Step 88 -  “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”  Buddhist Quote

In a week when the world was reeling publicly with two different teenage tragedies - the shooting of 14 year old Malala in Pakistan and the suicide of Amanda Todd in British Columbia, Canada I found myelf silently reflecting and frustrated by the media circus.  The public vigils and opportunities to promote political agendas which were all far too late to be of any use to this young girl lost to her family.  More recently we have again been shocked by the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons after being raped and let down by police, so called friends, her school and community.

Amanda, Rehtaeh and Malala grew up in two very different countries.  One used the media and internet to promote awareness of the plight that girls in Pakistan and other countries face daily.  Their lack of education and right to free speech.  Amanda and Rehtaeh were both exploited by those same mediums.  Their photographs shared to humiliate and persecute them. 

I have heard statements in response to the tragic events affecting both these young girls that further promote violence, persecution and create online harrasment of potentially innocent individuals.

All the hand wringing, vigils and political statements in the world cannot bring Amanada back or change the clock to prevent the shooting of Malala.  What we can do, today, is collectively stop being unkind with our words, with our actions, by the way we treat each other. We will not create change until and unless each and every one of us change how we behave to one another.

In 1955 Sy Miller and Jill Jackson wrote a song - Let there Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin With Me - long before the internet was created and the words "going viral" were part of our common daily verbage the song organically spread throughout the world and was spread by a group of teens.  It spread through different cultures and religious groups.

In our journey towards self discovery, happiness, why ever it is you are here let's take the opportunity to spread this same message again - let us spread it wihtin ourselves, our homes, our families, in schools, in the workplace, in retirement homes, on the streeets where we live.

Exercise - Let the memory of Amanda not be about the bullying she received during her all too short life, let her legacy be a statement that will move us forward and create change on a global scale.  The Talliban and those who promote hate have no power if they are constantly met by resistance through peace.  Let us all show our support for Malala and her bravery - the power of one can be the catalyst for change in the world.  Let that change begin with you and me.

Being mindful about how we speak and treat each other.  Create a piece of art that reflects connectivity with one another and peace on a global scale.  Share it with your family and friends. 

Namaste








 

Thank You for the People in my life.

Step 87 Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you travelled from where you started.
- Proverb


Recently back from our fabulous trip to the UK and Paris I have had lots of time to reflect and re-consider who and what is important right now in my life.  I made two significant decisions to let go of activities and professional committments that had over a long period of time been making me stressed and quite unhappy.

Taking the trip with my fabulous daughters, seeing old friends and spending time with my mum confirmed that it is my relationships with people that matter most in my life.  Belongings, sucess and money cannot replace or make up for relationship.  Of course success can and does bring many rewards that can benefit relationships but if the goal is to strive for success over and at the cost of relationships then that is not the choice I have made in the past or choose to make now.

In North America especially it is all too easy to get caught up in what we own or surround ourselves with as an indicator of our success.  In some families and relationships that success has led to separation within the relationships or missing out on a whole bunch of important times with our children and friends and family.

With thanksgiving coming up (in Canada) now is a great time to reflect and take stock of what is important in  life.  To think about how far we have come not as a measure of success but as a measure of what is accomplished.  Considering what and who brings you joy and happiness.

If you find yourself dwelling on past mistakes or things that have not gone well or the person you have loved the most is passed away acknowledge how you feel and mindfully think about your life right now.  There is something or someone to appreciate. 

Exercise

Create a list of the people who are most important to you.  Write a brief thank you on a card or note or email or text to each of those people telling them thank you and why you are thanking them.  For example "Thank you for all the days you have made my liffe so much better just by your smile" or "Thank you for all the kind words you have said to me over the years we have known each other".

Namaste

.

 
Step 86 - "In the Midst of Difficulty Lies Opportunity" Albert Einstein

In July 2003 I found a lump in my left breast.  The experience was both shocking and frustrating.  I was a single mother with two young children, then aged four and six.  If anyone had told me there was opportunity in that present difficulty I would probably have lashed out.

Nine years later as I look back there certainly have been opportunities gained from the experience. If I am honest, I would have preferred to learn them differently and the fact that I survived and am still here to tell the tale tells me that all is as it should be.

A couple of years after the experience the girls and I put together and published a small book called "Mommy had an Owie".  My oldest daughter illustrated the front cover.  Creating the book gave them and I an opportunity to take something that was negative and create something positive that might help other families.  If you know someone who has young children who is facing breast cancer I would be happy to send them a copy of the book.

It was my first foray into self publishing - I had previously been published in the UK by a division of Lion Books. I began to evolve the dream, which had been put on hold for several years to raise the girls, of writing for a living.  Breast cancer taught me that you just never know how many years you have to live your dreams and that  health is not something to be taken for granted.

In some ways I feel I am going backwards as I get older.  My professional life which started out creatively and evolved into social services is returning to creativity.  Film making, art making, jewellery making and writing are the  inspirational activities that take me through the day and that will, one day, bring in my income.

I may not become the next best selling author (or I may). The point and purpose is knowing what is important, what my values and relationships are based on. That what I do is part of who I am when I give myself wholeheartedly into that.  I do still work "for a living" in social services and I would not continue if I didn't also enjoy and receive great rewards from this work.  Financially it is certainly not the best but the bills do get paid and I am thankful to work with an amazing group of colleagues.  I am still learning to balance what is necessary to get through the week and support my girls  with activities that are necessary to promote my own and family health and wellness.

Exercise - Reflect on an event that has influenced your life as it is today.  Don't worry if the event was positive or negative.  What opportunity or information did you gain from that event.  What will you do today to take the opportunity further to promote your own journey to health and wellness? When you have reflected take time to write down the event as a story use  the chosen outcome that you decided you would do today as the ending. 

Namaste

Step 85 The Art of Being.  "Courage is Grace Under Pressure" E. Hemmingway

Being in the moment, and I mean really being in the moment - with all our senses at capacity engagement - sound/taste/smell/touch can either rock our world or make us want to flee.  I am not including disaster, extreme stress or violence when I write this, just the simple matter of day to day living or survival.

Depending on whether we are "living" or "surviving" significantly changes the way we respond to being in the moment.  If, even in survival, we manage to stay present we are experiencing the courage that Hemmingway refers to in his statement - Grace under pressure.

Recently a friend and I were talking about the difference between remaining optimistic and managing the reality of circumstances that can, oftetimes, seem like trying to climb a mountain wearing flip flops.  Impossible right?  It is very hard work to remain optimistic all of the time when circumstances that prevail reflect that all is not as we would hope or like it to be. 

However, dwelling on what is wrong can prevent us from seeing the opportunities that are present even in the most challenging situations. 

One of the things I love about the work I do is helping families see the strengths they have going for them - when those strengths may not be obvious.  For example, helping a mum struggling on a very low income, figure out that by adjusting some of her expenses and looking at the current situation differently she could, in fact, save $1,200 over a year.  Instead of being broke she will have savings and create a positive habit that will help her and her son; assisting two teens, who have seriously demonstrated grace under fire, apply for and receive an amazing bursary by Outward Bound.  The bursary will give them a three week camping trip and challenge them mentally, physically and spiritually.  This happened because they followed up on the opportunity presented to them and took steps to engage in a process which was time consuming and, to some degree, personally challenging.

This blog is about finding our inner Fiji - the steps we decide to take towards a healthier and happpier
life depends on whether we decide to simply read (or write) the words or actually engage in the process.  Sometimes just reading can be part of the process by planting seeds -  those seeds get watered and flourish quickly; other times they take a little longer but water (action) at some point is essential.

Whether you are in survival or living mode the choice of action and recognition to experience the moment and seize opportunity is there.  If you can't find it in yourself ask a friend to help or contact me for online coaching and support.

Exercise:  Write on a sheet of paper Survival and on the other side of the paper Living.  Make a list of words that immediately come to mind.  Decide in which modality you are right now.  What opportunities are there for you to move closer to your dreams and goals?  What senses do you experience when you reflect on the situation?  How can you use this moment in time to move you closer to where you want to be?

Namaste.






Step 84 - Listening to our instincts. "Often life whispers to us to warn us of potential problems that may lie ahead, but frequently we are so busy with other things that we ignore these warning signs. One of the best ways to reduce the number of problems in your life is to learn to listen and act on life’s whispers."  Dr. Anthony Fernando

Have you noticed that often before something "bad" happens that you have a sense of premonition - it can also happen when something "good" is about to happen as well.  The physiological experience can often be felt in the stomach or neck and shoulder areas. These warning signs when we listen can prevent health problems,  making poor financial decisions and prevent us from engaging in unhealthy activities or relationships.  All too often, however, I have not heeded these signs and the exact opposite has happened.   The upside is that the experience offers an opportunity for learning and a new and better understanding of how to respond to those instincts and physiological warnings in the future.

In other words there is no point in beating ourselves up for not listening because we can't change what happened but we can change how we respond in the future.  Mindfulness works this way too.  The more mindful we become about what we are feeling and thinking about a situation will pre-empt more positive action and choices.  We still may take risks but we go into those risks with greater understanding.

Since my last post I have been working on weight loss and saving frantically for our trip to the UK.   My body has responded well to the discipline and positive energy that I am putting into both - and even though the results are not as I had hoped they would be by now I am optimistic and positive that I am on the right path.  The physiological feelings are the ones that indicate "good" is about to happen.  It awakens creativity and possibility.

Listening yesterday to an interview on the CBC with Richard Dawkins about his book for children The Magic of reality http://www.cbc.ca/books/2012/01/richard-dawkins-on-the-magic-of-reality.html I was surprised to find myself in agreement with much of what he said in regards to the importance of seeing the "magic" in science and things that can be proven.  However we parted company in agreement when he dismissed any experiences that could not be explained in reality or by science.  Whilst I long ago gave up on the belief in creation mythology I do still believe that our journey towards understanding how and why things works and came into being are part of a much bigger picture.  That what we cannot explain, such as premonitions, feelings of rapture and paranormal experiences occur and are very real for those who experience them.  That there is no scientific proof does not diminish the reality of those feelings and beliefs.  For me it is more of a chicken and egg question - which came first science or creation?  Evolution has its place within both scientific and spiritual philosophies, in my opinion.  To dismiss one is to exclude the opportunity for collective understanding and the potential for peaceful co-existence.

Which takes me back to the quote at the top.  Just because we can't prove the feeling we have about something does not mean we should not listen to it.  Our inner wisdom,  soul, however you like to call it or understand it has a purpose to assist and help you live as healthily as possible.  Becoming aware and mindful of those inner thoughts and feelings will guide us all in our quest for a healthy and happy life.

Exercise - Take two or three colours of paint that you really like and let the colours guide you as you apply them to paper.  Let them mingle and swirl as they lead you.  Try not to control how you work with them - either use brushes or your fingers or sponges or all three.  When you have finished reflect on what you have painted and how it felt to just let the colours take control.  What did you learn about yourself ?  Did you need to control the colours or do you have a natural ability to let go and live freely with your instincts?  How can you apply this experience to a current problem or situation?

Namaste

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Step 83 - Thinking twice about second helpings!

"Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions.  A large, bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. But, fair, or not fair, these unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will patronize in vain - which taste cannot tolerate - which ridicule will seize"  Jane Austen.

Since posting yesterday I have had some requests for meal plan suggestions.  Like some of you I have a family to feed and separate dishes and fussy diet plans are a no no.  I also strongly believe that "diets don't work" and it is the intention behind weight loss that paves the path to success. 

Sadness can certainly lead to comfort eating as the lovely Jane wrote, but so can being in love and sharing too many chocie bars with your sweetheart.  Amazing how the pounds pile on soooo easily, especially in mid life, and fall off so slowly.

The dishes I prepare all work within busy family and full time work life and you are welcome to them as suggestions for your own weight loss goals.  I may not get to post meal plans every day but I will aim for at least three per week.

To re-state my goal is to loose a further 10 pounds over the next 30 days and take my goal weight dress to Paris!  To achieve this I am eating a maximum of 1,750 calories a day, exercising at least 250 calories by going to curves3-4 times a week and walking 30 minutes on the other days.  On days 7/14/21 and 28 I will reward myself with a treat or on the closest day to them that makes sense.

Breakfast      235 cal.

1 egg fried in 1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp flax seeds
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup watermelon

Lunch 162 cal.   

2 x generous tablespoon humous
8 rice crackers
1 orange

Dinner  510 cal.

Avocado and Tuna salad with dressing -
1 tsp olive oil, 1 tblsp low fat Hellmann's mayonnasie and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Snacks and Drinks 387 cal.

8 glasses of water
2 cups of tea with milk
1 cup of coffee with cream
2 x slices provolone cheese
1 apple
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 slices watermelon

Total Intake 1,294

Both fat and protein are essential for helping metabolism and to ensure good muscle retention.  If you are feeling tired protein will help you rather than a low value snack such as a 100 calorie bar.  I also take vitamin C and vitamin B complex each morning - a multi vitamin may also help you when you are trying to loose weight and reducing calorie intake.  Grazing throughout the day - hence the number of snacks is good for boosting metabolism and protein at breakfast is essential for this.  Leafy greens and spinach are also important and aim for at least five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Namaste





Step 82:  "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence...Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."- Calvin Coolidge

Temptation to give in or give up whether we are on a diet, trying to save money or work towards an important goal often has a loud voice.  Unfortunately this usually means we settle for a short term gain (reward) leading to long term pain; piling back on the weight, spending the savings or more seriously a relapse back into addiction.

Having a long term goal and shorter term goals that act like stepping stones are a really helpful way to prevent and consciously deal with temptation. 

Today I am going to specifically talk about weight loss - but the principles of what I am saying can be applied in other areas.

In just over six weeks I will be heading out to the UK to visit my mum.  My goal weight dress is coming with me!

Since January I have successfully lost some of the weightI had set as a goal and now I have stuck. Becoming discouraged by the lack of movement I spent a couple of weeks gorging on foods that were not only not wheat and gluten free they had no real nutritional value.  It was as if I was punishing my body, yet I was the one in control of my body, making poor choices. 

