Posts tagged: action

Playing Hide and Seek With Your Dreams

Playing Hide and Seek With Your Dreams | Life Simplified

photo credit: sashawolff via flickr


Most of us go through life a little afraid, a little nervous, a little excited. We are like children playing hide and seek, wanting to be found, yet hoping we won’t be, biting our nails with anticipation. We worry when opportunity approaches a little too closely, and hide deeper in the shadows when fear overcomes us. This is no way to go through life. ~ Deepak Chopra

Playing Hide and Seek

Remember playing hide and seek?  There were butterflies in your stomach as the person got closer to your hiding spot.  I always seemed to giggle uncontrollably the closer the person got.

No one ever picks a hiding spot too difficult for the seeker to find them.  Why?  There’s something about the anticipation of being found that makes the game fun.  Those that hide too well are never found.

Still Playing After All These Years

As an adult, are you still playing hide and seek?

Do you have an anxious feeling when you think about your dreams?  Does the conversation go something like, “I would love to be a writer (excitement, nervous, butterflies).  But I never have any time to write (hiding deeper in the shadows).”

That’s playing hide and seek.  You have passions that make you giddy.  Yet you don’t follow them. You hide.

Hiding From Yourself

The difference with adult hide and seek is that you’re not hiding from someone.  You’re hiding from yourself.  That ping of awareness that you want to be a writer or whatever is like when a child “accidentally” sticks their foot out from under the bed where they’re hiding.  It’s a clue saying I’m here.  Find me.

Remember being found in hide and seek?  There were lots of laughs, smiles and excitement to find the next person.

When you experience a clue of your inner hide and seek, tap it on the shoulder, call it out from hiding and explore the next adventure together.

Go Ahead.  Be Found.

You’ll feel a similar explosion of excitement as you did when you were found in hide and seek.  I’ll even bet you find yourself giggling a bit!


50 Ideas of What To Do When It’s Not Working

50 Ideas of What to Do when It's not Working

photo credit: fauxto_dkp via flickr

It’s Just Not Working

You wake up for the 100th day and feel what’s the use.  It’s just not working.

You try your best, but all efforts seem thwarted.  Nothing ever seems to work out in your favor.  You look at others in similar situations and have to admit you’re  a bit jealous.  How come they can do it and you can’t?

Have You Settled?

I know you are very smart and creative, even if you don’t think so right now.  I know you have infinite potential.  What I also hear is you’ve put those on the back burner and settled for mundane.

That’s why it’s not working.  Whatever it is for you changing careers, painting, photography, raising kids, growing tomatoes or building a business, when you are stuck in a rut, nothing will work.  Think about it, you’ll never make it to your destination always traveling in the ditches on the side of the road.

Ruts might look different than you think.  When I think of a rut, it means doing the same thing over and over, an unending routine.  But a rut could be always going to the same source for inspiration or trying “new” ways of doing things that are just variations of what you’ve done in the past.

If you run off the side of the road, you know you’re off track because you slow down or can’t move.  The same happens in your life.  When things slow down, you’ve hit a ditch/rut/whatever you want to call it.

What do you do?

You need to step outside of the rut, outside of your comfort zone to see things differently.  Here’s a list of 50 ideas to get yourself out of a rut and back on the road.

