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  • The Visionary

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Stacey on the cover of Aspire MagazineI’m on the cover of the current issue of Aspire Magazine!!

I still haven’t wrapped my brain around this momentous occasion!

Yes, I created a very strong vision this time last year of what I wanted in my life by the end of this year.

And yes, I took massive, determined action every day – such as creating powerful partnerships with amazing women like Linda Joy (the publisher of Aspire).

AND YES, I took some very big risks – like quitting my “secure” job and investing over $25,000 in myself and my business – with NO guarantees that they would work out as I intended.

And yet it STILL feels a little surreal to see my life unfolding as I envisioned – and even BETTER than I imagined!!

With all of the holiday hullaballoo, have you thought about who you’d like to be and how you’d like to feel and what you’d like to achieve by this time next year?

Even though I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, the New Year is still the perfect time to create a very bold vision of all that you want to be, do and have in the next year.

New Year’s or not, if you’re done waiting to live your best life, and you want to make big changes in your life, you need a high level of guidance, support and accountability.

As you may know I’m mentoring a select group of women to get their purpose-driven work out into the world in a big way… and I’m mentoring them in a way that’s in alignment with their deepest desires and true values.

Here’s the thing: I only have 3 spots left…so if reading this makes your heart race a little bit out of excitement and possibility, but also makes you catch your breath from uncertainty and doubt…that’s completely normal.

It means we should talk. And you can sign up for a completely complementary Discovery Session here: http://midwifeforyourlife.fullslate.com/

This conversation could be the catalyst for you changing your life and looking back next year and saying, “It all started there.” Let’s find out. :)

And if you’re not ready for big changes, this week’s feature article shares a small but powerful shift you can make in your thinking to help you have more clarity on what you really want and how to get it: in short, the answer is to use your curiosity. Read on to see what I mean.

CuriosityI posted the image to the right to Facebook along with a great quote from Linus Pauling, “Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.”

I was intrigued by that sentiment, and I was pleased to see that it received a great response.

Above the quote I asked a question, “Are you willing to understand someone more than you are understood by someone?” because that sentiment, I know for a fact, has contributed greatly to my happiness.

It always resonates with my clients, too, and I often encourage them to be like investigative journalists whenever they feel frustrated or confused, especially when they are relating to someone else.

Research shows that people who describe themselves as intentionally curious report greater life satisfaction and a deeper sense of meaning. They’re also apt to push themselves to learn and do things differently to meet their goals.

Curious folks are also better problem solvers. Todd Kashdan, author of Curious? wrote, “If you cast about for diverse solutions, you’re less liable to go with the first thing you come up with.”

I think that’s good because if you focus solely on what you’re familiar with, you’ll miss the chance to hit on something truly original that is more likely to be a lasting solution.

It’s like Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.”

Why, then, are we generally not so curious?

Kashdan, who has conducted research on this topic for over a decade, argues that curiosity and anxiety work together — one propelling us to explore, the other putting on the brakes so that we don’t take unwise risks.

The problem is that we have devalued curiosity, putting the bulk of our energy — as individuals, communities, nations — into anxiety avoidance. Kashdan argues that we’ve lost an important balance.

He also takes on the notion of happiness: A meaningful life, he argues, is one of passion and engagement.

The goal then is not necessarily to be happy, but to enter into daily life with curiosity, discover what moves and inspires you at a deep level and then pursue that passion with all your might.

Sound familiar? This is what I talk about ALL THE TIME.

But you’ll never find that sense of purpose without searching, which is where curiosity — and tolerance of a certain level of anxiety — comes in.

The good news, Kashdan argues, is that curiosity can be cultivated, and once you start approaching the world from a standpoint of inquisitiveness, the brain reinforces this behavior by releasing dopamine, a feel good hormone.

We’re actually hardwired to experience a rush of excitement when we engage in something novel and challenging. How cool is that?!

So whether you’re dealing with a difficult co-worker, navigating a tense family drama, or trying to find and LIVE your purpose, using curiosity will make your life much easier, and ultimately more pleasurable.

The next time you’re feeling frustrated or confused by anyone or anything, think of yourself as an investigative journalist bent on figuring out what your coworker, husband, mother or whoever is feeling and/or doing. And if it’s a life circumstance that’s troubling you, ask yourself, “What is this here to teach me?”

There really is something to learn in every conflict or undesirable circumstance, and it’s very much worth seeking out.

It’s essential to keep that in mind, because in a stressful situation, a thought like, “This shouldn’t be happening.” Or “I should already know this by now.” is only going to make it worse.

Trust me: if you’re having those thoughts, it means that it should be happening and you shouldn’t already know it by now.

It means that you have to go back to being an investigative journalist, and keep asking questions.

If you do, you will find the answer. But only after adopting some new thinking and probably waiting much longer than you’ll like.

But there’s some very good news in the meantime: Kashdan quotes a Gallup survey of 130,000 people from more than 130 nations. “The two factors that had the strongest influence on how much enjoyment a person experienced on a given day,” he notes, “were ‘being able to count on someone for help’ and ‘having learned something yesterday.’”

By pursuing new ways of looking at things and – most importantly – seeking to understand rather than be understood, you’ll be doing both. This will decrease your stress response and get your neurons firing in a good way!

P.S.

If you’d like to get a peek inside the new issue of Aspire Magazine today, go here >> http://bit.ly/Aspire_DecJan15

Along with my in-depth interview and article, Move from Apprentice to Master and Make Your Life a Masterpiece, you’ll discover empowering articles and columns from some of today’s leading luminaries including Boni Lonnsburry, Lisa Marie Rosati, Stacey Martino, Susun Weed, Laura Clark, Tama Stieves, Christine Hassler, Jane Garapick and many more.

If Aspire speaks to you the way it does to tens of thousands of women… I invite you to claim your FREE SUBSCRIPTION today which includes over 50 transformational free gifts from its Team Inspiration partners. www.SubscribetoAspire.com

If you liked this post, I think you’ll enjoy the free weekly Special Delivery eZine. Just sign up here and it will be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday!

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Thanksgiving Dinner

That’s a photo of my family around the table before we dug into the Thanksgiving feast Doug and I prepared for the occasion.

Usually we’re surrounded by a lot more of our family, but because of my dad’s health issues, we made our home the hub for a small but powerful celebration of our blessings this year.

As many of you know my father had a very scary health crisis (skin cancer that, in its surgical removal, caused him to lose his whole right nostril!), but he’s half-way through the reconstruction process and it should be done by the end of the month!

I’m also SUPER grateful for some VERY exciting news: Last week I mentioned that I started to query agents for my book, Pain Body Proof: How to Transform Your Negative Thoughts, Improve All Your Relationships and Enjoy More Happiness.

Well, the first person I reached out to was a former agent who now works for one of the biggest publishing companies in the world.

We had a very nice connection 3 years ago when I queried her for another book I had written, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to reach out again and ask if she would be willing to refer me to one of her colleagues at her former agency.

She quickly replied and guess what?

She’s interested in my book!! She requested a more detailed summary of my book and my marketing platform, and now she’s reviewing it!

I understand that publishers, editors and agents ultimately pass on 99% of initial queries—even after they show interest—but still, this is SO EXCITING!!

It’s a nod from the Universe that says, “YES! You’re on the right path.” If this doesn’t work out, I know I’m still VERY close to a book deal. I am now in the mode that I call “celebrating the closeness of the match” and it feels SO good!!

I’m realizing that after quietly gestating this book for over 9 months – this WILL HAPPEN – it will be published. And yet I haven’t shared very much of it with you.

So that changes this week – I’m offering up a juicy segment below.

And you know what else? I’d love to ask for your help.

You know how books always have an “acknowledgements section” and it’s usually pages and pages of the author thanking all the people who helped make the book possible – like the dozens of early readers who offered their thoughtful comments to help make the book even better?

Well, I have had two dear friends already read the book and offer great feedback, but I would love to get even more – so if you’re interested, just let me know and I can send you the manuscript. And then I can thank YOU in the acknowledgements section for your indispensable help in the writing of this book!

