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I have always loved Valentine’s Day.Since I am a hopeless romantic it’s pretty much a given that I love Valentine’s Day.

(Okay, I confess, I love just about every holiday, but still….)

I love the idea of a day that’s just dedicated to love.

People doing sweet things.

Surprise flower deliveries, sweet and chocolate – oh my!

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Even so, Valentine’s Day and I have had a sort of torrid relationship. Sometimes we’re the best of pals and other years it has been a total bitch. Life, right? And yet I love it still. Because love is like that, not always flowers and chocolate but always worth it.

Now that I have kids I think I love the holiday more than I ever did before. It’s less about romantic love but just love in general. Love for everyone.

Love for ourselves.

Easy, simple, natural love.

We’ve already done our Valentine’s Day cards for the two third grade classrooms. We’re not giving out candy this year but are giving out cute pencils along with the cards. We’ll also bring cupcakes delicately decorated in pink icing and sprinkles. Even Lovebug will bring Hello Kitty magic pen pads to everyone at daycare.

Every Valentine’s Day morning my kids come downstairs to find cards, chocolates and whatever little chotskies I find, like light up heart rings, or pens with big fluffy hearts on the end.

But the best part is the card.

Always.

I want my girls to know that they are loved. That they don’t need to get a card from the cutest boy (or girl) in class, or from a secret admirer. I want them to know that they aren’t only loved but they are love. And that’s reason enough for chocolate and glitter.

Even when you tell someone you love them everyday there’s just something a little special about saying it in a glittery card. Just the little extra effort in the morning to make the table all cute, or to start the day with a chocolate kiss.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things.

Even if you don’t have a sweetie or a lover, or kids, you can still celebrate love.

Because we are all Love. It is our very essence.

Don’t have a date – take yourself out. Buy yourself flowers or candy!

In fact, have flowers delivered to your office for you (but plan in advance because you’ll never be able to get a last minute delivery on V-Day), and sit them on your desk and enjoy their beauty.

And if anyone asks who they’re from tell them, “Someone who loves me very much.”

Wear a pretty dress. Throw on some lip gloss and some sexy lingerie. And don’t forget to tell yourself how pretty you are one the way out the door.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things. You are worthy of flowers and sweetness and something a little extra special just because.

So be your own damned Valentine. And go and be love, beloved.

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Sometimes we think that joy and happiness are destinations.

As if we can jump on a plane as easy as we would to Paris or Cancun and land at Joy International or Endless Happiness Airport. There is no overnight flight to joy. You can’t hop a train, jump on a bus or hitch a ride there.

Joy is not a destination. It’s a feeling that we can have while we’re in route to having our dream homes, family vacations, or the career that we were born to have.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to access joy, happiness and feeling content is through gratitude.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Brother Stindal-Rast

When we stop to take notice and appreciate the little things, we realize that the little things are the big things. We also make our lives more joyful.

I’m grateful for the these things for making me feel happiness and joy this week:

1. This post on Mercury in Retrograte and seeing beyond the craziness it can bring.

This week has been one to go down in the books in terms of poor communication. My internet connect has had a mind of its own which means that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There have been all sorts of little technical snafus and other crazy happenings, and communication with other people has been so out of it that I’ve had moments where I’m convinced we must be speaking different languages. This post was a nice little reminder that everything is an opportunity for growth.

2. Fresh Produce

It’s such a simple thing but this week I am totally appreciating fresh produce. There is nothing quite like fresh fruit and veggies that fuel my body and keep my family healthy. I am grateful that I live in a time and a place where fresh produce, both organic and non-organic, is at my fingertips. I am grateful that I have options when it comes to what my family and I eat. And asparagus with cherry tomatoes and kale over rice noodles… in a word: bangin’! (It’s extra delish if you eat while wearing ladybug slippers, like I do.)

3. This Song

For no other reason that without fail every single time I hear it I smile and feel an instant injection of joy.

4. These Shoes

I am a recovering high-heel addict. Yes, I was one a stilletto stalker. I wouldn’t be caught anywhere but the gym without a pair of high heels on. At one point in time, I didn’t own any cute flats. But you live and you learn. Plus, my office is like so not a place to be walking up and down the stairs in stilettos. Now cute flat shoes are a must.

Enter these Minnetonka Moccasins that were gifted to me by my shoe fairy — Pam. She’s always hooking me up with the cute kicks and these are so comfy and so cute I can look over the fact they make me feel like a total hipster which is generally not a good association for a San Francisco Native like me.

5. Y O U!

For anyone who has taken the time to read my blog, has read and/or liked my Facebook page, and given me such positive feedback on my last post about launching my life coaching practice, I thank you so much. I am so grateful that the ramblings in my mind that spill out my fingertips in black type resonate with you. I write them to spread love and light in the world and through your support I feel that love and light right back.

Now it’s your turn! What are some things that you’re thankful for this week?

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The great online business guru for the modern day soul-preneur (or really anyone trying to start an online business) Marie Forleo advises that we should start before we’re ready. In fact she says that it’s the “key to sucess!”

Her belief is that you don’t need a fancy website and all the trimmings of a “real business” to make an impact. What an entrepreneur has to offer is more than the total sum of their webpage, how many fancy widgets they have, or whether their monthly newsletter looks like it was designed by a rockstart. Ms. Forleo encourages her followers to make like a baby bird and jump out the nest.

Because you don’t know if you can fly until you jump.

The idea seems terrifying but it makes perfect sense.

So, with that… I’m spreading my wings and jumping head first into the world. In a way, I’m coming out a closet of sorts.

I don’t have my fancy website yet. No personalized branded logo that matches my Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter banners, but…

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I have launched my own Life Coaching Practice!!!

By now you have probably heard the term Life Coach thrown around and if you’re into self-help and all things woo woo then without a doubt you’ve heard the term. But, you may still be wondering, “What the heck does a life coach do anyway?”

I work with individuals who want to live their life to the fullest. My ideal clients are folks who have already planted the seed for change and personal growth, and who are ready blossom into their full potential.

I may not have the fancy site (yet!!!) but a fancy site does not make the work we will do together any less powerful. I have guided my own life from being a struggling single almost teenage mother to a woman with a book coming out this year, and now my own coaching practice. And I am still on my journey and would love to help you along yours.

If you are interested in working with me, you’re in luck! I’m hosting a giveaway on Facebook! When I reach 250 Likes I will be giving away two months of sessions with me! Like my page and encourage your friends to do the same for a chance to win!

For those who want more information about what I do, please feel free to send me an email.

World it’s so nice to meet you!

With love, Yroko Marie, Life Coach

I have some great friends. We always have fun when we’re together.

This year we’ve committed to one day a month to get together without the easy excuses of last minute life stuff, or without falling back on our usual go to hang out thing.

Pam & Me on my 30th Birthday

Friendships are like romantic relationships in that they require time and attention too. Sometimes they also need some spicing up, just like a love life.

In the book Spirit Junkie author Gabrielle Bernstein talks about the idea that we should treat our friendships like romances, and our romantic relationships more like friendships.

Friendships can be an important part of our emotional well-being. Our friendships can provide support, a springboard for ideas, and so much more. Not to mention it sometimes comes with the perk of being able to borrow cute clothes! Score!

But, like romantic relationships, friendships can be taken for granted. They can get stale and boring which may be why some friendships end. Not because the people have changed but they just drift apart for lack of tending their friendship garden to make sure it continues to grow.

By throwing in different fun activities, you can not only have a great time, but create bonding and fun memories with your besties that keep your relationship fresh. Some great activities to do with your girlfriends (or male friends) are:

A Proper Tea Party

Get all dressed up with hats, gloves and the works and go to a tea house for a proper ladies’ tea. If you prefer the comfort of your own home, still ask your tribe to come dressed up. You can ask everyone to bring their favorite tea, or to bring a tea like snack. You could research characters or make up your own and just have a good time.

Pole Dancing Classes

Whether or not you’ve ever shaken your shimmy on a pole, this is a great way to get a workout in and have a fun time with your girlfriends. If you’ve never done it before, the idea may conjure up images of something sleazy but it’s not. You and your girls can hit the pole and work on feeling good in your skin. It’s also great for bonding.

Solve the Crime!

When I was a kid one of my besties, Amilca, always had Mystery Parties for her birthdays. And they were awesome. Basically, with the invitation to the party you get a character and everyone comes to the party as their character. There are little scripts and prompts and the party goers try to solve the crime! These parties are available for adults too!

What I remember most about the parties is that they were always such fun and we were always silly, and the time just seemed to fly by.

Vision Board Making

Ask your tribe to bring old magazines and their favorite dish to share and get together to make vision boards. This is a great way to connect and also to do something to help you manifest things that you want in your life. If you want, you can start with a led group meditation, yoga, or just dancing around. My vision board making extravaganza includes mimosas, but yours doesn’t have to.

Walk It Out

Meet up somewhere in your area and just go for a walk. Pick an area that you don’t usually go and just walk and talk. If you pick a park consider removing your shoes and walking in bare feet so that you can practice grounding and get the healthy benefits that come from touching your naked skin to the Earth. I don’t know why but, for me at least, walking with friends always inspires deep conversations.

Volunteer

Grab you group and pick something you guys are passionate about and go and be love. Maybe help at your local library, your kids’ school, or a soup kitchen. The best time to do this is not during the holiday season when large groups tend to get together to help those who may be having a rough time. Pick a time that just works for your group. If you wanted to take it a step further, encourage your friends to raise funds for the organization or entity that you’re making (it doesn’t have to be a lot) and giving your donation as a group after you finish your day.

Swap It, Baby!

No, I’m not talking about swapping romantic partners (but if that’s your thing that’s cool — I don’t judge). I’m talking about a closet swap! Ask your group to go through their closets to find anything in good condition that they don’t wear or use including shoes, jewelry or accessories. Everyone meets and then you swap the stuff you don’t want for stuff that is “new” to you. This is not only a great way to expand your wardrobe and push your personal style envelope, but it’s also really good for the environment because it’s recycling versus buying another cheap top at Forever 21. If you’re anything like me, even after my latest closet purge pre New Year’s, I still have some stuff I would happily swap for something else.

An Amusement Park

Amusement parks aren’t just for kids. Amusement parks are all about fun, over-priced under-nutrient food, and games. It’s a great way to bring out your inner kid and to play. Rollercoasters scare the shit out of me to this very day, but I love amusement parks and there is so much to do. It’s always fun when I go with a big group.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

Pam, Me & Michelle on New Year’s Eve

Many of us have routines that we do when we start a new year.

Maybe we write formal New Year’s resolutions where we resolve to start healthy routines or to break bad habits. Some of us write journal entries and some of us do things like make a vision board, or any combination of the above.

This year I decided to do a hodgepodge of things that helped me to be introspective and to set my positive intentions for the new year in a way that was thoughtful and would actually be something that was useful.

First, I followed Hillary Rubin’s advice for creating the best year ever and worked on tying up the loose ends from 2013.

So, in December I made a list of everyone I needed to forgive, including myself, and forgave them. I looked at whether I owed anyone anything and if so I paid them back. I worked out a plan to pay off any financial obligations that were still lingering like a bad cough. And I picked areas of my house that I wanted to de-clutter and cleared them out.

I had already intuitively started shedding layers of material fluff at the start of the holiday season in late November. Shedding broken toys, clothes we no longer wore and things, like the mug that had been broken for over a year that I was going to fix “one day” that were just taking up space.

I knew I wanted to start the year fresh with space and room for positive energy to flow into my life. Out with the old, in with the good vibes.

Then I wrote a list of everything I was grateful for.

And when I looked back there was A LOT to be grateful for.

New Year’s Eve Funny Faces & Pics w/ Strangers

On New Year’s Eve, I got my nails done and my eyebrows perfectly coiffed at a brow bar. I picked red polish for my toes which the nail technician told me meant I was going to have good luck all year, according to her mother.

“Everyone always picks dark colors, that’s not good,” she whispered to me her tongue clicking in disapproval.

“But you, you pick red. You’re going to be lucky this year!” She asked if she could add a layer of red glitter polish on the top. I said of course because glitter makes everything better.

I didn’t write any New Year’s resolutions.

Not a single one.

One year I resolved to never write New Year’s resolutions because they never stuck, so I resolved to never do it again. So, I guess I can say I’ve kept one resolution!

Still, I wanted to do something to help me articulate to the Universe my intentions for the year. I had already purchased Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map and done it in last year.

I have to be honest and say the first time I did it, it didn’t really click for me.

I jived with the idea of uncovering how we want to feel and then building our goals around how we want to feel, versus setting goals and hoping they make us feel good. But for whatever reason, the exercises didn’t give me any “wow” or “ah-ha!” moments and I kind of felt like it was all hype.

A few days after the new year came ’round I decided to give Desire Mapping another go. I just focused and really put my heart into the workbook with an open mind. I didn’t read the book part and just dove right in to the exercises. I think Danielle is a lovely writer but I just wanted to get to the nitty grity.

And, boom, it clicked!

I should focus my goals on how I want to feel – not create arbitrary goals hoping they’ll do it for me! Yes, I realize that I knew this conceptually before I tried doing the DM-thing for the first time, but this time I just got it. Pow – right in the kisser. Well, maybe not right in the kisser but I just resonated with it.

My core desired feelings for the first half of the year are:

♥ Love ♥ Open ♥ Clear ♥  Abundance ♥ Passion.

I’ve already been checking in with my core desired feelings and, yea, Ms. LaPorte is on to something there. No wonder it’s so wildly successful.

But, I wasn’t done there.

I am someone who likes lists and planning and themes. I love themes, actually. I am the queen of themed birthday parties and such. So, I thought I needed a word to be the theme of the year.

But don’t you already know how you want to feel, perhaps you’re wondering. Yes, but those are feelings. This theme isn’t a feeling. Well, I guess it could technically be a feeling but, before I loose you with all the back and forth, the reason picking a theme or a word is important to me is because it gives you a backdrop to lean on.

If life is a stage then the theme would be the set. The feelings would be the actors and you, my lovelies, would be the playwright. And if you’re totally lost and wonder how many cups of coffee I had while writing this post, here is where I make my thoughts connect so it all makes sense…

I sat quietly with myself and breathed in and out. I considered everything that was going on in my life currently, how I want to feel and what I wanted my theme of the year to be. I waited for the word to come to me and didn’t just pick an arbitrary word that sounded good. And then it was clear.

Faith.

That’s my word of the year – Faith with a capital F.

See, it is Faith that will push me to take actions where I am full of Love. It’s Faith that things will turn out okay that will allow me to feel Open by trying new things. It is the Faith that I can start my own business and create Abundance that I will cling onto when I feel like I’m getting in over my head.

It is Faith that will remind me no matter how many times a heart breaks, it can always heal and Love again.

(I told you it would all make sense!)

And as the grande finale to my “2014 Is Going to Rock My Socks Off” planning, I am going to be hosting a vision board making get-together for a few of the awesome Goddesses in my life.

Something else, Yroko, maybe you’re thinking?

A vision board is something visual to help us remember how we want to feel. It’s manifestation eye-candy that can help remind me of my core desired feelings. It helps me see the things that I want to attract into my life that will make me feel my core desired feelings.

Plus, we’re going to be having mimosas and sipping mimosas with a group of girlfriends while creating vision boards is nothing short of magic.

By starting the year off with strong intentions and such a positive flow, I know 2014 is going to knock my socks off.

And so it is.

How do you ring in the new year?

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I met this one Rap Superstar once in Los Angeles at a party where he was going to perform before he reached super celebrity status.

This was right before the release of his song that would launch him from background noise into full fledged worldwide notoriety. Before he would leave a permanent mark on the rap game.

When I met him, he was wearing plain jeans and a dark colored hoodie. He looked like an average dude – not especially flashy or like a mega rap-star mogul. He wasn’t wearing bling or if he was it wasn’t gaudy. He was nice and polite and we didn’t really have an in depth conversation.

When I was introduced to him I kind of tripped and fell into him. Not one of my smoothest moments.

Me, the day of the concert…. yes, I wore leg warmers over those heels…

I was also wearing leg warmers over pink high heels. It was not the 80’s, but I digress.

He performed his song and it was a great show at a smallish club. He was humble when he forgot the lyrics to one of his songs. He loved the crowd and we loved him back.

Fast forward to now, this Rap Superstar has evolved not only into an international superstar, but everything about him has evolved and changed. He doesn’t dress like just a regular dude, wearing a regular plain ol’ hoodie and Nikes. He’s well groomed, styled and has a level of sophistication that people probably would never have imagined he would have.

He’s on ads for huge companies and he can have and do just about anything. He dates women who probably wouldn’t have looked twice at him before his metamorphosis. He does and says outlandish things. And he makes oddles of money.

So, what did I learn from meeting him briefly for a few minutes in a small L.A. nightclub wearing an outfit that in hindsight was a horrible fashion statement?

I learned:

You Have to Know Who You Are & Who You Want to Become. This guy knew who he was, where he came from and what his strengths were. He also knew who he wanted to be. He rapped about it before it was real. He spoke it into being, much like I did before I got my book deal. He talked the talked, even if he wasn’t fully walking the walk.

And, of course, we are all always changing and evolving but if you’re trying to achieve success or just change your life, you need to know who you want to be. Not just what you want to do, but who you want to become.

You’ve Gotta Believe Your Own Hype. Sure, Freud would probably say that someone who is over-confident is really hiding insecurities and that can be true. But, if you’re not buying what you’re selling then no one else will. You don’t have to be an ego-maniac, but you do need to be secure. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities. You need to believe that you can do and be whatever you want to.

There Will Be Mistakes. Can you imagine how embarrassing it must have been for this Rap Superstar to have forgtten the lyrics to his song? There were other well known artists in the room only a few steps from that stage and this man forgot the words to the song that he wrote! And so it goes, no matter how well you think you know something, we are all human and we will all make mistakes.

Mistakes Are Opportunities for Growth. When Rap Superstar forgot his lyrics instead of trying to play it off, he just coped to it. “Damn, I forgot the lyrics to my own song,” he said. When you make a mistake, it’s usually a good practice to acknowledge it so that you can learn from it.

So, what did Rap Superstar do? He flipped it and started freestylin’ about his shirt and turned a mistake into an opportunity to show us all that he really had mad skills. So, what if he forgot the lyrics when he could make up songs on the spot?

Stay Humble. it seems like when we reach our goals be that to have 100,000 regular blog subscribers or a successful business, or whatever your personal goal is, it can be easy to forget where we come from. We can easily loose sight of who we once were and get caught up in the momentum of our success. There is believing your own hype, which is important, and then there’s just being a total douche. No matter what level of success one makes, it’s important to stay humble or you could loose the folks who got you where you are.

It sounds silly but every time I see him in a an ad I feel a small validation of my own dreams. This was just a guy. A regular guy with a dream that he made happen with hard work and the belief that he could.

Hold fast to your dreams, my lovelies!

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I never used to have a morning routine. In the past, I just woke-up when my alarm went off, sometimes a few minutes before, and stayed in bed until I absolutely had to get up.

From then, I rushed to get the kids ready for school, get dressed, and get out the door on time. It all went by in a blur and sometimes felt like a complete mad dash. It was exhausting!

By the time I got to work I often felt like I’d already done a half day’s work. I also felt rundown a lot, off-balance and frequently sad.

In fact, I dreaded mornings because there was just so much to be done and so little time.

It didn’t help that, more often than not, I was completely sleep deprived so by the time it came time to get back up and do it all over again, I was running on empty.

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There was a time when I cried in the morning in the shower just about everyday.

I was just so tired. There was just so much to do. I just knew that the day was going to suck. I needed coffee.

And, fuck, I couldn’t even put my underwear on before there was a knock on the door of someone wanting something!

There was important information that just could not wait. I needed to hear important things such as, “Mommy, I just want to let you know I’m not wearing this dress as a dress; I’m wearing it as a shirt.”

Or I need to help solve the mystery of the always missing hairbrush, which was more often than not, the last place it was used — in the kids’ bathroom!

The world just seemed…. cruel and harsh. Woe is me, was my morning song. And I had it on replay.

One day, and I can’t recall when, I had enough of the pity-party. I had been reading awesomely inspiring blogs by life coaches and feel good gurus and noticed one thing in particular – they all had rituals. They had rituals for being thankful, and rituals done on Sundays.

And just about every one of them did something in the morning, every morning, to make sure that they felt good. Like her, and her, and her too.

With nothing to loose because, hell, I was already crying in the shower pretty much every morning and that clearly was not working, I decided that perhaps I needed to start my morning off a little better.

Gone where the days when I could get up at 5 a.m. and rush off to the gym, or wake-up and leisurely stroll around the house taking as much time and care as I wanted to get ready without anyone else to think about, so what could I do?

I did the easiest and most simple thing that wouldn’t require too much movement (don’t want to wake a sleeping baby!) and didn’t require too much of anything.

I started meditating.

Before I even got out of the bed, I would meditate. At first, it was difficult to calm my mind. I had trained myself to immediately jump up and start going through my daily “to-do” list so that was my natural inclination. But, I kept at it. I would set a timer and slowly up the time.

By the second week, I was at 10 minutes. My mind was quieter and, lo and behold, my days seemed better!

I felt happier in the morning and I hadn’t even had coffee! Imagine that!

I slowly started to incorporate more into my morning routine and realized that having morning rituals that go beyond having a cuppa jo’ is a way of practicing self-love. We should start our days from a place of being connected to ourselves and by loving ourselves first.

I will admit, this required scheduling in time for me to do this. It means getting up a little bit earlier. My baby still does not sleep through the night so giving up a few extra minutes of sleep is HUGE for me. But so worth it.

My current routine looks like this:

1. Morning Meditation –  I aim for 20 minutes. I can’t always get a full uninterrupted 20 minutes, but I do what I can. If for some reason Lovebug wakes up before me, I do a shower mediation (explained below). Something is better than nothing.

2. Journal – I keep a journal next to my bed. After I meditate, I journal. I don’t aim for a page count. I just write. Even if I can’t meditate, I try to journal. This is something that can even be done with a toddler calling out, “Wake up,” to everyone in the house. (Well, really she says, “Way-bup,” but you get the idea.) I make sure to include gratitude in my journal entry in some way, and ask the Universe to help guide me to be of service. I feel like by asking to be of service I am setting a positive intention for the day – to be the Love I want to see in the world.

3. Sing – Everyday I sing the “good morning” song to Lovebug right after I wake her up or right when she wakes up. Since I’m away from her all day, it’s nice for both of us to have a quiet moment together.

4. Oil Pulling – This is something I have great spells of doing and then can go a week without doing it. Oil pulling is a way to help detox the body and is good for oral health. I do it while cooking breakfast for the kids or packing lunches. I nod or write down instructions if I need to interact with anyone and by now everyone is used to me doing it. Being a mom means I’m a multi-taking rockstar!

5. Shower Meditation – I always do a shower meditation even if I’ve already done my 20 minutes. It’s like a feel good insurance policy! This is very quick. I simple take three minutes and close my eyes and breathe. I imagine that the water is white light washing over me and through me and washing anything icky away. When I open my eyes I usually do a little Beyonce shimmy to remind myself that being in my skin is pretty awesome, then I turn off the water and get out feeling good!

6. Drink Warm Water With Lemon – I usually do this on the way out the door or as I’m making my green smoothie. It takes a few minutes and makes my body feel good. If I’m feeling extra spicy, I may add a little cayenne. If we’re out of lemons then I’ll just drink plain water. The reason I drink warm lemon water is to help hydrate and alkalinize the body. It is said to help aid with digestion, energy levels and can help if you have problems getting things “moving,” if you know what I mean.

And that, folks, is my busy mom morning ritual recipe for a kick ass day!

It does not take a lot of extra time. I only get up like 30 minutes earlier and some of the things can be done while I’m doing other things, like getting Lovebug dressed or cooking breakfast.

The change in my mood and overall happiness has been astronomical. I feel good pretty much every morning. Even if I initially wake up in a funk, I usually shake it off by the time we’re out the door. I don’t cry in the shower or feel sorry for myself, and I’ve noticed increased energy.

Since I feel better in the morning, that means that more of my days feel better and happier. I am more present. I feel in control and that mornings, which used to feel frazzled and like another job, are now joyful.

You can play around with your routine and see what works for you. At one point, I tried doing Sun Salutations (yoga) but that took too much time and I just wasn’t digging how tight my body was and how forced the movements felt. So, I trashed it.

Here are a few things you can do to get a morning ritual going that’ll up your energy and the quality of your days:

  1. Listen to music and dance in the shower while you suds up.
  2. Meditate.
  3. Journal.
  4. 50 squats while you brush your teeth.
  5. Dry brushing before your shower.
  6. Listen to personal development or audio books while you cook breakfast or make your coffee.
  7. Go into your backyard and practice grounding (touching your bare feet to the Earth).
  8. Pray.
  9. Make a gratitude list of three things that you’re thankful for.
  10. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “you’re gorgeous,” or “i love you,” or “you’ve never been more beautiful than you are today.”
  11. Check out your naked body in the mirror after your shower and focus on a part of your body you love for two minutes.
  12. Make your hallway a catwalk and strut up and down after you get dressed channeling your inner Naomi Campbell (but keep your hands to yourself!).
  13. Pick a morning theme song and sing it.

Do you have morning rituals?

I had a friend who always seemed to be in drama. Something negative was always happening in her life.

She was often fighting with a boyfriend, breaking up with a boyfriend, arguing with her family, or having difficulties with people at work or other friends.

When you saw her and asked how she was doing her response usually started, “Girl…,” with a big sigh and then continued with a litany of drama-filled events that had happened in her life that day.

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If she wasn’t the center of drama, she was talking about someone else’s drama.

It got to the point where it was hard to be around her because she only talked about something gloomy, or was making light of someone else’s misfortune. After a while, it became a total buzz-kill to be around her because she carried a cloud of negativity with her.

And yet she could never understand why bad things were always seemed to be happening to her.

What my friend didn’t realize is that she had a drama fetish. On some level she got off on drama. Drama fed some area of her life that she felt was lacking. She was addicted to the high she got from it. The worst part, like many addicts, she didn’t even know she had a problem.

I’m no therapist but I think that when we’re surrounded in drama it’s because we either intentionally create negative situations because we don’t feel we are good enough, or we are not in touch with our feelings and drama is a way to feel something, or we’re looking for attention (Love).

If you feel like you are constantly struggling with drama in your life, you may have a drama fetish. Here are some things to help you figure out if you get off on drama and simple tricks to help establish more positive thought patterns.

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Sign No. 1: You Complain More Than You Talk About Good Things

Sure, life can be hard and we all have moments when complaining is how we deal with our feelings. And that’s totally cool. But if you find yourself complaining to your friends and family about things in every conversation, you may be addicted to drama. By complaining continually, you’re breathing life to whatever that problem is. You are allowing it to grow because the more you talk about drama, the more you attract the negative energy and circumstances since what we focus on is what continues.

Solution: Go On A Complaining Detox

Start with one day a week and make a conscious effort not to complain out loud to family or friends all day. Instead, speak only of the good things that have happened in your day. Even if it was a shitty day (and, yes, we all have them), focus on whatever good there was be that finding the perfect parking space, or eating a great meal. And if you can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Once you’ve done one day, try two days of no complaining and then a whole week. The more you go without complaining the better you’ll feel. I’ve tried this and it works.

Sign No. 2: You Have At Least One Relationship That Is Always In Conflict At Any Given Time

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Are you often at odds with someone in you life? Maybe one week it’s your mother and the next week it’s a friend or your significant other? Do you have relationships that cycle in and out of conflict where things are either wonderful or you’re having problems? If you’re frequently in conflict with people around you, especially those who you care about, there is a high possibility you’re digging the drama.

Solution: Break The Cycle

Sometimes it’s better to have peace than to be right. The next time you sense a potential argument over something silly with a friend or family member consider whether it’s worth it. Even if they’re totally wrong, do you really want to fight with them? If you are harboring anger or frustration towards someone break the cycle by forgiving them. Don’t ask for an apology just forgive and move on.

Sign No. 3: You Love to Gossip

Talking about other people’s drama and problems can seem harmless. It can also have a kind of “Mean Girls” fun to it to talk about what’s going on in someone else’s life. But if you really enjoy gossiping about others and can’t wait to share the newest bit of gossip with your BFF, you’re loving the drama and may even be creating more drama by discussing people behind their backs, or sharing information you shouldn’t be sharing.

Solution: Keep Your Mouth & Ears Shut

When you have the urge to gossip or talk about someone else just don’t do it. Even if you know your BFF would totally want to hear it and it’s just so juicy that it’s dripping off the tip of  your tongue like peach nectar, keep your lips sealed. Try to remember a time when you were the subject of gossip and remember that the person you’re talking about it a person with real feelings. Do you want someone getting off talking about your dirty laundry? Probably not.

If someone wants to share gossip with you, it doesn’t mean you have to listen. You can politely change the subject or flat out tell your friend that you don’t want to hear it. Gossip is negative and you feed drama when you engage in it. Not to mention, if someome talks to you about someone else, it means they’ll talk about you to someone else.

Being a Drama Queen is a habit. You can break it just like any other bad habit by making a conscious effort to change the way you react in situations. Instead of getting off on drama, get off the drama.

Do you have any tips for avoiding drama?

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When I look at my children, my family and my friends, it’s so easy to see how amazing and beautiful they are. Even in their tender faults, they are beautiful. I believe in them and I encourage and support their every dream.

It’s so easy to cheerlead for and support others, to always see the good and sparkling parts of them. It’s easy to tell the truth to others too — not just about their greatness but also about their flaws.

Unfortunately, for many of us when it comes to ourselves, we do not express the same type of kindness that we do with our family and friends. In fact, we are often are worst critics and tell ourselves the most horrible things. The type of ugly stuff that we would never, ever dare to speak to our loved ones. Those ugly things we tell ourselves are often lies.

Some of the lies we tell ourselves way too frequently are:

1.     I’m Fat

In my younger days I had moments when I lied to myself about how I looked. “Oh my god, I’m so fat,” I would tell my reflection. I remember shopping with Pam at Bebe one summer and trying on the perfect pair of aqua shorts with white trim and looking in the mirror and saying, “I can’t buy these. I’m too fat.” I was 21 at most and a size six. But, I lied to myself and I truly felt fat even though part of me knew I wasn’t. Too often women lie to ourselves about our bodies. We lie to ourselves telling ourselves that we are fat. It’s the number one lie I hear my friends tell themselves. It’s destructive and it’s an unhealthy thought pattern and it’s one of the lies that we need to stop.

2.     I Can’t Do This

Recently, Stari told me that she could never do something. I asked her how she knew. She said she just knew, but she hadn’t tried. “Well, how do you know you can’t do something if you haven’t tried,” I asked her. She agreed that maybe she should try and not just assume that she couldn’t do it. This is another huge lie that we tell ourselves. For example, I told myself that I could not have an induced labor and give birth without pain medications, but that was a lie. People tell themselves they can’t start a business, go back to school, date the person of their dreams, or do quite a number of things. If you tell yourself you can’t do something and you haven’t even tried then you’re lying to yourself in a way. People can do extraordinary things when they believe they can.

3.    No One Understands How I Feel

The “no one understands how I feel” thing is something commonly associated with teenagers and a slammed door. But, as adults we often feel this as well, especially when we’re going through hard times or major life changes. The idea that no one understands how you feel is a lie. While our life experiences and perceptions are unique, feelings themselves aren’t unique. Even though someone may not have been in exactly the same situation that you are in, chances are that there is someone else who understands how you feel. Sometimes just reminding yourself that you’re not the only person to ever have felt whatever you’re feeling can help put it into perspective.

4.   I Need Something/Someone Else to Complete Me

You are complete. You are whole. You do not need anyone or anything to complete you. The idea that you need someone or something to complete you is an absolutely lie. Don’t believe it! That’s not to say that people or things can’t help enhance our lives or bring joy to us. That’s not to say that people and experiences can’t help us to grow, but finding the perfect spouse, job, car, etc. does not make us whole or complete because we were born whole and complete. You, my lovely, as you are now with all your beautiful light and dark sides, you are complete.

5.     I Need to Be Fixed

Ah, my lovelies, why are we so hard on ourselves? No matter what is going on in your life, you are not a broken toy that needs to be fixed. I believe in personal development and striving to be the best versions of ourselves, but not because we are broken or something is wrong with us. Our stumbling blocks and challenges in life are lessons. Our flaws are just areas where our spirits have the most work to do. You are love and light. You do not need to be fixed because you are not broken. Don’t believe the hype.

7.     They Have It So Much Easier Than I Do

Ah, cry me a river, eh? Doesn’t it always seem like someone has it easier than you do? I know I see moms who work full-time like me, with the same number of kids, who are at every PTA meeting with freshly baked cookies, cute outfits, and cars that never have cookie crumbs in the seats. They go to the gym everyday, do yoga and never feed their kids McDonald’s. And, golly, their life just must be so much easier than mine because I just can’t even keep up. This is a big fat lie. There is no way to know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Just because someone appears to have it all together doesn’t mean that their life is easier than yours. Their journey is their journey and perception is not reality. Get off the pity-party train and get with the idea that other folks have ups and downs too. (Yroko, I’m talking directly to you.)

8.     I’m Too Old To…

So, I may be too old to be a professional ballerina, but there are tons of other things that I’m not too old to do. If you’re telling yourself that you’re too old to do something then you’re lying to yourself. Absent things like  becoming a professional football player or ballet dancer, you can do all sorts of things no matter your age. For example, the Office Administrator at my last job got her MA at 65. My uncle graduated college when he was in his mid to late 40’s. I have friends in their 50’s who have started new careers, and know people who have fallen in love and gotten married in their 60’s. “I’m too old…” is just an excuse or a way of saying that you’re scared to step out of your comfort zone. If there’s something you really want to do, put your big girl (or boy) pants on and do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re the oldest person (or youngest person) there.

The next time your hear yourself telling yourself a lie, take a moment to stop and really listen to yourself. Pretend that you’re your own child or a friend and ask yourself if you would say that to them. If you wouldn’t, cut it out.

A lot of women (and some men too) own clothing that doesn’t fit. We hold onto it out of hopes that one day,some day, when we fit into it. For some of us, it’s our goal and we work towards it little by little until we fit into it.

For me, it was a pair of Cavalli jeans that I ordered on eBay. I had never owned Cavalli jeans and I wasn’t sure about the sizing but figured I would go for it. And when they arrived they were even cuter in person!

But, when I tried to put them on I couldn’t fit the damn things up over my thighs.

Yet I couldn’t seem to sell them or trade them or give them away. So in my closet they sat for two years and occasionally I would pull them out and try them on and they didn’t fit.

Eventually I lost weight and the next time I tried them on they fit and, man, I was so happy when I could wear them. I wore them all the time. I wore them for years until I couldn’t fit them again.

Sometimes we want to do the same with people. We want to hold onto them thinking that one day they’ll change and they’ll fit. But, we can’t change people and here are ten reasons why.

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1.    They Don’t Need to Change – You Do!

I think this one is huge which is why I’m hitting that first. Sometimes we want to change someone because we feel that they should be doing something different. We project our ideas about who they should be on them and we might be frustrated when they’re not. For example, to this day my dad still thinks I should have gone to law school. In fact, he said this year something about me being a lawyer. No lie. As much as I love and respect my dad, that’s just never going to happen. I don’t need to change.

2.     You Can’t Even Keep Your Own New Year’s Resolutions

Have you noticed that every January gyms are packed? People are clogging up the lines at Whole Foods with their new promises for a healthier life. People resolve to do a bunch of things that they almost never do. I know that’s been true for me and I’m sure it’s been true for you too. If you can’t even stick to a positive change in your own life, how astronomically hard do you think it will be to make a change someone else’s?

3.     Free Will

We all have free will. We can all do whatever we want. The thing with free will is that we can’t impose ours on someone else. Well, sometimes parents can impose their free will on kids. If they didn’t how would rooms ever get cleaned or teeth brushed? Aside from that, everyone can choose what they want to do. Free will = people can do what they want.

4.     People Don’t Change Unless They Want To

This is pretty obvious but it’s one of the harder concepts to grasp. In romantic relationships I’ve thought I could change people. That my love would be enough or that I was so special or so great that someone would change. The reality is that sometimes people will change because they love someone, but the reason that they change is because they want to. Unless someone has a burning desire to change, any change to appease someone else isn’t lasting change.

5.    They Have An Addiction 

I believe addiction is a disease. It  doesn’t matter if it’s drugs, booze, sex. I think it’s a disease that can be treated but I also think it’s not quite that easy. Of course, people only change when they want to (see no. 4) but sometimes it’s not as easy as simply wanting to. Addictions of any kind can be hard to overcome without help and support. Sometimes therapy is needed in order to get to the root of why the addiction started.

6.    You Don’t Really Want Someone to Change Unless They Want To

While you may think you want someone to change, the reality is that we don’t want people to change just for us. We want them to change because they want to change. If someone makes changes because we want them to change but isn’t really invested or doesn’t want to change, it’ll just pop up in some other way. Sometimes forcing someone to change can build resentment, or cause the person who made the change to feel bad. We don’t want someone to change to please us if it makes them feel bad, do we?

7.    Change Happens On Its Own Time

We are all constantly changing. When I was in elementary school I liked certain things that I don’t like anymore. I love things that I never thought I would love, like avocado and mushrooms. At one point in my life I thought “da club” and the party life was where it was at, and now I don’t. I thought I needed to find a Prince Charming to save me and now I know that I just need an equal partner to navigate life with. We change our fashion, food tastes, hobbies. Change is natural and it happens when it’s supposed to and not a minute before.

8.    They’re Too Set In Their Ways to Change

Some times you just can’t change a person because they’re set in their ways. In high school I dyed my hair red. Not a punk rock red but a natural red color. My grandmother hated it. She said she couldn’t wait until I got over my “punk rock” phase. I wasn’t into punk rock and my hair wasn’t even a crazy color, but for her it was “punk rock.” She was set in her ways and although my grandmother was super hip and fashion savvy, the colored hair thing just didn’t jive with her because she was set in her ways.

9.    You’re Not Clear On What You Want Them To Change

I’ve seen this a lot with friends. Women will complain that they want their boyfriend or husband to change, but they have a hard time figuring out exactly what they want them to change. “Help around the house more,” or “be more romantic” is very vague. Maybe their partner would be happy to help around the house more if they were given a specific example, like “do the dishes Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Or the person who wants more romance could ask their partner for a weekly date night and provide examples of dates that they feel are romantic. If you can’t tell someone what you want them to change they’re not going to be able to do it unless they’re a mind-reader in which case they probably knew before you did what you wanted them to change!

10.    The World Would Suck If We Could All Change Everyone Else

No, but really, how bad would the world suck if we could all just change everyone else? One of the things that makes us all so amazing and beautiful is that we’re all unique. There is only one me just like there is only one you. If we could just randomly change people at will (and vice versa) then no one would be who they are. We’d all be versions of who other people thought we should be. That would be no bueno.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Ghandi which is, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Rather than looking to change others, the best we can do is work on changing ourselves and the way we react to others. Ironically, when we change ourselves and the way we see and do things and the way we interact with others, they change as well.