I've been called a Pollyanna. A lot. Apparently being called a Pollyanna is a jab, yet I take it as a compliment. Look at her story more closely to see the power in positivity and perseverance. She was a gal who went through A LOT in her young life: orphaned, pawned off on various people, left to fend for herself, constantly in transition, poor, hard working, no guarantees of security and a lot to withstand. Through every experience, she chose to see the silver linings. She slowed down and savored the details. She was grateful for what she had even with so much uncertainty and despair. Pollyanna was a trooper, a pioneer, an avant garde, a light bearer. She flummoxed those around her who were driven by fear, trying to look good to everyone around them at all costs (ego), at the same time inspiring many to stop and smell the roses with her choice to be simple and sincere. Pollyanna had her priorities straight. She knew what she stood for and had her bottom lines. She might not have had a lot in the physical realm, yet her spirit was full and she had everything to gain. What about that is a turn off? Seeing the world through rose colored glasses more than many and holding vision for potential where it might not be present today is inherent to who I am. I've been through a lot and choose to keep going. If that makes me a Pollyanna, I'll take it with a smile.
I see the power of Pollyanna. One of the lessons she teaches is this: With every moment, every uncertainty, there is one choice to make: will I choose to be grateful for what is here and open to what's possible, or will I curse the world for what it's not giving me and play the victim role? She had many reasons to whine and say "woe is me." Being a victim or martyr is easy, it's convenient, it's a trap. Rising into gratitude and staying curious about what is being grown might not be easy. It is worthwhile though. Pollyanna rallied an entire community, uniting people who were insistent on being enemies, even bringing a smile and laughter to the biggest curmudgeon ever.
Pollyanna danced to her own tune. She was willing to look silly in the name of authenticity. She shared herself generously with other people and questioned the status quo. She connected rather than isolated. She paused to get to know herself even in the dark times. She felt her feelings and moved on when drowning in sadness, anger or blame were viable options. She was real. What about that isn't attractive? It wasn't easy to understand from the outside and many judged her for how she was, who she was. Undoubtedly this hurt her and she accepted it, staying true to herself through it all. She was the one she had been waiting for all along and knew it as she veered off her own course and found her way back. She took responsibility for her life and refrained from blaming Life for screwing her over. She dared to embody gratitude and live fully each day to the best of her ability.
Staying stuck in the blame game is where disdain, anger, rage, addiction, depression and apathy are bred. Gratitude turns darkness into light, bridges worlds, creates doorways of possibility where few options existed. Gratitude transforms black and white living into full color. Gratitude or blame? I choose the former. It's more pleasant to live with and much more attractive. Audrey Hepburn said it simply and clearly: Happy girls are the prettiest. Gratitude might not equal happiness all the time, it does make it possible to feel free and content in whatever circumstance. Clinging to blame and pessimism keeps familiarity, allows there to be a stance of "I'm right." What is looked for will be found. Will you look for what's right or what's wrong? Either way, you'll find it.
Pollyanna didn't have all the answers. She lived in the moment, recognizing that the future isn't for us to see yet. Being right here and now is where the magic happens. Being fully awake to the reality of today with the lens of "how amazing is this" is revolutionary. Others might judge, saying it's stupid/silly/unrealistic/idiotic/counterintuitive/ignorant to be positive when things seem to be going down the tubes or much of life is a big question mark. It's at these times, when the opinions of others are tempting to drag you into fear and worry, that turning inward, or to those close by who hold the light and also choose to see the silver linings, is imperative. Dare to be grateful in the midst of everything. I dare you.
When all else fails, when the mind is going into fear mode, when there is a grasping at something to rely on, pause, literally, to stop and breathe in more deeply. Get out a piece of paper or the phone and get to gratitude. Asking "what has gone right? What brought joy or delight? If I looked back on today in a week or a year, what would I wish I had stopped to say thank you for?" This shifts fear into freedom and invites delight/peace/humility in. With every "thank you" a "fuck you" is quieted. The world, both inner and outer, is a more pleasant place to inhabit with the "thank you" record playing. This practice is so simple. Simple and transformative. Try it.
