Learning to Accept What Is: Part 2

And, we're back.

This whole idea of acceptance and accepting what is can be a real doozy. We started talking about it in the last video which you can watch here if you haven't already.

In today's video, we take a look at the second part of learning to accept what is. There are a lot of misconceptions of what it means to accept what is and in this video we explore how it's not just rolling over or giving up. 

So, what is it then? Watch the video to find out!

Acceptance does not lead to apathy; acceptance leads to peace.

We have now looked at the first two stages of the SOAR framework and will take a look at the final stage—releasing our attachments—in the next video.

See you then!

Curious How to Alleviate Some Pressure?

Even though I know (with a capital K) that there is nothing to “fix,” I still find myself rummaging through my toolbox more often than not looking for “just the thing” to relieve my current predicament. (It’s interesting to observe that I would call it a “predicament”…)

Now, depending on where we are in our journey or what this particular moment calls for, sometimes grabbing a tool is the best thing we can do.

But what I have started to notice is just how often I (and others I know) are all-too-quick to seek out the perfect tool to alter what the current moment presents.

And, I don't know about you, but this can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes.

In today’s video, you’ll learn what is sometimes even more powerful than searching for the latest gadget.

“Sometimes we need to use tools and sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to BE ourselves.” {Tweet that!}

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, I’d love to hear from you.

What do you think about this approach?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

May your week be filled with love, compassion, and gentle curiosity,

A

One Way to Find Your Purpose

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is or how you can contribute to others in a meaningful way?

It’s taken me many years to recognize that my purpose and one way I can contribute to others has been right under my nose this entire time. 

Of course, I am a sucker for constant contemplation and examining just about everything that happens to me (so I just love this perspective that I share in this week’s video!).

In today’s video, I examine a few commonly held beliefs and add to it a dash of my own perspective to help point us in the direction of what our purpose is and how to find it.

If you’re anything like me and have found yourself wondering why you’re here and why you keep learning the same lessons over and over again, I invite you to watch today’s video where I offer up some ageless advice to help clarify this.

The question “what am I here for?” and “why does this keep happening to me?” may be more closely related than you first thought.

The more we see and learn from the lessons in each moment, the more we have to contribute to others. {Tweet that!}

In order to teach what we learn, we must first be willing to be a student. So, the next time you find yourself frustrated by a recurring situation or feeling, I invite you to pause, look for the lesson in it, see if it is similar to other lessons you are learning, and then consider how these lessons can inform your interactions with and contributions to others.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What do you believe you are here to learn and, ultimately, share with others? Share your insights and reflections in the comments below so we can be witness to the incredibly unique gifts and purposes we each possess.

Do you know someone who could benefit from getting clearer on their purpose? If so, please pass this along to them. It is always much appreciated!

P.S. If this question of purpose or other thoughts of guilt or doubt ever creep up on you, be sure to reserve your spot for (or receive a recording of) my upcoming FREE teleclass on November 24! 

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. 

How to Make Peace with Uncertainty

Being a nomad brings with it a lot of uncertainty. Of course, uncertainty is not unique to a nomad—all of us experience uncertainty from time to time. 

Having had quite a few experiences with uncertainty throughout my life, I spent some time reflecting on how I have learned to get more cozy with it and feel more empowered than I ever did before.

Here are a few things I’ve learned that might help you make peace with uncertainty.

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Want to Know How I Turned My Perfectionism on Its Head?


You know that moment when you hit “send” and then think “oh, crap"? 

This happened to me (twice!) just the other week.

I realized the error but it was too late. It was gone. The internet had magically delivered it. There was no turning back.

I was starting the pre-launch of my virtual program, Being Good with Being You, and was so excited to share some free videos with my incredible audience (aka you).

At the same time, I decided to switch my blogging platform to my website and change how my blogs are sent to my list of loyal readers (again, you).

Right in the midst of my pre-launch, the magical mystical incomprehensible internet decided to send the same blog post to my list twice in the same day, only minutes apart.

My gut sank. Oh, no. Here I am, already sending out a number of emails and videos to my audience with the intent to offer value and inspiration and now I’m inundating their inbox with a duplicate message!

