Please Don’t Wait

Time is limited but life is not.

And isn’t that wonderful.

See, if we had forever, now might lose its urgency. We might wait until tomorrow to do what’s important today. And I’m here to say:

And please don’t quit.

As you may know, as well as being a Creative Coach, I’m a writer. I write books for kids and I love it. But before I was published, I almost quit many times. There were bills to pay and some awful jobs to go to. I felt invisible and like nobody would ever care about what I was writing. I was stuck in my creativity for a long time. And I was certainly stuck when it came to putting my writing out into the world.

It led to a journey of trying to figure this out. Why was I stuck? Why couldn’t I seem to get anywhere in my creative career when it was so important to me? It took years to unravel that junk. But it was (and is) worth it. Becoming a coach for creative people was a very unexpected outcome of this journey. And a wonderful one.

I’ve learned there are shortcuts. It doesn’t have to be so hard. The past does not have to equal the future.

So please don’t wait.

Please don’t quit.

Your future self is counting on you.

Safety vs. Desire

Safety trumps desire.

What do I mean by that? Quite simply, we’re wired for survival. And we learn our survival skills when we’re little kids. One of our major survival strategies is to agree with our parents (particularly the dominant one). So if our mom struggled with money, it might feel safer to struggle with money, too (because it’s familiar; “if she did it, I should do it”). If our parents battled, we might find ourselves battling with our spouse. Or if our siblings were jealous because we got more attention, maybe it’s safer to hide our light than to shine.

The bottom line is: No matter how much we desire something, we won’t let it in if it’s unsafe to have it. But knowing this can be very liberating and empowering, because we can change it!

Here’s how. If something you want is not in your life, ask yourself: What’s unsafe about having it? Will my sister be mad at me? Will my mom feel betrayed or abandoned? Will my father not feel needed? Will my friends think I’m arrogant or too ambitious? And on and on.

SAFETY trumps DESIRE (2)

For instance, if you’re an actor, say your agent suddenly gets you out on amazing auditions and you book great work. What might be unsafe about that? You may say, NOTHING! I want this to happen!  But I’m going to challenge you here. Because if it’s not in your life now, there must be a part of you in conflict with this desire. And that probably means somewhere, deep inside, letting this happen would be unsafe.

So why not give it a try? Think of that thing in your life that feels stuck. Is it in your career, money, relationship, health? Make a list of anything that might be an unwanted consequence of your success in this area, no matter how small. Question everything you put on this list. I recommend using EFT/Tapping here.*

As we release old fears that have kept us small and stuck, we can start affirming new beliefs like:

–       I’m willing to believe it’s safe for me to have extra money.

–       I’m willing to believe it’s safe for me to be successful.

–       I’m willing to believe it’s safe for me to be thin.

–       I’m willing to believe it’s safe for me to be in a loving relationship.

Remember: If something you desire is absent from your life, just ask what would be the unsafe consequence of having it. Who wouldn’t like it? Because usually that unsafe fear comes back to relationships. Will we still be loved if we let ourselves have this/do this/be this?

If you have questions, please ask me! It’s worth taking some time to do this exercise. I truly believe once we feel it’s safe to have/do/be something, we can.

What’s Your Real Intention?

As we move into a new year, you might be setting some goals or resolutions. You know: lose weight, make more money, have that career you want, bring in a wonderful relationship. And those are great. I completely support you creating all the good things you want into your life. Go for it!

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This morning, I was inspired to offer some simple tools to help. And it all has to do with intention.

Examining intention at every level of a decision is important. Let’s take losing weight as the example. What’s your intention for losing weight in the new year? Is it because you would like to look and feel better? Are you going to a class reunion this year and want to fit into a dress from your past? Is it because you have a health problem and losing weight will help alleviate stress and pressure in your body?

All good reasons and good intentions around losing weight. But …

Before you start on this journey, have you examined your intentions (perhaps hidden ones) for having the extra weight on in the first place?

Ask yourself: Could any of these unconscious intentions apply?

* I don’t feel safe so I use the weight for protection.
* It’s an unfriendly world out there so I use my weight to hide, so people won’t see me.
* I hide my best self behind weight because if I’m powerful and self-actualized, I might rock the boat with my family.
* I won’t be thin because he/she wanted me to be thin my whole life and I will not let that person have this! Screw them. If they don’t love me fat, then I’ll be damned if I will let them love me when I’m thin.

You get the idea. Before you start an action, I encourage you to ask yourself these kinds of questions. I truly believe that wherever we are in our lives is perhaps the result of hidden intentions that have been running the show. (And if none of this applies to your life now, ask your five-year old self. Because many of these intentions were formed way back when.)

