Have you ever struggled with a decision?

Have you been so paralyzed by difficult choices that you end up doing nothing?

Of course you have! We all have. Especially in today’s world because we are confronted with way too many options!

I recently struggled with a decision. I was about to take action on something, but paused just long enough to realize it just might be motivated by my Aries impulsiveness. My impulsiveness has gotten me in trouble before, big time! I didn’t want to make another decision that I was going to end up regretting… not again! So, I called a friend. Sure enough, she told me that what I was about to do was a stupid idea. She saved me from making a costly mistake. (This is why we need our girlfriends – especially the ones who’ll tell ‘you like it is,’ and won’t pussy-foot around being nice!)

In reality, I already knew it was a bad idea. That’s why I hesitated. If it had been a good idea, I would have felt a sense of certainty. I would have felt pleased and maybe even felt a sense of peace about the decision. Instead I felt enough uncertainty to call a friend.

I could have saved myself a phone call if I had paid attention to what I was feeling!

Make friends with your emotions
Our emotions are our friends. They are our internal alert system that lets us know what is good, or bad, for us. They are the barometer of what is going on inside. The challenge we all face, however, is that we are taught in our society that emotions are to be suspect. They can’t be trusted. That somehow it’s better to keep your emotions in check and be ruled by your ‘mind.’

This is only partially true. Our ‘mind’ is a great tool for analysis – for evaluating both sides of an argument. It helps us weigh facts and make practical decisions. However, a decision based on what is most practical is not always the best decision.

I once made career decision based on what I thought would provide the best financial security for our household. What I really wanted to do, however, was to take another more interesting (but lower paying) position. The decision was practical and logical, but I was miserable in that higher paying job! I quit 6 months later!  I had made the mistake of not taking the wisdom of my emotions into my considerations.

Our emotions alert us to what is good, or bad, for us
Our emotions are our internal alert system. When angry, our emotions are warning us that someone might be taking advantage of us, or treating us poorly. When we are fearful, we’re being warned to pay attention ‑ danger may lie ahead. If we are edgy, nervous, or secretive about our actions, then we’re about to do something that isn’t in our best interest. When we feel pleasure, joy, or a sense of peace, our emotions are letting us know that whatever we are doing is positive. Embrace it!

When we are busy thinking or worrying our way through a decision, we drown out our inner wisdom which is linked to our ‘emotional alert system.’ Worrying is a waste of time and confuses the matter. Instead, just grow calm and let your mind quiet down.

Listen to your emotions and your body
Once you are more relaxed think about a decision you must make. Listen, not to your mind running its analysis, but instead pay attention to what you are feeling in your body. Just notice the physical sensations and the emotions you are feeling. Then, one by one, weigh your options while noticing any shifts in your physical or emotional state. Take notes if you must, but just pay attention to what you are feeling.

Notice if your body feels tense, your chest heavy, if there is a knot in your stomach, or your breathing changes. Also pay attention to any changes in your emotional state. Do you feel anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, fearful, distressed, cautious, or unease of any kind? If you notice any of these shifts in your body or emotions, then that option may not be the best choice. If you feel calm, relaxed, a sense of ease or contentment, or even relief and/or happiness, then most likely this is the better course of action. Sometimes your choice will be the one that makes you feel less distress… or more ease.

Notice if your body feels tense, your chest heavy, if there is a knot in your stomach, or your breathing changes. Also pay attention to any changes in your emotional state. Do you feel anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, fearful, distressed, cautious, or unease of any kind? If you notice any of these shifts in your body or emotions, then that option may not be the best choice. If you feel calm, relaxed, a sense of ease or contentment, or even relief and/or happiness, then most likely this is the better course of action. Sometimes your choice will be the one that makes you feel less distress… or more ease.

Make better decisions by paying attention to your body and emotions
I’m not advising that you ignore the practical elements needed to make a good decision. I am suggesting, however, that by also accessing your inner wisdom by paying attention to your physical and emotional reactions, you will be able to make wiser decisions that will end up better serving your highest good and greatest joy.

If you are confused or feel uneasy about the decisions and choices you have made, or are about to make, please give me a call today and requests a 30-minute complimentary consultation.  Call Joy 415-819-8769 or email me.

It might be a quarrelsome in-law or relative that you have to see on a regular basis. Or an intimidating boss that you report to. Or it might be a domineering co-worker who makes too many suggestions about how you should do your job, or a friend who offers way too much advice.

If you are struggling with a toxic relationship, then here information you might find helpful. It was shared in an article that was published last year in Yes Magazine.

When a relationship is causing you stress and suffering,
follow these five steps to find peace for yourself.

1. Accept that you are in a difficult situation, dealing with a very difficult relationship

Your choices here are fairly limited, and, strangely, acceptance is always the best choice. You can judge and criticize the other person, but that will probably make you feel tense and lonely. Alternately, you could nurse your anxiety and despair that you’ll never be able to get along with them, which will make you feel stressed and sad. You can definitely deny their existence or pretend that they aren’t bothering you. You can block their texts and emails, and avoid every situation where they’ll turn up.

