This post is for my beautiful daughter who is struggling with some internal and external fear factors. Hope this helps, darling.

Fear remains like a shadow that follows. Here along the Oregon coast, I am going to compare it to the dense fog that comes and goes. It can be a gorgeous, blue sky day and then a thick fog can roll in within a few minutes and take over. It is fascinating.

Since I am new to the Oregon coast it has taken some getting use to the weather here and still I struggle with the fog, the lasting days of grey, but I also have been in awe of the quick changes that can happen and I often refer to the weather here as “a surprise.” If you can view things as a good surprise, things can seem better, right!?

My daughter just started her second year of college last week and it has been a tough ride. She broke up with her first love of seven months and started school days later. The week has been an emotional roller coaster and her inner fears seem to rise and fall like the tides here at the coast.

Our daughter is an incredible, outgoing, bubbly, fun, smart, beautiful girl that has so much going for her, so it has been so hard to see her fall victim to the struggles of the various fears that are on the rise within her world. She has been viewing her life from another perspective–that of needing external factors to make her happy. [ie: being with her boyfriend makes being on campus better, she would be happier with people giving her praise, her worth seems to be based on so many things outside herself] Her ego seems to be having a party and taking over in a negative light.

She seems to be allowing the fear to freeze and immobilize her. The campus ambassador job she has been so excited about & loved training for—is no longer of interest. The ocean club she is in leadership for is not giving her the attention she needs. She feels she has no friends. She feels alone. She feels she will never find people who are capable of being her friend…the feelings, the fears seem to be enveloping her and she is beginning to drown.

Our strong daughter is crumbling under the pressure of a campus she chose and she seems willing to sacrifice her happiness to make it. In a conversation with her yesterday she said, “I want to want to be here.” as tears rolled down her face.

As a mom you just want to fix everything and make sure she is safe emotionally and physically. It is tough. Today, she cried over the phone and said, “I have to make it work here. This is the place I chose.”

I stopped her and gave her my pizza analogy. I said, “You know I love pizza and I get sooo excited to try various places with yummy pizza, but IF I go somewhere new and I get a pizza that does not taste good, does that mean I should sit and suffer through the rest of the slices? There are plenty of pizza places out there. There are plenty of other life experiences you can get out and enjoy and not suffer through. I suggested study abroad in other countries.

Life is a journey, the fears will come, but it is how you manage them. It is how and what you allow them to do for your life. You can either fall victim to fears and get stuck or you can package them in a new “surprise” outlook and have them help challenge you in a different way with a new opportunity.

My husband and I listened to part of a podcast with the free solo climber, Alex Honnold. He had a great perspective on fear. He explained that he still gets afraid and sometimes the fear takes a firm grip during moments of his climbs. He talked about how people need to look at fear like they look at hunger. He said, we all know when we FEEL hungry and we then give our body what it needs. We need to look at fear the same way. We need to FEEL our body and the fear that is holding on and decide to put it to the side for a moment until we can handle it properly. Just breathe through the fear, set it aside and not emotionally react to it. Then, when you are calm and ready to handle the fear–then face it once you are in a better space to do so.

I sat and looked at the ocean after a tough conversation with my daughter. I just watched the ocean waves slowly roll and had this thought, I shared this with her as well, “The ocean comes and goes, up and down. You need to do a couple things: You sometimes need to dive deep below the surface to find a deep stillness, to find a calm within for yourself. Then on the flip side, you need moments that you take on the fears and emotions that are hard and show yourself that you are strong enough to ride them and see where you end up in the journey.” I felt that was a great analogy of our emotional journey–the ups, the downs.

I heard another interesting fact about our emotions—they can only last in our bodies for 90 seconds.

“Feelings are like ocean waves,” says psychologist Alyson Stone, “they rise, crest and recede, all day long.” We can all relate. But according to brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, these waves last just 90 seconds. After that, we’re simply re-stimulating our internal circuitry. 

Explains Taylor: “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”

She goes on: “Something happens in the external world, and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body, it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological reaction, over and over again.”

