You Can Heal Your Life…But Can You Really?

The Book: You Can Heal Your Life. Louise Hay. Hay House Publishing, 1984.

The meaty part of the book is structured like a series of sessions you might have had with Louise Hay, who, besides being the fairy godmother of self-help, wrote in a voice that sounds like your sweet great auntie who would pinch you on the cheek and give you chocolates.

Then she smacks you upside the head with exercises and affirmations.  Why?  Because you don’t love yourself enough. They’re gentle, loving smacks, though, and probably necessary.

Each chapter has as its epigraph an affirmation that you’re supposed to use as you work through that chapter.  I may need to unearth my Post-Its and add some of these to the affirmations already stuck in random places around my apartment.

The first chapter of this section, “What Is the Problem” starts with the affirmation that “It is safe to look within.”  Then there are some “things that don’t work,” : “My Body Doesn’t Work,” “My Relationships Don’t Work,” “My Finances Don’t Work,” “My Life Doesn’t Work” (pp. 13-14). Well, that resonates!

The whole point of this chapter is that to solve a problem, you must first identify the problem, which, incidentally, I firmly believe.  So, how do you do that?


The very first one is called, “I should…” You write that on a piece of paper and then write 5-6 ways you could finish that sentence.  NOTE: I didn’t actually read the instructions very carefully when I did the exercise, because I wrote down 28.  There or some real gems on this list, like these:

  • …have a six-pack.
  • …live in a big house.
  • …have life/career/love/money all figured out and taken care of by now.
  • …read the classics.
  • …be perfect.

The second part is to say each one and ask yourself, “Why?”.  Here are some of my answers.

  • …because that’s the societal definition of male attractiveness.
  • …because “happy” people live in big houses.
  • …because 40 is on the horizon and getting closer with alarming speed.
  • …because smart people have read the classics and I want to be a smart person.
  • …because…because…well, I don’t really have a good answer for that except that somewhere, very early in my life, I picked up the notion that less than perfect = not good enough.

Next, you say, “If I really wanted to, I could [fill in the blank with a should].” In a real session, Louise would have asked, “Why don’t you?”  It’s not explicit, but you’re meant to do that for yourself.  So, why don’t I:

  • have a six-pack? I’m still figuring out how to get there (I haven’t given up on this one yet!)
  • live in a big house? It seems insane to me to go hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to live in a big house, and I don’t at present have the kind of balance in my bank account to just go out and buy one (I haven’t entirely given up on this one yet, either).
  • have life/career/love/money all figured out by now? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have these things figured out by now, without having lived an entirely different life up until this point.  But I’m working on figuring them out (and lucky you, you get to hear aaaallllll about it!).  I’m not giving up on this one.
  • read the classics? Uhm…I realized that I’m not really all that interested in reading them just because they’re classics.  I’ll read the ones I want to, like the Divine Comedy, and skip over the ones I don’t, like War and Peace.
  • be perfect?  This one I have to give up on, probably grudgingly, after some struggle. I know it’s not possible, despite what my brain tells me.

After doing the exercise, Louise talks more about loving the self and how that’s really the cure for what ails you.

The chapter ends with another exercise: “Pick up a small mirror, look into [your] own eyes, and say [your] name and ‘I love you and accept you exactly as you are'” (19).

As a very vain person, I happen to have several mirrors, including one of those double-sided ones with a regular mirror and a magnifying mirror.  I dutifully brought it to the sofa where I like to do stuff, looked in my eyes and said, “Oh dear God it’s time for botox.” Perhaps this exercise is better not done late in the evening, in strange side light, on a day when you feel and look particularly haggard.

I tried again.  I picked up the mirror, looked in my eyes, and then looked around to make sure no one was watching me.  In my apartment, where I live alone and there are very few places to hide.

I tried yet again.  This time I got through it, but it was grudgingly done, and quite frankly, felt ridiculous.  I kept going until I was able to be serious, if not fully believe myself.  This mirror exercise is hard. I’ll have to keep doing it until it feels natural.

“It is safe to look within.” Probably true, but damn it’s uncomfortable.

