Today’s blog is dedicated to creating experiences. What does this mean? It means that we need to stop and take moments to create experiences that make us smile, breath, or find joy…to create good memories or make ourselves proud.
I recently had the privilege to go on a vacation with my family. We experienced new things, faced our fears and laughed a lot. It got me thinking that we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, or working hard to buy our kids overpriced gifts, or getting caught up in the pressure of being perfect. And when we get caught up in this cycle, we end up getting upset or feeling like a failure when things don’t go our way.
Everything we do is an experience, but do we pay attention, do we take time out and really listen to the story we are creating?
For part of the vacation, we were up in the mountains, with no internet. It was fabulous. I called it our technology detox. My kids got to be out in nature, noticing small things that we don’t normally pay attention to. We heard the birds chirping in the morning, and, as we were hiking, saw a small, beautifully bright orange salamander and a rainbow from a mountain top.
It was a trip I know we will not forget. We all got to add this awesome experience to our life story. This was a big trip, but we can also have small experiences as well. Creating experiences can be big or small endeavor. To me small experiences are about creating moments of joy or moments of quiet or moments that make us smile.
Small experiences that we might add to our life story can be dinner time with the family, singing in the car by yourself — whatever brings a smile to your face. Another small but significant experience might be waking up the day after a failure, getting out of bed and moving forward anyways.
We make a choice to learn from our experiences, even the ones that bring us to our knees.
In my opinion, experiences make life interesting, exciting, and strengthen us if we choose to slow down and enjoy them. I know in some moments, we feel pain or we don’t think all experiences are interesting; however, we again choose to listen to the lesson or gift all life experiences given us.
I really wanted to focus on how to pause and appreciate the experiences that are in our lives whether they are big or small. If you have found yourself tired, exhausted, feeling like you are trying to play catch up with everyone else, comparing yourself to others when you know you shouldn’t compare…stop for a moment.
Breathe and start thinking about the experiences in life that make you strong, give you energy, help you smile and write them down so you can remember on days that you are feeling down.
Pull out pictures on your phone of the experiences that you hold dear to your heart and know you have the power to create awesome experiences in your life even every day.
Here are some ideas for creating experiences whether they are big or small
Make your bucket list and hang it up on your wall.
Create a ritual of connection with your partner, spouse, good friend or family member. A ritual can be a special dinner, a phone call at the same time every week, a hug or a walk.
Find something that makes you smile everyday, even in low days, find that way to smile.
Think back to your favorite vacation: what was it that you liked the most about that experience? Write down the answer and find ways to bring that back into your life, whether it’s on a small scale or big one. For example, this last trip I enjoyed taking my kids and doing something they had never done before. That doesn’t mean I have to take them on big vacation to try something new. We can create a new healthy meal together, go explore a new area in our neighborhood, read a new book or even play a new board game. The point is we make trying something new a priority and enjoy the experience together.
Write down small goals you want to work toward in meeting your bucket list and/or your small experiences you want to create every day.
Enjoy not only the experience but also the journey.
Life is a gift and so are the experiences that we create in our lives, and the journey it takes us on.
Have fun, learn from, and appreciate all the experiences life gives us and the stories they create in our book of life.
What do you value?
Value — what does this word mean to you?
According to the dictionary ‘value’ means: the regard that something is held to deserve: the importance, worth, or usefulness of something, or one’s judgement of what is important in life.
When I think about what I value, I consider what is important to me, worthy of my time, and of use. I love people watching…this weekend at the beach, I saw so many different and wonderful acts of connection: laughter, moments of reflections, and joy. Seeing these interactions mirrored back to me the connections we value, and how we participate in nurturing those connections.
I value the same moments I saw being shared at the beach: family time, letting the kids enjoy the waves, seeing a baby touch the water for the first time, seeing a dad exercise with his daughter, people holding hands or reflecting as they sat by the water — letting life slow down all around them and just appreciating the moments. To me, this is really living life. This is taking time out and participating in life according to what we value.
