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Go for it

“You go for it. All the stops are out. Caution is to the wind, and you’re battling with everything you have. That’s the real fun of the game.” – Dan Dierdorf

What have you always wanted to do, but never had the courage to say – go for it – to yourself? So many of us choose things that we really don’t have our hearts invested in. Why not say yes to what really gets our engines going? Say “I can” to the things that matter to you most, and let go of the half-hearted living that is so easy to get used to.
I have always been a risk taker in a sense. But the risks are still within the safe zone for me. I tend to wistfully live through other people – and say “oh, I could never…”

Why not? What stops me? Fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the known. Fear of making it work, fear of not making it work. The list can get exhausting.

Lately I have been using the simple words: guide me to the right people at the right time for the right and highest good. When I let go and just trust, every thing comes. And I get excited and teenage schoolgirl-ish inside EVERY single time. My heart nearly bursts when I think of all the little synchronicities, and “coincidences”. I truly believe that there are no coincidences in life. Others beg to differ but my life is proof of it.

I realize too though that I have been an active participant in “going for it”. Life doesnt knock on my doorstep and say “here is your latest dream, Lizzie.” I have to get off the loveseat and go search it out. Sometimes I accomplish things with quiet reflection and journaling, other times it is all about reaching out and acting on what I really want.

An acquaintance of mine recently landed his dream job in Ottawa. I asked him about the process to achieve it. “Liz, it’s simple. I just focused on the one thing I wanted, and I went for it with all I had in me.” He stood there smiling at me and I thought wow, it really is that simple.

One track mindedness can be a good thing to exercise when “going for it.” After all, if I can’t see it – how can it ever really happen? I have to be focused on what I want, or everything in life that I don’t want will have the power to distract me, and get me off path.

Patience is another skill that helps when a person is ready to go for it. I experienced this with my recent goal of a large weightloss. I took two years to achieve that goal, and it indeed took a lot of patience, and daily determination.

Believing in oneself is the foundation for success on any venture. If I believe I can, I will. If I believe I can’t I won’t. The beauty of believing in myself is that it attracts others who believe in life and everything that’s good about it also. People are always willing to help someone else achieve a goal. I have been beyond blessed when it comes to meeting people who have the skills and knowledge to share with me that I need in order to be successful.

I guess the beauty in “going for it” is the magic of faith that lives in that statement. How can you possibly fail with the simple idea and energy behind “go for it”? It might sound kind of corny but there is definite power in the words and messages we use every day. I am not rushing out to get a “Go for it” tattoo, but holding these three words in my head and heart gives me the “oomph” to keep going towards what I want on the days that I am scared and overwhelmed.

How can you start saying yes to your goals in a powerful way by just “going for it”. You’ll be surprised how life responds to those three simple words.

Timing

I am on holidays this past week and I had a definite plan for spending my time effectively. Well, the plan isn’t unfolding as I thought. Not because I didn’t want it to. I truly had intentions of launching the preliminary steps in achieving a goal.
Every time I sit down to start, I get this feeling in my gut that says, “Not now, not yet…” What do you mean not now, not yet? My mind argued with my intuition. Yet every time I sat down to start the process of turning my goals into reality, I stopped. This is NOT what I had planned. I am a go-getter. Why has my “getter” decided to stay in neutral, instead of going full throttle for what I want? Tears came to my eyes as the answers came in my quiet moments…
…. the foundations are being set Liz… be patient…
…. you need to stay where you are for a reason… but it will all be clear soon…
…. what you think you want, even though you have wanted it for a year, and feel it in your soul, might not match the awesomeness that is waiting for you…
…. when you relax and let go, your heart’s desires come to you…
Blah blah blah. I didn’t want to hear that wisdom come from within me. I wanted what I wanted and I just wanted it. So there, Universe! :)
Arghhhh – okay, okay. I get it. Wait. Sigh. I understand that waiting for the right time is crucial in realizing dreams. But I can’t help but silently scream that I want things to happen now!! Tee hee!
I understand that setting an intention is not magical. There is a process, and I have to grow into the next stage of my life, and know, know, know that I am ready at many different levels.
I have experienced the joy of letting go of a desire, and when I least expected it, it comes into my life easily and effortlessly. All of my needs and dreams have been realized in the past, but only after foundations of new learning have been cemented into my character. So I guess metaphorically the cement hasn’t quite solidified. That’s okay. I will be happy and continue living the best way I know, a day at a time.
It is growth for me to realize that taking action when the time isn’t right is just silly. I have had plans go sour by forcing them to happen. It really is about letting go and being happy without what I want. Double sigh. I am laughing at myself and my humanness. Life truly does teach me daily what I need to remember and know. :)
How can you gently remind yourself that timing isn’t yours to control? How can you honor your intuition and let life unfold naturally instead of trying to force it? This can be a key to living beyond limits.