Next Time: Another session with Louise and You Can Heal Your Life!



You Can Heal Your Life? What?

The Book: You Can Heal Your Life. Louise Hay. Hay House Publishing, 1984.

As lives go, mine’s not as terribly broken as some.  Certainly, there are things to work on, and some brokenness to heal, but I was never physically abused, haven’t been through war or famine, and there’s always been a roof over my head. I’m pretty privileged, besides, given that I’m a white cisgender guy.

However, there are clearly some areas that could be better, or this blog wouldn’t even exist.  Happy, well-adjusted people probably don’t need to read self-help books, or (and I suspect this might be the case for a lot of them) they’ve already read them.

You Can Heal Your Life has been sitting in my bookcase for years, gathering dust bunnies and waiting for me to read it.  I originally bought it the first time I went through a self-help phase.  That phase, by the way, consisted of buying several books and putting them on the bookshelf, where they have since languished, but hey, it was a start!

This was definitely a case of judging a book by it’s cover.  A big red heart in kind of a watercolor style with the very simple statement that you can heal your life as the title, this was totally appealing, on one hand.

On the other hand, when I first saw it, I *might* have snorted a little and said, “Yeah. Right.” My original skepticism makes it the perfect next book for these Adventures.  Will this really help? (My secret believe is that yes, yes indeed it will…that skepticism?  It’s a façade. After all, I bought the book anyway.)

Louise starts by laying out her beliefs about how and why we live the way we live, do the things we do, hold ourselves back the way we do.  If you’re not into things like the Universe (but you know I totally am), or if you don’t believe that your thoughts affect literally everything around you, then this book might be just a little too heavy on the woo-woo factor for you. But I decided I’d give it a go anyway.

Here are Louise’s beliefs that I find the most intriguing:

  • “The universe totally supports us in every thought we choose to think and believe”(2).
  • “Most of us have foolish ideas about who we are and many, many rigid rules about how life ought to be lived” (2).
  • “When we are very little, we learn how to feel about ourselves and about life by the reactions of the adults around us” (3).
  • “The Point of Power is always in the present moment” (4).
  • “Believe it or not, we do choose our thoughts” (5).

The whole point of the book is that self-love is the one thing that can lead us to happiness and prosperity: “Self approval and self acceptance in the now are the main keys to positive changes in every area of our lives” (9).

I needed to stop there for a minute.  Not because I didn’t believe it, or needed time to let it set in, or wanted another cup of coffee.  The question is, HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT? I was thinking that to myself the entire time I was reading You are a Badass, too. I should have kept going, though, because the very next paragraph starts by telling us “Loving the self […] begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything” (9). I don’t think Louise means the sort of “what-can-I-learn-from-this-situation” kind of constructive criticism we give ourselves sometimes, but more the “I’m such a f**king moron, I’ll never be good enough” type.

That’s what this book is about.  How to love yourself, and heal your life by loving yourself.

This is gonna be and adventure, kids, because to be quite honest, I’m pretty lacking in the self-love department.

We’ll get into the meat of the book next time, when we start a “Session with Louise” and do some exercises!

Next Time: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.



Lessons in Badassery IV: Dollars and Sense

The Book: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Jen Sincero. Running Press, 2013.

Jen wraps ups the last part of You are a Badass with what I think are maybe the four main ingredients to the Badass Cake (I’ve been craving cake, ok…chocolate, with chocolate butter cream frosting). Not in this order:


You can’t be wishy-washy about changing your life.  You have to decide that that’s what you’re gonna do come hell or high water. This is something that presents difficulties for me, because even simple decisions terrify me.  What if I make the wrong choice?  What if my decision is wrong and catastrophe ensues?  Case in point: never let me talk you into going shopping for shampoo and conditioner with me, because I will smell EVERY bottle of both.  TWICE.  And then I will proceed to hem and haw for 45 minutes about which to get.  I like how this one smells, but it has sulfates.  This one doesn’t have sulfates, and it’s volumizing, but it smells too flowery. I *might* have even been known to ring my hands and more than once I’ve aborted the mission because it was too much.  For shampoo and conditioner.

I have, however, made the decision to make some major changes in my life.  I’m not entirely certain what direction that decision will take yet, so don’t ask me  but I’ll tell you when I have more information.


Once the decision is made, you have to actually do it…come hell or high water.  That makes sense.  If you decide to do, and then don’t do, you didn’t really decide now did you?

This blog, and reading the books discussed herein, is a part of my action. So is showing up more fully and being more present in life in general.

All this despite the fact that my sofa is second only to my bed in the level of comfort and well-being it provides me.


This isn’t the lie-down-and-take-it kind of surrender, where we give in to that impulse to pull the covers up to our chin, call in sick, and stare at the wall all day (surely I’m not the only person who’s tempted to do that at least twice a week?).  This is surrendering to the Universe (what Jen calls Source Energy, remember?).  It’s allowing the Universe to work for us instead of clutching on to all of those things — our stories, mostly — that keeps us stagnant at the edges of our own lives.

Surrender is gonna be hard.  I know this, because I’m a clutcher.  I hold onto things tightly, so tightly.  I don’t like to let go.  Recently, I noticed this manifests physically: I wake up almost every morning with clenched fists, as though I were holding onto something for dear life.  File “Surrender” under “things to add to my meditation practice.”


WHOA.  WHOA. Stop.  Money?  This supposed to be about raising your frequency and deciding to be a badass and surrendering to the Universe to give you what you need, and now we have to talk about money?  Yep.  I guess it’s hard to be a badass when you’re constantly doing financial acrobatics to figure out how to pay the rent AND buy groceries.  EDIT: I guess nothing…I know that to be a fact.  Money and I, we are not like this *holds up a hand with two crossed fingers*.

The chapter is called “Money, Your New Best Friend.” The argument is that money = currency, currency = energy.  If you put out bad energy about money, then it’s not going to come to you, but if you put out good energy about it, then you’ll attract it.  So money is about raising your frequency and surrendering to the Universe, in a way.

And boy-oh-boy have I had bad energy around money.  There’s not enough, I don’t make enough, I’ll never be able to [fill in the blank] because of money.  You know, regular stuff about money.  It sometimes kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Money is about relationship, too.  If you want to fix your money situation, you have to fix your relationship with money.  Mine’s not great; the idea of money, talking about money, makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s a love/hate, desire/fear relationship, fraught with big things like lack and shame and greed and ethics. Or, it was that sort of relationship.

The exercise in this chapter was simple: write a letter to money.

In the spirit of the exercise, I got out the fancy stationary, got my good pen out, and sat up in the slightly uncomfortable position that allows me to use my best handwriting. No use offending money with a lax attitude and bad paper when I keep using said money to buy said fancy stationary.

“Dear Money,” I wrote, “I don’t really know what to say to you.” Then I proceeded for two and a half pages, writing to money as if it were a person.  For me, it ended up being a cross between a formal letter I might write to a business associate (if I had such a thing), a stream-of-consciousness exercise, and a platonic love letter.  I worked out some good things, proposed that we try to be friends, apologized for not taking better care of it, and thanked it for being there as much as it has been.

I can’t say that everything is fixed and I’m now rolling in dough, but it was a small exercise that made a huge impact on my psyche.  You should do this exercise.  Right now.  Send money an email, or write a greeting card.

A Thing happened, too.  Payday came a couple days after I wrote the letter, and with it, bill paying time.  Usually, this is a source of extreme anxiety, because, quite frankly, there’s often more month than money.  But I paid the bills that aren’t on some sort of autopay, calculated what I had left over including the bills that are on autopay, and became very confused.  So I calculated them again.  And again.  I should note that “bill-paying time” is 5:30 am, and I was only a third of the way through my first cup of coffee, so the confusion was legitimate.  Also, there was waaaaayyyy more money left than there usually is.  Now, my paycheck wasn’t any bigger than it should have been, and I didn’t get a sudden, unexpected windfall (in fact, my Amazon Prime was charged for the year, which I’d completely forgotten about). It was like Money said, “Ok.  Let’s work this out,” and the pieces fell into place.

Those little badass dollars and I, we’re gonna be great friends.

Next Time: A new book! You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.

Lessons in Badassery III: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Book: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Jen Sincero. Running Press, 2013.

I skipped a lot of things this week: the gym (twice), a few meals, and the Thursday adventure I intended to write here.  Mea culpla, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

In my defense, I was actively and attentively* doing exercises from You are a Badass.

*See “Procrastination” below

The chapters for today’s adventure all deal with some pretty heavy stuff: the stories we tell ourselves, procrastination, overwhelm, and fear.  The main exercise in this portion of the books is to identify the stories that hold you back, determine their false benefits to you, and then replace them with a better story to tell yourself.

I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. DO. THIS.  Of course, I did/do want to do this exercise for my long-term well being, but it seemed, once I really read the instructions, like the self-help version of a colonoscopy [Disclaimer: I’ve never had a colonoscopy, so I don’t actually know, but it does seem rather unpleasant]. It’s good for you, you gotta do it, but MAN OH MAN wouldn’t it be nicer to avoid it?

You see, examining your stories, the ones you tell yourself about yourself and why you aren’t where you want to be in certain areas of your life is f**king terrifying uncomfortable.  This is where you hold the mirror up, look yourself in the eyes, and say, “This is what I believe about me.”  And I did not want to, no sir, thank you, and GOOD DAY!

Quick recap of how this relates to the chapters on overwhelm and fear:

  • Overwhelm: There are a lot of stories, and this seemed like, and still seems like, a very big project.
  • Fear: I’m terrified of what I think of me, of what you might think of me, of these stories I’ve made my truth, and of the vulnerability it takes to look in that mirror. Oh, I knew the stories were there, lurking under the surface like some giant monster that might eat my psyche.  Something like this:


Look at those teeth! So sharp and pointy! I believe this is called a gigantosaurus.

Clearly, the answer to this conundrum, this fear and overwhelm, was to just do it procrastination!  Rather to my detriment, that is something at which I excel.  It’s amazing how you can find 1,000 things that you have to do right this very minute before you can possibly begin the Thing You’re Supposed to Actually Be Doing. The procrastination took the following forms:

  1. Yoga, because I “needed to center myself” first.
  2. Sleep, because I “needed to be better rested” first (one night I even went to bed at 7 p.m.).
  3. The gym, to “get that out of the way” first (but hey, I finally went!).
  4. Rearranging my whole. damned. apartment. Because I “needed the energy to flow better” first.

This could have gone on for days…for weeks…for a lifetime.  After four days though, I decided I didn’t really have anything that important to keep me from doing it, now that I’m centered, rested, worked out, and surrounded by good-flowing energy.

So…my stories. There are 25.  And this is probably just a preliminary list.

Jen tells us to be very aware of phrases such as “I should,” “I always,” “I never,” “I can’t,” etc.  I had a couple of those, but most of my stories start with “I’m too” or “I’m not”.  That was interesting to note.  They also fall into four main categories.  I tell myself stories about:

  • my chronic singledom
  • my less-than-ideal finances
  • my calling in life/being what I really want to be when I grow up
  • my body

Remember, these aren’t fun, happy fairy-tale stories.  These are the things that hold us back from the lives we want to be leading.  Here’s one from each category:

  • I’m not interesting enough for anyone to want to be in a relationship with me.
  • I can’t do the things I want because I don’t have enough money.
  • I’m not smart enough to write a whole novel.
  • I’m too old to have a really great body.

These are the stories I find myself telling myself.  AND THEN I knew I was gonna have to blog about it?  Quite frankly, it’s a surprise I only put it off for four days!

Part two of the exercise is to then identify the false benefits of continuing to tell yourself these stories by doing a sort of stream-of-consciousness journal about them.  Rather than making you read all of that, it boils down to “things are terrible, and I am not good enough, and the benefit of this terribleness is that I don’t have to try and I get to be right for thinking that things are terrible.”

These are stupid stories.  They come from habit and from upbringing and from anxiety.  Who knows if they’re even true stories.  But I don’t want them to be.

The last part of the exercise is to let go of those stories and create new ones to replace them.  I haven’t gotten there yet, but once I’ve procrastinated a little more (I really do need to do laundry!), I’m gonna make up a story about being a badass magical unicorn.  Which, by the way, I now have one of those tattooed to my body.

One more time, go buy this book.  Seriously.

Next Time: The Final Lessons in Badassery


Crash Course in Badassery: Lesson II

The Book: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Jen Sincero. Running Press, 2013.

These last couple days — well this afternoon in the bathtub — I read through the third part of You are a Badass, which Jen calls “How to Tap into the Motherlode.” The Motherlode is the Universe’s store of great things for me (and you, and you, and you over there!), and naturally I want to tap into some of that!  Or, if I’m honest, all of that.

There are more how-tos and advice for long-term practices in this section than exercises, per se, so I’ll just go through each chapter and give a short(ish) commentary:

  • “Meditation 101” : Meditation and why you HAVE to do it.

I already do this…or at least I try.  Most mornings, I get up, make my coffee, sit on the sofa, and set the timer for 20 minutes.  The image of a green, lush valley projects itself on my eyelids. There’s a snow-capped mountain in the distance.  I observe my thoughts wander by from north to south.  They take the shape of…buffalo? I just run with it.  And then I get distracted.  And then I come back.  Distracted, come back.  Distracted. COME BACK.  I’m now up to a total of approximately 4 minutes of actual mindfulness in my 20 minute block, up from 17 seconds when I started.  They don’t call it a practice for nothin’.

  • “Your Brain is Your Bitch” : Master your thoughts to master your world

This chapter has a cool, actionable exercise that I really, really want to do: make a VISION BOARD!!!  I even have a big pad of drawing paper that would be perfect to glue things to! What I don’t have are magazines to cut pictures out of.  I thought about doing a special Pinterest board — and still might — but a physical vision board might be a more powerful tool.  So, I gotta get me some magazines and glue! I’ll share that one later, with pictures!

  • “Lead with Your Crotch” : No, no, no!  This title isn’t meant to be interpreted literally…I think; instead, it’s about letting go of your set ways and embracing doing new things with youthful exuberance and with a beginners mindset.

OOF.  I’m gonna need more time with this one.  As one of those people who was probably born old, I don’t recall doing very much with youthful exuberance, and I hate being a beginner.  But damnit, I’m gonna try!

  • “Give and Let Give” : Or, how to embrace the power of giving AND remaining open to receive.

I like to think I’m good at giving of what I have to give, but maybe it’s time to seek more opportunities for giving.  Working on receiving with more grace and less uncomfortable awkwardness definitely needs to go on my list.

  • “Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness” : Be grateful for the Universe’s gifts and lessons; no one likes an ingrate!

Practicing gratitude is one of my New Year’s Resolutions.  Not just saying, “thank you,” but actively looking for and recognizing things for which I’m grateful.  To that end, I’m now one of those people who keeps a gratitude journal.

  • “Forgive or Fester” : Holding a grudge is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

HA HA HA! *nervous shuffling* HA HA HA! This will be hard.  I hold my grudges with an iron grip.  I know it’s good for me, but man, a grudge is hard to drop.

  • “Loosen Your Bone, Wilma” : Allow yourself to participate in the awesome strange-ass things the world throws at you…who knows what you might learn.

Like Wilma’s, my hair bone is way too tight. I gotta let my hair down.  Or I will once it grows back from that terrible haircut in October that still pisses me off every time I think about it which is like 10 times a day since that’s about how often I look in the mirror (see…there’s the grudge-holding.  I’m not quite ready to let that one go yet).

This is all really good stuff, huh?  It’ll take some time and extra practice to integrate it all, but while I work on doing that…

Next Up: Even More Badassery!

Eek!  I read ahead a little, and I think we’re getting into the scary dig-deep-into-your-soul chapters…



Crash Course in Badassery: Lesson I

The Book: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Jen Sincero. Running Press, 2013.

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK.  Of course, with that title, how could anyone not.  You pick it up, and suddenly you’re wearing a black leather jacket, and your boots make a satisfying clomping sound as you go out to the parking lot and swing your leg over your motorcycle to ride off into the sunset.  That’s what happened to me, in my head, anyway, when I first beheld it.  Go out and buy it at your earliest opportunity.  

I have a small confession: this is the third time I’ve read it. My love for it shows with the slightly frayed and bent front cover, the creases in the binding, and the weird discoloration on the back cover. I have a second small confession:  while this isn’t my first go-round, I’ve never actually…uhm…done the exercises (Ms. Sincero, if you ever read this, I’m sorry!  I know I should have done them the first time, but I just wasn’t feeling badass enough yet).  

You are a Badass is funny and insightful. Jen (can I call you Jen?) is a compelling storyteller, and most importantly, the work — both in the sense of the book itself and the work of the exercises — is extremely accessible.  GO BUY IT. 

Before I go too much further, a couple of things about how I think this blog is going to work (remember, it’s my first one, so this is subject to change at any moment per my whim):

  • I’m not going to give a full summary of each book before getting into the exercises, so you’ll get little summarized bits as I read and work through them.
  • Rule #2 clearly states that I’ll do all the exercises and blog about it.  I will, in fact, do all of the exercises in each book, because I think that’s important to my development as a human being.  I will not, however, blog about every exercise that I do.  There are a couple of reasons:
    • That would be extraordinarily tedious for everyone.  You do not want that. I do not want that.
    • The point here isn’t to give a compendium of self-help exercises, but to share my experiences of this whole process of internal adventuring.

That little bit of administrative business out of the way, on to the book!

What is You are a Badass even about? It’s not about leather jackets and motorcycles, unless you want it to be.  In Jen’s words, “This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can’t have it. Or that you don’t deserve it […] Or listening to what Dad and Aunt Mary think you should be doing. It’s about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, badassiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you” (12).  That sounds pretty cool…and daunting, no?

The first few chapters give us some wisdom for the journey ahead:

  1. a discussion of why we are (f**ked up) the way we are, aka our subconscious limiting beliefs [SIDE NOTE: Oh, guys, I’ve got those in SPADES];
  2. the essential nature of what Jen calls “Source Energy”, but what could be God, Goddess, G-d, the Universe, the Cosmos, etc — whatever we conceive our Greater Powers to be. Belief in this greater power is necessary to become a true badass. I like “The Universe” most because it’s all-encompassing.
  3. the fact that the energy we send out into The Universe is the same type of energy it sends back to us, basically because that’s what we’re asking for.  So, we gotta raise our frequencies.
  4. how very important it is to be aware and to be present [SIDE NOTE II: Oh, guys, I’m TERRIBLE at this one, so it’s gonna be some extra work]

The second part, “How to Embrace your Inner Badass” is where we start to get the show really on the road, and where I came across the first of the exercises! These four chapters deal in self-love, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-starting-to-figure-out-what-to-do-with-your-damned-self. Really, seriously, though, go read these chapters.

Now – drumroll, please – ba da ba da ba da ba da ba da (how does one spell a drumroll?) – THE EXERCISES:


I read this one, and thought, “Great. Affirmations.  Let’s sit in front of a hand-mirror and say nice, if bland and silly things to myself like ‘I love me’ and ‘I embrace me.'” Jen makes swallowing this pill a little easier by basically stating that she’s only making me do it because she has to, because it works, but if there were any other way, she’d suggest that instead.

The instructions are really quite simple: surround yourself in affirmations.  She suggested writing them down: making a list to carry with you and putting them on Post-Its around the house.  I did not have any Post-Its.  But do you know who did?  Yes!  The corner store (I have a feeling I’ll be going there a lot throughout this process, but I learned they do have notebooks, too, in case my 28 — I found another — aren’t sufficient).  I now have Post-Its, too.

And now, a list of 22 affirmations:


I can fold it up and put it in my pocket!

There are also 22 Post-Its in strategic locations around my apartment.  By strategic locations, I mean where I’ll actually see them.  Mostly about 5’8″ off the ground, a.k.a eye-level for me, like these ones by the front door:

IMG-0088These ones say “I have a great butt!” and “I walk fearless into the unknown!” (Don’t judge my affirmations!  They can be whatever I want them to be, thankyouverymuch).

Or in places I look frequently, like the ones on the bathroom mirror (I spared you the bathroom-mirror-selfie-in-my-sweats-and-ratty-T-shirt):

IMG-0090“I am a fount of creativity!” and “I am a badass magical unicorn!” (I especially like the second).

But this one might my my favorite: over the face of the clock I look at literally every 4 minutes when I’m home, but don’t actually need to because I always know about what time it is and can check my phone when precision is needed:

IMG-0087You can read that one.  But just in case, it says, “I can!” That’s my actual favorite of the affirmations, which is why it has an honored place on the clock.  And it’s writ large so I can see it without my glasses from across the room, for those days when I forget, and think I can’t.

The point of the affirmations is to surround yourself positivity – reinforced by exclamation points (!) on my Post-Its – about the things that maybe, sometimes, for myriad reasons, you might not feel so positive about.  It’s been 24 hours, and they seem to be working a little already! My butt feels more muscular, anyway.

2. Do things you love

Jen told me, “make a conscious effort to increase your joy in whatever capacity you can” (57). A truth, my darlings: I’m terrible at this.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know what I love, so I waste hours playing with my phone (I know, because remember, I always know about what time it is).

One thing I used to love was yoga.  Now, I’m not the kind of yogi who stands on my head to balance my crown chakra or anything like that, but there is nothing that feels quite so good as an extended stretch.

Today was kind of a rough day on the psychological front. Given the bomb cyclone on the East Coast, this makes think of mood as a weather-like event — “we have a low-pressure psychological front coming in through the right frontal lobe” kind of thing. I was ready to throw in the towel, come home from work, and take a nap. Or play on my phone for hours.

Instead, I took Jen’s advice to do something I love.  I made it my exercise for the blog post I knew I was going to have to find the energy to write.  The Y, where I have a gym membership, is across the street from the building where I work, and they have a conveniently-scheduled Thursday evening yoga class.  Slow Flow.  It sounded perfect.  It WAS perfect.

Of course, doing things I love isn’t an exercise I can do all at once and then be done with, but it reminded me to seek the activities I love and then go out and do them already.


You wanna know a secret?  You just read it.

I don’t know for certain where I want my adventure to take me, but I know it involves a lot more writing, and this project, these Adventures in Self-Help Land, are that first right step.


Next up: More Badassery with Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass!

Ready. Set. WAIT!

I was all ready to start!  The first book has been chosen (actually, the first 4), and a first post was started.  And then…chaos ensued in my little brain.  Rule # 2 of this adventure demands that I do all the exercises in all the books, BUT HOW CAN I DO THE EXERCISES WITHOUT A NOTEBOOK?  Or several.  I was off the sofa with my coat and keys in my hand, ready to run to the nearest purveyor of fine writing materials (or the corner store…they might have notebooks), when I remembered that I have a couple of old journals and Moleskines that I’ve only used a few pages from. Ok…the exact number is 27. It turns out I do not need to purchase a new notebook. Crisis averted.

So this isn’t really a post. It’s more of a prologue.  Now that my heart rate has returned to normal, pens and notebooks have been located, the nuts and bolts of the blog have been more or less put together (that took forever), I can share with you the plan.  It’s quite simple, really.  I’m going to read some self-help books, blog about them, do the exercises, and blog about it!  Easy peasy (I say, while frantically looking around thinking, “What the hell am I doing?”).

Here are the rules I’ll follow, which pave the way for my adventures in Self-Help Land:

  1. Read each book from cover to cover — if it wasn’t important, the author wouldn’t have said it.
  2. Do all exercises — but, like really do them. Go deep within myself, be uncomfortable, be…vulnerable (ew).
  3. Blog about the books and my experiences with the exercises — I won’t promise to post the deepest, darkest secrets, but you’ll get a good sampling,
  4. Put what I learn into practice and blog about that, too.
  5. Change my life.

With the rules established, the blog set up, and my beautiful notebooks ready, let’s begin this journey!

Next Time: You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero.