Want to Make Friends After 40? Try these tips.

Want to make friends after 40?  Hey.  Want to be my friend?  Sure.  And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope.  I just made a new friend like this yesterday.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wish it was.

As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right?  Not so.  I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do.  My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now.  However, some of my friends have younger kids.  They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.

I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time.  I want to let you in on a little secret.  This in-between limbo place is hard.  I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well.  I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent.  Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.

The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together.  A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights.  So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?

How to make friends after 40:

  1. You have to be open to the possibility.  Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey.  That looks like fun.  Can I come too?”  <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is.  New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to.  You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well.  See what happens from there.  I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
  2. Announce it on your status.  Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right?  So say “Hey.  I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date.  Comment if you’re in.”  Boom.  You have a night out planned.
  3. Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract.  I don’t cross-stitch.  I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle.  I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights.  I could go on, but you get my drift.  I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me.  The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse.  << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
  4. Join online groups of like-minded people.  After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups.  Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital.  What if there’s nothing on the list that you like?  Start your own if you want.  Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over.  Wear your house colors though.

Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you.  That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse.  I agree with that to be honest.  I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today.  I’m writing.  It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic.  Holy Crap.  My kids are almost in college.  I need to make more of an effort.  And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age.  So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event.  I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks.  If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.

Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group?  Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<

Want to walk away from drama? Here’s how.

here's how to walk away from dramaLook.  I get it.  You’re a grown-up.  And so am I, but sometimes things have a way of following us around. As the mother of two teenage girls, I want to practice what I preach.  A few years ago, I was suffering from friendships that seemed to belong back in high school, and to be honest, I kept letting them happen.

I never saw it coming.  I always thought of myself as a strong person, but somewhere deep down inside, I knew I just wanted to be like “everyone else”.  I had convinced myself that other adults were having these fabulous girl’s nights out, and going off with other couples and even going on vacation together (did I like someone enough for that??).

So at one of my many “this is the year I am going to…” moments, I decided to reach out and make a new friend.  The problem was and still is, things come with warning signs.  Many, many, many warning signs.  And if you are so desperate for friendship that you ignore some of your own standards, it goes to hell in a handbag really quickly.  << Southernism.

You see, the toxic, drama-filled friendship was full of stop signs, skull and crossbones type warnings, and red flags.  I ignored them all.  I honestly looked for the good in the friendship and for whatever reason, thought this person couldn’t help it (note, that is bullshit).  So I had attracted a narcissistic type relationship yet again.

What’s the good news in this?

I recognized the signs one day when I realized my friend wasn’t happy about the success I was having in healing, moving on, and getting better in my life.  Want to learn more?  Check this out later: Coping when a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

How to walk away from drama:

  1. Acknowledge that you deserve better.  This is a huge step.  You are a magnificent human being.  Say that out loud.  Your past does not define you, and your past mistakes do not mean that you are no longer worthy and deserving of a great friendship, job, partner, or whatever it is that is causing you drama.
  2. Stop creating it if it’s you.  So this part might be difficult, but acknowledge your part.  Are you poking the bear?  Do you just love arguing?  Notice and reflect on areas where you might be the catalyst and start to step away from people and situations that feel like you are deliberately needing the attention or the last word.  Yes.  This is hard advice, but truly notice that having the last word with someone who loves drama will not change their mind…nor will it change yours.
  3. Gossip needs legs.  I worked with this woman once who would literally grab anyone who walked by her room, pull them inside and show them someone’s FB page just to joke on their recent photos.  It was like a Venus Fly Trap of gossip up in there.  Don’t be fooled.  Avoid, if at all possible, the water cooler type conversations where people can and will overhear.  Where Venus can run on back and grab more people saying that you, yes you, were the one that started this rumor knowing all along it’s not true.  However, people did see the two of you talking.  The perfect set-up.
  4. Set the boundaries.  I waited too long to tell someone I wished she hadn’t told me about all the back-stabbing and sleeping around every time I met one of her “friends”.  Because guess what?  If she’s ready to tell all about their business, she certainly will talk about mine.  You better believe this fact.  I didn’t want to be in that type of friendship.  It was draining to hide what I knew and draining to listen to it.  It was a loop.
  5. Accept it, learn from it, and go on with life. ~Vincent Neerings
    I could also quote good ole’ Kenny rogers and so I shall: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away, and know when to run.  I learned a hard lesson.  And for a long time, I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to make new friends.  Then one evening, I met a new person who was so full of life she was a joy to be around.  She only saw the best in other people and we talked about everything, and never once has the conversation veered into any areas that made me feel awful, drained, or lowered in any way.