  1. Read a completely new author.
  2. Drive a different way home from the office.
  3. Ask for advice from a source you admire, but have never approached.
  4. Go to the art museum.
  5. Listen to new music.
  6. Take a course that interests you, but has nothing to do with your rut.
  7. Schedule a personal day and go somewhere you’ve never been, but that’s close to home.
  8. Go to the ocean or mountains.
  9. Visit a cathedral.
  10. Take a yoga class.
  11. Go for a long hike.
  12. Meet an old friend for lunch.
  13. Follow an unconventional idea you have even if your rational brain says it’s silly.
  14. Journal.
  15. Spend the afternoon with small children or animals.
  16. Volunteer to read to kids or at your local animal shelter.
  17. Plant seeds and watch the unfolding life process.
  18. Choose a book, audio book or movie that you haven’t seen that captures your eye without thinking too much about it.
  19. Make dinner for someone who can’t and deliver it.
  20. Read an inspiring biography.
  21. Move furniture in the house.
  22. Take a nap.
  23. House sit for someone.
  24. Read a quote or inspirational paragraph and think about it during the day.
  25. Sit in a different seat at a meeting.
  26. Let someone else cook tonight.
  27. Work from home if usually in an office, or in an office if usually at home.
  28. Buy a magazine and rip out your favorite pictures.
  29. Join Pinterest and find pictures that inspire.
  30. Create a vision board.
  31. Job shadow someone doing your ideal job.
  32. Interview people in places you want to be and write an article/blog about the interview.
  33. Find 2 blogs that inspire you and read them regularly for a month.
  34. Take a long ride.
  35. Do something artistic even if you don’t think you’re artistic (paint, take photos, sketch).
  36. Take a vacation in a new place.
  37. Go for a run.
  38. Read a book you loved as a kid.
  39. Write a letter to yourself as if it were next year at this time and tell you what’s going on.
  40. Get rid of clutter.
  41. Take a test drive in a car you want to buy.
  42. Put all your knick knacks in a storage bin and live without them for a week or so.
  43. Wash your sheets and hang them outside to dry.
  44. Go see live music.  Choose something you wouldn’t normally listen to; jazz, classical, celtic.
  45. Go on a picnic.
  46. Sit in the sun for an hour.
  47. Change the pictures on your walls.
  48. Go to a farmers market.
  49. Visit people in an assisted living home.
  50. Hug someone you love.

Doing any of these small things can help you course correct.  The key is doing something completely new to stimulate new thoughts and ideas.  Soon you’ll find yourself out of your rut and heading down the road in a new convertible.

I’m sure you have ideas of your own.  What do you do to get things moving again?

Live Fearlessly

Life Simplified: Live Fearlessly

photo credit: blinkingidiot via flickr

Get out and live your life fearlessly.  Anita Moorjani

Imagine 24 hours of living fearlessly.  I don’t meet throwing caution to the wind, but truly living 24 hours without feeling fear.

You might say, “I don’t really live in fear now so that would be easy.”  That’s what I thought.

It’s More About the Small Fears

Everyone has big fears.  It’s what you worry about.  Will your kids turn out okay?  What if you’re laid off?  How well are your parents?  Will there be a war?  Will you get that big client?

I realize these big thoughts can dominate your life.  It was, however, the small fears like what people will think if you eat that doughnut, paying a bill, keeping the house clean just in case people stop by, or worrying if you’ll make the team that make up many of your routine thoughts.

These small thoughts creep into your consciousness.  Over time, they become part of your daily thought process.  Sitting in the background, you don’t even notice them any more.

Anita Let Go Of Fear

In Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me,  she talks about a near death experience.  Throughout her life small fears had shaped her world.  She always strove to fit in, and never felt she did.  After her experience, she learned, life is not about fitting in.  It’s about letting go of all fear and living in love or “being love” as she describes it.

Louise Hay in her book, You Can Heal Your Life, talks about fear being one of the four top reasons people develop illnesses.  By holding onto fear whether we developed them or were handed them by others, we only hurt ourselves.

How To Let Go Of Fear

Because you might not recognize the smaller fears at first, it’s easier to start with something you can name as a fear.  I’ll use the example of Maisie’s training.

I feared Maisie going crazy when she saw other dogs on our walks.  It stopped me from taking her places, walking during certain times or even allowing her outside.

Working with our trainer, Nancy, she brought a dog to walk with Maisie.  My first reaction was to pull Maisie back.  It was then I realized it was my behavior, my fear, that caused Maisie to act out.

Releasing this fear came in a couple steps.

  • Recognize and own the fear.  Give the fear a name or a picture.  Then own it.  Know it’s all about you and no one else.
  • Visualize the situation.  Visualize the situation that you fear.  Then change the picture.  Imagine you have no fear at all.  It’s all working out fine.  Send love to the thing you fear, for me it was the other dogs.
  • Practice.  Whenever you’re in the situation, go back to the good visualization.  Practice living that new visualization in real time.
  • Love yourself.  The first couple times I had Maisie out on a walk, I didn’t prepare as much as I should.  We encountered a dog.  I tensed up.  Maisie barked.  Then I did something different, instead of telling myself I failed, I congratulated myself on trying.  I didn’t judge.  Instead said I loved and approved of myself.  This practice was perfect in what I knew so far.

The last step is the most important because it’s where you’ll make it or break it.  The typical pattern I see in people is to scold themselves after not meeting their own expectations (or others). This feeds the fear.

By not judging and sending myself love, it was like shining a light into a dark room.  The fear shrunk away.  I was ready for the next dog to come along in a good way.  It didn’t feel like I was going into battle (fear), but instead another opportunity to practice (love).

You Choose.

Every moment of every day, you get to choose whether you’ll live in fear or love.  The natural choice is to live in love, so choose it.  Wherever you are in your journey, always choose love.

The Gift of Helping Without Expectations

The Gift of Helping Without Expectation

photo credit: thinkingisstillfree via Tumblr


Every day we have at least one opportunity to help a friend, a loved one or even a stranger. It is our responsibility to do what we can, when we can, to assure that someone else does better.  Iyanla Vanzant, from Facebook

Young Samaritans

My nephew and his friend are working with me for the summer.  On Wednesday they came to work all excited.  “We were Good Samaritans today!” they shouted as they came in the door grinning ear to ear.   This coming from a couple of 14 year old boys peaked my curiosity.  You never know what that might mean.

Luckily enough, they actually did help someone.  On their way to work they passed an older man who’s car was stuck.  Without prompting, the two asked him if he needed help.  When he said yes, they jumped in with gusto.

Helping Without Expectation

Helping without expectation means you don’t expect anything from the interaction.  All you do is help. It’s when you start keeping score to yourself that the problems begin.

Helping and Expectations Don’t Mix

Have you ever helped someone and felt wiped out?

That’s because you probably expected something to happen during the experience that didn’t.  Maybe you thought they would be more grateful.  Maybe you thought they would participate in the help.  Maybe you thought they would repay you.

It’s these thoughts that deplete your energy, not the helping.

What’s interesting is when you do help without expectation, like the boys, you get an energy boost rather than drain.  Think about a time when you helped someone without expectation.  How did you feel?  See.

Who Can You Help Today?

Over this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to help someone without expectation.  I’d love to hear your stories and we promise to share our own.

Oh the boys…yes, they were able to help the guy get his car unstuck.  They talked about it all night too!


One Step At A Time

Dream Big. Act Today

photo credit: daedalust via flickr

Vacation Planning

I love planning for vacations.  This year I’m heading to Seattle, Michigan and possibly Ohio to visit family.

My sister and I talk about getting the “vacation feeling.”  You know what that is.  It’s the butterflies in your stomach when you think about your vacation.   As much as I love to dream about vacation, there comes a time when you have to commit.  Booking the flight can paralyze me.

The Doubts and Shoulds

As soon as I sit at my computer, all the “shoulds” come up.  I should take care of this and that before I go.  I should only go for 4 days because I have so much work to do.  Should I plan to go in the spring or fall?  What if I can’t get a good price, should I wait?  Should I take my computer and work or not?

The decision becomes even more complicated when the “doubts” show up to keep the “shoulds” company.  Can I afford it?  What will happen to the business when I’m gone?  I can’t go now, how about after that big project.  The internal dialogue is exhausting.

This can happen in your business as well.

Ever been faced with a great business opportunity or a breakthrough idea?  It meant taking the leap of faith, but it would be huge for your business.  Then the debate begins.

They’re Back.

Doubts and shoulds start to confuse the situation.  When the opportunity presented itself, you felt excited.  After a few moments with Doubt and Should, you’re not so sure.  Where do these guys come from?

They stem from your logical brain trying to make sense of the unknown.  Just like planning for vacation, your logical brain wants to fill in the gaps.  It wants black and white answers to the questions.  It doesn’t do well with grey.

One Step At A Time

There’s a lot of wisdom in that saying.  When you take things one step at a time, one day at a time, one decision at a time, you can move toward the business opportunity.  When you focus on all the stuff that has to happen, could go wrong, people who need to be involved, you’ll end up like me frozen staring at my computer trying to pick a flight for my next vacation.

Taking one step at a time allows you to keep the end result in mind.  It actually helps if you do.  But instead of getting overwhelmed, it keeps you focused.

Louise Hay author and founder of Hay House Publishing talks about her journey to creating Hay House.  It’s started with an idea for a small pamphlet to sell to metaphysical churches.  In her movie, You Can Heal Your Life she tells the story of how her and her 90 year old mother would do what was in front of them every day.  In time those small steps led to an international publishing company, internet radio station and the Hay Foundation.  If back in 1984, Louise tried to focus on all of this, I’m sure Doubt and Should would have created chaos.

Dream Big.  Act Today.

So dream big.  Whether it’s your next business move or vacation, think about the end result.  Then focus on just want you can get done today.  Focus on what’s in front of you, what’s presented to you.

Do any of you have a story when this worked for you?  Go ahead and share below.

Works in Progress Are Never Perfect

Life Simplified: Works in progress are never perfect

photo credit jimmiehomeschoolmom via flickr

Today take a real risk that can change your life: start thinking of yourself as an artist and your life as a work-in-progress.  Works-in-progress are never perfect…Art evolves.  So does life.  Art is never stagnant.  Neither is life. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

The Artist

An artist starts with a blank canvas, page, or mound of clay.  There is only an idea.  In some cases it’s a notion or a sketch that inspires them to dip their paint brush into the bright red paint.

From there they let the design take it’s course.  They can’t plan what it will look like in the end.  They have an idea, but then allow inspiration to direct their next step.

My Writing Process

As a writer, I know I can have the best laid plans for an article, short story or even the book I’m working on.  Once my fingers start typing, however, something different almost always comes out.

I’m inspired by a quote I hadn’t read before.  A picture I hadn’t seen.  Even an email can send me in a direction I hadn’t planned.  As Stephen King writes in his book,  On Writing (One of my favorites by the way.  My copy is dogeared, highlighted and scribbled in which is why I’ve included an affiliate link):

I want you to understand that my basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves.  The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow.

This is a perfect example of that in action.  I hadn’t planned on using that quote before I started writing this article.  As the article developed, it seemed natural it should be included.

Artist In Your Life

When you accept you are the artist of your life, everything seems possible.  You’re more willing to take chances, trust your intuition and allow situations to flow into your life that a moment before seems inconceivable.

Every day you’re presented with “two roads diverged in the wood.”  It’s safer to take the road that is well worn.  It feels comfortable.  It feels safe.

It also feels unconscious.

But it never seems to be the right time.

You’ll start a family, business, new relationship once you have enough money.  You’ll spend more time with your parents, potential customers and friends when you have more time.  You’ll start writing, painting, playing the flute when you retire.

Waiting for the right time or the perfect conditions is keeping you caught the crossroads.  When you get to the intersection, you stop hesitate for a bit, then proceed down the well worn path.  There are some crossroads were you languish longer.  Even some where you might be paralyzed with the choice.

Here’s a Hint

There is no perfect time.  There are no perfect conditions.  There is only here and now.

When you get to the crossroads and pause, ask yourself, what’s the worse thing that could happen if I explored a less traveled path?  You know you want to, so go ahead and take a step, even if the time seems to be a little off.

Here’s what Joseph Campell had to say about following your bliss:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time

Sounds pretty good right? Who knows you may discover something great.  Here are some pointers from experienced travelers such as Wayne Dyer, Stephen King, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Oprah, Julia Cameron, Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield, Marcia Weider, and Lynn Robinson on how to “follow your bliss:”

  • Set aside quiet time every day to go within and listen.
  • Trust your gut.  When you get a nudge in a direction take it.
  • Commit fully to the process.
  • Dedicate time.  When you show up every day it becomes the place you should be.
  • Trust yourself, always.
  • Learn from your mistakes.  Don’t sit around and lick your wounds.
  • Your fear is only your ego trying to protect you.  Thank it and then move on.

So how will you become an artist in your own life?  Believe in yourself.  Take the first step.  Even if the path is unclear, continue to move in the direction that feels right.

Pioneer Dreams – A Simple Life

Little House on the Prairie House - Pioneer Dreams: A Simple Life

phot credit: sheilascarborough via flickr

Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.  ~ Thoreau

Pioneer Woman

I have a long standing fantasy.  I live on a farm in the 1800’s out west somewhere.  We don’t have a lot.  We make  do with what we have.  The closest neighbor is 10 miles away.  The town is nearly double that.

This could have sprung from all the Little House on the Prairie, books and shows I watched in the ’70’s.  There’s something intriguing about making a life from what appears to be nothing.

I was addicted to the PBS reality show, Frontier House.  Modern families lived on the Montana frontier for 6 months as if it were 1883.  Watching what they struggled with made me realize how much we all take for granted in our lives today.

Why do I fantasize about living the pioneer life?

Pioneers were people like you and me.  They had to survive with next to nothing.  Many could not, but many did.  Those that did had a strength I admire.

Their simple living has inspired me to learn to bake bread using a starter rather than store bought yeast.  Build a pantry of ingredients rather than pre-made meals.  Survive even the most difficult days at work.  And even simplify my life.

Today I’m in need of a little simplification.

Around this time in January, the Christmas decorations have been down for a while, but the house (and especially my office) still feels cluttered.  It’s probably because, here’s another confession, I’m a piler, meaning I create piles. You may not have guessed this when you visit because I’m also an expert pile hider.

Behind the simplified facade, I know there are piles that need sorting.  Papers that need recycling.  Books that need donating.  And unused items that need to find new homes.

I’m excited to clear out

Today is going to be a simplification day.  I’m giddy with excitement.  Simplifying helps me in so many ways.  It helps me prioritize, a great thing to do at the beginning of the year.  It makes me feel lighter versus weighed down by all the excess baggage.

Why do I simplify?

More importantly simplifying allows me to realize the abundance in my life that is over looked on a daily basis.  I have so much to be grateful for, too much, but I forget that when I’m rushing around day to day.

There are so many people out there who can use what I have stored somewhere in a pile.  Why not liberate that energy?  Sharing what you don’t need any more, can make someone’s day.

Today I’m adapting my pioneer woman attitude.  What do I need?  What do I love?  What haven’t I used in a while?  Where can it go to help someone else?

Do you have simplifying days?  Feel free to share your experience!

There’s No Scarcity

My left hemisphere had been trained to perceive myself as a solid, separate from others.  Now, released from that restrictive circuitry, my right hemisphere relished in its attachment to the eternal flow.  I was no longer isolated and alone.  My soul was as big as the universe and frolicked with glee in a boundless sea.  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

I know I’ve mentioned My Stroke of Insight, but I re-read it again this week to remind myself we have a choice between believing in scarcity or abundance.

The Power Of Your Brain

Dr. Taylor’s amazing story gives us insight into the power of our brains.  Since we have two distinct hemisphere’s that act independently, we do have the ability to shift our perception, and thus our reality.  That’s what enlightened people have been doing for ages.  They move into the right hemisphere of their brains and perceive the world from there.  According the Dr. Taylor it’s a dramatically different world.

What You Believe Shapes Your World

I think it’s important that you remember, whatever you believe shapes your world.  If you believe there are tons of bad people out there, there will be.  You’ll pick up on every news article, negative incident, and nasty person.

If, however, you believe the world is good, you will pick up the signs to confirm that.

As Dr. Taylor’s left hemisphere came back “online,” she found some of the negative self talk trying to return.  Because she’d experienced a world of no self talk, she knew she could control it.  She consciously chose what she wanted to believe and what her brain would repeat.

Even today, fully recovered, she has to keep her negative self talk in check.

When my brain runs loops that feel harshly judgmental, counter-productive, or our of control, I wait 90 seconds for the emotional/physiological response to dissipate and then I speak to my brain as though it is a group of children.  I say with sincerity, “I appreciate your ability to think thoughts and feel emotions, but I am really not interested in thinking these thoughts or feeling these emotions any more.  Please stop bringing this stuff up.”

What is your self talk saying?  Is it telling you there’s scarcity, lack, to be afraid?  Or is it telling you loving thoughts about yourself and others?  You control it.  You can change the thought patterns.  How will you start today?

How to Create Change – Fake It Until You Make It

Life Simplified - How to Create Change: Fake it until you make it

photo credit: abbyatchelder via flickr

My Start As An Actress

The first dramatic role I had in college was as a nurse in the play M*A*S*H.

My big scene was when Frank Burns yelled at me because he did something wrong.  In the stage directions I was supposed to cry.

Have any of you had to cry on cue?

During rehearsals I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have to cry.  As opening night approached, I panicked.   How was I supposed to produce tears based off of words on a page.

I Became The Character

The answer was, for the first time I truly had to act.  I couldn’t just speak the lines.  I had to become that character on stage.  I had to leave Jen behind and take on a totally new personality.

That experience changed my life.

Change Your Mind, Things Change

Having to cry on cue, taught me power of my mind.  The first step in any change is to convince your mind of the new reality.  Once you do the results come naturally.

I’ve used that experience throughout the rest of my life.  Sometimes at the beginning it takes a bit of faking it until you make it, but this system works every time.

To make changes, big and small, in your life start with the following steps:

  • Imagine the outcome – what does it look like when you achieve the change?
  • Feel the emotion – what does it feel like? Make sure you don’t just say the words, but truly feel it in your gut.
  • Act on new thoughts – soon you’ll get impulses to do something new.  Act on it.

Become Obsessed

Repeat the imagining and feeling activities often.  When I am making any type of change, I become obsessed with the imagining and feeling activity, much like I did when I prepared for the role back in college.  I think about it when I wake up, when I’m driving to a client, when I’m doing my errands and always before I go to sleep.

Over time a shift happens and you quietly adopt the new change.

Now I just need to remember this with my new focuses for the New Year.  How can you use these three easy steps to help you achieve your 2012 goals?

Creating Space

Creating Space
Weekend Clutter

Does your house collect stuff the way mine does?  Honestly I don’t know where it comes from, but I can have a perfectly clean house on Sunday and by Saturday (like today) I’m looking around at scattered papers, abandoned projects half completed and just stuff everywhere.  How does that happen?

Okay first let me preface this with, I do take things out and don’t always put them back.  I think I’m going to need to reference that book again, so behind me as we speak I must have 10 books stacked up that haven’t been opened since I originally brought them into the office.

Clogging Stuff

All of this stuff that doesn’t make it back to it’s home (or get thrown out) clogs your energy.  It fills the empty space blocking the flow of new ideas and activities. Think of a pipe. When there’s too much gunk clogging the pipe, things back up.  When the pipe is clear things flow smoothly.

That’s what happens in your space as well.  When there’s a lot of clutter, things get clogged up.  Do you notice how things don’t get done because they’re buried or you have a great idea, but when you sit down to work on it you feel overwhelmed.  That’s the clog.

Clearing Out

This weekend I’m making an effort to clean up my space again starting with my basement.  It’s the biggest clog of all.  It’s a big job, but I’m ready to allow things to flow again.

What clogs do you need to clear up so you can move forward?


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