The Uncharted Path to Happiness

Happiness is being honest with our feelings.  Happiness is releasing the need to control.  Happiness is trusting that nothing is “the only.”

When we really want something, we often (or at least, I will) start:

  • Lying to myself about my true feelings (gotta stop vulnerability, right?)
  • Controlling the situation (gotta figure out what is happening on an emotional and cosmic level, right?)
  • Attaching to this one thing being the most amazing, life changing, remarkable person or opportunity in the world! (gotta make this one thing work, right?)

And I, often, end up unhappy. Why? I make control the goal and launch an attack of criticism against myself if things don’t work out.

Acceptance is hard when you really want something to happen.

 Acceptance is easy when life is spectacular, right? Mad success, happy relationship, money flowing, etc. Everything working, happiness and acceptance is easy breezy. Acceptance is also easy when you choose not to engage with something you really want.

Stay lukewarm on life and acceptance is a cake walk.  

It is so easy to cope by just not wanting anything that badly. If you don’t want anything that badly then you never get disappointed.  But being lukewarm on life is not coping – it is just being lukewarm and it’s safe.

I want you to want things. Wanting gets a bad wrap. It’’s a human response. But we tend to avoid being honest or human with what we want because “wants” make us feel vulnerable.

Vulnerability triggers our need to control.

We are hard-wired as human beings to either feel vulnerable or threatened. Fight or flight, right? When in reality, both of those impulses lead us to control.

Control is not the goal. When we want something (someone to feel how we do, a specific job offer to land, the shoe not to drop), we want control and we don’t know how to handle how “out of control” we may feel. This is so damn human. You will not and never will be a droid  So…

Say what you are really feeling                 instead of    trying to control the situation.

You will never know any outcome for sure.  So stop trying to figure life out. All that time you spend in your head keeps you out of your heart – you know that, right? So let’s integrate the two.

Start with just being honest. Be honest about what your are feeling, stop with the walls of defense, and the “sign searching.”  Accept yourself fully in every state. Trust that this is not the only man, job, or deal that you will be a part of. I promise. This just happens to be one you really want and it kicked up some real feelings.

Wanting something is vulnerable.

Recently, I had a client tell me she is on a self-development journey to be more enlightened.

I really think she thought enlightenment would eliminate her wanting and she could bypass vulnerability. Her pursuit of “Zen all the time” is her way of controlling her feelings.

Of course, I listened with compassion and understanding because I have been exactly where she is right now. And so I gently told her that all she has to do is accept herself in this raw state and be honest with her core needs – to be loved and accepted.

When we love and accept ourselves                    we can process vulnerability.  

How the hell do I do that, Di Ana?

Well, I’ll share with you the exact tips I told her…

  1. Feel it without needing to control it –  Be honest with what you want. Be vulnerable. You can want it, admit the truth, state the fear, and live in the reality of what you are feeling without needing to control it or find an immediate solution.
  2. Nothing is “the only” – Once you are honest with your feelings, notice if you are making someone/thing “the only.” Here’s the deal: that feeling lies within you and people are put in your life to activate it. That job is to remind you how much you can really desire something. That lady or gent is in your life to remind you how awesome love is. If it doesn’t work out, create more opportunities for yourself instead of deciding that special thing has already passed you by. It hasn’t.

Accept yourself unconditionally.

This is exactly where you need to be. There is nothing to figure out. Things will work out if you keep deepening your awareness and forwarding action. Accept yourself unconditionally and get on with your big, bad self. I will, too.

2 Secrets for Feeling the Fear & Coming Out on Top

Feelings are not facts. They are just feelings.

This little nugget came directly from my oracle: Dr. Kim –  the genius who changes my life every Tuesday, from an office in Chelsea, on a comfy green couch. And this week, it was a simple statement noticing that I feel my feelings. Umm…duh, have you met me?

