How to Hold On to Happiness

Hold on stronger and longer.

Hold on stronger and longer.

Vacation…all I ever wanted…

 

When it comes to creating and sustaining your happiness, does it feel like a vacation or a dead-end job? Do you look at your days only to get to five o’clock or limp along to the weekend. Or to the next paycheck? Does this suck the life out of you and your happiness?

 

I’m not a fancy person when it comes to time off. I like visiting my extended family and hanging out and talking. We travel to Corpus Christi to go the beach and then go home.

 

It was simple enough until there were reports of high levels of flesh eating bacteria in the ocean. Ack. My mind went into overdrive. Instead of worrying about my kids eating Hot Funyuns for breakfast or if I had brought along my small pharmacy in my purse of Advil, Tylenol, and Band Aids to cure any unforeseen aches or injuries, now I had to entertain new thoughts.

 

Would my scraped and scrappy, bug bitten children get infected with the flesh eating bacteria and come back looking like they were auditioning for the munchkin version of Walking Dead?

 

Needless to say we skipped the beach. And went to the world aquarium.

 

Now I must mention. I’m not a big fan of crowds. As a sensitive empath, I feel everyone and everything. Seriously. I feel the energy of the man who is pissed at not finding a parking space. I feel the anxiety of the woman who is afraid she doesn’t have enough money at the food court. I feel the impatience of the parent who is about to haul off and swat their child. I felt the excitement and danger of the little girl not being supervised by her parents and about to fall in the stingray pool.

 

Thank goodness I became aware that I was getting swept up in everything else that wasn’t my happiness. I saw my two crazy babies aged 7 and 5 who were squealing at jellyfish and screaming at sharks. And It hit me, like a hammerhead shark. If I wanted to experience happiness in that moment, then I needed to savor the moment I was in. And it worked out like this…

 

How to Hold on To Happiness by Savoring

 

Step 1. START HERE. BE CURIOUS

For me in the midst of this hot crowd of people, I took a few deep breaths to pull myself out of my head. Now, I could become more aware and mindful and witness this beautiful sea life, which I don’t get to see on a daily basis. The blue water in the ginormous tanks with slo-mo fish was as hypnotizing as they were calming. As I scanned the room, I became curious about what made me happy.

For me it was easy. As my kids moved from aquarium to aquarium, their gasps and squeals and wide eyes of discovery reminded me that I get to share their discovery of this life and what it has to offer. I felt the expansion of happiness.

 

Step 2. THRIVE WITH THE FIVE.
When I was exploring with my sons and husband the pool of stingrays, instead of reaching for my phone to capture the moment, I decided to live it first with all my senses. I noticed the hot windy air and the contrast of the cool water when I carefully dipped two fingers down to touch the back of a small slimy stingray. I heard the voices of my sons as they waited not so patiently for the stingray swim by. I peered in eyes of my husband, and we made crinkly eyes at each other knowing that even after 25 years, this is another good day. I could hold on to happiness in this moment even longer by using all my sense to experience it and be there fully.

 

Step 3. RETELL IT WELL. RECALL IT ALL.

The last step after finding the moment and savoring it with all your senses is to recall it all and retell it well. Remember this moment at the end of the day. Or share it with your friends or on Facebook or album. Research by Dr. Fred Bryant who is one of the top researchers on the study of happiness shows that people who savor moments received a bigger boost of happiness than those who didn’t or those who found negative moments in happy situations.

 

At the end of my day, I relived the experience with my sons. I also shared photos with my cousins and my beautiful aunt Armida who is 79 and we reminisced about happy and cherished beach memories from decades past.

 

If you want to hold on to happiness longer and stronger, then remember to focus on the moment you are in and become curious about what makes you happy. It could be a cup of coffee. Your dog. Your favorite song on the radio. The smell of suntan lotion. Use all your five sense to experience the joy at a deeper multi-sense level.

 

Feel the heat of your coffee mug. Feel the softness of your dogs fur or listen to the groans and panting as you scratch his belly. Sing loudly to your favorite song. Feel the smooth coolness of your suntan lotion.

 

And then share them with the world. The people that you love and love you most get joy from your happiness. Give it too them. Broadcast and share your happiness and it will travel a long way. And you will be able to hang on it longer because it will last a lifetime. Yours and beyond. Namaste.

The Magnitude of Gratitude: Align Your Mind with the Heart of the Matter

Your intention: Start with Heart.

Your intention: Start with Heart.

 

A week ago, I had a dear friend leave the Earth. Brain cancer. This is the 2nd mother I’ve known to pass from brain cancer in the last 45 days. These moms left family and kids behind. Hearts are devastated. In a word, it sucks.

