Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Greatest Gift for Anyone (Including You)

Last fall, I made the well-meaning decision to write each person in my immediate family a gratitude letter for Christmas.

I wanted to let them know why I was thankful to have them in my life. I wanted to bring them joy.

Also, I wanted to bring myself joy...

Actually sitting down to write each of the 11 letters was more difficult than I thought it would be. It felt like SUCH an undertaking.

I mean, how do you accurately express to someone the many reasons you're grateful for them? 

Turns out, it didn't matter.

All that mattered was that I did my best. And the beauty of it was that each time I pounded the keyboard trying to find the right words to thank these people, it filled me with such a feeling of happiness and fortune. The knowledge of how lucky I am to know each of them came flooding back. (Let's face it: Sometimes, we just forget.)

When I gave each relative their envelope on Christmas, I got a little of the the-crazy-life-coach-is-at-it-again look. Yet, days later, they contacted me telling me how I'd brought tears to their eyes or made them laugh or just made them feel valued.

Those reactions and the process of writing the letters were both pretty much bullet trains to Dopamineville. 

I felt like the letters were not only the best Christmas presents I could have given my relatives, but also the best gift I could have given myself.

At a time of year when most of us have to turn to another glass of wine to help tolerate our families, it felt so much better to celebrate them instead.

So if you're looking for an extra way brighten up your holiday this year, try documenting the reasons you're grateful for someone. 

Gratitude will getcha every time.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Secret to Happiness - Revealed

When was the last time you caught yourself in a moment of total happiness?

I can remember many times during my 20s, being on my way out to meet girlfriends, the stereo cranked in my car, that melded feeling of unknowing and endless possibility thumping in my chest. I would catch myself thinking I am so happy right now.

I felt so alive and so free just sitting behind the wheel of my Toyota.

Now, that same feeling creeps up on me when I set out on a hiking trail or spend the morning pulling weeds, listening to my chickens twittering back and forth. It happens when my husband and I try a new wine and watch each other's faces to try to guess what the other thinks. It shows up when I'm sitting around a table with family, listening to my parents tell a story I've never heard about something they did as teenagers.

Happiness pops up when allow myself to settle into the moment. When I'm fully consumed by the present.

According to a TED talk I recently listened to, that lost-in-the-moment feeling may in fact be the key to happiness. According to Matt Killingsworth, even when people are engaged in tedious activities like their morning commutes, they feel happier when they are fully present in traffic or on the train than when they let their minds wander.

It's reassuring that this small, widely and easily accessible step could be the key to maintaining a state of joy.

It means that happiness is right there with you, wherever you are. All you have to do is allow yourself to be in it. 

Check out Matt's talk below learn more about finding happiness. And be sure to stay fully present while you watch....

Monday, November 2, 2015

Start Your 30 Days of Gratitude

Last Christmas, I wrote each person in my immediate family a gratitude letter, telling them all the reasons why I was thankful to have them in my life. I can't lie: It was a time-consuming process. But each letter made me fall in love with its recipient all over again. I felt overwhelmed with joy every time I completed one.

That's the magic of gratitude—even if it's directed at someone else, it elevates you, too. It fills your heart right along with filling theirs. And with so much chaos and suffering in the world, I think we can all stand for a little heart-filling these days.

Being that it's the month of Thanksgiving, now is a perfect time to start practicing gratitude. I'll even give ya a little head start...

Download my 30 Days of Gratitude worksheet, free.

Happy gratituding to you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It's Probably Time for You to Start Having an Affair

I feel that I should begin this post by saying: I would never cheat on my husband. And that's not what I'm suggesting you do, either.

But I am going to encourage you to start a torrid love affair.

See, I recently listened to all of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Magic Lessons" podcasts, which coincide with the release of her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In one of the episodes, she coaches a creatively stymied artist around the idea of rekindling her painting passion by starting an affair with the process. She tells the woman to give herself permission to be naughty and sexy and a little wicked.

Sounds fun, right?

