On April 30th, 2019 by Stacy

How to Stop Focusing on What You Don’t Have

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

We get sad because we see a hole where we think something should be. A partner. A lifestyle. A feeling. You might notice the hole because of a loss. Something you want was there before. It’s also possible that the hole has never been filled; you know it’s there because what you want isn’t.

One of the challenges of sadness is that it vibrates at low energy. That’s why you don’t want to get out of bed. It’s why you can’t accomplish much of anything. It’s why you are tired, sluggish, or lethargic. Getting out of the dumps so you can get back to feeling good is going to require raising your energetic vibration. Shifting your focus can help jump start your energy level.

Focus Shift 1: I look forward to (insert desire).

Sadness actually has a beautiful flip side. It points at something we desire, something we want to be, do, have, or experience. Most of us want what we want because we think it will make us happy. So logically, it should make you happy to think about it, right? What really matters, though, is how you think about it. You have more control over your emotions than you think. They are the direct result of a thought. If you think about what you want as missing or impossible to get, you feel sad. But if you think about it as on it’s way, like a package you ordered from Amazon, it’s exciting. It’s coming! Excitement will naturally raise your energy level.

Focus Shift 2: I am grateful for (insert desires fulfilled).

You might be entirely focused on the hole. All you can think about is the void in your life. Take a minute to step back and look around. Pick your head up. All around that one thing missing are the things that are present in your life. Don’t ignore those. In fact, celebrate them. Have some gratitude for all the desires that have already appeared. Those used to be things you wanted and now they are things you have. How wonderful! That grateful energy vibrates very similarly to that excited energy.

Focus Shift 3: I now have space for (insert desire).

Another way of thinking about a lack of fulfillment is to contemplate the hole itself. Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing after all. A hole might represent where you wish something was, but it also means there is space for anything you can dream up. Maybe something better than you had before or more magnificent than what you have imagined so far. You need that room to get your creative juices flowing. If space is being made in your life for absolutely anything you can conceive of, what would you design? This time, you are using creative energy to elevate your vibration.

Feeling sad is a perfectly normal human state and sitting with your feelings is a healthy thing to do. If we don’t allow our emotions, they have a way of coming out sideways, creating problems, and keeping us stuck. But after the initial and natural emotional response subsides, we have the ability to affect our feelings by shifting our focus. You can feel sad but you don’t have to stay sad. That’s up to you.

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On January 29th, 2019 by Stacy

Feel Forward

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

I used to always know what action to take.
I thought my brain was the most reliable and efficient resource I had. I was a logical, linear, one-obvious-right-path-forward thinker. Planning? Easy! I was comfortable choosing goals, creating steps, and taking action.

Times have changed though.
The more in tune I’ve become with my intuition and creative side, the more unsure I’ve become. I don’t see it as a bad thing, but I don’t always know what action to take next. Sometimes I draw a blank. Or there are way too many possibilities. Which to choose?

Not knowing what to do next would have been stressful or unacceptable to my old way of thinking, but now I view it as a fun opportunity. I can allow myself to feel my way through situations instead of immediately jumping into problem solving mode. As soon as I feel I’m clutching and grasping at an answer or when I’m overwhelmed by all of the solutions, I know it’s time to stop and tune in. Here are the steps I take to do that.

1. Ask a question.
It doesn’t matter if I’m focused on one thing or I’ve got a bunch of different stuff bouncing around. What’s the next step? What should I focus on? What direction should I take?

2. Do nothing.
Doing nothing IS doing something. You have to leave space for the answer(s) to come. For me, that means idle movement. My body has to be active for my intuition to be louder than my brain. Shower, hike, laundry, etc… But that’s just me. Maybe you can sit quietly in meditation or listen to music. Just do whatever works for hearing ideas.

3. Choose a direction.
I’m not expecting a single answer to come to me like a glowing spotlight from heaven illuminating the ultimate perfect solution. The universe knows I want a little more free will than that. I think we get infinite answers but our little human brains can only hold so many. You know how when you’re in the shower it feels like dozens of random thoughts cross your mind? I think those are ALL answers. They aren’t random. But I also know that every thought won’t lead me to the right place. I like to land onto a thought, no matter how completely unrelated it feels. Then I follow it along and see if it has relevance to my question. Are you the one for right now? Are you the good fit? If it feels like a dead-end, I ditch it and capture the next thought to test.

