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When No Means Yes

When No Means Yes

Many folks these days have a case of the terrible "toos".

Too busy. Too many. Too much.

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Bridges to Well-Being

Bridges to Well-Being

During this season of Thanksgiving, we each have the opportunity to count our blessings, and to cultivate gratitude.

There is much that I could write about the health benefits of gratitude, but I will save that for another day.

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Six Keys to Being Well-Seasoned

Six Keys to Being Well-Seasoned

Have you noticed that many of us are sensitive when it comes to growing older? Some of us don't talk about how old we are, and we use politically-correct language when referring to those of us who have more life experience. We hear words like "old" or "elderly" less frequently — and opt for language that is less stigmatizing. One of my favorites is "seasoned"!

This sensitivity most likely boils down to fear. Most of us don't like the thought of aging. It's not that we don't want to grow older chronologically — who doesn't aspire to living to a ripe, old age?

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21 Quotes about Self-Discovery

21 Quotes about Self-Discovery

It's that time of year. Spring is all around and Life seems to be unfolding at an accelerated pace.Those of us who are students and who have students in our lives are reflecting on what we have been learning and how we have grown.

And really - when you think about it - aren't we ALL students in the University of Life?Below are some of my favorite quotes about the journey of self-discovery. May they inspire us all to continue on our unique paths towards the best version of ourselves!

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Three Ways to Maintain Your Motivation

Three Ways to Maintain Your Motivation

It's the end of the January. The energy of the holidays are long over, and the heady optimism of a new year may be fading. So now is a great time to check in with yourself. Are you still on track?

Whatever dream you envisioned when the calendar page turned - yes, THAT one - does it still seem vivid and possible?

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Three Ways to Hang on to Your Power

Three Ways to Hang on to Your Power

Ever since my recent health challenge (aka "Perfect Storm/Paradigm Shift") and my challenging encounters with the healthcare system, I've been thinking a lot about personal power and how to help myself and others to hang on to it.

It is really easy to forget sometimes that we are the stewards of our own lives. We know ourselves better than anyone else on earth. We are the ones that are responsible for getting what we need so that we can live according to our purpose. We are also the only ones who are response-able for our lives — that is, able to respond to life challenges in ways that align with our vision and values (as opposed to reacting out of fear, anger, shame or other strong emotions).

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How to Be Well when you are Healing

How to Be Well when you are Healing

I felt another nudge to share with you, so I made a video to honor that.

The video that I made is unscripted and long - so not everyone will have time for it in one sitting. I trust that it will reach whoever will find value in it.

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Three Ways to Stop Struggling

Three Ways to Stop Struggling

"You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." ~ Brené Brown

This is one of Brené Brown's most popular quotes. Ever since her first TED talk went viral, it became evident that her research was capturing a key human experience - the belief that we are not enough.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Trust

Three Ways to Cultivate Trust

The most successful film series yet made, Star Wars, began over thirty years ago with the story of Luke Skywalker, a young man in a faraway galaxy who was destined to play a critical role in the story of his people. If you recall the film, you know that Luke had to face a number of challenges, not the least of which was coming to terms with his own self.

Luke trains hard to develop the skills and awareness necessary for his task. When the stakes are high, he must trust that he knows what he needs to know to complete his mission. He must listen to the guidance of the wise voice within himself.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

If you're old enough to remember the mid-1980s, you might recall a popular film from that era called "The Karate Kid". It is a coming of age story in which a young man, Daniel, is tutored in karate by a wise mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Some of Miyagi's educational techniques seem unconventional to Daniel and he must cultivate a lot of patience and self-control during the process to learn the inner art of karate. Of course, these attributes serve him well in the end.

These days, our fast-paced world is wired more for reinforcing immediate gratification than patience. As we go through our days, we encounter urges that we would like to gratify - to get what we want, or to have things go our way. When things don't go as we hope, we may react in ways that aren't helpful or healthy. The reactions that stem from impatience can be significant sources of suffering.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Non-Judgement

Three Ways to Cultivate Non-Judgement

One of the most popular TV sit-coms in the 1970s was "All in the Family" and it featured Archie Bunker, an opinionated New Yorker, who shared his perspective in a straightforward and often hilarious way. Regardless of whether you agreed with his viewpoints, there was something comical about the way he shared them — and his unswerving commitment to his judgements often highlighted their absurdity.

No doubt Archie Bunker appealed to so many people because his judgmental stances were so blatant and so human. The truth is, we all make judgements all the time. It is just part of being human. Even when we try to be "nonjudgmental" we wind up judging our own judgement! The trouble is not that we make judgements. The trouble comes when we adopt a judgmental stance - investing emotionally in our judgements and holding them as TRUTH.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Beginner's Mind

Three Ways to Cultivate Beginner's Mind

Some of the most popular videos shared on social media are of babies. What is it about these young beings that make them so endearing to us? There are many characteristics about them that we find appealing, but one of the most touching, perhaps, is their sense of wonder. They live in the present moment, often delighted and astonished by their unfolding experience. Isn't that something that we wish we all could do?

The good news is that we can actually cultivate this experience of open-hearted wonder. In mindfulness, this quality is known as "beginner's mind" and it is considered to be a core attitude of mindful awareness. Beginner's mind is the ability to observe our experience with fresh eyes, uncluttered by preconceived notions.

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Seven Ways to Manage Your Inner Critic

Seven Ways to Manage Your Inner Critic

There is a popular quote by John Maxwell that states "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." People who are engaged in building greater well-being know that personal growth and development are integral parts of that process. But even if they value that growth, it isn't always easy!

