Archive for March, 2010

31 mar

Give Yourself More Time and Space

mike_robbinsHow often do you find yourself feeling rushed, pressed for time, hurried, stressed, or overwhelmed? For many of us, myself included, these feelings are all too common, especially these days. While feeling as though we don’t have enough time or that our lives are overwhelming is not a new phenomenon for most of us – it seems to be getting to an epidemic level in our culture these days, particularly as we find ourselves “plugged in” all the time – laptops, cell phones, blackberries, iPhones, and more.

Sadly, many of us allow ourselves to be victims of our schedules, our communication devices, our co-workers, our clients, our families, our work, and some of the other “demands” and “responsibilities” of our lives. And while many of these things are important and much of them do need our attention, we often forget that we are the ones who set up our lives the way we do and allow ourselves to get stressed out, overwhelmed, and caught up in our never-ending to-do lists.

I was at a workshop in San Francisco a few weeks ago put on by Hay House, the wonderful publishing company founded by author and teacher Louise Hay. Louise, who wrote the bestselling book You Can Heal Your Life about twenty five years ago, is a pioneer in the world of personal development and mind/body connection. She is a wise soul and teaches people to love and care for themselves in an authentic way. It was an honor to connect with her at this event.

On the final day of the conference I asked Louise if she was planning to fly home (back to San Diego, just an hour’s flight from San Francisco) that evening. She said, “Oh no Mike, I would never do that to myself.” Her response, while simple, floored me. I thought to myself, “Wow, that is a great example of honoring and caring for yourself.” Then I thought, “I could use more of that.”

I often pack my schedule with so many tasks, activities, events, and deadlines, it becomes hard for me to breathe, enjoy what I’m doing, or really bring the best of myself to a particular activity, event, or interaction. I then feel like a victim of my “crazy” schedule, have a built-in excuse for not showing up for others, and also don’t have to take full responsibility for my results or actions (i.e. “What do you want from me, do you have any idea how much I have going on right now?”). Can you relate to this?

This “I’m too busy” or “I’m overwhelmed” story that many of us run is a lie that we keep telling ourselves and others. Ultimately, we end up believing the lie and we allow it to run our lives. Here’s how we can “prove” it’s not true – whenever anything serious happens (we get sick, someone else gets sick, someone dies, or anything else severe enough to stop us in our tracks), all of the important stuff we have to get done gets put on the back burner. We realize how relatively unimportant most of it really is.

What if we could see, remember, and live with this awareness without something serious happening? What if we could take more control of our lives, our time, and our schedule? What would life look like and feel like if we gave ourselves more time and space? (new paragraph)

For many of us the idea of giving ourselves more time and space can seem like a foreign concept or something that is out of our control. However, if we allow ourselves to imagine it or to think back to times in the past when we felt as though we had more time and space, we can become inspired, excited, and even relaxed by this idea.

So how do we do it? Well, there are lots of ideas, techniques, and tips we’ve learned over the years to create more time and space for ourselves. The problem is that when we start to feel stressed out and overwhelmed, we fall back into unhealthy habits and patterns in our lives that we learned as survival skills (which don’t usually support our growth or deepen our capacity for peace).

Here are a few things to think about and practice as you look to expand your ability to have more time and space in your life:

1) Notice your relationship to time, your schedule, and your commitments. How do you relate to time? How do you feel about your schedule? Do you feel victimized by your commitments at home, at work, and in general? The more honest you can be with yourself about how you feel about the things you have to do in life, the more able to are to alter it (if that’s something you would like to do). Most of us have an odd or disempowered relationship to time. Just listen to some of the weird things we say, “Time flies.” “I never have enough time to do what I want to do.” “Where did the time go?” These and other statements, thoughts, and beliefs put us in the role of victim as it relates to time and our commitments.

2) Start saying “no” to things. This one can be tough for many of us. As life coach and author Cheryl Richardson says, “If it’s not an absolute ‘yes’, then it’s a ‘no.’” We often need some support or feedback from others when it comes to this one. But, being able to say “no” to requests and invitations that we get is an important aspect of giving ourselves more time and space. And, looking at the many things we have our plate right now and being able to take some of them off (by disengaging from them), is also essential. This is not about being flaky or irresponsible, it’s about being authentic about what we were willing and able to do, and what we’re not. So often our “disease to please” causes us to say “yes” to things we really need to say “no” to.

