Posts tagged #self-development

The Evolution of Self-Love: Three Phases (original poem)

Phase one: Other/Comparison/Jealousy/

If I was you
I'd be much better off.

Your grass grows greener
(like an envious brother)

Your smile seems cooler
(like an empty mother)

Your pocket runs deeper
(like a broken teacher)

If I was you
I'd be better off.

Phase two: Angst/Self-loathing

If I wasn't me
I'd be much better off.

I'd ring true
(like the weekly preacher)

I'd jump for joy
(like the tied-down seeker)

I'd be free of a limp tongue
and a chest full of
nos

If I wasn't me
I'd be better off.

Phase three: Acceptance and self-adoration

If I were me
I'd be much better off.

I'd hug the betrayals
out of my lungs

I'd sing the praises of
life's good graces

I'd slip me on
like a new suit,
freshly pressed with hope

I am me.

I am me.

I am.

And I'm much better off.

How to Remind Yourself How Awesome You Are (even if you wish you could be Beyonce instead)

Do you love the Beyonces of the world, but feel crappy about yourself? There is a way to admire others and love yourself too!
In this video, I'll teach you how to have more confidence and reconnect with your own awesomeness. Learn about the super simple mirror trick and how to make sure you never live by the teeter totter metaphor again!

Self-acceptance: Valuable Lessons from Shrek and Fiona

At first, Shrek struggled to accept himself; he thought that because he was an Ogre, nobody would ever love him. He assumed everyone would hate him and so he found it hard to love or accept himself. He had a negative view of who he was.

Fiona lived with a secret—she went from princess to Ogre every day when the sun went down. She was terrified that people would find out who she was and consequently judge her. She felt like an outcast and a freak; she couldn’t accept the fact that she was part princess and part Ogre.

The turning point for both of them came when they met Donkey and, of course, each other.

What does this have to do with self-acceptance? First of all, weaving my favorite characters into a blog post is so much fun! Second of all, don’t be fooled by animated movies. A lot of them deliver powerful messages about life. And no, I haven’t been smoking the wacky tobacky.

Take a look at some of the lessons that Shrek and Fiona deliver (all with cleverly-timed comic relief and Shrek’s delightful Scottish accent):

1.       Self-acceptance comes in the form of a mirror

Sometimes we can’t see how wonderful we are so the Universe sends a friend or lover along to relay the message. Donkey repeatedly offered his friendship to Shrek until Shrek finally realized that he was a pretty great Ogre after all. Think of the people in your life who stand by you and tell you how amazing you are. They are here to tell you what you may not be able to accept about yourself. Try to see yourself through an admirer’s eyes.

2.      Self-acceptance means loving all of yourself

Fiona overcomes the spell she is under the moment she accepts all of herself. She sheds the shame of not living up to what she thinks she’s supposed to be (a beautiful princess) and embraces her duality (light and shadow). The gift in this is when she realizes that Shrek loves her for being an Ogre. She evolves into the beautiful Fiona—the princess or Ogre aspects are no longer important. The point is that she accepted who she was and then the miracles unfolded. Accept yourself as you are and watch how others respond to you. More often than not, people are drawn to those who are authentic.

3.      Self-acceptance is a risk

Shrek takes a risk in the movie; he accepts Donkey into his life. In other words, he lets someone in. He had to get to the point where he accepted himself enough to realize that Donkey wanted to be part of his life. Shrek took the risk and opened up; he found true friendship. However, just because we accept ourselves doesn’t mean that we are accepted by everyone else. Fiona tried to hide who she was, but when it was revealed that she was part Ogre, the Lord Farquaad rejected her. When others reject us for who we are it is painful. This doesn’t mean that our response would be to reject ourselves. This means that the person is not the right fit for us. They are not meant to come on our life journey with us. That’s ok. This realization is liberating; we can accept ourselves even when others don’t. We can make more room for those who love us for who we are. A note about family—sometimes our family members don’t accept us. Again, this doesn’t mean that we have to believe them or agree with their view of us. Our opinion of ourselves is all that matters.

The next time you start to reject yourself, think about Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and friends living happily ever after as themselves, in the swamp. Or at the very least, they are living as happily as they can when faced with killjoys like Lord Farquaad, Rumpelstiltskin and the Fairy Godmother.

Posted on November 11, 2015 and filed under emotional growth.

The Plea and The Response

Don’t leave me hanging.
Hanging from the cliff, dangling over the chasm of wanting.
Looking down but trying not to look down.
 
Don’t look at me now because I’m ashamed.
I hang my head because you caught me. Caught me reaching out.
Caught me needing, kneeling over my own glass statue. Shielding it with my wary embrace.
 
Don’t look at me now—my face is embarrassed.
You caught me between poses.
In between stages. In between rehearsals.
Suspended between carefully orchestrated deliberations.
Don’t judge what I’m doing. I do it with blindness.
Without a reliable script.
 
The Response-
I love you.
I love you through your uncertainty,
your desperate grasping of another,
frantic groping for a plug to stop this sink.
 
