Well-Being at Work — How to Practice a Mindfulness Minute

Four years ago I began on a journey of making a conscious choice to focus on my well-being at work. Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy at work and then we go home and focus on eating a healthy diet. But, we don’t think much about being healthy in mind, body, and spirit at work. That’s a shame because we spend a good portion of our lives at work. I have found that the more I incorporate practices and principles of well-being into my work life, the more productive, energized, and content I feel while I’m working.

This was not the case before. Before, my idea of getting a break from the stress of a high intensity job was to go out and smoke a cigarette. This did nothing but flood my body with cancer-causing chemicals and suck more energy from me! Needless to say, I was more focused on very unhealthy habits and behaviours than good ones. Then, I’d go home and carry all the baggage of the day with me – ruminating about interactions with colleagues during the day or stressing about things on my to-do list for the next day. I rarely fell asleep easily. All that has changed now. That’s because I’ve gone from self-sabotaging and unhealthy ways to managing stress, emotions, and just everyday life to much more positive and useful ones. And, I do this in all areas of my life – especially work.

Life is More Than Work

Work is where we put a lot of our energy – it’s our livelihood and we depend on it immensely. It is also often a status symbol or outward recognition of our accomplishments and we value it highly. So, it’s no surprise that many of us, especially in corporate America, put in a lot of hours, energy, and focus in our work. But, as I mentioned, this often times becomes an addiction in of itself. We become the classic workaholic where work becomes our primary focus and our sole form of identify. Our work spouse spends more time with us than our actual spouse. This is not healthy and leads many of us to suffer needless health issues (chronic stress syndrome is now a leading factor in causing severe depression) – creating fractures in our marriages and distancing us from our own children. How do we work on disentangling ourselves from becoming enmeshed with our work to the point that we have no healthy boundaries with it?  How do we help ourselves from getting stuck in our cycling thinking patterns of obsessing about upcoming meetings, agendas, priorities, and office politics?

Embracing Mindfulness

One of the simple techniques that I’ve learned to use is what I call a mindfulness minute. Most of us have heard about mindfulness, many of us may have tried it, but my guess it that still the majority of us don’t “get it.” I certainly didn’t get it. When I first started to hear about mindfulness I didn’t understand what it was. What, you want me to sit still for an hour and do nothing but hear the thoughts running through my head? Or, try against all possibility to not have any thoughts at all? Either way, I didn’t see how I could “sit” for an hour. So I decided to a) simplify it, b) figure out what it’s really about, and c) use it to my advantage.

What mindfulness is really about is getting out of your head. It’s about focusing on something else so you can have space. What is that something else you’re focusing on? It’s the actual present moment in time and space that you are in. Meaning, it’s about being in your body, being aware of your body, and sitting in a state of just “being.” It is not about thinking, it is not about doing, it is not about even keeping your mind free of thought. It’s about disconnecting from the world and actually being in the world at the same time. It’s about just being in a state of being. I like to think of it like a tree in the wind. You watch the branches flowing back and forth in the wind. It’s just going wherever the wind takes it. It’s just in the moment it’s in. It is not striving against the wind, it’s not pushing another way, it’s just being where it is at that moment in time – which just so happens to be blowing in the wind. It’s not complaining that the wind shouldn’t be blowing, it’s not daydreaming about a land with no wind – it’s just sitting in it. The way it is. Just being.

Practicing a Mindfulness Minute

So, what I found is that I can do mindfulness one minute at a time. And I can do it at work. Because who has an hour at work to do meditation? I don’t. But I do have a minute. And consciously deciding to take a minute here and there at work provides an immense break from things and allows you space to just be. This allows you a moment of true peace and rejuvenation. So, here’s how I go about practicing a mindfulness minute. I start with something small that I focus on. Usually, it’s my breath. I simply stop and pay attention to my breathing and listen to it. I listen to the inhale and then the exhale of my breath. I feel my lungs fill up – I pay attention to my diaphragm rise and fall. And I settle into the rhythm of it – in and out, in and out, in and out. It can become like a state of trance. And in this state there is nothing else. There is just being. The world falls away and you are deep in a moment of reprieve from the noise and demands of the world.

