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Fragile Hearts and Timid Souls: 9 Courageous Steps for Letting Go and Finding Love Again

Fragile Hearts and Timid Souls: 9 Courageous Steps for Letting Go and Finding Love Again


“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Sonia Ricotti

It’s not easy to love again after heartbreak.

I know because heartbreak has been my divine teacher.

And it’s taken me a very long time to come to terms with my breakup, accept my divorce and let go (mentally) of the person who occupied so much of my life.

It’s close to four years now and I FINALLY feel ready to move on.

Ready to let love into my life again.

Ready to open myself up again.

How I got here

When my marriage ended abruptly, my life began unraveling for a couple reasons. One, I loved my ex-wife, and despite our many challenges together, I was hopeful as ever of a love that would heal, transform and reignite. I felt it was only a matter of time before our differences would darken and our hearts would shine.

Two, my life unraveled because I couldn’t accept such a drastic change in it. Maybe I took love and marriage for granted. Or maybe I had the old-school version of relationships stuck in my mind – that relationships lasted no matter how challenging or tumultuous they were. The only solution, I believed, was to stay together and keep trying. And in the meantime, we had to keep working through the kinks.

Although divorce was what I ultimately came to accept, it was after much kicking and screaming on my part.

I didn’t want to let go of someone who I had come to see as part of me. Despite our differences, I had always felt soulfully connected to her.

Naturally, when she left, my soul felt empty and my life felt broken.

I went from a state of shock and pain to sadness and loss.

Much of this is chronicled in this blog, and much of what I’ve written describes how to come back from such dark and tragic places in our lives.

For me, the process of healing and letting go has taken place at a snail’s pace.

Over the past few years, my mind continued to replay the ups and downs of our relationship. Of course, during periods of grieving, your mind can hardly remember the downs.

You mostly remember the good times, the happy times and the joyful times.

I remembered the laughs, dreams and hopes we shared.

And every city or restaurant we had visited together triggered a reaction in me.

Every current conversation or movie triggered conversations and chatter of the past.

I saw her name everywhere and heard her name everywhere, including in magazines, books and movies.

I was clinging and holding on for dear life to this lost love. I felt that losing her was losing myself. This dying relationship felt like my own mortality.

It was not easy, as you know, to pick up the pieces, get through each day and move on.

The path back to myself has been long and treacherous. The path back to love has been fraught with tears, sorrow and sadness.

The path to moving on has required that I find the courage to let go of the past, accept the present and step into who I am today. The path to myself required that I put myself together after being completely broken.

It’s required that I stand up and step into my soul + my life.

If you have gotten out of a soul-crushing, life-crushing relationship and find yourself on the bathroom floor crying out to a God that doesn’t appear to exist, I bow to you and welcome you to join me on this journey to healing.

Your heart may be fractured, but your soul is about to emerge – stronger, more vibrant and more courageous than ever.

You may feel as though your breakup has shattered your life, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for living today.

To the contrary, if you go through this journey of healing you can find peace today, gratitude for what happened and joy in future possibilities.

Cracking open a fragile heart can unleash a timid soul.

You can become courageous again and be ready to open your soul to something new.

If you’re ready to let go and move on, let me take you through my own healing process.

9 ways to let go of your past relationship so that you can heal and open your heart to love again

1)    Acceptance of what is.

For the longest time, I couldn’t accept heartbreak or divorce.

I had always believed our separation was temporary and that we would get back together one day.

Same with divorce. Even months and, I would say, years after the divorce, I thought there was hope for our relationship.
You might see this as positive thinking, delusion or denial.

See, heartbreak had caused so much personal pain that I just did not want to accept it as true. The divorce had caused so much emotional and family turmoil, I wished it would simply go away.

I was really fighting change and uncertainty – it was the first time in my life I felt like I had no control over a situation. So I tried to remain positive, visualizing and dreaming our relationship back together.

Of course, what I was really doing was denying this reality.

When you’re in denial about something in your life, you can’t move on.

When you refuse to accept uncertainty or events that are out of your control, you’re going to remain stuck.

If you’d like to move on from heartbreak, or anything really, surrender to the situation – let your life feel out of control for a bit. Trust that it will get better and that you’ll see light down the road, even if you’re in darkness now.

You may not know how to get out of the torture you’re feeling, but now there is a way out. It will come together as you go through the healing process.

