“Hey You” by Frank Mckenna – Unsplash
Every day we think of things that we can’t do, or can’t be, or can’t feel, or can’t have…Frankly, it can become an obsession!
We see what we are lacking, and/or have lost, and we grieve, we feel stuck. Some of this type of thinking and awareness is helpful – it helps us clarify what we really do want and need, and can inspire fabulous changes in our lives. But, if you’re like me you really don’t want to live in I Can’t Land. And, sadly, it’s pretty easy to get stuck there! It could be that the ego likes us sad and miserable, or that the negativity bias of the brain wants to keep us safe, or that we believed someone in our lives who said that we couldn’t have that, or be this. Regardless, it just isn’t helpful at all to believe that we can’t have, or do, things that we really want to, and are able to do.
So…what’s a goddess to do?
Step 1 – “I Can’t”:
Well, it all begins with awareness of what we’re telling ourselves. Sometimes it isn’t even something we think about much anymore because we’ve already written it off, even though it’s one of our deep desires. Here are some examples:
- I can’t possibly go to college for, or work as, an interior designer even though it’s been my dream since I was a little girl.
- I can’t possibly travel to France.
- I can’t possibly meet someone I really love, who gets me, and who will be a true partner.
- I can’t possibly lose weight.
- I can’t possibly run my own business.
All of these “I Can’t” beliefs are from my own life at some time, and they all come with a second part that begins with “because”. Like, “I can’t run my own business because I don’t know how, I’m too lazy, I’m not smart enough, and I don’t have the backing or help”; or “I can’t travel to France because I don’t have the money or the time”, etc. This is where things can get messy, we could really go down the rabbit hole here, but instead we’re going to go straight to looking at things differently.
Make a list of your own “I Can’t” beliefs. Just jot a few down to work with here. You can always add to the list later (I know I do!) and then work with those beliefs too.
Step 2 – “I Can”:
We start to look at our thinking differently by just saying to ourselves…”I can.” Just that. I can. Feel that? It’s permission and an acknowledgement of our capability all at once! I can. Soak it in. You can. Think of all of the things that you CAN do, and that you ARE, and that you CAN be and have. Hang out here for a while. Revel in it. It is a fact that YOU CAN.
I Can’t, because….
Choose an item from your “I Can’t” list that you really DO want to do. (As you work with this you may find that at least some of the things we say we can’t do are really things we don’t WANT to do – but, that is whole other post!) For example, you may write, “I want to go to Italy, but I can’t”.
Next list all of the reasons why you can’t go to Italy. I call this the “I can’t, because” list. Maybe you can’t speak Italian, or think you don’t have the time or money, or the courage, or a person to go with, or it’s always the wrong timing, or….
Get more specific:
Now choose one of your reasons above and give it a few small revisions. “I can’t go to Italy because I don’t speak Italian” can be revised to:
- Many people visit Italy and don’t speak the language. I can too.
- I can learn Italian!
- I have friend who speaks Italian and she would be a wonderful travel companion. I can ask her to go with me. (Hey, this one solves two concerns!)
- I can embrace the amazing challenge of learning to do things in a place where I don’t know the language.
- I can learn how to get by with the language of gestures and body language. And I can pick up some Italian along the way too.
Keep going with this and think of as many ideas as you can – even if they’re a wacky! And then stop.
Reread your list:
How do you feel now? Thinking of possibilities and breaking things down into smaller parts will really open your mind to the “I Can’s”, and it will show you potential steps you can take to make your dream come true as well. You may also find that some of the things on your “I can’t’, because” list don’t really matter to you, and you can stop worrying about them right now. Do this exercise with each “I can’t, because” on your list. Do it until you start to feel that, just maybe, you CAN.
Make a master list of the very best and most delightful ideas you had when you made your revised “because” lists. So, for example, you may have decided that you can go to Italy and you want to be able to speak the language too – that is part of the excitement for you. You would write “I can learn Italian” on your master list. You may also have ideas for how you’ll pay for your trip, when a good time to go is, who you want to invite to go with you, etc. Place these all on your list. Give it a super name like the “I’m Really Going to Italy List” and keep it handy. These are your “I Can” responses to the reasons you’ve been holding onto to make sure that you don’t go to Italy (or do whatever it is you want to do). Use them to remind you of all of the things that you CAN do.
