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    inspired choice?

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  • You Are the Love of Your Life

    Happy day after Valentine’s Day!

    Today is the day!

    It’s the day to pat yourself on the back for all the cool, wonderful, exciting, and courageous things you have done since you were born.

    It’s the day to recognize just how cool, wonderful, exciting, and courageous you are!

    It’s the day at least some parts of the world designate for partnered love. If you are in a partnership, make every day Valentine’s Day because appreciation is special and key to a healthy relationship.

    Whether or not you are in a couple, you are in a relationship with yourself which is by far the one that the most attention and the most gratitude needs to be paid. Why?  Because here you are!

    Make sure you are experiencing joy along with the challenges. Make sure you give yourself the same space and compassion you would give a friend. Make sure you realize how important you are.

    Yes, you are.

    Wishing you a wonderful day.

    With love,
    Liz

    P.S. Want some tips on how to move through that relationship a bit more easily? Hop onto a POP (Power of Perception) session with me. $47.00 (a $150 savings) as a special Valentine from me to you. Click here to learn more. Offer ends February 19 midnight ET. Enjoy the holiday!

    Self-Communication: Friend or Foe?

    What do we know about communication? For something that takes up almost every moment of our existence, not a whole lot.

    Think about it. Even if we’re not in communication with another human being, we’re communicating with ourselves when we’re thinking.

    The nature of that communication can affect how we feel in a given moment or for the rest of the day. We may not even be aware of the constant stream of information, perception, or commentary happening moment to moment. No wonder mindfulness continues to take on more importance in our culture and, hopefully, our lives. It gives us a break to be still, step away from the chatter, and find that all-important moment of stillness.

    Stepping back and listening to what’s happening in our minds can profoundly affect how we live each day. Can you relate to:

    OH, I look so (fill in the negative blank)
    I’ll never be able to…
    I don’t know what to say.
    I’m not…

    What if it went something like this?

    I wonder if I’d feel more comfortable in a different outfit.
    I’ll take this one step at a time.
    I’m going to take the time to prepare for this important conversation.
    I am enough.

    Many years ago, I had a profound experience about how I was communicating with myself. I was taking my usual walk and talk with my friend/colleague Dave along the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

    I was shocked but so lucky when he said, “Who says you’re not good enough?!?”

    Needless to say, our conversation blew my mind.

    He was asking who I was listening to in my head and questioning whether it was my voice!

    I’d never thought it wasn’t my voice. After all, it was in MY head!

    I’d been complaining about a work situation, my social life, etc. But really, my situation was fine. It was how I was feeling about it, what I was saying to myself about it, and what I was believing about both the situation and myself that was the problem.

    “Not good enough.” “Not Good Enough.” “NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

    Those words—in their varying intensities at various moments—were affecting my life. Those words –  not good enough – created other unhelpful thoughts as well. I would struggle with something I knew I could do but felt I couldn’t do. I would express doubt and need good friends to help me see myself accurately, or I would give myself a good talking to so that I could proceed.

    What a struggle! Where did this contradiction come from?

    It was so exciting to imagine—and then recognize—that what I believed was my internal voice was actually one that I co-opted from teachers, parents, or disheartening situations. The self-criticism came from messages I received growing up. Then, I had to decipher what was my own and decide what I agreed with or didn’t—a journey for sure and one worth taking.

    Why is it easier to hold on to the negative messages than the positive?

    My experience as a psychotherapist and coach is that we feel the impact of negative messages more deeply because they often catch us off guard or conflict with our self-perception. Unconsciously, we internalize these negative inputs more than we should.

    That was what I had been doing. That self-talk had become a habit and a belief system. It was incredibly freeing to realize I could evaluate each of those questionable thoughts.

    First, I became curious about when and where I had heard that message.
    Then, I began to evaluate and decide whether I agreed with the message.

    That gave me the agency to choose!
    · Did I believe it?
    · Was the thought true?
    · Did the negative message evolve?
    · Was it an accurate representation of the real me?
    · Did I want that message to be mine?

    Mostly, that negative talk is not true. It comes from hurt, unkind words, and moments when we have not been at our best. If you aren’t happy with some of the self-talk/self-doubt/self-critical messages that you are experiencing, try to be a detective and begin choosing which messages to listen to. Sometimes, it helps to talk to a good friend or a professional (like a life coach or a therapist) to sort it out if you get stuck.

    Bottom line: The time has come to choose. Choose to allow you to be you – fully and freely -without restriction! And choose what message you are communicating to yourself.

    Do you have a comment, a question, or a story? I would love to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, choose you!

    Martha did WHAT?

    A few days ago, I woke up early and was scrolling NY Times articles and came upon Martha Stewart on the cover of Sport’s Illustrated. WOW! I was definitely intrigued to say the least. Why? What? How? Reading about her mindset around doing this at 81 was fascinating and inspiring.

    Now, I am not in my 80’s but lots of folks I speak with, particularly women, including myself are noticing and focused on what getting older means. There are so many ways to experience aging.

    The experience of the passage of time in the body, mind, and spirit. Such as:

    • Living the way in which one feels rather than by the year of their birth.
    • Fighting it with cosmetic surgeries.
    • Resistant attitudes- which deflate rather than enhance a sense of self.
    • Staying active, eating healthily in order to remain as physically flexible as possible.
    • Doing the same to stay mentally and spiritually flexible.

