Welcome to Finding The Gift!™

Welcome and may your gifts be many!
(Hint: they already are.)

self development, Finding the Gift, Finding the Gift Book

Finding the Gift is about discovering what is already wonderful, inside us and around us.

Hello! My name is Angela Howell and I’ve been on a personal journey of Finding the Gift™­ in my own life since I was a teenager … a LONG time! I’m still on the journey and my hope is to connect with you by sharing what I’ve learned so far, and what I continue to learn. This is our virtual community where you can share your own insights with me and each other, by commenting on my posts or by contacting me directly. Look for the orange sign-up box to be notified of updates. Just for joining the FTG community, I will send you my free eBook, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift!

Many of my insights come through unlikely metaphors in nature and other life lessons, and those will be found in my blog posts and my new book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness. Be sure to check out the FTG Book page, where you can learn more about my book and see what readers are saying!

Come on in and make yourself at home. I am excited to see what gifts you discover while you’re here and what gifts you’ve brought to share. Open eyes get more gifts to open. Cheers to us both Finding the Gift™ today!

Ordinary life is fascinating when viewed with extraordinary perspective.


Posted in Blog Posts

My Blog Has Moved!

Hey FTG Friends! If you haven’t already, please visit me at my main website www.AngelaHowell.com! My blog has been moved and you’ll find lots of cool new stuff! See you there!

Posted in Blog Posts

Six Lessons from Baby Birds

baby birds, nest. baby finch

Tis the season for nests and baby birds everywhere! We were fortunate when a finch family nested in the floral arrangement hanging on our front storm door. We had first row seats to all the action, and the lessons were abundant. I also had an encounter with a baby mockingbird who took a premature fall, but allowed me to help him find his wings. He taught me a valuable truth along with the finch family.

Be Expectant

bird eggs IMG_8663

The mama and papa finch didn’t just sit around wishing, hoping and praying to one day have a big family. They were expectant! They spent hours bringing one twig or one leaf at a time to build a nest for their family. We can’t know if they had doubts, but they took action and did their part to set themselves up for success. After their preparation was complete, they carefully laid their eggs and watched over them with great attention. Their part was done and it was time to trust, surrender and wait.

It’s easy to have big goals, but sometimes more difficult to take small, daily steps to bring them to fruition. Imagine if the mama and papa finch waited until the babies were here and then tried to quickly build a nest? It doesn’t work that way. We have to step out in faith, do the footwork and then trust our hard work will pay off.

Bonus lesson: surrender. How good are most of us at surrendering once we’ve taken the necessary steps toward realizing our plans? Often I’ll do the legwork, but then I want to keep pushing, trying to make everything happen according to my vision and my time frame. Patience is a virtue that does not come easily to me! I am continuing to learn when to take action and when to let go of the outcome and allow circumstances to unfold more naturally.

Challenge a Fearful Mindset

baby birds

I could open the front door carefully and peek through the crack to see the mama and papa finch sitting in their nest. Usually the mama would be sitting on the eggs and the papa would be standing guard on the edge of the nest. Hearing the door squeak open, the papa finch would take off and the mama finch would sit up on high alert waiting to see if she was in danger. Whenever I opened the door all the way, she flew off until she felt it was safe to return.

Once born, it wasn’t long before the babies adopted their mom’s behavior. When they were big enough, I could open the door slightly and suddenly see them sitting up attentively. They didn’t have any of their own life experience yet—this fear was learned. In fact they weren’t in any real danger because I had no intent to harm them. Yet they adopted their mothers fear and made it their own, without question.

How many adopted fears are we acting out on every day and we don’t even know why? Maybe there’s nothing to fear at all? Certainly intuition and experience give us reason to exercise caution, but some of our adopted behaviors and beliefs may need to be challenged for truth.

Follow Those Who Have Gone Before


The baby finches seem to get bigger every day. On the day when all the baby birds would leave the nest for good, my husband said he could see the mama and papa finch flying around with a little trail of birds following them before leading the family back to the nest. A training exercise I guess? He’s not certain that’s what he saw but it sure sounds good.

Why do we try to do everything by ourselves when there are plenty of people who have gone before us and are willing to show us how they did it and what they learned? Utilize parents, mentors, coaches—those who are a little further down the path than us—to shortcut our path to success. Learn from their mistakes so we don’t have to make as many. Allow them to show us how it’s done and be grateful to one day pay it forward to someone coming up behind you.