These are all tactics of resistance, and they won’t protect you. These tactics will allow the other person to further embed themselves into your psyche.

What does work is to accept that your relationship with them is hard, and also that you are trying to make it less hard. This gentle acceptance does not mean that you are resigned to a life of misery, or that the situation will never get better. Maybe it will—and maybe it won’t. Accepting the reality of a difficult relationship allows us to soften. And this softening will open the door to your own compassion and wisdom.

Trust me: You are going to need those things.

2. The other person will probably tell you that you are the cause of all their bad feelings

This is not true. You are not responsible for their emotions. You never have been, and you never will be. Don’t take responsibility for their suffering; if you do, they will never have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves.

3. Tell the truth

When you lie (perhaps to avoid upsetting them), you become complicit in the creation and maintenance of their reality, which is poisonous to you. For example, they might ask you if you forgot to invite them to a party. You can easily say yes, that it was a mistake that they didn’t get the Evite, and did they check their spam folder?

But lying is very stressful for human beings, maybe the most stressful thing. Lie detectors detect not lies, but the subconscious stress and fear that lying causes. This will not make the relationship less toxic.

So, instead, tell the truth. Be sure to tell them your truth instead of your judgment, or what you imagine to be true for other people. Don’t say “I didn’t invite you because it would stress Mom out too much to have you there” or “I didn’t invite you because you are a manipulative drama queen who will find some way to make the evening about you.”

Instead, tell them your truth: “When you are in my home, I feel jittery and nervous, and I can’t relax, so I didn’t invite you to the party. I’m sorry that I’ve hurt your feelings.”

It takes courage to tell the truth, because often it makes people angry. But they will probably be mad at you anyway, no matter what you do. They almost certainly won’t like the new, truth-telling you—and that will make them likely to avoid you in the future. This might be a good thing.

4. If you feel angry or afraid, bring your attention to your breath and do not speak (or write) to the person until you feel calm

It’s normal to want to defend yourself, but remember that anger and anxiety weaken you. Trust that soothing yourself is the only effective thing you can do right now. If you need to excuse yourself, go ahead and step out. Even if it is embarrassing or it leaves people hanging.

5. Have mercy

Anne Lamott defines mercy as radical kindness bolstered by forgiveness, and it allows us to alter a communication dynamic, even when we are interacting with someone mired in anger or fear or jealousy. We do this by offering them a gift from our heart. You probably won’t be able to get rid of your negative thoughts about them, and you won’t be able to change them, but you can make an effort to be a loving person. Can you buy them a cup of coffee? Can you hold space for their suffering? Can you send a loving-kindness meditation their way

Forgiveness takes this kindness to a whole new level. I used to think I couldn’t really forgive someone who’d hurt me until they’d asked for forgiveness, preferably in the form of a moving and remorseful apology letter.

But I’ve learned that to heal ourselves we must forgive whether or not we’re asked for forgiveness, and whether or not the person is still hurting us. When we do, we feel happier and more peaceful. This means that you might need to forgive the other person at the end of every day—or, on bad days, every hour. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal.

When we find ways to show mercy to even the person who has cost us sleep and love and even our well-being, something miraculous happens. “When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves,” Anne Lamott writes, “we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp.”

Here’s the real miracle: Our mercy boomerangs back to us. When we show radical kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance—and when we tell the truth in even the most difficult relationship—we start to show ourselves those things. We realize that we can love and forgive and accept even the most terrible aspects of our own being, even if it is only for a moment. We start to show ourselves the truth, and this makes us feel free.

And, in my experience, this makes all we have suffered worth it.

This article was originally published by Greater Good. It was edited for YES! Magazine. 

If you find you are struggling with a toxic relationship then please contact Joy to discover how to have healthier relationships. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today.

Daily each of us is becoming more aware of just how polarized our country has become. Some are applauding our national leaders’ actions; others are horrified and taking a stand by signing petitions, calling State and US Representative, or are out there protesting. Then, however, there are those, many of us, who are just upset, angry, fearful, depressed or anxious on either side of the deep divide that is daily becoming even more polarized.

No matter what side you are on, going into these intense polarized states are harmful for you, your community and our nation because polarizations knocks you off your center interfering with your ability to think clearly, stay emotionally balanced, and to act with wisdom and compassion. All of these low vibrational feelings are feeding the mass collective consciousness with fear, anger, rage and hate. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, the negative vibrations feed into the same mass collective consciousness which has a negative effect on everyone.

All of this has become very personal because I’m feeling all of these emotions and turmoil myself. I’m trying to stay centered, but sometimes, most of the time recently, it’s been very hard. Awhile back a friend shared with me an article from Wall-of-us Weekly Actions on how to stay centered when things get difficult. It was a good reminder for me around what I can do to stay calm and centered inside even when things are chaotic and contentious in the world around me. I thought you might benefit from them too.

