Mirror, Mirror

A Step-By-Step Guide
to Creating a Life that Loves You Back

by Mia Saenz, Love Alchemist

Content Editing by Dr. Susan Corso

Artwork by Charlotte Hayes

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Chapter 1
Connecting with Your Reflection

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?"

Certainly NOT YOU. 

That’s exactly what a loveless life reflects. Day in and day out. 

NOT YOU!

It’s excruciating, isn’t it? 

You reach out for comfort and you get a slap on the hand. 

You yearn for appreciation, but instead of a hearty “Thank You,” everyone close to you just keeps putting more and more on your ever-bulging To Do List. 

You desperately need a peaceful, supportive place to be. But all you get is mindless chaos and interruption delivered on a lead platter by the people who are supposed to love you the most.    

You also ache to feel good about yourself. But deep down you suspect your dreadful mirror has a point. You are afraid there is something fatally wrong with you that merits the constant reflection of your worthlessness. 

Truth be told, you don’t even like yourself very much.

Doubt me?

Do a quick inventory of the nasty, ugly things you have said to yourself just since you got up this morning. 

Yet, despite it all, a flickering spark of eternal hope remains.

You still dream of knowing what it feels like to love yourself and to have love in your life. 

But let’s be honest. Even that last, little bit of faithful light is rapidly on its way to burnout.   

The problem? 

You have tried every trick in the Redecorate Yourself section of your favorite bookstore.

Still …

ZIP. NADA.

NOTHING CHANGES.

Fortunately, you don't have to earn an Olympic Gold Medal in self-help in order to find the love you are looking for. You just need to redefine the challenge and finally get the support you really need.   

Up until now, you have been trying to do this on your own (probably because you didn’t even know where to turn or how to name your suffering).

On top of that, you have worn yourself out trying to become a better version of yourself. 

Hear me now! 

All self-improvement projects

are rooted in a lack of love (aka self-hatred).

A.L.L.  

Put another way, efforts at self-betterment absolutely can't take you closer to living a full, in-the-flesh, turn-you-on life for the simple reason that they all begin with a faulty premise.

They are born of your belief that you are not good enough. 

I'll say that again: They are born of your belief that you are not good enough.

Ow. OW.

Self-improvement can only keep you searching for more things to fix without end or limit.  

That's why I am here. I came into your life to deliver a colossally important message:

There’s nothing wrong with you!

ZIP. NADA. NOTHING.

Really! 

It's just that no one ever taught you to love yourself.

Let me repeat that line too. It's just that no one ever taught you to love yourself.

Self-improvement is about changing who you are. Self-love is about healing the wounds that have held you back. It's also about creating a more desirable experience for yourself. It's about learning how to cherish yourself enough (inwardly and through your actions) to insist on a life that truly honors and works for you.        

And that's where I come in.   

Imagine it ...

There you are staring into that painful reflection that keeps coming at you from every nook and cranny of your life. You feel about as downtrodden as a wilted rose. You aren’t even sure you can go on even one... more... day... when ...

S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G.

CHANGES! 

Right there in that dastardly-looking glass, a new face appears.

She sees who you truly are and she’s not about to give up on telling you.  

This mystery woman has love in her eyes and a passion in her heart for you.

She has also walked a mile in your shoes. She knows your pain.  

She also knows your potential because she had to discover her ownthe hard way.  

Where you see flaws and failures, she sees potential and glory.

Where you see what happened to you, she sees who you were meant to be.

Where you see a wilted flower, she sees a seed about to blossom anew. 

I know, the suspense is killing you, isn’t it?

Who is this mystery woman and what is she doing making ripples in your reflection?    

Allow me to introduce myself! 

Mia Saenz

(that's ME-ah Signs)

Love Alchemist

At Your Service.*

*Insert proper curtsy here.

Now listen carefully to what I am about to say! Take in every word. 

It's finally time for you to create a life that loves you back.

Yep. You heard me right. Self-love is the foundation of my work. When you add it to the mix, everything changes. But let's be honest, no one is ever satisfied with self-love—not in bed and not in life.

God made us to be loved in return.

I believe that we are here in this form in order to feel sensation; we don't feel it in our spiritual form. We are here to experience love and connection with others in the physical and emotional sense.  

That's why I have written this book. Into these pages, I have poured my heart and my expertise (earned over 8 years of helping people just like you) for one simple reason: I want to help you leave behind the frustration and sorrow of a loveless life for good.

I stand ready to help you create a life that is literally drenched in love and meaningful connection.

Won't you take my hand?   

If you do, and if you follow the work outlined in this book, I fully expect that before our time together is up, everywhere you look, you will see love reflected and aliveness in full bloom. 

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?   

Then let's get started.

Right now!  

The following mirror exercise will help you to take back the power of your reflection: 

Journal Prompts:
What does the mirror represent to you?  
Does it remind you of Snow White and her wicked stepmother?
Are you afraid to look within?
Afraid to even look at your reflection for fear you are not enough?
How has your fear of inadequacy caused you to hurt yourself and those around you?    
Even more importantly, how many times do you walk past the mirror without really looking at yourself and recognizing your own beauty; the beauty that is self-love?
Whatever your answers, I know there is MORE waiting for you on the other side of this work.  
Necessary Supplies: You will need for this exercise a large mirror, a quiet place, a     notepad, pen and your full presence.  
The Exercise: Find a large mirror in a quiet, private place where you won't be disturbed or distracted like in the bathroom or in your bedroom (even better)
This is your time with you, not with your kids or spouse. As you stand in front of the mirror state, "I Love You."  
Don't be surprised if you get a negative reaction the first time out—almost everyone I work with has a negative reaction the first few times. I certainly did. 
Why Mirror Work: Mirror work is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal. Because it connects us to the love we have for our Self.  We are not taught to love ourselves.  This is a developed skill.  This is where mirror work comes into play.
Dealing With Distractions: If distractions are part of your life and routine, wake up 30 minutes before the household wakes up.  You will thank yourself for doing this as you begin to pour love into yourself (for a change).
Final Instruction for Everyone: When doing mirror work, only do mirror work.  Do not put your makeup on, or do your hair. That is cheating and will not get you to your end result.  If this keeps coming ups ask yourself: Why am I resistant to spend time looking at and loving me? What is stopping me?  
What My Clients Report: I have had clients who feel chills or cold inside their bodies or a specific body part.  Many have a very difficult time looking at themselves and struggle to even do that. I have included an adjusted method to address this later in the chapter.  
Some of my clients also laugh, which is a disconnect.  Or simply tell themselves they don't believe those words: "I love you." 