Be a Pollyanna. Take the challenges facing you, in your head or household, and choose to see how Life is inviting you to grow into the next greatest version of yourself. Stay a victim or join this tribe, I bet you will have more fun and be challenged in ways that satisfy beyond measure. The choice is yours.
Need some help becoming a Pollyanna? Contact me now & claim your space in the tribe. Learn how to thrive through every transition and finally enjoy the adventure of getting to know yourself & living your life.
With a smile,
Have you ever played with dominoes? Something I have been mesmerized by since childhood is creating a path around the living room and beyond, setting up hundreds of dominoes in a winding line. The pieces wrap around the room, circling furniture and man made obstacles, all lining up one after the other. Forming the path is a process, setting intention and planning out the route ahead only to tip over one piece and see the path change. One domino sets the rest in motion, the power of that one small piece fascinates me still. When one piece is touched, the whole line is shaped and shifted. The slightest touch of one domino changes the game for all the others.
We all lead by example. We all set the path in motion, like the lead domino we influence hundreds of others in any given day. There is no way to know how one small choice, action, word, thought, intention, smile, smirk, wave or tear will influence the world as we and others know it. Every choice matters, however small it seems. Each of us has a responsibility, to live with awareness and choose the example we will lead with. Having such awareness can seem daunting sometimes, as can the reality of personal responsibility. The wonderful part of this domino effect thing is that it comes as much from doing what gives us joy as it does doing the conscious and responsible thing. There is so much room for joy. Haven't you been around someone who is enjoying the moment so much it rubs off on you, too? We touch one another every day. How we do this is ours to choose.
Our domino effect is never ending. The choices we make, how we treat ourselves and others, is shaping our path. Acknowledging that I have a responsibility to the world around me is humbling and empowering. I am part of a greater whole, what I do matters and I am just one among many. I choose my attitude, I lead by example, I how I effect others is mine alone and I can always choose again. I have no idea how much my choices influence others. What I do know is that I’d rather err on the side of kindness. If my smile will help someone else out, why not smile? After all, it takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
What you do matters. If you knew your choices in this next thirty minutes would alter the lives of others for many moments to come, what would you do? Thoughts and intentions create our experiences, so choose wisely. Take a minute and ponder, explore, & decide how you’ll tip the stack o’ dominoes in front of you.
Go ahead, it's your turn.
I can barely wait to see what you set in motion,
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -- Scott Adams
Today was a fabulously trouble-free day. Simple pleasures and productivity met as I showed up for myself and others, gave and received, checked a few to do’s off the list and took a stroll in the sun. The majority of the thoughts I was entertaining were encouraging, or at least neutral, and I felt gratefully at peace. It was a full day, no problems in sight.
Then, all of a sudden, things came crashing down. My muscles and head started aching, I discovered a drenched kitchen floor and cracked pipe under the sink, a full bottle of shampoo dropped on my toe, then came the conditioner. The phone started ringing, the dog barked at what, I cannot tell you, and I felt overwhelmed. My thoughts took a turn and I was questioning whether I am, in fact, doing enough, if everything is okay. The inner critic was well energized and giving me her three cents. The calm and content was out of sight and I wanted it back. Now. Initially bummed and discouraged, then I remembered one of my tools, a technique that brings me back to center anytime and anywhere. I went back to basics.
First, I stopped. Right there in the kitchen amidst the water, ringing and barking, I took a long, slow, deep breath.
Then, I asked what to do next. “Put a bucket under the sink” was the guidance, so I followed it; Simple, straightforward, helpful.
Next, I checked in with my body. What did I need right then and there? Was I hungry? Was I angry? Was I lonely? Was I tired? (HALT) Check & check. I was hungry and tired. So, before anything else was addressed, I made a snack and sat down to eat it. By now, the phone had stopped ringing, the dog was sitting by my side, and my mind was quieter. Yes, the floor was wet. Yes, there was a mess. Did I like it? No.
