One Love

A couple of nights ago I had a vivid dream with one of my greatest idols – Mr. Robert Nesta Marley. That night I watched a documentary about his life on Youtube and soon after I went to sleep. I remember getting surprised by all the things he have done in life – all the places he performed, the number of albums he recorded and how involved and committed he was to his Life Purpose.

Needless to say I love his songs and that deep connection comes from back in the days when I used to listen to his songs on Buzios Radio Station on the way from Cabo Frio to Buzios, in Rio de Janeiro, to be more exact. I was such a fan of that radio station that one day I asked my parents to take me there. I guess I was 11 or 13 years old back then.

After watching that documentary, I went to sleep but woke up at 6 AM out of a sudden as if there was something about happen. Since there was nothing wrong around me or anything to be concerned, I fell asleep again and out of a clear blue sky I went to meet Bob at the exact time of his passing. It wasn’t exactly like it is said that happened to him, because at that time he had his head shaved due to the chemotherapy he had to take to fight a type of cancer he carried for years. The Bob I meet in my dream was in his home, surrounded by his friends and family, with the dreadlocks we see on the pictures and he was smiling very peacefully. During that dream I could touch his hands that were resting on top his chest and instead of feeling a cold hand as expected, I felt an immense warmth coming from his hands as if he were there fully alive.

And he is. I understand now how important the rite of passing is to help us comprehend and accept the cycle of life; so we can let go of the past and be open and active in the present moment. Through that dream I could also understood that when we live to serve others our actions become eternal. Bob Marley built his career and his life for the purpose of unifying people and all the races, and the reality in which we live nowadays makes his purpose more vivid than ever before. That also makes his music more alive than ever. He continues to live every time we sing and dance to his creations. More than ideas and intentions what really transcends time and space are our actions of service to others.

— How can I serve you better today? —

While I was writing this article a friend of mine called me from the East Coast and we had an amazing conversation about connection. Life has its unique ways to bring us lessons and shower us with love and compassion (unexpectedly). Be open and receptive to the gifts of life, I cherish my dream with Bob as I cherish the conversation I had with my friend, there’s no separation – One Love!

If Life Gives You Beets…

Natalia Fogarty @vigour8

Today after watching the 3rd live masterclass about becoming a successful writer hosted by Reid Tracy (Hay House CEO), I’ve decided that it was about time to make a little update on my website and share some of the recent ideas and insights I’ve been gathering from the past few months. Unlike the previous articles, I felt like writing about something fun that happened to me yesterday. It was when I looked back to the date of my last post that I realized how long it took for me to actually sit down on my chair again and just write.

It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about something, for instance a theme that you always research or how you mastered your skills and abilities for your job or a hobby… life never stops challenging us to learn something new or to say the least to dig deeper in every lesson we already think we’ve learned. One thing I know for sure is that I know nothing, really(!)

During my whole life (and I’m 40 now) I can say I learned to dance with the music; I took the chance (many of them actually); I did the best I could with what I knew and I had in any given opportunity by being present in the moment by listening to others; observing the environment; feeling the energies around me; always questioning everything; by actively participating; by being there fully, you know how it is. Looking back to the courses I took; the places I went; the things I did and all the people I met; It comes to my mind that I never felt unnoticed. By looking at my past I have a feeling I planted all the seeds I could and thus I was glad to nurture all of them and wait and see them blooming in new opportunities or something greater for me. But just a week ago I got that defeating realization that I was wrong the whole time.

Funny fact it’s been close to one year now that I’ve been having many setbacks, I mean I invested my intentions, time, energy, actions and money on a dream that never came true without even noticing I surrounded myself with all sorts of illusionary ideas and crutches to keep me distracted from what I should have done since I got an insight almost 3 years ago. I don’t even want to go that far to talk about how much we sabotage ourselves to prevent our dreams to come true. So here I am after that realization doing what I should do – writing about my journey of self-realizations, sharing with you my thoughts, the lessons I learned, to motivate and inspire you to be better than yourself so you too can inspire and motivate others through your own experiences, realizations and successes.

Aside from the articles I wrote for my website, I’m also giving the first steps to writing a book for kids. And this is a joyous journey I’m learning to embrace, to accept and allow to happen as the author of that story – one paragraph at a time.

So what about the beets mentioned in the title? Try not to laugh, but I’m really bad at cooking, and I was “left home” with a couple of beets and some other legumes in the fridge and for me they all look the same with a different name (so you know who’s NOT gonna be the next Master Chef). Aaaand, instead of throwing them in the trash, I was like ‘let’s see what I can do with them’. Little did I know after a quick search on Google I found out a catchy recipe of a beets burger(!) No joke. Seriously, if there’s something I could never imagine doing in my life that was a hamburger made out of a single beet. And if that thing can look good and be delicious – OH-MY-GOD! Talking about dreams unfulfilled and goals to achieve, that was the boost I needed to just start writing again. Anything is possible if we just go there, pull up our sleeves, get dirt, hesitate, keep on doing, trying, doing again (even though you don’t know how it’s going to end), and just trust the process than BOOM! The most delicious recipe, book, project, workshop, trip, new job, can happen just before your eyes and actually look so ‘yummy’ you can’t wait to do it again and to share with everybody else.

It took me almost one year to start writing my book again and I really don’t know how I’m going to publish it. Until then I’ll keep on writing, cause the worst thing we can do is not believing that dreams can come true and not working to make them happen day after day.

*If you liked my article and would like to get in touch with me, please leave a comment bellow, send me a private message if you like and become my friend on my social networks. I’m just warming up, and I don’t want you to miss the feast. =)

Photo: Os Segredos Veganos de Isa (livro)

Embrace your shadows

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Today was one of those days I woke up not feeling at my highest good, which I consider pretty normal by the way. It’s impossible to feel energized and motivated every single day. As human beings we go through so many issues during the day, that is completely ok to experience low energy or uncertainty once in a while. However, today I felt something different in the air, as if everything was out of place, I even got a phone call from an acquaintance willing to share his thoughts on how people are behaving on their social networks.

He mentioned Facebook and Instagram to be more specific and how people are doing whatever it takes to get more likes or calling attention to themselves. That’s not news for any of us, we know that “getting likes” on social media is the new addiction. Amongst with drinking, shopping, gambling, doing drugs and smoking – expecting to be liked and “celebrated” on these social media apparently makes people feel worthy, loved and needed. There are also recent scientific researches that show that our brain reacts the same way by doing drugs or getting likes on our posts.

Can you see the gap here? The reason why people are looking for validation on their social networks is mainly the same as doing drugs: the likelihood is that they are feeling lonely or empty inside as a result of a life designed to impress people that they don’t even know for no particular reason (I’m not talking about the people who make money as influencers). Today there are more than 8 billion people living on this planet and even nowadays when there’s no walls between different cultures, there’s “less distance” one another, if they really want to communicate with each other there are many different ways to do so and there’s still people feeling lonely, empty and rejected.

