Sunday, December 25, 2011

Batten Down The Hatches!

One down and New Years to go.
The holidays are a gift.
That's what I tell my self as my husband is at work this Christmas morning,
and my daughter has been up with food poisoning since three a.m.
Not my doing, we'd gone out.
A mother's sigh of relief.

On the brighter side, my husband will be home tonight, my son will arrive,
and I have plenty of clear liquids to pour into our youngest child. (Age 25)
It brings me to this point:
What matters?

Emotions run high, endless demands on time, money,
and family strains leave us frazzled.
Now that the gifts have been opened
and the New Year dawns, reflect on what brought joy?

Holidays bring us closer to family, friends, and ourselves.
We are forced to look at what works in our lives, what doesn't,
and what we've avoided and swear we'll never do again.

It's the pressure.

Relationships come to the fore, we become aware of who we love,
where we're done, and what we want.
Take advantage of the awareness.
Write it all down in your journal.

But this time, instead of stuffing the truth,
behind aunt Sara's fruit cake in your memories, do something.

Do more in your life of what you enjoyed this season,
and less of what you endured.

Re-evaluate your career, relationships,
your personal growth and joy.
Be honest.

Can you improve on them?
Are you willing to do the work?
Or like the gift wrap strewn on the floor after presents are opened,
is it time to clean up the mess and take out the trash?
Only you can decide.

Be active.
Choose a course, captain you ship of life, and cast off for open seas.
It's tough to set sail with your hull leaking and a broken a mast.
Take inventory, load supplies, and get on with the the voyage of living.

Don't fix what's not broken.
Repair what needs it, and what can't be fixed, toss and replace.
It takes time, but give yourself a deadline.

Your ship can't conquer new worlds sitting in dry dock.
Get your life back in the water,
catch the wind and put out to sea.
Write your dates for accomplishment.
You can always adjust them.


When we do nothing, nothing happens.

Take this opportunity to patch those holes in your sails,
and replace your rutter ready to embark on the greatest adventure--living.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's Just A Job.

If you've followed this blog,
you're armed with a list of your values.
This week we're going to find what work allows you to live them.

Many of us are writers.
I applaud you for owning your passion.
But what about the rest of the values on your list?
Does writing or your current occupation implement
all that sends your spirit soaring?
Not likely.

Life is multifaceted.
So are we.

Life is best when we fully express who we are.

Imagine your current employment has disappeared
requiring you do something totally different.

Do I hear grumbling?
Loosen up and enjoy the process.
This is an opportunity to learn about your nature and desires.

Take your journal and jot five alternate careers inspired from last weeks list of values.
What? You didn't do last weeks lesson.

No problem.

If you don't have your list,
I'll stand by while you read the previous post,
do the assignment and return ready for action.

Ready with your values?

Based on your values write five career choices in your journal.
They can be anything that fills you.
Don't edit.
No dis-qualifiers based on your current job, your age, lack of experience or funds.
Are you excited to let your imagination run free?

Let her loose!

Once you have your list of five, do you see any similarities in your choices?

True Example:

A scientist. He's good at his job, but unsatisfied.

He makes a list based on what he values:

Interior designer
graphic artist
floral designer

When this gentleman viewed his choices, it surprised him.
No wonder he felt stuck in a life alien to him.
His creativity was unexplored.
It didn't feed his soul.

He made a change.
We all can.

Start small taking baby steps.
First, he bought art supplies.
He didn't paint, just had supplies.
Next week he signed up for a class.
Then, he began to dabble.

A year later he sold his first painting.
He kept his day job, but his life had changed, and become fulfilling.
All because he included value in his life.

When he retires in a few years,
he plans a trip to Paris and make painting his career.

He's happier having embraced his value of creating beauty.

With the New Year upon us,
this is an excellent time to make a resolution. 
What action will you take to instill value in your work
or move to a new career?

Make a note of at least one action.
Place it where you'll see it for motivation.

No guilt.
You're busy, these actions should bring you joy.
If they feel burdensome,
you don't have a value, you have a should.

Each week, add a new action that brings you closer to your authentic self.
What ever you choose--Do It.

Feel the energy flow into you, the joy, and love for life.
As you fill yourself, you fill others.
You're a gift and your talents bless the world.

Express them.

I applaud your courage and efforts to stand firm in your values.
I am blessed by your example.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Are You Empty Or full?

I'm not referring to your stomach stuffed with the splendor of holiday fare.
This is deeper.
What is the condition of your life?

We're talking full-fill-ment.

How full are you in your career?
Does it chip away at your spirit day by day
or rush over you in joyful torrents of worth?

Few of us experience the latter.

It could be we haven't recognized what we value and love doing.

We go about life doing what we should,
must, what others tell us matters,
and in the process neglect to live.

Living is beyond mundane existence.

Time to ask your self a few questions:

When do you feel alive?
When energy and excitement thrum through your veins, what are you doing?
When a spark of light ignites your mind, what are you up to?
Reflect on this for a moment.

Get your journal, and write the circumstances,
and experiences where you felt fulfilled and alive.
What pivotal moments and highlights rocked you?
Write them down.
Own them.
Go for ten, but at least five.

Do you have them?
Congratulations on courageously knowing another part of you.

Beside each, jot why it was important to you.
I'll wait.

Next, pen the value it expresses.
By value, I refer to what fills you.
Knowing what lifts and feeds you,
is the first step in creating work and a life you love.

Write your top five values.

It might look something like this:

Being in nature
Connecting with friends

There is no should or wrong way to do this.
It's your list.

This week, look for ways to incorporate what you value into your life.
 For me, this is time in meditation, reading, writing this blog, among other joys.
Doing what you value is a sign of self worth.
Sadly, not taking part in these activities is a sign of self lack.

You are valuable!

Small actions bring big results.
You are a gift.
Life is the means of expressing that gift in the world.


Keep this list,
because we're going to build on it next week.

Thank you for taking part in your life,
your future, and making the world whole through your wholeness.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?

My mom would follow that up with, the queen of Sheba.

Most of us aren't what we seem.
We're liars, fakers, con artists and impostors.
Not because we pretend to be the queen of Sheba
or some other high-toned, fancy pants.

No. We're liars of the worst sort.
We stubbornly believe that we're less.
 If someone gives a compliment, we discount it.
We feel undeserving of the good that comes our way.

How do you know if you take part in self loathing?
Take a look at your life.
Get your journal out and prepare to write.
Answer these questions--honestly.

What are your dreams?
 Relationship, career, family, whatever it is jot it on the page.
Don't edit.
Dreams are supposed to be big. Allow.

Have you reached them?
Answer for each desire you wrote down.

This is either a yes or no.
Actively moving toward a dream counts as a yes.
Thinking about it for three years is a no.
Sorry. Only Action counts.

There's one reason for falling short of those desires.

Drum roll.


Damn. Don't you hate that?
It's not how your family treated you as a kid.
It's not the loser boyfriend or the petulant boss,
or that you have health issues that make you gain weight.
These may be obstacles,
but they rarely keep you from achieving your dreams.

Only you have that power.

And you do have power.
What you are willing to accept comes from a deep place
where you decide what you deserve.

What are you worth?

Answer that question in your journal,
but as you pen the words also say them out loud.
Is it difficult?
Can you say:

I'm lovable.
I am beautiful.
I am a New York Times best selling novelist.

The more resistance you feel,
the more you don't believe you deserve these things.
If you don't believe you deserve them,
you will sabotage your efforts.

I was visiting with two women recently.
They both want to be married and have a family.
It hasn't happened.
I told them they will accept the degree of love,
success, and supportive relationships
as they are willing to give themselves.

What was their response?

"I'm screwed."

I wish I were making this up.
At that moment they acknowledged a profound lack of self love.
Their homework was to treat themselves as if.

As if they were lovable.
As if they were (insert your dream).
We can all benefit from this.

If I loved my self I would....

Write the answers in your journal.
Take as long as you like.

Here's the fun part.
Live that way.
Do those things.
It will change you.
Action transforms.
Thought alone won't do it.

Why bother?

Because you are a gift to the world.
You are worth it.
You are lovable.
And you can't give what you don't possess--even to yourself. 

I want you to receive all your dreams.
You wouldn't have them if they weren't possible.
Your subconscious envisions the truth.
It's possible, if you decide that you deserve it.

Let me know how this goes.
How does it make you feel?
I support you in your best self.
The one inside that you deny.
You are amazing!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Was Thanks Plucked With The Turkey?

It's the weekend after Thanksgiving and most of us are frazzled,
shopping for the big dinner, cooking,
followed by midnight Black Friday deals.

Where is the thanks in Thanksgiving?

I'm not just talking about the traditional form of the holiday,
but the everyday courtesy of a kind note of gratitude.
I hear you grumbling.
Who has the time?

We do.

