Old Self, New Perspectives

I had an interesting experience last week. I was listening to a podcast in which the speaker talked about an app he used that takes a picture of you and ages it. He is a journalist and had done an experiment on health-related behaviors. He used this aged picture of himself to motivate him. He thought about what health-related behaviors he would want to do now that would affect the person at that future age.

I thought this sounded interesting, so I downloaded the app. Well, I didn’t realize what an emotional experience it would be to see the 85-90 year old version of myself! I want that woman, the future me, to have as much independence as possible. I want her to be able to move well and have strong muscles and a strong heart…and to still be able to dance! So if that’s going to be the case, I need to continue to take steps now that will empower the future me to have those things. Now, to be honest, I dislike working out. But I think about the future me and what I want for her on the days that I’d rather not work out. It doesn’t make me excited about working out, but it helps me with my willingness to work out. I hardly ever feel like working out, but I’m willing to do what it takes to live how I want to live, both now and in the future.

There were some other things this experiment made me think of as well. Like what would this elderly woman have to tell me about the big picture of my life? She would have such a clear understanding of everything I’ve been through and have yet to go through. And she would have a compassion for me that might be different than the compassion I have for myself right now. In the type of therapy and coaching I do with people, we would call this type of thing perspective-taking. It’s always been a helpful thing to do, and this aging experiment made perspective-taking come to life. If you’re interested in trying it, the app I used is called Aging Booth. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with it!

Here she is…the older, wiser me…

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Comparing Your “Insides” With Others’ “Outsides”

It’s so easy to get caught up in seeing other people’s “outsides,” in other words, what they portray to the world about what their lives are like, and comparing this view to our own “inside” lives, especially during the holiday season. So not only do we see people’s pictures on social media of them with friends and family and at parties, their decorated houses, their gifts, their meals, etc., but we also see commercials on TV of couples and families skating and frolicking in the snow, and enjoying new toys and electronics and cars and romantic moments and kisses on New Year’s Eve. It’s hard to avoid these images. Then people compare their “insides,” either how they’re feeling on the inside or what’s happening inside their homes and relationships and parenting worlds to the view of other people’s outsides. This can cause so much pain when those insides don’t seem to measure up to what they’re seeing.

It’s important to remember that what you’re seeing, the “outsides,” doesn’t portray the whole picture. Other people’s “insides” have ups and downs and hard stuff happening too. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my work, it’s that everyone struggles sometimes, no matter how pulled together they look from the outside. Pain and suffering are universal human experiences. As the song says, “Everybody hurts…sometimes.”

Mostly people are showing the good stuff, not the tough stuff. (This isn’t always true of course, but you know what I mean…the good stuff is the stuff one can tend to compare oneself to.) Many times when we’re comparing, our “inner critic” gets vocal and tells us that our life doesn’t measure up. Helping yourself with this starts with noticing. Notice that your inner critic is piping up.

Then you can remind yourself that comparing isn’t helpful and you’re only seeing a limited view. Remind yourself that if you saw everyone else’s “insides” too, you’d likely realize that they have ups and downs just like you…you’re not alone.

If you notice you’re comparing when using social media a lot, also notice if you’re interacting with others or just scrolling through and looking at what others are posting. After all, social media is meant to be just that…social, meaning engaging with each other, not just watching each other. So your mind may do more comparing when you’re simply watching and not engaging with others. Make a commitment to interact more…post your thoughts, comment on others’ posts, message someone privately and start up a conversation!

Once you notice that you’re comparing, you can take a deep breath and refocus your attention on something that’s important to you. Your inner critic may still prattle on, but you can continually refocus your attention, which can eventually make your inner critic fade into the background and not be front and center. This practice of refocusing your attention can be a game-changer over time.

I’ve seen this comparison thing in action frequently, year-round and not just during the holiday season, and I want you to know that if you find yourself doing this, you’re not alone and you can practice doing it differently.

As always, you’re welcome to write to me at dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!

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New Anxiety Resilience Program

What a crazy fall/early winter it’s been! Many people I know have experienced their fair share of anxiety with the many things going on in the world. And if they haven’t recently, they’ve probably experienced anxiety at some point in their lives. In fact, occasional anxiety is a part of life for most people. It can be a normal response to stress, uncertainty or risky situations.

But for some, anxiety starts to interfere with daily activities. It’s an extremely common problem in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults…18% of the population! Even if a person does not have anxiety every day, just experiencing it on occasion can be very uncomfortable.

So many people are affected by anxiety at some level, and yet many people with anxiety think that they are the only ones struggling. Worse, they often think something is wrong with them. But there is nothing wrong with them. They simply have a relationship with anxiety that is not workable because it keeps them from living the life they want to live.

I have created a new program to help people radically change the relationship they have with their anxiety. I call it the Anxiety Resilience Program. This program can help you get out from under your anxiety, worry, and fear, so they no longer get in the way of what matters most to you.

I was one of those people who struggled with anxiety and thought there was something wrong with me. I did lots of therapy from college years into adulthood, yet I still experienced a significant amount of anxiety. Several years ago I started learning and practicing the skills outlined in this program in my own life and they have helped me to completely change my relationship with my own anxiety, worry and fears. In my 8+ years’ experience as a therapist, this program is the most effective way I’ve found to help people with their anxiety.

The Anxiety Resilience Program is an an effective, efficient and individualized program that incorporates guided learning, skills training, and counseling. It’s comprised of weekly or bi-weekly one-to-one, 1-hour sessions and independent study between sessions. It’s like taking a course with a private teacher/mentor/coach leading you through every step of the way. The program will most likely be covered by your health insurance and can be completed in 6 to 12 weeks.

If you want to learn more about how anxiety works and how this program can help, please visit Anxiety Resilience Program on my website.

If you know someone who struggles with anxiety, please share this post with them. You could be helping them more than you realize!

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Having a Thought Without Buying It

There have been a couple occasions over the last few months when I wanted to write an article/post, but my mind told me I have nothing important to say…mainly about everything that was/is going on in the world. However, as I know well, my mind tells me all kinds of things every day that may or may not be true or helpful to pay much attention to. And as is my practice, I continually untangle myself from my thoughts, knowing that I can have a thought without buying it.

This means I can choose my behavior. I can choose to write an article no matter what my mind is telling me. So today I’m choosing to write an article about this very practice…a practice that helps me and many other individuals daily…the practice of having a thought without believing or buying into the thought.

One thing that helps me do this is to watch my mind…watch what it says to me, generally without my consent! When I notice my mind is telling me something unhelpful, I can say to myself, “I notice that my mind is telling me _____.” So with my example mentioned previously, I said to myself, “I notice my mind is telling me that I don’t have anything important to say. Huh, how interesting.” I can do this with a sense of curiosity and wonder about what my mind spills out at me.

Instead of fighting against that thought, or trying to change it to a positive thought, I can just notice it and let it pass on by. I don’t have to do anything to make it pass by; it will do this on its own, just like clouds in the sky. And also like clouds in the sky, I can’t control how quickly they pass. I just wait it out and let them pass on their own time. And I don’t have to make a big deal about it. After all, these kinds of clouds pass by all the time!

Then I can decide if the thought is helpful to guide my behavior or not. If it’s helpful, I can let my behavior reflect the thought; if not, I don’t have to follow where the thought leads me. We don’t have control over of our thoughts, but we do have control over our behavior. Some may say, “Wait, I do have control over my thoughts. I can just replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.” Well, yes, you could do that. However, you can’t control the fact that a “negative” thought has occurred…those just pop out from our minds unsolicited all the time. And once it’s out, it’s out. The horse is already out of the barn, as they say.

In fact, we have thousands of thoughts in a day that just…happen. And a very high percentage of them are “negative” or difficult in some way. If we spend all our time trying to fight with our thoughts or change them to positive ones, we are wasting a lot of energy and time, when we could be spending that time doing things that are important to us.

I know this may sound a bit strange to you. But I can tell you that this has helped me and many of the people I work with immensely. Noticing our thoughts as they come in and out of our minds, but not giving much attention to them, and just letting them pass on through, or fade into the distance like a radio in the next room, puts distance between us and our thoughts, so that our thoughts don’t dictate our behavior (when they’re not helpful).