Sarah Chauncey weighs in: “What keeps emotions lingering are the stories we tell ourselves about them … Because we humans are story-making machines, we often tend to interpret our body’s signals as emotions, when in fact, they’re just … processes, happening. They will pass – unless we attach a story to them and keep them alive.” -thedanielislandnews

STRESS STRATEGY: try this Consider practicing the 90-second rule this week. When stress hits and you can feel yourself launching into full-on fight or flight mode, go back to the principle of the pause. Inhale. Exhale. And allow yourself to feel the tension in your body ease, without expecting yourself to respond immediately to the situation confronting you.” -same news as above


“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
–Judy Blume

Every single one of us has a different capacity to take on various fears. My daughter has already swam in a tank full of sharks & that is one thing that would put my fear levels on high alert. But, some people may be afraid to get out of their comfort zone to take a community education class, go back to school, sign-up for golf lessons and for many that would be no big deal. While others would be terrified to stand up and give a talk, others light up at the opportunity. To each their own is a level of varying fears. So, we need to look at our own fears individually and find ways to face them. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something that scares you every day.” Maybe you find one thing today that would scare you and take a step. If you can’t take a full step, put your toes as far to the edge and prepare to step tomorrow. smile. smile.

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Fear is resistance. period. Yoda is so wise. all of the things that fear breeds—creates a basis for nothing good and stagnates the soul.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
–Dale Carnegie

I have especially seen this with my daughter on her college campus. She can sit in her dorm and not leave, breeding her doubts and fears, but as soon as she gets busy for a class or work, her energy swings and she is in action, the fear subsides.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
–Henry Ford

I love the great word, SURPRISE. The English noun surprise comes from late Middle English, from Anglo-French and Middle French surprise(e), a noun use of the past participle of surprendre “to seize, grasp,” literally, “to overtake,” from the French prefix sur- “excessive, over

Maybe if we can look at overtaking, seizing or stopping fear with Surprise—it can shift us to something greater. May we think and shift our way of thinking from Fear to WoW! We need to push our perspectives from the small person we become with the fears that reside and take on the Wow, I can do this and live from the confident person who seeks adventure in the surprises found.

Now–think of it like this. Think of all the things you have been afraid of—could be physical things like scuba diving, parasailing, zip lining, rock climbing, etc. It could be speaking in front of people, going to a party and having to socialize with a room full of people. It could be fear of failing in your marriage, your job, your life. NOW, step back and evaluate different situations where all of these things have happened to you in your life—in the end how did you FEEL? honestly, I bet more than not you were SURPRISED by the outcome!! You probably ended up loving your parasailing trip, you met some new friends at the socializing event, the job you did fail at led to something better suited for you. More than not, the things that fill us with the emotional fears are many of the things that end up leading to great life surprises.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Seek to make fear a friend. Embrace the surprises that come in the ups and downs of life tides. Ride the waves of emotions and find those things that make life worth living. Challenge and Change bring fear, but those are two of life’s greatest teachers.

“Write 10 times: ‘FEAR’ is my friend. Fear is the energy to do my best in a new situation. You don’t have to believe it; just write it.” -Peter McWilliams

Sometimes you fake it to make it. You just begin–you write it down and seek to believe you will find the best in any situation.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Run TOWARDS fear to fearlessly find your courage, your confidence, your best self. Run AWAY in fear to find your smallness, your insecurities, the smallest places of your self. Who do you want to be? Fearless or Small? It is a choice.

Peace, Love and Light to you in all you do. xoxo. -H

Let go of the FEAR


Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.                                  -Phillip Gulley

My little girl woke up in the middle of the night frustrated, tired and immobile in her determination to not listen to any type of reason, to understand her feelings, or to talk about what was truly going on in her young mind. She has always been a wild thing, free in her choices, stubborn in her will and determined in all that she is. I wouldn’t change her because there is so much I admire–I love her spark, her sass, her leader mentality, but there are times when you hit it square on and you are the opposing side and you find yourself unable to talk her off a high point. That is where you find yourself dealing with fears and worry head on! I desperately try to put myself in her shoes to try and understand what she is thinking, why she breaks into emotional tears or why she holds on to a negative situation with an unyielding spirit. It scares me sometimes, but then I try to find the love, to break through the anger with a hug that can almost break the spell. She may fight back, but then you hold that love like a wounded bird that is trying to break free. You know if you hold on long enough, it will realize you are trying to do your best to take care of its needs. She will then emotionally break, her will allows the fears and worry to be free & she gives in to the love that is given.

My daughter has had a lot of anxiety, fear and worry weighing on her little mind lately. She is afraid of the possibility of moving, her best friend just moved away, her beloved teacher is leaving for the rest of the year, the homework she doesn’t understand…her fears may seem small, but to her they are as big as anything we can fathom. Lately I have been trying to read and understand what, if anything, I can do to make her journey a little easier, to ease her anxiety and worry, to set aside the fear and bring peace to her in any way. Last night was no exception. She was worn down, tired, but in a negative place, constantly saying no to any loving suggestion to help her return to sleep. I finally had her jump our my bed & told her we needed to let her worries float away. I suggested we watch a darling youtube video that did just that.  Me, my husband and our little girl laid in bed and watched SOULPANCAKE: Pop your Problems http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcHXiBdyt94  it was a darling example of letting your worries go. We all felt better when it was over. Thanks SoulPancake!!

Here are some other ideas for letting go of worries:

Understand your amazing brain: Watch Jill Bolte Taylor (Harvard expert on the brain experiences a stroke & what she learned from it–amazing). I listened to her talk to Oprah about the part of our brain that is in charge of language, self talk, all ego—she described a peanut size part of the brain is what causes negative chatter & how we need to remember that you can change your thought in a second. You cannot have a negative and a positive thought at the same time, so switch it!! WOW. Aha.

Let it go: Pop it! (like SoulPancake) or set it ablaze. Write down your worries, fears or frustrations, make a fire in your backyard fire pit or picnic area and throw your worries into the fire and allow the smoke to take them away.

Talk about it: Talking about concerns helps take some of the power out of the negative feelings. If you talk about your worries, fears and anxieties it can become less powerful.

Write it down: Write your feelings of worry and fear down in a journal. Get your thoughts out onto paper to help you sort out your feelings, so you can begin to understand.

Walk your talk: In some situations you may need to walk yourself through a fear or worry. You may need to replay over and over in your mind, “I can do this” or “I will be okay.”

Walk or run it out: Exercise is always a good solution to help rid any type of stress, including worry and anxiety. Take a walk, go for a run, get some type of movement that will increase your feel good endorphins and give you a natural boost.

Relax: different relaxation techniques like visualization  help in any situation. A good visualization: Imagine yourself floating along a still lake with your arms spread out, floating on the water and you look up to the blue sky—let go of every worry. Focus on the float. Quiet your mind in some type of relaxation, whether its visualization, meditation or prayer.

Breathe deeply: When you are in the midst of stress, anxiety, fear or worry your body tenses and we often hold our breath or begin to breathe faster. Take a deep breathe. Begin to slow your breath and allow the worries to fade as you breathe out…letting go.

The reality: understand that most of your fears are just a product that your thoughts create. (thoughts that are generated from that peanut size part of your brain). Decide and make a conscious choice—what thoughts will I follow and believe are real. Where is your focus? Is it real or fear based.

Face it: What could you do today to face a fear or conquer a worry that you hold on to? I came across a fun site of someone who was facing a fear every day for a month. Each day they would do something that scared or challenged them on a personal level. What did they learn??  as soon as you go ahead and face a fear–it vanishes. Fear just cannot stand in the light of your confidence and go beyond it. It gets scared. (personal-development-is-fun.com) I thought that was a great reality.

