12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude (That Will Change your Life)

12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Gratitude leads to greatness.  It can literally turn what you have into more than enough, jobs into joy, chaos into order, uncertainty into clarity, and bring peace to an otherwise chaotic day.

The easiest way to make your blessings count is to count your blessings.  Acknowledging the good things you already have in your life is of the essence, because whatever you appreciate and give thanks for will grow stronger in your life.

When Angel and I discus the importance of gratitude with our coaching/course students, we often get a “Yeah, yeah, I know…” response.  But the truth is, most of us don’t know – because we’re forgetful.  In the haste of our busy lives we neglect many of the basic laws of gratitude, and thus miss out entirely on their positive effects.  So here’s a good refresher, for all of us:

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1.  The more you are in a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

  • Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.
  • Focus on what you don’t have, and you’ll never have enough.

[Read more…]

9 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Mindset

9 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Mindset

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that help us or hurt us. Once our mindset changes, everything on the outside gradually changes along with it.

“There’s a brilliant, beautiful, priceless piece of art in front of you!  It’s elaborate and detailed – a painstaking labor of love and devotion!  The colors and textures are like no other – they soar and dip, they shine and leap right off the canvas!  And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the tiny, black housefly that has landed on it.  Why would you do such a thing?”

She cracked a half smile and starred at me in silence.

“Look,” I said, “the point is there’s no way to be 100% sure about anything or anyone in this world.  Life, like art, is intricate and unpredictable.  So you’re left with a choice: either appreciate it and look for the best, or focus on and expect the worst.”

If you expect the worst, you’re never disappointed,” she pointed out.

“Yeah, but who lives like that?” I replied.  “No one.  People die slowly every day like that, without every truly living.”

That’s the gist of a Skype conversation I had this morning with a new course/coaching student (I’m sharing this with her permission).  She literally started the conversation by telling me that expecting negative things to happen is her way of coping with life.  If you can relate in any way at all, it’s time to rethink things.

And make no mistake about it, the battle you are going through isn’t fueled by the words or actions of others; it isn’t fueled by what did or didn’t happen in the past; it’s fueled by your mind that gives negativity importance.

Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to happiness and success.  Your perspective on life comes from the inner emotional cage you’ve been holding yourself captive in.

Here are some clear signs it’s time to change your mindset:

1.  You see nothing but negatives.

If you were determined to get joy out of the present moment, you would learn to [Read more…]

7 Reliable Steps to Change Your Life at Any Age

7 Reliable Steps to Change Your Life at Any Age

Never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now.  You aren’t.  Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

As I watched a re-run of the Academy Awards last night at a friend’s house, I noticed an obvious commonality between many of the speeches actors and actresses make when they accept an award.  It goes something like:

“This means so much so me.  My whole life has been leading up to this moment.”

The interesting thing about this sentiment, I think, is that our whole lives have been leading up to every moment.  Think about that for a second.  Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, it has all led you to the moment you’re experiencing right now.

This means that you are exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go.  It’s just a matter of taking one new step in the right direction, and another, and another.

Start with a simple question: What do you want to change in your life?

Are you hoping to someday be in better physical shape, a runner, a writer, an artist, a graphic designer, a programmer, a teacher, a better parent, a successful entrepreneur, or an expert at something specific?

How do you get to where you want to go?  Do you write your intention on a note card, and place it in a bottle and cast it out to sea, hoping the universe reads it and manifests it in your life?  No.  The universe isn’t going to make your desires happen.  You are.

Do you set yourself a concrete goal to complete within a year, or within three years?  Sure, but that alone doesn’t get the job done.  In fact, if you think back on previous examples in your life, setting lofty, long-term goals probably hasn’t worked for you very often.  How many times has this strategy led you to the outcome you desired?

The Importance of Rituals

Here’s the truth:  Goals don’t make positive changes happen, rituals do.

What’s the difference between goals and rituals? [Read more…]

10 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Sensitive People

9 Mindful Ideas that Will Put Your Soul at Ease
by Mely Brown

“And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.”
― Nietzsche

Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weak or broken.  But to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the characteristic of a truly alive and compassionate human being.  It is not the sensitive person who is broken, it is society’s understanding that has become dysfunctional and emotionally incapacitated.  There is zero shame in expressing your authentic feelings.  Those who are at times described as being ‘too emotional’ or ‘complicated’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more thoughtful, caring, humane world.  Never be ashamed to let your feelings, smiles and tears shine a light in this world.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, because it can be so confusing, right? … Why you get overwhelmed by run-of-the-mill tasks that others take in stride.  Why you mull over slights that ought to be forgotten.  Why subtleties are magnified for you and yet lost on others.

It’s like you were born missing a protective layer of skin that others seem to have.

You try to hide it.  Numb it.  Tune it out.  But the comments still pierce your armor: “You’re overthinking things.  You’re too sensitive.  Toughen up!”

You’re left wondering what on earth is wrong with you.

I know, because I was in my mid-40s when I stumbled across the term ‘highly sensitive people.’  This led me to discover how delicious it feels to be one of thousands saying, “You do that?  Me too!”

Since then, I’ve learned that many sensitive people feel isolated from others.  They feel misunderstood and different, and they usually don’t know why.  They just don’t realize that they have a simple trait that explains their confusing array of symptoms and quirks.

There’s even a scientific term for it: Sensory Processing Sensitivity.  Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychotherapist and researcher, estimates that 15-20% of people have nervous systems that process stimuli intensely.  They think deeply.  They feel deeply (physically and emotionally).  They easily become over-stimulated.

According to my research several successful historical figures were highly sensitive, such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, and Steve Jobs.  I see this as great news, because it means us sensitive types aren’t inherently disadvantaged.

But when we don’t realize how to handle our sensitivity, we end up pushing too hard to keep up with everyone else.  We try to do what others seem to handle with ease, and try to do it better than them.  And this leads to problems.

For a time, we do a first-rate job of using our natural gifts: we’re creative students, conscientious employees, and devoted family members.  But when we hammer on beyond our limits, doing so can eventually take its toll.  It shows up in things like unrelenting health conditions, muscle tension we can’t get rid of, and being endlessly fatigued or on edge for no good reason.

If you resonate with any of this, here are 10 actions you can take to stop struggling and start thriving:

1.   Quit searching for someone or something to fix you.

Sensitivity is a temperament trait, not a medical disorder.  So nothing is inherently [Read more…]

40 Rituals that Make Relationships Last 40+ Years

40 Rituals that Make Relationships Last 40+ Years

Relationships must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed.

Every fairy tale, it seems, ends with the same predictable phrase, “happily ever after.”  And yet every amazing couple I have ever known agrees that nothing about a healthy, long-term relationship is forever happy.  There are moments of bliss, no doubt, and lengthy spans of fun-loving companionship.  Yet these good times come at no small effort, and the guy or girl who reads such fiction and dreams his or her troubles will end when he or she departs the altar is well advised to seek at once a reality check from a real, rational couple who has stayed together through thick and thin.

And that’s exactly what I did a couple decades ago.  When Angel and I were first falling in love, I went to my parents for some relationship advice.  Their advice gave me some much-needed perspective at the time, but what really made a difference was the family ritual born that day.  Every year since, I’ve pestered my parents (they love it) on their wedding anniversary and asked them for a relationship tip or two, and I’ve recorded their advice in my journal.

Today, on my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, I want to share a cleaned-up, copyedited version of my parent’s relationship tips.  These are the little things they do – the rituals – that have helped their relationship last 40 years and counting.

  1. Embrace each other’s flaws. – New couples always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other.  Who wouldn’t?  It’s easy; anyone can love the most wonderful parts of another person.  But that’s not what works in the long run.  What works is this:  Accepting each other’s flaws.  Looking at your partner’s faults, and honestly saying, “I can work around this.  I can support them and make the best of it.”  Because the truth is, good qualities are always going to be there, and they’re always going to be pretty and handsome and wonderful, but the small bits of hidden ugliness underneath can ruin you if you don’t embrace it. [Read more…]