About Dan Teck

Dan Teck is the author of the blog, Halfway up the Mountain, and the ecourse, The Magic Formula. He is happily married to his best friend and soul mate, Jodi Chapman, author of the inspirational blog, Soul Speak (jodichapman.com) and the upcoming book, Coming Back to Life. They live in Southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids.

365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul

365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul


Back in April, my wife, Jodi Chapman, and I got the idea to create a collaborative book. Now, after over seven months of planning, preparation, writing, editing, connecting, and behind-the-scenes work, this brand-new book has been “born” into the world! So, it is with great pride and joy that I introduce…


This special book is filled with over 400 pages of soulful practices, offering one tip for each day of the year from over 200 contributors — including me, Jodi, bestselling authors Arielle Ford, Peggy McColl, Christy Whitman, and many others — from all around the world and all walks of life. These writers all came together to share how they connect with their soul with the hopes that it will help you connect with yours as well…in ways that are easy and fun!

The pieces in the book cover a wide array of topics, divided into 10 chapters:

  • Soulful Practices
  • Gratitude, Love, & Prayer
  • Nature & Animals
  • Playing & Having Fun
  • Wellness & Self-Care
  • Creativity & Writing
  • Meditation
  • Angels, Spirit Guides, & the Ethereal
  • Thoughts, Feelings, & Our Vibrations
  • Following Our Purpose & Passion

As a proud “book-parent” I love so many things about this wonderful book. I also have to acknowledge that this is not something that Jodi and I could have created on our own — it truly did take a “village,” which is one of the aspects I love the most. Because it includes hundreds of tips from hundreds of authors, it goes far beyond what any single perspective could offer — so, hopefully, everyone will find something that speaks to them. Our vision is to share all of the authors’ wonderful tips, tools, and techniques; and, most importantly, help you connect with your soul!

Here are the links where you can learn more about the book and pick up your copy:

  • Amazon – When you pick up the book through Amazon, you’ll not only get this amazing book (all bias aside) :) but you’ll also gain access to over 100 bonus gifts — including meditations, ebooks, courses, and more — all contributed by the authors!
  • 365WaystoConnectWithYourSoul.com – Where you can meet the contributors, preview the bonus gifts (and claim them, after you buy the book), read a couple pieces from the collection (including my own, “The Gratitude Game”), and learn more about the book.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped to make this dream a reality — and to everyone around the world who values connecting with their own soul. (Yes, this includes YOU!) :)

Click here to learn more about this book, the authors, the bonus gifts, and how you can pick up your own copy of this special, soulful book.


P.S. It also makes a great holiday gift for friends, family…or yourself! 😉

P.P.S. Check out some of the other great authors who have shared about it on their blogs:

P.P.P.S. Please feel free to help us spread the word about the book (by posting on social-media or in any way you’d like). To make it super easy to share, here’s a sample tweet (which you can copy/paste as is or use as a model for your own personalized version):

How do YOU connect with your soul? This new book has 365 ways! Order now & get over 100 soulful gifts! http://goo.gl/fC0FuT #365soulbook

Inviting the Vampire (or not)

draculaEach year around Halloween, our thoughts (and decorations and kids’ costumes) often involve ghouls, goblins, and monsters. And the monsters that seem to be enjoying the greatest vogue in recent years (due in large part to the Twilight series) are vampires.

Although I’ve managed to avoid the most recent wave of vampire-mania, there is one bit of lore I’ve somehow picked up in this area: Vampires are only allowed to enter your home if you invite them in.

Now, before I go any further, I should clarify: No, I do not believe in actual vampires. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I have not been “bitten” by the recent wave of obsession with pop-culture vampires (no matter how hunky or goth-chic they may be). I do, however, believe that many people and situations can (metaphorically/energetically) “suck the blood” right out of you — they can drain your life-force, deplete your energy, and leave you feeling physically and emotionally enervated.

If you’ve ever felt preyed upon by “emotional vampires” (such as bullies; narcissists; or anyone who sucks you into their long, boring monologues) you’re not alone. You’re also not without help: numerous articles, courses, and entire books have been written about how to deal with the draining people/elements in your life. While it’s good to know that help is available, I’m more interested in the preventive approach of not inviting these “vampires” into your life in the first place.

So, how do we (metaphorically) “invite a vampire into our home”? I can answer this question with a single word: ATTENTION.

When you give something (including a person or even a thought) your attention, you invite it into your experience. And when you continue to focus on it, you “feed” it — you give it your “blood,” your energy, your life-force.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t give your time and energy to others. Much of the time, the energy you give (or “invest”) is returned to you — perhaps many times over! That’s how you know that you’re not dealing with an emotional vampire. Rather than feeling drained, you feel energized, uplifted, full of life, seen, heard, loved. When the opposite is true, however, you may have entered the Twilight zone (not to be confused with The Twilight Zone, although it may feel like that as well).

The good news is that BOTH of these experiences — feeling uplifted or drained — are helpful. They’re both useful forms of feedback from the universe (and from your own emotions/energy), letting you know whether or not something is aligned with your highest good. If it is (as evidenced by your good/energized feelings), keep doing what you’re doing! But if it drains you, it might be time for a healthy change.

Here’s where my advice may differ from classic vampire lore (and many self-help teachings). My approach isn’t to try to “combat” or “slay” the vampire (not even with metaphorical stakes). The way I see it, if you invite a “vampire” into your life through attention, the way to remove it is to simply WITHDRAW that attention.

But even that wording may be too negative — and perhaps too difficult. (By trying to not focus on something, you’re still focusing on it in a way, right? Like the classic example: “DON’T think about a white elephant!”…and what’s the next thing you think of?)

Instead, I’ll offer the closest thing I know to a panacea — for dealing with vampires, negative thoughts, or anything else that doesn’t uplift you: Focus on what you DO want. Give your attention to what makes you feel good. Think, say, and do things that FILL you with life, love, and energy.

When you fill your thoughts, emotions, and life with positivity, there is simply no space for emotional vampires or anything else that depletes you. They cannot exist in that high-vibration environment!

So the next time you notice a vampire at your doorstep, don’t panic or feel the need to perform esoteric rituals to ward off evil spirits. Simply choose not to invite them in — by returning your attention to anything uplifting, life-affirming, or soul-nourishing. Before long, the vampires will move along…and you’ll be too focused on joy to even notice!

(Of course, if those vampires happen to be under four feet tall and shouting “trick or treat,” they can probably be placated by a candy bar or two!)

What Are You Becoming?

entelechy-acornEntelechy is a Greek word that means “the fullest realized essence of a thing.”

I love this word. Even more, I love this concept. And I especially love this concept when it’s applied to people.

I love the idea that within each of us lies the potential to become fully realized, fully ourselves.

The analogy that’s frequently used to illustrate this idea is the acorn. And yes, this is a great symbol of how much power and potential can be locked inside even a very small seed (or person or project). It’s a great reminder that even if we feel like we’re at the very early stages of development (of a business, a creative endeavor, or ourselves), we have the capacity to create and become something grand, magnificent, and fully realized.

This doesn’t mean that an acorn is not magnificent in and of itself. It is magnificent as an acorn. It is magnificent when it grows into a small shrub. And it is magnificent when it becomes a fully grown oak tree — its entelechy — just as we are magnificent at every stage of development.

If you’re ever feeling frustrated about where you are, it’s encouraging to remember the acorn — to let it remind you that you’re constantly becoming, moving toward your own entelechy…even if no one else can see it yet — even if you can’t even see it yourself!

On top of this, human beings have several advantages over acorns:

  • The acorn doesn’t get to decide what it wants to be when it grows up, but WE do.
  • We can change our mind at any point and head in a new direction.
  • We can also reach full maturity (as an adult and/or in a chosen field) and then decide that we’d like to switch, to become something else.
  • Or we can be two or more (perhaps MANY more) things at once!

In short, we get all the reassuring benefit of knowing that we’re always in the process of becoming — of realizing our entelechy — and we also get the benefit of free will and self-determination.

Plus, we’re surrounded by wonderful role models — in nature, in business, and in all areas of human life — serving as living testaments to the possibilities of life and the beautiful aspects inherent in all stages of development.

What is your entelechy? What are you becoming? Even if you don’t know the details, doesn’t it feel reassuring — and exciting — to know that you are still in the midst of a grand process of ever-increasing fulfillment, growth, and self-realization?

3 Inspiring Quotes by Wayne Dyer


On August 30, the world learned of a profound loss: the passing of Wayne Dyer.

As one of the biggest, most influential, and most loved figures in the world of personal growth and spirituality, Dyer touched millions of people with his teachings. Over the past four decades, he wrote dozens of books and released numerous video and audio recordings. To summarize his life and teachings would fill many volumes (in fact, it has!). So, as a more succinct tribute to this great teacher, I’ve decided to pick three of his short quotes that inspire me.


Before I’d ever watched The Secret, heard the phrase “Law of Attraction,” or studied Abraham-Hicks, I heard Dyer say these words, which seem to encapsulate these teachings — powerfully, eloquently, and concisely.

Yes, sometimes what you want is what you are: You want joy, and you are joyful. You want a healthy relationship, and you are in one. You want to be prosperous, and you are! When your desires match your state of being, life is good!

Many times, however, the two don’t match up: People race around in a frantic attempt to find calm. Or they live with a scarcity mindset while bemoaning the fact that they don’t attract abundance. Or they look for true love while exuding desperation…and wonder why Mr./Ms. Right doesn’t waltz into their lives. The reason why their desires don’t manifest is (as Dyer’s words remind us): because that’s simply not how it works!

The universe responds to your vibration (based on your thoughts, emotions, and state of being), delivering your energetic match. When you feel joyful, you attract more joy. When you are loving, you attract more love. (And so forth.)

In other words: you get what you are.


Taken from the title of Dyer’s 1989 book, this is one of my wife’s all-time favorite quotes.

So often in life, we take the skeptical approach of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We demand evidence! And sometimes this attitude is justified (such as when we’re faced with a possibility that would defy all precedent).

The problem with this approach, however, is that beliefs tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. So the very skepticism that demands evidence might be shutting the door on the evidence it supposedly seeks! But when you expect positive evidence to appear, even before you see it, visible manifestation tends to show up to justify your belief.

(Or, as Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”)


A few days before his passing, Dyer posted these words on Facebook: “I have a suit in my closet with the pockets cut out. It’s a reminder to me that I won’t be taking anything with me. The last suit I wear won’t need any pockets.”

Perhaps on some level he knew of his imminent passing, or perhaps this was simply a reminder to all of us that life is not, ultimately, about accumulation but about our essence: divine love. (To quote his memorial Facebook banner: “We are not our bodies, our possessions, or our careers. Who we are is divine love, and that is infinite.”)

Although it’s particularly poignant in this context, this reminder applies to people at any stage in life. None of us will be taking anything with us, so we might as well give while we can, live while we can, and remember what’s truly important — and who we truly are.

In announcing Dyer’s passing, his family wrote: “He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying.” I hope that he is enjoying his latest “adventure” and feels the gratitude felt by so many of us for the love and wisdom that are his lasting legacy.

What are your favorite quotes from Wayne Dyer? How has he touched your life? I’d love to hear any quotes, stories, thoughts, or comments that you’d like to share about this great teacher and his impact on you.


It Hurts When I Do This

injured-teddy-bearImagine that you know someone who has injured their arm. You ask them if it hurts, and they say, “Only when I do THIS…” and proceed to lift their arm as high as they can (wincing in pain as they do so).

What would you say to them? Most likely, “Well then DON’T DO THAT!”

It seems like an obvious solution to a rather silly scenario, but this actually happens fairly often. (In fact, I think I’ve even done it myself — stretching a hurt arm or leg to see how far I could push it until the pain returned.)

In a way, this makes sense: you might want to test an old injury to see if you can go beyond your previous limitations — to push past your old comfort zone. The part that doesn’t make sense, however, is repeating the action when you ALREADY KNOW that it makes you hurt — demonstrating it for others or just repeating it for yourself, reinforcing your knowledge…and your pain!

This doesn’t just hold true for physical injuries. How often do we keep doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts, and putting ourselves into the same situations that have repeatedly caused us pain (in any respect)?

Sometimes we might (nonsensically) expect or wish for different results, but more often than not — just like the person demonstrating their injury by lifting their arm — we know exactly what’s going to happen: it’s going to hurt!

When we catch ourselves in this type of situation, we have a few options:

  • We could complain about the pain — grumbling about it to ourselves or anyone who’ll listen.
  • We could make jokes about it (but still focus on it, talk about it, reinforce it, and re-experience it on a regular basis).
  • We could try to ignore it, tough it out, and stoically push through the pain.
  • Or we could take the same advice we might give to the person repeatedly lifting their injured arm: Don’t do that!

While every situation is different, I generally support this last option: Stop doing what hurts you — physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually!

  • Stop lifting your arm in a way that hurts!
  • Stop thinking that thought that depresses you!
  • Stop hanging out with those people who don’t respect you!
  • Stop telling that self-fulfilling story of why you’ll never succeed!
  • Stop thinking, saying, and doing the things that hold you back, keep you down, dampen your spirit, crush your soul, or hurt you in any other way!

While this might sound like a negative approach to healing, it’s actually based on the incredibly positive premise that, at our core, people are naturally healthy and joyful. It’s also based on the fundamental truth that the human body and spirit are incredibly resilient!

In many areas of life, the healing process is natural and spontaneous — and generally requires little or no effort on our part! This means that, more often than not, we can heal simply by NOT repeatedly thinking, saying, and doing the things that hurt us. When we stop picking a scab (literally or figuratively), it will heal on its own. When we stop focusing on the things that make us feel bad, we start to feel better!

No, the results aren’t generally instantaneous. A scab won’t disappear right before your eyes, in a matter of seconds. A broken arm won’t be as good as new after a few minutes of not lifting it. And a cloud of chronic depression, anger, or low self-esteem isn’t likely to lift all at once. But the healing process can begin right away — starting from the moment you stop demonstrating and reinforcing your pain.

And how do you know that the process is working? You start to feel better!

Have you ever kept thinking, saying, or doing things that consistently hurt you? Have you stopped? If so, have you started to feel better? Or, if you’re still doing something that hurts, would you be willing to stop? After all, you’ve got nothing to lose…except the pain!

Dream Small

dream-smallDream Big!

You’ve probably seen or heard this advice many times — from friends, colleagues, social-media posts, and personal-growth blogs: Dream big! Dream bigger!

And yes, oftentimes, this is great advice! After all, you want a dream that’s big enough to inspire you, to get your blood pumping, or at least to get you out of bed in the morning! And if you have a minuscule dream — for instance, to chew a piece of gum — that’s probably not exactly going to fill you with buoyant enthusiasm and zest for life. So, in this case, I would agree with the multitudes urging you to dream bigger!

But what if you’re on the other end of the dream-size spectrum? For instance, what if your dream is to earn $10 billion today?! Or to personally shake the hand of every living person this month? Or to walk on Pluto barefoot?!

In these cases, maybe dreaming bigger isn’t the best advice. For these dreamers, a better piece of advice might be: Dream smaller!

Yes, these are intentionally silly examples — ridiculously big and far-fetched. But many people have dreams that seem almost as far-fetched — not because they can’t be reached, but because on some level (perhaps not even consciously) the dreamer doesn’t truly believe that they can reach them.

And that really is the key to reaching and living your dreams: BELIEF!

Belief varies greatly from one person to another. The same dream might seem too big for one person to believe, but too small to inspire another.

For instance, one person might not believe that they could earn six figures, while another person might not find that dream big enough to inspire them…unless they add a figure or two! One person might not believe that they could write a book, while another wouldn’t be inspired by this dream…unless they also set a goal to make it a #1 bestseller. One person might not believe that they could reach their ideal weight, while another one sees this health goal as uninspiring…unless they also decide to run a marathon.

None of these dreams are “right” or “wrong.” Dreams don’t come “one size fits all.” It’s about finding a dream that you find both inspiring and believable.

Sweet-Spot Dreams

Some dreams are so big that they seem impossible, some are so small that they hardly seem worth it, and others are “just right” (as Goldilocks might say) — big enough to stretch you to live more fully, but not so big that you don’t actually expect to realize/live it.

So, when setting your dreams and goals, find that “sweet spot” between uninspiringly small and unrealistically big. Sometimes this will mean enlarging your dream — to make it more inspiring, to stretch you out of your comfort zone and closer to your full potential. Oftentimes, however, it may mean scaling back (at least temporarily) so that you can actually believe and achieve your dream.

Let’s revisit our intentionally silly/enormous dreams from above. Maybe these dreams could be revised to make them more realistic, believable, and achievable: Perhaps the $10 billion dream could turn into a goal of increasing their income by 50% (or 100% or 200%) in the next 3-6 months. The hand-shaker could set a dream/goal of meeting at least one new person each day for a month (or beyond). And the Pluto trip might be replaced by a dream of visiting all seven continents (and/or other exotic locations).

Building on Smaller Dreams

One final point to remember about dream sizes is that they don’t have to be permanent! You can always start with a “sweet-spot” dream — one that stretches you yet still seems believable — and then, once you’re living it, make it even bigger!

I once heard Ted Turner bemoaning the fact that his father had set a too-small dream: to become a millionaire. Once his father reached this dream, according to Ted, he lost the zest that big dreams can inspire.

I couldn’t help thinking that, with all due respect to the senior Mr. Turner, he must have lacked imagination. Why, after reaching his initial goal, couldn’t he have built upon it? Why couldn’t he have decided to set a dream to earn $10 million? Or, like his son, why couldn’t he have set dreams about how to use that money in interesting ways? Or why couldn’t he have used the security that the wealth provided to dream new dreams in areas that went well beyond business or finances?

After all, you’re not allowed only one dream per lifetime! And your dream is not set in stone — you can build on it, revise it, scale it back, or enlarge it whenever you’d like!

A small, modest-sized, or even fairly large dream does not mean that you won’t be able to dream bigger and bigger as time goes on. What it does mean is that you won’t discourage yourself by dreaming a dream that seems absurdly unrealistic and unreachable. It means that you’ll get in the habit of reaching your dreams. You’ll expect success. You’ll create a body of evidence that you can and do reach your dreams — which will make it that much more likely that you’ll continue to do so…even as you dream bigger and bigger and bigger!

But you don’t have to start with $10 billion, shaking 7 billion hands, or walking on Pluto. You can start exactly where you are — by considering what you want, what inspires you, what you truly believe, and what vision fills you with passion.

And then you can experience the joy of moving toward this dream…and living it!

Is your dream big enough to inspire you but small enough to believe in it? How could you expand your dream to make it more inspiring (but still believable) or scale it back (at least for now) to make it more believable? Or, if it’s already in that “just-right” zone, how can you keep moving toward it and living this dream?

bring your dreams set

P.S. If you’d like to find and live your “sweet-spot” dreams, check out our brand-new journal set: Bring Your Dreams to Life. To celebrate its launch, the set is HALF OFF all month!

These journals walk you through 3 easy steps to help you discover your soul’s calling, align with it, and live it! Here are the titles:

Your dreams have the power to enrich your life, uplift those you love, and transform the world! Let this set of journals inspire and support you as you follow your soul’s calling and bring your dreams to life!

Click here to see details and to order the Bring Your Dreams to Life journals and more.

[Photo by lindrik / 123RF Stock Photo]

Life Lesson from Steven Wright

steven-wright-headshotThere’s an old joke by Steven Wright: “Somebody stole everything in my apartment and replaced it with an exact replica.”

I always loved the surreal humor of this one-liner (and dozens of others from Wright’s seemingly endless supply, made all the better by his deadpan delivery). Recently, though, I got to thinking that this bizarre hypothetical scenario might contain an important life lesson.

As strange as it may seem, many things in our lives are repeatedly replaced with “replicas” — relationships, possessions, and situations in all areas of life:

  • You get out of one relationship only to have it replaced by another with the same dynamic.
  • You work your way out of debt, only to find yourself struggling financially once again six months later.
  • You leave a job to escape an unpleasant boss, only to find that your next boss treats you the same way!
  • You find yourself having the same conversations, thinking the same thoughts, and feeling the same way…day after day after day.

No, the specific details aren’t always the same, but your experience often is!

Why does this keep happening? Why do you so often find that the (supposedly) “new” stuff in your life is practically a replica of the old?

To answer this question, let’s look again at Wright’s joke — this time, putting ourselves in the role of the thief (or perhaps “prankster” would be a kinder and more accurate word). This isn’t a way to put ourselves down — it’s a way to empower ourselves by seeing the truth of this situation: WE are the ones who replace the things in our own lives. And, more often than not, we replace them with near-identical replicas.

The reason why this happens is simple: We create our own reality — through our words and actions and, most of all, through our thoughts. So if we keep saying the same things, doing the same things, and thinking the same things, we’re going to keep getting the same results. We’re going to keep replacing everything in our lives with replicas.

If you’re happy with the way things are, by all means, keep up whatever you’re doing (and saying and thinking)! But if you’d prefer something else, then here’s some good news: It’s just as easy to get something different!

(Well, almost as easy — it does take a bit of conscious effort to form a new habit, but you can certainly do it!)

After all, that “prankster” breaks into your house/life every single night and replaces every single thing in your life! And once you realize that this prankster is YOU (or your mind), you can decide to replace things with upgrades!

If you don’t want to replace your old, negative relationship patterns with replicas, think different thoughts about the relationship (and the other person). Say different words — to them and to yourself. And expect different outcomes.

(The same goes for health, finances, work, or any other area of your life — it ALL gets replaced by that prankster!)

All of these changes start with a decision that you’d like some new “stuff” in your life.

If this prankster is going to regularly replace everything anyway (and it is!), you may as well ask it for things that you prefer. Tell it that if it’s going to steal and replace your couch anyway, you’d like a replacement that’s a bit more comfortable than what you’ve currently got. And, while it’s replacing things, how about more harmonious relationships, a greater flow of abundance, and more joy in all areas of your life.

If Steven Wright is getting “robbed” anyway, he may as well get some nice, new furniture out of the deal! And if you are going to create (and re-create) your life experience every single day, you may as well get your heart’s desires!

(PS: Wright’s joke also has a great topper: when he tells his roommate what happens, his roommate asks him, “Do I know you?”)

PPS (unrelated to the Wright joke, but fairly time sensitive): Have you signed up to contribute to our upcoming book, 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul? Over 300 spots are already filled, so if you’re interested in being part of this collaborative project, sign up while space is still available!

The book is going to have one tip per day of the year, each submitted by soulful contributors — including bestselling authors Arielle Ford, Peggy McColl, and Christy Whitman. I know that the reach is going to be amazing when we spread the word about it when it comes out this November. Plus, there’s an affiliate program, so you can make some money by helping us spread the word!

I hope you’ll join us in this wonderful collaboration — a great way to share your message, expand your audience, and inspire thousands…as a published author! Click here to learn all about it and sign up!

Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Love


The Lie of Self-Criticism…and the Truth of Self-Love

Have you ever seen the Dove Soap commercials where a police artist sketches women based on verbal descriptions?

The artist (who doesn’t see the women) makes two sets of drawings: the first set is based on each woman describing herself; the second set is based on other women’s descriptions of them. The differences are staggering: The drawings based on others’ descriptions show beautiful women, while the drawings based on self-descriptions are ugly—almost deformed—with every so-called flaw grotesquely magnified.

This experiment illustrates (quite literally!) the extent to which many people suffer from poor self-image—an issue that can affect their confidence, their choice of career and mates, their happiness and emotional well-being (or lack thereof), and nearly every aspect of their lives.

More Than Skin Deep

These pictures merely touch upon the surface of this issue (again, quite literally). The aspects of self-perception that can’t be drawn run much deeper. How many people are walking around thinking that they’re ugly on the inside—that they’re stupid or hopelessly untalented or just plain bad?

It’s detrimental enough to think that you’re not good looking, but what if you think you’re not a good person—can you imagine the implications of that? Can you imagine thinking that there’s not merely something wrong with your eyes or your nose, but something wrong with you—with who you are as a human being?

The implications become even more disheartening when you consider that self-perception is generally a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that you’re ugly (on the inside or outside), stupid, bad, or worthless—that you’re somehow “less than”—your experiences will reflect these beliefs. You’ll settle for less, because it’s what you think you’re worth. You’ll tolerate treatment that’s a far cry from the love you deserve. You’ll deprive the world—and yourself—of the beautiful gifts you might have shared…if only you’d had the self-esteem to believe in your inherent value, goodness, and beauty.

Poor self-image definitely doesn’t serve you or the world at large. It doesn’t allow you to reach your full potential, to let your radiant self shine, and to feel good. But that’s only half the problem with it. The more immediately striking part about poor self-image—the part that’s so clearly shown by the Dove commercial’s pictures—is this:

It’s simply not accurate!

The women’s self-critical perception is enormously skewed. It’s not the truth of who they are.  It’s not even close.

It’s a lie!

The picture of yourself as ugly (in any sense) isn’t an accurate reflection of who you truly are. It simply doesn’t stand up to the light of a reality check. The truth of who you are is NOT the image presented when you see yourself through a lens of self-criticism. The truth of who you are is the person seen through the eyes of Love.

Seen through the eyes of Love, you are beautiful—inside and out!

This isn’t just esteem-boosting positive thinking—this is accurate! It’s not seeing yourself through rose-colored glasses; it’s seeing yourself as you truly are.

This is reality. This is the truth. You ARE beautiful—inside and out!

Think back to the police sketch artist: His job isn’t to create works of art, to show the women (or “suspects”) in the most flattering light, or to boost people’s self-esteem. No, he’s merely trying to create an accurate depiction of someone based on verbal descriptions. And descriptions that focus on perceived flaws don’t lead to accurate sketches—they lead to distorted pictures that bear little or no resemblance to the actual people.

Because these self-critical perceptions simply aren’t true.

So, on top of all the benefits of a loving self-perception, perhaps the biggest reason to see yourself through the eyes of Love is because they see you for who you truly are: beautiful, good, and infinitely worthy of love.

P.S. If you’d like to practice seeing yourself through the eyes of Love, check out my new ecourse, Celebrating You! It’s a self-paced course, and if you’re in Soulful Life Sanctuary (where it’s FREE to all members!) you can discuss it with me and other members.

The course includes 4 weekly workbooks, 8 videos, 2 audio meditations, 3 bonus articles, and dozens of uplifting games—all designed to help you see yourself as the beautiful, worthy, and loving person you truly are!

Click here to learn more about Celebrating You.

Click here to learn more about the Soulful Life Sanctuary — where you’ll have access to Celebrating You, all my other courses, and lots more!

Hope to see you at your party! :)

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!

smoke em if ya got em

When my dad was in basic training for the army, every time they’d take a break, someone would yell out: Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!

(This was in the early 1950s, when it was assumed that the only reason someone wouldn’t smoke during a short break was because they’d run out of cigarettes!)

At the end of the 15 minutes (or however long the break lasted), it was back to basic training. The window of opportunity for cigarettes was officially closed, whether or not you’d smoked.

Although I’ve never been a smoker and definitely don’t encourage the habit, this line does make a great metaphor for other areas of life. I see it as a reminder to use the talents, skills, and opportunities available to you while you have the chance.

(By the way, if you’re put off by a military/smoking metaphor, you can think of this in terms of a business that allots its departments a “use-it-or-lose-it” budget — money that has to be spent before the end of the year, otherwise it won’t be accessible at all.)

Whatever metaphor you choose to think about, this principle can apply to many situations in life.

For instance, a world-class athlete (or potentially world-class athlete) might have only 10-20 years during which their body is capable of performing at an elite level. (The window is much smaller for some athletes, such as Olympic-caliber gymnasts, who seem to peak in their mid to late teens — and are generally “washed up” by their early to mid 20s.)

But you don’t need to have Olympic aspirations to experience this phenomenon. In everyday life, opportunities often present themselves for a limited time only. For instance:

  • A job offer might be made…but then rescinded (or offered to someone else) if not accepted within a specified time frame.
  • Romantic possibilities might present themselves…only to slip away if not pursued.
  • You might have a flash of inspiration (such as an idea for a book, movie, business, invention, or other creative project)…but never follow through on it.

To summarize the lesson here in a five-word cliché: Strike while the iron’s hot! (Or, as Steve Winwood sang, “While you see a chance, take it.”) Because if you don’t, oftentimes that chance will disappear, the parade will pass you by, the window will close, the iron will cool off.

(How’s that for a parade of depressing clichés?!)

You might experience this as the waning of enthusiasm. Perhaps an idea that you were once passionate about no longer excites you — or at least not enough to actually follow through on it. You might find that you’ve moved on, you’re in a different place in your life, or you’ve lost the thread of a long-neglected idea.

Sometimes the proverbial window closes permanently, but sometimes it doesn’t! Sometimes you still could follow through on an opportunity or inspiration, but for one reason or another (or for no good reason at all), you just don’t. And that, I feel, is the even bigger tragedy.

This is where exciting possibilities enter the realm of the “would-bes”:

  • Would-be books that never make it past the notes-and-ideas stage.
  • Would-be services and contributions that never make it out into the world.
  • Would-be creative expressions that never get expressed.
  • Would-be realities that never get realized.

The good news, however, is that many cooled-off sparks can be reignited. Sometimes, giving an old idea or project your renewed attention can rekindle your enthusiasm for it. You might even find that the time away has given you a valuable perspective, new inspiration, or increased determination not to let the possibility languish any longer.

Other times, however, you might find that certain windows shut permanently:

  • Someone else gets the same idea…and actually follows through on it.
  • Changes in technology (or fashions or the general zeitgeist) render your once-cutting-edge idea passé.
  • That wonderful person you had a first date with (but, for no good reason, never contacted again) has the audacity to go off and marry someone else.

But even these seemingly wasted chances can help you in the long run. If nothing else, they serve as reminders to pursue inspiring opportunities that present themselves in the future. And rest assured, they will present themselves! You will get new ideas, offers, and opportunities.

And this time around, you’ll be ready for them! You’ll pursue your passions. You’ll follow up on those leads. You’ll act on those flashes of inspiration.

You’ll remember that while some opportunities are always available, others aren’t — which makes it that much more important that you pursue them while you still can.

Or, as they used to say during my dad’s army breaks, Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!

Have you ever had the window shut on an opportunity that you didn’t follow through on…but wish you had? Is there any chance of rekindling that spark now? If not, what new opportunities ARE present in your life right now — and how will you act upon them?


Your Biggest Addiction

smokingUnless I know you fairly well, I don’t know what addictions you do or don’t have. I don’t know if you smoke, drink to excess, gamble compulsively, binge eat junk food, or bite your nails.

I also don’t know if you have any positive addictions (or, if that feels too much like an oxymoron, we can just call them good habits). You might meditate every day, exercise, drink green smoothies, or do anything else on a regular basis that helps you feel better — and that, if you were to stop suddenly, would make you go through withdrawal (or at least feel kind of off).

Because I’m not psychic and I don’t have a hidden camera in your house, I simply don’t know your addictions…except for one:


I know that you have addictive thought patterns!

I may not have access to the specific ones that come up again and again (compulsively and unbidden) for you, but I have a feeling that some of them revolve around feeling mad, sad, or scared.

  • Maybe your mind habitually gripes (about the government, your boss, your job, your relationship, your lack of a relationship, or whoever/whatever happens to be around).
  • Maybe your mind habitually turns to depressing situations (or melancholy memories, tragedies beyond your control, or anything else that brings you down or exacerbates your pre-existing sadness).
  • Maybe your mind habitually worries (about money, your family, or hypothetical worst-case scenarios).

Whether your habitual thoughts are anything like those mentioned above or completely different, they’ve probably become so common for you that you barely notice them. You might not think of these mental habits as addictions, but they are!

Recurring thought patterns are every bit as addictive as smoking or other addictive actions. And, like many addictions, you might engage in these thoughts compulsively, hardly realizing that you’re doing it. And, also like many other addictions, you might keep on doing it even if it brings you no joy, satisfaction, or fulfillment — because that’s just what you do (or think).

The Good News and the Bad News

I’ll start with the bad news (which, don’t worry, isn’t really bad news — it just sounds like it): You will always have thought-addictions.

That’s just part of being human and having a brain. You have thoughts every waking moment (except perhaps during moments of deep meditation), and most of them are habitual.

But here’s the good news: The fact that the human mind seems to be addictive, by its very nature, can work to your advantage! Just like you can get addicted to healthy behaviors, you can get addicted to healthy thoughts! Here’s how:

4 Steps to Healthy Thought-Addictions

  1. Awareness. If you don’t notice your chronic thoughts, there’s little hope of changing them.
  2. Ask: Is this thought serving me? (In other words: Does this thought make me feel better or worse?) Maybe you have uplifting thought-addictions that you don’t want to stop — in which case, don’t! But if a habitual thought makes you feel worse, you’ll probably want to move to step 3…
  3. Don’t Eliminate…REDIRECT! Trying to stop an addictive thought is about as easy as stopping a speeding truck without brakes from rolling down a hill! You can’t often stop your mind in its tracks, but you can redirect it to a different “road” — much like a brakeless truck might be steered into the “runaway truck” lane.
  4. Be selfish enough to feel good! Place a high value on feeling good — and remember that feeling good (or bad, sad, mad, glad, or anything else) begins with your thoughts. Know that you are worth having a happy, healthy head!

Like any addiction, your addictive thoughts serve a purpose — most likely, providing some sort of comfort for you (if nothing else, through their familiarity). And as with many other addictions, you may even get a rush from replaying your mental scripts — much like you might get a sugar high from binge-eating junk food.

But just like all that junk food, negative thoughts aren’t nourishing you — and they’re keeping you from more nourishing fare. (To take this metaphor into somewhat disgusting territory: you can literally make yourself sick by binging on negative thoughts, regurgitating the same things over and over.)

Also, please don’t judge yourself! Having negative addictive thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person — any more than having the flu (or a drinking problem) does. It just means that you don’t feel as good as you’d like to. And, like any form of recovery, the process takes time, so be easy on yourself, congratulate yourself for the positive steps you are taking, and know that your goal is a worthy one!

Ultimately, this process is between you and you.

When a sickness or an addiction is external, it’s easy to spot — and to point out the benefits of recovery. Addictive thoughts, on the other hand, are less visible (although others can see the results of them), so it’s really up to you to decide whether or not you want to keep or change the thoughts that keep swirling around your head on a daily basis. And that decision really comes down to this one simple question:

Do you want to feel better?

What are some of your thought-addictions? Do you find yourself replaying the same old worries, gripes, or dead-end inner dialogues? If you could replace some of your habitual thoughts with others, what self-nourishing thoughts would you prefer?