finally...happy birthday to me

Finally…Happy Birthday to Me!

Just over a week ago, I celebrated my birthday and this year was completely different than it had been from other birthdays. I would have to say that this was probably the first time since I was a child that I felt like I wanted to celebrate me because I am worth it! That is new and a reflection of the work I have been doing on myself over the past years, and man does it feel good!

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

I am sure I am not the only one out there who on their birthday feels like it’s not that big of a deal or they minimize it in some other way. Most of my friends are that way, well, all accept one. She is the friend who refers to her birthday as her “princess day” and, to be honest, I never really could relate to that. I would think often think “Come on, we are adults!” But now I finally get it! This “princess day”, I actually felt the excitement that a child feels on their birthday. The biggest difference this year is that I believe and have embraced that I am a good person who has talents and strengths and am a unique individual and who deserves to be celebrated (we all do)!

 

 

 

When you look at kids, they are so ecstatic about their birthdays. They feel special on their day and they really do celebrate themselves. Why does this change? At what age do we start to accept that we are not really that special and that our birthday just means we are another year older? What is it that makes us feel that we do not deserve or are not that big of a deal that we should not celebrate who we are?

 

I think that the difference is that we start to develop versions of ourselves that are not authentically us, as we get older. We begin to take on the expected behaviors that we observe in the world around us. We start to learn that we are not alright and that we need to do, be, or act better. For me, this is the beginning of us feeling that we are not good enough and start believing that we need to be better. If we feel we need to be better and that we need to step up our game because we are not good enough, then why would we celebrate our mediocrity?

 

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

This couldn’t be further from the truth! We are all good enough in our own ways and these internalized versions of how we need to be better are just that –  they are stories that we tell ourselves that keep us chasing the carrot. There is far too much information on how this happens to go into in this short blog, but to prove it does happen, look at a child and see their pure joy! For example, my niece and nephew dance, play, run and laugh freely. They don’t stifle their laugh because they have been told it is “too loud” or “obnoxious”. They don’t worry about what their dancing looks like because someone has told them they are doing it wrong or that people don’t dance that way or that they look silly dancing. They just dance freely! They play and create games that don’t always make sense, but they are having fun nonetheless. I think we have got it all backwards. Kids are the prime example of what it means to live freely and authentically, but the older they get, the more they buy into the stories/lessons that they are being taught by society and then they start to lose their authentic selves, like most of us have. They start to believe that they laugh too loud, they dance too silly, that their games and imaginations don’t make sense, and they start to hide away these pieces of themselves that do not fit the mold. And after years of hiding them away, as adults, they feel like who they are is not good enough and that they don’t measure up. This creates the scenario where they no longer celebrate themselves because, again, why would you celebrate someone who is not good enough and doesn’t measure up?!

So, I say celebrate yourself! Celebrate your birthday this year because it is a special day. You, unlike anyone else, were born into this world with a unique set of gifts, talents, quirks, and beauty, so why would we not celebrate something that rare?! There is no one else like you and that is something to celebrate, you’re one of a kind! In other areas of life we certainly celebrate rareness, so why not with ourselves?

 

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

So, no matter when your birthday is this year, Happy Birthday! Celebrate the wonderfulness that is you! If your birthday has passed, have a do-over, you deserve it! You may even feel like I did this year – happy to be celebrating and grateful for all those people who celebrated who I am with me!

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

Spring is such a beautiful time of year! Nature is bursting with life, the trees are blooming, baby animals running around, birds are singing, and flowers are popping up all over. It really is a season full of life! I notice people emerging from their winter hibernation, my neighbourhood is again filled with kids playing, birds singing and neighbours chatting. With this emergence from hibernation many of us are inspired to start our spring cleaning. We are starting to clean up outdoor spaces and also giving our indoor space a good decluttering and cleaning. I know that is how I feel!

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

Your Outer World is a Reflection of your Inner world

While doing my spring cleaning this year, I am reminded how much our outer world reflects our inner world. I think about what Louise Hay, author of Heal Your Life and numerous other great books, says about cleaning out the clutter of our mind. She suggests that when you clean your exterior environment you repeat the affirmation “I am cleaning out the closets of my mind”.

I agree that our outside world does reflect our internal and I have experienced it many times. For example, when my house is in disorganization and chaos, it is a warning signal to me that my mind is disorganized and my thinking chaotic. Usually, at these times, I struggle to connect thoughts and there is a flurry of activity with the numerous projects I have on the go. My solution to this is to clean my outer environment and simultaneously my inner world becomes more organized; I gain clarity. The same plays out the other way, when I am stuck in my head over a project or problem, my house starts to get disorganized and messy. My cure for this is to start by cleaning the outer environment which opens up space for me both physically and within my mind. It is like when I organize my house magically my mind gets organized as well!

 

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

What Else Needs Organization?

 

When you are doing your spring cleaning this year consider what else might need a little more organization. Notice how you keep your environment and how that is reflected in your life.

Do you like to hide clutter in drawers? This may mirror hiding things away that you are not ready or wanting to deal with. Or do you have an immaculate house on appearance but become obsessed over little messes? Is that mirroring how you may get stressed when things aren’t just right in your life and, as a result, fixate on the negative? Or maybe you hang on to things that are no longer useful because you don’t want to let go? This could be mirroring your willingness to hang on to grudges, stories or beliefs that are not serving you.

Try this…

There are no clear, hard fast rules to this but I would bet if you do your spring cleaning with mindfulness and curiosity, you may get some insights! While cleaning ask yourself how is this playing out in my thinking and in my life? Then be present and listen for the answers. If you do find there are things that arise that you are ready to clear out then set the intention “I clear out the closet, or disorganization from my mind.”

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

I leave you with the warmest wishes for this beautiful season!

 

Time for Connection?

Lately the word connection has been popping up for me, so I thought I would write about it. We, by nature, are wired for connection. Our very survival is dependent on it, so why is it so many of us struggle to feel connected? Why is it that we tend to close off and retreat into a world of our own minds? Or why is it that for most of us we restrict this for only our very close friends or family (if we even feel connected at all!)?

This thought was sparked while I was participating in a class at the Y. It was a class called Centergy and the reason this is important is that I often participate in yoga (which I love), but when I am in yoga I use that time to be with my mind, like a moving meditation. Because of this, I rarely pay attention to others in the class. But in this class, it is a little faster paced and there are more moves. So, in this class, I do not focus inside as much. This allowed me to have this new perspective! As the whole class was moving through poses, especially when we were looking backward or in a flowing motion, I couldn’t help but notice the other people in my class. It was in that moment that I saw and felt this beautiful connection between everyone in the class. We were all in sync and moving together in a beautiful flow to music … connected in the moment. It struck me how easy it was to feel connected! It was a great feeling and almost brought a tear to my eye.

 

Time for Connection?

 

This brought on contemplation on the feeling of connection, how good it feels and how it is so easy to access. If this is the case, why is it that most of us, myself included, tend to isolate ourselves? Even if we are with others, a lot of us keep to ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to feel that connection. Why?

As I said before we are wired for connection, so why do we spend so much of our time searching for it? And why do we retreat from it when we are given the opportunity to connect? I think that this comes down to a couple of things.

Is your Heart Open?

First, I think that so many of us spend so much time in our heads that we don’t allow our hearts to open up to feel connected. I think we may participate in activities with others, but true connection comes from allowing our hearts to connect with others in that moment.  We may join a group or spend time with others but a lot of the time we aren’t present in the moment. We are judging ourselves, judging the conversation, planning ahead, or feeling shame or guilt for what we should be doing instead! This works in direct contradiction to the connection that we are seeking, rather than being connected in that moment when we are in our minds. We might as well be alone. Rather, if we took some time to really be in the moment to be mindful and feel into the situation, we would get the feeling of connection that we were looking for in the beginning. It really is that simple!

 

Time for Connection?

 

Is There Fear?

Another reason I think that we don’t connect is that we have fears around feeling connected to others. Some may have a belief that by connecting to others we risk losing our independence or that feeling a need to connect is a sign of weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When we feel connected, our independence is not at risk and, if you are brave enough to reach out and feel in a world that pushes for independence, how could that be weakness?

Some may fear that when we connect we are vulnerable. It is true, it can feel vulnerable, but that does not mean that others will take advantage of that vulnerability and harm us in some way. Or that we will be viewed as weak and therefore become a target because we chose to open our hearts. There are way more good people in this world than ones who are out to get us, and if we are willing to risk opening our hearts, it encourages others to also do the same!

The beautiful moment that I had in my class was empowering, encouraging and supportive. All of which are positive, because I opened my heart to feel. I didn’t need to spend time getting to know the other participants or even know their names, all I needed was to allow myself to feel into the moment.

 

This week I encourage you to be brave and to feel into connection. Allow yourself to feel the nurturing, supportive, intuitive wonderfulness that being connected with others can provide!

 

 

Time for Connection?Here are some suggestions:

  • Schedule a coffee date with friends and put your phone away, be there fully!

 

  • Fully participate in a class.

 

  • Spend your family dinner time not talking about the past (what happened today), or present (what you need to do) but actually in the moment.

 

  • Smile and make eye contact with people on the street. Even greet them!

 

  • Get engaged in a conversation with coworkers.

 

  • Have a spontaneous conversation with a salesperson and truly be involved in the conversation.

 

  • Make an effort to meet someone new.

 

Whatever it is that you try, be present in the moment, and open your heart up to the connection. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of your efforts.

Excited About a Root Canal…WHAT?!?

I have taken the last couple of weeks off because I have been nurturing a tooth abscess. When I was told I needed a root canal at first, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Why is this you ask? Well it’s simple I have worked really hard and earned this root canal and I was ready for it!

It all started a couple of weeks ago, I had a pain in my jaw and ear. I went to see my applied kinesiologist for an adjustment. At first, I thought nothing of it, just a usual adjustment for my jaw. After the adjustment, I was confident that the pain would go away within a day. This did not happen, in fact, the pain worsened. It literally started throbbing, it had its own heartbeat! That was when I realized this was not a typical jaw out of alignment. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I made an appointment with my dentist.

Not really convinced this was a problem with my tooth, while I waited for my dentist appointment, I started my usual protocol of oil of oregano. I thought that maybe it was just an ear infection, I mean we have had some really cold weather and I had been walking my dog, so maybe that’s all it was. I waited a couple of days, but it really didn’t seem to be helping. So, as I usually do, I consulted my Louise Hay “Heal Your Body” app on my phone.

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

For those of you who have never heard of it, Louise Hay believes that we can heal our bodies and when our bodies are manifesting dis-ease, then we need to look at what is happening in our lives and our thinking. As she (and I) believe, this is what is creating the suffering. This book is like my go-to, I always reference it when something is going on. In the book (and app) she lists numerous ailments alphabetically, everything from abdominal cramps to yeast infections and, under each problem, she lists the probable cause of the ailment and then a new thought pattern to adopt to help fix the problem.

I consulted my app and looked up earache and the probable cause was “Anger. Not wanting to hear. Too much turmoil. Parents arguing.” I thought about it and that didn’t really fit for me, so I continued searching.

I looked up jaw problems and again it said “Anger. Resentment. Desire for revenge.” Again, I reflected on this and checked in with myself, no this didn’t fit either. I continued to look. I next looked up Teeth and it said, “Represent decisions”, I thought ‘ok this could be’, but still didn’t totally feel quite right. I looked deeper into teeth I started scrolling and root canal popped into my head. To be honest, at this point I was not even sure what a root canal was but it was in the list, so I looked at it. I read “Probable cause – Can’t bite into anything anymore. Root beliefs being destroyed.” YUP! I thought “This could be it!” I have spent the last year or so working on some pretty core beliefs and I was feeling like I had gotten a handle on them. I was practicing awareness and was counteracting these limiting negative beliefs when they would arise. It felt like these beliefs were finally letting go. They were still showing up occasionally, but not nearly as often, and very rarely were they slipping under the radar causing an onslaught of negative self-talk. When I read “root beliefs being destroyed”, I thought this is exactly what I have been working towards. I eagerly awaited my dentist appointment, feeling sure that she was going to say I needed a root canal.

As I sat in the dentist chair they did x-rays and the dentist walked in and said, “You clearly have an abscess, I could tell from across the room.” Ok, one mystery solved, that’s why the pain. She looked in my mouth and at the x-ray and quickly determined I needed…wait for it… a root canal! I couldn’t help but chuckle. YUP! I needed these root beliefs to be removed completely once and for all! The prospect of physically getting these infected dead “roots” removed was exciting. I felt like I had done the work of removing them from influencing my life and this was the last step to actually physically remove them. To me that was great news, not to mention an end to the pain, both literally and physically that these “roots” were causing!

When I left the dentist, I re-read the “new thought pattern”. What I realized is that I had worked so hard at eliminating the old sabotaging beliefs, but I had not spent the time replacing them with new self-serving beliefs. I was ready for the new, I just needed to set what these new beliefs were. Over the next couple of weeks while waiting for my dentist appointment, I took time to really contemplate what beliefs I wanted to create my strong foundation with. I determined that I wanted trust, surrender and self-love.

 

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

 

When I returned to the dentist a couple of weeks later to have the root canal, I went in with a feeling of gratitude for all that I had learned from these beliefs and a willingness to finally let them go. My self-talk was “I release these old beliefs and I create a new strong foundation on the beliefs of trust, surrender and self-love.” I was ready!  The root canal went well and within a couple of days the pain had mainly subsided, and the tooth was healing.

I have embraced my new beliefs and feel that the old self-sabotaging beliefs have been finally been removed completely from me. It is such a rewarding feeling to know that I have worked through some pretty core beliefs that were holding me back in many areas of my life.

I practice in my life looking at things holistically and this is just one example of how we can really get answers to what is going on with us, when we are open to looking at the whole picture from an aware space. Once we understand, we have a choice. It’s only when things are in the dark that they have control over us.

 

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

 

For some of you, this may seem a little bizarre, but I challenge you to get the “Heal your Body” book (I can’t find the app anymore). Look up any ailments you are experiencing in your body and be open to the wisdom.  I do it whenever something arises, and it is always (whether I am ready to admit it or not) a good perspective on what is going on!

5 Life Changing (Yet Simple) Resolutions!

The new year is a time when so many of us start taking stock of our lives in efforts to evaluate where we want to make some changes. Most of the time we focus on external changes that we feel will bring us happiness, but what most of us fail to realize is that happiness comes from within. That is why I feel these are 5 of the most life changing resolutions you can make and, as a bonus, they are really simple to implement!

 

5 Life Changing (Yet Simple) New Year's Resolutions!

Prioritize Self-Care

 

Like so many others, we tend to put ourselves last. We give to our family, our friends, work and even strangers, but when it comes to caring and giving back to ourselves, we simply don’t. Sometimes it’s because we feel we are being greedy if we take time for ourselves, sometimes we feel we don’t deserve it, and sometimes we feel we don’t have time. Whatever the excuse, it’s this simple. If you continue to give to others and don’t care for yourself, you will eventually burn out. That may look like withdrawing, or illness or it may be feelings of resentment towards others. However it may show up in your life, it certainly will.

 

This year vow to yourself to take care of you! You deserve it! Schedule time for self-care and actually enjoy that time. Do things that recharge your soul and bring you joy! If you won’t care for yourself who will?

 

 

Take Time to Pause

We all lead busy lives and I understand that you may think “I don’t have time”. The thing is, if you don’t pause, life passes you by. Pausing means taking a minute to be mindful, to be in the moment, to really be present to the current experience. This is a simple thing that you can do at any point in your day. Take the time to just be, like a daily recess for your mind, body and spirit.
Vow to yourself that every day, at least once a day you will pause and be in the moment. Who knows, you may like it so much that you practice it more often.

Practice Gratitude

I have written numerous blogs on the importance of practicing gratitude. It is something that all of us can do and its effects are life changing. Gratitude shifts our mind from a feeling of lack and negativity to one of positive abundance. Who doesn’t want that?

5 Life Changing (Yet Simple) New Year's Resolutions!

 

Every day, take time to list at least 5 things that you are grateful for. Some days they may come quick, some days it may be a struggle. But stick with it and you will start to notice that it becomes automatic. All of a sudden you will start to notice you are not practicing gratitude, but living a grateful life and that is powerful!

Befriend your Inner Critic

We are our own worst critics! We are harder on ourselves than anyone else would ever be, and yes, there are protective aspects to our inner critic. But we do not have to take the negative messages that we say to ourselves as the absolute truth. We have a choice!

When you recognize that you are being critical try having a conversation with yourself. Recognize the message then choose to not believe it, let it go if it is not helpful! Don’t let your inner critic hold you back this year, move past the negative messages. They are not truth. Most of the time they are just fear!

5 Life Changing (Yet Simple) New Year's Resolutions!

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

This almost goes hand in hand with the inner critic. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually are either doing it in a way that minimizes us or degrades others, neither of which is helpful! Instead of comparing yourself, recognize that we are all different and we all have our unique journeys. The one thing we do all have in common is that we are all doing our best with what we have at any given moment.

Instead of comparing yourself try having compassion for both yourself and others. Know that you are doing your best and so are they! Don’t assume that you or others are doing things purposely to screw up or hurt you. I don’t think that anyone wakes up in the morning excited at the prospect of failing at life, we all try, but we all have our different ways. We all make our way through life the best we can.

5 Life Changing (Yet Simple) New Year's Resolutions!

This year, if you find that you are comparing yourself to someone else, stop and recognize that you are the best version of you and no one else in the world could do a better job of being you!

 

These are 5 simple things that you can implement today, but the effects are life changing. When you are able to master these skills, suddenly you may notice that your other resolutions are either now irrelevant or seem easily achievable. Whatever your 2018 brings, I wish you all a Happy New Year full of love, happiness and success!

Look Back Before Moving Forward!

As we approach the New Year I am looking forward to new adventures and new growth. I am also finding myself thinking of the past year and what I have accomplished, and I am reminded that it is important to celebrate our accomplishments and successes. Too often we just gloss over all that we have done, and we rarely celebrate it. Usually, when we accomplish something we just look towards the next challenge. I encourage you to take the next couple days to reflect back on the past year and recognize all that you have accomplished, these questions will help guide you, to celebrate you!

Looking Back before Moving Forward

 

What was my biggest challenge this year?

Reflect back on what was the biggest challenge you had this year? How did you handle it? Even if it did not turn out as you wanted, or things were not perfect, what did you do at this time to get yourself through? Celebrate the fact that you made it through and perhaps even learned something along the way. Pat yourself on the back. That you coped and survived, that is awesome.

What strengths did I realize?

