Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to Set Effective Boundaries

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boundariesThis month in the Facebook group, we've been working on setting healthy boundaries. This has been a great experience for all of us thus far as we have been challenging and supporting each other in setting healthy and effective limits on what we will and will not do and what behaviors we will and will not allow to occur in our presence.

Many of us in the group have struggled with boundaries in relationships – with our families, friends, coworkers, bosses, and significant others. Often we feel guilty for setting boundaries with our loved ones, and we may even find ourselves on the receiving end of guilt or anger when we try to set and enforce our boundaries.

In the past, I've struggled with setting boundaries with romantic partners. In fact, this was a harder – and longer – lesson for me to learn than setting boundaries with friends, family, and at work.

When I was 16, I met a boy who would go on to stalk me off and on for four years. At first, I was flattered that he ‘liked' me so much. He bought me flowers and gifts and paid attention to me – a gangly, awkward teenager who was much more of a nerd than a beauty Queen (for a modern day example, think of how unhealthy yet romanticized Bella and Edward's relationship was in the first Twilight book/movie). But as the weeks turned into months, I realized I had a problem. He would show up outside my house; when I got off out of class, he would be there. He had his friends call me to let me know he had a shrine erected to me in his bedroom. He began cutting his arms, showing me the wounds, and saying, “These are for you.”

While I think we can all agree that what I have just described was not a healthy ‘relationship,' how often have you found yourself feeling the victim in a similar situation?

And what's more, how often have you allowed it?

I have been guilty of this numerous times. From loaning money to friends and significant others that was never returned to working overtime on a ‘special' project for my boss for which I received no compensation, to caving to peer pressure to do things that I knew were not in my best interests.

But if I have learned nothing else in my 42 years on this planet, it's this: the

. And even when we think we've passed, it will give us one last mini quiz, just to be sure we really got it this time.

If your boundaries keep getting tested, here's my 7 step plan for setting and enforcing effective boundaries: Setting Boundaries 101

If you need help setting effective boundaries, check out my free video where I walk you through how to do this in real life.

I’d love to hear how these work for you in the comments below.

Here’s to setting healthy boundaries!

 

What to Do When Your Inner Mean Girl Tells You You’re Not Good Enough

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Cover_OctNov15-01The first time I was on the cover of a magazine two years ago, I didn’t want to tell anyone. Despite the fact that many of my students not only saw, but picked up a copy of, the magazine, I was afraid to shine my light. Afraid people would notice. Afraid of the criticism.

I did receive some criticism and a lot of teasing – and offers for dates. But the hardest part of the whole experience was that instead of being happy about being on the cover of a magazine, I was worried. Worried that I wasn’t good enough to actually be on that magazine cover – I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, I wasn’t famous enough, I wasn’t really that girl in the picture (after two hours of hair and makeup and photostop, I looked more like Sarah Jessica Parker than I did myself). In other words, my Inner Mean Girl had a field day and I found myself getting increasingly depressed.

Fast forward two years. I was just on the cover of another magazine. What did I do? I shared it everywhere. My picture has been shared so many times on Facebook that I’ve lost count. The magazine publisher sent me a framed copy of the magazine cover and I displayed it proudly on my coffee table. I gave a framed copy to my mother (who had mixed feelings about the first magazine cover). Did my Inner Mean Girl whisper in my ear this time? Nope. Not a word.

I work with clients every day on dealing with their inner critics. We are often our own worst enemies rather than our own best friends and cheerleaders. I used to fall into that category, but, in general, I don’t anymore.

How did I do it? Simple. I had a heart-to-heart (several actually) with my Inner Mean Girl. I let her vent, rant, accuse. I just took it all in and listened. Occasionally I’d ask her why she felt a certain way or thought a certain way.

Then I started calmly pushing back. Reminding her, subtly, of all the times that her reasoning failed. Of all the times things worked out, of all the times I was good enough. As her reasons and excuses started to fall away, the ‘not enoughness’ weight began to lift off my shoulders.

Do I still get triggered? Of course. But it‘s so much easier for me to get back on track now. If you still struggle with your inner critic, I’d love to set up a time to talk. Let’s see if I can help coach you through your own inner mean girl work. I healed my relationship with my inner mean girl; I accepted and integrated that broken off part of myself – that inner child that only wanted to be heard. You can too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Just a Spark, But It’s Enough

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I had an interesting conversation with my ex last night. He told me that when we ran into each other at the end of August, he wanted nothing more than to hold me again. But over the course of the past month, he realized he needed to let me to go because while I saw him, I didn’t really see him. He wanted me to know that he didn’t blame me for not seeing him because he wouldn’t let me. He just called to let me know that he had gotten over me and gave me permission to let him go.

So many emotions ran through my head before, during, and after that conversation. My enoughness issues got triggered again. My anger and frustration with him got triggered again. And I was reminded of all of the reasons why we worked at first, but why we didn’t last. We couldn’t. As he put it, it was like we were walking along a forest path together and then the path ended and we went our separate ways.

And so we did.

And so it is that I find myself today in a very reflective mood, once again a barrel of emotions. I know I’m in a process of transformation, transition, integration. I am becoming the woman I am meant to be. And life is happening for me in a big way right now. Last week, my cover issue of Aspire magazine came out. Tomorrow my third co-authored book, Cultivating Joy, comes out, featuring my story, “I’m Not Broken.” Later this week, I am beginning a year-long Priestess training process with my friend Lori Andrus.

It could be overwhelming – all of this change – but it’s not. At the end of the day, I know this to be true: everything happens for a reason; everything is working out just as it should.

But even when it seems dark out, I always know that there is a spark of light within me. To quote one of my favorite songs, “Last Hope” by Paramore:

And so when it gets a little chaotic, when my ex triggers me, when I forget for a moment about all of the amazing things that are happening for me and get caught up in the crap that doesn’t really matter, I know I can always turn back to that spark. That little piece of me that knows I’ve got this; that everything will be alright.

But how do you cultivate that little spark within you? How do you not get wrapped up in negative emotions when “life happens?”

I have five key practices that I come back to – and have used a lot over the past week – to help me stay centered and grounded.

  1. Write it down – journaling is a profound tool for me and something I use every day, especially when I have emotions I need to sort out. Writing (pen to paper) is a way of Earthing for me. It gives substance to my feelings and helps me feel centered and grounded. Sometimes I just put pen to paper and write. Sometimes I’ll ask myself specific questions to reflect upon. As we just had a New Moon in Libra, I find myself getting reflective about what I want to let go of and what I want to bring forth in this next moon cycle.
  2. Let it go – when I am really struggling with letting things go, I write down what I want to release and burn it. Fire is a powerful, transformative tool for change. I make use of its natural alchemy to fuel my desires.
  3. Soak away your worries – water is a very purifying element, as well as a ruler of our emotions. I’ve taken 2 baths in the last 24 hours. Not only does it feel supportive and relaxing to soak my worries away, but there’s something about the ritual of taking a bath that is very powerful for me. I like to fill the tub, add 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and whichever essential oils call to me that particular day. Lavender, Wild Orange, Balance, and Serenity have been calling me lately.
  4. Make your intentions – once I have realized what I need to let go of, it’s time to bring your focus to what you do want to attract to your life. Again, the New Moon is an excellent time to do this, as is any time between the New and Full Moon. But don’t let that hold you back if it’s not that time right now. Letting things go and making intentions can be powerful at any time; it just gets a little boost from the Moon if you time it correctly.
  5. Let it go (again) – One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is that you can’t control anything. All you can do is release what’s holding you back, set new intentions, and let the Universe do its thing. I know my company will continue to grow and profit. I know I will find my Soul’s Mate and life partner. I know that my bills will get paid on time and I will have all of my needs met. I may not always know the “how” or “when” behind that, but I have faith that it will happen. So sometimes I just have to get out of my own way and let it happen.

What do you do to remind yourself to focus on the spark of light when times get tough?

 

 

New Moon in Libra

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new moonThis continues a series of posts on working with Moon energy. Each New Moon and Full Moon, I will post suggestions for working with that archetype and harness the energy of the Moon’s cycle.

New Moon Energy

The new moon is a time of new beginnings, a time when you plant the seeds you wish to harvest over the next month. Yet, do not neglect to let go of what no longer serves before you plant those seeds. It does no good to plant seeds in a barren desert. So the night before each new moon, in the dark of the moon, I like to hold a release ceremony. Some questions to ponder might be:

  • What do you need to release before moving forward with this new moon cycle?
  • What patterns have you been holding on to that no longer serve?

Once you have let go of the old, it’s time to set your intentions for this moon cycle. I do this on the night of the New Moon. Some questions to ponder might be:

  • What do I wish to create over the next month (from New Moon to New Moon)?
  • What do I need to allow my creations to come into light?

 

The Waxing Time

The time between the New and Full Moons is considered the waxing time. This is a perfect time to kick start a project you’ve been putting off, getting your ducks in a row, and get ready for growth. Your focus is sharp, your creativity is in overdrive, and your energy is boundless. Use it!

 

New Moon in Libra

The scales; balance. Libra is an air sign, and while those born under this sign may tend to be indecisive and people pleasers, they are also fair, diplomatic and like their lives to be ordered and balanced. And they love to dream of all the possibilities, so they are fabulous at seeing things from multiple perspectives.

So what does this mean for working with the New Moon energy? You can add the energy of Libra to your New Moon reflections by asking yourself the following reflective questions:

  • Where is my life out of balance?
  • What do I need to do to bring balance back into my life?
  • Where might I benefit from looking at my challenges from a new perspective?
  • What do I dream of? How might I manifest these dreams and make them my reality?

Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Libra! It should be a reflective time for all of us.

Truth Be Told…

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I am enoughFriday I found out that my ex-boyfriend is in a new relationship. This knowledge cut me to the core. A friend encouraged me to dig deep on why the knowledge that my ex is now in a relationship stings so much. The deeper I dove, the more I discovered how little it actually had to do with my ex and how much it had to do with me.

 

Truth be told: it's actually not my ex-boyfriend’s new relationship, it's the sting of rejection. My 21-year marriage ended over the fact that my ex-husband blamed me for my infertility, so I felt rejected by him because I have endometriosis and couldn’t bear him a child. When I met my ex-boyfriend, he was so awesome about making me feel whole and beautiful. There were other issues in that relationship, but my infertility was never one of them. But for some reason the knowledge that he is in a new relationship made me feel rejected once again. It brought up all of my insecurities around the fear that no one will want me because I can't have kids. I thought I had gotten over this – thought I had done all the healing I needed to do; apparently I have not. And I think it centers around this: it wasn't the rejection of me by my exes, it was the rejection of me by myself. So the sting I'm feeling is that I'm still rejecting myself because I don't feel like I am ‘enough'.

 

The irony is that the day I found out he was in a new relationship was the day after the launch of my new group program Perfect As You Are flopped big time. After 2 months of building and promoting this program, no one enrolled. Now I understand why: I can’t sell a program I don’t buy into myself. I truly thought I did. It’s not like I was leading everyone on. I have healed and am generally incredibly happy with who I am – just as I am. I do believe I am perfectly imperfect and I love me just as I am, or at least I thought I did…

 

After Friday blew up in my face, I decided to do some profound healing work this weekend. I took my own advice: I meditated. I journaled. I reached out to friends for support. I wrote myself a letter asking for my own forgiveness for my self-rejection. And I cried, oh how I cried. As I let the tears flow, I felt something shift inside of me: my ‘not enoughness’ began to feel whole again. Like maybe, just maybe, I really am enough – perfectly imperfect just as I am. That doesn’t mean that healing doesn’t need to occur – it still does.

 

And so I am taking some time to heal, taking it easy on myself as I process this latest life lesson. Allowing myself to move a little more slowly, and spend a lot more time outside. Allowing myself to just let the tears flow as they will. It’s a beautiful thing, really. This surrender. Because with each tear that falls, with each word I write, I know that I am becoming more congruent with me: the me I want to be, the woman I know in my core that I truly am. And

 

 

I Forgive You

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promiseI think most of us have learned that when we are upset, it is in our best interest to forgive those that hurt us. After all, forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different. And since the past can never be changed, it is certainly wise to let it go.

 

How often have you sat down, pen on paper, and written a heart-felt letter to yourself… for all the times you let yourself down, disappointed yourself, criticized yourself? For all the times you didn’t speak your truth or walk in your power? For all the times you let people use you because you were too scared to stand up for yourself? For all the times you looked at your body and felt nothing but anger, resentment, and betrayal?

 

As my infertility issues were triggered in a powerful way over the weekend, instead of berating myself for not having healed them yet, I sat down and wrote myself a letter. Maybe it’s not infertility you struggle with, but I bet it’s something: your weight, your relationship with food, with your body, with yourself. We all have issues. We all have disappointments. We all have tendencies to sometimes be our own worst enemies instead of our own best friends.

 

As I went through another layer of healing my relationship with my body, I wrote myself this letter. I share it with you here in the hopes that it inspires you to show yourself a little more kindness, a little more forgiveness, a little less judgment. I hold space for you to write yourself a letter of forgiveness. I hope you find this exercise as healing as I did. (And yes, let the tears flow…)

 

 

Dear Mary,

I am so sorry. I apologize from the depths of my heart for every making you feel like you weren’t enough, for focusing on your ‘brokenness.’

I am so grateful for this sacred womb temple of mine that allows me to give birth to new life/projects/ideas – my womb is my precious power center. I apologize for not realizing that before now.

I apologize for doubting you, for ever believing for even one second that your value was somehow tied to your … beauty, work ethic, do-ing, producing results for others, your ability to give birth to a child.

I am so sorry I hurt you. I value you and love you wholly, deeply.

You are enough. You are more than enough.  You are a creative soul, so nurturing, so giving, so beauty-full. I love you because you give your all, you keeping trying, you continue to see the good in people and situations where others might not. I love your smile and your big heart. I love your devotion to growth and self-improvement.

 

Here is my promise to you:

 

I will set boundaries to make sure your needs are met.

I will take care of you.

I accept you fully, just as you are.

I will always choose you.

I support you.

I will always be there for you.

And I will never, ever break a promise to you again.

I love you.