one question is so often overlooked. We get hung up on the To Do list of whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. We have goals, targets, tracking and all kinds of tasks to do to create a vision of what we think is going to make us happy, successful, wealthy, liked, fit and any other thing we strive for.
What we miss is the secret sauce. It’s what has called us to be here in the first place. It’s what lights the fire and makes everything worthwhile. It’s the connection to all of life that wants to move through us, create through us and bring beauty into this world. This is why your path isn’t the same as anyone else’s path. This is why research and planning will only take you so far.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a master plan or even an idea of what you want. That will come with curiosity and experimentation. Enjoy the process, don’t give up, celebrate every little success and be grateful for all of life. Your life is a place for miracles and you are on the road to recognizing that as your reality.
I know this journey might seem scary at times and you may not have the support you feel you need to take the next steps. If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
The New Year is a powerful time to reflect and revise how we live. It's natural to look back and shake your head at some of the things you struggled through over the past year. As I write this, I'm in the process of selling our family home, moving children leaving the nest, breaking old patterns with my husband of 20yrs, and moving into my own place. That's a lot of change and has come with many awarenesses of what's working and what really isn't working.
I was recently asked to do a tv interview and comment on the importance of New Year's resolutions. I couldn't really deliver because in my experience, a resolution lacks the potency to carry out the endeavour. Here's what I wrote in response to that question.
This is a more energetic approach that offers less resistance and will serve you better in the long run. It allows for course correction and lessens the judgement around success and failure. For more specific or concrete goals the approach is very similar. Stay in touch with why you're doing it, what the benefits will be and what the cost of not doing it will be. Keep that photo on hand to remind you that this is an act of love for yourself. Resolve means you're all in and you're showing up no matter what. This is who you are now. You're allowed time off, you're allowed to break down and start over, but you are committed to you and creating a life you love living
I get a lot of clients saying that they would like to improve their relationships. For some its with their partner or spouse, a lot of times its with family members, co-workers or their children. The interesting thing is that before we can start working on our relationship with others, we first have to look at our relationship with ourselves. Sorry, but it's true!
Another thing I hear a lot is "I don't want to waste my time talking about nothing." I have to say "I agree!" How about you? Are you over it? Have you had enough small talk, complaining, gossip, surface level conversation?
The next thing to ask is "What else is there?". What is actually possible in conversation? What is possible in connection? I think we can agree that we want more! We want to go deeper. We want to experience a richness of connection that brings us to life. We want to feel seen and heard. We don't want someone to fix or rescue us. We want to be reminded of our greatness, our potency.
When was the last time you had someone remind you of your magnificence? When was the last time you were deeply impacted by an interaction with another person? In my work with clients and colleagues, this is a daily thing and I'm so grateful to be able to spend a lot of my time in that space. When I first discovered what was possible it blew my mind. Now that's where I want to be as much as possible and I really notice when its missing.
Do you have an idea of what a meaningful connection would be for you? Do you have people in your life with whom you can go "there", go deep, go all in, be vulnerable and rise like a phoenix from the ashes? Who are the people that lift you up and make you rise to the occasion to be the best version of you?
I said earlier that to have that with another, it's essential to learn to go there with ourselves. Here's an idea of how that can work:
Give yourself the things you would like to receive from someone else
Listen without judging or trying to fix
Be fully attentive to your body responses and all the thoughts that pop
Be curious instead of jumping to conclusions
Give space for change to happen in it's own time
Don't give into stories that disempower
Remind yourself of your strengths and greatness
Encourage, acknowledge successes and predict positive outcomes
Kick some ass where necessary
Alright, let's apply this to our encounters with others!
I'll start by saying, "this takes time and practice". It really does. We've developed all kinds of habits that create separation rather than connection. The good news is...we can learn a new and rewarding way of being, BEING, together.
Be with the person for the sake of listening and being impacted
Notice your reactions and responses without leaving the gates prematurely
Listen without judging or trying to fix
Be curious instead of jumping to conclusions
Give space for change to happen in it's own time
Don't buy into stories that disempower
Remind them of their strengths and greatness
Encourage, acknowledge and predict positive outcomes
Always ask permission before giving advice or suggestions
Shut up and let them figure it out on their own, ask more questions
Kick some ass where necessary
You can do this. You can have those conversations and connections. And, you can have that with yourself too. You can love being in your own company, laugh at your own jokes, marvel at your own insights and be deeply appreciative for the kindness, generosity and support you have cultivated.
Good luck and keep me posted on developments. I love hearing success stories. And as always, I am available for coaching on this and more.
All the love,
The Green Tara Mantra is a beautiful way to interact with the energy of abundance and the releasing of attachments to suffering. Use this mantra any time you are experiencing suffering and allow it to soften your grip on those things that you perceive as causing pain. The truth of you is abundance, wellbeing, radiance and vitality.
To work with me on dynamically shifting out of this space and into the fullness of your truth, send a message and we can discuss possibilities.
Do you ever have those moments when you realize you screwed up? This morning I realized I really messed something up. In this moment, I'm feeling frustrated, embarrassed and angry. I'm also worried that I won't be able to "fix" the "problem" according to my timeline.
Want to know what happened?
Here are the basics: In September I went back to school to finish my B.A. This has been a wonderful experience but navigating the logistics has been soooo frustrating. As everything is in lockdown, no one is in the office, no one is answering phones and everything is done with an endless stream of emails. It took months to get all my logins, change my name, get my new ID, create a new email and so on.
Anyway, when I enrolled I confirmed that I intended to graduate this Spring. I've been waiting for details on how to proceed but until this morning I didn't go looking for information...did I miss something?? What I discovered is that I was supposed to apply for graduation in November! What!? Is the university using telepathy to communicate this?
Here's what I'm thinking and how I'm moving from shock to calm action...
Reflection: I want to blame "them". I know this, and maybe the university could have made this process more straight forward, but ultimately, I know it's my responsibility. Blaming them and blaming myself are not constructive options.
The story I'm telling myself: I have a habit of missing details and I trust the system to keep me informed. The whole reason I didn't graduate 20yrs ago is because of a missed email. Honestly, it was a total fluke, but the result is that I'm telling myself a story about messing this up...again. How could I do this again?
Now what? The only thing I can do now is to connect with the registrar's office and start asking for help. I'll find out what else is possible and explore whatever angles I can find. I always believe there is a way and if there isn't a way, I believe everything will work out in it's own time. And, it always does.
What do I know? I know that I am creating my experience. I know that everything will work out. I know I'm not an idiot. I know there are no "problems" and there is nothing to "fix". It's all just experience and I can chose to enjoy it, fight it or just do it. I know I can let this go until the offices open next week.
What have you messed up on?
Who are you blaming?
What stories are you telling yourself and others?
What action can you take to change this?
Why Share this story? We all make mistakes and we all tell ourselves stories about how we are the victim of someone else's inadequacy. Some of that may be true but what really matters is what we chose to do about it. In this moment I have a whole variety of emotions. I want sympathy, I want hugs, I want to cry and kick myself. But, I also know that this is a temporary experience based on the thoughts I'm having.
What I want for you is to allow yourself to have the experience...but not buy it as the whole truth. I want you to be able to pivot quicker, shake it off, move on and switch into action. I want you to co-create your experience of this life as something fun, fulfilling and freeing.
All the Love,
Can’t we all just get along?
As much as we love our families, they drive us nuts sometimes. I definitely do not have all the answers but I can share some of the things that have helped me over the years. You may find some of these suggestions seem to contradict one another. All I can say is “it’s a dance”.
1. Give them what they want.
I’ll start here because it makes most people cringe. Most of the time we think we’re already giving them what they need from us but what we’re actually doing is holding as much back for ourselves as possible. Energetically this withholding is palpable to your friend/family member. Try and stand back and see what it is they’re really looking for. They may not be able to tell you they feel unloved or overlooked or whatever it is.
I have a person in my life that loves cards. I finally discovered that this was a key thing for them and that not receiving one from me on special occasions was like broadcasting that I didn’t care. Of course I care, and I do like cards, but once my family life started getting really busy, sending and receiving cards was no longer on my radar.
Now that I know this, I make sure to send cards. They are often late even though I bought them ahead of time but I will let the person know a card is on it’s way and that I haven’t forgotten.