You may want to do this process with everything on your “I Can’t” list. Some dreams you’ll be able to do right away! Some you’ll find you no longer care about, and others will require a longer time commitment to bring into your life. Some you have less control over (finding the right person to love may be one of these). But all of your dreams will benefit from your belief that they CAN happen much more that they will from thinking that they can’t happen. When we see what can be, we immediately find new avenues and our vision opens to possibilities we overlooked before. And it is a seriously fun process too! A way to enable your very best dreams to take up space in your mind and your life. A way to be open to the potential and to see the gifts the Universe wants to give us. “I can’t” closes our eyes, but “I CAN” creates brand new opportunities!
The point of this post is not to make sure you go to Italy though. It certainly can be a start! From the master list you can make plans, and schedule lessons, and take steps. And if you get overwhelmed, or think you can’t do it, then you can come back to this process and use it again on those pesky negative thoughts. The main thing I want you to take away is that we all have stories that we tell ourselves, or that we learn as we go through life, and we believe them to be true. But so often they aren’t. And these stories can limit the choices we believe we have, and the options we think we can embrace. We need to be willing to question those beliefs if we’re going to be able to live our most delicious life.
I’ve discovered that I have the most ridiculous “I can’t” stories, and many of them I’ve proven wrong (it turns out that I can be an interior designer, and I can run a business, and I can find someone to love, etc.). But some still remain – “I can’t take a break or a vacation, because then I’m lazy, and I’ll go broke.” is one that lingers – though I’ve taken many breaks and vacations, I still have to reach past that thought! Some other very common beliefs are that time, and money, and space, and love, etc. are all too limited to allow us what we need. I want to challenge you to see your life as having exactly what you need. “I can have plenty of money for that trip to Italy.” “I can experience the love I want in full.” “I can live extremely well on the money I have, and I can always make more.”
You can, my dear friend!! And I want it all for you! I’ll be right here imagining and knowing that you can too.
Lots of Love,
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . Ask me questions, or share your experience – and you can also book a session via this email, and set up a free 20 – 30 minute consultation too. I’d love to hear from you!! You can also give me a call at 440-213-6666 to set up a time to talk.
Narcissus Blooms, by Cheryl
As I begin the week I like to take an intuitive “look out”.
I imagine myself on a big hill looking out over the landscape that is my week to come as I see it from here. I often see sparkles, gatherings of images, bright light and shadows. I see life.
Today when I looked it was pretty much just a grey, dim and sad view. Some weeks are like that. This is when I know I need a break! And a shift – of thinking, of timing, of doing. A break will allow the shift to happen and the shift helps me enjoy a break! And all of that will bring light to my week that I can’t see right now for the dimness. When we focus on a day, or an hour, or a week we look at what needs to be started, accomplished, done, etc. We make a list, plan, schedule it, take steps, be diligent. Be responsible. And that’s just fine when we’re feeling rested, enthused, and in charge. But then we aren’t actually here to do JUST “work”, are we?
We’re also here to love ourselves and others, to enjoy our bodies, to play and create, to explore new ideas and pleasures. We are here to LIVE. But often only one part of living makes it onto our to-do list – the part where we “work”. There’s nothing wrong with work, but there is something exhausting and diminishing about a life that’s heavily focused in just one life area. Then instead of responsibility being an honor and delight, it becomes a misery, a shackle, an anchor. So here is what I’m going to try this week – and if you’re feeling a bit mashed and tied down you might want to try it too!
Two Steps to a Better Week:
Step 1: Find the Time to Rest
This may mean setting things aside. And that’s good! When you’re feeling all washed out and grey it’s not the best time to tackle that big project any way. Rest is so important when things look dark. It allows you to feel your emotions and honor them, to let them flow as they’re created to. It allows you to untangle thoughts, gain perspective, let those shoulders drop, set the burdens down. You know – to REST!
How will I rest, you may ask…and I say in any way that works for you. I like a nice nap, or a walk among the trees, or by water. A coffee shop visit with just my favorite magazine to accompany me is always good, or creating a collage. You may like a day on the lake, a nap on the beach, to write, to go to a dance class, to bake, or to play a game of basketball with friends. We may both want to do absolutely nothing at all. (Yea!) Whatever it is – squish it in! You know you can if you see it as a priority. Most of the above can be done in less than an hour. And isn’t this at least as important as cleaning out the fridge, or going to that meeting (the one you know you can move to next week…)? Your health, and outlook, and your very life depend on how you care for them.
Step 2: See Things in a Different Light
Those things you decide to do anyway this week, and those you really cannot put off – can you see them in a different way? I know I make things in my life a burden just by how I see them. Heck! That’s the easy part! But I can also make them a pleasure. It’s all about how I choose to see and approach them.
For example, I have a tax appointment this week. That could be stressful! But I can see it another way too. Honestly, it’s an area where I don’t feel very capable or safe – but what if I am quite capable of being prepared (actually, I am mostly prepared…), or of being prosperous (certainly prosperous enough to pay taxes…); or capable of being joyful, of being safe? What if I have faith in my very capable tax accountant? I can even be happy I’m being so responsible! I really have lots of options.
I can definitely choose stress for each task and project I have on my list this week, or I can choose something else. Thoughts aren’t facts. I’m not even sure facts are facts when we can give each one such a slant. I can see the spaces in my schedule this week instead of focusing on the blocked out areas. Then I can also choose to see the opportunities available to me in each blocked off space. I can see it all as play, and none of it as work. I can let something go and choose not to do it at all. Ever.
We often see ourselves as stuck, but the truth is that the only thing that sticks us in a place is our choices. We may still choose to be “stuck”, but we can also see that we are choosing it – and why. That really makes such a difference!
This week I choose to light up my week with rest, and revitalized tasks, and joyful responsibilities! When I look out over the week now I see lots of sparkles! And that’s how I like it.
To a sparkly week!!
Lots of Love to You,
PS And if you’d like some help with those grey times, in finding time for rest, or in seeing things in a new way I have openings in my schedule for life coaching clients. You can find out more right here. I’d love to help. <3
Wild prairie flowers, by Cheryl
My mind is a bad neighborhood, and I try not to go there alone after dark. ~Anne Lamott
I’ve been having fun! Those of us who are interested in healing our wounds tend to engage in strange practices. I call it practice because you get to do it more than once! Today I felt it was time to get all of the really mean, self-inflicted comments out of my head and on to paper. Fun, right? Now and then I feel the urge to do this so the crazy can’t keep sneaking up on me – it has to do its name-calling to my face, so to speak. (Note: This is a re-post from my blog way back in July 2015.)
Dealing with those “The Mongol Hordes” in Your Head
I used an exercise from a delightful little book, Queen of Your Own Life by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff. They call the voices the Mongol Hordes – which is brilliant!! The exercise is this: set a timer for 10 minutes and let the Mongols have at you. They get to say their piece, and then they need to be supportive, or silent. Turns out my Horde is full of people I know pretty well…my family, friends, old flames, various disgruntled aspects of myself. And they have horrible things to say about me, really hurtful things. But I just listen and say “Uh huh, any more?” And they go on, and on, until they run down.
OK, I lied about the fun. It can be pretty painful.
What the heck is the point of this, you ask? Me too sometimes! But if you have never tried really hearing the mean comments your mind can spew, you may find it’s quite eye-opening. The Horde’s yelling is the background commentary I live with every day. Ignoring it isn’t a long term option. I start to believe it. I make decisions and choices based on it. I really need to know if that is a good idea.
So, I listen. I write it all out in a journal because writing tends to help me access these things (plus later I can go back and address any of the comments that are really sticky and don’t want to go away). Today I learned I’m ugly, stupid, will soon be on the street, a fool, incapable, hated by all, and more…the usual attacking Horde stuff. I find mixed in with the horror of what I say to myself are a few actual gems of usefulness. Yes indeed, I could use a better system to track my finances. I’ll get on that! A lot of it is simply ridiculous (not everyone hates me…), so I can just laugh and let it go. And that feels good!
I also find I have compassion for the Horde. These are voices and beliefs I have internalized from people who (mostly) wish me well. They want to help. The voices want me to be safe. Often, I just don’t want their version of safe. So, I like to thank the voices, and then I love Kathy’s and Cindy’s idea of asking them to be supportive instead of negative. Delicious!
After this practice I feel so much better! The Mongols are off my case, and I can move on with my life with a lot more clarity and excitement. And when they start to mass on my borders again, I know just what to do.
How about you? Talked with your Horde lately?
Lots of Love,
Daisy, by Cheryl
This is one of my favorite planning tools. And by favorite, I mean that I actually use it, and it works! If you’re a bit like me when someone says – “Now just write down everything you have to do and then schedule it!” – you want to never ever do anything ever again because if it has to start that way you’d just rather not, thank you. Well, this practice might be useful for you too.
I call this the Placemat Process with God.
It’s a combination of a tool shared by Abraham Hicks, and the idea of using a God Box from Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness. It’s simple and allows you the focus and clarity to get the things you really want to do…done. And here’s how it works:
Step 1: (the set up)
Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and sit in a fairly quiet spot. Write the date at the top of the page and then draw a vertical line to divide the page in half. Above the left column write ME, and on the top of the right column write GOD (or Source, Spirit, Universe, etc). (By the way, it’s called the Placemat Process by Esther Hicks because the first time she and Jerry did this was in a restaurant and they used their placemat to write their list out. Cool, yes?)
Step 2: (make a very small list)
Now, on the left side of your paper (under ME) write down the things you definitely need and/or want to do today. Not everything, everything, because a lot of daily “musts” you already have down pat – eating, sleeping, going to work, caring for your children, etc. But perhaps you have to write a blog post for your 30 Days of Blogging Love Challenge (you know, just for example), or you may need to pay bills, help a friend, find your tax information, make an art journal page, run a mile, etc. (And keep in mind that it doesn’t work to list a big project like “Write my novel” as one of your tasks for the day.) List no more than three of these tasks for today.
I know, only three! But trust me this is best. You can add more later if you really want to, but three is generally do-able. Even if the water pipes freeze and you have to spend a good part of the day dealing with that (ummmm, true story…), you can still get your three or less things done. And getting things done is the point, after all, not having a gigantic, important busy-ness list. You feel good when you get things done, you have a sense of completion, and you learn that you can trust yourself to accomplish the tasks that are important to you. And, oh yeah, the rest of the stuff is being taken care of anyway.
Step 3: (make a larger list)
So, on the right side of the page (under GOD) write everything else. I know – we don’t want to write everything we need to do, Ack! But this is different because this is God’s list. Everything else you have on your mind that you need, want, should, would like to do. Write it here. Do not be logical – just write. Some days this list is quite long, especially at first. You may need more paper. Other days it’s shorter – or you might just refer to yesterday’s list. My lists change daily because I’m just getting it all out and not trying to be organized or strategic in any way. It’s a form of mental dump.
Step 4: (hand it over)
The final step is to offer this longer list to God. I ask God to handle these things for me. I say something like, “God, if these things should be done, or You want them to be done, please help me. You know I can’t do it all alone, and I don’t want to. I sincerely value Your help and guidance. Thank You very much!” Next I quickly look over the list again and imagine everything being done with ease, support, and love and I say, “This can all be accomplished with God”. Then, cut I the paper in half and place the right side in my God Box and turn it all over to Him. Whew!
Sometimes I make a copy before I put God’s list in the box so I have it to refer to. I might use it for longer term planning, or to choose something in case I have extra time after I get my list done. Later, you may want to look back at what gets done – it can be truly amazing! Many things just resolve themselves, like, I didn’t need to do them at all. Other things have attracted interesting and surprising assistance or brilliant solutions. And in case you’re wondering what a God Box is – it’s a place (a lovely box, bowl, or jar work nicely) to put your concerns, worries, and anything else you want God’s help with. You also might place affirmations, and prayers, and dreams in there. By putting your massive to-do list in the Box you’re turning the process over to Divine Order and Assistance.
I also ask for help with my smaller personal list and know that it will happen with God. And if it doesn’t (and there are occasionally days when it does not happen!) I know that it’s still all OK. What did happen was just fine. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right, or I was pushing something that really didn’t need to be pushed. The magic of this practice is in having space to focus. It is in being clear about what to do today. It is in releasing your overwhelm and accepting Divine Assistance. It is in allowing things to happen in the best way – not necessarily in the way you think it should. This is good stuff!
Now you can begin your work with clarity and peace, and the knowledge that you’ll get some important things accomplished. And the rest is being worked on by Someone with mad skills!
Wishing you a delicious day with plenty of serendipity and assistance.
Lots of Love,
winter flowers, a gift from me to me
Do you leap out of bed excited about everything and rarin’ to go? If you do, bless you! I’m super happy for you (and I really mean that). I used to do that too, but then I hit puberty and that pretty much ended it. 🙂 Now, some days I leap with joy, and others with panic – but mostly I like to give myself a bit of time to adjust and allow myself to become the person I want to be today.
Below are 3 practices to start your morning – or really anything – with greater clarity and pleasure. And they make it much easier to carry that good feeling right on through the day too!
I call this Breathe, Pray, Love – yeah, I know, but it makes it easy to remember!
While you’re still in bed take some time to slowly come into your body, mind, and emotions. I begin with a practice called 9 Breaths, it goes like this: You are going to take 9 deep, restful breaths…
- With the first 3 breaths, release any tension in your body.
- With the next 3 breaths, release any emotional tension you feel. This may also be felt in your body as emotions tend to lodge there.
- Finally, with the last 3 breaths, release any mental tension you have.
Ahhhh, already better, yes?
While we’re here you may find it helpful to check in with your body, emotions, and mind. You can just turn your curiosity to one area at a time and see what you learn. Or you can have a talk – “Hey, Body, my friend, how are you?” And listen. Then do the same with your Emotional and Mental Selves. You’ll often get very useful information here! For example, my Emotional Self reminded me that we have some grief work to do today – and I’ll be sure not to forget that because it’s important self-care.
This step is about what you want today. So many days are about what we need to do, must do, think we really should do, what we want to do for an outcome we desire – but don’t really want to do (painting my staircase comes to mind here…). But let’s start our day with desire, motivation, and pleasure. What do you truly want today? This could be a way you want to feel, a step you really want to take, a person you want to see, art you’d like to create, or – imagine that stair painted! Whatever it is imagine it, feel it, soak it right in.
This is like a prayer. It’s a connection of your essential, spiritual self to your everyday, social self. When you ask this question and imagine it happening, you open yourself to guidance from your truest self and from Source (Spirit, God, the Universe). And as you dream, you may send these delicious feelings about fulfilling your desires as a prayer to God, to the World, to a loved, one, etc. More good feelings floating around is always a win, win, win!
So that leads us to love. Right here, right now, you can make a choice to allow your greatest self-care, and open up to your desires – you can have and do what you truly want. Love is what lets this happen. Love yourself enough to allow the time, space, energy, help – whatever you need to fulfill at least one desire today. It can be big or small (I want to take a walk and really be present in nature, I want to sleep 9 hours each night for a week and see if that helps me feel better, I want to make something with my hands, to eat more vegetables, to learn photography, etc.). And then love yourself right through the excuses, and the missteps, and possibly even the falling off of the wagon – right to the experience of your desire!
This love makes life more fulfilling, more satisfying, more fun! This love will also help you to offer love to others, see their desires, and help them. Oh yeah! It’s all connected, my friend. Aren’t we lucky?
What desire will you fulfill today?
Let me know how it goes!! (email@example.com)
To better beginnings,
Fireplace by Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash
Today I’m preparing for a whole new year!! It’s exciting and I’m thinking about how I want this next year to be as I say goodbye to 2018. How about you? Are you thinking of all of the fun you can have next year? Isn’t it lovely to have a whole new blank slate to dream and create upon?
I always like to stop before the end of the old year and also think about what I don’t want to bring into the fresh, clean new year. A quick little tool you can use to transition from year to year is to consider what you really don’t want to drag along from the past. It helps you know what you don’t want, and also be clear about what you do want as you move ahead to 2019!
I begin with a little collage, or a drawing of flames. You can see my collage for this year below. And then I made a list of the things I want to burn off, release, let go of, not carry forward as I move into the new year. You can write this list on the flames (a paint marker works great for this), or use small scraps of paper to write each item to release on and adhere them to the flames. Now, imagine those old habits, things, thoughts, ways of being just burning away and leaving you with a whole new world! I also list these on a piece of paper or write them in my journal and then with each one I use this prompt: “When I release ________ then I can ________.” It’s a really great way to envision my life without these things.
For example, One of the things I don’t want to bring forward into a new year is envy (or compare and despair). For this I wrote, “When I release envy I can…See everyone’s beauty and celebrate it. I can be as thrilled and happy for them as I would be for myself. I also don’t limit myself (or them) because I accept that anything is possible for everyone – even me! I can see the glory that is available to all of us.” This tells me what I want and how my life can be now, without envy. Pretty delicious!! You can do this quick practice with each of your words and see what is available to you when you release the things you no longer want.
My “Burn it” Collage for 2018
I want to wish you all a really wonderful New Year!! I hope you find this little tool as helpful as I do. It’s such a great way to clear the decks and dream of a new way of being – one that fits who you are now, and helps you to create a life that you adore and that empowers your dreams!
Lots of Love,