Saturday, 29 December 2012

What Feels Real to You?

http://imgix.8tracks.com/mix_covers/000/905/232/78507.original.jpg?fm=jpg&q=65&sharp=15&vib=10&w=1024&h=1024&fit=max The more life experience we get, the more we have to work with. As we meet more new people, take on more opportunities and find ourselves in different environments, we have the opportunity to reflect. The only way to really know if something makes us feel good is to decide after we experience it. We must be open and willing in life to face both excitement and challenge. The only way to discover what we want and what feels real is to try all that life gives us with courage, trusting ourselves that we will sift through our experiences to create more of that which ignites our spark. We must consciously sift through all that we know, while continuing to gain more experience with each day, and focus on that which has touched our heart.



 And what do I mean by "that which has touched our heart?" Well, I am referring to those experiences or people who have left a permanent positive impact on you. That have made you realize what it really means to be alive. To flow with the universe and live from the heart. People and situations that have freed your soul, allowed you to be your truest and happiest self.
This process requires intense focus and self-trust. As we learn more about what liberates us and sets us free from all limits, it is important to focus with all that we have on it. To trust that by following the realness of these life-changing experiences, we become truly free and happy.
Take a few minutes to reflect. Become aware. Take out a piece of paper and identify that which has ignited your spark. The people and experiences that have inspired you. And focus on actively expanding upon these experiences. 
This is where the truth lies. Believe in it.
Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Follow YOUR Path and Nothing Else


A Beautiful Path 
Over the past few weeks especially, I have realized the importance of what it means to stay true to myself. In order to become truly happy, we must trust in who we really are as individuals and act accordingly.

We must also trust that what we believe in is a reality that we can consciously create. We have the power to create that which we think about. Therefore, we must realize that our thoughts manifest into our physical reality.

We are what we believe in. We develop with experience and as we learn more about life, we are able to become who we really are, do what we really want to do.

What do you believe in? What are your values?

If you believe that a certain life, the life that you really want, is possible, then it is. We can only become that which we first believe.

 If we believe that we deserve to be around energized and supportive people, that we can have exciting travels and adventures in our lives, that we can become more spiritually, that we can be part of an inspiring community or project, then we are paving the path of possibility. By understanding that we can create that which we want and believing in it, we are taking the first step. Then, with consistent focus and effort, we can, one step at a time, create the life that frees us from all limits.

In order to be our happiest selves, it is important to make every choice in alignment with our beliefs. This means making every choice with awareness and making sure each choice is in sync with what we believe to be true.

Blessings,

Julie




Saturday, 22 December 2012

Decide to Take Action!


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There is a certain power, an undeniable force, in deciding to do something. Rather than being at affect of the decisions of others or whatever the universe brings upon us, when we decide to create the events of our own life, a certain spark ignites. We feel inspired.  We often underestimate our own power that is limitless. As a famous quote says, we fear our greatness- we fear how great we can be and the intensity of happiness and freedom we can achieve. 

I say take the risk. Believe in yourself and decide that YOU are the one who makes the decisions. After all, it is YOUR life. Take the leap of faith and decide.

And now comes the burning question. "How do I decide when there are so many options/possibilities?" Well, here is the answer: when we ask ourselves this question and look at the limitless possibilities that lie before us, we often become overwhelmed by them all because we analyze each one- "what is going to happen if I do this?" "What will so and so think if I do this?" "What happens if it doesn't turn out as I expect?" "What if I fail?"

We spend so much time and energy thinking and rationalizing each choice and forget to realize that there is no possible way we can determine the effect of a choice until we actually DO it. Of course it is important to make sure we are not taking a risk that will cause harm or something of that extreme. But most of the time, the decisions we make are not life and death- therefore we need to stop thinking so much, and take more action. We must DO consistently.

So decide to do something that your intuition is guiding you towards. You won't be able to figure out the end result before you actually do it, so stop the thinking. The process is where the fulfillment really lies. 

Be the creator and manifestor of your destiny. Of course there are certain things that are out of our control such as the weather and the people around us, but we can start from somewhere. We can start with our own power to create a structure for ourselves. We can decide to do something, because either way we will get a result. It is better to take responsibility for our decisions and learn all that we can from them, knowing that we are the conscious creators of them. So decide, make a plan, think less and take action.

Blessings,

Julie

Monday, 17 December 2012

Surrender to the Experience


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In life, there is a powerful force that becomes ignited when we let go of limits to experience things fully, for what they truly are. When we allow ourselves to be in the moment. To drink a warm tea and let our minds wander and simply dream.

I often stop to feel the power of gratitude for the life I am blessed to live. For the air I breathe, food I eat, bed I sleep in, for the amazing people who support and inspire me to be the best me- and all of the other beautiful things that I interact with on a daily basis.

While the past nurtures our wisdom and gives us the necessary insight we need to define what we want and make the right choices moving forward with our lives , we have the present moment that provides immeasurable beauty in itself. This is something to be grateful for.

So while we dream and plan for our futures and create what we want through consistent daily action, it is important to also bask in the breathtaking simplicity that the present moment provides. 

As we explore what may be stopping us from experiencing all that we are capable of experiencing, we must take into account one of the biggest limiting factors: judgement.

It is one thing to use our judgement to assess whether a familiar situation is right for us. For example, if we see ourselves going back to an old habit that doesn't serve us, it would be wise to become aware of this and bring ourselves back to the path that serves us. Also, if we find ourselves allowing negative people into our lives, it would be wise to use our judgement to set some healthy limits.

But often, when we don't have enough information, when we step into an unknown territory, whether it is a relationship, friendship, job or new living space, we fall back on judgement. Judging a situation before we know it is an easy thing to do but it is also dangerously limiting.

We often use our rational minds to judge because we are scared to face fear and the intensity of emotional experiences that do not always carry a rational explanation.

 Before we allow ourselves to truly experience something, it is easy to criticize it, based on what we already know. But if it is a new situation, it is especially important to be open to the "newness" of it before we come to conclusions. To go with our hearts and intuition, and to let go of the rational and analytical mind for a moment. To really be in whatever you are experiencing.

This is why my blog is called "Limitless Living". Because I believe that the best thing we can do is to challenge and push our limits to experience more than we know. When we can release judgement, have faith in our intuition and create the life of our dreams, we are truly living.

Many Blessings,

Julie

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Never Stop Fighting for What You Believe In

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Before I begin this post, I want to share a poem that I hold very close to my heart.

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I've found, with thanks to you
I'm stronger than I ever knew

There is such profound emotion in this poem. And not just emotion, the poem is true. Life may sway you off course, it will place obstacles in your path, but we must know that we are stronger than that. As things fall apart, better things come together. When we lose something or someone that brought us joy, there is more beauty coming our way. At our core, just like the oak tree, we are pure strength and light. And there is nothing to hide, for each and every one of us is fighting a battle. At this time in the world, there is nothing to fear, for it is through facing fear and becoming vulnerable that we see our strength. That we become fearless. When we connect with each other with our pains and joys, this is living.

It is through allowing the natural cycle of life to take its course and acting with it, that we grow, we progress and bloom. Living each moment of life together, with the ups and downs, is what ignites a flow of progress. Experiencing the beauty of every emotion that life brings upon us and moving past our fear, is what allows flow. Moving with our intuition and allowing our pains and fears to motivate us in creating more, is flow. Acting vulnerably with our truest core at any given time represents more beauty and power than we will ever be able to measure.

What do you believe in?
What have you experienced that you know is real?
That experiences have ignited your spark and set you free?

 Listen to this truth because this is where freedom lies. Follow the rawness of your most powerful life experiences, learn from them and create more of them. It is in all of us to create more than we can ever grasp.

Blessings,

Julie

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Don't Be Afraid to Be Yourself

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"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
I often think about this quote to remind myself that having the courage to be ourselves is more important than we will ever know. Because staying true to who we really are is what liberates us, and frees us from any conditions and limits. We don't pay attention to the expectations of others because what is most important is to do what we feel is right- and the people who truly support us in this journey will be by our side no matter what choices we make. 
Fear often holds us back from expressing our deepest thoughts and emotions and taking action upon them. We must realize that when we face the fear and be who we really are and all that we are, then we are powerful beyond measure. We are unique and special, and letting our light shine is the most attractive thing we can do. When we let go of society's expectations, and the need to please others or be perfect, when we realize that there is no "right"way to be- only the way that speaks from the heart- we are truly free. 
 By letting out light shine, we give others the permission to do the same. We allow others to discover their inherent gift, because we all have a deep passion and intense light inside ourselves. We are all capable of moving past our thoughts into the realm of intuition. People are often saying, "think before you act"- I am not dismissing the importance of this idea. But often we think too much and about things that rob us of our precious energy. Of course it is important to be mindful of the risks involved in making a choice, but we all too often waste our time on thinking about how people will judge our decisions or about "what if something goes wrong?" The "what if's" that have no proof of being real are usually just fear speaking.
 It is important to move past fear and realize that we must show who we are. This is where our power, beauty, happiness and freedom lies. And anyone who isn't a positive support on our journey to be more of ourselves every day isn't someone worth having in our lives.
So be yourself, say and do what you feel, dance your song and realize that this is the most beautiful thing you can do. 
 Blessings,
Julie  
 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Ignite the Free Spirit/Crazy in You!


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I believe that we all have a crazy part of ourselves that doesn't reveal itself often enough. Our world of rules and expectations makes it hard to get into our "optimal freedom zone". We are worried about what others think about us, we are scared to be unique- to do things because we simply feel like it. Everything has to make sense, has to be rationalized. But what if you just did something based on your intuition? What if you say what you really want to say and do what you really want to do? Well then, you would feel unbelievably free!


We are given a precious life with limitless opportunity to feel emotion and follow our passion. It is important to connect with what we want and not pay attention to people who tell us otherwise.


So this is my challenge to you: explore.

And by explore I mean really look into yourself and see what it is that you want. Take a pen and paper right now and write down a few of the things that you really enjoy doing, things that bring you happiness- they could be small things or big things- remember, value can be found in many of the simple things in life. 

Now you have a base, a place to start from. Do those things. Today.

And at the same time, be open to experience more of the things that you think would excite you- that would make you want to wake up in the morning. Take another piece of paper and write down those things that you simply haven't done, or are too scared to do. Now go out and do them! And if they are big things, remember that consistency is key- so small achievements every day lead to massive outcomes.

Often we get caught in "thinking" about what we should do, rather than "feeling" what we want to do. We listen to others' opinions and try to find reassurance that what we want to do is going to be the "right" thing. And this can be counter-productive.

So in this case, just be spontaneous. Don't give yourself too much time to think. Just do. Trust me, the fears are just fears. Because when we actually do what we want, we realize that what we feared is rarely true. 

Break the barriers, push the limits, talk to a stranger, write a book, attend an event, plan a trip, do something just because you feel like it- whatever this may be.

Blessings,

Julie


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Live Richly Without Being Rich


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Sometimes we forget that the little things in life mean a lot. We too often forget that its those simple things that can bring us an incredible sense of fulfillment and pleasure. Yes, intense pleasure. Of course it is important to have a long-term plan in life, to have goals. It is important to figure out the big stuff like where we want to live, what career we want to have, what kind of partner we want to be with and so on. But, at the same time that we patiently work towards achieving our dreams and success, there is nothing stopping us from enjoying the simple things. We have access to experiencing these simple pleasures right now. It is simply a matter of choice.
We don't need money, or very little of it to experience these simple things.