This practice is a strategy called “defusion.” When we buy or believe our thoughts wholeheartedly and let them boss us around, we are “fused” with them; when we de-fuse from them, they don’t have the same influence over our behavior. I’ll have much more to say about this and many more strategies for how to do it (there are hundreds) in the future.

As always, you’re welcome to write to me at dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!

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Hello there…It’s Been A While!

Well, hello! It’s been a while since I’ve written but I have lots to tell you! As I said I would do in my last post, I took a step back to take a step forward. Over the last several months, I gave myself some time to let the ideas and inspiration flow in regards to my business and follow where I was led. And I was led in a couple directions. First, my counseling practice continued to grow over the last year, and I found I was enjoying doing therapy more and more. Second, I was led to simplify my services/offerings. I re-wrote all of the content on my website this past winter to reflect the type of work I’ve been doing and love to do most. I’m very happy with the way it turned out!

Instead of the structured, stand-alone programs I was offering in the Life Strategist side of my business before, I now offer individual Strategy Sessions that are tailored to what each person needs. When I first launched the Life Strategist side of my business, I was aiming to do more of that and less counseling. However, because the counseling work has been so fulfilling, I decided I needed to have my business and website encompass both sides of what I do, instead of treating them like separate businesses. Everything now feels more whole and coherent.

As you will see when you visit my website, I offer two types of sessions: Counseling Sessions and Strategy Sessions (a.k.a. Coaching). Although I don’t call what I do Life Coaching, my Strategy Sessions are a type of coaching, so I am using the terms interchangeably now.

I’ve also decided to offer a person’s first Strategy/Coaching Session with me at a discounted fee of $50, as a way to encourage new people to try it out. I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word about this!

Here are some things Strategy/Coaching Sessions Help With:

  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Ending procrastination, increasing focus and follow-through, and becoming more productive
  • Feeling more grounded and centered
  • Developing meaningful goals and reaching them
  • Changing bad habits and developing healthy practices
  • Developing greater self-acceptance and self-compassion
  • Prioritizing and figuring out what to do next in your life
  • Reducing vulnerability to stress
  • Getting “unstuck” and “un-yucked” in any area of life
  • Handling life transitions and curveballs
  • Generally getting out of your own damn way.

As a result of engaging in Strategy sessions, you can:

  • Build healthier relationships—couples, family, parenting, and social circle
  • Create a more satisfying work and career life
  • Take action toward greater health and overall well-being.

As you’ll see elsewhere on this website, the first step is to schedule a 15-minute complimentary “Is This a Fit?” phone call. On this call, we’ll talk about what you’re looking for and see if Strategy Sessions are a good fit for you. Click here to schedule a call.

As for Counseling Sessions, most people use their insurance to pay. (I take many insurances now…see the section at the bottom of my Counseling Services page here for a list.) I am able to slide my fee for counseling on a case-by-case basis for those who have a high deductible, no insurance, or for whatever reason need to pay out of pocket.

If you’re not sure which service you need, take a look at this Services page that outlines the differences and similarities.

I’ll be getting back on the horse to write more articles for my Live Letter and blog too, but they’ll probably be coming to you more like once a month instead of every other week. (I’m putting less pressure on myself these days!)

I have a few ideas brewing that I’d love to share with you, so you’ll be hearing from me again soon. As always, you’re welcome to write to me at dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com and share your thoughts.

Wishing you wellness!

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Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

Hey there…it’s been a while since I’ve been in touch! It feels like a long time to me, but I guess it’s been only about a month…I gave myself permission to skip a couple issues of my Live Letter this summer. I’ve been trying to practice what I preach and have been engaging in some self-care time…primarily, in the form of taking weekends off from business-related stuff. At the same time, the other branch of my business, my counseling practice, has picked up and I have been doing some counseling work at an agency as well. (Loving my counseling work too!)

In taking this self-care time, I realized a couple things. I realized that since I opened the new branch of my business over a year ago, (the Life Strategist/Consultant side) I am pretty much constantly thinking about my business, making plans for the direction I want it to go, and revising my programs. I also realized that while I enjoy thinking and planning for my business, it takes up a lot of bandwidth in my head and a lot time and energy at the computer, as one might imagine it would! As part of my self-care plan, I decided to give my brain a rest and give the part-of-me-that-wants-to-think-about-my-business-constantly a break. In doing that, I’ve discovered that I want to do some further, and maybe more extensive, renovations to my business in the upcoming months.

