It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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This is Your Lifetime to Get it Right: Forgiving Yourself and Others

The struggle to love and forgive is a heroic struggle. It will affect every other relationship in your life. And guess what? For me, all movement comes from forgiving and loving myself. Go figure. 

I wrote some of this piece years ago, while visiting my mother in upstate New York. I wanted to be the perfect daughter. But there’s something about dealing with our families that’s like taking acid. You go on a trip. Things come out of the blue. People sprout extra heads. Then you come back and you think-- what was that all about?

“Those who see themselves as whole make no demands,” teaches A Course in Miracles. Well, clearly, those who seem themselves as threatened wildebeests act accordingly. 

Being with my mother, I can’t believe how quickly I am triggered. I teach workshops in A Course in Miracles , a form of spirituality which emphasizes choosing love instead of “being right.” But as I hide away upstairs in the cutesy, cluttered guest bedroom of my mother’s townhouse, despising every artificial flower I see, I consider a different line of work. Maybe I could be the anti-Gandhi. Because my blood pressure is definitely higher than my consciousness.

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Let Go of Relationship Clutter

Clutter. It blocks the flow of energy and gets in the way of manifesting our deepest desires.

We know how to unclutter the physical items in our lives and now, thanks to my friend Peggy Fitzsimmons, she is sharing with us today her views on letting go of relationship clutter. Enjoy!

“Our souls are inherently free and our true nature is love. And we also have ego minds that orient us towards self-preservation, lack, and scarcity. When the ego is in the driver’s seat, we relate from fear and separation. If conflict, competing, or power struggles are the norm in your relationships, your ego likely has a tight grip on the wheel. When you fail to treat yourself or someone else as a human being, your ego is present in that moment of relationship. In contrast, when the soul is in the driver’s seat, we relate from safety and connection. If your relationships are characterized by harmony, collaboration, and compassion, your soul is at the wheel. When you treat yourself or someone else with kindness, acceptance, and neutrality, your soul is present for that relationship moment.

The ego drives us to accumulate relationship clutter. Here are some examples:

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11 Pleasure Practices to Add Joy to Your Workday

In Disney’s rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the dwarves whistled while they worked. They had a magical way of bringing lightness and joy to their workday.

We live in stressful times. For many people, work is serious and stressful. What if we made it more fun? What if we added joy and pleasure?

What is Pleasure?

According to the dictionary, pleasure is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Imagine bringing happy satisfaction and enjoyment to your work. How much more energized, happy, and healthy would you feel?

There are 3 types of pleasure: everyday pleasure (like enjoying a beautiful sunset or a funny video), sensual pleasure (like enjoying a relaxing massage), and sexual pleasure. 

Pleasure Increases Productivity 

Our society values productivity over pleasure. However, pleasure leads to improved productivity! 

Pleasure is just as important as hard work, because it raises your vibration, boosts your energy, relieves stress, improves your health and happiness, boosts your creativity, and opens your intuition. When your intuition is flowing with creative ideas, you can accomplish more in less time with less effort. 

Pleasure also brings you into the present moment and away from your stressful worries about the future or regrets of the past.

Have you ever noticed after going on a pleasurable vacation how much more refreshed and energized you feel the first day back at work? This is called the Pleasure Effect. Building pleasure into your workday allows you to experience the Pleasure Effect every day.

If you are overworked and under-pleasured, you will love these 11 tips to add pleasure and joy to your workday, whether you work from home, in an office, or anywhere else.

11 Pleasure Practices to Add Joy to Your Workday

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Fix This Mistake to Change Your Relationships – and Your Life

It may feel to us as though life comes at us from the outside in, but in fact, it doesn’t. We meet life from the inside out. Once we understand this, we’ll see the mistake we’ve been making all along about the true meaning of strength – and how this has compromised our relationships. As we are now, we each have a list of things we want to overcome: our past; our failure to acquire what we believe we need; difficult people. We’ve identified these as challenges that come at us from outside. Naturally enough, our behavior is based on what our mind identifies as the cause of the problem. We keep fighting the exterior challenge as a means of healing ourselves, but we keep getting hurt. A wound that is covered over too soon fails to heal from the inside. In the same way, as we try to fix the psychological wound by changing things on the outside, we interfere with the natural healing process, which must be an internal one. Because we don’t understand the nature of the wound, we rend it again.

