Are those feelings really yours?

Hello gorgeous,

I had a weird (and unpleasant) experience this week, which I want to share with you. On Tuesday, I wasn’t really feeling good, rather sad. My mother came and told me it was the 20th anniversary of my grandmother passing. And as the day was passing by, my sadness only got worse, I just wanted to be alone and cry my heart out… When I finally went to bed, I could not sleep, my thoughts were so dark, I thought my whole life was a mess and what was I going to do with it? I still managed to fall asleep at some point, and luckily, the day after, the dark cloud hanging above my head was gone and I could just go back to being my normal self. But obviously that made me think and wonder whether those feelings were actually mine. I thought about my grandmother, I thought about a special configuration of stars, I was really puzzled with the whole thing. I don’t know what it was at the end (I thought about a few more different explanations!), but I know it wasn’t mine; it was too out of sync with me.

I think that, when we have a lot of empathy (we don’t necessarily have to be hypersensitive), it is very easy to feel overwhelmed by (negative) feelings originating from other people. And how about the energy-sucking people who can only complain all the time, can they bring you down with them too? How about the big disastrous events on the planet, can you feel those (and the conscious collective sadness) too? If yes, can you find a way to stay in your own vibration?

This brings me to the following: the necessity for introspection and time alone, to go back inside to find yourself back. And of course, meditation is a good exercise for that, but you can also read a good book or do a DIY (my personal favorite) with mindfulness and find yourself back this way as well. You can also go and walk in nature, listen to good music, whatever works for you in the moment.

How about you? Do you sometimes feel something that might not be yours?

A change of feelings a change of destiny

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

I wish you a great week.

Much love, Madeleine

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Should you feel guilty?

Hello gorgeous,

First of all, I would like to apologize for not having written for 2 weeks, it was school holidays here and my planning had to adapt… Moreover, I saw it as an experiment for me: am I going to feel guilty and how is that feeling going to develop?

I think guilt is a very common feeling in our culture and I don’t know anybody who does not feel guilty from time to time (and I think mothers are the worst ;-)). But to me, there are 2 types of guilt: the first, dictated by our education (in which religion also plays a part), where we position ourselves as kids getting told off by our parents for having done something “wrong” in their eyes. The second is the one that we feel ourselves, independently from education, as adults having their own judgment on good and bad and what we should do or not do (lying and betrayal are perfect examples where everyone has to decide for themselves, based on their own situation…).

I remember when I stopped smoking, years ago. A few months later, I woke up after a dream during which I had smoked again, and the feeling of guilt woke me up, like, no, I haven’t done that, have I? It was my own decision to stop smoking and nobody had pushed me to do it. Still, I was really nearly in panic because of that dream!

I think that, as much as we would like to get rid of that, more often than not, we are torn by this feeling, as if we were still young kids waiting to be scolded and punished. I am not saying that we should never feel guilty; obviously we should know what we do now and act consequently! But I would like tot suggest that we ask ourselves the question when that happens: is this guilt feeling coming from me or from my parents/family/education? Because when it’s the latter, we might want to learn to release it, to free ourselves from it, so we can be fully ourselves instead of still fitting the parental mould.

So, if you are curious about how not writing felt to me… I would say: deliciously guilty! It evolved of course during those 2 weeks, and I knew I would come back to you after this break, but I made sure I was aware of it, and I wanted to enjoy it as well, to fully embrace it, because it was fully mine J.

So, tell me, are you feeling guilty for anything right now? And is it really yours?

I don't feel guilt.Whatever I wish to do, I do.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

I wish you a great week.

Much love, Madeleine

Have you lost your sparkle?

Hello gorgeous,

A few days ago, a friend I had not seen in a while told me she was worried about me, she could see I had lost my sparkle. Since then, I have been (over) thinking, and have had quite some mood swings, alternating between sadness and anger and navigating as well as possible through those troubled waters. I know it’s not over yet, and it’s ok, but I tried to make sense of it and to make use of it at the same time. I give you my reflections and would love to hear if it resonates!