But what I do with my feelings is launch attacks of protection because I decide those feeling are facts. What does that look like? Well, I think:

  • This relationship is going south. I feel vulnerable and decide this person is doing something that makes me unsettled and it’s “Adios!” folks. I get out before I can be hurt. I make a fact out of my feeling and that dictates my choice.
  • Someone didn’t like my work. I feel criticized and if someone didn’t like my writing, audition, presentation, I decide it must be crap. My feeling allows me to opt out because I decide it’s a fact.
  • My dog’s health has shifted. I feel terrified my pup is going to leave Earth (he was diagnosed at 2 years old with a  disease. Um…he’s 10 years old now) whenever we go to the vet (again…my feelings transform into facts) I think OMG the vet is gonna say he’s dying tomorrow and my dress rehearsing disaster begins.

Well Gazpacho still lives, y’all! (and flirts with his shadow in a reflection from time to time. How cute is that?!) Feelings are not facts, they are just feelings.

Gazpacho

And sometimes the emotion gets so overwhelming and I forget what the facts even are because I am so paralyzed by fear.

This is when my emotions become kryptonite and I enter “the avoidance zone.”

This looks like…

  • I don’t check that voicemail. It will be the crippling news from the vet. Feeling not fact.
  • I don’t open that email. I don’t want to discover my book is rejected. Feeling not fact.
  • I don’t want to ask any questions of my man cause I don’t want to hear anything I don’t want to hear. I have assumed everything already. Umm…FEELING NOT FACT. (And that most certainly is NOT communication that is making assumptions, the opposite A.K.A. destroyer of communication, which is another blog post.

And the truth is:

We always get through it.

I can continue writing my book – it’s mine to write (with Gazpacho by my side) and there so many men out there! When one guy doesn’t work out – manage the feelings and move on to create the love, right? There are so many avenues to publish a book, there are many fish in the sea but ya gotta fish, folks.

And I want you to create ((all)) that you desire. To keep creating we must learn how to COPE.

So I’ve created a simple guide just for you.

DiStyle Guide on Dealing with Big, Bad Feelings

 

  • Ask What Over Why: Often we ask ourselves, why is this happening to me as opposed to what is setting me off? The why feeds the feeling – gives it “material.” Asking “what” helps slows down the overwhelm. What are you afraid of? What is overwhelming? What is triggering you? Why leads down the rabbit hole and while it occupies the mind, it stops action. What heightens your awareness and “outs fear” so you can move you into action.
  • Create Support: Feelings feel like tsunamis when processed in silence and can become mini-covert operations. We often try to act tame and control it, alone. Instead, tame it with your tribe – your support network, therapist, coach, friends who get you – whatever you have to combat the overwhelming feeling. This helps to not turn those feelings into facts. Then you can slow down and take action. Our minds and our people guide our path. Know what’s guiding you.

Where can you stop the fear and allow yourself to take a small step forward? What does that step look like? Who is on your support team? Write it down or better yet – leave a comment below or email me. I love hearing from you.

Change can be made at anytime – it’s up to you.

2 Secrets for Feeling the Fear & Coming Out on Top

Feelings are not facts. They are just feelings.

This little nugget came directly from my oracle: Dr. Kim –  the genius who changes my life every Tuesday, from an office in Chelsea, on a comfy green couch. And this week, it was a simple statement noticing that I feel my feelings. Umm…duh, have you met me?

But what I do with my feelings is launch attacks of protection because I decide those feeling are facts. What does that look like? Well, I think:

  • This relationship is going south. I feel vulnerable and decide this person is doing something that makes me unsettled and it’s “Adios!” folks. I get out before I can be hurt. I make a fact out of my feeling and that dictates my choice.
  • Someone didn’t like my work. I feel criticized and if someone didn’t like my writing, audition, presentation, I decide it must be crap. My feeling allows me to opt out because I decide it’s a fact.
  • My dog’s health has shifted. I feel terrified my pup is going to leave Earth (he was diagnosed at 2 years old with a  disease. Um…he’s 10 years old now) whenever we go to the vet (again…my feelings transform into facts) I think OMG the vet is gonna say he’s dying tomorrow and my dress rehearsing disaster begins.

Well Gazpacho still lives, y’all! (and flirts with his shadow in a reflection from time to time. How cute is that?!) Feelings are not facts, they are just feelings.

Gazpacho

And sometimes the emotion gets so overwhelming and I forget what the facts even are because I am so paralyzed by fear.