3) Give yourself more time than you think you need. Packing our days, weeks, schedules, and to-do lists with too many things sets us up to fail. In many cases, we don’t even realize how long it will take for us to complete simple tasks or activities. As I continue to learn, trying to do too many things in a short amount of time has a negative impact on the task itself, anyone else involved in it with me, and on my own sense of well being and peace in the process. What if we gave ourselves more than enough time to complete projects, get places, and take care of things? Imagine what that would feel like for us and those around us, and imagine how much more creative, passionate, excited, and effective we could be in the process.

Get support, feedback, and coaching for this from others you trust, people know you, and those who seem like they have a relative sense of peace in their own lives. We don’t have to figure this out on our own. The world around us is speeding up all the time. The expectations and demands on us can seem unreasonable (and often are). However, when we remember that we are the authors of the book of our life and that we get to dictate how we operate, feel, and show up in life – we no longer have to be victims of time, our schedules, and all that we have to do. When were willing and courageous enough to give ourselves more time and space, our life can transform.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on March 31st, 2010 in New Directions, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

29 mar

Can You Sleep Off the Pounds?

MattDenosBy Matthew Denos, Ph.D.

It may sound too good to be true, but a number of scientific studies are finding a relationship between sleeping habits and weight that suggests getting enough sleep may help you stay slim. This is good news for many of us, who have room to improve when it comes to our sleeping habits. Just a few decades ago Americans slept at least eight hours per night; today almost one-third of Americans report getting fewer than six hours of sleep. While there’s no question that diet and exercise are essential to staying healthy and trim, today’s obsessions with carbs, supplements, and fancy exercise equipment cause many of us to overlook a basic building block to a healthy life: a good night’s sleep. Placing a bit more importance on healthy sleeping habits may just be an easy way to lose a few pounds.

Studies Show Those Who Sleep Less Weigh More
Researchers in several different studies have found that people who get less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night tend to weigh more than those who get more shut-eye. One particularly large study found that a difference of just one hour per night was enough to predict weight gain among middle-aged women. Information collected from nearly 70,000 women over the course of 16 years showed that in every point in time, women who slept 7 hours per night weighed less than those who slept fewer hours. Those who slept 5 hours or less per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (33 pounds or more) and 14% more likely to become obese over the course of the study. Those who slept an extra hour—6 instead of 5—fared a little better, but were still 12% more likely to experience major weight gain and 6% more likely to become obese.

The link between sleep and weight isn’t just true for women—it has also been found in men and even children. A study of adults 65 and older reported that men who slept fewer than 5 hours per night had an average Body Mass Index (BMI) 2.5 points higher than those who slept 7-8 hours and were 3.7 times more likely to be obese. Differences for women weren’t quite as great, but were still significant: average BMI was 1.8 points higher and they were 2.3 times more likely to be obese. And for both sexes, the difference in weight was a result of more fat, not more muscle.

The Role of Hormones
Scientists don’t know all the details about what causes this relationship between sleep and weight, but many point to the influence sleep has on hormone levels. Hormones are responsible for many of our physical responses, including appetite and eating behavior. Studies have found that being sleep-deprived affects ghrelin and leptin, the hormones responsible for regulating our eating behavior. Ghrelin is the chemical that tells your brain your body’s hungry, while leptin is the one that lets you know you’ve had enough to eat. Being sleep deprived causes your ghrelin levels to increase at the same time your leptin levels decrease. As you might guess, this leads to feeling hungrier.

Being hungrier might not make such a difference if sleep deprived people snacked on carrots and celery sticks, but it turns out that not getting enough sleep influences the kind of food we want to eat as well as the amount. When we’re sleepy, we tend to reach for foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates. Next time you get only a few hours of sleep, pay attention to the food you crave the next day—you’ll probably find that potato chips sound even better than usual. And even as you’re craving carbohydrates, sleep deprivation is interfering with your body’s ability to metabolize them, increasing insulin levels and promoting fat storage.

Combine higher levels of the hunger-causing hormone with a preference for high-calorie foods and decreased metabolism and it’s easy to see how sleeping too little can lead to weight gain.

Sleeping To Lose
It can be a struggle to fit everything into a 24-hour day, and too often a full night of sleep is one of the first things we sacrifice. But if you’re trying to lose weight, hoping to avoid the extra pounds that come with aging, or just want to maintain optimum health, you should make sleeping well a priority. This means getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, here are a few tips you can try:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Limit activities like computer use and television for an hour or two before bed.
  • Keep your room dark and cool—sleep experts recommend about 68 degrees F.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping, not for activities like reading, working, or watching television.
  • If you get plenty of sleep but still feel tired, visit your doctor to rule out conditions like sleep apnea.

