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

Nov. 9 ♥ Have Your Gathered in Your Harvest?

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the nights are getting cooler. The skies are a brilliant blue, colors are more vibrant, and shadows are sharp. It’s as if Mother Nature were producing one last, stupendous hurrah before the darker, colder months descend upon us. As I look out my window, I appreciate this time of change, these golden autumnal days, and I give thanks for the fruits of the summer. As the final agricultural harvests occur, I’m also reminded that this is truly a time when we reap what we have sown, both as fact and as metaphor. Fall is a perfect time to review the previous months of this year, to note our harvests—the experiences and accomplishments we’ve had. Reflecting on your year, which of these have flowered and brought something into your life? Which have been more like weeds, crowding out your dreams? As the final agricultural harvests occur, I’m also reminded that this is truly a time when we reap what we have sown, both as fact and as metaphor. Fall is a perfect time to review the previous months of this year, to note our harvests—the experiences and accomplishments we’ve had. This exercise is not about noticing which list is longer, the flowers or the weeds. It’s a time for reflection so you can express gratitude for what you’ve done and who you’ve become. And equally important, it’s a time to recall how you have dealt with any challenges that may have occurred. Both offer you opportunities … Continue reading

Sept. 28 ♥ Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You

Why would anyone willingly do something that scares them? I can think of many reasons. Being scared certainly pushes you out of your comfort zone. Gets that adrenaline flowing. Wakes you from your lethargy. Puts some oomph in your day. It makes you feel alive. What if you were given the opportunity to do something scary? Would you respond with a “Yes, but…I like my life as it is. Why shake things up? I don’t have time; this is crazy; I can’t. I need a guarantee…” Ah, hello, fear! If you believe something is fearful, then it is – funny how that works. But that also makes the opposite true: believing you can overcome your fear makes things less scary! What if you broke out of the same-old, same-old and pushed your limits? What if you told your fears that you’re in charge and ready to step outside your comfort zone? There are many gifts here, with your name written on them in large, sparkly letters: I can do things I didn’t think possible! I am so proud of myself! I live life big! I can deal with fear! Don’t keep these gifts waiting. The party won’t last forever. Grab the chance to design your life the way you want it. All because you left your comfort zone!   Now It’s Your Turn What have you put off trying because fear got in the way? What small step could you take toward your fear? Who could you tap to support … Continue reading

Sept. 7 ♥ What’s Your Line in the Sand?

What do these sentences all have in common? Sorry, I can’t do that. I’m spread far too thin right now. I will not allow anyone to speak to me that way. I need some time to think about that. These are all statements honoring personal power. Each shows various ways of saying, “No!” firmly and politely. Every one indicates a personal boundary, stated in clear, honest language. Could you say these things when needed? It wasn’t so long ago that these types of statements were hard for me to use. I’d let people manipulate me. I was afraid of confrontation. I swallowed my true feelings. On the surface I looked and acted like a happy camper. But inside…well, I felt depleted, angry and resentful because I willingly sacrificed my serenity for the sake of keeping everyone happy and everything on an even keel—for others but not for me. I let others intimidate and overwhelm me, often bullying me into submission. I let others usurp my personal power. I’m not like that now. So, what changed? I came to realize that it was my responsibility to take care of me. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to do this for me, and more importantly, I didn’t have to have anyone’s approval to do so. I came to believe this but it took longer for me to put it into action. Slowly I came to understand that it was my job to protect my time and energy. I couldn’t be everything to … Continue reading