What's Your New Year's Resolution?

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What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

“Say whaaa?”

“September, school, fall and football season just kicked off and you are asking me what my New Year’s Resolution will be? Huh?”

Yep, that’s right I am.

Come December, the media will be all over the holiday season, and the beginning of 2019. After Christmas there will be a flurry of vows to lose weight, go to the gym more, stop doing something bad and replace it with something good, yadda, yadda, yadda. Everyone will be rushing around regretting the overeating they did during the holidays and making vows they will never keep while the ball drops on Time Square; promises they haven’t even given much thought to much less written down. I don’t want to see that happen to you.

That is why I am asking you now. Think about it.

There are four months left in 2018. Are you where you want to be? Or better yet, where you hoped you would be last December when you were in that same halfhearted, rote, promise-making frenzy?

Are you?

If not, why aren’t you making plans, like right now, to make 2019 different?

Change is never particularly easy, or hey, we would all look like super models, drive sporty cars, have a perfect family, etc. But change can be simple, a few baby steps at a time.

Here’s how.

Schedule the next four days of your life like this – get up earlier than everyone in your house and write three pages long hand (preferably on blank paper turned horizontally). Write about your dreams, where you want to be, who you want to be, who you want to spend your time (i.e. life) with, how you want to spend your time. Write anything that comes to mind – if your mind trails off to the grocery list, or the day’s chores that loom ahead, write them on a piece of scrap paper - and then go back to your dreams.

Write down everything you can think of – how it will feel when________, what will your average day look like, what will you eat, wear, drive, live in? Keep going until you have filled three pages. And then, let it brew.

This is not some hokey smokey, woo woo magic trick. This is clearing your mind of the things that stand between you and who you want to be.

Pour it out. Write it down. Give it life.

Then spend 10/15 minutes thinking about what that person (who is living this amazing life) would do with her days. How would she be living? Write down whatever comes to mind.

Don’t edit, don’t fret, don’t get anxious. Just. Write. It. Down.

There is magic to giving your dreams life. Especially in your own handwriting.

If you can’t manage to do this, or it just doesn’t appeal to you– recognize it. Own it. Accept the reality that at the present moment you just aren’t ready to be who you say you want to be.

There is magic in that too, believe it or not.

We can never, ever, (taking a riff from Taylor Swift- never, ever, ever)… reconcile what it takes to change our lives until we are ready to grasp this fact: if we really want to change this life we say makes us unhappy, we can.

But, we have to be all in, all the way, without an escape route in mind.

What does it take for you to be all in? Are you willing to get up for four days straight, before everyone in your house and spend 45 minutes writing your new life?

Four days is pretty freaking easy to do.

If you can’t do that, you don’t really want what you say you want. Sorry, that might sting a bit to hear, but it is the truth.

I am working on a new digital course with 9 simple steps to creating, not just wishing for a true fairytale life. It will launch mid September.

I am announcing it to friends and family first and offering anyone who messages me and references this blog post a 15% discount.

Be one of the first, join me.

Be the person you say you want to be.

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What's Your Tipping Point?

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What is your tipping point?

Have you reached it yet?

I am pretty open about sharing my life story. Maybe too open-LOL! But I never shared that galvanizing moment when divorce became a plan, not a threat, a dread, or a question.

I forget to mention it because it was such a small thing, a moment, a statement and suddenly after years of feeling like I was perhaps one of the most selfish, densest or biggest failures on the planet for not being able to keep what looked like the perfect family together, I got it.

All during my 18 year marriage, there was conflict. I won’t go into all the explanations, neither of us was right or wrong. We didn’t want to be unkind to each other, we just were. It was a lack of understanding about ourselves that grew into something bigger than the both of us.

But the catalyst for me was a day in a ceramic studio where I was thoroughly enjoying the pursuit of a second degree in Art.

I had been going off and on for several years. My ex was truly in favor of me finding whatever it was that made me happy.

So, I landed on going back to college and studying art. There were certain considerations to my pursuit of course, since he was paying for it. These included not neglecting my duties as a wife and mother, the house, our son, cooking, cleaning and the part time work I did for him.

Very fair.

Except that what would happen is at the beginning of each semester he would be so proud of me for doing what I was doing, handling my responsibilities and pursuing another degree. And that pride and support would last for a month or so.

About midway through the semester there would be in increase in tension. I couldn’t tell you why. But it happened every semester I was in school.

And then by the end of the semester, it was practically all out war. Even the smallest thing would turn into a big argument.

So, about the time I was supposed to register for classes for the upcoming semester, he would inform me it wasn’t working out. And since of course this was not tied to any type of career goal, but rather (in his mind especially) something I was just “doing” for fun, he would tell me there was no school for a while.

Which is exactly what happened this time as well. Only this time something else happened too.

