Same old stories hurt our hearts

Don’t let your stories or your past hold you back or control your future. There are happier, more fulfilling ways to live, I promise. Connect with the feelings they may have brought – fear, sadness, anger, but don’t let the stories define you.

Change your future by letting go of the way you tell the story of your past. Rewrite your history by finding and focusing on the good. It’s scary I know, your stories are a part of who you are, but try it and see what happens. It may be the key to a happier you. It was for me.


“The mirror image of suffering is the truth. Try it. Change the story. Change the course of your entire history. Right now.”

“You want me to lie about my past?” Diana wipes tears from her face with the back of her hand.”

“No, to tell the story a truer way,” says Herself. “Any story can be told infinite ways, dear, but listen to me. Listen well. If a story liberates your soul, believe it. But if a story imprisons you, believe its mirror image.”

~ Diana, Herself: An Allegory of Awakening by Martha Beck

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas?

Caring along with you,


Summer’s ending

Tomorrow is the fall equinox, take a moment today to be fully absorb the sights and sounds of summer’s end by paying attention to what is around you. Enter Autumn, wide-eyed and open to whatever is ahead – the joy, the challenges and the triumphs.

Martha Beck Quote Grass

1 spot open in the Autumn Joy Club


No commissions – I just really love the book!

Wishful Thinking Works came about in part because of a book I would like to share with you this fall – Martha Beck’s “The Joy Diet”.

Martha is a well-known author and life coach, who has been featured on Oprah’s shows and in Oprah magazine for more than a decade. She has a simple, no nonsense approach to change, which she outlines in “The Joy Diet”.  I first opened her book in 2003, and have read it many times since then. It truly helped me create the life I really wanted. I believe it can do the same for you.

I have put together “The Autumn Joy Club” to work with 10 folks who truly want to bring more joy into their lives.

We will be meeting via free telephone conference Thursday nights at 7 p.m. for 1 hour and fifteen minutes each week beginning September 15 and ending October 13.

• This free, action-oriented club is limited to a total of 10 members, so only sign-up, if you truly want change in your life and you are ready for action!  (There is only 1 space reserved for Wishful Thinking Works blog readers  – so sign-up today!) 

 The club requires commitment and dedication – you will not only be reading the first five chapters of “The Joy Diet”, you will be integrating the steps into your life.  It’s hard work, but the kind that when you are done you feel proud of yourself and better for it.

• The key is working the steps, without action change won’t take place.

Are you game? Would you like to bring more joy into your life? Does change scare you? Good then you are the perfect candidate for our Wishful Thinking Works Autumn Joy Club!

Beck’s approach is fun and simple. The hardest step for me was #1, but that is also the step that had the biggest impact on my life, and led me on a journey inside myself and around the world.

There will be times that you will feel like you are on a roller coaster and want to get off, but the joy, courage and confidence you’ll get from sticking with it are well worth the ride! I know, because I have ridden the very same coaster, and it changed my life!

Martha shares her clear-cut steps and tells you how to combine them for the biggest impact, and then she kicks you out of the nest, trusting you will figure it all out – and you will as a member of the Wishful Thinking Works Autumn Joy Club. I will be there to offer tips, insights, and encouragement and you will learn from each other as you go.

So if you are serious about creating more joy in your life and ready to make the commitment that takes – join away. 

  • To join, please send me an email at with a few sentences about yourself and why you would like to be part of our group. I will notify you via email to confirm you are in.
  • We will be using – there may be a charge for international callers, please review their web site if you will be calling from outside the United States.
  • Please do not sign-up, if your are not committed to reading a chapter a week and integrating change into your life. I takes time, and you need to be ready to change.

Once you receive confirmation that you are in, please purchase the book in the format you prefer, you can get it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.  Read the preface and Chapter 1 before we get started on September 15! (Told you the group is action oriented!) Before we begin, you will receive an outline explaining what we will be covering each week and details on how to connect to our free conference call.

The rest is up to you, go for the joy!

Warm regards,


PS I am so excited that I will be attending a Martha Beck workshop in September – can’t wait! I will have lots of new info to share.

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Meditation and moments of joy and fear

I am all about meditation this summer. I am talking about it weekly in a Summer Joy Club I am facilitating based on Martha Beck’s, The Joy Diet, which begins by focusing on fifteen minutes a day of meditation or simply doing nothing.

I am expanding my daily meditation practice with the free meditation series that Oprah and Deepak Chopra are currently offering.  On Day 10 in the series Oprah talks about joy and fear, and how often we worry when experiencing joy that it is all too good to be true and we let fear overtake our joyful moments, or follow quickly on their heels.

IMG_1688 (2)I know what that feels like. Yesterday, I was on a lovely garden estate on Long Island, sitting in the shade, reading, and feeling happy and joyful about the moment. And, then I felt this sense of guilt slowly creeping into my mind. “Who was I? Why should I”, etc. , etc.

Luckily, instead of giving into the guilt OR beating up on myself for feeling guilty – I simply took a deep and cleansing breathe and went back to my reading! That is one of the many benefits of meditation – it helps you stay in the moment even when you are not meditating!

Deepak suggests that we say to ourselves – in moments like the one I was having or when other types of negative thoughts or feelings of hopelessness begin to rise . . . “I want better than this; I side with hope.” 

In her latest book, Diana, Herself: An Allegory of Awakening (The Bewilderment Chronicles Book 1), Martha Beck suggests we calm our fears by asking for help from whoever our personal higher power or spiritual belief is, and then say to ourselves, “May you be well, may you be safe, may you live in joy and peace.”

I suggest you use either or both options, because you do deserve better, there is always hope, and I truly wish that you be well, that you are safe and that you live in joy and peace.



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Follow love


Sunflowers (2)

Follow the love by sharing this post on Facebook with someone to let them know how much they mean to you. It only takes a moment to let someone know you care. Add a line or two about why they mean so much to you. You can’t always be together, but you can let them know just how wonderful you think they are. Share the love!

WTW Dandelion

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A surefire diet for 2016 – “The Joy Diet”

Today has to be one of the toughest return-to-work days of the year! So many of my friends were dreading going back to work after all the holiday fun and festivities. Others were looking forward to getting back in the groove, but were still wishing for “just one more day” to shorten the first week back.

No matter where you fall on the back-to-work spectrum, I have a plan that can make this week and every other week in 2016 happier and more joyful for you. This diet isn’t mine, but I love sharing it. If you’ve ever thought you might need a little more joy in your life Martha Beck’s book “The Joy Diet” may work for you. It helped me change my life, big time.

I opened Beck’s book in 2003 and penned this post five years ago in 2011. As 2016 unfolds before us, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts again and encourage you to visit its pages.

Beck’s approach is simple and methodical. I like that.

She shares clear-cut steps and tells you how to combine them for the biggest impact, and then she sort-of kicks you out of the nest, trusting you will figure it all out, and, you will. (This is what led me to creating the life I really wanted.)

The first step was the toughest, and Beck won’t let you move on until you get it right. I will be eternally thankful to her for that. Her words led me to step back and slow down at a time when I truly needed it. Her light and breezy way of writing kept me interested, and as silly as this may sound, the short length and size of her book, immediately put me at ease – I knew I wouldn’t have to wade through hundreds of pages to get to the good stuff. (I truly am lazy at heart. ♥)

“The Joy Diet” is all good. Below is an Amazon’s overview of Beck’s 10 steps. [My insightful comments are italicized in parentheses. :-) ] Don’t let the number of, or the descriptions of the steps intimidate you, Beck walks you through them and into a joy filled life.

Martha Beck’s Joy Diet:

  1. Nothing: Do nothing for fifteen minutes a day. Stop mindlessly chasing goals and figure out which goals are worth going after. (Yup, absolutely nothing, you can do it. It’s not meditation-but it could be, it’s more like simply sitting still.)
  2. Truth: Create a moment of truth to help you unmask what you’re hiding—from others and from yourself. (Scary, but she holds your hand and you come out much happier on the other side.)
  3. Desire: Identify, articulate, and explore at least one of your heart’s desires—and learn how to let yourself want what you want. (Wishful Thinking at work.)
  4. Creativity: Learn six new ways to develop at least one new idea to help you obtain your heart’s desire. (Good way to brainstorm yourself into your new life.)
  5. Risk: Take one baby step toward reaching your goal. The only rule is it has to scare the pants off you. (It will, but it also gets you where you want to go, and afterward you will feel quite proud of yourself.)
  6. Treats: Give yourself a treat for every risk you take and two treats just because you’re you. No exceptions. No excuses. (Can you imagine, a diet that encourages treats?)
  7. Play: Take a moment to remember your real life’s work and differentiate it from the games you play to achieve it. Then play wholeheartedly. (Adults at play – pick me, pick me!)
  8. Laughter: Laugh at least thirty times a day. Props encouraged. (Yes, yes, you get to be silly or simply enjoy life a bit more.)
  9. Connection: Use your Joy Diet skills to interact with someone who matters to you. (Solid social connections are key to happiness and overall well-being.)
  10. Feasting: Enjoy at least three square feasts a day, with or without food. (Feasts? It sounds so primitive, and adventurous, and well, wonderful. And honestly one of the most difficult for many of us. You can feast with your eyes, your heart, your mind and your soul.)

I suggest you treat yourself right this year and pick-up a copy of “The Joy Diet” today. By Valentine’s Day, your life and everything around you could look a bit sweeter.


Joy diet

No commissions, just love her book!


If you need help getting started, check out “My Courage Diet” and lots of other free Wishful Thinking Works resources that can help you create the life your really want.

Enjoy! Writing this post was a joyful thing for me to do!

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Stepping in and out of your comfort zone

queen of the worldWishful Thinking leads to growth and change, which usually involves a level of risk, and taking risks requires courage.  My initial reaction to taking risks usually involves fear, which usually leads to procrastination.

Sound familiar?

If so, keep reading . . . I have learned to use a series of activities to increase my courage and face my fears.

The idea of combining the steps into a diet came to me after reading the book “The Joy Diet” by life coach and Oprah magazine columnist, Martha Beck. I read “The Joy Diet” about 10 years ago, and immediately started using it to create more joy in my life.

Beck lists “Taking Risks” as the fifth step of her ten-step plan for finding joy.

She encourages us to take risks that make sense and are oriented in the direction we want to go. She has one warning: the risk must be scary. (That part was easy for me!)

I hope “My Courage Diet” helps and encourages you, as much as it has guided and supported me.

To get started, all you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and the wish to change your life, even just a little.

My Courage Diet

Step 1 

Begin by writing a list of all the brave or difficult-to-accomplish things you have done.

List every single challenge you have faced and every fear you have conquered. Remember, there was a time when tying your shoe, passing your driver’s test, and getting your first kiss, date, degree or job – seemed very, very scary. 

Try not to think, just write. Set a timer for 15 minutes – writing and creating a deadline are essential parts of the process.

Then reread your list; fill-in any blanks; round-out the details and add any other brave acts that come to mind.  (You can keep adding to the list forever!)

Each day, pick one item on the list to review and revisit. Take a minute to fully picture the scene and to feel the memories and sensations it brings. Remember how good it felt to face, achieve or complete the item . . .

Sixty seconds of reminiscing can bring you a flush of positive feelings and a nice boost of courage. (This part is really important so, please do it even if it seems silly.)

Step 2 

Think of the music that gets you going and in a great mood.

For me “Eye of the Tiger” is a sure winner no matter what I am trying to conquer (no laughing, please). Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” (no snickering, either) and Kenny Loggins’ “This is It” got me through my undergrad degree; Alaniss Morisette and Tina Turner kept me focused through relationship upheavals; classical music helped me with my Masters and Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin and Iron & Wine’s “The Trapeze Swinger” kept me company in the Peace Corps.

It’s your pick, your list, your music.

Now, put the music in a format that is easy to access and then, listen to it! Once, twice, three times a day – at home, in the car, running, walking, whatever it takes to keep you feeling motivated.

Step 3

sidewalk-657906_640Create a list of movies that have inspired you. Select movies based on real people, who have faced overwhelming challenges. People, who have stepped in and out of their comfort zones, and achieved their dreams.

“Rudy”, “Rocket Boys/October Sky”, “Cinderella Man”, “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and “Julie & Julia” are some of my favorites. I’ll also add “Tin Cup” to the list, it is not in my top 10, but there are some scenes I adore. (Remember all of this is up to you, it’s your choice. Be honest about what you love.)

Carve out time to watch these movies.

If you are short on movie-watching time go online to the Internet Movie Database or to the official site of the movie, or see if the movie’s trailer is on YouTube.

If you already love a movie, reading about it or watching the trailer will bring all the good feelings associated with it back to you. Or, simple, replay the film in your mind, remembering the scenes, music, and characters that made it special to you.

If you cannot think of a single inspiring movie, go to the American Film Institute’s “100 Years 100 Cheers” web site and download their list of the 100 most inspiring movies. Keep watching until you feel energized and inspired.

You can also watch free, short inspirational videos here. This is one of my favorites, because it includes “Eye of the Tiger”.

Step 4

Make a list of books or stories that have inspired you. Include your childhood favorites. 

Read them again. If you are crunched for time, read the first and last chapters or your favorite passages, or even an online summary. It only takes a few minutes or a quick glance to bring back the memories and the meaning they held for you. (Your brain is an amazing, high-tech, personalized support tool. You have primed it with good thoughts, which it will automatically release when you take a moment or two  to reconnect with the moments and memories you love. Don’t let this gold mine of goodness sit idle, unearth the buried treasures that motivate and inspire you.)

recycle-619067_640Step 5

Repeat diet steps 1-4, as necessary. Repetition does not imply defeat or failure in any way; rather it reveals bravery and resiliency. When we rewind and recycle what has worked for us in the past, we are showing a high level of emotional competency, and it’s a great way for us to face new or stressful choices and challenges.

Step 6

Please add anything you want to the diet or change it in any way that gets you ready to take on the world. 

It is your courage diet now; go for it!     

WTW Dandelion

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(I posted the original version of “My Courage Diet” on Wishful Thinking Works in 2010 – it works!) 

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