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.