I love you.
I love you through the shiny mirages,
the race to the horizon,
The realization of an empty sandy landscape.
I love you.
I love you through the utter humiliation of obvious need,
your naked body in the dream where you forgot to dress,
The revelation.
The revealing that seems so involuntary.
I love you.
I love you for your striving, for running to goal posts.
I love you for beating yourself at your own time.
I love you for wanting. For needing.
For despairing. For grasping.
For struggling. For reaching.
For yearning.
I don’t hold this against you. I hold you against me.
I wrap my arms around you and stoke the flames of your raging bonfire.
I love you.

Feel like something is missing in your life? Sign-up to receive my free mini-class here and discover how to connect with yourself again: 

Words of Encouragement to Help You Feel Good Again

Sometimes when life gives us lemons, we say “screw the lemonade--this sucks!” We may feel like crap and that’s just the way it is. Maybe our business is not doing well or we’re fighting with our spouse or we just feel like a shadow is blocking our sun. In essence, we’re feeling unmotivated and broody or we lack the energy to enjoy things that we normally would. Nobody wants to feel like this for long, so what can we do?

I’ve put together my favorite words of encouragement as well as a couple of wildly insightful life observations to help you feel like yourself again. I use these words for myself and in fact I just put them to the test this morning. The first quote I read made me cry like a baby—check. Operation Eleanor Encouragement in full effect!

1.       Never give up—this quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has encouraged me throughout my life. The words are deeply profound in their simplicity—isn’t that always the way? This is the quote that got the tears flowing and opened my heart a little wider. Use this if it resonates with you as a way back home when the small and large circumstances in your life veer you off course.

Never give up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country is spent
Developing the mind instead of the heart.
Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone
Be compassionate. Work for peace in your heart and in the world.
Work for peace and I say again
Never give up.
No matter what is happening, No matter what is going on around you,
Never give up.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
More beautiful inspiration below:



2.       Do what you can with what you have and where you are-Teddy Roosevelt. I love this one. Each piece of the quote is a beautiful invitation to self-acceptance.

  • Do what you can—you can only literally do what you can. There is no other way. Again, this truth is profoundly simple and simply profound.
  • With what you have—whatever set of circumstances, capacities, talents and abilities that you have, that is what you have to work with. Nothing more, nothing less. There is great relief in this truth. You don’t have to try to be something you are not. You simply work with what you have to take you where you need to go. Dream big but don’t set yourself up for what is not in the cards for you.
  • Where you are—this refers to the stage of life you’re in, the experiences you’re having and your mental/emotional state. It doesn’t mean you can’t go elsewhere, but it does mean that you need to accept this moment first. It all starts with acceptance and awareness—where are you right now?

3.      Circling the drain—when I feel as if I’m going around in circles, sometimes I can mistakenly think that I’m going down the drain. In other words, I feel like I’m spiraling downwards into oblivion. This is when I remind myself that the world operates in a vortex of energy; this energy is constantly spiraling. The spirals move upwards and downwards. That’s the truth. So, instead of thinking that I’m spiraling down the drain, I think of it as up-leveling. I’m going around in circles yes, but I’m spiraling with the motion of life itself. Whether I’m moving up or down, nothing is static and there is no judgement in that. I can be spiraling down to a certain point, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not evolving and growing. Whether up or down I’m always up-leveling in terms of growth and expansion. Change your outlook and you’ll feel an immense lightening of the soul-try it!

My final words of encouragement would be this: don’t go AWOL on yourself. Stay with the experience, accept yourself in all ways and trust in the fact that this too shall pass. Lots of blessings to you!
What encourages you when you feel down? Comment below!

Feeling disconnected and like something is missing in your life? Sign-up to receive my free mini-class here and discover how to connect with yourself again: 

How to Stop Your Inner Worry Wart from Taking Over

If you could model your fingernails for the latest Zombie movie, then you may be a bit of a nail-biting worry wart. You’d be in good company as I’m a recovering worrier—worrying about life was what I did. What if I’m late for my appointment? What if I can’t remember what I’m supposed to say? What if I show up in my underwear? I didn’t say my worries actually made sense—all the best worries are about as logical as a Tim Burton film.

Here are some tips that I used to go from worrier to warrior!

1. Get it out: when we let our worries knock around in our brain the effect is an echoing, repetitive series of thoughts. It takes over. We don’t even realize that the thoughts are running on a constant loop and that if we actually brought them to the surface, they would stop being so loud. Write down all the worries that come to mind. Take a break, go back to it and write some more. You’ll find clusters of worries; you’ll find things you had no clue were taking up space in your psyche! The main objective is to get them out in the open where you can look at them.

2. Forgive yourself: now that you see what thoughts and worries take up so much of your energy and make you feel so crappy you don’t have to beat yourself up. This is not an excuse to say: ok, I’m a worry wacko. You had a pattern, maybe from childhood, that you picked up. So what. Now you can make a change and do something about it. Make an intention that you will choose differently from now on.

3. Choose different thoughts: from this point forward commit to being more aware of what thoughts run your life and insert new, positive thoughts. I call these the counter offers. Your mind says: What if I bomb at this interview? Your counter offer would be: What if I do so well they hire me on the spot? Take that, worry track! Try this and over time you’ll notice that you may automatically start to think more positively. Of course the tendency may still be there to worry, but you have a way of balancing it out by offering the mind an alternative way to see the world. You can choose this. I did.

