It’s time for love. Now, more than ever, we need it. There’s always been a lot of crazy in the world, so it’s not that there’s so much more or even less, though I understand there is less suffering than in centuries past. More people are living longer, healthier lives, and then at the same time we humans are doing what we’ve always done to make life interesting – we create drama, some of which I find not all that much different than “Game of Thrones.”  No, I haven’t watched even one episode (I’ve seen the trailers), which I know means some of you will never speak to me again. And, yes, I’ve created my fair share of GoT drama.

But truth be told, when I turn my television on, I need something to make me laugh and take my mind off the seriousness of life I am continually confronted with on the daily.  Politics, part of that daily experience, are the current Reality Shows of today. Forget “Housewives of New Jersey,” for table flipping, just tune into Fox, CNN or MSNBC.  Doesn’t matter which narrative you feel called to follow, it’s looney. Okay, I might be a bit judge-y here, but please, somebody, pour a little kindness atop this whole nutty circus story. Ultimately, we’re all crafting our own unique narrative every day.  And there are any number of people who think my particular narrative is crazy and even downright un-something or other. And they could be right, or wrong, depending on which side of a particular belief system they’re sitting on.

We all get to choose the story of our lives that we’re crafting, and for me, love must be the central character of mine.

And I mean big love, the agape kind. I tend to think, believe actually, that love is the one main sacred force of the universe. Love is God (Insert your namesake). Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a sermon on love, a recording of which I heard not too long ago, where he breaks love down into three different categories. First, I love that Dr. King was talking about love in 1957, at such a necessary time for more love when the U.S. was just beginning to look at its deep prejudice towards black people in America. And, it seems we’re having to do the same thing again today, calling more love forward, with less than loving comments made by certain politicians about certain ethnic groups.

On November 17, 1957, Dr. King gave this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He broke love down into three distinct categories – eros, philia, and agape. First, he said of Eros, that it’s “a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love.” He goes on to say the Greek language talks about Philia, a “sort of intimate love between personal friends.” And then the Greek word Agape, “This is the love above eros and phila. Agape is a love that seeks nothing in return.  It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of man.”

I remember being glued to my car radio when I heard Dr. King’s sermon. I felt it had hit the love nail right on the head because I had experienced these three types of love in my own life. Love of a super hot and super sweet man, love for my family, and then a higher love, if you will, of human kind and God. The one common denominator in these three types of loving is me. And if my heart is open or closed these three types of loving – eros, philia, and agape, will or will not flow.

So, if I’m not open to love I’m blocked, protected, or closed. Experiencing a lack of loving is an experience I know all too well. First and foremost, it creates a deep inner pain of longing, if we can admit to it, and if not expressed and fulfilled we find any number of substances to cover and or fill the void. A whole bag of organic blue corn tortilla chips with hummus works for me. Bottom line, we will get our needs met on one level or another.  And for some, this lack of loving will create an internal revolt resulting in anger, hatred, revenge, and actions which bring most of us to our knees and to the doors of heaven to question our faith in human kind. A lack of loving can be catastrophic.

Heart blockages are painful on many levels, and it takes strength to love and to be open to love. Sometimes we think we’re loving, but our love has conditions to it. You behave in this way and I’ll love you. You buy me this gift and I’ll love you. You get good grades and I’ll love you. You behave or even believe in this way and you will be loved and accepted. We all know these scenarios. The conditions are often spoken in the name of God. But conditional loving in not really loving at all, it’s expectation laden with judgment – quite the opposite of loving.

We’ve all experienced conditional love, but conditions don’t support true love or us in opening up our hearts.Opening our hearts is an act of great vulnerability and of great courage. It takes real balls to open your heart and love another, but the rewards are beyond measure, beauty and joy.

And it’s so easy to choose another focus for my energy and personal narrative. I can choose to judge, and have so many times, another person or situation, or most of all, myself. To be loving, to speak loving words, to be considerate or empathic, requires great courage in the face of the easier, more sarcastic response. Love is a choice. What are you choosing in each moment to participate in? What are you putting out into the world? Is it love, or is it not love? For some, it’s simply walking past someone in need. For other’s it’s condemning a particular person for their skin color, their sexual orientation, their gender, nationality, or their religion. See how tricky this gets?

Beautiful lyrics by Hal David, with music by Burt Bacharach, written in 1965.  I love the Dionne Warwick version of “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” and Sara Bareilles’ version is epic.

I don’t know about you, but every day, in every conversation, every email, every text, every Facebook post, every Tweet on Twitter, I think about how my words will affect the person reading or hearing or seeing what I put out into the world. This is my world. I claim it as mine. And I share this great world with all of you. And I’m doing my part to make this place we call home just a little bit better, and a little bit brighter.  Whatever anyone else chooses to do is their choice. What are you choosing? Are you choosing love? Are your actions, your words, your posts loving? Do they carry the energy of love with them – Agape? Don’t kid yourself by thinking you make no difference, or what you think and put out into the world has no effect. It does. Every thought we think, every word we write and say is like a rock thrown into the pond. It has a ripple effect that goes on and on touching everyone it comes in contact with.

