Tag Archives: SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Be Better Today Than Yesterday

better-than-yesterdayWe don’t have to change the world today. We don’t even have to invent the next great product today. All we need to do is be just a bit better today than we were yesterday. Because greatness happens in the commitment to learning, improving, growing – in being better – in showing up more significantly to our lives and our world today than yesterday.

My daily intention is to show up bigger, happier, stronger and better today than yesterday. A forward movement each day, allows me to constantly get better and enjoy the process at the same time. After all, life isn’t a dash – a race or a sprint to get to an end. It is rather, a meandering path – a journey – where the value is the journey, not the destination.

To be better each day requires that:

  1. We show up present to our moments. In these moments are information about both our world and us. As we become a greater part of the moments of our lives, we start to enjoy life – a life we completely ignored as we rushed from thing to place to person. And in those same moments, we learn about ourselves – what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. We start to discover and connect with our inner hidden self – hidden by the lack of attention and awareness. This moment has everything we need to know how to respond to the next moment – more aware, more authentic, more courageous – better. To gather its wisdom, we have to intend to show up to it.
  2. We tune in to our world’s needs, challenges and opportunities. My personal perspective is that we are each different and unique on purpose – so that our world has all of the wisdom, abilities and resources to successfully handle whatever it needs. As we discover our unique abilities by being more present, we now can look at our world in a more focused way to assess how we can bring our best to the situations that need our best. We can make things better. It may be in how we parent, how we teach, how we connect in the workplace, how we start to solve a local, national or international problem, how we inform others about health, safety or spirit – the list is endless. We tune into the world differently, searching for ways to bring our best selves to it to make it better.
  3.  We allow others the ability to be better. So many times our judgments about others stop them from achieving their focus of being better. Our comments, perspectives and opinions shut people down and divert them from their paths of greatness and awareness. To live wisely and well, we each need the ability to know ourselves and be ourselves; it therefore follows that we all must then allow others to do the same – to know and be themselves. By showing up as their true selves, not only do they then have the ability to be better, but they have the ability of bringing what makes them better to all of us. We all get better. I love how that works – by each of us getting better, we make “better” the way forward. This is how we transform our world, each day a little better than the day before.

So how do we focus on being better? Know yourself. Be yourself. Let others be themselves. This allows what is best in us to come forward. Be better each day. Small incremental improvements create great results over time.

How do you want to show up in 2014? My intention is to always be just a bit better.

Like this post? Check out these similar intents on Intent.com

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Why You’re Perfect Just The Way You Are.

shutterstock_123704254Less than two years ago, I was lucky enough to be living in walking distance to a Barnes and Noble. Somehow I would always find myself attracted like a magnet to the often shamed and typically avoided self-improvement aisle. My friends used to joke that my walking into my then-favorite section was like an alcoholic walking into a liquor store: I would literally go through book by book for hours on end, searching for some hidden secret that I thought might help me do a little better at this whole thing called life. These were my “self-help” binges, and I would exit those aisles more utterly confused than when I walked into them. Still, upon first whiff of that delicious Barnes and Noble scent, I was unable to stop myself from going back for more.

I must be missing some kind of guidebook everyone got when they were born, I would think to myself as I scanned each book in my favorite section. If only I could find the answer somewhere in one of these books, I would have it all figured out.

I came across many-a-book that would instruct me to love myself unconditionally, and I was told that if I could just give myself unconditional love and gentleness, I would have the peace I was looking for. I would repeatedly fail to understand what that meant and assume this implied I was failing life in general, only to love myself a little less as I sadly trudged away from the self-help section.

I would search and search, and I would find nothing I didn’t already know or nothing that could really give me what I wanted. Why? Because what I wanted was to be accepted just as I was, not if only I could love myself. This could only come from me, not from “passing” the exam called “life” with flying colors because I spent my whole life in the self help section of the book store and got all the answers down.

