Sunday, December 30, 2012

What are you addicted to?

As I drove home from my post-Christmas family holiday, I listened to Wayne Dyer's "Being in Balance" audio book.  This is the umpteenth time I've listened to it, but it had been several months since the last time.  As I knew I would be (with any of Dyer's works), I was reminded of some very helpful tips in living my best life and being me

Chapter four is about addictions.  This chapter is one I find most helpful.  Not because I suffer from addictions to drugs or alcohol.  Those are the classic addictions people, including me, think of when they hear the word "addiction."  I'm addicted to distrust. 

Most notably this has shown up in the form of jealousy for me.  And even more specifically, a dislike towards my boyfriend's ex-wife.  I have talked about situations I've been in around her and how I struggled, in previous blog posts.  I know this is my own issue.  She has done nothing to me.  She has done nothing, since I've been with my boyfriend, to lead me to believe she was "out to get me" in any way.  It's all in my head.  I create these unstable, distrustful situations in my mind.  This is my addiction. 

A concept from "Being in Balance" that struck me most profoundly upon my recent listening was "force, counterforce."  Dyer advocates to not fight your addictions.  Surrender.  Let it be.  His reason?  Behind every force there is a counterforce.  When you push against something, it tends to push back.  Fighting begets fighting.  Struggle begets struggle. 

It's best to just let it be. 

Let it be what it is.  Let it be "over there."  Focus on what you do want and more of that will appear in your life. 

We humans tend to spend so much time, energy, and thought directed towards what we don't want, it's no wonder we have so much of it.  I'm sure manifesting and the concept that our thoughts create our reality isn't new to most of you.  Yet for some reason when it comes to my addiction of distrust, my desire to think good thoughts and manifest what I want goes right out the window. It's like a compulsion - distrust.  I know it stems back to my early years.  I've pinpointed that a long time ago.  I can't change the past, but I can change how I move forward.  I can change how I let the past affect me.  I can control my thoughts.  I can, I can, I can.  (That's me reminding myself that yes, in fact, I do control all those distrustful thoughts and images I have in my brain.) 

"Ever hear of a robin in therapy trying to overcome his desire to eat butterflies?"  (Dyer, "Being in Balance").  Why don't birds chase butterflies?  They're poisonous.  Birds don't chase after something that they don't want and is harmful to them.  Humans do that.  That's how it is with addictions, or any less-than-positive thought.  We chase after it, causing more harm to ourselves. 
Why not take our own power back?  Commit to not chasing after what we don't want?  Let it be. 
And meanwhile, focus instead on what we do want and be happier for it! 

"The more I pursued my life in the balance point for what felt right for me, the more practice I gained and the more the Universe and I were aligned.  In alignment, you attract opportunities for you."  (Dyer, "Being in Balance").

This is my goal.  I put the above quote up in my bathroom to remind myself every day to pursue balance in my life.  Stop chasing after things that cause me stress.  Pursue what I do want.  And in so doing, recognizing and accepting that the Universe and I will be more aligned.  Therefore, more of those positive, spirit-affirming opportunities will be drawn to me.

Each day, each moment is an opportunity for us to choose balance.  Choose what will make our heart and our spirit happy.  Forget what other people want you to do.  Ignore other people's expectations of you.  What do you want?  What will make you happy?  Do that! 

Our spirit never guides us in the wrong direction.  If you feel you need to do something, do it!  Who cares how it'll look to others?  Who cares what they'll think?   Be true to you. 

Back to addictions.  We all have them.  In some form, fashion, or intensity.  Let them be.  Accept that part of you.  Love that part of you.  And let it be.  When you feel compelled to chase after an addiction, remind yourself that that is not in your best interest.  That is not your spirit guiding you.  Stop.  Listen.  Focus on your own inner balance.  And start again. 

Quotes of the Day:

“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”   (Santosh Kalwar)

"The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it."  (Anonymous)

"In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher."  (Dalai Lama) 


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bring a little vacation home!

I just got back last night from spending three days with my family, about two hours from my own home.  I stayed with my aunt and grandpa (she moved back in with him to care for him when my grandma died).  It's what my family has done every year the days after Christmas.  Drive down and stay a few days.  There have been years when I dreaded it and didn't want to be there, and years when I loved it.  Typically that depended on my age at the time and what was going on in my life.  This year I loved it -- much more than I expected to. 

Since my boyfriend had to work, he stayed home.  So it was just me, my two younger sisters (both single right now), and my parents.  I also brought Betty (my little shih-tzu I recently adopted).

It felt like old times.  The days when you don't have any responsibilities, not a care in the world, and you just enjoy hanging out. 

I spent my hours doing crossword puzzles, playing Risk with my sisters, eating, drinking, reading, writing, talking.  It was all very laid back and peaceful.  I actually didn't really want to come home.  But as with any vacation, it can't last forever.  It's just not sustainable long-term.  It got me thinking though, what can I do at home to make my daily life more like my vacation life? 

On vacation I enjoy simplicity.  You typically have very few possessions with you.  The necessities, plus a few "fun" things.  So I am going to go through my house today and purge as much unnecessary stuff as I possibly can bear to part with.  I'm hoping it's a boat load! 

Also on vacation there's usually nothing you "have" to do.  Very few, if any, obligations or responsibilities.  While responsibilities are a part of being an adult, that doesn't mean everything is a "have-to."  Or at the very least, most things aren't as urgent as we tend to feel that they are. 

For some reason when I'm home I feel like there's all these things I need to do, have to do, or should be doing.  I feel the pressure of them pushing down on me.  It makes me tense and anxious.  There's no reason for this!  The most important things will get done.  The non-important things can be let go.

When I was on vacation I was still productive.  I still wrote and blogged.  I still read, which as a writer, I consider part of my "work."  But I felt much more relaxed doing so.  Why? 

For one, on vacation I don't feel like I have to keep to a certain schedule.  At home I feel like I "have to" do things as a certain time.  I'm constantly looking at the clock, seeing if I'm "on schedule."  Is it time to eat yet?  Is it the right time to walk the dogs?  Is it time to go to bed?  It's my own schedule I set for myself!  Why do I feel so locked in to doing things on a "set" time? 

And two, when I'm home I often sit on the couch in my living room.  I eat there, and often work from there too.  However, the TV is staring at me from across the room.  I have show after show recorded on my DVR.  It's silly, but I feel a pressure to watch them.  To then be able to delete them.  Check something off the "to-do" list.  But they're TV shows!  Why do I feel so obligated to watch or keep up with them?

I don't know the answer to either of those questions.  But it's something I'm now more aware of that I do.  Now that I know, I can do something about it.  I can be the peace I felt on vacation.    

On vacation it's just me.  Yes, I was around several other people, almost all of the time.  But I was still "just me."  At home, with my boyfriend and other pets (two other dogs and three cats), it's not "just me." 

I noticed it as soon as I walked into my house.  My two other dogs, who stayed home with my boyfriend, were super excited I was home.  As dogs are, they're always excited when I come home.  They're also excited when it's meal time.  And walk time.  And just lots of other "times" during the day.  I love dogs.  I'm passionate about animals in general, and especially dogs.  But I realize that I don't have to live in a constant state of excitement with them.   

I had grown accustomed to their excitement and high energy.  But after being away for three days, I realized how much I appreciated the peace and calmness.  As soon as I got home, the excitement was almost too much.  I knew I had to make a change.  Focus more on the peace and calmness that I felt on vacation.  I can have more of that at home too!  I told my boyfriend when he got home from work that I intend to work harder at teaching the dogs to be calmer and not get so worked up.  I know this is possible.  Dogs feed off of our energy.  I was feeding them excited, anxious energy.  It all starts with me.

With my new committment to living a more peaceful, centered life at home, like I do on vacation, I'm feeling better about being home.  It truly is my life to create as I wish.  I don't have to live in the overly excited, anxious, sometimes chaotic environment I have allowed for too long. 

It's time to de-clutter, rid myself of the excess, turn my attention inward, focus on peace, and emanate that peace in everything I do. 

Ahhhh.... I'm feeling better already!  

*I'd love to hear what parts of vacation you could bring to your home life.  Feel free to share your comments below!* 

Quote of the Day:

"To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him."  (Buddha)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't be a victim.

I play the innocent, naive card well.  "I didn't know..."   "I was just saying..." 
Imagine these words being spoken with wide eyes and eyebrows raised. 

Does that sound familiar? 

