When Failures Aren't Really Failures

 My attempt at drawing an apple and orange

My attempt at drawing an apple and orange

Have you ever thought something was a failure because it didn’t go as planned? It’s such normal thing to have expectations. I mean who ever wants to fail at something. “Yes, let me fail on an epic scale at this new thing”, said no one ever. 

So… I took a drawing class this past weekend. I thought it would be really fun. The only thing I’ve ever drawn was stick figures. I went into it with an open mind. I just wanted to learn something new. 

Our instructor was quite patient. She was so uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging. She was just the kind of teacher you want to have when you’re trying something new.

We got to practice drawing a lot in this one day workshop. We got to use different types of paper and pencils. We shaded. We highlighted. Our little group happily sat chatting and drawing.

I noticed something kind of quickly though. My drawings were like a 5 year olds drawings compared to every other person in the class. I’m not saying that to put myself down. I’ve seen some five year olds draw amazing pictures. My drawings looked so very different from not only everyone’s drawings in the class but from the item I was attempting to draw. I was truly dumbfounded by this.What my eyes saw I literally could not translate on to paper in a meaningful kind of way. My apple and orange looked like a fuzzy blob, not anything close to resembling an apple and orange in any way.

Yes when you try something new you’re not going to be Picasso out of the gate. This experience was quite unexpected however. As the class went along I realized I really wasn’t even enjoying the drawing process. It wasn’t  that fun to me. 

It kind of hit me that as much as this all felt like one big failure, it wasn’t even close to a failure. I tried something new. I wasn’t very good. I didn’t really even enjoy the process. And I didn’t walk away with a desire to practice more and get better. 

How great is this? I don’t want to do this. No biggie. I got to try something new, meet some cool people, and find out that I should stay with drawing stick figures. 

This is freedom. Who cares that it didn’t work out? Who cares that I don’t want to be Picasso? Who cares that I now have several drawings that look like a 5 year old probably created them?

 I showed up and gave it a go. And in the end that’s all that really matters. I’ll keep showing up and giving things a go. Eventually something might stick. Or not. It means nothing about me as a person. That’s the key here. We usually make what we see as failures mean that WE have failed. That we are flawed in some way. That is simply not true. Period. 

I ask you, where in your life can you look back and see something that looked like a failure that really wasn’t? What seems like a failure now? Can you see that differently too? 

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do You Know How resourceful You Always Are?

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We humans are incredibly resilient, creative, wise, and resourceful at our core. All of the time. 24/7. It is innate within each of us. No exceptions. 

We have the capacity and ability to deal with any situation at any given time.

The story I am about to share will shine a light on this very truth. There are some details that may be a bit disturbing so I wanted to give you a heads up.

I spent the last few weeks on the East coast attending my 25th college reunion and visiting family. The first part of my trip went well. I got to visit the old and new of my college campus and see some people I hadn’t seen in a loooong time.

Then I drove to a small town in NC where I met a close relative I’ll call Flo.  Flo had driven from Florida to meet me and we were there to visit some other family who lived there. We had a lovely time going out for lunch then visiting for a while before returning to our hotel room for the evening. We planned to get up for breakfast and have a leisurely stroll of the area since the weather was cool and inviting.

And as they say, “This is where the plan diverged”. 

At 1:04 am I awoke to the sound of Flo having a grand mal seizure in the bed next to me. In this case, the seizure started with a blood curdling yell, followed by what sounded like intense sobbing. I initially thought Flo was having a terrible nightmare. So as much as the sounds she was making frightened me, I left the lights off and I figured it would stop soon.

Except within a few moments I realized something else was going on. She started shaking violently in her bed. It was dark and I was disoriented after just being awoken but I instinctively knew something was very wrong.

I jumped up, turned on the lights and went over to Flo. I called her name and shook her shoulders trying to wake her up. She wouldn’t wake up. Her eyes were sealed shut. She was foaming at the mouth and had heavy breathing. I waited a short while longer to see if she would respond, and when she didn’t, I dialed 9-1-1. 

That was the first time I have dialed 9-1-1 in my entire life. As I spoke with the operator something in my knew to remain as calm as possible. She asked me many questions and gave me instructions as I waited for the ambulance to arrive. If you’ve ever been in an emergency like this then maybe you have experienced “the time standing still feeling”. I have no idea how long it took for the ambulance to arrive but I can tell you it seemed like it happened both quickly and also like it took forever. 

They took her to the ER and I met her there. She had finally awakened and was completely disoriented. She kept asking me the same few questions over and over again. Where were we? What happened? Where were we staying? After a while she started to remember the events of the day and evening before we went to bed. Thankfully, everything that happened during her seizure and right after, she has no recollection of.

They did a few tests while she was in the ER, then admitted her to the hospital for more tests. I had no idea if we’d be there a few hours or a few days. This is when my resilient, creative, resourceful self showed up. 

I realized quickly that Flo would not be driving herself back to FL anytime soon. As I was the only person there, that would need to be me. We were also supposed to check out of our hotel room that day and I, if not both of us, would need to stay another night, so I’d have to check with the hotel about those arrangements. I ended up having to pack all of our belongings and move them to another room. I had also driven a rental car to meet everyone and had to figure out what I would do with that since I was going to have to drive Flo back to FL in her own car. 

