Overwhelmed? Read this to Get Going Again

overwhelm

Spring is here. You’ve got time to do all these things you have always talked about. Yet this sense of overwhelm is keeping you from getting started. Maybe you’re vegging out with video games, talking on the phone, or laying around instead of doing even one of the many things you need to do or want to do. It just feels like being in the ocean being hit with giant wave after wave and you just can’t get up. Life still demands that you be “on”, but you can’t get going.

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?

Chill

First, take a chill pill. Relax. Meditate. Breathe. Take a hot bath. Have a cup of coffee or tea for five or ten minutes. Do nothing. This will give your nervous system a chance to down regulate so that you can see clearly and feel more balanced. If you are really keyed up, make it fifteen minutes. Or thirty. You say you don’t have time, but this is a really important step. The effectiveness of everything else you do is impacted by your ability to attain calm for just a few moments first.

Practice Mindfulness

Put on your mindfulness cap. See things as they are, not how they feel they are. It may feel like people are judging you, things have to be done perfectly or right now. It might feel like the world is coming to an end. Is that really true?

Get Clear on What You Need Right Now

While you are here, ask yourself what you need right now. Do you need to fall apart? Fall apart. Do you need to be with someone else while you fall apart? Ask for help. Maybe you just need to admit that things are out of control before you can move on. Or is this about forgiveness? A need to end something? The desire to feel heard? Whatever it is, use this time to do some self care. Only when you’re good (or as good as can be under the circumstances), move ahead.

Make a Mindful List

Now, with your mindfulness cap on, make a list of the things you have to do. Stick to bullets and small chunks like “do the dishes” instead of “clean the kitchen.” Delete any commentary or judgment. Remember, we’re making it a mindful list.

Reduce Distractions

It’s easy to get distracted. Especially if we want to be distracted so that we don’t follow through with what we don’t want to do. Set yourself up for success by reducing distractions. Distractions are one more thing to pay attention to and add to the sense of overwhelm. So turn off your phone. Stop checking social media and text messages. Close your door. Reduce the background noise, and get to work.

Avoid Making New Commitments

People who have a hard time saying no can create huge piles of commitments for themselves that they don’t have time to follow through with. Learning to say no is a form of self care. You matter. Self care matters. Relationships are important too, but for now, “no” is a magic word that will help you dig yourself out of an overwhelming hole. Just say no.

Delegate

If you can give some of the load to someone else, delegate. Great leaders are neither micromanagers nor do-it-all types of people. They work as a team. If delegating is possible and within healthy boundaries, share the load. If it’s all your work, perhaps you can still ask for help. That’s what friends do.

Get Started

It may seem that the most important items on your to do list should be done first. No. When you’re overwhelmed, the most important thing is to get started, so we’re going to do that by targeting the thing that is easiest to accomplish. Maybe it’s even something fun. If you have a list of ten things and you can knock out three very quickly and easily, it will give you a psychological boost to see that you’re a third of the way there. That can give you juice to keep going on the things that take longer or aren’t so enjoyable.

Be Grateful

Gratitude helps us get through everything. Maybe you focus on being grateful to have a job to do. Maybe it’s about being healthy or skilled enough to do something. Be grateful to have the money to do something or the time. Be grateful to have a family or partner to do things for. We’re all abundantly lucky. All we have to do is look around and see it. When we know why we’re doing what we’re doing, it makes it easier.

There may be many steps between you and your goal. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” So take that step. And then take another, and another. Slowly you the sense of overwhelm will ease, the scenery will change, and things will look very different. Just keep going.

 

Why Is It So Hard to Be Still?

be still

Why is it so hard to be still? With everyone practicing social distancing, a lot of us are stir crazy after just a few days inside. We have a golden opportunity to breathe, be still, release stress and anxiety, and see into the depths of our being – and we’re not taking it!

