What Makes Your Heart Sing?

Many people I’ve talked to lately are feeling anxious and depleted.  Anxious and depleted about our country struggling with an ongoing pandemic, a divided country, an economic crisis, violence, social and racial injustice, protests and more. But to be a healthy person it’s important to boost your energy from within, helping life balance and taking care of ourselves, our families as well as our values.

I recently watched an inspiring Ted Talk with Chris Hill, a chef, and the talk was called What Makes Your Heart Sing? He left his profession in marketing because he was looking for more fulfillment in his life. And he loved cooking. But one day after a difficult day at the restaurant, he was frustrated and locked himself in a room and wrote for eight hours. He wrote a long blog about his inspiration of being a chef and what’s important in life and posted it. He eventually had over 100,000 people reading his blog daily and received hundreds of emails. In short, he realized that what makes his heart sing is connecting with others and when people around him are happy. He also talked about his mother who died when he was 14, she fought a five-year battle with Cancer. She was always positive and made a huge impact on his life. Her favorite quote was “Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 per cent of how your respond to it. “He asks, how are you showing up to life, to your family, to your community, to the world?

I’d like to ask you, what makes your heart sing?  

It’s not difficult, but If you have trouble thinking of what makes your heart sing, here is a short exercise the International Coaching Federation suggests that can help:

  • Allow yourself 10 minutes of quiet journaling to write your answers.
  • Don’t analyze, just write.
  • Feel free to add extra things to your list that come up in the days and weeks ahead.

Helpful Hints:

  • To help you, just for a moment, close your eyes and think back to your childhood. What were you doing when you were having most fun?
  • Consider your senses: Sight, hearing, touch/feeling, smell and taste. You could come up with one joy for each.
  • Examples could include watching children or dogs/cats playing, hiking a mountain, cooking, telling someone you love them, fresh sheets on your bed …or something completely different. Whatever it is, it is unique to you.
  • Here are a few questions to consider: What do you notice as you review your list? What common themes, powerful messages or surprises do you see? Why do you think you don’t do these more often?

  • Perhaps you’re already thinking of ways you can bring some of these ideas into your life.

  • Now, write one specific action you will take to bring more joy into your life.

Do you need help with making your heart sing?

If you are experiencing issues with fear, stress, lack of confidence, that pesky inner critic or Covid-19, please reach out to me. I offer free telephone consultations and offering Zoom and phone coaching as well as hypnotherapy sessions.  You don’t have to suffer alone. You can reach me from my website at https://belacoaching.com/contact/ or by phone at 503-848-3640.

10 Tips for Coping with Election News – and Self Care

Woman meditating on the beach.

Are you stressed out about the election? I know I am. Here are 10 simple tips for coping with the election and self care that I’m using and wanted to share.

  1. If you are feeling anxious, sit or lie down and take at least 10 slow deep breaths, in through your nose, and slowly out through your mouth.
  2. Limit your news intake. Take a break from social media, TV and/or radio news and get active.
  3. Meditate and concentrate on your breath.
  4. Listen to your favorite music.
  5. Practice compassion and self-care.
  6. Keep your body moving and exercise. Drink plenty of water.
  7. Focus on nature; go for walks and enjoy the beautiful changing fall season with its magnificent colorful trees and clean brisk air.
  8. Keep a journal/notebook and write down your feelings; write at least three things you are grateful for.  Also write what brings you joy.
  9. Focus on things you can control — and let go of things you can’t.
  10. Vote!

Please consider forwarding these tips to a friend or someone you love. It might be just what they need. If you enjoy this message, please share. Make this your special self-care time.

A Recipe for Self-Love

Here’s a short Sunday love note from me to you – it’s actually a sample recipe for self-love from Carley Schweet’s book, ‘Holistic Self-Care Guided Journal”:

Add together:

A pinch of courage,

A handful of patience,

A cup of compassion,

A heaping tablespoon of love.

Mix thoroughly and use as needed. When mixed together these ingredients will provide what you need to begin to create a foundation of self-care practice.

Other sample  quality ingredients  you can use:

Patience, grace, reflection, love,

mindfulness, awareness, fearlessness.

Can you think of more?

Sent with much love,

Bela Friedman

How to Dissolve Fear

Many women I’ve talked to this week are filled with fear.  Fear about our country struggling with an ongoing pandemic, an economic crisis, violence, social and racial injustices and peaceful protests. It is a lot to deal with. But one thing is certain: We have to learn to live together in love, peace and harmony.