4. Take care of yourself: we all know that when we aren’t get enough sleep, eating properly and working without breaks that it wears us down. These bad habits make us susceptible to more worry. We aren’t at our best, therefore we can’t think at our best. We need a solid base of health to go forth into the world with a positive outlook. Eat your greens, get your sleep, take time to sit in the park. All these simple techniques will help you see the world as a wonderful place instead of a mecca of impending doom.

Happy thoughts to you! Do you have any anti-worrying techniques? Share them below so everyone can benefit!

P.S. Ever wonder what Little Red Riding Hood has to do with personal transformation? Find out! Check out my brand new e-book What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After.

The Power of Self-Celebration: Look How Far I've Come!

Do you even notice when you’ve reached a goal? How often do you contemplate how far you’ve come? If you don’t, isn’t it about time we change that? There are plenty of reasons to give yourself a pat on the back; the main reason is the most obvious—make yourself feel good! Acknowledging yourself for a job well done creates more happiness, pride and joy.

When I say, “look how far I’ve come” I’m talking about personal growth. We can look at accomplishment from many different angles; accomplishment is also about ourselves. Who are we today as opposed to six months ago? Or even yesterday? When you stop to notice your growth, it quiets that obsessive part of us that wants to be better. “I want to be more patient with my kids” or “I want to be more easy-going”. If we start on this hamster wheel we can get to the point where every little thing is up for improvement. That’s where self-celebration comes in. Celebrate the little personal growth successes and that nit-picky part of us finally takes a breather.

Here is a process you can use to take stock of how you’ve come:

We might have subconscious ideas of how we want to change or maybe we write down our goals and keep track of them. The main point is to sit down and focus on how you might’ve changed without even realizing it!

1.       Break your “goals” into categories:

Personal-this can include anything to do with yourself and how you relate to the world and those around you. Your emotional well-being or emotional climate. For instance, I relate to certain family members much more calmly than I used to. I don’t get as impatient about the pace of my life. What is your main emotional state these days? Contentment? Satisfaction?

Career-do you have an objective with your career? Do you want to increase your annual income? Do you want a position with more responsibility and challenge? Would you like to work for yourself? Switch careers?

Spiritual-do you meditate every day? Once per week? Have you been meaning to join a local spiritual community? Get involved with some modalities like Reiki or other energy work? Are you focused on cultivating more inner peace?

2.       Do a comparison:

How did I deal with these situations six months ago? How do I deal with these situations now?

In each category how did you deal with or approach these situations? What did you do differently? Think about each category and compare how you interact with these aspects of your life now compared to six months ago. This is how you find the small shifts, growth and expansion. Focus on the comparison. This is not to give you a reason to beat yourself up. This is a way to see that you’ve come a long way! You really did shift. You really have grown—in a way that you may not have noticed.

3.       Celebrate:

Now it’s time to party! Do something wonderful for yourself. Here are some of my suggestions but the sky is the limit! Treat yourself like a VIP.

Get a massage

Go on a retreat

Get your hair done

Go to the beach

Design a plaque saying congratulations and hang it on the wall--“Look how far you’ve come!” Congratulations to me!

Remember that when we don’t stop and contemplate where we are in life, in a metaphorical sense, we lose sight of what’s important. Self-celebration is a way to say to ourselves: you really are wonderful. Look how far you’ve come!

 

How to Say NO and Feel Good About It

When you form the word NO and let it pass your lips what does it feel like? Ick? Can’t do it? Guilt shower? Does your mouth even go like that? Since we obviously can’t very well go through life without the use of the word NO, let’s get to the bottom of this!
 

My first approach to anything in my life is to ask some questions—either out loud or in my journal.

  • What kind of person am I when I say NO?
  • What will others think of me if I say NO?
  • What consequences will I suffer if I say NO?

Anything interesting come up for you there? Sometimes you let things rattle around in your brain for a few days and then all of a sudden—eureka! Major insight happens.
 

Now that we’ve delved a little deeper with the questions, we can move onto some psychological beliefs we may have about saying NO

  1. Do I identify as someone who doesn’t say NO? Who would I be if I started to say NO? At times our identity can be a real jail cell. If we live our lives confining ourselves within the bars we’ve created, we miss out on plenty of experiences. Life becomes a very small arena of circumstances.
  2. Does saying NO really mean that I’m a bad person or unworthy or undeserving in life? This may sound harsh but believe me the subconscious doesn’t pull any punches. Examine whether these beliefs resonate with you and just through this awareness you may find that the pull of their influence starts to lessen.
  3. Do I live my life with the belief that I’m someone who only says yes? Do I strive to be the good person or whatever label I’ve given myself? When we live by these rigid rules of conduct we can’t respond in the moment as our authentic selves.
     

What to do about it:

Find ways to connect with our authentic selves: when we are grounded and rooted in our True Self, our true identity, we don’t need outside validation or recognition. We are free to respond as we are. Meditate in the mornings or even in the shower with the intention of connecting to your inner core. Ask for guidance or support on how to stay with yourself throughout the day and especially if things get hairy.

  1. Celebrate yourself:
    This is a way to validate yourself without the need for others and therefore without the need to please people by saying yes. Write down all the ways you are a good person—it could be very small things like you are kind to strangers and like to smile at others. You don’t really have to have a list of things that you do, it’s more like who are you on a regular basis? How do you greet the world in every moment? Celebrate that! You’re doing a great job.
     
  2. Write down all your fears around who you would be if you said no.
    Bring the fears to the surface. Give them a voice. Let them have their say. Then say thank you for sharing. You will notice that these fears may not have the Vulcan grip they once had over you.
     
  3. Saying NO does not make you anything.
    It is merely a way to show up in the world in any given moment. There is nothing shameful about being authentic and responding from your core. Say it with kindness and say it with me now: NO!
     

How to Discover What is Missing in Your life and What to Do About It

Do you feel that no matter what you do—whether you win employee of the month or raise the most money for your charity—that something is still missing in your life? Have you spent the better part of your life trying to fill this bottomless pit of dissatisfaction? Or maybe you feel that if you actually stopped to think about it, this gaping hole would gobble you up.

There may be another way to look at this very painful circumstance. Sometimes changing our perspective can make all the difference in the world.

A way to unravel the mystery of what is missing in our life is to ask questions. Asking questions will alert us to try to find the answers. As we try to find an answer to something we’ve never thought of before we can create a new way of looking at things.
 

Ask questions

Test this out by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Is something really missing in my life or am I afraid of spaciousness?
  2. Is there a missing piece in my life or is the Universe giving me breathing room for things to come in?
  3. Do I need to fill every space o r can I be accepting of this spaciousness?

Let these questions float around in your psyche for a few hours, days or even weeks and allow insight to bubble to the surface. The mind has gone on a fact finding mission and is eager to bring something to you—now that you’ve asked.
 

Different perspective

Another way to look at this overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction is to relate it to the connection with ourselves. Can this chronic dissatisfaction and frustration be the disconnection from our core, our True Self? When we turn away from the deepest part of who we are there will be a feeling of loss. A feeling that something is missing. With that in mind, we can say that to connect to our core self (referred to here as the True Self) is to dissolve all feelings of discontent, frustration and dissatisfaction. When we are disconnected from ourselves we feel loss, so the solution is to connect. Let’s look at three common ways that we disconnect with ourselves and what we can do to reconnect.

 

Three ways we disconnect from ourselves:
 

1. Blending in

Do you ignore your natural talents and abilities so others won’t notice you? Do you deflect all ways that people try to recognize and honor you? Have you ever wondered what your underlying motivation for doing this is? Hint: it may not be shyness.

What is so bad about being noticed? Why do some of us avoid any sort of spotlight no matter how small? When others look at you and notice you this forces you to look at yourself. Interest from others is a mirror that they hold up to you.
 

Who is in the mirror? You.

Some of us feel that the scariest thing in the world is to see ourselves. If you stop others from seeing you, then you don’t see you. No big surprises to deal with. Nothing to answer to—like why am I living my life like this when it makes me miserable? When we can finally look at ourselves we are free from this hiding game.

Exercise to reconnect to you:

  1. Ask yourself these questions. Do this in a quiet space and be open to the insight that emerges over time.

    What do you want me to know? What can I do for you to reveal yourself more to me?
    Then say out loud: I’m open to guidance. I’m willing to hear the answers.
     
  2. Experiment with revealing yourself to others. Start sharing things with people. For example share a piece of poetry you wrote or the latest recipe you created. Or take someone on one of your favourite walks.

    As you practice these exercises you will start to feel more familiar and at home with yourself. This is the door to fulfillment—walk through!
     

2. Blaming others

When we blame others for our present circumstances we inherently keep our issues outside of ourselves. We are automatically disconnected. We haven’t looked within to find answers or to check in with how we ended up where we are. If you’re constantly asking yourself who out there is making me dissatisfied then you are moving further and further away from yourself.

This act of looking outside for answers pushes us away from ourselves and others. We create shame around those situations. We may feel ashamed for shaming others. There is a gaping hole in our life. Not only are we dissatisfied and angry but we are also dumping this onto someone else.

We’ve all been in a place where we’ve felt victimized. Some of us have suffered immeasurably; I’m not referring to those who have been abused and mistreated. I’m referring to small to medium sized unhappy situations in our life where we want to tell someone else that they are to blame. For the purpose of this article we will concentrate on these types of scenarios.

Exercise to reconnect to you: 

  1. Think of three situations where you felt victimized by others. Again these are small to medium sized situations. For example, you didn’t get the promotion at work.

    Write down these situations in a summarized version in the sequence that they happened.
  • Imagine you fully intended for it to work out the way that it did
  • Beside the sequence of events write down the steps you took to make sure to that it happened that way
  • Label those steps as the “best choices I made at the time”

This exercise is very empowering and downright scary at times. To look at scenarios in this light can be very uncomfortable. The point of this is to take back power and move into acceptance of the choices we made. Once we are in this place we aren’t afraid to face what we may have been running away from. This insight automatically creates a deep connection with ourselves. Once we open the doors of insight and acknowledgement, we feel more fulfillment, more satisfaction. We aren’t blaming ourselves or others. We are standing in the full awareness that we made the best choices we could and that no one is to blame for our lives.

 

3. Criticising ourselves

How do you feel around those who criticize you? You don’t want to be around them do you?

Doing this to yourself pushes away the deep part of yourself—the True Self. There is no way to feel connected to ourselves if we are chronically critical. In order to feel safe we have to look at ourselves with compassion and understanding. When we treat ourselves with the love that we deserve, we feel an immediate connection. This brings the feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment to the forefront. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “you’re doing a great job!”?

Exercise to reconnect to you:

  • Write down a list of flaws that you think you have. It doesn’t matter how many there are. You need to be real about how you feel about yourself.
  • Beside each flaw write down why you love this flaw. For example, I love the fact that I have OCD tendencies because I’m so organized and I can help others to get organized.

    This exercise is about shifting your perspective. You may judge yourself for having flaws, so what if you acknowledged the flaw but added a love message about it too?

The more we can align with ourselves in full awareness—flaws and all—the more connection we feel. Our True Self wants to love us no matter what. Once you reconnect with this wonderful part of you you’ll be surprised at how fulfilled and satisfied you feel.

Take some time to look at the three areas that we disconnect with ourselves and see what feels true for you. Try the exercises and journal about the shifts and changes that happen internally. This is a process—it doesn’t happen overnight—but just know that you can feel fulfilled and profoundly connected to yourself. This is our natural state. Remember: You are home.

 

Are you Heartless?

In my mid-twenties, I had a plan for everything: the five-year plan, the five-month plan and the five-day plan. I even planned what to wear the next day. Those around me were included too; my carefully crafted plans involved controlling everyone within grasping distance.

I wrote lists and maps and charts for my next goal, accomplishment or achievement. This feverish pace kept me going, going, going, so that I never, never, never stopped to feel into things. Have you ever felt into a situation? Back then I thought that was a foreign and pretty creepy practice. I would scoff “what is there to feel into about life goals and five-year plans?” It took several unpleasant life lessons to figure out that I was heartless.

The problem with acting heartless-cutting the heart out of planning-is that the heart starts to vie for your attention in very odd ways. You can write out plan after plan and logically bounce your way through life, but sooner or later the heart will stage a revolution. For example, you’re knocking off your lists like a bandit, but you start to feel angry…all the time. Or you feel sad every morning and it takes a lot of donuts and coffee to shake it off. These annoying feelings get more intense and stay for longer. Welcome to the world of the ignored heart.

The ignored heart is quite a nuisance. It will pester you to death and ruin all your well-thought out plans. Just as you’re getting a foot hold on your five-year plan, the heart will throw you off track and before you know it you’ll be in a ditch somewhere wondering what happened.

When I graduated from high school I wanted to work in the travel industry. I imagined myself jetting around the world riding camels and climbing mountains. What I didn’t understand was that in my heart of hearts I really wanted to live the travelling lifestyle not WORK so others could ride camels and climb mountains. I stubbornly continued with my heartless plans and finished the travel and airline program. Mission accomplished-hooray! Yet there I was feeling disappointed, sad and frustrated. If I’d explored what my heart was actually telling me—find a way to travel and get paid for it—my plans would’ve looked very different. Needless to say, my career in travel was short lived.

As I began to let my heart tell me things I was amazed at how intelligent it was. My heart led me back to writing. My writing led me to express myself and help others at the same time. Opportunities continue to unfold for me within this realm and I feel extremely happy. So the next time you want to lead with your head and ignore your heart remember this saying: the heart wants what the heart wants. And believe me it will stop at nothing to get it. But so what? Who really wants to be heartless anyway?

Please comment below on your experiences of living from the heart or of ignoring your heart. I would love to hear from you!

 

From my heart to yours,

Eleanor
 

Where’s the Fun in That?

How much fun do you have? If you said, “Eleanor, I always have fun” please empathize with me for the rest of this post. I come from a long line of ancestors with a record that skips like this: “work hard, get things done, roll up your sleeves, don’t be afraid of a little hard work, laziness is a serious offense, rest is not in our vocabulary, and what are you sitting around for don't you know there's work to be done?”
Of course, some of my family members manage to relax a little and get around the background theme song, but it’s in there like a well-worn brain pathway. Recently, I realized that i put forth a lot of energy “working” and not a lot of energy “fun-ing”.

Since, I don’t want to end up looking like an old sea captain with a leather purse for a face, I’m determined to change this! (I picture an old man in a wool sweater working his fingers to the bone every day with not a second of non-work related energy expended). If you can relate lets change that today!
 

Here we go, let the fun-ing begin: 

  1. Schedule in some fun. 
    As ridiculous as this sounds, according to an astrology reading I had, not only do I work hard, but I also approach fun with the same hard work ethic. In other words, I sit down and say—Ok, some fun needs to go on this week. How do I strategically insert the necessary amount of units? So I am gently reminding myself that I can just say—I’m taking the afternoon off to hit the streets of downtown—either walk the Lake boardwalk or go for a hike through a beautiful park or meet up with a friend for lunch. Check.
     
  2. Put a boundary around work times. 
    This is a similar thing but with more specific instructions. For example, I don’t work weekends. I only work until 6:30 pm at night as a general rule, except for evening meetings. I limit the amount of evening meetings. Being self-employed can turn into one long work day—from January to December—if you’re not careful.
     
  3. What do I love? 
    Beaches & flip flops, cooking classes, cute furry animals, the forest, documentary films, good conversation over wine & snacks. Now I have some tangible things to work with. I can take a vacation where I wear flip flops...look up the latest cooking class online...arrange a night out with friends...go to the hot docs fest! What’s on your list?
     
  4. Meditation. 
    Joy comes in all shapes and sizes. Fun can simply be the time I give myself to go within and re-calibrate my frazzled nerves. I make time for this ever day. This also opens up the ideas on how to have more fun!
     
  5. Spontaneity.
    This one is tough for me and not natural. It takes practice for me to say yes to things that pop up. I promised myself this year that I will say yes to all invitations that come across my radar. Like the Jim Carey movie! I’ll let you know how it works out.

I hope you enjoyed my list of ways to insert more fun into life. Think about how this sits with you and make your own list or use the suggestions I have here. Excuse me it’s three o-clock: fun time!
 

How do You Create True Change? Go LUSH!

Are you eager to make some changes in your life this coming year? Maybe you want to exercise and initiate more while smoking and complaining less. Whatever the change is, there is a way to do it, but how do you ensure that you’ll make True Change?

True Change in my experience is LUSH-lasting, universal, simple and honorable. In other words, if you whip up a quick band-aid solution for your eating habits that includes a complex chart of rewards and schedules, you'll be back to your old ways faster than you can say donut. Why? Because you haven't honored yourself with a simple, loving vision taken from universal principles. You need to keep your vision for change big enough to include age old wisdom in an individually wrapped package just for you.

So, if you’re looking for ways to expand and improve your quality of life, while respecting yourself as an already wonderful being, go for True Change.
 

Here are the four pillars in more detail:

  1. Lasting.
    The changes stand the test of time, moving with ease from one year to the next and flowing from generation to generation. Your specific change starts with you, but can spill out into the community like fresh spring water, cleansing all who dip into it. An example would be the civil rights movement; the world today is building on the principles started during the sixties to include recognition for more and more ideas and groups of people. How can you create lasting change that benefits you and your community?

  2. Universal.
    The changes can be applied anywhere, anytime and to anyone. You will design the change for your own particular situation, but True Change can mold and fit any example. The key principles here include flexibility and openness. The change starts with yourself, but can also be adapted for your neighbor, best friend or relative. Everyone can benefit and no one is excluded. For example, if you change your attitude to notice more things to be grateful for, anyone can make this change and incorporate the specific items/situations/people that they are grateful for. Every one of us can make this change. This pillar also speaks to the ripple effect. As you change your attitude to be more grateful, then all those around you will benefit from your spread of love. In the end, this can spread all around the world, making it a universal change.
     
  3. Simple. 
    You don’t need charts, graphs, systems or steps. You don’t need levels, grading, signposts or assessments. All you need is willingness, intent and desire. In other words, if you have the desire to change something, then intend to change it and go along for the ride. It is no harder than that. Anyone who tells you that you have to go through a rigorous preparation or complete stages to be successful is simply missing the point. Of course, there are things you choose to do in life that have all the elements mentioned above—I’m just pointing out that they are not necessary, they are a choice. If you want True Change, you can make it as simple as smiling more every day. I can’t think of anything more profound than that.
     
  4. Honourable.
    Make sure you hold up your desired change against the background of personal integrity and honour. Is this change coming from a loving point of view or a critical point of view? Are you trying to change something that is inherently part of you? For example, do you want to change your habit of daydreaming that you’re a big Hollywood star because you feel it's foolish? There is nothing foolish about living a healthy internal world of dreaming and musing and play. Dream until you’re 95 about it! Honor your daydreams or any other habit you’d like to label as silly, impractical or a waste of time. Don’t change yourself into misery.

I hope you use these four pillars of True Change to go out there and expand, live and create a better world for you and everybody! I’d love to hear about your aspirations for True Change. Comment below!

Happy New Year—the Best is Yet to Come!
 

photo credit: Leon Civale

Posted on February 5, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.

Stuck at the Kids Table

Do you remember sitting at a rickety fold-out table, with the other outcasts, also known as children, at holiday meal time? I’m talking about the kids table. I always felt that being forced to sit with other ostracized children was not my idea of holiday like behaviour. But who has a say when you’re eight?

Which brings me to my point: always sitting at the kids table. This is of course, a metaphorical, not literal situation and addresses my past feelings of being a child in adult form.

From the age of eighteen, I felt very uncomfortable and unprepared to live my life as an adult. I felt like a fraud. I’d somehow grown up physically, but I was completely unequipped and unprepared psychologically. Maybe you can relate…

As you know when you feel insecure inside, you somehow want to prove that you don’t. So, I set out to prove that I wasn’t a helpless little girl. My inner warrior went full tilt and I kicked things into turbo gear. Oh yeah, I’ll show you! I’m not some incapable female… I’ll just go to Africa all by myself. That did not end well by the way. It was a “learning experience” (the phrase used for complete disasters).

The first problem with rebellion is that it’s painfully unsustainable. The second problem with rebellion is that you waste a lot of time rebelling against an idea of yourself. In other words, you are trying to prove yourself, to yourself.

There I was recreating situations in which I would be taken care of, while simultaneously rebelling against being taken care of. I was gallivanting off to different corners of the earth to disprove my self-imposed identity and secretly wishing I didn’t have to. Can you see the turmoil and conflict this situation creates?
 

When your Identity Doesn’t Fit Anymore

After years of playing identity tennis, I was wrung out. From pure exhaustion I dropped my rebellious cape and began to emerge as my True Self. I started to embrace the positive side of being young at heart. I acknowledged all the good things that go along with being young minded, young spirited and young looking (I’ll milk this one until my friends and family start to get embarrassed for me). I decided that being a little girl was fun but didn’t suit me anymore in its limitations. I couldn’t expand and live my dreams while playing the little girl; I was tired of dress-up time.

The good news is that your True Self is not limited: it has many facets. We can tap into our inner child, our feminine self, our masculine self, our teacher and our parent, just to name a few. I wanted to embrace them all and give them full access to come forward.

So I experimented. I became a Reiki teacher. I got a toolbox. I bought a little black dress. I mentored youth. If I felt that creepy sensation of being a little girl in grown-up clothes, I became still and asked what my inner child was trying to tell me. Most times I was just frightened because of a new experience or I felt vulnerable. So I would nurture my inner child by colouring one of the princesses or I would put heart stickers all over my computer. Afterwards, I felt more like an adult than ever—go figure! Try these steps and exercises-they did me a world of good as a woman-child.
 

Action Steps

Acknowledge your inner child. Colour, draw, splash around in puddles, climb trees (no one has to see you!), build a fort, hang out with your kids or other people’s kids.

Acknowledge your self-sufficient side. When you accomplish something celebrate it! For instance, if you went outside your comfort zone and drove a far distance alone or if you showed up at a new club without a companion…congratulate yourself! Anytime you do something that normally feels like a bit of a challenge, acknowledge it. Each time will get easier and you’ll feel more comfortable doing it. Then you’ll have the CHOICE as to whether you accept another’s help or not.

Honour your rebellious side—let your inner warrior come out and play. Instead of traipsing off to a war torn country for some good old fashioned danger, try some smaller challenges. Join a bootcamp. Try mountain climbing. Take up karate. Do “risky” things in small doses more frequently and you won’t end up like a shaken up bottle of pop.
 

Exercise: Little Girl Persona

  1. Write down all the nicknames people have called you and pick out the most little girlish ones. Circle them.
    How did you feel when someone called you those nicknames? Did you rise to the occasion and act more like a little girl? Or did you become resentful and rebellious?

     
  2. Make up three empowered nicknames for your True Self.
    What would your true nature love to be called? Once you have your favourite one, call yourself by the nickname (in your head) at any point when you feel that a pattern has taken hold of you. Repeat it in your mind as many times as you want throughout the day—“I AM_____ (insert nickname). I allow my true self to direct my thoughts and actions.” Mine is: Truly Me (you’re welcome to use that one)!

     

Adapted from Chapter Two of my soon to be launched book:

“What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After”

 

Is it Always Their Fault? How to Update your Behaviour Wardrobe

When you were a kid did you think—when I grow up I’m going to whine and complain about my life and blame everyone else for my own issues? Of course not. This is something you try on, decide it fits and then you wear it. Pretty soon it’s your uniform. Eventually it becomes everything you stand for and you start to cling to it like a 40 year old man wearing his painfully tight, cracked leather high school football jacket every day. You don’t see how weird it looks, but everybody else does. In other words, we get so wrapped up in our drama and story about being hard done by, that we are deaf and blind to everything else. We miss the little whispers that try to nudge us towards the possibilities and to grab opportunities. Take a moment to ask: are you fixated on how everyone makes your life harder instead of figuring out how to make yourself happy?

What does it take to throw away that old school jacket? It takes courage. You decide that you’re going to open your eyes and ears to what you’ve been doing. This is like looking close-up at a rat in daylight—it’s ugly and frightening and it makes you want to run. If you decide not to, you can always wait for other people to step in (not recommended).

Let’s take my life for example. I was about nineteen when my friends sat me down and told me that I was acting like a real pain in the ass. Talk about a WTF moment. Apparently, I was a walking/breathing complaint dressed like negative nelly. They couldn’t take it anymore. I still remember the shock, pain and humiliation that came with this intervention. I’m not going to pretend that I took it well. I was an emotional mess, but eventually I came to terms with what was being offered to me: a chance to live a happier, more authentic life.  Are you ready to chuck that jacket?

Here are some steps you can take today to rid yourself of behaviours and patterns that stand in the way of a relationship with your True Self. To let YOU come through so that you can experience more joy and happiness:
 

This is the starting point:

  1. Make a decision that enough is enough.
    You’re ready to make some changes in your behaviour.
     
  2. Feel the feelings that will come up with this decision.
    Don’t judge them. Allow them to surface and leave your body.
     
  3. Realize that you’ve made every single choice to get you to where you are today.
    Accept this with compassion and love yourself anyway, no matter what.
     

Exercise for Victim Consciousness

Write down two situations where you feel that life was unfair to you. That somehow you ended up there through circumstances beyond your control. With each situation, imagine that you had fully intended to end up there. What would you have done to make sure that you ended up in those situations? Write out the two ways you bravely made choices in your life, whether you recognized them or not—title these your “best choices I made at the time”. Keep the exercise as a reminder of how you can make choices and to show you that you are in charge of your life. If you ever feel that life has plopped you down into the middle of a landmine, go back and re-read what you wrote.
 

Exercise for Chronic Complaining

Write out your top five complaints of all time. Are they about what other people are doing or not doing? Cross out anything that is not directly about you. What can you do today to start improving the complaints that involve only you? Write out three steps you can take to change them and start doing them!

If there are only complaints about other people and their behavior or actions, remember that we can’t change other peoples’ behavior. Re-word the complaints in a way that reflects how you feel but doesn’t blame the other person. Re-name the list of complaints to concerns. Then take your new approach to the streets! Express your concerns to whoever it is in a calm and kind manner; make sure the other party is willing to sit down and listen. For example, the complaint could be “My husband always criticizes me”. You could reword it to say, “When you tell me that I don’t listen, it hurts my feelings, because I feel that I do listen. Can you tell me more about that?” Have this conversation over a coffee in the backyard or on a walk. Material based on the soon to be released book: “What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After” Eleanor Healy
 

Five Quick Ways to Rebalance Yourself, Anytime, Anywhere

Sometimes as I go about my day, I suddenly realize, the sidewalk is lifting up to meet my face. In other words, I’m woozy, fuzzy and completely off balance. How does this happen?

A number of ways—maybe I didn’t eat enough breakfast, get enough sleep or stand in the shower long enough…those all need to be looked into. Body care comes first.

If you’re still seeing double and couldn’t care less what anyone says to you, just get me off this whirling merry-go-round, then you’re probably energetically off balance. I don’t mean dizzy. There is a difference. Feeling energetically off balance is like watching yourself in a movie—you’re removed, you’re unclear, you’re unconnected.
 

You may experience any of the following:

  • Bone-weary tired like you’d be happy to sleep for a week as a nap before you sleep for another week
  • People really irritate you
  • You feel overwhelmed with your daily tasks
  • You just want to hide under the covers—go back to number one here
  • Emotional—you want to rip your neighbours head off for waving at you or cry like a baby because someone opened the door for you (yes men go through this too!)

Being energetically off balance is nothing to be scared of—you just need some ways to right yourself-anytime, anywhere. Like straightening a picture. Obviously if you are committed to some deep healing work, you would go to a qualified practitioner to help you through the stages of healing. I’m talking about giving yourself a hand throughout the day so that you can function.

All these can be done without anyone knowing what you’re doing or why. It’s none of their business anyway. If you feel shy—that’s the great thing! All of this is completely private and internal.

  1. Breathe.
    Go into a public washroom somewhere and take 5 huge deep breaths and let them out slowly. Control the breathing-this is not Lamaz class or Rocky pre-training pump up. In slowly and controlled-out slowly and controlled. Look at yourself in the mirror and smile (you can leave that out if there is no mirror or if people are around or if you want someone to cock an eyebrow, go ahead!)
     
  2. This is great at work or in a meeting.
    Put your thumb and pinky finger together on the same hand for both hands, so they are touching. This grounds your energy quickly and brings you back to present. It’s amazingly simple!
     
  3. Drink a large glass of water.
    Energetically this is very helpful. Anytime you’re trying to replenish or clear your energy, you need water. This makes sense as the human body is made up mostly of water. You can even bless your water before you drink. The First Nations people did this all the time-ask the energy of the water to heal and balance you before you drink it. Give thanks. Again this is all internal-no one has to know. To everyone else at the office or at home, you’re standing there drinking a glass of water.
     
  4. Protect yourself energetically.
    This can be done in any denomination—this is not a religious act. If you feel comfortable using the word God or Angels or Spirit or the Universe—whatever you call it ask for protection from other people’s energy fields. There are people who even unbeknownst to them, are sucking all the energy out of you. If you feel completely tired and drained after talking to someone and they bounce away feeling great-guess what, you’ve found yourself an energy sucker. Just visualize a light around you holding you in the highest good for all those involved…you will still give positive love and energy to everyone throughout the day, but any negative energies will go elsewhere. This will keep your energy field up and you’ll feel great no matter whose around you.
     
  5. Sometimes in a tense situation, I start repeating an affirmation or positive thought in my mind over and over with amazing results.
    Either the situation resolves itself or the person walks away or something shifts the energy. Thoughts are energy so if you put a loving thought out into the world, things shift around you. Believe me you’ll be amazed!! Some of my usuals are: “All is well” or “I’m complete and whole as I was created” or “I can’t wait to see the good that comes of this”. You don’t have to feel embarrassed that they sound hokey because only you can hear them! Once they start working for you, you will only have positive feelings about them. They have to be repeated though—usually once is not enough. All the affirmations I’ve used come either from Dr Wayne Dyer or Louise L Hay.

There you have it! Easy and quick ways to privately shift the energy around you to reposition yourself standing tall and walking confidently through your day.