HOW TO HAVE MORE PEACE IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS

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If you clicked to read this, you may be expecting some big revelation, but how to have more peace is so obvious, you’ll wonder why you bothered to read this far…

When you wake up in the morning, DON’T LOOK AT, OR TURN ON, YOUR PHONE, and DON’T CHECK EMAIL OR SOCIAL MEDIA until you’ve had at least 10 minutes of quiet time to yourself.

If you want to have even more peace, don’t go on your phone or social media for 30 minutes, an hour, or even 2 hours. Sound crazy? Impossible? It’s not.

“But… but…” you might be saying, “Steven Spielberg might need to reach me,” or “My kids need me,” or “I need to check how my stocks are doing,” or “My church people need me.”

You know who needs you? You. You need you to be present in order to handle all those calls and emails and interactions when you get to them… later.

Listen. No, not to me. Just be still and listen. Once you get quiet enough, you’ll start to hear and see in a way you weren’t able to when you were allowing yourself to be bombarded with messages and information and demands.

In the quiet, you may hear a still, small voice. I believe it’s God. If you don’t, I’m not going to try to convince you.

Things that you couldn’t make sense of will start to become clear in the stillness. Answers you were trying to figure out will start to crystallize.

Or you will feel yourself breathe again. You will remember that you are a living, breathing human being, that there are people in your life that you love. You may start to feel grateful to be alive.

It might not be easy at first. Phones and the internet are, after all, an addiction. Your brain will try to tell you that you need to check. Just one message. And then another… and another. But don’t take the bait. It’s trying to steal your peace.

Unless you’re waiting on a life or death phone call, it can wait. It’s hard to think of anything that isn’t helped by being still and having space to just be.

For some this is prayer time. For some it is meditation. For some, it’s just sitting still and doing nothing but being. And for some, like me, it’s all three.

Personally, I need way more than 10 minutes of quiet time every day. I’m talking hours.

Whatever you need to do to take this time, take it. You may need to wrestle it back from people, or situations you’ve allowed to steal it. Find a way to carve it out and take it back.

If 10 minutes sounds insane in light of the things you’re dealing with, then start with 5. If 5 sounds like too much, start with 4, 3, 2, or 1. And if one minute sounds impossible, you may need to take a whole day off.

If stillness terrifies you, or not being connected via phone or internet makes you feel like you no longer exist, you may need to explore this more deeply to find out what the root of that fear is.

But if you want peace in the next 24 hours, then try it. Wake up and do the first part of your morning as if phones and the internet didn’t even exist.

You may notice the birds singing again for the first time since childhood. You may hear the wind rustle through the leaves in the chestnut trees. You may notice all sorts of things you had stopped noticing because your face was buried in your electronics like…

  • the color of a loved one’s eyes
  • the taste of your coffee, tea, or food
  • the way water feels running over your hands in the morning
  • the sunlight gleaming through the window
  • the way it feels when you brush or comb your hair
  • the breath in your lungs

If you keep it up, you may start to experience wonder again and you’ll ask yourself how you ever got so far away from it.

Remember that stillness is a gift you give yourself. Try it and let me know what it was like for you.

Wishing you peace,

Monique

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http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com

 

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DOORS

God speaks through closed doors as much as through open doors.

If a door you have been trying to open is not opening, there comes a point where you need to get very still so you can hear and see where a door might already be open.

Sometimes, the door that’s already open is the one you were hoping for all along.

Maybe you gave up on it. Or there was a certain way you thought things had to happen, so you got a little comfortable in “waiting” for it. Maybe now is the time to take the first step… again… towards that door. You know the one.

Be still and listen. You may be pleasantly surprised at a much greater open door than the small closed one you were banging on.

And it very well may require a leap of faith.

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Dwell in possibility…

Monique

http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com

 

 

WHO ARE YOUR 10 PEOPLE?

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Hi Friends,

I often think about the people who have positively impacted me, so recently, I made a list of my top 10 people. These are people who, when I look back, I wonder where, or how, my life would have ended up if our paths had not crossed… how different, and less rich, my life would be.

One thing they have all had in common is summed up in the words of Emily Dickinson:

“I find it shelter to speak to you.” 

Actually, my list ended up with 11 such people. I couldn’t keep it at 10 just for round numbers. And really, it’s a list that could grow to 20, 30 and more, but for starters, I have 10 (11).

I want to suggest to you that in the next week, you take a few minutes to make such a list. It could be anyone. It could be people you’ve known for years. Or it could be someone you sat next to on a bus or train who said or did something you’ve never forgotten.

 I find my 10 people are my most perfect gratitude list. Whenever I’m feeling low, if I think of even one of these people, it puts everything into perspective. It also reminds me that, at any moment, someone like that can show up again in my life.

 The most incredible thing about each of these people is how divinely orchestrated each connection with them actually was. We only fully realize this when looking back.

 Today is the birthday of one of “my people” and appropriately the sun is shining as I just finished journaling about all the things about this person that I’m grateful for.

 Try it. Take the time. Maybe one day, one or more of those people will be delighted to find that they are on your list.

Wishing you a beautiful week.

Blessings & gratitude,

Monique

Artist / Life Coach
http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com/

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5 COUNTER-INTUITIVE NOTIONS THAT CAN IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

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** image credit: Victoria Yore and Terrence Drysdale

Hi friends…

So what might those notions be?