 

Most days, like most folks, I don’t think of my demise. It’s too much. If you Google the 10 top ways we die, there are many studies  that list all the ways  we are going to kick it and none of them say, “soundly and beautifully in our sleep.”

 

How to we adult our mortality? Our heads and minds don’t want to wrap around that concept. And when our loved ones pass away, our hearts shut down and scream silently, “We. Just. Can’t. Deal”.

 

So, how to we find happiness amidst our own little lifespan?

 

We do it by small steps. Really small ones. Mindful ones.

 

We do it by aligning our minds with our hearts. We create awareness. We use intention followed by action because the real secret to life is this:

 

We can increase our happiness and increase the magnitude of our gratitude by LOVING THE CRAP OUT OF PEOPLE.

 

And we can do it simply in these 3 ways. So let’s go get them.

 

 

  1. Soak In Their Being

As you go through your day today, really “see” people. Be completely present, hear their choice words when they talk with you. Listen to them without peering at your phone. Ask them questions about their life and hear them without hearing your own brain chatter with what it will say next. Don’t be in a rush. When you connect with them…slow down and let the connection soak in. They will instantly feel your attention, presence, and they will experience the biggest jolt of love and happiness. Not to mention, this costs nothing and you will receive this back in the currency of happiness.

 

  1. Show Up. Every time.

Make time for your friends, family, people that you care about. Yes, we are busy. Yes, we are tired. So what. Remember those 10 ways we could perish? Yeah and so, get to it.

 

Call them. Schedule time to see them. If it doesn’t work out, call them again until it happens. Call them on birthdays, anniversaries. Check on them if they are sick. Check on them for no reason. Practice your tenacity. Drive to their house. Celebrate with them. Cry with them. By creating this constant push of love heading towards them, this grows the bond between you both. More times than not, it also becomes reciprocated and expands your gratitude and aptitude for happiness.

 

  1. Just Freaking Tell Them.

In a world full of texts, emails, Snap Chats and tweets, you still need to spell it out for people and tell them to their face and not their face time that they matter. Tell them that you love them. Tell them why they are special and there isn’t anyone else like them. And then tell them again and again.

 

Why?

 

Because they matter.

 

And they matter to you.

 

Be intentional with your mind today and align that heart into action for happiness. And when our time comes a very, very, very, long time from now, nothing will be left unsaid. Our lives mattered because our love mattered. And that love is pure immortality.

 

You matter to me.

 

I am grateful that you are alive today. And I love you. Really. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: How To Drive Off Worry in a Hurry

Get ready to ride.

Get ready to ride.

 

Are you a worrier?

 

I thought so. And I bet you’re really good at it.

 

ME TOO.

 

I can worry about anything. I am completely professional at this. I worry about not having enough gas in my car. I worry about one of my 3 dogs eating Scooby Doo Legos. I worry about running out of toilet paper when I tinkle or worse. I worry about people not seeing the signs they are given by the universe or by loved ones who have passed. I worry about people leaving kids in their car during summer. I worry about people walking around the grocery store with large firearms and packs of cinnamon buns because “they can”. I worry about spending enough time with my family and friends. I worry about being in my head too much when I’m with those family and friends. With a cart full at Target, I worry if I’ve forgotten something. I worry about how easily I can gain weight just by looking at people eating while driving by Sonic. Damn those tater tots with cheese.

 

Those spinning wheels of worry.

 

What do we gain from worrying other than driving ourselves completely insane?

 

One reason we worry is that we believe that if we do then maybe whatever we fear won’t happen. The bad news won’t come. The job won’t go away. The bills will magically get paid. The relationship will work out. The car won’t run out of gas. The boogey man won’t know our address.

 

Another possibility is that when we worry, we also think that we are “working on it” by worrying about it. It’s the autopilot of disaster mindset. When we worry all we do is spin our wheels and our story into a ditch of despair and create more fear. Who wants to ride in that all day and night?

 

So, how do we stop the worrying wheel of misfortune? Let’s test-drive a few options.

 

  1. STEP ON YOUR BREAKS: DEFINE IT.

 

Define what you are worried about.

 

Many times we go through our day with a feeling of unease because we are unconscious of what is troubling us. All it takes is giving a few seconds to yourself to become mindful about what’s idling emotionally on the inside. Close your eyes (unless you are really driving, then wait until you are at a parking lot or by yourself). Take at least 3 deep breaths. The slower the better. Next, ask yourself, “What am I worrying about that’s taking over my happiness?” Be aware of the first thing that pops out because this is your primary source of worry and this is very, very important.

 

You may hear “I’m worried about…”

…money.

… my health

… my family

… if I should stay at this job

… my relationship

…never being happy

…paying the bills.

… being alone

…death

You may get more than one idea. Stay with the first one. And work on that one first. This is essential so that that you don’t go into overwhelm and create more worry.

