happiness

When you cannot change (no matter how hard you try.)

r-STRESS-ADDICTION-large570

“A leopard never changes its spots.”

Gosh, I hate that saying. I hate it because it’s nonsense. I’ve changed my spots many times. They’re changing right now, as a matter of fact. And I know many, many people who have drastically and dramatically changed themselves at the very core. Change happens.

But what about when it doesn’t? As a Life Coach who specializes in supporting people as they make lasting change in their lives, I’ve also seen plenty of stuckness. I’ve also been stuck.

What does it mean when you want to change, but no matter how or what you try, the change just doesn’t last? The new habits never gel. The old mindset won’t let go.

First things first, if you’re finding this to be the case in your life, there is nothing wrong with you.

I’ve become bona fide allergic to any form of thinking or self-reference that implies you are broken, damaged or “ruined”.  In fact, the most damaging thing about thinking you are damaged is the thinking-you-are-damaged part.  Our thoughts and beliefs are more powerful than we’ll ever know.

Tattoo this backwards on your forehead so every time you look in the mirror, you will read it: There is nothing wrong with me.

In a self-help society that profits from our damaged self-concept, it’s hard sometimes to buy this. But you can. Owning that there is nothing wrong with you is an act of civil disobedience. Rebel!

“Be full of yourself. You are good. You are very good.” – Patricia Lynn Reilly

Yet, while we strive to improve ourselves and step into our greatness by manifesting powerful changes in our lives, our habits, our ways of doing life, sometimes we just can’t even.

We may make some progress. One step forward, two steps back.

We may sabotage our own efforts.

We may not even be able to take the first step, but oh, we can talk about it so much we get sick of the sound of our own voices, saying the same thing over and over about what we need to do, month after month, year after year, about what we will do, someday… while we stay stuck.

Why? Why is being “well-meaning” so irrelevant to making lasting change?

Why is the road to hell paved with good intentions?

I have a few theories of my own, and they all involve letting yourself off the hook, for now. You ready?

* There is still juice in the old way. You haven’t made sustaining change in that area because you still have learning to do, you’re still growing, the lesson hasn’t rooted, or there is still some pay-off that you are getting that outweighs the risk, pain, danger or loss that making the change brings with it.

Ask yourself what you are still getting from not making the change.

Ask yourself what you are willing to learn in order to move on. Evaluate, compassionately, and know that there may be very important reasons under the surface, in spite of your seemingly compelling desire.

* You are fighting natural life cycles and authentic timing. When I was a little kid, I found a cocoon and thought I would help the butterfly out by slicing open the cocoon to set it free. You can guess how this story ends. A dead, black undeveloped cluster of goo. I killed it because it just wasn’t time.

Can you allow yourself the possibility that it’s just not time? Trust me, when natural timing of change is aligned and calibrated, the change happens, momentum is possible, efforts finally stick. Nature is wiser than we are.

* The change you are striving for on the outside is not in alignment with who you truly are. Perhaps you are trying to change because your partner wants you to, or you want to fit in, or stand out, or you are trying to change to keep up with what you think you’re supposed to be. True change must be rooted in truth.

Who are you, really? Who are you emerging into? Is the change you’re trying to create really all that important to you? Whose dream is this? Get clear and get honest.

* There’s a deeper, truer belief that needs to be addressed. Repeatedly running into the same old slips and relapses and repeats and redundancies means there is a deeper truth in conflict with your desire and there is still healing to do before real, true change can finally take root. Debbie Ford called these truths “Underlying Commitments.”

When the change you desire is consistently sabotaged by conflicting choices or behaviors, there quite often is a deeper desire, a deeper commitment or belief that won’t let go until we heal it. For many, that belief is “I don’t deserve true success.” Or “I will always be a screw-up.” Or “I am committed to playing small.” So guess what our actions will support?

Our actions are always a reflection of our true commitments and beliefs, even before we discover what those deeply-rooted commitments and beliefs are.

Instead of relentlessly beating yourself up because the change you are trying to make just won’t stick, what if you turned within, with compassion and kindness and explored what might be keeping you stuck?

What if you dared to trust that true change happens when the timing is right, when the healing is complete, when the leopard is truly ready to change its spots?

Until then, go easy on yourself. Be gentle. Be kind. Be present.

And dare to trust in Life’s wisdom, and the natural nature of your life’s own unique and perfect evolution.

“Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.”– Fay Weldon

 

Resistance: Your Bratty Kid Sister

Angry Asian girl frowning

Here is the plain, strange truth: I’m resistant to pretty much everything.

This includes, but is not limited to: things that are good for me, things that I want to do, things that I waited for, things that I chose, things that I planned, things that light me up and fill my soul, things that I love.

