What Happens If You Allow Your WHYs to Guide You?

One of my clients recently became completely overwhelmed studying for an exam for a professional certification. To support her in being present with her studying, I asked her why it’s important for her to pass this exam.

Over the phone, I heard her lighten up as she answered, “I get to help my clients in a new way and I’ll make more money with this added service.” “Why is it important to make more money?” “Because when we start a family in a couple of years, if I make more money now, I can work less then.”

“So, as you’re studying and you notice you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, can you take a deep breath, remember why you’re doing this and then get back to it?” She laughed. “Of course. I feel better already.”

For me, most years at this time of year, I have to firmly remind myself why I’m going to focus on activities I love in the summer. There aren’t many of them because summer is my least favorite season. Tomorrow when I’m enjoying dinner on a restaurant patio with a friend to celebrate her birthday, I will remember I eat lots of summer meals on the patio because I am unwilling to be miserable for 25% of each year!

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My 16-year-old niece, Hailey, and I enjoying our latte and white mocha on the patio of my favorite San Diego coffee shop, 99 Cups in Pacific Beach. YAY patios!!!

So what about you? What’s challenging you right now? What is your WHY? Does that help you move forward in a way that feels better to you? Post your experiences below . . .

What is the Value of Detachment?

Recently I realized I wanted to be more aware and mindful of detaching. In pondering what might support me in this process, I came up with a few core ideas, reminders.

In case they’re helpful to you, here they are!

I am beginning to recognize that detaching sets me free to love fully, unconditionally and without reservation.

What is the Value of Detachment?

My energy is open, moving and available and at the same time, still, spacious and deeply loving.

I allow EVERYTHING to pass through.

Nothing can stick to me unless I stick to it.

I am right here, right now, loving fully without needing things to be a certain way.

So what about you? What do you notice about yourself and attachment, detachment? Post your experiences below . . .

I Am Love

Love is not something I do.
Love is not something I get from you.
Love is not something I give to you.

Love is who I am.
Love is who you are.

LOVE IS WHO I AM.
LOVE IS WHO YOU ARE.

As I feel into this,
I notice my brain wants meaning.
What does this mean?

As I feel into this,
I realize my heart KNOWS.

Without words.
With a softening of my body.
With a slowing of my breath.

Experiencing myself as love.
Experiencing you as love.

I Am Love
Experiencing this road, this snow, these clouds, these trees as love.

Experiencing the air I breath as love.
Experiencing the sun upon my face as love.
Experiencing life as love.
Experiencing. Love.

What about you? What’s your experience? Post your experiences below…

What Might Life Look Like Beyond Following the Rules

“The laws of love are not rules, facts, or right answers. The laws of love bring spiritual freedom, the freedom that lies beyond belief, beyond thought, beyond adherence to any authority other than one’s own heart.”

- A Course of Love
Mari Perron, First Receiver

I’ve become increasingly aware that I’ve created many rules for my life because I’ve thought that following the rules would keep me safe.

Creating a new life in a new state, knowing no one when I first moved to New Mexico 2½ years ago has opened my eyes a bit.

A few of my rules for good living before New Mexico:

  • Don’t join groups. They don’t work for you. You are a one-on-one person.
  • Don’t ever buy a brand-new car. It’s a waste of money.
  • Don’t spend more than an hour on a first date. If it doesn’t go well, cut your losses. If it does go well, don’t let him know you like him too much.

Here’s what I’ve noticed since living in New Mexico.

First, it may seem like loosening my grip on my own rules isn’t related to New Mexico. Yet, I know it is because I followed my heart when I moved here.

Then I joined 3 groups: an Entrepreneurial Women’s Group, The Trusted Advisor’s Network and The Celebration church. I met almost all of my closest peeps through these groups.

Then, I started 3 new, smaller groups with 2 of the women I had met through the Trusted Advisor’s Network. A group of 5 women studying A Course of Love, a monthly Women’s Questioning Circle with 6 women and a Mindful Business Accelerator group of 7 women and men.

Sometimes the groups have been super challenging for me. And, I have grown so much! Also, I’ve formed wonderful, deep heart-connections with more people than I had in the past.

As for a new car, well, one day, after buying another used car only 5 months before, I had a new idea. It became okay, even if it was a waste of money, because I wanted to experience driving a new car and not focusing on repairs for awhile.

What Might Life Look Like Beyond Following the Rules
A new car for The Land of Enchantment!

I’ve had my new car for only 4 months and I’ve loved every minute! It hasn’t been earth-shattering. It just feels good to me. And, it feels fantastic to have done something different for myself. I’ll check back with you in a few years on this one.

Ah, those first dates . . . I’ve been on several. One lasted a half hour. Most lasted a couple of hours. The most recent one lasted a half day, and he’s a keeper. : )

What I learned by breaking that rule involved connecting with another human being rather than trying to assess “in” or “out” in record time so as to not “waste” my time.

So, what about you? What rules might you have created? Might you like to experiment with following your heart a bit more?

Tell us about it – post your thoughts and comments below . . .

Full Glory

“It’s not going to work.”
“I’m not good enough.”

Ah, the dream-killer voice
of my human self.

That’s my cue 
to turn it over 
to the Divine.

Dearest High Glory of All, 
I give you this doubt and fear.

I don’t need to 
try to muscle out of it.


I simply give you 

my perceived limitations



Bobcat
Perhaps this situation calls for my inner bobcat?

and then go about my business,

living my Full Glory of You.

As always, please post your thoughts and comments below . . .

What Is the Right Place to Be Looking for Love?

A basket full of bread sits on your head; yet you go from door to door begging for crusts. Attend to your own head. Knock on your heart’s door.”
~ Rumi

No doubt Johnny Lee’s country song “Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places” was inspired by Rumi! Here’s the thing, in his song, he references lookin’ into too many faces. Rumi tells us where to find the right face – directly beneath the basket of bread on our own head.

It’s wonderful to notice love and receive love from our loved ones, from all those around us, from complete strangers . . .

And, sometimes they’re preoccupied in their own worlds. Indeed, sometimes we ourselves are preoccupied and forget to love ourselves.

What Is the Right Place to Be Looking for Love?

May a basket of bread always remind us of all the love in our hearts, overflowing with love for ourselves.

Yet in any moment, with one new breath, we can simply remember the basket of fresh bread on our head and receive the nourishment and love of our own hearts.

As always, please post your thoughts and comments below …

The Counterintuitive Way to Be with Panic Rising

Panic Rising

Feeling this sensation
Inside me
that I tend to call
Panic.

Noticing.
Breathing.
Feeling urgency
and refraining from
Thinking.
Labeling.
Judging.

Instead.
Being.
Being with the
Sensation
Inside of me.

Ah,
False alarm.
Nothing to do.

Simply a
Call.
To be.

Be with myself.
Allowing the rising.

Noticing rising
Is always followed
by subsiding.

The Counterintuitive Way to Be with Panic Rising

Rising.
Subsiding.

Rising.
Subsiding.

Surrendering.
Accepting.
Breathing.

Feeling this sensation
Inside me
that I tend to call
Bliss.

Noticing.
Breathing.
Feeling attachment
and refraining from
Thinking.
Labeling.
Judging.

Being.
Being with the
Sensation
Inside of me.

Ah,
False alarm.
Nothing to do.

Simply a
Call
To be.

Be with myself.
Allowing the rising.

Noticing rising
Is always followed
by subsiding.

Rising.
Subsiding.

Rising.
Subsiding.

Surrendering.
Accepting.
Breathing.

Learning to love.

The rising.
The subsiding.

What Happens When I’m Willing to Release Control?

When I first moved back to New Mexico two and a half years ago, I created a wonderful, ever-changing art project for myself. I filled a white, ceramic, shallow, baking bowl with fine black sand and created a new Zen “rock garden” daily, or as inspired.

On my daily walks, I would notice which small rocks wanted to come home with me to play in the rock garden. I loved collecting various sizes, shapes, colors and textures. The interplay between matte finishes and shimmery finishes delighted me.

I put all possible rock players in a basket in a drawer beneath my butcher block counter top. Whenever I felt like it, usually while waiting for my coffee to brew, I would take the current rocks out of the garden and arrange new ones. Sometimes the basket got too full to close the draw and then some of the rocks would go back outside.

I loved the ever-changing parade of rocks in the consistent, stable environment of the white bowl with the black sand. One of the best parts of the ritual involved picking my “favorite” rocks to play with on any particular day.

What Happens When I’m Willing to Release Control?

What Happens When I’m Willing to Release Control?

What Happens When I’m Willing to Release Control?

After a few months, the same rock garden would stay in place for weeks or months. One day last summer, the wind kicked up through the open widow behind the rock garden and, in a moment, black sand was all over the kitchen. After I had cleaned up everything, I put the bowl and what was left of the sand into a cupboard.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I felt inspired to put the rock garden back in service. Once again, I was enjoying the ever-changing art. Then, spontaneously, a few days ago, I decided to change it up. I had pulled the rocks out of the sand and was beginning to choose the next rocks to play.

Then I had the thought, “why don’t I pick the rocks that want to play without looking at them?” So I did. When I looked at the rocks I had picked without looking at them, I felt disappointed. I wondered, “How could I make any beauty with these rocks?”

Boy, was I wrong. I placed the rocks and THERE it was: Beauty where I thought there wasn’t any!!! Turns out that when I allow and receive, it works out as well or better than when I choose “my favorites.”

For fun, I’ve included photos of three different rock gardens. Which one of them do you think has the “random” rocks rather than the “chosen” rocks?

So what about you? What might be the value for you in releasing control in a particular area of your life right now?

3 Quick, Awesome Ways to Dissolve Stress

Come to Mama
When was the last time you laid on the ground? If you have to think about it, stop reading now, run outside and plop yourself down. Lay there and take in the support of Mother Earth holding you and the expansive infinity of the sky calling you. If your neighbors ask, “Are you alright?,” invite them to join you.

Play Hard
Grab some kids, a dog or your lover and get down to some old-fashion play. Tag, wrestling, throwing a ball . . . Bonus points for doing it outside.

Shake Your Booty
Get all that tension out of your body. Now. If you need a guide, let Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya, support you in completely shifting in less than 4 minutes.

Those are my ideas for today. What about you? What are 3 of your favorite ways to dissolve stress? Let’s get a great big, juicy list going . . .

How to Look for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

We tend to think our happiness lies in the predictable and permanent instead of being present with life when the tide comes in and when the tide goes out.

How to Look for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

In Pema Chödrön’s book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, she says, “We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort. What begins as a slight shift of energy – a minor tightening of our stomach, a vague, indefinable feeling that something bad is about to happen – escalates into addiction. This is our way of trying to make life predictable.”

What’s so strange to me: I KNOW that nothing’s permanent and yet, I still try to arrange things so that, finally, I’ll have something I can “count on.” Ironically, I can count on the ebb and flow of life, but that isn’t what I want. I want to make the unpredictable predictable. Ah, one of the many faces of trying to control . . .

As much as I’d love to be in control, it has yet to yield anywhere near the amount of happiness I think it should! So, I’m practicing sitting with the uncomfortable feelings. What’s so amazing to me: I often experience a sublime peace when I’m not fighting what is.

I’m also practicing enjoying the adventure of chaos. As I’m going to yet another pet store to get new food and more remedies that might help my kitty Miles feel better, I surrender to not being in charge.

When I’d really love a particular thing to happen, I notice that attachment doesn’t feel good. So, I say to myself, often out loud, “It will happen. Or it won’t happen.” And, I’ve found happiness in releasing attachment.

What I’m noticing more and more: the sweetness in life, even when I feel uncomfortable and even when things aren’t as I wish they would be.

What about you? What does your relationship with discomfort, predictability and permanence look like? What do you notice about happiness for you? Please share below . . .


Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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