Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Working from the Inside Out

When I had been dating my husband for a couple of years, I hit a point at which I wanted to marry him so badly I almost stopped enjoying just being with him. I remember catching myself one day and thinking, "What does marriage represent? Why do I want this so much?" The answer didn't just provide clarity—it presented me with the key to real happiness.

In order to be happy in the moment, I needed to find evidence that what I wanted already existed. 

I realized I wanted to marry him so we could be together. But we already were together. So instead of focusing on how much happier I'd be once we were engaged, I decided to try to ease up and work on being fully present when I was with him.

I wanted to find the joy within myself instead of waiting for a ring to deliver it to me.

The funny thing was, I think my change in attitude impacted our relationship for the better—and before I knew it, we got engaged.

It's easy to fall into that trap where we think happiness is determined by external circumstances. "I'll be happy when I have a boyfriend (or girlfriend!)." "I'll be content when I have a new job." "I'll be confident when I lose 10 pounds." But the truth is, it's not the externals that create the long-term feeling. In fact, the magically wonderful external circumstances we want actually begin with the feeling state inside of us.

Think about it: When you're at your worst—totally unhappy about being single or hating your job or berating yourself over your muffin top—what are you projecting into the world? Who are you in those moments? Who are people seeing when they look at you? My guess would be a sad or angry person who doesn't treat themselves very kindly. And if I'm a bachelor or bachelorette, an employer, or stranger on the street, I'm probably not going to be all that attracted to you when that's the vibe you're emitting.

By putting conditions on your happiness, you not only deprive yourself of joy in the present—you knock yourself out of alignment with what you want most in the future.

I've shared some of my experiences on this blog about how things turned out when I put my happiness first and just surrendered to my circumstances. Somehow, magically, everything fell right into place. Had I let myself stay in an "I'll only be happy when" space, I would have probably shortchanged my life on a few different levels.

What I'm trying to say with all this is: Don't let the things you haven't achieved yet prohibit you from experiencing happiness NOW. Find what feels joyful and run with it. Find evidence that what you want already exists—that you already have it, just maybe in a different form.

And as you allow the joy of that to sink in, I have a feeling you'll create an energetic opportunity for what you want to come into your life and light it up even more. Like a diamond (and maybe a white gold band)...

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I had never heard of Brené Brown before one of my fellow coaches mentioned this TED talk to me earlier in the week. Since then, Brown has come up in multiple conversations with people and was even quoted in one of Oprah's daily emails. Crazy how synchronicity works.

Hope you enjoy her message!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How Are You Showing Your Love?

With Valentine's Day looming, there's a whole lot of lovey dovey flair and terms of endearment floating around in the world right now. Of course, cupid's favorite holiday is supposed to be about the love you share with another person, but I'm more concerned with how we're all showing love to ourselves.

Can you think of 5 ways you've treated yourself lovingly lately?

Being conscious of how you're doing it is key because when you love on a less-than-conscious level (like we all sometimes do) it's far too easy to express affection through things like excessive chocolate consumption, one too many glasses of wine, or the accrual of slightly terrifying credit card balances. Desperate for that feeling of self-care, we often slip into modes that seem to be all about nice treats, but really may not feel so nice in the long run.

On the flipside, we may be doing really wonderful things for ourselves but not recognizing them in the moment—thus nixing some of the positive effects of the love. Treating yourself to a bubble bath or a run on the beach or even an early bedtime can have a much greater impact when you stop and acknowledge the action as a gift you are giving yourself.

Today after slaving away on a not-so-fun writing project for many hours, I decided I wanted to give myself a break—and show myself a little love. The first place my mind went was, "A glass of Pinot at 5:00 would be fantastic." But I quickly realized that was an old standby that wasn't necessarily the best way to show myself some adoration (not that I didn't go ahead and have a glass with dinner...but that's beside the point). Instead I chose to give myself 30 free minutes to read a magazine.

And it was glorious.

In my experience, having a go-to list of things that make you feel cared for can come in handy when you're needing love the most. 

Imagine what would happen if you wrote out a list and then made it a point to do one thing on that list every week—or even every day. My guess is you'd want to buy yourself flowers for being such a loyal lovebug.

Give it a try and let me know what happens. And Happy Valentine's to you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Solar Power

If your mind is anything like mine, you know that trying to meditate can be a bit like trying to tame a cowlick or coerce a fly to go out your back door instead of buzzing in your kitchen. The mind wants to do its own thing even when you diligently try to steer it in another direction. Between to-do lists and fixating on the fact that you're supposed to be clearing your thoughts, and the random songs that pop into your head when you're trying to be still, meditation can make the cowlicks seem like a walk in the park.

Which is why I got so excited last week when I discovered a new trick for short, simple meditations.

I think the Universe may have been conspiring to bring me the lesson, because several of my coaching clients mentioned a common theme when walking through an exercise based on their "ideal days,"  and I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert mentioning it during the Oprah interview I recently watched, and then I wrote about it a bit on my other blog.

The feeling of the sun on your skin.

The power of this finally sunk in when I saw my cat sprawled on the living room rug, and I decided to sit next to him and let the morning light warm me.

I closed my eyes and immediately saw a vibrant flood of golds and oranges and reds behind my eyelids. It stunned me into mental silence. I could feel the heat coming through my blinds and quickly began to get a sensation like the light was filling my entire body, invigorating me with some sort of powerful energy source. I felt clear and still and blissfully comfortable. 

And then a John Mayer song started playing in my head.

I may not be a skilled, enlightened, meditation pro, but I think I'm on to something with this whole sun approach. And I'm not the only one.

Do you have any special tricks you use to find moments of calm throughout your day? And when it's available, do you find yourself drawn to the light and warmth of the sun?