When it comes to the positive-thought movement, there is a slow but steady under current that I see growing in strength as a result.
It's a current that pulls with full force below the surface, slowly dragging a person back out to the dark depths that they are fighting so hard to get away from.
It does not matter how hard you kick and swim. If a current is stronger than you, it will eventually overpower you and drain all of your strength until you have no choice but to surrender. This current, for most people, is all of the feelings they repress. Anger. Sadness. Guilt. Fear. All of those emotions that the positive-thought movement has told us are bad and need to be avoided.
The concept that we should constantly focus on and live in a positive and happy place arose from good intentions. A lot of it swept in when the law of attraction became a huge trend. The law of attraction came with a lot of wonderful and much needed information. From it, I learned a lot about how my thoughts become my reality, what it means to create my life from within, and how to tear down limitations I created in my mind.
I have also enjoyed all of the benefits of choosing to focus on the positive as much as possible. I've seen time and time again that when I'm grateful and excited about life the Universe responds in kind. More stuff for me to be grateful and excited about shows up.
However, this does not mean I have stopped feeling "negative" feelings at times.
That is not what life is about.
Life is about growing and expanding, and as you do so, you will undoubtedly come into periods where you feel things that scare you or make you sad. This is in fact a good thing, because it means you are challenging yourself and taking continual steps outside of your comfort zone. But because so much attention was heaped upon the idea that like attracts like, there's almost a paranoia for many people to NEVER AGAIN think a negative thing.
Don't think about what makes you angry, because you'll attract more of it. Don't feel sad because you'll perpetually find things in your life to be sad about.
If you're trying to bypass your disappointment or frustration because you think those feelings are going to ruin your life, you're jumping into waters with a dangerous undercurrent.
And worse, if you're living your life in a way that prioritizes avoiding all so-called negative thoughts and feelings, you're going to hold yourself back. Big time.
Life is not about avoiding what makes you feel the dark stuff. Life is about jumping in and letting yourself feel what you feel, and knowing that it's all working for your highest good, so long as you allow it to. Those feelings of frustration and sadness, they're trying to show you something. Something important.
As an example, I recently had an article published in an online magazine. They edited my article so heavily that it was no longer written in my voice. It was basically rewritten, and what I wanted to share was so heavily diluted down I ended up hating the version that was published. When I saw this, I was at first freaked out. What was wrong with what I’d written? The more I thought about it, the more angry I became.
There were some people in my life who immediately tried to push me onto the positive-thought bandwagon. "You should be grateful they even published you! It's a huge honor! Be excited and use that feeling to generate more good stuff!"
You know what I say to that? Bullshit.
I am not afraid of my own feelings. I am also not a doormat.
Just going along with this experience and claiming it was all good would have made me feel like I had lost all my gumption. It also would have kept me from getting the amazing clarity and realizations that were trying to surface with the anger and disappointment.
What I realized is, it's not okay for an editor to treat me like I don't exist. It's not okay for someone to rewrite my words. It's not okay for someone to take my creation and soulful expression, which came from my heart, and turn it into something else without my permission.
As I felt my anger, I could feel how much I believe in my own writing. If I didn't allow myself to feel the anger, I would be subconsciously saying this experience was okay. And you know what that means? It would happen again. And again. And again.
This is the power of negative feelings. They will help you to know with perfect clarity what you want in your life and don't want. And you will send out a clear signal with your thoughts that says NO to what you don't want.
If you go straight into trying to sugarcoat it all and being happy, then you will have gained nothing from the experience. And worse, the feelings that you repress will still be working their mojo. Just because you don't allow a feeling to arise into conscious awareness doesn't mean it loses its charge. It's in fact the opposite.
Things you repress still have an attraction factor.
Which is how so many people end up feeling the law of attraction doesn't work for them. They walk around thinking positive thoughts over and over. But deep down, they're pissed off or they don’t believe in themselves. And life keeps bringing them things to be pissed off about and reasons not to believe in themselves.
Trying to take an experience that upset you and jump immediately into HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY is like standing at the bottom of a hill and telling yourself you’re on the top. The only way up the hill is to first admit you’re on the bottom. From there, you can see clearly where you are, and take the necessary steps at your own pace to the top.
That’s all there is to it. Admit where you are, feel what you feel, and take action in order to move onto a new feeling.
