Strong, Sexy, Successful…..You Can Have it All!

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There is no denying that these are very confusing times to be a woman. The generations before us fought long and hard to give us the right to lead countries, corporations, or stay home as mothers and lead our families. And what has all of this freedom gotten us? We are stronger and smarter…yet we are lost! We are stuck between what we could be and what we think we should be, searching to balance that with our femininity.

I remember as a little girl singing along with Helen Reddy at the top of my lungs, “I am woman hear me roar!” That was the battle cry of the 70’s that told women in no uncertain terms that anything you want can and should be yours. As exciting as it should have been, it was probably pretty scary for a lot of people in both genders. The women were afraid of the unknown and just how to manage this newfound power and I’m guessing that the men were somewhere in caves having meetings about how to protect their spots at the top of the food chain.

Being strong means knowing what you want personally and professionally and having the courage to go for it. Often this requires asking for what you want and, at times along the way demanding it. From a man this is almost expected. From a woman this can bring out resistance from family and friends and of course the dreaded “b-word”.

Being successful can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask. As women our internal struggles for “success” go deeper than just the pressures to climb the corporate ladder though, many of us have deep-seeded maternal instincts that leave us torn by our desires to accomplish things and the feeling that we are sacrificing our families along the way.

Being sexy while doing any of this brings its own set of challenges. The media would have us believe that sexy and “sexpot” are one and the same. It’s sad to see that after all of the fights to be taken seriously as women, this generation seems to think it’s necessary to wear three coats of makeup and have most of your body on display to be considered “beautiful.”

Thinking about all of this the questions for many of us is, “Can we be strong, successful, and sexy, or do we have to pick one?” I believe it is possible to have it all and it comes down to striking this balance between inner strength and outer beauty, you just have to know where to look…

Like everything I talk about in my book and programs having it all comes down to defining who you are, what you want most out, and rocking that throughout your life and look. By knowing what you want deep inside it will be harder for the external pressures to take you from your purpose and passion. This is the strength you can call on to achieve a success that is true to you. And by simply living this truth, and expressing it in all of your everyday actions and choices, you’ll radiate a beauty that can’t be outmatched. The sexiest woman in the room is not the one with the $1,000 dress or the best plastic surgeon but the one who knows who she is.

Love,
Michelle

Going Home

What does it feel like to die? By Anita Moorjani

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Oh my God, I feel incredible! I’m so free and light! How come I’m not feeling any more pain in my body? Where has it all gone? Hey, why does it seem like my surroundings are moving away from me? But I’m not scared! Why am I not scared? Where has my fear gone? Oh wow, I can’t find the fear anymore!

These were some of my thoughts as I was being rushed to the hospital. The world around me started to appear surreal and dreamlike, and I could feel myself slip farther and farther away from consciousness and into a coma. My organs were beginning to shut down as I succumbed to the cancer that had ravaged—no, devoured—my body for the past four years.

It was February 2, 2006, a day that will be etched in my memory forever as the day I “died.”

Although in a coma, I was acutely aware of everything that was happening around me, including the sense of urgency and emotional frenzy of my family as they rushed me to the hospital. When we arrived, the moment the oncologist saw me, her face filled with shock.

“Your wife’s heart may still be beating,” she told my husband, Danny, “but, she’s not really in there. It’s too late to save her.”Who is the doctor talking about? I wondered. I’ve never felt better in my life! And why do Mum and Danny look so frightened and worried? Mum, please don’t cry. What’s wrong? Are you crying because of me? Don’t cry! I’m fine, really, dear Mama, I am! I thought I was speaking those words aloud, but nothing came out. I had no voice.

I wanted to hug my mother, comfort her and tell her that I was fine, and I couldn’t comprehend why I was unable to do so. Why was my physical body not cooperating? Why was I just lying there, lifeless and limp, when all I wanted to do was to hug my beloved husband and mother, assuring them that I was fine and no longer in pain?

Look, Danny—I can move around without my wheelchair. This feels so amazing! And I’m not connected to the oxygen tank anymore. Oh wow, my breathing is no longer labored, and my skin lesions are gone! They’re no longer weeping and painful. After four agonizing years, I’m finally healed!

I was in a state of pure joy and jubilation. Finally, I was free from the pain caused by the cancer that had ravaged my body. I wanted them to be happy for me. Why weren’t they happy that my struggle was finally over, that their struggle was over? Why weren’t they sharing my jubilation? Couldn’t they see the joy I was feeling?

