To Change Your Life, Change Your Perspective

I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape. crooked tree

I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.

“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.

upright tree

Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.

Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.

How to Practice Gratitude

  1. At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
  2. During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
  3. Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.

If Not Now, When?

begin

Our best selves don’t happen by accident.

Most of us don’t just fall into our dream jobs or instantly have the lives we want. In fact, most people who succeed have been quietly working at it for a very long time. They’ve been making steady progress.

The good news is that success is replicable. By following these three steps, we can each create the lives we want for ourselves:

  • Picture it. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then act as if you’re already there.

    What does it feel like and look like? Imagine a movie of your ideal life playing on a screen and then step into it. Let yourself experience the joy of this new life.

  • Plan it. When you’re in this joyous state, list out the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal. Begin with the end in mind, as the late leadership expert Stephen Covey said.
  • Take intentional action. Take your list of steps and break them into bite-sized tasks, then put each of the tasks onto your calendar.
    The idea here is to keep the tasks small. That way, you’re taking baby steps toward your goal while still managing your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s this steadiness that leads to success.

Whatever you want to accomplish, there is no perfect time to begin. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goals.

 

 

Unchained

unchained

How would it feel if you gave yourself

permission to reimagine

what you view as true?

 

If you shoved the lead door of “I can’t” open just enough to

get a glimpse of daylight,

to peek at possibilities?

 

If you unchained yourself

from having to be right, and

from doing things the way they’ve

 

always

always

always been done,

 

how could you better

be the person

the world needs you to be?

 

 

 

The Live in Peace Challenge

liveinpeaceWe often use the epitaph “rest in peace” when referring to those who have died. It’s a lovely thought, and one I think we should extend to the living. What if “live in peace” was what we all wanted for ourselves and for others?

Live in Peace

If “live in peace” guided our actions, what changes would we experience in our day-to-day interactions? Imagine:

  • a business negotiation where the intention was to find a solution that benefits everyone and to put goodness into the world
  • a conversation with a loved one where kindness was the starting point
  • a day-to-day interaction—at a restaurant or while commuting, for instance—where your best and kindest self drives your actions

“Live in peace” is my intention for this week. I’m eager to see how pausing to set this intention will change my words and actions.

Will you join me? I’d love to hear how “live in peace” changes your experiences in your work, within your relationships, and in your day-to-day life. Please leave comments here or in my Facebook Group.

 

Is Chaos Eating You Alive? How to Create Peace In Your Life.

peace

More and more, clients are coming to me saying that they’re overwhelmed by the negativity they feel around them, particularly in politics and in the media, but also in their homes and workplaces.

They wonder how they can keep it from invading their lives. “You absolutely can,” I tell them, and then we explore how.

The first step in cultivating peace is realizing that we have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves. So how can we create that inner peace?

Three Areas Where You Can Create Peace

There’s a lot more to this, but let’s look at three areas that my clients are struggling with: jobs, families and the negativity they’re feeling, especially related to their exposure to the media.

  • Peace in your job. “I need a new job” is usually the first thing I hear clients say when they’re stressed about work. “Maybe you do,” I say. “And maybe you don’t.” We start to look at ways they may be unknowingly contributing to the toxicity they feel at work.For instance, how do you respond when your boss makes an unreasonable request of you or talks to you in a disrespectful way? Do you silently fume and accept that you need to be loyal and then go home and complain about it? What actions do you think you can take to ensure that you’re feeling respected while still being viewed as a team player?If you’re feeling constantly exhausted and overworked, what can you do to change that? What does “hard working” mean to you—does it have to involve constantly pushing, or can you find a gentler way to accomplish the same amount of work without driving yourself into the ground? What are some things you can do to create balance in your life so you’re not exhausted before you even head into the office? For instance, how are your exercise and nutritional habits? What do you do to create joy for yourself?I think it’s also useful here to quickly review your prior jobs. Did you feel this kind of stress in each of them? If so, is there a possibility that you’ve been repeating unhealthy habits at job after job?

    We have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves.

  • Peace within your family. What’s your daily life like at home? Is everyone rushing around, gathering only for meals? Is your house a mess? Does one person do most of the work at home? Are you yelling over the sound of the TV? Do your conversations start from a place of love, respect and a desire to connect, or are they adversarial and about being right? What’s one thing you can do today to make a shift within yourself, and therefore lessen some of chaos you feel at home?
  • Peace when exposed to the media. We all know that when we eat a healthy diet, our bodies and minds feel better. The same is true with the media we consume. Do you stand in front of the TV yelling when you disagree with a politician featured on the news? What kinds of posts do you make on social media–are they examples of your frustrations or of the world you want to live in? What changes can you make to your daily media diet? For instance, can you replace your hour of watching TV news with a quick scan of headlines in the newspaper or at a news website, diving deep only on the stories you care most about? What can you do for yourself during that extra hour you now have in each day? Is there a way you can get involved with an issue you care about, thus working to solve the problem rather than just raging about it and therefore giving it more of our collective attention? Is raging a good use of your time and energy?

Peace Can Only Live Outside of Us if It Lives Within Us

Everyone’s circumstance is different, and I’m not saying that you need to take all of the actions listed above to create peace for yourself. But if you consciously make one small change, you may be pleasantly surprised by the sense of peace that overcomes you. Peace isn’t something “out there”: It can only live outside of us if it lives within us.

Need some help working through ways to create more peace in your life? Book an appointment with me today.

 

 

My No-Plan Approach to Overhauling my Health

whole foods
My new dietary endeavor feels about as difficult as hiking a snowy mountain in flip flops.

I’m a horrible eater. I believe in dessert before dinner. I find it difficult to eat vegetables without making the face your 2-year-old makes when you give her broccoli for the first time. And I’m ever-so-slightly addicted to Diet Coke.

My children complain so much about my Diet Coke habit that I no longer keep it in the house. Rather, I stop by a liquor store every day, pick up a can of Diet Coke and slide a dollar to the guy behind the counter. He asks no questions, which is just the way I like it.

“You’ve got a dealer,” my friend Jackie said when I told her about my Diet Coke outings. “Yup,” I said, without feeling the least amount of guilt. Because when it comes to food, I don’t do guilt. Rather, I have the opposite problem: forgiveness.

“I totally deserved that chocolate cake,” I’ll say to myself while scraping the last bit of frosting off my plate. “I deserve another slice, too.”

While I don’t feel guilty about the way I eat, my dietary habits have resulted in me feeling less physically vibrant than I’d like to feel. I’m tired much of the time, and that bothers me because there are so many things I want to do—if only I had the steam. So, in an attempt to regain some energy, I’ve decided to make some dietary changes.

Keeping it simple

I’m not trying a specific diet. I’m not joining a group. I’m not downloading an app. Rather, for the next two weeks, I’m just going to try to make one big change: eating mainly whole foods.

I expect to complain a lot. I’ll try to keep it to myself, but I may not have enough willpower left to stick to my no-complaints intention, so my apologies to my friends and family in advance.

As for exercise, I don’t believe in hard core. I hate going to the gym, and I’m not planning on exercising so much that I hurt myself or am so exhausted that I can’t exercise the next day. I’m pretty much going to continue what I’ve been doing for years–walking five days a week and doing a gentle hatha-style yoga class twice a week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the different styles of yoga, hatha is essentially one step up from sleeping.

Today is day one. I’ll weigh myself just to get a baseline. And while I’d be delighted to lose five pounds over the next two weeks, I’m only 5’2″, so five pounds in two weeks is a bit of a stretch.

I’d like to say that I’m excited about the next two weeks. But honestly, I’m kinda dreading it. I’m only writing about it because going public may help me follow through with this dietary change.

If any of you would like to join me in this endeavor, or on any self-improvement effort you choose, I’d love to have the company. Please leave comments here–I promise to cheer you on and to listen to your complaints. And I’d appreciate it if any of you threw me some extra love for the next few weeks–I could use the support.

It’s day one. The rest of our lives starts today.

 

 

The Warm Hearth

hearth.jpg

A warm hearth

is a shelter,

a place that draws us in,

invites us to sit a while.

 

Its humble strength

allows us to come together,

to see each other

in a softer light.

 

It is here, at the hearth,

that we come home

to each other

and to ourselves.

 

As the amber flames

serenade us,

our bodies and souls sway, soften,

prepare to receive.

 

And when we allow it,

when we answer the call,

the flames stoke the fire

of our own inner divinity.

 

We become our own hearths,

drawing others in, inviting them to sit a while.

We come home to ourselves and to each other.

We cast a softer light.

 

 

 

Solving Conflict in Relationships

Have you ever inadvertently hurt a loved one with your words?

Me, too. Sometimes we act out of frustration, or we’re tired, or irritated by a loved one’s behavior. And when we address the situation, we only make things worse.

Nobody’s going to get it right all the time, but there’s a way to vastly improve your communications with someone and increase your chance of getting the outcome you want. That’s by deciding what you intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship before you speak. Then choose your words so they’re aligned with that intention.

Lots of times, we’re trying to get a point across to someone we love and instead, we send a message that we don’t respect them, aren’t listening to them, or don’t trust them. Why? Because we’re often focused on our side of the argument or on what the other person did wrong. What would happen if our communication started out of wanting to find a loving solution? What if, instead of being right, we focused on enhancing the relationship?

What’s Your Intention?

Pause for a moment. From a state of calmness, ask yourself: “What do I intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship?”

What Do You Want to Accomplish in Your Lifetime?

dreaming

I’m a planning junkie. In the last 30 years, I’ve tried dozens of systems, have read stacks of books about planning, have taken seminars and have used many of the planners on the market. I start thinking about planners in June. By July, I’m researching them. My fellow junkies and I spend hours discussing planner options in August. Sometimes we have to cut the conversations short because the excitement is too much for me and I honestly feel like I’m going to vomit.

I generally order next year’s planner in September. For 2019, I ordered a completely customized planner because I wanted to combine aspects of several of my favorite planning systems with some of the systems I’ve created for myself. Nerdy? Totally, but I fully embrace my nerdiness.

Ensuring my success

I always set goals in seven areas of my life: career, financial, health/wellness, family/relationships, free time, community and personal development. Then I set up a plan for achieving each of the goals. Because without a map, I’m not going to reach my destination–I’ll get lost somewhere along the way and look back later feeling badly that I fell into the trap of being busy and didn’t do what was most important to me.

Thinking big

When I went to set goals for 2019, I noticed something had happened to me over the last few years. My goals had gotten smaller. They weren’t reflective of my potential. And that made me feel pretty crappy. So  I added a new first step to my 2019 goal-setting process. To force myself to step back and to think bigger, I wrote a list of 100 things I want to accomplish over my lifetime.

Calling up my inner superhero

And you know what happened? It was really hard. At first, I couldn’t list more than three. That indicated to me that I definitely wasn’t thinking big enough, and that I also had lost touch with the part of me who, as a little girl, believed I could do anything. What happened to my bigness?, I wondered. I spent some time reminding myself of my capabilities. I wrote a list of things I have accomplished. I called up my inner superhero, and then I gave my 100 goals list another stab.

Saying goodbye to busyness

And this time, I felt an immediate internal shift. I wrote the list more easily, and I started working on some of the big goals immediately. I’ve already begun seeing results. I have renewed energy, which I brought into my goal planning session for the seven areas mentioned above, and I’m keeping the big picture in mind, which is enabling me to move more gracefully from one task to another. Keeping the big picture in mind also keeps me from loading up my to-do list with tasks that aren’t important and don’t help me reach my goals. I don’t believe in being busy. I believe in being purposeful.

I highly recommend trying the 100 life goals exercise. If you need help figuring out your life purpose, what you want to accomplish in the seven areas of your life, or in creating a plan to help you get there, book a coaching session with me. Together, we’ll help you move closer to creating the life of your dreams.