May 312013
 

Annie_FB

Today’s post is going to be a first for me as I’ve never actually interviewed anyone on my blog before. However, I really want to introduce you to someone whom I’ve come to love and have great respect for. You know those people you meet that you just connect with? Those people that are so authentic aware of their authenticity and expressive that their very nature just invites you in? This is how I felt with my friend, Annie Burnside.

While Annie and I have shared phone calls, emails, and plenty of Facebook and Twitter conversations we’ve actually never met in person. I’m very hopeful and even more confident that one day we will. For now, I’m happy to share some very authentic and as Annie has coined, “Soul to Soul” interactions with her.

Annie Burnside, Soul Nurturer is a Speaker, Author, Soul to Soul Circle Creator, Blogger, Mom, Wife, and not all in that order! While Annie has a lot of roles we could celebrate (and I’d like to share some with you) I’m hoping that you can get to know her on a little more intimate level as well. Just as I came to see how peaceful, spiritual, honest, vulnerable, loving, nurturing, and passionate she is, I’m confident you’ll quickly see that as well. She’s such an inspiration and advocate for others to find their own inner spirit. Annie has been so gracious as to answer some questions that I’d like to share with you.

There’s so much to learn from Annie so without further ado please allow me to introduce you to my friend and Soul Nurturer, Annie Burnside!

You call yourself a soul nurturer; can you explain that title? 

Officially, I have been a soul nurturer for over seven years. I created it as a career as soul nurturing has always been the most natural aspect of who I am. A soul nurturer helps others awaken to their own truth in all aspects of life by providing the tools and encouragement to look more closely at their inner world. She assists others in viewing their life from an expanded perspective by helping them to remember their divine, creative, intuitive, eternal nature and how to integrate this knowing into their life choices. A soul nurturer’s primary role is to inspire others to listen to the voice of their own soul so that direct divine connection can become fully accessible within daily reality. 

What inspired you to write Soul to Soul Parenting? 

Spiritual development/personal growth has been my greatest passion since I was nineteen. As it has brought such joy, purpose, gratitude and liberation to be truly comfortable within my own skin, I desired to take my children with me on the journey. I began to break down my spiritual insights and teachings into digestible bites for my own children, and conscious parenting became the most important aspect of what we offered them. Other parents noticed and started asking for guidance so I began speaking on the topic locally. Soon it became apparent that there was a book inside of me ready to emerge.

AnnieBANNERaward.2

What are your guiding principles for Soul to Soul parenting? Are there particular elements that you recommend?

The following ten tips may be useful for parents to post somewhere as a reminder of the guiding principles of Soul to Soul Parenting: 

1. Utilize everyday life—such as friendships, nature, mealtimes, music, movies, and much more—as the perfect curriculum and forum to teach your children powerful, universal principles such as connectedness, self-love, presence, and forgiveness.

2. Teach your children to allow multiple perspectives in all life situations and relationships by “flipping” challenges into positive, learning opportunities.

3. Train your children to be more conscious of thoughts, words, and deeds so that they can assume greater responsibility for the shaping of their own reality.

4. Encourage compassion, empathy and gratitude in your children on a daily basis by making them the most-used words in your home.

5. Turn the JOY in family life way up by singing, dancing, smiling, humming, laughing, and relaxing rigid perspectives as often as possible through openness and gratitude.

6. Model authenticity through speaking and living your truth, giving your children permission to do the same.

7. Show your spirit daily so that your children can witness multiple aspects of you, and in turn, see multiple aspects in themselves.

8. Teach your children that they are intuitive, creative, eternal spiritual beings—much larger than simply their physical form—and filled with infinite possibility and the capacity for direct divine connection.

9. Assist your children in understanding that an appreciation for life in the present moment, coupled with enthusiasm for their future, plants the necessary seeds for manifesting their true heart’s desires.

10. Provide the space and opportunity for your children to focus on their interior world as much as the exterior world, allowing greater intimacy with the voice of their own soul to feel what resonates as truth for them.

Besides your book, you also lead workshops. What can participants expect from one of your workshops? 

