24 Values in 24 Hours


     Here is an early holiday gift from my heart to yours. Please go to http://changingminds.org/explanations/values/via.htm where you will find a list of the 24 core values that have been documented by Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth but why, you may ask, would I want you to go there to receive this gift? Simply because ’tis the season of giving and what the world needs now more than anything is a reminder of the values and characteristics that live inside of each of us and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. To be able to pay those values forward to everyone you meet. May we all be blessed with a very happy, healthy, honest, prosperous, authentic, truthful, judgment free, spiritually uplifting New Year.

     The year of 2017 will not go down in my life journal as the happiest one of all but I did manage to extract quite a few great memories that I’m very proud to have experienced. Is anyone’s year on point 24/7? I would say this year has been memorable, head shaking, woeful, twilight zone-ish for sure. I’ve learned that happiness is subjective so please search your hearts for the happiness you are seeking to extract from all that this year has brought to your consciousness. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my soulful evolution, maybe it’s the pounding into my gut and brain that takes place day after day of the stupidity, valueless behaviors and moral corruption that seems to swirl like a tornado around me more now than ever before. I’m not sure what exactly it is that has left me so confused and truthfully so scared. What I do know is that my happy life moments are curtesy of that which I keep coming back to time and again, that which grounds me and helps me choose to restart and not give up;


What are values? Simply put, if each of us were a house, values are the foundation on which we build our house. From the time our personalities start to develop at a young age, we are creating and forming our individual values; those pillars of core characteristics that declare what we live for, strive for and believe; a guiding light, what makes us authentic and real.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’ ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’ ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

     Author Dean Koontz, who wrote, False Memory, showcases one of his fictional characters that says, “Reality is subjective. Values and truths are subjective. Life itself is an illusion.” I agree and disagree with this character, fiction based or not, because in my humble subjective opinion core values, the pillars of magic that we have been blessed to carry inside of us and summon up throughout our whole lifetime, are the building blocks of our legacy. In the Velveteen Rabbit, author Margery Williams describes through her character, Skin Horse, what it means to be REAL. To love and be loved, that is a real value and a legacy. When we allow reality to be subjective without objectivity we risk damaging truth and love and quite a few other core values. Once those values are damaged our legacy is damaged as well.

Our legacy is our “why” and while our “why” is personal and subjective the pillars of the core value system stand firm and true; the value system is real. How we put those values into action, build those values, leave behind the truths of those values as examples is subjective. Please remember that we live in a country where we are given the freedom of choice and the more choices we have to make the more our values matter most. Imagine a world where we all respected the fact that each one of us governs ourselves based on the same 24 positive core value/characteristics? What a great world indeed.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”Theodore Roosevelt

I Value You, You Value Me

“Values aren’t buses… They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.”Jennifer Crusie

The understanding of values has seen a huge uprising since the introduction of positive psychology by Dr. Martin Seligman. Dr. Seligman looks at values as core character strengths that consciously and unconsciously carry us throughout our life and help us to conduct ourselves with regard and worthiness. Sadly, we have seen way too many times this year alone how values have been discarded, disrespected, destroyed or never used at all.

Dr. Seligman discovered 24 core values that exist all the time. In one 24-hour day we make choices as to which core characteristics, values, we use to influence our decision making processes and the world around us. The values list is a positive list of every characteristic known to the human species. A warning however, for every positive that is extracted from these core values there is negative and it is those negative interpretations that have humans so muddled and backwards.


Here is my next gift for you: Go to www.authentichappiness.com and follow the prompts for adults. It is free and only requires you to sign in to take this insightful survey. If you answer honestly, your top five (5) values in action will tell you where your values hang out right now. The beautiful advantage of taking this survey is that there are no wrong answers, there are no negative answers, only insight into what makes each of us unique. Here you will find the gateway to the foundation of your house, your most important “why” and your legacy.

“The goal of a life purpose is not what you will create, but what it will make you into for creating it.” Shannon L. Alder

If you find that you want a value listed to be listed in your top 5 but isn’t quite there yet then you have the freedom and hopefully the time to devote to raising your chosen value (s)to a higher level. Just know that whatever your initial top five values come out to be, YOU ARE AWESOME!!

So, in 24 hours, how does someone go about purposefully putting their 24, or at least their top 5 values into action?

  1. Keep the top 5 list with you at all times so that you can check in at least once per week. If it helps, expand the list you carry to 10 top core values.
  2. Take notes throughout the week to see how you are using the values that are listed. Do you notice that you are using some more than others most of the time? Do you notice that you are using a value that you initially answered as a less prominent value?
  3. Throughout each day make time to remind yourself of your core values especially when confronted with a challenge that requires putting your values to the test.
  4. Find a colleague or friend or mentor or coach or spouse that you absolutely trust and discuss your observations. Ask for help from these trusted people in your life to keep you on track toward your evolution.
  5. Create an avatar, a song, a design, a rotating screensaver or a static picture/drawing for your home screen or on your phone or on a large post-it note, one that represents your top 5 or top 10 values so you can get in the zone of becoming in consciousness what you know in your heart.