But how important was it really? [A life saver question I ask often] A wet floor stays wet for a few more minutes or I rejuvenate a body and mind that work for me twenty four seven? Did I want to prioritize cleaning it up and put off the basics of self-care? Yes. Instead, I added my name to the top of the to do list! In ten minutes or less, the things to tend to were all addressed. I checked in with the thoughts and questioned their validity. I reminded the inner critic that she is safe and I am in charge. No need to worry, inner critic, seriously. I said a few affirmations, slowly and genuinely, feeling them soothe my sore spots with each word. I drank a glass of water and took some vitamin C. I sat in silence and let the food fill me, rubbing my feet gently and intently. I took a time out and returned to a place of peaceful presence. When I got up, the wet floor was no big deal. In less than ten minutes! The situation hadn’t changed, my perspective had. Checking myself changed everything.
Have you had one of these moments, or maybe a few? What if you checked yourself more often? How might your perspective and experience change?
Give it a try and get back to basics.
Don't you notice a difference in your state of mind, body and perspective already?!
Go ahead, check yourself!
Here's to you,
Whether I think I am prepared for something or not, life brings it. In the past month, I have had many encounters with unexpected memories and recollections, synchronicities and surprises, challenges and quantum leaps. What I have concluded, yet again, is that when something is in front of me (or within me for that matter), I am ready for it. If it is happening, I am ready and able to meet it. No exceptions.
This belief has been tested and strengthened preceding and following my recent trip to Thailand. Lingering doubt that I can handle all that comes was squashed in one challenging, emotional, surreal and liberating afternoon this week. Within the course of five hours, I found a planner from high school, empty ring boxes, a wedding invitation, the declaration of love heart pendant from my first beau, and a journal with reflections and confessions on years’ worth of experience. In this same afternoon, I drove past a great love I had not seen or spoken to for some time on my way from the market. Reminders of love, life, change and turbulent growing opportunities kept presenting themselves. This was a day! Why is it that all of this comes at once, like a line of dominoes, one leads to the other and to yet another. What led me to be ready for all this so close together? Was this a call to reflect or let go, or both? Thoughts paraded with banners reading “this is too much!” while emotions beamed with shades of vulnerability, sadness, nostalgia, playfulness and honor. The one question I asked in the midst of these thoughts and emotions brought me back to serenity and curiosity:
What is the gift here?
This question itself changes the terrain from panic from the past to peace in the present. I remember a lot. Sometimes this feels like a blessing. Sometimes it does not. The reminders of connection I have shared in previous chapters of my life called me to choose; follow the path of emotions and thought or pave another way. Acknowledging my readiness to handle, survive and even thrive in any circumstance opens me to experience the magic, gift and growth in it. By the end of this particularly memory packed afternoon, I had shed a few tears, chuckled a few laughs, and landed in immense gratitude. I have expressed love freely and received caring passionately in relationships. I still do, now more than ever, with myself. Ready or not… Ready or not!
Your turn: If you’re human, something is showing up in your life, internally or externally, that has you questioning your capability or the outcome. Right? Perhaps some fear crops up when you think about that family dinner or missing the deadline for FedEx to deliver by Christmas.
Find or create some space to be reflective for a few minutes.
Take a seat, take a walk, take a bath and bring this situation to mind.
Notice what emotions and thoughts rise as you do. Remember to breathe, allowing any sensations to rise and fall in their own way. What surfaces is presenting itself to change, why not let it?!
Now ask “What is the gift here for me?” Take a few long, deep breaths and open to what you hear, see, smell and taste. If there were a gift, what could it be? If there were many gifts, how might they be showing up? Play with this, allowing the sensations to transform into guideposts for where you are headed.
I believe in you, you are ready.
So… what do you want? My guess is a gift. Who doesn’t love a present from time to time?
With Blessings & So Much Gratitude,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/ready-or-not-life-is-coming/
Recovery is a hot topic in my life. This mere eight letter word has become an all encompassing term that refers to many states of being, physical experiences and mindsets. Like many terms, what it means for me is likely different than what it is for you. Though definitions and experience differ (we are all unique after all), there are common themes when it comes to recovery that I have noticed over the years in this lifestyle. Clarifying the meanings and definitions of the words and terms I use brings balance into my life. To be impeccable with my word, live honestly and stay aligned with my values, I speak consciously. Getting clear about what recovery is in my life opens the door for more gratitude, knowledge and possibility.
I am empowered as I claim my personal relationship to a recovery lifestyle. As Life Coach and creative guidess Cat Caracelo recently reminded me, ”the more you know the more you know.” This simple and profound reminder conveys the value of mindful living, having a willingness to speak the truth, and explore what is present inside and out (all key concepts of recovery). Defining what I know about recovery now spurs more insight, learning and possibility for growth. The more I know, the more I know. Here is some of what recovery means to me:
1. Recovery is transforming illness or hardship into teacher.
2. Recovery is making choices based on the question “is this serving my wellness?”
3. Recovery is riding the waves of change and choosing wellness as I go.
4. Recovery is a shift in perspective and perception.
5. Recovery is daring to be awake and aware.
6. Recovery is pulling my own covers when it is called for.
7. Recovery is tucking myself in when I need to be cared for.
8. Recovery is moving forward gently and courageously.
9. Recovery is black and white and every color in between.
10. Recovery is merging what is linear with circular patterns of wholeness.
11. Recovery is choosing my words with care.
12. Recovery is stating yes…and rather than okay…but (hello, personal responsibility!).
13. Recovery is seeing that nothing is totally personal.
14. Recovery is forgiving so that I can be free.
15. Recovery is showing up for what comes and reawakening to the present moment.
16. Recovery is making choices from a place of faith.
17. Recovery is expanding into miracles.
18. Recovery is dreams coming true.
19. Recovery is healing happening.
20. Recovery is surrendering to the truth of the situation at hand and letting it be part of the journey.
21. Recovery is feeling feelings and letting them move on through.
22. Recovery is cultivating self-knowledge.
23. Recovery is discovery, getting to know my own inner landscape.
24. Recovery is practicing honesty with self and others.
25. Recovery is releasing old patterns that perpetuate fear and limitation.
26. Recovery is a spiritual development adventure.
27. Recovery is learning new habits and embracing “the beginner’s mind.”
28. Recovery is finding the faith muscle and exercising it.
29. Recovery is waking up to the authentic self.
30. Recovery is a quest of mapping the landscapes of where I’ve been and where I am now.
31. Recovery is remembering and releasing stories that no longer define me.
32. Recovery is activating imagination and visioning. In the words of Brene Brown, recovery is all about “daring greatly” to be me.
33. Recovery is realigning with my true self in all my shades and shapes.
34. Recovery is retelling the story to uncover what is ready to be heard and healed.
35. Recovery is revising the meanings I have given things that really aren’t true.
36. Recovery is reinventing identity and claiming new truth.
37. Recovery is questioning my thoughts and changing my relationship to them.
38. Recovery is redesigning patterns and lifestyle choices so they propel me in wellness.
39. Recovery is reclaiming core values, dreams and goals.
40. Recovery is practicing self-care.
41. Recovery is committing to self-love.
42. Recovery is aligning with principles that support thriving.
43. Recovery is acceptance.
44. Recovery is taking an honest inventory.
45. Recovery is making conscious choice and taking conscious action.
46. Recovery is paving my own path and learning from the experiences of others.
47. Recovery is claiming self-direction and getting to know the language of my inner compass/intuition.
48. Recovery is participating fully in life.
49. Recovery is acknowledging the spectrum of experience.
50. Recovery is taking responsibility for my experience and choosing again.
51. Recovery is returning to faith in the process even when fear comes
52. Recovery is more than a word. It is a lifestyle, a choice made again and again.
53. Recovery is a verb and a noun; an action and a thing.
54. Recovery is giving myself what I want from others.
55. Recovery is sharing with others what I want for myself.
56. Recovery is embracing my humanness and tending to the wounded places.
57. Recovery is letting substances go (goodbye, drugs and alcohol!).
58. Recovery is allowing clarity, joy, peace, freedom and fulfillment to come.
59. Recovery is trusting the process, even when I don’t have a clue how it’ll “all work out.”
60. Recovery is opening to the forces that are spinning this world ‘round.
61. Recovery is relaxing into the wonder.
62. Recovery is being the best friend I can be, to myself.
63. Recovery is treating myself with the honor, respect and affection.
64. Recovery is extending my love to those nearest and dearest to me.
65. Recovery is realigning with what fits with my life now, and doing it again and again and again.
What does recovery look like in your life?
