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Archive for Inner Peace

Your Very Own Merry Little Christmas

Close your eyes and picture the perfect Christmas. The smell of fresh baking filling the house. The tree glistening with sparkling lights, fire crackling as everyone gathers to sing carols. The warmth of the season is within you. Ah, the joy of Christmas.

December starts with these high expectations, but all-too-often the quest for this perfect time leaves you frazzled and stressed. With all the cooking, decorating, visiting and gift giving, this time of year can seem more like trying to meet a high pressure deadline than a vacation. Trying to find just the right gift for that special person? After a while, anything will do. The budget is busted. Tension and irritability are at an all-time high. Bah humbug!

What’s The Good News?

I found it’s possible to score some calm over the season. No chef, no personal shopper or holiday miracles required. And you can do this, too. Consider it your gift to yourself. Here are a few tips to help you along your way:

  • Make being outdoors a priority. Snow has fallen, bringing wonderful wintertime pleasures. Skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowboarding, cross country skiing, hiking in the snow. The activities are endless. When I crunch along in the morning, the endless panorama of stars is breath taking. I also walk with a friend a couple of times a week. As we laugh at the daily trials of the season, those huge problems don’t loom so large. The pressure is off.
  • Do a good deed daily. Aim to perform a simple act of kindness every day. Researchers have long known that altruism (volunteering in a hospital, giving a neighbor a ride, visiting a shut-in) raises levels of the “feel good” brain chemical. And no selfless act is too small.
  • Check off completed tasks. A to-do list organizes life so nothing falls through the cracks. That same list can also feel overwhelming because it reminds you of all that is yet to do. Balance things by starting a “did it” list, noting completed projects and tasks. Taking note of what you’ve done can turn feelings of anxiety into feelings of accomplishment. You can also adjust expectations by reflecting on how much you really did get done. And when, exactly, have you done enough for one day?
  • Bake a batch from scratch. An energetic, 93-year-old friend told me she was baking Christmas cookies with her granddaughter over the weekend. She reminisced how she and her mother had also done this precious family tradition. There is something special about getting in the flow, measuring and mixing ingredients in a series of steps while chatting and visiting. Not to mention continuing that wonderful tradition.
  • Take a breather. Pencil yourself in for a “quiet time” break throughout the day. Close your eyes, relax the muscles in your face and shoulders and take a few deep breaths. Your body and your mind will both thank you. Another tip: an hour or so before bed, turn off the TV, the computer and any unnecessary lighting. Doing this will prime your body for restful sleep. Take a step further, let those evening chores go and spend a few minutes in front of the fire or gaze at the Christmas tree lights. A “do nothing” break allows you to clear your head and be ready for a calm and productive tomorrow.

Yes, this time of the year can be the busiest, the most hectic . . . but the most precious if you make it that way. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Live Your Life to the Fullest

The voice in your head is nonstop: I need to ______, I am ________, I should ________, I haven’t _________, I wish I had _________. The list seems never-ending; continuous and unbroken. It’s your own voice speaking in that monotonous, parental tone, driving you ever onward. If you do finish one project, it seems two others take its place. You’re so busy moving into the future, you don’t even have time to give yourself a pat on the back.

It’s easy to mistake that voice for the real you. Too easy to be swallowed up by a never-ending flow of activity. With electronics, too easy to be connected, to be called to attention by a leash of information. Too easy to move into that reactive state. I heard of a woman who described herself as a FOMA or defined by a Fear Of Missing Out. Always needing to be “in the know.”

Along that line, my computer died a few years back. It just quit on me. The screen went slowly to black. And there I was. You know how it is, don’t you? Feelings of panic and loss overwhelmed me. Up to that time, I didn’t realize how much time I spent with that machine. You might even say it was a constant companion. I had to order another one, and I was lost for a time. I was forced to taper off my chit-chat, my distractions. I also had an excuse to slow down my never-ending movement, the compelling urge to “do something.” Now I’ll admit, gearing down was not quick nor easy, but my brain appreciated the break. I got in touch with myself. Rest and quiet were what I needed, and I think you might, too.

It’s the beginning of summer. Let’s shift gears and take another look: who are you? The nattering voice in your head? Or are you something more? The quiet deep within you is your essential nature, your authentic self. Without the real you, there’s no genuine perception, no original thoughts or real feelings.

But how to get there from here? Let me share a few suggestions I’ve gleaned from my life.

