Sweet Dream In a Bag

Published on 10 November 2010 by in Positive Change


A couple weeks ago I attended a “Friends for Others” meeting hosted by a good friend of mine.  This group meets 3 or 4 times a year for fun and friendship, but we always include a charitable agenda.

The most recent gathering was to benefit Sweet Dream In a Bag an organization that provides beautiful and functional bedding packages to displaced children.

We were asked to bring a twin size comforter and/or sheet set.  Sheet shopping is one of my absolute favorite activities, so it was already fun for me.  But I really didn’t have a clue about what was coming.

Sweet Dream in a Bag is the brainchild of Denver’s Susie Fox and Susie was there to tell us about how our bedding would be used and instruct us in assembling our Sweet Dream bags.  Not an extrovert by nature, once Susie started talking, her compassionate heart took over and the magic began.

Susie felt a strong calling to be of service to displaced children.  Remembering how her own room and bed were a sanctuary during a tumultuous childhood, she envisioned creating a Sweet Dream in a Bag containing bedding, pillow, toothbrush, a small stuffed animal and a personalized, positive bedtime story book for each child.  These items are packaged in reusable vinyl bags so the children can transport their Sweet Dreams to new quarters whenever necessary.

Susie had endless stories about the comfort and joy these gifts have brought to children in transitional housing all over Colorado.  We were touched and motivated as she guided us through the step-by-step process of folding and assembling the piles of bedding, pillows and blankets into finished, attractive packages complete with stuffed animals and coordinating ribbon.  I can’t tell you how much fun we had and how worthwhile I feel this ministry is.  It was a really great evening for my soul.

If you live anywhere near Denver, consider hosting a Sweet Dream In a Bag gathering and invite Susie to help you.  As you can imagine, word about Sweet Dream in a Bag has spread and there are hundreds of children who would love the opportunity to pick out and their very own, brand-new comforter, blanket, pillow and sheets into which they can snuggle up and feel safe.

If you’re not in Denver, consider making a contribution to the cause (there’s a PayPal button on the home page) or see how you can put a spin on Susie’s concept to bring comfort to a child who is walking through a difficult transition.  The website is www.sweetdreaminabag.org.

Yours in Positive Change,

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A New Positive Change Quote

Published on 21 July 2010 by in Positive Change


“I try to shrink my ego and my waistline on a daily basis.”

I like that one.  It outlines the challenge of balancing the physical with the metaphysical.  It came to me after a conversation with one of my freelance writing clients.  He’s a graphic designer and we are working together for the first time.  I think he was trying to get a feel for how sensitive I might be if he cut some of my copy.

I was able to reassure him that I try and over-deliver so my clients can pick and choose phrases or sections that work best for them.  I told him, “If something isn’t working – either from a content or design point of view –  don’t hesitate to give it the axe.”

To me, that’s the attitude of someone who is truly dedicated to producing the best possible final result — someone who recognizes they alone don’t have all the answers, but who is willing to work with the collective minds of the creative team.

As for the waistline… can you say “shrink wrap?”

Go forth and make positive changes!

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Angel of SilenceYou know, sometimes life just keeps coming, pelting you with challenges and disappointments. I envy people who seem to weather every storm with a smiling good grace.

Unfortunately, I’m not always one of them. I try to be. And certainly I’ve walked through some tough situations with my faith and dignity intact.

But not always. Sometimes I just want to stamp my feet and give someone a piece of my mind. You know, tell them things about themselves they really ought to know but which other people are too afraid to articulate.

Hmmm, I wonder why those other people are afraid to speak the truth. Is it really the truth? Or is it just my perception?

There was a time in my life when I was so sure I was RIGHT that I just had to set people straight. And I did, loudly and indelicately. Which got me into a lot of trouble. A lot of times.

Today it isn’t so much about being right for me. Today it’s about realizing that each of us has unique perceptions, unique memories, our own version of “the truth.” Who am I to insist that my memory is better than yours? Does it really matter?

Today, I have learned to think before I speak. And often, after thinking about it, I choose to say nothing. For me, there is power in silence, power in taking a step back and looking at someone else’s perspective, and power in silently disagreeing if I so chose.

Today I trust that Spirit will deliver the right messages to the people to need them.

Sometimes saying nothing at all communicates everything.

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Developing Healthy Rewards

Published on 18 February 2010 by in Healthy Rewards, Positive Change


Reward yourself with candle light

Are you someone who can stick to a healthy program all day long only to undo your hard work by overeating at night?  Do you indulge in unhealthy activities as a way of comforting yourself?  Do you have difficulty balancing your health program… being good for a few days but then falling off the wagon?

Healthy people reward themselves in healthy ways.  If you keep sabotaging yourself through unhealthy rewards, it’s time to make a positive change.

Begin by setting aside a few minutes of “me time” every day where you can just sit quietly and breathe (and write in your journal).   Use this time to strengthen your commitment to healthy living.  Select some healthy rewards to develop.  Some ideas include:

  • Reading a book
  • Focusing on a meditation
  • Listening to music (perhaps with scented candles burning)
  • Dancing or playing a sport you love
  • Doing puzzles or computer activities for a preset amount of time
  • Taking a luxurious, aromatic bath or shower
  • Getting a massage or backrub
  • Treating yourself to a spa service such as a facial or manicure
  • Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee
  • Cuddling with a significant other, child, pet or stuffed animal
  • Talking to a friend
  • Working on a hobby or craft project
  • Stopping to look at nature and appreciating the beautiful and complex world we live in

Think of healthy rewards that, when repeated over time, can give you comfort and satisfaction.  It takes repetition and conscious effort to build new habits.

Commit to practicing those rewards enough times that you look forward to them because they are familiar, comfortable and they make you feel refreshed and rewarded.

Yours in positive change,

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Ask positive "afformations"A friend of mine recently told me about a self-improvement philosophy promoted by Noah St. John, Ph.D., who is in the Jack Canfield camp.  For years, Dr. St. John subscribed to the theory that positive thoughts can create a more positive reality to help us achieve our goals.  The theory further states that we create positive thoughts by intentionally repeating positive statements, also called affirmations.

He notes that many of us are advised to repeat affirmations ad nauseum as a means of changing our thinking.  He also notes that affirmations alone have not been spectacularly successful for a lot of people, himself included.

Noah believes that affirmations appeal primarily to the conscious mind.  But the root of our belief system, especially the beliefs we hold about ourselves, lies in the unconscious mind.

Now, the unconscious mind is very responsive to questions.  Ask it a question and it zeroes in like a bulldog to find the answer.  Ask it the right questions and it can come up with creative ideas and new perspectives to answer those questions and in the process, drive us towards achieving our goals.

Most of us have negative questions we ask ourselves on a regular basis.  Examples are: “Why am I such a failure?”  “Why can’t I get that promotion?” “Why am I still fat / unhappy / lazy / poor / fill-in-your-own-miserable-adjective?”

Dr. St. John recommends converting those negative, disempowering questions into positive, empowering questions by turning them around.  “Why am I so successful?” “Why did I get that promotion?” “Why am I so svelte / happy / productive /wealthy / fill-in-your-own-attractive-adjective?”

He calls these kinds of questions “afformations®,” because they help form powerful and positive belief systems that can propel us to successful positive change.

Do I have doubts about this?  Sure.  But do I think it’s worth a try?  Yes.  Let me know if you’d like to join me in an “afformation®” experiment.  I’ll share my results. Will you share yours?

You can download the first three chapters of The Great Little Book of Afformations® for free, but be prepared to be greeted by a quick starting video.

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White light positive energy

This morning I received an e-mail from someone telling me how much my journals and writing had inspired them. It came from out of the blue and boy, did it get my motivational juices flowing!

I was in the middle of charging around with my iPod (following my own advice per my last blog), packing up today’s journal shipment and generally multi-tasking to the beat, when I received a short, simple, but truly fantastic note of appreciation from a complete stranger.

Talk about getting inspired… I was ignited! I stretched my planned 30 minutes of dance-around-the-house-and-do-chores into 60 minutes of pretty intense, up-and-down-the-stairs-shake-it-baby cardio. The combination of music, movement and that appreciative message made me feel so good I almost went through the roof.

And it got me thinking. I pass along motivational tips through my journals, my blog and online articles — and boom – a dose of motivation comes roaring back to me in a really intense and positive way. It certainly supports the concept of “what goes around comes around.”

This is a cycle I want to support. I want my seeds of positive encouragement to grow in someone else’s yard, but I certainly have no problem if some of the fruit falls back into mine. We just never know how sincere positive messages can affect someone else.

