History: Born March 1966.
Mother: disappointed, withdrawn, depressed.
Father: angry, controlling, with drinking problem.
Mary never felt good enough.

Bio: Assistant editor for a major home magazine.
Husband Mike, advertising executive.
Married 15 years, with two kids: Maggie, age 12,
Neil, age 10.
Lives in town house, suburbs of Boston.

Tuesday, March 10, 2006—Mary’s talking mind. . . .

6:00 a.m. The alarm clock triggers the morning, and anxieties close my heart.

6:30 a.m. My husband Mike rolls out of bed with no warmth or acknowledgment. He heads right to his computer . . . I say good morning, and I feel negativity in my heart. We don’t talk anymore. . .

7:00 a.m. No time to be with the kids . . . they get their own cereal. I hurry them out of the house, yelling from the top of the stairs.

7:45 a.m. Driving them to the bus stop, I feel agitation building as the kids argue about nothing important. I lose it, sharing my disappointment in them. They jump out at the bus stop.

8:00 a.m. While feeling guilt about my projection of anger, I find my way to the racetrack highway that sucks me into the morning road rage. Stress builds as I listen to news of gang violence on the radio.

8:30 a.m. As I take the elevator to my office, I feel uncomfortable with the people around me . . . they all feel like strangers . . . silence speaks.

My life is sad . . . I have anger and resentment in me. Passion for living is gone.

As I walk to my office, I feel my fear of the day ahead of me. I am late, and my boss gives me a look of disapproval. He is angry and controlling, and his intimidation takes up a lot of space.

I sit at my desk and feel my self-doubt knocking on the door.

9:00 a.m. Out of nowhere, my boss pounces in and criticizes a project that I had put my heart and soul into. I feel disrespected and overwhelmed . . . I promise him a revised package in 24 hours.

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. I take out my conflict on my assistant and become critical. Disregarding her lunch, I push her all day to accomplish the deadline.

12:30 p.m. My lunch is a venting session with my girlfriend, releasing my rage about my boss.

1:30–6:30 p.m. I don’t have time for a drink of water, let alone to breathe!

6:30 p.m. Carrying my full briefcase home, I pick up some fast food, telling the kids to fend for themselves . . . they love eating in front of the TV.

7:30 p.m. When my daughter asks for help with homework, I snap at her. My son needs a hug, but I brush him off quickly, saying, “I have so much work to do.”

9:00 p.m. My husband comes home . . . late as usual, drinking again . . . . . . he is no help to me and speaks rudely when I greet him with a closed heart.

9:30 p.m. Tucking the kids in . . . they are already asleep. I grab a bag of chips and fill my emptiness as I finish the project with resentment.

11:00 p.m. I fall into bed exhausted. Before my eyes close, a tear releases pain from my heart. I am sick and tired of my life struggles . . . I feel lonely. How can I find happiness?

11:00 p.m.–6:00 a.m.—Mary’s dream. . . .

Sleep came in on the wings of peace. I opened to a world I have dreamed of. The air had a calmness, and I could breathe fully into the present moment. I was drawn to a woman who had an inner strength about her. I couldn’t make out her face . . . such warmth and peace. Every insight she spoke moved through me as truth. In silence I felt acceptance and had no fear. Her eyes were of love.

I could feel heaviness in my heart. Reaching out to me, she placed a gift in my hand. I rested it on my heart. I felt like a sponge as I absorbed truth that changed my perception. It was like a switch was turned on in me, and I was different. We sat under a blossoming tree while she shared a process called the Inner Workout that would keep me emotionally fit. The gift showed me how to take responsibility for my feelings and release my anger, resentment, and fear on my own, without blaming others. Freedom in my heart opened me to self-discovery and truth, giving me the power to make healthy choices in my life. This goddess inspired me with my purpose, career, family, and relationships. I released my emotional pain . . . information moved into my veins like a blood transfusion. I could feel my self-worth strengthen.

I entered a doorway, looking over my shoulder . . . the light shone bright on the woman’s face… she was me. The opening took me back to relive the past day…

March 10, 2006

6:00 a.m. The alarm clock triggered the morning. I took the time to feel my anxieties, and I greeted the beautiful sunrise. I reached over to my husband and kissed him good morning. As I showered and dressed, I felt the challenges of my day and then remembered the gift . . . seeing the opportunities ahead.

6:30 a.m. My husband shared with me his worries about his job. I held the space as he felt his fear. I looked at him with eyes of love and told him that I respected his choices.

Family breakfast was great . . . I felt so present with everyone’s plans and chatter.

I encouraged the kids to get moving, and our drive to the bus stop included Neil’s jokes and solving a girlfriend issue with Maggie.

8:00 a.m. I could feel love for my children as I drove off. The busy highway afforded a great time to listen to a new CD . . . I loved the trip as I made my way through the traffic.

8:30 a.m. In the elevator I greeted my coworkers, interested in getting to know them. As I walked to my office, I could feel my fears . . . I put my hand on my heart. When my boss gave me his piercing look, I smiled calmly, feeling my self-worth strongly.

9:00 a.m. My boss opened my door with his critical voice. I said, “I appreciate your feedback, but I don’t like how you project your anger.” For the first time I felt my boss respected me, and we had a productive meeting.

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. I could see that my boss was under pressure, and I had compassion. I told him that I would revamp the project within the week. We were open to each other’s ideas. It felt good!

12:30 p.m. At lunch I invited my assistant to join me, and we discussed the new deadline. I wanted her to know how much I appreciated her.

1:30 p.m. I felt so connected, and my afternoon flowed . . . accomplishing so much, I didn’t have to bring work home and compromise family time.

5:30 p.m. I had time to go to the gym and pick up healthy groceries for dinner. While I was driving home, my husband called and said he would pick up the kids.

6:30 p.m. Mike and I made dinner together, and we enjoyed family time. Neil talked about a conflict at school. I asked him how he felt. He felt angry, and his dad shared with him an experience just like his, involving a bully. I shared how I don’t see my boss that way any longer . . . I stood up for myself today, feeling respected.

9:00 p.m. Mike and I tucked the kids in together, telling them how proud we were of both of them.

9:30 p.m. I lit some candles in our room, and Mike and I opened our hearts, intimately talking about the struggles and successes of our day. Our relationship deepened as we held each other in our arms, feeling gratitude.

10:00 p.m. While in the bath, I took time to feel any anxieties of the day . . . I put my hand on my heart and felt the gift. . . .

11:00 p.m. Comfortable in my bed . . . I fall asleep peacefully with a happy heart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2006

6:00 a.m. Mary woke up to a life worth living!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways2.html.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Hoffman Smith is a Toronto-based author, inspirational guide, facilitator, and relationship expert and coach. Twelve years ago, her life crashed . . . physically, emotionally, and financially. From this place she had nowhere else to go but inside, and this inward journey inspired her to create the most important life tool we could ever need to feel comfortable in our lives. The effectiveness of the Inner Workout™ program has changed the lives of thousands of people across North America, and through her books, audio programs, seminars, and workshops, Colleen continues to share how anyone can significantly improve his or her life . . . even in 24 hours! Visit http://www.theinnerworkout.com.