Leaving California

 

Laguna beach california

Am I crazy?!? 

I seem to have somehow turned my life upside down in the last few weeks. Totally topsy turvy. It’s been completely insane, and maybe I am too.

My grandchildren, son, and daughter-in-law have settled in to small town life in Missouri. I miss them terribly and  thought I would end up there at some point, but always felt anchored to this place where I was born and have lived my life for almost 62 years.

And then, three things happened within a few weeks: 

  • My friend died. She had been trapped in a body she couldn’t move and unable to speak for years and being her friend through this process has been a long road. Now she is free of her earthly body and I found myself feeling kind of floaty with new empty space in my life.
  • The University of Santa Monica (USM) discontinued it’s Master’s Program and I will no longer be needed as a volunteer. I have spent at least one weekend a month in this beloved environment since 2009 and will soon be grieving the loss of these special times and the amazing people I have had the privilege of working with.
  • And then, just before I left for my grandson’s graduation in Missouri, I got a surprise cash offer on my house that was very, very tempting.

I couldn’t resist.

That week in MO was a rollercoaster ride of looking at houses, making big decisions, offers that were too late, looking for rental options when none existed, and a last minute opportunity that I made an offer on.

A few days later I cancelled escrow on the house when the inspection revealed some serious issues I was not comfortable with.

My fear of becoming homeless was getting stronger and stronger.  

But, that same night I negotiated a deal on a “for sale by owner” property I really liked, but felt was overpriced. I was back in escrow again.

Central House cropped

This is a good move for me: 

  • I will be near my family for the first time in years and get to enjoy time with my grandchildren
  • My house will be mortgage free and my financial future more secure
  • My business is portable since it is mostly online and by phone
  • I feel like I really needed both a new adventure and a fresh start
  • Life seems quieter and slower there, which may be just what I need
  • The small town I am in is really cute and only a half hour away from a city that is regularly on the Best Places to Retire lists.

It’s all good. 

And now, I enter a season of goodbyes. To people, communities, my hikes in the hills, places I love, and half of my possessions.  I can live with that because soon it will be a season of hello’s as I make new friends, find my place in a new community, explore the area, and build a home sanctuary.  Thanks to email and social media I can stay connected to all.

I will always love California.  It’s in my blood. I’m just ready for a new adventure. 

Goodbye sweet California. I will miss you.

Should You Be Seeking Your Life Purpose?

life purpose

As a coach, I hear a lot of people talking about trying to figure out what their life purpose is. For many, not feeling they know it is a source of great angst and leaves them feeling like they are living their lives all wrong.  They feel guilty and ashamed that they are not doing this one great thing because they can’t figure it out. And, that makes them feel like a failure

My clients are often surprised when I share my thoughts on life purpose with them.

I believe it’s okay to play with purpose, but not let seeking it rule you. You can take quizzes and read books that help you connect with your values, natural gifts and what you enjoy, but that doesn’t always lead to knowing your purpose in this world.

You may also hear that if you just do what you love, you will be living on purpose.  Supposedly, money will follow, but I am not so sure it always works out that way. Sometimes we need to do things we don’t love to take care of ourselves and loved ones.

I’m not usually a naysayer, but I’ve seen people get obsessed with this idea of purpose and shame themselves if they think they are not in alignment with it.

There is a more peaceful way.

Realize that purpose is not always a big, grand thing. It could be a series of little tiny moments where you start a butterfly effect without even knowing. It could be within arms reach within your family or the work you are already doing. Or, it could be a simple smile you give someone that lifts them up to do what they are meant to do in the world.

Don’t let this idea of purpose keep you stuck or control you. If you don’t have a sense of it, just live your life consciously. Follow your heart and intuition with each small decision you make and eventually you will end up in the right place.

Actually, I believe you are already there.

Seeking purpose takes you out of your life and present moments. It can distract you from the things that are most meaningful and cause you to overlook the very thing you are looking for.

It’s not big, its simple. Purpose is about living a life of alignment and making choices based on your inner knowing. It’s not something you seek. It is always there guiding you from within. And, you don’t need to know it’s name, shape, or form.

It’s time to take the pressure off and just live in a way that feels meaningful. You are always on purpose whether you know it or not.

