Monthly Archives: July 2010

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life

Wayne-Dyer-Change-Your-ThoughtsI wanted to feature one of Michael’s favorite authors for his library, Dr. Wayne Dyer. Dr. Dyer has many great books out there. I decided to choose one his more recent works, “Change You Thoughts – Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”

The “Tao” in the title is an ancient Chinese text called the “Tao Te Ching” or the “Great Way.” It is comprised of 81 verses which are attributed to a profit, Lao-tzu and written over 2,500 years ago.

In “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life,” a chapter is devoted to each verse. The translated verse is presented then Dr. Dyer gives his interpretation of each verse and how he thinks Lao-tzu would want us to apply the teachings today. The verses are mostly simple life lessons that in our hectic 21st century living we sometimes forget.

I like this book because you can pick it up and get a quick piece of inspiration when you need it. I infact like to think of a number between one and eighty-one. The number that pops in my head is the one I should read. Seventeen just did, so lets take a look.

Verse 17 is “Living as an Enlightened Leader.” Here is an excerpt from the verse:

The great leader speaks little.

He never speaks carelessly.

He works without self-interest and leaves no trace.

When all is finished, the people say, “We did it ourselves.”

Wow! What a great verse for Michael Chase! If you want to see an Enlightened Leader in action check out his video of Michael in action with kids.

“Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life” is filled with these bits of wisdom that make you think. The end of each chapter has “Do the Tao Now,” where Dr. Dyer gives you ideas to apply the wisdom. You know how I love actionable steps!

I’ll leave with probably the most recognized quote from the Tao, and one of my favorites. Verse 64:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Start walking . . .

Michael Chase

Brave. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about Michael’s story.

He was brave to not follow the patterns of his family’s elder males. He was brave to deal with the death of his father. He was brave to rescue the turtle. He was brave to sell his business and start The Kindness Center. (Maybe the turtle is a stretch.)

What are you afraid to do? What is stopping you from being brave?

For me, it’s money. I would love to quit my job and make SOUL my full-time gig, but not knowing where the money would come from is quite frightening. I do believe in SOUL. I do believe in myself, but I don’t know how to make money at this yet. I know I need to work on my foundation and then this knowledge will come. I think fear is conquered by knowledge and love. I know I love what I am doing with SOUL, I just need to know more about it. See how it will evolve.

I take great comfort though in knowing that Michael did it and is doing it. I was at the Movers & Shakers event where Michael spoke. Though it was a supporting environment, speaking in front of three of the biggest names in the self-help industry, I think was so brave. But you see, Michael loves his message and he had worked hard to build the foundation of his message. So he was ready.

I’ll be ready soon. How about you?

Life Makeover

Life-MakeoversGreg is my coach. We touch base on a regular basis to discuss my goals and aspirations. I find it great to be accountable to someone besides myself. Between working full-time and living with two vivacious senior citizens, 5 cats and a husband, sometimes I find myself putting my goals on the back burner. But a call with Greg helps me clearly look at my priorities and put some action around them.

So I thought it was only appropriate for Greg’s Library to feature a book of another great coach, Cheryl Richardson. Cheryl is a NY Times Best Selling author. She has been featured on shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. It was through Cheryl that I learned about vision boards,which I will get to in a minute. First let me tell you about the book I chose; “Life Makeovers: 52 Practical & Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time.”

Cheryl provides the readers with fun and challenging exercises “to support you in changing your life.” At the end of each chapter is the “Take Action Challenge,” which helps you put into action what you just read. I love it when an author provides tools. My analytical side appreciates that.

Here’s an idea of some of the chapters:

Focus Your Energy

Learning to Wait

Bring in the Reserves

Pamper Break

Life Accessories

Throughout the book, Cheryl encourages the reader to journal. Journaling is a great way to get stuff out of your head. I know for me, when I see it on paper, it is easier for me address and process. Many of the weekly challenges involve ways to expand on journaling.

Doing the work in this book will bring you closer to the your true self. You’ll tap into what is important to you.

Gather your supplies. You’ll need a piece of poster board, scissors, glue/ glue sticks, markers/crayons/colored pencils and a bunch of magazines/catalogs.

For a fixed amount of time (I use 30 minutes) go through the various magazines and pick words and images that jump out at you. Tear out the page and put it aside for later. (You want to limit your time so your head stays out of this process. When your head is involved you’ll stop and you’ll think about the image. Say you want to pick a picture of a piece of pottery, because you’ve always been interested in learning how to throw a pot on a wheel. And then your brain will say something like, “Remember in second grade when you lost at the art show?” And you’ll pass over the image that is speaking to your soul. You may have no idea why you are picking an image or a word and that’s good. You’ll know when an image or a word is right. )

Now here is the fun part. Go through your pile and start laying it out on the vision board. Cut out the words and images. Tear them if you want to. Keep refining the vision.

When you’re ready glue down the images and the words.

Add some additional art with markers/crayons/colored pencils if you want to.

Prop your vision board up and look for the message. What’s the theme of the words and images? There could be several themes!

Now use this board to encourage some action

As with Greg, I check in with Cheryl on regular basis via her on-line radio show “Coach on Call.” It airs every Monday, 5:00pm EST, on HayHouse Radio. Though I’ve never gotten to talk to Cheryl live on the air, I always learn a new trick, tool, resource, etc., when listening.

Having a coach has helped me tremendously. I think of Cheryl as my first coach via books. I consider my coaching time with Greg to be a great personal investment. If you have a goal and just can’t seem to make it happen, I encourage you to look into getting yourself a coach. Be it via a book, the radio or live, we all need help, encouragement and sometimes a big wake up call. So WAKE UP! Go get those goals.

Greg Provance

I love what Greg calls his “Bullet Points of Living.” They are the fuel that has propelled him to where he is today. Developing your own “Bullet Points for Living” will help you keep on course. Like the fin of a surf board, your bullet points can provide stability, are customizable for you and adjusted when conditions change.

Let’s take a look at Greg’s.


To get sober Greg had to be real honest with himself. The high is just a lie and he knew it. To change career paths, Greg had to be honest and real. Acting for example was just not feeding his soul. He knew that a change needed to be made. How many people though will continue living the lie of a job they hate? The reasons are endless why they do it, but if they adopted honesty as one of their guiding principals, they just couldn’t .


On, the word “integrity” has two great definitions:

• adherence to moral and ethical principles

• the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished

Honesty by itself is great thing, but I look at integrity as the action step of honesty. You can be honest with yourself and with others, but when integrity is added to the mix, your actions must match your feelings. Which transitions nicely to Greg’s next bullet point…

Don’t Over Commit

Can you have honesty and integrity if you say yes when you really mean no? If you take on work when you know you can’t give it your best effort? Greg still coaches, he works for Synergy, he consultants for clubs and restaurants and his most important job, Dad. Greg knows that over committing even in just one of these areas will affect his performance in all the others.

Are you inspired to develop your own “bullet points” but don’t know where to start? Well, here is a quick exercise to try. Grab some paper and a pen and find a quite place. Think of a time or event when you felt completely fulfilled. What were you doing that made you feel great? Write down as much detail as you can. Now do back and underline those feeling words, principles and actions that resonate with you. List the words and phrases you underlined on another piece of paper. Use this list to refine your “bullet points.”

Another fun way to tap into what is really important to you is by making a vision board. How does that work? Well, check Books on Feed Your Soul, “Life Makeovers: 52 Practical & Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time.”

Wanna Be Startin Something – Michael Jackson

I have to confess, I am an iTunes junkie. iTunes gift cards are my new favorite gift (it used to be spa gift certificates, so that tells you how much I love iTunes).

My love of iTunes blossomed when I learned you could make Playlists. You see, I grew up in the era of mixed tapes. In high school, I gauged someone’s coolness factor on their mixed tapes. One of the best gifts my husband ever gave me was a CD he made of our favorite songs.

I was looking at the songs in my one Playlist I named “Uplifting.” This is my go to Playlist when I need, well, to be uplifted. As I was reading through the titles of these songs, I realized how in some way they all related to SOUL.

So I got the idea. Just as I will feature a movie a month, I will feature a song a month. First up, Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin Something,” from Thriller.

I put this song on and my hips just start doing circles. Besides the groovy beat, I love the message of the song; it’s all about wanting to start something. Go figure!

That goal that seems unreachable and the angst that you feel:

It’s Too High To Get Over (Yeah, Yeah)
Too Low To Get Under (Yeah, Yeah)
You’re Stuck In The Middle (Yeah, Yeah)
And The Pain Is Thunder (Yeah, Yeah)

But then you realize, I can do it. So you sing:

Lift Your Head Up High
And Scream Out To The World
I Know I Am Someone
And Let The Truth Unfurl
No One Can Hurt You Now
Because You Know What’s True
Yes, I Believe In Me
So You Believe In You
Help Me Sing It, Ma Ma Se,
Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa
Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa,
Ma Ma Coo Sa

Not sure what the Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa stuff means. But if you’re like me, after singing it, you’ll wanna be startin something.


Trust Your Vibes At Work

Trust-Your-Vibes-At-WorkAs we learned from Cuky’s story, a connection with spirit can help steer you in the direction of your goals and dreams. So, how does one do this? Can everyone do it? Yes, we all can connect with our inner spirit and here is a book that walks you through just how to do that.

“Trust Your Vibes at Work, and Let Them Work for You,” written by Cuky’s sister, Sonia Choquette presents 29 strategies for “activating, sharpening and mastering your vibes at work.” Your “vibes” is that inner knowing, your spirit, that gut feeling, goosebumps. Sonia calls them vibes because they are “a vibration that centers in the heart and resonates throughout the body.” Each chapter includes practical steps, real-life stories and a section called “Your Turn.” “Your Turn” is homework, simple exercises/suggestions for you to apply to the teachings of each chapter.

I know some of you maybe thinking, “Karen, this vibe thing sounds a little too woo-woo, new agey for me.” But stay with me.

The first chapter, Strategy #1, is one of my favorites; Set Your Intention. Sonia reminds us in this chapter to take a moment at the start of the day to focus on what you want to achieve. She breaks out how to do this in five simple tips:

Wake up 15 minutes earlier.

Before rising, mentally review your schedule for the day ahead.

Imagine each person or situation that you will face, along with the outcome you want to create with each one.

Visualize every encounter, project and assignment flowing smoothly.

Breathing deeply as you see your day, leave room for even greater successes than you can imagine – and expect the best!

Now that you know where you will focus your energy, you can do just that. This simple exercise helps you to prepare for the day. Process what is important to you.

I know how much smoother my day goes when I set my intentions. So many days I walk into the office to the phone ringing, employee questions, emails to read and the next thing I know out the window goes my day. On days like that I feel like I accomplished nothing. We all have fires to put out from time to time, but I know when I do set my intentions it is so much easier for me to stay on track. I can easily sift through the crises and not get caught in the drama. Prioritizing what really is important.

Some of my other favorite strategies Sonia focuses on in the book include;

Become Organized

Ask for Help

Employ Bad Vibe Busters

Understand the Power of Doing Nothing

All the strategies that Sonia offers really boil down to helping you “perceive the world through the eyes of possiblity and creativity.” Helping you clear your own house so you can be aware of the subtle messages you get everyday from your vibes, your spirit. This book will help you to get in tune to your true self and that’s the place where dreams begin.

Cuky Choquette Harvey

At SOUL, finding inspiring people and sharing their stories is only part of our mission. We also want to analyze their stories. Look for commonalities of our SOUL Mates. Find the tips and tricks they utilized to reach their goals.

So lets get started with Cuky’s story.

You probably noticed that I used the word “spirit” many times during Cuky’s story. Cuky will be the first to tell you that it was her connection to spirit that changed her life. But what exactly is spirit?

Spirit goes by many names:

  • Gut Feeling
  • Intuition
  • Vibes
  • Inner Voice
  • Higher Self
  • God

I like to explain it as a sense of knowing. Sometimes you just know, good or bad, about people or a situation. You feel good or bad. We’ve all experienced this, but how many times have we ignored it or thought it was just weird?

Just as animals have the instinctual knowledge to hibernate or travel distances to mate, I know that we have something inside us, an internal compass, that will point us in the right direction and steer us from the wrong.

If you have doubts about this, just talk to a young child. They’ll tell you what they like, what they don’t like with hesitation. If you ask them why, most of the time they’ll say something like “Just because.” They are still intune to this sense of knowing. As we age and worry about the feelings of others. We play in our head “What will people think?” All of this internal dialogue, drowns out the voice of knowing.

Working as an environmental consultant, I use this inner knowledge to help me figure out the best way to help my clients. A few years back I had one client who I knew from the get-go was someone I was just never going to please. I worked with this client for several years thinking that I could change things, but at the same time it just never felt right. My thinking was ruling my feelings. At the end of my time with this client, I left on bad terms and that bothers me. Mostly because if I would have trusted my feelings and listened to my spirit way back in the beginning I could have bowed out gracefully.

So are you in touch with spirit? Do you listen to your inner voice? Not sure how to? My next blog entry will feature a book that will help you to connect to your spirit, your vibes. And guess what? It was written by Cuky’s sister.


Alice In Wonderland

Alice-In-wonderlandI just love a good movie. Stories that make you think. Make you feel. But let’s face it, there is a bunch of bad ones out there too. So, in order to help you find the good ones each month the Society of Ultimate Living will feature a movie to feed your soul

Our first movie is the new release of a classic tale; Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Alice is now 20 when she returns for her second trip to Underland. Underland, that’s what this magical place is really called. Alice as a young girl called it Wonderland. Don’t you love that?

Alice is lured back into Underland to save it. To kill the Jabberwocky. If she doesn’t the evil Red Queen will rule Underland.

Now that she’s back, everyone is questioning who she is. In fact the Mad Hatter (played of course by the marvelous Johnny Depp), tells her that she is missing her “muchness.” That she was “much more muchier” the last time he saw her.

Haven’t we all misplaced our “muchness” from time to time? I know I have and this movie reminded me to hold on to my muchness even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

So this impossible task lies in front of Alice. To kill this huge, ferocious beast, the Jabberwocky. Alice is used to thinking of the impossible. It’s something her father taught her. You see he taught her a fun game, to think of six impossible things before breakfast.

But the thinking is over, now its time to do. “It’s impossible,” says Alice as the Jabberwocky approaches. “Only if you think it is,” replies the Hatter.

The very end was my favorite. It made my heart flutter. So this month, check out Alice in Wonderland, and let me know if your heart flutters too.