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….

IMG_3274

 

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.

Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
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?


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
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


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
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>


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
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

Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
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.


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
LenoraBoyle on February 23rd, 2012

We’re Celebrating my 5 year blog birthday at: Be Happy Life Coach blog!  I originally  began my blog as The Happiness Zone.blogspot.com, but two years ago it morphed into BeHappyLifeCoach.com as I moved addresses from Blogspot to Word Press.

5 year old Lenora starting her coaching career at a young age. The phones were heavier back then!

For the past five years, readers have visited from small cities and large ones in countries around the world — India, Australia, Africa, Europe, all across North America and more.

I know I don’t write as frequently as the blog gurus suggest, but I’m doing what makes me happy! Which brings me to why I started writing here 5 years ago.  Just wanted to share my tips, thoughts, ideas, what I’ve learned about creating an enriched life, what I now call la dolce vita, the sweet life.  It’s been my life’s work, really, just called it by different names. Found myself teaching workshops for the past 28 years about marriage, parenting, happiness and changing limiting beliefs.

I began coaching 20 years ago, using the Option Method, and actually started coaching friends about their problems during high school, 40 years ago. Why? Simply to do my part in making the world and the fabulous people in it, happier and more successful.

I write about happiness but also fears, hurt, anger and other possibly unwelcome feelings.  I encourage you to bring them to the table, otherwise they fester like a sore. Uncover what is bothering you, question it, see if it’s true, get the upper hand.  Toss it around like a volleyball, bring it to the light of day.  Realize you have more choices in your life. Dissolve limiting beliefs. Focus on your desires, and create an enriched life.

To celebrate this 5 year blog birthday, I’m doing 2 things:

1st: I’m offering a contest to win an 18″ chinese fresh water pearl necklace, with unique rectangular shapes, 9-10mm, with very high luster, and silver clasp. Deadline to enter is Monday, February 27 midnight, eastern time. Winner announced Tuesday morning, February 28 on this blog, and in person, if I have your email. So, check back in.

2nd: I’ve chosen 5 favorite blog posts from the past 5 years: Please follow the links, read (maybe comment) and enjoy!

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER the Blog Birthday necklace giveaway :

1.) Make a comment on this blog post, or any of the 5 blogposts that you click on. OR…

2.) ‘Like’ my Be Happy Life Coach Facebook fan page or make a comment on facebook.

Five favorite posts over the last five years:

ONE:  BE GRATEFUL TO BE HAPPY. November 30, 2008

TWO:  INTERVIEW WITH HAPPINESS AUTHOR, MARCI SHIMOFF. August 20, 2009

THREE: FRAGILE COURAGE. January 18, 2010

FOUR:  MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH DAILY AFFIRMATIONS. July 26, 2010 (fun video)

FIVE:  ARE YOU AN OPTIMIST? September 1, 2011

Thanks for celebrating with me and for stopping by!  Remember to enter the contest before midnight Eastern time, Monday February 27.

What would you like me to write about in future blog posts? How do you navigate through the challenges of life?


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
LenoraBoyle on December 20th, 2011

Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life

1.  Stay with your exercise routine: Or at least do not quit altogether. If you usually exercise four times a week, at the very least, exercise twice a week during the holidays. This will actually give you more energy to accomplish all the extra work, like buying and wrapping presents, decorating, giving and attending holiday parties, and probably cooking more.

I really did not have time to go to my yoga class, but after I went, I was so much more at peace in body and mind, so all the additional items on my to do list were more enjoyable. When your heart is pumping, you deliver more nutrients and oxygen to your brain! The result will be a stress-free holiday.

2. Take your vitamin D: As many of you probably know, I am a strong advocate of Vitamin D and have written four blog posts about it. As winter is upon us, we do not have 40% of our skin exposed to sunshine 20 minutes every day. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system and uplifted mood. Vitamin D affects 200 genes, helps diabetes, heart, prevents some cancers, and helps improve your moods.

3. Give to others: To help keep everything in perspective, reach out and help those less fortunate than yourself.  Some possible choices are to give a gift that keeps on giving to Kiva. You are actually investing in a micro loan of $25 that will “help someone to fish for a lifetime,” instead of just “giving them a fish for a day.”  Once they pay the loan back, it can be borrowed by another entrepreneur.

Another possibility for giving back is to donate to the rebuilding of Monterosso and Vernazza, Italy,  two of the beautiful Cinque Terre villages where I teach my Italy Retreats each September.  Any, and I do mean, any small amount will be appreciated.  100% of your donations will go directly to rebuilding these two towns that were devastated by mudslides and floods. Travel expert, Rick Steves, said that Vernazza had the most idyllic piazza(town square) in Europe. I agree.  However, all that is changed.  The people of Vernazza were forced to evacuate on October 25.

I am feeling quite overwhelmed with my “to do” list this season because I leave in three days, to visit extended family 12 hours away. So, the last thing I wanted to add was a community service project. Not now, some other time, yes.  But, some friends and I decided to volunteer at a local organization that provides clothing and toys for 200 families. In the fulfillment of that, the items on my “to do list” somehow became more enjoyable and gratifying. This leads me to my fourth step for having happy holidays.

4. Practice the art of gratitude. If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know I encourage you to have a journal by your bed, so that each day you can jot down what you are grateful for. Writing it down is more powerful than thinking it, but if you can only stop and reflect on what you’re grateful for, then go for it.

5. Eat healthy foods. I would include this in any list for feeling happier. Last weekend, I actually went to four holiday parties. I only ate dessert at one of them, even though I love sweets. Of course, I’m eating holiday sweets, but much smaller amounts than usual. Try eating more fruit instead. The extra desserts can weaken your immune system, add pounds to your belly, and bring you down. I managed to bake only one batch of cookies. Even though they are the thin and delicious Florentine Lace, I have resisted eating many of them.

I hope this helps! 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 an enriched life!

What do you do to create Happy Holidays?

 


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
LenoraBoyle on April 3rd, 2011

Cinque Terre Women Travel

Check out my guest post entitled Five Reasons Why Women Need to Go on a Retreat on Smart Women Travelers blog.

As many of my readers know, I am passionate about Italy and all things Italian, especially since last fall when I received dual citizenship with Italy.

The deadline is fast approaching to register for my third annual transformational workshop in Italy which includes 2 days of creating the life you love, plus 5 days of traveling along the Italian Riviera.

You owe it to yourself  to at least find out more about my Italy Retreat for Women to live la dolce vita (the sweet life), September 10-18, 2011. Of course, it’s all taught in English.

“Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land.” ~~~ E.M Forster


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website
LenoraBoyle on February 8th, 2011

Want a quick-fix pick me upper? Since time immemorial, music and song have elevated moods around the world. I’m sharing two videos that will sooth your soul and elevate your mood. I love listening to loud Italian music like Pavarotti when I’m cooking.

You must watch this video of the baby rocking out to Dog Days are Over by Florence and The Machine. When the music stops, he cries.

Playing for Change, Song Around The World from Nepal to Africa, India, Ireland and more. Watch and enjoy music from the award winning 2009 documentary, “Playing For Change. You can join the movement to inspire change through music around the world.

What music makes you happy? Let us know in your comments.


Lenora's Italy Retreat blog | Lenora's Change Limiting Beliefs Website