Self improvement

What Happens When You Dream

Over six years ago, I walked into a room that would change my life forever. My parents had just taken a 30-hour personal development course, and could not stop raving about it. When I heard that my dad, my stoic, reserved dad, cried during this course I had to check it out.

I’ve assisted at The Living Course (TLC) every single time since my initial course, and I learn so much about myself and humanity during these intense hours (after you take the course once, you can come back to every course afterward for free!). One of the focuses of the course is realizing a dream that is bigger than yourself; a dream that can guide your decisions and instill your life with purpose. The second time I assisted at the course, I told a room full of people that I was going to create an artist’s colony where creative people can learn from each other and support each other.

As soon as I proclaimed this dream I realized I had no idea how I would achieve it, and I didn’t even know where it came from. Mind you, this was years before I started The Heso Project (but the course was one of the reason why I started The Heso Project). TLC gave me an environment that was so supportive, so loving, and so energetic that it allowed me to tap into an intuitive part of myself that I never heard before.

T4Years go by and I’m constantly recognizing lessons from TLC popping up in my life, but the dream I had announced didn’t seem to stick. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized I was taking huge steps toward that dream I put into words during the course. The Writers Work Conference is a supportive and nurturing space for creative people. I am now setting up a retreat for writers in the Catskills for this winter, and a reading in Manhattan for emerging authors this November. These are concrete steps toward the dream of creating an artist’s colony.

I’m so grateful to The Living Course for asking me to find my dream, giving me the support to go after it, and helping me to unburden my past. The world would be so much more passionate, nurturing, and fun if everyone took this course. I hope you will be the next person to enroll. The next course is Nov. 7-9 in Rye, New York. If you sign up by Oct. 15, you’ll get $100 off! If the price tag scares you, I ask you to take a moment and really question how much you are worth. You deserve to spend that much money on yourself. You deserve this course!

This HeSo is now 30 years old!!!

Here’s what I thought being 30 would look like over the years:

  • When I was 10, I thought I would be a veterinarian and have 4 daughters named Cornelia, Caitlin, Catrina, and Cordelia.
  • When I was 20. I thought I would be running an international non-profit and have two kids names Charley Bell, and Tristan.
  • When I was 25, I thought I would have published at least two books and have one child.

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I love picturing my future and coming up with goals, but I think it’s important to constantly reevaluate my path. Here’s how I’m picturing my new 30.

  • Host more amazing writers conferences! (I’m working out the plans for the fall conference already)
  • Get a literary agent.
  • Determine what to do with Brutal First Impressions. (Is this something I want to keep doing or do I want to invest that energy into my writing and other ideas?)

And who knows, maybe this list will change tomorrow. It’s my birthday and I can do anything I want 😛

How can you not lover her???

This baby’s now 30

An Interview with Krista Giffin, Life Coach

KristaWhen I moved to New York City six years ago I lived with Krista Giffin right above Central Park. We only lived together for a short time but I still remember the great advice she gave me about dating. No wonder she’s a successful life coach now. You can check out her website, or follow her on Facebook. She is generously offering a FREE 60 minute life coaching session to the first thirty people who reach out to her! The beautiful and talented Krista is telling us about her journey. The field of life coaching seems to have exploded in the last few years. It seems like people are either really receptive or really skeptical  about it. What would you say to someone who’s skeptical of life coaching?

We all have patterns that we have created over time in order to succeed in this world. Much of it is from our childhood, where it suited us. Often a certain way of doing things is the very thing that keeps us stuck.  A life coach truly listens and reflects what they hear back to the client as well as posing dynamic questions to open up the client’s views on life.  If you’re skeptical, do your research.  Find people who have used coaches and see what they have to say, or try out different coaches. I often offer complimentary sessions as a way for people to get to know me and my coaching style.  I have been trained in ontological coaching, which is about how who you are being, affects the way things happen for you in the world.  It’s easier to grasp once you’ve tried it out.  Another great comparison is this: Many people work out on their own, but if you hire a great personal trainer, you are going to get results that much faster.  Coaching offers speed and velocity toward your dreams, but you still have to be committed to doing the work.

What got you interested in life coaching?

