May 012015

by Linda-Ann Stewart
Snowbowl in Flagstaff, AZ
I know that some people and religious systems believe that we grow through suffering. Buddhism says, “All of life is suffering.” Catholicism infers that pain is good for the soul. I’ve heard it said that anguish intensifies our appreciation of good when it occurs. It’s supposed to cause us to seek deeper meanings to life, to become better people and more compassionate of others.

But I’ve known a lot of suffering people who weren’t growing in any way. Some adult survivors of abuse have felt victimized all of their lives and never tried to heal their wounds. An acquaintance developed cancer and, even when she went into complete remission, used it as an excuse not to participate in life. I knew an accident victim who felt entitled to not have to take responsibility for herself. Many emotionally wounded people inflict pain on others as a way to get momentary release from it.

Many people who are abandoned, rejected, can’t pay the bills, have chronic health problems, or are emotionally hurting, descend into a cycle of anger, resentment or despair that’s difficult to climb out of. If we’re overwhelmed by events out of our control, it can cause us to use up our mental and emotional resources to deal with the immediate problem. We may feel that we can’t handle any more, snap at those dear to us, and can become self-involved and self-pitying.

Suffering isn’t the same as sadness. Grief is an appropriate response to the loss of something dear to us. But eventually, our mourning passes, reduces or diminishes. However, there are some people who wallow in sadness and don’t move beyond it.

So I don’t believe that suffering, in and of itself, causes people to grow. As with anything else, how it affects us depends on how we perceive it. We need to be willing to seek the meaning in it. Although we might not be able to control events, we do have complete control over the way we think about them. Sometimes pain pushes us to quit trying to control our environment and to give up control to the Universe. Instead of trying to make the outcome fit our picture, we release and let the Infinite manage our affairs.

Many times, our resisting letting go of something that has outlived its usefulness or not moving forward causes anguish. When we oppose growth, then we create a resistance with the Universe. The intent of the Universe is to expand. By not letting ourselves grow, we create pain and suffering. There is a saying in the fitness industry “no pain, no gain.” I disagree. If we’re having pain, then we’re probably resisting growth, or we could be trying to move forward too quickly. Just like the pain of an overworked muscle.

If we’re trying to push through something, it may be that other things are at work behind the scenes, and it’s not time for the goal to come through, as hard as it is to accept that. Don’t try to “white knuckle” it and force it to happen. That will only create more resistance and pressure. Visualize the desired outcome and ask for the next step to be revealed.

There are times when all we can do is endure a difficult period, wait for things to improve and find something good in the situation. I remember hearing someone say, “Every challenge brings a gift.” When we seek meaning and the benefit from the circumstances, we will find them. Usually, there’s some message for us that we can absorb and use as a building block.

Many years ago, I had a friend who decided to erase the old idea that we only learn from problems. She set her intention to learn her lessons with joy instead of suffering and it worked for her. Recently, I’ve been following her example and working on letting things flow easily and harmoniously. As a result, several small miracles have occurred.

The Universe didn’t create a world full of suffering. Anguish is our response to a situation that doesn’t fit our view of how things should be. Suffering, in itself, doesn’t cause us to grow. We need to find the meaning in it, seek the lesson, let go control, and ask for guidance. As a spiritual text says, “Seek and ye shall find.” When you change your perspective of the situation, then not only will you grow from it, but your experience of it lightens.


I release the old idea that suffering is good for the soul. I let go of my preconceived notions about how a difficult situation should be and seek the meaning of it to help me grow and evolve into a more compassionate, wiser person. Keeping my mind focused on my desired outcome, I’m open to guidance about the next step. I’m willing to let go control of the result, and let the Universe manifest its Goodness. I set my intention to now learn my lessons with ease, harmony and joy.

Copyright 2008, 2015 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a speaker, personal and professional development coach and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart empowers business and professional women who are stuck, immobilized or overwhelmed to get focused, prioritize and break through their inner barriers so they generate more business. If you’d like some help to reach your goals, email her at with “Complimentary Consultation” in the subject line.

Apr 292015

Flagstaff Aspen RainbowThe Link Between Personal Development and Professional Success
Legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development.” This article describes the most effective personal development practices used by top entrepreneurs. The 6 steps include visualization and affirmations.

Self-Development Is Not a Luxury, It’s Our Responsibility
We live in a culture that doesn’t value looking inwards. That approach leads to burn out, numbing out and depression. Self-development work is essential for us to be able to continue to be of service and creative.

