10 Keys for Creating Your Extraordinary Life

by Jane Straus –

Recognize that you are enduring.

Do you feel that you never have time to stop? Do you distract yourself with eating, working, volunteering, cleaning, etc.? Do you resent that you never have time to do the things your spirit longs for? Do you feel resigned rather than inspired? 
If you wake up most mornings feeling anxious, bored or numb, looking forward to some imagined future time when you will feel happier – “when my children finally start school,” “when my bills are paid off,” “when I retire” – then you are enduring.

Release your self-judgments.

Your negative beliefs about yourself that are holding you back-you’re untalented, too fat, not smart enough, etc.- are probably rooted in your childhood. Why would you let your “inner seven-year-old” run your life?

These judgments are real but they are only as true as you have believed them to be. Give yourself compassion for having carried the burden of your self-judgments. Replace them with affirmations and find new evidence to support your willingness to believe in them. Affirmations are as true as you allow them to be.

Question your limiting beliefs.

When you tenaciously hold on to the belief that the world works in one particular way (against you), or that there is only one right way to do something (and you are doing it wrong), or that your actions will inevitably result in a specific and predictable outcome (bad), you are strapping on blinders.

Make a commitment to take off those blinders. It will take practice and patience to stay out of “limiting belief territory,” but eventually it will become second nature. You’ll quickly start to see that life no longer feels boring and predictable.

Drop your acts.

When you put on the armor of an act, you sacrifice your authenticity for protection. For instance, you think no one can hurt you if you’re tough enough…or that everyone will love you if you’re nice enough…or that everyone will respect you if you never admit to being wrong.

Your acts will become your prison. Instead, give yourself joyful permission to become more of who you really are. You will feel free and you will find that who you are is much more interesting than any character you could possibly play.

Face down your fear.

What fear is keeping you from living your extraordinary life? Whatever it is—quitting your unfulfilling job, leaving an abusive marriage, telling the truth about your past—you must face it head on. Recognize that F.E.A.R. means “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

Think of the worst-case scenario and see yourself living through it with dignity. Get support from others. Create an affirmation, such as, “I am now courageous.” Then, just do it. Remember that no matter what the momentary outcome of facing down your fear brings, your worth as a person is constant and never in question.

Free your feelings.

If you feel bored, you are probably ignoring or avoiding something. Make an effort to connect with your feelings. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths.

Check in with your body. Do you feel any tightness or pain? Give that pain or tightness a name, such as fear, hurt, anger, resentment, sadness.

If your body feels light and open, give that an emotional name such as joy, love, happiness. Whatever emotions you feel and name, just allow them to be. If they change, let that be. Let yourself be. Learn to honor your emotions. Give them an opportunity to inspire you.

Heal your anger and resentment.

When you can acknowledge that your resentments are fueled by your personal regrets, you free yourself to step out of the victim role. It is not that you are letting others off the hook for unkind or unfair behaviors; they are still responsible for their intentions and actions. But the moment you uncover your regrets, you are empowered to let go of resentment.

Forgive yourself.

Make a list of the wrongs you have done to others and to yourself. See them as results of survival strategies. Acknowledge the consequences of these strategies to yourself and others. Grieve for your losses and your mistakes.

Make amends with yourself and others. Create an affirmation to replace the self-judgments that drove you to using your survival strategies. And remember to treat yourself the way you would want others to treat you.

Know, speak and live your truth.

Commit to being truthful in all you say and do. Realize that being truthful is not synonymous with being honest. Truth is a complex blend of honesty mixed with compassion and vulnerability.

When you are “brutally honest,” you are expressing your judgment but not expressing your truth. Your spirit knows the difference between truth and honesty. When you express your highest thoughts and intentions, you are able to live a true life, not just an honest one.

Create your extraordinary life every day.

To live in your truth is to allow your spirit’s energy into every cell of your being and into every thought and action.

Here’s what this means in everyday terms: 

When you tell the clerk at the grocery store checkout counter that she has given you too much change, you make truth and spirit matter more than money.

When you hear gossip and don’t pass it along, you make truth and spirit matter more than your momentary desire to feel important.

When you tell someone you love him or her, unsure of whether he or she will say it in return, you make truth and spirit matter more than your fear of rejection.

Make these decisions every day. It takes courage and commitment to be your extraordinary self. You will be amply rewarded with a rich and fulfilling life.

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How Resentments Hinder Us from Letting Love In

by Jane Straus –

We hold onto resentments in an attempt to protect ourselves from future hurt; however these resentments impact our ability to let love in now. We tend to try to make up for our past “mistakes” by avoiding people who look or sound similar to our exes. Instead of opening up, we work hard at weeding out. 

For example, if you were hurt in a relationship with someone who was controlling in nature, you may think that the solution is to find a new person who is passive. If someone was a “taker,” you may try to home in on “givers.”

Discernment, learning from experience and having criteria are certainly part of the cure but if we don’t address our past resentment and the underlying fear, we will find ourselves in Groundhog Day.*


Because our spirits will not let us avoid whatever our lessons are. 

Have you ever said, “I thought s/he was so different from my ex, but s/he turned out to be just the same.” Of course! Our spirits wouldn’t have it any other way even if our minds would. We will attract the same issue in different disguises to give our spirits another opportunity to heal.

Therefore instead of thinking of dating or love as a game of “dodge ball,” we can examine what our part was in the past that made us unhappy and resentful. Did you mute yourself instead of speaking up? Did you allow someone to undermine your confidence? Did you let yourself be manipulated?

Give yourself compassion and forgive yourself for anything you did that was damaging to your spirit. You now have the power to choose not only the type of person you wish to be with but also the type of person you wish to become.

*Reference is to the film ‘GroundHog Day’ with Bill Murray. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I talk about the movie or what I call “enlightenment wrapped in the guise of a comedy.”
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The Malady of Debt Denial and How to Heal It

by Jane Straus –
In my practice, I’m noticing an increase in a malady caused by fear. It is manifesting in particular ways that I’d like to alert you to… just in case you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of this malady and you haven’t yet noticed. The malady is Debt Denial.

Symptoms of Debt Denial

If you have even one symptom of debt denial, please don’t ignore it. As with most dis-eases, it is much easier to recover when it’s caught earlier rather than later. However, if this dis-ease has already progressed, it’s never too late to stop it from getting worse. So be honest as you read these symptoms:

1. Your budget is tighter than your jeans after the holidays: You gave yourself permission to spend during December but now are at the store looking at toilet paper prices. 

2. You’re hiding credit card bills from your significant other: You know you’re avoiding an inevitable fight/showdown but you can’t convince yourself to face the battle yet. 

3. You’re not opening up your bills: They’re stacked in a corner and the pile is growing daily. 

4. You can’t stop overspending: You’re trying to maintain your state of debt denial for as long as possible, convincing yourself with those “incredible” post-holiday bargains. 

5. You’re lying to yourself about what you have spent and are spending: You’re reassuring yourself by calling your purchases needs as in, “I needed a cashmere sweater anyway.” 

6. You feel ashamed, resentful or hopeless about your debt level: You are overwhelmed and feel powerless so you’re either in paralysis or ignoring how you’re feeling—or blaming someone/something.

If any of the symptoms of Debt Denial are ruining your day, year or relationships, take heart; I have at least 5 steps you can—and deserve to—take right now:

Five Steps to Healing Debt Denial

1. Look at the bigger picture. When did you really start to lose control? How? Be honest. It’s one thing if you had a huge, unexpected medical expense; it’s another if you bought a car you couldn’t really afford. Most of us don’t suddenly find ourselves in debt; it is something we create over a period of time. You can begin to fix the problem if you know the timeline of events; otherwise, you’re likely to create a “quick fix” that will backfire. 

2. Ask for help. The worst thing to do is to keep avoiding the problem, juggling credit cards, or lying. It’s no accident that the first step in AA is to admit that you need help. Without that admission, you’re still in danger of continuing your denial. Tell the truth to a friend, your partner, your therapist, a financial advisor. The saying, “We are only as sick as our secrets” is a call to shine the light in the attic of our self-deceits. 

3. Get over the twisted “I deserve what I want” logic. If you really believe you are deserving, then you know that you deserve to be less stressed about money. You’ll do what it takes to make your life more comfortable, including doing without unnecessary stuff and services. 

4. Stop striving for happiness, particularly through stuff; instead strive for meaning. Happiness will make more than an occasional appearance when your life is rich in meaning. 

5. Remember that life is like a cup of coffee. If you’re at a restaurant and the waiter comes by with two cups of coffee—one in a beautiful cup, one in a plain cup—which cup would you take? There’s no wrong answer but remember, by concentrating only on the cup, we may forget that it’s the same coffee inside. You are the coffee in life. Your value, your “net worth,” comes from how you brew yourself, not from your portfolio. So stop saying that you’ve lost X% of your net worth. 

Remember that abundance is “that which already exists within you.” You have the potential to have an abundance of love, compassion, wisdom, joy, humor, dedication, perseverance, intellect and happiness. To be a person of genuine worth, we only need to heed this bumper sticker:  “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

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Struggling to ‘Be Here Now’?

by Jane Straus –

Many of you know Ram Dass’s famous book, Be Here Now, the 1971 precursor to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. From the titles of these books, you get the idea that there is something to be gained from focusing on the present rather than being run by our painful past or anxiously awaiting the unknowable future. Easier said than done, perhaps.

We have all seen (or have) the bumper stickers that say, “I’d rather be ____.” And who doesn’t say wistfully, “I wish,” ending the sentence with fantasies of Friday/the weekend/vacation/a new job/a new relationship/more wealth.

There’s nothing wrong with wishing and hoping and fantasizing. It’s a testament to our optimism and unique ability as humans to imagine the future. However, this same ability sometimes works against us.

One of my clients told me that he and his wife are going through a tough time. He’s afraid they may not make it. After a brief pause, he added, “Jane, I want to be hopeful. So I’m just going to put my anger and hurt aside.”

If it’s possible for this man to truly let go of his anger and hurt with the snap of his fingers, then more power to him. But if his hope depends on ignoring his painful feelings, that hope is bound to be short lived.

Anger and disappointment, ignored and pushed aside, tend to recirculate. 

As much as we try, denying “what is” doesn’t make “what isn’t” more attainable. Like this husband in pain, I often wish I were “there,” or at least anywhere-but-here, now. 

We can only change that which we acknowledge exists. 

If we can practice sitting with our feelings as they are—all of them, not just the comfortable or happy ones—if we can stay present with the present, we notice that our feelings evolve.

Anger dissolves into hurt, sometimes tinged with regret. Hurt and regret give way to sadness and mourning. If we don’t run from this grief, it eventually leads to a unique combination of acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. 

From this fertile soil, wisdom sprouts, flowering into grace. 

Grace releases us from the grip of suffering. We begin to notice that we feel free where we formerly felt constrained and tight. This process may happen slowly or quickly but with patience, compassion for our struggle and perseverance, it will happen. Isn’t this worth being here now for?

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