Discovery through journaling…

Journaling has been an incredible healing and development tool in my life and also for those who have mentored me.  Therapists, coaches and teachers all recommend journaling as a tool for healing from traumatic events as well as for personal development, goal setting, learning and discovering what is holding you back etc.  I fully encourage this practice with friends, family, strangers on planes, and of course with my coaching clients.  If you are seeing a therapist, or a life coach or working with a counselor one of the first things they will recommend you do when you are struggling with life is….buy yourself a journal.  However, you have to be ready to get deep.

When I was in the midst of my “trauma” and trying to bounce back from a horrible life event (the loss of my husband to mental illness, addiction and our ultimate divorce), what helped me take the first steps towards healing was when I started journaling.  There was a point where I did not go anywhere without my journal, seriously, it was like my security blanket.  Through this practice I wrote what I call my “42” list….which literally is the 42 things about my now ex-husband that I dislike. In fact what I learned through journaling is that there wasn’t much I liked about him at all.  It was also through journaling I discovered the level of emotional abuse I had experienced and how lonely and  miserable I was in that marriage despite putting on a completely different front to those around me.  Remember, perception is reality, to a point.

Through journaling I discovered how amazing and free it felt to be able to openly express my thoughts without shame and work through them in my own private world and in my own time.  I also learned how critical those thoughts are when you start the healing process in therapy.  Journaling can take therapy to a whole new level and accelerate the healing process.

Amazing how the thoughts that end up on paper were sitting in your head taking up so much head space.  What a tremendous amount of pressure that is on your mind to hold all that information in there and carry it around, in some cases, forever.  No wonder people have so much anxiety….seeing as though humans are believed to have over 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day…how exhausting!

So this article is for those of you who need inspiration to start journaling, today.

Below are some starter journaling topics to get you thinking and writing….which ultimately leads to so much more (see How to start Journaling – Keystone Habit)


  1. Who are you, really?
  2. What person do you put out into the world?
  3. What are you passionate about?
  4. What are the achievements you are most proud of?
  5. What are you most grateful for in life?
  6. What are the most important things to you in life?
  7. How would you describe yourself?
  8. What are your values?
  9. Do you love yourself?
  10. … Why or Why not?
  11. How can you love yourself more today?
  12.  What does it mean to be your highest self?
  13. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams?
  14. If you have one year left to live what would you do first?
  15. What would you do today if there is no more tomorrow?
  16. What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date?
  17. What advice would you give to your younger self?
  18. Who inspires you?
  19. Is there something you’re still holding on to?
  20. What do you need to let go of?
  21. What is taking up too much headspace?
  22. What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  23. What would you do if you cannot fail; if there are no limitations in money, resources, time or networks?
  24. What do you want to achieve 1 year from now?
  25. What limiting beliefs are you holding on to?
  26. What bad habits do you want to break?
  27. Are you living your life to the fullest right now?
  28. What drives you?
  29. How can you change someone’s life for the better today?
  30. Who have been the most influential people in your life?
  31. Are these people enabling you or holding you back?
  32. What is your ideal life partner like?
  33. Are you afraid of of letting others get close to you?
  34. What is one thing you’re going to do differently after reading this article?

Things to do while you are single..

I have always been in long term relationships or at least long term dating.  I grew up in a dysfunctional home therefore I had no concept of what a “healthy relationship” was, I just knew I was happiest when I was in a relationship, even if it wasn’t good for me.

I used to call myself a serial monogamous.  If I met someone and we started dating that was it for me, we were a couple.  Instead of taking the time to get to know someone and even date (not sleep with) multiple people at a time to determine what type of person is right for me, I just went 100mph into a long term relationship, even marriage..twice.

I missed and even ignored many red flags, my favorite men were the “emotionally unavailable ones” that allowed me to chase them.  I fought for relationships that any healthy person would have let go of way before the relationship began.  I was always the person that saw the potential but not the actual person.  To me, all this was worth it because it was better than being single.  You see, being in a relationship defined me.  I felt less than if I wasn’t partnered up.