I’ve also learned to bring small gifts when I visit and I try to touch base more often and stay up to date on life events. I know I could still do a bit more and I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated. This simple thing has made a significant impact and I’ve reaped the benefits of so much more joy and harmony in our relationship as a result.
2. Be honest.
I’m loving this approach in many areas of my life. Here’s an example that’s not from my family, but that I worked on with someone else. It goes something like this: “I’m really struggling with something and I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling. I’ve been trying to find ways to deal with this on my own but I’m stuck and I think I just have to come out and be honest. I’m having a lot of anxiety about Christmas this year. It’s such a special time and I’m so excited to have everyone around but when there’s arguing and competition between you and your sister, my stomach ties in knots and I just want to go and hide in a corner. I’m sure it’s difficult for you as well. Is there something we can do to make our time together more enjoyable?”
This is not about making anyone right or wrong. It’s not about justifying anyone’s behaviour. It’s only about you and how you feel as a result of the situation. You don’t have to fix anything or anyone, but you also don’t have to stay quiet and suck it up either.
Sometimes it might be enough to say “This isn’t working for me, can we try something different?” and sometimes it’s helpful to let the person know what happens in your body, like your stomach being in knots or your heart racing. Maybe you can’t sleep at night because you’re trying to find a solution all by yourself. They may know you’re upset but they may not understand the extent of your response to the situation.
3. Say “No”.
Ugh that’s a hard one for me and it usually sounds more like “I can’t do that but I can do this.” When our kids were younger, we had 2 families to visit on Christmas day plus our own festivities at home. That meant I was cooking for three events and washing up after each of them. It wasn’t fun for me and it meant that we were always on the move just keeping up with the schedule. Being the first kids in each family to have children it was up to us to find a new way of doing things. The routine changed a bit from year to year but eventually became something that was fun, relaxed and manageable for all.
The last few years we reserved Christmas day just for us at home. If we felt like wandering over to Grandmas house we were always welcome but it wasn’t planned. Instead we would plan to play games or go sliding. And, when we do go to either family, we are able to enjoy it to the fullest.
4. Survive and move on.
That sounds grim but resisting an unpleasant situation usually makes it worse. I could reword that and say, “Be open to enjoying yourself anyway.” Here are a few things I do:
5. Stay home and do your own thing if you really must.
Ask yourself what would be really enjoyable for you. Make something new up if you have an idea. You are allowed to break with tradition even if it’s just for one year or for a couple of engagements during the season. What would make this season meaningful and special for you? What have you been missing? What have you never tried?
Finally, I’d like to share that our family has benefited greatly from one person who has taught us all that it’s ok to say no. Sometimes health concerns teach a person to care for him or herself first which might mean cancelling dates, leaving early, lying down or just staying home. We have learned it’s nothing personal and that we can all carry on and enjoy ourselves. Strong family traditions are so wonderful when they work, but there are times when they are made more important than individual wellbeing. Let your family know how much you value them and make an effort to show up fully when you are able. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll resent them because you’ve compromised your own needs so much that you have nothing left to give. By doing so, you give them permission to do the same.
I would love to hear what works for you. What have you done to make the holidays fun, restful, meaningful and memorable?
Hi! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Dear Sweet Saboteur,
You are the voice I hear every time I get a good idea. You are always there to remind me how much I suck and how I will never achieve anything. When I'm about to take a risk you never forget to remind me why it's a really pathetic idea and I will fail miserably just like all the other times. I'm a pretty bad listener so I usually go ahead and go through with my ideas anyway, but just after I do that, you are right there waiting for me to remind me what I forgot and how I could have done it better.
I really don't know where I'd be without you. There are so many things I haven't done thanks to you. I can't even count the projects I've quit and the things I didn't say, the dreams I didn't follow and the plans I didn't even make. Thanks to you I have stayed safe and small. Your constant reminders of my insignificance and unworthiness have been a real help.
Oh someone please gag me! Stop, just stop it! This Saboteur has got to go...somewhere way more fun, wink wink. One thing I know for sure is that my sweet saboteur is really clever, a slippery little sucker to be sure. Sometimes it's enough to just put my foot down but lots of times it sneaks in when I'm not looking. At those times putting my foot down isn't as easy. Here's an approach that I find a little more fun and suits my playful personality real nice.
