Building the Stairway to Your Own Personal Heaven

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Creating the life you dream of can feel daunting at times. After all, how the hell do you get from where you are to where you want to be? You may not even know where to start! I completely understand. When you look at the big picture, it can create fear, doubt, and insecurity. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. I’m going to share a little secret…

You’ve been doing things upside down!

Yep, upside down, even if it doesn’t seem like it. You’ve been standing at the bottom of your staircase, staring ALL THE WAY up to the top. Sounds right side up, right? Sure, but how much is it helping? You see before you a billion steps and a million things that could possibly go wrong. You begin to feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the work you are going to have to do to climb up the steep set of seemingly unending steps before you. You begin to shut down before you even get going. So, what now?

It’s time to stand on your head and change your perspective.

Imagine, if you will, that you are standing at the very top of this pretend staircase. The view is much better from up here. You can look back behind you and you begin to see very clearly everything that you needed to do to gain this new perspective. You see that each step has actually been built upon the steps beneath it…that there is a very real order to the way that things were done to get you where you now are. Now, grab a pen. Start to document these steps and break them down into smaller and smaller steps as you go. Let me give you an example:

You’re dreaming of becoming a published author…

First off, congratulations on a very noble dream. How are you going to do it? You have no experience, no connections, no money to self-publish…ah, forget it. It was just a pipe dream anyway, right? WRONG! Think bigger…think upside down. Imagine you are already a well-known published author, basking in the glory of staring at your name in glossy print on the front cover of your novel. Feel the feelings, get excited, and then turn around and look behind you. What did you do to get yourself here? Well, naturally, you got published, but before you could do that you had to entice a publisher and write a book. No big deal, right? UGH.

Don’t get stressed!

Keep going!

Break your goal down even further. In order to entice a publisher, you will need to have a well-edited book, so that will be one step in the process. You will also have to query publishers, so writing a query letter may be on your eventual to-do list. And naturally, in order to query you will need to know who might even be interested in your book in the first place, but hold on. What about the book? Well, writing it will require it’s own breakdown. You’ll have to come up with an idea, format an outline, flesh out individual chapters, figure out the best way to organize said chapters, create your character profiles. WOO. Keep going! Break each of these tasks down even further and further and further. Keep going until you can’t go any further. You may wind up with 534 individual steps, maybe more, maybe less. Now, organize them from first to last and start taking them, one simple step at a time.

Any goal is attainable by moving one step at a time!

If you run into overwhelm somewhere, that means a step is still too big. How can you break it down even further? How can you create a stairway where each step is built upon a solid foundation? How can you help yourself avoid feeling overwhelmed as you move towards your goals? Once you figure that out…

KEEP climbing!

Before you know it, you will be standing back up at the top of your staircase, but this time it won’t just be in your imagination. Don’t get daunted by how long it might take to attain your goal. Just remember that a step in any direction is progress. Standing still, on the other hand, is certain to keep you where you are.

If you need help creating a plan that will catapult you into the life you truly want to live, visit my WEBSITE and contact me today for a FREE CONSULTATION. I am excited to help you make your dreams your new reality.

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Own Your Overwhelm Like a BOSS and Create the Life You Dream Of!

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What’s the one thing that’s really holding you back from living the life of your dreams? Is it your lack of college education? Is it your time constraints? Dwindling finances? Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t have a support system to back you up as you pursue them. Perhaps, it’s as simple as lacking self-confidence. Maybe, you’re not even sure what’s stopping you? Well, I am…and I’m happy to tell you it’s completely changeable!

In fact, it’s nothing more than a bit of overwhelm!

When we become overwhelmed, our bodies and minds get thrown into a tizzy! Suddenly, our big dreams begin to morph into a paralyzing series of tasks that feel way too big to tackle. Our minds flood with questions and insecurities. We find ourselves wondering which direction is the right direction, what the proper first step is, and why the hell we ever thought we could do this in the first place! Eventually, we convince ourselves fully that these dreams must belong to somebody else and we give up. We go back to living our quiet, “normal”, reasonably fulfilling reality and pretend that it’s enough. Sounds pretty awful when you look at it that way, right? Well, guess what?