Look at where you are right now in weight, career, money, relationships. If you’re somewhere you don’t want to be, ask yourself what could be the hidden intention that got you there?

Armed with that new insight, taking action can be so much more effective. Because you are creating flow instead of mixed, resistant energy. And along each step of change, please pay attention to even the smallest navigational adjustment and examine your real intention around it.

In this way, intention becomes the potent tool in which to steer your ship. When your intention is conscious and known, your life opens up and you start to make use of one of the most powerful forces of the universe: Momentum.

I hope this is helpful. I wish you a wonderful, thoughtful and kind 2017. Please leave comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Be Happy for Her

I saw a client of mine the other day who had a big break through.  She’s an actor who’s been frustrated for a while about her career.  And while she’s been feeling stuck, an old friend of hers has been experiencing the kind of acting success my client has always dreamed of.

As much as my client wanted to feel happy for her friend, she just couldn’t.  The more success the friend had, the more my client confessed that she felt jealous and unhappy.  She told me it felt like her friend’s success was actively taking something from her and it just wasn’t fair.  It was hard for her to speak these feelings out loud and I was so proud of her for bravely giving words to her pain.

Hey – we’ve all been there.  We hate to admit it.  We want to be happy for our friends who have somehow figured out how to have what we want, but so often, it throws us into lack.  It makes us super aware that we don’t have what they have.  It makes us feel like failures and that we’ve done something wrong.  Just seeing their good can put us in an instant bad mood.

So, about a month ago, I said to my client (in the most gentle way possible), if you can truly find it in your heart to be happy for your friend and bless all of her successes, everything will change for you.

Now, I don’t know what my client was thinking when she left me that day.  She might have thought I was full of it.  Or that this was a ridiculous idea.

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But I found out the other day that she did it anyway.  She meditated daily on blessing her friend.  On being happy for her.  On seeing her success as benefiting everyone around her, including her.  She visualized her friend winning awards and she sent that friend even more love.  She did it!  I was so proud.

And guess what else she told me?  That she, my client, was OFFERED a part in a new show.  No audition required.  The offer came completely out of the blue.  The show is with producers she had dreamed about working with and her first day on the set was delightful.

Now, I’m extremely happy that she’s having this success.  She’s a wonderful actor and this is her heart’s desire.  But I was even more happy about the work she has been doing to heal her heart.  I have no doubt that truly blessing her friend rained blessing down on her.

So on this lovely day, I’m asking us all to lead with an open heart.  To search where we might still be holding jealousies, grudges or withholding energy and clean that stuff up.  Let’s choose to believe that others’ successes don’t take from us, but as we lean in to them, they actually bless us.

Who can we open our hearts to today?  I’d love to hear how this small yet enormous act changes your heart.

The God Bowl

I met my friend, Nancy Cohn, and her sister, Ellen, at the Abraham-Hicks Workshop in Glendale last month.  The workshop was great and during our breaks, Nancy and I were catching up.  She knows I’ve been going through some changes in my life—reaching for the next step—but she also knows that I have a way of getting in my own way and sometimes sabotaging my good.

So we were talking and I told her how I was grappling with a wave of doubt about a project that is very important to me.  And she said, “Have you put it in your God Box?”

I shrank a little.  This was one of those moments when I was caught “not walking my walk.”  I knew exactly what she meant and I had to cop to the fact that I didn’t even have a God Box yet.

If you don’t know already, a God Box is an idea from Tosha Silver, the author of Outrageous Openness (a book recommended to me by Nancy which I have in turn recommended to everyone else).  Tosha is all about opening up to the Divine in a way that is radical.

That’s where the God Box comes in.  Whenever you have a worry, a problem, something that you just can’t figure out on your own, Tosha says to write it on a piece of paper and put it in your God Box.  Let it go to the Divine.

And then watch how that annoying or stubborn or scary thing somehow magically works out in the world.

So, I knew the theory but there I was looking at Nancy like a remedial energy worker (btw—Nancy is a talented channel who by all accounts walks the walk way better than me.  You can check her out at http://www.kulamira.com/).  But Nancy didn’t judge; she didn’t chide.  She enthusiastically told me it wasn’t too late.  I could do it now!

Cut to: Two Weeks Later.  I’m walking around World Market looking for the perfect God Box.  But you know, World Market doesn’t have a lot of boxes.  So I didn’t find it.  I would have to keep looking.  Where in the world was I going to find the perfect box?

Cut to: Parking Lot Outside World Market.  Where I thought, “What’s wrong with me!  Am I sabotaging myself?  Again?  I just need a box.  Not the perfect box—a box.  Any box!  God doesn’t mind.”

