Growing up with an alcoholic parent, we were taught to see things in extremes. It was either the best possible thing that could ever happen, or the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Our parents had been taught, and were passing on to us, the lesson that people in the world are good or bad, right or wrong, smart or stupid, strong or weak. If something bad happened, we often heard phrases such as, “I should just give up, then.” Our world was framed around these extremes. We have extreme reactions to situations and people in order to get what we want.
The Roman Stoic Philosophers, Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (4. BCE – 65 ACE), made this observation about human planning gone awry:
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
Not knowing what harbor you are making for is what transition feels like. It is that in-between place where you cannot go back to a season in your life where the door has closed, and the new door has yet to open.
We often get stuck in-between the chapters of our lives when one chapter ends and the new one hasn’t begun yet. We tend to look for immediate and quick fixes to alleviate the dis-ease of uncertainty we feel when we are in what William Bridges calls “the neutral zone, the nowhere between two somewheres” in his classic book “Transitions”. Know this, that dis-ease is a form of anxiety. Also realize that you have crossed a threshold, and the anxiety is the sign that you have. You can turn your anxiety into anticipation (because it’s the same chemical reaction in your brain), however the former is fear-based “what if” thinking, whereas if you can shift to thinking and acting “as if” your future is determining your present, you will find new motivation to move forward!
In the space of the neutral zone, the “nowhere” zone, you have to learn to be with your anxiety and not attempt to fight it. Fighting it only gives it power. Being with it allows you to embrace the uncertainty and release your creative energies by learning how to ask new questions that free you from the limitations of the former chapter that came to an end precisely because it took you as far as was possible. You outgrew it! Yet you still have a future, and it is waiting for you! Continue reading
By Ryan Skinner
I had the wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Aruba for a vacation with my fiancée and future stepchildren. One evening, while sitting alone on the balcony of our room, gazing out in awe at the beautiful landscape and feeling warmed the balmy breezes, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I’m blessed with so many things – family and friends who love me, opportunities to meet and work with amazing people and the daily opportunity to express how grateful I am to God for giving this recovering addict a second chance at life. I’ve been in very dark places and know that my story could have ended differently. But this night in Aruba, like all of the days since I made the commitment to be clean and sober, offered another moment to reflect on the reality that if you do the right things, hang in there and choose to live God’s way, all of those blessings are possible.
Since I renewed my commitment to God and a life of meaning and purpose dedicated to helping others both professionally and personally, I’ve developed daily prayer, meditation and journaling rituals that help me get into the right spiritual mindset. I’ve been doing this ever since I got sober. I wake up by 6 a.m. at the latest and spend 30 minutes on a combination of praying (sometimes on my knees on a clean floor, but sometimes even at my kitchen counter having my morning coffee) and doing affirmation readings from books of positive quotes and writings that inspire me to live that day and be present. I spend a lot of time on gratitude. Whether it’s dark or light, I always light a candle. It’s just my way of bringing spirituality into the moment and connecting with God. My morning journaling is simple, just writing thank you to God for another day He has granted me. Continue reading
Keeping track of personal finances and establishing responsible money-management habits is never easy. Just the thought of creating a budget or learning about financial planning makes some people’s heads spin, making it difficult to move forward onto bigger and better experiences in the future.
There are plenty of books and websites out there with helpful tips and tricks, but with television still being the second-biggest time commitment in the lives of everyday Americans, it’s there we turn our attention to today. Here are just a few great programs that give viewers practical advice and information to improve their financial well-being: Continue reading
I love making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, January 1 might be an arbitrary date, but I think it’s good that we all have a cue to ask ourselves, “What would I like to change about my life? How could it be better than before?”
Most of us have a list of things we’d like to do better — and very often, those things involve habits. Exercise, sleep, fun, eating, relaxing, and so on.
In my book Better Than Before, I list all twenty-one strategies that we can use to make or break the habits that shape our lives. All the strategies are powerful and effective, but some are more universal than others. Here are some of the most popular ones, to start you thinking.
Wind. The powerful and invisible force that comes and goes whenever and wherever it wants. It shows up in your life and it shakes things up. Sometimes it’s a welcome break from the heat and sometimes it’s the disruption that whips around us, stopping conversations and carrying on. It can be wonderful and it can mean destruction. Continue reading
Our Intent community is pretty great about transparency and vulnerability. They are honest about their process and where they are going, the change they want to see.
If you were to welcome change into your life, what would it look like?
Consider some of these areas of your life: Continue reading
We started off the year with high hopes.
We were going to find love!
Start new jobs!
Let go of old hurts!
Now that it’s March, it’s time to do an evaluation.
Are you any closer? Are you have the sort of realistic conversations with yourself that are going to stop you from repeating the same old, same old? Or are you still back in 2013?