What Happened to Me the First Time ... 

I first tried this 28 years ago; it was really bad. I had been going through a serious depression related to my mother and the childhood abuse I experienced. I saw only two options at that time: Change my life or end it. 
I didn't know what suicide was like, and truthfully, I didn't want to know. So I worked really hard to change my life.
I had also been raised in a very sheltered way and didn't know very much about traditional therapy. So, I kept praying for the answers and answers did come. That has always been my greatest gift, knowing my connection to God. I received this gift from my grandmother, a strong belief in a loving force that is greater than ourselves. Note that I refer to God throughout this book and my work. For me God is universal; a shorthand way of referring to this energy. When you read the word, "God" insert whatever most clearly represents this loving force for you.     
When I looked in the mirror and I said "I love you," I began crying hysterically and said, "No, I don't ... I hate you.
Through my tears, an image rose from the depths. I was wrapping myself in my own arms. I began to self-comfort.  
I thought, "This is really weird stuff; am I cracking up?"  
It took some time before I looked in the mirror again. No one told me to do this work. I discovered it through prayer and asking Divine Love to heal me from my childhood pain.
I didn't even have the proper terms for it back then. Turns out it isn’t a truly original idea. Many use it. But the way I use it is unique to my practice. 
This method I am sharing with you now has turned thousands of lives around and initiated so many people into true self-love.  

Miraculous As This Work Is, Once Is Not Enough: Remember as with anything worth having, you want to practice, practice, practice. This exercise works when you invest in it.  
Think of your favorite athlete, or musician, or artist. He or she had to practice a lifetime in order to achieve the excellence that led to fame and success. The fruits of the mirror work come when you surrender to it and allow the process to take its course. Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither will you (nor should you try to) build your self-esteem overnight. If you do, it won't stick.
You are creating a deep, and hopefully enduring connection to self-love. We are not taught to love ourselves. Our parents and society do not teach us this when we are young. This isn't anyone's fault; it's just the way it is. To remedy this situation, we must say the words to ourselves so we actually hear them spoken aloud. Over time, as we keep doing this practice, we begin to understand that we are loved, and we begin to believe it as we erase all the negative programming we have received over time. 
Our bodies and psyches absorb everything we say, all the negative and the positive words we spout about ourselves. I suggest, along with this mirror work, you take notes and track your negative and positive self-communication. 
Discovery Notepad: This notepad is for you to record your answers to the journal prompts and to take notes on how you are feeling and what you are saying internally when you look in the mirror during this I Love You Exercise. Over time you will begin to see that on Sunday you may really know and affirm all the reasons you love yourself. Yet on Tuesday, you are not so kind. Start to track what is happening on a daily basis to become aware of the ups and downs in your relationship with yourself. In this process, you will discover that hindsight is your new best friend. Looking back in your journal you will be able to track your behavior and thought processes.  
Perhaps on the bad days you are out of sync because you had a fight with a loved one, a car accident, or something completely different. You begin to see what brought a lack of love for a particular time. You will also begin to see that, underneath it all, you really do love yourself and that circumstances cause you to detach and to turn on yourself.  This discovery will create a huge shift in your thoughts about yourself. It will change the way you feel about yourself, too.
Be with Whatever Comes Up:  Journal in your Discovery Notepad.  Journal how it feels, tastes, if it has a smell attached.  Healing work that is deep can be attached to one of our senses. We might smell the same smell that was there the first time we wanted to disconnect from who we are.
The Promise: I can promise you only one thing: this will be the most exciting journey of your life.  
Modified Mirror Work for Severe Trauma. Some people were so severely abused as children that they still vomit (or otherwise become physically ill) when they look at themselves. Still others are too plagued by anxiety, depression, pain ... to even get through this simple exercise. 
If, like these people, you cannot look into a large mirror, start with a hand mirror (like a makeup compact) instead. Use all the instructions above, but instead of a large mirror look only into the small mirror. Focus on your eyes only. Look at their beauty. This may be the first time you recognize that there is real beauty in your eyes. Don't stop there. Go deeper. 
Look for the shape of your eyes, the color, the flecks of color, the way your eyes shift and change ... get used to looking into your eyes. Build a friendship with your eyes before you move to the I Love You portion of the exercise. 
When you are comfortable and feeling connected to your own eyes, begin repeating, "I love you" over and over again. Move outward to include your eyebrows, then your nose.  
Take it slow and move section by section until you can look at your entire face in the mirror. Remember each time saying "I love you." Feel it, absorb it and become familiar with it. 
I Love You Work for the Blind: If you are visually-impaired and cannot see yourself clearly in the mirror, you can still connect to this work. Get quiet and feel your face. Gently feel all the features you have on your face. Recognize if your nose is small, medium, or larger. What is the shape of your eyes? Of course, be gentle here. 
What are your eyebrows like?
What shape is your mouth, your chin and the entire shape of your face? 
Remember to always speak the words, "I love you," out loud. How do they make you feel?  
I Love You Work for the Hearing-Impaired: Those who are hearing-impaired but do speak, can follow the original directions and say "I love you" out loud. You will feel the vibration of the words. You will become familiar with the words, "I love you."
For those who sign, it is a similar practice as the regular large mirror and journal. Sign "I love you" as you are looking at your face in the mirror. Stop and feel your reaction and write it down.
Keep going, you are doing amazing work.

