After three years spent growing out the bangs my ex-husband loved, I made the grave error of arriving at my appointment in a “do whatever you want” mood.
Alan wanted bangs.
Craving some immediate and measurable improvement in my appearance, I threw caution to the wind (despite a nagging no on the inside) and said, “Go for it!”
At the first snip, I knew they were too short.
I groaned internally. This was not my first bang rodeo.
Six-months of hair angst would ensue before I could return to my former bang-less glory.
The only comfort? Looking over my shoulder at previous bang travesties and knowing that, eventually, they always grow back.
Which is a great metaphor for any setback in life.
Think of something that pained you in the past. Do you now think of it differently?
Being laid off from QVC? Now I say THANK GOD I didn’t spend my career selling gold chains (though I am happy for those that do.)
The one that got away? I’ve seen his Facebook photos, and he didn’t age well.
Then, there are the more deeply stinging setbacks. Like the 17 years spent in a church that turned out to be a cult.
Sure, I could waste my energy bemoaning the “lost” years, but were they really lost?
The harshest, most painful setbacks in life (and there were plenty at that place) give us crystal clear clarity on what we don’t want and what we do want.
Never shall I allow my voice to be silenced in the face of injustice again. I will not allow others to assign my worth, nor will I be controlled by someone else’s “vision” for my life.
Just as the scriptures say, I had to lose my life to find it.
The experience set me back to set me up for who I am today.
The loss of my father at age ten still befuddles me. But that setback birthed in me a keen understanding that life is precious…and fleeting. That you should end conversations with a heartfelt “I love you” because you don’t know when or if you’ll get another chance to do so in this life.
A recent post talked about how time offers perspective unavailable when in the midst of turmoil. The 56 -year-old version of me now feels my father’s presence at key moments and I have an unshakable knowing that he is ever-present, offering emotional support.
A very present help in time of trouble.
The immortality of his beautiful soul offered small comfort to a little girl who just wanted a big hand to hold. Forty-six years later, I understand his transition to non-physical as a new way to know him.
Our word these past two weeks has been celebration.
My interpretation has been to embrace celebration as appreciation, yes, even for the setbacks in life.
They unfailingly become setups for good if we’ll choose to see them that way.
And I dug it. (And not in a good, 70’s “groovy” kind of way.)
Since we are the CEO’s of our own lives, we dig the holes we choose to dive into.
This week’s video talks about the particular hole I dug, so I’m not going to re-hash that, but let’s spend a minute going over how to emerge from those self-imposed ditches!
First things first, stop beating yourself up for having “done it again.” You were on a high-flying disc, you felt unstoppable, you were bathed in positivity – then BAM, you got sucker punched by a thought.
It was a nagging thought; it could have been swatted away like a mosquito, but instead, you played with it.
You entertained it.
In the workshops I teach, I use the example of a known criminal showing up at your door. Would you let them in? Further, would you brew a pot of coffee and open up the guest room?
We should treat negative thoughts; hurtful self-talk and shame-filled internal accusations with the same vehemence.
However, when we fail to kick them to the curb quickly, they do gain momentum. And their companion playmates then join in to sling some mud. Next thing you know, you have full-on anxiety, depression, the blahs and the blues.
The worst thing you can do is kick yourself when you’re down.
No! Be extra nice to yourself. Don’t dwell on the hole; think of a better-feeling thought – perhaps completely off-topic. Like that your favorite niece just got engaged – or that there’s a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer with your name on it. Count some blessings. You have a roof over your head, or friends that care about you. A job that pays the bills and a sunset you can catch if you look out the window.
If that doesn’t work, take a nap. Going to sleep will hit the re-set button on your mood.
Seeking those better- feeling thoughts and entertaining THEM will elevate you from the hole, and soon you’ll be back to your tuned in, tapped in, turned on self.
Yes, you are hearing my favorite Esther Hicks phrases in this post, and for good reason.
I bet you’ll laugh when you hear what nagging thought began MY personal hole since the last time we visited. How lovely to laugh at what had previously stung!
I had a beautiful time a few months ago giving the keynote speech to 600+ librarians at the Michigan Library Association’s Annual Conference. The capacity crowd smiled, nodded and laughed throughout the presentation and when it ended I thought, “That was just beautiful.”
Why? Because I felt so alive, doing what I believe I was born to do. Encouraging others – and seeing that my words were hitting the mark? Talk about satisfying!
Until I saw the organization’s social media post featuring yours truly at an unposed moment.
I looked like the Michelin Man with three tires at the midsection. No joke.
I was horrified.
My beautiful experience had now been tainted by an un-Instagram-worthy moment. My only recourse? A) respectfully ask that they remove the post and B) start SOME kind diet, immediately.
Before those two action items came into focus, self-loathing kicked in. How could you let yourself gain so much weight? How could you deceive yourself for so long through loose clothing?
Then despair: “You know, you’re getting older. Maybe just give up on trying to avoid fat and eat the damn twinkies.”
But I’ve been proudly vain for 55 years. By God (and my Rodan and Fields eyelashes), I’m not about to give up on being hot now! (I vowed to myself.)
That was 22 pounds ago. Thank you, OptaVia, for being an eating plan that helped me jump start a healthier me.
I want to get to the place where self-loathing isn’t even in my wheelhouse; where I can – warts and all – look in the mirror and smile at myself.
This post isn’t about dieting as much as it is LOVING myself (yourself; ourselves) through every stage of life.
While my outer self got thinner these past few months, I’ve continued to focus on my inner me. Because that’s where beautiful begins for all of us.
Spending some quiet time – just 15 minutes – to APPRECIATE and stir up positive aspects is more powerful than any beauty serum. (I know; I’ve tried them all.)
When I’m thinking anxious thoughts, or feeling left out – maybe even a tad jealous – it’s like wearing a cloak of ugly. (Note to readers who may think otherwise: I do not fart sunshine and rainbows; I deal with the same petty stuff we all do on occasion.)
But when I take the time to set my soul in alignment with Source/God/Spirit – Who is ALWAYS loving me – I shine.
After a gloomy week of worrying about my mom’s health, my workload, my bank account. Oh, also my puppy dog, my ex-husband and pretty much everything (worry is like sticky tape; it attracts a bunch of cohorts to gang up on you) I made the decision to stop.
Instead, I spent time that morning thinking about what I DO want. In fact, Mark and I were headed out to romp around Key West. Before we left the cottage, I announced five things that I wanted to happen that day.
With one block of our walk, a woman stopped her car in the middle of the street. She stuck her head out of the window and literally shouted, “You look so pretty! I love that dress.”
(One of the things I had asked for was a delightful encounter with a stranger.)
That was delightful – and I felt beautiful. Not just because someone shouted it from a car window (though how much fun was that???) But because I was thinking beautiful thoughts again.
Here are my parting thoughts on our recent word of the week, BEAUTY:
And happy feelings are always preceded by happy thoughts.
Why – especially at this time of year – do we milk the drama that is so readily available from sad songs (Blue Christmas, anyone?) or the lack of Christmas cards or presents under the tree?
Sadness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, fear…I spent way too many holidays (and every other days) letting these negative emotions dig a groove in my soul. Filling in those grooves with a new pattern of happy thoughts, positive feelings, good memories and believing the best about people (including myself) has been my mission in 2018.
Paving over the potholes in our soul takes effort, but it makes the road ahead less bumpy.
We have the power to not let our pasts dictate our futures. Let’s stop expending energy on what went wrong before and instead start charting a new course, built on a foundation of loving ourselves MORE.
One of my favorite teachers, Esther Hicks, talks about when she first started using a GPS to navigate road trips. They were on their way and her husband, Jerry, said, “You know…we’re going in the wrong direction.” Esther said, “That’s not possible! I know I put everything in the GPS perfectly. Let’s go back to where we started and figure out where it went wrong.”
Jerry listened and gently replied, “Or we could just start going the right way starting from where we are.”
Oh! That makes sense.
Don’t spend time as this year ends bemoaning where you got off track or how far away you may be from where you want to be.
Start, right here, right now on the new path.
The happy path.
The path you deserve.
It’s a choice, and the power is OURS.
Final thoughts on power and the new Word of the Weeks (which is actually a Word for the Year) are right here:
Sometimes you can feel like you’re under a pile of doo-doo, but later you realize (with appreciation) that it’s just meant to fertilize your life.
The seed of your dream is in the ground, and it is sometimes a dark place, compounded by the compost of, well, poopy circumstances.
Can I use any more childlike words to describe #$it?
I know that those of you who read my posts are generally like-minded; we seek to GROW our lives, don’t we?
My recent attendance at an Abraham Hicks workshop gave me an AHA that turned into a recent Toastmasters speech that I plan to take to the International Competition. (Nothing like thinking big, right?)
Here it is in written form (which I need to pare down by about 500 words to make my time constraints!):
It was love at first sight.
I was 16 years old…and no, it wasn’t the captain of the football team.
It was a 1981 Chevy Camaro Berlinetta.
This story, however, is NOT about a car.
Still, let me paint a picture for you.
It was a second generation Camaro; the last with the rounded body style. Black leather bucket seats; a sun roof, silver pin-striping – I have no idea what engine type – but it didn’t matter…
…because it had air conditioning and an 8-track player…
It beckoned to me from the showroom floor.
Perhaps it was my mom’s way of honoring my dad’s memory – he was ALWAYS opposed to buying a used car.
Maybe it was the pleading look in my eye.
Whatever unseen miracle was at work, I drove that Berlinetta out of the showroom, certain it would
Solve all of my self-esteem issues,
Secure me a prom date and
Send my classmates into a jealous frenzy.
None of that happened, but what did happen was the minute I drove that car off of the lot, it depreciated by 11%. At the end of the first year, that percentage rose to 19%.
I learned the concept of DEPRECIATION.
Webster’s defines DEPRECIATE as to diminish in value over a period of time or to disparage or belittle. To DE-PRECIATE shrinks things.
Which got me thinking about APPRECIATION.
Could it be said that APPRECIATION grows things?
When I water and fertilize my flowers, they GROW. Saying “thank you” or complimenting a friend GROWS a relationship. When I make deposits into my savings, that account GROWS.
APPRECIATION is like a magical super-sizer.
Famed inspirational speaker and motivational coach Tony Robbins said it this way:
You’re enjoying the sunny Sarasota sunshine. (Or imagine that you are, dear Northerners!)
It brings a smile to your face.
You’re walking down main street and say to a passerby, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
They agree, smiling.
And your appreciation has made a beautiful day even better by the very act of appreciating it.
Appreciation GROWS things.
When I throw my Burger King wrapper in my garden bed, it chokes the roots.
If I don’t tend to the weeds or protect my plants from critters or pests, they fall prey.
My actions – or lack – of appreciation can either SPEED or IMPEDE growth.
Appreciation is ACTIVE.
When I moved out on my own, my Camaro didn’t have the oil changed regularly. (I hear you groaning.) It became a repository for fast food wrappers and dents and parking tickets from Glassboro State College. It eventually died on the highway.
Because of the way I DIDN’T take care of it, it had steadily diminished in value.
Had I appreciated it and cared for it, it might be a classic – the target of oohs and aahs at car shows.
And when it comes to matters of the heart and appreciation, I think of my marriage.
It started with roses and cards and praise…
…and ended in shouts and divisions of property and our very lives.
We stopped appreciating what we loved about each other and the marriage continued to shrink.
How do we DE-PRECIATE our lives? We:
Focus on what’s wrong instead of what is right
Let negative thoughts take up residence
Poison our dreams by marinating on their impossibility
Has anyone here been guilty of these? Me too, so how do we FERTILIZE OUR LIVES? Through APPRECIATION.