By the time I got home, I was done putting off my good.  I didn’t have a box—but I did have a bowl.  A big round glass vase that had been waiting on my dresser for just such an infinite purpose.

So my God Box became my God Bowl.  Whenever something seemed problematic or unclear in my life, I wrote it down on a little piece of paper and with a small prayer, dropped that piece of paper into the God Bowl.

And—I’m not kidding—every time a miracle happened.  The first miracle was always immediate relief.  The anxiety that was gnawing at my stomach literally melted away.  Every time.  And that thing I was worried about when I saw Nancy at the Abraham Workshop?  It worked out better than I could have ever orchestrated for myself.

Amazing.  Magical.  Worth a try?

So many of us are taught as children not to bother God about the little things.  We learn that we derive our worth by handling everything ourselves.  But what if there’s actually a big wonderful universe waiting to answer us.  To help us.  To champion us.

If we only ask.

My Open Heart

Woe is my Closed Heart
It is afraid
It is alone
It is clothed for battle from an old and forgotten war
Woe is my Closed Heart
I wonder if it can open?

One of the things I’ve been working on with clients is the idea of leading with an open heart.

I believe when we meet the world open-heartedly, the world meets us back that way. The energy of an open heart is magnetic and magical. It’s our natural state. It’s how we were born.

But our reaction to hardships in life can cause us to close our hearts. After we get knocked around enough, it feels safer to lead with a closed heart. Our closed heart becomes our default.

Why not? Past hurts are influential! When I talk to clients about opening their hearts, I often get pushback: “I’ll be too vulnerable. I’ll be taken advantage of. If I let down my guard, they will destroy me!”

I believe that beliefs like this are running the show. So if we believe letting down our guard will end badly, it’s probably not a good idea to do so.

Problem is — our closed heart is not powerful. It’s defensive and proud and on guard. It’s not open to magical thinking. It resists support and easy love. It’s suspicious. It might even be unkind.

Our closed heart blocks our good. Our open heart welcomes it.

So how do we change? How do we believe that our open heart can be safe in this world that has proved itself inhospitable so many times?

I have a client who recently said, “The big world is not nice or supportive and I expect criticism when I put myself out there.”

With a belief like this, it’s only reasonable to put on armor when going out into the world. Or better yet, not to go out into the world at all!

But that’s not good enough. That means we are arming for battle every day. We are expecting attack. Over time, that gets very exhausting.

What if there is another way?

If you like, write down what comes up for you when you think about being in the world with an open heart. Does it sound fun or does it fill you with fear?

Read what you’ve written and breathe out the fearful beliefs. Then gently add in some positive beliefs to replace them.

This may seem hard at first. When we have a lot of momentum around the world being unsafe, the world continues to show up that way. To shift beliefs and literally shift the world before our eyes, we have to stop believing what we see for a bit. Because as we say positive affirmations about the safer, kinder world, it might not change all at once. In fact, for a while, the world might even seem worse.

Those horrible news stories will call out and say, “Hey, a friendly world? Who are you kidding? Look at this. I’ll prove to you what a terrible world this is!”

Either we take the bait and start the cycle all over again. Or reach for something higher.

And as we reach for a higher thought, as we reach for a gentler expectation in every moment, we build new momentum. We come to expect a friendlier universe — no matter what’s happening out there.

Little by little, we learn to lead with an open heart. And that’s so much more fun!

Can I Possibly Approve of That?

As many of you know, I lead a Tapping Group every other Wednesday night and it was an amazing experience this week.

We talked about the truths that we hold so dear. Whether these truths are actually true or not.

Sometimes our perceived truths are just beliefs that we have chosen to believe over and over again.

They are often judgments that we have accrued over the years and which we no longer question. We accept them as true.

Some of these judgments that came up during the Tapping Group were:

– I am unacceptable when I am overweight.

– I should have shame around my debt.

– It’s just wrong to get a free ride.

– I become less valuable and important as I age.

It’s amazing how these thoughts run our lives. When we believe something is shameful and that something is in our lives, it’s a problem. That shame actually locks that unwanted condition to us.

The more we judge the weight, the more the weight holds us tightly.

The more we judge the debt, the harder it seems to dig out of it.

The more we are convinced a free ride is wrong, the less we are in flow with our abundance.

The more we devalue ourselves as we get older, the older we look and feel.

What if we changed?

What if we questioned those judgments?

What if we questioned those perceived truths?

I believe the answer is found in self-acceptance and approval. When we actually approve of the extra weight or debt, something magical happens. We relax. And that thing that we are so judgmental about starts to relax, too.