Sadness and anger are very often linked. It’s not always possible to find out which one was there first, but it doesn’t matter. Where there’s one, the other is not very far. If somebody hurts you, that will make you feel sad because of the hurt, and angry at this person for hurting you. You can also be angry at yourself for not doing what you think you should be doing, for not complying to your own standards, for letting yourself down etc. In my case, it’s a real mixture of me not being where I want to be (and working too much), and old hurts resurfacing again I believe.

The positive thing I noticed though, from those ups and downs, is that I don’t want to hide anything anymore and I have been more expressive about it around me than I normally am. I normally tend to repress any of that, and this week I didn’t and I felt better afterwards, as if I had removed a filter that was blocking the expression of my feelings. This just happened, without me consciously trying to achieve anything, rather behind my back!

The other positive thing about it is that it made me slow down this week, meditate more, read more (in order to avoid an explosion that was about to happen). Although I don’t have a solution yet to get my life back together (i.e. a proper plan of action), I am now actively busy (day and night) looking for clues and help around me and in me.

Lastly, we just got a new moon last night, and in one of the newsletters I receive, she invited us to use this new moon phase to: “be firm but gentle, seek boundaries that create peace within yourself and around you, that allow for tenderness and softness to arrive more and more in your daily routine, that feel connection affirming (with yourself and with others)” (source: Lisa Nagel). This message feels totally aligned with where I am at, and I am probably not the only one feeling that way…

So, tell me, have you felt this way before? How did you get out of it?

Happy-2

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

I wish you a great week.

Much love, Madeleine

Are you able to receive?

Hello gorgeous,

How many of us find “giving” easy and “receiving” (as in really receiving…) more difficult, maybe awkward even? How many can’t receive a compliment without neglecting it? You know, the usual: Oh hun you look so nice in that dress! Oh that old thing?… Or: that dish is really delicious! Oh it’s nothing really, so simple to make…

If you fall into that category, do you realize that you rob others of the joy they can feel when giving? If you can’t really receive, then their gift is not accepted as it should have been, and they are left with a weird feeling of unfinished business, of not being really understood maybe, and you spoiled their experience. Would you want your giving experience to be spoiled like that?…

So, for those of us who plaid guilty, what I am suggesting is going to require some effort from you… But it means doing it for you and doing it for them as well, so you will do a good deed by accepting gifts, compliments in a proper way 😉

Let’s imagine you receive a compliment about your outfit or a meal you prepared for friends.

Let’s take it one step at a time, practice step 1 enough times until you are ready for step 2!

Step 1: thank you hun. (that’s it, nothing else can come out of your mouth for at least 30s). And smile while looking at them in the eyes.

So, when you are ready to go further in receiving, how about the following:

Step 2: thank you hun, I really find it flattering indeed/ I am proud of myself indeed (you get my point). And smile too! This doesn’t fall into bragging, don’t worry, you are simply owning it properly and agreeing with the person.

If you need some practice, let me suggest you do “The compliment game” with a friend, or with your partner if you have one and he or she is willing ;-). I was introduced to it some years ago when I was learning Heart Intelligence Coaching, and I found it hard at the beginning too! But I have since used it in Circles and it is always a good one J. So here it goes:

You face the other person, standing or sitting, it doesn’t matter. You look at him/her in the eyes, you can also hold hands, and you give him/her a compliment. It must be something real, it must be true of course, you must feel what you say. It could be anything like: you have wonderful blue eyes, or I love your curly hair, or you always make me feel good, or you are so tolerant, so something you like about this person. The other person has to say “thank you” (like in Step 1). And then he or she goes on to give you a compliment etc. Let me tell you, after a few rounds, you both really feel good!

Let me know how it went!

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

Declutter your life!

Hello gorgeous,

This looks like a new theme for me… In the space of a week, it came back a few times during conversations with friends, in my Pinterest feed, etc. so I guess it means I need to pay attention ;-). I have already started decluttering my house and giving or selling clothes that we don’t use anymore, but this is not just about physical clutter. There are all kinds of clutter: email clutter (I have about 900 in my inbox…), electronic clutter (and my computer is getting slower and slower), paper clutter… and, last but not least, mind clutter! I am guilty of all, are you too?

