A new approach to dealing with doubt and fear – think bathroom :)

When in the bathroom the other day, I had a moment of inspiration. Stay with me here. I’m not going to get gross and this is not potty humour – even though my husband would probably love that. No, this is about having a moment of quiet in the bathroom – as many moms can appreciate. Sometimes being able to lock yourself into the bathroom for a few minutes can be the only precious alone time you get in a day. Am I handwashing-1468144-1599x1198right? And even that can be tenuous, if you’re in my house.

Let’s get to the point. I have been pondering deeply about self-doubt and fear, and figuring out how to manage these most unwelcome guests in my life when they knock on my door. Well, I have a new analogy. How do you handle doubt and fear? Wash your hands!

That’s right. Because your hands get dirty. Every day they get dirty, but what do you do when that happens? You simply go find a sink, run some water, use some soap, clean them and get on with your day. You don’t get frustrated and angry and give up and leave them dirty. Or maybe you do for a bit, because it’s fun to be dirty for a while, but eventually, you will clean them.

That’s what happens in life. You make decisions. You start to take action, and life gets dirty. Most of the time things do not go fully as planned or hoped and you get discouraged and frustrated. Fear and self-doubt creep back in, as if waiting in bushes for the perfect time to ambush your brain and your heart. They’ll try to convince you to give up and stay in your safe and comfortable place. But in your heart of hearts, you know you are more. You are more than this fear. You are more than this doubt. You are your decisions. You are your actions. You are your choices and you are a creator. In every moment, you are a creator.

So, in moments of fear and doubt, go find a sink to wash them away and celebrate saying goodbye to them as they spiral out of control and down the drain. Your sink can be any number of things: a friend, an inspirational quote, your favourite piece of music, a walk by the lake, a passage in the Bible/Koran…whatever calms your heart, brings you peace and lifts you up. Whatever washes away the heavy feelings and cleans you off, ready to start again.

You will always get dirty again. Always, but it’s up to you how long you let yourself stay dirty. So, my simple desire is to always remember I have the power to wash them away and start again.


The wise Jim Carrey…really?

jim-carreySo, I don’t love all of Jim Carrey’s humour. For example, potty humour doesn’t do it for me. I remember a scene from “Me, Myself and Irene”, where his character took a dump on the neighbour’s lawn, just to get back at him for something. It was gross and I almost left the room. Thank God I didn’t go see it in the theatre. That was the worst Jim Carrey movie I’ve ever seen.

But he has incredible talent and dedication to his craft. My kids love “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” He was great in the “Truman Show”, even in “Bruce Almighty.” What I admire is that his is willing to try anything. He is ‘all in’ no matter what he is doing.

What does Jim Carrey have to do with My Simple Desires? Well, looking to be inspired, I had just watched an address of Oprah’s at Spelman College, when I looked to the right of the YouTube screen where more suggested videos pop up, and a commencement speech that Jim Carrey gave at Maharishi University of Management came up. It was INCREDIBLE! He was engaging and goofy, of course, but he was also extremely passionate, centred and wise. This man loves life, believes that all things are possible and exudes so much joy.

I wrote at least two pages of notes while I listened – little nuggets of inspiration and wisdom. For example, his dad could have been a comedian, but took the safe route and became an accountant. A job he later got fired from, that left his family are very hard times. At which point Carrey says “What I learned from my dad is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so why not take on chance on something you love!”

Carrey also watched his mother go through depression and always desperately tried to make her laugh. He was the clown at home just to help her feel joy. And one day, he articulated his life purpose: “to free people from concern.” That’s why he does what he does. “To free people from concern.” That is a pretty awesome life purpose. And as I have a current simple desire to articulate my own life purpose, the simplicity of his spoke to me.

As he spoke, he challenged the graduates with this question: “what do others need that your talent can provide? Because the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”

Yes. Life is about our service to each other and each of us has a unique gift that we have to offer..

I have long admired anyone who is totally clear on what their gift is, and not only know it, but then trust it and follow it with all that they are. I think of people like Craig Kielburger who knew at age 11 his calling to free the children in developing countries from child labour, build schools and inspire youth. Ellen DeGeneres who embraces her comedy and has made her show into an exact expression of who she is. Arlene Dickinson who is a self-made millionaire, entrepreneur and author.

We all have similar gifts. Not that they are all grandiose and will lead to fame and riches (but they might). We just need to take the time to think about what they are and then do the work to trust them and follow them through. That is how we will lift this world to a higher plain and that is my simple desire.

The power of positive affirmations

Think positively baby! Yes. Turn your crap into happiness and lift up out of any negative space you might be in and see the awesomeness that is you.

I know. You read and hear people tell you all the time to think positively. There are inspirational posters and books and even company ads like Nike telling you to “Just do it!” everywhere. I just Googled “inspirational quotes” and got everything from “Every day is a second chance” to “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” to “don’t follow your dreams, chase them” etc. etc. Pick the most spectacular skyscape, waterfall, child chasing a butterfly image to go with it and you get the idea.

All of them are excellent sayings, but we start thinking they are cheesy, annoying or useless when we are inundated by them or we’re not open to hearing them, or they’re not the message we need right now.

However, let me challenge you to use positive affirmations deliberately to get at their full power.

This means you figure out a piece of your life you are uncomfortable with, feeling overall gross about and create a positive affirmation about it – customized to you. And then repeat it again and again and again.

For example, if you’re feeling stuck and like you’re not moving forward in your life at all, your affirmation might be “I am exactly where I need to be.”

If you’re struggling to find value in yourself, your affirmation might be “I love myself deeply.”

By being deliberate, the affirmation is all about you and you can discover new inner strength and self-belief.

