Don’t Underestimate Yourself

“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is ‘out there' —as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ~Byron Katie

You can do just about anything you set your mind to. And just about is plenty good for accomplishing more in life than you have time to accomplish.

Yes, there are some things in life that we won't ever be able to achieve. I will never be a professional ballet dancer no matter how diligently I train. You may not get the specific job you want because the employer won't hire you. You may go after something with every confidence that you can achieve it, and then something unexpected prevents you.  Of course severe physical or emotional illness can hinder you. But these are the exceptions. The rule is that there are millions of things you can accomplish.

When I coach clients, they often revert to the fallback position of over-examining their emotions. Emotions are important and have their place, but they are a smokescreen to taking action. I try to refocus the client on action. Positive action always makes you feel better.  Even one tiny forward movement can be enough to turn around your entire outlook.

Here are some common feeling-charged thoughts that try to divert you from action:

  • It's hard. I can't do it.
  • I'm too lazy. I just don't have the motivation.
  • I don't really need to be doing this thing. I'm fine the way I am.
  • I'm feeling down right now. I can't do anything when I feel this way.
  • I can't afford to do that.
  • Something bad might happen. People won't like me anymore. I'll make them mad.
  • I failed at this before, so clearly I'm not capable.

Living Happily In Spite of Bad Things

“Looking back, we see with great clarity, and what once appeared as difficulties now reveal themselves as blessings.”~Dan Millman

I recently had a reader write to me that she often didn't try things because she feared something bad would happen. Though she didn't say this, I suspect she's had some bad things happen in her life. By the time you reach your 40's and 50's, most of us have had several bad things happen.

Sometimes children and young people have really bad things happen in their young lives. They lose a parent. They are abused. They get very sick. They have a disability. When something really bad happens at a young age or when you have a series of difficult events, you start to believe you've been chosen as the lifetime recipient of Crappy Existence Award. You constantly feel like you're waiting for the next axe to fall.

When you're a child, you don't have much control over bad things happening or how to handle them. If you have good and loving parents, they help you navigate through it with as little pain as possible. But if your parents are the cause of the bad things or if they aren't equipped to help you, the imprint of pain and fear can stick with you through adulthood, even when things are going well for you.

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Harness the Power of a Healthy Attitude

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”  ~Winston Churchill

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Change your attitude?” I find myself saying it frequently to my teenagers, and they look at me like I've asked them to morph into an alien. Bad attitude and teenagers go together like white on rice.

In spite of their age-appropriate resistance to a healthy attitude, I remind them that attitude is a choice. Regardless of your life circumstances, you always have to power to change your attitude. And what a power that is.

Your attitude is your disposition, your way of thinking, and the feelings that go along with those. A healthy attitude is characterized by a general sense of well-being and equanimity about life. You view the glass as half full rather than half empty. With a healthy attitude, you can respond to your life circumstances with balance, positivity, and control.

Why do we encounter some people, full-grown adults, with a healthy and positive attitude about life and others who always seem to complain and focus on the negative? It's true that one's natural personality and disposition can affect attitude. Certainly life circumstances and unpleasant situations can affect it. But those things don't have to determine one's attitude.

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17 Good Karma Mother’s Day Gifts

mother kissing her daughter on the side of her forehead mother's day gifts

“No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life.” ~Anonymous

Once you become a parent, you view Mother's Day a bit differently than you did when you were just the giver of the gifts. As a parent, you consider all of the gifts you gave your own mom and wonder if they really reflected the way you felt about her.

When you become a parent, your view about real gifts, gifts from the heart, suddenly changes. You know what's truly important and meaningful — what creates good karma for the giver and the receiver.

Flowers, candy, jewelry, perfume, clothes — they are all nice to receive. But what a mother really wants to know and feel are these things:

  • Did I do a good job at raising you?
  • Do you still enjoy my company?
  • Do you respect and like me for the person I am, not just a mom?
  • Do you notice and appreciate the things I've done and still do for you?

The Liberating Joy of Riding A Bike

Spring is here and we are about to shed some clothes. The bulky sweaters and sweat clothes that hid a multitude of sins over the winter are now packed away. We are preparing to expose our arms and legs in all of their jiggly glory.

When Spring arrives in Atlanta, I have no excuse to stay bundled up at my desk sipping warm tea (sadly I have no allergies to fall back on). The sun is shining, and it's time to get my butt moving.

Honestly, I really don't like “exercise.” Although I've done plenty of it, I don't enjoy running all that much. It hurts.  I really hate being strapped on to some contraption (elliptical, stair climber, etc.) and staring at a TV just to make the time pass quicker. Walking is quite nice, but it doesn't get your heart rate going unless you  speed walk, and then you might as well run.

For the most part, exercise feels like a chore to me. So I avoid it. At least until Spring when the great body revelation begins. Then shame spurs me on to do some form of distasteful exercise.

But this year I discovered something wonderful, or I should say rediscovered. I bought a bike.

The last bike I owned had high handlebars, a white banana seat adorned with flower-power stickers, and something stuck in the spokes to make clicking noises as I rode along. That was in 1970 when I was eleven.  I have ridden a bike a few times  since then, mostly on family vacations with one kid strapped to my bike and the other two wobbling in front of me. It was more like being a refugee than a free spirit.

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Is Your Life Aligned With Your Values?

“Still don't know what I was waitin' for and my time was runnin' wild; a million dead end streets and every time I thought I'd got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet.” ~lyrics from ‘Changes' by David Bowie

There are times in life when we feel lost. Something seems off, but we can't put our finger on it. These feelings can manifest as boredom, restlessness, or even depression.

When this happens, one common scenario is to push harder. You put on a great game face and tell yourself that this will pass, to just ignore it and it will go away. Sometimes it does go away briefly. You fill your life with activity and distractions, and maybe you feel better for a while. But in the quiet moments, the emptiness creeps back in.

Another reaction is despair and struggle. That lost feeling makes you claw around like a drowning man, grasping at salvation wherever you can find it. You ask friends, go to counseling, read self-help books, trying this or that method or formula for happiness, peace of mind, and for the elusive “thing” that will provide them.

The strange thing about happiness and peace of mind is that they are ephemeral. You finally think you have found them, and then after a few months or years, they float away inexplicably. And you're left stunned, because you really thought you had it right this time.

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The Way To Begin A New Beginning

“Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy.” ~Sarah Van Breathnach

This time of year is about beginnings.

Over the past few weeks, I've  watched the tree outside my office window go from bare to leaf-laden. The same pair of birds has once again built a nest in the porch light by my front door, as they do every spring. Flowers are bursting out on trees as though a conductor has lifted a baton to signal a symphony of color.

For those who will celebrate Easter this Sunday, it's also a reminder of the opportunity we have  to renew ourselves, to start over, to begin again.

Nature doesn't need that reminder. It knows what it is supposed to do without an alarm clock, an accountability partner, a motivational guide. Nature's intuition is the only cue required, and the plants and animals do what must be done without angst or delay.

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The Simple Secret To Pain Relief

“If we really want to address the whole issue of suffering, as well as our desire and yearning for freedom, love, and connection, then we need to learn how to look clearly at our own minds.” ~Adyashanti

Last week I wrote an e-mail to the subscribers at Live Bold and Bloom with the invitation to share with me their top five worries, fears, or disappointments in life. I requested this so that I could address some of these topics in my articles and future books and courses.

I received hundreds of responses, many of which revealed very painful situations and concerns. It became clear to me that all of us suffer with some degree of emotional pain and inner turmoil, whether or not we are generally satisfied with our lives. This turmoil keeps us from reaching our fullest potential and engaging fully in life.

Here are just a few of the worries and concerns that were expressed:

  • getting out of debt and financial worries
  • relationship conflicts and fear of  loneliness
  • feeling stuck in a rut and passionless
  • desiring a meaningful life of purpose but not knowing how to get it
  • lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-trust
  • lack of focus, procrastination
  • fear of failure and success
  • fear of aging and death, fear that it's too late
  • boredom and feeling trapped in a job
  • not having mental clarity about life
  • not reaching goals and being disappointed
  • fear of getting sick, not being healthy
  • fear of the future, the unknown

    Read moreThe Simple Secret To Pain Relief