Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project, sets out to discover ways to be happier. As she begins thinking about what sorts of resolutions she'll make to improve different areas of her life, she notices some "overarching principles" that play a significant part in her "happiness quotient"- and names these principles her "Twelve Commandments."
I was intrigued by this idea - and so set about writing my own list - here they are:
1. Be good to myself and others 2. Love outrageously 3. Stop holding my breath 4. Smile at strangers 5. Say it out loud 6. Be hardcore 7. Stay in touch 8. Don’t miss this moment 9. Have great adventures 10. Don’t wait for things to be perfect 11. Laugh deep belly laughs 12. Relish being wrong
Coming up with this list wasn't a complete breeze. I had to pause often to decide whether a commandment was really something I believed in or was inspired by or whether it was based on some external expectation. I loved doing it though.
Sometimes, the fastest path to happiness is to first define what it actually looks like for you!
To more happiness,
WatchDr. Vincent Felitti share about his journey developing the Adverse Childhood Effects study.
Read this tribute to the sexual abuse survivor depicted in the movie Spotlight.
What are your 12 Commandments - what principles underpin your life - hold you, guide you, inspire you and increase your happiness!??
BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Ancestral Mind by Gregg Jacobs
"A significant cause of our current condition is our over-reliance on the Thinking Mind and our disconnection from the Ancestral Mind. The Thinking Mind-the rational, self-conscious mind-is responsible for our great technological achievements, but is also the root cause of the unhealthy stresses of modern life and excessive negative emotions. The Ancestral Mind-our older, more unconscious, emotional mind-represents a deeper, wiser guide to well-being and is the source of a more integrated concept of self, an expanded sense of daily awareness, powerful positive emotions, and healthy mind/body interactions."
One of the best times in my life was when I was a member of Freeplay Dance Crew – a fabulous group of men and women who loved to dance for the sake of dancing. We often described ourselves as “professionals who dance” rather than professional dancers!
I had been with the company for about four years when we decided to take on creating a full-length show complete with costumes, lighting, and collaboration with another great dance company, Prince On Point.
Little did we know what we had in store!!
One day, the director called us all to circle up before rehearsal and gave us some news – we would be dancing the entire show barefooted.
Um, say what? We’re a hip hop crew – ya know, chucks, sneakers – that barefoot stuff is for those contemporary dancer type folks!
There were immediate protests (yes, yes I was one of the loudest to voice my objections). How can we do that? Our feet are going to bleed! I have ugly toes – I don’t want the world to see them! (yes, we also had grandiose ideas as to how many people would see our performance).
I wonder if our director knew the storm that he’d face in asking us to make this change? Did he anticipate all of the emotions that would rise from him asking us to try on this approach to dancing that was new, uncomfortable, scary, and felt really risky?
In the end, he won – I mean, he was the director, the leader, our guide – and so we gave up our protests and trusted in him and his vision, knowing he must be able to see something that we couldn't yet.
Now that doesn’t mean we didn’t whine during rehearsals from time to time, or sneakily make faces at him when his back was turned – but we worked together, we supported and encouraged each other, and the end result was – well, beautiful.
It’s not lost on me the significance that the title of the show was Re/Genesis – a new beginning!
To this day, that performance is one that I hold most dear to my heart, because it taught me something that I try to keep in mind every day when I work with my clients as their guide – sometimes, what I’m asking them to do feels like dancing with no shoes on. Some days, when I say, “Trust me, this will work, just try” – I know there are doubts and fears that immediately come up.
Change can be uncomfortable. Change can seem like a daunting task or even a trick. A risk. An exposure.
But remember – on the other side of change and discomfort is something beautiful, a new creation, a new life – knowing something about yourself that you never thought, doing something that you imagined to be impossible, a life you might have thought unattainable.
Today – even if it feels uncomfortable – I invite you to dance with your shoes off and see what happens!
If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you don't want to miss this!
I believe that as women we are born to create the waves of change that are so needed right now ... and you deserve full support to do this work you so love.
So, we have co-created a fantastic urban retreat to Nourish you, and YOU are invited to join us for this very special event:
RISE UP PRIESTESS CONFERENCE, 2 Day Women's Spirituality Gathering for women healers, leaders, priestesses, facilitators, and coaches. August 19th-20th (Berkeley, CA).
Now more than ever, our feminine culture is at a profound crossroads. These past many years have skewed our sense of connection with our divine feminine and women’s community as the passports to our deepest collective dreams.
Women are RE-emerging to Claim our roles as matriarchs and visionary leaders of our communities, and our culture. As this emergence continues, there is a growing need for women healers and leaders to receive support - so that we can fully share our wisdom and gifts AND live fulfilling and prosperous lives.
I'm so excited to be presenting at workshop at the retreat and hope to see you there!
Today is one of my "favoritest" days of all. 4th of July!! Ever since I can remember, this holiday has been a special one for me.
I grew up in a small town called Bartlesville - at least it felt like a very small town when I was a kid. Right across the street from my house was Sooner Park. One of the best things about Sooner Park (aside from the barely safe curly slide), was the huge hill that during the winters served as a place to go at break neck speed down on a sled and during the summer was the staging ground for the local fireworks show.
This meant that every July 4th, friends and family gathered in my front yard for the best seat in the house. The food food was amazing (down home fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, pies of every type). The fireworks and sparklers and those strange ones that looked like a worm when you lit them kept all of us kids busy until the main show started.
I remember sitting amongst my aunts and uncles as they told stories (no doubt this rubbed off on me) and also talked about their struggles.
The memory of this time fills me today with a warmth, it is a comfort -- and yet, I'm also struck by another memory.
When I was 20-something, I had been out on a few dates with this girl when she asked me about my childhood. I remember saying, "There's nothing good to say about that - next topic."
See, at that time in my life, I was so consumed by the unhealed trauma that my focus and attention was singularly on all that had been bad, hurtful, disappointing, hard, scary...
So much so that I couldn't even access these 4th of July memories.
This is something that I have seen myself do and most of my clients do -- fall into this "tunnel vision" perspective of ourselves, our lives, our experiences, and others.
One of the most wonderful surprise benefits of healing trauma is that we are able to reconnect with our full life experience -- and the bad becomes interwoven with the good rather than being always on the main stage.
My hope for you today is that, regardless of where you are in your healing journey, that you can find a moment today to consider the full picture of your life journey. Not as a way to dismiss the trauma that you are healing. Not as a way to pretend that things really weren't that bad. But simply as a way to connect to yourself and your life as a whole.
Happy Independence from Tunnel Vision Day,
Watchthis video to learn what Sean Stephenson has to say about overcoming anxiety.
Read this article to learn how you can hit your brain's reset button.
What is one favorite memory from your childhood? Spend some time journaling about this membry.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Freak: The True Story of an Insecurity Addict by Rebecca O'Donnell
"From its first caustic, blackly hilarious quote to its unbelievable ending, Freak examines a roller coaster ride of a life and never lets up. It tells the true story of Rebecca O'Donnell, an atypical hero who found joy and laughter in the darkest of circumstances. Unlike so many spunky survivors of damaged pasts, Rebecca belonged to those far more common gray areas of depression and insecurity, hidden behind a mask she showed the world."
Are you ready to finally look in the mirror and like what you see?
For survivors of abuse, shame can be one of the most pervasive feelings we carry well after the abuse has ended. As a result of trauma, we come to believe that we are at fault or to blame for what has happened.
This then transforms into a deeply rooted way of being that impacts our sense of self. For example, we might come to believe that we are unlovable because we were abused. We might come to believe that there is inherently something bad or wrong about who we are. In other words, all of our judgments about "self" are derogatory or negative.
Boy have I been there! And I can't wait to share with you what helped me put an end to the constant self-blame and judgment.
It's June, and I'm so glad it is -- though San Francisco is generally refusing to get in line with my dreams of sunshine and BBQs (typical!).
But today is gorgeous! So, I'm gonna run out and take advantage of the sun while it lasts, but first, I want to share with you a recent interview I did with David Van Nuys, host of Shrink Rap Radio. We cover a lot of territory in this interview, so I hope you hear something that supports or inspires you today and brings a little "sunshine" into your life!
To enjoying the little gifts of life,
Watchthis video to learn how childhood trauma can affect your health.
Read this article to learn more about foods you can eat every day to beat depression.
What is one small thing you can do today to take care of you, improve your health, or get moving?
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind by Bija Bennett
"a broad range of simple body-mind techniques that can positively affect our emotional well-being, including the dynamic interplay of movements, breathing exercises, meditations, lifestyle skills, rituals, gestures, and healing sounds."
Many years ago, I was sitting at a table with friends, listening to the conversation. They were smiling and laughing. One person feeding off the other. There was a camaraderie and a banter that was happening as they swapped stories.
I was enjoying taking this all in, but then, all of a sudden, a deep sadness hit me. It was as if the table stretched away from me like in a movie when time slows down, and I was very present to how "on the outside" I felt in that moment. I felt disconnected, separate -- an observer -- and I just knew that I didn't belong.
Maybe you can relate?
Later that night, I turned to my partner and said, "I think I'm really lonely and always have been." He was shocked! We'd only been dating for a short time, but to his mind, I was a very social and connected person.
I burst into tears and said, "I know! What the hell is wrong with me?"
This moment launched me into investigating loneliness and trying to understand how I could be surrounded by people and at the same time feel completely separate.
Along the way, I discovered that, as a result of the abuse I experienced, I had come to believe that there was something different about me, something that people just could never understand. And so, as a result of this belief, no matter how many connections I had, I could only connect to a point and then no further. The result being, I was left with this deep loneliness.
As I set about to resolve this, it led me to exploring many aspects of connection and relationship: trust, setting boundaries, intimacy, vulnerability, communication.
And bit by bit, I was able to address each block that was keeping me isolated and disconnected.
This past weekend, I was away at a work + play weekend with eight other amazing women who I consider friends for life. I found myself once again at a table, watching my friends share about their lives (the good, the bad, the ugly), and I felt a deep warmth as I sat in their presence -- connected, receiving, and able to give of myself in a way that I once believed would never be possible.
Today, if you're feeling lonely -- I get it! I want to encourage you to try on challenging any belief that is causing isolation or disconnection in your own life.
And, of course, I'm happy to be here to support you in taking that on!
Watchthis video to learn how loneliness may be impacting your body.
What is one small thing you can do today to create more connection in your life?
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Lonely: A Memoir by Emily White
"Many people, over the course of the past several years, have asked me why I would want to write a book about chronic loneliness. The subject, they hint, is embarrassing; it's best kept unmentioned. And loneliness, they say, isn't 'real' --- at least not in the way that depression or bipolar disorder are real. Every word I've written has been penned against a chorus of 'Don't and 'Why bother?'”
Learning to set boundaries and to communicate is one of the key things that led to more connection in my own life. I hope you will download this master class that has been specifically designed to help you reach a place where you feel confident, joyful, and empowered. The strategies I share in this class are practical, easy to use, and the most effective ways I know to overcome the "people pleasing" and pain that comes when we lack boundaries.