What an incredible opportunity you have to start the new year with hopeful purpose and deeper understanding of being your best self not only for you but for everyone around you. Just knowing that the values you choose to concentrate on are always right for you is a very freeing, wondrous journey. Remember that each of the 24 values exist in each of us all the time. We decide which ones we use most. If you need a go to person to help sort it all out just give me shout. I will be happy to help.


Where do your core values fall?

What characteristic (s) do you use most of the time?

How can your values list become your “why”?

In what ways are your values your legacy?

Moms Sleep Then Conquer the World


Moms Sleep then Conquer the World

“Now for a good twelve-hour sleep, I told myself. Twelve solid hours. Let birds sing, let people go to work. Somewhere out there, a volcano might blow, Israeli commandos might decimate a Palestinian village. I couldn’t stop it. I was going to sleep.”  
Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Oh the joy of that first newborn baby. How prepared are/were you for those sleepless nights?

When my daughter was born I did everything I was told to do in order to take care of her and myself. She and I were in a world to ourselves and it was bliss except where sleep was concerned. Very quickly I learned that a bad night’s sleep can wreak havoc on every single part of the rest of my functioning life. I slept when she slept because I could and that part was fine but the nights were another matter. It was easier in the beginning when she was brand new because she either needed a diaper change or she was hungry but as she got older and I started weaning her off the breast she would wake for reasons like losing her pacifier during the night or  just wanting to be held for a while. It was impossible to get her into a routine of sleeping through the night.

If you are like me you feel like pulling your hair out because the mystery that has become sleep is overwhelming. There are pages and pages of information through Google to help parents search about how to get a better night’s sleep with a baby in the house. At the top of the list is establishing a routine as early as possible. I did not do this because from day one my daughter slept through the night. Sleep became a problem as she got older. Of course the routine will change and evolve over time as it should but staying firm to the structure is a great place to start. Years later I can tell you that eventually the babies grow and learn to love to sleep. See, there is hope but until then……

Not too long ago I was working with a client who is a new mom and going through these elusive sleepless nights. As fate would have it I have a coaching colleague who specializes in sleep disorders. Dr. Kevin B. Handley, Ph.D. was more than willing to offer up some great inside information and advice when it comes to getting the sleep we all need in order to have a happier, healthier life. I hope this brief interview will be of help to you:

By way of introducing you to my readers please briefly talk about how you recognized a passion in working with people with sleep problems? 

“A couple of things came together at the same time to help me recognize this passion for sleep. After the birth of our first child, my wife and I were generally surprised at how little people knew about how sleep works, especially in infants and children. At the same time, I had begun teaching at the college level and was surprised by how many people in my classes suffered with sleep problems. I knew the statistics, but it was still shocking when two thirds of a college class raised their hands when I asked “how many of you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep most nights of the week?” Lastly, when I began to focus on sleep enhancement in my clinical patients, it was obvious that sleep was a linchpin that led to better results in less time.”

I know that insomnia is your ideal client specialty but I am wondering if there is one common question or issue that clients bring to you regarding sleep outside of insomnia. 

“The most common question is “why am I tired all the time.” There is an epidemic of willful sleep deprivation in the United States. People simply do not value sleep and do not believe that they need more sleep than what they are getting. Unfortunately, this begins in childhood. A close second would be parents’ awareness that their children aren’t getting the sleep they need and they don’t really know how to help them.”

How important do you think it is, especially for moms with infants, to get GOOD sleep? What does GOOD sleep look like to a specialist like you? 

“It is essential that new mothers get good sleep. But unfortunately, new moms have poor sleep habits that were in place before the birth of their child. Mothers with infants do get referred to me, but sadly, it’s often after a period of extended sleep deprivation has already driven a mother to the point of exhaustion and often depression.

Good sleep means that you get enough sleep, at night, and on a regular schedule. People need to sleep a minimum of seven hours straight and preferably, with a standard wake up and bedtime. There’s also a functional aspect to it. You know that you’re getting good sleep when you wake up refreshed, stay alert all day long, and have the energy and focus you need to get done what you want to get done in your life.”

How does a mom with an infant even begin to incorporate the habit of good sleep and what do you suggest as a starting point for establishing a routine? 

“When you are a new mother and you start to lose sleep, your problem-solving skills aren’t what they should be and you can easily get overwhelmed. People can even get overwhelmed by listening to too much advice about how things should work. 

