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How to Unlock Creativity

Photo by Gert-Jan Mes
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. ~Brené Brown

I have always wanted to be an artist.

I deeply admired the lives of the painters, the writers, the firestarters, the life wranglers. I longed to be one of them.

I longed to fiercely create, to share my voice boldly, just like they did.

However, for most of my life, I never felt creative.

I remained behind the scenes, insecure in my voice and expression, disempowered. I looked longingly at the ones who shared themselves freely — the ones that created art, who were improvisational, messily graceful and who loved wildly.

Start Living Your Best Life: A Personal Story

Photo by Eric
The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. ~Buddha

After I graduated from college and started earning a decent paycheck, I spent a fair amount of time flipping through glossy home decorating magazines and meandering through home furnishing stores.

I was “setting up house” for real for the first time in my life. It seemed very important that I get the décor exactly right because it would make an important declaration to the world about my personality and lifestyle.

But choosing just the right style was hard — because I didn’t have my own style yet. Well, no … I knew I must have one. I just had to figure out what it was.

4 Lessons on Feeling Happy

Photo by Marcy Kellar
Be content with what you have; rejoice in where you are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu

As a conscious gal who’s committed to deepening my relationship with Self and helping others do the same, I’ve learned some potent lessons about the World’s Most-Wanted, elusive state of happiness.

Most often it’s our own expectation and longing for that happy-gassed state that’s actually the culprit of our suffering. The stronger our craving and attachment to the stuff, the less of it we get.

See happiness — like any emotion — checks in and checks out on the regular. It peaks and it wanes and then it doubles back to you.

I used to fret and dread the absence of happiness. I’d perpetuate the darkness by fearing it intensely. Like a dysfunctional relationship, my neediness only repelled the very stuff I wanted for. I’d cling on when happiness arrived, and I’d cry when it left.

How to Be More Optimistic

Photo by AP Photographie
If pessimism is despair, optimism is cowardice and stupidity, is there any need to choose between them?” ~Francis Parker Yockey

On one of my husband and my first camping trips together, we were walking down a wooded trail next to a crisp mountain river. The heat was severe, as it was mid-August.

“Ugh,” my husband said. “This heat is so oppressive.”

“Yeah, but we’re about to go swimming,” I replied. “Don’t be so pessimistic.”

“The difference between my pessimism and your optimism is that I’m optimistic about the big things and you’re only optimistic about the small things,” he replied. “I think my pessimism is better than your optimism.”

I hated to admit it, but he was right. I would worry constantly about whether our relationship was working but blindly skip along, happy to ignore the 100 degree heat.

Before that I used to think everyone should be an optimist, but I don’t think that’s really what we should all be aiming for.

4 Tips for Being Yourself

Photo by Alba Soler
Let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. ~Brené Brown

Do you ever fear that who you are isn’t enough — you put on a mask and become someone you’re not to avoid rejection?

This has been me for most of my life. From a young age I never felt as though I was good enough. Growing up as an introvert surrounded by extroverts was what first got me questioning myself.

Everyone seemed to love the opposite of what I was. I felt unloved, and I became ashamed of myself.

This was the beginning of many years of self-destruction. I so desperately wanted to be accepted and loved by others. I did whatever it took to be what I thought people wanted to see. Even if it wasn’t in line with who I was and what I truly valued.

I hid behind a mask. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. It was my protection from allowing people to get to know the real me so I could avoid rejection. This is how I lived for 23 years.

Are You Afraid to Let Go of Your Struggle?

Photo by AP Photographie
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia

My mother, a woman who is steadfastly spiritual and always looking for a way to move into greater understanding of herself and others, recently attended a meeting for our church where she serves as a prayer practitioner.

Each of the participants were recounting the issues they were working through, some rooted in relationships, others in careers.

When it was my mom’s turn to share, she expressed that she felt beaten down by the financial trouble that was on the horizon once again after recent layoffs left both her and my dad without jobs.

One of the women turned to her and simply said, “Are you ready to let go of the struggle?”

Her first instinct was to say, “Yes, of course. Who wants to struggle?” But as she sat with the idea, she noticed the pattern, the strings of attachment and the payoff of being in a constant state of upheaval, worry and uncertainty.

5 Ways to Fail Successfully

Photo by Robert Bejil
If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something … Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes next year and forever. ~Neil Gaiman

There’s a story about a ceramics teacher who, at the beginning of the quarter, divided his class up into two groups. The first group was told that their grade would be based solely on the quantity of their work and the second group, on quality.

At the end of the quarter, contrary to what one would think, it was the first group that received the higher marks. Why? Because every day they churned out pot after pot, trying out new things and quickly learning from their mistakes.

6 Tips to Be More Confident

Photo by Maxi Adrian San Agustin
Charisma is the fragrance of soul. ~Toba Beta

Have you ever wondered why some people exude charisma while others just seem to be so plain?

We all know people who seem to have that special something that makes them stand out. They walk into the room and you can immediately sense that they operate on a completely different level than most other people.

In case you are wondering, the word charisma comes from the Greek language and it means a gift from the Gods/the Divine.

Based on the definition, you might think that charisma is something that only a select few will be able to possess. However, just as the elusive concept of luck, charisma is a trait that we all can develop.

3 Tips to Get Rid of Anxiety

Photo by Petras Gagilas
The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. ~Aristotle

I must have heard it delivered a thousand different ways: Honesty is the best policy.

Precisely because I heard it a thousand times, I tended to associate the saying with less significance. It’s like hearing your mom tell you, “Put your coat on or you’ll catch a cold!”

Yeah, yeah.

Looking back, it seems I spent a lifetime wasting so much energy putting out fires because I lost sight of what was most important. Being true to myself was a concept — a nice idea for others, but not for me. I didn’t have that luxury. I had way too much on my plate.

At least this is what I told myself.

How to Find Compassion

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov
Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves. ~Mason Cooley

I was on my way home after purchasing a lavender-scented candle to help kick start a relaxing atmosphere I desperately needed to wind down from a terrible and emotionally draining week at work. I was rummaging for my keys in my purse for what seemed like forever.

Oh no! Are you kidding me? I didn’t have my keys!

I could see my keys right now in my mind’s eye. There they were, resting on the table by the side of the door. That morning my boyfriend locked the door as we headed off to work, while I unknowingly left my keys at home.

The thing was that he just got on a bus to meet up with a friend on the other side of town.

I couldn’t help but laugh miserably at myself. What a fitting ending to a horrible week.

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