Being Still in the Storm

It is not that complicated actually. Really, all you have to do is something small. That is, pay attention to your breathing for one minute. For just one minute focus on only your breath. Feel it rise and fall within your body, listen to it as it travels through your lungs. Connect with this life-affirming natural state of being that is happening in the very moment you are in it. In this way, you can become grounded. And, being grounded is like being still at the center of a big storm. It’s being calm while the winds fly around you, it’s about being anchored to the seafloor in a stormy sea. And, it’s this center of calmness that can carry you through any kind of day at work, whatever comes your way, in a manner that doesn’t raise your blood pressure through the roof. It also allows you space to see things more clearly – you’ll realize that finishing that PowerPoint presentation can wait until the next day and you won’t be taking it home instead.

Establishing Your Mindfulness Practice

You can practice mindfulness at any point in the day, at any time, and anywhere. The idea is to just disconnect for a brief respite from the constant chatter and noise in your head that keeps you from being connected to the present moment. In that single moment of disconnection you can find a place of repose, a bubble of peace, and a calm center. Doing this as a regular practice will help you create good grounding and centeredness in your life, one mindfulness minute at a time. This practice can help you keep sane in an often insane world.

If focusing on your breathing for a minute doesn’t work for you, there are many others ways to do it. I will also sometimes just use a small smooth rock – an ocean stone I picked up from a walk on the beach. I rub it in my hand, or flip it back and forth through my fingers. And, I focus on the rock – the smoothness of it, the rhythm of flipping it back and forth. This grounds me in a moment of concentration of just being in that moment flipping my little stone and doing absolutely nothing else. I try all sorts of different ways to get in a mindfulness minute. I’ll even do it while sitting in my car at a stoplight on the way to work.

So, when you’re feeling frazzled and stressed at work, think about how you could be doing a mindfulness minute instead. I guarantee you after spending a minute to just be in a state of being with your breath or by doing something repetitive with your hands, you’ll feel more grounded and better than beforehand. Using this simple practice has helped me develop a stronger way to support my well-being at work, which has helped me become a more well-balanced and peaceful colleague. Now, when I go on a mental break it’s not to smoke a cigarette. It’s to take a mindfulness minute and get grounded in just being. Then, of course, it’s back to work!

Focusing on Well-Being at Work

Try doing a mindfulness minute at a certain point in your day. Decide what time of day, where that is, and what you are going to do. Pick something that is part of your daily routine, so it’s easy to fold it in. For example, you can chose to do a mindfulness minute at lunch, or at an afternoon break. Maybe you do it first thing in the morning before you open your emails. Maybe you do it at all three of these times! Whatever it is, keep it simple, build it as a regular practice and habit, and it will reward you in kind. It will help you establish a more conscious focus on your well-being at work. And, who couldn’t use some well-being at work?

Abundance is Attitude

There’s a lot of talk out there in the wellness and well-being movement about creating abundance in one’s life.  But what does that mean exactly?  What is abundance?  Many people think it’s about having many nice things in their life, or about having the perfect job or perfect body.  These are all focused on the material.  And no, that’s not what it is about.  Abundance is about attitude.  Do you see the cup as half empty or half full?  I struggle with this often times.  I’m looking at the cup of water and I’m thinking these things:  it’s only water, it’s only half full, I want a full cup of water, I want a cup of cherry-flavored Kool-Aid.  I want, I want, I want.   And, because I’m focusing on this want and therefore the lack of it, I often find myself discontent and irritable.  And, I don’t know why.

Ever find yourself frustrated because you don’t have that nice house your neighbors have, or the wonderful husband your girlfriend has, or the envious globe-trotting job you’re old college roommate has?  What’s the main theme here when this is going on?  It’s your attitude!  And that attitude is about lack.  I lack this, I lack that.  It’s a severe and twisted case of FOMO (fear of missing out).  You might as well have on a pair of dark tinted glasses – where everything is black and you can’t see anything in your life.  Because, trust me.  Your life is already full of abundance!  Abundance is everywhere.  Abundance is the very nature of the universe as the universe is one giant act of endless creation and beauty.  Sure, it is also full of destruction, but with all destruction comes renewal and rebirth.  Thus, in the end, it’s really all about creation and the birth of life.  And, that is the trueness of abundance.  It is happening all the time, everywhere.  This includes in your very life at this very moment.

