Beautification Cannot Be Outsourced advice & strategies beautification cbt emotions & emotional inventory mental wellness negative thinking positive thinking sadness triggers & the inner critic

Last Friday I drove by my neighborhood school and the marquee stated, “Beautification day is cancelled”. What?  How could they do that?  I was really amazed at my reaction.

Now I don’t have a clue what type of project was planned but it got “my dern thinker ah thinkin”.  Why did it get cancelled?  Why wasn’t beautification a priority?

One of the many gifts of “growing up and older” is that you realize self-beautification is the key to mastering a happy life.  I am not talking about Botox and wearing fancy labels.  That would be too easy!  I am talking about making the commitment to do whatever you need to do in order to shine from within.

Beautification is shedding the clutter surrounding your heart that   fertilizes negative thinking. 

It is deciding to let go of what no longer fits, whether that be people, clothing, a job or a habit.

Beautification cannot be outsourced. 

Recently I’ve been feeling so much sadness that frankly I worried I may be headed into a depression.  But stop the presses!  I came to realize that this sadness was different; very different than my time in the DARK PIT.  When I was clinically depressed, my brain was mush and there was on ocean between my reality and the real world.

Today my active brain is acknowledging the sadness then reshaping or shedding the thought that creates the sadness.  The sadness is in a loading zone—no long term parking allowed!

I’ve never had the courage to sit with uncomfortable feelings.  Who wants to do that?  Wade through disappointment, jealousy, doubt and fear?  I would rather do just about anything else so I became quite comfortable over-scheduling myself or just stuffing those feelings for a later date.  With the help of my support posse, I have developed a method I would like to share with you.  If you really like it, please send cookies.

  1.  Hello there [insert thought here].  Where do you come from?  It is like meeting someone new and asking them where they live.
  2. [Thought speaks].
    1. How can I change this thought from a negative one into a positive one?
    2. Or is it such a useless thought that I can just let it go?  (no re-gifting please)

For example, my “X” repeatedly called me the N-word;   NEEDY.  Sadly, I believed him.  I told myself if I were smarter, stronger and worked harder, I could overcome my neediness.  Well, thank goodness the cray cray fog has lifted!!   I turn that negative thought to a positive one like this:

Although he says I am needy, I simply want to feel connected to that stupid Mother Fucker.  It is a basic human need.

By the way, the thought doesn’t have to come from someone else.  It could be your critical voice speaking to you.  Same method applies!  And don’t forget, if you like this, please send...

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Ummmm, That’s Interesting! concealed weapons connection humor men relationships & communication triggers & the inner critic

I may be wasting my time with an on-line dating service!! Who knew that I would have been amongst such interesting men in the waiting room of the tire store yesterday?

By the way, I really appreciate all of the comments I received on my last post when I asked for your input on selecting the best single word to describe myself on my dating profile. Susan suggested CAPTIVATING and it stuck with me. It is hard to say with a straight face but I will practice until I say it without giggling. “I am a captivating woman.”

Back to my headline story! The place to meet men is…… the local tire store. The place was packed with men. How lucky for me that all of our tire issues waited to pop up until after the holidays. Plus how a person spends their time waiting says a great deal about them, doesn’t it?

I came prepared with a book, an iced coffee, two cell phones and money in my checking account. I noticed a handsome man waiting with the cutest reader glasses. Not the cheap readers from the drug store — he dropped a dime on this pair. Plus when he took a call on his cell phone, he spoke quietly. So quietly it was difficult to eavesdrop! Damn him.

This is how our conversation started. There is deep rumbling grumbling noise. I looked at this fellow and said, “That sounded like an earthquake!” to which he replied, “I study resonance and because you feel an earthquake before you hear it, an earthquake of that volume would have knocked us off our feet.” Well butter my butt and call me biscuit! You may think that sounded arrogant but I thought it sounded oh so INTRIGUIGING. A smart man in my midst! I’ll call him Mr. Smart.

Mr. Smart inquires, “Are you a writer?” In my mind,  this question is the equivalent of saying you are exquisitely beautiful and your butt looks perky in those pants. I had mentioned to my therapist just this week that recently I have been asked by eight people (YES, I counted) if I work in retail. Not that there is anything wrong with retail but how does one look when they work in retail? Why don’t you think I work as a personal chef or fly for NASA?

Back to my story…… “Why yes, I am a writer of sorts. I have a blog about common sense things. It is both humorous and inspirational.” I left out the part that I write about the voices in my head as I did not want to scare him away, and boy did it feel good to say I am a writer!!! I have never disclosed this skill publically. I also shared that I wish to write more and possibly publish an article in a magazine this year.

We continued on the topic of goals. Mr. Smart wants to avoid drama or as he phrased it, “Can’t do the CRAZY!”, and launch a new company. I am giddy with excitement. A smart man with motivation!

My Girlfriend Voice pops up. “Easy girl! Don’t scare the lad! You are starting to salivate.”

The conversation continues...

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Christmas Crisis advice & strategies choices christmas emotions & emotional inventory holiday stress triggers & the inner critic

In the bank parking lot yesterday, a car was backing up not realizing there was a woman walking directly behind them.  I grabbed the woman’s arm, saying “watch out!” and pulled her out of danger.  Was she thankful?  No.  She uttered a monotone response “…..please, I know” as she brushed off her sweater. 

Please what?  Please save my life on another day?  And you know “what” exactly?  Obviously you don’t know that those little back up lights mean steer clear of a moving car’s blind spot.  Next time I will let you live the consequence of your stupidity.

“Cara Ann, what kind of example is that of your Christmas spirit?” I’m busted.  The truth is that there are days when I am tired of being an adult.  Or should I say, I am tired of being responsible.  I am tired of thinking before I speak.  Being nice is seriously overrated.  I have exhausted my charm, my patience and my goodwill.  Today is one of those days.

I am in a Christmas Crisis.

Example:    Instead of biting my tongue while you complain (again!) about your life, I will tell you to, “get a life”.  There are people with real problems, like me.  I have been shopping for weeks to find boot cut cords and every damn store has skinny cords. Skinny cords are great for teenagers and super models.   I will however, restrain my urge to surrender to fashion because I am not going to be a “what not to wear” commercial.

Example:    When you talk loudly on your cellphone in the coffee shop, I am going to use my best Samuel L. Jackson impersonation and say, “Shut the Fuck Up!”  Let’s break this down.  You come in, order your low fat two pump 170 degree gingerbread latte and return to your car on average, in less than ten minutes.  Your conversation can wait ten minutes until you return to the privacy of your vehicle! I do not care about what she said and what he did or what time Susie needs to go to her birthday party.  Text if you have to but please, STFU!  The coffee shop is not a confessional, a soap box nor a supernatural bubble where we can’t hear your blathering on (and on, and on…..).

Example:    You people that take your (non-service) dogs shopping have to stop.  This may come as a surprise but dogs don’t like shopping and I don’t like to see your dog while I am shopping!  I feel qualified to say this because I am a dog lover and dog owner but stores are for people.  Please……leave Fluffy at home.  Fluffy needs his beauty sleep.  Oh, and the stores that post signs, “service dogs only”, please grow some balls and enforce the rules.

Example:    The children, pumped on sugar wreaking havoc in restaurants well after their...

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Now or Later? The Choice is Yours advice & strategies choices feelings friendship relationships relationships & communication triggers & the inner critic

There are times when the voices in my head can be really helpful!  Recently I had a little situation where I decided to consult my inner wisdom or what I like to call, “My Girlfriend Voice or MGV for short” for a little advice.

Last Sunday, a friend hurt my feelings.  There was no doubt that I was hurt but I couldn’t decide if I should I put a little space in between us or try to address the situation while the feelings were still fresh.

ME:  My gut tells me to talk to my friend but I am worried that I may make the situation worse because my emotions may cloud my objectivity.  I made a vow to myself to keep all of my relationships healthy so I feel the need to speak up.  It’s confusing!

MGV:  I am giving you the green light to talk now.  Talk from the heart.  Remember to use “I statements” and focus on how you feel.  Breathe and make eye contact.

ME:  (OK, here I go!) To my friend:   “Tonight I was upset.  When you did “X”, it made me feel “Y”.  I know it is not your intention to hurt my feelings but I felt it was important to let you know while it was still fresh in our minds.”

You:  “Silence………”

ME:  A yellow flag is flashing in my brain.  Does your silence mean you didn’t hear me?  Please, we are sitting eighteen inches apart.   I pause.  Ok, I’ll keep this simple and focused.   I wonder if I should I reiterate what I just said?

MGV:  AHEM.  Slow down and proceed with caution.  You may feel a little defensive and repeating yourself is not only unnecessary, it is really annoying.  Relax.  You have opened a dialogue.   Sit tight.  Take a breath.  Stop pursing your lips.

You:  “Oh”.

ME:  I don’t say this out loud but I don’t play poker for a good reason!   OH?  Did you just say OH?   WTF?  I was brilliantly articulate while emotionally charged.  Sometimes it is not easy being me!!!

MGV:  HOLY SMOKES.  Take a breath.  While your heart rate accelerates, you may lose sight of the importance of this moment.  You have two choices:

  1. You can respond in a kind, compassionate manner.  The past cannot be erased but perhaps you will help shape future behavior?
  2. You can react and do what you have countless times before,   you can ARGULATE.  (One of my favorite sources for information, Urban Dictionary, defines argulate as to argumentatively provide a hard-headed and ignorant fool the wisdom of your point of view; that which is undoubtedly right in every which way.)

ME:  RESPOND OR REACT?  Sounds familiar!  I do try to follow my own advice but sometimes it is easier to do as I say and not as I do.

I turn to YOU and say lovingly, ...

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Beauty Stems from Diversity advice & strategies diversity new orleans racism relationships & communication triggers & the inner critic

I just returned from my first trip to the amazing city of New Orleans!  What a place—a city rich in history and culture.

On the final leg of the trip home I sat reflecting on the warmth of the NoLa people and the pride associated with excellent products and services, when a man also traveling home from the South, made the following comment, “The only good thing about the South is the manners.  People there really know their place and respect white people.  They don’t have attitudes like these Mexicans over here.”

Maturity or maybe aging neurons provided me with the ability to pause before I engaged my mouth.  My first thought.  Did I just hear him correctly?  Yes, I am wearing my glasses.  (I swear I hear better when I am wearing my glasses!)  But this was someone my age or even younger…….hmmmm.

My second thought was why should I waste my energy responding to such a complete idiot?  But….. I can’t just stay silent, can I?  After all, communication is what separates us from apes…..

My neurons finally started firing on all cylinders and I managed to say this with a touch of icy calm, “Excuse me but everyone has a story and you cannot know the perspective of another person until you have walked in their shoes.”

May I point out I didn’t use any expletives? I zipped my lip.  I gave him no fuel to further engage me on any topic whether it is race, immigration or even the weather.  I am comfortable with my beliefs and I so much wanted to change his perspective but I deemed him a lost cause.  I also deemed him a racist moron in case you thought I had gone soft in the head.

My choice is to expend my energy where I CAN make a difference but driving home I could not let go of that conversation.  Isn’t this 2012?  Don’t I live in one of the most progressive areas of the country?  Why are we still judging people by the color of their skin?  Where is his compassion for a fellow human being?

People!! Let’s not forget that the United States was founded by immigrants.  Furthermore, we displaced the native people and exploited the cheap or even free labor of many others.

The beauty of this country lies in our diversity.   Celebrate it!

The color of someone’s skin does not determine whether or not we engage with them in a kind, honest and respectful manner.  For that matter, neither does their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status.  All people deserve respect.  It’s really that simple.

“Treat others better than you wish to be treated yourself.”  That’s what my Grandma always told us and that is what I wish to share with you.

From the heart,



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If You Are Struggling…. advice & strategies emotions & emotional inventory feelings friendship mental wellness relationships & communication triggers & the inner critic trust

For most of my adult life I did not want anyone to know that things weren’t rosy behind the white picket fence.  I thought if I admitted my struggle, it was a negative reflection on my character.  It meant I was weak, incompetent, lazy, and maybe even stupid.  Pretty harsh words, huh? 

I was acting a part.  I was the perfect wife, mother, friend and professional.  What I didn’t know was that if you play the same role for years, you begin to forget who you are.  You drift further and further away from your true self and become a character from your imaginary life; just going through the motions.

Avoiding those feelings or then deciding not to seek help meant that I could tune out what I didn’t like——-shut off the critical voice.  I didn’t have to hear how horrible I was, however, there was a big price to pay.  There were days that I would BLOW without provocation.  More often I would cry in the bathroom or in the car – that is where I could touch up my makeup so no one knew I had been upset.  Put on a pretty face and carry on!

Last week I touched base with a friend who seemed different but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  They asked me for advice on how I remain positive despite the many things I have on my plate.  I truly am happy despite living in one of the most stressful times of my life.  My secret?  Once I started to admit I wasn’t “FINE” every time some asked me, I started to feel much better.   It sounds simple because it is.

Now I don’t go on and on, in intimate detail every time someone chirps, “Hi, How are you today?”  I am not obligated to say FINE.  I’d rather to say something I am happy or grateful for.  It shifts my thinking over to the positive side.

Let me interrupt this thought with an important reminder.     Before you start giving anyone advice, ask them if they WANT YOUR advice and if they do, speak only from YOUR OWN experience—that is your truth.  If not, zip your lip.

Why did I choose to check my emotions?  What was I avoiding besides the critical voice?

I thought my friends would judge me when they knew I was struggling.     THEY DIDN’T.

I thought I would have to justify or defend my decisions.      NOPE.

I thought they would abandon me to avoid the drama.    NOT A CHANCE.

I thought I may intensify or attract more of what I wanted to get rid of.   This is something to pay attention to.  If you feel stuck and you are repeating yourself, there may be another issue at play.  I am talking about letting the words flow through you—looking for a release and ultimately resolution.  Solid and stuck versus fluid and liberating— can you see where I am going?

Acknowledging what you are feeling allows you...

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So Sadness Enhances Creativity? #mygirlfriendvoice advice & strategies building inner wisdom emotions & emotional inventory mindset matters relationships & communication self-support system triggers & the inner critic words are weapons too your inner critic

So Sadness Enhances Creativity?

I was listening to a radio interview on the topic of creativity and one  statement stuck in my brain.  Four days later and I’m still thinking about the theory that sad people are the most creative people.  At first I thought of tortured artists like Van Gough and Pollack but weren’t they dealing with more than mere sadness?  OK, perhaps I am getting too analytical.

When I was sad, I didn’t feel the creative spirit pouring out of me.  I was tired and cried all the time.  My most creative venture was getting dressed—if there was anything clean to wear! If I was really creative I could a make dinner out of supplies in the pantry.

Why would sadness unleash creativity?  My theory is that the INNER CRITIC voice may be dampened to the degree that creativity sees an opening and feels safe to explore. 

Blessings did arise from my sadness.  Through cognitive behavior therapy, I learned how to work with my emotions and completely embrace myself.  I am a work in progress, don’t get me wrong, but I start each day grounded in gratitude and seeking happiness.

My Girlfriend Voice (MGV) came to light during my sadness.  I noticed I had this soothing, compassionate voice in my head.  For example, if I was contemplating how to handle a snarky comment from my former boss my MGV would say, “You can go down to their level or just let it go.  You’ll make the right choice”.    The choice was mine.  I love having choices!

Had I listened to my inner critic that day, it probably would have said, “Here we go again.  Why do you put up with this crap? Why don’t you have a new job?  Are you too lazy to look for one?  You should……  Why don’t you…. OMG!  Loser.”

I came to realize that the words the inner critic was delivering to my head were so harsh, things I would never dare utter out loud to another person.  Why would I talk to myself in such an abusive way? My inner-dialogue, lacking any sort of compassion or trust, shredded my self-confidence and squashed my objectivity.  It was a form of self-mutilation because words are weapons.

The more I listen to MGV, the less I hear from my inner critic!!

It would be unrealistic to think I could completely eliminate my inner critic.  Perhaps there is something important buried in those harsh words?  Again, it is my choice to take what I want and leave the rest behind. I’ve tried giving my inner critic an appointment time– like the DMV.  I tell her I’ll listen with undivided attention as long as what she says is helpful, kind or beneficial.  I’m not into whining or belittling but rather finding a solution.  Funny, she hasn’t come to call nearly as often.  ♥

From the heart,


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My Sadness is a Verb not a Noun advice & strategies depression is real emotions & emotional inventory living on contingency mindset matters remove the stigma sadness is a verb triggers & the inner critic

My Sadness is a Verb not a Noun

“Scratch her and she’ll bleed sadness.”  Wouldn’t that be a great opening line for a novel?  Truth is stranger than fiction.  This is my story.

