Are you having fun?

As I was scrolling through Instagram, a post caught my eye. It asked, “How many books have you read in your lifetime?” Pondering that question, I got emotional.

If I counted the number of how-to books I’ve read on becoming a better something or other: a better leader, a better negotiator, a better communicator, more productive, more influential…

And

If I counted the number of required reading books from bosses (I spent 13 years in Corporate America) and professors (13 years in college), I’ve probably consumed… Oh gosh… maybe 1,500 or so books.

But…

If I don’t count those and just add up books I’ve solely read for fun and enjoyment – because I wanted to, no hidden agenda, no trying to be better, no one assigning me the reading – I’d bet the number is around 100 or so. Maybe 150 if I’m being generous to myself (which I always try to do).

And that is why I got emotional. You see, most of my adult life was focused on egoYou gotta get to the top Danielle! Improve, improve, improve! There’s no time for fun… fun is a waste of time!

Fortunately, this isn’t me anymore.

Three years ago, when I was 33, I lost my job. That loss sparked a Dark Night of the Soul, a period of depression and a burgeoning spiritual awakening. I was forced to look at my life with fresh eyes: I was a workaholic using external validation and to-do’s as a way to distract myself from healing past traumas and stepping into my TrueMe.

For the first time in my life and because of this Dark Night, I put in the hard work. I journaled. I spent more time in nature. I had difficult (and needed) conversations. I worked closely with spiritual mentors.

My efforts eventually showed me how to have fun. I read, wrote, watched TV, played games and did many other things for the simple enjoyment of it. I realized fun is anything but a waste of time. It’s a creative reset. It’s restorative. It teaches. It’s one of the most authentic ways to experience and honor life.

The last three years, I’ve read about 50 of those 150ish books. I’ve savored novels and memoirs that explore things I care about: spirituality, family, sex, love, transformation. And I’ve consumed a few how-to books too; not out of ego, but because the TrueMe wanted to learn something that would feed my soul.

From my story, here’s what I hope you walk away with: Have fun! Travel. Take that cooking or ballroom or guitar class. Read that fantasy or sci-fi or self-help book. You don’t have to wait for your Dark Night to evaluate your priorities. Be proactive and prioritize what really matters. Your soul and your “books read” list will thank you.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you to have fun, ‘I honor life by finding and creating joy, playfulness and celebration.

PPS – Has it been a while since you reflected on and prioritized fun?  If so, grab your journal and a pen. Take a few minutes and reflect on your childhood. What things did you like to do? Camping? Catching frogs? Doodling? Singing? Try and come up with as many things as possible. Once you have a full list, reflect on which of those have been missing in your life. Next, figure how to make those things a reality.

Reading Recommendations From Yours Truly

If you’re like me, when you think about summer, you think about reading. There’s just something extra special about sitting on the porch with a lemonade and a book or perhaps taking a book to the beach, enjoying the sound of the waves and the sand between your toes.

Ahhh… I may just take a drive to the beach this afternoon…

If you’re looking to add a book or two to your summer reading list, here are a few I think you may like. Send me your suggestions as well. I’d love to hear from you.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s been out since 2012, so there’s a good chance you’ve already read it but if not, make me proud, put it on your reading list and send me a note when you finish it so we can chat. Wild is a coming-of-age memoir that is gritty and human, written in a transporting prose. The book follows the author’s three-month solo hike from California to Washington on the Pacific Crest Trail after her marriage falls apart and she loses her mother.

What I like best about the book: Cheryl makes what some may call taboo choices. She’s candid about them. She owns them. She works to heal herself. And through the hurt and the healing, she made a beautiful life and beautiful art.
 
The Universe is Talking to You: Tap into Signs and Synchronicity to Reveal Magical Moments Every Day by Tammy Mastroberte

I hear this a lot from clients, “How do I tap into my spiritual side? I want to get messages from The Universe, from my loved one in spirit but I don’t know how.” This book is one of the many resources I recommend when helping my clients tap into their intuitive side. The Universe is Talking to You is an easy read filled with insight, direction and lots of tangible exercises to deepen your relationship with the universe. You’ll walk away with a clearer sense of how to recognize the synchronicities guiding you, and how to reach a higher vibe so it’s easier to connect with spirit.

