Graduating Into Life

“A sense of worthiness is a child’s most important need.”
Polly Berrien Berends

Today my middle son is graduating from high school.  I can’t believe this day has come so quickly.  I can remember making him his favorite lunch – refried bean and cheese tortilla, applesauce and milk (he dips the tortilla in the applesauce) – what seems like yesterday.  I’m preparing for the ceremony: I’ve ironed his gown, made sure he has clean and pressed clothes, arranged dinner for him prior to the ceremony because I know it’s long (there are over 750 kids in his class); all the things that a mom does for her kid on graduation day.

What about all the other days?

I find myself looking back on the last 18 years reviewing the ways I’ve prepared him for his adult life and hoping I’ve taught him what he needs to know.

There are all the basics: showering daily, brushing teeth, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher (still work to be done there), laundry, cooking for himself, keeping his bedroom somewhat tidy (again, progress not perfection on this one), asking for directions.  I know he’s got a pretty good handle on these.

Then there are the traits that are important like: sending thank you notes for gifts, opening doors for women and the elderly, volunteering for a charity or cause that is important, being respectful to adults and those in authority positions.  He’s got this down as well.

The most important things I hope I’ve taught him aren’t things I can measure by tasks; they’re all about him and what kind of person he wants to be.

Things like:

Trusting that he can always find the right answer in himself, if he is still and goes within.

My Zach – handsome, kind, loving, generous – one really beautiful human being.

The ability to pause before reacting can make all the difference in a conflict.

Loving the work he does is essential to living a great life.

Everything in life takes effort and it’s all worth it.

Lessons are found in every experience.

Knowing he has a purpose and what it is.

Love is the greatest gift he can give – and receive.

He has value and is worthy of an incredible life – just because he is alive.

He is loved for who he is, not what he accomplishes.

I know he will learn many of these things as his life stretches out before him. Sometimes he’s going to falter, sometimes he’s going to crash, and sometimes he’ll be on top of the world.
I’m so proud of who he is as a person, what he’s achieved and how he’s grown in the last 4 years.  It has been such a gift to watch him grow, try new things and stretch himself.

And now I need to let him fly and test his wings.  I’m torn between excitement and wanting to hug him even tighter.

What I’ve learned over the years is that nothing is more important than letting my kids know they are loved, worthy of love and enough just as they are.  I hope they never forget that.

But if they do somewhere along the way in life, that’s ok.

I’ll be here to remind them.

How I Lost 10 Pounds Clicking DELETE

We’re getting ready for our son’s high school graduation party this weekend and de-cluttering, cleaning and making the yard look pretty has been on our agenda for the last couple of weeks.  I try to keep a pretty neat home – pick my battles with my kids about the condition of their rooms – and have noticed that there are a few piles that have grown around in the living room and kitchen.  I can feel in my body the energy associated with physical clutter and it can be very draining.  I’m so glad we’re getting rid of some of this (mostly end of school year stuff) so we can have a few clean surfaces around.  (I think I remember what color the kitchen counter is!).

Clutter. It doesn’t have to be physical, you know.

It can be mental.

It can even be electronic.

I must confess that I don’t have a very good system – ok I don’t have a system at all – for taking care of my email in box.  I have a personal and two business email accounts and they have gotten out of hand. I don’t even want to tell you how many emails I have yet to look at or get back to (think really big number).  There are so many e-zines, blogs, articles I want to read and don’t take the time for. There has to be a better way to handle them. I like systems that make things easy and neat, so I went searching for just that.

I found Sarah Finks (www.sarahfinks.com).

I had my free call with her today and I must say that I learned a lot in a short 30 minutes, and wanted to share with you:

Inbox = Other People’s Requests
This means that every email I get is a request from someone else that I make them my top priority. I hadn’t thought of it like that at all. Sarah suggests that we think about how each email fits into our priorities, and handle it accordingly.

Block Off Email Time On Calendar
This is one I do practice and I have to say, it does help with managing my emails.  Sarah teaches per clients to block off 30 minutes in the morning – but not right away. Get some good work in for an hour or two and then check your in-box.  Most emails can wait an hour or so.  Then block off another 30 minutes in the afternoon to see what’s new in your in-box.  She says to handle new emails first, put blogs, articles, etc., that you really want to read in a file called “Resources”, then block an hour during the week to go to that file and read what’s in it. When you’re done, DELETE.