Do you identify with any of these aspects of being?
The more you know, the more you know… so let’s get to exploring, shall we?
Share with me what comes and how a lifestyle of recovery is benefiting you.
As always, I am here to support and cheer on.
Loving the awake and aware life,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/darcy-lubow-defines-recovery-for-her-and-maybe-for-you/
“To be a success, I choose love often.”
Yes, I'm going to talk about it.
The S word: Success.
The word and concept of success is excessive in western culture. Be better, do more, have this or that and you are a success. Does this message sound familiar? More likely than not, you are fed some pressure to succeed on an hourly basis. The vague term “success” leaves room for judgment and comparison, not to mention stress. Right? When I catch myself rushing to do or be something, striving and pushing, I practice pausing to question what it is I am trying to achieve. Does this thing or state of being even match what I desire? Or am I attempting to win someone else’s approval and formula for success?
The pressure to succeed is real. I feel it and you probably do, too. Good news: this pressure to succeed is a gift in scary costume! The definition of success for someone else doesn’t have to fuel fear. In fact, it can be an invitation to explore our authentic desires and define what successful living means for us. Choosing to turn pressure into possibility is a key concept in the reinvention and recovery lifestyle. Choosing to love and claiming opportunities in all experience is the courageous act of living consciously. (These are items on my Successful living list!)
Why do you do what you do? Is it in alignment with your definition of success?
If you have any difficulty identifying what success is for you, scan your daily calendar. What do you spend your time doing that brings joy, peace, connection, inspiration or satisfaction? What do you dream of doing some day? What activities, rituals or relationships do you value and prioritize? (For more on the value of rituals, check out this WOW Post.) Looking at your days and dreams are a guide for discovering and defining what your version of success looks and feels like.
Now give these a go:
Success looks like _____________________________________________________.
I will know I am succeeding when I ________________________________________.
One definition of success that doesn’t fit for me is ____________________________.
To live my definition of success more today, I will _____________________________.
Perhaps by now you have uncovered some areas where you are striving for someone else’s success. Insight is powerful stuff! With awareness and a stellar support system, all choices can be empowered ones. You have everything you need to succeed because you define thriving for you. Where is success waiting to be acknowledged in your life? How is thriving ready to enter your world today?
Here’s to your version of success!
In the Flow,
Have you ever caught yourself streaming the mean and nasty channel in your head?
If your answer was "No," I invite you to take another look and answer again
What if the solution to any present challenges in your life lies in being kinder to yourself and more compassionate?
Here’s a thought: Choose compassion, ditch criticism, live the life you desire.
Is this a radical idea or a profound truth?
I don’t know about you, but following the inner bully’s lead doesn’t get me where I want to go. On the contrary, I usually end up frustrated, discouraged and confused when I keep the mean and nasty channel playing unchecked in my head (aka: Bully Radio).
Believing the pushing, pulling, thrashing, judging, nagging, manipulating, or criticizing thoughts steal opportunities for joy and keep the life I desire out of reach.
Believing the accepting, praising, celebrating, exploring, cheerleading, embracing, dreaming, or nurturing thoughts motivate me to continue loving myself and showing up to life’s adventures.
When I am motivated in love, I thrive and produce desirable results.
When I am bullied by fear, I nose dive into self sabotage and dead ends.
What might become possible if you turn on the compassion and turn off the criticism?
Tuning into Love,
"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe." (Voltaire)
One of the primary principles of recovery is faith. Finding a reason to believe when life is a struggle can be, well, a struggle. Integrating faith into daily living can create a newfound abundance, flow and ease where struggle and strife once existed. Faith becomes clear when eyes are open to see the blessings, when gratitude enters and what is going right rather than only what is going wrong is acknowledged.
Living in recovery means recovering who we really are. Recovery provides the opportunity to get connected to what guides us, the life force that is taking care of the details, bringing everything together in its own perfect way. Showing up with curiosity and a feeding the willingness to believe in what cannot be seen builds faith. What results is freedom, space to embrace the moment, and the joy that comes from a faith led life.
