TLC

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. 

Which kid are you?

Photo credit: BCI Burke Comp.

A little girl decides to take a risk and climb on top of the monkey bars. The other kids in the playground look up at her in awe as she balances on the metal rods high above them. She puts her hands in the air, basking in her glory. When she makes it across everyone cheers.

What would that little girl learn about taking risks?

What would she learn about getting attention?

What assumptions would she start to make about herself?

Photo credit: Chicago Phoenix

Her friend sees this and decides to try climbing the bars too. She’s so nervous her feet are shaking and she falls to the ground. Everyone sees this and laughs.

What would that little girl learn about taking risks?

What would she learn about getting attention?

What assumptions would she start to make about herself?

If those two girls were in the same class the next year, and their teacher asked for a volunteer who do you think would raise their hand? The second girl has already decided that it’s not safe to take risks. If she messes up, she’ll just confirm all the negative thoughts she had about herself. Even if she does well and everyone compliments her, but there are two girls laughing in the back of the room, she will focus on the laughter and not on the praise (even if that laughter wasn’t directed at her).

Do you ever focus on the one complaint rather than hundreds of compliments?

If those two girls were at a job interview, who do you think would get the job? If those two girls were on a date with a jerk, who do you think will realize they deserve better, and who will accept poor treatment?

We’ve all had moments in our lives that shape who we are and how we see the world. Some of those moments were big and impossible to forget. Oftentimes they were just small moments that are easy to forget as an adult, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long-lasting effect.

The problem is these decisions we made about ourselves were decided by children who didn’t know better. We were doing the best we could to make sense of a world that is confusing and some times painful. As adults we need to take a step back and determine if these assumptions are true and if they are serving us. Are they keeping us from living a full and happy life? Are they keeping us in unhealthy relationships? Are we stuck in a rut because of them?

This is a huge lesson I learned from The Living Course. If you’ve ever talked to me, you’ve probably heard me talk about this course because it changed my life forever. I was the kid who fell off the monkey bars and decided risks were dangerous and attention could only be negative. I lived with this mentality for 24 years, and then in ONE weekend the light switched and I saw my life through completely new eyes. Rather than fear I embraced excitement. Rather than judgement I felt love. Rather than saying “I have to,” I said, “I want to.”

I wish everyone could take this course. I wish everyone could feel like the little girl on the monkey bars with her hands stretched out, soaking up everyone’s praise and feeling magnificent. You deserve to feel that way. The next course is May 31-Jun 2, 2013 in White Plains, NY. The courses are few and far between, so it’s worth canceling your plans. I assist at every course, because it’s incredible to watch people transform into the better version of themselves in just 30 (intense) hours. Go to their website right now and contact them for more information. I do not get paid to do this. The only reward I receive is feeling like I played a part in making someone’s life better.

Don’t waste another year playing it small. Whatever small voice in your head is saying “no” is the same voice that will keep you from having the life you want. When are you going to stop listening to it?

The 4 best hugs of my life

Atom Structure

I can still remember the moment my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Moffit, explained that electrons can leave one atom and enter another atom. I couldn’t believe everyone else was just sitting there calmly, taking notes. Did they not understand what he just said? I stared at my pencil, imagining the contents of the pencil and the contents of my hand flowing back and forth. If our atoms didn’t respect their boundaries, where did I end and the pencil begin? I looked at the most popular girl in the room and wondered if we were sharing any electrons. I wondered if any of the electrons that ended up in my atoms had ever been to Mars. That chemistry lesson was probably the most profound thing I learned in high school because it taught me that we are all truly connected even if we can’t see it.

A hug is the perfect physical representation of that idea. If done right, you can feel yourself becoming a part of the other person. Here are the four best hugs I’ve ever been a part of:

  1. IMG_8075I started going to Nicaragua when I was 12 years old to help build houses and schools with an organization called Bridges to Community. On one particular trip I really connected with a mom who was receiving the house we were building. I can’t remember her name, but I can still remember the hug. At first it was just a polite good-bye hug, but then she held me tighter, and I could feel myself letting go of any notions that we were separate. Although we had very different lives I had never felt closer to anyone before. We hugged for a long long time, crying mostly.
  2. CIMG0064On our second date, Mike took me to the county fair in Middlesex, NJ. It was an incredible night, and when the last train arrived, we held on to each other, not wanting the night to end. I knew then that I wasn’t ever going to stop hugging him…and now we’re getting married and no train schedule is ever going to keep us apart 😛
  3. At every Defy Ventures event we start off the evening with ten bear hugs. First we look into one another’s eyes, say the person’s name, and one thing we love about them. Then we hug. In prison, these men learned that it wasn’t safe to touch anyone. For years they went without any physical contact. This is a huge part of the healing process. For the volunteers, it’s a great reminder that these men have feelings, insecurities, and needs – the opposite of how they are normally portrayed in society: scary, unpredictable villains.
  4. I can’t pinpoint the best hug I’ve received during all the TLC courses I’ve taken because they’re all so heartfelt and unguarded. Research shows that eight hugs a day releases oxytocin and lowers blood pressure. I definitely get a year’s worth of hug benefits in those three days.

Here are some tips on giving a great hug:

  1. Don’t pat the person’s back. It makes them feel like a baby getting burped, and it also feels like nervous fidgeting.
  2. Don’t be the first to pull away.
  3. Try to breathe in and out at the same pace as the person you’re hugging.

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:

Wow another 2 day deal!

I’m all about discounts, and here’s one that’s priceless.

I talk a lot about The Living Course (TLC) because it had a huge impact on my life. In three days you’ll gain a whole new perspective of your life. It’s challenging, eye-opening, and most importantly, empowering. This is not a course to take when you feel like your life is a mess. This course is for intelligent, competent people who feel like their life can be better.