Think of it this way. If someone is very judgmental toward you, do you want to cooperate with that person?

Hell, no!

If you are anything like me, you don’t want to do anything that person says. You become stubborn and uncooperative and maybe even downright rebellious.

So when you are carrying extra weight and judging it, is it possible that the extra weight acts just like you would? Stubborn and rebellious.

Could our judged body just not want to cooperate?

What if we changed the strategy? Instead of judging our weight, what if we approved of it?

I know – that sounds a little crazy. We are not supposed to approve of things like being overweight, or being in debt – or even growing older.

But what if we did anyway?

Approving of the things we are resisting in our lives doesn’t mean we are inviting more of it. I think that is the real fear. If we approve of something we really don’t want, it feels like we are opening the floodgates for more of it. And that’s scary.

But what if it’s the opposite?

What if approving of the extra weight allows that extra weight to cooperate with us and release?

Same with the debt…or aging…or abundance.

I gave my group homework this week. I asked them to come up with one thing that they really had a hard time accepting in their lives. And to find a way to approve of that thing anyway.

I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I encourage anyone reading this to do the same. Make an experiment of it.

You may be amazed where it takes you.

Feed Your Dreams

I had a wonderful experience with a client yesterday and I wanted to share it.

This client has been dealing with envy and fear and worry. So much so that he has started to have anxiety attacks and tightness in his chest.

As we talked and tapped, we got in touch with how much focus and attention he has been giving to the continuing drama in his life – the struggle and hardship that almost always gets center stage.

This is a man with a dream. A dream he has had for years but which, for years, no one supported. Nobody said, “Go for it. We believe in you.” And when that happens to any of us, as much as we try to believe in ourselves, deep down, we often can’t get there.

Because, as children, we must believe the parents, the teachers, all those authorities who care for us. We buy into their visions of how the world should be as a way to ensure our actual survival. If we don’t agree with them, we might get kicked out of the tribe. And we can’t have that.

But it gets tricky when we want something or want to pursue a dream that they don’t understand. When we actively disagree with them through our words and actions, we believe, on some level, that our survival becomes in peril.

And no matter how much we want that dream, when we don’t have their support, we often can’t give ourselves our support. And, without our full support, that thing we want so badly can’t grow. It can’t breathe.

The food of our dreams is our complete support and approval.

Without it, our dreams are DOA.

But how do we make ourselves right when those old authorities judge us? Or shame us? Or withhold their approval?

I’m not saying it’s the most comfortable thing you’ll ever do but it is possible. And it’s the only way to freedom.

Instead of focusing on the hard and the struggle – so we can look worthy in the old authorities’ eyes – let’s do something different.

I believe God speaks to us in the ease. So we should be actively looking for it. We can be ease-seekers – which really means we are seekers of God.

When something comes easily, it’s coming from a higher power. It’s that ‘it came from left field’ moment. It might appear lucky or out of the blue.

Or it just might be God, Universe, Source (whatever works for you) having our backs. Supporting us unconditionally. Whatever it is, it is wonderful. And it is free.

So often we block the ease because we feel unworthy of it. We feel it coming, it starts to bubble up and then we just say no. It can feel so unacceptable to be in such easy receivership.

But what if we say yes? Instead of saying no, what if we go into gratitude?

What if the easy is God answering our prayers? What if the easy is God saying yes to us?

So yesterday, my client and I decided to look for the ease in every minute of every day. Instead of pushing the ease away, we are going to allow it, accept it and have such gratitude for each and every gift.

Whatever we focus on grows. As we focus on the ease in our lives (and it could start with very small things), that ease will most certainly get bigger.

The drama won’t get so much attention and we will be free.

I’m so grateful for this client – and all of my clients. They bring me such gifts. I hope you’ll join me in allowing the gifts of an easy and delightful today.

Self-Approved

It’s the New Year – a time for reflection.  For some of us, it’s a time for making resolutions.

I’m focusing on allowing more ease in my life in the coming year (and forever!).

It seems like a rather straightforward intention.  I’m sure having things easier sounds like a good idea to lots of us.

So I started taking a deeper look into this.  Recently, for instance, I was feeling much more ease and happiness in my life.  And then I seemed to sabotage it, and things became difficult again.  I wasn’t sure why, until I tripped upon something that seemed to answer my question.  (I seem to do a lot of tripping upon things these days).

I realized a part of me was still not approving of having it easy.

Well, duh.  Like most of us, I was raised with the American work ethic as the thing that determined my worth.  Work hard and have a monument built to celebrate your struggle.

Over the years, however, I’ve come to see its limitations.  When we think our worth is based on hard work and struggle, we attract just that – a lot of hard work and struggle.

When we are simply worthy, we attract what’s appropriate to our lives.  Sometimes that might appear in the form of hard work.  And other times, it might show up as a stretch of ease for as far as the eye can see.  But either way, we are worthy.

Either way, we approve of ourselves.DownloadedFile

That last piece was what I tripped over. Intellectually, I realized the truth of my worth – even in accepting ease.  But energetically, I realized I was still not altogether approving of having an easy life.  That somehow it was just wrong.

How can I have an easy life when others do not?

How can I be okay with myself if I really let go of struggle?

What kind of person does it make me if I release the need for all that hard stuff and allow what I want?

I think I would be the kind of person who loved and accepted herself as she is and didn’t have to keep jumping through hoops and inviting hardship so that others would approve of her.

Or maybe I would just be someone who actually approved of herself.

That’s the gem here – self-approval.  Because this self-approval thing is important.  Really important.  I’ve begun to see that whatever I approve of in my life grows.  If what I want is not in my life, there’s a good chance, on some level, I haven’t been approving of it.

My non-approving self was not approving of ease, so like a plant starved of water, ease had been unable to grow.

So I ask – are there things in your life that need some self-approval?  If there’s something you really want but it’s missing from your experience, identify it and ask yourself – do I truly approve of this thing that I desire?

If you have a moment of hesitation, or if an uncomfortable feeling wells up, you might be dealing with a case of self-disapproval.

If so – take a breath.  Let it go.  Let it change.  Because it really is up to you.

Happy New Year.  I wish for all of us a year where we allow all the good and ease in our lives lots of room and love to grow.

The Great Here and Now

There is something about living in the moment.  We hear it all the time.  Be here.  Be in the now.  But most of the time we are someplace else.

In the future.  Or in the past.

We let ourselves wander through time and space and often that wandering takes the shape of worry or fear.  What should I have done?  What am I afraid might happen?

In those moments, we lose something very special – the current moment.

When we time travel into these past and future fears, we become untethered from the present moment.  Our anchor is in the now.  Our truth is right here.  And so is our power.

Something came up a few weeks ago that put me in a big reaction.  I helped out some friends who were shooting a webisode by doing work as an extra.  I went to the set early one morning, put on a very unflattering costume that I would never wear in real life and shot the scene.  Afterwards, I didn’t think anything about it.

Until I saw the footage!

I looked horrible.  I looked fat.  I went into complete reaction.  Within seconds, I began berating myself.

I’ve been struggling with about 10 (or so) pounds of extra weight that I’ve had trouble losing.  But when I saw myself on video – wow – it looked like I needed to lose a lot more than that!

Big feelings of reactions rose up in me.  Feelings I have felt before.  Out of control feelings.  Need-to-change-things feelings.  Need-to-fix-things feelings.  And fix them now!

My fight or flight response was so heightened, you’d think I was being chased by a tiger.  But the tiger was just my old belief system that says I’m not good enough or acceptable or worthy unless I look thin.

In that moment, I heard myself saying –

If I can just lose those 10 pounds, I can feel good about myself.

Then I felt a little curve form at the corner of my lips.  The tiger quit chasing me.  I found myself smiling as I said to myself:

Or I can just feel good about myself.

That is the power of the moment.  It’s the moment of choice.   Do I live for some future something to make me feel satisfied or okay?  Or can I simply remove the condition and be okay anyway?

Meaning, whether I lose 10 pounds or not, it is in my power to feel good about myself now.

That is the power of the present.

Now, in the big scheme of things 10 pounds is not a big deal.  But how I felt about myself in the moment was.

When something happens that really gets our reaction, it’s usually not its first appearance in our lives.  As humans, we are experts at dragging our pain from the past into the present and making a big compounded mess of things.

We react, we freak out, we employ unhealthy coping mechanisms – until finally we start to feel okay again.  Then something else comes along to put us back in reaction and the cycle starts all over again.

That reactive cycle keeps us in pain and helplessness when all we need to do is turn to the now for the answer.

Because change happens in the moment.  Change happens in the now. 

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It is in that moment of reaction that we have the opportunity for most growth.  That horrible, embarrassing, hurtful moment has in its seed a precious gift.

In that moment of reaction, we can take a breath – or throw a plate.  I’ve been known to do both.

Plate throwing keeps us in the old pain and drama.  Breathing calms us down.  It connects us to who we are.  It connects us with the now.

In the moment, we can decide to feel good about ourselves, to be okay with ourselves.  To know our value.

Without being different.  Without changing.  Without conditions.

We can accept ourselves unconditionally in the now.

And that is a powerful moment.

That is a moment that can change our lives.