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Practice Self Forgiveness First – The Ho’oponopono Way

Let me introduce you to Ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice that helps you center and find harmony, as you first learn to practice self forgiveness.“Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are. That’s the beginning of the free human. Self forgiveness is the key.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

Does it feel like your happiness depends on the whim of every circumstance that comes your way?  You lose your job, a relationship falls apart, you have a health crisis and it feels like your whole world crashes down around you. This emotional rollercoaster can make you feel so powerless.

It can’t be helped. External factors will affect you. Yet you can regain strength and get right with yourself again by practicing an ancient Hawaiian discipline called Ho’oponopono.

You haven’t heard of Ho’oponopono? Well, let me introduce you to a marvelous, almost hypnotic practice that helps you center and harmonize yourself.

The Hawaiian word comes from ho‘o (“to make”) and pono (“right”). The repetition of the word pono means “doubly right” or being right with both yourself and others. Lasting happiness springs from this deep sense of congruency.

This process begins with finding your reason for being here on Earth. What is your big purpose – your why? This has to be something that comes from deep inside you, not based on pleasing someone else. When your reason for being resonates with your heart, mind and spirit, it becomes your path. That’s what it means to be Pono.

Then when you know your purpose, what you’re meant to do and what you’re meant to have flows from that. The things you then have and the things you do will bring you happiness because they’re in harmony with your reason for being.

How is this tied to self forgiveness? As human beings, we all make bad choices, we make mistakes. If we don’t have self forgiveness, we won’t feel comfortable in our own skins and we won’t be able to forgive others.

If you haven’t forgiven yourself, you can’t be Pono. Something will always be off, out of kilter. Everything you do, everything you see in yourself and others will be colored from this skewed point of view.

For example, if you’re hard on yourself and judgmental this is how you’ll look at others too. The thing that you can’t stand most in others is often a trait you hold deep within yourself. When you can forgive yourself of that trait, it will no longer be a sore spot in your view of others.

Learn to accept yourself, love yourself, and let the negativity go. After all, how can you feel good about yourself and your own life if you’re constantly remembering, reliving and keeping score of wrongs done to you or that you’ve done?

“Although you should not erase your responsibility for the past, when you make the past your jailer, you destroy your future. It is such a great moment of liberation when you learn to forgive yourself, let the burden go, and walk out into a new path of promise and possibility.” ~ John O’Donohue

How do you practice self forgiveness? Tell yourself the following phrases until you believe them…“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” When you feel anger, disappointment or other hurt feelings welling up, turn inward, connect with yourself and lovingly forgive yourself of the things that trigger these responses.

Does this work? Definitely. Watch this video to see how Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len effectively practices Ho’oponopono within the prison system. If it can work there, it will work for you.

When you discover the inner peace that comes with being Pono, it helps you let go of negative feelings towards others. The very essence of ho‘oponopono is that you can forgive others because you see your connection with them.

When you become right with yourself, you become right with others. This is key to creating lasting life changes. Every day, we’re given a positive seed to plant with the responsibility to help it grow and flourish. Certainly we wouldn’t want to poison and kill it with negativity.

If you’re ready to break the negativity cycle and would like someone to support and provide accountability for you, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s get started!

Practice Gratitude and You’ll Feel Rich Beyond Measure

When you practice gratitude you improve your physical and mental health because you see, not what you think you lack, but the abundance you already have.  What are you most grateful for? I’m so grateful for a supportive husband, close family, loving friends, a great business working with wonderful women, a strong body, having the skills to cope with daily ups and downs and so much more. My list is really too long to itemize. Perhaps it’s the same with you.

Did you realize that some people struggle with listing even five things they’re grateful for? Ungrateful people tend to focus on deprivation, regrets, lack, scarcity and loss. Grateful people, on the other hand, tend to talk about things like gifts, givers, blessings, fortune and abundance.

Why does being grateful come easily for some but not for others?

According to experiments conducted by Anthony Ahrens, associate professor of psychology at American University, people who score high for autonomy experience less overall gratitude, and they value it less. It’s possibly because they feel that gratitude undermines their independence.

People who tend to be perfectionists may also have a neutral or negative reaction to gratitude because it attributes their success to benefits received from others. They don’t want to feel beholden in any way. And they don’t want to share the spotlight with anyone else.

Living in a culture that equates having “things” with happiness also undermines a person’s ability to feel grateful. Much of society feels entitled, that the universe owes them. They see relationships through the lens that they are bought, used and disposed once their purpose is fulfilled, just like the “things” they purchase.

Depression may also be a factor. Studies suggest that chronic complaining may be linked to depression and anxiety. If you ever experience severe depression, please seek help immediately. If you’re experiencing a funk, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how practicing gratitude can life your spirits.

Have you been influenced by any of these limiting points of view? Don’t feel discouraged. There are things you can do to improve.

The good thing about gratitude is you can always have more. So don’t reserve a spirit of thankfulness to just once a year. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

When you do feel amazingly awesome moment of gratitude, savor those feelings. Pause. Notice. Let it sink in. Soak it up.

But gratitude is more than a feeling. Gratitude is a virtue that leads to action. It embodies the law of reciprocity. You do a nice thing for me, I want to do a nice thing for you. And it makes me feel so good I want to pass it on to someone else.

To say you’re grateful doesn’t mean everything in your life is great all the time. It just means you can see the goodness and you don’t take it for granted. Gratitude shifts your focus from what you think your life lacks to the abundance you already have. It increases your resiliency, optimism and energy. Gratitude puts situations into perspective so you don’t complain or stay stuck. It lessens panic and opens up your thinking of new solutions as you see what’s working for you.

Just as there are many ways to exercise, you can express gratitude in various ways like practicing mindfulness, meditating, praying, reminiscing and sharing stories, being more generous, or spending time in nature. Some families have made a practice of taking turns to express one thing they’re grateful for before eating dinner. What an easy and sustainable practice!

Once you decide to practice gratitude, give it some time before you expect changes. But be assured they will come, because you can rewire your brain. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). We can talk about more ways to practice gratitude and live an embodied life.

How to Increase Your Willpower with 7 Skills that Unleash Massive Productivity

If you think you need to know how to increase your willpower, what you really need is this new process for thinking and controlling your emotional state. Self-control, self-discipline, self-regulation, self-restraint, willpower, resolution, mental toughness, grit…whatever you call it, it’s a cognitive process that you need if you’re going to reach your desired goal. And as the word “self” implies, this is something you must develop within yourself. No one can do it for you.

Yet, if you were to list your strengths, would self-control and willpower be on your list? If so, are they near the top? If you’re like most people, they’re probably nearer the bottom.

So much of today’s marketing says you’ll succeed (lose weight, quit smoking, excel in business) if you just have more willpower. You’re told to control yourself and make yourself do it.

But we’re all emotional beings. We have ups and downs. The problem with being told you need more willpower is that it doesn’t give you the skills or tools to know how to develop it. As the definition states, it’s a process in your brain. And a process can be built if you don’t have one, or it can be improved if you do have one.

How to build and increase your willpower and self-discipline? Learn to listen to yourself in the following areas:

1.  Care for your physical needs. You’ve heard it before, but it can’t be overemphasized…eat nutritious food, get plenty of restorative sleep and exercise. Your body is an engine and it needs the right fuel and maintenance to run at peak efficiency. If you don’t care for yourself you’ll be moody, make rash decisions and lose your cool.

2. Ride the tide. Desires and distractions ebb and flow like the tide. When you have a strong impulse to do something you shouldn’t, count to 10. Breathe deeply and center yourself to stay in touch with what’s really important to you. Wait 10 minutes before taking action. By then that wave of desire will become a ripple that you can easily step over.

3. Forgive yourself. It’s a vicious cycle if you default to self-disgust when you don’t measure up to your ideals. It leads to the “Why try?” attitude, which leads to binging on the undesirable behavior you’re trying to conquer. When you slip up, forgive yourself and move on. Acknowledge how the mistake makes you feel, but don’t wallow in it. Shift your attention to what you can do to improve yourself and the situation right now.