As requests (emails) come in, do one of the following:
1.    Delegate (if it’s work related)
2.    Deal with it – to completion. Don’t use your in-box as a “To Do” list (hint: it never gets done)
3.    Unsubscribe

Ok that last one really got me today.  I am a person who loves to learn and I love reading good articles and blogs.  I have so many that I subscribe to, it’s become too much for me.  Sarah told me to delete them all.

What?!  

I just about choked!

She challenged me to delete everything that I hadn’t read. I know who these people are and where to find them. I can go to their website or Facebook page to read. I don’t need to clutter my in-box, and my mind, with all these emails.

I thought about this for a bit once we ended our call. She was right. It was mental clutter that was taking up a ton of space in my head.

It felt heavy and I hadn’t realized it.

So, I did what I was told.

DELETE.

Scary at first. Then very liberating!

I felt like I had lost 10 pounds!

I still have some work to do on my in-boxes and at least I’ve made a really good start. Just 30 minutes with Sarah made a big difference in my mental and electronic clutter. She gave me permission to DELETE.  Thank you, Sarah!

Do you need permission?

Ok, here you go.

I give you permission to delete anything in your life that is not serving you in your highest light and that includes email.

Go do it. Trust me. You’ll feel great when you do.

Let me know how much “weight” you lose. 8-)

DigiGirlz & Voices In Your Head

I wanted to share with you an experience I had a couple of weeks ago at the Microsoft corporate office here in Minneapolis.  Each year, Microsoft hosts an event called DigiGirlz in cities across the country and in many countries around the world. (Find it at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/programs/digigirlz/digigirlzday.aspx)

2013 Microsoft DigiGirlz Event in Minneapolis. It was such an incredible and inspiring experience!

 

It’s intended for school age girls, grades 8-12, and is a first-hand look into the world of technology and what that may look like in terms of career options.  It’s a full day of workshops, hands-on learning, speakers and tons of fun.  

Why was I there you ask? (Clearly because you know me and I can be a bit technology challenged at times :-) ).

I was honored to be asked to sit on a panel of successful executive business women the girls would have access to.  They were given the opportunity to ask questions about our backgrounds, how we chose our career paths, what kind of work we actually do, etc.  I was so impressed by their poise and the questions they asked and I felt so proud to be part of the amazing group of women on that panel.

I was also asked if I would teach a workshop for the girls, and right away I knew what the topic would be:

Inner Critic.

I know that if someone had told me about mine way back then and explained what it was, why it was there and how I could manage it, my life would be so different.  I felt it was my responsibility to share this information with them and get them starting to think about the voices they hear in their heads – and that those voices aren’t really theirs.  

Here’s the cool thing that happened.  We started talking about all the times the voice tried keeping them from doing something that was outside their comfort zone.  There were some girls that really opened up about their experiences with their IC – sports try-outs, asking a boy to a dance, giving a presentation to the class – all kinds of things.
They started to get the picture that this voice, while on the surface seems to have good intentions to protect us and keep us from being humiliated, really is all about keeping us small and holding us back from doing really big things.  I saw quite a few “a-ha” moments happening in the room – which warmed my heart.  The workshop ended with the message that they can manage this voice and lead the kind of life they are truly meant to.  And they can handle anything as long as they have faith in themselves. They’ve got this.

The seed was planted.

So here’s what I’m wondering right now – are you still listening to these voices and giving them all your power?  Do you know who your Inner Critic is?  What it looks like?  What its voice sounds like?  Most importantly – when it shows up, how to handle it?

I have lots of tools to help you learn more about the voices in your head and I can teach you how to recognize it and manage it, so it doesn’t control the choices you make.

I would love to work with you so one day you can say, “I’ve got this.”

Leave a comment and tell me what your Inner Critic voice sounds like. Let’s get the conversation started and learn the difference between the IC and your true voice! :-)

One Little Question – A Whole Lotta Help

I need to share with you a wonderful tool I learned about six months ago. It has helped me numerous times avoid the distress I’ve inflicted upon myself my entire life.

Here it is: “What are you making this mean?”

Out of context, this may seem a bit weird.

Our daily lives are filled with our thoughts – those that serve us well and those that don’t. Sometimes things happen that can cause us pain – or rather we choose to have them cause us pain.

These circumstances can be characterized as facts. (Think the old TV show Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.”)

I was talking with a client last week and she told me about a meeting she was in with four other realtors and their office manager.  They were discussing the possibility of forming an accountability group and working out some of the details. She seemed really upset about the meeting, so I asked her about it.  She told me she was upset that she was chosen to be in the “old lady” group.  She was really offended that her manager had thought to put five realtors together – all of them over 50.  So I asked her what she was making that mean and her response was, wasn’t she good enough to be with the younger, more energetic realtors?  Didn’t he think she could sell as much as the younger group?  Maybe they didn’t want her in that group in the first place.

Wow.

In reality, most situations are pretty benign until we hook our version of them to them and then our thoughts can go wild – usually when we feel we’ve been rejected or criticized in some way.

See if this sounds familiar:

FACT
My son is failing math.

OUR VERSION
His teacher knows he’s failing and doesn’t care about her students. He’s not studying enough and isn’t getting the help he needs. He’s not going to graduate on time.

FACT
My boss barked at me.

OUR VERSION
He has no patience for other people and looks down at me. I know he thinks I don’t know what I’m doing.  No matter how hard I try, he always finds something to criticize.

Do you see yourself in any of these situations? I know I’ve been there too many times.  

Getting back to my client, I talked to her about her thoughts and that perhaps they just weren’t true. Maybe, just maybe, her office manager had selected those five realtors because he thought they’d create a cohesive group; their production levels were similar and he felt they could encourage and support each other.  Maybe age didn’t even enter his mind when he was putting this group together.

Maybe it didn’t have anything to do with her at all.

We all seem to be habituated to negative thinking (ever notice how quickly your mind goes to a negative thought rather than a positive one?), so all the drama we link to the facts just makes us more angry, sad, depressed, worried, bitter – you name it.

What to do about it?

Try these easy steps so you, too, can avoid self-inflicted misery:
1.    When something triggers your emotions negatively, try to separate out the facts of the situation. Facts are usually short and sweet – I’m getting a divorce.  I have a flat tire. My dog pooped on the carpet.
2.    Ask the question, “What am I making this mean?”  What extras are you piling on top of the facts?  Have you dived into the deep end of the drama pool?  Try to distinguish the differences.
3.    If your “story” is causing you to choose feelings that are painful or you are making others the bad guy, don’t accept it as fact. Be open to letting it go. It’s not the truth. It’s just the story your brain is telling you.

And remember this:

If your take on a situation causes you to question your worthiness and value – drop that thought like you would a bad boyfriend.

The truth is, other people’s behavior says everything about them and what pain they are dealing with in their lives. It really has nothing to do with you.

We can’t see the truth without using compassionate eyes.

So tell me when in your life have you released your version of a painful situation and how did you do it? Please share with us in the comments.

How A Flower Pot Kept Me Sane

Perfectionism.

I’ve written about this in the past.

I’ve said how it’s a myth.

I know all the catch phrases like “progress not perfection.”

I’ve shared that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I still struggle with it sometimes – like last week.

My middle son is graduating from high school this spring and we’re hosting a party for him in May.  A nearby floral nursery was having a planting event that I’ve participated in before.  They allow you to bring your own pots, they provide the mulch and soil and you purchase your greenery from them. Then when you’re done planting, they tag the pots and you leave them there for a month or so, while they fertilize and water them.  When you pick them up – the flowers are overflowing. It’s like a color explosion.

I invited my dear friend, Sandi, to go along with me to help me decide what flower combinations to put in my pots – color schemes, sun tolerances, etc. She’s a master gardener and knows every flower made and we had so much fun choosing. (Did you know that every pot should have a “thriller”, a “filler” and a “spiller”? I didn’t either until Sandi told me).
Once we had all we needed, we headed for the piles of dirt I saw in the distance.  We happily filled our pots with mulch and soil and went about the business of planting them. I had everything carefully planned out – certain color scheme for the front of the house, side deck, garden area – contrasts, blends, you name it.

Then it happened.

Imperfection struck.

I was so focused on the conversation we were having that I accidentally planted a pink flower in the center of other pink flowers (it was supposed to be white in the center of pink).  The entire pot was completed and I was starting on my last one, when I realized my blunder.  Now 3 pots were going to be wrong – according to my plan, anyway.

I froze.

I panicked.

I gasped – and practically sucked all the oxygen out of the entire room.

Then I looked at my friend and told her what I’d done.

We stared at each other for what seemed hours, when she asked me what I planned to do about it.

I looked down at the pot, then back up at her, then down at the pot again.

She started to laugh because she knew exactly how I felt.  She too, is a recovering perfectionist.

I gotta say I’m sure you’re wondering what the big deal is, right? It’s just a pot. Rip it out and start over or just leave it.

