Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An Instruction Manual for Making Your Dream Life a Reality

In the early 2000s when I was a young advertising copywriter in LA, I met another copywriter who almost immediately became my writer-girl crush. Janice had this bubbly enthusiasm about life and way of making it seem like anything was possible, which at the time was a bit of a foreign concept to me. I remember her sharing details with me about a book she was writing, and I was awed when she seemed to get it published almost effortlessly.

The girl clearly knew how to make her dreams come true.

In 2010, Janice started planning her escape from advertising—which, like her first book, she made happen quite quickly. It wasn't just a change of day-job scenery Janice wanted, however. She wanted to travel and have adventures and maybe even find romance.

Of course, she did all of it. And lucky for us, she wrote a book that chronicles how she did it. (Added bonus: the book will charm your pants off.)

Paris Letters tells Janice's story of emancipating herself from advertising, traveling to Europe, falling in love in Paris, and creating a business based on her passion. It's such a beautiful read, I didn't want it to end. In addition to loving Janice's storytelling, I was so struck by all the wisdom the book has to offer. (Mrs. MacLeod-Lik does have a Master's degree in Spiritual Psychology, so it's not really a surprise her book would be packed with life lesson gems...)

Janice took a lot of steps to bring her dream life into full swing, but my affinity for manifesty stuff made these ones stand out most to me:

1. Let yourself daydream (and plot and plan). 
The only way to get clear on what you really want—and how you can work towards getting it—is to give yourself time and space to focus on thinking about it. I'm a big fan of journaling (as is Janice) as a means of gaining clarity. The answers to your happiness only reveal themselves when you give them a place to show up.

2. Let yourself be steered.
Thinking you'll end up in Rome and then falling in love in Paris could be viewed as a derailment if you look at it from the wrong angle. When you can stay open to the reroutes life serves up—and make sure you're following your feelgood along the way—you'll ultimately end up in where you want to be. (Even if you didn't always know you wanted to be there.)

3. Listen to the whispers. 
Your intuition is always sending messages to guide you toward what you want most. It alerts you to possibilities and passions and solutions to the stuff you're trying desperately to figure out. You just have to make sure you're paying attention to what it's saying.

Janice took her yearning for something new and turned it into a fairy tale life in Paris. I truly believe that any of us can do the same if we just set our hearts and minds to it.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Paris Letters. It'll transport you to the streets of the world's most romantic city and make you believe in magic. And if it doesn't spark some ideas on how you can start moving toward your dream life—just like its author did—call me, I'd like to coach you on that...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What's Really Underneath the Thing You Think You Want?

I was talking with a friend recently who was frustrated with the way her husband was handling his to-do list. She wanted him to be more focused on the things that were clearly important to keeping their household running smoothly. But as we talked, it turned out that wasn't really what she wanted at all.

What she wanted was more quality alone time.

So often, the circumstances we want so badly to shift aren't really the keys to our happiness. 

When I moved into our new house, I was struggling so much in the beginning—thinking I would feel better if I had a proper washer and dryer, pets that would remain healthy for more than a week, and a Trader Joes that was closer than my current 35-mile drive. I was convinced that it was convenience I wanted.

But it was actually connection.

Underneath my frustration with the "hardships" of country living was really just a desire to have friends (or my husband who was working out of town) nearby so they could say, "I hear ya," when I said I felt overwhelmed. Or "Let's go on a walk around the block to take your mind off of it."

I wanted companionship.

The beauty of realizing what you *really* want is that you can get to the result you desire much faster. 

When my friend realized she actually wanted more alone time, we brainstormed ways she could get it—regardless of whether her husband took on more responsibility with the family to-do list. When I needed to feel like I wasn't all alone in my new, less-than-convenient living situation, I made it a point to call friends from back home or chat with people in my yoga class to feel more connected.

Getting to the bottom of what you really want to feel—be it freedom or companionship or respect—will allow you to achieve that feeling state without having to change people or shift external circumstances. It will allow you to take back the power and take inspired action to get yourself back to a place of peace and contentment.

Happiness is within your reach at all times. You just have to remember to look under the laundry pile that's sitting on top of it sometimes. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One-Minute Meditation: Blowing Grasses and a Birdsong

I was helping the husband do a little yardwork in our old backyard a few weeks ago, when I decided to try to capture the rare moments of serenity that can be found in the city of Hollywood. The reeds blowing in the winter breeze are nice to watch, but the bird symphony in the background is the real treat in this video.