Trust in Perfect Timing

baby birds, baby bird, baby finch, nest, fly

Out of five baby birds, I was able to witness four of them flying away. The first two went together and the others left one at a time, when they were ready. Every single time, we could hear their family coaxing them, but discomfort played a role too as they were challenged by my opening the door to watch. The first two hopped up on the edge, looked ahead and looked behind. I could almost see their hesitation confronted by their confidence, thinking, “This is supposed to work.” In no time, they both jumped and found their wings. The next baby bird was just as hesitant. He took off with less courage and sort of flitted to the ground below. He hopped around two or three times and then flew right up into the tree in front of our home, joining his family eagerly awaiting him. I looked at the last two babies and told them, “No shame. When you’re ready, you will know it. Take your time.”

Everybody has their own time frame, and we must follow that even if our friends and family don’t understand our reasoning. I didn’t see the second to the last finch baby leave, and the next time I checked there was one bird left. I had been upstairs painting and could hear the mama finch chirping incessantly. I finally went downstairs to see what was going on and found that only one bird remained. I could tell she was desperately loved and they wanted her to join them and see what the world was like. I told her she was wonderful and special and that when she was ready, she would do great. As I was trying to take her picture, I guess she realized her time had come. In response, she got up on the edge and after a moment’s hesitation, she jumped. She flew briefly and landed in the grass a few feet away. In less than ten seconds, she was airborne again and flew up to meet her family in the evergreen tree.

No one can tell us when it’s our time—our time to start, to stop, or to change. We alone must make the decision and then give ourselves to our choice wholeheartedly. We instinctively know when it’s time and we don’t have to let fear or doubt stand in the way.

Ask for Help

A few days ago, I found a baby mockingbird hopping around in my backyard chirping steadily. I could hear his family answering back in a nearby tree. I found remnants of a nest that had fallen and this little one must not have been quite ready to fly. Inside a small box, I packed dried grass and twigs and placed the fallen nest on top. Climbing up on a ladder, I nestled the box inside the crook of a tree and nailed it securely in place. The baby bird stood by watching me until it was time for me to catch him and transport him back up into the tree. He was not at all happy when I tried to pick him up. Using a large cup, I was able to scoop him inside and release him into the nest, only to have him jump right back out, fall eight feet and land squawking on the ground again. I cringed and told him to please let me help him!

I tried it again and this time the baby bird stayed put. He stood on the edge of his new home and chirped back and forth with his family. After watching for a while to make sure he was okay, I left. Hours later, I returned to find he was gone from the nest and nowhere to be found. My husband said he needed the height I gave him in order to learn how to fly. Taking off for the first time from the ground was too difficult and by placing him up high, he had room to jump and learn how to use his wings. For some reason, the name ‘Gary’ was written on the side of the box so we refer to him now as Gary. I like to believe I saved this baby mockingbird and gave him a second chance.

We all need help from time to time and there’s shame in asking for it or receiving it. We need each other. One day it might be me who needs help, and tomorrow it may be you. We can be here for each other and do what we can when life throws our friends an unexpected curve.

Let Them Go

empty nest, nest,

I think about Gary and the finch family often. Two years ago, our only son left for college. While it took some getting used to, my husband and I had adjusted to living alone. Now after assisting a mocking bird baby find flight, and having cheered on a family of finches over the last month, sadly we are empty nesters again—literally! I feel a piece of my heart is gone. I keep checking the front floral arrangement for the finches but it remains empty. I had hoped they would come back and spend the night, at least the first few nights, but my finch family hasn’t returned. We see finches in the front yard and say hello. When I see mockingbirds flying around, I like to believe one of them is Gary, living life to the fullest. I have to let them go.

If we have to hold tight to something, it’s not really ours anyway and we will limit their full development. Life is a lot like fishing: catch, love and release; catch, love and release. As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” I always thought Shakespeare said this and was fascinated to read the real story behind this poem by Tennyson after losing his best friend unexpectedly. While it’s difficult when life brings transition to relationships, with intention we can count it all joy and be grateful for what we have, while we have it.

Until next time, may your gifts be abundant!

P.S. If you have a Finding the Gift story, I want to hear it and so does the rest of our FTG community! Please post a comment or send me a message through my contact Angela tab. Not an FTG member? Look for the orange box to the right and sign up! I’ll send you a free eBook immediately, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift! (Depending on your device, you may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

P.P.S. Do you have your own copy yet? Find out why Finding the Gift has been featured in the Sunday Tennessean as high as #2, as part of the top ten best-selling books locally. Shop awesome booksellers like BookManBookWoman and Parnassus, or you can find it on Amazon.

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The Ups and Downs of Finding the Gift

Hello FTG Friends,

As my good friend Todd Cecil would say, I hope you all are smiling wherever you are in the world today!

Ups and Downs Are Guaranteed and Necessary

This week has had some wonderful developments and yet, has also been exceptionally challenging on a personal level. Have you ever felt like dancing on the table to celebrate with ecstatic joy, yet simultaneously felt the impulse to open the floodgates of grief and pain and give the floor (or bed) a good soaking? Well, this week I’ve done both.

I’m not at liberty to discuss either situation but the point is I honored my internal experience, both my joy and my pain. I recognize that life is life and we are going to have ups and downs, and on some days we will have both! Time promises change and my goal is to remain as present as possible in every circumstance.

Nothing lasts forever, the pain or the joy, and I’ve learned to give thanks for the contrast which makes it possible to really appreciate all of life’s gifts.

Huffington Post

What else?! I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful visit from my college roommate recently and managed to do some guest blogging as well. Thanks to an amazing connection, I am excited to be the newest contributor to Huffington Post! Please visit my home page on their website any time to see what I’m sharing with the world. You can also subscribe to the feed to be notified of new content immediately. Already I’ve had two articles published which I invite you to please read and leave your comments for me so they keep me on board a while.
To go straight to my Huffington Post articles, just click the title:
A few other recently published articles:

Maybe I’ll see you at one of my upcoming speaking events:

April 27 Hendersonville Rotary
April 28 Nashville Breakfast Club
May 17 Gallatin Morning Rotary
June 2 Hendersonville Key to the City Luncheon
July 19 Private book club
July 22 Women in Business for the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce

I have several other speaking engagements in the works. If your group isn’t listed, let’s change that! You can find more information here.

New content is being added all the time at Finding the Gift! Your voice is always wanted and welcomed in the comments. We are a community! Let us hear from you! If you didn’t already, check out the awesome new video book trailer for Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness!

As always, I am incredibly grateful for each one of you. Thank you for connecting and may your gifts be many! (Hint: they already are!)



PS. Woop Woop!!! Go Trent Harmon! I am a happy American Idol fan but La’Porsha deserved it too.

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How to Stop Seeing Life as a Victim

glass half empty, victim, glass half full

glass half empty, victim, glass half full

Half empty? Half full? Or maybe someone forgot to pour you a glass?

My past involved a lot of chaos and trauma and more than once, I’ve been a victim of unfortunate circumstance. However, I’ve come to realize that my suffering isn’t that much different than anyone else’s. We all have obstacles to overcome and we all know people who have been hurt more than us. At times I wanted to believe my pain was greater, but I’ve been challenged to embrace the notion that suffering is ordinary. Still, I frequently find myself facing a choice between victim thinking versus empowered thinking. How I choose to see my life carries far greater weight than reality itself.

“We could spend weeks, months, even years … trying to change our attitudes and behaviors and not even begin to approach the phenomenon of change that occurs spontaneously when we see things differently.” —Stephen R. Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

Perspective vs Reality

It might be easier if perspective and reality were the same thing but they’re not. One situation can be viewed multiple ways by multiple people, as well as by the same person. Perception dominates reality every time.  I think when the consequences of feeling like a victim are negative enough, we’re forced to adopt a different mindset.

What does victim thinking produce in my life?

  • Hurt feelings (perceived negative emotions)
  • Perceptions of abandonment
  • Perceptions of rejection
  • Perceptions of loneliness

Do you see the trend? They’re all perceptions. I choose to feel hurt. I allow myself to feel abandoned and neglected. Someone may reject me, but I decide to feel rejected and maybe even unloved and unlovable. I might take on a feeling of shame. If I indulge the bad emotions long enough, I may even progress to feeling hopeless. In victim thinking, I believe the world will never be a safe place to let down my guard. Rarely do I feel happy, because there’s no room for happiness under the umbrella of victim thinking.

It’s time for a huge disclaimer. I am not saying don’t feel your feelings. We must feel our feelings or we will have to work very hard to keep them buried and repressed with substance and process addictions, or other means of escape.

Feelings are real, but not necessarily indicative of reality.

We need to honor our feelings and acknowledge the wounded parts of ourselves. The tricky part is not allowing our feelings to overshadow our reality and dominate all our thoughts.

Bad things happen. Horrendous things happen. I understand and have walked through my share of them. Still, I decide what story to replay in my head about the negative things in life. I can choose to stay stuck in a bad story, or I can choose to accept and forgive. I can even explore how to be grateful for what I’ve learned in tough situations and foster appreciation for the person each of those encounters has allowed me to become. With acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude, I can decide to move on so the person, place or situation doesn’t hold me captive any longer.

When I decide to see myself as an overcomer, I am choosing to stand on several powerful truths:

  • I am enough.
  • I choose how to experience my life and the circumstances that happen(ed).
  • I choose how to embrace each day.
  • I choose not to indulge my own arrogance, thinking everything that happens is being done to me personally.

Ouch that last one hurts, but it’s true. Arrogance doesn’t just mean I think I’m better than other people. It simply suggests inflated self-importance, such as making up in my head that “this” happened and “they” did it to me on purpose. I might embellish the story even further and say it happened because I wasn’t good enough or because I said the wrong thing. To me, these thoughts are the essence of victim thinking. It’s warping everything that happens around me to make it about me. Again and again and again.

Victim thinking is an addiction to feeling bad about my life and about myself.

The opposite is choosing to walk through my life moment by moment, knowing everyone is doing the best they can—including me. If I choose to stay in victim thinking today, so be it. Maybe that’s the best I can do today. Perhaps I need another day of experiencing what it’s like to live as a victim. It takes what it takes and when I’ve had enough, I’ll gain the willingness to make other choices.

Empowering beliefs when we’re ready to move on …

For today,

  • I choose to believe I’m not as important in everyone else’s world as I sometimes think I am.
  • I choose to believe that most of the things that happen today are not going to be personal.
  • I choose to not give away my peace for pennies, but instead to guard my self-worth, self-esteem, and daily serenity.
  • I will adopt beliefs that nurture my well-being, instead of painful or self-limiting thoughts.

Today I choose to see myself as a competent adult—an equal in the world of adults. I surrender the feeling of being a child who continues to experience terrible things. I must be willing to grow up and step into my adult shoes, while nurturing those wounded, childlike parts of me.

I have to acknowledge my pain but I don’t have to relive it every day.

Too often we set ourselves up for circumstances in our present lives that resemble how we were hurt in the past. Life has a funny way of showing us reruns. The names and places may be different but the obstacles seem to have the same theme. The same troublesome boss, coworker or neighbor seems to be everywhere we go. Life is handing us a gift! It’s giving us the opportunity to make different choices or to view what’s happening from a different perspective. When we finally get the lesson, that particular rerun stops playing and we progress to the next opportunity for growth.

I must become willing to be happy and content.

If I want to stop victim thinking, I must gain willingness to end my addiction to feeling bad. Instead, I become willing to love myself and validate my wounds, yet with my adult voice, speak the truth into my life and into my mind.

Powerful truths

Our subconscious minds believe whatever we tell them. If you doubt that’s true, try an experiment. Say a few of these declarations out loud. I like to call them powerful truths:

  • I am in charge of my life today.
  • I get to decide how I feel today.
  • I feel great today and I am excited about my ability to make good choices.
  • Today I am powerful enough to show up in the world as a strong, brilliant beautiful soul— no better than and no worse than anyone else here.
  • Today I realize that I will do my best and so will everyone else around me.
  • Today I will not feel sorry for myself but I will give thanks in everything, for the blessings and the lessons. Both are working for my good.

How did that feel? My subconscious likes powerful truths a whole lot better than the other chatter that too often runs on autopilot in my mind—chatter that only beats me down and makes me think I’m constantly swimming upstream.


Not living like a victim is a choice, one we get to make one day or one moment at a time. Hopefully more days than not, we will surrender our need to feel bad. This only perpetuates how we felt about ourselves and our lives as a result of circumstances in the past. Those situations are long gone. We are the only ones keeping ourselves down, continuing to suffer.

When we can embrace that suffering is ordinary, and that no matter what we’ve been through, there are people who have been through that and worse, then we can be free. If we have built our identities around trauma and pain, that’s all we know. Of course it only makes sense we want to hang onto them—until life becomes too miserable.

Ask yourself, “Am I ready to move on? Am I ready to embrace a life of wholeness and wellness?”

The choice is mine. The choice is yours. For today, let’s choose to be free and let some joy in. Let’s focus on how we can be a blessing to others. When I’m so focused on what people are doing to me, how can I focus on being kind and loving to others? Once again, arrogance is playing the same old tune: it’s all about me. I think we need a new song!

Please join me in letting go of victim thinking today. Let’s do a random act of kindness for someone else and enjoy how nice that feels. Let’s feed our subconscious minds several powerful truths, allowing hope and joy to seep into the hurt places. Let’s take one behavior that seems to perpetuate feeling bad and today, try something new. Let’s choose to see ourselves as survivors instead of victims. Survivors are very strong, empowered people. Let’s embrace our true identities today—they’ve been buried long enough.

P.S. If you have a Finding the Gift story, I want to hear it and so does the rest of our FTG community! Please send me a message through my contact Angela tab. Not an FTG member? Look for the orange box to the right and sign up! I’ll send you a free eBook immediately, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift! (Depending on your device, you may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

P.P.S. Do you have your own copy yet? Find out why Finding the Gift has been featured in the Sunday Tennessean five weeks in a row, as part of the top ten best-selling books. Shop awesome booksellers like BookManBookWoman and Parnassus, or you can find it on Amazon.

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Five Amazing TED Talks That Will Transform Your Thinking, Part One

TED talks, Angela Howell, finding the gift

TED talks, Angela Howell, finding the gift

What follows is an excerpt from my article recently published on Everyday Power Blog. Full article here.

TED Talks are Miracle Grow for the body, mind and soul! They are cutting edge philosophy, psychology, science and insight, among many other wonderful “ideas worth sharing.” The very first TED Talks were posted online in July, 2006 and continue to serve as a phenomenal resource for seekers like us who are striving to make ourselves and this world a better place.

I never run out of curiosity, or the need to grow into someone I like more than the day before. As a teenager, I had two choices. I could cave and let hard situations and obstacles drive the essence of me deep into the ground, where not even a flicker of light existed. The alternative was to start asking questions, to seek understanding and greater insight, and to let myself learn from events that might otherwise keep me in dark places.

I searched for answers in books on spirituality, religion, relationships, psychology and all other things self-help. I attended seminars, twelve-step groups, webinars, and creative circles to untangle the beliefs I learned early—beliefs and philosophies that no longer served me. Eventually I discovered TED Talks, which continue to disclose the answers I seek.

Whether you’re new to TED or an avid fan, the following TED Talks are a must-watch and worth repeating. I had a difficult time narrowing down my favorites, so these five are the first batch, with more to follow.

Click here to read the rest of the article and get the links to my first five favorite TED talks.

Please leave your comments on the article page for me and tell me which of these five you loved most! Cheers to all of us Finding the Gift™!

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Even Dogs Are “Finding the Gift”

pets, dogs, books, Finding the Gift, parnassus books

I just had to post this precious photo of shop dog Bear from Parnassus Books in Nashville. Apparently he’s been sneak-reading my book under the table! It’s okay, Bear. All smart dogs practice mindfulness!

Many of the metaphors that inspired each daily reading in Finding the Gift came from dogs, cats, birds and bunnies. It’s no wonder Bear loves it! Read on!

If you need a copy for yourself, or for your pet, please visit Parnassus Books in person or online! Cheers to us all Finding the Gift!

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Why We Procrastinate and the Payoffs of Avoidance

procrastination, avoidance, perfectionism, fear of letting go, fear of success, fear of failure

procrastination, avoidance, perfectionism, fear of letting go, fear of success, fear of failure

I have been asked to develop this topic for Everyday Power Blog, a trusted source for inspiration and motivation. In doing so, I uncovered FIVE (5) KEY PAYOFFS  for avoidance and the fears attached. Good news—there’s a way to tip the scale!
Read all the way through to see which of these may be hidden reasons you’re holding yourself back, and then give the exercises at the end a try. Cheers to you Finding the Gift in Procrastination and Avoidance!

“Why do I feel an urge to do something else whenever I start doing something important? What steps can I take to move forward?”

We are asking the wrong question, and I’m as guilty as anyone. It’s not, “Why do I put off the things I really want or need to do?” The real question we have to ask ourselves is, “What’s the pay-off I enjoy by avoiding doing what I say is important?” Our answers may vary but see if any (or all!) of these apply:

  • I get to stay comfortable.
  • I get to stay anxious.
  • I get to protect my dream.
  • I get to avoid making a decision.
  • I get to stay small.

Click here to read more about each avoidance payoff and how to work your way through procrastination. Please leave your comments on the article page for me!


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Breaking Free from the Imaginary Leash

freedom, purpose, dreams, courage, passion, authentic
Goldie’s leash is real, but Henry’s is imaginary.

joy, passion, authentic, free, dog

Henry just realized he is UNLEASHED!

Hey FTG friends! In recent author talks for my book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness, I’ve been having fun sharing about the December 29 entry, Life Lessons From the Dog. Dog lovers are everywhere so they can relate! During my talk, I also briefly discuss the daily meditation from November about the imaginary leash many of us choose to live with. Today, I remembered I had these great pictures to further illustrate this concept and wanted to share them with you.

The dog in both of these photos, affectionately named Henry, is actually the subject of his own daily meditation on November 24. Henry showed up one evening and called us “family” for a few days. The dog on a leash is Goldie, our dog for seven years who has upgraded herself to a home with no cats. Yes, it was hard to let her go, but we knew she would be better off. We get pictures of her at the beach all the time!

Anyway, I’m excited to share the photos and the lesson about the invisible leash.

From the November 18 entry in Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness:

Goldie and I went on a walk this gorgeous autumn afternoon. The brilliant neon orange trees were glowing in the late afternoon sunlight and the sky was bright blue, with white, fluffy clouds. All the cares of the day just disappeared from my mind and I was free again. We have a street in our neighborhood that still has only a few houses, although recently they completed two more. Usually on this street, I let Goldie off the leash so she can run wild through the undeveloped land alongside the road. We all need to run free now and then. I haven’t been doing it as much lately though, because one of the new neighbors has a dog they let roam free. Today we circled the cul-de-sac, and once we passed the last house, I let Goldie off the leash. She trotted along as if nothing happened. She had no idea she was free and just kept her pace beside me on the street. I had to run away from her into the grass to show her she was off the leash.

How many of us voluntarily buy into the boxes and chains we trap ourselves with? We are the only ones keeping us stuck. We buy into the should’s, the what if’s, ought to’s, and have to’s so much that we forget what free feels like. Worse than that, some of us don’t even realize anything is wrong—that we are not actually free. We move along doing what we’re supposed to do, never challenging the beliefs we have tied ourselves down with.

Are you living the life of your dreams? Do you dream of living a different life? Do your dreams even surface anymore? Today can be a new beginning because awareness is the first step. Maybe you just need a little more life in your life, rather than a drastic change? Join a bowling league. Buy an arts and craft kit. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Pack an overnight bag and drive until it looks like an interesting place to stop. Just do something different. Maybe it’s time to really assess the path you’re on, or examine the detour you accidentally took so long ago. What can you do about that? When you think about what you really want, instead of saying, I can’t, ask yourself, How can I? Look around. The leash has been imaginary all along. You are free!

P.S. If you have a Finding the Gift story, I want to hear it and so does the rest of our FTG community! Please send me a message through my contact Angela tab. Not an FTG member? Look for the orange box to the right and sign up! I’ll send you a free eBook immediately, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift! (Depending on your device, you may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

P.P.S. Do you have your own copy yet? Find out why Finding the Gift has been featured in the Sunday Tennessean five weeks in a row, as part of the top ten best-selling books locally. Shop awesome booksellers like BookManBookWoman and Parnassus, or you can find it on Amazon.

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Some Resolutions Are Just Too Big

Happy New Year! Whew, it’s been a while since I posted. Author talks and book events have kept me jumping, but I am so very grateful for the impact “Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness” is making in people’s lives and their perspectives. We’re all in this together!

January is the biggest month for most of us to think about our lives and make new resolutions. But for many, these are quickly abandoned by February. Too often people resolve to accomplish goals that are too big and daunting, and/or deep down, they don’t believe they deserve to have or be “x.” Surprisingly enough, we make progress much quicker by taking baby steps consistently. The turtle beats the rabbit on this track!

If you are having trouble with any of your New Year’s resolutions, I have a few suggestions that have helped me in the past. If all I have identified is the ultimate outcome, I can stare at that goal until I am blue in the face, paralyzed to take any real action. However, if I create some smaller resolutions that will cause me to take a step toward the final destination, I can make forward progress.

Excerpt from “Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness” for January 1:

Sometimes I find it easier to look at a big goal and then work backwards, breaking it down into smaller pieces. I’ll ask myself, Well, if that goal was true one year from now, what else will be true? For instance, if I had aspirations to become more fluent in a foreign language one year from now, I could start by finding other people to regularly converse with. Boom. I just created a tangible action step I can do today, which will help me get where I want to be a year from now. This sounds so obvious, but too often we get overwhelmed and intimidated by the idea of attaining huge goals. We can’t think of how to get started and we stay frozen.

If my goal for 2016 as an author/speaker is simply to reach more people with my book and my message, I could easily remain intimidated by how to actually go about doing that and do nothing, but hope and pray it just happens. Or, I can pretend it’s December, 2016 and that I’m looking back over the year feeling grateful that I did successfully expand my impact. I can ask myself what must have happened for my goal to be realized? I probably had to identify some groups who could relate to what I have to say. Then I probably had to do some research and make some phone calls or send some emails.

So now, rather than focus on my big goal, I can start thinking about specific groups or organizations who would be thrilled to have me as a guest speaker. Once identified, I can make another goal to do some research and find out who secures speakers for the event. I can make contact through phone or email. I know this is a very specific example but I’m hoping you can translate this to your own goals and see that a big resolution needs to be broken down into several, smaller goals. Tasks that can be done in a day. Activities that when put together, lead up to helping you reach your bigger destination.

If this sounds elemental but you are facing a resolution that is quickly fading, I hope you will give it a try. Just ask the question, “If this were true, what else would have to be true?” You have all the answers you need inside you. Sometimes we just aren’t asking ourselves the right questions!

If negative beliefs are holding you back, that’s going to require a different strategy. Write down the three most powerful self-sabotage beliefs that run through your mind. Reasons that deep-down are keeping you from attaining your resolutions. Let’s say you want to increase your income in 2016. That’s a great goal, but until it’s defined in detail, it could easily remain a resolution that’s just too big. But let’s deal with the negative self-beliefs because if those are dominating your daily thoughts, the best-laid actions plans are meaningless.

Perhaps your first negative thought is this: “I don’t deserve to make more money,” or “No one in my family has ever made much money.” If that is an underlying belief, your sub-conscious will make sure your life backs that up. How would it feel to believe, “I deserve to make an abundant living to be able to provide for myself and my family and have fun doing it?” Can you feel the shift? This isn’t hard work, but it does take intentional effort. Change your software programs in your mind and you will change your life!

Excerpt from “Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness” for January 6:

Take a moment. Stare out a window. Let yourself dream of a life that is to come. If you could do or be anything—no limits based on finances, present circumstances or past experiences—what would you do? Where would you go? What would you invent? What new hobby or interest might you explore? Who would be in your life? (Who would you let go of?) Who would you help? How much money would you see in your account? Where would you live? What would your body look like, and how strong and flexible would you be? What charity would you support or create? What would your doctor say at your annual checkup?
This is YOUR dream. STOP the limiting chatter!

My book is full of daily meditations to challenge old beliefs, broaden perspectives and offer practical tips that will help us all achieve the lives we really desire from the inside out. I can’t say it enough: this is MY handbook for living. I do not have all these lessons mastered! Far from it. I wrote this book to provide reminders for the many issues I still need to work on myself. I just decided to share it with you so we can do it together! We all need traveling companions on this journey of life. Thank you for being one of mine!

If you’re in the Nashville area, I will be at the Green Hills Library on Thursday, February 4 at 6pm for an author talk and book signing event. Books will be available to purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to the “Friends of the Library.” I hope to see you there!

P.S. If you have a Finding the Gift story, I want to hear it and so does the rest of our FTG community! Please send me a message through my contact Angela tab. Not an FTG member? Look for the orange box to the right and sign up! I’ll send you a free eBook immediately, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift! (Depending on your device, you may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

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Angela Howell and America’s Love Doctor Discuss Mindfulness

Angela Howell, Mindfulness, Holiday Mindfulness, Year end mindfulness, Finding the Gift

Recently celeb psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade, a regular guest on The Today Show, Dr. Oz and Oprah, interviewed Angela Howell to discuss year-end mindfulness and her new book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness. Click the replay to learn how Angela Howell practices mindfulness in her life and get her secret for how to become present in less than two seconds. Hint: find your feet, hands and breath!

As a bonus, you’ll also hear Angela discuss why she believes suffering is ordinary, as she challenges others to lay down their (superior) victim identity and join the human race as an equal—no better and no worse than their neighbor. Cheers to you Finding the Gift through mindfulness!


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