Of course, sleep is just one part of keeping your weight in control—diet and exercise are still important. But with a good night’s sleep, you just may find that you’re less inclined to make poor food choices, have more energy to exercise, and simply feel better during the day—all while decreasing your risk for becoming overweight or obese. You have nothing to lose except the weight!

Matthew Denos is a medical scientist and writer who provides valuable diet and weight loss tips based on studies from peer-reviewed scientific journals. His website www.weightlosstriumph.com offers a coupon for Medifast and a Nutrisystem promotion discount, two clinically proven weight loss programs.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Susan Brown on March 29th, 2010 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

26 mar

Why Does Your Heart Beat?

JayForte“If you don’t have a good reason for your heart to keep beating, it generally won’t” Dr. Mehmet Oz

In a world focused on getting things done, we frequently lose track of the value of what we do – of our purpose. Purpose is the reason behind great performance – meaningful performance. Purpose is what keeps the heart beating. What do you know about your purpose?

I work with both businesses and individuals as my message is about helping people rediscover their passions for work and life. At its core, this is a recommitment to know yourself (your talents and passions), know your world (its needs), then to determine your particular value and fit. Understanding how to bring value to your life and to the world helps to define your purpose. And the more compelling the purpose, the more animated, excited and engaged you become in finding reasons to keep your heart beating.

In the workplace, organizations that identify their purpose with a strong vision or mission statement share what they stand for; this attracts those who share the purpose and vision. The vision and mission statements provide clarity to the organization and clearly respond to why they do what they do. We are more committed to an organization that shares our definition of purpose and success than one that does not our focus. And our commitment to an organization with which we share a purpose is an emotional connection – the strongest of all connections.

Now, to life. Those who know their purpose – who have done work to identify what is meaningful and valuable for them – have a clearer roadmap for life. The clearer your purpose, the more focused you become in how you live, how you respond and what you do. This encourages a greater sense of accomplishment, impact and value; in short, this impacts our sense of personal worth.

So how do you develop clarity about your purpose? For that I have to take you back to 350 BC – to Plato. One of the two most quoted mantras of Plato is know yourself. This is core to understanding you in your world – in other words, your fit and purpose.

Consider that each of us is a unique bundle of DNA inherited from our families. This DNA creates our internal brain hardwiring; this influences our talents, aptitudes, strengths and passions. No other person on the planet has the exact combination of attributes we have. We therefore must not only be good at knowing ourselves (our unique composition), but we must also realize we are the only ones who can do this work (learn to know ourselves). Our connection to ourselves is an intensely private connection; only we can fully assess how we think, what we feel, what we believe and what we are to do with our lives.

I find most of us are not very self-aware; few have a great understanding of what we are good at (talents), what we love to do (passions) and what makes us feel successful (happiness). In the absence of this information we miss our mark – we underutilize our talents – we miss our purpose. If we live a life (or work in a job) without purpose, we just show up. Because life is not a dress rehearsal, just showing up seems an abject waste of a day, a day you don’t get back.

Most people don’t know about, don’t want or won’t own this responsibility. By not knowing ourselves well, we rely on others to tell us what to think, how to feel and who to be. As I said, no one can know you as you do. You have the greatest information about who you are, what makes you happy, what are you good at and what activates your sense of value. Look in to find this. Then know your world to determine your particular place in the world – your purpose.

So back to Dr. Oz’s quote from an interview with American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith host, Krista Tippett, “If you don’t have a good reason for your heart to keep beating, it generally won’t.” Those who know themselves – and their purpose – keep their hearts beating; their energy is strong and their focus is clear. Those who don’t see their purpose – their reasons for appreciating the amazing gift of life – don’t ramp up the energy when things get tough. They check out. They short change the world by not sharing their great combination of talents – a combination given as a gift with a particular purpose to share it with the world.

Imagine the missed contributions of artists (or any other profession) who never realized their talents because they listened to others who told them how to live and what to do, instead of learning how to know themselves, value themselves, find their passion, and live with purpose. Life is too short to live with regret.

To find your purpose, “know yourself”; spend some time with yourself and determine:

  1. What are you great at?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What makes you feel successful?
  4. What is going on in your world?

Then, find your fit – your place.