Although I’m slightly sober of my self-help section habit (okay, I did make one trip there the other day) I’m still finding I’m walking away from many a “spiritually minded” article or magazine with the same feeling of inadequacy I used to get from reading Cosmopolitan, or hanging out in that darn aisle of the book store. No, I don’t feel like my abs are too flabby or like I don’t have enough sex appeal, but I do feel a little bit like I’m “not spiritual enough” or like my limited kale intake doesn’t grant me access to some kind of higher plane of living.

So let me just say, I’m deciding there aren’t any rules. I’m deciding I’m good enough right where I am (and I get to decide that every single day.) In a world filled with rules and instructions for how to let go of rules and instructions, I am always granted the choice to accept myself, warts and all. No matter what I might be struggling to quit, hang onto, or pick up, I can embrace myself right where I’m at, well before I get to whatever final destination I’m heading toward.

After all, I may never “arrive” there anyways. I might as well enjoy the ride.

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For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

How to Own Your Flaws Like a Champ

Freedom“Hi, my name is Yael and I’m a flirt. It’s embarrassing for me. I don’t like it.”

Believe it or not, this was progress.

This is the conversation I had with myself in my room several months ago, before I fell asleep. A fairly revealing talk with my best friend left me thinking. As she had (multiple times) before, she told me that I’m a “flirt.” That “everyone” knew this and it was just a part of who I was. This offended me, so I ignored it – like we all ignore things what we wish to avoid and pretend never existed…ever. But I soon came to realize that “avoidance” is a silly and detrimental thing.

Surprise! None of us are perfect. We ALL know this, yet we have trouble looking at ourselves once we realize that we, in fact, aren’t perfect (whatever “perfect” means). We all have qualities that need fine-tuning or adjusting. To ignore them is to do ourselves a disservice. So let’s empower ourselves and get to tuning!

Years and years of self-analysis, frustration, shamelessly crying, and over-thinking have led me to a place where I know how to “edit” myself pretty effectively and relatively painlessly. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may help you achieve a place of calm and self-acceptance:

  1. Find your cave. It doesn’t have to be a cave. It can be your bed, the corner of your room, your favorite lawn chair, or even your local ice creamery (I mean…why not). It mostly just needs to be a place you call your own—one you feel blissfully comfortable in. This is your quiet place. Your place to think.
  2. Get comfortable. We’re about to do some fairly uncomfortable things, so don’t make the situation worse. Use the restroom, make sure you’re properly hydrated, and put on some sweat pants.
  3. Reflect. Think about your daily actions. Try to hone in on the things that didn’t feel right or perhaps upset you.
  4. Analyze like you’ve never analyzed before. Try to look at those little bits more carefully and figure out where they are coming from. Is this a recurring pattern? Is it triggered by something else? What can you do to reverse this? What does it make you feel?
  5. Let it all out. Now that you’ve picked yourself apart, you’ve got to organize! You can’t let these thoughts continue to stew in your brain and transform into a frightening monster you’re likely to run away from (because we’ve been running for far too long). To do this, you should write it down or say it aloud. I personally prefer the latter (though I do write quite frequently as well). When you say your issue out loud, it’s almost as if you are transforming it into an entity that is outside of your self. You hear it from a distance, and it becomes less personal, less internal, and you start to warm up to the idea that it can and should be worked with. The same goes for writing, or really any expressive tool. Once it’s out there, in the open and out of your head, it’s manageable. It’s more concrete. It’s a real, tangible thing you can handle.
  6. Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm. At this point, you should try to think of solutions for your problem. You don’t have to do this alone if you feel comfortable enough discussing it with a trusted other (but always trust yourself, first and foremost). Think of ways you can change the aspects of yourself that are weighing you down. If you come up with something, I suggest trying to put it into a short, witty mantra so you can carry it around with you in your head, all day every day. If you don’t come up with a solution, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of the time we won’t. It’s important to acknowledge that merely getting it out there in the open is beneficial in itself. The solution will come with time.
  7. Hop on to the flip side. Get positive! Just like you were once required to do when editing someone’s rough draft in high school English class, it is pertinent that you point out some flaws you may want to address (or keep as part of your quirky bits of flair), but ALSO, and very importantly, make note of the things you really like. When you analyze yourself, you need to also praise yourself for and reflect upon your positives. The things you love about yourself and that others love about you. This creates level-headedness, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Things that suffer when we acquire a tunnel-vision-focus on our personal flaws. You’re awesome. You’re great. Be patient with yourself. You wouldn’t throw out a car just because it needed a few routine maintenance checks—that would be silly. So why would you treat your self-esteem and self-confidence like that? Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. You deserve better than that!