 

  1. STOP IDLING: KNOW YOUR PAYOFF

Once you know what is on your mind and creating stress in your life, become curious and ask yourself what if any benefits you have received from worry about this stressor.

 

If you can say truthfully, “nothing”, then go to step 3. If you realize that maybe you are getting a payoff by delaying taking action or it keeps you from worrying about other things. Acknowledge this. Don’t judge. Just realize that your brain is trying to protect you in that moment. But long term, there is a better option to drive off worry without it having lasting emotional and physical effects on your body and spirit.

 

 

  1. FULL PEDAL TO THE METAL. REALIZE AND MATERIALIZE.

 The next step is to take action. But which one? Again ask yourself and trust that intuitive voice. What can one small action I can do to reduce or get rid of my worry that I can take right now?

Don’t worry if it’s the right step or not. All steps are movement to progress. This motion creates the emotion of satisfaction of moving forward. Progress creates happiness.

 

Action steps could include

-Walking a block

– Putting gas in the car before it goes to red

– Paying the bills

– Calling and scheduling an appointment

-Looking for leads or searching for a new job

– Sitting 5 mintues to calm your nerves

-Reaching out to a friend for company

– Start to Google the things you need for a will

 

After doing these 3 steps, keep doing them. Always. Anytime you feel that uncertainty rise in your day, continue making time for yourself and taking the steps to move in the direction of your desires, your ambitions, your love and your peace. You will have now entered the on ramp to the Freeway of Love. Namaste.

How to Hold on to Hope and Love when Tragedy Strikes

Hold on to Love.

Hold on to Love.

Sunday, I woke up early and I saw a little banner flicker on my computer and it said something about 20 people dead. In my mind, I heard the words “terrorist attack, ISIS”. I didn’t click on the link because it was too much for me so early in the morning. Later, my husband told me a shooting took place at a club in Florida. I second guessed myself and told my husband what I heard in my mind and thought I was wrong.

 

I wasn’t. My intuition had kicked in before my first cup of coffee. My heart stopped.

 

Even though I limit my consumption of news, the information kept pouring in from all venues. The aftermath. The unbearable sadness. When I read about Mina Justice, the mother who was communicating with her son Eddie via text before he died, I felt the white-hot horror. Fifty mothers lost their children in one night. As a parent, our only quest is to make healthy happy loving human beings and to keep them safe for as long as we can. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 85, you will always be our kid.

 

Today I took my kids to their summer camp schools. When I picked them, a large storm had passed but the sky was still dark. When we got home it was even darker. The power was off and the lights were out.

 

My boys became scared as I lit candles. My youngest Atticus asked, “Are we going to be okay? Are we going to die?” I answered as truthfully as I could.

 

How do we hang on to hope and love in the face of horrific events that linger in the very fiber of our false security blankets? How to do we keep hoping, loving, and trying to live out our lives when both real and imagined fear appear and leave us feeling helpless without any power to keep going?

 

We can lean into these three things to help create awareness, process, and heal the stress that is created by our daily lives as well as the global events that impact us both directly and indirectly.

 

  1. Be still and feel all the feelings.

Many times when things happen to us, we barely have a chance to process what we are feeling because we are inundated with so many events and distractions. Throughout the day, we feel a general unease about everything, never being able to pinpoint the uncomfortable sensations.

 

So wherever you are, stop for a moment. Take a breath and experience what you are feeling. Call it out if you need to.

 

After driving through the sheets of blinding rain to drive pick up my kids, I sat in the car waiting for the lighting and thunder to pass though. I labeled all my feelings out loud. No one could see me and I really didn’t care if they could. Thinking about the shootings in Orlando, I said, “This feeling is sadness. This feeling is devastation. This feeling is empathy for all the mamas. This feeling is anger. The rain pounded louder on my car. My thoughts raced to my kids inside their schools. “This feeling is worry. This feeling is impatience. This feeling is tiredness of all this damn rain”. While it didn’t change the events of Orlando or the storm, it did provide my brain peace by giving my feelings and sensations labels. And I was grateful.

 

  1. Practice Extreme Self-Care.

What does Extreme Self-Care mean? It means taking care of ALL your needs. If you aren’t great about doing this on a daily basis, then you MUST do this even more during times of emotional upheaval. Extreme Self-Care is

Making sure you eat regularly

Working out

Connecting with those people that you love and care about

Connecting with your animals

Bathing, cleaning your house, washing your clothes,

Doing the things that bring you joy both big and small

Getting help from a family member, a friend, someone at your place of worship, or a counselor

Connecting with your higher Source. Whatever that is for you, spend time in prayer, mediation, gratitude, and love that you get another day to experience life.

