Is it Fear or Intuition?

A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.” Anonymous

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Is it fear that’s holding us back? Or is it our intuition telling us that we need to go a different direction? Most of us aren’t attuned to really distinguish between the two because for most of our lives, we’ve allowed fear to take center stage -  so that ultimately, the voice of our intuition sounds very similar to the voice of fear. We tell ourselves that we might fail – so we shouldn’t push ahead. Or perhaps because the right people aren’t showing up right now, we must be on the wrong path. The thing is – those doubts and voices can come up either way.  It is our job to really get quiet and discern whether our fear is just that – or whether it is our intuition that something isn’t right. One way to approach this question is to close your eyes and begin to feel the energy of the dialog in your head. Is it mainly negative? Aimed at beating you up or reminding you of your past? Or is it more neutral and pushing you toward a truth? Most of the time our fears are rooted in the past – looking at things that didn’t work and holding us back so we won’t get hurt again. Our intuition might hide behind words of fear, but generally our intuition shows up in whispers, letting us know that what we’ve been doing or how we’ve been acting isn’t what we want. It generally focuses on the present and finds its roots in our vision and goals. Intuition can guide us past our comfort zones, but it can also tell us to shift gears if we aren’t being true to ourselves. It’s a matter of doubt (fear) versus truth (intuition). And it’s only when we take the time to be honest with ourselves. When we stop asking others for advice, but instead quietly sit in contemplation, that we can hear the difference between our fears versus our intuition.

Weekly Path to Peace: Get quiet to distinguish between your fears versus intuition.

  • Should you give up what you’re doing? End a relationship or quit your job? You can’t really decide because you’ve got conflicting voices and it’s hard to hear the voice of intuition versus the voice of fear. Before you give in to those voices, you need to get quiet. Begin each morning this week by taking ten minutes to get quiet. Focus on your breathing, meditate or simply close your eyes and get comfortable.
  • Take the time to let yourself listen to the dialog. Is it negative, protective and aimed at making sure you don’t get hurt or put yourself in a bad position? Or is there a voice that keeps saying, “You know you don’t want this, it’s time to move on.” Make notes and start to look for the patterns. If you hear doubt and stories from your past, you’ll know it’s your fear. If it is simply your heart seeking the truth, you’ll know it is your intuition knocking.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

Be Compassionate with Yourself

Compassion is one of the highest states of consciousness that you can choose to assist you in times of enormous pain.” Debbie Ford

Most of us strive to be compassionate. We reach out to others during their time of need and help ease pain. Yet, at the same time, we tend to forget to be as compassionate with ourselves when we are the ones suffering. Instead of bringing awareness or personal care to our personal pain, we tend to fall into autopilot and go into a pattern of beating ourselves up. No matter the circumstance, it is common for many of us to look for how we were wrong or how we brought about our current suffering. We tell ourselves how stupid, horrible or careless we must have been and criticize ourselves in ways that would be unimaginable for us to be with others. And although we’re not aware of it, the reason we tend to beat ourselves up is because we subconsciously think that if we highlight our mistakes, that we’ll somehow change our future– that we won’t encounter pain in the same way. And while guilt can be healthy at times, shame and negative chatter can only compound our pain. That is why compassion is the highest state of consciousness we can bring – even to our own pain. When we bring concern, care, and kindness to our own circumstances, we can begin to look at our situation more objectively and start to find gifts. Instead of telling ourselves how dumb we were, we begin to instead look for the lessons each situation brings and learn how we want to be or behave in the future. Unlike beating ourselves up then, we have the true opportunity to make the future different because we know that from this state of consciousness, we can make clearer choices, shift course and never put ourselves down. Compassion helps us through the pain instead of binding us to the circumstances we hope to most escape.

Weekly Path to Peace: Be more compassionate with yourself.

  • Do you find yourself often replaying your mistakes or wrongs and beating yourself up? Do you berate yourself and put yourself down for the pains others have brought? You might not even be aware of the inner dialog that happens when you make a mistake or are hurt by others. Spend the early part of this week noticing your inner dialog. What kinds of things do you tell yourself? Make note.
  • Make a vow to be compassionate to yourself this week. Treat yourself as you would your closest friend. Instead of calling you names, offer understanding and perspective. Begin to look for the gifts and lessons of your current circumstances. And if you find yourself wanting to be negative – take action that is caring. Take a walk or spend time with a friend. By doing something caring, you will have more energy and clarity to deal with whatever lies ahead.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

Hear Your Body

It’s amazing how many hints and guides and intuitions for living come to the sensitive person who has ears to hear what his body is saying.” Rollo May

Our bodies are amazing. We take for granted the many different ways it operates without thought, without fail. What we don’t realize, is that our body is always sending us important messages that go beyond hunger, thirst or exhaustion. Our body often can tell us more about our emotional state than we might even be aware of. Maybe you suddenly get a panic attack out of the blue or you have consistent back or neck pain. Or maybe you get that feeling in your stomach when something or someone just feels off. We don’t automatically connect what is happening in our bodies with what is going on in our emotional mind unless we’re facing major stress. But, if we listen and get in tune with our needs – both physical and emotional – we can start to easily read the signs our bodies are sending. Anxiety and panic might be your body’s way of letting you know that it can no longer stuff down the difficulties of a relationship. Back pain might be letting you know you don’t feel supported. Headaches might be a sign that we’re overwhelmed at work. And while we are constantly looking for external and physical ways to “fix” what’s ailing us – we might be best served by looking at ways to heal our emotional state if we want our body to return to its optimal state. Consider, too how many negative thoughts you might be having a day and what they’re doing to your body. Simply shifting your thoughts – focusing on gratitude and what’s right in your life – could make a huge impact on how you feel. Pay attention. Because just as much as your body will tell you about the stress, it will reward you for the joy and gratitude you feel by giving you more peace, energy and life.

Weekly Path to Peace: Hear your body.                     

  • What is your body telling you? Are you run down or stressed? Where can you feel it? What are the aches and pains telling you? Are there days or parts of you that feel good? Spend the first few days of this week simply noticing what your body is telling you. Take note and connect it to what you’re currently feeling.
  • Focus on being grateful and spending time on serious self-care. Whether it’s a massage, time listening to music or even dancing, notice how your body rewards you for focusing on the positive and allowing yourself to feel joy. Notice too, where exactly you feel it in your body. Spend time listening to all the good reactions your body is having to your actions.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

Being a Leader

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

So many of us don’t see ourselves as leaders. We tell ourselves we couldn’t possibly do what others do when they stand up in the middle of a room guiding others. We think you have to be born to lead. And certainly, while some may have a natural ability to lead, each of us is a leader if what we do, how we live or how we serve – helps others do more, become more or learn more. Maybe our reach isn’t as big as others we see. We might not be the President. We might not be famous. But, we are all leaders nonetheless if we take steps in our life to inspire others in some way. As a parent, employee, friend, partner or child – we all can lead others even if we merely choose to live our lives as an example to others. Yet, we dismiss all those acts and think they don’t count. Instead of dismissing what we do, however, it’s important that we recognize and see the ways we lead for several reasons. First, it helps us prioritize our actions and take greater responsibility over our lives if we know our influence on others. In a sense, leadership builds greater accountability. Also, knowing that we lead in some way, can help us begin to build that muscle – the one that says we don’t know how to lead or don’t dare to. When we build on the confidence we have in one area, we can begin to see how we might expand our reach and help others on a broader scale. We take fear out of the equation and pursue our purpose with greater ease. We don’t let what others think get in the way and instead focus on good we can do. So, the more we stand in leader, the greater leaders we can become.

Weekly Path to Peace: Step up and own Leader.

  • How often do you say to yourself, I wish I could do that? I wish I could lead a room full of people or inspire others to action. We doubt our own abilities and can’t see that we are already the leaders we wish we could be. Notice, however, how many people you actually influence a day. From a simple smile, a kind gesture or a lesson taught to a child. This week, spend time noticing all the ways you already lead and show others how to be better.
  • Take action to step up and own being a leader. What is one way you can lead this week? It doesn’t have to be grand. Ask yourself how you might be able to inspire others this week or help someone do something great for themselves? Celebrate being a leader and know that with each small step you are building a new muscle you can own!

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

Direct Anger Toward Problems, Not People

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” William Arthur Ward

Have you ever noticed that most of our anger is directed toward people and not the actual problem or cause? And that no matter what our intentions, the anger is usually received with an equal amount of anger back at us? Anger is a powerful emotion that scares most of us, but in reality, it can be one of the more useful emotions for creating real change. Anger can get us moving – especially when it is directed toward a cause or a solution. It only becomes heavy when it is turned toward others. Think about the last time you were angry with someone – what happened? Did you feel it inside and was it really productive? Maybe you yelled at them or simply held the anger inside – burning deep within you. Sometimes even we use our anger as an excuse to stay comfortable and not venture out of our safe zones. It ends up holding us back and we get angrier. But, what if every time we recognized that we were angry, we turned it into an opportunity? An opportunity to do something productive and create change. If we don’t like where we are, instead of blaming our spouse, we can begin to research ways to change it. If we’re staying safe or making excuses, maybe we can see our anger as a sign that it’s time to shift our perspective. Anger when directed toward solutions and answers can move mountains. It can build the bridges that you’re hoping to build. And instead of tearing down the people that might otherwise be the subject of your anger, you can gain their support and participation. All you have to do lately is look around and see how anger can either mobilize or hold us back. The key is to begin with your own life and embrace anger instead of viewing it as negative.

Weekly Path to Peace: Direct anger toward answers.

  • Where is your anger directed? Spend this week noticing how you either internalize your anger or are constantly lashing out at others – pointing your finger in blame. How many different areas of your life can you notice that anger is sabotaging your progress? Simply make note without any judgment.
  • What might it look like to use your anger differently? Could you take that energy and shift it toward finding an answer or tackling a problem. Perhaps you’re struggling with your teenager, partner, or boss and you’re blaming them for how you’re currently feeling. What if you took that anger and simply spent 30 minutes looking for a solution? How might you feel? Try it out this week with at least one instance.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

 

Follow Your Passion, Find Your Purpose

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” Bishop T.D. Jakes

The road to finding our purpose can be bumpy, curvy and often unexpected. Many of us believe that finding our purpose should come like a lightening strike, waking us up from our sleepy life. We search and search and end up frustrated when it doesn’t come roaring like a lion into our consciousness. Having a purpose in life is the ultimate goal. Most of us want to know the reason we’ve been put on this earth. We want to know that we that we have a bigger purpose that can serve others or even help the world at large. And when we don’t readily find it, we feel a bit lost or stuck in our daily life. But, maybe the problem is that we’ve been looking in the wrong place. Our purpose doesn’t have to be grand to be important. It can be as simple as serving our family or affecting just one soul. The ripple effect is just as massive. Most of us tend to ignore the whispers and continue to search for a purpose to no avail. For others of us, we can’t believe our purpose lies in something we like so much and turn instead to doing something “useful”, remaining on a constant and empty search. When we shift our vision on what a purpose might look like, though, it becomes easier to find it. We turn to our passions and suddenly recognize the natural flow of life. We begin to see that the Universe has been showing us the way all along. Like the writer that has spent her life writing for others, discovers that she’s had a personal story inside herself all along. Or the woman who’s been volunteering with teens suddenly realizes she can go back to school to help them on a bigger scale. Whatever your passion, it is likely that if you’ve been looking for your purpose – the seeds have already been planted within what you love.

Weekly Path to Peace: Follow your passion and discover your purpose.

  • Are you still wondering what your purpose is? Maybe you thought you found it, only to second-guess yourself because others might not see it right away. Allow yourself to simply stop and listen this week. Look to your passions. What lights you up? What could you talk about for hours? Just notice and take notes on the things that make you excited.
  • Take one step to follow your passion. That may mean taking a language class, going to school or asking for help. This week do one thing that lights you up. Even if you think it’s not practical, let yourself just see where your passions take you.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change. 

Comparison is an Illusion

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone’s highlight reel.” Steve Furtick

It’s human nature to compare. We wonder if what we have or how we’re doing something is good enough. On the positive side, comparisons can drive us to do better and achieve more. More often than not, though, comparisons breed insecurity that hold us back from living our true purpose. But comparisons are really nothing more than illusions because the thing we’re comparing ourself against is never equal. Too often we’re trying to compare where we are in our beginning stages of a finish product, without realizing the work it took to get there. We come up with excuses, saying we can’t ever be like what we see – so why bother. And then we get depressed, spinning further and further away from what we initially wanted to do or be. What we don’t realize, however, is that we are the only roadblock that stands in our way. Maybe we won’t be like the person or thing we are comparing ourselves to, but who wants that anyway? The key is to live our own purpose without letting the comparison get in the way. We have to break the illusion of what we see and recognize that we’re just looking at the highlights. No one talks about it, but the road to success might be built with only one or two successes and is littered with a pile of failures. So, what is the only difference between someone who succeeds and fails? Well, that person might just recognize that the comparisons they make are only illusions – something to learn from, but not something to hold us back. Like anything else, our path is always unique and although someone else may look like they’ve got it perfected – you might just do it in a new and more spectacular way.

Weekly Path to Peace: Stop comparing.        

  • Do you even notice how much you compare? Whether it’s your weight, your work, your hair – whatever, how much are you comparing yourself to others? When you go to try something new, do you wonder if someone else has already done it – or done it better? Look to see how much you compare and how it’s holding you back from living your purpose.
  • Break the illusion of comparison. Are you using comparison to self-sabotage? This week try and stop yourself from comparing. Write out the quote above or give yourself a reminder that often the comparison is simply an illusion. You can’t compare a finished product to something that is just in the initial phases. Let them go, notice what happens and what you can start to accomplish.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

The Bully Within

Tell the person who bullies you the most, “it’s over,” and walk away from the mirror.” Paula Pell

“I hate the way I look.” “My nose is too big.” “I am so stupid.” We would never stand it if anyone else talked to us this way. Yet, each day, we have thousands of negative thoughts that run through our head eating away not only at our self-esteem, but filling our body with negative energy that likely affects our health and overall well-being. Self-abuse like this has become so automatic that most of the time we don’t even notice how often our bully shows up to tear us down. We even think that this kind of negative self-speak can serve to keep us in check or make sure we don’t get too big for our own good. But, the reality is that negativity of that kind, day after day, wears us down – it limits what we think we can accomplish and affects our overall self-worth. Imagine too, if you don’t think you are worth it, how can you attract people in your life that will treat you will love, respect and admiration? Driving the bully within are feelings of inadequacy and fear that we will never get what we want. By pushing ourselves down, we never have to face our biggest fears and certainly will never be able to overcome them. That is why it is so important that we tell the bully within that our relationship with them is over – that we will learn to defend ourselves and no longer tolerate such negativity. When we can begin to accept ourselves as imperfect and beautiful, our relationship with the outside world and ourself can change. By putting down the sword we use to cut ourselves down, we can heal and become our own best friend.

Weekly Path to Peace: Walk away from the bully within.

  • Begin today by observing how many negative thoughts you have about yourself. You don’t need to write them down, but start to count how many times and different ways you beat yourself up.
  • Once you have recognized the bully within, picture what that bully looks like. Often the bully within is simply a scared child that lives within us crying out for attention or something it needs. Each time you hear yourself being negative, you can simply stop, picture that small child and directly ask it what it needs. That simple act will help you better address your personal needs and allow you to build esteem and self-worth.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change. 

Absolutes are Dangerous

Absolutes are absolutely dangerous . . . “ James Tiptree Jr.

Thinking in terms of a truth, the truth and only one truth is often a recipe for disaster – especially when it comes to our relationships. Have you noticed that most of the time what is behind our discord with others is believing that there is a truth – an absolute way of doing or seeing something? The problem with that kind of thinking is that it generally leaves us closed off or narrows our world to people who are just like us. We become intolerant of other viewpoints and even find them unsettling. The reason we root ourselves deeply in our absolutes is that often our identities are tied to them. If our way of seeing the world isn’t right, what does that mean about who we are and how we’ve lived? It’s very threatening to our ego to think that another viewpoint might be equally as valid. Or if not equally valid to us, it is for the person who holds that viewpoint. Absolutes are dangerous because they can limit our potential. Whenever we hold an absolute, it means possibility has no chance to plant its seed and grow. Think of any relationship or friendship that may have crumbled in your past. Was there a middle ground that was unreachable because of some absolute? Many of us can look at society today and see the trouble with absolutes: a divided nation, trouble in our cities and anger everywhere. But, they’re likely equally present within our own home. If we can begin to see that our own absolutes don’t have to be so rigid. That perhaps they’re simply a compass by which we choose to live by, other’s perspectives and positions won’t feel so threatening. And if we can begin to see them differently in our own home, imagine the impact we might have on the world outside.

Weekly Path to Peace: Release your absolutes.

  • Where do you hold absolutes? What opinions do you stand firm on with your family, children, spouse or friends? Begin each and finish each day this week by recognizing what absolutes you personally hold. How have they been impacting your relationships? Spend some time reflecting and writing down what you discover.
  • Release your absolutes. Start slowly. Pick one absolute that has caused you the most trouble in a relationship. That relationship can be your personal one, one with your children or even a good friend. Ask yourself how might your conversation with that person look different if you didn’t have to hold on to your absolute? Would you be able to listen better? Make room for other options? Notice what happens when you release your absolute.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

Courage is Resistance to Fear

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of it.” Mark Twain

We dream of getting rid of all of our fears; erasing them like they’re words on a chalkboard. But the thing is, fears are a natural part of this human experience. They’re inevitable. And believe it or not, our fears are sometimes a good thing. Fear can push us beyond our comfort zones or signal to us that something isn’t “right” – allowing us to change course. The problem is that most of the time we buy into our fears or make them our enemy, which results in us staying stuck or unable to make important changes in our life. We tell ourselves, “If only I knew that things would be all right, I’d take the steps necessary to make the changes I need to make.” We mistakenly believe we must master dealing with fear before we build the courage to move beyond where we are right now. But, even those who have mastered certain fears eventually recognize that a life without fear is impossible. They change shape, form and severity. The key to learning to live with fears is to stop fighting against them. Recognize fear and welcome it as a friend. Like any charged emotion, fear contains possibility because when we have the courage to resist or not give in to our fears, something magical happens. We gain confidence and self-esteem. We go where we’ve never gone before and learn more about ourselves from our fears than we could ever have in our comfort zones. Think of it like surfing, if you will. Staying on top of the wave of fear sure feels much better than being hit by the oncoming wave over and over. So, the next time you’re tempted to run away or yell at your fears, welcome them and look them in the face – because when you do, you’ll learn to live a more fulfilled life.

Weekly Path to Peace: Develop the courage to resist your fears.

  • Look at your fears in the face this week. What fears are currently holding you back, keeping you down or are the cause of your excuses why you can’t change your life? Write them all down. They will not overwhelm you. Take the time to be honest and recognize what fears you wish would simply go away and write them down.
  • Spend time looking at one of the fears you identified as your friend. What is it here to tell you? Is it time to push you out of your comfort zone? Is it gently trying to tell you that your current circumstances aren’t working? Listen to the important message your fear is sharing and embrace it so you can move beyond it and take action.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

Occupation of Listening

If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” Robert Baden-Powell

How many of us think we’re good listeners? I, for one, would like to think I’m a good listener – but, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve valued getting my point across and winning far more than I have listened. And it’s gotten me in trouble. It’s hurt my relationships. It’s taught my kids just to be louder in trying to get their point across and it’s made me feel disconnected from myself. Listening to others is one of the most powerful relationship tools we have – yet, most of us don’t value it nearly enough. We listen to get our point across, to be heard or to dig up the past just to shut someone up – especially if we don’t like what we’re hearing. We even listen in anticipation – thinking we know what someone will say which then causes us to miss the point entirely. It’s not that most of us don’t want to listen – it’s just that we’re busy or get tired of hearing the same story. Yet, if we want to have really solid relationships with others, it’s time we listen with all of our attention on the present moment. Listening should be an occupation. Something we devote our whole heart and mind to. It should be a priority over sharing our point. Imagine instead of having to tell your spouse that he too has done something wrong (like leaving the toilet seat up for the umpteenth time), that you give him the time and energy to hearing everything he has to say is bothering him now. That you observe his body language or his words and fully. Instead of diving into the same fight you’ve had over and over, really listening could be enough to change the course of conversation. Even though many of us have been trained that winning means getting in the last word, silence might actually be the key to gaining everything you’ve been looking for in all of your relationships.

Weekly Path to Peace: Make listening your new occupation.

  • Are you listening? How about the people around you? Spend some time observing how much or how little you listen. Do you wait until others are complete or do you interrupt them – thinking you know what they’re going to say. Do you automatically respond or do you take the time to acknowledge the words others say? Make observation a priority early this week.
  • Practice listening and staying in the present moment. When you hear yourself formulating a response, clear your mind. Wait. Let the other person complete their thought and acknowledge what you’ve heard. Decide if you agree or can see their perspective before you respond. Notice too how differently your conversations go this week as you practice this with your partner, co-workers, friends and children.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change. 

WORD OF THE YEAR

Each year I pick a word to lean into that I believe will improve my life. For example, I spent an entire year leaning into weakness because I knew what it was like to always be strong, so I decided to see what it mean to own weakness. During that year, I learned to ask for help and take down the super woman mask. This year, I am leaning into listening. I am great at arguing. I’m a lawyer – it comes with the territory. So, this year, I am going to learn the lessons of what listening so that I can discover the next layer of me! What’s your word? Click Here and share with me on Facebook what is your word of the year!

Setting Priorities

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen R. Covey

The way most of us prioritize is simple, we sit down and look at our schedule and decide what we have to do – and prioritize in terms of urgency. Instead of looking at what is important to us – to our work, to our family – all too often what we choose to do is put out a fire and pay attention to what is important last. And although it feels like we’re checking things off our list, we perpetually feel like we’re behind because we’re never putting first the things that help us live happier – live better. As we close this year, it’s a natural time to think about our priorities. Not only can we look back and see if our priorities were in line with our values, morals, and true desires, we can incorporate the lessons from our past year in setting new priorities – ones that propel us forward to being the person we hope to be.  Imagine beginning this year with your vision in mind – not just your goals or your resolutions – but a true vision of how your life can be. Do you want to be in love? Have a thriving business or change careers? Or perhaps simply live healthier? Starting out with a clear vision can help you set priorities that guide and propel your choices – allowing you to not only look at a schedule, but look at the big picture before you decide to do with your time. When prioritized this way, each moment takes on a greater importance and sense of purpose that allows you to not only get stuff done – but get the things done that help you grow. So, before you set down a resolution or a single priority for this next year, consider looking at your vision and prioritize from there.

Weekly Path to Peace: Set your vision, then your priorities.

  • Begin this week looking back over this past year. How did you schedule your time? Did you prioritize based on what was urgent or what was important? Did you make the time for the things you said you wanted to do? Be honest with yourself, but try not to judge or beat yourself up. You’re looking for lessons on how to make this next year even better, not reasons to beat yourself up.
  • What does your ideal vision for 2017 look like? Do you want better health? Great relationships? Dream work? Look at what it is that you want 2017 to really be – let yourself see your ideal vision without making excuses why it can’t be that way. What do you need to prioritize in order to achieve that vision? Working out, time with friends? Look at all the things that you must do each week to achieve your goals and list them as your priorities.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

Happy New Year!

Holiday Path to Peace: Ride the Wave of Feelings

Feelings are like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.” Jonathan Martensson

This week’s Weekly Path to Peace is a little different. A little more personal. Each week, I write about things that I’ve seen help my clients or issues that I am grappling with personally and finding my way through. Because this week is Christmas, I wanted to connect more deeply and hope we can together ride the waves of emotion that commonly hit us around this time of the year. I love Christmas. I love the music, TV shows, family time, presents and always, always – the tree. This year, though, Christmas is different. Although I’m still excited, it’s lost some of its joy because it’s our first Christmas without my mom. She was the director of all of our Christmas pasts and without her, my family is feeling a little untethered as we look for new traditions and ways to celebrate. Like so many of you, I’m experiencing a variety of emotions and feelings right now. And instead of stuffing them down, burying them and waiting for them to pop up on Christmas day (or whatever family gathering is a tradition at your house), maybe we can collectively learn to ride the feelings and not let them consume us. When we’re in the middle of feeling deep feelings, most of us don’t realize that we aren’t our feelings. That they’re just visitors who’ve come to inform us and teach us something new about ourselves. We think that if we’re feeling angry, that we are angry. And because most of us don’t like being angry, we make ourselves wrong. Instead of riding out the emotion and seeing what nuggets of wisdom it may hold, we beat ourselves up or hide. Maybe our anger is really fear masked, or perhaps a judgment, we’re ready to let go of. Only when we’re willing to ride with the emotion can we choose if we need to dive deeper or just stay on top of it. This week, I’m going to choose to let sadness, joy and even melancholy inform me, and not be me. It is my wish that you can do the same so that we can all find a little more peace this holiday season.

Holiday Path to Peace: Ride the Wave of Feelings

  • This week, begin to separate your feelings from who you are. Instead of stuffing them down, invite every emotion or feeling to have a seat at your emotional table. One of the ways I remind myself to do that is by reading the poet Rumi’s incredible poem The Guest House (Click Here to Read). Like the poem suggests, treat each emotion as a guest – even the ones we might not like.
  • Look at each emotion and simply ask yourself, what is the lesson or wisdom or gift that this emotion or feeling brings. What is there for you to learn or be grateful? Begin to separate who you are from what you feel and notice how quickly you can begin to choose which feelings to examine further and which you can simply remain on top of.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

And Happy Holidays!

Detachment is Freedom

Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.” Ali Ibn Ali Talib

It’s so hard for so many of us to let go. We cling to our things, people and even hopes to such an extent that we often feel tormented or even paralyzed by our need to be attached. When we demand that something be a certain way, it ends up having power over us in a way that we’re not even aware of. It owns our emotions and reactions and can cause us to feel almost insane in the way we hold on. For many of us detachment and letting go means giving up – but really it has nothing to do with giving up our goals or desires. Detachment means letting go of our attachment to the outcome. It means letting go of the emotions that own us and deciding that you no longer have to be run by them. It also means that we get comfortable with the unknown – and instead of always having to be in control of tomorrow – we learn to trust the universe to open up the door to the exact possibilities we’ll need to get to our dreams. And although detachment isn’t always easy, it’s the key to gaining real power over how we live. Imagine how many hours we spend trying to control our spouse or our children’s lives – thinking that if we only do enough – we (or they) will avoid painful discomfort. Detachment though, helps us stop and see if what we’re chasing even makes sense – it allows us to see multiple outcomes without caring which one is the “right” one. It breeds trust because we know that with each option will come something spectacular – and if not, our circumstances will at least contain grains of wisdom that will carry us through to the next phase. So, if today you’ve been looking for ways to find more ease, peace or simply a break from the constant conversation in your mind, begin with simply detaching and letting go.

Weekly Path to Peace: Detach and find freedom. 

  • Where are you attachments running your life? Do you spend hours trying to control your life or the people who fill it? Do you worry about every one of life’s turns? Or are you consistently hoping or wishing someone might suddenly be different? Look to all of the attachments to people, stuff, or even the future, that currently have power over your emotions. Spend time writing all of them down.
  • This week practice detachment. When you catch yourself hoping or wishing for a certain outcome – or feeling paralyzed by fear that you might lose someone or something, practice letting go of what you think should happen. Let go of words like my or mine and should or “have to”. When you hear yourself say those things, gently remind yourself that the possibility lies not in those words, but in the opportunity of the unknown.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

Denial is Delay

Living in denial only makes finding the truth that much harder.” Jules F.

We all live in denial to some extent. We might make excuses for other’s behavior or refuse to see what’s plain for everyone else to see. In many ways, denial is our ego’s protective mechanism – designed to keep us from being hurt. The problem, though, is that denial only delays what’s necessary for us to move forward. Perhaps we wonder why our partner or even ex won’t engage with the children – we badger them and ask them how they can be so distant. Or we can’t believe that our friend has a problem with drugs or is doing something we don’t really like. It doesn’t occur to us that we probably have some vision in our head that isn’t matching reality. We ask for some proof that they match our personal vision and refuse to see the facts as they are. Most of the time it’s because we’re somehow vested in that vision and end up frozen by inaction. We torture ourselves and refuse to accept the simple facts just as they are – we get tied up thinking that if we look at what our gut might really know, that it says something about us. That we were stupid to trust or wrong for our choice in a friend or partner. So, instead, we hide from the truth. We delay. We don’t make decisions. And sometimes that denial can cost us – whether it’s time, mental or physical health or our own self-esteem. Living in denial also creates unhealthy patterns. We engage in conversations that don’t help us or perpetuate habits that keep us stuck. And then we wonder why nothing ever changes. We keep saying things “should” be different. . . It’s only when we decide to look at the truth that we can finally find peace. We make choices that allow us to separate out fact from fiction and find the truth.

Weekly Path to Peace: Live in truth.  

  • Are you living in denial? Do you keep trying at a relationship, but not getting the results you’ve hoped for? Do you hide or numb so you don’t have to feel? What are the ways that denial is delaying your ability to make a decision or live your life? Spend 15 minutes journaling each day about how you’re living in denial and the way it might be impacting your life.
  • Separate the facts from the fiction in your head. Facts are objective: the sun is yellow, I have two children or I am married. The fiction is all the unresolved emotions we have around the facts: my husband should spend more time with the kids, I’m a judgmental loser. Once we separate the facts from the fiction, it’s easier to discover the truth so we no longer have to delay the important things in life.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

Willingness is a Must

You cannot grow unless you are willing to change.” Unknown

All change begins with willingness. And it can’t just be a spoken willingness, but one that we feel deep within ourselves. Often we can’t change our habits and patterns, the thing that holds us back might just be our own unwillingness. It may even be unconscious – we might even feel like we’re trying, but if we were not able to see results – then we might check-in with ourselves to see if we’re truly willing to grow and change. Are we saying things like “It just won’t work” or “I was born this way”? Do you actually find comfort in the things you truly dislike? These kinds of statements and thoughts might be an indication that our growth is stunted by our own deep-seated unwillingness. We may not even be aware of what willingness really is all about. It means being open to new options, possibilities and ways of doing things. It begins with challenging our beliefs and seeing if what we’ve told ourselves all along is really true. Willingness means having the humility to understand we can’t go it alone – that asking for help or learning from others might lead to the solution we’ve been looking for. And it means letting go and surrendering completely. Only when we do that, can we see the growth we’ve been seeking all along. Whether you find yourself repeatedly seeking unavailable partners, stuck in a eating disorder or more seriously harmful habits, willingness to get help – to change – to really love yourself will make the difference. Without it, you’ll remain right where you are and no matter how many books you read, courses you take or people you hire to support you – your growth will be held back. So, if you want to truly change – begin with the simple step of becoming willing.

Weekly Path to Peace: Become more willing

  • Because we get so used to our daily patterns and lives, we might not even be aware of unconscious commitments that keep us from being willing. If you aren’t achieving the goals you say you want, begin by checking in with yourself to discover ways you might be unwilling to change. Maybe you’re comfortable with your financial situation to such an extent that you won’t let that go – so finding a new career won’t really happen. Or you’re so comfortable in your relationship that you don’t really want to do the work to discover who you are. Check-in and discover all the ways you might be unwilling.
  • After you’ve looked at that, focus on how you might be willing to change. What small things are you willing to do – even if the big picture feels daunting. Pick an area where you might be willing to see possibility or get help and explore your options. Take one step toward whatever you are willing to do this week.   

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change. 

Power in Unity

There is more power in unity than division.” Emanuel Cleaver

We live divided. Divided by gender, race, politics, religion, money – but especially from one another. While division is in some way natural because we each want to feel we’re independent, division weakens us all. It creates competition, hatred and has us root ourselves deeper in our positions.  And although it’s easy to focus on our differences and take hold of our personal views, the more we remain divided as humans – the more we collectively lose. We may not realize it, but most of us are looking outside ourselves to define who we are – to validate what we believe or feel. If someone doesn’t match that view or experience, we immediately deny and hide in fear. The thing is, that kind of thinking leads to stagnation. Just because we may not understand one another doesn’t mean that we must quash or stop what we don’t get. Unity on the other hand, seeks understanding. It seeks compassion and conversation. It looks for solution. When we see how we’re really more similar than we are different, we no longer insist that we all must look, sound or live alike. We learn to accept one another and our own respective beliefs – without insistence. And that doesn’t mean that we give up or resign, not at all. It simply means that we find common ground in our similarities so that it becomes easier to have dialog and let go of the hate within us. Because hate ultimately eats at us, not the other person. Unity makes us each of us powerful because when we find common ground we can build bridges. It is born out of love, not difference. And ultimately, being able to find unity makes us feel better - it brings us joy because when we’re not so busy protecting ourselves, we can feel relaxed and peace.

Weekly Path to Peace: Find the power in unity.

  • Politics are only one the areas in which division is showing up in our world. If you’ve experienced difficulty or found yourself pointing fingers this week, begin with seeing how you can find unity – even with just one person. Look too where the division you see in the world is mirroring itself in your personal life. Identify all the ways you divide yourself from others – from your spouse, friends, co-workers, anyone. And focus on how it makes you feel.
  • Spend at least 15-20 minutes this week finding unity with someone who is “different” from you. Whether it’s within the community or the world, really look for ways in which you are similar to that person. See what feelings come up for you as you do this exercise. Do you find yourself more peaceful or accepting? Use this exercise anytime you feel yourself judging, blaming or pointing fingers at another.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change. 

Embrace Endings

Sunsets are proof that endings can often be beautiful too.” Beau Taplin

We all fear the end of things. From the simple end of a vacation to the most life-altering end of a relationship or loss of life, we’ve been taught to fear the end of things. Perhaps the simplest explanation for why is that we fear the unknown – that we have no idea what tomorrow will look like because we’ve gotten so used to yesterday and today. But, maybe, it’s deeper than that. Maybe our discomfort with endings really has to do with our own identify; who we know ourselves to be. If you think about it, when we’re on vacation, we usually like our spouse, our children or ourselves more because we’re all a happier version of ourselves. The fear is that when we come back, it goes away. The same thing happens when we lose someone – a parent, a loved one or a friend – we go through questioning of who we are now since that person is gone. And instead of embracing what is happening in the moment, we grab hold of the rope that connects us to our past and resist the ending with all our might. It causes deep suffering and if we’re not careful – keeps us stuck in that purgatory of loss and disenchantment. The antidote to handling endings, then is to simply remember that like a sunset, endings can carry magnificent beauty. Maybe it’s an opportunity to make some significant changes in our life or perhaps we’re now free to be who we were always meant to be. Sunsets still shine. So can we. It just means adopting a different perspective and remembering that this too comes with something we can remember and cherish. So, instead of running into the arms of safety, maybe we can approach our life fearlessly – not worrying about what we might lose, but what can be gained with each new ending.

Weekly Path to Peace: Embrace your endings.

  • What endings are you running from? What part of yourself are you afraid you might lose or never regain? Is there someplace that you’re still stuck in the past, holding on to who you once were? Take a look at all the way you fear endings or are being held back because you haven’t moved on from one. Even the small ways. Allow yourself to be honest.
  • Embrace at least one ending. Even if it’s one that hasn’t happened or may not, embrace the fact that the ending may bring a new you, a new reality or a new opportunity. Rather than being afraid of “what if”, look at how you can shift your perspective and breathe in the possibility. The Universe is always giving you an opportunity to become more – just like a beautiful sunset. See what shifts when you remind yourself of that.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

Waiting for . . .an Excuse

“For those of you who are ‘waiting for a sign’ . . . if you woke up today THAT’S YOUR SIGN.” Steve Maraboli

How often have you asked for a sign? Something pointing you in the right direction – letting you know that YES, this is it. This is the direction of your life’s purpose. Once every while that message comes down like a lightening bolt. Like when you meet “the one” or the right person just shows out to help you out with an important decision. We cherish the security of knowing that we’re on the right path. But, what do we do when the sign isn’t there? Or if we get multiple “signs” pointing us in different directions? Oftentimes, when we don’t get a sign we get stuck or confused – which leads to serious inaction. We tell ourselves that because we aren’t getting messages from the Universe that it must not be our time – or that our chosen path must not be the one. What we don’t recognize, though, is that waiting for a sign has become an excuse for doing or not doing something. It allows us to bury our fears and resistance and instead of working through them, allows another great idea or miracle to pass. “It wasn’t meant to be,” we say. “I got stuck so God must not want me going forward.” We tell ourselves stories just so we don’t have to see that maybe – just maybe – what’s holding us back is ourselves. Maybe we don’t want to make a difficult choice. Maybe we’re afraid that if we step into our purpose that we’ll fail. Whatever it is, we sabotage ourselves all in the name of waiting for a sign. So, what’s the solution? If we really want to get clear on our signs, perhaps all we have to do is take a step forward. Decide what is working and what isn’t – after we’ve actually taken the initial steps. After all, maybe that lightening bolt we’ve been waiting for is around the corner. And all that we really needed, was the sign that today is another day for us to make at least one choice that moves us in a direction.

Weekly Path to Peace: Move toward your sign.

  • Have you been waiting for a sign? Hoping that you’ll get some message that will tell you which way you should go? Maybe the first step isn’t about getting 100% clear, but about moving in some direction. One way you can do that is really envision what this situation or circumstance might look like if you had your dream come true. If it’s a job or career, what would your ideal work situation look like? Get clear at least on what your perfect day at work might look like.
  • Now, instead of waiting for a sign if you’re on the right path, do one thing to move forward. Anything. Even if it might be the wrong thing, let yourself try something out. You choose what that one thing might be and do it this week. Don’t let fear, doubt or lack of knowing how stop you! Promise yourself that waiting for a sign will not be your excuse this week.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

 

 

 

 

Break the Allure of Toxicity

Closing the door to toxicity is the most effective way to make space for opportunity.” Amy Tan

All you have to do is watch the news lately to know that there is a certain allure to toxicity. We’re drawn to it like moths to a flame. Whether it’s shock or a desire to say “thank goodness, I’m not that” we can’t help but stay glued to see what happens next. Yet, it’s one thing to watch toxicity from afar, it’s entirely another when it is part of our everyday life. When toxicity is all around us, it eats away at our health and emotional well-being. Many of us have repeatedly found ourselves in toxic situations or surrounded by toxic people and wonder how we get there. We blame them for what they bring – we become resentful or stressed. But, have you ever wondered if there is a certain allure for you? Something that keeps you tied to situations where you draw in the drama or toxic behavior of others? That’s not to say that you’re asking for it, but sometimes, toxic people are brought into our lives to show us something – and until we’re willing to look at what that is – we’ll consistently find ourselves surrounded by the exact people and situations we say we don’t want. One of the reasons many of us find ourselves in toxic situations is that we mistakenly believe that we were meant to fix it (or the person). Or we tell ourselves that we’re tough – that we can handle it. Whatever our reasons, the thing we must first recognize is that we do actually have something that pulls us in. We may claim that we hate what’s happening (and we do), but there is probably a larger, unconscious part that keeps us there. Until we recognize that we have a pull (and what it is), it’s impossible for us to close the door to toxicity. Only then can we make new, conscious choices that truly open the door to opportunity. Perhaps we learn to simply say no, we don’t respond to a text, turn off the TV or even let go of someone we know has been toxic for us. When we learn that we are fully able to close the door, it is at that point that we can finally be free.

Weekly Path to Peace: Close the door to toxicity.

  • Where do you have toxicity seeping into your life? Is it at work, at home, or with what you watch on TV? Identify all the places you allow toxic situations or people into your life. Even the seemly small ones. What is the effect of allowing toxicity into your life? Do you feel stress, is it affecting your health? Look at the ways toxic situations are currently harming you.
  • Take time to explore what draws you to these situations. Allow yourself to be honest. Really honest. List them all out and ask if what pulls is you is really serving you or harming you. If you can, also take one small step toward breaking your attraction to toxicity. You identify that step and follow through – and make it something that is doable and realistic.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.