Finding Grace

grace

noun 

  1. unmerited favor.
  2. knowing that I am accepted, loved, and enough just the way I am.

This year, I had the sincere privilege of defining what grace means to me and write a story to exemplify this in an inspiring way. This definition served as the foundation for me to write my story which became part of the #1 best selling book, 365 Moments of Grace, which was released earlier this week. 

This is a realization of a practice I started doing last year—declaring my "I am's" while lying in bed before going to sleep. A practice I learned from Wayne Dyer's book, Wishes Fulfilled. And the power of the "I AM's" is mighty indeed! Here I am: a published author. I couldn't be prouder! 

I hope you enjoy my story and are inspired by the simplicity of the realization that struck me while on the subway. There are plenty more like it inside the book which I invite you to check out.

Epiphany on the F Train 

After quitting my job and exploring what it was I wanted to do and create and how I wanted to serve others, I was standing on the F train in New York City when it struck me: What if it’s not about doing more or being better; what if it’s about being good with being you?

This became my mantra and, though I didn’t know it at the time, my personal and professional mission for the next 365+ days. This was not just a pivotal moment for me; it was a whole new way of looking at the world and at my life.

Ever since I was a little girl, I looked for ways to improve myself, thinking that if I shaved the hair off my arms, then I would be accepted; if I got better grades, then I would be enough; if I figured out why I am the way I am, then I could finally “fix” it and be lovable.

I have always had this knack for self-improvement. I just love to pick up a good self-help book, curl up on the couch, and mull over all the ways I have been doing it wrong. I certainly don’t believe that personal growth is a bad thing – after all, change/growth/evolution is the only constant! The thing is, though, I spent the past 30-some years forgetting a crucial part of this: grace. Unmerited favor. Knowing that I am accepted, loved, and enough just the way I am. There is nothing I can do for this to be more or less true.

It’s all too easy for me to make things bigger, better, and faster, which is why it was so important for me to consciously set that aside and practice the thing I had neglected my entire life – love and acceptance of who I am, exactly as I am. Without this, any pursuit simply reinforces the false belief that I am not already a masterpiece and am only a never-ending work-in-progress that is not quite yet deserving of love and acceptance.

This new understanding is not the end of the story for me, and I am ready for the next stage in my evolution – but this time I know that it will include a whole lot of self-acceptance, love, and grace.

If you're interested in learning more about this book and what an incredible opportunity it has been for me and the other 250+ authors, I invite you to read more on Dan Teck's blog. He and his wife, Jodi Chapman, are the inspiration behind the 365 Book Series—a brilliant way to inspire, uplift, and remind us of just how magical our world is and how connected we truly are. 

A Recipe for a Soulful Year

In the last few Thoughtful Thursday’s, I shared a bit about how important setting intentions are for me and how they have made such a tremendous difference in my life.

I like to think that I’m not the only one who's not always into the whole resolution thing or maybe even worried if you set yourself a goal and don’t achieve it, you’ll be left feeling disappointed or not good enough when December 31 rolls around.

So I found a new way to go about this whole new year’s approach which has left me feeling excited and wonderfully surprised at the end of each year.

In today’s video, you’ll learn the 3 intentions I revealed for 2016, how I see them guiding me this year, and how you can go about setting your own soulful intentions that will guide and support you for the next 365 days.

"Setting intentions is a great alternative to start off a new year already feeling whole and complete.” {Tweet that!}

If you want to go through the process and set your own soulful intentions, I invite you to watch my Setting Soulful Intentions seminar.

Now it's your turn! I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have any intentions for 2016 and, if so, how did you go about setting them?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

xo

P.S. If one of your intentions this year has anything to do with accepting yourself for who you are or releasing your self-judgments, expectations, and attachments, then I encourage you to learn more about my online course, Being Good with Being You. Registration is open!

My 3 Biggest Lessons Learned in 2015: Part 2

In last week’s Thoughtful Thursday, I talked about having set some soulful intentions for 2015 and reflecting on what they were and just how they came to fruition. (I’d love to have you join me for this month’s FREE seminar on Setting Soulful Intentions to learn how to set your own!)