I started surrounding myself with only people who lifted me up, and I continued to heal.  I felt better about myself and life and knew that there were actually people out there who were meant to stay in my life.  I also started teaching others how to attract the types of relationship into their lives that were good for them, and how to work on healing their own lives through my journal therapy, yoga, and affirmation exercises.  If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to have you.  >> I need support. <<

Coping When a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

 dys·func·tion·al

The friendship started innocently enough.  We had lots of things in common so small talk led to drinks after work, outings, and even group adventures.  I was so happy that I had found a friend who really listened to me and supported me.  As time went on, I started feeling heard less and less.  I tried to make adjustments in the conversation, but it always circled back to whatever new and terrible thing had happened to her.  Some nights, I would be on the computer for hours consoling her and helping her through something.  I would go to bed mentally and physically drained.  The “friendship” was not reciprocal.

My husband had enough and told me to just ignore the messages that always started out the same way.  It seemed she wanted to catch up and “talk”, but we never did anything anymore.  She didn’t call me on the phone, didn’t answer my text messages, and didn’t want to see me.  She just wanted to use messenger as her personal dumping ground all night long.

I felt alone and isolated in the friendship.  I was not important enough to make time for.  There were other examples as well.  An event we were going to go to together that she said we would plan…weeks later, photos of her with someone else at the event.  Exercise class no show…and excuses on nights I asked her to do something with me, or just come over and chat.  However, throughout this process, when she needed me or wanted to come over to see a mutual friend, I made the time.  I was always making time because trust is something I value.

That’s when it finally hit me.  I didn’t trust her anymore due to the lies and excuses.  I was nurturing a friendship that was crumbling because I believed she would wake up and see what she was doing to me.  It wasn’t going to happen because I was not the only one she lied to.  She lied to her husband, to her work, to mutual friends, and most of all, to herself.  I could not fix this.  She had to get back to seeing a weekly counselor and nothing I did or said would ever be enough until she was ready to work on herself.

How to cope when a friendship ends?

  • Make a plan. What would you do if you were to run into this person again?  What would happen if this person wanted back in your life?  I know the answers seem hard to think about, but it’s best to run through that now while you are fresh to whatever happened in the relationship.  The main question is does the relationship empower me or deflate me?  Is there capacity for an authentic, honest relationship or not?  Honestly, you already know the answers to these questions.
  • Write your feelings down. I know that this is not like a funeral…but in a way, it is.  You are dealing with the stages of grief, and it is a serious thing.  You have loved that friend, cared for that friend, and despite your best efforts, the friendship ended.  I haven’t forgotten the moments of happiness the friendship brought me, and despite the fact that for the better part of a year I saw the friendship going down a steep hill into a black abyss that sucked all the joy out of it, I still regret the way it ended.  But I also know it takes two working together to save a relationship.  Not one.  The primary emotion that comes to me is anger because of the way it ended.  Anger that I was made to be in the middle of something that was never about me anyway. 
  • Think about the qualities you really want in a friend.  I was in a bad place when we met, but as I started to get better, it seemed to make my friendship worse.  That doesn’t even sound okay to me now.  How could a friend not be happy for me?  I wanted someone who could talk to me in person and not make excuses because they were mad that I was doing better.  I am not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
  • That brings me to “Don’t take it personally.” Everyone is dealing with their own demons.  If the friendship ends, there is a good chance that it is freeing you up for something new.  It will hurt for a long time, but eventually you will realize that you have broken the cycle and moved on.  New friends await you, and this time, as soon as you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, be brave and have that conversation on what is important to you in a friendship.  If this person is meant to be in your life, they will understand, value you, and most importantly, make time for you.

