Category: Positively Positive

Sleeping Struggles? 10 Easy & Effective Tips to Try

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Why Meditation and Mindfulness Do Not Always Work

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You Need to Hear These 6 Words Today


“Walk like you’re one inch taller.”

Dawn, my new physical therapist, was coaching me to walk properly last week. She’s helping me to improve my posture and alignment in order to heal from birth injuries.

As you’d imagine, I’m taking this work seriously. I’m on time for every appointment, giving each exercise my all.

But those six words nearly stopped me in my tracks.

The ears of my soul perked up, like a cat at the sound of kibble. That’s what my body feels like when it hears something true, my inner animal snaps to attention.

Walk like you’re one inch taller.

Have you ever tried this? It’s amazing, really – give it a go and you’ll see. There’s a lovely kind of lightness that comes when you pretend to take up just a little bit more space.

Only … it’s not really pretend. That’s what I realized as I walked back and forth across the room with Dawn.

I’m 5’7″, but often I walk around as though I’m an inch or two shorter. Sometimes I slouch, even though I know better. I take up less space than I’ve been given.

And over time, I forget how tall I really am.

Does this ring a bell for you, dear one?

Do you own your full height – your full strength, your full courage – or do you shrink down?

Do you walk into rooms proudly, with your head held high, or do you scuttle in like you don’t deserve to be there at all?

Do you make yourself smaller so that other people will feel more comfortable around you?

Have you forgotten how strong and capable YOU really are?

If so, you’re not the only one. I know how easy it is to forget your own power. There I was, walking around stooped when actually I am a total badass.

I’ve gone through enough to claim that word for myself. Most recently, I gave birth to an 8lb 14oz baby “naturally.” I managed my mind and leaned (literally and metaphorically) on an amazing support team.

Still, the latter part of labor was like being in a street fight with my own body. I honestly do not know how I got through it. My body did incredible work then, and it’s doing incredible work healing now.

Remember Who You Are.

I bet you’ve been through tough things in your time, too. I bet you’ve survived some scary stuff. And there’s a lot of power in simply remembering who you are.

You are the person who survived that trauma.
You are the person who walked through hell with someone you loved.
You are the person who took a risk and refused to give up.

Honey, I see you. And I’m writing you this today to remind you: You get to walk around like you’re one inch taller. You get to enjoy that feeling of lightness and expansion.

Not because it’s a lie, but because it’s the TRUTH.

You are bigger and braver than you give yourself credit for.

I can practically hear you objecting: “But Caroline! I feel scared a lot of the time!”

To which I’ll just say: Me too. There’s a part of me that’s reluctant to write this. Sharing about birth injuries feels scary to me.

But I also know better than to let fear drive the bus.

I’m writing this because I believe – no, I KNOW – that someone out there needs to hear it.

It’s my job to write what wants to come through, to get my ego out of the way in order to be of service.

And when we let ourselves do this, we become light bearers. We bring light and hope into the world. There is no greater honor.

Walk like you’re one inch taller today, friend. Do it scared. Do it anyway.

We need the light that only you can bring.


Caroline Garnet McGraw is the author of You Don’t Owe Anyone: Free Yourself from the Weight of Expectations (Broadleaf Books, 2021). Read the first chapter for free and start living your life without apology.

Image courtesy of CoWomen.

How to Remove Holiday Woes Even during the Worst Times


Every year around the holiday season, there’s a mood in the air. Can you feel it?

For some it’s the mood of peace and cheer.

But not for everyone. For others, there’s a dread and anxiousness. What is it that you feel?

A Ba-Humbug mentality that pervades your thoughts

We all have our own reasons for what we feel about the holidays. We might decorate our houses with lights and trees and candy canes. Or we might get festive in different ways.

I actually don’t do a lot of decorating for the holidays, so maybe you’re like me in that way.

At the heart of all the holiday/Christmas season is a spirit of warmth and peace. But not everyone experiences or feels this sentiment.

For some people, the holidays just suck. Family interactions can be strained and difficult.

Demanding relatives, passive aggressive personalities, guilt trips, chaotic exchanges. All these factors contribute to a high level of anxiety that can grip you in its claws from Thanksgiving until the new year.

Other people feel loss during the holidays, because they don’t have people in their lives who used to be close. Either through death, separation, or loss (i.e. divorce), the loneliness that comes with the holidays can be debilitating and stressful.

If you feel anxiety before the holiday season, you’re not alone. If you’re dreading the travel and interactions in front of you, let’s look at an alternative to fostering all this tension.

Are you going to just completely change your holiday plans and NOT see your family this year? Probably not. So you can either dread the month of December or you can do something different.

What would it feel like to not let the holiday season overwhelm you? It’d feel like something out of a movie. Maybe even a little like peace.

Laughter, happiness, enjoyment, fun, calmness, tranquility, rest, comfort.

The stuff in those movies that we’re all so fond of. White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf, and even Love Actually all have elements of people experiencing peace and joy during a somewhat stressful time. Is that real? Or is that Hollywood?

You may have strife in your family dynamic or with the people you spend the holidays with. No family is perfect.

There may even be a few toxic personalities you wish you could avoid. Or folks who you don’t agree with, and you’re not looking forward to them popping off with their deep opinions on all the things you’re not doing right.

Your feelings and your thoughts are up to you to control and change.

You can’t control the actions, attitudes, and behaviors of other people. And while you may have plenty of examples from the past about why Uncle Jack is an asshole every year, you don’t have to let his antics control your thoughts or beliefs about the holidays.

And you certainly don’t have to let anyone’s attitude negatively control your personal peace.

The only person who gets to be inside your head and control your thoughts is you. No one else. If you choose to be anxious, that’s your choice. No one else can make you feel that way.

If that makes you upset, it’s still your choice my friend.

What you think about is what you focus on. What you focus on grows.

By focusing on the stuff that you don’t like, even the attitudes and behaviors of people that don’t make you feel good, only makes those thoughts intensify. Which increases the anxiety and dread.

All that built up tension you bring with you to your holiday destination gets to get amped up even more because you’re so focused on the worst possible outcome.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Try this: adopt a different perspective.

The difference between shifting perspective and thinking positively

I’m not talking about “just think positive thoughts and everything will be ok.” That’s not real nor is it healthy. It’s rose colored frames on blurry glasses.

You can try on a different pair of glasses altogether and shift the perspective. See something different than the tension you’re focused on?

Start with yourself. That’s the only person you’re in control of.

Shift your mindset out of focusing on what frustrates and stresses you out, about anyone or even about yourself. Shift into focusing on what you love about the people in your life.

You will find what you search for. Whatever it is that you seek and look for, you’re going to find it.

That’s why when you focus so intently on the tension, drama, pain, and stress you feel around certain people, you experience more and more of it. What you focus on will appear all over the place.

Experiencing the holidays after heartbreak and the end of a relationship

The first Christmas I had after the end of my marriage was particularly challenging. I have a loving and generous family. They welcomed me and my silent state.

It was hard to talk about much, because I’d spent so much of the year feeling like a failure and unloveable. Having a safe place to just be is so essential to your healing and your mental health.

This is true during the holiday season especially, when some interactions with family can create tension and stress. You don’t want to add to the hurt you’re feeling already, so you try to hide away. Which can create a different kind of tension.

The more you allow yourself to plant love inside your mind and your heart and choose to love yourself, the easier it gets to be around people again. No matter what, it’s important to practice healthy boundaries in your interactions with people, family or otherwise.

If you don’t want to talk or share something, you don’t have to. Respect yourself and your own levels of comfort talking about your pain and your road to healing.

Get help overcoming the pains of heartbreak, learn how to love yourself to healing and wholeness in my new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole.

How to shift your focus to bring about peace instead of anxiety

Shifting from focusing on what you don’t like and into what you admire and value creates a different dynamic. It changes the energy in whatever place you’re in.

It creates an atmosphere of peace, where there might have been something else.

How do you create this shift?