I didn’t want to go

I was very disappointed about leaving school this particular semester because I was in three classes that had my artistic meter soaring – ceramics, creative writing and modern dance. And yes, I was frustrated. But I had spent so many years believing that he knew what was best for me, in other words, so many years of not taking responsibility for my own joy, that I just shrugged and resigned myself to it.

But when I went to tell my advisor I wouldn’t be returning he asked why. When I said, “because my husband doesn’t want me to,” he looked at me like I was an alien.

“What do YOU want?” he asked incredulously.

Just like that I realized I hadn’t asked myself that for years. All I had wanted for so long, since the divorce of my parents as a matter of fact, was a “normal” family, whatever that meant. And I had spent 18 years trying to create it, drowning out the voice inside that told me that the best way to do that was to be me.

I mean, isn’t that who my ex had married? As I began to look back over my life I realized that had also probably played a huge role in my first marital disaster.

When I was alone, single, listening to my own voice, being me, I had no trouble whatsoever knowing what I wanted.

But somehow in the context of relationship/marriage, I gave all that power for my happiness to someone else. Not only that, it was a huge burden for another person to carry.

That is what happens in most marriages, we give over who we are, what we want and what makes us happy – for the “greater good”. Until one day we wake up and have no idea who we are.

Trying to make a shift 10 or even 15  years later, once we realize it is like over correcting a car that hit a puddle. It usually ends up in a disaster.

Why? Because we don’t know how. Our only reaction is sadness, dissatisfaction, and anger directed toward our husband. And we don’t know how to manage that positively.

We forget that we are the ones who gave him the keys. Which is why our husbands then become defensive, bewildered, distant and angry as well.

There is a better way. It may save your marriage. It may not. But it will save you.

If you are ready, I mean, shockingly, I can’t believe this is my life, I can’t live this way anymore ready, do something about it.

Change will not happen by itself.  You will not wake up one day magically ecstatic about your life. He won’t change. You are the only one who can make that happen.

Why aren’t you?

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Handling The Discomfort of Disappointment

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This week I'm focusing in my Facebook group about our emotions, what they are – vibrations in our bodies; and how important it is to truly allow them. Allowing them means feeling them, not just giving lip service to our inability to handle them.

Feelings, or emotions, are not the same as sensations like cold or true hunger.

We don’t have to go back to childhood to understand why we react to the fear of abandonment or rejection.

I grew up a child of divorce. My dad was transferred 5 hours away. He remarried when I was 6; to a wonderful woman who became my second mother. I love her and my half brother and sister. I adored my dad. But the impact of losing him in my day to day life created a lot of anxiety for a confused three-year-old.

I didn’t fully understand this until I was an adult, visiting the first of 12 counselors because of the difficulties in my marriage.

It was helpful, yes. And at the time I thought I had finally figured out the answers and would be able to apply my new knowledge to my marital challenges.

I was wrong. And so are you if you think that just knowing something will make a difference, sorry to be the one to break it to you. But that is just the truth.

Knowing why something happened gives us momentary peace. And for a while it instills a sense of confidence that we can handle something. But it doesn’t give us the tools to handle it. It doesn’t give us anything to use in our current life, or the life we want to live. It just tells us what happened in the past, which is not something we can change, or control.

If you want to learn how to move forward, out of pain, out of confusion and darkness, you need help. You need tools. You need things that you can control. And that is you.

There have been countless studies that state that our emotions come in waves. The good news is the waves only last 90 seconds. The bad news is, before we know that, we are so afraid of being swallowed up by them, that we jump to anything that will make it stop.

And that dear ones is how we actually perpetuate the very pain we are seeking to avoid.

If you want to stop the pain, learn how to sit with your feelings for 90 seconds – before doing anything. Once you take a deep breath, locate the sensation and allow yourself to feel it, you have changed a long-standing habit that has not served you to date.

That is a huge victory. HUGE.

So, I want to challenge you again. For the next three days, minimum, and longer is better, every time you head to the pantry when you aren’t hungry, or reach for the wine, or think about going shopping, or do anything on an impulse, stop and see if you can identify what you feel that is making you want to run.

See where it is in your body, how it physically feels. And then, time willing (and I HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS) write for 5 minutes what you felt. Describe it as if you were talking to an alien. Be very descriptive. Describe the feeling, label it – fear, sadness, anxiety, anger – and then note the vibration.

I'd love to hear how this helped you!

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Throw Glitter In Today's Face and Shine!

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Everyday can be a sparkly day, even the most mundane of days, and when its raining (literally or emotionally). It all begins with our thoughts. Those things that fly through our mind at light speed, often undetected by our consciousness.

How?

We just begin to observe those mysterious little life controlling thoughts. Not in a struggling, critical way, like, “I will never be able to do this.” Because the moment we tell ourselves “we can’t”, guess what, we have just instructed our brain to make sure that no matter what we do, it is not to allow us to “do it”.

