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Stacey, Mauri and JenThat’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 non-belly-button family, I was so touched by all my readers who reached out and offered words of support and prayers for my dad’s healing!! They mean SO much to me!

For those of you who don’t know, last week I talked about my dad’s cancer and how I now have a whole new perspective on sorrow and joy and how the two are so often connected.

This week’s feature article is all about expanding on that concept – using a scientifically based formula!

It’s mathematically proven to help you be happy in any circumstance – and even if you’re not dealing with a cataclysmic event, it could help you during the holidays, which, let’s face it, can be a little stressful as well joyful.

It comes from Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist who works at UNC-Chapel Hill and studies my favorite field of academic research, positive psychology.

Her book Positivity discusses her research that shows that there is a mathematical formula by which success (in terms of production in a business sense, or feeling happy in a more personal sense) can be predicted by the ratio of positive events to negative ones.

She and her team of researchers discovered that the “tipping point” where good things start to happen occurs at a ratio of three to one. That is, three positive events for every single negative event.

I think this finding can tell us a lot about life – how to perceive it and how to live it with great satisfaction.

As Frederickson puts it, “If we’re aware of the tipping point ratio, that could make a big difference in how we choose to live our lives.” (emphasis on the word choose is mine)

As I would put it, finding three things to appreciate for every negative one is the tipping point at which people can experience true happiness and success.

Yes, as my dad’s cancer attests, there are always going to be undesirable events in our lives, and we may not be able to do anything about them.

But we always have the ability to increase the power of the positive events in our lives – and even multiply them – by focusing our attention on what makes us feel good.

In her book When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron describes how our daily lives can feel like a confused, busy street; the traffic is going fast in all directions and we can’t find a way to cross. It’s overwhelming and frightening.

We’re so busy jumping out of the way of the speeding cars that we can’t understand what’s going on, or how we contributed to the confusion.

But if we can step out of the melee of cars and watch the activity for a while, we can take a more objective look. We begin to see that there are openings in the traffic. And that no matter how busy the traffic is, there’s a flow to it that we can adjust to.

And if we then moved so we were looking at the street from the top of a building, we’d see that the traffic really doesn’t have anything to do with us; it’s just a flow of energy. In the same way, if we put a little distance between ourselves and the challenges we face in our lives, we begin to see that the challenges are part of the deal, not necessarily good or bad, just inescapable parts of life.

surf the fearWith this in mind, start finding things to appreciate. Notice your surroundings and ask, “What feels good about my current situation? What makes me feel lucky to be here?” Mentally registering the benefits of any given circumstance will remind you that you have the power to influence your reaction when things become challenging.

Want to make this a really fun exercise? Find something to appreciate in three people today and share your appreciation with them.

Bonus points if you can manage to direct a sincere compliment to someone who has really pushed your buttons quite recently. (You should be provided with at least one opportunity to do this during the holidays, don’t you think?)

Then, once you’ve got a handle on it, use this practice even when you’re faced with a truly undesirable circumstance. Look for something to appreciate in the middle of a challenge, and note how this shift in thinking helps you respond constructively.

Finding something to appreciate is not going to be as hard as you might think. Once you’ve taken full responsibility for how you feel in any circumstance, you will find the strength to look for the positive—to find the flow – in all aspects of your life.

So start now, and continue over the holidays. If you do, I think you’ll find the New Year a VERY happy one indeed.

P.S. My teleseminar on November 6th was an AUTHENTIC SUCCCESS!!

I’ve heard from SO MANY people that they absolutely loved all the great content, and I was especially moved by the moms who let me know that the part where I shared the question, “Are you the adult you want your child to be?” inspired them to make BIG changes in their lives.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, I’m going to give you one more week to benefit from all the incredible actionable content – you don’t even need to “opt-in”!

You can receive instant access just by clicking this link: http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=61286997

After this week it will be gone, so take a moment now to click and download, okay?

You can also access the worksheet I made for the call (to record all of your breakthroughs and aha’s) here: http://tinyurl.com/asmfyl

If, after engaging with all the awesome content, you decide you want to have a Discovery Session with me and start making big changes in your life, you can do that by clicking here: http://midwifeforyourlife.fullslate.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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Stacey and her fatherThat’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 reconstruction, which is great news. Still, it was quite a shock and really helped me appreciate my precious life and family even more.

As you may remember, I created a fundraiser for my friends who are also going through a cancer journey – and it’s already raised over $40,000!!

So, yes, there are always plenty of opportunities to rail at God for all the truly undesirable aspects of our lives, but there are also plenty of opportunities to learn the lessons that make our lives richer and more filled with joy.

These are the gifts that are available to us, if we’d only open them.

I was reminded of this last week – Griffin woke up in a terrible mood. He didn’t want to get out of bed, he didn’t want to go to school. He said he hated school and he had no friends.

After listening to a litany of complaints, I said, “That doesn’t sound like you talking. That sounds like the Pain Body talking.”

(This statement is usually enough to help Griffin break out of “Pain Body Mode,” but as you’ll see, not this day. If you’re new to my community and you’re hearing about the Pain Body for the first time – stay tuned! I’m writing a book on the Pain Body and it will be published soon!)

“No, Mommy. It’s all TRUE,” he said.

I said, “Well, I know there are a lot of good things going on in your life, too. Why don’t we focus on those?”

He said, “Like what?”

I said, “You have a Mommy and Daddy who love you very much.”

He said, “That’s not enough.”

I said, “Well, your Papa went through a really big health scare this week, but he’s come through it, and he’s getting stronger every day. Soon Papa will be stronger than ever.”

