You’re Never “Too Old” to Follow Your Dreams

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A few months ago, I called my bank to change my address for one of my checking accounts.

When I told the call center operator that I had recently moved to Hawaii, she gasped and said, “Oh my God, I’ve always wanted to live there!”

I’ve gotten used to people saying things like that when I tell them I live on a tropical island, so I just kept going with the process of completing my transaction.

Or at least, I tried to.

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How to Create a Personal Altar in Your Home (Even if You Have a Small Space)

1545648_866836023342365_2693814071271888944_n As a faithful student of personal growth and the field of positive psychology, I’m a big fan of any practice that invites more happiness and fulfillment into our lives. Over the years, I’ve developed many habits that have enhanced my outlook on life and helped me achieve some of my big goals.

Now there is one tool that I’ve been wanting to incorporate into my life for a long time…a personal altar! There are a lot of different variations out there, but a personal altar is essentially a sacred space in your home that serves as a “spiritual center” where you can focus on being your highest self. It also consists of specific items meant to invite positive energy into your life. Last week, I took the time to gather all of the items I needed to set mine up and I can already feel the powerful spiritual shift it’s made in my living space.

Here are some basic guidelines you can use to create your own personal altar…even if you have a small space!

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How to Make a Digital Vision Board in 5 Simple Steps

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Last weekend, I went to the Hawaii Auto Show here in Honolulu. There were shiny models from all of the major car dealerships on the island, including some sports car brands I had never seen up close and in person before, like Ferrari! Now, I’m not much of a car enthusiast, but sitting in the driver’s seat of all those luxury cars helped me visualize what MY ideal car would be. And as you can see below, I now have a black BMW convertible on my digital vision board!

What is a digital vision board and why should you create one?

A digital vision board is a collection of images that represent your desired future in an online format. The two biggest benefits of digital vision boards is that you can take them with you wherever you go and they take less time to create than the traditional physical vision board. You can make as many versions you want for as many goals as you want!

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A Daily Gratitude Practice to Attract More Abundance into Your Life

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I love this gratitude journal by Catherine Price!

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past year is how the spirit of gratitude can positively impact your life. Although I don’t have every thing I want, somehow I ALWAYS have every thing I need. And acknowledging just how blessed I am has caused even more blessings to pour into my life this year – in the form of people, opportunities and even income.

Studies have shown that cultivating a sense of thankfulness in your everyday life is also good for your mental health and emotional well-being. Psychologist Robert Emmons demonstrated this in the research for his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, finding that:

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How to Set a Positive Intention for the Week

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“A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even though I work from home, the beginning of the week always feels “busy.” As soon as I wake up on Mondays, I sense looming deadlines. All I hear in my brain is go go go ring ring ring do do do. Needless to say, it’s not the most conscious way to enter the week!

To help me get centered in my life and work, I like to start the week off by setting a positive intention.

This is a practice that extends from my years of writing poetry. One of my professors would always instruct us to “get centered” by sitting still in a quiet place before beginning to write. Setting weekly intentions has helped me reduce the feeling of overwhelm in my business. There’s always so much to do – so many emails to respond to, so many great projects to work on, so many people to connect with, etc. This strategy has helped me to get focused and stay productive each and every week.

When should you set your weekly intention? Well, it’s best if you can do this exercise at the beginning of the week, on a Sunday or Monday. But you can and should feel free to do it on any day and at any time you have a moment to sit down and be still.

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How to Overcome the Fear of Success

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“We often hesitate to follow our intuition out of fear. Most usually, we are afraid of the changes in our own life that our actions will bring.” – Caroline Myss

Which one are you more afraid of: failure or success?

When it comes to following your dreams, do you worry more about not being able to cope with negative feelings when you mess up or not being able to handle the level of increased responsibility that success often brings? Most of us think we fall in the first camp of not wanting to fail. But many of us are actually more fearful of what might happen if we actually achieved that big goal we say we want.

It can be scary to think about all the different ways your life could change as a result of losing all the weight, making more money, attracting a great man, finding a better job, moving to an exciting new city, etc. Your friends might think you’ve “changed” (you have). Your family might doubt your drastic choices (they will). Your co-workers might be jealous of you (yup, that too).

But freedom comes when you are able to accept the truth that your own self-actualization is worth more than the discomfort you have to go through to get there. Here are two strategies to help you overcome the fear of success and step into the greatness that you were made for.

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There’s Still Work for You to Do

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Back in 2008, I took a week-long vacation to Hawaii. I went by myself because my best friend from high school backed out at the last minute and I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time. It was October and it was hot, but not summer-hot in Honolulu. I rented a white SUV to drive around the island for the week.

One day, I drove out to the North Shore and spent hours relaxing on the beach. It was just me, my journal, a picnic basket of food and wine and the occasional surfer dude coming by to ask me if I wanted to smoke.

For some reason, I had been thinking about my father a lot that day. The whole week, really. I laid out on that beach at the North Shore drinking and wondering how come I wasn’t dead yet.

I was 25, the same age my father was when he killed himself. 

As a teenager, I had started worrying that suicide was hereditary, or at least the conditions that made someone want to die. As an adult, I understood that this wasn’t exactly the case, but it remained a present worry that showed up in select moments of uncertainty.

It was a pebble rolling around in my mind, threatening to ruin my life if I let it.

On the day of my father’s funeral in November 1989, Mom had me wear one of my “good” dresses with thick tights that shielded my skinny six year-old legs from the cold morning.

But on the North Shore that day in October 2008, the air was warm and my legs were bare. I was all grown up now, thousands of miles and many years away from that time and place in my life that had caused me so much pain.

I gazed into the blue-green water, the waves rushing up like a question.

I kept thinking to myself: I could be dead by now.

A few hours later, I began to realize the beautiful flip side of that statement: But I’m still alive.

I must be here for a reason. God still has work for me to do.

And then I started doing the work.

I started getting serious about figuring out WHY I was born, WHAT I was put here on earth to do and HOW I could go about doing it.

The answers were always there, but only when I was brave enough to open my eyes and see them. I know now that I’m here to help others, as I have been helped, over and over, by so many people who we will call angels.

No matter what you’re going through in your life right now, the fact that you’re still alive is an incredible gift. It’s OK to make the most of it.

Even if you’ve been hurt, lied to, abused and rejected in the past, you can rest in the sweet, unshakable truth that you’re still here. It’s OK to forgive.

You can still dwell in the magical world of possibility and move forward, knowing that there is a greater purpose for your life, beyond any pain and disappointment you’ve experienced thus far. It’s OK to let go.

If you’re reading this right now, there’s still work for you to do, too.

Are you doing the work you were put here on earth to do? Do you struggle with letting go of your past so that you can live your purpose? I’d love to hear about your experience! Leave a comment below and join the conversation – our HBW Community is becoming a great place to connect with like-minded ladies, ask questions and get support :)

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Rosetta Thurman is the Founder of Happy Black Woman. Follow Rosetta on Twitter.

Join thousands of women who have completed the only online course that gives you all the tools you need to get unstuck, set clear goals and rediscover who you truly are. Learn more about the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program here.

You Don’t Have to Find Out You’re Dying to Start Living

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“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Look around and you will see how many people spend more time “getting ready” to live than they do actually living their ideal lives. We often spend our time playing it safe instead of doing exactly what we want to do. Fear causes us to make never-ending excuses for not going for it. But what if you were more conscious of the fact that you’re going to die soon?

Rainn Wilson’s Soul Pancake has a video series called “My Last Days” where they document the struggles and uplifting stories of terminal illness. Last night, I watched the story of Zach Sobiech, a teenager diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. With only months to live, Zach used his love of music to say goodbye. (Tissue alert: I cried during most of this video and it was worth it to have my heart opened in such a powerful way.)

Zach passed away this week on May 20, 2013. But before he left this earth, he spent his time sharing his life and music with the world, inspiring millions of people with his song, “Clouds.”

Would you make different decisions in your life if you were more present to your own mortality? Unlike Zach, you probably don’t know exactly how long you have left to live, but at least you understand the truth that none of us will live forever. Looking at the big picture, you can see that you have a very limited amount of time to accomplish and experience the things you desire. This awareness is a very freeing state to be in.

If you can remember that you’re going to die, possibly sooner than you think, you might be more likely to:

Stop engaging in petty arguments and gossip. Ask yourself if this situation would matter if you only had a few months left to live. If the answer is no, why let it bother you now? Why waste any more moments of your life stuck in anger and negativity? Instead, spend that time doing something that actually makes you happy!

Stop working at a job you hate and put in the effort to find one you like. We spend at least 25% of our lives working, so why not give yourself the gift of enjoying what you do? Or at least find a way to authentically connect to the people you encounter at work, making a crappy job seem much more tolerable.

Start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Go to the places you’ve always wanted to go. Do the things you wrote down on your “bucket list” years ago when you were feeling optimistic and brave. Remember that you don’t have to wait until you have the right friend or partner to take that cross-country road trip with. You can go now and experience the adventure all by yourself!

Start taking more risks on yourself. Instead of choosing “security” over uncertainty, you have the power to take a chance and step outside of your comfort zone. Ask yourself what’s more important to you – not failing/looking stupid OR seeing yourself achieve something that deep down, you already know you’re capable of doing.

Whenever you feel paralyzed by the fear of doing something different with your life, call forward the truth that these are, indeed, your last days and it’s up to you how you will spend them. It won’t be too long from now when you will close your eyes for the last time.

Maybe all the best moments of your life will flash by like a movie and you’ll remember how beautiful the moon looked that night in Paris or the way the audience gave you a standing ovation after hearing you sing your song.

Or maybe you won’t remember anything at all.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you living the life you want right now or are you still “getting ready” to live it? How would you be spending your time if you knew you only had a few months left to live?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and join the conversation – our HBW Community is becoming a great place to connect with like-minded ladies, ask questions and get support :)

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Rosetta Thurman is the Founder of Happy Black Woman. Follow Rosetta on Twitter.

Join thousands of women who have completed the only online course that gives you all the tools you need to get unstuck, set clear goals and rediscover who you truly are. Learn more about the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program here.

8 Powerful Quotes That Encourage You to Let Go and Start Over

8 Powerful Quotes That Encourage You to Let Go and Start Over

Given the challenges we all face in pursuing our goals and dreams, it’s common to find ourselves in need of motivation to keep moving forward. But there are also those times when you come to an even more difficult point in your journey, when what you really need is an affirmation to let go of your current life and begin a new one.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know how much I love sharing quotes and affirmations that uplift and support others in their personal growth. Here are some of my favorites that have taught me to stay true to who I am and let go of the fear that comes with embarking on a new path. Please click the sharing links above this post to inspire your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook!

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Eliot

This quote always reassures me that no matter how old you are, or how many mistakes you’ve made along the way, you can always take the steps necessary to rediscover your true purpose in life.

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” — Paulo Coelho

This is a beautiful reminder that you have the capacity to do whatever you want with your life. Right now, actually. No need to wait for the “right time.”

“It is not wrong to go back to that which you have forgotten.”— West African proverb

Some people feel like once they’ve chosen a particular path, that they can never turn back. Not true! Once you realize that you’re not where you’re supposed to be, you can go back to that homeplace, that starting point that feels right to you.

“We attain freedom as we let go of whatever does not reflect our magnificence. A bird cannot fly high or far with a stone tied to its back. But release the impediment, and we are free to soar to unprecedented heights.” – Alan Cohen

This quote is an affirmation that nothing can hold you back unless YOU let it. The sky is the limit when you release what’s keeping you from moving forward.

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” — John Pierpont Morgan

It doesn’t take this big, grand display of courage to make a change in your life. Sometimes, all you need to do is make the decision that you WILL begin exploring a new path.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” – Joseph Campbell

One of the biggest challenges to making progress with something new is not being able to LET GO of the old. This quote is a great reminder that when you try to keep one foot in the familiar as a Plan B, you never give yourself a chance to really succeed at Plan A.

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford

Sometimes life gives us a second chance, but we’re too ashamed to take it. Instead of holding on to your past mistakes, accept the truth that there’s something better waiting for you when you let go.

“Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another – that is surely the basic instinct . . . Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.” – Barbara Kingslover

At some point, we all need to take a moment to step back and consider whether the highway we’ve been driving on for years still leads to the ultimate destination we want for our lives. If it doesn’t, it might be time to get off at the next exit and start doing something else!

What are YOUR favorite quotes that help you let go of fear and move toward the life you really want?