No matter how far you have gone wrong, you can always turn around.
Balance is a myth. Yes, you heard me correctly. It is a myth…at least a myth in the way you think of balance. Most believe balance is an even 50/50 split of work and home life. Last time I checked, there were many other things that made up a person’s life besides home and work; social activities, spirituality, physical and mental health, etc. If you are doing one thing and thinking you should be doing another thing…that is a sure sign you are “out of balance.”
There are many reasons why we lose balance in our lives. Too much on our plates, doing what others think we should do rather than what we want to do, letting negative thoughts about the “what ifs” take you over…but the number one reason we lose balance is because we have lost power to something or someone. Losing power equates to a loss in feeling good. When you feel any one of a number of “bad” feelings, somewhere you have lost power. Power can be lost to a person, a thing, a place, or a thought. The good news is that once you are aware that you have lost power you can call it back by regaining the balance in your life.
How do you regain balance? If that isn’t the golden question, I don’t know what is! Balance comes back into alignment when you identify what is important in your life at this moment (your priorities) and you spend your time and energy doing those things. We lose balance when we are spending our time on things that we do not feel are important to us at the moment…necessary maybe, but not “important.” Let me define “important” here; important equates to a thing or a person you feel is worthy of your time that when you give your energy to, it makes you feel fulfilled and satisfied inside.
What is important to you today may not be as important to you in a month. Things and people change. You change. Change is the only constant we have in life. Get used to it. Every month revisit the priorities in your life and not only make sure they are the same, but assess your behaviors and make sure they are a match to those priorities.
What are your top priorities right now? Not your “to do” list…put that away. I want to see your backbone here, not your wishbone! What makes your heart skip a beat when you think about it? What area of your life is in the most turmoil right now? Where in your life do you often get confused and feel as if you never make the right decision? These answers are a clue to the direction in which the Universe is pointing you. Use your feelings as a guide. Where are your feelings guiding you? What feels good when you do it? What thoughts consume your attention all day long?
Take some time to write down your top three priorities and then create balance in your life by aligning your actions to those priorities. When your feelings drop, realize you lost power and call it back by doing something that will make you feel good again.
Know today that you deserve to have a balanced life. It is ok to have and experience good things. There is no need to feel guilty because you have something someone else does not. We are all on our own journeys. We walk the same road but we are all on different mile markers. Some are ahead and some are behind. Those ahead are not “better” and those behind are not “slower.” We are at the exact mile marker we should be. When you get lost on the road of life, pull over (rest), look at your map (your priorities), turn around if you need to (set different priorities) and get back on the road (re-engage in life - take action).
Remember…we are all walking on the same road. Make it a good “road trip.” ðŸ˜‰
Once you become aware of something that is limiting you, you then have the power to change it.
Calling back my power,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.The 2%
“Do not allow the distractions of your day, your body, and your thoughts to own you. Step outside of the body and observe it as a vehicle that you instruct, a vehicle that transports you through time and space and documents experience. When you have a thought of someone who has passed into spirit, you are with them. When you hold a thought of disease, you start to become it. When you have a thought of limitation, you are gifted it. Where your thoughts are is where you dwell, it is your creational address. This address then becomes your quantified universe and defined field of light. Redefine who you are to yourself and then it will follow as the day follows the night that you will be re-defined in every cell of your body, and level of your life. Do not be humbled by your own light, for it is grander than you can conceive. That is your Divine Right and your Divine Inheritance. All things belong unto you.“ ~Rev. Angela Peregoff
There was a study done recently on goal-setting. 100 people were asked if they had goals for their life and out of that 100, only 10 people said yes that they had goals. After following those 10 goal-making individuals, they found that only 2% of them actually went on to achieve their goals. What was different about that 2%? Why did they go on to achieve their goals but the other 8 did not?
I travel all over the world and have spoken to many different types of audiences. I have facilitated lectures to CEO’s all the way to upcoming female leaders in Gambia, Africa that could not read, write or speak English. One thing I find in common with all of my audiences is that when I ask the question, “Who in here knows what they want? Who has goals for their life?” I get the deer in the headlights look. A few stragglers raise their hands (that 2%), but the others act as if I just asked them a question in Swahili. It still to this day puzzles me as to how any of these individuals make decisions in their life not knowing what they want?
One myth many seem to believe is that life just happens and our job is to respond to life in the appropriate way. That could not be further from the truth. That is like saying you are a pinball in a pinball machine getting knocked around this way and that by life and you just have to take it. I choose to believe something different. I choose to believe that creating our life the way WE want is a God-given right. We are the Michael Angelo’s of our lives…we are the creators.
What is different about that 2% who go on to be creators of their lives?
Starting today, begin to believe you have the right to life; the right to live that life the way YOU want to. Go grab a “paintbrush” and start your masterpiece.
One of the 2%,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.H.A.L.T.
I had the distinct pleasure this week of being one of the speakers at a Women’s Leadership Forum in Philadelphia. Being the closing speaker, I was honored to sit through the entire day and listen to the three amazing women who were guest speakers as well at the forum. I always find it interesting that, because I am a public speaker, writer and coach, people seem to think I have all of the answers and my life is perfect. I’d like to think that as well but the reality is that I am on this journey the same as you. I learn from my experiences, continue to grow from them and every day do what I feel is right for me to become the best human being possible during my life this go round. I strive for excellence, not perfection – which is a HUGE admission for a recovering perfectionist!
All of the women who spoke at this forum were fabulous but my ah-ha moment came from my dear friend, Joan Walsh. Joan and I have known each other for probably 10 years now and quite often speak in the same circles. Joan, being one of the most goal-oriented and successful women I know, suffered an almost fatal aneurysm 20 months ago. In her workshop, she discussed her healing journey and, although she is still healing, what it has taken for her to get this far.
One of the areas where Joan is brilliant is in the area of goal setting and coming up with a plan of action. In doing her research, one of the things she found out regarding healing from a brain injury is the importance of sleep. Due to the fact that healing is Joan’s number one priority, she made the decision to only work in the mornings and in the afternoons she goes home to take a nap. She honors herself and her goals enough to do what she needs to do to accomplish what she has determined will be so in her life.
Hearing this tidbit of information is what brought me to my ah-ha moment. My tendency in life is to “get ‘er done!” I, being goal-oriented myself, like to act, check it off of my list and move on. This tendency, although effective in getting me to my end point, does not always honor my soul nor do I always feel great once I get to my desired end point. I sacrifice too much of myself and I tend to make decisions quickly in order to just to get it over with rather than thinking my decisions through and being patient with allowing the things that I feel need to change work themselves out organically.
My dear friend Sarah has a great way of making sure she is conscious in every decision she makes. She lives by the rule that when you have to make a decision, never do so if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (in other words, if any of these four scenarios is what you are experiencing at the moment, HALT and hold off making that decision).
My life in 2012 has been one in which it seems one tornado after another is taking turns whipping through each area of my life. Just when I seem to settle into my life after a major change, something else seems to come up right on the heals of that ending that throws me into another cycle of change. The Universe is currently “cleaning house,” so to speak, in everyone’s life this year. We need to release the old ways of doing things that no longer serve us in order to make room for the new to enter. All of these changes we are experiencing are to make us aware of where we need to change in our personal lives. What decision making patterns no longer work; what relationships no longer serve us; what career is no longer doing it for fulfilling our soul. You name it…it is coming up!
We cannot control the circumstances that life throws our way but we can always control how we respond to them. One of our God-given rights on this Earth is to experience joy. That joy is a decision. There is no need to wait for the outside circumstances of your life to be perfect in order to be happy and feel joyful. (The way this year is going for everyone, if we depended on external circumstances to be happy, we’d be waiting awhile!) Decide how you want to feel today and do what you need to do to make it so. Stay in your center, be consciously aware of how you feel (remember H.A.L.T.), stop worrying about what others think and their reactions and step forward into the life that has been waiting for you. Honor yourself and make decisions that serve your well-being and happiness. It is ok to be in the equation when you make decisions about your life. It’s about time, actually, that you are.
Your life is there…you just have to choose to live it.
H.Y.D.I.F.W.J. (Hoping Your Day Is Filled With Joy),
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.Trust…
Trust, even if your future seems uncertain.
Trust, even if you have no idea how your situation could ever improve.
Trust, even if you feel alone and abandoned.
Trust, even if your heart is shattered.
Trust, because your strength comes from trusting that everything always gets better with time, that miracles do occur and that prayers are answered in illogical ways.
Trust, because God loves you for who you are right now and has a wonderful plan in the works for you that you cannot yet see or feel…but you soon will.
Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens!
Revealing the Truth Prayer
Lord, I ask that you give me very clear guidance so that I can easily notice and understand in order to reveal the truth about this situation to my conscious awareness. And so it is…Amen.
Live an inspired life!