As you get into this exercise, you may find you need more support (than I can give you via this book) to go deeper and get the most out of the work. 

I want you to know that you absolutely don't have to do this alone! 

We can face the mirror together whenever you are ready. 

I'll help you put on your special edition LOVE GOGGLES.

We will dive deep into your reflection and unleash the greatest love affair of your life: the one you are finally ready to have with yourself.

Together we will stand up for love in your life.      

During this session we will:

  • Find out what a life that loves you back looks like to you;
  • Contrast that vision with your current life in specific detail;
  • Figure out what’s keeping you lost in the horror of the fun house mirrors from hell;
  • Determine what we need to do in order to put a dash of love in your eyes and a dollop of passion in your life; 
  • Discover your kind of love song so we can sing it together; and 
  • Dive into the mirror and do your I Love You Exercise so you can feel the tremendous power of doing this work with me by your side. 

Chapter 2
Choosing a Life that Loves You Back


Fact Check: The journey of a thousand miles didn't actually start with a single step.

It started with a choice.

And so, like everyone who has ever taken this journey with me, you now face a critical decision point. There is a question you must answer:   

Do you want a life that is literally dripping with the sweet nectar of love?

I don't mean do you want it theoretically—the way you might imagine you will one day visit the Great Pyramid of Giza (when there's time, money, good weather, cheap flights—when the stars align).

I mean do you want it right now with the kind of passion that will sustain you through the siren call of every single naysayer, both inside and out?

Wait, don't answer just yet.

Let me ask you another question: 

How can you choose what you cannot envision? 

The answer?

You can't! 

Someone or something has to come along and walk you into an experience, no matter how preliminary, of something new.

So. I. Will!  

Let's set the mood. 

Put on some soft music, the kind that makes you want to gently sway, and yet fills you with energy.

Imagine that you are naked and warm in your bed.

You are just beginning to wake up.

You are actually up early this morning (again).

So there's time...precious time for YOU.    

You take a moment to smile. 

You keep smiling until you feel truly fresh and alive right here, right now.

You pause a little longer. You just keep smiling and breathing until you start wanting to move that beautiful body of yours.

You begin to stand up naturally, no pressure, no rush.

As you climb out of bed, you realize that you actually feel playful, alive, full of zest .... Exactly what is that delightful feeling?! 

You are also immersed in the potential of this day and in the luscious, calm surrounding you. 

And so you softly begin.  

You walk to the bathroom, still naked. No reaching to hide your body in your bathrobe today! When you glide slowly past the mirror, you don't recoil from your reflection (as you once did). You linger a little. You like what you see.   

As time slips by, you gradually release the image in the mirror; you start to walk again. You are present to each and every step. You are available to every movement, savoring every second.  

You surprise yourself as you giggle just a little. You know the giddy little chuckle I am talking about. It's the one that tumbles out of you in the sweet innocence of nakedness and the newness of romance. 

And why not?! 

You have fallen in love with yourself.  

The soft warm water is flowing now. You step into the shower. You are enjoying each stroke of the perfect bath gel as you slide your scrubby over every curve. In your tender hands, it glides over your body waking up every inch of your skin. You are loving your body now—it's an action, something you are doing. You are grateful for it and for each tantalizing movement.

You are thrilled to have this time to be with yourself this morning. 

As the water cascades over you, you take a brief inventory of your life. Where your relationships once felt like sandpaper grating against your heart, now you see that your relationships are as captivating as your newly-washed skin, as delightful as your own touch (not because they are perfect, but because they work for you). Likewise, where you used to see your worthlessness reflected in the chaos of your finances and the upheaval that touched every aspect of your life, you now feel certain of your ability to create security for yourself. You have created both inner safety and outward adventure in your life. 

Oh, and speaking of adventure ... that pyramid doesn't feel so far off these days. You are starting to really believe in the yearnings you once held at bay with the words, "I could never ..." and with that dreadful sense of defeat that once tainted everything like the smell of rotten eggs. 

You have begun to dream of things beyond the borders of your own life. 

As the water starts to run cold, you pretty much feel like dancing. So, you do.  

As you wrap your towel around you, you almost pinch yourself. Is this real? 

A voice whispers, "It can be!"

That was me by the way.

Sorry to interrupt such sweet reverie.

But we've got work to do.  

I know that this can be your life, if you choose it. But like I said before, choosing it isn’t just about putting a vague notation on your To Do List. Choosing a love-soaked life is about doing the work necessary to address the obstacles that lie between where you are and where you want to be. It's about learning to love and accept yourself while reaching for the stars. 

In the next chapter, we will face the stark contrast between this delicious fantasy and where you are now. We will also address the critical decision point again. Then we will begin to close the gap between fantasy and reality with my signature process Dream.Believe.Create. It was given to me at my own moment of critical choice and it saved my life (more on that later).

Oh, and don’t you dare let go of my hand. There’s no going it alone here.

Speaking of holding my hand...

During this session we will:

  • Find out what a life that loves you back looks like to you;
  • Contrast that vision with your current life in specific detail;
  • Figure out what’s keeping you lost in the horror of the fun house mirrors from hell;
  • Determine what we need to do in order to put a dash of love in your eyes and a dollop of passion in your life; 
  • Discover your kind of love song so we can sing it together; and 
  • Dive into the mirror and do your I Love You Exercise so you can feel the tremendous power of doing this work with me by your side. 

Chapter 3
Crossing the Bridge
from Longing to Having


Lovelessness is a deadly condition. 

Here's the capital T Truth: you can actually die of lovelessness and its component parts, self-hatred and loneliness. If the pain doesn't get you, the pacifiers will, the exhaustion will, the addictions will. 

But don't take my word for it. My word won't do you a bit of good. Only one thing will: first-hand experience.   

If you are willing to really touch your experience of lovelessness, and more importantly, all the ways you have created to cope with it, you will see that the situation is truly grave. You will realize just how dangerous it is. Most importantly, you will see that the critical choice to do this work in yourself and for yourself is more significant than you ever imagined.

When you are really present to this truth, it will set you free because it will make it impossible ever to turn back, ever to accept a loveless life as a given again. This sojourn into the anguish and emptiness will, ironically, provide real fuel for the changes you want to make and for your commitment to doing the work that will help you cross the bridge from longing for love to having love. It will make Dream.Believe.Create accessible to you in a way that connecting only to the theoretical possibility of something new never could.  

So, will you join me? Knowing this won't be easy, will you take my hand once again? 

Okay then ... deep breath in ... and out ...  

Oh, how we have hungered for love. Let us count the ways. 

Take a moment to connect to the empty pit inside of you. Breathe into it. 

How long has it been your most constant companion?

Your most trusted advisor?

Really look at this. Work with it in your Discovery Notepad. Don't gloss over it.

Take it to the mirror with you. 

How many times has your lack of love for yourself brought you to the crossroads of your life and compelled you to make the loveless choice—the choice that dishonored you and your potential?

Over and over and over again?

Let me help you go a little deeper right now. 

Imagine that you are standing in front of a choice point. You are vaguely aware of many different paths stretched out in every direction. You feel the magnetic pull of something that feels old and familiar, even comfortable. You are also hazily aware that this old familiarity is going to drag you back into the same old tension and distress from which you just emerged or into a deeper relationship with the very thing you want to send into exile.

But you can't really connect to what you know. It remains inaccessible, maddeningly distant. 

Another, louder voice, a stronger, closer adversary—the voice of lovelessness—is making it almost impossible to see any other option as viable. The confusion swirls in and around you.

Before you know what happened, you choose the prominent option, the one that felt so magnetic. It may have even looked like something new, different, shiny. Or perhaps you knew it wasn't the choice you wanted to make, but you couldn't break free from the compelling sound of that VOICE. 

Either way, sure enough, you feel the vacuum of emptiness and betrayal open up again. Another loveless choice! Another, deeper hole to fill ...

Now think of all the ways you have tried to fill the void of loveless living—and succeeded.

Temporarily ...   

Floating on air, a sense of exhilaration where once only loneliness stood, oh, how good it felt.   

But that empty hunger is like a boomerang. It ALWAYS comes back. Doesn't it? It comes like a vengeful enemy set on claiming its due. And then some!    

And that’s how it starts.  

You take a drink, smoke a little something, go on a sexual binge, eat too much of all the wrong things, dive into your loneliness, wallow in your pain, take on the hedonist’s never-ending search for pleasure, keep a lover who isn’t even nice to you …

There are a thousand names, and even more disguises,

for substitute love. 

Sometimes it even goes by its true name: Addiction to Lovelessness. That might be the deadliest substitute of all.  

Yes. You heard me right.

A loveless identity with all its sorrow and suffering can be your substitute for love. 

It was mine, along with its twin sidekick minions, Self-Sabotage and Inner Critic.

But hold on a minute. 

Before I throw my story into the mix, I need to tell you something else: 

This stuff feels really shameful.

To admit you don't have love in your life is incredibly brave. To go one step further and actually look at the ways you hurt yourself in order to cope with that void is a whole other level of painful. We have all known shame and it stops us from growing. So here is a shame-busting formula from shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown: 

Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive. The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: Me, too. 
Brené Brown - Listening to Shame  

I am standing here beside you right now, in the face of your shame and mine, to say those two words to you unequivocally and without hesitation:

Me, too. 

And another deep breath in ... and out ...

More of My Story

Truthfully, and this is one of the first times I have disclosed this: I was proud of my suffering. In a really twisted way, I enjoyed my self-sabotage. I got a hit from it just like a gambler would.

I knew I was playing a game of Russian Roulette

and I got off on it. 

Over and over again, I proved my own worthlessness to myself. I was brilliant at it! 

I kept putting off life because I was tired, unhappy, sick, depressed, didn't want to move … I was lost in The Waiting Game because waiting was easier than coming to terms with the truth. Waiting also gave me a smug sense of satisfaction. I thought I could beat the Grim Reaper. I planned to jump on the train of life at the very last second. How arrogant of me.   

The waiting game for me was also about how bad I and my life could get before I had to pull back from the hellish experience. How long could I keep rolling the dice of my trauma and sparking the adrenaline hits? I was addicted to the danger. 

This is the most severe form of Self-Sabotage. It is rooted in the voice of the Inner Critic, in the never-ending litany of self-hatred: 

YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  
You can't do THAT.  
You are stupid, dumb, ignorant, worthless, ugly, unlikable, valueless … ad infinitum.
You deserve to suffer. 

In order to break up with Self-Sabotage and the Inner Critic, my journey took me to death’s door, literally. 

I allowed my body to fall apart, my heart to break, and my life to become nothing I could be proud of. In fact, by the time I found the courage to face what I had done to myself in the name of self-hatred, there almost wasn't any hope left for me. My organs were shutting down. By the time I decided I had to change, I had been given only two years to live. 

Or maybe I should say that I had been given two years to live by the time I DISCOVERED how to change and found the will to apply what I had learned. 

I remember so vividly the day my life finally changed. I woke up to the sun coming into my room with a different quality of light. It was my birthday and I thought, “Wow, what a lovely gift. God is here visiting me.”

I have always seen nature as God's way to communicate with our human essence, our delicate, precious humanity. 

I got up to see my boys (they were so young then). I sat down on the couch as I did every day. I heard a voice say to me.

"You have been unhappy your whole life.  What would it look like to be happy?"  

I sat there and wondered for a moment what this meant. I actually could see myself sitting across the room looking at me and being aware that I could neglect myself again or I could finally do what was right for me.

In that moment, in the stark juxtaposition of two choices, I finally, definitively, chose me. 

I chose life.

And life chose me! 

As I sat there on my couch, I was given the ultimate framework (so elegant in its simplicity) for closing the gap between the painful, limited life I had and the life that, up until then, I had regarded as nothing more than an unreachable fairy tale dream. At its core, this fairy tale dream was really very simple: 

I wanted to enjoy me and I wanted to enjoy my life.

I call this framework, as I mentioned before, Dream.Believe.Create. Now, just as it was given to me, I am going to give it to you. I am going to meet you in the heart of your longing, in the midst of your disappointment from all those substitutes (and loveless choices) just as God met me on my couch, in the sliver of space between life and death.  

Just as spirit invited me, I now invite you to choose life for yourself; brilliant pleasurable, meaningful life … YOUR LIFE—in all its magnificent possibility. Let my voice of invitation at long last be louder than the voice of lovelessness. Let it be clearer than the call of Self-Sabotage & its trusty compadre, the Inner Critic. 

Squeeze my hand a little tighter and together, we will begin to

DREAM.BELIEVE.CREATE.

(a.k.a. DBC)  

Remember: You can have what you want ONLY IF you'll dare to dream it and then to act on your dreams.

Setting the Stage: Set aside some time for yourself in a quiet space so that you can really engage with this process. It may take an hour or it make take you a day. You might even consider setting aside 30 minutes or an hour each day for five days, or however long it takes you

Each person is different. How you do this exercise is not important. But it is essential that you use it to ignite your passion for life. Also, use this as an opportunity to examine which ideas cause you to light up with feelings of joy and love and which do not.

This exercise is about seeing new possibilities. But it's also about learning which ideas make you feel more alive and which leave you feeling heavy and stuck, like you are walking through quicksand.     

Working with the Five Pillars: In your quiet space, look at the Five Pillars of Life. No need to panic that you don't know what they are off the top of your head—they're listed below along with some questions to help you get started using DBC.    

  1. Love: How do your relationships work in your life? And how do you want them to work? Who would you be in your relationships if you had all your needs and desires fulfilled? What would you offer if you felt truly free and truly received? 
  2. Body: How do you physically move, look and behave? What would you like to change about your physical experience of being in your body? How would this experience be different if it were grounded in a deep passionate love for yourself? 
  3. Spirituality: How connected are you and what's your practice? Now, I know it sounds sort of funny to talk about spirituality this way. But let's do it anyway! What's your dream practice? What is your dream relationship with Spirit or God? 
  4. Finances: How are you with the flow of money in your life? How would you be in your dream finances? This is not necessarily about how much. Don't limit your potential like that. Stop and think about who you want to be in regards to your finances. What kind of experiences do you want to have? 
  5. Work: How is your work life? Passionate, thrilling, making a difference? What is your dream job? What would you be doing? How would you be feeling? With whom would you be working? 

Applying the Process: Evaluate each area. As you move through this, take each broad subject and look at how things are right now. Don't fall into judgment or even into indulging the feelings associated with how things are right now. Be a reporter to yourself.

Then take each pillar and imagine ... dream ... the most magnificent experiences you want for yourself. When you begin to feel limited or experience resistance to dreaming big, circle back to the first exercise in this book. Return to your mirror and do the I Love You Exercise until your sense of potential returns. Then come back to DBC and open up to the dreamer in you all over again. 

Remember, this is your life,
this is your movie, this is for you.

Also, keep in mind that it's impossible to know which avenues you will follow from here because you have never given yourself permission to dream this big before. Don't underestimate the power of dreaming! Just start right where you are, with all the obstacles you face, and let the sky be your limit—at least in your own mind. Especially in your own heart!

Trust me, when we allow ourselves to dream this big, the actions that follow naturally open the doors to change in most cases—see below for what to do if you find yourself stuck at the dreaming stage. That's because enlarging our sense of what is possible actually inspires us to take bolder action. Your actions may include getting in shape, finding a lover or partner, fully living a spiritual life path, becoming financially independent. Or they might not be any of the ones I've listed!

Whatever the case, apply this simple formula: Dream big, and keep dreaming, keep envisioning new possibilities until you begin to believe. Once you believe, great things feel truly possible. That's when you begin to create, to act, to take natural steps towards the things you most desire.

As you move through this process, you will recognize that the potential is great for developing and creating the extraordinary life of love you have always desired and which, until now, only seemed like an unattainable fairy tale dream.      

What to Do As You Grow: As you begin to expand your inner world, your life will shift, grow and change, too. Trust the process. Dance with it. Let DBC be a living process. Come back to DBC work over and over again to create and re-create your vision of your life—every time your vision changes.   

Return to DBC each and every time you need more inspiration to move to the next level.

What to Do If You Get Stuck at Dreaming and Believing: Everyone's path is unique. But one thing is for sure:

Doing this work means living your passion and putting your actions where your heart calls you. 

If you are not able to transition from dreaming and believing to creating, it likely means you are dealing with your own resistance. Your past wounds and disappointments may be intensifying the voice of the Inner Critic or calling Self-Sabotage into service. There is only one thing to do when you are standing in your own way:

Reach out for help! 

This process is so much easier when you have a face-to-face ally, especially one who knows how to work with the inner obstacles that would otherwise stop you dead in your tracks.

I've spent the last 8 years helping people just like you Dream.Believe.Create their miracles. This is where I light up. It's also where I see the changes in people's lives and how much brighter they shine when they understand how magnificent they are and how incredible and limitless their possibilities can be. 

Together we will open the door to powerful, self-loving action.  

During this session we will:

  • Find out what a life that loves you back looks like to you;
  • Contrast that vision with your current life in specific detail;
  • Figure out what’s keeping you lost in the horror of the fun house mirrors from hell;
  • Determine what we need to do in order to put a dash of love in your eyes and a dollop of passion in your life; 
  • Discover your kind of love song so we can sing it together; and 
  • Dive into the mirror and do your I Love You Exercise so you can feel the tremendous power of doing this work with me by your side. 

Going Deeper with Dream, Believe, Create

Working with Deep Pockets of
External Resistance

News Flash: Beginner's Luck Isn't So Lucky After All.

It's misleading!

As soon as we begin Dream.Believe.Create, the easy stuff starts to change because like I said, dreaming big usually opens the door to bolder action. But in each life, there are entrenched circumstances that we set in motion a long time ago. These circumstances may even feel set in stone by now. If we meet them with the irrational sense of expectation often generated by beginner's luck, we will be tempted to give up on DBC. Unless you know how to work with DBC in what I call Deep Pockets of Resistance, you will be tempted to walk away from your dreams.  

In short, you will begin to feel like a child, mindlessly tossing pebbles into an empty wishing well and you will blame DBC. 

I am not about to let that happen to you! 

To get a sense of what I mean, imagine that you are gliding effortlessly down the street in your favorite outfit, feeling flush, fabulous, confident. You start to wave at that adorable person across the way when you suddenly trip and fall face first into a puddle of muddy water. 

That's exactly what a Deep Pocket of Resistance feels like. And it also feels like it might just be impossible to pick yourself up and carry on. All the promise of the delightful day along with your confidence is now dashed and drowning in swampy, sidewalk water.

Carrying this example a little further...

When you finally do manage to stand up and start to cross the street, a semi comes barreling towards you. You narrowly escape with your life. You feel disoriented, unsure of where to go or what to do next. 

That is what the unexpected sorrow, anger, confusion ... of a Deep Pocket feels like. It seems to come out of nowhere, almost wipes you out, and then leaves you feeling confused about how you got to this place. AGAIN?! 

The key to surviving a Deep Pocket is knowing you are in one, and knowing what to do about it. 

Here is a Deep Pocket exercise to help you through the rough patches: 

Ground to Gain Control & Expand Into Your Healing:  Breathe in. Push the air down into your abdomen and then down into your lower belly.  Exhale.  You can breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth or you can choose to breathe through your mouth and exhale through your nose.  Use your personal preference.
Grounding is vital to any work you do.  It calms your mind, centers you in your body, opens your loving heart, and helps you expand into your healing journey. 
It is particularly useful when you find yourself seemingly trapped in a Deep Pocket of Resistance. In the Deep Pocket, you feel a great deal of pressure. In the confusion and disorientation, you lose focus. This is when you are most at risk of making a default choice.

So, in the Deep Pocket, you don't choose.

You stop and ground.  

Stop & Step Back: This is where the clarity comes. It gives you some distance from the circumstances you face. This is not just a symbolic stepping back. If you are in a conversation, take a literal step back. If you are on your computer, get up and step back literally. If you are at work, try to go outside or go into the restroom.
Bottom line: create physical distance between you and your circumstances.  
Surrender: This is where you accept what is happening. It's about coming out of resistance. There is no bargaining with the situation in surrender. Okay, you were face down in a muddy puddle a moment ago. Okay, the semi nearly hit you. Okay, in this moment, you are alive, a little messy (or a lot) and you have a great story to tell.  
Let Go: This is not the same thing as surrender. This is where you clear away nonessential tasks. In a Deep Pocket, it is easy to feel like you have to address everything all at one time. This leads to overwhelm. So, once you have grounded, created some space, and accepted what is, take a few more deep breaths and consider what must be done now and what can reasonably wait for tomorrow or next week.
Reducing the overwhelm and the pressure to act allows you to be even more present to the things that do actually require your attention (like your own feelings of stress, frustration, fear). This will also help you to return to self-love because doing things in a state of overwhelm does not flow from self-love. Therefore, it extends, deepens, and even amplifies ... the Deep Pockets. Which we definitely do not want.
Pull Back Your Energy: This is the energetic equivalent of letting go and stepping back. You take a moment to consciously withdraw your energy from whatever it is that has left you feeling off-balance, confused, disoriented .... In the Deep Pocket, it sometimes feels like everything is crashing in on you. The picture reflected to you by your life is particularly ugly and hopeless in these moments. It is really important not to invest in this picture. So, breathe, and pull your own energy back toward and into your own body and away from the external circumstance.   
Return to Your Mirror Work: Now is the time to get really connected to yourself. Different choices will flow from being connected to yourself. Deep Pockets have a tendency to, at least momentarily, rupture your connection to you. You don't have to let the momentary become hours, days or weeks. Or even minutes now that you know what to do when Deep Pockets arise—and, believe me, they will. We all have them.  
Resume DBC: Deep Pockets of External Resistance are usually connected to internal resistance. Oftentimes, they offer a clue to the places where you have put limits on yourself. Those limits show up as external obstacles. By returning to DBC, you can begin to identify where you might be stuck in relation to your own vision.
Also, returning to DBC gets you re-oriented to where you want to go so you can let go of where you have been (and even where you think you are now). I have learned that Deep Pockets are particularly deceptive. They are almost never entirely as they appear. Getting reconnected to your vision through DBC will actually dispel the illusions and ghosts so you can address reality effectively and through the lens of what you desire to create. 

Who would have thought that the simplest solution

to being stuck is to dream? Isn't that cool?

