Jackie Kennedy

Shaping Our Lives

What if you were told growing up, “You never have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses, because we are the Joneses”? or, “Style is not a function of how rich you are, or even who you are. Style is a habit of mind that puts quality over quantity, noble struggle before mere achievement, honor before opulence. It’s what you are. It’s your essential self”? How would you grow up perceiving the world? What would be your expectations for yourself and others?

Jackie Kennedy
Image: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/jackie-kennedy-175.php

According to the book, Jackie, Janet & Lee by J. Randy Taraborrelli, these were the words spoken to Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis by her father. It is easy to see how these words shaped who Jackie was and what she expected from life.

What were you told growing up? What did the adults around you believe? What experiences did you have which shaped your expectations?

Sometimes we are told things which are meant to protect and support us, but which actually hold us back. Sometimes those around us are unstable and cruel. Whatever the circumstance, we often find ourselves decades later continuing to create our life based on some random comment. What was spoken by another has now become a fact of life that we believe completely.

I have set a goal for my yoga class to be able to do a headstand by my 50th birthday. I started with small poses to build up my neck muscles. I have built up to picking my feet off the floor and resting my knees on my elbows. I was in that pose feeling good about myself and my growing strength when my instructor told me to lift my legs. My heartrate increased. My breathing became shallow and fast. I was terrified. My legs froze and felt five times heavier than they are. However, it was not my body that could not do the pose, but my mind.

Instead of having confidence, my mind went to the belief that I have never been athletic, I am old and overweight.  These thoughts are what weighed me down. These beliefs are what kept me from a headstand, not any physical ability. Along with continuing my practice, I am now also working diligently to remove the beliefs which are holding me back.

What beliefs are currently holding you back? What have people told you that you made your own? What incident from years ago are you holding on to and making it a current reality? What stories are you telling yourself to keep yourself small?

We all have beliefs which are not serving us. But we can choose what we continue to believe. Instead of defeating yourself by buying into a negative belief when it appears, tell yourself that even though you believe it now, it is safe to let it go. No matter what we are told – or what we tell ourselves, we can choose to believe it or not. If our current beliefs are not serving us, we can choose ones that move us forward and bring us joy.

Stay tuned for headstand pictures. I will get there. 😉

yoga as a daily practice

The Necessity of Routine

After transitioning from Type A to Type Me, I found that practicing a regular routine helped me from sliding back into my Type-A ways. Originally, the practice was reading inspirational works daily, meditating, focusing on active gratitude, and walking. I diligently engaged in these things daily to lay a strong foundation and center myself.

Two and a half years ago, I arrived in paradise. Breaking out of the rat race, I landed in a beautiful location surrounded by calming water and a culture of loving caring individuals. Things were perfect. I let my daily practices slide. Why would I need to have a daily practice now that I had the sun and the surf every day?

Wrong.

yoga as a daily practiceI did not notice the impact right away. Things were good. I didn’t have to maintain my practice to feel centered. Life was amazing. But then it started. Little issues. Little conflicts. Small and big challenges. Without the foundation of my practice, I found myself unconsciously and negatively reacting to these trials. I did not approach them with calm centeredness, but with blinding emotion. The result was the same horrible feeling I had when I was in the deep despair of my Type-A days.

Thankfully things are on the mend. I have committed to creating a new Type-Me practice. And by practicing daily, I am slowing down and being more conscious of my thoughts, actions, and beliefs. I am not allowing my emotions to take a hold of my reactions. And I am finding more peace in my daily life.

Having a regular practice is very important. Times will be good. Times will be bad. The consistency of our practice is what bridges these hills and valleys. It gives us support during tough times and creates even more ease when things are good.

Doing a daily practice is more important than what the practice is. What is important is finding what you need to help keep you centered. Look into practices like meditation or yoga that clear your mind. Find the texts that feed your soul whether they are from religious books or your favorite blog. Engage your body in the movement it desires. Add in practices of gratitude, intentions, and affirmations. Maybe you want to have a bit of a creative outlet daily. Many different tools are available to you to create your own practice. Find the ones that best serve you.

You may also find that your daily practice changes over time. As your life changes, you may find that you need different types or means of support. Just like any diet, your personal practice may change overtime, and if you don’t change your diet you may find yourself stuck in a rut or not getting all the nutrition you need. Every so often look at your practice and evaluate what is working and what is not. As we grow, it makes sense that our practice grows with us.

Do you have a daily practice? Are you faithfully executing it? How do you feel when you practice a few days in a row? How do you feel when you skip your practice a few too many times? What would it take to gift yourself with a practice?

lead from the heart

Feel into the New Year

By now you have probably read many articles on making the most of the new year. The process outlined is usually very methodical. Something like:

  1. Review your accomplishments and challenges from the previous year. What can you learn? What do you need to improve?
  2. Now erase the previous year and start this year with a clean slate.
  3. Define what you want to accomplish. What resolutions are you going to make? What are your goals?
  4. Map out a plan as how to achieve your goals. Work toward them every day with diligence and consistency.

I don’t know about you, but this model of change and gaining what we want doesn’t sit well with me anymore. It feels like one more task; one more stressful to-do. It is very rigid and impersonal; more business-like than affable. Plus, for many of my Type-A friends, trying to define what we want is nearly impossible. Accomplishing is easy, because that is what we do. But to know what we want and to allow ourselves to have it is extremely difficult. We are usually focused on the needs of others and have a hard time knowing what we want. So not only does the process feel dry, clinical, and demanding, but we can not even define what we are striving for.

Let’s try a new way to find happiness in the new year. Instead of thinking and planning it, let’s feel into it.

  1. Look at the last year and celebrate your progress. How are you a better person today than you were a year (or more) earlier? Celebrate how you have grown.
  2. Give thanks and gratitude for all you have in your life right now. Look at the blessings not at the lack. Accept your life as it is right now and say, “Thank you, more please.”
  3. Choose to make this year the happiest of your life.
  4. Every day, in every moment, notice the options around you and choose the ones that feel best to you.

lead from the heartInstead of having rigid goals that you intellectually create and aggressively strive to achieve, move out of your head and into your heart. What does your heart tell you it wants? What feels good to you? What is flowing into your life? What negative people and situations do you choose to remove yourself from? What new things do you want to try and explore? What love can you give? What love do you need to receive? Where can you be compassionate and forgiving? What choices can you make to feel more at peace?

The first step to Feeling into the New Year is to change your viewpoint on success. The usual model of planning for the new year is based on tangible accomplishments: lose 10 pounds, grow your business by 15%, travel to 5 destinations. For the new model to work, the end goal needs to be different. Instead of focusing on things and results, focus on feelings and experience: I experience good health, my business is rewarding and supportive, I experience adventures. Day by day uncover your path to bliss. What choice can you make that feels good to you? What choice can you make that will bring more peace? How can you approach situations with love instead of fear? How can you resolve issues with compassion instead of hate? What do you need to do to feel happy again?

As you move into this new year, focus on your experience. Focus on how you appear in the world. Focus on how you choose to engage with others. Make resolutions not to accomplish, but to be and feel your very best.

 

This post inspired by a Notes from the Universe message.

groundhog day movie

Getting Unstuck

Every Monday I receive a Soul Card Reading from Saskia Roell. I often find the cards she shares to be inspirational and insightful. A recent card from the Esther and Abraham Hicks Ask and It Is Given card deck was something I felt I should share. The card reads:

Life Is Always in Motion, So It Cannot be “Stuck”:

It is not possible to stand still or be stuck, because Energy, and therefore life, is always in motion. Things are always changing . . . The reason it may feel to you as if you are stuck is because, while you are continuing to think the same thought, things are changing – but they are changing to the same things over and over.

Pow! Did that hit you between the eyes like it did me?

I can certainly remember times in my life when things felt stuck. I was in a rut. I had dreams, but what I experienced every day was the same feeling of being trapped. Life was a prison, a monotony. And, yes, I also had the same thoughts every day. I restricted what I thought I could do. I assumed I had to accept poor behavior coming my way. I was stuck in believing that what I was experiencing was all I could expect in life. I didn’t know or believe I had the power to create the life I wanted.

groundhog day movieThis reminds me of the brilliant movie Groundhog Day. In the movie based on a book, the lead character experiences the same day over and over again – for years. The same words spoken by others, the same responsibilities, the same events. At first, he feels a victim of events. He feels trapped in the drudgery of experiencing the same day again and again. And then he changes. He decides to live his life more fully. He learns new things. He practices new skills. He gives back to the community. And when he starts approaching his day differently, suddenly his whole experience shifts and changes.

What do you feel trapped by right now? What feels like repetitive drudgery? Where do you feel stuck? Where do you feel like you are sentenced to a fate you can not change?

Now, look at your thoughts. How are the expectations of this issue creating your undesired outcome? How can you change your thoughts, beliefs, and actions just a bit to create a different outcome?

Sometimes this change of thought is fairly easy. Instead of walking into work already assuming it is going to be the same unproductive, unfulfilling day as it was yesterday, you can shift your mindset to expect something new, something that will challenge and fulfill you, a day of work you can be excited and proud about.

Other times, trying to look at things differently can be challenging. When it comes to our health, violent crime around us, or a political policy we can not directly affect, we may feel stuck and trapped. But even here we have a choice. What you focus on is what you bring into your life. Is your focus on the negative, or on solutions? Are you resigned to the genetics you were born with, or are you looking for new ways to eat and move to reduce your symptoms? Are you solely drinking in the negativity of world news, or are you breathing in some of the wonders of our world?

Take a look at what is stuck in your life right now. Examine how you see the situation, and how your thoughts brought you this experience. Explore how you can change your thoughts and perspective to bring in something fresh and new. Then have the courage to take the step toward creating the life you desire.

It's My Life blog

My 2016 Goal

My friend Catherine Johns challenged herself in 2015 to write one newsletter every week. She knew that it was good business to stay in touch with her community, but writing is/was a challenge for her. But at the end of 2015, she had reached her goal and had written 52 posts for the year. And I believe she accomplished it again this year.

After reading her 2015 accomplishment post I thought, “I like to write. Why am I not writing weekly?” So in 2016 I challenged myself to write weekly. I started writing one post a week. Some weeks I found myself inspired and wrote more, allowing myself to have a writing-free weekend here and there. Some weeks I was up to a deadline before I was enlightened with an idea.

It's My Life blogBusiness books and gurus encourage weekly posts to increase and grow one’s business. For me, looking at the numbers, the result was a mere 1% increase of newsletter subscribers and Facebook followers. Nothing to write home about. However, what I did notice was more participation from my community. I received many more emails about my posts and had some great discussions as to how the posts reflected what the readers were experiencing in their lives.

Another less tangible beneficial result is that writing weekly helped me grow yet again personally, professionally, and as a writer. The commitment to the goal gave me purpose and made my writing more than a to-do. I became more inspired this year. I noticed stories I wanted to share and experiences which could help others. Sharing information to help others became my purpose for 2016. It was a goal larger than any business goal.

What was your experience of this year’s posts? Was it the information you needed to hear when you needed to hear it? Was weekly too much; did it become overwhelming instead of helpful? Did you share posts with others when they were relevant?

What subjects would you like addressed in 2017? What else would you like besides weekly posts? Are you interested in an online course, a retreat, perhaps working together? How can I expand my goal of helping through writing to something more helpful to you?

One other thing I noticed about this exercise was that having a single goal for the year was certainly much easier to accomplish than having ten goals. Having only one goal gave me focus and allowed me to accomplish what I set out to do. And although there was only one goal, there were many outshoots of accomplishments. Writing weekly has stirred my blood and giving me the starting idea for writing book two. Certain topics helped to assist non-client readers through difficult times. Sometimes the post helped me work through my own growth challenge. All in all, writing weekly was a goal that helped me, and hopefully you, throughout the year.

What are your goals for 2017? Perhaps you want to make it just one focused goal. Make the goal easy to accomplish. Make it something that is not one time, but something that follows you throughout the year. Make it focused but not narrow and notice where the goal natural expands to.

Wishing you all the best in the new year!

hope or despair

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

As we come up to the holidays and into fourth quarter in the world of business, the morale of those in job transition I work with becomes lower and lower. They focus on the belief that hiring slows down at the end of the year. They think because their education, age, experience, it is hopeless for them to find a new position. These candidates look at their current situation and throw in the towel. It is hopeless. It is over.

Many Americans are feeling this way too. Shocked by the recent election results, they fear their life and their country is over. So many tell me they are in hiding. They feel irreversible changes have already happened to their government, economy, and Bill of Rights. They have accepted the belief that because of one incident, everything has changed, and more significantly, everything is over.

Months ago I watched the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. One line from the movie stuck with me and I have been waiting to share it. “Everything will be alright in the end so if it is not alright it is not the end.”

Soak that in.

“Everything will be alright in the end so if it is not alright it is not the end.”

hope or despairHow often in our lives do we think a loss, an accident, a layoff, a disappointment, a divorce, or a death signifies things have changed forever? That there is no going back? That our pain and anguish is our only hope for the future?

Things are not over until we stop breathing, and maybe not even then.  Yes, there will be challenging times, but nothing is forever. We need to have the belief that this moment is not the end of the story. That this moment is just that, a moment. Another moment will follow it. And another. Moment by moment, day by day, we move, change, grow. Unless we give up and throw in the towel, we still have a chance for what we want.

Another great line from that movie is “The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.” Life is a serious of victories and disappointments, large and small. Life is easy when there is only joy and victories. The true color of who we are appears when there are disappointments and challenges.

Whether you have lost your job, are reeling from the election, or have suffered a personal disappointment, drop the victim card. If things are not as you wanted, planned, or expected, act. Speak up. Take a baby step. Move forward. The only reason things will stay as they are and become “the end” is if you do not move into the future. You have the power to accept things as the end and you have the power to create your own end.

When you are faced with a disappointment, feel free to be angry, sad, upset, or disillusioned. It is important for us to feel and release our emotions. Then accept your power. Look at what you can change or affect that will move you a little closer to what you desire. Take action. Even if the action does not create the result you desire, taking action will keep you from wallowing in emotion and feeling hopeless.

And never lose hope that in the end, everything will be alright.