We often think of courage as how we stand up to other people. How do we act when we feel threaten or in a vulnerable position, or how we respond to a dangerous circumstance.

Yes, those are moments of courage. In our day to day lives we also have tremendous opportunities for courage. Not the external, action-oriented version of courage, but rather the internal act of standing up for ourselves to ourselves.

This may seem a bit backwards, after all, why do we need to stand up to ourselves? Yet, if we pay attention to the voices inside us, there are many ways in which we can be kinder, gentler, more nurturing to ourselves.

Are you feeling critical of yourself for something you did? How about standing up to your self-criticism! Are you beating yourself up inside for making a mistake? How about standing up to part of you that makes you feel unworthy?

The saying that we are our own worst enemy may be true, but we are also our own best champion. And it takes courage, real courage, to stand up to all those sides of ourselves that makes us feel no good, unloved, and inadequate.

So can you have the courage to stand up for yourself?

Lately, we’ve been hearing more and more about friends of relatives and friends having passed unexpectedly. isn’t it funny how we take life for granted so easily until someone is gone from our lives? None of us knows how many days we will have on this planet, yet somehow we always expect to be here, along with our friends. We hope you are learning to appreciate all of the people in your life, and that this appreciation comes with an understanding that nothing is permanent. Let us all appreciate all of the aspects of our lives!

When we focus so intently on the busy-ness of our lives, and concentrate our vacations, our fun times to one small section of our years, we give ourselves even more pressure to relax. How can we truly relax if we feel we have to cram it all into two or three warm months? Isn’t it better to spread it throughout the year and find excuses to throw parties, get together with friends, and just in general enjoy ourselves no matter how warm or cold it is outside?

When facing someone who triggers us, who annoys us, or who causes us anger, it is easy to just blame the other individual for their actions and write off the experience as another one of those unpleasant parts of life.

But to do that, we would be missing out on one of life’s greatest gifts, that of reflection.

We have a tendency to think that we are all separate individual human beings, with no relation to each other. In this disconnected world in our minds, what someone else does has no relation to us, other than proximity.

However, if we take these opportunities as moments when life is reflecting back to us something within ourselves, then we can use these encounters as clues into our own psyches.

Say someone irritates us because they are cheap. In what way are we cheap (to ourselves, others, etc.)? If we get angry over how someone treats us with disrespect, in what way are we disrespecting ourselves or others?

You get the idea.

We are truly all connected, whether we like it or not, and the sooner we see each other as mirrors of our own behavior, the sooner we can stop reacting to these situations unconsciously and start responding to them with love and compassion.

Life often takes us to places we didn’t expect. Yes, we are good at planning, scheduling and arranging our days, but when life pulls you aside and throws into the deep end of the pool how do you respond? With curiosity and interest or fear and anger? Getting lost while looking for that new restaurant or taking a wrong turn can put in an uncomfortable environment, but after all, isn’t that how we grow? Doesn’t the unexplored land hold more promise for our lives than the tried and true path? How comfortable are you with the unknown?

Sometimes, the simplest truths are the most profound. We have heard it many times before, Love is the highest frequency, the fundamental nature of the Universe, and the force that interconnects us all. So how does that helps us in our daily lives? Ask yourself, in what ways can I align with Love today? It doesn’t have to be an external exercise, but an internal one. Can you visualize yourself loving your boss? Your project? Your business? Your mate? The cab driver? The Bank teller? The customer service rep who just isn’t being helpful? When you visualize loving them, how do you feel? Do you soften? Does the stress drop? Does your breathing change? Do you feel different? And after all, isn’t that what we all want?

Moment to moment we are constantly given a choice of how we respond to the world around us. How we decide to treat the stranger on the street, or the check out person at the store. Do we choose kindness and compassion, or abrasiveness and disdain?

Sometimes we get caught in the thinking that being kind to someone else who is not being kind to us only benefits them. That in some way, by us making the effort to respond consciously and from our hearts, that it makes us weak and means the other person is getting some advantage over us.

Nothing is further from the truth.

By coming from kindness and compassion, we are actually doing the best thing we can for ourselves. By not allowing the situation to dictate our emotional state, we gain further dominion over our own life, and empower ourselves to be more authentic.

It’s never about the other person. They are merely a reflective body showing us where we need to be more compassionate to ourselves. Being kind does not just benefit the other person, it benefits ourselves far more than we realize!

How often do we hear it – it’s the journey not the destination that matters – but how often do we really pay attention to it? It is so easy to get caught up in the daily drama, whether it comes from our personal lives, our business lives, our family, our relationships, the world in general, how often do we really take the time the stop, be still, and just listen? Be quiet? Be with ourselves? How often do we take the time to reflect? The answer is usually not as much as we want to. So let this little newsletter serve as a reminder to you to stop, listen, reflect and ponder your life, in all it’s glorious aspects. There is magic in this moment.

What does purpose mean to you?

Do you look for purpose in your life?

Do you make purpose important to you, or do you just travel through life without considering it?

Have you figured out your purpose?

Do you have more than one?

Now that you know your purpose, does it empower you or frighten you?

Do you make your own purpose or do you look to others to help you figure it out?

Regardless of your purpose, are you pursuing it purposefully?

So often we hear the call to be “a leader” in life. But what does that really mean?

Does everyone who wants to be a leader have to go out and get a million followers and make a gazillion dollars and spend half of their time on TV?

Not really. What life is calling us to do is be a leader in our own lives, in our own psyche. It means standing up for ourselves in all the little ways that we give in to the voices inside our head that tell us we’re not good enough or we don’t deserve something.

Standing up for oneself is not about being an egocentric diva who demands attention from everyone around them. Rather, it is about quietly standing in your personal power, knowing that you have something to contribute to the world, and than life supports you in your journey.

We don’t necessarily have to lead other people, we just have to lead ourselves into the life we want. Not a life of glamour and riches, but a life of meaning and joy. As we allow these ideals to be our guides, we encourage others to also follow their own path to happiness.

Now that’s true leadership!