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When You’re in a Low Mood – Chill!

When you’re in a high mood, the world seems to be a better place in general. Even though you may get a tear in your sleeve, spill your coffee, or have to deal with a noisy neighbor, when you’re happy these minor daily problems don’t really bother you. Conversely, when you’re feeling dejected or disappointed after some type of loss or breakup, each of life’s minor annoyances only adds to your pain. You find it difficult to look beyond what’s right in front of you and may even find yourself staring at the computer screen, watching the blinking cursor. New research is beginning to show how happiness isn’t just an emotional experience, but an emotion that can shape the way you perceive the world.

Your mood can impact your relationship
Your mood can also impact your relationship because it can augment or warp your good feelings towards your partner. When you’re in a high mood you tend to feel happier. Thus, your feelings toward your partner tend to be more positive. Any differences feel manageable, insignificant, or irrelevant. When in a low mood, however, these same differences can seem insurmountable, painful, and even deal breakers.

When your partner is in a low mood, you might think you have to understand why and fix it! In reality all you need to do is offer support when he or she is feeling low. This is largely because moods are constantly swinging back and forth as on a continuum. Moods are dynamic. They can change quickly, or slowly over time. That’s how moods work.

Your mood impacts your thoughts and feelings
When we’re in a low mood we tend to have negative, pessimistic, and even fearful thoughts that can lower our self-confidence and increase feelings of inadequacy. Conversely, when we are in a high mood we tend to have positive, confident, and even joyful thoughts. Low mood feelings can range from dread to relief. I.e. “I’m tired and I have to fix dinner tonight,” to “Great! He has to work late so I can go home and relax.” High mood feelings can range from contentment to euphoria. I. e. “It’ll be nice to relax with my husband tonight,” to “Yay! It’s Date Night!”

With all these thoughts and feelings fluctuating with your mood, your psychological functioning can also be impacted. When in a low mood your mental activity amps up as you start to ruminate about problems and your dissatisfaction with yourself, your partner, your job, or anything that’s irritating you. Sometimes there is a heightened but distorted sense of immediacy, as if whatever is bugging you has to be taken care of right now. It can’t wait!

It’s not the mood, but how you respond to it, that determines the quality of your life!
When low, you might feel distressed and succumb to the fear that the mood is real and will last forever. When high you might spend your time worrying about when “the other shoe will drop!” Or you can choose a more enlightened response and be grateful when mood is high while attempting to be graceful when it is low!

Mood Awareness
Paying attention to your mood will help you navigate through your mood shifts. To do this, start noticing how your perspective changes with each shift in your mood. Here are some examples:

  • Gloom and doom – Why is everyone always judging me?
  • All is not right with the world. – There are many villains out there.
  • I’m ok. Life’s okay – I feel content.
  • Gratitude – People are well meaning. They are trying to do the best they can.
  • Inspiration – I have more ideas than I can use.

Though none of us like being in a low mood, there are some benefits. Low moods tell us to slow down so we can be more reflective and recover our bearings. They teach us humility because they help us realize that we don’t know as much as we thought we did. Then, when the low mood ends, we realize how we’ve blown our thoughts and fears way out of proportion. It helps us maintain a better perspective for when we suffer another low mood.

When in a low mood – chill out!
When you notice you are in a low mood, acknowledge it. Then chill out! Your mood colors your perception of reality and can make things go south quickly. If you feel grumpy and irritable, try to keep to yourself until your mood shifts, for it will shift. During a low mood don’t become involved in any deep discussions, make any criticisms or judgments, or attempt to make any big decisions, especially with your partner. A low mood will contaminate your thinking and will increase your chances in getting into unproductive and damaging arguments.

How can you tell when you’re in a low mood?
Pay attention to how you’re feeling and to the quality of your thoughts. When you have painful feelings and your thoughts are full of shame, guilt, regrets, insecurities, and negativity, then you can be certain that you are in a low mood. Your thinking is contaminated. When you have feelings of well-being and your thoughts are confident and positive, then you’re in a high mood and your thinking is more trustworthy.

