The fire was just below our yard and I saw it moving fast right for us. I called the fire department, but they never came to us. In the few moments during my call I watched the fire head up the mountain straight to neighbors' homes. It was a summer brush fire and it raged hot and fierce with no mercy. The fire licked at our yard. A pack of us from the neighborhood fought with hoses and buckets. We moved our cars, I grabbed a few things in case we had to run away.
Anyone who's been through a fire knows that the effects can last a long time. It was years ago and things are mostly growing back now. But even months afterwards, we still felt the loss.
It took days for the smouldering to stop. It was devastating even though we didn't lose so much--some trees, some yard equipment, and such.
It was weeks later that I noticed my cat's feet were still being stained by the blackened, burned mountain. The initial trauma was behind us, but it still affected us,the experience left its mark. If fact, there's a charred tree that stands just outside our yard as a reminder of what happened. Most of the other trees grew back.
Here's what I want to remind you with this post: Remember to be gentle with yourself. You may not think you even feel the effects any more, but they may still be present. It does take time to heal. The effects of trauma don't just disappear even though life goes on. Some things were lost. And... there's new growth! We don't have to get stuck in the loss and at the same time it's a loving way to be if you can be tender and gentle with yourself and others as you process through trauma and into healing.
Creating the life of your dreams is something each of us can accomplish. The foundation of a healthy mindset opens possibilities and opportunities for building success in any area of your life. These skills breakdown into two categories:
Experiment with the following concepts. Don't try to do all of this at once. Make any one of these a daily practice or habit and your life will change; they are that powerful.
Take responsibility for your own mood. This principle is about you keeping the quality of life you want to live in your own hands. We’ve all had the experience of someone yelling or saying something sharp or cutting. How fast will you regain your composure, how fast will you rise back to your feet, brush yourself off, and step back into the mood you want to live your life with. If you let your mood be dependent on the circumstances around you, if you can only be happy if things are going the way you want, then you’re giving up on way too much of the goodness in life. You cannot control most of what goes on around you in this world, but you can control what goes on inside. How different would your life be if you choose to rise every day? Choosing your own mood is something we all have the power to do. Choosing happiness and gratitude is a habit that will bring incredible quality to every day.
Take responsibility for your relationships. You have a real choice about how you relate to those you are closest to. “What if you were 100% responsible for all your relationships?” Not 50/50, it’s all you, baby. That means that you can use tools like
It’s not about your “rights;” you’re not entitled. It’s all a gift. This is not simply about saying, “thank you” when you get something. When you view everything you have as a gift, your appreciation and pleasure in life will soar. Think about this: Would you rather be with someone who is demanding of you or who appreciates what you do? What’s the attitude that would open you to give more? Seeing all of life as a gift is a mindset that strengthens you in several ways.
Keep your hopes high and your expectations flexible. There’s an expression that may help with balance in the way we react to things. “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” We want life to go well, and sometimes we have those days when all seems right. “This, too, shall pass.” It’s not just the hard stuff that will pass; the juicy stuff has a pulse of expansion and contraction also. This mindset helps you take action toward the best results and at the same time gives you the power to release what didn’t happen the way you wanted. When you can let go of the expectations of what “should” happen, your mind is free to explore a different route and instead of getting stuck in disappointment, your mind is free to take in the learning and your emotions are free to choose joy or gratitude, or both.
Be grateful—especially when things are not going your way. Gratitude is actually a doorway to receiving more. This works in two ways, from the inside (how you feel about what you receive in life) and from the outside (givers are gratified when receivers are grateful). The inside job is where you train your own attitude every day in the smallest and grandest of ways to say thank you for what is. This doesn’t mean you are complacent, it means you are content. You still take action for building the life you want and at the same time you enjoy the process instead of demanding that things must be a certain way in your timing. There’s a big picture that we don’t have access to. From the outside: Have you ever given someone a gift and they tossed it to the side in disgust? It doesn’t make you want to give them more. You don’t have to fake liking something if that sends the wrong message, but expressing sincere gratitude for the effort and love that went into a gift is, at the very least, good manners. Everything you have in life is a gift, from your Creator and from the people around you. Whether it’s a meal, a smile, or knowledge, the mindset of gratitude will open you to receiving more and will put you in a place of peace. Extra Credit: try to be grateful for the negative experiences too. Experiment with that and watch your joy grow even more exponentially!
The world is plotting to make you better. Some people start with the assumption that everyone is “out to get them.” It’s likely they’ve been hurt or taken advantage of in the past so they live life in a defensive way. Assuming the world is plotting to make you better is not about closing your eyes and abandoning your boundaries. Coming from the place that you assume the world is out to make your life better is about looking for—and attracting—more good into your life. Even when a situation seems to go all wrong, you’re actually being given a life lesson. If you are willing to receive even the hard lessons life brings as gift, if you’re open to understanding and learning, you will see new ways to make the choices that will serve you in creating the results you truly want.
Make someone else happy. Service will lift you. Service, thinking about others and the difference you can make in their lives will get you out of the dumps in your own world and gives meaning to life. That could be to your family, friends, or community. Service can be a kind word, and helpful action, or a monetary donation. Service can be helping someone with their groceries, or giving an apple or a protein bar to the beggar outside the grocery store. Service can be listening to a friend, just listening. The idea is getting outside of your own situation, stepping about from your own frustrations or challenges in life and giving to someone else. Volunteer possibilities abound. Contribute. No matter how down or troubled you may be feeling, look outside yourself and find a way to give to others. Don’t expect gratitude; just serve because while you’re bringing goodness to those around you, you’ll find you’re building yourself at the same time. Taste the pleasure of making someone else happy.
You can do this!
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What is the secret to happiness? It's not really that complicated.
Step into gratitude.
I just heard the quote, "If you're grateful for everything, you're grateful for nothing," and that means get detailed with your gratitude. I just took a workshop that taught us to be very detailed with gratitude. How detailed? Well, think of something you're grateful for. Do you love to paint? How about the hairs of smallest brush you have or the color carmine red? Are you grateful for summer? Well, how about gratitude for the leaves of your favorite shade tree, or the pulp in lemons?
Are you starting to get the idea? So here's the thing: You have to practice gratitude every day; really do it. Personally I usually start each morning with a very short prayer of gratitude for coming back into the world. I like to go to sleep listing things I'm grateful for as I fall asleep. When I'm really feeling down, I like to play what I call "The Gratitude Game" with my husband or a friend. Take turns listing things you're grateful for.
If you find it hard to think about what you might be grateful for, then this is really the right exercise for you. Think about the sparkle on the greeting card you got. Think about the knobs on the drawers that make them easy to open. Think about the filter on your faucet so you don't get sand in your water.
Still not sure? Experiment with this daily for a month and I guarantee your life and attitude will change for the better. You will feel better and happier. Start now.
There are a number of things in life that you might want to release:
I'm exhausted just thinking about this partial list of possibilities. Right now is a great time to "change" your way of doing things if you need to let go of the old crap and bring in more of what you really love.
What ever "it" is that you want to get over, there are things you can do to let go. The question is, do you really want to "get over it"? Do you really want to let it go? Sometimes there is an aspect inside of each of us that is actually served by holding on. Could it be that you just know what "it" is and letting "it" go means you have to go into new territory?
You could just keep going until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Probably you've gotten over disappointments or upset in your past. There is probably something in your life that you can look back on and not feel so upset thinking about it. So you know it's possible.
Now, you just have to decide that you want to let go and the opportunity to release will show up. Maybe this blog post is just that for you! So if you're really ready experiment with these few tips and see what happens.
Let it flow, then let it go, also called free-form writing or automatic writing. Put all the upset onto a piece of paper; then destroy the paper. (This is best if done by hand.) Don't read it, just destroy it. Believe me when I tell you that if you keep it and later find it, all the upset can come flooding back. If you destroy it, you may actually forget the details of your upset!
Steep yourself in the new thought. That means that you surround yourself in an environment that squeezes out the old, unwanted thoughts or even emotions. I keep ideas in the back of my mind to go to when I find myself thinking things I don't want to think. You can do this with uplifting music (or even one song that you can go to), a favorite food (someone I know uses sushi), or pictures you cut out of a magazine. Try taking photos of the things that make you the happiest in your daily life, then print them and surround yourself with what you love.
Ask. Who are you asking? Ask the highest aspect of your soul, or ask God; ask your angels (you do know that everyone, everyone, has angels around all the time, right?). What are you asking? Ask for Divine assistance in releasing what needs to be released. Ask to forget the things that upset you. Memories can and often do fade with age. Some of those memories are worth forgetting.
Declare that you are releasing, letting go, or getting over it. Until it is real because it will become your new reality if you really want it to. Seriously.
This doesn't necessarily all happen at once. It can, but if it doesn't, know that the movement into being free from "it" is happening step by sweet step.
You can do this!
Do something right now (baby steps!!) while you're thinking of it.
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Watch this short video called "Can You Trust Your Eyes?" and then keep reading
So now you understand that your eyes give information to your brain and your brain fills in more information. Only you've just seen that even when something is provable, that doesn't mean you'll see it as it is.
What if our other perceptions were like that too? What if you think something is one way but in fact, it might not be at all? Maybe you can use this to your advantage.
What I'm trying to get to is a sort of "fake it 'til you make it" kind of thinking, or perhaps "reframing". If you can bring yourself more peace and well being on the inside by allowing yourself to know that perhaps there is a "benefit of the doubt" to a situation that is causing you mental or emotional anguish. Perhaps you can even imagine your way out of mental or emotional pain.
Can you think of ways you can use this idea to give yourself the gift of freedom? What you thought was dark grey was really light grey visually, so maybe what you thought was not so nice, could really turn out to have a big benefit for you?
