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

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.

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.

6 Proven Ways to Reduce Anxiety

anxious woman

For some reason, anxiety has been a big subject with my coaching clients this week.  Maybe it is the time of year or something in the air, but it seems like a lot of people are feeling anxious.

That makes it the perfect time to share some of my strategies for stopping anxiety in it’s tracks.

4 Count Breathing – With the exception of real emergencies, anxiety is usually about something that may happen in the future or a reaction to something you already experienced. Focusing on your breathing brings you back to the peaceful present moment.  And, since your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, counting blocks out the thoughts that feed your anxious moments. It goes like this:

Take a deep breath in as you slowly count to 4

Hold your breath for a count of 4

Breathe out slowly to the count of 4

Pause before your next breath to the count of 4 

Challenge Your Anxiety – Most of what worries you never really happens.  It is probably not even true.  Your mind just takes you on a wild ride of creative bad scenarios.  I know mine sure does.  When this happens, ask yourself the following questions to bring your focus back into reality:

  • Can I be absolutely sure what I am anxious about will really happen?
  • Could I be blowing this out of proportion?
  • Am I really in danger right now?
  • Is what you are feeling temporary?
  • Do I really need to put my body into a fight or flight response now?
  • What are the facts?  What is the truth?
  • How would it feel to let this go and remember that I will be okay?

Give It To God – Many of the things that cause anxiety are not in your control.  So, what would happen if you just let the Big Guy handle them?  Let him know you are going to put the issue in his hands and will check in with him after a certain period of time.  And then, set the issue out of your mind until it is time to check in.  It is amazing how well this can work.

I give my concerns over to God every night before I go to sleep.  This not only allows for a good night of rest, but can be an excellent preventive measure in the battle with anxiety.  I often wake up with the worrisome situation being resolved or the solutions given to me. Sometimes, I just no longer care as it has lost it’s power over me.

Make Friends with It – Anxiety can feel like a big, powerful thing that has control over you, but that is just not true.  Many things that trigger anxious thoughts were installed in us when we were little and vulnerable and everything felt more powerful than it was.

When you see anxiety for what it really is you can relate to it in a different way.  Even make friends with it.  Some of my clients give their anxiety names like Minnie Mouse, Cookie Monster, or Jumpy George. Doing this facilitates seeing it in a different, less controlling way.

When it shows up, talk to it.  Thank it for offering to help and let it know that you are all grown up now and have things under control.  Have a nice little chat with your new friend and then give him a new assignment, like Protector of Peace or Facilitator of Fun.

Audit Your Input – What you put into your mind and body can contribute to either peace or anxiety.  I am often surprised when clients who drink a lot of caffeine or energy drinks don’t realize that this can contribute to their feeling anxious. You can cultivate more peace within by drinking calming teas and allowing your body and mind to work at their normal capacity.

Another way you can set yourself up for feeling tense and worried is by reading or watching movies and shows that are full of violence or tense energy, especially before bed.  If these are your preferred forms of entertainment give yourself a cushion between them and your bed time to let your body and mind calm down. Even better than that, switch to more peaceful, fun, or meaningful entertainment.  I once read that our bodies react to violence we watch or read as if it is really happening. Do you really want to put yourself through that?

Practice Peaceful Habits – Creating habits and practices that support your calm and well-being can lead to an anxiety free life.  Let go of what no longer serves you and bring in people and things that feed your soul.  Many of my clients find that simplifying their lives by de-cluttering and learning to say no make a big difference.  Others, will swear that exercise, art, meditation, prayer, yoga, or music have minimized the anxiety in their lives. Find what works for you and make a commitment to doing it regularly.

These tool have proven successful for my clients and myself.  I am confident that they can help you too.  Go ahead, give them a try.  You will find more peace when you do.

If you would like coaching support to deal with the anxiety in your life, I would love to help.  Contact Me

Related posts:

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

3 Steps for Successfully Navigating Life Challenges

Rewire Your Brain to Feel More Positive

How I Came to Be a Vegetarian

vegetarian 500

The truth is, I think I was born a vegetarian.  I can remember being a young girl and feeling sick to my stomach when I saw raw meat or bird bodies defrosting in the sink.  My parents weren’t open to the idea of me eating differently and eventually I adapted and became an average American carnivore.

I used to love chicken pot pies and traditional Thanksgiving dinners.

And then, one day about 15 years ago I broke out in hives and had to go to the emergency room.  The doctors thought it was a reaction to something I ate and suggested I get screened for allergies. It took a couple weeks to get an appointment and I didn’t want to risk getting hives again, so I began to research food and allergies on my own.

Along the way, I learned some really disturbing things about the foods we are sold and my heart guided me into a vegetarian lifestyle.

It felt like coming home.

While I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 decades, I am not a political one.  I like my meat eating friends and family and it is not up to me to say what is right for them.  I don’t go around introducing myself as “Linda the Vegetarian” and some of my friends may even be surprised when they read this.

What I do know is that being a vegetarian feels right for me on a soul level.  It doesn’t feel like a decision I made, it feels like who I am.

There are other reasons why this lifestyle feels in alignment for me and might appeal to you:

  • My doctor says I am a lot healthier than her other patients my age
  • Food production is bad for the environment
  • If we ate less meat, we could produce more food for starving populations
  • Food production can be cruel to animals
  • Animal products are often full of hormones and other drugs
  • Food animals are often sick and already dying
  • We take in the energy of what we eat

If you are interested in learning more, these resources can get you started:

Movies: (most of these are available on Netflix)

Food Inc

Vegucated

Forks Over Knives

Food Matters

Websites:

Vegetarian Times

Cookie and Kate

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Vegweb

Vegsource

And, of course, there is always me.  Just ask your questions in the comments below and I will be happy to respond.

How to Integrate Gratitude More Deeply Into Your Life

gratitude rock 400

Gratitude. It feels warm and fuzzy, but is powerful enough to rewire your brain. It is my go to strategy when feeling a lack of abundance and can literally change how you feel about life.

The trick is to stay tapped into it and let it integrate through your body, mind, and soul.

I used to have my clients write 5 things they are grateful for every day in order to connect with this thankful energy, but over time the practice began to feel stale.  It became just another thing to do and the feeling connection to gratitude was lost.

Mixing things up helps.

  • Looking for hearts, signs, or synchronicities
  • Taking pictures of things we find beautiful
  • Spending time in nature
  • Fostering awareness of magical moments in daily life

All of these are great tools to spark a practice of thankfulness, but they only work when you take the time to really feel and fully integrate them.

In order to ground yourself in the warm, fuzzy, life is amazing, miracles happen, anything is possible energy of gratitude you must sit with it, give it your full attention, and let it fill your heart.

A gratitude practice is not something you do, it is something you feel.

When you let the awareness of blessings touch every moment of your life, you open the door to a life full of miracles.

My personal gratitude practice may look different from day to day. Yesterday, I was mesmerized by clouds and took a lot of pictures. The day before it was a meditation on all the special people in my life. And, as I write these words today, my heart is full of love and gratitude for all of you.

The one thing I do consistently as I lay my head on the pillow each night is to review my day with an open heart.  I savor the day’s blessings, let go of what does not serve me, and thank God for all I have received.

No matter what is happening in your life, you have much to be grateful for, too. I invite you to focus on the gifts in your days and let them lift you up and fill your heart. It can be life changing.

4 Ways to Feel Abundant & Attract More Money

abundance wayne dyer

If you are a human on this planet Earth, you probably feel like you don’t have enough money.

Since money represents security, safety, and worthiness in our culture this can be a real problem.

The very thought of it can trigger thousands of voices in your head that make you feel afraid for your future or not good enough.

And then, there is all of the programming you received as a child. Money is the root of all evil. It’s selfish to want money.  Our family will always be poor.  Rich people are the enemy. Continue reading

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

clutter

Not too long ago I found myself feeling kind of low. I was in a funk. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read novels with a cat on my lap.

This felt great for a couple days, but eventually I knew I needed to get moving. I was turning into a slug and I wasn’t sure how to become human again.

As I drove into my garage one day after running an errand I could feel my energy drop. My garage felt heavy, like something that weighed me down. While mostly neat, piled along the left wall were all the things I was saving for a garage sale. Over time that area had become, shall I say, messy.

When I realized how yucky the garage made me feel, I knew what my therapy would be. I started going through the cluttered piles of things and after a couple hours of sorting, organizing, throwing away, and generally tidying up, I felt good about what I had accomplished. Even now, pulling into my nice and tidy garage makes me smile.

When our car, house, or office look uncared for it can be a sign that we are: Continue reading

How to Reconnect with Your Happy, Playful Inner Child

happy lttle girl 600

I have a friend who everyone seems to love. She is of a mature age (trying to be polite here) and lives life in a responsible way. What makes her stand out, though is her penchant for wearing pink, sparkly high top sneakers. Everywhere. Even business meetings and church. She says they make her happy and remind her to sparkle. I’ve noticed that they also make the people around her smile.

My friend has tapped into her playful inner child.

I want what she has. She seems to feel lighter and happier than the rest of us. More care free. And, her sparkliness invites adventure, fun, and friendships into her life.

It’s easy to forget what it feels like to play. As an adult you have responsibilities and expectations to live up to. You are probably so busy doing what you think you have to do that you don’t even remember you have all that joy within. But, don’t worry. You inner child will never give up on you.

You can reconnect with her again through: Continue reading

Infobesity: 5 Ways to Prevent Information Overload

information overload - infobesity

The internet, email, and cell phones have enhanced our lives in many ways, but they have also filled our brains with more information than ever before, creating an epidemic of infobesity.

For many of us, the new tools of the information age have an addictive quality that can stress our brains and limit our success in other areas of our lives. We may not even realize that our lives are centered more on technology than participating in real life.

Whether you feel addicted or are just trying your best to keep up with the world, this mass of information coming into your brain can impact your life with: Continue reading

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

dog jumping

When I was studying spiritual psychology, one of our assignments was to create and follow a weekly action plan for bringing more joy and well-being into our lives. To be honest, I wasn’t really excited about the idea. It was just one more thing I had to do.

Being the little rule follower that I am, I actually followed through on the assignment and started creating moments designed to invite in joy and well-being. After a few months, it became a habit and I noticed that I felt more positive and, dare I say, even happy.  Really? Me? Continue reading

Simple Ways to Make Life Better

Make Life Better

Twitter is not usually my thing, but one of my clients told me about a hashtag stream of people offering their 3 word suggestions on how to make life better.  I found many of the posts inspiring and thought you might too.

Here is what they had to say:  Continue reading

When to Let Go of Trying To Figure Things Out

answers

Persistence comes in handy. Without it I never would have the success I have today or even have figured out what was wrong with my printer this morning.

I’ve used persistence to help find answers when they were elusive and often felt inspired by Marie Forleo’s message that “everything is figureoutable”.

But then, something happened that made me realize choosing not to try and figure things out can also be an empowering choice.  Here’s how it went down: Continue reading

How Wayne Dyer Saved My Life

Wayne Dyer

Yesterday, I watched Wayne Dyer with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and as usual felt inspired by what he had to say. Later in the day I learned he had passed on, or as he would say – left his human body behind.

Since then memories have been coming forward of how his words have touched my life over the years. He is the one I credit with starting my journey toward healing and becoming who I am today.  Continue reading

A Simple, Proven Way to Clear Your Mind of Negative Thoughts

negative thinking

Your brain is a great tool, but sometimes your mind can drive you crazy. It can get into repetitive loops with the kinds of thoughts that bring you down or hold you back. Or, it can just spin out of control. If you are like most human beings, you are experiencing both.

Here is a simple way to retrain your brain and let go of these negative patterns of thinking:  Continue reading

How to Reconnect with Your Most Powerful (or Joyful, or Loving) Self

empowered woman

It was a few days before my client would give her first presentation before a group and anxiety was starting to bubble up. She asked for my help in minimizing her fear before it boiled over.  Continue reading

How a Little Yellow Lamborghini Taught Me to Stop Comparing Myself to Others

yellow Lamborghini

Someone in my neighborhood is driving a snazzy yellow Lamborghini. You can’t help but notice it, especially when they keep revving the engine when stopped at lights.

I may not be a big car person, but the sleek lines and deep rumble of that engine were calling out to me.  Continue reading

Suffering is Optional

sad woman

Things happen in life that cause pain and are hard to understand.  This is true.

When they happen it is important to allow yourself to feel your feelings, which often include sadness, anger, or loss.  When you allow your feelings to process, you will be able to heal and eventually move forward.  Continue reading

Choosing What Not To Do

not to do list don't do list

Most everyone is familiar with the value of having a To Do list where you keep track of the projects and actions you intend to take.  But, have you ever considered creating a Don’t Do list?  Continue reading

How I Let Go of Cable TV

woman cutting cable tv cord

A couple years back I got a great deal on cable TV. It was almost free when I bundled it with my other services.

When the special rate was over, I was astonished at how much the cost went up and decided to research other options. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I just couldn’t rationalize paying so much when there were other possibilities.

And so, my TV research adventure began… Continue reading