 Sending a thank you saves time and effort.
How do you feel when someone goes out of their way to send a gift,
a card or make eye contact expressing gratitude for a small favor?
I want to do more for that person.
Guess what--most people react positively to kindness.

Thanks is the first rule of abundance and returns to you ten fold.

Make friends with those merchants you frequent.
Say thank you and mean it.
I've been informed early when things will go on sale.
The clerk gives me the coupon price even though I don't have the coupon.
People are thrilled to give when they're valued for their efforts.

What about friends, co-workers and family?
It only takes a minute to jot a note and mail it.
Hand written means more today because few people do it.

Be that person.

Neighbor kids have baked me cookies,
others have helped me rake leaves.
I've been surprised with theater tickets,
free pizza,  and dinners have come my way,
because I took a moment to appreciate people.

We all need to be valued.

There's too little kindness and respect in the world.
News of altercations on Black Friday is proof,
fights, pepper spray, and tears,
as people lost their humanity in selfish battles for stuff.

Value people and they will value you.
Those that don't aren't worth worrying about.
As grandma used to say,
what goes around comes around.

Giving thanks opens the floodgates to receiving.
It begins with the warm feeling in your heart
when you share your gratitude and love with others.

This week send three thank you notes everyday.
Just a few words is perfect.
It can change your attitude and lift someone who felt invisible.

Write your experience in your journal.
I challenge you to make it a habit and pen a thank you daily.

I thank you for supporting me and my blog.
You make me feel valued with your comments.
I appreciate your wisdom.
Thank you for being friends and examples of love.

Bless you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tis The Season For Giving--What Again?

Some dread the lines at the store,
the lists of gifts to purchase, and expense.
Is that what we focus on?
Giving is an opportunity to show others what they mean to us.
It's the thrill of watching eyes light up or glisten with emotion.

Why do we give?

Is it because we owe a present?
Is it expected and an obligation?
That's not a gift.
Gifts have no strings.
They come from the heart. They don't expect anything in return.
They are tokens of gratitude for sharing a life and connection.

Gifts are free to the receiver and expand the giver.
It all rests on our attitude.
They don't have to be purchased, but can be.
They come on the form of hugs, encouragement,
cards, e-mails, phone calls, and carefully wrapped packages.
Gifts can be given anytime.
For no particular reason.
No holiday or birthday required to spread a little love.

Does it put a silly grin on your face when your honey brings you flowers just because?
Of course!
Does my hubby get extra loving for the effort?
Yes, and he then has an equally silly grin.
Give what you can from your heart.

I knew an older woman who gave what she liked.
Often ornately, hand decorated, huge Christmas ornaments.
She enjoyed making them.
Unfortunately, many didn't appreciate the thought.
One receiver had a closet where she tossed such creative efforts.
Another woman told me she hid the ornaments in the back of her tree,
where they wouldn't be seen and mar her decorating.


I'm not kidding. 
They missed the point.

Perhaps the bobbles were overpowering,
but the giver cared enough to spend hours adding each bead and pearl.
Her back ached as she struggled to glue another ribbon in place,
until she felt it worthy of those she loved.
I received a number of these over the years,
and gave them a place of honor among my decorations.
When she came to visit, she smiled,
tears fell from her blue eyes and down her wrinkled cheeks.
Because I valued her gift she felt valued.

She's gone now, but I'll still hang her ornaments with love.

Giving goes both ways.

Do we receive the gifts given?
Those who stashed the ornaments didn't receive.
All lost out.

Look beyond to the meaning.

To be loved is everything.
When someone gives believe they care.
Let it touch your heart.


Make the effort to give meaningful gifts.
A writer who uses a particular pen and can always use another.
A child would love to help bake cookies.
Giving is a present to all.

Does this sound like work?
It doesn't have to be.
A letter of gratitude and love is a meaningful gift.
Lunch, grabbing a drink, or going to the dollar movie.

This week jot down three people you want to really give to.

Make it real.
Make it matter to both of you.
Give it thought.
It's worth it.

Once you give the gift.
Write how the process felt, how it was received,
and how it affected you.

You are gifts I cherish.
Your comments let me know my small efforts lift a heart, encourage, and clarify.
Thank you for that gift.
I receive it with joy.
Bless you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dating Is Not Dead

Who do you count on when things get tough?
Who binds your wounds, holds you, listens to your hopes,
your fears, and loves you when your sick and irritable?
If you're lucky, you have a critique partner that will do that,
but most of us rely on a spouse at two in the morning.

That's a ton to expect from the most important person in our life.
How much time do we put into that relationship?

The national average is twenty-seven minutes of one-on-one conversation per week.

Gasp and groan all you like, but that didn't count:
Chores (who is picking up dinner)
Watching TV in the same room
You writing as your spouse does something else in the same room
Both being home, but not talking.
Time spent with kids or others.

I'll give you a moment. I know you want to make your own tally.
Not so good is it?
What ever the number is for the week, does it feel like enough?

It might be a great time for you to jot down that number in your journal,
and how you currently feel about your mate,
and your marriage or relationship.

How can you tell if you're putting in enough face time?
Do you feel close to your spouse,
or do you share more with your writing group?
It should be your mate.
If not, there's work to do.

You need more bonding time.
Having fun, talking about your hopes, dreams, your plans for the future.
Remember when you did that on dates?
Time to revisit that experience.
First Rule:
No complaining allowed.

I know that for some couples given that stipulation,
they'd be reduce to slack-jawed stares over the kitchen table,
as they each tried to find something to say.
But not you. You write!
Never at a loss for words,
you engage in witty repartee at all hours.

For some reason, when face to face with the one person,
who has the power to devastate us,we become buffoons,
unable to string a coherent phrase together filled with honest emotion.

But if you want a loving, supportive relationship,
you must feed it with emotion and time.
We feed our plants, our pets, and the parking meter.
Put your relationship at the top of that list.

If you've been together for a very long time,
(Thirty-four years this month for me)
You may need a nudge to recall just what you did back when you dated.

Dress up.
Date each other
Make it special. (A walk can be special holding hands)
Get a haircut
Put on perfume or cologne
Do your nails
Give honest compliments
Hold hands
Look at each other

Do it all with anticipation for being together.
Those embers aren't dead,
just in need of some fanning to reignite.

Go out once a week and hold that date as sacred.

This is the most important relationship in your life.
Treat it that way.
Your relationship will only be,
as loving and supportive as the nurturing you give it.

No feeding = Starvation.

And we all know what happens when we're starving emotionally.
That ugly dumpster diver shows up resulting in destructive behavior, arguments, affairs, divorce.
Not pretty.

Feed your marriage and you nurture your self.
Smiles all around.
Jot down fun date ideas in your journal and schedule them.
Schedule making love if you need to.

After a few weeks, journal how this has changed your relationship and your feelings.

Please comment with your fun date ideas.
We can all use them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who Is Your Family?

I'm blessed to still have both my parents, and loving siblings.
I've lived far from them most of my adult life, and miss them.
As a young mother without close family,
I came to value their phone calls, visits, and gifts sent in the mail.
I needed that contact. It fed my soul.
It still does.

Family support is essential.

Because of distance, I was forced to look around me for the hugs and love I missed.
In-laws took over for the dearth of my own family.
Friends, organizations, critique groups, book clubs, co-workers,
and neighbors have all filled some of that need for unconditional acceptance.

As humans, we need to connect to others.
It's part of our make-up.
Primates live in communities, not alone.
Community keeps us alive and well.

In the 1980's, a study was done in a small Pennsylvania town.
These people maintained their bacon, sausage, and high fat consumption,
verses a group outside the town restricting their diets.
The purpose of the study was to prove how limitting fat can prolong your life.

It was a dismal failure.

At the end of ten years, those stuffing themselves with brats and beer had less heart disease,
fewer heart attacks, and when they did succumb to a cardiac episode, they recovered faster.
Years later, more of the gravy munchers were still alive.

Why? It went against all the science.

The researchers decided to study this small town.
What was different?


They found a close knit community.
They took care of each other and supported through illness.
They talked often, hugged, loved and cried together.

They were family.

The conclusion asstounded the pencile pushing intellects.
People need love and support of others more than a pill.
A doctor prescribes three hugs and a good laugh with friends as your cure.

If you don't have the unconditional love of close family,
follow the precepts of the Pennsylvania town and make everyone your family.
You have ample brothers, sisters, parents when you open your eyes and heart.
There is love to be shared everywhere,
and I've yet to meet anyone who refused a hug when offered.
I  hug.

Talk to people, share your hurts and joys and connect.
Be open and honest.

Be family.

The holidays bring family to mind.
Relationship is the healer, connection the balm to our souls.
This week, take a look at who you call family and add to that list.
If you lack a mother, befriend someone.
Think of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.

Family is there when we're willing to open our circle and love.
Give at least one hug every day.
Tell someone they matter.
Do some kindness.
Call someone to say you miss them.
Laugh over dinner with friends.

Connect and be whole.
Be one as your family grows with that love and unity.

Tell people in your life that you love them while you can.
Love and family transform us.

Please comment and share your experience.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Can't Ask For That!

As children, we dressed up for Halloween.
Fevered with anticipation,
we stood at a door waiting to receive.
Because we knocked.
On Halloween the asking took the form of Trick Or Treat.
And it worked.

We arrived home burdened with candy,
and all because we bravely knocked,
and said the words ensuring our need for sweetness be met.

What happened to us between then and now?
How many of us are carrying an empty sack, longing to fill it,
but too embarrassed or afraid to knock?

The door today is anyone who potentially might fill our need,
a lover, parent, friend, co-worker or boss.
We don't say Trick Or Treat, and perhaps that's part of the problem.
Asking specific desires be met is scary.

The first time you went to a door as a child,
dressed in your costume, and you had to knock,
say the words that would bring sugared bliss, it took courage.
It still does.
You found that well of fearlessness and you can still draw from it.

As adults, weve forgotten the lessons learned at Halloween.
We don't knock.
When we do knock,
are we the little fiend who grasps with both hands taking all?
Are we greedy expecting every need be met by one person?
One need to a customer, just one candy bar.
Don't dump the contents of their bowl into your pillow case.
The person will run out of goodies for themselves and all the other children.

No wonder they stop answering the door when they see us coming.

We do that, expect our lover, family and friends to fill our bag.
One stop shopping does not apply.

 They are not Walmart.

Do we say thank you when someone drops a chocolate bar into our sack?
Remember the lessons of Halloween.
Personally, I give extra to the kid who says thank you,
and the sticky fingered vulture trying to score too much gets a reprimand.
One to a customer ensures enough for all.

Once you know your specific needs, be respectful in how you fill them.
Ask politely. You can't force them to give.
 People that love you will be happy to drop a Snickers bar into your sack,
if you only ask for one.

Spread your needs around. Visit more than one house.
Knock on many doors.
A hug here, a phone call there, a foot massage, or dinner out.
What ever the need, knock on the door and courageiously open your bag.
Take your goody, express thanks and move on.
Reciprocate when they knock on your door.
In four to six weeks you'll be overflowing.

And like a gleeful urchin, your sack dragging with abundance,
you enjoyed the experience and so did the giver.
I love seeing the bright eyes and smiles,
as I drop goodies into their plastic pumpkins.
My husband gets a similar grin when I greet him with a passionate kiss.
And we both are filled.

This week, choose five needs and find five different people to fill each.
No doubling up.
One only.
If you need more hugs, knock on more doors.

Let me know how it goes.
I'm not great at asking for my needs.
I've gotten better, but it's a process.
When asking for a need terrifies you, it's because it's real.
You may be on the verge of scraping used gum off pavement to get your sugar fix.
It's desperation looming.
Feed it in a healthy way.
Ask those who care about you.

Please comment.
See, I'm asking.

Smile, and Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

But I'm Starving!

Have you ever felt irritable, ignored, unloved, deprived or resentful?
How about Angry?

Of course you have.

We all experience uncomfortable feelings,
when our emotional needs aren't met.
Who is responsible  for seeing these needs get filled?
We are.
Big shock, I know.

Most of us hold our emotional needs deep inside,
where we're unaware of their hunger.
At some point they reach out in desperation
and we do something outrageous or destructive to stave off starvation.

That's right, starvation.

Our emotional needs are real.
A part of us that lives, breathes and struggles to survive.
When they aren't fed, they act.

If you were starving, skin and bone, and sure to die without  nourishment,
you might be willing to dine from a garbage can.
It would be understandable.
Self preservation is strong.

Emotional needs are just as powerful and demanding.

They can drive us to act in bizarre ways when unmet.
And it can be down right ugly when they do.

This is why it's wise to acknowledge that niggling voice,
that emotional discomfort that has you irritated and crabby.
Those are the rumblings of hunger.
And hunger will not be denied.

Oh, you can try to ignore it.
But you won't win against survival instincts.
They cause a lonely person to sleep with the wrong partner.
The controller to lose a job because of an argument with their boss.
The pleaser to say yes to everything, overload themselves,
fail and please no one.

If we desire successful lives,
we need to fill those emotional needs,
before they fill themselves any way possible.

A starving man will eat about anything.
A starving need will do the same.
Stop feeling guilty for trying to survive.
Get over it.
Feed the need and head off behaviour that elicits destruction and guilt.

A short list of common needs:

To be loved:
Adored, valued, cherished, prized, honored respected,
cared for, saved, approved, listened to, included, treasured.

When one of these needs resonates with you, write it in your journal.
It's hungry. Pay attention.

More needs:

To be right, control, dominate, to feel important,
to serve, to be served, to be noticed, independent, to follow,
comfort, to grow, safety, peace, play, touch, to succeed, loyalty,
power, abundance, work, order, perfection.

The list could go on.
If something pops into your head, add that to your list.

Acknowledge your rumbling needs,
before they go dumpster diving.
Stop consuming rotten sustenance to survive. 
Ignoring needs doesn't solve anything.
It isn't a sign of self control or strength,
it's weakness that denies the truth.
You are strong.

Pick your top three needs.
Now that you have them,
choose to feed them in healthy, productive ways.
No need to exist on garbage,
when the worlds abundance is before your eyes.
Choose the best and fill your plate.
Don't wait until your desperate.

This week, work to fill your needs in healthy ways.
Please comment on your results.

Needs are part of being human.
It's a good thing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ten Pounds Lighter Overnight!

Is this the latest diet secret? Perhaps.
I'm not promising the extra pounds will melt off,
but practicing this week's tip will increase your energy,
lighten your spirit, and could shed weight you're holding on to.

Have you ever considered the link between excess weight and holding a grudge?

Packing on pounds can be a form of protection, armour to keep hurt at bay.
That's the physical result.
Though the emotional reasons vary for unwanted pounds,
there is one core issue that's the same.
A lack of forgiveness.

Hanging on to a grudge is as much a false fortress from pain,
as a layer of fat.
Believe me, I know.
There were times when I topped the scales with an additional 60 pounds.
And no, I wasn't pregnant.
That was even higher.

I'm sharing this so you'll understand that I get it.
Did I have unresolved resentments?
Did clinging to grudges protect me from pain?

We all suffer.
Unless you're a hermit, you have people to forgive.
Our feelings get stepped on,
and our value gets pummeled at work, school, by family, lovers, children, and friends.
Sorry, we can't control the actions of others, only our reactions.
The choice that heals is forgiveness.

"Fine," you say. "I forgive the jerk that cut me off on the way to work. Done!"

Not so fast.
There's still negative energy in that statement,
and it harbors the belief that you're a victim.

Do you recall the lesson, that we're all doing the best we can for now?
It's sad, but the person who cut you off might be doing their best.
Perhaps their child is dying and they're on the way to the hospital.
Cut people some slack.
Grant those who hurt you that perpective.

Is it easy?
Of course not.
If it were simple, you would've all ready done it.

When we hold a grudge,
we're using that anger and resentment to build walls.
They are flimsy as protection goes.
Why do we need walls?
Because we believe we're under attack,
we're victims, weak and imobile.

We can accept that lie or adhere to the truth.

We're as powerful as we choose to be.
No one can hurt you, unless you give them permission.

It's self responsibility.
When we forgive, we don't need the facade of strength,
the extra pounds, and the surly attitude,
because we're grounded in real power.
We know we're in control.
When that knowledge is at our core,
we no longer need the defenses that fool no one, but ourselves.

We've all heard that diets don't work, not alone.
We need self love and confidence.
Forgiveness is the ultimate demonstration of both.

This week, list at least five people you need to forgive.
Call or write them,
explain calmly without judgement or blame what hurt you.
Ask them to appologize and then forgive them.
For egregious acts,
therapy may be in order before you tackle forgivness.
If so, give yourself this gift.

If the person is dead or it's unwise to make contact,
write the letter and then when all that anger is left on the page, burn it.
Have a ceremony, if you like,
releasing your resentment to be transformed into love and forgiveness.

You'll feel energized, your heart will sing,
and don't be surprised that making this a weekly practice will allow a few pounds to slip off.
You have the courage to do this.
I've seen it in your comments, and your love.

As a parting thought from Ghandi:

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

You are strong!

Please leave comments.
It's a tough lesson, but worth it.
And so are you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Hate When....

What do complaining and negativity have in common?


Do you enjoy being judged? Of course not.
No one does.
So why dish it out?
Does it improve anything?
Does it make you popular?
When we judge others we're poisoning our own well.

Imagine that you're at lunch with a friend.
She harps about someone you both know,
complaining about how rude she is or flaky,
lazy, loud, insensitive, judgmental, whatever.

As the complaining continues, you find yourself wondering
what this friend says about you when you're not there.
You begin to distrust her and retreat.

Most often, those berating others are harsh judges of themselves.
Before we go on, take your journal and write five behaviors that you complain about,
things that drive you crazy, and be specific.

I'll wait.

Have them?


Jane is never on time. I hate it because it's rude.
Who does she think she is, a princess?
My time is as valuable as hers is.

You get the idea.
If you need to add to your list, terrific.
Do it now.


Everything you wrote is judgment.
No big surprise.
I'm not saying you should put up with poor behavior from others,
voice your opinion about it calmly, and move on.

Is letting it go difficult?
Does the idea of forgiving the person's behavior drive us to distraction.
Situations and behaviors that irritate us, often have a close source.

They are tendencies we abhor in ourselves.

Take a look at the five things on your page.
Like it or not, these are aspects of your personality.
The parts you loath and can't forgive in others.

Because you haven't forgiven yourself for the same behaviors.

Each time we complain or are negative, we're not only judging others,
we're voicing what we fear is true about us and despise.

Late is rude.
Why does it anger me?
I refuse to be late, but why?
Will the world end if I walk in five minutes behind schedule to a party?
What does being late say about me?
Would I be rude, insensitive, bad, unlovable, deserving punishment,
all those vicious things I jotted on the page?

Judgment is based in fear that we are that person.
The nasty loser we accuse others of being.

The harsher the criticism, the stronger the fear that it's true of ourselves.

Great! (Eye role)
What do I do about it?


Forgive yourself for these traits.
Practice compassion.
You did the best you knew how at the time.
We all do.

You can't forgive others, if you won't forgive yourself.

Your words define you.
All of them.
The nasty snipe, critical jibe, sarcasm, they all tell us who you are,
how you see yourself deep inside.

You aren't hiding this truth from anyone, but yourself.

Next, write :
I forgive myself for...(behavior you listed prior)
Do this for all five.
Add, I am doing the best I can and that's enough.

Post these positive affirmations where you'll see them.
Read them often.
Say them out loud, especially when you fall into judgment.
Voice adds power.

Everyone does the best they know how.
If we truly understood a better way, believe me, we'd do it.
Most of us are pain adverse.
When we find something that works, we'll implement the change.

You are a good person.
You are loved.
You are doing the best you know how, and that's enough.

You are enough.
And so is every human being.

As always, let me know how you're doing?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Are You Repellent?

You've heard it said, that someone has a magnetic personality
or he's loaded with animal magnetism.
What is that anyway?
Simply put, it's the power to attract.

Magnetism is a true principal.
Some call it attraction, same thing.
We all know people that seem blessed
with an abundance of money, friends, love or success.
Good things flow to them without effort.

Do you ask yourself, why doesn't that happen to me?
There probably are parts of your life where abundance rules,
but few of us manage an excess in all areas.
Why is that?

Because we are needy.

Neediness is not the same as having a need.
Neediness is a state of mind,
a firm belief in not having enough.
It's a grasping, desperation that creates the opposite of what we want.

We all know someone who is desperate for friends
and out of their neediness chases everyone away.
What about the man who is so tightfisted with his money,
that he looses what he has?

Neediness is based in fear.

The two most powerful repellents to attraction are hate and fear.
Have you seen needy people who are hateful, bitter individuals,
because other people have what they don't?

They're the opposite of magnetic.

They become repellent personalities and live repellent lives.
People, money, love, where ever they act in fear and hate
results in repelling the very thing they need.

Do you recall playing with magnets as a kid?
You were captivated by the invisible power
that lifted pins, nails, iron filings like magic.
Without visible effort the magnet attracted things and they stuck.

When you turned two magnets around, they no longer attracted,
but pushed each other apart with force.
The stronger the magnet, the stronger the attraction or the resistance.

The same principal acts in our lives.

It's easy enough to pin point where our anger and fears lie,
take a look at those unmet needs.
Our fear might not be huge, but enough to slow the flow to a trickle.
A weak magnet.

The good news is that you can change those beliefs.
This is why gratitude is so powerful.
It helps us shift from a mindset of lack to abundance,
and a peaceful contentment that you have enough.

If hate and fear cause someone to become repellent,
then it stands to reason the opposite will attract.

The opposite of hate is love.
Forgiveness will flip your magnet to attract.
Acts and thoughts of love increase the power of your magnet.
Fear also responds to love. It's a component of faith.

Perfect love casteth out fear.
It takes faith to trust that you have what you need and know peace.
Heal the hate, bitterness and fear in your life,
and watch as you attract what you need with ease.

This week, jot down in your journal where you feel a lack.
What beliefs do you hold that are rooted in fear and anger?
Find them and write them down.
Next write the truth,
the loving beliefs that will flip your magnet.

Place your new beliefs where you'll see them,
your car, bathroom mirror, your computer.
Say them in your head and out loud replacing the fear and hate with love.
The more you do this the faster the change for good.

Let me know how this goes for you.
I want you to know that I've experienced this in powerful ways.
It works.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ran out of gas

Ah, a luxurious bubble bath, scented candles flicker,
relaxing music in the back ground,
and you float on a cloud of lavender scented warmth.
You sink deeper into the water and let the heat caress your flesh like a lover.
You sigh. Tired muscles unwind, your spirit rejoices as peace seeps into your bones.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

You bolt upright, tranquility shattered along with your nerves.

Pound. Pound.
"Hey mom, are you done yet? I need to pee."

Sound familiar?

We all need time off, our own space, and we need to treat it as sacred.

Because it is.

What does that mean?
Sacred is anything set apart from the usual or ordinary in life.
Sacred time doesn't allow the mundane to insert itself and overtake it.
Your emotional, mental and physical health depend on your achieving sacred time for yourself.
It's not negotiable.

What qualifies as sacred time?
Anything that centers on you, feeds your soul, rejuvenates your mind and body.

It can take many forms:

A walk around the block.
Reading a good book.
Writing in your journal.
A massage.
Playing with the dog.
Lunch with friends.
Attending your writer meetings.

It's time set aside to honor the unique gift you are to the world.
Don't roll your eyes.
You are a gift.
Stop ignoring the box, unwrap the darn thing and enjoy it.

Look at it this way, you put gas in your car, change the oil, get a tune up.
Doing those things doesn't make you hang your head in shame and feel guilty.
Filling the gas tank so you can pick up the kids from school doesn't cause remorse.

Of course not.

Sacred time for yourself is the same thing.
You're like a car and require regular maintenance to keep running.
Most of us ignore this until we break down.
Didn't your mother tell you to take care of your things?

If you never put oil in the engine you'll burn up the motor.
Sitting on the side of the road with an empty gas tank doesn't help anyone.
Yet, we expect our selves to push forward,
never filling our tank or oil or changing the spark plugs.

Does this make any sense?
A well oiled machine runs smoothly and years longer than one that's neglected.
You can't help anyone if your battery is dead.

This week, write five things in your journal that fill your tank.
Do them.
Schedule time at least once a week to take part in these activities.
Do not allow other things to intrude.
Sacred time is not to be flouted.

Write down how doing these things makes you feel.
If you come up with more than five things, great, go for ten.
It's terrific if you schedule three times a week seeing to your maintenance.
And it is maintenance.

As always, let me know how you do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do You Hear Voices?

This week we're tackling one of the most insidious reasons we put things off,
having the wrong goal.
Also known as, I don't want to do this, but I know I should.
Yes, the dreaded should.
You say you don't have anything like that lurking in your life.

Here is a list of typical should goals we procrastinate,
because we don't really want to do them:

Losing weight
Finding a new job
Finishing a manuscript
Sending queries
Pitching your work
Accepting a blind date
Confronting someone that hurt you.

The list could go on, but you get the idea.
These things are good for us.
So why don't we want to do them?
Here it comes, wait for it.


Yep. We weenie out because we're afraid.
We've told ourselves that our lives will change,
we'll find love, friends, success if we lose weight.
Fear lifts it's head and whispers, what if after all that struggle and sacrifice nothing changes?

Ah! Anxiety, heart palpitations, our breath choked off.

Calm down. We don't fear the action.
We're terrified we'll find out we're not enough.
Procrastination is a tool that keeps us from ever having to stand up to the panic tightening our chest and risk finding the truth.

No! Not that you're lacking, but that you're more than you ever realized.

That your parents, ex-lover, third grade teacher,
boss or that agent were wrong.
We're all learning and grow along the way. No one is perfect.
Perfect doesn't exist, not in this world, so get over it.
Tell those destructive voices in your head to shut up.

They lie.
They tell you awful things that rip you to shreds and leave you bleeding,
and then they walk away.
How is this good for you?
It's not.