I truly believe that we are on the verge of a new era of enlightenment – and its arrival will be in the not too distant future. For now, we all have to remember that we have the opportunity to choose love over fear. Love for ourselves and others. 

But how do we combat our fears? One way is to remember that the sun is always shining–even though the clouds may obscure it for a while. Here’s a short writing from Louise Haye about fear that can help:

As the fears come, I choose to see them as passing clouds in the sky, and I let them go on their way. I am not my fears…I know that what we do in our hearts is very important, so I begin every day in a silent connection with my heart. When I feel afraid, I let the love dissolve the fear.

If you are having issues with fear, confidence or stress please reach out to me. I give free consultations and offering Zoom and phone coaching and hypnotherapy sessions on a sliding scale to meet your financial needs.

With love,


Sunday Love Notes Aug 18: Being Your Own Best Friend

Dear Be Inspired Community:

It’s a self-care kind of Sunday just for you – and here is my love note to you:

The way to self-care is to love yourself first,

To be your own best friend,

To see all of your magnificence,

To love yourself with grace and forgiveness.

All else will fall into place.

Remember that there is no perfect way to navigate the days we’re experiencing. No matter how you choose to spend your time and energy, know that staying home and doing your best to stay healthy is enough. Try not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself (*note to self*).

Please consider forwarding this message to a friend, a healthcare worker, or someone you love. It might be just what they need. If you enjoy this message, please share. Make this your special self-care week!

Are You a Dangerous Woman?

Today I attended a wonderful woman’s circle on Zoom facilitated by Cat Wilson, my terrific coaching teacher and mentor. Her group is called, “Women Who Bloom” and it meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 10 am. It was an amazing circle filled with great questions and answers from like-minded smart women.

I loved Cat’s topic, “Are you a dangerous woman?” My answer to that questions was, yes, definitely. In my perspective, to be a dangerous woman is to wear a badge of honor and courage.  But what makes a dangerous woman? To me it is the following:

  • A woman who strives to make a difference in the world.
  • A woman who has confidence and has spent years developing it.
  • A woman who extends herself to help someone else.
  • A woman who is fearless when someone tells her “no.”
  • A woman who questions authority.
  • A woman that doesn’t give up in spite of difficult circumstances.
  • A woman who goes after her dreams and overcomes her challenges.
  • A woman who has love for herself and others.
  • A woman who learns from her mistakes and keeps growing toward her goals.
  • A woman who goes beyond the norm and stands up for herself and for the rights of others.

Other participants added:

  • She is stable and grounded.
  • She marches to the beat of her own drum.
  •  She can be muscular, is not afraid to get dirty and shows inner and outer strength.

How are you a dangerous woman?

If you are interested in learning to make positive changes in your life, contact me for a free 30-minute consultation at https://belacoaching.com/contact/. I offer a sliding scale fee that will fit any budget.

Feeling Anxious About The Pandemic and the Chaos in the World Today? Here’s How to Boost Your Mood Right Now.

If you are feeling anxious, having a hard day or just uncertain and scared about the unknown — here is what you can do today to feel better right now:

1. Be grateful. Look around you and find what is right and what is working. There are more things in your life that are right than out of control. Praise them. Intentionally make mental and written lists of how all your needs are met and how life is taking care of you. Whatever the fear, counter it with gratitude. If you are worried about your health, make lists of all the parts of your body that are healthy and functioning well. If you are worried about the economy, praise all the ways that your needs have been met and how you are always taken care of. Give thanks. You can only hold one thought at a time in your mind. Choose gratitude over worry.

2. Move. Whatever you can do to move, do it. Movement is therapy. Take part in online yoga, dance at home, go for a walk, go for a run, just move, especially if you don’t feel like it. You will thank yourself once you are done.

3. Be selective in the news you consume. Stay informed. Educate yourself on how to stay safe and healthy. But please remember that watching and reading the news non-stop is addictive and will keep you in panic and fear. Now more than ever it is important that you consume things that are uplifting and make you laugh.

4. Use your imagination and manifest the good.  Use your creative power and the power of prayer for good. See the world calm. Imagine the panic turning into a sigh of relief: The coronavirus disappearing. People being healthy and happy. The natural world healed and all the animals protected. Global warming reversed.  Children laughing.  The elderly thriving as they share their wisdom. The economy booming. Airports filled with people ready for adventures. You are that powerful. You and I together can make an impact.

5. Talk about your feelings. Don’t bottle it up. Express how you feel. But choose your confidant wisely. Let it be a person who will uplift you. A person who will empathically get you but not bury you under an avalanche of their own fears and leave you even more desperate than how they found you. Reach out to me. I am here for you.

6. Breathe slowly and deeply. Here is my favorite mantra when going through hard times: Breathe in faith, breathe out fear.

If you need emotional support to help with stress, insomnia or other personal or professional issues, email me at  bela@belacoaching.com for a 30-minute free consultation.  Also visit my website at www.belacoaching.com. I’m offering a sliding scale fee rate to fit every budget.

Learning How to Build Resilience

Lately, the world seems to be going from one crisis to another. We are experiencing a global pandemic, changes in the ways we’ve been living our daily lives, economic uncertainty, political and social turmoil and natural disasters. 

But no matter what we are facing — building resilience can help us cope with stress, overcome adversity and enjoy the better days to come.

But how do we build resilience?

Here are Two Definitions of Resilience:

  • The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  • The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

So How Do We Spring Back into Shape and Recover From Difficulties?

Without being aware of it, I’ve had to build resilience since I was a little girl. First, my parents were holocaust survivors and were role models for me after going through horrific life experiences as teenagers.

They were also set in their ways. It was either their way or no way. When I was a little girl and played the accordion for about three years, I wanted to start playing piano. My mother said, “You started with the accordion, and you have to continue what you start.”

When I wanted to move away to college, my parents told me they wouldn’t help me financially unless I lived at home. I was an only child and an independent thinker, so off I went to live in Berkley in 1969 and attended Merritt City College in Oakland where the black panthers had their headquarters. I was also active in the anti-war protests.

It was a fantastic experience of independence, but my parents didn’t agree or help me and I was very angry at them for some time. I worked part time in the English department at my college and supported myself while living with my cousin and several others – and had some great experiences. I then traveled through Europe with a friend and lived in Israel on a kibbutz for a year.

Later I married and had two small children. But the marriage was very difficult and after 12 years finally had the courage to leave my husband, but had no backing from my mother because she didn’t agree that I should leave him. 

What I didn’t know is that over the years, facing challenging times again and again, I learned to build resilience. If I hadn’t gone through the difficulties and challenges of my early life, I couldn’t have built resilience to face the challenges that were to come.  My early life prepared me for a more positive future – leaving my husband, starting a new business, and supporting my children with very little child support.

Thank You, Resiliency!

I’ve now been with my soul mate for more than 31 years, and that resilience I learned is constantly with me, and has helped me throughout my life. Most recently, it helped me four years ago when I had a bad accident and sustained three fractures to my pelvis, and this past December with a total hip replacement. Thank you, resiliency! I am very grateful for you.

Ted Talk with Lucy Hone, Resilience Researcher

I also want to mention that I watched a TED talk recently with Lucy Hone, a woman from New Zealand whose job it was to do research on resilience.  She described her life as perfect until her 12-year-old daughter and her daughter’s friend were killed instantly in a car accident. She went through the very difficult stages of grief – and when that dark period was over, she came up with three strategies of resilience that aided Lucy in her darkest days that I want to share with you:

1. People who accept suffering as a part of life have an easier time being resilient.

2. Resilient people have worked out a way to tune into their good thoughts.  Make an intentional, deliberate ongoing effort to look for what is good in the world and in your life. One powerful way to learn to do this is to write down what you are grateful for.

3. Questions that have helped her when her thoughts go off track: “Is what I’m thinking harming me, or helping me? Do I really need that thought?” This strategy is readily available to you anytime or anywhere. It gives you control in your decision making.

Do You Need Help Building Resilience in Your Life?

If you are interested in learning to be resilient and to make positive changes in your life contact me for a free 30-minute consultation at https://belacoaching.com/contact/. I offer a sliding scale fee that will fit any budget.

Getting Your Mojo Back

The word “mojo” is said to have come from West African slaves and relates to magic and spells that generate power and good luck. Today the word mojo refers to a source of vigor, energy, sexual potency, and power.

It’s easy to lose your mojo in these tumultuous times. Ask yourself: Am I feeling depleted, overwhelmed, confused fearful, stressed-out, tired, bored or lethargic?  If the answer is yes, you may be losing your mojo, and it can be challenging to find the motivation to reclaim it. You don’t want to remain in that mojo-less place for too long, or your lost mojo might mushroom into a full-blown depression.

Getting Your Mojo Magic Back Just Takes Some Small Changes.

You can begin to feel more energy and enthusiasm about yourself and all the world has to offer — yes, even in these difficult times — just by making some small life changes that will release the magic of your mojo.

I know what it’s like to lose mojo, but I’ve been able to reclaim it again and again: Living in a failed marriage, during a separation, as a single mom, in the midst of a financial crisis, being “laid off” from a job I needed but detested, losing my parents, recovering from a serious injury, having major surgery.  The list goes on and on, but the good news is that I’ve always been able to reclaim my mojo.  And so can you!

Here are five action steps to help you reclaim your mojo when you feel that it’s lost:

  1. Address your stress and get unstuck.  If you feel overwhelmed — lighten your load and be aware of what is causing you stress. You may first feel stuck and that nothing is working for you, but if you shift your perspective your mojo will show up. Journaling is a great way to address the source of your stress. Write at least a paragraph on how you’d like your life to change, and believe it – and your mojo will show up.
  2. Stay away from negativity. If you are serious about getting back on track you have to stay away from negativity. This includes toxic and negative people and negative talk.  Keeping a gratitude journal will do wonders for your attitude. Keep informed, but refrain from watching and reading too much news.
  3. Have fun. Recall the things you did when you were younger that gave you joy.  Grab a pen and paper and write down the fun things you did and circle the things that you’d like to do again.  And start doing the things you can.
  4. Start with baby steps. It’s easy to be overwhelmed. But one small step can help restore your confidence. With one step at time you can conquer the unconquerable.
  5. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Sometimes the simple act of asking for help from a friend, coach or counselor can be the boost you need for getting your mojo back. Speaking to someone can help you remember that everyone needs help from time to time and that no one can do it alone.

Can you think of more ways to get your mojo back?

If you are interested in learning how life coaching and hypnotherapy can help get your mojo back and make long term, positive changes in your life, contact me at bela@belacoaching.com. Also, visit my website at www.belacoaching.com.

Going with the Flow – A Life Lesson for Us All

Be Inspired Women’s Circle

When I was thinking of a topic for a recent Be Inspired Women’s Circle, I discovered an article about marathon swimmers – those brave people who swim in the oceans and rivers.  They are also called open water swimmers. The article focuses on Marilyn Bell, an award-winning swimmer who has been swimming open waters for more than 60 years.

At one point in her adult life she couldn’t walk because of serious back issues and was in a motorized wheel chair. But she learned to swim in a different way thanks to her swim coach.  In the article she talks about how she deals with life’s challenges, and specifically about the Pandemic.  This is a great lesson for us all.

Open water swimmer Marilyn Bell

I’d like to share some of the article with you:

Open water swimmers can never be certain about the outcome of a    swim. They’re always at the mercy of many elements outside of their control, from waves, to weather, to wildlife, to simply finding the will to keep swimming. For them, life isn’t a swimming pool, with lanes to follow and water that’s always heated to a comfortable temperature.

Marilyn Bell became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario at only 16, and went on to swim the English Channel.  She says that Marathon swimming has always been her metaphor for life.

Quoting Marilyn Bell:

“Life is an ocean full of unpredictability and difficulty. But after each swim, we emerge from the water stronger and more capable.

Minutes before the Lake Ontario swim was my first real experience of being totally unsettled, frantic, afraid, terrified. It was that experience that set the tone for how I have dealt with adversity and all the ups and downs of life since.

Often, dealing with uncertainty is about trust. When we’re really lucky, especially during uncertain times, we have a support system, whoever it happens to be: family, friends, faith. I think all open water swimmers would agree that a support system is key.

Being in the present

It’s about recognizing that there are so many variables that aren’t in your control. You can control how you think. You can also control what you want to think about. But you have to work at controlling being in the present moment and not thinking about what’s going to happen in the future.

When you’re swimming, you wonder, “How long am I going to be stuck in this lake? How long is it going to take to get to shore? What happens if they don’t give me my food in time?” These are the things you can think about. But if you overthink them, they’re going to really be detrimental.

Even if you do everything right, the tide can change. That’s what swimmers do, as long as they’re able. They swim until the tide changes.

Pondering the Pandemic

Now, during a global pandemic, people are wondering, ‘How long is this pandemic going to last? How long will it be before we have a vaccine? What happens if I get the virus?’

The pandemic is a variable that’s currently out of our control. When you’re swimming and worrying about things you can’t control, it’s not going to make a difference, but just makes your swim more difficult.

And regarding the pandemic, it’s the same. My belief is to control the things that I can and the rest will take care of itself.”

How are you going with the flow of life, against the tide or with it?