Because you gotta have faith…right?

You can strategize and plan and possess all the motivation in the world to reach your goals, but that doesn’t guarantee your path will be smooth or that your journey will be easy. There will be stretches where you feel like you’re driving up a steep incline on a gravel road during a flash flood. Actually, the bigger your pursuits are–and the more you commit to your goals–the more likely you’ll encounter a Mt. Kilimanjaro hurdle. Even when we aren’t shooting for the stars, we all encounter hardships and difficulties that make us wonder:  When will this nightmare stop? How will I get through this?

In these moments of uncertainty…that’s where faith comes in.

Let me first explain what I mean by faith. It isn’t necessarily tied to religion. And it certainly isn’t what George Michael was referring to in his song, Faith–although this post’s title was inspired by the chorus.

What I’m talking about is that unquantifiable “knowing” that there’s something bigger, wiser, and more rock-solid than you out there. It’s realizing that we, as limited humans, have a hard time imagining all the ways a life, a decade, a day, or even a moment can go. It’s admitting that there are things we can’t explain but know them to be True.

So what’s the point of having faith? After all, having it doesn’t reduce the number of times you fall down. It also doesn’t make the fall less painful or disappointing. But what having faith does do is offer a sense of comfort that you’ll (eventually) come out the other side and (eventually) be okay. That’s literally priceless. No one can buy that kind of comfort.

Yes, there’s a reward for faith. But not like we normally think of rewards. People with faith don’t get a pass on hardship. And people without faith aren’t subject to more suffering. Nobody owns the title on hard times. However…

Faith makes failure and adversity easier to endure. Once the inciting moment of your obstacle has passed and the shock has settled in, there’s finally a space where you can take a full breath. A moment where your mind shuts up and there’s a brief pause of silence, of floating, of peace. The reprieve may only last for a blip in time, but it’s long enough to hear that inner voice…hey, remember that “power bigger than you” belief you have? That Bigger Power hasn’t given up on you. So don’t give up on it either. You’ll get through this…somehow. You gotta keep the faith. 

Having faith provides you with the sense that you are never alone in facing your battles. That, too, is priceless.

That inner “knowing” voice is more of a feeling for me, a presence that blooms in the center of my chest. Reminding me that even though I can’t see a way out, solution, or happy ending…THERE IS ONE. If only I can manage to get out of my own way. If only I would stop resisting, accept what IS and what ISN’T, and step (or free-fall) into the flow.

Even when you synch up with faith, you don’t necessarily stay in the flow. Faith can come and go. It’s not an object you own forever. It’s more like a living thing that needs to be tended to, fed, and given attention. Some people lose it, forget it, or reject it. But once you’ve experienced what faith feels like, you notice the difference between having it and not having it. Faith-less times are tougher, there’s a deep hollowness where its presence used to reside. That hollowness can distract you from seeing the solution, helping hand, or path out to the bright side of life because you’re so focused on scarcity and filling that hole.

Faith isn’t always easy. Actually, it’s often NOT easy. But I, like other Faith-ers, do it anyway. Why? Because the more I accept that I may not know what to do when troubles strike–with no tangible evidence I’ll be okay when the fallout settles–and have faith anyway, the more evidence I receive that my faith-ing makes a difference. The alternative gives you nothing back in return; there is no advantage to being faith-less. So, despite the ineffable characteristics of faith– the delicate balance of ebb and flow, the lifetime of practice it takes to have, hold, and preserve it–it’s absolutely worth it. You gotta have faith. 

Bringing Your Dreams to Light and Life

One of my Big Dreams came true. I’m a published author.  Although I “knew” this day would come, it didn’t unfold as I’d imagined.

Have you ever wished and hoped for something, and then had the courage to start taking action on it, and then failed a few (or many) times, and worked on getting better and put in more time and effort because, in your bones, you knew this is something you must do–even if it doesn’t earn you a living or recognition–because you can contribute in some small way to the world? 