Faith is what brings me back to the path I am destined for, the one that is lit with connection and synchronicity and safety. Faith is the strong foundation underfoot always holding me safely. Having faith in life and in the beauty that comes from all perceived darkness is a choice I get to make whenever I choose. There are times when no reason to believe can be mustered by my mind. This is where faith comes in, asking me to believe, to stay the course of my inner compass. Coming to know how this state of being shows up in us is an adventure, full of learning and growing and discovering.
What does faith mean to you?
If you were to describe faith and how it shows up in your life, both inner and outer, what words would you use?
Who taught you about faith, either why to have it or why it’s no different than believing in the Tooth Fairy?
If faith spoke, what would (s)he say?
We all believe in something. Getting to know what and where our beliefs lie is the privilege of the conscious person.
If you wonder where and how faith reside in your world, take a look at its opposing energy.
Yes, I am talking about fear.
That dreaded phantom force, the one some of us spend more time with than others; the goblin who shows up in countless forms, inner mean girls, pipsqueaks with Napoleon complexes, and bullies galore.
In every moment, each of us has a choice. Will we acknowledge fear, or give faith a chance?
Whoever grows bigger is the one that gets fed more.
Find your faith. Then feed it.
Grab that journal you love, go back to the questions offered above, and get to know your definition of faith. Give it some attention, feed it, then watch it grow!
In the Flow,
Waking up to the voices in my head before the alarm goes off can be unpleasant. The stream of thoughts, potential worries, and demands for the day ahead are incessant and energized already. The energy of these unpleasantries has left my motivation to greet the demands and worries deflated. All this and my eyes are barely open!
As I take my time, stretching and settling into my body, the thoughts turn from subtle threats and mild manipulation to flat out bullying. “Time to get up,” “if you’re late, they’ll be mad,” “now you’re just being lazy, you got plenty of rest” Do any of these morning wake up thoughts sound familiar? I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy beginning my day with someone like this. Whatever happened to “good morning, beautiful, how did you sleep?”
The incredible part is, some days I listen to these thoughts. If someone came into my room and started criticizing me the way the thoughts in my head do, I would ask them to leave. Maybe not so kindly, either. I would see how untrue their messages were. I would see through the bully into someone who is scared and doesn’t know how to ask for what they need in any other way.
So why, I wonder, do I take the not so nice commentary from my inner bully? Some habits go unquestioned and just become routine. Believing and following the thoughts that go through your mind might be one of your ingrained habits, too. Beginning to notice the thoughts leading to the actions I take creates room for empowerment choice. Being a victim to the thoughts and beliefs in my mind is no fun. Noticing when I have a mean and nasty message in the forefront provides an opportunity to slow down and assess if this is something I really want to perpetuate. Would I take this guidance, direction, or criticism from someone outside of me? Would I say this to someone I love? If not, then why am I giving it power and control in me? Why do I say it to myself?
Waking up to the way we speak to ourselves can change the way we live. Take a time out now and checking in with your thoughts. Are you speaking with gentle encouragement to yourself about yourself? Is there a positive regard in the tone of your thoughts, both about your self and your life? Or is judgment streaming through? How does it feel in your body when you think these thoughts? When I speak kindly to myself, I feel better physically, I have more tolerance for the people around me, I am aligned with the truth that I am supported by life. When I speak to myself with judgment and criticism, I want to get as far away from myself as possible. I have decided that I want to be someone I want to spend time with. Choosing thoughts that are loving and accepting feels good. By giving myself the encouragement and patience I share with those I love, I become great company. This is much more appealing that being dragged through my day by the leash of inner criticism.
Do you want to enjoy your company more often? To feel better? To have a clean, clear and inspiring mental environment? A few times throughout the day, take a mini break and check in with your thinking. Choose to be kind, to be honest, to be loving. If thoughts come that don’t feel good, choose new ones! If you wouldn’t say something to your niece or nephew, it likely isn’t something you want to keep saying to yourself. This practice is a simple and effective way to bring more awareness into your daily life and create new habits. Regardless of what the mental chatter has been so far, consider this to press the refresh button and start over!
Here’s to waking up with a smile.
In the flow,
(Let's be in touch! Contact me here.)
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas