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Archive For September 30, 2015

4 Creative + Inspiring Things You Can Do to Care for Those You Love (Including YOURSELF!)

4 Creative + Inspiring Things You Can Do to Care for Those You Love (Including YOURSELF!)

A few years ago, I watched as many of my friends who owned their own businesses ran themselves ragged. I watched as they over-worked themselves and moved further away from the benefits of being an entrepreneur.  I thought to myself, “this is not right. Why be in business for yourself if you’re going to sacrifice your quality of life?”


I decided then and there to better understand why many of my fellow entrepreneurs make this sacrifice.

I’ve come to see this issue as bigger than an out-of-whack life-work balance. I see it as a happiness crisis.

We tend to look for happiness in all the wrong places. We leave dysfunctional jobs or relationships only to recreate the same dysfunction all over again. We give our all to something that we think will bring us joy, and in the end we just tire ourselves out. 

The want for happiness is a great engine for change. Yet, when we know we’re unhappy and don’t know how to create the happiness we seek, that engine can stall out. 


Everyday I see how our ideas about success hoodwink us. Because as much as we think that reaching a certain level of success is going to bring us the happiness we seek –it’s just not. 


I’m on a mission to support people in growing their whole lives in ways that bring them TRUE happiness.


And TRUE happiness comes when we learn to care for ourselves, each other and the world. This is the next major social revolution  – and it’s going to happen at both an individual and collective level.

4 Creative + Inspiring Things You Can do to Care for Those You Love (Including YOURSELF!)


According to Caroline Myss, “the self” that we now talk about is an idea that emerged in the nuclear age. By the 1950’s, psychology and psychoanalysis had become accepted as a way of thinking about people and their behavior.  In turn, the rich inner life that we all experience became just as real as the outer life we live.

This new way of thinking about “the self” ushered in the birth of self-care! Up to the 1950’s people didn’t talk about self-care. They didn’t think about balancing their everyday life demands with things that foster their well-being. Fast forward to today, and self-care is a multi-billion dollar industry and an everyday conversation.


I think that the conversation about self-care leaves out one major thing: and that’s inspiration. Inspiration is more than just happening upon a cleaver idea. It expresses our creativity and forges a path to real change in ourselves in our world. When you’re inspired, you feel alive!


Ideas about self-care are mostly directed at how to eat, exercise, or think positively and less toward how to get inspired. Yet, how can we feed our spirit and nurture our soul without inspiration?


Feeding your soul is self-care. Self-care is all about honoring and caring for yourself in ways that matter most. When you’re able to practice self-care your life becomes less of one huge to-do list and more of a field of abundant meaning and joy.

So to kick off the self-care revolution, here are 4 easy, rich, and deep ways YOU can bring more inspiration into your life.

Write a poem about someone you care for. 

    
Inspiration is within reach most of the time. So, cozy up to your inner-bard and write a poem about your partner, your child or a good friend. See if you can capture what you love about them in this expressive form.  If you brainstorm adjectives, qualities or feelings you associate with this person, you’ll quickly create phrases that inspire you.

 

Notice the tiny, beautiful details and riff on them.

    
Say you’re sitting at home or taking a walk through your neighborhood.  Look around you, and free associate with what you see. For example, if you see thin blades of long grass growing by a wall, maybe they remind you of a time when you saw a piece of beautiful graffiti on a wall with grass just like that. Perhaps the grass near the wall reminds you of the eerie beauty and loneliness of neglected things.  Let yourself wander into your thoughts. You’ll be amazed where you wind up!

 
Create the most luxurious and perfect experience, FOR YOU. 

    
If your version of self-care is to take a bath, a walk in the woods or get a massage, then it’s time to take it up a notch. Make a decadent, fantastic, and yes inspired experience for YOURSELF.  Try new things. Mix and match your experience. Take a bubble bath with candlelight, wine, chocolate, the smell of jasmine and opera music. Or, walk in the woods bundled in soft fabrics singing a song to yourself and noticing how the light hits things.

 
Give an impromptu gift that will make someone’s day.

    Tap into your inspiration and find something – or make something – that will let another person know how special they are to you. When you think about bringing pleasure to someone else’s life, you naturally think creatively and playfully about what’s in the world and how to use it. And even better, when you give a gift your heart opens up and you feel satisfied on a deeper level.


It’s too easy to let days slip by where we’re distracted from what matters most. So challenge yourself to spend an hour each week doing one of these activities. It won’t take long before you’ll feel more inspired and your spirit will feel more nourished.

What Your Sexual Voice is all About and How You Can Make it Work for YOU

What Your Sexual Voice is all About and How You Can Make it Work for YOU

Let’s face it – even though sex is everywhere these days, most of us are not comfortable talking openly about our sexuality and desire. And this is not necessarily because we’re shy or we self-censor. When it comes right down to it, free-expression about the sex you have or want to have is still incredibly taboo in most cultures across the globe.

Yet, a healthy, expressive sex life is an essential part of a healthy, expressive life!

To help me start a conversation about sex, I’ve invited my friend and Sexual Empowerment Coach, Amy Jo Goddard, to share her thoughts with us in this week’s article.

So much of Amy Jo’s work is about encouraging people to say what they desire. Often times, the desires we keep secret are the ones that hold the greatest potential to bring us the kind of fulfillment and satisfaction we seek. It takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to say what you want out loud. Yet, when you find your voice, you’ll have a better chance at finding your pleasure.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR SEXUAL VOICE BY AMY JO GODDARD

I’ve struck a chord with my dialogue on “Finding the Sexual Voice.”  Some people feel like their sexual voice is stifled, and always has been. Others are completely out of touch with it.  And, many want to know how they can shift their sexual voice to authentically get their needs met.  In any case, to understand the sexual voice, we first have to break it down.

The sexual voice is two-fold: We all have an internal voice and an external voice.

INTERNAL

Your internal sexual voice is the way you talk to yourself about your sexuality, the way you treat your body, the way you think and what you think when you are having sex, the stories you have believed and continue to tell yourself about sexuality, your desirability and your sexual life and desires.

In my Women’s Sexual Empowerment program we focus on the sexual story and herstory in our first weekend retreat and we do a powerful exercise that allows us to look at our collective sexual story. It opens us up to seeing what kinds of stories women are carrying, how they are viewing themselves and defining who they are, and what they have held onto. It’s so powerful. I wish everyone could have that experience because it can allow us to see that we are not alone, that others have had similar experiences or stories about themselves and we can develop a deep compassion for ourselves when we are witnessed in our stories.

Your internal story is what you carry around with you all the time. It’s the way you frame your sexuality and what happens to you inside. There are always embedded beliefs in the sexual story we carry internally. Things like, “It’s not normal that I don’t have orgasms, there must be something wrong with me.” Or “I’m not attractive enough/sexy enough/sexual enough/exciting, etc.” Or “I’ll never heal from my sexual abuse.” Or “I’m too old for sex…”

Hopefully we have positive beliefs about our sexuality that we carry: “I am totally lovable.” “I’m capable of amazing orgasms and pleasure and I feel good about my lack of inhibition.” “I love my body and it’s abilities.” “I’m a sexually desirable creature.”
Your internal voice impacts how you feel in your body, in your relationships, how present you are in sex, how much you enjoy your sexuality, how inhibited you are, and how you express your sexuality on a daily basis. It is essential that you do some work around your internal voice, stories and beliefs so that you can have a healthy outlook and framework for your sexual life.

EXTERNAL

Your external voice is how you talk about your sexuality and your body, how you flirt and approach people, how you put yourself out there, how you ask for what you want, and express your desire.

Your external voice will mirror some of the internal stories and your internal voice. Your level of positivity or negativity about sex, your insecurities, your frustrations, your healthy view of yourself, and your confidence all stem from that internal voice and are expressed verbally, emotionally and energetically.

Most people get really stuck in finding their external sexual voice for a variety of reasons. I can remember when I was younger the way a frog would get stuck in my throat when I wanted to express something in a sexual situation. If I wanted to make a request or ask for an adjustment it could feel like the hardest thing to do. I know many people struggle to tell a partner they want something different or to offer any instruction because then maybe their partner will get discouraged or think they are doing it wrong, or maybe it will hurt their feelings.

There are many ways the external voice shows up during sex. How do you communicate in the moment? How do you ask for what you want when you are in the throws of it? How do you shift gears? How do you make inviting requests?

There is a larger conversation that must happen around sex, and when you establish it with a partner, it becomes much easier to offer this kind of feedback: talking about what is working and what is not, talking about new desires and wishes, and discussing how to improve or build your sexual relationship.

Nothing builds deeper and more meaningful intimacy than learning to talk about sex in a way that feels empowered, exciting and fun. And even when it’s hard, it brings you closer. This is why I work with people so much on how to have these conversations and how to set up their sexual relationships for success and intimacy.

Now that you understand the dichotomy of the sexual voice, you can start to notice your patterns and responses within each aspect, and gather tools to break through to your authentic, empowered sexual voice. 

______

As a Sexual Empowerment expert and thought leader, Amy Jo Goddard has guided thousands of people towards the wholeness and fulfillment they want, sexually and in other aspects of their lives. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education from New York University and has 20 years of experience in the sexuality field. As a renowned speaker and teacher, Amy Jo travels to colleges, communities, and conferences teaching classes and offering keynotes that help people to connect the dots around sexuality and money, expand their creativity, grow their confidence and learn to be bigger in their relationships, in business, and in the world. 

She delivered her TEDx talk “Owning Your Sexual Power” in March, 2014 in Napa Valley, was named one of GO! Magazin’s “100 Women We Love” in 2010 and one of Kinkly’s ”100 Sex Blogging Superheros” in 2013.

Amy Jo is also the author of the upcoming book, WOMAN ON FIRE: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power and Sexual Intelligence. 

Happiness is the True Meaning of Life

Happiness is the True Meaning of Life

In my 20’s, I learned that if I worked hard I could change my circumstances. In my 30’s, I learned that if I let myself love then, no matter the outcome, whatever I did would be worth it. Now in my 40’s, I can see that if I don’t have peace on the inside then it doesn’t matter how much love or money I have in my life.

The truth is, lasting happiness comes from one thing – and that’s peace.

I was in Thailand a few years ago to meet with a Russian Shaman. True story. She told me that I was meant to work with people around happiness – to really help them to be happy with their life.

At this moment, I see how true her statement really is.

I used to think that happiness was overrated. Now, I think it’s underrated. Nothing matters more in our lives than how we feel on the inside.

The True Meaning of Life

I believe the secrets of the universe will stay secret. However, I don’t think this prevents us from creating lives full of meaning and joy. There are few things in life that bring us true happiness. And they’re not what you think they are.

So what are these things? Let’s start at the top:

Peace in Your Heart

    I have to say it – even at the risk of sounding like every other self-help guru: peace on the inside is where it’s at.
    Life will always have its ups and downs. And yes, you can count on the universe to send something unexpected your way. We can either let ourselves feel tossed around by life’s inevitable twists and turns. Or we can create a kind of internal stability that won’t flinch when life throws us a curve-ball. This stability comes from a sense of inner-peace. When this is in place, we know in a deep way that we’re always going to be okay regardless of what’s happening around us.
    So, stop for a moment and ask yourself: what would your life be like if you spent as much time creating peace in your heart as you do working at your job or on your business? What would happen if you made sure to take some “you-time” everyday to bring a little more peace into your heart? Why not create a little experiment to test out your hypothesis?

Time with Those that Matter

    Grandparents around the world, join me for an AMEN! They know that time teaches us about what matters most and who matters most in your life. But why wait until you’re older to benefit from this essential life lesson? Why not build your life around the people you really care about right now?
    If this rings true to you, then try this out: once a week for the next month, make a plan to spend some time with someone you really love. Do something that you both enjoy. Those good feelings and good times will build good memories and will help to grow your sense of peace.

Doing Something you Love and That You are Good At

    It doesn’t matter if you get paid for it or not. When we do something we love and we’re good at, we feel great. And this is exactly what many people refer to as “life purpose.” This is why life purpose has more to do with something we create than something we find.
    When we start doing things we love and look for ways to offer them to the world, our skill and satisfaction naturally multiplies.

Dare to Dream

    There’s a reason that the idea of the “bucket list” became so popular so fast. People yearn for permission to do things that excite them, bring them joy, and make their life meaningful. We feel happy when we let ourselves dream and when we meet even a few of our dreams.
    So, ask yourself: what do I dream of doing? Big or small. It doesn’t matter. Pick one of your dreams and begin to do things that in time will make it a reality.

Go Deep

    Life is too short to stay on the surface. So, to tap into a sense of lasting inner-peace, you’ll need to find out what is really going on with you and those around you. Be willing to ask challenging questions. Take the risk to create intimacy. Our internal landscape has as much room to explore as our external one.
3 Simple Ways You Can Lead with Love

3 Simple Ways You Can Lead with Love

When we talk about love, we often talk about the kind of romantic love we want to receive. We look for the partner or friend who will love us as we deeply want to be loved.

However, what happens when we reverse our desire to receive love and begin to think about desire to give love? We often forget that love is a constant our lives. Love is something we create. When we turn the love we have outwards, we can use it to create wonderful things in world.

Love is an essential part of successful leadership and positive outcomes. Staying connected to love as we grow in our ability to lead allows us to create a deeper impact in everything we do.

So, for this week’s article, I’m going to share three surprising and simple things you can do to help you lead with love.

Breathe In The Good Stuff

    When we’re lovingly connected to ourselves, we’re better able to do things that make a positive impact on our world. One of the easiest ways to plug into ourselves is to take a big, deep breath.
    Spiritual disciplines around the world emphasize the importance of the breath. When we inhale we take a little of the world into our bodies, and when we exhale we release a little bit of ourselves into the world.
    People fail to breathe when they get tense or scared. They tighten up and hold their breath. This is because breathing encourages our connection to ourselves and to our environment.
    And staying connected to ourselves is an essential part of being an impactful leader.
    Here’s one breathing exercise that can really help you anchor into yourself and to your sense of connectedness. Every day for a full week, take a few moments to draw in five full breaths at one time. Let these breaths fill up your lungs. When you inhale, imagine that you’re breathing in love; on the exhale, breathe out all the love you took in. Imagine that the fullness of your heart and the fullness of the love around you is streaming in and out of your body.