So today, I am going to make a conscious effort to openly acknowledge and appreciate the people in my life who make a difference. I plan to start with my children.

But I won’t stop there. I’ll write a note of thanks to the lovely lady I met over the week-end who gave me a free Tarot card reading and shared some great tips and ideas with me (thanks, Sue!).

And I’ll go one more step and try to spread positive energy with other people I meet… a smile in the grocery store line, a wave at a neighbor I don’t really know, patience if another driver needs to get there ahead of me.

I plan to keep on investing in the cycle of positive energy and motivation through sending out regular messages of kindness and appreciation. I hope you’ll decide to join me.

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Five Tips to Revive Motivation

Published on 25 January 2010 by in Motivation, Positive Change


Finding motivation through movement

Most people view January as a time to think about positive changes.  Even if you didn’t make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions, you probably thought about instigating self-improvement measures in some area of your life.

So here comes the New Year.  Motivation and enthusiasm are primed and plugged in to your inner cheerleader.  “I can do it!” you say.  “I will do it!” you vow.  And you’re off and running towards a new and improved you.  The first few days are usually pretty easy.

But are there some days when it’s hard to stay on track or even get started?  There are for me.  So I’ve developed a few tricks that help revive flagging motivation and combat inertia.  (Naturally, I use my journal to organize and track these.)

  • Start small.  Commit to 2 or 3 very small tasks and give yourself permission to rest when they are complete.  Examples are routine cleaning chores, answering e-mail, or perhaps making a phone call you’ve been putting off.

Often, once I get started, I get a burst of energy that launches me into full-blown productivity.  If not,  I exercise the option to rest after completing my tasks, select a few more chores, ramp up and try again.  If I keep at it enough times, I eventually ignite into sustained positive action.

  • Take a few deep breaths.  Deep breathing is such a powerful technique for centering and focusing energy.  Inhale through the nose, hold for 2 or 3 seconds, exhale slowly through the mouth.  Repeat several times.  I like to close my eyes and ask Spirit for strength and guidance.

A bonus trick is to take a whiff of a stimulating essential oil, such as Eucalyptus or Lemon Grass.

  • Listen to music.  For me, music is the consummate mood and motivation manager.  Current favorite tunes are “Just Stand Up!” a duet by Beyonce and Mary J. Blige, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, and “Move” from the Dreamgirls soundtrack.

It’s almost impossible for me to hear music like this and not want to get up and dance… which brings me to the next trick.

  • Add movement.  Combine music with some movement and jump to a whole new motivational level!  Dance, walk, clean the house or yard, get on the treadmill, shovel snow or engage in some resistance training.

Adding movement to your music gives you the benefits of increased heart rate, oxygen flow, and (eventually) endorphins to get Mother Nature’s absolute best “feel good” combo.  Make a deal with yourself and commit to a short time, say 10 to 15 minutes.  Hopefully that will be enough to recharge your motivational batteries and you’ll be inspired to do a bit more.

  • Acknowledge progress and results.  Take a moment to enjoy feeling good and reinforce how these little tricks can help you move from feeling like a slug to feeling like a slugger.

Go forth and have a positive and productive day!

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Gifts from the Heart

‘Tis the season to give and receive.  But perhaps it’s also the time to examine your gift-giving motives.  Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you shop for gifts that will make you look fabulous and generous?
Are you giving out of a sense of obligation?
Is your giving motivated by what you’ll receive in return?
Do you over-give as a way of making yourself feel better?
In effect, is your “giving” all about you?

Genuine giving involves putting a lot of energy into someone else’s needs and perspectives.  Often, the most important gifts aren’t the ones that come wrapped in beautiful packages, but the ones that come from the heart in the form of a sincere effort to show love and support.

For example, do you have a friend who is struggling with young children?  How can you lighten their load?  An offer to babysit might be the very best gift you could give that parent.

Is there an elderly or ill person in your life who would love nothing more than an in-person visit from busy old you?

Do you know someone who’s just created a website or is starting a new business?  Have you visited their site, read their materials and tried to spread the word?

Do you give candy or chocolate to someone you know is struggling to control their weight?

Do you make a point of responding to people who take time to contact you?

Do you offer encouragement and compliments freely and liberally?

My point is that it’s easy to get caught up in giving things that reflect well on you as opposed to putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and creating a gift of yourself that is truly meaningful to them.

Go forth and give of yourself with authenticity and good cheer.

Holiday Blessings,

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Walking Through Fear

Published on 03 December 2009 by in Empowerment, Fear, Positive Change



Yesterday, I did my very first Blog Talk Radio interview.  It went really well, thanks in large part to the wonderful interviewing skill of the host, Deborah Wilson.  Deborah is an intuitive Angel reader / healer, and a most powerful and awesome personality.  If you missed the live broadcast, you can hear the archive at BlogTalkRadio.

I have to admit that I had a LOT of fear and trepidation about doing this.  There is a large part of me that simply wants to stay cocooned in my tiny little office, churning out journals, blogs, Examiner.com articles, tweets, Face Book posts and web-site copy — safe from outside scrutiny and criticism.  All good things, of course… but I need to do more.

I need to realize that I have a message worthy of delivering to people who are interested.  I need to answer all calls to deliver that message – not pick, choose or refuse the ones that feel too risky for my delicate ego.

When I drove up to Boulder to meet with Deborah, she had me penciled in as a guest on the show in about the first five minutes.  Fortunately, she had the grace to let me choose the date, and naturally I chose one far enough in the future that I didn’t have to hit the panic button right there in her Angel room.

But of course, the scheduled date kept getting closer.  To combat my nerves, I decided to be diligent about preparing ahead of time.  I listened to quite of few of Deborah’s archived shows so I could get a feel for the tone, the structure and her audience.  I paid close attention to how she interacted with other guests, so I’d understand the process.  I reviewed my own website so the content would be fresh in my mind, I made notes and I practiced a few inner dialogs.

So I was as ready as I could be when we started yesterday.  I believe that preparation paid off and I’m really pleased with how the interview went.

But more importantly, I feel empowered.  Facing my fear, stepping out of my comfort zone, believing that Spirit would be there with us, taking a big breath and forging ahead is powerful stuff.  Even if the show hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped, the act of suiting up and showing up would have been enough to be able to say to myself “You did it!  Yay for you!”

So friends, if you are called upon to do something so out of the ordinary it unleashes an explosion of self-doubt and sweaty palms (but generates a spark of excitement at the same time), I hope you will choose to ignore the fear and accept the challenge with gusto and grace.  And I hope that by doing so, you get to enjoy the feeling of exhilaration and empowerment that comes from walking through fear and getting to the other side.

Yours in Positive Change, ls signature-sm

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Silouette of a womanThe American Cancer Society held their 34th annual Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2009.  I’m so grateful I’ve been a non-smoker for over ten years now, but my heart goes out to 46 million adults in the US who remain in the grip of nicotine addiction.

My friends and family know I was born with an addictive personality.  Addictive behavior is really easy for me — it’s definitely my behavior of choice.   My mantra was always “just one more.”  I hardly ever said “I’ve had enough.”  I applied the “just one more” principle to nearly everything that felt good.  That practice led me down a spiraling path I hope I never have to travel again.

When the day came that I finally had to deal with my addictive demons, journaling became my “go to” tool.  I journaled to express my feelings of anger and deprivation, I journaled to set goals and outline a plan of behavior modification, I journaled to relax, and at times I journaled to escape.

I believe that addiction is a subset of the “disease of self.”  To me, the disease of self is the gap that exists between how we see ourselves and how we really are.  It’s based on denial; we don’t want to see ourselves in a bad light, so we rationalize, justify and outright lie.  We say to ourselves:  “Oh, I’m not that bad.  Everybody does it.  They just don’t understand.”

Addiction isn’t limited to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or gambling.  People become addicted to food, power, money, sex, anger, chaos, drama, love… you name it.  One of the first steps in bridging the disease-of-self gap is to get honest with ourselves.  Journaling is such a great tool for recording the truth.  Regardless of the addiction you’re fighting, journaling can help you begin to see yourself as you really are, envision who you want to be, and take steps to make it happen.

This month’s Positive Change Challenge is to take an honest look at yourself; to identify character defects or even addictions that you need to address and then outline a plan for improvement.  I hope you will decide to use journaling as one of your tools.  If you need help getting started, please try a Journal for Positive Change.

Yours in Positive Change,

ls signature-sm

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