New Normal

I don’t know about you but this summer has been a roller coaster of incredible and intense emotions. It has been filled with some endings and wonderful beginnings. Between my wedding anniversary, my two oldest sons’ graduations, birthdays, and new opportunities, this has been an unforgettable summer. It’s a summer that emphasizes having appreciation for those you love and how much they have impacted your life.

New-Normal
There’s a “new-normal” that’s unfolded for me. I learned about this description after spending an afternoon with a friend just days after losing his 84 year old father from cancer. As I sat with him in the park, he told me that now that his father has passed, both he and his mother had to get use to a “new normal” way of living.

Bittersweet
As for me and my family our “new-normal” takes on many bittersweet forms. Our “new normal” consists of adjusting to my oldest son living at home and working in Boston with a prospect of being relocated to Chicago. Another “new normal” change is getting used to not having my middle son home. This week kicks off his 1st week of living at college and away from home. Lastly, my other “new normal” is supporting my youngest as he starts a new school. In the grand scheme of things, my “new-normals” are all great news and certainly something that my husband and I are both proud of. It still does not help with the feelings of longing for the good-old-days of having everyone at home, all together, safe and sound, and silly-at-times. No matter what you call it – separation anxiety, the “new-normal” or simply life, is still painful. It hurts when you no longer have the person that you love near you to talk with and sit with like before.

Life
As a Health & Happiness Specialist™, I often share my own experiences in my programs. Happiness is nothing without pain or sadness. Life will deliver each of us good and not-so-good times. This is what makes life very interesting. Nothing good lasts forever and nothing bad lasts forever too. There a dynamic motion that propels us forward to become better than before if we allow it. The secret is to feel the negative emotions and allow them to surface so that we can move on. It’s when we hold on to our negative emotions that we start suffering in many ways that can manifest as severe depression, insomnia, gastro-esophageal reflux, chest pain, anger, over eating, and so much more.

3 Ways to Feel Better
Fortunately, with the increase in positive psychology research there are so many effective ways to help people cope with life’s challenges. The science of happiness has many solutions that help people grow and thrive so that they can be the best version of themselves.

Here are 3 ways to feel better:

1. Do something kind for others. When you think outside of your own situation and do kind deeds for others, you begin to feel happier.
2. Physical activity. Doing any type of physical activity is a positive way of releasing your sadness and stress.
3. Contact someone. Whether it is going to church to pray or calling up a friend. Connecting with others enhances relationships which often lead to greater happiness.


How about You?

If you are struggling with life’s ups and downs right now, trust that where there is darkness there also is light. If you need a coach to help you reach your personal or professional goals please contact Debbie Lyn at debbie.ultimatehealingjourney@gmail.com

Happiness

WomanInGrass

As a Health & Happiness Specialist™ I often get people coming up to me after my programs asking the same question over and over again .

“What do I do to be so happy?”

With a look of desperation, they ask me how is it possible for them to be happy, especially when there are so many negative people around them complaining or judging all the time.
I love this question because from years of trial and error, of making big and little choices, I know that happiness is a journey, it’s a conscious way of living and expressing your inner truth—freely and faithfully. My answer to this loaded question usually starts with a smile on my face, followed by a deep breath, and a sentence that starts with …”Well…” then another deep breath… and the rest of the sentence sounds like …”it’s a daily practice, a change in habit, a new way of seeing life. It boils down to the millions of little choices that we make along the way to dedicate to that practice.” I would sometimes receive a perplexed look on their faces with a “what are you talking about?” look, but other times I get asked more questions such as, “Yeah, but how can I do that knowing the people around me are not happy?” or “What can I do right now to start?” or “How can you help me?”. The simple answer to that begins with choices: the choices that we make, the choices that we are willing to abide by, and the choices that are willing to live and die for.

Our choices are the secret to happiness.

The “pursuit of happiness” is a choice and once you put your foot down, you literally create a magical path that will unfold before you. Being happy and being able to sustain it is a choice that carries with it tremendous responsibilities, reflections, and realization. When one chooses to be on this fantastic road, one has to be courageous, compassionate, and careful. Depending on the company that you keep, being happy can make you either accepted or isolated. Happiness is not something to take lightly, it’s something to hold so dearly that you are willing to do whatever it takes to experience and express it. Choice is one of the most forgotten secrets to happiness. Without choice there is no movement. Choice is the initial push that will pave the road to the desired destination.

Courage to let your happy self shine.

“Stick to your guns!”

