self-improvment

The greatest thing that ever happened to me

Have you ever held the most adorable baby in the world? Touched its perfect chubby cheeks? Played with its impossibly tiny toes? What do you feel when you see something so innocent and beautiful? You want to protect it, love it, you want the best for it. You imagine all the amazing things that child will grow up to be. This child doesn’t need to do anything in order to warrant your love – its pure existence is magnificent.

(photo credit: Ghastlydoor.com)

Now imagine seeing yourself as that perfect little baby. How would you treat yourself differently if you could remember how innocent and beautiful you are? We’ve all seen that image of a woman holding her baby right after giving birth – imagine loving yourself with that same intensity.

Now imagine thinking of everyone that way. Wouldn’t it be easier to forgive those who hurt you? Wouldn’t it be easier to make decisions based on love and excitement rather than anger, greed, competition, or spite? Wouldn’t it be easier to open yourself up to new relationships?

This is just one of the ways I see the world differently after taking the The Living Course. I’ve written about this many times before, and I’m going to keep talking about it because it’s something that is so beautiful and profound that it’s depressing to think not everyone will get to experience it. I took this 30 hour intensive course 5 years ago, and I’ve assisted 7 times since then. It only takes one weekend, and I love assisting because I get to watch people completely transform in a matter of hours. This is not a course for people who need to be fixed (although it will help), this is a course for successful people who want to live up to their full potential.

(photo credit: alexxstuart.com)

I’ve told everyone I love about this course (ad nauseum) because to not do so would be the most selfish act in my eyes. How can I tell someone they have to try an amazing brand of ice cream but not tell them about a course that will leave them happier and more empowered? My supreme wish is that you, my beloved reader, will take an insane risk and sign up for the next course. It runs from Feb. 8-10 and it’s in White Plains, NY. This is not something you can talk yourself into doing – you just need to take a leap of faith. So far 10 of my friends have taken the course and the one thing they always say is, “Why did I wait so long to take this course?”

Will this be the moment you decide to live your best possible life? Sign up now!

P.S. I AM IN NO MEANS GETTING COMPENSATION FOR MY ENDORSEMENT.

Here are some other posts I wrote about this course:

I’m Mad about Julia

Cover of "The Artist's Way: A Course in D...

It might seem strange to talk about anger right after announcing my engagement, but I came across this beautiful passage on anger and had to share it. Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way,

Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it. Anger points the way, not just the finger. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.

Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out… with a little thought, we can usually translate the message that our anger is sending us.

“Blast him! I could make a better film than that!” (This anger says: you want to make movies. You need to learn how.)

“I can’t believe it! I had this idea for a play 3 years ago, and she’s gone and written it,” ) This anger says: stop procrastinating. Ideas don’t get opening nights. Finished plays do. Start writing.”

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not.

I read this passage so many times and underlined almost every word. And then I put stars next to almost every other sentence.

There are two basic expressions of emotional pain: anger and sadness. While men typically express their anger and repress their sadness, women typically do the opposite. Anger has always been a really hard emotion for me to embrace. Sadness feels safer and more appropriate.

Maybe I’m afraid anger will push people away, or maybe I don’t feel like I have the inherent “right” to stand up for myself. But Sadness cannot be the only tool for relieving emotional pain. There’s no sense of empowerment when you are sad. No sense that you are in charge, and you can change the situation.

"Oh bother"

While there are certainly people who have an unhealthy amount of anger, and need to learn how to manage it, there’s also a lot of people who need a little anger in their lives. I’m talking about all the doormats, the Igor’s and the Emo kids out there. You know who you are.

My mom started her wildly successful

business of challenging property assessments because she was angry about the local municipality not doing their job, and taking advantage of her. What good would it have done her or anyone to just cry about how unfair her property taxes were? In that case, anger put all three of her kids through college, paid the mortgage, and helped thousands of people save money.

I love the thought of using anger to show you what you want. I love the thought of anger as a pro-active emotion. Take some time today and think about what makes you really angry. Are you angry enough to start doing something about it?

10 lessons from 100 posts.

Here are some things I’ve learned while writing the last 99 posts.

  1. Write things down. We have so many thoughts running through our head how will we ever know which ones are significant? Of course writing a thought down does not make it significant, but if you catch yourself writing the same thought over and over it’s time to take a deeper look. It’s nearly impossible to get that clarity if you keep everything jumbled up in your head.
  2. Create a supportive community. One of the reasons why I was afraid to blog was that I’ve read so many mean-spirited comments on the internet. Blogs seemed like the place where people let out their worst thoughts, and I didn’t want to invite that into my life. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how nice and supportive strangers have been. This goes for the real world too. I’ve actively drawn more positive people into my life, while avoiding negative people.
  3. Make your goals public.It holds you accountable, and it makes you realize that other people are rooting for your success and happiness.

    Termites build these impressive structures one grain of sand at a time.

  4. Things add up. Whenever you start something it’s easy to discount it. After my first few posts I thought what’s the point. I’m just wasting time. But after steady accumulation the whole it greater than the parts. Sure there are some posts that are silly and unnecessary, and sure there were some heartfelt posts that felt really good to share, but in the end I’m able to look through it all and say, wow this is something I’m proud of.
  5. Take some time to study yourself. We spend years studying math, Science, history, etc, but when do we sit down and really examine ourselves? And why not? We have to spend the rest of our lives with ourselves so shouldn’t we be the greatest expert on our own ideas, memories, and dreams?
  6. Just say yes. If you’re not sure you will like something try it out. Take every thing one day at a time. One of the hardest things about finding a new job after I quit was not know what I liked to do. But how will you know what you want to do if you don’t try out a bunch of different things? It’s just as easy to say no after you try something out. But to say no first will prevent you from knowing for sure if something is your cup of tea.
  7. It doesn’t matter if it’s been said before. It’s so easy not to write something because you think it’s a given, or a cliche. But chances are it’s new for someone. And even if everyone in the world has read it before sometimes we need to read it again. Sometimes I just need to hear something at the exact right moment for it to sink in.
  8. Talk to someone different. It’s our tendency to surround ourselves with like minded people. I often realize what a bubble I live in (especially when I see the kind of politicians people are actually voting for…Santorum? Really?). One of my favorite parts of teaching English as a second language is meeting people who come from different worlds. It makes life seem so much more complex and beautiful when you know that it can be done so differently.
  9. Wake up an hour earlier. I used to think that getting an extra few minutes of sleep was more important and beneficial than eating breakfast, or having a chance to take a deep breath before heading out to work. Ever since I started doing the morning pages I’ve been waking up at 6:30 and I love it. Of course I’m tired, but I’m going to be tired no matter what time I wake up. Now my mornings feel peaceful. There’s something special about the early morning sunlight.
  10. Notice synchronicity. I don’t really care if it happens by chance, or if it’s God’s way of saying, “hey I’m listening,”there’s something so fun and exciting about noticing coincidences. In my morning pages I wrote, “I hope my boss gives me another class,” and that day he gave me another class. Last week I thought, “I really don’t want to do the laundry,” and a minute later Mike walked by with the laundry bag and said he was going to do it. Noticing these funny coincidences makes you feel like an all powerful superhero. It makes you think that you can get anything you put your mind to. It encourages you to dream bigger, because if you can will one person to do your laundry maybe you can will someone else to publish your book.