Like most things in this world, it comes back to balance. Treat yourself with care. Do not beat yourself to a pulp with your flaws, and do not raise yourself up to the highest peak with compliments. Do not be afraid to make adjustments you really think will better you as an individual, but do not be too hasty to alter all the little things within you that make you, well… you. This process takes practice, but that practice will lead you to a comfortable place that no amount of avoidance could ever get you. I’m still working to get there, but I can’t wait.

 

7 Ways to Let Go and Watch Your Life Flourish

if it makes you fly...

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. -Lao Tzu

So often we think we need more to be happy, when in actuality we just need to let go of limiting beliefs and erroneous understandings. The following are 7 things you can let go of right now that are part of my continual practice, which I know yield significant results!

1. Let go of living your life for your parents.

From a very young age we seek approval and acceptance from our parents because generally we’d be rewarded if we did what they pleased. As we grow the stakes become higher. If we aren’t careful we end up living our entire lives by our parents expectations without ever understanding what it truly means to be ourselves. Performance is exhausting, and when you are performing you are out of affinity with yourself. Authentic people are happy because life becomes an effortless expression of who they are. Let go of what your parents want for you, and unapologetically be your authentic self.

2. Let go of negativity.

Every single word that leaves your lips has an energy vibration attached to it, and what you put out to the universe comes back to you. We unconsciously complain about insignificant things like the weather, traffic, a plane delay, with no understanding we humans are gigantic energy systems generating a vibration that serves as a magnet drawing things of matching frequency to us. Life is in your mind. Detox yourself from your negative talk, and watch your perspective of the world around you change.

3. Let go of the need be right.

It seems like “being right” has a dynamo PR team spinning the virtues of being right, with promises of love, riches and security in heaping measures to the extent that the idea of being wrong has become so horribly unacceptable. The reality is the need to constantly be right is an external sign that something is very not right on the inside. The need to be stubbornly right is an attempt to control things, which stems from deep fear and non-trust of you. The next time you find yourself going toe-to-toe with someone ask yourself, do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

4. Let go of judgments.

Judgments are the killer of creativity, and consciousness, yet we judge all the time. We have a very finite understanding of what is right or wrong and we criticize and judge people for being different, and ourselves for not being good enough. If we can take a step back and recognize that 99%of people simply operating off the information they’ve been given, we grow into greater compassion and acceptance. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, it just means we see the bigger picture. After all, with all the diverse displays of creation, destruction, action and reaction on planet – as messed up as it seems sometimes – we’re all just trying to be OK. Let go of your judgments, and discover how much happier you’ll be.

5. Let go of your excuses.

I wasted years of my life with excuses! “It’s not the right time, I need some training, I’m not sure…blah, blah, blah.”

Excuses are nothing more than fear of failure. The most effective way I know to neutralize these fears is to simply be the beginner. The moment is NOW. Set a photo directive and start before you’re ready! You and your trusty pal, Google, can figure it out together. There is boldness in action, and when you take action it’s like sending a flare signal to the universe attracting all that you need right to you! Get going!

6. Let go of the past.

The past. Everyone’s got one. Sometimes we run from it and other times we glorify it, but either way it’s like dead weight shackled to our leg. It happened; it hurt, but now what are you going to do about it? You have a choice. When we stay resentful and focused to the past, we carry a victim (poor me) vibration that makes it very difficult to create what we want. When we let go of it and recognize that every single past event led us to here, where we are gaining consciousness to create a life of our dreams, we vibrate in gratitude – which is a spiritual superpower. Let go and claim your power!

7. Let go of externalizing your love.

This is tricky business, my friends, and one I can’t claim to have completely figured out yet. However I know from the spiritual teachers with whom I personally work that it is possible, and they are exponentially happier because of it. To externalize our love means we’ve made something outside of ourselves the reason for our happiness, and therefore we’ve become dependent on it. This dependency on externals is bound to create unhappiness, because nothing in life is constant and things – whether we want them to or not – will change. To let go of this means if our love, dog, home, money, etc. were to disappear, we would still be OK. It means understanding the true source of love and security comes from within, and is not dependent on that which is external to us. This is the unshakable belief to which I am inching closer, but let’s face it…still have quite a ways to go!

Romantic Failure Doesn’t Make You Any Less Perfect

AloneI was 17 the first time someone told me I might be addicted to love. In my defense, I think I’m one of the many suffering from such an affliction, it’s just that I happened to become aware of it at a relatively young age. Also, I’m sorry, but if you seriously managed to survive listening to ‘90s pop radio in your car every day and not get “addicted to love”, allow me to copy your notes after class. I seriously have no idea how you did it. (Seriously though. No idea.)

Needless to say, at 17 years old, I really didn’t appreciate hearing this … nor did I have any real willingness to admit it might be true. I took my friend’s observation as a sort of death sentence, a prophecy that I was doomed to romantic failure for my entire foreseeable future. Still I continued repeating the same self-defeating patterns in relationships, over and over, until one day I got tired of it and decided it was time for something new.

While I wish I were writing this as someone who woke up one day and said “today is the day I will stop being attracted to misogynistic assholes”, that’s not exactly how it all happened. Instead, I’ve woken up many times with that same commitment, it’s just manifesting gradually (gradually: AKA not exactly the way a control freak such as myself would have preferred).

If you can’t tell already, this wasn’t (isn’t) my favorite quality about myself, this fate of being attracted to the “wrong kind of guy” and dating different versions of him over and over again. I hated that I found myself reduced to such a fate and was committed to reversing it. When I realized a commitment like this would expand over a lifetime, and not be part of some kind of overnight transformation, it was the sad start of what has been a bitter and painful war with myself.

For whatever reason, I tend to be more interested in dead-end romance than cheesecake and too much Chardonnay. Regardless of my drug of choice, I’ve somehow failed to realize that the truth of my lingering and perpetual feelings of incompleteness without the presence of another half doesn’t make me only half a person. As I once believed at 17, I am not broken. I am not eternally damned.

I guess I’m writing this because there was a time when I really didn’t believe that (okay fine: it was last night.) There are still many times when I don’t believe that, when I believe that my distant past or even my recent choices are a reflection of how worthy I am. But that’s not true. It isn’t true. And it never will be.

Whether it’s donuts or carbohydrates or unavailable men or unavailable women (most of us have something we run to, I’m just listing the usual suspects…) we don’t have to be perfect to be, well … perfectWe don’t have to have it all figured out (I certainly don’t) and however many chocolates or escapades must come between us and whatever it is we’re looking for, we can trust we’re not missing something we should have been born with. Some essential piece was not left out of the box when we arrived. I like to think I’m just picking up the pieces I already have and putting them back together: it may take a while, but heck, hopefully I have a while.

And yes, even though Celine Dion and Savage Garden might have tried to convince me otherwise (little buggers), I really need not worry. I’ve had all the pieces this whole time.

 

For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Deepak Chopra: Creating Your Own Reality

In this episode of “Spiritual Solutions” on The Chopra Well, David is wondering whether we create our reality or if our lives are just subject to chance. Can we create reality through intentions and opportunity? What is the role of randomness and chance? Deepak explores five areas that can influence “randomness” – beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods.

How often do you feel like you have control – or even input – on your own reality? Circumstances and unexpected events tend to crowd our awareness and our sense of reality, to the point where it often feels like we are just puppets in a random world. The lesson here, though, is that much of what we perceive as “reality” is just a projection from our own consciousness. If we believe the world is out to get us, then 9 times out of 10 it will appear as such. If we, instead, address our beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods, we may begin to see how much agency we actually have in creating our own reality.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts and subscribe to The Chopra Well!

Want to be a Better Communicator? Hold up a Mirror

frameI recently took a couple’s workshop to learn some new skills, and to refresh the ones that I have let get rusty. Brushing up on new tools to deepen my connections and nurture my relationships is an ongoing practice for me because I know that if I don’t my well-being will suffer. My relationships are the most important aspect of my life. Without connection I become untethered, and feel lost in the world.

I specifically wanted to learn more about communication, and how to diffuse power struggles and stand offs in my relationship. I couldn’t seem to get my partner to see things from my perspective, and it always seemed like someone had to win or be right for things to get resolved.

As a therapist I consider myself to be pretty savvy when it comes to relating and communicating. I pride myself on reading, learning and practicing everything I preach, and I am relentlessly hard on myself when I “lose it” or become “triggered” by my unconscious. Choosing to attend a couple’s workshop as a participant, and not as a clinician, forced me to shed my knowledge to be open to the experiential teaching being offered.

I’m trained to listen to other people’s struggles, to interpret the underlying meaning of communication, and to reflect back my interpretation of what is being said based on my education and personal experience. I sit daily with my clients analyzing their words, actions and affect; I’m careful not to bring my own judgments or reactions into the picture.

I hadn’t realized how much my clinical training and experience effected the way I relate in my relationships until I was asked to practice a well-known couple’s therapy technique called Mirroring.

I had to let go of what I thought I knew to make space for what I could learn.

Mirroring is a form of communication that allows each partner to speak openly about any feelings while their partner actively listens without reacting. The listening partner is asked to “mirror” or reflect back what was heard…verbatim. The idea is that the speaking partner’s experience is being mirrored exactly as they see it for themselves. The listening partner’s feelings, judgments, interpretations, and reactions are completely put on hold until it’s their turn to respond.

This is extremely hard to do because the instinct is to defend, counter, argue or be right. Listening to another person’s experience, and honoring it as being completely valid and true (for them) is one of the greatest relationship gifts to be given. The only other time we have the chance to experience this kind of resonance is with a primary caregiver, and the likelihood of that for anyone is slim to none.

If you think about looking in a real mirror, you will realize that what you see being reflected back is your own interpretation and version of yourself. When you practice this technique it’s as if you are holding up a mirror for the other person. It’s not your version of their version, it’s an uncontaminated, pure and organic reflection of what they are feeling and experiencing.

It’s complete resonance with their authentic self.

Mirroring works in any situation. You can use it with your children, family, friends, and even in your job. It’s a diffuser of agitation because at the core of every human being is the deep need and desire to be heard and understood. Almost all arguing and fighting stems from the feeling of being unseen or misunderstood; when we feel like our own experience of things is being challenged or questioned our defenses get heightened and we want to “fight” to be right. When we experience someone else as valuing our feelings and beliefs of what is true, we can feel safe and calm.

Mirroring builds incredible trust, and it immediately turns the space between two people from scary to sacred.

If you set an intention to be a mirroring listener, you will see your relationships improve. Walk through the world this week as a mirror for others. Let go of your need to be right, and of what you think you know to be true. You will see how habitually you relate to others, and how quick you are to bring in your own ideas of how things “should be”.

5 Ways to Be Present and Start Living Your Real Life

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 12.29.21 PMBy Levi Newman

We live in an age of distraction. Technology, around every corner and in almost every pocket, clogs life’s airwaves and makes it difficult to be mindful of the moment. Even as I type this (on a computer, no less) I can hear a television blaring a movie in the other room. My son, I’m quite sure, is on his Xbox 360 ,and my wife has checked her phone no less than 35 times in the last 10 seconds.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to take a trip without bringing along my iPad, but there has to be boundaries. That boundary should begin when we start to miss life as it unfolds in the present.

This idea has been running through my mind because of the 4th of July. I was sitting in the park watching fireworks with my family, equally enjoying the colorful explosions overhead and the look of excitement on my children’s faces, when I took a moment to glance at the crowd in hopes that I’d find the same delight amongst the masses. But what I found closest to me was disheartening—a man was watching every second of the event through the viewfinder of a large camera, never once bothering to look up and observe the beauty with his own eyes.

It was in this moment that I realized that we often squander the precious seconds of our lives because we are not mindful of the moment. That’s not to say we shouldn’t capture important events, but how often are we trying so hard to record something for posterity that we miss out on the importance of the memory for our own brain?

This is why living in the moment, or mindfulness, is so important. We should embrace life, letting our thoughts and feelings surround us until we’ve given active, open attention to the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

This way of thinking should apply to every moment, not just the bright and shiny ones. When we’re at work, we should fantasize less about clocking out at five and more about the task at hand. Not only would this make you a better worker, which has its own benefits for you and your employer, it would help you appreciate those around you.

When we’re living in the moment it also keeps us from dwelling on intrusive memories, such as past problems or uncertainty about the future. This decision to take active control of each moment isn’t an easy undertaking. Most of us allow our thoughts to control us, not the other way around. Because this sense of balance often eludes us, we need to stop concentrating on doing and focus more on just being.

The true reason to be mindful is simple: mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic and more secure in their relationships. This allows for reduced stress, an improved immune system, lower blood pressure and often alleviates chronic pains. Not to mention that being accepting of who you are and what you’re doing allows for a higher self-esteem and the ability to acknowledge and improve upon one’s weaknesses.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started on the right track.

1. Reduce your self-consciousness. In other words, dance as if no one is watching. Being able to be comfortable in your own skin is difficult, but allowing yourself that freedom is important.

2. Avoid worrying about the future by focusing on the present. If you’re so wrapped up in what’s going to happen tomorrow, you’re not concerning yourself with what is happening around you, which may ultimately prove to be more important.

3. Improve your relationships with others by taking control of your emotions and avoiding action and impulse. There are going to be times when you may feel like lashing out or losing control, but taking a few moments to collect yourself and be mindful of your responses can make all the difference in the world.

4. Make the most of time by losing the watch. Time often dictates every second (no pun intended) of our lives, so much that we may cut off the enjoyment of an event just to stick to a set schedule. Planning is important in life, but so is spontaneity. Take time to enjoy both.

5. Avoidance isn’t a solution. If you have a problem, the only way to improve your life is to tackle it head on. If you allow things to fester without addressing them you run the risk of things getting much worse before they get better. It’s OK to fear not having the answer, but being mindful of needed actions will help you through the toughest times.

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Levi Newman, a 10-year Army veteran and graduate of the University of Missouri. Levi currently serves as the senior author for the Veterans United Network. He also works as the Director of Outreach for Veterans United Home Loans, where he builds and maintains relationships with businesses, organizations and individuals. To keep up with Levi, follow him on Google+!

Why Isn’t All This “Good Advice” Working For You?

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 1.02.00 PMEvery day you are bombarded by well-intentioned, “good” advice ranging from stress management to diet and exercise. Sorting it all out can be difficult, especially when it’s conflicting: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” versus “out of sight, out of mind.”  Some of this good advice is a mysterious secret which will be revealed if you buy the book, and some of it comes in the form of meditation and visualization tapes which speak to you personally – you and millions of others listeners. And this is precisely the problem: One size does not fit all.

If you tap into YOUR gut intuition, you already know:

  • What your healthy balanced meal plan should  include – which foods agree with you and which don’t
  • The specific daily exercises which work for you
  • How to reboot your natural rhythm
  • That stress is internally driven and based on your perception
  • The person you need to forgive
  • That getting a good night’s sleep is restorative and how you should proceed
  • That how you wake up in the morning impacts your entire day

For example, let’s look closely at this last point. I prefer to set my alarm clock five minutes early which gives me greater control to wake into consciousness. By easing into awareness I can set the tempo and focus necessary to begin my day. I believe that my daily awakening is so important that I prepare for it the night before with my own intention for the next day, like laying out my clothes for work in the morning. I prepare a phrase that I find from a poetic, philosophical or religious work and on many evenings I write my own words by reaching into my heart. I know what I need to tell myself to manage my day. Since seasons and conditions vary, my self-help messages will be different. I don’t need to listen to someone else telling me what to think or envision.

Bottom line: No one can motivate you. To generate will power you need to create “resonance”. Whatever you desire to achieve, whether losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising, pursuing a higher degree or dating again, you need to reflect if what you wish is in harmony with your inner self.

The key question you need to ask yourself: Do I really want to achieve this goal? Or is this a goal that:

•I believe I “should” pursue

•My parents always wanted for me

•I feel pressured to achieve because of competition with friends and neighbors

When you are in harmony with yourself, you will be eager to complete any goal which you genuinely want because it is your heart’s desire. On the other hand, you lack will power because subconsciously you really don’t want to change the status quo. You might be getting some reward even from a bad habit. For example, some of us pity ourselves and enjoy playing the sympathy card. “Poor me, I can’t meet any good men as they all seem to be taken. I’ll just have to fill my empty heart with this rich, creamy ice cream.”

Ultimately, don’t give away your power. Hypnotize yourself! Self-help literally means self-help.

Are You Trying To Find Your Purpose?

Enjoying the sunHas trying to find your purpose ever stressed you out? Do you feel some sort of pressure to make something meaningful with your life? In the past, when I heard people talk about their purpose, I would feel stressed and believed I was supposed to be doing something different or more with my life.

I thought that I needed to be clear about what that purpose looked like in the physical world. I then realized that by searching for this clarity, I was missing the life that was actually given to me as this present moment. I realized I had been missing the opportunity to express what was most important to me while I was searching.

What if it’s not as complicated as the mind makes it out to be? What if in the larger picture, what you’re doing is not as important as how you are being while you are doing it and the quality of energy you are putting out into the Uni-verse?

We are all hooked up differently to feel alive and sometimes it’s just about paying attention to what already lights us up. One thing that has helped me get clarity around this, and that I often recommend to clients, is having what I call a Joy Journal. It consists of taking some time every night to simply write down your favorite part of that day: this could be connecting with a coworker on a break, teaching a child how to ride a bike, or even being in nature or with animals.

Over time I was able to become more aware of the themes that spoke to me and I consciously created a job that brings in those elements and that feels aligned with my values. I knew I enjoyed connecting authentically with people, creating environments where people could more deeply discover who they are and ask meaningful questions.  I loved being a part of an inspiring community, and I knew I loved Bali.

So… I created a Wellness Retreat to Bali and over the last four years have been leading groups there on an immersion retreat where we do yoga, daily meditation, we get massages, eat raw food, get inspired by each other and also express our creativity. At the heart of these activities I could see that what I truly value is consciousness work, genuine relationships and supporting people. It’s no surprise that I also work as a psychotherapist because these qualities are expressed in that work as well.

It’s not that my purpose is my work, but my work supports me in expressing what I hold as most important to me. The invitation is to first clarify what you truly value. If at the heart of things you hold important in life is love, then discover how love expresses itself in your life moment-to-moment, person to person. Or if what you really value is service, then simply asking yourself everywhere you go, “How can I best serve here?” is a way of embodying your purpose. Then watch as life unfolds by honoring what is truly in your heart.

You can trust that the intelligence that holds the stars and the galaxies in the Uni-verse is also orchestrating your life… you can rest in that. A flower doesn’t know where it is going or its ultimate purpose, and yet it still blooms… something in it knows.

Goals are fine, and if you already have clarity about a specific expression your life is taking, then follow that, assuming it’s aligned with your heart. Just don’t get lost in the goal, thinking that getting “there” will somehow deeply satisfy you. It’s easy to have the end in mind or believe you have a purpose and then lose sight of the other 90% of your life, brushing your teeth, driving to work, meeting people at the grocery store, etc. This 90% is as much a part of life as the other 10%. By mentally living in the future, we miss out on the opportunity to express what we truly value now.

Often what we actually deeply yearn for is the creativity and spontaneity that arises out of the present moment. I invite you to enjoy this discovery as you let go of the stressful ideas about how you believe life should be, and experience the fullness of following what you truly value in your heart moment-to-moment.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”  ~ Mother Teresa

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