Happiness requires courage because it’s a combination of many acts of authenticity, wonderment, empowerment, self-compassion, optimism, mindfulness, and enjoyment. Happiness is the fullest expression of who you are to everyone around you, and this state of being may or may not be welcomed depending on the group you are with. One has to “stick to their guns” in order to be in their own joyful state. In other words, it takes a great deal of courage to let your happy self shine in a room full of darkness. Happy seekers must learn to keep their mind-body-spirit intact in order to maintain their happy bubble from others who are quick to “burst” it. In fact, you will stick out like a “sore thumb” because there are many people who are in deep pain and do not know how to release it other than creating pain for others. It takes courage to be happy but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because it gives others the permission to be happy or at least find support in it.

Compassionate towards yourself, then others.

“Put the mask on yourself first, then the other.”

Happiness requires that you become compassionate towards yourself first, then others. “Put the mask on yourself first, then on others.” Stop the following: leaking all your mental-physical-emotional energies on those who will never be satisfied. Stop being the only one that takes care of things for everyone because you are a nice person and everyone is too busy to do it. Stop creating a co-dependent relationship because you think people need you and they will not survive without you. Simply stop and ask yourself if what you are doing is an unconditional act or is it an act that is conditional and will lead to resentment or irritability if you were not appreciated or acknowledged. Sometimes happiness means giving yourself “tough love” to make sure that you stay true to your promise.

Careful of the company you keep.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn’s quote above best describes this aspect of being happy. Being on the happiness journey means you need to be careful of the company that you keep—be discerning but not paranoid. That means be around like-minded people who share the same positive views without judgment. This will make you feel at home and safe to be your happy self. For some, it might be easier than others to do this, but it is possible. You can find like-minded people either around your community or online. There’s no need to feel isolated when you have the world at your finger tips.

3 R’s for Your Choice to Pursue Happiness: Responsibility, Reflection, Realization.

1. Responsibility– Know that you and you alone are responsible for you happiness. You are your own source for this and it is your responsibility to find creative ways to maintain it.
2. Reflection– Go back periodically to what went well in order to do more of it. Reflect on your growth and your goals. This is a time for refinement based on your reflections of your experiences.
3. Realization– Realize that you have the choice to decide on the “who, what, and where” that resonates with you on your happy path. On this path, you are the captain of your ship. You decide, based on this realization, who will join you and where you will go. This could mean relationships, clutter, space, job, diet, etc.

I hope you found this helpful to get you started on your path to happiness. You have what it takes to be happy. You are whole, complete, loving, and lovable. You as much as the next person is meant to be happy—no matter where you are and who you are with.
Always remember, happiness is not the destination, it’s a journey. One that will bring your more than you will ever know!
If you or someone you know needs support or coaching in ways to become happy or happier, please contact us at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com to learn about ways we can help you sustain you level of happiness.

“Choices determine the lines on our faces. Be it a frown that goes down or a wrinkle from your twinkle. Your choices create the grooves the path.” ~Debbie Lyn Toomey

Permission to be Human



Are you like me, someone who wasted way too much time, money, and energy trying to be perfect?

For awhile, I played the “blame game;” I blamed it on the way I was raised, my culture, and the media. Eventually I stopped entertaining those notions and woke up to who I really was. What happened next was life changing! The same voice that repeated the “self-pity” story stopped and changed its title to “self-love”.

I got tired of listening to my own “poor me” story and wanted a new one, the one that sounded something like… “Who the heck cares, you are special and it’s time to explore that!”

In other words, my inner voice demanded that I stop trying to be what I wasn’t and just be Debbie.

What an eye opener!

Instead of looking for something to make me feel or look perfect, I began to search within to find my answers. Like one of my great-great-great grandfathers who was an Italian voyager, I embarked on my own expedition in search of gifts and treasures that were unique— things rare and “awesome.” Unlike him, who ended up falling in love with a tribe leader’s daughter in Cebu (one of the Islands of Philippines), on my journey, I ended up falling in love with me, myself, and I.

hug image
Yes, I can easily say that I am in love with myself and the kind of person that I’ve become.

The “I’m not good enough” has become “not so bad” or even “Wow, oh yeah!”

Now this love affair, like any other, has its ups and downs because “life happens” and the old “poor me” story seem to show up so much quicker than the “you got this” one. But what I can tell you is that there is nothing like having the self-compassion towards yourself to caress and push you through tough times. Having self-compassion for myself has taught me to give myself “permission to be human,” a phrase that I learned from my Positive Psychology teacher and previous Harvard Professor, Tal Ben Sha-Har Ph.D. It has also given me the courage to stop trying to be perfect.

I learned so much about myself on this road of discovery that it inspired my signature program, The Path to Being A.W.E.S.O.M.E™ (authenticity, wonderment, empowerment, self-compassion, optimism, mindfulness, & enjoyment) to help today’s women discover, define and declare who they are so that they can live their best life with greater ease and grace.