What if my partner is in a low mood?
When your partner is in a low mood, don’t criticize or judge them! Or try to fix them! Just let them work through their mood on their own. It will eventually shift. Don’t take what they say or do too personally as their perception is temporarily warped by their mood.

If they are verbally abusive or disrespectful, wait until their mood has shifted to address it. Before doing so refer to my blog on Compassionate Communication for directions on how to communicate your feelings and needs in a compassionate way. Resist temptation to fight with your partner during a low mood, or to resign yourself to being treated poorly.

Remember, moods can shift from moment to moment. Be patient and considerate, allow your partner to take care of themselves, stay focused on taking care of yourself, and allow the low mood to shift of its own accord. This will help you maintain a healthier relationship.

If you are having challenges in your relationship and would like some guidance on how to be a healthier partner with better communication skills, then contact Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!

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Five Ways to Make Positive Change

Have you ever made a commitment to change, only to find out 3 days, or a week, or a couple of weeks later you’ve thrown in the towel and given up? Maybe you convinced yourself that the change wasn’t really necessary. Or maybe you just feel discouraged with the slow progress, or possibly you simply cave in and add one more failure to your long list of supposed failures.

If this is you, then it’s time to ease up on yourself!

We humans evolved to keep things the same. It’s an ingrained survival technique. Being able to repeat behaviors automatically saves time, effort, and the challenge of making decisions repeatedly over the course of our days.

It is possible to change, however. You just need to understand how the mind works so that you can work with your mind to make change more easily.

Most commitments to change fail because they are made with the conscious mind. Yet it’s in your subconscious mind where all the action takes place! Your subconscious mind is responsible for your thoughts and behaviors – and frequently overrides the intentions of your conscious mind. Willpower is not enough. If you don’t engage your subconscious mind, lasting change can be elusive!

Changing thoughts and behaviors in the subconscious requires using your imagination, adding emotional content, and repetition!

Reframe your thoughts. You may have great intentions about implementing a new behavior or practice – take exercising for example – but may really think it is just too much work! Those negative thoughts will sabotage you every time! So reframe your thoughts and add some positive emotions to it. Take a moment to come up with several good reasons why you want to change like, “Exercising will give me more energy.” Or, “I will look better and feel better if I exercise.” Then every time those negative thoughts creep up, replace them immediately with your positive ones.

Replace your habit with something healthy. We humans tend to repeat habits that comfort or soothe us when stressed. We get stuck and don’t consider healthier options. So if you are trying to change a habit – like quitting smoking – think of 5 things you can do instead of reaching for that cigarette. How about a glass of water, a cup of tea, a short walk, read a magazine article, chew a stick of sugarless gum. A craving lasts 3 to 5 minutes. If you can distract yourself, it will pass and you will be on your way to beating that old habit.

Visualize the end result. Goals are very important. Visualizing your goal will help you achieve it. It is one thing to want to lose weight. It is quite another thing to want to look great in a bathing suit for summer, or those tight jeans and tank top! Keeping a strong visual of your specific goal and how you will feel when you achieve that goal will help you succeed.

Replace those “bloopers.” We all have inner videos – little replays of past memories that I call the “bloopers.” They have a powerful hold over our behaviors. So if you want to change – like having a better social life – but you keep replaying those “bloopers” of when you bombed at a date, or were the wallflower at a dance, you will never even get started. So create your own videos. Why not! Have fun with it! See yourself in social settings engaged in conversations, laughing and having a great time. You will be amazed at how creating your own inner videos can improve your life.

Stay Positive. Implementing new behaviors can bring up a lot of emotions. Believe it or not, there is a part of us that assumes keeping everything the same is in our best interest. So when you want to change you may feel tired, bored with the effort, irritated because you aren’t doing it right, and even anxious. These resistances are normal, but they don’t need to stop your progress. When you feel them, just acknowledge them as old feelings, and then focus on how good you’re going to feel when you complete the task, project, or succeed at putting into action your new behavior.