One of those intentions was to COMMIT and experience more FOCUS in my life. Through reflection, I noticed a pattern of mine when it comes to committing, what was ultimately at the root of it, and how I’ve practiced shifting that so I can be “all in."

In today’s video, I share the second of my three biggest lessons and how it showed up for me throughout the year.

If you’re anything like me and find yourself going back and forth a lot or feeling a flip in your stomach at the thought of committing to just one thing, I invite you to watch today’s video where I’ll share one simple thing for you to do if this comes up for you again in the new year.

Learning how to be “both feet in” was a tremendous lesson for me—in my relationship, in my career, in life.

I cannot count how many times I have changed course or backed out or given up out of fear of either getting hurt or failing in some way. Basically, I was afraid if either of those things happened, I wouldn’t be okay.

For so many of us, it can be all too easy to put on even more armor or pull away when we start to notice any doubt or uncertainty.

When we love more fearlessly we acknowledge the Truth that we are always okay no matter what. {Tweet that!

Now, I’d love to hear from you! How do you practice loving more fearlessly? Post your tips and tricks in the comments below so we can all continue to open ourselves more fully and willingly and experience what it feels like to be “both feet in." 

P.S. Those of you who join me for my Setting Soulful Intentions Seminar will receive a special discount to my upcoming Being Good with Being You online program. This is in addition to the early bird pricing for anyone who enrolls by the end of 2015. This is a great gift to give yourself as you kick off a new year. Learn more here!

P.P.S. I truly wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year filled with peace, love, and joy as you stay true to what truly matters to you 😃 xox 

How to Overcome Failure

I tend to pay attention when the same thing appears over and over again in my world. Lately, this has been creativity and failure.

So I figured why not create this week’s Thoughtful Thursday on this very thing?

Just the other day, I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, with Brene Brown. Wow! 30-minutes jam-packed with nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. (Be sure to check it out if you haven't already done so.)

As I listened to them chat, it dawned on me that the same reason we give up when we experience failure (or feel as if we aren’t good enough) is the same reason many of us don’t experience the life we desire. They were totally speaking my language!

For so many of us, failure is a bad word.

This sure was true for me most of my life! And, if we have the courage to encounter it, we often use it as a reason to stop what it is we are doing.

In today's video, I address this fear and how to overcome it.

If you’re anything like me and have found that failure or shame has kept you from creating something in the world (or trying again), you won’t want to miss today’s video.

Failure is an opportunity to notice how we are—and always will be—okay. {Tweet that!}

The next time you face a little failure, be more empathetic, notice how you are still okay, and then ask yourself if you are willing to do it again.

Now it’s your turn! What is your favorite tool or technique to overcome failure? Share in the comments below so we can learn from one another and have more people who are willing to see that failure is offering us an opportunity rather than a threat.

If you know anyone who could benefit from hearing these inspirational messages about overcoming failure, please be sure to share this with them.

With love & gratitude,

P.S. Keep an eye out (or be sure to sign up) for some upcoming exciting announcements! I’m feeling into this season of change and will be offering up some new ways to deliver value and expanding some of what I already do. 

What I've Learned about Being Enough

I’ve done a lot of “soul searching” and learning how to “fix” myself over the course of my life and most of this brought me to a realization (or rather a story I chose to believe) that I’m not good enough.

Here’s the thing. Over the last few years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve always been enough, and it’s not about “fixing” it’s more about “releasing” that which no longer serves me or the higher version of myself.

Still, that doesn’t mean every day is a cake walk. I still have doubts and the questions, “Am I good enough?” and “Who am I?” still creep in.

If any of this rings true for you, I invite you to watch today's video as I share with you part of my real and raw story of what I’ve learned from not being enough.

Just because certain stories feel real sometimes doesn’t mean they are true. {Tweet that!}

And so even if my life isn’t “perfect,” I still have something valuable to share because I believe we are all lightbulbs shining light on the collective unconscious and the more lightbulbs we turn on, the better we all can see.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your story? What have you learned about being enough?  Leave a comment in the Facebook post or below this blog. I'd love to support each other as we get real and raw.

Shine your light in whatever way you want. Know that you have everything within you. You are enough. {Be a lightbulb and tweet that, too!}

With love & gratitude,

Amanda

PS If you haven't already heard the exciting news, you can now get a copy of my FREE ebook that explores this whole idea a whole lot further. Get your copy today!

How to Get out of Overwhelm

As a world-class list-maker and scheduler, I know all too well just how to fill my calendar with to-do’s, appointments, and deadlines.

For a very long time I actually wasn’t sure if I could function without these things in place.

It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve tried something new. And, during one of my Masterclass calls this week with Jeannine Yoder it became really clear to me just how overwhelming the idea of all of these lists and deadlines are to me now.

I admit that I might have swung a little too far on the pendulum, and I don’t necessarily suggest that everyone rid their life of to-do lists and deadlines.

But I will say that the greatest thing I’ve learned from doing so is that I’m okay without these things and my days feel significantly less overwhelming.

If any of this resonates with you and you’re interested in experiencing less overwhelm in your life, then be sure to check out this week’s video.

In the video, I’m going to share with you some great advice I received on how to assess where we spend our time and develop a deeper sense of true productivity and power.

If you know anyone who tends to create lists or fill their calendar in order to feel productive or accomplished, then please share this with them so that they can learn one simple question to ask each day to stay out of overwhelm and in their truth.

I’m not suggesting that all list-making and deadlines are useless.

Sometimes the best thing we can do in the moment is make a list or move towards a deadline. And other times we use these things simply as a distraction to help us think we are being productive.

There’s an alternative to lists and deadlines to feel productive and empowered. {Tweet this!}

Now I want to hear from you. What are your favorite tips to stay out of overwhelm?

Hop on over to the blog to share your wisdom in the comments below this video! I absolutely love learning what works for others and your tip might be just the thing someone needs to hear today.

Life isn’t about filling our task list and calendar with things to keep us busy and feeling productive. So please pass this along to anyone who might benefit from learning how to stay out of overwhelm and instead focus on those things that matter most.

With gratitude ...

PS I’d love to include you in my updates on the program I’ll be launching later this summer, so be sure to sign up here if you haven’t already! As a gift, you’ll receive my dirty little secrets to loving the life I have.

Wannabe Your Valentine? 3 Ways to Reclaim This Holiday

Valentine’s Day is just one day out of 365. Hard to believe, right? I find that no matter if I’m single or in a relationship this day seems to dangle over my head (and in my subconscious) for the entire month of February.

Even this year, I actively decided not to make Valentine’s a big deal and here I am writing an entire article about it!

It feels nearly impossible to ignore — so I decided to approach it from a different angle this year.

It’s not just about chocolates, teddy bears and cute couples going out to eat.

I know it sometimes feels this way. Our society has done a phenomenal job of getting us to buy into it hook, line and sinker. But there is another way of looking at it.

Love is all around! And love is a beautiful and essential thing.

And for all my single peeps reading this, that might not feel so great. Or maybe it feels like something to celebrate! Either way, it is up to us how we want to interact with this holiday.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s is a great opportunity to pause and remember to love thyself.

We all know the importance of self-love. It is at the root of our ability to love others; at the core of our own satisfaction with life; and it serves as the foundation from which all growth and self-realization begin.

o-SELF-LOVE-facebook
o-SELF-LOVE-facebook

This time of year actually provides us with loads of opportunity to see the beauty within and boost our own happiness.

And this is exactly what happens as we begin to be more conscious and mindful in life. So here is how we can use Valentine’s as a fantastic excuse to practice awakening to our authentic self.

Actively look for love and beauty.

The world is our mirror. This means when we see things in others that cause our skin to prickle, there’s a really good chance that exists somewhere deep in our dark corners.

But this also means that when we see a couple truly in love sharing a romantic moment or notice the beauty of the sunset or admire the beauty of a rose, this love and beauty exist within us.

We can only know these things to be what they are if we have some experience of them. And that experience is part of who we are and what we are capable of in the world.

Connect with others.

Use this time of year to reach out to family, friends, strangers on the street or support your favorite cause. When we connect, we have a positive impact on our brain. We are social creatures and are meant to connect with others.

And when we remember that we all want the same things in life — to feel loved and and a sense of belonging — we can extend more compassion to others.

Connection and feeling compassion for others boosts our natural anti-depressants and increases real happiness.

Celebrate YOU!

Do something nice for yourself. Use this time to celebrate all that you have done and all that you are. Write yourself a love letter or take yourself to dinner.

Another thing we can do is expand on the feel-good thoughts we sometimes have. When you notice a positive thought, ask these four questions from Elisha Goldstein.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it possible that it’s true?
  3. If you step into that possibility for a moment, how does that make you feel?
  4. Can I allow myself to linger in this feeling for a few moments?

These questions bring you straight into the present moment. For another great resource on mindfulness and presence, check out this post from Relax Like a Boss.

When we actively love ourselves first and practice self-care, we create space to let go of the judgments, expectations and negative thoughts and experience a deeper sense of self.

No matter what our status, we can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a self-nurturing way.

It’s up to us to reclaim this holiday (and all other 364 days) as a day to celebrate our authentic inner essence and experience more peace and joy.

What is your favorite self-nurturing ritual? What else would you add to make this holiday more about self-love? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The #1 Reason We Don't Experience Unconditional Love

Unconditional love.

You know, the kind we see in the movies. The kind where the person can do no wrong and are loved fully and truly as they are. Ah, so beautiful.

I must admit, I’m one of those sappy romantics who believe it’s possible and wants nothing more than to experience it in my own life.

And, boy, do I try. I want nothing more than to love my partner unconditionally — so why is it so hard sometimes?

I’m not suggesting that to give unconditional love is easy but I wondered if I might be missing something. I realized I was going about it in the wrong order. I was focusing all of my efforts on loving him unconditionally. And when I found myself feeling frustrated when I couldn’t seem to muster up the ability to do it, I couldn’t quite understand why.

What does it even mean to love unconditionally? According to one article I read, it means releasing judgment and accepting others as they are and choosing to act in a loving manner always.

Have you ever wanted unconditional love?

Or maybe you’re one of those people who believe it doesn't exist. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe it exists when we experience it so seldom and when most of us have been going about it all wrong.

love_me

If we want to experience unconditional love, we have to start by giving it to ourselves.

This was my big “ah-ha” moment. Maybe it’s painfully clear to everyone else but it just recently clicked for me. I began to realize that if we can’t love ourselves unconditionally we’ll never be able to experience unconditional love elsewhere.

Why?

Well, because the way we see ourselves is how we see the world. So, if there is something I don’t like about myself, it’s going to become a sore spot for me when I see it another.

How can we have unconditional love for someone who possesses the qualities or does things that we don’t like about ourselves? We can’t.

Before we can even begin to love someone else fully and truly for who they are, we first must love ourselves that way.

How?

Stop judging ourselves.

That voice that says “I can’t believe you just did that” or “That was so stupid” or “Why am I always so needy?” needs to go. Judgment is a total joy kill and it makes loving ourselves unconditionally impossible. When we judge ourselves we are placing a condition on ourselves that says “If only I were better, then I could love myself."

Accept ourselves for who we are.

Yup, despite the number on the scale or what others say about us or how much money we have in the bank. Life is cyclical. It ebbs and flows. We have ups and downs. We need to remember that in this moment we accept where we are. It might not be where we “want to be" but that doesn’t matter. When we are unwilling to accept who we are we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “If only I were different, then I could love myself."

Choose to act in a loving manner with ourselves — always.

This shows up in how we talk to ourselves and how we take care of ourselves. Do we say kind things? Do we get enough sleep? Do we fuel our bodies with healthy foods? Do we care for ourselves the way we would care for another? Do we put our needs first? When we choose not to act in a loving manner we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “When I feel good about myself, then I can treat myself better."

If we are unwilling to love ourselves in this way, we can’t expect to show it to others.

Because each time they do something that irks us or triggers us, it will be so much harder for us to accept it and not judge it if we haven’t first developed that same kind of compassion within ourselves.

It’s a heck of a lot easier to accept someone for being late when we have already done the work to accept ourselves those times when we did the same thing.

Let’s do the work ourselves first. Then, we can think about extending this type of love to others.

And once we’ve learned how to love ourselves unconditionally and begin to extend that to those around us, we create space for them to do the same thing.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

What is one way you can show yourself more unconditional love? Share below and inspire others by leading the charge and providing some food for thought.

Presence Matters Has Been Published Again on Elephant Journal

I am excited to share that Presence Matters has once again been accepted to publish articles on elephant journal! This is a really important step for spreading the message of having peace and ease in life.

I invite each of you—my supportive readers—to take a moment to check out my latest article, Improve Your Relationships by Remembering These 3 Things.

Have you ever struggled with maintaining a centered sense of self whilst in an intimate relationship?

Maintaining this more enlightened state seems to get harder the closer we get to people.

In the hopes of making this a bit easier, I started to pay attention and discovered that we can all experience more conscious relationships by remembering three important things.

You can help out greatly by clicking this link and, if the article inspires or resonates with you, re-share it on your personal social media pages.

Thank you for seeking and spreading the art of improving the experience of life!

With gratitude ...

Improve Your Relationships by Remembering These 3 Things

Have you ever struggled with maintaining a centered sense of self whilst in an intimate relationship? Maintaining this more enlightened state seems to get harder the closer we get to people. Relationships offer a number of challenges including how they seem to make this whole “presence thing” more difficult.

In the hopes to make this a bit easier, I started to pay attention to when I felt further from my centered self and what seems to help put me back on the more mindful path.

Through this exploration, I discovered that we can all experience more conscious relationships by remembering three important things.

couple-cover-image-holding-hands

I’ve recently taken a lot of time to get to know myself and work on me. I began to notice that I am making some significant strides in terms of how I interact with myself, how I interact with my friends and how I move through the world as a more present, mindful human.

Then … I got into a romantic relationship.

This was my first serious relationship in two years. And, with my new sense of self, I started to think that maybe I had figured out this whole relationship thing after all.

Then it started to become obvious to me that the work I did with myself didn’t necessarily translate seamlessly to being with another person.

I was reminded that there are still deeper, darker areas I have yet to explore and work on in order to be more mindful and conscious when with another person and not simply moving through life alone.

Strive to be wrong

Going with the flow can come quite naturally to us. Humans are great at enduring change. We are highly adaptive. And, yet, have you noticed how ironclad fisted we can get about being “right”? It can cause so much unnecessary pain and suffering — specifically in close relationships. Not only can it harm the other person at the receiving end of our righteousness, it also hinders us from growing.

In order to learn and grow, we must be wrong. Think about it, if we know everything already then there is nothing left we can learn. If we are not learning, we cannot grow.

It is only when we release our hold on being “right” that we can truly be open and enjoy the beauty of a close relationship.

Take responsibility for our emotions

“He just makes me so mad.” “She ruined the whole evening.” “He really gets under my skin.”

When we say things like this we are immediately casting blame outside ourselves for how we feel and react in this world. Sometimes it might seem like the actions of others cause our reactions or feelings — but this is not the case. The actions of others do have effects in the world just as our actions have effects. However, our emotions and thoughts are purely the effect of our own causes.

The more we can take responsibility for our inner state of being and release the need to be responsible for someone else's, the easier and more peaceful life becomes.

Notice what the other person exposes in us

When we see something we like, it’s a projection of what we like within ourselves. When we think someone is angry, it’s a projection of what we know anger to look like based on how we react when we’re angry. When we allow ourselves to get irritated with something (or someone), it is because that thing reminds us of a trait we have and don’t like.

It is through this exposure that we can choose to either get angry and push people away or expect them to change, or we can use this as an opportunity to more deeply explore ourselves and better understand what it is we are uncomfortable having exposed.

It is by exploring the parts of ourselves that we don’t like — not changing others — that we can experience happier and healthier relationships with ourselves and with others.

When we are wiling to be wrong, take responsibility for our emotions and examine the dark corners of ourselves, we can experience empowering, sustainable relationships — whether they are with the stranger in the supermarket or with our lifelong partner.

What tips do you have for being more mindful in relationships? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.