Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Live Your Life With Authenticity

Display kindness to the unkind

Be accountable, even if others are not

Provide hope to those who live with doubt

Demonstrate bravery to all that live in fear

Be accepting of someone that feels ashamed

Maintain your confidence among the jealous

Remain calm while others scurry in frustration

Pray for others, especially those who hate you

Offer a smile to the sad and broken hearted

Stay compassionate regardless of their anger

Be honest, especially when they are lying to you

Teach forgiveness to someone who lives with guilt

Commit to giving even when others are being selfish

Share your optimism with negative people anyway

Convey empathy to those who choose to remain resentful

Give with your whole heart even though there is no guarantee they will give you any or all of theirs in return

Live your life with authenticity, even if others are too petrified to live theirs that way

We are not in a contest. Never allow anyone or 
anything to impede you from being who you truly are

Monday, April 2, 2012

What rules and Where the Hell Did They Come From?

Why is it we hold ourselves hostage to rules that don’t really even exist?  Day after day we play out conforming to rules that we ourselves have created which only hold us back.  Some of these “rules” have been instilled into us.  Not only by our upbringing and influences, also by our society and the media.  We follow them habitually never giving much thought to if they make sense to what is right for us as individuals.  Start paying attention to the bullshit rules you have been following in your life that continue to keep you living a passive and ordinary life.

BS Rule #1 - We should have a perfect body

Let’s start with the fact the human body is not perfect nor ever will it be, period!  We have insurance companies telling us what our BMI should be, an abundant number of diets that advertise promising to make us skinny and sexy, and a scale that certainly doesn’t lie.  Talk about pressure! No wonder most people feel defeated before they even start trying!  How about we break the rules of how we think we should look, how much we think we should weigh, and start focusing on just being healthy and feeling fantastic!  If you make the decision to go forth on a health journey vs. going on a diet, you will achieve an enormous number of positive outcomes.  First and foremost you will become healthy from the inside out, which in turn increases your immune system and drastically reduces the risk of illness and disease.  You notice your skin starts to radiate, your hair begins to shine, and wait what just happened? Why yes the weight you wanted to lose just started melting off and you never even felt like you gave up anything! As you incorporate more and more healthy foods into your diet, the less junk/unhealthy food your body will continue to crave.  Our bodies are in a constant state of detoxification as we add chemicals to it on a daily basis.  Your body will thank and reward you well when you treat it like the temple that is designed to be. 


BS Rule #2 - You have to decide on your sole career by age 18, earn your degree, and then work hard the rest of your life to be successful; says who?

Are you ecstatic about your chosen career or job?  Do you know many people who are?  Why is that?  Why is it so many people dedicate an abundant amount of time and education just to land a career or job they don’t even really like?  At what point was the decision made for you to choose your career?  Was it that it sounded like a good idea at the time? Were you influenced by family or friends who knew much better than you did about what was best for you?  Now is it the continued convenient excuse you have been doing it for so long you have  to settle for staying where you are vs. going after what you really want? 

If you are not in a job or career that resonates with you completely, you are wasting your time and will remain in a state of unhappiness! We are the ones who choose our jobs and careers, so why not choose something that you love and get excited to wake up to every single day!  Break this rule and the hell with who doesn’t agree; so what you’ve already done this job for the past x amount of years and don’t want to start over, and stop allowing the fear you won’t make enough money to hold you back.  People who have passion for their work NEVER fail. They give 100% consistently and place their happiness over and above anything else. You spend anywhere from 8-12+ hours a day at your job, think about how much time your life is exposed to despondency if you don’t love what you do!  

BS Rule #3 – Every relationship requires settling on mediocrity

So how is your relationship going?  Is it everything you dreamed it would be, or is it exactly how people told you it would be?  Here unfortunately is where we fall into mediocrity and complacency.  We follow the rules along with everyone else and roll over to accepting that in relationships this is “just the way it is”.  Who is in charge of our relationships?  WE ARE!  So aren’t we able to have a hand in how awesome it turns out? Of course we are!  So what are the rules in a relationship? They are whatever you and your partner create together.  What works for one couple may not work for another couple. Outside of our deal-breakers or lines in the sand, what rules are there to really even follow in a relationship?  Who are we trying to mimic and look towards as our relationship role models?  Become your own role model by creating a mind-blowing relationship with your partner.  Be certain your words and actions match and resonate with the kind of relationship you truly desire to have. Break the rule of mediocrity and settle for nothing less than amazing!

BS Rule #4 - Gossiping, complaining and judging is just what people always do when they get together.

Complaining and gossiping are two of the most toxic rules people can follow. Why do we complain?  Does it really make us feel better or does it actually foster negativity and continue to fuel our fire?  When we complain we are merely seeking attention and finding another person who will take our side and validate how we are feeling. What if you realized people would still be empathetic and you don’t have to complain to get it?  We can talk openly about how we are feeling without whining and complaining.  Ironically most of us have or are currently going through similar scenarios and can relate to one another.  We have two choices when it comes to something we don’t like; we change it if we can, or if we can't we accept it and change our attitude towards it. 

If you are gossiping, you are most likely coming from a place of judgment.  Are you proving to yourself or to others, that yes indeed you are better than someone else?  Why do you feel the need to do that? What is your ego truly seeking?  People mistakenly do this as a means of boosting their own ego or self-esteem.  When you are consistently comparing yourself to others you will ultimately find someone who is more successful than you and that has something you wish you had.  With that discovery, your self-esteem and confidence will take a hit as now you feel you aren’t good enough.  The best way to avoid this is to catch yourself and recognize when you are judging someone else. 

Ask yourself this, “What impact does it have on me personally that their hair is purple, they have too many tattoos, they don’t know how to spend their money, that they aren’t as smart as I am, or that their partner is a complete ass? Bottom line, WHO CARES

BS Rule #5 – Having a negative attitude makes no difference in what I get out of life, my life sucks anyway, so why care if it shows?

Understand your attitude is everything!  The more you tell yourself how awful your life is, the more you will see just that.  Even in your worst of days, take a moment and write out a list of gratitude.  At times we tend to forget all we already are blessed with.  When you start paying attention to the great things in your life and what life has to offer, you open yourself up to a whole new view of your current world.  You will begin to engage with more positive people, you are able to conquer and problem-solve resiliently, and ultimately begin to take notice things are starting to go your way! Remember you are in control of you at all times, including your attitude.  God didn’t create us to sit back in misery without any control or choices of how our lives are going to play out.  It is up to you to decide what you want, and know it is your responsibility to Go Get It

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Living an Authentic Life

As some of us are now living our lives more authentically, many think we have changed. The truth is, we haven't changed; we just haven't shown this part of ourselves to them or to the rest of world before now. All this time we have hidden ourselves quietly in a corner fearing judgment from others. By not living authentically meant we didn't truly accept ourselves and our fear of judgment and rejection were exceedingly more important than living our lives freely and with purpose. We lived that way before, and now realize, we have only held ourselves back by suppressing our spirit, and living incongruently a life that we were meant to live. That feeling of "something is missing" no longer exists, and inner peace now fulfills us.

There is so much freedom in living an authentic life. We now know who we genuinely are and accept ourselves fully. There is no longer any shame or chains that hold us back while we pretend to be perfect. We have faced our demons, no longer running away from doubts, pain and fear. We too have struggles like everyone else and we will continue to grow. We have dug deep within ourselves pulling out the inner beauty that lies within each and every one of us. We recognize we are all unique, yet so much of the same.

We are accountable for our actions and how we impact others. People have become more transparent to us, and we are empathetic to why people think and behave they way they do. Instead of allowing anger to consume us, we find compassion, and forgiveness from one human being to another. However, that does not open us up to accepting abuse or mistreatment, and we DO love ourselves enough to not allow it. We are aware it is always our choice if we accept others words, actions, or behaviors to have any affect on us.

We are not followers; rather we have become leaders of our own lives. We are not afraid to go after what we really want; as we now know there are no limits. We aren't afraid to tell people often how much we love them. We seek out our purpose, and then we fulfill it. We express gratitude for the many gifts we have received. We give without the expectation of anything in return, as that is not our intent.

We are living authentic lives, where our mind, body, and spirit are all in harmony. We are now free.
~ Brenda, Coach and Creator, Elements of Your Life

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Less can be so much more

Less Can be So Much More

It was last year around this time I was trying to figure out what my New Year’s Resolution was going to be.  I began to write a nice long list of all the things I wanted to change and be different for the upcoming year.  When I was done, I was very disheartened.  Although I already knew it, there it was written in black and white, how completely unhappy I was with so many aspects of my life. 

That year, 2010, was one of the hardest years I had ever had.  It seemed one thing after another was going wrong.  Within that year I had someone I thought was a friend completely deceive me, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, my finances were much less than desired, I had gained 20 lbs, and my relationship with my partner was falling apart.  My life was in complete chaos, and after writing it all out, I felt even more defeated.  Over the next few days, when I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself, my inner rebel came out.  I made the decision that I could just refuse to accept this misery any longer.   As I repeated that statement the word “accept” became very loud and clear!  I thought to myself, wow, all of this feels so out of control and yet the only solution to all of this is acceptance.  I could not control what my “friend” did to me, I could not control my Mother was dying, I had to accept my financial situation and my current weight for right now, and as much as it broke my heart, I needed to accept my relationship with my boyfriend was over.  

I broke up with him right after New Years. I could no longer see the point of us both staying miserable.   I felt like everything had been done in an attempt to salvage the relationship, and there was nothing left that could save it. At the time, my focus was on everything that was wrong in our relationship and what I wasn’t getting from it.   I thought it would be less painful to do it then versus later.  However, what I was not prepared for was how painful it really would be without him. I tried to stay busy and move forward with my life, but every day I missed him even more. I regretted that decision and I prayed often that God would heal my broken heart and someday lead me to the “right” person.

The pressure was off and I felt like a boulder was lifted from me.  I no longer had to fight for all of the things that were out of my control.  What I realized that I could do was make the best of what I did have.   I could spend as much time as possible with my Mother before she died. I could let go of the anger I had towards my supposed “friend” and not allow her actions to have such an impact my life.  I could downsize and let go of the frivolous luxuries I didn’t need, but became spoiled and accustomed to.  I could eat healthier and love and respect my body enough to take care of it.  I could find gratitude every day and discover all I do have.  I could meditate and find inner peace, I could renew my faith and connection with God, and I could choose happiness every day! 

As the days went by, I started to shift my focus on gratitude, and away from the belief I was losing everything. Once that happened, my life completely changed and somehow everything came together perfectly.  Each morning I focused on what I was grateful for, and each evening found something to be grateful for, even on the bad days.  I created a gratitude list that I could look at every day as a reminder of all the “good” I did have in my life.  I prayed every day (usually more than once, and I still do!) and felt God beside me cheering me on every step of the way.  My anger was replaced by an understanding that people are who they are. Their actions are a reflection of their character and where they are in their own life. I cannot control what others do, only my response to them.   I chose to forgive her in my heart and then let the anger go. 

My Mom died peacefully in her sleep in early February.  As much as I miss her, I have no regrets in the time we spent together and the loving relationship we shared.  I can’t say this enough to people, “Children cherish your parents, and parents cherish your children”.  Neither is guaranteed to always be here. I have lost both of my parents and two of my own children, and can tell you, family is the most important thing in the entire world!  The best investment you could ever make is spending time with your family. 

By April I had purged all the junk/stuff out of my house, attic, garage, and shed.  I sold a ton of things I no longer wanted or needed.  My children and I then moved to a home that was 1000 feet smaller than our last one.  Less to clean, less yard to maintain, less of a commute to work, and less time wasted on things that aren’t really that important at the end of the day.  Unlike our last community, our new community was filled with wonderful, friendly, family oriented people.  We also found we had so much more time to spend together as a family. 

 As I began to shed the guilt and shame over my losses, I really began to love and accept myself.  I began respecting my body and found it easy to nourish and take care of it the way it deserved to be cared for.  I began to drink my Shakeology each morning for breakfast, changed to eating organic foods, and was up to drinking 80 oz. of water a day.  I exercised 5 days a week as well as mediated daily.   All of it felt so effortless to me.  I never said to myself that I was “going on a diet”, and I never told myself I had to give up anything.  I simply focused on what I was going to give my body to keep it healthy and full of energy.  By August, I had lost a total of 30 lbs!  (That’s right, even the additional 10 lbs I had left on from my daughter) I have never physically felt better!

After a few months break, God answered my prayer and showed me the right man was in front of me the whole time!  We became the best of friends and our relationship is better than it has ever been!   I discovered to love is to give.  My focus shifted to all the great things that were already within our relationship and what I could give to it to make it even better.   I opened myself up completely to him, and began to truly trust him with my heart.  It takes two to make a relationship work, and each have to be willing to give 100%.  I feel so blessed to have the love of my life back :)

You see, less can be so much more.  We only have one life to live. We can choose to be either happy or miserable, the amount of energy expended is the same.  If there is anything you want to change this year, let it be your perspective on your “losses”.  I believe the best is yet to come, so here’s to an awesome 2012!

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful New Year! 
Coach and Creator, Elements of Your Life

Sometimes when things look like they are falling apart, they actually may be falling together. During stormy times we sometimes feel like we are losing everything. But maybe this stormy time is really waking us up to something even better ~ Marilyn Monroe


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are your beliefs serving you

Are your beliefs serving you

                       or sabotaging you?

We all have beliefs we have acquired over our lifetime.  Beliefs are simply our experiences and how we perceive them, or a thought we have made real.  We get to choose if we want to accept a belief or not.  How we perceive ourselves, our world, and our circumstances, will determine the end result.  Do you believe you will succeed or fail?  When challenges arise, do you stand strong and look for the lesson or opportunity in the challenge, or do you fall down allowing yourself to feel defeated?  Can you identify and accept what you can and cannot change; or do you fight to control the circumstances and people around you? Our beliefs can be either empowering or debilitating.  Perception can be used for clarity or distortion.  Therefore, a positive perception is vital to creating a positive outcome. 

The beliefs we have of ourselves are most important.  How do you view yourself?  Do you believe you have integrity and are a good person? Do you have a healthy dose of self-esteem and confidence? Do you believe you are worthy of being loved or deserving of success?  If the answer to any of these is “no”, then look for what experiences led you to deem them differently.  When you are able to see them for what they really are, you bring transparency and truth to the belief.  Most people with these incapacitating beliefs have been told by others, by either their actions or words, to accept these beliefs about themselves.  Someone else’s opinion or behavior does not determine who you are!  YOU determine who you are.  Take the time to prove it to yourself. Get a piece of paper and fold it in half.  On one half write “They said”.  Write down a list of what others have told you, to include what you perceived they said to you (verbal and non-verbal).  On the other side write “The truth is”. Now open up the paper and answer each “They said” with what YOU KNOW is true about you.  For instance:
                 They Said                                                        The Truth Is 

                  I am ugly                                                         I AM beautiful

                 I am worthless                                                 I AM worthy

We were never taught we have to believe in a lie! You know who you are and what is honestly true about you. The only two real judges whose opinion counts, are God and our own.

How you view your world is also very important. Do you believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket?  Do you lack trust for most people?  Do you feel “everyone is out to get you”? Do you believe there a far too few “good” people left in the world?  How you perceive your world, will in turn, determine your response to it. 

We are creatures of habit.  If we are exposed to similar experiences, we tend to re-enforce the same emotional reaction, further strengthening and engraining that newly created belief.   When that familiar negative experience arises again, unless you make a conscious effort to respond in a positive manner; you will auto pilot back to your previous negative reaction which you originally created from that experience. 

For example, your business of two years failed.  A year later a successful business associate presents you with an opportunity to go into business as a partnership.  Your emotional reaction would be anxiety with the fear of failing again, humiliation, and feeling crushed.  You will most likely decline the opportunity, as it feels like a safer decision.  We tend to remain in the safety zone vs. stepping back out in the minefield as we are expecting and fearing the same results will happen.  What you have done is taken your new opportunity and re-enforced it with the same negative emotion you did in your past experience.  Certainly this serves well the first time you touch a hot stove; you learn to never do that again!  However, in this situation, as well as many others, how do you know you are not turning down a potentially successful opportunity because your fear has created a barrier?  What if after your business failed, you honestly looked back and discovered there was a better strategy, a better marketing plan, or better time management that would have thrust your business into success?  With that approach you chose to learn and grow from your experience vs. becoming a fear filled victim.  Now when your associate offers you a partnership, you are eager to accept as you believe you can succeed!  Two very different beliefs; two very different outcomes. 

Take a look at some of your debilitating or limited beliefs and how they hold you back from where you want to be.  You don’t necessarily need to take the time analyzing how all of those beliefs came to be.  Just be aware that you do have the power to create them or disarm them.  Most of our self-limiting beliefs are fear-based such as; a fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of loss of control, fear of a lack of approval from others, fear of success, or fear of change. You have the choice to consciously decide you are no longer willing to hold on to a belief that is destructive or serves no purpose in your life.  The choice is yours in what you choose to believe in.

Brenda Slavin, Coach and Creator, Elements of Your Life

Friday, November 25, 2011

How high will you rise?

One day I decided to quit. I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. “God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” His answer surprised me. “Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?” “Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor, yet nothing came from the bamboo seed, however, I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed, yet I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed, and I refused to quit. The same in year four. Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall! You see it had spent the last five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle".

"Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo, and I will never quit on you. Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful".

“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high”
“How high should I rise?” I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.
“Yes” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can".

I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Victor or Victim?

"What you consistently speak with emotional intensity, you will experience, you will create, and you will become. The words that you speak with emotional conviction become the life you live – this is your heaven or this is your hell" – Tony Robbins

There are no truer words than that! Are you living in heaven or hell? What we focus on we attract more of.
Within our day one bad event can become a catalyst setting the downward spiral. We begin to view our entire day as ruined and replay over and over in our head the horrific thing that just happened. Negative emotions such as fear and insecurity immediately set in. We now have allowed our negative emotions to determine what will come next. We await the next bad thing and project all the things we think "could" or anticipating "will" go wrong. We tend to believe the "what if" vs. the reality of “what is”. The domino effect ensues and before we know it everything starts to go wrong. You validate to yourself “See I knew that was going to happen!” From the very beginning you were down to two choices. Do you want to become a victor or remain a victim of circumstances?

So when things are starting to fall apart around you, how do you find a way to stop focusing on all that is wrong? It is all a matter of decision and 100% commitment to overcome, change, and conquer the circumstances you are in. If you can’t commit to wanting to do that, it will not happen. When we firmly make a true decision within ourselves, there is NOTHING that can stop us. We don’t allow obstacles to get in the way, we stop sweating the small stuff, and we remain only focused on the positive outcome in which we are seeking. This holds true in EVERY Element of Your Life; your relationships, your health, your career, your dreams, and your personal growth. Whatever we want bad enough, we are unstoppable in achieving! Do you want the downward spiral to continue? Just take the first step to decide and commit. We all have stubbornness in us; let’s use that to our advantage :)

One way to switch gears from all the negativity around us is we can choose gratitude. Look at the child with a room full of toys that complains “there is nothing to do, or I don’t have anything to play with?” It appears as they are being ungrateful. Would you go to the store and buy them another toy? Of course not! Adults have the same problem. We have the same childlike instant gratification as they do. Instead of looking at what we do have, we are focused on what we don’t have, or something someone else has. Take the time and write two separate gratitude lists. Make one of monetary value, and the other without. Ask yourself this, “Am I really without everything I need?” You may not have everything you want, but you do have what you need. You are far more blessed than you realize. There are people in this world that don’t even have what they need. They are without homes, jobs, families, food, clothing, friends, spirituality, and love. I’m sorry what are you missing again? I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to achieve more, as I believe that we absolutely should. However, we also need to take a moment and express gratitude for the gifts in which we have already received.

When we don’t like what’s on a certain channel we change it, don’t we? Why would you choose to keep the negativity channel on if it’s not really what you want to watch or hear? You are in complete control to change the channel whenever you want to. Decide and commit to changing the channel!

We all have faced times of adversity and will continue to face more. We must not allow ourselves to be defeated or swallowed by our circumstances. These are opportunities for us to learn and grow stronger. These are the times later in life we WILL look back with a smile and say, “Wow, I can’t believe I made it through all of that!” or "That wasn't as half as complicated as I thought it would be!". You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for! Keep your faith, hope, and belief in yourself and decide “Do I want to be a victor or victim of my circumstances?”