 I knew a man who as a child was told by his mother,
and siblings that he was stupid.
They tortured him verbally, teased him relentlessly,
and other things that make me ill.
After years of this, the boy's aptitude was tested in third grade.
The teacher called in his mother
and asked what they'd been doing to this boy.
He'd tested at the top ten percent,
but performed in class at the bottom ten.

As a boy, he believed the lies,
the abuse of his family that told him he was worthless.
It took him years to overcome the sick voices in his head.
He had to stop listening and replace them with the truth.

What is your truth?
It's not the negative thoughts you torture yourself with.
The truth of who you are is uplifting, positive, and supportive.
The truth propels you forward.
The truth doesn't demand you change,
but holds you up to your highest self.
And it doesn't say you're not enough.

The truth knows you're perfect as you are for now.
The truth knows you're learning, moving forward,
and loves you through it.

This week, make a list of three should goals you've procrastinated or struggled with.
Pick one, and write in your journal what the fear is attached to this goal.
Be specific. Writing that you're not enough isn't the root. Go deeper.
Not enough how?

That's the lie you've accepted.
Time to replace it with the truth.

Write something, maybe the opposite to replace it.
For the man, he replaced I'm stupid,
with I am intelligent and capable.
I am statements have power.
Words have power.

When you've written the truth,
do the same with the other shoulds on your list.
Catch yourself in a destructive thought,
say no, and replace it with the truth.
Yes, actually say, no.
Voice it. That adds strength.

As a man thinketh so is he.

Stand up for yourself.
The man learned to re-parent his little boy and you can too.
Think or say the truth five times when a lie shows up.
The more you do this, the less the lies will form.
The truth will sprout, grow in your life, and bare sweet fruit.
You'll find procrastination dissolving,
and doing the things that are good for you second nature.

Accept the truth of all the good that is you.
You're a gift, a glorious, amazing gift.

And the truth shall set you free.

Love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

No Peas For Me, Thankyou.

The most obvious reason we put things off is we hate doing them.
Imagine that, and all this time I thought it was a poor work ethic that kept me from scrubbing the shower.

There are tasks we all must do, but not many fall under that category.
Most dirty jobs can be delegated, simplified or hired out.

The shower needs cleaning, but am I the only one who can do it?
Could I pay someone?
I deserve a clean shower.
And I deserve to delegate or pay someone to do the jobs I hate.

 Questions to ask:
Does this really need to be done?
Does it have to be done by me?

Often the answer to both is no.
We've gotten into the habit of handling things ourselves.
We think it's our duty.
That we should load the dishwasher, scrub the floor, make those calls, etc....
Women are like that. We have trouble delegating.
Sorry, but it's true.
Men are better at this.

Do you suffer from a parental voice in your head telling you to eat your peas like a good girl,
but you hate peas?
Do you then stuff a few of the offensive green orbs into your mouth and gag before you swallow?

Okay, I happen to like peas.
But where in your life are you choking on things you hate?

Is it scrubbing the shower, the manuscript you need to edit, or confronting a relative?


Not another figurative pea passes your sultry lips.
Own up to what you dislike doing and stop swallowing it down.

Mom is no longer standing at your side prodding you to eat your veggies or there will be no dessert.
You're a grown up.
You can have chocolate cake for breakfast if you want.
I like mine with ice cream.

Stop procrastinating. Don't glare at the peas as if they're bad.
They're just peas.
Feed them to the dog, toss them in the trash or give them to your sister who loves peas.
You have choices.

Continuing to do what you hate, when you have the power to delegate, pay someone, or just decide the task isn't worth doing at all, is self abuse.
Most people don't enjoy pain.
If you hate peas, stop eating them.

Stop making your life miserable by doing the things you despise.

This week, take your journal and jot down three things you procrastinate,
because you find the task unpleasant.
Okay, no procrastinating the list.

Have the list?
Now come up with three ways to handle the job without you doing it.

Put at least one of these into action this week.
Write how you feel.
More powerful?
In control?
I hope not guilty.
You are not bad for disliking peas.

Let me know how you do.
Comments always welcome.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good Enough For Who It's For.

I knew a woman who said this often.
How rude, you say.
Yes, it was rude. She'd only say this in reference to herself.

What makes it sadder, the woman was a talented perfectionist.
Anything she did for others had to be her best effort.
She won awards for dolls she made. People stood in line to view her Christmas decorations.
And food, Oh my gosh!
She had her own TV cooking show for a while.
Did I mention she led her ladies church group, sewed beautiful clothes, raised five kids, and acted on stage and screen?

But when it came to herself, particularly her relationships, she made do.
Good enough was good enough for her.
If a friend forgot her birthday, she shrugged and went on.
When her husband gave her a plastic garbage can for their 35th wedding anniversary,
she didn't yell or have a fit, but she did cry.
Friends took advantage of her, and her husband, well, the garbage can says it all.
Most of her children never appreciated the sacrifices she made trying to hold the family together.

Is good enough really good enough?

Where in your life are your efforts only good enough?
It's great for take action and do something,
but we need to be sure we're doing the right things.
In respect to your goals, dreams, relationships, and your writing,
good enough is never good enough.

If this woman could have decided that her marriage wasn't good enough,
she might have gotten a divorce,
and freed up space for a loving, supportive man to come into her life.

This week, grab your journal,
and jot down three things you do or are involved in that aren't cutting it for you.
Next, write what you can do differently.
Be honest. If your child were subjected to this, would you stand for it?
If not, get a clue.
It's not good enough for you either.

Tackle one of these and journal your experience.

Doing your best feels good.
Deciding you deserve your best effort is healing.
No longer settling for good enough can change your life.

Comment, because you are good enough.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just Do It!

This week, we kick off a new series of coaching lessons, all about getting it done.
It, can be any worthy goal.
The first step in reaching our dreams is often the most difficult,
because we must do more than commit, we must act.
We'll get into the reasons why we procrastinate in future posts.
Today, we're focusing on action.
Without action, nothing changes.
If things aren't working in your life,
you can't expect change by sitting on your hiney while complaining.

You have to do something.

Want a new job, then get some training and send out applications.
Sick of a bad relationship, then end it and meet new people.
Want to improve your writing, take a class, read great literature, write!

He who waits loses.

Animals know this.
A peach on the tree is one day away from juicy perfection. You leave it. When you return in the morning, a bird had beaten you to the fruit, and helped himself to it's ripe flesh.

Does a dog wait if a burger falls from your plate?
He seizes the opportunity and gobbles the succulent prize as you gape.

Children understand this.
Have you ever seen kids bashing a pinata at a birthday party?
It's a lesson in life. Exuberance pays off.
As the goodies cascade to the ground,
the urchins scramble to gather all the candy their sticky fingers can hold.
They don't wait.

Even a bothersome dandelion knows enough to suck up water as it rains.
 Why not you?

All of nature comprehends that when an opportunity presents it self,
you grab it.
Don't think about it for a week,
or discuss endlessly if this is the absolute best opportunity.
Does the dog turn up his nose at the burgur,
hoping a fatter one will miraculously land in his dish?
Of course not.

Opportunities are gifts. I call them blessings.
If the universe drops a blessing at your feet, accept!
It really is that simple.
A five year old child knows that when asked if they want a cookie,
the answer is yes.

Take the first step and act.
Pick that peach.
Grab the candy.
Gobble the burger.

Because if you don't, someone else will.
You snooze, you lose.

This week, start paying attention to the opportunities around you.
Say yes to them and act.
Write down what happens in your journal.
How you feel about accepting good things as they fall into your life.
You will find that the more willing you are to accept these blessings, the more the universe will send your way.

So, just do it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

But I Don't Drink!

Distracted driving.

We've all heard the term. Studies have shown that talking on your cell phone while on the road impairs a person as much as driving drunk.


I know this personally. Taking my morning walk dressed in a bright pink shirt, thus easily visible, I looked both ways and crossed the street.
A block away, I spied a car barreling toward the crosswalk.
 They will slow down. They have to see me.
The car roared up, slammed on its brakes mid-intersection missing me by inches, and only because I leaped from the iron jaws of death.
If I'd been pushing a stroller, this oblivious young woman would be defending herself in court.

You get my point.

Other than driving distracted being a very bad idea, doing anything with less than our full attention ends in less than satisfactory results.
Yes. I start a load of laundry and let it wash, while I check my e-mail for fifteen minutes. But I don't answer the phone or watch television when I'm writing. No distracted writing.

I call it, writing drunk.

We like to think we're saving time by multi-tasking. That talking on the phone, while unloading the dish washer, and stirring the pasta sauce for dinner is a great use of time. See how productive we can be?
I once believed that.
We may also miss an important part of the conversation, misplace utensils, and burn the sauce.

How's that multi-tasking working for ya?
Yeah, me too. Not so well. I had to search for the vegi peeler. The phone call took longer because I had to ask her to repeat, and the sauce was a loss. I had to toss it, incuring more expense and using time to start over. Ugh!

You can see this was a difficult lesson for me.
I love to feel busy and productive. When I decided to focus on one thing, I found I saved time.

This week, try focusing on one task and then move on to the next.
You'll feel more peace.
The girl who'd nearly run me down didn't feel any peace. She shook life a leaf once she'd realized what almost happened.

Distraction is imparement.

Jot down in your journal how you feel durring this week.
Are you distracting yourself from situations and thoughts you don't want to deal with?
Face them in your journal.

Where in your life are you driving drunk?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just Give Me 15 Minutes Of Your Time.

I don't waste time. Never. I'm busy every moment.
I'm sure you are.
We all fill our days with things, some worthwhile, some not.
But can we be more efficient and achieve more?

Of course!
I've taken time management classes that had me block 15 minute intervals through the day.
Excellent idea!
It sounds daunting, but it can change your life.

You can eat an elephant one bite at a time and you can accomplish your goals in 15 minute increments.

If you don't have time to read the slew of e-mail, set your timer for 15 minutes, read what you can, and when the bell rings, walk away.
Yes, it's difficult, but it gets easier.
You do not have to do everything. Really.

If you can't find a moment to blog, set the clock and write. When it buzzes, stop.
Do the same tomorrow.
This works well with housework, gardening, returning phone calls, most anything.
Don't put your lover on a timer in the bedroom.
Neither of you will appreciate it.

When you give your self a deadline, you push to accomplish.
That's what we're trying to do here.
Having a critique group makes you finish those pages to be read.
NANO, Write A Novel In 40 Days, and Book In A Month, are all based on this concept.

They work!

People tend to use the time allotted, so tighten your schedule.
Create incentives, deadlines, be accountable to someone.
You've heard it said,
when you want something done, ask a busy person.
Because they have figured this out.
Push yourself to accomplish more in less time.
You'll be amazed how productive you'll become.

This week, try the 15 minute blocks. Write in your journal what you want to get done everyday and then allot time for it. Working in 15 minute segments can become a habit.
1:15-1:30 e-mail
1:30-1:45 laundry
1:45-2:00 write blog
2:00-2:15 outline scene

You get the idea.
Let us know how you do.
I'm excited to hear your success!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I have a life, I do, I think.

Have you heard of "flow"?

 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book called, "Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience."
When you're in the flow, you're happy, feeling connected, and focused on what you're doing. It's the intense concentration of enjoying an activity to the point that time stands still. Three hours means nothing.

"High-flow" is when you're doing things that fit the above description.

"Low-flow" is the opposite. You're not focused, not engaged, time drags. You're a lump.

This study brings us to this weeks lesson: Television.

Watching television is one of the lowest flow activities out there. It requires next to nothing from you, and it's addictive. The study confirmed that television viewing sucks your energy, not just your time.
And it does that to the tune of 6 hours per day for the average American.

That's 42 hours a week!

But you affirm you're not a T.V. addict. That you couldn't possibly be spending that much time zoning in front of the tube.

Have you logged the time? Make a quick mental run through of the hours the television is on. Letting the morning news rumble in the background as you get ready for work does count.
I'll wait. Have a rough number?
Now that you have a clearer idea.
How fast could you accomplish your bucket list if you gave up television?

No television for one week, none, zero, zilch.

Is the panic setting in,  pulse racing, palms sweaty, anxiety crushing your chest?
Yeah, your not an addict--no.

Going cold turkey may not be reasonable. Can you breathe now?
After all, your spouse or kids may have a melt down.
You could let them watch, while you remove yourself from the siren's call and do other things.

 I'm serious.

If the thought of not being able to turn on the T.V. and bury yourself in the mindless glow is too much. Make a deal with yourself to cut back your viewing by half. Choose the programs you'll spend time watching, and when they're over, turn the box off.

What could we do in stead?

I have a neighbor that runs marathons. A friend takes classes. One in learning to knit, another is sewing quilts for charity. A few are writing novels. Start a business.
Here's a unique idea. We could spend time creating relationships with real people, rather than the empty, voyeuristic, fake connection with the television.

What do we do when we sit before the T.V?

We watch other people have a life.

Turn off the television and create a life of your own!

You deserve to experience the flow and joy of living.
Don't sit back as a spectator. Do!

In your journal, jot down the time spent in front of the T.V. or having it on to keep you company.

Many of us suppress emotions by checking out before the tube. Turning it off may allow feelings to  surface. That's good. We have the opportunity to deal with things we've avoided.
Avoidance doesn't change anything or make it better.
As emotions come up, write about them in your journal.

I want to hear from you.

FYI: Reading is not low flow. It makes you visualize, use your mind, and think. It's a focused activity.
No need to feel guilty about a good book.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Life Sucks And Then You Die. Really?

How many times a have you heard that? But is it true?

Take a piece of paper or your journal, and write down at least five things you do in a typical week, ten is even better. Don't edit! The first things that pop into your head.
Have them?

Look the list over and be honest as you cross off everything that were musts, going to work, feeding the kids, taking your medication.

What's left?

Is there anything? 
Did it dwindle down to one?

What remained are your real choices, things you did because you wanted to, with no gun to your head or boss standing over you. If you made a list of ten, then three of those needed to be activities you enjoy. They feed your soul or move you closer to your dream.

If you knew you had five years left to live, would you spend your time doing the same things?
I'll bet the answer is no.
We all have tasks we must accomplish. But have you also made time for the things that matter to you personally, things you love?

On the same paper, jot another list, at least five items.
What do you want to do before you die? Your bucket list.
Who wants to think about death?
That's not what this is about.
You're focusing on living--really living your life.
Doing that demands time and planning. You deserve a plan that moves you toward your dreams.

Make your list, and again, don't edit.
If you want to do it, put it on the page.
Do you have your five or ten? I'll wait.

What would be the easiest to accomplish?
I'm not saying it's easy, just that it carries less hurdles. Got it?
Put that at the top of your what I do list.
Writing it down as a priority is the first step in making it reality.
It now has power.

On another page,  jot at least one thing you will do this week to make that happen.
You are making a commitment to your life. It's serious, take it that way.
Say no to stuff that stands in your way. You likely aren't the only one who can load the dishwasher.

If you want to run a marathon, then buy a good pair of running shoes.
If your dream is to tour Italy, open a saving account dedicated to the trip, and set up an automatic transfer to build it.
If you have a burning desire to write that novel? Join a writing group.

Add another action each week that moves you toward that goal.
As you accomplish these small tasks, you'll feel energized, more creative, happier.
You'll feel alive!

Little steps matter. Once you've climbed your mountain or done the Iron Man Competition, move to another item on your list.
Nothing changes in life if you continue to do the same things.

Commit now to your life. Do it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Had No Idea!

This week we're going to have some fun. Time for a few psychological games to recharge your engines.
How we view things is reflected in our choices. Let's find out what view you take.

First: Get a piece of paper and pen, or better yet, your journal. I'll wait. Smile.
Don't try this series of exercises without it. Have your paper and pen? Good.
Answer this question: What is your favorite color? Yeah, the one that first popped in your head.
Write it down.
Now write down three (3) verbs about this color. Yes-verbs. Action, doing words. Got them?

Next section: Visualize yourself looking through a doorway into an empty white room. No furniture, pictures, nothing. List three words that describe your feelings about the room. Great.

This is the last part. What is your favorite animal?
The first one that popped into your head. Don't edit your choice.
Jot that on the page. Now add the three (3) attributes you connect with this animal. Don't over-think.
Have you finished? Only move on if you've completed all 3 areas or you'll miss out.

In the first exercise you chose a color. This represents you. The words you chose describe how you see yourself. This is a huge window to your self-esteem, your talents and challenges.
No judgement, please.

Next: The empty white room. This represents your feelings about death. It may be a surprise. One man responded with the word castrated. 

The last was your favorite animal. This represents your mate or partner. The words you chose signify your significant other or how you perceive them. If you currently don't have one, you may have chosen what you want in a mate or your view of that type of relationship.

It's been said that our words define us. Apparently, they do.
That said, none of your answers are wrong. It's just information.
It's where you're at for the moment. Life changes and so do we.
Understanding more about yourself can assist you in moving in a positive direction.

Write down these exercises in your journal, what you've learned and your feelings.
What do you wish to embrace?
What do you want to change?

Hopefully, you now have more of an idea about yourself.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

But I need it!

It's as sad when your life revolves around the lack of money, as when its abundance is the focus. The trick is to learn to manage your finances, so you have enough to meet your needs, and be free of worry.  There are two ways to accomplish having enough money, earn it or save it.

Ah, but where's the fun in that?

The enjoyment comes when you can easily pay cash for your purchases. When you pay off your credit cards, your car, have money in the bank and your house is free and clear.

"But that will take forever," you groan. "I need stuff now. I'm lonely, depressed, and shopping makes me feel better."


It may distract you for a time, but soon enough the fix wears off and you look for your next hit. Too many of us use money as a drug. The truth, money is a tool, only a tool. Something to be utilized to your benefit like a hammer. Do you take it in hand and build your life or tear holes in it?

Buying more of what you don't need won't fill up what you do need.

I know a woman that shops compulsively. Her marriage is a bust, her relationships with her children are strained. So she shops. And when she returns home with her bags of merchandise, she hides them under the stairs and cries.

How are you using money? This week, list your purchases in three categories.

1. Necessity:  Pay the electric bill
2. Discretionary:  Buying coffee on sale now rather than when you'll need it, but pay full price.
3. Totally not worth it:  The bag of chocolate bars that ruined your diet.

At weeks end, tally where your purchases fall.

Are you using your money responsibly until a fight with your lover has you storming to the mall, credit card in hand?  It happens, but it doesn't have to. Who is in control here? It's not the money. Only you hold the reins of power.

Write how you feel in your journal rather than spend. Notice how you feel when you want to buy something and why. How do you feel when you say no? What self talk haunts you? What positive phrase could you use to replace that lie? Put it all in your journal.
Is the price worth the momentary rush?

You're worth more than a quick fix. Rely on the knowledge that you rule your actions. You're strong,  and deserve the freedom and peace of having enough.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

And You Call That A Friend?

You're sitting at lunch with a friend you've known for years. She's complaining about her family, her husband, her job or lack of one. This friend rattles on and on through lunch giving you time to grunt when she pauses to take a breath. When the bill comes, she throws a few dollars on the table and says she's got to run. You leave feeling used and drained.

Guess what--you're right.
You were used and drained of energy.

As you can see, this week we're covering relationships. How often do we waist time with people that suck the life out of us, because we feel it's our duty, or out of habit or proximity without getting much in return? I've done my share of suffering through such friendships.  Ugh! I'm over it.

Life is too short to spend it with people who don't value you, are self involved or wear you out. Do any names or faces come to mind? We all have friends or belong to groups that, either no longer serve us because we've grown, or they treat us with disregard and indifference. Who needs it? Not you!

People change. Chances are, if the relationship isn't serving you, it isn't doing much for your friend either. Let it go. There's no need to make a big deal about it, just spend less time with them and allow the connection to fade naturally.  You don't have to have a big talk. This is not high school. No drama needed. You're an adult, and people come and go in our lives.

It's okay.

There are relationships that need some honest conversation to mend. If this feels like the case, and you want to invest further, by all means, go for it. State what bothers you calmly without blame. If the friendship is strong, you may come to an understanding. If it doesn't work out, let it go and know you tried. No hard feelings.

If you've been diligently working  on the coaching lessons, it's likely you'll be letting go of some old friends, a critique group or partner. Make room for relationships that inspire you and aid you in the creation of your dreams. Remember, the universe abhors a vacuum. Make room, and watch for the good that will fill it.

This week, make a list in your journal of people and groups that suck you dry. Decide how to handle each case. Let them slowly fade or talk it out. Notice how you feel about ending these connections and why. Write about it and then act. Even a bad relationship ending brings a feeling of loss. Let your self feel it. Write what you'll miss or what you wished for that didn't exist. Be real and honest in your journal.

You have to be your own best friend first.

Monday, July 4, 2011

But I'm a nice person!

I  adored my grandmother. She was sweet, patient, and suffered in silence as she tended her mother through cancer, put up with a physically abusive husband, and cared for a mentally disabled son. That would seem to be enough on any persons plate, but no. Grandma drove the elderly to the store and doctor appointments. She cheerfully babysat for single mothers. If someone was in need, she served, and somehow found time to sew quilts for charity.

You might think this woman was a miracle. I know, I thought she was. She had many friends and everyone loved her. But when she lay dying in the hospital well past age 80, with tears in her soft blue eyes, she whispered, "I've wasted it. I've wasted my life."

How can that be? Grandma made a difference. And she did! I don't know what would have become of me and my siblings if not for her love and stable influence. Where had she failed?

She'd given her life away to others and never lived one moment for herself.
Not one dream.
How had the years slipped by without creating something for herself?

Grandma had the habit of saying yes when asked.

The woman had regrets.
 Not for what she'd done, but for what she'd left undone.
She'd said yes to everyone, but herself.

This week, we stop the habit of saying yes.
People will still like you. And if they don't, you don't need them in your life.

For one week, when possible, say no to requests.
Sorry, but you still need to feed the two year old when he asks.
For the rest, the answer is no.
Without explanation, excuse or justification.

Service is good, but loosing yourself and being used is not.
Poor planning on some one's part does not constitute an emergency on yours.
Let others take care of their responsibilities or get another yes addict.
You're in recovery.

Just say NO!
 "No, thank you." Also good.
Repeat if needed and don't justify.

If you can't make yourself do that, then answer them with,  "I'll have to think about it."
Giving yourself time, breaks the habit and gives them the chance of finding another sucker.
I have been such a sucker and I'm over it.
Life is better.

This week, stand up for your dreams and your life.
No one else will.
Don't end up at age 80 feeling you've wasted the gift of living YOUR life.

Write down your progress and feelings in your journal.
Who is pushy?
Who makes you angry?
Who is difficult to deny?

"Life is a banquet, and most poor fools are starving to death."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Gave Up My Dream For That?

Early in our coaching series, we dumped some of our junk and ended energy sucks, but now it's time to take a closer look. Have you made space for what you want or are you still hanging on to things you think you need?

If you crave a new relationship, you may have to let go of an old one first. New clothes, clean out the closet, a new story, put that unworkable old manuscript away. Stop putting energy into what doesn't serve you. Evict the worn from your life and stand ready to accept the new.

This is not new age mumbo jumbo. It's a law of physics. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you create a vacuum in an area of your life, including your writing, the universe will absolutely fill it with something. Be choosy about what you allow to fill that space.

When you feel bogged down or stuck, chances are you're hording something you need to release. If you haven't used it in the past year, get rid of it. Start by tossing all those useless papers cluttering your desk and your ancient computer files. Getting rid of what you don't need or use will make that space you want for better things. Sometimes it's a manuscript we need to shelve in order to write a new one. If you're holding on to what doesn't work, you can not move on to what does. This is true in every aspect of life, not just writing.

Years ago, when I was taking a psychology class, we learned of a group of scientists doing a study with monkeys. Every day they filled immobile plastic jugs with small treats, and each day the monkeys opened the lids and enjoyed the goodies. One day, the scientists placed an orange in each container just small enough to slip through the hole, but too large for the monkeys to pull out with their hand grasping the fruit. What would the monkeys do?

The monkeys reached into the jugs and clutched the oranges, but couldn't extract them through the small hole. When the scientist moved closer, the monkeys screached, pulled at the orange with all their might, but refused to let go of their prize and thus couldn't escape. They were captured, sacrificing much desired freedom for fruit they thought they needed.

What are you clutching that stands in the way of your dreams?

"To pretend to satisfy one's desires by possession is like using straw to put out a fire."
                                                                                                        Chinese Proverb
Do you really need that orange?
What price are you paying to hang on to it?

Spend 15 minutes each day letting go of something you don't need and prepare to embrace something better. Write about it in your journal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life Is Great, Unless...

 Not if you're just going through the motions and dragging your sorry hiney around. It may be that you lack something to look forward to.
This is not a lesson on gratitude, though being grateful is important. We're talking about creating something that brings the energy of anticipation into your life. Do you recall being a kid, counting down  until the last day of school, and the warm air of summer freed you to sleeping in, bike rides with friends, gabbing to all hours, and  staying up late just because you could? Ah, the elusive joy of youth.
Get a grip.
Being young has little to do with it. It's the joy created by anticipation. Life was an exhilarating adventure because you made it so. Time to get serious about living and have some fun.
If you look at your week and your biggest thrill is falling into bed, something is wrong. It doesn't have to be that way. Everything is a choice. Choose to enjoy living. Choose to create something to look forward to daily. 
Here it is. Write a list of 20 things that you enjoy. Things you can plan to do that will put that spring in your step. Anticipate them and watch a grin spread over your face.
Here are some ideas:
Call a friend.
Enjoy a bottle of wine and watch the sunset.
Make love.
Meet friends for lunch.
Hug someone.
Read to a child.
Watch an old movie with your buddies or your lover and munch popcorn.
Ride your bike, your Harley or hike.
Sign up for a class you've been longing to take, watercolor, Martial arts, cooking, survival training. Whatever!
Pass out candy at work or buy flowers.
Maybe make Wednesday your special breakfast or coffee treat morning. Thursday you have Tai Chi, Friday it's dinner with friends or your sweety. Everyday needs to have something to look forward to.
Write your list in your journal and start implementing it. Jot down how you feel adding things to anticipate. Plan for something special every week and at the end of the month or year.
We love vacations in part, because we get juiced up anticipating them.