You CAN make your dreams come true!

Are you really going to let a few fearful thoughts dictate what you can and cannot do with this one incredible life you get to live right now at this very moment? Damn right you’re not! At least not if I have anything to say about it! Why are we okay with being small and living mediocre lives? Why don’t we understand that our gifts, desires, and talents have been given to us so that we could share them with the world? Why don’t we believe that others might appreciate us and our dreams? Why don’t we believe in ourselves as much as we believe in EVERYBODY ELSE? If they can create the lives they are dreaming of, YOU CAN TOO! So, why haven’t you done it yet? Why is your overwhelm stopping you and standing in your way?

Because you don’t have a concrete plan!

You are most likely overwhelmed because all you can see is the big picture, but there’s SO much more than that. All of the successful people (however you define that word) you see around you…do you think their success just landed in their lap? No…it took a lot of little steps to build the momentum to get them where they are today. They knew the secret of creating a plan. They knew that looking at the whole mountain was counterproductive. They knew that they had to take things ONE step at a time.

“But, I don’t know what steps to take! If I knew them, I’d be taking them!”

I get it…I’ve been there too. In fact, I find myself there all the time, but I don’t let that deter me. You’ve heard it said, where there’s a will there’s a way, and sometimes finding the way just means getting creative! Do your research, learn a new skill that will get you closer to your dreams, surround yourself with people already living out the life you want for yourself! Eat it, sleep it, dream it, and do it! That’s the BIG thing that often gets overlooked. It’s not always the most popular viewpoint, but success takes work.

Success cannot happen without action!

What does success mean to you? Is it an abundant career, a satisfying relationship, a feeling of accomplishment as a parent, or finding the self-confidence to have it all? Whatever it means to you, I’m here to assure you that it is not as far out of your reach as you may believe it to be. You just have to create a plan! Take your overarching goal and break it down into action steps. Take those and break them down even further, and further still. Then, commit to taking ONE action step towards your goal each and every day. Before you know it, SHABAM…goal crushed!

Don’t doubt yourself!

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Every single person you encounter has had at least a few great moments of doubt, but what’s worse than doubt? I would say regret. There are so many people out there that should have written a book or won American Idol or fallen in love or turned their hair-brained idea into a multi-million dollar company, but they don’t do it because of their doubt. Then, somebody else comes along and does it and they are left to wallow in their regret. This is your one shot at this life! MAKE IT COUNT!

If you need some help creating a plan to move towards your best life, I would love to help you do it! Visit my website BY CLICKING HERE to learn more about life coaching and how it can help you create your best life yet!

Release Your Fear, Free Your Mind: A Jedi Mind Trick to Turn Your Thoughts Around

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Let’s get real for a moment…there is a LOT of really scary shit going on in the world right now.  No matter how much you try to avoid the news, or social media, or your doomsday neighbor, you can’t really tune out of what’s happening around us.  Whether it be the myriad natural disasters occurring across the world, this crazy dude that wants to blow up the Universe, the largest security breach in American history, or whatever else is eking its way into your personal reality, let’s face it…it’s tough not to be afraid.  I had a client ask me yesterday how it was possible to be so joyful in the midst of all of this chaos.  Well, I don’t know if I have the answer for that, but I can certainly share my own process of staying sane.

Yoda (who in my book is the MAN and should run for president) said that “Fear is the path of the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”  Smart fella if you ask me.  When we allow these fearful occurrences to dictate the contents of our mind, we start a downward spiraling process that is difficult to turn around.  One fearful thought leads to another which leads to another.  This energy shows up in the way we interact with the world, sparking more of the same in those that we encounter.  YOU are the only person who can stop that fear in its tracks, and I’m hoping this little trick will help you do just that.