- a warm coffee or tea in a cozy shop
- a sunset or sunrise
- the company of a good friend
- a walk in nature
- a warm bath
- an organized and refreshed room
- a good song
- smelling a flower

And many, many more. You can continue the list. 

So why do so many of us forget to take the time to do these things? Because they are so simple and small that we forget how important they are. Yes, it is easy to do them. But it is also easy not to do them. 

That is why we have to use our awareness to realize that they are important. Until we are actually experiencing them, we often forget the pleasure they bring.

So all it takes is a conscious mindset that abundance is not only in the big things, but in the little things as well.

And very often, at the end of the day, we realize that what we thought were the little things are actually the big things. 

There is so much value in taking the time to refine the quality of our life experience by simply reminding ourselves to do the small things every day.

Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to figure out my life's purpose and making big goals and decisions that I forget that happiness is something that can be fully experienced today. Now, as a matter of fact. Yes, achieving the big things that we want brings much happiness, but it is the process of getting to those big things that is truly fulfilling. And the process involves finding those little moments in life, and cherishing them. Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. This is an art and it deserves to be mastered.

Blessings,

Julie


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Getting Addicted to True Happiness

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The path to happiness is not always straight, but it is worthwhile. Since happiness is different to each person, it is not something that we can achieve by following a set of instructions on how we "should" live our lives. Nobody can tell us exactly what it is that makes each of us excited, what ignites our spark. You are the one who knows yourself the best, because you are the only one experiencing your life. 

 Along the path of true happiness, there are two things we must always remind ourselves of:

1 There is absolutely no need to please anyone else because the people that have your best interest at heart will want you to do what makes you happy

2 Nobody can define your happiness and wants in life better than you. Yes, we need some life experience to see what it is that we want and don't want. Yes, we will need guidance of people who can teach us a lot. But in the end, we must take what feels true and real from each of the inspiring people or resources in our lives and create our own unique belief system that defines the choices we make for our happiness. It is important to make the choice that feels right to YOU.

A very powerful thing I've learned on my own happiness journey is the value of experience.  It takes experience of happiness to truly believe in it. That is why the fight is hardest at the beginning. But once we know what we are fighting for, once we know the exhilarating and liberating feeling, there is no going back.

At the beginning of my journey,  experience hadn't yet stepped into my life and body to show me what I was fighting for.  In the beginning it was hard to believe because I didn't yet know what it feels like to be around positive and inspiring people, to make choices from the heart, to follow my intuition and to feel truly happy. But now I know. And that is why, no matter what anyone else says, you should follow what you believe is possible.

 I started becoming conscious of my choices about three years ago. That was when I started asking myself every time, "Is this choice going to make me happy?" and "Is this person someone I feel good around?" At the beginning it was hard. It was very hard. You know why? Because I was concerned with pleasing people, I was concerned with doing what I "should" do rather than what I really wanted. But with time, I came to know and experience the life I truly want and now I am addicted. 
 I want to share my addiction with you! 

You should never settle for less. Dreams start in the heart, they start inside. We imagine them. But with focus and a sound belief in ourselves, we have it all in us to create them, to make them real and to share them with others.

 Blessings,

Julie


Monday, 3 December 2012

Who are Your Friends? (+ my story)


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There was a time in my life when I didn't have real friends. When I didn't know what it feels like to have people in your life who genuinely care for your well-being and happiness. I didn't know what it feels like to have people in my life who support me no matter what, who I can trust to be there when I need them.
A few years ago I had friends and many of them, but these relationships were superficial- most of these people are no longer in my life now because I realized that they weren't the positive, inspiring and supportive connections I want in my life.

When I realized this, I spent a period of time feeling lonely. I wasn't going to settle for meaningless relationships. And then, slowly but surely, I searched to find people who shared my values, people who I still have in my life. Until you know what you can experience by actually experiencing it, it is hard to convince ourselves that what we want is out there. But let me tell you, it is! And sometimes this means setting limits on the "toxic" relationships in our lives, to create space for meaningful ones. Now I know what it feels like to have people who you truly feel connected to and people who genuinely care.

It is important to never settle for less than what we deserve. If we are investing our effort and dedication into relationships, we must spend our time with dedicated people.

And how do you know if a relationship is meaningful? You will know that a person is positively impacting your life when after you spend time with them, you feel energized and free to be who YOU are. Real friends don't expect you to be anyone else other than your true self.

One thing I learned about finding real friends is that they don't just simply appear. Waiting for the perfect friend might keep you waiting forever. We need to consciously go out and do what we love, follow our passion and immerse ourselves in the environments that we want to be in. When we follow our passion, we attract passionate people.

Another thing I've learned about creating meaningful relationships is that after we meet those people who we "click" with, it is our responsibility to show that we care. Simply said, be the friend that you want to have.

When I realized how blessed I am to have meaningful relationships in my life, I make sure to let those people know how much I care about them. 

Blessings,

Julie


Thursday, 29 November 2012

When You Feel Like Giving Up



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So things didn't go as you planned. Life's unexpected ways have crept into your life and you don't know what to do anymore. You thought you had it all figured out until something happens and you need to learn how to do things differently. Things are changing. You step into uncertainty, struggling to keep your balance.

Someone once told me that we can't have happiness without sadness. It took me a while to accept this. To see that there is a certain life cycle that we must embrace. I had to watch this cycle run its course a few times before realizing that we are human beings meant to experience many different emotions. And yes, some are painful. 

But also, I realized something else. We can experience a difficult emotion like sadness at different points in our lives, but sometimes we suffer more. Why do we suffer more sometimes? Because we resist the experience. We ignore the emotion and expect ourselves to go on being happy 100% of the time.

Removing this resistance and allowing ourselves to feel and express what is present, makes the whole experience of any emotion very different. We don't feel stuck, we are going with the flow and allowing the natural process to take place. Difficult emotions run their course and then make room for happiness.