It’s not just the little things – like the roses blooming by the road.  It is also the big things, like the loving parents who are still alive and part of your life.  To, also the things in between, like the kindness of strangers who hold the door open for you while walking into the store.  Or, the annual bonus your company gives you each year.  Or, the shiny pretty color of the lipstick in your makeup case.  See?  It’s everywhere.  If you are not noticing the abundance all around you, then it’s time to take stock of your attitude.  Do you see the glass as half empty?  Do you whine that it’s only water and not something else?  Well, I’m here to tell you water is the best liquid to have in that glass!  Water is the basis for all life on this planet.  Your very body is made up of over 70% water.  Without water you would quickly perish.  Who needs cherry-flavored Kool-Aid when you have the greatest molecular compound ever in H2O?  Again, abundance is right there in your cup of water!

Try this abundance exercise when you’re feeling like you need an attitude adjustment.

Make a list of 100 – yes 100 things of abundance in your life.  Make sure they are not strictly material objects.  Here’s a short list of mine, to give you an idea:

  • Two feet that provide me the ability to walk through the park
  • A pillow to rest my head on at night
  • My best friend to hang out with and do things with
  • Two sisters I can call and talk to you whenever I am feeling sad
  • The sun shining on my arm and providing warmth
  • Flowers blooming on the side of the road
  • A car to take me places where I need to go
  • Money in my pocket to buy an ice cream cone
  • An ice cream cone

You get the idea.  Identify anything and everything in your life, no matter how small.  You will be surprised how quickly you can come up with 100 items on your list.  See – abundance is everywhere!  And, when you see the world from this angle and with this attitude, it becomes a much different place.

Now, do a counter weight for each item on your list.  That is, identify the opposite of it.  Then, write a sentence that says I am grateful for <whatever the item is> in my life.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • Two feet that provide me the ability to walk through the park
    • Opposite: Feet that are broken and I cannot walk on
    • Gratitude statement: I am grateful I have two healthy feet
  • A pillow to rest my head on at night
    • Opposite: I have no pillow to sleep on at night
    • Gratitude statement: I am grateful I have a bed to sleep in at night

Years ago I was in New Delhi, India on business travel.  The poverty there is enormous, with people literally littering the streets sleeping on cardboard strips of paper.  I remember walking through a temple area on those two feet of mine and there was a beggar on crutches.  He was literally a leper with diseased legs that were puffy, misshapen, and malformed.  Even his life was full of abundance though!  The temple lawn provided him a place to rest his head.  The kindness of strangers gave him food or money to live.  The crutches propping up his legs gave him support.  As I walked by I gave him a smile – and he smiled a toothless grin right back at me.

So remember, abundance is attitude.  The glass is not half empty – it’s overflowing.




Blaming is for Babies – Own Your Stuff

Ever watch children fight and then get in trouble by a parent for it?  What is the common thing that happens?  Blame.  One child will say something like “She started it.”  Or, “I didn’t do it.”  And, “It’s all his fault.”  Then they proceed to fight some more over whose fault it is for causing the trouble.  Ever notice we do the same thing as adults?  Why is it that we don’t want to accept responsibility for our own actions, our own contributions to the situation, or our own faults that lead to it in the first place?  As immature children, it’s natural that we don’t have perspective on this and we default into survival mode.  After all, stepping up and saying “I did it,” or “It was my bad,” is the type of thing that usually gets you a punishment of some kind.  So it’s an avoidance tactic wrapped in a survival blanket.  Trouble is threatening and anything threatening sparks our survival instincts to kick-in.

The problem with blame is that we never take accountability or responsibility for our actions.  We don’t own our shit.  I’ve found that actually owning it is a big relief.  When we get into survival mode, we are actually in fight mode.  And, fighting is exhausting work.  The more we resist and push to blame someone else for what is happening in our life, the more energy we expand pushing it on someone else.  And, the more we push it on someone else, it never gets resolved.  Because guess what?  The other person is deflecting the blame either back on you or elsewhere.  And nothing gets resolved.  The easiest way to dissolve a situation, is simply to own up.  Have you ever noticed that when you’re in an argument with someone how quickly it can get diffused if you just say “You’re right,” or “I’m sorry”?  Then, there is nothing to really argue about so much anymore.  You can visibly see the other person’s shoulders come down and the hackles on their fur settle down.

The easiest thing to do is actually accept the blame.  And really it is not blame.  It is just responsibility and accountability for what happened and your part in it.  Taking responsibility will set you free.  Why?  Because the burden of pushing that blame Boulder up a mountain and forcing it upon someone else who is resistant and fighting you all the way will be lifted.  Once you take responsibility, the door opens for resolution.  It may be as simple as saying “I was wrong,” or “I made a mistake,” and acknowledging that.  Often times that is all that is needed.

Recently I was visiting my daughter in Seattle and found myself doing the blame game.  I had a limited time window while in town and wanted to also see one of my girlfriends, so I invited her to the dinner get together I had with my daughter.  Later I found out my daughter was upset as I was talking to my friend more than her!  I guess I did a bad job of juggling the two and, in retrospect, should have prioritized just connecting with my daughter.  While in a heated discussion about it, I kept saying things like “well, you brought your boyfriend,” or “I only had so much time.”  I was blaming other things for my behavior.  Finally, she says “Mom, I just want you to acknowledge it was a bad idea and you shouldn’t have invited your friend too.”  Once I acknowledged this, suddenly our angry bickering ceased and it wasn’t even something to discuss anymore.  I made a mistake, I fessed up to it, and that was that.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Most of the time people will allow us good graces or second chances if we just admit it.

It’s the admitting part that is so hard and what we need to practice getting over.  Why are we so fearful of admitting our transgressions?  Fear.  Fear we will be rejected.  Getting back to the survivor mode discussion we were having earlier, it’s because the brain relates rejection to the possibility of being kicked out of the tribe.  This could, quite literally, mean death.  So it’s the old instinctual survivor programmed brain that is responding to the situation and looking for anyway to put the blame elsewhere so as to stay “safe.”  Once you understand where the resistance is coming from, you can move past it.  Baby steps are important here.  Take a small action to use a single simple comment in these scenarios for starters.  A good one I like to use is “I understand your point.”  Say this and only this.  Don’t follow up with a “But…” and start going into blame mode again.  Practice using this one liner – pay attention to the shift in the conversation and the aggression being displayed by the other person.  Once you say this, the other person will feel validated that you acknowledge their pain and that you value them as a person.  This will go a long way.  Over time, you will get better at saying this more readily versus as first where it might feel like choking down a very dry cracker!  That’s okay.  Movement and progress in this takes time and practice.  Soon you’ll be able to add other responses to your repertoire like “I made a mistake.”  “That didn’t work out like I expected.”  “I didn’t think that one through.”  “I was wrong.”  Even perhaps “I’m sorry.”

Check out my exercise worksheet called the Blame Game <link to Blame Game exercise> to help you uncover some unresolved blame barriers in your life.

Blame Game Worksheet Exercise

What’s the blame game?  What’s a blame barrier?

List the things you blame for the way your life is

  • I blame my mom for drinking
  • I blame my ex-husband for the divorce
  • I blame my boss for being unhappy in my job
  • Etc.

Now take each one and ask: What is my role in this?

  • I make the choice to drink even if my mom stresses me out
  • I had some things to do with the divorce
  • I am unhappy in my job because it isn’t what I want to be doing

Now list what is your responsibility in the situation

  • I can ignore my mother and not let her issues get me stressed out.  I can chose not to drink.
  • I can accept that keeping a marriage together takes my contributions too.  Or, I can acknowledge that I made mistakes in the marriage.
  • I can choose to find another job that is a better fit for me.

Now list an action you may decide to take as an outcome of going through this exercise

  • When my mom stresses me out I am going to choose to do something else, like go for a walk, than drink.
  • I am going to stop blaming my ex-husband for the divorce and focus on healing
  • I am going to go apply for other jobs

Now that you’ve made your acknowledgements you can see how you have actually gotten your power back.  When you blame someone else they own the power over you.  When you acknowledge yourself and what you did and accept responsibility you take the power back into your own hands.  From there it up to you what you do with it, but the possibilities are endless.

You’ve Got Feelings – Express Them!

I was telling a girlfriend last night at dinner that when I first started to learn to express my feelings it was so painful I felt like I was going to die.  Even saying as something as simple as “My feelings are hurt” felt like my heart was being ripped out as I said it.  Maybe this is because I was never in touch with my feelings to begin with.  Since the heart is the seat of our emotions, I guess it would make sense that’s where I would feel the pain.

