Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Handling Indeciveness

I’m happy to have Kate Hanley as my guest today. I recommended her book, The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide: 77 Simple Strategies for Serenity in my nurturing gift suggestions for the holidays. Kate is the founder of Ms. Mindbody.com. Here is an excerpt from her book, one of the 77 strategies. It’s from the section titled Indecisive.

Listening to Your Body
By Kate Hanley

Having the ability to make choices is one of the distinguishing benefits of being an adult. Babies don’t get to decide when to have their diaper changed. Even teens don’t get to say how long they’ll stay out at night. But you, you can choose which job to take, where to live, who you want to hang out with, and whether you want to have Indian or Chinese for dinner. Sadly, even though being the master of your own fate is a privilege, making a decision often isn’t easy. Whether you’re pondering your next career move or trying to figure out what to wear, weighing your options and committing to a decision can become so mind-boggling that you almost wish someone would just tell you what to do.

To that end, you’ve asked your friends, your Mom, the guy on the bus next to you this morning, and your Magic 8 ball—twice—for their opinions. Although other people’s insights can be extremely valuable, the truth is, you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. There’s only one place left to turn. And that’s inward. It’s time to ask the wisest, most levelheaded part of yourself. Whether you call it a gut instinct, a hunch, or a feeling in your bones, everyone has an inner wisdom that resides deep within the body. This voice knows you better than anyone and always has a clear opinion about what you should do next. Unfortunately, it can’t write urgent memos or leave a high-priority voice mail. For the most part, this voice speaks in physical sensations—a funny little tingle in your chest or an unexplained heavy feeling in your stomach, for instance—that you likely don’t have time to notice, much less listen to. Today is the day that begins to change. . . .

Taking a few minutes to mentally check in with your body can help you make better decisions—the kind that seem to effortlessly result in a much happier you. It may feel like an exercise you really don’t have time for, but consider how many hours spent making pro and con lists and lying awake at night pondering your future you could save. Best of all, the more you use this exercise, the better you’ll get at it. With practice, you’ll be able to access your inner wisdom in a matter of seconds simply by standing still and noticing what’s going on in your body. Hey, it’s a lot cheaper than the Psychic Friends Network.

Remedy: Listen to Your Body

Ingredients: Someplace relatively quiet—a conference room, your parked car, even a public restroom

Time Needed: Five minutes (and even less once you get better at hearing what your body has to say)

• Sit comfortably in your chosen spot.
• Turn off any distractions, such as the TV, your cell phone, or the computer.
• Inhale a deep breath and exhale out every last drop of air. Take three breaths this way to cue your body’s relaxation response.
• Close your eyes if it helps you to relax and concentrate. If it only makes you feel sleepy, keep them open.
• Ask yourself the question you’re wrestling with. Should I find a new apartment? Is this the right job/guy/option for me?

Your job now is to notice:
o What’s happening with your breath? Breathing shallowly, like a panting dog, is a sure sign of stress. Holding your breath can indicate fear. Slow, deep breaths point toward acceptance.

o How does your stomach feel? Does it feel heavy, like you swallowed a brick? Probably not a good sign. Is there a tingling there, or a lightness? This could indicate that some deeper part of you is truly excited about the proposition before you.

o How does your heart feel? As with your stomach, feeling heaviness is most likely a sign that the choice you’re considering is not the best one for you. (You’ve heard the term “a heavy heart.” It’s pretty much universally considered something you don’t want to have.) On the other hand, feeling warm or tingly points toward the fact that your metaphorical heart is with you on this one.

o Before you finish, scan your head, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, and feet. Any noteworthy sensation there, such as tightness (which can indicate stress) or tingling (which points toward excitement)?

o Open your eyes and take one more deep inhale and exhale to give yourself the chance to re-acclimate to your surroundings before you go bounding off back into your day.

• Different people get messages from their inner wisdom in different ways. If you’re listening to your body but it’s not saying anything that you can understand, try writing down whatever comes to your mind. You don’t have to have a special journal—scribbles on a legal pad work quite nicely.

• Or, you may need movement to help quiet your mind. Try the exercise described above while walking, knitting, weeding, sweeping, or any other methodical activity that doesn’t require your full concentration. Please don’t try it while you’re driving or chopping vegetables–some things really are best left to the rational mind.

• And if you try and don’t hear anything, try again tomorrow. The more you do this, the better you’ll get. It’s just like learning to speak any new language. It takes time, patience, and practice.

• Finally, there are two types of fear. One is your body’s way of alerting you that something isn’t right and the situation may become dangerous. The other merely signals that you are moving out of your comfort zone–something every single one of us needs to do from time to time, scary as it may be, to keep moving forward. In my experience, the fear that signals danger feels heavier, like dread, while the other kind of fear has a lighter quality, like butterflies in your stomach—it might be the most intense case of butterflies you’ve ever had, but there is still a fluttery quality. As you become better at listening to your body, notice your own cues for each type of fear so that you can tell the difference between them.

• This exercise is also particularly helpful in navigating the physical and emotional changes that accompany pregnancy. Developing a daily habit of checking in with your body to see what it needs to feel its best can help you ward off the nausea, fatigue, head
aches, and mood swings that many women experience when they are carrying a baby.

• Helps you stop obsessing and start taking action
• Reduces your stress levels by helping you get out of limbo (otherwise known as purgatory)
• Boosts your confidence in the choices you make (Guts don’t lie.)
• Sets the stage for you to sleep better, since you won’t have to stay awake and ponder your future anymore

Check out Kate Hanley’s book, The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide: 77 Simple Strategies for Serenity to get 76 more step by step sets of instructions to calm your life. You can learn more about Kate at Ms. Mindbody.com.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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This is post 24 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day!

Some of you know I was the first white female rapper, when I taught school years ago. That was when I was just beginning to develop better self-esteem and making small moves to leave DoorMatville. Up until then I’d mainly done what was expected of me. Because of that, I felt comatose—walking thought life on auto-pilot, without really living it. I was too scared to recognize that I was unhappy. I did know I wasn’t happy, but felt that was all I was worthy of.

I expected to settle for what I got, and the Law of Attraction reciprocated with a boring, joyless life.

I thought I felt safe by sticking to doing what I was told and by coveting people’s attention with favors and conforming to their expectations. But I really was just stuck in an invisible prison of my own low expectations. I did anything creative I could, mainly for others, just to have an outlet. I wrote plays for other teachers and designed and put up their bulletin boards. Anything was better than nothing back then! I mainly passed time instead of living, thinking this was my place in life.

Until my students dared me to rap, saying a white woman couldn’t do it.

I was beginning to recognize my value by then and wanted to help the kids avert some of the invisible barriers that had kept me stuck. My intention at the time was to prove that they shouldn’t let stereotypes stop them. Since their reasoning was that I couldn’t rap because of my color and sex, I had to prove them wrong! And I did. After getting nicknamed the “rappin’ teach,” I was stimulated to keep going and went on to become one of the first women to start a record label.

The Law of Attraction supported my intention to teach the kids a lesson by becoming the first white female rapper. ?

I operated my label successfully for 5 years and had some records that did very well. During that time I learned how to nicely get taken seriously in the very male dominated music industry. Now I teach others how to navigate and conquer careers in the music industry with my books and workshops. On Saturday I began filming a music video for my first rap record, Girls Can Do, in honor of the upcoming release of my next 2 books—Start & Run Your Own Record Label (Billboard/Random House) and Nice Girls Can Finish First (McGraw-Hill). You can hear the song on my MySpace page. I had at least 12 women committed to coming over to be in it and had a definite vision for it. But, right before, they began to drop out and a few just didn’t show up.

Instead of worrying, which tells the Law of Attraction that I have doubts, I declared that it would all work out for my highest good and the perfect women would come.

And they did! You can see them in the pic. That’s me in red and the 4 lovely, sexy chicks who participated. We laughed and laughed and sang and got great footage. Had I bemoaned a smaller than expected participation, it wouldn’t have been the success it was. We improvised and now I can’t imagine it being as good as it was had the others come. We all clicked together to the same drum.

Trusting that things happen for a reason and rolling with the circumstances allows the Law of Attraction to bring you the right ones at the right time.

Fighting against what seems to be happening can sabotage what would be best for you. I’ve learned to trust—seriously trust that everything will work out well. Putting that message out brings me goodies that I couldn’t have imagined on my own. Saturday’s video shoot was awesome. I’m excited to put it all together into a music video that people will want to forward to friends.

When things don’t go your way, resist the urge to lament about it or think you’re screwed or be terribly disappointed. Instead, say, “Everything happens for a reason and I’ll find it. It will all work out fine.” That helps attract a positive outcome. I always look back and find the reason.

Trusting that things will work out allows things to work out. It’s SO MUCH better than attracting a negative result.

When you trust the Universe to bring you what you need for your highest good, it does. I know that God wants me to be happy and have what I need so I can trust that my outcomes will be positive in the long run. God wants YOU to be happy too! it It’s a much more relaxing way to be, and attracts so many good things! I’ll post what I expect to be a fantastic video by the end of next month. Stay tuned! ?

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series..

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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Interview with Cheryl Richardson

I am thoroughly delighted to have an interview today with Cheryl Richardson, world-renowned life coach and New York Times bestselling author, for my Embracing SUCCESS series. I’ve seen and heard her on Louise Hay’s DVD and on Oprah. You can feel her warmth and genuine caring on the screen, and I felt it when we spoke. she really wants to help us improve our lives.

Cheryl’s new book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care, (Hay House, 2009) is a testament to her spirit. It’s a user-friendly book that’s designed as a 12-month process of positive transformation, but the individual lessons can be used on their own as well in whatever ways work for you. You know I emphasize the importance of nurturing yourself. This book is very easy to read, with concrete, well-organized suggestions for learning how to get help and how to receive it in ways that benefit you the most.

I highlighted that last part since many of us are good at giving, like I was when I lived in DoorMatville, but rebuff offers of kindness. I couldn’t handle accepting goodies or favors back then. Now I welcome it all, since I love me! Cheryl writes from a place of having lived through learning to give herself Extreme Self-Care. This book is an excellent guide to learning how to open your world to enjoying the happiness you deserve! Cheryl writes in a loving and supportive way. I feel honored that I got to talk with her. Here’s what she had to say:

What is Extreme Self-Care? Extreme Self-Care is about taking your care to a whole new level—a level that, to some, may seem arrogant and selfish, or practiced by people who have an inappropriate sense of entitlement. It means taking radical action to improve your life and engaging in daily habits that allow you to maintain this new standard of living. For example, it’s not enough to take a weekend off from helping others so you can enjoy some downtime. It means scheduling time for yourself (on your calendar, in ink) every day.

Extreme Self-Care also involves surrounding yourself with people who are smart, self-aware, and only interested in two-way relationships. It means taking bold steps, such as eliminating clutter from your life, for good; creating a soul-nourishing work and home environment, and keeping it that way; getting your financial act together so that you always have choices about how to live your life; and not making any commitments whatsoever out of guilt or obligation.

In addition, Extreme Self-Care suggests that we make pleasure a priority – real pleasure, not just a massage every couple of months, an occasional bath, or a yearly vacation. It might mean leaving work in the middle of the day to get out into nature, enjoying a great massage once a week, and developing daily habits that make you feel happy and nurtured, including listening to the music you love, drinking your favorite tea, or ordering fresh flowers for your office. While these ideas might seem far-fetched or out of the realm of possibility for some, it’s important to remember that it’s a process that unfolds over time. The thing to remember is this: The possibility of living a great life starts with an open mind.

Why did you write this book? I wanted to give men and women a very simple and do-able way of practicing better self-care. The idea of putting it into a once a month practice really appealed to me. I often write about the very things that I’m confronted with or working on in my own life. I was really being challenged to practice self-care on a whole new level in my own life.

What was going on in your life? As I say in the book, my husband got very ill. I was suddenly faced with a lot of responsibilities. We were building a home at the time. He was in charge of the design. Suddenly he was sick and I had a deadline to write this book and I was speaking and traveling. I reached a point and thought, “This is ridiculous. I’m writing a book about extreme self-care and my life reads like a perfect play of extreme disrepair.”

How did that affect your book? When faced with difficult life challenges, we often go back to the old coping strategies which kept us safe and feeling secure when we were young. Suddenly my life was out of balance. I was completely overwhelmed. So the book that I originally planned to write and the one I ended up writing were a little bit different as a result of my own experience.

Is the need for Extreme Self Care primarily an issue for women? It’s an issue for both men and women, but for generations women have received specific training that causes them to feel anxiety, guilt, and discomfort when they put their needs first. So, in that regard, it becomes more of an issue for a larger number of women than men.

How would you distinguish between extreme self-care and selfishness? I’m teaching men and women to be selfish because selfishness is the path to selflessness. I understand the concern about whether it’s being too self-indulgent to say “no” to somebody who needs me or backing out of a commitment that I’ve made when I have decided that I just can’t or don’t want to do it. While I’m sensitive to that, most of the people I deal with need to be challenged to have a stronger sense of entitlement. The reality is, most of us spend way too much of our lives attempting to be well liked or not disappoint people or hurt their feelings.

How does this kind of selfishness help others? We need to move beyond the conversation of whether or not extreme self-care is selfish and more toward the conversation of why it’s so vital that we do that now in order to make our greatest contribution to the planet. The more you take care of yourself, the more you raise your level of consciousness. And conscious people don’t hurt other people. They care more about other people and therefore care more about the environment they live in. So I’m really talking about becoming more conscious.

How does Extreme Self-Care relate to a spiritual lifestyle? If you’re constantly making decisions based on, “I don’t want to upset you” or saying yes because you don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings, you’re really not engaged in authentic relationships. You’re engaged in arrangements with people. Doing things out of
guilt or obligation is not coming from a place of spiritual purity. On a fundamental level, the more we start to honor ourselves as the souls that we are, the more we respect that in others. If you’re more centered and calmer, you an bring your authentic presence to others when you take better care of yourself. I think that’s pretty darn spiritual!

How connected is Extreme Self-Care to self- love? Extreme Self-Care is about being an extraordinary mother to ourselves. In the book I’m talking about becoming a really great mother to yourself, whether you’re a man or woman. If you love yourself, you don’t make yourself work too hard. If you love yourself, you feed yourself real food; you move your body; you let yourself have fun; you spend time with people stimulate and love you, not people who put you down.

What are some of the long-term benefits of giving yourself Extreme Self-Care? You start to look forward to getting older. When a birthday or the new year rolls around you’re not beating yourself up. You celebrate a new year because you look and feel better. Your relationships improve. Some might fall away because there might be people in your life that can’t handle you anymore if you’ve been over-giving in the past. For me, the biggest benefit is not going to bed with a sense of dread and waking up feeling really happy about the life you’re living.

What one thing can people do right away to practice Extreme Self-Care? The most important thing a person can do to begin making changes that honor their Extreme Self-Care is to get support. By sharing this unfolding journey with someone who is equally committed to their own self-care, we put accountability in place and we give ourselves the gift of someone to lean on when we’re tempted to fall back into old, outdated patterns of behavior. That’s why we created a section on our website called: “Life Makeover Groups” at cherylrichardson.com. We have over 4,000 groups around the world – a free community – for people who are serious about getting their lives in shape and want to share that journey – in person – with others. Support and community are the secret weapons used against the enemies of apathy and numbness.

Check out Cheryl Richardson‘s new book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care. It’s the first thing you can do to honor your own right to give yourself Extreme Self-Care.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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Law of Attraction in Action: The Right Time to Manifest

This is post 23 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action, inspired by watching Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, the movie, expanded version. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day!

Many people fail to effectively use the power of the Law of Attraction because they expect instant gratification. If they say an affirmation a few times and nothing happens, they give up.

You can’t tell the Universe what the right time to receive something is. Part of having a faithful lifestyle is trusting that you’ll get what you need when the time is right.

My transition from living in DoorMatville to living as I wanted to wasn’t easy, or quick. When I took the first step and got divorced, I was terrified—of being lonely, stuck in a worse place, and anything else my negative mind could conjure up. The easy way out seemed like getting into a house share situation. I found some people I knew to share one with me. It was a convenient location. But trying to find new roommates when the trusted ones left was tough. Being in that house was a rough time, as I struggled to find me and create a happy life.

I went back to being more of a DoorMat to keep “friends” in my world. It reinforced my feeling used and taken for granted. One-sided friendships do that!

I was miserable and didn’t know what to do. I’d left my husband to become a happy, empowered woman and was more of a DoorMat than before—until a friend insisted I read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I’ve said before that this book truly guided me to heal my life. It was a process, of learning to use the Law of Attraction, and then putting it into use. A lot of lessons helped me. But a profound one was reading the full page text on page 248.

I guess it can be called an affirmation. It’s long but affirms a happy, satisfying life in many areas—health, home, work, play, love from everyone around you.

I didn’t know what a happy, satisfying life was back then. I did know I felt better when I read it out loud. At first I read the whole page in the morning and before I went to sleep. It felt like a wish to have love and joy. I didn’t understand the Law of Attraction back then. In the past, it would have seemed silly to read this page aloud. After all, it affirmed that I had mostly things I didn’t have, like a home that brings me lots of joy. I HATED living in that house but felt stuck. I didn’t enjoy teaching or feel much love from those around me.

Yet I continued reading this full-page affirmation! And it continued to give me solace.

Louise Hay says a version of what’s on this page on her audio material. When I listen, I say it along with her. Two years later, I was still in my situation but I’d practiced using the Law of Attraction and by then my faith was getting strong. It helped give me the courage to move into an apartment in Manhattan. It was still rough for a while as I burned my teaching license renewal, to force myself to find other ways to earn a living. I asked God for more guidance and it was given. Soon I was teaching workshops on my areas of expertise and began writing books.

A funny thing happened. The year after I moved into my current apartment, I read the full page affirmation on New Years Eve, which I do each year. When I finished, a light bulb exploded in my head! I’d been saying this long affirmation for years—with hope, wishful thinking, and eventually strong faith. Now it was true!

I’d manifested EVERYTHING I affirmed on page 248 in You Can Heal Your Life. I WAS healthy, happy and whole on my own.

I LOVE my apartment with its sunshine and great location. I LOVE the way I earn a living. Having a passion driven life rocks! I take good care of myself and it results in fabulous good health! I only have wonderful loving people in my world. And I’m ecstatically happy—far from the DoorMat I used to be. This was finally the RIGHT time for me. I’d left the house I hated living in, burned my teaching license while affirming I’d never again earn a living doing what I didn’t love, and put myself into God’s hands. Even when nothing happened, I continued doing that long affirmation.

I know now that the Law of Attraction led me to my fantastic apartment. It wasn’t where I expected to live. Things kept going wrong as I searched for one in the neighborhood I’d decided to move to. But I kept trusting I’d find the right place. It was completely “accidental” that I landed here. I took my current apartment because someone offered it to me and I had to move fast. My plan was to move again in a year. But it ended up being the perfect space for me.

When circumstances kept going awry, I didn’t ask “why me?” Instead, I affirmed, “Everything happens for a reason. Whatever is meant to be will be.”

And there was a reason! This is the right space for me! Later I understood that by affirming Louise’s full-page affirmation, I spoke like I already had it. That set the Law of Attraction into action to manifest when the time was right. Looking back, some very negative events motivated me to move into the city, like God giving me a good swift kick to leave. That forced me to look for ways to make a living from my talents. It was a process that happened over a few years.

Change doesn’t usually happen overnight. Those of us who trust enough to wait until the time is right, and accept the circumstances on the road to manifesting, are the ones who attract the most.

Once my faith was strong, I accepted I could wait for whenever I was ready to receive what I wanted. Practice acceptance in whatever way things happen. Now I expect to get what’s for my highest good. If you’re not getting what you say you want, you may not be ready for it. When I affirm and affirm what I want and time passes with no results, I think about what else I need to do to be ready for it.

* You may wish for a wonderful romantic partner but may need to work on loving yourself first to attract someone loving.

* You may hope for a better job but may need to prepare yourself more with research or taking classes.

* You may long to get an apartment on your own but may be scared of taking care of yourself and need to become more independent first by doing some things alone.

* You may dream about having lots more money but not feel worthy of receiving goodies.

Once you’re truly ready, the Universe will respond. Prepare for what you want to manifest. Do the work. Show you’re serious about receiving it. Let go of any anger or frustration about not receiving it on cue. Then trust that when the time is right, you’ll get it. If you relax in that mindset and keep putting it out, the time WILL come. It always does for me!

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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