Taming the monkeys with practical tips: how to ‘unstick’ yourself

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Thirty-seven days ago I felt stuck. Questions like: What am I doing with my life? Where do I even begin? wrestled each other in a mind full of monkeys. And then a new friend I met during a recent writers’ retreat—I’ll call her KM—“checked in” with me online. I dumped. She listened. And then she “counseled” me with sage guidance and a personal challenge—with contract—if I chose to accept. Although only eight days remain in my challenge, I’ll continue practicing the advice KM shared. I’m not only more grounded and less anxious overall, but the gains have spilled over into my daily habits and interactions. I knew the retreat was life-changing. But with my limited experience and expectations, I never could have guessed to what extent. Stay tuned as I share, over the next several posts, how to get unstuck by incorporating two practical tips into your daily routine… and change your life. If you accept the challenge.

Do you need to get unstuck?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How a life-changing adventure works

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Twenty-two days after I started a three-week factory reboot, I boarded a plane for a life-changing adventure—an opportunity to practice many of the concepts I’ve been studying and writing about: setting intentions, working smarter, finding your support system and establishing a vision. It began with a three-hour flight to SeaTac, my premier ferry ride and 100 miles behind the wheel of a rental car that transported me to Washington’s Port Townsend off the Puget Sound. For four days, along with a fellow tribe of writers, I immersed myself into all-things literary—from tips and tools to hone the craft, to one-on-ones with our host, to free-writing sessions—while making time to explore the idyllic town, savor tea at Pippa’s and sample my first authentic Thai cuisine. Although still processing where to go from here, I’m determined to hold onto the space I created there—a low-key, stress-free rhythm—because it’s only life changing if I allow it to be.

What kind of life-changing adventure do you crave?

Transformative change: finding comfort in your own skin

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On the topic of changing one’s mind (see “It’s okay to begin again…”), there’s a word for that which also encompasses changing one’s heart, self or way of life. According to Merriam-Webster, metanoia is a “transformative change of heart especially: a spiritual conversion.” I like to think it’s validation of where I find myself these days—in part due to the mindfulness journey I embarked on more than two months ago. As a daily exercise between conscious thought and a willing spirit, I’m drawn to life’s simpler things and able to find joy within both the hills and the valleys. Not only has my heart softened toward those closest to me and to the plight of the human condition, but I feel a richer compassion for myself. Although unsure of my next step, I’m okay with that because I’m moving forward. And, for the first time—maybe ever—I’m comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps Club 50 is “the new metanoia.” 

What recent transformative change have you experienced?

 

The #1 way to change your life

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decisions decisions
Following a recent set of immunotherapy injections I receive weekly, I experienced a minor adverse reaction. This involved lightheadedness and elevated blood pressure, which resulted in extra TLC from clinic staff and revised treatment plan. Afterward, I second-guessed my reaction and feared the emergency medical attention bordered on overkill. I’m sure we’ve all done it: second-guessed words spoken (which can’t be retracted), choices made that are irreversible. A post on social media reads: You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. Not that it matters if we choose vanilla over chocolate ice cream, but whether we respond in love rather than hate, fellowship versus isolation. Or we decide to ‘put up or shut up’ and accept the consequences. It’s easy to blame extenuating circumstances because it removes our own culpability, however, I think it’s time to quit dwelling on the what if’s and determine our own destiny. We still might second-guess ourselves, but we could also change our lives.

What life-changing decision will you make today?

Flirting with freedom

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Flirting with freedom

 

The term freedom stirs up multiple meanings. In the case of my cat, although he lives a charmed life, I imagine he still yearns for life “on the wild side.” Or at least a fleeting taste of life outside the confines of our yard. A student on break finds a brief reprieve from tests and papers due. When on vacation, deadlines and everyday responsibilities temporarily cease. How rare to be afforded a chance to not just flirt with freedom, but to test drive it. Freedom from fear, from debt, from a relationship or job no longer serving its purpose, from illness or whatever it is that limits our potential—before making a life-changing decision. If we were only guaranteed success, wholeness, satisfaction, a cure. But we aren’t, so we remain in our own yard and never see what’s on the other side of the gate. One day we may gather the courage to open it and walk through to the other side.

What do you desire freedom from?

Preparing for a fabulous new year

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Preparing for a fabulous new year

[Image credit: chanpipat]

You may currently have all your resolutions, goals and “to dos” put in place for the New Year.  However, those lists may just as well be words on paper — rather than an action plan toward fulfilling dreams or simply navigating life’s choppy waters — if you don’t prepare yourself mentally.  It’s your mind that will either talk you out of it, or keep you on track.  Here are five tips to help you plan for a happy, successful and (hopefully) life-changing 2013:

  1. Begin each day with expectation that something wonderful is going to happen.
  2. Plan and prioritize.  If it moves you closer to your highest purpose in life, do it first.
  3. Let go of your results.  Remember, control the things you can.
  4. Turn off background TV or other distractions that pull your mind off track.  Focus on the job at hand.
  5. End each day with gratitude.  Write down at least one wonderful thing that happened.

How are you preparing for a fabulous New Year?