Living

When the Remembering Knocks Me Down

“Wow,” he said before pausing and staring at me for a moment. “You have quite the story.”

“Yeah,” I smiled realizing what I’d just shared, “it’s been a wild ride.”

Sometimes I forget.

Sometimes I forget exactly how much I’ve walked through in just the last several years since my loss. I forget because I keep facing forward. I keep asking myself what needs to happen next in order for me to live my life as deeply aligned and fully expressed as possible. I keep leaning into the work and healing that’s right in front of me.

Sometimes though, I remember.

And inside of that remembering I’m knocked flat on my ass all over again. Because I’m reminded that some things about me no longer work like they used to. Because sometimes the simplest aspects of day-to-day life still spin me into anxiety and panic. Because I’m still afraid of experiences that are meant to be good and beautiful and all things lovely.

Healing from trauma is so far from a linear path that it’s downright maddening at times.

You think you’re good. You think you’ve healed and moved on. You think that maybe, just maybe, you can be a person in the world again the way you were before. But something reminds you that you can’t, at least not yet, and with that reminder comes the remembering of why.

For me, this is just part of the process of healing.
The forgetting. The remembering. The flattening.
Over and over again as many times as it takes. @StephenieZ (Click to Tweet!)

It’s just what happens as you find your footing in the aftermath of what’s hard and what hurts. From the things that broke you clean in two, leaving bumps and bruises on that deep soul level… in places you don’t always know exist until you brush against them at just the right angle.

The key is to keep moving.

Feel your feelings, let yourself be frustrated even, but don’t stop moving. This kind of healing isn’t linear, which makes it easy to question whether or not you’re making any progress at all… but you are, as long as you keep feeling, keep moving, keep navigating your way through.

Each and every time.

You’ve got this.


Stephenie Zamora is an author and life coach, business and marketing strategist, and founder of CallOfTheVoid.tv., where she merges the worlds of personal development, energy healing, intuitive coaching, writing, and mixed media art to help individuals rise up and come back from the darkest, hardest chapters of life. She guides her clients through the challenging process of re-orienting to their lives, relationships, and work in a way that’s fully aligned with who they’ve become in the aftermath of loss, trauma, depression, and big life changes. After struggling with PTSD, grief, and anxiety from a sudden and traumatic loss, she navigated her own difficult healing journey, and has set out to help others find the purpose of their own path using The Hero’s Journey as a framework. She is also the founder of Stephenie Zamora Media, the author of Awesome Life Tips®, creator of Journey Mapping Sessions™, and is currently working on a second book, Unravel. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine, Elite Daily, Positively Positive, and many other publications over the years. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at www.CallOfTheVoid.tv.


Image courtesy of Joe Gardner.

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Forced to Press Pause in the City That Never Sleeps

We went to New York for some festive shopping…and took a trip down memory lane. We lived in New York for a few years and with as many years away, the City was still as familiar as ever.

NYC is my favourite city in the world actually. It has an energy like nowhere else somehow. But New York has personal significance for me too. Some of my most life-changing decisions have been made there.

I decided to look away from my 15-year tour of duty in PR on the Brooklyn Bridge. Both our children celebrated their first birthdays in New York too. I have many memories of those days my arms felt locked onto a stroller as we went ‘everywhere’ and ‘did everything’ on our NY bucket list. And some that weren’t. I can still recite the displays at Intrepid!

Now the son who so enjoyed that annual pass to Intrepid is taller than me, and my ‘baby’ … right on target, is very pre-teen.

Question: Are you the same person, from one year, or decade, to the next?

I walked around this city I feel so bonded with, seeing visions of my past self as I turned corners everywhere. And had big feelings as I struggled to find my own answer to this question.

Until something happened and I was forced to press pause. 

The boys had been to see an American Football game. Not exciting to us girls, we had opted instead for Fifth Avenue girls’ time.

The heavens opened that day as I think they only do in New York. Picture this. Open stadium. Drenched to their bones. For hours. And hours. And then some. The plastic ponchos they resorted to, not up to the job. Cue the flu that would take us down, one-by-one during our long-awaited trip back to NYC.

Awful timing obviously. But here’s why, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, that same trip was restorative.

The enforced pressing of ‘pause’ that came with the flu was thoroughly therapeutic. I dosed up and carried on doing most of the things we were there for…until there was no choice but to give in to a few hours in bed. On pause. And so this special week went along with the pendulum swinging from doing, to on pause/reflecting, then pressing play again.

It was disorienting. Confusing even. I kept glimpsing the Past Me, with such power it felt more like being transported back into those memories. Times that felt disjointed from Me Now and I struggled to reconcile how everything was so different. But I was the same. Wasn’t I?

I sat in bed too many times thinking around this and it turned into a very circular dialogue between me, myself and I. On-pause. Until the clever flu meds worked their magic for the next outing and the ‘doing’ distracted nicely.

But those enforced pauses were oddly therapeutic too. I wouldn’t have put those breaks in of my own accord, but it turns out I needed to protect pockets of time to think hard about how Past Me related to Me Now, and step back so I could see how the past had influenced what happened next. And process how I felt about that, now I was looking back.

If you look nostalgia up in the New Oxford Dictionary it tells you it is ‘sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past’.  I certainly feel like I experienced that.

But there’s more to nostalgia than its definition.

Nostalgia performs a powerful function.