Our response to fear is natural, but that doesn’t mean that we have to give it control.  When I notice myself getting sucked into the drama playing out on my TV or the fear being perpetuated on my Facebook feed, I take a moment first just to acknowledge it.  “Shit, Jillian…you are freaking out right now! Time to shut this crap down!”  I try to be compassionate with myself about it, rather than judgmental.  After all…it IS scary when so many unknowns are catapulting towards you.  I turn off whatever media is on or gently extract myself from the conversation at hand. I sit quietly and take a few deep breaths.  I repeat out loud to myself, “The only thing I have is this moment, and in this moment I am here, I am safe and I am happy.”  I try to remember that my fear will only draw more fear to me, and so being afraid is counterproductive.  The best way to combat fear is joy and love, and so I begin to remind myself of all of the things in my life at this very moment that I have to be joyful about…positive relationships, my goofy children, a job that I love, my breath, my yoga practice, my favorite tree in my back yard, my dogs, my spiritual connection with my higher power, etc.  I come back to my breath and typically, I notice an immediate difference.  My breathing is softer, calmer and more even.  I feel more centered and safe.  I am reminded of the multiple reasons I have to choose to be happy rather than bind myself in fear.

So why does this work?  I believe it’s because we are creating space between the trigger and the response.  Rather than allowing that first negative or fearful thought to spiral out of control, we are giving it the acknowledgement that it needs and setting a new course towards a more positive orientation.  The first few times you try it, it might feel fruitless, but, as with all things, practice makes perfect.  Try, try and try again, and hopefully sometime very soon, you will find yourself moving into calmer waters quicker than you thought possible.

We are all in charge of the energy we give to fear, because that energy starts a ripple throughout the entire Universe that must reverberate back to us.  Even taking baby steps to try to release your fear makes a huge impact on the collective whole of humankind.  You are a powerful being…use that power for love, kindness and good.  May the force be with you.  (Yes, said that, I did.  Mmm.)

To learn more about life coaching and how to start the process of turning your negative thoughts around, visit my website at http://www.jillianarenacyi.com

Open to Grace

17In Yoga Teacher Training, we are taught that opening up to grace is an integral part of our practice.  It’s that moment in a yoga class where your teacher is instructing you to settle into the space around you, let go of thoughts, worries and to-do lists that might be sabotaging your relaxation, and let yourself become present and aware so that you can receive your yoga practice.  In a dimly lit studio, sprawled out on your mat, with no disturbances other than the gentle sound of you and your neighbors breathing, soft music playing in the background of your thoughts, this can be a relatively easy and safe space to do just that…to completely let go.  After all, that’s why you are there in the first place, right?  What happens, though, when you’re not on your mat?  Opening to grace feels a lot more difficult to do when you are in the throes of your day to day activities, children arguing in the background, a pile of bills arriving in the mail, stacks of paperwork to get through at the office, a lawn to mow, and the mountain of laundry spilling out of your clothes hamper staring at you every time you enter your room.  However, these are the times when opening to grace is absolutely the most important.

Grace is defined by dictionary.com as “simple elegance or refinement of movement”, but to me, it is so much more than that.  It is a willingness to surrender to the truth that we are each going through exactly the things that will help us to become the best versions of ourselves, even (especially) in the moments where it feels completely the opposite.  It is the ability to find strength in our struggles and to participate fully and completely in all aspects of our lives, good, bad, scary, exciting, or otherwise.  It is the knowledge that our perception of what is happening in our lives is so much more important than the situations themselves, because the situations are impermanent.  It is the power to stand strong through the storms, holding firm to the knowledge that calmer waters are ahead of us and that there is an important lesson for our soul within each and every moment.  How amazing would it feel to bring the same peace, calm and quiet that you find on your mat, or out in nature, or in your bath (or whatever it is that you do to connect to this space) into the daily situations that are a natural part of life?  Well, you can, which is pretty good news.