As your self-esteem and self-worth improves, these old friends WILL fall away if they are not meant to be in your life.  You are making room for so much more my friend.  In my closed group, the Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on exactly what we want to attract in our lives and that includes new boundaries for ourselves and realizing that it truly is okay to feel worthy.

How to Create Meaningful Female Friendships

Because we do this and pose ^^^

“Oh my God, Becky. Look at her butt.”  Have no fear, that’s just some lyrics to Baby Got Back.  However, could it have been you or your friends commenting on another woman’s body at one time in your life?  The answer to this question is yes.  Yes.  Let’s be honest with each other.  We have all said or even thought something we regretted.  It is part of the human experience. 

I am going to be honest.  The first time I look at photos of myself, I usually cringe.  I don’t know why, but my guess is that pesky thing known as “karmic programming” which I will get to in a moment.  But when we notice these thoughts and feelings about other people, we have to wonder are we reflecting something back about ourselves we don’t like?  Then we have to dig deeper into our karmic programming, which is a history that has been passed down through the generations of how we feel about ourselves or how we view our bodies, etc.  Here is my example…and it’s just honest reflection, but in the south, women seem to dress up, wear make-up, and diet more than other places.  I could be wrong, but it is what I have observed.  The girls I went to school with were very concerned about appearance and hair, my Lord, was everything.

So to break out of that way of thinking, or programming if you will, requires lots of pausing and reflection that as teenagers, we just really don’t have.  In college, we might have a bit more, but as mothers, oh as mothers you would think we would know how hard it has been.  Sometimes this is not true.  So in order for all women to benefit from breaking this cycle of thoughts, we have to try to speak better, think better and build better relationships with the women around us.  We have to watch how we speak to ourselves and how we speak to other women…even if it’s in our heads my sisters.

How to Create Meaningful Friendships:

  1. Avoid feeding into the negative body image feelings that most women have.  This is the hardest one, so I started with it.  This weekend at a conference, we were asked to turn to the woman next to us and tell them what we saw in their eyes, their faces, and write it on these heart-shaped mirrors.  The woman next to me was sparkling, but because of my skills, I knew she didn’t think so.  I also saw her beautiful, vulnerable eyes.  She was an international woman, a woman who has her own business, but had just said to me, I usually don’t take my sweater off because of my arms.  The first thought that came in to my head as I turned to look at her was how dazzling she was.  Just pure love in her eyes, but such vulnerability that as I told her she was beautiful and dazzling, we both started crying.  Know that as you feel vulnerable, so does the woman you are friends with.
  2. Embrace differences and allow for growth.  Where your friendships are right now, in this moment, is not where they were 6 years ago.  Hopefully that is a good thing.  However, if they are in the exact same place as 6 years ago, and you are having the same conversations about the same things, ask yourself if you are feeling fulfilled in this friendship or is this just a “surface” level type of friendship where you don’t feel connected.  The surface level friendships just don’t last usually because they will always hold something back.  A deeper friendship should strengthen with time and feel different…like you have grown roots and might even be connected.  As you reach for that connection, test out your answers.  Do you feel comfortable with the entire truth in this friendship?  If the answer is yes, or even hell yes, I’d tell her anything and she just gets me, then you are a lucky sister.  We can find those friends, and when we do, we need to hold on.
  3. Don’t listen to others…feed your own soul.  Sometimes, there are those who are jealous.  They look at the surface and make nasty comments.  Did you see her outfit?  She needs to lose weight.  She acts so ridiculous.  Why is she so happy all the time?  These comments are usually a reflection of the person making them.  Point of fact for me…I sometimes have gotten a few nasty comments from people I don’t know on my FB page.  I can always tell as soon as I read their comments that it is a reflection of something they are going through and has no bearing on my life what so ever.  Delete.  Do not engage.  I know it’s difficult, I AM A SCORPIO.  Trust me.  However, I say a few nice things under my breath about how difficult it must be to carry so much judgement, hate, and malice and I really hope they think about how it would feel if they were being open, honest and vulnerable to sayyyy 100,000 people, and I let it go.

Remind yourself to do a mental check-in on how you are feeling during the day and if a friend is having a particularly rough week, try to be gentle.  No, it’s not easy.  Will it be worth it?  I think so.  Chances are, whatever is coming up for them feels awful, and they will notice it as well.  Re-direct on what is going right for them this week, or how great they look in the color whatever…and know that they are sometimes in the ego, and not in the heart.

It takes a long time and many hours to re-direct and shift our thoughts away from tearing each other down, or ourselves down, but it can be done and more meaningful friendships can be born out of this soul-searching experience.

vulnerabilities

 

5 Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships Today!

I took a quick poll last week about the topics that my readers wanted to hear more about and this was one of the top three!  So to clarify for everyone out there, relationships don’t have to be romantic; however, I have been married for 18 years and this year marks year 20 with my college sweetheart.  My best-friend from elementary school and I have been friends for almost as old as I am…which is to say a long time.  Additionally, I have the greatest group of girlfriends who meet on a regular basis and are not afraid to let vulnerability be discussed.  Has it always been this way?  Heck no!!  All of the above relationships have been through some twists and turns, but I did pick up a few tips along the way.

5 Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships Today:

  1. Open lines of communication are the number one tip that I have for you today, and that includes the “trust factor”.  If you don’t trust your partner, your friends, or your family, how are you going to be open?  You aren’t.  You will always hold part of yourself back and that could even border on holding back the truth which will further work to damage the trust.  I had a friend for a number of years who I genuinely cared about; however, that being said, each and every time we talked she would hide things or craft some sort of story that never seemed to be quite the truth.  Time after time things were missing in our conversations.  I ignored these signs, until one day I simply could not.  The trust factor has to be there or the relationship will not be able to move forward.
  2. You have to be able to accept criticism that is honest and meant to help you grow.  That being said, if this criticism comes from a harsh argument, it will not be effective at all.  Moreover, you should develop active or reflective listening.  In active listening, we are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, or what the message means, and we are able to process this as a type of feedback.  This is hard.  It is.  But I have seen it done with my group of girlfriends.  One of them recently went through a divorce and has developed this skill through that process.  She brings questions to the table about things and genuinely wants to know what we all think or how we feel.  It has strengthened our friendship whereas before, she did not want to listen to advice before as it was painful to her.  She is really trying hard to separate fact from feeling as she actively listens to our advice about whatever she is asking.  It also helps that we are not giving her unsolicited advice.  We are all there to lift her up.
  3. Develop and hone in on your compassion and empathy.  Remember how I dislike the word judge?  Icky.  It makes us feel like we are on trial; however, there is a thing called discernment and that is different.  We become aware of the emotional response and might know what triggers our friends, partners and family members.  We then try to come at it from a place of compassion.  We are more open and connected to what is going on this way and can tap into our inner intuition about what is really at the root of a problem.  This saves us.  It reminds us to speak from love.
  4. Remember to have boundaries.  It is important to remember how to separate your feelings from that of your friends and partners.  Likewise, it is important to know you can’t heal them emotionally.  That is their job and not yours.  One of my favorite memes recently has the little guy holding the jar of happiness and his friend comes over and says “Where did you get that?”  And little guy says “I made it myself.” BOOM!  Microphone drops.  Have boundaries on your emotions before they get drained.
  5. Make time for the relationship…that isn’t on technology.  The phones.  The phones.  They are everywhere.  When trying to communicate they are a distraction.  Make time by shutting off the technology and creating a sacred space for you to unwind and be real.  This can be weekly, or monthly depending on your schedule, but try to get outside as well and enjoy some much-needed fresh air with your friend or loved one.  It’s not only a lifesaver…but a relationship saver as well.

FriendshipWant to know more about how to journal yourself to a better you?  Read more under 4 Weeks to Wellness.

Save

5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator

Sometime back, I decided I needed to take better measures to protect myself from what I sensed were emotional manipulators.  I did things people thought I would never do.  I MOVED ON.  Seriously.  I got my journal, my yoga, my meditation ladies, my new circle of friends who lifted everyone up and then moved the hell away from the nasty black hole feelings I got from other people.  I became “different” apparently.  Or not.  If my spidey sense was fully open and I used my sense motive check on the person and found their motives to be dishonest, I moved on.  I could physically no longer take it anymore.  So how did I spot some of the people I needed to get away from?

5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator

  1. Whatever is wrong in your life…their life is ten times worse, so they turn it back to them.  If you are going through something, they are going through something far worse and make it a point to let you know that.  Over and over and over again.  Now your stuff could actually be life-threatening…but their mental drama is far worse.  It’s difficult to talk to them about anything seriously hard in your life, because whatever it is, you know they will turn it back to what they are going through.  How bad their “shit” is.
  2. It is never their fault.  Ever.  After months of listening to them turn every conversation around back to their stuff, they seem to have the same problem over and over again.  Naturally, it is everyone around them and not them.  They never start anything…it’s the world.  They tell you this story to get you to feel sorry for them and they do a great job at it.  But when you offer practical solutions to this “problem” they can’t be bothered to actually try anything to move forward.  Thus repeating the cycle.
  3. They use ridiculous phrases that make no sense, yet somehow they weave guilt into the words.  Whatever you do or say is never enough.  You have no idea how to help anymore because you have tried everything yet they still say phrases like “you just don’t know how this feels.”  Here is the KICKER.  They repeatedly ask you for help, but not in so many words and when you finally try to help them, they say they didn’t ask for your help.  WHAT the actual F Bomb.  So then, because of this great and enormous problem they have created in order for you to feel sorry for them in this continual loop, for thinking you might should help them because they seem to want that support from you over and over…when you do try to help, it wasn’t what they wanted.
  4. They lower your vibration repeatedly.  This one can be felt as soon as you walk into a room with one of these people.  You immediately put your guard up…but you feel it.  You feel like you have to raise their emotional state because you are thrown off-balance.  The same story they cling to has now become part of their very fabric.  It reaches out to pull you down to that level.  Each and every time.  This co-dependent cloak they wear will rob you of your ability to realize you are not them or their problems.  You actually can leave this situation.
  5. They shrink back when you shine.  You find them not happy for what is going on in your life…and you have no idea why.  So overtime, as things in your life improve, the life they are leading takes a turn for the worse as a last desperate measure to keep you there with them.  This might be where they start to tell others more lies…as you have gotten this feeling all along, but know that if the feeling keeps getting worse, the end is near.  It takes a strong person to see these things for what they are…and the knowledge that there was nothing you could have done differently because they created a world where they wanted to be saved repeatedly, but not really get out of victim mentality.

Continue to focus on the positive things going on in your life and don’t feel guilty for moving forward.  Always do what is best for you so that you can continue becoming who you were really meant to be.

walk awayWould love to have you in the closed group so that you can work more on your boundaries.  Check out the tab at the top called Head|Heart|Health Club.  Don’t be afraid to shine!!

Save

5 Signs You Have Outgrown a Friendship

I am feeling inclined to write to you about this which ultimately means that there is someone out there needing to hear this message today.  Yesterday I went to lunch with a girlfriend.  She said “Dude” because I love that word, anyway she said “I saw the most profound quote and I have to share it with you…but let me find it first.”  So I waited for her to find it and then I was like whoa.  Just whoa.  So I am going to place it here for you to read.

forget

We have both struggled in the last two years with outgrowing friends in our lives.  These friends came into our lives at a time when we really needed them, and so for both of us, it has been an interesting period of growth.  We saw what we needed to do a year ago, but we both found it difficult so we pressed on trying to repair the crack with duct tape and Kraggle (crazy glue).

For my situation, it comes down to one thing, and one thing only.  Honesty.  If I can’t trust a friend anymore, then there really is no friendship.  But of course, there were other signs along the way.

5 Signs You Have Outgrown A Friendship:

  1. You don’t feel like you trust them, so therefore you hold back from what you were really going to say.  This is a huge warning sign.  If they are your friend and you have seriously deep concerns about something they are doing that might be endangering their well-being, why can’t you voice it?  You should be able to voice your opinion, concern, fear, or whatever out of love.  Likewise, if you are really friends and family members of theirs are concerned, it should be okay to have that discussion out of concern for self-care.  It is as simple as that really.
  2. When you announce good news, success and new things coming up, you get the distinct feeling they are not happy for you because they make no comment or direct it back to what is happening in their lives at the moment.  So you shrink a little inside and stop telling them.  This is wrong.  You should be able to celebrate without fear of jealousy, envy, or shame at the fact that you did something worthwhile.
  3. Your only communication is via messenger or text.  Short texts are sent “Let’s get together soon.” or even worse, no mention of getting together happens because the person is having another crisis and can’t fit you into their plans at the moment.  Excuses are constantly made and you know they are lying to you.  They post photos with other friends, manage to find time to get together with them, and continue to hold you at arm’s length.  Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is not that full.
  4. Something feels completely and totally “off” every single time you talk to them.  You either have great intuition or perhaps you ignore it, but if it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t right.  Just to make sure, you try to get some clarity from mutual friends, but be careful here.  They might be the one causing the wedge to begin with.  Never say anything you wouldn’t say to that person.  There are way too many lies out there and you don’t need it in a friendship.  At least that is how I operate.
  5. They have a new love interest or fling…and that’s all they talk about.  At first, you are tolerant of it because you understand new.  But months, or years later, they are still taking this guy everywhere, or inviting you over and he shows up, or he wants to tag along on a “Girl’s Weekend” and not give you the space you asked for prior to the trip.  Warning!!!  Warning!!! Juvenile behavior ahead.  Who knows what she is telling him.  Who knows what she tells you that she tells him <<< see that shit right there.  High School.  All of a sudden you keep getting these very bad feelings about the whole thing and you know for a fact that it’s time to go.

This is the hardest part.  What comes next?  Suffering is Optional.  << Read that for more.

So back to the quote, I close with my conversation from “J”.  Forget with generosity…let’s let them go from our lives.  No hard feelings, no negative energy or regret.  Just let them go from our lives graciously.  Those who cannot love us: The word cannot is the key.  They were, for whatever reason unable to love us in the way that we need.  It could be because of personality, circumstances, different phases of life, whatever.  But they literally “could not” love us.  <<< that’s some good advice right there.

Letting those people go consciously and peacefully and without animosity gives us a certain freedom instead of hanging onto that anger, hurt and frustration.    <<< Look at my friend just Yogi the hell out of this for me.  I was like say what?  This is a blog post.

3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down

let_goYesterday my friend from Inner Sanctuary: BE Inspired and I led the most amazing workshop called New Year|New Moon Let Go and Look Forward.  I planned the yoga session on releasing and unwinding while Lindsey planned the most amazing meditation and journaling session.  With just a few short phrases designed to make us think about what our worst moment of last year was and why we felt that way, I was able to see what I feared most about the situation.  I don’t mind telling you that the worst moment was actually learning that a friend’s cancer came back.  She asked us to think about the feelings surrounding that and write down a few words to describe it.  Previous to this, Lindsey asked us to write down our best moment and words to describe it.  My best moment was completing yoga teacher training.

So Lindsey asked us if we saw parallels…were the words on the opposite end of each other?  I immediately saw the connection for me.  As most of you know, I have battled invisible disease for a long time.  I know what it feels like to get bad news from a doctor and to think that there is no hope, even if it’s just that split second where they tell you the news.  So for that split second when D told me her news, I felt what she felt.  Okay, maybe longer than that because that is what I do…but after that, I was like no.  The opposite feeling is my best moment.  I felt strong and healthy.  I knew that was what I wanted for my friend and I knew that the feelings surrounding that were what my group of friends worked so hard on trying to create for D.

