Why Willpower Doesn’t Work . . . And What Does!

Why Willpower Doesn’t Work . . . And What Does!

Why Willpower does not work . . .  and what does!


We all have habits, mental patterns, emotional patterns that we dislike.  How often have you tried to change those habits and patterns only to fail?  Maybe it worked temporarily, then the pattern reemerged.  Or perhaps it just never worked.

Have you been called weak for not being about to change a pattern or habit?  Have you criticized yourself for being weak willed?  Have you given up on trying to change and accept status quo, yet still find an underlying desire for the change you envisioned?


Why do we fail?

Most of the time, when we attempt to change patterns or habits, we are working on the level of the conscious mind and trying to change from the outside in.  We give little or no credence to our subconscious mind, which in truth runs the show.

Our subconscious mind holds the memories of our positive life experiences, negative life experiences and traumas.  Out of these experiences, we develop beliefs and protections based on our experiences.  Our self-defeating patterns are fueled by these subconscious memories.  These memories will win in the battle between the mind and the subconscious memories.

In my work in assisting my clients in unraveling their subconscious pattern, I am again and again amazed at the power of the subconscious.  Often the need to for safety, security, life, and love, held in the subconscious, is at the root of these patterns.  They are not going to go away until getting these needs met is reasonable assured.  This is not logical.  It is deeply held in the limbic brain which is driven by the emotional feeling body.

Give yourself a break.  It is not your fault that your efforts have failed.  You just did not have the right tools to work with.


What does work? 

The primary ingredients in being able to unravel negative patterns is Awareness, Acceptance and Compassion.

Awareness.  As we become more aware of our body, mind, and emotions, we can begin to see the underlying components of the pattern.  The emotions we do not want to feel.  The negative beliefs about ourselves and others to escape from feeling our emotions.  The protective habits we have normalized to the point that we do not even question them . . . and assume that is just who we are.

Acceptance.  Acceptance is the ability to greet that which arises will acceptance.  This can be a difficult step as we are often our own self-critic.  That is one of the patterns that we need to dismantle.  Yet, if we can accept all that arises, even our own self critic, we can begin to discover deeper motivations for our self-defeating actions and beliefs.

By greeting our inner parts with an attitude of curiosity rather than an attitude of criticism, we can begin to understand how the underlying parts fueling the negative beliefs and habits, have our best interest in mind.  Yet the beliefs and habits might be outdated, not really needed anymore, and sabotage our health and happiness.

Compassion   Compassion allows us to hold our self with understanding rather than blame.  Compassion is the ability to be present with painful experiences and emotions without turning away from our self.  Compassion is our ability to greet all our parts, positive and negative, with understanding and forgiveness.  It is the ability to give to our self the love and acceptance that was previously withheld.

By participating in a cyclic process of awareness, acceptance, and compassion, we can unravel the underlying subconscious destructive cellular memories and trapped emotions that are fueling our self-defeating patterns.  As we become more aware of our underlying programming, the patterns begin to unravel themselves and we move closer to who we really are.


The Hidden Gift

While Awareness, Acceptance and Compassion may not be a quick fix, it will provide real and lasting changes.  More importantly, it will bring you into a healthy, loving, and compassionate relationship with your Self and all your parts.  That is a journey worth taking.  That is the treasure hidden within.  From a place of Self, you will discover deep the inner fulfillment that your soul craves.  That is priceless.   


Free Mini Course 

My free Mini Course, Six Steps to Resolve Hidden Stressors, provides a blueprint that can be help bring the subconscious in to awareness.  If you use this on a regular basis when you are struggling with a challenge in your life, you can get insights into the underlying factors in self-defeating patterns. 

If you do not have the Mini Course, click here to receive it.  If you have it, pull it out, dust it off and give it a try.  If you have questions about the Mini Course, join my Facebook Group, I Want to Be Healthy which was created to answer questions and provide a place for discussions about the Mini Course.  If you have not joined, you can do so by clicking on this link.


Awareness Practice

  1. Take an inventory of your challenges. Make a list of all the things that you complain about in your life.  Under each of these complaints is a hidden treasure.
  2. Use the worksheet in the Mini Course as a self-inquiry guide.
  3. Explore one challenge at a time.
  4. Become more aware of the emotions and beliefs underlying your areas of challenge.
  5. Notice your relationship with your emotions and explore ways to embrace your emotions.
  6. Create some truth focus statements to remind you of the experience you would like to have.
  7. Use the truth focus statements to remind you of your higher intention.


 May you discover the wealth of the Self within, 




The Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness means being aware of what is happening now in this moment.  Paying attention.  Our body, our heart and our soul and our mind is talking to us all the time.  The body sends us messages through the vehicle of sensation.  Our heart sends us messages through the vehicle of feeling.  Our soul sends us messages through the vehicle of “knowing.”  Our mind sends us messages through the vehicle of thought.


Do we listen to our body, heart, and soul?

In our society, we tend to listen to the mind/thoughts over our body/sensation, our heart/feelings and our soul/knowing.  We value the mind over the feelings of the heart and the sensations of the body and the knowing of the soul.  Unfortunately, the mind has a limited perspective and so if we only listen to the mind, we don’t see the whole picture.  It would be like cutting off three of your fingers.  Your hand would be much less useful with only a thumb.  That is how it is when we only listen to the mind and not the body/sensation, heart/feeling and soul/knowing.

The body, heart and soul have important and very useful information for us.  We need to learn how to listen and respond favorably to these messages and balance them with the thoughts in the mind.   The question then becomes, how do we do this?


How do we learn to listen?

Here are some practical ways to exercise the muscle of mindfulness.  Listen to your body when you eat.  How does it feel after eating a certain food?  Listen to your body when you exercise.  How does your body feel after exercise?  Self-inquiry is a tool with which you can deepen your connection with the body, feelings and knowing.  Taking a two-minute breathing break is an important exercise to stop the habit of being only in the mind and reinforce the awareness of the breath and body.


The Importance of Slowing Down

In our busy lives, it is often difficult to slow down enough to pay attention to the messages from within.  We are used to being guided by the mind and by listening to others through news, media, magazines, books internet.  We are overloaded with information from the external world.  In terms of balance, we also need to “hear” what our internal world is saying.  So, once again, how do we do this?

Mindfulness is the practice of slowing down and paying attention to what is happening in the moment as you are moving through life.  It can be as simple as taking deep breaths and feeling your body.  It can be really paying attention while brushing your teeth.  It can be taking a deep breath and feeling an emotion rather than distracting yourself with something or pushing the emotion down.  You can ask yourself, what is happening right now, physically, mentally, emotionally in any moment in any situation.

Mindfulness Exercise

Here is a mindfulness exercise that you can practice sitting or lying down. Perhaps at the end of a busy day.  Or a night before you fall asleep.  

1.  Sit quietly and close your eyes.

2.  Simply feel your body.

3.  Become aware of your breath and notice how you are breathing. Watch the breath move in your body.  Where does the breath move?  Where is it restricted?

4.  Allow the breath to lengthen and deepen. Lengthen the inhalation.  Let the exhalation fall out of the body.

5.  Continue to feel your body and the sensations within the body. Are you energized, fatigued, tense, relaxed?  Are there areas of tension, areas of relaxation?  Allow yourself to move if you feel drawn to do that.

6.  Notice your emotions. Are you happy, sad, joyful, angry, frustrated?  Are you neutral?  Imagine there are many flavors of emotions, just like flavors of ice cream.  What flavor are you today?

7.  Then begin to notice your mind. It is busy or quiet.  Is it slow or speedy?  Notice the nature of your thoughts?  What is the content of your thoughts?

8.  Notice if there are judgments of right or wrong. Let them go. This is just about being aware.

9.  Now, bring your attention to the part of you that is watching the body, the breath, the emotions and the mind. We will call this The Witness.  The witness is the stillness within the body, mind and emotions from where you can watch yourself and the world.  It is always there, we just have forgotten it in the business of our lives.  The breath helps us connect to The Witness.  Spend a few moments with this process.  See if you can anchor yourself in the awareness, the witness.

10.  Now, staying in touch with the witness, open your eyes. Keep your attention focused inside while watching what is happening outside of you.   Look around the room.  Notice whatever you see.  Notice the sensations in your body.  Notice the emotions.  Notice the commentary by the mind.  Notice if you lose touch with the witness.  If so, close your eyes again and anchor you focus inside.

May you be aware, peaceful and free,


The Power of Acceptance

The Power of Acceptance

Last week, we talked about the Power of Awareness.  Once you become aware of something, the next step is Acceptance.  This week let’s explore the Power of Acceptance. 

I think word acceptance is scary for most of us.  This is especially true for women with Fibromyalgia.  We think, “If I accept this, then I will never get rid of it.  The only way I can get rid of it is to reject it or fight it.”  You even might think, “How can I possibly accept something this horrible!”  I get it.  I was there.   

Acceptance is the door to the path of moving beyond any experience 

For years, I fought my fibromyalgia.

I thought I could push myself through and beyond it.  I didn’t fully accept my limitations.  After several years of this, my fibromyalgia got so bad that the pain was worse than ever.  I ACCEPTED that what I was doing wasn’t working and was not sustainable.

I had to accept that what I could do was limited and if I pushed myself trying to keep up with a life that I once had or a life that I wanted, I was only making things worse.  Out of that acceptance, I was able to truthfully reassess my choices.  I had to accept that I could only work a certain number of hours a day.  I had to accept that if I pushed myself physically, I would be in severe pain for the next few days.  I had to accept that I never knew what I would feel like in the morning and that I had to adjust my day based on how I felt when I woke up.  Some days, I felt pretty good and could get a lot done.  Some days, I felt awful and needed to move more slowly.   Somedays, I had brain fog and had to adjust to accommodate that; sometimes just knowing the same amount of mental work would take longer.


Only by accepting my limitations, I could make better choices

As I accepted and respected my limitations,  I could make better choices.  Here are some examples:

  • I began to be notice when I started getting tired and if I pushed myself past the fatigue, the pain would kick in. By accepting that, and stopping when I got tired, I experienced less pain.
  • I began to notice what physical activities would heighten the pain. By accepting that, I would avoid them when possible or do them on a day, where I could rest the following day.
  • I began to be aware of food choices that made me feel worse. By accepting that, I could make different food choices.  And honestly, I fought that one for a long time . . and paid the price.
  • I accepted that most medical doctors didn’t have solutions for fibromyalgia that were acceptable or workable for me, so I made different choices. I researched and discovered different options and found those that worked for me.


I began to accept that I had fibromyalgia and it limited me . . .

and if I wanted to move beyond it, I had to accept those limitations.


Here is a non-fibromyalgia example.

I was in a relationship with a person who was emotionally abusive.  I accepted that as the truth of the situation.  I also had to accept that I couldn’t change him and that it was unlikely that he would change.  I also realized that I stayed in the relationship out of a deep desire to be loved and was afraid if I left the relationship, I would be alone.  Out of these realizations, I took steps to widen out my circle of friends.  I began to realize that I was more content alone that when I was with the other person.  I had to make some hard decisions and ask the man to leave and then stand with my decision.   I am so glad that I did.  I am in a much better place as a result of these choices.  I feel strong in myself and less needy of others. 

Accepting ‘what is’, gives you the power to make different choices. 

Resisting ‘what is’, drains your energy and keeps you stuck. 

Awareness turns the light on ‘what is’.

Accepting ‘what is’ gives you the power find solutions. 

Self-Inquiry for this week:

  • Take an honest evaluation of yourself and your relationship with fibromyalgia. Are you fighting is or accepting it?  If you accepted it, what changes could you make?  What options might open up for you?  
  • What other areas in your life do you resist? What would it mean if you accepted the reality of the situation?  What changes might that inspire you to take?


May you embrace the Power of Acceptance and allow it to transform your life, 


The Power of Awareness

The Power of Awareness

The Power of Awareness 

Imagine going into a house in the middle of the night, the sky is cloudy, no stars and no moon.  You walk in the front door.  The house is dark.  You can’t find the light switch.  Finally, you find a small candle.  It is very dim, but you can see a little bit.  The house is very cluttered.  Furniture and piles of stuff lying around.    Yet as the light from the candle is so dim, you keep tripping over stuff in the dark.  You fall down again and again and have to keep hauling yourself up from the ground.  It gets very tiring.  

A friend arrives and brings you a very large spotlight.  When you turn it on, you can see the house clearly.  You can see what is in the house more clearly.  You can discern useful furniture and appliances.  You can see piles of junk mail that is no longer needed.  You can see pile of unfinished projects. 


This demonstrated the Power of Awareness 

Our body is the house.  Within the body resides unfinished business and unnecessary thoughts, emotions and cellular memories.  Also, within the body resided our inner knowing, necessary functions, abilities, good judgement.  

By increasing awareness, we have the ability to see things more clearly.  The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.  Sometimes we don’t want the awareness because we don’t want to see the bad and ugly.  However, that only keep us stuck tripping over the mess and falling down and having to lift ourselves out of the mess again and again.  


A dose of acceptance goes a long way 

Along with awareness, an equal measure of acceptance is necessary.  With acceptance we observe from a place of equanimity and use discernment to discover what is helpful and valuable and what can be discarded. 


What clouds awareness 

The greatest block to awareness is the mind.   For most of us, our mind is going constantly day and night.  There is very little space for awareness to shine through the business of the mind.   To access awareness, we need to begin to break up the constant stream of thinking. 


Tools to nurture awareness 

Here are some tools to create gaps in the stream of thought and access awareness. 

  1. By bringing you attention the breath for even a few moments can create a gap in the thoughts.  Give it a try right now.  See what happens with you pause to focus on your breath.  If you have even a 3 second gap between the thought, that is a great starting place. 
  2. Slowing down the breath. Slowing down the breath takes more attention away from your thoughts and can create additional gaps in the breath. 
  3. Become conscious of your surroundings. Really see and feel the chair you are setting on.  Touch the table in front of you.  Notice the feel of the surface and the colors.  Look at the walls and notice pictures and other things hanging on the walls. Go outside and look at the sky; admire the flowers beginning to bloom; the trees getting buds; the snow on the ground. 
  4. Truly see other people. The next person you encounter, stop thinking for a few minutes and really look at them.  See them.  Let go of your thoughts about them.  See their face, their body posture, the expression they wear.  What can you observe beyond your chronic thoughts about them?  

These tools will allow you to begin to break the addiction of thinking and open to moments of the awareness the already exists beyond the mind. 


Awareness practice 

This week, practice taking mini awareness breaks using some of the suggestions above or creating your own.  


May you grow in awareness, 


Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain and Suffering

Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain and Suffering

Years ago, someone introduced me to the difference between pain and suffering.  Until that time, I hadn’t made a distinction between the two.  To me, pain and suffering was the same thing.  Over the years, I began to begin to see the difference between the two . . . and that makes a huge difference in my experience.  Let’s explore this and how it relates to women with fibromyalgia.



Although there are other kinds of pain, for this part of the conversation, I will define pain as a sensation in the body.   We might have back pain, abdominal pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain.    Our legs might ache.   We might have a burning sensation on our skin.

In this definition, pain is a sensation in the physical body.    Take a moment now and bring your attention to a place in your body where you feel pain.  Focus on that sensation as nothing more than a sensation in the body.    Rate the sensation on a scale of 1-10.  Ten being extremely intense, I gotta stop this and one being barely noticeable.

For a few moments simply observe the pain as a sensation and nothing more.  And for an extra bonus, deepen your breath while you do so.   Continue to observe the pain as sensation.

I am not saying to minimize the pain or the importance of it.  I am saying to simply for a few moments to just be present with the pain.  Watch what happens as you observe the pain.

Notice how successful you are at this or not.  Can you be present with the pain without any thoughts about the pain other than it is a sensation in the body?   Most of us can’t do that.  For most of us, our mind will be filled with thoughts and emotions will arise.



Now become aware of the mental and emotional content around the pain.  I am not trying to minimize or marginalize your pain.  But to help you differentiate the difference between the mental and emotional pain and the physical pain.  Both are real.  Both are painful.  Both need to be addressed.

Now, as your focus on the sensation in your body, also become aware of your thoughts and the emotions you are feeling.

Do you feel sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, resigned, upset, discouraged?  What flavor is your emotion that is connected to the physical sensation in the body?

What thoughts come into your mind as you observe the sensation in the body?  Here are a few out of an infinite number of possibilities.  I hate this pain.  It is my fault.  Why did this happen to me?  How can I get rid of this pain?  I hope the doctors find a cure soon.  Nobody believes me.  Why don’t they understand how miserable I feel?   I hate it when people tell me it is all in my head!

When we are dealing with fibromyalgia, we experience physical, emotional and mental pain.  The emotional and mental part is what I called suffering.  It magnifies the physical pain.  This isn’t bad or wrong.  It is simply a way to pull apart the elements in the matrix called fibromyalgia.


Why is this important? 

This is important because it identifies and makes more conscious the puzzle pieces that make up the experience of fibromyalgia.    The more aware and conscious we are of the pieces, the more empowered we are to transform the experience.

For example.    You have pain in your abdomen.  When you focus on that sensation, you begin to feel sad.  You mind says, nobody hears me or understands me.     This is a sign that there may be an emotional wound underlying the pain in your abdomen.    Sub or unconscious cellular memories of a time when you were unheard and disrespected and misunderstood.  With the right tools, the sub and unconscious cellular memories can be neutralized and can alleviate the pain.

This is a simple example, but it illustrates the underlying cause of some of our physical pain.  There are other causes of physical pain as well.   Here are links to some previous blogs that focus on the physical causes of pain.  Anatomy of a Symptom and 12 Steps to Balance the Body

I know that this is a big trigger for many women with fibromyalgia.   I know because I had it too.  How often are women with fibromyalgia told things like:  “It is all in your head”.  “Your pain can’t be that bad”.  “You are too sensitive.”  “Everyone has pain.”  “You are just lazy.”    And when we are suffering and people say that it simply makes the pain worse.

I had a part of me that never felt valued, understood, respected, heard or loved.    For me, that was just as painful as the physical pain.  Maybe even worse.    I think that many of us, as women with fibromyalgia, have a common emotional wound around not feeling heard and believed.  My mom had that.  I had that.   Do you?   What are your triggers?  What is the predominate emotional pain in your life?   That holds the key to part of the healing process.


Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are common symptoms of fibromyalgia.  They are both signs that there are unresolved suppressed emotions, trauma and/or negative life experiences.  This can be resolved with the right tools and support.

I am working on a program to assist women with fibromyalgia to move beyond these kinds of unresolved experiences.  Stay tuned.


Awareness practice for this week:

Take some time to focus on the “sensations” in your body and notice your thoughts and emotions while you do so.  See if you can discern unique patterns with different parts of the body.   Have fun experimenting with this.  It doesn’t need to be serious . . . unless it is.


May you discover the transformative power of self-love, 



Fundamentals of Health, Wellness and Wholeness

Fundamentals of Health, Wellness and Wholeness

 Fundamentals of Health, Wellness, and Wholeness

Fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses are challenging on many levels.  We are physically compromised, emotionally out of balance, and mentally stressed.  We want solutions to our pain and discomfort.  We search and often the solutions come up with none or minimal results.  This becomes stress on top of the stress of being ill in the first place.

What then can we do to reclaim our health and happiness . . . our wellness and ultimately wholeness?

Today’s article is focusing on what I call the Fundamental of Wholeness.  These are eight important aspects to rebuilding our wellness.  Below is a list of the fundamentals of wellness.  They create a foundation upon which to rebuild our health, wellness and wholeness.

  • Awareness
  • Compassion
  • Balance
  • Acceptance
  • Introspection / Self-inquiry
  • Self-Responsibility.
  • Insights
  • Integration


The ability to be self-aware.  To observe our body, our mind, our emotions from a place of awareness rather than identification.  In other words, to be able to observe our self objectively.  We can be aware of the sensation and pain in our body, the emotions that we feel, the thought that we think.  We can start with our conscious thoughts, and then delve into a deeper layer of subconscious thoughts and emotions.



As we meet our self with awareness, compassion is a necessary ingredient.   There are parts of us that we might judge or disown.  By meeting our self with compassion, we can identify positive and negative experiences, emotions, thoughts, and memories.  We can see the good, bad, ugly and beautiful parts of who we are.  Without compassion, we may block truly seeing because we have literally and figuratively exiled parts of who we are as they are deemed unacceptable.   Yet, until you can meet these parts with compassion, wholeness will continue to elude you.



Balance is at the root of health, wellness and wholeness.  Everything in nature survives and thrives because of a state of balance.  Your physical body has 12 homeostatic (balancing) control mechanisms that keep your body functioning and healthy.  Emotionally, we need a balance of positive and negative emotions to be emotionally healthy.  Mentally, we need a balance between positive thoughts and negative thoughts.  A healthy optimistic attitude with a healthy dose of reality and awareness of possible difficulties.  We need a balance of rest and activity, work and play, alone time and time with others.  When discovering the right balance for you, health, wellness and wholeness will be the rewards.



Acceptance is acknowledging what is.  That doesn’t mean we have to like it.  It means telling the truth about what is.  When we are honest about what is, we have the power to change is.  If we are denying the truth, ignoring it, or pushing it out of our awareness, we are powerless to change it.


Introspection / Self-inquiry

Self-inquiry allows us to go within and discover who we are, what we think, feel, need, want, like, dislike.  What are greatest joys are, what are greatest challenge are. Self-Inquiry allows us to discover internal causes of challenges and discover resolutions from within.



The process of awareness, compassion, acceptance, and introspection results in insights from within.  We can see parts of our self we had previously denied.  We can see how we are creating our own stress.  We can see how we have given our power away.  These and many more insights are available with meeting our self with awareness, compassion and acceptance.



When I first heard the word responsibility, to me it meant self-blame.  Then I heard a new definition of the word which was, “ability to respond.”  The ability to respond rather than the old knee jerk reaction to any situation is a step to reclaiming our power.  To look at any situation or challenge with awareness, compassion, acceptance and introspection gives us needed information and insights upon which to make internal changes or take external actions, guided from within.  That is self-responsibility.



Integration happens as the new awareness’s, insights, internal shifts and responsible actions become integrated into our lives.  We begin to feel more empowered in our lives.  We can let go of feeling like a victim to our circumstances or feeling like the answers to our problems are outside of us.   We can let go of coping mechanism and begin to let our true self shine through.



The fundamentals of health, wellness and wholeness have the power to impact us on all levels of our being: physical, mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual and in our expression in and interaction with the world around us. 


This week’s introspection: 

Contemplate these fundamentals and notice which resonate with you and which don’t.  Pick one or more to experiment with becoming aware of how it operates or not in your life.    Remember, awareness is the foundation of all change.


May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and have much to be grateful.