A Year in Review: gems from 2016

Every year at this time I review my journals as I complete the year and make space for what’s next.

2016 was a year of growth and satisfaction, as well as challenge and grief. Writing these notes to myself was an opportunity to acknowledge it all.

I share these 108 insights with my deepest wish that they resonate and remind us all that even the most challenging times have gems.

 


 

1. Truth communicates through the body. Pay attention.

2. Freedom is always calling.

3. Obligation kills joy.

4. Write yourself a permission slip to do whatever the hell you want.

5. Whisper good things to yourself before bed.

6. Your words create your world.

7. Life is reciprocal. Pay attention to what you put out.

8. Expansion is inevitable.

9. Splurging now and then is necessary.

10. Celebrate the future before it happens.

11. Your preferences create your reality.

12. Pay attention to the details.

13. You can be as big as you want.

14. Practice displaces procrastination.

15. It’s not luck when you earn it.

16. Your willingness to risk leads to change.

17. The truth is usually right in front of you.

18. Your core desired feelings are beacons.

19. Chaos always accompanies change.

20. Be involved in a way that feels good.

21. Let go of what no longer serves you.

22. There’s no substitute for doing the work.

23. You are the source of your own aliveness.

24. Get over your need for instant gratification.

25. Vibrate how you feel.

26. Blocks are temporary; don’t make them mean anything.

27. Your desires come from the part of you connected to your soul.

28. Liberation requires courage and heart.

29. Forgive yourself and move on.

30. Practice what you love.

31. Don’t be afraid to burn bright.

32. Listen for resonance.

33. Walk away from drama.

34. Make choices that feel good.

35. You really have no idea what you’re capable of.

36. Turn down the noise and you’ll hear something new.

37. The more you tell your new story, the more real it becomes.

38. When possibilities flow, surf.

39. Trust the healing.

40. Surrender to the fire that burns inside.

41. Intention must be followed by action for change to occur.

42. Be on your own side cheering madly.

43. Include everything.

44. Start over. Again.

45. Become a light for others.

46. Change your mind.

47. Make more promises to yourself.

48. Your comfort zone is made up.

49. Face what you’re most afraid of.

50. You’ll find evidence for anything you believe. Continue reading

99 Things I Love (because I love a good challenge)

 

I’m always up for a challenge, especially when I know it’s going to leave me feeling a rampage of appreciation.

Judy Dunn wrote in the post that inspired me, 99 Things I Love, that in doing this exercise,

“You get a sense of what’s important in life, where your priorities lie and what brings you joy.”

That is always a good thing.

So I set my timer for ten minutes as per Judy’s exercise, and began my own list.

99

1.  My first cup of coffee in the morning
2.  The books that surround me in my office
3.  My girl Tarty
4.  Connecting with friends
5.  Making my mom laugh
6.  Deep soul-shaking belly laughs
7.  Fresh homemade bread
8.  Watching whales in Maui
9.  Catching sight of an eagle high above me
10. Losing myself in music
11. Foreign films
12. Standing in front of paintings I studied at art school
13. The art I’ve collected over the years
14. Coffee dates
15. Salted dark chocolate
16. Homemade pizza (and leftovers in the morning)
17. Walking our dog Tarty at Kits Beach
18. Holding hands with Mark
19. Long, squishy bear hugs
20. Christmas gatherings with family Continue reading

This Most Amazing Day

 

e.e. cummings quote on image taken at Ruby Lake Resort, BC

Some days I don’t feel grateful.

I feel sullen and resentful, and a bit let down by this thing called Life.

Some days the pull towards the negative is like a strong undercurrent doing its best to pull me under.

I hear it often in my work, but I do my best not to go there; not to talk about it myself.

But the truth is, we all have those days, and moments in life that frustrate the hell out of us.

We all consider giving up at some point.

Until the choice becomes clear.

We can relax and let ourselves be pulled down into the deep, dark waters or. . .

We can refuse to succumb.

We can choose to find some small way to feel better, and reverse the flow of energy.

