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gratitude in the everyday
by On September 5, 2012

Posted August 30th, 2012 at 2:44 pm by Karen from Chookooloonks

My friend Jyl Pattee wrote a post today about gratitude being the key to a happy life — and I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve mentioned before that I think that gratitude is imperative to finding joy in your life, and for getting through the hard times.  But to be honest, it can be difficult, even for me, to find something new to be grateful for every day.  Can you imagine? Think of the pressure of having to create something new every single day of your life to be thankful for? I’m tired just thinking about it.

Instead, I admit it: I’m often thankful of the same things over, and over, and over again.  This week, my daughter has returned to school, which means that our lives have returned to the normal routine that flows in our house pretty much every single day for 9 months.  And I have to say, as boring as this sounds, I’m very grateful for routine. I’m grateful for the comfort and sense of stability it provides.  My life might be mundane to most, but it’s my life, and my family, and we’ve worked hard to create the little rituals that bring us peace every day.  For example, I’m grateful for:

  • my morning cup of tea (sweetened over-enthusiastically with honey)
  • turning on my twinkle lights in my office weekday mornings — signifying it’s time to get to work
  • reading the classics to Alex when she gets home from school (this is actually assigned homework from her teacher!)
  • journaling with Alex
  • witnessing Alex’s growing habit of reading in bed to herself before lights-out every night
  • and Friday night movie night

You see, I’m of the opinion that mundane habits like this — this little rituals that we create for ourselves — are what make for a happy life.  And I hope that this helps my daughter have grateful memories of her childhood, despite how un-extraordinary all of these little events are.

How about you — what is it about your everyday that you’re grateful for?



Post Number One
by On September 4, 2012

by Eric Plantenberg on September 3, 2012

Most people lack energy and focus.

This isn’t because they are low energy or unfocused by nature… they simply aren’t as clear about WHY they are doing what they are doing, and that can be a huge drain.

I’m a big fan of clarifying WHY i do things.

I do what i do because i deeply believe that when one person lives their life in a way that fills them from the inside out, the entire world becomes a brighter place.

That’s my motive behind creating this site.  To create a space where each week, we can both continue to shine a little brighter from the inside out.   Where energy and focus can become the normal way of things rather than an illusive experience for other people.

I’m guessing if you are reading this you’ve been to a live event with me, or at least heard about the workshops and retreats i put on.  This is a terrific place for you and me to keep the work that we did in a live class alive and to stay connected with each other.   Fundamentally what’s going to happen on this page is  a discussion that supports you in clarifying what’s most important in your life and how to really live from that place of clarity.  What you can expect to see posted here fall into three categories:

  1. Inspirational/eduction videos.    I love short, powerful videos and will be sharing my favorites and creating some that i hope will be fun and uplifting.
  2. Articles.  Everything from notes on books i’m reading, to experiences i’m learning from, to observations and perspectives i have along the way.  I’ll be using this space to publicly answer a lot of the questions that are sent my way.  And as a vehicle to share with you the things i find most valuable in my world.
  3. Keeping up with my live events. As much as i love the internet, videos, article, and the way they shoot around planet instantaneously; i still believe that the most powerful & transformational human growth happens when people can look each other in the eyes.  So… from time to time you’ll hear about events i’m putting on (new and old) with the intention of making them both available for lots of people to attend (it’s hard to make the event when you don’t know when & where!) and to share the experience as best as possible to those that didn’t make it.

People that work on themselves, however they do it… fill their heart and soul in a way that get’s better results for them and inspires that rest of us that are anywhere near them.

Concepts like Passion, Purpose, Vision, Service, Commitment, etc can be foundational to your life’s direction or they can be a cliche that is posted alongside a pretty picture in the office hallway.

I believe that a community of people that are committed to growing from the inside out will see all sorts of goodness show up in their lives as a by-product of taking the time to go inside of themselves and see what’s really true and important for them.

In my experience, the end result isn’t really where the fun happens.  The fun happens along the way.

So… welcome to this site.  I really hope you enjoy this experience as much as you have enjoyed live classes with me.  I know that i’m here to have a blast and to watch the entire world become a little brighter.. from the inside out.  Please leave a post saying ‘hi’ – let me know how you like the videos linked in this post and let your voice shine by suggesting where you would like this discussion to go.

be free!

Life Lessons from My Parents: Two Certainties
by On September 4, 2012

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” –         Abraham Lincoln

“Success doesn’t make you and failure doesn’t break you.” – Zig Ziglar

Life Lessons on Failure

It was my senior year at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, WA and I was preparing to take that next big step in many young peoples lives. I was looking into attending college and had begun the process of checking out schools and determining what kind of options that I had in front of me. My grades were solid (about 3.4); I was very active in sports from football, wrestling & track. In addition, I was involved in our school Accapella & Jazz choirs so, I was feeling really good about my chances to get accepted to some fairly good universities.

The challenge, as with many others, that was laid out in front of me was the simple fact that we (and when I say “we” I mean my parents) didn’t have the kind of income to pay for most the colleges that I would have been interested in attending. But, do you think a small obstacle like that stopped me from pursuing those schools? You bet it did! (Remember, I wasn’t the quite the same person as I have now become and needed to learn some valuable lessons.) So, I decided to enroll in a school that I felt very confident I


could get accepted in and in which the tuition and cost of living was at a minimum. I chose to attend Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA for the fact that it had both the ‘fore mentioned criteria and my brother was attending it as well.

Okay, so the school had been selected and now all I had to do was figure out how I was going to pay for it since nearly 100% of my education would have to be covered by me. What were my options? I could get financial aid and be prepared to pay it off for years to come or I could apply for and pursue scholarships and have someone else pay for my education. Well, the second option sounded good to me so, I went out and intensely researched available scholarships and grants for nearly 2 weeks.

Ultimately, I did find one that fit my situation perfectly. It was $20,000 scholarship based on financial need and additionally, did not require stellar grades, focused a lot on the amount of involvement and participation in school (no one was more involved then me) and to top it off two of the faculty members from my school were on the board. I was a virtual lock for this, all I had to do was take care of all the steps and it would be mine. This was the perfect fit for me.

Looking back, this was the first time I ever set a goal. I dove head first into making certain that I got this scholarship. I followed all the steps, got all the references, wrote an amazing cover letter (okay, I thought it was amazing) submitted it well on time and just waited for the news that I would be receiving the scholarship, pick up the check and I would ride off into the sunset, $20,000 richer. Well, the news did come and it was not the outcome I had staked all my hopes on.

I did not receive the check and there was no riding off into the sunset. I was devastated. How could this happen to me? I did everything I was supposed to and had all the right criteria and I still didn’t get it! This was not right! This was not fair!! The person who did get it had better grades, sure but that was it! I mean, I was Homecoming King, the winner of our schools Mr Totem contest, a champion wrestler!! All the school loved me so, how in the world did someone else get this scholarship?!!

I went home to tell my parents the horrible, life ending news and hopefully elicit enough outrage from them that they would demand some sort of recount or ask for a special tribunal to look into the judges and their unfair decision. I remember sobbing uncontrollably in my mothers lap and railing about the injustice of it all.

After a time, my father patted me on the back and simply said something to the effect of “that’s life son, we all fail from time to time, but you’ll make it” and my mother said “Life is not fair sometimes, David. But, as long as you tried your best and gave it all you had you have nothing to be ashamed about. Did you try your best?” “Yes” I added through tear filled eyes. She gave me a hug and said “Then be proud, ‘cause we are.” At the time I thought, “That’s it? That is all you two have got for me?” What I didn’t know at the time, what took me several years to realize, was that that conversation taught me more about being a success than anything I have learned in my 20 plus years since and I will be eternally grateful for the two painful and valuable lessons I was able to learn at such a young age.

1.  Failure is Guaranteed

I am sure my parents weren’t thinking at the time “We are now going to teach David life lesson #5 on how to succeed”, but they did. As soon as I understood that failure is a part of life and that the only way I can’t fail is if I don’t try, which in my mind is a failure, I became stronger and more willing to put myself in situations that I might fail, but then again could succeed big time.

There are not a lot of guarantees in life, but of this I am most certain: Failure is GUARANTEED!! We are going to fail, so as soon as you get over it the sooner you can learn from it and move forward.

2.  Failure is Essential to Our Personal Growth

I am not saying that it is not painful to fail or that you should be looking to fail and jump up and down shouting “Yeah, I’m a failure!!” What I am saying, and what I am fully confident in is that I’m the person I am today, in big part because of the amount of failures I have experienced in my life. I have learned more about success from my failures than from the successes. Often I think about what would have happened to me if I had received the scholarship and not had the opportunity to learn the lessons my parents so, lovingly taught me. If I had gone to college without experiencing this amazing gift of failure…Who knows, but I tell you now that I am a much better person because of that experience and would not trade any of that pain. I am also reminded of a quote that I find is appropriate: “The person I want to be I am now becoming.”

Thanks Mom and Dad for helping me to learn these essential lessons. I love you so much.

Saraanne Rothberg – Comedy Cures
by On August 30, 2012

I have never met Saranne Rothberg, Founder of Comedy Cures, but I have been a fan of hers ever since my days living in New York City. Comedy Cures, a non profit foundation whose mission is to bring joy, hope, laughter and therapeutic comedy programs to kids and grown-ups living with illness, trauma, depression and disabilities have impacted thousands and thousands of lives. Continue reading ›

Are You Loving It?
by On August 28, 2012

Are you loving it?

Laughter, Tears, Joy, Anxiety

Are you Loving it?

A Dream captured, a promise broken, hard work and frequent play

Are you Loving it?

This is it people…we have this one life…

And I am LOVING IT! ~ That’s all I have for you today 😉

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein

Language Lift ^~~^
by On August 23, 2012

by MARKTARP on APRIL 5, 2012

Have you fully realized this aspect of our human freedom?  You & I have 100% choice in every word we speak and write (and think) … step back and breathe in the power of this reality.  Since this is true, no matter what we’ve been taught in schools or absorbed in conditioning through society (family, friends, colleagues) as “standard” or “proper”, We Each Have Ultimate Selection over The Language We Use Daily …

… knowing this, then Why Not Gift Ourselves A “Language Lift” >> through changing from how we’ve “always” or “typically” expressed ourselves, to using language which uplifts us and allows us and others better feeling(s)?

Here’s an example I’ve recently employed in my own life AROUND THE WAY I SEE AND RELATE TO CONTRAST >>

… I’ve turned away from using the word “but”, and instead I substitute either the word (a) “still” or (b) “yet” … WHY? … because, for me, “but” feels like an energy of resistance (which could feel subtle or strong energetically, depending on my attitude at the time), and now in my life I realize there’s nothing in this abundant world of choices that I need resist, since I can always simply turn toward and then choose what I want.

(a)        When I employ “still”, I receive 2 powerful energetic reminders … (1) it reminds me to notice “STILLness” in space where I can breath and make a choice that serves me well, (2) it feels for me that what I’m turning away from can be allowed “to be” without its existence affecting me, and this honors the beneficial existence of our ever expanding choices … knowing that what I’ve turned from may actually feel wonderful for someone else (which is the essence and beauty of “diversity”).

(b)        When I employ “yet”, this gives me the feeling of “carefree knowing” or “it’s no big deal” in relation to whatever I’ve been facing which wasn’t particularly what I like or want (since I’m free to choose what feels better).  Also, the “Y” shape which begins the word, reminds me of simply another “fork in the road” at this moment, where I’m in complete freedom to choose … perhaps, in this relaxed mindset, another path which I hadn’t “Yet” imagined may then appear … and it often does in my STILLness haaa!!

It’s a big wonderful game, our language(s) life, and you can play it however you like, communicating effectively while creating better feeling(s) >> in turn, those we share life with receive better feeling(s) too.  Trust yourself guided by your highest inner feeling, choosing your words creatively.  Big Love, Mark **

Sharpening The Sword
by On August 22, 2012

I just returned from a weekend in Bend, OR where I joined 21 other individuals for a Leadership Retreat led by Eric Plantenberg.  It was amazing for a multitude of reasons, but the biggest takeaway I got is the realization that sometimes the best thing you can do is just take some time to sharpen your blade.  I was definitely a huge advocate of continuous improvement and personal development on Thursday when I arrived.  By the time I left on Monday I was an evangelist.

We were there to dig a little deeper into the curriculum of the Abundant Living Retreat.  As a staff member for this event, one of my roles is helping facilitate some of the exercises that attendees take part in.  I would consider myself fairly competent at helping people with this, and I think this mindset gave me a false sense of confidence and was limiting my ability to be a great facilitator.   Continue reading ›

Lose Some Weight
by On August 22, 2012

If you are looking for a caloric weight loss plan, you’re on the wrong site. There are a billion places for advice on losing physical weight. Good Luck.


I am talking about emotional and energetic weight. I believe all of us have used these expressions once or twice;

“I felt a ton of weight lifted off me!”

“I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.”

I recall saying these things when I had a ton of work to do. When I felt I had a ton of responsibility or tasks to do. Maybe when we feel like there might not be enough hours in the day. Why do we have these expressions?? I have been thinking about this…

Well the good news is, I believe this weight is much easier to lose than physical weight (in my experience at least). I have had a couple of experiences lately that have made a profound impact on my ability to be free from this emotional/mental baggage. Taking responsibility.

I’ve never really been scared of confrontation – it’s not fun – but I don’t run from it. In the past couple of weeks I had a couple of significant confrontations, both of which were painful. Mud was thrown from both sides, blame was pointed, and emotions were high. Ok…I guess you could call them fights.

A couple of days after these heated discussions, I did something I have never done before. I wrote an email to both parties taking full responsibility. No fingers pointed, no explaining my position, or telling the other how they made me feel. No other intention than taking full responsibility for my role and cleaning up my side of the street. What they did is none of my business. My business is being as mature and graceful as I can (as a fiery redhead anyway). My business, is all I have control over.

After I wrote those emails, I finally understood those statements. I had more energy, I had an internal presence of joy, I had more confidence, I was motivated – the difference was AMAZING. My ability to do “the right thing” has been effortless lately. The state of forgiveness and humility is like a muscle – it gets stronger when you use it.

Telling someone you are sorry for snapping at them – might be something you would normally just sweep under the rug. What would the world be like if we just cleaned it up? Admitting you were wrong. Taking responsibility for not working hard enough. Taking responsibility for breaking a promise. Saying sorry for saying something mean.

Admittance, vulnerability, openness and humility are beautiful qualities in my eyes. Cleaning up your side gives these qualities color. Not only that, but there is a ripple effect. WIN.

TRY IT. Today, tomorrow, definitely this week….try it on.

You cannot release weight until you have the courage to admit that we all have a role, and we create our lives. There might be prices to pay in your eyes for making these concessions – it might feel scary, maybe some guilt involved, hard on the old pride….perhaps. Freedom from that energetic weight and knowing you took the high road…..PRICELESS.

Want Some Guaranteed Laughs?… Watch This Video…
by On August 16, 2012

I just love this video!! Everytime I watch it, without fail, I laugh and I laugh hard!! One of the lessons I get from this video (and there are several) is that everyday we have a CHOICE to bring joy, laughter and love. What is your choice today? Share some laughs and pass this video on…

Happy Laughs!!

50 Shades of Relapse
by On August 15, 2012

scaly. She needed think and condition. I and

drug stores in canada

it is tell! Very will losing is lisinopril over the counter that scrub Cream non-tingle just.

me. If you are already judging me or this blog for it – stop

I was traveling this past weekend (airports and airplanes have always been a big trigger for me), as I was sitting in the airport I had a RAGING urge to drink (when I say drink, I don’t mean sip on a mimosa). It felt like an entity stronger than me. It was the most intense experience I have had during sobriety. And it scared the hell out of me. I was going straight down the rabbit hole. Believing all those thoughts that alcoholics/addicts believe:

  1. I am sure I can have just one or two and stop
  2. Maybe that’s exactly what I need – a good binger to remind me why I don’t drink anymore!
  3. I will just drink in the air, it’s almost like a different realm, so it doesn’t really count (now if that isn’t some delusional reasoning)
  4. I have too much Will these days to let my life get out of control again
  5. Just this one time – no one will ever know
  6. I am about to go on a 5 month spiritual hiatus! I can just drink till then! Surely I will quit in India

Being fortunate enough to be upgraded to first class, I knew this was going to be a tempting 2 hour flight with free drinks. I started scanning the boarding area for any hint of a military service employee to give my seat to. No luck. At this point, I had decided. I can’t do it, I don’t even care-.. I am just going to drink.

After being seated, before departure, I started frantically calling everyone I knew for support. After not being able to reach my non-alcoholic support system, I reached out for my friend who has a severe drinking problem……just knowing that she admires me for something she has not yet beat, and asked her to pray for me. I was crying at this point. The man sitting next to me; surely thought I was NUTS and I was doubting my own sanity at this time. I knew I was closer to binging than ever- so I handed a written note to the flight attendant with tears in my eyes, “please don’t serve me a drink, even if I ask.” I felt so weak and embarrassed at that point.

So why am I writing this very private information to thousands of people?

Because it’s REAL and I am HUMAN.

What would the world be like if everyone reached out for help when they were having destructive habits, behaviors, or temptations? Imagine…

“I have been dangerously close to sleeping with another woman/man outside of my marriage, I need to figure this out.”

“I have been having true feelings of taking my own life, please help me.”

“I have been breaking down and hitting my children, what can I do about my anger?”

Eckhart Tolle (an author that has truly had a major impact on me), speaks of the pain body. I am a huge believer in the pain body. In my opinion, it is real, and it was taking hold of me at 32,000 feet. I felt out of control, weak, doomed, as if I had failed…..and then I remembered…I have tools for this! So I pulled out all the stops.

I prayed, I journaled, I sat with the emotional pain and observed (I did not resist it), I listened to music, listened to my heart, I felt the support of my seat around me…..and prayed some more. When I landed, I went straight to a yoga class and hung out with my soul soothing best friend.

I am sharing this raw experience with you simply because if God can use me to help ANYONE in this world to experience less pain, than I have, that will be enough for me. Here are some suggestions when you feel yourself spinning out of control…

-Stop and notice your thoughts….but don’t necessarily believe them. “I am doomed to fail,” does not have to be a true statement

-Be real with what you can and cannot deal with. If you love to gamble, stay away from Sin City. If you have a problem with infidelity- don’t go to the bars alone.

-It is OK to be weak sometimes (this one is tough for me) I feel many look to me to be strong, but we are all human and being vulnerable, especially with a voice – results in a disempowered pain body. When weak, just make sure you have tools to help during those times. WHEN WEAK, ASK FOR HELP.

– Remember that there will be consequences for your decisions. It is tough to think about when temptation takes hold…..but remember there always is.

– GET TOOLS to cope (I or anyone at Freedom Personal Development can help with this)

I would not know the light if I didn’t know the darkness. I sure wouldn’t have the strength and beauty in my life today if I didn’t fully experience the emptiness and darkness of my life when alcohol destroyed my soul and potential.

Every pain is an opportunity for growth. So as I shed tears at 32,000 feet while writing this, I found a sincere gratitude for the next present of recognized beauty within my personal growth.

I have since identified and eliminated situations and thought patterns that contributed to my wearing thin will in the previous weeks. Thank you God for the strength, I have no doubt that I was receiving a hand from a higher power.