This is when my emotions become kryptonite and I enter “the avoidance zone.”

This looks like…

  • I don’t check that voicemail. It will be the crippling news from the vet. Feeling not fact.
  • I don’t open that email. I don’t want to discover my book is rejected. Feeling not fact.
  • I don’t want to ask any questions of my man cause I don’t want to hear anything I don’t want to hear. I have assumed everything already. Umm…FEELING NOT FACT. (And that most certainly is NOT communication that is making assumptions, the opposite A.K.A. destroyer of communication, which is another blog post.

And the truth is:

We always get through it.

I can continue writing my book – it’s mine to write (with Gazpacho by my side) and there so many men out there! When one guy doesn’t work out – manage the feelings and move on to create the love, right? There are so many avenues to publish a book, there are many fish in the sea but ya gotta fish, folks.

And I want you to create ((all)) that you desire. To keep creating we must learn how to COPE.

So I’ve created a simple guide just for you.

DiStyle Guide on Dealing with Big, Bad Feelings

 

  • Ask What Over Why: Often we ask ourselves, why is this happening to me as opposed to what is setting me off? The why feeds the feeling – gives it “material.” Asking “what” helps slows down the overwhelm. What are you afraid of? What is overwhelming? What is triggering you? Why leads down the rabbit hole and while it occupies the mind, it stops action. What heightens your awareness and “outs fear” so you can move you into action.
  • Create Support: Feelings feel like tsunamis when processed in silence and can become mini-covert operations. We often try to act tame and control it, alone. Instead, tame it with your tribe – your support network, therapist, coach, friends who get you – whatever you have to combat the overwhelming feeling. This helps to not turn those feelings into facts. Then you can slow down and take action. Our minds and our people guide our path. Know what’s guiding you.

Where can you stop the fear and allow yourself to take a small step forward? What does that step look like? Who is on your support team? Write it down or better yet – leave a comment below or email me. I love hearing from you.

Change can be made at anytime – it’s up to you.

Authentic Love Lessons from Rihanna & Pema Chödrön

Authentic love does not devalue another human being.

  • Why do we choose people that don’t value us?
  • Why don’t we value ourselves?
  • Why do we feel so amazing but when someone pulls away, we think of all the areas we want to fix in ourselves, prove to others, and “Project Push Away” begins?

“Project Push Away” is not the answer. The truth is: 

Protection can happen while being connected and loved.

Here the deal: It all starts with accepting and valuing yourself, no matter what the outcome, right? And you have to know:

  1. When to let someone in and create partnership. The “what ifs?” will happen but you have to learn how to handle them.
  2. When to let go because you are being devalued or living in fantasy.

Allow me to explain…

I was thinking about when Rihanna went back to Chris Brown even after all that had happened. And yes, I know that this is an extreme example, but hear me out for a second. Rihanna felt valued, then devalued, and she wanted to be valued again. Sometimes, we want our current adult love affairs to fix what is wrong or heal our childhood wounds. And the pull is so damn strong – it’s nuts.

Are you being pulled towards the right thing?

Sometimes love can feel so good but be so dysfunctional.

I bet Rihanna had some #deeperwork she had to get real with and she was never going to be able to do that work with Chris Brown. He beyond devalued her and proved to be a not-so-worthy partner. Rihanna could not value herself enough to say, “You are not worth my time, I deserve better.”

Why do we chase someone who takes such advantage of our love? Well, we may think, “If I love them more, give them more, care for them more, they will be the person I know they can be.”

And the truth is …

You can’t  love someone into their healthier self. You can    love yourself into making healthier choices.

Listen, we all heal some wounds in relationships. But you have to know what must be healed on your own and what can be healed together. And it can be confusing because the most wounded parts of us, often, do the picking.

Turn your wounds into your wisdom while staying connected to the right kind of person.

We grow most in relationships.

Recently, I was thinking about my love for Pema Chödrön. Pema was cheated on a few times, divorced, and went on a path of chastity and teaching. Now I love me some Pema, like ((live)) for her, and, often, think, is it easier to teach love or live in an intimate relationship? Can we do both? 

In some ways, I think wrapping myself in a robe, shaving my head, taking a vow of chastity – like Pema – would be the easy path for me. If I did that, love would be simple. I could live a life of purpose – healing other people’s hurts and being of service.

I have such respect for Pema and all that I have learned from her, I recognize that her exact path would not work for me.

Because I honestly believe …

Creating healthy intimate relationships is the most courageous work we do.

I love intimacy and my mission is to help others create deep and meaningful partnerships.

Every relationship is meant to grow you, even if you don’t get the result you want, growth is the goal.

So here is a DiStyle Guide to creating relationships:

  • Fix Less + Accept More –  You cannot fix another human being. You must accept someone for who they are and decide if that works for you; see what someone is capable of.  You must be able to clean your side of the street, accept how they clean their side of the street, and together you both drive the street sweeper, from time to time.
  • Know When to Leave – Knowing when a relationship needs to die in order for another one to live is important. That’s a dark concept but stick with me: fantasy costs you time. Ask yourself, are you in a real relationship? Are you both moving towards similar goals and growing something together? If so, stay, do the work, and see what you can build. However when you are doing all the heavy lifting and the other person can’t lift a feather of responsibility in the relationship, and when you are loving enough for the both of you, this is dangerous. Ask yourself: is this relationship right for me? Are my relationship goals being met? Am I holding on to something that I should let go of?

Be conscious in your relationship choices. You create your reality.

And know this …

Relationships are just a teacher. We can grow in all of them.

And I am all about that.

Deepening our inner awareness while growing in relationships is, well… ((everything)).

Suze Orman, Viola Davis, and Making Success Real

Your level of success depends on your comfort with uncertainty.

Here’s the truth: successful people don’t stop at the unknown. They learn to take action and keep hope in the face of it.

You may be asking, “What the hell does that mean, Di Ana?”

Allow me to explain…

Suze Orman lived in a van, in debt up to her eyeballs – $250,000 in credit card debt – and then became one of the leading experts on how to take charge of your finances because she decided she had nothing to lose.

And, although, many people told her she would never pay off her debt, and was faced with loads of uncertainty, she chose to face it head on, get comfortable with it, and not let uncertainty stop her from living her dreams. She not only changed her finances – she changed her life.

Viola Davis defies the typical role for women on television in How to Get Away with Murderthe flawed, magnetic powerhouse is consistently serving realness; taking off her makeup and wig for almost an entire scene, letting you into the armor of facades, that women – put on everyday. She reveals pain, strength, and – no joke – her soul every week. And this takes guts – lots of it.

And, although, she faced years of rejection and uncertainty if she would ever get cast, seen and recognized, battled leveling fears of uncertainty, she continued to refine her craft and break down every damn door to be seen. She continues to meet uncertainty with being unapologetically who she is, and I ((live)) for it.

So here’s my question for you. What are you ready to give up on?

Your relationship, your career, the book you’re writing, finding love, having a family – all of the above? Anything you deeply desire will have layers of uncertainty. I guarantee it.

Extraordinary living requires a willingness to work with uncertainty.

For Viola, it was her mission to create a meatier role for a black woman on television, and although faced with loads of uncertainty, she chose to face it head on, get comfortable with it, and not let uncertainty stop her from living her dreams.

Happiness becomes yours when ...  you get more comfortable with the unknown.

Truth is, if there’s something you desire most – finally being debt free, an award winning acting career, or just finding and keeping love – it’s really all good.

Here’s the deal: if you let worry become paralysis, give up because the road is too bumpy, or hold off because of all the unknowns, you will never make your dreams come true.

But, if you can learn how to handle the feeling of the unknown and keep going, you will be successful. Why? Because you didn’t let all that is unknown stop your ability to take action.

When you hold onto your history, you do it at the expense of your destiny.  ~T.D. Jakes

I freakin’ love me some T.D. Jakes. I think Suze and Viola would, too.

Our history and past transgressions make us anxious in the face of uncertainty. And anxiety and fear to not repeat the past often make us give up in the present.

No more giving up because of uncertainty.