It’s not as difficult as we think:

  • a walk in nature
  • your toes in the ocean
  • acknowledging your yearnings
  • time with yourself and your journal
  • connecting with a loved one

Feeding your soul in any way that feels good to you.

Start there, and each small step or action will lead you slowly but surely back into resourcefulness.

 

Notice the Good

 

“I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong… Why not try the other way, to see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve put my attention on noticing the good.

This noticing gives me a different feeling than the practice of gratitude.

Like a shiver running up my spine. Or a tingle of delight.

Gratitude often feels forced, like something I should do.

Yes, I know it makes a difference.

Wait…does it make a difference if it feels like a should?

Not so much.

I want a practice that feels real.

One that feels human, and connective. Satisfying.

And simple.

Notice

I don’t need a list of instructions:

  • do it first thing in the morning
  • no wait, do it before bed
  • write it down
  • meditate on it
  • share it
  • no wait, keep it to yourself
  • savour it
  • be authentic
  • no wait, list 5 things every single day

I just want it to feel good.

I want to look around and notice the goodness of life, as if I were wearing good-coloured glasses.

Like a child playing “I spy with my little eye.”

I notice the good. . .

  • that first sip of coffee in the morning
  • a whiff of spring in the air
  • connecting with a stranger
  • a heartfelt thank you
  • the love bombs that come and go
  • that not-quite-asleep-am-I-meditating-or-dreaming state
  • closeness, connection, comfort

Noticing the good feels good.

It’s healing, and like a meditation practice simpler than you think.

When you notice what’s working, what’s inspiring, what’s enjoyable – your experience of it expands.

Noticing is an inside job. That makes a difference when you let it out.

So I’m noticing. And practicing, because sometimes the simple practices are the most challenging.

Keeping it simple, keeping it real.

Noticing the good.

 

 

A Rampage of Appreciation

 

Every time you appreciate something,
every time you praise something,
every time you feel good about something,
you are telling the Universe,
“More of this, please.”
                                                     – Abraham-Hicks

I’ve just had a brilliant day.

Not just because the sun was shining here in Vancouver (a rare occurrence in January!)

Window silhouette at Dr. Sun Yet Sen Gardens, Vancouver, BC

It was simply one of those days, awake and present to my life.

And it reminded me of an amazing practice called rampage of appreciation, from Abraham-Hicks.

So good for what ails you, and more than a little woowoo.

Here’s how it works:

  • Make a list of everything you appreciate right now.
  • Keep going.
  • Continue.
  • Add to your list.
  • That’s it, you’re doing great.
  • How about a couple more?

That’s it. Crazy simple, yeah?

Continue reading

A Mala of Mindfulness (108 insights from 2012)

 

A mala is used in many religious traditions to count the repetitions of prayers or devotions, and often consists of 108 beads. Choosing one is a very personal experience, and not always easy – at least it wasn’t for me, as I didn’t find the mala that ‘fit’ me until the third try.

It’s worth the search though because when you do find the right one, it becomes a physical reminder of the power of awareness.

stone and mala beads from www.malaimports.com

Every year at this time I review my journals, I complete the year and make space for what’s next. This year, 2012, has been a year of challenge, opportunity and deepening; more than I thought possible.

As I reviewed, it occurred to me as a mala, 108 insights or  moments of mindfulness that have had a profound impact on my life.

I share it with the hope that some of these thoughts also make a difference for you.

1.   Silence is the best antidote to the busyness of life. New thoughts emerge effortlessly in this sacred space.

2.   Imagine living as if wherever you are is holy ground.

3.   When the muse wakes you up at 3am, pay attention.

4.   Feeling hunger is a good thing. It reminds us that we’re alive.

5.   Freedom from responsibility is not the solution. Choosing your responsibilities mindfully is.

6.   It’s ok to want what you want. Stop making your wants wrong.

7.   Get clear on your non-negotiables. It’s highly likely they’re related to your values.

8.   Question everything. Believe only that which feels good.

9.   You have a gift that is uniquely yours. How are you offering it?

10.  That slow burn in your belly will not fade away. Nurture it.

Continue reading

A Field of Love & Thanksgiving

 

stone and mala beads from www.malaimports.com

“Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.” – Khalil Gibran

 

An opportunity to appreciate my friends,
near and far, always close to my heart.