As you do so, hold the intention that you be led to the happy thoughts. This is the key. The positive thoughts and feelings are still the ultimate goal. By allowing yourself to first work through what's keeping you from them, you will take the necessary steps that will help you to maintain the positive thoughts for real, without any undercurrent or backlash.
The more you allow yourself to feel what you feel, the faster you'll move through what you don't want. You'll master the art of letting the feeling give you clarity, letting it go, and choosing the feel-good thought that propels you forward. You will also be much less concerned about what other people are feeling, because you will understand that they are in their own process of gaining clarity and growing and expanding.
This will all help you to feel life is flowing so much easier. You won't feel like you're fighting an invisible current all the time.
You won't be afraid of making mistakes and taking leaps of faith, because if something unwanted happens, you'll know you can navigate the results with ease and grace. Even so-called negative thoughts and feelings will work for you as you learn to use them to gain clarity. Life will essentially work for you.
This, of course, does not mean that I condone projecting anger and such feelings onto other people. This is not about making other people your punching bag as you learn to navigate your feelings. You are still responsible for yourself and how you treat others, as they are also. It means you honor how you feel for the sake of living your highest and brightest potential. It means you choose not to be afraid of what life is trying to show you.
It means you love and cherish all of yourself, and you give yourself space to breathe without trying to suffocate what you initially don't understand.
One year I decided I would plant
an exquisite garden
with all kinds of
flowers, herbs and plants.When it was fully grown, I opened the
gate to my garden and welcomed in my
neighbors to see what I’d created.
The first person said I’d planted too
many roses. “Roses are so cliché,” they said.
You should change that, it makes the
whole garden seem old fashioned.
I found myself nodding my head and agreeing.
How could I have been so stupid?
Roses are totally cliché and overdone.
I should have been more original.
The roses are stupid, I can see it now,
and I hate them when I look at them.
The second person said my cactus in the corner
was weird, and it messed up the whole garden.
It was too random. What was a cactus doing here?
It made no sense.
And again, I found myself nodding in agreement.
How could I have been so stupid? The cactus is weird,
and now everyone knows I’m weird for having put it here.
The cactus is ugly and pointless and it’s ruining everything.
The cactus has to go, all I can see when I look at it
is how much I hate it.
Stephen Hawking's Ready to Make Contact With Intelligent Extraterrestrials, and He's Got $100 Million Supporting His Endeavor
There’s no denying that, as we take steps in life to rise to our highest potential, we’re going to hit walls.
Sometimes, the wall will be the fear of going to the next level, the level that goes way beyond our comfort zone. Other times, it will be something we’re sure was resolved, and we'll feel defeated at seeing this pattern back in our life.
It can be very frustrating to see an old, limiting pattern return and stare us down like a growling dog, daring us to walk across its path. No matter how much it scares us to face it again, we can clear old patterns - and for good. We simply need to keep taking steps and using the right tools.
One tool that can quickly and effectively help is the breath of fire.
Breath of fire is a Kundalini Yoga breathing technique that literally creates heat in the body. This is caused by the quick stomach movements, which cause our muscles to warm up and raise the temperature in the lower torso. The name also reflects that using this move is like turning on a switch that lights up and ignites the mind and body.
When we’re butting up against a wall, this move is something that will clear the mind so we can see what’s happening. It will also fire us up to find new solutions and to realize we are bigger and stronger than our fears and limiting beliefs.
When using this breathing technique we are clearing, moving and raising energy in our first three chakras.
These three chakras each have an important role to play in our sense of self-power. They are all connected and related in purpose.
Activating and clearing all three at once enhances the overall healing. The more we heal, nurture and honor our sense of self-power, the more passionate and alive we will feel.
To do this technique you will breathe fast through your nose while moving your stomach in a coordinated pattern.
The fast, pumping breaths have multiple physical and emotional benefits. As you push and pull your stomach in and out you will physically be pushing on stuck energy.
You will also clear stuck emotional energy in the chakras listed above. The blood will get pumping faster, cleansing it as old oxygen is quickly released. Breathe in just as fast, the continual bursts of fresh oxygen rejuvenate the entire mind and body system.
To begin the breath of fire, sit on the floor with legs crossed under you. Ensure your shoulders are back and you’re sitting up straight. You will breathe through your nose only. As you breathe in, push your stomach out, allowing the breath to completely fill your lungs. As you breathe out, pull your stomach in, using it as a pump to quickly and fully exhale the breath. Do this in fast movements.
It may take a few tries to get the rhythm down. With a little bit of practice, the motions will become natural, and you will find you can frequently use this exercise to uplift and energize your power center.
As you feel comfortable with the movement, you can also enhance the practice by visualizing a fire in your first three chakras. You might imagine this fire is like a furnace, energizing your life as it burns up all that you are done with and using it to fuel you forward. You may also want to check out my guided Chakra Balancing meditation, which will take you on a deeper journey in restoring harmony in your energetic body.
Up until pretty recently, we as a society, generally equated being rich with a lack of soulfulness - we saw all people with wealth as being greedy and out of touch with what matters in life. To most of us, there was something spiritual about living a life that bordered on destitute.
Over the last decade, this thinking has almost entirely reversed. We now see the ability to manifest as a barometer of spirituality. If you’ve mastered the law of attraction and acquired all you could ever dream of, you are spiritual. If you’re still struggling in debt, you are not in tune with your spiritual self. After all, generating millions of dollars is just a matter of interacting with a certain vibration. Meditate. Tune in. Get in touch with your vibration. Then you’ll get the money and everyone will know how spiritual you are.
When I first discovered this concept that merged money and spirituality I was exhilarated. All of these supposed limitations fell away and anything seemed possible. If I did enough inner work, the outer would take care of itself. The idea of limitless possibility surged through me and energized me as I envisioned what I could have in my life.
I did everything I could to make this inner shift happen. I took money manifesting courses, read books, meditated and danced. I gave myself plenty of self-love and self-care, and did anything else I felt would raise my vibration and get me into that sweet spot.
But nothing happened.
At least not on a material level. My finances continued to the stay the same, which is to say, very meager. I didn’t get it. If getting all the money you can dream of is just about getting into the right energy, how was it I kept missing the mark? I mean me, of all people? I teach meditation, I should have this down pat!
I began to wonder: Am I not that in tune with myself? Am I not spiritual?
I seemed continuously blocked from this magical rain of abundance and I had no idea why. I understood the concept. I was taking solid steps. I followed guidelines laid out by those financially more successful than myself.
As financial change continued to elude me, I became angry. Money is just energy and all I had to do was tune in, get clear, and align with the energy. My anger built inside of me, until I decided to stop trying so hard. I stopped reading about manifesting, stopped listening to the podcasts and went back to what feels good. Meditating on my breath. Sipping coffee in the sun. Walking to the park and enjoying the fresh air.
At that point, my mind cleared and I could see what was missing. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t that I couldn’t manifest money. It was that I hadn’t been honoring my own journey.
I could then feel that I am and always have been a spiritual person. The only thing that had me feeling I wasn’t spiritual was getting sucked into the comparison addiction. I was looking at what other people had, listening to their stories and using it to gauge my own journey.
The more my mind cleared, the more I could see that instantly manifesting millions of dollars didn’t play into my overall vision for my life. I am slowly cultivating my skills as a writer and also building an online business. Those are two things that I want to grow and evolve with me over my whole life. Both require a solid foundation in order to be lasting. A solid foundation takes time, patience and fortitude.
I didn’t need to hurry up and achieve what others had. I needed to slow down and enjoy what I was doing. I’m doing this in the exact right way for me and I’m so proud of all I’ve created. If I had a million dollars, I would honestly be doing the exact same things I am now. Writing, creating YouTube videos, and playing around with growing my website audience.
So if I’m taking time to listen to myself, if I’m enjoying the birds sing outside my window and I’m pursuing my passions, then I am doing all the things I would consider make up a spiritual and soulful life. How much money I’m manifesting does not determine the level of that spirituality or soulfulness. The only thing that determines that is how good I feel.
Do I still want a million dollars? Heck yes! I mean, who doesn’t? But I also want to nurture my gifts, my moments of joy and my overall goals. I want to cultivate what is in my highest interest, and allow life’s blessings to show up for me in the way that is right for me.
I would also like to encourage others not to see money as a gauge of how spiritual, aligned or complete their lives are. Rather, I would encourage you to breathe into your heart and ask yourself: Am I happy? Am I living for me? Am I doing my best to nurture my soul?