That being said, it doesn’t mean we all need to transform ourselves into Marie Kondo’s… Moreover, her minimalist style doesn’t suit all of us! As much as I would love to see my house organized and tidy, having kids make it difficult to keep it tidy at all times anyway!

The whole purpose of decluttering is making space for new things (and / or people). If your life is full already, there’s no space to receive or welcome anything else. No space for more “stuff” in the house, no time for another activity, no time for yourself, no time for new relationships… But if you manage to create some emptiness here and there, you are showing your willingness to make space for the new. And yet, like all of you, I know how difficult it can be to end a relationship (or to realize it has ended already), quit your job to take a risk, and get rid of stuff that you keep “just in case”… I am not going to give you advice on how to declutter, I let the pros do that part, but I just wanted to encourage you to let go of what does not serve you, be it clothes, shoes, old papers, old books, old stuff, and to notice afterwards how much lighter and better you feel after this exercise!

If, on the contrary, your life feels empty already, well that’s good news; it means you already have space for something new, so I want to encourage you to use it properly, use it for something/someone that you choose yourself and that you really want, instead of letting nature fill the emptiness with things and people you don’t want, because it will if you let it… J

And now is a good time for me to declutter a cupboard…

Clutter isn't just the stuff in your closet. It's anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

Celebrate yourself <3

Hello gorgeous,

I am reaching the end of the first quarter, and number 80 of my MMMs, and it felt like a good time to celebrate. Plus, it’s spring, although we don’t get to realize it yet, so new and renewed energies are bubbling, all the more reasons to party!

Where last week was all about gratitude, this week is about pride, being proud of who you are. While some of us can really go overboard on that ;-), most of us don’t do it enough! And it’s those that I want to encourage today to sit still and do a small exercise. I would like you to take small pieces of colored paper, to write one phrase on each, and then put them together in a jar or in a box. Each phrase should start with “I am…” or at least “I + action verb”!

  • Your character traits: we all have a good mixture of deemed good and bad traits; let’s focus on the ones we personally like here! Here’s a few I like in myself:
    • I am creative
    • I am resilient
    • I am kind
  • Your accomplishments: don’t diminish what you did, don’t think for a second it was all-normal or easy, let yourself measure again the bigness of what you have accomplished so far. Let me give you a few examples:
    • I am a writer: I am currently writing my 80th MMMs and am intending to continue for as long as I can
    • I successfully delivered and raised (still busy!) 2 beautiful human beings into this world
    • I speak 3 languages (I can hear myself say: oh it’s nothing, some speak 9 languages…but I tell this little voice to shut up so that I can enjoy being proud of myself)
  • Your dreams not yet come true: we still have time, we never know how much time, but we still want to do a lot (do you have that bucket list within close reach?), don’t we? I certainly do! Here’s a few I am intending to achieve before leaving:
    • I am going paragliding this year
    • I work constantly on becoming a better version of myself
    • I intend to build or buy or renovate another house

I hope my examples will help you write yours and get you into a feel great mood, let me know! Declaring them to someone else also helps, so I am here to listen to yours! 🙂

The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

How to (really) feel grateful

Hello gorgeous,

I was reminded recently of the importance of feeling positive, in order to create more positive in our lives. When everything is going fine, it is easy to feel positive and grateful for what you have, and then everything flows. But when that is not the case, it can get (in my experience and I don’t think I am alone here) really difficult to focus on the good things and to really feel it inside. I probably told you already that I had a journal in which I was writing 3 things everyday I was grateful for. But I don’t think that’s enough. I think what is really necessary here is to feel that grateful feeling deep inside your heart. Even if it’s for one second, it is already good. But obviously, the more it lasts, the better!

What I would like to do is to give you some prompts, to help you become conscious of all the good in your life, so that, instead of restarting a list everyday, you can simply add to it, and the bigger the list, the easier it is to feel the gratitude (well at least that’s what I am hoping for!)

  • Your family: if you still have your parents, can you feel how blessed you are that they are still there and that you can still talk to them, love and be loved by them, you can be there for them as they were there to raise you… If they are gone, can you think of all the things they passed on to you (love, education, values etc…) and how blessed you are for having known them? If you have kids, think about all the love you can give and receive, how you get to give them your best.
  • Your relationships: even if some have stopped, for those, think about all that it brought you during the time of the relationship, all the support you have given to each other, all the laughs you shared, all the good moments you had together, the moments you really were there for each other… And for the current relationships, what do you love about this person, what do you bring to him/her and what does he/she bring you?
  • Yourself: that is probably the most difficult… Even though there is so much to appreciate about ourselves, we tend to be very demanding with ourselves and to take everything about ourselves for granted… Don’t we take our body for granted for instance, and the fact that it is supposed to function well (if we treat it well), think about being able to eat, sleep, drink, see, hear, talk, feel, smell, move, walk, run… And how about our brain? How about our skills, abilities? How about our character traits, our qualities?
  • Your work: what makes it a good day for you, is it feeling useful in your work, supporting others, interactions with others…? Do you go to work with pleasure in the morning, knowing you will enjoy (if not al, at least good parts of) your day?
  • Your current house: did you get to choose it? Is it yours (or partially yours and partially the bank’s)? Do you like it? Does it fit your needs? Is it beautiful? Is it at the right place for you? Do you like the decoration? What do you like most about this house? Can you remember happy moments you had in this house?

Gratitude is the wine

I hope my prompts will help you make that list and get into the gratitude feeling, let me know! 🙂

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

What to do if stars don’t align?

Hello gorgeous,

Some weeks, you feel like you are in the Zone (or in the Flow) and everything is flowing. But at other times, you feel like things are not working as you would like and you find yourself moaning about what’s going wrong… Well, that was my week this week… Only minor things, like bruising a toe, smashing the screen of my iPhone one more time, getting a migraine again, not getting the car papers we are waiting for (for more than a month…). Nothing earth shattering, but annoying nonetheless! Do you recognize that too?

So, I have been wondering what to do – instead of complaining – when you feel that way, so here are my ideas, good and bad!

  • Throw a tantrum: although this seems like a bad idea, getting this annoyed feeling out of your system is actually a good start to me. A good shout, a good cry, a boxing ball, that can help (at least a bit ;-))
  • Count your blessings: this is a serious idea and it is always a good one. That’s what I did this week to keep my mood up (after the screaming when my phone fell down). Looking at the bright side, focusing on our blessings will always uplift our feelings and put us back on track!
  • Focus on what you want: it is very easy to continue focusing on what went wrong, but doing this will only bring more of it I am afraid… So let’s re-focus on what it is that we want in a positive way and let’s see it done (in my case, a properly functioning iPhone, headspace, a properly functioning body…)
  • Focus on the now: many times, when we feel down, it is enough to focus on the now. You don’t need to meditate (although you are more than welcome to do that), but simply to ground yourself and consider where you are at this minute and what you are busy with today. Shift your focus to now. More often than not, now is good, we are alive, life is ok, we have what we need now etc.
  • Evaluate whether something is good or bad: the difficulty is always to know in the moment, it always generally makes sense afterwards… And some things are just neither good nor bad. I mean, apart from hurting for 10 minutes when I hit it, what’s wrong with a (possibly) broken toe? And my phone is still working even though it looks a bit sad like that ;-). Remember that sometimes, a “bad” event can be a blessing is disguise…
  • Do something new and/or creative: being creative works all the time with me, I become present to what I do, it takes my mind off things and I get happy that way. Even if being creative is not your thing, you can still try something new, open your mind to new horizons, research a new topic or watch an interesting talk. Maybe then you will also get new ideas, and potentially solutions to what was troubling you.

So what do you do when things go wrong? Please share your tips and ideas!

Keep your eyes on the stars

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

Inspire and be inspired

Hello gorgeous,

When was the last time you were inspired by someone who crossed your path? Does it happen often? I believe we are conditioned to notice more the behaviors we don’t like, but less often the ones we find inspiring… Aren’t we always focusing on what we can improve instead of what is already good? (And isn’t corporate life and its yearly reviews a perfect example of pointing the finger at what went not so well?)