Don’t wait. The world needs the unique and specific you. You are here for a reason. Find your reason. Find your purpose. Keep your heart beating.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com. Sign up for his free e-newsletters and use his resources to be great.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on March 26th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality, Teens, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

26 mar

Act As If

mike_robbinsI first heard the phrase “act as if” about fifteen or twenty years ago. I remember learning that if we “act as if” we already have something we want, “act as if” something is already occurring in our lives (even if it’s not), or “act as if” we know how to do something (even if we don’t) – we create the conditions for it to manifest in our life with greater easy and probability.

In recent years, this concept has been popularized and even mainstreamed by books, films, and teachers talking about the “law of attraction” (i.e. like attracts like, thoughts create things, we get what we focus on, etc.)

This past week Michelle and I watched a wonderfully inspiring documentary film called Act As If,which had a profound impact on me. The film is about Kathy Delaney-Smith, the head women’s basketball coach at Harvard University. Kathy, who comes from a working class background and didn’t have much basketball or coaching experience, used the power of “acting as if” to become a very successful coach at one of the most elite institutions in the world. She has also used her “act as if” philosophy to teach, train, and inspire her players both on the off the court for the past thirty years.

Most poignantly, Kathy used the power of her mind and her thoughts to act as if she were healthy and strong as she successfully battled through a life-threatening bout of breast cancer. Her story, strength, and attitude are inspiring and courageous.

The message of this film spoke to me on a few different levels. First of all, it brought the worlds of sports and the power of our thoughts and intention together in a meaningful way, which I appreciated. Second, Kathy’s personal story and her approach with her players are both important things we can benefit from, learn from, and take to heart (in business, parenting, teamwork, relationships, and life in general). And, finally, it reminded me how important it is to be conscious of my thoughts, my intentions, and my beliefs.

As I’ve been reflecting on it more, I realize that although I understand the concept of “acting as if” and I write, speak, and teach about how we have the power to create our own reality, in certain areas of my life – especially the ones that are most important to me or the ones where I feel the most cynical and resigned, I often pay “lip service” to acting as if, while simply hoping things will get better, worrying that they won’t, or allowing the outcome to determine how optimistic or pessimistic my outlook and approach will be.

This has been a sobering, but important realization for me this week. There is a big difference between knowing something and living it.

“Acting as if” is about believing in things that don’t currently exist and that there may not be much evidence for. This is about living a “faith-based” life, not an “evidence-based life.” The term “faith-based” often gets used in a political, social, or moral context when talking about initiatives or organizations that are connected with the church or some specific organized religion. However, being a faith-based person, while it can and often does encompass our religious beliefs and our spiritual practices, is even broader than this.

When we choose to live with a strong faith in things not seen, not proven, and not guaranteed – we tap into the power of the possible and we supersede the literal and predicable.

Wayne Dyer wrote a great book a number of years ago called You’ll See it When You Believe it. So many of us, myself included, live important aspect of our lives with the silent mantra of “I’ll believe it when I see it” and in doing so we hold ourselves back, limit what’s possible, and negate the power of our mind, imagination, and intention to allow and create things, situations, experiences, and outcomes that are new, unpredictable, and even miraculous.

For some of us the idea of “acting as if” is basic and fundamental, for others of us it may be new and/or more difficult, and for still others it may seem out there and quite esoteric. Regardless of how we relate to this idea, we’ve all experienced it in our lives in big and small ways. Kathy Delaney-Smith demonstrates it in the Act As If film in a powerful way through her coaching, her battle with cancer, and how she lives life.

The question for us to ask ourselves is, “What am I acting as if will happen in the most important areas of my life right now?”

We often get exactly what we expect – which is a pretty powerful concept if we take time to let it in and live with that awareness. Instead of waiting to see how things turn out, hoping that they will get better, or simply allowing the circumstances and situations in our lives determine how we feel – what if we acted as if we had everything within us and around us that we need to be successful, happy, and fulfilled already – which we do, by the way!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on March 26th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

25 mar

We Need You

happier_confidenceSome of you who’ve been with us on the site may know about our Talk to Us section. It’s one of the most active areas, where people share their story of change. Stories of hope, courage, stories of despair, asking for help. While we have some very loyal members and our team looks at these daily and post some tips and suggestions, we are now asking YOU to help.

If you are reading this, you are qualified! Really you are. These stories are stories many of us have been through and can relate to. They include job changes, break ups, health issues from losing weight to a diagnosis, losing a loved one, pursuing a dream. money issues…you get the picture.