Become Pain Body ProofNow for a section from my book…drum roll please…

I believe everyone on the planet wants the same thing – happiness – but we all go about getting it with varying degrees of skill.

One useful skill to develop as we pursue happiness is to learn to identify negative emotions—and the behaviors they cause—with an entity called the Pain Body.

Eckhart Tolle first articulated the concept of the Pain Body in his New York Times bestseller A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. He described it as an alien being that takes up residence inside us and prods us into negative thoughts and reactions in order to feed on our distress.

Unfortunately, most of the millions of readers of A New Earth have found the book impenetrable. But my book, Pain Body Proof: How to Transform Your Negative Thoughts, Improve All Your Relationships, and Enjoy More Happiness, takes Tolle’s most revolutionary insight and turns it into an accessible, practical method for restoring happiness, repairing relationships, and building durable peace of mind.

Up until now mindfulness practices have been touted as the most effective way to train you to dis-identify with your negative thoughts and emotions. But as any practitioner knows, mindfulness is much easier said than done.

My book adds a fresh perspective on this challenging practice because it makes dis-identifying easier. You learn to identify your negative thoughts with something outside yourself.

This crucial shift liberates you not just from the thoughts themselves but also from the vicious cycle of shame, resentment, and defensive behaviors that negative thoughts can cause.

Armed with this deeper understanding, you are empowered to achieve a new freedom and happiness in all areas of your life.

A Story of the Pain Body in Action

“I can’t find Griffin. I’ve looked everywhere and he’s not here.” I was listening to my husband Doug’s message on my voice mail.

I looked at the time stamp on the message – it was 4:06 – six minutes after he was supposed to have picked up our son from the day camp.

It was now 4:52. As I dialed Doug’s number I felt a tsunami of negative thoughts and emotions crashing around me.

I couldn’t believe it! I had told Doug to be at the pick up early because Griffin had been nervous about going to soccer camp for the first time. The last thing I wanted was for him to feel anxious about getting home.

I also remembered all those times when I was a kid and my parents had been late to pick me up…the feelings of frustration, abandonment and shame. I was feeling that scared and confused right now.

When Doug picked up the phone I immediately asked, “Do you have Griffin?” and he said yes. I breathed a sigh of relief but I couldn’t just let it go. “What happened?!”

Doug explained that he went to the soccer field and there were no kids. Then he remembered they were supposed to go to the pool at the end of the day, so he went to the pool that was adjacent to the field and he didn’t see the soccer kids…so he went back to the field…and then back to the pool where finally a coach had brought Griffin out to the parking lot.

It turned out that there were two parking lots used for the pool and Griffin and Doug had been waiting at different ones.

I still couldn’t let it go. “How could you not look all around the pool?!”

Doug had been doing his best to keep his cool during this exchange, but now he snapped, “Why don’t you ask why the camp didn’t make it clear where to pick up the kids?”

I had more negative things to say, a lot more. Even when I got home and saw for myself that Griffin was fine and didn’t seem psychologically damaged by being picked up late, I still couldn’t let it go. Angry exchanges with Doug continued for the rest of the evening.

I went to bed still fuming – even worse was that I was no longer thinking about what I perceived as Doug’s failing that afternoon, but all of his failings in the last week…and in our entire 20+ year marriage.

What was happening?

I was being consumed by the Pain Body.

Simply put, the Pain Body is an emotional response that is seemingly out of proportion to the event that triggered the response.

I think my story above illustrates that well.

One of the most important things you can know about the Pain Body is that awareness of it can have an almost immediate ameliorative effect.

Whenever anyone in my family is in “Pain Body Mode,” it’s usually enough to point out that whatever negative thing they’re feeling or saying or doing isn’t coming from them.

A simple statement like, “That doesn’t sound like you talking. That sounds like the Pain Body talking.” Or “That’s not you. It seems like the Pain Body has taken over,” is usually enough to help us break out of it.

Griffin has gotten to the point where he almost immediately snaps out of it and laughs, “You’re right! The Pain Body always says (or does) the craziest things! Why does it do that?!”

You see, he’s not that attached to his thoughts and feelings defining him as we as adults are – but that doesn’t mean we can’t unlearn that unhelpful attachment.

