LenoraBoyle on July 29th, 2015

41236036_mI love to open a book—a good one, still not used to reading my iPad –the sharp edges pressing into my hands, not being able to read in the sunshine. But open a book, and I think I smell the ink, and the worn wood crushed to make the paper offered up to me and other readers.

God help me but I still love Italian memoirs. I just re-read Ferenc Mate’s The Hills of Tuscany and the follow up–A Vineyard in Tuscany. He is a fabulous writer, with a knack for story telling, details, sense of humor, and skill in execution of adventure. He and his wife are actually avid sailors adventuring often in Tahiti and in the northwestern waters of the US, so I imagine them courageous and a little crazy. I convinced my husband to read the Vineyard, and in the first pages he was chuckling out loud. Yes! Because we are going to be driving around that area of Tuscany in September, maybe we’ll visit Ferenc’s vineyard, which I’ve wanted to do since I first read his book six years ago. So much to do in Italy and even on vacation, there is also a To Do List.

What would life be like without a To Do List? I actually need a list or I just spin out into mediocrity. Let’s back track on that—I choose not to follow a To Do List all the time, but it’s important that I have one, so I don’t have to keep the chores inside my head, or forget an important task. I add HAVE FUN on my To Do List too including meet a friend for lunch, do yoga, go to the local coffee house.

I can toss the list aside to read an open book that is calling me! I have new arm chairs placed in the two bedrooms on the main floor of my house (a friend gave them to me), and they call me into their flowery arms, “bring your book and cup of English Breakfast tea, put your feet up, and read to your heart’s content.”  And I run to them like a young lover, and languish more than I used to. I may even take with me my notebook of TO DO’s. I am learning  over and over everyday not to feel like a failure if I don’t complete the eternal TO DO List.

I just decided this morning during an Option Method session, that when I think of that list, I’m going to acknowledge what I DID get done. It is a myth that the to do list will ever be completed. Oh it will be for a day or two, maybe, but it grows like the weeds in my garden on these rainy summer days.

Here is how to handle a TO DO LIST:

1. Write on the front of a spiral note BOOK, which is an open book, I LOVE MY WONDERFUL TO DO LIST! add some pictures to the front of it.

2. Divide the paper in half:ON the left column: TO CALLOn the right column: TO DO

3. Create a page with the word ‘Successes’ on the top, and just jot down what you’ve accomplished whenever you feel like it or when you start beating yourself up for not completing everything on the list. This is just so you realize you’re doing stuff.

4. Make a cup of tea,coffee, lemonade, martini or whatever, and play every day like a child would, with freedom and abandonment—go catch a bluegill or play jacks with Mary Ellen (if she can get away from her to do list),

5. Be sure to add play time, exercise time, hanging out time on the to do list, and that is to be added to your successes! I harvested basil and garlic yesterday instead of writing a blog post or finishing the work on moving my website over to a wordpress site. Then I made pesto with toasted pistachios, basil, olive oil, garlic, and then made marinara sauce.

I added it to my successes after I beat myself up for procrastinating the other more important work of writing and moving the website. The open book is calling me, and I want that on my master to do list too!

How do you handle your TO DO LISTS? Enjoy it and Do it!


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LenoraBoyle on April 22nd, 2015

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Today is Earth Day, a perfect opportunity to pause and reflect on the gifts that planet Earth has given us.  As I’ve written about in past blogs, expressing our gratitude is a way to add happiness to our lives. Take time today to list five things for which you are grateful to Mother Earth. Then list five things that you can do to uplift Mother Earth.

I am grateful to Mother Earth for:

1. Gravity – which allows me as a member of our Human Race to have evolved over time the ‘sixth’ sense, the sense of balance which gives me the ability to stand upright on two feet and amble over the surface of this awe-inspiring planet.

2. Atmosphere – which provides the oxygen for animals to breathe, the cycle of evaporation and condensation resulting in rain, and the filter which permits exactly the right amount of sunlight to promote healing and life in every living thing on earth.