Allow your intuition to shine the light and lead the way while healing.

Sometimes acceptance and surrender require simply standing back and not doing anything – not resisting or denying what you’re experiencing.

It’s acknowledging your situation as it is. It’s sitting with it and accepting it without an answer or action plan.

2)    Showing up to grieve.

You don’t have to hide, deny, suppress or run from your emotions.

Allow them to unfold and wash over you.

Show up to grieve – face grief boldly and courageously.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of – you’re entitled to feel hurt, sad, angry, devastated or any other feelings you’re experiencing.

In my case, I felt an avalanche of emotions and feelings for a couple of years after the divorce. I didn’t make them go away or hide them.

Lots of tears, sleepless nights and therapy numbed the pain and helped me come to terms with loss.

Sharing the pain with others, although I didn’t do this much at first, definitely helped me carry the burden of the breakup’s pain.

Show up and face your grief.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of in feeling everything you’re feeling. It’s normal. It’s human. And again, if it’s overwhelming, reach out to your inner circle or professionals to help you deal with the emotional weight you’re carrying.

3)    Taking responsibility

You can take on a bitter attitude your entire life and curse your no-good &$^&@#@ ex for the pain and heartache she caused or….

You can take responsibility for your part in the relationship.

For much of the earlier stages of my grief, I blamed my ex. She did this…or didn’t do this…Most thoughts concluded with the feeling that it was her fault and I was the innocent victim.

Of course, it’s never this way. Both sides in a relationship gone sour are at fault.

You don’t have to blame yourself for it, but instead accept responsibility for it.

And if you think there’s nothing at all wrong with you and it was all your ex’s fault, try to take a more objective view. If you still can’t, you may not be ready to move on.

I now realize that I was living unconsciously in my relationship. I’m not sure what I was thinking or who I was back then, but it wasn’t the person today who came out of that relationship.

I was living a life of ego, anger, unrealistic expectations, control and non-communication.

I can justify all these things in my life and blame these many character flaws on others (hi parents!), or I can choose not to and take responsibility for them.

Only when I began to realize what I had done wrong could I continue the healing process.

When I was dead-certain it was all my ex’s fault, I was stuck in my ego and my healing. I couldn’t move on until I took responsibility.

Once I started taking responsibility I could also stop playing the role of “victim.”

When you play the role of the “victim,” your view of the relationship and your steps forward are skewed.

When it’s all the other person’s fault and you feel like you did nothing wrong, you’re likely not being honest with yourself. And more importantly, you’re stopping yourself from moving on.

If you can’t admit that you had a part in how this relationship ended, you can’t go through the other steps of healing I describe below. You’re likely stuck on being “right” rather than choosing to move on.

The longer you choose the state of denial and blame, the longer it will take for you to heal.

4)    Forgiving yourself.

Once you take responsibility for your part, be willing to forgive yourself.

The goal here isn’t to hold yourself up to some gold standard, criticize yourself or remind yourself how much you screwed up.

It’s to forgive yourself for acting and behaving in ways that were not healthy. You most likely didn’t know what you were doing and you’ve grown because of your unconscious behavior.

Once you realize it wasn’t healthy and you see your mistakes, you’ve given yourself the gifts of awareness, insight and growth.

When you forgive yourself and bathe yourself in compassion, you can let go of the hot coals of anger and resentment you’re carrying.

In order to forgive, you have to ignore what others have said to you about yourself and the internal story you’re telling about yourself.

If you feel blame and guilt, you have even more reason to forgive yourself.

You’re not perfect, you’re human.

Even if you broke up with the perfect person and it was all your fault, forgive yourself. You have learned, grown and become the person who can do better the next time.

5)    Forgiveness and saying thank you.

Harder than forgiving yourself is forgiving your ex.

Actually, you not only need to forgive your ex, but everyone else you blame in the relationship – his friends, her family, your parents, her parents and anyone else you believe bears responsibility for the parting of ways.

Forgiving isn’t easy and you’re never going to reach the ideal place of forgiveness. Forgiving when it feels right won’t work because it will never feel right.

Forgiveness is a process – one that, if you’re to reap the benefits, requires your participation.

You forgive even if you don’t want to. It’s true what they say about forgiveness – ultimately, forgiving others is a way to let go of the resentment and anger within. You’re really forgiving for yourself.

Set an intention to forgive.

