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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Embracing Your Feelings

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m spending the week in Ojai, CA going through coach training with Gay & Katie Hendricks (I’ve been a huge fan of their work for years!). One of the main things we’ve been talking about is body awareness, or how to get in touch with and really embrace your feelings.

For most people, feelings are something we typically avoid. They might feel “icky” and pop up when we least expect them, and so the last thing we want to do is actually embrace them! Yet really feeling your feelings and allowing them to be as they are can not only solve many of your problems, but also leads to a much richer expression of both yourself and your life. Often times we are so scared of feeling our emotions that we play small and avoid situations that might trigger them in any way. Addictions are actually based on the unwillinginess to explore and feel various feelings.

I'd like to share an exercise with you I learned this week, which explains one way to get in touch with your feelings. My hope is that it will show you how easy it can be to explore our emotions, and that doing so regularly can radically increase the enjoyment of our lives!

Start by selecting a particular feeling you want to concentrate on during this exercise. It could be a feeling you’re experiencing right this very moment, or you can use your imagination to conjure up an emotion you’ve had in the past which causes you discomfort. (Note: you don’t have to select a “negative” emotion, you can also use “positive” emotions, like joy or happiness, which you have trouble experiencing to their fullest extent.)

Once you’ve selected an emotion, tune into your body and turn your attention inward. Take a few deep breaths to get centered, if you’re not already there, and tune out all outside distractions as best as you can. Now, scan your body internally and become aware of the particular emotion that you’re exploring. Locate the feeling and ask yourself the following questions:

• Where do I feel this particular emotion in my body?
• What does it feel like, i.e. what sensations I am feeling?
• Does this feeling have a certain shape or texture to it? If so, describe it.
• Does this emotion have any color to it? Which one?
• Finally, if this feeling could talk, what would it say to me? Does it have a particular message to give me at this time?

As you do this exercise, notice if the feeling changes in any way. For example, has it moved to a new location in your body, changed shapes, or adopted a new texture? Also, does it have any new messages to give you as the exercise goes on?

For many of you, this may feel uncomfortable if you’ve never gotten in touch with your feelings like this before. Most of us spend so much time in our heads that we spend very little time getting in touch with our bodies and the various sensations we experience within it. Don’t worry about whether or not you are giving the correct answers to the questions. There are no right or wrong answers! Just go with whatever comes to mind, and allow yourself to feel and think whatever comes up.

Doing this exercise on a regular basis could be the beginning of a life-long romance with your feelings! Instead of running from them or trying to control them as we normally do, I invite you to try exploring and embracing your feelings. View them as messengers with important information to relay to you, rather than inconveniences or annoyances to be avoided at all costs.

The more you listen carefully to your emotions and allow them to be as they are, I think you'll find that your life runs much more smoothly, and is filled with all the joy, abundance, and love you could ever imagine! :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Being Gentle on Yourself

Every once in awhile I feel zero inspiration to write a blog. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, it’s just that nothing in particular is screaming at me this moment to become a blog. Actually, this week might be a special case because I’m attending the “Conscious Living” retreat with Gay & Katie Hendricks in Ojai, CA, and I’m going through so much growth and expansion that my brain is fried when it comes to writing blogs. But I thought I’d take this opportunity to re-emphasize how important it is to be gentle on ourselves and practice self-love, even in these moments when the wheels just don’t seem to be turning.

Whether or not you have a blog, I’m sure everyone is familiar with what I’m talking about. You have something that needs to be done, and it might even be something you
know is good for you. However, for some reason you just can’t summon the energy or motivation to do it!

So, what to do when this phenomenon strikes? See below for some helpful hints.

1) No judgement allowed: First and foremost, please remember that beating yourself up or judging yourself for the lack of activity is not going to help. In fact, it’s just going to end up making matters worse! You may think you’re just giving yourself a healthy kick in the butt, but judging yourself or criticizing yourself is *never* a good idea. Instead, try reinforcing some positive self-talk by reminding yourself of all the projects you HAVE successfully completed in the past.

2) Forget about it for awhile: Take a hot bath, or a walk, or even a nap! Just forget about it for awhile, and trust that when the time is right you’ll be back up and running with the right amount of energy and motivation. Unless it’s a life or death situation (and how often is that truly the case?), your project will wait for you while you’re recharging your batteries. Sometimes even five minutes of pure unadulterated time to yourself will do wonders!

3) Dive into your feelings: Are you sure you’re just not feeling motivated, or is there something else going on? Is there some deeper reason why you might be procrastinating? Maybe you’re scared of failure, or even success! Maybe you’re scared of failing, or that your work will be judged as being not up to par. If you identify any issues lurking under the surface, dive into those feelings and bring awareness to them. Really go into your body and explore what’s going on inside. Try making friends with your feelings and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they can subside.

4) Make a move: Sometimes all you need is a good old-fashioned push to get yourself back in the game, and who better to give yourself that push than yourself! Take a step, any step, just to get the energy flowing again. For me it was deciding to write a blog on the topic of not knowing what to write! But hey, I got a blog out of it, didn't I? ;) Maybe for you it’s doing ten jumping jacks, which will convince you that going to the gym is what your body really needs right now, or writing an introductory paragraph for the memo that your boss is waiting on. It doesn’t have to be a huge step, just something to get you moving in the right direction.

Finally, when all else fails:

5) Write a love letter to yourself: This is my new favorite self-love technique, and I can’t encourage you enough to get into a regular habit of celebrating yourself. Every time I do this, I realize more and more things to love about myself! Not only does this allow you to send yourself love and acceptance despite your inactivity, but it will also remind you of all your fabulous qualities. This will fill you with a sense of confidence which may be just what you need to get moving again!

I hope these suggestions have helped you. I'd love to hear about your experience with any of the above tips!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Letter to Myself

With the new year upon us and resolutions in full swing, several people have emailed me over the last week or contacted me on Twitter asking me for my recommendations on the best self-help products for finding a romantic partner or manifesting more abundance. It seems that people everywhere are determined to make this the year they find true love or finally get their finances in order! You can find my recommendations for love here and abundance here, but I’d like to use this blog to reiterate the importance of self-love in creating your ideal life or manifesting specific results.

The truth is, until you can truly come to a place of loving and accepting yourself exactly as you are, results will ultimately always elude you because deep down you don’t feel deserving of the success you’re trying to achieve. I came up with exercise below (it's fun!) to help you get into a place of really loving yourself, which will speed up the process of attracting whatever you want to manifest in your life this year.

I call this exercise, “Writing a Love Letter to Myself.” Basically, you're going to do just what it sounds like. Take out a sheet of paper, or do this in your journal or on the computer. Next, get busy writing a love letter to yourself and describing all the wonderful things you love and adore about yourself! You could write about physical features, personality characteristics, things you have accomplished in life, basically anything you appreciate about yourself. And don't think you have to only focus on big things. You can even appreciate yourself just for doing this exercise!

For some of you this may seem extremely difficult, if not downright impossible or uncomfortable. We spend so much time beating ourselves up and trying to change things about ourselves, so at first it might be challenging to find things you truly love about yourself. Do the best you can, though, and if you keep looking I guarantee you will find lots of great things you love and adore about yourself!

Here’s an example taken from my own life:

Dear Mary,

I love the fact that you are so committed to personal and spiritual growth, and that you are determined to create your ideal life. I love that you have created a website to help others do that as well, and that your passion is helping others to achieve their wildest dreams. I love that you stay positive even on those days when you don’t feel so great, and that you always stay optimistic and focused on your ideal outcome. I love that you are constantly getting to know yourself on deeper levels, and are always improving your relationship with yourself.

I love you,
-Mary Knebel

Feel free to do this exercise several times or as many times as you need to really amp up your self-love. I guarantee you will feel better after doing this, and you may even realize you love things about yourself that you hadn’t even thought about!

If you’re single and want to manifest your ideal partner this year, write a love letter to yourself from your dream partner. In most cases you probably haven’t met them yet or don’t know who they are, but use your imagination to think about your ideal partner and think of things that he/she would find particularly attractive or appealing in you. Then write a love letter to yourself from that perspective and sign it from your future partner. You can even keep it and give it to them when they show up in your life!

This can be a useful exercise because sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the type of person we want to attract that we forget to focus on how they’re going to treat us. Sure, we want a person with specific qualities, but if they show up and don’t love us as we are then we’ve missed the point entirely. If you’ve ever met someone who has all the qualities you’re looking for but they're just not that into you, then you know exactly what I’m talking about!

I’d love to hear about your results with either of the above two exercises. Write away!

For additional self-love resources and exercises, be sure to check out the self-love page on my site.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Questions to Create Your Ideal Life

With the excitement of the new year all around us, several people have asked me for recommendations on what the best self-help product on the market is, and if they could only dedicate themselves to just one product this year, which one would it be? Truthfully, it’s hard for me to narrow it down to just one; however, I did stumble upon a resource recently that has brought about noticeable results in my life. If you haven’t discovered them yet, you’re in for a treat! They’re called Afformations, by Noah St. John.

Yes, you read that correctly. They’re called Afformations, not Affirmations. Affirmations are phrases you repeat regularly in order to change your self-talk, or what you say to yourself on a regular basis. They can be highly effective in changing the way you see yourself, and therefore your results in the world. However, some people have difficulty with them because they just can’t get behind some of the things they’re saying. For example, if you’re trying to increase your cash flow and avoid foreclosure on your home, you might have difficulty affirming to yourself, “I am a millionaire. I have all the money I need.”

Afformations, on the other hand, are questions you ask yourself whereby you assume that whatever you are trying to create or attract has already manifested in your life. By asking yourself the question from a position of having versus lacking, your mind goes about looking for information to fill in the gaps! Afformations allow you to bypass all the objections or resistance your mind might put up with typical affirmations, because they assume that what you want is already a given and therefore no convincing of the mind is required! Essentially, Afformations are “empowering questions that cause your mind to focus on what you really want, and stop focusing on what you don’t want.”

Think about it, whenever you ask yourself a question your mind immediately goes off in search of an answer. Try it now. Ask yourself, “Why is the sky blue?” Didn’t your mind immediately try to find an answer to the question, even though it's a question most of us don't have an answer to? The problem is that the majority of us tend to ask ourselves negative questions all day long, like, “Why don’t things ever work out for me? Why doesn’t my boss like me? Why is life so hard?” By learning to ask yourself positive questions instead, you change your subconscious thought patterns from negative to positive and huge results will follow soon after!

Here’s how to create Afformations that will change your life:

Step 1: Ask yourself what you want.
Hopefully you already know what it is you want, but if not, get busy finding out! This could be anything, from getting a promotion, to losing weight, to simply finding more inner peace and happiness within yourself. Your goal can be as large or small as you want it to be.

Step 2: Create a question that assumes that what you want is already true.
Next, come up with a question that implies that you already have whatever it is you want, or that a specific condition or situation is already a part of your life. The creator of Afformations recommends phrasing all your questions beginning with the word “Why?” So you could ask yourself questions like:

• Why am I so rich?
• Why am I so happy?
• Why do things always work out for me?
• Why do people like me so much?
• Why does my marriage keep getting better and better, every single day?

And that’s it!

Now, you don't ever have to actually answer the new questions you are asking yourself. That’s not the point. Your subconscious mind will take care of all that for you. The key is in asking yourself better questions, and changing the focus of your mind. As you ask yourself better questions and steer your mind in a new direction, you shift the focus of your mind from a state of lack to having what you want. We all know that we get what we focus on, so eventually those things you are wanting will become a part of your life!

A note about taking action: I’ll be honest with you, I’ve found results from Afformations without even consciously introducing action into the equation. In my experience, once you begin asking yourself more empowering questions, you just naturally begin taking more action that lines up with what you want to create. It won’t even feel like taking action to you, because it will feel so natural and inevitable! Obviously, if you want to speed up your results, you can begin taking action that lines up with your new questions. For example, if one of your new questions to yourself is, “Why are my investments always so successful?”, you could go on-line and research various investment strategies. That's an example of an action step that would line up with your new question.

I listen to Afformations recordings almost every night as I fall asleep, and occasionally during the day on my iPod for reinforcement. I've been using them for about three months now, and not only do I feel more optimistic about the things I'm trying to create, but I can just tell that my mind works differently. Rather than focusing on the problem, I catch my mind looking for solutions! The things I want feel like a given, rather than some far-off question mark.

To learn more about this powerful resource, go here. This could be just the tool you've been looking for, that helps you finally create a life you're crazy about! You can thank me later:)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lavish Yourself With Love

Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but to me 2010 already feels much different than 2009. The excitement in the air is palpable, everyone is excited for the new decade, and the energy as a whole feels happier, lighter, and filled with opportunity. If you're having trouble coming up with resolutions (I prefer to call them "intentions"), be sure to check out my last post on creating effective resolutions. This is definitely your year to be successful!

One of my intentions for 2010 is to make my relationship with myself a true priority and to make this a year of self-love. I've got several exciting things in store related to self-love, which I will share with you at a later time, but in the meantime I wanted to pass along the following quote from Debbie Ford's "Create a Life You Love" newsletter. I couldn't have said it better myself, so I thought I would just copy it here. The picture below is also from Debbie's newsletter. Enjoy!

"Welcome to 2010, the healthiest, sexiest, richest, most exciting, magical and adventurous year of your life. Are you in? This is a year when you fall in love with yourself, your body, your career, your life, and all of those around you. This is a holy year when your highest self comes first. And instead of listening to the voice of your past, you tune in and listen to the voice of your own soul. You don't focus on getting, you focus on giving your greatest self to the world. You are going to the holy land of your highest expression."

To remind yourself of this throughout the year, I recommend displaying the picture and quote in a place where you can see it often. I'm actually going to put it up in a few different locations to remain focused!

If I can be of any assistance during this time of great renewal and change, please know that you are always welcome to contact me. My ebook, "Secrets to Creating Your Ideal Life," is also a great source of information that will help you make 2010 your best year yet!