Yes, You Can!

You can my love!”

If I had a dollar for every time I spoke these words to my stubborn English Bulldog, Desmond, I’d be a multi-millionaire!

Desmond taught me beautiful life lessons during his 11 years- in particular- how to let go of the overwhelming need to control, and how to choose surrender in the face of defeat.

After years of vacuum-cleaner battles, loud noises, and other oddities that set him off, I learned to look him in the eyes and endearingly tell him, “you can my love“.

The simplicity of reciting this phrase aloud brings an immediate sense of peace, calm, and surrender.

Next time feelings of contraction or resistance surface, try saying this simple phrase aloud or in your mind: “yes, you can my love” and bask in the peaceful wake that follows.

#standinlove

ūüíďūüíďūüíď

Jennifer

Loving What Is

What does it mean to you to “Love What Is“?

I serendipitously rediscovered an insightful passage I had written down in a journal two years ago from Bryon Katie, author of Loving What Is, encouraging me to ask the four questions of any stressful thought that surfaces:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know it’s true?
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without that thought? 

I personally love Katie’s last question, “Who would you be without that thought?” , because it conjures up the image of chain-breaking, freedom, and lightness of being.

As you venture into the new year, how will you choose to address stressful thoughts in your life? Have they become your master, or will you render them unfounded?

 Excerpt from “Loving What Is”
To think I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business.

Even in the name of love, it’s pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear.

Do I know what’s right for me?

That is my only business.

Let me work with that before I try to solve problems for you.

-Bryron Katie

In loving connection,

Jennifer xxx

Brendon Burchard- Charge- 10 Human Drives

The 10 Human Drives: What You Need to Know to Live a More Charged Life.

What drives the essence of who you are?  

There are undoubtedly times in life when we feel like hitting the reset button and when this happens, I turn to inspiring thought leaders for mental reactivation. ¬†I picked up a copy of New York Times best-selling author Brendon Burchard’s classic, ¬†The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive¬†to find this inspiration.¬†¬† Brendon is widely considered the world’s leading high-performance coach as well as the most watched, quoted, and followed personal development trainers of all time. ¬† A near-death car accident and painful breakup with his first love served as motivation for writing the book coupled with a longing to answer the questions¬†Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?

I love the connection I feel when reading the thoughts of expansive, passionate thinkers and my¬†intention in sharing this condensed book summary with you is twofold: ¬†First, ¬†to provide you with self-discovery questions you can implement immediately to deepen your understanding of what drives your behavior and how to move your life’s happiness needle if you find yourself off-track. ¬†Second, ¬†my goal is to¬†inspire you to connect with more of his highly insightful work.

The 10 human drives are broken into two categories: ¬†5 baseline drives and ¬†5 forward drives. ¬†Let’s start by examining the 5 baseline drives together.

5 Baseline Drives

Think of baseline drives as the starting point or the foundational behaviors shared by  every human being.

  • DRIVE #1 CONTROL

Whether we admit it or not, we all desire a certain level of control in life, and while we cannot control others despite our most concerted efforts, we can control two things: our outlook and our character. ¬†We can also control how we choose to live our life: ¬†caged, comfortable, or charged. ¬† ¬†Brendon encourages us to “safeguard our outlook”¬†by choosing optimism to keep things in perspective. ¬† He introduces the concept of “control for new”, a strategy that focuses on planning time specifically for new things in life in order to mitigate boredom, depression, and malaise while at the same time feeding our body a healthy dose of dopamine. Neuroscience shows our brains are enticed by novelty, so make it a practice to try new endeavors as often as possible.

Ask yourself: Do my actions reflect the quality of person I want to be and can be?

  • DRIVE # 2 COMPETENCE¬†

The second baseline drive addresses our innate desire to have the ability to understand, perform, and master anything in life. ¬†From tasks to relationships, competence breeds confidence and without competence in our life, we are more likely to experience anxiety, stress, fear, even apathy. ¬† ¬†Brendon’s research shows that when we lack competence in a particular area, we are likely to procrastinate. ¬† Conversely, with competence, we are more likely to work harder and smarter at the task at hand. ¬† The key to competence: ¬†learning.

Ask yourself: What new knowledge, skill or ability could I start learning and mastering to become a high performer at what I do and increase my success in life?

  • DRIVE #3 CONGRUENCE

 The third baseline drive speaks to how authentically we are living life.   How aligned are our relationships, work environments, friendships, thoughts, and behaviors with our intentions?    Does your gut tell you to move on and step into your truth yet your head continues to rationalize the behavior and keep you stuck and unhappy?   Do you continue to show up at a job that deteriorates your soul when you would rather be following your passion and truly living and creating in your element?  Do you even know what your element is?

Ask yourself:  What 6 words shape and define who I am and what I want to live in the FUTURE?

Remember, you are not defined by your past or the people in the past who had particular expectations of you.

Tip: Choose 3 words that describe “who I am” in terms of traits/ nature, then choose 3 words that describe “how I treat others“. ¬† ¬†Let these words serve as a guidepost for living more congruently.¬†

  • DRIVE #4 CARING

The fourth baseline drive shines light on the importance of being others-focused. ¬† ¬† “Be curious about others and they will be curious about you.”¬† According to Brendon, one of the best questions you could ask another person to show you care is: “Wow! How did that make you FEEL?”¬† ¬†When caring for others, it is paramount to prioritize self-care. ¬† We serve best when balanced, rested, and nurtured. ¬†We cannot give to another what we do not have. ¬† Try these: Care for thyself. ¬†Be more vulnerable. Give your presence to others.

Ask yourself:  Who are the 10 people I interact with most? What are his/her top 3 ambitions in life? Who are their closest 3 friends?  What are their top 3 experiences in life? What are their 3 worst experiences?

  • DRIVE #5 CONNECTION

Connection: (n)¬†a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.¬†¬†Connection is vital for humans. ¬†It’s the spark that keeps us going in troubled times, the bond that keeps friendships alive despite long distances, and it’s the intimate, engaging conversations with loved ones. ¬†To me, ¬†connection is the peanut butter and jelly of my life’s travel experiences, knowing we are somehow bonded with others, no matter how different our backgrounds geographically, culturally, socially, or spiritually. ¬† It’s knowing we all share life’s most elemental emotional needs. ¬†Throughout my travels and experiences around the world I have found one thing to be certain: ¬†we all want to be seen, loved, and cared for.

Ask Yourself:  Who are my friends? Why am I friends with this person?  Why am I no longer in touch? Is this person supportive? Is this a friend who exposes me to new adventures? Is this friend trustworthy?

Tip: Don’t forget the saying “you will become like the 10 people you hang around most “. Choose your company wisely.

5 Forward Drives

Now let’s take a look at what Brendon calls the forward drives. ¬†These are the drives that have the ability to propel our happiness needles, pushing us forward into a more engaged life. ¬† A warning on forward drives: ¬†They are not easy and are often met with great resistance. ¬† Anything that challenges us to be a better version of ourselves invites discomfort and tests the limits of what we think is possible. ¬†This is what makes life so fascinating! We can choose to step forward trusting that personal growth is worth the risk. ¬† Let’s take a look at each of the 5 forward drives in a bit more detail.

  • DRIVE #6 CHANGE

I love this first drive! ¬†After all, change is what makes life exciting! ¬†By focusing on positive outcomes (gains) instead of perceived setbacks (losses), we are able to step into change with less resistance. ¬†Let’s face it, it’s easier to talk about change than to make change. ¬†Change demands we drop fear and familiarity¬†and adopt the discomfort of uncertainty and future possibilities. ¬†By asking “What if? ” questions and using ¬†“I’ll get to __________” statements, we shift our focus to the pleasurable aspects of change. ¬† ¬†Making change = finding clarity.

¬†“It’s hard to have vision when you haven’t seen all the options. ¬†If you are truly in a position to change something in your life, what have you been trying to do/achieve over the past 12 months to make the change a reality?” – B.B

Ask yourself:  Do I both welcome and cause change?

A major change I’ve been holding back from making in my life because of an expectation of a loss or associated pain is:¬†

A clear and bold new change I could make in my life would be to: 

  • DRIVE #7 CHALLENGE

Who doesn’t love a good challenge?! ¬†Our brains LOVE challenges!!! This is how we stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zone! ¬†Remember the forward drives are often met with resistance because they force us to expand into unchartered waters. ¬†Let’s not forget that the #1 human drive is control, so it makes sense that challenges will disrupt our natural desire for control. ¬† Good news is that we have control over our outlook, so we can choose to accept challenges that come our way and apply positive outcomes to them.

Accepting challenges means you are being part of the solution.   Brendon suggests designing a 12-month challenge chart, picking a new 30-day challenge for each month, including personal, social, and giving challenges.    This gets our brains into forward thinking and activates our desire for vision and clarity in life.   I highly recommend this activity as it opens up the doors to following your deepest desires and sets a pathway for achieving it!

“Easy and Comfortable are DETRACTORS of living a charged life. ” – B.B

Ask Yourself: ¬†The next big and bold challenge I’m going to take on in my life is:

The 30-day challenges I could set over the next 12 months are:

  • DRIVE # 8 CREATIVE EXPRESSION

We all have a desire to express who we are daily. ¬†From the clothing we wear, to the music we listen to, to the messages we post on social media, these are all forms of self-expression. ¬† Even if you don’t self-identify as a creative,¬† you are! ¬†Don’t forget you are one in 7.5 billion people in the world. ¬†You have a unique way of expressing everything you do and say, and when you suppress this drive, you miss out on the simplest form of happiness.

“Creativity isn’t a trait, it’s a discipline. ¬† Creativity isn’t a spark, it’s a slog, an iterative process.”

Ask Yourself:  What could I do to begin creatively expressing myself in the things I do each day?

  • DRIVE #9 CONTRIBUTION

According to Brendon there are two ways to define contribution: ¬†we can give “of” (self) ¬†or give “to” (cause). ¬† ¬†Giving of¬† the self means we share our talents, gifts, and strengths with the world. ¬†We intentionally give our best efforts. ¬†We show up authentically and fully expressed. ¬† One of the best gifts we can give to the world, Burchard shares, is the concept of a life fully expressed. ¬† ¬†This is an act of contribution that is often overlooked and minimized by the more familiar types of contribution such as donating money or time to a particular cause. ¬† Everyday we can contribute by giving of ourselves, and in return receive joy and happiness!

Ask Yourself: ¬†The ways I’ve contributed to or made a difference in my family’s life this past year include:

A new and deeply meaningful giving experience I’d like to create is:

Someone who could use my mentoring is:

  • DRIVE #10 CONSCIOUSNESS

Consciousness: (n): ¬†the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.¬†¬†¬†Practicing consciousness means asking self-reflection questions like: How present am I in this moment? ¬†Where shall I focus my thoughts right now? ¬†How are others feeling / thinking in this moment? ¬†How would I like to interact with or influence them? ¬† Am I contributing positively in my relationships? ¬†When we live with an increased level of consciousness, we experience more happiness because, as Brendon says, ¬†“we are choosing to be present to the love that is already around us. ”¬†

Ask Yourself:  If I were more aware and directive of my consciousness in life, my life would change in these ways: 

In order to connect with a higher consciousness on a more regular basis, I could: 

 

For an in-depth examination of his work, I invite you to indulge your brain in any of Brendon’s #1 NYT best-selling books including The¬†Motivation Manifesto,¬† The¬†Millionaire Messenger, and his most recent, High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. ¬†

The only thing you risk is growth!

I’d also love to connect with YOU! ¬†Join me on Facebook or Instagram @standinlovejen ¬†or share this article and tag a friend who you think would appreciate this!

Jen xo

 

 

 

 

Cornerstones

As I gaze out the kitchen window and fix my eyes on a beautiful Japanese blueberry tree in the distance, I feel summer’s end nearby.  I don’t know about you, but my heart is eagerly anticipating the change of season, bringing with it cooler temps and lively conversations around a circular fire pit out back.   Over the course of 8 weeks this summer, I had the unique opportunity to witness the incredible transformation of our back yard by a team of hard-working landscapers and talented masons.   Not only did they endure sweltering hours of oppressive desert heat removing overgrown Mesquite and African Sumac trees,  they skillfully and artfully arranged combinations of decorative flagstone into functional architectural features to be enjoyed by friends and family this fall.

The unanticipated gift from this experience was contemplating the importance of cornerstones and how their selection and level placement during the construction process affects the overall design and stability.

What is a Cornerstone?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a cornerstone as: (noun) a basic element : foundation. Digging a little further, ( yes, I admit freely I have a bit of an uncanny obsession with language and vocabulary)  I found this definition and enjoyed the depth of explanation:

cornerstonethe fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained; “the whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture” . Synonyms:  fundament, groundwork, basis, foundation, base. 

It’s as though I had discovered this word, cornerstone, for the very first time.  It is likely I have uttered it without fully understanding or assimilating its meaning.   Sometimes it takes an experience to bring a word to light in our lives, and I just love the illuminating feeling that rises up within when that happens.

Who or What is Your Cornerstone?

Cornerstones are used ceremoniously to commemorate people or moments in time we would rather not forget.    They represent firm foundations and solid ground.   The level, the steady, the shaping element, the framework, and the fundamental, whose underlying base of support is perhaps taken inadvertently for granted.

What comes up for you when you think about the word cornerstone?  Is it a particular person or value?  Faith or spirituality?  In what are you placing your hope, your joy, and your trust?  Who is your cornerstone?  Who is your rock,  keeping you on solid ground, providing for you a firm foundation on which to build your hopes and dreams?

Take a moment to think about these cornerstones and appreciate them.   Allow your heart to swell with gladness and overflow into all you do, think, and say.

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”

                                                                                                            – Wayne Dyer

What do you truly LOVE in this life?  What are you certain brings you joy, happiness, and a reason to get up and begin a fresh, new day?   What is that ONE thing that you just can’t bear to live without?  Are you feeling it? Living it? Doing it? If the answer is not a resounding YES, ask yourself why?

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer, speaker, and marketing consultant.  She works as a  Community Partner volunteer for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million women globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host your own BeadforLife marketplace or essential oil party this fall, email deboughjl@gmail.com

 

 

 

Earth Day Essentials

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived” – Helen Keller

Each year on the 22nd of April, nearly a billion people spanning 192 countries participate in some form of Earth Day event.   What started in 1970 as a modern environmental movement with 20 million people has multiplied into mass activism.

This year’s theme: Environmental and Climate Change Literacy.    According to Earthday.org, the world’s largest environmental advocacy group, the mission is simple:  To diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

In honor of Earth Day, we will explore the wonders of volatile aromatic compounds, also known as essential oils.

What is an Essential Oil?

By definition, essential oils are the volatile liquids (aromatic compounds) distilled from plants including the seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.   Science estimates there are currently over 390,000 plant species in the world.  Of this vast number of plant species, an estimated 10 percent of these plants are oil-producing.

History provides accounts of essential oil use for beautification and purification dating back to the Egyptians.  Accounts show that King Tutankhamen’s tomb included 35 alabaster jars for essential oils.   Biblical accounts show that Frankincense and Myrrh were given to the Christ child.  Even Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was sited for his belief in using plants as medicine.

As a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, I have the privilege of educating people all around the world on the numerous health and wellness benefits that stem from the use of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils.   It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equally.   Because of doTERRA’s rigorous third-party testing, they ensure the highest levels of purity and potency.  This is very important when it comes to using essential oils internally.  Let’s explore a little further how to use these miracles of nature!

 Essential Oils Usage

Aromatic

Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. You can achieve the same health benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand that is then cupped around the nose as you breathe deeply.

  • Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
  • Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
  • Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
  • Use in household surface cleaners (try this 10 day challenge)

Topical

Topical application is a very effective method for applying essential oils. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they easily penetrate the skin. Once absorbed, they stay in the applied area for a localized benefit.

To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin, it is advisable to use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) to dilute more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil.

Other Effective Methods of Topical Application 

  • Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
  • Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
  • Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to skin

Internal

Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh basil leaves to your spaghetti, you are actually consuming some volatile aromatic essential oil compounds.

Essential oil contributes many health benefits as well as flavoring and aroma properties to foods. When in their concentrated form, essential oils can be used as dietary supplements for more targeted and potent health benefits. Internal use is a very safe and effective method of application because of the sophisticated physiologic processes of our bodies.

When ingested, essential oils directly enter the blood stream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.

Effective Methods of Internal Application

  • Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
  • For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
  • Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
  • Take essential oils internally in a veggie capsule or add to a small amount of applesauce or yogurt

What are the benefits of using doTERRA essential oils?

The benefits of using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils include:

  • Physical– doTERRA essential oils boast a wealth of physical health benefits including respiratory and immune support, stress and tension relief, as well as aiding in restful sleep.  They promote feelings of well-being and balanced mood,  aid in digestion and metabolism, and support increased cellular function.  They help increase positive feelings, improve the appearance of the skin, and help protect against environmental and seasonal threats.
  • Emotional- Using essential oils can be overwhelmingly therapeutic in nature, especially when it comes to healing emotions.   Whether you are holding on to unresolved feelings, past trauma, or any number of negative emotions, essential oils help support the healing process by releasing limiting beliefs and helping mend a broken heart.
  • Spiritual– Using essential oils is often a profound experience.  Not only do they support you on a physical and emotional level, but they help establish a soul connection.   There is a unique mystery about the use of essential oils, dating back to the earliest of civilizations.  How profound to have this community with nature and experience peaceful and tranquil feelings.  Essential oils help increase our spiritual awareness, and inspire us to connect with our life’s true purpose.

There are a vast number of reasons for exploring the world of essential oils.    I made a personal decision to explore alternative ways of coping with anxiety which has been my companion since age 18.   I will never forget the first time I used lavender essential oil.  I recall specifically the impact it had on my nervous system, and it planted a seed that would one day grow into a profound passion.

We will take a look at specific oils and their health benefits in future posts, so if there is a particular oils you would like to explore, please leave a note in the comments. Additionally, if you have doTERRA oils you love using, share a tip with all of us!  To experience the benefits of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils  learn more about the StandinLove community here.    I would love to support you on your health and wellness journey!

Happy Earth Day and cheers to Abundant Health

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, DoTERRA wellness advocate, and BeadforLife community partner and is the founder of Stand In Love.org  -a platform for sharing her core values:
Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What No One Tells You About Habits

“Maintaining constant high motivation is unsustainable, but if things are easy to do even when motivation is low, they are more likely to succeed. ” – BJ Fogg, PhD. ¬†

While in Salt Lake City last weekend, I toured the famed Temple Square,¬†as well as the architecturally appealing public library where exposed glass elevators and unique art installations added intrigue and emotion to a book-exploring expedition.¬†¬†¬†Thanks to a chain of serendipitous events¬†I arrived in Salt Lake City eager to¬†connect with Leah Barker the CEO of global poverty eradication nonprofit Choice Humanitarian¬†and to train with ¬†Linda Fogg-Phillips, M.S. Health Promotion and Exercise Physiology.¬† Linda serves as the Director of the Tiny Habits Academy, a Behavior Design platform founded by¬†her younger brother, BJ Fogg PhD., a renowned innovator, scientist and teacher at Stanford. ¬†BJ’s focus¬†is on teaching people who design solutions for others. ¬†

My goal for you as readers of StandinLove is simple: ¬†sharing this methodology will help you¬†¬†practice the skill of creating new habits. ¬† According to BJ’s research, it’s not the adopted habit itself that matters, it is the fact you acquired the tools needed to create these new habits. ¬†You gained the necessary skills that will help you succeed in multiple areas in your life. ¬†

What is a tiny habit?

A “Tiny Habit” is a baby behavior. ¬†Yep. ¬†One little, itty-bitty action that, when repeated, builds momentum and results in the formation of a bigger, long-term habit. ¬† A “Tiny Habit”, according to Dr. Fogg’s design is a behavior:

      • you do at least once a day
      • that takes you less than 30 seconds
      • that requires little effort¬†

Recipe for Tiny Habits:

According to BJ’s research, the recipe for developing tiny habits has 3 simple ingredients:

  1. Identify the behavior you want in your life.                                                                                What behaviors are you looking to add to your life for increased positive benefit?  Do you want to develop a new health routine, nutrition option, start a new hobby, increase your home organization, de-stress more effectively, begin to exercise regularly, or maybe practice gratitude more often?   These are merely prompts to get your brain thinking and to inspire you to think about what YOU want to do in your life.  This is about you and your life.
  2. Find out where it fits in your life. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†BJ says an important part of implementing this new tiny behavior is to ¬†“Plan to do the new tiny behavior after an extremely reliable habit you have, what I call an ‚Äúanchor.‚ÄĚ ¬† Notice the key point in this ingredient towards making a tiny habit: ¬†planning. ¬†With just a tiny bit of thought beforehand and a touch of mapping out your desired behaviors, you are already on the road to successful tiny habit formation!¬†
  3. Match it to an anchor routine.                                                                                                          The anchor is the habit or behavior you always do.  The anchor must be a reliable habit, extremely precise, and is most effective when it is tied to the desired frequency of the new tiny behavior.

 Examples of Tiny Habits.

After I brush, I will floss one tooth.”

After I pour my morning coffee, I will text my mom.‚ÄĚ

After I start the dishwasher, I will read one sentence from a book.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAfter I walk in my door from work, I will get out my workout clothes.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAfter I sit down on the train, I will open my sketch notebook.‚ÄĚ

After I hear any phone ring, I will exhale and relax for 2 seconds.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAfter I put my head on the pillow, I will think of one good thing from my day.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAfter I arrive home, I will hang my keys up by the door.‚ÄĚ

By having the AFTER I __________,  I will ____________ formula, it is simple to introduce a new desired specific behavior by linking it to an existing behavior (the anchor) you are already doing!  Automatic. Powerful. Simple. Effective.

Why use tiny habits?

By design, implementing Tiny Habits increases your ability to make changes in your behavior in simple, effective, and fun ways!  Each time you perform a tiny habit, you then have the opportuntity to celebrate your big success!  Imagine having 3 tiny habits a day, all super simple to peform, and then having mini victory dances as soon as you think to do them, AND once you complete them!  That sounds like fun to me! I was thrilled to practice Tiny Habits for the week prior to my trip, and I look forward to continued training with Linda and BJ to bring you even more helpful tools and tips!

According to Dr. Fogg, “Most people haven’t mastered making desired behaviors automatic. That is a key focus in Tiny Habits: training automaticity. ¬† Once that is rock solid, you can then work toward the full behavior without losing the automaticity. ¬†That is how you eventually master the FULL behavior as a habit. “

Benefits of implementing Tiny Habits.

  • Gain skills (increased ability)- ¬†the heart of any behavior change
  • Learn behavior sequencing
  • Build self-confidence for behavior changes
  • Chance to celebrate tiny victories multiple times daily!

Want to try ¬†Tiny Habits for yourself for a week? ¬†It is fun, and I promise you will learn a thing or two about yourself, and have a GREAT time in the process. ¬†My favorite Tiny Habit was “After I wake up in the morning and put my feet on the ground, I will say ‘it is going to be a GREAT day!’ ”

Cheering you on as you choose Tiny Habits and celebrating your victories alongside of you!

xo Jen

 

 

 

 

Foundations of Friendship

Today, I had the honor of experiencing first hand the great work and services offered at the Veterans Transition Resource Center (VTRC), a nonprofit collaborative partnership between Life After Active Duty and Veterans Care Foundation, created to help fill the gap in Veteran Services in Las Vegas.

Our Mission ~ To be a beacon, for our Military, Veterans and their families around the world, to help navigate the challenging obstacles from military life back to civilian life.

At the invitation of a friend, I accepted an opportunity to hear insights from friendship expert, Shasta Nelson, author, speaker, and founder of Girlfriendcircles.com. ¬†Shasta shared years of research on the subject of friendships and the impacts on our health, stating ” We are experiencing an epidemic of unacknowledged loneliness. ¬†More than anything, people desire to feel loved and supported. ¬† Research shows that disconnection is the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, even likened to the devastating effects suffered by those with addictions like alcohol.” ¬†Point: loneliness, disconnection, and lack of a support network takes a toll on your mental and physical well-being.

This subject effects each and every one of us, not just veterans. Everyone needs friendships and support networks. What I appreciated most from her interactive talk with the group today, many of whom lost loved ones in active duty or are current care takers for loved ones, is that before we can learn how to be supported we must first understand what it means to be a friend.  Guys, this goes for you as well.

Three Components of Friendship

Friendship, she defined as:

Any relationship where two people feel satisfied, safe, and both people feel seen.

Shasta then drew a triangle on the white board in front of the group and shared the three most important components, requirements rather, for solid friendships to occur.

1. Positivity.

According to Shasta and her research, we should have a ratio of 5:1 for positive to negative interactions. ¬† ¬†To be a good friend means sharing positively, impacting relationships in a healthy way. ¬†This doesn’t mean we can’t share hurts and hangups in our lives with our friends, rather, it’s an opportunity for us to share where we are at to be truthful with our current situation and then offer something like, “I’m going through a rough time right now with work/ spouse/ (fill in the blank), but I’m so excited to be out meeting new people and building new friendships!” ¬†Everyone likes to be around positive energy.

2. Consistency

We all know how hard it is to keep up with friends who live in different states, have different schedules, lifestyles, etc, but the key is connecting with regularity. ¬†Even if it’s micro movements like calling each other at a set time each week or couple of weeks, or sending texts periodically, it’s keeping the contact consistent. ¬† Shasta revealed that this is key for friendships, because consistency helps build trust between friends. ¬†Helps instill the “safety” factor in the relationship.

She pointed out very keenly that this process of meeting people regularly happened as children when we were in school, and happens daily in the workplace.  There is a structure to the relationships, helping people bond more easily.  Things like deployments, church groups, university settings, and volunteerism place people in routines with consistent patterns, and naturally lead into the development of friendships.

3. Vulnerability

This is the component of friendship that Shasta says “makes us feel seen”. ¬† Being vulnerable doesn’t necessarily mean we have to “vomit our vulnerability on new friends, rather, our level of vulnerability should increase incrementally with our consistency with that friend”. ¬†As we see them more often and the friendship grows, we are able to increase our capacity to be vulnerable with them.

Vulnerability, according to Shasta, isn’t just sharing the hurting parts of our life, but can be translated as “initiating”. ¬†When we ask someone to connect with us for a coffee, walk, or get together, we fear rejection and the very act of asking is being vulnerable. ¬†It’s ok. ¬†And it’s ok if we get a “no”. ¬†That doesn’t mean we should feel rejected.

Self Assessment

At the conclusion of the session, Shasta challenged us to consider our friendships.  On a scale of 1-10, how supported do we feel in our friendships?  Are we putting too many expectations on the relationship and pushing that person away from us rather than drawing near?  What is missing in our friendships, and how can we improve ourselves to be better friends to someone else?

If positivity, consistency, and vulnerability are the three key ingredients to developing healthy friendships, what could I increase to improve the quality of my friendships?

My favorite takeaway was undoubtedly the following remark I believe hit home for every person in the audience.

Show up in beauty and light.

It’s not about finding the right person to be your friend, but fostering the right relationships you have.

Thank you Shasta Nelson for sharing your passion for friendships and connection with us today in the room.   Your heart emanates light and love.  I know I am not the only one who felt a connection with you.

To learn more about Shasta Nelson’s work, check out her published books on the subjects of friendship and connection.

What one word comes to your mind when you think of friendship?

Stand In Love,
Jennifer

 

 

 

When Disaster Strikes.

“Surrender means not giving in to another, but giving in to love.”- Deepak Chopra

A loved one lost.  Dreams withered away.  Hope faded.  The for-sure promotion suddenly  evaporated into thin air.

You notice the scale advanced a bit to the right despite eating what you believed to be a reasonably balanced diet.    You look in the mirror and notice that age and gravity have begun  to co-habitate in a couple of personal spaces.

What is your typical response when stressful situations arise?

Are you more likely to¬†stay and look trouble in the eye, or is your preferred response¬†to bolt? ¬†…. Quickly escaping the situation and longing desperately to fall into the arms of comfort.

Routine checkups at the doctor¬†tend to¬†create a nerve-racking and humbling experience for me, especially when it involves the New Year weigh-in. ¬†Anyone with me? ¬† It’s important to know health is in order, but sometimes facing the reality that winter hibernation has caught up with you stings like frostbite. ¬†You think to yourself, “Do I really have to give up my favorite habits? ¬†I love those chocolate bars. ¬† They do not serve me, but I don’t think I can give them up. “

While these examples represent varying degrees of stress, the choice of responses in challenging situations remains the same: We have a choice to bolt or to stay.

Bolting.

In Geneen Roth’s bestselling book¬†Women, Food, and God, she shares examples of bolting which she defines¬†as:

” Any engagement in mind-altering and body-numbing activities. ¬†Shutting down and walking out the door when pain threatens to destroy me- which is any situation that involves another human being or whose outcome I can’t control. “

Paraphrasing key concepts, Geneen shares that our refusal to stay in the present moment robs us of the very things that can help sustain us.  

Examples of Bolting.

  • Walking out the door.
  • Distracting yourself from pain by doing things.
  • Thinking about something else.
  • Getting into a fight.
  • Comparing yourself to other people.
  • Dreaming about life in the future.
  • Recalling life in the past.
  • Never getting deeply involved.
  • Eating ¬†and/or¬†drinking.

Obsessions with eating she says, “gives you something to do, besides having your heart shattered by heart-shattering events. ¬†Obsession is a way of organizing our lives so that we never have to deal with the hard part. ¬†The part that happens between 2 years of age and dying. Obsessions are ways we leave, before we are left because we believe the pain of staying would kill us.”

Sometimes our thoughts¬†provoke us to run away and hide. ¬† This cleverly-masked¬†escape (insert your escape of choice)¬†feels like comfort and support, however the reality-if we are listening with our mind, body, and hearts-is that the escape actually uses us. ¬†It is an imposter, providing us not only with false senses of satisfaction, but also feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse. ¬†Hauntingly familiar, isn’t it?

We are faced daily with the choice to run away or to stay from difficult situations. ¬†It’s important to remember that we have a choice. ¬† We can check out, or we can stay and figure out solutions. ¬†We can trust ourselves to make changes, and we can allow ourselves to feel our feelings instead of running from them. ¬†We can pause and ask ourselves, what am I afraid of feeling? ¬†What am I seeking in¬†the escape to which I am running? ¬†What do I think it will give to me? How will it make me feel? ¬†

I welcome your insights.

StandinLove is a place of connection and community.  A place to learn from one another and to encourage each other on this lifelong journey in love.  It is in sharing honestly that we practice the art of imperfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace, Generosity, and forGIVEness

…..try not to let your circumstances define who you are, rather let God define who you are in those circumstances.” ¬†– Pastor Jud¬†Wilhite¬†

Welcome 2016.

Thank you 2015.

Thank you for all the reminders, the trials, the unforgettable opportunities to learn from the smorgasbord of events taking place in the past 365 days.

January 1st, a new beginning. ¬† I delighted in an awakening walk into town for a hot,creamy cup of coffee at McDonalds to start the new year. ¬†They have the best .99 cent cup of coffee around, not to mention the free entertainment of people watching… especially teenage boys the morning after a long New Year’s Eve night celebrating. ¬†The vibrant and penetrating sun shining on my sun-screened ¬†and sunglasses- protected face… gloves, hat, scarf, and vest all fastened snugly providing a warm and intimate barrier against the 34 degree desert chill, I walked leisurely ¬†a few miles to the neighborhood golden arches. ¬†Walking outdoors is natural therapy, and provides great opportunity for insight and contemplation. ¬† As cars bustled past on a busy 6 -laned street, I stole hellos from strangers on the sidewalk, heading to unknown destinations. ¬†“Happy New Year!”, I greeted each passerby with a sincere smile.

It is easy to fall prey to the limiting belief that we are our circumstances in life, rather than understanding that we are humans, striving for connection.  We are lovers of people.  We crave community, and we delight in unity.   We are imperfect creations living in a world of complicated circumstances, but we are LOVE.  We are light.  We are meant to shine, to share, to seek out the lost and brokenhearted.   Our souls define beauty, not our surroundings, and contrary to mainstream media,  certainly not our facades.

I was reminded of a valuable lesson about the glories of pain at the close of 2015. ¬†Lessons, as Dale Carnegie shares in his ¬†book “Stop Worrying, and Start Living” are rarely new, merely reminders of that which we already know. ¬† He goes on to write, ” you won’t find anything new in it (this book), but you will find much that is generally not applied. … ¬†We already know enough to lead perfect lives…. our trouble is not ignorance, but inaction.” ¬† Having to undergo an emergency root canal a week before Christmas while continuing to work during the busiest retail time of the year reassured me of a few things:

Pain and suffering are not indefinite.  Relief is on the way.

Pain and suffering are disguised gifts, and often result in the reminders ¬†of life’s simplest pleasures.

Pain and suffering, while seemingly impossible to endure, have the power to deliver us to places of peace and present numerous gifts of gratitude.    All you have to do is CHOOSE to receive these gifts.

Stand still in love. ¬†Love’s beauty abounds.

The bird whose love, a song,  it is to sing.

The poet whose love it is to find his words engraved in the hearts of lovers.

The woman, whose love she discovers, is to seek connection and find purpose in the mundane interactions in life.

Sing your song, write  or relish in romantic refrains, and discover your essence and beauty in the eyes of God.

 

Harsh Realities of Life in the Developing World.

Greetings from plot 96 on Bunyoni Rd, Kataza district Kampala, Uganda! Finished up a load of hand washing as the morning rain finally ceased and the sun will shine for exactly 4 and a half more hours- just long enough to take the heavy dampness off my two boldly printed, safety pinned waistband maxi skirts and pair of light weight cotton pajamas drying on the rusted metal clothes line we share with the neighboring apartment housing two brilliant young sisters- both university graduates still seeking employment opportunities after two years. ¬†Seems the complexities of my first three weeks in Uganda- and first time in sub Saharan Africa have finally brought me to a moment of deep contemplation, even fearful realizations I had to address. I am writing from the comfort of my humble abode today, recognizing the need to hit the “pause and process” button on my African adventure transistor radio. Monday’s completed field visit to Bulogo women’s group was the pinnacle of this “Awakening” – an expression I borrow from shame researcher and author, Brenee Brown. I returned late that evening after a difficult return trip stuck in hours of typical rush hour “jams” as they are called here. The nights can grow so dim, literally no street lights, only the burning flames of small kerosene lamps aglow lighting small tables of smoked fish, unrefrigerated meats, fruit and vegetable stands, and the scent of burning piles of rubbish in the air thick and heavy with the darkness of night. The traffic in Kampala hits a head in the am for three hours and at night for at least 3 hours. The city streets are literally gridlocked- with cars, matatus, bodas, cyclists, and people scrambling for a place to inch forward. I liken crossing one of these streets to a human game of “Frogger” – without the slightest bit of exaggeration in the analogy.

It was bound to hit me- the wall. And so yesterday morning brought me to a halt. I landed in Uganda and have remained a human funnel – wide at the top desiring to take in as many fluid experiences as I possibly could these first 3 weeks that I was like a cheerfully colored latex birthday party balloon gorging down air filling to the widest stretches of itself before bursting in excess – in my case – emotional overload. I sat paralyzed at my desk in the inventory room shared by a young American named Steve, and began to think I may not be able to handle any more. My arms and neck stayed stiff like boards, hands felt like jittery fingers in the middle of a cold winter’s day. The “clip clip clip ” of the gardener’s shears on the bushes outside my office were literally fraying my nerves. I grabbed my phone, plugged in the little white earbuds and attempted to drown out the surfacing feelings with some orchestral Italian harp music I downloaded in the early hours the morning of my departure from home- unable to sleep. Recognizing the signs of anxiety- I reached for two things- my phone and two¬†calming homeopathic sleep tablets called Calms Forte. Unsuccessfully skyping my husband and parents with whom I had not communicated in two days – for lack of¬†wifi access- I had to follow the normal self- soothing protocol and realize this time was bound to come and was totally normal.

Today’s working from “home” has allowed me to experience tremendous insight into my work here, as well as space to process the varied experiences so far. I think I arrived in Uganda with my ” wow this is all novel! ” lenses, then transitioned to ” hmmm, that’s odd but I understand its part of life here”, to ” oh my word, life is just so difficult here, and I am totally overwhelmed by the daily realities for so many Ugandans” lenses. Humans don’t share much in common with these transition lenses outside of the different cast of light they let in your frame of view. I am learning and experiencing the time- consuming tasks of hand washing, line drying, and ironing every piece to be sure to singe any trace of mango fly eggs that were hatched on your damp clothing – lest you forget and it buries itself and hatches underneath your skin like it did to our neighbor Lee the week we arrived- requiring a small incision to be made to remove the worm under her skin that had grown.

I am learning to allow myself to feel the raw feelings of fear – as they relate to embracing change and accepting discomfort. Living with roaches, armies of ants, geckos on the walls, mosquitoes everywhere, all while viewing the injustices all around of people living in abject poverty will take it’s toll. Each day for the past 3 weeks as I leave the iron gate of my compound in Kataza and walk down Bunyoni road to begin my Teva- sandaled trek to work, I am confronted with the horrible realities of life in the developing world. I have lived and worked abroad in Israel, and various places in Europe for extended periods of time, but none of those trips would be able to properly prepare me for the sights I would witness in sub-Saharan Africa. I’d love to be able to insert more specific and startling statistics on things like the lack of indoor plumbing and running water data,or the rates of incidence of untreated bronchial infections in women and children due to daily cooking over and inhaling charcoal fumes, in the country- which I know would be astounding, however I very quickly became used to the fact that I do not have instant access to wifi when and wherever I want.

Today’s quiet day allowed me to reflect and write stories on the members of Bulogo Womens group. Space to process. Space to pause and to revisit my commitment of coming here in the first place. Humanity is a shared experience- this is proven to me over and over again as I make it through another day on the ground.
I love the write up by Tara Sophia Mohr called, “10 Rules for Brilliant Women”. ¬†
Rule #1: Make a pact. 
She writes, ” No one else is going to build the life you want for you. No one else will even be able to completely understand it. The most amazing souls will show up to cheer you on along the way, but this is your game. Make a pact to be in it with yourself for the long haul, as your own supportive friend at every step of the way.”¬†
This piece of advice aligns with the core messaging of the Street Business School training I attended in Mutungo last week with the 12th enrolled class of over 75 women and some of their children. YOU are the business. YOU are the capital. YOU must believe in the power YOU have in YOU and make a commitment, a pact, with yourself and trust in it’s potential.
I challenge you to think about a pact you would like to make with yourself. What would it look like? What would it say? What would be the impact of this self commitment? Know it may be scary along the way, but in retrospect, an adventure worth the risk it took to get there!
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to be transparent and real with my thoughts- we don’t help anyone by acting like we have it all together all of the time- vulnerability and truth lead to connectivity!
Make a pact to implement a small change and share with someone you love!