What I like best about the book: It’s a great pick-up-put-down-pick-up kind of book. If you only have ten minutes, that’s okay. You’ll glean enough in that time to shift your perspective and try out some new things.
 
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

Many of us are born into families feeling out of place. There could be a variety of reasons for this: we feel we are different than other family members or we sense we don’t fully understand and know everything about our family (welcome to my childhood). Inheritance explores the author’s journey of finding out her beloved deceased father was not in fact her biological father. She discovers this after receiving the DNA results from a test she was given as a gift.

What I like best about the book: We get an intimate look at Shapiro’s family secrets. All families have secrets, mine included, but we often feel alone because we don’t share them (hence the word ‘secret’). Shapiro makes readers feel understood and gets us thinking differently about identity, forgiveness, family, and advanced technology and science. I also think Shapiro is a beautiful writer. Devotion is another good book of hers if you fall in love with her writing the way I have.

Ready Player One and Two: A Novel by Ernest Cline

The world Ernest Cline has created in Ready Player One and Two is just flat out cool. These books are my favorite when it comes to science fiction, probably because of how real they feel. If you’re looking for an escape from everyday life, this is it. These books have it all: fantasy, love, and a plethora of 80’s references. The book takes place in 2045. A few teenagers set out to find an Easter egg of sorts in a virtual reality game.

What I like best about the book: Wil Wheaton narrates this book on Audible. He’s the perfect guy for the job; his voice matches the narrative and personality of the protagonist perfectly.
 
Happy reading!

Oh and before you go out and buy these books on Amazon (no judgment though; I’ve been a Prime member for years), consider supporting your local library or local bookstore. If you want the convenience of online shopping while supporting local bookstores, bookshop.org is a site you’ll want to check out. Shipping may take a few extra pennies out of your pocket and a couple extra days, but a portion of your purchase supports a mom-and-pop store. Worth it!

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help allow yourself the time to read, “I deserve rest, renewal and rejuvenation.”

PPS – Still struggling with finding time to read? If so, this writing activity may help. Grab your journal. What’s your favorite book? Why is it your fav? How did it make you feel the first time you read it? What has it taught you? How are you different because of that book? Once you remember all the positives that come with reading a good book, remind yourself you’re worth that feeling again.

It’s not about you

Over the last few months, I’ve passed along several ‘I’m here for you if you want to talk’ messages to acquaintances and friends. I’d see something on Facebook that showed me they were struggling; maybe a less than cheery status update or an article they posted. Sometimes while chatting via Zoom, I’d sense sadness or worry they weren’t fully revealing something.

The majority of people I’ve extended myself to have thanked me for my kindness but haven’t actually taken me up on the offer. At times, this has been hard. I’m a healer after all. It’s a part of my life’s work to help people move forward from their hurt. And I’m a results-oriented person. I like success I can instantly measure like cracking a joke and making someone smile or giving someone advice and seeing their shoulders instantly sink into relaxation.

A few times, I’ve let my unanswered invites get the best of me, “What’s wrong with you Danielle? Have you lost your healer’s touch?”

Fortunately, the TrueMe is good about reminding my ego me that the way others choose to heal has absolutely nothing to do with me. I can offer to lend an ear. I can give advice. I can share stories of inspiration and hope. I can give tools and resources. But that’s all I can and all I should do. What someone decides to take and when (or not) doesn’t say anything about my abilities as a friend, as a coach, as a healer.

A bottle of water on my nightstand reminded me this. I know, this sounds really random but stay with me here. It’s a great story (in my humble opinion) and I think it will resonate:

Every night, I make sure I have a bottle of water near my bed. Normal enough, right? But, it’s rare that I actually take a sip of that water. Yet just its presence serves a purpose. Knowing I have that water bottle near makes me feel safe and prepared if I ever do get thirsty.

My silly ritual helped me to remember that sometimes, somewhere in the world, we’re making a big difference in someone’s life even if they don’t respond back to our offers of help: just like the water bottle. Even if I don’t drink it, it still provides a sense of calm before I rest. I believe that’s what I’ve done for those acquaintances and friends I’ve offered to connect with: I’ve been that bottle of water on their nightstand, I’ve helped them to feel safe. They know I’m there if they ever need me.

If you’ve been trying to give help to someone, but you’re not seeing results the way your mind thinks you should, remind yourself it’s not about you (I say this with love). Then picture that bottle of water on my nightstand.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you that your heart-centered actions always have worth, ‘I trust when I act from the heart, others feel it in theirs.

PPS – A little bit of gratitude goes a long way, for yourself and for others. Remember, your actions always matter. Let’s do yourself and your community a favor. Grab some sticky notes (If you don’t have those, grab a sheet of paper and tear it into smaller sizes, just big enough to write a short message.) On the sticky notes, write down short messages of gratitude – messages that can bring you and others a moment of joy in their day. Examples: “You are loved”, “You are worthy”, and “Give yourself a hug; you’re doing great”. If you’re out and about today, place those sticky notes where others can see them. At home with nowhere to go? Place those on your bathroom mirror, or anywhere you know you’ll look at least once a day. You deserve this. And so do others. 

School’s Out For Summer

This business professor is officially on summer break! It’s been a looooong year teaching my classes online and via Zoom and I’m excited for the r&r.

It’s been a hard year too. I’ve missed the face-to-face energy of my students, the steps I’d get walking through campus as I admired the palm trees swaying in the Tampa sun. I’ve missed the café and their tasty soups; I’ve missed walking out of my office and eating a fresh cooked meal within minutes. Dang, it used to be so easy!

There’s a million ways I could wrap up my thoughts on teaching during a pandemic with a perfectly tied bow and a powerful learning lesson, but it feels more authentic and true to keep my reflections open. There were hard parts and there were light parts, and I’m still trying to make sense of them both. Perhaps the lesson is, I’ve accepted the dark and the light and allowed them to coexist, not rushing to find some reason for it all. Instead, I’m acknowledging the truth: the last year as a professor was heavy and I’m allowing my take-aways from the last year to unfold.

Some fast facts: student enrollment was lower than usual, student engagement felt lower than usual, my engagement was much lower than usual. Although there were rough patches, somewhere in the mess I found and created bright moments. A wide variety of my business friends came into my virtual classes to spice things up, sharing their knowledge and life lessons, giving me a much-needed break and dose of inspiration. And although I haven’t perfected my time management, self-discipline and organizational skills (and probably never will), working from home has allowed me to sharpen them.

Working from home was a whole new adventure (and not one I’d particularly choose to embark on, but here we are!). I’ve been glued to my computer more than I’d like to admit, been more sedentary than I’d like to admit, and I’ve eaten more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than I can count (I don’t even make my own sammies… I devour the pre-made ones – Uncrustables – that I steal from my 11-year-old niece).

Crust-less sammies aside, darkness, lightness, shadows of doubts and beacons of hope all mixed together throughout this unique chapter of my life. But this summer, I’ll focus on moving forward, recharging and prepping for my fall classes. I’ll continue to reflect so that I take with me the wisdom and perseverance from the last year while dropping what no longer serves me.

I’ll be teaching face-to-face, but differently than I have in the past. I’ll have a limited number of students allowed in the classroom (about 12 as opposed to 30), everyone will wear a mask, and I’ll have a camera on me at all times so students can Zoom into the lecture from home if they so choose. But, I’ll have the in-person smiles of my students, and I’ll finally be able to feel the vibration of their laughter when I crack a joke that wasn’t really funny, but they are nice and so they’ll chuckle anyways. I’ll be able to eat my minestrone soup at an outside table while the palm trees dance in the light breeze and the sun keeps my soup warm. And I’ll get my steps in.

In closing, as I think about Dr. Clark going back to campus, I have no doubt the fall will bring highs and lows and I’m honored to experience them all, for experiencing is what makes us human.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

PS – Here’s the opening of the Serenity Prayer to help you accept what is while continuing to improve upon yourself and lifeGod grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

PPS – Have you taken time recently to reflect on your experiences during the pandemic now that we are slowly moving towards post-pandemic? If not, now may be a good time. Grab your journal and a pen. Narrow down your reflections by focusing on an aspect of who you’ve been throughout the pandemic. Perhaps you’ve been a student, daughter, father, artist, or manager. In this role, what shifted for you? What changes have you enjoyed? What differences have made you sour? Have you made discoveries about yourself? Or about your role? See if you can let your feelings and insights flow without structure. Try and let the light and dark coexist without having to make perfect meaning out of what you experienced.

The Weird Is Your Oyster

Do you think you’re weird, but maybe you’re not happy or completely comfortable with that weirdness? Perhaps you look down on yourself for being different?

If so, I’m hoping my list of things that probably qualify me as ‘weird’ will make you feel better. We all have our oddities and quirks. Rather than hide them or be ashamed by them, we should embrace our weird and have a good laugh (or several).

Sooo, without further ado, here are 8 things that make me wonderfully weird (or at least funny weird, I hope).

My List of Weird

  1. I clean my ears at least once a day, usually twice.
  2. I put lotion on my hands at least 20 times a day, usually 30.
  3. I talk to dead people and they talk to me. I’m a medium.
  4. I smell my socks after I wear them. Seriously, I do. My dad used to do the same thing.
  5. I’m more afraid of bees than I am of dying.
  6. I pluck hairs off my chest and shave my big toes.
  7. Presenting to a room of 1,000 people I don’t know is much more calming to me than having lunch with a single person I don’t know.
  8. I use a GPS to get everywhere. And I mean everywhere, like two streets away to somewhere I go like 5 times a week (Aaron’s school, for instance). That’s how poor my sense of direction is.

Did I make you feel less alone or at least make you chuckle? Good! Now, go out there and pick your nose and shower with your bathing suit on or color your leg hair purple and wear the t-shirt you’ve never washed because it’s ‘good luck’. Don’t think twice about that weirdness and if you do think about it, be proud and have a good laugh.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you love your weird and wave your freak flag, My uniqueness is beautiful and worth celebrating.

PPS – Are you looking for more ways to get comfortable with your weird? If so, here’s a journal prompt: Think of three people you love being around that you spend a lot of time with (this activity works especially well if you live them). List out all the things that ‘make them weird’. Now reflect on that list. Do you love them less because they clean the dishes before they put them in the dishwasher? Do you think less of them because they rearrange the medicine cabinet by color? Of course not! So now ask yourself why you don’t judge others, but you judge yourself.

From Shame To Acceptance: It’s Possible

I have herpes type 1 (HSV-1). Yes, you read that right: I have herpes and I’m sharing that with you (well not literally so don’t worry). Remember, we can’t take ourselves too seriously.  

So why am I telling you this? Because I sensed you may be harboring shame about something that feels deep, wrong and maybe a little taboo, and I wanted to help you release it.

Here’s my story:

When I was a young teenager, I aggressively sought out male attention from older guys. When I was 15 years old, I flirted with a man I worked with who was in his thirties. He was funny, kinda cute and we had worked together for a few weeks. I trusted him. This guy flirted back and before long, I found myself at his house. We kissed. We had sex. It gave me what I thought I needed: to feel pretty, to feel wanted, to have an adult finally pay attention to me.

The day after our hook up, the outside and inside of my mouth were filled with large sores that tingled and burned so bad that I got a fever and swallowing was a task. I eventually ended up in the hospital. I had no idea what those sores were and feared something was terribly wrong with me.

At the time, I didn’t know herpes was a thing and when the doctor started to ask me about my sexual activity, it finally clicked: “I caused this. This was my fault. I’m a slut.”

