How to Step into Courage

Look.  I get it.  It takes lots of vulnerability to be courageous sometimes.  Trust me, after writing my previous post here, I almost erased it.  So how does one step into courage?  First, let’s take a look at the word itself.  What is courage?

  1. :  mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

That was how Merriam-Webster defined it.  But to be honest, I define it in thousand little ways and I am willing to bet that you have done any number of things that could be considered courageous.

I want to show you an exercise that I might do with my Club, so bear with me a moment.  Take a good look at this quote:  It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.  ~Erma Bombeck

Have you ever shown your dreams to other people?  That moment when you are on the brink of telling them the greatest joy you ever had and the plans you want to make and you rush forward and.  Stop.  <<< well that’s fear and we’re actually going to talk about that a little later in my Club and on my FB Page, but courage is when you take that deep breath after the panic and you go ahead.  So if you’d like, take a moment to journal around this thought.  You can pin this to come back to this if you want, but I really want you to think about this quote.

Our culture is ripe with tales of courage.  Do you remember being a kid and watching Indiana Jones?  Oh how I loved that movie.  Especially this part, and I didn’t make it so ignore the spelling:

Well, it just so happens that I couldn’t stand snakes after I accidentally stepped on one in an outdoor hotel lobby.  And it wrapped around my ankle and bit me and I had to go to the hospital for hours with no food in my stomach in case it was venomous.  Anyway, so later in life I volunteered at the Virginia Living Museum and I learned how to reach my hand into a pillow case, no lie, and grab a snake that was not venomous.  I also learned that their scales are like the same thing as finger nails…it still doesn’t mean I like them, but I tried.

Anyway, I bet you have done something in your life that took great courage.  I felt fear yet I was choosing to try to get over that fear as best I could.  That is a sign of stepping into courage.  I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.  ~Nelson Mandela

Then there was this time that a lady was bullying my friend and everyone at work was so afraid of this lady.  She would scream we were racists if we stood up to her, so she would hide, go on longer lunch breaks, not come back to the classroom for hours, seriously, and then when she did show up, she wouldn’t help my friend (yes, later she was put on probation).  Anyway, she stood in the hall screaming at my friend in front of kids and other teachers one day so I stood up to her and said whatever it was I said to get her to calm down, and then later I reported the incident when no one else would.  They didn’t want to be the ones to report this lady, no lie, because they knew she’d come after them.  A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

After that incident, I was shaking, but I got it done.  Have you ever stood up to a bully before?   It’s not easy, but it must be done.  I will always practice what I would preach to my children.  How could I not?

At some point in your life, there are any number of actions that have taken courage my friends.  I just know it.  You have probably felt afraid, but done something anyway like riding a roller coaster.  You have listened to your heart or even your gut and stepped out on that stage to speak.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”~ Steve Jobs

I said yes to jumping on an airplane to England last year, and going by myself to speak at a conference and I am so glad I did.  I hadn’t actually met anyone in person and my parents thought any number of things could have gone wrong…it was a list daily.  But without the courage to travel alone, walk around London alone, and go see Stonehenge alone, I would have always regretted it.  What if…what ifs are the things we don’t want to be thinking about.

Want to learn more?  30 days of journal prompts around courage in the month of August plus tutorials, master classes online, meditations, bonus yoga poses and more.  >>>  Head|Heart|Health Club <<<

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Why You Aren’t Happy Right Now…and How to Change That!

One of the top questions I hear is “I am making improvements in my life, why am I not happy yet?”  I get asked this about many things, but in a nutshell, the answer is actually because you really haven’t thought about being happy.  Shock!  I have thought about it a hundred times…you think.  But it drifts off into the sea of other thoughts around what you need to make you happy.  If I only had…a bigger house.  If I only had…a relationship.  More money would really help make me happy.  You then carry on with your day and your thoughts about things that would make you happy.

Lots of people are looking for happiness in the wrong places.  Some people believe happiness comes when they get what they want.  Interesting.  What next?  Do we stay happy after getting what we want then?

Life is a series of complex decisions; however, what if it didn’t have to be.  What if you could declutter your life, get rid of things you don’t want and start over.  Interesting concept.  Downsize instead of supersize?  No way.  Hmm.  But what if?

Many people don’t believe happiness is a choice that only they can make.  I am going to provide you with some tips on how you can choose happiness over and over again, and maybe, just maybe, start to see that is not based off some magical formula, a fairy tale, or even a myth that has been handed down for generations.  Happiness is truly what you make of it.