6 tips to creating and getting the full power out of positive affirmations:

  1. Make them authentic and about you. Where are you blocked? Turn it around and use that.
  2. Phrase the words in a positive and visionary way – e.g., “I am not dumb” – is not a good positive affirmation. It contains negative words, so it can’t work. However, “I am smart and capable” is a great one.
  3. Remember you don’t have to believe them right now. If fact, it’s better that you don’t. It should feel uncomfortable at first. That just a sign you’re holding back. The most powerful affirmations start in the areas where you hold the most doubt about yourself.
  4. Allow them to evolve. You may use an affirmation for a few months that really felt right and strong, and then eventually you feel like its power is gone. Embrace that. It means you’ve grown and it’s time to stretch again! In fact, you might start with one and then within a day or so recognize that it’s not quite right. Listen to yourself and know when it’s time to change it up.
  5. Repeat. Repeat. “Repeat. I read the Healing Handbook by Tara Ward and she recommends that you say positive affirmations 10 times in a row twice a day (morning and night), and also when you are feeling low throughout any given day. Repetition helps it stick.
  6. Say them to yourself in a mirror. There is power in looking at your eyes and saying “I love everything about myself” over and over. You might you look away at first because you can’t quite believe it, but keep repeating it. Let it sink in. Soon you’ll start to feel a shift.

Positive affirmations are awesome, because when they are used well and regularly, not only do you put positive vibes out in the universe, you also put them into yourself. Your mental/emotional/spiritual states start moving. You start feeling more confident; start trusting yourself more; start having a clearer sense of your path.

It’s time to re-program your brain so the positive overpowers the negative every single day. It’s the positive stuff that’s true anyway. Hey! There’s an affirmation right there “The positive words I hear and say about myself are the truth!”

Just try it. It’s my simple desire for all of us.

Get lifted!

woman-flying.jpg (800×534)I’ve been thinking recently about how important it is to find moments to get lifted. Maybe it’s because I’ve been hearing one of my new favourite songs more often these days: “Lifted” by Alysha Brilla. Now there’s song you can’t listen to and be in a bad mood! I LOVE IT. Every time I hear it I crank up the volume, sing as loudly as I can and dance. Of course I’m usually in my car when I hear it, so the dancing part is a little limited, but no doubt I’m very entertaining at red lights 🙂

I also have a new friend I’m getting to know, and every time we connect – by phone, face to face, over email – I feel incredibly lifted. She’s amazing. Her energy. Her passion for life. Her optimism. She reminds me how fun life is and how great the gift of friendship is. She also makes me believe I can do anything.

What song makes you feel lifted? Who do you love to hang around just because they make you feel unstoppable? My simple desire for me and all of you is to listen to songs that make you want to fly and be near people who make you feel the same way…way more often.

We have to be deliberate about it, because it’s too easy, when we’re getting gas, groceries and grabbing kids, to forget what life should feel like. We get bogged down in :”the usual.” And then, after days, weeks, months of getting bogged down, we start to feel heavy. So, get lifted as often as possible. Do things and be around people who make you feel alive. Really alive, Because that’s what life is all about baby! It’s that simple.

Sweet inspiration, you came back!!

Oh sweet inspiration, what you do to me! My heart is racing. My fingers are tingling. My mind is flipping cartwheels out of utter joy because you have come back to me (refer to last post)! I’m also so glad you caught me when I raced into your arms at first sight – like my 5-year old when I come to pick her up, ecstatically yelling my name, trusting I have my balance when the full weight of her body thunks against my thighs.

I stole this image from http://www.schuitema.co.za/blog/?p=1608 (hope they forgive)

Stolen from http://www.schuitema.co.za (please forgive)

And I saw the grin in your eyes when you knew I saw you. You were happy too! (Hee hee. I really do look like her right now →)

In fact, you haven’t left my side since we reconnected. Maybe the reason you left was to restock your idea fridge because the other night you kept me up until almost 1:00 a.m. with your new notions. I could barely keep up. And then, in the middle of work yesterday, you appeared out of the blue and got me all riled up I had to jot some quick shorthand just to capture what you were saying. And now tonight, you caught up with me again starting at my aunt’s 80th birthday party, which I almost didn’t go to. But then, I think you whispered in my ear I should make the effort to go and see the family I haven’t seen in many, many months. And upon seeing many of them, I quickly realized why. You reminded me that I come by my artistry honestly. It’s in my blood. As I looked around the garden, I began to take in the passion and creativity I’ve been surrounded by my whole life. My uncle, for example, has music for blood in his veins. He is a past opera singer with the Canadian Opera Company and a current vocal coach and incredible pianist. (By the way Rudy, I confess to touching your stunning piano. My fingers couldn’t help themselves…) Rudy’s two siblings were near by, one a cellist, the other a singer. My own mother and father inspired writing and music in me from the beginning and pursue both themselves in different ways. My cousin is a writer making his way and following his heart. My other cousin is a photographer and film editor. My aunt’s brother was there too, and he’s an actor and the former Artistic Director at Theatre Passe Muraille among many other accomplishments. I’ll stop there, but you get the idea. Thank you inspiration for knowing how good that would be for me.

And then, my sweet, I turned to find you schmoozing with their inspirations. Friends I guess you have not seen in so long either. Based on how fast you’re making me type, I think the party was just as good for you as it was for me. See? We do make a great team. We’ll keep this simple desire thing of ours alive yet.

So, this is a shout out to you for hearing me and not giving up on me. For reminding me who I am and that I never should have doubted you in the first place. (Yes, I see you nodding fervently like I should have known all along.) I was all worked up for nothing, as per usual. Here’s to you. I hope you enjoyed the cookies (refer to end of last post).

Yours always,