I took a moment to think about what I ought to do. The perfectionist in me was screaming, “Fix it!! Make it right!! Send another message explaining what happened so all can be forgiven!!"

Then, another voice (which happened to be the voice of a dear friend of mine) said, “It’s fine. Better not to send another email at this point."

Finally, another voice (this one coming from deep within) said, “It is what it is. Just surrender."

Just to be sure that I truly knew how to surrender my perfectionism and test my ability to stay calm through it all, the universe (or the internet, whichever you prefer to call it) decided to test me one more time just a few days later.

This time, an email got sent out with a glaring error in it. It wasn’t just a word that was misspelled or a comma out of place. It was an entire copy-and-paste-gone-wrong scenario.

Again, my heart sank and the perfectionist was ready to fight. Luckily, this time, my deeper voice was quicker on the scene and immediately reminded me to take a few breaths and surrender. It is what it is.

A major theme in my work lately has been about perfectionism and seeing how it’s cropped up in my own life time and time again, and just how limiting it can be. (If you haven’t done so already, be sure to download my free ebook on this very topic.)

With all of this introspection, I started to judge the word “perfect” as destructive and avoided using it as often as possible. I stood firmly that perfectionism only limits us and is something that needs to be overcome.

The reason I have taken this stance so vigorously in the past is because I have seen and personally experienced the negative impacts from striving for perfection. I know I’m not the only one who sees or experiences this. It bombards our society, our marketing, our bookshelves, our conversations, you name it.

Recently, I finished reading Michael Singer’s book, “The Surrender Experiment,” and he uses the word “perfect” quite a bit. At first, I was put off by it and resisted the use of that word. Then, I paused and noticed how he was using it. It wasn’t in the way many of us might think.

A few days later I was doing my Morning Pages and it struck me, “What if my definition of perfectionism no longer serves me? What if there is another definition?"

What if “perfect” doesn’t mean something going exactly the way I want it to and living up to my standards and, rather, perfectionism is when something goes exactly as it’s meant to?

This new perspective allows me to no longer have the same recoiling reaction I’ve had to the word “perfect.” I now see how everything that occurs when we release our own expectations, limitations, or control is just that. 

When we release our grip on our own perfectionism, we are free to experience the perfectionism of the universe. {Tweet that!}

For an instant gratification society, this may not be the most ideal working definition because it might take some time to see how a moment or an event is indeed perfect. This requires trust that everything is exactly as it’s meant to be. But it is well worth it. The freedom and expansion that comes from this belief is transformative.

As I think back on my two recent email “blunders,” I now see how they provided me with a perfect opportunity to surrender and share this message with others.

Had those emails not gone out with “imperfections,” inspiration for this message would not have been received, and this post would not have been written and shared.

Now it's your turn! What is your working definition of “perfect”? I’d love to hear what you think so please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below.

With love & gratitude,

P.S. I felt a strong calling to switch it up this week and publish a written blog instead of a video. I’d love to hear what you think and if you happen to prefer one over the other! Leave it in the comments below or share it on my Facebook page

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!

One Simple Question to Reduce Doubt

Do you ever find yourself wondering whether or not you should do something or feel guilty that you’re not doing something?

This has certainly been a recurring question in my life. 

Sometimes it comes up when I’m considering hitting the snooze button. Most recently it came up while developing a program I’m getting ready to launch when exploring what I felt I “should” offer.

I started to notice that there is a big difference between being out of my comfort zone and out of alignment with what serves me best.

There are times when inaction serves our higher good and times when it doesn’t—and there’s a question we can ask to get clear on which one’s which.

If this sounds like a familiar struggle, then this video is for you. In this video, I share a simple question you can ask to help gauge those moments when you’re not quite sure how to feel or what to do.

When we ask, "Am I avoiding or allowing?" doubt and guilt begin to disappear. {Tweet that!}

After watching the video, give it a shot. Think back on times when you didn't do things either because it would stretch your comfort zone or because it would leave you feeling unhappy or resentful, and you’ll start to be able to use this as a compass moving forward.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any tricks or tips to gauge when you’re honoring your truth or hiding from your fears?

Head on over to the blog or Facebook page to share your wisdom in the comments below this video. I would love to see what sort of lessons we can learn.

So many of us struggle with feeling guilty or running ourselves into the ground because we aren’t clear on when to take action or when to allow ourselves to be true to ourselves. 

Clarity comes from knowing if you’re hiding from your fears or honoring your truth. {Tweet that, too!}

With gratitude ...

PS If you know anyone who could benefit from asking this simple question to experience more confidence and clarity in life, please share this with them. 

Are You Taking a Vacation or a Suitcase Full of "Shoulds"?

Ah, summer vacation. 

Each year, I take a trip to northern Minnesota and spend a week at a lake cabin with my family.

Sometimes vacations stump me a little. Rather than feeling peaceful and relaxed, I feel conflicted and a little on edge.

This year, I mentioned something to my mother and she asked me a very insightful question that immediately helped me change the way I was viewing my time away.

Do you ever feel like your vacations are just another opportunity to “should” all over yourself or live up to yet another set of expectations?

In this video, I’m going to share with you the wise question my mother asked me and how it helped me go from conflicted to confident while on vacation. 

Just because we’re on vacation doesn’t mean we have to take a break from being true to ourselves. {Tweet that!}

Now it’s your turn! How do you stay true to yourself while taking time off?

Head on over to the blog or Facebook page to share your wisdom in the comments below this video. I would love to see what sort of conversation we can drum up.

So many of us look forward to what little vacation we usually take to begin with, yet how many of us actually spend that time without added pressure or expectations of what vacation “means”? Please pass this along to anyone you may know who could benefit from being reminded to stay true to themselves even when taking some much-needed time off.

With gratitude ...

PS If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up to receive my 10 dirty little secrets and be the first to hear about an exciting project I’m working on and excited to share with you soon!

Craving More Freedom? Then Check This Out

Have you ever pondered the question, “What is true freedom?"

Now, there are seemingly many kinds of “freedom” out there—financial, creative, time, sexual, etc.

The other day I was having a conversation with the amazing Tara Tag about what financial freedom means. And it dawned on me that financial freedom isn’t having a certain amount of money—it’s knowing that I am able to make a choice based on what’s true for me instead of what’s in my bank account.

I realized that it’s a perception thing—not necessarily reality. I have a choice. I mean, I literally have a choice to spend money on something or put it on a credit card or find a way to create more money or not.

Then I noticed how this is true in so many other areas of my life. In all of these, I have a choice and can, therefore, experience freedom in all of them in any moment.

If we want to be free, we need to acknowledge (and exercise) the choice we have in each moment. {Tweet that!}

In this video, I’m going to share with you just what freedom means to me and how we can go about experiencing more of it in our lives. 

Read More

What to Do When Someone (Who Isn't a Disney Princess) Says, “Let it Go"

“Let it go! Let it go!!"

Not just the lyrics to any current 5-8 year old girl’s favorite Disney song. This is also a mantra of sorts for most adults. 

The intention is all good, but sometimes the phrase itself can seem dismissive, flippant, or full-on aggravating.

I know for me, when someone says, “Just let it go,” I want to punch them in the face.

Okay. No, not really. That’s not at all my style. But you get my point. It can seem WAY easier said than done.

So, what does “let go” really mean and how do we go about doing it?

The question of learning to let go came up as a response to my survey and is a very common question as we are on this journey of awareness and awakening. (If you are curious to which survey I’m referencing, check it out here.)

In this video, I share my perspective on what “letting go” means to me and just how to go about doing it in a way that keeps most punching unnecessary. (Watch the video if you want to know why I didn’t say “all!”)

By redefining what “letting go” means we can redefine our relationship and experience with it. {Tweet that!}

Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite thing to do when you feel the need to "let it go?"

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.

So many of us hear the phrase "let it go" so often—yet how many of us actually practice this in a way that is healthy and supports our expansion into deeper awareness? Please pass this along to anyone who rolls their eyes at or feels disenchanted when they hear "Let it go!" or who might benefit from learning just how to experience less frustration and more ease.

With gratitude ...

PS If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up here to receive my dirty little secrets to loving the life I have AND be the first to find out about an exciting announcement I’ll be making soon! 

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.

What I've Learned from the Playground

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who took time to read my announcement and complete my super-short survey! Your responses were fantastic and I look forward to addressing them in the coming weeks. Who knows, your question might even be the next topic for Thoughtful Thursday!

(If you're curious about what I’m talking about, check this out.)

Now, on to this week’s Thoughtful Thursday.

I’ve never been much of a scientist. Or a cook for that matter. The whole idea of experimenting with things has often left me with butterflies in my belly.

I had this belief that I had one shot to get something “right.” So not only would I put pressure on myself to do things perfectly right out of the gate, I also wouldn’t allow myself the freedom to try something else if it didn’t work.

This has either resulted in me not doing anything at all (out of fear that I won’t succeed the first time) or continuing to do something that just isn’t working (because that’s the way I started doing it, so that’s the way I keep doing it).

Can you relate?

I most recently noticed this coming up for me in how I was creating my Thoughtful Thursdays, so I took a spoonful of my own medicine and added a bit more play to this week's video.

If you’re anything like me and find you either take yourself a little too seriously or aren’t even willing to try something in the first place for fear of “making a mistake,” then check out this week’s video.

In this video, I’m going to share a couple of the greatest things I’ve learned from watching kids on the playground and how we can apply this to our grown-up worlds.

Imagine if someone told a chef there is only one way to cook an egg. They’d laugh (or something worse)!

So it is with life. There are many ways to whip up the experience we want so long as we are willing to play and experiment with the ingredients until we get the taste we desire.

It is up to us to create the dish we desire by experimenting with the ingredients of life. {Tweet this!}

Now I want to hear from you. What is your favorite way to keep the play and experimentation alive in your life?

Hop on over to the blog to share your comments below this video and get ideas from others.

Life isn’t about getting it “right” the first time around (or the second or third or fourth). As I heard someone very wise once say, "Life is a playground.” So please pass this along to anyone in your life who you think might benefit from being reminded to keep the play alive and experience more joy in life!

With gratitude ...

PS If you like these reminders and want to stay up-to-date on the exciting announcement I mentioned at the beginning, be sure to sign up here! I’d love to include you in my updates. 

How to Stay in Compassion and Out of Obligation

Recently, I've been struggling—or shall I say "dancing"—with this idea of how I can continue to "work on myself" and do it in a way that reflects my deepest belief that I am good just the way I am and there is nothing that needs to be fixed. That sounds kind of paradoxical, doesn't it?

How can I work on something without believing it needs to be fixed?

Sometimes being on a spiritual path can feel paradoxical ... and even a little frustrating.

It can feel like I'm beating myself up all the time while trying out new tools and practices (which kind of defeats the purpose).

What I'm learning is that it is possible to expand ourselves and adopt new practices without beating ourselves up.

In this video, I'm going to share with you three questions we can use to see if what we are doing is coming from a place of love and compassion or from a place of judgment and obligation.

Expansion and growth don't have to come from judgment and obligation. {Tweet that!}

Now, I'd love to hear from you.

How do you know that what you are doing is coming from a place of compassion or coming from a place of judgment?

I'd love to see what works best for you so please take a moment and share with us in the comments below this post. What you share might be just the thing someone else needs to hear today.

As we expand and grow into our deepest level of awareness, we can sometimes fall back into being critical and forcing ourselves to do things that just don't serve us. So please pass this along to anyone in your life who you think might benefit from being reminded of how we can be loving and compassionate with ourselves while on this lifelong journey!

If you want more support in staying out of judgment and truly loving the life you have, I invite you to sign up for one of my complimentary discovery sessions and sign up to receive more tips, tricks, and updates directly to your inbox.

P.S. I'm getting giddy with excitement to tell you more about a program I will be launching soon that helps people learn how to stay out of judgment and begin to SOAR!

With gratitude...

How to Have Less Stress by Cleaning up Your Beliefs: Part 3

Have you ever had that thought "Why does this keep happening to me?" I just experienced this again recently when I had the thought "I do the work; why am I still struggling with this?"

Then I remembered that, unlike my closet, I need to clean out my beliefs on a regular (maybe even daily) basis in order to experience the life I want.

If you've ever struggled with those pesky beliefs that just don't seem to budge, then this video is for you. We'll explore the final step in cleaning up our beliefs and some useful resources and tools for doing so on an ongoing basis.

Often it is not our circumstances that need to change but rather our relationship with our beliefs. {Tweet that!}

Now, I'd love to hear from you.

What do you want to experience more of in life? And, what beliefs are keeping you from experiencing that?

I’d love to see what you come up with so please take a moment and share in as much detail as possible in the comments below this post. Your story may be just what someone else needs to hear to have a breakthrough.

Spring cleaning our homes might happen once a year but taking stock, going through, and getting rid of disempowering beliefs occurs daily. So please pass this along to anyone in your life who you think might benefit from getting rid of some unnecessary beliefs and experience more peace and ease in life!

Did you enjoy this video series? Then be sure to sign up to receive more weekly videos and updates on my upcoming virtual program, 66 Days to Love the Life You Have, or go ahead and confirm your spot today.

With gratitude...

Three Familiar Symptoms of Not Being Good Enough

Launching a new business really brings up a bunch of sh*t. The amount of self-doubt and insecurity this brings up for me is pretty incredible. My inner critic just loves itself a new opportunity to get into my head.

It challenges me each and every day to remember that I am good enough.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here. Most of us walk around each day and, one way or another, think we’re not good enough.

Whether or not we acknowledge it to others—or even to ourselves—I have started to notice a few common symptoms that crop up when we live a life apologizing for who we are.

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10 Simple Ways to Truly Love the Life You Have

One of my favorite things to do is read people’s "top 10” lists. It feels like I’m receiving a ridiculously short “how to” guide on life.

I wanted to create my own and share how I put some of what I’ve learned into practice to honestly love the life I have and have more of the life I want.

I’ve gone from feeling depressed, anxious, constantly stressed and worried to feeling way more calm, compassionate, at peace and in love with myself just the way I am.

Don’t get me wrong. It took more than just doing these 10 things, but each of these now contribute to a much happier and more joyful experience.

Read More

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 Only “What If” Question We Ever Need to Ask Again

I cannot count how many times I wonder things like, “what if this happens” or “what if that happens” and “oh my god, but what if…?!” These questions and focusing on the future are not nearly as helpful as I want them to be. Instead of getting answers and feeling better about things, I often end up with more questions and feeling a lot worse.

So … I’ve decided that I’m going to do my best to refrain from asking any “what if” question EXCEPT for the only one that actually helps me experience more peace, ease and flow in my life. One that actually provides me with more answers and feeling better than before I asked it.

Wanna know what the one “what if” question is ….?

i-believe-i-think1

WHAT IF IT ISN’T TRUE?

I imagine many of us have stories that we tell ourselves on a daily (if not hourly) basis that limit us or hold us back. These stories usually aren’t fairytales or even awesomely powerful “I can do it” stories.

They are more often than not stories that tell us how we aren’t good enough or why things don’t work out for us or why we could never do this or that.

It is these stories that make up our belief system — about ourselves and about the world around us.

And it is our beliefs that beget our actions and behaviors. So … if we want to change a behavior, the first place to look is at the stories we tell ourselves and what beliefs we carry.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

If we want to start moving the needle in the direction towards global sanity, we need to start by looking within at the beliefs we each hold that are driving the same ol’ behavior over and over again.

Here are a few suggestions on how to start this process.

Acknowledge that a story and belief even exist.

Before we can change anything, we must first admit it exists. We need to admit that the beliefs we hold to be absolute truth are just based on stories that we have been telling ourselves for as long as we can remember. And while these stories are based on our personal experiences or the experiences others have shared with us, they are still our creative interpretation of reality which started to form our view of ourselves and the world. Before we can do anything else, we need to take the first step (albeit possibly the hardest) and say, “This is a story I keep telling myself."

Question the belief.

