Guest Blog Article at Happily Thinner After

My gorgeous friend Biz asked me to do a guest blog over on her site, www.happilythinnerafter.com.  Here’s what I came up with!

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A few months ago someone suggested I do a vision board. I was approaching a pivotal birthday, and I was in full ‘am-I-just-a-waste-of-oxygen?’ mode. My friend thought that a vision board would help me get clear and focused on my next chapter.

I’m unashamed to tell you that I’m pretty much up for any project which includes cutting and pasting. So, I bought the board, went to my stack of hoarded magazines, and got down to business with the scissors and glue.

One section of my vision board was to be totally devoted to my health. I started with a quote which reads, “Never Say Diet.” (Dream big, right?) Then, I placed a picture of colorful, fresh vegetables beneath it.

Next, I found a perfectly healthy looking woman in a one-piece bathing suit standing on the beach. Obviously she is a swimsuit model, but she isn’t a Sports Illustrated one. I could at least wrap my head around the goal. In a fit of total empowerment, I printed a picture of my face, pasted my head on the swimsuit body, and I put it smack in the center of the section.SkinnySmall

Brownies and Reality

I think I weighed 127 at birth. I can LOOK at a brownie and gain 6.8 pounds (roughly). Weight has been a lifelong struggle. It was so weird to see myself thin. It was so weird that I took a picture of it with my phone and made it my phone background. I couldn’t get enough of the feeling that picture gave me.

About three weeks after I made the vision board, I was staring at Skinny Me. With complete and total sincerity, I thought, “Wow, my thighs are a little meaty.” My heart fell a bit. “Bummer,” I thought.

Then it dawned on me–BELINDA, YOU ARE CRITICIZING YOUR HEAD ON THE BODY OF A SWIMSUIT MODEL!This woman gets PAID to stand there in a bathing suit and have her picture taken, and here I was picking at ‘my’ thighs.

This was a turning point. I’ve always been told that losing weight is as much mental as it is physical. I know that I’m supposed to work out my thoughts around food, and I know I’m supposed to work on the self-love (I’ve watchedOprah). However, in all the years, I’ve never had such clarity come crashing in on me. I’ve never seen the mental junk in action like I did that day.

The Diagnosis

Recently, a dear friend of mine was having all kinds of physical issues. She was going back and forth to the doctor every other week for this and that, and I believe she was convinced deep down that she had a major underlying medical issue. After several weeks of futile visits, her doctor sat down across from her and let the silence fill the room.

This was it: the moment of truth.

In his most sincere and compassionate voice he said the following: you really should be kinder to yourself.

Then he sent her home.

That was it, the diagnosis and the treatment.

You really should be kinder to yourself.

I began to take stock in how I think. I started journaling again, and I got my first massage in 7 years. I started walking through my neighborhood with my dogs–not for the exercise, but because I like to smell fresh air and my dogs think they’re on vacation.

I look at that picture of Skinny Me every single day.

I’m two sizes smaller than I was before I did the Vision Board. I’m not following any program, per se, and I’m not starving myself. I’m certainly not saying I have it all worked out, but something has shifted, and that’s a good thing.

What Have You Got To Lose?

As you enter your next chapter, I wonder what would happen if you tried being intentionally supportive of yourself. I wonder if it would make a difference in your day. What if you took a walk just for the pure enjoyment of it? What if you got that massage you’ve been putting off? What if you were mindful of your negative self-talk, and intentional about changing it?

My challenge to you: Be kinder to yourself for the next 30 days and see what happens. Just see. Because, really, what have you got to lose?

To Your Adventure,

Belinda

Belinda Smith is the President and Founder of Belinda Smith Creative, a company dedicated to providing structure, community, accountability and permission to aspiring writers around the world. As a Multi-Award Winning songwriter and mentor, she is a sought after speaker, teacher and performer at writing workshops and festivals, and her new LIVE CD is set to be released in February. Check out belindasmithcreative.com for information about online classes starting soon.

 

http://www.happilythinnerafter.com/content.php?69-Brownies-and-Reality

5 Ways to Be a Real Winner at Holiday Shopping

I’ve compiled a list of tips to help us get through what is my most stressful task of the season: SHOPPING.  Enjoy!

1. Set Your Intention.

When you leave your home to go shopping, set the intention of getting the parking space which is the greatest distance from the entrance.  You’ll have an excellent chance of succeeding and you’ll feel like a winner from the start.

2.  Trust Strangers to Get It Done

If you didn’t have time to make your list before you got to the store, just roam until you find someone else who did.  Then, follow them and buy everything they buy.  They’ve obviously put some time and thought into what they’re going to purchase, and there’s no reason their time and thought cannot save YOU time and thought.  You can worry about who gets what later.  Winners accomplish tasks.