The key is to make small changes over time, but make certain that the changes you make are actually good ones. The good news here is that a few simple changes will enable your baby to sleep through the night without much effort because that’s what babies are designed to do. Most babies are born with the ability to sleep on a schedule. Unfortunately, we parents fail to honor that schedule. Newborns are not going to sleep through the night, but when they are biologically ready to do so, it isn’t that hard to achieve a regular sleep schedule.  When you put in place a few simple principles that help baby fall asleep and stay asleep, the baby’s tendency to sleep on a schedule will kick in and everyone will sleep better.”

When your children were infants, did you have sleep issues to deal with regarding yourself and/or the baby and if so how did you solve those issues? 

“We’ve never really had sleep issues with our children, but that is only because we went into it with a full understanding of how sleep works. We also were able to organize our life in a way that honors a child’s natural sleep schedule. This is difficult for most households with working parents, but it can be done.  Of course we were tired from getting up in the middle the night to feed, but we dealt with that by changing our sleep schedule and planning to get more sleep.

And this is the part that most people miss: People get tired and then get stressed about how they’re going to get everything done. The choice to deprive yourself of sleep is never a good one. It simply does not work.  It starts with a mindset shift. You have to believe that more sleep for yourself will result in more sleep for your child and that everything will get done more efficiently when you’re well rested. In fact, our commitment to our children’s sleep helped us diagnose our second child with medical problems that had not been detected. With all of our standard procedures for getting him to sleep not working, we knew that something else was wrong. It turned out that he had severe reflux. We would not have known that this was a problem if we didn’t have a good sleep process in place that should have promoted him going to sleep easily and without fussing.”

Is there a magic bullet or magic spell that could be used across the sleep issue spectrum to help people sleep better with infants or start to sleep better overall? 

“I wish there were! But I think the closest thing we have is the realization that getting sleep isn’t as difficult as people think. I think the best place to start is to realize that the benefits of sleep will come, but it takes a little bit of time. Over time with adequate sleep, people can enjoy better health, better mood, and even weight-loss!  I think the best place to start is to create good sleep hygiene:

*Rid the sleeping environment of anything that might keep you awake.

*Start by creating a sleep environment that is cool, quiet, and very dark.

*If you use electronic devices all the way up until bedtime, try turning them off about 15 minutes before bed.

*As far as a sleep schedule goes, choose a standard wake up time and get up at that time every single day, regardless of how you slept the night before. You will be surprised at how quickly you can resolve most sleep problems by simply getting up at the same time every day.”

My mantra is “if not tonight, then tomorrow night.”  People tend to worry about getting enough sleep, but they forget that they can do an awful lot under conditions of sleep deprivation. With infants, it’s important to remember that infants are programmed to sleep on a certain schedule and if we make just a few small adjustments, that schedule will kick in and they will sleep like champs!

Digging a bit deeper uncovered this information from the WebMd archives, “Everything can wait to get your attention except the baby. It is very tempting to want to spend that quiet time getting chores done or reading a book or catching up on correspondence. The fact is that no amount of cleaning or “catching up” is going to keep the house clean or caught up for very long. When the baby is up so are you so taking advantage of the time to rest your mind and body are just as important if not more so than cleaning the house.”

 “People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” –Leo J. Burke

So what can moms do to get their sleep on?

Get help right away. Don’t play the martyr. Ask for help from anyone that is willing and able to give it. My husband and I were so tired after the birth of our 2nd child that we both came down with the flu. I had to ask my mom to take the kids for one whole day and an overnight so that we could medicate and sleep. It was the one and only time in my whole life, then and now that I slept for one whole day straight. It felt so good and so necessary.

Prioritize your time. Seriously consider all that you want to get done in the course of your day and then pare that list down to what you know for sure you can get done, allowing for flexibility with the baby dictating the flow of the day.

Consider keeping a journal of your sleep times and circumstances so that you can find patterns that you can capitalize on. For example when is the best time for you to nap when baby naps? What foods sit solidly in baby’s stomach that makes for the best night’s sleep? What daylight pattern seems to work best for baby and you?

Count on things changing because they will. We get so caught up in the day to day that we gloss over the changes that take place in our schedules, routines and children. As they get older, although they are still changing all the time, the changes are less noticeable. When they are little they change so fast and furious that it seems impossible to keep up. My daughter completely stopped napping at age 1 and my body was not ready for it but motherhood calls so I had to be awake and ready. I promise that when your child walks down the aisle it won’t matter at all that the dishes didn’t get done for a week when he/she was 3 years old.