Dance

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart – Author Unknown
When I was a little girl, my Dad and I would dance every Saturday morning. These hours with him were magical. When we danced, I was transported from the clutzy, physically awkward gal who fell all the time, to graceful and poised. All the messages that told me I was different, melted away when Dad would waltz with me all over red shag carpet in the living room.
Every time I felt myself teetering, Dad would gently pull me upright and smile. There were no mis-steps, only opportunities to continue on. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the true gift of those dance lessons with my dad. Self-confidence. I didn’t have to be perfect – I only had to try, and keep going.
Today, whenever the opportunity comes up to dance, I am the first one on the dance floor. I love the freedom I feel when I am letting my body just move and be expressive. There is freedom in letting go of my physical reality, and letting my spirit be open to the music. In these moments, I truly feel whole, and beautiful.
The dance lessons were the seed for me to realize that I can be exactly who I am in every moment. For years I apologized in different ways for not being perfect. Reflecting back on the dancing with my dad, I realize I don’t have to apologize for being “different”, on a physical level. I can celebrate my differences and appreciate them in others.

What things are you apologizing for in your life? How can you use simple childhood experiences to bring you back to the beauty and wholeness of who you are? Think back, and celebrate the small moments that planted seeds of confidence, and self-acceptance.

I laugh, therefore I am. – anonymous

I have always always always been a giggly person. Laughter is the core of who I am.

You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants. Stephen King
I have never been able to stop laughing on command. It just has a life of its own, and I can’t control it. When I was still living at home, there were mornings I got up and was giggly from the moment I stuck my foot on the cold linoleum floor to the moment I went to bed. I will never forget the morning when I was sitting at the breakfast table, choking on toast and jam because I was laughing. Don’t ask me why I was laughing, I just was. I never needed a reason to laugh, it was just part of my personality. I was and still am, a giggle-pus.
My dad was getting ready for work as I sat there giggling away. Liz! Stop it now! Enough laughing. Well, that just got me laughing more. Liz!! I said quit it! You’re getting on my nerves. It’s too early in the morning for this. More giggles. Cant breathe. Turning red. Help me. The more I tried to stop, the more I giggled.
Dad grabbed his lunch and stormed out of the house in a huff. You are crazy! And as the door slammed, I howled and buckled over in my seat, and promptly dropped my toast on the floor. He left for work early just to avoid hearing me laugh at nothing, which started me reeling all over again. I tried so hard to stop, and the laughter just kept building and building till my poor dad couldn’t take it anymore. He had a lot of patience and I had enough laughter to test it severely.

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. — Bill Cosby

I have had a lot of challenges in my life, just like anyone, and laughter has helped me through it.
The most isolating times for me were when I had to be away from my family in the hospital for various surgeries to correct the effects of cerebral palsy. From age 3 to 10, I had 6 surgeries.
The most memorable hospital stay involves a really strange roommate. When I first got to the hospital I went through the routine of providing blood and urine samples. I meekly took the specimen bottle from the nurse and headed to my bathroom. Sounds easy right? I shouldn’t have to go further right? Well, this is where the story gets a bit dicey. My roommate of five minutes decided to follow me into the bathroom. What are you doing in the can with me? I yelled. I want to keep you company so you won’t be scared, she explained. Flabbergasted, I pushed her out of the bathroom and slammed and locked the door. Some experiences in life are just not meant to be shared. Welcome to the Children’s hospital – where you are truly never alone.
The day of my surgery I was sitting on the edge of my bed trying to get my mind off of gas masks and scalpels. My roommate decides to put some music on. I thought ok, music will calm my nerves. Next thing I know she cranks up the song “the first cut is the deepest” I could picture Rod Stewart in his pink tight pants singing that song, just to me. At first I was ready to strangle the girl! But after a few minutes the irony of the situation hit me and I was in tears from laughing by the time the orderlies came to load me on the gurney for my surgery. My roommate is likely working as a DJ now. She has a knack for reading her audience and picking the best song for any occasion.

I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that. — Linda Ellerbee

The one person who taught me the most about bravery through laughter was my mom. There was one day when I came home from school in tears because one of the kids said “your mom must be an alcoholic, that’s why you are an ugly cripple.” I told my mom and she didn’t skip a beat. Liz next time that kid says anything just tell them it’s an old war injury, and to mind their own business. And make sure you are smiling and laughing when you say it. Show them who the stronger person is. That night, I remember laying in bed and practicing the line, and seeing myself strong in front of them. Turns out I never did get to use that line, but I still love thinking about it. Some people want you to crumble from their insults. I use humor and find the irony in many situations. It strengthens me and heals me.

I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry. — Cat Stevens
When I had my speaking business on a full-time basis, there were nights when I was writing parts of a workshop and tears would stream down my face as I would rehearse. I finally understood that every painful experience was for a purpose. I may have cried about it in the moment, but here I was, laughing with people about the irony and humor in my experiences.
As I would write and practice, I would just be sooo grateful and I would find myself in one of those joyous cries. I would think God I am by myself right now, as I tapped on my keyboard and wrote a few more lines in between giggles and tears of joy. It definitely was a ‘wow my life is so awesome’ cry. Yes I have had things in life that hurt, but no one, absolutely no one, can take away my love for life, and my giggly nature. I love that I have these emotions.
What society has often seen as my greatest weakness, I have transformed into one of my greatest strengths, through the power of laughter. I proudly wear my heart on my sleeve and encourage others that to do the same!
Get beyond your limits and open yourself up to really using laughter in your life. May laughter stay with you as long as you need it. May you use it to harness your courage, and soothe your pain. And finally – I wish you many joyous tears as you discover what you have lived through and overcome while smiling and laughing. I challenge all of you to laugh so hard through life that you always carry a Depends undergarment, just in case!

Choices

Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can’t prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you’re presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. ~Blaine Lee~

Choices are available to all of us. What we choose is a reflection of our values, of our self esteem, and of our dreams. Choosing well is an acquired skill. It requires knowing who you are, and weighing the outcomes carefully before deciding what is best.

All too often I have chosen things out of the initial thrill, the excitement of the opportunity, the synchronicity. Did all of these choices work out? No. But I admit that I learned a lot about my inner strength, and my ability to ask for support as I unraveled the aftermath and made new choices.

The key for me today is – make choices for me, independent of what other people might want for me. I know myself best. Others might have great ideas, but are they a good fit for me? Or am I choosing these things out of obligation or people pleasing? Am I choosing out of fear, or waiting for the right thing to manifest?

If I choose out of approval seeking motives, it will invariably backfire. I can honor myself first and choose based on what I want the big picture to look like. As much as life guides me to the best thing, I have an active responsibility to simultaneously create what I want.

It’s good to remember that choices are not permanent. The choices we make can be changed to fit where we want to go at any moment. We don’t have to make sense to the rest of the world, just to ourselves. As we grow,  choices grow with us, and often change. How can they not? Far too often fear dictates choices, and then resentment at fear-based actions soon ensues.

How can we choose better in order to live better?

Get quiet. Stop sharing every idea that flits across your brain and look at things from a quiet, still state of being, where you can hear your inner voice, and intuition the best. Remind yourself that intuition is never wrong. It is truly your heart speaking then, and heart-based decisions rarely lead any one astray, at least in my experience.

I admit that sometimes I completely ignore the red-flag-gut-reactions and choose against my best interests anyway. Even in these choices I do gain experience and wisdom. Luckily, once the lesson is learned, the situation fades away. My task is always to take responsibility for the choices, and say “ok that was then, this is now. How can I use this to make now, better?”

Choices. We all make them daily. Some end up with wonderful outcomes, others are opportunities to grow.

Recently I read a very simple book called “When I loved myself…”. It was a 50-page book with very simple declarations of self-love. Some of the ideas expressed made me smile. Others challenged me to think differently. Still others brought tears to my eyes. In any case, reading the book has challenged me to write and share my own list. I encourage you to do the same, and reflect on where you are at on the self love scale. I truly believe this is one of the main missions of life: self-love.