Then write a letter (which you don’t send) to your ex, forgiving him or her for all the person’s wrongs and hurtful actions toward you. Forgiving your ex for breaking your trust, breaking your heart, taking advantage of you.

Forgiveness is a miracle-inducing action that will allow the vibrancy of the pain you’re feeling to subside.

One of the first things I did in my journey to healing was to forgive my ex. I didn’t want to at the time, but I forgave anyway. And I continued forgiving her throughout the healing process.

After you begin your mission of forgiveness, you can truly heal by becoming grateful to this former person in your life.

Once you see how he or she transformed your life and improved your being, you can’t help but be grateful. Express that gratitude by writing or sending a silent wish to the person.

I am more grateful to my former wife today for our relationship.

Although our relationship was a struggle, it broke open the floodgates to conscious living, finding my truth and myself (even my purpose). It has led to my greatest personal development, character development and spiritual awareness.

This relationship broke my heart wide open so that I could see my soul and, today, live from this place.

I am thankful.

6)    Bringing yourself back to the present.

When you have suffered a breakup and are trying to get over it, something that sabotages your recovery is living in the past – which I did a lot of.

As I’ve talked about, my resistance to change and my inability to accept life events made me want to go back and relive the glory days of our relationship.

I thought constantly about all the good times, the shared laughs, the highlights and the happy times. I longed for a time and day that no longer existed.

When you get in the habit of living in the past, though, the negative and painful times also pop into your mind.

Imagine living a life that has nothing to do with today. I was doing that for a couple of years; continually reliving the past because I felt safe there and took comfort in knowing that my future life could be like my past life.

I was being nostalgic and sentimental; I had a better sense of myself in the past.

Who was I, after all, without my ex and my past?

Letting go of past living is scary, but so essential to moving on.

Life is beautiful, rich and filled with so many lovely experiences. You can’t really experience the beauty of life if you’re not here at this moment.

Catch yourself going back to the past and become aware of your tendency to daydream about the good days.

Pay attention and create present moment awareness in your life.

Think of your past as a movie, with scenes flashing into your mind, but try to avoid jumping back into those scenes and reliving them.

You’ve already suffered enough. By not living in the present moment, you’re allowing your past relationship and your ex to repeatedly harm you.

Choose yourself. Choose today. Choose the present moment.

7)    Soul lessons. Life lessons.


As you move forward, don’t forget the lessons of this relationship. And the lessons from life’s lowest point.

If you haven’t learned any lessons, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to grow and gain more insight.

As you take responsibility for your part, what have you learned about yourself?

What do you need to change? What do you need to let go of? How do you live more in alignment with your true nature? How do you live a more authentic life? How do you connect and relate to other people? How can you communicate better?

Ask yourself these questions and get curious about how to make improvements in your life and future relationships.

Life has taught you a heavy but invaluable lesson. Do life and your former relationship justice by walking away from it with wisdom.

Ask yourself what the relationship was here to teach you and glean the answers from this question.

8)    Cultivate compassion and love.

As you come back to the world of new relationships and new possibilities, cultivate more compassion and love in your life. First, for yourself.

Learn to have a passionate affair with yourself (I wrote this manifesto about how to do so) so that you’re embracing your darkest parts and your wounds.

Don’t beat yourself up over what happened. Treat yourself as you would your gentlest and kindest friend.

Allow love to infuse the thoughts, emotions and feelings in your life.

Establish a spiritual practice to help you generate love from your internal being.

From your inner core, imagine love spreading outward toward others. Imagine love from within expanding from you to the entire world.

Breathe in compassion. Breathe out anger. Breathe in compassion. Breathe out judgment.

Breathe in love. Breathe out the past. Breathe in love. Breathe out the pain.

9)    Step into your life with courage.

Once you accept what happened, go through the healing process and are ready for a comeback, be ready to step out of your broken heart and into your life.

What I mean by this is to embrace everything that has happened to you and then find the courage to move forward.

Find the courage within for each step of the journey toward healing and then the courage to come out of healing.

Take small steps toward living a new life. Small steps in saying “yes” to coffee and “yes” to meeting new people.

Small steps in reacting differently to people, in changing your past behavior and in improving who you are as a person.

Yes, your past happened – own it – but the future is happening now and you can write how that goes.