What are the ways you can think of to use this idea to make some area of your life happier?
Let me know,
It may seem like you're trying and trying to change things in your life but nothing's changing, nothing's moving. I am here to tell you my dear reader, that even if you don't see results right now, you are effecting change in your life.
Each small change you make will, over time, have a big impact.
If you eat at a fast food restaurant one time it's not really a big deal. But if you each fast food every day, you will gain weight. If you study a new language one time, you will not speak a new language. But if you study every day for a set time--even five minutes a day--you will learn to speak that new language. Same with exercise of course. If you exercise only one time, even for five hours, it will not have the same impact as exercising every day for 15 or 20 minutes.
The small changes you make in your life do have an impact even if you don't see it right away. So stay strong, be patient, and keep on making those little tweaks so that you are loving and living happier and healthier.
You really can do this!
Want to be happy? You have to choose it. There are abundant opportunities to be sad, angry, bummed, disappointed. But happiness? You have to grab it with both hands and cling to the idea and feelings like a pit bull with a bone! This is no small thing.
Now, just because you decide that you want to be happy is not a guarantee. But it has to start with the decision and commitment.
Let's say you want to clean your bathroom. You can want a clean bathroom all day long but eventually you'll have to pick up a sponge or a rag or a toilet brush and start scrubbing. Right? If you only have time to spray and wipe down the mirror, that's ok, now your mirror is clean and that's a great start. Get the idea? Decide you want happiness and then take action to create the habits and mindset of happiness.
A happy life does not happen all at once. You work for it. You commit to it. You take action to clean away the muck and mire. Little by little your choices add up. The kind of music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the entertainment you choose, the way you talk to yourself and others, etc.
If you want to be fit, you don't work out all in one day, you have to change your food and activity. Make sense? So for happiness, dig in and plan your emotional, physical, and mental environments to clear out what isn't working and implement what does bring you joy, true joy. Step by step. And Providence will step in as your partner in joy.
How about starting out by generously sharing your smile? Experiment with greeting someone new warmly, as if he or she is an old friend. Let me know what happens.
Thanks to Scott Liddlle (hotblack) and Morguefile.com for the great photo!
Are you listening? Are you listening to what is going on inside of you? Each one of us is such a complex being. What I find over and over and over and over again is that each one of us has the knowing inside for clarity about what is best to do or not do. The tricky part is learning to sense the the truest part of your inner knowing and not to be tricked by the mind or emotions or impulses. This is about owning your own personal power in the deepest way.
The best way to hear that truest inner guidance that comes from the highest place of the soul is to be still and quiet. And then Listen. Listen. Listen.
What do you do if those old, familiar, dark thoughts threaten to haunt you by popping into your mind? What if those cruddy, crusty thoughts pop into your head more than you even want? What if, worst of all, you don't even know of another way to be? If you've never learned how to work with your thought environment, here is a game plan.
Flood your mind with the kind of thoughts you want. What are the thoughts you really want swimming in your awareness? Do you want thoughts that are positive? Then PLAN for the positive thoughts you want.
Positive landslides anchor new notions.
P = Positive
L = Landslides
A = Anchor
N = New Notions
Take the time right now to plan the new thoughts that you want to invite and promote into your mind. That means that the next time you catch yourself thinking negatively, you jump on the chance to flood your mind with the positive thoughts.
One of the thoughts I personally use is the attitude of gratitude. It's my first "go to" thought process when I feel stuck or down. But don't stop there.
You can do this!
Actors don't expect a perfect performance when they take a role. They have to rehearse until their part becomes natural. You get to use that same tool for real life! When you know that you have a hard time with something--anything from setting boundaries or negative self talk, you name it, try using this strategy. When you're feeling good, or at least aware, that's the time to make a plan. Make a plan for something you can do to help you move in the direction that will serve you. Let me get more specific.
Do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts? Have a plan for the next time you notice those negative thoughts so you can pull yourself out. Need ideas? I've shared some of my most powerful ideas on this blog: gratitude is one of them. Something I used to do for my family when my kids were little was to have some songs I would sing to help change the energy to be more positive. (There is a technique called "patterns interrupt" so snap yourself or others out of that auto pilot mode.) I use that strategy on my own self. (Scroll down for song ideas!)
The thing is when you have a behavior or thoughts that you want to change to be more positive, it's wise to have in mind what you will do when you catch yourself in the negative place so that you can change.
So what will it be for you? What do you want to release (old habits or reactions?) in your life? What will you replace it with? Make a plan and rehearse it (in thought and action); choose something simple and create success. Then, when the time comes in real life, practice it until the new desired thoughts or actions become what's real. This stuff truly works. You can create the change you want to be!
Live the extraordinary life you deserve.
Aunt Laya inspires and encourages you to live the life you want for yourself! She'll tell you the truth, even when it's not always so easy to hear so that you can learn to handle the hard stuff of life and be your best, happiest self. Always with love and caring.