When I loved myself…
I stopped letting others write my “life script” for me and make assumptions about who I am.
I started to eat healthy.
I enjoyed quiet time with just me, myself and I.
I started swimming daily.
I laughed long and loud. Just because.
I stopped chasing people for attention and started giving myself what I was lacking.
I chose work that paid me first in terms of respect and appreciation, secondly in terms of income.
I started to tell people what my beliefs and preferences are, and became okay with it when they disagreed.
I whistled more.
I loved my body unconditionally, and started wearing fitted, rather than frumpy clothing.
I gave myself manicures and pedicures.
I used my voice in presentations and workshops to help others see their innate wholeness and beauty.
I believed I was worthy. Just because I am me.
I thanked God more in my prayers, and asked for less.
I let go of the small stuff – who cares if my floors are dirty, I can still have company. :)
I gave up my TV and internet, and started reading and writing more.
I let go of goals, and let life show me my next step.
I became ok with staying in the moment and enjoying stillness.
I drank more water and ate more fruit and vegetables.
I hugged people more often, till “their stuffing came out” (translation: really tightly…) :)
I missed my dad less, as I began “talking” to him more and listening to his wisdom, that still lives inside me.
I sang more. I started leaving singing voice mails for friends.
I became more attracted to calm people. The drama becomes less and less appealing.
I dusted less and played outside more.
I paid myself first, and bought more treats.
I used silence as a response – and listened more.
I gave more time and less money to things and people I believe in.
I fully believed Maya Angelou’s statement: People show you the first time, what they are about. It is up to me to decide if I want to see a repeat performance.
I danced like no one was watching.
I let my creativity come out more.
I wrote silly stories about talking rubber chickens and boring baked potatoes, to make friends smile and laugh.
I let more of the true me shine through the masks and fears that myself and others put on me over the years.
I stopped enabling others, and encouraged them to walk their own journey.
I said “I love you” more often.
I was freer to express all of my emotions, thereby allowing others to take that freedom for themselves.
I feel safe wherever I go.

Will you challenge yourself to make this a personal exercise, and see where you have grown in self-love?

Love transcends the world and those in it,
for it is sparked in the soul
and that can never be lost.
– Jacob Labossiere –

“If in my low moments, in word, deed, or attitude, through some error of temper, taste, or tone, I have caused anyone discomfort, created pain or revived someone’s fear, that was not my truest self” — Jessie Jackson

I recently had a very uncomfortable discussion with an acquaintance. We were in the “getting to know each other” stages of our connection. I was quite impressed with this man, who initially showed himself to be caring, considerate, charming, funny, a good conversationalist. I saw a slight potential for romance, but something in my stomach said, “It’s not quite right.”
Bearing this in mind, I had another conversation with this person and quite enjoyed the sharing and the interaction, until a major boundary of mine was crossed and I felt that squirmy, sick feeling in my stomach. The conversation ended with no intention of reconnecting.
I learned a lot from this man. First and foremost, Maya Angelou’s statement that people show you who they are the first time is so true and so very, very empowering. I didn’t need a repeat performance to know that my gut instinct, that something just wasn’t right, was bang on.
Secondly, I have discovered once again that nothing is personal. This man obviously had issues beyond what I might have triggered in him. He did say some pretty off color non-respectful things to me, but I remained somewhat detached and calm because I knew this really wasn’t about me. It was about his fear and insecurity, and inability to really connect with another person.
The interaction gave me a gift. It was not by accident that I met this man and had this brief connection. It reaffirmed what I want in my life. It showed me many areas where I have grown. It showed me once again that I can trust my instincts to the 1000th degree. They are never wrong. I took things at face value and didn’t make excuses for the behavior. It was pretty clear where he was at, and I made it clear that I wasn’t going to join him there.
I felt compassion for this man to the extent that he simply isn’t expressing his true self. It isn’t about where I am on my path so much as it was about where he is. Often I forget that as much as I learn from the mirrors around me, I can be a mirror for others as well.
I realized again that so many of us, myself especially, don’t choose to see the true miracle of who we are, and what we have to offer the world. This man was successful outwardly in every sense of the word, but equally as wounded internally, which came out in his words and actions toward me.
I have said before that I am not impressed with the outer life — glitz, toys and materialism — when I meet people. Initially, I saw good qualities in this man that he was absolutely blind to; and this mirrored to me, my own blind spots. Another gift. Sunlight. Awareness. Thank you.
Nothing is personal. Every interaction has the potential to teach us more about loving ourselves, healing and releasing old baggage, and loving others. Though the interaction was quite shocking, I walked away feeling quite grateful for meeting this man, because the experience brought out more of what I truly am here to learn. Self-love.

What interactions with others have you personalized that you can now step back and shine some light on in order to see more of who you really are, and love yourself?

I am what I am. – Popeye

Friends of mine used to tease me about being the “self-help book guru”. I always wanted to be better, more, different, – always something to change or fix. I have benefited from the work, but have realized that sometimes, just accepting who I am, can free up energy around negative limits and ideas I have of my self.

Would it be so terrible to say “I am me.” and not have a list the length of  your arm of things that you want to improve? How would the ever-present critical inner dialogue change, if we would just hug everything, instead of focusing on the flaws?

I remember watching SNL and mocking Stewart Smalley for his “I’m good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it people like me!” But maybe Stewart was on to something. Self acceptance is key to being content in the world. If I can’t accept my humanness how can I be authentic in accepting others? If I can see the love in others, why not in myself?