You’ve come out of heartache and failure – you know what it’s like to be at life’s low point, but this has certainly prepared you for life’s glory days.

You’ve experienced crisis. Now you’re ready for brilliance.

Coming out of your shell to meet your best life takes courage. Take those small steps of courage to live an inspired, love-filled and soul-rich life.

Did you enjoy this post? Please share it with your friends and family who have experienced heartache and are trying to move on.

* Photo credit.

The one wealthy living secret no one talks about: how to slow down to live rich

The one wealthy living secret no one talks about: how to slow down to live rich

slow down

I hate it when there's no wifi...

I feel like I’ve had two working lives. And they seem like night and day.

There was a time that I was chained to my phone, email and work. I would literally work around the clock attending to problems that couldn’t wait another second and the next unfolding crisis.

My life was tied to the news of the day.

The next political attack.

The next political move by an opponent.

“She said, he said” politics.

Twitter bickering and Facebook wars.

That was my life working in electoral politics, helping candidates get elected to office.

Always on the go. 24/7.

Furiously climbing the mountain, but where are we going?

I thought staying active and productive was the best way to live a rich life.

Your dreams came true more quickly when you worked harder.

The more quickly and intensely your pursued your goals, the more quickly you climbed the mountain—the mountain to wealth, success, power and prestige!

No, no one really stops and asks why we’re climbing the mountain in the first place. Or how we even ended up on that mountain.

But you look around and see others climbing that mountain of success with a furious intensity.

The happiness at the mountaintop comes with money, power, social mobility, financial and material success.




Fast forward to slowing down.

Why just eat breakfast when you can eat breakfast and get caught up on all the political news at the same time?

Why just drive to work when you could talk to clients and managers on speakerphone while you’re on the road?

Why just wait in line to buy groceries when you could also answer an email or ten?

I was doing all of this and more in my own my career at one point.

In my desire to get “there,” I forgot where I was going or why I wanted to get there in the first place. And I was completely missing the point on my way there.

After life threw me into the washing machine of life for a prolonged spin cycle, I began to become more conscious of what I was doing.

When you lose everything (okay, a relationship, but it sure did like losing everything), you hit rock bottom.

And when you’re there, you can do one of three things:

  1. Gallivant in sorrow, drinking yourself into a drunken stupor, living a life on the edge, marinating in loneliness, sadness and pain.
  2. Continue doing what you’ve been doing – living the fast-paced and mindless life in pursuit of things that really don’t make you happy.
  3. Or start evaluating everything that you’re doing in your life. Reprioritize. And slow the heck down.

I had a choice to continue living mindlessly or to begin to live consciously.

You get the point: when life breaks you down, chops you up and grinds you to a halt, you wake up to realize you have choices. A lot of them.

To start over.

To think things through.

To consciously decide how you want to spend your life.

So now, instead of racing through life like a cheetah in search of my evening meal, I gently graze like a goat on the country grass as I take in the sights and sounds.

A leisurely breakfast at home. Heck, even working from home.

A morning walk. A silent meditation. Listening to the birds chirping outside my window. Watching the sun rise. Watching it set.

Are you overbooking your life?

In Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive, she observes how we try to shave a few seconds off our daily routine, in hopes that we can create enough space to schedule yet another meeting or appointment that will help us climb the mountain of success.

“Like airlines, we overbook ourselves…We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we ‘save’. It’s a very costly way to live,” she observes.

Are you mindlessly overbooking your life  because you are trying to be overly productive or keep up with your high-performing celebrity wannabe White House-crashing socially mobile neighbors?

Or are you going to fight back against what Huffington calls “hurry sickness”?

Why should you slow down in a world of Twitter, Snapchat and Kimye-style televised weddings?

I’m going to show you below how slowing down your life is the real secret to untapped wealth and abundance. And even a few steps on how to do it!

When you slow down and enjoy life, soaking up the small moments, you will find the meaning and fulfillment you’re looking for.

Here are just some of the reasons to hit the pause button and travel in slow motion:

To be one with the now.

You seem to be working for a day that may never come. Running, packing, racing, speeding…to what? For what?

This is the very moment that you and I know for sure exists. Yesterday is a story that can be forgotten, and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.

As Garth asked, “What if tomorrow never comes?”


Slow down so you can be present and in the moment.

Embrace and value experiences.