4. Live in the present. There’s a trap in living in the past. You know that’s what you’re doing if you say, “I failed before; I’ll fail again”. Or you label yourself “I’m a ___”. That’s not who you are. That’s a past behavior that you don’t have to model today. The other trap is living in the future. That’s indicated by saying, “I’ll get to it someday, but not today.” Learn to be mindfully present in the moment.

5. Focus on results. Your emotional state is determined by what you focus your attention on. Focus on problems and you prolong negative emotions. Focus on positive actions you CAN take and you’ll feel empowered, even if it means taking just one little step forward. That one step will lead to another, which leads to another…until you get the results you desire.

6. Say “YES” when you mean YES and “NO” when you mean NO. I know. You hem and haw because you don’t want to let someone down or put someone out. But you’re not honoring them with indecisive messages. Give them a clear answer and they’ll accept it.

Wishy washy phrases like, “I’m not sure” or “I think so” give your power away. In fact, it harms your physical and mental health. Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco found that if you have trouble saying “no” you’re more likely to experience stress, burnout and depression.

When you honor how you feel and honor the things you’re committed to doing, it increases your self-control and willpower. You won’t be spreading yourself too thin by over-committing yourself.

7. Avoid perfectionism and be willing to pay the price. Regrets and worrying about “what ifs” get you nowhere. Plan your strategy and funnel your energies into your chosen course of action. It won’t be perfect, because nothing can be perfect. Just do it as competently as you can. You’ll be surprised by how much you accomplish and how empowering it is!

So now you have a process when you need the willpower to attain a goal or objective. But how do you know if it’s the right goal? Would you like to ensure you’re spending your time and energy on the right thing for you, right now? Then please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

How Well Do You Know Yourself? Not Well Enough If…

How well do you know yourself - it’s important to see, accept and honor all that you are emotionally, physically and spiritually to live a fulfilled life.“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”~ Lao Tzu

In working with professional women, I often find that they have trouble identifying their strengths, their talents, and their value. Yet, it’s so important to know who you are and what your story is in order to excel at work, to market your skills, and to feel fulfilled in life.

When someone asks you, “What’s your story?” do you freeze? And then you say, “Oh, there’s nothing special about me. I really don’t have a story.”

Or someone asks, “What are you really good at?” Do you reply with some self- deprecating comment because deep down you don’t think you’re special?

How well do you know yourself?

Often others know you better than you know yourself. They know you’re capable of so much even when you don’t think so. If this remotely describes the battle going on inside you, the first thing you need to assess is: Are you able to love yourself unconditionally?

When you know yourself well, you will unconditionally love yourself and recognize and honor your own worth.

Over the decades, I’ve seen so many extraordinary women crippled by their lack of self-compassion and negative self-talk. They can’t look at themselves in a mirror without criticizing themselves. And they can’t accept a compliment.

This negative mindset shows itself in two distinct ways:

  • You review your past performance and judge yourself as “not good enough”.
  • You experienced deep pain in the past and are convinced you’re worthless.

Often this negativity comes from learning to control your emotions and actions by punishing yourself rather than encouraging yourself. You either heard or told yourself hurtful things like:  “You’re so stupid.” “That was dumb.” “Your older sister never did a bonehead thing like that. Why can’t you be more like her?” “You don’t deserve anything better because you always mess up.” “You deserve to be hurt, because you’re not lovable.”

It’s time to get to know who you are and see all the good and wonderful things about yourself. You are an exceptional person worthy of honor, love and respect.

Let’s turn the negativity around so you can motivate yourself through positive encouragement! You can retrain your brain to analyze your feelings, sort out what’s true and what’s not, and focus on the positive in everything you experience.

Learning to love yourself unconditionally is a process you can master with practice.  You’re going to be peeling back the layers. Be willing to experience pain and accept, not judge, your emotions and feelings. Don’t give up. With persistence it will get easier. The pain will diminish over time.

It’s taken you a lifetime to get to where you are today. Be patient with yourself as you retrain yourself to come from a place of self-compassion and love.

When you do learn to love yourself unconditionally you can:

  • Be the real you and feel comfortable in your own skin.
  • Recognize the amazing talents you have.
  • Feel more empowered and energized to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Find more inner strength to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
  • Be able to ask for what you want and need.
  • Be more resilient and persistent in the face of challenges.
  • Bounce back from failure and suffer less from stress.
  • Experience wellbeing and happiness.
  • Build warm, positive relationships.

Be happy and proud that you’re an emotional being with values, needs and wants. Learn to honor these so you can feel whole. Explore and identify how your “Inner Critic” is trying to protect you from pain, and then accept its direction as it motivates you toward excellence. 

Don’t allow a moment, a situation, or an experience to define who you are. You may have a moment of depression, anxiety, or anger. But that’s not who you are. You have the power to identify what triggers those emotions and you get to choose how to deal with those emotions. Take my 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment and get to know yourself on a much deeper level.

Dreading Winter? Say Goodbye to Summer and Make This Your Season of Renewal

 If you live in the Pacific Northwest and are dreading winter, here are ways to turn this into your special season for renewal that restores energy and joy.“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.” ~ Celia Thaxter

While I’ve enjoyed summer immensely (my trip to Italy was fantastic!), I’m eager to welcome the beauty of fall colors and yummy foods. It’s a life-renewing break from the intense heat of summer and the smoke-filled air. Also I have some boots and sweaters I can hardly wait to wear again. They’re so comfy!

But I have to admit there’s a down side for me too. If I’m not careful, I find myself dreading winter because the dark, rainy weather can really get to me. I have to be mindful of the cues and deliberately take action to ease the impact and effects of this change of season.

Are you affected by the changing seasons, too? Does SAD (seasonal affective disorder) have you in its grips? It’s very common in the Pacific Northwest. So, here are some suggestions to help you stop dreading winter and turn the coming season into your special time of renewal and productivity.

 

Here are 8 tips to help replace “dreading winter” with a routine that restores your strength and rekindles your joy:

Ramp-up your nutrition. Summer brings local fresh produce, but it also brings a hectic schedule. So, if you’ve been eating on the fly, slow down and start eating more mindfully. Sometimes we need additional help from a doctor. For example, you may need to increase your Vitamin D and Serotonin levels to offset the sadness, sluggishness, and lethargy that come from a lack of sunlight.

Take a break from all things digital. People get so busy with social media, texting, talking on the phone, watching Netflix or surfing the web they forget to interact with the people sitting in the same room! Regularly turn your devices off and have a conversation, play a game, or plan a fun activity. Do things that build love instead of walls.

Force yourself to slow down. Go for walks. Read a book. Do that thing you’re always saying you’ll get around to later. Actively look for the beauty around you.

Exercise regularly.  get tough with yourself (It might be helpful to improve your discipline) and introduce more movement in your schedule. Consciously look for ways to do more fun things, walk more, climb more steps and sit less. Exercise lowers your stress level and increases serotonin (the happy chemical in your brain).

Manage your ideals and keep your expectations realistically. The holiday season is coming and often there are unrealistic demands on your time, emotions, energy, and budget. Say “yes” when you can, but feel comfortable with saying “no” when you can’t. Learn acceptance. If a relative always acts out, expect it and think of ways to keep your buttons from being pushed. If things get uncomfortable, go for a drive and adjust your attitude.

Unload the clutter and get organized. Gift giving is a big part of celebrations, but the best gifts are good memories and acts of love. Too much stuff causes stress. Why not get your family and friends involved in giving time to someone in need instead?

Use winter to be more introspective. Work at becoming more observant and parsimonious with your energy. Don’t think you have to be the “be everything, do everything” person. Let yourself think. (My 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment is a great place to start!)  Some things to reflect on:         

  • What allows me to be most resourceful during the cold weather?
  • How can I make up for the harsh cold and lack of light?
  • What kind of daily practices or routines could be supportive?

 Get excited. Get the most from each day you live. Take a class. Make a new friend. Rekindle a neglected friendship. Begin a new project. This really keeps the winter blues at bay.

I understand what the changing season can do to a person. If you’re determined to stop dreading winter and actually embrace this time for personal and/or business development, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

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