Though Liz's podcast and advice are focused on sparking creativity, this notion of having an affair with something you love, once loved, or are just curious about is really exciting. It turns whatever it is that you want to pursue—but are maybe afraid of starting—into a secret act of pleasure that's just for you. No one even has to know you're doing it. And (hopefully!) it won't do any damage to your real-life relationships.

If you were going to let yourself start sneaking away to meet your new "lover," who would that lover be? 

Your favorite books? Your journal? The beach? A run in the woods? Home decor magazines? Watercolors or sculpture or collages? A museum? A movie theater? Peace, quiet, and solitude?

And what would you do to get ready for your secret meetings? Get dolled up? Be more diligent about your own self care? Allow yourself to put away the anxiety or the guilt for awhile? Remind yourself of someone who you used to be? Give yourself permission to be nasty, sexy, adventurous, and wicked?

I'll stop bombarding you with questions now. Surely your mind can fill in its own blanks.

But knowing how often we put the mundane ahead of what ignites us, allowing ourselves to feel passion like this—to escape for 30 minutes or a whole day of satisfaction and joy—seems essential to our sanity and sense of well being.

The laundry can wait. A microwave dinner won't kill anyone.

So go start your affair. And let yourself remember what it feels like to be alive. 

If you're a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, I highly recommend that you download this podcast series. The episodes are short and a complete delight to listen to. This post is based on episode 7. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Love Letter to Your Body

For the past two years, I've been sending out a Love Letter to any sweet soul who craves a bit of free adoration in their email inbox each month. I've never published one to anybody outside of the subscriber list, but I thought I'd share this month's because it hits on something I think we've all struggled with at some point: body love.

Without further adieu, a love letter to you...


I was talking with a client a few weeks ago when she confessed to using some really nasty self talk around her body. “Get your fat ass on the treadmill” was one of her meanest mantras. Big self-bully. Not the way a girl should speak any body, let alone her own body.

Together, she and I came up with a script of much kinder words that would ultimately be more supportive of her goal to get in better shape.

The session with her got me thinking about how we talk to ourselves. And because I think all of us could probably use a little self love, this month’s letter is dedicated to
your body.

I want you to remember why you should adore the skin you’re in. I want to remind you why you’re lovable from head to toe.

Dearest you, I love your body because of…

Your hair that, at one point or another, has served as a playground for someone’s fingers

Your eyes that not only take in the world around them, but see when someone is hurting and encourage you to reach out

Your ears that tune themselves to the needs of friends and family members, listen to laughter, sorrows and secrets, and sometimes lend a lobe for nibbling

Your mouth that speaks its truth and bites it tongue; that relishes the pleasures of a good meal or glass of wine; and that, hopefully, has stolen more than a few kisses over time

Your neck that holds your head up high, turns your face away from people who don’t deserve your time, and bends gently in the direction of those who do

Your shoulders that bear the proverbial weight of your world, but that also serve as a contact point for you and strangers you pass on the street—a reminder that we’re all in this together 

Your back that has encased that powerful backbone of yours, helping you stand up straight, stand up for yourself and sometimes give piggybacks to eager riders

Your belly that has flexed in hysterical giggles, swelled in the afterglow of Thanksgiving dinner, possibly protruded with the growth of a little one, and blessed you with more than one instinctive gut feelings

Your hips that may have been a cradle for lovers, a channel for children, and their own beatbox, bumping back and forth to your favorite songs on the dance floor, spreading joy with every single shake

Your knees that have supported you in everything from pulling weeds in your garden to praying at a mighty altar to kneeling at a humble bedside

Your feet, that have held their ground even when you wanted to run, and carried you through life even when you weren’t certain which step to take next

Your body is magnificent.

It is a work of art that chronicles every day of your life so far. Its scars are badges of honor. Its divots and curves, signs of growth. Its lines, indicators of experience.

I love it.
All of it.

I hope you do, too.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is It Time for a Full Reset?

My laptop has been acting a bit wonky lately. Last week, the little battery charge icon got a scary X through it and wouldn't recharge when I plugged it in. A quick Google search revealed that the battery didn't just need to be recharged—it needed to be reset. I had to power down, pull out the battery, push some buttons, say some prayers, do 10 jumping jacks, and then replace everything and wait to see if the battery would go back to recharging.

It worked.

And it made me think about our own batteries. The ones that power our sense of well-being.

Most of us try to regularly recharge our batteries with naps or stolen moments reading magazines or watching The Bachelor with girlfriends. But like my laptop, I think most of us are in major need of full-blow battery resets.

What would resetting your battery look like for you? 

What would you do to escape, power down, and shut off before you had to get back at it?

My husband and I slipped away for two days of camping and hiking earlier this week and it was the perfect way to reset. Breathing the pine-scented air, working up a sweat on the trails, eating s'mores—all of it was the exact kind of restoration we needed. And while we were away, my laptop battery got to enjoy a nice, long nap.

How can you give yourself a restoration reset sooner than later?

Doing whatever it takes might be the key to turning yourself into an energy powerhouse.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There Is No "Right" Order. Your Path Is Your Path.

Having your ducks in a row doesn't necessarily mean they have to be in a particular sequence.
I was talking with a friend recently and she confessed to struggling with some exciting news because it was taking place "in the wrong order." I asked her what the "right order" was and she rattled off a series of life events that society loves to teach us we're supposed to follow. (Education! Dating! Job! Perfect Relationship! Marriage! House! Baby! Promotion! Travel! Retirement! Grandkids! Golf.)

The reality of the "perfect" series it that sometimes, it's just not realistic.

Life lessons happen. Breakups and makeups happen. People get divorced and remarried. Unexpected pregnancies pop up—sometimes before marriage or any sort of real commitment. We leave and go back to jobs. Sometimes on our hands and knees. Some of us don't find our dream careers until we're 70. 

We're all on different rides.

Some people's life events take place in one particular order, others' skip and repeat certain steps. Neither is right or wrong.

There are no rules. There is no "right."

There's only the answer to this question: Are you happy?

If you're genuinely happy, it doesn't matter what order things fall into place. It doesn't matter if you have to take a re-do on a relationship or a job or an attempt at discovering the cure for unwanted facial hair.

Being happy is THE thing.

The stories we tell ourselves about what order things need to occur are just limiting beliefs. The kind of beliefs that can rob us of our happiness, when we're ripe to be feeling it.

Besides that—if our life timelines unfolded in a different order or how we thought they were supposed to, we might not even get to the opportunities we have today to be happy. We might be on very different paths, tethered by some life event doctrines that are just a bunch of hooey.

Forget the order. Do what makes you happy and don't beat yourself up when you have to take a do-over.

It's your ride, my friend. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

If Your Life Is Feeling Unbalanced, You Might Just Need to Adjust Your Eyes

During the past few months in my Monday night yoga class, we've been working on mastering some poses that involve standing on one leg. The eagle pose. Hand-to-big toe. The dancer's pose. Although I'm relatively skilled at holding my body steady, I have been known to topple over. Even when holding poses that require both feet on the ground...

"Remember your drishti," my teacher reminds us as she passes between our mats.

"Drishti" is a Sanskrit word that describes a focusing point. By letting your gaze rest on a particular point, it's much easier to hold your balance.

In class, I've found that zeroing in on knots in the floorboards seems to work better for me than trying to find drishtis on the wall.

It's not just about finding a focusing point, it's about finding the right one.

Outside of class, this also rings true.

Maintaining balance in our personal lives depends on finding the right points of focus.

We can put our attention on certain tasks or circumstances or emotions and feel like we're going to crash headfirst into the floor every day. Yet, if we shift our gaze to other aspects of our lives, we find our balanced stances so much easier to hold; harmony so much easier to come by.

When I consider where my drishtis should fall on a daily basis, I think about things like gratitude,  abundance, love and communion with nature. Those are the focuses that keep me strong, no matter how many toes I have gripping the ground.

What are the focusing points that make you feel most balanced? And what can you do to keep your eye trained in their direction?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sometimes a Little Sun on Your Face Makes All the Difference

I took this photo last month while visiting Gruyére, Switzerland. My husband and I were trailing up a gravel path toward the castle when I saw this woman standing at the railing with her face turned toward the sun. She kept her eyes closed as we approached—never breaking away from the moment and the sky, not realizing that I had secretly snapped her picture. As we passed, I noticed she was holding a bouquet of wildflowers loosely behind her back.

She could have just been enjoying a beautiful day, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, soaking up the sun and collecting flowers.

She could have been emerging from a walk on the shadowed, chillier side of the castle, and needing to warm her cooled skin. 

Or she could have been taking flowers to one of the graves in the cemetery down the hill. She could have been feeling sad or nostalgic, thinking of a lost loved one.

It's amazing how sometimes when life hurts, something as simple as feeling the sun on your face can remind you that things are going to be okay. That there is warmth and light around you, in spite of whatever darkness you might feel.

We're fortunate to have small pleasures to count on.

The smell of wildflowers. The sound of gravel crunching under our feet. The feeling of sun on our cheeks. And sometimes the sight of a stranger, not meaning to but, reminding us that comforts like this can make all the difference.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Gratituesday: New Beginnings

Aren't we lucky to witness, over and over again,

the renewals of spring? 

The new beginnings that take place right in the trees

in our backyards, filled with unwavering trust. 

So grateful for those. And for sweet baby birds.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What Does Living Look Like?

Today I visited a friend who is in the final stages of a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Like the other dear friends I've had to say goodbye to too soon, she is much to young to die. It makes me wonder what sort of balance is out of skew in the Universe. How this could possibly be happening. Something feels so monumentally off when we lose people before their time.

It feels surreal and wrong.

And yet, it's the most powerful reminder for the rest of us how precious life is. 

It made me think hard about what it means to really live.

What does that look like?

On the surface, it might look like pushing boundaries and taking risks; traveling to the ends of the earth to pack your days with an endless supply of experiences.

But when I really think about what makes me feel alive, it's simply being connected to the moment. 

For me, living—really sopping up every last drip of life—is so much more about what I'm feeling than what I'm doing. I'm living when I connect with people, when I connect with nature, when I connect with a beautiful song or a blazing sunset. It's about presence and gratitude. Being grounded in an experience, rather than having a wild one.

I thought about what I would do if I knew I had only a short time to live, and that was the answer: focus on being connected to everything and every second.

I wouldn't have to race to see the countries I haven't seen. I wouldn't have to load every day with as many social interactions as possible. I would just have to plug in to the present. 

The good news is, I can do this now. I can work at this every day so that whenever my final day arrives, there will be no question that I lived.

Today, for me, living looked like blowing off work for half the day to drive to LA. It was about being present on the highway as the cloudless sky and teal spans of ocean passed by outside my window. It was about sitting at the bedside of my friend, touching her arm and telling her stories, as she winds down this life and starts the transition into the next.

It was about feeling everything that came with that situation. The overwhelming sadness mixed with the immeasurable appreciation of knowing my friend, even if it will be for far fewer days than I'd prefer. 

When you think about living your life to the fullest, what does it look like for you?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How's Your Personal Foundation Holding Up?

My husband and I are in the process of adding a bathroom and some extra square footage to our master bedroom, and just about every step of the construction process has me thinking about how building a house is just like building a life.

The foundation, of course, is one of the most important parts.

Ours required design drawings by an engineer and an inspection by a county expert. Everything that went into those key support walls had to be perfect. Or else the house could fall in on top of us.

If only construction of our own personal foundations followed the same protocols.

What would an engineer tell you that you had to have at your core to keep you feeling solid?

What would an inspector insist that you couldn't skimp on, lest you cause your own walls to come crashing in on you?

Without the right foundations, we're just not equipped to weather life's storms, stay strong when we're tired, or hold it together on those days when the weight of the roof feels so darn heavy.

Everything rests on the foundations we build.

If I had to sketch up a structural rendering of mine, it would include things like time in nature, laughter, affection, rest, education, and really delicious food. Those are just a snapshot of what I need to keep myself sturdy in the world.

What would you use to build your foundation? And is it intact right now or do you need to fill some cracks? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gratituesday: Simple Adventures

Aren't we lucky to have a gazillion activities in life that feel like adventures? 

I'm so grateful for the big ones—exploring new cities, climbing mountains, flying in helicopters.

But oh how I love the small ones, too. Like the first time I ate a raw oyster.

Adventure at its finest.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Accept What Is and You'll Just Keep Swimming

What you resist persists. 
But when you accept what is, you gain the ability to swim in the deepest of waters. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gratituesday: Orchids

Aren't we lucky to have orchids? 

Nothing brightens up a desk quite like them. 

I love how they look like little ladies walking up and down branches. 

Or maybe flocks of butterflies. 

So grateful for these flowers. 

What are you grateful for today? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Relax When You Can't Relax

I took my very first helicopter flight this past weekend after swearing I'd never set foot in a helicopter. My husband's best friend is a heli pilot and has tried to convince me many times that I would enjoy a flight. Every time, I tell him No Way.

But we went to visit him for his 40th birthday and something came over me. I felt like I should live in the moment and seize the opportunity to experience a flight.

As soon as we lost contact with the ground, I felt myself start to tense.

My adrenaline started to kick in as we hovered higher and higher over the pavement below. We were in flight. I was in fight or flight.

But all I wanted to do was relax and enjoy the ride.

So I made a concerted effort to get out of my head and into my feet.

The fastest way to pull yourself out of a stress response is to focus on relaxing your body.

I steadied my breathing and let my shoulders drop. I released my abs—which I had unwittingly clenched super tight. I let my legs sink into my seat. I felt my toes tap the glass in front of me. I tried to let every muscle fall slack.

As I relaxed my body, my mind began to follow.

I continued to breathe and focus on calming my posture.

I soaked in the sights of the green vineyards and a winding river and sprawling properties below us. When the wind would kick up and cause the helicopter to shudder, I went right back to letting my muscles grow heavy and limp.

It was a great flight.

I won't say I was as laid back as I would have been in a bubble bath, but I felt pretty darn good and was able to totally enjoy the experience.

And the best part is—I can do this same trick any time stress creeps into my day. I can choose to fake it 'til I make it, relaxing my body until my mind follows and calm is restored.

Do you think you could give it a try next time you find yourself slipping into fight or flight?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gratituesday: Fancy Desserts

Aren't we lucky that people keep inventing decadent desserts?

The kind you just want to hold in your mouth a few minutes too long
because they taste too amazingly delicious to swallow. 
If only spinach and broccoli had the same effect on our palates...

So grateful for fancy desserts. 

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, February 16, 2015

My New Daily Must-Read

I don't quite know how I ended up with the large print
edition but it made me laugh when I saw it. Obviously
the Universe wants me to get the messages loud and clear!
When I was feeling out of sorts a couple weeks ago, a good friend recommended that I start integrating meditation into my daily routine.

The great thing about meditation is that it doesn't have to look like hours spent in perfect stillness and silence. 

It can be quiet contemplation achieved while sitting on the carpet in a sun-filled living room. It can be a few blissful minutes spent watching birds scratch for seeds on your back lawn. It can be that moment at the end of the day when you close your eyes and breath and let your shoulders drop and loosen.

At least, this is what I believe meditation can be.

While discussing all of this with my friend, she mentioned a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf—unread—for over a year. If you've never heard of Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening, I recommend that you just dive right in and buy it. Don't research it, just order it on Amazon.

It has 365 stories and accompanying meditations that guide you through your stillness practice each day.

It's so beautifully written. Even if you never did any of the meditation exercises, Nepo's rich prose makes the book worthwhile. I mean, just feast your eyes on this excerpt from today's entry:
"In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter." 
Lovely, right? And spending a few minutes each day breathing and letting the mind and spirit explore each topic he covers—it's transformational.

It's the perfect way to invite some calm into your life if you're feeling caught up in chaos. Definitely a must read.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gratituesday: Hummingbirds

Aren't we lucky to share the world with hummingbirds?

The little helicopters of the bird world are so fun to watch,
as they zoom through our yards in search of their next sugar hit.
They're the only bird who can fly backwards, you know. 
Masters of adaptability. 

I wouldn't mind coming back as one in my next life. 

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I've Been Consuming Too Many "Empty Calories"...

This is the kind of stuff I should be consuming if I want to feel truly
healthy and satiated.
I realized last week that I haven't been feeding myself very well lately.

And it has nothing to do with the Pop Tarts in my pantry...

What I have been doing is stuffing myself with "empty calories"—using TV or social media or alcohol to numb out after long, chaotic days of work and home renovation disruptions. And then I wonder why I still feel crappy in spite of my nightly "relaxation."

Brené Brown first introduced me to the concept of numbing out when I took her Gifts of Imperfection online course through oprah.com. (She talks about numbing a little here.) It's when we try to attain the rest and respite we're craving with things that simply don't feed our spirits.

Rather than bringing us peace and lifting us from our pits of stress, these faux fixes just cause us to go numb.

We no longer feel the bad feelings, but we don't really feel the good ones either.

And after prolonged periods of numbing, you kind of just start to numb out everything—which can really inhibit your capacity to feel joy.

When I took Brené's class, she had us make a list of the stuff we use to numb ourselves. Mine included the vices I mentioned above, along with blaming, anger, and over-consumption of sugar.

Rather than continuing to rely on these numbing mechanisms, Brené says we need to tap into our "comfort wisdom" to find true peace.

How do you access the "food" you so desperately need of when you realize your relaxation facilitators aren't working?

Make a list of all the ways your wisest, most evolved self would tell you to unwind.

These are the activities that truly nourish and rejuvenate your soul.

When I became clear on the fact that I was numbing last week, I immediately dug out my comfort wisdom list from Brené's class. It includes things like "Go outside. Take a nap. Practice gratitude. Do something productive like organizing or cleaning. Read. Breathe and stretch."

Even just reading the list made my body feel more relaxed.

We all intuitively know what we need to heal from the ills of stress. It's just a matter of holding ourselves accountable so that we turn that that wisdom instead of the quick numbing solutions—which will never truly make us feel better.

Can you identify behaviors you use to numb out instead of really feeding yourself? And can you come up with a list of wiser, more comforting actions to replace those that will keep your spirit belly full of delicious, nutritious sustenance?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gratituesday: The Wisdom of Tea Tags

Aren't we lucky to have wise little tags on our tea bags?

Teaching us proverbs and lessons while we sip. 

I'm pretty darn grateful for them.

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Quick Trick for Blowing Through More of Your To-Do List

Hiking with friends and family members is one of my favorite ways
to batch exercise and social interaction.

I recently rediscovered something that I often recommend to clients but somehow seemed to forget in my own life:
The Art of "Batching."

What is "batching?" you ask.

Batching is when you cross two or more things off your to-do list by conquering them at the same time.

For example, my recent batching exploits have involved blog-writing while watching The Bachelor and The West Wing, and dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner to get my Fitbit step count closer to 10,000.

The beauty of batching is that it's designed for people who can't seem to find enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they're hoping to do (like me—and maybe you, too).

"Isn't batching just multi-tasking?" you ask.

In a way, yes it is. But it's more deliberate. It feels to me like there's a different intention to it. There seems to be a greater intention for joy with batching than there is with straight multi-tasking.

At the end of 2013, I hosted a free call on my 5 Top Tips for Battling Overwhelm and Breaking Free from Your Funk—one of which is practicing gratitude. I remember one of my clients telling me that in her state of overwhelm, there was no way she was going to be able to find time to do a gratitude practice.

My answer to that: Batch it, sister.

Writing in a gratitude journal can be done at the breakfast table while you're eating your oatmeal. Just like catching up with a friend can be done while walking around the local high school track. Or making your daily commute to work can include listening to an informative podcast or a great audio book you want to read.

The beauty of batching is that it often makes one or both of the activities you're wanting to accomplish more fun. And the payoff is greater, too. Two birds with one stone = a total rush of achievement joy.

Where in your life do you feel you're lacking time? And where do you see opportunities to batch line items from your to-do list—to ultimately gain time and get more done?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gratituesday: Rainbows

Aren't we lucky to have rainbows?

