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“How do I find joy?”

My client asked me. “There is nothing to find, it is within you,” the answer no one wants to hear. And it’s true. Joy is a state of mind. it is our natural state of mind.
I played a little game with myself this morning when I went to the beach after my 7am yoga ‘work in’ (rather than work out) as coined by the yoga instructor.
I played the game, WOW. Yep. I just brilliantly named it. I imagined how I would feel, walking along the tiny, bohemian streets of Delray, headed to the beach, if I just plopped into my body, kinda like the quantum leap guy…with no attachments to the past, no limiting beliefs, just completely in awe of the current surroundings. Wow, I thought to myself. This is joy. I allowed myself to experience the gift of the present moment. Beach, agile body walking to the beach, hot sun on my skin, birds chirping. the aliveness of the morning, the awesomeness of the ocean.
When my client asked me how to find joy, I did give her some steps, as humans we like steps and we like plans with outcomes. Do I know we don’t need steps? Sure do. Do they come in handy as a guide at times? Sure do. So, I know it’s killing you….read on…here are the steps.
Acceptance. Whatever the situation may be, accept it rather than fight against it. Acceptance means I surrender to the now, I may have an intention to improve or change, if that is the desired outcome, and, I accept the situation as it is. Acceptance is the foundation to create, to begin again.
Presence. Be present. Our contentment is in the now, no where else. In the present moment, everything is OK. Anything that must get done will, and at present, we are safe.
Gratitude. Imagine the gratitude in most situations when we stop judging and comparing, get out of our way, experience what is. I felt tremendous gratitude this morning for many reasons. Yoga with my BF, we did the practice with our eyes closed…super cool, outdoor shower (always a plus) beach chair in car, always prepared for impromptu beach stops, Kombucha after yoga…yum, and the insight to recognize the joy.
Joy is our innate state without our story. It is presence. It’s the quantum leap moment of recognizing that we get to play this game, and how incredible our experience can be when we get out of our way.

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Dis-empowering Drama

Do you know people who thrive on drama? Something is always wrong in their life, they play the victim well? Drama actually produces an adrenaline rush, and can serve as pleasing and exciting. Unknowingly, a need is being fulfilled, and the drama serves a purpose, fills a void.

There are some in the world who seem to jump from one challenge to the next, always experiencing chaos, bringing close friends and family into the mix. They just can’t seem to ‘catch a break’. Others feel their bad fate is just the way it is, because they do not deserve anything better, or ‘this is typical of my life.’

Both are neither plagued or destined for a negative life experience. They are, unconsciously drawing these situations into their life, in fact creating them. Not by choice, in some cases by craving attention, enjoying the addiction of drama, and playing the role of victim. How do we dispel this unconscious action? First by recognizing that everything we experience is a manifestation of how we feel on the inside. If we feel lacking, we will experience lack. If we feel unworthy, we will experience circumstances that show us, ‘See, I’m not worthy. None of my relationships work out.’ If we feel we are not good enough, we will never get the job we want, relationship we want, or life experience we want. All of these stories begin on the inside, and are reflected right back to us. Yuck and yum…the yuck is the realization of our responsibility in life, yum is the hallelujah that we can change it.

The next step is to stop blaming the outside, and to look at our role in life as creators. Sometimes just by having the insight to see things on a deeper level, or the bigger picture, the healing begins, and we can begin to see the value in the lessons.

Many people living in drama are actually fearful of a life without it, especially in a family setting, where it holds much value to those who fear abandonment. With the drama comes an importance, and a guarantee of ‘you will never leave me’. Affection- seekers thrive on this and feel an indulgence in playing the victim role. That role actually becomes safe.

By stepping back and connecting the dots in our life, we begin to see more clearly. The good news is that with any situation, we can slow down, breathe, and wait to react before creating chaos. Life happens and sometimes it is unpleasant, and by taking action from a calm, internal living space, all drama can be defused when we choose peace, re-evaluate the drama’s role in our life, and begin to create space around it, rather than creating more of it.

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Loving Naples

We have had a wonderful Shift Happens weekend and feel very blessed to be aligned with the Edgewater Beach Hotel. They have incorporated a Be Well menu (totally up our alley…go plant based—and fish too;) and a Be Well program, which provides guests with meditation tools, aromatherapy, yoga, and all the treats which create the opportunity to really get out of your way, escape from your thinking (our biggest nemesis), and experience your best self. Naples was voted the happiest healthiest city in the US for the third year in a row, and they are the first US city in the southeast to be part of the Blue Zone Project, which has studied the places where people live longer, happier and healthier lives, and incorporated the lifestyle practices into habits that the city has embraced. WOW for Naples. It’s no wonder you have to drag me out of their by my hair.
I am totally enamored with the city and it’s commitment to health and wellness, and love the nine principles the Blue Zone recommends to create longevity and good health in your life.
They are:
1) Move naturally; exercise daily.
2) Purpose; wake up with a purpose everyday and add seven years to your life!
3) Down Shift; reverse disease by finding a stress relieving strategy that works for you.
4) 80% rule; eat mindfully and stop when you are 80% full.
5) Plant Slant; (my fave) add more fruits and veg into your diet
6) Wine down; (OK…this may be my fave) If you have a healthy relationship with alcohol, enjoy a glass of wine with friends daily. (you may not reserve seven for the weekend, friends;)
7) Family First; spend time with your family may add six years to your life.
8) Belong; Attend a faith based community regularly and add 14 years to your life.
9) Right Tribe; surround yourself with people who support you and support positive behaviors.
These nine features can add years of health and happiness to your life. And you can really feel it in Naples. They have made it easy to use the assets of the city to create a healthy lifestyle, and isn’t that what we all want? We are looking for a way to feel good now, and by taking the right action, we can add so much happiness to our life, by changing our focus.

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The Inside-Out Relationship

Getting along with ourselves is probably the most challenging relationship we have, and also the most important. Every time I have a beef with another, feel insecure, jealous, or uncomfortable in my own skin, I get to question me. The good thing is I don’t have to make an appointment. I’m pretty much always available.

The tail end of 2017 was ew, yuck, and more yuck. I spent some time feeling sorry for myself, questioning wtf I was doing, and a little pissed off at my circumstances. That was fun. I made a promise to myself that I was going to rock 2018, and commit to feeling good. As we know, as universe junkies, the UNI responds to how we feel, so if we’re putting out crap, we’ll get crap back, and ‘ain’t nobody got time for dat!’

I have had a few really great weeks and a few not so super days, and keeping up with my promise is not always easy. Especially because there is only one place to look when things are not rosy, and that’s within me.

Luckily we get to stay on track with our self exploration, and each month we have a theme that we really dive into with intentions of mastery. The theme for this month is relationships, so I get to go bat-shit crazy looking at me. This means I get to nurture myself. My wrinkles, gray hairs (covered up thanks to sally beauty), excess body fat…I’m really sounding attractive now. Yes, I get to look in the mirror and treat what I see the same way I would treat a child, with love, compassion and an attentive, supportive ear.
I’ve always thought (because I didn’t know any better) that the ‘inner child’ stuff was a way to create more problems and delve into therapeutic nonsense that doesn’t need to be re-hashed and re-lived. And now I realize it’s not about re-living and dredging things up, it’s about treating ourselves with kindness, love and compassion. That sounds a heck of a lot better, now doesn’t it?

The inner child is our self-image, our mask, our ego, our personality, and it has tons of stories about why we are wrong, hurt, insignificant and not good enough. How do we begin the process of healing this very real wound? By recognizing that it is a construction of our ego. When we take a step away from the hurt, and observe it rather than sink into it, we can then nurture it with love and compassion, the same way we would nurture a child who felt wounded.

Because all of our unhappiness stems from our thoughts, which then create our feelings, the ONLY place to look is within to heal. As we begin to separate ourselves from our constructed personality, and nurture the fear, we calm it down, just as a child calms when we care for them.

This is where the healing begins. And as we practice this compassion for ourselves, it becomes easier and easier to feel whole, confident, worthy and enough, because we are already all of those things, and the story gets weaker and weaker as we re-write the script.

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Creating Your Best Life

My husband and I are geeks and really enjoy spending our free time doing the same thing we do in our profession. Exploring truth, self discovery, asking introspective questions, and taking a real true look out ourselves, what we want, and what may be stopping us.

We have a theme word for each year. The first year we began this now tradition in our home, the word was clarity. We got clear on what we wanted to for ourselves, and by the end of that year, we left our jobs where we were coaching and running self help groups and started our own transformational coaching and training company. Last year, as our word was fun, we finally took those latin dance classes we had been talking about, bought our beach chair membership and made the beach a priority, acted like a tourist in our own neighborhood, and made it over to Naples where we watched our dream come to life. We hosted our Shift Happens Weekend retreat which we created with love, and had a very successful transformational weekend for a group of amazing clients. This year, our word is simplicity.

That leads to the question, how can we simplify our life, get rid of clutter, and experience ‘less as more’?
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The first step is clarity, as I mentioned earlier. Getting really clear on what is working and what is not, what is necessary and what is not, creates and simplifies life. Yum.

The second step is stillness. Getting quiet and listening to our own inner GPS. We all have every tool and all the guidance we need to create our best life. It’s a matter of trusting our own inner wisdom and paying attention. Yes, more of that please.

And the third suggestion is to live your life with passion. Do what you love and make that a priority.

Putting these three tips into play is a gentle plan to begin the year with authenticity and truth. It’s not overwhelming, and it’s just enough to begin a new year, have a fresh out look and get closer to a peaceful, guided life.

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The Best Presence to Give for the Holidays

Kindness, love, compassion and reflection come to mind as a top priority for exploring the the true meaning of the holidays. What truly brings us joy has little to do with tangible gifts, and everything to do with love and connection.

In our home this year, the holidays are going to be spent just the two of us. My daughter is going to spend time with her cousin, aunt and uncle, and we are staying in our little hide-away on the water. At first , I was sad, as we usually travel north to spend time with my husband’s family, whom I adore. And this year, we are staying put. And we get to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the new year. Some thoughts that arise are ‘what went well this year, and what would we like to change in the coming year, and how can I be more present?’ It’s in the present that everything is OK, we are whole, perfect and enough. And our presence with one another, for me, gives the holidays meaning. It’s about experiencing connection and love and allowing for forgiveness, kindness, patience and compassion. The holidays are about being, without judgment or expectations. Let’s be surprised this year, and set our intention to be in the moment, accept what is, and find the joy in now.

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