Create a Wave of Kindness

    Scott Adams once said: “Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
    We’ve all seen how our kindness can have a big impact on the world around us. People feel good when you’ve shown them kindness. And those good feelings can ripple out into a much bigger wave.
    When we’re kind to those around us, we lead ourselves and others towards a way of interacting that’s full of thoughtfulness and care.
    For each day this week, do one kind thing for someone in your life. Do a favor for a co-worker. Or give some one you love some extra support. If you want to challenge yourself, do something kind for someone with whom you have a difficult relationship or for someone you’ve been neglecting.

When All Looks Dark, Choose to See the Love

    There’s no denying it – there’s a lot of suffering in the world. It can seem like the things we do to improve the world don’t seem to put a dent in the suffering and despair we see all around us. But even in the worst of times and the worst of places, there are glimmers of love. And it really is within our ability to see them.
    No matter where you are, or the current state of your life, take a few minutes every day for the next week to notice the many faces of love around you. They might be small – like a blade of grass through the pavement – but they are there.
How to Fall in Love with Your LIFE Again

How to Fall in Love with Your LIFE Again

When I work with people in my LifeWork Community program, we look for the easiest ways to effect big changes. Why? Because, often it’s little shifts that create major transformations.

These little shifts tend to get overlooked because we’re looking for the major breakthrough, the AHA! moment that changes everything. Yet, when you make the small changes the big moments will happen as they do and when they do. The benefit here is that you’ll be further along in your personal transformation having made small changes along the way.

And so, the focus of this article is about the little ways you can fall in love with your life again.

Fall in Love with Your LIFE Again

Our lives are filled with lots of repetition and routine. It’s common for many of us feel numb and bored from time to time.

Perhaps you have asked yourself questions like these:

Why has there been little change in my life over the past weeks or months?
Why is it that I’m no longer excited by my relationship?

Somewhere along the way we came to believe that happiness was a place we were destined and entitled to arrive. We also came to believe that happiness came with having everything we want. These mistaken beliefs can really mislead us. If we aren’t feeling happy or we’re not getting what we want, we tend to feel like something is wrong. But, nothing is wrong with your life and nothing is wrong with you.

To really access the marrow of life we need to learn some skills that help take our focus away from what we don’t have or should have and instead connect us with what is.

Here are three things you can do today to shift your thinking and to love the life you have before you.

Look for what’s amazing in your everyday life.

    Most of us have unconscious expectations about how our life should be. At the very least, we all have hopes that our lives will turn out in a particular way. When you’re preoccupied with comparing what you have against what you think you should have, you’re not able to appreciate what you have for what it is. One of the easiest ways to figure out if your expectations are keeping you from being satisfied with your life is to pay attention to your habits. Do you crave a sugary snack in the afternoon? Are you dissatisfied with your relationships after the initial honeymoon period? Do you start getting bored with work after the initial newness wears off? While there can be many reasons these habits develop, one of them is a lack of ability to see what’s amazing in your day-to-day. If you’re in the habit of waiting for something amazing to happen to you, challenge yourself to find what’s wonderful in what’s around you.

Find something to be grateful for.

    One of the fastest ways to fall in love with your life is to look for things for which you’re grateful. Take time to celebrate these aspects of your life. We’re the meaning makers of our life. If we don’t create the meaning, appreciate the little thing, or feel gratitude for what is, then regardless of how good it really gets nothing is going to feel that special.
    So, how do you get started? It’s actually fairly simple. Take a moment during breakfast or dinner to turn to a loved one or friend and tell them one thing you’re grateful for/ excited about/ intrigued by from your day. Or, you can keep a gratitude journal where you write down three things that happened during the day that you thought were special. Another approach is to tell one person per week how grateful you are for them or something they’ve done. The great thing here is that when you express your gratitude, you feel good and those around you feel appreciated and noticed. It’s a win for all involved.

Try to be intentional.

    It takes intention to approach your day-to-day life from a place of gratitude. While this mind-set can take a little bit of practice, more often than not it really just requires that we be aware of what we want. When we’re feeling bored or checked out, that’s our reminder to check back in with our intention.
    Here are some tips to move through your day with intention. When you wake up each morning, think about how you would like to go through the day. How would you like to feel as you move through it? If there’s an aspect of your day that you anticipate will be challenging, see if you can come up with a way to go through it that’s ideal for you.

As you go forward, you can build on and develop these skills so that you can add more enjoyment to your life. But, don’t worry if you have some days where you feel flat. It’s normal. Remember that you can always wake up tomorrow and ask yourself, “what would I like today to be like?