For the next few years, my herpes breakouts would occur every few months and each time they’d come on, I’d feel deep shame and spew nasty comments to myself, “Danielle, you’re a whore. You’re nasty. You’re dirty.”

Not once was I ever mad at the guy twice my age who infected me when I was a kid nor was I mad at my parents who didn’t give me the love I craved resulting in me looking in other places for it. Instead, I was only mad at myself. Funny how that is, huh?

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized I was ‘that girl’ (the stereotyped label of ‘promiscuous’) because my story was complex; my early childhood trauma of being raised by addicted and neglectful parents shaped my behavior. Although I shouldn’t have been flirting with older guys, that guy (and many others) shouldn’t have taken advantage of my vulnerabilities.

Fortunately, I only get a herpes breakout about once a year. When it does come back, instead of shaming myself like I used to, I fill my mind and heart with love, “You’ve come a long way Danielle. You’re beautiful. This and everything you’ve endured has made you stronger. You are loved.”

From my story, it’s my hope that you:

  1. Unfold your shame. Don’t perceive your past actions and decisions as poor choices or wrongdoings. Rather, see if you can find how people, events and circumstances connect to the shame you’re holding. This may give you a deeper understanding of your feelings which will help you release them.
  2. Forgive yourself. It’s a fact: You didn’t know all the things you know now. Every day, every second, we are learning and evolving.
  3. Consider sharing your shame with someone. a friend, your partner, a therapist. When we talk about our shame, it loses power.
  4. Know healing is possible. Although we can’t change the past, we can move forward from it.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you release shame, I heal and forgive myself for harms I and others have caused. I love myself and accept the past.

PPS – Are you looking for other ways to release your shame? If so, here’s a writing activity. Find somewhere quiet. Go deep into your shame (I know, a hefty request but this will be rewarding!). Be honest with yourself about your experience with shame. What happened that caused the shame? What are you feeling guilty about? Disappointed in yourself about? As you dive deeper, allow yourself to feel all your emotions: sad, scared, frustrated, confused. Write them all down. Don’t judge what comes. When you’re feeling ready, stop writing and burn or throw away your notes as you repeat the affirmation, “I release what no longer serves me.” Symbolically releasing your shame can be magically healing.

Flip Your Funk: Finding Your Creative Shift

The other night I was in the shower trying to force ideas for this exact blog post.

“Come on Danielle, think… Okay, just think. There’s got to be something in there…You need an idea, just one before the shower gets cold.” Queue rambling thoughts of grading papers and old blog topics and, wait… where was I going with this? “Okay, this is ridiculous. Hurry up. Ugh, the water is freezing now…”

After reflecting on my icy cold shower, turns out, there was an idea in there after all: to write about my creative block.

The truth is, I’ve been in a creative funk. My ideas haven’t been popcorning. My energy hasn’t been bouncing. My projects haven’t been forward moving. Can you relate? Perhaps you’ve picked up the pen, guitar or spatula but your creative process wasn’t as smooth, soulful or artistic as it usually is. 

I’m sure this whole pandemic thing has something to do with it, but I’ve been down this road dozens of times, trying to find my spark, trying to get back to me again. It’s lonely. It’s aggravating. It’s demotivating. And then I remember: the lightbulb turns on and the warm fuzzies fill me as I recall the lessons I’ve learned on my not-so-creative journeys. I then feel centered and a bit creative again, like I am now as I write to you.

Finding that spark can take time and effort. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned along the way that have helped me and others make a creative shift:

  • Our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. If our brains and hearts want to go quiet for a bit, we need to let them. We may need the rest for our next big thing.
  • Very rarely is forcing anything a good idea. Seriously. Can you think of a time you forced something, and it was for the better? Forcing should be a red flag to do the opposite of what we’re doing. Instead we need to allow what is. Our intuition may be trying to slow us down so that we see something different, so we can change our perspective and fuel our creative purpose at another time.
  • Sometimes all we need is an energetic change. Stuck in your home office? Try working a couple hours at your town library. Instead of writing on the porch, go to the coffee shop. Rather than reading and reflecting on a book alone, sign up for a book club. I’ve signed up for a few extra writing groups; joining other aspiring writers with similar goals always gives me a boost of word-adrenaline.
  • Distance does make the heart grow founder. We can put down our work and get inspiration from other sources. Are you crafting a speech? Play UNO with the family every day this week. Do you want to find the drive to finish that needlepoint? Go for a hike. A change of action and scenery can do wonders.
  • Reconnect with yourself. If there’s something weighing us down, we need to work that out. Revisit things and activities you love: for some, this looks like a 45-minute hot yoga session; for others, this may be volunteering at the local wildlife conservation.
  • Remember: our creativity always comes back. It’s never lost for good.

And now I’m off to take a shower where I plan to belt out some tunes (as opposed to think about what to write next!). I know the right idea will come in perfect timing.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you boost your creative confidence, “Creativity flows through me. My imagination and abilities are unlimited.”

PPS – Here’s a fun one to get your creative juices flowing. Get out your journal and write a short story using the following words: New York, tiger, flawless, apple, gum, love. Were you able to do it? See, I told you our creativity is never lost for good.

Liar, Liar, My Pants Were On Fire

On Good Friday, I walked into the kitchen and saw my fourteen-year-old son Aaron on his phone. Unbelievable. On his phone again when I just asked him to do the dishes. My blood boiledI puffed out my cheeks and squinted my eyes as I walked past him.

When I strolled by glancing in his direction, Aaron looked up and stuttered, “Mom, I was just picking a new song to listen to while I do the dishes. I promise.”

My heart melted. By his tone and his body language, I knew my sweet boy (who doesn’t even use his phone that much!) was telling the truthShit Danielle, not cool.

I softened my face and cracked a warm smile, “Huh? I didn’t say anything,” I lied.

Aaron looked to the ground and said, “You didn’t have to. You got me really upset. I could feel you were mad. I’m sorry.”

Stubborn and embarrassed, I quipped, “Nope, that’s all you. I wasn’t thinking that, and I wasn’t mad. Maybe you’re just tired.”

I booked it to my office, closed the door, and let the tears trickle down. Danielle, first you prejudged him and then you lied to your son… What is going on?

As I thought about the situation, I realized I let my pride get in the way of being honest. I wanted to be right, but I unfairly assumed that Aaron was avoiding dishes for scrolling through Instagram. I also had an epiphany; my lying could have a big impact on Aaron. Not only could my actions jeopardize our relationship, but it could also prevent him from trusting his intuition.

I started to worry even more. What if Aaron believed me when I said I wasn’t mad in the moment? Maybe next time he won’t trust his gut and his ability to read people deeper than their spoken words. This scared the crap out of me. As someone who regularly uses her intuition in work and personal life, I know how important it is to decision-making, protecting myself from people and situations I don’t want, and fostering more authentic relationships with others.

When I couldn’t take it any longer, I had a chat with Aaron. Blinking away tears, I took a deep breath in and said, “Aaron, you were right this morning. You did sense I was mad. I made a snap judgement when you were on your phone. I realized that was unfair of me, but I was too stubborn to admit it so I tried to make it seem like you were the one who was reading the room wrong. I am so, so sorry. I always want you to trust yourself. I love you so much. And I’m sorry for lying.”

Aaron chuckled, “You’re so dramatic. I knew you were lying. It’s all good. I forgive you.”

I grinned, “It was immature of me and I’m going to do better. It makes me so stinkin’ proud that you trusted yourself.”

We hugged it out.

What’s the moral of the story? There are many here. Try not to judge others. Try not to fib. Own up to your mistakes when you can. Remember, you’re not alone if you’ve made a parenting blunder.

In my eyes, the most important lesson to carry with you is to be like Aaron and trust your intuition always. Sometimes, people won’t tell you the truth, either because they’re embarrassed, scared, or their ego has taken over. Don’t doubt yourself for a second. Your intuition is a powerful and needed tool in this world.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation for those days when you question your reality (i.e. you feel one way but someone else claims differently), I am grounded and aware.”

PPS – Do you want to start trusting yourself more? If so, here’s a writing activity. Set a timer for 2 minutes. During that time, list as many things as you can that you’ve ‘done right’ over the years; small or big decisions you’ve made that have worked out well for you. Did you pick a comfy couch that has held strong for years? Did you suggest the last restaurant you and your friends went to and the service and food was awesome? Did you marry the love of your life? Once your two minutes are up, you should be left with multiple examples to remind yourself that your intuition and judgment are strong; that you have the power to trust yourself. Remember this the next time the world is trying to tell you differently.

When hate is okay

The other day, me and my good friend Ella were catching up and offering each other intuitive guidance. One of the many things I appreciate about our relationship is we rarely stay surface level. We skip the small talk and get vulnerable, get real and go deep so we can support each other on this wild journey of life.

Ella said, “Okay. I hate them. Yes, hate. And yes, I know I’m not supposed to hate. I know forgiveness is the path and I know holding onto anger hurts me, but I just can’t let go. I do all the right things: I meditate. I read about spirituality and forgiveness… But at the end of the day, I still hate them.”

Ella wasn’t referring to the parking spot stealers or the jaywalkers of the world. Sad and heartbreakingly true, she was referring to people in her life who hurt her and a loved one deeply. These individuals are responsible for years of manipulation and abuse which caused pain, trauma and a series of events that can never be undone. Ella, I am sending you and your hurt so much love.  

As Ella spoke, I felt a lightness to me and the words flowed out, “You can hate. Don’t judge your feelings. It’s okay to feel it all. Just continue to do what you’re doing and be healthy about that hate. Take care of yourself and work towards releasing the heavy emotions but know you can’t control the timing of that release.”

Ella sent me a note a few days later and told me she felt lighter. That simple act of ‘giving her permission’ to feel the not-so-pleasant stuff had removed the guilt and angst she carried.

Most of us have someone or even several people in our lives who have done us or others we love wrong: an old friend spoke lies about you, a mother made you feel small daily, an ex-wife stole your money, a friend or family member sexually abused you or someone you love.

If you find yourself fixating on someone because you’re harboring anger and disgust, that is okay. You’re beautifully human and you should experience all of your emotions without judgement. You’re not a bad person or a less spiritually evolved person for feeling what you do. Just keep putting in the hard work: the talk therapy, the meditating, the reading, the working towards forgiveness.

Amidst the hard work, be sure to manage your hate. You don’t want hate to control you or your actions (while it’s okay to feel something, don’t let that emotion lead you to do something that’s not in your best interest: revenge, hurting yourself, or hurting others are never okay).  

Similar to Ella’s experience, I believe if you allow yourself to feel your emotions, and you accept where you are on your healing journey, it will be easier to move to a place of love and forgiveness when you’re ready. Just like ‘love’ takes a lot of work to maintain, ‘hate’ takes a lot to remove, but it’s possible. I’ve had the amazingly beautiful opportunity to love many and to forgive several emotional, physical and/or sexual abusers in my life. While I’m healed now, the journey was tough yet worth every ounce of hate, frustration and patience.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help support your healing journey, I give time and space to my soul to restore. I have the power to heal, and I’m getting healthier every day.”

PPS – Healing hate requires a balance of focusing on your emotion/the situation at hand and giving yourself space from your hate. For this journal prompt, you’ll focus on getting space from whatever it is that’s driving your negative emotions. Here’s what to do. Breathe in and out a few times while picturing yourself as a ball of white, beautiful light. Once you feel relaxed, open your eyes and write about a time when you felt tremendous love. Was it when your new puppy licked your face for the first time? Was it when your husband proposed to you at your favorite restaurant? Focus on your senses to really get lost in writing the story (the process of writing is where the healing comings in). What can you hear? What can you taste? What do you feel? What can you see?

I’m Busy But Not Too Busy

Lately, I’ve been busy. Like, busy-busy thanks to parenting, writing, coaching, teaching, grading, walking, reading, researching, cooking, cleaning and a bunch of other ***‘ing things ;). I wish funning was a word because that would be on the list too. As you can see, I’ve been busy will all good things, but nonetheless busy…
 
Have you noticed (or you may be annoyed!) that I’m using the word ‘busy’ a lot? That’s what happens when I get busy… I lock myself in a box and make excuses for why I can’t do something. I shutdown and say ‘no’ to adding what always seems to be another checkbox on my to-do list. When I am (I won’t use the ‘b’ word here), when I feel like there’s too much on my plate, I also start telling myself I don’t have time to do something for someone else… Don’t call so-and-so back, you have too much to do. Danielle, you just gotta say no to things and people so you can get your to-list done.
 
Sometimes that voice is the sound of reason, but more often it’s a frantic, fear-based voice that tries to make me someone I’m not: someone who doesn’t have the time and heart for others.  
 
A few weeks ago, a teacher award nomination form was emailed to me from my niece’s elementary school (my niece lives with me). When I received the email, I lit up and thought, Oh goodness. Mrs. Smith and Mr. Hickson have been so great to Amy this year. I have to nominate them. They’re everything a teacher should be: engaging, compassionate, patient and informative. But my heart began to beat fast as my thoughts switched to, “No Danielle. You don’t have the time to write a nomination. Stick to the things you need to take care of.”
 
I deleted the email, felt crappy about myself and continued to sluggishly take care of my work.
 
A week later a reminder email was sent and this time, I listened to my heart and I clicked the nomination form. And guess what? It took me 6 minutes to fill out. 6 minutes! I shook my head and laughed; all they wanted was my niece’s name, the teachers’ names and 250 words or less. Once I hit ‘submit’ I felt proud, so proud that the energetic high I got from that simple good deed boosted my work productivity for the next few hours. I got tons of things done! The effect was like four cups of coffee, no jitters attached.
 

Two weeks later, I was at my office on campus spring cleaning (I’m a business professor). As I dusted my bookshelf, I came across ‘thank you’ cards my students wrote to themselves over a year ago before the pandemic hit. On the first day of class, I asked students to write the notes, thanking themselves for the preparation and courage it took them to be in college (I teach at a community college and many of my students are first generation, so being in college is an extra big deal). I planned to give them their cards the last day of class, but thanks to all that was 2020, that didn’t happen.
 
When I first saw the cards, I thought, “Awwww. How special. They’d love to see these.” My mind quickly shifted to, “Danielle, you’re busy. You don’t have the time to reach out to students if it’s not related to homework.”
 
This time, I listened to my heart right away. I sent emails and messages to the students asking them for permission to open their cards and send them a picture of it. This process end-to-end took a half hour. 
 
One student wrote herself a beautiful thank you note that said something like this: “Thank you for making a sacrifice and joining the military. Because you did, your school is now paid for. You’re now in a better spot and reunited with your family. I am proud of you.”
 
When I sent her a picture of the card, she told me she cried and that she was so thankful. I clutched the phone, as if to give it a hug. I felt so good about sending those cards out that I had a smile and lightness to me the rest of the week and because of that, I got even more things done.
 
The next time I tell myself I’m ‘too busy’ to do something, I’m going to continue to listen to my heart and remind myself that doing something nice for someone else (or myself) is an investment that keeps on giving.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you that you’re in control of your day, “I have all the time I need. I have everything to make today productive and abundant for myself and others.”

PPS – Do you want more feel-good time in your day? Here’s an activity to put awareness around how you’re using your time. For at least a few days, write down everything you do: talk to your mom on the phone, go for a walk with your dog, attend a meeting with clients, drive to work, go grocery shopping, practice the drums etc. Once you have a few days’ worth of activities, go through and rank them from a scale on 1-10 on how much joy they give you (10 being the highest amount of joy). If you rank anything lower than a 7, ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and see if you can put together a plan around removing or minimizing that activity from your life or restructuring it so it gives you more joy.