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The Art of Love

July 19, 2010

Sound familiar?

Relationships!  Ugh!  Who has the TIME?  It’s just so hard with all the drama…  Besides, everyone is so into themselves, it’s hard to find someone who cares about anyone else!

It’s just fate!  All guys/girls are jerks…  There aren’t any good places or ways to meet people.  It just isn’t worth my time.

I remember what it was like when I was young…  I don’t want to do THAT again!

And then there’s the thought that I could end up with the WRONG ONE again!  No more!  I just don’t want to be hurt like that anymore…

When will my prince/princess charming arrive?  I’ve paid my dues…  I just don’t understand.  If there is someone for everyone, why haven’t I found MINE?!

I just don’t want to make a mistake again.  How do I KNOW when I’ve found the ONE?

It MUST be me.  Maybe I’m just not good enough…

There is a better way…

According to Erich Fromm, “The art of loving is like any craft.  It requires patience, confidence, discipline, concentration, faith, and practice daily.”  Developing love requires mental effort.  It also takes tact, timing and the ability to tolerate some anxiety.  Love is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Anyone who genuinely wants an intimate relationship can have one.  It requires the preparation, maturity, and emotional effort of two loving adults.

Love isn’t something you find; it’s something you develop.  Love may be easier to develop with some people than with others only because their backgrounds are similar to yours, their looks more appealing, or their personalities more comfortable for you, at least initially.

Choosing a mate for life means knowing yourself first and recognizing a person with similar standards; it means not settling for less.  Those who succeed in love are certain they will succeed and they KNOW what they want.

Before a relationship goes too far, find out if you share common interests, values, and goals.  Have conversations with potential partners about all the icky, sticky topics in life; politics, dreams, finances, religion, aspirations.

Also remember that as you grow and mature, you learn about yourself and your actions.  You learn from your mistakes, many of which were made when you had less confidence and self-esteem.

Instead of trying to repeat the feelings of love that you remember from your youth, enjoy creating an experience from your more evolved, experienced place.  It’s only natural that our relationships would expand and grow, just as we have.

It’s best to develop your significant relationship just as you like with whom you like.  Ignore the labels and constraints of society.  The gauge of whether you should stay in the relationship or move on is how you feel about yourself when you are around him or her.  Do you feel admired, respected, listened to, attractive?

Whatever happens, don’t take it personally.  Ultimately, it has very little to do with you, no matter what it is.

Couples who thrive do so because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.  They do not dwell on their problems and differences.  Instead they approach every situation with a spirit of goodwill.  They focus on creating a harmonious atmosphere in the relationship.

Manifesting a relationship is something you can focus on, but it is not something you can control.  For people who succeed, there is no frantic or urgent feeling about it.  It’s a knowing that they will meet the right person.  They just don’t know when.

As you work toward finding your partner, focus on building your life in all areas.  Don’t focus just on career because you’ve got nothing else to do.  Live your life and make whatever decisions you have to, large or small.  Balance it all out.

Seek beauty in your life experience whether single or coupled.  Pamper yourself.  Use the good china.  Have candles with dinner.  Your self-worth is not determined by your relationship status.  You deserve the good life with or without company!

Why’s it so difficult?

Historically, we have been conditioned to believe that being single is a problem or a burden, even something to be pitied or cured.  It’s pervasive in our culture; from bedtime stories and fairy tales to TV shows and movies.

Many of us look to our partner to save or complete us, to make us happy.  We tend to attach our self worth to how we see the relationship going.

The challenge lies in expectations.  You cannot expect perfection in anyone, including yourself.

On the other side, we tend to believe that divorce or break-up is solely the result of choosing the “wrong one.”  This line of thinking is a dead-end street that leaves you helplessly trusting luck.  It leads only to blame and hostility.  Male or female, we tend to attach the failure to our partner’s maturity, character, or personality in order to lessen the blow to our self-esteem.

If you truly and wholeheartedly want a soul mate, start by understanding that there are always two sides to the story.  When you focus only on yourself, you can’t possibly want what is best for someone else. You may want what is best for him or her when it matches our own personal happiness, but as soon as it conflicts with what you want, his or her desires are no longer important.

