How to tell your friend what you need...the art of teaching people how to help you

Telling someone who loves you and who is trying to help you but isn't really helping what you actually need...well, it's downright hard. 

Having the confidence to say what you need to your friends or family is perhaps one of the most challenging things that we do. 

Because we don’t want to drive them away. We know they have our best interests at heart but...

When you feel funky or overwhelmed and you think you're going to burst into tears, this is when we all need someone who cares to step in...but in the right way.

When you spiral into negative thought patterns

It’s the times when you can’t help yourself.   The negative thoughts take over and bring you down, down to the deep dark hole. 

You say negative things like: 

What's wrong with me?

I hate my life

Why is this happening to me?

I should have...

I can't...

Everybody else does this, why can't I?

STOP

Now we're in the hole and we don't know how to get out...

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What really holds women back

We all start out curious, unedited. 

We don’t worry about what our bodies look like.  

We know how to eat when we’re hungry and we don't care what anyone thinks of how we dance.

We know how to play without holding back. 

We trust ourselves. 

And then, things change

Well-meaning parents correct their children, wanting them to be their best but what children hear is something else. The child begins to question herself. 

When I was young, I started picking up on messages that I needed to act a certain way because it was really important what others thought of me. 

My young brain heard..."other’s opinions matter more than what I think of myself." 

This version of me at 17 believed that if she was friendly and popular that everyone would like her. 

It was easy for her because that was her nature...friendly and open. 

She knew without being told that it wasn't nice to say things that might upset someone or make them...

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Why it's so hard for us to let go...a story of letting go of fear

Letting go is hard

It doesn't matter whether we're letting go of physical clutter or emotional clutter in our lives. 

It's straight-up hard. 

In exploring around all the edges of what it means to let go of clutter or anything in our lives that we need to let go of...I'm finding one thing to be true. 

It's about fear. 

Letting go involves letting go of your fear. 

A tale of fear

I remember a time way back in 2008 when I began a year-long leadership program.

In our group, we all were all challenged to get clear on our personal strengths so that we could be impactful leaders.  

We began this process by engaging in a high ropes course. 

The high ropes, if you've never participated in one of these intense experiences, helps you discover your personal courage as well as your strengths. 

On the first day of the course, we had to climb up a 25-foot redwood tree. (I'm actually not sure how high it was but let's just say...

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Decluttering and Letting go...even when you don’t want to

choice clutter letting go Sep 10, 2021

 “If you let go a little, you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace."

                                                                               Ajahn Chah 

When I heard this quote the very first time, it stopped me dead in my tracks. 

I knew it was true.

But I didn’t have much experience with letting go.  

I come from a family who loved to keep things. Everything, actually. 

There wasn’t a whole lot that got thrown away. Letters, old bank statements and checks for years and years, clothes that no longer fit, even empty boxes...because, well, the idea was that we might need these things SOMEDAY.

And yes, my parents were of the...

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What to do when you feel like quitting

I learned the secret to not quitting from a very wise Marine Corps officer several years ago when I worked on a US Marine Corps base in Okinawa, Japan. 

I was working out with Marines as I did every day on the base and I was on the 4th round of doing pushups on 2 gymnastic rings in the middle of a very high-intensity fitness workout. (That’s hanging onto 2 rings that are suspended & you’re supposed to do pushups while you’re hoisting yourself on them & maintaining balance at the same time)…you know, crazy stuff like that. 

It was hard, to put it mildly.  I’d already been rowing, then before that pushups, then squats.  I was exhausted. 

My head said, "what are you doing out here?  You’re too old to be working out this hard, just quit. You don’t have to do this.  This is insane. We’re all crazy. Quit."

I looked to my left and decided to ask Mike who was working out next to me why he...

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Are you languishing? You're not the only one

Today I had this imaginary conversation with a friend or (maybe it was myself.) It went like this: 

Hey Amelia,

Did you know that that blah mood you're in is normal?

And that you're not the only one?

Did you know that you've been feeling tired because your brain is tired?

Yes ma’am it is.

It's worn out from trying to cope with covid, with fires out of control, smoke, political upheaval, along with all the day-to-day stressors you have and it's been going on now for over a year.  

You didn't notice anything at first because you were too busy adjusting, putting on your mask, avoiding crowds, staying inside.

You didn't realize that your brain was on overdrive trying to keep you and your family alive.

The mental and emotional impacts of COVID

Yep. It was over a year without going anywhere except maybe to the grocery store. And you woke up most days thinking...it's another day of the same. The same. The boring old same freakin' thing.

You didn't know how long...

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Learning how to overcome the impossible...Climbing Mt. Fuji

In 2014, my husband and I climbed Mt. Fuji, the highest volcano in Japan at 12,388 thousand feet. Little did I know that this experience would help me be able to deal with the current troubling times.

This was an epic trip for me. In the telling of this story about our adventure, it’s important to give you some background on what it’s like to climb Fuji-San (Mr. Fuji).

The Mt Fuji Challenge

Mt Fuji is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1708. It was a Buddhist monk in 700 A.D. who first climbed Mt. Fuji. A temple was built at the summit 400 years later. It became a pilgrimage site for Japanese.

In 1860, the first foreigner climbed Mt. Fuji. In 1868, Lady Parkes, an Englishwoman, defied a ban on women climbers and ascended the peak. The ban was lifted afterward. What a badass woman she was!

It was my husband’s idea. Thom had dreamed about this climb even before we moved to Okinawa in 2013. He’d always said, “I’m gonna climb Mt. Fuji."

I really...

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What are you waiting for?

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

Barack Obama

Today is about not putting your life on hold and waiting to do the things you love.

If we don't live the life we want now or we're waiting to be happy, then we die full of regrets.  I am a woman living in my 70s so I ask myself every day, what am I waiting for?

When is the best time to do what you want?

Is it when the bills are paid off, you have enough money, the kids leave home when you have more time?...you fill in the blanks.

We wait for the "right" time. For the best job, for the next raise, the perfect house, the best time to do what we want. 

My 13-year-old grand-nephew was diagnosed 4 months ago with a brain tumor. It was malignant. The day before he was diagnosed he was a normal kid playing baseball.

Life can turn you completely upside down. And inside out.

One minute you could be sitting on your...

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How to stop blaming yourself

We're living in funky, unpredictable times.

It’s wearing down even the most grounded and balanced people.

But for some of us, we blame ourselves for things that happen.  We may not even be aware that we’re in this self-destructive behavior. 

You don't have to blame yourself.

In fact, it won’t help you in any way.   

For sure, it’s easy to get stuck listening to the blaming and shaming voices inside of you that tell you that you did something wrong…spiraling you down into negativity, into funky land.

Those are the times when nothing seems right. You feel off but you don't even know what's wrong.

It might be that you woke up feeling happy and everything was going great and then, BAM.

Some small thing happens.

Your phone goes off in the middle of a yoga class, with a voice message from your friend saying your name, "hi, Jo," and the whole class hears the voice recording and glares at you. 

(true story that just happened to...

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When your sisters are your best friends and your best friends are your sisters

“The greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other”  

It’s National Sister Day this week and if you have a sister or someone like a sister, it’s a great time to think about your relationship with her and what it means. 

I can’t imagine going through life without my two amazing sisters.

But it wasn’t always that way.

A tale of three sisters

I remember when my younger sister arrived on the scene.

I didn’t much like her at first. I was 2 ½ and immediately threatened by the fact that I wasn’t the little darling of the family anymore.

Maie, my sister, bit me once.

She was 2. There was a conflict over something like wanting the same toy and Maie used the only tactic she had…biting.

My mother told me to bite her back. (Parents had little training back then in how to parent…it was called I'm the boss and you do whatever I say).

I remember thinking, “but I don’t want to hurt her”...

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.