But it goes a bit deeper than that for me.

Not ten minutes earlier, I had just finished saying that one of the reasons I love planting flower pots is that I can’t screw it up! There’s no way to do it wrong because it all will look beautiful when it grows. It’s a place I can feel creative and expressive without rules.  (I never did well in any art class I took.  Can’t draw to save my life).  Just loved the experience of creating.

The Universe just sent me a test.

Would I practice what I believe or would I cave to my old thoughts?  Would I be true to myself and how I want to show up in the world or stay in the same old habits?

My stomach was in knots. I could feel the struggle physically.

I looked at my friend and told her I was going to leave it just the way it was. (I actually was surprised that I said that).

She told me she was proud of me, how great it was that I was handling things differently and that it wasn’t a big deal at all.  We finished planting the pots that were left.

A few moments went by and I asked her what she would have done?

Her reply, “I would have ripped them up and started over.”

I thought we were both going to fall over we were laughing so hard!

So here’s my question for you:  Where in your life are you continuing to live out of alignment with who you are and how you want to show up? Is it worth it? What one small change can you commit to making so that a shift can occur? I’d love to hear from you, so please share here or on my Facebook page.

Goals & Gratitude: They CAN Go Together

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
~ Ursula K. LeGuin

Go for the gold.

Make it happen.

Strive.

Push harder.

Goals.

Everyone sets them.

I was raised by a very successful list maker and goal setter and I learned very early on that these were two skills that were highly valued at my house.  
And don’t forget achieving the goals I set. That was a must do.

I believe in goal setting – absolutely.  It’s a wonderful tool to use to give direction and a time frame to our dreams.  Goals can motivate us, provide context for self-definition, and can at times deeply invigorate us.  

But, is it the goal itself or the steps along the way to achieving it – the mishaps, the dead ends, the winding path (rather than the straight shot from point A to point B, which is what I’m usually looking for) that give real meaning to our lives.

We are so much more than the goal we’ve set, and the process is what ripens the person within.

I was talking to a client this week, and she was telling me her long list of accomplishments for the week and without taking a breath, began telling me about what she was going to do next.  She told me she felt like she never gets anything done and there’s always so much more to do.

I asked her when was the last time she stopped to acknowledge her accomplishment and to be in gratitude for the gifts it brought to her life.

She was silent.

So many of us have adopted the mindset of “GO, GO, GO” that we are blind to the juicy parts of the journey.  It’s far too easy for most of us to miss the moment and its richness because we are so fixated on a particular ending.  (I know I’ve been guilty of this many times and exhausted, too.)

How often do we neglect to appreciate the many opportunities for feeling excitement for a job well done? (I know you’re nodding your head on this one!)

We rarely sense the full joy in the moment because our sights are set on something in the future.  Plus, often when a goal is achieved, it can be kind of a letdown.

We’ve forgotten that joy lives in the process.

So what do we do?

Well, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and have decided that in order for me to live in alignment with who I am, I can no longer follow the status quo. I have committed to myself to work differently from this moment forward. (Thank you, Lissa Rankin for your blog)

I am worth the effort.

Are you? (The answer here would be a resounding YES!)

So here’s a very simple thing I’ve been putting into practice on a daily basis.  I ask myself these questions:

“Can I stay in the moment and the activity before me, just for today?”

“What am I grateful for learning and/or experiencing in this activity today?”

And, finally, when I feel myself getting all ramped up again:

“How can I have fun letting this happen?”

That’s it.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

This keeps me very present with whatever it is I’m doing and also gives me the opportunity to connect with my “why”. It’s more in line with my energy and I’m certainly not exhausted anymore.  I know the other way does work – I used to live that way for years.

And then, it didn’t work anymore and I needed to find a new way.

A way that works for me, who I am now and how I want to be in this world.

I don’t have to keep striving to be more.

I’m enough just as I am.

You are, too.

So how are you used to setting and achieving goals? Does it exhaust you?  When you think about making changes to how you approach it, what issues come up for you?  Share your experiences with us here and on Facebook and let’s support each other.

Where Are You Supposed To Be?

Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow,”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher

We’ve all heard the saying, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

How many of us believe it?

Yeah, I thought so.

It’s something I am challenged by more often than I’d like to admit.

In spite of my best efforts to work my AA program and lean on Spirit’s guidance and wisdom, I sometimes don’t trust that things are happening in the time and way that they are supposed to happen.

Translation: It’s not happening fast enough for me and I’m not a very patient person. (Insert foot stomp here).

