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

Myth Busting and the Key to Happiness


“The key to happiness and health (and to all their auspicious by-products) is not how intensely happy we feel, but how often we feel positive or happy.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky

The Myths of Happiness, book cover

You know those times in life that rock your foundation?

In her book The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky calls them crisis points.

They’re the kind of events that leave you feeling like things will never be the same. And love them or hate them, they happen to everyone.

These crisis points can be times of renewal and growth, but let’s keep it real – we rarely seem to view them as such when we’re going through them.

Therein lies the key – how do you deal with them.

Myths is about identifying the steps that will work for you, and as in any area of life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

I recently asked,

If happiness is a choice, why don’t we always choose it?

I wasn’t surprised to find that most people believe it is a choice, but the question remains,

Why don’t we always choose it? 

That’s the question I had in mind as I began reading the book.

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If Happiness Is A Choice


A happy moment.

Drinking my rooibos tea and looking around as I work at a nearby cafe.

I feel satisfied to be doing work I love, and grateful that I can do it from almost anywhere in the world.

Like a cat in the sun, I am absorbing the energy of the people around me.

It’s satisfying and I feel happy.

And then I have this thought. . .

If happiness is a choice, why don’t we always choose it?

Live, Love, Laugh doodle on paper

Is it a myth that happiness is a choice?

If it were true, wouldn’t more people be happy?

In her new book The Myths of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that we’ve been given false promises when it comes to happiness. Myths that set us up for disappointment due to their external nature.

You’re familiar with the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome, aren’t you?

No one’s immune to it, as far as I can tell.

“It turns out that the key to happiness and health… is not how intensely happy we feel, but how often we feel positive or happy.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky

Having read Lyubomirsky’s earlier book The How of Happiness, I know she doesn’t overwhelm with scientific fact, instead delivering a very human element in her writing.

So I’m on the case, inquiring into happiness as I begin reading  The Myths of Happiness – a review will be posted February 7, 2013.

For now, I want to hear what you think.


Over to you: 

  • Is happiness really a choice?
  • If so, what helps you choose it more consistently in your life?



What It Takes to Nourish the Soul


“Amidst life’s busyness, we need ways to slow down, turn our attention within, and reconnect with ourselves.” – Karen Horneffer-Ginter

Self-care, for almost everyone I’ve worked with in over a decade, is an ongoing challenge. For the purpose of this post I use the term self-care to refer to the care of mind, body and spirit.

For many, the challenge is obvious, showing up in the physical: do they get enough sleep, does their diet nourish them, etc.

For others, the majority it often seems, the challenge reveals itself in the emotional or spiritual realms, which is not as easily seen or remedied.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit is a book that speaks directly to this challenge.

book cover Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit

Written by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, it touches on the most personal and challenging aspects of self-care in a world that often has us running like a hamster on a wheel.

“We live in a world of constant movement, and our day-to-day lives seem to get busier by the hour. Our days are full of information, full of obligations, full of friends and family, full of everything…except fulfillment.”

This statement is true for far too many people. The busyness and stressors of daily life can easily become overwhelming, and self-care is usually the first thing to go when faced with a time or energy crunch.

So, how do you deal with this challenge?

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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.

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Courage and Overcoming Fear with Debbie Ford


Years ago I read Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, and I remember my surprise at realizing that someone was actually shining light on the parts of ourselves we try so hard to hide.

In her latest book Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self Confidence, she goes deeper right from the start as she asks,  Courage, book cover

“How many times have you felt yourself shrink?”

“How many times have you kept your mouth shut when you wanted to scream loudly, or handed over your power to someone who didn’t have your best interests at heart?”  

“How many times have you told yourself, ‘I can’t. I’m not strong enough. I”m not courageous or confident enough to be all that I desire to be?”

Because truth is, every day you’re confronted with situations that trigger thoughts like these, and the accompanying self-doubt.

Confronted too by opportunities and choices, hundreds of them, that can make you feel confident and strong or weak as a shrinking violet. Every one, a choice.

Are you owning that responsibility or living as a victim to it?

She writes that, “when we lack confidence, we feel unworthy of having what we want, of speaking the truth, of making decisions that improve our lives. When we feel weak, helpless, or powerless, we lack the strength to ward off the thoughts of defeat, negativity and fear that fill our minds and prevent us from moving forward and living in harmony with our deepest desires. ”

Courage provides steps to increasing confidence, and the possibility of living to our fullest potential.

“True courage comes not just from feeling confident and strong, but from being the honest, authentic expression of yourself.”

Debbie shares her personal journey with cancer, the wake-up call she needed to help her see where she herself had become stuck in life. Her raw honesty and vulnerability as she shares her story are rare traits, and make for a compelling read. Using the metaphor of a warrior, she digs deep to share the wisdom gained from confronting her own dark side while igniting the warrior long suppressed inside.

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How to Be Rich and Happy: Spotlight & Review

Follow Friday Series

An Admission, A Review & A Spotlight

Follow Friday Series

The Admission

I started talking to Tim Brownson about having him in the spotlight months ago. I wanted to combine the Friday spotlight with a review of Tim’s book (co-authored with John P. Strelecky) and that’s when my procrastination kicked in.

In my 15+ years as a student of personal development and 10 years of coaching I’ve read a helluva lot of books, and the title How to Be Rich and Happy made me groan aloud.

book cover for How to Be Rich and HappyReally Tim?

How to Be Rich and Happy???

Sounds so. . .I don’t know. . .too good to be true maybe?

It’s fair to say I had a reaction to the title, which began the cycle of procrastination, putting it off time and again.

If I’d told him, he’d probably have laughed and had me read An Easy Way to Beat Procrastination where he says,

“As a human being your brain is pre-programmed to avoid pain whenever it can.” 

At first I thought, “What pain? I love doing these spotlights!” but the pain quickly became clear.

The pain was related to my reaction which lead me to believe I wouldn’t like the book itself which lead to “I shouldn’t review this book”which lead to why the hell read it then!? I’d completely forgotten it had started with a desire to have Tim in the spotlight.

The worst thing about the procrastination was the blow to my integrity, one of my core values. Honouring my word is essential to my well-being. I’m not kidding, it really is that important to me and here I was putting off something I said I’d do months ago.

When you’re committed to walking your talk, the only thing to do when your integrity goes out is clean it up. That I hadn’t kept my word became a fierce thing in my mind, staring me in the face like one of Tim’s Dobermans!

So I read the book.

Continue reading