At any point in our lives, we can find freedom- even during hard times of change and loss, where we lose our energy and feel like giving up.

Of course, it is easier to feel free when we are happy. But we can also become free with uncomfortable emotion by letting go of our resistance to it and reminding ourselves of a few important things:

1 Each and every one of us experiences both ups and downs in our life, we are never alone

2 There is no "right" way to be, the realest we feel is when we are present to what is

Let go of the guilt tied to expressing uncomfortable emotions- there is nothing "bad" about allowing yourself to be human, whatever the emotion is

And remember, the tide always comes back, hard times eventually pass and leave us with more strength and knowledge than we would have ever imagined.

Blessings,

Julie


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Take Some Time to Let Loose!


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As we grow older and the responsibilities in our lives pile up, we sometimes forget to simply play. To be silly and thoughtless. Even though I am a firm believer in setting goals and planning for the future, I also think its important to savor the moment. Savoring the moment means being spontaneous and listening to our inner voice that sometimes just wants to be a kid and play. It is important to make conscious decisions and take consistent actions towards our goals, but doing this ALL the time can become exhausting. The truth is that we need everything- we need to do things that bring meaning and purpose into our lives as well as doing the things just for the sake of doing them- because we can and because we feel like doing them in the moment. All of this can be summed up in one word- balance. Here are some of the specific ways in which we can add some playtime into our daily lives and achieve balance:

1 Laugh 45 minutes every day!

As I think about the importance of daily laughter, I think back to my first blog post, "The Power of Laughter".(http://breathingeverymoment.blogspot.ca/2012/05/day-without-laughter-is-day-wasted.html) Now I realize why I felt so inclined to write my first post about laughter- it is a powerful and life-changing thing. The benefits of laughter are strikingly similar to those of a daily workout- more energy, a more positive outlook on life, increased confidence and creativity and a stronger core. So read some jokes, make ridiculous facial expressions, freak people out as you question your sanity and spend time with people who make you laugh and realize that life doesn't have to be taken so seriously!

2 Be Mindless

Being mindless means giving our over-active brains a break. Remember when someone told you to "just lose yourself" in the music? Well this phrase refers to just that. Our rational minds help us make sense of things, but great things are also realized through connecting to our hearts.  We often doubt the voice of the heart, that tells us to do things that we feel like doing. We want to reason our actions before they are done, but let me tell you, sometimes we realize why we did what we did after. And sometimes there doesn't need to be a reason- let yourself play simply because it feels good! 

 Run around your house naked, listen to an upbeat song and let your body go wild (I love Scatman, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cnQCk0u49w), call a friend to simply hear their voice and ask them about their day, send a dirty text to someone you like, play an instrument, sing a song, plan a last minute trip, bang some pots and pans, dress up, waste some money, take a bubble bath, cry about something that has been eating away at your soul and release that emotion once and for all, buy an instrument and play it, grow your hair, cut your hair, have sex, paint something, scream- the list goes on.

3 Don't be so hard on yourself!

Give yourself a chance to be imperfect and make mistakes.  Give yourself permission to not try so hard, to let go of the person you think you "should" be. Wear red pants, talk to strangers, eat some cake, watch a stupid movie, slouch, kick your feet up- whatever  your version of "imperfect" is. Allow yourself to be silly and let go of doing everything "the right way" all the time. And for the record, there is not "right" way to do things- this is your life and you decide what is right for YOU.

Blessings,

Julie

Monday, 26 November 2012

Fucking Fear.


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What is the biggest thing that holds us back from following our heart and doing what we feel? Fear. Fear of failing, fear of looking foolish, fear of others' opinions. Most of the time, the fears that hold us back are not life-threatening, yet they still hold us back. We are so concerned with what might go wrong or what others will think of us that we hold back on a lot of actions. We spend more time in our heads, rationalizing and analyzing than doing the things that we truly want.

Before I continue with this blog, consider this question:

What do you really want?

Not what others want from you or what you think you "should" do. What do you really want?

Knowing what you want can start with small things. And as you focus on the little things you want in each in your life, they become big things, goals, passions. Knowing what you want starts with an awareness of your life experiences. After every experience, ask yourself if it brought you happiness, ignited an inner spark or provided you with new insight or information. If it did, then make it something that you want or would like to create more of in your life. And if it didn't, then learn from the experience and let it go. Move on.

The more we experience, the more we learn and the more we define what it is that we want. (or what brings us happiness, we all want to do what makes up happy right?)  Conscious Experience not only exposes us to the things that add to our list of things that we want, but it also pushes us past our limits. We learn that we are more capable and powerful than we previously thought.

Usually we have an idea of the kinds of things we might like to try. Yet we never actually pursue them because we are not sure. Well let me tell you something: you won't know what you like for sure until you actually experience it! And this is where facing fear comes into place.

We are so fearful of "what might happen" but really, our fears are just fears. The things we fear rarely happen.

Over the past few years I have developed the "so what" philosophy. Saying "so what?" is a way of challenging our fears and showing ourselves that it is never as bad as we think it is. Here are the "so whats" I tell myself in the face of fear. Beside each question you will find a response/affirmation of what will actually happen in each case.

1 So what if I fail or make a mistake?  I will learn and know what to do better next time. There is nothing bad about making a mistake. The most successful people are not afraid of failing.

2 So what if I look foolish? What I look like is not important. This is my life and doing what makes me happy is the most important thing. The people who support me aren't concerned with appearances.

3 So what if other people judge me? Yes, there will be people who don't see what you see, who don't understand you. But then again, there are people who do, and support you in following your passion. Who cares about the others!

So this is my proposition to you. Face your fears and take risks. Experience life with awareness and as you define your wants and sources of happiness. Find people who support you on your journey and let go of the people who don't. And learn- there is more to gain than lose. 

Blessings,

Julie



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Just Be Honest.


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Yes, being honest is not always easy, but it is better. It saves you time and energy and life is much more simple. Being honest with yourself and others is one of the best habits to have in life. Honesty and straightforwardness is appreciated in the professional world and I'm sure that if you asked someone close to you for their opinion, you'd want it to be an honest one, right? 

Now I am not vouching for perfection here, nobody is 100% honest all of the time. We are not superheroes. But what I am vouching for, is an awareness of how honest we are with ourselves and others.

To be honest, we must first value honesty. We must believe that it will improve our lives. Why do I value honesty?

1 It allows me to discover who I truly am and what my desires are

2 I have formed deeper connections with people

3 I have found freedom in being the rawest, realest version of myself, letting go of the expectation's that others have of me

Now before I continue, I want to illustrate something (It will make more sense later)

The thoughts we think
The way we feel
The way we speak and act  

The point of this illustration is to show that everything starts with the way we think. Now there is no need to force ourselves to change the way we think. Start by simply being aware of the way you think of yourself. Sometimes just observing our thought patterns and noticing their negative effects is enough to make us want to change.

It's not about decreasing your dishonest thoughts, but increasing the honest ones. If you simply focus on strengthening an honest relationship with yourself, it will naturally cause anything that is false and meaningless to lose its power, validity and affect on your feelings and actions. 

So I challenge you to raise your awareness and ask yourself these questions.
1 What are my thoughts/my inner dialogue? What is true? What do I tell myself that isn't true? 

We often tell ourselves things that aren't true without realizing it- these thoughts come from a place of fear. For example, we are afraid that people won't accept us for who we really are so we say mean things about ourselves- these thoughts are not true!

2 How do I really feel right now?

3 How do I act and what do I say to others? Is it a true reflection of who I am?


A famous quote says, "Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else." Why? Because it saves energy and makes you feel more real and alive. Sounds very simple. But with society expecting us to be and act a certain way, we sometimes lose sight of ourselves. So be YOU, and I promise you, it will feel better knowing that the people in your life respect you for who you truly are.

And this is the really amazing thing: when you become completely honest with yourself, being honest with others is a whole lot easier. 

Blessings,

Julie

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Myth: Dreaming is Only for Children


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"Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."

~ Will Smith

We all have dreams and things we want to achieve. We envision a certain future for ourselves. But as we get older, we sometimes lose sight of our dream and settle for a life that isn't entirely fulfilling.

There are two reasons why we settle:

1 We don't think we deserve better

2 We don't think we are capable of achieving better


I think that it is important for us to shift our mindset to see that there is no "right way" to live our lives. The way is to do what makes us happy, whatever this may be.

Another thing to know is that there is no limit to what we can achieve. What we think we can achieve is what we will achieve. Therefore, if we want to achieve more, we need to rid ourselves of all limits and conditions.

Following your heart is a journey that has its challenges, but it is a journey worth traveling. Life will have its challenges whichever path you choose to follow, so you might as well follow the path of your heart.

Pursuing a life of happiness is always worth it. Yes, it does require belief in yourself and a great deal of commitment, courage and persistence but at the end of the day, you will be happy and your life experience will be a meaningful one.
 
It may seem easier to simply do what others are doing or what is expected of you, but this path is not quite as fulfilling.  I say forget what other people expect of you and do what YOU want, knowing that anything is possible. Connect to YOU and what you want out of life, as an individual, and I promise that the whole journey will be filled with adventure, meaning and happiness.

Blessings,

Julie

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Instant Calm: Take A Bath!


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  If you haven't taken a bath in the past week, you might want to reconsider. Bath time is crucial for relaxation and maintaining overall balance in your life. I swear by the bath, I could write a whole book about the benefits of taking a bath and all the things you can do during bath time. Setting aside 20 mins-1 hour for a bath might just be the worthwhile investment that improves the way you feel every day. It is inexpensive and easy- find the time and I guarantee your success.

Taking a bath will provide you will the following benefits:
1 A relaxed and renewed body and mind

2 A chance to connect with your spiritual self as you nurture your body, mind and soul

3 The opportunity to stop for a moment and reflect on your life: are there certain needs that you have neglected to take care of? Do you feel supported? Are you supporting and nurturing yourself?

4 A fun, peaceful, nourishing, fulfilling and perhaps adventurous time!

And on one cautionary note: You might want to set an alarm or maintain awareness throughout your bath so as to not fall asleep from feeling so happy and relaxed!

My recommendation of bubble bath:  Ombra Foam Bath

Having a few candles is imperative for your bath (for people with low bath budgets, dollar store candles will do. And for those who are willing to invest a few more bath bucks, head over to Winners or Michaels for bigger, scented candles)

As I said, I could write a whole book about all the things you can do during a bath- the list is endless. (This is why I received numerous bottles of bubble bath for my birthday) Here are my favorites:

1 Listen to Music and Meditate on the Breath

Putting these three things together is a combination destined for wellness! Calming instrumental or vocal music is the best ( Classical music is great. I also love Enya, a very calming vibe that will bring you closer to your spiritual self)

2 Read a Book...or Write One!

Pull out your favorite book or magazine or print an article from the internet that you would enjoy reading. Or, pick up your journal and start a book of your own! (Be careful with the candles, as you will need to bring them closer to you. If anything, they will just fall into the water)

3 Eat and Drink

Bring the dinner, wine and cookies over to the bath and experience something new- simply said. Anything you normally eat can be transported to the bath environment.

Blessings,

Julie

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Do You Have Real Friends?

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We are a product of our environment and this includes the people in it. Your friends have a huge influence on the way you think, feel and act. I believe that we have total control of becoming the person we want to become. The friends we choose to be around most can do one of two things:

1 Inspire our growth to become the person we want to be

2 Stunt our growth and limit us from becoming the person we want to be

With this in mind, it is important to first be aware of the kind of people who are around us in our lives now.  Then ask yourself this question: are these people inspiring me to become the best version of myself? If they are, great. And if they are not, it may be time to find people who appreciate the best in you. 

Real friends see the best in you, support you no matter what you are doing, encourage, inspire, challenge and help you stay strong during tough times. Real friends share in your joys as well, holding your hand as you walk your destined path.  

When Demi Lovato came out of rehab, she did a friend cleanse, knowing that to be her happiest self she would need to be around supportive people.

"I weeded out people who didn't have my best interests at heart. Now I have friends who love me for who I am and don't care about what I'm doing." (Demi Lovato)

Commit to people who really care about you. Inspire and support and be inspired and supported. I remember when I didn't have real friends in my life- especially since I was going through a lot of stress at the time, everything became more challenging. Now I have amazing people around me who I feel more than blessed to have. Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find the people you need, but believe me, they are out there. Don't ever settle for less than what you know you deserve.

Blessings,

Julie

Monday, 19 November 2012

Express Yourself!

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I think that too often we keep our thoughts and emotions to ourselves. Weather we are going through a challenging time where the emotion is deep and painful or a happy time where the emotion is exhilarating, expressing that emotion will make it feel real. Remember, all emotions are beautiful and expressing them for what they are will allow you to experience their natural cycle. Two important things to know. When you express yourself:

1 Challenging emotion will be released: expressing pain, anger and sadness is the best way to let it be released, take its natural course and pass.
 
2 Positive emotion will be amplified: who doesn't want to feel the ecstasy of an orgasm amplified? In this case, when you express yourself vocally or have a more open and honest connection with your partner, you will feel free and there is nothing to hold back - you are allowing your mind and body to be fully present in the experience.

Now you may be wondering about the specific forms in which you can express yourself. Here are 7:

1 Tell Somone

Call up, text, email or meet with a friend or someone who you know will encourage and support you no matter what it is you are going through. Have a heart-to-heart and tell them what's really going on!

2 Take a Video or Picture

So you are taking a walk and you come across some beautiful trees. Breathe in the beauty and before the moment passes, capture it. Take a photo or video.

3 Write

Write a song or poem, start a blog or simply keep a personal journal. (Indigo sells lovely journals) Inject your writing with your pain, happiness, anger or joy- whatever emotion is present.

Be Spontaneous!

Do something without thinking, do it from the heart. Tell someone you care about how you really feel about them. Dance in the shower. Scream on a mountain. Walk around your house naked. Wear a cowboy hat next time you clean your room. Whatever it is, be YOU and express what is real.

Blessings,

Julie

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Art of Self-Compassion



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Sometimes when we need it the most, we forget to take care of ourselves. There is a time for everything- to be busy and then there is a time to quiet the mind and free the spirit. It's okay to take a break and practice loving ourselves.

Hard times are the best times to take care of ourselves. Instead of punishing ourselves for not being able to deal with challenges as we expect to, lets inject some self love.

1 Just Breathe

Oxygen is a basic need. It is essential to our survival and it is also free! Practicing breathing deeply can go a long way. Try lying down on the solid ground with a candle burning and the lights down.

2 Lean on Friends for Support

Isolating ourselves during challenging times may be what we want to do- get away from the world so to speak. But is is important to participate, act and reach out for support. Encouragement and kind words from good friends is something I feel very blessed to have. Sometimes we get caught up in thinking that we are a burden to others by asking for help. But it is actually the other way around- good friends are glad to help. We create stories in our minds about what people think about us when really, people are mostly thinking about themselves!

3 Cherish Today

Live for the moment. Practice mindfulness. (Here is a link to my article on mindfulness: http://breathingeverymoment.blogspot.ca/2012/09/what-is-mindfulness.html)
Use your senses to experience the world, observe beauty and give the analytical mind a break.

4 It's Okay to be Okay

Nobody is perfect. We are not superheros. We don't feel ecstatically happy all the time and feeling okay is okay! The truth is that all emotions are beautiful, including sadness and anger. Sometimes we need to embrace the lows to have the highs.

5 Everything Always Works Out: Trust the Process

Call it the work of God or some other spiritual means, there is an explainable way that things work out at the end of the day. Trust that you are exactly where you need to be. Embrace the beauty of whatever you are going through and let nature do its work.

6  Take Relaxing Seriously

When you relax, fully commit to relaxing- simply stated. This way, your body, mind and spirit will benefit the most.

7 Put a Stop to Self-Judegment

Many of us are super hard on ourselves in a negative way.  This doesn't help, especially during a challenging time.  And there is no "right way" to be or act. Also, we often think that others are judging us. And maybe some people are- but who cares about these people! Our true friends don't judge. So act with the fear or whatever internal chaos is present, knowing that there is no "right way" to feel and participate in life! Don't hold back.

Blessings,

Julie 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Why Never Giving up is Always Worth It

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Sometimes life gets challenging and things don't go as we expect. All of a sudden, you don't have the same energy and it's harder to do the things you usually do. When emotional baggage piles up, we reach a tipping point and sometimes all we want to do it give up, stop what we are doing and hide from the world. Throughout my personal journey, there were times when I wanted to give up. Now I realize why I didn't and what makes the whole journey worth it, even when times are tough. Consider this quote:
 




"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for this is just the place and time that the tide will turn."

I have found this statement to be very true. Things can change very quickly and holding on just a moment longer could mean the world. Whatever doesn't kill you definitely makes you stronger and wiser. Tough times teach us to be patient. They also help us grow, gain perspective and realize how strong we really are. With an open mind during tough times, we learn ways to support ourselves, develop lifelong habits, find people who show us the way and ultimately define what we want out of life.

We can't eliminate suffering and challenge, but we can face it with courage and a set of valuable life tools that give us comfort, vision and strength during such times. Here are some examples of valuable tools:
  • A positive support system of friends
  • Good sleep, a, balanced diet and regular exercise
  • Planning and setting realistic goals 
The powerful point here is how we face challenge. Using the right tools can go a long way in making things more manageable.

Also, keeping an open mind is very helpful. This means being open to support and opportunities. What you need could be waiting just around the corner. Things can change quickly. And it is important to hold on, even when we want to give up, because life has so much in store for us-  adventures, beautiful places to see and inspiring relationships.






Saturday, 27 October 2012

Inspiring Action

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 During a challenging time, it is often our natural habit to avoid facing the emotion of it. Facing anger, pain or discouragement is not fun or easy. We try to ignore the emotion, hoping that the good times will come around the corner. However, I have learned that it is through the power of facing the present emotion that we find the motivation to take action. It is through this process that we can feel real. It is through facing present emotion that we can address our needs and make changes.

Avoiding a present emotion means resistance. Resisting emotion, no matter how unpleasant it is, is what will actually be the cause of exhaustion. Now you may be wondering, "How am I going to feel motivated by facing by pain?" And the answer is this: you will feel motivated because the pain is what is real and by facing it you will realize what you need to do to cope with it and support yourself. And it is through doing this (feeling the low) that you allow the other emotions to come. (joy, comfort). It is by facing the present emotion during a challenging time, without self-judgement (this can be a form of resistance that prevents you from feeling the emotion as it is and giving respect to your emotions) , that inspired action takes place. I have been through this process myself and have realized a few things. Let me share them with you:

1 We are always stronger than we think:

Often, we underestimate our ability to deal with challenges, to face them with courage. We forget to believe in ourselves and trust that challenging times always pass. Because they do. We all have, within us, strength that is beyond what we can explain or imagine. We all have an inner drive. The first and most challenging time of my life (2010) was the hardest because I didn't have the support, the perspective and the tools that I have now. And even so, I still got through it. I realized my own strength. I have seen this strength in others- it is in each and every one of us.

2 Having a support system goes a long way:

During a challenging time, it is much easier to stay strong and inspired when we feel supported. And by this, I mean having positive relationships with people who you know will be there for you in times of need. A real friend will be by your side, even through the hardest time. Also, having role models (friends, people who have done what you want to do, people who have succeeded in achieving their dreams) is a great support and inspiration. 


3 There is great power in facing present emotion:

Seeing a challenge for what it is and feeling the uncomfortable emotion that comes along with it, is a powerful thing. Avoiding what is present can be distracting. Without being aligned to the way you feel right now, it is harder to see what it is that you really need, what you need to move forward. It is harder to connect with intuition and engage in the natural flow of life. Addressing what is present is the best way to take meaningful action. Think about it: you are doing what it is that you need, according to how you feel right now. It doesn't get more real than that. And it is through nurturing you way through challenge by connecting with your present needs that the challenge will pass.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Stepping into Uncertainty

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

About two years ago, I stepped into uncertainty. I was living in a mess of negative, limiting and toxic thoughts. The environments I was in were toxic as well, and therefore I felt unsupported and suffocated. I knew that there must be something else out there and there must be people who agree with me. At the time, this was a dream- I didn't realize that happiness and freedom would turn into my reality. It still blows my mind how I was able to create a different life for myself. I changed everything that was making me sick, literally. I stopped wasting energy on toxic and negative relationships and gave up everything I knew. I won't tell you that it was all easy, fun and games as they say. But all the challenges that I have been through have made me stronger and shown me perspective. And with this in mind, I can tell you that making changes in your life for happiness is always worth it. Instead of looking at challenging situations as obstacles and limitations, you will see them as chances to grow and learn. You are on the path of doing what makes you happy, and therefore the challenges that you face are simply opportunities to teach you more about the path that you are on.

On my journey so far, there are a few important things I have learned that I want to share with you here. They have helped me a lot to stay strong, see abundance and find happiness.

An Open Mind

Being open-minded brings abundance, opportunities and surprises! I know this sounds like a broad term and really, it is, because you can be open-minded in so many ways. Here are a few specific ways to show you what I mean:

 - Approach a stranger and be the first to strike up a conversation (you never know what new things you can learn from someone who is living a completely different life than you)

- Take an online course for the purpose of simply gaining knowledge. Sites such as ---https://www.coursera.org/--- offer an array of courses covering different topics.

-  Change up your look. Style your hair differently from how you usually do it, wear lipstick (for the ladies) or invest in a new scent

- Try a new food to experience another culture

- Attend a service for a religion that is not yours

- If you are used to the city, spend a day or two in the country. Or the other way around, if the country is your homeland

- Learn a new skill or hobby such as gardening or photography.

- Take a class in something you have never tried before (meditation and pottery classes are always great)

There are many others ways to get into the habit of being open to all that life has to offer. Pick one of these and try it out!

Trusting Yourself

Throughout my own journey, I have learned to trust myself. So many times we doubt our first instincts. Often we want something, but then it becomes clouded by what we think we "should do" or what others expect of us. However, this can be destructive because you are not listening to your needs. Listening to your heart is what will bring you happiness and help you grow in the direction that you want.

This is what the counter-intuitive model of thinking looks like:

Instinct of what you need to do thoughts of inadequacy, fear, reasons to not take action, expectations of others → natural instinct becomes unclear or lost

I learned to replace a limited mind frame with one that brings me freedom and opportunity. Here is what is looks like:

Felt Instinct Inspired Action

As you might have noticed, this second train of thought avoids an entire step. This is the stage that we often spend far too much time in. It is a space of doubt and fear. It is important to realize that our fears are often greater than anything that will actually happen. What is important to know is that taking a risk or being open to change is usually a positive thing. An instinct is a sign of a opportunity to improve our life- act on it!

Let these insights bring you closer to your vision of happiness. And remember, there are always opportunities to grow and discover new and exciting things.

Blessings,

Julie


Monday, 15 October 2012

The Courage to Grow



The more of life we experience, the more we know and therefore the greater our perspective becomes. Truly experiencing life is what makes us grow and realize what it is that we truly want. And what does it mean to truly experience life? It means taking risks, facing fear, being open to opportunities, trusting yourself, pushing your limits, learning from challenges and taking consistent action in the direction of your passion because you know that at the end of the day you are doing what is right for you. Putting forth that courage to experience life in this way is worth a lot. Being courageous involves taking action, despite what the result may be. For info on the power of taking action and specific ways to take action, refer to the following article: http://breathingeverymoment.blogspot.ca/2012/09/the-power-of-taking-action.html
Being courageous involves doing what you feel is right, making decisions for yourself and having confidence in these decisions, knowing that at the end of the day each choice you make to take action will result in growth. In this article, I will outline the specific ways that you can use your courage to gain the most from your life experience.

1 You Take Risks and Face Fear

Having courage means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and facing the unknown. It means doing things that you don't usually do. It means saying "yes!" to discomfort and uncertainty because you know that experiencing new things will allow you to discover what you like or don't like. Experiencing new things gives you the opportunity to become clear about your values and preferences. The more you experience, the more you push your limits, the stronger and more focused you become.

2 You Set Goals and Face your Challenges

Being courageous means identifying the things that you want, creating goals out of them and facing the challenge of achieving them, while realizing that you are more powerful than you previously believed yourself to be. What do you want? By setting goals, you are giving yourself the opportunity to achieve the things that you want. Do you want to travel? Meet new and interesting people? Learn a new skill? Redecorate your living space? Whatever it is that you want, you have the power to create it. So set short-term and long-term goals by actually writing them down. Also, know that the challenges you face as you work towards achieving your goals are the perfect opportunities to gather your courage and tell yourself that no matter what the challenge is, you will find a way to handle it.

3 You Welcome Change

When things don't work, changes need to be made. If a situation is not making us feel good, this is when we need to become aware of what is not working and what we can do to create positive change. Resisting change is unhealthy. And by resisting I mean letting yourself become a victim to the negative effects of a situation. Sometimes we become comfortable in the way things are because trying something new is scary. But this is where courage comes in. Be courageous and tell yourself that as long as you are doing something that doesn't feel good, you won't know what else is out there. The only way to find what does work is to take action and try new things.

Change of plans:

We make plans for the day, the week and our lives, but sometimes plans need to be changed. Perhaps the plan we set in place becomes something we don't want or need anymore. This is the perfect time to be courageous, refocus, reset our priorities and create a new path of action. Often, new and better opportunities present themselves. In this situation, it is great to be flexible and spontaneous and allow for better things to come our way despite the change of plans.

4 You Follow your Passion no Matter What

It takes courage to be independent, do what you want and follow your passion. But this courage is worth a lot because you are investing in your own future. Following your heart may mean being on your own because you are not doing what other people are doing. You are doing what you want to do instead of following society's expectation of what "should be done". Well let me tell you that there is no "right" way to do things. It is through following your heart that you will find the most meaning. This is the greatest step of courage and always a worthwhile one.







Sunday, 14 October 2012

Creating Meaningful Relationships

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Do you have people in your life who you know would be there for you if you needed them? Are those people supportive and caring? And do you want to know how you can contribute more to a relationship (any kind) to make it meaningful and inspired? In this article I will talk about the specific ways in which you can find meaning in a relationship or add more meaning to one.

1 First Find People Like You

By "find people like you" I am talking about not settling. Don't settle in relationships with people who bring you down with negativity or whatever else that is unhelpful and destructive. Don't waste your precious time and energy on people who are not making an effort to see beauty and be happy. Be with people who share the same values as you.

2 The Equal Exchange

In a relationship where both people involved feel good, there is equality. An equal exchange involves both contributing and receiving. Therefore, while you put your time, energy, commitment and effort into a relationship, the other person is also doing the same for you. Maybe you have more that you can contribute to a relationship to make it deeper. Or maybe it is the other way around: you have much to give, but the person isn't providing you with the support that you need. In this case, it is wise to simply not invest in the relationship- we can affect our own actions and decisions, but we cannot control the decisions of other people.

3 Listen

Yes, I know this sounds very simple, but it can often be challenging. I used to be a terrible listener! I hardly listened to what others had to say because I was thinking only about what I wanted to say. What I didn't understand then was that it wouldn't matter very much  if I didn't "get it all out". What I now know is this: if something is very important, you will remember it. Otherwise, fully listening to the other person is the most important thing you can do. Because when you listen to the other person, they feel appreciated, you will have relevant things to say to them, and they will most likely be more willing to listen to you! There is an equal exchange here and definitely a great opportunity to build a meaningful connection.

4 Swap Complaining with Asking for Help

Complaining to someone about a problem is not helpful and a waste of your precious energy. And by complaining, I mean talking negatively about a situation just to enforce how bad it is. This is very different from asking for help. If you have a problem and either need to release emotion or receive support in dealing with it, this is when asking for help is a great thing to do- it shows strength and incentive.

5 Appreciate the Good

Really take the time to see all the great things in the people around you. See them and appreciate them because in being grateful, the fulfillment you gain in your relationships will be increased.

6 Honesty is Always the Way

An honest relationship is worth more than any amount of lying and game-playing to maintain a fake one. Being honest to others about your feelings is the best way to have strong and long-lasting relationships. You can be yourself and there is nothing to hide. So be honest about how you feel, share your ideas and opinions in a constructive way and see the difference. See that you don't have to spend energy pretending to be someone you are not.

7 Eye contact!

Simple and powerful. When talking to someone, look them in the eye and really focus on what they are saying. It shows that you care, have respect and are interested. In doing this, you will gain more respect from others and connect with them on a deep level.

Now go out and own this day!

Julie