I’ve re-worked some of the following suggestions with the intention of making them accessible to both sides of the divide that’s polarizing our nation.  Please read them. They were prepared by a licensed therapist. We all need a little self-care right now. While the world around us may seem unpredictable, you still have the ability to ground yourself by building predictable and safe habits:

1)  Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself breaks from ruminating about the actions of our national leaders and the people’s response to about what’s to come. Sit on the floor with your cat. Lie on the ground and look at the clouds. Or blast some music in your home and dance your butt off. If you don’t have that kind of time, or space, give yourself a minute to think of all your favorite movies, or songs, or the best kisses you’ve ever had. (I personally like this last one. I’ve had some great kissers in my life!)

2) Air your concerns. Talk to like-minded friends about your fears or concerns. Make a pact that whenever something happens on the national platform, or someone says something seemingly insane, you can be each other’s sounding boards. Also make a pact to not escalate into a heated, hate-filled discussion, but to listen and empathize. I am grateful for each of my friends. We have kept each other balanced when our world has gotten too overwhelming for us to handle calmly.

3) Get physical. Walk, run, swim, soccer, skate, or whatever suits you. Get out of your head and into the sensations of your body. As you exert energy, see if you can expel negativity that you are carrying from the latest news. Exercise helps you to release your endorphins which are your “be happy” hormones.

4) Use mindfulness techniques. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Slowly take in a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Try to relax your shoulders and muscles as you do this. Close your eyes and notice the thoughts, feelings, images, and bodily sensations that emerge. If you notice that your mind wanders, name what it’s wandered to (shopping list, to do list, etc.), then see if you can redirect your focus back to your breath. Allow any emotions (joy, sadness, fear, excitement, for example) to be present without judgment. Let the feelings move through you. Return to your breath.

5) Be grateful. Every day talk to a friend or write down something(s) for which you are grateful. Being grateful is a way of owning your power. No one, not even our national leaders, or parents, or friends, or colleagues, or an angry populace, can take that away.

6) Pray to your higher power and to the guides and masters who are working with our national leaders. Ask that our leaders be blessed with the wisdom, discernment, compassion, and insight to make the best decisions that will serve the highest good and be of the greatest benefit and joy for our nation, the people, humanity, and our great mother, the Earth.

I wish you balance, centering, discernment, inner peace, love and compassion as you walk your journey on this earth plane during these turbulent times.

If you are having difficulty staying centered, positive, and hopeful, then call Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Learn how Joy can help you maintain balance, clarity, and a positive attitude so you can be the most effective YOU possible, even during challenging times. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!

I’m active in an organization that has critical goals that must be achieved by June 2019. We had a heated debate on whether to begin strategizing and implementing now, or wait until January. Many were advocating for January, reasoning that people were already moving into the holiday mindset and would be too busy. Yikes!

Having been a self-employed business woman for 15 years I was dismayed!  Now is the absolute perfect time to develop your strategies for the New Year. Then, when January hits, the details have been firmed up and you’re ready to go full steam ahead.

Many of us are perplexed as to just how fast the Holidays are approaching. This year seemed to fly by! With the days getting shorter and the Winter Solstice less than 2 months away, it’s the perfect time for reflection, assessment, wrapping up of the old year, and gestating ideas for the New Year. This is the best time to review your accomplishments and begin setting your goals and objectives for next year.

Like most people, my holidays can get crazy! Yet taking time out to thoughtfully assess my successes, acknowledge my incompletes, discern what I can let go of, and determine what I want to accomplish in the New Year helps me end the year with a sense of satisfaction. It helps me stay grounded and focused during the whirlwind of activity and fun with family and friends. Then when the New Year arrives I can truly celebrate because I’ve already been gestating my goals and objectives. I know where I’m heading and what I need to do in the upcoming year.

I highly recommend this introspective practice of making your plans for the New Year. The benefits you reap will far outweigh the time it takes!

If you’re curious about the process, I’d love to share what was given to me by one of my mentors.

Reflect and Fantasize
First, find some quiet time where you do nothing but reflect and think. For me, the best time is during meditation. You might prefer a leisurely walk or sitting quietly with a latte at a coffee shop. Whatever works for you is great, but the idea is to set aside time to be alone with your thoughts.

Then reflect over your year and fantasize about what you’d like to accomplish next year. I’m reaching a point where, if something feels too hard, or too much work, I pass. Instead I let my mind float to those things that excite and enthuse me. I can tell when I start to feel energized because the juices start flowing. I can’t wait to sit down at my computer, or with pen and paper, and start jotting down my ideas! I bet this will happen to you also.

Brain Dump
This is the “brain dump” stage. Don’t worry about the order or time frame. Sometimes you might get all your ideas down at once. Other times you might find that you’re updating, revising, expanding, and deleting parts of your list over several days. It’s all good! You primary focus is to get down all the ideas and goals that feel exciting and energizing.

Strategize
Now is the most challenging step. It’s time to strategies just how you’re going to implement your great ideas by organizing them into goals and the steps, or objectives, which need to be completed in order to achieve your goals.  Oh! BTW they should be S.M.A. R. T. goals.

What?  What’s a S.M.A. R. T. goal?

Specific – This means you should have a clear understanding of what it is that you will do and what the end product will look like.  For example, last year my goal was to continue doing a weekly e-zine providing useful information to my following. A weekly e-zine is a specific goal, and the e-zine itself is the end product.

It’s OK to change your goals mid-year if a better idea presents itself. Midyear I switched from a weekly e-zine to a monthly one and sent out event notices as needed. I realized my weekly e-zines were overwhelming my peeps who were already inundated with emails. I decided to go for quality, not quantity.

Measurable w/Measurement – This means you should have some idea as to whether you will meet the goal or not. For example, I was about 90% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine and 100% successful in getting out a monthly one. Considering I’m human and have a busy schedule, I feel good about achieving that goal.

Achievable – This means that there is a high probability that you can be successful at achieving your goal. For example, since I’ve been 90% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine and 100% when I switched to a monthly goal, it was an achievable goal.

Relevant – This means that your goal should serve a purpose, or have an impact. For example, my purpose was to share useful information. I frequently receive positive feedback on the information I share in my e-zines. Therefore they have relevance.

Time-Oriented – This means, “When will you achieve this goal? What is the start and end date?” For example, the time-bound goal for my e-zine was ‘weekly.’ When I switched to monthly, I still retained a time-bound goal.

Evaluating your goals to make sure they are ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ will help you stay practical and reasonable about what you can accomplish so you don’t fall victim to overwhelm and either burn out, get sick, or give up!

Organize into 3, 6, 9, 12 Month Goals
Once you’ve evaluated your goals, then start organizing them into 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals. Now it’s time to begin identifying and scheduling monthly (or weekly if you are highly motivated and ambitious) steps or objectives. At this stage I tend to drill down and organize my goals and objectives for just 3 months at a time. I always keep the larger perspective in mind, but I’ve found that ‘life happens while we’re busy making plans to do something else.’ Goals and objectives often need to be fine-tuned and re-evaluated as the year progresses. One year I had knee surgery, another year I fell in love (not a good excuse to being knock off track, but I had fun!), and another year the recession hit. It’s important to keep some flexibility in your schedule so you can adapt and re-assess as needed.

Review Monthly
Set aside a regular time to review your goals and objectives. This will help you stay on track, making it possible to hit your targeted goals in a timely manner. On the first day of the month, or week, doing a quick review of what’s on your schedule will help you with your progress so you can have a productive month, and a prosperous year!

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With everything else that you have on your schedule, I can hear many of you groaning about having one more thing to do! But I promise you, if you take time to do this, not only will you complete your year on a high, but you will ensure that you have a more successful, prosperous, and happier New Year.

If setting your goals and objectives for the New Year feels too overwhelming, then give me a call and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to find out how I can help you get organized and on track for a prosperous 2019.  Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email me today!

Have you ever struggled with a decision?

Have you been so paralyzed by difficult choices that you end up doing nothing?

Of course you have! We all have. Especially in today’s world, because we are all confronted with way too many options!

I recently struggled with a decision. I was about to take action on something, but paused just long enough to realize it just might be motivated by my Aries impulsiveness. It’s gotten me in trouble before, big time! I didn’t want to make another decision that was going to end up in a lot of emotional pain… again! So, I called a friend. Sure enough, she told me it was a stupid idea. She saved me from making a costly mistake. (This is why we need our girlfriends – especially the ones who’ll “tell it like it is,” and won’t pussy-foot around being nice!)

In reality, I already knew it was a bad idea. That’s why I hesitated. If it had been a good idea, I would have felt a sense of certainty. I would have felt pleased and maybe even felt a sense of peace about the decision. Instead I felt enough caution to call a friend. I could have saved myself the phone call if I had paid attention to what I was feeling.

Our emotions are our friends. They are our internal alert system that lets us know what is good, or bad, for us. They are the barometer of what is going on inside. The challenge we all face, however, is that we are taught in our society that emotions are to be suspect. They can’t be trusted. They pull you off kilter. It’s better to keep you emotions in check and be ruled by your ‘mind.’

This is partially true. Our ‘mind’ is a great tool for analysis – for evaluating both sides of an argument. It helps us weigh facts and make practical decisions. However practical decisions are not always the best decisions. I once made a career decision based on what I thought would provide the best financial security for our household. What I really wanted to do, however, was to take a more interesting, but lower paying, position. I have never been unhappier in any job in my life! My decision was practical and logical, but I was miserable. I quit 6 months later! I had made the mistake of not taking my emotions into consideration.

Our emotions are our internal alert system. When we are angry, we’re being alerted that someone might be taking advantage of us, or treating us poorly. When we are fearful, we’re being warned to pay attention; danger may lie ahead. If we are edgy, nervous, or secretive about our actions, then we’re about to do something that isn’t in our best interest. When we feel pleasure, joy, or a sense of peace, our emotions are letting us know that whatever we are doing is a positive thing. Embrace it!

When we are busy thinking or worrying our way through a decision, we drown out our inner wisdom, which is linked to our emotional alert system. Worrying is a waste of time and confuses the matter. Instead, just grow calm and let your mind quiet down.

Once you are more relaxed, think about one choice you are facing. Listen – not to your mind running analysis – but instead, pay attention to what you are feeling in your body. Just notice your feelings. Then, one by one, weigh the other options. Take notes if you must, but just pay attention to your feelings.

If you feel anxious, nervous, pressured, burdened, fearful, distressed, cautious, or unease of any kind, then that choice may not be the best decision. If you feel calm, relaxed, a sense of ease or contentment, or even relief and/or happiness, then most likely this is the better course of action. Sometimes your choice will be the one that makes you feel less distress… or more joy.

I’m not advising that you ignore the practical elements needed to make a good decision. I am suggesting, however, that by accessing your inner wisdom and paying attention to your emotional reactions, you will be able to make better decisions that will end up being for your highest good and greatest joy.

If you are confused or feel uneasy about the decisions and choices you have made, or are about to make, please give me a call today and requests a 30-minute complimentary consultation.  Call Joy 415-819-8769 or email me.

 

As children we buy into the beliefs of our parents. Sometimes those beliefs can be real downers such as: “Life never promised you a rose garden,” or “You only get ahead from hard work and effort,” or “I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall,” or “Bad things always happen to us.”

In my family the belief was the “hard work and effort” litany of good German stock immigrants. Sure enough, a large part of my life has been hard work and effort, not because the validity of that belief, but because I bought into that belief.

I had a revelation several years ago that “life’s lessons can be learned with ease and grace.” I’ve been reflecting on that thought and, slowly, it has been integrating into my belief system. The result? … My life has gotten easier and more joyful.

Last week I wrote about accessing your Inner Wisdom. By allowing space in your life for quiet moments you gain access to the more reflective and wiser part of your mind. In our fast-paced, results-oriented society you may think you are getting a lot done. You could be even more innovative and productive, however, if you gave yourself permission to rest more and reflect. Then you could have more “revelations.”

Revelations are messages from your Inner Wisdom, which is directly connected to the highest source of consciousness in the universe. Some might call this consciousness Higher Power, God, Goddess, the Divine, The All That Is. The Divine communicates to us through our Inner Wisdom, which is also sometimes called the Higher Self or the Wise Mind.

One way you can actively engage your Inner Wisdom is to stop and take a step back when you are faced with a challenging situation. Then you can view the situation from a larger perspective. Going through two divorces and raising two sons (who, though awesome men now of whom I’m very proud, were more than a bit of a hand full as teenagers) was tough!  At that time, life was pretty miserable.  I thought life was nothing but drama, pain, and struggle.

Eventually, I was able to step back and view my life from the bigger picture. What I saw was not a wretched dead-beat drama-queen, but a woman who faced many difficult challenges, including her own vulnerabilities and character flaws, from which she learned invaluable life lessons. That was a time of huge personal and spiritual growth for me. Now, I not only draw on my training, education and skills when I work with my clients, or mentor women in my group work, but I also have a vast storehouse of life experience and understanding from which to tap into. My life was not just a miserable existence; it was my training ground preparing me for my life’s work.

You actively engage your Inner Wisdom when you step back from any situation and ask, “What can I learn from this situation?” or “What good thing can come out of this situation?”

I’ve come to realize that we didn’t incarnate to play in the “Rose Garden.” We came here to learn some pretty important lessons during our embodied walk upon this earth-plane.  You can learn those lessons with a lot more ease and grace, however, if you take time to stop and rest. Give yourself some quiet time to reflect and allow your Inner Wisdom to come through. This will enable you to step back and ask the serious questions of “Why is this happening?” Be honest with yourself as you search within for the answers.  Then you can reap the reward – the gold nugget – the lessons you can learn from your experience.

Look for my article next month on “Accessing Your Inner Wisdom Part Three” in which I will share on how your emotions are a big part of your inner wisdom and should be given more weight when making important decisions.

If you feel you are stuck in the drama and misery of your life and can’t find your way out, then give me a call today and request a 30-minute complimentary consultation. You deserve a more joyful and satisfying life.  415-819-8769 or email me TODAY!

Do you feel as if you’re constantly running from one thing to the next?

Are you too busy to even make that important “To-Do” list?

Do feel torn between the many choices and decisions you must make?

Then you’re probably so caught up in the immediate minutia of your life that you aren’t taking the necessary time needed to step back and get the bigger picture. When you can see the bigger picture of your life, then everything begins to make sense. The non-essentials naturally begin to fall away and you can focus on what truly matters.

The earth plane has been called “dense.”  It’s as if we live under a veil of unknowing. Therefore we tend to operate “blind,” taking action – or not – hoping all the time that we are making the best move.

Once in a while, however, the veil lifts and we have one of those “Ah Ha” revelations – those moments of insight when the pieces start falling into place, completing the puzzle that’s confounded us for days, weeks, sometimes even months. Sometimes we receive greater understanding of a situation, or a person, or the “big picture” of our life, or even of the universe. This is our inner wisdom speaking to us.

Treasure these moments of revelations! Everything becomes clearer when we have them. Don’t you wish you could have them more often? The truth is, you can! Your inner wisdom is available to you whenever you need it.

Our society is based on “doing,” “results,” and “productivity.” Too little value is placed on taking time to “be” – to slow down and go into silence. This is when our inner wisdom can flow through the veil of “not-knowing” into our consciousness.