As I was laying in bed last night about to drift off to sleep I realized this is the ticket I use to clear myself of any oncoming argument or to dodge someone's possible annoyance at what I did or said. 

That's the card I play.  Way too much.

This came to mind as I recalled a few recent discussions/would-be arguments with my boyfriend.  I'm so non-confrontational and avoid conflict whenever possible.  If I even suspect that he won't like what I have to say, I play one of the above cards.  I use it in an attempt to soften what's about to come out of my mouth. 

While I don't believe there's anything wrong with doing this, I've been using these tactics as a way to hide.  Show weakness so perhaps the other person will have sympathy for me and not attack. 

I need to be strong!  Stand in my truth!  Say what I have to say with conviction and power.  Be me! 

If someone else is going to respond with anger, annoyance, or defensiveness, I need to accept and face that.  It's their reaction, not mine.  I control my own actions.  No matter what I do or how I say something, another person will respond and react however they choose.

I've also noticed something else about myself.  In discussion/would-be arguments with people, the times when I don't speak my truth, or water things down way too much, I don't feel very good about myself.  I feel weak.  But the times when I have said what's really on my mind and simply didn't care how the other person would react, I feel better about myself.  I feel strong.  I know I stood up for myself just then. 

I think that's the thing.  When I don't say what I really want to say (and keep in mind, this does not include saying mean, cruel things just because you think them), I feel alone and unsupported.  This is because I'm not supporting myself

The times when I have said what I wanted to say, even if a confrontation ensued, I walk away feeling confident and good about what just happened.  I supported myself.  I was there for me

Be you, not a victim! 

Quotes of the Day:

"Don't become a victim of yourself.  Forget about the thief waiting in the alley; what about the thief in your mind?"  (Jim Rohn)

"Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself."  (Harvey S. Firestone)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Who do YOU want to be?

“I’m becoming more ME every day.” 

The question then becomes, who do you want to be?

Today is my birthday.  I have lived 35 years now.  And over the course of those 35 years, I have become more and more ME every day.  I feel it even more the older I get.  And I can happily say, I love me! 

I don't intend that to sound egotistical or arrogant.  But I believe everyone should love themselves and genuinely like themselves as well.  If you don't, then it's time to make a change! 

Do you like what you do? 

Some people believe you just "have" to work a job, you don't have to like it.  I never agreed with that.  In my 35 years of life, I've had sixteen different jobs in seven different industries over a span of nineteen working years.  I can honestly say that I loved each one, for the time that I worked there.  Some were short stints.  A summer working at the large animal hospital of Purdue University, for example.  No, I was not a vet student (as most of the other employees), I just like animals and thought it would be a fun and different summer job.  I shoveled out horse and cow stalls every Saturday morning!  While it wasn't glamorous by any stretch, I actually did enjoy it.  I enjoyed the physical labor.  I enjoyed being around the animals (I'm used to cats and dogs, not horses and cows, so that was new for me).  I even learned how to operate a fork lift in that job.  A skill I haven't had to call upon again since then, but I believe it's always good to learn something new. 

With each of my jobs, when it came to the point that I no longer enjoyed doing it, I found something else.  I moved on.  Some people have shouted at me over the years (not literally) that I can't keep job hopping like that, sooner or later no one will hire me.  But that never happened.  I'm a good worker.  I'm honest, smart, and learn quickly.  And most importantly, I  believe that I will always get the right job at the right time.  Our thoughts are key in everything.  What you truly believe will come to fruition.  It's certainly been the case for me. 

Are you happy with your relationships? 

If not, make a change! 

You don't need to feel obligated to keep someone in your life if they are literally draining the spirit right out of you.  Granted, some people in our lives we may not be crazy about, and it would be very difficult to never see again (like certain family members).  But, you do have control over how much time you spend with people and what you do. 

Is there a big get-together or party coming up that you don't particularly want to go to and aren't a big fan of many people who will likely be there?  Don't go!  That's right.  It's YOUR life!  Do what makes YOU happy and what you'll feel good about.

For me this is a certain New Year's Eve party.  Friends of my boyfriend are hosting their annual New Year's Eve bash.  My bf and I attended last year, and it was pretty fun.  But this year I just don't want to go to it again.  We went last year, which quite frankly doesn't feel that long ago.  I know the people hosting it and a couple other attendees, but the majority of the people I don't know.  While that's perfectly fine, this year I'm just not in the mood to spend hours with strangers and a few people who also may be there who I do know and don't really want to spend time with.   So I'm not going.  My boyfriend, on the other hand, told me that he still would like to go.  They are good friends of his and he said he at least "wanted to make an appearance."

I'll be honest.  It stung when, knowing that I didn't want to go, he still would go without me, on  New Year's Eve no less.  But I've made my peace with that. We can't control what anyone else does but ourselves.  This is part of the "becoming more me" that I was referring to.  I'm standing more in my truth.  I'm speaking up for myself more often.  I'm doing things that feel good and right for me, and choosing to abstain from things that I don't have a good feeling about.  Others can like it or not, but that's me.  And I'm happy with my choices!

We are the only ones who have to live with our choices, after all! 
And at the end of your life, at the end of the year, at the end of the day, you want to feel good about the choices you made. 

Don't live your life for someone else. 
Don't be who you think others want or expect you to be. 
Be you! 
Each day get closer to the you that Spirit intended. 
Each day, with each choice, be more who YOU want to be! 

I'll wrap this post up with another little thing I've done in the recent years that has helped me stay true to myself. 

When I'm faced with a decision, or in a situation where I don't know what to do or how to act or respond, I ask myself, "Who do I want to be?" 

As in, do I want to be the type of person who gets angry about _____ (fill in the blank)? 
Do I want to be a person who is jealous? 
Do I want to be a person who is afraid to do something I think sounds fun for fear of what others will think? 
Do I want to be a person who is confident?
Do I want to be a person who has integrity? 
Do I want to be a person who is loving and kind? 

When I remember to ask myself this type of question (Do I want to be a person who ____), it helps me make the best choice for me every time.  It helps me show myself who I want to be.  And then I can move closer to becoming that person each day, with each choice. 

Quotes of the Day:

"There is only one success... to be able to spend your life in your own way."  (Christopher Morley)

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."  (Epictetus, Greek philosopher)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Slow down!

This time of year can get hectic.  You're running around, buying presents for people, maybe getting special food for get-togethers.  There are holiday parties to attend.  Family gatherings.  It's easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. 

Slow down! 

I know it sounds contradictory to slow down when you're feeling rushed and actually do have a lot that needs to get done.  But it's what your spirit is crying out for you to do.  Believe it or not, it'll actually make you feel better -- less stressed -- when you slow down. 

I reminded myself to do this a few days ago, then again today.  Both times I had a full day ahead of me.  I had multiple errands to run.  Several places I "needed" to go.  Lots to get done.  When I have a lot on my to-do list, I tend to feel stressed.  I just want it all done, so I can then relax. 

But at one point during a drive from one point to the next, I reminded myself to slow down.  I focused my attention on my breathing and relaxed my neck and shoulders.  I could feel my body relaxing, letting the stress go.  I felt my heart fill with love -- the love that had been absent, or rather drowned out by the anxiety.  I could then move forward in love.  And everything still got done.

We all get stressed from time to time.  Our to-do lists can get lengthy.  But worrying about it and stressing about it, as we rush from place to place, checking off item after item, won't make anything better.  In fact, things may take longer to accomplish when we're stressed rather than relaxed and calm.  Not to mention it's just plain not enjoyable. 

So relax.  Everything will get done.  Don't worry about it.  And if something doesn't get done - that last item or two on the list - "so what?"  What needs to be done will be done.  The Universe has your back. 

Remember this during the holidays, and every day in the new year.  When you're feeling stressed from so much to do - slow down
Relax your body. 
Focus on love. 
Be present.   
Be YOU and go forth in love! 

Quote of the Day:

"Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.  Nothing is that important."  (Natalie Goldberg)

Friday, December 21, 2012

You've been spared!

My house had hail damage a couple months ago.  That, plus the fact that my roof is just plain old, led me to contact roofers to have it replaced.  A friend had used this one particular company, I'll call them Company X.  She had good things to say about them and recommended them to me.  So I called. 

Bob (not his real name) from Company X came to my house almost immediately to look at my roof.  He assured me I would be getting a new one.  There was a lot of damage.  He contacted my insurance company, got the ball rolling, and seemed to be taking care of all the details. 

But once I got my insurance statement about what would be covered and how much they'll pay, I didn't hear from Company X or Bob. 