You'll probably recognize lots of these Saboteur lines and I bet you can come up with a bunch of your own. Either way, they all have one thing in common, they aim to keep you from having more fun. The nerve! Well here's to you Mr. Party Pooper:
Mr. Party Pooper a.k.a Saboteur: Ms. Perky Possibility Pants a.k.a. Me:
1. "You suck!" "No, you suck!"
2. "You can't do that." "Oh yah? Watch me!"
3. "That's impossible." "You're impossible."
4. "What if it doesn't work?" "What if it does work?"
5. "No one's ever managed to do that." "They haven't met me!"
6. "You have no idea what you're doing." "Nope. What's your point?"
7. "You'll fail like all the other times." "Your fly is down."
8. "You're too old." "How rude. You should know better than that."
9. "You're totally unqualified." "Who made you the expert?"
10. "What will people think?" "That I'm awesome, obviously!"
11. "You could lose everything." "Is that ice cream?"
12. "No one will take you seriously." "Good. Serious is boring."
13. "That's a ridiculous idea." "Amateur!"
14. "Who do you think you are?" "That's none of your business."
15. "Be realistic!" "Is that a spider on your head?"
16. "You haven't thought this through." "I'm sorry, are you still talking?"
17. "How are you going to pull this off?" "I'm not sure yet. Do you have any suggestions?"
18. "tsk tsk tsk" "You're so cute, let me squeeze your cheeks."
19. "You look tired." "This mirror is working, muah ha ha."
20. "I don't have a good feeling about this." "Poor thing. You better lie down."
21. "That's a waste of time." "Close the door on your way out ok, I'll be working."
Truth be told, I believe my saboteur developed for good reason. He has good intentions, but is batting for the wrong team, poor guy. I feel for him, I really do, but I have so many amazing things I'm totally fired up about that I just can't allow him to rain on my dreams. I am here to change the way we do things so that this world can be an amazing place for everyone. Who has time to indulge in pessimistic, fear based, limit enforcing thinking? What is the cost of this not only in our own lives but on a community and global scale? Fear is expensive. Dreams are gold. Risk-taking is possibility central.
What dreams have you been putting off? What fears speak louder than possibilities?
What would it look like to live your best life? What are you like when you're at your best? When was the last time you checked in with your vision? How often do you feel absolutely fired up about life? What ideas are calling to you to be explored and brought to life. What would the world be like if you followed your dreams?
Dear sweet, misguided Saboteur, thank you. You have always been there for me and I appreciate that. My friends and I are here for a purpose and we don't have room for members that aren't pulling their weight. If you feel you can support us in following our BIG dreams and making this world a better place for all, then please join us. If you find that you can't take the leap out of your comfort zone, you'll have to stay behind. I wish you all the best xo
Thanks for reading!
I truly hope this was helpful for you.
My greatest desire is to see you succeed
in a way that matters most to you. You've spent enough of your life doing what's best in the eyes of others. Now it's time to follow your own sense of knowing. Who better to navigate your awesome life than you?
If you're curious about working with me, send me a message and we'll have a conversation to see if we're a good fit.
Thing 1: IF YOU WANT CHANGE...YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK!
If you want change, You have to do the work! Don't you just hate that? Change does not happen on it's own for anyone. We all suck at stuff until we suck less and eventually we get pretty good at it. Once that happens, we find something else we suck at that we can work on.
It's so tempting to look at people who have awesome lives and think they're just lucky. There must be some special circumstances that allowed for them to have what they have. That may be for a very few cases, but most of the time there was a lot of effort involved. Trial and error, failed attempts, embarrassment, frustration, loss, confusion, exhaustion, sweat and tears are all part of this process.
To get what you want you have got to have a "Get back in the ring" sort of attitude. You have got to be willing to do what it takes, get messy, fail fail fail, look stupid, take risks, lose some win some and stay positive as much of the time as you can.
Thing 2: MOST OF THE TIME YOU WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!
Most of the time you won't know exactly what you're doing. You won't know what the next step should be. You may not even know what the next step could be. It's messy, doesn't make sense and there is no guarantee that it'll work.
I hate this! I want things to be obvious and make sense. I want to know that what I'm doing is going to generate the kind of results I'm looking for.
Change that is worth having isn't a destination with a clear path of well marked sign posts. You can't plug it into your Maps App and have it tell you the three route options with estimated travel times. You pretty much have to do your best research, consult your heart and your gut, and then take the plunge. Sometimes you have to do that almost every day! You do it over and over again until you learn better questions to ask, new research avenues and you learn to tune into your heart and instincts on a deeper level. Then, you learn to not take failure personally.
Thing 3: STAY FOCUSSED or STAY STUCK AND LOST
What you focus on is what you get. That's one of the first things you learn in most activities but is very much lacking in life skills. When throwing a ball, aim for your target. When driving, place your attention where you want to go, not on the shiny sparkly thing in the store window. Life is full of distractions. It's full of shiny objects but mostly it's full of busy work, other people's problems, emergencies, hassle, annoyances, sadness, depression, bills, illness and a whole slew of other things to get sidetracked with.
It is not always easy or convenient to have a dream or vision you're working toward. The bottom line is that the less time you spend on it, the less likely it is to become your reality. You must know without any doubt that you will get where you're going, nothing will stop you, delays are normal but determination is your lifeline.
You have got to have a strong vision and feeling of what you are creating. Like a sniffer dog trained on a scent, you've got to be tuned to the frequency of what you're looking for. You have to know it's possible and that you can achieve it even though doubt will often linger. Focus, keep you eye on the target, trust your instincts and go for it.
Thing 4: SELFISHNESS, JUDGEMENT AND OTHER PEOPLE'S OPINIONS
Ugh! Dreams, change, vision, goals, passion, purpose and projects can seem so selfish to our friends and family. First of all, Never expect anyone else to "get it". You may find some people who support you and see the awesomeness you are working toward, but most of the time, people are pretty oblivious. You've got to get OK with that. Stop defending and explaining what you're doing. Stop trying to get them excited with you. That's a massive distraction and time waster. They might get it eventually when you have a finished product or completed project BUT they may never see the value in it. That's pretty normal and that's why it's so important to have dreams that light you up so much that it doesn't matter how many people are there to party with you.
You will find others who will join you for part of the journey and some who may stick with you until the end. Either way, it'll be worth it and you will get to enjoy what you've created. The less you worry about others, the more you can enjoy the ride too.
Judgement happens. It generally happens from people who are not really invested in seeing you shine, even though they may claim to have your best interest at heart. What I find fascinating is, the less concerned I am about making people happy, towing the line, fixing and helping others, the less I get judged. It's really cool. It didn't happen instantly but it happened.
The people in my life recognize that my dreams don't take away from them or our relationship. My success is not a threat to them and I am always happy to help them have their own success. My point of view is that this world is a better place each time one of us finds what they love and lives a life that truly brings them happiness. We all win.
A final though on judgement is that often judgement can be an indicator that you're getting somewhere and making some great progress. The next time someone judges you take a moment to get excited and see just how far you've come. Way to go!
Thing 5: IT NEVER ENDS
It never ends is like the universe laughing when you think you've finally arrived and the work is over. If you listen closely you can hear a great big belly laugh rippling through the cosmos.
Get over looking for an easy way out. The easy way is to do the hard work! The easy way is to do the hard work and then do it again and again. Stop looking for a way out. Learn to enjoy the process and stop making it so serious. It doesn't mean you're bad or wrong or less than anyone else. It's normal and sometimes it really sucks. The good news is that you get better at it with practice and you learn to enjoy the ride. Cultivate a strong sense of trust in yourself and believe that good things will happen. You could believe that bad things will happen but it's less enjoyable and you're likely to be right about what you believe so the safer bet is with optimism!
Lastly, a life worth living is worth the effort put in to get there. End of story.
TIME TO GET STARTED:
Where do you start? Right where you are. There is no right time or best time to start. You just start.
Darlene Tindall is a Possibility Coach, multi modality healer and teacher sewing the seeds of possibility far and wide. She is available in person or online for coaching, classes, private facilitation, energy work or yoga.