So, I am issuing this challenge. Be still for fifteen minutes a day for as long as social distancing lasts. It’s fifteen itty, bitty minutes out of 1440 in a day that suddenly became massively uncluttered for many of us. That leaves 1425 minutes to worry, talk, plan, exercise, clean, work, solve problems, meditate, be emotional, argue, surf the ‘net, play, eat, sleep, bathe, or do whatever you want.

Why Be Still?

I am sure your practice of stillness will generate its own benefits. Here are some of mine.

In stillness you gain space for reflection. Most of us are reactive. Something happens and we have a habitual reaction because there is no pause, no space for something new to come in. Stillness gives you that space. It helps you to slow down, savor, and be. You see things you didn’t see before. You have options that didn’t exist before. All because you stopped for a moment.

We all have a light inside. When we are still, it’s easier to feel it warming us from the inside. Once we tune into it, it’s easier to see it shining when we’re not looking. This light can guide us when we’re keyed up so that we act from our center, our true self, not our emotion mind. So stillness helps us to be in tune with our highest and best self more of the time.

Stillness also helps us to see the light outside of us – in small things like the colors of the sky at sunset. But also in big things like your values and the importance of family. It helps us to live on purpose.

I don’t have any evidence of this outside of my own experience, but I believe that stillness also helps to balance us. We live in a world dominated by left brain energy. Stillness is feminine. Fifteen minutes of stillness helps poetry, softness, creativity, and connection to creep into our lives so that we’re more balanced.

How to Be Still?

Okay, so you’re convinced to give it a try, but you want to know how.

  1. Create or find a stillness place. This is an actual place or a place in your mind that is uncluttered, quiet, comfortable, and where you won’t be disturbed for fifteen minutes. If it’s an actual place, consider the feng shui. Simple, clean, with soothing colors works best. If outside, a place in nature away from traffic and manmade noise is ideal. Use this same place each time you go into stillness. Over time it will create an association in your mind that when you are here, you are still.
  2. Set the timer for fifteen minutes. This way you don’t have to stop your stillness to check the time.
  3. Create your “zone.” The zone is your way of stilling the mind. I live on the river, so watching the water go by is perfect for that. Rocking in rocking chair is also hypnotic. Conscious breathing works well. Staring into a candle flame could work. Walking while humming mindlessly could also work. Knitting might work. The more active you are, the trickier it gets to stop your thoughts. If you’re singing a song with words or if you have to watch your step while walking, these ideas won’t work so well.
  4. Do no thing. While your body may be rocking, your mind is doing no thing. It’s not thinking about whether or not you’re comfortable or what’s for lunch. It’s just present with you. If you have a thought, observe it. Don’t entertain it. Just notice it and let it go. It’s like passing scenery when you are on a train. Just let it go on by. If it’s important, you can pick it up later.
  5. Don’t judge. If you were only still for half the time, so what. Skip a day? So what. If you did three days perfectly and then lost your rhythm, it’s okay. No judging allowed. It’s not a contest.
  6. Commit to a routine. Do this at the same time in the same place every day. This makes it easier to create a habit.

I’d love to hear how it went for you. Drop me a comment and let me know.

Do I React or Respond?

react or respond

It’s a good idea to slow down and self examine from time to time. It helps us grow. The world is always giving us feedback about who we are and how we’re doing. One thing you can ask yourself is “Do I React or Respond?”

Reacting is about moving impulsively without thinking things through. Reacting often comes from a place of habit and fear. It’s what we learned to do to stay safe. Or maybe it’s what we learned to do as a child and our behaviors haven’t matured. So perhaps they aren’t as effective as they could be. An example is when someone cuts in front of you and you flash your lights and yell curses out the window.

Responding is taking time to assess the situation and evaluate responses that will give you the most satisfactory outcome for all impacted parties. Responding considers the big picture. It comes from a place of mindfulness and is a component of wisdom. An example is when someone cuts in front of you and you slow down to give them space. 