In my "new" way of thinking, I "let it go." I didn't try to force or push anything.  Part of this was because another friend, who also used Company X, and Bob, did not have a good experience.  They gave her all sorts of headaches and she tried to persuade me to "get out while I still could."  I was torn.  One recommendation, one anti-recommendation.  In my indecision of what to do, that's when I decided to let it go and trust that the Universe would take care of it. 

A couple weeks after my insurance came through, Bob finally called me.  He explained that Company X has a minimum amount they will do a roofing job for and unfortunately mine was below the minimum.  (Their claim is they will replace your roof for whatever the insurance will cover.)  When I posted this on my personal Facebook page, the friend of mine that had a negative experience commented, "You've been spared." 

That's when it hit me.  I had given it up to the Universe.  I had doubts about whether I should stick with Company X or bail, and now it had been taken care of for me.  I was grateful.  (Since then, I have been in contact with another roofing contractor who I really like and has given me a bid to replace my roof that is also below what my insurance covered.  So it looks like (fingers crossed) it'll all work out.) 

I had a similar "sparing" several years ago.  I was dating this guy at the time.  We hadn't been together long, but we really hit it off from the start and things progressed quickly. After a couple of months, however, I started to have my doubts about him and if this relationship was good for me after all.  But being the non-confrontational person that I am, I didn't say anything to this guy. 

Instead, I talked to the Universe.  I said how I wasn't sure, that I didn't know what to do.  And I asked, quite literally, to take it out of my hands.  If I'm not meant to be with him, please do something so that I'm not with him anymore.  Make it obvious. 

Just a couple weeks later I got the answer I asked for.  This guy stopped calling.  Out of the blue.  Things had been going fine, more or less... or so I thought.  He told me he would call me on a certain day, and he just didn't.  I was upset at first.  Or rather, my ego was upset.  I had been rejected.  But in actuality, I had been spared.  I didn't chase after this guy.  I didn't call him again.  I let it be.  I accepted the answer I got and thanked the Universe for it. 

(On a side note, I did drive by his apartment one time just to make sure his car was still there and nothing bad had happened to him.) 

It's best to open your heart to accept the goodness of the Universe.  It's working FOR YOU, after all!

Quotes of the Day:
When in doubt, give, let them have it, surrender, make peace.
When there's no doubt, give, let them have it, surrender, make peace.  (

Whenever something doesn't work out the way you thought it would, instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent.
Everything plays to your favor.  (

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I love you. I am here.

"I love you.  I am here." 

These words came to me today during my morning meditation.  I was struggling with an on-going issue with my mom and was feeling alone, like I had to fend for myself.  I was feeling helpless and disappointed.  At first I thought I was disappointed in her, which I am, but then I realized that I was also disappointed with myself (since basically all our emotions directed outward towards other people are a reflection of our inner emotions towards ourselves).  I didn't know what to do.  Then the words, "I love you and I am here for you" came to me.  I immediately felt better -- cared for, protected, loved.  And the more I repeated those words in my head, which was multiple times, my sadness, helplessness, and disappointment evaporated.  I felt powerful, strong, and living in love again (instead of fear, where I had been when I started the meditation). 

When you are upset, feeling alone, and feeling helpless, those emotions bubbling up are really a cry from your spirit that it's time for you to be there for you.  It's time for you to stand up for yourself, in whatever way you need at the time.  It's time for you to show your support for yourself

You see, we have all the love and support within ourselves that we'll ever need.  We ARE pure love.  We just forget that from time to time as life comes at us and circumstances pop up.  We are fully capable of giving ourselves the love and support we think we need others to give us. 

When we are feeling alone, it's important to remind ourselves that we are never alone.  (I don't mean that as creepy as it sounds.)  We are always with ourselves.  And within each of us is the entire Universe and all the love that entails. 

The next time you are feeling lost, alone, or unloved, try this:  Go to a quiet place (the best you can find with your circumstances at the time).  Close your eyes if possible, or if not, that's fine too.  Then direct your attention inward.  Focus on your spirit or your heart.  Repeat the words, "I love you.  I am here."  Over and over and over until you start to feel your heart warming.  You'll tap into the love of the Universe and reclaim your position in that love.  You'll realize you are not alone and that you already are all the love you need.  This may take just a few seconds, or several minutes.  But once you feel better -- back to your true, loving self again -- open your eyes and move forward from that place of love and strength. 

You ARE strong. 
You ARE love. 
You ARE capable of handling whatever steps in your path.  It's there for a reason.  You needed this reminder to get back in tune with your own inner love and power. 

I realized that, too, once I got myself back into a place of love.  At first I was angry with my mom.  How could she do that to me?  (I was taking everything personally.)  How could she be that way?  (I was also being very judgmental.)  But then I accepted it for what it is.  I thanked the Universe for the experience.  I realized I needed that experience to learn that I can stand up for myself and I don't have to be a doormat.  I have since decided on a couple changes that I can make that I feel good about.  I can't change my mom.  She'll continue to do what she does.  But the key is learning how to accept her as she is and at the same time standing in my own truth and living in love.  Love for myself.  Love for her.  Just love. 

I'm still working on it.  We're all a work in progress.  But for now, I am thankful for yet another experience guiding me along my path, another lesson I needed to learn. 

I love you.  I am here. 

Quotes of the Day:

"Your secret blessing is that no matter where you go in time and space, you only ever have to be yourself -- as courageous, vulnerable, bold, or afraid as you may feel -- to find yourself amongst friends.  So loved."  (

"When you understand why something hurts, it stops hurting.  When you understand you have options, you take action.  And when you understand you have wings, you can soar again.  If it's still hurting, fly anyway!"  (

"What's the scariest thing in the world?  Forgetting how much you're loved."  (

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The more you love, the more love you have to give away

First, I want to apologize for missing my posting yesterday.  I was busy running around town, doing the necessary steps (and running a few other errands) to officially adopt the little blind shih-tzu, Betty, who I had been fostering the past week.  So by the time I got everything finalized and done, it was near my bedtime! 

Ok, that being said, on to today's topic. 

The more you love, the more love you have to give away.

I was doing my morning meditation, which sometimes turns into a morning "sitting" when I'm not quite meditating, but at least I'm sitting still in a dark room with only a candle burning.  That's how it's been the past few days.  Betty is usually in the room with me, and I just like to watch her.  She's so darn cute, for one thing, and her resiliency is inspiring.  Then when she comes to me in my "meditation chair" and stands up on her hind legs, with her front paws on me, I just have to pick her up and put her in my lap.  And my heart swells every time. 

I have three other dogs that I love.  And I've had many more throughout my life to date.  But Betty has sure found a special place in my heart.    

I realized something during one of these "meditations."  The more love I GIVE, the more love I FEEL.  Since taking Betty into my home, I feel even more surrounded by love.  Sometimes I worry about if I'll run out of money in my savings, and not be making enough from my writing yet, what will I do?  Should I be adopting another animal?  Am I being responsible from a financial sense?  Probably not.  But I am acting out of love.  And I feel that when you act from a place of love, good will result. 

I also noticed that I'm feeling more loving myself.  The more love I give, the more love I feel like I have to give.  The more love I create within me.  It's a great cycle! 

The image of the Grinch also popped in my head during this realization.  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, animated movie.  Where the green Grinch's heart actually grows once he acts in love for the first time instead of being his usual stingy self.  The same is true for us non-cartoon humans.   

When we open our hearts to love, love fills our hearts in return. 
If we want love, we have to give love.

Each time we love someone or something, we create more love in our hearts.  We say we "give" love, but we're not giving anything away in the sense that we're not losing love by giving it.  We're actually gaining love. 

Quotes of the Day:

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  (Lao Tzu)   

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  (Mother Teresa)

Monday, December 17, 2012

So what?

Our home NFL team just lost today.  My boyfriend is in a bad mood now.  I say, "So what?" 

I enjoy football as much as anyone.  I really do.  It's my favorite sport to watch and I enjoy the game for what it is.  An entertaining game.  Am I bummed when we lose?  Sure.  But then I shrug and think to myself, "So what?"  There will be another game next weekend.  Or not (come playoffs).  But either way, life goes on. 

In about an hour I am due to have the CEO of the humane society in my city, along with Patty Spitler (a local news celebrity and host of Pet Pals TV), and her crew at my house!  They want to do a story on the blind shih-tzu I am fostering (soon to adopt, hopefully).  I have cleaned my house, but still.  Having people over, especially "high profile" people AND knowing your house will be on national TV.... certainly makes you look at your house with new eyes!  I feel like I can't get it clean enough.  I see all the flaws.  But then I sat down to finish this blog post and reminded myself, "So what?" 

