Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ category

Happy YOUR Year!

January 1st, 2013

2013 Going Forward ListLike every year in your life, 2013 is YOUR YEAR.  It’s sure to bring you multiple opportunities to live with a clear mind, a grateful heart, and look forward to the next steps on your journey with joy-filled anticipation.

The start of the new year is the perfect time for Intentional Reflection.  Purposefully look back on the year that has passed to set the stage for moving forward to the year ahead. Here are a few thoughts to guide your process.

Assess YOUR YEAR – 2012 – by making two lists:  a Grateful For and a Going Forward list

On your Grateful For list, note all the good you experienced, all the goals you accomplished; list everything for which you’re grateful.  Because we sometimes lose sight of how truly fortunate we are and how much good is ours, you very well may be surprised at the content and length of your list.  Your Grateful For list is a reminder of how wonder-full your life is everyday.

On your Going Forward list, include whatever you’re longing to experience; want to try your hand at, improve, strengthen or add to your repertoire and skill set.  Be honest with yourself.  Note only that which speaks to your heart’s desire and is calling for fulfillment.  Jot down one or two things you’re truly committed to adding to your Grateful For list, on or before December 31, 2013.  Let this year – your year – be the year you take steps to satisfy your deepest longings.  These longings are your Spirit and Purpose calling for attention and fulfillment.

As you move into your 2013, empower yourself with the knowledge that you are the creative and defining force in your life.  Through the beliefs you hold, the thoughts you think, the emotions and feelings you experience, and your daily behavior choices, you shape your life.  That being so, you have the uncontested ability and power to make your life more like you want it to be.

Intentional Reflection and Conscious Choice are tools that can help you identify self-limiting beliefs, release outdated patterns of behavior and make more effective choices – choices that result in greater self-awareness, personal power and success.  Intentional Reflection and Conscious Choice lead to Transformational Change that will help you live better, and more effectively interact with the people who look to you for trustworthy friendship and leadership

May your Grateful For list delight you.  May your Going Forward list honor the call of your Spirit and align with your Purpose.  May Intentional Reflection and Conscious Choice help you make your year one that touches your Spirit, speaks to your sense of Purpose and enhances your effectiveness in every area of your life.

You can learn more about the powerful possibilities of Intentional Reflection, Conscious Choice and Transformational Change in LIES That Limit:  Uncover the Truth of Who You Really Are.

Happy YOUR Year!

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Holiday Greetings!

December 24th, 2012

SOP-Holiday-Greeting

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How To Give Yourself the Gift of Change This Year

December 18th, 2012

Catepillar-Butterfly

I was coaching a man recently, and his reaction to the call for change was classic.

To Jack, changing meant he wouldn’t be the person he used to be.  About that, we agreed.  He wouldn’t be his old self any longer.

As he contemplated change, his concerns began to surface. “I don’t want to lose myself.  I mean, I’m me.  I’ve been this way all of my life.  Anything else would feel phony and awkward.”

Jack also admitted that he was concerned about how others would see him and respond to the changes.   He worried that he wouldn’t be seen as credible.  “Who’s going to believe it?”

I offered the thought that changing wouldn’t make him less of who he is.  He’d become more.  He’d have access to more of his whole self which includes parts and behavior patterns he knows well, parts and potential that are less familiar, and skill and abilities that are underdeveloped.

“Jack, any time you want to stop using the new skill, you can.  At will, you can go back to your old way because whatever you change – a behavior, a mindset, a belief – it’s still yours.  You can call it up and begin using it again, any time you choose.  In a very real sense, you haven’t lost anything, you’ve added something.”

Jack breathed a sigh of relief.  “That makes perfect sense.  It seems so simple when you say it that way.  I’m in.  I’ll give it a try.”

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of change.   Become more of who you really are.

Make a decision to let go of LIES That Limit your freedom of choice, your effectiveness at work, your success in relationships, your willingness to take action and make changes for your own good.

Try something you’ve been wanting to do.  Learn a skill that intrigues you.  Give up a habit that no longer serves you.  Adopt a new behavior or perspective that will help you live better now.

When you add new experiences, beliefs and behaviors to your repertoire, you expand your capacity, broaden your range of capability, and deepen your awareness of your limitless potential.  Emboldened with a new skill set and perspective, you’re equipped to do more, to embody more of who you really are.  You take another step in the direction of wholeness.

So, what about you?  What changes are calling to you – changes that might help you gain access to more of your whole self?

