Monday, June 26, 2017

Letting Go of the Past, (Tool #1 of 3)

This is the first in a series of three articles on how to let go of the past.  Ironically enough (or not), the minute I started thinking about writing this article, I started feeling annoyed and offended with some of the people in my life who mean the most to me.  I guess I needed a little practicum on what I know to be true!

Today I am going to share with you one of the three tools I use in letting go of the past.  Each of these three tools works well for letting go of different types of things, and all are valuable.

The first tool is called "Finishing the conversation".*  Have you ever had things you wanted to say to someone but couldn't or shouldn't for whatever reason?  These unsaid things stay inside of you and take energy to keep inside of you, but they are not good for you.  Sometimes saying them to the person is not good either, so what can you do?  You do need to get your words out, to say them aloud in order for them to be released from inside of you and stop taking your energy.  Here is how to do it without hurting anyone else, but allowing yourself to heal:

You need to be somewhere where NO ONE else can hear you.  For me, most often this is in the car while I am driving with the windows rolled up.  It can also be alone in your house, out in a field with no one around, or anywhere you can be alone.  Imagine that the person you need to talk to is there with you.  You are going to talk to their image, as though they were there.  You ask the image of this person if you may tell them how you feel.  You imagine that they say "yes".  You then say everything that is inside of you, and I mean EVERYTHING that you want to say to them.  There is no need to sugar coat anything, just say it how it is.  You can rant, rave and yell if needed.  Get all of it out in your words, leave nothing unsaid.

Once you have done that, take a deep breath and sit quietly for a moment.  Now for the hard part: you next apologize for your negative feelings, and for pointing your negative energy at them.  Yes, I know it's all their fault.  You were the one wronged.  I get that.  You are not apologizing for anything that they did.  You are not apologizing for something you did not do.  You are simply apologizing for having negative feelings towards them; that is your part.  Of course, if there is more to it than than, by all means apologize for that as well.  You then imagine that they forgive you for your negative feelings.  You then imagine that they leave.  At this point, if you have a higher power, it is also important to address that higher power and apologize for your negative feelings in that way as well.

You will find as you do this exercise that it is somewhat like throwing up.  You get the bad stuff out of you, you get it outside of your body, and you walk away feeling better and more emotionally healthy.  The negative is no longer with you making you "sick" and taking your energy.  It is gone.  (I have found a time or two with really hard feelings that I thought I was done after one time, only to find later that I had more to say and had to repeat this exercise more than once for the same issue, and that is totally fine.  The goal is to get it all out without emotionally throwing up on the real person, although perhaps you would like to, JK!)

I encourage you to think about who you have an unfinished conversation with and try this exercise today in order to let go of the past and be a happier you!

*"Anchors Away", CD by Kirk Duncan

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Upgrade Your Brain

Today I heard a great analogy about how to change your brain. Just like with your home, before you can move something new in, you often have to get the old out; a bed, a couch, chairs, a table.  When you are ready to upgrade to something new and better you have to get the old out first.  It is the same with our minds.  When we are ready to upgrade to better thoughts, new ways of looking at life, a better way of doing things, we must first get the old out.   This allows space for something new and better.

Have you ever been around someone who particularly impressed you?  Maybe they were very intellectual.  Maybe they were very confident.  Maybe they were very happy and positive.  Maybe they were very deep thinking.  You have the ability to move in that same direction by clearing out space and making room for something new and better.

Marelisa Fabrega, author of the blog "Daring to Live Fully" gives 10 ways to clear out space in your mind. (Warning, do not try to implement all 10 today!  Just pick one thing.  When you feel comfortable with that, pick another.  This is not a marathon.)

1.  Declutter your physical space.  Physical clutter leads to mental clutter.  There is a definite connection here.  As you clean out your physical space you will actually feel differently, lighter, more open.

2.  Write it down.  You don't need to keep everything in your brain.  It takes a lot of mental energy to keep it all upstairs.  Use a device or good old fashioned paper and pen to keep some of that information somewhere else, thus freeing up mental space and energy.

3. Keep a journal.  This mental exercise helps you to get out of your brain and onto paper (or screen as the case may be) things you are worried about, hopes, dreams, frustrations.   Often in the writing down of things in a journal I have had "aha" moments, or figured things out that I had not been able to before.  It's like therapy that you give yourself.

4.  Let go of the past.  It actually takes a tremendous amount of energy to hold onto negative from your past.  You won't realize it until you let it go, then all of a sudden you feel more light and free, and you wonder why you waited so long!  I could write a whole series of articles devoted to tools on how to let go of the past.  Tune in next week for a few ideas on how to do this.

5.  Stop multi-tasking.  Just as it is most effective to tackle one room or one pile at a time, so it is with our minds.  Focus on one thing at a time and do it well.  This keeps your mind from being scattered in too many directions at once, like a pile of clutter of which you never get to the bottom.

6.  Limit the amount of trivial information coming in.  Ask yourself this question,  "Do I feel like I am losing time to any kind of social media? Online sites? News programs? Other?  If so, decide how to limit your exposure to this information.  Doing so will also limit the time your brain spends processing it, thus freeing up space for meaningful things that you choose.

7.  Be decisive.  I once had an employer that would put off decisions until the lack of making a decision was in and of itself a decision, and not usually the one she would have chosen.  Lay out your options and make a choice.  Then it can stop weighing on your brain. Using your higher power for tough decisions can be a great benefit in helping you to feel good about the decisions you make.

8.  Put routine decisions on auto-pilot.  In other words, form habits to decrease the amount of brain space you spend on things that are repetitive.  For instance, I have a morning routine that I follow each weekday.  It includes meditation time, breakfast and going to the gym.  I do the same thing every morning.  It is a HABIT.  I do not have to decide every morning whether or not I am going to go to the gym.  I just do it.  It frees up space and energy inside of me.

9.  Prioritize.  Decide on the top 1-3 things that are the most essential in your day.  These may or may not be tasks.  It is whatever is the most important to you.  Ask yourself, "If I could only do one thing today, what would it be?"  That helps narrow it down considerably.  Often my first priority is relationship oriented rather than task oriented, something I have upgraded in my brain.

10. Meditate.  This can take as little as 10 minutes per day, but can be very refreshing or cleansing, like a cool quick shower when you are hot and sweaty.  It just refreshes you and give clarity to your mind.

For Marelisa's full article on this topic, go to

As you use the tools to clear space in your brain, you now have room that can be filled with whatever you choose to fill it with.  Just as you would carefully choose a new piece of furniture for your house, it is wise to also carefully choose how to fill that space inside of you.  There is much to choose from that is good and wonderful.  What do you want to put inside of you?  Give yourself an upgrade!

Monday, June 5, 2017

What is your WHY?

Michelle Gilbert had a goal to learn something new every year.  In 2008 she decided to learn how to make bread at the suggestion of her sister in order to help support her two boys in their missionary service for the church they belong to.  She had lots of wheat stored in the garage as well as a good supply of other ingredients needed for bread making.  At first she gave her bread away to the neighbors.  Soon she began selling it to them.  Before long she was making sweet breads and other baked items for weddings and other events.  Before she knew it she was getting up at 3:00 a.m. every morning and baking about 60 loaves of bread per day in addition to other baked goods.  The project had become huge!  After paying for a total of four years of missionary service for her two sons she decided to close her in-home business.

In 2014 she went to work for a marketing company.  One day she was in a work meeting when a question was posed to the group: "What is your WHY?  Why do you get up in the morning?"  Michelle says it hit her that her "WHY" was not marketing.  In discussing the question later with her husband he pointed out that she had loved having a bakery, so why didn't she do that?  Michelle realized that she indeed did love baking, and it was the WHY that she wanted to get up for in the morning.  That is when the idea for "Vanilla Bean" was born.  Michelle decided to open a bakery, not run it out of her home.  She had a vision of exactly what it would look like, how it would be run, and what would be offered.  She set about to make her vision a reality, and that is just what she did.

When Michelle had trouble finding the decor she was looking for she decided to build much of it herself.  She built everything from the cabinet that the soda fountain dispenser sits on to the artwork on the walls to the big barn door into the kitchen.

 Michelle worked to make everything about The Vanilla Bean the fresh and inviting bakery you encounter when you enter its doors.

Michelle says that making this successful bakery a reality is probably the hardest thing she has ever done because she did not know how to do it.  She had to go through an intense learning period that was difficult and stressful.  But she got her WHY.   She now knows WHY she gets up in the morning.   About her bakery she says, "I walk in here in the mornings and it feels good.  I feel good because I didn't quit.  Keep at it and don't give up.  Keep going, keep trying.  If there is something you want to do, keep trying!  I feel good because I did this!"

What is your WHY?  Why do you get up in the morning?  What motivates you?  What are you passionate about that is worth doing each day?  Don't be afraid to go after your dreams and do hard things.  Figure out your WHY and make it happen.