Rule out sleep disorders like sleep apnea or anemia that could leave you feeling overly tired. Not enough sleep can lead to depression so pay close attention to your mood swings and overall well-being. Your moods affect the baby so take care of you. A 20 minute nap during the middle of the day should revive you enough to get through until bedtime.

In another interview I did with a coaching client and new mom, Stephanie Read had this to say regarding her experience with sleep issues:

“It took me a full year to regain a sense of self and motherhood because I was so tired. It helped that I had a husband/partner that was willing to do whatever I needed when it came to sharing the schedule of taking care of our son. HOW I asked for his help was as important to our relationship as his physical help. It is hard for husbands to bond and get that baby time when mom is breast feeding so I learned early and quickly that the tone of voice I used, the way I phrased my questions, and the way I needed his help was a key component to his ability and love of helping and bonding. Following a schedule that he and I made together was the best overall action step.”

Other suggestions:

Do not eat too close to bedtime. I played around with this one for many years and what I have found to work for me is to finish eating for the day by 7pm.

Eliminate as much light as possible when going to sleep.

Try not to drink too much before bedtime. Stop at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Put an end to cardio workouts at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Keep the room cool to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sleep in loose fitting clothes or nothing at all.

Try to get 7-1/2 hours of sleep each night. This means going to sleep by 10p or 11p the latest. Get your partner or extra hands caregiver on board to help with this. A happy, rested mom creates a happy baby.

Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”  
Jean-Pierre Barral

In doing these interviews and learning ways in which to help moms sleep better I thought to myself, what if the tiredness mom’s feel isn’t solely based on their baby’s sleeping habits and erratic night patterns? What if it is a sense of having to be all and do all now that they are moms? I thought about this because that was me playing at perfectionism.

On a hilltop station in Rajasthan, in the Aravali hills of India Mount Abu sits. It is a quiet place known for its ancient heritage and regarded as a scared destination for spiritual rejuvenation and empowerment. Here is where you will find the spiritual headquarters of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and well renowned spiritual teacher Dadi Janki. Her perspective on sleep and tiredness really truly resonated with me because I saw myself in her words when I was a new mom. I would like to share her letter to her students with you:

Dear Friend, 

Om shanti. Sometimes when we are together, you ask me why I don’t seem to get tired when I travel from India or give programs into the evening. Tiredness is a kind of sickness. When we work with honesty and love, everything happens without tiredness. When we know how to take cooperation from others, there is no tiredness. It is not a matter of how long we sleep that determines whether we feel tired. It is waste and negative thoughts and actions that create tiredness. Create positive thoughts and elevated actions and you will take strength from that, and your tiredness will leave you.

Work for money and you will count your hours and your salary. Work for love, and you can work sixteen hours a day with happiness and without getting tired. Serving others brings energy. You will then feel your happiness accumulating.

Dadi Janki

When I reflect on high creative moments in my life I remember the energy that existed there. I remember feeling alive and in flow with my purpose. Creative things like cooking a good meal or baking a great dessert for my family, choosing carefully the books I would ultimately buy for my children because our bedtime ritual always included one story each, purposefully setting time aside from “have-to’s” in order to create time and space for “want-to’s” like blowing bubbles outside for the kids to catch. It is in this flow state, where time and space and life all around me seems to disappear that I become one with my souls’ purpose. When I emerge from this flow state I am revitalized, happier than I’ve ever been and I naturally pass on those positive, life giving feelings to others. In hindsight is when I realized that my children were better in their overall well-being because I was better in my overall well-being.

Where can you let go of stress and worry and exist from a place of pure love, kindness and inner peace?

Call to Action 

All of the advice in the world is not going to present itself in the flesh at 2am when you are tired and again, still, trying to get the baby to sleep. There is however a bit of comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You are safe among a score of mom’s who are also sleep deprived. To this I say, this too shall pass and although I don’t miss those sleep denied nights I do miss my children being so little with so much of life still ahead of us. How can you appreciate each moment, good and bad right now, remembering all the while that there are no do-overs.

Image by bing.com

From the Inside Out

Daily Dose“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” — Eckhart Tolle

When I made a decision to take control of my relationship with food the first thing I noticed was how I felt on the inside.

As the inside started feeling better the outside starting showing that. I will never disrespect the inside again.

What beauty is hiding inside of you right now that needs to come out?

What is stopping you from making today THE day to make something happen?

If you knew you only had one more year to live, how would you like to spend each day until then?

What is one thing, one little thing you can do right now to get started?

A Passion for Compassion: 8 Thoughts to Kick Start Compassion

Compassion says, “I know how you feel.”

“Both friend and enemy reside within us. One lives by the rule of compassion, the other by the rule of hard knocks. Though potential influence of either extreme is inevitable, our actions bear witness to the one we embrace.” –T.F. Hodge

It’s simple really: What makes you feel more authentic and genuine; when you reach out to hug someone or when you wait for someone to hug you first? What if we dropped our defenses and just reached out first? What are we so afraid of?