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ~Frank Kafka
Being a “newbie” to the Scottsdale, AZ area, I decided recently to use Meetup.com as a way to meet new people in the area. I have been kayaking, hiking, business networking…you name it. But one meeting I attended this past week stuck out for me. Being the spiritual person that I am and always interested in meeting people of this circle, I decided to attend a spirituality meditation meet up. The meet up was scheduled from 7-10pm and the first thing I thought was, “Wow! That is a long-a@* time to meditate!” Having always felt I rocked in meditating, I took on the challenge.
The meet up group met at an amazing bookstore in Scottsdale called Vision Quest which was full of anything us spiritual gurus would want to buy to help us “ascend.” I was guided into a back room where the chairs where arranged in a circle with 4 lit candles on a table in the middle of the circle. I was greeted by a large African American man who may have frightened me due to his size at first, until he smiled. His smile turned him from a giant into an angel. I found myself a chair and plopped down, ready to meditate my little tush off.
Once the meditation began, the instructor explained how throughout the meditation he would call in different angels and guides from the 12th dimension (stick with me here). As soft music played in the background, I fell into my meditative trance, meeting the energies of Archangel Michael first. I am very familiar with him because he and I…well, let’s just say we are “buds.” As the meditation continued, I found myself antsy and then becoming frightened. I always teach my clients to be “an observer” of their life and behaviors, so I took my own advice and observed myself. Why was I frightened?
Here is what I found…silence is a healer, but in order to heal it, you have to feel it. When we allow ourselves to slip into silence, even if only for a few minutes, we allow the healing to begin. In order to heal, we must first know what we are healing. Let me use an analogy. Say you want to clean out your closet. In order to do so, you must take out each piece of clothing, look at it and decide if you want to keep it or send it to “Goodwill heaven.” You cannot get rid of it until you look at it and see what it is and then make a decision. Do you want to keep that old, dirty polka-dotted dress from the 70’s or trash it? Does it serve you anymore?
Now let’s return to your healing. Those old wounds, hurts, anger and grief…are having those feelings serving you? Do you need to give them to “God’s will heaven?” In order for God to take them, you have to make the choice to give them to him. He gave you free will, remember? That allows you the choice to do what you want with your life. That includes holding onto things that are hurting you.
It is never easy to face pain. The tough decisions we need to make in order to heal…let’s face it…suck! But at some point you have to realize that one day, like it or not, they will have to be faced. Why not do it now? Why not finally realize that you have the right to life! You have the right to a life without pain, suffering and sorrow. Suffering is not and never was God’s plan for you…you chose to feel those things; God did not put that upon you.
Go into silence, even if it is only for 5 minutes a day. Just listen to your breathing and every time a thought comes in re-focus on your breath. Ideally, you want to get to 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening of meditative silence. You will be amazed at how you miraculously heal. The road may feel rough at first but the ride is worth it. ðŸ˜‰
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
~Henry David Thoureau
Helping love make its stand on Mother Earth,
“One cannot weep for the entire world. It is beyond human strength. One must choose.” ~Jean Anouilh
Ok, hands up if you would label yourself a “control freak?” Its ok, my hand is up too.
Here is the thing about us control freaks…we worry. Worry about money, worry about our kids, worry about our friends, worry about the poor innocent ant we just accidentally stepped on and whether we are going to go to heaven now…we just worry. And if there is nothing to worry about, self-sabotage kicks in and we subconsciously create a drama so there is something to worry about. I know, it sounds sick when you actually say it out loud. But it’s true.
Why is it that we believe that by thinking and worrying about something incessantly it is going to solve the problem? It’s like we believe there is a little clock in the heavens that measures the amount of time we think about something and go over and over it in our minds and if we do that enough, Whamo!, the answer will appear and all will be good in the world again. Wrong! We are made of energy and so is everything around us. Our thoughts are a form of energy. When we think about something, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, we are giving energy to “that thing.” Since the universe’s language is energy, it picks up the signal of what we are thinking about most (our worry) and thinks that is what we want more of, since we are thinking about it so much, so it makes it so. Worrying is a form of prayer. Prayer is simply the process of giving our thoughts to God. What thoughts have you been giving to God lately? Are they of gratitude for what you do have in your life or are they worrisome thoughts of why things are not how you want them to be? God is a kind God; at least that is my belief. Nothing happens in this world, even if you perceive it as “bad,” that is out of alignment with God’s highest plan for you. Sometimes it is those things that tear us down that eventually are the catalyst that builds us back up later.
Lately, my personal struggle has been worrying about my 20 year old daughter. She is 6 months pregnant and let’s just say “lost” at the moment. My first instinct…to worry about her. My second instinct…to jump in and “save” her by fixing it all for her so she is happy. But, what makes me think if her situation is “fixed” she would be happy? Is that true? I don’t know God’s plan for her. Only God knows that.
Let’s take Lazarus as an example. Jesus loved Lazarus like a brother and did not want him to die. When Jesus found out Lazarus was sick and dying, he did not intervene by running to Lazarus’ side, shoving raw food and vitamins down his throat and making him drink water to flush out his system…he left town as planned. He did not only leave town, he stayed away for 2 days. Was that hard for Jesus? I would guess it was agonizing. But, Jesus knew his Father had a plan for Lazarus and he did not want to interfere with that plan, even if it would make him feel better…even if it meant he had to watch his friend suffer. “Love one another as I have loved you”…that was the plan.
God never leaves our side during suffering…he and his angels are always there. We must learn to step out of the way and allow him to do his work. We need to stop playing God by thinking we know what is best for those around us. Just because it makes us feel better and would be what we would do, does not necessarily mean it is best for those we love.
Sometimes we must love from a distance, watch those we love fall and simply be the hand that comes in to help them pick up the pieces when it is all over.
Worrying never solved anything…
“Though we would love to run and catch them, we have to let the people we love stumble and fall. In this way, they can get back up, and without any nudging from us, go on to choose the best path for them into their Father’s arms.”
~Allia Zobel Nolan, “The Worrywart’s Prayer Book”
Praying a different way,
“Oh, God, help me! And I walked faster, my thoughts pursuing me, and I began to run, my frozen shoes squealing like mice, but running didn’t help the thoughts to the left and right and behind me. But as I ran, The Arm, that good left arm, took hold of the situation and spoke soothingly: ease up, Kid, it’s loneliness, you’re all alone in the world; your father, your mother, your faith, they can’t help you, nobody helps anybody, you only help yourself, and that’s why I’m here, because we are inseparable, and we’ll take care of everything.“
~ John Fante,
Running doesn’t help. Sleeping, drugs or alcohol only create an illusion to make it go away for a little while. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never get away from it. You are always there. How many times have you said, “I just need to get away!” and you do…only to find out when you get to that “get away” place, nothing has changed but the scenery.
I don’t know about you, but lately my life has felt as if I am in the middle of a huge haboob (the word us Arizonians use for a dust storm)! When I look in the mirror I see the same ole’ (notice I said “ole” and not “old!”) Chris but something has changed. I look around my life and feel as if I am standing in a place where a haboob just moved through and wiped out everything in its path. People that were in my life are gone or have changed drastically (or is it “I” that have changed?), what I used to do for my business to make money does not seem to be working anymore, my oldest child is choosing a path for her life, that although I know it is her choice, is very hard and painful for a parent to watch, and I have felt more alone lately than I ever have in my life. What used to work no longer works and when I try to make the old work, things seem to just get worse.
So, I made a decision. I remembered recently a conversation I had with a friend who said to me that when your life seems to be falling down around you all that means is that the finger of God has come down to touch your life…not even us humans can make that big of a mess! In order for change to occur and new, beautiful things to enter our lives, “the old” has to go. But we hang on for dear life…hanging onto that pole as the haboob winds toss us around screaming, “NO! I won’t let go!”
Nothing of heavenly importance can be figured out with the human mind. There is no logic to heaven. If your life seems in chaos right now, rejoice! That is a sure sign that God’s hand is in it, sweeping away the old (since you wouldn’t do it yourself because you were holding on so tight) so he can bring in the paradise and dreams you came here to experience.
So what was my decision? To finally let go of the pole I was holding onto so tight and allow the haboob winds to take me in their arms. Yes, there is a risk to just whipping around in the uncontrolled wind, but let me ask you this? Trying to completely control the situation…how is that working for you? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s not anymore. I choose to let God’s winds take me…take me home…take me to the next chapter in my life…wherever. I choose to let God have my back.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you the most you would leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
~Author Unknown, “Footprints“
Blowing in the wind,
Please enjoy today’s article from Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Pure Joy Academy as the guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self Blog. ~ Chris
Last summer, when I was fasting in Thailand, I read Savor, a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. The fast was a success and it was also a struggle to stay on it at times. I fasted for 11 days while there and in the end I learned a lot about myself. During that time I took ownership of my own self-sabotage and I confronted and honored it with love and compassion. One thing which really stuck with me in the book Savor was the idea of the hungry ghost. Hanh talks about a thin ghost-like figure with a long narrow neck, a huge distended belly and a tiny little mouth. The concept is that we can eat all day or night long and never be satisfied. “Though they are constantly ravenous, driven by the desire to eat, their tiny mouths and necks prevent them from swallowing the food they ingest. The act of eating does not help them overcome negative emotions and cravings. Eating more only causes them to have more pain and agony. Are you consuming like a hungry ghost?”
We continue to eat to fill a void that cannot be filled with food. Because we eat foods that do not satisfy that empty place and sometimes we eat when we are not hungry, and sometimes we eat foods that do not nourish or serve our bodies, we are left feeling like a hungry ghost, wandering the kitchen or grocery store isles looking for something that is not there. If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many people I’ve spoken to have experienced little set backs which feel like the hungry ghost has taken up residence.
Here are some tips I learned from Savor and from my experience in Thailand to help you going forward:
To mindful eating,
The alarm goes off; you crawl out of bed (hopefully take a shower) and begin your day. The “hamster wheel of life” continues…bringing with it more to do with each moment. Do you ever feel totally consumed with all there is to do? I don’t know about you but to me it feels as if just when I seem to get caught up with my to-do list, more things get piled on. It is as if there is an evil fairy cackling in the background saying, “You thought you were done…ha ha ha…just wait until you see this!”
Many have found themselves caught up in the web of life this summer…busy beyond belief and not knowing what to do first. I know life can be overwhelming at times. It is when life seems to be running us instead of us running our lives that we need to step back and take a look at two things: our priorities and our why?
The only thing that is asked of us is to do our best every day. What defines your best? That depends. Your best will vary depending on the circumstances you find yourself in and where your energy is that day. Are you feeling sick vs. healthy? Energized vs. fatigued? Joyful vs. sad? Sometimes universal energies are moving through and you just feel “off center” for a day. However you feel learn to listen to your body and honor what it is telling you. If you are tired, rest or take a break. If you are at work and it is 2pm when you are at your lowest energy, do those things that take less energy, such as answering emails or filing. Save the high energy tasks for the times of day you feel good.
Your best action is the answer to your productivity issues. Doing your best at any given moment entails knowing how you feel in that moment. Depending on how you feel, give the best you can in that moment with no judgment. Any action is better than no action (and action sometimes includes taking a nap!). If you keep a daily “to-do” list, prioritize that list. Make the #1 thing on your list the most important thing you have to do that day, #2 the second most important thing you need to do that day, etc. Start your day working on #1 and do not move to #2 until #1 is finished (if you are working on a project, allot a certain amount of time to work on #1, such as 2 hours instead of working until it is finished). Even if the day ends and you have only finished #1, you can rest assured you at least finished the most important thing that day; your #1 priority.
Speaking of priorities, what are yours personally? Family, career, money? Take a moment to define them. Balance, my friends, is not a 50/50 split of work and home time…balance is knowing what is important to you in your life right now (your priorities) and putting your energy toward those things on a regular basis. The only time you feel “off” is when you know down deep that you are not putting your time and energy toward those things you feel are important. There is no right or wrong answers when you list your priorities. They are for you and you alone.
When my father was dying of cancer, he lived in Cleveland and I lived in Baltimore. Upon finding out that his cancer was terminal, I made a choice. I decided that I did not want him to pass away and say to myself, “I wish I would have…” So, I made him and my family in Cleveland my priority. I discussed with my husband at the time and my daughters that when grandpa needed me, I would need to go to Cleveland but I loved them very much and it would not be like this forever. I also discussed with my clients that I had a family emergency happening at any time and I may need to call in a replacement speaker if I was not available. I communicated to those whom I had responsibilities. So, when I got a call that my father was in the hospital again, it took me 2 flat seconds to decide what to do. I was in the car or on a plane pronto!
Knowing your priorities also makes decision making so much easier. There is no more going back and forth between, “should I do this or that?”
All we are asked to do is our best. Refrain from being so hard on yourself. You judge yourself harder than anyone around you. Please stop. You are doing the best you can at this moment in your life, with what you know and where you are in your self/spiritual development. There is no one watching you and comparing how you did today vs. yesterday. Only you are doing that. Be kind to yourself today, listen to what those inner nudges are telling you and just do what you know to be your best. Who cares what others think…they are not you nor do they see with your eyes. Love yourself today!
“Do not be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. Just live one day at a time. Always do your best. Today is the beginning of a new dream!”
~Don Miguel Ruiz
(For more information of “doing your best,” pick up “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz).
Loving you for who you are today,