The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Ew! Is that a giant weed growing out of your ear? 3 Easy Steps 2 Cleaning Up the Garden of Your Mind


A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. – James Allen

While the quote above might sound kind of old fashioned I actually like that about it because it just goes to show that this concept is not new.

I was thinking about forgiveness this morning and how, by not forgiving, we create this block in our head and hearts that keeps us from being happy. Non-forgiveness looking like a nasty weed is a pretty obvious jump from there so let’s go with it in the spirit of summer, flowers and fresh veggies.

Basically, your mind is a garden that is going to grow whatever you plant in it. It’s either going to grow lovely things like flowers and veggies or it’s going to grow nasty weeds. What you can be assured of is that it’s definitely going to grow something.

So, what are you growing in the garden of your mind? What does it look like in there and how can you grow useful things and get rid of the weeds?

Here are three simple steps to cleaning up the garden of your mind:

1. Become aware of what’s growing. 

Most of us don’t think too much about our thoughts because we’re too busy thinking them (and let’s not forget about that little voice sowing seeds of doubt, guilt and insecurity all the time). The first step to cleaning out your garden brain is to step back and take a look at it. Look long and hard. Look closely. Do an inventory. What’s growing there? What are you planting? Do you fill your brain with nasty weedy thoughts or do you fill it with positive flowers? You are the farmer of your brain. Start paying attention to what you’re planting or what you planted.

2. Pluck out the weeds.

Now, if you’ve had any experience with gardening at all you know that you can tear up a weed and it’s probably just going to come back. So, you need to make sure you really remove this weed. How do you do that? Focus on it. Figure out where it’s coming from. Write it down on a piece of paper. Crumple it up. Flush it down the toilet. Burn it (safely of course). Thank it for it’s weediness and wish it well.  You need to make sure that it’s really gone and then you need to be vigilant about making sure it doesn’t come back. If your thoughts start going back to that weed become aware that you’re doing it and stop yourself. Remember, you are the farmer and you control the garden.

3. Plant new things. 

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the weeds it’s time to fill your garden with stuff you like. These are the positive thoughts, the dreams, the goals, the things that make you smile and the things you’re grateful for (now is a good time to practice gratitude and forgiveness.) You’ll need to keep an eye out for weeds and you’ll need to fertilize the stuff you planted so it’s going to take some work but again, you’re in control of what you plant and what you grow.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that this garden example may seem a little silly and hokey but people use it as an example for a reason. The visual of giant nasty poisonous weeds versus pretty flowers helps to bring awareness to what’s going on in your brain. It reminds you that you’re in control of what gets planted and what grows there.

Maybe it’s time to work on that green thumb?




Forgive Yourself: Let it go. Fall down. Meet the real you.

blond teen

It’s hard enough to forgive others when they’ve hurt you but it’s even harder to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself means admitting you’re not perfect, that  you’re not 100% innocent and that you have some things to learn. These are tough concepts to wrestle with even on a good day never mind when you’ve actually done something wrong. And let’s face it,  sometimes you just think you’ve done something wrong because sometimes we haven’t even done anything wrong but it still feels that way because we’re so tough on ourselves.

Similar to forgiving someone else, forgiving yourself doesn’t make what you did right, acceptable or ok. Forgiving yourself just means owning it. It means letting it go and accepting that it doesn’t need to define who you are or who you want to be. It means you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself (which your ego really really hates to do.)

It means falling down.

Here’s the thing about falling down though. When you fall down, you actually meet the foundation of who you really are. The ground, the bedrock, the bottom – that’s where your feet should be planted and forgiving yourself actually helps you to get back to this place. It helps you to meet the real you.

So how do you forgive yourself? You cry. You feel bad. You sit with it.  You accept that you can’t change it. You accept that it’s in the past.

You let it go.

You meet the real you.


The 9th Secret 2 Living Happy: Practice Forgiveness (& the One BIG Reason U Need 2 Forgive & Forget)


Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. – C.S. Lewis

What a great quote right? In theory, forgiveness sounds like it should be pretty easy to do and the reasons why we should do it are also pretty obvious. But, if you’ve ever been really hurt (and I know as teenagers you get hurt a lot), you know just how hard it is to let go of that hurt and actually forgive the person who hurt you.

Let’s look at what it means to forgive.

Forgiving means letting go of hurt, anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge. It does NOT mean that you’re condoning or pardoning someone for what they did. It simply means that you’re not going to let that act continue to hurt you over and over and over again. If nothing else, think about the power you’re giving the person who hurt you! You’re thinking about them every day. They’re always on your mind. They pop into your head when things are going well and make you feel crappy. Forgiving them actually takes away some of their power over you and that alone is a good enough reason to forgive them.

This leads me to the one big reason you need to practice forgiveness: Forgiveness gives you a fresh start and cuts the ties to the past. 

Not forgiving keeps you chained to the past and, as we all know, the past is over and the place to be is the present moment! When you actively go back to the past and re-live and re-experience painful moments over and over again YOU are the one choosing to go there.  You are the one actively choosing to go back into the past and peel off the scab. Believe me, you are not gaining anything by peeling off that nasty scab. All you’re doing is opening up the wound again and again which slows your healing and, duh, it hurts! By practicing forgiveness, you allow yourself to start fresh and live in the present moment. You tear down the wall in your heart and open yourself up to a new and happy present and future.

As usual, Oprah says it best:

“Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed.” 

So who have you not forgiven? What hurts are you hanging on to? How would it feel to let that pain go? Who can you forgive today?

Practice forgiveness and you may just realize that the person being punished was you.