 

The Gift of Heartfelt Letters

lost art of letter writing letters

One of the things I loved about my friend Sybil who recently passed was her love of bringing people together for food  and stimulating conversation.  She loved to listen and bask in the warmth of being surrounded by interesting friends.

As she was losing her ability to speak, she would type letters to us. I came across a few recently and they were full of amusing observations and appreciation for the people around her. I could almost here her chuckling between the lines.

Eventually, she lost her ability to type and the letters she received from friends and family became a new source of joy. She would have me read them to her over and over again.

As time passed and her disease progressed the letters and visits from friends came less often and she felt more isolated. It was hard to watch her lose those connections to the outside world and I realized how valuable a simple letter could be.

Since then I have written several letters from the heart. As I wrote them I would be flooded with memories and appreciation for the person I was writing to. Their responses were incredible. They would cry. I would cry. And, I realized the gifts of those letters were not just for the recipients, but for me as well.

My friend Lynette Smith is a big fan of heartfelt letter writing. At her son’s wedding, he and his bride presented their parents with framed letters of appreciation. Lynette cherishes this gift and it has inspired her mission to get people putting pen to paper again. The cornerstone of this mission is her book: How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special. 

Who can you write a heartfelt letter of appreciation to? I encourage you to give it a try. You will find it is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

 

Simple Abundance

simple abundance

I was going through some books this morning that I have gathered over the years and came across one by Sarah Ban Breathnach called, Simple Abundance.  I let the pages fall open where they would and saw this:

“When we cherish our dream and invest love, creative energy, perseverance, and passion for ourselves, we will achieve authentic success.”

Well said, Sarah.

This lovely book is based on her 6 principles of simple abundance:

  • Gratitude
  • Simplicity
  • Order
  • Harmony
  • Beauty
  • Joy

Just saying them brings peace to my heart.

I think I am going to spend some time with this book again. Apparently, it still has more to teach me.

The Power of the Pause

the power of the pause

Things move pretty fast in our world these days and that means we are moving fast too.  In order to keep, up we may feel we have to act and respond quickly to what is before us.  And, that can be a problem.

We end up reacting to what is happening in the moment.  We react instead of respond, and we do it without taking time to check within for what we really, really, really want.

Hitting the pause button and taking a moment to connect with your values and intuition allows you to act in ways that are more in alignment with your heart and soul.

Here are some ways that you can integrate the power of the pause into your life:

  • When you are craving unhealthy foods
  • When you want to lash out or react to something someone says or does
  • Taking time to gather your thoughts so you can communicate clearly and concisely
  • Making choices that are aligned with your core values and dreams
  • Pausing and setting an intention for what you are about to do
  • When you feel tired, sad, or upset and need to center yourself to be more effective
  • Taking time to question limiting beliefs that are making you fearful or keeping you stuck
  • When you want to spend money in a way that is not in alignment with your financial goals
  • When you feel tempted to do anything that you might wish you hadn’t later 

The power of the pause allows you to operate from the core of who you are and consciously create the life and relationships you desire.  And… it can prevent a whole lot of regrets…

Where in your life can you benefit from using the power of the pause?

You Don’t Have to Be a Minimalist or Tidying Up Fan to Create a Clutter Free Home

Declutter, minimalism, tidying up

There are a lot of people feeling inspired to clear space in their homes and lives right now. It’s a hot topic, and one that I can really get behind. I love living simply and creating a life that matters.

But, I wonder if some of the things being put out there can feel too rigid for some of you. Do they hold you back and prevent your getting started?  Or, make you judge yourself as not doing enough? 

I am in a number of Facebook Groups on minimalism and simple living and sometimes I want to cringe when someone asks how to let go of things like their grandmother’s necklace or their childhood Bible. There is always a lot of encouragement from the group to give them away, but I sense that sometimes people are pushing themselves further than they want to go.

I am here to tell you there are no rules. Clearing space and living simply will bring many gifts into your life, AND you get to do it your way. 

Guidelines are great, having a supportive coach experienced in this area is wonderful, but ultimately you need to follow your heart and find the level of simplicity that is right for you. Sometimes people are ready to jump in fully and for others it may be a process of one layer at a time.

Before starting a de-cluttering process I encourage you to spend time becoming clear about your intention and the vision you have for your end result. This intention can guide and motivate you along the way.  And, if you would like additional support, find a friend, coach, or professional organizer who will hold you to your vision in a gentle, caring way.