Take a minute to inventory what’s going on in your life that’s stressing you out or causing worry or fear.  Write it all down.  Read it back to yourself without any judgement.  Instead, maybe you can find a little curiosity.  What is your soul trying to help you to learn by these difficult situations?  For most of us, our difficulties often become repeating patterns, causing us to feel like something is wrong with us or that we are just destined to always have this particular issue in our lives, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  These moments that challenge us are opportunities for us to get know ourselves better.  For example, if you are somebody who is constantly struggling financially and worried about how to pay the bills, this might be your soul telling you that your job is not in alignment with what you really want.  It may also be an indication that you have some limiting beliefs around money that need to be acknowledged and explored so that prosperous energy feels welcome to flow into your life.  If you find yourself struggling with relationship after relationship, perhaps it is your soul trying to urge you to look in a different place, or to learn to love yourself first so that you can openly receive true love back.  Maybe it is an indication that you subconsciously don’t feel worthy of love and so you are inadvertently pushing it away.

Remember, we attract the energy that we put out…like attracts like.  Therefore, it’s not what we WISH we believed or what we WANT to believe, but the actual beliefs stored deep, down within us, that are shaping our realities.  It can be scary to dig down and unearth them, but consider for a moment, a diamond.  My dear friend and colleague, Amy Lombardo, put this in such great perspective for me.  Diamonds are formed way down in the Earth’s mantle (about 100 miles deep), and start as chunks of coal.  It takes a tremendous amount of heat and pressure to create this sparkly gem, but once the work has occurred, the diamond is pushed to the surface naturally for all to enjoy.  Your thoughts are like these diamonds.  YOU have that same sparkly gem deep within in you, just waiting to be exposed to the heat so that it can emerge and shine brightly out to the world.  When you can accept that knowledge and open to grace, knowing that you have a deep well of untapped potential within you and the power to change your reality, the world opens back to you.  Your sparkly gems are naturally pushed to the surface and the Universe responds by shining back.

Where in this very moment can you open yourself to grace?  Where can you replace fear with curiosity, and hopefully learn something about yourself through the process?  Start right now.  The more that you practice this the easier it becomes.  Opening to grace is not something that needs to be confined to your yoga mat.  It is accessible in each and every moment to help you come back to center, find your calm and elevate yourself towards all of the possibility just waiting to be discovered within you!

If you need some help unearthing your spark, please visit my website HERE to learn more about transitional life coaching and my 12-week program, Ascend to New Heights.

 

Ripping Off the Band-aid

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Jim Morrison…you’ve got to love him.  Not only was he excruciatingly gorgeous with a voice and stage presence that could melt the polar ice caps, but he said some pretty brilliant shit as well.  We may never know if it was the many hits of acid speaking or if it really was his Indian spirit guide, but whatever the source of his words, they were undeniably insightful and still hold impact and validity today.  How many times have you caught yourself gripped in the ruthless hands of fear?

We live in a society that is largely ruled by fear.  From the time that we are born we are conditioned to be afraid of things.  Some of it is necessary to our survival, such as not touching the stove or sticking a fork in the electrical socket, but many of the other things that we are taught to be afraid of can thwart our growth in so many ways.  We are taught largely to listen to others which causes fear of our own inner voice.  We are taught to follow the norms of society which can lead us to fear the decision to carve out our own authentic paths and follow our dreams.  We are taught to compare ourselves to others, which births the fear of never being enough within ourselves.  We are taught to fear being without material possessions, which causes feelings of greed within us.  We are taught to fear the things/people/places which we do not fully understand, which can prevent us from educating ourselves about the different cultures, religions, races, sexual orientations and physical landscapes that surround us in this amazingly diverse world.  In short, our fear begins to shape us from our initial breaths on this Earth and continues to shape shift as we experience the world.  But what if we could change that?  What if we could look closely at our fears…stare them straight in the face, stand up boldly and move bravely into them?  What is the worst that would actually happen?

Take a moment to think back on all of the things you have been afraid of in your life and write them down.  We’re going to use them in a minute.  Yeah, I know, it’s a big list, right?  When I think back on my fears what I notice is a progression.  When I was in my early 20’s I had been through some terrible relationships (I mean like surrrrrrrrrrriously, abusively bad) and I swore I was done dating.  Then I met Josh.  I was terrified of him because I knew I really liked him.  Then he asked me to marry him and I became afraid of that.  What if it didn’t work out?  Then we got married and decided to get pregnant…new biggest fear as my belly expanded and my whole world threatened to change.  Eight and a half months pregnant, we found our first home, closing ten days prior to the birth of our son…#freakingout.  Here comes Jacob…motherhood became the thing I feared the most because I had no idea how to do it.  Then Josh lost his job.  New mortgage, new baby, no job…does it get more terrifying?  I swore we were doomed…until Josh decided to start his own business (which of course scared the crap out of us both as well).  Suddenly, another baby was on the way.  Jocelyn was born and I quit my job to stay at home with them…this became the scariest decision of my life, but I did it anyway.  This progression continued on and on, presenting me with new fears along the way, until finally one day, I realized that it wasn’t the situations themselves that were terrifying me, but my reaction to them.  I started to look back at this long laundry list of fear I had been carrying around with me and realized that as each new fear had arisen and I had moved through it, the fear for that particular event had dissipated and morphed into a new fear.  It dawned on me that there will always be things to be afraid of, but it is up to me whether or not I let the fear have control.  I have a choice in each situation to square up against my fear and challenge it, and so do you.

I am happy to report that moving through my personal fear has led me to a 10-year (this July) marriage to my best friend and the most amazing guy I know, 2 kick-ass little kids who challenge me to grow, expand and be a better person each day, a beautiful home that is my sanctuary, my husband and I each owning our own business and the fortitude to keep moving through fear as it shows up.  That’s important to acknowledge by the way…I still get afraid.  All the time actually.  Life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies.  My husband and I argue, my kids can act like little shits, my home needs repairs and our businesses fluctuate through good and bad times (and the bad times can be REALLY scary), but we keep on keeping on anyway, moving forward with the knowledge that this too shall pass and that we can look our fears in the face and move on anyway.

So where does fear show up for you?  Go back to your list.  If you didn’t write it, do it now.  Take a close look at all of these places that fear has popped up in your life from as early as you can think of.  First off, see if you notice any patterns.  Are your fears largely based around one particular area?  Money?  Relationships? Your Career?  Self-esteem?  Now, notice any of these situations where you faced your fear and moved forward anyway?  What was the outcome?  If you haven’t had the opportunity to face any of these fears, guess what today is?  That’s right, your opportunity.  You don’t have to dive in headfirst, but think of a way that you can start to move into your fear slowly.  If your fear is primarily surrounding relationships, maybe today is the day you finally make that online dating profile (don’t worry…you don’t have to go live until tomorrow).  If your self-esteem is taking the hit, maybe today is the day to buy the dress you’ve always wanted, even though your head screams that you’re not feminine enough to pull it off.  Tomorrow, rock it.  Each day take baby steps to move into your fear.  You will likely find that the further you go, the less powerful it becomes.

Interested in life coaching with me? Visit my website HERE, or join me on FACEBOOK to keep up with classes and events I have coming up.  Learn about my 12-week coaching program, “Ascend to New Heights” by watching THIS VIDEO INTERVIEW

 

The Importance of Getting To Know (and Love) Your Inner Dork!

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I was born an extremely strange child.  That’s me up above in the background, pulling on my eyelids with martian bobbles on my head.  That’s my sister up front, looking marginally annoyed and confused by whatever I am doing and my existence in general. I have evoked this response from her, and many others, since my first breaths on this Earth, and I have a funny feeling I may continue to do so until my last.

When I was little, being weird and silly worked for me.  It was a great way to ease tension, get myself out of trouble (my mother ALWAYS broke),  distract myself from boredom and use my imagination in creative ways.  We had a giant dress-up box in my basement and whenever it was raining and I couldn’t play outside and peel acorns for -the squirrels, down to the basement I would go.  I would spend some time finding the perfect outfit, march back up the stairs (sometimes at my own risk depending on my threads), head into whatever room my family member, house guests, friends or door-to-door salesman were in and just stand there…until somebody noticed and burst out laughing.