How to Create Lasting Happiness Right Now:

    • Start a gratitude journal if you don’t already have one.  I know you guys have been watching my weekly talk about this on my fan page when I am Live, but have you started your journal with me?  I am not going to stop talking about it, because we focus so much on what’s wrong, we have forgotten our joys y’all.  I had to throw a y’all in there so you would know I am serious.  Just take a look at your feed.  Count the people who post their blessings…for REAL.  Umm hmm.  Not many, right? Anyway, my exact journal is posted above.  I love it!
    • Clear your space for happiness.  Do you get depressed in a dirty house?  An unmade bed?  Dirty sheets?  No nice smelly things like oils, etc.?  Start tidying up to make room for happiness.  Happiness can start with an intention.  We feel better now because we have done something.  It actually raises our vibration to walk into a nice, clean, insert favorite scent here, room.  I have a diffuser similar to this one to help me feel relaxed and at ease.
    • Work only on what you can change…about you.  So many times, I see people worrying about what others are doing on a daily basis.  The corrupt politicians, the boss, work issues, family who do x, y, z.  All these people have faults just like you.  We aren’t getting anywhere in this world by talking about what we don’t like.  Period.  It has not ever changed one thing in my life.  What has?  Focusing on what I can do to make things better.  Writing articles to help people.  Helping people take back their lives makes me happy.  No strings attached, just pure happiness.  As I work to promote the good I see, things inside of me change as well.  As I help others, I help myself.
    • Practice makes perfect-ish.  I wanted to use this old saying, but let you know that no one is actually perfect.  However, practicing gratitude and changing your focus over and over again can actually change your percentage of happiness.  No Way.  But yes way, because a fancy researcher said so.  According to Robert Emmons, PhD in his book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, those who regularly practice gratitude can enhance this set point by as much as 25%.  I don’t know him, but what a cute book.  I am actually reading a similar one…but it’s almost too behavioral study based and long-winded for me.
    • Use a wide viewpoint…and not just a narrow one.  If you consistently see your problems as the only ones, then that creates an ego-based viewpoint of the world.  Be aware of your circle of friends, and what the world is also going through.  Cultivate compassion for others and their needs…but not to the point of using your needs as a basis for inserting it into every conversation.  That still brings it down to a narrow viewpoint.  Social media has made it more “me based” instead of “us based”.  Don’t be that way with your friends.
    • Always keep trying.  Just because you have a set-back, or something sad happens, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel it.  Of course you are.  But don’t stay in that place forever.  Keep on going.  Just like I said last week, you have the power to live any reality you want simply by shifting your thoughts to where you want to be. 

happiness_oneselfStill looking for more support?  Check out the tops tabs.  Work with me, or the Head|Heart|Health Club.

 

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Stop Apologizing for These 5 Things

I am perfect.  I never make mistakes.  Neither does anyone else in the world.  This actually false, but hey, it’s okay to make mistakes!  What I want to get away from, is apologizing for everyone’s mistakes.  I am serious.  Sometimes I feel like I have to apologize just for the color of my skin, but I know that would be crazy because I had no control over genetics, pigmentation or anything like that.

Unnecessary apologies don’t help anything.  In fact, it sends the message that you think you are responsible for the issue at hand.  Are you?  Did you create the mess we’re all in right now?  I know I didn’t, yet I honestly do find myself wanting to apologize and I realize that is a reaction more to the fact that I want to help the world change.  However, if I keep apologizing for the state of the world, that is a huge burden for just one person to bear.  I know that I am not alone in feeling this way, so let’s look at a few other things we need to stop apologizing for.