You CAN do this! Your home can become a sanctuary that is clean, organized, and full of light. And, you can do it your way. Just imagine what that will feel like…

If you would like the support of a professional coach who loves to help people create more simple and fulfilling lives, I would love to offer you a free consultation. Contact Linda

Related Posts:

From Clutter to Clarity: A Client Story

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

The Blame Game: Are You Disempowering Yourself?

blame

It is true that people do yucky things. And, there are probably times in your life when you were truly a victim, but it is what you do afterward that matters most.

When you let yourself fall into the trap of blaming others and believing that people or your environment have conspired against you, you are disempowering yourself and embracing the role of a victim.

Living as a victim can be very seductive because it is a great excuse. People won’t expect a lot from you.  You can play small, avoid risks, and sometimes not even have to work as hard as everyone else.  It may even feel good because you get sympathy or attract attention.

I know, because I spent years rehashing the many ways I was a victim as a child and young adult. I was an expert at playing the victim role. I took it on as my identity as if that was all I was and all I could ever be.

The truth is though, that when you play the blame game you limit yourself, play small, and give your power away.  You will attract the wrong people and the wrong things into your life.  And, you will know somewhere deep in your heart that you are not being your best self or living to your full potential.

Even when you are sure that someone took action against you, blaming is not the answer.  Your true power is in forgiveness, accepting responsibility for your life, and moving forward into the life you were meant to live.

Don’t let blame become the center of your life. Delete blaming words from your vocabulary and focus instead on all you have to be grateful for. There are people loving and supporting you at this very moment. Why do you want to give your life over to those who don’t? Leave it behind. Move forward. And, know that you are so much more than whatever someone once did to you.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Related posts:

3 Ways to Feel More Empowered When Facing a Challenge

Clear Your Mind and Heart with Freeform Writing

A Cat, A Lizard, and a Life Lesson

answers are closer than you think

The other 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!

And, because I am a softie for all living things (well, almost all) I wanted to rescue the little creature.

I convinced Chloe to let go of it and saw the lizard run for cover under my TV stand. After locking my naughty kitty in the bedroom I came back armed with a flashlight, but couldn’t find my new reptile friend anywhere. My next step was to take everything off the TV stand and even move it out of it’s nook, but alas, there was no lizard in site.

I was about to give up and was having visions of the cats finding it while I slept and leaving a bloody, dead creature on the floor where I would step on it in the morning.

Double drat!

But as I stood up, I noticed a feeling like a dryer sheet had been left in my pants. When I pulled my pants down to get it, what did I see? A baby lizard clinging for dear life to my thigh.

Yikes!

Fortunately, I am not afraid of lizards. My friend Michelle might have died on the spot, but I put Baby Lizzy back in the yard where she will be safe. Unless Chloe finds her again.

Later that day I was talking to a client who was looking for answers. She took classes, went to psychics, and asked everyone what she should do. I knew then that my close encounter with the little lizard was the perfect story to remind her that her answers were closer than she thought. The solutions weren’t out there. They were already within her. In her gut. In her heart. Or, maybe on her leg.

Perhaps, Baby Lizzie was a spiritual teacher in disguise.

Related posts:

A Quick Solution to Being Stuck in Dilemma

A Not So Graceful Moment in Kitten Rescue

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

And, for those who don’t get freaked out by reptiles, here is a site about Western Fence Lizards

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think.

Get Real! How to Live an Authentic Life

authentic living

When life isn’t working for you and just about everything feels off, it is a good sign that you may be living out of alignment with your authentic self. All of us are to some degree, but when you choose to embrace authenticity your life can be transformed.

Here is how:

Be Yourself
Life can shape and mold you and sometimes in order to cope or feel like you belong, you develop an external personality to share with the world. It may be bolder, quieter, nicer, naughtier, or one of the most common I see, a people pleaser. Ultimately, you just want to be accepted, and if you are lucky, loved. But, after a while you will start to doubt whether people would care about you if they could see who you truly are and your outward persona becomes your inner downfall.

The only way that you can attract the people in your life who will love you for who you really are is to share that authentic self with the world. To be vulnerable, open, strong, weak, angry, sad, and fully your own self. Just you. The real you. That takes more courage than just about anything in this world, but when you walk through life authentically you will know the love you experience is true and the right people are by your side.