I trust, wait, pray, listen to other people, listen to my inner wise self and I still don’t get the answer.

If this sounds at all familiar to you (and I know it does), here are my thoughts around it and what I try to remember when life isn’t moving forward fast enough for me:

1.    During these times, I remind myself that I am right where I need to be, even though that space may feel uncomfortable. My life does have purpose and direction. I just need to wait a bit longer.

2.    I am being changed, healed, and transformed at deep, deep levels – deeper than I can imagine. This takes time. Good things are coming. This takes time. I am being led and guided. This takes time – to hear and feel.

3.    I can become peaceful. I don’t have to act in a frenzied manner just to feel like I’m “doing” something to make an answer appear. I can wait until my mind is peaceful. I can wait for a clear message – clarity is golden.

The answers will come.

They always do.

They are always perfect.

And, they are always so worth the wait.

I’ll leave you with this thought by Melody Beattie:

“Today, Spirit, help me know I am being guided into what’s good about life, especially when I feel confused and without direction.  Help me trust enough to wait until my mind and vision are clear and consistent.  Help me know that clarity will come.”

Sigh.

I feel better.

How about you?

What do you need direction or clarity on? Share your thoughts here or on our FYCC family Facebook page. Let’s get the conversation started!

Enough Is Enough

You have to open your heart and read what your soul wrote inside:

“I am enough.”

~ Dodinsky

We hear about extraordinary people and the incredible things they do or accomplish in their lives.

We hear about it a lot.  It’s on the news, entertainment shows, YouTube, all over the internet.

These stories can be uplifting and inspiring.

They can also be used against us.

Have you ever found yourself comparing your life to the woman who has 9 kids, owns her own multi-million dollar company, built a school and helps run it, started a foundation and just got back from two weeks in Hawaii? (If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. I know this person).

My life is pretty ordinary compared to hers – no doubt.

In our society, there’s fear and shame about being ordinary.  Everyone is striving for some kind of celebrity status it seems.  We’re getting the message that if we haven’t written a book, been on The Ellen Show, had a YouTube video go viral or have at least a million Twitter followers, we somehow haven’t lived up to the standard.
Our society is very fast paced and dismisses ordinary, hardworking people.  We may equate ordinary with boring or unexciting or even meaningless.
Brene Brown says, “One of the greatest cultural consequences of devaluing our own lives has been our tolerance for what people do to achieve their “extraordinary” status.” (excerpt from “I Thought It Was Just Me, But It Isn’t”).  

We seem to value the level of people’s contributions by the amount of media attention they get – their worth is based on being famous or how much money they earn, regardless of how they achieved it. (Think athletes that take steroids or corporate executives that have a multi-million dollar exit package negotiated while the employees are losing their benefits or pensions.)

Is that it?  Is that what it comes down to?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “When you compare yourself to someone, you lose every time.”  I know I’ve said it hundreds of times – to myself and others – and I still have a little part of me that still does it.  I would like that part of me to keep getting smaller and smaller.

You, too?

Well, here’s what I know to be true:

My life is my life. I am the creator of it – along with Spirit.  I’m not supposed to have someone else’s life.

I know what’s important to me, what my core values and beliefs are.  I strive to live them each day.  I do not do it perfectly every day – and I’m OK with that.

I can have an extraordinary life anytime I want because I define what “extraordinary” means to me. (I feel I have it already in so many ways).

You can, too.

You are multi-talented, smart, beautiful, sassy, soulful, loving, generous, wise – oh honey,  I could go on and on. :-o

Why not define what extraordinary means to you and your life instead of using someone else’s definition – that probably doesn’t fit anyway.

Is it living each day being fully present to the smallest of things?

Is it about letting go and allowing Spirit to guide you?

Is it eating a hot fudge sundae in the middle of the work day and enjoying every sweet bite?

Is it doing work you love that does not fall into the “normal 9-5” standard?

Is it finally accepting that you are an incredible person and the mere fact that you are breathing makes you enough?

I invite you to decide for yourself what extraordinary really means to you and start living by it.

Let the rest of the world try to become famous.

You already are – where it counts most.

This week’s challenge: I’d love to hear your take on an extraordinary life and what it means to you. Please comment here and let’s get the conversation started. I feel a shift about to happen!

Wanting What You Already Have

“You don’t need a new life, just a new lens through which to view the one you have.”
– Marianne Williamson

Wanting more is great.

Desire is lovely.

We all want more in our lives and it’s pretty easy to name what we want.  More money, independence, time, love, intimacy, fun, vacations, freedom, creativity.  You can make a list of things you want. I’ve done that in the past – lists and lists of what I want.

You can be really specific and gear the list to certain areas of your life – work, love, relationships, health, spirituality, etc.

While I like the idea of want lists, I’ve come to question the effectiveness of them.  If having more abundance in your life is your desire, why would you want to focus on what you don’t have?  Doesn’t it take your attention away from what’s already working in your life?

And when you notice how wealthy you already are, doesn’t it make sense that you’ll become even more prosperous?

I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction and all the teachings, raising your vibration and focusing on what you want.  I just think there’s something missing.

What about wanting what you already have?

How would it serve you to want what’s already in your life?  Would you feel better?  Lighter?  More abundant?  Less stressed?

What if you looked at your list of wants and tried to see where you already have some of the things listed – or a form of them?  This might be a stretch, I know – and do it anyway.

Look at each item and think about how or where in your life you have that thing or have experienced it in some way, shape or form.  Really think about this – it might show up as a tiny smidgen of the want – that’s ok.

Here are a couple examples:

Want: “I want more money.”

Have: “I got a tax refund.”  “I got paid 3 times this month.” “I found $20 in my coat pocket.”  (Do you see how more money is flowing into your life?)

Want: “I want to be more creative.”

Have: “I re-purposed an old vase to hold fresh lemons on my kitchen table.” “I turned an old ladder into a bookshelf.”“I’m experimenting with a favorite recipe to see how I can make it new again.” 

(If you want to see some really clever ideas, visit Bored Panda or Houzz)

You know what happens when you find evidence that your goals or dreams are coming true right now?  

•    You’re less needy.   (Needy – even the word makes me cringe. Who wants to be needy).  Need = Should = Lack. Not a cool place to come from if you’re looking for more abundance.
•    You shift into a grateful space, which increases your vibe, which moves you toward what you want.
•    You just might realize you have more than you think you do.

Be open to really looking at your life and seeing  – perhaps for the first time – that what you want is already there.

So what do you want that you notice you already have some form of?  Leave a comment here and start increasing your vibe!

Intimacy: In/to/me/see

“Intimacy…just a tender sense of my own inner process, that holds something of my connection with the divine.” – Excerpt from Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef

Intimacy.

It can mean so many different things.

Physical intimacy.

Emotional intimacy.

Spiritual intimacy.

I used to think about this word as only being used when in a relationship with another person; like a family member or lover or friend.  Most articles and books are written about intimacy from the “being in a relationship” perspective, so I’m sure that influenced my take on it.

I had never thought about being in an intimate relationship with myself.

Have you?

I’ve pondered this idea and have discovered that true intimacy starts on the inside.  If we can’t be intimate with ourselves, how can we bring intimacy to a relationship?  Of course, this isn’t something that we can just decide to fix overnight.

It takes time. (I know, it would be so cool to just cross our arms, do a quick nod and blink our eyes – like Barbara Eden did in I Dream of Jeannie – and have this deep connection with ourselves and others).

Actually, taking time is the cool part.

We need time to rest, time for long walks, time for quiet and time to go within and listen to what our wise self is telling us.

We are so used to filling up our lives with “doing” – running here, there and everywhere – which ensures a lack of intimacy with ourselves.

So, how do we become more intimate with ourselves?

Baby steps, my friend.

Take 5 minutes in the morning to be still and listen to the sound of your breath.

Curl up in a chair, with a blanket and your favorite cup of tea. Notice the how the flavors engage each taste bud, how the warm liquid feels as it travels down your throat and heats your body. Spend a delicious few minutes with yourself.

Instead of pouring that glass of wine to help you unwind from a long day, take your dog on a walk.  Watch how he delights in every smell he encounters. Watch how his tail is wagging with anticipation of what’s around the corner. (If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. They really are one of the best examples of living in the moment, joyously.)

Take a nap.  I give you permission :-)

Meditate.

Write in your journal. This is one of the best ways I know of to get to know who you really are. Ask yourself some questions: “What do I love?” “Who am I, really?”  “What makes me laugh?”  “What brings me joy?” Answer them honestly. You may surprise yourself.

As we become more intimate with ourselves, our connections with others and with Spirit will deepen as well.

True intimacy begins at home.

Come home to yourself. ♥

This week’s challenge:How will you begin your intimate relationship with yourself? Please share your comments here. I’d love to know you better!