Maybe the person didn’t realize that they were too close. Maybe they were just being careless. It may have scared you and put you out of sorts for a moment, but in the big picture, no damage was done. Escalating could put others at risk. Slowing down and making space puts things back in a place of equilibrium.

How to Respond?

If you didn’t learn how to respond, you may not know where to begin to create change. Let me walk you through it.

Use the Nonjudgmental and Observe Skills

So, the first thing that happens is some sort of event. Events are always value neutral. They don’t have meaning until we give them meaning by looking at the context. So we want see what there is to see (observe) and avoid labeling things as good or bad (be nonjudgmental). We just want to keep them as dispassionate facts. Here are some examples:

  • it’s raining
  • that driver got too close too fast
  • I don’t have enough money
  • my child dropped his milk and made a mess all over the floor

If we catastrophize, the situation immediately gets worse. If we see things nonjudgmentally, it’s just data.

Be Effective

Once we’ve assessed the situation, we need to choose a behavior that is effective. Being effective is about resolving the issue in a way that works for all involved parties, the short term and long term, and keeping your values intact. In many cases, there is nothing to do. If it’s raining and we’re nonjudgmental about it, perhaps it ceases to be a problem. Or maybe we adjust our schedule to allow us to slow down. If I don’t have enough money, I could adjust my spending, borrow, or find creative ways to make more money. When my child spills his milk, I can have him help me clean it up so that he learns responsibility and the floor gets cleaned.

It’s very rare that events mean we fall apart. If we save our meltdowns for those times, we have a lot smoother life.

If you find yourself reacting more than responding and need some help with that, reach out and ask for help. Everything can be learned. Wisdom comes with experience. It isn’t bestowed on anyone. You can acquire it with practice and help.

Am I Out of Control?

Am I Out of Control?

I recently posted an article about how to deal with a toxic family over the holidays. But what if you are contributing to the problem? Let’s take a look at how you can reframe the situation so that things stay safe and calm for everyone.

Am I Out of Control?

Few people are truly out of control. Those that I have seen are usually incarcerated or in a psychiatric hospital.

Do you keep it together at work? What about at the gym, grocery store, or other places away from family? If so, you’re not out of control. You may be choosing to lose control at home because you don’t have the same repercussions. It’s safe.

This is not the same thing as “I can’t stop myself.” If you truly could not stop yourself, you’d lack control in all situations. So the good news is, you can learn to use the same control that you exhibit in some situations and generalize it to all situations.

Everyone deserves to have a safe place. Even you. When you lose control, you are negatively impacted too. So let’s look at how to regain that control.

What Do You Really Need?

Sometimes when we blow up at people, what we really need is to feel safe. Things are too tense, so we want some space. We create it by pushing people away with ugliness. If this is what is happening, you could use the direct route and just ask for what you need. Or you can excuse yourself so that you can get that space. It’s okay to ask for what you want.

Sometimes we go for alcohol or drugs when we really just want to relax or feel more social. The alcohol helps, but then we go overboard. We end up doing or saying things we regret. If you want to relax, there are hundreds of effective techniques you can learn that will help with that that don’t have the side effect of leading to hurtful or undesirable behavior. If you want to be more social, you can learn skills that make this easier and more comfortable.

Sometimes being difficult is about needing to release the tension of being overstimulated. It’s hard for some people to deal with the stress of too much noise, too many people, expectations, and traffic that the holidays can bring. So, we meltdown. Instead of melting down, you can cope ahead and make a plan of what to do so that you can pace yourself. Take breaks and go outside. Limit the amount of time you spend at parties or with others. Have a plan for what to do afterward to decompress.

Healing begins with self-awareness. Find out what you need. If it’s something that someone else can give, ask for what you need. If this is something you need to do for yourself, follow through. Perhaps you don’t know what you need or what to do. You can get help to figure it out. Change is possible if you want it.