Live and Speak the Truth
When you are grounded in the truth and it is expressed in the words you use and the way you live your life, you feel solid, strong, and connected to your soul. There is a sense of clarity and peacefulness because living the truth is simple. Not complicated. There is only one thing to say and one thing to be. The truth. This is one of the most powerful, empowering, and calming things you can do for yourself.

Be Fully Present in Each and Every Moment
Most of us just skim the surface of life, being distracted and missing the magic of our individual moments. When you choose to be fully present your life becomes richer and more beautiful. Your focus improves and your mind lets go of the challenges of the past and the worries of the future. Life becomes more peaceful as your mind stops spinning and you focus on what you are doing now. Right now.

Listen to Your Heart and Soul
Living authentically clears the way for your inner voice to be heard. It’s been there all along, but sometimes lost in the clutter of an inauthentic life.  From that voice comes your inner knowing, the part of you that is wise beyond all measure and can guide you through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes it speaks through your body and other times you hear a strong, calm voice in your head and you just know what it says is true. It has all the answers. They are right there waiting for you when you allow space for them to come through. 

Keep Your Agreements – Especially the Ones You Make to Yourself
Being in integrity feels good. For many of us, we have no problem keeping commitments we make to our jobs or other people, but when it comes to agreements with ourselves we act as if they don’t matter. How many diets, goals, and New Year resolutions have been left in the dust with barely a second thought?

When you break your agreements to yourself you undermine your self-trust, confidence, and self-esteem. So, don’t make big grand agreements. Be careful to only make commitments to yourself that you truly intend to keep. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have. When you know you can trust yourself, anything is possible.

Thank God for All of Your Magical Moments and Blessings in Disguise
Living authentically includes remembering that your life in this human world is a gift and even the hardest times are in some way blessings because they expand your soul and teach you what you need to learn. Thank God for your days, your successes, the people in your life, and the beauty around you. And, while you are at it, express appreciation to others for what they do well or qualities they embody. Focusing on gratitude will fill your heart and let you know that living authentically is the best gift that you can give yourself.

Related Posts:

How to Reconnect with Your Playful Inner Child

Integrating Gratitude More Deeply Into Your Life

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

When Forgiveness Feels Too Hard – Try This 

forgiveness

Forgiveness is not always easy. Even when you know:

  • It’s the right thing to do
  • It will help you feel better and heal
  • It’s purpose is to free you, not them
  • It does not mean that what someone did to hurt you was okay

Sometimes your heart can be so broken or your anger so deep that you just aren’t ready to let it go. 

And then, the judgment against yourself creeps in because you just don’t understand how others can do this noble forgiveness thing when it feels so impossible for you.

This is where I step in. I want you to know that it is okay to honor where you are at. You can’t force forgiveness and you don’t have to forgive in this moment. But, there is something you can do to take some of the heat out of what happened and create a bridge between you and the peace on the other side of forgiving.

Remember – It begins with remembering that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience and that means both you and the person who wronged you. You are souls. Children of God. And, this is part of your journey.

Understand – The person who wronged you has a history that brought them to the point of hurting you. What could have gone so wrong in their lives that they would do this? What do you know of them that could lead to understanding how this could happen?

Here’s a hint:

It usually boils down to fear, even if it looks like something else. Unless there is mental illness involved they are probably very afraid of being hurt themselves. Often what people project the loudest out into the world is exactly what they feel least inside. So, the manipulator may be afraid of being controlled. Bullies diminish others because they feel unworthy.  And, the relationship enders or saboteurs may not feel lovable at the core.

Nurture Compassion – Use this understanding to let yourself start feeling compassion for the person who upset you. They are not all evil or bad. When you look through the eyes of their history you will likely see how they have been wronged or hurt or damaged. Can you feel sorry for what they went through? A yes means your compassion is coming through.

When you are able to move through this 3 step process, the peace of forgiveness is not far away. You can go there in your own time. It doesn’t have to be now. But, what you have done already has softened the hold this person had on you so that you can begin your own healing. Forgiveness will come when the time is right.

Quotes about forgiving.

A Process for Healing Bad Memories

CONTACT ME if you would like professional support through a process of forgiveness for something that has happened in your life. I would love to help.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

What It Feels Like to Become a Grandmother

My Grandkids

Christopher, Thomas, and Becca

Nothing prepared me for what was going to happen when my first grandchild was born. Friends would get these mysterious smiles and say, “Just wait, it will be wonderful.”

And it was. More than wonderful. 

Even though my oldest grandson is about to graduate high school, the moment I first saw him is branded in my heart and mind forever.

Everything fell away in that moment and my heart opened beyond anything I could have imagined. I was experiencing a miracle of life and love.

No more guarding and protecting my heart. No more sitting on the sidelines. I was in! All in! 

The same feelings came forward when his sister and brother were born, but that first time was like a shock to my system because I didn’t know I could love that freely and at such a deep level. I hadn’t realized how big my heart really was.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my son more than anything, but we were separated when he was born because he was premature and didn’t get to experience those first magical moments together. And then, there was all that single parenting struggle that kept me busy and my upbringing in a family that didn’t show affection that held me back. So even though I loved him more than life itself, I didn’t have the skills or freedom to really demonstrate it at the time.

That is why being a grandma is different than being a mom. We are free to just love without the daily stress and worries. We can see things from a broader perspective supported by our years of experience and our only job is to be there fully for these new precious beings that come into our lives.

There is a moment I remember when my grandchildren were young that symbolizes for me what being a grandma is about.  

As I walked into their house one day, they all ran over to hug me at the same time and ended up knocking me down onto the floor. Their parents yelled at them to stop and I remember looking up and trying to figure out why. Because I was in heaven. Pure bliss. Wrestled to the floor with love.

That is what it feels like to become a grandmother.

I guess I am feeling nostalgic because my first grandbaby will be going to college soon, but I will never forget how it felt to become a grandmother for the first time. My heart will never be the same again. And that, is a good thing.

Please feel free to comment on this post. I would love to hear what you have to say about becoming a grandmother.

How You Use These Two Little Words Can Make or Break You

woman with hand over heart

There are times when I hear myself or my clients or my friends say things like: I am confused. I am tired. I am sick. I am sad. I am overwhelmed. I bet you hear those words come out of your own mouth too.

Well, they simply aren’t true!

You may FEEL tired or sick or sad or whatever is going on at the time, but it is not who you are.

When you continuously reinforce those self-limiting labels by saying them over and over again, you program yourself into believing they are true.

So, use the words “I am” very carefully. They may be small, but carry incredible power.

And, if you want to know who you really are:

Sit in a quiet place with pen and paper and start writing, “I am …”  Fill in the blank with whatever pops into your head. Keep writing until there is nothing left and you have reached the deepest truth. What most people find is that the first answers tend to be negative or superficial and the last connect with the more powerful spiritual truth of who you really are.

This exercise can be extremely grounding and also works well as a meditation where you simply say the words instead of writing them down.

I am. You are.

We are not tired or overwhelmed. We are wise. We are beautiful. We are powerful. We are love.

And, that is the truth!

How to Discover and Prevent Hidden Money Leaks

bandaid-piggy-bank

Money is a touchy topic. Having money brings a sense of security and safety and allows us to keep up appearances so we feel more acceptable in the world around us. We can use it to look good and feel good, or even comfort ourselves when we are feeling low.

And yet, most of us feel some level of shame around it, even when we handle our money well.

Either we don’t feel we have enough or we judge ourselves for how we spend what we do have.

Feeling peaceful about money comes from using it in a way that is in alignment with your values and making conscious choices when you spend. It comes from finding the sweet spot between thrift and giving occasional gifts to yourself.

What usually happens though is that we get all fired up by someone’s expert marketing or something someone said and our mind convinces us that we “need” to buy things. Not necessarily big things, all the little things add up to.

And in the end. we find ourselves with a lot of stuff we didn’t really need and probably don’t use.

How much could you have saved last year if you avoided these extra purchases? Let’s find out.

Get a notepad and pen and walk through your house listing everything you have purchased in the last year that:

  • You don’t wear regularly
  • Doesn’t bring value to your life
  • Are not using
  • You don’t really like
  • Forgot you even bought it
  • Didn’t live up to your expectations
  • You could have gotten free, like books from the library

Look in your closets, drawers, and on your shelves. You might be surprised what you find. When you have your list, go through and estimate how much money you spent on each item and then total them up. Shocking isn’t it?  Keep in mind that this is meant to open your eyes to new opportunities for saving money and no self-judgment is allowed.

