Posts tagged with ‘life lessons’

30 aug

The Choices We Make

Jodi ChapmanTake a look at your life right now. Look at where you live, who you spend time with, how you support yourself financially, your level of stress, your state of mind, your health – all of it. Is this the life that you want to be living? Is this a life that you consciously created or is this a life that you created on autopilot?

We make choices every day. Choices that affect how we live and how our lives turn out. And oftentimes we aren’t even aware that we are making choices. We are simply surviving – getting by – and trying to make it through the day. We aren’t thinking about our vision for our future. We aren’t thinking about manifesting our ideal life. We are thinking about what needs to be made for dinner or what time the kids need to be picked up or whether we have time to finish that project for work that is due the next day.But what’s so crucial to realize is that the universe doesn’t know whether we are creating our lives on autopilot or in a conscious state of awareness. The vibrations that we are sending out are exactly what we will get back.

The choices we make today will affect our life tomorrow. Some of the choices we make today will have a lasting impact on our lives far into the future.

Becoming aware of the choices you make on a daily basis is the first step to creating change in your life. When you recognize that you are about to make a choice – ask yourself this question:
Is this choice leading me toward or away from my ideal life?

So often we know what we want for our future, and we can’t figure out why we never seem to get any closer to our dreams. It’s because of the choices we are making on a daily basis that aren’t moving toward that vision. We are looking for instant gratification and seeing life in the small picture rather than putting aside our wants and desires in the short term to make sure we reach our long-term dreams and visions.

Let’s say your dream is to run a marathon.
You know that to do this you will need to start training every day.
You begin the first day by running for an hour, which feels great! You are on your way!
When you wake up the second day, you are feeling tired and sore and think you will just take the day off as a reward for working so hard the day before and start up with your training again the following day.
This is a choice that you made.
Did this choice move you toward or away from your long-term goal and your ideal life?
Definitely away from.

And if this continues to happen, soon you will realize that the marathon is quickly approaching, and you are not even close to being ready for it. And you become angry with yourself because you realize that your choices put you in this situation.
And if you keep sabotaging yourself by not training, you have to ask if this is something that you truly want for yourself. If it is, it’s time to take a look at what is holding you back. Is it simply that you are lazy and lack discipline or could it be deeper issues of limiting beliefs about what you feel you are worthy of achieving?An alternative solution to this example would be to find another way to reward yourself rather than taking time off from training. Perhaps you can go out to celebrate, or make a special meal, or watch your favorite movie.

It all comes back to the choices we make each and every day.
One harmful choice usually leads to another and another…

But the opposite is also true! One positive choice leads to another and another…
This means that if we are conscious of our choices and make sure they are in line with the vision we have for our future, we will be right on pace to reach our dreams!
So let’s first visualize the lives we want to live.
And then let’s make sure we are consciously making choices that lead us closer to this life.
And soon enough you will see that you are living your ideal life and reaching all of your dreams!

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

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Posted by Jodi Chapman on August 30th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , ,

25 aug

Hearing Fear Out

Jodi ChapmanHave you ever embarked on a wonderful new adventure that you were super excited about, and just when you really started to get into it with both feet in – fear stepped up and started listing all of the reasons why it’s probably not a good idea for you to do this after all and tries to get you to see how much safer it would be for you to just step back into your comfort zone?

When this happens, what if we took some time to listen to what fear has to say?
It’s there to protect you – it doesn’t want you to get hurt or fail or be disappointed.
So the next time this happens for you – take some time and write down everything that the fear inside of you wants you to know.

Get it all down on a piece of paper. Give yourself the time and space needed to go within and bring up any reason why your new adventure might not be a good idea or why it’s a scary place to be.
And then you can crumble it up and throw it away.
Or…
You can go through your list one by one and turn it around.
Fear is ego-based and faith is soul-based.
Give your soul a chance to counter each point that your fear brought up.

I think you will find that if you really dig deep and go within, you no longer need fear to protect you on this journey. Your old patterns of letting fear take over will no longer work in your new life.