Enjoy the experiences that you have daily. Instead of simply surviving your work day, tolerating your social life and hustling to survive another day with the kids, find meaning and fulfillment in each day and experience.

Slowing down allows you to taste and feel the joy of everyday experiences, the taste of that oolong tea and the company of your bestie.

To celebrate everyday happiness.

Waiting for happiness for tomorrow? I was.

A message from happiness to you: don’t wait on me, girl.

Happiness doesn’t come from your life partner showing up tomorrow, landing your dream job at Mindvalley or Zappos, or your life falling into place as you desire it.

Happiness comes from within you. Here. Now. Per your request. Your soul’s desire. Your heart’s choice.

Finding happiness in the small moments and everyday moments is the real secret to a happy life.

Connection and relationships.

When you slow it down, you have time for the people in your life. You can simply sit and be present with them. Enjoy their company and their presence.

When you don’t have to go anywhere or rush to the next thing, you can simply enjoy the people in your life.

Soul time.

When you slow down, there is time for seeking within. You can reconnect with your spiritual nature and water your soul. When your external world slows down, you have time to visit and sit with yourself.

Within is where all the answers you’re looking for can be found.

Growth time.

When you race through life without stopping, you don’t have much time to reflect and grow as a person.

You don’t have time for personal development, self-improvement and character building. You have no time to learn life’s lessons because you’re always off to the next thing.

Slowing down allows you reflect, observe and grow as a person.

And when you take all these factors into account, you have the makings of a very rich and rewarding life.

A life that slows down gives you the treasure of time, which permits connection, relationships, inner-awareness, growth, character-building, and more.

Your inner peace, stress-less lifestyle, and uncountable moments of pleasure are things that money absolutely can’t buy.

10 ways to take off your running shoes and slow it down.

1. Set the intention to live a slower life.

Nothing is more important than this. If you’re operating on auto-pilot in life, you enjoy cruising at 100 miles per hour.

You’re dashing through life with an Olympic torch in your hand so you can enter the stadium to pick up your medal. Unfortunately, you’ll be dead tired when you get there, and you’ll find that the medal ceremony only lasts for 5 minutes.

And you would have missed the sights and scenes on your way to victory.

If you want to slow things down, set the intention to slow it down. Commit to yourself that you’re going to spend less time living an overcommitted life, less time in your car in traffic, and less time doing things you can’t stand.

Say yes to simplifying, reducing commitments, and living more slowly.

2. Know yourself better so you can reprioritize your life.

If you don’t know what you want, you’re going to be pulled in many different directions without much focus.

Identifying and acknowledging what’s important to you – family, passion, fun, adventure, creativity, spirituality, service or other values – is your first step to self-understanding.

Once you acknowledge that yes, these 2 or 3 things are what make for a fulfilling life, then you can create a life that’s based around those things.

You can start doing more of those things that are in alignment with what’s important to you in life and shut the doors on all those other things that are wasting your time and energy.

Understanding your values system is a great way to begin to reprioritize your life, and life coach Tim Brownson has an entire book dedicated to this topic alone.

Understanding your values allows you to live a life that’s more in line with who you are while reducing frivolous commitments.

3. Carve out blocks of “do-nothing” time.

Are you one of those people who has every minute of their day on their calendar? Wonderful.

Please put the gun down and step away from your calendar.

Your productivity and efficiency has gotten you far in life, but has it really?

Could slowing down and resting turbo-charge your productivity and your output?

Purposefully add blocks of time into your calendar, during the work day if possible, where you’re doing nothing constructive. Take this time to do nothing or do something leisurely: walking, a nap, or simply sitting and taking in the day.

If you can’t calendar in blocks of “do-nothing” time into your day, then try to find moments where you squeeze in some “do-nothing” time. Try a longer lunch, a more leisurely walk to your next meeting, or some breathing exercises on your next work conference call.

4. Plan a little.

Similar to creating blocks of time where you do nothing, one way to slow things down and take life at a slower pace is a little daily or weekly planning.

You have to know what’s on your plate so you can identify what’s important to you and what’s not.

Once you realize what’s important to you and squash those things that terrorize you and eat up your time, then create a plan that allows you to do what you have to do in the amount of time you have.

If you plan ahead, you can reduce the rushing, the anxiety and the mindless “busyness” of life. A little pre-planning reminds you how much time you have to do the work that’s in front of you.

If it’s overwhelming, then get help, push some things off to the following week, say “no” to some of what’s on your plate and get a little more breathing room.

7 minutes of planning can reduce 7 days of reckless living.

Simple – plan a little, breathe a little easier.

5. Stop overbooking yourself.

If you were a hotel, would you be the sold-out New York Four Seasons Hotel?  

Social gatherings, family gatherings, kids’ events, pet reunions, Burning Man festivals, the asparagus festival, the Cannes film festival. Enough already.

You may feel the desire to be seen. To be seen is to be admired, you might mistakenly believe.

You’re wrong.

People who are dashing around from the party scene to the nightclub scene to the charity dinner scene for the sole purpose of being noticed are living an illusionary dream.

If you’re simply showing up for your own vanity and ego, first get over yourself.

Then start saying “no” like Solange’s flying kicks to brother-in-law Jay-Z: quickly, furiously and with purpose (but in a loving “we’re still family at the end of the day” kind of way).  

Say no:

“Sorry, I can’t.”

“I’m over-committed.”

“Nope, can’t do that.”

“Maybe next time.”

“Thanks for the invite anyway. Love you. Kisses. I send my best. I send my regards. I send my ex. I send my condolences, etc. etc.”

Socially, personally, professionally and even sexually (huh?), say no.

6. Spend time alone. Focus on self-care.

torrey pines state beach

Enjoy the view @Torrey Pines state beach

What do you do with all that extra time you now have?

First, savor it. Then use that time to take care of yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Exercise. Meditation. Yoga. Reading. Thinking. Dreaming time.

The art of simply sitting and doing nothing.

Self-reflection. Introspection.


“More and more scientific studies speak to the irrefutable benefits of sleep,” Arianna Huffington writes in Thrive.

“A study published in Science even calculated that for the sleep-deprived, an extra hour of sleep can do more for their daily happiness than a $60,000 raise,” Huffington shares.

When you’re rushing through life sleep-deprived, you’re harming your body and your ability to be most productive.

Set earlier bed times and give yourself the luxury of waking up without an alarm clock. Wake up when you’re rested. Read more tips here on getting better sleep.

7. Set limits on technology.

Are you hooked to your cell phone, iPad, laptop and other accessories?

24 hours a day?

Turn off all devices at a certain time. Disconnect.

As Huffington suggests in Thrive, shut your electronic equipment off and keep it in a different room.

“Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition, and creativity,” she writes.

I’ve started doing this of late and am surprised at how much more peaceful and less worried I am. I don’t worry about who’s emailed me, who’s texting me at midnight or tweeting at me.

Get the technology out of your room and shut it off before you go to bed.

8. Take as much time as it takes to do something.

In a rush and tumble world, it’s all about speed and efficiency. What’s the quickest way to get the job done?

As an experiment, why not give yourself the liberty to take as much time as you need to do a task?

And do only that one task at a time. Cut out multi-tasking and opt for a single-minded approach to the task at hand.

Pour yourself a cup of tea.

Eat your breakfast focused on the taste and texture of the food you’re chewing on. Cut out emails and skimming the news headlines as you devour your Cheerios.

Enjoy the process—slow down and find satisfaction in doing the task by itself.

9. Don’t waste your time, like you wouldn’t waste your money.

Would you go around giving people hundreds of dollar bills for no reason?

Do you toss bags of money from your Jetta’s window (if you do, please text me your address ASAP)?

We don’t frivolously shell out the Benjamins mindlessly, so why waste a chunk of your time?

What if your time was like your money?

Would it easier for you to be more protective of your time?

Could you say “no” more?

I understand that the point of this article is to encourage you to have more time and not live in time scarcity, but this point asks you to be mindful of and careful with the time you do have.

What do you really want to do with your time? Treasure your decisions and choices based on what’s important to you.

10. Stay focused on your own life.

It’s very easy to start going every which way when you’re trying to march in someone else’s parade.

Just because EVERYONE you know is doing the same thing, pursuing the same things and living the same life, that doesn’t mean you have to.

Your friend getting a Masters doesn’t mean you need to get your application in too. Your friend going to law school shouldn’t inspire you, but remind you to get them psychological help.

Your friend nailing her dream job at the top-four consulting firm shouldn’t make you feel like you’re slacking in life and you need to get out of your comfortable career.

It’s so easy to see what people are doing and want to duplicate their dreams. You start running around frantically trying to live their lives, driving yourself to your wit’s end.