It’s time for love. But you will have to choose it. Some will not. Some will hesitate. When you do choose it, it will require your courage, take one hundred percent responsibility, and great care. Love your children, love your parents, love your partner, love your friends, love your community, love your place of worship, love your God, and don’t forget to love yourself. Just remember not to not love others in the process when they love something or someone that looks just a bit different than you. God gave us our differences, like colors, and it’s why our world is as vivid and alive as it is, but ultimately, it’s love that brings these colors together in the richest of tapestries. Love creates vibrancy in our world, and it’s love that has the power to change all, make better, and free us to create the narrative of our lives placed in our hearts at birth. Live with love. The world needs us.

 Barry Alden Clark has coached thousands of individuals in connecting more deeply with their hearts, their life purpose, and helped create a pathway for these folks to move forward in a direction more aligned with who they truly are. 

How To Make Your Life A Masterpiece

By Andreas Jones

Your life is the greatest masterpiece you can ever create. But to do this, you must first design it. How? You must have a vision of or image of what it looks like. Once you have a vision and design it then you can begin the process of building it.

The questions below can guide you with your design:

  • How do you classify your life when you are at your healthiest, strongest, and best
  • How can you relate your family situation with your pursuits in success?
  • What matters to you most in life?
  • What priorities drive you each day?
  • What makes you come alive?
  • What are you born to do?
  • What are you doing to live and share your purpose?
  • How do you want to describe your experience in life when you look back into it?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • What will you have wanted to accomplish?
  • What legacy will you have left?

These questions are necessary because some people might believe they are building their masterpiece, but rather they are building a piece of junk.

For some the answers to these questions may lead them to a new career because they try to meditate on them. However, for most, it’s simply a great change that will align your life with the vision and design you have for it. For example, you may need to exercise more and eat healthier to create your masterpiece. Or perhaps you may need to spend more time with your family because your masterpiece includes great relationships with your kids. Or you might realize that you are not spending enough time on your priorities and therefore your masterpiece is not developing as it should.

Whatever your masterpiece looks like, your design will help you see what you need to do, or stop doing, to create it. It’s a great effort when someone stops trying to create someone else’s masterpiece and instead focuses on designing and creating the masterpiece they’re meant to build.

Furthermore, it’s good to stay positive as you move from the design stage to the building stage because there would surely be challenges to be faced during the building stage. So, always remember that negative thoughts cannot solve anything but rather destroy it.

Be flexible and adaptable through the process. It’s okay for your plans to change, especially when your plans must give way to the ultimate creator’s master plan.

In conclusion, be sure to choose the right habits because that would affect who you are and your plans for each day .Your habits will transform your design, vision and plans into the masterpiece of your life.

Today, you have the opportunity to transcend from a disempowered mindset of existence to an empowered reality of purpose-driven living.

Today is a new day that has been handed to you for shaping. You have the tools, now get out there and create a masterpiece.

Do You Love Yourself Enough?

Stay Strong Self-Love

Staying strong + true to yourself from the inside out.

A product of the high achieving, you can do anything culture, educational and corporate system, I was trained to believe that if I had self-esteem – self-confidence, belief in myself – that I would be successful, happy and prepared to meet and thrive through any challenge that came my way.

Good intention. But not true. In fact, this sole focus on self-esteem almost cost me – and many women I know – my happiness, a true partnership, my health and living my true calling.

Self-esteem while essential is only 1/10th of the inner foundation needed to stay true to ourselves, trust ourselves, and take care ourselves, no matter what.

Even if you have strong self-esteem, without strong:

  • self-care… you will exhaust yourself, burn yourself out and give more to others or your work and as a result diminish your power, presence and health.
  • self-compassion… you’ll achieve lots but never feel like you are doing enough or well enough, you’ll focus on what you haven’t yet done vs. receiving the fruits of all your labor and love.
  • self-respect… you’ll be a rockstar at work and a disaster in your relationships, and instead of being a source of support, your relationships, or lack of them will drain your power and life force.
  • self-trust… you’ll settle and play it safe, be swayed by other people’s opinions, make self-sabotaging choices, and feel disconnected from your core self because you lack a strong connection to your inner wisdom as your guidance system.

What we really need – beyond just self-esteem – is a strong foundation of self-love that also includes self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-empowerment, self-pleasure as well as the four kinds of self-love listed above – which together complete what I call the “10 branches of self-love.

We need all 10 branches to be strong so that we have the strength to meet the challenges ahead, make the choices that keep us true to ourselves, including making sure we are receiving what we need.

In today’s world, we need to be strong on the INSIDE to be able to weather the intensity and chaos happening on the outside without getting swept into the swirl.

The problem is that most of us don’t really know what self-love is. It can feel so vast, esoteric and like a good idea but maybe something we should keep under wraps.

Self-love can feel selfish and insignificant in a time when the world faces so much turmoil and uncertainty and so many serious issues are at hand.

But I would offer that self-love is one of the medicines and practices we need more than ever in times like these.  And that we need it not in the ‘love yourself’ rah-rah generic platitude kind of way… but in real, practical ways that allow us to assess where our foundation and connection to self are weak so we can shore up our strength from the inside out.

I see so many girls who have been given the self-esteem message – yet they still beat themselves up for not being perfect or good enough, they still give their bodies to men in ways that make them not feel good about themselves, and they still doubt that inner wisdom voice within and make choices that limit their power, hold back their voice and sometimes even alter their lives forever.

I see so many women who are successful in their work life but feel like they aren’t living their true purpose or doing meaningful work, women who sacrifice their health over and over again to take care of their families and careers, women who are silenced, stuck and settling because inner fear instead of inner love is running their internal operating system.

Self-love isn’t something I knew I needed until I realized I didn’t even know what it is … and once I found it, I realized that part of the power we are missing as women and girls stems from not knowing how to assess, activate and practice self-love.

What I learned is that Self Love is a path, a practice, and a choice.

There are real, practical and powerful ways to assess where your self-love foundation is strong and weak, and then practices and tools to put to use in your day to day life to stay strong from the inside out.

I founded the international self-love movement, which every year hosts Self Love Day on February 13th and The Path of Self Love School which has taught over 35,000 people.

Every year we choose a “Self Love Mantra” + people take Self Love Promises to support them to stay true to themselves, trust themselves, and take care of themselves.

This year our mantra is STAY STRONG… not like a machine, martyr or macho bully, but in the true sense of feminine power.

Here’s the mantra, I share it with you now with the invitation to write it out, put it in your journal, make a piece of art with it, and then practice it this year. In the moments you feel lost, lonely, depleted, defeated, frustrated, confused, come back to it, come back to yourself and let Wisdom guide you forward on your Path supported by the practice of self-love.


S – Speak your truth + stay connected

T – Trust yourself

R – Rest + Replenish

O – Own your power + play your part

N – Nourish your heart & soul desires

G – Give & Receive

To find out where you are weak and strong in self-love – you can take the free self-love quiz at

To receive a recording of the STAY STRONG Self Love Day feminine super power session with Christine Arylo go to

Christine Arylo, m.b.a., is an inspirational catalyst, transformational teacher and best-selling self-love author who teaches people how to put their most important partnership first, the one with themselves, so that they can create the life their souls crave. The popular author of the go-to book on relationships Choosing ME before WE and the self-love handbook, Madly in Love with ME, the Daring Adventure to Becoming Your Own Best Friend, and her newest Reform Your Inner Mean Girl. She’s affectionately known as the “Queen of Self-Love” for her groundbreaking work in self-love, including founding the international day of self-love on Feb 13th. Arylo is the co-founder of the self-love and empowerment school for women, Inner Mean Girl Reform School.  You can follow here on Twitter, FB or visit her sites here & here


Just Because It’s Supposed to Work Doesn’t Mean It Will

Dan finished his education degree without ever stepping into a classroom.

After he graduated, he realized he didn’t like teaching and wasn’t good at it. The very first day of student teaching, where the goal was to serve as an intern before accepting a full-time position, he knew that this was not the career for him.

You’re probably thinking: hey, that’s life! He just had to stick it out, and then he’d be fine. And it’s true, sometimes there’s a learning curve on the road of purpose. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and it takes time to gain real-world skills.

This was different, though. Dan really didn’t like teaching. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural. He knew he could probably soldier on through the internship, but he didn’t want to go any further.

He thought back to what he really liked to do—the things he enjoyed when he was a kid, the skills that came naturally to him, and the times when he had taken pride in an accomplishment. Eventually, he realized that the next step on the path was to make an app that helped people monitor their daily fitness activity. Maybe it wasn’t the plan for the rest of his life, but it was a lot better than being in an environment that made him feel uncomfortable.

If your story begins like Dan’s, and you find yourself not enjoying the work you trained for, you might be tempted to stick it out. That’s what everyone expects of you. Maybe some people would even disapprove of you making a change.

It’s not just other people who are the problem: you also feel like it would be a waste to not continue down the road you chose long ago. You might feel wistful over the money spent or the time invested.

Then again, you also have the rest of your life. Which matters more?

It’s normal to cling to a chosen course of action, but that’s not always the best course of action. Just because it’s a good job doesn’t mean it’s the right job for you. Just because you acquired certain skills doesn’t mean you need to use them in any particular career.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to abandon the plan and explore something else. @chrisguillebeau (Click to Tweet!)

Why should you listen to anyone who says otherwise?

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of PursuitThe $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. 
Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.


How We Deny What We Really Want

Author: Dani Shapiro @

1. We give what we most want for ourselves to someone else.

I’ve been teaching my whole adult life. Graduate students, college students, high school students, people on retreats, inmates in prison. I love to teach—it is my second favorite thing to do, after writing. I do everything within my power to understand the inner lives of my students and to figure out how to help them learn more effectively. The patient focus I offer my students is something I sometimes long for in my own life, but find it enormously difficult to ask for. When I do, I become embarrassed and confused.”Who, me?” says that voice inside. “Me? I’m fine. I’ll get by.”

2. We tell ourselves that this one thing is going to hurt our marriage.

Ah, the convenient excuse of the husband! By which I do not mean that it’s fine to go do something that you know is going to wreak havoc on your partner’s well-being (say, have an affair with a cute divorced dad at your child’s school). I’m talking about using your marriage as an out. A few years ago, I was feeling depleted in every way. The stresses of parenting, working, keeping it all together had left me with an empty gas tank, and I desperately wanted to get away for a few days to fill up again. A few days. Solo. No husband. No kid. No dogs. No chores. I booked myself into a three-day silent-meditation retreat but nearly canceled as my departure date approached.

How would my husband manage? What would he eat? Would he remember our son’s dentist appointment? Would the dogs pee on the rug? Would he hate me for having abandoned him? But then, as my trip loomed, I realized that the anxious, nattering voice in my head was all about me. I was nervous. I was stepping outside my comfort zone. I hadn’t been away alone, except for work, since starting a family. I was terrified of the silence, and of what I might discover within it. I had nearly denied myself something I was craving, without being honest about the reasons why. And I was using my poor husband as my way out. Imagine the misplaced resentment I’d have felt had I not pushed myself into doing what I needed most.

3. We claim we can’t afford it.

And, to be fair, sometimes this is true. We want the vintage convertible, the suede, knee-high Manolo Blahnik boots, the kitchen renovation complete with a pizza oven. (Okay, to be clear, this is my wish list.) And it’s the sensible, adult thing to do to eschew these shiny pleasures in favor of the deeper, infinitely more important contentment that comes from being able to sleep through the night unplagued by credit-card debt. But what about those times when “can’t afford it” is just another way of saying “you don’t deserve this thing you want so badly.” I am not, nor have I ever been, good with money. But I do have friends who are, and I see that they have no problem feeling as if they’re worth the things they long for. A special vacation? They save up for it. A new winter coat? They pin images to their Pinterest boards and work it into their budgets. It seems that affording what we want has at least something to do with believing we have a right to name our desire.

4. We plan to do it—as soon as it’s a less stressful time.

Once our kids are in high school. Or college. Perhaps when we retire. When circumstances are just right. And, so, we defer our dreams, or stockpile them, counting them like sheep as we fall asleep each night. When my mother was terminally ill—at 80, with lung cancer—she turned to me one day. But I was just getting my life together, she said, her voice quavering with regret. After her death, I cleaned out the small office in her apartment and discovered an entire closet piled with empty notebooks, unopened packages of file folders and boxes of pens. She had wanted to be a writer. She had big ideas for projects, stories she always intended to set down on paper. But there was always something she needed to do first. Did she avoid what she wanted out of fear or insecurity? Maybe she was afraid that if she tried, she’d find out that she didn’t have what it took. Paralysis set in. It was safer, it seemed, to dream it than to do it. There was always more time.

5. We tamp ourselves down.

Oh, the list of ways in which we can make ourselves smaller, and in so doing, ensure that we will not get what we most desire! Maybe we overeat. Or starve ourselves. We succumb to shyness or insecurity. We self-medicate with sugar. Or booze. Or sleeping pills. We choose the wrong romantic partner, one who will clip our wings. We all have ways of sabotaging ourselves. As a young woman, I specialized in entanglements with men who had flashing neon warning signs all around them. One was a narcissist, another was tremendously competitive with me. If I had stayed with any of them—instead of choosing my husband—I would not have become who I am today. I had been so afraid of a dream so deeply held, I couldn’t even have voiced it, the dream of growing into myself.

6. We forget what we want most.

Of all the ways in which we deny what we want most, this one is the most insidious, because losing sight of our dreams means—in some important sense—that we have lost sight of ourselves. Stop reading this very moment. That’s right—close your eyes. Silently ask yourself: What is the heart of the matter? Repeat this question like the medicine it is. What is the heart of the matter? Because the heart of the matter is beating inside you. It hasn’t vanished. But first, you have to become aware that it’s gone. Now, go find it once again.