The first step to changing our habits is awareness and just imagine how much money you can save this year by shifting this pattern. Make a new commitment to using your money in ways that do not allow advertisers or the people next door to run your financial life.

What about the things you bought last year? They have become clutter and don’t belong in your home. Selling or donating them can help you anchor what you have learned and reinforce your new decision to play with money in a way that is in alignment with your values and goals.

If you would like the support of a coach to help you improve your relationship with money and take control of your finances CONTACT LINDA to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Your Mind is a Playground

A little girl having a great time on a swing in a playground.

Imagine being a child again and going to the world’s biggest playground. There is an unlimited supply of high flying swings, exhilarating slides, and magical merry go rounds. Everything you could possibly want is in front of you.

Our minds are just like that playground.

We have an incredibly full range of inner mental experiences available to us. Joy, love, excitement, worry, guilt, peace… The choices are unlimited.

Yet, what most of us tend to do is go to the same tattered and rusted swing over and over again. It isn’t very comfortable and can’t go very high. It may even be the saddest most limiting swing in the entire world of playgrounds.

We tell ourselves life is hard. We worry. Feel guilty. Get stuck in the emotions our negative thoughts bring.  And we think that is all there is. The rusty old swing that keeps calling our name.

But, this isn’t how the world of mental playgrounds works.

Negative thoughts have no control over you and are easy to shift. You don’t need to label them as bad, fight them, or judge yourself for having them.

All you have to do is remember that there are already other light filled thoughts in your mind waiting to come out to play. They are always available to you and full of infinite possibilities.

Just turn away from the rusty old broken swing and embrace the full range of your inner playground. Choose a shiny new swing that will provide support and lift you up high. It’s just a thought away.

The question is, are you ready to play?

Here’s a little inspiration:

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Related posts:

How to Reconnect with Your Happy, Playful, Inner Child

How to Bring More Joy and Well-Being into Your Life

A Simple Way to Clear Your Mind of Negative Thoughts

How to Spark Joy in All Areas of Your Life (Not Just Clutter)

Marie Kondo books

When I first read Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up I wasn’t all that impressed. It felt too harsh, rigid, and maybe even a little OCD, but for some reason I felt drawn to checking out her next book called, “Spark Joy”.

One of the things she suggests with her Konmari method is to hold each thing we own and ask ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, we let it go.

While making us joyful is a pretty high standard to hold all of our possessions to, the real value of this question is that it opens the door to awareness and allows us to make conscious choices about what we fill our lives with.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if what we do sparks joy in other areas as well.

  • How we spend our time
  • What we do with our money
  • Commitments we make to others
  • Our schedules and calendars
  • What we do when we have free time
  • Our relationships, friendships, and alliances

Maybe there is more to this tidying up trend then I realized. By letting go of things that no longer serve me and focusing on what brings me joy, my life is becoming richer and more meaningful.

Care to join me?

Don’t forget to leave a comment! I would love to hear what you think about tidying up our homes and lives.

The Tidying Up Website

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Spark Joy

One Year to Live

dandelion

Death has been stalking me. Not my death, though.  It has been fluttering it’s wings around people I care about. In the last few months I have lost 2 friends, several people I know have lost loved ones, and my friend Sybil is still in hospice experiencing an extended farewell to this world.

I worry that people will start to avoid me and am at a loss sometimes for how to respond to the simple question, “How are you?”  It’s not that I am all doom and gloom. I process my feelings privately, focus on gratitude, and seem to be recovering quickly.  But, it just keeps happening.

A Year to LiveSo I’ve been thinking about the limited time we have on earth and how to live more fully. When someone mentioned doing a journaling practice around the book, “A Year to Live” by Stephen Levine it caught my interest. I remember considering this years ago, but decided the time wasn’t right. Maybe it is now.

I ordered the book at the library and coincidentally the author himself passed away on that day. I decided not to consider that a bad sign.

“A Year to Live” is about living life as if you knew when your expiration date is. It is about embracing life and making choices that enhance the time you have. It is about becoming grounded in what matters most to you and amplifying what you love. 

What would that look like for you?  What would you change or do if you only had one year to live?

Would you finally go after your dream? Heal relationships? Forgive? Travel? Spend more time in nature? Relax? Serve the world in a big way? Be more connected to the ones you love?

I am creating my own personal program around this, not necessarily following the book and can already feel things shifting inside. My focus is more on how I want to live life, what is most meaningful, and, I seem to be clearing out some things that didn’t feel worth my precious time.

  • I let go of a book I was reading and not enjoying fully
  • I spent a morning gardening instead of working on the computer
  • My conversations are seeming more precious
  • The urge to do another round of decluttering and organizing is getting stronger
  • I seem to be moving forward gracefully on some projects that have been on my to do list for a while.

The process I am creating includes practices related to awareness, authenticity, and being connected to my feelings. More will come as it evolves. 

I intend to write every day. The first journal entry will be day 365 of my yearlong process and I will count down from there. The next day will be day 364, then day 363, until I get to day 1.  I don’t know what will happen after that, but I believe that my life will be fuller and richer for having done this process.  And, since I will be vibrantly alive, I may decide to do it all over again. Or, something totally different.

I will be starting this journaling journey soon and would like to invite you to join me. I haven’t thought out the details yet, but would love to share this adventure of living fully with whoever feels called to join in.

If it speaks to you and you want to be included or have questions email me or contact me here.

Let’s live this year wholeheartedly together.

4 Ways to Attract and Keep Great Relationships

relationships
In my line of work as a Life Coach, I hear a lot about relationships. My clients want to know how to fix broken ones, sustain and grow good ones, and even how to attract them in the first place.

Relationships are a hot topic in the coaching world. At least with my clients they are.

Whether they be friends, family, or romantic partners, the quality of your relationships shape your life. Mutual caring and shared intentions can lift you up, while drama, lack of skill, and disrespect can make your days miserable.

You can’t necessarily change the people around you, but you can show up yourself in ways that honor your relationships and demonstrate how you want to be treated. When you set the bar, other people are more likely to live up to it.

So, here is what I suggest.

Be Yourself: You don’t want to be laying on your death bed surrounded by all the wrong people. And, the only way the right people who will love you for who you are will be able to find you is if you are authentically you. This can be scary. Real scary. Maybe one of the biggest risks you will ever take in your life. And yet, the risk is worth the blessings of a life filled with true love and friendship.

Be Fully Present – Put down the phone, stop watching TV and be with the ones you love. Really be with them. Give them the gift of looking them in the eye and listening deeply to what they have to say. Let them know they are a priority in your life. You may be surprised by all of the magical moments you experience that could have easily passed you by.

Keep Your Agreements – Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, my clients talk about broken agreements all the time. Little agreements matter, too If you can’t keep one, let the other person know and renegotiate. It’s as simple as that.

Express Appreciation – In an earlier blog post I shared that I lost someone I loved without ever saying those three little words – I love you. I will always regret keeping those words to myself. Saying a simple thank you or letting the people in your life know how special they are to you is something that should happen daily. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Practicing these principles will lead to relationships that honor everyone involved and that you will want to keep forever. It will be a blessing when you are in your final days to know that you are surrounded by the right people and that your relationships are rich with love and respect.

Don’t forget to leave a comment.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

Related posts:

Having Trouble Forgiving? Try This.

How to Tell When it is Time to End a Friendship

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

A Wake Up Call

love heart

Late last night my phone rang.  My friend had come home and found her son dead.

Can you imagine?

I could hear the shock and grief in her voice and it triggered memories of other moments when I had heard those qualities in the voices of myself and people I love.

It was a wake up call for me in more than one way.  I was reminded that:

Everything can change in one moment – we will all experience lifequakes that will shake us to our core.  Our lives will be forever changed and often diminished in ways we could never have imagined.  This is part of our journey here on this earth.

What we can do is live so fully that when our world is shaken or someone leaves us forever we have no regrets.

When I was 22 the man I loved died suddenly in an accident.  I had been so busy protecting my heart that I never told him I loved him.  My fear kept me from saying the words until it was too late.  It took years before I was able to forgive myself and let the regret go. 

Live fully.  Love fully. Go for your dreams.  This is your precious life and every moment of it is a gift.

Be Grateful  – sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone.  Well, maybe on some level we do, but we push back the awareness of it because we have other things on our minds.

When we focus on appreciation and gratitude our lives become richer and more meaningful. We experience things more deeply, recognize blessings when they come, and fill our hearts with love.

This can help us be more resilient when we suffer a loss.  There will be shock.  And, grief. But eventually the love and gratitude will bring balance and guide us through the process of learning to live again.

My heart goes out to my friend and all that she is experiencing right now.  I don’t know why she has been given this as part of her journey on this earth, but I trust that she will be okay.

I can’t save her from the pain or make it all better, but I can be grateful for the wake up call this has offered me and share it with you, hoping that it makes a difference in someone’s life.  Could that someone be you?

 

How to Keep Your Goals and Resolutions Alive

woman with balloons

We are a few weeks into the New Year which for many is when the excitement about goals starts to wear off and motivation falters.

How can you keep your goals and resolutions alive?

Stay connected to your emotional “why”:
Write about why your goal is important to you.

  • What blessings will it bring to your life?
  • What will it feel like when that happens?
  • Who will you have become in the process?
  • Why is it worth what it will take to get there?

Create a clear picture of why your goal is meaningful and keep what you have written at hand for those moments when you need to be reminded of how powerful your goal really is.

Keep your motivation high by taking a couple minutes each morning to visualize yourself in that moment when your goal becomes reality. See yourself smiling, laughing, and glowing with success.  Fell the feelings of wonder, pride, and gratitude coming up inside of you. Staying connected to this visual and emotional vision will dramatically increase your possibility of success.

Prepare ahead for moments when you feel tempted to go rogue or get too stuck to move forward:

  • Make a list of your goals, intentions, or resolutions
  • For each one, list the things that could throw you off track
  • Come up with one or two solutions for each of the challenges that might come up.

Now you have a plan ready to be implemented when needed.

Motivation can falter, but you can keep your goals alive with a strong commitment and tools like these. If you would like more tools, support, or accountability through coaching, please feel free to contact me. I can help.

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

You might also enjoy this related article by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits: Instead of Goals or Resolutions, Try Creating Rules

The Pros and Cons of Simple Living

simplicity

I have always felt drawn to living a simple life. It feels peaceful to me and helps calm my scattered mind.

At first living simply was a matter of necessity. I was a young single mother with limited resources and every penny counted. I could not acquire a lot of stuff and lived at a level based on needs with a few little extras thrown in.

Now, my simple lifestyle is a choice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not perfect. I have “things”, but not as many as most people do. I gravitate toward light, color, room to move around in, and things that feel soft and snuggly.

I even joined the simple living movement and attended Simplicity Circles in the past, but there really wasn’t much interest and the groups eventually fell away.

That seems to be changing now as people are feeling more overwhelmed by crazy busy lives and brains that are overloaded. Clearing clutter, simple living, and minimalism are getting a lot of attention again.

Choosing to live simply is not about scarcity and living without. It is about discovering and focusing on what we find meaningful, beautiful, and useful. Our lives become full and rich because we have cleared the way to reveal what feeds our soul. 

There are pros and cons to choosing a simple life, but as you can see by my list below, for me the scales are definitely tipped in one direction.

The Pros

  • It feels calm, peaceful and less constricted
  • You are surrounded by things you really love
  • It’s easier to clean
  • You have more space and less clutter
  • You can find things quickly when you need them
  • It saves time and energy
  • Your ability to focus improves
  • Your focus will be on people and experiences before things
  • You are free from trying to live up to a false image
  • You know what you have and where it is kept
  • It’s good for the environment
  • You have more money in the bank
  • It’s less stressful
  • You can afford quality when you minimize quantity
  • You have more time and money to do what you love
  • You attract people who like you for who you are, not your image
  • You can cultivate more meaningful relationships and spend more time with family

The Cons

  • You have fewer things to give or donate to people in need
  • People may perceive you differently when you stop playing the image game
  • You may see them differently
  • You may trade old friends for new ones who are more open
  • Can you tell I’m really having a hard time with the cons list?

Living simply is not an all or nothing thing. You can try it out in a small way and if it feels good move forward at your own speed. If you are like me, each step you take will lead you to a more peaceful life.

In the meantime, you might enjoy these blogs about the simple life:

Be More with Less

Becoming Minimalist

Hip Diggs

The Minimalists

Joel Zaslofsky

The Simple Dollar

Don’t forget to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.