04/5/11

Inspired Action: Life is Always Guiding You. Are You Listening?

I am always amazed – although I shouldn’t be because it happens often enough to know it exists – when Life intuitively provides for the continuation of our joy, well-being and safety if we take the time to listen. And actually, even when we don’t listen, given the number of accidents and unexpected deaths around the world on a daily basis that don’t happen to us.

Life’s guidance shows up in so many unique, wonderful and surprising ways as I discovered again in a news report from Good News Network that is so good it’s worth repeating.

Tami Akanuma, 83-years-old, who lives in Miyako, Japan, saved her own life by following her dog Babu’s insistence on going out for a walk and taking a different route minutes after the big earthquake in Japan struck. Instead of going toward the beach as they usually did, the dog pulled her in the opposite direction up a steep hill and wouldn’t stop pulling, as if to rush her along.

Tami was surprised because the dog never wanted to go that way in the past. But she relented, flashing in the moment on a memory of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami 78 years earlier (78 years!) that destroyed the town in which she lived. Imagine! She was only five years old back then! Her intuition – her inner GPS that tapped into her life experience, along with her dog’s natural instinct for survival – and possibly even love for Tami – offered her information and guidance. Fortunately for Tami and Babu, she listened, took inspired action and started walking up the hill.

As Tami got to the top of the hill just minutes later, where an evacuation center just happened to be located, the woman turned around and saw a tsunami roar through the neighborhood below and wash away her home. According to Wikipedia, 339 lives were lost in this small city and only 30 of the 1000 fishing boats that support the livelihood of 57,000 people remain.

Every time I read one of these stories that shows the powerful guidance system that Life provides us for free, I feel excited, relieved, more confident, and determined to pay closer attention to my own inner voice, now lovingly referred to as Life’s IV – the energetic intravenous therapy that keeps me alive and well – when I listen and take inspired action.

One technique to connect to my inner GPS that I’ve found really helpful when I’m reading information, especially news information, is to notice the thoughts, memories, or messages that my mind gives me about my own life while I’m reading. These insights often come quickly – in less than a second – and disappear as quickly, but their impact registers in my body, usually from the area around my heart and up to the top of my head (also believed by some to be energetic communication centers, also known as chakras). Occasionally, they’ll show up in other areas of my body – my gut, my feet, an old injury, triggering cellular or muscle memories.

Some people dismiss this information as frivolous. Others are afraid of it so push it away. Some are so outer focused, they miss their inner guidance altogether. I’ve done all, but when I listen and take inspired action, I am always amazed by the results. What about you?

Life is always talking to you. Are you listening?

Read the story about Tami and Babu on Good News Network.

Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks for connecting.

07/13/10

How to Use Enthusiasm to Create Your Future Now

Expectations are powerful indicators of your future. Positive expectations strengthened with enthusiasm help you to access your deeper desires and create a path for more abundance to come your way.

Let me share a great example:

When I was writing Day 6 of The Smile Diet in my book, Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21 Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life, I was looking for a way to explain how you can increase your enthusiasm for an activity you’ve scheduled in the future to help maximize and increase the enjoyment of the experience.

I created the example of anticipating a massage that you would schedule a week after doing your daily reading for Day 6. I suggested doing a conscious 16-second savoring smile every time you think about the upcoming activity to increase the pleasure of the experience, but then deleted the story because of space.

Because of the synchronicity that happened two days later, I added it to a later chapter and still marvel at how Life is always giving us clues and gifts to help us live richer (in all meanings of the word), healthier, and more inspiring lives. Continue reading

03/30/10

“Eat Slow or Die Fast” with Dr. Bruce MacFarland (1923-2010)

Last week I was privileged to celebrate the life of a great friend, father, and a pioneer and leader in the nutrition and holistic health fields, Dr. Bruce MacFarland.

We were invited to bring a favorite food to share, which in my case, that day, because I was pushed for time, would have been chips and salsa, picked up at Costco. But as I thought about all the things I’d learned from Bruce over the five years I’ve known him including his infamous “Eat slow or die fast,” and “Don’t cross your legs or risk varicose veins,” I realized I wanted to do something to honor his health conscious ways (well, except for Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee, but who can resist that!) so I decided to make homemade hummus with sliced carrot sticks.

I got out one of my favorite (and beautiful to look at) recipe books “The Raw Goumet” and made the Hummus recipe, which is good, but still kind of bland. I wondered what I could do to spice it up and asked the Ethers, “What would Bruce add?” Continue reading

02/17/10

[Inspired Action] Enthusiasm Mini Retreat

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
~ Napoleon Hill ~

Yesterday evening at dusk in heavy San Diego evening traffic, I heard a screaming fire engine siren behind me.  As it became louder, I quickly veered toward the right side of the street curb along with a trail of cars in front of me. Within just a few seconds, the major thoroughfare was clear and a firetruck roared through the intersection.

As I watched traffic clear so quickly, I felt this odd welling up of emotion that initially perplexed me. I flashed on the thought that hundreds of people made an instant decision to act. Now, you might argue that it was to avoid a collision with a 28 ton piece of speeding steel, but you could also choose to think that people were inspired to action because their need to get wherever they were going was less important than helping an unknown person (or people) in distress get the help of the fire and life protection services in our community.

Perhaps because the relief efforts in Haiti or hard times that have affected so many have been forefront of my mind, or maybe because I am continuously humbled by the goodness of friends and strangers wherever I am, I experienced a moment of grace that still touches me even as I write. It’s these moments of insight and choice, strung together that create more inspiration, meaning and value in my life. What about you?

TIP: Journal 5 Minutes a Day on Your Immediate Surroundings

There are so many ways we lose our connection to our Spirit throughout the day, which leads to making unconscious, unhealthy choices and unnecessary stress and burnout.

Taking the time to reconnect to what feeds our Creative Spirit will always re-energize any project you may be procrastinating or a goal or dream that seems unreachable.

Over the weekend I participated in Jennifer Louden’s Virtual Comfort Retreat 2010, which included a session with Christina Baldwin, author of Life’s Companion Journal. She spoke of the power of capturing daily moments and journaling about them for 5 minutes as a way to stay connected to what’s real and true in your life, especially when we’re bombarded with so many media messages without even realizing it.

Use this information for both acceptance of what is and taking inspired action toward what wants to come into being in your life.


RESOURCE:
NEW! Enthusiasm Mini-Retreat Journal and Guidebook
7 Minutes a Day for 7 Days

I am so excited by what I experienced with the Virtual Weekend Retreat and want to give you a mini version that still has the impact but takes less time per day and fit’s anyone’s budget. The resource I’ve designed for you does all three.

If you ever find yourself wishing for both a quick-fix energy-builder and a long term solution to low energy, fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety or lack of appreciation in your life, you are going to love this new mini-retreat workbook I’ve created for you.

The Enthusiasm 7-Day Mini-Retreat Journal & Guidebook builds on my book Living with Enthusiasm. The retreat workbook and journal gets you in the daily habit of doing one EnthusiAction that increases your energy and productivity and adds more joy to your day in a relaxed and easy way.

It’s fun, and healthy, plus it creates a stronger connection to your Creative Spirit. Share it with a friend or group of friends if you want an even more enriching experience.

Treat yourself to a week of self-discovery, insight and fun. To find out more click on 7 Day Enthusiasm Mini Retreat Journal & Guidebook.

02/10/10

What Inspires You About Yourself?

“Who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”

~ Marianne Williamson ~

In my program “Staying Inspired Through Challenge and Change,” I’ve asked the question “What inspires you?” to thousands of people over the years. I have heard many amazing and wonderful answers, however, have yet to hear someone respond to the group genuinely, without joking, “Myself,” or “My ability to write,” or “I am an awesome volunteer (mother, photographer, networker…),” or whatever strengths and gifts they embody that clearly inspire others.

It’s easy enough to understand why: we’ve been trained not to talk about our strengths and gifts and sometimes even hide them so as not to appear conceited or arrogant or potentially diminish someone else who isn’t as talented. But here’s the good news. When we are inspiring to ourselves, we are naturally expressing our strengths and gifts because we’re being our most creative inspired selves, and that naturally inspires others with or without talking about ourselves. If you question this, watch the upcoming Olympics.

Taking the time to discover our strengths and gifts becomes self-inspiring, especially in difficult times. When life has its way with us in a way that isn’t our way, we have the resources to bounce back and reconnect to the world in a “brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous way.”

TIP: Answer this question several times over the next week: What inspires you about yourself? If you get stuck, other questions that can lead to the same answers are “What do you appreciate about yourself?” and “What do people tell you they value in you that makes you feel “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Make a list of your top five qualities, strengths, or talents. If you’d like some help with the answers, here are links to two excellent assessments:

1) Marcus Buckingham’s “Find Your Strongest Life.”

2) VIA Strengths Questionnaire. There are two assessments available; one is f*ree. Millions of people have taken this assessment, which measures results based on what strengths will bring you the most happiness when you use them. I’ve taken it and highly recommend either profile.

Once you’ve answered “What inspires me about myself?” then go and ask five people – three whom you know and love and two strangers or new people you meet at a networking event or in the grocery line. Notice the different conversations you have and listen for the inspiration that follows.

RESOURCE: My friend and colleague Lynn Robinson has a new book that I think will interest you. It’s called LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

When you know how to listen to your inner voice in times of crisis, you’ll possess an unfailing source of wisdom that will guide you through good times and bad, moving you steadily through the inevitable crises of life and always towards your hopes and dreams. Put the principles of this remarkable book to work, and you will discover that bad times can actually be good times if you know how to listen to your inner voice.

I also want to be sure you know that there’s a great opportunity if you purchase a copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis. A group of well-known business authors and experts, including myself, have come together, to offer valuable bonus gifts like e-books, audio programs, and tip sheets, to anyone who purchases a copy of Lynn’s new book!

The promotion is one week only; it ends at midnight, February 14th. So don’t miss out! Purchase your copy of LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis.

Once you’ve purchased your copy, then visit Lynn’s Listen Bonus Page to claim your gifts:

As always, I love hearing from you and I’m…

Inspired by your presence,

Mary

02/2/10

You Are Wired to Be Inspired

“Have the courage to act instead of react.”
~ Earlene Larson Jenks

Did you watch the Grammys? So many amazing performances so full of mastery, so much audience enthusiasm for the art and skill of creating and performing music. Were you inspired? I sure was! And I still am. In fact, I watched all the main performances last night on YouTube, which, actually, surprises me.

When I stopped to think about what compelled me to revisit performances of musicians, excellent as they may be, whose music I’d never listen to by choice, I realized there was a great practical tip here for creating enthusiasm and inspired action. Can you guess what it is?

You’re right. When people give themselves completely to their unique gifts and share them authentically and enthusiastically with the world, magic happens. We’re all capable of creating that magic daily, but the challenge for most of us is first of all to KNOW what our gifts are, and then second, to FREE ourselves from our fears and give ourselves completely to whatever it is we’re doing and express our GIFTED SELF. Great performers have learned how to do this. We can too.

I think of performance artist Pink on that Cirque du Soleil style twirling machine and the flawless performance she gave. Did you wonder, like I did, whatever inspired her to take on a risk like that? In front of 25 million viewers?! Where did her courage to do that come from? How many times did she practice that routine to make it look so effortless? How did she not puke while she was twisting upside down, dipped in water, all the while singing her heart out, and then be able to stand at the end and not just walk but strut confidently off the stage?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qET6mlPb8uk]

TIP: I have an idea about what moves her that I believe moves each of us to inspired action and Gifted Self moments, which strung together become an Inspired and Gifted Life. I wonder if you agree?  I believe we are all wired to be inspired. And when we appreciate what inspires us, we are filled with a natural enthusiasm that gives us the confidence to move beyond our fears and share our Gifted Self into greater expression with the world.

Can you think of a time when you were totally and completely your most confident, inspired Gifted Self without worry or fear of what others would think or what might happen? When you were so present in the moment that all you were aware of doing – fully, completely, and enjoyably – was whatever it was that you came there to do?

TIP: Memorize a Gifted Self Moment and relive it often throughout your day to receive greater inner strength and motivation to act on what is important to you. This energetic space is where your manifesting power, dreams, and Creative Spirit live.

So what inspirations will you notice, appreciate, and enthuse about with others today to experience and share more of your Gifted Self with the world? Share your thoughts in the comment box and check out the inspiring resource below to help you.

RESOURCE:

Ever heard of a Virtual Retreat? This is a really innovative idea and will definitely nourish and nurture your Creative Spirit and help you discover and express your gifts with confidence and grace. I love this: “You will meditate, move, journal, visualize, laugh, and engage your whole body and spirit” all from the comfort of your own home and phone or computer. Get a couple friends together and share the weekend or a few hours together. I’ll be attending too.

Jen (author of The Woman’s Comfort Book series) is leading this bargain-priced Virtual Retreat with 13 other world famous teachers February 12-14. You can listen live or use the replay/download option at your convenience. Sign up by February 5th and get a major discount plus bonuses and ongoing support included. Check it out here.  Just reading the details will reduce your stress and make you smile. Add your 16-Second Smiling Breath and you’ll really relax.

NEXT ISSUE: How to get started discovering your gifts and strengths and a great new book for connecting more deeply with your Inner Voice (IV to your Creative Spirit) in challenging times.

Inspired by your presence…Mary

PS. Leave a comment on my In The Moment blog by Sunday February 8, 2010 about something in this post that inspired you, helped you, or triggered a new insight and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Marci Shimoff’s best-selling book “Happy for No Reason” and my book “Living with Enthusiasm.”

01/25/10

Creating Habits That Inspire Action

 

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Choose your words, for they become actions.
Understand your actions, for they become habits.
Study your habits, for they will become your character.

Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

~ Unknown ~

Staying inspired and taking action isn’t just about having a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). It also requires good – and sometimes seemingly small and inconsequential-in-the-moment – daily habits.

While I’ve been blessed with success in my life, I have to admit that breaking bad habits and creating new healthy ones for me is challenging more often than not. And as I’ve discovered from all the self-help and organizing books and systems on the market, it is for millions of other people too. How about you?

I still have to remind myself to stop doing certain actions and start doing other actions that you’d think I’d have learned as a child. One of them is putting my belongings back where they belong immediately after I use them. Like my car keys. And my cell phone.

This works…when I follow it.

MAJOR TIP: And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Making the decision to follow the steps we know we need to take to create and reinforce good habits and break unhealthy ones so that we do these things without even thinking about it and break through to reach the BHAG. Did you know new research shows that it takes less than a half second to make that new choice? A HALF SECOND!

Pause for a half second before you’re about to repeat that bad habit you already know you don’t want to do, think about the BHAG result you want, and make a different choice! After a half second the urge dissipates and making a better choice is easier. Repeated daily, this single action pays dividends for the rest of your life!

TIP: If I’m really paying attention to that IV (Inner Voice) Drip filled with smart thinking, I make that half second choice in the moment to follow that good habit. Difficult at times, and I’m not always successful, but the payoff is ALWAYS worthwhile, especially long term. As the great Jim Rohn said, “Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.”

TIP: I was a smoker from the time I was 15 years old until age 32. I quit when I realized my animals ran away from the smoke and I finally noticed that non-smoking clients did that “whiff” test where their heads jerked and their faces frowned as I came within smell distance. Quitting wasn’t easy, but I did it and I use that success as a reminder when I am working on creating major habit changes like the way I use credit and where I spend my money and resisting fast food.

TIP: There’s this saying that I hear in my head occasionally (as in not often enough) when I’m about to deter from following a good habit – “How you do anything is how you do everything.” It’s a good reminder for me that small good habits lead to big good habits, higher self-esteem, and better results in all aspects of my life.

RESOURCE: To help you form better habits and change ones that aren’t working, I’d like to share a great resource with you. Definitely bookmark this site and be prepared to be inspired and take action after connecting with the brilliant Leo Babauta, the founder and creator of Zen Habits.

Leo has a lot of different posts on how to form better habits. The one that really called to me for this message is something we don’t often think of – what to avoid, which is as important as what to move toward.

13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits

What about you? What your best tip for making or breaking a habit? What habit do you want to create or change and need help with? Post a comment and let’s make some new habits together. *Remember, if you post a comment, you’ll not only help other readers, you’ll also be entered to win in the monthly drawing for a free hour of coaching on any topic of your choice with me.