My workshops all center on knowing oneself more intimately offering a safe and nurturing space to get started down the spiritual development path. People of all faiths, passions and family dynamics attend to enjoy a specific time carved out for inner work and sharing. I call them Soul to Soul Circles.  Leading these Circles is an absolute highlight of my week. Depending on the series, about twenty of us gather once a week to connect, share, discuss a particular gateway (book, article, topic upon which I have invited reflection), and simply to love one another without judgment.  It is truly Soul to Soul in the truest sense in that we don’t need to know another’s story to hold space for the to be fully themselves and to offer compassion. I hope that all individuals can find themselves in a sacred circle one day as spiritual companionship of this kind is quite expansive, profound and fun.

What methods do you use to nurture your soul, your emotions and your body?

I utilize solitude, gratitude, family-time, nature, music, walking, biking, journaling and time spent near large bodies of water as my primary means of connecting to my soul which in turn helps me to feel my true emotions and maintain well-being in my body. These are my top priorities as far as how I choose to spend my free time. They are essential to my overall fulfillment and JOY. As I have grown in self-love, which in my opinion is truly the pinnacle of the spiritual journey, I realized that many of us spend years and lifetimes searching outside of ourselves for all of the things that we hope another can give to us to make us whole. It has been my experience that heaven, the ecstasy of which so many masters have described, is found deep within where self-love merges with oneness. I feel that it is imperative that we create a life that allows time for the personal methods, as mentioned above, that offer us spiritual sustenance—greater intimacy with our own soul. All that we then speak, say and do will be of a higher quality in that the inner matches the outer, a cornerstone of self-love and integrity.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Annie and that you’ll consider reading her book and following her on Facebook and Twitter. To find out the latest and greatest you can go directly to her website as well!  I have a feeling you’ll be hearing more about Annie not only through I Simply Am but through many other channels.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

May 292013
 

Enough_BabyFrom the day you were born you were enough. You didn’t have to accomplish anything. You didn’t need to achieve some great status. You didn’t need to meet any goals or deadlines. You didn’t have any friends, money, cars, clothes, houses, jobs, degrees, Twitter followers – nothing. But, you were enough.

Somewhere along the way, we were all convinced that we had to earn our enoughness. Someone, and likely many someones convinced us that being enough wasn’t enough, that we had to be “More Than” enough. We had to have more degrees, better grades, nicer clothes, better bodies, more money, bigger houses, more friends, more…more…more…more… If we didn’t have more than it must me we were less than – we’re not good looking enough, we’re not rich enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not healthy enough, we’re not important enough, we’re not worthy enough, and on and on and on.

Intellectually, I think we all know that we are enough as we are without having to do anything. The problem is that our emotions have much more control over us than we’d like. Convincing our emotions that we’re enough is much harder to do. It’s going to take years of reminding yourself that you are enough,  just like it took years of them reminding you that you weren’t. So, this list is more of a teaser of what’s to come in your life if you stick with it. If you accept that nothing has really changed from the day you were born. Yes, everything on the outside has changed but nothing at all has changed on the inside.

You were born precious, important, creative, intelligent, beautiful, worthy, valuable, magnificent, and powerful. You’re still all those things today. As importantly, you are enough.

1. You don’t need a fancy Degree 

While there are some jobs that actually require that fancy degree, most do not. The reality is our self-worth and value is not based on the University we graduated from or the letters following our names. For those of us that don’t need that fancy degree for a specific career we get to save all that time and money going through school! While I do advocate getting a formal education there are also many places in which you can digest a ton of knowledge and you don’t need a fancy University or degree to do that. If it’s money you’re concerned about there are many people that have A.A (Associates) degrees or none at all that make a considerable salary. The bottom line is to know the difference between needing a degree to build the worth of your bank account vs building the worth of your Self. You are enough as you are!

2. You don’t need to make more money

A nice segway from the last point about getting a degree. I am like most Americans in that the debt I’m still paying off – yes, still paying off – is from things I bought moons ago. I can’t even tell you what some of that debt is actually for. However, if I was able to look back at everything I’ve bought and especially the things I couldn’t afford I likely wouldn’t have needed 90% of it. The vast majority of consumerism is based on the idea that we need more (and better) stuff to show our value and our worth. This is complete bullcocky (yes, I said bullcocky) as you know. Had I learned this lesson long ago I wouldn’t have needed to make nearly as much money. I always was enough but most of my life I thought I had to buy that.

3. Your kids don’t have to eat all organic

I do like feeding my kids organic food when I can. However, they’re not on a strict Organic, GMO free, BPA free, Gluten free, Sugar free, HFCS free, Fat free, Shrimp free, Fried shrimp free, Grilled Shrimp free diet– Okay, those last three were a tribute to Forest Gump. The reality is we ALL do the very best we can do given our abilities, under the circumstances, and with the resources available to us. Of course, we should all want our children to eat as healthy (as reasonable) a diet as they can. However, at the end of the day, if you’re sneaking in a few “unhealthy” things every now and then, you’re still an amazing parent and guess what else? You are ENOUGH!

4. It’s okay if you gain a few pounds

Sure, we’d all like to have bodies of sculpted abs, defined arms, and butts that aren’t dragging on the floor. And of course, staying physically healthy is very important on so many different levels. Yet, one thing is true about self-worth and self-value, you can’t weigh them. They don’t get bigger or smaller based on how much you weigh. You were born enough at 7lbs or 8lbs and you’re the same enoughness at whatever weight you are today! Who you are isn’t based on your physical body so get over it! You are enough.

5. Nobody has to “like” your status updates 

Have you ever posted something on Facebook only to go and check to see who “liked” it? And if nobody or only a few did? How do you feel? I’ll jump on the vulnerability bandwagon and wave my hand as one of those people (not all the time but certainly some) who have suffered the “not enough likes” blues. While I may not actually say to myself that “I suck” or that “I’m not enough” the feelings that follow are very similar. That sense of disappointment, sadness, and frustration are all promoting that thought that I’m not enough. If Facebook went away tomorrow – Can you believe there was a time before Facebok? LOL – we would ALL still be ENOUGH!

6. You don’t have to have the perfect furniture or yard

I struggle with this one all the time. That feeling you get when someone may come over and you quickly realize that your house looks like <fill in your favorite descriptor here>. The truth is that nobody lives in the perfect house with the perfect yard. Okay, I have seen the HGTV Dream Home so somebody does. The point is the vast majority of us don’t live in an HGTV home. Our couch needs replacing and our driveway has more grass than our front yard – this is a true story! LOL HOWEVER, avoiding spending time with close friends or family because of what our house looks like or has or doesn’t have is negating our very nature of connectedness. It’s sacrificing relationships for the feeling that we’re somehow less than or not enough. I am definitely included in the “WE” when I say that we need to release that crap. The crap that we’re somehow not good enough to be with close friends and family because we don’t have the right stuff. We are enough EVEN when our couches are coming apart at the seams!

7. You can finish the projects that you started

I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve thought to start only to never even get them off the ground. This thing wasn’t good enough or that thing wasn’t quite perfect. I always had reasons why something wasn’t good enough and that prevented me from launching anything at all. The only thing worse than launching something that’s not perfect is never launching it in the first place. Imagine what amazing products and services we wouldn’t have available to us if people never launched them until they were perfect in their eyes? The truth is, perfection is a cover up for a world of insecurity and the false belief that we’re not good enough. Doing the best you can do in any situation is always enough. Even if the outcome isn’t what you expected YOU are always enough.

8. You don’t have to spend anymore wasted minutes in the mirror 

Starting our day with a look we’re happy with is a great thing. The problem is that we spend way too much time judging and perfecting that look. If my teeth are more yellow than I’d like (that does annoy me sometimes) or if my hair is turning gray (yes, there’s a lot of white) or whatever is going on with my face is happening I don’t have to let it ruin my day. Ever hear the phrase, “I have a bad hair day”? Yes, people, and I’m sure this has happened to me, have left the house not liking their hair and they’re literally pissed off and frustrated. People! This does not need to happen! Yes, it’s fine to spend some time on looking “attractive” and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, when your emotional state turns to something uncomfortable like anger, frustration, sadness, or grief over your appearance when you’re already BEAUTIFUL as you are is craziness. You are Enough!

