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woman's faceWanna know why it’s so hard to treat yourself nicely? (aka ‘do self-care’)

Self-Care implies that there is something “wrong” or “broken” about a person. Think about it… when you CARE for someone it’s because they are less than 100% in some capacity.

In my world that’s NO-NO #1!

BIG SECRET: There is nothing wrong with you.

The moment we think there is something wrong with us, that we are “incomplete” or “not whole” in someway, we judge ourselves, belittle ourselves, feel guilty.

It may lead us to make changes. But how often do those changes stick? Statistics show…not long.

But then comes a vicious cycle. You fail, you don’t feel good about yourself. You judge yourself and then give up all together. Right? That’s why self-care doesn’t work.

Do this instead…See Yourself As Whole And Complete.

So do that. Right now. Decide to see yourself as completely whole. 100%. If you sit down right now and take a deep breath, you’ll notice that you are alive. You can’t be alive if you aren’t whole.

Congratulations, girlfriend. You are WHOLE!

Now, the second step is to acknowledge this…

Everything is the way it is, NOT because you aren’t complete [read: good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, smart enough], but simply because the choices you have made so far haven’t served who you want to be.

Let’s recap:
Step 1: Decide to see yourself as WHOLE. You are complete.
Step 2: Acknowledge that up until now a lot of the choices you’ve made in your life haven’t served who you want to be.

If you’ve gotten this far, you might be thinking, Okay, now what?…
The choices you’ve made up until now have served who you think you are. Not who you really are.

Here’s what it might have looked like in the past:

You decide you want to lose weight so you start to eat less and exercise more. Probably you’re also secretly telling yourself “Oh gosh, this is going to be hard. I’ve got too much to lose…it will never come off. I am SO not a healthy eater. I do NOT exercise. I’m going to hate this.”

You do really well for the first couple days…even the first couple of weeks…but then something happens and it all falls to pieces. You blame the holidays, your busy schedule, your family, or whatever. Am I close?

At first glance it may look like you were right… your weight will never come off. But let’s look at it again. Failure is built in from the start.

How? Motive. Most people’s motive to make a change in their life is based on who they are not…instead of who they want to be. We chose to lose weight because we don’t like who we are…

You’re not a skinny super model so you have to lose weight. You’re not the millionaire mommy so you have to make more money. You aren’t this so you have to do that.

No wonder people aren’t making changes that stick!
Here’s the new way…

Start with who you want to be (aka who you truly are) and go from there. Right now. Write down who you want to be.

Go on…I’ll wait right here.

beep…

bop…

boop…

Did you write down who you want to be DESPITE any “you can’t do that”, “it’s going to be too hard”, “that’ll never happen” talk in your head?

Yes? Great!

No? Don’t worry. I’m about to dish it up in bite-size pieces.

It’s important that who you want to be lines up with who you truly are. I learned this last weekend at a super powerful training on finding our Divine Purpose.

If you want to know more about what ‘divine purpose’ means, email me now: lee(at)leesirwin(dot)com

Check your motive before we move on. Is it naughty or nice?

Now… make a list of 10 things you’ll do once you have become that person.

Here’s what I mean…
Motive: “I’m moving toward having a healthy, strong body”
(so I can go on long walks with my husband and feel like going out with my girlfriends on the weekend)

When I’m a healthier, stronger woman, I’ll…
1) Be active 4 times a week with my children
2) Go on long walks with my husband twice a week
3) Play my favorite dance tunes (and wiggle) while I’m cooking dinner
4) Thank my body for all the ways it has loved me over the years
… all the way up to 10

Sweet! Look at the list. Which ones can you already do (be) now? Today? This week? You’ve got a List that has real Self-Care infused into it!

Nice! That’s your Brighten-Up Tip for this week. Pick one thing you’ll practice, based on who you want to be vs. who are think you are.

To knowing there’s nothing wrong with us, and never has been…

Lee

P.S. – Want to know more about “who you want to be = who you truly are”? E-mail me now: lee(at)leesirwin(dot)com

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You feel like there’s never enough time every day, every week, every month, every year to get all your “shtuff” done.

Just when you think you’ve caught up, you burn out, put off all your tasks because you’re exhausted, and end up back where you started…needing to catch up.

Tired Woman

And the truth is…you may never feel like you have enough time.

The other truth is… you have all the time in the world. But that doesn’t really matter if you feeeel like you don’t.

You might have heard about “standard time” and “perceived time” and how “perceived time” IS the only real time.

You see, “standard time” never changes. Never. (okay, so there’s day light savings time but…other than that it never changes). On any given day, at any given moment you and I are given the same amount of time as Michelangelo had when he painted the Cysteine Chapel, Mark Zuckerberg has as he creates the Facebook empire, and Oprah has as she rules her queendom. So why have they been able to GET MORE DONE in the same amount of time?

Their PERCEIVED TIME is grounded in abundance not time scarcity.
They know, FEEL, and have faith that there is always ample time.

It’s important to note that you must have all 3 aspects in order to truly be grounded in abundance (and have all the time in the world). Here’s why…

1) KNOW: Understanding that you have all the time in the world is the simplest aspect of time abundance. It is “in your brain” kind of understanding. Once you know and understand that there is time all around you, you can move onto the other aspects which play even bigger roles…

2) FEEL: It’s good to know something but to feel it is even deeper. Your entire body begins to believe and understand there are oodles of time. Imagine being able to look at the clock, no matter what it says, and feel completely calm and relaxed. That’s when you know you have achieved the FEEL aspect…

3) FAITH: All religious beliefs aside, faith is the foundation of success. Faith is knowing, feeling, believing, and seeing what we want long before we ever get it. Faith is not to be confused with hope.

“Hope is walking through the fire. Faith leaps over it.”— Jim Carrey

In terms of time, having faith is knowing & feeling & believing all things will get done in the right time.

I could go on for pages on how to KNOW, FEEL, and have FAITH… how to be TIME ABUNDANT…and GET THINGS DONE… but that’s not what this article is about.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to easily and effortlessly have more time and get more done, I dive deep into that in my Time Abundance program. I will be sharing more info on that later.

In the meantime, I have 3 questions for you:

  • How does the flow of time seem to change for you during the workweek and during the weekend?
  • What do you think changes the flow of time for you?
  • What would you like to change about it?

Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear how you and time are getting along these days!

This weekend, I spent the day at a big outdoor party. There were lots of kids hoola-hooping, doing cannonball dives into the lake, and chasing fireflies.

I was fascinated to see a gaggle of extremely active children become mesmerized by an adult who was willing to be child-like.   A man in a big straw hat sang an improvised song I’m not lyin’ – I’m a lion as he walked around the yard.  With no toys or gadgets, the kids jumped and squealed for an hour, trying to capture his make-believe lion’s tail.

compass

Enthusiasm is a remarkable quality.  It can seem cooler and smarter to be detached or critical. It’s certainly much easier and safer to adopt that sort of ironic attitude.

But enthusiasm is more fun. Enthusiasm is energetic, positive and generous. It’s unselfconscious and whole-hearted.

When is the last time you were willing to be kind of goofy?

BubbleIn yesterday’s post I wrote about Portia Nelson’s Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters. I talked about falling into the same old hole she described in Chapter II. My pothole was putting other people’s needs ahead of my own.

How can I get out of that hole?

Well, if I created this drama, there is a possibility that I can create something different, something less crazy-making. Just maybe I can move on to Chapter IV and V where I walk around the deep hole or choose to walk a new path.

I began to wake up to the idea that I actually do have choices. I can make decisions based on my preferences and needs instead of a sense of obligation.

I have a choice about how I respond to others’ demands. A choice about how I react when the tsunami of items on my to-do list threatens to overwhelm me. A choice about saying “yes” to one more volunteer project or saying “thanks, but not now”.

I’ll offer a handful of strategies that helped me begin to recover from ‘the disease to please’. I hope that you’ll find some of them useful.

Six simple secrets to stop overextending:

  1. Now thyself.

Follow these simple steps and, in one minute, you can get a tiny break from the pushy, critical voice in your head:

·         Find a place of solitude.

·         Sit down.

·         Place your legs in a relaxed but fixed position.

·         Sit up.

·         Set your alarm for exactly one minute.

·         Place your hands in a relaxed but fixed position.

·         Close your eyes.

·         Focus all your attention on your breathing.

·         When the alarm sounds, stop.

 

  1. Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself. How often do you hear yourself saying the “S” word throughout the day? This is a clue to places you may be unconsciously putting demands for perfection on yourself or others.
  2. Know the payoff. Even the most damaging behaviors have a payoff. If you did not believe the behavior delivered some value to you, you would not do it. If you want to stop behaving in a certain way, you’ve got to stop “paying yourself off” for doing it.
  3. Enlighten up. You can play life full out and at the same time not take it, or yourself, too seriously.
  4. Take your turn. Be bold enough to reach for what will truly fill you up, without being unrealistic. Once you develop the resources and resolve to believe that you deserve what you want, you will be bold enough to step up and claim it.
  5. Get off the psycho path and onto the scenic path. Most of us are conditioned to think things have to be hard to be worthwhile. We habitually choose the hardest method, the most difficult path. How would your life be different if you let yourself off the hook and chose the way that felt easier?

As I look back ten years to that dreadful month when my car burned up and I landed in the ER, I see that my struggle for perfection had left me exhausted, disgruntled and confused. I found the key to greater happiness was allowing myself to embrace my needs and put myself first. Once I started making friends with my perfectly imperfect self, I began to enjoy a sense of relief and calmness.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but putting my needs at the top of the list actually helps me be more present for other people. I’m much more likely to respond to their needs effectively instead of reacting in a way that makes things worse.

I’m grateful to be discovering a way to live in the world where I feel I have a choice in each moment. I am waking up to the reality that I deserve nurturing and compassion from myself. So do you.

 

 

Last week I stopped at Aldi to pick up some of their wonderfully inexpensive avocados, along with a bag of Florida grapefruit. As I exited my car, a man approached me. In a flash, I noted his uneven gait, unshaven face and his worn and dirty clothes.

Let me go on record to say that I have nothing but empathy for those who have fallen on hard times. I understand “personal responsibility”, but also know that sometimes difficult things happen to people for no particular reason. Nevertheless, I homeless manprefer my “giving hand” be spontaneous, not solicited. I detest charity drive phone calls and tend to withdraw when approached in person. The cynic in me wonders if a panhandler is someone really needing my help, or if they intend to spend the money on drugs instead of food.

Annoyed, I reached for my wallet, hoping I had something less than a twenty to share with him. I avoided his gaze, instead reflecting on the irony that my low-cost grocery run would end up costing me considerably more. Before I had my wallet out of my bag, the man was standing in front of me with an outstretched hand. He held a quarter between his fingers. I must have looked as puzzled as I felt.

“For your cart,” he said. He pushed the quarter into my hand and was gone.

For those of you who don’t know, Aldi is a low-cost supermarket. One of their cost-cutting strategies is to require $.25 to access a shopping cart. When you return your cart to the front of the store, you retrieve your quarter, eliminating the need for extra personnel. The stranger had shared his quarter with me as an act of kindness.

Assumptions are so often wrong. What is the purpose of continuing to make them?

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Isaac Asimov

Resolve to make fewer assumptions in your life and watch your view expand.

Facing a Lifelong Fear

A few weeks ago, I was in the Smoky Mountains for a camping vacation with my spouse. The first morning we set out on an adventure – a hike to the top of Rich Mountain to see the fall colors pouring into the valley.

The night before, I had fallen asleep reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s the story of her solo 1100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Now I found myself walking behind Kent, pondering Cheryl’s observation that rattlesnakes are polite – they always warn you. Two minutes later I heard a heart-stopping brrrrrr and saw the leaves moving a few feet ahead on the dirt trail.

Let me just say here that I’m scared of all snakes. Little green garter snakes. Even king snakes who helpfully eat other snakes.  They don’t need to have a pit viperish triangular head to scare the heck out of me.

I blame this fear on a trick my older sister enjoyed playing on me. She would leave an encyclopedia on the floor outside my closed bedroom door. She had carefully turned it to the full-color page depicting poisonous snakes. After knocking and calling my name, she would scoot into her bedroom and listen for my scream.

Many decades later, I saw my fear embodied in a coiled, upset serpent.

I screamed, “Snake, snake!” Where? Kent asked, as he turned toward the rattler beside his left foot. Apparently the sight of the snake impaired my ability to communicate effectively. I could only stab my finger into the air and squeak, There! Right there!

In her book Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chodron writes about the part of us that can actually be stirred by stepping into something that’s uncertain and unknown. We think we want to be comfortably cocooned, drifting along. But there is also a part of us – the warrior – that longs to be thrown out of the nest. She asserts that this part of us wants to be challenged.

In the past I haven’t always had the giddy-up to walk into unknown territory. I’ve stayed in jobs and relationships that were way past their shelf-life. But over the years I’ve discovered, through many baby steps, that taking risks helps create a juicier life. Even at the risk of meeting up with a snake, hiking that trail helped me feel more alive.

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are. – Miguel Angel Ruiz

When have you taken a risk by walking toward your fear? What impact did that have on your life?

Tired of nagging?

How many times do I have to tell you to blah-blah-blah!”  Nagging. It’s just not that sexy.

Let’s face it. We have a long to-do list and we’d sure like some help getting things done. The problem comes in when we hound our spouse to do a task that’s been on the list for, well, eons. He pushes back or ignores our pleas. We feel irritated or dejected. Nobody is happy.

The bottom line is that women want to see their man as a hero…their hero. But we women don’t seem to know how ask without being mean. When you nag him, he can’t win. Even if he does what you want, he feels blackmailed. Nobody wins. Yuck! You don’t want that!

So you’re all excited about getting what you want from your man, right?

Yay! Now how do you do it?

***********************************

Here are 3 simple tips to help you turn your nagging into bragging (on your man):

1. GET CLEAR. Describe what you want in specific words so that he can see a crystal clear picture of the outcome you want.

I want you to paint our bedroom with this can of paint by the Friday before Easter.

2. GET PROUD. Do what it takes to trust your own thinking. Embrace your desires. Smile!

Believe that what you want is actually good for both of you and for your relationship.

3. ASK. Don’t be wishy-washy or apologize. Use bon-bons instead of bombs.

I want this because…tell him why you want it. i.e., “Painting the bedroom will help me feel supported and proud of our home”

***********************************


One reader told me she got her husband to paint the bedroom when she suggested they do it together…naked!

What’s your favorite way to get what you want from your man, without nagging?

Please leave comments on my blog http://wp.me/p1mNJt-2H

or Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Limits-Coaching/162405951819

Thanks, and happy bragging!

Read a line or two in an inspiring book

SLOW ME DOWN, PLEASE

No time for a beach trip? How about taking minute vacations?

Wilferd Arlan Peterson writes:

Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind. Steady my hurried pace.

Teach me the art of taking “minute vacations”…slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to read a few lines from a good book.

Give me, amidst the day’s confusion, the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of singing streams that lie in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.

 

Remind me that there is more to life than measuring its speed.

Slow me down, please.

It's a frog eat frog world out there

She was the bane of my existence, my nemesis, my arch enemy. I hated her with a passion heretofore untapped. She fully returned the disdain.

After living in our hometown for 13 years, my parents moved the family, including me, to a new city.  I lobbied hard to get left behind at my best girlfriend’s house. After all, Kathy had all the perks of only-child-dom. A canopy bed and a pink turntable to play her large stack of 45 rpm records. Heck, she even had her very own bedroom. Her parents let her play her Beatles records because they didn’t know John had proclaimed a greater popularity than God. She had access to a huge tin of Charles Chips potato chips that was mostly un-inhaled by other family members.

It would have been perfect: I would have been the second child they always wanted…the obedient, faithful companion to their first daughter. I think they were seriously close to giving it a go. Incredibly, my parents insisted that they wanted me to live with them and my two “real” sisters, even though the weak  reason they gave me was, but we would miss you.

So off we went, far away to the oh-so-tacky new house  and a new school filled with three types of kids. Greasers, who wore leather jackets and slicked their hair back with what looked like either Vaseline or motor oil. Jocks, who were unbelievably hunky (read: cute) yet also a bit snobby.  Smart kids, instantly recognizable by their pale skin and the awkward  pile of books they lugged from class to class.

All the 8th graders had to take Biology, where we were exposed to the yellow slime guts of earthworms  and expected to locate frog kidneys the size of BB’s. I figured this class was an opportunity to make a name for myself as a wild child, or at least a smart-aleck.  This was a golden opportunity to reinvent  myself. At the very least I figured I’d get noticed.

Mrs. Philyaw. How easily her name pops to mind all these decades later. As I said, she must have been quite frustrated with me . She made me sit in the hall for talking. I talked more. I made faces and mocked her behind my notebook. Parents were called in. Grounding happened. Pouting ensued.

My mother encouraged me mightily to give Mrs. P. a gift and apologize for disrupting her class. Every cell in my adolescent body screamed NO!!! On a hot Spring day, I reluctantly trudged into our yard and picked a fistful of tiny pink roses. I think my hands shook the next morning as I handed her the bouquet tied with a satin ribbon. Even though there were thorns on the roses, a truce was declared.

It’s funny, I don’t remember one thing she was trying to teach me. Yet, in spite of myself,  I learned a lesson about the power of a wordless apology.

Have you been on either side of a wordless apology? Did it make a difference?

 

You turn the page or click over to the coming week and there it is. A big white rectangle.

Nothing scheduled on that day. Nada. With a sharp inhale, you thumb through your mind searching for the appointment you’ve surely forgotten to write in. Dentist, lunch date, sports practice, report due, haircut? Ack…this can’t be right!

You begin to feel a tickle of anticipation. Can it be true? On that day there’s nothing you must do…nowhere you have to be.

An entire day to follow your nose. A day to do what YOU like. A day to pull the covers up over your head and snuggle in for a long snooze. Just you with yourself, enjoying a nice, peaceful day together.

Send the guilt trip packin’ while you linger over coffee, get lost in that new book you’ve been saving and nap on the couch. Eat cheese and crackers and a pickle for lunch. Doodle on a note pad. Take a bubble bath in the middle of the day. Order out for dinner.

Every now and then it’s good to bask in a  no-goals-for-me-thanks day.  Go ahead. You deserve it.

Play for Life: A Feel-Good Guide to Boost Your Brain Power, Spark Your Creativity and Inspire More Fun

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