What’s most interesting in all of this is that while my mind was processing all that needed to be done, figured out, and taken care of, it never once showed up and told me I was all alone, that I couldn’t handle this, that I should be nervous or scared. No, all of what’s at my core (And Yours too) is this same resilience, creativity and resourcefulness guiding you through life. 

Yes, it was obviously there in this emergency situation and after, but it’s always there. Even during non-threatening times. We just don’t see it.

In that experience that started at 1 am, early on a Monday morning and didn’t fully end until Thursday morning after I’d safely brought Flo back home and made sure she had everything needed in place for her safety, those core, innate qualities showed up. I did what needed to be done without question. Was it scary? Yes. Uncomfortable? Yes. 

And it showed me who I was and what I was capable of. How without anyone else I was able to accomplish so much and be there for another person. I don’t share this to boast, not at all. With reflection, this actually stunned me a little. I didn’t realize how much I could actually do until I had no other choice. That is gold right there.

You are the same. Your creativity, wisdom, and resourcefulness are within you too. Not just during times of emergency. All the time.

Think back to any time in your life when something sudden came up you weren’t expecting and had to deal with it. My hunch is that you did handle it and probably quite well. 

It’s what we’re made of. Even small children who don’t know what to do in a situation know to ask someone for help. That’s their innate resourcefulness. Look at a squirrel trying to get seeds from a bird feeder. We all know how resourceful they are. You are no different.

Our minds babble at us all day long and we often can’t hear what we need to hear coming from inside. But in times of crisis, that resourcefulness comes through because it must. It is our default setting. We can see it more clearly during our  emergencies because there really is no place for our minds to babble at us with info we don’t need so it doesn’t. So why in every day life does it seem we don’t have access to it as much? Because our brains babble at us and we literally analyze all those thoughts our brain offers, to death. That’s the only problem. If we didn’t continuously overthink every little thing, what we needed to hear could come through. The answers and wisdom to everything we see as life’s problems are there below all the thinking. So stop latching on to all your thinking, even for a short while, and notice what shows up. 

Your resourcefulness is innate within you. All the time. 24/7. No exceptions. 

If you can see this, even for a moment or so here and there, your whole would could open up. 

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.


You Are The One Who Decides

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I’ll leave this one right here for you to ponder.

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” 

~ Robin S. Sharma

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Look At All Your Options

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Here’s one of the quotes from The Universe I get in my inbox daily. Thought I’d share.

There's so much time in a day. 

You could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner on 3 different continents. 

You could outline the book you're going to write, start the screenplay adaptation, and watch "Gone With The Wind," before the sun even sets. 

Spend a day at work, and still have 16 hours left over. 

Or you could just think 60,000 different thoughts as you tool all over the town you live in. 

Hey, the record for climbing Mt. Everest is under 9 hours, leaving 15 to nap and go Yeti searching. There's so much time in a day. So much. 

You're rich, 

   The Universe

Especially, when one stops claiming there's so little of it, huh?

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Don't Take Life So Seriously

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Life is as serious as you make it. Notice that none of us are getting out of here alive anyway. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t make conscientious choices that feel good and right to you. I am saying that if you don’t lighten up a little you’ll end up living a serious life where you’re not enjoying much.

Your entire life happens because of  you’re thinking. Without the thoughts that continuously bubble up in your mind you would not experience life at all. You simply must have a thought about yourself, someone else, or a circumstance in the world in order to have a feeling about it. Notice this in your own life.

If a friend says something to you one day, it might upset you. If they say the same thing another day, it might not upset you at all. Your thinking happens so fast you don’t even realize it’s happening. Your feelings will stick around however and that’s how you know what you’ve been thinking. If you notice you’re feeling crappy, that’s how you know you had a thought that brought a crappy feeling. If you’re feeling good, that’s how you know you had a thought that brought a good feeling. 

Two people could be at a baseball game side by side watching the same things unfold in front of them. Yet one person might be having a great time and the other might be irritated. It’s not the game itself that’s causing any of it. It’s your thinking about what you’re watching that creates the feelings you feel. You can feel great one moment because of what you’re thinking, then feel like ugh! the next, because of what you’re thinking. 

The beauty of your innate design is you don’t have to do anything when you feel good or feel bad because of what you’re thinking. Just know new thoughts will come up and the old ones will pass on by. This is what naturally happens. You’ll feel one way, then another (because of your thoughts), all throughout your day.

So how do you not take life so seriously? By realizing that you believe your thoughts to be true with a capital T. They are just thoughts you are having about life moment to moment. If they are serious thoughts, they’ll make life seem serious.  All thoughts come and go. All feelings come and go. You don’t have to do anything at all. That’s your (my, our) inherent design. They wash in and wash out like the waves on a beach. You simply can’t stop that from happening even if you wanted to. 

If you don’t analyze them, decide if they are right or wrong, try to change them, or focus on them, they will come and go like the weather. Notice how much of your daily thoughts already do that. 