The most humbling revelation for me was that when I was younger, people often rejected me for having cerebral palsy. Today, people don’t do it as much, yet the messages replay in my head often. Truth is, I reject myself and treat myself more harshly than any of those people in my past ever did. Maybe not for disability related issues, but definitely for my humanness, and imperfections. The inner conflict is what needs to change.

I have many people in my life who have tried to be kind and loving to me. My past experience has often made me distrust and question everything. I still find myself reacting to the past, not living in the present. I know I am not unique in this. I find myself closing my heart before I get hurt, and I have a huge fear of being vulnerable with too many people. My network is small, and “safe”.

I wonder if I just threw caution to the wind and trusted, what would happen. Children are my teachers in this area. They trust first, ask questions later. They laugh with their whole body. They accept easily. They forgive freely. They are who they are, and let go of the rest.

How can you foster greater self acceptance by being around children and seeing life through their eyes? Be who you are, and watch life unfold with ease.

On the weekend, a friend and I went to Gimli to enjoy the day, and celebrate my birthday.
We walked along the boardwalk, and saw a gal wearing a shirt that said: I like booze, shoes and boys with tattoos.
True to form, she was wearing funky shoes, and had a boy with tattoos on her arm.
I giggled and my friend and I both agreed that you have to advertise in order to get what you want in life.
Truthfully I am beyond the booze, shoes, and tattoos. But, do I “advertise” what I want? Honestly, I am not that bold at times.
It is so true though, that I have to know what I want before it will come to me. In some areas, I know exactly what my dreams are. Other areas, I am still hazy. Afraid to really go for what I want, is likely a more honest description than “I am hazy.”
Since the profound sighting of the booze shoes and tattoos shirt, I have noticed that I fight with myself A LOT when it comes to stating what I want, and just putting it out there. I am now blatantly aware that this is only going to prolong things. I have been working at being clear, and positive in the pursuit of “Lizzie’s wish list”. Heck, if I don’t go for it, who will?
It’s interesting to me also that I have a lot of confidence in job areas, and not so much confidence in relationships. Lots of confidence in health areas and remaining healthy, and not so much confidence in taking risks like moving to a different country.
The battle within only points to areas where I can improve my relationship with myself and instead of saying “Not for me” or “Never me.”, start saying (and believing) “Why not me!!” and “Of course I can!!”
Even more interesting is – when I get a glimpse of what it would be like to have more of what I want in life, my mind starts conjuring up all sorts of reasons why it won’t work, won’t last, won’t won’t won’t…!!!
Crazy? Yes. Doomed to be this way forever? Nope. We all have the ability to correct ourselves and let go of the fear behind this crazy mind battle.
We are more powerful than we realize, to create what we want to have in our lives. For me the first step is to stop fighting myself for what I truly want, and start wearing shirts (and undies – tee hee!) that say “YES” to what I want.

What are you afraid to advertise and let be known? How can you turn your desires into reality simply by saying “yes”?

Self care

You can’t give what you don’t have. How very true is that?

If I am running around giving my energy to everyone and everything around me, I eventually lose me. I’ll be “3-effed” before too long — frazzled, frustrated and fed-up. We are taught to give to others, but how many of us give to ourselves first?

Giving to ourselves first can be the best gift we can give to others. Without a solid foundation within ourselves, we start running on empty pretty quick. Before you know it, we are drained. Life sucks. We start to feel resentful.

What would happen if we took care of our needs first, then gave to others? It’s the age-old story of the oxygen mask on the airplane about to do an emergency landing. Put your mask on first, then help someone else. Sounds reasonable. Sounds logical. It’s basic, but many of us forget the basics as we go through life.

Get back to the basics. Take a break. Give your self a small gift. Eat something sinful. Go for a walk. Sleep in. Do a puzzle. Take time to read. Whatever fuels you, take time to do it. These moments of giving to yourself will change your perspective greatly.

You’ll feel naturally fulfilled, and you won’t depend on others to meet your needs. You will develop the confidence that you can do things for yourself, and make yourself happy. When we give to ourselves first, we can act from a centered place and not have unrealistic expectations of other people. You’ll become more inner directed. You might even discover that the people you ran yourself ragged for, are fully capable of taking care of themselves!

Self-care is a mindset. It requires letting go of ideas of selfishness, and redefining self-care as an act of self-preservation and love. Self-care is an act of balanced living. Honoring ourselves and practicing self-care gives us the energy to pass on that kindness to others, from a place of overflow, and abundance.

Give to yourself first, then others. Self-care gives your friends and family the gift of seeing a more fulfilled, happy and balanced you.

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