Remember the good: Stress and worry are not all bad. There are times when they push us to make necessary changes in our life. This is when stress and anxiety are healthy and beneficial. Remember—there is always something good held in everything we do. There is always something to help us learn and grow. Have faith in that!

Hope these tips will help.

Have a beautiful weekend.  -Heather

LOL. 12 ways to get you LAUGHING!


Something to think about…A child laughs 600 times a day at the age of 6. An adult 47 times a day. A depressed person 6 times a day.

One thing I have noticed in any stressful situation is how laughter can take a moment of tension and make it melt away. It has this amazing power to change things, to ignite the body with something positive, to shift a connection with others and lighten a mood. You can’t feel stressed, anxious, angry or sad when you are laughing.

When there is ever a tense time in my marriage we notice it, we swing from one end of the spectrum to the other—in extremes. I either cry and want to run or get giddy and laugh at EVERYTHING! I have been trying to handle this in-between jobs situation with more light heartedness, to affectionately tease my husband when he needs me to “retool” his resume and not take it personally.  I begin to talk in another accent, like I am his personal assistant from another country, emphasizing key phrases and “major accomplishments.” It makes things lighter, because the very thought of starting over and beginning again with another career can be a bit unsettling.

I was feeling a bit worried and anxious how my husband would be feeling yesterday morning because a potential position fell apart after a poor recruitment situation. I started the morning off blaring over the loud speakers Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger” (What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger) Everyone at my house laughed!! It lightened the mood of the whole morning.

Laughter makes you feel better, it makes everything better!!

So here are some great ideas I dug up to make laughter part of your day!! This is for you and me. Just LAUGH!!

Watch a funny movie or TV show: Here are some links to different top movie lists.  Complex Pop Culture lists the top 50 movies http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/03/the-top-50-funny-movies/     Here is Ranker.com’s list of their top 50 http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-funniest-movies-of-all-time

Watch some funny youtube videos: lately I have LOVED anything SOULPANCAKE. They have some fun, inspirational and funny videos. Another good laugh is Laugh Out Loud–they do prank type videos and those are always fun to watch. There are even compilations of funny videos and pranks, so just do a search on Youtube for funny videos & you’ll find a lot.

Go to a comedy club and LOL

Have a fun game night with friends & have them bring a few of their favorite jokes or stories. Shared laughter brings more connection and is great for relationships.

Check out the humor section at your local book store. Find something that is funny to you.

Go to a “Laughter yoga” class: Here is a good link to get you started with Laughter Yoga International  http://laughteryoga.org/ & then find an organization near you.

Play with children: Children are the greatest example of play and laughter, so emulate them, have fun and enjoy your moments with them. Yesterday I was taking care of my sister’s two kids. We sang songs & made up songs & just started giggling and giggling at our crazy songs. It was good to laugh.

Do something silly: Photograph crazy, distorted pictures of you and your family together, When you go on a walk put some thought into it—walk like an egyptian, a chicken, disco, etc. Make a silly breakfast like green eggs and ham, Dance all the time & everywhere, Make silly faces & name them, Talk in a silly voice (from another land, like a alien, like the cookie monster, like a robot, like Mickey Mouse)—these may seem too silly, but some of these are actual psychological, neurolinguistic programming techniques–Have fun with it!!

Make time for some FUN! Go bowling & turn it into a bowling for pennies (or dollars) game, do miniature golf with your left hand, maybe have a karaoke night where everyone has to sing like they are from another country…make opportunities for fun, for laughter.

Bring humor into your conversations: Ask people, “What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?”

Have good ways to deal with stress: because stress stops laughter, it is the enemy to happiness, it slows it down & can be a big barrier for a good laugh or a good feeling.

Try to not take yourself so seriously: don’t be afraid to share embarrassing moments, find something funny about a bad situation, surround yourself with things that make you smile (funny screen saver, fun picture of your family, playful toy on your desk, etc),

Hope these ideas help you in your pursuit of LAUGHTER!! Do something fun this weekend and truly enjoy yourself and those around you.

Cheers to you. Heather