Archive for the ‘Self Awareness’ Category

“Need” thinking seems to be getting more people in trouble these days.

What is need thinking you might be wondering.   Ah..this is all about word power once again.

You see there is a very big difference between wanting something and needing it.

And sometimes it can be really tough to tell the difference; especially when it comes to what our hearts feel.

What we need and what we want.  It’s goes back to being mindful and self-aware.  I think the surge of ‘in your face, every moment of every day’ marketing has shifted our thoughts on need and want.  We are getting it mixed up and it’s starting to wear us out and mess us up.

What do we need?

Shelter, food, love, compassion…these are needs.

What do we want?  Oh my…loads of things right?  From houses, to shoes to an old boyfriend or girlfriend.

There is nothing wrong with wanting things I suppose it is human nature after all.  Heck, even my dog Charlie ‘wants’ things sometimes.  The trick is to understand where the drive is coming from and temper it with a bigger ‘end’ goal.

I see many of my friends who have trouble with their wants and needs.  They don’t ask themselves how it fits into their bigger goals in life.  A really simple example is a friend who won’t go to the doctor for a recheck on a serious problem because it will cost money.  At the same time, almost the same breath this person tells me all about the great stuff they got on clearance…none of which they needed or even wanted before they saw it.  And in the same conversation they are talking about the sales on this weekend.

My head was spinning trying to figure out a way to point out this glaring gap in common sense…your health is far more important than more ‘stuff’ dont’ you think?

But, how many of us will sacrifice some or part of our needs in order to fulfill momentary wants?  I caught myself thinking about this when the price of my favorite fruit went up considerably. I almost didn’t but it but suddenly realized that their were things in my cart I didn’t really even want and probably won’t eat much of – but they were on sale.  Does that make sense?  Nope.  Those things went back on the shelf and I bought my fruit.

This type of need thinking creates homes and offices full of stuff.  We want it, but we think we need it.  We get caught up in the pull and end up living in clutter.  Even organized clutter isDo tell... still clutter.

How many of us complain we need more room, less clutter or to get organized?  Really?  Or maybe we need less stuff that doesn’t matter in our life.  My new policy is I can think things are beautiful or amazing in the store – but I don’t have to bring it home with me.

I have 2 criteria.

  1. Is it functional?  Does it replace something I used that is broken?  Will it save me time/energy/money and I will USE it often?
  2. Is it beautiful?  By this I mean does it lift my spirit? Will I be able to place it somewhere I will find it bringing a smile to my face each day?  Knick-knacks that get put in a cupboard don’t do this.
  3. Combine the 2 criteria and we’ve got something worthwhile!

These criteria help me stop the spontaneous buying…even with shoes!  I kid you not.

It also helps that I have learned to be so very thankful for all that I do have.  I cannot fill my heart with stuff, even if buying something makes me feel good for the moment; that feeling is very fleeting.  But graitude – now that is something you can fill a heart with.

There is a theory that when we clear out and clean up the mess in our living spaces we bring peace and harmony into our homes.  This allows us to find more peace in our inner worlds too.  Messes stress us out, we subconsciously don’t enjoy living in that place.  Ohh..I just realized “mess stress” is an awesome term to describe this effect!

What do you think? Would clearing out some clutter in your physical world bring you some peace in your inner world?



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What is this?  I mean we hear it all the time right? 

  • Get Strong
  • Be Strong
  • Inner strength

I think most of us think of someone who’s strong and we thing BIG.  We might even think aggressive.  Some of us might think powerful.  This might all be true when talking about physicalpopeye strength I suppose; but of what about that pesky topic of inner strength?

Unfortunately, many people think that it means the same thing.  Stong, aggressive, powerful people must have great inner strength.

I used to think  that this was true; that powerful, prominent people must have a great deal of that inner strength.  These days I wonder about that belief.

I’ve realized Power does not equal strength.  Not physical nor inner strength.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have both, it just means one does not automatically mean you have the other.  I mean Mother Teresa may have been physically weak, but my goodness didn’t she have incredibly inner strength?  On the other hand people in power often don’t have the kind of inner strength and values we might hope for.   Just look at so many of our politicians!

Inner strength is an odd thing.  What some of us think shows true inner strength, upon closer inspection, really does not.

There are a lot of really angry people out there in the world.  They feed off of their own angry emotions.  They project anger and their belief that the world is ‘out to screw them over’ into the universe.  Their belief seems justified to them when they find more situations to be angry about coming their way.  Of course they do…they are attracting them with their own beacon of emotion and thoughts!

They think they are being strong when they are defensive and quick to anger.  They believe this is where the power to ‘survive and thrive’ comes from.

Truth time!

I have to share something here and it may shock you, it may surprise you or it may just hit home.  But these people are so very wrong!

Being gentle, kind and compassionate with others takes far, far more strength then it ever did to be angry and blame them.

angerofthepastIt’s relatively easy to blame, be angry and lash out.  It takes the pressure off of you when you act like that.  After all, if the world is out to screw you over – it can’t ever be your fault or up to you to change it! 

This is a victim mentality.  It’s based in fear and defensiveness.  It isn’t healthy for you to live this way.  Not mentally, physically or emotionally.  It takes a huge toll on your body to have this kind of stress constantly present.  Anger is an emotion that is normal and sometimes quite healthy; but it shouldn’t be a lifestyle. 

I’ve had these people in my life and they are not fun to be around.  They are emotionally cut off from the good stuff in life which is not only heartbreaking and painful for those who care for them but wears them out as well.

Being loving is painful sometimes.  You get hurt, you hurt for those you can’t help and yes, you are vulnerable.  It is a risk every time you bring open doors of love to the game of life instead of building walls and turrets.

You want life worth living?  Then you must be prepared to understand some things.

  1. You are not perfect so know you will need to apologise at some point.  This is a strength, not a weakness
  2. You might get hurt.  But you can’t cut off one emotion without putting a lid on all of them.
  3. Life is meant to live forwards so let go of past hurts.  Assuming these will be repeated ensures they will.
  4. It takes more strength to let go of anger than it ever will to keep it.
  5. You grow and show true inner strength by living from your values

Anger and a defensive, closed life have the sort of strength that pushes others down and away. It diminishes you and those around you.   

Compassion and gentleness are the sort of strengths that pulls others up and embraces them.  It enhances you and those around you. 


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Last weekend I finally got around to cleaning out my closet.  Yay!

ClosetIt wasn’t that it was terribly disorganized or anything…in fact it was in pretty good shape.  It’s just that I realized I only used about half the closet because I only wore about half the clothes I had in there.

Now granted, After my car accident, with dizzy spells and a broken ankle (not to mention a few bones in my foot) I wasn’t able to run or hit the gym and put on some weight.  I have been eating better and moving more and dropping some pounds but not everything fits as it used to you know?  (yuck..that was hard to share.)

Still, some things I actually was surprised to see.  It’s been a while and I had forgotten about even owning them.  Anyway..the point it I donated a few bags of clothes (including my ‘fat’ jeans – Yeah baby! ) and got everything organized again and back in the closet.   It looks lovely.  I actually enjoyed opening the door this morning to see everything unsquished and hanging nice and orderly.

I like to do that to my living space quite often. I get the ‘urge to purge’ as I like to call it.  And yes..I know. I may enjoy rhyming more than is normal, but I’m okay with that too.

I make room.  I make room to more easily enjoy those things I already have that I love.  I make room to bring new things into my home that I believe will make life better or more beautiful and sometimes I just make room! (Yes Charlie…that scary rocking chair is gone and never coming back).

The same goes for other things in our lives.  Including our own belief system.  It’s really important to on occasion take a look at what we are doing and why we are doing it.  Are we dragging out beliefs from early childhood to manage our adult life?  Let’s face it, there is a very good chance that isn’t doing us one lick of good.

It’s okay to look at something and realize it’s not true, not helpful or simply off.  Doesn’t matter.  You can get rid of it and make room for a new belief that will serve you in creating your most fabulous life. 

All these learned beliefs that make us victims in our lives can get replaced.   Still you do need to reach into your deepest places and pull them out. Much like I did to my old clothes tucked in the back of the closet.  I couldn’t decide what to do with them until I looked at them, dusted a few off and tried them on even.  A few much-loved pieces I wore often no longer felt right.  They had to go. 

My book Building Your Beautiful Light talks about this.  You can’t build up your light and shine if the window are blocked up by junk. 

You need to make some room.

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I’m tired of all the rhetoric spouting a bunch of crap that your Fears aren’t real.  Hey, they are just in your mind so no biggie right? 

My rather sarcastic nature would like to say to these people “oh!  Well then, suddenly I’m perfectly fine – just wish you had mentioned that one years ago” 

I get it, they are trying to calm you and motivate you to get going on whatever it is you are holding back from.  Sometimes, sure, we just need to take a deep breath and go for it. For me that’s all I need when getting on stage to talk.  Few calming breaths and just jump in.  If I think about it too long I’ll probably run screaming lol.  But it’s taken a lot of work on my inner critic to learn to shut her up long enough to get going. 

Here’s the thing.  IT DOESN”T ALWAYS WORK THAT WAY. My fears are real, I have just learned to deal with that one with some tricks and self talk. 

Next time someone with their head in the clouds tells you that your fears and anxiety aren’t real just smile and carry on because you know they most certainly are. 

Fear is real.  (yup that’s a PERIOD)  They range in how much power they have over us and how well we deal with them.

Still, you can’t touch them or throw them out with the garbage.  They are yours and they are real.  Real emotions, real thoughts and real physical manifestations of those first two on occasion.  To simply say ‘they aren’t real, so just get going’ isn’t fair or helpful. 

product-of-thoughtsWhat is helpful is giving you all the permission you need to feel it and name it and know you are not only sane, but normal.  That is the first step is dealing with fear and keeping it from holding you back from creating a fabulous life.

Feel it, Name it.

Our emotions can be very powerful and fear or anxiety would certainly be high on the list of most powerful.  To discount that is foolish and if you haven’t noticed, kind of pisses me off. (pardon the language).  It is okay to feel fear.  However, it’s not in your best interest to allow it to be the ruling emotion in your life. 

After my head and neck injury in a car accident I had real anxiety and fear.  The kind that make you crumple into a corner and refuse to move.  To tell me that it isn’t ‘real’ or ‘just’ emotion is just stupid and hurtful.  It certainly didn’t help get me out the door.  I bless those who were kind and accepting of what was happening and supported me.  There were those who instead made me feel like something was ‘wrong’ with me and ‘god why can’t you just get over it?’  Without support, I honestly thought I needed to be committed as I must have lost my mind.

Feel it, name it.  Then you can devise a plan to deal with it.  Facing my own anxiety was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Even with support and with taking tiny, itty-bitty steps.  I logically knew what I had to do, even before I had the accident, but I struggled hard until I had some support.  Hey, we all need a hand up and out of the dark sometimes.  Occasionally we need to find that light in someone else to help us see our own again. 

You do need to DO something if you want to move forward towards goals or even just living life fully.  But be gentle with yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you that these aren’t real. They are.  BUT that also means they can be overcome and dealt with. 

First, know that it’s okay to feel what you feel.  Give a true name and look at it.  I promise a peek won’t hurt too much and can alleviate a lot of stress around it.  Even though your heart might feel like it’s going to beat so hard as to fly out of your chest it won’t. Deep calming breaths – on step at a time.  Writing really  helps with this.  Ask yourself what can you do and try not to focus solely on what you are struggling to do. 

Sitting still and allowing your fears to control you isn’t a good option.  You can learn to deal with them, put them in their place, change your thought patterns and get to be who you want to be and where  you want to be.  The choice is yours of course. 

Your fears may be real, but they aren’t bigger than you.  Ask for some help if you need it, but remember…you got this.


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There is no other basic lesson around mindset that I can teach before you understand that your mindset precedes your level of achievement. Every single time.

It doesn’t really matter what activity you are taking on. Your mindset is the key to whether you succeed and continue to do so, or fall down and stay down.

First let’s get something straight. Working from a positive mindset does not, in any way, guarantee that you will pull off whatever it is you are about to do. It doesn’t equal success. AndMistakes-2 yes, those with negative mindsets do sometimes find success too.

The thing is…we all are going to have both. Success and failures. The difference is those with positive mindsets don’t let success or failure define them or choose their path for them.

Those who expect and assume the worst are quite capable of finding it – even in success. For these people failure is personal and begins to define who they are. They allow mistakes to paint them as personal failures and their inner voice tells them this is their truth and who they are. All they see is a pile of mistakes.

There is opportunity, even in the worst failures. When you have a mindset of looking for the good, the opportunities are found and the lessons learned. Thus, no failure is really a failure but more of a lesson learned. Mistakes are simply proof that you are trying something new.

I think for the most part I’ve always had a fairly positive outlook. However, for a time my thoughts were being influenced by someone who is a very negative thinker. I had no idea how much I was allowing this person to pull my pattern of thinking to the negative. Let me get this clear though. No one was doing it on purpose. When you are less aware of how your mindset affects your life, you also don’t realize how much influence listening to negative thinking affects your own.

Eventually, I started coming around to the way things were and I didn’t like it much. I had to make a real effort to block the negativity and return to a positive way of looking at things. I had started to think along the lines of ‘the world is an angry, unfriendly place’. Some might say I had good reason. Still, I never used to see things that way. Of course some might even say it’s because I was naive. Possibly.

The truth is, when people are kind and compassionate, we don’t really notice much as a person or as a society. We hear about the horrible stuff a lot more. It’s easy to start to believe the world is out to ‘get’ you. Many of us also have that horrible inner voice taunting us with past mess ups, or are afraid to celebrate success and lessons learned.

The thing is, when I purposefully changed how I viewed things – the world gave back many more positive things to me. At some point, I didn’t really even care what you called it. The Law of whatever….didn’t matter. What does matter is your mindset. How you view the world and what happens to and around you matters.

Whatever you want to achieve in life…be it a happy family, success in your chosen field, writing a book, singing…whatever. It will have its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back and sometimes it feels more like the opposite. Your reactions decide what happens next.

We can actually learn more from making mistakes then from carefully doing things exactly as expected. For one thing we can stumble upon a new, different and better idea along the way if we allow ourselves to get past the failure and get creative. (Just google ‘repurposed inventions’ to see what I mean) In fact, as a teacher I can tell you kids learn a lot more deeply when they make a mistake, see it, figure out how to fix it and move on. I occasionally use that as a teaching trick. I’d purposefully writing an error for all the kids to see and them make them tell me what I did wrong. Of course they loved finding the teacher’s mistake. Do you really think adults are any different in how they learn? Nope.

Pay attention to your mindset. Have one that focuses on failures, mistakes and how you messed up and you will continue to see those come into your life and most likely will give up. Choose to have one that looks for the success, the lessons and the opportunities and you will find them. It’s reallly that simple.

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Every single person on this Earth has expectations and assumptions.  We kind of have to in order to manage to get through life without losing our minds. 

Think about it..we assume that the guy in the other car will stop for the red light on his side so we just buzz on through the green.  But we also have assumptions about our expectations.

Mind spinning yet?

We know what we feel and desire in our heart of hearts.  But we often assume that who we are in our truest form won’t be accepted by others.  Many of us wear many masks and hide our dreams because of what we think is expected of us. 

And we won’t break out of these roles because we fear losing our friends and even family.

So we remain, unhappy, hidden and our greatest gifts – our light – is dimmed and shuttered.

If you step back over here with me to look at this a bit differently I’d like to point out of couple of problems with this line of thinking.

First, you were not put here on this Earth to be small, dim or hidden.  You have a light within you that is a gift, and you do it such a disservice by closing the shutters up tight because someone out there may not like it.  You were meant to shine!

Which brings me to my next thought.  Not everyone is going to like you – that is a given in life.  That’s okay.  Simply bless those people and move on.  However, consider this.  If no one knows who you truly are and they only see this facade – then in all truth – no one really likes or  loves you because they don’t know you.  They might like the person you are projecting, but that isn’t YOU.

You can’t lose what you don’t actually have I’m afraid.  Truly if you think everyone likes you then that is a huge hint you aren’t being your truest self.  You are playing roles to make others happy.  I mean c’mon…even the best of us have people who dislike them!

When you allow yourself to shine, to be you in all your quirky ways, then others who will love you for those very things can find you.  Until then you are just an actor on stage and people are simply loving your role…not you.

Imagine what and who you are missing.  Imagine the peace and joy of releasing all that misery and self-condemnation and allowing yourself to grow into the beautiful being you were alway meant to be. 

It’s okay to love you.  In fact, I’m betting most people you already know will love you too if you are brave enough to give them that chance.  You’ll be surprised at what happens.  Take off the masks – live free.


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Can I share with you something that has caused a huge shift in my world lately?  And it’s been a long time coming.

I finally let my heart break.  It’s been showing signs of cracking and on the verge for a long, long time.  I just refused to let it happen.   I’d just patch it up with some story I’d tell myself, or excuse or simply ignore things.  For a while…ignoring it did feel like bliss – kind of.  But band aids are not meant to last forever.broken

Let me explain.

To start with, I don’t exactly have the most supportive family.  Do I worry about saying that on my blog…not really.  They don’t read it.

Do they love me?  Oh I’m certain of it.  Overall they are good people.  But supportive – not so much.  It’s not that they come around telling me my dreams are fools gold or outright mock me or anything.  They simply gloss over and carry on with the status quo.  No interest, no questions and no cheering.

beautiful mistakesMy own amazing coach has suggested looking at it from a different perspective – theirs.  Ouch – she got me there.  So I explored that.

I think perhaps my reaching for big dreams and lofty goals is uncomfortable for them.  They shun what they don’t understand.  Change is scary and even painful at times. I’ve learned the hard way to embrace that because I know at the other end is growth and joy.  Until you know that, it’s hard to look at changing what is comfortable without a reason to.  I have rarely followed the way that others do things.  I suppose that certainly could lead to a disconnect.

Still, I think you can support and lift up someone without understanding what they have on their vision board…or the fact they have a vision board.

Okay..big breath…big share.  I used to wonder – and often – what was wrong with me?  Something had to be wrong with ME for the people in my life to not want to know me or cheer me on.  Many time I thought that to have someone yell at me, call me foolish or mock me would almost have been preferable to this feeling of being invisible and unimportant.  Self blame seemed the logical choice.  I struggled with that for a very long time.  With my family of origin I still see it rear its ugly head at times.  Old habits die hard right?  I am working on it and get better every day.

So, here’s the thing.  An ‘event’ happened very recently that shook me hard.  I had to face it.  It wasn’t me, not alone anyway.  I participated in a dynamic that was dysfunctional.  Because it was from my family of origin, admitting that set me back and was really, really hard.   It was difficult and painful just to admit that this.  I really resisted saying it to myself and definitely to anyone else.  I felt disloyal and selfish; I also felt used and hurt.   Quite a mix of emotions to have to deal with.

It took some time (and some very good counsel) to realize that facts are what they are.  What has happened, happened.  It wasn’t about fault or blame or anger to realize that the relationship was unhealthy.

But boy, it still hurts like crazy.   I was up late one evening, sipping some tea and just listening to the fire and the rain on the window when I realized I had to let go.   I had to allow my heart to break from this in order to start figuring out how to put it back together. I also realized I had to give myself permission.

It’s hard to do that because I know that there is a huge lake of painful tears to go through first.  Standing on the edge of that keeps me from feeling the full brunt of it.   I also had a lot of anger about those hurts that I’d been ignoring as it simmered. Keeping a lid on it won’t heal it though.  Courage is what I needed to give myself permission to let it happen.angerofthepast

I’d love to say I’m all better and I’ve dealt with it and that I’m good.  Nope, this is a long history of pinpricks that have created a deeper wound then I even knew.  It won’t heal over night.

However, I can say I survived the initial cracking open and looking at the hurt.  I felt it, I allowed it and now I’ve put it away again until I am strong enough to do some more work with it.

Life is a process of learning lessons and some are wonderful and beautiful.  Some are painful and harsh, but will ultimately lead us to wonderful and beautiful if we can allow it.

It may be hard to believe but I am grateful that I had the courage to allow my heart to break.  I have learned not only am I stronger than I realized, but I am in charge of my own happiness.  I can keep the thunderclouds at bay but until I learn to dance in the rain the sun will not be able to shine.

For now, I’m just going to keep on dancing.

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