And then, after all the doubts and fears that you aren’t good enough–all those Who do you think you are for doing this? What makes YOU so special?–filled your ears and then your inner lion roared back that you are indeed worthy and every amazing accomplishment ever done was by a someone (who was once a no one) who did something and why not you

And then one day, that thing–that you wanted so badly and worked for so determinedly–happened. Not just in your imagination, daily visualizations, or dreams. For real. It’s an incredible feeling, isn’t it?

dawn-on-mountain

That’s the path my dream of becoming a published author took. Long, winding, challenging, and in its own time frame.

I’ve written two books before, but you won’t find them anywhere because they never made it past a few drafts. Although I’ve made peace with that part of my history and did grow from it, those “failures” were definitely in the forefront of my mind when I set out to write this current book. This time, however, I was going to get out of my own way. I wasn’t going to let fear and doubt stop me from believing in my Big Dream or taking continuous action toward it.

I had experiences and knowledge I knew could help someone, and it was my soul’s and heart’s wish to give it to that someone. I wrote my book for the friends who know they are meant for something more but can’t see their path. I wrote my book for the strangers I’d overheard venting that they need to change their life now. I wrote my book for the high school and college students who are frustrated because they don’t know what they’re meant to do or be. I wrote my book for the adults who suddenly find themselves living someone else’s life.

I wrote my book for all these people because I was them. In realizing I’d discovered, learned, and gone through things that could help others, I couldn’t keep it to myself. And I didn’t.

As a friend and fellow author, Jai Maa, says: “There are no goals bigger than you. There are only goals that require you to be a bigger you.” I took that encouragement to heart. I hope you can too.

Be big, bold, and bright. Go after what you want. Let no one and nothing stop you. In bringing your soul’s dreams to light and life, you are making the world a better place for all of us. 

To learn more about my book Meant for More: Create Your Dream Life, Plan Your Path, and Start Living It Now please visit my author website

 

Lessons from my “Balance Bootcamp”

It’s been a while since my last post (2 months and 4 days to be exact). I’d like to explain. Not because I think you’ve been offended or curious about my absence, but because I want to consistently provide valuable content and conversation here, and I’d like to share why Consistency took a side road.

During June and July, I wrote a book that has to do with personal transformation (a term I prefer over “self-help”). It’s for anyone who feels a little lost, is seeking more direction and fulfillment, and wants to live their juiciest, most awesome life! I can’t wait to share more with you soon, but in the meantime, I can tell you that my book will be back from the editor next week…whoo-hoo!

Another contributing factor to my absence was the start of graduate school. It has taken my brain a month to recover from the shock to my neural pathways, since it’s been [ahem] quite a few years since my last academic experience. It’s also been a significant challenge figuring out how to balance all the lovely moving pieces of my life.

While I don’t have it down perfectly–who ever does?–I have found my center once again. The last two months served as a lesson for how positive, powerful thinking is a daily practice. It’s not like riding a bike, where you never forget how to successful use it. You have to work at it by being self-aware, remembering the basics, calling upon Faith, and allowing time for quiet reflection (where our most enlightening moments lie). Balance is certainly not a one-and-done sort of thing.

bootcamp-sign

I like to always leave you with some takeaways, so here are some lessons from my recent Balance Bootcamp:

  1. Remember the big picture–why you’re putting yourself through (and enduring) challenges to reach your goals. Knowing why you’re doing something, and keeping your eye on your desired result, will help keep you afloat.
  2. It’s okay to feel crappy. Ignoring or pushing down your feelings will usually lead to a blowup or meltdown later on. So recognize the fear, doubt, and frustration, and feel them. But then…
  3. Allow yourself to move on from the drama. I relied heavily on this mantra: “All is well. Right here, right now.” It put things in perspective. 99.9 times out of 100, nothing is happening in the moment to cause the negative chatter in your head. You’ve got to get out of panic mode in order to see the road ahead. There is always a solution, you just might not be seeing it right now.
  4. You CAN find the time to do what’s most important. But you have to plan for it! If it’s important to you, schedule it. And do it first, if you can.
  5. Take time to practice self-care. The busier we are, the easier it is to neglect ourselves. Big mistake. Even a few minutes to do something that gives you joy, centers you, or allows you to relax is crucial for your well-being. Forcing yourself to push on doesn’t end well.

 

 

Primal Power Method Book Review

Gary “The Primal Guy” Collins of Gary’s Health Tips recently interviewed me about how I came to adopt a holistic lifestyle and my motivation for starting this blog. I enjoyed our chat and getting to know another Real Food advocate! [You can read our interview here.]

PPM Book 3d coverAfterwards, I had the opportunity to review Gary’s book, Primal Power Method: Unlock the Ancient Secret to Health. I’d been interested for some time in the Paleolithic (Paleo) way of eating—a popular diet purported to be best for our bodies, which haven’t changed much since prehistoric times. The subject of the book, Primal living, goes beyond the realm of Paleo in that it’s not just about eating the way our ancient ancestors did…it’s a way of life.

In a conversational, no-nonsense style, Gary explains the background, research, and the “why” of adopting a Primal lifestyle. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that knowledge is power, and knowing why you should do something makes healthy changes a permanent part of your life. And guess what? That’s Gary’s Primal Power Principle #1!

The objective of Primal Power Method is to deliver time-tested, proven information that everyone can realistically use to achieve optimal health. And it does. It’s chock-full of both scientific and first-person knowledge, and includes recaps of important points for easy reference. What you come to realize while reading this book is that Primal living isn’t about following the newest craze, it’s about giving our bodies what they biologically need and are meant to do…period.

My favorite part of the book is the lengthy section on supplements, a subject that’s always confounded me with the overwhelming number and variety of options out there. What supplements do you need? What do you look for in a product? What’s safe and what’s not? Gary, a former Special Agent for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, demystifies these points and reveals the regulation process behind dietary supplements. I was shocked by what I learned, but also relieved to finally have the straight scoop. I’ll also feel more confident in choosing supplements from now on. By the way, you can get your hands on the products Gary has found safe and effective, and uses daily, at his store.

I love the opening of Primal Power Method:

The truth is, to change your life, even a little, you’ll need to take action. It does no good to learn about your health and do nothing.

You can read all the books in the world about how to increase health, vitality, and get a lean body, but it’s up to YOU to make it a reality by acting upon what you learn. And acting upon what you learn in Primal Power Method will get you that vibrant health for which you’ve been looking.

Collins Bio PicGary Collins holds an AS degree in Exercise Science, BS in Criminal Justice and a MS in Forensic Science. After an exciting career in military intelligence Collins worked for the U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a Special Agent. His career took him around the world and gave him a unique perspective on not only how the United States, but the world is affected by our food, drug and healthcare policies.

The highlights of his career took him from protecting some of the most powerful people in the world to investigations involving the biggest tainted pet food death case in the U.S. to the intricate dealings of one of the largest counterfeit prescription drug rings in the world. He has often said, “If Americans really knew what was going on in the area of healthcare and nutrition in this country, they would be appalled.” For his full bio click here…

Like him on Facebook       Follow him on Twitter

5 Steps To Turning Your New Year’s Resolutions Into Realities

Pen and PaperAccording to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (December 13, 2012), 45% of Americans usually begin the year with New Year’s Resolutions, yet only 8% are successful with their goals.  That’s…depressing.

I don’t believe the problem lies with the people who make resolutions, nor in the resolutions themselves.  I think it’s in the planning and execution.  So let’s plan for success and take those goals from paper to reality!