By implementing these five ways to make change you will find it is easier to make positive change. However, if you find that you still lack the motivation to accomplish your goals, please contact me for a free consultation to see how life coaching with hypnotherapy can help you achieve success. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

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Listen When the Universe Speaks

Not many of us readily embrace change. I was one of those. My motto was, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” The problem was that I didn’t always listen when something was broken.

Life conditions us in various ways. My parents were from the depression era. They had to put up with a lot of hardship and unpleasantness. Therefore I grew up with a high tolerance for difficulties. This meant I was often the frog clinging to the frying pan even though my feet were fried. I stayed in two different marriages too reluctant, stubborn, or scared to leave. I did this even though I had daily killer headaches from the effort of trying to make things work.

I even stayed in a job for six years where I had a dragon lady boss. It was not unusual to get a public dressing down. Just going to work gave me anxiety. The situation got worse and worse until my body caved in and I went out on a disability.

I put up with it all until a psychic told me that all I’d ever been, and would ever would be, was a martyr and a drudge unless I made some changes, and quickly.

I now know that the universe was trying to tell me that I was off my path. I needed to re-orient my direction, and the sooner the better! The more I resisted, the more the universe turned up the heat! I had things to do in this lifetime. Yet I had veered from my life’s purpose. The universe was determined that I get back on track, and made my life miserable until I listened.

The amazing part of the saga is that when I listened, and made the decision to find and follow my path, my story changed. I found friends, community, meaning, joy, and fulfillment. Were things perfect? Did I luxuriate in abundance? NO! But I had the energy, creativity, and support to meet every challenge I faced. And, for once, I was happy. I’m so glad I finally listened!

Do you have a passion but ignore it because you don’t have the time, money, motivation, etc.? Have you always wanted to do something but were too afraid, or made a zillion excuses, or thought you were incapable of pulling it off? Do you feel deep down inside that you are here for a purpose, but can’t figure out what it is, or worse, won’t let yourself acknowledge it? Or maybe you have an inkling of what your life purpose is, but for a multitude of reasons you just won’t go there?

If this is you, and you’re living an unhappy, directionless, and unfulfilling life that seems to be getting worse instead of better, then you may not be listening to the universe. We incarnate with things to do and lessons to learn. The universe doesn’t like freeloaders. One way or another, there is a cost. And the cost of resistance can be extremely painful. My advice is to pay attention and take action. When you pay attention to the universe, it will support you because it wants you to live your life’s purpose.

If you feel directionless, or feel you are supposed to do something purposeful in this lifetime yet are feeling stuck, then contact me to find out how you can live a more rewarding, meaningful, and happy life. Call Joy at 415-819-8769, or email joy@joyreichard.com
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New Years Resolutions – 5 Tips for Success

New Years Resolutions are easy to make.

Keeping them is a totally different matter.

Too often by February many of you are back to the same old habits and behaviors.  There are millions of pounds not lost, thousands of gym memberships lying fallow, and way too many cigarette packs being sold. Some of you may be thinking “why even bother with those New Years Resolutions this year.”  In the battle of wills, you always seem to be on the losing side!

So, what if you knew that there was a way to keep those New Years Resolution.

Are you curious?

IT IS POSSIBLE to keep those resolutions and change your life! You just need a new strategy that will help you stay on track.  Here are five tips on how you can make your New Years Resolutions stick.

Visualize
It’s hard to make any kind of change if you only rely on your conscious, rational mind.  You can have all the right reasons, but if you don’t engage your subconscious, then long lasting change will be difficult.

Think back to the last time you were able to make a significant change in your life.  You may have daydreamed or

 

fantasized about what it would be like before you even took action to make that change.

Our habits and behaviors are stored in the subconscious, and the subconscious is resistant to change. Logic and rationale alone aren’t enough. You must communicate with your subconscious using both images and your imagination if you want change to happen. This is the very same stuff our dreams and fantasies are made of!

So when you are working on your New Years Resolutions, allow yourself to delve into your imagination! Take time to create vivid images of those things you want to change.