Don’t take your thinking so seriously. It’s going to change moment to moment anyway. You might feel one way this minute and another way 10 minutes from now. Actually, it’s highly likely. How can you possibly take an ever changing process too seriously? 

Remember, none of us is getting out of here alive. 

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question.


Trust Your Own Wisdom

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For a long time now, the self-help industry has innocently been pointing us all in the wrong direction of how to really help ourselves. I think it’s time to start realizing we don’t need self-help books. We’re not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. We need to trust our own realizations about our own lives and make shifts and changes from there. That comes directly from your own experience and wisdom. 

Something I often hear in self-help is you’ll never be truly ready to do something, so just feel the fear and do it anyway. From your own personal experience this may work for you. If it does, that’s fantastic. If your wisdom has shown you that’s what works best, then by all means, please keep doing that. 

If this isn’t you however, I’d like to take a step back and say maybe it’s not about having the fear and doing it. Maybe it’s not even about the fear. 

It’s just your mind spewing all sorts of thoughts, which it does naturally all day long, and you’re just feeling those thoughts. We’re always feeling our thinking. It’s how we experience life. A thought comes up about ourselves or a circumstance, we feel an emotion, then it washes back out again. It’s like an ocean wave coming onto a sandy beach then receding again. It’s only when we try to keep the water from going back into the ocean that we get stuck. 

Here’s an example. A few years back, a friend asked if I wanted to hike a section of the Appalachian trail with her. Right away my mind filled with thoughts about what kind of physical shape I was in, did I have the right gear, how do I figure out all the logistics, on and on. I was clearly not ready to do this. However, I was intrigued by the idea. There was some excitement in it. It sounded interesting, fun, adventurous, and it was something I’d never done before. This is what I did (or didn’t do to be honest). Nothing. I sat with it. I let all the thoughts about whether it was something I was ready for or wanted to do, as well as the, this sounds like it might be cool thoughts all come and go like the waves on the sand. 

Those different thoughts all came and went over the next months. They washed in, I noticed them, then they washed back out again. Again I didn’t “do” anything with them. I didn’t hold onto the one that asked, is it fair to your husband to just up and go hike for 10 days with a friend? I didn’t hold onto the one that said you’ve got to figure this all out now and take this adventure. Nope, I just let them come and go.

And one day, I had the realization (which is just another thought BTW), I can do this. I WANT to do this. And just like that I was ready to move forward with the idea. 

This is our innate, provided-for-us, always-there, amazingly perfect design. 

We don’t need self help books to “help” us make changes or move us in a direction. We just need to realize that our own wisdom about what’s right for us, what we want to do, what we’re ready for and when we’re ready for it, is right there. It’s underneath all of the thought processes we innocently go through to try and figure it all out. Those thought processes are natural. They come and go. Underneath is the clear answer about what you’re ready for and when you’re ready for it. I couldn’t read that in a book. No one could tell me how I would know when I was ready. I had to trust my own realizations of my own experience. No one else can have them for me. I can’t have them for others. 

Like when you learned to ride a bike. Sure you could read about riding a bike, or have your parents tell you how to work the pedals, steer, and stay balanced. You’re still not ready until you are. No matter what thoughts are traveling through your mind about how long it’s taking you to learn to ride, how you’re clumsier than your best friend, or how everyone else can ride but you. When you’re ready, you just ride, not thoughts needed. 

Do you see the lack of need for self-help? You’ve already got all you need. 

I think we often are trying so hard to fit in or feel like we belong somewhere that if our wisdom and experience tells us something different from friends or something we’ve read in a book, we feel like we’re wrong. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What’s true for you is what’s true for you, no matter if it’s true or works for someone else?

Your wisdom is yours alone. 

She’s deep underneath all your thinking. 

Start listening.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.


Your True Nature Is There All The Time

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You know how trees are rooted in the earth with their roots spreading deep, wide, or both, (depending upon the type of tree)? Your true nature is exactly like this. Steady, stable, strong, calm, peaceful. We are all like that. It’s our true home and always there.

Have you ever noticed when you wake up, before your brain engages, you feel relaxed? Or maybe when you’re sitting by a lake or river and your mind isn’t blabbering at you, you actually feel less stressed, worried, or anxious? 

How do I know this is your true nature, all of our true natures? Because we  all want to feel that way as much as possible. Can you honestly say I love feeling anxious, worried, scared, stressed? Or do you prefer the calm, relaxed feelings you have on occasion ?

If that’s your true nature, how come you don’t feel more grounded and relaxed on a consistent basis? I’ll make it easy. Because you believe all the thoughts that run through your mind and take them personally. You innocently decide that those thoughts mean something about life itself or who you are. They mean absolutely nothing about life and who you are. They are nothing but words strung together in your mind that you give meaning.

Here’s the best news about all of this. Because of your innate design, the one we all possess,  your mind will self correct. It’s built to fix itself. If you let it. 

