(3) “Quick Start” Gold Nuggets To Finding JOY Again (Or For The First Time)

Quick Start Gold Nugget #1:

Leave the past in the past. Life is a journey.  It’s not always going to be easy.  Sometimes we all just have to pick up the pieces and begin again. Guilt, shame, and resentment are all products of living in the past.  I’m not saying to “forget” the past.  That’s impossible to do, and it would be a waisted experience.  You do have the ability to look at the past with a different perspective.  You can look at the situation from outside yourself.  Since our lives are temporary, and none of us are getting out of here alive, I encourage you to step back and take the long view. Look at the bigger picture.  The thing itself is always neutral.  It’s only good or bad, depending on how we have learned (or have been programmed) to think about it.  I know you’re probably saying to yourself, “No, some things are just bad.”  I understand why you may feel that way.  But, when we expand our awareness, we begin to understand the old saying, “It’s 10% what happens and 90% how we respond or think about it.”  When we take the longer view, no matter how bad we think it is, it’s all part of a much bigger picture. We can choose to trust in something bigger than ourselves. We have an opportunity to look for the good, take the lesson or wisdom, and keep advancing forward.

As far as feeling guilty or shame for anything you’ve personally done, remember, you are always growing and your awareness is always expanding.  Life is a continuous journey, and we are always “becoming.”  You’ve done what you’ve done, and so has everybody else, based on individual growth and our awareness in that area.  Let go of any guilt, shame, and regret.  The root of those feelings is fear of being punished, or judged.  God isn’t judging you, and you shouldn’t be judging yourself.  Not yet anyways.  You’re not done with you yet. Take the lessons, learn from them, and move forward in a more life-giving direction.  As long as we are breathing, as long as we are given the gift of another day of life, we have an opportunity to do just that.  We can choose to move forward in a more life-giving direction.  You get to decide to continue your journey on a more meaningful path.

But, how? That brings us to the 2nd Gold Nugget:

Quick Start Gold Nugget #2:

Embrace GRATITUDE.  What are you thankful for now in your life?  What if you are in the middle of a storm, maybe you’re grieving, struggling with your health, going through a divorce, or some other major challenge in life.  I’ve heard it said this way from various authors, “We don’t have to have gratitude for the circumstances going on in our lives right now, but we can always be grateful in any circumstance.”  Regardless of what’s happening or what has happened, there’s always something for which you can have gratitude.  The sun came up this morning.  You’re definitely breathing (hopefully fresh air) right now.  You may have enjoyed a warm shower this morning or a cup of coffee.  Since you are reading this blog, you can probably read.  You probably enjoy one or more of your five senses, walking and/or talking.  You may be even blessed with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors you enjoy, etc.  You may be thankful for electricity, a warm blanket, a pet or pets, a roof over your head, a vehicle to get you to and from places…the list goes on.  Look around!  The point is, when we ask ourselves this question and begin to recognize all the blessings we currently have, we are putting ourselves in alignment with feelings of abundance and faith.

You may be saying to yourself, but I don’t feel like I’m grateful for any of those things right now.  You may be in the middle of a challenge so great, that you don’t know how to feel grateful for anything right now.   Think of our Savior when he said, “…Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42 – KJV).  We can always be grateful in our circumstances by choosing to trust God.  All we need is the faith of a mustard seed while we are going through the storm. You are not alone.  You can reach up and say, “God, I don’t understand, but You do.  Please carry me through this process.”  Keep advancing confidently with God, and eventually the storm will calm and you will be strengthened.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10 KJV)

 Quick Start Gold Nugget #3:

