May 3 ♥ Keep or Toss? Change the Question…

I have been in this minimizing, clean-out mode for the past month. At first I would carefully consider every item: keep or toss? Seemed straightforward enough. Yet, somehow a “decide later” pile kept appearing. I wasn’t making the kind of progress I had envisioned. I kept plugging along, knowing that I really had to get rid of some things. So I gave away the clothes that were never, ever going to fit me again. I also got rid of all my professional work clothes. No longer had a need to wear them, so what possible purpose were they serving in my closet? And then I added those things that no longer support who I am right now. Adios to books on topics that had once interested me; books I would never read again. Farewell to old cards I had received, magazine articles I planned to read, shoes for special occasions that would never be repeated. Things associated with long-ago hobbies. Yarn that was never going to see the light of day as a garment. Good riddance to things I was “going to get to” once upon a time. Suddenly I have picked up momentum. I have become more ruthless in what I am discarding. And the more I have eliminated the more free and unencumbered I feel. There is more space in my home, and in my being. I am clearing out what no longer serves me or supports who I want to be in the world. I want my home to … Continue reading

Apr 26 ♥ Frustration: the Difference between Reality and Expectation

I know. I’ve been AWOL. It’s been an interesting few weeks. My computer had decided to completely lock up and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it except take it to the Genius Bar. But the saga didn’t end happily there because I had to have the operating system completely reinstalled – which, of course, meant that everything that had existed on my hard drive unceremoniously went to virtual heaven. Happily I knew that all my files were safely tucked away in the Cloud and all I would need to do was download them and begin computing life anew. Alas, that was not to be so easy. I live in rural America, where Internet speed is only something to dream about wistfully. I won’t bore you with all of the gory details. Suffice it to say that after days, and days, and days, and weeks of trying to download by drips and drabs I have some but not all of my files. I know there is probably some Buddhist lesson in here but all I’ve experienced is frustration, anger, and more frustration, although my swearing vocabulary has increased exponentially. So, Anthony Robbins’ quote seems appropriate for this situation although I’m only now beginning to see the frustration as a positive sign! I spent so much time just banging my head against the technological wall. Until my husband mentioned that maybe I should ask for help from an expert. Well, duh. So, I’m headed back to my Apple Store, … Continue reading

Feb 22 ♥ Asking for Help Shows Strength and Vulnerability

So many of us shy away from asking for help. Intellectually we know that we can’t do everything on our own, and yet we hold back, fearing that we will appear weak or vulnerable, that we will burden someone, or we’ll get caught in a quid pro quo and be unable to reciprocate, or that we can’t manage on our own and therefore must depend on others. But these are stories we tell ourselves. And so we exhaust, overwhelm or cause injury to ourselves, spinning and spinning because we’d rather tough it out than seek assistance. And in believing these stories we deny someone else the opportunity to happily assist us and share in our burden. Think of a time when someone asked you to help. Did you turn them down? Did you think less of them for asking? Or were you genuinely delighted that you could do them a favor by using your skills? Giving yourself permission to ask for help shows your strength, courage and self-awareness. You recognize that you don’t have all of the answers or skills for every situation. You believe “it takes a village” to get things done. You allow others to shine and experience the joy that comes from giving. And you know that if someone turns you down, it’s not personal. It just means “no”. Asking for help shows it’s possible to be both vulnerable and strong. It’s worth the risk!   Now It’s Your Turn Who can you ask for help from … Continue reading

Feb 8 ♥ Boundaries: You Need to Know What You’ll Put Up With

Personal boundaries are vital and an important part of our self-care because they clarify how we will let others treat us. Boundaries allow us to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from others. It’s a way for us to maintain self-respect and demand respect in return. So often we say, “Yes” when we mean “No”, we let people walk all over us and our needs or we don’t stand up for ourselves. Maybe we sacrifice our time, energy and resources to help others, while ignoring our own lives and priorities. We become too compliant, afraid that others won’t like us unless we give in. And all of this leaves us resentful, emotionally drained, exhausted and feeling crazy. Fact: setting boundaries is not about trying to control other people. It’s about drawing a line on what you will and will not allow into your life. It’s about standing your ground and recognizing that your needs are important. It’s about demanding respect from others. And, yes, some people may fall away as a result but you will have gained self-reliance, self-confidence and trust in yourself. Priceless gifts!   Now It’s Your Turn When have you said, “YES” when you really meant, “NO”? Why did you make that choice? What were you afraid would happen if you had spoken your mind? What personal boundary could you create to prevent this in the future? … Continue reading

Jan 25 ♥ 4 Ways to Kiss “Should” Goodbye

Should. Appears to be an innocent enough word. How many times a day do you use this word? On the surface it means recommendation, advisability, obligation, expectation. But it also has an implicit definition: the “should” comes from someone else’s point of view, not yours. How many times have you done something based on what other people expect? As in, “You should clean the house.” “You should dress in brighter colors.” “You should bake cookies, not buy them.” “You should lose weight.” Or the reverse. “You shouldn’t try for that more advanced job.” “You shouldn’t expect to be happy in your life.” “You shouldn’t take risks because of <fill in the blank>.” Should. It’s a powerful, judgmental voice. It implies that you don’t have your own answers. How have you been talking to yourself lately? How about making a shift? Making choices based on your values and needs, not those of others. When you feeling a should coming on, see if one of the following phrases resonates with you. Then use that section to help you discover the real motivation behind the should. Make a pledge to let go. With practice you can replace the other voices and contrary agendas around you with your own values-based choices. I feel a should or should not coming on… Whose voice is really telling me I this? Often we have unexamined values that we swallowed whole from our parents, schools, or other authority figures. Where is your should/should not really coming from? Is it … Continue reading