Why Self-Awareness Is So Fun

maitreya_face_to_face2

I’ve discovered something about myself tonight.  Something certainly everyone else around me knew.  Everyone but me, that is.

I mean, I guess I knew it.  But, I had no idea how it affected the experience of the people around me.  Tonight, for a quick second I glimpsed it.

I stood outside of myself and laughed at my self.  That’s the best part about self awareness.  It’s the humor it brings to the situation.

*image courtesy of my absolute favorite artist, Paul Huessenstam of http://www.Mandalas.com.

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Sunday Night: A Movie to Watch With Your Kids (While You Prep Your Week)

l3gallery_02vert313x470A few weeks ago, the kids and I got to preview The Librarian, Curse of the Judas Chalice.   They liked it because it was action-packed and I liked it because it had Noah Wyle in it.  My 9 year old daughter was a little scared during and after the movie.  I think the vampire theme freaked her out a bit.  But, not my 5 year old, he loved it.  He also loves to watch Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3 and has been begging to watch Jaws, but I just can’t let him do that yet.

If you’re like me, you use Sunday nights to prep for your week.  So, if your kids are still up at 8pm (mine would be asleep by then on a school night or getting ready for bed), this will definitely occupy them so you can work on your computer while they watch the movie and you can look up every now and then to catch an eyeful of Noah.

Alternatively, you may want to Tivo it for a Friday or Saturday night movie night.  We don’t do TV during the week at all, but I do let my kids have movie night on the weekends and I’m always happy when they choose a movie that I can watch along with them.  The Librarian would definitely qualify.

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What To Do When It’s Thanksgiving And You Aren’t Feeling Grateful

turkeyIt’s the eve of Thanksgiving and truthfully I’m not feeling particularly grateful at the moment.   And of course I feel guilty for not feeling grateful because honestly I have so freakin’ much to be grateful for.

My loving boyfriend and I took my kids to see the magical night of lights in a nearby town and ate tons of junk food and rode lots of rides.  Despite the fact that the kids complained and bickered the whole way back (payback for the years of bickering me and my sister subjected our parents to), it was a fantastic night.

We dropped $100+ on food and entertainment without batting an eye and with everything going on the world right now that alone is something to be grateful about.

I’m in Atlanta visiting my honey, who is my dream guy in so many ways, and we’ll introduce our children to each other tomorrow night for the first time.  And last night his ex intimated that she may even be willing to meet me one day, something I’ve hoped would happen for quite a while.  More to be grateful about.

I have an amazing team supporting me both at home and in my business and a great relationship with my ex-husband for the first time in years, all of which allows me to be an empire-building mommy and know that my kids and my house will be well cared for even when I’m traveling and working.

I’m appearing regularly on TV and just got an email from someone who saw me on CNBC tonight without me even telling them I was going to be on. And, Tuesday I’ll be in the Better TV studios taping my weekly segments.

Earlier today I got to spend time coaching a friend off the ledge of a potential legal nightmare that could have blown up her life had she taken her lawyer’s advice and into a space of love and acceptance for what is that could show her a whole new purpose for the events that have led up to the situation.

My family is healthy, safe and secure and they love me.

Feeling grateful because you should and actually feeling gratitude are two very different experiences.  So, why am I not feeling all of that gratitude inside my body?   And, am I insane for admitting it here when everyone else is posting their cheery “what I’m grateful for today” messages?

More importantly, why am I posting it here?

I’m posting it here because I believe my awareness about this may help you.  Because maybe you have a lot to feel grateful for as well and yet you aren’t feeling it and don’t know why.  And, because this blog is about being afraid and doing it anyway.

I’m not feeling grateful in my body though all outward appearances suggest I should be dancing in the streets and screaming in joy because I have not been doing a good job of taking care of myself physically, emotionally or spiritually.   And when I don’t take care of myself, it doesn’t matter how great things look on the outside, they start to crumble on the inside.

For the past three days, I have eaten horribly and done no exercise at all.  I have not really meditated.  Not gotten enough sleep.  Allowed my attention to be focused on small things that take me away from my greater purpose.  And, realized that a huge part of my purpose is to bring more faith and love into people’s lives and I’m so caught up in my money-making business ventures that I’m not investing my time or energy on what brings true meaning to my life everyday – sharing my faith in God, the Universe, Spirit, Love.

Worst of all, I’ve convinced myself that it’s fine not to do the things I know are important because it’s the holidays and we are traveling and …. well, you know the rationalization drill, don’t you?

It’s a long, sad road to ingratitude is what it is.  Fortunately, the road back can be short and gleeful.

Here’s what helped me.

Just sitting down and writing all of this out helped tremendously because it was a visual reminder of all that I have to be grateful for and oftentimes you just need to write it down to really feel it.

Next, I’ve made a commitment to myself that tomorrow I am going to exercise, no matter what.  My body is already getting excited about that.

Last, before I go to bed tonight, I am going to write the outline for my next book, which I got the inspiration for tonight: From Fear Into Faith: The Step by Step Guide to Co-Creating the Life of Your Dreams.

So, if it’s Thanksgiving and you aren’t feeling particularly grateful, know that you are not alone and there’s nothing wrong with you.  Know as well that it’s a sign that there’s some incongruity happening in your life (a disconnect between what you really want and what you are allowing yourself to create) and there are concrete action steps you can take right now to turn it around.

Go get a pen and paper and give me 10 minutes of your time.  I’ll get you into gratitude and give you an action plan for living everyday from here out gratefully.

Ready?  Here we go.

Right now, take a deep breath and now another.  Allow the feeling of your breath make it’s way down into the deepest part of your belly and feel how the warmth of your breath radiates from your core and caresses the inside of the skin of your arms all the way to your fingers and the inside of the skin of your legs down to your toes.

Now, do that again.

Write down one good thing happening in your life.  Now, another.  Then, as many as you can.  If it’s only one, that’s okay.  Focus your attention on that thing and take another deep, cleansing breath.  The kind that you can feel all the way into the base of your lower back.

Ok, now, from that place, write down the first answer that comes to your mind that answers this question: if you knew you’d be successful doing anything in the world and money was of zero concern, what would you be doing?

Last, commit to yourself that everyday for now on you will do something that gets you closer to doing whatever that thing is.  Write down that commitment to yourself, fold up the piece of paper you wrote on and put it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, like in your wallet, where you’ll see it when you want to spend money to compensate for not doing what your purpose is.

The next time you are not feeling grateful, pull out that piece of paper and renew your commitment to yourself.  You deserve it.

Ah, doesn’t that feel better?  Grateful now?  I am.  Thanks.

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Can You See the ALL Good … Even (Especially) Now?

What an incredible weekend.  Dave through me a surprise birthday dinner party on Friday night.  I knew he was doing something special, but I didn’t know what.  Well, he invited over 15 of my friends, cooked an elaborate and delicious 5 course meal and then put on an awe-inspiring mind reading show.  Here’s a little sneak peak of the night:

Then, Saturday night, Dave and I attended the Agape International Spiritual Center 22nd Anniversary Party at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.  Here’s a 15-second video of me and the Rev. – Michael Bernard Beckwith getting our photo taken.

At church today, I was reminded by the Rev. of the truth and now I’m sharing it with you because I think so many of us have lost sight of what’s really happening out there.

We are getting so caught up in the fear, lack, limitation and scarcity being bandied about that it can be difficult to see through to the truth.

Here’s what I know to be true.

Something new and wonderful is emerging.  Yes, Wall Street is failing.  Yes, the big 3 automakers are failing.  Yes, our credit system is failing.

And, it’s time to celebrate.

The existing paradigm is outdated, broken, and in need of transformation.  What has to happen for the caterpillar to emerge as a butterfly?  The caterpillar has to disappear.

That’s what’s happening here as well.  We can choose to look at it as if the world is coming to an end or we can see the beginning of something beautiful.  Our perspective will make the difference between suffering or celebration.

What do you choose?  I choose to celebrate.

I choose to celebrate whatever is next.  I choose to celebrate the unknown, the mystery, the possibilities.

Reverend Michael pointed out that the big 3 are making fuel efficient cars overseas.  Why not here?  We wouldn’t have blocked the rise of computers to save the typewriter industry, would we?

Something bigger is coming, something better is coming, something transformational is coming.

It’s ALL GOOD.  Welcome it.  Step off into the unknown with the faith of knowing that all your needs are met in every moment.  Even now.

I can hear many of you saying “how can I do that when things are looking so bad for me?  I’ve lost my job or I’m about to lose my job.  I have credit card debt up to my eyeballs. I’m going to lose my house.  Alexis, this airy-fairy stuff is great for you and Rev. Michael who have plenty, but not for me.  I don’t have enough.”

Ok, let’s talk about that.

I know you are scared.  Of course you are.  Change is scary, especially when it’s not self-initiated and feels as if its just been thrust upon you.

But, it’s very likely also out of your control.  Can you force your employer to hire you back or keep you if you are on the verge?  Can you save your house now?

If your answer is yes to any of these things because you can take some action that might turn things around, do it.  Take the action.  Don’t bury your head in the sand.

For example, if you are about to lose your house, have you exhausted every possibility you can for information about how you might save it?  Have you already tried to get a modification of your loan?  What else have you done?

If you’ve done everything you can, you have to move into acceptance of what is.  What else can you do?

Sure, you can rail against what is, but if you can’t change it, you’re creating suffering for yourself.

In this moment, you have a choice between suffering and celebration.  You can choose to allow yourself to feel excitement about the new possibilities that are facing you now that you don’t have that job that was keeping you in your comfort zone of mediocrity.  Allow yourself to open up to what’s happening and say “okay Universe, what do you have next for me?”

What new world is out there for you?

If you can approach life from this perspective, the whole world will open up and deliver to you delightful experiences.  If instead, you choose to approach life with an attitude of defeat, fear, and lack, you will get more of the same.

So, in this moment, do this:

Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath in.  Let the air fill your lungs.  Feel how every one of your needs are met in this very moment.   In this moment you have access to everything you need, food, shelter, clothing, internet, love.  It’s all here for you now.

Repeat everytime you feel afraid.  And keep moving forward with wonder about the possibilities.

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Why So Upset? Maybe Someone Needs a Motrin …

Over the past weekend, Motrin began to run this ad on its site and it has caused a major uproar throughout the blogoshpere and all over Twitter.

It culminated with an executive from Motrin, who happens to be a mom of 3 children herself, writing a personal letter of apology to @Katja Presnal, who I believe started the whole uproar. (I should mention that @katjapresnal is a dear friend who I hope will not be pissed off by this post.)

Patricia Handscheigel, who is not even a mom by the way, noticed the outrage at the Motrin ad and was shocked at the hubbub created around it when nary a mom tweeted about a recent bill to combat child pornography that barely passed.  Patricia posted a video about child pornography that I watched in shock.  I had no idea.  Now that IS something to get outraged about.

But, the Motrin ad?  Not so much.

I was a baby-wearing mom.  I even sold Maya Wraps because I loved them so much.  I carried my kids in slings til they were 4.  And, yeah, my back hurt sometimes.  And, sometimes I looked tired and crazy.  I could see how some good intentioned marketing team thought they were sympathizing with moms and laughing with us, not at us.  I mean do you really think that they intended to put down their target market?

And, if they didn’t intend to do it, why get all outraged before cluing them in on their error.  Then, if they ignore you, get outraged.  But, why come from outrage first?

What if, next time, instead of moving from standstill to outrage in 3 seconds flat, we all took a collective breath, and gave the benefit of the doubt?  Didn’t take it personally?  Read or re-read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Want to be happy in life?  Don’t take anything personally, ever.

Honestly, I felt bad for the folks at Motrin.  They spent a pretty penny on this campaign you can be sure of that.  I’m a marketer and a business owner.  And sometimes I put my foot in my mouth too.  I hope the next time I do it (and surely there will be a next time) I can count on the caring compassion of other moms and business owners to give me the benefit of the doubt and not come at me with guns a-blazing ready to run me out of town on a rail.

Sorry Katja, I don’t agree. I still love ya though.

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Ready to Uplevel Your Life?

diamond-crown-pin I’ve been thinking small.

That may sound shocking to some of you who have seen me do some amazing things over the past 6 months – tv show, pilot for a radio program, bestselling book to name a few – but, I just got back from an event with Alexandria Brown, the former “E-zine Queen” and now inspiration to women world-wide, where I came face to face with my small thinking.  And, it wasn’t pretty.

I’ve made a huge shift in my thinking and made the decision to let go of a lot of the little stuff that has been keeping me small.

Like what, you ask …

Small thing #1:  I’m not a mommy blogger.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve tried to fit in as a mommy blogger.  I went to BlogHer.   I became a blogging mom at LAMomsBlog.  I tried to fit in with the mommy blogging crowd on Twitter and even spoke on a mommy blogger panel.  In each and every instance, I felt out of place.  Like I didn’t fit in.  As we tend to do, I blamed myself.  I thought if only I did x better or y more, I’d be accepted. Um, no!  I wasn’t fitting in because that’s not who I am.

I’m building an empire, not a blog.

Small thing #2:  Email.

I cannot keep up with my email.  My inbox has gotten out of control.  I came back from Ali’s event to more than 400 emails in my inbox and that was with me checking my iPhone throughout the event and deleting.  300 of those emails had been read and were waiting response from me.   The other 100 were the ones I had not deleted from the iPhone because they needed more in depth review.  I am constantly checking my email and not working on my next book, not planning my next big thing, and not being present in my life.  I cannot do it anymore.

I will no longer be handling my personal email.  It’s getting turned over to one of my assistants.  So, don’t email me anything truly private.  Call instead.

Small thing #3:  Twitter.

I love to connect with people.  And so I found myself using Twitter in an unhealthy (for me) way.  I’ve heard Tim Ferriss talk and talk about how he uses Twitter as a way to send out real micro blogs that are useful and not as another inbox.  I thought that was good for him, but didn’t apply to me.  I was wrong.  It does apply to me.  I cannot afford to have another inbox.  It’s taking me away from my bigger purpose.

It’s been great for little things like meeting moms for networking, but the moms I was meeting are moms who are spending all day on Twitter, not moms who are building their empires.  Well, that’s not entirely true … Carrie Wilkerson (@barefoot_exec)  is a mom building an empire and Jessica Smith (@JessicaKnows) seems to be doing some big stuff and Gabrielle Blair (@designmom), co-founder of Kirtsy, definitely has some empire building going on, and I met them on Twitter.  But, I would have met Carrie or Jessica in some other way  that would take less of my mental energy if that was meant to be and I actually met Gabrielle at the conference where I was a mommy blogger panelist.

I can’t say I’m not going to tweet anymore, but it will be less and with awareness that I’m avoiding my bigger purpose.

Small thing #4:  Lawsuits.

As some of you may remember, I fired a pregnant woman who was working with my team back in April.  She had been stealing from me and disclosing confidential company information.  And, she sabotaged the sale of my law firm.  These things cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. If not more.   And, now she has brought a labor board claim against me.  I was considering filing a lawsuit against her for the damages she caused.  Yes, I’ve invested time and money in having the complaint drafted and yes I could win and get a judgment against her, but what I know is that the greater cost of the lawsuit in terms of the time and energy I’d have taken away from building my future could be into the millions.

So, rather than investing another dime into her, I let go of the whole thing with one simple email to my lawyer “I have decided not to pursue the lawsuit at this time.  Thanks.”   No more stepping over dollars to get to dimes.

Small thing #5: Facebook.

I’ve spent an untold number of hours on Facebook looking up people from high school.  Embarrassing, but true.  Living in the past.  And not even a past I enjoyed.  High school was a nightmare.  Why in the world would I have any desire to go back there?

I’m not gonna do it anymore.

Each of these small things has taken time away from my bigger vision.  Time away from my kids.  Time away from my future.  I was so stuck in the middle of each of these things I didn’t even realize how I was cheating myself.

Then, I got to Ali Brown’s last ever Online Success Blueprint Workshop.

I almost didn’t go.  I had told myself I’m already successful on the internet.  I mean I’ve got a Twitter grade of 99.6 out of 100, a Twinfluence rank of 99% (as if these things actually mean anything) and thousands of people who subscribe to my weekly online magazine for parents who want financial freedom.  What else can I learn, right?  Ha!

(Hint: Anytime you find yourself saying “I already know that” – watch out, that’s your ego talking and it’s blocking your success in a big bad kind of way.)

Fortunately, I got over myself and admitted I’d been watching Ali from a distance for nearly 4 years, learning from the same mentors, attending the same events and LOVED the way she was putting what we were learning into action.   And, the event was going to be in LA.   And I was done letting my ego stand in the way of learning from a true master.

So, I bought the not inexpensive ticket and sprung for one for the COO of my company, too and dropped Ali an email that said “Ali, I’m coming.  Finally.”  She wrote back and told me to expect transformation.

Ooookaaaayyy, I thought.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get transformed at an internet marketing event, but ok, I’ll keep an open mind.

Well, guess what?  Ali delivered on her promise.

The transformation came not from the material, though you will see a huge shift in our websites over the coming 6 weeks based on what I learned at the workshop (I literally re-designed our websites and wrote all new copy while sitting in my chair at the conference); it came from watching Ali step into a whole new level of being at this event.

She launched a magazine, a boutique and an extraordinary coaching program (her Million Dollar Protégé Club) with the diamond level requiring a 6-figure investment to join – yes, you did read that right.  6 figures to join.

And, I applied.  As soon as I did, my mind expanded and I realized all of the ways I’d been sabotaging my dreams.  I’d been playing small.  And, I’m done with that.  I’m uplevelling my life in a big way.

Do you think I’m scared?  Yep, you betcha, yepper, mmhmmm.  Yes, I’m scared.

I’ve been up at 3am the past two nights in a row because my mind is going nuts.  But, I’ve also realized that over the past 6 months I’ve gotten into a comfort zone.  In that time, I havn’t cried even once.  I was starting to stagnate.  I was frequently grumpy and felt stuck.

Taking it out on Dave.  My team.  My kids.

Sure, from the outside everything looked great.  Million dollar businesses, happy kids, great relationship, beach house.  But, inside, I was dying.  And, I couldn’t figure out why.

All I knew was I was going numb again.  I spent a lot of time praying “God, please show me the way.”  Asking for guidance, my next teacher, guide, mentor and coach.

And she showed up and asked me for more than I was prepared to give.   (As Ali was introducing the Millionaire Protege Club, I was praying the elite Diamond level would have a less than $50,000 price tag …  it didn’t.)

And I said yes! (I’ll find out next week whether she said yes to me too – 20 women are applying for only 10-12 spots!!!)

I said yes to the bigger life I’ve been longing for, but been afraid to embrace.  I said yes to myself.

In the past 24 hours since I said yes, I’ve started feeling again.  I’ve cried (and laughed) at least every 3 hours over this time.  And, I’ve felt the total and complete support of the people closest to me.  The people who count.

I have no doubt there are people who will think I am insane for investing six figures in a coaching program.  People who think this is the time to save money.  People who think “how can she do that with the economy the way it is? Who does she think she is? You could feed so many families with that money.”

Those aren’t my people.  Or, they are the people who secretly wish they were my people, but are too afraid to uplevel their own life.

Yes, there is a lot that I could do with that money.  I could hire another person in my company.  I could do a lot of public relations or marketing.  I could put a down payment on real estate.  I could buy undervalued stocks.  I could tithe it to my church.  I could feed homeless people.  I could pay off some debt.  The list is endless.

But, here’s what I know.  There is no better investment I could make than investing in myself.  Than surrounding myself with other big thinkers who will help me turn that $100,000 investment into a billion dollars.  Imagine how I can change the world then …

The Intrepid Mompreneur is about living big.  And, I’m talking Oprah, Madonna, Bill Gates and Hugh Hefner big.  That’s the life I want.  That’s the life I deserve.  That’s the life I will have.

It’s about being afraid and doing it anyway.

And, I am.  How about you?

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Kaia On the Ellen Show Today!

A few weeks ago, Kaia and the Agape Kids’ Choir recorded a music video.  You’ll remember I showed it to you here.

Well, it made its way to Ellen Degeneres who liked it so much she invited the kids to come down to the studio and perform the song live on her show.

Here’s a couple photos, but be sure to check out the real thing on your TV.  Set your TIVO!

kaia-on-ellenellen-being-swarmed-by-the-kids

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