Empower Your Resolutions with Desire
Visualizing is important. But you also have to fuel your resolutions with the proper emotion. Incorporating emotions is like adding color to a black and white movie. It gives it depth and power which will help bring your intention into form.

 

For example, if you want to increase exercise because you think you should exercise more; your resolution will be short lived. This is because there’s no internal fuel to keep the desire alive through the boredom, distractions, and the busy lives we all seem to be leading. However, when you imagine how much better you will feel, how much more energy you will have, and how much better you’ll feel about yourself- then you’ll have the inner fire that will guarantee success.

The importance of passion
My grievance with The Secret is that it infers that manifesting simply involves visioning what you want, feeling the emotions of having it, and sitting around waiting for it to happen. WRONG! – Envisioning your intentions and fueling them with emotions is central to successful manifesting! But doing the work, taking action, is a must!

Self-discipline, however, is not about ‘banging you head against a wall.’ It does require, however, that you are committed to doing the work, being consistent, and following through.

This is where passion comes in. Doing the work can be grueling if you aren’t passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish. A runner can feel lukewarm about running, but will run anyway because they know it will help keep their weight down and build sustaining power.

On the other hand, a runner can feel passionate about running because they love the feel of strength in their legs, the speed of gliding over the land, and the ‘high’ of stretching their endurance to capacity. It’s the passion that fuels long lasting change. It’s like adding HD to a movie.

Achievability and believability
Sometimes our New Years Resolutions fail even though we visualize the outcome, feel the success of having it, and energize it with passion. This is because deep down inside we don’t believe it’s possible.

When this happens we’ve usually taken “the sky’s the limit” track, rather than making our resolution achievable and believable. Maybe you won’t win a triathlon. But, maybe you can find a running buddy who inspires you to get out and run several times a week. Maybe you can’t run five or ten miles, but you can start with a mile or two.

Doing what is believable and achievable is enough. It helps you overcome the self-defeating thoughts of “I’m not good enough so why even try.”

Stay Positive
Implementing new behaviors can bring up a lot of emotions.  Believe it or not, there is a part of us that assumes keeping everything the same is in our best interest.  So even when you really want to change, you may feel tired, bored with the effort, irritated because you aren’t doing it right, or it’s taking too long, or you  may even feel anxious. These are resistances, and they are normal. But they don’t need to stop your progress!

Right now I’m on my fourth day of a green smoothie cleanse. It was easy to think about doing the cleanse and to plan, shop and make the first days’ worth of smoothies.  Now that I’m into the fourth day I’m already having fantasies of grilled steak, a Starbuck’s latte, or some hot sweet potato French fries.  But I hang on to the memory of
how hard it was to zip up my favorite pants, and how great I’m going to feel when I can zip them up  again with comfort and ease. Then I down another smoothie with a smile!

Cravings, resistance, negative self-talk, it’s all going to happen when you’re trying to make a change. So when you have these thoughts or feelings, just acknowledge them as old behaviors and habits. Then focus on how good you’re going to feel when you achieve you goal, or succeed at putting into action your new behavior or habit. I already know how good I’m going to feel when I can zip up those pants again! That’s what is keeping me on track.

By implementing these five simple tips you’ll find that you can keep those New Year’s Resolutions with greater resolve.  Remember to:

  1. Visualize
  2. Empower with desire
  3. Infuse with passion
  4. Make your resolution achievable and believable
  5. Stay positive

If you find that you still lack the motivation to accomplish your goals, please contact me for a free 30-minute consultation to see how transformational life coaching with hypnotherapy can help you achieve success in 2016.

Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy@joyreichard.com today.

For more information, visit my website at  healingwithjoy.net.

 

 

 

 

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It’s Time to Start Planning Goals for the New Year Now?

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle at this time of the year. With my sons, nieces and nephews busy producing the next generation, my shopping list has been growing at a rapid rate. I love shopping for the little ones, but I’ve reached the point where the holiday crowds have become overwhelming!

Fortunately, I’ve learned to make the holiday season manageable by shopping early, and doing some of it online. I’m happy to say that I just purchased the last gift! Now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the holidays with that biggest of the “to do’s” on my list accomplished.

With that big “To Do” out of the way, I can now focus on the most important activity of this time of the year. For me, it’s all about reflection, assessment, wrapping up of the year, and gestating ideas for the New Year. Now I’m reviewing what I’ve accomplished this year and am assessing if there is anything else I want to complete before year end. Then I’ll begin setting goals and objectives for next year. Yep! I’m already making plans for 2016.

As busy as the Holidays are, taking time out for reflection and assessment helps me end the year with a sense of completion. It helps me stay grounded and focused during the whirlwind of activity and fun with family and friends. Then when New Year’s Eve hits 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 2016.

I highly recommend this introspective practice of making plans for the New Year. The benefits you reap are much greater than 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.
First, find some quiet time where you do nothing but reflect and think. For me, the best time is during meditation. You, however, might prefer a leisurely walk along the beach or hiking trail, or sitting quietly with a latte at a local coffee shop. Whatever works for you is great, but the idea is to set aside time to be alone with your thoughts.

Then let your mind float over what you might want to complete this year and fantasize about what you’d like to do next year. I’m reaching a point where if something feels too hard, or like too much work, I pass on it. Instead it’s much better to let your mind float to those things you feel excited and enthusiastic about. You can tell what they are because you’ll start feeling energized and the juices will start flowing! I find that when I reach this stage I can’t wait until I can sit down at my computer, or with pen and paper, and start jotting down ideas!

This leads to the third step in the process. Now it’s time to start putting those goals, projects and ideas on paper. Don’t worry about the order or time frame. At this point just do a ‘brain dump.’ Sometimes you might get it all down at once. Other times you might find that you’re updating, revising, expanding, and perhaps contracting your list over several days. It’s all good. Your primary focus is to get down all the ideas and goals that feel exciting and energizing.

Once you have all your ideas down, then start organizing them into goals and the steps, or objectives, that need to be completed in order to achieve them.  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 do 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.

Measurable w/ Measurement – This means you should have some idea as to whether you will meet the goal or not. For example, I’ve been about 75% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine. Considering I’m human and have a busy schedule, I feel pretty good about my success rate for the first year of trying to execute this kind of an aggressive 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 about 75% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine, then a weekly e-zine 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. Frequently I receive positive feedback from my readers which validates that my e-zine has relevance.

Time-Oriented – This means, “When will you achieve this goal? What are the start and end dates?” For example, the time-bound goal for my e-zine was ‘weekly.’

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 burn out, get sick, or give up!
Once you’ve evaluated your goals, then start organizing them into 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals.

Once you have your quarterly goals identified, then it’s time to begin identifying and scheduling weekly steps or objectives. At this stage I tend to drill down the weekly 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 for getting knocked off track, but I had fun!), and another year the recession hit and I had to change course mid-stream to adapt to the new economic situation . It’s important to keep some flexibility in your schedule so you can adapt and re-assess as needed.

Now, schedule a time to review your goals and objectives weekly. This will help you stay on track with the smaller objectives so you can hit your targeted big goals in a timely manner. Mondays are a great day to do this. It’s the first day of the week. A quick review of what’s on your schedule on Mondays will help you stay on track so you can have a productive week, and a prosperous year!

With everything else that you have on your schedule, I can already 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 this year on a high, but you also will ensure that you have a more successful, prosperous, and happier New Year.

Next week I will be giving tips on how to manifest for the New Year, so stay tuned.

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 New Year.  Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email me today!

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Are You Blue During the Holidays? Part 1

The Holidays are here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… well, not for everyone.

While images of love and joy fill storefronts, TV screens and magazine pages, for many people the reality of the holidays isn’t so cheerful. Between stressful end-of-year deadlines, family dysfunction and loss, poor eating and drinking habits, and increasingly cold and dark winter days, it’s easy to feel blue during the holiday season and not-so-merry and bright!

The happiness and close family connections of others during the Holidays can serve as a painful reminder of the happiness and love that may be lacking in some of our own lives. The month of December can be a particularly difficult time of year for those dealing with family conflict, loss, break-ups, divorce, loneliness and mental health issues.

Sadly, feelings of depression and negative mood affect too many people during the Holidays, and not just those who have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Some experts say that the holiday blues are a very real phenomenon. Over the years I have had many clients who have expressed their feelings of loneliness, sadness, and emptiness during this time of year.

For those of you who feel sad during this time of year, here are some of the risk factors of holiday depression, and how you can avoid them.

Setting up unrealistic expectations.

Hoping for a picture-perfect White Christmas holiday is setting yourself up – not only for disappointment, but potentially for depression as well.

All too often people anticipate or fantasize about the holiday that you would see on TV. Often it’s never exactly as people anticipate and, sadly, it’s often disappointing. This can be especially true when there’s strife within families. It can blow out of proportion during the holidays.

It’s important to manage expectations during the holidays and not hope for things to be perfect. If holidays tend to be a time of conflict in your family, or you’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one, putting pressure on your family to all get along or expecting yourself to be cheerful could lead to disappointment and additional anxiety.

Being mindful of what you do have to be thankful for — friends and family you care about, and who care about you, getting time off of work, or just the promise of a fresh start with the beginning of the new year — can help combat feelings of deficiency and lack.

During the holidays take stock of what you can be grateful for. Gratitude is the best antidote for the blues. And, fortunately, the Holidays don’t last forever. Soon it will be January and we can all start fresh in the New Year.

Trying to do too much.

At the holidays, the pressure of trying to do everything — planning the perfect holiday decorations, dinner or party; or making it home to be with family; or saying yes to every event; or meeting those year-end deadlines that could be a killer at any time of the year — can be enough to send into overwhelm the calmest and most organized individual. And if you’re already prone to anxiety and depression, stress, not to mention lack of sleep, all of this can wreak havoc on your mood.

A heightened pressure and fear of not getting everything done is one of the most common triggers for the holiday blues.

Perfectionism, especially during the Holidays, puts unbearable stress on well-meaning hostesses, friends, families, and partners. Unfortunately, many people feel they just can’t do the right thing. Instead of enjoying the festivities they worry that their family members or guests are always disappointed in them for things not being just so!

Ease up during the Holiday Season and realize that your friends, family, partners and guests truly want to see you relaxed and enjoying yourself. That is much more important to them that the ‘perfect’ table setting and gourmet meal.

The Holidays can be a difficult time for some people. If this is true for you, then please contact Joy today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769
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Thanksgiving Reflections

At this time of year our attention often turns to what we don’t have rather than what we do – and for good reason!  The season of non-stop shopping is almost here.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the race to get ready for the next round of holidays begins.  Soon we will have celebrated the season of plenty. Then, with the advent of the first official days of Christmas shopping, we enter four frenetic weeks of looking, finding, ordering, and buying.  We go from celebrating abundance and gratitude to experiencing the overwhelming requests of needs, wants, and desires.

Before we head to the mall, it would do our souls good to give ourselves a reality check – by not only counting our blessings, but by focusing on them.  Money will be spent on many things in the next few weeks, but it can’t buy the most important gifts: good health, a loving relationship, close family ties, caring friends and community, the fulfillment of creative expression and inner peace.

We often forget these things, not because we are ungrateful, but because we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  The things that money can buy will never fill the deep need within us for acceptance, love and connection.

Let’s make a commitment to do the holidays differently this year.  I know it’s good for the economy for consumers to madly spend money. It fuels our capitalistic system. But few of us really need more stuff!  Most of our closets, drawers, and garages are already stuffed with things. Too many things!

Sadly it only takes an hour to open all the presents bought during the 4 week holiday spending spree. Hours of shopping for an hour of surprise and pleasure! Does this really make sense?

So why not do things a bit differently this year? We can scale down the Holiday spending splurge. We can hold on to those Thanksgiving feelings of gratitude a bit longer by generously reaching out to those around us with feelings of well-being, tolerance and compassion.

Did you know that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown? So why not practice smiling more, being kinder, gentler, and more patient?  Instead of getting caught up in the holiday rush, reach out and re-connect with a friend, acquaintance or relative that has drifted away. Why not even smile at the retail clerks?! Their jobs must be grueling this time of year with longer hours and impatient customers. Or, you can reflect on how you can enrich your relationships with quality time – truly sharing and caring – the whole year long.

This holiday season spend less time rushing, buying, and doing. Instead, make an effort to be present and mindful of what is truly important. Try to give the gifts that money can’t buy: understanding, connection, love, and peace.

 

If you long to connect with others who want to express gratitude, then please join us for the In Her Name Circle Annual November Gratitude Potluck.

If you long to connect with others who want to express gratitude, then please join us for the In Her Name Circle Annual November Gratitude Potluck.
November 20, 2015
Hours: 7 to 9:00 PM
Location: Unitarian Universalist of San Mateo
300 E. Santa Inez, San Mateo, CA 94401
RSVP here.
Bring a favorite dish and share your gratitude with other sacred women who honor the Divine Feminine. No entrance fee but a collection will be taken for the Second Harvest Food Bank.
The Holidays can be a difficult time for some people. If this is true for you, then please contact Joy today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769
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Women, Beware the Pink Net

Ever felt like you were getting shot down in the office…by other women?

I hear this all too often from my clients and friends. The glass ceiling is still there, though recently women are getting more aggressive at poking holes through it. But some of the women I talk to are more worried about getting trapped in what I call the Pink Net. Many corporate women are getting caught up in the male culture of competition and dominance. In order to climb the ladder they are turning on other women, holding them back, keeping them down.

Ouch.

Talk about the unkindest act of all.

To succeed, many of my corporate clients have been working hard to become more like men – tough, competitive, driven. For men this style obviously works. There’s a reason the “old boys club” has been around so long.

There is a big difference, though, in how men and women play the competitive game. Men dwell mostly in their heads and are less ruled by emotions. They like to compete – be the top dog – yet they don’t personalize the battle. They go out for drinks after a heated conference room battle and hash out the latest ball game like the best of friends.

Women, however, are relational; we are more in touch with our feelings. While this has some obvious benefits, it also makes it tougher for women to keep our emotions out of the equation. We tend to personalize disagreements – business or otherwise. After a conference room battle, our emotions can be stirred up. They can linger and fester. Internalized, women can turn these negative emotions on other women in the male hierarchical tradition of keeping others down to raise ourselves up. Or they can harden themselves to their emotions and become the dragon lady boss. (I had one of these once. It was not pleasant.) This personalization of conference room disputes hurt women individually and collectively in corporate life.

A women’s cultural and natural inclination is to form circles of collaboration where we can support, listen to, and encourage one another. As a result, when we start throwing punches like the boys, there’s an internal cost. It’s hard to divorce ourselves from our feelings and stay in our heads. And in an effort to stay one-up, the cost can mean keeping other women down.

So what’s the solution? One is for women to build on what comes naturally: circles of collaboration. Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, refused to follow the traditional female role of wife and mother. Instead she asked her father, Zeus, for a bow and arrow so she could roam free in the woods with her circle of nymphs. Artemis and the nymphs were self-sufficient, hunting and supporting each other. They created a circle of collaboration.

Instead of buying into the competitive game, women might focus on building networks of support, encouragement and guidance within the corporation. Men have a system of mentoring. Their mentees are advised, guided and encouraged through their development. Then the mentees are brought with them up the ladder, or the mentees move on to become colleagues in other companies.

There is a growing tradition of female mentoring in US corporations. There just isn’t enough of it YET! Are we really too busy or too competitive to stop and help one another through the ranks? Mentoring should be the type of collaboration women can embrace. I know this is happening in some of the younger newer and savvier companies, but we still have a long way to go in the larger more male dominated corporations.

If you feel you are not getting the support and encouragement you need from other women, then I invite you to visit one of our In Her Name Circles. We are an open community of women who honor each other and the Feminine Divine, as well as the Masculine.

Our mission is to create a safe place for women to gather to:
  • build nurturing relationships
  • encourage self-expression
  • share feminine wisdom
  • explore topics that are of concern for women
  • encourage personal growth and exploration
  • support the empowerment of women
  • ignite the spark of the divine within
  • connect more deeply to the Divine that is Feminine
If this speaks to you, then I invite you to join us. You can find a list of upcoming circles at:
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What the World Needs Now is LOVE!

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Passion. In the later versions of her myth, which tend to be more patriarchal in tone, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione (a Titan and the original oracular Goddess of Dodona). In these myths she’s often portrayed as the wanton, vain, ill tempered and easily offended Goddess of Love. She is the adulteress who has a long-term affair with the alternately courageous and cowardly God of War, Ares. With Ares she has three children: a girl, Harmony, and two boys, Fear and Terror.
In the earlier myths of Aphrodite, however, she is envisioned as the very act of love, which the animals and the nature of humanity experience as divine – when life sparkles with beauty and joy.

Homer sings of Aphrodite as being surrounded by the Graces – Joyous, Brilliance and Flowering – who weave her robes, and plait her a crown of violets. When she walks, flowers spring up beneath her feet; she is the essence of fertility! Desire and love follow her because her presence inspires longing and the yearning to connect intimately with joyful and sensual coupling, bringing fertility to the world.

The early Greeks referred to Aphrodite as the Golden One, the Lover of Laughter, as well as the Goddess of Love. As the Goddess of Love she was able to transform the customs of the world in order to make humans more civilized and more loving. She was said to send the Loves into the Courts of Wisdom so that, through love, more good could manifest in the world.
In later patriarchal Greek mythology, it was said that because of Aphrodite’s great beauty the gods feared that desire for her would inspire jealousy among them and create discord, possibly war. Therefore, Zeus married her to Hephaestus, the ugly deformed fire smith of the Gods, who was not viewed as a threat. Aphrodite, who was a free spirit and the essence of love and beauty, simply resisted the chains that were meant to subdue her. This had a negative effect on her reputation. Thus she was labeled as wanton and vain.

History, through patriarchal mythology, remembers her as Aphrodite Pandemos, or Aphrodite of the people. In her more earthy aspect she inspired sexual love and ruled over the festival of Aphrodisia, which celebrated the fertility of the Goddess, the people, the festivities and the sacred offerings of sexual favors.

Aphrodite, however, is also Aphrodite Ourania, or Heavenly Aphrodite, Queen of Heaven. She was identified as the comprehensive personification of all aspects of love. Love for humankind, for ideas, for the animals and plants, for the earth mother, for all the things for which we are passionate, for love of beauty, and the artistic representation of beauty and the human spirit.
We would benefit from a more expansive view of Aphrodite. By welcoming her into our hearts, we could expand our understanding of the true nature of love. For when we love with an open heart, when we embrace beauty, when we live our passions and express them with love in our hearts, there is no room for the rape of the planet, or of women, or of countries, or of each other. There is no desire to exploit, to dominate, to destroy. If we are truly living expressions of love and beauty, as is Aphrodite, then life sparkles with beauty and joy, and we humans again experience love as divine.

I encourage you to reflect on the deeper truth of Aphrodite. Ask her to bring more love and beauty into your life. When you are filled with love and beauty you will overflow, thus allowing them to stream out into the world, making the world a better place. What the world needs now is LOVE!

If you have trouble experiencing the love and beauty that surrounds you, then please take advantage of my 30-minute complimentary consultation and find out how you can create a more loving and joyful life for yourself. Contact me TODAY! 415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com

 

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Access Your Inner Wisdom – Part Three – Feeling your way through confusion

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 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 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 friend. 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 the 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 another more interesting, but lower paying, position. I have never been unhappier in any job in my life! The 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 your 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.

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