3. Plant life – in all its varied splendor which uses the carbon we exhale to produce life-giving oxygen, nourishing food, soul-inspiring beauty, and healing in the form of medicinal herbs.

4. Earth’s Bounty – Mountains lakes, streams, forests, deserts, oceans – an endless array of ecosystems in which to live, to play, to find peace and inspiration, simply to enjoy.

5. Foods and Nourishment – Food generously offered for our sustenance. Dark purple grapes, juicy oranges, avocados, nuts, kale, carrots, and so much more. An unending supply of vitamin and mineral rich deliciousness given.   

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A few ideas to do today to show your love and respect for Mother Earth Day:

1. Perform random acts of kindness to Earth to express your gratitude and ‘pay it forward’ for the riches that have been given to you ‘just because.’   For example, you can pick up litter. My walking group will don gloves and garbage bags tonight on our walk to gather up trash along the side of the streets and in the park. We did this last year and we were amazed at the junk we collected in five large garbage bags within an hour.

2. Find time to recycle, even if it is only one type of reusable resource such as plastic, cardboard, magazines, glass, or aluminum.  Every little bit does help to keep stuff out of the landfills. Recycle for an elderly or disabled neighbor or friend.

3. Reduce your carbon footprint. Plant a tree. Walk or bike to work, reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in your cleaning or cosmetic products.

4. Eat and shop more consciously. Choose fresh, locally grown organic produce and local farm-raised meat.  Minimize what you bring home in packaging.  Use reusable cloth bags for shopping and mesh bags for your fresh vegetables. I was disappointed yesterday, sitting in my car outside one of our local grocery stores, to notice that out of a dozen customers streaming out the door, none of them had canvas bags–all plastic.

5. Raise your food awareness. Get involved and do your part to be the change. Mother Earth provides healthy choices. Unfortunately, we have added pesticides, herbicides and GMO’s (genetically modified foods) to the plate. APRIL 25 to MAY 3, check out the online Food Revolution Summit hosted by author John Robbins, that is free of charge. You will learn the most up-to-date research and information about food, nutrition, disease prevention and environmental stewardship. You can hear interviews three times a day from 25 experts.

May all of these positive Earth Day activities, and some of your own, become a habit so that every day can be earth day!

Happy Earth Day!

 

 


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LenoraBoyle on March 20th, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015 is the third annual International Day of Happiness as declared by the United Nations. It was inspired by the leaders of Bhutan who believe that the spiritual well being of citizens and communities is given as much importance as their material needs.

The United Nation’s International Day of Happiness is about focusing on your connections with others.
 After years of happiness research, it has been proven that our connections with other people is of utmost importance to our happiness. In addition to figuring out how we can be happy, take some steps to connect with others making the world a happier place.

These seven tips to increase your happiness can be practiced today, The International Day of Happiness, and every day.

  1. Stay in the present. As you try to honor this day of happiness, resist the urge to dread the future, or regret actions from the past.
  2. Accept. Stop judging.  Worry less about what anyone is going to judge you for.  At the same time, when you look at another fellow human being, accept them for who they are. Try it for 10 minutes every day until you become a non-judging expert!
     
  3. Give a helping hand to someone in need. This could be as simple as sharing a smile, working with someone on their taxes, cooking food for a friend, paying for someone’s meal at the table next to you or at the drive-through window without them knowing it.
     
  4. Stay connected. Connect with people around you in person or through the mail if they do not live near you. Make at least one connection today and every day, that you would not normally make. Communicate that you care, or acknowledge their importance in your life. Connect with nature and to your natural rhythms without electronic devices. Take a walk in the woods, along the river or seaside.  
  5. Be grateful.  When we put our attention on all the good in our lives, the good tends to increase.  Even when situations threaten to get us down, if we focus on the everyday things, the small blessings in our lives, we will find that happiness triumphs over depression and despair.  Recent research has shown that 5-10 minutes of journaling thoughts of gratitude and appreciation every day leads to an uplifted mood, greater energy, and fewer aches and pains. Buy that journal today.
                                                                                               
  6.  Create what you want. Find at least one thing you really want to do but have no idea how you’d finance it or find the time to do it. Then take the baby step! You can encourage others to go for what they want too, even if it’s scary.
     
  7.  Inquire. When you have doubts, ask open-ended questions to yourself about the situations you face.  “How can I achieve a better outcome for myself?” instead of “Why does it always happen this way?” which inevitably leads to an unhealthy “Because I’m a failure, I can’t learn. I’m not educated enough.” Here’s to celebrating International Day of Happiness and la dolce vita, the sweet life!


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LenoraBoyle on January 6th, 2015

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Happy New Year! May this be a year that is fulfilling and fun! I’ve written my dreams for the year, and have taken baby steps each day toward them. I’ve already stumbled and fallen, but I started again today. I’ve learned over the years not to get down on myself when my accomplishments do not always match the height of my dreams.

Resolutions are a marker for where you want to be and go in your year, not a punishment to suffer through. If we look at our resolutions as drudgery, we will quit by the end of January and join the 92% of people who do not successfully achieve their resolutions. According to Statistics Brain only 8 % of people achieve their resolutions. I believe it’s just that we get impatient with ourselves and let our limiting beliefs block us from moving forward.

The top five New Years Resolutions on twitter for 2015 are:

1. Work out

2. Be happy

3. Lose weight

4. Stop smoking

5. Unplug

Even though being happy was number two on the list, all the other resolutions ultimately lead to the experience of more happiness. Think about jotting down 10 things that would be happy-making in your life–reading a book a month, meeting new friends or studying a new language. Then take ten minutes a day to make them a reality.

Resolve to take baby steps each day rather than having a huge goal that seems so out of reach that you give up after two weeks. However, it is also very empowering to dream really big. To simplify reaching your huge goals, break it down into manageable daily or weekly tasks, that you can inch toward. You will see that baby steps will be a steady movement forward.

What’s on your list this year? Do you have some easy and fun ways that you achieve them?


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LenoraBoyle on December 19th, 2013

The holidays will only be as happy as you are; conversely they will be as unpleasant as you are stressed. So what to do? The countdown is on: only 7 days ’til Christmas, and there’s all that stuff to be done….

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1. Put yourself at the top of your gift list. This is the season of giving, but you can’t give meaningfully or effectively from an empty well. Avoid fast food, eat regularly, and take time to eat in a relaxed way. Indulgein fewer holiday sweets; the sugar can weaken your immune system and sap your energy. Try eating more fruit instead.

Stay with your exercise routine, or at least do not quit altogether. Even take a 10 minute walk away from the hustle and bustle. When your heart is pumping, you deliver more nutrients and oxygen to your brain! The result will be a less stressful holiday.

Get a massage. If you can’t spend the hour, look for one of those 10 minute massage chairs in a mall or store. It works wonders. Then back to enjoying your to-do list.

If this seems selfish, ask yourself, “If taking care of myself means something else won’t get done, does it mean I don’t care?” If you answer yes, then ask… “Why do I believe that?” “What might happen if I did not believe that?”

2. Review your to-do-list.
Are the things you plan to do expressing the meaning of Christmas and New Year’s that you hold dear?  Is there time for you to enjoy your favorite things? Is it doable in the time you have left? Do you have to do it all?

If you didn’t get another thing done, would that be all right? If not, why not? Are there any items that can be eliminated? Can you enlist the help of others? Would you want to be happy even though you didn’t get some of the last-minute things done?

3. Give to those in need. Even though I just encouraged you to put yourself at the top of your gift list, giving is an opportunity to stay happy.

Of course, this season is usually over-the-top busy, but it is easy to find someone or a local organization that needs help.

Some friends and I spend  time (doesn’t have to be a lot) volunteering to make sure children in our community have a wonderful holiday. In the fulfillment of volunteering, the items on my “to do list” somehow become more enjoyable and gratifying.

If you can’t get out right now, you can make a difference in the lives of mothers and children in the Philippines suffering from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda by donating to my friend and hero, Robin Lim, 2011 CNN Hero of the Year, at A Million Mothers or support a child in an orphanage in Nepal, ShantiChildrensFoundation, directed by one of my wonderful recent Italy Retreat graduates, Pam Whitworth.

You can also check in with a friend who may be alone, and give to her or him.

4. Be grateful for what you can do. Each day, jot down something, even the smallest thing, that you are grateful for. It’s hard to be unhappy when you are being grateful.
A client of mine is enjoying her first Christmas with family and friends in thirteen years. She cheerfully told me, “Burned cookies? Late Christmas cards? Long lines everywhere? I relish it all. I am free to give of myself, and no matter how great or small the gift, I choose to be happy doing it.”
I hope this helps bring happy back into your holidays.
May your holiday season bring you laughter, warmth, and peace in your heart. If it does not come to
you, bring it to another.
Wishing you a blessed holiday season.
How do you keep your holidays happy? Make comments by clicking on the word “comments” under this post.


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LenoraBoyle on August 30th, 2013

The Secret to Happiness Made Simple

The secret of happiness is that there is no secret other than the ability to choose. Happiness is not something to be learned, discovered, or attained. It is available to you if you choose to discover the obstacles that stand between you and your happiness.

Author William Arthur Ward wrote “Happiness is an inside job.” It does not depend on status, possessions, achievements, or even the weather.  It does not happen as a result of what we have, what we do, how much we love or are loved.  Happiness is the nature of life.  It remains for us to realize it, recognize it, and choose it.

You may have heard people say, “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion, …when he proposes, …when I lose weight, …when I go on vacation.”  When happiness is a future event tied to the occurrence of another future event, what happens to the now, the present moment? If I’m always postponing happiness to some future point in time, I’ve set myself up to believe that happiness must wait until some future conditions are met, always out of reach like the carrot in front of the donkey. When the moment arrives (promotion, engagement ring, size 10 dress, vacation), I’ll be happy.  But the moment will be short-lived, because my belief in postponed happiness will take over, and I won’t be comfortable until I’ve set up another condition to be met before I can be happy.

One of my coaching clients is a twenty-five year-old single mother who cries at night when her 8 year-old son visits his father.  She is looking for work and trying to find an apartment while living with her son in a shelter. After some gentle questioning, she realized that she feels sad and hopeless, ‘because’ she worries
that she will not find a job and that her son’s father will sue for full custody.

She went on to share what she feared might happen if she weren’t sad and hopeless:  “That would mean I did not care.”  She equated feeling sad and hopeless with caring. During the session, she began to smile, felt lighter in spirit, and realized that she would continue to care without the need to feel sad and hopeless. It had dawned on her that she could be happy right now, before accomplishing the goals that she had set for herself and her son;  If she was free of feeling sad and hopeless she would continue moving forward. It would not mean that she would stop caring (seeking a job and an apartment).  When she saw clearly that the belief she was holding onto no longer made sense, she was free to be happy now. And being happier now would likely bring more opportunities to herself and her son.

Happiness is not the goal, rather it is the way to the goal. Alfred D. Souza writes, “ Happiness is the way.  …there is no better time than right now to be happy…”

Would you want to be happy now, even though you haven’t achieved all your goals, acquired what you want, fulfilled your desires? One of the main obstacles to happiness, to being happy right now, is your BS (Belief System),  the hidden, self-defeating beliefs that, unbeknownst to us, thwart our chances for happiness in every present moment.

You can explore old beliefs that no longer serve you; they often dissolve in the light of being discovered.  You can be happy now, and in that happiness, attract all the good in life that awaits you.  The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. You can resolve your limiting beliefs and choose life, choose happiness.

The Secret to happiness?  It’s an inside job.

Ask yourself: What might happen if you were happy, even though there are obstacles to your goals? Would that be okay?


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LenoraBoyle on July 3rd, 2013

I love that one of the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, changed the original Declaration of Independence wording from “the right to the pursuit of property” to “the right to the pursuit of happiness.”

In our pursuit of happiness, we often bumble along. We try to make someone do something by making them feel guilty, or a loved one uses anger to motivate us to do what she wants.
Then we give up something in order to appease them.
Compromise, of course, is part of  being in relationship but I’m talking about the one-sided constant compromise of rarely following your own inner guidance. Following that inner guidance can bring you happiness and freedom.
“Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.”–Simone Weil, French Philosopher, Mystic & Activist in the French Resistance during World War II.
Our founding fathers risked their lives to choose freedom and independence.
Years of war and planning paved the way for us to now have the freedom to choose our beliefs , and the feelings we feel. By beliefs, I don’t mean religious beliefs (although we are free to choose them also) but the mindsets we live by. Beyond limiting beliefs and untruths, lie YOUR declaration of independence — your claim to the pursuit of happiness. Sieze it now.
As author Albert Camus said, “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.”
So, take a few moments to write Your Personal Declaration of Independence. It’s important to state your intentions for your life lived in freedom. When freedom is part of your declaration, you’ll be more playful, and full of joy.

On this American celebration of independence, and always, may you live in freedom. Freedom to choose your beliefs, your life, your destiny, your ‘sweet life’.

Photo Credit: Image credit: ikopylov / 123RF Stock Photo


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LenoraBoyle on August 10th, 2012

To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure,
But risk must be taken,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

–Leo Buscaglia

When was the last time you took a risk?

At first mention of taking risks, I think of reckless teens racing each other in their cars, or bungee jumping off a Swiss mountainside into a canyon, like my 20 year old daughter once did. They had her sign a release stating that she should not tell her mother.

But for me, now almost living for six decades, I want to take risks that require me to get out of my comfort zone at least once a week and pull away from old habits. “Breaking habits opens up millions of neurological synapses,” says happiness expert Rick Foster.

Yesterday,during the writing groupI attend, we shared what risk taking meant to us, so I will add a few snippets of their wisdom. Not surprisingly, many of us baby boomer women equated risk taking with pain.

“I think we all want to avoid pain. Change has elements of pain.  We don’t choose pain but we choose an outcome. We choose to grow like growing pains.”

“I know I should exercise more but I avoid pain. I’m a wimp. I don’t want to take the risk of my feet and ankles hurting. I could swim but I don’t want my shoulders to hurt!”

“Risk taking is pushing the inside of the envelope.”

“Love creates the greatest risk of all. Not having it, not trusting it when you do have it. Pleasure and pain.

“Risks can range from a white-knuckle ride on the back of a donkey down the Grand Canyon to making that dreaded call.”

Here are a few non-bungee jumping ways to take risks:

1. Make a difficult phone call asking for what you want or having to deal with a challenging situation. Stop procrastinating.

2. Take action that is scary at least once a week. For example, you might join Toastmasters International where you can break through your fear of public speaking, and gain confidence in leadership and speaking.

3. Do something that could hurt a little. You can usually back out if the pain is too strong. But is pain bad for us? Not if it makes us happier in the long run. Again, discomfort can lead to happiness.

4. Volunteer in another state or even in another country.  It’s just the stretching of our old habits that makes it seem too risky to leave the comfort zone of our warm nest.  The darkness is closer to the light than we realize.

Maybe we should have a ‘freaking out’ hotline, where we can call when we’re afraid of taking a risk, and say, “Hey, you know, I just can’t do this. It’s too scary!”

And the voice on the other end just listens for a while, and then soothingly says something like, “You know, you were born to do this. You’ve waited all your life to do this.” It’s not going to hurt very much or for very long. Go ahead and jump off the diving board. It’s only a shock for a moment then start kicking and moving your arms, you know how to swim. Your nose may burn with some inhaled water, but open your eyes when you come to the surface, and it’s a whole new world.

It’s daring to live a life that realizes more of your dreams.   As Leo Buscaglia said, “The greatest tragedy in life is to never have risked anything.”

When was the last time you did something daring? How did you feel afterward?

Photo credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_10658471_bungee-jumping-in-beautiful-nature.html’>jessmine / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


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LenoraBoyle on April 4th, 2012

Now You Can Awaken Your Dreams

Whenever I think of awakening dreams, I tell the story of my 4th annual Italy Retreat for Women. Whether or not you would even consider joining me in Italy this coming September 13-22, my hope is to inspire you to have a dream and then take action to awaken it.

Following our heart’s desire is like using a compass that activates a small light switch, from which we are able to chart our course.  As our heart’s desires become more familiar and stronger, the light is brighter. So bright that the roadblocks are hardly seen.

Carl Jung states that you look outside and dream, then inside to awaken. He goes on to say that your vision becomes clear when you look into your heart. What that means is to be conscious of what YOU want. What is dear to your heart?

Awaken your dreams in 3 steps to make it as simple as possible:
Find a special 3 ring notebook with 3 dividers so the sections are separate. Keep it beside your bed to help you remember to use it at least weekly. Date the pages each time you make entries.

1) Write a Blue Sky List. These are your ‘dreams’. Ask yourself: “If I could have it out of the clear blue sky, what would I welcome in my life?” This is not intense goal setting and precise action planning. It is simple brainstorming without editing, and without judging the possibility or viability of success. Free write to your heart’s content.

2) Gratitude Journal: You’ve heard this before, but do you actually do it at least weekly, or more often? Most people tell me that they give thanks quietly every day. However, according to research (yes, there actually is research on gratitude), the more details you write and the more frequently you write it, the greater the results, such as more happiness, energy and peace.

3) Log in your Successes, Synchronicities, Support you have noticed. If you skip this part, you may not have proof of your accomplishments.  All the small successes noticed and recorded lift you up. Synchronities: did you run into someone today who gave you the missing link to the challenge you were facing? Each small win adds up to huge fulfillment. Otherwise, we tend to think not much is happening, because it’s not one grand explosion.

Find your heart’s desire and follow it, even with baby steps. “Take the first step in faith,” as Martin Luther King said, even though it may not be supported by others right away. It’s really a matter of self-respect to do what you love.

What is your heart telling you? Have you spent time dreaming and now it’s time to put it into action?

My “put into action dream” was to bring a group of women to Italy every year for part transformational workshop and part travel. We laugh, eat very well, live the sweet life (la dolce vita), and move past our limiting beliefs. The vision has been a reality for four years now.

I would love to hear about your dreams manifesting. If the roadblocks or limiting beliefs are still there, I am available for personal sessions to dissolve those pesky thoughts. And if you have any desire to come to the Italy Retreat, click to read about the Italy Retreat and write it in your notebook!

Enjoy the short Italy video below.

Happy Notebooking! Happy Awakening to Your Dreams!

QUOTES:
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside; dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
–Dr. Carl Jung

Lenora

Italy Retreat for Women 2012 with Lenora Boyle
Italy Retreat for Women 2012 with Lenora Boyle


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LenoraBoyle on March 29th, 2012

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.
— Albert Camus

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, And the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
–Buddha

Just as someone hires a coach to teach them to play tennis, basketball, gymnastics, golf, or to get in shape, it is very helpful to hire a life coach, so someone has your back! So there’s someone in your life to give you a boost up. Someone to help you gain more happiness.

I like to think I shine a flashlight along the path helping my clients to navigate through the barriers that have blocked them in the past.

The end result of life coaching is that you can create more happiness in your life and create the life you have dreamed

The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.
— Martha Washington.

Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.
— John Lubbock

The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.
–Thucydides

Happiness is contagious…when you reflect happiness, then all others around you catch the happy bug and are happy, too.
— Jennifer Leese

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
— Hugh Downs

Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.
— Mildred Barthel.

How have you managed to create more happiness and joy into your life?  When you find your method(s), repeat often, like putting a beautiful puzzle together.


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