Excerpt: 'Lighten Up' By Peter Walsh

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Like I said, this won't be a walk in the park. You'll no doubt find yourself having tough conversations with yourself along the way, as well as difficult discussions with other people in your life, notably the ones who share the same space and contribute to your well-being every day. I've never asked you in the past to sit a five-year-old down and tell him about your debt and what it means to him, or to enforce family meetings with a specific agenda that will stir debate and probably some seriously uncomfortable moments. I've also never asked you to take a personal audit and make the connection between the tension in your life and your everyday habits that aggravate that tension. Until now.

Take a deep breath. For everything you uncover about yourself and your family in this book there will be a clear solution that we craft together so you know what to do. I understand that living on less seems (and feels) unappealing and unnerving, but I'm going to help you change that so it becomes a source of immense power and enjoyment. Keep in mind that the lessons you learn and pass onto your children as you enlist their participation may be the most instrumental and life-enhancing lessons you give them as they mature into thoughtful, productive, oney-savvy adults. By the end of this book, you'll have shifted the way you and your family measure happiness, you'll have redefined who you really are and created space for what really matters in your life, and you'll have moved a lot closer to the vision you have for your life than you ever thought possible.

It never ceases to amaze me how, by formulating a clear plan and embracing realistic change, my clients have watched their financial—and other—problems diminish and, in some cases, completely vanish. Among the hundreds of thankful letters that I receive routinely from people who've taken my ideas to heart, there is a singular thought spoken many different ways: "This process has changed my life: I feel empowered and liberated from constant struggle. I'm enjoying the best relationships with my loved ones like never before." They not only share how their financial problems have cleared up since they started following my program, but their overall well-being—both physical and mental—has changed significantly for the better. Significantly.

Mark today as the beginning of a new life. A new sense of honesty with yourself and your world. Accept your past failures and let them inform this new life with resolve. I don't know anyone who hasn't felt jarred by the events over the last several years. The economic storm has ravaged through every demographic and every level of income. We may harbor ill feelings toward our financial institutions and government leaders, but at the end of the day, the change—the recovery—happens at home with you. What I want from everyone who reads this book is to find a greater sense of purpose and power to effect that change on an individual basis. It's within all of us. And yes, that peace, stability, security, and happiness is within you.

Excerpted from Lighten up/ Peter Walsh. Copyright © 2011 by Peter Walsh Design, Inc. Excerpted with permission by Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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