These came to mind…

  1. Being still when you have a thousand things to do. Seems like the last thing you should do when you’re swamped with a busy schedule. There are people to see, places to go, fires to put out, calls to make, emails to send. But then, things aren’t always what they seem, are they? Here’s what St. Francis de Sales and Martin Luther had to say about it…

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2. Giving when you’re low on money. What? Really? That just doesn’t seem like good accounting. It seems like the last thing you should do when you’re low on cash, and wondering how you’re going to pay your bills is give some (or all) away. But for some reason, the law of the universe is “give and you shall receive.” Perhaps because it takes faith to give. It takes trust to give. And that faith and trust are never more tested than when we give even though it looks like utter foolishness. You can trace some of the greatest (and sometimes wealthiest) people to their generosity. If you were to examine some of their lives, you’d find that they gave when it hurt to give and when it seemed they had nothing.

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3. Doing less, not more. Striving: it seems like a good word and a good idea, but is it? Sure, we should strive to love more deeply, create more authentically, trust more fully, work more heartily, but striving is something different. Striving is doing something in our own strength and forgetting why we’re doing what we’re doing, and for whom. Striving can be exhausting. When there is much to do, and so many depending on us, to step away requires faith, it takes strength, and that first takes willingness.

 

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4. Loving and being kind to someone who has hurt or offended you. Whenever I’ve heard of people sort of mocking the idea of following Christ, as if it’s for simpletons and weaklings, I wonder if they know about this thing he said: love your enemies. This is where the rubber meets the road. Whether someone stepped on your toe, or destroyed your life (or the lives of people you love), we are called to love… which is the absolute last thing we feel like doing in that moment or season.

 

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5. Keep going when you feel like giving up. You’ve been planting seeds and watering them continuously. You’ve been hoping, praying, trusting for a situation to change or improve. You’ve done your part. What gives? What’s taking so long? Where’s that harvest you were promised? Sorry, I don’t have an answer on that one. I wonder myself sometimes.

What I do know is that even though everything in you wants to call it quits and forget about it… even though you’re frustrated, tired, exhausted and want to throw in the towel, something inside you refuses to give up. Even though it would be easier, you can’t. You won’t. You’ll get up one more day and keep going. You’ll trust one more day and anticipate something good, even though you have every reason to say, “Hey, after all this time, it ain’t happening.” Even though the outward reality looks completely opposite. Again, things aren’t always what they seem. Just like in the best plays, there’s always something going on behind the scenes to make the story one worth telling.

It’s what the best stories are about, the best movies: tenacity, overcoming, resilience… moxie. It doesn’t even seem possible to keep going, but you do and you will.

 

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In all five of these things, what stands out is that none of them “feel” good, or make sense. They’re completely contrary to how we normally operate. So they must require a strength outside of ourselves in order to pull it off.

Exactly.

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* * Image credit: Christian Schloe 

 

If you’d like to have a courageous conversation, click here to book an appointment with me (no charge). I’d be happy to talk with you and explore how you can move your life forward.

Blessings,

Monique

http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com/

 

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WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN…?

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What do you do when the hardships you face seem like too much to bear? It could be something very serious happening to a loved one, it could be your health, it could be your living situation, it could be your marriage…it could be all of the above at once. Everything is shrieking at you to pay attention to it, to tend to it, to do something, for God’s sake!

So what do you do?

Honestly, I can’t tell you what you should do, but I can tell you the only thing I know to do, the only thing that makes sense, though it goes against everything the exterior world clamors…

For God’s sake (and my own and others’)…I get very, very still. I go inside…into the inner chamber of my heart…and there, I find God waiting for me. There, in the stillness, in the quiet, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen,” as Rumi wisely said.

And so I listen.

And I hear a call above the waves and wind shouting, “Be still!” (It’s incredible how loud that inaudible voice can be.) That call is the anchor that draws the little boat of my soul back into the only harbor that gives peace…God’s presence.

There, my thoughts are calmed. There, the injustices that stare me in the face lose their power. There, answers are found. There, my heartbeat is restored to a normal rate.

There are some extremely frightening things going on in my life right now, in the life of someone I love (life or death things not related to illness) so being able to even sit down and write this is the only proof I need that it’s true–there is power in stillness, there is power in faith and hope, and there is relief from fear in God’s love. I don’t feel it every minute, but that says more about my wandering focus than about God.

There is a time to do all we can to work, to help, to tend to…and there is a time to be still, to trust and to wait for the answers to come. It is a very fine art to find the balance between these two and to live within them.

I do not know of anything that is made better by anxiety and fear. I only know of all the things that are made better by trust and love.

 

– Monique Amado

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* Image credit: Christian Schloe

THE PRISON OF YOUR MIND

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Hi friends,

If you don’t know who Sean Stephenson is, you’re about to meet an endearing, gentle man who has more obstacles to overcome than most, but instead of complaining about it, he is taking his challenges and turning them into inspiration.

May you be inspired by his strength and wisdom in this short TED talk.

“Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you.” – Sean

Wishing you a great rest of the week!

Blessings and peace,

Monique

**If you’d like to talk with me, you can schedule an appointment by following this link for a 30-minute call by Skype or phone (no charge) or fill out the contact form below. I’d be happy to hear from you.