Happy New Year! On New Year’s Eve, I went for a walk on the beach in Milford, Connecticut. There was a dense, grey fog. It was so thick, I couldn’t see the skyline. That’s what I thought this coming new year was like. We don’t know what it will look like, we can’t see over the horizon. I kept walking and the beach kept extending about 20 feet in front of me. That is faith. Faith that we will be gifted with one more day to put our best foot forward and have the courage to continue. Faith that we’re always learning and growing. But I know, better than most, that we have to make the most out of every day we are given. That is what Choosing Love is all about…being the best versions of ourselves, together.
How Would You Live the Next 3 Years if You Knew It Would Be Your Last?
Dimitri, my life coach, asked me how I would live the next 3 years, if I knew they were going to be my last? Whoa, I thought! Well, let me see! That would be different than if I thought I had 30 years left. But why? Why would it be different? Can we rise to the occasion for even the next year and make it our best year yet? Not living in fear, but love by both giving, and receiving this most powerful ‘nurturing and healing’ element in the universe. Did your mind automatically go to why it can’t be the best year? If you started listing reasons why this can’t be, remember it’s just your mind’s way of protecting you. If you don’t live life to the fullest, maybe you can stay away from pain. If you don’t make the declaration that 2023 will be the best, then when it’s not you won’t have failed.
Here’s the point of life… to dive in with both feet and live every moment to the fullest.
How do we do this? After over two decades of researching and trying to live my best each day, and model the same for my kids, I always go back to the Choose Love Formula. It takes courage to step boldly into the future, without all the answers or being able to see exactly where you’re going. All we have is the present moment yet the majority of our lives, our thoughts are being triggered by past memories, or anxious about future events.
What if we thought about what we think about, because this is something we can control, and focus on gratitude for what we have right now.
JT and I did this right after Jesse’s murder. It was an incredibly challenging time for us. I recently organized my office and found a journal we kept where we wrote down 3 gratitudes every night before going to bed. He would write 3, and then I would write 3. This was weeks following the tragedy. It’s interesting to see what we were grateful for, even during the most difficult time of our life. In fact, gratitude helped us find our light in the darkness.
Practicing gratitude strengthens us to face difficulties and even helps build resilience for hardships coming in the future.
Forgiveness is an ongoing practice.
I struggle with forgiveness within my own family. That is the hardest because these are the people who are supposed to have your back, love and support you no matter what. It’s so hard but I have to remind myself that prolonged anger and resentment only hurt me in so many ways, including physically, mentally and emotionally!
Resentment is like a burning ember, it is hot and makes you more ready to ignite in anger and even rage other areas of your life. Cutting the cord that attaches you to anger and pain is the best way to secure your own freedom. Otherwise the person who hurt you has control of your thoughts, that impact how you feel, that in turn affects how you behave and show up in your relationships. Forgiveness starts with a choice, and then becomes a practice. I practice every single day. But it’s the follow through that really matters. When something comes up in your mind, imagine cutting that cord again, and again, and again, until you’ve taken your personal power back!
Practice compassion-in-action by identifying a need, and then actively doing something to help solve that need, for ourselves first, then others.
Determine a need within yourself, and then work on addressing that need. You can’t give what you don’t have, and the Choose Love Formula can be practiced for yourself before given to others. The power of this was validated to me through so many events last year – that when you have compassion for yourself, you can find the strength to feel and do the same for others. This is what gives you the ultimate power to access your human brain, where logic and reasoning reside, rather than reacting from your lizard, or fear brain. Which do you want to be operating from this year, love, or fear? It is actually a choice with some awareness and practice! Choose Love is accessible and doable by everyone, any age.
After Jesse’s murder, I had to make a choice. There was no roadmap for this.
What did I want my life to look like going forward? I wanted joy, not despair. I wanted to be for something, not against. I wanted to continue to “Have a Lot of Fun.” I realized I would have to create this reality for myself. That’s part of the reason I created the Choose Love Movement. These were skills and tools I did not have but needed in order to learn from, grow through and be strengthened by my experiences. It’s called Post Traumatic Growth and we can all experience this, getting braver and stronger through each trying time. In fact, this is how we’re created as human beings, to grow through difficulty. Wow! That gives meaning and purpose to everything that happens in our lives, even the hardest times. Research tells us lives with meaning and purpose are the most fulfilled and happy.
Let’s ring 2023 in together. Let’s create the world we want to live in and pass down to our kids. Come along with me on this fascinating journey of Choosing Love!
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Love is stronger than fear! How? Because love connects, and fear divides. Join the Choose Love Movement, make Choosing Love your legacy, and become part of the solution. It might be the best decision you make that will enable you to be the best version of yourself, starting today!