So, two failed marriages later…one of them quite toxic, I decided after my second divorce to stay single until I was truly ready for a healthy relationship.  I can tell you its like anything else, in the beginning it feels lonely and dreadful.  However, over time something magical happened……. I started focusing on myself.   All that energy I spent focusing on a partner, all that energy I used trying to establish my place in relationships or trying to make my partner happy (even when I knew it was impossible) I started using on myself.  I would rely on myself to make decisions, I started taking better care of myself (yoga, morning facials, meditation, hot baths, eating better), I started focusing on the things I liked vs. what I thought he liked, I started reading and writing in my journal daily.  Through this Journey I am getting to know me and through this experience I am learning that I have been in the wrong relationships my entire life.  These lessons I have experienced with these breaks up pushed me to stay true to myself, work on myself and learn who I am.  What I like, what I don’t and what I really want from myself, life, and a relationship.

I have discovered there is no timeline for anything in life, especially healing.  I am so grateful for this time with myself as it has allowed me to know me and I really like who I am, who I am becoming and I am so excited for this next phase in my life.


Below is a list of things that I think are crucial to do while you are single:

  1. Find yourself
  2. Remove unhealthy people from your life
  3. Invite new people into your life
  4. Reconnect with old friends
  5. Spend time with happily married people
  6. Get in shape
  7. Travel, solo
  8. Take yourself out to dinner at least once
  9. Reclaim your virginity
  10. Learn something new
  11. Take a class
  12. Start therapy
  13. Find a LifeCoach
  14. Get healthy (start a personal wellness plan)
  15. Meditate
  16. Read, all the time
  17. Binge watch Netflix
  18. Figure out what you want in a person and journal it, often
  19. Set standards, be picky and don’t settle, ever
  20. Spend time with family
  21. Start a keystone habit
  22. Treat yourself with kindness

This list is my “single life guide” and will probably add to it as time goes on.  I plan to enjoy this solo Journey as long as it lasts knowing that when the time is right, the most amazing person is going to walk into my life and it is just going to fit and I will be ready (that is the important part).

It is easy to jump from one relationship to another to avoid being alone and focusing on ourselves but there is no true benefit to it.  Staying solo, working on yourself and discovering who you are is priceless.

I empower you to take time for you and discover your true self!

Namaste’

 

I love my forties…

Its true, I love my forties!

I have never felt so confident, so radiant, so beautiful and so strong…in my entire life.

I truly believe life starts in your forties.

In my twenties I was insecure, confused, in a rush to do EVERYTHING…and didn’t care who I did it with.

I enjoyed my thirties but I always felt I had something to prove.  I remember at one point thinking…OK, I am married and have two kids and a home…at the age of thirty…I did what I was supposed to do, Im successful.  Phew!

Turning forty didn’t bother me, at all, I was excited to enter this age group.  Although I was NOT excited about wrinkles, gray hair and night sweats….there are so many other amazing things that outweigh all the not so exciting things about being forty – *smiles*

So what do I love….

  1.  My confidence, I truly don’t care what people think of me and never do I try and impress anyone…I have learned that not everyone likes us and we don’t like everyone, enough said.
  2. How I look, yes, I have a better physique now than when I was twenty.  Women in their forties take much better care of themselves, its true!  We eat right, exercise and take supplements (no junk food, tanning, or lack of exercise).  We do not take our bodies for granted.
  3. My friendships, they are so real.  I love the fact that I am choosing who I spend time with and who I allow in my life.  Through many lessons we learn that not everyone belongs in our life, we have every right to choose who we wish to share our Journey with.
  4. My soul, who I have become as a person and what that embodies.  I love me, for the first time ever.  I accept me for all my faults and my strengths.  I enjoy time with myself and crave that time when things get crazy.
  5. Success defined by me.  Success is a personal thing and as you get older it becomes more about the Journey than the actual destination.  Success isn’t defined by how much money you have or the car you drive, its more about who you are as a person.  I know plenty of people with big houses, cars and lots of money who I would not consider successful.
  6. Simplicity.  It really is the little things in life that make us happy.  I enjoy waking up early, a hot cup of coffee, writing in my journal, a quick walk in the park, a hike in nature, a hot epsom salt bath, reading, meditation and yoga.  These things really do make my soul sing.
  7. Spirituality, this is personal and private for me but it has brought me much joy while I explore beliefs and teachings.
  8. The Universe, for providing me with all the above.

