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.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
An image I posted
on Insta got
I told the cat this as
I cleaned her box.
I said again. She jumped
in, peed, got out,
and moved to the next thing.
don’t change the fact
that I clean a cat box.
We 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.
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.
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
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.
Imagine that you’ve been given one day each week — a full 24 hours — to do what you please. What would you do with it?
Would you learn the skills you need in order to move into a satisfying career? Take up a hobby you’ve said you’d get around to “someday?” Spend more time with friends and family?
Creating Windows of Opportunity
The time is there–it’s just a matter of using it differently. According to the 2017 Digital Future Report’s survey, Surveying the Digital Future, Americans spend an average of 23.6 hours online each week. This is double the 9.5 hours each week reported in 2000.
There are a lot of necessary and worthwhile uses of technology for sure. Maybe being a part of a Facebook group gives you a sense of support and social connectedness, so you consider your time in the group well spent. But if, like many of us, you feel like your life isn’t where you want it to be and that you’re always too busy, maybe you can see some part of this 24 hours as a gift of time, and a chance to make some changes that will help you move your life from O.K. to fabulous.
Getting there needn’t be as difficult as it may seem. But it does take some pre-planning and small, consistent steps in order to reach your goal.
Four Steps to Creating Your Dream Life
- Decide what you want. What’s most important to you? What do you want to accomplish? Is there a passion you’re dying to pursue?
- Figure out a path. What do you need to do to get yourself there?
- Break it down. List the individual steps involved in getting you from where you are now to where you want to be. Make sure each step is small enough so that it can’t be broken down futher.For instance, if you’re want to write a book, “find an agent” isn’t a task. You’d need to break it down further, so perhaps the tasks relating to finding an agent are researching agents for similar books to yours, reading The Writer’s Market to learn which agents specialize in the type of book you’re writing, and pitching five agents per week.
- Plan it and do it. Write down the individual steps as tasks in your calendar, being realistic about how long each task will take to accomplish. Completing each task moves you that much closer to your goal.
Life is so damn short. But spending your time consciously enables you to bend time a little and start to use your energy to create something spectacular.
Read more inspiration for creating your future.
It is only when an oyster is invaded
that its inner surface
produces a natural protectant—
strong, lustrous nacre.
As nacre builds, layer by layer,
the oyster transforms into
something bigger than itself,
something that, only now
its gift to the world.
Read You Are Not Broken
Without its time in
would have stayed as it was—
It would not have
what no longer served it
and made use of the rest
to create a magical being.
Without its time in
it would not have
It would not have taken flight.
Read about how to manage your energy.
Daily habits. They may be hard to form, but once they become routine, we hardly think about them. A case in point: brushing your teeth. Remember how hard it was to learn to put the toothpaste on the brush without getting paste all over the counter, to grip the toothbrush properly, to move the brush in the right motion? And now, it’s something you just do every day, often while doing something else.
Having a daily habit that’s ingrained in you can be a good thing. But what if it’s a habit that’s keeping you in your present situation instead of pointing you to where you want to go?
Forming a habit
Forming a new habit doesn’t have to be daunting. All you’re doing is one small thing every day, taking a baby step. Here’s how to form a new habit and help yourself move closer to the life you want to create for yourself.
- Set a goal. Make it specific and measurable. For instance, lose 10 pounds in two months or start a new career by the end of the year. Choose one habit that will help you move closer to your goal. Just one habit. It could be drinking eight glasses of water per day or replacing one hour of TV time per day with an hour learning a skill that you’ll need in your new career.
- Start now. Start this new habit right away, and be consistent about it. Don’t take on more than this—just focus on this one thing.
- Track it. Tracking habits help us build momentum and see our progress. Plus, some of us get a high from checking a box off every day. Keep track in your planner, on your phone, or however else works for you.
- Repeat. You’ll know the habit is ingrained in you when you feel like it’s become so integral to your day—like eating lunch or putting shoes on—that you don’t have to track it anymore. That’s when you can stop tracking it and start working on another new habit.
Becoming Aware of Habits
Try to become aware of the habits that are keeping you in your current situation. To help yourself deepen this awareness, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Do this for five minutes, then switch the toothbrush to your dominant hand and finish brushing your teeth. Think about your other daily habits with this awareness in mind
What my Clients are Saying
“Wendy helped me uncover habits that were holding me back and form new ones that are helping me create the life I want.”
Need more help identifying habits that are no longer serving you and replacing them with ones that move your closer to your ideal life? Book a coaching session with me today.
My favorite people are those who consider the impact of their words and actions before speaking, writing, or taking action. They use their words to support and heal. They act in ways that reflect how deeply they care for others. And they use a light hand with those they love.
It’s how they operate in the world, and how they operate internally. They know that how we’re treated begins with us.
A quote from my dear friend Dorothy Rupert sums this up beautifully for me. “Do no harm,” Dorothy says. “Not even to yourself.”
What would happen if we all became aware of the toxic thoughts we direct toward ourselves and replaced them with more positive messages? Would we feel better about ourselves and be able to put more kindness into the world?
Replacing Criticism With Compassion
✓ This week, try to be conscious of how you speak to yourself. Are you diminishing yourself or giving yourself the message that you don’t deserve any better than what you’re currently experiencing?
✓ Pay attention to how your words feel in your body. Do you feel loved or do you tense up?
✓ Rephrase your thoughts the way you would if you were directing them toward a friend. Let your words and thoughts come from a place of love.