    To name just a few.

    Martha, if I may call her Martha, had some interesting answers to both serious and frivolous questions. My favorite:

    “Are you posing in a swimsuit to counter an image that once seemed starchy, even downright intimidating? Are you rebranding?

    No, this is part of my ongoing self-creation — I call it education. One of my mottos for many years has been, when you’re through changing, you’re through.”

    Martha, I totally agree!

    My motto: Enjoy every day. If that’s a stretch, find one thing, one piece of art, one tree, one comment, one article, one cartoon, one person that inspires you.

    If you’re feeling self-critical, reframe. Instead of something you don’t like, find one attribute you do appreciate.

    Decide to have a positive moment. They add up.

    I’d love to know your ideas of how you bring change, growth, or simply a feel-good moment into your day, into the process of changing, or the process of aging.

    Sometimes it’s a struggle but embracing the moment keeps me feeling ageless.

    Find another meaningful article quote, my thoughts about it, and the NY Times link below this fun image of Martha and me.

    “I can do this. I don’t have to give into convention.” 

    Martha’s quote is a great reminder that we shape our own journey by exploring new possibilities, embracing change, and defying the stereotypes associated with growing older. When we approach each day with a sense of purpose and a willingness to break free from expectations, we are free to celebrate the richness of our experiences. 

    Photo: Liz Goll Lerner with Martha Stewart. It was lovely to have Martha share her pearls of wisdom on life during this Carnegie Hall event a few years ago.

    Click here to read more of Martha’s interview.

    Why Tenderness

    What happens when we add the idea of tenderness into our daily lives, our random conversations, our moments of huffing and puffing over something that may or may not be worthy of huffing and puffing?

    I was speaking with a client the other day who gave me permission to share our conversation. She was recounting an experience of becoming angry because she noticed a large number of invasive species trees and shared that she found herself agitated and speaking emotionally about it while a passenger on a drive. Actually, getting quite worked up.  

    Well, long story short, the anger was at the people who planted the trees and the frustration that the trees were doing harm to other vegetation. 

    The idea of tenderness came up because employing the concept helped settle the emotions down and brought a realization around how bad it felt to get so worked up.

    Often when emotions get high and are negative in some way, it feels terrible, but we are so busy emoting we miss that we are creating our own suffering.

    We had fun with this conversation because the idea of tenderness also led to the idea of compassion. Those poor trees- they were simply planted and didn’t deserve all that negativity. 

    Who knows? Maybe they actually were the perfect plant to be living in that area. Some years from now, given global warming, they may bring something absolutely necessary to the changing ecosystem.

    The people who were being maligned because they planted them… they are actually not part of the car ride equation. But… self-compassion is part of the equation; tenderness to self… especially when it becomes clear that the only person suffering is the person feeling all the negative emotions and, in this case, possibly the driver.

    We took it further.  What is the difference between expressing irritation, anger, rage out into the world and expressing neutrality, kindness, compassion, or tenderness?

    Do we want to feed the negativity and blame, that has become pervasive in large expressions of frustration and anger in our society, or do we want to grow ease, care, compassion?

    What if we all tried a little tenderness?

    Click here for a different kind of car ride – enjoy!

    It’s Official

     

    It’s official! The equinox has helped us cross the threshold into Spring. 

    Let’s send up new shoots. Get rid of the old dried-up leaves and twigs. Open a fresh eye on the world. Let the still small voice that knows there is something emerging get a bit louder.

    All of us feel a bit dug under sometimes. The world has been a chaotic place at times and then a turn of the head or a new fresh day brings order, new hope or even a monumental change in point of view.

    It’s time to clear out, refresh, take a look at what isn’t feeling right and tweak it until it does. 

    I’ve been struck by the resilience I’ve been witnessing in all parts of the world. We are amazing. Every one of us. 

    Recently I made a major move, healed from a serious illness, and continued stepping forward on the journey…  being present and ready for what’s next. 

    I believe all of us are making our way. We step over rocks, climb bigger mountains, and take our next steps. If we are paying attention, we create meaning.  

    Times of seasonal transition are perfect to take a fresh look. Yesterday I cleared a bunch of dead plants away and cut back the ones that could be saved.  Suddenly there was possibility of new life. I love to see that shift and recognize that we are the shift. We just have to pay attention. 

    That’s when I take a fresh look at what is happening in my life, what is happening around me, where I’m putting my focus and why.

    We are multifaceted beings, so underlying the activities we are doing are the thoughts and feelings we have about them. 

    Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:

    • What do the (activities) mean to us? 
    • What importance do they hold in our lives? 
    • What are the benefits or the drawbacks? 
    • Are they essential or can they be removed?

    Sometimes it is good to sort out where we are putting our attention. Sometimes what’s important is to stop a moment and breathe.

    Take stock of all that is happening; what you are feeling emotionally and physically; what you are thinking… and see if there is a need for a different point of view or a different course of action with whatever is in the forefront of your days.

    Often, a change in focus opens up a completely different feeling about what comes next. 

    Spring is the ideal time to take the next step to accelerate YOUR next step.

    Choose the inspired life you want to live.

    Click here for a guided imagery to take a moment of pause to imagine your next steps.