Here are a few simple steps to take to shift your perspective, and create a more peaceful energy experience for yourself and others:

  1. Decide you want to feel good, be at peace, and live in harmony with everyone in your life (including your family/relatives)
  2. Make a declaration to yourself: “I choose to feel good. I want to live in peace. I value my family and my relationships.”
  3. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you’re responsible for you and no one else.
  4. Let yourself be at peace and feel it.

You do you. You control you. If you don’t want anxiety and stress during the holiday season, take your mind off of what’s gripping you in tension and focus on love, peace, and beauty.

Simple right? It’s simple. But it’s not easy.

* This blog article was originally published at dgrantsmith.com.


D Grant Smith is known as the Growth Farmer, which means he has an old-fashioned approach to living a whole & healthy life. Get his free ebook called Love Is The Seed To Success, that gives help in healing relationships and growing healthy ones. His new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole is about the journey into self-love and self-care after heartbreak and personal loss. He’s an empowerment superhero who would love to give you encouragement so feel free to reach out!

Is Santa Real?


Nearly two years ago, on a chilly winter’s evening in December, as I was sitting in the dark of my living room, staring in wonder at the comforting luminescence of my Christmas tree while indulging in a glass of Mom Juice (trust me, after this particular day, I had earned several), I found myself contemplating the question my (at the time) nine-(going on 17)-year old had asked earlier in the day.

“Mom. Is Santa real?”

More specifically, “Are parents Santa?”.

Knowing this day would eventually come, but not at all prepared when it arrived with no warning, while driving to our third Christmas event of the day, it was all I could do to keep my eyes from tearing up and quickly plunging into Full-On-Momma-Melt-Down-Mach-IV.

Gathering my wits as gracefully as possible, when feeling as sliced open as a freshly baked Thanksgiving turkey, I responded the only way I knew how. The way my Mother responded when I asked the same question many years ago, with no clue the significance of import this one single question (rather answer) has on one’s own rapidly developing belief system.

Yes, I believe in Santa.

I believe in what he represents. Not necessarily a jolly old elf with cherry red lips and a belly like a bowl full of jelly.

Rather, I believe in:

  • the kindness of strangers
  • the hope for a miracle
  • the emerging faith that grows through life’s inevitable storms
  • the illuminating magic of childhood
  • the innocence of youth
  • the giving and receiving of specially selected and well-thought-out gifts to represent love, adoration, and well-wishes to those we hold near and dear in our hearts

I believe that, like the gift of the Magi, Santa Clause represents so much more than meets the eye in the commercialized version we all know so well. One of my favorite pictures is an old-fashioned Santa kneeling at the manger. Sacrilege, some might say. But really, don’t they stand for the same thing? Infinite love, giving, receiving, caring, sharing, sacrifice, and thanksgiving. After all, Jesus was and always will be, the greatest gift ever given from the most loving, generous, selfless Father the world will ever know.

So ‘Yes’, I told my son. Even at the rife old age of 40 (now nearly 42), I still believe. I hope I always will. And more than anything, I hope your belief outlives the skepticism of the world around you. Life is much fuller lived with hope for miracles, faith like a child, and good old-fashioned, unabridged, all-in……BELIEF in the magic we cannot see, but feel deep in the recesses of our human hearts.


Manndi Maphies DeBoef works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy at Missouri State University. She also enjoys freelance writing. Her greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William and Waylan, who never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She writes about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one and starting over. Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor. “Live a life worth writing about.”

Image courtesy of Julia Larson.

The March of Time


I remember when we brought each of our boys home from the hospital. We’d sit and stare at them, mesmerized, unable to look away. Watching them was better than anything on television. I could just stare at them for hours on end. They didn’t need to be doing anything. I was completely transfixed with their being-ness.

My intense observation didn’t stop when they were babies. It lasted for many, many years. I just loved watching our boys explore new foods, figure out a puzzle, play with toys and navigate new friends.

Then life got busy and they weren’t around as much. School or activities, lots of distractions. I just didn’t find myself focused on observing them so much anymore.

Until recently.

I’d just brought our younger son home after getting braces. He was sitting on the couch, in his usual position- phone in hand. And I caught myself. I just couldn’t stop looking at him. (Luckily he was oblivious because finding me staring at him may have freaked him out.) I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him. And then the thought hit me like a sack of potatoes: I was witnessing him change right before my very eyes! 

It’s not that I hadn’t been noticing the changes along the way.

Yes, he was growing taller and filling out. But there was something about the ‘braces rite of passage thing’ that caught me off guard. He was never scrawny, but now his toned body seemed bigger and his face seemed more mature. I became aware of how the pitch of his voice was lowering. Suddenly he appeared (clearing my throat) more manly.

Beyond the physical changes, it was also hard not to notice the shift in his personality. He was articulating his thoughts and feelings in a much clearer and concise manner. He was louder, funnier, and much more sarcastic, but in a fun way.

I’ve heard that your life flashes before your eyes right before you die.

It’s strange, but I’ve been having so many moments of reflection, appearing like videos in my mind, of moments in my life. They appear in no particular order. The boys as babies, graduating with my Master’s degree, the boys as toddlers, getting married, performing on stage, being a gymnast, playing outside with friends as a young child. The list could go on and on.

Maybe this is happening now because so much around me is shifting. I’m keenly aware that not only are my boys growing and changing, but so are my parents, my husband, and….me. I’m changing. Several months ago someone said to me, “Sarah, you’ve changed.” Inside myself,  I experienced her remark as an accusation, that somehow I’d betrayed our relationship. But then I realized, we’re all supposed to change. Everyone. And I was lucky enough to have someone reflect the growth happening within myself back to me.

Sometimes change is dramatic and obvious- like witnessing our boys grow from babies to mini adults, getting their driver’s license, applying to college…(allow me a moment to shed a tear, please.) And some are more subtle. Like a change in the foods I enjoy or my taste in clothes. And we’re all constantly having to adapt and adjust to these changes happening. All. Of. The. Time. And of course that’s going to affect our relationships. Some will grow and change with us and some will sever. Some may do both, separating for a while and finding the way back into our lives later.

But as I deepen in my learning, I’m experiencing myself as much more authentic and attuned to my truth.

I’m also aware of when my stealthy little ego shows up as a way to separate me from that truth. So I keep check of the things that pop up and upset me. They’re markers, reminding me of places I may need to pay attention and course correct.

And instead of mourning the boys that I’ve had to say goodbye to, I’m choosing to focus on the ones right in front of me. It’s a glorious time, full of firsts for us all. And I’ve been given this wonderful gift, an extension of time. Time to sit and observe, appreciate, soak in and indulge in the magnificent life I’ve had up until now. Time to stop and witness the miracles happening right before my very eyes.

Today my younger son came out dressed in pants, a sweatshirt and his Vans sneakers. His hair was styled perfectly messy, the way he likes. I had to do a double-take. He looked so grown up. Just a blink of an eye ago, he was a couple inches shorter, but now his eye line meets mine. With no time to take a picture, I froze the moment and etched it into my mind. I took a deep breath, kissed him good bye, and watched him leave for school.

I’d worried about those moments in the past, fearful that I wouldn’t find my way through the sadness of losing the boys they used to be. Instead, I sat down, opened my computer and continued my writing project. And I took a moment to allow myself the joy I’m feeling for the changes I’m experiencing in my life.

What a gift to be able to witness our children grow AND have my own joy. I think I may finally be finding that balance that had eluded me for so long. A gift of time and change that I welcome with joy.

In loving,

Sarah


Sarah Altman worked in the entertainment industry before becoming a career mom. With a curiosity in the human inner experience, Sarah earned a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and her writing has evolved as a way to share her learnings. When she’s not busy with her mom duties, you can find Sarah nestled up, writing on her computer or indulging in a British period piece on television. Sarah lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys, who bring her love, joy and laughter every day. Her book, My Breast Life, One Woman’s Journey Through Cancer Blog by Blog, is available on Amazon.

Image courtesy of Kindel Media.

December Downshift: 4 Ways to Complete Your Year Feeling Clear


I have a question for you: “Would you like to start the new year feeling clear – mentally & emotionally? Like your physical space to feel clear and coherent? Like to be free of some of the relationship drama or distress in your personal or professional relationships?”

Imagine how you would feel if you had more space in the last few weeks of this year and the first few weeks of next year.

Are you exhaling yet?

Of course our answers to this possibility are YES! Starting the new year clear is not just a nice to have – it’s what any wise person would do.

But how do you ‘do’ that? Especially in the intense year(s) we’ve been through?

My council has been the same for a decade, and it’s even more essential in the times we are living in. The wisdom is clear:

You put into place simple but mighty practices that empower to you make choices that lead to you working and living and feeling in the f.l.o.w. (Focusing Lifeforce On What matters)

The practice is called a Power Pause. Power Pauses use the wisdom tool of ‘intuitive thinking inquiries’ that reveal insights you miss if you only operate from your mental mind vs your higher and heart mind.

What follows below are 4 inquiries I slow down to ask myself every December. Ask and answer these for yourself so you can end the year feeling good about what you’ve done, clear in mind and heart, ready to step into the new year reset.

  1. What do I desire to complete to set me up to step into 2022 replenished, reset and open to receive in my:
    Professional life: projects and goals
    Personal foundation: health, finances and home
  2. What would I love to let go, release or clean up before year end? These are emotional judgements or baggage, relational realities or mental patterns that are calling for attention to bring into coherency or leave behind.
  3. What connections do I desire to make (new ones or reconnecting to old ones) now, and will reach out to before we complete 2021?
  4. What would feel good and aligned to re-flow– move this into next year, and by doing so release self-induced pressure? Knowing that I can re-engage with this in the new year.

It helps a lot to write these out and then take simple but mighty action. Share with a friend for extra accountability.

For an extra resource, tune into episode 171 POWER PAUSE: Inquiries that Will Support You to Complete the Year Feeling Clear on my podcast, Feminine Power Time. And then join me for the annual year end Reflection Ritual www.ReflectionRitual.com


Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shift happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers trainings, retreats and workshops globally. Visit her online at http://www.christinearylo.com or tune into her podcast www.FemininePowerTime.com. Connect more with Christine and her community at www.femininewisdomcafe.com.

Image courtesy of Ryanniel Masucol.

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“More” Is Not the Answer to Too Much


“I’m overwhelmed” is something I’ve been hearing over and over lately. I’ve probably said it a couple of times myself.

Chalk it up to life in the vortex, the sense of having more time than ever before (in some ways), yet not always sure of where it goes.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common condition—yet in trying to deal with the problem, we sometimes often end up compounding it by adding more programs, systems, and solutions.

Here’s the irony of the $11 billion self-improvement industry: in an attempt to simplify, we end up adding new tools, gadgets, email newsletters, and subscriptions to our lives.

A few examples:

You can now download apps with the sole feature of blocking your ability to access other apps. An app to keep you from using apps!

There is now a podcast that consists entirely of trailers for new podcasts. Within a few weeks of its debut, it had dozens of episodes, all highlighting new series

Online meditation is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with brands that are just as competitive with their adversaries as financial trading firms are.

With no end to this growth in sight, you’ll only have more and more opportunities to study at the feet of the digitally enlightened—but should you? Your inner world deserves better treatment than your sock drawer.

Of course, some of these things can be helpful. I use lots of different tools and software every day. Just notice that the same people and companies who promise you a simpler life are the same ones that contribute to your life being complicated in the first place.

Learn to be wary of everything that demands your constant attention. Use the tools that help you, and religiously discard the ones that don’t. Apply a high filter to this decision process: don’t think “This might help me one day, so I’ll keep it around.” Instead, think “If I’m not using it now, I don’t need it in my life at all.”

Whatever the solution to overwhelm is, it can’t just be “more.”


Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.

Image courtesy of Liza Summer.