Forty is just the beginning of a beautiful soulful life.

Namaste’

8 Critical Tips for Self-Love and Healing

I know what you are thinking, what is self-love and where do I even begin.

If you Google self-love there will be many articles and blogs that will help you on this topic.  I have read every single one of them, ok maybe not every single one, and now I am a self proclaimed expert on the topic.

We read it, we hear about it and everyone says it...you can’t experience true love and vulnerability until you love yourself.  On the outside so many of us appear to be happy and love ourselves.  However, deep down we struggle with anxiety, we lack a sense of purpose, maybe even suffer from a bit of sadness.  As a result a number of us look to outside sources for comfort or validation.  We live our lives through our children, we focus on our husbands and our families, we over-eat, drink too much, exercise too much, work too much, or we do just the opposite and can’t get out of or own way.

Outside perceptions are not always our reality. I know in my life, looking in the window from the front porch everything appeared “pretty”.  Reality is, that was so far from the truth.  We all have our story and we all know our “truths”.

Self-love for me came after an extremely traumatic event.  Everyone consoling me would say “you have to take care of yourself” or “you need to love yourself” and I had no idea what any of this meant.  Once I discovered the true meaning of self-love I couldn’t believe how I was living in my previous life.  I would say I was functioning but not living.

Self-love takes work.  It is beyond getting your hair done, a nice pedicure and good clothes.  It is beyond what you post on Facebook (GET OFF FACEBOOK if you want to be truly happy).  Self-love is truly getting to know yourself, discovering who you are, honoring that person and always putting that person first above all else, yes even your husband and children.  If you are not living as your highest self, what good are you to those who need and love you.

I encourage you to read some of my older blogs that will give you ideas on how to create a morning or an evening ritual which is such an important catalyst to self-love and living your as your Highest Self.


Below are some tips on how to start loving yourself, today!

Start by honoring who you are today and where you are at this moment. 

Maybe you have anxiety, are suffering from depression, are unhappy at your job, have family life stressors, aren’t happy with your appearance or your marriage.  Wherever you are in your life right now….honor it knowing that with each and every day you have the opportunity to make a change.  Buddha says “every day we are born again”.  What a beautiful concept.

Evaluate where you find your worth and where you look for validation. 

Do you look to external sources – do you thrive off the attention you receive from other people? – does your productivity or your accomplishments define you? – are you a people pleaser?  Self-love comes from validating and pleasing yourself.  If you are always looking for someone else to validate you, you will be continuously spinning on a wheel seeking validation and will feel empty until you receive it.  That love, that feeling of accomplishment, the ability to soothe yourself during a tough time, comes from you.

Know, right now, no matter what you are going through, that you are enough! 

You have everything in you to be enough!

Be kind to yourself, your body and your soul! 

Watch the words you use when you talk to yourself or about yourself.

Exercise:  grab your journal and describe yourself as if you were describing a friend of yours.  Don’t focus or plan what to write, just grab your journal and a pen and start writing and see what comes out.  Are you mostly positive or negative?  Remember how you view yourself is what you are putting out into the Universe.  You will find from this exercise what you need to change with regard to your own beliefs about yourself.

Practice things that bring out your inner calm. 