Let’s face it, though. We’re all too busy – so busy we’re often hyped up and can’t slow down. When we have a quiet moment, instead of connecting with our inner wisdom, we grab our cell phones to see what tidbit of information or connection it has for us. We hardly ever let our minds just coast.

Thomas Edison, one of America’s greatest inventors, knew the value of quiet moments. He frequently took “little naps.” Sometimes, when he was challenged with one of his inventions, he would rock in his rocking chair with ball-bearings in his hand. When he drifted off the ball-bearings would drop on the floor and wake him up. That moment of lucid thought before falling asleep often generated a brilliant idea, or the solution to the problem he was contemplating. These are moments of revelation!

You can have those moments too. It just means slowing down, letting yourself daydream, spend quiet moments looking at the sunset, or a beautiful view, or taking a quiet walk in nature. It means taking moments to relax without the TV, the cell phone, the iPad, or the computer.  Just sit in silence!

A great way to create space for silence is to set aside 5 to 20 minutes a day. Just sit quietly, taking deep, slow breaths. The only thing you do is follow your breathing. If your mind is busy, you can try silently saying a word or phrase such as “peace,” “letting go,” “serenity,” or the Sanskrit word “Om.”  If your mind strays, just pull it back to focusing on your breath. This practice actually strengthens your mind and improves concentration and focus.

When we quiet our bodies and let our minds free float, not only do we give ourselves valuable time to de-stress, but we also begin to let our inner wisdom flow into our consciousness for revelations.

After you become accustomed to sitting in silence, you’ll find that your inner wisdom will begin to offer up insight, help with decisions, and strengthen inner resources so you can confront life’s many challenges with greater calm and clarity.

Look for my article next month on “Accessing Your Inner Wisdom Part Two” in which I will share tips on how to actively engage with your inner wisdom to enhance your life.

If the busyness and stress of your life is depriving you of the well-being and happiness you deserve, please give me a call today and request a 30-minute complimentary consultation.  Call Joy 415-819-8769 or email me.

photo credit pixabay

It seems like there’s a new fitness trend coming out on the daily, which can feel overwhelming if you’re still figuring out how you can clock 10,000 steps a day. While staying active on a regular basis is crucial for overall health, it’s important that you don’t neglect other areas of self-care in order to retain balance in your life. But there’s no reason to stress — it really is easier than you think to get everything done. Proof lies ahead.

Schedule Exercise

You may think that you have the willpower to hit the gym after work, but then comes a happy hour invitation that derails your best-laid plans. This is why it’s key that you schedule exercise as you would a meeting at work or church on Sunday morning. “After establishing how much extra time you have in a day, pick a few days and times of the week that appear best to you and enter it as an appointment on your schedule as a repeating appointment. This will reduce the risk of over-scheduling and help you visualize and mentally prepare for the workouts.”

Other tips for working out with a busy schedule include:

  • Do Something You Enjoy: The key to making exercise more effortless than arduous is by finding something you truly enjoy doing. While this may take a little experimentation, it’s worth it once you figure out what it is that motivates you to lace up your sneakers. While fitness experts will tell you to challenge yourself and work outside of your comfort zone, establish what you like doing first before immediately feeling as though you have to up the ante — you’re liable to burnout before you even get started.
  • Take Baby Steps: Setting small goals leading up to one large goal is an easier way for you to keep your eye on the prize without becoming discouraged. Even baby steps can be a seriously positive effect on mental health which is just what you’ll need to keep going.
  • Use The Buddy System: Having someone hold you accountable for your actions (and vice versa) can be a helpful way to stay on track — because you’re liable to feel bad about ditching out on your friend who’s already at 5:30 a.m. spin class. Studies actually show that healthy competition is one of the best forms of workout motivation.
  • Stay Active Throughout The Day: Squeeze in activity throughout the day by parking your car farther away so you’re forced to walk more, investing in a desk bike chair, taking a stroll on your lunch break, getting up several times throughout the day – anything goes as long as you’re moving.

Need more? Read through this guide to find additional tips on squeezing exercise into an already jam packed schedule.

Plan Meals

A big part of self-care is what you put into your body, but a busy schedule can make it difficult to eat well — especially on the go. Dedicate a day each week to plan your meals ahead of time — ideally, prepping ingredients and/or meals to take to work and have on-hand when you get home at the end of the day. This includes healthy snacks so you can resist the temptation of the vending machine.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep is the key to a functioning metabolism, regular weight, emotional stability, and energy, so without it, balance is completely thrown off. To ensure that you get a proper night’s rest every time your head hits the pillow, there are some key actionables you should adopt into your daily routine: go to sleep at the same time every night, don’t oversleep on the weekends, avoid lengthy daytime naps, expose yourself to natural light during the day, avoid computer screens at least two hours before bed, exercise during the day, avoid big meals at night, implement relaxation techniques, make sure your sleeping environment is decluttered and conducive to sleeping.