 Get over yourself.  I know.  I know.   Ego gets a bad rap sometimes.  Our Ego is important to motivate us to do things.  It’s not good, however, when our only motivation is purely “What’s in it for me?” At first, it may be a great motivator, but if acquiring stuff or status is your only reason for doing anything, you will be in constant need for more stuff or more status.  Eventually, you will burn yourself out, and may even think, “Why am I doing all this?” “This stuff doesn’t really matter.” You will probably wind up feeling empty and possibly alone, especially if you’ve hurt people along the way of accumulating your stuff.  To have joy, we must get over the “It’s all about me” syndrome.  When you set a goal, or have a dream ask yourself this question: “If I accomplish this, what good will come from it for others?” Of course, you want there to be good in it for you too.  If you want fulfillment and joy, you want to contribute something to others as well.  By the way, even if your desire is to fall in love, there is absolutely good in it for the other person and the people around you.  People love witnessing expressions of love.  When we find ways to get outside of ourselves, and focus on bringing good for others, we end up finding joy and fulfillment for ourselves.  Crazy, huh?  The point is, when we choose to go after a cause greater than ourselves, we usually end up finding our best selves.  Joy is hidden in serving or being an example to others.  You want to take care of yourself, of course.  If you don’t, don’t expect anyone else to take care of you. However, getting yourself out of the way, and doing something that is good for others, (as long as it is in alignment with your core values), is where you will find joy, meaning and purpose in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey Continues…(Part 5) (Self Esteem – Self Worth)

I remember hearing these words in various ways through teachers and mentors…“Who are you?  What are you worth? — You are loved.  You are valued.  You are far more powerful than you have ever imagined.” Really?  Because I wasn’t really feeling all that special, and I certainly wasn’t feeling powerful.  I was skeptical, but very curious about finding out more about what they apparently understood that I didn’t.

I love stories that teach a message. This one is an ancient parable about a lion who believed he was a sheep:

There was a baby lion that was lost, so some sheep took him in to raise.  The little lion learned all the daily things that sheep would do.  He simply walked around and grazed on the grass like all the others, and even made sounds like the sheep made.  After all, it’s all he knew to do.  One day a large lion spotted the herd.  He ran toward them, and as all the sheep scattered, he saw the younger lion among them.  He chased the lion out of curiosity.  When he caught up with him, the young lion fell to the ground begging him not to eat him.  The large lion was confused.  He said, “Don’t you know who you are?”  He took him to a clear pond where he saw his reflection for the first time.  Once he saw his reflection, he let out his very first “Roar!”  In that moment he discovered who he truly was.   

I love this story because it’s a story about you and me.  We listen to the people around us who tell us who we are or aren’t, what we should or shouldn’t do, or what we can or can’t do.  The problem is, some of the people we listen to, are misguided themselves.

Self-worth is defined as: the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.  It’s more about who we are, not what we do.  For example, the lion in this story discovered his worth, who he truly was.  He wasn’t measuring himself against what he had been doing.  Self-esteem is based on how we value or feel about ourselves, usually based on something we’ve done, what others think, or comparing ourselves to others.  Society tends to focus on teaching us to increase our self-esteem.  We really want to focus on understanding our self-worth, because that’s constant, that’s where our power is.  We cannot always sustain doing certain things a certain way; and there is always going to be someone better looking, richer, smarter, etc. out there.  We definitely don’t want to get trapped in the comparison game.  We do want to, however, discover our worth – who we really are.

Is there someone in your past that told you something about you when you were younger, that instinctively you know isn’t true; but maybe you believed it because you were told this by someone in your impressionable years?  Or maybe you were told something about you by someone you trusted, loved or admired, so you think…it must be true.  It’s important to trace back some of the lies you believe about yourself, so that you can re-pattern those false beliefs to the truth of who you really are.  Better yet, write down some things you say about yourself, that aren’t serving you, and think about where that false belief came from.  Was it a parent? A sibling? A teacher? A bishop or pastor?  Who planted that thought seed in your mind?  It’s not about blaming anyone.  It’s about understanding where it came from, so that you can really see the truth behind it.  The person who gave you the wrong impression of yourself, is or was imperfect, and may have been struggling with some insecurity themselves.  They certainly were misguided.  Once you write down the false belief, replace it with what you instinctively know is the real truth about you.  It’s important to replace it with a positive truth, (or an affirmation), otherwise it will create a vacuum and the same false thought will fill that vacuum or another one will.  I promise, we will get back to this, but first let me tell you a true story to help illustrate where our self image comes from…

At one time or another, a very young elephant would be tied with some type of rope or river reed, to a pin in the ground.  The young elephant would struggle to pull away from the pin, but would fail.  As the elephant grew, it had the power to break the rope, but it was programmed to believe it couldn’t, so it never tried.  

