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  • Pat­rina M. Clark, SPHR, HCS, RACC
    Speaker | Trainer | Con­sul­tant | Coach

Have you checked your rela­tion­ship account bal­ances lately?

We often use the word “need” when what we really mean is “want” or “desire.” There’s a huge dif­fer­ence between those two. No one is respon­si­ble for ful­fill­ing our wants … and, when some­one does, it should be cher­ished and appre­ci­ated not taken for granted.

Face it, food is an impor­tant part of cul­tures around the world. In Texas, where I’m from, we start talk­ing about the next meal before we’re fin­ished eat­ing the one in front of us. We love to eat!

It’s been said that we should eat to live, not live to eat. While I gen­er­ally agree with this advice, I’m also a huge fan of fully liv­ing and lov­ing the moment we’re in. The chal­lenge can some­times be actu­ally being fully present — actu­ally pay­ing com­plete atten­tion to the moment — what we’re doing, how we’re feel­ing. And, yes, what and how much we’re eating.

So, my coach reminded me that today truly is the first day of the rest of my life. It’s such a sim­ple truth that is all too easy to for­get. With each new day, we have yet another oppor­tu­nity to cre­ate for our­selves our great­est pos­si­ble life. The key is to be inten­tional in, with, and about our lives. Be con­scious — mind­ful in thoughts, words, and deeds. Know exactly what you are think­ing, doing, say­ing … and be clear about why. You are the cre­ator of your real­ity — send­ing and receiv­ing energy. Be a mag­net for all that is won­der­ful and good — and repel those things that are not aligned with your high­est pur­pose. Be fully present in your today — and keep in mind that a lit­tle pos­i­tiv­ity goes a long way! #The­Joy­ful­Diva
It takes con­scious effort to act from the place of know­ing that we all expe­ri­ence things accord­ing to our unique per­spec­tives. And, these per­spec­tives have been cul­ti­vated over the span of our life­times and are unique to each of us. That means it is impos­si­ble for me to know how a par­tic­u­lar expe­ri­ence causes you to feel or really under­stand the depth of a par­tic­u­lar emo­tion you have. How­ever, we are able to cul­ti­vate empa­thy through shared or sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences. It is impor­tant to remem­ber, though, that empa­thy is not the same as expe­ri­ence. So, no mat­ter how much I may believe I can relate, because I’ve not walked even a sin­gle step in your shoes, I can not pos­si­bly know how it truly feels to be you. The best that I can do is to con­tinue liv­ing my own life, trav­el­ing my own jour­ney, one pre­cious step at a time and remain­ing open to the rich­ness of the expe­ri­ences brought by those with whom I am blessed enough to travel a part of the way.

Peace can some­times feel so elu­sive and hap­pi­ness fleet­ing. How­ever, this is only because we seem to want to con­stantly search for peace and hap­pi­ness out­side of our­selves. True peace and true hap­pi­ness are not depen­dent on exter­nal cir­cum­stances. Rather, they come from an inner self assured­ness that says “I am enough,” “I have every­thing I need,” “I am truly the mas­ter of my own fate.” It is really only in this gen­uine know­ing that true peace and hap­pi­ness exist. When we learn to rely upon our­selves — to trust in our Divin­ity — we can be com­pletely at peace no mat­ter what the exter­nal cir­cum­stances are. And we can have a hap­pi­ness that dri­ves us to con­tin­u­ally move in the direc­tion of our high­est dreams while mak­ing the absolute most of each day. Learn to lis­ten to your heart and heed its unfail­ing counsel.

Life passes in stages. Our child­hoods are often a care­free time where we are open to and eagerly explor­ing the world around us.

As we get older, many of us develop a sense of invin­ci­bil­ity – the know-​it-​all teenage years – where we believe we know all there is to know about life and what it will take to make us happy.

As we tran­si­tion into adult­hood and begin to have very grown up expe­ri­ences (home pur­chas­ing, mar­riage, get­ting a job), we often­times become more and more com­pla­cent. We set­tle into our rou­tines and rarely ask our­selves the ques­tions “Who am I?” and “What makes my spirit soar?”

It’s not that our lives our “bad” … we can some­times be left won­der­ing whether there isn’t more to life than the into which we’ve set­tled or long­ing for days gone by when we felt truly alive.

The three ideas (as well as some tips I shared in an ear­lier blog) that fol­low can help in the quest to redis­cover and be our authen­tic selves. These tips can help reignite our pas­sion for life and get us actively engaged in liv­ing our lives to the fullest.

Accord­ing to LinkedIn, today marks the 2-​year anniver­sary of my leav­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to start my own coach­ing and con­sult­ing busi­ness. To that I say, WOW! As I reflect on this anniver­sary, I share the fol­low­ing observations:

1) Time flies when you’re hav­ing fun … and even when you’re not. So, you might as well be hav­ing fun.

2) There is no sub­sti­tute for peace of mind … and peace of mind is not a per­son, place or thing … it’s a state of being that is ever present. So, we can change jobs, rela­tion­ships, and res­i­dences. But, those changes in and of them­selves will not bring peace of mind … that must come from within.

3) The more aligned we are with our authen­tic nature (which goes well beyond the char­ac­ters we con­vince our­selves we are), the eas­ier it is to main­tain peace of mind which opens the flood­gates to joy in abundance.

And, on this won­der­ful anniver­sary, my wish for all of you is JOY IN ABUNDANCE.

Have you ever been in the mid­dle of doing some­thing when you sud­denly stop and won­der why you are doing it? Some­how in the chaos of every­day liv­ing you real­ize that you’re rarely actu­ally pay­ing atten­tion to what you’re doing. You aren’t liv­ing inten­tion­ally, but rather on auto-​pilot.

Func­tion­ing on autopi­lot rather than inten­tion­ally focus­ing can leave us feel­ing unin­spired. Being present for our lives – liv­ing inten­tion­ally – can dra­mat­i­cally increase our energy lev­els, enthu­si­asm, and over­all enjoy­ment because we empower our­selves to do the things that mat­ter most to us. Mak­ing even small changes to our daily rou­tines can cause a big shift from a task-​driven exis­tence to a passion-​driven one. So, try these five ideas and see what a dif­fer­ence you feel.

A piece of choco­late cake, a new TV, a week on the beach. We spend so much of our lives try­ing to achieve one sim­ple and wor­thy goal: hap­pi­ness. Most of what we do is moti­vated by this aim. But how well are we doing? This slice of cake may bring us hap­pi­ness for a few moments, and the first few foot­ball games on the new TV are great. But this hap­pi­ness is tran­si­tory, stay­ing with us for only a short time. We begin to take the TV for granted and the relax­ation we took home from the beach fades as we get back into our daily rou­tine. Chances are, if you clicked on this arti­cle you feel there could be at least a lit­tle more hap­pi­ness in your life.

The trick is to use our energy and effort in the pur­suit of authen­tic, last­ing hap­pi­ness rather than momen­tary plea­sures. But, how do we do this?

This weekend’s I Can Do It! Con­fer­ence at the Gay­lord Hotel and Con­fer­ence Cen­ter was a giant buf­fet with seem­ingly end­less delec­table life-​enhancing choices. There truly was some­thing for every­one, from sci­en­tif­i­cally sup­ported lec­tures on a deeper under­stand­ing of our human expe­ri­ence from Gregg Braden and Bruce Lip­ton to acoustic musi­cal per­for­mances by Alex Woodard’s For the Sender. It was a won­der­ful way to get a taste of the best of Hay House and delve into the art of liv­ing our great­est lives – one pre­cious soul at a time, one pre­cious moment at a time.

Being pre­dictable is a part of being human. Our brains are actu­ally wired to embed habits, increas­ing the num­ber of things we can do on autopi­lot. As essen­tial as autopi­lot is to our sur­vival, it’s impor­tant to our hap­pi­ness — to our mov­ing beyond sur­viv­ing to thriv­ing — to ocas­sion­ally take our­selves off of autopi­lot and assess what’s really going on.

“Change in all things is sweet.” – Aris­to­tle

An unde­ni­able truth about the phys­i­cal uni­verse is that change is con­stant. From the tini­est known par­ti­cles on Earth to an esti­mated 500 bil­lion galax­ies in our uni­verse, every­thing is in motion. All that is will change, momentarily.

The same prin­ci­ple does not auto­mat­i­cally apply when it comes to the way we do things in life and how we feel. You can resist chang­ing your ways quite suc­cess­fully – even at the risk of your own hap­pi­ness and health – or you can change. It’s your choice.

Feel­ing stag­nant? Unful­filled? Ask your­self this ques­tion, “When was the last time I met a per­sonal goal?” Goal set­ting isn’t just good for busi­ness, it’s good for your soul. When you set the mark and reach it, the action res­onates deeply in your inner man. From one suc­cess, you go to another, until you are star­ing a long term goal in the face — and you are wear­ing a sat­is­fy­ing smile! So how do we get to that place? Let’s take this step by step.

It had been more than two years since the divorce with very lit­tle con­tact since then. The split had been ami­ca­ble and civil, and there did not appear to be any latent hos­til­ity or regret. At the same time, both had con­structed sto­ries about the rela­tion­ship that allowed them to move for­ward with their lives in a “pos­i­tive” way. It’s human nature to want to ratio­nal­ize and jus­tify … but that is where the ego lies, where head brain analy­sis allows us to con­struct the sto­ries that we believe best serve us.