  • Start small. When you’re taking a hike or sitting on the porch, merely be with Mother Nature. Be aware of your physical sensations: the way your feet feel on the ground, the breeze gently touching your face, the feeling of your clothes on your body. It doesn’t take hours of meditation. Get reacquainted with the real you.
  • Take a break from electronics and television. Distraction can be beguiling, moving on to the next diversion, adding to your mental clutter. Turn off your phone. Get away from the computer. Tuck away the Kindle. Just be for a while.
  • Slow down, then silence the voice in your head. Ever notice when you’re running around in circles with tasks in the future and heaviness of the past, your inner voice speeds along barely taking a breath. Take a disruptive sentence (I need to call Aunt Martha) and slow down the words. Or scatter the words into nonsense. Or toss them into the sky and watch them float away.

The voice that matters is the silent, kind voice of aliveness and awareness. Ready to venture into an astonishingly serene place? Or are you satisfied with where you are now?

Stop the Chatter

You attract the things you think about the most. If you envision having a successful and fulfilling day, you will probably have one. If you wake up each morning dreading the day ahead, the universe will give you lots of irritations to add to your to do list. While I understand this to my bones, it isn’t always easy to keep those positive attractors top of mind when unexpected aggravations get in the way. Sometimes, when I actually make time to get still and listen to the rush hour irritation going on in my head, I chuckle when I realize just what an errant and playful child the mind can be if left on its own.

For example, I will think about an article I need to write. Then another task I wanted to do yesterday. Then the phone will ring, or text or email, or a knock on the door will enter the scene. Suddenly I am in the midst of so many demands that I forget my original plan. When I finally sit down to set my sights on the day, that list seems so long. I’m wracked with frustration about how I will “find the time” to get it all in. People are counting on me! Then my mind will really start racing. Where do I begin?

At this point, I can feel so overwhelmed that I may turn on the football game. Or worse, graze when I’m not hungry, just to escape having to take any action. But I have found a marvelous way to stop endless chatter by simply slowing down my inner dialog. For example, if I feel stymied, I say to myself very slowly, IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII… FEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL… SSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOO. FRRUSSTRATTTTTEEED. Then slowly, again and again, until my thoughts find an exit ramp to a more quiet place. Once the mind has stopped whirring out of control, it is easier to make the right decision about a starting place for the day.

If you find yourself in the grip of an endless sea of mind chatter that is getting faster and faster, remember this simple tip. This 3-minute exercise is so quick and easy that I created a Stop the Chatter HypnoSnax as my free gift to you when you sign up for my newsletter. Just fill out the form on this page.

Sometimes, though, the chatter will chase you like a spoiled child and disrupt your peace of mind. It can make you feel like you are defective somehow. This endless chit-chat will do this until you find out why your inner child is so unhappy. Hypnotherapy and NLP are two of the best methods I know of to reframe a past that is filled with pain, unrest, “not good enough” mind chatter. These simple techniques will help you move forward into a more comfortable future. Science has found that emotional energy doesn’t go away, but it goes inward and causes lots of damage in the form of illness. Do your cranky inner self a favor and call for an appointment. You’ll be back to attracting more of the good things you want in your life, joyfully and with peace.


One of my ongoing goals is finding and expanding inner peace. And I have found that discovering that peace within is a wonderful but difficult process. It is so very easy to look for it outside, totally overlooking the quiet place within. Some days are better than others, with the best days coming when I live in the moment. I want to share some of my tried-and-true thought patterns for getting to that balance, that peace.

Simplify. If I allow it, my life can be full of bumps and potholes. And persistently simplifying my life helps me to avoid the potholes and smooth out the bumps. When deciding to simplify my life, inner peace begins to fill the cracks and crevices. How to do this?

  • Prioritize my to-do list. If the day is jam packed with “I’ve got to do this” or “My list is endless,” my mind goes into overdrive. By sorting through what is most important and letting the rest go, I can slow the inner frenzy.
  • Set personal limits. If I find myself worrying about a project or a situation, I set a limit on how long I will fuss about it. When the inner timer goes off, I either elect to make a decision, set up a series of smaller steps toward achievement or table it for future thought. I also work on grounding myself with nature, feeling the earth beneath my feet and hearing the buzz of a hummingbird. Even looking at the trees and sky through the office window can help to anchor me to the earth. This gives me inner peace, for I am gaining control over my thoughts and emotions.
  • Promote tranquility. Keeping things simple helps me to avoid the ping pong of those turbulent thoughts. Finding time to enjoy the wisps of clouds on the mountainside or that tiny bright yellow flower gives me a strong connection to nature.

