Saturday, 27 October 2012

Inspiring Action
 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 
"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 --- 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.



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:
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

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!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Shifting A Difficult Day
Let me just start off by saying that in some way or another, we all struggle. We all go through pain. Sometimes I feel unmotivated and it is a challenge to get through a day. But with the right tools, it is completely possible to transform pain into power in less time than you expect. As you read through this article, keep in mind one thing: struggle, pain and challenge are uncomfortable to deal with but they are also opportunities to learn, grow, gain perspective and ultimately become your strongest and most independent self. If you are going through a difficult time or need some perspective when a challenge arises, refer to these powerful pointers:

1 Face the Feelings
I know this may seem like the last thing you want to do. Who wants to face pain and discomfort? However, ignoring emotions won't make them go away. Be courageous. With a nurturing and non-judgmental approach, be with what is. For it is by doing this that you allow the pain to come and go in it's natural cycle.

2 Seek Support

There is absolutely no need to struggle alone- simply stated. Yes, there is a certain pride in being able to do things on your own, but the truth is that we all need help sometimes. When I need help, I reach out to my support system- it is not always easy to expose myself and become vulnerable to others, but it is incredibly helpful. Reaching out for support shows strength, not a lack of it. It shows that you know what you need.

3 Be Open

Often when we are struggling with emotion, we retreat into our protective shell. And by this, I mean that we disconnect from the world and the people in it. However, during times of struggle, having an open mind and heart is an especially powerful thing. Because by being open to opportunity and connection, you might find what it is that you need. For example, you might receive much-needed support from a stranger (this has happened to me!) or an opportunity to do something that you want (this has happened to me too!)

4 Nurture Yourself

When we feel down, sometimes the last thing we want to do is take care of ourselves. But I say challenge this and tell yourself, "I deserve to feel good." So feed yourself, exercise, take a bath, rest and be kind to yourself in whatever way that is for you.

5 Keep Doing what you Do

As I mentioned in my previous point about being open, it is also important to keep doing the things that you enjoy, even if you don't feel like doing anything. And let me tell you something: you don't need to put 100%. Put 70% instead. Don't be hard on yourself, but continue to take consistent action in doing the things that bring you happiness and drive your passion.

Take care and blessings,


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Claim your Ultimate Freedom

Do you feel ultimately free in your life? Or are you living to please others? Do you consider your own happiness when making a decision? Or are you worried about what others will think about you if you do something that sets you apart from what most people are doing? Free yourself from these limits by:

1 Doing What you Love

What do you truly enjoy doing? What is your passion? There is no better time to follow your passion than right now. The time and energy we spend on this earth is so precious and it is a fulfilling thought to know that we are spending our time doing the things that bring us happiness. And if people expect you to do what they are doing and are not supporting your passion, don't listen to them. It's not worth it. Life is too short to live anyone elses' life other than your own.

2 Setting Your Standards High

Sometimes we don't realize how truly powerful we are, how much potential we have to achieve great things. In order to gain all that life has to offer, it is important not to settle. And by this I mean settle with a group of negative friends or a job that doesn't bring happiness. Set impossible goals and you will be surprised by what you are able to accomplish. Consistent action, determination and focus is bound to bring success.

3 Being Open to Experience Life

Many of us stay within a comfort zone of doing what feels comfortable. We are comfortable when we know that we are doing what others are doing, we feel safe. We are comfortable in a routine and it is often hard to change if something goes wrong. But I say take the risk. Face the fear. Do the things that you feel like doing, even if you don't know anyone else who is doing them. For you will meet people through doing the things that drive your passion. Try different foods, be open to meeting different people and experience different places.

Be Productive without Sacrificing your Happiness
Have you ever finished a project and realized that the process that you went through to get it done was hurting your health: it simply wasn't worth it. Maybe you procrastinated and  pushed yourself to do it in the last minute. And not only that, you also wanted good results, so you killed yourself in a short amount of time. Whether you are preparing for an exam, getting a work project done, planning a trip or starting up a new health habit (eating healthier, working out), last minute execution is damaging and never worth it. I have been there, suffered the consequences, and realized that the feeling of exhaustion and "burnout" from poor time management and a lack of self-care is destructive to my precious energy and damaging to the future- to recover from a few days of cramming or a week schedule that left out the things needed to maintain health can sometimes take quite a while. Tired of unproductive habits? I will show you the top and proven tips of optimal productivity that actually work:

1 Focus on Productivity not Perfection

Nobody expects you to be perfect, it is only an unrealistic expectation of yourself. Being perfect puts unnecessary pressure, robs your precious energy and is simply not something to be proud of. Expecting perfection and procrastination come hand in hand: your expectations of your project or goal are so high that you put off taking action because you are afraid of letting yourself down. So stop the self-criticism and focus on being productive. Use the strategies here and I will promise you one thing: these productivity strategies not only guarantee success, but don't take away from your health and happiness. 

2 Plan, plan, plan...ahead!

Got a massive project to get done? Divide it into small parts and schedule each component into your planner during the times that you know you will be able and ready to focus. Doing things all at once is the prerequisite for "burnout" and the process may be less rewarding. By planning a project in advance and giving yourself multiple time periods to master it, you are being smart. Each day, you will be able to approach the project with a different angle and you will have the time to re-evaluate: what is working, what is not, what needs improvement. This strategy doesn't just apply to a work project. If you want to get into the habit of being active, for example, trying really hard and killing yourself at the gym once in a while is damaging and doesn't produce any lasting results.

3 Don't Neglect Self-Care

In the midst of getting a work project done, it may be the last thing on our mind to take care of our bodies. But this time, in fact, is when we are in the most need of self-care. "I don't have time to eat or hit the gym", is a popular response. But actually, the time invested into your health, even during a busy time, is going to increase productivity, improve focus and make you feel better overall. It is not necessary to invest a huge amount of time on yourself, but a little effort in this department goes a long way! So during the time when you have the most things on your plate for work, maintain these vital habits:

  • SLEEP: aim for at least 7 hours per night. Sleeping enough works wonders for optimal focus, energy and memory retention. Your body gets a chance to recover and prepare for the day ahead.
  • EAT REGULARLY: eat a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods. This means eating meals that include all food groups. There is no need for perfection here, but making a consistent effort to prepare meals and be mindful about the foods that are going into your body is important.
  • EXERCISE REGULARLY: physical activity is proven to be one of the top stress busters and a powerful tool to be optimally energized, vibrant and at your best self. So get active now! Incorporate this habit regularly into your lifestyle. Create an exercise goal, no matter how small, and stick to it on a consistent basis.
4 Don't Be a Hermit! 

I'm serious, there is no need to sacrifice your social life during a busy work period of a day or couple of days. Even if it means that you have to adjust your plans and opt for a quick coffee break with a friend, it is worth it. Taking a break from yourself and your priorities is a great way to let go, gain some perspective and simply let loose!

4 The Last Resort

If you find yourself running out of time before a project is due, it may be helpful to re-assess your expectations. Remember, it isn't worth it to sacrifice your happiness and well-being. Ask yourself this question: If I just focus on getting this done, maybe not to the best of my ability, but without putting too much pressure on myself, what is the worst that can happen? Will the exact result of what I get done today really matter a year from now? Usually we assume more consequence than what actually ends up happening. If you spend a little less energy and time doing what you have to do, usually it still all works out fine in the end. 

5 Reward and Reassess

 When you finish a project or accomplish a goal, congratulate yourself for your achievement! Go out, watch a movie, take a bath, buy something nice for yourself and do whatever it is that makes you feel good. The main point is that you got it done, there is no need to probe into what worked and what didn't for the purpose of being self-critical. There is also opportunity to learn for the future. So at the same time, notice what you could work on for next time and keep that in mind for the future.