Limit Vulnerabilities

Coping is easier when you limit vulnerabilities. “Vulnerabilities” are anything that makes the stress worse and the chance for behaving in an undesirable way more likely. Common vulnerabilities are:

  • fatigue and a sleep routine that is not regular or long enough
  • being hungry or eating unhealthy food
  • consuming unhealthy substances like sugar, alcohol, and drugs
  • lack of exercise
  • being inside all day, sitting
  • not having a regular spiritual practice
  • harboring anger
  • loneliness

As you can see, the holidays are a perfect time for vulnerabilities to skyrocket. There are sweets everywhere. Social demands increase so we may skip exercise, meals, and sleep to accommodate others. The days are shorter and cold, so we might not get outside. This leads to resentment that we don’t express. And we can feel more alone in a crowd. This is why it’s even more important during holiday season to stick to your self-care routine.

Creating a healthy lifestyle is the best way to make your life more pleasant for you and everyone around you.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Everyone has power. Even if the problem starts with someone else, you are in control of how you respond. You don’t have to contribute to the problem. You don’t have to respond. If you have the skills, you could even do something to halt it or improve things. When you hold yourself accountable for your part, you gain a sense of contr0l over the situation. Powerlessness is crippling, so this is a great way to regain your footing again.

What About Trauma?

Maybe all this sounds like common sense, but what if it seems supremely hard because of a trauma history? That’s legitimate. Having a trauma history does make it challenging to do simple things like say, “Excuse me” and “I’m sorry.” It does make it harder to know what’s happening inside of you before you blow up or meltdown.

Fortunately, there has been an explosion of training in mind/body techniques in recent years that makes treatment more accessible, shorter, and more effective. Seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma treatment could be the best thing you do for yourself. Starting now could make next year’s holidays very different.

So, whether things are out of control or you are out of control, there is a way to smooth the path forward. It starts with you. The changes that you make can make all the difference.

 

 

One Lifestyle Hack That Always Works

wu wei

When you don’t know what to do, there is one lifestyle hack that always works- wu wei. It’s a Daoist practice that means non-doing. It doesn’t mean do nothing. It means to go through life without effort. When things feel easy breezy, you’ve got it.

Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu

What’s Wu Wei

In the west, when things get tense, we struggle more. We turn up the heat, stay up later, work harder, sleep less, and try harder. Goals drive our lives. We’ve bought into ideas that we can succeed if we just put in more effort, learn something else, produce more, or work longer hours. Studies have actually shown that students who take relaxation breaks do better on exams and remember more than those who do long cram study sessions. Relaxation helps!

Now let’s take that to another level, and you’ve got wu wei. Wu wei is a lifestyle that removes effort. It’s living in flow. This doesn’t mean you loaf around and avoid living. It is really about doing what is called for rather than being goal or desire directed. So in a way, you can say that it’s about living purposefully and engaging in what is. This doesn’t remove motivation. It works with it. Simple. Elegant. Easy.

How Does It Help

  • Wu wei reduces anxiety and stress because it doesn’t require thinking. Thinking uses a lot of energy. Wu wei moves like water. It flows easily around obstacles and wears even the hardest stone away gentle. It requires no effort, no energy.
  • Wu wei puts us in the alpha or meditative mindset. Here, things are timeless. There is no separation between you and what you are doing, so you’re in a space of oneness. When you’re doing what you love, you experience this. Life feels easier and more enjoyable.
  • Wu wei increases self-awareness. When you are practicing wu wei, you are more focused and notice more in a fully sensory way. Your engagement with life is greater, so you can feel more present and alive. This also increases your sense of other awareness so that you can engage more honestly and thoughtfully.

So the next time you are frazzled and need to really get something done, drop into wu wei. Stop trying. Take a break. Drop into what you’ve practiced. Let Nature take its course. Let me know how it works for you.

Disclaimer: Wu wei works best with what you have already habitually cultivated. It helps to have healthy life skills and awareness first. However, wu wei can also help you get them if you don’t already have them.

“I Didn’t Sign Up For This!”

