Tag Archives: clarity

Want to Write Better? 21 Reminders about the Elements of Good Style.

Writing tipsWhether you write all the time, or only occasionally, you’ve probably thought about how to write better.

One of the best books about writing is The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White. It has been in print for forty years.

I don’t know anything about Strunk, but I’m a huge fan of the writing of E. B. White.  I love his children’s books of course — masterpieces like Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan — and I also love his brilliant essays, like Here Is New York, and the Letters of E. B. White.

So I pay close attention to whatever he says about style.

The reminders from The Elements of Style include:

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6 House Cleaning Tips to Reduce Stress

springcleaningFor most people stress and mess are unremitting realities in daily life. In fact, the various stressors and disarrays share a common denominator – clutter – both the physical and mental kind.  Why not then kill two birds with one stone? As long as you have to clean your place, why not use it as a targeted method for coping with stress?

Cleaning carries emotional benefits: Catharsis, clarity, control and change. These good feelings lead directly to self-improvement and empowerment. For example, when you clean out your space, you can distinguish between what inspires you and what no longer serves you.  Getting rid of what you no longer need, makes room for positivism and invites good things into your home, including friends, as you are no longer embarrassed by the mess.

Here are 6 cleaning tasks and their emotional/intellectual/spiritual rewards:

* Washing the dishes helps you to wash away the grief. Circular motions correspond to the circle of life.
* Vacuuming gets rid of the dust and the cobwebs, the regrets which cling and keep you stuck, as you inhale stale air and allergens. Vacuuming helps you to move forward and breathe a purer air, a more authentic version of yourself.
* Cleaning the windows lets in the light when you feel sad, unable to step outside. Afterwards, you can sit or stand by the window, relax and watch others. Moreover, when you open a window, you get ready to step outside and join the good energy – first you rehearse it in your mind and then you do it.
* Cleaning the bathroom helps you to get the crap out of your life or neutralize what pisses you off.  You need to move toxins out of your body and your mind.
* Mopping the floor keeps you in the moment, an opportunity not to think about your worries; otherwise, if you are not fully present to what you are doing, you can slip and slide and fall back into an old issue.
* Overall, housecleaning is great exercise to be envied by gym goers. And exercise efficiently alleviates anxiety and moves stress hormones out of the body.

The next time you clean your space, create a specific intention, a stress-reducing mental component corresponding to the physical act. For example, when you are clearing out spoiled fruit in your refrigerator to make room for fresh, new fruit consider if there might be some spoiled, toxic relationship you need to throw away? Or when you are dusting, polishing your furniture to a brilliant shine, consider what might be holding you back from shining?

How to Find Your Way In Weird World

Looking through binoculars/en spanareBy Jay Forte

I finally had to turn off the news yesterday. So much cynicism and negative events fill virtually every moment of the broadcast – I think I had had it with sensationalizing the negative. There were so many challenges and battles between people, and within organizations and the government. There are few other words to describe this moment in time than “weird.” What is with our inability to find common ground, care for and respect each other, and value our planet?

Though our world may be weird (and I wonder if every generation says this), it is still our time and place to have an amazing life – weird world or not. Maybe we need two options: how to cope with its weirdness and possibly learn how to undo the weirdness so we won’t have to always just cope.

As an energy coach (a coach who observes, assesses and integrates our normal and stress-induced energies as a means of achieving greater productivity, happiness and success), I am aware that we as a population resonate at a low catabolic (negative) level of energy. This is primarily due to our self focus. Our brain helps us with this narrow perspective because it his hardwired to ensure we survive; our first reactions are always to think about ourselves. This includes the fight-or-flight reaction in stressful situations or in periods of change. So, we show up ready to run or duke it out, always focusing on me, me, me. Though this may help us survive, in the long run it doesn’t seem that this kind of “survival” is anything to aspire to.

Author Seth Godin calls our fight-or-flight or reactionary brain, our lizard brain. This is us in “autopilot” – reacting instead of responding. This gives me amazing hope because there are times when we all can move from react to respond – from auto pilot lizard brain to thinking it through/being intentional. You can imagine that much of my coaching work is helping people see their reaction and learn to shift from it to intentional responses. Here in lies information in how to find our way in our weird world.

What to do?

We can cope. Sometimes realizing that things are the way they are allows us to stop fighting with them and start to accept what is. Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth that to be connected to a great life, we should always be in only one if these 3 states of mind: acceptance (hey, it is what it is), enjoyment (hey, I really like this) or enthusiasm (hey, this rocks). Anything less limits or diminishes us. So, realizing that the world is as it is can encourage us to take it as it is and cope by accepting what is. We can do this but I think this is accepting average instead of greatness.

Or, we can choose to change today’s weirdness. What are our options for change? I think it goes back to understanding personal energy. The more we focus on ourselves, the less connected we are to others. We don’t see their intrinsic greatness; we don’t value them and their lives as much as ours. To move our world out of weird, we will each need to be more present and aware – more conscious and mindful. Because as we start to show up more to the moments of our lives, we have more information and have greater clarity to be able to be more intentional in how we choose what we do next. This means not letting our lizard brain take over; instead, we access our creative brain. We move out of reaction into intentional responses. When we take the time to understand that everyone is born awesome and are just trying to figure out how to show up to life, we can be more aware, empathetic, connected and less self-focused. This expands our energy and our opportunities. We can truly move our world out of weird and into great. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.

So how do we find our way in a weird world? We can cope. Or, we could realize that we have the ability to change it. Start with you. Stop, think, assess, choose more wisely and more intentionally; don’t react, respond. Then encourage this in your family, friends workplace, social networks and soon the world. Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but imagine what that world would be like.

We never need to accept weirdness as our standard. Though our fundamental brains just want to keep ourselves safe, our more advanced brains can rise above – choose more wisely, see more opportunities and see the greatness in each being. Be present. Gather information. Be intentional. That is how it is done. I’m in, how about you?

5 Attitudinal Traits of Winners

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 11.19.34 AMBy Lyna Jones

“You will turn out to be an alcoholic and a prostitute, just like your mother. You are too stupid to do anything else.”

This sharp statement would resonate in my ears daily for nearly four years. My foster mom apparently didn’t perceive any potential in my 13-year-old self. Ever since that statement, I have been fiercely determined to win the game of life and break the chains of my past. I knew that my strength of will would ultimately liberate me from the ruinous patterns of my family.

Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is, as are the mental tools to become the victor of your own existence.

Here are the 5 fundamental traits of a winner that have permitted me to claim the happiness that I own today.

1. Staunch Perseverance

The only person who holds the chief capacity to get in the way of your goals is yourself.
Anything and everything is possible if we possess the staunch willingness to persevere until we reach our destination. We must recalibrate our mental focus upon our destination every single day. It becomes a personal value that shapes our character and refines our approach to win. Thomas Edison was the epitome of perseverance: He conducted nearly 10,000 experiments before finding a filament that would burn in the electric light bulb.

Perseverance does not entail an obsessive repetition of the same behavior and techniques but the ability to re-assess our approach keeping our end goal in mind. The path of high-achievers is paved by failures, rejection, and discouragement. But the winning mind is simply never deterred by such momentary setbacks. It strives forward with tenacity and resolve.

2. Clarity of Purpose

Do your dreams truly come from the innermost part of your soul or do they belong to somebody else? Our family, environment, peers, and cultural expectations, role models, largely influence us. It is paramount to live up to your authentic dreams. Let yourself stand for your individual truth. Honor and pursue the jolts of your own heart. Embrace your peculiar preferences. We are often programmed to fit into the current societal norms that we loose touch with our unique desires.

My childhood dream was to become an attorney-at-law. I was persuaded that such a profession would automatically earn me the approval and respect of the others. That dream was irrelevant to my soul. It was not carved out of a passion for the law. It was chosen to impress others. Clarify your vision. Write down your burning pursuits and their accompanied reasons. Let go of what is not genuinely yours to create space for your soul to barge in. Let authenticity be the authoritative mark of your dream.

3. Always Learn More

Winners are fully committed to developing their craft. Become a perpetual student to increase your knowledge, your value, and your confidence. A winning mind stays teachable. Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in the world. Yet he works with a coach, Sean Foley, to sharpen his swing.

People with the most information always have an advantage. Develop a system to increase your repertoire of information. I maximize my daily 45-minute commute to work to listen to personal development audio books and podcasts, which is the equivalent of a book per week. My life schedule is extremely tight but I make my free time very productive.

Learn more. Accumulate experiences. Bust through the walls of your comfort zone to propel your growth forward.

4. Look Forward

How do you feel about your future?

You are not your personal history.

Let your past be your mentor for the positive lessons it contains and leave the darkness of the past behind. The elements of your past can be immensely useful if embraced as constructive blocks for a better future. Anything is possible because nothing is certain in the future tense. Winners assume the energy of a triumphant outcome.

5. Core Confidence

You must become your biggest fan.

If you believe that you can, you are right. And if you believe that you can’t, you are also right.

Develop a self-belief so strong that it will ineluctably compel others to support you in your journey. Know that you possess the necessary skills, mindset, and self-concept to prevail in the end. Enough positive self-talk will burst through any obstacle so give up your “I can’ts”. My primary goal since first witnessing my mothers drunkenly fall outside of a bar has been to set my soul on fire in order to teach others self-reliance, determination, and the power of self-love.

* * *

Born and raised in Normandy, Lyna Jones is a Certified Life Coach with a staunch desire to help others step into their extraordinary life. Having endured many grave hardships throughout her journey from childhood into young adulthood, Lyna is equipped with passion and perseverance. Still growing and developing as a writer, she is a passionate individual dedicated to inspire and galvanize each soul she works with.



When You Reconnect


Wednesday, 9/28

“When you reconnect with where you came from, you can have more clarity about where you are now and where you are headed.  Your roots and heritage are divine.  You are also rooted in your conditioning, so you doubt yourself and you forget your natural divine state.  The conditioning is like an overlay, obscuring your light… All healing  involves clearing away this overlay of untruth—to get to the truth of who you are.”

–Selacia, The Council of 12

Steve Farrell

Humanity's Team World Wide Coordinating Director


I once read that when you die, the world continues on and all of your responsibilities and obligations will immediately evaporate and the residue they left over would get resolved with out you.  Hmmph! Isn’t that something to think about? All of  your dedication and hard work mean absolutely nothing in the end and someone will fill your place when you are no longer capable.   If you take those statements and compare them to your own life (as I’m sure you already are), one could become deeply depressed.   All of a sudden you are not as truly important to the world as you might have once thought you were. After I finished my personal pity party, I realized that the only thing that lingers when you are not around is the intent you felt when you go through your daily motions.  I decided at that moment that I needed balance in my life.  Work does not define me, but rather I define it.  In order to not get burned out to the point where im going through motions in an unhappy state of mind, I would need to fill my day with other activities that did not involve my biggest stressor.   First move, I shut off the phone.  Second move, I just began to breathe.  Yes it was just that easy.  Here is a little advice that I try to follow…Each day, take a moment to close your eyes and listen to your breath.  Find joy in a random passing moment.  Spend more energy trying to understand rather than judge situations…So the next time you are stressed about all of the "day to days" that you didnt get done, or whenever your overwhelmed with duties from work or home, stop to remember how insignificant those things truly are and take a moment to enjoy your life.  

The Willpower to Cleanse

So I’m starting a cleanse today: No alcohol, refined sugar, caffeine, dairy, or gluten for the next 9 days. I’ll be eating mostly veggies, fruits, and some lean protein (I eat chicken and fish). I’ll be exercising as much as possible, yoga to sweat the toxins out and swimming/hiking for cardio. And of course, drinking tons of water.

I’m doing this to give my body a break, rejuvenate my cells, flush out toxins, maybe drop a couple of pounds, and generally feel good as we enter into the holiday season. I suppose, if I’m being perfectly honest, I have to admit that I’m also doing it as a sort of test of my willpower. Can I avoid the mid-afternoon bites of chocolate and glass of wine with dinner that I so love? Can I be super conscious of my eating choices, resist temptation, and even revel in my self-discipline? This kind of stuff appeals to me… I like to test myself.

Many years ago, I did the 10-day Master Cleanse in Singapore because, after traveling the world eating street food for 9 months, I was having terrible digestive issues. Also known as the "lemonade diet," this cleanse entails consuming copious amounts of water mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper throughout the day, and rinsing out your colon with a warm salt water flush every morning. You eat nothing else the entire time, but take in close to 2,000 calories worth of lemonade. Surprisingly, my energy didn’t dip too low, and my digestive track cleared out completely. But I also undeniably felt proud of myself for having stuck with it – almost like a professional athlete who has just won a race.

After my Ana Forrest yoga teacher training in 2008, I went on her recommended raw food diet for two weeks. I ate only raw veggies and fruits and nuts, plus raw milk for breakfast and occasional raw fish (sashimi) as well as raw desserts from a local raw restaurant, Cafe Gratitude. Throughout the process, I felt disugsting. My stomach was bloated and gaseous, I had no energy, and I got cranky as hell. In the end, I didn’t feel that I’d accopmlished all that much mentally, either. I mean, I still got to eat raw agave-sweetened avocado chocolate mousse!

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever done a cleanse before. If so, why did you do it, what did you do and how did it work for you?

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Paul Mayne

Imperfections & Inabilities

Editors Note: The thing I am working on the most right now is how to stop the constant negative conversation in my mind.  This article is such a beautiful reminder of how important it is to calm down that not so nice someone who is often bringing you down inside your head.  What is the point of being hard on ourselves when the world is tough enough already?  Read below, and take the time to read the piece more than once in order to fully understand how you can move forward with a more loving way to treat yourself.  ~Nitika~

One common problem I find women have trouble with is asking for help. And, why wouldn’t we? Our culture today embeds in us very early on the idea that we must pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, be totally self-sufficient, independent, and if we can’t do everything, then we simply aren’t trying hard enough, pushing hard enough, or working hard enough. It’s important for every gal to know how to change a tire, file her taxes, and put her make up on in the subway, among many random skills.

But, what about those times when we bite off too much? I am a constant culprit of biting off too much.  I pack my days from 7 a.m. through 11 p.m. where I am rushing from one appointment to another or to meet with that friend before grabbing dinner with the other scheduling no time for myself, And, when I look at another woman’s planner, to my surprise, it is always just as packed as mine. When asked to complete a task, I jump to say, “Sure, I can do that!” That includes formatting an entire Microsoft Access database that I don’t have experience with and running in a relay triathlon when I have tendonitus in my knees, and organizing a charity event without having the time to organize it! I have trouble asking for help. Or, simply admitting I can’t do something. We all do. In a world where saying, “I can’t,” either means “I’m stupid”, or “I’m lazy,” how can we not ask for help?

VIEW THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://yourbellalife.com/featured/imperfections-and-inabilities/


Find Comfort and Peace in Solitude

 Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When I walk into people’s homes where the tv seems to always be on, I can’t help but think to myself, "Why all the noise? How can they think clearly?" 
 When it comes up in conversation, people explain that having the tv on in the "background" helps them to avoid feeling alone and that the background noise is soothing. Not saying this is true for everyone…  but if you do you do this, why? Are you aware that you do this? What happens if all of the noise stopped? Would there be an uncomfortable silence? Would you be willing to try to stop and sit with this feeling?  Please let me know what you discover.
 If you find that you are a bit stressed, out of breath and/or little accidents or incidents are irritating you – Stop! When things around you aren’t flowing it means that you are out of alignment with the moment and not fully conscious in the now. You are reacting and not using your power to choose.
 Reduce the stimulus in your environment, turn everything off and sit down for a moment in complete silence. Quietly focus internally, breathing deeply and listen to your thoughts as though you are an observer. Observe yourself in your environment, see yourself sitting and thinking. Repeat the word peace several times until your body reflects that feeling and you relax peacefully.
 "May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." Mother Theresa
 We have so many gifts to share with the world, stop the distractions and "noise". Instead listen and follow your heart, be guided by joy! Embrace Your Life! 

Kelly MacLellan M.Sc.

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