Why is it so hard for many of us to express our feelings?  Because we’re not used to it.  It’s foreign and unknown and because of this, it’s not only scary, but it’s simply something we don’t know how to do.  I certainly had no connection to my feelings at all.  Actually, that’s not true.  I was definitely angry all the time.  I was really good at feeling sad and mad.  In fact, I think that’s all I knew and all I did for years was fluctuate between one and the other.  A moment of happiness was a most awkward and uncomfortable thing.  If I found myself having a good belly laugh about something I was suddenly self-conscious of myself and this strange tingling feeling in my body.  And that scared the crap out of me.  Even being in touch with my body was frightening.  I grew up being raised Catholic and the body was taboo.  How it felt, what it did, and especially what is lusted after was all bad.  You didn’t go there.  While many of us may not have been raised Catholic, we may have been raised in other religious environments where being in touch with your body, its sensations, and its sensuality were all the devil’s work.  This really creates a disconnect and a dismemberment of ourselves.

It’s no secret (at least anymore) that I went to rehab for alcohol addiction, not once, not twice, but three times.  It was the final program that helped me get out and it was different than the traditional 12-step based program.  We got in touch with our feelings every day.  In fact, each group therapy session started with writing down three feeling words.  What you felt at the moment, no judging, no thinking, just a quick “pulse check” as our group counselor liked to call it.  I had a hell of a time doing this exercise, of course.  I would often think about a counselor I had at a previous rehab program and what she said to me.  She would say “Kerry, you’re nothing but a floating head.”  Meaning I was so stuck in my head and thinking everything that I was completely disconnected from my body.  Thus, I was disconnected from my emotions.  She was right.  My body was a bad place to be and my feelings were part of that.

It’s not just religious upbringing that might instill stunted growth in your emotional capabilities of expressing yourself, but your family of origin or even the inter-personal dynamics in it.  My father is what you would call New England stoic.  He is the epitome of the silent and self-reliant American man who shows no emotion.  In fact, he was mostly emotionally unavailable to a small girl, a teenage girl, a grown woman.  You see, this created a detachment problem.  My stay at home mother, who was a Germanic disciplinarian and often stressed, would quite frequently yell or use the silent treatment to command obeying the rules.

If I’m unable to connect with my core family members in an emotionally enriching way and I’m taught that being in touch with my body is evil, it’s a potent combination for some serious dysfunction when it comes to expressing my feelings.  Thus, it’s important to understand where you might have been stunted in learning how to get in touch with and express your emotions and feelings.  Do some searching and focus on some self-discovery in this regard to see what you might find.  It will help you move past it by knowing what it is.

Expressing ones feelings is what is needed for healing and growth.  Otherwise, these things get pent up and have nowhere to go.  They get suppressed and turn into ugly emotions like rage, and can exhibit themselves through depression and violence, even violence against oneself.

So, I challenge you to start small.  Ask yourself how am I feeling right now?  Am I feeling frustrated, elated, disappointed, hurt, silly, or….?  Don’t judge what comes, just notice it.  And then, let it be.  Let it breathe.  Do this once a day.  Over time, it will become habit and you’ll find yourself better understanding your emotional landscape.  Then, you can begin to speak it out loud.  “I’m feeling hurt.”  “I’m feeling proud.”  I’m feeling sad.”  These are all just feelings and expressions of a moment in time, which too, shall pass.  So let them ride like the wind and float away like dandelion puffs.  But just for that moment when you blew your breath on it, you were connected with it.  And in this connection, you validated yourself, your unique you, and you gave that self a voice.  Thus, you honored you.  Learn to get in touch with your feelings, learn to speak them out loud, and most importantly, learn to honor the wonderful you that is you.

You Deserve to be Loved – Believe it

Ever listen to that little voice inside your head that says those little ugly things?  Like:

You’re not smart enough

You’re not pretty (or handsome) enough

You’re not good enough

And my personal favorite:

You’re not worthy enough

Where do these voices come from and how did they get there?  If you said “your parents” you’re right.  In myriad thousand ways your parents probably gave you lots of negative messages – all of which derived from their own fears, their own struggles, and well, their own parents’ legacy of being imperfect and damaged human beings.  It also comes from society – your colleagues, your friends, people on the street, the media, you name it.  It’s everywhere seeping into the porous gray matter in your head and stewing until it becomes a constant refrain in your head.  It becomes your mantra that you repeat over and over and over.