My step-mother passed away from cancer and I think it had to do with her stressful job, which made it harder for her to overcome her disease. We spend so much time at our jobs so they should be fulfilling. I have always been a HUGE believer in having a job you love. The important question is, “Does your job give you what you need?”  I had already been encouraging people to do what they love and to find a way to make things work for them in their lives and careers. At the same time, I was looking for a career that could blend my passion for acting with my background in teaching but could also be location independent because I’d like to see my family more often.  (They’re on the West Coast and I’m in New York).  This seemed like the perfect marriage.

Wow, you really created a career that blends your talents and gives you the lifestyle you want. Have you faced any challenges while coaching?
Getting people to believe in themselves is a challenge. Everyone has fears and doubts about themselves and their abilities, but we are far more powerful than we imagine. So much is possible, but it’s easy to shift back into our old ways of thinking and become dejected if we are not mindful. Once people understand their power they can truly create anything they want in life.  It’s a mind blower!
What is most rewarding about coaching?
Every step forward for my clients is rewarding for me. I love hearing about their lives, seeing all the different, cool, exciting things that people are doing, feeling their struggles, and recognizing we are all so similar. I love when they break through and really start to feel powerful on their own. I get so much from my clients.
Is there a particular area of life coaching that you’re drawn to?
I love working with people to get clear on what they want out of life.  Clients I’ve worked with have come to me with career issues, such as finding what they love to do or getting themselves organized and focused so they can run their businesses better. Clients have also come to me with relationship issues like getting married or getting the marriage they already have to the place where it truly supports and enriches their life.  My forte is getting people to make fun, relaxation and pleasure a priority, which helps them to achieve other things they want in life. 
In your opinion, what’s the difference between seeing a therapist and seeing a coach?

Coaching and therapy can work in conjunction with each other, but there is definitely a separation. Therapy works on healing trauma from the past.  It’s important to see a therapist and get yourself to the place that you feel well and whole. Coaching is future based. We take actions in the now with the future in mind. Occasionally we’ll look backward for a pattern, but we don’t stay there. Another great way to look at it is when you injure yourself, you may need to go to a physical therapist to heal that injury.  Once the injury is healed you can see a coach to move on to the Olympics.

What is your favorite piece of advice?
I have two. The first is meditate.  And I don’t follow it enough.  It’s very easy to become unfocused and distracted in today’s society, which leads to not listening to each other, break downs in relationships, and running around on our little hamster wheels.  It’s important to quiet our minds in some way in order to listen to our inner voice.  All of the answers are in there, but we need to slow down enough to listen.
The second is have fun!  So often we end up doing, doing, doing, work, work, work.  Take time out for yourself to have fun, play with your kids, watch a comedy, dance, spend time in nature, go on a date, get a massage, take a vacation.  These things fuel us and will make us more productive in the long-term, and just make life more enjoyable in general.  That in and of itself is worth it!
I could definitely benefit from some meditation. Thank you so much, Krista, for your wise words and your generous offer for a free 60 minute life coaching session. Anyone who would like to take Krista up on her offer should follow her on Facebook, and send her a private message.

When Will It Stop?

When will you stop making excuses and start making changes?

When will you stop letting your childhood fears control you and start letting your adult dreams guide you?

When will you stop living in protection and start living in possibility?

When?

The next TLC course is set for March 14-16 in Tarrytown, NY.

People ask me how I have the guts to try things out like Brutal First Impressions or travel without any plans, and the answer is TLC created a safe environment for me to tap into and develop facets of my personality that I didn’t even know were there. Any time I leave my comfort zone, I call on the tools I learned from TLC and suddenly it becomes easy to take risks and live the life I want.

You’re going to sign up for the next course because:

  • You deserve it.
  • You are too smart to keep running into the same problems.
  • You know you have a wealth of potential and you have only begun to tap it.
  • You are curious and you know that sometimes you just need to take a chance.

Stop putting it off. Sign up now.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what one of the amazing students said about the last course:

It’s hard for me to believe that 5 short months ago I was a very different person. Don’t get me wrong- I was the fun Diane I still am today but my heart was heavy & filled with unspoken anger & bitter disappointments in where my life had been & where it was going.

By all appearances I had an amazing life & was fortunate to have the resources to go places & do what I wanted. But it wasn’t enough for me. I was lacking true happiness in spite of my charmed life. I had a tremendous amount of anger deep inside that had been building for so long it scared me. I never knew when or how it was going to surface. Worst of all, I didn’t know who was going to bear the brunt of my anger. I never felt worthy of true love.

I came to a TLC weekend on the recommendation of a good friend who had been through the course. It took me awhile to commit. I thought I didn’t really need it. How could a weekend with a group of strangers change my life? I knew I was stuck in a pattern of behaviors that were no longer serving me- in fact, they never did. Doing the same thing the same way & expecting different results is pure insanity so I committed to going for the September class in 2013.

It’s impossible to put into words what TLC has done for me. I consider that weekend to be my real “birthday” as my eyes were opened & I discovered a new way to live my life. I have never been happier. People in my life wanted to know what was different about me after that weekend. “You are glowing!” “Did you lose weight?”(my personal favorite!!) “What’s different about you? Did you get a new haircut?” I am excited to share TLC with whomever will listen. But honestly, you need to experience it. It will change your life for the better. I know because it did for me. Thank you to my TLC family & friends for your unconditional love & support. You are all a shining example of the good that is possible in this world. 

Mini Memoir Monday: 20 More Pounds

At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I decided to join Weight Watchers with my mom and sister. We were a family of vegetarians who hated vegetables, so we had all gotten considerably chunky on a diet of pizza and french fries. On my first day at WW, I tipped the scales at a whopping 178 pounds. Based on my height and bone structure, they suggested my goal weight should be 145 pounds, a number which seemed so unreasonable and so unattainable I nearly coughed up the ice cream I had just consumed.

After three months of consistently counting my points, eating a carefully measured cup of Wheaties with skim milk for breakfast, a vegetable stir fry for lunch and a WW frozen meal for dinner, I was down to 145 pounds.

At my new weight, I was finally excited to go shopping with my friends. I remember standing in the dressing room, amazed as I zipped up a size six pair of jeans. Just as I was about to draw back the curtain to appreciate the skinny version of myself, I heard one of my friends cry out, “oh my god, the size two barely fits! I’m going to kill myself it I have to get a size four.” I looked in the mirror, and what had seemed skinny only moments ago was now gargantuan. I rushed to get out of the jeans, crumpled them into a ball, threw them in the corner of the dressing room and swore that I would lose more weight.

My friends were all skinny, and blessed with metabolisms that somehow could turn 2,000 calories of chicken wings into lean muscles. They talked about how fat Brittney Spears was, and how certain girls in our grade didn’t deserve to have boyfriends because they had muffin-top. They would pinch the extra skin around their rock hard abs and complain about how much weight they had to lose. They said all this while eating Doritos and brownies.

I went against the advice of my weight watchers couch and continued to lower my point goal. I cut out breakfast, and switched my lunch to two pretzel sticks and a some red pepper slices. I saved all my points for when I was around my friends so that I could eat what they were having. The only thing that made me feel like less of a fat freak around them was being able to pretend that I could eat just like them and lose weight.

I was hungry and exhausted. I could barely concentrate during class because my stomach growled so loudly. But no matter how little I ate, the scale would not go below 140. I didn’t know what else I could do to lose more weight except never eat again. I was thinner than I had ever been, but I hated my body more than ever.

That’s when my mom’s friend casually said to me, “You could be a model if you lost another 20 pounds. No really, I know some agents, but first you’d have to lose the rest of that baby fat.”

We were at lunch and I had spent the last thirty minutes staring at the bread basket. As soon as I heard her comment I reached for the basket and took the biggest piece of bread I could find. As I chewed that sweet, starchy goodness, I thanked my mom’s friend. I wasn’t thanking her for thinking I could be a model, but thanking her for showing me how ridiculous I had become.

Her comment made me stop and think about who I was losing weight for. For my friends who hated their own size two bodies? For a modeling industry that thought women should resemble hangers? Or for a girl who would always think she was chubby no matter how skinny she got? I realized that I would never be the right weight for anyone else, so it was my job to determine the right weight for my health.

I gained back fifteen pounds by the end of the school year, and I’ve managed to stay around that weight for the last fifteen years. I don’t want to be a model, I don’t want to be a size two, and I don’t want to starve myself. Sure I’d like to lose a couple of pounds every now and then, but I have more important things to care about, and one of them is being careful about the things I say to young, impressionable kids.

The basics of motivational books

English: Motivational speaker Tony Robbins at ...

Tony Robbins at a Twitter conference in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I started this blog, people love giving me motivational books. They are packed with great advice on how to achieve one’s dreams and how to overcome obstacles, but after you’ve read one you’ve read them all. From Tony Robbins to  The Secret, the same rules apply because they are truths that really work. So, I’ve decided to save you time and share the key tips they all have in common.

  1. The easiest way to make money is to tell people how to make money. Most of these motivational books start off with the author describing how they were down in the dumps but then they learned a few things, made millions of dollars, and now they’re going to share those few things with you so that you too can make millions of dollars. But first, give them $29.99 so that they can share those tips. Success begets success.
  2. You cannot control the timeline of your success – all you can do is prepare for it. You don’t know when you’re going to meet a crazy inventor who loves your idea and wants to give you $50k to get started, but don’t you think that investor will be more likely to give you money if you’ve already built a prototype and written a business plan? “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
  3. You can’t get what you want until you know what you want.You know those times when you walk into the kitchen and then realize you forgot what you wanted? You stand there like an idiot scanning every surface, hoping it will trigger your memory. When you do finally remember what it was you wanted, you see it immediately. It’s usually in the most obvious place. The thing that you wanted was always there, but you won’t find it until you know what it is. Start writing down what you want out of your life, and reread those lists constantly. What you want should always be on the tip of your tongue.
  4. Create a community of support. Find mentors who inspire you and do what they have done. Find colleagues who challenge and motivate you and give them the amount of help that you would like in return. Cherish your friends who are positive, and weed out the people who stomp on dreams or fill your life with unnecessary, distracting drama.

If you would like further reading on this matter, here is a wide variety of motivational books I’d recommend. Each of the books have an amazon link, so if you buy from the link, I’ll make money and then I can achieve the first point in this post 🙂

    

30 is not the new 20

80% of your life-changing decisions happen in your 20s. This crucial decade is when you start your career path. It’s when you pinpoint the qualities you want in a life partner. It’s when you start to get out of debt, or, unfortunately, start accruing debt. It’s when your collection of friends start dwindling down and you’re left with a core group of people who share the same priorities as you.

I watched the video below because the title contradicted an expression I’ve been hearing non-stop for the last few years: “30 is the new 20.” Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, explains why that is not the case. We can’t waste our 20s procrastinating and not taking our decisions seriously. Everything we do now will determine who we become. It’s ok to explore and try new things, but do it with purpose. Don’t think that anything will change, if you do not make the decision to change. If you date a loser now, you will probably end up marrying a loser later.

This is why I’m so glad I took The Living Course when I was 24. It helped me to determine exactly who I wanted to be, and who I wanted to bring into my life. I met my husband immediately after the course. I moved out of my parents house, got a steady job, and started taking my writing seriously. I can’t even imagine the sort of limbo I would have struggled through if I had not taken the course when I did. How many years would I have wasted living at 50%? (I’m not saying that my life is perfect, and I figured everything out in one weekend, but I do feel like I am on the right path, and that I have the tools to become who I want to be.)

Watch this video, and then sign up for this course. Don’t disregard this if you are not in your 20s. This message is not necessarily about age, as it is about not wasting your time at any stage in life.

In case you don’t have time to watch the whole video, here’s my favorite part:

 So what do you think happens when you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, “You have 10 extra years to start your life”? Nothing happens. You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition, and absolutely nothing happens.

And then every day, smart, interesting twentysomethings like you or like your sons and daughters come into my office and say things like this: “I know my boyfriend’s no good for me, but this relationship doesn’t count. I’m just killing time.” Or they say, “Everybody says as long as I get started on a career by the time I’m 30, I’ll be fine.”

But then it starts to sound like this: “My 20s are almost over, and I have nothing to show for myself. I had a better résumé the day after I graduated from college.”

And then it starts to sound like this: “Dating in my 20s was like musical chairs. Everybody was running around and having fun, but then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up, so sometimes I think I married my husband because he was the closest chair to me at 30.”

How to accept your inner idiot

Recently, a dear friend confided in me that he feels stupid and way over his head whenever he talks to people who are in the field he wants to switch into. This is mostly because he doesn’t know all the jargon or references yet. Here are two tips I gave him:

1. Write down the words and references you don’t know.The first time I told someone I wanted to be a writer, she started listing all of her favorite authors and asking me what I thought of them. I didn’t know a single one of them, and I felt like a fraud who had just been caught. Since that day, I always carry around a notebook (now I use the Keep It app on my phone), and when someone mentions an author I don’t know, I simply write it down and tell them that I will check it out. Instead of getting wrapped up in self-doubt, I take a pro-active step towards building my knowledge, plus it gives the other person an ego boost. Making it clear that you’re eager to learn something new is the difference between curiosity and ignorance.

2. Give yourself some time. Vocabulary has nothing to do with intelligence, it has everything to do with exposure. My mom uses the word pulchritude all the time. One day I casually used it in conversation and a friend of mine looked at me like she suddenly realized she had underestimated my intelligence. I didn’t actively build up my vocabulary, I just kept hearing that word. The longer you are in a particular field, the more you’ll know the vocabulary that goes along with it. Don’t think for a minute that you’re not capable of doing the work if you don’t know every term that’s thrown at you – in a few weeks, you’ll be throwing that word around too.

Where there is smoke there are bees? Part II

*warning, don’t scroll down if you have a weak stomach*

After the train evacuation, we were eager to relax in the pool and watch fireworks, but the next few days were real work. I had invited my writers’ group to my parents house for a mini writers’ retreat. It’s really easy to set up a retreat.  Here’s an example of our schedule:

9-10: Yoga. Fortunately one of our members is a yoga instructor, but if you don’t have this in your group you can do gentle stretches, or take a walk outside.

10-10:30: Breakfast

10:30-11: A prompt from The Writer’s Toolbox. After writing for fifteen minutes, we passed our computers to the person to our left to read it out loud. It was incredible to hear the diversity of stories we were able to come up with using the same prompt. It was also refreshing to hear someone else reading your work.

11-1: Working on our stories with a 5 minute break in the middle to stretch.

1-2: lunch and discussion about work.

2-3: Art time: We designed the covers of our future novels. I loved doing this because not only is it fun and motivating, I realized a major theme in my story that I never picked up on until I was drawing it. Sometimes all you need is to take a new approach!

3-6: A longer writing block.

6-7:30 : discussion of problem areas in our novels.

7:30-9: Dinner. (We didn’t have a chance to do this, but I thought it would be fun for each writer to prepare a meal that their main character would eat. Knowing what your character eats gives you surprising insight.)


9-11: A rousing game of Cards Against Humanity played with my parents. It was priceless to hear my dad ask, “now what the heck is queefing?”

I should have just stuck to writing, because everything was going great, but then I just had to have some relaxation. On the last day, we decided to spend some time out by the pool.

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The day after the sting.

The second I opened the door to go outside, a hornet flew into my face and stung me below my left eyebrow. Within an hour my eye swelled shut. The pain was intense, but I tried to ignore it. I have an Epipen because I’m allergic to ants (what?!?! who’s allergic to ants?), but since the swelling was localized, I didn’t use it. The swelling went down by nighttime…

And then I woke up at 6am because it felt like there was a burning potato shoved under my eyelid. My eye had swelled up even worse. I called my doctor and left a message on the emergency line. Mike went out to get me benadryl. By the time the on-call doctor called me back, my eye felt like it weighed 200 pounds. The doctor told me to go to the ER. I asked him if I could just take the benadryl, and he said absolutely not. After waiting at the ER for two hours, and giving them all my hard-earned money, the ER doctor told me to take benadryl! Aghh I hate our medical system.

2013-07-07 22.23.21

After two days: At this point I could open my eye slightly, but I sounded drunk when I talked because my lips and jaw were so swollen.

It took four full days for the swelling to go down. I have to admit it was really depressing. I was taking double doses of benadryl, so I was sleeping every other hour, and I couldn’t really talk because my jaw had swelled up, and I was really scared that there would be some permanent damage. I guess this is what happens when a city girl spends time outdoor. On Monday I tried to write my mini memoir, but after an hour of typing I don’t think I stumbled on a single real word.

Now that I’m all back to normal, I would have to say I’d do it all over again. That’s right, the train evacuation and bee sting were nothing compared to the fun, and engaging weekend I had with my writer friends.

I’m really grateful to my parents who hosted us. If you’re not so fortunate to have parents close enough to visit, but far enough to make it feel like a real getaway, I suggest splitting the cost of a cabin rental with your friends. There are cabins in the Catskills that rent for under $150 a night.

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After 5 days, I’m  still a little puffy but I only have a little scab under my eyebrow.

If you don’t have a writers’ group, or a group of friends that have a similar creative goal, I would suggest going on Meetup to find a group. Having friends to motivate and inspire me in my writing goals has made the difference between wanting to be writer, and actually sticking with it through the highs and lows. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be 🙂

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