As I’ve spent years talking to women about their resistance, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I’m not alone, and this is common, really common.

The resistance usually feels like this: UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. I don’t wannaaaaaaaa. UGH. Do I have to? UGGGGHHH… Dammit.

Familiar? Most of the time, I can move through my resistance, but other times, it has stopped me.

There is a part of our brains whose job is to keep us alive.  Often called our lizard brain, our amygdala  is programmed to keep us alive by keeping us safe, by keeping us the same. Why keep us the same? Because same = safe. If we are not changing, moving, growing, exploring, or risking, nothing bad will happen, right? That’s what Amygdala, we’ll call her Amy for short, believes.

And at the sight or smell of perceived danger, Amy gets to work, often using resistance as a strategy. It’s a quite effective one, after all.

I’ve had two huge breakthroughs recently with resistance and I owe it all to a shift I made in the way I think about my resistance.

Instead of thinking of my resistance as something in front of me, blocking me, something that I need to push through, I moved it over, turned it into something small and predictable next to me, my bratty kid sister, Resistance.

This idea came to me out of nowhere, as many of my best ideas do, while talking with a client, an artist who’d developed quite a resistance to painting, although she is most alive when she paints.

This client is a brilliant artist, yet she hasn’t been making art. For weeks, we have analyzed and dissected her resistance, so that she could understand it and move through it, and made little progress. And then one day recently, the words just popped up and out:

Bring your resistance along, like a bratty kid sister.

We often think we need to move through our resistance and this daunting task actually keeps us stuck.

What if instead of moving through it, we took Resistance’s hand and moved her to our side, to walk with us?

What if we brought her along, knowing she was part of us, part of the experience, not the enemy, not something to annihilate, but more of a traveling partner? A sidekick? Very vocal, but no longer in power. One that might whine and complain the entire time, sure.

So what.

Once my client moved her resistance from in front of her to the side of her, guess what? Guess who spent the weekend painting? My brilliant artist client, that’s who.

I’ve been practicing this myself, thinking of my resistance as my bratty kid sister, and wow… what a difference.

I never had a bratty kid sister, but as a girl, I remember having friends with bratty kid sisters, and we were often “stuck” hanging out with them. And we did not let them stop us. We still managed to have fun.

What if you just acknowledged the fact that your bratty kid sister, Resistance, is coming along for the ride?

What if you just took her with you, because you have a life to live, you have risks to take and experiences to experience?

You came here for the ride. For the risk. For the adventure. For the experiences.

Within the last two weeks, I have moved my resistance to the side. My bratty kid sister is no longer in the way, she’s along for the ride.

I have taken up learning the piano, after years of telling myself “it was too late” to learn an instrument.

I have returned to writing fiction and started writing a novel, after years of telling myself writing fiction was not a noble or important enough way to spend my time.

And my muse has been responding. I am inspired and ignited and feeling more creative and joyful than I have in a very long time.

Trust your bratty kid sister, resistance to show up, to be there with you. Don’t let her block you anymore.

Take her hand, move her aside and bring her along for the ride.

Might as well, right? It’s way more fun than staying stuck.

Reality Check

ac11b59841a3ae3e0c1cb460ccc05585“Vacation was wonderful, but now it’s back to reality.”

 “Lately, I just want to escape the real world and curl up with a book, in my jammies with my kitty.”

“I’m having a challenge returning to reality after the glitter and glamour of the Burlesque Experience…”

I’ve heard all three of these statements, in the last few days, in fact, from three different people. One of those people was me.

We all know this feeling, this reluctance or resistance to “return to reality”.

Life gives us those temporary shining, sparkling respites, that take us out of the mundane, out of the routines and duties and obligations, and give us transcendence, ecstasy, bliss, or just simply relaxation.

And then, ho hum, back to reality we go, sheepishly, begrudgingly.

Well, I’d like to turn that thought-process on its head, by offering a new perspective.

You aren’t escaping reality with your relaxing weekends, your transcendent experiences, your vacations and blissful days off.

You’re expanding it.

What if we stopped the polarizing thinking of “reality” as the chores, the mundane, the routine, and those transcendent, fully-engaged, joyful experiences as being outside of reality?

What if instead we chose to embrace it all as one great big, luscious, multi-faceted range of reality?

What would happen?

Something would shift.

And when it does, it’s really beautiful.

Vacation-Return-HomeI had this experience the other day myself, driving home with my fiancé, from our weekend getaway in the country, that feeling of “returning to reality” came over me, and with it, a sadness, a reluctance, and then a quiet voice whispered from my heart, “it’s all reality.” And then, suddenly, my reality expanded.

That, too… that glorious weekend experience of rest and relaxation, connecting with nature, with myself, painting, drawing, reading, doing or not doing whatever I chose, that was reality, too.

Of course it was! I didn’t imagine it.

How insulted and offended these rich, meaningful experience and moments must be, to be left out and excluded from what we consider reality! “Wow, thanks a lot! I gave you so much! Well, it was real for me! Pffft!”

Silly to think about, I know, but do you get what I’m saying here?

What if we chose to widen reality, to include more moments and experiences of ecstasy and bliss, even within the folds and creases of everyday life, rather than escape it?

What if we widened our reality so much that in these moments and experiences, we aren’t escaping anything, but enriching it?

Reality, after all, is what we decide for it to be.

Is your reality a relentless pushing, striving and doing, loaded with obligations and duties and responsibilities and roles to fulfill?

Can what you perceive to be reality include transcendence, connection, relaxation and retreat, instead of excluding it?

Visualize it on paper. On the left is the “real world”. On the right is all that other stuff, the activities and events and moments you lose yourself in, when and where and how you get charged and refueled and realigned. Yours might include vacationing or travel, creative endeavors, relaxing activities, connection, socializing, time off.

Next, take your imagination’s pen and draw a big circle around it all, and call it reality.

What shifts with this simple expansion?

And how can you enlarge and widen and deepen your current experience of reality, every day?

Gasp… dare I say, in every moment?

My reality is wide, and deep, and rich, and includes all of it. The duties and the getaways. The challenges and the ease. The doing and the being. The scheduled routines and the loose, lazy, unstructured respites.

We can’t vacation all the time. Well, most of us can’t. But how can we create the feelings and sensations of vacationing in our day to day lives? The truth of the matter is, it’s those feelings we’re after.

What if we made these respites and retreats and moments outside of the ordinary every day a priority, committing to them with the same fervor we commit to being responsible?

We are responsible for our reality, right?

Our longing for magic and the opportunities to satisfy this longing exist at every turn, in every one of life’s pockets.  Sometimes they’re obvious, a week on a beach, for example. Other times, they’re hidden, quietly present, tucked in, needing only for you to discover them, claim them, and make them a priority of your reality. A big reality, one that includes all of it.reality

A reality as expanded as this needs your conscious design. Your deliberate intention. With it, reality expands, just like that.

And when reality is this wide and expansive, there is no more need to escape it.

Of course, there is the mind-numbing paradox of possibility that none of this at all is reality, that it’s all a dream, but maybe that’s for another blog. For today, let’s just say, if it’s happening, it’s reality.

It’s all reality.

What will you make of yours today?

Me? Stress-free? Can it be?

u17ds

My name is Lisa and I am a recovering adrenaline junkie. I have spent a lifetime, decades, in a rush toward the ever-changing finish line, overloading, overextending, overwhelmed. That’s just the way I did life. I think I even made myself slightly late to everything so that I could get that rush, that rush that came from rushing.

When my daughter was a little kid, watching everything I modeled, as kids unfortunately do, she was playing pretend with an old day planner I had given her. She sat at her “desk” filling in each date with pretend obligations, at one point saying something like “I still have to fill up all the empty ones…” Damn.

Yep. By the age of seven she had learned that a loaded calendar was somehow desirable, that it proved something, but what? That was a question I asked myself for years.

12247049_10153346611718473_4543330995786619399_n
Then there was this card she made around the age of eight or nine, on an afternoon we spent making cards, the haircut just happening to be my haircut at the time.

I had reoccurring dreams of being at a buffet and loading my plate up so much that food was falling off the sides, and then, I’d see the real buffet, the one I really wanted, but it was too late. Because buffet managers hate it when you waste. (True story: I once saw an owner loudly bitch out a mortified customer… “This is all you can eat, not all you can waste!”)

This was my normal: being completely stretched thin, tapped out, running late, rushing everywhere, overbooked, overextended, harried, frenzied, surviving on adrenaline.

Everything suffered, especially the things that mattered most, like relationships, health and sanity, yet I was too caught up in my busy-ness to notice. My busy-ness had become an addiction. A disease.

Getting out of this cycle took a good couple of years, a commitment to a different way of living, a reevaluation (or two, or twenty) of who I really was, what I really wanted, and what I was willing to let go of to get there.

It wasn’t about doing more, I finally realized. It was about letting go.

I’ve made a lot of changes in 2015. One of the biggest ones was shifting my business around dramatically, and basically handing over my largest piece of business to a new director to open up energetic space and lots and lots of time. I’ve also changed the way I eat. The way I start my day. The way I end it. I’ve changed the amount of commitments I put on my calendar. I now pay for a couple new services and tools to make my admin tasks and household chores easier, money very, very well spent. And I have a puppy, who (mostly) brings more sweetness into my days with lots of spontaneous cuddle breaks.

