Letting Go of Stuff

Letting go of stuff - releasing clutter life coach linda

The Shipping Cube with What I Decided to Take

While preparing for my move to Missouri, I decided to sell or give away more than 1/2 of what I owned. For some people this may not have been a big deal, but I lived simply and didn’t have much to begin with.

It was interesting observing how my thoughts about the things in my life shifted as my move date neared. It seemed to come in layers:

The Garage Sale – At this point I was still invested in the value of my things. After all, I was going to sell them and get money in return. I felt like I was being bold in my choices of what to include, not realizing this was only the beginning.

The Remains – When the garage sale was over I was faced with leftover items that I still thought were worth selling. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of just leaving things that I could get money for. This started a period of offering items in my city Facebook group and Craigslist. Some sold. Some didn’t.

Giving – And then, I just let the attachments go. This opened the door to my favorite part of the process, giving things away.  And, not just little things. I would go through my house each day and find more and more to give. I fell in love with giving and it made it much easier to release what I owned. It was also a lot of fun.

Leaving – The buyer of my house had said that I could leave things and didn’t have to clean the house. At first, the idea of doing this was appalling to me. But, when the 100 degree heat wave arrived on my last week, I could only do so much. Packing and loading under the blistering sun was getting to me and making me dizzy. So, when I said goodbye to my house, there were still some things left behind. I feel sure they will find good homes. Everything I was taking to my new life was packed into a 6′ by 7′ pod to be shipped to my new home.

Wanting Less – As I am unpacking and settling into my new home I am being very careful about what I invite in. Surprisingly, I will have even more to give away. Some things just don’t fit my new home or life. Maybe living without them for a couple weeks diminished their importance in my mind. Whatever the reason, they feel like clutter and I just don’t want them anymore.

Balancing with More – I love simplicity, but am not sure I am a minimalist. I have made some purchases recently for my new lifestyle, a new washer and dryer and yard maintenance items like a weed wacker. I also plan on bringing in a new sofa that fits with the colors in my new home. What is different is that I am being very careful about what I bring in. I only want things that I use regularly or love. And, I don’t want very many of them.

Moving provided me with the opportunity for a fresh start. I have empty closets and cupboards with only a few items. Everything is organized and makes sense. (Well, almost everything. I haven’t got to the office yet.) I even have an extra bedroom that I don’t know what I will do with. The one thing I’m sure of is that it won’t become a junk room full of stuff.

My experience of letting go has revealed how tightly I held onto stuff that really wasn’t that meaningful to me. I was also attached to the idea of getting a return on what I thought was valuable. It was only when I let go and began to give things away that I felt truly authentic, peaceful, and was able to have fun with the process.

Even without a lot (although I had more than I thought) I was being smothered and controlled by my things. In the simple living movement about 20 years ago there was a slogan that said, “Don’t Stuffocate!”  I think I get it now.

At a Loss for Words

Linda and Traci

Linda and Traci after two 10 hour days of driving.

I’ve been quiet. Very quiet. And, I have also been very, very busy.

It has been several weeks since I last posted and I keep waiting for the words to come, but my brain seems to be busy synthesizing all I have experienced. I think it needs time to catch up with my life.

So, maybe I will just start writing and see what happens.

In the last month or so, I have:

  • Sold my house in California
  • Sold or given away more than 1/2 of my possessions
  • Packed what was remaining in a moving pod in 111 degree heat
  • Welcomed my friend Traci who flew in from Tennessee to drive cross country with me
  • Road tripped with Traci from CA to Missouri with my 2 cats in the back seat of the car
  • Worried about my stressed out kitten cats the entire way
  • Experienced the incredible natural beauty of our country including red rock in Utah, mountain vistas in Colorado, and the big sky of Kansas
  • Felt awe at the courage of the pioneers who crossed our country in tiny wagons, often on the same land we were traveling
  • Felt tipsy and giggly after 2 sips of a Margarita on night two of our trip – it was Traci’s fault
  • Drove up to my new little house in Missouri on the evening of day 3
  • Was welcomed with wide open arms by my son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren
  • Took Traci to the airport and cried as she left
  • Started settling into my home

Yep! I’ve been busy. This was a courageous step for me and I couldn’t be happier.

Stay tuned. There is more to come…

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.

 

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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

30 Ideas for Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Christmas Kindness

Even as we are out spending money on gifts for our loved ones, we are surrounded by people for whom the holidays are challenging.  They may feel stressed, alone, depressed, or be having financial difficulties.  So, I encourage you to take the spirit of the season to a new level by giving in little random ways that can make all the difference for someone in need.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Smile at strangers
  2. Leave a large tip
  3. Pay for the person behind you in line
  4. Visit a nursing home
  5. Invite someone without local family to your holiday gathering
  6. Buy extra pet food and donate it to a shelter or rescue group
  7. Give blood
  8. Put change in an empty parking meter
  9. Send flowers to brighten someone’s day
  10. Bring treats for your office mates
  11. Adopt a homeless animal
  12. Leave hidden love notes for your family
  13. Donate money, clothing, or anything that will support charity
  14. Let someone go ahead of you in line
  15. Volunteer your time to help others
  16. Hold the door open for others
  17. Be a Secret Santa for someone in need
  18. Support local charities and businesses
  19. Thank your local police and/or fire departments
  20. Send a heartfelt letter of appreciation to someone
  21. Pick up trash
  22. Adopt a family, senior, child, or soldier for the holidays
  23. Contribute to a toy or food drive
  24. Go Christmas caroling
  25. Hug someone
  26. Listen to someone who needs to talk
  27. Compliment people around you
  28. Give away your parking spot
  29. Shovel someone’s walkway or clean their yard
  30. Leave a nice comment on a blog or Facebook post

 

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.