Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

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Fives Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs is the final installment in the Going Beyond Series. Check out posts one and two, if you haven’t yet, and then dive into learning about moving beyond limiting beliefs. Of the three…fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…this one is perhaps the most challenging to shift.

No worries though. I’ve got you!

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs title meme

What are Limiting Beliefs?

We all have beliefs. Many we acquire during childhood, passed on to us by others. Or beliefs develop due to an experience, usually a negative one. We hold onto those limiting beliefs…thoughts, convictions or opinions…as absolute truths even when they have a detrimental effect on us.

Common limiting beliefs include:

  • fear of success
  • fear of failure
  • not being good enough or not being enough
  • being unlovable
  • fear of rejection
  • negative associations with money
  • fear of greatness
  • unworthiness
  • believing we have to work very hard for financial gain
  • blaming others for our problems

Our brains work to protect us, at all times. Limiting beliefs do that by preventing pain in the future. When a child touches a hot surface, she learns that hot equals pain. She avoids touching anything hot in the future.

If that child has a parent who passes on a fear of swimming, or she has a bad experience while in a pool, the child carries the limiting belief that swimming and bodies of water are bad and cause pain. She avoids going into the water, even as an adult.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs logo

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

Work through these steps for identifying and going beyond the beliefs that are keeping you stuck and keeping you from living the life you desire.

Identify Which Beliefs Hold You Back

The first step to going beyond limiting beliefs is to discover what they are. Once identified, you can overcome them.

Do you want to overcome them? Yes, if they are holding you back and keeping you caged. As I shared in the second post, your comfort zone becomes a cage, with the bars strengthened by limiting beliefs. Fear is the jailor. If you feel stuck, small, afraid or bored with life, it’s time to break out of that comfortable cage by destroying those bars. Fear will bow and step aside.

What are your thoughts about the world you live in? Circumstances seem out of your control. Bad things always happen to you. The world is against you. You don’t have enough time, enough money, enough talent.

What are your thoughts about other people? Does it matter to you what other people think about you? You feel you have to please others, not show up as your true self, hide, stay small. Do you believe that others are out to “get you”?

What are your thoughts about yourself? This is where deep limiting beliefs hide. Do you think you are incapable, unlovable, too old, too young, or that you can’t learn new things? What story do you tell yourself about who you are?

Grab a piece a paper and spend time identifying your thoughts/beliefs about the world, about other people, about yourself.

Real life example

You know that I grew up afraid of the dark. My belief told me scary things hid in the dark and I was not safe. That belief kept me from many adventures because I was afraid to go on sleepovers as a child and afraid to travel as an adult.

The truth is, there ARE things that hide in the dark. At least that is true for me as an intuitive. To overcome the belief that I was not safe, I acknowledged that my spirit visitors don’t hurt me. I am safe, even if I feel surprised or momentarily frightened. I also learned how to clear negative energy from structures and surround myself with divine, protective light. That shifted my fear and my belief with it.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs dark
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – identify the beliefs holding you back

Take Responsibility for Limiting Beliefs

When we choose to believe that life just happens to us, rather than for us, we fail to take responsibility for our lives and beliefs.

Believing that life happens for us, for our good, for our growth and development, we can own responsibility for making changes.

Look through the list of limiting beliefs. Where did each one come from? Find the source. Was the belief passed on to you? Did you have a bad experience that birthed it? Ask yourself, “Is this belief really true?”. If you shift that belief, what might happen?

If you wrote down the belief, “I am too old to do what I want to do” then you are allowing a circumstance beyond your control to dictate what you can do or not do. You’ve adopted a limiting belief. You are the age that you are. Accept that. Own it. And shift. “I am the perfect age to do what I want to do”.

Go through the limiting beliefs you wrote down and take back responsibility for them, one by one. Then you have the power to shift them.

Real life example

I dealt with the limiting belief, “I am too old” a few years ago. I began blogging at age 56. What began as a hobby quickly became something else. I wanted to monetize my blogs and social media sites. However, I lamented the fact that I was too old. Nonsense! I took responsibility for that belief. I am the age that I am and I bring lots of life experience to the brands, companies and organizations I work with. For them to believe in me, I must believe in me and make no apologies for my age.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs not too old
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – take responsibility for beliefs. Pictured, a campaign with Tough as a Mother jewelry

Develop an Alternative Belief

You’ve identified the limiting beliefs. And you’ve taken responsibility for them. Now you are ready to shift them by creating alternative beliefs.

“The world is against me” becomes “The world works for me, for my growth.” “I must work hard for my money” becomes “I fund the perfect life for me and live in abundance.”

Flip the belief. Write them down. Practice believing them by living as if you do. Life shifts, in magical ways, when you shift.

Take each limiting belief on your list and create an alternative one. Adopt it as your belief and put action with it. “I can’t afford to travel” becomes “I can afford to travel” or “I go on adventures”. Plan a trip, even if it’s to the neighboring city. Go on an adventure. Feel all the emotions of that fun trip. And then watch for more opportunities to show up, for more adventures.

Real life experience

I longed to visit Scotland, since early childhood. My first attempt to travel to Scotland cancelled because of my dad’s declining health. And that cancellation almost killed the desire to go, ever. I believed I “wasn’t supposed to travel to Scotland”. How sad.

When the second invitation to visit that beautiful country arrived, I almost didn’t accept it because it showed up in an unexpected way. I realized I needed to shift some beliefs, and quickly! I embraced the alternative belief, “I am traveling to Scotland”. And, “I deserve to visit Scotland.” My father had passed away and my Scottish heritage comes from him. A part of me didn’t believe I deserved to go to Scotland, since he was gone.

Three trips to Scotland later, I’m so grateful that I changed a belief that limited me. And I look forward to more Scottish adventures.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs edinburgh
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – develop an alternative belief

Shift Self Talk

One way that we reveal our limiting beliefs is through self talk. Self talk tends to dwell on the negatives. We tell ourselves, “I can’t” “I’m not supposed to” “I must not.”. The more we tell ourselves something, the more we accept that it’s true.

Do you have a constant, negative narrative running in your mind?

Shifting self talk begins with noticing that inner dialogue. Jot down repeating words or phrases that you say to yourself. And then shift those, just as you did with the list of limiting beliefs.

Change “I am stupid for doing that” to “I just learned something important”. Shift “I am not good enough” to “I am perfectly created and growing into my best self”. It might feel strange, but practice saying positive words to yourself in a mirror. Look deeply into your eyes and talk about your gifts, your abilities, your charms…all the good things.

And when you catch a negative conversation starting within, stop it. Undo it. Take it back. And then shift it to the positive and say that instead. Develop affirmations and mantras to counter your most common statements to yourself.

Real life example

I have perfectionist tendencies and hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else does. So a failure can really start the negative self talk. I’ve learned to catch those conversations early and stop them. Sometimes I have to stop them over and over before I can shift them. I see failure as lessons in growth now. And by reminding myself of the lesson or lessons I’m learning, I can halt the inner dialogue that tells me I’m not good enough. Asking myself, “What am I learning here?” is usually enough to shift that negativity.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs quiet
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – silencing negative self talk

Deal with New Limiting Beliefs Immediately

Finally, deal with any new limiting beliefs that pop up. And how do you know if they are limiting? Because they stop you from growing, from moving forward, from learning new things, from life itself. That’s how you know a sly new belief has taken root.

A new limiting belief is much easier to deal with then one that is deeply entrenched from childhood. Recognizing the new belief, identifying it and its source and shifting it is minor compared with uncovering and changing long-held beliefs. You have the tools now to shift and go beyond.

There’s so much freedom in living with beliefs that truly reflect who you are, how the world is and in realizing that other people’s thoughts and opinions about us don’t matter.

Real life example

I suffered injuries in a major car accident in 1995. The pain in my back, legs, feet and sternum was intense and unrelenting. After years of physical therapy and specialists, and no relief from pain, doctors told me that my condition would worsen in 20 years and I’d eventually lose mobility.

I believed them, adopting their beliefs about me as my own. And guess what? Exactly 20 years later, my condition and health began declining, to the point where I needed a cane to walk and was looking at using a wheelchair. An upcoming trip to Italy with my grandson motivated me to shift my beliefs. And ask for divine guidance. Both led to new ways of thinking, believing and being. I recovered, at last, from my injuries and pain. And my second blog, Journey with Healthy Me, came into reality along with improved health and wellness.

Living Life Beyond the Edges

Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…leads to a more expansive, adventurous life. And while adventures might include exploring a country, extreme sports and daring deeds they also encompass inner exploration, extreme creativity and doing good deeds. A life lived beyond the edges opens up new possibilities and opportunities because you are unhindered by fears, free from limiting beliefs and continually stepping over the edge of comfort zones.

Are you going beyond?

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

 


 

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Feel It All Playlist

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Last year, I began working through the companion journal to Glennon Doyle’s bestselling book, Untamed. Get Untamed the Journal is leading me deeper into who I am as I discover new aspects of myself.

One of the exercises in the write-in book is simple and yet profound. It connects me more strongly to my emotions and for me, that is a big deal.

The feel it all playlist is an ongoing activity that helps me to sort through emotions and also access them through the power of music. It’s such a valuable tool that I want to share it with you.

Feel It All Playlist title meme

Why Feel It All?

Psychologists agree that feeling and expressing all of the emotions is healthy. It’s an important part of letting those emotions pass on through instead of getting caught in the region of the heart, where we tend to replay them over and over…or stuff them away.

I learned in early childhood to suppress negative emotions. At the age of four, I decided crying was a waste of time and energy. So literally overnight, I turned off the tears.

The problem with that decision became apparent immediately. If I chose not to cry, I needed to avoid situations that triggered emotions that might lead to tears. I associated anger, frustration, grief, sorrow, pain and sadness with negativity because those emotions might result in crying.

Avoiding them meant that I also avoided watching sad movies. As a child I walked out of a movie theater when Bambi lost his mother in that classic Disney animation, a precedent for passing on future movies dealing with loss. I steered away from confrontations, books in which characters died, sorrowful music and I shied away from people dealing with grief.

As I grew older, I knew my avoidance of what I considered the negative emotions wasn’t healthy. But by the time I reached adulthood, I couldn’t cry if I wanted to. My body shut down the ability to weep and made attempts physically painful. Fear that I might not handle such raw energy caused me to further avoid my negative emotions.

Joy, happiness, excitement, playfulness, anticipation…these positive emotions I expressed fully. However with age, I discovered I needed my other feelings to grow as a person and empathize more strongly with others.

Connecting with Emotion

Fifteen years ago, the journey into all of my emotions began. I wish I could say that I connected with my feelings…both positive and negative…and grew immediately.

No. It’s still an ongoing journey as I move ever more deeply into those long buried emotions and learn that it’s okay to embrace them, experience them…and let them go.

So I was delighted to delve into the Feel it All, Use it All section of Getting Untamed.

Glennon writes:

“When I got pregnant and sober, I was so afraid that actually feeling all of the feelings I’d been numbing for so long would kill me. I needed to practice feeling in manageable bits. Each night after work, I’d lie in bed and play one Indigo Girls song. Nothing made me feel more deeply and widely than the music and poetry of Amy and Emily. I’d lie there, for one song, and listen, and feel and cry.”

Ah. I so identify with Glennon’s words. I used avoidance rather than alcohol, but the numbing effect was the same. And I realize music plays a similar role for me. It allows me to connect with my feelings in a way that bypasses the  safety boundaries I created.

Glennon shares her Feel It All playlist…and her reasons for choosing each particular song. And then she gives an assignment.

Feel It All Playlist get untamed
Feel It All Playlist, an exercise in Get Untamed, the Journal.

Create a Feel It All Playlist

Glennon suggests that good music helps us connect with emotions. I agree. Music is extremely important to me. Every day I listen to songs that move me in various ways.

She asks:

“What are the songs that make you Feel It All? Return to your achy, happy, sad, fiery playlist when you need to practice feeling your feelings.”

I love this fun and insightful activity. The journal provides space to list ten feel it all songs with blanks to fill in for each selection.

__(Name of Song)__ reminds me of ______________________________ and makes me feel__________________________________________.

I’m serious about the assignment and I’m taking my time selecting my songs. So far, eight landed on my playlist. The songs are recorded in the journal. And I created a Feel It All playlist on my iPhone’s music app.

Feel It All Playlist
I created an actual playlist with my selections and have it on my phone.

My Feel It All Playlist

Here they are, my eight songs with what they remind me of and what they make me feel:

All of Me by John Legend reminds me of the beauty and magic of intimate relationships and makes me feel sad that it’s difficult to give all of who I am to another and receive the same in return.

Beautiful by MercyMe reminds me of God’s unconditional love for me and that I’m made for so much more than any chaos going on in my life and makes me feel grateful to be so divinely loved.

How Far I’ll Go (Moana) by Auli’i Cravalho reminds me of my yearning to travel and explore and makes me feel determined to keep going toward the distant horizon.

This is Me (The Greatest Showman) by Keala Settle reminds me of the importance of being authentically who I am and makes me feel courageous and powerful in my own skin.

Easy on Me by Adele reminds me of the pain I felt as a young adult and makes me feel I didn’t get the chance to “feel the world around me” because I was so closed off.

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts reminds me I’m living in my silver years and makes me feel determined to do what I want to do, NOW!

We Can Do Hard Things by Tish Melton reminds me of how strong I am and makes me feel expansive and committed to my adventurous life.

A Million Dreams (The Greatest Showman) by Hugh Jackman and Ziv Zaifman reminds me of the importance of my thoughts and dreams and makes me feel that I can envision and create the world I want to live in.

Feel It All Playlist songs
Songs on my list.

Create Your Own Feel It All Playlist

The purpose of the playlist is to listen to the songs often and connect with my emotions. I listen to my playlist almost every day. There’s room on my list for two more songs, although I can add as many as I wish. And I can always swap out songs if I feel another better connects with me.

Would you like to create your own playlist?

What songs are a lifeline to you, when you are drowning in a sea of conflicts? Which song lifts your spirits, every time you hear it? What’s your go to fight song? If your life had a soundtrack, what song best captures where you are in this moment? And when you are feeling life deeply and painfully, which song do you crank up and breathe in?

These are the songs that belong on your feel it all playlist. Keep the playlist on your phone or in Spotify, Amazon Music or YouTube. For added insight, grab a piece of paper and write down what each song reminds you of and what it makes you feel.

And if your current journey includes discovering more about who you are and the life you are here to create, purchase Get Untamed the Journal  by Glennon Doyle. It’s so worth the $13 investment to free yourself to live the life you desire to live.

So, tell me the name of a song that might go on your Feel It All playlist?

Feel It All Playlist me
Learning to feel all of my emotions.

 

 

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Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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When I began my blogging journey in 2014, my free WordPress site carried the name “Going Beyond”.  A few years later, as I began monetizing my blog and social media sites, the name changed to “Cindy Goes Beyond”. The idea of going beyond remained important to me, so much so that I added the tag line “Living life beyond the edges”. In my writing, I often include the longer version of that statement that reads “Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs.”

My whole life journey is encapsulated in that statement. It’s in continually going beyond the edges that I learn, grow and experience the most freedom in a life that I love living. What does it mean to live that way? And why does it matter?

I decided to write a series of posts on ways to step over the edges and into a more expansive life. This is the first…five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone title meme

What is a Comfort Zone?

What is this comfort zone, that we want to go beyond?

By definition, a comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar. In that state, we feel at ease, with low levels of anxiety and stress, and we come to believe that we have some control over our environment.

