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?

Monday, May 9, 2011

What do writing and shoes have in common?

I've been a massage therapist for 16 years, a life coach for 5, and just today clued into using those skills for my writing. I know, it's the old, the shoemaker's kids run barefoot, mentality.  Today, I'm getting shoes, or at least looking for the right pair.

 I invite you to join me for your own soft loafers or sleek pumps, what ever works. The first step is to have a journal. It can be on your computer, a wire ring notebook or one you pick up specifically for the purpose. Writing goals makes things happen. It draws energy, and links your creative self, your mind, and purpose. When you put something into words, you've begun the blue-print for realization of your desire. This is true in every aspect of life, not just writing.

This week, start the journal. Since this blog focuses on writing, we'll assume you want to be a successful published author, and be happy doing it. That's my goal. Now for step one.

Dump the Junk.

List 25 things that suck your energy,  things that don't work, need repair or annoy you.  This includes people and relationships. Yes, the leaky faucet or negative critique group are affecting your writing. Stop and write the list.

 Next, work on eliminating the biggest irritant. Sometimes this may take time and that's okay.
The important thing is movement.  Ultimately, we want to eliminate as much as possible that stands in the way of the goal of being a happy published author. When we pick off one item, we go on to another.  Journal how you feel and how clearing the junk affects your productivity and creativity.

I'll be sharing my progress next week. Please comment on your own success.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Are writing retreats worth it?

The idea of a writing retreat didn't entice me. In part, because I'm a recluse that wanted to hold up, put pen to paper, and not be called upon to interact with humanity. The other aspect, is my fear of being non-productive, page counts, chapter goals ever looming in my head.

I just returned from a retreat. And can we say--wrong?
I admit I worked under a fallacy. My ever diligent critique partner perused two of my chapters and I had time to rewrite. That's productive. More important, were the deep connections I formed with fellow writers. Friends for life comes to mind.

Are retreats worth it?
I'd have to give a resounding, yes.
Value comes in many forms, support and camaraderie are among the greatest.

Comments always welcome.