Apparently our education wasn’t enough to provide the life of our dreams, our dream job is not what we believed to be, our relationships are somehow fading away, religion has betrayed our faith in the name of controlling, status and fear… So what is left for us?

I strongly believe that the best days of our lives are when we look at things and can make the most of what we already have. Our existence on this planet is rooted in duality: sometimes we feel really creative and happy one day but suddenly doubt and fear arise the day after. And because we weren’t taught to appreciate and celebrate our own darkness we feel that we are lost, not good enough, that we don’t fit in or even worst – we think that there’s something wrong with us. But our sadness, our loneliness, our doubts lead us to find another exit door and to create new possibilities. Thereby, how bad it is to feel under the weather once in a while if that can take us to a better place in the future?

By experiencing our bad times to the fullest we grant ourselves the right to find the best of us that is underneath the surface. At the end of the day what really works for us to thrive is allowing our darkest moments to arise. Embrace your shadows, validate your feelings, cry if you will, curse, scream, let it out!!! Then feel the complaisant sound of your heartbeat reminding you that life happens in every heartbeat, every breath you take, every blink of an eye, every sound outside. There’s nothing wrong with you, even while undergoing these moments you are still succeeding.

Let’s expand our view and look around us for a second and see that there’s more people out there suffering. What can you do today to reach out for the ones that are in need?

Ultimately our very purpose in life is serving others, I know you can go out of your sadness and make a difference. Just be yourself, embrace your shadows.

Image Addiction – III

You have to dive within yourself to be one with God. – (Natalie Betito)

Continuing the thought I’ve been exploring on my last 2 posts, I guess that we almost start to naturally ask the following questions to ourselves: – In a society that does not cultivate hope or faith, who’s going be the new Guru? Who’s going to save us?

The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine about who would be the new guru of our generation and we were examining how many motivational speakers have appeared since the 80’s. They became more famous now due to the social media, like Youtube and Instagram, but they were always here with their powerful speeches, challenging people to do the impossible and even selling a perspective of an unrealistic life.

Of course you already have watched the movie ‘The Secret’ or even have read the book under the same name. For sure you know who Deepak Chopra is or at least have already heard about the book The Power of Now written by Eckhart Tolle. But you know what, none of that literature or movie can do much for you. For sure they are inspiring and can bring something new to your thought, but in fact your actions are your “saviour” and  that is actually what is going to bring a new breakthrough for you, the crack on the ceiling that will enlighten the room.

And I’m very sorry to say that, but it won’t be through the lens of your iPhone that you’re gonna find yourself, find your peace of mind neither the feeling of contentment, faith or hope. I like what was posted on the Dalai Lama’s Facebook page the other day:

“It’s so important to cultivate an attitude that allows you to maintain hope. Hope can make a great difference to how you responds to problems and difficulties. The most fundamental aspiration of all human beings is to seek happiness, to overcome suffering. You may go to bed at night confronted by many problems in your life, but it’s hope that motivates you to get out of bed and carry on with your life next morning.”

Only through your inner-journey of self-realization you’re going to be able to find happiness and joy. Therefore, maybe you’re going to have to do all the things you’ve been avoiding or postponing lately like meditating, spending some time with nature, going out to meet new people, changing your diet, hearing new songs, breaking your habits, going out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, being vulnerable, and finally daring to be your authentic self.

And if you are on the path of increasing hope and wanting to see Life on a different color pallet, my suggestion for you is even more radical, I’d suggest you to be with people that can add something new to your day, even if they look completely different from you, even if you don’t agree a 100% with them. These are the people that we have to surround ourselves with. Through our differences we can make more room to expand who we are, to try a new way of thinking, or even just to give ourselves a chance to appreciate and respect others peoples’ choices and opinions peacefully. And that’s not only ‘ok’, it’s necessary for our own sanity and, in fact, evolve as human beings.

Nobody needs to be like us, and it’s good to be around people that can bring a new light, that can show us another way to look at things. These are actually the people that help us grow. And we need that more than ever before. Inside that space between you and another person lies the answers of all our most significant questions: life and intent happen when we open the door and invite others to come into our lives. There’s no other way.

By connecting with others we create a powerful chain of energy that allow us to hear and be heard, to support and be supported, to love and be loved, to be happy and enjoy life the way it is. So starting from today who would you like to connect genuinely in order to expand your light?

Image Addiction – Part II

“The real us is pure love and pure light, he said.”
(Dom Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements).

Continuing the last post Image Addiction – Part I (please read that post before this one). My thoughts on the “smoke” like it was described on the book mentioned above is that although we seem to be more obsessed with our self-image like in any other decade before, in my humble opinion that behaviour actually echo our desperate need or our eagerness to hear, to touch, to feel, to listen and to have a proof that something greater than us really exist, like a scape or a crutch for our insecurities.

I know I’m touching a sensitive point here, but all the technology in the world and the advances in the science field weren’t able to diminish our inherited discomfort, our anxiety, and our doubts whether there is a God, life after death, or what is this feeling of emptiness that’s been felt since we become labeled as a “modern society.” Do you feel that too? What could possibly explain the increasing number of suicide attempts in many different countries nowadays? Some of the celebrities we know that have commited suicide had families, friends, a great career, the kind of life we envision as a goal; hence the feeling of loneliness might not fit to our examination in this journal.

It seems that the only things that actually have advanced in our society are the technology when it comes to cars, gadgets, electronic devices and the like; on the other hand us – human beings – we are still asking ourselves the same questions we used to make many centuries ago – Who am I? Why am I here? What’s the purpose of life? Does God exist? And if there is a God, why do so many people are suffering?

It’s funny to think that even without our so called technology the ancient civilisations seemed to have everything that the modern society lacks. One of these things is called Faith. That short and humble word means a lot to our existence as human beings, without faith there is no place for hope, goodwill, trust, courage, there’s no place for creativity, there’s no place for love and as a result there’s no place for Life.

Moreover how can we possibly talk about “evolution” if we think and behave in a way that shuts down or erase a big part of ourselves that is our Spirit. And I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about Spirituality, which is a totally different approach.

How can we possibly evolve as human beings if we are exchanging our spirituality to the thin layers of our ego or to the new filter on the phone, to the newest fancy shades, or to the trendy clothes, the new eyelashes, the new lip plumper, to the new boat, car, apartment and so on. None of all those things are “bad” or are here to be condemned, what I want to explore is that we hear more about the new “iPhone” than about what makes us feel good about ourselves; what makes us tick; what makes us more alive; why we are here on this planet… Are we experiencing our spirituality like we could? Or are we just using it as another filter to get more likes on our social media accounts?

What do you think is going on in our society that has been hurting us to the extent where some of us are choosing to cease their lives?

(to be continued on the next post – Image Addict III)

Image Addiction – Part I

“I ain’t got nothing, but I look good.” (God’s Plan – Drake oficial video)

To introduce the topic of this article I’d like to start with a great excerpt from the book The Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz in 1997, that says:

What created the harmony and space between the light and the stars in the Universe is Life or Intent. Without Life, the light and the stars could not exist. Life is the force of the absolute, the supreme, the creator who cares everything. (…) Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God. Everything is God and he came to the conclusion that human perception is merely light perceiving light. He also saw the matter is a mirror – Everything is a mirror that reflects light and create images of that light and the world of illusion, the Dream, is just like smoke which doesn’t allow us to see what we really are. “The real us is pure love, pure light,” he said.

There is so much food for thought inside that small paragraph, one thing we can ask ourselves is – What are we reflecting nowadays?

I want to develop this thought based on the observed behaviours of the generations X and Y’s respectively, although we could have had the same contrasts a few generations ago. I don’t know how many of you had a picture in your mind of somebody taking a selfie when I’ve mentioned “generation Y” above. The other day I went to an event promoted by a famous brewery at a beautiful park in Sao Paulo and I thought I had had entered a time machine that took me back to the 80’s. There I saw a lot of people dressing the same clothes as that decade, wearing the same colors, fabrics, patterns, and layers… I saw them holding beer cups and talking about nothing or even worse – staring at their cell phones instead. The music was from the 70’s which brought me a particular relief, but my inquiry kept on going… And yes, I saw a bunch of people taking pictures of themselves at the parking lot when they were arriving at the event, then another picture holding a beer cup, then another showing their shoes(!)… Of course they took pictures of their accessories, emphasizing their shades, their purses, their lipstick color and all together in a selfie with an uncanny pose. I guess that from their followers’ perspective the “influencers” were having fun at the event and they were #slaying #lit #legit #swag”, right?

Wrong! It’s was not about being their authentic selves and enjoying the party as I we may think, it was all about “checking in” and showing off their looks. But for what? That brings me to a brilliant conclusion: there were no difference between the people who actually went to that event and the people who stayed home at that same very day. Probably the people that stayed home were enjoying the event more than the actual people that were there trying to find the right angle or the filter, effect or what not to amp their selfies. Thinking back to that day, I actually think that that was the purpose of that event, maybe I was at the wrong place, or maybe it was just a stage to advertise a product and perhaps (from afar) you could have fun on the side. Did I miss something or I’m too old to the way people have fun nowadays?

I’m sharing from a very personal perspective here, I can’t recall how many times I was invited to go out just to take pictures of another person, and my answer to your question is  – No, I’m not a professional photographer. So what the heck is going on here?

Do you see where I’m going? I guess you’ve heard about the many losses by suicide we’ve had on the past week, these two people that committed suicide represented the American DREAM: they were all well educated, rich and famous. But what do they could possibly have in common with the “selfie generation”?

If you can, please read the third paragraph of this article again.

I like that part that states “the world of illusion, the Dream, is just like smoke which doesn’t allow us to see what we really are. The real us is pure love, pure light.”

Question: How can we see ourselves if the “smoke” that covers our light is celebrated and exalted by society more than our “light” itself?

How can we truly see ourselves if the “smoke” is all there is? Or better saying, the only thing that people want to look at?

Can you guess what the “smoke” is?

*I’m going to continue this observation to conclude my thought, but I’d love to hear from you. If you can, leave a comment bellow and invite your friends to this conversation. I have no reason to be right or wrong, I just think it’s important to ponder what really matters – the picture posted on social media, the “like” you get from strangers or the experience we live? Which one we cannot repeat?

Relationships

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Hi! Have you ever had to face a bad break up or a extenuating divorce? If you did and you’re still here, congratulations! You’ve got to the next phase of the game. It’s not easy to recover from heated arguments, slammed doors, abuse, rejection, broken plans and unfulfilled dreams. It’s like having life’s route shifted without knowing where to go and unfortunately there’s no Google maps to help you find an easy way. That’s, like everybody says, ‘when you actually grow’. Standing by the crossroads gives you the possibility to choose: You can always be sad and regret and live in the past for a long time, or you can take the other route and risk finding your happiness.

If I may, I’d always encourage you to take the second route. In my case that’s like buying a flight ticket to the first place displayed on the board. That place you pick up will be like a mirror for you: you’ll have to figure out where to stay, where to eat, what the weather looks like, what kind of clothes you’ll wear, how the people there behave, and what their culture and habits are like. Most importantly you’ll have to figure out who you will be in that new place: the beholder or the trailblazer?

In the book “Getting to I Do” the author, Dr. Patricia Allen, explains how our relationships are designed based on the roles we play since day one when we met our partners. And she says nothing but the naked truth that we all want to avoid – the modern women wanted to play the men’s role without even knowing how to do that or its consequences in the long term. In her book, she says that it’s ok if the man wants to be more ‘feminine’ and take care of the house, as long as he’s validated by his contributions and vice-versa. She affirms that in a relationship there will always be that partner that will be more logical whereas the other will be more emotional. One will provide and the other will nurture. Both roles are important in a relationship, but there has to be an agreement since the beginning on who’s gonna act like this or like that. Once these roles get blurred, confused or unclear the battle starts to take place.

I’m still reading the very first part of her book and I already have a clear idea of what kind of relationships can survive the modern world. I risk to say that the relationships that thrive are the ones where not only men and women know who they are (or where they are in life), but precisely if they have a clear idea of what they want from that relationship. On the other side of the coin, the relationships where each partner loves and respects themselves primarily tend to last longer with more quality of time spent. Ultimately, by having a clear understanding of each others expectations and needs they tend to see and appreciate each other for who they really are because there’s a bond tied to their common values.

I’m not an expert in relationships. I’m just trying to understand why there are so many incredible people alone or getting divorced so fast… My guess is that we’re constantly trying to find what we really want from life and understand the role of a relationship in that picture.

If you’re going through this path of self-realization, my suggestion for you besides the book mentioned above is reading another great book called “You Can Heal Your Heart” by Louise Hay and David Kessler. And if I may, I truly believe that the most important relationship we develop throughout our lives is with ourselves. And for that I’d love to be your mentor on that journey. It’s never too late to start.

We Need To Talk (And It’s A Good Thing)

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It supposed to be only a comment on a post on LinkedIn, instead it made me think of what’s going on with ‘how’ we communicate with each other. The content of that post was about the type of questions should been asked for new candidates when they are applying for a job. The old “What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?” type of inquiry should be put in a drawer from all recruiters like all the other questions that actually just take time from the interview and doesn’t bring any news. Nobody would say something that would refrain their hiring after all. Nonetheless, the interviewers should focus on the whole person in front of them and more importantly listening to what they say accurately. Thereby, are we really listening to the person in front of us or are we only reproducing our self-talk and filling out our own expectations?

The world today is full of so called Leaders or Motivational Speakers who talk and act las if they are actual leaders. Apparently talking about leadership or acting like one is trendy right now, but just by walking and talking like a leader don’t actually make you as one. In fact, where are the leaders in our organizations? Who are they? Is the owner of the company you work a good leader? How about your boss? What are her qualities that you admire, if there’s one? What are the weaknesses they could improve to become better leaders? Are they actively listening to you?

Before digging in the last question, let’s go backwards and analyze how we normally think. Regardless of our social status our salary or the work we do, we all tend to complain. And why is that? Usually we tend to address our complaints to the society, the politics, the economy or something abstract or intangible. We complain to get that feeling of “doing something right”, so we blame on whatever it is, or we make other people feel guilty to exempt our accountability on taking action towards something we should be doing. By complaining we have the feeling that we’re doing something real when in fact nothing has changed. At least until now I have never seen nobody getting reacher by complaining about the economy or how low is their salary.

When it comes to our leaders their first role supposed to be guiding the team. Instead of throwing a pile of work on each member and ask them to complete the job for “yesterday”, it would be very helpful to know what is the main goal of the company and how the team could contribute with it. With that in mind it would be easier to understand the steps you’d have to take to be more productive and even measure your efforts. By knowing your strengths and your weaknesses in that matter for instance you could either correct your route or ask for help if necessary, and do the same if a colleague on your team needed you.

But let’s take a look at that scenario in particular: You got your boss’s directions and you felt uncomfortable with the task she gave you or you need more informations and resources to get it done. Before moving forward to the next step, the environment should have been opened for eventual questions, ideas, explanations, in other words – the leader (your boss) should be the first to promote a healthy conversation among the team to share the opportunity to clarify the actions to be taken (the strategy) inviting each member of the team to contribute with their own ideas being part of a safe place. Wouldn’t it be beautiful and simple if that happen? But why in the world this is not happening and in fact our “leaders” are firing people? Why nowadays people are more stressed than ever before with no time to listen to each other?

We need to talk, or better saying: we should’ve been able to express ourselves and communicate with each other on the same level of understanding in a respectful way. If you’re working for a company you don’t like, or for a boss that doesn’t listen to you and she is also a bad example of behavior, first, start making a list of the companies you would like to work for. Second, write down why would you like to work for these companies. Are their values similar to yours?. Third, how would you contribute to each company described on your list; and what are your core skills that could be applied to that job.

In other words be the first to stop complaining and take actions towards your goals. Don’t wait for the ordinary questions to get you to the position you wish to have, now it’s your turn to unleash the confidence and strength your have to become the leader you’ve been waiting for. We can always improve our skills, learn something new and break that negative cycle of thinking negatively and be seen.

To start changing your thoughts and rewiring your brain to a new and positive reality give yourself some time to:

1- Laugh;
2- Cry on occasion;
3- Workout differently;
4- Stretch;
5- Make exercise fun.¹

By doing that for 45 days you will lower your cortisol (hormone of stress) and increase your endorphin. That itself will release the pain, the discomfort or any other feeling that is refraining your confidence and creative power to flourish. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong or expecting your boss to change², you can start focusing on creating new solutions. In case you’re feeling unmotivated:

1- Apply to a new job;
2- Go for a trip;
3- Buy the shoes;
4- Eat the cake;
5- Develop new skills;
6- Call an old friend:
7- Hug someone;
8- Love yourself.

It’s the right time for you to have a healthy conversation with YOURSELF and realize what YOU can do TODAY to get to YOUR goal.

Write a comment bellow (click on the title) or send me a message. Let’s talk about it.

¹ BREUNING, Loretta – Habits of a Happy Brain, 2016, Chapter 6 – page 148.
² BRAIKER B., Harriet – Who’s Pulling Your Strings?, 2004, Chapter 5 – page 56.

A Body In Motion Stays In Motion

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The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine when suddenly he said something that got me thinking. After months living in the mountains, far from the heat and the active life of San Diego he’s finally back to his hometown. It is true that a good weather can helps us workout more often, for instance, going for a hike, a walk or a bike ride. But we can say that the majority of the people nowadays is too busy working extra hours, living a hectic life, mostly seated in front of their computers and it really doesn’t matter what type of weather the likelihood is that they won’t workout like they should.

If you fit in that category I can only encourage you to start practicing a physical activity as soon as possible. You don’t need to sign up for a Crossfit boot camp right away, but how about taking 15 minutes of your day to start stretching or maybe going for a walk? Just by moving your body and releasing the tension between joints and muscles it is a good start already. You can always stretch at home or you can choose any type of training that you like and just give it a try. Day after day this simple practice can improve your daily habits and in time your body will be asking for more – “A body in motion stays in motion” – that means your metabolism keeps working even after training. Isn’t it great? So here’s the deal: first of all in order to change your habits you have to understand your body’s needs. In that matter, my good friend and personal trainer, Pedro Brandão*, has a broaden view of physical activities, he points out that “everything that changes our behavior consequently affects the way we move.” He further explains that “the more we adhere to the modern life habits, the more we lose the ability or the capacity to move around.” Based on his studies and professional background the logic behind every new training should be: assessing, rectifying and then strengthening, not the opposite.

For Brandão “It’s more rewarding to practice activities that help us move our whole body integrally than targeting only one group of muscles.” And he adds “When in doubt, it’s better asking for professional support to help you recognize your body’s needs, and not only doing what is trendy. Our daily life has changed our habits. Our habits has changed the way we move and the same happened to our posture. If we want to have long lasting results we need to assess and workout accordingly to our needs in an integrative and safe way.”

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* Pedro Brandão currently works as a personal trainer at Reebok Sports Club in Sao Paulo (Brasil). If you want to know more about his work, take a look at his Instagram profile @pedroalexandre.

Be The Change

How many times you got caught up in a difficult situation having to decide between being happy and making other people happy? Are you the “people pleasing” type of person willing to belong and be accepted by the entire world?
Recently I started to reread a book I bought a few months ago called Habits of a Happy Brain. In this book the author – Loretta Graziano – describes what happens in our brain when the happy chemicals hit our system. If you thought about partying or eating a delicious ice cream, you are totally right about that, it happens that in time by overloading your brain with fake chemicals like sugar, drugs, alcohol and pills, one day it stops producing the natural substances that would trigger the feeling of joy for another substance that we all fear of having called Cortisol (the hormone of stress and pain).

It takes a waiting for an expected phone call, a last minute change of plans, a negative response to our expectations to our brains to start releasing all types of crazy chemicals that might affect our thinking, our decisions, our attitudes and BAM! once you realize you’re paralyzed and upset just because of a single thought. But these considered “bad chemicals” only exist to protect us from potential threats. They likely teach us a new lesson every time they strike our brain, and then you have the choice to follow through your emotions or be in charge of them.

Happy moments in your past connected neurons that are there, ready to spark more happy chemicals the next time you’re in similar circumstances. Unhappy moments in your past connected neurons that are telling you what to avoid.

But without even knowing what’s going on in your brain it’s almost impossible to break the cycle and choose better. So here’s the deal: the trick is to recognizing the situations that make you feel good and normally these situations involve releasing 4 hormones and they are: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin and Serotonin. According to the book:

Dopamine: produces the joy of finding things that meet your needs – the “Eureka! I got it!” feeling.
Endorphin: produces oblivion that masks pain – often called euphoria.
Oxytocin: produces the feeling of being safe with others – now called bonding.
Serotonin: produces the feeling of being respected by others – pride.

To be able to produce happy chemicals more often the trick is renewing your brain (building new neurotransmitters or pathways) by feeding your brain with new experiences. That’s why coaches love to challenge their clients to push their limits, asking them to try something new and fun more often. I personally love doing that to myself also. Try going to a place you’ve always wanted to go but never had the courage to or even start small and try a new workout. Have you ever had a band? You can do anything that seems crazy, sexy, cool and I promise that at least you’ll feel the dopamine flowing through your neurons, and it’s such a feeling! The more you do what you like, the more you enlarge your capabilities, you expand your potentialities and therefore you create new opportunities. Isn’t it amazing? We have all we need inside of us already and it’s for free!

Focus on your own pathways
It’s easy to see vicious cycles in others. That’s why we’re tempted to take charge of other people’s happiness. But you cannot reach into someone else’s brain and make new connections for them, nor they can do that for you. If you focus on other people’s brains, you may fail to make them happy and fail to make yourself happy. Each person must manage his or her own brain.

Just in case you don’t know where to start, the recipe is very easy: exercise more often, call an old friend, meet new people, socialize, join a book club, volunteer, pumper yourself, start a healthy diet, declutter your place and your car, start a new hobby, paint, decorate, sing, practice a sport, a martial art, learn how to cook… do something new everyday! The idea is dusting off your brain and put it to work on your favor. Remember: When you blame the world around you, you become powerless, but when you put yourself in charge of your own choices, you become powerful and motivated to thrive. Choose for yourself, for your health, for your life, YOUR prosperity and YOUR success.

Awesomely Amazing

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“Hi! My name is (insert your name here) and I’m Awesomely Amazing.” Honestly, this should be the right way to introduce yourself in any 12 steps program or in any other supportive group. Instead of telling everybody else that you are your addiction, these groups should encourage people to look ahead in life and help them detach themselves from their problems. A friend of mine once told me that the current way was just meant to address the problem, so then people would remind themselves that they have something to work on. From what I see, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, we shouldn’t put on our problems like a second skin, but considering that that’s just a moment, an experience in life, or maybe a stepping stone.

The other day I heard from a good friend of mine* a great story about self-improvement. I don’t remember if that was a real experiment or not, I know that it makes a lot of sense and that’s why I’m sharing with you, so here it goes:

One day a scientist decided to crop some bamboo trees inside a dome to see how they would grow in a controlled environment. The trees inside the dome were growing slowly compared to the trees in the outside. The trees inside the dome were withered, and their colors were opaque and lifeless. Thereby the scientist observed that the trees that were living outside, on the natural environment, were exposed to all sorts of weather (cold, heat, rain, storms, wind etc), so he continued with his experiment and paid close attention to the movement of the trees during these events. Hence, he realized that the trees were swinging from one side to another, dancing with the wind. Afterwards he decided to install a few blowers inside the dome to reproduce the same conditions from the outside. After that the trees inside the dome begun to swing just like all the other trees outside, and because they were not static anymore, but trying to adjust, respond or survive these stimulus, they started to grow higher, radiant and stronger than ever before.

Like the trees that grow through their ‘adversities’, our problems have the ability to show us another way out; to open up our minds; to change our belief system breaking down our mental patterns; to change our habits and consequently to change our reality. So my question for you is:

Are you defined by your problems or are they just a bridge to your success? 

* I thank my friend Michael for sharing his time and knowledge with me. I feel really blessed by having the opportunity to make some time to listen and connect with real people. Put your cell phone down, go out, grab a tea or a cup of coffee and connect.

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Potato Chip Rock’s trail – 2015 – Together We Rise

All Atractive

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How many times you felt disrespected and rejected by somebody you care? How many times your messages weren’t answered or your needs weren’t met? Or in return you’ve heard an excuse, a lie, or the subject of the conversation suddenly changed while you were speaking? It’s time to acknowledge what is going on; what is making you feel uncomfortable? What is making you feel upset? If it happened with you, please don’t try to deny or lower the facts or even numb your feelings. If you felt disrespected, recognize what your body is trying to say to you and bare in mind what actually is causing those feelings. Acknowledging your feelings is the first step for healing.

How many times you heard people saying that in the modern world people are “too busy” and don’t have enough time for others? Everybody has “time” when they need something from you. You know that type of friendship, right? This is not the “modern world”, this is just people being people. I wouldn’t like to say that, but the majority of the people nowadays is a little bit off. We can also say that everyone is fighting their own battles; trying to make a living; and many other excuses to deny the fact that even though we all have access to technology, people are in fact completely disconnected.

In this unstable environment how can you expect to be treated well by somebody that mistreats or rejects himself? How do you expect to be treated by somebody who lives anxious, with fear, that just wants to protect himself from suffering? The settled distance, the lies and excuses they make are all bricks that built up the same shelter they are already living in. Who is lonelier?

In order to understand what’s going on let’s take a look at the causes. Recently I learned a great lesson I’d like to share with you:

Don’t take it personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. (The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz)

In other words, the best way to change the circumstances we don’t like is by lowering our expectations on other people’s actions.
By paying attention to my feelings, studying and observing, I learned that

Only a healthy person can sympathize with other people’s feelings. And only a healthy person can reciprocate your TIME. 

tlc_nataliebetito3Thus, if for some reason you felt that somebody left you behind or disrespected you; I’d like to suggest you to do some research inside yourself and see if you are not leaving yourself behind as well. If our relationships mirrors who we are; what is bothering you the most in your relationships might also be inside of yourself somehow hidden behind your own excuses. It can also be fact that you’re accepting less than you deserve as a matter of low self-esteem; or it can be the fact that you’re delaying to have an assertive conversation with the person you’re having issues.

What are your current thoughts? What can be changed? Look at all the situations that make you feel upset and ask yourself how can you learn from that? Is this the right time to have a good conversation to clarify what’s going on? Is this the right time to stand up for yourself, set up your boundaries / find new friends / break up  and move on? I’m sure that sooner or later that phone call you’re waiting for is going to ring. What are you going to do?

Before picking up the phone consider the following statement: It doesn’t matter what people say or do; what matters is how you choose to react and what you choose to believe about yourself. And you can always be that person who decided to turn the table, shut down the conversation and take the actions needed to save your peace of mind. Put yourself first.

A Thousand Miracles

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From the minute you wake up till you go to bed at night many things can happen in just one day. Let’s say that it’s your day off and you decide to stay in bed longer than you usually do, and at that moment when you’re not even awake or asleep you start paying attention to your thoughts. How about asking yourself:

If you were free, if there wouldn’t be any barrier, judgment or critique, what would you change in your life?

Now that you are totally awake, after answering the question above I’d suggest you to stop for a moment and start being thankful for everything you already have – it can be the fact that you have a place to sleep, food to eat, a place to take a warm shower, safety, and the ability to choose and decide what’s best for you.

20161105_125356This magic exercise will connect you with a positive and cozy vibe. Every time you are grateful and nurture a positive thinking, you can start to opening up your life for significant miracles. I am not kidding! Pay attention to the messages you’re going to get during the day, small gifts of nature like beautiful flowers or butterflies on your way, bright colors in the sky right above your head, a smile, a compliment, a phone call from somebody you like, a gift, an invitation, a calm and pleasant feeling of contentment,  maybe a job offer, a strong desire to do something new, you name it.

20161105_125509The next step is going out of home: go to a place you like, or that you have never been before, invite a friend if you can, go out for a bike ride, take a walk, just breathe slowly, let this immense and fluid energy surround your body and cherish your heart with joy. There’s no need to go back to the past; no need to get anxious about the future, there’s no need to blame anybody else. In the present moment there’s only you and your choices. Choose to accept and be who you truly are right now, choose to see something good during the day, choose for things that will improve your health, choose to forget and forgive, choose to LOVE and be loved. Just by choosing goodness over your worries isn’t it a miracle itself?

Count the miracles you have during the day and share with me what you experienced and how did you feel about it. We can always make a positive choice and become the miracle we were looking for.

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Saboteur thoughts

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What an amazing day to start paying attention to our thoughts. Usually people realize the kind of thinking they have when they try to sit on meditation. Have you ever tried that? If you stop for a moment and be quiet, you’ll realize that your mind is just like a TV show – with many guests, commercials and even bad news (specially bad news). It doesn’t really matter what goes in your mind, but it really matters what you do with these thoughts.

If you pay attention to each one of them, believing them and giving them a meaning, in time they will make your life an horror show. You will start to create lines for a discussion that may never happen; you will feel the pain of an argument that may never occur; you will get divorced; fight; cry; suffer – on a hypothetical future that happens only in your mind. And why would you choose to create that reality for yourself even for a moment, a second… Does it really worth it? If you could change everything and get a recipe for true happiness and peace of mind would you take it?

If your answer is YES, here’s the deal – the recipe for true happiness and peace of mind is:

1- Recognize the thoughts you usually have;
2- Write down each one of them on a piece of paper;
3- Acknowledge where these thoughts come from;
4- Are they your inner voice or they come from somebody you know;
5- Recognize what these thoughts say about your chronic concerns, feelings etc;
6- Recognize how these thoughts are refraining you to have the life you always wanted to live; how they’re stealing your time and energy and finally how they are supporting the life you are living right now; the kind of job you have; the relationships you have with your parents, friends and colleagues and so on;
7- Recognize how your thoughts shape who you are.

I’m pretty sure that the thoughts we have contemplate the values and beliefs we were raised on. They reflect the way we experienced life in our early ages. Our thoughts mirror our self-esteem and the way we relate to ourselves. When you realize that your relationship with yourself is not good, you will notice that by paying attention to your level of energy, your weight, your emotions, your creativity, your relationships and the like. Every aspect of your life transpire the thoughts you have and they tell a lot about you.

Just for today, every time a bad thought pop up in your mind, let it go away and think something positive instead. You are in charge of your mind now. Choose your thoughts wisely and change the show from an unbearable Drama to a praised Biography. What movie of your life are you willing to create right now?

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How to start changing your life

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I’d like to ask you a quick question: How many times per week do you exercise? That New Year’s resolution was only another wish on your list or did you really get committed to your goal? If the answer is: -“I’m gonna start exercising tomorrow”, I wouldn’t like to say that, but we have a problem. Procrastination is the new “pain killer”, it doesn’t actually kill you, but always keeps you on the state of “almost.” It’s funny to think that even the idea of exercising makes people feel even more lazy. But how to change that feeling? How can you start enjoying something that you hate even before starting?

The answer for that question is exactly on the book called Presence written by Amy Cuddy. Cuddy is a Harvard Business School professor and Social Psychologist and she studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgements influence people. Behind the 344 pages of her book there’s a significant discovery about how expanded postures can change the way we think and therefore the way we behave.

Do you want to try something really new? Stand up and put your arms up in the sky, or place your hands on your waist like Superman or Wonder Woman, stay there for a few minutes. Feel your feet, your legs and tights really firm on the ground, raise you head, expand your chest, breathe slowly; it’s already a NEW YOU. On her book, Cuddy explains that whenever we do an Expansive Posture or better saying a Power Posing the levels of Testosterone increase whilst the Cortisol decreases. It means that you’re likely to become more confident and take action than go to the couch and procrastinate once more.

A great way to remember to always practice Expansive Postures is by exercising. And the great thing is that you don’t necessarily need to go to the gym, or sign up for a Crossfit boot camp, you can always start by doing something that you like. If you used to like playing tennis when you were younger, do it now. If you always enjoyed dancing, this is the right time to do it and have fun. The list of activities that you can try on today is endless: you can go hiking, or go for a bike ride, skating, surfing, roller blading, you can practice Yoga, Tai Chi, any type of martial arts, or play volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, paintball, swimming; or go to your devise and take a look on the latest videos on working out available for free on Youtube or if you can, hire a professional that can create a workout routine combined with the right meal program for your needs.

You can change your thoughts, therefore you can change your life. Standing up from your comfort zone is the fastest way to get more energy, confidence and start living a healthy life. Do it today!

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What is your door?

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On Saturday, October 8th, 2016 I went to the Convention Center in San Diego, California to a very exquisite occasion. Louise Hay’s 90th B-day celebration is still vibrating in my mind. Among the commercial aspect of the event, there were quite a few unique moments I’d like to share with you. One of them was presented by one the greatest writers of Hay House – Robert Holden. Robert shared a story that happened with him while he was struggling to finish writing a book by having a writer’s block, and for sure it could have happened to any of us in different occasions.

Do you know when you start to open up for life and suddenly you begin to get messages from the Universe, God or whatever it is that you believe? Some people call that coincidence, I call it connection. Every time our mind gets ‘crowded’ by annoying thoughts, for instance when you’re striving to build a realistic successful path for your career, the answer might be just in front of you, or better saying, deep inside of you. But how can you recognize the right signals? How can you differentiate an intuition from a regular thought?

About two weeks ago, I was at home just resting on my bed and suddenly I started to be “attacked” by all kinds of negative thoughts. You know those thoughts that bring you fear, anxiety, loneliness and sadness? That was rough. If you give them attention and a meaning, they can really ruin your day or at least give you an immense headache living doubt and insecurity as a bonus. It was like a meteor storm in my mind and I couldn’t recognize where they were coming from or the reason behind it. Out of nowhere (in my mind) I saw the depiction of a Lion running towards me. The lion was coming on my direction and he seemed to be calm, but still fierce with a placid expression.

In that circumstance what would you do? At the same time I wondered -“What does a Lion has to do with all this thoughts?” So I did what everybody else in this planet would do – I’ve decided to Google the Lion(!), and there he was – a huge strong and powerful picture of The Lion of Judah. Funny fact I’m not Catholic, Christian or Jew. Hence, I kept on researching about the possible meaning of that Lion and I ended up discovering much more about that wonderful and powerful creature. He is Jesus for the Catholic praticants, he is Narasimhadeva for the Vaishnavas, He is depicted on the Ethiopia flag, yet for me at that moment he was my savior.

I don’t even have to say that those thoughts that were annoying me at first disappeared, right? And every time they try to come back, I remark that beautiful and peaceful Lion running towards me. So as I was saying in the beginning of this article, during Robert Holden’s speech that day, after he shared his story he left us with a question: -“What’s your door?” In other words – What frees your mind?

Honestly I believe that aside from our religious upbringings and spiritual beliefs whenever we connect with ourselves wholeheartedly we may find the stillness and the messages that can lead us to our goals. If I may give you a suggestion: don’t get attached to the thoughts that come and go and try to bring you down, but take that same energy to reconnect with that place deep within yourself and finally open the doors of your imagination to keep on writing the story of your life.

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When do I know it’s time to ask for help?

20150212_173104Last week I wrote an article about how to manage anxiety and be more present. On the following comments of that article one single question brought up a humble and accurate doubt, a friend of mine asked: -“When do I know it’s time to ask for help?”
My answer to that question was exactly this:

(It’s time to ask for help) When you feel powerless; when you don’t wanna socialize; when you realize your life is stuck and you can’t find a way to get out of that stage; when you don’t appreciate the things you use to enjoy; when you can’t control your thoughts; when you can only find reasons to complain; or when life is just boring. Everybody feels like that once in a while, but it’s important to acknowledge when these feelings occur and for how long they last.

The second question that is implicit here is “How do I know when I need a therapist or a Life Coach?”  A therapist will always look for the past occurrences and will try to find its roots to allow the client to get in touch with his own feelings, thus the teraphyst will be able to guide the client to a new understanding. A coach will help the client see his life the way it is in the present moment (like a screenshot of his life), and this is going to be the kick off to help the client visualize the big picture. In addition the client will define the areas to be focused during the program and set the desired goals in each one of them. In a few words, we can say that coaching is directed to visualize the present moment the way it is to help the clients design the strategies or the paths that are going to take them to the desired goals or accomplishments that they have envisioned on the first session that are aligned with their values and beliefs.

For instance, let’s say you have a business you’ve been putting all your energy on but it doesn’t seem to grow; let’s say you have a relationship where the other person seems aloof to your presence; or maybe you’re just having problems to be understood by your peers. A coach can really help you find the balance you need to improve your life whether it’s a weight loss; increasing your energy; working on your self-esteem or even discovering a new ability, a new career, or the way I like to call it – your talent. There are many techniques and each professional designs her sessions based on her previous studies, references and professional experiences.

It’s always important to acknowledge that the client sets the pace for each session and he has to be accountable for his own gains; which means that to get the most of every session the client must be willing to commit to the program and do his homework everyday and that I may say is a lot of fun. There’s no such thing as hard work when you’re working on what makes you feel balanced, joyful and complete. The old saying fits perfectly here: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”

Now instead of keep staring at your neighbor’s grass, schedule a consultation with me today and let me guide you towards your goals. You may not need a big change in your life, but for sure there must be a few doors eager to be opened or a big dream to be fulfilled. If there’s one thing you would like to change in your life right now, what would it be?

Anxiety x Mindfulness

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Recently I’ve been noticing that the word “anxiety” and “anxious” have been permeating most of the conversations I’m partaking. For some people anxiety reveals itself as a form of unconformity or discomfort when something doesn’t happen as expected. Some people feel tired or sleepy, others feel their heart beating faster, some people feel shaky, others feel hungry, thirsty, agitated, confused and others even start feeling pain, not to mention migraine, stomachache, dizziness, nausea… In other words, that is the message that our body is sending us telling (or sometimes yelling) that something is not going well and needs to be changed.

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has been considered as the 21st century’s disorder. But why do we feel anxious anyway? In the holistic medicine field it is said that the root of anxiety lies on the feeling of fear. And the foundation of fear, in this matter, would be basically not being present in the moment, but rather stuck in the past or overly concerned about the future.

When we are in the moment we are able to acknowledge our power to change the things we dislike and find the desired solutions. In addition, we can be more creative and also be receptive to new ideas and insights widening the view of the current circumstances enabling our capacity to see the big picture and thus breathe and finally relax a bit more. Isn’t it all we need?

One thing we should always consider is that It doesn’t matter what kind of problem you’re facing right now, you can always change the way you see the problem and discover new solutions. Imagine if a friend of yours call you telling the exact same story you’ve been telling yourself recently; what would you say to your friend? What would be your advise for him or her?
You can also start with a “to do” list of the things that are doable for you right now. That itself can help you organize your thoughts and give you more energy and confidence to achieve your goals.

And if you realize you can’t do it alone, it’s perfectly fine to ask for help. I would text a friend, or even look for a supportive group (I love the codependents anonymous); you can also go to a church, a temple, buy some books, call a therapist or a life coach. It doesn’t matter where or how you are going to do that; take a deep breathe and start right now.

The reality that sometimes hurts us and is heavy to carry on is actually the path to bring awareness and build a strong bridge to happiness and success. Nobody grows without taking responsibility over their own actions. So stop blaming on others (God and significant others included); stop complaining, stop bothering; grab a pen and a piece of paper and if you like you can write down the answer for the following questions:

What can you do today to start changing your life? (Write as many answers you can; don’t think too much, it can be anything)

Whenever you finish that list go to the next question:

What is going to be the next step?

You can come up with 10 different answers, choose one that is doable today, then follow through. I’m sure you can do it. You’re accountable for your own life. You are your own best friend; treat yourself with love, patience and respect and start designing the life you want. At the end of the day you’ll be truly grateful for managing your anxieties and fighting your own fears.

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Photo by Jacub Gomez on Pexels.com

Relationship Goals

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This week I posted a pool asking my followers about what theme they would like to read here on my website. The choices were: 1. Relationships; 2. Career; 3. Body Consciousness; 4. Spirituality; 5. Feng Shui and finally 6. Personal Fulfillment. As you can see the theme that always catches people’s attention is about Relationships. Why? What’s going on with our ability to connect with others genuinely and develop everlasting and meaningful relationships?

Usually the complaints are the same:

My Relationships Don’t Work: They are smothering, absent, demanding, don’t support me, always criticizing me, unloving, never leave me alone, pick on me all the time, don’t want to be bothered with me, walk over me, never listen to me, and so on. (1)

I believe that the hardest thing for me during the process of becoming a Life Coach was accepting this simple statement:

What we give out, we get back. The Universe totally supports every thought we choose to think and to believe. When we are little, we learn how to feel about ourselves and about life by the reactions of the adults around us. Whatever these beliefs are, they will be recreated as experiences as we grow up.

That being said, you may think that while you were just being a kid with no sense of what was right or wrong you were just absorbing the relationship models that were running around you. Little did you know that you would go through the same interactions when you grow old. Does that seem fair to you? How can we break that unconscious cycle? How can we build a relationship that is really healthy for us? And not based on the past or in others peoples’ experiences?

I’ve been noticing a controlling pattern that permeates most relationships. It seems so difficult to accept the other person the way he or she is; to allow the other to do whatever they like or only to be themselves… We’re so close and connected, but are we really listening and paying attention to each other? Are we actually seeing the person that is in front of us? Or are we only projecting our expectations on the people around us? I’m so interested about this subject that I started reading a couple of books to help me get to a conclusion – take notes:

1. You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay;

2. Taking Responsibility – Nathaniel Branden;

3. Ho’opononopono – Ulrich E. Duprée;

4. You Can Heal Your Heart – Louise Hay and David Kessler

5. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden;

6. Presence – Amy Cuddy.

What this authors talk about can be translated into only one word: Forgiveness. The first thing to do in a relationship is first of all to forgive yourself. Forgive the past. Forgiveness means giving up, letting go, dropping down the ropes of attachment. By taking responsibility over your choices and experiences in life you can build your inner-power, your posture will change, your thoughts will change. The choices you were used to make will surprise you just by stopping criticizing yourself and being your own master. It might seem a little awkward in the beginning but try to repeat the following sentence: -“I choose to value myself, to treat myself with respect, to stand up for my right to exist.” How does it feel now? (5)

In his book “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” Nathaniel Branden says that self-acceptance entails our willingness to experience:

That is, to make real to ourselves, without denial or evasion – that we think what we think, feel what we feel, desire what we desire, have done what we have done, and are what we are. It is the refusal to regard any part of ourselves – our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our dreams – as aliens, as “not me.” It is our willingness to experience rather than to disown whatever may be the facts of our being at a particular moment – to think our thoughts, own our feelings, be present to the reality of our behavior.

According to Amy Cuddy on her book Presence the manifest qualities of presence are: confidence, enthusiasm, comfort, being captivating – the more we are able to be ourselves, the more we are able to be present and that makes us convincing.” 

Should I say that the people who are present are more willing to be lovable, accepted and belong?

People who have a solid sense of self-worth reflect that feeling through healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships, making them both more resilient and more open. (…) A confident person – knowing and believing in her identity – carries tools, not weapons. A confident person does not need to one-up anyone else. A confident person can be present to others, hear their perspectives, and integrate those views in ways that create value for everyone. (6)

Long story short our relationships start within ourselves. Next time you begin putting yourself aside to be accepted remember to take responsibility on your choices. Remember to be present for yourself. Put your cell phone down, be with the person who’s in front of you; or either call the ones you care about. Our relationships mirrors the way we treat ourselves. Is there anything you can do today that can improve your relationships? Or that can align your goals with your actions?

I’m My Own Best Friend

When I was in my 20’s I used to hear the song above and sing it out loud along with a good friend of mine. We used to have a good time just by driving around and enjoying our time together. The irony was that besides all the fun we had when we were ‘out and about’ both of us were struggling with our lives. I cannot talk about my friend’s feelings, but I can share mine.

Back then, like the song, I was constantly trying to be “somebody else.” Do you know that feeling? When you don’t know who you are? And you don’t know where you are going? That’s when that big question mark can either lead you to more understanding and growth or push you through an endless spiral of doubt and insecurity that can take your consciousness towards very unpredictable or suspicious places. And guess what, by having those so called “saboteur thoughts” I started believing them. I can’t say when that all started exactly, but probably it was during the early ages and without knowing I took the things I heard in the past too seriously. But how would I have thought or acted differently? When we feel insecure how can we have good thoughts? Hence we grow up and the things we heard/learned from the past have a great probability to mess up with our thinking patterns and whenever we see it’s there – telling bad things to ourselves that aren’t necessarily true. The result of this unconscious  bad ‘self-hipsonys’ is that day after day if you say bad things to yourself, one day it becomes your reality. Therefore, your body starts to suffering the consequences of your mental patterns. It is said that by doing that repeatedly over time you can develop real pain and even illness. Isn’t it crazy? Who would have thought about that?

Nowadays there are many scientists, psychologists and the like around the world studying how our thoughts can design our own perceptions and thus affect our health and our outcomes. One of my favorite writers of all times is called Louise Hay. Starting from her childhood and until her teenage years Louise suffered all types of physical abuse and rejection; she could have had remained in pain and suffering as a victim throughout her life but instead she started studying how our emotions affect our body and also how to change our mental patterns. By practicing what is called ‘Power Affirmations’ in her own words – You Can Heal Your Life And you know what? It’s not that you can “heal” your life, you are the only responsible for it.

I applied her method on me first and it worked out to the extent that I was needing at that moment. One day I started repeating to myself one of her power affirmations: – I love and approve of myself. I am safe. And just by doing that something really powerful started to happen to me. Besides all my “defects” I actually started paying more attention to my emotions and feelings, I started bringing more attention to my thoughts, my words and actions. And that doesn’t mean to be ‘self-centered’, ‘egoistic’ or ‘arrogant’, in fact I begun acknowledging my characteristics and the traits I have within me that were never put on the spot light. How great is that? We all have our hidden treasures that are eager to be discovered and appreciated.

Once you acknowledge your saboteurs – the thoughts you have running in the attic of your head – that say you are not good enough and that you don’t belong, you can rescue your self-esteem and come up with your own power affirmations. That’s even more effective than repeating somebody else’s affirmations. By now I don’t want to be nobody else but me. I can look at my weaknesses directly and work with them patiently. Honestly you don’t lose anything once you start saying good things to yourself. Just give it a try. I can say it’s a matter of time until you align your mental patterns with your words and actions, the good news is that there is no end line for that, you can see the change in your life blossoming along with this practice, but you got to be present for yourself everyday.

I really hope you give yourself a chance and embrace your thoughts more often, give it a try and commit to your own happiness. If that’s on you, why waiting?