Posts tagged: dreams

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.

Concsiousness is a Choice

Consciousness is a Choice - Stroke of Insight

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Own your own power and show up for your life. ~ Jill Bolte Taylor

A million things happen every day.  Most slide through our lives unnoticed.  The scent of spring in the air.  The chirping of a bird.  The smile of a stranger.

What if they were all taken away in a moment?

That’s what Jill Bolte Taylor experienced when she had a stroke in her mid thirties.  Being a brain scientist, she knew what was happening.  She recorded her conscious thought through the stroke and healing in a wonderful book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.  In the book, she tells us moment by moment how simple things like dialing a phone slipped away from consciousness.

As she was recovering she writes:

“…it was clear that the “I” whom I had grown up to be had not survived this neurological castastrophe.  I understood that the Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor died that morning, and yet, with that said, who was left?”

Jill was able to rebuild a life completely from scratch.  No memories.  No baggage.  At the same time she felt “enormous grief for the death of my left hemisphere consciousness – and the woman I had been, I concurrently felt tremendous relief.”

It doesn’t take a stroke

It doesn’t take a stroke or a terminal illness to have these revelations.  All it takes is choice.

You have a choice every day to give up the pieces of your life you don’t like and choose the pieces you want to remain.  Like Jill you can rebuild your life into the life you choose.

You also have a choice to recognize the pieces of your life, give a prayer of thanks, and move on.  Or continue to move blindly through the next 24 hours.

Today Taylor is convinced that the stroke was the best thing that could have happened to her.  it has taught her that the feeling of nirvana is never more than a mere thought away.  By stepping to the right of our left brains, we can all uncover the feelings of well-being and peace that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter.

Do you choose to be conscious or unconscious today?


What Do You Really Need?

What Do You Really Need?

photo credit: supersonicphotos via flickr

What you need you attract like a lover. ~ Gertrude Stein

A Sunday Contemplation

After my iPad post yesterday, I read this quote.  Made me think a bit.

I don’t know how much faith you put into all of the Law of Attraction stuff, but I’ve experimented with it over the last three years and one thing I’ve learned, I seem to attract more of what I need rather than just what I want.

Creating a Burning Desire

The reason is when you absolutely need something, you create a burning desire to capture it.  When you just want something the desire, energy isn’t as strong.

When you listen to the stories of Oprah, Wilma Rudolph, Sandra Day O’Connor, Louise Hay, Maya Angelou, single mothers struggling to raise good kids, women with cancer, women starting businesses, they all have one thing in common, a need.

Whether it’s a need to put food on the table, or rise above a societal stereo type, there becomes a burning desire that is associated with a need.  This burning desire becomes all consuming.  That’s what sets the Law of Attraction into motion.  Not just sitting there wishing you had the next best thing.

Separate the Needs from the Wants to Focus Your Energy

If you’re feeling lack in your life, determine if it’s a need or a want.  You’ll be able to tell the difference immediately.  When you pick out your needs, then put all your energy into achieving them.  Make them top of mind.  Contemplate what the world would be like when those needs are met.

The “how’s” will begin to show up. 

This burning desire you create will overcome the fear in taking action.  In the past if you were afraid to ask for something, now you’ll feel empowered to do so.

Then the cycle begins.

What do you truly need  in your life?  Have you created a burning desire or have you waffled between your needs and wants?

Waffling will only get you breakfast (get it).  It won’t fulfill your essential needs.  Once you begin to care for yourself in this way, opportunities present themselves.

I have many more needs in my life than an iPad.  Today I choose to focus on those rather than my wants so I can reclaim my energy.  How about you?

Start With What You Love

Start With What You Love

photo credit: 21560098@N06 via flickr

What do you love?

Not what are you supposed to love, what the media says to love, but really what warms the cockles of your heart?

For me it’s writing, reading, baking, cooking scrumptious things, tapping into my intuition for my business, helping clients achieve their goals, a quiet walk in the woods, the ocean, the mountains, speaking to groups, teaching, and so much more.

I’m focusing a lot on these this year.  As I set my goals and focus on my dreams, I want them aligned with what I love.  Originally, that’s why I started Life Simplified.  I wanted to do work that meant something to me personally, not what a corporate office dictated.

It can be harder than you think.

It’s harder than you think to first identify what you love, then integrate it into your daily live and work.

Life Simplified will be 5 years old in 2012.  When I look over the last 5 years there have been times when I definitely focused on what I loved to do.  Then there were times I didn’t.

The difference was when I focused on what I loved to do, the customers came willingly.  I didn’t have to do much and they were knocking on my door.  When I forced something I really didn’t want to do, not only did it feel yucky, but I never felt I did my best work.

Oh yeah, those were also the times I financially struggled.  I had to “convince” people to work with me.  As a small business person you always have to market yourself, but when you start to feel like a used car sales person, it’s time to re-evaluate.

My shift

Last year I started to make the shift.  Sometimes it was profitable.  Other times, I think I lost my confidence and the profits dried up.

This year, although I doubted a bit during December, I’m back to fully believing I can integrate what I love to do into my business.  One of the things I love is intuitive coaching sessions.

Intuitive coaching sessions are focused on the person’s needs, but I tap into the thoughts and insights that come to me during the session.  There isn’t a system or process we follow.  Instead we move organically through the process.  The results with these clients have been amazing.  They’ve opened up channels that never existed or completed things they never thought would happen.

How can you integrate what you love into what you do every day?

Even if you don’t have a business, you can still integrate what you love into what you do every day.  Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Know what you love.  Sounds simple, but I’ll be this takes a while.  Take some time and make a list of 100 things, the smaller the better, you love.
  • Integrate one thing at a time.  It’s human nature to want the whole list at once.  Instead chose one small thing you love.  Integrate it into your schedule next week.  Make a commitment to making it happen.  Continue to integrate items from your list.
  • Notice which make you the happiest.  You’ll find some make you happier than others.  Start to make those things regular parts of your schedule, job or business.
  • Journal.  I think there’s nothing more powerful than a daily journal.   Journal throughout this year to discover things you love you may have forgotten about.

From my last post, I need to continue to believe I am an intuitive advisor, writer, speaker and teacher so I can become more of one this year.

What is one thing you want to do this year that totally taps into what you love and your natural strengths.  Share here and we’ll start supporting each other.

Are You Standing in the Middle of Your Dreams?

Life Simplified - Standing in the Middle of your Dreams

photo credit: anne-catherine_nyberg via flickr

Over New Years I watched Julie and Julia for the third or fourth time.  I love that movie.

Staying True To Your Vision

The conviction of Julie and Julia to their visions inspires me.  You feel their struggle before they both start.  You feel their struggle in the process.  Both, however, stuck to their visions and achieved success beyond their original vision.

This time around it was Julie Powell’s story that resonated with me.  At the beginning of the movie she feels lost, uninspired and lacking life energy.  Even though she’s written a book, it’s been rejected so she doesn’t consider herself a writer.

You Are Who You Believe Yourself To Be

The lesson I’ve learned is we are who we believe ourselves to be.  All choices are available to us.  It’s up to us if we want to be stuck in an office job we hate or become a national best selling author.

Julie gave up on her vision of becoming a writer and settled into the desk job option.  This is what dragged down her life. When she began to blog, she began the journey of accepting she was a writer.  To date she’s written at least two books, her blog and obviously influenced the move with her writing.

My Year of Achieving My Dreams

I’m holding onto this picture because you can see it from beginning to end now that her dream has been realized.  When you’re in the middle of re-creating your life, it’s hard to see how all the pieces fit together.  If you stay dedicated to your vision, work at it, you’re reality changes.  “What you think about, you bring about” as a friend reminded me on Facebook yesterday.

I too have dreams I want to achieve, writing being one of them.  I too do not consider myself a writer all the time because it’s a hobby, not a career.  I see that changing in 2012 because I’ve set it in my mind this time around.  I am a writer.  I am a writer.  I am a writer.

Each of us is standing right smack in the middle of every dream we every wanted to achieve.  Now it’s time to believe.


Do You Need A Time Out?

Life Simplified: Taking a time out at Phantom Farms in Cumberland Rhode Island

photo credit: Phantom Farms

Turn away from the world this year and begin to listen.  Listen to the whispers of your heart. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach


Last night smiling anchor people reveled in the awful news of the day.  People complained on Facebook. A magazine I picked up had models in it I could never hope to look like.  Then my Dad turned on some movie so filled with violence, I asked him to put on headphones so I wouldn’t have to listen to the killing.

I felt like the walls were closing in!

Sometimes January, and winter in general, can be claustrophobic.  Luckily this year we’ve had a lot of sunshine here in Boston, but when it’s 29 degrees or colder out, you’re not spending a lot of time outdoors.

Time Out

That’s why I think it’s so important for you to plan mini time-outs.  Time to get out of your four walls and re-center again.

When you’re confined in spaces that don’t allow you to listen to your inner voice, it’s very easy to lose a sense of who you are and what’s important.  Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t get a little time away.  Here are some ideas:

  • Go to a museum – It can be a small local museum or the Museum of Fine Arts.  The quietness and inspiration of the objects in the museum can be a refreshing break from the noise.
  • Have lunch in nature – Take your lunch and go to the park, the ocean or gaze at the mountains around.  Take a couple of deep breaths.  In 30 minutes you’ll feel like you’ve been gone for days.
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood – This is something I’ve been doing for myself every day so far this year.  I take Maisie out for 10-20 minutes for a walk in the middle of the day.  She’s so excited and I feel regenerated.
  • Read something inspirational – Set aside 30-60 minutes later in the day.  Turn off all distractions or just find a quiet spot in the house.  Open up your favorite book, magazine or blog and savor every word.
  • Grab a cup of tea, alone – I have a favorite spot called Phantom Farms about 15 minutes away.  When things get really crazy, I jump in the car and head over for a steaming cup of coffee or tea.  They have a quaint country store that is filled with luscious treats.
Life Simplified: Taking a time out at Phantom Farms, Cumberland Rhode Island

photo credit: Phantom Farms

Why is taking a time out so important?

You need to have time to listen to the whispers of your heart.  As women we can get caught up in our businesses, jobs, families and other responsibilities.  No one wants to wake up one morning and ask where has the last 10 years gone.

Take time today, this week, this month for some time outs.  I’ll bet you hear a whisper you never heard before.

Where do you like to take a time out?

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?

Living the Questions

Life Simplified: Living the Questions

photo credit: horiavarlan via flickr

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.  Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Start With the Questions

Such wise words for the new year.

Do you find yourself at the beginning of the year making resolutions?  Then even as early as today you start feeling discouraged because you haven’t lost the 20 lbs, gotten the raise or met the love of your life?

Sometimes simply asking the question and living with the question is all you need to do for right now.  I know it isn’t as satisfying as the quick fixes you see on TV.  In reality, it’s the only way you’ll make long lasting changes.

What’s My Next Step

The key to living the question isn’t to ask, “how am I going to…”  Instead ask, “what is my next step.”  Living this question will guide you through the process of discovering the answer.

Once you ask the question, you then have to listen for the quiet answer.  Don’t worry if you miss it the first time.  Keep asking the question and it will respond again.

Take Action…even if it doesn’t make much sense right now

When you get the answer, the ball is in your court.  The answer may not make a lot of sense to you in the moment, but when you take action (and you must take action), the next step will be revealed to you.

The more you ask, listen and take action the faster the process.  The pieces of the puzzle will all fall into place.  Soon those 20 lbs will be melting away, the boss will come to you with the raise and who knows, the man of your dreams may knock on your front door.

What is the question you’re living with?

A Simply Abundant Year

Life Simplified: Simply Abundant New Year

photo credit: Life Simplified

A Simply Abundant New Year

I’ve been tossing this around for a while.  Many of you know I quote Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance (affiliate link) frequently.  For the past 15 years or so, I’ve been using Sarah’s guidance to make big changes in my life, starting Life Simplified being one.

The first year I went through her entire year of daily meditations, I felt transformed.  Therefore every other year or so I do the same.  Some years more successfully than others.  Each time, I discover a revelation that moves me onto the next phase in my life.

My Simple Abundance Commitment – 365 blogs

This year, I want to make dramatic shifts in my life.  Over on the Life Simplified blog I’ve talked about my three words of focus this year; Own, Inspire and Grow.  I want to make Simple Abundance part of that journey.

It’s going to take a lot of commitment.  365 days of blogging, yikes!  I think I’m ready.

So here we go.  Check in as often as you’d like.

Learning to Live Into Your Dreams

For January 1 – Sarah talks about writing down your dreams then through the year, day by day you’ll learn to live them.  I firmly believe that.  My dreams for this upcoming year are:

Growing Life Simplified into a business that inspires and enlightens people to their own power, creativity and uniqueness.  I want to write a book that conveys those thoughts and I want to help over 100 people this year move in the direction of their dreams.

Traveling.  It’s been a while since I’ve traveled.  I’m overdue for a trip to Seattle.  Besides that I want to explore my own backyard.  There’s so much you miss everyday.  I want to explore these.

Growing myself.  There’s nothing more satisfying than learning something new about myself and putting it to work.

Writing.  I can’t keep it inside any more.  I want to write a lot this year.  Not just blogs but a book (or two!).

Building new relationships.  I love meeting new people and this year I want to bring new relationships into my life.

When I look back on these, they seem very simple.  Re-reading them, however, gives me butterflies!  Isn’t that what life is all about?

What is one dream you have for the year? 

As Sarah says:

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing.  Believe in yourself.  And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.


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