Upon hearing that, Griffin, who had previously been slumped in a chair, leapt up and proceeded to do a series of push-ups and sit-ups (which is part of his morning routine – but I had never seen him dive into them with such vigor before!) and every time he came up he said, “For Papa! For Papa! For Papa!”

The next morning he surprised me by waking before his alarm and getting ready for school with no prompting from me. (I can’t remember the last time that happened!)

I asked him what was up and he said, “This is for Papa. Because Papa’s strong, I want to be strong.”

I was blown away by the fact that he was so deeply impacted by my dad’s health crisis and that it had such profound meaning for him. It made him want to be a better person. My father’s illness made him want to be as strong as my father.

So what does this mean for you?

surf the fearGriffin knew my father had cancer, but still decided he would use him as a model of how to BE strong and healthy.

And just like Griffin, you can sit with anyone in their sorrow and pain and still see them as thriving – as they really are, right now, deep down.

And when you do, it gives you a whole new perspective on sorrow and joy and how the two are so often connected.

A few years ago I attended the “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?” event hosted by Byron Katie.

Katie has a saying that (and I’m paraphrasing here) stressful thoughts or bad feelings are an alarm clock intended to wake you up from a story you’re telling that’s not true.

I saw her help people wake up from what I consider the worst nightmares – death of a child, sexual abuse, chronic pain, addiction – working from this premise. And I came to see that our biggest crises are our greatest teachers.

She said, “If you see anything as the enemy, your mind gives you all the concepts to believe it. To break free, we need big teachers.”

In other words, the mind’s job is to prove that it’s right. When you believe a negative thought generated by your mind, you predispose yourself to deny everything else that you see that’s evidence to the contrary.

Negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts. So ultimately you have to ask yourself, “Does this thought bring peace or stress into my life?” If a thought you’re having is bringing on stress, then you are the one responsible for that stress. Even if those thoughts arise from confronting a real-life situation. Your fear, anger, hatred, suffering – you don’t have to open your mind to them, any more than Griffin had to let his grandfather’s illness stop him from seeing my dad as the vital, fun-loving Papa he had come to know.

I want to share a bit of dialogue between Byron Katie and a woman who had a son, sister and mother die from cancer. She said she was in constant pain because of her losses.

She said cancer was the enemy and she HATED it. Katie invited her to do the Work with her.

I’ve shared Katie’s (to me) revolutionary process in other articles, and you can read more at my blog if it’s new to you.

Here is her conversation with this woman who lost so many of her family members to cancer:

BK: What image do you see when you think the thought, “Cancer is the enemy and I hate it.”

Woman: I see my son dying.

BK: Go back to what you were doing when he was dying…

Woman: I was loving my son.

BK: That sounds beautiful.

Woman: He said, “I love you…forever.” right before he died. I guess I can hold on to that thought.

BK: What did cancer teach you?

Woman: It taught me that I’m a loving mother. I used to doubt that.

BK: Give me another example of what cancer taught you.

Woman: Cancer taught me to live. It taught me not to take anyone or anything for granted.

BK: Cancer is a great teacher.

Woman: Yes…you’re right.

If you have a problem with a person or a condition you find undesirable, Katie invites you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them using her process, which she calls The Work.

The questions educate you. They teach you that it is NOT your situation, but your thoughts about your situation that make it undesirable.

As you do the Work, you learn to replace the stressful thoughts with non-stressful thoughts that are as true as – or more true than – the stressful ones.

We think we want nothing bad to ever happen to us. We think we want control over undesirable situations.

But don’t we all really want peace? Don’t we really want freedom from the stress and suffering bad things bring on?

After all, everything “out there” really is out of our control, and down deep we know that.

But our thoughts are under our control.

As long as we are aware of them, we can write them down, we can question them, we can find out from them what we need to learn.

And we can LIVE the gifts of those lessons.

P.S. My teleseminar last week was an AUTHENTIC SUCCCESS!!

One of the participants, Staci Oien, shared this,

“You were brilliant Stacey! I felt as if I was looking up the ladder… waaaay up the ladder at you shining down your peace, ease and clarity. I was amazed at your breadth of skill in explaining the concepts you presented. It flowed well and felt so personal. It was chock full of insights and information – but not too much. It felt like just the right amount to digest. I really connected with your message of passion and purpose. Thanks so much!”

If you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, I want to make sure you have the opportunity to get all of goodness Staci received – you don’t even need to “opt-in”! You can receive instant access just by clicking this link: http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=61286997.

You can access the worksheet I made for the call (to record all of your breakthroughs and aha’s) here: http://tinyurl.com/asmfyl

If you decide after engaging with all the awesome content, you want to have a Discovery Session with me, you can do that by clicking here: http://midwifeforyourlife.fullslate.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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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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Use Your Emotional Guidance System to Feel Great AND Accomplish Great Things

September 30, 2014

The photo captures Griffin and two of his best friends after a “movie making” play date (that’s a Flip video camera in Marley’s hand). Marley has been one of Griffin’s best friends since Kindergarten (Jackson became a BFF when he joined Griffin’s class last year), and I honestly can’t believe how much these kids have […]

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Leap Before You Look and other surprising keys to success

September 23, 2014

The photo shows my husband, Doug, enjoying a much-deserved break after sending in the final draft for his book that will be published by Capstone Press in September 2015. I’m so proud of him! It’s been a big writing week in our household – I just completed my chapter for Choosing Happiness, the anthology that’s […]

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How to Take “Leap and the Net Will Appear” from Cliché to Reality

September 16, 2014

I know, I know – “the new car shot” is a complete internet marketing cliché – but I couldn’t resist! Doug and I hadn’t bought a new (to us) car in over 10 years – and the cars we had been driving were 16 and 18 years old, both with over 200,000 miles on them. When […]

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