We never know when they'll pop up. 
They're like little surprise parties in the sky. 

So grateful for them.

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gratituesday: Fresh Guacamole

Aren't we lucky to have guacamole?

And better yet—fresh guac made on the spot!?
So delicious. And good for your heart.
It's a win win. 

So grateful for it.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Become the Person You Want to Be (And Stop Acting Like a Piece of Swiss Cheese)

I was chatting with a friend last week about a longtime infatuation she had with a particularly mysterious, confident, lone-wolf-esque guy when I decided to ask her a very pointed question I'd asked myself during my own dating days.

Are you attracted to him because you want to be WITH him or because you want to be LIKE him?

She thought for a moment and then her eyes widened.

"Whoa. I think I want to be like him..."

I'm not sure exactly when I noticed this tendency within myself, but realizing it launched a bit of a breakthrough in my dating life. In my 20s and early 30s I wanted to be with someone adventurous and worldly—primarily because I thought I wasn't either of those things myself. But seeking them out sort of backfired on me. I subconsciously focused too much on that aspect and ended up with guys too far over on the "adventure" spectrum who didn't have the balance of other traits I was seeking. It was only when I was finally able to see myself as worldly and adventurous that I was able to find someone who was a perfect fit for me.

When we're attracted to someone because we want to be like them, we're walking around acting as though we're human hunks of Swiss cheese. 

Like there are holes throughout our persons. We try to fill in what we think is lacking by stuffing other people into the supposed empty spots.

I don't think this only happens in love relationships either—it can happen with friendships and even among colleagues.

And it's not to say that a situation like this will never turn into a thriving love affair or business partnership, but I would bet that if someone ran the numbers, there would be a lower likelihood for success.

A higher likelihood for success: Being attracted to someone because you want to be with them and they're like YOU. 

So how to bridge the gap (or rather, fill the cheese pockets)?

Work on becoming the person you want to be rather than hoping someone else will be your catalyst for change.

If, for example, you find yourself yearning to be with someone confident because you wish you were more confident, do things that boost your own esteem (run a lap, treat yourself to a solo dinner, take a karate class) instead of seeking out someone else out who's overflowing with self assurance.

Becoming who you want to be—stepping into the shoes of your best self—will cause people to be attracted to YOU. 

And the funny thing is, you might already BE the person you want to be but you just need to learn how to give yourself credit.

Before I left my friend, I told her that next time I see her I want a full report that she's been doing all sorts of independence- and confidence-boosting things to bring herself into alignment with her crush.

She promised she would try—and not just for the sake of the possible boyfriend. 

If she and the guy work out, I think it'll only make their relationship stronger. And if they don't, she'll have a few more reasons to stop seeing herself as a slice of Swiss.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gratituesday: Tidepools

Aren't we lucky to have tidepools? 

Little microcosms of the ocean 
that we can explore
without even getting wet. 

So grateful for them.

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Honoring the Year Gone By

I was in yoga class a couple weeks ago and before the final Namaste, my teacher asked us to take a moment to honor all that we had accomplished during 2014. I thought back over the year and felt mildly shocked by all I had done.

Just a few days before, my husband and I had been talking about how much we DIDN'T do in 2014 and what changes we wanted to make in the New Year.

Yet, sitting on my mat in the yoga studio, I felt I'd done everything right.

I'd done so much.

I'd done enough.

It's easy to get so caught up tallying our resolution failures that we forget to bask in the joy of our accomplishments.

I may not have created the ebooks I meant to write or done a juice fast every month or found new hiking trails (3 items on my 2014 goal list) but I had helped remodel two bathrooms and a kitchen, I'd helped raise four baby chicks into young lady chickens, and I'd hiked my way around two national parks and some Alaskan coastal cities.

In addition to a resolution or goal list or whatever it is you may make this New Year, why not spend some time reflecting on everything you did in 2014? Even if it wasn't part of your plan, take a minute to honor what you got done.

I'll be you did a lot more than you realize.

And I bet it made your spirit grow in different and exciting ways.