Gardening, yoga, journaling, blogging, cooking, crafting, singing, meditation.  Your mind and soul need a break from our every day circus.  Soothe yourself with a calming activity.

Allow yourself to heal. 

We all have a story and unfortunately its not always a pretty one.  If you have dealt with any sort of trauma (death, divorce, illness, family dysfunction, childhood “stuff”) and have never really dealt with it.  I encourage you to allow yourself to heal and to forgive yourself and those who have hurt you.  There is nothing more freeing than letting go of the bond that ties you to your trauma.

Let it go. 

Whatever you are holding on to that is no longer serving you, let it go.

My strongest advice is to start a morning/evening self-care ritual. 

See How do you start your day? for ideas.


Commit to self-love and your life with start to change.  Keystone Habits are also a must and we will talk about this in my next blog.

Grab your Journal, put todays date on it and enjoy your Journey to self-love.

Until soon!

Namaste’

What is your intention?

After surviving 2016 I made a survival intention for 2017 and it was one word “Balance”. This was my sole intention. I was quite aware my life was lacking balance.  At the timme I was studying reactive living and learned that when you live reactively you are in a constant state of chaos or fight or flight and balance seems impossible.

However, by working with my Tribe and disconnecting from my old self, I have found balance.  I have also learned that balance is different for each of us.  You may look at someone and think they need balance in their life, but maybe for them, they are and feel balanced.

For me, balance is being in a state of calm even in the chaos.  As I have learned from my coach training there will always be chaos, especially since we do not control anything other than ourselves.  What we can control is how we react to the chaos.  So yah, its finding calm amidst the chaos, not feeding into the drama and waiting for that storm to pass. No good comes from chaos.

We all know those people we call “Drama Queens”.  They always have some problem, things are always really bad, devastating almost and they are the chronic victim.  They don’t call you looking for advice, nor are they open to any, they simply want to discuss their drama and keep it alive.  That was me.

Because I was reactively living, I was reacting to each situation as if it was catastrophic, I never worked towards a solution to the problem, I just kept feeding the drama.  What an unbalanced way to live.  Once I realized my Husband at the time fed into this drama and (he actually created most of it) once our relationship ended I knew I had to get out of this cycle.

So I started my journey to a balanced life.  It wasn’t easy but it was so worth it.

Now that its 2018 and I spent an entire year creating balance in my life, I realized that you don’t just achieve it and move on…balance is something that you need to be aware of and work on, forever.  Balance is not something you solve and wipe your hands free of.  I continuously have to strive to keep my balance.  Balance is like yoga, it is such a great feeling when you finally perfect a certain pose and gain your balance to hold it, but if you stopped doing yoga you would eventually be unable to hold that perfect pose.  Balance is a skill and something you have to work on forever.  I am ok with this.

The universe tests us to see where we are at. Sometimes we are presently surprised by how we handle something and it shows us all the hard work we have been doing has paid off.  Other times we are given a lesson that shows us that we haven’t really changed at all.  This can be very discouraging but don’t let it be.  Let it drive you to keep working so that when the next lesson presents itself you will see just how far you have come.

Before the New Year I started thinking about what my next intention should be, and patience came into my head.  This was a no brainer.  Just like my life had lacked balance, I, as a person, lack patience.

I grew up in a very hostile household.  My father had severe anger issues and a dangerous lack of patience.  I must have adopted the lack of patience behavior from him.  This has presented itself negatively in my life in more ways than I have time to share.

When we lack patience we rush through things, we demand, we settle, we lose control, we act impulsively.  The statement “patience is a virtue” is very true.  We hear it, but do we absorb it, understand it and work to achieve it?  I didn’t, until now.

When I look back to my past life “troubles” I find that the majority of problems that I had, I created.  Yep, this hits you in the face like cold water.  My lack of patience, my inability to sit still and let things to just happen or unfold.   Nope, I didn’t do that, I made things happen but by forcing things to take place it eventually always backfired into some drama that could have been prevented.