I continued this behavior throughout high school, not assumed “most likely to succeed” or “best dressed”, but certainly nailing “funniest girl” when it came time for my peers to vote for our senior yearbook.  I could handle that.  Funny was my thang.  I never felt weird or judged for being a goon.  It just came naturally and, even when others scoffed at it or thought me obnoxious, I did my thing and tried not to worry about it.

2    In short, I was a big dork.  However, life hasn’t always been a series of silly moments for me.  I went through a very dark time, much like most people I know.  As I got a little older, life threw a rather quick succession of shitty events my way, and somewhere in the midst of it all, I lost my spark.  Being silly and goofy became that thing that other people who weren’t going through drama did.  It seemed like a waste of time and an act of immaturity.  I began relying on substances and things outside of myself to help me hold on to that feeling of joy and freedom that being myself had previously allowed me to have.  I gave half-ass smiles when I knew it was appropriate and made self-deprecating cracks once in a while just to keep up my shtick, but inside I felt very broken and unhappy.  Slowly, the zany, dorky person who I naturally am, got lost in a spiral of self-judgement, self-pity and the feeling that this is how I was “supposed to be” after the things I had been through.  To put it bluntly, I was pissed off, bored out of my mind, depressed and TOTALLY out of alignment with who I was.

Fast forward a few years (like 10).  I gave birth to my son and spent the first year or so of his life looking at him much like my sister is looking at me in the debut picture of this post.  How is he smiling and happy and goofy all the time?  Where does his energy come from?  Can I have some of it?????  I couldn’t help but smile myself.  Two years later, my daughter was born.  By this time, I was starting to get the hang of this whole motherhood thing (if anybody can truly “get the hang” of parenting, that is).  I began to watch their interaction with one another, and from the very first day I brought her home, I watched them find joy in each other.  They laughed incessantly together from the day she could laugh.  They began to imagine and create together as soon as she could do that.  They played dress-up and restaurant and superheroes and would come to me almost daily to see who’s creative outfit was the best (they still do, and they always tie). Watching them, I started to learn how to play and be silly again.  I remembered how much fun impromptu dance parties in the living room are, how much fun it is to make others laugh and how amazingly freeing it is to let yourself be the dorkiest, craziest version of yourself, no matter what.

I am proud to say that now, at 35 years old, I am once again an unapologetic dork, like it or lump it.  It took me a while, but I finally realized the importance of owning my inner dork, without exception.  I’ve also realized that we ALL have an inner dork.  Mine shows up through goofy costumes, bad dance moves and singing off key, but maybe yours is something else.  Maybe you like telling really bad jokes.  Maybe you’re really into stamp collecting or enjoy looking in the mirror and making up your own commercials.  Maybe you like to secretly escape to Star Trek conventions or enjoy watching Anime action/adventure flicks on the weekends.  Whatever your inner dork digs, let it shine! You enjoy these things for a reason, and denying them because of social norms or how others might perceive you, isn’t doing you any favors.  There is endless joy in embracing the things that allow you to be a total goofball.  When we take ourselves too seriously, we slowly extinguish this beautiful part of ourselves.  When we learn to love it, we inspire others to do the same.

Yes, I am a dork, through and through.  I am a dork and I own it proudly.  I am also married to an incredibly awesome dork and the mother to two of the most amazing dorks I know.  Find your passion, embrace it and share it with the world, no matter what it looks like.  This is what makes you uniquely you.  If you’re really ready to let your dork flag fly, share a picture of your dorkiest moment in the comment section below!  I’d love to see it! 3

If you are ready to release your limiting beliefs and learn to love your inner dork again, visit my website HERE or call me for a free consultation at 561-951-7045.  You can also like me on FACEBOOK to keep up with my latest classes & events.