You are not dependent upon what your partner does or doesn’t do in order to be happy.  Having a reckless whatever-works-for-me, whatever- I-can-get-out-of-this approach doesn’t work.

At the end of the day, love is a creation.  Romance can develop with a lot more someones than you’ve allowed yourself to believe.  You have to be willing to date and love differently.

Here’s what’s next…

If you are in the beginning stages of the relationship, check in to be sure that you are really being yourself.

Are you pretending you like doing something because they do?  Or are you genuinely enjoying it?

Do hesitate when telling some stories because you are afraid that the other person might not like you or be shocked?  It may be time to check your self-worth.  Are you comfortable with your past and who you are?

Are you agreeing with their ideas when really you don’t?  It’s pointless to say “Me too!” when it isn’t true.  They will be attracted to someone who isn’t really you.  In the end, you will both be disappointed.

Is there something that you are being asked to give up that means the world to you?  Is that acceptable to you?

Are you thinking they might change?  If you find yourself thinking that way, sirens should be going off!  Check in with your values.  Something is out of line.

Recognize that the value of finding out what is important to you and conveying it to others is about creating happiness for everyone involved.  Find out what’s important to them, too.

You can’t really work out if you want to see more of someone or if they are right for you unless you have a clear idea of what you value in yourself.

When you know who you are and what things are important in your life, then you can find someone who either values or honors you for valuing those things that make you uniquely you.

If you find that you have more and more values, dreams and ways of living in common as you get to know each other, then great!  Pursue it…

Start by asking yourself these core questions:

  • What do I value most in life? –  This usually generates big, emotionally charged open ideas like freedom, security.  Be sure to define each word means for you!  It doesn’t matter what other people think it means.
  • What things are going on in my life that are very important to me to maintain? – Do you volunteer at a youth hostel every week?  Do you feed the homeless?  Do you pray every day?  Maybe you like to go out with the girls/guys once a week.  If it’s important, identify it so it doesn’t mysteriously disappear on you one day.
  • What qualities is it vital for the other person to believe in or exhibit before I am prepared to enter a more long term relationship with them? – Really explore what you would find tolerable, admirable, and non-negotiable in your life partner.  If you rather would lay down your life than see another person killed for any reason and your partner thinks that capital punishment is a great way to thin the herd, there may be a problem later on.

The process will get easier as you explore what it is that really moves you.  Chances are that you’ve been bottled up for years.  Let your true self out and watch your life begin to blossom in ways you can’t imagine!

Learn how to Clear the Way for Romance in your Life!  Download your FREE Copy of 7 Secrets to Effortless Dating today!

Go to www.WellToDoLiving.com to learn more.

Love Sucks?

July 12, 2010

Do you feel like dating is the ultimate form of torture?

Does finding a life partner seem practically impossible?

If so many people are looking for love, why isn’t it easier to find SOMEONE?

There are dating blogs, online chat rooms, and matchmaking services.

You can search for a partner by race, religion, philosophy, hobbies, or political leanings.

You’ll find advice from people willing to give you STEP BY STEP instructions and those who are just telling you to wait your turn…

How do you know where to turn?  Why is it SO complicated?  It wasn’t always this way, was it?

Welcome to Wal-Mart!

I have a friend who moved to the U.S. from Russia when she finished college.  One day she was telling me about her first experience in an American grocery store…  No big deal, right?

WRONG!  She was so overwhelmed by all the aisles and colors and boxes and choices, that she said she was literally paralyzed!

After we stopped laughing at the image of this poor girl stuck like a deer in headlights in the peanut butter aisle, she explained that in Russia, you don’t have so many options.  That life was simpler

It wasn’t until I started doing some serious digging for a new project I’m working on that I realized just what she really meant!

I got dizzy from all the colors and opinions and lists…  From 10 steps to finding your perfect mate to 10 steps to finding the service to find your perfect mate, the list is endless.  Dr. Dating was, by far, the most list driven…

Decisions, Decisions…

With the dizzying array of choices for places to go just to learn how to START looking, no wonder you are overwhelmed!

The trick is to start with you…  If you aren’t clear what it is you are looking for, then all those choices only make your head spin!

Start with the obvious – do you want a boy or a girl?

Then move on to the more complex – do want a certain skin tone, ethnicity, or religious philosophy?

Don’t you just FEEL some of those myriad choices falling away?  Ah!  Breathing room!

Now you are gaining momentum.  Think about what’s important to you.  I mean REALLY important to you.  Take some time to think that one over.

Using the Universal Law of Sucking to Your Advantage

And while we’re on the subject, you might want to evaluate your living space.  If you don’t have room to move and you live by yourself, then you really aren’t in a place to invite someone else into your life, now, are you?

Nature abhors a vacuum.  It will fill that space with something.

Why not manipulate your space to help you draw in the Perfect Partner for you?  It’s not cheating… really…

When you set your mind to how you feel and who you would prefer and you clear your space to give that person room to show up, you might be surprised how quickly he or she does just that.

Take a little time off from the “dating game” and fill out your own questionnaire.  You’ll be glad you took the time to get clear.  And so will your Perfect Partner!

Happy Hunting!

Erin

Intending to Succeed…

July 8, 2010

The power of intention…  That’s what I am really getting in touch with.

Last month, I played a game with this blog.  In June, I challenged myself to write regularly and to promote actively.  I even set up a “score” I was shooting for…  50 hits.  I had been posting erratically before my commitment and had received about 26 hits a month.  And I hadn’t really focused on promoting the blog, so double seemed a good way to start…

Well, I received over 100 hits in June as a result of my laser focus on my goal.  I surprised myself endlessly!  I was thrilled!  I even let Facebook go as I “ran” to my blog several times a day to check my stats…  Too funny!

What I found TRULY amazing was that on June 29th, the day after I hit 102 visits, I gave a workshop and took a bit of mental “time off” from my blogging obsession.  I even missed my June 30th commitment to post.

I have been checking my stats sporadically over the last week and I have had not one single visit in 7 days!

*POOF*  Once my June goal was met, all that energy just dried up!  Since I hadn’t challenged myself to the next level, the momentum just dissipated…  Crazy, I tell you!

No one out there had any clue I had “lost focus” and yet you all responded in kind to my lackadaisical attitude.  How wild is that?

So, for all you folks out there that haven’t been achieving the results that you would like, I challenge you to raise your own bar.  No one else even needs to know about your little contest, if you want to keep it private.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Pick an area of your business or personal life where you want to see some action.
  • Set a measurable goal – Stretch just a little beyond what you believe is possible.
  • Create some excitement for yourself around your goal – Have a graph or a chart where you track your results
  • Only tell one or two other people about your challenge…  Your accountability partner(s)!
  • Check in with your Accountability Partner(s) regularly.  Set a time or day and stick with it.

I plan to use the power of intention and setting mini-goals to ramp up my business.  Let’s see how far I can go!

I would love to hear about your success stories!  Drop me a note at info@welltodoliving.com.  I’d be happy to cheer you on!

Thanks for contributing to my momentum!  How may I help you?

Erin

Really Authentic?

June 23, 2010

What is Authenticity?

From the classroom to the board room people are engaging in conversations about authenticity.

The concept of authenticity has been discussed and debated for centuries.  It is subjective, elusive.  It is the holy grail of business and personal development!

At it’s core, authenticity is truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion and intentions.

From a philosophical perspective, authenticity is the degree to which a person or business is true to his or her own personality, spirit or character despite the pressure of friends, family, or outside circumstances (including Wall Street).

Being authentic really depends upon how you look at authenticity.  It could be a simple as being completely focused in the moment, whether doing the dishes or writing a blog article.  It may be as complex as being embroiled in the deepest search for inner truth.  In either case, an element of seeing what is is present.

When we avoid dealing with the beauty and reality of what is, life can quickly become empty and monotonous.

What difference does it make?

From a business perspective, authenticity is the perfect foundation of Brand Identity.  When authenticity is successfully achieved, your customers come to understand your strongest characteristics, attributes and values.

This separates you from the crowd.  It gives people a REASON to do business with you versus an apparent competitor down the street.

This cannot be done without knowing who you are, how you do what you do, and why.

The Trap of Authenticity

A danger of any idea becoming popular is the “Disneyfication” of the concept.

The term is used to Disneyfication imply the homogenization of consumption, merchandising, and emotional labor.  It can be used more broadly to describe the processes of stripping a real place or event of its original character and repackaging it in a sanitized format. References to anything negative are removed, and the facts are watered down with the intent of making the subject more pleasant and easily grasped.

But how does that happen?

Humans are born with a yearning to be authentic.  When we are young, we are fearless and wildly authentic!  As we grow older, we learn lessons through “consequences.”  As we do, we develop “FEARS!”  If allowed to grow unchecked, those fears slowly cover the desire for authenticity.

Even though the authenticity has been practically suffocated beneath layers of garbage, it still sends out tiny cries for expression.  We feel it deep in our core.  We yearn to feel it in our environment.

This is why AUTHENTICITY is all the rage now in marketing!  We CRAVE it…

What we don’t get is that EVERY human experience has a good and a bad, a light and a dark, an up and a down…  We want the good, the light, the up.  We avoid the bad, the dark, the down.  By working so diligently to experience only good and avoid all the bad, we practically strip our existence of all meaning and make the black hole where authenticity should be in our lives exponentially larger.

We will pay any amount of money to have someone give us a pill or put us through a class or absolve us of our sins.  Just, please don’t make me go through the PAIN!

The beauty of the human experience is in the contrast.  How can we truly appreciate joy without having experienced sadness?

Have you ever had a piece of cheesecake after you got home from the gym?  How good did that taste?  You earned it!  You worked hard to be able to eat that guilt free.  Did you woof it down?  No!  You gave 30 minutes of your life on the Stair Monster for that privilege!  You’re gonna savor that puppy!

We’ve all heard the expression absence makes the heart grow fonder…  Not having something around or paying a price, makes the joy of having it later on that much greater.

How does PERSONAL authenticity intersect with BUSINESS identity?

You’ve met that person who was so fake it made you uncomfortable just being near him or her, right?  The one who’s always been there, done that…  It was bigger, better, faster, brighter.  “Oh, you haven’t seen ANY-thing!”

Well, if you don’t have you core message down, or if you aren’t doing something that feeds a passion within you, then your business kinda feels that way to your clients.  If they don’t have something for people to connect with, you don’t have a shot at being really remembered in the marketplace.

When you started your business, something inside of you called to you.  It drew you out.  It wouldn’t leave you alone.

That calling is your authenticity.  That little tiny little voice is that piece that’s been covered up by all those fears and judgments.  Listening to that tiny little voice can make your business a HUGE success, if you play your cards right!

Time did an article on Synthetic Authenticity in 2008.  Apparently, consumers make buying decisions based on emotion more frequently than they do based on rational thought.  Basically, since consumers are, themselves, often out of touch with their own authenticity, they are craving something that will help them to feel fulfilled.

Enter the authentic entrepreneur.  When you serve your customers authentically, you will provide amazing products and services.  But you will also give them an experience that leaves them feeling satisfied and possibly better about themselves.

Think about the last time you were served by someone who seemed so sure of themselves and was so centered that you felt like you were heard.  Your experience of doing business with that person or company was probably amazing.  I imagine you’ve even gone back for more.

The people you hang out with are the people who “get you.”  Why should doing business be any different?

And, don’t forget, your employees are people, too!  If you deal with them from a space of authenticity, they’ll feel better about themselves and working for you.  As a result, they’ll be much more likely to serve your customers with a spirit of care and concern.

How can I live authentically?  Simple Steps

Remember, authenticity cannot be faked!

Step 1:             Paint a picture of what you want

Step 2:             Check your “map” to see where you are now

Step 3:             Use Creative Tension – Decide to be excited about the journey

Step 4:             Take Action – Nothing happens until you do

Step 5:             As reality moves to match your vision, CELEBRATE!!

Have FUN with the process!  It’s about letting go…

Would you like to go deeper?  Check out our new program Carve Your Perfect Niche.  This workbook and audio set are designed to walk you through the process of getting to the bottom of you…

For more information, contact me at info@welltodoliving.com

Balance Your pH Levels for Better Health

June 16, 2010

It seems so hard to know what’s good for you and what’s not anymore. How do you know what to eat? Why can’t you have your favorite foods? It just doesn’t seem to make sense. And it doesn’t seem fair.

