Re-writing Your History

In my workshops I am often asked what the difference is between my emotional wellness philosophy and the twenty zillion other sHeart_clipart-8elf-help philosophies out there. The cornerstone principle is that all the extra baggage you carry with you i.e. past relationships, failed marriages, addictions, hurts and ‘failures’ are not experiences and feelings to let go of but to use as building blocks to create the life you want. Face it, all the things I just mentioned – and many more only you know about – are PART of who you are as a human being. If I were to tell you to get rid of these things, I would be telling you to get rid of part of yourself, instantly setting up an adversarial relationship with yourself right at the beginning of your ‘self-help’ journey – not a very effective way to help someone.

Just because a relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean it was a failure. Failure is based on a perception of how something should have gone. The negative connotation associated with relationships that fail is based on a very archaic concept that we should meet, mate and stay with that person our whole lives….as kids these days would say – whatever!

Every experience, every memory, every little quirk that is a part of you, makes you who YOU are. So many self-help philosophies want you to ‘let go’ of those. Can you just let go of a arm or leg that is hurting? What I am asking you to do is take these past experiences, beliefs and memories and make them work for you. Take a different look at them – at what they gave you, at how they changed you and use that information to create what you want in life. A paradigm shift may be called for here if you are always looking at your past very negatively. Negative thoughts and actions breed negativity, positive thoughts and actions breed positive results.

As a little exercise take one experience that you have always looked at in a negative light. This would be an experience that maybe you privately berate yourself for. Write down everything you honestly remember about the experience. If you can’t remember some details – don’t fill them in with guesses – only write what you know. Next, write what your negative connotations are about the event. Then, I want you to look at what you just wrote and write what you have gained as a result of the experience. Maybe you gained an emotional strength or you had learned to do something you otherwise would not have. Be honest. After writing this all out, keep it somewhere where you can refer back to it. When you are troubled by the memory, pull out what you wrote and read it, add to it if you want, contemplate the event in a positive tone – it may be the first time you have ever done that.

This is a building block to a new life. Every time you take something negative from your past and change your perspective on it, you are in a way re-writing YOUR history truthfully instead of shrouding it in negative perceptions. It is a very powerful exercise that you can do with any negative things in your life. As you go through your past and look at events and memories that you feel have held you back you are laying the foundation of a positive future. You aren’t letting go of these things – you are simply incorporating them into who you are now in a positive way. Negative energy sucks the life out of you, positive energy will embolden you and make you see your life in a new light – it will give you gratitude that is unlimited and help you choose joy everyday. What are you waiting for?

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The Mechanics of Change

When we talk about creating the life you dream of we always have to talk about change because any growth or creation involves changing. Unless you understand how change happens, you are destined to stay where you are. Change is very difficult and takes a long time. It isn’t something that happens overnight. Human beings are creatures of habit, structure, and things staying the same all the time. We like life to be predictable and to know what is coming down the pike. When we want something different it throws everything in chaos because now things are unpredictable.

What motivates change? Well, fear of dying is not enough motivation. Dr. Dean Ornish, a renown heart Doctor studied what would cause his patients to make fundamental and permanent changes to prolong their lives and fear of dying was not enough motivation! (In fact, 90% of heart patients who have had health crises do not make life saving changes)….Dr. Ornish found that joy rather than fear motivated his patients. Finding joy in life was more likely to cause those life saving changes. He also found that radical changes were more likely to succeed rather than small incremental changes! In fact when he used the above principles a whopping 77% of his patients made changes that positively affected their health.

We know that joy can bring about change. In order to make the changes in your life that are positive you need to be motivated by the joy that will come with the change. You also need to realize that habits take up to eight weeks to form to where the action becomes expected and automatic by your mind and body. If you want to replace an old habit with a new one expect to consciously work on it for about eight weeks. You may need to put reminder notes around your house or work area. Just remember, putting joy first in your life and using that as a motivation is the most successful way you can succeed. Joy feeds your soul and makes life worth living.

Are You Listening?

The reality with which we view the world is filtered by our sense of self esteem. For example, looking at a fashion magazine or maybe a magazine about cars will bring up many negative or unresolved feelings about how we see ourselves fitting in to the world around us. You may feel you are not worthy of a nice car or a particular kind of outfit. It may sound silly but it is true.

Our self esteems are molded in childhood. How we fit in to the world around us was shaped and creatIMG_1467ed by how OTHERS in youth treated us. If you had a particularly traumatic or trying childhood you may have many unresolved self esteem issues. Your ‘self’ absorbed all the good, bag and ugly you heard about yourself and integrated it in to who you see yourself to be. Self esteem and dysfunction are intimate bedfellows and hard to separate. Does it mean it isn’t possible? No! There is a secret undamaged person in every individual. And the first duty of loving yourself is to listen to yourself. Having a damaged self esteem also is not an excuse for bad behavior. We all, for the most part, very easily differentiate between good behavior and what is unacceptable.

Often the damaged part of a self esteem is hurt because of things we now perceive we did not receive as children – let me repeat that. The damaged or hurt part of our inner selves is because of things we now perceive we did not receive as children. Maybe you never got that special bike you wanted and therefore felt unloved. Maybe your father was never home so you did not feel worthy of his love. The good news is this can be undone…we can unwind the clock so to speak. Healing a hurt self is not easy nor is it a one-time process. It can take a long time to repair the damage but persistence and determination are vital to this process.

Here is one of the most powerful exercises I use in my Emotional Wellness workshops and it inevitably brings many tears to many eyes during and after the process.

Write down on a piece of paper or in a journal, in whatever order or way they come to you, the things you wish you had received in your childhood — and did not. Take 10 minutes to do this exercise. Write whatever comes to mind – whether you believe it now or not… It can be time with a loved one, a thing – what ever it is, how ever many things there are. Do not stop writing.

Once you are done, review your list. You have just written what you should do for yourself now! Any surprises? This simple exercise – and following through with the results, can help to start to connect you with the undamaged child in you and rebuild/create a positive self esteem. This is the singular most powerful exercise I have students do. Did you want a pony, then go find a riding stable and take lessons. Did you want more time with your mother and she is now gone? Sit and write letters to her and have conversations with her on paper. Did you want braces? Go get them. Re-nurture the child in you. Be your own parent and caretaker. Remember I said the first duty of love is to listen? Your inner child is begging for you to listen, provide what is needed and help him or her grow in to the person you now are. Are you listening?

The Amazing Technology of the Traveler’s Notebook

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You are probably wondering what the ‘technology’ of the traveler’s notebook could be since it is just leather, cord, and paper….lots of paper.  I’ve tried just about every planner out there and almost every planner ‘app’ as well.  I stumbled across the brand ‘Midori’ a while ago.  Being someone who likes lots of color in her life, the Midori brand didn’t cut it for me….but I really liked the idea of flexibility in the TN.  No planner will work if it isn’t used or it is used minimally…then it is just a stack of paper bound by leather.  I found a shop on Etsy that made colored TN’s by hand to order.

Once I had the FoxyDori in my hands I new I had found the technology I was looking for to pull the different parts of my life together in to one neat amazing bundle.  Wikipedia states the definition of technology is:  from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία is the collection of techniques, methods or processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives.   That definition fits my Dori perfectly because daily I am able to accomplish my objectives with the help of this tactile leather cover enveloping my dreams, goals, tasks, quotes, recipes, blog ideas and appointments.  If you use a planner…mosey over to Kelly’s shop on Etsy, FoxyDori  and check out what she makes.  She doesn’t know I’m telling you about her but you will love what she does…I guarantee it….and you will have a new home for your dreams and goals.  If you don’t want color or her cover isn’t exactly what you are looking for a quick search of Traveler’s Notebook, Midori, FauxDori on google or Etsy will help you find other variations.

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