The answer always comes.
If not then, it will come later. Although I have to say that when you set an intention, intuition is pretty reliable. If I state my question before I take a walk and expect the answer by the end, I will get it. The only thing that will block it is me trying too hard to figure it out. The whole process comes to a halt when I try to think forward rather than feeling my way through a situation.

It’s a stretch sometimes. I like answers now. I rely heavily on my brain. I used to think logic was always right. Now I do my best to settle into uncertainty until the answers come. I try to follow my emotions and intuition as they nudge me toward the right path. And honestly, they never steer me wrong.

So the next time you are stuck, lost, overwhelmed, or baffled, give it a try. See what happens when you try to feel forward. Good luck, my friends.

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On July 17th, 2018 by Stacy

What is it that makes us happy?

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

It’s completely normal to feel scarcity.
Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s physical fitness. Maybe it’s a relationship. We want more of it and when we look around, we don’t have it.

The problem is that we are seeing an illusion. What we see when we look around is the reality. What we don’t see is the story we are telling ourselves about what we should see. You wouldn’t even know you were poor, fat, or alone if you weren’t remembering something you used to have or imagining what you’ve seen other people have.

Focus on what you do have and you will feel abundant.
Focus on what you don’t have and you will feel lacking.

Now some things we can’t control.
When you lose something that meant a lot to you, it will hurt. It is normal to grieve. That is loss, and feeling those feelings is super important. But when the grieving period naturally ends (and it will) and we continue to focus on that loss, then it turns into scarcity.

Other things we can control.
We have to recognize that and accept it. Sitting around feeling like our lives are lacking something that we can go out and get seems a little silly, doesn’t it?

Then again, we have to ask ourselves if we really want it. Like, how bad? Are we willing to do what it takes to get it (and keep it)?

Being rich and successful requires investment and work.
Being in excellent physical shape requires sacrifice and work.
Being in a relationship requires compromise and work.

There is always work.
And we are not always willing to do it, if we are honest with ourselves. Which is no big deal IF we are content. The question is…

If nothing ever changes, can I be happy with myself and my life as it is right now? Can I feel abundance?

I’m a striver by nature but when I put the brakes on to ask myself that question, the answer is always, “Absolutely!” The problem is that I hardly ever stop and ask that question. My brain gets caught up in where I’m headed and therefore, wants to judge where I’m at as not good enough. Lacking.

For me, that may be the hardest balancing act of all. To be simultaneously happy, content, and grateful for myself and my life right now and also be moving forward, changing, and growing.

Sometimes I like to get a little dramatic with it and pretend for a minute that this is the last week of my life (it could happen, you know). Would I really waste time fretting about missed workouts and self-imposed deadlines? Nope. So why worry about those now?

If nothing ever changes, can you be happy with yourself and your life as it is right now?

I hope your answer is yes, too.

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On June 19th, 2018 by Stacy

I'm No Good at Math

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

It's such a small book... why was I so intimidated by it?
C’mon, I’ve read a ton of books, books of all kinds. But as I pulled this one from the Amazon envelope, I was afraid to even open it. I wasn’t ready to find out the answers to all of my fears.

What if this is over my head? What if don’t get it? What if I’m not conscious enough to understand these teachings?

It was the Tao Te Ching.
I’ve wanted to read it for years but have always hesitated. Mostly because the teachers I’ve heard mention it have always been way beyond me in spiritual maturity. But a part of me still wanted to read it. I had a feeling it contained magic and beauty. But was I developed enough to appreciate it?

And then recently, one of my spiritual mentors mentioned it when I was asking for her list of must read books. It felt like a call from the universe, so I ordered it.

But as I held the thin book in my hand, I heard a voice of doubt and fear in my head.

It’s kind of like math. I used to teach algebra and I would hear students (and parents) say that they were never good at math and that they would never be able to do algebra. But do you want to know the truth? I never met a single person who couldn’t do algebra. I did meet A LOT of people who didn’t think they could though. And so they didn’t.

Was that the same thing going on here? I had a feeling it was all just a matter of connecting to that part of me that would understand the teachings in the book. Sounds easy enough, but I could feel the self-doubt.

Maybe it all just came down to desire. Were desire and intention going to be the game-changers here? Just like with algebra? The kids who decided they WERE going to do it no matter how good or bad they thought they were at math, did do it.

Did I just have to tap into my desire to understand, my intention to understand, and then I would be able to understand?

What if the desire to do something is the only thing standing between us and ANYTHING?
I mean, I get it. I’m not ever going to run a four-minute mile. But a lot of that is total lack of desire. In fact, as I ticked down a list of things I want to do, every single one of them was doable if I put my mind to it. Maybe I wasn’t getting crazy enough with my list. I added a few more outlandish things. Same thing.

It kind of blew my mind to think I could do anything, including so many things I assumed weren’t within my capabilities.

So I decided to open the Tao Te Ching. It was every bit as intimidating as I expected, but at least I was now equipped with a belief that I would be able to grasp it. On some level anyway. Maybe I’d get even more from it when I revisit it a few years down the road.

But you have to start somewhere. Maybe saying yes, believing you are capable, and just plain starting will get you there.

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On June 12th, 2018 by Stacy

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die

Posted In:
blog | Mindset

For months, I have wanted to create a new habit of waking up at 5:00 to meditate and write. But I haven’t been successful. Well, some days I am successful. In fact, sometimes I go for weeks being successful. But the system always fails at some point 100% of the time.

Each time that happens (sometimes daily), I criticize myself for failing. But as it turns out, I was actually setting myself up for failure.

Problem #1: I made a promise without realizing it.
My mind is awesome. As soon as I have a desire for something, my mind starts working out how to get it. Then, it settles on a plan for achieving the goal (like getting up at 5:00 am) and before I know it, I’ve made a promise.

The pattern looks like this…
Desire: I really want to write and meditate every day.
Idea: How could I make that happen?
Plan: I could get up at 5:00am.
Promise: I will get up at 5:00am.

I never intended to make a promise, but there it was. No wonder I kept feeling like I was letting myself down. When you’ve made a promise to yourself that you don’t keep, it's a big deal. Not getting up at 5:00 am seems like something small but over time, broken promises add up to feeling like a big failure.

In my mind, there is a difference between a habit and a promise. I have a lot of good habits in my life. For example, I exercise 5 or 6 times a week. I know that I’ll find a way to squeeze that into my day, but it is NOT a promise because I also know that life happens and something will have to give. For me, that is exercise. It is negotiable. I can do that, because there is very little danger of that falling completely off of my radar. Promises, on the other hand, are not negotiable. I keep those. And when I don’t, I suffer. I feel guilty. I feel like I’ve let myself down.

It seems I need to be a little more careful about that desire-idea-plan-promise pattern.

Problem #2: I was dealing with conflicting promises.
I also have a promise to myself that I have been keeping for years. I get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night. It is something that I just don’t sacrifice, if I can help it. The problem is that, in order for me to keep both promises, I have to go to bed at 9:00pm. That just isn’t realistic with the schedule my family keeps. So every night when I would go to bed and calculate hours of sleep, 5:00am was off the table.

It was actually a relief to figure out that I was dealing with conflicting promises to myself. The sleep promise I’d been keeping for years was simply trumping the new one I was trying to keep. Rather than being a failure all around, I was actually being kind to myself but just unable to do both.

Conflicting promises are similar to conflicting desires or conflicting values. I’m pretty sure that’s why when I feel like it is time to lose a few pounds, I sabotage myself if I go about it by eliminating whole food groups. On the one hand, it seems logical to me to give up carbs and dairy. On the other hand, I don’t want to live without pasta and cheese unless my life depends on it. I will be much more successful having a little less of the things that bring me great joy than sacrificing them. I can point to many unsuccessful weight loss attempts that boiled down to this conflict of desires.

Just like with promises, it seems the strongest one is going to win. It turns out for me that the vast majority of the time, my desire for the brie will always win. The good news here is that I’m not a loser. I’m not weak. I’ve just put myself in a position of conflict and when push comes to shove, there is only one winner. I just have to decide which one I value the most and find another way to get the other one.

Dissecting your “failures”
I’m often surprised at how long it takes me to quit getting up and running back into the same brick wall before I stop and ask myself why I’m doing it. But I’m always pleased and a little fascinated with what I come up with. Here’s what I’ve learned and the advice I would like to pass on…

  1. Know what promises you are making to yourself.
  2. Make sure your promises do not conflict with each other.
  3. Keep the promises you make to yourself 100% of the time.

Cheers to you for the promises you keep to yourself and the learning that comes from the ones you don’t!

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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