When I feel sadness, I am immediately fearful.  Is this the sadness that feels like a wet fur coat in July?  Is it the same sadness that sat on my chest and poked me until I cried?  No.  This is different.  My current sadness is a verb; not a noun.

(Titled depression_by_thecruelone-sensum)

A few years ago, I toppled into a clinical depression.  I remember sitting in the ER while my son was being treated and something popped.  It was like the last bubble of resolve in my brain expired and I was overcome by darkness.   My heart ran out of blood.  I tumbled into unknown territory so fast I couldn’t identify what I was going through.  It was hard to breathe.  I was a shadow of my former self.

In the beginning I was extremely successful hiding depression from everyone close to me.  As my depression continued, it got to the point where I had trouble leaving my house.  Frankly I had trouble doing anything except crying.  I raged at myself and the feelings of inadequacy—if I were smarter, somehow different, worked less, exercised more ….. if (insert anything her) then I wouldn’t feel so hopeless.

I was living on CONTINGENCY.  As long as everyone else was doing well, I was doing well!  Things were falling apart fast and based on this system, I too would become a casualty.  I was taking zero time for myself, not only for self-care but time for feeding my passions.  I was living for my kids, had my identity tied up in my job and felt invisible in my marriage.   Kaboom.  There she blows!  I had nothing to ground me in the storm.

Depression affects all people regardless of geography, socio-economic status and age.  Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression; often stemming from an inability to process or express anger.  In the midst of depression, it feels like a glass divider separates you from the world.  Help is just too far away or you don’t feel worthy of the help.

Depression is a pit of despair.  The walls are high enough to keep you trapped inside and out of sight.  

Now when I feel the sadness running through me but it doesn’t knock me down or overwhelm me.  Why?  I am giving myself permission to sit with “uncomfortable” feelings.   From this struggle I will grow.  I am confident of that fact.

I have learned to give myself permission to feel.  Everyone struggles!!!  I take care of the little girl inside, craving to be healed.  I am pursuing my passions.  I laugh, I sleep, I dance.  I work really hard and play even harder.

If you walk in the rain, you get wet.  This is how I describe my current...

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When I Count My Blessings I Count You Twice advice & strategies count your blessings living authentically mindset matters soul sisters of solace struggling accelerates growth triggers & the inner critic

When I Count My Blessings I Count You Twice

I have a plaque with this phrase hanging by my front door.  Every time I come and go, I am reminded that my blessings outweigh my struggles. Focus on the good stuff—–

Lately I’ve had to remind myself of my many blessings because the past two weeks have been hell– laden with struggles.  I am being tested! My Girlfriend Voice consoles me and agrees with my plan.  In order to take care of myself, I will pull back on my social commitments and activities. I tell myself, “Put on your oxygen mask first before assisting another passenger”.  Slow down.  Recalibrate. Listen to your body. Indulge in a little self-care.

In the past I equated struggling with being weak and dammit, I AM NOT WEAK.  If I didn’t solve each and every problem–figure things out– then I was a failure. Struggling was NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Stupid people struggle.  Incompetent people struggle. Struggle = weak = failure.

“Never see her sweat,”  was my motto but it was exhausting to operate as the perfect woman.  I didn’t allow myself to see how unrealistic it was to be a super hero Mom, supportive friend, patient wife and creative business woman all at the same time.  Talk about setting myself up for crisis!

Fortunately I learned and now believe that struggling is an accelerator of growth.  Struggling is the indicator light on my dashboard that it is time to pause.  

On Thursday night I admitted to my friends that I was in a vulnerable place and needed a quiet weekend for self-care so I cancelled our plans.  It reinforced what I already knew —- I have phenomenal friends! Friends, who despite what struggles they are going through, such as the death of a parent or unreasonable job expectations, offer to help ME.  I can call on them for a late night chocolate delivery, a shoulder to cry on, a belly laugh, retail therapy—you name it.  They are there for me, just a phone call (or text) away.  No worries about being judged or criticized. My gals got my back!

What is even better is that my friends don’t rely on my drama to feel important. They don’t require updates, solutions, or explanations.  They are not trying to fix, save or remodel me.  One gal pal in particular is so good at asking me, “do you want me to strictly listen or are you looking for advice?”  Sometimes I just want to say (scream) things out loud and have her listen to my ramblings.  Sometimes I need her advice.  Sometimes I want to hear about her life so I can momentarily forget about mine.

Living an imperfect but perfectly authentic life is so refreshing!  To my girlfriends……THANK YOU.  You are my SOUL SISTERS of SOLACE!  Your Girlfriend Voices have comforted me more than you know!

How do you feel about struggling? What is your support system?...

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Planting Hope #highonhope #mygirlfriendvoice #seedsofhope #wakeupgrateful addiction advice & strategies anger seeds resentment divorce emotions & emotional inventory gardening hope planting the seeds of hope triggers & the inner critic

Planting Hope

Today I smelled a hint of spring in the air and for me there is almost nothing better than connecting with my garden.  I decided to plant the Hollyhock seeds I’ve been saving from my previous garden.  (Clarification:  this weekend I found the seeds I put away when I moved a year ago! Time to plant them before I lose them again!)

Planting seeds is a wonderful visual.  I hope that my little seeds will become stately stalks of color but I won’t know for many months.  What do I have to lose? I lovingly set them in moist rich soil and wish them a safe journey.

I love giving time and attention to my garden because it graciously receives all my efforts. (and there is no talking back!) I give and give and have no expectation of any return.  Is that a crazy statement?  Not at all, especially if you know me!  It is one of the few things I do where I plan, nurture and happily accept the results.  I have no control over the weather.  I do my part to fertilize, water and place plants where they will thrive. The rest of the work is up to those little seeds.

My seeds are my hope and a reminder that life has seasons.

Resentment is like a seed.  You put it away but it grows—it doesn’t need light or water; just time.  Resentment takes up valuable space.  I think of resentment like an AA battery left too long in my desk drawer.  The acid slowly leaks out and ruins things, leaving a rusty stain behind.

Angry feelings left unattended will seed resentment.  Is it realistic to assume can avoid resentment when anger is a natural emotion?

The next time you get angry, ask yourself a few questions BEFORE you react.

Identify the ONE thing that irks you most—was it an insult?  Someone let you down?  Was there lack respect or appreciation?  Resist the urge to rehash the entire situation by focusing on the predominant offense.

What is your role in the situation?  For instance were you relying on telepathy to communicate? (I do it all the time!) Were your expectations out of line?  Did your mood invite or elevate the situation?

Have you allowed this behavior in the past to go unaddressed?  Do you say “whatever” and silently seethe?

If we understand the anger, we can prevent the anger from seeding poisonous resentment. 

There were times in my life when I wore resentment like armor.  You see, I love someone afflicted with addiction.  Addiction is a disease—not a lifestyle.  I have been disappointed, irate, terrified, and sad beyond words but then I look at that four letter word H.O.P.E.  I have HOPE that he will be safe and find his way.  I have hope that I will continue loving him without judgment.

I also was in a long term relationship where I felt unappreciated; where sarcasm was considered “affectionate banter”.  I thought that no response was the right response...

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BAM!! Yummy goes to Crummy #listenin #mindbodyconnection #respondnotreact #slowdown #yummytocrummy advice & strategies cakeover emotions & emotional inventory relationships & communication texting while angry triggers & the inner critic yummy goes to crummy

BAM! Yummy goes to Crummy

I woke up with a hangover.  Let me clarify.  I have a chocolate cake hangover.  One piece of chocolate cake and I have a “CAKEOVER” in the morning!!!  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I am still weighing the pros and cons of that question.

I know I am not supposed to eat junk food but every once in a while I crave a slice of rich, delicious chocolate fudge cake from my local grocery store.  I savor each heavenly bite of that four by four by four inch square.  Twelve hours later and the payback sets in.  CAKEOVER HEADACHE!  Yummy goes to crummy real fast. 

Wouldn’t it be great if every time we indulged in something negative/toxic/dangerous, we had a physical reaction to remind us there are consequences?  Think about it.

You spend two years dating the wrong person.  BAM!  Stomach flu sets in before the end of your first date and you are saved from 24 months of a hellacious emotional roller coaster ride.