Accept. By being in the moment, I foster acceptance. I am coming to the conclusion that the world is not always as I perceive it, that the more I resist, the more complex and challenging it appears. When I choose to accept what is, I stop feeding into resistance, opening space for what could be. Then, the problem is not made more powerful and sticky in my mind with my galloping thoughts. Much of its power is gone, and I feel a stillness inside.

  • Accepting doesn’t mean giving up. It merely allows me the flexibility of having other options, different strategies that would open new doors.
  • Acceptance gives clarity. By clearing whatever is going on, I am able to make better decisions. Or, probably even tougher, I can let the situation go.
  • Accepting the essence of life. When I truly stop and sense all that is going on around me, I get in touch with the squirrels chasing each other up and down the Ponderosa pines or hear the ducks and geese calling to each other. I can feel life’s rhythm.

Do what I enjoy. When I make the decision to enjoy what I’m doing, whether it’s cleaning the house or writing an article, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off of me. A natural peace arises and the way toward that inner quiet is cleared. I am aligned with my outer world, avoiding the potholes of “I’ve gotta do this” or “I am overwhelmed’. These dissonant thoughts create an inner tension, just one more obstacle to overcome.

  • Be curious. Life goes by so very quickly. There’s not enough time to be stuck in a pattern that is not useful. And there’s so much to see, so much to discover. Again, I’m finding that my perceptions color what my life is like. Doing something new, be it archery or canoeing, frees new areas of my mind for new connections. Being open to more and different makes a huge difference.
  • Be adventurous. It came as a surprise to me that in being open to new adventures, I was cultivating inner peace. Exploring life has given me opportunities I never even considered before, opening doors to new paths and an appreciation of different people and friendships.

Pencil yourself in. By setting time aside for the things I hold important makes me a better person. An early morning walk, a run at the park, rock-hounding: all of these can loosen the ties of what is. I am the one that created my hectic to-do list. Why not pencil myself in too? The result is an inner stillness, a tranquility I had been searching for and found within.

These simple guidelines have helped me pursue my goal of inner peace. It also encourages my ability to enjoy the beauty of the Mountain. It provides a way for me to get in touch with myself, to be able to sleep at night. To truly enjoy life. I suspect they will work for you too. You too can enjoy all that is.

I hope I have opened the door to enjoying the little things here on the Mountain and in your life, for I do love the seasons of nature and life itself.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Inner Peace: Enjoying the Little Things

There is a cycle to trees: their growth and decline, their unfolding and then letting go. I have watched the many types of trees in our part of the world. Some trees and shrubs are junipers, and they keep their dusty green color throughout the year. The Ponderosa pines lose part of their needles and have new growth on the tips of the branch. After turning red, gold and orange, deciduous trees lose their leaves every autumn, then come back to life after winter. Aspens lose their golden rounded leaves and turn brown, only to return the next year in their green finery.

Some trees are quicker to bud out than others. Apple and peach trees blossom out in their lovely pink and white colors. Others begin to unfold slowly, continuing in a slow process of maturing. Some leaves begin to bud, only to be caught in cold snaps, frosts and snow. Following that disruption, the leaves stubbornly and strongly return to leaf out. While other branches do not even have the energy to grow. Particular branches never make it past winter. They wither and die, leaving more life energy for other branches to continue to grow.

I think my life is much the same. As winter comes, I tend to hibernate and cocoon within. Yes, I walk in the early morning with MacDuff. But much of my time is spent considering the prior year, what I have learned and what I could do differently.

As springtime comes, my mind slowly unfolds. Some of the ideas and concepts I considered over the winter begin to unfurl, just as some of the trees start to bud. As the days grow longer, my thoughts are energized. I start to clear out my house and clean out the excess I gathered up over the quiet season. I am readying myself for growth and change.

I also realize my time is limited. Just as with trees, I have to prune my list and let some projects go for now. Some ideas that seemed so promising over the winter are not holding up in the bright light of a spring day. As the spring days take hold, I may develop new ideas. Perhaps I am inspired to return to the gym. Or make it a point to keep in touch with friends and family. Time passes all too quickly. I don’t want to miss any opportunities.

Another leaf that begins to bud is to take some more time for myself. Do you need more “me time” too? It could be sitting on the porch, appreciating the beauty of the Mountain. Or taking a hike on my favorite trail. For some, it might be fishing on one of the many lakes here. It might even be taking a nap in the warm spring sunlight. Absolutely luxurious.

It has been said the average person has 30,000 days in his or her life. Where are you on that spectrum? In the middle? The beginning? The end? As your life unfolds this spring, I wish you happy contentment noticing how your life unfolds, wherever you are.

I hope I have opened the door to enjoying the little things here on the Mountain and in your life.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.