Acknowledge what IS GOOD right now.
Praise progress – even baby steps.
Remember what obstacles you’ve surmounted.
Recall how far you’ve come.
And be good to YOU.
Yes, be nice to yourself.
Stop complaining about what you didn’t, should have or might have been or done.
The past is in your rear-view mirror. You’re not going there.
Regrets do NOT serve you or anyone else. Guilt is a non-productive emotion, and if you look ahead, the sun is shining – always, even behind the clouds.
I want my life to GROW. I want MORE GOOD STUFF – and I don’t want to take the blessings of life for granted until they de-preciate from view.
What do you love – who do you love, RIGHT NOW?
Even worship it (or them) with appreciation
AND WATCH YOUR LIFE GROW.
We had two less-than-sexy words this past two weeks, but I was inspired with a fun take on RESPONSIBILITY and TRUST. Here it is, plus the new WOW:
It’s a mandate to go with the flow, my friends.
May that flow take you ever closer to the life you’ve imagined.
I am in love with waiting patiently these days, because I have found the POWER in this space in time.
The waiting period between now and a dream actualized gives us time to PREPARE for the moment.
Mohammed Ali put on those boxing gloves long before his first fight. Oprah Winfrey practiced speaking as a little girl, long before the cameras were rolling. And everything you (and I) are doing right now is preparing us for OUR moment.
My recent attendance at an Abraham Hicks workshop reminded me that waiting is a juicy time.
Before I can see it, smell it, taste it or touch it, I can ENJOY it.
I see the lines of smiling people as I sign my books. The light on my face is warm, as I encourage a standing room only audience to love themselves in a dark auditorium. I can taste the salt in the air at the yellow house on Casey Key with a writing room that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico.
Yesterday morning, I even saw the sunflowers on the windowsill as white curtains billow through the kitchen on a sea breeze.
It’s PALPABLE! And not complicated.
Complication enters when I entertain conflicting thoughts on the same topic.
When I meditate on the details and how-to’s and uh-ohs, my power stance putters.
When I meditate on what is being created, it jazzes me so much I could levitate. It fills my faith tank so fully that I’ve got too much readiness to believe the bad.
What a thing to NOT to feel guilty about what the world deems important. (Note to Mom: No, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop being responsible. I will continue to work hard, pay my bills, remember peoples’ birthdays and to eat my vegetables.)
What I am learning, rather, is to not give attention to the squeakiest wheel and instead give focus to my INNER BEING.
My life – your life – is a petri dish. We establish (or not) a vibrational ecosystem that supports (or not) what we desire.
What is manifesting (or not) is what is dominant in our thoughts. Thoughts become THINGS.
“If you are not realizing movement on a topic, this influence of your inner being is being dominated by opposing thought.” – Abraham Hicks
What? You mean I’m hamstringing my own progress by entertaining opposing thoughts?
I thought I was just being practical!
Instead, I choose to be impractical and simultaneously psyched about the pipeline and its contents. THAT is where the fun is!
And SATISFACTION – right here and now, while you are “waiting” is proof that you are in alignment with SOURCE, God, the Universe, or however you wish to describe the Almighty Power that created ALL of this.
Find as many ways to feel as good as you can feel.
Worry is not how you love people, least of all yourself. Worry is clutter and resistance to that which we seek to manifest.
So what do I do today?
What inspires me.
My inner being (just like curling in the Olympics) creates a path of least resistance to my dream (which shall be referred to as REALITY from now on) as I chip away at little pieces through inspiration.
Find the POWER as you patiently wait. Don’t wait in loss or longing or lack. Wait in joyful anticipation. Enjoy it BEFORE it shows up in the physical.
And know that for this very thing; this moment in time, you exist. The spark of Divine put inside of you the desire to create this very thing – not to frustrate you! No! To give you a juicy vision, full of vitality and friskiness, as the cake bakes in the oven.
Who knew patience carried with it such power? Here are my parting thoughts and the new WOW: