7 Steps to Stop Suffering

I’m going to lead a breakout session in a course I’m in and need to pick a topic by tomorrow.

I’d like the inquiry to be one that I am interested in rather than one where I think I know the answer.

I’m looking at Being vs Suffering

Today I was being present and enjoying my life. I was about to lead a “planning” call and took a look at how I’m doing on my own plan. By Oct 21 I will transform 4 areas – career, home, course and relationships.

I’m doing great on my career and my home. I am sticking and choosing “what is.” I saw what wasn’t working and added workability to both.

  • I am staying in my winter beach cottage and enjoying the winter months. I will relook at “home” when I have to move in the spring.
  • In my career, I saw that it was one little piece that wasn’t working and I am redesigning it so that that piece works as well. Most of what I want is already in place.

In dating and in my course, I was doing fine until I looked at my results. All of a sudden I started suffering. I had a terrible date on Tuesday and I currently only have 1 person registered for my course starting in October.

My old familiar “story” kicked in: I can’t have what I want, I’m stupid for thinking I can, and it’s really all hopeless.

Wow. In an instant my thoughts got “stuck” in their old patterns and the suffering began.

How to bring BEING to my story?

  • See that I made it all up
  • See what the payoff is for keeping it in place.

The payoff is that I get to be a victim, right about how I can’t have what I want, and powerless to do anything about it. While that doesn’t SEEM like a payoff, it gets me off the hook for putting myself out there and being vulnerable. It’s safer to just stay stuck.

What can I do about it?

  • Recognize the story
  • See if I really want to stay stuck in my story
  • If so, keep it and suffer
  • If not, let it go and
  • Get back into action.

I can take a whole bunch of actions:

  • Select more guys
  • Dress up and feel good about myself
  • Get out of my house
  • Share about my course
  • Talk about my book again
  • Schedule podcasts
  • Schedule book talks.

There are actions I CAN take when I stop making myself wrong. The world opens up and I get my power back.

That’s a miracle.

So what can my inquiry be about?

From Suffering to Being?

What’s Being In Relationships?

What’s Being in Regards to Our Self and Our Stories?

What’s Being with Regards to Our Future?

Something like that. Nothing is jumping out at me yet. Well, I will meditate on it and pick something by tomorrow. It’s a work in progress.

Thanks for listening.

My Boobs Didn’t Go to Harvard, But They Did Go to Wharton!

I was in a Vacation Course in Mexico about having freedom with our bodies.  

The suggestion over one of the breaks was:  “Maybe you want to talk to your bodies.” 

I went back to my room and looked in the mirror.

“My boobs need a conversation,”  I thought. 

“You know what, I’m sorry that I’ve been ashamed of you my whole life,”  I said out loud to my boobs.

A memory popped into my mind.  Bob, my 9th grade boyfriend, repeated a comment his step-father had said to him.

“Wow, I didn’t realize Hilary was so well endowed,” his step-father had said to him.

I was embarrassed. I didn’t want people making those comments. It made me uncomfortable, and I kind of walked hunched over after that. I tried to hide my boobs so people wouldn’t notice them.  All of a sudden I was ashamed of my boobs.

That day in the hotel I stared at my boobs.  They seemed to answer me inside my head.

“Hey, maybe he was just an inappropriate pedophile, or an inappropriate pervert, and he should not have made that comment.”

“Wow.” I stood up straighter.  I never thought of that.  Maybe I didn’t have to be ashamed.  Maybe it was just an inappropriate comment.

I went back to the class and I told them the story.

 “Wow, you have really smart boobs,” one of the participants said.

“Yeah, I do,”  I said.  

There was one person in the course who kept bragging about how she went to Harvard.  It was annoying.

“Hey, my boobs didn’t go Harvard,” I added. “But they did go to Wharton.”

Everyone laughed.

And through that, I got freedom not to be ashamed of my body. It wasn’t my fault he said that comment. He was just inappropriate. 

I starting being proud of my body after that. I started standing up taller and walking differently and my life has never been the same.  That was a miracle.  

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Access To Grace

“Gratitude is your access to grace.” I heard on a Deepak Chopra meditation the other day.

Negative thoughts create negativity, disease, and aging.

Positive thoughts create happiness, healing, abundance, miracles and youthfulness.

Hmmmm. Gee, which one would I want? Not a difficult choice.

So why do I continue to give attention to my negative thoughts?

I am going to use this blog to get a little freedom. I seem to be a little stuck.

Here’s what happened:

During COVID I was doing great with my weight/virtual Weight Watchers. I was relaxed, losing weight for the first time in many years, and feeling like I finally had my weight handled. I felt great and wasn’t worried about my weight at all for the first time in a long time.

I switched from weekly weigh-in’s to getting weighed once a month after the centers opened. I was calm and didn’t have to worry about fluctuations due to bouillion or salty foods. It worked for me. I was losing slowly and feeling confident and happy.

Until a few weeks ago. I got weighed on a Tuesday.

“You are up 4.2 pounds. Were you expecting that?”

“NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. OMG. Usually I get weighed on Friday. Maybe that’s it.”

“Maybe,” the leader said.

It must have been a mistake, I thought. On Friday I went back to get weighed.

I was up another .2 pounds.

“HOLY SHIT! I’m not doing anything different. What the hell happened to me? HELP!!!!

Since that day I have been in FAT GIRL mode. I am totally focused on my weight, what I now can’t have, and feeling like a wrong, wrong wrong person.

I look at others and see their thin-ness. I am on the outs. The rest of the world has it under control. Not me.

I have been eating and drinking more since that day. I am terrified that I am going to keep gaining and that I don’t now what to do.

“Return to tracking,” I tell myself. “Be honest. You know what to do.”

But it hasn’t worked to calm me down. Or damning myself. Or making myself wrong inside.

Can I stop resisting the weight gain? Stop resisting my thoughts? Stop resisting that I NEED TO DO SOMETHING?

What’s the payoff for this RACKET? What’s the payoff for torturing myself?

I guess it’s familiar. It’s easier than wondering how to get my course to be successful. It’s easier than worrying about what will happen with my mom. It’s easier than trying to figure out this dating thing which I really dread and hate. It’s easier than putting in the effort in my sales job. It’s easier than just being with myself like nothing’s wrong and I have a great life.

It’s almost like I need a problem to solve. I need to be fixing myself.

So…….here’s my access to grace….I am grateful for my strong, shapely, healthy, healing body and my beautiful face and hair. I have wonderful blue eyes and a sparkling smile. I experience deep love and share it with others. I love my family and I am grateful for all of them.

I am grateful for my intelligence and my ability to listen, empower and stand for people’s dreams.

I am grateful for the abundance I experience every day and for the wonderful people in my life.

Thank you, God, for blessing me and my family.

Happy New Year everyone and I hope this gives you an access to grace.

Playing Full Out

My homework is to PLAY FULL OUT.

Well, I did great for most of the day considering I didn’t sleep much due to the VERY LOUD THUNDERSTORM.

It was my first night in my beach house for this winter. I moved in yesterday.

I tried to calm myself amidst the loud thunder, bright lightning and heavy rains.

“Was my car flooding?”

“Would the house break apart or float away?

“What was that loud dripping that sounded like it was inside?”

Oh shit. It WAS inside. The bathroom ceiling was leaking and the bathroom floor had water a few inches deep. Great. I put down the towels to mop it up, put the garbage can to catch the water, and tried to go back to sleep.

The next morning my landlord texted. “How is everything after the storm?”

I told her about the roof.

Then I tried the shower. It didn’t work. Neither did the faucets. The leak must have broken the pipes. NO SHOWER FOR HOW LONG? OMG.

Luckily, though, it wasn’t a burst pipe, it was the water company working in the area. PHEW!!

I handled all this very well. I did my work playing full out, calling people I normally wouldn’t call.

Then, I checked my dating app. The one cute, normal guy had disappeared. He was THE ONE. Where the hell did he go? GHOSTED.

Then my 4:00 and 5:00 calls didn’t pick up. That’s when I stopped playing. It tipped me into the land of I am a blob and nothing matters and where is the alcohol and what salty crunchy food can I eat?

The good news: so far I haven’t drank and I’m still counting my points, but, the real question is:

What will I do in 10 minutes on my last Getting Unstuck call? Will I be a blob and tell them I know things never work out and they should give up OR can I play full out and get some freaking energy into my body?

Maybe I could do a tequilla shot? Maybe some sugar?

Or, just not make it about me and listen to these fine ladies and create life out here in dialogue.

After all, that’s my commitment for the world. That people are free to create lives they love.

Who cares that 2 people forgot I was calling? And that Brad dropped off of Bumble?

8 minutes to go – I feel like the guy in Meatloaf’s Dashboard song……

Yes or no?

Now I’m praying for the end of time so I can end my time with you……..

OK, I digress. I will give it my all, folks. With the energy I have. I think my energy means something and it doesn’t.

I will take care of people and see what is their next step since this is our last session.

Thanks for listening and have a great night.

Something Happened on the Way to the Post Office

“Something happened on the way to the post office,” Lynn texted a few days ago.

“What?” I texted back.

“You’ll see when you get your mail in a couple of days,” Lynn answered.

I was intrigued. I thought maybe she was mugged by a gorilla and there would be gorilla prints on a ripped up/torn envelope.

Today I finally got the envelope. Inside was a Sympathy card and a Get Well Soon card. I know who they were for and it wasn’t me.

“Did THEY get MY CHECK?” I texted.

“Yes, they laughed, and it’s already in the mail to you.”

This is a check that has been promised to me for many months. As they say, “the check is in the mail. STILL!!”

I just have to laugh. At this point, if I ever get it, it will be an extra bonus.

Life is funny these days.

Besides this card snafu, I’ve been observing people who are in quite a tizzy. They seem to be addicted to the news. The world is “the worst it’s ever been.” And they are upset.

For me, I know that if I watch the news, I get upset, too, and feel like the world is ending.

If I don’t turn on the news, and listen to a meditation instead, I feel joy, the world is wonderful, and I am living in abundance.

I am way better off when I consciously choose the conversations I am participating in.

I am not judging the people who watch the news.

I just choose not to. It is very negative and it gets my negative swirl going down down down and takes WAY too much energy to come back up.

What do YOU choose to listen to?

Does it serve you or upset you?

I’d love to hear.

Caught In The Middle Again

I seem to have this thing that I am “caught in the middle.”

If two people have opposing views and they both voice them to me, I start getting agitated.

Like I’m supposed to do something.

Let’s take the vaccine. There are two opposing views:

  1. If you don’t get vaccinated you will die and you are ruining the world because the virus is mutating because of you. You are selfish and stupid. What is wrong with you?
  2. The vaccine causes blood clots, cancer and possible death. Why would I do that to myself? Why is this a political matter? Who is behind this? What is wrong with our country?

Now, if I take these at face value, someone is right and the others are in deep trouble and could die. Which side is right? Who do I have to convince to change their mind in order to save their life?

This weekend I was in a course and I looked at this “being in the middle.” It really seems like there is something I have to do to “save people.”

I got that way last night, too. I was hearing complaints about my mom that she wasn’t behaving properly with her caregiver. My job was to see what is going on since I live there. I got frightened.

“Mom, you have to behave. If you don’t, no one will be able to take care of you and they will take you some place else you might not like.”

“Who will take me away?” she asked, curiously.

I didn’t say anything. I don’t know if that will happen. Maybe it’s not true. Maybe I made it up because I am frightened and think there is something I need to do to save her.

It seems to be a theme. That I need to save people and if I don’t, somehow the consequences of their actions and opinions are my fault.

It is a big burden and very egotistical if I really look at it. Why do I think I need to save the world? That people don’t have the right to their own actions and beliefs? That I should come in with my cape and save people? It’s ridiculous if I think about it.

Maybe it’s better if I can just take care of myself and trust that others can take care of themselves. Then I could live a more peaceful and less stressed life.

I don’t have to be upset when I hear different opinions. I don’t have to worry about what is the truth.

I can be present and be love and trust the universe. I think I will try that. I am really tired from trying to do it the other way. It’s exhausting and there is no end to the struggle.

Do you ever feel like you need to save somebody?

Do you ever feel like you need to fix somebody?

Do you ever worry about someone else and think you need to do something?

What if you could let all that go and enjoy your life? How would your life look?

Let me know what you think in the comments. I’m curious to hear what you see.

Thanks for listening and have a great day.

How Not Having My Shit Together Taught Me To Enjoy Life!

A few months ago I was calling someone and couldn’t find my papers  with the notes from our last conversation. I couldn’t remember what we had talked about and what I was supposed to be following up on. I was wildly throwing papers around my desk, desperate to not look stupid.

I was so frazzled.  The guy picked up and  I blurted out  “Well, one day, I’m going to get my shit together. And then all this will be gone and I’ll know what I’m doing.”

And the guy said, “Really? I thought that would happen to me, too. But one day I just realized, You know what? I’m never going to get my shit together. This is it! This is life! And I can stop waiting for that day to happen and start living right now.” 

Hmmm.  I said, “Wow, you’re right.  I’ve been this way my whole life, thinking one day, I’m going to be different.  I’ve been waiting and waiting and getting more and more frustrated with myself.”

Here’s what I realized:   

✔️I’m not an organized person. 

✔️I don’t remember who tells me things. 

✔️I don’t remember what I’m supposed to do next. 

So I’ve created systems.  I take notes.

This is what we talked about and this is what I need to do next. 

And I put it in my calendar for when I need to do it.  With the notes so I don’t have to rely on my memory.

I’ve accepted myself the way I am!

I’m just wondering, is there any part of you that you’re not accepting, that you think one day it’s going to be fixed, and then you could start living your life?

Well, guess what? You might as well start living now and just work around it, develop systems for it, talk to people, maybe ask, “Hey, you’re really good at this. What do you do?” 

Or something like that. But just don’t wait.

Don’t wait to start living. Start living right now!

Let me know what happens in the comments. 

This is Hilary Burns!

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All of A Sudden I’m Unworthy?

I’ve been “dating.” I’ve had 11 dates since I signed up on all these dating apps around 8 months ago. I started seeing people in person when COVID started easing up during the winter.

I didn’t need a second date with any of them.

Not my type, no chemistry, living with their kids, stone cold broke, struggling financially, hung up on the girlfriend that just broke up with them, still married, etc.

No one that was going to add to my life and I certainly don’t need another project. Here’s the thing. I used to think I “needed” to have a guy to be ok. It made me sort of desperate – I held onto the wrong people, got upset when a date was bad, and panicked when thinking how to go about meeting the “right” guy.

I’ve been doing a lot of work to create a new context for relationships.

“You need to fall in love with YOURSELF“, one of my teachers told me.

Hmmmm. How do I do that? I’ve heard that I need to love myself but, REALLY? How could I love myself when inside I thought I was disgusting, dumb and powerless and couldn’t have what I wanted? That was my undistinguished context for my life. It just didn’t seem possible. Why would I love that person?

Well, now, I have a new context for my life: Being A Fun, Bold Stand. When I recognize that I’m being the old context: “disgusting, dumb, powerless, victimized and miserable”, I can simply recognize it and return to being a Fun, Bold Stand.

Let’s try this on the court.

I found Ed on Bumble. He is absolutely gorgeous and an ex-professional athlete. In his profile he wants to travel, dance and go on adventures.

I selected him and said, “let’s travel.”

“Where would you want to go?” he asked.

“To a 5 star resort on an island.” I texted boldly.

“Great, I’ll book you for the spa day and massage.” he answered.

I couldn’t believe it. A guy who knows what I want? A guy who is attuned to what women want? I responded that I’m in and he is a real find.

He said he wanted to come to Westport and please invite him. I did. He wants to come Friday.

Holy Shit. My brain is now going crazy with the following. I might as well get my negativity out of my head so I can return to being present:

  • he’s too gorgeous – I am not perfect like him
  • he must just want sex – when he finds out I live with my mother for another month he may get violent and kill me
  • my last date couldn’t be bothered to talk to me – what if this guy is rude as well?
  • what will I wear?
  • how could he be interested in me? He is perfect
  • what if he talks like he’s from _____________________. He’s wasting a long trip.
  • I feel sick – I better cancel – I am not worthy – it’s easier to hang out with my mother than to “be bold”
  • what if I fall madly in love and he can’t stand me?
  • what if he’s just full of shit, sucks me in and spits me out
  • what if all men really do lie? what if I attract another liar? why torture myself?

OK, that was fun. Those thoughts have been under the surface. I can just keep letting them surface and blow them away.

Here’s a new direction:

  • what if he’s really great?
  • what if we really hit it off and travel together and have a great life?
  • what if he is really fun?
  • what if something does happen?

Can I trust the universe to deliver someone great? Do I trust that I can REALLY create the life and relationship I’ve always dreamed of?

Why not? Why hold onto the negative, fear based, ego based scarcity and hopelessness?

Good question. I guess it feels safer than exposing myself.

The thing is that I really have nothing to lose. If I’m disappointed, it’s ok. I’ve survived that before. And, if I have a great time, this guy gets who I am FOR REAL, and he’s for real as well, could I actually handle being happy? Not sure, but I can certainly practice it.

This was helpful for me to get this out. I am at a client and waiting for the next person to come in so this was a really great use of my time. I’m getting excited to meet Ed, AND, I’m still nervous. But now it’s a good nervous instead of terrified for my life.

Thanks for listening and have a great week.

My Whole Life I Thought I Had To Be Nice…..!

My whole life, I thought I had to be nice.  I was nice, people pleasing, and pleasant.  

But inside, I was resenting people and not enjoying my life.

What I found out recently is that there’s a difference between nice and kind. 

Nice isn’t even real! Nice isn’t even authentic! Nice is pretending!

I don’t know if you’ve ever met someone who you kind of like, they’re nice, but you kind of just don’t feel a good vibe from them. And you can’t put your finger on it.

Well sometimes that’s me.  Because I always thought I had to be nice.  I thought the only other option was MEAN.  And that just wasn’t me.

What I’ve learned lately is that I can be kind, direct and firm, Instead of nice, pretending, and accommodating others.  I can take care of myself and what works for me, without being mean.

For example, some people like to talk to me for a long time on the phone. In the past, when I had to get off, I was afraid to tell them.  I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I would just listen, roll my eyes and hope something would happen and I would be able to escape. 

Now, what I’ve learned is I can just say, “Hey, I got 10 minutes. How can I help you?” 

I can be kind, direct and have the life I want instead of being a victim and resentful. 

My question to you is, where in your life are you being nice because you don’t want to be mean, and not getting what you want and suffering? 

Where could you turn that to kind and direct and have life work for you, as well as them?

That’s my question for the day. I hope it helps. 

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How Remedial Driving School Cured My Adrenaline Addiction!

[Title]

How Remedial Driving School Cured My Adrenaline Addiction!

[Image]

Me Flying Through Red Lights – No Time To Stop – Gotta Go!!!

Last month, I got a notice in the mail saying I had to go to remedial driving school.  I called the number on the letter and said they must be mistaking me for someone else.  

“You’ve had 3 infractions in the past 5 years,”  they said.

“No I haven’t,”  I replied.

They refreshed my memory. Here’s what I slowly remembered:

I was always running, running, running, so much that sometimes when there was a yellow light, I would just keep going and be under it as it was turning red. . I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway.   Who could stop safely at that speed anyway, I rationalized?

One time I was on a phone call, holding my protein shake and waving my other hand since I was telling a story, and all of a sudden I was being pulled over by a cop.

“What’s going on?” I asked, confused.

“You are a mess,” he said.  He explained that it’s illegal to hold your phone while driving and gave me a ticket.   “I could put you in jail for not having your insurance card with you, too, but I won’t.”

“Thank you,”  I said.  I got back as he drove away, and finished my story, now adding my ticket to for more drama.
 

Another time I was driving through a 20 mile an hour speed limit, but I got pulled over for speeding because I was doing 40. 

Oh, okay.  I had forgotten about these things.  They were so “little” in my mind.

The third and most recent was a month or so before the letter.  I was at a red light, stopped, and putting in my Weight Watchers points for the breakfast I just ate.  All of a sudden, I was being waved over to the side of the road.

“What?! I wasn’t even doing anything wrong. I was stopped at a light.  You know, I was multitasking.”

They gave me a ticket anyway.  

I tried to talk my way out of the remedial driving school but I couldn’t.  I had to go to a driving class for a day. 

I found out that if I got another ticket within five years, I would lose my license for 30 days. And if I got a second one, I would lose my license for 60 days. This was not good.

The instructor said, “In order to stay out of trouble and avoid getting more tickets, drive the speed limit.”

“Wait, seriously?  Do people really do that?  My father used to say, ‘The speed limit is for idiots. No one goes the speed limit.’” I literally thought no one did that,”  I said, shocked.

The woman just laughed.  I was serious.  I couldn’t believe it.

Here’s another thing:  I was once told I was addicted to adrenaline. I’m always doing too much and trying to do multiple things at the same time. 

I didn’t even have time to stop for red lights. Well now, because of the threat of losing my license if I get one more ticket, I have to rethink my life.

And slow down.  And breathe. 

This is what I’ve learned:  There’s something called the vagus nerve. When you breathe, it apparently calms you down, and stops your racing heart.

I have learned to breathe, slow down, only do one thing at a time, and relax.  It’s a much more enjoyable life. 

I’ve realized that before I was kind of in a fight for my survival.   Well, my survival is not actually at stake, it just felt like it was.

I don’t have to be in a rush all the time. I can take my time, look around, smell the roses and get the same amount done without that panic and without that craziness. Because when I’m not present, I’m not doing a very good job anyway.  And I can’t afford to lose my license. 

So that’s my story about how going to remedial driving school taught me to take a breath, let the adrenaline go, and not be in fight or flight. 

Where in your life do you feel craziness? 

Like something bad’s going to happen if you don’t get something done. And you’re driven by something and you’re not really present. 

Are there any places like that for you? Take a look and let me know in the comments below.

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