Friday, July 31, 2015

summer of (self) love: 5 things we can learn from the hippies

I'm doing a little giveaway today on my Facebook page.  I like to give away fun little things to my Dynamic Divorcees -- sometimes it's pixie dust, sometimes it's You Are Beautiful stickers . . . today it's a love bead necklace (plus, a You Are Beautiful gift bag).

Why love beads?

Because I've been wearing multiple strands of love beads all summer long, and, while I never had the pleasure of being a hippie, I've watched enough documentaries to know that this must have been a really fun time to be alive.

Kind of like the fun rebellion phase that every woman can allow herself to enjoy (at least a little bit) following a marriage that seemed mostly work and not much fun.

So, I present 5 things we can learn from the hippies:

1.  Express yourself.  Dance out your emotions; you'll feel better (even if you do it behind closed doors).  That thing you love but people have told you you're no good at?  Yes, it is for you -- no matter how many people have told you that it's not.  Paint with your fingers.  Dust off that guitar.  In the words of Cat Stevens:  If you want to be me, be me.  If you want to be you, be you.  There's a million things to do.  You know that there are.

2.  You do not have to be the poster child for perfection.  At this moment, your job really isn't to worry about what your parents think of you, what your kids think of you, and how you absolutely must hold it all together all by yourself.  Ask for help.  It will come from places you least expect.  Usually from the kindness of mere acquaintances and virtual strangers.  Opportunities will arise to try new things that you've always dreamed of doing.  Find ways to say yes.

3.  Be colorful and have fun with flowers.  Ditch the black yoga pants.  Grab the paisley.  I dare you to buy the $6.99 grocery store bouquet, and hand out single stems to grumpy-looking people on the way to your car.  Why?  It will be fun.

4.  All you need is love.  Self-love.  Make a deal with yourself that you'll be taking a brief break from the sheer weight of everything you're going through.  Step outside and feel the sun (or the clouds) on your face.  Make a list of things that can make you smile (such as daring to act a little bit like a goofy, blissed-out hippie).  All I really need to know I learned from The Beatles:  There's nothing you can do that can't be done.  Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.  Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.  It's easy. 

5.  Give peace a chance.  You may be feeling anything but peaceful, but the old cliche is true.  You're hurting yourself more than you're hurting your ex, who's most likely having a grand old time somewhere.  You don't have to make peace with anyone but yourself.  Light a candle, have a good cry whenever you need it, lean back against some comfy pillows, and slow down your breathing.   You are okay.  It is not all your fault.  You've already blamed yourself far too much.  And thinking about him will not make it better.  Close your eyes and smile to yourself, even if it's just for two minutes.  Sound crazy?  Try it.  You'll feel better.

And, get some love beads.  Just because.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What if it isn't even true?

Today's guest blog post is from my friend and colleague Andrea Friedmann, on the subject of the stories we tell ourselves.  If you love Andrea's perspective and want more, she is offering a beautiful complimentary teleseminar that will help you explore how you may be talking yourself into stories about your life that aren't even true.  

Andrea Friedmann
Recently, I was talking with a friend who had been working really hard to reach a new level professionally. She was almost there, in the last stretch before the finish line, with all kinds of wonderful opportunities opening up for her on all sides. But she wasn't telling me about all that awesomeness coming her way. She was telling me how little balance there was in her life, how much she was working, with no time for play, for her family, herself, or socializing.

She looked drained and dejected. And yet, within a few sentences, still in that slow, tired tone, trying to make a different point, she happened to mention that she had been to the beach with her kids, had managed to do a long meditation she had been wanting to try for ages, and had hosted a big dinner party at her house over the weekend.

I stopped her then, and pointed out that, to me, that all sounded like play, and even socializing. She looked dazed for a moment, then she began to chuckle. And we had a good laugh together. Because it is funny that she could be feeling as bad as she was, when she could let herself feel great instead.

We do this to ourselves all the time: hold a thought that makes us feel down, that affects how we show up in our life and the choices we make -- and it's simply not true!

Even though nothing tangible had changed in her situation, the interruption in her negative pattern of thought created an important shift. Without it, she would have gone on with her day, noticing more instances that fortified the thought that her life is hard, creating a snowball effect with her attention (and her energy, through the law of attraction) confirming her original false thought and generally keeping her down and depressed.

But because of the interruption in her false train of thought, she was able to laugh, experiencing enjoyment as well as appreciation for what IS working in her life, and increasing the likelihood that she will notice more instances that confirm the affirming thought that things are good, feeling lighter and more optimistic.

How we feel moment-to-moment is the thread that makes up the fabric of our life, so the fact that my friend could feel good was important for that reason alone. But if she had had important decisions to make later that day, her frame of mind -- whether depressed or optimistic -- would dramatically affect what those decisions might be. And that, in turn, would affect her level of contentment about her actions.

The untruth my friend was telling herself is pretty obvious here. But sometimes it's harder to notice.

For example, one of my clients who is also struggling with time management was telling me that she is an artist, and that means that she has to run with her ideas; she can't interrupt them or plan her creative time into her schedule. Naturally, being at the mercy of her creative impulses makes seeing customers and having a family life quite stressful.

But what if she is wrong? Is it possible that she could shape her artistic habits? Could she work with her creative impulses, find ways to store her ideas when they come, and then work on them when the time is right for her?

Maybe not. But the real question might be: What is it costing her to refuse to examine this possibility?

 Here is the crux of the matter: What we think affects what we do. And if our thoughts are limiting, then we are limiting ourselves: limiting the possibilities, limiting what we can experience, and limiting the results we see in our life.

So I turn the question over to you. What possibilities are you not examining? What thoughts are you holding that may be based on some untruth? How are you limiting yourself? I invite you to find the courage to take a closer look.  

Andrea Friedmann has been an intuitive life coach at VibrationsCoaching.com since 2007, uniquely combining her skills in energy work with spirituality and coaching techniques to help her clients get out of their own way, reconnecting to who they really are, changing the limiting beliefs that keep them stuck, and building a life and work they thrive in.