Look for the Easiest and Gentlest Way Forward: Deep Pockets are no place for superheroes. These are places to practice self-directed kindness. Lovelessness tells us we have to take the hard road forward. We have to take on all the challenges today. Love tells us it is okay to rest, to ask for help, to take the shortcut....to dream our way out of the old, accumulated pain.
Looking for the easy, gentle road forward also addresses another Deep Pockets challenge. Under stress and duress, we have a false sense of what is right for us. Gentleness reduces stress and increases clarity. 
Use the Deep Pocket: Deep Pockets are places where you get to come to terms with the reality that you can't control everything. When it feels like the weight of the world is crashing down on you, suddenly, there may be no choice but to lay down the heavy burden. You may finally feel that you just can't manage the load. That is a good thing, because there is another aspect to surrender. God! Surrender into God. Let God carry you for a while.  
This can really change the way you relate to your Deep Pocket experiences because if God is carrying you, then God is in the Deep Pocket with you.
Now you can let this scary place be your cocoon: a tight, dark place where you can make the transition of the hungry caterpillar to the beautiful butterfly while resting in God's hands.
I know this metaphor of the butterfly's transformation is very common. So, it is easy to overlook its true power and beauty. Let's take a moment to really consider it.
The caterpillar leads a fevered life. It is on a wild, crazed adventure with only one thing on its mind: fill up. There is no room for anything else in the caterpillar's reality. Finally it collapses into the cocoon and into the dissolution process. There is nowhere to go, no emptiness to address, nothing to DO. The caterpillar is just in the process of transformation at this point. When the transformation is complete, the caterpillar and its life will be a wonderful new work of art. 
This is the perfect model for working with a Deep Pocket. Let it be the tight space where there is nothing to do but be in the transformation process with God and in deep contact with yourself.
Create Deep Pockets On Purpose: We need Deep Pockets of transformation (aka as moments when we slow down, step back, surrender into God and take time to connect with ourselves and our vision for our lives).
Consider the opening scene from a new perspective. What if that sexy someone you were about to wave to was actually your ex in finer clothes? Maybe that puddle of water and the hurricane of disappointment and sadness represented by the semi-truck were actually your best friends along the path to having what you TRULY want. Maybe they are just what drew you into your Deep Pocket of resistance, er, I mean, transformation.
If you have a regular practice of really being with God, yourself and your vision, you might not require a meeting with a muddy puddle to keep yourself from the endless recycling of lovelessness.

One really good way to create Deep Pockets of powerful, grounded transformation is to have an ally in the process. I am that ally for so many people.

Wouldn't it feel great to have a face-to-face partner?            

During this session we will:

  • Find out what a life that loves you back looks like to you;
  • Contrast that vision with your current life in specific detail;
  • Figure out what’s keeping you lost in the horror of the fun house mirrors from hell;
  • Determine what we need to do in order to put a dash of love in your eyes and a dollop of passion in your life; 
  • Discover your kind of love song so we can sing it together; and 
  • Dive into the mirror and do your I Love You Exercise so you can feel the tremendous power of doing this work with me by your side.

Chapter 4
Connecting to Your Passion Core


You can wash yourself in a bathtub made of diamonds and still not know your own worth. 

Likewise, you can be sentimentally jazzed about yourself and still not have any idea what real self-love is. 

Most importantly, you can Dream.Believe.Create yourself into a life of surface finery and never even come close to touching your own true majesty.

In other words, this work will never bear its richest fruit until you go beyond feeling better and looking better to actually revealing the core of who you truly are.

You are Divine purpose walking around in a human body.

This means that God made you for a reason and in a particular way. That reason is buried under all the scars left from decades of living without love. Those scars manifest in negative tracks laid down in your mind and in your heart about who you are. They manifest in the way you accept it as truth when other people work to tear you down.

Many of the people reading this book have experienced physical abuse. Still others have known horrible, equally unspeakable, emotional abuse. I have experienced both and here is what I know:

Both physical and emotional abuse do violence to the soul!  

They teach us that we do not deserve to live out our God-given purpose; they cause us to abandon it.  They also separate us from our God-given talent. 

In very plain terms, once we are acclimated to abuse, it begins to resonate. We begin to believe that we deserve it and it begins to define us. It separates us from our true value and our authentic identities.

Being able to look yourself in the eyes and express love is a beginning. Learning to improve your life is a great second step. But there is more! 

It's time to come home to yourself.

That means it is time to touch and develop your Passion Core. 

Your Passion Core is your Divine purpose combined with your unique and powerful positive attributes and talents. This goes well beyond using positive affirmations to overcome the soul violence you experienced. Connecting to your Passion Core means becoming so clear about who you are and what you are meant to do that you are immune to everything that does not resonate with this truth.

Let us return now to the beginning of our journey and the one simple question that began it all:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?   

At long last, this answer rises from deep inside your Passion Core:

I don't give a damn!

This is the moment when the mirror ceases to exist as a reflection of your worth (or lack of worth).

It is also the moment when you start asking a completely different question: 

Is this situation, person, thing, choice ... consistent or inconsistent with my Passion Core?

Does it support my God-given purpose and amplify my God-given talents or not? 

See what a powerful difference that is? 

Once the Passion Core work is complete and fully established in you, the mirror loses its relevance and disappears from the story. You are no longer struggling to take control of your reflection in the mirror or from anyone else or even to express sentimental love for yourself. 

You are now on a mission to fulfill your purpose!

This is where Dream.Believe.Create takes on a whole new meaning as you begin to employ your creative power from the core of your inner wisdom and fully internalized self-love and with full regard for the gifts you have to offer this world.

From this place you will never again subsist on

the crumbs of lovelessness.

You will insist on a life that loves you back.

That means a life that is in full alignment with who you are and what you desire to create; a life that honors you and flows from your Passion Core.

But first we have some work to do. We must (at least begin to) discover your Passion Core.

Oh, I felt your hand take mine just then. It wasn't such a timid, frightened grasp this time. I can feel the work taking hold in you. What a delightful change. 

And so we begin again...

The Tree of Your Life Passion Core Exercise  

Setting Expectations: The full discovery of your Passion Core is beyond the scope of this book. The following Tree of Your Life Exercise is designed to help you discover critical elements of your Passion Core and to give you a taste of how powerful this can be in your life. It will help you uncover your positive qualities and your passion. It will tease out the things you value most about yourself and your lineage.

We will use the information gathered through this exercise to create a fresh picture of who you are. 

What You Will Need: (1) your Discovery Notepad; (2) a large piece of paper; (3) colored pens; and (4) a quiet place where you won't be disturbed.
Pacing & Grounding: This could take up to several weeks. Go slow, and be meticulous. It's important not to rush. Make space for the necessary information to come through one step at a time.  
Also, remember, grounding is essential. You should begin each interaction with this work by grounding just as described in the previous chapter. 
The Archeological Dig: We are going to create The Tree of Your Life in order to bring your positive traits, passions and values into clear focus.
In order to create the tree, we will begin by digging through your memories for a certain kind of information: positive input you received as a child (focusing in on ages birth to 18 years). Be sure to record what you find in your Discovery Notepad. 
Many people reading this book will have experienced lovelessness for, perhaps, their entire lives. This exercise may be difficult, may turn up very little information, or may yield really surprising jewels. It might be jarring to realize how much positive input you actually received, or how little.
This process may challenge the story you have told yourself about your life, reinforce it or blow it apart.
Be gentle with yourself and keep in mind that we are on a discovery mission. We want to know more about you.   
So, open to new insights slowly and don't rush the exercise! Again, this could take days or even weeks.   
We are here to gather insights into your greatness, your grace and your passion.
Some questions to help you get started: 
Did you win any awards in school? 
Do you remember encouraging conversations or compliments you received from a trusted adult? Describe the setting and try to recall the specific words spoken to you. 
Did friends or siblings admire you for something in particular? 
When did you feel pride or a sense of accomplishment? What about your interactions with others left you feeling this way? What were you doing?  
The Pleasure Trip: Now that we have gathered some of the positive input you received over the course of your childhood, we are going to focus on what you loved.
What were you simply wild about as a child?
What brought your eyes alive with joy and filled you with a sense of excitement (even if, or perhaps especially if, someone tried to destroy your interest in it or diminish your talent)?
What were you good at?
What did you want to be good at?  
Taking a Break: Even if you finish the childhood portion of this work in one sitting, take a break. It is important to create some space between reflecting on your childhood and working with memories formed as an adult. Be sure not to put this aside for more than a week. Continuity is also important. 
Repeat for Adult Experiences: Go through the same process for adult experiences. First look for external, positive input. Then look at what has made you come alive or experience joy at various phases of your life.
Take Another Break: When this work is complete, let it settle. Take a break from one day to seven days between completing the adult work and continuing your explorations. 
Ancestral Gifts: We are working here with the part of your lineage that has the same gender as you do. Look through your family history and the branches of your family tree (including aunts, uncles, grandparents and so on). Write down notes about those of your gender whom you believe accomplished noteworthy things in their lifetimes.
Look for powerful or admirable character traits you can (i) draw on to support you in this process or (ii) which you might also have in either a developed or as yet undeveloped state. 
Don't stop until you have at least three ancestors listed and their accomplishments catalogued. Remember, these should all be people of your gender whom you view as substantial and powerful.   
You may also include one historical figure (also of your own gender) with whom you deeply resonate (in addition to your family members).
Through this work, you are discovering your tribal lineage and also discovering that you are not alone and that you do have roots. 
Building the Tree of Your Life: Take your large sheet of paper and draw a tree. Your childhood will be represented as the leaves. You will place the information about your adulthood on the trunk. The roots are for your lineage qualities.  
Take your time and place the information as neatly as possible. This is for you! 
The Inventory: On a separate sheet of paper, make note of values, qualities and passions that overlap. Be sure to crosscheck between the various parts of the tree. Try to create an inventory of at least three to five values, qualities and passions that overlap (9 to 15 overall). We are finding out who you truly are at your core. 
When pulling from the lineage area, recognize those with whom you identify. Who are you like? Who do you admire? How are you similar? How is your heart the same?  
I Am: Conclude the Tree of Your Life Exercise by creating "I am" statements like these: 
I am a confident and empowered person, expressing these qualities (add each quality).  
I am a ________________ person and I value (add each value):
I am a ________________ person and I am passionate about (add in each of the five passions):   
You might even take this one step further and say something that speaks to your Divine purpose like: 
I am a strong spiritual healer and self-love teacher. I am changing the lives of people who seek my assistance.
Of course, that would be my statement. Let yours come through intuitively. Don't press this. Let it come naturally. It might simply arise from the work you have already done or you may need to go deeper into the Passion Core work.

Speaking of going deeper...

I am here for you. But by now you already know that! 

During this session we will:

  • Find out what a life that loves you back looks like to you;
  • Contrast that vision with your current life in specific detail;
  • Figure out what’s keeping you lost in the horror of the fun house mirrors from hell;
  • Determine what we need to do in order to put a dash of love in your eyes and a dollop of passion in your life; 
  • Discover your kind of love song so we can sing it together; and 
  • Dive into the mirror and do your I Love You Exercise so you can feel the tremendous power of doing this work with me by your side.

And so, we have come to the end of this journey together.

And what a journey it has been.

Together we faced the mirror and developed your ability to hold positive, loving feelings towards yourself. We translated this positive regard into real improvements to your circumstances through Dream.Believe.Create.

Together we worked through the Deep Pockets of Resistance in your life, and in so doing, deepened your commitment to yourself.

Finally, we discovered some key elements of your Passion Core. We laid the foundation for a life in which the mirror holds no significance because you know who you are! You no longer need validation of either your worth or your worthlessness because you already know: you are as rich as gold.

Your life loves you back. 

What a difference one little book can make!