This week, I'm anticipating time with my grand-daughter. What about you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Easy Is A Choice--Make It.

Optimists. You know those people with the silly grin and always a kind word. Who wants to be Pollyanna? You do.  I'm not talking about the fake, like me, positive tripe. We're referring to the real deal, the ability to see the good in every situation, learn the lesson, and grasp the opportunity. Being positive is a skill you can learn and a habit you need. It's not difficult. (Positive thinking here.)

When you look for the good, you'll find more of it, and when you have that positive energy working, you'll learn your lessons quicker and with less difficulty. Why would you want to choose hard when easy is available?

Try this exercise:

Imagine three pieces of silverware held out before you.
A knife, a fork and a spoon.
Don't think, just choose one.

No fair grabbing two or more and if you can't decide, just pick the first one that pops into your mind.
You have your silverware. Good.
Here's what it means. This is a subconscious game to tell you how you currently create your lessons in life.  The knife: Your lessons come hard. Aggressive. Life has to cause pain to get your attention.
The fork: Lessons come a bit easier, but still require effort. The spoon: Your lessons come without effort. That is, you don't ignore or fight what life brings you. You're aware, get the lesson, change and move on. It's spoon fed.

When you search for the good, the lesson in every situation, you'll find it without life having to beat you up to gain your attention. The longer we ignore our lessons and opportunities, the harder the universe tries to wake us up, the harder and more painful the lesson. But you have the power to change.

Choose easy. Optimists know this. Life is good. Everything works out. I'm grateful for what I have. Look for the opportunity. What opportunities are you working to ignore? What truth are you hiding from? Notice the use of opportunity over the word challenge? Start by thinking in positive terms.

At the end of each day, recount in your journal any difficulties and look for the good. Change your words. What opportunities or lessons did you encounter? What could you have done or what can you do differently? Implement what you learn.

I'm working on this too. It's life long, but I know it works.
Life is easy and it's all good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trash Is As Trash Does.

We are all judged on how we look and act. I did an experiment at the shopping mall some years back, showing up in jeans, T-shirt and no make-up. I looked clean, but poor. I got zero attention from the store staff. No one would help me. I was invisible.  The next day, I went to the same stores dressed in my business clothes, and looking well turned out. When I walked in, I had more sales help than needed and they were incredibly accommodating. I'm not saying that I agree with the superficial nature of humanity, but it exists.
People look first and ask questions later. If you swear like a sailor, people will have an impression of you. If you borrow things and never return them, people will size you up on that. What you do determines how you will be seen and treated by others.
How do you wish to be percieved? Are you serious about your career? Then act like someone who is a success. If you say, "This is who I am and they can take it or leave it. I don't give a damn." That's not personal freedom, it's a self destructive lie.
We all care.
It's not enough to set boundaries for others, it's time to set standards for your self. This is not about all the shoulds. We're talking integrity. The higher the level you live at, the higher the level of your life. Some examples of integrity:
Tell the truth.
Be on time.
Admit your mistakes.
Honor your responsibilities by following through.
Take care of your body.
Give positive feedback.
Avoid offending.
Be grateful and stop complaining.
Stop talking and act.
Give to those in need.
Only spend time with those who treat you well.

Make your own list of five. What do you feel ready to implement? This will scare you a bit. If it feels comfortable, pick something else. I'll be working on being more honest with my self and speaking that truth. Easy to do with strangers, harder to do with those I love. If it feels like a risk, do it.

Make your journal your partner in this. Write down your list, your efforts, feelings and how things change.
Plan on implementing these changes for at least six weeks so they become good habits.
When one becomes second nature, move on to a new one.

Let me know how you do.
You deserve to be the person that is trustworthy, dependable, and loved.

Monday, May 30, 2011

So You Want To Be Happy.

You say you want success and all the good things in life. And you should have them. The real question is, what is keeping you from all those nice things? (Drum roll).
 And the answer is: You.
It's not your crabby boss, the kids, the non-supportive spouse, the lack of a partner, or a bad break.
While all these things can set you back, they don't have the power to keep you there. Here's the secret to success and a great life. (Fan fare). Your willingness to accept only what you want and nothing less. No, that doesn't mean you can leave that mouthy teen on the side of the road. We have moral responsibility.
But how are you treating yourself? Do you let the surly teen talk back? Do you allow your crabby boss to yell at you? Do you spend time with people that belittle your dreams and make you feel like an idiot or fool?
Life is too short.
How can you have self confidence and the respect of others, if you don't require it? We train people how to treat us. If we settle for less, and most of us do, we will get less.
Time to ask, what do you want?
Not what will get you by, what is good enough, or what can you stand. Is that what you want on your tomb stone?
"She put-up with everything.
Never lived her life, only survived it."
That brings us to step one: Boundaries.
Calmly request that people stop hurting you. Most will be shocked to find they crossed your boundary, will apologize and do better.
Others require more. That's when you stand up for your self, and demand they stop yelling, lying, whatever the bad behavior is. Again, in a calm firm voice. No dramatics here.
If this does not get the desired result of respect that all humans deserve, then excuse yourself, and leave the room. No arguing. Say something like, I'm sorry, but I can't discuss this with you while you are teasing me, yelling, etc.
Those that really love you, will respect and honor your boundaries, those who refuse need to go, or at least need to have limited contact. When you accept only what you want in your life, what you want will show up.
This week make two lists. Ten behaviours you allow that hurt you. Ten behaviours you want instead.
Now tackle your relationships calmly and ask for what you want.
Don't attack, just state what you need. And inform them what you will no longer accept.
It will increase your confidence and improve every area of your life, but you have to mean it.
You will no longer continue a conversation or relationship with  someone who refuses to treat you with respect.
You deserve it.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A great foundation, and I'm not talking a bra.

Time to congratulate your self for all the hard work. Time for fun. Sing, dance, get a massage, or enjoy your favorite treat. Hard to believe, but fun is part of the program. Now that you've made space for good things, don't leave a vacuum, because if you don't fill it, others will. Isn't that how we ended up short on time and energy in the first place?

 Most of us let things happen to us. That's over. Done.
You get to create the life you want. Thoughtfully choose and reclaim your space. You've all ready cleared the lot for your building. Now it's time to visualize your blueprint for the future.  Once you know what you want, you can start construction with the foundation.

 To build a strong foundation, a great support system is vital. Friends, family, writers groups, your bowling league, what ever feeds your soul. And say no when you need to. No guilt.

Care for your body. It's your most important tool. Think of it as the steel frame. There's no hurry. A true artisan does not rush his work. He does it slowly, but he does it right. Do one thing. Drink more water, meditate, one small thing upon another. Novels are written this way, and so is a life.

What will I be doing? Writing every morning and rewarding this action with a walk. It works for me. So if you call in the a.m., don't be offended when I don't pick up. I'm building my dream.

What action are you taking toward a better life?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Help! I'm addicted.

And I'm not just referring to writing. But before we get into that, I wanted to finish up with last weeks work of dumping the junk.
I had my list of 25 and then some. I replaced burned out light bulbs, cleaned out a cupboard, and looked into writing activities that turned out to be more activity than writing. Yep, I had things to dump, and I feel clearer, more energized after doing it. Who knew tossing junk mail could be so invigorating? Getting rid of things that don't work, makes room for the things that do.
Now that we have more energy, and space for good things to come our way, it's a smart idea to plug energy leaks.
That's our new topic. Addictions. The obvious ones that suck time and let our precious income run down the drain are smoking, drugs, and gambling. If you don't indulge in any of those, all the better, but there are other versions. Hours spent watching television, visiting on social media, caffeine or the insidious sweet treats we consume before we're willing to tackle the hard work of writing and life.  All possible addictions.
What makes something an addiction? An emotional or physical attachment that takes importance over our goals and happiness. We believe we need them, but don't. An hour watching your favorite show to unwind is fine. Four hours in front of the TV is addiction.  What else could be accomplished in those hours? Outlining chapters, writing, bonding with our kids, exercise, making love. Addiction slows our progress and lets us hide from life. Writers can't afford to hide. Emotional honesty is the foundation to great writing and living. Choose to live!
Write down three of your addictions. You know what they are. Tackle one. Some take weeks, others years to overcome. The time doesn't matter, it's the baby steps that put you in control, and not an exterior thing. You have the power, own it.
Jot down your results and feelings in your journal. I'll be tackling caffeine, sigh. Please feel free to comment and share your progress. What leak are you ready to plug to gain success?