If I were to count, there have probably been 100 choices or more I have made this year so that I could love my life better, feel better, do better, be better.

And surprisingly to me, the stress dissolved.

I no longer live with stress and overwhelm as my baseline.

I no longer measure my worth by the amount of to-dos on my list or unopened emails in my inbox.

My new baseline is calm. Relaxed.

And dare I say it? Easy.

I didn’t even realize this shift until I felt stressed recently and realized what a “foreign” feeling it was. It was appropriate stress, not just my normal day to day adrenaline fix. And it felt weird. So much so, that I stopped, looked at my life and realized all of the changes I have made recently have cumulatively eliminated stress from my life.

Of course life will throw its curve balls. I’m no dummy. Things speed up, they slow down. Life gets crazy, I know this. And I’m ready for that when it happens. But I know that in my day-to-day existence, I am no longer committed to stress and overwhelm as normal ways of being. In fact, I’m even getting stubborn and refusing to let myself feel the anxious, overwhelmed, heart-pounding, adrenalin-pumping feeling that used to be my normal. I just can’t live like that anymore. Well, I “could”. But I choose not to.

You can have this too. No, really.

There are countless reasons why this is important to shift. Stress kills, how about that as reason enough?

If you’re ready to shift into a virtually stress-free life, it’s important to get really honest with yourself about what changes need to be made.

Here are some questions to get you started…

  • What in my current life used to bring me joy, but no longer does?
  • Who are the people in my life who add stress and overwhelm and what can I request of them to help make a shift?
  • What time consumers take more than they add to my life?
  • What is stress and overwhelm costing me?
  • What do I love to do that I’m not doing?
  • Where am I saying yes when I secretly wish I was saying no?
  • What commitments do I have that do not come from my heart?
  • What can I delegate?
  • What can I let go of that will instantly lower my stress levels?
  • What secret pay-offs am I getting from living in a constant state of overwhelm?
  • What inner stuff do I get to avoid by being constantly stressed or overwhelmed?

Yeah, I saved the hardest two for the end.

If you’re committed to creating a stress-free life in 2016, I applaud you. I salute you. support you. And I’m waiting, with open arms, for your arrival. It is possible. I’m living proof. Yep, me, the retired Queen of Overwhelm. Who’d a thunk it?

 

********************

Making the changes required for reducing stress in your life can be daunting. I can help. How about a complimentary Discovery Session?

Be more YES.

Taking a mini-blog break, Seven Deadly Blocks series continues next week. Til then, enjoy this encore blog!

75192_10151126232628473_1076643641_n

Your life is beckoning you, seducing you, begging you, inviting you to open fully to its offerings, and its offerings are immeasurable. In every situation, every choice, every encounter, every conflict, every moment, life is asking you to say yes. So is mine.

We all know the famous Helen Keller quote “Life is a daring adventure or nothing.”

There’s a catch. It’s only a daring adventure when we say yes.

Think of your life right now, take a bird’s eye view and look at the whole of your current experience.

Where are you fully engaged, fully present, in the yes? Where do you greet life’s invitation for the rich fullness of experience? Where is it easy for you to stay open, to stay permeable, to say yes?

In your relationship with your partner?

In your work?

In your body?

In your hobbies or passions or outlets for expression?

And then the inevitable question… Where in your life could you be more yes?

Where is it difficult for you to stay open? To listen? To receive? To release your position, your stronghold, your agenda, your resistance, your righteousness, and simply unfold your creases and open to the potential of Yes?

In your relationship with your partner?

In your work?

In your body?

In your hobbies or passions or outlets for expression?

I bet there is at least one area in your life where you are holding back, hiding, resisting, numbing, limiting your experience. It’s okay to be afraid. Notice and name your fear, and then…

What if you said Yes?

It takes tremendous courage to live in the Yes. It’s dangerous and not for wimps.

Sometimes, when it gets too real, too intense, too big, we even scurry back to the No. to the closed, seemingly safer, smaller life.

But cocoons were never meant to be a long term housing solution.

It’s time to wiggle your way free.

Grow or die.

Daring adventure…

Or nothing. Is it time for a Yes?

************************************

 

Wanting to be more YES? Tired of living life on the sidelines? It’s time to Live Dangerously. Check out my new program, starts 9/14. Special bonus package if you enroll by 8/10!!!

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Miserable

jayne

We’ve been chatting about the blocks that get between us and our sexiest, most joyfully radiant, sensual and empowered lives. I’ve pulled together seven of what I think are the greatest, most toxic threats, and we’ve talked about the first two, old programming and self-talk.

Today’s is a two-fer really, because these two love to tango…

Judgment and comparison.

How many times a day do you find yourself judging yourself and/or others, and comparing yourself to others, or even comparing yourself to former versions of yourself?

If you’re like most women, this is a pretty regular thought process, and it slams right up against your radiance, shuts it down, smothers it, snuffs it.

It is impossible to be your most radiant, joyous, sexy self while simultaneously judging or comparing.

Just like negative self-talk and old programming, I don’t know if a life completely and entirely free of judging or comparing is even possible, for these are very human traits, and we are very human creatures. In fact, I’m quite skeptical of anyone who ever says to me “Oh, I’m not judging you…” because I know at that very moment, most likely, they are judging me, or they wouldn’t feel the need to say that, and you know what? We all do it.

There are times when our judgment and discernment skills are very valuable, but I’m not talking about those times. I’m talking about the sexy-stifling, joy-stealing ways it blocks our power, radiance and happiness.

Here are some common examples of how we judge and compare and block our happiness and power in our day-to-day lives…

  • Gorgeous model-type knockout walks into the elevator. Our confidence level instantly plummets, we sink into ourselves, feeling fat and dorky.

  • In yoga class, “everyone” seems so flexible and skilled, while we plop around feeling like a clumsy elk.

  • Thinking “I can’t believe I’m still missing him. It’s been three months and he’s clearly moved on. I’m so pathetic.”

  • Saying “That dress looks so much better on you than it EVER did on me. I should have given it to you a long time ago.”

  • Being passed over for a promotion, and deciding to permanently hate the “bitch” that got it.

  • Or the big DOUBLE-kicker, thinking “There I go, judging and comparing! Sheesh, what a jerk. I wish I was a better person, like so-and-so, she never judges.” Yep, judging and comparing yourself about judging and comparing! What brilliant mind-games we are capable of!

The secret to getting a grip on judging and comparing is the same secret as transforming negative self-talk and old programming, that we’ve already covered.

“Controlling” your thoughts is futile.

What we resist persists.

Trying to NOT think something is mind-acrobatics that most of us are incapable of doing.

We’ve all heard some form of this example… right now, try NOT to think of a pink elephant. Don’t do it! No pink elephant thoughts! Hmmm. how’d that work?

If you want to experience a life with less judging and comparing, you must become diligent about the way you respond to these thoughts and words.

What I know is that it is managing our response to judging and comparing will make a huge difference in how we experience the world and how the world experiences us.

Start first by simply noticing where and when you are judging and complaining. I often suggest to my clients that they first just practice noticing, for the first couple days or weeks or whatever. Without judging. Without condemning. Without correcting. Just observing…

There I am, judging. Ooh, just did it, comparing again.

Then, once that’s become easier, you become the boss. You are no longer mindlessly victim to every thought and word that floats across your mind or out of your mouth. Now you can choose your response.

For example…

  • Gorgeous model-type knockout walks into the elevator. Our confidence level instantly plummets, we sink into ourselves, feeling fat and dorky.
    MINDFUL RESPONSE: She looks beautiful. I admire her confidence. Maybe she is showing up to inspire me to practice increasing my confidence today.

  • Thinking “I can’t believe I’m still missing him. It’s been three months and he’s clearly moved on. I’m so pathetic.”
    MINDFUL RESPONSE: Be nice! You’re still grieving, and you’re not just grieving the loss of him in your life, you’re grieving the end of a dream, and that can hurt even more. Be gentle. Take all the time you need. I’m feeling tender today. How can I be sweet to myself?

Get it?

Every judging, comparing thought is an invitation to practice self-kindness and compassion.

Every trigger is an opportunity to heal, to grow and evolve.

And when we become experts at self-kindness and compassion, OOOOOH I’ll tell you what…. talk about becoming sexy and vibrant and radiant and powerful!

Not that I’ve totally aced these practices myself, but I’ve gotten much better. I get glimpses, and what a wonderful feeling, to be a woman who loves herself so well that she is compassionate and kind, aware and attentive, more than she used to be.

Give it a try, see what happens. I’d love to hear your stories!

Next week, the fourth block…. eww….

Shame.

One of our least favorite feelings, but definitely one of the most destructive and toxic. See you then!

Radiance-Robber: The Terrible Way We Speak to Ourselves

4b924b20-0094-0133-f43b-0e18518aac2f

Every day I work with women who are looking to reconnect or realign with a version of themselves they feel is lost. As I stated last week and I’ll say it again, nothing is lost. In fact, what you are being called to create, what’s getting ready to emerge from you is a higher, more radiant, more brilliant, sexier, lit up and powerful  version of you.

There is no need to go backward to retrieve some misplaced version of  yourself. A new version of you is waiting to be born. This is in fact your true essence. She’s in there, already.

However, there are several blocks and deterrents that get in the way of us accessing our true essence.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to what I think gets in the way of our true essence.  I’ve boiled it down to seven primary blocks. These blocks, these sexiness-stiflers, these radiance-snuffers, get in the way of our radiant life force, they disconnect us from our joyous radiance. Last week we talked about Old Programming.

This week I want to address the sexiness-stifling, radiance-snuffing  power of the second block…

Crappy Self-talk

Imagine if you will… if the voice inside you, the one that criticizes you, berates you, reminds you of your flaws and shortcomings and works so hard to diminish your power and happiness was an actual person, outside of you, that followed you around, saying those things out loud. You would have that person arrested for assault and harassment!

Or imagine if even just for one single day, you said all the awful, nasty thoughts you spoke to yourself, out loud, to your daughter or niece.

I shudder to think of how painful that would be. Yet, it’s so easy for us to default to talking to ourselves in an unkind way, like it’s no big deal, just another day at the Chattering Mind Office!

Would you continue to allow someone to repeatedly come into your home and rob it and ransack it, time after time? Then why do you succumb to the terrible things you say to yourself, about yourself, that rob you of your peace and radiance?

For you to connect to your true essence, which is joyous radiance, you will need to get this under control. Your brilliance will thank you.

I’ve often said “show me the most successful, beautiful, powerful woman and I’ll show you a woman who deals with insecurities and negative self-talk.” I’m dubious that negative self-talk is even something anyone can ever truly 100% conquer, so they never have another insecurity or negative thought about themselves again.  If you are that person, please contact me! I want what you’ve got! More accurately, it’s a daily practice. Emphasis on the practice.

With effort, time, patience and compassion, we truly can become kinder to ourselves. Ironically, it takes becoming diligent about policing our thoughts, and responding in kind, loving ways. We must learn to stop the cruelty in its tracks. Your mind will try to lead you down dark alleys, but you do not have to follow it.

 So how exactly do we get a grip on this painful and damaging default?

If you remember last week, when we discussed old programming, I suggested that catching the old belief, asking if that’s really what you want to believe and if not. then replacing the belief with a new one. The same goes for our negative self-talk.  In order to change the way you talk to yourself, you first have to catch yourself in the act. Become an active security guard of the way you speak to yourself. Get used to having inner dialogues like this with yourself…

 Chattering Mind: Wow. That was a really dumb thing for you to do. Haven’t you already learned? Seems like you’re destined to be lonely and miserable. SMH.

Security Guard in Your Head: Hey hey, watch it. I don’t like the way you’re talking to me. There are better ways to talk to me.

Chattering Mind: Yeah, well if you weren’t so pathetic I wouldn’t have to talk to you this way.

Security Guard in Your Head: I’m gonna need you to back off. I’m learning to talk to myself in a kind way. I would never say such things to my daughter or my best friend. It’s got to end. I want to feel good. I want to think differently.

Chattering Mind: Okay, fine. What would you rather think right now?

Security Guard in Your Head: That what I did wasn’t that big of a deal, in the big picture. That I am learning and growing every day, and am not the same person I was a year ago or even yesterday and I deserve credit for my courage.. That I deserve my own kindness. I’m a good person, with a beautiful heart…

 

Bam. The negativity is diffused, and you are one step closer to being someone who speaks kindly to herself. This is not something that will be transformed overnight. Chances are, you have been talking cruelly to yourself for your entire life, or most of it.

Begin with one thought a time. It gets easier, I promise.

What’s one nasty thing you frequently say to yourself? What would you rather say to yourself? Start now. Your fully expressed brilliance is depending on it.

If It Feels Good…

tumblr_n8h069Wk6V1qc64bxo1_250As I sit down to write this morning, the steady rhythm of a rain shower as my background music, I open wide my office French doors in order to take it in, to breathe in the sweet summer air and better hear the rain song, I think “this is what she’s talking about.”

Who is she, you ask? And what is she talking about? Dr. Christine Northrup, and I’m reading her latest book, “Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being” and it’s a game-changer.

I have innately known, for my whole life, really, that pleasure is my birthright. However, it’s easy to forget what we innately know. Especially when truth is indoctrinated out of us!

I’ve been contemplating pleasure as a spiritual path for years, ever since I gave up the tired and unpleasant notion that my capacity for pleasure and my spirituality were two separate things, that “pleasures of the flesh” as they called them in church was another term for “sin.” Slowly but surely, I began to return to what I know to be true:

I am wired for pleasure.

Pleasure is my prescription for health and vitality.

There is nothing sinful about feeling good.

There is nothing shameful about feeling sexy.

Dr. Northrup says…

“Denying and demonizing pleasure has caused too many women (and men) to doubt our natural instincts that tell us that when we feel good in our bodies and hearts, we overflow with joy and abundance that spills out onto other people. Our cup runneth over, and it keeps getting refilled with pleasure, when we reconnect to Spirit.”

And then there is the science to back up our miraculous design.The biochemistry of pleasure counteracts the biochemistry of aging.

Nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous) is THE Grand Poo-bah of neurotransmitters and it increases and balances all of the others… oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, DMT, all of these brilliantly designed chemicals that flow through us… when we feel good.

We need these chemicals in us to feel good.

And when we laugh, when we connect, when we orgasm, when we are feeling pleasure, more nitric oxide is produced, creating more of the other chemicals that create vitality, health and happiness.

We are wired for pleasure.

Happiness (with pleasure as a proven path!) is crucial for vibrant health. Pleasure is not selfish. It’s a gift. It’s medicine. It’s necessary.

Northrup goes on to say…

“Find pleasure in your body, not just sexually, but sensually. Truly delight in tastes, sights, smells, sounds and tactile sensations such as the deep touch of a massage or the light touch of soft fabric or a feather against your skin…

Our bodies are actually designed to thrive and repair themselves through the earthly pleasure of being in a body.”

Wow. I just love this stuff… Fellow hedonists and pleasure-seekers, does this give us permission to dive face-first into our hedonism, bingeing on fattening unhealthy foods, alcohol and drugs, in the pursuit of pleasure? Sure, why not, right? Ummm…

Here’s why not: Too much of these standard pleasurable go-tos at have a counter-effect on our bodies when ingested in excess.

We all know what happens to our bodies with an excess of sugary or fatty foods. And yes, alcohol makes us feel good for a short-term, but too much alcohol over time dulls our bodies’ pathways and actually diminishes our system’s ability to create dopamine and other natural pleasure-chemicals. So we feel shittier when we’re sober, which makes us want to drink more, for that cheap and quick, though fleeting, relief.  Regular and excessive alcohol use also has the vicious-cycle affect of inflammation and oxidation, which are the sources of most pain, ailments and aging symptoms.  Am I suggesting you quit using these pleasurable substances altogether, and go ‘au natural’ in your pleasure-seeking? Only if that’s what you’re feeling called toward.

What I am suggesting is that both you and me crank up the dial on our intention to mindfully seek opportunities for pleasure. From the mundane and everyday rituals to the extreme peak experiences.

More intentional, healthy pleasure, YES!

I’ve committed to three acts of pleasure each morning before starting my workday.  And oh, what fun I had this morning. Within a half hour, I had given myself a mini-aromatherapy session with lavender oil (proven to increase feelings of happiness and well-being), danced to a few of my favorite dance songs, and had a short and very sweet private session with myself and a few toe-curling moments.. yeah, that’s pleasure, all right! Ain’t no shame!

I’m simply taking Dr. Northrup’s professional medical advice very seriously!

“My prescription for general health is to experience more pleasure… We have forgotten the importance of pleasure and we need to remember how to experience it regularly- as a daily part of life.”

Will you join me, and commit to three acts of pleasure before you get your day rolling each morning? A conspiracy of pleasure! For our health?! Hell yeah!

No more holding back from pleasure. It’s our birthright. It’s science. It’s our prescription. Doctor’s orders.

Let’s get it on!

******************************************************

I want to hear from you! Share your three pleasures today in the comments below!

Join me for a pleasure-focused WomenCircle, Wednesday 7/1, space is limited: Sexy & I Know It, in Dallas!

Be Satisfied AND Want More: There’s Room for Both

veruca-salt-2

Every time I think of “wanting it all”, I think of the petulant, spoiled-to-the-core brat of Willie Wonka fame, Veruca Salt. She’s an extreme example of wanting. Spoiled, recklessly self-absorbed, and we all know what happens to her. She faces her unfortunate demise when she falls down the hatch, trying to get her golden egg. “Bad Egg” the meter declares. And we all chuckle, knowing she got what she deserved, the little brat, the subtle message planted: don’t want too much.

It’s unfortunate really, that we’ve equated desire with being spoiled, wanting more with ungratefulness, that somehow it’s more acceptable to not want, to just be satisfied with what you have, to be content.

So when the desires do stir within us, for more, for bigger, for better,  there is an emotional dissonance that occurs within us, a tear of sorts, a conflict. The apparent contradiction between what we’re “supposed to be”– grateful, content, happy with what we have,  and what we actually are, wanting, desirous creatures with longings and yearnings.

The notion of either/or is complete hogwash and I challenge you to ditch it!

I was talking to a sweet friend the other night, who can’t quite put her finger on it, but she’s restless, less satisfied with her work. “Uninspired” was what she called it.  But, she began to backtrack. She feels like she “should” just be happy, grateful. She’s got a fulfilling, successful career, cool apartment, great boyfriend, wonderful friends. Shouldn’t that be enough?

And yet, here she is, finding herself wanting more, and the shadowy underbelly of that desire is guilt and judgement, as if wanting more is some declaration to the bountiful Universe that we are greedy, arrogant and impossible to satisfy.

My friend dreams of traveling, of experiencing more of the world, having wild adventures in foreign places, doing what she loves while traipsing the planet, and when she allows herself to want more, her eyes dance, her face lights up, her smile spreads across her face, and it’s beautiful to behold. A desirous woman is frightening to some, titillating to me.

Of course, there is also that part of us that knows that if we want more, bigger, better, we will have to BE more, bigger, better, and, oh that’s a whole other blog, this idea of staying small so that we don’t have to live up to the grandness of our desires and dreams… You know what I’m talking about, right?

But the message I want to share with you today is that you CAN be both grateful and content AND wanting of more.  You are a co-creating your life, with a boundless Universe that is thrilled by your desires and dreams.  Your longings do not diminish your gratitude for what you have.

So go on, want it all. You will not fall down the chute. You are not a bad egg. Your dreams and desires have power and magic in them, and you can trust them. But ohh…  you might have to act on them, too. That’s the way it goes…

Feel grateful, yes. Appreciate what you have, yes. But don’t stop there.

Dream on, feel your longings, bask in your desire, let yourself want.

The Life-Affirming, Tantalizing, Divine Power of a Crush

16It’s ridiculously easy for me to develop a fast and furious crush. Especially in the springtime. I feel alive and new and it sure seems like life is flirting with me. And I let myself be seduced by the deliciousness life lures me with, to feel. To feel as much as possible.

For me, a crush comes on like a wildfire, usually unbidden and unexpected. It may be on someone in a coffee shop, a celebrity, a new song, a new band, a view from my window, a group of new friends, a new lovely spot to sit and think in, a smell, a color, a texture, a new season and its showy flirtations, the touch of my lover, my own amazing self, rediscovered. I allow the feeling to sweep me away, that feeling of being in myself deeply, yet outside of myself, at the same time.

This is powerful energy, the energy of a crush. It stirs me and shakes me and feels like an obsession, and I allow the obsession to take over, for a few minutes or hours or days, and soon, on its own healthy terms, it dissipates, like the light misty spring drizzle that starts out as a storm, like a spinning, dizzying carnival ride, that lets me off almost as quickly as it starts. It goes away quietly sometimes, suddenly at other times.

And in its wake, I am left feeling alive. Pulsing with reality. Fierce with the potential for passion.

A crush makes you electric, makes your blood move through your veins at rushing, palpable speeds, makes the world more vibrant and colorful, makes you more vibrant and colorful to the world.

This is good stuff!

So then why are we afraid of crushes? Are we afraid of losing control? Of making bad choices? Of getting so caught up in them, we risk losing what matters most? Are we afraid of slipping into something sinister, something confusing, something vulnerable?

At one time in my life, it wasn’t safe for me to develop crushes. I didn’t trust myself, probably because I wasn’t trustworthy. But as I’ve evolved and as my healing path continues to unfold, I’m learning and becoming who I truly am, and I’m becoming implicitly committed to myself, my relationship and my own whole and healed heart, I’m not afraid of myself anymore.

When you trust yourself implicitly, a crush is a safe and delicious way to enrich your experience of being alive, of being human.

When you have in place your own boundaries, when you know what you will allow to tickle your existence, and only tickle… when you know exactly who you want to be, and you trust and believe in yourself and your commitments, while also understanding the pure chemical reactions and delicious sensations indulging a crush invites you to experience, you can crush deeply and intensely, and risk nothing.

When you allow the intensity of emotions to spin you round and round, to turn you upside down, to shift your innards and tickle your skin, you get to feel some of the best stuff life has to offer.

Dopamine, endorphins, seratonin, oxytocin, all these wonderful, wondrous feel-good drugs and our own bodies are the pharmacy! We are designed for our own pleasure, and feeling these feelings pleases the divine!

What if “crushing” was designed by the divine to actually bring you closer to the godliness, the perfection, the divinity, that you are?

Living in restraint, avoiding feelings, avoiding the richness of head-over-heels crazy crush moments is possible. But yawn… so boring!

You are wired for the delectable joys and sensations and delights of a human being in love with the world! So pick your crush. Let it have its way with your body, with your feelings and sensastions, and the way you experience the world and the world experiences you. Let it run through you like a wild, roaring, crashing wave, while you keep your soul and mind and commitments in tact and in charge. It’s safe.

You’re safe.

So what will let yourself crush on?

 

 

*********************

photo by dee hill, hamu by vivienne vermuth