In my own life, I am writing my first full-length book. It’s a very personal book for me to write, and it requires me going within and really looking at myself and my life with what feels like a magnifying glass. And this can be a hard process that my ego doesn’t want me to go through – it can be painful and yucky and sad to relive certain events or examine my patterns and habits that haven’t always served me. And yet my soul knows that in sharing my story – in putting it out into the world – it will not only help to heal myself, but hopefully others as well who are sharing similar experiences.

So when my fear starts taking over (and boy is it strong!), I recognize it for what it is: a scared ego that just wants me to be comfortable.

And I thank it and let it know that we can’t learn and grow if we always stay comfortable.
And then I get back to writing.

So please take some time today and look at the role fear plays in your own life. Give it a voice – let it be heard. And then either crumble it up or counter what it had to say with all of the reasons why these fears and ways of sabotaging your spirit will no longer work in your new, soulful life.

And then get back to what you know you need to be doing to grow into the person that you were meant to become.

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.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 Jodi Chapman on August 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , ,

11 aug

Saying Goodbye So You Can Say Hello

Jodi ChapmanSometimes in life we have to make tough choices if we want to grow and live the life we know we are meant to live. We may have to give up a part of ourselves that we have grown comfortable with, even if we know that it isn’t the self we want to bring on our journey.

I was watching Peter Walsh’s decluttering show the other day on the OWN Network, and I love his approach to physical clutter. He first has you create a vision for your room. Then you only bring in the things that reflect that vision. Everything else has to go. I was thinking that this system could also be applied to mental and emotional clutter.

Let’s try this exercise together:
Think of the person you strive to be: your best self.

Now create a vision for this new self.

How do you look (e.g., peaceful, radiant, rested)
What do you think about (e.g., the present moment, happy and positive things)?
What kind of friends do you surround yourself with (e.g., supportive, nurturing)?
How do you spend your days (e.g., reflecting, laughing)
What else can you visualize about this new self?
Take some time with this and get as specific as you can.
Write it all down, and then hang it up where you will see it frequently.
Once you are clear on your vision, you can start the process of decluttering all of the emotions, thoughts, activities, friends, etc. that no longer fit into your current vision.

This can be a painful process, and change can be hard.
If you keep your vision at the forefront, though, and remind yourself that in order to grow into the person you know you can be, you will need to let go of the person you have become. (At least parts of you.)

It’s your rebirth – and it’s a beautiful thing!

Goodbye to you.
And hello to you.

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.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 Jodi Chapman on August 11th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , ,

26 jul

Embrace Death, Live Life

MikeRobbinsNewMy mom, Lois Dempsey Robbins, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in early March. The disease spread very quickly and on June 13th, she passed away. I was honored and grateful to be with her through her dying process. It was both horrible and beautiful at the same time.

My mom’s physical pain and deterioration, realizing that she was going to die and that at thirty-seven years old I would be without either of my parents (my dad died almost ten years ago), and knowing that my girls would grow up without their grandma (who absolutely adored them), were some of the most difficult parts of the experience.

However, the closeness, family connection, deep conversations, healing, insights, love, forgiveness, and support have been some of the most wonderful aspects of all of this – while she was sick, as she was dying, and in the past month or so since her death.

Four of the most intimate and sacred experiences of my life have been the births of our two girls and the deaths of each of my parents. I’m grateful and honored to have been able to experience all four of these magical moments live and in person. Although the emotions of the births and the deaths were quite different, the level of intimacy, sacredness, and profundity were of similar impact and depth for me.

I’m deeply engaged in my grief process right now – doing my best to stay present in the midst of the intense and contradictory thoughts and feelings I’ve been experiencing. While I’ve been feeling sadness and pain, I also feel a lot of love and appreciation – both for my mother’s life and all she taught me, and for the experience of being with her through her death.

Death teaches us so much about life and about ourselves, even though it can be very difficult to comprehend and experience – especially when the person dying is someone very close to us. As a culture we don’t really talk about it, deal with it, or face it in an authentic way. It often seems too scary, mysterious, personal, loaded, heavy, emotional, tragic, andmore.

What if we embraced death – our own and that of those around us – in a real, vulnerable, and genuine way? What if we lived life more aware of the fact that everyone around us, including ourselves, has a limited amount of time here on earth?

Embracing death consciously alters our experience of ourselves, others, and life in a fundamental and transformational way. It allows us to remember what truly matters and to put things in a healthy and empowering perspective. Doing this is much better for us than spending and wasting our time worrying, complaining, and surviving the circumstances, situations, and dramas of our lives, isn’t it?

One of the most profound things my mom said a few weeks before she died was, “I want people to know that they don’t have to suffer through this.” As the end was getting closer, my mom’s awareness, insight, and desire to share her wisdom increased and it was beautiful.

Below are some of the key lessons I learned from her as she began to embrace death in the final days and weeks of her life. These are simple (although not easy) reminders for each of us about how to live life more fully:

1. Express Yourself – Say what you have to say, don’t hold things back. As my mom got closer to death, she began to express herself with a deeper level of authenticity and transparency. We had conversations about things we’d never talked about and she opened up in ways that were both liberating and inspiring. Too often in life we hold back, keep secrets, and don’t share what’s real – based on our fear of rejection, judgment, and alienation. Expressing ourselves is about letting go of our limiting filters and living life “out loud.”

2. Forgive – My mom and I come from a long line of grudge holders. Like me, she could hold a grudge with the best of ‘em. I watched as she began to both consciously and unconsciously let go of her grudges and resentments, both big and small. It was if she was saying, “Who cares?” When you only have a few months (or weeks) to live, the idea that “Life’s too short,” becomes more than a bumper sticker or a catch phrase, it’s a reality. And, with this reality, the natural thing for us to do is to forgive those around us, and ourselves.

3. Live With Passion – Going for it, being bold, and living our lives with a genuine sense of passion is so important. However, it’s easy to get caught up in our concerns or to worry what other people will think about us. My mom, who was a pretty passionate woman throughout her life, began to live with a deeper level of passion, even as her body was deteriorating. In her final days and weeks, she engaged everyone in conversation, talked about what she was passionate about, shared grandiose ideas, and let go of many of her concerns about the opinions of others. It was amazing and such a great model and reminder of the importance of passion.

4. Acknowledge Others – At one point about a month or so before my mom died she said to me, “It’s so important to appreciate people…I don’t know why I haven’t done more of that in my life.” Even in the midst of all she was going through and dealing with (pain, discomfort, medication, treatment, and the reality that her life was coming to an end), she went out of her way to let people know what she appreciated about them – and people shared their appreciation with her as well. My friend Janae set up a “joy line” for people to call and leave voice messages for my mom in her final days. We got close to fifty of the most beautiful messages, all expressing love and appreciation for my mom – most of which we were able to play for her before she passed away. Appreciation is the greatest gift we can give to others – and, we don’t have to wait until we’re dying to do it or until someone else is dying to let them know!

5. Surrender – While my mom clearly wasn’t happy about dying, didn’t want to leave us or her granddaughters, and felt like she had more to do on this earth, something happened about a month and a half before she died that was truly remarkable – she surrendered. For my mom, who had a very strong will and was a “fighter” by nature, this probably wasn’t easy. However, watching her surrender to what was happening and embrace the process of dying was truly inspirational and life-altering for those of us around her and for her as well. So much of the beauty, healing, and transformation that occurred for her and for us during her dying process was a function of surrendering. Surrendering isn’t about giving up, giving in, or selling out, it’s about making peace what is and choosing to embrace life (and in this case death) as it shows up. Our ability (or inability) to surrender in life is directly related to the amount of peace and fulfillment we experience.

My mom taught me and all of us that even in the face of death, it is possible to experience joy – what a gift and a great lesson and legacy to leave behind. And, as each of us consciously choose to embrace the reality of death in our lives, we can liberate ourselves from needless suffering, worry, and fear – and in the process experience a deeper level of peace and fulfillment.

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 July 26th, 2011 in New Directions, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,