I've prepared my house and myself the best I can.  So what if it's not perfectly spotless.  I have 4 dogs after all!  I'm also nervous about how those 4 dogs will behave.  But so what if they bark?  At least this is a group of "dog people" coming over.  They should be used to it.  

Even though I'm nervous, I know it will go how it goes.  All I can do is be me.  My dogs will certainly be themselves.  So what if it doesn't go perfectly smoothly.  So what?  I'm deciding to just enjoy the experience.   

A couple other "classic" "So what" examples:

Maybe you applied for a job and just found out you didn't get it.  You don't know why.  You were perfect for the job.  You wanted the job.  But they hired someone else.  It's a bummer.  But so what?  It's not THE ONLY job out there.  You just weren't meant to get it.  There's an even better place for you to be. 

Or you just went on a fabulous date.  You thought the two of you clicked so well.  Conversation flowed.  There was attraction (or so you thought).  But then you never hear from the other person again.  So what?  They may have looked darn good based on that date, but they're not right for you.  Trust the Universe on that one.  Let him or her go.  You're actually being spared. 

This may sound cold.  But it's not.  It's actually deeply loving.  Love yourself enough to let go what isn't in your best interest.  Love yourself enough to trust that something even better is meant for you.  Love yourself enough to know it's all happening for a reason and later you'll be even happier than you are now. 

One of the qualities about myself that I like the most is my ability to bounce back.  I know that life goes on.  One thing ends only for another to begin.

Of course I've been heartbroken as much as the next person.  I've been through the end of relationships, the loss of jobs, the death of loved ones.  I've been distraught, crying, not knowing how people get through such a difficult time.  But I got through it.  And you will too. 

The next time you're worried about how something will go, or disappointed or upset that something didn't go like you wanted, say to yourself, "So what?" 

You got through it.  It's over (for good or bad).  It is what it is.   

Share your thoughts and experiences below.  I'd love to hear what you have to say! 

Quote of the Day:

"Every new beginning is some beginning's end."  (Bon Jovi lyric from the song "Welcome to Wherever You Are."  One of my favorite songs, by the way!) 
*You can listen to the song here:
The video is also very cool!  Check it out for some inspiration! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When you're ready, it'll happen.

Do you ever wonder why "nothing good" happens to you?  You're not ready for it. 
Do you wonder why that job or that relationship keeps eluding you, despite all your "best efforts?"  You're not ready. 
You might think you are.  In fact, you probably do. You probably think you're 100% ready.  Just ready and waiting.  But the Universe brings you exactly what you need, when you need it, AND when you're ready for it.  Otherwise it wouldn't do any good. 

I actually knew my current boyfriend (of 2 years and counting now) in middle and high school.  We knew of each other, but didn't have much in common then.  It wasn't until we met 15 years after high school that we really clicked.  It turns out we have a lot in common.  We're a strong match.  We might have been in high school too, but we weren't ready for each other then.  We weren't ready for the relationship we have now. 

Likewise, all those short relationships I was in through my 20s, wondering why nothing lasted more than 6 months... I thought I was ready for "the one," but apparently not.  Otherwise I would have met him then.  I needed those short-term relationships at that time in my life.

I've mentioned before that I volunteer at my local humane society.  I walk dogs (and clean their cages when needed).   There has been this little, blind shih-tzu there (Betty) for a couple months.  I walked her a couple times.  She was nice.  Then one time I tried to walk her, but she refused to go out of her kennel.  Fine, I thought.  I let her be.  The next time I went in to volunteer, she still refused to go for a walk.  This time I decided to pick her up.  She seemed to have really needed that attention and affection.  She just melted in my arms!  So I sat with her, holding her and petting her.  I repeated this the next time I went in.  She's a real sweetheart, but I didn't think of her any differently than I thought of any of the other shelter dogs.  I cared about her, as I care for them all. 

Then something changed.  I saw a facebook thread about this little girl, Betty.  Others were worried about her, how she'd gone "down hill" since being in the shelter so long.  How blind dogs really didn't do well in the shelter environment.  People were sharing her story and getting the word out there that this little girl needed a foster home, at the very least, and a forever home, ideally. 

I didn't take action immediately, but once it settled in my heart, I knew I had to do something.  Since I've fostered with this shelter many times over the past year, I emailed the foster care coordinator and inquired about Betty.  Did they want a foster home for her?  If so, I was willing to give it a shot.  I have 3 other dogs and 3 cats, and you never know how dogs will respond to each other.  I was cautiously optimistic.

I was given the ok to take her to my home.  I picked her up on a Thursday.  My dogs, while curious about her at first, accepted her.  It was then that I knew she was mine. 

I've had her four days now.  I've already taken her on two "outings" with me.  She's absolutely precious. 

How did I not think of her as a dog I could adopt until 4 days ago?  How could I see her in the shelter, even spend time with her there, for weeks, and not know?  I wasn't ready.  I wasn't looking to adopt a dog.  I'm still not.  But it happened anyway. 

The trajectory of my writing career is similar.  I've been writing ever since I really could.  I've kept diaries and journals since third grade.  I still have them.  I wrote my first short story when I was in fifth grade.  I still have it too.  Yet I did not consider myself a "writer" or even consider writing as a career path. 

I went to college and tried out a few different majors, finally graduating with a degree in elementary education.  I worked as a teacher.  Didn't like it.  I worked as a restaurant server, telemarketer, sales rep, cashier.  I even worked in a book store at one point.  But "writer" was not one of the career possibilities in my head. 

It wasn't until I was 33 years old, working a steady job as an educational interpreter, that I decided to start writing an actual novel.  I started working on it in February of 2011.  I quit my job in May of 2011 and committed myself to being a writer full-time. 

Why didn't I do this before?  I wasn't ready.  It's not that I have tons more money now than I had in the past.  I needed all those other jobs.  They provided me with valuable life experiences.  Experiences upon which I can now draw in my writing.

Life unfolds at just the right time.  The Universe knows what it's doing.  That I can assure you.

When you are ready, really ready, all that you want will be yours. 

In the meantime, enjoy the ride.  Follow your heart.  Pursue your dreams.  Visualize.  Learn.  Grow.  And know that "it" will come to you when you are truly ready.  Fear not! 

Quote of the Day:

"Simply put, the reason there are things you want that have not yet appeared in your life is because you're just not used to thinking of yoruself with them.  ... It's the same for things you have, that you don't want, but in reverse."  (

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What if I don't?

I'm sitting here thinking of all the things I had planned to do today.  Volunteer at the humane society.  Stop by the grocery store on the way home.  Then stop at the pet store after that.  It's what I typically do today (a Friday).  But I can't shake the feeling that I don't want to do this stuff today.  I don't know why.  I just know that I have a strong feeling that I do not want to go.  For me, that strong feeling often expresses itself in the form of tears.  Yes, I cried because I didn't want to do what I had planned to do today.  Like a child.  But I also accept that that's my spirit's best and most clear way to reach me.  A little doubt, I can ignore.  Not really wanting to do something.  Big deal, do it anyway.  But when the tears come.  I know I need to listen. 

I started thinking how I should be doing these other things.  I need to go to the store.  I'm supposed to be at the shelter.  Then the thought struck me, "What if I don't?" 

Seriously.  What if I don't go to the store today?  Will I starve?  No.  But I won't have the fruits and veggies I need for my morning juice (I say to myself).  So what!  What if I don't make my juice tomorrow morning?  I have other, perfectly healthy, things to eat for breakfast for one day. 

What if I don't go to the pet store today?  Do I have enough food for my cats and dogs to last another day?  Yes. 

What if I don't go to the animal shelter today?  Will the dogs still get walked and played with?  Yes.  There are other volunteers there that do a great job.

So I gave myself permission to stay home and do what I feel I need to do today.

We can make all the plans we want.  We can have the best intentions behind them.  But we also need to keep an ear open for our spirit.  It may have other plans for us.  And the kindest thing we can do, for ourselves and others, is to listen to ourselves and respect ourselves enough to follow through with what our spirit tells us. 

This happened another time in my life too, on a bigger scale.  I had planned to take a week-long road trip one spring break in college.  I had planned to go alone, and drive from Indiana (where I live) to Texas, stopping at whatever interested me along the way.  I had already packed.  I was going to take my dogs with me and stay in dog-friendly hotels.  I had driven from my college apartment to my grandma's house, where I would spend the night and depart from there in the morning. 

But that night I got a strong feeling that I did not want to go on this trip. 

I had been planning it for weeks.  I had been eagerly anticipating it.  A week of freedom.  A week to explore.

And the night before I was to leave, I decided not to go. 

Who's to say anything bad would have happened had I gone on the road trip?  But who's to say it wouldn't?  I will never know.  But I am thankful that I listened to myself. 

Sometimes it takes courage to not do something you planned.  Granted, not going to the store today didn't take a whole heck of a lot of courage.  But the courage lies in listening to yourself.  You must listen to yourself above all others.  You know you best.  Shut out their voices and get in tune with your own.  Get in tune with the Universe and all the love that is out there!   

I have another, more serious example.  My sister was engaged.  To a wonderful guy.  They were a great match, perfect, some would say.  They were planning a wedding.  Or rather, he was trying to plan it and she was dragging her feet.  Why?  She wasn't sure.  Just that something didn't feel right.  I talked with her several times about this.  She asked the question, "What if I don't get married to this guy?"  What if I don't?  People will be disappointed.  So what, they'll get over it.  He'll be heartbroken.  Sure, but he, too, will get over it and move on.  I might not find anyone else that's as good of a guy as he is.  Yes, you will, if it's in your heart and that's genuinely what you want for yourself and your life. 

We talked for hours.  My sister knew what she needed to do, but it's hard.  It's not deciding, "Do I go to the store or not," it's "Do I get married or not?" 

I'm proud to say they broke it off.  They separated.  She gave the ring back and moved out.  And you know what?  She's much happier!  She told me after she no longer wore the ring, "I feel FREE!" 

That's how we should feel all the time!  Free!  Free to be ourselves, free to follow our hearts, free to listen to our spirits. 

The next time you're feeling pressure to do something, and have that sinking feeling that you just don't want to do it, ask yourself, "What if I don't?"  You'll probably find that the answer to that question isn't so bad.  It's much better to listen to that inner voice, and face the consequences, whatever they may be, than to squash or ignore that voice and deny your spirit.  That would have much more heartbreaking consequences.      

I'd love to hear how you listened to your inner voice.  When did you ask yourself the question, "What if I don't," and what became of it?  You can leave your comments below.  Thanks!

Peace, love, and joy!

Quotes of the Day:

Whenever something doesn't work out the way you thought it would, instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent.
Everything plays to your favor.  Score!


Friday, December 14, 2012

It just IS.

You've heard the saying, "It is what it is," but have you really thought about it?  I always thought it was a disheartening saying.  What you say when you're giving up or telling someone else to.  "There's nothing you can do about it so you might as well give up."  But now I think about it differently. 

"It is what it is" isn't about giving up, it's about acceptance.  Surrender.  Letting go of your desperation to change or control.  Allowing what is to simply be what it is. 

I'm sure we all look at the world around us and see a million things that we could improve.  Little things, that if we could just change them, it would be so much better.  Why don't other people see it the way we do?  Why do other people do what they do when there's clearly a better way?

That is our ego talking.  Our ego believes we know best.  Other people are wrong, and we are right.  It's so obvious. 

I've been learning to see my ego for what it is.  And not let it run my thoughts or my life.  Easier said than done.  Our ego has a mighty strong hold on us.  Whenever we get the least bit afraid, angry, or sad, our ego jumps to our aid.  Our ego is quick to point the finger and make ourselves feel better. 

But do we really feel better when we let our ego rise to the top?  Sure, it's nice to have a little voice saying, "Of course you're right.  They are complete and utter morons and you're better than them."  That is not the voice of love though.  It only serves to soothe the ego, and over time we'll feel even more stressed and anxious by thinking such thoughts.   

My challenge to myself is to accept people and situations for who and what they are.  Do I still think I could improve upon what is?  Sometimes, yes.  But that's not my job and I'm aware now that that's my ego talking.  I don't know what the Universe has planned for someone else.  I don't know the reason a given situation is unfolding the way it is.  Our egos wrongly believe we know best.  But we don't.  And we don't need to.  All we need to do is to gently guide ourselves back to love and let things be what they are.  Trust that the Universe knows what it's doing. 

This isn't to say that if we see someone in need, we shouldn't help.  If our help is wanted, that is.  If we see someone being mistreated, we should still step in.  Speak up.  Stand up for what is right.  "It just is" isn't about not changing for the better or letting mistreatment simply go on.  It's about letting go of wishing the past was different than it was and accepting the things that are out of our control.

When I first started dating my boyfriend, I didn't like that he'd been married before.  I have never been married, and in my ego-talk, I was better for not having done something that was clearly a mistake.  I had a big ego!  I was constantly stressing about what he'd done in his past.  I wanted it to be different than it was. 

I went to a couple sessions with a life coach around this time in my life.  She (Cathy Stopczynski) introduced the words, "It just is" to me.  She may have heard the phrase from someone like Wayne Dyer or Jack Canfield.  But it was new to me.  "It just is."  Huh.  I found this very liberating. 

You mean I don't have to stress out about things out of my control? 

During one of the group classes with Cathy, we did a guided meditation.  During this meditation we were supposed to just let whatever thoughts came up in our minds to come up.  No judgement.  The purpose of the meditation was to uncover our true selves. 

Once the meditation was over, we went around the group and everyone shared what they learned (if they chose to).  Everyone had long sentences and paragraphs of information they'd received in their meditation.  What did I get?  "Let go." 

I heard the words, "Let go" over and over and over, the entire time.  It was a powerful experience for me.  It was the springboard for me to really LET GO and stop trying to control everything

I have grown leaps and bounds from where I was that day, over two years ago.  I have learned to trust the Universe and let go of my need to be in control. 

Do I still struggle with it at times?  Sure!  But the more I practice it, the better I get at it.  Each experience is an opportunity to practice being the best me I can be.  To practice letting others be themselves.  To practice trusting the Universe and living in love! 

"It just is" is a kind reminder to ourselves to just let go and let it be.  Let the Universe handle it.  Let karma do what it does.  Our jobs in this life is to be love.  Love ourselves.  Love others.  BE the physical embodiment of love.     

Quotes of the Day:

"With humility comes the willingness to stop trying to control or change other people or situations 'for their own good.'  The world is only a projection of one's own mind." 
(I believe Wayne Dyer said this, but darn it, I didn't write down the source when I copied this quote weeks ago.) 

"Even though you can't physically see a tree growing, doesn't mean it's not.  Right?  Same with the world spinning?  Gravity clinging?  So the next time the masses are huddled at your feet, pining about dreams they claim are not coming true, you might remind them of this.  Every day you get closer."  (


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Be YOU! Your feelings are clues.

I'm a huge animal lover.  For a little over a year now, I've been fostering dogs for my local humane society.  All this time I thought I couldn't foster little dogs because my boyfriend's dachshund "doesn't get along with little dogs."  Or so says my live-in boyfriend.  

For weeks there has been a blind shih-tzu at the shelter I volunteer at.  With her special needs, finding a home (either a foster home or forever home) is more difficult.  People have commented that she's not doing well in the shelter environment and is going down hill.  Naturally, this tugged at my heart. 

For the past week or so, I've been feeling resentful.  Resentful of my boyfriend's dachshund, and resentful of my boyfriend (because it is quite silly to resent a dog).  I felt like they (he) were holding me back from doing something I felt compelled in my heart to do.  Holding me back from being me.

Our feelings are clues. They tell us if we're moving towards love or towards fear. The two ends of the spectrum. It's up to us to see the clues and then use them to move towards love. In love, we are happy, joyous, healthy, and peaceful. In fear, we can be insecure, jealous, sad, threatened, and in my case with this particular situation, resentful.

All of our emotions fall in the range from love to fear.  Resentment is basically fear that we won't get something we want.  Or fear that someone else will keep us from receiving or achieving something.   

My resentment was building in such a way that it made me question my relationship with my boyfriend.  I know - how could a little dog be the potential cause of a break-up?  It wasn't the dog, it was the fear in my heart.  The fear that I wouldn't be able to answer the calling in my spirit.  The fear that I wouldn't be able to follow my heart.  The feeling that I was being held back.   

Then something shifted in me yesterday morning.  I finally decided that I wasn't going to not do something I felt passionately about.  I decided that it will work out.  For the best.  One way or another.  I had always known this to be true, but had forgotten that it applies even to this situation. 

So I contacted the volunteer coordinator of the shelter to ask if I could foster this little girl.  I was given the "ok" and today was the day to pick her up.  I took the dachshund with me, figuring it would be best if they met at a neutral site.  I also did not tell my boyfriend. 

I know, I know, this probably wasn't the best way to go about it.  But I know thoughts have energy and power.  I didn't want his assumptions and beliefs that his dog "doesn't get along with other little dogs" to block the positive energy I was feeling and wanted to build.  If everyone got along, I knew he'd be ok with it. 

Guess what?  All went very well!  The dachshund had no negative reaction to the foster dog whatsoever!  It went even better than my positive thoughts had envisioned! 

The resentment (aka fear) that I had been building in my mind and heart for the past week was totally unfounded.  My lesson from this situation:  Be me!  Follow MY heart.  Do what I feel my spirit is calling me to do.  It will work out.  Thank you, Universe, for the reminder! 

The same is true for you.  I realize all situations may not be as easily resolved as this one.  But if you're starting to feel the resentment building in your heart, it's a clue that you need to take action.  If you feel any fear-based emotion at all, it's a clue to you.  A clue that something in your life isn't sitting right with you.  You may need to change something that you're doing or something that you're thinking in order to get back to love.

I encourage you all, the next time you're feeling any emotion other than love, see it for what it really is.  Fear.  Fear that you won't be able to be/do/have something you feel in your heart that you're meant to be/do/have.   Fear that you'll be held back from being your true, awesome self.  Fear that it won't work out the way you want it to. 

Then, with that knowledge of what you're afraid of in your mind, take action!  Do what it is you know you need to do.  You can do it!  I assure you that when you act in spite of the fear, it feels that much greater afterwards. 

Love in love, not fear! 

Quotes of the Day:

Next time you feel fear, either right after a major decision or just before one, it usually means you're exactly where you need to be.

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. 
(Marcus Aurelius)     


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Be YOU! Let 'em have it!

Do you know someone who seems to always be negative?  A real downer?  Sees the cons of a situation and not the pros?  Has a complaint about everything? Instead of letting them bring you down with them, I say, "Let 'em have it!"  The negativity that is! 

"Some people are happiest when they have something to be unhappy about.  Let 'em have it.  Not you."  (

We become what we think about.  If we think negative, critical, unhappy thoughts, we become just that.  Negative, critical, and unhappy.  Who wants that?  Not me! 

Everyone feels down from time to time.  Everyone complains about something on occasion.  At least everyone I know.  But on the whole, we should all strive to think positive thoughts.  Remind ourselves of what's good in our lives, instead of focusing on what we'd like to change.  Be grateful.  Act kindly.  And live in love. 

Ok.  Fine.  We can think happy thoughts, be grateful, and act kindly all day long.  It's easy when we're around other happy, positive people.  Or if we're alone.  But what about when we come into contact with someone who likes to spew their negative energy on everyone around them? 

I used to let this kind of person bring me down.  I'd be happy, bouncing around, singing, and then so-and-so would walk in, all gloomy, and my mood would plummet.  I'm still working on this.  Every day is an opportunity to practice, in fact.  But what I decided last night was I'm just going to let 'em have it. 

I'm going to choose to not accept their negative energy as my own.  Easier said than done, sure.  But it's worth the effort!  One trick I learned either from a book or a seminar (it's hard to remember where I pick up these useful tidbits anymore, I've melded them all together into my tool box), is to literally imagine a coat of arms around you.  You know, like the "knights in shining armor?"  That.  Imagine you have that shiny, metallic casing around your body whenever you feel someone else's negative energy trying to penetrate your perfectly happy mood. 

The visual image works in our minds and helps us to actually repel that which we don't want.  Try it!  Next time someone is spewing their negativity in your direction, imagine yourself standing there in a shiny coat of arms, their sputum unable to penetrate your strong positivity. 

*If you want to get really spunky, try giving them a slight smile as they're spewing.  The kind that says you hear them, but you're not going to let them get you down.  It'll really throw them off their game!  And when they're done spewing, just smile and walk away.  No comment or retort necessary.  They probably won't hear it anyway, they're so engulfed in their sea of negativity. 

So next time that negativity-spewing individual enters your happy, positive space, just smile and let 'em have it! 

Quote of the Day:

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.  Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.  Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.  Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements of the future.  Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.  Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!"  -Christian D. Larson         

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be YOU: You don't have to get along with everyone!

First, I want to share a serendipitous moment that happened to me last night.  As you know, awesome readers of my blog, yesterday I put up a post entitled, "There are no mistakes."  Then last night I was watching the movie, "Evening" (which is very good by the way... heart-warming and it makes you consider your own favorite kind).  Anyway, I was watching this movie and towards the end one of the main characters (who's on her deathbed the entire film) says, "There are no mistakes!"  I couldn't believe my ears!  Not that that's a strange sentence to make.  But to have written a blog post about that very sentence THAT DAY, and then hear it spoken in a movie which I didn't even know I'd be watching until 10 minutes before I decided to rent it... I love those moments.  When everything comes together, or when things that are on your mind show up in another form, another area, as if a confirmation from the Universe that "Yes!  You are on the right track!"  


Ok.  Now onto today's post.  We all want to be liked.  We want to be "friends" with everyone.  But are there times, or people, who we need to just let go and accept that we're not going to be friends with them?  That they may like us, or not, but the fact is, we don't like them?   

How do you know when to keep trying to befriend a person, or make yourself like them, and when to give it up?  As the holidays are upon us, this may be a topic on many of your minds.  With all the holiday parties and get-togethers it seems everyone wants to have, it's quite likely you'll be face-to-face with at least one person you don't exactly want to be spending your "happy times" with. 

I'll start by sharing my "person" with you.  It will probably come as no surprise, that this person is my boyfriend's ex-wife.  I know that I struggle with her existence as much as I do because there is an underlying issue that I need to work through.  And she's in my life for a reason.  She's a gift to me to help me grow. 

Blah!  I just don't like being around her.  The reason I have been around her as much as I have is because she and my boyfriend had a fairly amicable divorce, so there's no real hard feelings between them, and they still share a core group of friends.  In the just over 2 years that I've been with my boyfriend, I have been in social situations with this woman about 7-10 times.  The most recent of those times being the destination wedding in Colorado and the ensuing reception back at home, that I wrote about in an earlier post. 

My natural tendency is to not show others how I feel.  "Be like a duck.  Look calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like the dickens underneath."   

I'm learning to SHOW myself more to others and BE ME!  Even when that "me" is upset or freaking out.  But seeing as how I'm just learning how to express myself in my most intimate of relationships, the likelihood that I will express my true feelings to a group of people at a social gathering is slim to none. 

So this brings us back to the topic at hand.  And the topic on my mind as the holiday parties are springing up with seemingly greater frequency.  I am not comfortable being around said ex-wife.  I am happier when she's not around.  So what do I do if/when the next social gathering arises and we're both there?  Do I act happy, calm, and put together, like I usually do, despite the fact that I'm screaming inside and just want to run away? Or do I listen to my inner self and actually leave the situation? 

I've tried the first option.  It's what I do.  Don't show them how you really feel!  Goes the little voice in my head.  But this typically blows up in my face at some point later.  I carry the discomfort and anxiety and while I make it through the party "looking good," I'm anything but when I get home. 

My next strategy is to actually do what it is I want to do.  Leave.  Granted, I won't let anyone push me out of someplace I want to be.  But when an initially enjoyable experience turns sour, I'm ok to head for the door.

I have a history of not listening to myself.  I tell myself, "It's ok, you can do this," even when it's not ok and I shouldn't have to do it.  But I think in BEING YOU, you need to listen to yourself.  If you're unhappy in a situation, do something about it!

I'm not condoning or encouraging anyone to run away from their problems.  To bury stuff under the rug.  But if you feel like you've dealt with something, you've made your peace with it, then that's what counts!  Every situation isn't going to be pleasant to you, and you shouldn't have to suffer through it just to "look good" or to appease other people.  BE YOU! 

Likewise, you're not going to get along with every person, or want to spend your precious free time socializing with those that bring you down.  BE YOU! 

Do what you need to do, FOR YOU!  No one else is going to do it.  No one else is going to stand up for you.  You need to be your own best advocate and voice! 

Life is short.  Why spend it agonizing over doing things others expect you to do?   Or being how others expect you to be?   To hell with their expectations, what are YOUR expectations?  What do YOU want?   It's YOUR life, create the one you want!  If this includes staying away from people who stress you out and cause you grief, then stay away!  If this includes foregoing holidays parties or social situations that you'd just rather not deal with, then forego!  Do what you need to do for your own happiness and sanity!            

The thing is, you can't change other people.  You can't control their actions.  But what you CAN control and change are YOUR actions.

I can't control if ex-wife shows up at a party that I'm at.  But I can control how I respond.  I realize she is not a threat to me (as I once perceived her to be...hence my "issues" with her being around).  I know now that I won't "lose" my boyfriend to her, as I once feared. 

What I can do is listen to myself.  I can respect my feelings and do what I need to do, for me. 
I encourage you all to do the same.  Be you!  Listen to your inner voice, or that tug in your heart telling you what you need to do.  Forget about the expectations of others, or how you think you should behave.  What do YOU want to do?  Who do YOU want to be?

This holiday season, be you and be happy!  Life is short - Enjoy it!  You only have yourself to answer to.       

Quote of the Day:
These are lyrics from the song, "Ride of Your Life" by John Gregory.  Great song!

In your heart you know what you must do.
You only have yourself to answer to.
Don't let fear of falling hold you down.
Your spirits flying high above the clouds.
You're going there.

You can listen to the song here if you'd like.  I always find it very inspiring and motivating!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be YOU: Focus on Yourself!

Do you often see others behaving in ways you know to be unhealthy or bad for them?  If you're like me, you sometimes want to run up to that person and shout, "Don't you KNOW what you're DOING?  That's so bad for you!"  But of course I don't do this because I have a feeling it would not be well-received. 

People engage in unhealthy behavior all the time.  By their own free will.  I'm guilty of this as much as the next person, even though I like to think of myself as a healthier-than-average individual.  So why are we so judgmental of others?      

It's our egos.  Our egos tell us over and over that we are superior to that other person over there.  I know better.  I am right.  People should listen to me.  This is our ego talking.  So what to do about it? 

Focus on YOU, not other people.  I'm reminded of the Bible verse that goes something like this: "Do not attempt to remove the speck from your neighbor's eye until you remove the plank from your own."  It's easy to point fingers.  See something in someone else that needs to be "fixed." 
You may believe something is good or healthy, and even learned it to be true.  But others may not be ready to see it.  So you have to let it go.  Let go of your desire to control others and even to "help" others. 
I thought about this after watching the toxic chemicals blog post on The Daily Love blog yesterday. You can check it out here: 
I have been vigilant about choosing body products (lotions, shampoos, etc.) that don't contain parabens for years now.  Ever since I learned that they were bad for us.  Why companies still make and sell products that are toxic to humans, I have no idea.  But they do.  And people still buy them, either out of ignorance, or because they simply don't care, or don't believe it's a big deal.  Most of the people I know don't give it a second thought.  I could let this get to me, getting on my sister's or friend's case about "You shouldn't use that product...blah, blah, blah."  But the truth is, it's their body, their life, their choice.  Just as it's mine to not use products that I don't feel good about. 
Instead of preaching to my friends and family, and likely alienating or at the very least irritating them, I make an effort to focus on me.  I choose to focus on feeling good about the choices I'm making.  "Be the change you wish to see in the world," right?!   
Another example of this is what we eat and drink.  I just bought and installed a water filter on my tap in my kitchen sink.  I only drink water out of the filter now, when I'm home.  I learned that even the safe water in our country still contains chemicals that aren't good for our bodies.  I'm sure I knew this all along, on some level, but until about a year ago, I wasn't concerned.  I figured, they filter the water at the treatment plant, it's passed their tests, and it's safe for me to drink.  I never bought bottled water, and had no qualms about drinking from the (unfiltered) tap.  What caused me to suddenly care so much and make a change?  I don't know exactly.  But it finally clicked, or sank in, or I was finally ready to do something about it. 
Would I have gone out and bought a water filter if someone had told me I should, prior to my doing it on my own?  Probably not.  Someone could have preached to me and yelled in my face that my water isn't healthy to be drinking, I need to buy and use a filter, and I need to do it now!  What good would have come out of that confrontation?  Likely nothing.  And that's what I remind myself when I have the urge to tell someone else they should be doing something different than what they're doing. 
I've come to believe it's best to lead by example and just shut up about it!     
In what ways do you lead by example? 
What areas of life do you wish other people "got" more and made different ("better") choices? 
How do you handle watching a loved one (or even a stranger) partake in an unhealthy behavior?

Quote of the Day:
When the issues of someone else's life have you tied in knots, it usually means it's time to start focusing on your own life.  Doesn't that feel better?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

There are no mistakes.

That's right, I believe there are no mistakes in our lives.  But rather, everything is a learning opportunity.  Every experience is there for a reason, for some purpose for you.  Each of us makes the best decision we can with what we know at the time.  Therefore, it's not a mistake.  It's all in how you look at it.  The power of your thoughts.   

We may look back on choices we've made and wish we made a different choice.  It may look like a mistake.  But let me assure you, it is not.  If you had made another deicision, you have no idea the repurcussions of that other decision.  You could be in a drastically different place in your life right now.  And right now you are exactly where you're supposed to be. 

Each decision, each choice we make shapes our lives.  Shapes who we are and who we will become.  It truly is in your hands. 

I am reminded of a part from the movie, "Dangerous Minds," with Michelle Pfeiffer.  It's from 1995, but actually occurred in 1989, based on the autobiography of LouAnne Johnson, a former US Marine, turned high school English teacher in a rough school district in California.  I won't recap the entire movie for you, but I recommend checking it out.  Anyway, a powerful scene that has stuck with me all these years is where LouAnne asks her students what the most powerful verb is.  One student says, "die," but LouAnne says, "no, that's not it."  Then another speaks up and says, "choose." 

Choose is the most powerful verb because everything is our choice.  We choose how to respond to situations and people.  We choose to hold onto something or let it go.  And of course we choose things every second of every day that build us into the person we are right now.  Healthy, unhealthy, rich, poor, kind, cruel, happy, sad.  All are within our realm of thought and choice.  Who do you want to be?

Even the choices you've made that you perhaps regret, or have considered mistakes, I ask that you reevaluate them.  Think of them as learning opportunities.  Learn from them, grow into a better person, and if desired, make a different, more informed choice next time.  A mistake is only a mistake if we don't learn from it.   

Quotes of the Day:  (Yes, I decided to go crazy today and include 3 quotes because I didn't want to choose just one.  They're all great.)

"Everyone lives the life of their choosing.  Not just what they chose, but what they're choosing.  Game on."

"Every compliment, criticism, promotion, setback, good vibe, cough, or really long line you have to wait in is a gift that was meticulously designed to make possible your becoming more than who you were, and ultimately, happier than ever before."

"There are only miracles.  To one degree or another they all soothe, pamper, and enrich.  However, to avoid blowing too many minds at once, some are disguised as unpleasant surprises, botched circumstances, and twisted acquaintances that can rarely be seen for who or what they truly are until the pendulum has fully swung.  *If something still hurts, baffles, or confuses, it only means a miracle as occurred, the pendulum is in mid-swing, and that soon you'll know exactly what I'm talking about."

(all modified from

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You're Happy When YOU Decide to Be!

You may have heard this before, but I can attest to its truth.  You truly are in control of your feelings. 

By simply changing your thoughts, you can change your mood

It may take some time.  Depending on how entrenched in your current mood you are; you may have to think happy thoughts over and over for several minutes before you notice a change, but I assure you, you WILL notice a change.  Your mood will shift.  You'll start to feel more loving and less angry, hateful, upset. 

Let me share an example where I noticed this phenomenon most strongly in my own life and how I know it works.  I was at a destination wedding in Colorado.  It was for my boyfriend's best friend, so we went (we live in Indiana).  My boyfriend has been married before, and his ex-wife is also a very close friend of the groom.  So I knew she would be there.  I had met her a few times before, at group get-togethers, and she'd been nice, but it's still an awkward situation.  I was not looking forward to further interaction with her.  So much so, in fact, that I nearly didn't go to the wedding, and my boyfriend and I almost broke up over the whole thing.  Yes, my feelings towards this woman are that strong.  Granted, it's probably mostly my own insecurities regarding exes and relationships, but that's another blog for another day.   

During the reception is where the event occurred that inspired this blog. 