5 Things to Stop Apologizing For:

  1. Your skin color or appearance.  I watched this really interesting short video where the parents in some cultures wanted their kids to be lighter skinned…not just here.  I actually had my mouth drop open at one point when a Korean girl said lighter skin there is associated with beauty.  Or the beautiful girl from Bengali.  You see, no one ever said any of this mess to me, thankfully.  I enjoyed darker skin as one side of my family is naturally olive toned.  I actually researched the factors that cause skin to change color, and there are many different reports, but of course, it was an adaptation to protect ourselves much like my own genetic condition to store iron.  Why would we let this bother us so much?  It’s absurd that this is still an issue today.
  2. Your religion.  Whatever you believe, don’t believe or practice, that is personal.  It has no bearing on my life whatsoever…nor should it.  If someone is making you feel guilty for your beliefs or differences, that really says more about them than you.  Don’t apologize for what you believe in.  It’s okay to be different.
  3. Asking a question.  If the question pertains to something that you just don’t understand, or want to get a better grasp on, why should you apologize for it?  I don’t think it’s necessary to apologize for asking questions during a meeting, or even when something seems like the wrong way to go at work.  You might be the one who asks the question in front of everyone, but I bet you are certainly not the only one who had that question.  You can voice your opinion and be bold without needing to apologize.
  4. Having “you” time.  Why do we apologize for this?  Sometimes I don’t want to be involved in someone’s drama, mess or ridiculousness.  Maybe I just really want to have me time…lots.  But that is actually no one’s business.  I do like lots of time alone and I also enjoy time with friends.  Thankfully, my friends get it if I say I don’t feel like doing something or not right now, or whatever I say.  The word no should be enough without needing to apologize for taking a step back.
  5. Circumstances, or health problems, you can’t control.  I felt guilty for so long on this one.  Wow.  Why?  Because I was born with iron overload and didn’t know it??  How the hell was that my fault and why did I keep carrying that around?  I don’t know.  It really wasn’t my fault.  If there are circumstances beyond your control, stop apologizing.  You are wasting precious time feeling guilty, sorry, angry and other emotions that have no place in your life.  They are taking up head space, so kick them out.  Don’t say you are sorry if someone shares something difficult with you as well <<< I have to work on this one.  Try “I can’t imagine how you feel.” Or “That must be difficult.”  Why do we apologize like we caused it???  I know it’s instinct, so I really have to work on this one.

Stop hating yourself

5 Tips on How to Find Yourself

Throughout the last 5 years, I have read lots of book trying to point me in the right direction of some “head clarity”.  I have shared what I learned with friends hoping to help them too.  But in the end, I realized, it doesn’t matter what I share with them because the quest to “find yourself” is a deeply spiritual trip that only you can make.

Maybe you have lost your job, or illness got in the way somehow and changed your entire future…but think about it as the BIG picture, it never really changed your future.  This IS your future.  What you are living right now.  So how do we come to terms with that and find a way to move forward?

5 Tips on How to Find Yourself

  1. Who were you before this perfect version of what your life was supposed to be entered your head?  Is it possible that this person is still under there and if so, how do we let her free?  Take out your journal…because by now you know I am going to say that with some of my exercises.  Write your name in a circle in the center of your journal page.  Write all the words you would use to describe yourself…before you think you got lost.  Everything you write must be something you like.  I know, shocking, but you can do this.  I believe in you.  Take a few seconds to ground yourself by breathing in and out and really concentrating on your name.  Bring up that vision of you.  What is the first word that comes to mind?  Write it and go from there.
  2. Did you remember your dreams?  On the next page, think about what you wanted to do before you felt lost.  Are you doing it?  Again, if this is hard, close your eyes.  Breathe.  Center. Now write what comes to you as you think about what your soul desires.  What steps are you making to get there?  What small steps could you make to start going that way?
  3. Are you accepting what comes to you?  If we drop everyone’s expectation for a minute…have you turned down something that came to you because of what others might think?  There might be a lesson that you missed because of what others would think or an opportunity you walked away from that you wished you hadn’t.  Don’t look back.  Open new doors. Continue on.  Write one thing that if it came to you, you would be open to accepting it right now!  Breathe.  Center.  Write.
  4. How often do you practice stillness?  Go back to your list of words that you wrote to describe yourself.  Pick a word that you really, really like.  I’ll start.  “I am _____.”  I am going to insert the word strong.  So in my moments of stillness, I am going to think and affirm to myself that I am strong.  No other thoughts are going to come into my head as I think about this.  Similarly, you can use “I am healthy.” This puts you in control of your thoughts, not the other way around.  They are thoughts.  YOUR thoughts.  Control them with this practice and remember who you are.  Practice these Gratitude Mantras if you are stuck.
  5. Have you gotten out of your comfort zone, or are you digging in and making it a permanent residence?  Interesting and fabulous things can happen when you get out of the comfort zone.  This crazy yoga pose I had convinced myself I was not strong enough to do, well I got mad, hahaha, anyway, and then I tried it.  I laugh because use your emotions for a higher purpose.  Don’t let them take you down a level.  So, use your fear of being uncomfortable just for a minute.  Think about worst case scenario.  For me, it was falling over and getting hurt.  But I was safe because hubby, who might have made me mad, I don’t know, was my spotter.  So he wasn’t going to let me fall..and when I realized that I could do it, well I said a cuss word really loud because I do that in my head, and sometimes they just come out of my mouth too.  But I did the pose.  How long could I have been practicing that if I hadn’t been afraid of failure because I was once not strong enough?  I was my own worst enemy.  So are you…but chances are, you know that.

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Find YourselfLike this post?  There is more of this kind of thing in my new program 4 Weeks to Wellness. Or Head|Heart|Health tab at the top of the blog.

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