It was very powerful for me to see what exactly I want to create for my circle of friends as well as myself.  It was powerful for me to see why I had to let go of friendships that didn’t want the same for me last year as well as why I had to let go of any residual feelings surrounding feeling weak or hopeless.  I was now in the zone to create the opposite.  The circle of women yesterday were trying so hard to get past whatever was blocking them that I knew that’s why I had to let go of the past.  Whatever is meant to be in your life will find a way.  I believe that.

3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down:

  1. Envision the BEST version of you and what that looks like and feels like.  Lindsey had us look into a mirror and see the worst version of ourselves and the best.  We forgave that worst version of ourselves and thanked her for getting us to the point where we are today.  It was empowering to forgive her.  We then embraced the best version possible of ourselves.  We allowed her to step fully into the light and move forward with us.
  2. Explore the feelings behind what is weighing you down.  Not the actual thing, but what is it about those feelings that is holding you back?  Why are you holding onto those things?  Do you think you can imagine a better outcome?  It is too late for that now, so release the feelings, but instead work towards the opposite of how that made you feel.  If you need to, thank that situation for whatever good it taught you and use it to move forward from that place of pain or unwanted emotion.
  3. Make a new plan for the best version of you.  This is the part where you really have to be diligent in what you allow into your space.  This is YOUR space and sometimes things are easier said than done.  I know this.  You might not be able to control the outside situation, but you can control your thoughts and how you react to things.  If you are about to react in a way that would not propel you forward, as I have said in the past, try hard to make a different plan.  An example would be one I use for my yoga students…come to the mat and the rest will take care of itself.  Don’t worry about what you CAN’T do.  Instead focus on what you CAN do!

I received a wonderful compliment yesterday after my yoga flow.  I wasn’t sure what the new student was going to say, but she said is that how you always teach yoga?  Me: Yes?  She then proceeded to tell me she loved how I integrated the entire mind/body connection into the class.  I truly believe that yoga is a very powerful healing tool and it teaches us to move in a flowing meditation right on our mats.  We learn NOT to be concerned about what the person is doing right near us.  Not to be concerned about body image, or our abilities.  I fully believe in focusing on what you can do and to take that knowledge and move forward into the best version of you for this coming year.  I know that you can do this!

For more on the mind/body connection, read about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course here.  NEW!  See the Head|Heart|Health tab for more help.

Click for yoga tips for beginners

Save

3 ways to build a strong friendship.

3 ways to build a strong friendship

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.   ~C. S. Lewis

Do you ever meet someone and things just instantly click?  How about over time, you come to realize someone you weren’t quite sure about at first, has crept into your heart and you realize that you would miss them if they weren’t in your life?  However your friendship starts, it takes lots and lots of nourishment to keep it going.  Just like any relationship worth having.

One of the hardest things when you get older, is to keep friendships alive that might seem to be dying off.  I know that when I was growing up, we’d call each other on the phone and make plans all the time.  But once you are not in close proximity anymore, it really takes a more proactive approach that some people just don’t seem to have time for.  The truth is, we are all busy so that’s just an excuse…it’s time to call friends, on the phone, and not just message or text them.  I know that seems quick and easy, but there’s something about hearing your friend’s voice even a few times a month that can really make a difference.

3 ways to build strong..er friendships

  1. Talk it out.  Even if you don’t always agree, arguments can be a sign that you still care enough about the other person to be concerned about a certain behavior.  If you didn’t care, you might not bring it up.  If they care about you, they will make time to listen to what you have to say and hear you out.  Not just jumping to the worst conclusion.  If they do that, well, it might be a sign that even when you talk, they only hear what they want to hear.
  2. They make time for you…face time.  I know that we have all had those friends who couldn’t get together unless they needed something.  If you want to get together, they have x, y, and z to do.  But if the latest band is in town and they want to go, they text you.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  Proactive friendships are different.  You enjoy spending time together and there doesn’t have to be an event, reason, or purpose.  As a matter of fact, before you leave that outing/meeting/movie or whatever, you make time in your calendar right then for the next meeting.  You are truly glad to get together…and it doesn’t feel like the other person is hiding anything or just making excuses when you ask what they are doing on a certain night.
  3. Seek balance in the friendship.  Sometimes, it seems you are the only one putting in all the effort.  At other times, you might be the only one making all the plans…asking when you can get together or even being the first one to text…without much response if any.  During those times, it can be easy to assume that perhaps the friendship is not working out.  Maybe the other person is truly not aware they are constantly giving you the brush off, or maybe they are.  But at a certain point, it’s time to realize that you are carrying the friendship alone.  There is no balance.  A proactive friendship is one that really makes you feel good about your friend.  You get together, you call, you actually carry out plans that you make.  You don’t feel let down by constant broken plans, or empty promises.  A balanced friendship makes you feel great.  You have someone who you can count on no matter what.

I saw something on Facebook last week that made me think of writing this post.  A person said she knew her “friends” had read the message she sent them as it said so, and they just didn’t respond.  Not only that, but she was liking and commenting on things her “friends” did, but no one seemed to do the same for her.  I understand how once in a while, messages can get missed.  But if you rely solely on messages as a form of communication with a friend, well, that might be a problem as well.  It’s time to look at your friendships closely.  Are you being proactive and sharing the responsibilities or are you just too “busy” to keep up?   Want more tips that you can use and a real support group?  Read more here >> The Club with Soul <<

success_friend

Save

Motivational Monday…pain

It’s hard to write a Motivational Monday post when all you can think of is how un-motivated you are when in pain.  But that being said, I got up just as I always do and struggled through my morning routine.  I use Samuel L. Jackson words in my head just to actually get through my “routine”.  My hair was on my nerves this past weekend because who has time to deal with that mess.  So I cut that off.  Now it’s time to get down to business.

I went out Saturday morning to meet a new group of ladies.  I don’t actually feel like I have that many friends.  I felt kind of bad ass with my new short haircut.  Like I could go all Matrix on whoever or whatever pisses me off.  I think it goes with my mood.  Don’t mess with me Pain, I have things to do.  Don’t make me cut you.  Like Pain has become some nemesis.  Maybe I should play Darth Vader music.  Anyway, so after that, Fatigue wanted a piece of me, but I just didn’t have time.  I had things to do.  A college buddy was in town and I said I was going to meet up with him.  It was my college homecoming and I had places to be.

I made it to the tailgating party in my high heel black boots, skinny jeans and black shirt.  Take that.  I enjoyed hanging out with my peeps and then there was the “after party” at a beverage facility nearby.  I was drinking water to better hydrate myself, but there was also free, and very cheap, wine.  UGH.  I can have one glass said an old friend.  Why aren’t you drinking?  Said another.  People.  Chillax.  Here, have this deep fried Oreo, said one more.  Nope.  I can’t.  Not if you don’t want me to be sick.  I really hadn’t planned on explaining that the Aimee they knew, ahem, just you know, a few years ago, is not exactly the same one now.  If it’s not gluten free, and refined sugar free, I am not eating it.

So yesterday, I had one more thing I was doing.  As luck would have it, I was able to make it.  I was dragging, but I made it.  So guess who is paying for it today?  Me.  Yup.  Pain, Fatigue, and maybe even their buddy Depression tried to visit this morning.  Depression was like “Don’t you wish you were normal again?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to dance with your friends without having to pay for it later?  And of course the old, it must be terrible not to be able to eat real food.”  So in my best Samuel L. Jackson voice I told it to SHUT the F up.  I heated up my heating pads.  I made my hot tea.  I took my last Relief…which is my product as I am only on all-natural, and I called my momma.  ha:)  Who by the way, knows I use the F word to relieve my pain, and while I wasn’t raised that way she would want you to know, she also knows that if that is the worst thing I ever do, it’s ok.  Because there is this wonderful thing called grace we can extend to others to let them know we understand that we are ALL human “beans”.  And human beans have emotions.  Even if the “they” who does research claims we only have 4, we all know that’s wrong.  Have you ever met an angry woman?

courage

Save