So I want to offer 2 tips to begin:

  1. Be honest: What do you want so badly that you can taste it, or are terrified to give voice to because there are so many uncertainties? What do you deeply or quietly desire? An acting career, a divorce, a new career path – what is it?  It’s vulnerable, right? But step one is being honest enough with yourself to say, “Self, I desire this so badly and I am so scared it’ll never happen.” What do you need to be honest about?
  2. Take 100{1b8452353f42896bd8ebf55a8a274c75db26fb5920388d381817d4330c302a96} Responsibility: When you do this, then you are choosing to find some way to get comfortable with all the unknowns by moving into action, changing thoughts and seeing to it that uncertainty doesn’t keep your dreams at bay. What will you do to take 100{1b8452353f42896bd8ebf55a8a274c75db26fb5920388d381817d4330c302a96} responsibility to change your past by getting comfortable with the uncomfortable?

And I am living proof that the more comfortable you become with all of life’s uncertainties, the happier you will be.

And if I can, you ((will)) too!!

“Alice in Wonderland” & the 4 Letters You Need for Survival

the four letters you need  H-O-P-E.  to get out of the dark

As I was visiting the rabbit hole this week – you know the place that makes us feel like we have failed, it’s all over, so why try? Have you ever been there? Well, that rabbit hole certainly can be seductive. On my most recent visit, I realized 2 things:

  1. The people who live in rabbit holes have no HOPE.
  2. The people who go up and down the rabbit hole know how to get hope back.

Hope is essential to getting back in the game. Without hope you will give up on your dream. It’s dark, but true.

I have watched the person I love most lose hope and become a shell of a person. I will be damned if I do it, too. So I needed to get out of the rabbit hole and not chase my “white rabbit” of distraction to feel better. And this found its way to me:

It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.  ~C.S. Lewis

My man, C.S Lewis, is ((so)) right! My current load was breaking me down and I was letting it. I live in fear that I will lose someone that I love who is very ill.  I have let my life become chaotic and confusing – kind of like Alice in that damn Wonderland.

How you handle what life throws at you is all that matters.

And a “Drink Me” potion is not the way to handle it.

The truth is when things fall apart, we often forget:

Once upon a time, something worked.
Once upon a time, you knew one thing to do.
Once upon a time, you did feel hopeful.
Once upon a time, life was good.

Well, “once upon a time” is an excuse. Today is where the dream exists.

But when the sh*t hits, we can nose dive straight into hopelessness. We get super inconsistent and bam – we create our chaos.

It’s the inconsistency that makes you forget what worked.

It’s my choice to stay in my hopeless chaos down the rabbit hole or go to SoulCycle and spin my way out.

I chose to spin my way out.

Cut to me peddling my ass off, and I hear a voice say:

When we choose to believe that our life is sh*t  and remain hopeless…               that is what breaks us down most.

Yes, yes, yes!!! I am pretty sure C.S. Lewis or Clive Staples Lewis (gotta love Wikipedia) would agree and also say that:

  • Being hopeless,
  • Being so jealous that others are better off,
  • Being isolated in your struggle,

is the way to carry adversity with you, play victim to your circumstances, and schlep that baggage all the way up that mountain.

And so, I now know:

  • I can carry my challenges like “it’s end of the world as we know it…” (REM playing in my head) and do nothing but stay hopeless.

OR

  • I can take 100{1b8452353f42896bd8ebf55a8a274c75db26fb5920388d381817d4330c302a96} responsibility and do something to create hope.

Taking action restores hope.

And you have the same choices. Allow me to introduce:

Choose Hope + Learn to Cope – #DiStyle

  1. Keep a positive outlook – A negative way of coping with your situation just keeps you buried.  I am not into self-destruction and a negative perspective will always hurt you most. So, even if it feels unauthentic or vulnerable – be positive.
  2. Pick one thing to move towards your result – Rome was not built in a day, y’all! Pick one thing and do that. Change is a process. One commitment kicks procrastination to the curb and restores hope.
  3. Stay tight with your support system – People raise us up and move us forward. We are not meant to go at things alone. There is no shame in asking for help or sharing the fears.

There are no guarantees in life, but there are endless opportunities.

What are you willing to do? That is where you will find hope.

Seize all opportunities. #Action

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