DIANE URBANI DE LA PAZ: A challenge for the new year, or any old time

I’M EXCITED FOR 2019,” Kristin told me. In my fatigued state, I want some of that.

Kristin Halberg of the Dream Hatchery (TheDreamHatchery.com) first got my attention a month ago with her free Kindness Challenge.

It was a daily nudge, delivered via email, to try something new. For me, the KC addressed big stuff: loneliness, negative self-talk, the quest for inspiration.

Yes, Halberg’s advice can sound a little, shall we say, woo-woo.

I say try it anyway.

In one email she asks, “How often does your self-talk sound like you’re talking to your best friend?”

Me: Not often.

When feeling down or overwhelmed, “catch yourself,” Halberg says.

Turn the kindness lightbulb toward your heart like a mirror. Switch your inner dialogue to the positive; give encouragement as you would a dear friend. And remember, it’s a practice.

Go one day at a time, till the weeks add up.

Halberg’s overarching message is that none of us is alone in our difficult feelings.

Here’s another suggestion to turn a lousy day around: Write a message of gratitude to someone for something they did, made, wrote or said. It could go like this:

“Just a note to tell you how much I appreciate your ___. Thank you for sharing it and inspiring me through ____. You inspire me to ___. Thank you for being so great.

Yours, ____.”

With unabashed idealism, Halberg advocates penning a letter of encouragement to a person you know well — or not.

Many of us are struggling, after all.

“Trust me,” Halberg writes. “Once you get over your initial discomfort, this is a wonderful practice whenever you feel down and out yourself.”

If you’re unsure how to start, think about which words of encouragement help you when you’re facing tough stuff.

Halberg’s example:

“Dearest you,

“I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time right now. But trust yourself. Take a deep breath and honor your own feelings. Remember, you are loved. Infinitely. And I’ve got your back.

“— The Universe”

Now the grand prize: Antidotes for loneliness. Halberg has several, each involving being kind to oneself and others.

• Drop a bouquet of flowers off at a hospital or nursing home and ask the front-desk staffer to give them to whoever needs them most that day.

• Strike up a positive conversation with someone in the post office or grocery store line.

• For yourself, take a step into the unknown. Set a goal; then join an organization aligned with it.

• If you’re casually acquainted with a mix of people you’d like to know better, initiate a lunch or happy hour gathering.

Discuss highlights of the past year and hopes for the coming one.

Halberg, for her part, has big plans for the Dream Hatchery, aka her life-coaching business (see website for juicy details). In addition to one-on-one coaching — beginning with a “discovery session” about an area of life a client wants to transform — she leads retreats and backpacking trips, and this year will add online classes and in-person salons. Halberg’s staple offering is personal transformation. She’s walked the talk, summoning the courage to change jobs, residences and her beliefs about what’s possible in this life.

“I believe in a world where everyone can live into their highest potential, no matter their socioeconomic background. I offer free challenges and pay-what-you-will workshops to meet the needs of our community,” she told me.

These offerings are marketing tools, yes. Her hope is that they also give us a taste of what she stands for: a brave new community lighted by kindness.

_________

Diane Urbani de la Paz,a freelance journalist and former PDN features editor, lives in Port Townsend.

Her column appears in the PDN the first and third Wednesday every month. Her next column will be Jan. 16.

Reach her at [email protected]

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