Self-love: Aren’t you forgetting something?

This blog post is part of the Week of Self-Love hosted by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt of annesophie.us
 

Throughout the past few years, as I’ve gotten more and more acquainted with my intuition, I’ve grown to love my heart and hate my mind.

9-25-13 Self-loveEvery time I write an article and my heart is singing the words to me, my mind eventually interferes. When I re-read the draft later, I can always tell where the mind started talking and the heart stopped.

Every time I meditate, or sit watching a sunset in awe of its beauty, just when I reach that peak of intensity, my mind jumps right in with some trivial thought.

It’s like a demanding, spoiled little brat. One that constantly pulls on your sleeve asking for attention or throws rotten tomatoes at you as you’re lounging on the beach.

I’m also very introspective. Which means I investigate and observe everything my mind does. And, the more I do it, the more I grow to dislike the ego and its manifestation through my mind. Mindless actions, poor decisions, bad habits… you name it.

And for a very long time I kept thinking of my mind just like that – like a dangerous temptation, a pesky annoyance. Something I was constantly trying to control, to shut down, to turn down.

Until one fateful day. [Read more…]

Our road trip honeymoon adventure

I’m back, y’all!

Sunset in Iowa

Sunset in Iowa

What a beautiful road trip we had! And how many things we learned from it! One of many adventures in our life as newlyweds.

I know I was supposed to post this yesterday… but we just returned a couple of days ago and I’ve been so busy being utterly lazy and going through our pictures that I simply didn’t feel this post was ready until now!

Here’s what we learned… [Read more…]

Wanna fly? You’ll need this…

I am SUPER excited because TOMORROW I’m leaving on my 2-week honeymoon road trip!

Can I get a WOO HOO?!?!?!

Beyond the fact that I desperately need a break from my day job, Tim and I have been waiting for this forever. Seriously. F-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Our little family

Our little family on our wedding day!

We got married December 31st at the courthouse (we had the sweetest judge!), and now we’re FINALLY having our honeymoon! We knew from the beginning we wanted it to be a hiking trip (we’re outdoors folks) and planned it around the beginning of the school year (fewer crowds) and fall, our favorite season.

Since I’m from across the ocean, we’re waiting until next year (hopefully!) when my family can join us to have the real deal. But it’s still going to be an intimate wedding… that’s just our style.

On our trip we’ll be hiking in the Grand Tetons, visiting Yellowstone, and seeing some of the Pacific Northwest. I can’t wait to tell you all about it (and share some pictures with you) when I come back! I bet I’ll have some great insights to share from this trip.

Since I won’t have any internet access next week for sure and WordPress can be iffy about releasing scheduled posts at the right time, there won’t be a post next week! But I’m going to schedule something to go out the week after that, since I’ll have enough internet access to make sure you get it.

But today’s video has absolutely nothing to do with all of that. It’s completely random.

You see, I finally had the flying dream. Yep, I’ve never had it before. And it was AWESOME!

But, more importantly, it taught me a great lesson about life, one that I desperately needed to be reminded of right about now. And I thought I’d share it with you. Hope you enjoy it!

And yes, I know the video got cut off at the end. That was just my inability to cut the video properly. I apologize. My last few words were “and so that you can fly!”

 

 

How are you going to take this lesson to heart and apply it in your life?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

How to handle stressful times (and 8 life lessons I learned from my craziest week ever)

You may have noticed that I normally post on Thursdays. Last week, I didn’t.

That’s because I’ve had the craziest week, possibly in the history of my life. Going from a personal crisis to working 12-hour days at my day job with little to no recovery time to a few smaller logistical crisis moments was, ahem, tough.

So I did what I would want you to do. I honored myself.

I ignored conventional “wisdom” and did not strictly enforce regularity. Instead of forcing myself to sacrifice sleep or the quality of a post that would go up on Link to Yourself, I put myself and you first.

I didn’t pretend that I had it all together. I let myself fall apart. As I’m sitting here now, picking up the pieces, recovering, sleeping and resting, I have time to reflect and energy to write.

Keep Reading…

The biggest mistake you’re making that’s keeping you from being happy

Ok, so I know you didn’t miss my silly faces and bad hair days, but for some reason you seem to like video better. So, video it is, then! And today, I’m back with more silly faces and another bad hair day. But this one is short, sweet, and to the point, so promise me you’ll watch it!

I make a lot of mistakes every single day.

I mean, A LOT.

When you’re a ditz like me, you grow a sense for these things.

But the mistake I’m talking about today is bigger. And it’s not reserved for clumsy ditzes like me.

Pretty much everyone I talk to makes this one. And it makes them feel powerless, unhappy, and needy.

When you make this mistake, you will feel kind of uneasy, like you lost your balance – because, in a way, you have.

It’s very easy to stop though. All it takes is noticing it, and knowing what it looks like.

Ok I’m going to just stop beating around the bush and let you watch the video already!

 

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing – the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitudes in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

– Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Where have you been giving your power away in your life? How will you reclaim it?

 

How to have difficult conversations and avoid arguments

I bet there are many things you’d like to say, but you just don’t know how.

You would like your husband to do more work around the house so you can have some more free time, but every time you’ve brought it up it turned into the Niagara Falls of shouting matches.

You don’t want to carpool with that annoying friend anymore. She’s just too much of a Negative Nancy. Even though your negative ramblings were fantastic when you started being friends, you’ve since grown to have a much more positive perspective, and would rather kick her negative boo-tay out of your passenger seat.

You want to finally get your parents to listen to you. Despite the fact that you’re a grown-up, they continue to tell you how to think, what to do, and how to do every step of it. To get away from feeling like you’re going to explode every time you talk to them, you’ve reduced contact a lot. But family relationships are important to you, and you just don’t know how to put it gently so that they get the message and don’t take offense with your assertiveness.

Let’s sit down for some coffee and chat about this. In the video, you’ll learn the basic techniques for handling difficult conversations without having them balloon into arguments. You’ll also get to meet my kitty Leto (who’s currently curled up my lap with his head resting on my arm as I type this). Like me, this video is slightly wise, slightly ridiculous and entertaining, and slightly awkward. You’re welcome.

Now, let’s apply these principles…

To approach the conversation with your husband, first, relax and center yourself. Connect with your inner wisdom and make sure that you really know what you want out of this. In this case, you just want more time for yourself. So sit down with your husband (at a time when you’re both calm and in a good mood). Here is a script that you can follow:

Sweetheart, you are really wonderful and I appreciate everything that you do for me. I’ve been feeling really tired and worn down recently. I realized that I tend to work too much and neglect the time I need for myself in order to function properly. I’d like to cut down on some of the housework that I do, but I feel that if I did that, the mess would just keep me from relaxing. I need your help so that I can take a few hours a week to take care of myself. Would you be willing to pick up x, y, and z chores around the house?

Letting go of friends that no longer support you in your growth and development is really tough, not to the least because of your guilt. In order to put it gently to your friend, start by just refusing to engage in negative conversations. Whenever your negative Nancy friend starts bitching about the last thing her husband or boss did, change the subject or say something positive about that person. Since she might start growing uncomfortable with this, next time she starts being negative it would be helpful to just be honest and tell her this:

My dear, I very much enjoy having your company in the car every morning. However, I am trying to change my life around and have set two goals for myself: that I will not gossip anymore, and that I will practice gratitude instead of dissatisfaction with all areas of my life. I would really appreciate your help in achieving these goals. Could we maybe talk about something positive instead of this?

Who knows – you might even make a positive impact on her life if she decides to join this challenge as well. Or, she might start making excuses for not carpooling with you in the future – in which case, well, you got what you wanted, right?

Being assertive with your parents can be very difficult. The reason why parent-child relationships are so hard to change is because the familiar communication and thought patterns you’ve been using since childhood or adolescence are just too well engrained. But, like all conversations, this one is also possible:

Mom and Dad, I love you and very much appreciate how much you are still by my side every step of the way. Right now I’m going through a time when I feel that I need to figure things out for myself. While I appreciate your intention to support me, whenever you try to guide me in any direction I start feeling insecure about my own ability to make decisions about my life. I would very much like to have a flourishing relationship with you guys, but I’m having a hard time being close to you right now. I believe that I would be much more open and close to you if I was able to feel more confident about my own ability to make decisions. I would find it much more helpful if you supported me by listening to me, instead of giving me advice. I do value your advice, and I will value it that much more when I ask for it.

As always, the key is to stay in touch with yourself, as well as with them. Even though in the video I say you should “stay in your own shoes” while you talk (as I’ve demonstrated in the scripts above, I not once accuse the other person of something, and only speak in terms of achieving my own goals and possibly a mutual goal like improving our relationship), it’s equally important to “step out of your shoes” when you prepare your conversation.

Your husband wants his own freedom, and to not feel like he’s doing everything wrong – so when he finally does start picking up the housework, don’t be one step behind him yammering about how he didn’t do it right.

Your friend wants someone to listen to her and understand her. If you want to preserve that relationship, make sure that you are still present and listen – maybe help her see the silver lining in the situation (in a discrete way… don’t get in her face about it!)

Your parents want to keep you close and to pass along their wisdom. By ensuring them that listening to you more and giving you less advice will lead to you being closer and more honest to them and asking for advice (and actually listening) when you need it, you’re keeping this conversation from blowing up.

As in any big change, expect some external and internal resistance. Your husband, friend, or parent might retaliate or get worse before they get better, and your gut might not feel so great after having that conversation (or while having it!). This is because any situation you’ve been in for a long time has somehow supported your status quo. You had some reason for keeping things the way they’ve been. This is also why it’s so crucial to know what you want and why you want it before you even start.

Phew, that was a lot! Hope these tips and scripts help you out. Now it’s your turn! How do you have difficult conversations and keep them from turning into arguments?

Grandmothers are the brightest diamonds

Happy Mother’s Day!

This week I’m participating in the Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign.

We always love our grandmothers, but how often do we really stop to think of how strong they are, and how amazing they are?

Grandmothers are true powerhouses. They have gone through a long, tough life, raised children, put out emotional fires. They worked outside the home and kept a family. They shaped the world for us women as we know it, and shaped our minds with their wisdom.

Beautiful Dianne

Beautiful Dianne

I always like to say that people are like diamonds in the rough. They have to polish themselves in order to allow their light to shine out.

Grandmothers have done just that – polished themselves through their life experiences. They shine the brightest light, which allows them to love the most.

Everything we do is either done out of love, or out of fear. Grandmothers live in more love than most of us. They have learned the power that love has over fear.

Today, I would like to introduce to you a special grandmother.

I met Dianne by pure chance. As a good friend of some of her family, I was amazed to discover this amazing woman who only had sweet words for everyone. Throughout the years, I have witnessed her generosity and sweet, gentle nature. She was always encouraging, always with a smile on her face, always spreading love.

More recently, I have also witnessed Dianne’s bravery. A few months ago, she had a stroke. At the hospital, they discovered that she had stage 4 lung cancer, that had metastasized to her brain.

This news devastated everyone who knew her. I stand testimony to the fact that she deeply touched everyone who met her, even if they didn’t know her well.

Despite the bad news and the chemotherapy she has been going through, Dianne has kept her wonderful smile and upbeat attitude, and continues to always care more for others than for herself.

Dianne has long been an inspiration for me, and I have looked for a way to show her my admiration for quite a while. When I saw this Grandmother Power campaign, I was grateful that the perfect opportunity had finally shown up.

I asked some of Dianne’s grandchildren to write something about her or to her.

Here is what her granddaughter (and my good friend) Kyrie says about her amazing grandmother:

23 years ago my mother gave birth to me. My father wasn’t around much, so my grandmother stepped up to help. From the moment she cut my umbilical cord, we formed a bond that will never be broken. She has helped to raise me, shape me, and mold me into the mother and wife I am today. From the jewelry to the clothes, from the “Nana advice” to the traits inherited. Without her I wouldn’t be half as strong as I am. I will never take for granted all the wonderful things she has given me and taught me.

She has always been a strong woman. A kind woman. A caring woman. She was always the one who had the answers. The one who helped everyone. Now it’s our turn. Our turn to help her. Our turn to try and give her some answers. Although no one can give you an answer as to why you are chosen to have cancer. Why you are the one who has to fight so hard to live such a simple life. Nana has touched so many lives. And she continues to do so now. Now that she is fighting even harder. And showing us that she is even stronger than we ever thought possible.

No words could ever say how much love and respect I have for my grandmother. She is and always will be everything to me.

Love,

Kyrie

Dianne’s sweet granddaughter-in-law Kelly also had some beautiful words for her:

I have to say that your smile is amazing, it’s so warm and from the moment I met you I felt as I had another grandparent, a “nana” I never had one of those before, you made me feel accepted as part of a “new family” I love you as though you were always my “nana” and though we are far apart you mean a lot to me. I don’t know if I have ever seen you not smiling. I know if I ever needed just someone to talk to you are there.

You are a very strong woman, I hope I can become half the woman you are.

I love you Nana.

Hugs and kisses.

Love,

Kelly

Dianne, I sincerely hope and pray that you will conquer this cancer with your inspiring courage and big heart. You are truly an amazing woman that I deeply admire and look up to. One day, I hope I can be half the grandmother that you are.

I posted this partly to thank Dianne for how wonderful she is and to show my admiration for her, and partly to inspire you.

You don’t have to have a perfect life to be happy. You don’t have to have a lot of money to be generous. You don’t have to be in perfect health to enjoy life.

Happiness is in your hands.

Let’s learn the power love has over fear from the gentle, gracious, generous, and loving grandmothers in our lives.

What have you learned from the amazing grandmothers in your lives?

Update: Dianne has sadly passed away. She will always be remembered by her friends and family as a strong, joyful woman who could always bring a smile on your lips and sunshine in your heart. She will be sorely missed.

Do it anyway

For a short while I had stopped writing.

My enthusiasm waxes and wanes. This time, it was at an all-time low. I had reached a perpetual writer’s block.

Everything I wrote sounded like it came from a drunken slobbering monkey.

Post 7 4-15-2013I could keep writing gibberish and working on it, which would be more painful, or take a break give up, which would require much less effort.

And, for a while, I did the easy thing: I just gave up. I rested and waited for my writing mojo to come back.

But it didn’t come back. Instead, it just kept me waiting… and waiting… and waiting.

After a while, I realized something important.

As you’re reading this, a second is passing.

It’s passed. Boom.

Gone forever.

You will never get it back.

By now it’s been 3 seconds.

Tick Tock.

What are you doing now?

You’re the only one who cares.

Time doesn’t care. It just keeps ticking.

Want to get something done? Get it done.

Afraid to do it? Too bad, the time keeps ticking.

Tick tock. How long are you going to let fear hold you back?

Time doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your fears, your insecurities, your plans, joyful moments, or successes. It just keeps ticking away.

Go ahead. Blame it. Cry about it. Kick and scream. Throw things at it.

It doesn’t care. Nothing can hurt it. It just keeps going.

Tick Tock.

Wake up! You will never get this time again. Where were you a year ago? Where did your a-year-ago self want to be now? Are you there? Where do you want to be one year from now? How are you going to get there?

Put your butt into gear. Time doesn’t wait for your fears. It doesn’t wait for your boss to give you a raise. It doesn’t wait for your spouse to change.

Want change? Do it yourself. Get a new job, or even better, start your own gig. Put your talent out there. Change yourself first and let others follow.

Stop worrying about things that you can’t control.

Realize that your worries don’t make time go any slower. It just keeps ticking on.

So you can wallow in worry and anxiety and self-pity, or you can move on and become great.

Because worry and anxiety and self-pity sure as hell won’t make you great. Only action will.

Every second, you have a choice.

Are you going to be proactive or reactive?

Proactivity moves you forward. Reactivity keeps you at a standstill.

You can’t go back now. You can’t change things. Master Time has the keys, and it has locked your past away.

What a minute ago was the present is now the past. You can’t do anything about it.

So just take it, and make the best of it. Because you only get this moment once. It will never come again.

You might get another opportunity, but it will never be in the same circumstances.

It might be better next time, or it might be worse. But are you willing to take that chance?

What if today is the last chance you have to do something you’ve really wanted to do?

Stop wasting time and giving your power over to the moving arms of the clock. It doesn’t know anything but its song. Tick Tock. That’s what it’ll keep doing. Whether you work or watch TV, whether forgive or hold a grudge, whether if you regret things or fear the future, it just keeps ticking away.

It is your responsibility to keep up with it. Want something in your life? Do it, right now.

I decided not to let time have power over me.

I decided that, if my writing mojo never comes back, that’s alright. I will practice myself into a good writer. I don’t need talent or the permission of time, I can barrel right through that writer’s block.

This is what I really wanted to do. Whether I did it or not, the time kept passing anyway. So I said “screw it”, and got ready to pour out some terrible writing.

Guess what happened?

As soon as I stopped giving it so much power over me, it came right back. With a vengeance.

So, when you feel stuck, remember that…

You have the power. You have the choice. You can get stuck, or you can keep going. You can take a strategic break and come back with more ammo, or give up altogether.

One thing is for sure: time doesn’t care. It keeps ticking away, regardless of what you do.

You might only get one chance.

So screw it, and do what you really want to do. Do what makes you happy. Shine your light. Live out loud.

How to deal with not getting what you want

I’m happy and proud to introduce to you…

… the very first Link to Yourself Coffee Chat!

In these weekly videos, I will be taking your questions and covering juicy important topics about obstacles that stand between you and the vibrant life you are creating.

Recently, I’ve been having a tough time dealing with not getting what I want. From the big things to the little things, it’s been a pattern in my life that I finally decided to address.

Once I figured out a system for handling it, I felt much better and was able to let things go and know what to do next.

I love this issue because it’s something we all struggle with! It’s never easy to let go of the disappointment of not having gotten what we wanted.

In the video, I’ll give you a 3-step system that will help you take that disappointment and turn it into something that will help you grow. Interested? Click play.

In the comments below, tell me:

1. What did you want and not get, and what need were you trying to fulfill with that desire?

2. Where was this need missing in your life?

3. Is this a pattern in your life, or just a one-time thing? What are you going to do about it?