Life is about paying attention to, and nurturing, what is important to us.
When we pay attention to what we value and live accordingly, we are living authentically. When we go off course or when we stop living what we value or we push aside the things that are important to us, we don’t feel good. When we get off track, things don’t align in the same way in comparison to when we honor what we value. Also when we live what we value we live in joy, and when we hit bumps in the road we are able to get through them “a little easier” than if we are way off track or not living as our authentic selves.
I was reminded this past weekend about what I value: family time, letting my kids experience new things, laughing together, joy, living a healthy lifestyle, reflection and meditation, connection to others, and working hard to enjoy my free time. Other things that I value are helping other people, being kind and having a good work ethic.
So how do you decide what you value? How do you communicate to your partner or loved ones what is important to you?
After reading this blog, take time to reflect on what the most important things in your life are right now.
How to you actively nurture or participate in what is important to you?
What brings a smile to your face at the end of the night or even throughout the day?
What are your goals that are connected to what you value?
If you have work goals, think about how those goals are useful or important to you. If you have love goals, think about how are they connected to what you value.
These are just a few questions to consider. Once you have your answers, if you are in a relationship, go to your partner and share you list. Ask them to make a list too. Come up with shared values together based on the two lists you both created individually. As a couple, what do you value in the relationship and how do you honor those shared values and beliefs?
Whether you are in a relationship and create a set of shared values or just come up with a list of what you value in your life, ask yourself how are you going to start living what you value. How life?
The last thing to remember is when you are living what you value, you are also valuing yourself. That is one of the most important things you can do. Honoring yourself and your voice is an act of self love.
Never Give Up
What motivates you? What keeps you going?
How do you pick yourself up after you made a mistake or failed at something?
These past few days, I got to thinking about these questions and the importance of not giving up.
We’ve all felt like not moving forward at times. Most of us have experienced a goal taking longer to accomplish than we expected. Many of us have experienced the realization that a goal we thought we wanted wasn’t for us, and that we needed to start fresh in a new direction.
When we are at a crossroads, it might feel easier to give up completely, or to run in the other direction. Feeling unmotivated, at some point, happens to us all.
Never giving up is about not quitting on yourself, and believing in yourself.
Know that no matter what, you can reach your dreams and goals.
Think about the excitement of when we first set our goals, and then create a plan of action on how to accomplish them. There is a point in time when we really do have to reevaluate our goals, or we might get discouraged because what we thought we had set out hasn’t turned out as planned.
Not Giving Up on Love
In a relationship, we set goals and we share our hopes and dreams with our partner. There comes a time in a relationship where couples feel like they are in same old routine — like Groundhog’s Day is happening. They are sad because their once shared hopes and dreams are no longer being discussed. It’s important that we don’t just give up and run in the other direction. When you get stuck in dream rut, it means it is time to sit with your partner to discuss what is important to you and how to get out of the routine.
When we’re uninspired in our relationship, create new goals.
Set new goals as a couple and see what unfolds. When we are willing to take a risk and reconsider the original relationship goals, we create even better ones.
Not Giving Up on Our Careers
When you work for yourself, you are constantly looking at new ways to improve the business and to keep up with the entrepreneur world, while asking yourself how you bring value to the people you are speaking to or working with. I also know that the original goals you start out with are usually not the same exact ones you have even just a year later.
Things have to change in order for us to continue to be successful — whatever success means to you. Success is measured in how you measure success and no one else.
The other factor in fueling that voice to give up is fear. Fear is so powerful. We want to quit when we get afraid of the obstacles in front of us.
Remember: reexamining your goals or going in a new direction isn’t giving up — it is brave to look at what isn’t working and to change it. When we give up, we walk away from a part of ourselves that we aren’t honoring.
Embrace change and fear to stoke your career energy.
When I think about the times in my life when I wanted to give up, talking with trusted family and friends about my blocks helped me the most. I also had a positive statement that I would say to myself to help me stay focused. Sometimes, I even took an hour or up to a whole day to take time for myself and get a grasp on what I really wanted or what direction I needed to take.
I also think about the other times in my life when I have been successful and remembered what I did that helped me reach my goals.
Whether it’s a relationship struggle, a career struggle or some other area in your life that you are thinking about giving up on, stop take a breath and know that you have the power to change direction.
Believe in yourself to know that you have the strength to set new goals, learn from your mistakes and keep kicking ass along the way.
Never giving up is knowing that you will continue to move forward with what you want in your life despite obstacles or roadblocks.
Never giving up is also saying that you believe in yourself, and knowing that you can accomplish your goals and live the life that you have always wanted.
What does aliveness mean to you? I was driven to write this blog because I think we don’t cultivate the feeling of aliveness enough.
Feeling alive or having a sense of aliveness is what brings us energy. Aliveness also brings a feeling of being grounded and strong. Aliveness wakes us up to go for what we want—pursuing our dreams, living with joy, and having a wonderful sense of excitement in our lives.
Sometimes we get so bogged down with the heaviness of life that we stop living with vitality.
We get stuck in a routine. We might feel afraid. We can be consumed by the checklists of what we need to get done. When we stop paying attention to what brings us positive energy, we can lose that sense of aliveness—we lose that vital part of ourselves.
One of my favorite authors, Don Miguel Ruiz, offers this thought in one of his books:
“Death is not the biggest fear we have;
our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive
— the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”
I had to read this quote a couple of times to let its meaning sink in. To me, it is so true that we often talk about the fear of death; however what we sometimes really fear is the risk involved in being alive—facing the fear to go for our dreams, taking the risk to make a mistake or even voice what matters the most to us.
When we are feeling our aliveness, we are living our lives regardless of fear or worry.
We know we are living and making choices instead of living in fear because aliveness helps wake us up from a deep slumber or from the routine of our lives. Aliveness challenges us to ask ourselves how can we do better.
In aliveness, we are also honoring parts of ourselves that we dream about and instead of just dreaming, we are doing. Aliveness honors that inner voice that says, “Yes go for it!” and “Isn’t this awesome?” or “You can tackle it and go for your dreams.”
Embracing the risk to live means going for the job you always wanted, the relationship you wanted to have, and the vacation that you have dreamed about. Aliveness also let you know that you are working hard for what you want, what is important to you and what matters.
In the end, aliveness wakes you up to say: YOU matter!!
Aliveness helps us remember parts of ourselves that we have turned off and also reminds us that we are all important and that each of us is worth the risk of living. Death is one thing that we really can’t control, but to make a choice to live is ours. Why not choose to live and let all the wonderful things fall into place?
It doesn’t mean everything magical is going to happen all at once. It means you have to work hard, and you have to make mistakes along the way. You have to fail at some things—the most important thing is you pick yourself up and keep going.
Aliveness give us the strength, the energy, the motivation in some way to say, “Hey! You matter, you can do it, and this risk to live is the best choice you can make.”
Aliveness happens within ourselves and makes our relationships better. Your relationship with yourself, your partner and your friends. It makes it better because you are honoring all parts of who you are and not allowing yourself to turn yourself off.
Aliveness helps you remember who you are, that you matter and your hopes and dreams are so important. When you turn those parts on, people notice and are inspired by you.
Ask yourself today, the next day and so on: what makes you feel alive, what helps you connect to parts of yourself that honor your hopes and dreams, what gives you strength to pick yourself back up when you have failed or made a mistake.
How do you participate and cultivate this sense of aliveness within yourself and how do you continue to make the choice to continue to live.
Have fun on this wonderful journey of life, living it and honoring aliveness!
Today’s blog discusses the importance of connections. Creating connections is one of the most important things we can do. Why, you ask, is it so important? It’s important because we survive and thrive with connections.
We live in a world right now that provides instant gratification and we are constantly on our phones or computers. I recently heard a popular dating app now has a section where you can find friends to hang out with just like dating. We are shopping for friends with a swipe right or swipe left just like we are trying to find our soulmate, while doing the same thing. What happened to saying hi to someone at a coffee shop or being kind and holding the elevator for someone on your way up? I see families, couples and friends out together at dinner with every single person on their phone, instead of engaging with each other.
So, in my practice, I hear the result of this way of life: loneliness, lack of friendships or connections with people, and the fear of being alone leading people to stay in bad relationships. I am by no means perfect at this, I have been guilty of looking at my phone during a dinner with friends or even my family and I have also stayed in a bad relationship before because of my past fear of loneliness and having to go through heartbreak. However, the power of positive connections are things that help us survive the bad stuff in our lives. We can’t prevent bad things from happening and we learn ways to survive them.
One of the ways that we learn to survive and to live is through connections.
When I was going through my own heartbreak, one of the major things that helped me was my connections with my friends and family. I knew that even in the low moments, I had to reach out and call my family or friend or schedule time to meet up with them. There are other coping skills that help you through dark times, but connections help us in more ways than one. The kind of connections I am talking about are the healthy ones: dinner with friends, coffee dates, watching a movie with a friend or talking on the phone (not texting). Also, going for a walk with a friend group, hugs from friends or family and even planning a vacation together. These are healthy ideas that pull us through.
What I also see in my practice is since people are so afraid to be alone, we can sometimes end up compromising our beliefs and values to stay in unhealthy relationships. We end up hurting ourselves emotionally because we end up compromising ourselves. I also know that out of fear sometimes we create unhealthy connections. This is where we compromise on ourselves and we start to lose self-respect, or we get caught up in a vicious cycle of acting out and then feeling shame about it. So, we continue with the same cycle until we just can’t take it anymore.
Healthy connections can pull us through and fill us with love and self-love.
We don’t end up in a shame cycle of making bad choices. Instead we fill ourselves up with love. Think back to times that you find yourself laughing with friends and remember how you feel. Did you feel full of joy? Full of happiness or contentment…feeling lighter? This is the way we feel when we participate in healthy connections with people who authentically love us. Real love is unconditional and that is what healthy connections give us. Unconditional love of ourselves and love from our family and friends that love and accept us no matter what.
The other important part of this is we have to make ourselves responsible to reach out and ask for help when we need it. We also have to reach out to others. In dark times we sometimes want to isolate ourselves, which lead us to making those unhealthy choices. When we ask for help, we connect. We don’t have to keep ourselves isolated or keep secrets; we are met with love and joy. We naturally feel better and we don’t feel alone.
It’s always ok to ask for help. We also have a responsibility to reach out to others too.
You know that saying, “Always be kind because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”? This is so true when we are kind — we help someone just for a moment take a deep breath. Think about it, when was the last time you smiled at a stranger or held the door open for someone had that done for you? It felt good and you caught yourself smiling back even though you may have had a shitty day—just for a moment you took a deep breath.
Also, because we live in a world where we are so busy, we get caught up and we stop reaching out to people, even when we know they are going through something or maybe we just haven’t talked to them in a long time. Please reach out to that person, even do it today.
I remember, some night when I was going through hard times feeling down and then someone would call and I would automatically feel better even if it was only for a little while. Recently, I have been reminded at how precious life can be and how quickly it can be taken from us. It made me realize that when we connect, when we show kindness we create a positive experience even if it’s just for a moment in time.
We don’t know what is going to happen, but we do have control over how we treat others and we do so with love. Love is kind, compassionate, filled with boundaries, empathy, joy, freedom and playfulness to name a few. With love, with connection we are making a difference in someone else’s life and we may never know it and that’s ok too.
So today or even for this week, reach out and connect to a friend or family member and let them know how much you appreciate them. Smile at a stranger or hold that door open for someone, put your phone down and talk to your friends, partner or family member and engage. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.
With connection there is love, with connection there is life.