While I love the work I’m doing and my newly revised Toolbox Sessions, Purpose Plan Package, and Strategy Sessions in their current form, my website doesn’t reflect the work I’m doing, the changes I’ve made in my programs, and the changes that have happened inside me, as accurately as it could. So, a website overhaul may be up next. I would also like to change the format and content of this newsletter as well as my Facebook group. And recently I am feeling compelled to try to get out into workplaces and do “lunch and learns” and workshops that involve the strategies I teach in my programs that would be really helpful for teams in organizations. I feel like in order to move forward further, I need to continue to step back…to let the ideas and inspiration flow and see where I’m led with next steps. Sometimes taking a step back in some way helps us to gain a perspective that we might not be able to see when we’re up close at all times and in the thick of it. Ever feel that way?

So…while things are under renovation and I’m strategizing next steps, I may be a bit quieter online. You may not hear from me for a bit, but I will be in touch as my next steps come to light, with lessons I’m learning along the way, of course! In the meantime, I’ll continue seeing clients as a counselor in my private practice and working with people as a Life Strategist in my programs as they are currently outlined on my Services page, so please send people my way if you know of anyone who might find them helpful.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to get in touch and share your perspective on the idea of stepping back in order to move forward. Have any experience with that? Write to me at dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com and share your thoughts.

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The Gift of Asking for Help

(A shorter article today, about a one-minute read.)

Many people I talk to find that when they’re struggling in life, they don’t reach out for help. Why? Well, because it’s embarrassing. We all walk around pretending that we’ve got it all together all the time. So no one wants to admit when they’re having a bad day. But…because we’re human, we all have hard days. Everyone has hard days. Or hard hours. Or hard weeks. Or hard years, even!

When clients of mine say they don’t want to burden anyone by reaching out for support, maybe calling a friend to talk, or whatever, here’s what I bring up. Think of a time when you were the shoulder someone was crying on, or you were the listening ear for someone’s troubles. Most times, it feels good to be there for someone. It feels like we are helping a fellow human being. But somehow when we turn it around and it’s our turn to let someone else be a listening ear or a shoulder, we feel badly. We apologize for crying or talking so much. We pile all sorts of guilt on top of the yucky-ness we already feel. I’ve fallen into this trap myself at times.

I ask clients to think of it as giving a gift when they ask someone to be there for them, listen, or whatever. When a friend calls on me for support, I do not feel like it’s a burden. I feel like it’s a privilege that they are letting me in on what’s going on in their inner world. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.

So when you’re having a challenging day and reach out to a friend, see if you can let go of guilt and feeling like it’s a burden and instead see it as giving a gift. You’re allowing the person to know you more deeply and to be there for you, which will likely feel good to them.

Make sense? Helpful? Write to me to share your thoughts: dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com.

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Consuming But Not Doing

(This article is a 3-4 minute read.)

A business coach I follow talks a lot about how, in this day and age of information at our fingertips, we all end up consuming a lot of information, but not doing a lot with it. We read articles and books, watch TED talks, listen to podcasts, take classes, etc. hoping for “the answer” to whatever it is we are struggling with or want to improve in our lives. We consume the information, and some of the information provided even tells us exactly what to do. But as human beings in this culture, we tend not to implement or put into practice what we learn. You’ve fallen into this trap too, right? I know I have.

A very wise teacher I once had gave me a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called The Miracle of Mindfulness. Inside the cover, she wrote, “These tools can change your life if you let them.” And she was right. They were simple, yet life-changing tools the author was teaching, yet they would do absolutely nothing for me if I didn’t put them into practice. The same goes for the tools and strategies I teach in my programs (and sometimes talk about in these articles). They have to be used to make a difference.

Day after day, I practice what I teach, because I am in the trenches of life just like you. But the skills, tools, and strategies I’ve learned (and that I pass on to others) have changed my life. I don’t have “the answers” but I do have tools in my toolbox that help me to navigate struggles and build purpose in my life in a way that I wasn’t able to before I put them into practice. (And I love helping other people learn and use what has helped me…which is why I do what I do!)

But I too, fall into the habit of being a consumer of information sometimes. For example, I went through a time when I consumed a lot of information about running a business. For a while when I was starting out, I took every course, webinar, and teleclass that came my way and read everything I could get my hands on. Then I realized that I was doing a whole lot of learning and not much doing. When I decided to stop learning for a moment and start doing, I made bigger strides forward toward where I wanted to go. Not that there’s anything wrong with learning of course (I LOVE learning) but I just had to start doing something in order for anything to change. And change is what we really want, right?

What I learned when I did this, is that I knew enough to get started in taking steps to move forward without learning more and more. While there are general principals in business of course, much of what happens in building a solo-preneur business is experimentation. I can try things, see what happens, collect data, and if it works, continue more of the same, and if it doesn’t try something different. Rinse and repeat.

It can be the same with building the life we want. We can stop consuming information for a moment, and choose to start practicing what we’ve learned. You can take one concept you’ve learned that resonates for you and use it…today…right now. Then you could see what happens, use your experience as your guide. Collect data, so to speak, then if it works, do more of the same. If it doesn’t, try something else. Rinse and repeat. Practicing is not as sexy as learning new things, but practicing creates change.

Of course, there are times when we really do need to find a tool or strategy that will help us. Especially if we haven’t had success with a certain problem. In that case, consuming makes sense…finding the information we need to move forward. We need to find the folks we trust, learn what we need to learn from them, and do the un-glamorous part…put tools into practice again and again.

Have you ever found this idea to be true in your life? Write to me to share your thoughts: dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com.

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Dedication, Devotion

“He got the action, he got the motion…Yeah, the boy can play.
Dedication, devotion…Turning all the night time into the day.”
~Dire Straits, Walk of Life

(I bet you’ll have that in your head the rest of the day now. You’re welcome.)

I went to a graduation ceremony last night for the Waterville High School class of 2015. They know how to do it right, over there in Waterville. And by right, I mean short. J Actually, it was short AND sweet. Really sweet. The ceremony was only about an hour with short, yet meaningful, speeches and a quick procession. The principal gave a speech about persistence which I thought was very poignant. He brought two enormous binders full of rejection letters and put them on the podium. He talked about how he wanted to be an educator so badly that from the year he graduated college to several years later, he sent hundreds of letters to schools around the country asking for a teaching position. He went through, year by year, how many he sent and how many rejection letters he received back. I thought the binders were a great visual to really get the feeling of how many times he was told “no.” He even made note that a certain someone on the stage with him last night, who was now the superintendent but then the principal, did not hire him when he applied there, way back when.

This guy was so devoted to becoming a teacher that he continued to send letters even though he was rejected over and over and over. He finally did, of course, get hired as a teacher and worked his way up to principal years later. This got me thinking about the things in my life that have not been easy, but I have been so dedicated to that I kept getting up and showing up and trying anyway, even when I metaphorically got rejection letters over and over.

It also got me thinking that I want to ask others, what is your thing you’re dedicated or devoted to? It might even be something that mostly goes unnoticed by others (and maybe yourself). What are the things in life you’re so devoted to, that you keep trying even when you slip up or fall behind…you keep putting energy and time and effort (and maybe even sometimes money) into it, even though you’ve been put down, told you can’t do it or it’s not worth it by others or even by yourself? Even when you’ve been told ‘no’ by the world?

I think of those folks (including myself) that want to work on health goals. Say you want to eat better and exercise. You put time and effort and energy into moving in this direction. Then you get busy or have a family crisis and you find you haven’t been keeping up with this. But then you try again, you re-commit, and put more time and energy into your health yet again. You become willing to experience the discomfort that this effort requires…again. I see this as dedication. You are, overall, dedicated to your health. Perhaps at any given moment, you don’t take action in the direction you most want to. And then you do. That is dedication. You can think of it as though you just got a rejection letter from yourself, and you’re going to apply again anyway. The same can go for parenting or relationships or work or whatever. Devotion is when we keep showing up and moving in the direction of what matters most to us, even in small steps, even though it continues to be hard and challenging, and even when sometimes we fall behind or mess up.

I want to ask you that in earnest right now…to think about what you’re dedicated to in that way and I also want to ask you to acknowledge yourself for your efforts. I find it far more helpful to acknowledge my efforts toward something that’s important to me than to put myself down when I don’t live up to my own standards. I’d also like to ask you to acknowledge your efforts toward something you’re dedicated to, to at least one other person. I invite you to share this with me too, so email me a quick note telling me what you’re devoted to, what you’re willing to keep going at, even when it’s hard. I’d love to hear from you, so write, OK? dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com

This is one of the things we talk about in my Purpose Plan Package…what matters most to you…in all areas of your life so you can feel empowered when you become clear on your priorities and know exactly what you can do next to move forward toward a more purpose-full life. If that’s something that interests you, I invite you to contact me to sign up for a 20-minute consultation (at no charge) to find out if my programs are a good fit for you!

Like what you see in this blog? Sign up for my Lĭve Letter! It’s delivered directly to your inbox every other week. You’ll get the article a week or so before it posts on the blog as well as additional goodies and inspirational stuff. You can also share your thoughts about my articles and interact with me personally after reading a Lĭve Letter. Just fill in your name and email in the box at the top right of this page.

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Spring Cleaning Your Inner Life

I’ve been thinking about (and doing) a lot of spring cleaning lately. It’s the time of year that feels like new beginnings. (Some) people take time in the spring to clean things in their houses that haven’t been cleaned all year…to dust the hard to reach places, wax the furniture and floors, and clean the walls. Some take time to get organized…to go through file cabinets and closets and basements and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It can also be a time when people do a check on things we don’t think about very often…like checking the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and updating the first aid kit. I saw a lot of people at Lowe’s this past weekend, getting what they needed to clean and prepare outdoor spaces for summer too (as were we).

This got me thinking how it also seems like a time of year when people spring clean their inner life. We’ve made it through a hard winter where many of us just hunkered down in sort of our own version of hibernation, conserved our energy and did just what was necessary. Then things start to bloom and we get a few warm days and we sometimes feel a bit more energy. Some of the folks I work with are cleaning out their own internal attics and basements; they’re taking a look at the items they don’t want any more…maybe old beliefs or self-doubts…and looking at what they can do to move past them. They are taking stock and organizing their internal files by taking a look at how they can stop fights with reality and change their relationship to their uncomfortable feelings so that they don’t rule their behavior. They are defrosting their internal freezers, taking a look at how they can move forward toward what matters most to them, even though life might be throwing them some curveballs.

This is all very exciting to see. I love watching people make progress. I happen to be one of those people who loves cleaning and organizing. When I’m cleaning and organizing, I’m very present, very much in contact with the moment…my focus and attention is on what I’m doing. I also love the feeling of being organized and having my surroundings clean…it helps me to feel calmer inside somehow. The whole experience is satisfying. And so it is when I’ve done some inner cleaning, when I’ve taken a look at some difficult thoughts or feelings or behaviors or patterns or beliefs and done some work so that they don’t get in my way any more.

Likewise, I know spring can be hard for some people. They feel that they are supposed to be happy when they’re really not, and then they feel there is something wrong with them. I get that…I’ve been there before too. If this is you, please know there’s nothing wrong with you. You are human and you’re not going to be happy just because everyone else seems happy and the weather is getting warmer. Spring doesn’t make you happy. So there’s no need to beat up on yourself or judge yourself because you’re not feeling fresh and new this spring. And…just because your inner world doesn’t feel cleaned up or organized, it doesn’t mean you can’t take tiny steps toward what’s important to you. It still feels very fulfilling when I’ve taken a step forward toward what matters to me, even when life is messy and things are not organized or clean.

So what’s your spring cleaning inventory? What are you noticing about your inner and outer life this spring? However you’re feeling is ok. Think about some small steps you can you take toward your own inner spring cleaning today.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can share your thoughts on my Facebook page by clicking here. You can also join my closed Facebook group here.

And if you’d like some help with that inner spring cleaning, I invite you to consider one of my programs. You can read more here.

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Posted in acceptance, Handling Challenges, meaning & purpose, Values & Goals, well-being | Comments Off on Spring Cleaning Your Inner Life