“Please, there must be something you can do,” Danny and my mother pleaded with the doctor.“It’s only a matter of hours for her,” the oncologist argued. “Why didn’t your other doctors send her to us earlier? Her organs are already shutting down, and that’s why she has slipped into a coma. She won’t even make it through the night. You’re asking for the impossible. Whatever we administer at this stage could prove too toxic and fatal for her body, as her organs aren’t even functioning!” “Well, maybe,” Danny insisted, “but I’m not giving up on her!”

My husband held my limp hand tightly as I lay there, and I was aware of the combination of anguish and helplessness in his voice. I wanted more than anything to relieve him of his suffering. I wanted him to know how wonderful I was feeling, but I felt helpless in trying to convey it.

Don’t listen to the doctor, Danny; please don’t listen to her! Why is she saying that? I’m still here, and I’m fine. Better than fine—in fact, I feel great!

I couldn’t understand why, but I experienced what everyone was going through—both my family members as well as the doctor. I could actually feel their fear, anxiety, helplessness, and despair. It was as though their emotions were mine. It was as though I became them.

I’m feeling your pain, darling—I can feel all your emotions. Please don’t cry for me, and tell Mum not to cry for me, either. Please tell her!

But as soon as I started to get emotionally attached to the drama taking place around me, I also felt myself being simultaneously pulled away, as though there were a bigger picture, a grander plan that was unfolding. I could feel my attachment to the scene receding as I began to realize that everything was perfect and going according to plan in the greater tapestry.

It was then that the realization truly set in that I was actually dying.
Ohh . . . I’m dying! Is this what it feels like? It’s nothing like I ever imagined. I feel so beautifully peaceful and calm . . . and I feel healed at last!I then understood that even if my physical body stopped, everything is still perfect in the greater tapestry of life, for we never truly die.

I was still acutely aware of every detail unfolding before me as I observed the medical team wheeling my near-lifeless body to the intensive care unit. They were surrounding me in an emotional frenzy, hooking me up to machines while poking and prodding with needles and tubes.

I felt no attachment to my limp body as it lay there on the hospital bed. It didn’t feel as though it were mine. It looked far too small and insignificant to house what I was experiencing. I felt free, liberated, and magnificent! Every pain, ache, sadness, and sorrow was gone. I was completely unencumbered, and I couldn’t recall feeling this way before—not ever.

I then had a sense of being encompassed by something that I can only describe as pure, unconditional love, but even the word love doesn’t do it justice. It was the deepest kind of caring, and I’d never experienced it before. It was beyond any physical form of affection that we can imagine, and it was unconditional—this was mine, regardless of what I’d ever done. I didn’t have to do anything or behave a certain way to deserve it. This love was for me, no matter what!

I felt completely bathed and renewed in this energy, and it made me feel as though I belonged, as though I’d finally arrived after all those years of struggle, pain, anxiety, and fear.

I had finally come home!

CLEANSING FEAR

by Leah Carey
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Have you ever had a piece of clothing or jewelry you had to get rid of because of the memories it evoked?

Maybe the earrings from your ex-husband that remind you of the painful breakup instead of the happy years.

Or the swimsuit that is two sizes too small and reminds you of how your body used to look.

Or maybe it’s the beautiful scarf your sister gave you before she passed away, and rather than bringing you comfort it reminds you how much you miss her. You don’t want to get rid of it, but you have to put it away for a while.

For my part, I had to get rid of my a sweater that was my ex-boyfriend’s favorite. Every time I put it on after the break up, instead of feeling uplifted at how sexy he thought it was on me, I felt deep sadness that things didn’t work out. It was so painful that I no longer wanted to see it hanging in my wardrobe. I also have a “boyfriend box” with the pictures and tchotchkes that remind me of him – I don’t want them gone for good because there are some meaningful things in there, but it will be a while before I can look at them without feeling sad.

The point is this: clothing and objects hold memories. They have the power to evoke strong emotions. In other words, they hold energy.

Sometimes it’s joyful energy – I feel joyful every time I put on my favorite turtleneck because I know the color looks great on me and I always get compliments on it. It holds an energy of joy.

But sometimes it’s painful energy…or sad energy…or fearful energy.

About seven years ago, I decided to make a clean start for New Years. In the week leading up to the new year, I made a project of washing Every. Single. Piece. of clothing that I owned. Yep, it was a LOT of loads of laundry.

But I wasn’t just trying to get them clean of sweat and dirt. I had made a conscious commitment to stop letting fear rule my life as powerfully as it had. So I put every load of laundry in with the intention: “I am washing FEAR out of my clothing.”

Every time I put on a piece of the newly-cleansed clothing, I felt GREAT! It wasn’t just that it was clean…it was CLEANSED. It’s a big difference. I felt like I could go forward and make new experiences, new memories, and new associations because any residual fear and sadness the clothes had picked up was washed away.

Does it mean I never felt fear again? Of course not!!!! But rather than just going along with the old pattern of fear and sadness, I’d made a conscious decision to start a new pattern. And here’s the important part: I took action to support that decision.

The memory of that massive clothing cleanse came to mind last night as I was shedding my clothes at the end of the day and deciding what to put in the laundry bucket. Normally I wear my jeans and tops more than once between washings, and both my jeans and top were still well within reasonable limits. But then I stopped to reconsider.

You see, yesterday was not a normal day. In fact, yesterday was a very scary day.

I am currently supporting my mom as she goes through treatment for cancer. She is nearing the end of her chemotherapy regimen and, as expected, she’s been getting progressively weaker. Yesterday she had a medical incident while I was alone with her at her house. It turned out to be relatively minor, but that’s not what it looked like in the moment. And worst of all, while I generally pride myself on being good in an emergency, in this case I panicked.

The aftermath of those few minutes of panic stayed with me throughout the afternoon in the emergency room and into the evening as we returned home.

When it was time to shed my clothes for the day, my natural inclination was to check my jeans and turtleneck to make sure I hadn’t sat in any chocolate and that they still smelled okay, and then put them back in the closet.

But as I started to hang up my top, something didn’t feel right. It took me a moment to put my finger on it, and then I got it…the shirt “smelled” like fear to me. So much so that I didn’t want to place it in my closet and infect the clothes around it. I also didn’t want to turn to my closet next week and wrap myself once again in residual fear.

A week or two from now would I still “smell” the fear on those clothes? Probably not. But I know from past experiences that energy lasts even when I’m not consciously aware of it.

It was worth it to me to toss the turtleneck and jeans and bra into my laundry bucket and cleanse them even before I sat in some renegade chocolate.

I’ve made a note for myself so that next time I do laundry I will once again consciously hold the intention that I am washing FEAR out of my clothing.

Next time you have a particularly upsetting experience, consider the clothes and jewelry you’re wearing. Close your eyes and see if you can sense any of that residual energy on them.

If so, toss them in the laundry even if it’s not time yet. You can do the same with jewelry – put it under running water in the sink and imagine the fear/sadness/anger rushing down the drain into the earth where it can be recycled and turned into something new. Or, if you get good sunlight in your home, you can place your jewelry in a dish in the sun for a day and imagine the sun’s rays blasting away any darkness that might be hanging on to the beads and baubles.

Why not do everything possible to start cleansed and clean for a fresh new day!

A Case of the What-Ifs

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After years of coaching woman on how to make positive changes in their lives, I have noticed that some women jump right in to action while others need a little extra help. This is especially true if they have a bad case of the what-ifs: What if I lose my job? What if I make people mad? What if I fail?

For those of you that fall in the later category, overcoming your negative, fear-based thoughts and feelings, including your own what-ifs may take a little work. Here are a few ideas I have shared with clients that have proved to be powerful tools to help the process.

First, think about all of the things that will be positive about the changes you want to make in your life. Write them down. Then ask your self these few questions: What if it does create everything you’ve always wanted? What if your journey takes you in a different direction than anticipated, and it’s much better than what you could have hoped for? What if your new experiences create positive energy and enthusiasm despite the difficulties that come with change? What if you find that you’re an even more incredible person than you ever thought you were capable of becoming? What if you realize that you do have the strength to handle anything that comes your way? What if people notice how incredible your life has become because you took a risk and believed in yourself? What if you inspire your friends and family to improve their own lives?

Well, I can tell you that most likely the positive things I’ve just mentioned will occur. That’s what makes me so excited about leading you on this journey. I know there are some amazing, unexpected realizations that are waiting around the corner for you. I can also guarantee that dealing with a temporary case of the what-ifs is a lot better than a lifetime of “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” hanging over your head. So live without regrets!
Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

Money can come and go, but emotional bankruptcy is a killer.

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Just a short time ago, I was driving my daughter’s friend, Jordan, home after a fun day at the beach. I noticed that as we were getting closer to the young girl’s home she was becoming quite upset. I asked her if she was okay and she replied “my mom, sister and I had to move this week because we were evicted from our home”. Jordan went on to share that her mom’s second husband was abusive, had left them and she was trying her best on a small salary. My heart sank as I immediately felt her mother’s pain of trying to make it as a single mom with young children. As we approached her new home I realized we were in the worst part of town.

Jordan went into her house and quickly came back out running to my car-crying hysterically. She begged to stay with us for the night. She said she didn’t want to go into that awful place. It was the “slums” in her eyes and she was upset at her mother for moving her there. Jordan’s mom quickly followed, tears in her eyes holding her six month old baby, and assured me it was okay and best to take her daughter for the night.

My heart broke for her as we drove away. What she didn’t know is that our stories are the same. Yes, stories.

Many years ago, I left an abusive marriage and ended up on food stamps to support my kids. The lack of money was not as much what took me down, it was more about pulling myself up from the damage that was done from the words and threats that I endured on top of feeling as if I was a failure. Little by little, I was able to pick my self up and do the work to build a solid foundation of self-love.

When we are emotionally bankrupt it can be a danger zone. Not taking the time to fully heal and regain our sense self-worth can often times put us right back in a relationship with someone else who doesn’t value us. When we are hurt and feel down about ourselves, quite often the first person that comes along and tells us we are beautiful and fabulous wins our heart. We begin to find our sense of worth in someone else’s arms only to find ourselves back in the same cycle over and over again.

I got my daughter and Jordan back to my house and settled for bed so that I could make a very important call. I picked up the phone and reached out to the troubled and heartbroken mom. I wanted her to know that I’d been there too and she didn’t do anything wrong. She’s not broken… she’s beautiful, loveable, and capable. I wanted her to know she’s not alone… If she needed anything, I am here. My home is her home. We cried together and talked about how life throws us curve balls and when we pick ourselves up and remember who we are, shower ourselves with love, and surround ourselves with love (ask for help), we can and will survive and thrive in the end.

I dedicate this to all women who have felt or do feel broken. You are not. You are beautiful, you are strong, you are capable of anything. I am here to remind you that you are not alone and you are love…pure love inside. Don’t let someone else break your spirit. Break free and let your spirit soar. Fly beautiful girl, fly!

Love,
Michelle

Schedule Time to Take Action

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It’s important to schedule your Master Action steps just as you would a trip to the dentist or an oil change for your car. Not many people can “quit” their current life to work on inventing a new one, but everyone can find 30 minutes every day to journal, make a phone call, or meditate. You can begin living your dream right here, right now. Remember, if you want to supercharge your success, don’t just write down your goals and action steps. Share them with a friend or members of your coaching circle, and check in weekly.

Although your intentions can guide you toward your dreams, you still have to get out there and make things happen. This may feel uncomfortable or even risky, but I’ve watched all my clients experience similar feelings as they move through the process. When you understand the steps of transformation and what each step entails, you can move faster toward your ultimate goal, with less chance of getting stuck or hung up somewhere along the way.
For some of my clients, taking action and asking for help also involves facing certain fears they’ve been avoiding. If that sounds familiar, be encouraged! I’ve been in your shoes, and I have some wonderful tips in the next step to help you shake your fears and walk confidently into the light.

Affirmation: I make time to nurture my spirit and honor my life’s purpose. I ask for and accept help when I need it.

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

th A Harvard economist conducted a study to determine whether offering rewards to children was an effective way to motivate them to do well in school. Interestingly, some of the findings suggested that students who broke goals down into smaller steps—which were immediately under the control of the student, such as “Read one book this week”—had greater academic success than their peers who had goals but no clear plan to achieve them.1

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert in every step toward achieving your dream. Many women give up because they don’t think they can get there alone. I have news for you: you don’t have to go it alone! Think of a chef creating a delicious gourmet meal. If she can’t locate a key ingredient, does she throw out everything and order takeout? Of course not. She goes to the store and asks someone for help.

If you’re a mom, you probably already know how to ask for help. If your little one needed medical attention at midnight, for instance, you would call someone regardless of the time or inconvenience. You wouldn’t care how you looked to others, either, because your child is more important to you than someone else’s opinion of your parenting skills.

Here’s an exercise I practice when I am feeling overwhelmed. I break my to-do list down into small steps, I think about what my possible needs might be. Then I jot down the names of everyone who can guide me along the way. For me, this includes individuals who could help with specific steps such as putting together my website, writing my manuscript, and learning about the publishing industry.

I refer to this as a Master Resource List, which is an essential component in achieving the steps necessary for success in all areas of your life. So pick up your pen and get to work on your own Master Resource List . Tomorrow I will discuss how to use these resources to accomplish your Master Action List.

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/