My “stormy season” poem

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Back in August of 2019, I was going through what I call a “stormy season”. At that time I wrote the poem “Nature Whispered” to express my feelings, and shared the poem at my 2020 Make It Your Best Year Yet event. Many of the attendees asked for the poem, so here it is:

The magic of saying “No”… and sometimes “Yes”

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At times do you feel like you have taken on too many commitments and feel spread too thin? Have considered saying “No” at times like that, but find it hard to do? Let’s look at why it can be so hard to say no. Put another way, how do you say no and not feel bad about it?Saying “No” can trigger all sorts of worried thoughts in your brain, like:

  • I’m missing out
  • I’m being rude
  • I’m letting them down
  • I’m making them angry
  • I’m not meeting my goals

And on and on and on…

Most of the time, none of those are true. One key to success in life and business is to be capable of choosing when to get involved and when to set boundaries.

Examples of when it is OK to say “No”: 

  • When you’re stressed or overwhelmed
  • When you’re already doing too much
  • When you’re tired or sick
  • When it’s something you don’t want to do
  • When it takes away from your values and wishes
  • When you deserve or need some time to yourself

Here are some tips to help you when you are saying “No”:

  • Tell the truth: Always find a way to be truthful; an honest and respectful answer to a request ultimately deepens the integrity of a relationship.

  • Timing matters: No does not mean “No forever”. Sometimes you just need time or circumstances to be right, so don’t feel that you are permanently shutting out a goal or a person if you say no at a given moment.

  • Stay firm: People who are used to relying on you saying “Yes” will often try to persuade you. Don’t get drawn into elaborate discussion. Just repeat your no and have short phrases or a sentence ready that honestly explain your decision, for example: “I’m unavailable because my family needs me”; “I can’t right now because I am swamped with other commitments”; “It is not the precise area where I choose to put my efforts right now”.

Saying “No” does not mean you are selfish or lazy. It means you are setting boundaries, which is vital in our busy world. And strange as it may seem, this can be a help to other people as well, when they observe how you take care of your own needs.

And by saying “No” you make space for more “Yes”—to the things you really want to say “Yes” to.

Both “Yes” and “No” have magic within them, allowing us to fully respond to each situation in life. It is about being able to choose what we want.

Ask yourself at each moment of decision, what do I really want and need? Then courageously state your ‘Yes” or “No” and watch the magic happen.

Make your goals exciting and inspiring, here is how…

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Let’s continue with tips that can make 2020 your best year yet! Last email we talked about the importance of writing your goals.

Sometimes we may set goals for ourselves that we don’t deeply care about. We set them because we assume that we should want to achieve certain things. As a result, our goals become another overwhelming to-do-list.

How do we make our goals exciting and inspiring?Vision and feelings working together 

By discovering your feelings behind the goals, and attaching those feelings to the goals!

 

For each goal ask yourself:

  • How do I want to feel?
  • Why did I choose this goal?

Let’s say you want to lose weight. Feeling energized so you can do more activities with friends and loved ones, may be the feeling you identify behind the weight loss goal.

Let’s say you want to make more money. The feelings of security and freedom are what you may identify that drive that goal forward.

When our goals are aligned with our core values and they are meaningful then no matter what obstacles come in the way, we find the energy to take action and move forward. Our feelings inform our thoughts and perspectives and actions.

“Don’t allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily.” – Paulo Coelho

So, pick your top three goals, and determine your “WHY”s. The deeper you go with your “WHY”s the more you will be moved emotionally, and that is what will make you take action. And when faced with a challenge you will find yourself more resilient and determined. 

Here is a way to practice to help you with the process. Yes, keep going deep, and keep writing until you get a feeling of a deep emotion that may even show up as tearing of your eyes or other emotional expression. (You may get to it in a few steps, but usually it takes six or seven steps!) You may want to this exercise with a partner; it is powerful to share.

This changed my life!

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Do you find yourself happy / sad, up / down, optimistic / pessimistic, and so on?

Rest assured that we all do. That was hard for me to understand until I realized the depolarization process.

You can hear me explain it in this video.

tildet9.mov

Everything in life down to the quantum wave is made of positive and negative. Acceptance and understanding of this polarity can free you to be successful. As you embrace all that you are, and all that is, you center yourself, giving yourself the freedom to choose.

What I learned in 2019

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This week I had the time to sit and reflect on the things I learned in 2019. As I reflected, I realized that some of them are repeat from the past years so I guess some lessons I will keep learning.

Here are some of the most important ones I want to share:

  1. Your health is one of your most valuable assets. Appreciate, nurture, and protect it.
  2. Every person and every situation that you encounter teaches you about you: your blockages, your triggers, your perceptions and your assumptions. The moments of triggers and pain are also big moments of opportunity to heal them.
  3. Be assertive. If something feels wrong and you feel that you can help improve it, speak up. Your voice matters.
  4. At times slowing down makes you faster. Your worth is not measured by your superficial productivity. Learn to honor down time and recharge.
  5. Saying “YES and “NO” are equally important. Feel free to choose what you really desire. Each time you say “yes” to something you are already saying “no” to something else. Speak your truth and honor yourself.
  6. Be yourself! It is okay if people don’t like or understand you. People view life through their unique personal lens. Criticisms can help you grow – or if not, be polite and move on to greener pastures.
  7. It is okay to be in the “don’t know” zone. None of us really have life completely figured out. Make a decision to have a wonder-filled life.
  8. Surround yourself with people that lovingly challenge and support you. Then you will surely grow.
  9. Contributing to others inspires and gives meaning to life. Keep giving but don’t forget to refuel yourself in the process.
  10. You have the power to choose! Nothing can stop you.

 

The Impact of Connection

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Does the internet and social media make us more connected or disconnected? You have probably heard this question being discussed on many occasions. Although there are various ways of looking at the topic, I will share my experience.

When I asked this question to a group of students in Mercy College during my Stress Mastery presentation a couple of months ago, at first the students did not want to respond. When I spoke about it a bit more and invited a response, I saw the students’ eyes well up, and quite a few said they feel isolated and lonely all the time.

And when we did a connection exercise together and some humanity was exchanged, tears were rolling down most students’ cheeks regardless of gender. Even the “tough”-looking guys showed their feelings and were emotional.

Did you know that there are studies showing that loneliness is becoming an epidemic in many countries, threatening physical health more than smoking and obesity? Obviously, mental health and well-being are also affected by persistent feelings of loneliness, and studies do talk about that as well.

Here are two of the articles that discuss the topic, from Harvard and from WebMD.

Summarizing one aspect: the nation’s 75 million millennials (ages 23-37) and Generation Z adults (18-22) are lonelier than any other U.S. demographic and report being in worse health than older generations at similar ages. Both articles mention this quote:

“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.” ~Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States

So, what can we do to help ourselves and those around us?

Let’s understand what connection is. Connection is not an exchange of information, it is an exchange of presence, emotion and humanity. As human beings, we are wired to connect and have a community, so first let’s be aware of that.

This is a big topic, so for now I want to give you some steps you can start implementing or do more of, to help move in a good direction:

  • Be authentic, and trust that even with our imperfections, our presence and connection is important and valuable
  • Be genuinely interested in others, because every person wants to feel cared about and connected to others
  • We communicate in many ways, so remember that a smile, a word of interest, a touch (when appropriate), can all make people feel connected, including oneself!

These are skills we can all learn. I hope you can enjoy practicing and connecting.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

The “4Cs” of Confidence

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When change and challenge are knocking at your door, do you at times get a feeling of self-doubt creeping in? That is, moments when you start thinking “you are not good enough” or “what you have is not good enough”?

I know those moments: we all have them. Let’s talk about how to turn them around.

How? With what I call the “4Cs of Confidence.”

Confidence is a muscle you build through skillful exertion, not as some people think a personality trait. It comes from purposeful thinking and action which empowers you.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”  
                     ~Honore de Balzac

Your moment of doubt is the moment to implement your 4Cs. Here they are:

CompetenceThink of your wins, knowledge, skills, and talents. The more competence you have or start to gain in a task the more confident you can become.

CompassionSelf-doubt and insecurity that you feel may also come from being hard on yourself and allowing the self-negative talk to continue. As soon as you are aware of this negative self-talk shift it to compassion by releasing the self-judgement and talking to yourself as if you were talking to someone you deeply care about.

CongruenceWhen your thinking, feeling, and actions are in alignment you can trust yourself more. We all can sense when we are not being true to ourselves, or those moments when we are not in harmony between inner feelings and outer actions.

ConnectionWhen we feel connected to others, we feel better about ourselves. We know we are not alone and that helps us feel more valued and confident. We also can learn more about ourselves through interaction with others. 

I never thought I would love throwing punches

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“Totally relax your body, open your ribs, and pretend you have no arms and no body… now wind up and connect to the energy and swing…” BAM!

Tildet-Boxing.mp4

I did not know I was that strong nor that I could ever throw powerful punches.

I have been practicing Tai Chi Chuan for about 5 years now, not knowing where it will take me. The health benefits and the meditation aspect were the main reasons I wanted to learn Tai Chi. If you have met me or seen my picture you know that I would not be the best boxer given my size and my physical capabilities. Yet through Tai Chi I have also discovered how softness and awareness can overcome any force when we can tap into our authentic power.

Tai Chi Chuan in Roslyn, LI

Authentic power has its roots in the deepest parts of our being, not in the physical dominance. My understanding now is that when we pursue life thinking about power being external we tap into the lizard brain that is fear-, competition-, and survival-based. In this way of thinking our life becomes stressed, aggressive, and less authentic. Looking at the world right now economically, politically, and socially, what do we see?

On the other hand, when we align with the most authentic part of ourselves we experience a different power, one filled with meaning and purpose. It is power in harmony with life, expanding in all directions with positive energy. And yet, it can throw a very fierce punch!

What if this is the next stage of our evolution as a species?

For myself to fully embrace this consciousness, I am aware that it will require a lot of practice—and I am willing to commit to that.

As the saying goes “inch by inch it is a cinch”. And on that journey you too may find yourself loving punching!

Three truths to live by

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Last week in my live event I talked about the three truths that I live by in my life that has brought me inner peace and success. For almost all of us, these require years of practice to realize in their true meaning, and that is a process in which I am also growing.

Truth #1: Seeing life as is. 
Life is as it is. Not good, not bad; not challenging, not supporting; not loving, not fearing… just is. Life is all about change, change cannot satisfy our desire therefore everything that changes brings stress. It is not life that is causing the stress it is the demands we have on life.

Truth #2: Being in harmony with life.
When our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and actions align with what is real, we are in harmony. Being in harmony is where we find inner and outer peace. Not for selfish desires but for the welfare of all, because that is our real nature.

Truth #3: Our life is shaped by our mind.

We become what we think about. Our mind has a bias to negativity to keep us safe so focusing on the positive at the beginning may require more effort on our part. Yet we can train our minds to focus on what we choose. 


How do these truths matter in daily life?

I have observed a collective anxiety, anger, and stress in our society, and in other countries as well. We are coping with an intense amount of fear both personally and together.

Each one of us has a role in changing it. It is when we decide to face the darkness – within ourselves and the world – that we begin to see the light.

We are forced to develop a more mature consciousness that can only happen when we go deep and deal with what hurts. Who we decide to become and how we show up in the face of those challenges in our lives is connected to how the world will change in the coming years.

I invite you to decide how you want to show up at the beginning of each day. Connect to the these three truths, and connect to your full self, taking a step toward changing your world and our collective world. 

You want less stress? Then don’t be positive!

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For many years through some of my many readings and through different trainings, I thought I could be optimistic and enthusiastic at all times. But finally I realized that that was just humanly not possible. 

This unrealistic demand for unrelenting positivity is, I believe, one of the downfalls of the positive thinking movement. People think they should be positive all the time and they don’t like themselves or others when they are negative. And this demand on reality can create lots of stress.

As human beings we are here to live every spectrum of all emotions and experience our life through these different expressions. If we can master our self-knowledge and have the emotional wisdom to understand what each emotion shows us, we can neutralize ourselves and come back to our center/heart and be accepting of the given situation without any lopsided perception and be able to observe what is as is and make a better decision from this neutrality.

There are negative feelings in each of us, and they can be clues for what needs attentions; so-called negative responses only become limiting when we are stuck with them and do not use them as a guide for making a change in thoughts or a change in actions.

As you embrace all that you are and all that is you, you center yourself and give yourself the freedom to choosehow to respond at each moment.

I practice this approach every day, and I find it makes a big difference for me.

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