Stop Fighting Your Negative Thoughts and Do This Instead

heart in head

You know that negative thoughts are unhealthy.  Dangerous too.  They  keep you spinning in a false world so that you miss your real life.  They re-wire your brain and personality.  Steal your hope.  And, energetically set you up for making them come true.

After awhile, negative thinking becomes a habit, maybe even an addiction.

When you decide you want to change, you label these thoughts as bad.  You judge them. Resist them.  Fight with them.  And, this battle only feeds them more.

And then, you judge yourself.  Or, just give up.

There is another way.  A more loving way.

Simply return to the present moment and align your head with your heart.

This is how you do it:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Bring to mind  something that warms your heart, like a loved one, cute puppy, or something you are grateful for.  Focus on it.  Feel it.  Savor it.
  3. Repeat as necessary.

At first you may need to repeat this often, but eventually it becomes your new habit.

A few tips:

  • Using the same image for something that warms your heart each time creates an anchor to the present moment and an eventual short cut to get there.
  • If negative thoughts try to interrupt the process, don’t resist them.  Just let them gently float away.
  • Be gentle and loving with yourself as you create this new way of being

Aligning your head and heart in the present moment opens the door to true internal peace and personal power.

What could be better than that?

 

Clear Your Mind and Heart with Free-Form Writing

woman writing

One of the tools I use often and recommend to my clients is a free form style of writing that is like venting on paper. You simply take paper and pen and start writing about what is concerning you.

No rules.  No editing.  You can let the four letter words fly!

This stream of consciousness writing style is a powerful tool for processing the energy of feeling hurt, angry, or fearful.  It brings clarity out of confusion and is a great vehicle for brainstorming.

My clients and I have had some pretty incredible experiences with this tool.  One of them happened to me just the other day.

As I was writing about a challenge in my life, the pen I was using started to run out of ink.  My writing was getting fainter and fainter, seeming to take the issue away with it.  I laughed to myself about the hidden message I was receiving and went to find a new pen. When I came back to my journal, I realized that I felt clear and ready to write a new, more empowering story. 

You never know what is going to happen when writing from your heart and soul.

Confusion, emotions, and conflict can block you from seeing the truth and opportunities before you.  Free-form writing allows you to process what you are feeling and clear out the static in your mind and heart.  It is from this place of inner freedom that answers begin to appear and we can create whole-hearted lives.

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

 

leaf dipped in water

My friend Marcy and I are creating a retreat for women focused on experiencing and cultivating inner peace.  Our focus on this subject has reminded me how important it is to nurture the peace within us and return to it often.  It is only from that place that we can really experience all life has to offer and the joy it can bring.

If you are like most people on earth today, you may not be feeling very connected to your inner peace.  There is probably a lot on your schedule and even more on your mind.  What you need are some tools that will help you ground in peace fairly quickly and I just happen to have some for you.

Focus on the Present Moment – Easier said than done.  Right?  You might be surprised how simple it is when you practice regularly.  In moments of stress, worry, or dis-ease, try one of these easy strategies for grounding in the moment:

  • Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, focusing on the air moving through you
  • Put your hand over your heart and count each breath you take
  • Bring mindfulness to your movements and what is around you – feel and watch every detail
  • Designate something as an anchor to your present moments, like a specific hand movement, the face of your watch, the veins in your wrist, or anything you can focus on quickly and easily.

Create Daily Peace Practices – when you start and end your day with activities that calm and center you, the time in between will be peaceful as well.  There are unlimited ways to do this and it is important to choose what feels right and you are willing to commit to.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Affirmations
  • Walking in nature
  • Reading meaningful or uplifting material

Live Simply– inner and outer clutter are distracting and complicate our lives.  On some level they keep us on edge all the time.  Creating a physical environment that is peaceful and calm will nurture the same within you.  Take a careful look at your space, calendar, and the people in your life.  It may be time to let some things go.  When you are able to focus on what you love and what is meaningful to you, more peaceful moments will follow.  This isn’t selfish.  When you are in a calm and relaxed state you will be more effective in what you do and present with the ones you love.

Don’t Marinate in Your Upsets – we are all faced with events and people that disturb our peace.  It’s part of living in a world of humans.  When you are triggered, the feeling that comes as a response only lasts about a minute.  The problem is that you keep replaying the story and triggering the feeling over and over again.  The opportunity here is to learn not to keep repeating the story so that you can return to a peaceful state as soon as possible.  Here are some of the strategies you might choose to work with:

  • Give it a minute or two – let the feeling dissipate on its own
  • Any of the tools above for returning to the present moment
  • Ask yourself if being upset is serving you and if not, let it go
  • Move into neutrality by stepping outside of yourself and observing the situation
  • Imagine you are watching what is happening on a movie screen
  • Bring compassion and understanding to all involved, knowing everyone is doing the best they are capable of in that moment

Cultivating inner peace is a gift to yourself and those around you.  It is from this grounded space that you can be your best self and create your best life.  And, it feels sooooo good.

Learn more about the Inner Peace Retreat

Feeling Scattered or Overwhelmed? Try This…

women with puzzle pieces falling away

We all have a lot going on in our lives and it is easy to get caught up in it.  The result may be feeling overwhelmed or like pieces of you are scattered all around.  Some of my clients describe feeling drained, not fully present, or just stressed about all they are trying to do.

The following visualization has supported many of my clients in returning to a more peaceful and empowered state.  I hope it supports you, as well.

  • Find a quiet, peaceful place (if possible)
  • Take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to come into a relaxed state
  • Visualize pieces of yourself scattered around you and maybe even at a distance
  • Form an intention to draw them back in and become whole again
  • Breathe in deeply and as you breathe in visualize the scattered parts returning to you
  • Sit quietly for a few minutes breathing in and out and enjoying the feeling of wholeness

Thankful

always something 450

Every Thanksgiving I write a list of at least 100 things I am grateful for.  I decided to start my list a little early this year and this is what I have so far.

I am Thankful for:

  1. My health and the freedom it gives me
  2. My two cats who keep me entertained and loved up
  3. Amazing clients who trust me to guide them and witness their life journeys
  4. Each and every success of my clients, friends, family, and everyone around me
  5. The opportunity to give and receive as a volunteer
  6. All that I am learning from being with my friend in hospice
  7. Finding two amazing communities that feel like soul homes
  8. My friends who are trying to teach me how to receive instead of just giving all the time
  9. The many inspiring books that have come through my life this year
  10. Visits to see my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren who I love deeply

And, this is just the beginning…

What will be on your list this year?  

 

The Stories of Our Lives

once upon a time

We all tell ourselves stories.  Stories of our past.  Stories of what the world is like.  Stories of our place in the world.  And, we often hold onto these stories so tightly that they control us and we cannot see the amazing possibilities for our lives.

Some of the stories may feel true.  You may have had a challenging childhood that caused emotional pain and anger. You may have made judgments about yourself and the world based on your experiences or what you were taught.

But, that is not your truth right now.  Your life today does not need to be controlled by the past.

I encourage you to question your stories and even set them aside as distant memories that no longer affect you.  Wipe the slate clean.  And, when you are ready, start writing new stories for your life.  Stories of love, happiness, and possibilities.  You are the author now.

What is your new story going to be?

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Friend in Hospice

Sybil's Valentine Tree 2013

My friend, Sybil, has a disease called CBGD and has been living in a guest home for a few years.  Her disease has frozen her body and taken away her ability to communicate and care for herself.  And yet, she is still my friend.

Witnessing this part of her life has been an interesting experience for me.  For the most part, I have been surprised how much I enjoy visiting her and there have also been times when I feel like my heart is breaking.  She has modeled pure grace and I love that the last word she can speak clearly and often is the word, “yes”.  It speaks to who she really is and how she has lived her life.

Sybil’s journey is also a learning experience for me and I would like to share some of the lessons and reminders that have come my way because of it.

Live each day fully – we never know how much time we have or when things might suddenly change. This may be the best year of your life or the last time you get to do something you really enjoy.  Approach your days with awareness and appreciation because each one is truly a gift.

 Trying to understand “why” is a waste of time – sometimes things just don’t make sense.  Why is my friend who loved to travel and have compelling conversations sitting in a wheelchair unable to move or speak day after day after day?  What could God possibly have in mind?  I have learned to accept that it is not for me to know the answer to this question.

My life is truly blessed – it is so easy to get upset about little things like bad hair days, computers that don’t work, and other challenges that come along, but visiting Sybil puts my life in perspective very quickly and reminds me just how blessed I am.  I can move, take care of myself, talk, drive, read, and even swallow easily.  She reminds me to be grateful for all of these, and more.

Sometimes being loving is all you can do – most of the time, now that we can’t have conversations, I read to my friend.  But, it’s really about just showing up and being there.  I believe in the power of love and when that is all I can offer, I know that it will be enough.

(Thank you Sybil for saying yes to my sharing this story.)

Tokens and T-Shirts – How to Stay Grounded, Inspired, and Focused

word rocks (320x241)

Remember those old Nike t-shirts that said, “Just Do It!”  I used to have one and I am pretty sure it had magical powers that helped me run up hills.  Just knowing I had it on boosted my focus and motivation.  I was inspired!

When we assign meaning to the things around us, we can use them to help us feel more grounded, motivated, or connected to our intentions. 

I have clients and friends who carry pocket tokens with words on them, heart shaped stones, or prayer beads.  I once carried an acorn from my friend’s farm in Tennessee so I could stay connected to the peaceful feeling I felt there.   Other ways to tap into the power of symbols include wearing t-shirts with sayings, heart shaped jewelry, or anything that triggers the feeling you want.

This morning I talked to a young client facing her first college midterms.  When she takes her test tomorrow she will be wearing a favorite necklace to serve as a reminder of how calm, focused, and confident she can be.  She is going to do great.

What would you like to stay connected to?  What can you carry with you as its symbol?  Go ahead.  Try it.  You might be surprised at how well it works.

Today, my reminder is to wear a t-shirt that says, “Life is Good!”  And, so it is!

Are Your Life Strategies Working for You – 6 Easy Questions to Find Out

hand and smile

There are times in our lives when we all have continued doing things that no longer served us. Sometimes we just wonder about it.  Is what I am doing working for me?  Should I make a change?  Sometimes we feel stuck. Why does nothing happen when I try so hard?

The following  process is a quick and easy way to evaluate how effective your strategies are and decide how you want to move forward.  Simply ask yourself these 6 questions: Continue reading

Are You On Track to Living Your Most Meaningful Life?

We are happiest when our lives are in alignment with our core values.  Living in a way that reflects what is most meaningful to us, allows us to feel more peaceful, grounded, and fullfilled. Anything that conflicts with our values will create more stress and dissonance in our lives. Continue reading

The Gifts of Simple Living

live simply graphic

Simple living gets a bad rap.  It can bring up images of living in a cabin in the woods with one plate, one fork, and having to raise your own food.  Or, a house that is cold, colorless, empty, and devoid of personality.  And, what about those old, worn, and frumpy thrift store clothes you will have to wear?

The truth is living a simple life is not about that at all.   Continue reading

A New Perspective on Stress

hamster with hair sticking out

Recently, I presented a program about strategies for dealing with stress to employees at a local insurance office.  One of the things that became clear is that most people think of stress as something big, powerful, and overwhelming, that controls them.

Not true. Continue reading

Be the Change – Live the Change

be the change 400

Whatever happened to love, honor and respect as ways of being in our world?  Have you noticed that most of our entertainment is based on murder and violence?  Books, movies, TV shows, and even the video games our children grow up with. And then, we act surprised when something bad happens.

It’s time to shift the tide. Continue reading

Living as a Peaceful Warrior

peaceful warrior 375

I recently listened to an interview with Dan Millman who wrote the book, “A Peaceful Warrior”.  He describes a Peaceful Warrior as someone who has a peaceful heart with a warrior spirit.  I like the sound of that and started thinking about what my life would be like if I showed up as a Peaceful Warrior. Continue reading