Well, here is a tip to start on the path to managing your health more proactively.

pH balance is one of the key factors to physical well being. The human body works best between the levels of 7.4 to 7.6. That means we must eat balanced amounts of alkaline and acidic foods to create the right pH level. If we don’t, the level of pH is off and the body has to compensate somehow – generally by stripping minerals from the bones or muscles leading to conditions like osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

The standard American diet (SAD) tends to be acidic, so we are usually lacking the alkaline foods. After years of fighting to find enough of the right materials, the body starts to break down. This is when disease tends to show up.

Paying attention to your pH balance is like keeping an eye on your checking account. Just like it’s not a good idea to overspend on your checking account, deficit spending in your diet throws your pH out of balance.

By paying attention to the food you eat on a regular basis, it is possible to change physical health, sometimes dramatically.

* Cut down on animal products. Meat and dairy tend to be acidic by nature, so cutting back can help balance things out.

* Add more vegetables, especially green, leafy. Yes, you keep hearing it over again. But it’s true. The brighter the color of the veggie, even if it’s not green, the more beneficial it is. They are more alkaline in nature and help to balance you out.

* Shift coffee for green, white or red teas. Coffee is HIGHLY acidic. Did you know that in Europe, many people drink coffee with lemon, no doubt to shift the pH balance so as not to upset the natural balance in their bodies?

You don’t have to give up anything. When you know the rules of the game, you get to decide how you want to play. It’s all about BALANCE.

Discover how to be Well To Do the things YOU love! Visit us at http://www.welltodoliving.com to see how we can help you!

Wellness? What’s that? (via Archer Fit Press)

June 10, 2010

It is perfect in it’s simplicity.

Nothing more need be said…

Wellness?  What's that? Wellness is a choice – a decision to move toward achieving optimal health and fitness. Wellness is a way of life – a lifestyle that you choose to achieve health and fitness, not just a short-term diet plan. Wellness is a process – continual, no end point; a lifestyle change. Wellness is loving acceptance of yourself and others. Wellness is nurturing your spititual and emotional health, as well as your physical health. Wellness is taking good care … Read More

via Archer Fit Press

Do You Value Your Life?

June 9, 2010

One of the things I am learning is that it’s the little moments in life that count…

Just last week, I was in the kitchen making breakfast for myself. My husband came into the den and sat down on the couch. Normally, he would pick up the guitar, but he didn’t. He just sat there for a moment.

A thought crossed my mind. “Go sit with him…” “Nah…” I thought, “I don’t have time…” Then I thought “why wouldn’t I have time for my most important relationship?” I went and laid on the couch with my head in his lap for 10 minutes.

Later that evening, when we shared our days, he shared that that moment had been the high point of his day! Wow! What if I had missed that?!?

Now, think about this…

If you were held up at gun point, would you give up your wallet or would you give up your life? Most of us would give up the money, right?

In that moment, we value our life more than we value the cash we have in hand.

So why do we sacrifice our life a little bit at a time day in and day out?

It happens slowly… A little bit at a time…

Check this out. A team of scientists decided to study the effects of slow environmental changes on frogs.

First, they put a frog in a container with room temperature water. They increased the temperature of the water just a little bit and watched the frog’s response. The frog was ecstatic, happily swimming around. They turned up the heat a little more. The frog was thrilled. They did it again, and again the frog seemed overjoyed. The last time they turned up the heat, the frog died!

Scientists took the same setup with a frog of the same species and put the water at a temperature just below the temperature that the previous frog had died in. The new frog was FRANTICALLY trying to ESCAPE!!

What happened?

In the first scenario, the environment had changed so slowly that the frog couldn’t tell that the temperature was getting dangerously hot. He had adjusted to his environment, even though it was bad for his health. In the end, it cost him his life!

How often do you trade little slices of your self or your life “just this once…”?
• The overtime is only for a few weeks…
• I’ll just have dessert one more time, THEN I’ll eat right…
• Just one more cigarette…
• But it’s a special occasion…
• They really need me honey.
• You’ll have other baseball, soccer, football games/ballet, band, piano recitals…

And your marriage is suffering… And your family is suffering… And your physical and mental health are suffering…

You have no down time… You have no romantic time… You have no vacation time… You have no recuperation time…

You get fatter, grumpier, sicker, more tired, more distant. You keep thinking…
• Doesn’t he understand that I do it for him?
• Doesn’t she know it’s just for a little while longer?
• It’s just this one last time…
• Don’t they KNOW that I LOVE them?!?