I didn't sign up for this

There may be times in our lives when we throw up our hands and say, “I didn’t sign on for this!” It’s normal to have a pity party when things don’t go as planned. When the pouting is done, there are three things you can do. Deal with it anyway, walk away, or blame and complain.

So what types of things can make us say, “I didn’t sign up for this”? Here are some examples.

  • your child is born with special needs
  • your partner leaves you
  • domestic violence
  • you or your partner contracts a debilitating illness
  • you or your partner gains a lot of weight
  • natural disaster strikes
  • you get fired
  • you or your partner has a mental breakdown
  • infidelity
  • you or your partner goes to jail
  • addiction

Nobody willingly signs up for these things. They may or may not be a result of our choices, but nobody says, “Let’s see how I can make my life really hard.” When surprises hit, it doesn’t matter who is at fault. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is something that you wanted. It has to be dealt with anyway.

This is your life. Only you can decide what your limits are. It’s up to you to say if you’re going to face life as it comes or walk away. Life is not fair. You may not “deserve” what’s happening, but you still have to do something about it. To think otherwise is to get on a hamster wheel of your own creation and run in place. Lots of people would rather do this than make a decision. If this is you, know that you are avoiding moving forward.

Figure out what you need to move forward. Do you need skills? Support? Money? Clarity? Courage? More information? Blaming and complaining is disempowering. Figuring out what you need puts you in the driver’s seat again.

If all we got was what we wanted or asked for, life would be boring. This thing that you didn’t sign up for could be your biggest blessing. It could be the thing that shows you what you are made of. Challenges make us stronger and solidify our values. So act from your values. You can never go wrong when you are congruent with your values. Whether you accept the challenge or say “no, thank you,” you’re living in the stream of life.

“I’m Not Supposed to Feel This Way”

not supposed to feel

Do you ever get surprised by thought “I’m not supposed to feel this way”? Do you think that you’ve outgrown a feeling or have healed and moved on only to be sneak attacked by old frustrations? What’s going on? Let’s take a look at some possibilities.

You’re More Self Aware

Sometimes being more self aware or less guarded means seeing what you didn’t see before. Perhaps the underlying feelings were always there, they were just covered up by busyness, avoidance, not being completely truthful with yourself, or just not being aware. Now that all that is relaxed, it’s easy to see what was once hidden. If you’re more self aware, great! It’s a fabulous time to finally deal with old issues once and for all.

You’re Less Self Aware

Sometimes we stop using our skills and are less mindful. Maybe things are going well and we don’t need to think about being skillful. Maybe we just get lazy. This can cause us to go back to old behaviors that create old feelings. For example, when we go home for the holidays, we may feel like we’re in the same dynamics that we lived in as a child. This can make us revert to our childhood ways of being. If we are not careful, our mindful skills will go right out the window.

Everything Is As It Should Be

Sometimes feeling the way that you used to feel just means that you’re engaging in life. We never get to a point where things don’t hurt, we never get angry, or we don’t need a reality check. When we are growing, we move through life in a circle. We feel the same old things, but in different ways or different circumstances. It doesn’t mean something is wrong. It just means we are living. When we are trespassed against, we get angry. If we are afraid, we can cower, fight, or run. When we’re happy, we smile, laugh, and are easy to be around. It’s just what people do.

Perhaps the first thing to do when old feeling arise is to just sit with them. Feel them. Let them speak to you. It could be that nothing else needs to be done. They just want to move through. If it seems that you’ve got some work to do, attack it when you’re ready. Everything is just feedback. Your feelings are just helping you get a sense of where you are and where you need to be to get back in alignment with your center. Cherish them. As long as you are feeling, you’re human! That’s cause to celebrate.

Taming Your Monkey Mind

monkey mind

Is your mind like a monkey jumping around here and there and never sitting still? If so, there is a way to tame your monkey mind.