How to Improve Your Health with Gratitude
Achieving wellness includes far more than what you eat or how active you are. It includes thoughts and habits too, such as gratitude. This article includes 5 gratitude habits that
will help you create a life filled with passion, interest, and grace.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 232015

Listening In ReclinerQuestion: Is there a problem if I go to sleep while I’m hypnotized? In other words, if I go to sleep while I’m hypnotized, will I wake up?

Answer: Hypnosis is a natural state of awareness, and is simply a description of a process we use to communicate with the subconscious mind. When a person goes into a light stage of hypnosis, they’re in the same state that they’re in when they’re daydreaming, focused on a project, praying or watching television. Everybody goes through this stage of awareness as they’re going to sleep.

The activity of the mind has started to slow down, and their subconscious mind is more amenable to suggestion. A person in hypnosis may descend into a deeper level where they’re not aware of their outer circumstances, even though their subconscious is still responsive. This is a drowsy state, where sounds fade away.

Below this state is deep sleep. If a person “falls asleep” when they’re in a deep level of hypnosis, they’ll just awaken naturally when their body has been rested.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 212015

Flagstaff Aspen RainbowMeditation and your brain
Meditation is not just a hobby thing anymore; it has become a set of therapies and courses. It makes you aware of the present moment and at the same time helps you to control your mind. Here are 7 ways it helps to enhance your life.

Why Mindset Trumps Strategy Every Time
What we believe is possible and desirable is critical to be successful. Any strategy not in alignment with your mindset in will fail every single time. Mindset determines your initiative, determination, investment, and behavior. Those factors must be in place before your strategies can be successful.

The Neuroscience of Storytelling
Interesting infographic on why storytelling is so powerful and how it affects the brain (and what areas). It shows how data and stories activate different areas of the brain. It also shows why you should tell stories during presentations.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 152015

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer

Are you connected to your work and do you enjoy going to work each day? The answer to these questions and the purpose for asking them is described in the book “The Progress Principle” by Amabile and Kramer.

They describe the emotional and psychological benefits relating to work performance in terms of an “inner work life.” According to the authors,, “Inner work life is the constant stream of emotions, perceptions and motivations that people experience as they react to and make sense of events in their work day.”

Amabile and Kramer researched the daily activities and inner work lives of employees at several companies and found that when employees have positive behaviors and attitudes, they reflect attitudes consistent with the leadership in the company.

Research shows that people who are more engaged in their work are more likely to be creative and productive and feel happier about their work. This occurs when the employees feel valued, think highly of their co-workers, respect their managers and the organization as a whole.

People who are complimented and encouraged in their work, respond in a positive manner. The positive attitudes impact how employees serve customers and interact with their coworkers. This benefits the entire organization and the bottom line.

Reviewed by Bonnie Mattick, MA Ed., MBA

Bonnie Mattick, MAEd., MBA, speaker, consultant and facilitator improves the bottom line by eliminating costly turnover and increasing employee retention. Using pre-hiring strategies, she helps companies create a collaborative environment with enthusiastic employees who keep customers for life. She helps corporate organizations and associations engage their staff and improve their bottom line. Email her at and visit her website, Unforgettable Outcomes.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 152015

Sunset at Hopi Point at Grand CanyonThis is a website powered by AARP that can help you recreate your life. Once you decide on the changes you want to make, it says it will send you emails for up to 7 days get going and help you stay on track. There are a lot of other articles and resources also available on the site.

On the home page, click on the “menu” tab on the upper left. A sidebar will open, and click on “How it works” down on the 2nd half of it. There are a lot of programs, and best of all, many of them are free.

If you’re ready to make changes in your life, and want some help, check out Life Reimagined.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 142015

Flagstaff Aspen RainbowLearn to change how you react to stress
You can reverse the effects of stress and learn how to change the way your body responds to it. Managing stress doesn’t mean eliminating stressors from your life. It means developing positive strategies for dealing with stress and here are some suggestions.

Focus on you: Empowerment through silence
You may feel the busyness of your life seems to keep everything in control, but really, does it instead serve to keep you stuck and block you from moving forward? Learning how to become comfortable with your own thoughts and feelings can improve your intuitions and relationship to yourself.

Mindfulness and Self-Love: Tools to Achieve Your Goals
Perception is reality. How many times have we achieved something or received praise for our work and felt good for a bit, only to have our self-esteem drop again? Learn how to turn this perception around to be more accepting and compassionate towards yourself.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 072015

Flagstaff Aspen Rainbow
The Tree Of Contemplative Practices
This is a great infographic that illustrates the different meditative and mindfulness practices. It includes practices that are quiet, creative, active, relational and more, showing all the ways mindfulness affects our lives. They also offer a blank tree to download so you can create your own tree.

Mind over mucus?
For 30 years, Carnegie-Mellon University researchers have given subjects common colds to test how psychological factors affect the susceptibility of their immune systems. The most recent study found a simple social support action actually helps boost the immune system and reduce stress.

Exercise, music and meditation: How to rebuild your brain after a stroke
After suffering a devastating stroke, psychologist David Roland managed to repair his damaged brain. Here he reveals how he did it rebuilt his brain. This article gives hope to other sufferers of this destructive disease.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Apr 012015

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Stress has gotten to be a hot button issue in our society. We read articles, books, take classes and seminars to manage and reduce our stress. The message we get is that we need to completely eliminate stress from our lives. But common, everyday stress isn’t the real culprit that causes all of the trouble.
Sunset Crater plant
Hans Selye, a researcher, coined the term “stress,” and made the distinction between stress and distress. Distress is when we have so much going on internally or externally that our mental and emotional resources are overwhelmed. We all know what it’s like to have a deadline for a project, a loved one sick, the car break down, and, as a result, be irritable or exhausted. This kind of trouble, if it continues for a period of time, will begin to affect not only our mental health, but our physical health. This is what all the talk about stress is addressing.

Believe it or not, everyday stress can be a good thing. If we just coast through life, we don’t learn anything. With no challenges, no obstacles to overcome, we don’t develop new ways of dealing with things. Think of the old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Every discovery was created to fill a need and deal with a problem.

The telephone makes it easier for us to communicate. When it was first developed, people couldn’t see a need for one in every house. Now, many people can’t imagine being without one for even a second. I’m not going to comment on whether cell phones are a good or bad thing. It’s just that the invention of the telephone originally was created to fill a need.

The way we get physically stronger is to exercise. When we lift weights, do yoga, or hike, we’re stressing and stretching our muscles. If we don’t do that, then we lose the ability to get around. In much the same way, we evolve by stretching ourselves. As long as we do the same thing every day, we don’t expand.

About twenty-five years ago, I got involved in a multitude of organizations. I had no personal time and was doing too much. It caused me to go into distress, and my health began to suffer. However, it was also a wondrous time as it helped me overcome personal limitations and expand spiritually. Because I was willing to stretch myself, I reaped enormous benefits.

The problem comes when we get our schedules so packed that we don’t have time for ourselves or things that bring us joy. Even a plant needs space to be able to grow and expand its roots. When we don’t have enough breathing room to process what’s going on in our lives, then we go into a distressed mode because we’re simply running from crisis to crisis. Even when we exercise, we have to let our bodies rest and recuperate from their workout to actually build muscle tissue.

Beginning to feel overwhelmed, getting sick, and feeling exhausted is a good signal it’s time to pull back. When I found I was over involved, I eliminated several of the activities I’d been involved in. Later on, I rejoined a couple of groups, but made sure I could say “no” if I began to feel overwhelmed again.

When we’re beginning to feel stagnant, bored or stuck, then it may be a sign for us to try a new path and step out of our comfort zone. During that stressful period of my life, some of my activities included holding responsible positions in a couple of community organizations, acting in theater productions, and helping with all aspects of publicity for the theater company. All of it was new to me. But by stretching myself, it gave me access to new internal resources, confidence in my abilities and broke through internal blocks.

Learning to create a balance between stretching ourselves, and distressing ourselves, takes some practice. Feeling inundated, and like we don’t have time to breathe may mean it’s time to take a break and assess what’s going on in our lives. However, if we’re too comfortable and in a rut, it might be a good time to take a class or get involved in some new interest. There is a happy medium between standing still and racing out of control. Personal development and spiritual evolution comes from slightly stressing and stretching ourselves and expanding into something new.


I take stock internally to assess whether I need my life to slow down or to reach out for more stimulation. The Universe guides me in what to do about this. If I need to reduce my stress, I am Divinely inspired in how to do so. If I need to stretch myself more, I am directed to the Divine Right activities. I learn how to balance my life, so that I release old limitations and expand into living life fully. All that I need is provided.

As a speaker, personal and professional development coach and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart empowers business and professional women who are stuck, immobilized or overwhelmed get focused, prioritize and break through so they reduce stress and generate more business. If you’d like some help to reach your goals, email her at with “Complimentary Consultation” in the subject line.