Balancing exercise with overall self-care can take some trial and error. Make a list of the items that are most important to you so you can prioritize them in an effective manner. Any step that you’re taking towards overall well-being is definitely a step in the right direction.

by guest contributor Sheila Olson. You can find out more about Sheila at  http://fitsheila.com

 

We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life,
or you can focus on what’s right. – Marianne Williamson

 

Once upon a time, I was a negative person. I was very reactive and went wherever my mind took me. Sometimes that was down a deep rabbit hole of what 12-step programs call “Stinking Thinking.”

The lens through which we view our lives can influence the situations in which we find ourselves. Positive thoughts can create more positive circumstances. Conversely, negative thoughts often fuel increased dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Before I discovered hypnotherapy and metaphysics, I was stuck viewing life through a negative lens. Now I know, and teach my clients, that your mind is a muscle. We have the ability to create our own reality. Each one of us is in charge of our thinking. If we can change our thoughts, and our attitude, we can literally change our lives.

I have included some negative thinking behaviors below. By becoming aware of your negative thinking behaviors you can begin to change your thoughts and create a happier and more peaceful life for yourself.

 

1.  Avoid “black and white” or “all or nothing’ thinking.

When we view people and/or situations as “black and white” or “all or nothing” we do ourselves, and the people we encounter, a great disservice. Our perspective is rigid and narrow. There is not much room for interpretation, flexibility, or negotiation. In reality things are often more gray and, if we allow for it, can offer a fresh perspective from which more options can be realized.

Words like always, never, impossible, terrible and perfect are examples of “all or nothing” thinking that can trap us in a handicapped and limited way of perceiving the world. It can lead to an emotionally unbalanced perspective of the circumstances we might find ourselves in.

Here are some statements that offer more “grey”:

Even though I sometimes do dumb things I am still an intelligent and competent person.
Even though I love my partner, sometimes I find him extremely frustrating.
Even though I like parts of my job, there are other parts that I find boring.

2. Stay away from exaggerations and over-generalizations.
“You are always late.” “You are always so critical.” “I can never do anything right.” These are examples of over-generalized or exaggerated statements. The telltale signs of an exaggerated statement includes worlds like never, always, should or everybody. Over-generalized statements are a form of negative thinking. They are accusatory and can create discord in a relationship. A way to reframe, “You are always so critical,” might be to say, “At this moment I am experiencing you as being quite critical of me. I have noticed in the past that you are frequently quick to criticize, but seldom voice your approval. I would appreciate it if you would spend more time applauding me for the things I do well.”

The second statement is more truthful and less exaggerated. As a result, it can lead to a more positive outcome.

3. Is it more important to be right or happy?
There are some people who seem to have a need to be right. This can lead to an argumentative attitude and can create discord in their relationships. There are some issues that deserve our full commitment. But there are others that in the larger scheme of things aren’t worth fighting about.

For instance, I have some political and spiritual convictions that are very different from the rest of my family. I could engage in heated debates and bring discord to our time together. However, I love my family. I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like. I find we have plenty of things in common to talk about. I would rather spend my time strengthening our bond than arguing about who is on the “right” political or religious side.

To find peace, happiness and closeness we sometimes need to just let things go. I can still maintain my convictions without having to argue about them.

4. What is the good in that bad thing that just happened?
I have a friend who has had a lot of adversity. Yet he is one of the most positive people I know. His secret – he always tries to find the good in whatever bad thing happens to him.

We can choose to have a positive or a negative mental filter. Persistent pessimism can become a habit if we aren’t careful. Chronic negative thinking can become the lens through which we view the world – the proverbial glass that is half empty.

Too often we think that we are supposed to have a perfect life of success and happiness. The reality is that we learn our lessons and grow wise though the challenges we face during our walk upon the earth. It is not the challenges we face that counts; it is how we choose to view and deal with them. We can claim victimhood (and there was a time when I played the damsel in distress!), or we can figure out what resources we have and work towards a resolution. When we do the later, the lessons we learn and the resiliency and inner strength we build is invaluable.

I had two friends. Both were laid off when their companies closed. One went into a depression, coping with alcohol and prescriptions drugs. He lived a wasted life. The other, though also depressed, drew on her resources, developed a strategy for getting back on her feet, followed through with her plans, and is now a much happier and fulfilled person. She found the good in the bad thing that happened to her. So can you!

5. Don’t should on yourself.
When we should on ourselves we are passing judgment, often negative ones, about our actions and behaviors.

When we say things like “I should make more money, I should have made better choices, or I should have done better in school, we are only seeing the negative and are unable to see what might be positive. Should statements put our thoughts and attitudes in a box and constrain us from seeing other options. When we are stuck in the negative we are out of balance; our perspective is skewed.

In reality, we often make choices based on what we know at a given time, or on what resources or abilities we have at the time. I have found that people are generally trying to do the best that they can in any moment. Blaming ourselves for lack of knowledge, or ability, or resources is pointless and debilitating. It would be better to replace the should with something more positive like, “I did the best that I could with the skills, knowledge and ability that I had at the time.” This is a more supportive and truthful statement.

6. Celebrate.
We seldom take time to give ourselves a much needed and deserved pat on the back. We go from one achievement to another with hardly a moment to recognize what we have accomplished.

When we stop after a productive day, a productive session with a client, or a meaningful conversation with a child and tell ourselves we did a “good job,” it affirms that we are OK. That we have value. That we are successful in our lives.

It is important to celebrate the good things when they happen. Setbacks do and will happen. Challenges and obstacles will present themselves. This fact makes it all the more important to stop and congratulate ourselves for our success no matter how small. Emotional health is about balance and realizing that good things do happen. Remembering this can help us to deal more effectively and have hope when we are challenged.

If you are struggling with negative thinking that is keeping you stuck in unhappiness and disappointment, then give Joy a call to find out how you can create a happier more fulfilling life for yourself. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy today.

From the time we were very small we were surrounded by people bigger than us and a world filled of unknowns. We were warned about kidnappers, people who might do bad things to our bodies, about crossing the street, not taking candy from strangers, etc. Sometimes it was the very adults who were supposed to keep us safe that hurt us and are the source of some of our greatest fears and deepest wounds.

It is these underlying childhood fears that create limitations in our lives. It can be the fear of ‘not being enough’: good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. Or it can be the fear of being visible from raising a hand at school or to just being in a social setting. Or it can be a fear that breeds distrust in your fellow human beings, or a fear of driving, or a fear of failure, or even of success.

These fears lie hidden in our subconscious, sometimes referred to as the Shadow Realm. As we grow up we learn to hide our fears. We develop all kinds of coping mechanisms that range from outbursts of anger, to defensiveness, or feigning submissiveness in order to protect ourselves. Or we find ways to soothe ourselves with food, drugs, video games, partying, etc. Eventually, however, our coping mechanisms stop working. Or they lead to more problems making our lives unmanageable at times. Then, when faced with situations similar to what we fear, our old wounds can be triggered and we find we’re acting like the child rather than the adult.

This is the shadow stuff that we often don’t want to look at. Yet when we take time to face our shadow stuff that is when we can discover some amazing things about ourselves. Often we find that what we have been fighting or running from is actually the source of some of the greatest lessons and wisdom. It can be a rich reservoir of information that can transform our lives in amazing ways.

This happened to me. At one time I was embittered because my whole life had turned upside down – my relationship, my job, my health, my family. It was the worst time in my life! But I was given a gift. I was shown that it was my attitude that was toxic. I was the one who was polluting everything in my life. When I made the choice to change my attitude that was when my whole life changed for the better. If I had not been willing to face my shadow, I don’t even know if I would be alive today – things had gotten that bad.

Breaking out of the old patterns requires doing shadow work. It’s about being honest with yourself and asking some of the tough questions:

  • Where do these feelings of lack and limitation come from?
  • What is the source of your feelings of loneliness?
  • How can you fill yourself up? Is your glass half empty or half full? Why?
  • How can you take responsibility for where you are in your life?
  • How can you be whole and complete with who you are?
  • How can you be more fully engaged?
  • What are your interests and passions that bring purpose and meaning to your life?
  • What are your special gifts?
  • And what can you do to bring more fullness and joy into your life?

I have found working with counselors and coaches to be very helpful. What I have come to understand is that where you put your focus is where your life expands. When you are focused on the problems, when you are focused on what is not working in a relationship or your life, then that is where you tend to ‘cycle.’ And that is what expands.

By shifting the focus to what is working ‑ to what you like about yourself, your life, your relationship, what brings you joy, what makes you feel good ‑ when you start focusing on these things, then that is when your life starts to improve.

We don’t heal by beating ourselves up and focusing on the negative. We heal by learning to have compassion for ourselves, by seeing our value, knowing we deserve, and most of all, beginning to love ourselves.

Yes, we need to work on our shadow – but not by continuing to beat ourselves up. It is time to transform that inner bully. It’s time to find compassion for ourselves knowing that we have always done the best we could with the knowledge, training, and skills we had at the time.

I’ve done lots of things that I regret in my life. I look back at some of my past experiences and think, “How could I have possibly done that?” I start to berate myself for being so stupid, unkind, or thoughtless. Then the feelings of shame start to strangle me with guilt.

This is when I make myself stop and ask, “Did I know any better at the time? Did I have access to the knowledge I have now? Did I have the skills or training that I have now?”  Usually the answer is NO! The reality is that at that time I was floundering, in a lot of personal pain, and doing the best that I could. Finally, this is when I am able to have compassion for myself and begin to heal some of the wounds from my past.

You can do the same thing. When you start beating yourself up, this is when you can start to ask some of the hard questions – not by berating yourself, but by trying to learn from your past.

  • What part did I play in creating this situation?
  • How could I have done better?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What do I want for my life from this point forward?
  • What am I willing to invest so I can have the life that I want and deserve?

This is when you can begin to change your life for the better.

This is the benefit of working with your Shadow. Yes, looking at the past can be unpleasant. But when you look back with compassion for your younger self, then you begin to love yourself and find the courage and hope to build a better future. You deserve a great life!

If you want a better life and are struggling then give Joy a call to find out how she can help you live a more joyful life. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!