Researcher Kristen Neff Ph.D. stated in her book Self-Compassion, “Self-compassion provides an island of calm, a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive and negative self-judgment, so that we can finally stop asking, ‘Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?’” Further she said, “By tapping into our inner well-springs of kindness, acknowledging the shared nature of our imperfect human condition, we can start to feel more secure, accepted, and alive.” She said that in many ways, self-compassion is like magic due to its ability to turn suffering into joy.

How about you?

Are you ready to get to know and fall in love like me and allow more self-compassion into your life?
Here are two ways to begin your path to self-compassion so that you can stop trying to be perfect and start being your awesome self.

1. Write done your strengths. To find out what they are, ask yourself what you are naturally good at and love learning more about? Those are your strengths. Write down as many as you can and look at them often. Celebrate them and do more and more activities that make them even stronger.

2. When you make an “oops” recognize it, breath, and give yourself “permission to be human.” Mistakes are golden learning moments that made us even better at what we do. Failures or mistakes are important to learn from. I bet you didn’t know that when Edison was trying to invent the light bulb, it took him almost 1,000 tries until he created it. When a reporter asked him about the 1,000 mistakes, Edison replied that he did not fail 1,000 times, but rather he successfully learned 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.

Enjoy these practices and I hope that they can save you valuable time, money, and energy so that you can enjoy being your awesome self instead of trying to be perfect.

If you need support and coaching on how to stop trying to be perfect and start being your awesome self and want to learn to cultivate more self-compassion, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com today. To learn more about The Path to Being A.W.E.S.O.M.E™ Program and the list of my services, visit www.ultimatehealingjourney.com
I’ll see you there. Until then, much love to you.

This is Debbie Lyn Toomey your Health and Happiness Specialist™ wishing you an awesome day.

 

#1 Tip to Savor the End the Summer

I just recently came across this great quote by Lao Tzu that helps explain the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practices created by researcher and author Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D. at the Stress Reduction Clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.

If you are anxious, you are living in the future.

If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

~Lao Tzu

What a perfect quote to help us savor and be “at peace” on the last few days of summer. Since the end of August is upon us, I’m sure there are many people out there like myself who are surprise that the end of the summer is coming fast upon us!

I want to share with you the #1 tip to help time slow down a bit so we can appreciate it and feel more in control of it.

But first let me share with you the biggest “ah ha” that I got from the MBSR program that I completed. In the 8 week program, I learned that mindfulness meditations don’t really require a quite mind at all if anything. What is required is an accepting and allowing mind that helps one go back to the moment and to notice what is being experienced— without judgment. This practice expects the mind will wander and the only thing that one has to do is to call back the mind every time he or she notices that it has wandered. It’s a practice that has had over 400 studies that has proven its effectiveness in stress reduction, chronic pain, and illnesses.

I must confess that it took me many years to feel confident and comfortable about meditating because the whole thing looked so boring and intimidating to me. I was convinced I could never be one of those serene looking women who looked so peaceful and calm in the magazines.

What a wonderful surprise for me when I began to practice the mindfulness meditations. I found that even though my mind wandered I was still able to go back to the moment and able to bring my attention back to the practice. This practice has helped me feel more relaxed, focused, and happy.

Now I want to share with you an easy mindfulness tip that will help you savor the last few days of summer. It’s the #1 tip as I call it will help you create more memories before the cooler weather rolls in.

It’s called “beginner’s mind.”

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Full Catastrophe Living, Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, “To see the richness of the present moment, we need to cultivate what has been called ‘beginner’s mind,’ a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.”

Are you ready to be in awe of everything and make time slow down a tad so you can appreciate it more?

Use these simple “beginner’s mind” techniques:

    1. Stop– Stop multitasking. Put the cell phone away to prevent distractions.
    2. Look– Look at who is in front of you. Look at where you are in that moment.
    3. Listen– Listen to the sounds around you. Close your eyes and tune in even more.

In my program called The Path to Being A.W.E.S.O.M.E™ (authenticity, wonderment, empowerment, self-compassion, optimism, mindfulness, & empowerment), “wonderment” is the equivalent to the “beginner’s mind.” Wonderment is seeing the world through the eyes of a child with awe and appreciation.

Next time you go outside and do your usual summer activity with your family or friends, I invite you to do it with “beginner’s eyes” or with “wonderment.” You’ll be surprised at just how much you will notice and remember from that activity. This is one of the best ways to savor the last remaining days of this sunny season.

If you need support and coaching on how to add more mindfulness into your daily life, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com today. To learn more about The Path to Being A.W.E.S.O.M.E™ Program and the list of my services, visit www.ultimatehealingjourney.com

I’ll see you there. Until then really take the time to use all of your senses to gain the most out of your present moment.

This is Debbie Lyn Toomey your Health and Happiness Specialist™ wishing you an awesome day.