It’s amazing what happens when we help each other. We all have so much wisdom to share. We’ve been through our share of changes and someone else’s life might really be helped, transformed by something you know and can share.
A few lines, a similar story with some perspective, a quote, a book to read, some love and encouragement that someone else is out there listening and reading. That’s it. Nothing more.

If you are an expert, life coach, have some specific background, share what you know.

Practically speaking, what am I requesting? Check in on the site, daily if possible. See if someone has posted a new story and if you relate to it or can help, post a comment. It should take you five minutes maximum. And it will leave you feeling like you’ve helped another soul. As a friend of mine said while she was going through a hard time, “when I go to First30Days, I feel better. I know I’ve contributed. My day goes better.”

You can see what’s been happening already. Stories generate some passionate responses and discussion and it’s time to make sure everyone gets this help from our amazing community of Change Optimists!

Consider this your new form of “community service.” We all want to volunteer and know what we do matters. Well, here are real people going through real changes who have had the courage to write their stories and wait for help and direction. And while I am describing it, if you or someone you know has a story or a question to share, please do so and encourage others to do so as well. Many people want to help.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on March 25th, 2010 in Ariane, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in

22 mar

Changing Your Relationship with Anxiety

EmilyVanHornWe’ve probably all experienced anxiety at some point and have a well intentioned friend or relative who insisted we “calm down” or “take a deep breath.” Of course, this advice doesn’t usually help. When someone is in the grip of panic, it’s like the body is on auto-pilot and things feel out of control.

Anxiety many times is a symptom of unresolved trauma. Sometimes a person isn’t even consciously aware of the earlier trigger that causes the symptoms. Trauma is real. It can happen when the body’s innate response to threat is overwhelmed or incomplete. When there’s an event that our nervous system perceives as overwhelming, it may leave our bodies in an unfinished fight, flight, or freeze pattern, causing all kinds of symptoms.

One thing we notice with people who suffer from anxiety is that they tend to be extremely self critical. To change this, if you suffer from anxiety, you can start by acknowledging to yourself that you aren’t crazy and there isn’t anything wrong with you. Instead of blaming yourself for the negative feelings instead talk to your body. Let your body know you understand it’s just trying to protect itself because it feels threatened. Bodies are hard wired to survive. When something has been overwhelming the nervous system, the body reacts in the way it thinks will keep it safe usually by preparing to do something, such as fight, flight, freeze, and so on. Somehow that excess energy surging around has to be discharged before you can feel like yourself again.

Sensation is the language of the reptilian brain
Rather than using our cognitive abilities (trying to figure out or understand something), instead, by noticing sensations we will engage that deep part of our brain where our instinctual survival responses reside. This mild attention to sensation is what will help your body begin to discharge the held adrenaline that is causing your anxiety.

Tools for self help

When you start feeling anxious, take a moment to notice your physical sensations. Notice specific physical sensations, such as, a tightening in your chest, increased heart rate, foggy thoughts or the feeling that you want to run”. When we don’t try to make something go away or label it as fear, nervousness, etc, our curiosity is what starts to open the neural pathways that lead to the hind brain and incites a relaxation response.

*When healing from a traumatic experience, I always recommend working with a skilled and trained practitioner who understands how trauma affects the autonomic nervous system and can help guide you through the process of recovery.

Emily Van Horn helps clients heal from all types of trauma. She employs various modalities of healing techniques: Somatic Trauma Resolution therapy (STR) and several others. As a practitioner of the healing arts for nearly 20 years, she is an expert in assisting people in healing from both shock and developmental trauma. For clients who suffer from abuse, accidents, falls, violence, sexual trauma, PTSD, chronic stress or pain, she utilizes tools that help them change their lives in gentle and supported ways. STR is different from traditional talk therapy, because it focuses on healing the nervous system where trauma is stored. Trauma is not a disorder of the mind but a disregulation of the nervous system that comes into play after a person has felt threatened or overwhelmed. This modality is relatively short term and can save years of therapy or medication. Emily is available in person or over SKYPE and by phone for people out of her geographical area.

www.EmilyVanHorn.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Emily Van Horn on March 22nd, 2010 in Health | 7 comments Read related posts in

21 mar

Sacred Flesh and Bones

The body is like an earth. It is a land unto itself. It is as vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, overmined, and shorn of its power as any landscape. The wilder woman will not be easily swayed by redevelopment schemes. For her, the questions are not how to form but how to feel. The breast in all its shapes has the function of feeling and feeding. Does it feed? Does it feel? It is a good breast. ~Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I picked up my old and tattered copy of Women Who Run With The Wolves again, just the other night. This book carried me through a tough time in my life, a time when I was hurting from a break-up that took me by surprise. In my healing process, I decided I needed to learn how to stay by my own side, no matter what, no matter how shiny the object of my desire was over there. That need to hop the fence can be so seductive. Reading Estés’ classic, I took my own hand in mine and walked deeper into the wild forest of me. Her words spoke to my soul in a way no other author has…except, perhaps, Marian Woodman.