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Discover the Magic of “Relationship Jiu-jitsu”

An argument between two people (lovers, spouses, family members) is a kind of psychological battle often filled with personal attacks, accusations, and dredging up past mistakes.

When both parties are exhausted, or one grudgingly concedes, the fight ends – for the moment. But nothing has changed; resentment has just gone underground until it’s dug up again, and hostilities soon resume.

But it needn’t be this way. There’s a little known “magic” that can stop any fight in the moment, and helps prevent the next one from getting starting. It’s the result of what we can call “relationship jiu-jitsu.” 

Jiu-jitsu is an ancient Japanese martial art based in “the art of yielding.” The combatants use special “moves” to turn an opponent’s energy back on them.

But here, I’m using the term psychologically, where the opponent isn’t a person we’re fighting. The true “opponent” to be overcome is a negative, lower level of consciousness in each of us that blames the other for the punishing pattern we’re both caught up in. 

To apply “relationship jiu-jitsu,” at least one of us must see we’re about to mindlessly repeat some old pattern that has no winner. So, instead of acting from the negative energy we feel – having seen the futility of throwing it at the other person who will only throw it back at us – we do something completely new: rather than try to “prove” we’re right, we use the moment to discover something about ourselves that will not only help transform us, but maybe the other person as well! 

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The Evolution of Love

How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet?

Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse.

On the one hand, we have the greatest capacities for empathy, communication, friendship, romance, complex social structures, and altruism. On the other, we have the greatest capacities for shaming, emotional cruelty, sadism, envy, jealousy, discrimination and other forms of dehumanization, and wholesale slaughter of our fellow humans.

In other words, to paraphrase a teaching story, a wolf of love and a wolf of hate live in the heart of every person.

Many factors shape each of these two wolves, including biological evolution, culture, economics, and personal history. Here, I’d like to comment on key elements of the neural substrate of bonding and love; in next week’s blog, I’ll write about the evolution of aggression and hate; then, in the next several posts, we’ll explore the crucial skill of empathy, perhaps the premier way to feed the wolf of love.

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Addiction to Story Telling

I was at a social gathering speaking with Robyn, a woman I had just met. At first, it sounded like she was a very interesting person and a good storyteller, but after a few minutes I noticed that we were not speaking WITH each other – she was speaking AT me.

I also noticed that I was unable to connect with her, and I started to feel very bored. Being used to noticing and acknowledging my feelings, I thanked my inner child for the information she was giving me – my boredom – which was telling me that Robyn was likely addicted to story telling.

Robyn was using story telling as a form of control to capture my attention and drain my energy. She was counting on the fact that she thought I would be too polite to walk away in the middle of her story. She was wrong about my being too polite!

I do try to be polite, but

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How To Stop Being A Love Addict

No matter how much love you get from others it will never be enough if you aren’t loving yourself.

Seeking love, validation, approval outside of yourself is a recipe for misery.

You are a love addict when you NEED the love, approval of those in your life in order to feel ok. When your sense of self worth is dependent on other’s loving you, you end up needing other people’s love like a drug.

When you think that you are lacking something inside or that you aren’t whole and complete, you end up seeking it outside thinking that person will somehow complete you.

This creates dependency since you have made the other person responsible for your sense of freedom and inner security. You will never feel free living this way.

The love you get outside yourself temporarily fulfills that unmet need deep within you. But ultimately it isn’t lasting. The more you need the love from outside, the less free you are to authentically be yourself.

A million likes on Facebook will never be enough if you don’t like yourself.

