Fear, Love & Scaredy-Cat Joey

fear love lifecoachlinda.com

This is Joey, my little scaredy cat.  He is on constant high alert and can disappear at the speed of light, running to his safety zone under my bed.  His latest fear is the air coming from the vents when the air conditioner comes on.

Recently, I noticed that his anxiety was getting worse.  He was spending entire days under the bed and had a constant look of panic when he was downstairs.  It was breaking my heart.

So, I decided to immerse him in love therapy.  Every chance I had, I would pet and love on him.  He took to it well and soon he was following me around everywhere I went and I was totally covered in cat fur 24 hours a day.  His confidence grew.  His fear dissipated.  And, he became an active member of the family again.

I have heard that fear is the opposite of love.  So, is it also possible that love is the antidote to fear?  What would happen if we learned to focus on loving ourselves through our fearful experiences?  Love the experiences?  And, even love fear itself?

It wouldn’t hurt to try.  Shall we?

Road Trip Magic

Utah 19

My friend Traci and I drove from California to Missouri with 2 cats in the back seat of my car. We took I-15 and then I-70 straight across the country, joking that it would be less likely we got lost with such a direct route.

We experienced California deserts, the glitz of Las Vegas, a tiny tip of Arizona, the dramatic red rock of Utah, majestic beauty in the Colorado Rocky mountains, the big sky of Kansas, and finally arrived in Missouri on the third day.

We were in awe of the scenery before us and even experienced a sunrise that brought us to tears.

Common themes in our conversations were:

  • Our country’s diverse and beautiful landscapes
  • How God’s hand was clearly evident in what we were seeing
  • Respect for the courage of  pioneers who traveled through these lands
  • How blessed we were to be experiencing it all

Looking back at the photographs I took it is hard to believe I was actually there. Even though the photos were taken through the car window and the quality is questionable, they still bring back those magical moments.

I would like to share a few with you:

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

 

Now just imagine the colors brighter and clearer, because they were.

Can you believe I was actually there? I saw these miracles with my own eyes?

I feel so humbled and blessed.

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.

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?

woman living 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

woman taking a break 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

tidying up and clutter free closet

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.

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

word I am ceramic princess with star

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

money leaks princess 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.

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.

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

 

anxiety sign and lightbulb

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 vegetables on plate

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

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