9. You can stop being a people pleasure

Being a People Pleasure ALWAYS comes from thinking that you are not enough. Let me repeat that again…If you are a People Pleasure then your false belief is that you are not enough. Yes, we should be kind to others and we should serve others whenever we can. However, most of us literally abandon ourselves to “please” others. We say Yes to others when deep down inside we mean No. We put ourselves last to ensure that others go first. We’ve become convinced that it’s our responsibility to make other people happy. Stop being a People Pleasure! You are Enough!

10. Nine is enough

I had a list of 10 things in my title and I was going to eek another out and I’m sure I could eek another 10 out on top of that. But, you know what? I don’t need to. I know you’re picking up what I’m putting down and you know what else? I AM ENOUGH!

 

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

May 222013
 

Dreams_Uncertainty_05_22_13

We are born into a world of absolute uncertainty. Literally nothing is certain the day we enter this world. Yet the paradox begins at a very young age. What’s the paradox I speak of? As infants and toddlers we’re told that we can be anything we want to be when we grow up. That we can dream as big as we want and that anything is possible. Around the same time is when we also start receiving messages that uncertainty is scary and needs to be avoided at all costs. We’re given a laundry list of “do’s and dont’s” to keep us protected from uncertainty. We’re told to go to school, get good grades, marry someone who fits a certain profile, live here, work there, have this many children, and the list goes on and on.

The American Dream is built around the notion that the expected, the secure, and the defined are the ideals. The problem with expectations, (false) security, and defined outcomes are that they don’t live in the world of uncertainty. This in and of itself is an even bigger problem because the real dreams – Our Dreams – are not based on expectations, aren’t secure, and can only be defined to a degree. Most importantly, in order to reach them we must do as we did when we were babies. We must allow ourselves to manifest the expression of who we truly are on no uncertain terms.

Let Go, Let God (Universe, Source, Pick your favorite word)

We hear about surrendering and the notion that to live our dreams – to truly live our dreams – means we must fully surrender to uncertainty. How freakin’ scary is that?? I feel scared just thinking about that!! You see, I’ve been struggling with truly living my dreams and I had to find out what was getting in the way. Yes, it’s easy to say fear and many people say it’s fear of success or fear of failure. While this may be true some of the times I think it’s deeper than that. I’m not scared of living as I am (my authentic self). I’m certainly not scared of failing to live as I am. I’ve failed at that most of my life. What I am scared of is the unknown and the uncertainty of what life would be like if I stepped off that ledge.

I’ve never bungie jumped but I imagine that the first step to truly living your dreams is like that. You’re standing on the ledge looking down and thinking I could die at this very moment. In your head you think of all the things that could go wrong. There’s complete certainty in backing off and not going through with it. Yet, if you jump you’re jumping into pure uncertainty. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. The only way to do it is to trust and then surrender. This is how I imagine living your true dreams happens. It’s holding your breath and jumping into uncertainty.

Like the bungie jump though, it only takes a few seconds before you realize you’re safe, strong, resilient, supported, and free in all of the uncertainty. When you let go, I imagine you’re floating in pure JOY! That’s the kind of joy I want to express and the kind of freedom, that I know I need in my life. I also know it’s ultimately what we all want, whatever our individual dreams might look like.

Do you find yourself not doing what you know you need to do to live the life you want? What does uncertainty mean for you and how scary (if at all) is it? I would love to hear any tips you have for breaking through that fear of uncertainty so please leave a comment!

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

 

May 202013
 

Smile-Quotes-18

In every society and culture in our world there seems to be a theme when it comes to the one achievement we all strive for.

We all just want to be happy.

There are countless books, movies, and organizations all based on the foundation that to live a successful life is to live a happy life. This makes a lot of sense. After all, we all love what happy feels like. We picture smiling, laughing, dancing, singing, friends, family, vacation, and a myriad of other wonderful situations in which happiness exists.

The pursuit of happiness, however, seems to be a never ending one. Doesn’t it feel frustrating that happy is only a temporary feeling? We strive to keep it permanently but we can’t. Then we go about the rest of our life trying to get it back again. The good news is we have places to look for happiness so it makes it a bit easier. Let me list out a few of places we find happy and see if any of them resonate with you.

  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday
  • Birthdays
  • Gifts
  • Shopping
  • Sunny Days
  • Vacations
  • Eating
  • People
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Sex
  • Money

Happiness is a great feeling and there aren’t too many people that would argue they enjoy feeling it. Last week I read an article written by Cathy Cassani Adams of Zen Parenting Radio. You can click here to read it. Cathy does a great job of parsing out the difference between happiness and joy. Cathy’s post got me thinking about what we’re really chasing and how we might be missing the proverbial boat!

As Cathy parses out so beautifully, happiness is usually created from things external to us. We have to look outside of ourselves (see the list above) to find happiness. Yes, it’s an internal feeling and only one that we can create but it’s defined by the world and activities around us. Joy on the other hand isn’t a feeling. Joy is an Inherent Quality of ours. We are Joy! It is who we are and therefore unlike happiness doesn’t come and go on a moments notice. Joy is a constant in our lives and can be expressed whenever we choose. Because we are joy we need not rely on Fridays, a glass of wine, or the next vacation to express it.

I think the biggest problem with chasing happy is that as great as happy is, it’s still just a feeling. We are not our feelings. This is critical to understand in our path to self-actualization. We confuse our feelings with who we are every day. We feel fear and we become that fear. Ever not do something because you felt scared? We feel worried and we become that worry. We feel angry and we become that anger. Ever acted out of anger? Yeah, I’m waving my hand on that one. Anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, stress, sadness, and even happiness are all feelings. We create our own feelings and sometimes we think they are bigger than us but they are not. Feelings are something we have/experience, they are not what define us.

Joy on the other hand is one way to define who we are. So are all of our other Inherent Qualities such as thoughtful, intelligent, creative, lovable, worthy, valuable, precious, sensitive, vulnerable, and magnificent. Our Inherent Qualities are what define us and they were all there at birth. We never needed to do anything to obtain these qualities nor can they ever be taken away from us. Feelings like happiness are circumstantial and situational, they are always triggered by things outside of our self and are temporary at best. In fact, the majority of the feelings we have aren’t even present time feelings. We go through most of our day having a feeling about something and that feeling really never had anything to do with what was actually happening in that moment. The feeling was brought up as a reminder of what happened to us years before. This even happens with happiness. I might be listening to a particular song and feel really happy because it reminded me of a previous positive experience in my life.

It may sound like I’m suggesting happiness is a bad thing or something we should avoid. This couldn’t be farthest from the truth. I love feeling happy and encourage you to feel happy as often as you can too! What I am suggesting is that not only is making the feeling of happiness a job of yours unhealthy but it’s actually devastating to your sense of self. Chasing feelings is what we’ve been taught to do and the reason so many of us are not living the lives we want is because we’re confusing our feelings with who we are.

Today, instead of focusing on how you want to feel which will always cause you to look outward, focus on who you are! Remind yourself that you are joy, creative, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful, important… If you simply become the expression of who you are you’ll likely have the feelings like happiness follow. What’s even better is that you will be leading your life with your inner self as the starting place.

I am Joyful and I feel happy

vs

I am waiting on something outside of me to decide I feel happy.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

 

 

May 082013
 

Starting_Ziglar_05_08_13

I’m beginning to notice a pattern in my life. Yes, it’s taken the better part of 38 years to do so and yes my wife has been telling me this for years BUT…I can’t seem to finish anything I start.

What the hell!?

I’ve kind of known this but becoming self-aware allows you to see the things about yourself that you never saw before. What’s interesting is that I’m able to notice now with little judgement. Oh, it’s upsetting at times and I do feel frustrated but when I look at my actions as an Observer I’m able to dive down deeper into what’s going on. Let me back up a bit…

It’s become clear to me what I want to do with my career. I know it needs to be in alignment with my life purpose and I finally think I’ve found it. The problem of course is that what I want to do doesn’t really have a title. I can’t go to school for it, start out in the mail room of a company, or send out my resume. What I want to do with my life is support others in finding their Inherent Nature. To support others in living the life that they know they want and truly deserve.

Essentially I have a message and I want need to get it out to the world. Yes, there’s speaking, books, e-courses, retreats, seminars, blogging, coaching, etc. I have started writing a book and I obviously have a blog. However, I find myself taking on or wanting to take on other projects. Just the other day I remembered that I wanted my own domain name. You know? The one with my real name in it. I like “isimply.am” but that doesn’t really describe me. The problem is, www.JoshBecker.com is already taken by someone who plays in a band. I’m pretty sure he’s not giving that up to me and I don’t exactly have a hundred grand to buy it from him either.

So I went out to GoDaddy.com to see if there were alternatives. I found and bought www.JoshBecker.tv and www.JoshB.tv. Yes, I know they are “.tv” URL’s but that’s really all there was with my name. This got me thinking that I would need to do video, which I kind of want to do anyway. So, I went out and bought a long roll of white photography paper to use as a backdrop for the video. Then I’m thinking, “Oh wait, I’m going to need lighting…”. You see where this is going don’t you?

Just this morning I found out that a young father who blogs committed suicide. I felt so much sadness while I grieved for this man and his wife and children. I never knew him but he’s a young father who writes and something convinced him that dying was his best option. As a (relatively) young father myself and as someone who writes about self-awareness/self-esteem, etc. this really got to my core. I heard some fellow bloggers were going to be writing about this and that there seemed to be this movement to help men out.

Of course, this is all near and dear to my heart as I work with men every week at the Breakthrough for Men Workshop here in Carmel, CA. Something told me I had to do something. All these other bloggers were going to be supporting a cause near and dear to my heart. All these other bloggers were going to be writing about and supporting what I live for.

STOP!!

No, this is another project and this is me jumping on a bandwagon. Yes, it’s a good bandwagon and yes there’s pure and just intention. The fact is, this would become yet again another project I would start and not finish. Just like JoshBecker.tv it’s yet another project.

So, why do I get so caught up in starting things but rarely ever finish them? What’s the deal?

Hello Fear!

Yes, I know the only obstacle in my way is fear. But what exactly do I fear? It’s easy to say it’s fear but what does that mean? I think it boils down to my false belief that I’m not good enough. When I start things up there’s all this newness and excitement and a rush of wonderful feelings. However, in order to really make it I know I’m going to have to face people that aren’t just going to see the shiny newness of it all. People will see the real me and I’ll be exposed for all that I am.

Hello Vulnerability!

Yes, if I put all of myself out there then I will be exposed for all to see. If I don’t think I’m enough as I am then hanging it all out there is going to be freakin’ scary! I know intellectually that I can write a book. I know intellectually that I can support and walk with a lot of people. I know intellectually that I can make a very big difference in many people’s lives. This isn’t arrogance and it’s not me saying I’m better than anyone else. It’s me knowing that I have very important information that other people need to hear.

The problem isn’t in my lack of knowing (yes, I have plenty to learn and will for the rest of my life) but rather my belief that I can confidently share this with others. For some people the big step is just starting something. For me though, I think starting is the easy part and the real big step is turning that pretty store front into a real business. It’s having the signage out front that’s all lit up but then opening the door for everyone to come in. That’s the big step for me and that’s where fear is waiting. It’s waiting just outside the door and it reminds me that being vulnerable feels scary and it reminds me that I’m not strong, I’m not intelligent, and I’m not enough.

These are lies I’ve been living with my whole life. I know they are lies because I know the truth about me is that I am enough, I am intelligent, and I am strong. I know these things about me and I know they hold true even when I’m vulnerable. The problem is I haven’t believed it yet and until I do I’m going to continue starting and not finishing. I’m going to continue to stay in the “play it safe” mode where I get my “start-up” excitement and then not have to face fear head on by finishing.

I’ve enabled this pattern in my life because it’s been quiet. Yes, my wife knows I do this and close friends and family do as well but nobody else does. I need to shed light on this dark area of my life. To do that I’m going hold myself accountable right now. With your support I’m going to push through that door of fear. I’m going to sit down in my vulnerability and hold tight, really tight onto my strength, my confidence, and to what I know is true about me.

I have a book in me and it needs to come out. This should be the first step in moving towards my goal of supporting others. I’m feeling a bit of fear by even typing this right now but I need to do it. I owe it to myself so here goes. I commit to YOU the following:

1. I will not start any other “projects” until my book is done.

2. Aside from this blog and any guest posts I do, all of my writing will go into the book.

3. I will commit to writing every week until it’s complete.

4. If the fear I create becomes bigger than me I will let you know and I will ask for support.

So there it is my friends. This is what’s been heavy on my mind and on my heart for quite some time. It’s stopped me dead in my tracks and has been looming over me for quite some time. Although I may not know you personally I feel connected to you. I know that many of you may be experiencing similar things in your life. I know that I can count on you for support just like you can count on me. Life is about progress, not perfection.

This post to you is my progress and it’s what I need to get me to where I’m supposed to be. I hope that whatever may be blocking you that you also choose to take that next step. If you need someone to support you then ask. They are going to need your support too one day and that’s okay. Knowing that we’re not alone, that we belong, and that we matter is core to waking up and living our dreams.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. This isn’t just about me though so please share your story with me. Do so by leaving a comment or you can email me directly at Josh@isimply.am.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

May 022013
 

05_02_13_Love

Today’s Self-Acceptance Challenge is so important yet be can very challenging for many. This is where a lot of shame comes up for us and really prevents us from having the love we deserve. Others deserve our love and we deserve to be able to love them.

I’m talking about feeling pride for who we are and what we do when we express who we are. Celebrating ourselves often can be perceived as arrogance and Ego driven. Yet, celebrating ourselves is what loving ourselves looks like. It also expands us to allow more love to flow outward to everyone around us.

Self-Celebration and pride is an internal process. This doesn’t mean we go around and tell other people how great we are or “brag” about our accomplishments. Self-Celebration is an inner process of self appreciation and really an intimate experience and moment for you to love and appreciate yourself. We need to be careful because shame can rear it’s ugly head in these moments. We can hear self talk of why we shouldn’t be self-celebrating. We can make up stories of where we actually failed or point out the mistakes we made or compare ourselves to others. All of that is shame talking to you and it’s Bull Crap.

last night we had a graduation ceremony for the men who completed the first portion (17 weeks) of the Breakthrough for Men workshop. The second portion is another 17 weeks and the men and myself have been through a lot. There was time for appreciations and I could feel the love from the men. On my way home though I knew I wanted some self appreciation. I parked my car outside of my house, turned off the engine, and wrapped my arms around myself. Imagine hugging yourself and that was me in my car. LOL So, I thought about how I could appreciate myself. I gave up a lot of time to be there for these men. Wednesday nights mean I don’t see my children. It means I drive straight from work and don’t get home until almost 11pm! This is a volunteer effort so I don’t make any money doing this either. I was proud that for the first time in my life I was actually able to give of myself and of my time. I was proud that I was able to be compassionate, honest, tender, and loving with these men. I was feeling proud for helping to literally change (and maybe even save) other peoples lives. It’s a BIG DEAL and I played a part in it.

As I sat in the car feeling gratitude and deep inner appreciation, I also thought about where I’ve come in my life. I went back to my childhood and adulthood and thought about the work and progress I’ve made. Sitting in the car last night will tear-filled eyes I was filling my heart with appreciation and self-love. I know that doing that is going to expand my heart and allow me to continue to love and support other people so much more.

So today, I want to challenge you to some of that Self-Love and Self-Celebration! Are you ready?

1. Find a quiet place to yourself, like your car, an office, or a bedroom. You might even want to go out for a walk.

2. Think of a recent accomplishment or achievement and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It could be that you finally got your child to take a nap.

3. Instead of appreciating what you did, appreciate the qualities about yourself that allowed you to do it. For example, you can appreciate your creativity, your honesty, your responsibility, your thoughtfulness, your vulnerability, your intelligence, etc.

4. If you see Shame start to creep in KICK IT OUT! Shame has no place here!

5. Sit in the gratitude and pride for the qualities you’re appreciating about yourself for a few minutes.

So that’s it! Remember, this is an internal exercise and is something you’re doing for yourSELF! Arrogant people sit alone and have thoughts about how terrible they are and then convince the world that they’re wonderful and important. Self-confident and loving people practice Self-Love and Appreciation.

Try it on today and let me know how it goes. There’s a lot to be proud about yourself and it’s about time we start loving ourselves!

After all, our capacity to love others is only limited by the amount of love we have for ourselves.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

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May 012013
 

Vulnerability_05_01_13

Yesterday morning my wife and I were getting ourselves and the kids ready for work. She mentioned to me how tired she was and that she didn’t get a lot of sleep. Our 3-year old son had come into bed with us and was keeping her up. For some reason my immediate thought was that she also went to bed at midnight. In fact, we had both gone to bed at midnight the night before. This brought up all kinds of feelings and I resisted actually mentioning the midnight bedtime as a reason for her tiredness.

I made one of those gestures as if I was zipping my mouth up. I was feeling proud of myself for not saying anything but my wife wasn’t too happy with the gesture I made. She knew I had something to say about her being tired and wasn’t too happy. I immediately sensed that she put up a wall and I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere. She asked why I did that and I just didn’t have an answer.

On my way to work I thought about why I had to do the whole “zip my mouth” gesture. I quickly realized I was being passive aggressive. She shared that she didn’t get any sleep and was tired. My response wasn’t one of compassion, thoughtfulness, and love but rather one of judgement. In my mind I blamed her for her lack of sleep and pointed out where her failure was. Making that gesture wasn’t necessary and only pointed out to her that I had something to say. It also was a clear message that I didn’t approve of her sharing with me and that I was going to be the “bigger person” by not saying anything.

The truth is my wife was sharing something with me. She wasn’t asking me for advice on how she can get more rest. She didn’t ask for feedback or even for what I thought about the matter. She was simply sharing with me and my only job as her loving husband was to LISTEN. Listening means I give her my whole attention, I do not judge her, and I don’t try and “fix” her. What she was sharing with me had nothing to do with me yet I made it about me. I made it about what I thought and about what I didn’t approve of and how she was at fault.

I think a lot of my response comes back to my own frustration around not getting things done. I have a lot of hopes and dreams and working towards them on a consistent basis can be a challenge for me. I find myself feeling frustrated around the lack of movement or progress. I know this is my stuff I need to work on and it’s also a great reminder that my focus needs to stay on my intention and not my desired outcome. I was judging my wife because I often times judge myself. I feel scared to take responsibility for the things I don’t like in my life and so I want to hold others accountable to the same standard.

What a BIG LESSON in such an otherwise small and insignificant moment.

After becoming aware of what was going on for me I knew I had to apologize to my wife. I had some hesitation about apologizing though. I had thoughts that I always apologize and that I’m tired of apologizing. I thought she doesn’t apologize as often as I’d like when wrongdoings take place. But in that moment I realized I am responsible for my own actions and doings. I was acting passive aggressive and that’s not okay with me. I want to live an Authentic Life and that means being vulnerable, compassionate, empathetic, honest, fallible, and responsible. Those same qualities are the ones I forgot I possess in that conversation. I need to remind myself more often about who I really am.

Every day, even in especially in these small moments are opportunities for us to grow. It’s having the awareness in these moments that allows us to consider change. While it can feel uncomfortable for me to share some of this with you, I know this is what owning my truth looks like for me. What do you see in your small moments? Are you able to call out when you’re acting passive aggressive? It’s no easy task but I do believe vulnerability is the gateway to our own personal freedom.

With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Josh_Sig

 

 

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