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So I picked up Estés’ book again, let it fall open, and it opened to the quote above.

The body like earth. A land unto itself. Vulnerable. Overbuilt, overmined, cut off, carved into parcels. Shorn of its power. Wild women. Breasts. Feeling and feeding.

Ahhhhh. Back in the land of the wild.

::

My mind went back thirty years to motherhood, to the times when I nursed my two babies. Such wondrous moments those were. I loved being a mother to babies. I loved nursing. I can still remember the feeling of the milk letting down when my babies cried. The connection between cry and breast, hunger and milk. All on its own, my body responded to my little ones’ cries for nourishment. The wisdom of the body, especially the female body that can bring life into life, can hold it while it grows, and can then birth it into being, is a mystery. It is sacred.

But even if we never feed our children from our breasts, or never have children, they are still wonderful parts with which to feel. Yes, our lovers can enjoy them; but we get to feel life through our breasts, sensations that let us know we are sensual creatures, that we love what we love.

When we are no longer focused on being the object of desire, but rather the subject, we can enjoy our bodies as the wild woman, the woman that knows her instincts, feelings and body from the inside out.

Desire, pleasure, feeling, aliveness. The body brings us into direct experience with life, back to our senses.

::

Estés writes:

There is no ’supposed to be’ in bodies. The question is not size of shape or years of age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. But the wild issue is, does this body feel, does it have right connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it in its own way move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust? Nothing else matters.

These words go right to my soul.

When we see the body as an object to be manipulated and controlled, we are cut off from our wildness, from our instincts and intuition, from our power as women.

When we know our bodies as sacred flesh and bones, blood and heart, we open to how we can experience life through this body. Each cell can awaken to its divinity when we are willing to begin the descent, from our heads where we’ve been taught to live, back into the body, the only place where aliveness dwells.

It is through right connection to our own pleasure, through honoring the sacred within us, through embracing our design as women, that we find right connection to the wild and step into our power. Yes, others can enjoy our bodies, and their enjoyment will be so much greater, when we first are the subject of our own desire, when we hold ourselves as sacred, for we are the sacred feminine in physical form.

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And, you?

Does your body have happiness? Does it know joy?

How do you experience right connection to pleasure, heart, soul and the wild?

I’d love to know what your experiences have been.

Julie Daley is a coach, creativity catalyst and consultant. She works with women who ache to come home to themselves, and want to live from the truth they discover when they do. Find out more at UnabashedlyFemale.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Julie Daley on March 21st, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

21 mar

I Am With You

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Mae gen i afal, what we would translate into English as “I have an apple,” literally means “There is an apple with me” in Welsh. In Celtic languages there is little concept of ownership, of “having” things. Things are not possessed by you; they are “with” you.

Imagine the shift in consciousness that would occur if our language suddenly didn’t support the possessive case. ~from Fruitflesh by Gayle Brandeis

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I think this is one of the most profound shifts the human race could make – to shift from the idea of ownership to ‘being with’. What would happen to us, where we believe we own everything from goods, to natural resources, to the planet, to each other, if we were to realize we don’t own a thing…not even the days we have ahead?

It’s not like it’s a new idea – many cultures, not just the Celtic culture, have seen, and continue to see, things this way.

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As I pondered this, I thought of how things would change if we humans realized we don’t own each other, if we realized this about our partners, our children, our lovers, our family, and not just our human family, but also other living beings, the earth, all of life.

I don’t own a thing. Everything that surrounds me is ‘with’ me.

When I see it this way, I no longer feel things hierarchically, but rather relationally.

When I see it this way, I feel connection, relationship, mutuality, and kinship.

When I see it this way, I feel reverence for the dignity, autonomy, and sovereignty of the ‘other’ I am with.

When I see it this way, I see you next to me, not across from me. I see you with me, side by side, walking together.

When I see it this way, especially in relation to the Earth, I feel a sense of awe. When I see it this way, I come to know the grandeur of the Earth and the fact that She gives me life. Without her, I would not exist.

Without each other, we would not exist.

Without you, I would not exist.

What a slippery slope the possessive case has been, and continues to be. Language is powerful. How we use it creates how we see the world, each other and ourselves.

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And, you?

How might this shift cause you to see things differently?

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Image courtesy of Jipol by Creative Commons 2.0 license


Julie Daley is a coach, creativity catalyst and consultant. She works with women who ache to come home to themselves, and want to live from the truth they discover when they do. Find out more at UnabashedlyFemale.com.

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Posted by Julie Daley on March 21st, 2010 in Relationships, Spirituality, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in ,

19 mar

Live Fired Up!

JayFortePeople tell us life is tough, tense and difficult. And we believe it.

I don’t listen to what people say. I think life should be thrilling, exciting and energizing. Life is not a dress rehearsal so I want to be passionate, enthusiastic and fired up in my one shot at life.

We choose how we live. We allow the discussion in our heads to direct us. And today, much of this discussion is negative – it highlights the things we can’t, shouldn’t, or couldn’t do. We dwell on it and soon we believe that is the way it must be…it will be. But, we can redirect this internal dialog to positive; our self-talk can be optimistic. Our choice.

I find the reason why many people are more negative than positive is they do not know themselves well. As has been said, “We fear because we forget how capable we are.” We activate our negative self-talk because we forget (or don’t know) how talented, wise and competent we are. By knowing ourselves well, we learn how to use our hardwired talents, strengths and passions to successfully direct our lives to areas that support what we are good at and love doing. This engages our confidence and competence. This activates our positive self-talk. This helps to fire us up.

Many people also look to others to make their lives great. We want our partners, spouses, friends and families to make our lives fun, dynamic and easy. Though they are part of this process, the choice of being thrilled (or bored) about life belongs to each of us – not to others. It is our responsibility to choose how we move through life in the best and most fired up way.

Though I write, speak and teach about connecting to talents and passions, and getting fired up in work and life, I still have my days where the negative and challenging thoughts are louder than the positive ones. I know this will happen so I created a list of things I can do get myself re-fired up – re-energized – and back on the ride of life. Here are some of my techniques to light the fire instead of dousing the flame. Use these and share what works for you:

  1. Laugh. A minute of laughing can boost your immune system for more than 24 hours (a minute of anger weakens your immune system for 4 hours). So find humor in everything. People are naturally comical, pets too. Stop finding faults and find humor. (I have the klutz gene –it is a family trait. If I got upset every time I bumped into something or tripped on something, I would always be upset. Instead, it is a great opportunity to laugh).
  2. Read an inspirational quote or text. Find authors, famous or familiar people who move you with their perspectives, attitudes or energy. Keep these handy.
  3. Think about two great things that have happened in the last day, hour or even minute. Dwell on these, not on the things that did not work so well. Applaud yourself for your great work, even if you were the only one who noticed it. Praise and (a little) self-praise are good ways to stay fired up.
  4. Develop a network of fired up contacts – people you can contact to help you reconnect to your fire. The commitment, however, is you are the same resource for them. Sometimes we need a little help to get the fire going again.
  5. Do something kind or unexpected. Send a card, make a call, serve your kids, partner or spouse breakfast in bed, make your favorite desert or meal and bring it to a friend. Get out of yourself and pay attention to someone else. Their reactions will fire you up.
  6. Tell a story about a time when you were younger that highlights happy and great times. Show pictures, watch home movies and share feelings. Celebrate your personal stories. Never miss providing an ovation after a story. Everyone loves some applause. It fires us up.
  7. Make the ordinary things around you, extraordinary. Dinner – ordinary. Dinner with the best dishes, flowers and cloth napkins – extraordinary. Lunch – ordinary. Lunch with candles, a card, your favorite soup and music – extraordinary. Bring home flowers. Make your own scented water to spray on the laundry. Stack laundry with each person’s name on it and a surprise in the bottom of each pile. Change the color of your front door – to something that gets the neighbors talking. Buy something bright to liven up an ordinary room. Notice “ordinary” then do something to make it extraordinary. You get a “two-fer” – a “two for” the price of one fire up. You get something extraordinary and you get fired up doing it.
  8. Music – high-energy music can get you fired up. Turn it up loud, close the door and dance. And if you have the nerve, dance with the door open and invite others to join you. Find your fire up song and play it when you need to get energizing. My favorite “change my mood” song is Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas’s “Smooth.” My favorite get fired up and dance songs are Frankie Valli’s Oh, What A Night, Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” or Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” What are yours? (I know you have some.)
  9. Go for an “inspired walk.” Some people find inspiration on a busy city street with lots of action. Others find inspiration in a quiet walk on a beach, through the woods or in the mountains. Bring your iPod with inspirational music (your definition of inspirational) to add to the moment. Or, just learn to listen to hustle, or the natural quiet. Get reconnected to your internal fire with others or by yourself, whichever activates you.
  10. Make plans for fun. Once a week plan an event that gets you excited. Try a new restaurant. See a movie. Go to a lecture. Do yoga. Buy an outrageous coffee drink. Have game night with your family or friends. Host an American Idol, reality show, awards show or big game evening. Start a dinner club with other couples or singles. Host a progressive party around your neighborhood. Create one fired up event; its anticipation is energizing.
  11. Love your job. Choose a job that plays to what you are good at and love doing. Know yourself well enough to know how to play to your talents, strengths and passions. A job of purpose, power and passion will keep you energized and fired up throughout the day.

Some say life is tough. And some feel they should suffer through life. Go ahead. That is not for me; that is not the story of life I intend to write. I have learned the more I know myself, the more I can direct my response to my world and play to my strengths. I can control my response to conflict and put myself into more areas of joy, happiness and energy. My choice.

We are amazing creatures. Each of us is hardwired with amazing gifts – unique gifts – that take much of our lives to interpret and learn to use. We did not arrive on the planet with an owner’s manual; we write it each day as we live. The more and quicker we learn about ourselves, the more and sooner we get introduced to the things that make us sizzle and those that make us fizzle. So, figure out how to add more sizzle. Then live fired up!

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

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Posted by Jay Forte on March 19th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

17 mar

The Power of No

mike_robbinsHow do you feel about saying “no?” I notice that saying “no” to certain people and in some situations can be challenging for me. Sometimes I find myself saying “yes” when “no” would really be more authentic. More covertly, I also find myself at times giving “half-truths” (which is quite an oxymoron if you think about it) to people when they present me with opportunities, engage with me about connecting, etc. You know what I mean, you run into someone and say, “We should really get together sometime,” but you really have very little interest in or commitment to making that happen. Does this ever happen to you?

What is it about saying “no” that many of us have a hard time with? For me, it comes down to a few specific things. First of all, I get scared that people will get upset or disappointed if I say “no.” Second, I’m not a huge fan of hearing “no” from others myself, so being the one saying it can be difficult for me. And lastly, I consider myself to be “yes” type of person. I pride myself on being open, willing, and ready to say “yes” at all times. In other words, “no” often seems like a failure, an admission of weakness, or just an overall negative thing to say.

However, saying “no” is one of the most important aspects of living a life filled with balance, integrity, and authenticity. Our ability and capacity to say “no” with confidence is one of the most important aspects of creating peace and power in our lives. This is about creating healthy boundaries, honoring ourselves, and being real – it’s not about being closed, cynical, or unwilling.

The majority of people I know, especially these days, live their lives with a feeling of “overwhelm” that either runs them or at least gets in their way from time to time. If you think of the aspects of your life where you feel most overwhelmed, stressed out, or ineffective – there is probably a theme going on – you haven’t said “no” when you needed to. If you also think about any relationships in your life where these is stress, struggle, or conflict – you saying “no” with honesty and kindness is also probably missing.

When we don’t say “no” in an authentic way we end up feeling burdened, resentful, and even victimized (although, ironically, we forget that we are the ones who said “yes” in the first place).

Saying “no” does have real consequences. Sometimes we will upset, disappoint, or annoy people. We also may have a significant amount of fear about saying “no” to certain people (our spouse, boss, co-worker, friend, child, etc.) or in certain situations (at work, with clients, with our in-laws, and more).

However, there are huge benefits to us enhancing our capacity and comfort with “no.” Tapping into the power of “no” creates freedom, liberation, and a real sense of trust with the people in our lives. When we’re someone that says “yes” when we mean it and “no” when we mean it – others know they can count on us to be real, tell the truth, and come through.

And, when we “no” with confidence, honesty, and compassion, we do one of the best things we can possibly do to honor and appreciate ourselves.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on March 17th, 2010 in New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,