Why Tame Your Monkey Mind

Why bother? A wild mind leads to anxiety and stress. While some people like the exciting feeling of being mentally busy or active, it’s really not all that healthy. We can get used to anything until it just feels “normal.” However, staying revved up creates brain wave patterns that make that the set point so that relaxing is no longer easy. Everyone needs to have daily downtime. So, let’s look at the habits that create a calm mind.

Do One Thing At a Time

Stop multi-tasking. If your brain is used to flitting from thing to thing, that’s how it will operate while on cruise control. It won’t learn how to focus and concentrate, so when you need it to do that, it won’t know how. Another reason to avoid multi-tasking is that it is inefficient. Studies show that you get more done when you do one thing at a time. Living mindfully also brings more enjoyment to life.

Write Things Down

The mind brings your thoughts back to things that it feels are important so that you don’t forget or put yourself in danger.  Your mind is processing many things every second. Writing things down makes space for other things because that particular thought is filed away where it can be easily retrieved instead of floating around inside your head cluttering things up. If you write things down, your mind will relax. It gets the message, “I’ve got this.” Check lists are a great way to make sure that you complete things.

Spend Time Mindfully Thinking

Your thoughts deserve respect. If you spend some time thinking things through, this will also file them away and help them to be “done.” Journaling is a great way to do this. Talking mindfully with a friend, therapist, or coach is another good strategy. This is not the same thing as venting or complaining. It’s done for the purpose of hearing yourself. We rarely do this. Most of the time we are speaking for others to hear us. Listen to yourself. You’re smart! You’re insightful. Lots of your problems can go away if you just hear yourself and get clear on your feelings and needs.

Get Grounded

If your energy is buzzing around in your head, it can make you top heavy. This ungrounds you. The goal is to pull the energy out of your head and get centered in your body so that you’re more balanced. Here are a few ways to do that.

  1. Sit comfortably. Inhale and imagine that fresh, clean air is coming in through your crown and into your heart. As you exhale, breathe from your heart and out your feet into the earth. Do this for a minimum of five minutes.
  2. Imagine a bubble surrounding your body. Now fill this bubble with a color that starts at your feet and grows slowly towards your head. If you don’t see it, that’s okay. Maybe you feel the warmth of it or just somehow “know” that it’s there.
  3. Lie on the earth.
  4. Hug a tree. I know this sounds hippy-ish, but there is a good reason why people hug trees. It’s very grounding.

Everyone can get caught up in monkey mind sometimes. If it’s where you live, it’s not efficient. Changing a few lifestyle habits can make a huge change in your results, productivity, connection, and happiness. Looking for a new year’s resolution? This could be it.

Four Things that Create a Luscious Life

luscious life

Mindfulness is a practice that brings peace, centeredness, and acceptance to whatever is going on in your life. This open up a river of other things like calm, strength, resilience, courage, passion, and so many more things that create a luscious life. Reality is all about perspective after all.

I’ve blogged a lot about mindfulness. The steps to practicing it are really easy to understand and implement. Here are some mantras that can help you bring it into the real world in a meaningful way. These come from Harrison Owen. He calls them The Four Immutable Laws of Spirit.

Whoever is Present Are The Right People

It’s holiday time. There are lots of parties. I see a lot of grumbling about whom to invite, whom not to invite, and who did and didn’t show up. It takes a lot of preparation to create a party, workshop, meeting, presentation, and sometimes even just a two person gathering. When someone doesn’t RSVP, arrive on time, or just doesn’t bother to come at all, it can create disappointment, judgment, and bad feelings. Don’t let it.

Remember that whoever is present are the right people. Maybe these are the people who care about you, your presence, your effort, your message, or what you’re offering. Or it could be that these are the people whom you most need to see to teach you something. Why on earth would you want anyone else there? These are the people who will make this moment all that it needs to be. Trust that the universe always provides exactly what is needed – even if that is feedback that you don’t particularly like.

Think of it this way. Let’s say that you bought tickets to a huge extravaganza of an event and twelve people showed up. Or twelve thousand. Either way, those people have something to share with you. If it’s a great time, it could be that they share in your joy. If they end up being really different than you in some way, it could show you that you’re investing in something that is not really a reflection of you. Pay attention. If you don’t pay attention, you may miss the gold.

Whenever It Begins is the Right Time

I know a lot of people are in a rush to make up for lost time. They look at others and feel that they’ve wasted so much time. Whenever it begins is the right time. The sun doesn’t rise a moment earlier than it is supposed to. That’s just how nature works. If you aren’t starting now, it means that something needs to fall in place first. Sometimes it is up to you to make that happen. Other times it has nothing to do with you. Be open to the magic. Do your part to be ready. Accept the present moment and trust that it will lead you to the next one when it’s time.

Whatever Happens is the Only Thing That Could Have Happened

When we see things that we don’t like, we can do a lot of “what iffing.” When we aren’t sure of what might happen, we can spin ourselves up into an anxiety attack under the weight of so many possibilities. There is no need to invest in all that because whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. The next moment is influenced by all the million things that we, and every other being in the universe, put in motion before this moment. How could this moment be otherwise?

When you accept this, no mental gymnastics about the past is necessary. All we need is to accept this moment and perhaps ask ourselves what we want to do next. If it’s a great moment, embrace it. So many people push away joy because they don’t feel worthy of it, don’t believe it’s real, or fear it won’t last. That’s nonsense! The present is so temporary. Live it now or you will miss it. This goes for unpleasant moments too. There are always lessons for growth when we get something we’d rather not have. We can look at how we contributed and fix it so that we don’t manifest that moment again.

When It’s Over, It’s Over

Life, like the sun and moon, is always moving. Things begin and end. When they are over, they are over. Humans have a way of trying to hold on to things – youth, security, jobs, love, and life. That’s not how things work. Life flows from one thing to another. When you stop moving or try to hold back the natural progression of things, you create stagnation for yourself. Let things die so that new things can be born.

All of these ideas are examples of mindfulness in motion. They can bring grace and meaning to all that happens, both positive and negative. They remove all need for worry, judgment, and blame – three life destroying practices. The year is coming to a close. It’s time to turn the page to a new beginning. These are four great ideas that can help the next chapter be a lot brighter. Why not try them out.

Practicing Love Talk

love talk

One really great way to improve your mood, creativity, and connection is to start practicing love talk. Have you ever gotten lost in something so wonderful that you couldn’t wait to give voice to it to bring it out into the world? That’s love talk. Love talk requires that you see the world through loving eyes. When you do that, the view is beautiful. So, it’s easy to speak love into the world.

To do this, get into a mindful, meditative state. Then look out to the world with loving eyes. Let in the beauty of the clouds against the bright blue sky, the sprig of grass struggling to grow beyond the crack in the sidewalk, or the fallen acorn peaking out from beneath a crispy leaf. Then speak this beauty into the world.

You see, too many of us walk by these sights every day without seeing them. Consequently, we miss life as in all its brilliance. Instead we feel the stress of too many cars on too little road. We focus on all the things we haven’t done. We rush through and rush past, missing the delight that is free for all. So we speak with anger, frustration, want, and worry. We speak pain into existence. We complain, gossip, and plot. Yuck!

Life is always a balance of light and dark. It’s easy to see the weeds. Why not see the wildflowers too? Then, when you can do it easily when you’re alone in nature, try it with people. I know it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and speak love to someone who may not be able to hear it or receive it. Do it anyway.

Lots of people live in darkness. They can only see victimization, poverty, and want. When you engage in love talk, you shine a ray of sunshine that everyone can see and feel – most of all you. Try it right now and see how your heart lifts.

Every day we’re planting seeds. A lone wildflower in a solitary field creates a stunning contrast to the surrounding area. But who knows? You could be creating a whole field of them without even knowing it. It takes time for seeds to blossom. When you make this your daily meditation, the beauty you see will eventually be your own.