The whole world thinking you are amazing will never be enough if you don’t appreciate yourself.

So what do you love about yourself?

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Intentions Of Integrity

Integrity, love, and authentic power are inseparable. Integrity is much more than doing the right thing. From the perspective of your soul, there is no “right” and “wrong” thing. There are causes and there are effects of causes. When the cause is love, the effect is love. When the cause is fear, the effect is fear. When you are torn between love and fear, or between fear and love, your personality is splintered. It is not whole, not integral. You are out of integrity. Your wholeness is not present.

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Beyond Suffering: An Ah-Ha Moment!

Allyson and Jonathan are sitting in front of me at a 5-Day Intensive. Married for 2 years, they have lost the passion and fun they once had, and they cannot understand why.

As I sit with them and experience what I call their relationship system, I see that what Jonathan does when he feels lonely around Allyson is to abandon himself by getting hard and judgmental or by shutting down. I see that what Allyson does when she feels lonely around Jonathan is to abandon herself by disconnecting from herself, leaving her heart and going up into her head. I see that Allyson’s disconnection makes Jonathan feel lonely, and Jonathan’s judgment and withdrawal crush Allyson.

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Start Seeing What You “Give” to Others

Every moment is the right moment to start seeing ourselves as we are... regardless of whoever may be our “partner” of the moment.

Maybe it’s the person in that long line with us, complaining about how slowly things are moving. There’s no better time to practice seeing yourself than when some part of you can’t wait to “pounce” on the impatience of someone else. How about being stuck behind a driver on the freeway who won’t speed up or get out of the way?

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The Power of Love

Love is one of those words that gets used a lot but has so many different meanings. Love is a feeling, a sentiment, a behavior, an action, a way of being, and often the thing that has the capacity to heal almost every situation.

I don’t believe there is a shortage of love in the world, in fact I believe that just as there is more than enough air and water for all of us, there is an abundance of love. When we choose to consciously tap into the vast pool of love and share it with our world and the world around us, life is a better, safer, happier place for us all.

Here are wise words from a sermon by Rev. Michael Curry:
“The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.
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Trust Yourself

Who do you trust?

The Practice:
Trust yourself

Why?

As I grew up, at home and school it felt dangerous to be myself – my whole self, including the parts that made mistakes, got rebellious and angry, goofed around too loudly, or were awkward and vulnerable.

Not dangers of violence, as many have faced, but risks of being punished in other ways, or rejected, shunned, and shamed.

So, as children understandably do, I put on a mask. Closed up, watching warily, managing the performance of “me.” There was a valve in my throat: I knew what I thought and felt deep inside, but little of it came out into the world.

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Pivoting Out of Fear Into Love

The Self.  When I use the term, the self, I am not talking about the created self. In my book, You Are Enough, I outlined the distinction between the authentic self, or essential self, and the created self. The short version, or synopsis of my book, is that as long as we continue to identify as the created self, the ego and the identity, we continue to perpetuate our suffering. The reason we are not excelling in every area of life, is because of our conditioning out of our normal state of being. 

I’d like to offer you a shortcut today, a cheat code, a way to access what every incredible being throughout human history has accessed and embodied. I’d like you to begin to love what you have been taught to reject, love what you have concluded that you have to repress, love what you have denied, and especially, meet every single part of you with the love that it deserves to receive. At some point, you have to realize the futility of being afraid. 

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What Is Your Loud Song?

Music always gave me comfort through challenging times. Music was my constant companion and soundtrack to life. I consider junior high the cruelest time of life. Surviving bullying and the rhythm of growing up and falling down.

At age 17, after graduating high school I moved to Santa Monica, CA with my best friend Mike to become a Graduate Gemologist.

We lived in a small apartment so we couldn't listen to music too loud without disturbing our neighbors. We made an agreement that we both had our "Loud Song". If our favorite song came on the radio we could turn it up as loud as we want for that one song.

My loud song was "Roll With The Changes" by REO Speedwagon and Mike's loud song was "Dream On" by Aerosmith.

A year after we got home to Minnesota, Mike was killed in a head on car crash. His spirit continues to stay with me, knowing he lived his life by his loud song. Somehow his song made the deep loss easier for me.

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A New Way to Meet Moments When Trouble Comes

What’s the first thing that any of us do when trouble comes? The first thing that happens when we get into trouble is that we start thinking. Our little think machine just gets geared up, and it starts to go. And it goes. Now, what is it thinking about?  It’s thinking about the trouble it’s in and it’s thinking about ways in which to get out of trouble.

And once our little machine starts to think about ways to get out of trouble, and is able to identify the way in which it can free itself, what does it do? It starts asking for stuff, doesn’t it? “Oh, please fix this. Please get rid of this. Please change this.” 

We must be willing to look at ourselves and see that when something happens and a pain comes, we start thinking. And when we start seeing what we think is the problem, even if it’s about ourselves, we start asking for ways to be free of this situation

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How To Increase Your Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

People will treat you how you teach them to treat you.”

The foundation of your life is based on the foundation of your own self-esteem and your relationship with your self-worth. Self-esteem is at the root of your experience of yourself and other people. We tend to experience life at the level of our self-esteem, and the quality of our life will be at the quality of our self-esteem in terms of how we see ourselves. Listen to this very important episode as I dive deep into the signs of low self-esteem, and how to rise above and change your narrative to believe that "You are enough, just as you are."

Are You Feeling Stuck in Your Relationship?

I’m the money chick, which leads a lot of people to ask, “Julie… why do you talk about so many of these others topics? Relationships? Work life? Health?”

The answer is actually very simple: success in all these areas has to do with how we are authentically showing up in the world, and money is actually the result of you aligning with your heart and your soul—aligning in your relationship, your work, your health, and so much more. Without alignment in all these areas, money doesn’t follow, and if it does follow, it may not stick and stay either.

So today we’re going to focus a bit on relationships because if you are not happy in your relationships, then going to affect many aspects of your life in a negative way.

Taking Responsibility
Many people get mad at me for saying this, but here’s the hard truth: you created exactly the life you have and you made choices to get to the place you’re in right now. I get that life happens and some things are out of your control, but you being in the relationship you’re in (or not in) is you’re choosing.

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The ABC’s of How to Free Yourself from Negative Thoughts and Feelings

Have you ever noticed that when you’re under the cloud of some negative state, what you do to try to “make things better” actually makes the situation worse? Struggling to free yourself from your own negative reactions is a bit like throwing gasoline onto a fire, isn’t it? 

Recognizing that you get trapped in this pattern of taking action that neither relieves nor rescues you from negative states  actually opens up the possibility of another kind of action based on higher self-knowledge.

Following are three new actions – the fundamental “ABC’s” – that can start you on the path to breaking free from negative thoughts and feelings: 

Avoid nothing.

 

In the moment when suddenly you are carried away in a river of negative thoughts and feelings, does it not seem as if the first thing to do is to, at all costs, avoid? Not just the states themselves, but to try to correct or reconcile the situation that these suffering thoughts and feeling are based in? 

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Love What’s Real

What can you count on?

The Practice:
Love what’s real.

Why?

Because this practice could seem so abstract or so obvious that it’s not worth doing, I am going to take longer than usual to explain why it’s so important.

As I grew up, my family and schools felt like shaky ground. I didn’t understand why my parents and many kids reacted the ways they did, with worry or anger that was unrelated to what was actually happening. It felt shaky inside me, too, and I didn’t understand my own feelings and reactions. Outside and inside both felt twirly, up in the air, unnerving.

So I looked for solid ground. I tried to see and understand what was really true. The orange groves and hills around our home were natural and comforting, and I spent a lot of time there. I started reading science fiction and liked an orderly universe in which you could figure out why the spaceship was falling and save it.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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