My personal answer is simple.  I have two commitments:

  1. I’m going to give myself a morning and an afternoon practice of taking ten deep, conscious breaths with the goals of relaxing, clearing my mind and energizing my body.
  2. At least four days a week this winter (I walk during the summer, happily, but avoid the winter winds), I’m going to walk three miles a day.  Walking helps me to inhabit my body, work out the kinks, strengthen my legs, lungs and heart, build physical energy and facilitate mental clarity.  I deserve these good gifts all year-round.

Embrace your change – be it large or small – and make 2013 the year you become more of who you really are.

Happy Holidays!

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What Will You Give This Holiday Season? Experiences or Things?

December 4th, 2012

This idea of giving experiences rather than things is evergreen, and especially relevant this time of year when so many of us honor the spirit of gift giving.

On a recent flight I sat next to an interesting, energetic woman, Sue Ann.  She and her husband were headed off to explore another location on their bucket list:  the beaches and vistas of St. Thomas.

“Seeing all of our beautiful country is a goal we set a long time ago,” she said.

Easy to talk with, we conversed the entire flight from Miami to St. Thomas.  Sue Ann told me about her early life growing up in rural Arkansas; her career as an ICU nurse; they way she and her husband partnered to build his business and financial security; the way they raised their son; the pleasure they take in their two grandchildren; and the way they spend their lives today, including the upcoming holiday.  She lit up when she told me the story of her family’s Christmas tradition.

She began by explaining, “We always gave Joe everything he needed – lots of love, a comfortable home where he could bring his friends, clothes, a few toys, a good education and our time and attention.  But, from the time he was little, at Christmas, on his birthday and other important occasions, we didn’t give him toys or more clothes, we tried to do things with him – things that would create memories and stories he could tell.  A lot of what we did didn’t even cost much.”

Sue Ann and her husband, Tom, gave Joe experiences instead of things.  They chose the longer lasting, more enduring option of shared time and involvement that makes memories that can last a lifetime.

She talked about trips to the city, the zoo, historical sites and museums.  Camping trips to beautiful locations.  Plays and concerts.  County fairs and carnivals.  Fishing trips.  Amusement parks.  Botanical gardens.  Skating, skiing, hiking.  Sporting events – community and professional.  Touring other cities.  Visiting national monuments.  As an added treat, on many occasions they allowed Joe to bring along friends.

Her family tradition fits perfectly with my belief that gifts of experiences are more memorable and impactful than things, particularly things that don’t fulfill a specific need.  I’ve written about this giving gifts vs. things before. I was even interviewed on TV about it.

This long-held view – that experiences are better than things – was validated by research published in a Psychology Today article that suggested we get greater satisfaction out of “experiences” than “things.”  It referred to a study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that said people have an easier time choosing between experiences than they do choosing from a variety of material items.

If giving experience is not a part of your holiday and birthday tradition, consider adding it.  You can give experiences instead of things or do both.  Experiences create shared memories and give people stories to tell.  They live longer in the minds and emotions of recipients than things do.

This is the season of love, hope, peace and generosity.  I hope yours is safe and joyous.

Enjoy!

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The Post-Sandy Gift of Rumi’s “The Guest House”

November 27th, 2012

Many of you wrote in response to last week’s post, “Hurricane Sandy: My Personal Pivot Point.”  Your words were kind.  Your offers of help were genuine and generous.  You opened up your homes, extending an invitation to visit, escape the chaos and rest.  And, knowing that you’re praying for us, enveloping us in loving thought, is uplifting.  Thank you!

One message I received contained an inspirational piece of Rumi’s writing.  I sat with it for quiet a while, feeling into its meaning, acknowledging its depth and significance.  I share it with you, hoping it sparks a flame of recognition within you.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
 
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
 
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
 
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
 
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi ~

From The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks

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On Who’s Shoulders Do You Stand?

November 20th, 2012

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday – a day of appreciation for the amazing legacy I’ve inherited and the abundance with which I’m blessed.  With heart-felt gratitude, this Thanksgiving season, I’m reflecting on and appreciating the many people on whose shoulders I stand.  Their lives and contributions have eased my path.

I’ve been the beneficiary of the hard work, achievements, scrimping and saving, sacrifices, inventions, services, risk-taking, genius and generosity of all who’ve come before me, and those who are here with me now.  I’ve benefitted from:

  • those who have loved me and those who didn’t.
  • from good fortune and misfortune.
  • from opportunity and its absence.
  • from trusted friends and valuable enemies.
  • from times of expansive joy and wonder.
  • from times of contraction, sadness and loss.

With every event comes an opportunity to mine it for gold.  Used well, whatever happens helps me learn, grow and evolve.  For each opportunity, I’m thankful.  Everyone I’ve ever met, and those I’ve known and loved for a long time, have all helped me, hoisted me up, even some who may have imagined they were holding me down.  I stand on their shoulders with reverence, respect and gratitude.

Alone, I do nothing.  Alone, I’ve created nothing.  Alone, I’ve accomplished nothing.  The Unconditional Love of God, the clear Guidance of Spirit, the love of those who parented and raised me, the generous spirit of those who pray for me, and the kindness of those who think and speak well of me.  All of these people support me.  Their positive energy and intentions fuel and sustain me; they help me to be buoyant and resilient.  Be they my predecessors or contemporaries, my good ideas are stimulated by their great work and way of being.  For all, I’m grateful.  To all, I say, “Thank You!”

No matter where you are in the world, taking time to reflect on that for which you’re thankful, and remembering those on whose shoulders you stand, is a good investment of time and energy.  You don’t need a special holiday to celebrate and honor all of the good, wonderful people who have lifted you, and the more than adequate supply with which you’ve been gifted.

Continually, make Thanksgiving an everyday practice.  Honor those on whose shoulders you stand – those who have come before you and paved your path in significant and subtle ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hurricane Sandy: My Personal Pivot Point

November 13th, 2012

Me in post-Sandy cleanup mode.

When the bus pulled up to our lane, the kids yelled, “Oooh!  Look at your house.”

Looking out the window, we saw nothing but a curl of smoke where our house once stood.  Exiting the bus, mouths gaping in disbelief, tears streaming down our faces, my brother Lee and I ran, trembling, into the waiting arms of our Grandmother.  Our house burned to a pile of smoldering ash while he and I were at school and Granny, our guardian, was visiting her sister who lived a few miles away.  I was eight years old.  My brother was six.

About nine months before the fire, our mother and father left to “go up north to work.” Motivated by a vision of becoming landowners – sharecropper and housekeeper no longer – they left us in the care of our beloved Granny and sent “boxes” frequently.  Though they felt like special gifts – arriving by mail from our parents “up north.” In reality, they were just things we needed.  A winter coat.  A hat and gloves.  New underwear and socks.  A pair of shoes.  All necessities.  All consumed by the fire.

It’s good the fire occurred when no one was at home.  We had so little, it would have been tempting to dash in and save it.  But, by the time Granny and her sister, Aunt Mary, arrived to meet our school bus, there was nothing left – nothing but the four stacks of cinder blocks our ragged, frame house once sat on and a curl of smoke rising from still warm embers.

“Normal” was gone.  We were homeless.  No plates, no food, no table to sit at and eat.  Nothing to wear.  No place to bathe or sleep.

The community – a lot of whom were family members – gathered to help.  Even in that world of stark racial divide – South Carolina in the early 1960s – several whites came forward to assist.  Their concern and generosity were a surprise.  Mr. Rogan, owner of the general store, gave us food.  Mr. Fox and Mr. Joseph gave Granny, Lee and me clothing.  The tradition of the black–white racial divide vanished, for a moment.  The usual walls were replaced by compassion.

While I didn’t know it then, this scary, frighteningly sad moment was a pivot point – an experience that would change the course of my life.  Within days, our parents arrived and brought us back to Bristol, Pennsylvania where we made a new life.

Up north, in an integrated world, I developed a perspective and way of life that differed from the one I knew in our little rural, segregated southern town.   The house fire was the pivot point that redefined my life experience. It set up a change in environment and introduced experiences I wouldn’t have had if we remained in South Carolina.

That fire was the last time something happened to my home that I didn’t plan for, expect or want.  That is, until Sandy arrived on Monday, October 29th.

Wisely, my husband Bill and I evacuated the day before as directed by Governor Chris Christie.  I remember feeling very sad, heavy with grief, as we packed up select essentials and headed inland.

Finally, on November 2nd, we were permitted to return home.  Breathlessly, we drove down the main avenue surveying the homes and streets.  There was evidence of damage, but not bad.  We looked at each other and took a deep breath as Bill made the left turn onto our street.  It was filled with several inches of sand, dried seaweed and ocean debris.  But our house was standing.  No broken windows or missing shingles.  Amazing!

Walking around back, we found the door to the lower level wide open.  Busted, broken away from the frame, it collapsed under the pressure of surging seawater.  Powerful and insistent on having its way, the ocean entered the lower level and filled it with about four and a half feet of salty, sandy, corrosive seawater, setting heavy furniture and appliances afloat.

With a nervous glance, we walked up the steps to the next level.  It looked fine – just as we left it.  The next level was fine, too.  Hugging and feeling thankful, I cried with relief.  We had lost a level of living space, but our house still stood, intact and absolutely fixable, though quite a mess.  What a mess!  Ultimately, the vast majority of the lower-level contents had to be discarded, sheetrock and insulation removed, all mechanical and electrical systems and appliances replaced.

Doing what needs to be done to clear out the ruined, preserve whatever is salvageable and keep up with existing professional commitments, I’ve been overly busy and haven’t taken time to feel my feelings. I haven’t made space for my emotional reaction to this loss.  Someday soon, once all that was wet is dry and free of mold and mildew, I’ll sit down, breathe deeply several times and let my feelings flow.  Right now, I’m pressing and moving through – doing my best to mitigate the damage.

While I’m no where near homeless and enjoy many pleasures and creature comforts I could not have imagined back when my house burned down, I know this experience is a pivot point.  The particulars are not clear at this moment but intuitively, I’m confident this is yet another life-defining event.  How and in what way?  I don’t know.  How will the flood influence the next segment of my life?  I’m not sure.  What’s the lesson in this experience?  I invite it to reveal itself to me.  I’m open to learning and making the most of this important pivot point.

In the meantime, I’ll keep drying out, clearing out, cleaning up and making space for what comes next – lessons, insights, inspirations and changes.  All a natural part of life’s ebb and flow.

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Guest Blog: Why I Journal

August 21st, 2012

By Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach

Linda Tabach writes and blogs about health, fitness and wellness at www.lemonslifelove.com.  She is training to become a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is looking forward to helping others reach their wellness goals through balanced living.

I began journaling with a computer document at the end of 2008 and I just finished at the end of July when it hit 762 pages. The document was taking too long to load in my computer, so I decided to begin anew. The blank white screen on a fresh journal inspires me to fill the pages.

At first my journaling was a way to chronicle events that were taking place in my life, but I quickly found that as I wrote I was able to express emotions, develop ideas, process conflicts, analyze dreams, and be creative. As I rush through my busy days, with thoughts continually racing through my head, I have little time to do any of those things, but at the end of the day when I can sit at my desk to relax, the words flow freely.

I enjoy journaling on the computer because my handwriting can’t keep up with my thoughts, but I know of others who handwrite in their journals. Still others draw or use photos to express their thoughts and feelings in their journals. Keeping my journal on the computer has the added benefit of allowing me to search for entries which I find helpful when I want to go back and revisit an event or remind myself of how I accomplished a difficult task or resolved a conflict.

I also journal in my head while I run. Long distance running is the perfect time for me to process thoughts and ideas, and when I get home I type them up. I frequently write lengthy emails to friends and family and I will add these to my journal as well, along with emails I receive.

During the last couple of years, blogging has also been a form of journaling for me, one in which I can share my thoughts with whoever finds me and cares to read. I connect with others through my blog, and I can choose to share journal entries with them. The blogging community encourages a sense of unity and belonging through the exchange of journal entries.

It is difficult to balance all of the important aspects of my life – family, friends, career, spiritual growth, exercise – and journaling allows me to see where I need to focus my efforts at any given time. I allow myself time every day to reflect; I consider this an essential element of my self care.

 If you enjoy handwriting journal entries, you can order a “Journal Your Truth” notebook from Spirit of Purpose.

 

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Inspiration for Your Next Big IDEA

August 14th, 2012

Whether you’re focused on how to enhance your self-awareness, solving a problem, taking the next step in your ever-evolving quest for personal development or professional development, looking for inspiration, or just needing to stir your creative juices to feel more alive, you need to get in the flow to generate the right ideas.

Jeffrey Davis says he’s in the business of “Changing the Way Creativity Happens.”  I had the pleasure of meeting him recently.  He was the opening speaker for a conference where I delivered the closing keynote address.  His message was about the power of the IDEA.

Here’s what I took from his talk about IDEA, an acronym that stands for Intentional Focus, Delightful Divergence, Eureka! and Action.

Intentional Focus is a way to get your problems and concerns out of the swirling ethers in your head and onto paper.  Write them down.  Then, choose one of the items to give your attention to.  Set aside 45 minutes, but no more than 90 minutes, to focus on the concern you selected.

As you begin your time of Intentional Focus, have a talk with yourself.  Tell your mind, “I’m focused on improving this situation.”  Every time your mind wanders, and it will, remind it of its current object of attention by restating, “I’m focused on improving this situation.”  Notice what your mind does with the situation and diagram, list, draw, write down whatever comes up, even if it seems irrelevant, ridiculous or not on point.

Delightful Divergence:  After your period of Intentional Focus, do something pleasurable and off task, something totally relaxing or fun.  Jeffrey recommends a 5 to 20 minute break of pure enjoyment.  You might go for a walk, listen to music, dance, jump rope, garden, paint, draw – do whatever delights you and takes you away – mind, body and emotion – from the situation you’ve been focusing on.

EUREKA!:   After your 20 minutes of Delightful Divergence, return to the problem and watch for your EUREKA! moment.  New ideas and fresh solutions will begin to flow.  Capture all of them.  Write them down, record them on your mobile device, draw a picture or symbols that represent their essence.  Do whatever will best enable you to hold onto the inspiration that will surface.  In fact, Jeffrey recommends keeping a Eureka Journal – a dedicated repository for all the great ideas that will pop. 

ACTION:  Once an effective solution surfaces, take ACTION.  Write out what you’re going to do and by when, and then do it.  Bring your brilliance to life.  After all, we don’t really suffer from a shortage of good ideas, only a lack of action.

If you’re in search of the solution to a long-standing issue, a new problem or opportunities for personal growth, try Jeffery’s IDEA process.  Intentional Focus, Delightful Divergence, Eureka! and Action – really works.  It could be the inspiration for your next stroke of genius.

Visit Jeffrey Davis’ website  trackingwonder.com to learn more.

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100% Full Proof Guaranteed Way to Instantly Reduce Stress

July 31st, 2012

Guest Blog by Kyle Ruffin

One day, I found myself, as I often do, staring with anger at a woman in the supermarket who was wearing an outfit that was absolutely inappropriate for her.  Not only was it too tight, it was clearly designed for a girl half her age.   I stared and stared, while my mind devised insults that would put this woman in her place once and for all.  If I could just say the right words to her, she’d thank me, run home and set this outfit, and no doubt other hideous attire in her closet, on fire.  But of course, that was the least likely outcome.  So why was I investing so much emotion in this complete stranger?

How many times a day do you find yourself in this state of mind?  Working yourself up over a total stranger or a situation that you either can’t control or doesn’t concern you?  When you do, your blood pressure goes up.  Your chest tightens.  Your heart starts racing.  The tension in your face and around your eyes intensifies.  Your forehead pinches so much that your eyebrows feel like they might touch.  We ALL do it.  Waste valuable time and expend angry emotion that benefits no one – especially not ourselves.

We live in a society where passing judgment is truly our favorite pastime.  My guess is that’s what makes Reality TV so popular.  We can sit on the couch and legitimately judge the ridiculous actions of someone who will have no impact on our lives what so ever.  Why do we even care if the Bachelorette sleezes her way through the latest batch of men?  Or another has-been TV star has fallen from grace into the clutches of dysfunction.

We’ve been judging others for so long and we do it so often that it’s a reflex.  Experts (and I’m no expert) would probably say it’s a hold-over from the human evolutionary period when we needed to make snap judgments about whether the approaching thing was going to eat us.  In most cases today, it serves no purpose.  Admittedly, there are situations where it’s good to size someone up before they can do us harm.  When it comes to superficial judging, we’re better off without it.

I’ve consciously decided to turn the tide by taking control of my mind and emotions in this area.  In the same way people use Mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, I’m using these techniques to stop judging others.  Since judging is such an involuntary reaction, it’s very hard to head it off at the pass, but as soon as I realize what I’m doing, I just stop.  Instantly, I feel the tension melt away.  My shoulders lower.  My chest unclenches. My disposition lightens and I sometimes even find myself smiling ever so slightly – finding humor in the ridiculousness of self-righteous stance.

Kyle Ruffin

Kyle Ruffin

Give it a shot.  I guarantee you’ll feel the difference.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to pull out the judgment card.  So, if that heart-racing, brow-squinching feeling is something you crave, just wait a few minutes.  Real danger is bound to present itself.

 

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