Dec. 21 ♥ Advice for the Holidays: Live without Expectations or Resentments

‘Tis the season to have expectations: Everyone will get along. The food will be perfect. Every gift will be just what they wanted. Happiness will abound. Every family member will be on their best behavior. Ah, Norman Rockwell may be alive and well in our memories but that’s not the reality of our lives around the holidays. How often have you planned how an experience was going to unfold only to have your expectations rudely thwarted? And how often did you then let your frustrations come spewing forth onto those around you? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so certain that we know how the future will unfold? Why do we continue to believe we have so much power over life and other people? Want a recommendation for a more peaceful holiday, whichever one you celebrate: let’s all act as if we have no idea what will happen. Let’s recognize that we can only control ourselves; everyone else is on their own autopilot. Let’s relish being in the moment, however that moment turns out. I promise you, you can eliminate frustration, anger, disappointment, and sadness if you just let go of any preconceived ideas about how things should happen.   Now It’s Your turn What can you let go of this holiday season? What difference will that make to you? To your friends and family? … Continue reading

Nov. 23 ♥ Finding Gratitude when Bad Things Happen

Most people find it fairly easy to find gratitude for their blessings But how many of us can find gratitude for the bad things that happen to us? Or for the things we don’t want in our lives? Too often we respond as the victim when something bad happens to us. Or we concentrate on all of the things we’d like to be eliminated from our lives. Fair enough. We get to be human. We’re allowed to fell anger, jealousy, maybe even resentment. Sometimes our world gets turned upside down and we become totally numb. But the problem comes when we choose to stay in that mode, as angry, resentful, victim. My first husband died unexpectedly at a rather young age. I was lost initially in the throes of anger, disbelief, and traumatized shock. And I could have chosen to stay there. Everyone around me would have understood. I admit I was locked into this state for many months, and then barely able to function for many, many months after that. If someone had asked me to be grateful for the experience, I would have raged and sworn like a stevedore. Being grateful felt like insanity — for an extremely long time. And yet, over time as I processed my grief and came to terms with what had happened, I also began to open up to other opportunities: helping other women plan for surviving their spouses, which turned into empowering women in all aspects of their lives, which turned into … Continue reading

Oct. 12 ♥ Why You Must Let Go of the Past

How many things are you holding on to “just in case”? How many clothes still hang in your closet just in case you lose the weight that keeps hanging around your midsection. Or maybe you’ve kept those shiny black stiletto heels just in case you once again go to a classy wedding? Or maybe you’ve hung on to those casual Friday combinations that are no longer necessary for your lifestyle? If you’re really honest with yourself, you know these will likely never happen again. And yet you cling to the possibilities. I’ll bet you’re just afraid to let go of the past — because these things represent parts of you, the good times, memories of who you were — back then. Yet your past is not who you are now. True it helped you become who you are at this moment, and you need to be grateful for that. But nostalgia can weigh you down — and fill your closet. Hanging on to the past keeps you tied to what was and stifles your forward motion toward who you are becoming. So, let go of material things from the past. Maybe even consider a farewell ceremony to mark your goodbyes. And donating these items will make you lighter and help others who can use them. Consciously choose to live in the now of who you are, keeping only the things that represent her. Now It’s Your Turn: What do you hold onto that ties you to your past? How might these … Continue reading

Aug. 10 ♥ What Is Life Trying to Teach You?

Ever have one of those weeks? Nothing seems to be going right. You’re late for work. The kids dawdle on the way out the door. You run out of coffee. Your son neglects to put gas in your car. Your office feels like it has a swinging door. You’ve got back-to-back meetings, for days. Ah, yes. It can feel as if the world is conspiring against you. But is it? We’ve all had periods where life has felt endlessly overwhelming. And yet the truth is that we always have a choice. We can drown in the “omg, why is all this happening to me?” We can rant and scream and bemoan how hard life is. We can throw a hissy fit at how unfair it feels. We can believe the frustration and misfortunes in our lives are a cruel punishment for past misdeeds. Or… we can take a long, deep breath, step back and then recognize that life is not out to get us, although it can feel that way at times. Life just is. It’s how we react that’s important. Slowly I have come to believe that life is trying to teach us some lesson that we haven’t quite yet gotten. Over time I’ve learned that taking that perspective offers me have a chance at figuring out the learning experience designed just for me. And so my life lessons keep adding up. And maybe by the end of the week I might be a genius, although I think that … Continue reading

June 29 ♥ Have You Set the Real YOU Free?

Have you set the real you free? Or are you stuck in presenting an image that is more likely to please others? Far too often we automate our people-pleasing mode because we’re not comfortable in our own skin. The internal voices swirl: “If they saw the real me, they’d turn away.” “I just want to be like them.” “I can’t be what they want me to be.” Notice that all of these thoughts are outward focussed — as if we’re seeking validation from outside ourselves. As if other people’s opinions are more important than our own. Or that it’s more important to be accepted by others than by ourselves. So, we tamp down our own personality, mute our strong points, and try to conform. We wear the plain, tailored blouse when the wild, loud, blotchy-printed top is so much more us. And yet there is the tiniest voice inside that keeps saying, “Please let out the real me. Being otherwise is just so exhausting and phony.” So here’s the deal: you don’t have to make the world like you or validate you. You have nothing to prove! You just need to trust that most people will like you just as you are. And, well, some just won’t. But that’s not your problem. It’s theirs. It’s more important to be genuine, true to yourself, authentic — the real YOU. It takes less energy. And comes from a place of believing, “I am enough.” So, be bold, celebrate who you are and … Continue reading