When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded ridiculous. I went to art school where self-reflection is a part of the curriculum. I knew what my problems were, but I also knew that there was no way I was going to solve them in 3 days. And the course was so expensive (almost $800!).

By the time I left, I knew exactly what I needed to do to make myself truly happy. The problems I thought I had seemed so superficial – they were all just symptoms of much deeper problems that I never recognized until I took the course. I look at all the changes in my life since the course, and I can’t believe I ever thought that I wasn’t worth $800. I would pay that on a professional development course, so why not on a personal development course? YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Since I took the course (almost 5 years ago), I’ve assisted with 6 more courses. I’m still surprised by how it works with so many different people. I’ve seen brain surgeons, unemployed actors, housewives, principals, stockbrokers, you name it, they’ve all taken the course and they’ve all said that they wish they took it sooner.

If you live in the New York area, even if you live hours away, TAKE THE COURSE! If you sign up by tomorrow you can save $95! The course runs from Oct. 12-14 and it’s in White Plains.

Don’t over think it. If any part of you says this sounds interesting, sign up immediately, or else you’ll talk yourself out of it. Don’t let fear stop you from living your best life. SIGN UP TODAY!

I do not work for TLC, I don’t get paid to do this. My only reward is watching people change their lives, and knowing that I had just the tiniest part of it!

All You Ever Need to Know

Look into this baby’s eyes. Could you ever say or do  anything to hurt him? No, it’s impossible. This baby deserves to be loved and protected.

Every single person starts off just as beautiful, innocent,and magnificent. They deserve to be loved and protected. They deserve to be treated like a precious gift. However, as we grow up we do get hurt. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, but nevertheless, it’s never warranted.

We figure out how to survive; how to go through life without getting hurt. Sometimes our defenses help us but other times it keeps us from getting close to others. And usually our defenses end up hurting other people even if we don’t realize it. Hurt people hurt people.

If you can look into a person’s eyes and forget about who you think they are now, and just see the beautiful, innocent, magnificent being that’s inside them I guarantee you’ll treat them differently.

Now if you can recognize this innocent beauty inside of you, it’s possible to stop criticizing and doubting yourself. Imagine how different we would all treat each other if we did this.

How can you not love her???

Find a picture of yourself where you can see how happy and innocent you were as a child, and keep it in your wallet. I started doing this, and every now and then I look at it and remember that I need to take care of myself, and that I need to show as much love towards everyone else. I’d highly recommend it.

This is one of the lessons I learned from The Living Course. I took this course 4 years ago and it had a profound impact on my life. I’ve assisted with 6 courses since then, and I still get so much out of it. I first came up with the HeSo Project during a TLC course when I realized how little I think about what would fulfill my heart and soul.

I wish everyone could experience the joy and self-empowerment that this course brings into the lives of everyone who takes it. If you live near New York or Michigan I urge you to take the course. I know the world will be a much better place if everyone could do it!

The Living Course

This past weekend I had the honor of assisting in The Living Course (TLC). I was a student in this course three and a half years ago, and I’ve never been the same. Before that course I was afraid of taking risks, and having a serious relationship – right afterward I signed up for Match.com and met Mike (one of the best people in my life) and I moved out of my parents house.

This was my 5th time assisting and I realized that TLC has become my anchor in life, and has helped me make the big and difficult decisions that make my life the way I want it to be. It’s only a three day course, but I’ve seen people’s lives change right before my eyes. It lets you see what you’re doing to prevent yourself from having the life you want and deserve. I made the decision to quit my job at the last course, and at this course I met someone who I want to work with in the future.

After I got back from Spain, just  a week ago, I felt stuck. I kept thinking I would take time to figure out what my next job move would be before going to Spain, and then when I’d get back I could get started. But after Spain I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I felt disappointed in myself. But I decided there’s no point in putting myself down about it because then you turn inwards and I needed to stay open and ready. So here’s a good story about staying open to opportunities:

While having dinner during the course I was sitting with a few women, and one named Amy was talking about an episode of Oprah from five years ago that she’s never been able to erase off her DVR. I told her that that show really effected me too. It was about The Challenge Day when a high school shut down for the day and did exercises to build trust, vulnerability, commonality, and forgiveness  among the high school students. I loved it so much that I tried to do it with my middle school students (I was a student teacher at the time). Although they were a little too young for that work I think they still got a lot out of it. I forgot about the show, but as soon as Amy started talking about it I got almost giddy. Then she said she always wanted to do a course like that but she didn’t have any support. Before thinking I said, “I’ll help you.”

She then continued to talk about how hard it is to follow your dreams when you don’t have any help. That’s when someone else at the table said, “Didn’t you hear Tracy offer you help?” Amy paused and said no. This happens all the time. We’re so busy thinking of how hard something will be that we ignore potential help. I was guilty too. As soon as I offered my help, and she continued talking I just nodded my head and agreed with her about how hard it is to get support instead of insisting that I’ll be her support. It let me off the hook, but in reality I didn’t want to be off the hook, because this is something I believe in. So now Amy and I are making plans to bring this program to the schools in our area. Even writing this on my blog scares me because now I have to follow through. But that’s why I need to write it down, because I want to follow through. And I’m super excited!

As soon as we start to talk about what we want people want to help. And then the crucial part is to listen, because people are offering their help all the time, but we ignore it because it’s easier to complain rather than do something. Have you ignored someone’s help? Today I dare you to tell someone about something you want to do that you can’t do by yourself. I bet you anything that person will offer to help you. And do yourself a favor. Believe that their offer is genuine because it probably is.