 

Today my routine of extreme self care was working out, reading, spending time with my sick dog and my two healthy ones, getting my children earlier from summer camp, connecting with my sister, counseling clients and checking on my husband at work.

 

By creating these routines, you create a sense of hope and a sense of groundedness. These two sensations will help you on the next step.

 

  1. Do Something Outside Yourself.

When you feel that sense of dread and darkness that feels unshakable, do something for someone else. It could be your own pet. Your family. A charity. By helping others, you step outside of your emotional state and begin to feel an expansiveness that you can provide help, hope or love for others. You become stronger than you think. You become love and courage in action.

 

As soon as I got home with my boys, I got into mama-mode. I gave our dogs treats so they would stop barking at the rain. I lit candles all over the house so we could see. And when my little one asked, “Are we going to be okay? Are we going to die?” I stepped outside all my own personal fears and worry and held on to hope and love and handed him a bowl of Cheetos and his worn stuffed puppy and said, “No, not today.” And just like that, the lights came back on.

Today, feel all the feelings knowing you are not alone. Take care of yourself a little more than usual. Reach out and feel the expansiveness of hope and love. You need it. I need. We all need it for love to win. Namaste.

How to Stop Procrastinating in 4 Easy Steps

Let's T.A.C.O about life.

Let’s T.A.C.O about life.

 

Are you a professional procrastinator?

 

I am.

 

The minute I don’t feel like doing something, I sweep. Today instead of reading each page of my will that I need to revise, I swept. I also procrastinated by looking at my 7-year old son’s journal of intricate drawings of pigs. I also searched for “taco toys” and “unicorn poop” on Etsy.

 

Many hours passed. And then even more

 

My sister even came over to procrastinate family style. Having combed through hours of educational data, my sister’s brain was fried. Instead of working on her presentation, she wanted to procrastinate with a serving of juicy gossip. I enjoyed three servings of it.

 

Even my 5 year old joined the procrastination game. He didn’t want to eat his vegetables and was dancing around the kitchen and “accidentally” dropping pieces of his food on the floor to waiting furry mouths and wagging tails.

 

My stomach tightened again as I looked my “Last Will and Testament” and wondered how much longer I could procrastinate. After witnessing the heir to my queendom stick a green bean in his nose, I knew neither of us didn’t have much time.

 

Many times we think that by putting things off that are important, we can use the burst of fear to light a fire under our butts. While it can lead to getting things done, it’s never our best work and studies show that this kind of stress weakens our immune system and wellbeing.

 

So how do we stop procrastinating instead of creating our lives?

 

It takes a TACO and 4 steps.

  1. T =Try forgiveness.

Procrastination makes us feel terrible. We have nasty negative associations with it. We can’t just snap out of it all of the time. In studies, researcher and author Dr. Timothy A Pychyl revealed that one of the most effective way we can get though procrastination is through forgiveness of our selves for our procrastination.

 

In his study, students who had forgiven themselves for procrastinating on studying for their first exam were able to study easier without the procrastination on the second exam.

 

My intuition agreed with forgiveness. The moment I forgave myself for dragging my feet for reading and creating notes for my new will, I felt lighter. It didn’t seem like that big of a task. It was simply taking revision notes of a document that was already created. Creating forgiveness helped pave the way for the 2nd step.

 

  1. A=Always take a step, don’t wait for the feeling

Pychyl suggests that we don’t have to feel a certain way in order to get something done, just do the smallest task in that direction and that gets the wheels moving.

For me, it was to only read one page of my will a day. That was doable to get through all the legal jargon. For my sister, she told herself she’d need to be done at certain time with her presentation so that she could be home at a certain time. She created the step of creating a time deadline and she made her presentation happen before the clock ran out. For my son, he took the green bean out of his nose. It left us both at ease.

 

  1. C=Create a moment of awareness, contemplate and give yourself immediate feedback.

After you take a step. Take a moment or a deep breath and see if that moved you closer to your outcome? If yes, ask yourself what you could do to get even closer. If something isn’t working , try to pinpoint what happened or if you just need to try again during another time or circumstance. And then take another step.

 

  1. O= Others: Do it for others you love.

In life, it’s no secret that we do more for others than we do ourselves. So let’s take what we naturally do and make it work for us.

 

For me, if I don’t procrastinate, I will get the revision notes done for my will, and I will be able to take care of my loved ones. My sister will get my broom. My son will get a pig in the shape of a taco and my youngest will get unicorn poop. And anything left goes to my dear husband.

 

If she doesn’t procrastinate, then my sister will create a beautiful and intentional presentation to help inspire educators to create strong schools for the children who need it most.

 

And even my son stopped procrastinating and created meaning out of his beans. He would only eat his mixed vegetables if we dedicated each bite to a friend, or our dogs, or a stuffed animal.