Ask yourself if you really want something before you do it. See how it fits with your life, your dreams and your values.

Go from within. Don’t let outside pressures or people dictate how to live. March to your own beat.

When your life slows down, you will have peace and happiness that’s priceless. You’ll also have the focus and productivity to pursue those things that YOU really want in life.

Living in alignment with your priorities and your values will produce a feeling of immense joy, abundance and happiness that no dollar amount or job could give you.

Now go brew yourself a cup of tea and call it a day, mate. Time to turn off the iPhone, enjoy a little “do-nothing” time and get to bed early for a full night’s rest.

* Photo Credit daran_kandasamy

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6 Ways of Letting Go of the Past and Embracing the Power of Now

6 Ways of Letting Go of the Past and Embracing the Power of Now

present moment
“Don’t let the past steal your present.” Terri Guillemets

I have a confession to make.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I write a lot about pain and heartbreak, inspired primarily by a painful and heart–shattering divorce.

Over the last couple years, divorce has taken me to the depths of my sanity, led me to question my very being and forced me to confront the deepest suffering.

Without question, this life event has held me back, kept me down and paralyzed my life.

It’s a subject I wrote about often, talked about often and thought about, even dreamt about, more often.

I allowed my agonizing thoughts to dominate my life as I embarked upon a steep path of growth and revitalization in my life.

Now that I can look back with a little more clarity, I can see how I replaced a person (my former spouse) with pain. How I made heartbreak and sorrow my companions.

Through a chance conversation with a childhood friend, I was re-introduced late last year to the one author and book that had previously touched my life.

You may also have read this ultimate guide to and celebration of living in the present moment: The Power of Now, by the soft-spoken spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle.

Tolle’s message of living in the present moment packs a punch of clarity, wisdom and absolute truth.

How do you live in the present moment?

It’s easy and sometimes even pleasurable to get caught up and live in our past.

You’ve likely experienced struggle, heartbreak, loneliness, failure and loss.

But you know what’s worse than experiencing any of these events once in your life?

Painfully replaying each of these moments over and over again in your mind.

In The Power of Now, Tolle reminds us that we don’t have to replay the horror, the pain, and sorrow of our pasts repeatedly in our minds.

6 “living in the moment” strategies Tolle shares in The Power of Now:

You probably aren’t going to spend another week of your life re-reading Tolle (although I highly recommend it) and it will likely take us all a couple lifetimes to fully understand Tolle’s reflections.

I’m going to take to try to take out the Tolle-speak and seemingly dense spiritual concepts and explain The Power of Now as I understood it.

Here are 6 practical and actionable steps Tolle suggests.

If you simply implement one of the strategies below and shift your mindset, I promise you that your life will change forever.

1. Stop thinking. “What the…!?” you’re wondering as you read this line…

Tolle provides a solution to reoccurring sadness and pain in your life.  Your thoughts continue to replay in your mind like your favorite iTunes track.

Each replay is a swift reminder and a continuation of past pain.

“When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge…You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it,” Tolle writes.

So sit and become aware of your life’s darkest moments repeating themselves in your thoughts.

In the course of your day, when you feel sadness and loss, just call your thoughts out: “There you go again, mind! Taking me through this roller coaster of emotions. Replaying that sad and tragic past once again…”

Stop the mental replay by becoming aware of the negative.

When you stop thinking of or re-playing painful events in your mind, Tolle says, “You’re no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.”

Action: Watch your mind. Or watch for feelings of sadness and pain throughout the day. When you are feeling sorrow or pain, immediately call out the thoughts that led you there.

Thinking about your difficult childhood, the loss of a loved one, your pet dying?

Shine a flashlight on these sneaky thieves wandering around the dark alleys of your mind.

2.    Be highly alert in the present moment.

Well, geez, how do you do that? By being completely present in any activity or conversation you are in.

Ask yourself, “Am I in the present moment?” in whatever it is that you’re doing.

Am I focusing on the task at hand?”

Am I here or are my thoughts floating in la la land?”

Give normal and everyday activities your full and utmost attention.

As an example, Tolle writes, “Every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every moment, even your breathing. Be totally present.

Do this while you’re walking around town, getting in and out of the elevator, walking to the train station or wandering around the grocery store.

Be present in every moment by paying as much attention as possible to that moment.