Most of us are famil­iar with the def­i­n­i­tion of insan­ity … doing the same thing over and over again and expect­ing a dif­fer­ent result. The know­ing smile we give when we hear it, though, may just be a clue that despite our under­stand­ing the def­i­n­i­tion, we rec­og­nize our own ten­den­cies to do just that. The good news is that we are bio­log­i­cally pre­dis­posed to this behav­ior, so it doesn’t mean we’re insane; it means we’re human.

I see myself play­ing three dis­tinct roles in my life: pas­sive (pow­er­less) observer, con­scious observer, and pow­er­ful cre­ator. This morn­ing in an exchange with a very dear friend, I used a roller­coaster ride to describe the three roles.

Ever have the feel­ing that your heart has a mind of its own? Turns out you were right. Ever acted on a hunch that you really couldn’t explain log­i­cally but you felt very strongly that it was the right thing to do?

Neu­ro­science — the sci­en­tific study of the ner­vous sys­tem — is really help­ing us bet­ter under­stand the impor­tance of the body, heart, and mind con­nec­tion. And, it turns out that our hearts and our gut do indeed have minds of their own.

Find­ing the sweet spot between the two could be our ticket to bliss

Remem­ber that beer com­mer­cial – tastes great, less fill­ing. Well, that’s the inspi­ra­tion for today’s blog … sort of.

One of the real­i­ties of being human is that, gen­er­ally speak­ing, the older we get, the more our deci­sions become head-​based rather than heart-​based.

The Power of Projection

Almost every­one has had the expe­ri­ence of meet­ing some­one and either feel­ing an imme­di­ate attrac­tion to or strong lik­ing for the per­son. The oppo­site expe­ri­ence is also true, where we imme­di­ately decide we do not like someone.

The best – and most empow­er­ing – expla­na­tion I ever received for this hap­pened when I attended a Deb­bie Ford (www​.deb​bieford​.com) work­shop. Shortly after the ses­sion started, Deb­bie invited us to share our impres­sions of her.

Too often we make love con­di­tional or cir­cum­stan­tial. We love some­one “until” or “as long as.” Doing so gives us a sense of con­trol or power over the sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, the love expe­ri­ence is intended to be a free-​flowing expe­ri­ence – an expe­ri­ence that we allow to carry us away. Some­times, we are car­ried to the high­est heights; other times, to the low­est lows. All of the places love car­ries us can instill greater clar­ity – both about who we are and what our soul needs. We need only allow our­selves to freely flow, observe, and learn.

I used to say that hap­pi­ness should not be the goal – that instead, we should strive for peace, or peace­ful­ness. I had that per­spec­tive because of the famous quote from the Bible that speaks to hav­ing a peace that passes all under­stand­ing. To me, it made peace sound much more desir­able because it seemed to sup­port oper­at­ing more con­sis­tently with­out rad­i­cal highs and lows. Well, I’ve amended my thinking.

One of my girl­friends and I still laugh about some­thing that hap­pened at an Eric Benét con­cert at the leg­endary Birch­mere in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia well over a year ago. More impor­tantly than giv­ing us a great laugh from time to time, I have found it to be of tremen­dous ben­e­fit when I need a lit­tle self-​confidence booster to “just do me.”

We were sit­ting front row with sev­eral other True Eric Benét fans (aka TrueEBs) hav­ing our­selves a great time – which is always the case. As we were leav­ing the venue, a woman approached my girl­friend and said “I saw you down front. Frankly, you were doing too much.”

About 10 years ago, I was diag­nosed with scle­ro­derma, an autoim­mune dis­ease where basi­cally the body turns on itself and begins to attack healthy cells. It is a chronic dis­ease that affects about 300,000 and for which there is presently not a cure.

For­tu­nately, I was diag­nosed with the less severe form of the dis­ease, known as Lim­ited Sys­temic Scle­ro­derma. And, while I cer­tainly have some chal­lenges, I am mind­ful that it could be con­sid­er­ably more chal­leng­ing (which, inter­est­ingly, I observe to be true about most things — per­spec­tive is a won­der­ful thing).

Expect­ing to be told no can become a self-​fulfilling prophecy … as is true with any expec­ta­tion. In the case of expec­ta­tions, it is true because it usu­ally stops us from sim­ply mak­ing our requesrs known. This is gen­er­ally a learned behav­ior that, for many, is learned early in child­hood where we’re admon­ished to “stop ask­ing for so much” and “just be happy with what you have.”