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Do you know where your most glowing, radiant beauty comes from?

October 12th, 2011

I recently attended a women’s event in southern California attended by thousands of women.  At the event, a cosmetic surgery clinic had an exhibit featuring a selection of head-to-toe beauty fixes. They had tummy tucks, liposuction, Botox injections and the main attraction – breast implants. Women flocked to this exhibit; it was a hub and flurry of activity for two days. All kinds of women, of all ages, of all sizes were pulled in by the promise of feeling beautiful by adding or subtracting a few millimeters here and there.

In a culture that is obsessed with physical beauty, it is ironic that we seem to have forgotten or perhaps been taught to ignore the real underpinnings of beauty: emotional and physical health. I believe it is absolutely life affirming to drink green juice, eat a healthy diet and exercise, and yes we will have physical health to a degree  from doing all of that. However, if you haven’t made love with your husband in a year, or you are experiencing feeling empty, conflicted or disconnected in your relationship, you will not look or feel your beautiful healthy best. It’s the emotional or relationship “illness” that what we wear more than anything else on our faces and on our bodies, no matter how superb the implants might be, or how powerful the exercise program.

Your most beautiful, glowing, radiant beauty comes from caring for and attending to your emotional and relationship make-up as well as your physical health.

Think of a woman you would describe as radiant and alive. Someone you’d say is glowing, shimmering in her life, an inspiration of beauty. Would you agree that she is either in a healthy relationship in which she experiences connection, joy and loving acceptance?  Or, if she is single, does she have a healthy relationship with herself, her life and her past?

Or think back on a time when you felt and looked your best. What was happening in your life at that time? What was happening in your relationship or within yourself? Would you say you were aware of and responding to your emotional needs and challenges with the love, actions and choices you required? I would think yes.

Which underpinning of beauty is calling for your attention and care? Is it your physical health? Is it your spiritual health? Or is it your emotional and relationship health?

If it is your emotional or relationship health needing care, The Life Shop offers The Remaking of a Beautiful Woman: reclaim and embody that incredible, unique, special essence that makes you naturally and radiantly beautiful by tending to your emotional or relationship make-up.

To learn more about The Remaking of a Beautiful Woman, visit www.thelifeshop.co or email carrie@thelifeshop.co with your questions or say “I wish to know more!”

xo Carrie

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Things change “in the woods” including your pain.

September 16th, 2011

Were you taught as a little child never to go into the woods? Did you get scared into believing that there are dark and unfamiliar experiences that will harm you if you go into the woods? Did you fear that bad things happen to people who venture into places alone? Why was Little Red Riding Hood always alone anyhow? I think many of us received this kind of fearful conditioning. Like most childhood conditioning, we carry it forward into adulthood and the literal woods are replaced by symbolic woods such as fearing certain emotional experiences.

Our tendency is to protect ourselves from what we imagine might be in the woods or at the heart of our pain. So we only permit our pain, sadness, or grief to leak slowly out of us over time. We do our life in this state of slow but steady, long but hard, releasing. The tragedy is that at the end of our slow leaking there isn’t an internal impact or shift that occurs. The leak simply, eventually and uneventfully runs out and its absence almost goes unnoticed: all that suffering without benefit.

Instead of slowing leaking your pain bow to it

Get on your knees with it

Get in on the act of moving through whatever is there for you

You will not be alone in those woods. You will meet yourself there. You will touch down on your wisdom. You will come face to face with the loving that lives within you only for you: The loving force that rises to float you through these moments. And then, released from the folds of your despair, comes a deep sense of peace.

Unlike the slow leak, venturing into and out of the woods means that going back into the light of day won’t ever be the same for you. When we let ourselves be on our knees with our pain there is a powerful impact that causes a shift or change.

xo Carrie

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Would You Like A Fresh Start? Or Maybe A Giveaway?

August 29th, 2011

As the summer is gently moving aside for fall, many of us begin to crave change. We are rested, have a little bit more spring in our step, and an energized desire for a change of scenery and a new routine. The air is fresh, the mornings are crisp, and the energy of life revving up around us after the lazy days of summer is infectious!

Take advantage of this buzz and let the energy feed your determination to not slip into another lonely, dark winter. This is easier said than done, especially when you’re grappling with the pain, hollowness, lack of purpose, or sense of having lost touch with yourself after a divorce or in the midst of an undesired singledom.

The Life Shop is offering a Fall Giveaway!

What is it that you want to change? How do you want to be in your life? Let us help you trace your way back to the woman buried under the rubble of an expired relationship. The Life Shop is offering a giveaway of a free telephone support session to help you find your bearings. You will have our exclusive attention for 1 hour. We will explore your situation, offer you non-judgmental support, get to the root of some of the issues you identify and offer some practical tips to help you bring new ways of being into your life.

This is a gift we’d like to offer you simply because we understand the challenges of singlehood and divorce. There will not be a sales pitch for further consulting during our session together. We give you our word.

This is an individualized, 1-on-2 offer therefore the giveaway is limited and only available for the next two weeks. Email carrie@thelifeshop.co for more information and further details

If you wish to know more about who we are, visit us here.

Xo Kashka and Carrie

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The Number One Mistake Women Make (and it isn’t wearing granny panties)

August 9th, 2011

Even though Bridget Jones’ Diary is over 10 years old, I watch the series once a year. It’s like paying respect to my days (years) of singlehood. Those years were a time when it was my mom and dad oohing and aaahing over what they thought was a new outfit and didn’t I look “fresh.” A time when I attended diner parties, Christmas parties, and weddings yet again alone. A time when every New Year’s my cousins would discuss, debate actually, and bet whether or not “this will be the year Carrie will find a man and marry.”

Although I am very grateful that time for me is over, I am compelled to pay homage to Jones annually. I deeply appreciate her struggles with singlehood as she searches, travels, and waits for someone to come through it all for her and with her (and love her wobbly bits along the way). Watching the movie this time I noticed a gem of wisdom. The moment occurs in the sequel The Edge of Reason. On a business trip to Thailand Jones is about to get romantically re-involved with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant’s debaucherous, sexually promiscuous character who betrayed her previously). Back in his oceanside suite adorned with exotic flowers, burning torches, and bamboo furniture, Cleaver is in the middle of adoring as he calls them her “absolutely enormous panties” when unexpectedly Jones springs out from underneath him and declares she needs a moment. She excuses herself and retreats into the spa-like bathroom. She sits calmly and quietly on the edge of the bathtub, on the edge of reason. She reflects. She collects. She is still. She does what so many of us skip over; Jones creates a pause for herself.

In creating that pause, she connects with a powerful truth, her honest feelings, her intuition, her wisdom. She connects with herself. It is the pause that allows her to then spare herself the painful and messy consequences that come with involvement with a man like Daniel Cleaver. Creating that pause for herself enabled her to act in a way that moves her towards what she really wishes to create for herself: trading in the sexy bad boy for the chance at love with a man who turns out to be very sexy in all his “nice boy” ways. And more importantly, trading in the not so self respecting ways for a chance at feeling her immeasurable worth.

A pause was all that was required for her to make a profound transformation. A pause can make the world of difference for you too. Whenever you are conflicted, anxious, unsure, or getting caught up in what someone else feels or thinks, remember Jones, remember to create a pause for yourself and tune into your heart and soul. When we insert a pause our inner knowing will tell us what to do next.

Xo Carrie

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What Gets in the Way of Getting Over It?

August 8th, 2011

Are you over him yet? I remember hearing these words, thinking these words, even seeing these words floating around in my soup after a breakup. That was my mission, the intended and pressing objective. To get over it. Yet trying to “get over” a person or something of the past was like having to climb over the heap of a lifeless body just to get out of my bed each morning. That’s how it felt. The work of “getting over it” was like waking up sunken into the mattress with the remains of love heaped up beside me, laying in the way of my life, unless I “got over it.”

“Getting over it” is the pursuit of unhappiness, as I discovered. A mythical pursuit that so many women try to live up to because that is what we are instructed to do. This pursuit sets women up for an impossible task, an unobtainable goal that leaves us feeling desperate, grief stricken and with the sense that we are failing, not doing it right, as we continually loose footing and slip backwards as we realize we don’t feel “over it.”

It’s been a life project of mine to discover an alternative to getting over it. It’s an approach that I’ve bundled up along with a fabulous woman Kashka Hughes Clarke, in a little endeavor we call The Life Shop.  I’ve witnessed that when women stop pursuing the concept of getting over it, they begin to heal, let go, and move forward with dignity, grace, and confidence. They grow even more beautiful, loving and alive from the pain.

Rather than trying to get over it, seek your own soul. Seek your truth and honest feelings. Seek out the parts of you that got lost or forgotten. Seek the sound of your own laughter. Seek feelings of freedom alongside the anxiety and fear. Seek the image/memory/idea of yourself that you love. Seek inspiration. Seek your inner strength, resilience, and resourcefulness. Seek acceptance of what you let go.

When we pursue ourselves in this way, our relationship to the person or to the breakup, shifts and we begin to wiggle loose from the grips of grief, anxiety, the sense of irrelevancy and low self worth. We reclaim all that we lost along the way, access our strength, grow and glow again – all of which translates into beautiful living.

Xo  Carrie

Come away with us! The Life Shop is life changing.

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You Are Not Your Divorce

August 4th, 2011

Life doesn’t teach us how to live without someone we love. We spend our lives learning how to create attachments, connections, and interweaving our existence with another person.  From an early age we are taught how to acquire yet we are not shown how to let go of a person, a dream, a marriage, or a lifestyle. When the ending comes, whether you chose it or not, the loss is far and deep reaching. We don’t just lose the relationship, the shared living, and the family, women are susceptible to “loosing” themselves.

Either inside the relationship or inside the breakup, we somehow become distant strangers with the woman we truly are. Although we can’t quite locate the exact moment the separation began, like an old reverie, we sense that it happened. Somewhere deep within a life of managing careers, or letting one go to be there for the kids, picking up after everyone else’s needs, or standing in line at the grocery store, it found you; That stranger that budged in between you and your passion, ambition, and creativity. The tired indifference that blocked your zest, your fire, your sense of adventure, and fortitude. The woman you truly are lost her footing and got shuffled along with the mob. The separation from ourselves makes us literally feel “broken up.” With the loss of ourselves the breakup begins to define us: Divorced. Failed. Depressed. Alone. Fallen apart. Empty. Unhappy.

If you are feeling lost to a breakup or feeling “broken up” look for redefining opportunities for yourself, big or small.  If you are not sure where to begin here are two helpful places to start the process:

1. Recognize that you are not the symptoms of your divorce.

I often hear women identify with their symptoms that are the result of going through such an emotionally significant experience such as divorce. They define themselves as “tired, lonely, and depressed.” Rather than allowing these symptoms to define you, try not to identify with them. Use them as descriptors to describe your state of being “I feel tired today. I am feeling lonely right now. I feel depressed.”

Both statements are self defining yet one declares you as “a tired, lonely depressed woman.” The other declares you as a woman who feels tired, who is experiencing loneliness and feelings of depression. The first defines you solely as tired and depressed while the latter leaves room for all that you are. You are so much more than divorced and tired. Leave room for the truth about you to come to life again. Try saying both out loud to yourself. What do you notice? How do you feel?

2. Notice when the story line falsely defines you.

“I’m not worthy. I am alone. My marriage is a failure. He left me for her.” Spot the story line whatever it happens to be in the moment. Take a slow deep breath and become aware of your feelings. Feel your feelings rather than thinking on the story line.

When you become loyal to your feelings over the story-line and stop identifying with your symptoms you will begin to connect with the clarity of yourself: your truth, your authenticity, your strength. The woman who got shuffled out the back door with the divorce will begin to make her way home again.

Carrie

Feel free to email me your questions or say hello! Or visit me over at The Life Shop.

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The Dark Knights of Emotional Eating.

April 28th, 2011

At one time or another most of us have happily set an extra place at the dining table for that dark cloaked ravenous guest: the carb loading, sugar spiking diet. The diet that seduces like Prince Charming and gallantly pulls our stuck chariot out of the mud.  Drags us forward a few feet and then leaves us stranded, feeling spent and dishevelled in our desire to feel better. What leads us late into the night with emotional eating?

A yearning is felt. An empty longing. Sometimes the longing is to feel something other than what we feel in the moment. Sometimes it seems as if the longing is for a certain person, place, or dream.  That person is gone or the dream hasn’t arrived and so we try to feed the longing.

When life breaks our hearts or our dreams, sometimes we get shuffled out the back door with the loss. We lose ourselves and then the loss defines us. We feel “broken up.” Life seems to have moved on without us. We struggle to feel relevant. We long. Sometimes the unrelenting longing you feel is actually for the one that’s truly missing from your life; You.  And no amount of sugar, carb loading, or indulging can ever fill in for You.

Even though you are in a painful situation, inside of you is a vibrant, unique, shimmering soul desiring to see the light of day. She will not disappear.  She will not quit you. She will keep calling to you, urging you to come back to your life. And as long as she is alive, you will feel her yearning.

In this place of yearning many of us believe the solution rests outside of ourselves hence the emotional eating we all know a little too well. Or we believe the solution rests with someone else “I just need to meet someone.” I like to remind myself that the solution lies with me. And if I don’t grab on and hold tight to those wildly flailing reins I will fall off the horse again no matter how charming the next Prince might be. So why not give yourself a real fighting chance at feeling alive again? Strip away the stuff that stands between you and your soul; Put away the place setting for the one that leaves you feeling passed over and left alone to make your home in the darkness of disappointment and despair.

If you find yourself eating to feel something, perhaps coming back to your life will require avoiding the foods that snuff out your life spark. How we treat our body translates into feelings, energy, confidence, and a sense of control over our lives. Handling our bodies with care isn’t about participating in a fad diet but rather a lifestyle that opens the front door to your heart, releasing weighty emotions allowing your brightness to surface.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that adding and removing certain foods from my lifestyle could be powerful enough to connect me to the clarity of myself.  I had purchased Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet. As her promise for shiny hair, sparkling eyes, glowing skin, endless energy, and clarity of mind came to fruition, something else magical and unexpected happened for me. On day three of eliminating animal protein, caffeine and adding more plants and green juice into my life, I was soaking in the bath tub along with ¼ cup of baking soda and a few drops of lavender (as recommend by Kris), when I blissed out. I’m not using the word bliss loosely. Literally I blissed out. It was as if the oil slick parted and I floated to the surface lighter, brighter, and overcome with sheer joy. The joy was partly from treating my body so well but more profoundly the joy was “me” when given the chance to swim free from the heavy clunky cargo that worked to drag me down.

The magic is that once you start feeding your body in a way that clears heavy clouds, your body wants more and more of the “sunshine” and less and less of the dark Prince.

Carrie

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4 Ways to Nudge Yourself Towards Letting Go

October 1st, 2010

The irony, which I know personally, of not letting go is that whatever or whomever you are trying so hard to hang onto is already gone.

 I remember when a loved one died within days of his death I went to a grieving workshop at a personal growth centre. I was angry, resistant and refusing to let go. Why would I let go? Letting go of this man was the last thing I wanted. Ever. Yet, the irony again, was that he was already gone and gone forever.  

What I learned: letting go alone is not what causes us the agony. Our resistances to letting go, the ways we dig in and hold on, cause us even more agonizing pain. 

I won’t lie to you. As I moved into letting go there was pain, fear and tremendous discomfort. I believe this happens for most of us.  But when we lean into letting go we avoid an emotional rope burn ripping through the middle of our life caused by hanging on. 

I’ve learned there are two choices.

Lean into Letting Go. This means to enter into letting go. To get in on the act. To become very involved, alert and engaged with the process.

The second option:

To hold on and fight off letting go. When we hold on life forces us from behind to enter into the letting go zone whether we like it or not. With our heels dug in, minds shut, and hearts clenched we are bulldozed through the jagged grounds of letting go.  Refusing to go with it, (lean into it), our resistances cause us to be pushed, pulled and pummelled forward.

But why do we have to go forward???! Because life is biased and moves only forward. We do go on. We will go on. And how we go on is determined by our willingness to let go.

For most of us, most likely letting go will be a rich blend of both holding on and leaning in.  The awfulness of holding on will follow you around but then the grace of leaning in will flood your moment with light and tenderness. In this moment, you become immeasurably more. Life wishes for us to go on and go on fully. Learning to lean in a little more and a little more transforms us. Opens us. Heals us. Strengthens us. Let’s laughter, lightness and love find us.

Little Nudges to Lean into Letting Go

1. Breathe! Deep, slow, fully belly breathing. I cannot emphasize the importance of breathing enough! Breathing connects us to our emotions. Full belly breathing facilitates a release of these emotions. Be mindful of how you breathe and coach yourself to breath deeper, slower and into your belly. I also recommend various practices such as yoga or meditation where there is an emphasis on conscious breathing. Any support for breathing at this time is crucial.

2. Stay with your pain. Avoid the temptation to shut down, resist, or distract your feelings. Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions. When the discomfort or pain rises up stay with it. It will rise up and pass through you like a wave. The wave will deliver you onto easier ground. If you find it difficult to express your emotions, find someone who can assist you with that (a counsellor perhaps) and begin to feel your way forward.

3. I know how hard it can be to stay engaged with the life that is going on around you but resist the temptation to pull back. When we pull in, tucking ourselves away from energy, vibrancy and connection with others – the loss begins to define our world.  Be gentle with yourself yet put some positive pressure to connect and get into life. It’s okay to go out with a friend and be sad. It’s okay to visit a garden or swim in the ocean or paint while feeling your loss. Discover what it is like to feel connected with the world versus feeling on your own.

4. Create. Creating something that has never existed before can be powerfully moving and motivating. Go ahead  paint. Compose. Write. Bake. Build. Photograph. Blog. Sing. Let leaning into letting go be your muse. Let the open, courageous heart of letting go inspire and direct your creativity. Or, if that doesn’t do it for you just bake that kick ass pie!

What can you do to nudge yourself towards leaning into letting go?

All my best,

Carrie

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Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Was spilling your coffee enough to make your cry?

September 30th, 2010

How many of us when totally panicked  think to pause and ask  “what would make this easier on me?”

How many of us when so overwhelmed think to pause and ask “what do I need more than anything right now?”

How many of us when so exhausted  that spilling coffee in our car is enough to make us cry, think to pause and ask “what would give me the energy to pull off my day?”

So often we don’t ask. Instead we soldier on, stressing and suffering our way through. Afterward it’s like “phew! I got through it! I pulled that off! I was a complete maniac, a real and total stress case but I got through it!”  However, the fact that we went through it stressed out does have an impact on the quality of our lives. An impact that does show up rearing its head somewhere else at some point. For me, the impact might be I am  more irritated around  my husband (so sorry sweetie!). Or I don’t have the energy to swim with the kids. Or I can’t muster inspiration to write my blog.

In stressful or challenging times often we act as if the external world is of more value than ourselves: we value our projects, our clients, our family’s needs, our deadlines… But in the process of living we act as if we are not of value. 

I have done the stressing out, running myself into the ground, feeling all twisted up inside enough to know it’s not the experience I am looking to have anymore. I am advocating for something else for myself. Because I want to have a really wonderful life along the way.

If am looking to have a different experience in my day,  if I am looking to cross a new threshold, I will pause and ask the questions that put valuing and caring for myself front and centre.

Questions I keep in my “For God Sake Help Yourself!” handbag:

What will make this easier on me?

What do I need? More information? To delegate? To plan? Assistance? Expertise?

What will inspire me to keep going?

What will energize me?

What would help me more than anything?

What am I tolerating that I could stop?

What one boundary do I need to set to get more time/peace/results/focus on my side?

What would calm me down?

I find asking these types of questions changes reality. For example, crying in your car with your spilled coffee thinking you are a total mess who is incapable of pulling her life together - with some inquiry (dipping into that help yourself handbag) - might reveal you aren’t actually a total mess unable to live successfully but rather you just need extra sleep for the next week or that you need to get some super foods into your diet. Or you need to partner with someone on your project. Or you need more peace at home.

It is fascinating to see how reality changes when we get to the heart of what we really need and value ourselves enough to take action.

All my best,

Carrie

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Free Yourself of “bad Mommy” Guilt.

September 24th, 2010

All week you’ve been looking forward to tonight. Dinner out with friends. Dressing up, enjoying some wine, conversation, beautiful food that you don’t have to cook or clean up after, and hopefully no interruptions. You’ve got yourself all done up, you’re ready to go. The moment comes to say goodbye to your little one and that indescribable feeling starts in your stomach and creeps up to your heart. It’s the cold chill of guilt.  A chill that will follow you out into the night, throughout dinner and into tomorrow’s pursuits.

Guilt comes from a good vs bad mommy ideology. We are judged inside a very impersonal courtroom with all the other mommies by a black-or-white law. All good mommies do this. All bad mommies to that. Inside this courtroom, we are sentenced to feeling badly (guilty) about ourselves over our choices. In turn, our creativity, our energy, our self esteem is silenced by this guilt – all the essential stuff required to live an inspired and fulfilled life is snuffed out the instant the judge’s gavel comes down.

I don’t believe we are destined to live life feeling badly about our choices as women because we desire to develop all parts of our lives. Should we not be celebrated in our pursuits as business owners, creators, students, mothers, lovers and friends?  Should we not be celebrated for modeling living fully for our children? I think so. So, after years of looking guilt in the eye, I try really hard not to be dragged into that courtroom to be sentenced for my choices as a mom. In resisting arrest, I’ve actually come to discover what I believe is the true purpose of guilt.

Guilt is a Messenger

I believe guilt is a reliable messenger. A timely and helpful messenger that comes to deliver a notice of warning. The warning is that one of my core parenting values is needing some attention. In the situation of going out to dinner, the core value that surfaces is quality time with my child.

Keeping Ourselves Out of the Judge’s Chambers:

Go back to your night out – back to the moment when you are saying goodbye and goodnight to your little one.

Step 1. Freeze that frame. Look really closely at this picture. You are all ready for your night out, you’ve got your dress on, hair’s done,  you’re excited, and your child is well taken care of.

What else is going on here? What else do you notice happening inside of you?

Step 2. Listen in to your thoughts: “Oh god this is the third night I haven’t been here this week” “I’ve been so focused on blogging your way” “I’m a bad mommy. Good mommies have more time…” Sound about right?

Step 3. Sift through all the pixels in the picture and hone in on the core value that the feeling of guilt is referring to.  Be specific. Be sure it’s your value – not some societal notion that says “you should, or you have to.”

Step 4. Once you have identified the core value asking for your attention, call upon your creativity and ask how you can bring that value back to life as soon as possible? For me, around the value of time with my child, it might be that I set my alarm when I get home that night and get up bright and early to make my daughter cinnamon buns. I might also set a breakfast table out on our patio in the morning sun complete with a pot of creamy earl grey tea for her (espresso for me), fresh flowers from the garden, and a conversation piece (a book, a photo album, or something that reflects her interest). Most importantly, our breakfast together will mean slowing down time, just for her.

The dreadful feeling that we’ve labelled “guilt” has actually become a trustworthy visitor for me. It shows up when I am at risk of letting my life yank me out of alignment with my core values. It’s like the warning bell going off. I appreciate the alarm. It’s like “oh okay I’m not a terrible mom who should cancel my dinner date or dive into hating myself, or drop some of my pursuits.”  It just means it’s time to dance even closer to all that‘s important to me. It’s about recognizing the message of guilt and turning that message into an experience that showcases your core value(s).

All my best,

Carrie

 

 

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