You take a new job only to find out that the new boss mislead you regarding his “expectations” and you are assigned to cubicle purgatory.  BAM!  Hives break out during the interview and you never get the job offer.

You say that cheap, angry insult out loud in a moment of anger.  BAM!  Momentary amnesia sets in for everyone within earshot and you are granted a “start over”.  N0 apology necessary.  Now what was I saying?

I am not suggesting that we have a physical punishment every time we approach the “danger zone” but we can learn to develop an awareness based on our body’s clues essentially trying to shoot a flare to the brain.  For instance, when my face tenses up and I scrunch my eyes, it means I am not listening anymore and I am about to interrupt you!  There are times when my breathing is shallow – usually because I am angry or annoyed.  I am not listening then either; instead I am having a dark moment plotting your demise.  Or when I press soooooo hard while texting that my finger threatens to crack the screen!  IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT AND URGENT THAT YOU READ MY MESSAGE! NOW!

I wish that every time I had a physical “body cue” that I translated it into a PAUSE; a pause which allowed time to review the situation and plan my response.  Pausing I could evaluate, “Will “X” be worth the outcome of “Z”?    Uh oh, sounds like a story problem and I don’t do math after 5pm!

Let your Girlfriend Voice be your BAM!  Let her wisdom guide you. With her guidance, you will find yourself RESPONDING rather than REACTING.

Slow down your breathing. Slow down and feel what’s in your body.  Slow down and listen in.  Slow down –period.

Will I stop eating chocolate cake?  No, but I will eat it earlier in the day followed by a huge glass of...

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The Thrill is in the Hunt #crackingmyselfupagain #happinessisachoice #iamresponsibleformyhappiness #mygirlfriendvoice #thriftshopping advice & strategies being present catch you on the flip side good buddy! mindset matters the happy truck triggers & the inner critic

The Thrill is in the Hunt

I love to shop at thrift stores, garage sales and consignment stores for clothing and home furnishings.  I know what I don’t want and I’ll know what I want when I see it.  Makes sense, right?  Lucky me, it was half price day at one of my favorites stores.

There it was, calling to me, from the “ART” section.

Twilight in the desert

A lonely stretch of road; illuminated by a single vehicle

A Kenmore Mack truck lights up the barren sky

“Breaker-breaker, good buddy!  Do ya copy?”

Yes, I bought a painting of an 18 wheeler!   The best part is that when you plug in this delicious canvas, light shines out of twenty punched holes filled with yellow and red Christmas lights.  My Mack truck lights up the desert night sky like beacon of hope!  Bingo.  I hit the mother lode for $11.25.

In reference to my living room, I could wait until I find a respectable or even inspirational piece of art to fill the space above my fireplace or I can hang something that makes me happy right now.  How often do I/you search for SOMETHING to fill a space, discarding viable options, when there is something right in front of me/us that makes perfect sense?

I had found THE HAPPY TRUCK and it was meant to adorn my wall.

There were years when I was looking for happiness.  I wanted to unload the “UN-happy”.   I needed a fix.

It was much easier to push the blame outwardly than to dive inwardly and take responsibility for my situation.  “If you only did this or stopped doing this, I would be happier.”  NOT.   Luckily I woke up and decided that something had to change.  I stepped into the truth and started to look at ME.

I was the one that needed to change.

Slowly and often painfully, I looked at MY actions — the only thing I have control over.  I didn’t like most of what I saw in there.  The truth hurts but I needed to make an inventory.  I made changes where I could, baby steps, until I felt grounded.  It took a few years to believe that I was responsible for my own happiness and then a few more years to put my new perspective into practice and leap into a new life.

I define my happiness.

My happiness is not dependent on you.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

Happiness is not an all or nothing situation.  For instance, I am quite happy sitting under my blanket despite that I have been sick since Tuesday with a monstrous cold.  I am happy the white load got washed and put away even though I have two more loads to go.  I am happy that my Frig is clean even though it means eggs for dinner (again!) or a trip to the store later.

I grab at happiness, drape it over me and let the other stuff go.

Someday I’d like to create a piece of art to hang on the hearth but there is no excuse for not enjoying what I have today.

“Catch you on the flip side and...

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