Daily I stepped onto the scales letting self congratulations speak loudly for being lighter than I was in January all the while closing my eyes to the fact that the pounds were creeping back on.  I wanted to delude and convince myself that I had no control over this and blamed all sorts of other things on what was happening.  I had also not been making time to go to curves or exercise - and conveniently came up with all sorts of excuses and that's what they were excuses!

Sounds harsh but sadly true, I was lying to myself.  For sure I was 20 pounds lighter than when I started but I had lost a further 5 and had now put back on 7.  This was 100% due to lack of willpower or staying power and needing a reward.  Thus to stepping stones plan I mentioned earlier.

"Temptations come when we are feeling deprived and rewards are how we give ourselves recognition of what we have accomplished". Liza Miles 2012

For the next 30 days I will be consuming 1, 750 calories a day with a reward every day 7 of a "treat" of 250 calories. I will also be working out at Curves or waiking at least 30 minutes each day burning 250 cals. My goal - to loose 10 pounds. My treat may be a cocktail, a desert, a bar of chocolate - and I will be sure to make it special, not "wolf it down" in secret. I am publicly sharing this plan with my children who are great monitors.

Exercise - this can be adapted to a weekly or monthly plan for savings and other goals too.
I am creating a daily stepping stone with a specially designed eating plan for that day. At the end of each day I will put a coloured tick or star to confirm that I accomplished the goal for the day.   Every seventh stone will include the treat or reward.   You can also make weekly or monthly stepping stones for different goals.  However I suggest that rewards are given at least once every seven days.

I have not suggested a diet plan here - everyone looses weight differently.  If you need a place to start check out my hub on how to loose 20lbs and keep it off at http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-loose-20lbs-and-keep-it-off.  I have also listed some suggested sites below that offer weight loss suggestions and products.  If you are planning to loose weight it is always best to loose it slowly and aim for 2-3 pounds a week.  If you have a medical condition, are pregnant or nursing a baby loosing weight should be with the consultation of your doctor.


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Step 81 - choosing to be ...........
Photo

There is an old joke that says " should I wake up up grumpy or let him/her sleep."

Joking aside we all have that choice each and every day of our lives.  Honestly it has taken me quite a few years to get enlightened enough to realize that I can choose to have a happy day or not.  The last couple of weeks, since my last post in fact, have been a testament to the ongoing choices that I am able to make to create positive and ongoing peace within myself.

Perhaps it's a part of getting older that I am able to accept situations without
reacting to them and to make a more measured response instead.

The ongoing path to my inner Fiji is certainly enlightening me as I approach day to day problems, relationships and professional duties in a more mindful way.  Mindfulness has helped me overcome many internal and external struggles and I am enjoying the life lessons it creates.

Working alongside a colleague who is way more practised in the art of mindfulness has also helped.  Although she still has "bad days" her empathic approach to problems and weighing of how her actions or reactions can contribute to a positive or negative outcome has taught me that indeed it is the snail or turtle who wins the race.  I have been the hare too many times not to get this - especially in the making of some pretty poor or dare I say tragic decisions based on impulse!

When I attended church regularly I was used to being told that God does not give his people more than they can handle.  I used to swallow this belief whole.  Now I realize it is not God that controls how much we can handle but rather how we behave and respond to situations.  It was convenient to believe that the control was not in my hands but it really did me no service and excused or extended the amount of chaos I brought upon myself.

Working with vulnerable families who may indeed be victims of circumstances the one clear difference between those who remain stuck and the ones who move on and become successful and independent is taking responsibility.  The words "are you done" was once asked of me by a counsellor.  I thought it was harsh but now I see what she was saying - encouraging me to leave "the story" behind and create a new story, one in which I could be in control and not give up or give in to what had gone before.

Exercise for Step 81

Create a daily note of how and when you feel in control of your responses to what happens and when you react.  Notice the difference between a considered response and an immediate reaction.  This can be chartered over small and big things.  Examples may be how you speak to someone who may be rude or curt with you, how you ask your children or family to do stuff around the house, how you approach your co-worker or boss about a situation or a pay rise.   Try to choose response more than react overtime and notice how that benefits not only how you feel but your relationships overall.

Namaste.

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Step 80 - Leadership, relationships  and partnerships.......

This week I learned a valuable lesson in an important relationship.  A business associate, who is also a friend, had a very different understanding about a course of action concerning the business.  We both experienced physical and mental "shock" when we realized we were on very different paths.

Having been inspired by this person for a number of years and, she by me, I felt insensitive, selfish and unappreciated all at the same time.  Fortunately we both took a big breath and recognized that our partnership both in business and as friends is  important.  We worked it out by individually processing, being honest about how and why we had gotten to the misunderstanding and confusion, with no blame or accusation attached.

Our path to health and wellness is very much impacted by the relationships we have with ourself and with others.  Family, personal, professional and romantic relationships can and do have a bearing on how we respond to different situations, which, when I write it, sounds obvious However when we are in the midst of a crisis or just a day that isn't going well we may not consider the relationship as a root cause.

When we behave responsibly for our actions and the choices we have made we inspire others to do the same - its a wonderful process of sharing and everyone wins.  The more generous I am with my time and resouces, the more I get back, without even trying.  The less critical I am of others and the way they do things means I am less critical of myself and others are too. 

The workplace, school and home can and is a wonderful resource for improving and developing relationships - and of course there are toxic and seriously abusive environments that we need to avoid at all costs.  I for one have quit more than one job on the basis of an unhealthy environment - either values or the relationships between co-workers and bosses.

If you're experiencing dis-ease in your relationships consider what has to change - maybe it's time to move on or to address the issue head on. The first step starts with you.

For more serious problems - check out the following resources:

http://www.bullyfreebc.ca/

http://www.kidpower.org/resources/articles/school-bullying.html?gclid=CNzHitvXsLACFaYaQgodmyc5WA

http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/content/action_center/detail/754?gclid=CL207fTXsLACFQkaQgodoxCsUg

Exercise - step 90.

1)  Make a list of people who are important in your lifeand who make you feel positive and healthy. Remember all relationships have sticky patches. Across the page write down the qualities that you like and admire about those people.

2) Create a list of your own qualities and see how they match up with the people who are important to you. 

3) Now make a list of people you have a relationship with and who do not leave you feeling positive and healthy.  Write down what you can do to change this.  Consider if that person is someone you could cease contact with and what the potential benefits/negagtives would be.

Create your list of successes and challenges for the week.

Namaste









Step 79 - "Slow down you move too fast, gotta make the morning last"  Simon and Garfunkle Feeling Groovy,  1966 ,

This week I had an epiphany and taking my own advice,  I stopped creating pressure prompted deadlines for myself.  The deadlines have been a force of habit for way too long, taking me out of the moment, creating unhelpful moments of panic about "gotta get it done".

Of course for us all there are tasks and things that do have to get done but in some cases we create tasks and fill our lives with them, that are simply meaningless or to do not enhance our relationships with ourselves and others.  It is no accident that so many epitaphs written by those who die young or in middle age talk abut the things they wish they had made time for rather than the chores they had filled their time with.

One thing I am "guilty of" and I appreciate about myself,  is that I am good at self care.  I can happily leave an untidy kitchen to take the children to the beach, meet a friend or read a book.  No one dies and it does get cleaned up later on .......:-)

The pressure deadlines I recently created were around writing and commitment to writing. The writing part is good but the deadlines were actually getting in the way of creativity and motivation.  The more pressure I put on myself the less I could write. So I chose to take a break.