The dictionary defines compassion as a feeling of deep sympathy and/or sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

That definition sounds tragic but it is exactly what I did today. I met a former co-worker while at the grocery store and she told me about another former co-worker who is going through an awful health tragedy with her husband. I came home and immediately wrote out a card to her acknowledging her and her husband and express to her that she may never need my help in any physical way but that I am here to do whatever I can and to let her know that the one thing I could do for her right away was keep her and her family in my prayers.

Is it true that the only way for compassion to show itself is in the presence of a tragedy?  What is a tragedy? Each of us has days when even the most mundane of bad news or events can be perceived as a tragedy. Perspective makes it so. What I find really comforting is that although we may not go through universal life experiences all at the same time, we do go through universal life experiences at some point in each of our lives. Knowing that someone out there has experienced the feelings I am going through right now is of great comfort but would be of even greater comfort if I found a way to connect with the person who would understand. By reaching out and asking for help or by reaching out and saying to someone, “I know how you feel”, connects us on a human level that no other species can do.

“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” –Mahatma Gandhi

I just have to say that bowing in prayer may be the simplest act of kindness when doing something physically is not possible. Kindness shows itself in so many ways. Do something, don’t do nothing at all.

I was walking out of an art supply store the other day and a mom was looking around the parking lot with her daughter in tow. She was confused because the bakery that they usually stop at on their Sunday errands was no longer there. Her voice sounded so distressed. It was really back ground noise to me at that moment because my mind was consumed with thoughts of how to make the next story time project really fun and exciting for my little library visitors.

As I was walking back to my car I replayed the distant voice in my head and let my ears hear what was going on around me. It just so happened that this mom and I passed each other in perfect synchrony and I was able to tell her exactly where the bakery had moved to. You really wouldn’t believe how incredibly thankful and relieved she was to know that not only did the bakery not go out of business but that she knew exactly where it had moved to once I asked her about her bearings.

Clearly there was no real life shattering suffering or sorrow going on regarding the woman and the bakery however, the distress in her voice and the way it touched my heart was enough to draw out empathy and compassion.

Children are really great at compassion. What comes to mind for you when you think about how children show compassion? Who is their go to receiver of compassion? There are 2 actually. The first is a favorite doll or stuffed toy and the second is animals. If you want to get to know the heart of a child and how to cultivate and mature their compassion watch them with these 2 receivers. In most cases it is a natural occurrence. Sharing with another child is not necessarily a natural occurrence but compassion is an inherent human quality and with proper nurturing, practice and encouragement it can root itself in the hearts of children and grow and mature as they mature. What a wonderful world that would be.


Each life experience we go through creates a connection to someone else; a sense of commonality, whether we know the person or not. We create connection through our flaws, mistakes, humanity, solidarity, and understanding. We are more able to see into the nature of love and suffering all at once simply because we live and learn and feel.

David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and a co-author of “Out of Character: Surprising Truths about the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us” conducted a compassion study. The results were positive and uplifting. “The results of this study suggest that the compassion we feel for others is not solely a function of what befalls them; if our minds draw an association between a victim and ourselves, even a relatively trivial one, the compassion we feel for his or her suffering is amplified greatly. Simply learning to mentally re-categorize one another in terms of commonalities would generate greater empathy among all of us and foster social harmony in a fairly effortless way.”

Have you lost someone special? I was told a story about a man that lost his mom not long ago. He was very close to her and not having her in his life now, especially now that he has young children, has been a heartache that is at times too much to bear. Who among us cannot find commonality in a story like that? Even if you have not lost a mom or dad or that special someone you can put yourself in the shoes of the person that is grieving and wish to alleviate the pain or be a help through it.

And what of self-compassion?

I recently had a birthday and my family wanted very much to celebrate me while I did not feel like celebrating. My self-compassion was quite low at the time but I am the kind of person that doesn’t like to disappoint people, especially people I love so we put a plan together and made a night of it. We had a great time and it felt fantastic to smile and laugh and let go. I realized that it was wrong for me to treat my family with the same lack of enthusiasm as I was treating myself. I was glad for the awareness to put someone else’s needs above my own even though it was hard to feel inside of myself for myself. After all, isn’t compassion just another word for love, kindness, curiosity, empathy, tenderness and presence?

“Unfortunately we treat others as we treat ourselves. We should try being genuinely kind to ourselves and the rest will come naturally, like a Platinum Rule; far greater than a Golden Rule.” –Erica Goros

Simple gestures like when someone holds the door open for you or stops to pick up something you might have dropped or lets you cut in front of them on the express grocery line because you don’t have as many items to check out as they do. Those are small acts of compassion; knowing what it feels like and hoping to alleviate the negative. Just like going to the gym to maintain physical health and well-being compassion, when practiced regularly can be cultivated and maintained with amazing internal benefits. Sure, it may feel awkward at first but give it a month and see how you feel inside and what manifests itself on the outside. I predict you’ll be hooked and have a passion for compassion.

Suffering in any way is inevitable and I daresay necessary. Without suffering on any level we would not appreciate kindness, love, connectedness and compassion. The enemies of suffering are outnumbered and outmanned by compassion. Will you become an enemy of suffering or an ally?

Here is a short example of what I mean. What can you do to show compassion/kindness?

 8 Thoughts to live by

Start where you find your own sense of compassion. You will never know how much deeper your compassion can grow until you start to plant your own seeds.

“Compassion is not a virtue, it is a commitment. It is not something we have or don’t have, it is something we choose to practice.” –Dr. Brene` Brown

Open your heart. A closed heart can never grow and an open heart can never close.

“I could really use someone else’s smile today.” –Richelle Goodrich

Once you realize that other people matter you have created compassion.

“The solution to nearly every problem in the world comes down to greater awareness, compassion, and empathy.” – Bryant McGill

I’m here for you.

“Three of the ten principles governing the City of Joy are:

-Tell the truth

– Stop waiting to be rescued

– Give away what you want the most.” – Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World: A Memoir

Call to Action

How can you start to grow your compassion?

When in your life have you had a passion for compassion?

What experiences have you had that let you know compassion was alive and well?

Where do you witness compassion most?

Who hugs first? Where does the hug start from, the heart or the head?

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building character strengths, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.



10 Tenets of a Wellness Lifestyle


Your Well-being Checklist

chapter 1I saw a quote the other day, and you know how much I like and live for just the right quote, and I wanted to share it with you: “It is not what we carry with us, but what we let go of that defines who we are.” The author is unknown which means we can play with it and make it our own.

With autumn having had its grand hurrah and the cold air settling in for the long haul, I’ve been thinking about all of the books I would like to read and get lost in when winter comes around. I started to think about how each chapter takes me on an adventure and as I get closer to the middle of the book I get deeper into the adventure of the story. In most fiction books the explaining of a characters’ story weaves its way into the deeper chapters and near the end the main character learns to let go or change  the thoughts and feelings of the past. I thought about how decades of our lives mimic chapters in a book.

Each decade is like a chapter in a book and so I asked myself what am I carrying with me into my next chapter? Some people think of every age as a new chapter and on some level I do agree with that way of thinking but being a life coach I have learned to look a bit deeper than just one year at a time. Now I like to look at every age within a decade as a sub chapter. It takes a long time to change and perhaps change is not quite the right word. It takes a long time to evolve, to grow, to become, to learn, to adapt, to settle in, to get cozy, to mesh with a thought, an idea, a concept, a good quote, or an understanding.

So how about this: “It is not what we carry with us into our future but what we choose to let go of that helps define who we are and who we want to be.” Much like a sculptor that chisels away at the marble to reveal its true essence, we too are the sculptors of our lives as we try to reveal the unchanging platform we stand on to define and chisel and smooth a pathway to who we are.

So why this thought today? Well, I am taking a wellness class this semester and the depth of the wellness class is titled, “All About Me”. In order to understand the scope of wellness, the entirety of wellness and well-being each student takes on the role of client and we all work through real life wellness situations using tools we never imagined we had at our disposal. For example, where are you right now in self-care or “me” time or self-confidence or in letting go?


The National Wellness Institute defines overall wellness like this: “Wellness is a process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence. Health is not the mere absence of illness, but a continual striving to live a life that is full, meaningful, zestful and exuberant. Wellness is the experience of living life with high levels of awareness, conscious choice, self-acceptance, interconnectedness, love, meaning and purpose. Wellness is an individual’s life journey.”*

Chapter after chapter, decade after decade, we tend to bring with us hurts, ills, beliefs, old stories from the past that prevent us from moving forward. It takes bravery, courage, perseverance and hope to move away from limiting beliefs and stories that never change in order to free ourselves to breathe deeper, see clearer and stand taller. Self-esteem plays an important role in letting go and championing wellness. Self-esteem says, “I care enough about myself to take stock of my life, make the necessary changes and find the support to maintain my motivation.” As a life coach it is my honor to stand where you stand, in the here and now with you, and uncover your true essence in all things; your true wellness. One by one, sub-chapter by sub-chapter, together we make your platform strong and your purposes meaningful.

Just one week into the class I came across a concept that really, deeply resonated with me. There is a tremendous difference between I-llness and WE-llness. That is coaching. Everyone needs support through tough times, happy times, challenging times and discovery times. I hold sacred the WE in wellness.

This week in my wellness class we have to start to develop a personal wellness plan. The plan starts with our credo, our manifesto and the credo starts with the words, “I believe….” These beliefs have to come from the platform or the foundation of who we are. They come from our core values. Doing this exercise has been fun but frightening. It has forced me to face some inner critic beliefs that I really should throw away by now and this credo asks me to state firmly who I am. So here is how I started to help develop my wellness plan. What do you think?

There are 10 Tenets of Wellness* that I would like to share with you. See if you can choose just one tenet to incorporate into your life right now that can help you move this chapter of your life forward. I am here if you need me. Ready?

1)      Wellness is holistic. Consider yourself whole in mind, body, spirit and environment.

2)      Self-esteem is a critical factor in moving forward. Everything we do comes either from love or fear. Can you pinpoint where your wellness perspective comes from? For example, Is it rational fear like a cliff being too high above the water that causes you to determine not to jump or is your fear based on your little negative voice inside making False Evidence Appear Real?

3)      Positive peers encourage wellness. Who do you surround yourself with? Who you hang out with most of the time has a lot to do with your own personal wellness. Do you get support or criticism? Do you feel threatened or accepted?

4)      Live consciously. Become aware of all the choices you have and start acting on them. Conscious living knows that it is ok to take our time to enjoy what we eat or to break out of our time vacuums like choosing not to watch TV tonight in favor of reading a great book or hanging out with the kids or doing some kind of creative project that requires our undivided attention. Living consciously involves the true essence of FLOW.

5)      Connectedness. Getting out of our fear of meeting new people and discovering that we each have something we can teach each other. It could also mean connecting to the pulses of our environment such as in gardening, weather patterns, moon phases, landscape changes, etc.

6)      We are the first responders of our health. Outside of genetic risk factors and toxic environments out of our control, our emotional and lifestyle choices determine our health and well-being.

7)      Self-sufficiency over shadows fear. The more we learn to do for ourselves the more empowered we become toward wellness. Pass on what you have learned in taking care of yourself. The world will thank you.

8)      Being alone is a good thing. Everything in moderation is the meaning behind this tenet. Solo time helps us relax. When we allow ourselves time alone we are allowing our bodies and minds to absorb all that it has seen and experienced through our senses. Most of all it creates space for clarity and vision.

9)      Perfectly Imperfect. My favorite of all sayings. Did you know that perfectionism has its roots in shame? Perfectionism shows up as anorexia, workaholism and other addictive behaviors. Perfectly imperfect means not lying to yourself or hiding from issues that need your attention. It means showing up and getting messy with it (life).

10)   Play. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Children learn most and best through play. Why should it be any different for adults? Give yourself permission to play to maintain a balanced life.

I have started my wellness plan with these tenets and so far so good. I hope it helps you get a good start on your personal wellness plan. Don’t forget to start each wellness plan step with the words, “I BELIEVE”. For example, “I believe that I am worthy of one hour this week to allow myself to take a nap, read a book of my choice, eat a chocolate dessert, turn off the phone, etc. Then go and do it. How did it feel?

This isn’t a concrete wellness outline but it is a great start. You are the only one who can determine which of these tenets really work for you, which ones you have a hard time with but want to work on more consciously and which ones you just can’t relate to right now in this chapter of your life. All I ask is that you stay open-minded and hopeful to whatever may come up next.


“Human life is a journey whose end is not in sight. Searching, longing and questioning are in our DNA. Who we are and what we will become is determined by the questions that animate us, and by those we refuse to ask. Your questions are your quest. As you ask, so shall you be.” – Sam Keen

I’d like to leave you with a copy of the Serenity prayer so that while you journey on your road toward wellness, toward letting go of old chapters and toward happiness you can truly embrace perfectly imperfect.

serenity prayer*Excerpts from Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle Change by Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC

Images by Bing.com

Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit www.journeyoncoaching.com. or contact Lisa at lisa@journeyoncoaching.com. Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky, tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. All it takes is a spoonful of sugar and a desire to move forward with passion. If you would like to see how partnering in coaching can help create your best life so far please call or write to me and let’s start on that journey. Your personal discovery awaits….

7 Reasons why Coaching doesn’t need no stinkin’ Insurance

No Insurance, Fantastic


7 Reasons why Coaching doesn’t need no stinkin’ Insurance

“Opportunity will always meet you exactly where you stand.” –Bryant McGill

Recently I had a discovery session with a potential new client and the all too common question came up, “Will my insurance cover our sessions?” I always feel like I slip down into a dark cavernous pit of shame when clients ask me this question. The short answer is no, coaching is not covered by insurance.

The next question invariably is why. Logically you would think that coaching is a round-about, scenic route, well-being form of therapy and it should fit into the guidelines of therapy but it doesn’t. Finding a place for coaching in the healthcare system is like navigating a mine field. There is no true road map for coaching beyond the coach becoming a certified coach. Warning: Always make sure the coach you work with is ICF (International Coaching Federation) certified.

So here is the plain text answer to why coaching is not covered by insurance…..

Think of coaching like an interior decorator. The construction of the house is in place and now we need to make the inside as beautiful and unique as the outside.

According to the ICF and Eric Harris, J.D., Ed. D and my coaching ethics instructor, “Coaching is defined as an on-going professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations. Coaching is aimed at helping clients discover their goals for self-improvement, define specific action steps and strategies for reaching these goals and then enabling, empowering the client, through regular meetings with the coach to achieve these action steps and overall goals. Coaching assumes the client is the expert in his/her life and work and that he/she is a generally well-functioning person. Coaching helps maximize personal development and navigate transitions in the client’s life.”

Although coaching is a specific psychological/mental health distinction, it is not covered by health insurers. Coaching is considered a choice. Just like there is no health insurance coverage for taking a vacation or buying an outfit or getting a hair-cut that helps you feel more attractive or self-assured.

According to an article written by Deah Curry, Ph.D., CPC in 2011( www.noomii.com/blog/1928-why-your-health-insurance-wont-pay-for… )

“There are reasons why you wouldn’t want to be diagnosed with a mental disorder in order for coaching to be covered by health insurance. Despite the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) which is supposed to protect privacy of medical records, there are a number of situations in which your records can be accessed or compromised – to your detriment.”

When I signed my son up for therapy with a LMFT a year ago, he had to be diagnosed with a coping disorder by the therapist in order for his sessions to be covered by our insurance. He had an intake session and then he was labeled and then he was granted 12 one hour sessions to be broken up during the course of one year’s time. When those sessions ended there was an outtake evaluation done. Should he need to make use of a therapist again we would have to do this whole process over and now in his medical history it will say that he sought treatment for a coping disorder. The situation with my son was prompted by suggestions from his school counselors and I felt it was enough of a scare for me to go the therapy route. I was not satisfied completely by his therapy session and in the future I would definitely encourage him to seek coaching but only if he is ready to take action on his own and wants to make strides in creating more balance, a better sense of well-being. Coaching says, “When you are ready to face your inner critic, when you are ready to take control of your life transitions, when you are ready to boldly move forward toward your dreams one step at a time, one breath at a time, I will be here ready to help.”

If you work for a corporation or organization where coaching is part of their human resource offerings please consider taking advantage of this offering. Providing employees with all around mental health wellness is a terrific perk for everyone at that corporation and the results extend well into life outside of the working environment.

There are many reasons to consider coaching regardless of it not being covered by insurance.

1)      In the same vein of the credit card commercial, “Getting right with myself inside and out, priceless.”

2)      It is a fantastic gift you give to yourself that extends far and deep into every aspect of your overall well-being in life and the people in your life.

3)      What you discuss with your coach is up to you. No one fits you into a mold of time or category. Coaching can be for however long you decide. There is no one looking over your shoulder saying, “Times up.”

4)      You attach to you a lifelong cheerleader, life guide, and/or mentor unlike anyone else you have ever known.

5)      The power to take control of your life and your issues; to champion yourself is unlike anything you will ever feel again. A coach can help you not only get to that championship place but help make it permanent.

6)      Confidentiality is number one. Once trust is established be prepared to discover your greatness and all the success characteristics that naturally exist within you.

7)      A coach stands with you in the moment that you are in. Going back into your past is for therapy. Moving forward from where you are is coaching.

Are you ready for coaching?

1)      What would you like to discover, uncover, or move toward?

2)      Coaching can help you get to your most treasured dream, how would that feel?

3)      What would it take to invest in you?

soaring“You have to decide what your biggest priorities are and have the courage, pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, say “no” to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside.”—Stephen Covey

It’s never easy to choose yourself first. But just like in an airplane when the stewardess instructs the passengers to put the oxygen mask on themselves first in order to then be able to assist others, so does coaching work from that principal. In order for you to be all that you were meant to be everything needs to start with you first, your well-being, your strengths, and your peace of mind.

If you have any questions regarding coaching please give me a call 203-560-3061 or email your questions to lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.


Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit her website at www.journeyoncoachingservices.com

Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. All it take is a spoonful of sugar. If you would like to see how coaching can supercharge your spirit please call or write to me and let’s discover your creativity and resourcefulness in a judgment free, empowering, uplifting space. Your personal discovery awaits….