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Natural Awakenings Boston

June 2013 Publisher Letter

I’ve recently begun working with a life coach. In the not-so-distant past, I might have considered this step long overdue, but am discovering the truth that, wherever we are on our life’s journey, we are always exactly where we are supposed to be.

Like most people, I tend to stay in comfort zones, mindlessly repeating mistakes until the pressure for change reaches a tipping point that compels an admission that something’s not working. We become restless with the status quo. It becomes time to break the cycle of a habitual way of being or doing. If we’re not alert to early “heads up” flags, it can take a figurative slap or two upside the head before we wake to recognize that it’s time for us to change.

I have been keen to learn firsthand how even the most subtle shifts, such as pulling our shoulders back and lifting our head upward into a more comfortable and natural position, can change the way we view the world and experience ourselves in it. It’s an easy experiment: First, hunch your shoulders forward and position your head face down with a frown for a moment; now notice how you feel. Next, lift your shoulders back, pick up your head and take a deep regenerative belly breath and smile. Can you feel an immediate difference in your mental and emotional state?

Similarly, how we use words affects our psyche and how we are perceived by ourselves and others in daily life. As I switch from thoughts of “should” to “could” when I awake each morning, it releases some pressure inside and positively alters how I feel about getting up and going to the gym. We’ve probably all experienced a similar phenomenon when we successfully mark the “to-do” that’s been bugging us the most as “done.” Suddenly, everything feels lighter.

When I stop “shoulding” on myself, I revel in the relief of gentle self-care that appears. Putting “could” in its place gives me the welcome opportunity to make a better choice and take a positive action free of judgmental overtones. In time, with practice, I am confident that “could” will become “will”; but for now, “could” is working for me, opening me up to hopeful possibilities in several areas of my life.

One thing I’ve learned from this lesson is that it’s OK to take small steps as long as we continue to move forward toward what matters most. Through exercising such subtle shifts, I’ve discovered that what matters most to me is being happy and that’s the best way I can begin to change the world around me… starting with me. I cheerfully recommend this month’s feature article, “Life Lift: Being Happy from the Inside Out,” by Judith Fertig, for you to discover your own secrets to lasting happiness.

To contagious happiness!

Maisie Raftery Natural Awakenings Boston

Maisie Raftery, Publisher