The Surprise Benefits of Thinking Before You Speak

think before you speak thoughtful

I like to play with various challenges from time to time. It’s how I learn and grown. So, when someone at church suggested we practice thinking before we speak this week I was all in.

It was a good week for it, too. I had several conversations that needed to be handled carefully.

What I didn’t expect was how my focus on thoughtful speaking would make me feel.  Continue reading

How to Plan for a More Simple & Meaningful Holiday Season

meaningful holiday christmas

My holidays have run the gamut from being so poor I could only afford a few thrift store toys for my son to being completely overwhelmed by preparing a holiday meal, attending parties, and finding the perfect gifts for friends, family, and co-workers.

What I’ve learned is that I do best when I keep my holidays simple and close to my heart. I may be crazy, but I think that might be true for most of us.

My secret for making this happen is to set clear and positive intentions for my holiday season. I do this a few weeks before the holidays begin, so that I am ready to move into them with ease and grace.

My Intentions for More Simple and Meaningful Holidays Include:

  • Keep things simple
  • Focus on people, relationships, and community more than the commercial aspects of the holidays
  • Spend only what I can afford comfortably on gifts
  • Maintain a healthy diet, with occasional treats at special events
  • Stay connected to the real reason for the season
  • Manage my schedule in a way that allows plenty of breathing space and quiet time
  • Nurture my health with self-care practices
  • Not worry about what other people think
  • Watch sappy Hallmark Christmas movies
  • Give, serve, and volunteer for groups or causes that touch my heart
  • Savor the music, food, decorations, and people that are part of the holiday season

What about you? What kind of holiday season do you want to create? I;m hoping that these intentions inspire you to make your own, or you can just borrow some of mine. I don’t mind.

I would love to hear about your ideas, intentions or experiences making your holidays more simple and meaningful. You can share in the comments below.

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It’s Time for the Secret Turkey Project to Begin!

Thanksgiving Secret Turkey

I love November as the month of giving thanks and focusing on gratitude.

When my grandchildren were still young, my family moved out of state for my son’s job. Most years, I flew out to spend Christmas with them, but I realized that I needed to create new traditions that would offset any sadness about being alone for other holidays.

One of those traditions was becoming a Secret Turkey.

Every Thanksgiving I would write uplifting notes of grace, hope, and gratitude to give to strangers. Sometimes I would put them on people’s car windshields and other times drop them in mailboxes. People with run down cars and homes were most likely to receive them. It was always fun figuring out new ways to give them out while keeping my identity a secret. I did get caught a couple times, though.

Last year one of my clients made me the beautiful cards in the picture below (thank you T) for my Secret Turkey adventure. I still have some left over and look forward to using them to spread more thankfulness this year.

Thanksgiving cards secret turkey

Becoming a Secret Turkey made my Thanksgivings more meaningful and my hope is that the notes and cards I shared lifted up some of the people who received them. Or, at least put a smile on their face.

And now, I would like to invite you to join me in the Secret Turkey Project so that we can spread words of thanks, hope, and cheer to even more people.

What do you say? Are you in?

You can share your answer and let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

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The Art of Heart Centered Listening

art of heart centered listening

Feeling heard is a basic human need that far too many people go without. It can make or break relationships, save lives, and even prevent wars.

When someone is talking to you and you are distracted or not wanting to listen, they can tell. And, it hurts.

People who talk a lot, repeat themselves often, or get loud are usually not feeling heard or grew up feeling they didn’t have a voice. In challenging conversations, they will usually calm down once they know you have heard what they are trying to say and then move on to productive conversation.

Those who have suffered loss or are feeling upset don’t need sympathy or to hear your story; they need an opportunity to express themselves without interruption.

Listening is a cornerstone of communication and it is becoming a lost art. It is not about having an agenda or opinion, but about being focused, loving and safe for the other person in that moment. 

Heart Centered Listening happens when you:

  • Set an intention to listen deeply and give the other person the gift of feeling heard
  • Are willing to see the other person as both a soul and a human being without judging them
  • Realize that poor communication behaviors like yelling or venting come from pain and often will improve once they feel heard
  • Resist the urge to interrupt and let their words flow
  • Let go of wanting to provide solutions, opinions, or forwarding your agenda
  • Stay curious and leave room for miracles
  • Listen lightly without becoming immersed in the other person’s issues
  • Let your heart guide you

But, what if what they have to say is negative or hurtful? What if they have a pattern of venting their issues or opinions at you all the time? What if you have a history with the other person that triggers pain and fear as they speak?

Taking care of yourself is always the first priority. If you do not feel safe or ready for the conversation, you are likely not the one meant to do the listening. At least, at this time.

You can listen in negative conversations without it impacting how you feel:

  • Nurture your spiritual strength by staying connected to God and other things that feed your soul
  • Set an intention to be calm, confident, and not effected by what is said
  • Listen in a disassociated state by imagining you are a fly on the wall watching the conversation or just seeing it happen on a movie screen
  • Imagine a protective bubble around you before going into the conversation
  • Limit the time by letting the person know in advance that you have about 15 minutes or half an hour, instead of letting it go on endlessly
  • If the conversation is negative, afterward physically brush off your arms and body or take a shower, imagining the negative energy sliding away
  • Remember to breathe

Ultimately, you need to follow your heart. And, when you are able, giving the gift of Heart Centered Listening will be just as much for you as it is for the other person. In many cases these conversations end in huge shifts or breakthroughs. Even if they don’t, you will know that you have done a loving thing. And that, always feels good.

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How to Limit Negative Influences in Your Life

 

negative influences happy and sad smileys

Years ago I went through a time period when I was feeling sad and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. It had happened gradually without my realizing what was going on. My days felt hard and my heart was heavy.

And then, one evening I was sitting on my couch watching TV and began to cry. I realized this was becoming a pattern and that is when I realized what was happening. Continue reading

How to Feel More Satisfied with Your Life

satisfaction how to feel satisfied angel

 

“I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no” –  Mick Jagger

I’ve been feeling a bit like Mick Jagger lately and it’s my own fault. I’ve somehow slipped into a state of feeling unsatisfied with things in my life.

  • My to do list never ends and I never get enough done
  • My ideas became expectations with unrealistic deadlines
  • Instead of focusing on what I’ve accomplished, my thoughts are on what is not done yet

Continue reading

How to Feel More Happy & Positive

feel happy & positive life coach life coaching

We all have our ups and downs, but some of us have more of a roller coaster ride through life than others. While there is little you can do to influence events that happen outside of you, there are many ways you can shift how you feel and create a more positive life.

Here are some of my favorites: Continue reading

The Gifts of Living a Simple Life

gifts of simple living coffee book flowers simple life

When people hear that I choose to live simply they shake their heads and say they could never survive a simple life. In their minds they are picturing life in a cabin with one chair, one plate, and one fork. Or, a house that is cold, colorless, empty, and devoid of personality. And then, they imagine having to wear old, worn, and frumpy thrift store clothes, maybe even pioneer dresses. To them simple living sounds like a nightmare.

But, the truth is, it’s nothing like that at all.   Continue reading

Dog Training is Good for Human’s Too

dog training human training life principles

As most of you know, I recently adopted a little Beagle mix dog named Daisy. In many ways she is the perfect little girl. She adapted to crate training quickly, hasn’t chewed anything to death, got over her fear of cats, and seldom barks. She loves to cuddle, too.

But, Daisy has a couple little quirks that have caused me to spend my evenings watching Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) on TV at night.  Continue reading

A 5 Step Process for Healing Your History

 

healing your past healing your history

We all have stories about our histories and many of them are about childhood experiences where our needs were not met. Some of us continue to feel the pain and anger of those early times and the beliefs we formed about ourselves and the world also continue to shape our lives.

Holding onto our childhood stories can keep us stuck in the past and prevent us from living the life we deserve. We can make ourselves sick by keeping the emotions trapped in our bodies and live as victims controlled by fear.

For many of us, our histories feed our deepest feelings of being unworthy and unlovable.

It is only by releasing these feelings and letting go of the past that you will be free. Free to grow. Free to feel good enough. Free to create the life and love you want. Your past is in the past. It’s an old story. Honor it, but don’t get lost in it. It’s time to write a new story for the rest of your life.

I don’t say this lightly and know that when you are living in emotional pain feeling free of it can seem impossible. I have been there. But, I have also been able to move beyond it. If I can do it, you can too.

Often, the assistance of a qualified coach, counselor, specialized program, or trusted friend can help you find the way. If you would like to talk to me about the possibility of working together to support your healing, you can contact me here

Below is one of the exercises that I have used and recommended. You will want to create some alone time in a quiet space to focus on the process. It may feel awkward at first, but when you really dive in it can help you start to heal your past. Here are the steps:

A 5 Step Process for Healing a Past Issue

  1. Identify a situation to work with and what age you were at the time
  2. Take out paper and pen and ask your younger self (you at the age when the issue happened) what she wants you to know – write what she is saying in the first person (starting with the word “I”) and encourage her to express what she feels fully and freely. Do not judge or edit, just write. She may swear, be angry, or scared. It’s all okay. You are giving her an opportunity to feel heard. You can ask questions or interact with her if you want to further the conversation.
  3. When she is through, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take a very deep breath and breathe out any negative or limiting emotions that came up during the process. Repeat a couple times if needed and then settle into a pattern of breathing out what no longer serves you and breathing in LOVE. Sit with the feeling of letting go and bringing in love for a few moments.
  4. Comfort your younger self. You can do this by telling her you love her and will keep her safe, hugging yourself, or imagining holding her lovingly.  Do what feels right for you.
  5. Sit with that feeling of love and healing for awhile and then form an intention to carry it forward with you as you step back into your daily life. You may want to journal more about what you have learned in the process and how you feel.

Keep in mind that this is a process and healing your entire history won’t happen over night. But, when you start taking steps in that direction, you are taking a stand for yourself.

If you have thoughts of ending your life, please call a suicide hotline immediately. Here is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Or, if you feel hopelessly entrenched in emotional pain, please get help. Don’t try to tough it out. It’s okay to ask for help. I did, and it changed my life.

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It’s Never What You Think It Will Be

adopting a dog at Petsmart dogs life is full of surprises

I’ve had puppyitis for quite awhile now, spending way too much time looking at available dogs on rescue group websites. This craving has been around for awhile and I finally decided the only way to cure it was to give in.

I inquired about a couple dogs online and was invited to meet them at Petsmart when the rescue group would be there. The primary candidates were a maltipoo and a lab/terrier mix and I was assured they met my requirements of being house trained and good with cats.

That morning I was nervous, but became calm after journaling. I reminded myself that getting a dog from a rescue group is like saving a life, because when you adopt one it makes room for one more to be saved. 

My daughter-in-law, Alexis, came with me for moral support and to keep me from doing anything really crazy. During the drive there I was reviewing the two dogs in my mind trying to decide what to do.

And then, in a moment of clarity, my inner voice said – “It’s never what you think it will be.” 

Adopting a dog at Petsmart leave room for surprises dogsSure enough. You might have noticed in the pictures I definitely didn’t bring home a maltipoo or lab mix. She looks suspiciously like a beagle. The maltipoo looked unhealthy, was chewing his legs, and when I put him down he peed to mark his territory several times. (Don’t ever buy anything off the bottom shelves at Petsmart.)

Meanwhile, there was my little Daisy looking very cute and sweet. She had just been spayed the day before and wasn’t feeling well, but when they opened her crate she came right to me.

It’s never what you think it will be.

I was concerned about getting a dog that would be hard on my cats, but that’s definitely not the case with Daisy. She was terrified of THEM! When Daisy first saw Chloe she shrieked and ran.

It’s never what you think it will be. 

It’s been 5 days now and I have had my moments of wondering why I ever wanted a dog. There has been a lot of work with potty training (it appears she wasn’t trained after all), inter-species relationships, and separation anxiety. She has also seemed depressed and would cower when told no or if I moved too fast.

Today she pottys on walks well (but, won’t go in her own yard), is getting along better with the cats every day, and having brief moments of playfulness.

And, I have fallen in love. 

It’s never what you think it will be.

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A Cat, A Lizard and a Life Lesson

answers are closer than you think life lesson lifecoachlinda

One day, I let my cat Chloe (pictured above) out on the patio for a bit of fresh air. I pictured her rolling in the sun or maybe taking a cat nap, but she had something else in mind. Her real mission became obvious when she came running back into the house with a baby lizard in her mouth.

Oh drat! Continue reading

Decluttering Questions that Help You Let Go of Stuff

clutter junk decutter stuff stuffocate

I am not a lover of clutter. It seems the older I get the more stuffocated I feel when things start to add up. I crave space, breathing room, and love knowing exactly where everything is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the best house keeper or anywhere near OCD, but opening a closet or cupboard and being able to see each item clearly with plenty of empty space feels peaceful to me. Continue reading

What Do Life Coaches Really Do?

life coaches support like watering flowers

There is still a lot of confusion about what life coaches do.  Even coaches have trouble explaining it.  And, everyone seems to be a coach these days.  How confusing is that?

In general, a professionally qualified life coach will listen carefully and provide support, perspective, guidance, new skills and tools, motivation, accountability, and champion you along the way to your best life.

Who doesn’t want that?

Most clients work with a life coach because they: Continue reading

Living a Life of Grace & Gratitude

simple living grace and gratitude simple life

Today, on the eve of my 64th birthday, I am remembering special moments from my past and feeling into who I have become and what I want more of in my life.

I guess you could say I am in an introspective mood.

From this perspective I can see the gifts of my past challenges and how they supported me in becoming who I am today. I don’t believe in regrets, but have a few. Mostly, I am amazed by my journey and how I moved from feeling broken and unable to function to raising a wonderful son, becoming a coach, and creating a life of grace and gratitude. Continue reading

Pick My Brain – Single Session Coaching Support

woman stuck in dilemma questioning brain coaching

While most of my coaching happens with clients over a period of time, there are some things that can be handled more quickly.  You may have specific questions, be unable to afford ongoing coaching, or just want an hour of compassionate support.

I want to be able to serve you, too.

To serve this purpose, I am now offering one hour Pick My Brain phone sessions.

In these sessions you bring your questions, issues, pain, dreams, or challenges to the call and I will provide one hour of highly focused support, including tools or action steps that will help you as you move forward. 

And, keep in mind, 99.9% of my clients say that they feel much better after simply talking to me.

You probably already have something percolating in your mind that is asking for attention. So, here is how you can set up your Pick My Brain call:

Email: lifecoachlinda@gmail.com or go here to schedule a time. The fee for 2017 will be $125 per session, payable by credit card or Paypal.

Below are some of my areas of expertise and common themes that come up in my coaching calls around life challenges, dreams, business, blogging, and support for life coaches.

Life Coaching

  • Receive support and guidance for a challenge you are facing
  • Discover your next right step
  • Re-connect with your personal values and best self
  • Specific tools for resolving what is on your mind
  • Learn how to communicate more effectively
  • Move past feeling upset or being reactive about an issue
  • Create a plan for a goal or dream you want to reach
  • Get unstuck
  • Create a more peaceful and simple life
  • Start making positive changes in your finances or health

Business & Blogging

  • Get customized advice and next steps
  • Steps to start a website or blog
  • Make money online
  • Business assessment & recommendations
  • Learn how to enroll clients successfully
  • Social media marketing
  • Marketing brainstorming sessions
  • Productivity and motivation
  • Email newsletters – MailChimp and Constant Contact
  • Basic WordPress questions
  • Create a program or product
  • Website & blog reviews and feedback

Support for Life Coaches

  • Answers to your coaching questions
  • Guidance for specific client situations
  • Improve client enrollment conversations
  • Discover your niche
  • Market your coaching practice
  • Answers to coaching practice and business questions
  • Website/blog review
  • Coaching session review and feedback
  • Find out if becoming a coach is right for you

There will be consequences if you do nothing and let things stay the same, whether they are about how you feel or how quickly or easily you move forward.

Just remember, I am an experienced and professional coach who really cares and is ready to support you.

You can schedule your Pick My Brain session or ask a question by emailing me at: lifecoachlinda@gmail.com or contacting me here

I look forward to hearing from you.

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How to Re-energize Your Goals and Dreams

re-energize goals motivation

It’s pretty common that we feel energized when we set goals and intentions for our lives, but as time goes by and life happens that motivation can start to feel like a distant memory.

We remember the goals and are still vaguely aware of why we wanted them, but feel too busy, too tired, or just kind of stuck.   Continue reading

Moving to a Small Town in Missouri – It’s Been 2 Years

moving to small town life Missouri California

My special friend – Little Momma

I am feeling nostalgic about my journey from California to Missouri in 2016. A lot has happened since then and I am very happy in my new town where I am close to my family and feel connected to the community.

A few weeks ago I moved again to another house just blocks from the first one. I have great neighbors, a beautiful view, and the house has great bones. I am currently in decorating mode and keep staring at samples of paint colors on my walls, hoping I will make a decision soon.  Continue reading

Fear and Anxiety: How to Make Friends with Your Lizard Brain

fear and anxiety t-rex lizard brain
For some reason I have been hearing the term “lizard brain” a lot this week.  This is a nickname for the part of your brain that deals with survival and creates your fight or flight response.  You may think of it as your own personal freak out zone.  Continue reading

How to Get Perspective When Feeling Pressured

under pressure valve

I’ve been to a lot of seminars over the years. Some were great, some were okay, and some of them made me feel uncomfortable. The ones I didn’t like usually involved pressure to buy, sell, or do something out of your comfort zone in order to be accepted.

It’s interesting to watch these charismatic seminar leaders in action. They make a lot of money doing this and are experts at building momentum and get people fired up.

They create a sense of urgency, use peer pressure, and sometimes shaming language: Continue reading