3.  Shop Smarter, Not Harder

If you pass someone in the store who has a cart of things you admire, feel free to take whatever you like out of their cart and put it in yours.  This will save you the time of going to look for the item yourself.  ***(Holiday Winner Tip:  This one works best if you wait till the other shopper is looking in the opposite direction.)

4.  Manifest Your Own Christmas Miracle

When the check-out line is really long, start singing Christmas songs as loud as you can.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a singer to do this.  Just “sing for all the world to hear,” as Buddy, the Elf, says.  You’ll find that people like to give you a little more room when you’re doing this, and lines instantly move faster.

5.  Take it All In

When starting the hike back to your vehicle, walk very, very slowly in the line of traffic.  This is a great way to OWN YOUR AWESOMENESS.  Some people will even honk with holiday joy.  When they do, you should wave and smile…because that’s what winners do.

Here’s to a winning holiday season!

Belinda

Dreamhost Coupon

Complaining, Whining and Gossiping, Oh My!

Two days ago, I was having a particularly stressful day.  It was one of those when I was nearly convinced by noon that the entire universe had conspired to irritate every last drop of goodness out of me.  I was just plain mad at someone over a work issue, I was being cut off in traffic left and right, my cell phone wouldn’t quit ringing, I had a million things on my to-do list and I just big, fat wasn’t feeling any progress in anything.

Back story

A few months ago, I signed a No Complaint contract with myself.  I actually printed it out and signed it.  This contract stated that I would not complain, whine, or gossip for seven weeks.  The rule was that every time I broke the agreement, I would start the contract over from day one.

Have you ever noticed how much complaining, whining and gossiping we participate in AND perpetuate?  You sure would if you signed a contract saying you wouldn’t do it.  By the end of the first week, I’d had to re-sign the contract every single day, and I was fully ashamed of myself.

While I’ve been making positive changes over the past several months, signing the contract has without question been the most transformative.

Until two days ago.

I’m not saying I haven’t had to recommit to my agreement multiple times, but most of those were accidental breaches.  Two days ago, though, I let ‘er rip.I’d just been cut off for the third time by that shiny black Mercedes when I thought, “Stupid, stupid No-Complaint Contract.  Who needs it?”

And off I went.
I preached an unholy sermon to my windshield and beyond all the way down the interstate.  I complained about anything that came to mind.  I fussed, and I fussed, and I fussed.  And when people driving by started staring, I complained about them, too, for good measure.When I was done complaining, I transitioned directly into whining, and had anyone been in the car with me, I would’ve totally gossiped like a Rock Star.

That whole day was shot, not to mention the No-Complaint contract.

The next day I woke up in a terrible mood again, and no matter how many ‘happy thoughts’ I tried to think, I couldn’t shake the bad ones.

Finally, it was mid-afternoon—a good twenty-four hours after my rant—that I’d had enough.  I went to the Greenway and took a walk by the river.  It was cold out, but I didn’t care.  I needed to walk someplace quiet and pretty.  After a while I finally started calming down.  It wasn’t till the next day, though, that I started to feel like me again.

When I look back over the week, I’m fascinated by what a profound impact letting a little negativity back in (okay, it was a lot of negativity—all of the negativity ever, maybe) had.  I hadn’t felt so bad and discombobulated in weeks.

I Sound Like Oprah

I’m certainly not trying to pass myself off as some kind of ‘centered’ and all-peaceful guru.  I doubt Gandhi posted a No Complaint contract in his office.

All I know is that I’m convinced.

I’m persuaded that staying out of negative conversations, and trying not to complain, whine or gossip makes my entire life experience better—mentally and physically.So, I’m in.  I’ve re-signed my No Complaint contract and I’m in for another seven weeks.

Why don’t you try it for a week and just see what happens?  You might be surprised.

To your adventure,

Belinda

Gratitude at 9

A few months ago, I decided to set a daily alarm to go off at 9 PM.  Every evening at 9 PM,my phone buzzes (because I typically have it on ‘vibrate’) and a notification comes across my screen that reads, “GRATITUDE LIST.”

When that happens, I immediately acknowledge three things for which I am thankful.  Just three. I figured that even on the worst day ever, surely I could come up with three things which are good.

 To date I’ve listed everything from being glad that my thirteen year old miniature pinscher still barks at insignificant noises to being glad that the radio in my car hasn’t worked for over a year.  It’s a deep and varied list so far.The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is that what I might be most irritated about one day can be the very thing I’m the most grateful for on another.  I would’ve never noticed that had I not started documenting it.

I guess we just never know from day to day what’s going to get us through.

I’ve also realized,  much to my cynical self’s surprise, that knowing I have to be grateful for three things every day has made me pay close attention to the good things in my life. Whereas before something would’ve gone briefly noticed and forgotten, now I’m being mindful to remember it so that I have one item for the Gratitude List at 9.

Focusing on the good things has changed my daily perspective.I wonder if it would change your day, too.

Why not try it?  Set your own ‘gratitude list’ alarm every day for the next week.  I mean, it’s not like it’s that hard to set an alarm, right? And surely you could think of three things every day.  How hard could it really be? Just three.  …one, two, three.  

Not convinced? Here’s a recent article from the New York Times which may prove interesting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=gratitude&st=cse

Try it with me.  Because, really, what have you got to lose?

To your adventure,

Belinda

Doubting and Dreaming

I spend a lot of time with writers, both aspiring and accomplished.  One behavior I see over and over with so many writers is self-doubt.

We doubt our ideas and doubt our words.
We doubt our melodies and our instruments.
We doubt our stories and our narrators.
We can doubt our clothes, our shoes, our cars, our homes, our yards, our neighbor’s yards and our neighbor’s dogs, if we have to.
If we could get paid to doubt, then some of us would be buying an island right about now.

The truth is that doubt is nothing more than a limiting belief.  We keep ourselves comfortable by doubting.  I would even say we think that questioning everything and betting on nothing keeps us from being disappointed.

It is spiral, and I know how doubt can take over quickly and fully.  I’ve let it happen to myself plenty of times.

Doubting hinders dreaming.

I’m a dreamer.  I drove into Nashville in 1997, looked at the cityscape and felt really, really small and insignificant.  Still, for some unexplainable reason, I believed to my core that I was made for something that I was meant to find in the music business.

Through all the adventures, the highs and lows, the disappointments and the accomplishments, my core belief never wavered.  I was supposed to write songs.

That’s one thing I still know for sure.

There is something about pursuing your dreams from a foundation of certainty that changes everything.
Landscape 4 Pictures, Images and Photos
It’s the difference between shooting a photo of a beautiful landscape with your eyes closed and shooting that same landscape through the viewfinder.  It can end up beautiful both ways, but you have a lot better chance at getting the shot you want with your eyes open.

This week I’m challenging you to reconnect with your inner dreamer.  Identify that core belief—what’s the one thing you know about your creative self?

Be honest.

And once you’re clear about it, start taking beautiful pictures.

To the Adventure,
Belinda

Seeing Red: Randomly

Random Fact:  Red is my favorite color.

Blue-red, not orange-red.

That’s important.  The darker one.

This leads me to thinking about songs with the word Red in the title.  My first thought is Little Red Corvette (long live the 80’s.)  Then Little Red Rodeo and Red Ragtop. I’m not going to mention Lady in Red because everyone else will.  I like Written in Red, too.

If you were being surveyed for Family Feud (because surely you will be someday), what  song would you think of when you think of titles with Red in them?

-b
red leaf Pictures, Images and Photos

INFP

I took the Meyer’s Briggs personality test again.  I’ve been the same thing since college, and I don’t argue with it.  Here’s a description of me I found at the end of the test.  I’d say this tells you just exactly who I am…and my Mom insists I could find real love for a dead dog on the side of the road.  And, truth be told, she’s probably right.
-b
Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
by Joe Butt

Profile: INFP

Functional Analysis:

Introverted Feeling

INFPs live primarily in a rich inner world of introverted Feeling. Being inward-turning, the natural attraction is away from world and toward essence and ideal. This introversion of dominant Feeling, receiving its data from extraverted intuition, must be the source of the quixotic nature of these usually gentle beings. Feeling is caught in the approach- avoidance bind between concern both for people and for All Creatures Great and Small, and a psycho-magnetic repulsion from the same. The “object,” be it homo sapiens or a mere representation of an organism, is valued only to the degree that the object contains some measure of the inner Essence or greater Good. Doing a good deed, for example, may provide intrinsic satisfaction which is only secondary to the greater good of striking a blow against Man’s Inhumanity to Mankind.

Extraverted iNtuition

Extraverted intuition faces outward, greeting the world on behalf of Feeling. What the observer usually sees is creativity with implied good will. Intuition spawns this type’s philosophical bent and strengthens pattern perception. It combines as auxiliary with introverted Feeling and gives rise to unusual skill in both character development and fluency with language–a sound basis for the development of literary facility. If INTPs aspire to word mechanics, INFPs would be verbal artists.

Introverted Sensing

Sensing is introverted and often invisible. This stealth function in the third position gives INFPs a natural inclination toward absent- mindedness and other-worldliness, however, Feeling’s strong people awareness provides a balancing, mitigating effect. This introverted Sensing is somewhat categorical, a subdued version of SJ sensing. In the third position, however, it is easily overridden by the stronger functions.

Extraverted Thinking

The INFP may turn to inferior extraverted Thinking for help in focusing on externals and for closure. INFPs can even masquerade in their ESTJ business suit, but not without expending considerable energy. The inferior, problematic nature of Extraverted Thinking is its lack of context and proportion. Single impersonal facts may loom large or attain higher priority than more salient principles which are all but overlooked.

-b