What is some of the false programming in you that you’ve believed and accepted as truth?  Once you shed some light on this false pretense of who you are, you can begin to re-pattern it with the truth.  You may have to repeat the process each time the false thought tries to reappear.  When the negative thought about yourself comes up, that’s a good thing.  That’s the only time you can notice it and replace it with the truth of who you really are.  Eventually the old pattern will die, and the new pattern or self image will remain.  Continue learning more about who you really are to realize that you are not a sheep.  You are a lion. Or in this case, you are not your DNA, you are not your past or what you’ve done or haven’t done.  You are Spiritual Being having a human experience.  You are a Child of God. You were born unique, with unique gifts, that you can share with the world while you are here.

As promised, let’s get back to writing down that false belief and replacing it with the truth.  I am going to share some truths about you, that you can use.  Even if you don’t believe these truths, (because we tend to get caught up in the “comparison game”), you can believe in my belief that it’s true until you learn more about who you truly are…Here are some affirmations you can use to replace those false beliefs:

I am beautiful inside and out

I am worthy of compassion and love

I love being me

I am at peace with all that has happened in my life

My life is filled with joy and abundance

Happiness flows through me

 I am confident

I am grounded, peaceful, and centered

I am enough

I am loved

I feel empathy and love for others 

“I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy” ~ (Charles Haanel)

I am____________.  You get the idea.  Have FUN with this!

“We can never out perform our self image, but we can change it!” ~(original author unknown) 

“The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize your own worth.” 
― Maxwell Maltz

 

 

 

 

The Journey Continues…Part 4 (Our Thoughts)

Our happiness, joy, peace, success, sadness, fear, failure – all of it — begins with a single thought.  It’s true.  We can use our thoughts to torture and terrify ourselves, or we can use our thoughts to strengthen and fortify ourselves.  The problem is, most of us don’t think. We let our thoughts run rampant until we learn we have the power to change those thoughts.  If we really understood that it all begins with our thoughts, we would be very careful with the thoughts we think.  We would listen to Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “Stand guard at the portal of your mind.” 

I learned the real truth of this on New Year’s Eve 2013, bringing in the New Year 2014.  Without going into details about the events, I was a victim of my own thinking most of 2013.  You’ve heard the saying, “I couldn’t see the forest for the trees?”  I couldn’t see the whole picture.  Even though I am adamant about not being a victim, (I can’t stand it), without realizing it, I allowed myself to become a victim of the circumstances surrounding me.  I thought it was all about the people around me and what they did or didn’t do for me.  I thought I was just rejected by everyone outside of me, so I thought I must be worthless (we will talk about Self Worth and Self Image in the next blog).   Thankfully, my faith in Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father was what helped me through those self-destructive thoughts.  Like I said though, I had the power to change those thoughts the whole time.  I just didn’t know it.  I guess a part of me knew I could change my circumstances and the way I was feeling.  I was working on it, looking for answers, reading books, etc.  But, I still found myself in a depression, not fully understanding how to get myself out of it.  Reading books like, Break Out, by Joel Osteen helped me.  The reason it helped so much, was because I was focusing my thoughts on truth while reading that book, instead of letting the negative thoughts breed and run rampant.  On New Years Eve, it was as if a huge burden had been lifted from me, simply because the clock changed to midnight.  I was so happy to see the New Year come in and I felt like it was a new beginning (For as a man thinketh in his heart so is he ~Proverbs 23:7).  But, guess what.  Nothing in my circumstances really changed at all.  It was simply my thoughts about the circumstances that changed, and I was empowered to take my life back.  Crazy, huh?  I get it when they say, “It’s 10% what happens, and 90% how we respond (or think about it).

So, how is it that our thoughts really matter?  Let’s break it down.  Our THOUGHTS cause our FEELINGS.  One of my daughters called me the other day, very concerned and worried about one of her college classes.  She was upset and even crying.  I said, ” Let’s think about this.” When we are anxious or worried about something, it’s not happening yet.  It’s something in the future.  So, I asked her, “What is happening right now, in this moment, causing you to feel this way?” Nothing was happening.  She hadn’t failed the class.  The class was difficult, yes.  But, it was her thoughts about the class that was torturing her.  I reminded her that with that line of thinking, she would never be able to pass the class.  Her mind would be clouded and she wouldn’t be able to conquer this difficult task that was in front of her.  I suggested that she shift her thoughts from worrying about failing the class to imagining how it would feel if she did pass this class.  What would it feel like if she got a “B” (that’s what she said she would be happy with) in this class? Heck, since we are using our imaginations and anything is possible, what if she got an “A”?  But, since it has to be believable, let’s keep imagining the “B”. (Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth ~ Mark 9:23.)  Just thinking about it differently, caused her to feel better about it, and caused her to be able to have a little more clarity on what steps she could take to make it happen.  – Our THOUGHTS cause our FEELINGS and our FEELINGS cause our ACTIONS and our ACTIONS cause our RESULTS.  She is not at the mercy of that situation.  She is at the mercy of her thoughts about the situation and the actions she takes.  She chose to think empowered thoughts and is now taking positive action. She called me today and told me she made two “B’s” on her last two quizzes. She said she is going to aim for that “A” now.

You see, that’s why you hear that the acronym for fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.”  It’s not happening now.

One of my very favorite mentors, Mary Morrissey, taught me that when fear shows up we can pause those thoughts and ask ourselves these questions:

  1.  Is it happening now?  (What my daughter feared was failing – it wasn’t happening – class had just started.  She had the power to think thoughts of passing the class and doing well. Those thoughts made her feel much better and allowed her to be creative about how to accomplish that task.)
  2. Do I want it to happen? (If she continued thinking those fear thoughts, she would have clouded her thinking and would most likely have caused it to happen.  She wouldn’t have had clarity on what actions to take. We have the power to change our thoughts and to think about what we DO want to happen.)
  3. What steps can I take to be sure that it doesn’t happen?  (Empower yourself with the solution. What step can I take, where I am, with what I have?)

If we want to change our results, we must first change the way we think.  Positive thoughts seem to breed more positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts seem to breed more negative thoughts.  We have a part of us that can notice what we are thinking about. In psychology they call that part of us “The Observer Self.”  When we notice our thoughts aren’t serving us, we can replace them with thoughts that do.  One way to know what you are thinking, is to notice how you are feeling.  If you are feeling bad, check your thoughts.  What are you thinking?

The good news is that it’s an inside out job.  Thank goodness our happiness does not depend on the people and circumstances around us.  The bottom line is, if we don’t like our results, we have the power to change them and it begins with our thoughts. — I get it though — There’s more to it than just thinking positive thoughts.  We have strong internal belief systems that we’ve “bought into” about ourselves.  We will discuss why we feel the way we do about ourselves and how to improve our self image (self worth) in the next blog.  But for now, we can take the first step.  We can notice what we are thinking, and we can begin re-patterning negative thoughts.  Then we are able to take the action required to create better results.   SO…Ready to get started?  If so…think about this:  What do you love about today?  What’s good in your life? What would you love to see happen in your life in the next week, the next month, the next year?  Finally, what are you thankful for now, today, in this moment, that is already happening?

What do you think? Can you change the results in your life? “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” ~Henry Ford

The Journey Continues…Part 3 (FEAR)

Let’s talk about that dream killing, life sucking, four letter word–FEAR.  Understanding it more causes it to lose some of it’s power, and gives the power back to you.  I know, I know.  Fear has it’s place.  It’s good to have, especially for young teenage boys (even though they don’t seem to have much fear at all…I should know, I have two sons.) But, Fear can be paralyzing. When you discover your desires (or dreams), when you know what you want, you aren’t always going to know exactly how to get there.  Since you don’t know all the steps it’s gonna take, there’s a certain amount of uncertainty you have to walk in.  Uncertainty breeds fear, so sometimes we have to bring fear along for the ride.

One of the things most of us fear is change.  Funny that’s true, because change is always happening.  We can’t stop it.  Since we can’t stop it, we want to know why we get afraid.  We want to shed some light on it, so it’s not so big and scary.  I’m definitely no expert on the brain, but I’ve learned enough to recognize fear when it shows up.  Once I recognize it, and understand why it’s happening, I am able to befriend the fear and take another step.  So, why does it happen?  What are we afraid of?  Uncertainty.  Anything new.  Anything unlike what we’ve known.  All kinds of stuff.  You see, our brains are designed to keep us alive.  And guess what, we are alive, so whatever we’ve been doing feels pretty safe.  The more we do something, we create patterns in our brains.  It really likes repetition.  I picture our brains saying, “She’s doing it again, and she’s still alive.  This must be good for her.  I’ll stay calm.”  BUT, when we do something DIFFERENT, something out of the ordinary, our brains send signals out.  Sometimes our hearts beat faster, chemicals start dumping, and who knows what all is set off.  Since I’m not a neurological guru by any means, we will simply say that’s when “fear” shows up.  And boy-oh-boy is it clever!  Yep.  It’s very clever.  It shows up in sneaky ways – like a thief in the night.  One way it shows up is through DISTRACTION.  You’ll tell yourself things like, “I really should get this laundry done before I make those phone calls.” Or “Maybe I’ll just do it tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year!”  You’ll even pat yourself on the back and say, “Look, I painted my house today.” But, did you work on your goals and take a step in that direction at all?  One of my favorite mentors, Robert Kiyosaki (author of the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad), said it best ~ “Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you’re not being lazy.”  I love his candidness!  But, that’s how fear shows up as distraction.  Let’s not do anything “new” today.  Clever, huh?  

So, I had my goal. I had my dream in mind.  I knew my desire was (and is) to help as many people as I can while I’m here.  I knew I wanted to help more people on a different level than I could do in the heating and air business.  I didn’t know all the steps I was going to have to take.  But, I knew I couldn’t keep taking the same steps or I’d never get there.  Einstein said it best, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  That’s why we sold our heating and air business.  We weren’t being completely reckless though.  We still have our real estate investing business.  I don’t want you to just up-and-quit your job (not necessarily).  It’s good to take risks, but let’s not be “risky.”  You want to have some kind of plan for income while you are building your dreams.  If you’ve ever played the game “Cashflow 101,” a game created by Robert Kiyosaki, you always start out in the “Rat Race.”  I worked in the heating and air business almost 20 years total.  I learned how to invest in real estate during that time, and I made some investments.  I may have stayed in the “Rat Race” far longer than I should have.  I don’t know.  I was waiting for the “right” time.  I found out, there never really is a “right” time for anything until we DECIDE it’s time.  So, we finally decided to completely let go of what my banker calls our “money machine” (our heating and air business).  I called it “burning the ship.”  If I was going to live the life I’ve been imagining, I simply had to walk in FAITH.  I didn’t know who or what all would eventually show up to help me along the way.  You won’t know either, but trust me, people and circumstances do show up.  We don’t know what doors will open or frankly, what doors will be closed.   We just have to get past distraction and take the next step. When we take enough steps (repetition), we create NEW patterns in our brains and then we are back to being comfortable doing the stuff that’s walking us toward our dreams.  

Is that it?  All we have to do is get past distraction, and we are set?  Nope.  Sorry.  Another way fear shows up in it’s clever little disguise is through DISSUASION.  Our brains will try to talk us out of it.  We will say things to ourselves like, “What am I doing? How does this match up with what I’ve always known? Who am I to think I can do this?” And here is one of the scariest of all…”What if I FAIL?”  Let’s talk about that a minute.  I am no stranger to failure.  If you’re honest, you’re not either.  You may have even been playing it safe most of your adult life, but as a child, you definitely experienced failure.  We must be willing to fail to get where we really want to go.  It’s not so bad.  We used to not mind failing so much.  Remember?  None of us were born walking.  Most of us fell down, before we nailed it.  We never fell down and said, “Well, that’s it!  I guess I wasn’t meant to be a walker.”  Did you learn to ride a bike?  Ever fall down?  Did you get back on and learn to ride that bike?  I hope so.  Somehow, we stop allowing ourselves to fail, and we start playing it safe.  Why?  If everyone did that we wouldn’t even have electricity in our homes.  We’d still be using oil and lamps, because apparently, Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he nailed the light bulb.  When he was asked how he kept trying through all the failures, he said, “I never had a failure.  I had feedback.”  He learned what not to do, and ultimately learned what worked.  We have to do the same thing.  We aren’t going to do it all perfectly.  If we are going to reach our full potential though, we have to be willing to fail.  But guess what.  We don’t really fail until we stop trying.  If we fall 10 times, we should simply get up 11 times.  Robert Kiyosaki says, “If 9 out of 10 businesses fail, start 10 businesses!”

And what about those feelings of unworthiness?  What’s that all about?  Why do we say things like, “Who am I to think I can do that?”  REALLY?  Who are YOU?  You are so much more powerful than you even realize.  You are literally a child of God.  You were uniquely made.  There is nobody else in this world just like YOU.  Only YOU can do what you were designed and sent here to do.  NOBODY can fill your shoes.  You’ll just have to take my word for it, here in this blog post.  But, seek that one out, if you haven’t already.  Discover who YOU really are.  And if you have the DESIRE to do anything, you are equipped and a way is already being made for you to do it.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t have the desire in the first place.  The Latin meaning of the word De-sire – is “Of the Father.”  

I can’t give a whole seminar on fear in this blog post, but I hope to have a webinar available for you soon.  When I do, I’ll put the link here in this blog post.  I encourage you to learn as much about it as possible, because it is what keeps us from our highest potential.  Before I stop sharing on this topic, I should mention that there is another level of fear called, “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” that shows up just before an old pattern dies.  Just know that when you are making changes, and when you are starting to create new patterns, the old pattern shows up with a vengeance just before it dies; and it tries to pull you back to “status quo.” Your brain is always trying to pull you back to the familiar.  When it does, when you recognize what it’s doing, then you have the power to say, “Oh.  I know what’s happening here.  It’s a pattern – a paradigm – a limiting belief system.  I recognize you AND I’m taking another step!”  When you do that enough times, poof.  The old pattern dies, and the new pattern is alive and well.   We don’t want to be afraid of fear, but we do want to respect it.  It’s powerful!

I am thankful for the things I’ve learned.  I’m thankful to be taking steps toward my dream of helping as many people as I can while I’m here.  I have already had the privilege of working with many clients and witnessing growth and understanding in their lives.  I love helping people learn and grow, and especially helping them to “awaken” or become more aware of the truth that they seek.  I especially love seeing them recognize the truth of who they really are, and understanding more about what their true potential is.  There is a power in all of us that is so great.  Did you know that you have the power within you to overcome ANY condition or circumstance going on in your life right now? We can’t control everything that happens in our lives, BUT, we absolutely can control how we react or respond to what is happening or has happened.

And remember.  We are not alone. “With God, ALL things are possible.”  We simply want to do our part and move from possible, to probable, to predictable.  It all begins with our thoughts.  I’ll share more on that in the next blog post.

 

The Journey Continues – Part 2 (Having a Destination In Mind)

So, yeah, like I mentioned in the last blog post,  there’s stuff we have to get past to get to where we want to go.  First things first.  We have to have a destination in mind.  We have to figure out where we want to go or what we want to do.  Simply discovering what we would love to do in our own lives can be nothing short of a mystery.  We ask ourselves, “What would I love?”  I don’t know.  “What would I love?”

There are a fortunate few who seem to be born knowing what they want to pursue in life.  You know, the ones in high school that say, I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, or even an actor or actress.  But even if they are fortunate enough to get to where they think they want to be, some of them feel dissatisfied when they get there.  That’s because we aren’t meant to just stay in one place and get comfortable.  We are meant to grow, learn, become, and experience. I’m not saying you have to change careers to be happy.  But, I bet there is some area in your life right now, where you may want to see some improvement.  You may even want to grow and expand in the career you have.  That’s because we are always becoming, always growing.  I’m learning that there is no destination where we arrive and sit back and say, “Ah, I’ve arrived.  I can just stay in perfect bliss the rest of my life!”  No, that’s not the way it works.  We weren’t designed that way.  Life is definitely a journey–and we are either growing and expanding, or contracting and decaying.   Instinctively, if you really think about it, you know it’s true.

In January, 2018, I found myself in a rut again.  I was disappointed, because I was doing so well and feeling so good for about 4 years.  I thought I had found “myself” and I was really enjoying helping others and sharing some of the things I had learned in a women’s small group I was leading; I was volunteering regularly for community and church projects; our heating and air business was doing very well financially; my marriage was wonderful; my children were happy and healthy; and life should’ve been pretty dang good.  So, why did I feel like I was missing something?  Good question (even though I’m the one that’s asking it 🙂 ) .

Prior to this I was perfectly content and had moved into what I call my comfort zone.  That nice warm little place that we want to sit and bask in awhile, but when we bask too long, we start feeling like we are in a rut again.  Remember, if we are not growing…I had gotten to the point that I wasn’t motivated to do anything that I had been so in love with doing for about 4 years.  I was going through the motions, but just feeling like I was missing the target.  One thing I’ve learned for sure, is to LISTEN to my discontent.  I’ve learned to pay attention to it. So I did what I knew to do when I feel this way; I prayed to God, asking for guidance.  I even decided to fast about it this time.  When we are asking and seeking for answers, we better believe the answers are coming.  The answers come in crazy ways sometimes. And just like always, an answer came.  This time it was in a Facebook post.  It was a psychological quiz, and it piqued my interest because I am fascinated with psychology.  Ultimately, I joined a program, which led me to another program, which led me to discovering what a life coach was.  I had found my passion once again.  A large part of me felt completely satisfied because once again, I was learning and growing.  I say “a large part” of me, because that’s something I want to share with you.  All of me wasn’t completely satisfied.  A small part of me was questioning.  One of those pesky obstacles that gets in the way is a four letter word called, fear.  It usually shows up when we are doing something different.  It always shows up when we are moving outside of our comfort zones.  I started questioning myself.  What am I doing?  How does this match up with what I’ve known? Who am I to think I can do this? What if I fail…again?

Ah.  Fear.  That dream killing, life sucking, four letter word.  I’ll tell you why it shows up, how I learned to recognize it, and how I learned to overcome it in the next blog post.

In the meanwhile, I want to leave you with some food for thought…

To get to where you want to go, you gotta have a destination in mind.  But how?

  1.  When you are discovering what it is you would love for your life, it’s usually something you have already been doing or something you may have done even as a child. You just may have pushed it in the corner somewhere.  Get curious about it, and ask yourself in a quiet moment, maybe just before bed, “What would I love?” or “What’s my next best steps?” And, ask God.  Pray about it.  “Ask and ye shall receive…seek and ye shall find…”
  2. When you picture yourself doing what you want, it should feel expansive and life-giving.  It shouldn’t ever feel contractive.
  3. Try not to limit what you want to do.  Don’t ask yourself what you think you can do or what people say you should do or limit yourself to what you are doing now.  Ask yourself, if nothing were impossible, (because it’s not…”With God ALL things are possible…”), if ANYTHING were possible, what would you love to be, do, have?

 

Love you guys!  See you in the next blog post.  It’s one you won’t want to miss.  😉

 

The Journey Continues…(Part 1)

 

Hi guys!  Did you miss me?  I missed YOU!  🙂  It’s been more than a year since I’ve written, “Journey of a Second Chance, Gate of New Beginnings,” and I’m fortunate enough that my journey continues, because every day is a wonderful gift for every one of us.  Right?

So, I’m going to tell you all about the last year and 1/2 of my life, but first, what’s been going on in yours?  What have you been doing the past year and a half?  Do you ever stop to think about it, just to do a self-check?  Here’s a better question.  Where do you want to be a year and 1/2 from now?  After all, how will you get there if you don’t know where you want to be?  Or maybe you do know what you want, but don’t know how to get there.  Maybe you’ve already tried and failed a few times or maybe a few more times than that.  Well, good news is here!  That’s EXACTLY what we are going to talk about in this portion of my blog.  Along with, of course, telling you all the good, bad, and ugly parts of my own little journey.  Well…let’s get started! 😀

I wrote the final excerpt of “Journey of a Second Chance…” in April, 2018.  I mentioned we were back in the heating and air conditioning business, and I was thankful for it.  We were successful in that business here in Maryville for a little over 4 years. What you didn’t know was that I still had a desire to do something different.  My passion has always been helping others (which is why this blog is here), and I wanted to do more of that.  I didn’t know what it looked like, but I had a burning desire to help more people.  The heating and air business demanded so much of my time, and I began feeling discontented with it once again.  I have learned to listen to those feelings when they come up, and this time, I wanted to make a move BEFORE everything imploded.  One of the things I had already tried, was going back to college to get a degree in counseling.  I thought I needed a traditional degree.  Turns out, college was even more demanding on my time than the heating and air business!  Imagine that!  So, I put my dream on hold, but kept my eyes open.  I prayed and kept seeking for answers. I kept doing what I could, where I was, with what I had.  I kept showing up to work, supporting the business, and studying books and programs about building dreams, and living a life you love living.  Some of the things I was learning was repetitive, because I’ve studied personal development for most of my adult years.  This time though, I began understanding some of the principles with a completely different level of awareness.  I trusted more, because I had already experienced taking some “leaps of faith” and hey, I’m still here!  Some of those leaps of faith turned out to be really cool, and I am so grateful I didn’t stay stuck.  Somewhere along the way I discovered what a life coach was, and I began investing my time (and money) in that curriculum and education. It wasn’t some overnight training either.  It was 40 hours of online training, and I had to have such an understanding of the material, that I had to make a 100 on each test.  I traveled back and forth to Los Angeles, CA for 3 to 6 days of live trainings, and I earned my certifications in September, 2018, as a Life Coach, and a Life Mastery Consultant.  BUT, during all this, even before I had completed the certifications, I was applying the principles.  Kevin and I both had some discontent, but this time we listened to it together.  We both decided to take another leap of faith.  We sold our heating and air business again in August, 2018.  I decided to become a full time Life Coach and Kevin decided to become a full time instructor, teaching others the heating and air trade.  After all, Kevin has been a very successful heating and air business owner and technician himself – for about 20 years.  Who better to teach it than someone who was very successful doing it?  

Well, there it is.  You have the gist of what we’ve been doing.  It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  Life seems pretty easy, huh?  Not so fast.  It wasn’t so easy.  I can honestly say, though, it has been a freer, fuller, more expansive way to live.  I have no regrets, and I love my life.  But, there’s stuff we have to get past to get to where we want to go.  There’s stuff holding us back that we have to overcome.  We’re going to talk about some of those things over the next little bit together.  See you in the next blog post…

WHAT IS OUR WORTH? – This poem by Myra Brooks Welch beautifully describes our worth:

The Old Violin – The Touch of the Masters Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

“And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

– Myra Brooks Welch

When We Connect With God, There Is No Circumstance That Is Bigger Than Us  

Why do we get comfortable in our misery and accept (for far too long) the negative feelings and sadness that we experience?  In the middle of the storm, sometimes we forget that there is a higher power who not only created us, but also loves us and will carry us out of the holes in which we fall.  Let’s be real.  Every day is not peaches and cream.  Circumstances arise that seem so much bigger than we are, BUT “fear is a liar” (just like the song says). The truth is this: When we connect with God, there is no circumstance that is bigger than us.

One of my favorite sayings is, ”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” (anonymous)

 

When a circumstance (or storm) shows up in our lives, we definitely need to allow ourselves to go through certain feelings and emotions.  While we are going through those feelings and emotions, however, we should not stop living while waiting for things to get better. If we stop living, we become depressed.  That can be dangerous.  There is something we can do, no matter what the circumstance is.  Simply put one foot in front of the other, moving forward, until that emotion is resolved or in a better place. While we are taking the steps, we should remember we are not alone.  God is with us.  These two scriptures go through my mind when I’m faced with a challenge:

Romans 8:31 – What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Philipians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

 

There are some situations that are terrible.  There is sadness in this world.  The pain is real and can be excruciating; BUT, that doesn’t make the truth any less true.  The truth is that life is only 10% what happens, and 90% how we react or think about it.  We have the incredible ability to decide how we choose to think about it.  We can choose to look for the good in any situation.  Here is a story that I heard from one of my mentors:

THE KING AND THE FARMER

There was a king who became friends with a farmer, because the farmer would say, “this is good” about every occurrence in life no matter what it was.

One day the king and the farmer were out hunting. The farmer loaded a
gun and handed it to the king.  When the king fired it, his thumb was blown off.

“This is good!” exclaimed his friend.

The king was furious. “How can you say this is good? This is obviously horrible!” he shouted.

The king put his friend in the deepest, darkest part of the dungeon.

About a year later the king went hunting by himself. Cannibals captured
him and took him to their village. They tied his arms, stacked some
wood, set up a stake and bound him to it. As they came near to set fire
to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being
superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. They
untied the king and sent him on his way.

Full of remorse the king rushed to the dungeon to release his friend.

“You were right, it WAS good” the king said.

The king told his friend how the missing thumb saved his life and
added, “I feel terrible that I locked you in here. That was such a bad
thing to do”

“NO! this is good!” responded his delighted friend.

“How could that be good? I did a terrible thing to you!”

“It is good!” said his friend… “If I wasn’t in here, I would have been
hunting with you, and they would have captured and eaten me!” 

If we can’t see any good in our present circumstance, it’s okay.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that God is already working it out for us.  In the middle of the storm simply ask yourself, “What steps can I take today?”  After all, it’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.