25 Tools for a Happier Life: An Interactive Book With Guided Visualizations, Meditations, Inspiration and Spiritual Insights
Each section of this book contains two parts. The first, and main part, is the written inspiration. These vary in length, some many pages long and containing personal stories of my own triumphs and failures. Others are shorter and created to be read more frequently, for a burst of inspiration and good energy.
At the bottom of each piece of writing is the second part, the link to a related video (or sometimes videos). These videos contain things such as Hawaiian prayers for forgiveness, guided visualizations for feeling divine love in your body, and meditations to support and grow your spiritual awakening.
The visualizations and guided meditations all utilize unique concepts that I designed from a decade of studying meditation and spiritual awakening. I create my meditations with the intention that they serve both your soul’s journey and your journey as a person here in this world.
I believe spiritual awakening is so much more than learning to slow down and tune into the present moment. It’s something that uplifts and opens your spirit into its full expression while also being something that enhances your physical life. It can help you to feel more passionate about the things that you love and to feel more comfortable in your own skin. When we are awake to the fullness of our being we feel more capable of going for the things that we want to go for. Spiritual awakening essentially awakens us to the highest potential and joy possible in our daily life.
Amongst the videos, there are 7 guided visualizations and meditations, which are all one of a kind. This uniqueness is part of my process, as it helps you to gently move beyond what you know and to open up to new beliefs and thought patterns that will benefit you. For example, in the Higher Self visualization you will tune into seeing a grid that extends through the whole Universe.
There are 11 exercises that you can use for various times in your life. Some will help you to move out of fear. Others will help you to break out of a funk. Some will energize you and help you to tune into yourself better.
The remaining videos contain inspiration and tips that will deepen your experience with the words you read. It is all designed to work together. You will notice that I visit some of the same topics a few times, and this is intentional. This book is meant to help you create new rivers of thought in your mind, and the best way to do this is through repetition.
I see this as a book that you can refer to long after you purchase it. It’s the kind of thing you take your time with, reading sections and trying videos as you feel called to. It was created over many years of writing, and thus it covers a wide variety of topics, which are all interrelated. I sincerely enjoyed putting it together, and I hope you enjoy interacting with it just as much.
25 Tools for a Happier Life is available from Amazon.com for $2.99.
The quote below was a status update I saw on Facebook. I loved it so much I tucked it away and saved it in a draft here. It was just so perfect. What I really love about it is how it so perfectly captures the effects we have on people that we never get to see. The man with the guitar will never know how much his act gave me a good feeling about life and people. He'll never know it brightened my day and made my smile, thousands of miles away from where it happened. And he'll never know I shared it here. Which also means I'll never know exactly who it reaches or what it does from here. You might read this and feel just a little better, and take that better feeling and smile at someone who needs it right in that moment. And that person might silently think, "Thank you," and pass on their gratitude... So before you read the quote let me just ask you to think about how powerful that makes each of us. By the ripple effect, we all impact the world far beyond what we generally allow ourselves to believe.
I recently began digging into why I have a deeply rooted fear of success. After a lot of journal writing, I discovered it came down to one thing: I equated success with being overwhelmed.
I knew I had been overwhelmed and afraid before, and I knew I'd gotten through it. If I hadn't, I would be in a total shut down right now, so numb I wouldn't even be able to speak. This awareness that I'd gotten through my blocks, even if I was flailing and kicking and screaming when I did, gave me a powerful realization about myself: I had tools! Because I had struggled, I had learned ways to handle the struggle.
I decided to write down everything that had helped me in a moment of shut down, fear, depression, over whelm, self-loathing, or general pessimism. I called this list “My Toolbox.” These were my tools that I had both developed and earned through my trials.
When I looked at my list I felt my fear begin to dissipate. The same experiences that had caused me to fear overwhelm were the same things that had given me a set of tools that would carry me forward. I felt both relief and excitement.
One of my favorite things about creating this list was seeing that I had far more tools than I knew. There were things on there that I had disregarded because I didn't understand them. For example, when I feel all is lost, I start saying the Hail Mary. I had written it off because, although I grew up Catholic, I no longer practice Catholicism.