It was an intimate dinner at a small restaurant in town.  The entire group only took up 3 long tables.  One for the wedding party.  And two for guests.  Of course my boyfriend and I ended up at the same table as his ex, though at least at the opposite end.  But here's where it got more than I thought I could handle.  After the main course was finished, people were milling about, swapping seats to talk to other people.  Somehow people had gotten up, gone to the bathroom, returned to other seats, and when the ex-wife returned, there was only ONE seat remaining.  Next to my boyfriend and me. 

I literally felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin.  Like I was going to have a break down right there, have to run out of the room and never return.  Tears were just below the surface and it was everything I could do to keep them at bay.  I was drinking my water, taking deep breaths.  My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I was not happy.  Then I remembered the audio book by Wayne Dyer I had been listening to on this trip (to help prepare myself for this type of unwanted interaction).  I'm sorry, I don't remember the book title right now, but all of his books are awesome and I've found immense help in every one! 

In my head I start repeating the words, "There is nothing to be upset about.  There is nothing to be upset about."  Over and over and over and over.  I didn't let myself think any other thoughts because I knew doing so would most assuredly result in tears, which I did not want. 

I focused on my breathing and the words, "There is nothing to be upset about." 

And you know what?  It worked! 

After probably a full minute (maybe longer) of repeating only those words, I DID start to feel better. 

My heart rate calmed.  My breathing evened out.  I was even able to converse with her for the next thirty minutes or so that she sat there.  Now, was I still happy to be out of there?  Oh yes!  But by repeating the words that I wanted to be true (and that were actually true), it had a definite impact on my emotions and mental state.  I went from the verge of tears and a total breakdown to calmly having a not-unpleasant conversation with this person. 

Thoughts have energy.  If you just imagine something negative, such as a fight or argument, real or imaginary, you'll find that your heart rate will increase, your blood pressure will rise.  You'll feel it in your bones and muscles, as if it's actually happening.  The same is true with thinking happy, loving thoughts.  That's why and how we are all in complete control of our feelings at any given time.  I'm not saying some situations don't warrant an angry, upset response.  But it's good to at least be in charge of your response and not overwhelmed by it. 

I want to share something else that has had a profound impact on me.  I saw this, I believe, on some type of Oprah show.  They had pictures of water crystals and under each picture were the thoughts that were directed toward the water.  The water that had loving, happy thoughts directed toward it was clear and "happy" looking.  Perfectly formed crystals.  Beautiful.  But the water that had hateful, angry thoughts directed was actually yellowish or brownish in color, and looked distorted.  The crystals were not hardly formed at all.  They looked poisoned, and in fact they were, by the thoughts.  It was incredible that it was still the same water.  Check it out here:   It's called Emoto's Water Experiment if you want to look it up yourself too.

After I saw those pictures, I was forever changed how I thought about myself and others.  As our bodies are mostly water, our thoughts affect not just our feelings, but the actual composition of our bodies.

So now the two biggest affirmations I say to myself on a regular basis are "Thank you" and "I love you."  I find these two simple statements, when said with truth and love, to have the power to change me in an instant.  If I'm stressed about being behind a super slow driver, for example, I say, "Thank you" to the Universe and it eases my tension.  Sometimes I have to say it over and over, like I did at the wedding reception.  :) 

Lastly, I'd like to say "Thank you" to everyone who will read this blog, and "I love you." 

Quote of the Day:

"There is always something to be happy about.  Truly happy.  And if you have the audacity to find it and the courage to make it your focus, in spite of the countless temptations to do otherwise, you will have learned well.  Your life will be transformed and all things will be added to you."
(modified from, Notes from the Universe) 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't push it.

  Have you ever wanted something so much that you'd do nearly anything to get it and make it happen?  Only to find that once you did get it, it wasn't what you expected? 

As humans we're hard-wired to strive.  We see something different from what we currently have and it looks good.  We want it.  Or we're not content with our current situation, be it with our jobs, relationships, where we live, and we look for ways to change it.  Make it better.  Make ourselves happier.  While it's good to strive to be better, when it comes to "making" things happen, pushing it is often a bad idea.

Back in 2008 I was tired of working as a substitute teacher and felt I was ready for my first job as an educational interpreter.  I had received my degree in American Sign Language.  I obtained real-life experience working at the Deaf School.  I was ready!  Then, seemingly miraculously, I received a call about a job opening.  This was the middle of the school year, mind you, so job openings were rare.  I was ecstatic!  Apparently a colleague had recommended me to this particular school organization and they called.  I went for my interview and it went well.  I waited days, if not weeks, to get a call to find out of I got the job or not.  It was nerve-racking, to say the least.  Then finally it came.  I was hired!  I had my first job working as an American Sign Language interpreter!  I felt like I had made it.  The next step was where would I be working?  At which school?  Elementary?  High school?  With which student?  Deaf students who attend mainstream schools vary widely in the communication method they use, language style, background, etc.  Having worked so much, not all that happily, in elementary, I was praying for a placement with a high school student.  The wait to find out which student I was placed with was even longer and more arduous than the wait to find out if I was hired in the first place.  In fact, I had to call them multiple times, as the second semester, and my start date, was rapidly approaching.  I found out that they wanted to put me with an elementary student.  I was bummed.  It was not what I wanted.  So I spoke up.  I asked, respectfully, if  I could work in high school.  In other words, I pushed for what I wanted.  And I got it.  They agreed to place me with a high school boy.  Again, I couldn't be happier.  But then guess what happened?  As the semester waned on, issues arose.  I won't go into them here, but by mid-semester, I began wishing I had kept my mouth shut and just accepted the elementary placement.  Lesson learned.  Fortunately the following school year they adjusted their staff of interpreters and I was placed with a different student, one I was a much better match with.

To give another example of how I pushed my way to unhappiness and anxiety, let me share my story of my latest foster dog.  I have been fostering dogs for my local humane society for over a year now.  I love it.  Most of the time anyway.  And most of the time I sit back and allow the staff at the humane society to decide which dog they believe will work best in my household (with my 3 other dogs and 3 cats).  Nearly every match has been a good one.  I bet you can guess which ones haven't.  Yep!  The ones I pushed for.  Case in point, the last dog I actively sought out and pleaded to be allowed to foster.  I knew him from the shelter and believed him to be a sweet, mellow, older guy.  Which he was.   Except that he didn't like one of my dogs.  It got so bad that I couldn't so much as touch my dog without the foster dog literally attacking him.  I was right there, so none of the attacks led to any blood shed, luckily.  But as the days went by, I saw my own dog get more and more anxious and unhappy, and myself as well.  I ended up taking the foster dog back, apologizing that it just wasn't working out in my home, and I will try another dog (of their choosing) next time. 

I typically think I know best.  I know what I want.  I know what will work for me, or not.  I know, I know, I know.  But I don't.  Not on the surface anyway.  Probably on a sub-conscious level, I know my pushing isn't the right thing to do.  But I push anyway because I egotistically believe I know best.  Ha!  Sometimes we all need to sit back, step back, and let things happen naturally.  That's not to say we shouldn't seek out experiences or things that we desire.  But when we find ourselves pushing, forcing the matter, that is when it's time to stop.  If you get really still and quiet in those moments when you find yourself pushing, I bet you'll hear that little voice, or get a feeling in your gut, that this is not good.  I need to stop.  I know I've felt that feeling.  That's why I know I'm pushing, because it starts to feel like a strain.  I start to feel anxious, as if all my hopes are pinned on this one, very particular thing happening just the way I want it to happen. 

Let me share something with you.  The Universe has our backs.  It'll all work out.  Everything plays to our favor.  Everything.  It's ok to not know how things will work out.  Or even if they'll work out.  I've seen this time and time again in my life as well as those around me.  You may feel like you'll never get a job.  You'll never meet that special person to build a life with.  You'll never get that house you want.  But then it happens.  You get the call.  You cross paths with someone amazing.  You actually close on your new home.  The key is not to force the issue.  When you force something, even if you believe it to be a good thing, more often than not you'll end up disappointed and wondering what went wrong.  If someting has to be forced it's because it's not meant to happen.  Yet.  The time is not right for you, for whatever reason.  Trust that.  Keep the dream in your heart and it will come true and it will be amazing.  Let the Universe work for you.  It already is. 

Quote of the Day:
"Of course you don't know 'how.'  It's ok that you don't know 'how.'  To be honest, you're not really supposed to know 'how,' because it's when you don't know, that you're pressed hardest to learn that [the Universe does]; to see that the hows are the domain of the Universe and that your job is only to define the end result and get busy."      (modified from