Friday, June 5, 2015

For those I-can't-take-it-another-minute days: instant gratification

The Dynamic Divorcée YouTube Channel
Many of you may not know that The Dynamic Divorcée has a YouTube channel.

It started as a resource for my clients, but now I want to share it with all of you. 

What's on the channel right now? 

A webinar with me, based on a recent Inspired Conferences teleseminar.  And, learn more about my story and how what I've been through can help you when you listen to an interview with me on Women Warriors radio (complete with visuals that enhance the story).

Don't miss our always expanding Divorce Recovery Top Hits playlist, where women who are members of our Facebook community contribute the songs that most helped them get through their divorces.  (Have a song you think should be shared with other divorcées?  Comment below and help other women rock out and get their mojo working.) 

What else?  Check out our Feel Better, Divorcées playlist that includes soothing morning and evening meditations with Louise Hay, an incredible Ted Talk on self-esteem by Niko Everett, an energetic clearing on the topic of Self-Brutality by Mellissa Seaman, an introduction to Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) with Nick Ortner and Louise Hay, an array of calming yoga techniques, and even a stress-busting green juice recipe.  

Plus a few of my favorite Abraham-Hicks audios on the subject of relationships, with topics that include: 
  • We broke up and he married someone else, but I still love him.
  • Why don't my relationships last?
  • I want to find the perfect mate.
  • Relationships:  Don't try to convince anybody of anything.

This channel was designed to be your own personal, private seminar on emotional recovery from divorce.

Check it out, and let me know what you think -- and suggest any YouTube content that you think I should add to the channel : ) .

Friday, May 29, 2015

when getting where you want to go seems too hard (how about those 50 pounds?)

It's really interesting to me how my various clients' needs seem to dovetail a lot of the time. Reminds me of that thing about women in college dorms all getting on the same menstrual cycle.

These days, just about all of my clients have expressed the desire to lose 50 pounds.  They're all saying the same number.  In some cases, weight has always been an issue.  In others, it's the stress of the separation and divorce process, with food becoming the only real source of comfort.

Along with the desire to shed a large number of pounds comes the feeling that it's just too hard to even contemplate getting started.  They're feeling exhausted, and not in the mood to get off the couch after a long work week and family responsibilities.  The ex isn't really helping with the kids, or the help comes at the high price of his acting like he's doing the family a big favor rather than wanting to fulfill his role as a dad.

Is it that my clients are lazy?  Definitely not.  I carefully assess potential clients before I agree to work with them, and in our initial conversations I have tried-and-true ways of finding out whether a woman will experience great success with me.  If there's a question in my mind about whether she'll follow through and get the big results that I promise, I'll never suggest working together.

When it comes to weight loss, though, I think many women just can't stand the thought of getting started, the possibility of failing or of it being too hard, and then being disappointed all over again.  My clients have been disappointed waaaaay too much, in too many ways, and they're very smart about picking their battles.

I love helping them on this because, if you can identify a really strong desire and find a way to make progress toward that goal, you can use those skills toward any goal.  It opens up a whole new world of being able to reach out and grab what you want.  This is the kind of future I want for my ladies, and I know it's possible.

First thing is to be sure that weight loss is a goal that is really important.  More important than enjoying food in the way that you've been enjoying it so far.  That's a subject unto itself, as is finding other ways to comfort yourself that will be as easy and as enjoyable as eating comfort foods.  So, sometimes, we look for new ways that clients can feel the sense of calm and relaxation that food can provide, and then it's easier to tackle the diet and fitness piece a little bit later.

A fun thing to do, though, is to create a Pinterest board where you can park all kinds of exercise and diet ideas that you might like to try.

Very important:  You're not committing to doing any of these ideas now.  
You're just collecting things that appeal to you.  Especially food ideas that are quick and easy (and include lots of vegetables that you already like).  Don't like vegetables?  It's time for a fun exploration of expanding your food choices, and finding vegetables that you can enjoy.  Sometimes, a big part of that can be how they're prepared.  On Pinterest, you'll find all kinds of interesting ideas (with beautiful, colorful pictures that make you happy just looking at them).

And, look for quick and easy video workouts that you think you might actually do.  Make a list of physical activities that you like (or that you used to enjoy).  Think about how you might be able to fit them into your life (maybe, at first, just once a week, and then twice a week . . . and watch it become something you look forward to and maybe even do some of these activities with friends).

Remember, this is just information-gathering.  After you do this for a while, you'll reach a tipping point where you feel motivated to pick something from your list and try it.

If you don't feel motivated after a few weeks of collecting things to try, then losing weight has not come to the top of your desire list yet.  Meditate on what you really want most right now.  Maybe it's related to making more friends.  Maybe there's a hobby, class, or activity that you really want to do.  Making yourself happier is a through-the-back-door way to change your relationship to food.

This really is magic.
Whatever goal you may be dreaming about (even though it may seem too hard and too far away), think of some deceptively simple and tiny ways to start on it.  Things you can do that are so small and harmless that you won't be tempted to avoid doing them.  Then, be consistent about fitting that tiny, baby step into your life and watch the magic happen.

When you observe some small, but perceptible results from that one little thing you're doing, you'll get excited about adding one more tiny little step.

This really is magic.  Try it, see what happens, and please comment with your successes!

Of course, if you'd like some help from me, just schedule a free virtual coffee date here, and we'll talk about it (plus you'll get some great, unique-to-you strategies to start out with, right on the call).

Friday, May 22, 2015

breakdown part 2: how your life breakdown becomes a life upgrade


So, maybe you've read my bio, where I thank my ex for being a pathological liar, gaslighter, and man of mystery (carrying on a 4-year affair behind my back and fooling both the other woman and me).

(Click "About Me" above in the navigation bar, if you'd like to know more.)

And, when I say I'm so grateful, you probably think that I'm just saying that.  You don't believe me -- the same way you find it hard to believe people who say that cancer was the most blessed experience of their life.  Or that losing their home in foreclosure was the catalyst that brought them to the great life they have today.

I wish I could say something that would allow you to believe me, and to know that what you're living through now has the power to set you up for a new life that is beyond your wildest dreams to imagine it.

This is not a story of sadder, but wiser.  I'm not thankful because I simply survived, or because I now know enough never to trust men again (because that's not true).

Yes, I did have plenty of time to contemplate what caused me to choose my then husband as a life partner, and why I trusted him so much that I had no suspicions about what he was up to.  But spinning your wheels for months or years in ruminations about what you did, what he did, what were the motivations on both sides, and so forth just keeps you stuck, and keeps you from the big prize that's behind it all.

Maybe you read this post I wrote at the beginning of this year about the breakdown before the breakthrough.  Today, I'm taking you to part 2:  the life upgrade that's waiting for you beyond the breakthrough.

Everything you've been through has been signalling that you're ready for something better.

What once worked in your life just doesn't work anymore.  And the reason that so many dominoes start to fall all at one time -- maybe you've not only divorced, but you've lost your job, your kids are acting out or having problems at school, and you're also dealing with health issues that seem to have come out of nowhere -- is not that your life is falling apart.  It's that you're ready for a bigger, shinier, better life, but you'd never have the courage to reach out for it if life didn't make it mandatory.

Of course, it's not mandatory to move on and create a life that you'll love much more than the life you used to have.  You could ignore the challenge, decide your life is permanently broken, and become victim to the situation.   So many women do that.  Years later, they're still telling the same old story about how they chose the wrong men, or how their men did them wrong.

But don't you want an extravagantly joyful life?  That's the chance that's being offered to you now.

The only thing that can prevent you from getting it is the belief that you'll never be able to emerge from the pit of sadness, financial constraint, and trouble you feel you're now stuck in.  Right now, the sides of the pit seem so steep, and it's so dark that you can't see where to get a foothold.  Besides, even if you do crawl out, you're not sure what will be at the top.  Will there be friendly people to meet you?

But, if you weren't stuck down there, here's what you could see:  Although it's dark, it's actually a rich, warm night.  You can't feel the warm breeze because you're too scared.  And you can't see that there are handy footholds just right for you, leading step-by-step right out of the pit.  And, when you take it just one step at a time, it doesn't feel so hard.  You still feel shaky, and you still feel (for a little while) as if you'd like to go back to life you had (because you're only remembering the good parts right now).

Suddenly, you see some loving faces at the top, peering down at you, and they're calling out words of encouragement.  Some of them have even been where you are right now, and are talking you through getting to the top, where you can get big hugs and, by now, it's a sunny day, and you'll keep on getting all the help you need until you're pretty satisfied and excited about where you are.

How do I know this?  I had just about everything thrown at me that a person could endure while trying to recover from divorce:  Financial ruin, death in the family, my own cancer diagnosis, new men in my life who weren't keepers, and much more.  That's how I developed the healing strategies -- different from any others -- that worked for me, quickly, even in my extreme situation.

What you are struggling with now is nothing more than a breakdown before the breakthrough.  Your former life had to be demolished so that the Universe could give you something better.  Something you would never have dared to reach out for while you were in the relative comfort of a so-so, not-too-bad relationship.

Do you feel like the sadness and defeat is going on forever?  Do you love the support group you're in but feel that it's not really the answer for you?   Is your therapist great, but she's doing a lot of expensive listening and not providing any real advice on how to feel better -- and maybe she's never even been divorced herself?

I'd love to talk with you to get you started on some simple things you can do to start moving toward your upgraded life.  And, only if you wish, we can also talk about how I can be by your side while you turn what would have been years and years of grief into just months of getting to the life you want.  You can schedule a free mentoring call with me here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Give your life a vibration makeover.

Have you ever walked into someone's home and, visually, you couldn't spot anything unusual, but somehow, you couldn't wait to get out of there?

Or, maybe there was something you could see:  Drab, dingy colors.  Everything old and worn.  Dusty and musty.  Uncared for.

Maybe the people inside seemed a little bit anxious and edgy -- nothing you could really put your finger on, but there was something.  You just didn't feel comfortable.

How about the opposite?  Have you ever met someone for the first time, and there was something in her eyes, or in her handshake, or in her hug that made you feel so warm and understood and happy.  Even though you didn't know the person at all.

This is the power of vibration.  Everything and everyone has a vibration.

Last month, I asked women in my Facebook communities to tell me what made them feel beautiful.  The answers tended to fall into a few different categories:
  • Self-care (like going to the spa, exercising, buying a new pair of shoes . . .)
  • Receiving validation (like a hug or a compliment)
  • Making a difference (being of help to friends or family, teaching a class or a workshop, using talents)
  • Being one with nature (feeling the sunlight, spending time outdoors . . .)

All of these work on enlivening your vibration -- increasing your life energy or prana (as yogis would say).

We play with vibration a lot in all of my coaching programs, and it's surprisingly easy to go from feeling like the equivalent of a dusty, abandoned room to feeling airy, sunlit, and welcoming.

These changes not only make you feel happy in your own skin, but have a profound effect on everyone you meet.  You become one of those magnetic women who light up the room just by walking into it.

If you'd like to find out more about how you can start radiating happiness and well-being (even as you continue to recover emotionally from your divorce), you can read a little about my divorce recovery system, and even schedule a free virtual coffee date with me to talk about where you're at and where you'd like to be.

For something you can do between now and when we talk:  Begin to notice the various vibrations of the people in your life.  Spend more time with the ones who radiate good feelings, and try to reduce the time you spend with ones who drain you.  After a few days of this practice, see how much better you feel.