Experts say we use nostalgia a bit like a homeostatic device. A bit like the heating mechanism that keeps our homes at our preferred temperature setting, nostalgia helps restore balance to our self-continuity when it’s threatened.

Because feeling a discontinuity of self is psychologically uncomfortable, and in the way of thriving at the best of times. And at times of career or life transitions, such as moving country, changing jobs or the identity-shift that comes with being a new parent, will trigger ineffective coping.

This risk of poor coping explains why the perception of yourself stretching back to your past and extending into the imagined future is so important. It’s why we reminisce and why it’s important to look back as well as forwards.

Especially at this time of year, when the tendency is to be immersed in the now and extend it to look forwards – setting intentions designed to drive us forward in our career or life.

Here’s the health warning. When we get overly immersed in extending our present, we resist change despite setting intentions. Because we are compelled to protect a stable sense of self. That keeps us as we are right now. There’s even evidence that we will actively mute good feelings if low self-esteem means that brings better continuity. Think about what that means at times your sense of who you are has been rocked to the core by a job loss or relationship break-up.

To truly thrive, we need to balance our unconscious need for self-continuity with some very intentional flexibility. Only then are we flexible enough to make the changes in life that will see us flourish. So, don’t set your aspirations in stone without pressing pause long enough to look back at where you’ve been. Then use the wisdom that perspective brings to extend your present.

Photo credit: Max Hansion

In New York that week, I learned the power of pressing pause long enough to look back. So far back it felt like having glimpses of a different me, not just a different time. I even remember imagining my as-yet-unknown Career two.

The irony wasn’t lost on me that an article I wrote recently about how to tell people you’ve been fired was published while we were in Central Park, among memories of pushing my one-year-old on the swings, preoccupied as I struggled to recalibrate from the redundancy that meant I could be over there for a month. I remember feeling conflicted about that opportunity as I grieved for a Lost Me and grappled with what I wanted to happen next.

I made promises to myself that I would start a different chapter…something that mattered to me…after my Family Chapter… And this was how I saw the link between that past self with what unfolded after that. So clear in hindsight, that I had already found meaning. Slowly I noticed. Then did something meaningful with that. Until years of studying and retraining later, Career two has become the coaching I live and breathe today.

Back from Central Park, on pause again, I reflected how far I’ve come from that place – being so unsure of what next, but so certain I needed ‘it’.

I was shocked to realise I felt grateful for those hard experiences. And felt nourished remembering my New York past, despite the unfulfilling fog I know I walked around in at times. And especially for how it all combined into a meaning-making system I didn’t recognise at the time, but that shaped my What Next.

So, put yourself on pause.

Recruit those memory systems and make them work for you too.

Unpacking the insights between your Past and your Now will help shape What Next, and drive the behaviours you need to get there.

Do you think you’re the same person, from one year, or decade, to the next? Are obvious changes within, aligned or misaligned with what you do in your everyday? Please share in the comments.


Helen Hanison is an executive coach. She helps professionals at a career crossroads to make a plan aligning work that they love with the life they want to lead. Then act on it. If you feel ready to talk first steps, email her here. She can also be found online at on her blog and on Facebook. If you would value some guidance with this process of using nostalgia to help work out What Next, I have put together a (free) PDF with the 5 important questions you need to make meaning from your memories and provoke thought about that. Just click here for the PDF and it will be sent. 

Image courtesy of Joe Yates.

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There Is a God

Over a hundred years ago in the town of Berditchev, there lived the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. One day he ordered the town crier to come to him.

“What is your wish?” he asked the rabbi.

“Go to every storekeeper and shopkeeper in the market place,” Levi Yitzchak commanded. “Tell them to close their business and assemble in the town square, for I have an announcement to make.”

“But, Master,” exclaimed the town crier, “today is market day and this is the busiest hour. Could you not postpone your announcement?”

“No,’” he replied. “Go and tell them that Levi Yitzchak has an important proclamation. It cannot wait a day or even an hour. They must halt their trading, close their shops, and come to the town square at once.”

The town crier reluctantly left to do the rabbi’s bidding. He stopped at every store and every shop and told the people that the holy rabbi had ordered them to come to the town square for an announcement of great significance. Grumbling at the ill-timed disruption, but with their curiosity piqued, the people obeyed the command, shut their stores and  gathered in the town square.

Once all had assembled, the rabbi stepped up onto a box, signaled for silence, and began to speak: “I have asked you to come here on this busy day at this busy hour because I have news of great consequence for all of you, news which cannot be delayed even another moment. And it is this: I declare to you: ‘There is a God in the world!”

There is a God in the world! A colleague of mine has sermonized that “given the fractured world we inhabit and the frenetic lives we lead, we often need reminding. But there is a God in the world, revealed in our yearning to do what is right and good; in gratitude for all that is beautiful in our lives beyond our ability to control or create, and in our courage to persevere through life’s inescapable sorrows.”

God given strength resides in each of us…and in those around us. Fred Rogers, remembered in the wonderful film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” told a favorite story from the Special Olympics:

“For the 100 yard dash. nine contestants.assembled at the starting line and at the sound of the gun took off. But not long afterward, one boy stumbled and fell…hurt his knee and began to cry. The other eight children heard him…slowed down and kissed the boy, and said.’This’ll make it better.” The boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their hands together, and walked to the finish line.”

The world is full of people ready to say, “I will hold your hand if you let me.” The nineteenth-century holy man understood: “Human beings are God’s language,” he taught.

