Delete, delete, delete: A better way to break free from toxic thinking

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The other day I sat in a messy space of negativity. You could say I wallowed in it (not a pretty picture). The following morning, I began writing an email to a friend listing all the moody details. After about 20 minutes of spewing onto the “page,” I backspaced through the majority of the conversation. At the same time, a lightbulb popped on to reveal an ah-ha moment: If we could visualize ourselves backspacing (or deleting) over a negative script in our minds—hurtful comments received or spoken, limiting beliefs that continue to bombard our thoughts—how would that affect our moods, our days…the quality of our lives? Personally, I prefer to live without any reminders that I “screwed up again” and to focus on the clean page. To fill that space with positive affirmations, words of gratitude and encouragement (to myself and others). And to quickly “backspace” whenever I find myself trapped in another endless loop of toxic thinking.

How do you keep from rehashing negative thoughts?

Today I am grateful for:

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Gratitude is the gateway to joy.
~ Elaine S. Marshall

I believe I speak for the majority of people reading this post that the year 2020 has proven like no other experienced in our lifetimes. It’s impossible to ignore the chaos surrounding global political, financial and cultural strife; shelter-in-place orders; business closures; loss of lives and livelihoods; hoarding of everyday supplies; social distancing; mandatory mask orders and more. Yet, while discussing the state of current affairs with close friends, relatives and online groups, I find I’m not alone in nursing a deep sense of guilt that stems from feeling grateful for our individual blessings—even in the midst of great heartache throughout the world. And the collective consensus is that it’s okay—in fact, it’s essential —to grant ourselves permission to feel the “feels.” Because not only does gratitude transform what we have into enough, but it also leads to abundance, and a conduit of joy, we get to share with others.

What are you grateful for today?

Photo source: jackcanfield.com.

When life is spinning out of control: what we CAN control

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One day you’re anticipating a new decade ripe with possibility. Big things—good things—finally appear within your grasp. But then: boom! Life as you know it: kaput. Unless you’ve remained sequestered from #allthethings, you realize this is your new normal. As a human being, compassion toward the collective face of humanity—splashed across myriad news reports and social media feeds—proves a concerted effort at times. As a Believer, the status quo tests my faith. Yet, after I wade through my battered emotions, I acknowledge a call to action: to reprioritize. To re-evaluate my direction. To shift my focus from the race and to grasp onto the one thing—literally!—within my control: what I can do this moment.

  1. Pray… continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  2. Connect… with friends/family/neighbors/support groups via social distancing/texting/calling/emailing/FaceTiming
  3. Appreciate… every blessing
  4. Extend… love/kindness/help/laughter/smiles/forgiveness/encouragement/grace
  5. Begin… a new project/book/craft/online course/wellness program/etc.
  6. Breathe… and be present

Feel free to add to my list… and reach out anytime through my contact page.

Taming the monkeys: Part VI, the glue + tip #2

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Words we speak about an experience become the experience.
~ Derek Hough

In my post, “…Part V and thinking SMART,” I review nighttime routines and working smarter. Plus, I promise to reveal the glue that holds it all together: consistency. If you’re not seeing results, crushing your goals or manifesting your dreams, try sticking to a consistent habit, goal or practice until 1) either change occurs or 2) you need to try something new. Oh, and tip #2 that KM gave me at the start of my 45-day challenge? Quit complaining. The hard truth: complaining attracts negativity and misfortune. Don’t believe me? Try this at home (aka everywhere): Wear a rubber band on your wrist, snap it each time you complain and then switch wrists. But attempt to keep it on the same wrist for 21 days and watch what happens. Bonus: incorporate five minutes of focused gratitude into your morning routine. Check out these other resources: James R. Doty, simplemind.eu/how-to-mind-map/examples/goals, zapier.com/blog/smart-goals/.

Are you ready to attract abundance?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Set it and let it go: how to be fully present

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This past week I attended a gong meditation at the yoga studio where I practice. If you’ve never tried a gong “bath,” I highly recommend it—if only for a bit of respite from the outside world. The benefits? I’ve read that the sound of the gong cuts through our mental chatter—the monkey mind—to create a meditative state of deep relaxation to promote healing and stress reduction. Talk about a win-win. Personally speaking, I also experienced an emotional release, including overwhelming gratitude that began in the mountains earlier that day to return full circle on my mat, tears streaming down my face. In addition, I learned that when we set an intention, it’s good to set it and let it: go. Oftentimes we get stuck on the expectation behind our intention, which can lead to disappointment. However, when we practice “setting it and letting it go,” we free ourselves to remain fully present in the moment.

What intention do you need to set and let go?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A new way to approach the New Year: what’s your word?

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I think it would be much more sensible
if resolutions began generally
on January the second.
~ Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary)

Resolution—a word that can conjure up anxiety, ill will, self-defeat—even before we put wings to it. For decades I’ve attempted to ring in the new year with resolutions, plans, intentions. This year, however, prior to the advent of Jan. 1, a single word settled upon my soul: “Exercise.” And because I already strive to incorporate 8-10 hours of weekly physical fitness into my life, my first thought sounded a lot like: WTH? But then I began putting pen to paper: Exercise… kindness. Exercise… my spiritual muscles. Exercise… self-control, self-discipline and my faith. Exercise… gratitude, creativity and my mind. And, yes, exercise my physical body. Each insight also includes tangible ways I can live out my word—a reference to measure my journey throughout the days and weeks ahead. It’s going to be a good year—I can feel it.

What’s your word for 2019?

Image courtesy of 7crafts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Be a wo(man) on a mission: gratitude with intention

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Since I misplaced my mojo (see “Don’t let anything dull your sparkle…”), I’ve been on a mission to get “unstuck.” For the past few posts, now, I’ve talked about how I’m rebooting my mojo—by recommitting to a mantra, challenging myself (again) and changing the rules. Here’s another tip I’ve begun to employ: gratitude with intention. On Jan. 1, I opened a brand new journal I received from my BFF, as well as a book of 365+ gratitude prompts a dear friend gifted me for my last birthday. Thus began a daily look at my life through the lens of gratefulness. Unfortunately, just like any routine, over time this practice started to become stale and simply something to check off my to-do list. However, once I took on the mission of locating my missing mojo, I began to approach my morning journaling sessions with intention vs. habit. This has also spilled into my everyday life—through tiny attitude adjustments that make a world of difference.

What’s your mission?

Taking stock of the old, ushering in the new

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Two weeks ago I began the following post. This morning I found it, nearly complete, on my computer. Although not timely in relation to the date on the calendar, it may still resonate for some as it does for me: Numerous emotions course through me just a week after my birthday celebrations (yes, plural). Gratitude as I observe each day as the gift it truly is. Love for family and friends as we embrace the spirit of Christmas mere days away. An indwelling of peace as a byproduct of restored relationships. Yet, even then, a sense of melancholy over unexplored opportunities. Grief and disappointment. “What if’s” and bittersweet memories. The should’ves, could’ves, would’ves. But a glimmer of hope remains—a brightly covered package I tear into each morning with renewed expectation. As we tie up our last-minute holiday shopping and baking, wrapping and socializing, I encourage each of us to pause and reflect on the clean slate ahead.

What is one thing you’d change about the past year?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Defeating the demons: pressing in to get your head (and heart) unstuck

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In my recent post, “Make peace with the past…” I contemplate the choice to salvage the Someday mentality [“Someday my dreams will come true, I’ll accomplish X, Y and Z or fill-in-the-blank”]—or to let go of the one-sided dreams. You know the type—where the outcome centers on circumstances beyond your control. Today, I’m at a crossroads as I fight a few familiar demons: rehashing old habits, rethinking past choices, dwelling on the old. Yet the only way to reclaim my reality is to dig deeper, to press in to those areas which best define me: my passion and my purpose. To pursue, with greater intent, life’s simple pleasures and the transformative power of prayer, the mindful practice of gratitude and self-compassion. And to finally release those things which I cannot change in order to appreciate the life that’s smack dab in front of me. Not a million miles away. Not within the pages of a fairytale. But here, and now.

How do you defeat the demons?

Image source: askideas.com.

Change your thought patterns, change your life

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In my recent post, “Be a miracle worker…,” I list a few examples of what self-improvement might look like, and I introduce a need to focus on my personal growth. For me, this means making changes to my everyday approach to life, including a radical shift in my thought patterns. Plus, I must look at the long-term with an open mind. These aren’t new epiphanies yet, during a recent hike, they materialized in a more profound way. Every several hundred feet, I’d look up from the rock-strewn path to the cerulean skies above. The mountaintops towered over me, reminders of how tiny I am… the fragility of life. And that instead of lamenting the stumbling blocks and detours on my journey, it’s essential to express gratitude for my daily blessings. When we shift our gaze on the things we’re thankful for, we have less time to “see” the disappointments. And sometimes what we think we want is nothing compared to what awaits.

What thought pattern can you change?

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