Think back on your year, what new strengths can you identify? Is there something that you never thought you could do or something that you said previously “oh that’s not me!” but you did it anyhow? All too often we are quick to judge ourselves and minimize our strengths take this time to recognize your strengths, make a list of at least 30 strengths that you possess. These don’t necessarily have to be new strengths but maybe ones that you have minimized in the past. Congratulate yourself on your strengths, focus on the positive.

Look Back before Moving Forward

What have I accomplished?

Look back on the year and recognize all that you have accomplished. Again, this does not mean that everything had to go right or perfect, but chances are there are still some accomplishments, maybe even smaller, ones that you can celebrate. For example, you wanted a new career and haven’t found that yet, but you have updated your resume, taken courses that will help you get your dream job, or maybe you have stepped out of your comfort zone and applied for jobs that you feared. Whatever it is, the accomplishment doesn’t have to a big huge thing it could be the little hard steps you took towards your big goal.

 

What am I most proud of this year?

Ask yourself what you are most proud of doing this year. For me, I am proud of how much I have stepped out of my comfort zone. I really put myself out there both with my business and socially. I have really stretched and at times it has not been easy, but I persevered because I know it was the best thing for me. Be kind to yourself and recognize what you have done this year that you are proud of.

 

These are just a few questions that can help you celebrate 2017 and how you have shown up throughout the year. When you go through the questions, write it down, it is easy when we just do it in our heads to counteract the positive but when it is in black and white it is a lot harder to discount it!

For some of you this may be difficult (as it is at times for me). We are so quick to judge and criticize ourselves and we feel if we celebrate ourselves that we are bragging or being egotistical, this could not be further from the truth! If we are shouting from the rooftops how great we are then, that is ego if we are saying “wow, I am proud of myself because I have accomplished this, or handled this, or have these strengths”, that is showing ourselves love and giving ourselves a pat on the back, not bragging!

 

Bonus

If you do take this time to celebrate 2017 and how you showed up, your outlook for 2018 may be a more positive and it may change your perspective for your New Years resolution from “I need to fix this part of me because it is broken” to a much kinder more compassionate “I want to grow more in this area because I am worth it”.

Wishing you all the best in 2018 and I hope you have a wonderful New Year! Check in next week for tips to help you make and keep your New Year’s resolutions!

 

The Value of the Season!

The Value of the Season!

We all have different values that we hold dear to us, and when we live out of alignment with our values it causes us stress. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of stress over the holidays by writing about how to figure out your holiday values. When you understand what you value of the holidays you can have a more enjoyable holiday.

Many of us throw the word value around and really don’t understand how important our values actually are to us. We may say “I value family”, but then when it comes to spending time with our families, we put it on the bottom of the priority list – behind work, chores, and “have tos”. If this is the case, we usually feel a sense of shame or guilt for not spending time with our families, which we value because we are living out of alignment with our values and, for that, we experience stress!

This holiday season, why not make it easier on yourself and figure out what your values are? Then do your best to live within those values, honour yourself!

The Value of the Season!

Ask Yourself

How to determine your holiday values is simple. Take a few minutes to reflect on the past few holidays and ask yourself:

What brings me the most joy over the holidays?

When am I the happiest during the holiday?

If I had to give up something what could I absolutely not give up?

What does my dream holiday season look like?

Take the time to really feel into the questions, allow your imagination to go wild. Write down a few things that really stick out to you. You will probably notice that some common themes start to emerge.

Whether the answers revolve around such things as having family present, or having some downtime, to seeking adventure, or maybe even solitude…the possibilities are endless. Whatever the answer(s) may be, really tune into yourself.

Perhaps you notice that in all your answers your family is present, or that your answers all revolve around peace and quiet or downtime. Maybe they all revolve around adventure or solitude. Whatever it is, really tune into yourself.

 

Once you have a few common themes, take a few minutes to evaluate if this is a true value for you. For example, the value of peace is arising and when you check in with yourself, this doesn’t feel like something you would value. Ask yourself “Is this something that I really want or is it something that I believe that I need? Is this something that really matters to me or is it something that others say I need? Does this feel like a priority to me or does it feel like an obligation?”

Take this time to really check in with yourself. Does this feel authentic to you?

 

Yes or No

If yes, then you have your list of values for the holidays.  If not, then you have identified the things that are most likely causing you stress. You are doing these things out of obligation or out of belief that you need to be doing them. This sense of obligation has overridden your values and is causing you stress. If this is the case, you need to take the time to really evaluate what it is that you love about the holidays, use your imagination to identify your dream holiday season. What is it that you are doing? Who is there? What does it look like? What does it feel like?

 

If you can answer these questions and come up with your dream holiday season you will be able to identify your values. The following questions will help you to narrow in on your value:

Is it that you are surrounded by family or out at social events?

Are you following traditions or are you creating new memories?

Is it in a place that you know and love and feel comfortable or is it an exciting new place?

The Value of the Season!

Make it Happen

Once you have that picture clear in your mind, you can identify what is most important for you about the holidays. Now all you need to do is make the decision…then make it happen!

Knowing what you value most about the holidays can spare you added stress during the festive season. You can take steps to make sure that your holidays are in alignment with your values instead of fighting against them.

Wishing you a holiday season that is all you have dreamed of that aligns you with your highest values.

The Voice in my Head is Kind of a B&%#@!

The Voice in my Head is Kind of a B&%#@!

No, I am not crazy! We all have internal dialogue and what I have found is that most times this voice can be pretty nasty! I think the easiest way to gain more awareness of this voice is to look at it in greater detail.

 

Who is this voice?

Some call it our inner critic, some call it the voice of reason, some people even call it the realist. Whatever you call that voice, it is ever present and, in a lot of cases, holds us back. Whatever name it goes by and however it sounds to you, it is pretty much constantly talking throughout the day. It happily points out when we have made a mistake, how we have not measured up, how we could have done more. It is the voice of our ‘should have’s’ and ‘need tos’. Is this sounding familiar? It can often be found saying “Uh oh that wasn’t good enough”, “You need to be nicer”, “You should do this” and “You have to do this”.

When does it show up?

Well, as mentioned, it is always around and it has something to say about everything! Most times it is not pointing out the positive, rather it is chastising us for something or pointing out our perceived flaws and short comings.

It can be particularly loud when we are feeling low, it jumps on the criticizing band wagon and feeds on our vulnerability.

It also becomes really outspoken when we try to do new things or step out of our comfort zone. It tends to like the known and comfortable, so when we are contemplating something new it usually tells us “NO” and gives us a thousand reasons why “it won’t work” and “we can’t do it”.

The Voice in my Head is Kind of B&%#@!

What does it say?

The messages it sends are usually self-defeating and criticizing. Specifically, it says things like “You are not pretty, smart, friendly …. enough, you do not deserve happiness, success, fulfillment. You are a screw up, a loser, dumb, ugly, a failure, an imposter.” The specific words may be different, but the message is the same, generally in some way or another it is telling you, you suck!

Why do we have this voice?

So, the big question is, why do we have this voice? It is obviously not the nicest thing to have in our heads. The reasons we have this voice are numerous and unique to us. Its presence may be universal, but how it came to be, and our personal recipe for why we have this voice, is as unique as you are.

Oftentimes it comes from our belief system, our fears, our learned patterns and our perceptions. However, it came about in you. Most times its number one role is to protect us – sounds weird that a voice that degrades us is there to protect us. But the role of this voice is to keep us on a safe path, by either stopping us from stepping outside our perceived limits, or by saving us by preparing us for (its perceptions) of what others might be thinking or saying about us, kind of like a buffer.

The crazy thing about this is it keeps us playing small in our lives and most times it actually stops us from really living our lives. If you have ever worked for a hypercritical manager or have witnessed or experienced an overly critical parent, then you can see how this type of critical judgement keeps us stuck, most times in a life that is not all that it could be.

It is well documented that in order to support people to grow they need encouragement and that being extremely critical does not inspire people or motivate them, it actually does the opposite. Imagine if a child was raised being told that they were bad, a failure, not capable and all those negative messages that you tell yourself. Do you think that child would flourish? Of course not! They would be stunted in their development, not to mention they would be absolutely terrified of doing something new.  And really this is what this voice in our head does to us – it keeps us stunted in our development, too!

Now imagine the other side. What would we be capable of doing if we were supported 100% of the time? That would be amazing! We would feel free to risk and take chances and we would flourish!  If the message was you can rather than you can’t, you would believe that you could, and you would try and persevere because you knew you could. You would be unstoppable!

Sounds great right? Well, this is possible because this voice does not speak facts, but rather perceptions. And we do not have to take its messages as the truth. When you are able to recognize this and change this voice from self-sabotaging to self-promoting, then you have the power to choose a life that you love!

If you are interested in learning more about your internal voice and how to change it you can join me for a free online interactive workshop Beyond Belief: Take Your Life from Surviving to Thriving, Again!, where we will delve deeper into our inner voice and how to start changing it!

The Voice in my Head is Kind of B&%#@!

Is it a Message?

Have you ever had animals appearing in your life and wondered why? This is really common. I have had numerous conversations in the last week about what I refer to as animal messengers. My belief is that when we have different animals show up in our lives, they are bringing us a message from the Universe. I have had countless experiences with this and when an animal presents itself, I listen, because, to me, there is a lesson or message in their appearance.

Comfort from the Skies

I have held this belief for a long time but one of the most profound examples is the day that my husband passed away. I had returned home after leaving the hospital and was out in my backyard, still in a state of shock and really trying to process what had happened. As I sat there trying to ground myself, I heard this loud shriek. I had never heard it before and at first didn’t pay much attention to it, as I was consumed with my emotions. But it continued about every 20 seconds, and soon the shriek became my focus. It was frustrating and annoying, it just wouldn’t stop. The thought in my head was “Shut up, seriously I don’t need this”. The shrieking continued so I walked around my garden to investigate where it was coming from and at that point a bird flew from my neighbor’s yard to the rooftop across the alley. The bird continued to scream and as I looked at it I realized it was a woodpecker. Before this point I had never really seen a woodpecker, at least not that I could remember. I had heard them in the neighborhood pounding their beaks into the light posts but I had never actually seen them. I saw the long beak so, to me this was clearly a woodpecker!

 

Is it a Message?

 

At that point I couldn’t help but chuckle. See the thing is, my husband’s nickname was Woody and there, communicating with me in the garden, was a woodpecker. It was at that point I felt the grounding I was searching for as I realized he may not be with me physically, but he was still around. Since that day, I have woodpeckers show up in my life frequently and when they do, I know that my husband’s energy is around me and he is there to support me. I notice that the woodpecker usually shows up at the most opportune times – usually when I am struggling with something or just having a bad day. Now when the woodpecker shows up, it makes me smile and reminds me that I am supported. I am so grateful to the Universe for this sign.

I have shared the above story with others and when I do, the response is usually “I know what you mean”. I have heard countless people recount similar experiences of having an animal, bird or insect show up and remind them of a loved one that has passed. Their animal has shown up when they needed it and in some of the most bizarre places. This has only confirmed my belief that animals can serve as messengers for us. In this case, they are messengers that bring us comfort and a sense of connection to a loved one. What a beautiful message from the Universe and our loved ones!

 

Is it a Message?

What is Showing Up?

Prior to the woodpecker experience, I had already been aware of animals as messengers. I have always believed the Universe speaks to us in numerous ways so I try to remain aware and, when I notice a particular animal showing up repetitively, I get curious and investigate what energy this animal brings. A lot of the information available on animal totems come from Native American culture and there are many books and websites that have information on the different energies that each animal carries. So, when an animal enters my life, I look up what the message is and in every case that I can remember, the message the animal brings is exactly what I need. For me this has happened so many times that I do not question it, I just thank the Universe and take the message. An example of this is this weekend I was traveling with a friend through the prairies where I live and we saw three or four coyotes on the drive. Now, it is the prairies and it is not the rarest to see coyotes, but to see so many during the day is rather rare. Taking this as a sign, we looked up the energy of the coyote and, sure enough, it talked about bringing the balance between fun and work. This is something that I have been recognizing has been missing in my life. Therefore lately, I have been taking purposeful steps to increase the amount of fun in my life. I took the presence of the coyotes as a sign from the Universe that I was taking the right steps in restoring balance in my life.

Some of you may be feeling skeptical about this and that is OK. All I can say is try it out!

 

Is it a Message?

Be Observant!

It is really easy to test. First, be observant of your surroundings. If you have an animal that keeps showing up or that is drawing your attention, investigate. For example, perhaps lately you have been noticing more crows around you than usual. It may not be rare, but lately every time you are outside one flies by or you constantly hear them or, as I have experienced, they fly right in front of you so that you can’t possibly miss them. Take that as a sign. If there is a message for you, you will know it, you will just feel it! In my way of thinking, it is beyond coincidence that a specific animal is present at the exact time you are looking in that direction… like I said, to me I have no doubt it is a message. For example, I have deer that live in my neighborhood so it is not uncommon to see them around but there are times when the deer come up my driveway at the exact minute I am in my kitchen looking out my window. That is beyond coincidence to me! Even if it is an animal that is common to your area but suddenly you notice more of them or in different situations, then I challenge you to look up what message or energy that animal holds.

I by no means claim to be well educated in this area, what I do know is it provides me with another perspective on what is happening in my life at that time and that is always welcome. Here are some of the websites I use to decipher my messages:

What’s Your Sign

Spirit Animal

Spirit Animal Totems

But you can simply google “what does (animal) mean” and there will be numerous sites that come up. I have found that some do have different meanings, but after reading a couple I can usually decipher my personal meaning. I trust my intuition.

 

Try it! You may be pleasantly surprised at what you may learn. And what I have noticed is, the more I am willing to listen, the more messages I get!

To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

One of the most overlooked and important lessons we can learn on our journey in life is the lesson of forgiveness. I recognize this is something a lot of people struggle with, but I believe that when we are not able to forgive, we are unnecessarily holding onto negative energy. This negative energy hinders our ability to create a happy life. Really, our lack of forgiveness, in my opinion, robs us of our happiness. Most times we chose not to forgive and hold a grudge because we believe we have been slighted in some way but, the crazy thing is, most times the grudge we are holding is only hurting us!

 

To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

Why Forgive?

One of the biggest problems that I hear about forgiveness is that people feel that if they forgive someone then they are condoning what the person has done. This could not be further from the truth. When we forgive someone, we are not saying “What you did is ok”, rather we are saying “I don’t want to hold on to this so I am letting it go and forgiving you”. When we hold back forgiveness, what we are really saying is “I want to hold on to this negativity” and most times the other person doesn’t know or isn’t even affect by us holding a grudge, that means we are the only ones suffering!

Another reason we don’t forgive is that we are still feeling the negative feelings associated with the slight. We are holding on to feelings of anger, upset or betrayal. That means we are choosing to hold on to those feelings and that is not healthy for us. I do understand that there are things that may have happened that have hurt you deeply, but by holding on to those feelings you are continuing to harm yourself! As I have discussed many times holding on to negative feelings is toxic to our bodies, minds and souls. If you look at it from that perspective forgiveness starts to look like a better option.

On the positive side when you are able to forgive, you are releasing the negativity that is associated with the event. You are able to use your energy for more productive and positive things, things that bring you joy rather than reliving the pain. By choosing forgiveness we are also releasing all our judgements about the person that slighted us and are bringing more compassion and understanding in the world.

One key thing to remember about forgiveness is that we are not necessarily doing it for the other person, rather we are doing it for our own sense of well-being, and that makes it worth the effort! In fact, to experience the positive side of forgiveness we don’t even have to tell the other person we are forgiving them we can simply choose to let it go and forgive. If you do feel that you need to speak the forgiveness and share your feelings with that person, that is great too, but not a requirement.

Hopefully after reading this you can see that by holding a grudge you are harming yourself and that forgiveness is the path towards a happier life. If so, then you are halfway there and you have done the hardest part.

How to Practice Forgiveness

To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

When you decide you are ready to forgive, there are some simple steps that you can take to practice forgiveness.

Forgive Them.

Come up with a formal statement that you can say out loud to the person or to yourself that expresses your forgiveness. For example, “I forgive you (name) for (perceived hurt)”. It may be helpful at this point to vocalize your experience of the event, something like “I was really hurt when you said that to me”, or “I was angry when you did that”. Be sure when you are speaking about your feelings that you own them by using “I” statements.

If you are struggling with this, here is something to think about: Most of the time, our anger or perceived hurts come from people not living up to our expectations of them and not really what they did. An example of this is if we believe that our spouse should remember our anniversary because it is important to us, then we expect them to remember the date and when they don’t, we are upset because we believed they should have. Usually when this happens we start creating a story around how inconsiderate he is and how much he doesn’t care about our anniversary because he doesn’t care about our relationship. The fact is they forgot a date, that’s it. And honestly who hasn’t forgotten a date before?

Beyond that, if you take the emotions and the story out of it and look at the whole picture from a place of understanding, then you may recognize there were other factors involved, like he has been preoccupied with a big project at work or he is never good at remembering any dates. All of these reflections on the situation can help you get to the point where forgiveness feels easier.

Forgive Yourself.

This step may come as a surprise to you, but a huge part of forgiveness is being able to forgive our part in the situation. At first look we may feel like we did nothing, but we played a part in the situation no matter how small we had a part in it. In the example above, your part may have been knowing that your anniversary is important to you and he always forgets. You chose not to remind him or put it on the calendar. Or maybe your part was that you had unrealistic expectations and placed a lot of emphasis on him remembering and that set you up to have hurt feelings when he didn’t. However small, recognize your part in the event and forgive yourself. Formally state “I forgive myself for (your part)”.

Most times when we hold a grudge we are also holding on to negative feelings around our part “I should have known better”, “I didn’t listen to my intuition”. I want to make it really clear that this is not about blaming yourself, rather it is about recognizing how your choices influenced the event. When we can recognize our part from a non-judgmental place then we have the power to choose differently next time.

Learn the Lesson.

Now that you have forgiven, the last step is to learn the lesson. Whatever information you have gleaned from your reflection on the situation can provide you with a lesson to avoid future hurts. Like in the above example, knowing that your anniversary is important to you and knowing that he forgets dates regularly, you can choose to arrange the date yourself and send him an invite or maybe you choose to plan it together around the dinner table, or maybe you recognize that it is really not that important and you decide to just let it pass. Whatever the outcome, you are making the choice from a place of clarity and that is empowering!

 

To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

 

Once you have accomplished these three steps then you have been able to release the negativity associated with the event and you have practiced forgiveness. I know the example I gave here was a simple one, but you can use these steps for deeper hurts too. If you are a grudge holder then it may take some practice but start small and work your way up to the more significant hurts. If you regularly practice these steps they soon will become automatic and you will be able to forgive much easier.

Forgiveness may not always be easy when we feel we have been slighted, but the consequence of holding on to negativity is much harder in the long run!