Many of the people that I work with confront similar barriers as they develop self-care mastery. As they grow towards their best version of themselves, they must confront limiting beliefs that keep undesirable habits in place. This phenomenon is so common, that coaches give it a name — the inner critic.

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Self-Care Lessons from my Dog

Self-Care Lessons from my Dog
If you’ve ever spent any time on social media, you know how much people love their pets. We view and share photos and videos of our four-legged friends with enthusiasm, and the images are sure to bring us smiles of affection and enjoyment. What is it about our animal companions that is so heart-warming? Of course, it feels good to be connected to other creatures, and the health benefits of having a pet are well-established. A number of studies have explored the ways that pets improve our cardiovascular and emotional health. Pets can also be good teachers of self-care, if we pay attention. They are naturally vulnerable and authentic - characteristics that experts like Brené Brown associate with “whole-hearted living”. Here are a few of the self-care lessons that I’ve learned from my dog, Princess:Be Curious — Even if you’re in the same place with the same people, stay present and engaged. If you want to keep growing, don’t assume you know everything about anything. Allow yourself to ask questions and take in new information. Curiosity is a key ingredient of mindfulness and a critical tool for creating breakthroughs in thinking and behavior. When I take a walk with Princess, she models a vivid experience of living in the moment.Relax — You probably remember from science class that the automatic part of our neurological system is designed with two complementary parts — one which helps us respond to challenges and emergencies (i.e. the sympathetic system which activates the stress response) and the other which promotes rest and repair (i.e. the parasympathetic system which activates the relaxation response). To maintain optimal health, we need a balance of stimulation between the two. Our busy culture often promotes overstimulation of the stress response. Our pets are great reminders to slow down and balance things out.Cuddle —Dogs have obvious physical needs like food, shelter, water and exercise. They want more though. They want to be petted and cuddled. It’s not just that we help them scratch in places that they can’t easily reach. It is also apparent that they enjoy our company and our touch. Research demonstrates that cuddling helps meet important physical and emotional needs. In this age of electronic interaction, we need to make sure we’re getting some cuddle-time too! Ask for What you Want and Need — When our pets sidle up to us for some love and attention, who can resist? They aren’t shy about asking, and even if we can’t accommodate them at the moment, they’ll try again later. They don’t seem to worry about what we think or whether we’ll reject them. Did you ever notice how good it feels to be able to make them happy? People like to be of service. Next time you get stopped from making a request, consider this: When you don’t ask, you are denying someone an opportunity for kindness and generosity.Show Appreciation —  The sight of our dogs bounding to meet us, tails wagging, brings us joy. It embodies a warm sense of welcome, love and belonging that never gets old to us. To our delight, it never gets old to our companions, either! We know what makes them happy — seeing us come home, scratching them in their favorite place, taking them on a walk, feeding them - because they show us. Fortunately for both of us, their expressions of appreciation help reinforce our desire to do more of what they like...which is good for us too (see #4).What about you? What self-care lessons have you learned from your pet? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Five Ways to Deepen Your Relationship with Movement and Exercise

Five Ways to Deepen Your Relationship with Movement and Exercise

Do you ever feel guilty about not getting enough exercise? By now we've all heard the benefits of exercise and the risks of being sedentary. It's clear that moving and exercising our bodies is a healthy habit.

The trouble with healthy habits is that sometimes we don't relate to them in powerful ways. Sometimes they become "shoulds". Before we know it, our inner two-year-olds kick in and we start to resist those habits that our wiser selves would like us to embrace. Let's face it: No one likes to be told what to do!

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Why Wait? Reasons for Delaying Your Best Life (Part 1)

Why Wait? Reasons for Delaying Your Best Life (Part 1)

At one time or another, most of us have had to deal with a feeling of being stuck. We have a sense that "this isn't it", but we may or may not know what we want or how to move towards it.

Let's face it. Even if we know what we want, and we know how to get it, we often still don't do what we need to do to reach our goals!

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Five Ways to Mind Your Mindset

Five Ways to Mind Your Mindset

We live in an age where boundaries between work and personal life are easily blurred or ignored. Technology allows many of us to work anywhere, anytime — and while that flexibility can be freeing, it can also entrap us. Because we CAN, we have begun to feel that perhaps we SHOULD — and before we know it, we are overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed.

It's no wonder that we fall into a reactive mode, when some of us scarcely make time to pause, reflect, or take a few deep breaths. Have you ever stopped to wonder — just where is it that we are all rushing to?

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What you KNOW -- can hurt you

What you KNOW -- can hurt you

My first car was a green 1968 Plymouth Fury. Her name was Priscilla.

Priscilla had a lot of personality because she belonged to my grandmother before she died, and had already been on plenty of adventures (some of which I had also enjoyed) before I bought her from my grandmother's estate during my sophomore year of college.

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5 Keys to Self-Care Mastery

5 Keys to Self-Care Mastery

There is often a certain mystique that surrounds the concept of mastery. We speak in awe of famous masters — people who attained a superior command of a field or subject, and who advanced human understanding of what is possible in that domain because they redefined or transformed it in some important way. We have respect for these individuals because their contributions made an impact on human civilization. They made a difference.

So, why is self-care mastery important? Surely it is not as significant as mastering noble fields like art, music, or science! What difference does it make to master ourselves?

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What's Your Story?

What's Your Story?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Princess.jpgEvery day, my dog Princess and I take a walk together — differently. Having been her walking partner for the last six years, I can tell you that she and I don't experience our expeditions together in the same way. Her body, temperament, and sensory organs give her access to things that I can't imagine. It boggles my mind to think of the stimuli that her nose alone provides!

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