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s a bunch of shit.  The biggest culprit is you for believing that crap in the first place.  It’s not your fault.  You didn’t know you were being programmed with sour grapes and hostile messages that were damaging your psyche and your soul.  You’re a tender person with a soft heart deep inside and you didn’t know how much these things hurt you, despite your tough skin persona.  Until, one day you wake up and realize there’s been this pattern your whole life of being in bad relationships, or not asking for the promotion you deserve and getting passed over, or always being the nice guy who finishes last, or being the best friend but never the lover.  It manifests in many different ways.  The common thing, though, is the deep seated belief that you don’t deserve to be loved.  It all points to this no matter which way you got there, what the specific messages were, or who and how you were rejected in your life that you took at reinforcement of this supposed fact.

But there’s hope and there is redemption.  The fact is, that it’s just not true.  And you have the power to decide what is true and what is not.  You have the power to believe what you want to believe.  And what you believe, makes your life.  In reality, you are actually a beautiful and caring person, a great friend, a wonderful adventurer, a funny pal, a passionate lover, a…..  You are all of these things and more.  You just never heard those messages, not as much or often anyway.  And you didn’t listen to those voices that told you these things, either.  Instead, you focused on the dark callings and let the light slip away from you.  Well, you are the light!  And you deserve to be loved.  The thing you need to do now is believe it.  The surest way to do that is to repeat it over and over and over.  Make it your new mantra “I deserve to be loved.”  Repeat it every day, several times a day, for days on end, until it finally starts to dawn on you – it becomes a core fabric of your being that this is, in fact, the truth.

Keep Your Power by Claiming it

So, I’m living vicariously through a girlfriend’s adventures with dating a new guy.  Not too long into it, she tells me her latest date with him was lovely and then says “I think figuring out the monogamy question might be tricky.  He seems to be into me enough… time will tell.”

As soon as I she told me this, I thought what is wrong with this picture?!  Do I get angry because the guy seems to want his cake and eat it too?  Or, do I shake my head at my own reflection I see in the mirror?  The one where I allow the situation to unfold on me versus taking the bull by the horns and defining what is acceptable and what is not?  Do I sit around and spend all my time and energy with this guy hoping he will fall totally in love with me and want to commit monogamy?  Then, I just wind up heart broken when he tells me he’s into me, but not that into me.  After all, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

This is a perfect example of giving your power away.  Let me explain, this guy has been chasing my girlfriend for weeks.  Connecting with her, giving her little gifts, and demonstrating other obvious signs that he’s interested in her.  She has the power in this situation.  She is the pursued, the shiny object, the glorious reflection of woman, the Aphrodite goddess.  And she commands full fidelity.  That her man is devoted to her in worship and does not have false gods before her.  The very first commandment Moses handed down was I am the Lord, thy God – Thou shall not have other gods before me.  In other words, there is only one and that is me.  No shades of grey here on whether you are monogamous or strictly monogamous, as if there is a difference.

If you do not define your boundaries on what is acceptable to you within a relationship, the lines will be drawn for you.  You may find yourself in no man’s land between the desert empty space of the enemy lines and your own encampment.   My advice to my girlfriend?  Have the conversation sooner rather than later.  Don’t wait for the man or anyone else to define things.  If you don’t own your power then you will wind up giving it away – for free.


We’re all a WIP (Work in Progress)

We are all a WIP – a work in progress.  My own journey in this recently led me to moving from Seattle to San Diego, where my sister lives.  There I was sitting in the sun in my sister’s backyard with her three year old daughter, Sylvia.  Palm trees were wafting in the gentle wind against a clear blue sky.  It was a perfect beautiful day in San Diego.  I was far from the gray clouds of Seattle and my former dark and depressed self.  We were talking about life – my struggles with alcohol addiction and recent triumphs in keeping sober, my weird artsy ways, and my life journey so far.  At some point she says to me “Man, you’re a piece of work!”  At which point Sylvia’s three year old face lights up and exclaims with great cheer “I’m a piece of work too!”  We laugh and chuckle hysterically.

The truth is, we are all a piece of work.  A work in progress – or WIP.  We are all a magnificent piece of art work in continual creation – a unique being whose life story and journey is theirs alone to travel and be told.

But, what does this really mean?  Sure, we’re all unique and have our individual ways.  So what?  Tell me something I don’t know.  The key is to embrace this fact.  WIP means you’re in continual creation.  It means you’re not perfect.  It means what was good for you yesterday or served a purpose in your life, may not today.  It gives you the right to re-route, regroup, reconsider, re-do, return to your true self, or whatever re- you are currently in need of doing.  Or to add, layer onto, build on top of, what was there before.  Since you are a work in progress – you are on a journey of progress from a former self or version of you to a newer, more enlightened self of you.  You are like a snake who sheds its skin that is too tight, broken down, or worn out for new clean skin so it can grow beyond what it once was.  Then when that skin becomes too constricting, shed it again.

It’s this shedding of skin over and over and letting new skin shine that allows the snake to literally grow – in size, length, strength, and capability as a hunter and survivor.  She is one who enjoys sitting in the sun on a big rock and regenerating her energy supply, while being big enough to ward off predators.  It’s this kind of existence that is most important in life.  One that accepts where you are, understands that this too will change and move forward.  That you are a work in progress – a magnificent continual act of creation and being.  That shedding the old skin is a vital part of that process.  And, most importantly, to enjoy basking in the sun and the moment of where you are right now. Continue reading “We’re all a WIP (Work in Progress)”

Launched! Online Course in Secrets to Well Being

Hello – I just launched an online course that includes 14 lessons that deep dive into the secrets of well being and how you can incorporate them into the way you think and live to recover, heal, and transform your life.  I hope you’ll join me in a journey of personal transformation by taking this course.  You’ll learn a lot of things and come away with practical tips and actions you can take in your life to move onto a more fulfilling and enriching life path, immediately!

Uncover how to find your self love, purge the critical mind, let go of the past, drop limiting beliefs, and embrace a life of abundance.

Are you seeking to live a more fulfilling life?

Do you want to be free of that which holds you back from living your life to its fullest potential? Do you want to be fundamentally happy with your life and where you are going? I know I did.

Are you struggling with thoughts of doubt about your self-worth? Are you stuck continually rehashing things in your past? Are you numbing out in life and over-indulging in food or chemical substances? I know I was.

Are you wanting to lead a life that is more abundant, fulfilling, and joyful? Do you want to be well in head, heart, and soul, but don’t know how to recover, heal, and transform your life? I know I did.

What are you waiting for?

Join me on a journey of transformation. Learn the secrets to well-being that I incorporated into my life that got me onto a much better path and in a better place. By living the secrets to well-being I was able to:

  • Quit drinking
  • Quit smoking
  • Quit treating myself poorly and allowing others to treat me poorly
  • Stop letting life and other circumstances control my emotions and sense of well-being

Imagine what transformation you could achieve in your life if you learned the secrets to well-being!

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn to:

  • Acknowledge life’s journey as a work in progress and be okay with the process
  • Find your self love and build a strong foundation of it
  • Let go the past and the things that hold you back from moving forward
  • Purge the critical internal mind and find your inner champion
  • Express your feelings and emotions in empowering ways
  • Own and claim your power to create your life as yours
  • Recover and cultivate your connection with the divine spirit
  • Learn ways to find abundance and embrace gratitude in your life
  • Stop fighting things in your life and let go that which serves you no good
  • Find forgiveness for yourself and others
  • Reintegrate the pieces of yourself and transform the stories you tell yourself
  • Write a new vision of your life story moving forward

Why I wrote a book on addiction

Hi, this is my first blog post on this website dedicated to harnessing the power or the principles of well-being to live a life free of addition.  I’ve always dreamed of writing a book – I even have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing.  But, I never dreamed that my great American novel would wind up being a book about addiction and recovering from it.  See, I always knew I was a “melancholic” spirit, but I did not realize that I was actually clinically depressed and that my love affair with alcohol was not a romantic day dream of a wondrous lover, but a horribly abusive and destructive relationship.  And a shameful one at that.  I did not want to admit I had this dis-ease called addiction.  I did not understand why me.  I was not willing to accept the fact that it was what it was and there was nothing I could do about it.

Actually, there was plenty I could do about it.  And there is plenty you can do too, if you are suffering from addiction and self-destructive behaviors.  I could put on my big girl panties, accept the fact that my genetic biology made me susceptible to this disease, and that there was no shame in this.  What was actually shameful was knowing I had a problem and doing nothing about it.  It’s a long road to climb out of the deep, dark well we can find ourselves in.  But, at the top of that tall well wall is a circle of light streaming down from above to reach you in the depths of the darkness.  There is hope and there is a way.  The thing is, tackling this disease head-on and fighting the substance you are addicted to is not the way to truly beat it.  It doesn’t matter what the substance is – for me it was alcohol.  For others it may be prescription pills, or sugar, or heroin.  What matters is how you feel about yourself deep down, whether you have a strong sense of self love and esteem, and how well developed you are when it comes to emotional maturity and life coping skills.  I can tell you I suffered in all these categories.  It wasn’t my fault, though.  I just never knew I was lacking in these areas and that this made me vulnerable to being ill equipped to deal with my biological tendency toward drinking and not being able to stop.  If you met me in person, you’d think I was a really nice person.  I’m attractive, I’m smart, and I’m funny.  I love my kids and I’m a good friend.  I also have a good job, make good money, and take care of my family.

So, you’re a good person too.  You just fell into a hole and you don’t know how to get out, nor do you have the skills and tools to do it.  I wrote this book because I felt my journey to get out of that hole was different than most of the traditional routes we’re subject to and I wanted people to know about it.  That’s because I truly believe that in order to get well, to truly get well, and stay well, we need to do the inner work.  This is where the principles of well-being come into play.  These are all about building a strong sense of self, accepting who we are, forgiving ourselves and others, learning to let go of the past, and most of all to practice an abundant exuberance for life.  It focuses on creating a life moving forward that we truly want to live, that is beneficial to our health and those who love us and we love, and is one we can feel proud of. 

Here’s the thing.  I went through two treatment programs and more AA meetings than I care to count.  And this traditional approaches did not work for me.  The truth is, they don’t work for many people.  Our medical, mental, and health care systems are fundamentally broken in a lot of respects.  When it comes to addiction treatment, the focus is most often on the actual substance itself, versus the person and their emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental well-being.  Fix the dis-ease in these systems and you won’t have the symptoms of a full blown addiction anymore.  That’s because when we are strong at our core, we are well grounded in who were are, we understand our limitations and accept our weaknesses, and we focus on being good inside and healthy in mind, body, and spirit, we become adamant about not polluting our bodies and our minds with abusive substances that serve us no good. 

These principles of well-being are:

Principle 1: We’re all a Work in Progress

Principle 2: Self-Love is the Foundation

Principle 3:  The Past is Gone Forever

Principle 4:  Be Your Own Champion

Principle 5:  Emotions Need Expression

Principle 6:  Keep Your Power by Owning It

Principle 7:  Abundance is Attitude

Principle 8:  We are Spirit that Needs Nurturing

Principle 9:  Resistance is Futile – Surrendering will set you Free

Principle 10:  Forgiveness Starts with You

Principle 11:  Who You Are Now is What Matters Most

Principle 12:  Your Story is Yours to Write

Why I wrote this book is because somewhere along the way, I realized that I was never going to get well, unless I learned these principles and practiced them until they became the core fabric in my life.  Only then, was I able to crawl out of that deep, dark well and remain firmly planted on the ground above, fully in the sunlight.  Now, I’m a much more balanced and content person.  I know how to live a life without drinking, I can go to social functions and have a good time without imbibing, and I feel so much better in health and mind, than those dreary days of being hungover and miserable all the time. 

Because traditional treatment programs didn’t teach these things and because they were so vital to my recovery and keeping myself sober, I wanted to share them with everyone else who may be struggling. 

My book talks about each one of these principles, what they mean, why they matter when trying to break free of addiction, and I provide practical tips and tools for how to do it.   I also provide one or two exercises per principle for you to do and put into practice.  These are all actual things that I did and they helped me immensely.  My hope and trust is that they will help you too. 

Lastly, if you have any questions you would like me to answer I will share my experiences and how I addressed the same challenge or issue, including what got me to successfully get through it to the other side.  Just send me your question through the contact button below.  All questions will be answered as a blog article post, so everyone else can learn from the answer too, but persons shall remain anonymous.

Buy the book on – Harnessing the Power of the Principles of Well-Being.  You too can learn to live free of addictions and self-destructive behaviors.  I’ll show you how and I’ll encourage you along the way.  It takes courage, grit, and persistence, but you have all that and more.  Most importantly, you are a good person and you deserve to lead a full and happy life.  Embrace the principles of well-being, incorporate them into your life, and you will find yourself well on your journey to recovery and beyond.