Oh that vicious cycle, I would ultimately create my own issue, feed the drama and then cry victim.  This is living reactively.

So now that I have a pretty balanced life, I felt it was time to work on patience.  This is exciting to me.  I am letting my intuition guide me with this one.

Here are some steps I am going to initially take to achieve more patience:

  1.  Letting go of the notion I have control – surrender
  2. Actively listen vs. listen to speak
  3. Take deep breaths before acting on any decision
  4. Do not react – make a plan
  5. Don’t feed into the drama – let the drama die out – step back
  6. Be still – a solution will present itself most of the time
  7. Ask for help and then let them help – do not be a martyr
  8. Let go and let things unfold naturally
  9. Do not settle just to have something
  10. Just wait…

This is unchartered territory for me but I am very excited about this.  I will keep you all posted on how this process is going for me.

The last thing I am going to focus on is actively listening.

Have you ever met those patient people that wait till someone is done speaking, they absorb what the person says and then they speak when its their turn.  That is not me.  I have always listened to speak.  Waiting…waiting…waiting..until the other person is done, not hearing a word they say and then BOOM…my turn.  This is not a productive way to have a conversation.

I also cut people off, especially when I think they are wrong.  I simply talk over them.  Not only is this extremely rude, but because I have not been listening to the other person’s point of view, I am not educated enough to respond and the majority of the time I end up being wrong.  I am confident that this will all change when I start working on patience.

Oprah wrote an amazing article on listening.  She basically spoke about how her entire life she spoke to be heard but never really listened.  After she interviewed with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis she learned that there is an elegance to silence.  Its alluring, calming and puts people at ease.  People can sense when a person isn’t engaged and only  listening to speak.

There really is power in silence.

My intention is to be balanced, patient and an excellent listener which will benefit me in every single area of my life.

What are your intentions?  What are you working on and hoping to change for the better?  Would love to read your responses below.

Namaste’

 

 

 

 

 

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How well do you know yourself – (self guided exercise)

As a follow-up to a previous post How well do you know yourself the worksheet below can help you self guide through some important questions to determine how well you really do know yourself.  The purpose of this exercise is to help you discover what you need to work on so you can find your true self.

As with anything, self-care work is a process.  I always refer to it as Stepping Stones.  It is a very delicate process and you need to take it one step at a time and not miss any steps.

  1. Describe yourself in 10 words or less (please use your own words – we are gauging how you view yourself not how others view you – they can be quite different)
  2. What is something you can change about yourself today that will benefit your future?
  3. What are you struggling with that no longer serves you and you can simply let go of and release?
  4. What deep needs do you have that aren’t being met?
  5. Are you holding back forgiveness (which is keeping you from moving forward)?  If so, to who do you owe forgiveness to?
  6. What negative thought patterns do you have?  do you ruminate these thoughts?
  7. Are you fully present with the people you love when you are with them?
  8. Are you making life more complicated than it needs to be?  Where and how?
  9. Are you mistreating your body or compromising your health? (i.e. over eating, drinking, smoking, over exercising, stressing, work compulsion)
  10. What do you feel most passionate about?
  11. What do you need more of in your life?
  12. What would your friends and family say your strengths and weaknesses are?
  13. What is your vision for yourself in the next 5 years?
  14. If you died tomorrow, what would be your biggest regret?  what would you regret not doing?
  15. Have you let go of past trauma?  are you letting it control your future?

This is a self guided exercise to open your mind and help you see where you need to put extra focus.

My suggestion, write all your answers in a journal or notebook and tackle one or two questions at a time.   Really put thought into your responses, remember you will be the only one seeing them.

Once you start working through the answers you will start understanding yourself better.  It’s pretty amazing.

If you would like to do this exercise together in a one on one coaching session please contact me at http://www.AveshaEmpower.com or aveshaempower@gmail.com and we can set up a time that is convenient for you.

Namaste’

– I am safe, I am grounded, I am balanced –