Well, this morning I brought my husband and mother-in-law to the airport, and the airline employee at the desk was such a joy, he was welcoming, warm, with a sense of humor, and all that at 7.45 on a Sunday morning… I felt compelled to compliment him (because I find it so rare!).

So that got me thinking about being an inspiration for others and being inspired like I was. How often am I an inspiration to my kids or my husband? How often am I an inspiration to my friends? When do they inspire me?

I have therefore been looking for a few keys to be an inspiring person, and that’s what I want to leave you with today:

  • Speak your truth: no matter what it is you do, authenticity will always pay off. Even if you feel vulnerable sharing, share it anyway. Be true to yourself. People will relate to you, they will know where you stand and they will trust you.
  • Lift people up: a compliment will work wonders and bring back a smile on a frowned face. Hugging a child or a friend will show them how much you care, and that’s priceless. Show them the glass half full when they see it half empty. Help them notice how far they’ve come. Help someone in need. Help an old lady to cross the street. Compliment a child who just did a drawing. Tell them how proud you are.
  • Be enthusiastic: being a fun and open-minded person is attractive and contagious. Make people laugh, make people smile. Show them that you are happy to be around them. Be the one who makes suggestions and is always open to try new things. Talk with passion about the topics you care about.
  • Shoot for the moon: be ambitious. Ambitious people believe they can reach the stars and they will do whatever it takes. Be such a person. Work on improving your life constantly, and you will pull others up on your way.
  • Believe in people, challenge them: even (and specially) when they themselves don’t! If they know you believe they can do it, they will do it more easily because they will want to prove you right.

Can you remember who was the last person who inspired you and why? I would love to know about them, please share if you can!

girls' weekend guide to

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your kind messages, I love reading them every time, so please continue!!!

 

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

 

Much love,

Madeleine

5 ways to add more fun to your life!

Hello gorgeous,

I am writing to you on day 3 of a migraine, so I know I need what I am suggesting today at least as much as you do J. You see, I take my life seriously, and I think that’s good, but I also take everything seriously and that’s too much. I work, I take care of my family, make sure there is food on the table every day, I take on new clients, I help my daughters with homework, I feed the dogs, clean the aquarium… And I realize I miss feeling light and joyful and having fun and being spontaneous. I miss my inner child, the free kindred spirit that’s deep inside of me…

But that being said, where do I find the switch, how do I access it again and what does it mean in practice?

It’s not about changing who I am; I appreciate the fact that I am reliable and serious. But it’s about changing some habits… So here are some examples of what you can do to add more fun:

  • Find a new hobby: I made a few people laugh when I announced I had taken up pole dancing, well that’s a good start! And now I even made my friends (and kids) curious and eager to try, so we are doing it together this afternoon (am praying that my migraine will stop before then…). I also stopped drumming and took up bass guitar instead (I thought that was one of the reasons for migraine). I don’t know about you, but I love the energy of beginnings, I love starting something. So it doesn’t matter if I don’t become a good bass guitar player, it matters that I am trying and having fun with it…
  • Reduce stress: park your activities and duties for say 10 minutes (they will still be there when you come back to them) and meditate for 10 minutes, or dance, but give your mind a rest. You can use the Pomodoro method for working: put a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted work and then relax, take a break for 5 minutes before you start again.
  • Laugh more: if, like me, you don’t laugh that easily, find first people, movies that make you laugh and make a list (one of my favorite funny movies is A fish called Wanda, have you seen it?). And get those on DVD or downloaded so that it’s easy for you to watch and laugh!
  • Befriend a fun person, hang out with a kid: laughing is contagious, my youngest daughter has a laugh so contagious she can get the whole room to laugh with her without even knowing why. Be with people who make you laugh, who cheer you up, who always say something funny…
  • Dance! Put songs from your teenage time, songs that you can’t help but move when you hear them on the radio, songs that you danced to when you were going to the disco, put the Mamma Mia (or Fame) DVD and let yourself go crazy, nobody’s looking anyway!

So, what do you do to have more fun? Let me know!

If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine