Monday, July 23, 2012

Putting Drama into Perspective

What do you do when you walk into a room and you’ve just stepped into a cloud of other people’s drama? It’s so easy to get swept up in it, but sometimes you have to realize: you don’t have to get involved!
The next time you walk into a room and everyone is complaining or freaking out about something, here are a few things you can do:
If possible, walk back out of the room!
If you can’t leave the room, don’t respond directly to what’s going on, especially if it doesn’t involve you personally.
If it does involve you personally, stay centered, stay present, and send thoughts of well-being to everyone in the room.
If you’re on your way to work and you know something might be brewing, mentally prepare yourself and remember that you can handle whatever is in front of you.
It also helps to zoom out and see the entire situation from a broader viewpoint. Put it into perspective. Realize that the things we complain about or freak out about are usually really small and inconsequential, and there are always solutions. I used to think I had to help everyone with their problems, but sometimes people just like to complain! Even if you offer them the perfect solution, they might not see it—and that’s okay. Love them where they are.
If you’re stuck in major traffic, realize how amazing it is that you have a car and that you have a place to go! Life is good! If you’re in the middle of work-related drama, realize how great it is that you have a job and that there really is a solution for everything. Let the drama be a trigger for gratitude! I always come back to gratitude. It’s like a magical elixir for your emotional state. If you can get to a place of gratitude, it’s easy to see everything from a higher perspective.
I was out shopping recently and I was feeling stressed out about a few things related to all the changes going on in my life. I was walking around in a state of worry and frustration. Then I saw a woman in a wheelchair and I thought, Wow, I am so incredibly blessed! And the frustration evaporated. Perspective is powerful!
I believe that drama (big and small) has a purpose. Sometimes it’s so unbearable that it propels you to move forward into something you were afraid to do. Sometimes it makes you see how blessed you really are. And sometimes it makes you broaden your perspective and realize that it’s not so bad after all.

You can also read my article here:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Art of Surrender

When you hear the word surrender, do you think of giving up? Quitting? Feeling defeated? I actually see it as letting go of an endless struggle. Many of us were taught that we need to work hard and suffer in order to be successful in life. This is a prevalent concept that influences us in ways we don’t even realize. I always believed this, but looking back on my life, I can see that it hasn’t been such a great formula! I definitely have so much that I’m grateful for, but I have so many goals that I haven’t achieved.
I feel like I’ve always been trying to figure out what to do with my life, constantly searching for answers to my endless questions. It’s amazing to notice how many wonderful experiences have fallen into my lap when I finally let go of trying to force anything to happen. My current job, my closest friendships, my workout routine—all these amazing parts of my life came to me without having to force them into reality!
I now approach each day knowing that things will unfold naturally, especially if I let go of worrying or trying to figure out how it’s going to all work out. For example, I work at a spa as an esthetician, and some days can be pretty hectic. Some services have to be coordinated with the massage therapists and the timing has to be pretty precise. I had a very busy day recently and I decided to trust that it would all unfold in just the right way, rather than stressing about how to time everything and get it all perfect. Everything unfolded smoothly and I even enjoyed my whole day! I didn’t rush or worry. I was present with each client and even at the end of that fully packed day, I felt energized and fulfilled. I wasn’t tired at all.
What would happen if you started letting things unfold naturally?
Things always work better when you stop trying so hard. It’s like the world opens up to you. Every desire starts to make its way towards you in an endless stream. Of course, there will be challenges along the way, but that’s just part of the big picture. It’s such a cliché, but the challenges really do make you stronger and wiser!
So this week, let go of the struggle and really trust that everything will unfold naturally…and see what happens!

You can also read this article here:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Living Courageously

I grew up in a Greek and Italian household. The Greekness, as I call it, was so prevalent in our house that I didn’t realize I was also Italian until about age ten! If you’ve ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you have a pretty good idea of what my life was like. I never felt like I fit in with the other kids at school, and my parents were very protective. As an adult, I now understand they were just trying to keep me away from danger, but I missed out on a lot of life experiences. I never had a fake ID, I never played hooky or got into any kind of major trouble, and I was a late bloomer in many ways.

Now that I’m an adult, I realize that it’s not such a scary world! I have the full capability to handle everything that comes my way. I actually embrace challenges now because I know that I’ll grow and gain tremendous value from each experience. I don’t avoid new things anymore. I am open to new experiences and when things don’t go the way I want them to, I don’t berate myself for not doing a better job. Life is much more fluid and graceful now.

I also realized that when I was playing it safe, my life was really small. I stopped putting myself out there. I stopped dating for a while, and I took time off from the working world because it felt too stressful. My world kept getting smaller. I recently went through some drama that actually shook me out of my falsely safe cocoon. I can honestly say I am grateful for the pain I went through because it pushed me into what I’m doing now, which is working at a really lovely spa with a staff of wonderful people! It’s such an amazing feeling to look back at this dramatic experience and actually feel grateful for it! Going through that drama showed me that I have a lot more courage than I thought.

I love the word courage—no, it’s not a Greek word! The root of the word, cor, means heart in Latin. Courage is taking a step towards something that scares you and doing it with all your heart. To me, living courageously simply means that you’re living life fully, and you trust that you can handle whatever comes your way. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be open to new experiences and to approach life from this empowered point of view.

This quote sums it all up:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”     –Anais Nin

My life is definitely expanding now that I’m living more courageously. And I want to add that courage can take on many forms, including: speaking in front of a large group, expressing your true feelings to someone, making a bold career change, or learning a new skill. It’s so exhilarating!

In what ways can you see yourself living with more courage?

You can also read it here:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Self-Help: Is It Really Helping?

The self-help industry is huge. New books are constantly coming out, each one holding the promise for a better life. I’ve read so many self-help books over the last few years, and I realized that they’re not actually that helpful! Sure, I get momentarily inspired and I get some new ideas, but I often wonder if they’ve really made a difference in my life.
I recently heard about a study that was done with two groups of people who wanted to lose weight. The first group was told the program would be easy, and the second group was told it would be challenging. Surprisingly, the group that knew the program would be challenging lost a significantly higher amount of weight than the other group! This struck a chord with me. Many of the books I’ve read have led me to believe that once I followed the steps that were laid out, I would be set for life. I wouldn’t have any more problems and I’d be living happily ever after on Easy Street. It’s amazing that I actually believed this would happen!
The results of that study, combined with the insights I’ve gained from reading The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, have showed me that it’s okay to come across obstacles and difficulties sometimes. It’s not a disaster if something doesn’t work out the way you planned or if something goes wrong. I’ve found it empowering to face a new challenge with the knowledge that I can absolutely handle it, and that there’s something of value in the experience. I’ve been realizing how vast my inner strength is and how much wisdom I have within me. I’ve also realized that in the long run, it’s actually more painful to avoid uncomfortable or challenging situations.
I’ve been playing with the idea of jumping into new experiences wholeheartedly with a true sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is basically a strong belief in your own competence. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s so powerful.
I recently got a new job. I had been out of work for a while, and honestly I was feeling a little out of the loop. On my first day, I was really nervous, but I decided to just be fully present in the moment and remember my own competence. Things have been going well, and I encounter different challenges every day, but I no longer see them in a negative way. Now I’ve started to see these challenges as opportunities to draw upon my own inner wisdom and use the strength that I know is within me!
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time:
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Hopefully these insights have sparked some inspiration in you and maybe you’ll wake up some of those dormant forces!

You can also read my article here: