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.

 

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Lessons from the Grand Canyon

Canyon_PanoI’ve never been to the Grand Canyon. I’ve been Las Vegas and Tucson close, but have never quite made it to the Canyon. Many of you can probably vouch for its beauty and awe, and perhaps upon seeing it, your view of life and the world shifted a little bit. Well, recently, my life shifted a little bit simply from hearing about it and seeing this photo.

My friend in the photo, Nabil, told me about when he first saw the Canyon. He was up in a helicopter flying overhead. The flight started by first going over the plateau that led to the Canyon. At that point, he couldn’t yet see the Canyon and all of its vastness. All that lay before him was miles of flat dry land.

And then, as if God himself swallowed some of the earth, the plateau disappeared. The earth fell, and the miles and miles of canyon laid out before him. Nabil stared out his window awestruck. He could form no words. He could barely even breathe at the site.

Later they landed and he stepped foot on the same earth he had just flown over. He started walking on the plateau and moved closer to the canyon to get a better look. Nabil found a stretch of land that jutted into the canyon, but narrowed as he ventured closer. The wind was strong, but so was his desire to see more and get a glimpse of this great depth. Nabil told me, as he walked that narrow trek, he wasn’t sure he could keep his balance, not only because of the gusts of wind, but also because the way was so thin and the drop so dramatic that he sensed the cliffs on either side almost pull his body toward their edges like a magnet. Not trusting his footing, he literally got down on all fours to steady himself and make it to the tip to see over. He wanted a glimpse of the base of this incredible wonder of the world.

Once he got there, he looked over and again, his breath left him. Never before had he seen a depth so profound. He was drawn to it and couldn’t wait to enter it and look up from below at the place he was now crouching.

Nabil looked around and couldn’t see a path anywhere. All he could see were rocks and cliffs.

It is at this stage in my life where I find myself: on the edge of a precipice, able to see my destination before me, yet not seeing the path. Part of me feels drawn to just fuck it, and jump. I’ve always been a bit of a risk taker and drawn to adventure…and I’ve never been very patient. I want so badly to just get to where I’m going and it seems to me that jumping would be the fastest way to get there. Wouldn’t it? Except for the sure death part. Jumping would be stupid and life threatening. Sigh.

Grand Canyon

photos courtesy of Nabil Doss – friend and inspiration

Nabil was of course shown the path down into the canyon. He took his time to navigate past rocks and obstacles along the way, but as he walked, he witnessed phenomenal views at each step. Views impossible to express in words, until he was walking on the very spot he had stared at from way above.

Nabil reminded me, the path to my life destination is also just a few feet away, maybe I just need help–or patience–to see it. And yes, I will need to walk slowly and steadily as I go, but there will be many stunning sights along the way: winding trails, gorgeous rock faces, winding riverbeds and surprise water falls. Oh, and I might trip over a root every once in a while, but most of the time I’ll be able to skip, and jump, and even run.

And in the end, life’s about the journey and the surprise beauty each step brings us.  Like the weekend I recently had and blogged about. A few months ago, it wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know Enette (who led the weekend) existed. But one step forward in my life led me to her and led me to meet many others who have now had a profound impact on my life.

So, I’m pressing forward step by step because now I think about what I would have missed – and left behind – if I had jumped.

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.