The ones who love and support no matter what,
and inspire me to step up and own who I am.

The kindred spirits, soul sisters, like-minded souls,
who forgive and forget my missteps.

For my friends, near and far,
always close to my heart…

I give thanks.

 

Thank You, Thank you!

 

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

 

My version. . .my first boyfriend asked me what my goal was in life. I said ‘to be happy’ to which he replied, ‘That’s not enough. Think bigger.” 

I think John Lennon and I got it right though.

What’s bigger than happiness?

And today I am feeling very happy because it’s the two-year anniversary of this blog.

thank you

Who knew when I shipped this baby thanks to Seth Godin’s Linchpin, that two years would go by so quickly?

Two years of dealing with my lizard brain, who would no doubt still have me dreaming of ‘someday’ becoming a writer.

Two years of learning things I thought beyond my scope of capability; so many late nights challenged by technology and resistance.

Two years of laughter and memories and love; connecting with the most amazing folks on the planet.

Because of you.

Sure, I may have kept writing if you hadn’t been here but I’m not so sure I would have covered some of the issues that have come up. Nor would I have I begun dreaming bigger, more delicious dreams.

YOU kept showing up, inspiring ideas and fueling my passion, so that I ended up stretching way beyond what I first imagined.

So.  Freakin’.  Happy.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And because I want to thank you with more than words, I’m inviting you to a 30 minute coaching session.

A gift from me to you. No strings, no agenda.

Just my deepest thanks for being here.

gift box, white with red ribbon: photo credit - Thomas Hawk

The Power of Focus (or How Happiness is Like Mountain Biking)

mountain bike on red dirt road

Melissa Dinwiddie shares an excerpt from her e-book Creating Happiness: 9 Essential Secrets for Creative People (and Everybody Else). Melissa is one of the most creative people I know and I’m delighted to have her here while I’m on vacation. Aloha!

A trek up a mountain on a borrowed bike taught me a lot about how shifting focus, even just a fraction of an inch, can radically alter your ride through life.

A few years ago, I went mountain biking on Mount Tamalpais, a mountain east of the famous San Francisco Bay.

As it was my first time actually biking on anything other than pavement, I was fortunate to have a companion for the day who worked as a volunteer coach for a high school mountain bike team. He gave me a lot of tips on how to get up the mountain while staying vertical, and perhaps more importantly, how to get back down.

To any veteran mountain biker, our trail was such a novice one that it would be utterly boring. To me, who was a novice biker at the time, it seemed impossibly rocky. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that the tip I remember most from that day was how to avoid those throw-you-off-your-bike stones that invariably seem to appear right where your wheel is aimed.

The secret?

Don’t look at the rock; look at the clear spot next to it.

How many times, I wondered, had I been toodling around the neighborhood on my bike, and ridden right over the thing—stone, pine cone, crack in the pavement—I was most wanting to avoid?

As my mountain bike coach explained, your wheel will automatically go where you look, so if you look at the rocks while riding, that’s exactly where you’ll go. If you shift your gaze an inch over to look at the clearing, however, you’ll “magically” avoid those nasty bike-tumbling rocks.

It’s not really magic, of course. And it’s an idea that you can apply to more than mountain biking.

Continue reading

The Letter Love Wrote

Dear Beloved,

Dear Beloved,

Lately? I haven’t been very good at expressing my love for you. There’s been a lot of make wrong, and judging and assessing going on and it hasn’t been pretty.

I’ve been focused on work and getting things done, mostly noticing what you haven’t accomplished. I’ve thought and said things to you that I would never, ever say to another. I am so…sorry.

When I think of what you’ve been through the past year and a half, I almost swoon with pride. Really I do. I just don’t tell you enough.

I save that for others.

Continue reading