Are you overdrawn in your “life account” selling your life away one day at a time, expecting that you’ll “catch up later?”

Create the Life of Your Dreams in 10 Minutes a Day!

June 3, 2010

Sounds too good to be true, I know. But you CAN create the life of your dreams in just ten minutes a day every day. Here’s how.

What you will need:

1) Create a space in your home where you feel relaxed and comfortable. It could be anywhere – your couch, your easy chair, in your study. Make it some place where you can be completely alone for 5 minutes every morning and every evening.

2) Find a timer. It could be a watch, cell phone, or an egg timer. I found it best to buy a small digital timer at Target. That way I can leave the timer in my special spot and I don’t have to spend time looking for it.

3) Buy a journal or notebook. You will use it for the evening exercises every day. You may also want to use it after your morning exercise for any insights or ideas you have.

The Exercise:

In the morning: Right after you wake up, before you start your morning routine or move into your day, go to your quiet space. Make yourself comfortable and take a few deep breaths to relax.

Set your timer for 5 minutes and begin.

Now, imagine your perfect day. You may be anywhere you want using any image you want. Make it something you are passionate about, something that inspires you, or something you have always wanted.

If you have trouble creating an image, start by asking yourself questions like the following:

• What am I passionate about?
• Where is my favorite vacation or getaway place?
• How do I like to spend my free time to have fun?
• Why do I want a better life? For my kids? My spouse? My parents?
• If I had all the money and time in the world, what would I do every day?

Take 5 full minutes to answer these questions in your mind with images, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings. Play it like a movie in your mind. Really immerse yourself in the show.

These 5 minutes are all about you and your dreams. No thoughts of “But, what if…” or “How can I afford it, do it, get there…” When your mind inserts thoughts of the mortgage or the boss or any other obstacle you may have in your life, just gently say, “Thank you for sharing” and go back to your movie.

At first, you may not be able to create clear images. It’s okay. It’s a process. Keep focusing on answering the questions in your mind’s eye.

The exercise is much more powerful if your morning movie is the same theme every day. It doesn’t have to be the same part of the same movie. If you imagine being in Alaska today and Aruba tomorrow because you are a world traveler, then it’s all good! But if they are for completely different reasons, it can get confusing.

When the timer goes off and you have finished, you may record any thoughts or insights you had in your journal. It’s a good way to keep track of your progress, though it isn’t necessary.

Note: Don’t read your journal during your 5 minutes. This is about creating a picture in your mind. Reading takes you out of that space.

In the evening: Right before you go to bed, go to your quiet space. Make yourself comfortable and take a few deep breaths to relax.

Pick up your journal and a pen and begin. This exercise isn’t timed. You work at the list until you come up with 5 of each of the following

GRATITUDE: Write down five things that you are grateful for today.

Spend a moment finding what you are thankful for at this point in your life. Some things to think about are:

• Something special or unexpected that happened to you today.
• Your best friend
• You had all green lights on the way home from work
• You found the perfect shoes at 75% off!
• Your cat or dog

It could be something that’s always been there, but you see how it really helps you do what you need to do. It can be something as simple as a car that runs, a roof over your head, or a good meal.

We are not looking for anything fancy or outrageous. On the contrary, you are creating a habit of having appreciation for EVERYTHING you have in your life – especially the little things…

SUCCESS: Write down five successes or things that you like about yourself.

Take a moment to think about what makes you ‘you.’ Take a look at the things that you do or are that you enjoy and that make you happy.
• Did you answer all the questions on Jeopardy right tonight?
• Did you get your black belt in Tae Qwon Do?
• How about you made it all the way through an aerobics class for the first time?
• Do you make a mean macaroni & cheese?
• Do you have awesome eyes?
• Are you a great salsa dancer?
• Are you a super friend?

Again, it could be HUGE or it could be small. You aren’t looking for size. You are building a muscle.
When these exercises are done every day, you will begin to notice a shift in your thinking in just a few weeks. It may take some time. Be patient.

As you continue to focus on what you want, you will find little opportunities you hadn’t noticed before. You will begin to understand that luck is really something you make for yourself.

Practice being successful in your mind and success will soon come to you. Practice gratitude in your heart and abundance will be your reward.

Try the exercises for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, go back and read your journal. See what has started to happen. I bet it will be delightful.

I hope you will share your stories with me. Feel free to post them here in the comments to help others see how easy it is to change your life. You may also email me at erin@welltodoliving.com.

Happy dream building!

A Journey of Self Discovery

May 26, 2010

As a passionate advocate of self development, I have put myself through many different levels of education and training over the course of the last eight years. I started long before that, but I cannot really connect the dots before that time.

I knew I was always searching for something, but never really knew enough to know what it was. I was obsessed with Eastern philosophies, but had no frame of reference. So I decided to check it out. I found a form of Buddhism that teaches the Law of Cause and Effect without being all in-your-face about rules and regulations. Awesome! Sign me up!

The meditative practice involves repeating a mantra out loud for as much or as little time as you like. Again, cool! I never was very good at the discipline of staring at candles…

At the time I was beginning my Buddhist practice, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto hypothyroidism, which is a disorder where the body created anti-bodies to fight the thyroid gland and force it to stop producing one of the most important hormones in the body. I was depressed, overweight, disoriented, and suicidal.

When I received the diagnosis, I was given hormone replacement pills. I was told I would be on these meds forever.

Now, I was raised in the typical American, single-parent, divorced household on the standard American diet (read SAD!).  Because of my diet, lack of physical activity, and suppressing emotional traumas, I developed a lot of coping strategies in the form of addictive behaviors.

I overcame smoking, drinking and several other destructive tendencies. Over the years, I experimented with nutrition, diet, supplementation, my meditative practice and how I treat my body to see what triggers or inflames my condition.

For the past two years, I have been able to successfully manage my hypothyroidism with a combination of diet and herbal supplements – WITHOUT DRUGS! The one area where I still seem to struggle is food – sugar and carbs in particular. When I fall off the wagon, I can FEEL it!

Three weeks ago, I began a course in developing mind power. As I did my daily exercises, I found myself really getting in touch with the concepts. I also found myself uncontrollably craving junk foods I hadn’t eaten literally in YEARS!

It took two weeks for me to make the connection. When I did, I was astounded!  Being in this place, I am noticing how my body feels. My joints hurt. I felt stiff, tired and cranky. I marvel at how I could possibly have lived this way all the time just a few short years ago!

Personal development and growth is a process that generally takes time. I understand this more with each day.  It’s frustrating as hell to be in a place where you see what’s blocking you, but you don’t seem to be able to do what needs to be done to release the grip of the addiction.

As human beings, we have the power and capacity to change our circumstances in the blink of an eye with just one sincere decision.  However, as human beings, we tend to wait until the situation is so bloody uncomfortable we feel like dying or killing someone before we feel the need to commit.

If you are on a journey of self-discovery, take heart.  It will almost always feel uncomfortable when you really dig down and find habits or behaviors you want to change.  You are not crazy.  That’s how it goes.

Support yourself through the process by using some of the following tools:

1) Cultivate relationships with a small group of like minded people.  These are the people who will support you through your shift.  Generally family and old friends don’t work here, just because they helped create the destructive patterns.  Often, they are the product of the same circumstances that got you where you are.  They don’t know any better.  Don’t worry about them now.  After you heal, you can offer them help, IF THEY WANT IT.  For now, focus on yourself.

2) Write down your WHY and read it EVERY DAY!  Better yet, record yourself saying your WHY and listen to it right when you wake up and just before you go to sleep every day.  It’s easy to lose sight of why you got on the superhighway, as your own personal demons are confronting you.  If you keep your prize always in sight, you will be stronger as you move through even the darkest of forests.

3) Forgive yourself when you mess up.  No baby ever learned to walk on the first try.  Often the patterns you are attempting to shift have been in place for decades.  You developed these habits as a way to cope with your environment.  Your mind is only trying to protect you.  Don’t let yourself off the hook – and don’t abuse yourself for tripping.  Keep going.  This is a great time to call those friends or re-listen to that recording.

Be kind to yourself.  Love yourself.  You are an amazing person.  Keep moving toward your goals.

Every day is a gift. What gift did you receive today?

A New Lease on Life…

May 20, 2010

PERSPECTIVE – it’s all in the way you see things…

Everyone has opinions.  And opinions are based on conversations or past experience.  Your past experience dictates how you feel about something, whether you get it first hand or through the stories of others.  That helps you figure out how to respond when something even remotely similar happens again.

The trap is when we think that the same tactic will work over and over and over and over and over again…  Like whatever is happening now is EXACTLY like the event that we used to create the pattern!

Humans are creatures of habit.  We resist change.

The mind has a beautifully efficient system.  We learn that this berry is poisonous, we stay away.  We experience fear when being chased by a tiger, we learn not to mess with the pretty kitty.  We almost get run over crossing the street against the light, we learn that jaywalking is dangerous… and we jaywalk anyway…  No, wait.  That’s a different story.

So the brain is geared to make ASSUMPTIONS.  That way, the brain can work to interpret new data while the older situations are put on auto-pilot.  Since the environment is always changing and there is SO much to keep up with, it’s the brain’s way to stay sane.

Let’s look at those assumptions.  Are our assumptions ALWAYS right?  (That could be considered a trick question to some of you.)  The answer is NO.

Wait!  What do you mean NO?  I thought my brain was efficient?

Efficient?  Yes!  100% Effective?  No!  The mind works under a simple principle.  Sloppy success is better that perfect failure.  (Of course, it refuses to allow you to operate the same way)

How does perspective show up?

Last night, my husband mentioned a conversation he had with a customer who said, “Oh!  You are from Argentina!  My neighbor is from Argentina!  Argentineans are such wonderful people!”

His comment to me was “And what if her neighbor was a son-of-a-b****?”

It’s funny how we group people, places, and events into categories.  If you stop to think about it, that’s where all stereotypes begin.  Those stereotypes become the wedges that divide in times of struggle creating division, racism, and even genocide.

Wait!  You mean that the lady saying “All Argentineans are NICE” is the basis of genocide?  Yes…

Her opinion was statement of “FACT” for her.  This “FACT” is based on her observation of one or two or three test subjects at the most…

It wasn’t a malicious opinion.  She even thinks she’s being a genuinely sincere and likable person.  But what happens when she uses this opinion to avoid doing her due diligence in a business situation and she gets burned?  Will she then believe that all Argentineans SEEM nice?  But that in “REALITY,” they are ALL out to get you?

Since the opinion was formed quickly and on shaky evidence, what’s to say that it wouldn’t shift with the same ease?

And then what?  Now she has an opinion that causes a reaction in another direction based on 4 test subjects out of a pool of millions…

If someone told you that cheesecake causes cancer in 4 out of 4,000,000 people, would you still eat it?  I would…

Let’s put that into perspective.  You get in cars all day every day and yet, in 2008, out of 304,060,000, 34,017 died.  (For those who jaywalk, 4,378 of those were pedestrians.)

For you numbers people, that means that you are over 100 times more likely to die in a car wreck than of cheesecake cancer.

So, we still get in cars and yet our decision about Argentineans (or Jews or Blacks or Whites or Republicans) still stands…  We are willing to write off a whole population of people as “bad” based on the behavior of one person.

“But, that’s because it happened to ME!!”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  As I said, these short cuts help make our lives easier.  But wouldn’t it be nice if you knew why you said and did certain things under certain circumstances?

If you don’t know WHY you said or did it, then you aren’t really in control of your life…  And that may be the very reason why you haven’t had the level of success you want in different areas of your life.

Take a look at an area in your life where you just can’t seem to make it to your goal, no matter how “hard” you try.  There may be a perspective or an opinion at work that you aren’t aware exists.

As you take a look, you may start to see some patterns.  Do you usually expect the worst from people and they rarely let you down?  Or does life just seem to flow for you and you aren’t sure why?

Remember the old adage; Awareness is the first step to change.  So start small and work to cultivate self awareness.  It may be frustrating at times, but stick with it.  The benefits will far outweigh the cost.