 

Right now, in this very moment, your crazy beautiful life is waiting for you. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Forgive yourself quickly. Take a step in the direction that will help you. Check it out and see if it’s working. And finally if you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for those you love. I’m going to stop procrastinating and be thankful that I don’t have to use my will in this moment as I sweep up green beans from the floor. I’m glad we’ve had this time to T.A.C.O. about it. Now, get back to your amazing life. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: How to Stop Comparing Your Life with Others           

Release your monkey.

Release your monkey.

 

In the good ole bad days it was so easy to be jealous.

 

In junior high, I could always focus my attention just on that one popular girl whose Gloria Vanderbilts and Polo shirts were always perfect. I could grimace about how unfair it was that she had a Gucci purse at age 13 and how she had real topsiders as she pranced down the band hall. She wasn’t me. I had “flopsiders” from Kmart and my “polo” had a dragon because it was from Sears. I should have been grateful to have clothes, but as a young teen, it simply sucked.

 

As I clopped down the hall in my faux clothes, I used to wonder, “How did she get so perfect?” She was tall, blonde, with locks of hot roller waves. Batting those baby blue eyes and braces would cause a stir in everyone. Everyone. It was spellbinding and sickening at the same time. It was ridiculous how her Jordache jeans and giggles could stop people in the middle of their hallway gossip or Rubrik’s cube.

 

Back then, my comparison marathon would normally end around 2:55 when I’d eat the rest of my bologna sandwich and Cheetos and wait for Mom’s rust colored station wagon to carry me back to my crappy reality of homework and sitcom reruns.

 

Then decades passed. And I carried my comparison monkey with me for a while until social media hit. With social media, I couldn’t EVEN compare myself with others because I couldn’t keep up with the volume. The perfect house. The super cute baby or cat or dog. Or vacation house in Aspen. So I gave up comparing myself with everyone and everything.

 

It’s insane to compare yourself to anyone at anytime. For starters, we all know that comparing yourself to others is a game no one can win. It wastes time and leaves us feeling depressed and depleted because we compare things like money, look, homes, vacations, or how many “likes” we get. And this also goes when we are at work or play and not just when we are online.

 

When we compare, we get lost in the momentum of other people’s lives instead of our own. We create judgment and assumptions on someone else’s life based on how well they art direct and shoot their lives on their Iphone 6 plus.

 

So how to do we stop the monkey madness of comparing when we get dumped on with reasons to all day long?

 

We can do this.

 

  1. Be the Bigger You

Take a moment to be with yourself, unplugged. Sit with yourself for a few moments. Take a few breaths. Think about how far you have come in your life and what it took to get there. Think about with the time you have left in your life, how do you want to be? What do you want to do? And how do you want to feel?

 

By creating awareness of where you are now, you can start to visualize what your future could look like. This empowers you and your subconscious mind to find pathways to your future now.

 

  1. Be Inspired but Dare Not to Compare

As you come into contact with others in real life and social media, it’s natural to look at them and make judgments of what they have and what they are doing as it relates to you. This is what makes us human. It’s okay to be inspired by others as long was we don’t feel inferior. When you see something you admire, tell them. It creates the shift from comparison to appreciation. If there is something that they have or have created, ask them how they got there. This empowers a belief in yourself that there is more than enough to go around and that you can do it or have it too.

 

  1. Understand Your Gifts are To Help Others.

When you take your focus off of other’s lives, then you can start to realize what your gifts are and how you can use them. WE ALL HAVE GIFTS. Yours may be cooking, designing, dancing, communicating, writing, working with children, working with animals, working with the land. Whatever it is for you, use it for your highest good.

 

By letting go of the comparisons, you allow yourself to focus on the things that matter most in your life: discovering your gifts and helping others with theirs. You go from comparing to sharing. Emerson said it best, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” And in a heartbeat, you release your little cheeky monkey. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: How to Jump Off the Drama Train.

Did you buy a ticket?

Did you buy a ticket?

                     

Woo-Woo

It was morning and I didn’t hear the whistle blowing. I didn’t get a good night sleep and the next day not even a sauna-sized Starbucks Caramel Macchiato could wake me up.

 

But some dirty nasty drama could.

 

On my way to the copier, my work friend began by saying “he cheated on me again.” I nodded and she took this as an invitation to fill me in on more lurid details. She claimed she wasn’t going to take it anymore but wanted to hang out with him to make him suffer. And then she bit her hangnail on her pinkie and made it bleed. On the copy paper. Woo Woo.

 

Again, I ignored the train in the distance because I was curious as to how this work acquaintance was “gonna make him suffer.” Another gal overheard the conversation and jumped on board about how she made her boss suffer by erasing his computer files because she suffers daily, being overworked and not seeing her family.

 

The hangnail friend would not be one-upped and upgraded to first class. We all know that person. That coworker. That family member. That friend… Woo Woo.

 

Out of politeness, I ignored the roaring of the train. The work friend continued on by how she was going to fake a pregnancy to scare her husband…

 

Now, it was too late. I missed my stop. Here’s the real kicker. I don’t hang out with these folks. They didn’t come to get counseling. They were just in my workspace and they came looking for a travel buddy on the drama train.

 

With one moment of clarity, I did what any sane person would do. I went to the bathroom. I didn’t have to go. But sitting in an empty, quiet stall, I found a moment of peace and wondered. What just happened?

 

Then it hit me. I had just bought a one-way ticket on the Drama Train. It stunk more than the ladies room.

 

Have you ever taken a ride? Willingly? Unwillingly? But more importantly, do you know how to jump off the Drama Train?

 

We all want to change the way we feel. We all want to be happy, but drama is a pattern. And it’s sensational and exciting. You can bond with others. With drama you can relive the painful past, piss on the present and freak out in the future.

 

And it might be awful but it’s never boring. It makes us feel significant because something unjust in our world happened to us.

 

And while it makes us feel special, we don’t realize that our drama stinks up and down the tracks of other’s lives and daily experiences. And long term, it causes derailment in all areas of your life.

 

So, what to do?

 

GET OFF THE DRAMA TRAIN. NOW.

 

In the fast pace of life, we don’t realize that our environment can control us if we don’t control it. This environment could be your home, work or even life.

 

Here are the 4 ways to Get off The Drama Train

 

  1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply awareness of where you are in this moment. Before you start your day, start warming your own engines. Set aside five minutes. You can do this. Take a few deep breaths.

 

  1. Breathe in Gratitude. Think about the IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE. Imagine if they weren’t. Feel the contrast. Know that they are here in this moment and really feel grateful that they love you. When you are in gratitude, you can’t be angry or worried. By shifting to gratitude, you are also shifting your habits.

 

  1. Think of one thing you want to do for yourself. It could be getting that cup of coffee. It could be playing a round of Candy Crush or Candy Crush Soda. Whatever it is. Practice that intentional kindness to you.

 

  1. Do one kind thing for someone else during your day. If you don’t want to engage with people, there are a lot animals and causes out there that could use your help. DO IT DAILY.

 

Why?

 

When you start to rev your own engines of creating that environment of gratitude for others and yourself. You start to exist in a happier state. And you start to create the habit of happiness on moment to moment basis… and all those moments make up your life.

 

But what happens when you derail and end up on someone else’s tracks. And this person or even a group of friends or family want you to board their Drama Train?

 

You say no thank you either in your words or actions. You can change the subject and if they don’t want to then walk away. In some case, you may lose travel buddies because they were used to you when you put up with the drama, and when you added to it.

 

Life is about change and constant growth. So, it they get mad that you won’t ride along, let it go. And if it ever gets too much, then let them go in love. As Joseph Campbell said, “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on the kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.” Your potential is waiting. Woo-Woo. Namaste.

How to Become More Than Before: Raising Your Standards

Raise up love.

Raise up love.

Before. I loved him even when he was drunk and drove us off the road.

Before. I loved him when he pointed a gun to my head

Before. I loved him because he loved me. And who else would love me at 19?

Before. Those were my standards for love.

 

One night, in a drunken rage, my boyfriend came after me in his apartment kitchen. I pulled out a knife and told him that if he came any closer that I’d cut myself. He did. Then I did. We both started staring at the red puddle forming on the floor.

 

The police and ambulance came. My boyfriend told the police I was mental. The police said I needed to get in the ambulance to go to the hospital or they’d arrest me for attempted suicide. It was a very quick ride to the hospital. ER sewed up my arm. At 4:00 o’clock in the morning, I waited for my boyfriend who said he wanted to marry me to show up. He didn’t.

 

I convinced the hospital I wasn’t suicidal and they released me. A friend picked me up. I didn’t sleep because I worried about the end of my relationship. I waited to see if he’d call. He didn’t.

 

My mother did. Apparently, the hospital called my parents to file the insurance claim.

Back at my parent’s house, I was numb. My mom wailed and reminded me how she risked her life to have me. My mom cried that I was named after the Kimberly diamond mine, the largest diamond mine on Earth. She also named me “Kimberly” because it also meant leader because she knew I was capable of great things.

 

She risked her life for me. She valued me. She believed I would help the people. And she would do anything for me because…

Those were her standards for love.

 

She reminded me that finding love could be a challenge, but if I could find someone who could love me like she did, then my love life would be easier. But first, I had to say no to what was not love and raise my standards of my worth. I was scared at first. Over time, I got used to the higher standards. I got used to The More.

 

Not too long after being The More, I found that man. He’s not perfect and neither am I. We’ve been together for 25 years. He is compassionate. He is loving. He is kind. He is patient. And he’s the father of my two boys.

 

When I raised my standards in this area, I started doing it in other areas of my life. And miraculously things started happening for me.

 

And it can happen for you.

 

When it comes to raising your standards, two things need to happen. First, you need create awareness and identify “who do you think you are” in this moment and what is your standard that isn’t serving you.

 

Decades ago, I thought I was unlovable and this was the best I could get. I was worried about being a failure in love. Again. This was my Before.

 

The second step to raising my standards was to change to an empowering believe in my new moment, I believed I had value. I had something to contribute. I deserved love from myself. And then love from others. This was The More Than Before.

 

Now, when I hit bumps on the road of life, I always check in to see where I can raise my standards and identity of who I am in that moment. It helps to refocus my energies to serve my life instead of reliving the pain. I simply look for The More.

 

So, as you go about your day, consider where you could raise your standards to take care of yourself and those that your love.

 

If you think, “I’m terrible with money” Raise your standards and identity. Be More. Remind yourself of a time where you found the money you needed in an emergency. And remind yourself, if you did it that time, then you can learn how to do it again.

 

If you think, “I’m going to be single for the rest of my life because that’s the way I am”. Raise your standards and identity. Be More and remind yourself of the last time when you reached out to a new friend or coworker. Remind yourself of how you are still friends today. And if you can maintain a friendship or a co-worker relationship, then you can do it in a personal relationship.

 

If you think, “I always make terrible decisions.” Raise your standards and identity. Be More. Remember a time that you made the most important decision of your life and it was the best one. If you don’t think you’ve made any great decision, then do it now and value yourself, your judgment and your ability to learn from your trial and error approach to life.

 

When you raise your standards, you create a totally new being. Your actions, words and beliefs begin to follow through and align to this higher sense of self.

 

Don’t let life put a gun to your head or anyone else for that matter. Raise your standards for the amazing human you were designed to be. Quickly, you’ll become accustomed to and fall in love with the More than Before. Namaste.

Happiness Alert: How to Rule Out Doubt

Doubt is not your friend.

Doubt is not your friend.

Do you do this?

I go through a million thoughts a day. Okay, maybe not a million. Several thousand. For the most part, I try to keep tabs when my brain is running on automatic pilot, but sometimes my brain goes by default to doubt.

 

My doubt can manifest such thought as…

I don’t know if this dress is going to be flattering.

Is this a good time to text this person about a message I just received from their loved one who’s passed?

Are my kids getting enough one-on-one time?

Are my dogs getting enough time?

Does my rug stink or is it my dogs?

Is this pain a small one or a life threatening illness?

If the guage is on “red”, do I really have enough gas?

 

Doubt.

 

It’s annoying but somehow we still think it’s our friend.

 

In reality, it really just provides delayed fear. Doubt is a con artist, it makes us think it’s doing us a favor. But it’s not. It keeps us from fully living and moving forward toward the dreams and experiences we want in this lifetime. So, how do we deal with this damning doubt? Let’s try out these 3 steps.

 

Call Out the Doubt

The first step is to know when you it’s there. I’ve been around the block a time or two and I have created enough awareness to know when I’m worried or doubtful and I’m putting blocks in my way.

 

I used to be afraid to tell people the things I know because they would think I was a weirdo. I used to use words to dance around the issue. For example, if I had a dream and I saw that someone was making a giant move across country, I used to say something like “Oh, do you plan on staying around here?” Now, I just say, I see that your moving and I’m excited that you are going to North Carolina.” If they ask me how I know that I just tell them, “I have strong intuition and I saw it in a dream.” Sometimes I get funny looks, but then we get down to the business of discussing why this move is important to their life’s growth.

 

During holidays, my doubt can really fester. I lost my mother 12 years ago, on May 15th. My mom was a mother of six, PTA President, Peacemaker, Teacher, and was very connected to spirit.

 

This Mother’s Day, I felt many mothers of friends and coworkers who had passed. I needed to simply relay the messages that their mothers were with them and share the way their moms presented themselves to me. Twenty years ago, the old me would have doubted if I should tell them and if so, how. I worried that my message would make them feel worse because their moms had crossed.

 

Now, I just say, “I have a message for you. Are you open and want to hear it?”

That’s it. I’m simply the messenger. I don’t doubt it. I just do the work.

 

You too, know yourself well. When you hear those nagging thoughts of doubt, catch yourself and recognize that it’s only a thought. A figment of your imagination. You can empower that thought or you can get rid of it. If you want to get rid of it, then…

 

Check Out and Define the Doubt

Step in with the doubt and find out why are you creating it in the first place. Is it to feel safe, to be certain? Are you afraid you might fail? Again? Ask yourself and get down to your personal truth. BE FREAKING HONEST. “I’m doing this because it feels like temporary fake safeness. Or I’m too scared to try something anything new. But by bringing the truth to what you are doing and why you are doing it, you take away the teeth of doubt. Doubt shows up as a shadow. And once we shine some light on it, it disappears.

 

Clear Out the Doubt and Make Room for Bravery and Action.

If you create awareness when doubt appears, you can analyze why it’s there and begin to clear it out. But to truly clear out doubt you need to be brave and take action. If you want a new job that’s engaging to you then you must clear out the doubt that you are not talented, define the job you feel you want, and take one step to get closer to it. Research the job, update your resume, check who you know in your social circles.

 

If you want a relationship, you must clear out the doubt that you are unlovable and start taking steps of recognizing what you enjoy doing and create time for it so that you get out in the world and engage.

 

If you want financial security, you must clear the doubt that “you’re no good with money” and take action to create a savings account or research and create your own portfolio. Or track your spending.

 

Anything is possible when you get rid of doubt. So today of all days, create mindfulness and notice when and where you are casting doubt. Ask yourself why you are doing it and what you are gaining from doubting. Ask yourself if this doubt is helping or hurting your happiness.

 

Then start to take steps toward bravery and toward happiness and your best you in this present moment. This is your life now. It’s worth it. No doubt. Namaste.

Happiness Report: How to Strengthen Your Social Support

 

Who are you going to call?

Who are you going to call?

 

When we were younger, life seemed so easy. If you felt mad, sad, or glad, you could just pass a note with a “pull here” tab. You could whisper on the playground. Yell in the backyard. You could talk all night at a slumber party or at the mall while getting your ears pierced. When you got older, it was parties, dorm rooms, friends basements, after parties and concerts. It was easy to connect, to vent, to cry and to laugh.

 

Then life happened. It got stressful. We got busier. We moved away. They moved away. Calls were reduced, writing letters was archaic and email was the new best thing. Social media emerged. Now, we have 1,000 friends all over the world. And still feel alone. Stressed and alone.

 

How did this happen? Who can we call when…

We are sick?

Our children are sick?

Our parents are dying?

Or pets go missing?

When we hate our jobs?

When we lose our jobs?

When divorce happens?

When we lose our way?

When the habit becomes an addiction?

When we are simply lonely?

When we hate life?

When we are running out of hope?

 

Life can be difficult and messy. Stress is a part of that challenge. With a good support system, not only can you navigate through these road bumps of life, but help improve problems on your own. And by dealing with problems overtime, you build emotional resilience not just for you, but to also help others. So how do you do it? You can lean into this:

 

Four Ways to Strengthen Your Social Support

 

Create Variety

Just like one size doesn’t fit all, the same goes for emotional support. You may have family members you talk with to deal with family issues. You may have a coworker you can confide in at work. You may have friend with whom you can discuss other issues such as relationships, raising kids or more. You may have the good fortune that someone can cover more than one need in your life. Just make sure that the people you confide in for emotional support are trustworthy and support you. Also, don’t have only one friend to be your emotional dumping ground. And speaking of dumping, anyone who is negative and consistently brings you down, release them. But what if you don’t have a lot of people in your life? Never fear. When it comes to emotional social support, it’s always quality over quantity.

 

Make the Time

When it comes to having a variety of people to support you, it’s vital that you create those relationships in advance. This means spending quality time with these people. Yes, you can use technology, but nothing beats face-to-face time. Making time means reaching out just to connect and not because you need something. In addition, be there for them in their time of need just as you would want them to be there for you.

 

Do You

By doing things that bring you joy in life, you can meet others who have your same interests. This is a good way to start introducing new people into your life. It will take time to create the friendship, but in the meantime, you can enjoy what you love while cultivating new relationships.

 

Ask. Ask. And Ask.

If you are looking for a specific support, you may not find it in your close circle. You may have to reach out to a group that can support you. If you have trouble socializing in general, have anxieties or bigger issues, ask for help with a therapist or a counselor. The more you ask, the more resources you will have not only to help yourself, but for others.

 

We are all here for a reason and that’s to help take care of each other. So do the work. It’s worth it. Find people you like and can trust and you would be there for them too. Cultivate all types of people. Make time to be patient and grow the relationship. When in doubt, ask them for help. And when you need them, they will be there for you to support and love you.

 

As, Shakespeare said, “Be to yourself as you would your friend.” I hope I’ve supported you today dear friend. Peace.