I hope as you’re reading this that you are thinking back on the short time since the turning of the year and you’re already proud of how far you’ve come, but in case you aren’t, here are some ideas to help you get back on track.
1. Time to affirm your intent. Remember the feeling and place you were in to make you set a big intent in the first place? Maybe you were worn out. Maybe you were on fire with the passion of a new idea. Even if you’re not in the same place you were when you originally made you’re intent, affirming it means you’re still saying “yes!” to that idea. Regardless of where you are today, you are just as committed to your dream.
2. Set visual reminders. I’m not above taking a page out of a teen girl’s book and leaving decorating my walls with reminders. Whether that’s notes on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator to remind myself of a new mindset or empty boxes in my bedroom to remind me to finally purge my closet of all the things I don’t need, a visual reminder is a tangible shift from seeing things the way they’ve always been.
3. Make an appointment with yourself. A boss I had taught me how invaluable it can be to make appointments with yourself, especially living in our fast-paced culture. You have someone asking you to get coffee (not necessarily a bad thing) and so you look down at your calendar and find an open place. If you’re like me, this might happen half a dozen times in a week and so you keep filling up the open places in your calendar with meaningful conversations and meetings. But then you arrive at the end of the week and realize you’ve left no time for your own plans or progress. Before you make it to Monday, sit down and find a block of time that can be added to your calendar that is reserved for the tasks that are hanging over your head. Writing? Organizing? Going to the gym? Sometimes it feels selfish to save time for you, but you would never tell a friend that making their own positive progress was selfish, so why is it for you?
So where are you getting started?
It’s possible you don’t feel progress being made because you never set an intention to begin with.
Check out this Year of Intent intention made my Mallika Chopra:
(click the image to see the entire intention)
Since originally posting about her new book, Mallika has been updating, affirming and responding to the comments left by other users. It keeps her motivated and, most importantly, focused on accomplishing a satisfying task- her newest book.
If it’s March and you lasted a good week on your resolutions and intentions, that’s fine. We’re here to get you started again.
So, again, I’ll ask where are you getting started?
What’s it going to take to get going?
You buy a brand new television and keep it in the box in your garage.
You buy plane tickets for a vacation to Bali and then never pack or go to the airport.
You get engaged and then married to a person you don’t even really like.
If you did any of those things, my hope is that the people in your life would say “hey, what’s up?” They’re trite examples, I get it, but we do it all the time with our own lives.
Everyday people are posting their intentions on Intent.com.
People are wanting support as they embark on new business ventures, lifestyle choices, or general adventures.
You can intend to change your eating habits.
You can intend to ignore fear.
You can intend to make a fresh start.
But what happens the moment after you make an intention?
Don’t ignore the other half of setting an intention which is seeing it come to fruition. What is the point of spending money on plane tickets to Bali if you never plan on getting on a plane to begin with? What is the point of wanting to conquer fear if the moment you voice that desire, you immediately forget it? Our hope is to see people empowered to live the lives they dream of. If you want to conquer fear, then our hope is that you absolutely will.
So, check this out.
Mallika posted an intention about committing to her health.
But now what?
Does she go back to ordering fast food? Does she stay up late and wake up early?
Instead, she came back and affirmed her choice. She reminded herself of her goal.
She found support and advice from other users left as comments.
She updated us on her progress. Now, I say it was for us, but honestly, it’s just as much for her. It’s written on the stones of time (or just the internet) and she can keep moving forward while being able to see how far she’s come.
So if you haven’t been yet, it’s time to be serious about taking the TV out of the box.
You’re breathing, so you have everything you need to get the process started.
There’s no promise it won’t be hard work.
There’s no promise it won’t mean going against your instincts for self preservation or that you won’t have to cut things out of your life, a pruning of sorts. But what is more worthwhile?
My mom always says “the time is going to pass no matter what.”
Sometimes we don’t take on challenges because it’ll take forever.
We don’t want to go back to school. We don’t want to get back in the gym.
Purely because the results will be a long way off, we don’t start.
But the time is going to pass no matter what.
Whether it’s 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, wouldn’t you rather be on the other side of it a little (if not a lot) closer to where you dreamed?
It’s Monday, to day is a good day to follow through.
There’s a really wonderful song by a group called Gungor.
The chorus says:
“You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.”
There’s so much hope in those lyrics. There’s something about knowing that growth can happen out of dust. It means it’s not too late. That in whatever destruction our lives have seen, there is still space for something beautiful to grow out of it.
It’s no surprise that around the end of the year, so many people are reflecting on where they’ve been and where they’d like to go.
Being different takes time and bravery.
Sometimes your growing things out of dust and sometimes it feels like you’re getting nowhere, but if you plant the seeds, you’re further ahead than you might think. Because hope has a way of springing up.
So what would you like to see change in your life?
What have you been waiting on?
What would you hope to be at this time next year?
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You.”
-“Beautiful Things”, Gungor