Are you Living by Default

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Don’t make life tougher than it has to be COLUMN BY CHRISTINA KUNKLE

“Things shouldn’t have to be this hard!” I thought to myself, after zipping down the driveway with no time to spare, only to catch a glimpse of “0 miles to empty” on my gas gauge.

Wish I could tell you that I wasn’t the last one to drive the car, but I was. I could come up with some pretty good excuses, but truth be told, I hadn’t stopped to fill up the tank. Period. After a few tense minutes, I puttered into Exxon, humbled by the unnecessary stress I brought on myself. “Every circumstance is a chance for you to practice being the person you truly want to be, right?” my inner mean girl snickered as I stood at the gas pump. Instead of playing the shame game, I simply chuckled, saying “yes, and that’s why I’m giving myself some grace!” Of course, ideally, we strive to live our lives mindfully: by design, fully present in each moment. But, in the midst of the everyday — as the pressures of work, family and other responsibilities build — it’s easy to lose sight and end up in panic mode.

How about you? Are you running on empty? Even while intending to be proactive, organized and efficient, are there times when you catch yourself making things more complicated by default? If so, this list of “6 Silly Mistakes” may help you discover what is standing in the way of your claiming and manifesting the life you choose.

Mistake No. 1: Flying Solo Are you fiercely independent and of the belief that “if something is going to get done, I’m going have to do it all myself?” This sets the stage for incredible frustration, which will have you working harder, not smarter all day long. Instead of going it alone in your efforts to make things happen, lean into your faith and trust that guidance will come. Be willing to graciously accept resources and opportunities when they present themselves. Sure, we can survive alone, but we cannot thrive alone. So, consider ditching the automatic “I’m fine thank you very much” response when offered help.

Fix-it Tip No. 1: Start your day strong by asking for guidance. Remember that “Isolation is the enemy of progress” (author unknown)

Mistake No. 2: Draining Yourself Dry Do you put yourself last, taking care of everyone else at your own expense? Have you repeatedly put off, cancelled or rescheduled a doctor’s appointment, mammogram, massage or another important health activity so you could take care of others?

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Many of us are overworked and overwhelmed, yet feel intense guilt for taking time out to relax or have fun. We think taking a nap, soaking up the sun, catching a chick-flick or savoring a spicy book is just a waste of time when we could be getting something accomplished. So, we keep on truckin’. This does us no favors. Instead, it puts us on the fast track to resentment, exhaustion and burnout.

Fix-it Tip No. 2: Reframe your definition of self-care, mak-

ing it an essential part of your wellbeing, not a luxury. Taking care of others depends upon a healthy and rested you. So, keep your energy tank filled.

Mistake No. 3: Investing in Scarcity Are you operating with a negative mindset, giving your best attention to what you don’t have, can’t get and don’t want? When we stay focused on the problem, it leaves little time to create solutions. It highlights what there isn’t enough of, feeds our fear and steals our power. From this reactive place, we are doomed to repeat old patterns and habits.

Fix-it Tip No. 3: Take a moment to imagine a life without fear. What would be possible if you could benefit from the energy of positive expectations, assuming that, at all times and in all circumstances, you are safe and fully supported by abundance?

Mistake No. 4: Dancing with Drama

initely make mistakes. Let’s practice showing compassion to ourselves and others when we least deserve it, because that’s when we really need it.

Fix-it Tip No. 5: Who in your life needs forgiveness and love? Perhaps it’s you who needs it most. Take a few minutes in a quiet space. Place your hand over your heart and close your eyes. Picture the person you need to forgive, and offer them an apology and small gesture of love and compassion. Notice how much lighter and hopeful you feel.

Mistake No. 6: Forgetting Your Purpose I figure I’m about half way through this crazy ride called life, and, by learning a tremendous amount the hard way, I’ve discovered that teaching the art of resilience is my purpose here. That’s why I’m deeply committed to make a transformative impact on as many women as possible, helping them confidently soar to heartcentered success. What’s your life purpose? If you haven’t found it yet, don’t give up the search!

“Don’t let anything stand in the way of you claiming and manifesting the life that you choose, rather than the life you have by default.”

Fix-it Tip No. 6: Your life is on loan,

so don’t disappear into default. We’ve all heard it said, “Our life is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God.” [Eleanor Powell]. How can you use your gifts, past experiences and current challenges to claim your purpose and make a difference?

Are you surrounded by chaos, confusion Together, let’s drop the drama, chaos and and disorganized thinking? Are there freconfusion, remember who we want to be quent misunderstandings between yourself and take inspired action to live exceptional and the people around you? Do you find lives. yourself blaming others for your circumstances or complaining about how tough Christina Kunkle, R.N. and CTA Certified you have it? Life and Wellness Coach, is founder of Synergy Joy Page, actress Life and Wellness Coaching, LLC, creator of the If so, it’s important to know that no one “Synergy Success Circle” and “SOAR” a Heartelse is ever responsible for how you choose Centered Leadership Development Program. She helps busy women prevent to feel. You are completely in charge of your life and 100 percent burn out by promoting bounce-back resilience to stay focused, positive and exresponsible for the thoughts you think and actions you take. cited about the challenges of work and life. To learn more, visit her website For those of us who were raised in chaotic homes, drama is or call (540) 746-5206. often our default setting. But however familiar it may be, we must make the effort to create the happy life we deserve.

Fix-it Tip No. 4: What are three ways you can escort drama off of your life’s dance floor, and what would be the benefits? Since you get more of what you focus on, and you are the one in charge of what that is, why not focus on living in peace?

Mistake No. 5: Harboring Hatred Is there someone you’re angry with, judgmental of or need to forgive? If left unattended, this hatred will chip away at your enthusiasm and zap your creativity, making it that much harder to stay inspired in your work and life. I once heard someone say that holding a grudge was like taking poison but expecting the other person to die. How true! We all def-

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