A Walk, A Worm, and a Lesson In Perspective

cute cartoon worm

I was out for a lovely morning walk with a friend when I saw a worm writhing on the sidewalk. Without thinking, I picked the worm up and put him in the damp grass.

My friend started laughing. He thought it was ridiculous that I would save a worm.  Continue reading

Try These Bedtime Practices for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep

bedtime sleeping woman

 

Over the years, I have learned the value of having a bedtime ritual.  There is something very comforting and calming about doing similar things every night to close out the day.

Bedtime practices also support being able to fall asleep and have a peaceful night’s rest.  When I release the stress of the day my subconscious is free to work on my challenges and questions for me while I sleep, often bringing new answers with the morning.

Here are some bedtime ritual ideas you may want to try:  Continue reading

How I am Surviving a Crisis

my cat Joey

My little 3 year old cat Joey is very sick.  He almost died.  And, still could.

Being totally human, I went off the deep end with worry.  I created stories about terrible outcomes and took his fear and upset personally, especially when he seemed to not trust me anymore.  It broke my heart.  Continue reading

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

fear and anxiety t-rex lizard brain
For some reason I have been hearing the term “lizard brain” a lot this week.  This is a nickname for the part of your brain that deals with survival and creates your fight or flight response.  You may think of it as your own personal freak out zone.  Continue reading

3 Ways to Rewire Your Brain and Feel More Positive

rewire brain be more positive smiley faces

It is easy to fall into the quicksand of negative thinking.  You only need to have two negative thoughts in a row to settle into old remembered patterns that trap and pull you under. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It’s all about brain grooves.  The grooves are like default settings created by past negative thoughts.  For some of us those grooves are pretty deep.

According to brain scientists and experts in the field of positive psychology, we can reverse this process and rewire our brains by repeatedly feeding them positive input.  It is not easy and will take time, but the rewards are definitely worth it.  Besides, you will be thinking anyway. Why not choose thoughts that will make you feel better?

The following Positivity Practices have supported my clients and I in rewiring our brains.  I bet they can help you, too.

Observe and Record Positive Moments – there are wonderful things happening around us every day that we just don’t pay attention to.  Open your eyes and heart to become more aware and then ground in these moments by recording them in some way.  Once you open to them, you will start finding them everywhere.  Here are some ideas my clients enjoy:

  • Writing daily about what opened your heart or magical moments you experienced
  • Creating a gratitude journal
  • Photographing things you find beautiful or that warm your heart
  • Looking for heart shapes around you as you go through your day

Embrace Positive Input – take a break from news, books, movies, and people that bring you down or feed a negative mindset.  Choose things that lift you up instead:

  • Books or movies that inspire you or make you laugh
  • Happy people
  • Beautiful or fun music – you might enjoy the Grateful song
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Positive visualizations
  • Sign up for daily inspirational emails or fun videos – I enjoy ones from Martha Beck
  • Try affirmations – if you sign up at Mind Movies they will send you 6 affirmation videos that are about 3 minutes long.  They are nicely done and free.

Reverse Your Psychology – when you have a negative mind loop around a specific subject, you can shift it by building evidence that it is not true.  Write at least 3 things daily that are going well in that area.  Don’t just list them.  Anchor them more deeply by writing at least a couple sentences.

  • If you are concerned about money – write three ways money came to you or that you felt abundant
  • If you are worried about health – write about three ways you are healthy or your health is improving
  • If you don’t like your body – write about three ways it serves you or three parts of it you can appreciate

You get the idea …

Shifting out of negative thinking is one of the most empowering gifts you can give yourself and playing with these ideas will help your brain start to create new happier grooves.  Soon you will find yourself walking around the quicksand of negative thinking without getting stuck in it.

Your turn:  What positive thinking practices do you want to bring into your life?  You can respond by commenting below …

 

Rocks: A Story of Finding Beauty on the Other Side of Resistance

rocks balanced on each other

 

When I first moved into my house I felt sure one of the first things I would do would be remove the landscaping rocks that filled the planting areas. I envisioned soft, rich earth I could dig my hands into and a yard filled with home grown vegetables and beautiful plants and flowers.

When spring came that first year, I was fired up and ready to get rid of the rocks.  I started digging, but soon discovered they were everywhere and had infiltrated deep into the soil.  I gave up after digging down a couple feet and finding no end to them.   The next year, with a renewed sense of motivation, I tried again.  This time, I dug as deep as 3 feet in one area only to find the soil was still full of rocks.

I started to hate those rocks and may have even said a few four letter words, which is very unusual for me.  

The third year, I decided to stop resisting and simply accept them.  I even bought more rocks to replenish areas where they had grown thin on top.  Potted plants and succulents became my new garden style.

And then, something strange happened.  

While out on my morning walks, I started to be drawn to rocks along the path.  I was intrigued by their shapes and felt compelled to take some of them home.  I didn’t understand what was going on, but trusted my instincts.

One day, I sat down with the pile of rocks I had gathered and started balancing them on each other.  I became mesmerized by their shapes and how they fit together in magical ways.  The results were both interesting and beautiful. I had come full circle.  Instead of resisting rocks, I now loved them.

Because of this experience, when I find myself resisting something, I remember the potential for beauty and transformation that can come when I let the resistance go. 

And, because it can happen for me, I know it can happen for you, too.  Are you willing to let go of resistance and find out what magic is waiting on the other side?

This was first posted on my old blog in 2014 as part of a blog challenge about teachable moments.

Photo: rock sculptures in my yard

OOPS! Being Not So Impeccable with My Word

little girl with hand over mouth

One of my intentions for this year is to be impeccable with my word.  I borrowed the phrase from Don Miguel Ruiz because he uses it in a comprehensive way.  To me, it means:

  • Telling the truth to myself and others
  • Avoiding negative thought patterns
  • Keeping my word to others
  • Keeping my word to myself (even harder)
  • Using my words honorably, which means avoiding gossip, complaining, etc.

Well, I kind of slipped.  There was a situation in my life that was upsetting me.  When I spoke with the person I chose to confide in, even though I was only sharing the truth, it felt like complaining.  Maybe, even whining.

The tone of my voice grated on my nerves, and probably on the nerves of my friend, too.  The real problem is that the story kept running circles in my head creating an endless loop of negativity.  My mood and attitude spiraled downward.

Fortunately, I was able to catch myself and shift my thinking.  And now, I have renewed my commitment to this intention of impeccability with the words I think and speak.

It feels so good.

For those of you who are curious, this intention was inspired by the book, “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz.

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?

 

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?

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!

6 Ways to Bring More Happiness and Positive Energy into Your Life

woman laughing

Years ago I went through a time period when I was feeling sad and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from.  It had happened gradually without my realizing what was going on.  My days felt hard and my heart was heavy.

And then, one evening I was sitting on my couch watching TV and began to cry.  I realized this was becoming a pattern and that is when it hit me.  I cried when I watched the animal rescue show every evening that featured starving, abused animals in desperate situations.

My choice of “entertainment” was impacting how I felt in a big way.

There are many ways that our small choices can influence our moods, feelings, and level of hope about the world.  In many cases the descent into negativity happens so gradually we are not even aware of it.

Taking the following steps will help you reset your life and start to feel positive again: 
Continue reading

How to Rehearse for the Future of Your Dreams

daydreamin 400 - Alice Yoo  mymodernmet

An early mentor of mine, Kendrick Mercer, used to say that fantasizing was a good thing.  His perspective was that it was rehearsing for reality.

I used to love to hear him tell the story of how he created fantasies of being a brave knight and a Native American warrior in order to survive a childhood with no love and little care.  He lived these stories fully and began to take on the qualities of each persona.  Years later, it was clear that the knight and warrior spirits still lived within him.  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

How Do You Compare?

ugly duckling

Whether it be out of a sense of competition or trying to fit in, comparing keeps you in a game that you just can’t win.  There will always be someone you can perceive as higher or better or lower than you.   And, your data will be corrupt as you compare your raw, judged self to the images other people put forward of who they want you to believe they are. Continue reading

5 Steps for Letting Go of Guilt and Regret

dog wearing not guilty signI haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have some regrets. Many of us spend a lot of time dwelling on them, which is unhealthy and a waste of our present moments.  The past is in the past.  But, if you find yourself getting stuck in those regrets and the guilt that comes with them, there is a way to let them go. Continue reading

Watch Your Language – Your Words are Hypnotizing You

words 400

It has been clear to me for a long time that the words we use impact our feelings and actions.  I write about it, coach it, and practice reframing language in my own life.  But, becoming a Certified Hypnotherapist brought my understanding to a whole new level. Continue reading