Friday, May 8, 2015

22 things that make a woman attractive to men

I'm always looking for useful news articles, blogs, and videos to share on my Dynamic Divorcée facebook page.  In pursuit of this, I view a lot of awful dreck, and the other night, I couldn't help myself.  I watched a creepy video sales pitch called "How to Be an Adorable Woman."

It was so awful that I scrolled down to read the comments to see if anyone had uncovered what sort of scam this was.  There I read a couple of long comments from a guy called 1971SuperLead.  He decided to fill us women in on what a real guy thinks would make a woman adorable.

[Warning:  You may find some of this offensive, but it's not often that a regular guy tells you the truth about what men want, and I think a lot of this stuff is what men think across a broad range of demographics.]

Here's what he had to say (and, of course, these are his words, not mine):

1. Be confident
2. Smile a lot.
3. Sit up straight.
4. Don't be needy.
5. Show interest in what he does.
6. Don't talk his ear off.
7. If you need help, see a shrink. Don't ask your boyfriend to be your shrink.
8. Watch the movie Simon Birch. Ashley Judd plays what every man wants.
9. Never complain. Just be grateful for every act of kindness he displays.
10. Don't dress like a whore. Don't wear baggy clothes either. Wear make up that makes it look like you're not wearing make up.
11. Part your hair on the side. The shy playful hair in the eye look is irresistible.
12. Never be manipulative.
13. Be a cheap date.

Follow my instructions and you'll land nearly any man you want.
Was I helpful? Do you want more tips?

14. Go easy on the perfume. We shouldn't be able to smell you unless our nose is less than a foot away. 
15. Sorry, but we really don't care about shoes at all.
16. Being able to cook scores a lot of points.
17. It's okay to be smart. Smart is sexy.
18. Be mysterious. Don't show him your photo albums, all your clothes, all your awards, all the things you got on trips, etc. The less he knows about you the better.
19. No guilt trips! Ever! If the guy is a creep:  Leave him! Don't try to fix him. Don't try to change him. Don't make deals with him. He's not your project. He is what he is. Love what he is or split.
20. Contrary to popular belief, guys don't like big boobs any more than small ones. So don't ever think about implants.
21. Keep your apartment clean.
22. White teeth are important, but not too white. They gotta look somewhat natural.

Shoot, I can go on and on, but what is surprising to most women is that what is really attractive to a man is a woman who sits up straight, doesn't talk more than he does and smiles a lot.

Smile when you look at him. That smile is what's gonna win him over. You know what a man wants when he comes home from a hard day's work? He wants to come home to a decent woman who's happy he came home, and shows it with her smile. That's really all we want.

We just want to be appreciated by someone we can respect. If we can get that we're happy! You know why? Because we can't get that!

Instead we come home to women who aren't happy and who can't wait to tell us about their day and all their drama and problems. Guess what?  We don't want to see that or hear it.

Your drama doesn't interest us in the slightest and, even worse, it makes us feel inadequate, because we can't solve your problems and it's ingrained in men to solve problems, and so you become a source of frustration, because if you aren't happy we feel it's our duty to fix things for you. Don't ask why this is.  Just accept it as how men are.

So, you need a girlfriend, so you have someone to talk to, because men don't want to talk, unless it's about going to Las Vegas or what's for dinner.  Keep your drama away from him. That's what you have friends for.

Even if he says he wants to hear your problems don't tell him, because a girl with problems is not attractive. We like healthy women. We are biologically attracted to healthy women. Physically and mentally. This is what turns us on. It's just our nature.

So never let him in on your problems, because every problem makes you uglier to him. Discuss your problems only with your friends and your doctors. He doesn't need to know them. He can't help you anyway with your problems, so why discuss them with him?

Oh yeah, if you have a flat tire he can help you with that, but that back-stabbing bitch in the office you work with? No, never mention her to him. Got it?

Now spend some hours looking in the mirror and learn how to smile. I did this with a few girls. I had to teach them how to smile. You girls don't know how to smile. I've seen some homely girls turn into angels just by looking in the mirror and learning how to smile.

You have to practice looking happy, loving and confident. You have to practice FEELING happy, loving and confident. THIS is what men want! This is the Secret! I've fallen for fat ugly trolls because when they looked at me they looked me right in the eyes and smiled with a happy, loving and confident smile.

It was like they were filled with goodness and could see my goodness. What a turn on! Again, watch Simon Birch. Ashley Judd walks around happy, smiling, confident and seems to see goodness in everyone.

It's all about attitude. Fall in love with yourself and everyone around you. Be thrilled to be who you are and be thrilled by the people around you. Never complain! Never! It's so unattractive. If you run into Charles Manson, don't hate him. Pity him and say something nice about him. That's sexy! That's irresistible. Don't be a bitch. Be an angel. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything. Men will kiss the ground you walk upon, and why?

Because most women are unhappy, angry, unsatisfied, judgmental nags who actually think they are helping you and themselves by trying to change you. All you're really doing is telling us we are inadequate. We feel inadequate enough without your help! LOL, but seriously, we do. God, what we wouldn't do to have someone so lovely tell us that we're wonderful as we are!

We are wonderful! People are wonderful, but who wants to hang out with someone who is blind to this truth? Certainly not me. Life is wonderful! People are wonderful! Never forget this and you will have men begging just to be in your presence. So simple! Just smile when you look at people! Nothing is more attractive! Smile like you are looking at something surprisingly precious and sweet. Is that so hard? You have no idea the power that you'll have. You'd never have to work another day in your life.

I couldn't find a woman like that, so I have a cat. She's thrilled when I come home. That's all I want: Someone who's happy to see me come home! That's what men want! To be appreciated! That's it! If we have that we are happy! We'll do anything to have that! Nothing else really matters. Just love me.

You don't even have to have sex with me. Just be glad I'm alive. What the hell? Why is that so difficult for women? Why are we instead seen as the cause of all your problems? We don't cause your problems. You cause your own problems.

If you're not happy with us, it's because you're killing us with all your complaining. If you'd shut up and smile, we'd smother you with gifts. It's what we do. We just want to provide for the woman who is happy we are alive. It's so simple. Your nagging accomplishes nothing productive. Your appreciation for even the smallest things will turn your man into a superhero who will kill himself to make you even happier.

If you can just remember that your man is good, no matter how bad he messes up, he will serve you. But as soon as you accuse him of being rotten, you have killed the drive within him to serve you.

We just can't be loyal to someone who doesn't see the goodness in us. How many times can you kick a dog before he bites you? Men are no different. We don't improve by being beaten. We only improve when we are rewarded.

Reward us with your faith in us and we will kill to protect you. Yes, men are dogs. We are very simple beasts. All we want is to please our kind masters.

So if you are kind to a man and he bites you. Leave! You found yourself a sick dog. You aren't a veterinarian. Get the hell out of there and find someone else. Never try to heal a man. It's not your job. It's his. Wish him luck and go find a healthy man.

So, just who is 1971SuperLead?  You can check out his youtube channel here, where you'll find this bearded, 60-something gent playing some great bluesy guitar solos.

Friday, May 1, 2015

36 questions make you fall in love (or deepen a friendship)

Have you heard of the 36 questions that make strangers fall in love?  If you haven't, keep reading, as I'll tell you all about it below.

Here's the story:  In 1995, Arthur Aron, a psychologist at State University of New York at Stony Brook, devised an experiment using three sets of questions, requiring pairs of participants who were strangers to reveal their answers to each other -- divulging increasingly personal information as they drilled farther down through the list.

The whole thing concluded with the partners staring into each others' eyes for four minutes after having revealed more personal information than one might share in a lifetime with a close friend -- or even a spouse.

The idea was to see whether the process of answering the questions could generate an artificial feeling of closeness between two strangers.  After the original experiment, one pair of participants ended up marrying, which is what led to the recent New York Times feature story that brought this odd little piece of research to viral status.

Because, as a divorce recovery coach, I ask questions for a living (listening carefully and providing insights my clients are not able to see for themselves), I know that most women have never answered questions like these -- and I immediately thought, "How much more love and compassion might women have toward themselves if they asked themselves some of these questions?  How much insight would this give them about who they are and what the major themes of their lives are?"

Rogue uses for the 36 questions:  Try them now : )
The New York Times article that started all the conversations about the magic 36 questions was titled "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This."  I thought, "Wow, I would love to use these questions to get my divorcées to fall in love with themselves!"

A bit later, I thought of a true genius use for these questions.  Very often, my clients find that they had become isolated in their marriages, and no longer have the kinds of close friendships that would make their transition to single life so much easier.  Hmmmm.  What about doing these questions with a friend in order to form a closer and deeper relationship?

Of course, you don't need to tell your friend/acquaintance that that's what you're doing.  You could just set aside 90 minutes (the amount of time that the 36 questions were allotted in the original research), and propose this to your friend as a fun thing to do.  

I think that most women would agree to this as a fun activity.  We're all starved for someone in our lives to be curious about us and to be interested <gasp> in what we have to say!

So, just what are the questions?  Take a look:





Please comment, if you decide to try it.  Does it bring you closer to someone you'd love to have as a friend?  If you decide to answer the questions for yourself (without another person present), does the process give you more love and compassion for yourself and your life journey so far?  Hint:  These are great questions for journaling.

I'm thinking of building a party around the 36 questions theme.  If there's an even number of guests, the host can just facilitate (and pour drinks).   If an odd number is present, the host participates.  What do you think?

I would love to hear your experiences!

Here's another interesting piece about the 36 questions from The Telegraph.

I can't resist including this spoof, "To Fall Out of Love, Do This," from The New Yorker.

And there's this, from Dame, even more wicked.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Here's what you said about feeling beautiful:

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." -- Sophia Loren

Back in January, I wrote this blog post about how women can undermine each other when it comes to supporting each other's beauty.

Lately, I keep going back to the concept of beauty and how important it is to so many of us.  I know this, because my clients talk about it all the time.  And, it's important to me, too.

It's a big part of my work to help each woman recognize and nurture the special, unique beauty that is inside herself.  Once she makes friends with her beauty, the outside world gets a chance to see it, too.

I thought it would be fun to ask women of a certain age (some of them friends, some of them fans of The Dynamic Divorcée on Facebook, and some of them clients) what makes them feel beautiful.  Here's some of what they said:
  • An unexpected compliment.
  • Putting a smile on someone else's face.
  • Feeling confident, strong for those around me when they need it, helping animals in need and basking in the joy that is my family.
  • Finding out that I helped someone, taught a class well, and women learned a lot of new things. (I love watching the light bulbs go on over their heads!)
  • A day at the spa.
  • Getting a sincere hug from a family member (chosen or blood).
  • Wearing something new & funky & colorful and receiving positive comments.
  • When I don't care what others think of me.
  • When I let my guard down and just be me.
  • I feel beautiful when I laugh.
  • When I am able to help a friend, I feel beautiful.
  • When I paint my nails a flashy color. 
  • Getting in a good workout to strengthen my body and reset my mind.
  • When I wear nice lingerie.
  • When I feel strong, on the inside or physically.
  • I feel beautiful when I wear heels.
  • When people compliment me cause I am 43yrs old and they think I am in my early 30s.
  • I feel beautiful when I dance salsa, bachata, and flamenco.
  • Pedicure with hot rocks.
  • Night on the town with my girlfriends.
  • Dressing up on the outside makes me feel better on even the worst days.
  • Being able to be myself and having time to explore my interests.
  • A sweet compliment from a friend.
  • Keeping my grey hairs colored.
  • When I wear something (especially crafty jewelry) that has a story to it that connects me to someone, even if that someone is the person who made it.
  • Feeling the sunshine on my face.
  • Pursuing my passions and living with heart, optimism, and compassion.  What's on the inside can't help but be reflected on the outside.

I can't help but draw your attention to the fact that not one person said that a man had to be involved in order for her to feel beautiful.  It really is an inside job!

Looking for a little beauty inspiration?  Try some of the top "I feel beautiful" suggestions on this list.  All the women who contributed to this list send you their love.  Mwah!

Friday, April 17, 2015

eat your way happy

 I've been enjoying some of the youtube videos from Fully Raw Kristina lately.  I don't necessarily endorse eating an extreme raw food diet (personally, if I try to get all my protein from vegetarian or vegan sources, I feel very weak).

But finding ways to include more and more vegetables and fruits in your daily diet will reduce your cravings for dead junk food, and you'll be amazed how quickly it will improve your mood.

Here's a great video from Fully Raw Kristina, with her top suggestions for stress relief and emotional health -- and her top 10 foods to get there.  Don't be scared by Kristina's ravenous expression and what looks like a decadent dessert on the screen shot.  It's a yummy smoothie!  One of the wonderful things about fruits and vegetables is their gorgeous colors and shapes, and how just looking at them can make you feel happy.  Check it out:



And, a few of my own tips:
  • Be brave, and try a 7-day challenge to avoid your personal top 3 junk foods that calm you only for the few seconds it takes to eat them, and then make you feel even more sluggish and lifeless.
  • Try replacing your major offenders with some of Kristina's picks from the video (lots more in the video above, but here are 5 of her top 10 foods for stress relief):
  1. Greens and salads.  (Yes, really.  Come on, have you actually tried this?)
  2. Bananas.  (Kristina says that they alleviate depression.  I say that even though bananas are a higher-calorie fruit, a banana has fewer calories than a soda or candy bar and is more filling.)
  3. Crunchy veggies.  (Kristina says these give you something to gnaw on in place of crunchy, overly salty snacks.  I say -- those salty snacks make you feel bloated and edgy!  Remember, they only feel good while you're scarfing them down, and then, you feel just yuck.)
  4. Watermelon or other hydrating juicy fruits.  (Kristina says that juicy fruits, and especially watermelon, help to restore your body when feeling exhausted.)
  5. Cucumber or zucchini slices spritzed with lemon juice.  (Cooling, hydrating, and relaxing.  Kristina links to a video to make a yummy-looking zucchini pasta.  I say:  Just the scent of cucumber is so relaxing.  Put a couple of slices -- without the lemon juice -- on your eyes, too, and say ahhhhhh.)
I have my own youtube channel with videos from some of my favorite luminaries and their techniques that I've used and are great for your divorce-recovery toolkit -- but beware, there's a lot of yoga and other concepts here that some of you may find pretty woo-woo.  Hey, it can't hurt to try!  Find my channel here.

UPDATE 5.7.15:  Yesterday Kristina posted this poem/motivational talk about getting through dark times by choosing to be happy.  It seems to be a response to haters, and I think it's especially appropriate for my divorcees.  Watch and feel uplifted (and remember, it's not about eating a raw diet, it's about making choices that support you):


Friday, April 10, 2015

mad or sad about your divorce? how frowning makes it worse (and an easy acupressure technique makes it better)

These two acupressure points will help you
feel calm and able to cope.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I've already written about how your facial expression can actually teach your emotions how to feel better.  Your body posture can do the same thing, too.

Research has proven that not only do your emotions affect your facial expressions, but the reverse is also true. Read about the power of smiling here.

Your posture, too, has a powerful affect on the level of confidence you feel and how that projects to others in your world.  Research shows it takes only two minutes to change from passive to powerful.  Find out how you can do this here.

Just as research has shown that smiling causes you to see the world in a more optimistic and positive light, a down-turned mouth causes your emotions to be more negative -- as does frowning.

Here's a very simple practice that targets something that happens to so many of us when daily life is not something we look forward to:  habitual frowning (those lines between the eyebrows), which causes a facial expression of tension and anger.

If you've taken my Invisible to Irresistible 2-hour experience, you know that we talk about how your facial expression is key to how others perceive you, and whether you attract or repel people who cross your path.

Let's release those scary facial expressions and allow beauty, love, and happiness into our lives.

Try this simple technique:
Press firmly, but gently, with one finger on the two points dotted in red in the photo above.  Hold  until you feel a pulse under your fingers, or a slight relaxing of the facial muscles.  If you're like me, you'll feel more relaxed and at peace almost instantly.

For added results, you can use only your index or ring finger to apply the pressure.

Why choose one of those two fingers?
Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, and many other ancient systems of healing believe that each finger is ruled by a different planet.  And each planet imparts a different energy.

Your index finger is ruled by the planet Jupiter, which is the guru planet, the planet of success, expansive energy, and optimism.

Your ring finger is ruled by the Sun, imparting warmth, happiness, and illumination.

Experiment with applying pressure using the index finger.  Then, try the ring finger.  See which one has the most profound affect on you.  Maybe you like both, but each one feels different.  You can choose which finger to use based on the kind of relief or good feeling that you need most on a given day.

You can activate both facial points at the same time by using the index or ring finger of one hand for the third eye point, and the same finger of the other hand for the chin point.

This is wonderful to do while you're still lying in bed first thing in the morning, if you're feeling depressed and sluggish.  You can also use this technique at work, by placing your elbows on your desk and relaxing your neck forward, with your fingers touching the acupressure points.

And, as a bonus, when you look in the mirror afterwards, you'll look so much more relaxed, and even younger and fresher.

For more about relaxing your face (and transforming your mood) through acupressure, see yogapuncture.org  and thebeautybean.com.

Stay on this page, try it now, and comment about how it works for you!

Friday, April 3, 2015

in praise of Betty Grable (or, how to be unflappable, no matter what those goofy men may do)

Betty Grable dispenses with rival Mitzi Gaynor.
Some of you may know that I keep a "Taking Your Mind Off Your Divorce" board on Pinterest, where I post free-to-view movies (mostly old ones from the 1930s-50s) that I think might be of interest to divorcing women (or at least fun to watch).

Lately, I've been on a Betty Grable jag.  You know how it goes:  You watch one movie, and then do a little online research on it, discover another old movie star you're not familiar with, pull up some movies with her in it . . . .

Betty Grable surprised me.  I'd only heard of her as the World War II pin-up girl, and had no idea what sort of movies she had appeared in.  I was surprised.

Sure, they're mostly frothy movie musicals, but, in the ones I've seen, she's almost always spunky, self-confident, unflappable, and just won't be thrown off her center by a man -- no matter whether it's a chauvinistic boss or an about-to-cheat spouse.

She never takes the bait.  (And that's one quality that, in my experience, always gets the respect of men.  All men.  The ones who deserve our respect.  And even the ones who don't.)

Here's my favorite scene from My Blue Heaven, in which Grable walks in while teenaged vixen Mitzi Gaynor is in the process of seducing Grable's husband (played by frequent co-star Dan Dailey).  Grable is cool as a cucumber.  In case this movie starts to play from the beginning, cue up to 1:13:30 to see the scene (it's worth it):



Scenes like this, in which Grable sweetly and confidently deals with the men in her pictures -- without making the mistake of taking her men too seriously and getting sucked into jealousy, pleading, crying, and trying to reason with them -- are just wonderful. Definitely something I'll be trying myself next time the need arises. Now I understand what Gramma meant when she said, "Don't lower yourself to their level."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Herbs and plants for post-divorce emotional healing

There are a lot of places we can go to for emotional support -- and not all of them involve humans, or even beloved animals. 

One of the reasons so many of my clients feel absolutely desperate about finding a MAN is that they are terrified of accessing their own power.  In fact, they're not even sure that they have any power.  So, there's an unspoken belief that they have to get all of their love and support from someone else. 

Most of us think that we do have an idea of what self-love is, and many times women confuse self-love with self-respect.  How is self-love different?  It has a warm and nourishing quality of being happy to give yourself what you need, and to back away from situations that drain you without refilling you in any significant way. 

Because of being overly invested and involved in the lives of loved ones, it can be difficult to turn that same focus and caring toward ourselves.  Most women tell me it feels selfish to do so.  And, of course, they feel that selfishness is bad.  (Another topic for another blog post!)

By contrast, self-respect can be a cold comfort, and more of a self-protective defense mechanism than a quality that nurtures us. 

So many midlife divorcees don't believe that they really have any power or magnetism inside themselves.  They feel that the only way to feel desirable and deserving is to receive attention from someone else instead of from themselves.  When women look for this kind of attention from the wrong kind of man, they open themselves up to being hurt all over again -- before they've even begun to fully heal from divorce.

But, it's not wrong to reach out to get your needs met, and a baby step toward doing that in a safe way can be to make friends with healing plants.

Before you laugh and shake your head, I invite you to give this a try. It's wonderful.

Finding out which plants have a special relationship to you 
Plants have healing life force energy, and it's fun (and comforting) to experience various herbs to see which ones call you closer, and seem to want to have a relationship with you.  Just as you may have a favorite flower that makes you feel happy every time you encounter it, certain aromatic herbs can also have a profoundly healing effect on you.

Now is a wonderful time to visit a garden center and make friends with all of the varieties of herbs you can get to know.  Smell, gently touch, and see which ones draw you in.  Take a few home and, if this doesn't sound too far out to you, meditate with them and ask them to be your allies in the healing of your heart and spirit.  You can also look into their history and find out what healing and metaphysical uses these plants may have had for hundreds (or thousands) of years.

I bet you may already have a few favorite plants that you have loved since childhood.  For me, special plants that have called out to me over and over again in my life include lavender, rosemary, basil, lilacs, violets, lily of the valley, and sunflowers. 

Beloved plants give so much:  You can enjoy the beauty of having them grow in or outside your home, you can enjoy many of them in cooking and they assist your mood and strengthen your spirit at the same time.  Using them in essential oil form can keep them with you, supporting you, throughout the day and night.  You can turn to them when you need more energy, when you want to lift your mood, and even when you need a transformation from deep sorrow to the joy of simply being alive.

Not sure which plants are your special ones?  You'll find out when you take that drive to your nearest garden center and see which herbs draw you in. The ones that appeal to you most have something special to share with you -- they have just what you need most.

Here's something fun to do: 
  • Go to a garden center that will have many varieties of herbs on offer.
  • Look, sniff, and gently touch.  
  • After touching, sniff your hands.  
  • Which herbs give you a special feeling of attraction (by the way they look, their scent, or just something you can't quite explain)? 
  • Choose one or two that you like especially well and take them home with you. 
  • Search online for the medicinal uses of these plants. You'll probably be astounded to find that they are offering to you exactly what you need right now. 
  • Meditate with the plant, and ask its advice on areas of concern right now.  Sit quietly and see what comes into your mind.  Do you receive an inspiration that helps you? 

Let the plant queendom support you while you're sorting out the wayward humans in your life.  Enjoy their calming and supporting influence.

Let me know if you try this!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Making more time for you -- try the tomato!

This week, a friend introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique and a free timer app that has instantly changed my life.

This is a get-it-done-without-burnout life hack developed in the 1990s, and it uses any timer that you happen to have (kitchen timer, phone . . .), but I love the free Clockwork Tomato app that does all the math for you.  (There are many apps like this, but I love this one because it's pretty.)

The concept is so simple.  Each day, you write down the top 3 or 5 tasks you want most to accomplish.  Then you use the timer to keep you on track to do rounds of working 25 minutes on a task (without allowing any interruptions) followed by a 5-minute break.  After four 25-minute work/5-minute break segments, you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

No multitasking of any kind is allowed while you're running the timer.  That means no answering the phone, checking email, looking at Facebook, or getting up from your task during the 25-minute segments (unless making phone calls *is* the task of your 25-minute segment).  Get up, get coffee, run to the bathroom, or whatever, during the 5-minute or 15-minute break.

It is amazing how productive you become without letting distractions get in the way.  And, guess what?  When you get work done faster, there's more time for fun -- which is the whole reason I wrote this post for you, my overworked divorcées!

But, wait!  You can use this for everything!
If you install the app on your phone rather than on your laptop, you can use the timer to be more productive with evening and weekend chores -- and get these exhausting tasks out of your way quickly.  Once again, amazing.  I can't wait for you to try this and see how quickly tasks are accomplished and how much time is freed up for self-care and fun.

When you're running your timer at home, you can be sure to fit in some exercise every day by making one 25-minute segment a physical activity.  Or how about a 25-minute relaxation period that you don't usually allow yourself?  When I'm swamped with more weekend work than I'd like, I schedule 25 minutes of chores followed by 25 minutes of fun in rotation until I'm finished with the annoying chores.   The bonus is that the chores are completed and out of the way (rather than hanging over my head and dreaded), and there's more free-and-clear evening and weekend time to enjoy.

I hear you saying:  What do you mean, without interruption?
Here's a suggestion on how to pleasantly handle interrupting colleagues, friends, or teenagers:
Let them know when you'll attend to them.  Deal with all of the interruptions in your next 5-minute rest period or 25-minute work segment and let them know how many minutes it will be until they have your undivided attention.

Undivided attention is much better than trying to handle their questions or concerns while simultaneously working on something else.

Other tips:
  • Turn your phone to silent or airplane mode.
  • If you have a door to the room in which you're working, close it.
  • Put a sign up, letting everyone know when you'll be free.
  • Don't have email, Facebook, or other enticing time-wasters open during Pomodoro time. 
  • Checking email just twice a day is a great practice to start now, if you'd like to start protecting more of your time for you.  You can get through email much more quickly when it piles up and you have to be more selective about what you choose to view.

Please let me know if you try this!  This system is already a miracle-worker for me, and I can't wait to start sharing it with my Dynamic Divorcée clients : )

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still feeling awful months (years) after the divorce? 10 reasons why it might be time to turn to a coach.

Feel the self-love and happiness every day.
It's easier than you think.
After the initial flush of relief when your divorce became final, did the frightening reality set in?  Are you still feeling shaken and off-balance many months (or years) later?

Maybe you've accepted this as the new normal for you:  Lonely, overwhelmed with responsibility, exhausted from giving more and more while receiving less and less in relationships.

Maybe you don't really believe that anyone has an answer for you.

But, wouldn't be worth it to check out the one thing you haven't tried yet?  Maybe you don't realize that someone out there has the key to living your dreams.  All you need is to know the steps to take and start on the path, step by step.

Here are a few reasons you might want to stop waiting and find out what it's like to work with a divorce recovery coach:
  1. The right coach has a proven step-by-step system to take you where you want to go in your life and in your relationships.  Over the years, I've moved from my original 4-step system to my current 7 Steps to Divorce Recovery, which is a complete path that will change your life in just four months.

  2. This means that coaching (or, at least my style of coaching) is results oriented (unlike open-ended talk therapy or mere commiseration with other divorced people in a group situation).  You can look forward to your life changing for the better -- and quickly -- if you do your part.

  3. The focus is entirely on you and your individual needs -- and your coach has the answers you need because she has stood in your shoes, has experienced divorce firsthand, and has overcome many many obstacles on her own.  If your coach is like me, she has developed a specific system that gets dramatic results for her clients in a short period of time.  You're not getting your advice from a therapist who hasn't been where you are, or a friend who's happily married, or a coworker who's still trying to heal from her own divorce (and making a lot of costly mistakes along the way). 

  4. You'll get the most efficient and practical steps to heal and reach a level of personal happiness and attractiveness that may be completely new to you.  It's so exciting that there are coaches who are uniquely qualified to help you get there quickly, and with just the support you need right now. 

  5. In a conversation with a coach -- I call it a virtual coffee date -- you can get to know your partner in recovery at no cost, to see if she is someone who can take you from where you are to where you want to be -- you'll feel it, if you know that working with her is something you want . . . and you'll also feel it if she's not the right fit for you.

  6. This initial conversation is very valuable in itself:  You'll learn more about yourself during the call -- you'll see clearly the changes you want to make and the future life you want to live, as you may never have verbalized it before.  You'll get so much focus from the call, that you'll wonder why you hesitated.

  7. During an initial conversation with a coach, the two of you will come to a meeting of the minds (and hearts) on what's possible for you, and how to get there.

  8. Your potential coach will give you several options for working together, so you'll be able to find an option that gives you the amount of support you need, and that you feel is just right for you.

  9. There's no pressure.  Many women are afraid to have this initial conversation because they think there will be some pushy sales aspect to it.  That's never the case (at least not with me).  But aren't you curious to learn what it's like to work with a divorce recovery coach whose entire focus is that you heal as quickly as possible and have a better life than ever before?  After you hear about your options, the decision is then yours, and, if it's a no, it's a no : ) .  No one should pressure you in any way -- I consider these virtual coffee dates is a way I can be of service to as many divorcees as possible.

  10. You can expect some insightful "extras" on the initial call:  Your coach may have some suggestions for you to help you get through a difficulty you're having right now (even before you become a client), and the coaching packages she'll offer you may include some very juicy free bonuses.  (My 5-hour Prepare to Be Loved program comes as a free bonus with one of the packages I offer, and every one of my packages has at least one special bonus attached to it.)
If you've tried everything else, or you just don't believe that there's anything out there that can make a difference for you, I invite you to find a divorce recovery coach whose blog and facebook page you like.  Contact her, and let her reach out to you.

If you'd like to schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me, here's how: 
Just click here to answer a very few questions (which will really get you clear on what you want to change and what has been standing in your way).  If I feel I'm the best person to assist, I'll email you with how to schedule our virtual coffee date at a time that's convenient for you.