This fear of overwhelm had become ingrained in me from when I was living in Holland, struggling with a foreign language and land. I felt constant anxiety and overwhelm, and I had thus locked in the belief that I would do anything to avoid that chest crushing, rocks in the stomach, total-shut-down feeling again.
All my life I've loved creative writing, but when I was in Holland I really had a hard time with both writing and submitting my work. After I came back home this resistance continued, and I would get anxiety each time I received a response to a pitch I sent out. The awareness that this resistance was a fear of success started slow, but it's now crystal clear to me what was happening.
These two things were feeding into each other, as my past experience fueled my fear and subconscious triggers in my present reality. If I was afraid I would become successful with my writing and then get overwhelmed, I was basically feeling that it wasn't worth it. Thus came in a lot of subconscious self-sabotage.
Since I had written off the Hail Mary, a tool that really helped me, I only turned to it when I was in the midst of feeling totally hopeless and helpless. I am now more proactive, and I say it when I feel even the slightest twinges of anxiety coming on. I don't know why it works for me. It just does, and that's all I need to know.
I had other odd or random tools on my list too. Like singing, “A Whole New World,” until my sadness passed. Or even the simple act of deep breathing while repeating a mantra. I had refused to see deep breathing as a tool because it was so simple. Fear and overwhelm are so BIG that I had come to believe my coping tool had to be gigantic and complicated in return. I now see that this thinking is counter intuitive. To counter act a big, overwhelming feeling, you've got to bring in something so simple that you are giving the yin it's much needed yang.
Having a tool box written down has reduced both the frequency and intensity of my anxiety. When I feel something coming on I open my toolbox and scan down the list. I start using what I have until I feel better. And if nothing is working, there's no need to panic. I'll create a new tool that I can use for the rest of my life. I know I can do this, because there was a time when my toolbox was empty.
I used to have zero coping mechanisms for life. If that's where you are, the zero point, and your toolbox is empty, stay calm. You got this. You can put one thing on your list right now: deep breathing. It's easy, free, and I guarantee you can do it! Once you get two or three more things on your list your faith in yourself will grow, you'll get momentum going, and it'll feel like you're turning downstream rather than always fighting against a current.
If you're looking for some tools to get you started, I have some guided meditations that might help. My "Deep Relief & Emotional Healing" is especially great for when anxiety, fear and stress take over.
As someone who spent years in the dark void that is low self-esteem, I write this post with compassion for those that are where I was.
I started so utterly low that I felt my entire life had no value. I still struggle with my confidence at times (honestly, who doesn't?), but what motivates me to write this is the knowing that it can get better. I am not writing these tips based on things I studied in books, but based on real experience that showed me, it is entirely possible to find your way back into the light of self-love and self-confidence.
1 - Accept how you feel and value your feelings
If you're reading this, it's probably because you're aware that you have low self-esteem.
However, you may try to dilute this in some way, perhaps by quickly pushing aside negative thoughts. Or perhaps by flooding yourself with positive mantras such as, “I'm beautiful, I'm smart, and I'm worthy.” Positive mantras are great, but if you don't believe the words you're saying, they can make you feel like you're failing, which will only make you feel worse in the end.
Listening to yourself and giving yourself space to breathe and just feel what you feel is crucial.
It sends the message to yourself that someone is listening to you, that someone cares. As you take this message in it will create a positive core feeling that you are worthy of being heard. You can use this to steady yourself and hold onto, like a support beam around which a new foundation is built.
Starting this can be scary, because it can feel like you're reaching into a bottomless pit. However, once you let the feelings fully rise up, you will be surprised how quickly they loose their charge and power over you.
Wait until you have some quiet time alone to do this. Put your hands on your heart, and breathe deep. Then just say it. All of it. “I feel ugly. I feel stupid. I feel worthless.” Keep saying it, and let yourself feel what you feel.
If you need to cry, shed those tears. As you do this, keep reminding yourself that millions of other people have these same feelings. You are not wrong for feeling them. You're simply letting them rise up because you're ready to release them and bring in something the feels better.
2 - Realize the difference between feelings and facts
You are a human. That is a fact. Most things beyond that are feelings.
You can feel ugly. You can feel pretty. You can feel a lot of things, and you must become aware of when you take a feeling and turn it into a definition or a fact about yourself. There's a big difference between, “I am ugly,” and “I feel ugly.”
Begin noticing how you use “I am...” and then make a point of shifting to, “I feel...” when it's followed by a negative statement. A feeling can pass through you. An “I am” statement you hold onto, you own it, you lock it in.
The more you become aware of this, the more you will shift and start to let these feelings unlock so that they can rise up and flow out of you. We do not come into this world insecure and self-critical. We come in full of love, joy and curiosity. If we were born insecure, we would never learn to walk or talk. We'd be much too terrified of stumbling and making mistakes.
We learn to be self-defeating. Which means, we can also unlearn it.
We learn it from a lot of places, and for each person, what they learn and how they learn it is different. Sometimes it's personal, and criticism comes right down onto us from a parent. Sometimes it's more vague, and it's simply seeing a certain type of person portrayed as beautiful that we know we look nothing like.
Wherever it is you got it from, the important thing is to realize it's not yours. The things that are real about you, that are unchanging, are the things that I listed: love, joy and curiosity. You may have lost touch with these, but they're still inside of you, ready and eager to be rediscovered.
3 - Forgive those that made you feel down on yourself
Forgiveness has a powerful way of releasing the deeply entrenched gunk.
You aren't going to forgive anyone because you condone their behavior. You aren't forgiving because you want this person or these people in your life.
You are forgiving because carrying around all that anger, sadness and hate is a weight on you. You deserve to be free.
Raising your self-esteem means choosing what's in your highest good above all else. It means making yourself a priority. By holding onto what other people said or did, you're putting them in the driver seat of your life.
No one is allowed to drive your life but you. This life is yours. You get to decide what's true. Put yourself first, and focus on how you, and only you, now want to define yourself.
4 - Create a self-love journal
If you've ever heard of a gratitude journal, this is the same concept. This step requires the most commitment, and you'll be tempted to drop it after a few days. Do not do this.
It takes 21 days to make a new habit. It takes 40 days to make it your new normal.
Make a promise to yourself right now, that you feeling good about yourself is so important you're going to do this for 50 days, and with the intention that you keep doing it after that, so long as it feels good.
For the next 50 days, write two things every day that you love about yourself. Anything at all, even just the fact that you take care of your dog, and you love that you do that, because you love your dog.
You can write the same two things repeatedly.
You can even just write I love me because I'm breathing.
To take note of the fact that you're breathing is to notice that you are alive. You are a flesh and bone part of this world. You were created, and you exist for a reason. You are one of a kind, a sacred reflection of all the stars in the sky. You're breathing. You're alive. YOU MATTER.
If you get momentum going, write more than two. Write fifty. Write hundreds. Write until your hand hurts. It's important you keep a journal ONLY for this purpose. If you want to release negative thoughts, have a separate journal for this. This way, when you need a boost, you can pick up your self-love journal and there before you is a positive, self-created resource of good vibes.
5 - Let go of the need to define your appearance
In the same way that society can impose on us feelings of being ugly, it can also make us think we HAVE to feel beautiful.
Loving all types bodies is becoming the new norm, and it's fantastic. But declaring you love how you look is not required in order to be a self-confident person.
You can just be, and it can feel great.
No longer feeling the need to label your appearance can be liberating. You can stop calling yourself tall, short, fat, thin or anything else right now. You can forget wrestling with all of that, because it's all so convoluted anyways, and just declare that you are a person and you are alive and that's all you need to know.
6 - Find what makes you happy and focus on it
Feeling happy naturally raises your self-esteem.
When you feel happy, you are in the awareness that your time, your life and your energy are valuable. Does coffee make you happy? Then give yourself permission to savor a cup of joe. If taking a slow walk makes you happy, then schedule in daily walks. If watching a ridiculous reality show puts you in your happy place, then let yourself enjoy it without guilt or apologizing.
When you focus on what makes you happy, you also tune into what aligns with you. You stop living for other people, and start living for you. This cuts way down on you worrying what others think. Focus on what brings you joy, and remind yourself, if it brings you joy, then it's important, because you are important.
This guided visualization was inspired by the full moon and the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the sky. The energy has been really powerful lately, and I wanted to tune into it for this video. Even if you view this long after the full moon and the conjunction has passed, you will still get the benefits. It's a great visualization for feeling into your personal power. It will also help you to release the old and open up to what it is you are here to do.