3.    Become aware of the pain-body within you.

Tolle defines the pain-body as lingering emotional pain.

He notes that some of us live entirely through our pain-body, whereas in others, the pain-body may be asleep 90% of the time.

For example, I used to be preoccupied with the pain of breaking up about 90% of the time.

My pain-body became ever more important in my life because it gave me a troubling new sense of self.

In the past couple of years, I have spent less time thinking about and experiencing the pain-body of loss and heartache.

When you and I become our pain-bodies, we have something to identify with.

“I’m the person who suffered loss.”

“I’m heart-broken.”

“I’m that person who failed financially.

After marinating in this identity, you get swept over by a wave of pain, sadness and sorrow, and it supplies you with your identity. Your ego identifies with this pain-body and your pain becomes your self-image. You become your past, your loss and your hurt.

Once this pain-body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both…” Tolle reflects.

So, how do you dissolve this pain-body?

Tolle summarizes this process: “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it…don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make yourself an identity out of it.”

“Stay present and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you…This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence.”

4.    Be aware of the difference between your “life” and “life situation.”

Tolle makes a distinction between your life and your life’s circumstances or situations. He refers to life situations as “psychological time.” Life situations are the past and the future.

You resist what happened to you in the past, don’t accept it in the present and are anxious about the future.

Whatever is happening to you is your life situation, which happened in the past or could happen sometime in the future. Both of those places aren’t the present moment.

Tolle says you could have a lot of situational problems, and most lives are filled with them, but you should find complete comfort and peace in the present moment.

Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the lights shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing…” Tolle gently nudges us.

You don’t have to identify with or be defined by your past.

If you accept the present moment, you can deal with those situations as they are.

You can’t change what has happened and what is coming your way: past and future.

All you have at this exact moment is something that needs to be dealt with or accepted. That’s it! “Why make it into a problem?” Tolle inquires.

“All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems.”

Although Tolle says this is a simple choice, I’m certain if you adapt this philosophy and start living it, your life will completely transform. You’ll be a new person who will no longer be crushed by the weight of the past or the future.

5.    Drop negativity like a piece of hot coal.

For more happiness and peace of mind, Tolle proposes letting go of negativity.

“How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don’t want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.”

You have a choice to be entrenched in your past or to live for the moment that you have right in front of you.

Often we’re chock-full of negativity in our life because we refuse to accept something that happened in the past or are resisting something occurring in the current moment.

Tolle’s suggestion is to choose the current moment and accept what is, choosing to let go of the heavy baggage and drop the hot coals by consciously choosing to let go of the pain of the past.

When you let go of the pain surrounding the past and the negativity associated with it, you will find an ever-present peace of mind in the present moment.

6. Let go of the future. I sure love the future, don’t you? What’s not to love about it?

In my future, there is happiness, bliss, abundance and eternal joy.

Of course, Tolle bursts all our bubbles and insists on prying the future out of our hands.

Forget the future, he says:

‘When I obtain this or am free of that – then I will be okay’. This is the unconscious mind-set that creates the illusion of salvation in the future,” Tolle writes.

Sure, we could find peace, happiness, and fulfillment some day, or we could scratch that futuristic thinking and chose to have all of that in this very moment.

You don’t need to go anywhere to find this joyful state of being.

“You ‘get’ there by realizing you are there already,” is one of the most powerful Eckhart Tolle quotes in the Power of Now.

I devoured this book once a long while back, but this past year, I really started to understand it, and it’s been a life-changer.

You can CHOOSE to let go of your past pain and suffering.

Become aware of how those past misfortunes resonate with negative feelings, thoughts and emotions.

You suffered once, why suffer again?

The future is a whole other story that isn’t here – you can’t do anything about, can’t change it, can’t guarantee happiness in it. You don’t even know if you’ll be there when you get there. So why live for a tomorrow that may never come?

Live for the present. Live in this very moment.

Change your mindset and accept this very moment. Right now, chose to be happy, choose to let go, to lift that heavy burden off your shoulders and release the heaviness of the past and future this very minute.

Give yourself permission to breathe in and breathe out with peace of mind, acceptance and emotional freedom.

Would it be too much to call this enlightenment?

What are you doing at this very moment? Are you being fully present and going to leave a comment below ? 🙂 Tell me about your experiences or strategies for letting go of the past.