I made space for cleaning up areas in the home that have been neglected, creating a sanctuary in my bedroom, a sewing space for my oldest teen and a comfy rec. room for movies and relaxing.  We have planted containers and cleaned up the patio.  None of those chores were on my to do list - yet allowing myself to organically spend time where my energy wanted to go was relaxing. I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that I don't get when I have the "have to get this done today" message in my head.

So if you are finding yourself rushing through life with a long list of things to do, take a moment to take a break.  Slow down, you will  have more energy and will get a lot more more done that makes you and others happy.

Exercise - take a moment to watch Simon and Garfunkle performing the 59th Street Song "feeling Groovy".  As they say the world IS a beautiful palce.  This clip is a little cheesy but I love the facial expressions - and my, how young they look. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBQxG0Z72qM&feature=player_detailpage

Sucsesses....

Back to Curves and maintaining past weight lost. 
Commitment to starting on a cleanse with my neighbours Isagenix product this week to re-kickstart more weight loss.
Art Therapy online

Challenges

Managing a professional "attack" from an unknown to me professor in the UK - just plain weird
Still saving for the UK trip


Namaste





Step 78 - "In my opinion when we write we write the dreams that we have forgotten"  Carlos Fuentes

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/18/152828601/a-conversation-with-carlos-fuentes

Carlos Fuentes is a wonderful example of the power of one - this amazing man, activist, writer, leader packed so much into one life time.  He was not afrraid to speak up for what he believed and his writings both fiction and non fction packed a powerful punch.   The world will miss him.

I like that he talks about how his dreams were in Spanish and that the insults of the French and the English could not be felt.

The 2005 conversation on CBC with Eleanor Wachtel will be repeated today and on Tuesday 22nd. 

If you don't know Carol Fuentes work or have not listened to him speak I would highly recommend listening as an inspirational and motivational experience.

This week has been personally very rewarding and I have been blessed with peace and the ability to let go of many small and some larger niggles about my life and how I had come to expect so much of myself.  The expectations that get in the way of dreams becoming reality because of the "to do" list I had created in my own mind.  What I realize now as the important thing is to take a small step each and every day and to be thankful for being in that moment. 

I received a rather large cheque in the mail on Friday.  My reaction was to be shocked.  It is the amount -almost - for three tickets to the UK and I had a hard time accepting that this was in fact my money.  Turns out it is a tax adjustment from overpayment for the last couple of years.  It couldn't be more timely and certainly I had been saying to myself that the money for our trip will come.  When it did - I was shocked.  And there, my friends,  is the rub the self created barrier that we create each and every day in our lives when we say we accept, but really do we? Doubt and self doubt is often so much stronger than faith.   Christians say God works in mysterious ways, and in secular or other spiritual terms oftentimes how we see the plan is not how the plan turns out.  It doesn't mean it is not the right plan.

If Carlos Fuentes had accepted his lot in life, not listened to and written his dreams , campaigned for social justice and spoken out against injustice the world would be a poorer place.  Where is your voice, where is my voice?  Let us be heard - let us write,, sing, paint and dance our dreams, bringing joy to ourselves, our families and the world.  Let our voices create freedom for those who are not free.  By taking this step you are closer to your own inner Fiji.

Exercise - Create Word Art

Find a frame in your home or at the local dollar store and create a piece of word art to hang.  Choose words or a phrase that echo your dreams and beliefs or values.    My word art says:  "Sing with a Joyful Heart and is collaged onto a picture of a giraffe in Kenya.  My second piece says - "I am grateful for the air I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat and the earth I walk upon"

Record you successes and challenges.


Namaste.



Step 77  - Focusing on what the future can bring you.  "HOLDING ONTO ANGER IS LIKE DRINKING POISON AND EXPECTING THE OTHER PERSON TO DIE" Buddha

One of the most common barriers to changing behaviour and optimising a different future, I encounter in myself and in the work I do with others, is constantly looking back.  Whilst it is really important to live in and enjoy the moment, setting goals and focusing on things that we would like to do is a positive health benefit.  Recent research suggests that creating goals and partcipating in activities can stimulate, delay or prevent the possibility of dementia and encourage longevity.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/713649967 and http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Prevention/21105 reference research with small study groups. 

The merits associated with setting goals is to increase our value within community and the value of ourselves, rather than thoughts of the diminishing value of self that can occur in later middle age and senior years.  

As an older woman I have often found myself thinking that I am invisible.  Interestingly when I was young I felt invincible!  Invisibility becomes self fulfilling when I do not participate actively in social and professional relationships or community events.  Other friends have also stated their sens of"invisibility".  Yet, when we look at the communities in which we live, the numbers of youth, young, middle age and seniors are all present.  Oftentimes seniors and middle aged outnumber younger families and youth.  Certainly the baby boomer demographic is evident in many communites on Vancouver Island. 

Perhaps the sense of invisibility is a white North American or British phenomenon that has to do with social discrimination and circumstances.  Our lack of respect and inclusion of "the elder" and availability to be involved with multi-generational and diverse socio economic events. 

I experimented last week with being "off-line"for the most part.  I wanted to see if and how the use of my time would change and whether I needed to re-structure my time and efforts writing and engaging socially on-line.  We also had some year end school and dance recital activities so there was, in fact, a lot of social time spent outside of the home and less time indoors.  That naturally happens too when the Spring/Summer season gets into full swing.

What I noticed was that when I was alone I became mentally and intellectually foggy, I was not challenging myself and I slumped into watching late night TV, which is an old habit that I have pretty much managed to get out of.  So, for me online writing, blogging and engaging in positive activities stimulates my mental energy and promotes health and wellness and brain activity.  Of course, it is important to balance that with physical activity and that happens when I feel positive.

I also noticed that I became a little crankier and focused on things that were not going so well or had not gone so well in the past.  Then there was the little friend "historical anger"  beckoning me to start down the path of resentment.  Not good at all!

Whatever it is that motivates you - creatively, physically, spiritually, these activities are essential for good health and well being.  They feed each other, the more alert we are the more physically active we become and so on.

Exercise for step 77:  Review the activities you do on a day to day basis - what seasonal activities do you enjoy - do you permit yourself to engage in them?  Are you locked into a habit that creates a mental or physical fog?  Create a collage with activities that you enjoy and have in the past or plan to include in the future.  Use words and pictures.  Date and name the collage.

Record your successes and challenges.....

Namaste!





Step 76 - Self Care.  “[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is. (267-268)” Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit

Whether you are a full time worker, a part time worker, retired or a stay at home mum or dad, taking time for self care that puts you first is very important.  For sure, eating, sleeping, rest and physical exercise are part of self care but taking time to do something that is just for you is part of balance and the way to effectively maintain good health and happiness in your life.

This has been an extremely busy week at work, supporting familiies who are facing some very challenging and heartbreaking circumstances caused by mental health, poverty, domestic abuse and violence.  In order to be able to continue to effectively support families professionally as well as take care of my own family, self care is essential.

As Victoria Moran writes, self care takes practice and dedication. Oftentimes we have the thought that to care for ourselves above others is selfish and so we put our own needs on the back burner in order to serve others.  I am not being sexist when I say that women are most guilty of this, but in my experience it is true.

This quote by Brenda Ueland summarizes the point well:

“In fact that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability)for others and never antyhing for themselves. Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling. The poor wives are reminded that that is just why wives are so splendid--because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them! But inwardly women know that something is wrong. They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable. But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all. For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself. [...]"If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say; 'Mother is working on her fice-act tragedy in blank verse!' you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”
Brenda Ueland

About a year ago I attended a writing workshop at Vancouver Island Scool of Art www.vancouverislandschoolart.com .  The writer, a male stated that to be a successful writer it was important to be selfish, one had to close the door and write.  He is maried and his wife takes care of him and their child.  I am single mother, so I am "i"t when it comes to taking care of people and  earning money for rent, groceries, hydro etc. etc.

However, I have managed to adapt his advice and accommodate writing into my everyday life which, as I have stated before, has led to increased health and vitality.  I did this by trading how I spent my former "self-care" time and not vegging in front of the TV, being more disciplined about boundaries around work and other professional commitments and diarising writing time.  I also listen to my body more and when it tells me that I need to rest/take a walk/take a bath/have a glass of wine or coffee with a friend/meditate I do it.  I don't ignore it.  I make time and  I do at least one of those ativities every day.  Interestingly the more time I give myself, the more time I appear to have.

When I - or anyone - does not listen to their personal needs and act on them resentments fester and grow, relationships suffer and weight, mental health, physical health and potential relapse back into addiction are the likely consequences.  Take care of yourself - YOU are worth it.

Step 76 Exercise.

Review the week to come.  How balanced is your life?  When do you make time for self care?  What does self care look like to you and how can you incorporate it into your schedule.  What is your mind/body/spirit asking you to do?

Some self care activities - suggestions for things you can do that are mostly free and that will incorporate better overall health:  

Physical:  
Dancing/running/walking/martial arts/climbing/skipping/punching a pillow or a bag/drumming or playing another instrument/swimming

Emotional/Spiritual: 
Singing/smiling/meditating/walking/praying/crying/breathing/taking a bath/reading a book/writing/journaling/painting/drawing

Social Needs:
Meeting a friend for coffee or appy's/Going to see a movie or a show/taking a workshop/visiting your favourite store for window shopping or a small treat if you can afford it.

Don't forget to record your successes and challenges - here are mine:

Successes

Taking "me time" to rest in a bubbly bath after very hard days at work and getting lost in a book (Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/Friday-Night-by-Joanna-Trollope)

Managing not to eat "junk food" and to maintain weight loss despite the stress of this week

Creating a yummy breakfast shake - almond milk, banana, strawberries, spoon of peanut butter and some flax seeds.

Not pushing myself into activities on days when my head was too full and giving myself permission to read/relax.

On-line art therapy sessions with new clients via skype.  For more information visit:  http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/Art-Therapy-On-Line or contact me at liza.miles1@gmail.com

Challenges

Money matters and savings for the UK

Housing and expenses

Understanding internet whys and wherefores

Accepting past mistakes and letting go of self-blame


Be well and treat yourself kindly




 
Step 75 - Living your Dreams:  “All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

After a good rest yesterday I found myself thinking quite positively about some really challenging problems.

In part having made the commitment to write everyday my brain seems to be less cluttered. 

Now when I have to consider and sort through what is real, what is a historical message that is not useful I do get to clarity more quickly and in a less stressful way than I used to, and when I'm stuck in a problem I write my way out of it - this is my Haiku set from this morning:  http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/Dont-give-up-your-dreams-Haiku

Synchronisity was on my side because I also listened to a funny and thought provoking talk by Larry Smith from the University of Waterloo Ted Talks series.  "Why you will never have the career of your dreams"  Talk about historical messages!

So for this step, today, I invite you to click on the link and listen to Larry
http://www.tedxuw.com/speakers/larry-smith/

Namaste
Step 74 -  "Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives."  Tony Robbins

A few years ago I listened to a sermon which told the story about a man of great faith who believed that God would rescue him no matter what.  

" One day the man's house began to fill  with water as the local river banks burst.  The flood rose and rose.

 The man had a life jacket in the house and could swim but, he thought, if I swim I may get swept up in the current.  I will wait for a sign from God. 
 
 As the water rose higher the man climbed up to the second floor and out onto the balcony.  Along came some neighbours in a dinghy - "get in" they told him. 

  The man looked at them and said "but you are not of my faith.  I will wait for God to rescue me."
 
  A couple of hours later the flood filled both floors of his home.  He climbed onto the roof of his house.  Along came a helicoper, they dropped a ladder to him.

 The man did not grab the ladder.  He shouted "no I can't do that, I am too afraid.  God will rescue me."

  The next day the news reported that the man had drowned in the flood.

When I think about this story I am reminded about the times in my own life when I have chosen not to take practical steps and have perhaps had some other grandiose thought that somehow something outside of myself will fix it - make it better.  Usually that is a sign that I am trying to avoid something that is painful or difficult and whilst I certainly have had the gift of grace throughout my life through the kindness of neightbours, family and friends, the times that I am strongest are the times when I rely and know my inner resources and strenghts.  Sometimes the strength is in letting go and admitting that I don't know the way to go.  Other times it is sucking up what I don't like or want to do and getting it done.

I find those resources come for me through the experience and process of making art.  At those times art is a prayer and in the words of Picasso "the unthought known" emerges.  It can be a beautiful thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cHUZZjaHNg

Exercise 74

On some index cards write out the strengths and inner resources you know you have and when you have used them - write out what the situation was and how you overcame it.  Use one index card for each.  If there is a situation in your life now that you believe you are not able to manage well consider the help you need to find that.  Who to ask for support from.  When you discover a way to manage- which you will - remember to record it on the index card and describe the situation, place and date.

Step 73 - Changing the Record.  "I am not a victim, no matter what I have been through, I'm stilll here.  I have a history of victory."  Steve Maraboli www.stevemaraboli.com

Yes, I know I have said this before, differently, but it's important and sometimes it takes lots of practice to change the way we think about our current situation and not have it continually compounded by negative messages from the past.

When we see ourselves as a victim in a situation we give away the power we have over the given situation and opportunity to learn from it.  When we stay stuck in the victim role the messages get louder and worse.  I know this is true because I have done it for years.  It has been my experience to keep telling myself the same story over and over again - nothing moves - I can say I told myself so.
Yay for me NOT!

Once I learned to change things around life did not get simpler - it got way more complicated but in a good way.  Suddenly I had options and choices and acceptance as companions, those excitable little guys got me hopping over fences towards dreams that I couldn't have conceived in my old way of thinking.  Sure there were and are still mistakes but that's life - right?  Human beings make mistakes.

If you have messages that keep playing in your mind that tell you "you are the victim" - change the message, look at it differently.  What would it be like to not feel and think of yourself as a victim.  How much power or control would that give you?  It may feel fake at first but over time it will feel good and your thoughts will be cleaner and clearer about what choices you can make for your future.

Exercise step 73

Find a quiet place to sit inside or outside and concentrate on your breathing.  When you feel relaxed, imagine yourself  walking purposefully up the first slope of a mountain.   You are fit and dressed appropriately for the environment.  As you stride you know you will make it to the top.  You have no fear.  When you are ready to open your eyes, either draw, or write, or do both, an image of the mountain (or cut out a picture or paper to represent it).

The mountain represents the next stage of your life where you are no longer a victim.  That is behind you.  When you think, feel or hear the old messages coming back repeat the meditation and visualize yourself.  Look at the pictures and or writings you have made and remind yourself, there is no turning back.

Successes....

Having 100 people visit my hub pages in one day http://lizam1.hubpages.com/
Commencing on-line art therapy with new registrants
Making time to take care of my family, myself and make time to write
Eating wheat and gluten free
Accepting my chocolate binge and not mentally beating myself up for it!

Challenges....

Persnicketyness yesterday over nothing
Chores at home
Keeping faith about $'s for the UK trip

Be well 



Step 72 - Gaining Momentum and Living Life Large - "And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anaïs Nin (1903 - 1977)

One of my colleagues stated last week - "I keep wondering what I will be when I grow up", we all cracked up - she is 56 and I get it.  Seems to me that so many of us are on the hamster wheel and when that darn wheel turns slowly enough for us to get off we just speed it up again. Oftentimes doing what you want to do seems harder than doing what you have to do, when it comes to letting go and believeing in yourself, your dreams and your creativity.

Now that I have made writing every day a habit for me, I absoluitely have to write.  As a result my mental health has increased positively and my stress levels have decreased.  Sure I do sometimes have "writers block" or wonder why on earth anyone would be interested in what I have to say but since January around 2,500 people globally have read my work here and on hub pages - that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started sharing my writing.  I find joy in the small stuff, the everyday. That feeds my writing and generates ideas for hubs and sharing here.

This morning is a great example - listening to North by Northwest on CBC http://www.cbc.ca/nxnw/ presented by Sheryl Mackay I woke to the sounds of O World.  One song re-recorded many times over by different musicians form different genres.  A beautiful Living Life Large project, the dream of one man who brought it all together.

Rosa Parks is a wonderful example of the power of one. Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world". If you want to see change within the world, within yourself, within your family the power  is yours - change starts with each and every one of us.  The rest as they say will be history as the positive changes occur.

Exercise Step 72

Go to http://www.oworld.ca/ and listen to the different music and watch the videosThis all started with the vision of one man.  The power of one - it's a beautiful thing.

Have a Great Earth Day!

Namaste.

Step 71 -  Living in the Now.  "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." http://thinkexist.com/quotation


I have heard it said that if we are anxious it is because we are not living in the present moment - our anxiety is caused by worrying about the future or the past which we cannot change.  Living in the present is, however, challenging in our present day society where so much information, need for planning and demands on our time come at us on a constant basis.

My children are often bemused by the fact that I can quite happily leave my cell phone at home or just let it ring or not immediately leap up to check the cause of the "beep".  That's one of my "good" habits.

When I find myself yearning for peace and quiet and when those opportunities present themselves, I can get pulled into thinking about the jobs around the house and child or professionally related tasks that I am not doing.  Thus not really "drinking in" the present or taking advantage of the time I could give myself as a gift.

Stressors for me are definitely around money flow, time for house related tasks and having to have things completed on other people's time schedules.  When that happens, if I become anxious and overwhelmed I choose one of two things - eating for comfort or watching TV.  Neither makes me feel good and both lead to negative thinking.

Participating in a physical activity is a good strategy for living in the present and is a healthier alternative to inactivity or eating. Yoga, meditation, running, dancing or singing all create a surge of endorphins which have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and stimulate creativity. http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression.  I also like what this writer has to say about  his experience when his creativity is stagnated robertgerardhunt.com/2012/01/27/wherefore-endorphins/

Exercise - Step 71

Create a flow chart about time/money/chores where ever you know your stressors are present and
examine how you normally respond to them - how does it flow?  Does it spiral into more negativity or greater stress?  Create an alternative flow chart which shows what the alternatives might be. Feels fake right?  That's OK it's the beginning and at least now you know that there are alternatives and can start to put into practise changing thought patterns into positive action. 

Successes

Continuing to maintain weight loss and not pile back on any pounds - despite the recent Easter Bunny leaving treats all over the house.

Listening to my body.

Networking and making new social and business relationships.

Commencing an offering a pilot on-line art therapy programme - go to http://www.arccsociety.com/Workshops for more information or to register.

Challenges

Working through "stinking thinking" and recognizing historical thought patterns

Making the most of time and opportunities

Be well....











Step 70 - "It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" - J. K. Rowling

If J.K. Rowling had not written the Harry Potter series or had given up trying to get it published after the initial rejections from publishers, no doubt her current circumstances would be quite different from the ones she currently enjoys.

Her choice to continue writing despite evidence that, at that time, children's fiction had a limited future for an author, has generated new writers and spawned a growth in reading for youth.  Imagine what the world would be like if those with vision - Leonardo DaVinci, thought - David Suzuki, courage - Winston Churchill had chosen not to do so.  Makes you think doesn't it.

I don't know how much Ms. Rowling believed in the fact that she would get published but her actions, her tenacity, prove her choice not to give up paid off.

Of course there are times that trying something different is the wise choice  and that may be mean letting go of a dream.  It is said that if we let go of something and it comes back to us then it is meant to be ours and if it doesn't come back then it was not meant to be.  The hard part sometimes is making the choice to let go and recognizing when our choice to let go is, in fact, opting out.

As our thoughts control our feelings our mind controls our brain. It is our choice to take an action, permit a thought and thus a feeling to inform what and how we manage our lives.  We have control over our actions despite circumstances and natural events.  Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes good things happen - it is how we choose to respond to them that can and does make the difference.

Today I chose to tuck into a huge slice of a yummy sponge cake that I made at the weekend.  It is not wheat and gluten free and I ate it intentionally knowing that physically I may not feel so good later and accepting that.  The cake - a Victoria Sandwich is a positive taste from my childhood and I wanted to experience a metaphorical hug fom the taste.  It was worth it!

Step 70 - Exercise

Consider times when your actions are led by a feeling.  Perhaps when you feel less than positive about your life or circumstances.  What is the thought behind the feeling and what is the message behind the thought.  Engaging in this exercise will help you to recognize how to overcome negative messages that influence thoughts and that in turn give rise to negative feelings about yourself and your circumstances.   Understanding this and when and why this happens will empower you in your journey towards your inner Fiji.

Successes

Embarking on the on-line art therapy pilot - for more information go to http://www.arccsociety.com/Workshops

Completing a personal inventory of thoughts based on historical message and feelings that ensued
Writing and achieving level IV commentator status at hub pages.  If you want to write for hub pages click here http://lizam1.hubpages.com/  and sign up.

Wearing a pair of trousers (pants) that were one size too small last year and zipping them up with room to spare!  Yay:-)

Challenges

Flow between work, family and personal goals
Exercise - making a choice to get back to it and not doing it.  Uggghhhh!!!!!

Namas Day





Step 69 - "It's impossible" said Pride, "It's risky" said Experience, "It's pointless" said Reason.  "Give it a try", said the Heart. Anonymous

About ten years ago my friend and professional colleague Janet Christie and I discussed starting up a non-profit society to help mothers and their children for whom addiction and mental health was a day to day reality.  Ten years before that I had started a not for profit in the UK called ACT (Arts Counselling Trust).  ACT was successful and like many non profits stumbled from funding application to funding application.  We received positive recognition through research by the University of Loughborough for our work setting up art and drama therapy programmes in prisons and young offender units.  ACT had an amazing board and the vision of opening a residential post-prison arts based therapy centre almost became a reality.  Policies changed, funding dried up my energy and drive was spent and thus the work stopped.

When I came to Canada I said," never never again will I start a non profit society" .  Well as "they" say, never say never and three years ago Janet and I began the process of establishing and registering The Addiction Recovery Coach of Canada Society. www.arccsociety.com  The Society held it's first AGM yesterday and we are on our way to establishing on-line and community based initiatives to assist familes, mothers and their children who are leading complex lives through mental health and addiction.

In order to inform and develop best practice for on-line services we are offering an 8 week pilot program to 30 participants to experience on-line art therapy.  Registration for the pilot is now open.  If you are interested in participating in this pilot and think it may help you as part of this journey please contact me at liza.miles1@gmail.com .  A description of the project can also be found at http://arccsociety.com/Workshops

Honestly if I had listened to pride, experience and reason I probably would not be doing this but it is my passion.  Seeing women and their children's lives changed because they have supports and can access services which make a difference is so rewarding, I am glad I didn't listen:-)

Step 69 Exercise.  Consider taking part in the pilot programme or consider what barriers there may be that prevent you from engaging in something you care passionately about.  This does not have to be related to helping others - maybe it's writing a novel, running, loosing weight or making a trip to a long dreamed of destination.    What is the message that has or is creating the barrier?  What does your heart say? Make a collage about this.

Successes:

Writing daily
A beautiful weekend with a balance of rest and busyness
Opening my mind to new horizons
Spending time with my family
Baking up a storm for the AGM including wheat and gluten free orange cupcakes http://om-paramapoonya.hubpages.com/hub/gluten_free_orange_cupcake_recipe

Challenges

Concerns about financing my trip to the UK this summer
Making time for researchand practicalities to support my ideas
Thinking and then acting

Namas Day






Step 68 - Tenacity and Acceptance  "No, you can't always get what you want / No, you can't always get what you want / But if you try sometime, you just might find / You get what you need"  Jagger/Richards 1969.

I woke up with the words and music from the Rolling Stones 1969 hit in my head this morning.  Not my favourite band but this song I really like and the words are particularly apt for me today.  Who knew when I was shaking my 12 year old self to the music in 1969 they would, 30 years later, become an inspiration to accept that trying and trying the same thing that is not working means accepting what I want and what I need are two different things.

Sounds simple when I write it out - of course what we want and what we need are not the always the same, but sometimes we don't know what it is we need and keep going after what we want.  That tends to lead to frustration, negativity and away from inner contentment, peace and happiness.

I have long struggled with an inner conflict that flips between my security is in the home I own to own nothing, owe nothing.  As a single mum providing a safe and secure home (in my mind owning that home) has been essential.  However, my journey owning real estate has been based on very unrealistic financial stability and the struggle to keep it all going has been terrifying sometimes.  I have spent way too many hours figuring out how to" rob peter to pay paul" just to stay afloat on a month to month basis. Those hours were unproductive and did not bring me closer to security or anything like happiness. 

Accepting that what I need is a safe place to live, not a safe place to own has been a sobering lesson. Truth to tell I struggle with self talk around failing to provide for my family.  Those are historical messages that have no value and no place in the actual and amazing security I provide for my family.  The fact that I now can put into practise sound financial plans to create my "want" at a later stage is also freeing.

Letting those historical messages go has created time opportunities for me to put into more creative and practical endeavours which are more inwardly and outwardly satisfying.

The worlds message, the family message, the message from a school principle or some other person in authority is oftentimes the message that we listen to that informs us about what we want.  But like the snake oil salesman, it can deceive.  The message takes us to what we think we want and away from what it is we need.  That is what will fulfill us and make us happy.

There are many anecdotal stories from men and women who have led successful lives only to find that actual joy and fulfullment comes after a crisis or life changing experience.  New horizons open up, creative, social justice and humanitarian ventures replace and replenish their earlier stated wants and beliefs.

Exercise 68

Reflect on any messages that you are still listening to that don't feel authentic to you.  Or, consider something that you keep trying to do that keeps not working out.  Why and what are those messages/activities important and are they based on need or want.  Can you think about them or try them differently - not harder. 

Write out the message or activity and what the opposite message or action is.  Consider how it would feel to do it or think about it differently.  Make a list of the positives for both and choose if it falls into want or need.  Write out what steps or adjustments you choose to take.

Successes.....

Creating a realistic budget and savings plan
Supporting a friend through a recent loss
Continuing to feel healthy and eating wheat and gluten free
Not becoming obsessed with weight loss being stalled
Writing and seeing small increments of income through hub pages - click here for more informatin about writing for hub pages http://lizam1.hubpages.com/

Challenges....

Working through the process of acceptance
Creating too many projects and deciding which ones to let go of
Not enough physical exercise - hence the weight loss stall!

Namas Day







Step 67 - Its all in the timing.  "Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking
of yourself as a success.
" - Dr. Joyce Brothers

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that the timing of events and occurences in our life simply do not gel with what how where and when we thought those things should occur.   

Failed financial applications, job loss or lack of funds to re-train for professional opporunities can really put a damper on our motivation and attract thoughts and feelings of failure. 

It is a common fact that we can have a great day but the one negative comment or happening lingers longer and can become the only memory, obliviating all the success and happier events.  That is one of the reasons I include keeping a record of successes and challenges here. 

Hopefully by now, you are finding it easier to record successes as we journey on and the challenges are more challenging to recall and record.  Or that the challenges are cancelled out by the success of how you managed them.

Today, for me, could definitely have spiralled downwards so I took a page from my own book and began to look at the problem differently.  In perspective I could see and take ownership of the fact that I had set this particular ball rolling and in retrospect made a very poor decision, based in feeling.  Never a good way to go:-)  However spending the day worrying and beating myself up mentally about that would not change the outcome.  I am where I am today and this is where I am meant to be. 

Of course, that can sound really trite especially when we look at situations around the world where people, through absolutely no fault of their own, are caught up in the most horrific situations.  I am talking about personal responsibility.  The responsibility that each of us has to create the best out of every situation and to look forwards.

Sometimes however we can't simply "think" our way our of the doggedness, sadness, frustration, anger. We need help, either outside ourselves or by participating in exercises and techniques that we know within ourselves to be helpful.

I have created three exercises using art therapy which are simple to do and can be used over and over in different situations. 

Exercises for step 67 go to:

http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-self-motivate-and-regenerate-during-times-of-stress

Successes...

Making myself write
Re-thinking current events and not burying my head in the sand
Taking care of myself and taking a day at home

Challenges....

Fighting a cold and not wanting to admit I am sick
Hearing the "bad news" and wanting to bury my head in the sand

Namas Day
Step 66 - Action.  "Watching the sea will not help you cross the ocean, staring at the clouds will not fly you to your destination, thinking about what you want to accomplish will not achieve accomplishment - but take action and wow baby - you're gonna get there!" Liza Miles

If you are, like me a self starter you probably have lots of projects big and small on the go.  Chances are some of them are complete but a good many aren't.  If you are not a self starter you will have a billion really good ideas on the go, some of them may even be started but none or very few will be completed.  It doesn't really matter if we are naturally self starters or not, the outcome is the same if we do not take action then we will not achieve and accomplish our dreams and goals.

I have started and re-started a children's story so many times. If I had continued writing and gotten to the end of the story, that is still in my head, the manuscript would have been edited and ready to publish by now.  I have wasted so much time thinking about what it will be like when the book is published I didn't make the time to take action and write the darn thing.  Daydreaming the future is not the same as achieving the future.

One of my beefs about the book and film The Secret - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_(book - is the fact that its premise on the Law of Attraction (and I'm not against the principle of the Law of Attraction) suggests that if we want something badly enough and think that it is ours then it will be.  The problem is that action is not part of the recipe and thus sets people who do not understand the basis of the underlying message up for failure.  I want, I think, therefore I am, without action, simply does not work out.

Whether our goals are small or large, they will not be achiveved without taking action. What stops us from taking the action and understanding the whys and wherefores of that is part of the solution to an ongoing problem.  Once we understand the blocks and barriers we can deal with them and take appropriate action - our inner motivator becomes alive.

If you are looking for help with taking action and working towards completing your goals please contact me to register for the up coming six week  motivational journey on line course I am offering, commencing May 1st.  liza.miles1@gmail.com .  The cost for the six-part program is $175.00 and will include speakers, experiential exercices, on line discussions and webinar coaching sessions. 

Exercise - Step 66

Goals review.  Looking back at the earlier goals you created make a graph or flow chart depicting how much closer, if at all, you are to accomplishing those goals or some of them.  If you haven't made a start please register for the on-line motivational workshop.  If you have made a start but are stuck, please register for the on-line motivational workshop.  If you are seeing progress and are happy with the progress please share your experiences and examples with readers.  This is not a punitive exercise - it is a reality check - I am doing it too. 

Now to record your successes and challenges......

Successes

Creating an on-line motivational workshop series I am proud to share
Creating a potential funding formula for www.arccsociety.com to empower women struggling with addiction and mental health issues
Cooking a wonderful Easter lunch and sharing the day with friends and family
Writing, writing and more writing!

Challenges

Missing my mum who is in the UK and hearing how her illness is making her life more difficult

Namas Day





Step 65 Transformation - "A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more."- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Before I became a mum and over a period of several years I was part of a church choir.  Easter Friday - Good Friday - morning was spent participating in a three hour service reflecting on the stations of the cross and the crucifiction of Christ. It held a deep and important connection for me to God.

Today, as I walked around Ritchets Bog Nature Sanctuary with my children http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/Rithers-Bog-Nature-Sanctuary-Victoria-BC enjoying the natural beauty, I felt as close to worship as I used to inside the church.  The transformation of my understanding and relationship to God does not depend on attending church and I feel more connected to the community at large and the beauty of the world overall.

The transformation that people from all religions experience when participating in holy and religious services, the transformation we experience when we fall in love, the transformation we experience when we become parents, and the transformation when a fatality or crisis happens may not, at first glance appear to have common ground.  But, like the crucufiction of Christ and the Passover - disimliar stories from different stages in history, the vision is the same -transformation.

Oftentimes a crisis can become the catalyst for intrapersonal transformation - para-olympians are living testonomy of triumph against all odds.  Terry Fox lives on in the lives of those who continue the work he started through his corageous walk to raise money for cancer research. His act of courage and committment transformed fundraising and awareness of cancer across communtiies.

In her work Karen Armstrong is championing the act of compassion for change in the world.  Her work is growing throughout different cultures, religious groups and countries.  Her passionate and learned understanding of what brings us together within ourselves and as a community offers hope and the opportunity for transformation - from fear and judgement of others to understanding and empathy.  We may not like individuals but the call to understand them transforms our relationship and brings potential for peace.  http://charterforcompassion.org/

Exercise 65

Read or reflect on the story of Easter http://www.infostarbase.com/holidays/easter/easter_story.php and or the story of Passover http://www.longlongtimeago.com/llta_festival_passover.html  .  Consider what these stories teach us as a parable - you don't have to believe or follow a religion to do this.  Think of a time in your own life when transformation happened - when you changed direction and started to live and connect differently.  Whether this was positive or not so much write down what you learned and how you understood the situation.  How can you, or do you already, use the story of that experience to help others.

Record your successes and challenges.....

Success....

Achieving 50 hubs on The Hub Pages
Taking a potentially bad situation and turning it around by asking for help and thinking about it differently
Surviving the "teen sleepover" my daughters had last night - more like "up all night"!

Challenges

Creating income for our travel plans this summer
Managing work/social/writing time balance
Writers block!

Namas Day





Step 64 - "Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them, And they flew..." - Guillaume Apollinaire

Yesterday, Fiji the place was hit by a cyclone.  Locals and tourists have been affected and there may be ongoing health problems due to damage to the water supply.

Fortunately cyclone Daphne passed through and Fiji was spared overwhelming and devastating carnage.  Certainly there was damage and people got hurt but it could have been a lot worse. For more news go to www.fijitimes.com.  

Metaphorically, the storm reminded me of how plans that we make in good faith, can go awry due to circumstances beyond our control.  Job loss, an unexpected health issue, bereavement or relationship break up can throw us off course and , even if the circumstances are somewhat anticipated, result in a period of  unpredicatble feelings and responses. 

For some people those feelings and responses start to take over their life and "the peanut gallery" is formed - constantly whispering negative and "what if" warnings that erode  creativity, capacity and joy.   I was working with a young teen today for whom reality is an ongoing sense of not being good enough.  Messages from her mum, sister and other family were robbing her of her own voice, of the person she really is and the potential she can be.

Sometimes, in my work, it is necessary to take others to the edge and encourage them to fly solo.  Resources, cheerleading and trust become the parachute but ultuimately they are responsible for the decision to step off the edge and fly.  Some do and others do not.  For the latter category they usually remain stuck in the same cycle and circumstances do not improve.  If they step off and a cyclone comes along it is still, in my opinion, better than not stepping off at all.

I have experienced my own life cyclone's - some I have created and others because a butterfly flapped it's wings in Mexico.  It doesn't matter, the hard part is still believeing that, despite the devastation - serious or minor, I am where I am meant to be at that time.

Exercise - step 64

Write on a sheet of paper "thank you" as many times as you can, covering the whole sheet.
On a separate sheet write about an event that happened that knocked you off course for a while and then consider what you learned by having that experience and what about that experience you are thankful for (not necessarily the experience - what has happened afterwards for you).  Write about that ending with the words, thank you for this gift.  Put the writings into an envelope and ask a friend to mail it to you sometime in the next month.

Successes.......

Writing
Feeling and remaining optimistic about finances for our UK trip
Being pro-active about making the UK trip happen

Challenges......

Work/life balance - work is very busy right now
Laughter - I would like more in my life
Balancing the books:-)

Namas Day!