The brain is soooooo amazing.

But, science has proven that a huge chunk of what we think about comes from beliefs that were created before we were old enough to understand how to formulate our own opinions.

We are born these perfectly innocent, loveable creatures, a blank slate waiting for the world to write on. And it does, sometimes just not in the way we would want.

I grew up with a single mom. She worked three jobs and made our clothes out of necessity. Her time and energy were limited, and I had a younger sister. Our dad had moved 5 hours away and my maternal grandmother passed away when I was 4. My mom was my world. And she was mostly alone to fend for herself and the two of us.

My way of seeking her attention was to try to be “grown up”. But guess what? The easier I became, the less my mom had to worry about me. In some ways, it made me who I am today, independent and self-reliant. Those are good things.

In other ways however, I received the silent message that I could work and work and work, and much like my mom, I would make it. I would survive, but I wouldn’t thrive in the ways that I longed for.

I adored and admired my parents. I was loved and cared for. I had a wonderful life in so many ways. It was no one’s “fault” I received these messages, it was just a factor of being in an immature place. As children, these things can become the foundation of what guides us today. These are the wounds therapy works to help us uncover. Which is great. But what do we do once we uncover them?

As adults how do we use that information to change what we don’ want and move forward?

We choose. We choose which of those thoughts (that may now be beliefs) we want to hold on to. We decide what is working and what isn’t.

If, we are willing to be honest and “heartfully” open. Use compassion and curiosity and be still enough to “see” them.

Isn’t that like getting the keys to the castle? It the greatest gift we can receive, to know that we truly have the power to rewrite our story.

It is not about becoming Pollyanna, changing all our thoughts to positive ones, or repeating mantras until we are blue in the face.

It is about allowing our thoughts to come. And then watching them, like we are backstage at a play.

That is how we begin to rewrite the story of our lives, watching our thoughts from a neutral space, a distance. Asking why we think them and listening for the answers. Perhaps, like me, you will see that the thoughts you have are trying to protect you from a life that no longer exists. Which then affords you the golden gift of deciding what would better serve you in your current life.

Give it a try:

The next time you notice you an uncomfortable feeling stop for a few minutes. See if you can trace it back to a thought. Imagine you are watching your thoughts as if they are actors on stage. Ask them why they are there. Listen to what comes up. In a matter of seconds, if practiced often enough, you can change your world forever.

If you have something handy to jot down what comes up, wonderful!! I suggest to all my clients that they always keep a small notebook with them ready for whatever pops up.

Being able to notice, take notes and then let it go, allows you to take things off your plate. And bonus- it cuts down on overwhelm because you are not trying to keep everything in your head! Win-win.  

Make it a game. Release any judgment of yourself or your beliefs. It will take practice at first, but if you persevere, you will find it easier and easier to “catch” those thoughts that hold you back or keep you stuck.

Until next time, Bisous!

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Having One Of Those Days?

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I am behind getting this written. I have all kinds of legit reasons for it, working on my digital course, the retreat, tweaking the program, traveling back and forth to Orléans to look for a new place to live, packing and then coming down with a bad cold amid it all.

But the real reason I am late is that, wow, it has been a challenging few months. At times, I have really had to pull myself in and dig deep. It makes me so very grateful for the tools I learned as a Life Coach. And for the coach friends I have developed along the way.

I have a small group I meet with every Monday that holds me accountable, checks to see where I am and where I want to go. Women I can reach out to.

And I have my own coach again, as of today. I had let personal coaching go last year in favor of a business mastermind, but going through all the changes this year, it really hit me how much I needed that personal one on one with someone who could challenge and support me at the same time. After our call today I was reminded of the wonder of coaching, the tools that help center me and allow me to reconnect to what (and who) is important to me, especially when everything seems to be in flux.

Coaching taught me how to check my emotions against my thoughts, feel them in my body and allow them the space to pass through if they aren’t beneficial. My coach today went over refocusing, helping me to see that even in the middle of chaos and doubt there were things I could be doing to shift perceptions. She showed me how to reframe things into something I could use. It gave me an instant sense of calm, even sitting in the middle packing boxes and deadlines and to do lists.

Because let’s face it, I am crazy excited about the upcoming move to Orléans, but change is challenging.

I realize, however,  it isn’t as much as what many of you are going through.

Which made me wonder about you. What you do when things get really, really hard? What is your source of strength and comfort? Who are your people?

Some the ladies in my Facebook group have shared some very personal stories. It hurts my heart to hear your struggles.

So, one suggestion - whether you have the support of a coach or not, find community. Don’t go it alone. Connect, share, let people in. Ask for help.

And, let me know if there is anything I can do. Sending you all lots of love.

Bisous!

 

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