Now that we have acknowledged that our beliefs are nothing more than stories we made up and reinforced time and time again, we can begin to question them. We can start to ask ourselves, “what if this isn’t true?” Another way to do this is to question what other possibilities exist? And one of my favorite ways to reframe our beliefs is to ask “who would I be without this story?” This helps us take more responsibility in how we are behaving based on the story or thought we choose to believe. The more often we can put ourselves in the driver’s seat and make powerful, conscious choices on what we believe and how we act, the more often we will experience peace, ease and flow in the world.

Replace your stories with new ones.

Once we start shifting our perspective and see that there are other stories that are equally as valid and probably even serve us better, then we can start to form new beliefs. This can be done by establishing some positive habits and rituals like gratitude, affirmations, setting soulful intentions and focusing on that which we want to bring more of into our lives.

The great thing about stories is that they can be rewritten.

I get it — we like our stories. We think they are who we are. They are comfortable and we know them all by heart!

But when they hold us back and limit us from being our best authentic self, then it is time to get out the red pen and start making some edits. It might even mean scrapping the whole story altogether and starting over from scratch.

What is one story you keep telling yourself over and over again that you are willing to acknowledge, question and possibly even replace? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Paths to Get What We Want — Which One Do You Choose?

A few months ago, I challenged myself to eliminate caffeine from my diet for 2 weeks. The 2 weeks turned into almost 2 months. Initially, I started exploring alternatives like herbal teas and even decaf espresso at times. Then, I started to notice how in my search to expand my possibilities and remove my need for something I actually started to institute a new limitation. All of sudden, I couldn’tdrink caffeine. I was afraid to drink it as it might reignite my addiction. This became its own limitation. Just another extreme. When I noticed this, I consciously ordered a cup of coffee. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to, I appreciated the fact that I permitted myself to know what I do and do not want at any given time.

When we are about to do something or not do something it is because we are going for something we want in life — to relax, fit into our jeans or just feel better.

This may come in the form of making resolutions and choosing to restrict certain things from our lives. Or perhaps by indulging in anything and everything that we want.

Either way, these both limit us from making mindful, purposeful choices in each moment.

There is a third — and much more empowering — way to get what we want in life.

The Buddha once said that “a path of moderation, between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification … was the path of wisdom."

When we are about to do something to get closer to what we want, there are three ways we typically come to this conclusion.

"I can’t, so I guess I won’t"

When I eliminated caffeine from my diet, I initially did so from a conscious place — choosing not to drink it mainly for health reasons. Then, it became an “I can’t so I guess I won’t” decision which was very limiting and no longer based on the few specific reasons I had originally identified.

When we make decisions based out of self-denial, we lose an opportunity to get to know ourselves and get really clear on why we choose not to do something. We also end up making decisions out of fear, judgment, resistance or attachment.

"I can, so of course I will "

Before I gave up caffeine for those few weeks, I had gotten into a habit of having one or two cups of coffee each morning not because I actually wanted it but because I could … and I always had. It had become just as limiting because I was no longer checking in and making a conscious decision to have it.

When we permit ourselves to indulge in whatever we want just because we can, we miss an opportunity to really check in and see if that is what we want in this moment. We become a slave to ourselves and lose a chance to actively guide our life in the direction we want it to go.

"I can, and I choose …"

… to do it or not. In either case, I empower myself to choose what serves me best in that moment. We can still choose not to do something, in which case it is done from a place of knowledge and acceptance of oneself and not out of fear, laziness or greed.

When we realize we can do something and choose not to, we demonstrate our strength and power in the world. When we realize we can do something and choose to do it, we honor ourselves and have a chance to practice acceptance and letting go.

Living at the extremes of life can ultimately be quite limiting. The joy comes when we live somewhere in the balance of it all.

Striving to live a life in moderation is more than saying “yes” to some things and “no” to others — it is about getting quiet and making mindful decisions in each moment that reflect and uphold our values and principles in the world.

That is how we can ultimately get what we want out of life.

Think of one thing you consistently deny yourself of or indulge in. Is that based in a value or principle and, if so, what is it? If not, think about what it would feel like to empower yourself to no longer live by this limitation and instead consciously choose in each moment what you want to do.