Staying conscious of the Pain Body – and not letting it move you into an unconscious state where your thoughts, words and actions are ruled by it – is, of course, easier said than done – and that’s why I wrote this book!

You’ll learn much more very soon – and remember, if you’d like to be an early reader and give feedback for my book (and get some “acknowledgment love” in the last section!), just let me know and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

ALSO! Here’s a special just-in-time-for-the-holidays offer:


 

What you really want for Christmas…

  • A sense of peace and calm in the midst of all the frenzy.
  • Practices to help you maintain awareness, rest, focus, and creativity.
  • Proven strategies for staying peaceful and happy no matter what.

And that’s what you’ll get when you join me for 30 Days to Inner Peace.

My GIFT TO YOU is some very special savings – $20 off – now through the end of December!

What you get…

For $27 (less than $1 a day!) you’ll get an inner-peace-keeping lesson (in the form of an email) from me every day for 30 days.

And if you don’t love it after 14 days, I’m happy to send you a full refund, no questions asked.

To register…

Click this link: 30 Days to Inner Peace and enter “giftofpeace” (without the quotes) into the coupon code box and you’ll get the special savings of $20 off!!

If you liked this post, I think you’ll enjoy the free weekly Special Delivery eZine. Just sign up here and it will be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday!

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the words you need most right now (+ two FREE gifts)

November 25, 2014

That’s a photo of Griffin and one of his BFF’s kicking off a 9-day break from school for their Thanksgiving vacation. It’s one of my great joys to see Griffin and his friends play for hours with their imaginations driving the fun. (My pic didn’t really catch it, but what you’re seeing is an epic […]

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how to increase the number of positive events in your life (+ Free Gift for You!)

November 18, 2014

That’s a photo of me and my dear friends Mauri and Jen getting a jump on the holiday fun! Griffin, Doug and I hosted our 11th Annual Thanksgiving Party. This gathering is one of the ways we choose to celebrate the holidays with our “non-belly-button” family and it was delightful as always. Speaking of my […]

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why cancer is a great teacher (+ other lessons learned from truly undesirable circumstances)

November 11, 2014

That’s me with my dad. He just found out last week that he had a very invasive form of skin cancer – and had to have ALL of his right nostril PLUS a lot of adjacent facial tissue removed! His doctor is confident that he got all of the cancer, and he’s already started the […]

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How to surf fear (and stop squandering your one wild and precious life)

November 4, 2014

That’s me with my mentor, Fabienne Fredrickson, after our very special VIP Day together last week. I then spent the rest of the week working “on” my business within her year-long training program. It really was an epic week – in the last week alone I finished my chapter for Choosing Happiness, an anthology that […]

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This ONE Feeling Gets You on the Shortest Path to Your Dreams (+ My Mind Movie!)

October 28, 2014

“Strength implies remaining the subject of one’s life.” – Simone de Beauvoir The photo to the right shows a scene from Griffin’s Annual “Apple Pie Baking and Movie Making Play Date” at our home last week. I was careful to really savor his wonderful friendships right at this moment – filled with lots of light […]

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The Coolest Drug Doesn’t Require a Prescription (or fear of incarceration)

October 21, 2014

I just snapped this photo of Griffin and our dog, Spencer. They’re often inseparable. Is there anything better than the love between a boy and his dog? I’ve talked about the joy I experienced from “big” pleasures like swimming in the Ionian Sea or climbing the Eiffel Tower, but of course, it’s much more likely […]

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When you think it’s hopeless, it’s time to create a miracle. (powerful evidence inside!)

October 14, 2014

The photo to the right is me with my dear friend, Mary Cade, and her adorable daughter, Emeryn. You’ll find out more about them below, but first a little background for readers that are new to the Midwife for Your Life community. For many years I’ve asked family, friends, and dear readers to give to […]

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My Mindset Retreat Breakthroughs (+ lots of great pics!)

October 7, 2014

Wow! There were SO many wonderful things that happened in the last week, but one of the best parts was that I got to spend it in gorgeous, sunny Florida with Doug. It was the first time we’d had a week away with just the two of us since Griffin was born over 9 years […]

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