Using that definition, a comfort zone doesn’t seem like a bad place to be. However, when we choose to stay in that space, we don’t grow. Our learning centers shut down.  We get into routines that become ruts. And instead of overcoming challenges by facing them and dealing with them, we find it easier to shrink back into our comfort zones, where it feels safe and predictable.

Eventually, that comfort zone becomes a cage. It constrains our growth and also our creativity, our dreams and our purpose in life. Often fears and comfort zones are connected. The longer we try to control life and keep it safe, the more fearful we become about trying new experiences and about what others think about us.

Although occasionally we take a huge leap beyond the edge, the best way to go beyond is one step at a time. This gradual way of expanding the zone helps to keep anxiety and stress at a manageable level. Every time we bump up against the edge of the comfort zone, we take a step beyond it rather than step back into comfort. How do you know when you are at the edge? You feel the discomfort that going farther brings.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone life begins
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Ready to live a more expansive life? Excited to discover more about who you are and what you can accomplish?

Try these five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Change Up Routines

There’s nothing wrong with creating routines. I have night time and morning skin care routines that I adhere to.

However, with routine comes a tendency to operate on auto pilot. We don’t have to think about what we are doing. The brain and the body get lazy. We’re not learning anything different or challenging ourselves.

Have you ever driven to a destination the same way so many times that you realize you’ve arrived and you don’t really remember anything about the journey? We can begin to travel through life the same way. Dullness and boredom set in.

Shake up your routines. Drive to the park a new way. Or better yet, get there a different way…walk, ride a bike, skateboard or jog. When you notice mindless activities, it’s time to break a routine. Doing so allows you to see things differently, learn something new or discover something fresh about yourself.

Real life example: When I started my blog I quickly settled into a routine of writing approximately 500 words and adding a photo or two. I had a formula that allowed me to write quickly and post. A mentor at the time gently encouraged me to add photos of myself. None of my early blog posts contained photos of me. The reason? I hated having my photo taken.

I learned to move beyond that feeling of discomfort by taking lots of selfies. It’s not such a painful process now. To keep growing in this area, I’m working on creating more Instagram Reels with me in them.

 

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone selfie
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shake up routines. A recent selfie.

Shift One Situation that Bothers You

I know. It’s easier to complain about situations than to do anything about them. When I find myself bothered about something repetitively, that’s my signal to take action.

What bothers you? And…and what bothers you but makes you uncomfortable to take action concerning it? That’s the situation to shift. Find a way to do something positive and productive rather than complain from the safety of your comfort zone.

Do you dislike injustice? Weep over children in the foster care system? Hate that your local dog shelter is overcrowded? Feel protective of the elderly? Let that indignant energy fuel your actions and propel you out of your comfort zone and into action. And of course, you aren’t limited to shifting one situation. However, start with one and then shift another…and another.

Real life example: I’m very ecologically minded. And yet for many years I only worried about the earth’s resources and how badly we treat our planet while doing nothing. One of my first actions that moved me beyond was limiting the use of plastics. I started with swapping out plastic water bottles for a reusable metal container and eliminating the use of plastic straws at restaurants. I refuse them and simply sip water straight from the glass.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone plastics
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shift one thing that bothers you

Do Something that Scares You

You don’t have to dive with great white sharks or bungee jump to go beyond your comfort zone, although go for it if these activities both scare you and excite you.

Many common experiences scare people. Speaking in public, singing in front of others, solo travel, going to a movie or a restaurant alone or sharing a poem you wrote all qualify…if doing any of these things makes you break out in a cold sweat.

Overwhelming, debilitating fear we will deal with in another post. For going beyond your comfort zone, make a list of things that you’d like to do or want to try…but they scare you a little. When we step over the edge of comfort the first thing we often encounter is fear. That’s normal. Keep going. Don’t let fear push you back into that small cage. I promise you, fear will step aside when you face it, acknowledge it and move beyond anyway.

You learn so much about yourself when you do something that scares you. Courage is born. And it becomes easier to go beyond the next time.

Real life example: I love to travel, however I only last year experienced solo travel in a bigger city that I’d never visited before. Yes, the night before my flight, I felt fear. A lot of “what ifs” crowded into my brain. I’m so grateful I did it in spite of the trepidations. I learned so much about my capabilities.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone solo
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something that scares you

Break Down a Big Goal into Small Steps

Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” It’s also an important step for going beyond your comfort zone.

I admit it. I’m a dreamer. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if ideas only stay in the dream state, nothing manifests into reality. Make a big goal. Think really big. It’s perfect if it scares you a little bit.

Now break down that goal into small steps. Work your way back to Step One. And then do it. Go beyond your comfort zone and take action. Want to visit Spain? Write down all the steps needed to reach that goal. Make a vision board. Research the costs. Study maps. Learn Spanish. Perhaps your first step becomes: Save $25 a week for Spain trip. Then take that step.

Real life example: Three years ago, I got serious about building my Instagram account. At that time I had 1,200 followers and didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I created a goal of reaching 10,000 followers AND of learning to use that platform as a way of earning income.  I found others to learn from. And I created action steps. Today I have 10,329 followers, an engaged audience and Instagram is the primary way that the brands that I work with find me. Bonus: there’s always something new to learn with IG.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone brands
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – break down a big goal into small steps

Do Something New

This is hands down my favorite way of continually going beyond my comfort zone. There are so many benefits from learning new skills and trying new experiences. It keeps the brain alert and active. We learn and grow and adapt and gain confidence. And, in my opinion, it’s a fun way to journey through life.

Doing something new every day in 2014 is what launched my blog. New experiences continue to bring me incredible joy.

What do you want to try but fear or discomfort holds you back? Do that. Don’t worry about perfection or what others think or how you will look doing the thing. Just go for it. Take a class. Create. Step up. Speak out. Ask yourself…”How will I feel if I don’t do this?” If regret comes from passing on this experience, then do it. It’s that important. As you try new things, opportunities come for doing more experiences. It’s just the way life works.

Real life example: This is the way I live my life, embracing new experiences. At this stage in going beyond, I often think about something new I’d like to do and the opportunity magically shows up. Most recently, I expressed the desire to experience the Charleston Tea Gardens after I missed seeing them on my last visit due to not having a car. Next month I’m back in the Charleston area and what is located a few miles from my hosted accommodations? The Charleston Tea Gardens. And, I’ll have a rental car this time.

Are You Ready to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

Living life beyond the edges is so much more than a tag line for me. It’s my purpose in life, helping others go beyond even as I continue to do so myself.

I hope these suggestions for going beyond prove helpful for you, if you are ready to leave your comfort zone behind and experience a more expansive life.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone podcast
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something new. First podcast.

 

Books that help me Go Beyond:

 


 

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Tapping Into the Power of Imagination

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As a child, I often heard the words, “What an imagination you have!” It wasn’t always a compliment. It’s true, however. My imagination helped me to deal with my nighttime fears. Creating my own world and escaping into it every night allowed me to fall asleep.

My imagination grew stronger and more powerful, as I grew older. After I faced down my fears and moved beyond them, as an adult, I recognized the connection between my re-emerging creativity and shifting reality and the imagination I’d long nurtured.

Because there’s a connection as well between imagination and manifestation. Every human creation and invention began in someone’s imagination. It’s not just an inventor’s special gift though. Tapping into the power of imagination is available to all of us.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination title meme

 

What Is Imagination?

First of all, what is imagination?

Imagination uses our experiences and knowledge of the world and combines them with the unknown to create something new. Using imagination we create an image…or a whole world…in our mind and interact with it there.

Imagination allows us freedom to explore new thoughts and ideas that lie beyond the physical world, launching us into the dream realm where anything is possible and creativity is strongest.

Science suggests that engaging in imagination fires up large areas of the brain while creating a powerful, interconnecting neural network.

Why Is Imagination Important?

Albert Einstein famously said:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Children instinctively engage their imaginations. Watch any child at play and you’ll see them pretend and create. Imagining is how children learn and grow, explore and discover. However, somewhere between youth and adulthood, we disconnect from imagination, dismissing it as fanciful or a waste of time.

Imagination is a powerful tool for living an expansive, creative, joy filled life. And it does more than shift mindset. It helps to create reality, for what we think about and focus on…good or bad…shows up in our world. As I often share, our outer worlds are mirrors of our inner thoughts and our imaginations.

We can develop our imaginations, even if it’s been many years since we’ve actively engaged them. And if our imagining tends toward the negative…we call that worrying…we can shift those thoughts to the positive. And we want to, because a negative imagination creates a negative reality to dwell in.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination giraffesf Imagination
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – bronze giraffes at Mercy Park spark my imagination

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination

These 10 tips revitalize imagination, opening up creativity and shifting awareness. Think of these exercises as ways to reconnect with your inner child, who always knows how to imagine in big ways.

Write

Free writing daily allows thoughts to flow from the brain to paper. It’s important to not overthink or edit the words. Just let them appear on the paper and keep writing for 10 – 15 minutes.

Set a timer on your phone and write. Many agree that writing first thing in the morning is the best time to wake up the brain and tap into creativity. You don’t need to choose a topic or craft a story. Instead, jot down whatever comes to mind. A few days in to free writing, you might find long buried ideas surfacing or fresh thoughts providing fodder for creative projects. Don’t judge what you write. Capture your thoughts and move on.

Color

A few years ago, the adult coloring craze launched a host of coloring books covering a variety of interests. I wholeheartedly embraced the trend.

And art therapy is more than a trend actually. It helps reduce anxiety and stress. I find it a satisfying way to express creativity and tap into my imagination. Plus the act of laying color down on paper is a form of meditation.

Best of all, no one is grading your coloring ability. Feel free to literally color outside the lines, make the sky purple or try out different shading techniques.

Grab a coloring book and colored pencils and see where your imagination takes you.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination coloring
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – coloring is a great way to open imagination

Nurture Empathy

Imagination and empathy share the ability to imagine ourselves in another’s situation. The greater the imagination, the more empathy we can show.

It follows, therefore, that nurturing empathy towards others helps broaden imagination. Practice becoming more aware of the feelings and emotions of others. Think about how you’d feel, in the same situation. Imagine what you’d do and the impact the situation would have on you.

Allow the resulting feelings and insights to guide you in gaining a better understanding of others, of the world, of experiences that are different from yours.

Often, when something challenging happens to someone, we respond with the words, “I just can’t imagine…” I discovered recently that to those who are hurting, those words come across as “What you are experiencing is so awful, I can’t even imagine it.” That’s not helpful at all, even though we might mean well.

Imagine it. Put yourself in her place. And feel with her and for her as your empathy guides actions.

Visualize Goals

Ready to make changes in your life? Start with imagining a goal…and the steps needed to accomplish it.

Using imagination in this way stimulates the brain in the same way that actually performing the task does. Athletes improve their skills and abilities by visualizing their performances. You can do this too. It’s as simple as closing your eyes and imaging each step needed to reach your goal.

Another helpful practice is to create a vision board. Include goals, dreams and hopes. Look at the vision board every day and imagine both the accomplishments and how you feel.

Visualization nudges the brain into looking for ways to bring those goals into reality. Stay open and aware of opportunities.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination visualize
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – visualize

Keep a Dream Journal

When the subconscious and imagination meet, we dream. Many people report that they do not remember their dreams. However, keeping a journal and learning to unpack dreams opens the mind to truths about ourselves.

We work out problems in our dreams, revisit the past and create for the future there as well. It’s worth taking a few minutes every morning to jot down dreams.

I’m a lucid dreamer, aware that what I’m experiencing is a dream. I find great insights when I examine my dreams, especially the ones that don’t seem to make sense while they are unfolding.

Recently I dreamed of a river next to my house. In the dream I said aloud that I knew I was dreaming because I live in a city, with no water in sight. I decided to enjoy the dream while it lasted. As I sat next to the flowing river, a large turtle climbed out of the water and rested next to me, allowing me to pet him while he nuzzled against my leg.

I felt so happy about that turtle when I woke up. Unpacking the dream, I looked up turtle energy. When the turtle shows up it symbolizes longevity, perseverance, steadfastness, healing, tranquility and transformation, all qualities I’m happy to embrace in my life.

Learn to look for the symbols imagination plants in your dreams. Don’t try to make sense of them. Rather, allow them to speak to you about the deep recesses of your mind, heart and soul.

Rearrange the Familiar into Something New

Decluttering a room or the whole house and rearranging living spaces is an excellent way to ramp up imagination. Move furniture around. Get rid of excess. Uncluttered spaces allow for a better flow of energy which positively affects imagination and creativity.

Get creative with decor. Do you always decorate for the holidays using the same items, in the same places? Switch things up.

I love to lay out all of my decorations on the bed, and then find new ways to use them. It’s a fun form of imaginative play to rearrange the familiar and create something fresh and new.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination rearrange
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – rearrange the familiar into something new

Get Into Nature

Spending time in nature, walking in the woods, sitting near water all revitalize the body and free the mind to imagine. Engage your senses. Listen to the sounds of nature, feel the breeze, watch insects flitting by. Breathe deeply and relax. And allow the mind to wander, flitting like the insects from idea to idea.

Frequent walks outdoors boosts creativity and imagination by giving the mind a break, which allows ideas to flow. Check out other benefits from being in nature HERE.

Play

Play is necessary, for cultivating a creative, imaginative life. Children naturally engage in play as a way of learning and figuring out how things work.

For adults, play helps us find joy in life, allows us to figure out who we truly are, rather than who others want us to be, and sparks creativity born from an active imagination.

Even routines become fun when interjecting play. Dance and make up a song while cleaning the kitchen. Make a game out of folding laundry, pulling weeds or painting the porch.

Let go of outcomes, enter into the flow of playfulness and watch your imagination ignite.

Need inspiration? Engage with children and let them show you how to play again. Forget rules. Just play, pretend and have fun.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination play
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – play, as a child plays

Open to Positive Possibilities

Worry is praying for things you don’t want to happen. Imagination works whether we think about positive things…or negative ones. Rather than imagining the bad things that can happen, learn to stop that train of thought and imagine positive outcomes, happy events and joyful activities.

Say the word STOP and change your thoughts. Keep changing them as often as necessary.

When I travel, rather than worrying about what can go wrong, I learned to imagine the trip in wonderfully rich detail. Where would I walk? What would I wear? Engaging my imagination in this way led to a totally different way of preparing for trips.

I study maps of the area I’m staying in, learn the streets and where the sites are that I want to visit. Then, weeks or months even before the trip, I walk those streets, visit those locations, feel the sun on my face, hear the sounds around me….all in my imagination. It’s become an extraordinary way to anticipate a trip and it greatly reduces any anxiety I might have. When I arrive at my destination, there’s a sense of familiarity, even though the experiences are new.

I am creating my reality and then stepping into it in very positive ways.

Next year, I’m taking this technique farther, imagining trips long before I actually book them.

Follow Curiosity

One of the best ways to explode imagination is to follow curiosity. See where that trail leads.

Read a book or watch a video, to learn more about anything that grabs your interest. Google to answer a question. Take the road less traveled, to see where it goes. Pursue the “what ifs”. Stare down fear and walk into new territory and try new experiences. Create a daydreaming space. Spend time in your dream space and allow your imagination to take the lead. Follow it to see where it goes.

Read more about developing a curiosity mindset HERE.

Tapping Into the Power of Imagination curiosity
Tapping Into the Power of Imagination – curiosity. I’m excited to follow mine with The Adventure Challenge next year.

What Can You Imagine?

How is your imagination? Is it healthy, powerful and helping you manifest the reality you desire to live in?

If not, may these exercises help you connect to the imagination of your childhood. Imagine what is possible…and make possible what you imagine.

Imagine what's possible

 

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Creating a Strong Sense of Self

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A sense of self means that you know, without a doubt, who you are and what is meaningful in life for you. It’s the answer to the question that most of us have, “Who am I?”

Creating a strong sense of self is important for several reasons. Knowing who you are and what’s important to you allows you to set specific goals, dream your own dreams, set boundaries with others and become aware of your own strengths and unique qualities. A strong sense of self helps with decision making, protects well being and even reduces stress.

Holistic  psychotherapist, Sonia Fregoso, says, “Having a sense of self is vital to mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. It becomes our inner compass for every interaction with others. Your sense of self tells you what boundaries you need to place with others and how to make decisions that will serve you. It also enables you to reflect on the things that don’t serve you and evolves to help you survive, adapt and ultimately thrive.”

That’s how important creating a strong sense of self is. Following are eight ways to develop your own sense of self.

Creating a Strong Sense of Self title meme

Know Yourself

The place to start, in creating a strong sense of self, is to KNOW yourself. You must know your convictions, beliefs, values, dreams, ambitions, passions and truths. You must learn what is most important to you in life.

Grab a notebook or journal and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I enjoy doing?
  2. And what do I dislike doing?
  3. In others, what behaviors and actions send alarm signals to me?
  4. And what behaviors and actions melt my heart?
  5. In life, what is most important to me?
  6. What makes me feel stuck? Small? Invisible?
  7. And what makes me feel expansive? Living big? Compassionate?
  8. What goals and dreams do I have?
  9. What do I stand strongly for?
  10. If I could do ANYTHING, without money being a concern, what would I do?

Take your time answering the questions. Sit with them for a time. Allow the answers to rise to the surface of your consciousness.

If nothing comes to mind, back up to self acceptance and self gratitude, which are the beginning of self love and vital to sense of self. Learning who we are is a process. Often we have to undo training that attempts to mold us into who we are not. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Lose the fear of fitting in.

And, as you grow, who you are deepens. You discover more truths about yourself, uncover dreams and passions you didn’t know you had. I keep a little mascot, Absolem the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, on my writing table with his famous words nearby: “Who are you?”. His presence reminds me to ask that question often.

Creating a Strong Sense of Self who are you
Creating a Strong Sense of Self – who are you?

Make Decisions That Are Best for You

Do you make decisions that are in alignment with who you are? Or do you make decisions to please other people, avoid conflicts or to live up to the expectations of others?

A strong sense of self allows you to weigh decisions against what you know to be true, in your heart and soul. You develop that sense of deep knowing that guides you. A decision that goes against who you are pulls you out of alignment with yourself. You’ll feel that as an “out of sorts” feeling. You feel out of sorts because you are pulled out of who you are.

A good question to ask when considering decisions is this one: “What would I decide, if I was alone?”

Should we ever make decisions that compromise who we are? No, however we make decisions that meet others where they are, with who we are. Part of creating a strong sense of self means we stand our ground, on things that are important to us and allow others to do the same. We can still be in relationships with others. And we can make decisions that benefit others, as long as we do not give up pieces of who we are, to keep imagined peace.

Do What Nourishes Your Soul

Creating a strong sense of self allows us to explore the things we enjoy doing, on a deep level. And we find ways to do those things, even if we do them alone. Nourishing the soul is vital and carving out the time to do those things, just as vital.

What activities make you feel joyful, satisfied and energized? Do more of those things.

I enjoy watching movies. They speak to me on a level that goes beyond entertainment. As a young adult, I wanted people to go with me to the movie theater and to see films as I saw them. I’d feel disappointed that others didn’t see the deeper truths in the films or shrugged off the movie as a waste of time. I learned to go to the movie theater alone, if no one else wanted to go. And now I mostly go alone and enjoy the experience very much. Movie watching nourishes my soul as does gardening, creating beautiful spaces in my home, traveling and writing.

What nourishes yours?

Creating a Strong Sense of Self fall
Creating a Strong Sense of Self – do what you love, to nourish your soul

Express Yourself and Set Firm Boundaries

Learning to express yourself, in a calm and meaningful way, flows from your sense of self. And to express yourself, you have to know what you believe in, what you stand for and what stirs your compassion or fires up your perception of right and wrong. Having a strong sense of self allows you to express your beliefs without forcing others to agree with you.

It also allows you to set healthy boundaries with others, who are not allowed to force YOU to agree with them. Without a strong sense of self, it is easy to fall into people pleasing and overaccommodation and just as easy to lose yourself. Setting boundaries limits anything and anyone wanting to consume your time and energy.

Without the sense of self to anchor you, you may feel anxious, lost, depressed, hopeless or worthless when confronted with the beliefs of others who may argue them strongly. Feeling those emotions alerts you that your boundaries have been crossed. Setting firm boundaries lets you to distinguish your feelings and beliefs from someone else’s feelings and beliefs and limit their impact.

A few suggestions:

  • set boundaries early in a relationship, so each person knows where the other stands in beliefs
  • be consistent about your boundaries otherwise it encourages others to trample them
  • communicate honestly and openly, especially if someone routinely oversteps your boundaries

Keep Growing as a Person

This is an ongoing journey, discovering sense of self. Keep learning about yourself. Spend time alone. It’s the only way you will deepen your awareness of who you are and who you are becoming.

Try new experiences, to see what you like or dislike. Develop ideas. Dream dreams and then set goals, even baby step goals, to realize those hopes. Take classes on subjects you want to learn more about. Read widely.

And travel, whether you explore your own community, do road trips across your home country or experience a totally different culture across the sea. Go alone or with others. Travel moves you beyond your comfort zone, which brings new opportunities, and expands your perspectives.

Creating a Strong Sense of Self travel
Creating a Strong Sense of Self – travel to keep growing

Adapt to Change

Adapting to change requires a mindset shift. Although many don’t like this fact, change is inevitable.

I adopted an “open to everything, attached to nothing” mindset about 15 years ago and it shifted my ability to flow with change. When something happens that I’m not expecting, I am able see it as what’s supposed to be. How do I know? Because it happened. Detaching from outcomes prevents bitterness and disappointment and actually builds trust.

Refusal to accept change creates rigidity and ultimately leads to feeling frustrated, stuck or stagnant. Embracing change, when it happens, creates opportunities to grow, adapt and learn flexibility and creativity.

Tune in to Your Emotions

This has been a biggie for me. I spent many years of my life refusing to feel what I considered negative emotions such as anger and sadness. That caused a  fracture in my soul and I divided myself into what I considered a “normal” self and a hidden “weird” self…or a light and dark side.

To be absolutely who we are, we need all of ourselves present…the normal and the weird, the light and the dark, the positive emotions and the negative emotions. I’m a stronger person, embracing my whole self. Plus my self acceptance and self love grew from uniting all my separate parts into a whole being.

To tune in to your emotions, spend time in solitude, meditate, pray, journal your feelings…all of them…practice positive self talk and write out affirmations that begin with “I am…”.

Create a Personal Manifesto

A manifesto is a statement of intentions and ideals. Think of it as a mission statement or a declaration of beliefs, desires and values.

A personal manifesto helps us to evaluate where we are in life, and provides clarity on where we want to go. It can provoke change, encourage shifts and inspire forward momentum.

Each person’s manifesto is uniquely his or her own, reflecting journeys, beliefs, desires and wisdom. And it is an ideal way to clarify your sense of self.

Manifestos can and will change as you grow. I’ve created two…in the last two years. You can read my latest manifesto HERE and gain insight on how to create your own.

Place your manifesto in an easy to access place, so you can read it often.

Creating a Strong Sense of Self be me
Being me

Do You Have a Strong Sense of Self?

Who are you? Do you have a strong sense of self that keeps you centered, protected and free from the expectations of others?

The best part, perhaps, of creating a strong sense of self is that it allows others the freedom to do the same. When I’m strong and secure in who I am, I can appreciate others strengths more, even if we don’t agree on all of our beliefs. And if I am pulled off center, I can easily right myself and return to center again. Sense of self keeps me from placing expectations on others and gives me the incredible freedom to pursue my interests and passions while those I care about pursue theirs.

I’m still learning new things about myself and growing, on this journey called life.

Where are you on your journey? May this post help serve as a compass for you, as you explore your inner self.

Compass

 

Roadmaps for the journey, from Amazon:

Women Who Run with the Wolves

Untamed

 

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Wild Woman Manifesto

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Two years ago, I wrote about creating a personal manifesto. You can read that post HERE.

As a reminder, a manifesto is a statement of intentions and ideals. Think of it as a mission statement or a declaration of beliefs, desires and values.

A personal manifesto helps us to evaluate where we are in life, and provides clarity on where we want to go. It can provoke change, encourage shifts and inspire forward momentum.

Each person’s manifesto is uniquely his or her own, reflecting journeys, beliefs, desires and wisdom.

The thing is as I grow, learn and settle more deeply into who I am, my manifesto changes, as it should. Recently I realized it’s time to update mine.

This is the perfect opportunity, during my Year of the Wild Woman, to make some changes. Here is my Wild Woman Manifesto.

Wild Woman Manifesto title meme

Growth and Change

A personal manifesto reflects an individual’s beliefs, desires and life values. Those naturally change as we learn and grow as humans.

Some of my growth the last couple of years, since I wrote the last manifesto, includes moving deeper into myself, shedding completely the “people pleaser” personality that I had and connecting strongly with my beliefs and desires.

I am becoming. And part of that process involves learning to stand solidly on my own, seeing my value and offering who I am unapologetically to others. I belong to myself, and to no one else.

Brene Brown says:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.”

She goes on to say that true belonging requires you to be who you are.

This is my journey. I am becoming the Wild Woman who loves her people fiercely, enjoys travel and creative play, values my alone time and marches to the beat that I drum.

Wild Woman Manifesto year
Wild Woman Manifesto – Year of the Wild Woman

Wild Woman Manifesto

Not all of my beliefs, desires and values changed. Some deepened. I’m keeping those. Some no longer quite align with who I am becoming. And some I’ve learned more about, as I discover my voice and open my heart.

You can click the link above, to see my original manifesto. Then check out this year’s Wild Woman Manifesto that accurately reflects where I am at this point in my journey.

I Believe…

  • in Divine guidance  and having a personal relationship with God
  • in a daily, ongoing, playful conversation with the Divine
  • I am called to live life beyond the edges, free from fear and playing small
  • self acceptance and self love are crucial to offering unconditional love to others
  • life unfolds for me in magical, oft times mysterious ways
  • ALL people are worthy of love and we are all connected
  • I am a guardian of the Earth and her precious resources
  • kindness toward others is a strong indicator of a person’s truest heart
  • my most authentic self is unfettered, untamed and free
  • I am a loner at heart…and that’s not a defect
  • happiness is my responsibility and no one else’s
  • I am manifesting a life that’s perfect for me, one day at a time

 

Wild Woman Manifesto making it up
Wild Woman Manifesto – making it up as I go

I Desire to…

  • follow curiosity
  • surrender to the flow of life
  • embrace all of my gifts and my quirks
  • live from my passionate, open heart
  • engage in new experiences
  • travel and work/write remotely from anywhere in the world
  • encourage my children and grandchildren to live authentically and joyfully
  • offer to others through my writing and my life experiences
  • express creativity in a multitude of ways
  • live in the moment, releasing the past and not worrying about the future
  • live a healthy, vibrant plant based lifestyle
  • stay true to who I am, always
  • create a peaceful environment in my home and garden that fully supports me
  • remain unattached to outcomes
  • dream BIG dreams
Wild and Free
Wild Woman Manifesto – wild and free…and ready for adventure

My Life Wisdom…

  • I accept that for me, the veil between this world and the Spirit world is thin
  • my intuition guides me unerringly
  • if I ask a question, I always get an answer
  • I have nothing to fear
  • if fear shows up in my life, it is an invitation to learn and trust
  • I must speak my truth…silence is seen as agreement
  • comparison and worry are thieves of joy
  • I’m 100% responsible for my life and my reactions/responses to life situations
  • I am open to everything and attached to nothing
  • others have the freedom to be exactly who they are at this moment in their lives
  • I’m not here to live someone else’s life or to abide by someone else’s expectations of who they think I am
  • I create change in my life by first shifting my thoughts and beliefs
  • my outer world is a true reflection of my inner one
  • I am the Queen of my own kingdom and it is ever expanding
  • challenging experiences create growth and expansion in my life
  • gratitude is the foundation of my life

Who Are You?

Would you like to write your own personal manifesto? Refer to my post about creating one HERE.

Then spend time reflecting on your life and jotting down what’s true for you under the headers of BELIEFS, DESIRES, VALUES or LIFE WISDOM. DON’T ASK ANYONE ELSE WHAT THEY THINK! This is your deep inner work.

And remain aware that as you grow your manifesto grows with you.

I’ve discovered that not everyone understands my journey. In fact, most people don’t. That’s okay. It’s my journey, my amazing life, my growth.

As I’ve grown and embraced who I am, I’ve lost friends and had people simply disappear without a word from my life, while others tell me I’ve changed so much…as if that’s a bad thing. Someone even said, “I liked you better before.” That’s because before I didn’t speak my truth.

You know what? None of that matters, to me or to you. What matters is that you…and I….live as our most authentic, most courageous selves. We continue the process of becoming. And other people…well they have their own journeys and growing to do. Their remarks or backing away has everything to do with them, not us.

Write that manifesto…and share it with me, if you want.

Wild Woman Manifesto crouch
Wild Woman Manifesto – unapologetically me

Recommended Reading

I highly recommend these books for the journey.

Untamed

Untamed Journal

Braving the Wilderness

Untethered Soul

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How Are You Spending Your Life?

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Recently I came across a quote that resonated with me deeply.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Randy Komisar

These powerful words remind me to not wait. Because honestly, at age 63, waiting is a greater risk than going for it. I refuse to spend my days hoping for opportunities later.

Reading the quote one day, the words “spending your life” suddenly jolted me into a greater awareness. This post, “How Are You Spending Your Life?” is the result of much deliberation.

How Are You Spending Your Life title meme

What Does It Mean to Spend Life?

Have you ever thought about what it means to spend your life doing something?

Spending is defined as “an exchange of money, goods or time for something”. It comes from the Latin word expendere meaning “pay out”. Spend can also mean “to use up time”, as in “spend the day sewing”. And the past tense of the word, spent, means “used up or depleted”.

When we “spend life” we are using it up, day by day, moment by moment, until it is all spent…until it’s gone. And unlike a bank account, where we can spend and spend and then add more money or check the amount so we don’t overdraft, it’s different with life. We don’t know the amount of years deposited in our account. Nor can we deposit more time into it. When the life is spent, that’s it. We can’t hoard our time either.

On the one hand, I know these things. We all do. However, I’ve never thought deeply about what it means, spending my life. What am I spending my life…using it up…on? How are you spending your life?

I’ve already spent 63 years of my life. My desire is to spend my remainder…the balance of my life…doing the things that are most important to me. Using another financial term, it’s important for me to invest in myself and to invest in the lives of others, with the life that I have.

Spending Life Well

What does a life well spent look like? It’s different for each person. However, here are broad ideas for spending the years well.

How Are You Spending Your Life Personally?

Our personal lives include relationships with significant others, family members and friends. A good question to ask is, “Am I spending time with the people I want to spend time with?”

Time is extremely valuable. I don’t want to spend mine with people who are negative or unkind. We all get to choose who we spend time with, who we are exchanging moments of our lives for. Choose well. Spend well. I desire authentic connections that go beyond the surface. I gladly and willingly invest in the lives of my family, my friends and even people I don’t know but feel drawn to. Who are you spending time with?

Hobbies, fun activities, play, exploration and travel are all part of our personal lives. We must do the things we enjoy doing and take a hard pass on the rest. What activities bring you joy? Do more of those. What activities feel like a waste of time? Don’t do those.

It’s important that we know ourselves, to discover what we enjoy and what we don’t. It’s too easy to defer to others or try to please others. Know your own heart, mind and passions. Explore who you are. Find those things that light up your soul. Do those things, as often as you can.

How Are You Spending Your Life reading to Finley
How are you spending your life? I’m investing time in my grandchildren.

How Are You Spending Your Life Health Wise?

One thing that can make a huge difference in spending life well, is improving the level of health. We can’t add more years to life, as the saying goes, but we can add more life to the years. Quality of life feels more and more important, with age. The freedom to spend our years as we choose can come down to how well we take care of ourselves.

Find a health lifestyle that works for you. I’ve chosen a plant based lifestyle. Doing so has already added life to my years, in tremendous ways. (Check out my other blog, Journey with Healthy Me for more info about a plant based lifestyle.)

Feed your body with the most nutritious food possible. Those nutrient dense foods not only fuel the body, they help prevent diseases and disorders. Adopt a fitness routine whether that’s walking, biking, dancing, swimming or playing a sport. Get outdoors as often as you can. Create healthy habits that support the life you desire.

Health encompasses the body, the mind and the spirit. Care for all of you. Pay attention to outlook on life, energy levels, perspectives and mindsets.

Be the best you that you can be, to live the best life you can.

How Are You Spending Your Life veggies
How are you spending your life? Eating highly nutritious foods that fuel my body.

How Are You Spending Your Life at Work?

Is your work or career satisfying or stressful? Is it bold and fulfilling or lackluster and boring? We “spend” so much of our time, working. Can we spend that time and also find joy, purpose and passion? Yes we can.

This area seems to be one that people struggle with. Many people enjoy their work. And many just get by, day after day, year after year, spending away life in an unfulfilling career that drains energy and time away.

What does your ideal career/job look like? What needs to happen, to make it a reality? Write about that ideal job. Do the research. Find people who are doing what you want to do. Don’t fear change. If you don’t go for it now, when will you?

Discover your BIG WHY. Why do you want to do what you want to do? Keep asking why until you get to the deepest, underlying reason for wanting the job or career that you desire. Hint: money isn’t a big enough why.

Now set goals. Break them down into doable time frames. Create actions steps, even small, baby steps, that move you toward each goal.

How Are You Spending Your Life travel
How are you spending your life? Taking action steps toward my dream career that supports my Big Why.

Spending the Days Living Life to the Fullest

What does a life well spent look like? It might look like…

  • going beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs
  • being true to yourself, real and authentic
  • trying new experiences
  • forgiving someone, forgiving yourself
  • seeing every day as a fresh start and making it count
  • letting go of the past and living in THIS moment. There are no refunds for life already spent. Move on.
  • expressing creativity
  • exploring the world, your city, your neighborhood, your inner self
  • decluttering life, the house, that junk drawer in the kitchen
  • letting go of attachments and expectations of others
  • believing in yourself
  • having fun and playing
  • finding your passion
  • setting goals and taking action steps
  • taking breaks when needed and practicing self care
  • letting go of all that does not align with who you are
  • spending time with uplifting, positive, passionate people
  • developing a big picture mindset
  • going after what you want
  • living YOUR life, not someone else’s
  • doing good in the world…showing kindness, empathy and compassion to others and being mindful of the planet and caring for it
How Are You Spending Your Life self care
How are you spending your life? With self care practices that rejuvenate me.

Exchanging a Day of Life

The days of deep thought birthed in me a renewed passion for spending my days well. Truthfully, the days pass anyway, whether we consciously focus on how we are spending our lives…or not. I’m grateful for the greater awareness and even more  determined to spend my life in meaningful ways. This past week I invested in myself, set new goals and created action steps to reach them. This Year of the Wild Woman…it’s unleashing many things.

Today these words popped up for me, in an unexpected place.

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Elizabeth George

The quote made me smile and silently nod in agreement. Yes, I’ve given a day. I gave precious time from my account in exchange for this day. The awareness helps me choose what’s most important. It helps me gain clarity and fortifies my determination to do what I most want to do. And it fuels my actions for the next day…and the next…and the next.

How about you? How are you spending your life? Are you spending it on the things you most want to spend it on?

How Are You Spending Your Life hourglass
How are you spending your life?

Helpful products from Amazon:

 


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Dancing on My Island

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Author and speaker Glennon Doyle inspired this post, with a chapter in her book Untamed. Titled “Islands”, the chapter provides much food for thought. I’ve re-read the chapter many times, underlined passages and sorted through my feelings  and reactions to it.

As this crazy year winds down, I’ve moved deeply into a space of inner knowing. Working in my garden one day, words drifted across my mind, in the form of an invitation. “Release your inner wild woman.” While that is another blog post for another day, part of releasing my inner wild woman, my inner wildness, connects to fully inhabiting my own space and occupying my own island.

I’m still exploring this terrain and learning. And as I gain clarity, I’m dancing over here, on my island. I’ve also danced around sharing this post for weeks. Yet every time I think, “Nah…I’ll share these thoughts later”, I receive a nudge that propels me forward.

Dancing on my island? Yes I am. And here is what that is all about.

Dancing on My Island title meme

On the Island

Glennon shares in her book that when she made the decision to divorce her husband and marry Abby, people had BIG feelings about her news. Some of those responses made her feel afraid, defensive, angry, exposed.

Abby created a metaphor to put the situation in perspective.

She asked Glennon to imagine their love as an island. On that island live Glennon, Abby and Glennon’s three kids from her previous marriage. Real love dwells there too.

She added that the island is surrounded by a moat, filled with alligators, and they will not lower the drawbridge for anyone carrying fear onto their island. On the island only love exists. Everything else stays on the other side. They are happy on their island. Let others scream hate or fear. They can’t hear it. There is too much music.

Creating My Island

That story, that metaphor, resonates deeply with me. There is so much noise in the world right now, so much hate, fear, anger and unkindness. People attack each other over beliefs. As an empath, I FEEL those swirling emotions. They hurt me, and not just emotionally. Fear, hate and anger stab me with sharp, jagged edges and create physical pain.

The idea of dwelling on an island, apart from all the negativity, appeals to me.

There I can connect to nature, to the Divine, to myself…and I can breathe, think, process all the feels and be fully myself.

No one is allowed into my sacred space, carrying fear, hate, anger, prejudice or unkindness with them. I won’t lower the drawbridge. And the moat surrounding my island is filled with jellyfish…beautiful, fascinating jellyfish…that deliver warning stings if anyone steps into the moat.

Dancing on My Island jellyfish
Dancing on my island, protected by jellyfish.

Island Dweller

So what does that look like, in reality, to live on such an island?

Of course, it’s a metaphor. I wish I owned an actual island to fly to when I needed time alone. I don’t.

The island represents my personal space, where I am my truest, most authentic self. I decide what enters that space…and what doesn’t.

I’ve already touched on what is NOT allowed on my island: fear, anger, worry, racism, hate, judgment, prejudice, bullying, negativity and unkindness. The list may grow, as needed.

What IS allowed: love, kindness, joy, acceptance, peace, curiosity, inspiration, connection, creativity, positivity, passion and hope. That list may grow, as desired.

I’m done explaining myself to people who don’t want to understand. As Glennon says, “Explaining is fear preparing its case and I am not on trial.” I’m not on trial either. The only way to convince someone that all is well in my world is to live my life and show that all is well in my world. Dancing, figuratively or in my living room, is an outward expression of my joyful living.

Only Love In…Only Love Out

There is a sign on the mainland, across from my island: Only Love In. And there is a sign on my island that faces me: Only Love Out. Those signs serve as reminders that I won’t drop the drawbridge for someone carrying lower energy emotions with them. I won’t allow them to get close to me.

And, I don’t want to head out into the world, from my sanctuary, carrying those lower energies either. I know how to deal with such energies and clear them out of my life. From love flows all the things I desire in my life and desire to offer to others.

When I’m engaging with the world, I intend to limit contact with fear, anger, hate and the other low energy vibes I don’t want in my space. This means I’m curating my social media feeds and quietly blocking or deleting people as needed. And it means I don’t engage in conversations that include racism, hate, fear or unkindness. I’ll remove myself.

I’m not burying my head in the sand on my island. I am very aware of what’s happening around me. I choose not to engage. Instead, I’ll listen and learn from those who are speaking truth, whether about change or life or the future. I’ll grow. My energy I send out in healing waves of love, joy and peace, to those who need it. I’ll use my voice to speak kindness, love and joy. And I’ll take actions to help others, walking alongside for a time, offering from my heart and resources.

I’m protecting myself and my space, fiercely. If others want to shout at me from across the moat, let them. I’m dancing on my island to my favorite tunes.

Dancing on My Island only love allowed
Dancing on my island – only love allowed

What Does Your Island Look Like?

Do you desire to protect your personal space?

What is allowed on your island and what isn’t? Make a list of what absolutely cannot come across the drawbridge, no matter who is carrying it. Decide who lives on your island with you. What an amazing way to love and protect the children in your life, when you will not allow fear to assault them and share space with them.

Read the chapter “Islands” in Untamed…and then start at the beginning and read the whole book. It’s life changing. At least, it is changing mine.

Release your inner wild woman…

I am doing so. And doing so, I am allowing the path ahead to be shaped by what I am discovering. In living life beyond the edges I’m finding out just how far out those edges go.

Dancing on My Island paradise
Dancing on my island is paradise for me.

Check out my review of Glennon’s book Love Warrior.

Purchase Untamed by clicking on the photo below:

 

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Living Life Beyond the Edges

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I originally intended a different post for today. A technique I adopted last fall, scheduling blog and social  media posts a month in advance, serves me remarkably well. However, who could foresee what this month would bring? I certainly didn’t when I scheduled March’s posts in February.

As I considered my original idea, it seemed inadequate for my experiences this month. However, written across the bottom of the page, beneath my list of posts for Cindy Goes Beyond, this phrase stood out:

“Living life beyond the edges…”

I came up with that tag line last year, as a natural expression of the growth the blog and I are experiencing.

In its expanded form, living life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs wonderfully captures my ongoing journey as I become the person I am created to be.

This past month, as the whole world groaned under the onslaught of a pandemic virus, this is how living life beyond the edges guided me.

Living Life Beyond the Edges title meme

100 Big Ideas

An interesting thing occurred at the end of last month. Looking at my vision board that hangs in my creative studio, the middle section suddenly stood out to me. The magazine cutout boldly proclaims “100 Big Ideas”. My word for the year, curiosity, appears above that phrase, with my symbol the key pasted next to it. I felt an inward shift, staring at those words and symbols that seemed to say that curiosity is the key to 100 big ideas this year. Powerful emotions increased my heart rate and I knew I’d just received an important invitation, from a board I created at the first of the year. (I also realized that the board is mildly prophetic, but that’s a post for another time.)

I accepted the invitation to dream bigger than I’ve ever dreamed before. And I entered wholeheartedly into a game of coming up with 100 Big Ideas this year.

Then boom. A few days into March, everything changed. On my board is the sentence “Change the World”. Perhaps I got the order of words wrong. The world changed and we are being called upon to change as well. Is it the wrong time, the wrong year, to come up with 100 Big Ideas? Not if I’m living life beyond the edges…

Living Life Beyond the Edges 100 big ideas
Living life beyond the edges…100 big ideas

Living Life Beyond the Edges

So these are the ways this past month that I’ve lived life beyond the edges, of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs, in connection with creating 100 Big Ideas. So far, I’ve jotted down 29 Big Ideas, several of them birthed from my 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday. That fun game certainly ramped up my entry into 2020 and I’m still experiencing the impact.

Create Digital Vision Boards

While I enjoy looking at my physical vision board and receiving inspiration from it, I’ve discovered the benefits of creating mini digital boards, using the creative app, Canva.

These digital boards change as opportunities, goals and visions are accomplished. In February I made a digital board and used it as my wallpaper on my phone. I added big ideas from my birthday game that scared me a bit such as applying for a writer’s residency, submitting a travel story for a two week travel writing class in the Caribbean and writing chapters in my non-fiction book, “House H(a)unting”. I included a long term goal….visiting the Christmas Market in Edinburgh, Scotland in December…plus a fun idea I had for a blogger award.

By the beginning of March I posted an updated digital board, showing my accomplishments, then created another board with several new goals. This is an ongoing idea for the year.

I am extremely proud of myself for writing five chapters in the book and for applying for two writing opportunities. Those opportunities may never occur, with the current bans on travel, however that’s not the point. For me, the point is that I challenged myself with big ideas…and I carried them out.

My current digital board continues to challenge me with ideas that stretch me and take me beyond the edges…and yet they are very doable.

Living Life Beyond the Edges digital boards
Living life beyond the edges…digital boards

Fix Her Crown Award

I’m also so pleased with the way this idea turned out. I created an award for bloggers, built around the quote,

“Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world that it was crooked.” Unknown

What a joy to pass on the Fix Her Crown Award to women who exemplify those words and then watch them pay the award forward. I’ve connected with amazing women around the world and experienced the sisterhood of encouragement and support that exists.

A Time of Reflection

With the arrival of a virus that has shaken the world, March became a time of deep personal reflection for me. Watching hoped for trips disappear like wisps of smoke, my attention turned to inner journeys. I’m finding that living life beyond the edges is possible, even when the adventure is a solitary time of reflection. As a result, I’m discovering more about who I am and what I am here to offer.

I believe the world reflects back to us our beliefs. Fear has no place in my life and I refuse to live in it or broadcast it. The stories of heroism and people creatively reaching out to each other while in isolation inspire me and reveal to me the heart of humanity and the state of my own heart.

Living Life Beyond the Edges reflection
Living life beyond the edges…reflection

Living Beyond

And finally this month, living life beyond the edges is not only reshaping my blog, it is reshaping my life. I’m trying new things, like learning how to use Tik Tok in my marketing. Thanks Aubrey for the patience and the lesson! And I’m measuring what I desire to do, to write about, to offer, against those words, to see if I truly am living beyond the edges.

It’s not just about living adventurously, traveling or taking risks. Living life beyond the edges propels me past my own perceived limitations and helps me to live a bigger life than I would otherwise. It prevents me from playing small or hiding or giving away the power I have to live an extraordinary life. By whose standards is it extraordinary? My own.

Living Life Beyond the Edges tik tok
Living life beyond the edges…learning new technology

Okay with Not Knowing

I don’t know what’s coming tomorrow or next week or during the summer months, for the world or for me. However, I know that we will come through this time together, stronger and wiser. We’ll emerge with deeper gratitude for life and stronger appreciation for others.

As this month transitions into another, I am committed to living life beyond the edges. I do so with compassion, with hope, with quiet joy and fierce determination to ever move past the boundaries that attempt to contain my soul. There are more big ideas out there, seeking me even as I seek them. I am open…and ready…to receive.

Living Life Beyond the Edges logo

Journals to capture your feelings:

 


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