Say you are feeling crappy. It just means you’re having a thought that makes you feel crappy. Leave it alone, do nothing with it, and voila a new thought will pop into your head, therefore a new feeling. You don’t have to do anything at all. No tricks. No techniques. No thinking happy thoughts. It will change on its own.

Don’t take my word for it. Try this on for size. Notice what happens. 

Your true nature below you’re thinking is always there. If you stop trying so hard to think about things, your true self will emerge on its own.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Let Your Thoughts Float By Like Clouds And You Can Find What You’re Looking For

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I’ve been learning some new things recently about how our human experience really works. How we’ve innocently been looking in the wrong direction for how to have healthy psychology. The fascinating thing is we already have it, 24/7. We just don’t see it.

Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing more of what I’m seeing in my own life and that of my coaching clients in more depth but today I’m just going to share one little tidbit.

You’ve heard me talk A LOT  in the past about your thinking. Circumstances happen in life, then you have thoughts about those circumstances. You then feel a certain way because of what you think. You are always feeling your thinking. Because of how you are feeling you either take action because you’re excited to, or possibly do nothing because you’re afraid. Due to the action you take or don’t take certain results show up in your life. It’s a circular cycle. If you change your thought about whatever is happening in life everything in that cycle can change and you see different results. 

Yes, that’s one way to do it and it can make a difference. It also takes what I call a shit ton of effort, willpower, time, and energy to do that. I’ve done it, my clients have done it. It can be exhausting. 

One of the new things I’ve learned and come to see is that our innate human psychological design contains a process where you don’t need to jump in and change your thoughts to ultimately have different results. Of course you can, but really you don’t have to do anything at all. If all of this doesn’t make any sense right now, it’s ok. Just read this with an open mind and know I’m just pointing you in a new direction. 

Let me explain it this way. You know you have a zillion thoughts that come through your mind all day long. Most of them you probably let whiz on by. Like what will I have for breakfast? Then what will I wear today? You think them, you act on them or not, then they’re gone. Just like the clouds that pass by in the sky without you doing anything to keep them around. If you don’t try to hold that cloud it will keep moving. This is the same as when thoughts come through our minds. If you don’t try to analyze them, hold them, keep thinking them over, and over, and over again, they will pass on by. Then another thought will come in and replace it. No DO ing on your part. This is how the system naturally works.

Well, you might say, what about the bigger things in life like taking a different job or making a big move. Yes, of course these are decisions that could possibly have more impact on your life than breakfast or clothing. However, they aren’t different in the sense that thoughts will come through about these potential decisions and you decide which ones you want to focus on or not. You can choose the ones that provide you with helpful information or the ones that provide you stress. 

Let me give you an example of making a big decision from when I was in high school deciding which University to choose for the next 4 years of my life. That was a pretty big decision. They were both vastly different schools. One a state school with a massive student population, the other a private school with a significantly smaller number of students. On paper I had written two columns listing the positive and negative reasons for choosing either school. In the end everything was dead equal. I had no idea which school would be the better choice for me. I remember feeling stressed because I didn’t want to make the “wrong” decision. 

Do you know what I did next? Nothing. I did nothing. I literally stopped focusing on the answer to that question. I didn’t know it at the time but basically I let my mind settle. Think of a snow globe. When you shake it up, there is snow everywhere and you can’t see clearly. When you set it down, the snow settles, and everything becomes clear. 

This is also how your mind works. When you don’t keep the snow swirling by constantly thinking something, it will settle on its own, become clear, and available for an answer to come through.

And just like that in my third period history class, between 10 and 11am, I think it was a Wednesday, the answer to what University I was supposed to attend popped into my head clear as a bell, no ambiguity whatsoever. It’s not a moment I can even describe with words. If you’ve ever had that experience you know what I mean and you can’t describe it with words either. It was just the right answer for me and I KNEW it. I had an amazing college experience thank you very much. 

The answers we seek are truly there within, as they say. One of the most productive things you can do for your life is let most of the thoughts that run through your mind float by like the clouds. No attention needed. If attention is truly needed, that thought will come through again. But it won’t yell at you or make you feel like crap, it will just tap you on the shoulder to get your attention to let you know where your focus might need to go for a little while. This is our natural human design. And it works perfectly if we don’t get in its way.

This is a direction I will be pointing toward more and more. This direction of a new paradigm of how the human experience really works and how to have more meaningful, peaceful lives with this new understanding.

Let me know what you think. And please ask questions if you’re confused. 

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.


Why You Aren't Really Lost Even Though You Think You Are

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A few years ago I was out on a mountain bike ride. I had a plan, a map, and headed out. I passed several trail signs which confirmed I was going the right direction.

After a while, I didn’t see those trail signs anymore. I knew I had somehow gotten off the path. Again? Dang!

I am notorious for starting out with a plan, losing my way, then getting lost and having it now work out. 

Life is SO like this.

How often do you find yourself somewhere you didn’t expect or want to be?

Does that mean your choice was wrong?

Sometimes you start on a path you think is the right one for you, then it takes you somewhere unexpected and you wonder if you were actually on the right path at all to begin with.

You’ll know it’s right because you’ll “feel” it.

The paths that are true and right for you are felt deep within you.

Some feel it at a gut level, some notice it in their heart, some in a place that can’t really be put into words. For some it’s a “knowing”, for others it’s a sense of rightness, or lightness, or calm. If you think back to certain points when your life was humming along and all was well, I’m guessing you would notice a sense of its rightness or truth for you. However you notice that or feel it, it’s perfect for you.

Your path is never the straight kind, from point A to point B. 

And, you are never truly lost. You just “think” you are. You’re just where you are on your own path. Maybe the path you’re on will teach you exactly what you need to learn about life in this moment.

Occasionally you start down a road that feels great, then something happens and it’s not so great anymore. Some roads end at that point. That’s okay. Maybe you were only supposed to be with that person, that job, or in that city for a certain amount of time and then it was time to make a change.

How do you know when it’s time to change the path you’re on?

When continuing the direction you’re headed in doesn’t feel right anymore. There’s tension, and yuck, and no way out…. 

The change could take the form of a slight shift, it might not need to be drastic. Or it could be you need to move in a completely different direction. 

No wrong answer. It’s your path.

By the way, I found my way back to the correct trail. I got out my map which told me nothing about where I was or needed to go. I just stopped for a few moments and listened to where my inner knowing thought I should go. 

Worked like a charm. 

This reminds me of one of my favorite aunties sayings, “I’m not lost, I’m taking the scenic route”.  My hunch is she’s never been lost a day in her life.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

What Simple Things Make You Happy?

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As you already know, a lot of what makes us happy in life are not the big events, though they can absolutely do that. Often what really makes us happy on a deeper level are the little things we notice, do occasionally, or appreciate on a regular basis.

Today was a beautiful example. I spent some time out on my sunshine-filled, 75 degree deck looking up at the blue sky, enjoying my vibrant flower baskets and pots, watching the robins eat the oregon grape berries, listening to our small water feature I lovingly call our babbling brook, all while someone across the way played their flute beautifully, and I colored in my coloring book.

Yes, you read that correctly. I colored. I don’t do it very often but today I did. And it was so fun. I don’t know why I enjoy getting out colorful markers and painting inside the lines of what’s drawn but I do. It’s relaxing, calming, and just flat out enjoyable. Add all the other things I mentioned above into this experience and it was bliss. 

No need to be working on something, cleaning something, being busy. The mind will chime in with so many ideas about what you aren’t doing and you don’t have to listen to it. You really don’t. What you need to know it what brings you contentment, joy, or happiness, and do that.

Honestly there was no need to be anywhere but where I was doing exactly what I was doing. 

Simple things bring such joy sometimes. And if you’re enjoying various moments in your life, isn’t that all that matters?

What simple things make you happy? I’d love to hear.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

The End Of Summer

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It’s the official end of summer this weekend for US folks as Labor Day brings it to a close. Since summer is my favorite season, I always feel a little sad when it’s over. I’ve noticed I haven’t seen my hummingbirds in almost a week. The robins are busy eating the Oregon grape bush berries in our backyard. Some of the summer perennial flowers are slowly dying and I know they won’t be seeing them re-bloom this year. Our apples are ripe so we’re making apple sauce and apple cider. There’s a nip in the mornings again as I put on a little more clothing to walk our dog. < big sigh>

We’ve all got our favorite seasons. They come to an end every year. It’s ok to be sad about that. It lets me know how much I appreciate what the season brings to me. The incredibly vibrantly colored flowers, the green of the grass and trees, the birds busy with activity fluttering around, the longer light-filled days. I have no idea why those are my preferences but they are. You’ve got your own too. 

Change is always happening. The seasons are a perfect example. Change happens in you all the time as well. Your body cells grow, multiply, do their job, then die off. You have thoughts that come and go all day long. They are always changing. I won’t be sad for too long about summer moving into fall because I’ll be living in that next moment. 

The reason we stay in sadness or fear or anxiety for any length time is that we grab onto those thoughts about whatever is happening in our lives as they float by in our minds. We hold onto them like they were so very important. Like If I think, “I don’t want summer to end” then feel sad long enough and hard enough, summer will stick around a little longer for me. Oh ha! Because I’ve got that much control over the weather. 

If you notice, you think a zillion thoughts all day. About all sorts of things big and small. You don’t actually have to grab on to or hold on to any of them. If you don’t, they’ll just float on by like the clouds. If you’re feeling happier for a little longer than usual, you’re probably holding onto some thought that’s making you feel that way. If you’re feeling crappy for a little longer than usual, you’re doing the same thing. Not on purpose mind you. Your mind just sometimes attaches itself to some thoughts. 

So back to summer ending. It’s a date on the calendar. My hunch is that there will be a lot of days ahead when the weather is warm, the birds are around, and the flowers will still be blooming even though it won’t technically be summer anymore. I’ll feel happy about that because my thoughts will be happy thoughts. And as the weather really does change, my thoughts will change, and so will my feelings. But I won’t stay there forever. I’ll have another zillion thoughts in my day about what’s happening in my life. And so will you. Neither of us has to hold onto any thought we don’t want to. We can let them float by like a cloud with the wind and know our feelings will fluctuate all day long.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Did You Really Have A Bad Day... Or?

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Think about this one… really think about it. 

Was your entire day really that bad?

Did something not so great happen first thing and you’ve held onto it all day?

Did you decide that whatever happened had to color your entire day?

Life happens. 

Sometimes really awesome things happen at the start of your day.

Sometimes some not so awesome things happen at the start of your day.

Your day might seem more good than bad or vice versa. 

You determine how that day feels by what you think about what’s happened within it. 

If you think something is good, it will feel good.

If you think something is bad, it will feel bad.

If you think something is so so, you will feel so so.

You’ve got a couple of options.

You can change the way you think about something, therefore feel differently. 

Or you can just notice you think a certain way about something, therefore you will feel a certain way about it, then let it pass because it will. 

New thoughts will come in about what’s happening in your day, then new feelings will come in. And they’ll pass too. 

It’s only when hang onto a thought that we hang onto the feeling that goes with it.

Don’t let a bad 5 minutes give you an entire bad day.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Feeling Insignificant?

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There are two kinds of insignificance in my book. The helpful kind and the harmful kind.

First, the helpful.

We hiked through the redwoods on the coast of CA in early October of 2013. “Wow”, was all I could muster. Then I was speechless. The trees are GI-norm-ous! I had to crane my neck way back just to try to see to the tippy top of them. It felt like walking through a story, waaaaay back in time. It’s as if those trees could have told me in a grandfatherly sort of way, what was going on in the world back then, what the climate was like, and who was there to witness it all. I felt very small and insignificant. In a humbling, good kind of way. An inspired way. An “I’m not fully in control” kind of way. 

It was positive, because I’m not really in control of much, only me. Phew! That’s a full-time job in itself. 

Second, the harmful kind of insignificance. Many of my clients have told me they’ve felt insignificant in their jobs, with their significant others, and parenting their children. That insignificance comes in the form of thinking they weren’t doing enough, and whatever they were doing, it wasn’t good enough. It would only make them feel crappy. And when they felt crappy they didn’t feel very empowered about their lives. 

What we don’t realize is how much we actually do get done every day. How much we positively affect other people’s lives, that how much we do is enough as well as good enough, and how we are contributing to the betterment of the planet and our relationships.

I know I struggle with this. 

Often. 

Am I being the person I’m meant to be, doing what I’m meant to do, living on purpose to bring more to planet earth than I’m taking? 

I find myself thinking I fall short, therefore I feel insignificant and pretty blah.

But that doesn’t empower me to move forward with goals in my life. It just makes me feel shut down. And I don’t want to feel like that. 

There was something magical about standing in that forest of huge trees. Something I think we all experience from time to time. It can happen for you too wherever you live, whether it be looking up at a bazillion starts, standing on a beach overlooking the vast ocean, or watching the birds in your backyard. I hope you feel insignificant, yet in an inspired, awe-filled way. That moment of knowing you aren’t alone and not in control, and it’s all okay. 

I’m here to remind you, you are significant, you do matter, you do make a difference, and life for others would not be the same without you.

Thank you for that reminder Redwood trees!

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Creating Your Own Vision Board

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Have you heard of Vision Boarding? There are a number of ways to do it and my favorite is organically. I led a Meet up group recently where we created vision boards. Many people in the group had created them before but they all had a goal in mind or a vision. You can do it that way, but you don’t have to.

If you’ve ever wanted to create your own, here’s an easy way to do it. 

What you need:

  1. A poster board, any color
  2. A pair of scissors
  3. Glue (Glue sticks work best, but regular squeeze-the-bottle-glue works too).
  4. Magazines you already have at home and a few different ones you don’t normally get from the store. 3-5 total.

That’s it! 

How to do it:

This is my favorite part. You can’t do it wrong. Give yourself about an hour where and when you can be undisturbed. Grab some coffee, tea, or wine. Put on some favorite music if you’d like. You just need to be in a more relaxed space and frame of mind.

Start looking through the magazines and cut out any words or images that “speak to you”. When I say that I mean, anything that makes you sigh, take a deep breath, feel lighter lifted and inspired. Anything that seems intriguing, exciting, or relaxing even if you don’t know why. Basically, get your brain out of the way and  don’t overthink it. This is about letting your own internal light and creativity lead the way. 

Once you’ve gone through and cut the images and words you want, start gluing them on the poster board. Again, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. You might have things overlapping or a lot of white space. You might create your own structure for it or it where you lay it all out then glue, or it  might be more free flowing and you glue as you go.

This is about you showing yourself what’s fun, inspirational, and uplifting to you. You might be surprised at how it turns out.

When you’re finished, look it over and see if you notice any patterns or themes. Where do these patterns and themes show up in your life now? 

What are you wanting more of?

Notice what stands out for you.

You can do anything you want with this vision board. Some people put it somewhere they can see everyday. Some people put it in a closet, take it out in a year, and notice if some of the things in their images in words showed up in their life. 

It’s basically a snapshot of where you are right this moment in your life and the feeling states you enjoy. Often when people look at their vision board they feel some form of “yay”. We all like to feel good. If you’re having a “not the greatest day in your life” kind of day you can always bring out your vision board to give you a little boost. It’s not about what you might want that you don’t have. It’s about the feeling you think having something will give you. Then notice what you have now that already gives you that feeling.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Spending Time in Quiet Places

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I was hiking with a friend recently and part of our discussion included how each of us spends quite a bit of time away from others, screens, noise, and out in nature. That without doing that on a regular basis we would not be very sane.

Our brains need down time and not just when we sleep.

There’s a reason why we sometimes pull away from people, noise, and screens. 

It’s what we humans need. It’s not negotiable. How well do you function when you force your brain to be ON all the time? Think about it. 

No one functions long term like that. 

Maybe for you, spending time in a quiet place could be out in nature.

It could be reading a book.

It could be meditating.

It could even be sitting in a room with background relaxing music on.

It’s anywhere that you feel your brain gets a break from stimulation.

This is often when breakthroughs happen for our life. The question we had that we were looking for an answer, or that problem with our neighbor we couldn’t find a resolution for. Amazing solutions can come through our brains to us, but you have to give your brain space for that solution. Quiet time gives your brain space. 

Underneath all the noise of the outside world and the noise of our brains talking to us, there is quiet, calm, and peace. It’s who you are at your core.

Almost everyone I know wants to feel more of that. 

Remove the noise, let your brain chatter for a while because it will, then see if you can notice the calm underneath. It’s always there. 

Are you already doing this consistently? I'd love to know.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Do You Want What You Already Have?

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A little perspective for you today.

Your brain is wired to fix problems.

Let’s shift that for the next few minutes.

Let’s focus on what you want that you already have in your life. Not what you want that you don’t have, what you already have that you like having.

I’ll go first.

I want a caring husband. I have one. How lucky am I?

I want beautiful flowers in my garden. I have them. Oh that’s fantastic!

I want to do work that’s meaningful to me. I’m both a Life Coach and an employee at REI. Both fulfilling in their own way.

I want good coffee to drink the morning when I wake up. I have great tasting coffee. Yum!

I want to spend time reading impactful books. I already do this several times a week.

I want to make healthy meals full of variety. I do. Sometimes I have dinner for breakfast, but hey, MY rules!

This is me wanting what I have. 

This is me enjoying and appreciating that I have those things.

This is me still wanting more of what I already have for my future and other things too.

Write down or make a mental list of what you want that you already have. 

I bet you’ve got an amazingly abundant life. All you’ve got to do is actually look at what you have that you are thrilled about. Maybe nothing needs to change. 

What do you want that you already have?

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Do You Know The Right Way?

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Do you know what the best part about your life is? You get to live it YOUR way. And if it’s not your way, then we need to get you a new life!

I’m serious. 

One of my pet peeves is when other people tell me that I’ve got to do something a certain way. How on earth could they possibly know what way would work for me? 

I took a business building course recently and what the leader of our group said was there are SO many ways you can create a successful business. And there are. She has found ONE way and been able to repeat that with her clients using that ONE way, over and over and over again. She knows however, her way is one way that’s right but not the only way.

When you find a formula for your life that’s repeatable and helps you to be and successful on your terms, that’s gold. 

Which is why it’s so important that you know there isn’t really one right way for everyone. How can there be? 

We all have different personalities, likes, dislikes, values, preferences, natures, fears, dreams…

There will never be one right way.

Please don’t look for that.

Look for YOUR way. And you won’t be disappointed.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

What's Your Brain Like on Words?

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I wanted to share an experience I had this week that shows how brains work.

My husband had arthroscopic hip surgery at the beginning of the week. After trying everything to help but surgery, it became clear that surgery was the best option. We drove 3 hours to Portland for the procedure because if you want the specialist whose done thousands of them, you’ll drive wherever you need to have the best.

As I often teach my clients, you’ve got to learn to watch your mind. If you don’t, it will run amuck like a two year old child and throw tantrums in the middle of the grocery store.

Even before the surgery I knew I was nervous. I knew this because as a person who mostly sleeps soundly through the night, I wasn’t. 

These are the words that went through my head. “What if we have issues driving to and from Portland”. “What if we get into an accident”. “What if my husband (whose very active and doesn’t like to sit) goes stir crazy after surgery.” 

What if, What if, What if!

Then on surgery day after he’d been all prepped, I said I love you and I’ll see you in a couple of hours and walked away, all sorts of other words came into my mind. “What if he doesn’t wake up”, “What if he’s really nauseous and vomits on our drive home”, “What if he’s in a lot of pain”.

What if, What if, What if!

It’s a really fascinating thing to watch the words that pass through your mind. Notice I’ve said that a few times, the words that pass through your mind…

That’s what’s happening all day long. Words pass through. We call them thoughts because that’s what they are, but they are just words strung together.