But what of those moments, a rabbi taught, when our own strength fails, and darkness conceals those hands reaching out to help us? Then, especially, we must remember Levi Yitzchak’s pronouncement: “There is a God in the world.”

THERE IS A GOD IN THE WORLD, AND NO ONE IS ALONE.


Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can follow him on Facebook.


Image courtesy of J’Waye Covington.

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The Uneventful Days That Affect Us Forever

The moral of the story is that the uneventful days are just as valuable as the ones attached with symbolic meaning.

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You Are Much Stronger than You Think

Blaming someone else for my sadness was disempowering. However, it was transformational from the inside out and here’s why I do what I do today as a profession: empower women, so that they know their own worth and keep their tank full with self-love and self-compassion.

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Some Common Ways We Screw Up Happiness

We all do some things that make it hard to be as happy as we can be. I try to identify these, because once I spot them, it’s much easier to avoid them. I’ve made all these mistakes. How about you?

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How About Those Resolutions?

Most of us start the New Year with the greatest of intentions of keeping our resolutions, yet by March we may not find ourselves so “resolved.” We revert back to old patterns and our resolutions become as nostalgic as the person we kissed at midnight. Could there be a different approach to kicking off 2019 that serves us better?

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Forget Spirituality – the Art of Being Human

Spiritual bypassing happens when  people can’t be real with each other – or themselves – when they can’t be authentic. It’s an escape from the self – an escape from being raw. Pretending is easier than facing the truth, that the person who stares back at you in the mirror is a human being like everyone else.

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3 Simple yet Powerful Beliefs That Help You Get What You Want Faster

You must commit every day to accepting you current reality + believing what you want is possible + taking action to achieve your goal—even when those actions are uncomfortable, scary, or unknown.

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Are You Ready to Play on a New Stage?

Allow yourself to explore and experiment. Watch what draws your attention. Ask yourself if there is something you need to do in this new arena. Your willingness to expand your comfort zone opens the door to more what is possible for you. Then your potential becomes your lived reality.

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How to Strengthen Intuition Using Only Your Breath

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein, Nobel Laureate and physicist

The intuitive voice within is real.

It’s an inherent superpower we all have been gifted with, we’ve just forgotten how to use it.

Even if we aren’t used to regularly tapping into this side of ourselves, it’s there… Just waiting to be activated.

Many of us have become so skilled at using the rational, linear part of our brains that we’ve become like a kid learning to ride a bike with training wheels when it comes to intuition.

Society encourages our intuitive edge to be suppressed, and this is a problem.

Living life disconnected from our inner guidance means that we suffer.

We suffer because we doubt ourselves and our choices constantly, or we keep making the same “bad” choices or repeating the same mistakes over and over again as a result.

We can also become paralyzed by uncertainty and fear of making the wrong decision.

Do we keep going forward? Do we turn left? Right? Or stay put?

The upside is that intuition is like a muscle, if we work with it and use it regularly it will strengthen over time and after a while tapping into our intuition will become second nature.

Think of a time when you just knew something was right or when you had an unshakeable certainty about something that turned out to be true.

That was your inner wisdom at work.

You can experience more moments like these in your day to day life by adopting certain habits such as a daily breathwork practice.

If you’re reading this and thinking: “I’m not intuitive,” I tell you that you are.

You’ve just simple atrophied your intuitive muscle to the point where you’ve numbed it out.

You can bring it back to life by first learning to control your breath.

Ancient Eastern sages and yogis have known for thousands of years that the breath is the portal through which the mind can achieve self-mastery and higher states of consciousness, and intuition is a part of that.

Your breath is like a double-edged sword. It can work for you (if you know how to use it) but it can also work against you (if you allow it to control you instead of vice-versa.)

Therefore, learning to control your breath is the first step in rising above the usual mental states of “go-go-go,” “get things done,” and chronic stress, worry, fear, fatigue, and overwhelm.

Chronic stress, worry, fear, fatigue, and overwhelm are like kryptonite to our intuitive selves. These emotional states deafen with loud undecipherable static where nothing can get through.

By breathing slowly, consciously, and deeply you can begin to shift gears and move away from stress and anxiety while moving towards increased inner calm, certainty, and intuition.

This is because breathing in this way sends signals of safety to your body and brain, and these signals activate the part of your nervous system associated with relaxation, rest, and regeneration.

The more time you spend in this space and the more you activate this side of your nervous system via your breath, the more you’ll begin to hear your own inner wisdom.

So here’s a simple yet effective breathwork practice that will help you strengthen your intuition in five minutes or less:

It’s a super simple process comprised of three steps:

  1. Inhale
  2. Hold
  3. Exhale

You’ll notice that the exhale is much longer than the inhale.

This is because it’s been shown that longer exhales help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system.

This is the branch of your nervous system that oversees the relaxation and regeneration response

HOW TO:

  1. Sit upright and get comfortable.
  2. Mouth closed, breathe through your nose only.
  3. With each inhale, expand your lower belly outwardly as your lungs fill with air. (This also helps to activate the soothing parasympathetic nervous branch.)
  4. With each exhale, contract your lower belly inwardly towards your spine as your lungs empty of air.
  5. Inhale for four counts.
  6. Hold for eight counts.
  7. Exhale for 12 counts.
  8. Repeat steps five-seven for a minimum of 13 rounds. (This is just over five minutes.)

Osmara Aryal, MBA is the founder of CalmWithYoga.com, a site dedicated to using yogic philosophy, breathwork, and meditation to increase inner calm, mental focus, vital energy, and quality rest. She’s a Certified Functional Nutrition Practitioner and a Certified Yoga Teacher, specializing in Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, and Meditation. Her work has been featured multiple times on CNN and the Miami Herald. When she’s not exploring corners of the world with her husband, or when her eyes aren’t glued to the computer researching, you’ll find her on the mat, concocting gut-healing dishes in her kitchen, or cuddling with fur-babies Yodha and Molly. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Eli DeFaria.

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The Questions You Should Ask When You’re Feeling Stressed and Don’t Know Why

 The one thing I hear from people most is, “My anxiety has been so absorbing that I just want to go to sleep.” 

You wake up, get the kids off to school, go to work, come home, clean the house, make dinner, and then attempt to spend time with your partner, but all you want to do is go to sleep. You feel overwhelmed; full of self-doubt, anxiety, and fatigue and the only word that you can actually identify it as and speak about in public is “stress.”

This is the scenario I hear from almost every woman I work with. It can begin to feel like we have no choice but to live life on this kind of autopilot that we have found somehow to manage it. The truth is that there is an easier way to “manage it” than you think.

The first step is to broaden your perspective.

We are unique among all living things in that we are created to make choices. We are the deciders if we choose to accept it and use it. To think is the creative power of the mind within each of us and we choose that which we think. Think about choice as the same as free will. In order to make a choice, we start with understanding what is out of alignment within our mind, heart, and soul.  

For example, Brittany came to me with a list of issues she felt was weighing her down at work. She no longer felt that her boss was on her side, her new mentor was becoming competitive and untrustworthy, and her constantly increasing workload was causing even more pressure on top of everything else. Being the high performer that she is, this continued for years until her coworker snagged her next promotion out from under her feet. The stress of the situation allowed her to take an honest look at what was taking place. Her mind, heart, and soul were all on different pages.  

I asked her to imagine herself at work and asked her, “What does your mind say about your current situation at work?” She replied with, “I don’t even know that I wanted that job.” Her “work” now was to get clear on what she really wanted so that she could make an empowered, conscious choice on how to move forward. 

Imagine that when we are making a choice, we begin to vibrate a thought through the brain which in turns sets up the size, color, sound, pattern and the form it will take. I’ve learned from my mentor, Dr. Coletta Long, a world-renowned pioneer in regression therapy, that we abstract from pure energy a thought, which directs the energy vibrations that are set into motion. This is the principal of, “as above, so below”. As we begin to learn how to control the energy in constructive ways we can change the physical structure of the body from the atomic level up. We can create a different image of ourselves. In Proverbs 23:7, it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  This is the law of cause and effect. It is a vibration that starts with the brain and form is changed.

Energy cannot be destroyed, it only changes form. It constantly changes from electromagnetic vibrations into a gas or liquid or solid and back again to electromagnetic energy as needed by the body to sustain life. For example, water changes form, manifesting as steam, water, or ice. It combines with many things, yet always maintains its own integrity.

Life is continually revolving in cycles.

Thought affects the movement of the electron around the nucleus of the atom. Energy directs thoughts; energy follows thoughts. Negative thoughts slow down the speed of the electron while the positive thoughts put it back into balance. Therefore we, by way of our own thoughts, have become creators or co-creators of our life by changing our own body chemistry.

Early on in my path, I found myself living life on autopilot with no concept of who I was or what I wanted. I “thought” that I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and become a successful business professional, until the day I realized that I had accomplished what I “thought” I wanted and felt completely unfulfilled. I had lost the creativity that I had as a child and felt disconnected from myself and the people around me. It wasn’t until I met Dr. Long that I began to shift my perspective.  

To think is creativity. Our life is a blank canvas and our choices paint the piece.

The more attention we give something by our thought or concentration, the more energy we give it, the more it grows. If you think about a problem over a period of time, you can create a thought-form that is out of control. The body will break down its natural resistance, and sometimes an illness may occur. At the same time, being creatures of choice, we can think of positive things as well and thereby bring things back under our control.  

The most powerful question to ask yourself when you feel stressed is “What am I choosing?” @RobinEmmerich (Click to Tweet!)

You have the power to tell your mind to be still and say to yourself,” I choose to be quiet, I am master over of my thoughts.”  

So, what will you choose?


Robin Emmerich has spent close to a decade coaching some of the most successful women in business. Even with their considerable success, the common denominator is that as much as they seemed to be cruising through life on the outside, they were melting on the inside. It’s why Robin just launched Beauty and the Mess—an athleisure brand creating a sisterhood who understands that life is messy and difficult and challenging, but together, can find the strength to prioritize passion over perfection and fearlessly seek beauty in their everyday lives. She currently offers the CIJourney online course, based on the famed Stanford Masters Degree Course, ‘Creativity in Business,’ individual coaching and worldwide retreats. Connect with Robin at robinemmerich.com on Instagram, or beautyandthemess.com.

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Turn Your Hopelessness into Hope

When you are stuck in hopelessness, very little may excite you. Because it’s a lonely, dull, dark and numb place. Therefore, make sure you acknowledge the good or reasonable moments in life. Say it out loud “This has been good. I enjoyed that. I did well.” That way you will build a buffer, bonus points. When hopelessness hits, it might not hit you as hard or for as long. Remembering better times helps keeping hopelessness in perspective.

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Optimism vs. Pessimism

I try to know my weaknesses. To delegate where I’m not strong. To ask questions to people who are smarter than me. To learn learn learn every day. To never rest and say, “all is GOOD!”

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Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness

I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

Research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected.

This rang true for me. My husband Jamie and I have some mutual friends, but our social worlds don’t overlap extensively. Years ago, we both worked at the Federal Communications Commission, and I remember how much fun it was when we knew so many people in common.

We do have the habit of choosing shows to watch together, and it really is an activity that draws us closer.

I bet this finding is true for non-romantic relationships, too. With my daughters in the last couple of years, I’ve watched The Office (American version), Friends (yes, questionable judgment on my part, it’s raunchier than I remembered), The Mindy Project, SuperStore. And I’ve heard of offices that have a specific “office show” that people watch and discuss. It gives everyone something to talk about — and a form of unhurtful gossip — apart from work.

I love to read, and I like reading in a room where someone else is reading, but it’s true that this activity has never seemed as…companionable…as watching the same TV show or movie. We’re not inhabiting the same inner world, we’re not reacting to the same material at the same time.

I always felt a bit guilty about watching these TV shows with my husband — shouldn’t we be doing something else? But now I recognize that it’s a valuable, relationship-strengthening activity.

Do you have a TV show that you watch with your sweetheart? Do you feel as if it draws you closer?


Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

 


Image courtesy of A. L.

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Our Fierce Inner Critic

Do you know who the meanest person you’ll ever meet is?

It’s your own inner critic and I came face-to-face with mine this week.

Now why in the world would I say that a part of you is meaner than anyone else? I’m sure you can think of a time where you’ve said some nasty things about yourself that you wouldn’t dare say about someone else. Why do we beat ourselves up when we are such a nice person?

Our relationship with ourselves—how we talk to ourselves and the self-perception we have —impacts both our well-being and the actions we take more than anything. That’s why I am so passionate about encouraging you to tone down the fierceness and volume of your inner critic.

Last week I had a (painful) reminder of this when my inner critic got super loud. I was totally beating the crap out of myself regarding a situation. I was also getting some external criticism that only gave my inner critic more material to use against me. OMG it was brutal. I wanted to go back in time and get a do-over.

Can you relate to that??

But not only did this fierce self-critic not feel good, it sidetracked me from the blessings in the situation. Thank goodness this was not a long diversion. After a few perspective check conversations with friends and my own inner coach, I was able to shift.

Please for the love of your sanity and your emotional health, shift yours!

Here are some tips:

  1. When you’re being a Nasty Nelly to yourself, expecting to instantly get all Suzy Sunshine is a big leap. Get yourself to neutral acceptance instead of going for a pep talk. Say things to yourself like, “I did the best I could. I forgive myself for judging myself. I am using this for my learning.”
  2. Consider the energetic contribution you are making. Your self-talk not only influences YOU but influences the vibe you are broadcasting. The more negative you are on the inside, the less likely you are to be able to attract what you want. Plus, most people really do not like to be around other people who are criticizing themselves all the time.
  3. Usually a fierce outburst from your inner critic does require more than just the first two suggestions. We need some actions that alert our inner critic to the fact that we do not need it to keep torturing us. Here’s what I found works best: Forgive yourself, write down what you learned and come up with a prevention plan for how you can do even better. Make room for improvement without the so-called constructive criticism (because, seriously, any form of negative self-talk is NOT constructive!)

Your inner critic is NOT helping you. It is NOT motivating you in a positive way. It is draining your energy and broadcasting bad vibes. @ChristinHassler (Click to Tweet!)

No one ever says, ‘I’m really glad I worried, stressed and beat myself up about ______.’

What will support you is listening to the voice of your heart; that voice that speaks truth to you with love. That voice is always there. I promise. And the more you silence the criticism, the louder the voice of love will become.

Love,
Christine

P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.


Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.


Image courtesy of splitshire.

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How to Gently Shut down Passive-Aggressive Communication

Have you ever been in a situation with someone where they’re angry but they don’t use words, instead, they roll their eyes, stomp around, maybe slam a door?

Or, you might be the one that’s acting out in this way: someone asks you if you’re angry or upset (you are) and you say “no”, but then you go slamming around the kitchen or loudly sighing (or muttering to yourself) your way through dinner prep.

If these scenarios resonate with you, I invite you to watch this week’s video, because I’m going to teach you about how to gracefully shut down passive aggressive comments and behaviors (even if they are yours).

 

What is passive aggressive communication?

Passive-aggressive communication, simply put, is indirect communication.

Basically, it’s you (or others in your life) trying to express a feeling without directly owning it, without saying it.

If this is you, it’s ok. Passive aggressive behavior is extremely common, and I’ve got tips to help you communicate more effectively so that you can express yourself authentically, get your needs met and dramatically improve the quality of your relationships and interactions.

I have to say this: if you’re not owning your feelings and not using language to express yourself in emotionally charged situations…if you’re acting it out instead of talking it out…you’re not being truthful. 

So why do people communicate in a passive-aggressive way?

It’s because in the moment, the emotion is too threatening to honor. It doesn’t feel safe to express it directly.

There are a lot of reasons that this can be the case. The first place to look is where in the past you’ve seen this kind of behavior before. It’s something you might have experienced in your home growing up.

I’ve created a worksheet with questions that will guide you to start to understand where your modeled behavior originated and why you are the way you are. It’s useful whether you’re the one acting out passive-aggressive behavior, or you’re the one confronting it, because in any situation, there are always two partners in the dance, and in order to change, you must look at your part. (DOWNLOAD THAT CHEAT SHEET HERE!) 

So why change? Communicating in a passive-aggressive manner is ineffective, no matter which side you’re on. If you’re not having the conversations, there’s a lot you’re missing.

You miss establishing why someone is upset or angry.

You miss establishing HOW you could do it differently next time.

You miss the opportunity to connect and deepen your relationship and intimacy.

How will you, as the person who’s angry or frustrated, get your needs met and be witnessed? How will you, as the person who feels the unspoken hostility in the room, understand and lovingly respond so you can change whatever it is that that’s going on for the better?

A lot of times, especially in long-term marriages or relationships, it’s a very familiar dance of passive aggression, where you both know exactly what you’re doing, but you’re not having the conversations.

The only way to not have the same fight over and over again is to understand what it means to you and what it means to them. Letting it “just blow over” or “sweeping it under the rug” are ways that passive aggressive behaviors persist and, unfortunately, needs don’t get met. Over the long term, bitterness ensues when passive-aggressive patterns stay in place.

What does passive aggressive behavior look like in practice? I’ve already given you a few examples, but watch the video above for the massive breakthrough that my husband and I had when we finally understood the passive-aggressive anger dynamic that was keeping one of our fights on repeat.

Passive aggression, of course, isn’t just limited to romantic relationships. It happens in family relationships, at work, and with friendships as well.

So what can you do? There is a way to honor your own experience and to shut down passive-aggressive behavior with grace, whether it is your own or whether it is someone else’s. Here are some quick tips, which I expand upon in this week’s episode:

  • Make steady eye contact. If you’re dealing with someone else’s passive aggression, holding steady, non-aggressive eye contact with that person is a way to directly communicate to them that you’re not going to slough it off or ignore that behavior or comment.
  • Question the question. For example, someone asking you a question that’s inappropriate and you don’t want to answer it, your real power lies in questioning their question. I did an interview on the podcast a little while back with the brilliant Kasia Urbaniak, who teaches a verbal self-defense course, and this is one of the tactics she encourages her students to use. You can listen to that episode right here.
  • Use direct language. Here are some words to use if you’re in that all too familiar situation of someone saying they’re “OK” when they’re really not:

“If you are upset with me about something, I’m interested to know what it is. Please know that you can always talk to me because this feels uncomfortable.  I’m sensing something is wrong, and I want to invite you to tell me because I really care about you and about our relationship.”

  • Draw the boundary. Using direct language to communicate your boundaries is a good follow up after questioning the question. For example, “Are you asking me to give you details about my divorce right now? (questioning the question) We won’t be talking about that. (setting the boundary)”
  • Remove yourself. If someone is endlessly, and you’ve tried some of these tactics, it could be time to remove yourself from the immediate situation or to consider decreasing the time spent with this person altogether.

You don’t have to be passive-aggressive and you don’t have to accept passive-aggressive behavior from others…it is inefficient and ineffective.

I want you to have the tools you need to communicate effectively, efficiently and directly. I hope this episode showed you that it is possible to do so with ease, grace, and when appropriate, love– even in emotionally charged situations. If you liked this and felt like it added some value to your life and was helpful, please share it with others that could use it.

If you have not joined my facebook group, click right here and join us in our love tribe! Drop me a comment to let me know what you want to learn about next and I’d love to hear what your takeaways are from this episode. I read and respond to every comment and your feedback drives the content I create, so I invite you to join the conversation.

As always, take care of you,

Terri


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

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Being an Artist Is the Most Important Job for Society!

This is not what one usually hears when choosing a life in show business. Most people get a negative reaction from their friends and family when they tell them that they are going into the arts. “They are told that being an actor, singer, dancer or musician is not a proper job.” In all honesty, artists are crucial to the quality of our lives. One of the reasons the world is not in such a good place right now is because we are missing great inspirational artists.

Now, don’t get me wrong we have some great artists, it’s just that we need a lot more. Maybe that’s where you come in! We need actors who illuminate the truth about life through their performances, dancers who can show us how a body can move and express itself, singers and musicians who bring joy and a deeper understanding of life through music and song. Music is the number one universal connector, it brings people together.

Great artists can show us how to express our feelings and be emotional. They teach us that being our authentic self and following our instincts, is truly what life is all about.

We desperately need comedians to bring more humor to the world. We need unique writers and film makers to show us other cultures, different ways of living, and an understanding our own diverse and complex problems.

We’re living in a time of big political upheaval and social media change which brings a lot of uncertainty and loneliness into our lives. Artists shine a light on our common fears and human needs. They teach us that we are all basically the same. We look and behave differently but we all want the same things in life. We come from different cultures and colors, but together we create a great and beautiful rainbow.

I believe that being artists is the most important job for society. They are the mirror to our lives and doctors to our soul. If you have chosen to be in any area of the arts, I want to congratulate you. The world and I thank you for being a soldier of light into a world of darkness.

I believe that being artists is the most important job for society. They are the mirror to our lives and doctors to our soul. @berniehiller (Click to Tweet!)

Love,

Bernard 


Bernard Hiller is the premier acting and success coach in Hollywood. His revolutionary techniques and methods have taken the artistic and business community by storm. He teaches sold-out Masterclasses in over 16 countries. He trains top artists in Los Angeles and CEO’s around the globe. His methods of “behavior transformation” have resulted in amazing acting and business success. Bernard has started the career of Cameron Diaz and coached Jeff Goldblum, Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Doran, Emma Roberts, Billy Crystal, and Jennifer Garner to name only a few. Leonardo DiCaprio recommends him as the top coach in town. Bernard’s #1 Acting and Success book, Stop Acting-Start Living is a must read. You can connect with him on Facebook & Twitter


Image courtesy of Vidar Nordli-Mathisen.

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How to Achieve Your Missed 2018 Goals in 2019

January is coming to an end, and with the New Year comes a time to reflect on the goals you achieved in the previous twelve months – as well how to overcome failure of not achieving some goals in 2018 – because your failures are just as important for your growth as your successes are.

Failures teach you extremely valuable lessons you need to learn in order to be better able to create the life you want in the future.

But you have to be willing to acknowledge your failures and then analyze them in order to extract new awarenesses and wisdom from them.

Here are five tips to overcome failure and achieve your missed 2018 goals in 2019.

1. Forgive Yourself for Not Achieving Your 2018 Goals

It can be all too easy to become judgmental and get down on yourself for what you failed to achieve.

But beating yourself up over missing your goals isn’t going to change the past, and it isn’t going to help you going forward into the future either.

What it will do is negatively impact your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and your motivation.

So start by letting go of any lingering guilt or frustration with yourself, and then turn your attention to what you can learn from the experience.

Now let’s take a look at the goals you failed to accomplish during the previous year.

What exactly were those goals? And what stopped you from accomplishing them?

The first possibility is those goals were what I refer to as SHOULD goals.

Goals you think you should do, but that you don’t really want to do.

Goals like losing weight, working out more often, running a marathon, spending more time with your parents, and learning a foreign language.

You think you should do them, you think they would be good for you, but deep down you’re really not that committed to them.

These are often the goals that keep appearing year after year on your list of goals and never get accomplished.

You want your goals to be things that you really, really want to accomplish – goals that excite you, goals that you can’t wait to get out of bed to work on.

Goals like de-cluttering your office might be a should goal.

Learning to scuba dive or writing your book, or getting your realtor’s license might be something you really want to do.

Make sure to follow your joy.

Ask yourself what lights YOU up.

2. Be 100% Committed to Your Goals in 2019

Another thing that stops goals from being accomplished is not making a 100%, no matter what commitment to achieving a goal when you set it.

Once you have decided what you really want to accomplish, make a 100% commitment to it.

If you were 100% committed at the beginning of the year, but you lost focus at some point and let it slip away from you, that could be a sign that you need to develop a better planning system that allows you to stay on top of your goals and make consistent progress toward them, no matter what else is happening in your life.

If so, that’s a really valuable lesson to learn. And I encourage you to act on that awareness and implement a daily, weekly, and monthly planning system that will help you stay on track toward your goals.

3. Do Not Underestimate The Time Required

This happens all the time – especially when you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before!

You don’t have a clear idea of everything that’s involved in achieving that goal, and so you grossly underestimate how long it will take.

Or, conversely, you will overestimate the time you have will available each week to work on it. Maybe you thought you’d be able to spend 10 hours a week on it, but the reality of your other family, community and work commitments meant that you were only able to spend two or three hours on it every week.

Obviously, it’s going to take you much more time than you thought!

You either have to adjust the time frame for achieving your goals or throw other resources toward it.

The only resources you ever have are time, money, people, ideas and technology.

If you have less time, you may need to find other partners, employees, contract labor or consultants to assist you.

4. Implement a Better Time Management System

Again, this is a valuable awareness to have, and I encourage you to act on it right away.

Use an online or offline calendar to get really clear on how much time you have available. And look for opportunities to free up more of your time by cutting out activities that aren’t really helping you accomplish your goals.

For example, if you usually spend all afternoon carting your children around to their activities, look for other parents you can share carpool duties with, so you can use that extra freed-up time to work on your goals.

And make sure you have not been majoring in the minors—spending too much time focusing on lower level priorities that don’t have much impact on your results.

For me that was spending too much time on low-level emails that I needed to delegate to my staff.

Also look for ways to prioritize your time more effectively.

For example, you could hire a Virtual Assistant so you can use that time for more important things in your business or your career.

Or start dictating all your emails using the built-in dictation system in your computer or smartphone.

5. Disappear Fears With Tapping

You can also use EFT Tapping to eliminate limiting beliefs.

You may also have run up against some fears that stopped you.

Take the time to honestly look at what those fears are, and you can also use tapping to literally disappear those fears as well.

Remember, every failure contains a treasure trove of valuable lessons if you take the time to look for them. @JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)

So look for the lessons to be learned and implement them in your life as you set your goals for the year ahead — and you’ll make sure that 2019 is a truly phenomenal year for you.

 


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!


Image courtesy of Victor Rodriguez.

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The Guide to Being Outrageous Before, After and While Grieving

I have to tell you.

I am getting too used to living outside the box. With the minority.

From outside the mainstream. From the corner of the universe.

As a matter of fact, it is kind of fun to say outrageous things.

Shock your friends and family members.

I am enjoying this. More than I ever thought I would.

Imagine discovering that living outside the box is more fun than inside of it.

Oh, my world.

What was I thinking for the last 46 years?

Keeping people happy. Staying in my lane. Pleasing everyone.

And all this time this new existence had been waiting for me.

Destroying the idea of me in other people’s minds has been the most liberating thing I have ever done. @SecondFirsts (Click to Tweet!)

And now that I have done it for a few weeks. Wow. It is freeing. Mind-bending. Healing.

It all started when I had to write the book I didn’t want to write.

Where Did You Go? Took me outside of my box and threw me so far away that I could never find my way back.

This is it. The boxed in life is over.

I put together a little guide for you so you can find your way out of that box of yours also.

Brace yourself.

The Guide To Being Outrageous Before, After And While Grieving.

Yes, you read right. This is a guide for all humans even before they experience tragic reasons to live fully. Enough with waiting to be shaken so much that we have to change our lives only when something terribly bad happens.

Here we go.

1. Are you making too many people happy?

If most people in your life are happy with you there is a very good chance that you are not living your truth. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Just make sure you are the exception. And if that’s the case, good for you. If not, keep reading.

2. Who are you afraid you are going to lose?

Here is a fact for you. The ones who love you will still love you when you go outside your box. They will recognize you. Follow you out and come with you. The so-called outrageous things you are doing, are not outrageous for them. They are just more parts of you they can love.

3. How much do you really care about yourself?

One of the biggest discoveries I made was that I did not really care about myself much at all. Pleasing other people directly or indirectly makes you the last choice. If, even a choice at all. Once you start to make the top of the ‘pleasing people’ list. You actually start to love yourself. I never thought self-love can come from outrageous actions and fearless choices. I am sitting here shaking my head with this insight. Even depression can lift. Even weight loss can happen. It is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.

4. Why are you putting yourself and your life on stage?

Fear comes to you when you are worrying about what other people will think of your decision. What will they think about your competency, your abilities? Failure is truly just a stage show. Not a behind-the-scenes experience. We fail in front of people. But we fail ourselves behind-the-scenes. The stage show is the ego’s life, not your soul’s. The soul just wants to express itself in art, science, words, and creations. It doesn’t care what other people will think about its creations. It is about expression, not measurement. I’ve had some harsh words with my ego lately. I told her to stop. Enough with it all. You see my ego will keep trying to put a box around me wherever I go. I just have to outrun her. And so do you.

5. Is your need to be liked more important than your loyalty to yourself?

I always thought that loss taught me to be myself more. To live life my way. And it did. And I have. But did I really live life completely on my terms? Did I really live the way I deeply needed? Nope. I still needed for everyone to like me. I wanted to be a good friend. The likable teacher. The worthy partner. The intensely present mother. The list is long. When you stop caring about being chosen, being important to others, being worthy of someone’s attention, you die in your old life and you are born in a much bigger one.

Your goals change. Your dreams get updated in an instant. You actually find out who you really are. You say things that surprise you. You do things that shock even you.

You might as well change your name too because if you keep choosing yourself versus the world you become someone else so radically different that the only thing that will stay the same might just be the name you were given.

6. How do you start to live life out of the box?

And if you are wondering how to begin your life out of the box, here is what I would say–sit down and list all the things you do for others that you don’t enjoy at all. Not the things you do to pay your bills. Not talking about that. This is not this kind of blog.

This is about the thousands of things you do every day that you don’t enjoy but it keeps you on stage.

A very important distinction.

So, for example:

For your job: List all the things you do every day at the office that you dislike that you do because of how it looks to your boss, to your peers, and to your team. They hold back the dragon in you. I know what you’re thinking. The dragon? Yes, the dragon.

This is about living outrageously and boldly, not about just being happy and content. You have a dragon inside of you that has been held back because you think if he/she is let loose the stage will be messed up and everyone will think you’ve lost your mind. Make a mess. They will recover. It is your life. Not theirs.

For your home: If you live in a house you don’t enjoy but worry what your kids, your partner, your friends will think about your move, that goes on your list. Get it sold.

For your relationships: If you are in a relationship that is good enough but doesn’t deeply satisfy you, yup, it goes on your list. When you move out of the relationship box you are freeing two people at once. This is an act of kindness. Yup.

For your closet: If you have clothes in your closet you wear because they fit in with everyone else’s perception of you, it goes on that list. This one might be harder even than the others. You probably don’t even know what kind of clothes you would choose for yourself. It’s been that long.

One last thing for you to remember.

True self-expression is a human act.

Without it, we perish.

Without it, we self destruct.

Without it, we only exist in shadows.

A shadow existence can destroy a whole life. With suicide. With crime. With lack of care for our environment and world. For other humans. For other planets. For other species. Yup. I am going to keep things out of my box.

This is much more important than a blog, or some silly self-help advice.

Stay out of your box, far away from your own shadow. And if you ever find yourself in someone else’s shadow. Run. Run faster than your legs can take you.

My wish for you is that you find your way to days so outrageous that you pinch yourself.

To new friendships with people who like you not because you fit in their life but because they love how they fit in yours.

May you inspire other people’s adventures out into the wild and open seas.

And last but not least, you are born out of an expression of someone else’s quest to choose themselves.

Now it is your turn.

And if you have gone through tragic losses like I have, the longer you wait to step out of the boxes, waiting rooms and shadows, the less you will like yourself.

This is truly the most personal decision you will ever make.

And the only one that can ever save your life.

With outrageousness,


Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, The Life Starters and Star Letters. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released  her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.


Image courtesy of Aashish R Gautam.

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