How to Turn Your List of Resolutions into Realities

1.  Prioritize it.  This is not supposed to be a TO-DO (or NOT TO-DO) list, but rather a list of goals, which take effort, time, and determination to accomplish.  So don’t set yourself up for failure and discouragement by listing every single thing you want to do or stop doing.  Perhaps choose one goal for each major category of life: Health/Wellness, Family/Relationships, Work/Career, Spirituality/Growth, and Finances.  Or if one area needs a lot of work–or is most important to you–focus all your resolutions to fit that need. 

2.  Reword it.  Spend some time wording your goals so that they inspire you and put the focus on what matters.  I’ll use a few common resolutions as examples:

  • “Lose 10 pounds.”  First off, I don’t like this one because it puts the focus on weight and what you look like on the outside.  You could lose 10 pounds and be miserable because you starved or deprived yourself.  This is usually why the weight comes back because nothing really changed…the goal was merely to attain a specific loss of weight.  What if you reworded “Lose 10 pounds” to “Feel amazing in a bathing suit”?  See how the focus is now on self-esteem and inner results?  Interestingly, being happy and healthy on the inside will show up as the outer results of weight loss you wanted in the first place.  

Some other examples of rewording:

  • “Quit smoking.” vs. “Choose to put my health before my habit.”
  • “Get organized.” vs. “Organize my physical and mental space so I can be productive and balanced.”

3.  Plan it.  Now that you have a descriptive and inspiring list of goals, you need to plan for success!  Wearing a bathing suit with confidence is a great goal, but what does that look like?  Are you going to plan out healthy meals for the week so you don’t cave in for junk food when you’re tired and hungry?  Will you commit to yoga/spin/dance/boxing classes and lift weights to get the long, lean, sculpted physique you desire?  If you don’t brainstorm how you can accomplish your goals, you’re likely to abandon them.

  • Think outside the box.  So you want to “Be stress-free” (which you might have reworded to “Find my Zen every day” in Step 1!).   Taking yoga and getting massages are wonderful ideas.  But go further by getting creative.  Eating immune-boosting, nutrition-packed foods will keep you healthy and at your best.  As a result, you’ll reduce your stress levels as you’ll be more equipped to handle what life throws at you.  Also, what makes you happy, content, peaceful, calm?  Reading a great book?  Taking a stroll in the park?  A long bath?  If you figure out what those things are and add as many of those activities to your daily life as possible, you’ll experience more “happy” and less “crappy.”
  • But be realistic.  Can you realistically spend an hour communing with nature or reading a book each day?  Then don’t make that declaration.  Instead, keep your happy list in mind and sneak them in whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Take that best-selling book out when you’re faced with standing in a long line (that would normally stress you out!) or spend 5 minutes sitting outside in a sunny spot on your lunch break.  Even doing a little bit of what makes you happy is infinitely better than doing none at all.

4.  Theme it.  It’s likely that you can find a theme that embodies all your resolutions.  Unearthing a theme that connects with you and is rich in meaning is a powerful tool in living the life you imagine.  It should resonate with you, make you feel something, propel you forward, support you in your journey toward this year’s goals.  Here are some examples of themes and what they can represent:

  • The Year of Letting Go – Letting go of things that don’t serve you–insecurities, fear, bad habits, destructive relationships, negativity–so you have room to welcome in all the good things that are possible.
  • Just Do It – Saying yes to relationships, job opportunities, experiences, adventures.  Taking action, taking charge, taking control.  Doing instead of only thinking/hoping/planning.
  • Love and Light – Associating yourself with inspiring people, feeding yourself positive messages, looking for the joy in life and reflecting it, opening yourself up to love from yourself and others.

Hold your year’s theme in your mind as you go about your daily life.  You’ll find your actions will start to follow your theme, and therefore, contribute to achieving your resolutions.

5.  Memorize it.  Once your resolutions are focused, powerful, planned, and themed, it’s time to commit your goals to memory.  The more they are a part of you, the more likely you’ll see them to fruition.

You can do it!

More posts related to resolutions/goals