And we give those words meaning. If I look at what I said above when I wondered, “What if he doesn’t wake up?”, all of a sudden, now I’m a widow. Then I have to think about how my life will be different. How am I going to navigate everything without him. Whose going to lift the heavy things around the house? Whose going to fix things that get broken? How completely devastated am I going to be? Will I go into a deep depression? Will I want to stay in our house? Will I want to move to another state?…

See, more words come up. SO many words.

The thing about those words that cross through your mind. 

You determine what meaning they have. 

You determine if you’re going to react to them. 

You determine if you’re going to be stressed by them.

You decide how much attention they get. 

Did you know, you don’t have to believe a single word that moves through your mind. You don’t.

I did a lot of mind watching before and after my husband’s surgery. 

It may not seem like it from what I said above, but mostly I was calm. 

The words passed through like clouds floating in the sky. I watched them and noticed my reaction to them.

The result?

His surgery was faster than expected. He wasn’t in a lot of pain. He wasn’t nauseous. The drive to and from home was super easy with very little traffic. 

Those words that ran through my head… they were just words. 

Words are going to continue to run through your mind all day long. 

It’s your choice to believe them, or not.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Want to Change Your Life? Start Really Small

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Changing your life is no easy task. We humans aren’t hardwired for change. Even if you want it, the doing part isn’t really all that easy. Like I mentioned in last weeks post, your brain likes to be efficient so it likes to do the same things it has always done and it conserves energy by taking you along the same path you’ve always taken. Your brain has to work a little harder to create change. And whose keen on the idea of working a little harder?

But if you do want change for your life, I highly recommend only changing one small thing at a time. Why? Because usually when you set out on changing your life, you have big hopes, dreams, and goals about where you think your life could be. Compared to where you are now, that could be one ginormous leap. And once you start that undertaking (or even before you do) the overwhelm of it all could completely keep you from getting out of bed in the morning. That life of traveling and adventure quickly becomes, “Let me just eat this pint of Ben and Jerrys”.

Imagine changing just one small thing. Something that’s really doable without overwhelm. Then your chances of actually succeeding in small increments and continuing are much greater. I call them ladybug steps. They are so teeny weeny, you could almost do them in your sleep.

So think of a change/goal/desire you have for your life. 

Save money.

Go on a trip.

Lose weight.

Meditate.

Choose your desire.

What’s one really tiny step you could take towards that desire that feels so easy it’s not a big deal at all?

Now go do it. It should be that easy or you’ve chosen something too hard or  too big.

The next day maybe you need to take that same step again, or the next super easy tiny step. Then do that.

This is how books get written, weight gets lost, trips get taken, fulfilling lives get lived.

They all start with one tiny step consistently taken.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but those ladybugs sure can move fast when they’re going somewhere, one teeny step at a time. :)

Please share if you know just the perfect person who needs this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck and confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

 

Look For What's Working

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Our minds are incredibly powerful. Think about how one crappy thing happens at the start of our day and that one crappy thing can color how the rest of our day goes. Or the opposite. Say your day starts off with someone complimenting you. That can color your day in a totally different way.

This is why I always tell my clients that you have to rewire your brain to focus on what’s good in your life if you want to have a life that feels good. 

Think about a hiking trail. If it’s used a lot that path is clear. If it’s not used, weeds, bushes, and grasses grow over the path and it’s not easily passable.

That’s how the neural pathways in your brain work. The one’s that are already used frequently keep getting used because the path is clear. The ones that aren’t used very often are mucked up with weeds so that path isn’t clear.

When you focus on what’s good in and what’s working for your life that’s the clear pathway your brain will follow and where your focus will go. When you focus on what’s not good or isn’t working, that’s the clear pathway your brain will follow and where your focus will go. 

Basically you want the “what’s good in your life” path to be clear of weeds and the “what’s not so good in your life” path to be full of weeds.

In other words focus on what you do want and stop focusing on what you don’t want. 

This is so so challenging. Your brains use the most energy of everything in your body, so your brain likes to be efficient and not waste energy. If it’s used to focusing on what’s not going well it has become very efficient at that and will keep using that path. It’s free of weeds.

If however you start to change you’re focus to what’s good and working in your life, that’s not as efficient for your brain because that pathway is full of weeds and it’s takes more time and energy to clear away those weeds and make that path clear.

That is why change is so hard. It is literally harder for your brain to clear away the weeds and make a different path. It takes more energy.

It’s not impossible however and worth the effort. 

Because the people who are most happy/fulfilled in life have trained their brains to use the path that focuses on what’s good and working. That path is clear and since it is, it’s efficient, and boy does that make the brain happy to walk, stroll, or race down clear pathways.

This is where your free will and choice come in. You choose which pathway you want to create in your brain every day. Just know, since your brain wants to be efficient, it will continue to use the clearest path that’s already there. If that path is full of the “what’s wrong with and not working in your life” thoughts, that’s the path it will continue to take. Every single time.

You must slowly and deliberately choose which path you want your brain to take. You’ve got to clear the weeds to create a new path. 

That path is either the clear one of gratitude or it’s the clear one of blech.

You can start right now.

It’s your life. What path do you want to be most clear in your brain?

Please share if you know just the perfect person who needs this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck and confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.