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.
Notice the tiny, beautiful details and riff on them.
Create the most luxurious and perfect experience, FOR YOU.
Give an impromptu gift that will make someone’s day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Time with Those that Matter
Doing Something you Love and That You are Good At
Dare to Dream
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
Create a Wave of Kindness
When All Looks Dark, Choose to See the Love
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.
Find something to be grateful for.
Try to be intentional.
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?