A Renewed Perspective

“What’s my motivation?” – that Sprite commercial from the 90’s with the diva actor as basketball player. Remember?

We are enjoying a weekend getaway in beautiful, crisp northern Arizona in celebration of my husband’s birthday. We are loving the adorable cabin we get to stay in, and the cool evening air!

Something about birthdays (apparently not just my own) makes me feel the need to reflect on my life and where it is going.  continue…

Half Birthdays & Weekends

Today is my half birthday! I’m 34.5.

For the past several years, July 15th has caught my attention because it signifies the halfway point between the vision I had for myself at my last birthday and my designated deadline for said goals.

July 15th still gives me the luxurious cushion of six more months to go to translate my dream vision into my reality. continue…

Opening the Channels for Inspired Ideas

I have been taking my energy more seriously over the past few weeks. By energy, I mean whether I am predominantly feeling positive or negative. Good or bad.

As I have been caring about how I feel as my primary goal in life, I am noticing that my mind is more open and receptive. I can see how in an uplifted state my mind is much more likely to receive an inspired idea than when in the depressed state. continue…

The Real Meaning of the Word Intend

I haven’t looked this up. I’m not sure if this has been said before. But the other day I was driving and thinking about what I am intending to bring in to my life, and it hit me what the word “intend” really means.

I am majorly into feeling as if things in my life are already happening the way I want them to. I completely believe in the power of our emotions, even more so than the power of our thoughts (which are also intensely strong – it’s just that without emotions to back up those thoughts, their power is significantly diminished).

The Power of Words

Ever since I read How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield 10 years ago, I have struggled with getting the words to introduce my goals just right. I am slightly paranoid that if I say in my head “I want to go to Hawaii” I will forever be stuck in the state of wanting to go to Hawaii.

I learned from this book the power of stating things we are wanting in the present tense, as if they are already happening. So I could say “I am going to Hawaii” or, even better, “I am in Hawaii.”

Just because I’m sitting at my kitchen table in Arizona, who says I can’t feel as if I’m sitting at a table in a villa in Hawaii, or lounging on the beach sipping a frozen beverage?

I can be in Hawaii in my mind anytime I want. No one can take that away from me.

Since I am so particular about the tense (i.e., past, present, or future) of my affirmations, goals, dreams, etc., the idea of “intentions” has always slightly tripped me up. I wonder, if I am intending something, doesn’t that mean I’m acknowledging that it doesn’t already exist in my present reality? Wouldn’t it be better to forget the word intention altogether and focus on the emotional reality that it already exists? continue…

How To Empty Your To-Do List Each Day

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your massive to-do list? This has been my primary state of being for as long as I can remember. Always feeling behind and like there has been way more assigned to me than I could ever possibly get done.

A Streamlined List Is a Streamlined Life

My dream has been to live a streamlined life. For a long time I have known this is a possibility for me, but not how to make it happen.

Since watching a few Esther Hicks videos during the recent 2016 Hay House World Summit, I have been reinvigorated to follow the principles of the Law of Attraction. I’m focusing on how I’m feeling as my main concern in life as the way to getting my life to match the dream in my mind. continue…

Organize Something: Hall Closet Tidying

“Life truly begins only after you have put your house in order.”  — Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Getting “tidy” is major. Like life-changing major, as described in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

I have been busy. Who isn’t? But I have had tidy the upstairs hall closet on my backlog of tasks for…as long as we have lived in this house. Which isn’t insanely long, but almost two years.

Two years of I have to organize that upstairs hall closet bouncing around in my brain, stealing energy that I might free up to dedicate to more worthwhile pursuits like starting a garden, among other things I dream of.

This weekend, I finally decided to set my meditation timer for 20 minutes (this is how I motivate myself to do practically everything in my life), and start on the closet.

I knew all along that it wouldn’t take very long. I spent at least ten times as much time thinking about having to clean out this closet as it actually took to do it. But that’s ok. It’s done. Now my mind is saying I’m so glad the upstairs hall closet is organized!  continue…

How Do You Know When a Dream Comes True?

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

This past year has been filled with long-time dreams come true. We got married, traveled to Europe for the first time together, and now own two orthodontic practices (husband being the orthodontist). Still, I felt that my dreams had not yet “happened”.

This weekend my sweet husband took me back to the resort where we got married in Sedona and we enjoyed a very peaceful, serene, reflective weekend together (I will be posting pictures on our website this week for anyone who is interested). My plan was to spend time thinking about what I would need to do in the upcoming year to make my dreams into my reality. continue…

How Hard Is It to Feel Good?

Who doesn’t want to feel good? And why do so many of us go around choosing the alternative? This is a question I have been seriously asking myself lately.

I’m working more on watching what my thoughts are about and categorizing if they are geared towards things I want in my life or things I don’t want. More than the thoughts, I’m focusing on identifying the feelings the thoughts are creating.

Because it’s really about the feelings. The reason we want anything in life is because we believe we will feel better once that is our new reality.

So, if it’s all about how we will feel in the future, why not feel that way now? I often find myself caving in to the saying “easier said than done”. But is it? continue…

Try This Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

Last night, I managed to make time to soak in an epsom salt bath, do a bedtime yoga video on YouTube, and meditate before bed. If asked to describe my ideal day, this is exactly how it would end. continue…

Let Go To Make Space for Something New

“I promise you: whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you.” – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The other day I was thinking a lot about my recurring not-so-positive thoughts, and how they were not only annoying and driving me crazy, but holding me back from moving forward. This was spurred on by something I heard Esther Hicks say on her YouTube channel the day before.

I am always so focused on trying to think about what I want, I sometimes forget how detrimental it can be to let my thoughts spiral and dwell on things I don’t want. Abraham/Hicks was saying that you want to stop thinking about things you don’t want because that creates space for what you do want to come into your life.

I liked this perspective, because it takes the pressure off of trying to stay so focused on things that don’t appear to exist just yet. Rather than working so hard to trick myself all the time into thinking I’m already future me (which can also be fun), sometimes all that needs to be done is putting a stop to anything that is not that, or that goes against that.

A much simpler concept. Let go of what is not wanted first. continue…

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

For YEARS my to-do list has been my Everest. I just cannot let it go.

I have read productivity books like Getting Things Done by David Allen and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, and experimented with all different kinds of planners from Franklin Covey to The Hipster.

So far, I have come very close to my vision of getting this thing cleared off by the end of the day, or at the latest, the end of the week. I know it is possible, no matter what anyone says. Which is always some version of that doesn’t sound very realistic whenever I tell people about my dream of a beautiful, emptied to-do list on a regular basis.

I know there will always be things to do. That isn’t my problem. My point is having a list that doesn’t contain things that were due yesterday, or from 2 months ago.

I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that I will have the time I need to do all the things I want to do that day, AND get done whatever else needs to get done. Not working until 7 p.m., not skipping out on my walk because I’m too busy. Not sleeping less than 7 hours (I realize whenever I have a baby that last one might be negotiable, but you get the point).

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

It dawned on my yesterday that my to-do list of unfinished, overdue tasks is creating clutter in my life. Not only is having this list of unfinished stuff like having junk piles all over my house, but by taking up time that I could spend dealing with physical clutter, it is literally contributing to the clutter in my life and my days. continue…

Meditation Mondays: A Mantra to Let Go of Negative Thoughts

I wish I had taken yoga more seriously 10 years ago. I wish I had taken better care of myself last year, or even last week.

These are thoughts I often catch myself thinking, wishing I had done something differently in the past so that my present would be better.

Last night I was thinking about things I wish I had done, as I often do. And then I thought about future me. I can’t go back 10 years or 10 days to do things differently. But it’s not too late to do some of the things I wish I had done in the past that the version of me five years from now will thank me for.

Consider Future You

A year from now is going to happen, whether we do good things for ourselves now or not. I know that a year from now I will feel happy if I am looking back on time that I took good care of myself and did the things that took me millimeters closer to my vision for myself each day.

But sometimes those ugly thoughts creep in. And they can completely take our good intentions down.

They are sneaky, these insidious thoughts of regret. They take up so much mental space and energy that before you know it the version of yourself that felt motivated to do yoga or clean out a drawer is dozing off for a nap.

I don’t like it when my mind replays things without the consent of the happiest version of me. Really…how rude!

So I try to think of words or phrases that I can think to remind myself that those thoughts are not welcome. Me a year from now will totally thank me. continue…

The Life-Changing Magic of a Tidy Home

Having a completely organized life is one of my big dreams that has seemed just out of reach for years. I actually thought I was pretty organized when it came to physical items, and most people who visit my home would probably say that I am.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, I finally get it. Being organized isn’t about organizing. It’s about learning to let go of the things that no longer bring us joy. The rest falls into place.

Marie Kondo refers to this process as tidying. This book is different from other books about organizing because it asks us to make decisions about the stuff in our homes based on one simple question: does it bring me joy? continue…

What Do a Mirror, a Camera, and a Bridge Have to Do with Your Dreams?

Where you are now was once in your mind. Do you believe that statement? Is it true for you?

It certainly is for me. All the things I like and dislike about my life are things I have thought about in the past. It makes playing the victim kind of difficult.

Whether I wanted to or not, I applied to pharmacy schools, went to one, graduated, got jobs, and everything I did led me to my current job. I created my current, and past, life circumstances. I look around at my house, and I think of the me only a few years ago, and am astounded that I am now living in a beautiful dream house. I am married – something I dreamed of for years. I have acne, still, after like 20 years of dealing with acne. I don’t have to tell anyone how often I have thought about acne over the past 20 years.

When I look at my life, and look around my current environment, I can tell you how I attracted each and every thing into my life, either initially or how I have kept it going in my life for however long it has been here.

It’s interesting to think of the law of attraction from this retrospective point of view. It makes it a little bit more believable for a skeptic because the proof of the power of thought is already physically visible. When we talk about the law of attraction and the future, it can seem like “yeah right” sometimes.

But looking backwards, we kind of can’t argue with the fact that we did certain things that led to our current circumstances. and all those actions were preceded by thoughts. Hence, manifestation.

After looking into the past to see what we have created, we can then look into the future and decide what we would like to create differently. And create change. continue…

You Can Do Anything…If You Do It.

Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough motivation. Not enough will power.

What if these go-to phrases were meaningless, and no matter how much time, money, motivation, or will power was or wasn’t available, anything was possible? Saying anything is possible is easier said than done. But doing anything is completely doable.

This is not a post to pump you up about how you can do anything if you put your mind to it. This post is about the reality of following our dreams. continue…

My First Day at Alt Summit Ever

It’s a week and a half before my wedding, and I’m at Alt Summit Summer 2015! I haven’t been blogging due to wedding planning (and who knows how many other excuses I could come up with), but now that I’m here at my dream blogging conference, I feel compelled to write.

I have been dreaming about going to Alt Summit ever since I first learned that it existed a few years ago when I started dreaming about being a blogger. As I sit here on my hotel bed with the Alt program at my side, I can hardly believe this dream has come true!

Over the past few years, I didn’t have the courage to come to the conference, not thinking that I was a real blogger. Being inspired by Organized Jen’s post about attending the winter session, the same blogger and vlogger who inspired me to start my own blog, I signed up this past winter as soon as tickets went on sale.

After some back and forth about should I go or shouldn’t I go to save money for the wedding, I ended up deciding I would go the night before the trip. And I don’t have to tell you that I am so glad I did! continue…

Gratitude Tuesday: Good Things That Happened Last Week

Check back this coming Monday for the launch of a related series called “Everyday Miracle Monday Weekly Recap Series,” in which I recap my everyday miracles from the previous week.

Gabby Bernstein introduced me to the concept of an everyday miracle. According to Gabby’s work, largely based on the teachings from A Course in Miracles, a miracle can be simply a shift in perception. When you are in a bad mood and have an epiphany that it doesn’t have to be so hard, that could be your miracle that day.

Last year, I randomly found out Tara Stiles would be teaching a yoga class down the road from my house, and was able to attend and even meet her that day at her book signing! It was right around that time that I started noticing the little and sometimes big good things that happened in my life everyday.

We have access to experience a miracle everyday. It might be a little tiny shift in perspective, or the universe might come in and hit us with a lucky stick. The exciting thing is that we never know what this day will bring. Who knows? You might get to meet your favorite author later today! Or get a perfect parking spot at the store. Or an unexpected opportunity might sail right into your life at 3:06 p.m. It could happen!

Weekly Miracle Recap

I have had this idea of recapping my own everyday miracles on a weekly basis for a while now. My “Everyday Miracle” series will be a recap of one good thing from each day during the previous week that I identify as being my “miracle” for that day. Some days it will be something that I could never have dreamed of, others it will be something relatively small but still good.

While I haven’t kept a gratitude journal before, I feel that this aligns with the idea of keeping a gratitude journal in my own way. I also want to inspire other people to look for their own little or big miracle everyday. I believe that by expecting good things to happen each day, we are more likely to attract them into our lives.

This past week, I forgot to keep track of my everyday miracles until Thursday, when a big one happened for me. That’s when I realized I really have to start keeping track of these and do this blog post series. So here goes, my everyday miracles from this past Thursday to Sunday (next week will include the full week): continue…

Feel Good Through Breakfast

I recently started reading Co-creating at Its Best: A Conversation Between Master Teachers by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks. One of the points that has come up several times in this book is the importance of feeling good immediately when waking up in the morning, and then sustaining the good feeling for as long as possible through the day.

Feel Good Little by Little

One suggestion in the book is to work our way up to feeling good all day in increments of time. Focus on feeling good for the first minutes, then hour of the day. Work on feeling good through breakfast at first, then work on extending the feeling through lunch, and eventually through the entire day.

The idea of feeling good through breakfast at first makes the idea of converting from a person who feels good only part of the time to one who feels good the majority of the time seem much less overwhelming. There is a momentum of our thoughts and feelings. Good feelings make it easier to have more good feelings, while not-so-good thoughts and feelings tend to lead us down the path of more not-so-good thoughts and feelings. continue…

Give Yourself Permission to Take an Opposite Day

I can’t remember where the idea of opposite day came from as a kid. Was it a show on Nickelodeon? Or something that was done at school? Or just something ridiculous kids did and thought was funny? Not sure, but this morning this idea of Opposite Day came to me as I was waking up and starting to think about all the things I had to do today (which I do every morning).

I try to stay on alert for self-defeating thoughts in my mind throughout the day. I know that I slip a lot and think thoughts that bring what I don’t want (opposite: It’s easy for me to think thoughts about only what I want).

Well, there you go – an example of what I mean by Opposite Day. This morning the thought “how will I get this all done?” popped into my head (like everyday). Then I thought: why not think the opposite when thoughts come to me that are about exactly what I don’t want? continue…

Book Nook Review: Ask and It Is Given

“Pay attention to the way you feel, and deliberately choose thoughts – about everything – that feel good to you when you think them.” – Ask and It Is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks

If you have ever felt a negative emotion and wished there was a way to train yourself to get out of that place, and either enjoy or at least tolerate metaphysical discussion, this book is certainly for you!

Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks (The Teachings of Abraham) was sitting on a shelf in an adorable little bookstore called Kate’s Books in Jerome, Arizona. This shop is basically an attic turned used bookstore, and the owner was peacefully crocheting squares for an afghan when we visited.

We were in Jerome for my birthday weekend in January, and it seemed like the perfect book to enjoy in the bathtub (which I did for a good part of the next day!).

At the time, I had only cursory awareness of Ester and Jerry Hicks and “The Teachings of Abraham.” What does that even mean? I had heard about Esther Hicks from a friend several years ago, so I had watched a few videos of her on YouTube. I still didn’t get it.

I will keep this explanation brief and let you decide for yourself: Esther Hicks claims to be a channel for “Abraham” which is an entity from the “beyond” that speaks through her.

And that is all I am going to say, because I don’t think I can really explain it without sounding crazy myself (which I assure you I am not). Regardless, I loved the book and am excited to share all the positive messages. Here we go! continue…

Today I Will Be Mindful

Do you ever find that you just finished lunch and don’t remember even chewing? Or catch yourself on Facebook or in your email inbox for no apparent reason?

I am on the last few pages of Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I revived my reading of this book the other day when I desperately needed the guidance to allow rather than resist.

This morning I was thinking about the advice in the book that it is all about feeling as if what you want is already here in your life experience. All we need to do is allow. To be open to what we want to happen in our lives as real possibilities.

How many of us want something and then immediately block it with the thoughts and energy that it couldn’t happen, or feeling down about our current situation? continue…

Creating for the Sake of Creating

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? What do you like to create? Have you been creating lately?

I have been following Alex Beadon for a little while, and she recently started posting personal vlogs. She has been saying in her vlogs that after getting into vlogging, she realized that she missed the act of creating for the sake of creating ever since she let her photography business go.

This got me thinking: I love writing for the sake of writing. I get so caught up in how I might turn doing what I love doing into how I generate income, sometimes I forget that it is purely joyful for me.

I am in no way talented at painting, singing, or other forms of art. Nor do I want to be. But writing is the form of creation that I love.

The Cycle of Creativity

Kids are encouraged to create to develop their minds and just to have fun. As adults, we can get caught up in making a living and making everything work and forget to just do things because they are fun. And even if they are fun, it feels like they have to be associated with achieving some goal or getting something out of it. Otherwise, what’s the point? continue…

Dreams Really Do Come True

This post is about the show Glee. You’ve been warned!

I was devastated when I found out about Cory Monteith’s (who played Finn Hudson on Glee) passing over a year ago. I know that sounds weird, because I obviously didn’t know him or anyone he knew personally.

But I was so moved and inspired by Glee. I was a major Glee re-watcher, and would re-watch episodes from previous seasons while the current season was on hiatus.

Since the real person who played Finn Hudson left this world, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back and re-watch any pre-tragedy episodes. continue…

Meditation Mondays: What is Yoga Nidra?

There are so many different types of yoga to choose from: hatha, Bikram, ashtanga, kundalini, restorative. And many more!

I have been gravitating to the more relaxing yoga styles lately, such as restorative yoga. I actually didn’t know this type of yoga was a thing until recently, when I started doing the 10 minute restorative yoga video on YouTube by Sarah Beth.

Since then, I discovered that my local yoga studio, Ignite Yoga, offers a restorative yoga class on a regular basis. If you are in the mood to relax, get a good stretch, but not be out of breath and sweaty, this is a great type of yoga to try.

After reading the descriptions of offered classes on the studio’s website when a restorative class wasn’t available, I decided to give Yoga Nidra a try.

I had no idea what to expect, but figured it would be some type of relaxing class, based on the description. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Yoga Nidra is actually a meditation class!

continue…

What Does 2 p.m. Feel Like for You?

How do you know when it’s time to stop working? Do you start to feel the need to nap around two or three in the afternoon? Or is that when your energy starts to kick in?

I recently finished reading Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro, and Heather Dane. One of the main themes of this book was developing a strong sense of intuition; learning to listen to what our bodies are telling us. This line in the book jumped out at me:

Ask your body when it’s ready to stop working for the day.

I was immediately excited by the prospect of actually doing this in my own life. You mean I have the power to quit when my body has had enough?

This book is the antithesis to what so many of us have been taught or coerced into by all kinds of outside forces all our lives. We are called by marketers to buy products that we don’t actually need to solve problems that don’t really exist or have more simple solutions, by our employers to push ourselves past the point of healthy work-life balance, and by ourselves to prove to everyone that we are better and can take on more than humanly possible.

Stop working when we feel like it? Is that even an option? continue…

Be Unapologetic About What You Want

I thought I wanted to be a writer. According to everything I have read, by the act of writing I am a writer. I don’t even have to be any good at writing, apparently. As long as I want to be a writer and I write, then I am a writer.

But I have apologized with every inch of my being for wanting to be a writer ever since I first was told that math and science are where the money and value are – not reading and writing. I have grown and come to terms with my writer ways over the years. But not without apology.

I often feel guilty telling people that I have a blog when asked what I do. I usually tell them the “real” thing that I do, as in the thing that actually produces an income. Then I slip in at the end (nervously) that I have a blog. Talking about myself as a writer makes me feel super apologetic. Like I haven’t earned the right to call myself a writer, or a blogger.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

I will be attending Alt Summit Summer this year. Alt Summit is a design and blogging conference held twice a year (January and June) in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have known about it for several years now but could never bring myself to attend a conference for bloggers, not feeling like a “real” blogger myself.

Fortunately one of my favorite vloggers, Jennifer Ross, pushed me over the edge this year with her vlogs and blog posts from the January conference. I am so excited to finally be going!

I received an email recently with links to the keynote speaker presentations from the January session. One was by Lisa Congdon, the other by Dallas Clayton. Both are amazing and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Lisa Congdon talked about the path she took to get where she is as a creator of lots of different amazing things. She talked about being unapologetic about what you want, and that got me thinking. continue…

Do This next Time You Feel Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed has almost become the accepted normal state of being, unfortunately. It seems to have gotten worse in recent times.

Email (many times multiple email accounts), tasks, mundane tasks, household tasks, social media, keeping up with everything on the internet, staying fit and healthy. All that on top of trying to enjoy life and relax every once in a while. And sometimes sleep.

Self-Care First, to-Do List (and Everything Else) Second

I am reading You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. The book is written in first person by Cheryl, but chronicles a series of meetings between Cheryl and Louise regarding how to live a peaceful life (which seems to be somewhat of an exception in our culture).

Cheryl: “For too many years I was in a perpetual battle with my to-do list, desperately racing to get things done so I could finally relax and enjoy my life. Now I relax and enjoy my life first.”

Louise: “I try to give myself two hours before I face people. I like to be able to do things in a leisurely way.”

The version of myself several years ago would have argued that I didn’t have time for self-care because I had too much to do. Now I know better. continue…

Why It’s Essential To Give Away Your Gifts

What is the one thing you would do all day because you love it, even if you weren’t paid to do it?

I recently finished listening to Super Rich on audio book by Russell Simmons. This book is very inspiring, and I would recommend anyone with an open mind and love of self-help (and yoga!) to check it out.

Russell emphasizes the importance of sharing our gifts with the world, even if no one is paying at first. It can be scary to put ourselves out there, to offer our gifts to the world and wonder if they will ever be valued, monetarily or otherwise, by others. So scary that we might hold ourselves back over it. continue…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

Who is the one person in the world you are absolutely fascinated by? You look at their accomplishments with awe, and think that if you could only achieve a fraction of their success, you would be ecstatic.

When I set out to lose about ten pounds almost ten years ago, I chose Oprah. I have never met Oprah or corresponded with her on any personal level, but that didn’t stop me from mentally channeling her positive energy and sound advice in every single moment that I was tempted to eat a cookie or sleep in and skip the treadmill.

I read everything on the internet that she had written about weight loss, soaked up her whole philosophy about the emotional component of weight gain and weight loss, and followed her trainer’s (Bob Greene’s) weight loss plan, which they freely shared online, to the letter. I heard her voice in my mind every day as I battled all the messages from the world to buy a candy bar or eat yet another a piece of birthday cake at the office.

At the time, I didn’t think of her as a “mentor.” I always thought a mentor was a person who physically met with their mentee at regular intervals, providing advice, going out to lunch on occasion, maybe attending an awards ceremony of some sort. At least someone who provides direct correspondence via Skype, phone, or email. Right?

A Different Kind of Mentor

This morning I was noticing thoughts coming into my mind that I didn’t want, but I was struggling batting them away and thought about how nice it would be to have a person in my mind with advice that I could choose to focus on instead.

I decided it was worth a shot, and I made a list of the people who I currently admire as I work on my writing dream. Here is the list I came up with: continue…

To-Do Lists & Dreams: Is There Enough Time for Everything?

I am obsessed with getting my to-do list to zero. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I totally understand that I am not going to get my to-do list to zero and it is just going to stay like that forever. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to clear out my to-do list on a regular basis, keeping it clear to allow space for new things to come into my life without the weight of old tasks from like three months ago. Or even three weeks ago.

Reading through Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks has helped me more clearly shape my perspective on clearing my to-do list while allowing ideas of new things to do to come into my life.

What My To-Do List Means To Me

My to-do list used to be a thing of complete dread, shackling me from enjoying life because I felt so behind all the time. I couldn’t see getting out from under the pile of stuff, no matter what I did. Not a good thing.

Today I am still working at chipping away at a few remaining tasks from several months ago, but I can see that my dream of having a regularly cleared to-do list is within reach. I am so excited about that every day!

I see my various to-do lists as simply a system of reminding myself what to do next, so I don’t have to store all that information in my brain. To-do lists are meant to liberate us from the constant cycle of remembering and forgetting things that still need to be done.

My goal for my to-do list is for it to eventually hold only items to do that I feel purposefully passionate about. I want my life to transform so that everything I do feels on purpose and exciting. I get all tingly just thinking about that! continue…

Your Dream Is a Radio Station: What Station Are You On?

I’m constantly working on monitoring my thoughts: trying to maintain focus on feeling as if I am already where I want to be, while fending off pesky thoughts of what I don’t want. Anyone who has ever tried to do this knows it is very challenging, but can be fun with the right approach.

The Importance of Feeling Good

You know the feeling: you had a tense conversation with a co-worker earlier that day (or week), or received a tense email, and can’t help yourself from replaying it and what you might have said or will say next time over and over in your mind. If asked, you might admit that more tense situations aren’t exactly what you want to experience, but, even so, continue to replay similar scenarios over and over in monkey mind format.

I was fortunate to pick up a copy of Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks last week. I first learned about Esther Hicks several years ago from a friend who was hooked on her YouTube videos. The Hicks’ teachings can be thought of as a prequel to “The Secret,” with a twist that I can only suspect most people today would find unbelievable. I honestly didn’t get it, and found it to be kind of “weird,” even though I am usually into that sort of thing. So I never really pursued the videos very far nor had I read any the Hicks’ many books.

The book starts out with an overview of how Esther Hicks got where she is. After reading, I kinda get it. I will leave it at that, because I understand that it is probably seen as uber weird, and I don’t want to seem like more of a weirdo than I already do! I recommend checking out one of their books or looking them up online to see for yourself.

Weirdness aside, the book is amazing! It is helping me to reel in any negative emotions at once, as soon as they start, because that is simply not what I want to create in my future (or present, for that matter). I haven’t finished the book, but I can safely say that the biggest lesson I have learned is that feeling good is the most important thing I can do.

I know that might seem selfish, but I don’t think so. By being a person who is highly focused on feeling good, you are able to help the people around you feel good, and are far more likely to help distant people feel good than if you were feeling bad, not to mention that feeling good is more likely to lead to choices that activate more positive situations for others as well. What could be selfish about that? continue…

How To Get One Step Ahead

As a recovering procrastinator, I am all too familiar with the unpleasant feeling of constantly being a step behind, five minutes late, or scrambling to finish something at 11:45 p.m. I feel tense just thinking about it.

I think about how if I can be one step behind, why can’t I be just one step ahead instead? I know there is a lot of psychology involved with procrastination, but all of that aside, practically speaking, why can’t something or someone be early instead of late?

Bottom line: it is possible. It is possible for people who find themselves chronically late with arriving places or turning things in or getting things done to eventually, one day, find themselves to be people who are chronically early and turning things in and getting things done ahead of schedule.

Sigh of relief.

The Feeling of Being A Step Behind

The biggest drawback of being behind that jumps out at me is the constant nagging thought track that keep coming to mind the whole time something isn’t getting done. If I have something that is about to be overdue, my mind will not let it go.

It’s a major energy drain. Not to mention: What You Focus On Expands. As in, thinking about constantly being late and behind is pretty much a guarantee that you will continue to be late and behind. Kind of guaranteed! continue…

To-Do Lists Are My Life

I dream about to-do lists like I imagine people who like sports or guns dream about their hobbies. This is my thing. The thing that I get excited to get out of bed over.

I have lived somewhat oppressed by my to-do list for years; perhaps this is why I am so intrigued. It has been my challenge to conquer – “getting it all together,” or at least kinda, for the most part. Nothing is perfect, after all.

But to not be buried under 80 tasks, crushed by the weight of hundreds of things I don’t even really want to do – now that is a breath of fresh air! The fresh air that I am proud to now breathe, and I can say, with conviction, that I will NEVER allow myself to go back to that buried state. I simply refuse.

I set out yesterday with the motivation of my Birthday Eve. My own personal new year upon me, I reflected on my life over the past year and the direction I would like to take in the next. Most of the time, I feel like I am just about to have my life completely organized and to be living the lifestyle I envision, but I allow some major project that I have been avoiding to loom, holding myself back from truly moving forward.

I know this is no way to live, and I don’t want to constantly feel this way anymore. I want to really live! Looking back I don’t feel like I have made much progress on my goals over the past year. I feel like someone looking at my life would tell me to give myself a break. I do have an amazing life and I am so grateful, but I have personal goals and when I’m not making progress towards them, I feel more like I’m sinking and suffocating than fully living.

Sometimes I feel paralyzed – unable to move forward, unsure of what to do next. Yesterday around noon I decided to clear the rest of the day to “get my life together.” I started with 26 things to do on my personal to-do list, which I keep in Evernote. I was able to easily to sort the items from oldest to newest, and force myself to start with the oldest, most neglected task (from May 2014!).

My List

I want to really get my life organized, and share how I did it to help other people who struggle with stress and feeling overwhelmed. That is one of the main reasons why I have this blog.

I have read a ton of productivity and self-help books, and I want to take what I have learned and share the system I came up with that works for me with the world. And help people develop and stick to their own systems that will work for them.

I want to have a cleared to-do list at the end of each week, not having things remaining unnecessarily past one week. I want to help keep myself and my husband-to-be on target for achieving our dreams.

The only way these things will happen is if I actually do them. So I had to ask myself – do I sit down and clear the decks, doing all the little tasks that I have been putting off over the past year? It didn’t take me very long to decide that, without a doubt, yes! – I start by clearing the decks.

Letting go of the old makes room for the new, and if I want to help other people with getting their lists in order, I have to first figure out how to take control of mine. So I did. continue…

Feel Good Financial Planning: Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup

“To have a good relationship with money, you must know who you are and what your purpose is in this world.” – Money, a Love Story by Kate Northrup

Organize your life. Sounds like it should be so simple, right? But to reclaim our own attention and time for long enough to make progress in the areas that we feel called to can be more challenging than it sounds.

Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup takes a spiritual approach to deal with the practical aspects of achieving personal freedom. I read this book concurrently with The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard (as much as I try to read only one book at a time, sometimes I just can’t help myself!).

This was a perfect self-help book pairing. The Motivation Manifesto gears us up to claim our personal freedom, while Kate Northup provides practical tips for taking steps to ensure that the financial foundation is in place to live a truly free life.

Spiritual Finances

This book approaches personal finance from a spiritual perspective. Kate Northrup takes the spiritual principles we have read about in other self-help books, and applies them specifically to the process of creating financial freedom.

Money, A Love Story demystifies the whole concept of money that we humans have come up with. In its simplest form, money is a symbol of trading value for value. When we present our earned money to the world, we are exchanging it for something that we are assigning value to. Likewise, when we earn money, we are being valued for the services we provide to the world.

Kate Northrup authentically opens up about her own financial path of going into credit card debt and finding her way out through the spiritual process she shares in this book.

What You Will Learn

This book taught me to provide value to the world in a way that makes me feel good while helping other people. I learned that working in a stressed out, frantic, chaotic manner, something I once mistakenly believed others value, is not making the world a better place. So, what’s the point? I now refuse to provide value while feeling stressed out or devalued. I simply refuse!

Here are a few more money lessons: continue…

Who do you want to be?

“Rather than think you need to go on an archaeological dig into your personal history, just look at your life in the present moment to see what your past beliefs have created.” — Christiane Northrup, MD, Hay House New Year New You Webinar 2014

While meditating this morning, this thought occurred to me: how I feel is who I am. Meditation has a way of clarifying and simplifying the already clear and simple.

When you get out of bed in the morning, how do you feel? Dreading something that is planned that day? Some meeting, having to deal with a particular person or situation?

This is how I have spent most of my mornings, at least as an adult, at least on the weekdays. At this point, I don’t particularly wake up dreading the day like I used to, but I still wake up thinking about and feeling what is about to happen that day. And so I am. continue…

Organize Your Life

When you think of getting organized, what comes to mind? A planner, pretty containers from The Container Store, perfectly lined up shoes?

These are the things I typically think about, but while reading last night, I realized it is about so much more. I am reading Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want by Kate Northrup, which is a book about personal finance from a spiritual perspective (I am loving it, and hope to post my review by the end of the week).

Money, A Love Story is about way more than the numbers, focusing on us as whole people and what we actually want to be doing with our lives and discovering ways to allow money to facilitate our dreams rather than work against us. I am near the end of the book, and it is all starting to come together.

“Focus on how you want to feel, organize your life to feel that way more often, and then sit back and watch how it all comes to pass…”

So far, this sentence has had the greatest impact for me. You mean I can actually organize my life, as it is right now, to feel the way I want to feel so the things I want in life will happen more readily? Yes, that is exactly the idea. continue…

7 Tips to Stay Motivated

“And so mature adults realize that motivation is not an accident, not so much a feeling as it is a conscious commitment to a motive, a choice toward something, a deeply held reason to act. It is an energy that results from thought. We feel motivated because we choose to, not because the sun happens to shine on our side of the street.” – The Motivation Manifestoby Brendon Burchard

Motivation is tricky. It appears to be a fickle friend at best, coming and going as it pleases on whims that we haven’t quite figured out yet.

What if motivation weren’t something that magically woke us up at 3 a.m. one morning, an aha moment slapping us in the face, but something that could be earned by anyone who chose it, at any moment?

After reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, I have gained a renewed sense of what motivation is and what it isn’t. Here are seven tips for staying motivated in the pursuit of any dream, even when motivation doesn’t feel like your BFF: continue…

Every Day Starts a New Year

The name Awaken & Begin came about to encompass the idea that we can, at any moment, choose to live the lives we want. Each day is a new opportunity to lay another brick, building the lives we dream about.

We might not do it every day, and that’s okay. It isn’t about being perfect. It is about constantly getting back on the path, no matter how many times we may deviate from our plans to do things perfectly. It doesn’t take perfection; it takes starting again more times than giving up.

This time of year is buzzed with the excitement that it is a new year. There is nothing wrong with the buzz. It’s a great thing! But it doesn’t have to just be exciting to start and try new things now. What about March 16th or June 3rd? Unless one of these dates is your birthday (I always feel a similar New Years-y feeling around mine), they are likely just like all the others, and could possibly be less than sparkly and exciting, especially if they contain mundane and tearfully boring or stressful tasks. Ugh. Those kinds of days.

Every day is a new chance to start anew, to pick up where you left off yesterday, or three days ago, or last week. Every day is the start of a new day, week, month, year. There is time. Time is on your side, whether you are saving money, losing weight, or building a business.

Tiny actions are better than no action, and I am continually surprised (although you would think I would have learned by now), that when I commit to doing one little thing, like write for 20 minutes, I am almost always led to another tiny action, and before I know it, things I once thought were impossible are happening more quickly than I could have imagined.

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, although it is enticing. I have very specific goals that I focus on, and my current goals are carried over from months before the new year turned. Still, I am riding the high of the new year’s buzz, and enjoying the sense that this is the year for great things. Because, why not? This year, and the next five. All perfect timing for great things to happen.

And great things will happen because we will be sure to see that they do. We have more power than we think. So here’s to being powerful in the new year, and increasingly so in the years that follow! Namaste!

Proud to be a Write Tribe Pro Blogger!

image credit: Michelle Verbeeck

Why Conquering Setbqacks is Essential

Ever sit down at your computer to happily pick up a project where you left off, only to find that your progress mysteriously didn’t save? Or finish cleaning the floors, only to drop and shatter a light bulb? Killed yourself at the gym, only to gain a few pounds?

E + R = O

I love this equation, from Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. The E stands for Event. There are many events that we cannot control, such as the weather and external circumstances. We also cannot control things that have already happened. We might be able to change our behavior in the future, such as using a more reliable system of saving files, being more careful, or making dietary modifications, but we cannot change the past. We will assume for the purposes of this equation that the E has already happened.

The R stands for Response. Events beyond our control (or even within our control in the past) have happened. Now we get to choose how to respond. Do we get angry or give up? Or do we, in the words of Clark W. Griswold, press on?

Finally, the O stands for Outcome. This simple equation sums up how we are truly products of our choices. There is one piece of that equation that we have true control over. Which piece, you ask? continue…

Meditation Mondays: How To Change How You Feel in Any Moment

Life is feelings. Our lives are built on our feelings. When I tap in to my real feelings, I feel a light, buzzing feeling under my skin, and I am and more aware of the present moment. That is when I know I am on the right track.

How do you feel?

Right in this moment, do you feel how you want to feel? How about an hour ago, or three hours ago? How are you anticipating that you will feel in the next few hours? Is it where you want to be?

Are the feelings you identified the feelings you would feel if everything in your life were exactly as you would like it to be in this moment?

When I am feeling upset, frustrated, negative, gross, angry, exhausted, frazzled…I know I am off track. There are so many surface feelings designed to protect our egos that cause major problems. Letting go of them and allowing the real feelings to come to the surface allows us to live our real lives that we are meant for; not the ones that are designed to protect our egos. continue…

How to Experience a Miracle Everyday

“To me, every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”

– Walt Whitman

Traditionally, miracles have been portrayed as experiences reserved only for the deserving, lucky few. Not the regular people (like me – or so I thought).

I used to think miracles only happened to other people, far removed from my plain existence: travelers to some holy land, attendees of televised events where the preacher hits someone on the head and they are suddenly healed from their debilitating illness, or rare stories of far away people who overcame cancer or some other life-threatening disease. Not for me or anyone I knew. And certainly not for the everyday experience.

I started watching Gabby Bernstein’s YouTube videos a few weeks ago, and slowly started to absorb her message of everyday miracles. Not long after the concept of the miracle mindset entered into my awareness, I started noticing my own everyday miracles. continue…

You Are in Charge of You

Do you sometimes feel like a victim of others, and the life circumstances you somehow ended up with? This is the opposite of living the life of your dreams. It can be too easy to slip into this lower energy thinking. Read on for a few tips to stay in the mindset of being empowered to take charge of your own life. continue…

Five Steps to Overcome Resentment

Do you ever wonder how to make significant life changes, to get yourself out of a rut, and to once and for all leave behind the aspects of your life that you feel no longer serve you? What is holding you back?

Resentment Redefined

Here is my new definition of resentment:

To re-send back into our lives.

If you want to take it a step further, next time you are resenting someone or something, think about this:

I meant to re-send you back into my life again in the future.

Now how much do you want to continually make that person or thing your focus?

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch on re-interpreting the English language, but this new definition captures what resentment is capable of producing in our lives. Let’s say there is someone you work with who you resent. Maybe she sends snarky emails, doesn’t give you the praise you feel you deserve, or just plain drives you crazy with her opinions. You can’t stand it, and you resent her, or at least her actions.

I believe that what you resist persists, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to those things we resent. Resenting something absolutely is just like saying a prayer that it will keep showing up in your life.

So how do you get out of this cycle and move on to a more peaceful existence? Read on my friend! continue…

Be Yourself to Be Successful

It is no secret that Lea Michele has made a permanent name for herself over the past few years. Sure, you could attribute her success to luck and being in the right place at the right time. Or, you could choose to believe that she has achieved her success in life based on her dedication to remaining true to herself and her dreams despite the disappointments, non-believers, and self-doubt that are inevitable along any path to success.

Being a self-proclaimed Gleek, I was ecstatic when I saw that Lea Michele had a book out. It was an extra indulgent treat to listen to her read her own words in her upbeat voice on Audible.

Brunette Ambition starts out with a brief look at a young, pre-Glee Lea Michele and a glimpse into her home life. The beginning few chapters of the book are full of inspirational messages about being ourselves and embracing our uniqueness rather than trying to washout and be like everyone else. continue…

Change Your Thoughts to Get Things Done

I am no stranger to feeling overwhelmed. If you often find yourself in a similar boat, continue reading for a simple trick to help you get things done.

Getting Things Done Effortlessly

When the bed isn’t made, the whole bedroom feels like a disaster area to me. I like everything to be put away and tidy because it makes me feel peaceful. Dirty clothes everywhere and a messed up bed nag at me and call my name to fix them.

As much as I want to be a person who hops out of bed in the morning, taking the 15 seconds it takes to make the bed, this does not happen all the time. Maybe somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of the time, but no where near 100. An unmade bed is not my biggest problem in life, but it’s just as good as any example of something that can easily be neglected (like an email inbox, among other things).

The other day I was about to take a shower in the afternoon (I like to have the bed made before my shower, because, well, who doesn’t?), and I was looking at the bed thinking, “ugh, I wish that bed was made!” but not motivated enough to actually do it in the moment.

I am certain I picked this trick up from one of the countless self-help books or You Tube videos I have read or recently watched, but the thought came to my mind that I could choose to be grateful that the bed was already made.

I thought about the many glorious days I go to take a shower and the bed is already made. Why couldn’t this day be one of those, if not in the physical world, then in my mind?

I went on to the shower, not lifting a finger (I wasn’t planning on lifting one anyway). I knew that the bed would eventually, once again, be made and pretty and tidy. And feeling bad about not having it done wasn’t going to help the situation; those thoughts could only make it worse. continue…

Why It’s Up to You to Follow Your Dream

Do you wonder what your purpose is, if you have a greater purpose, and if so, when will you ever find the time to fulfill it with the mundane tasks and responsibilities calling your name at every turn?

It’s You

While meditating this morning, I was asking these very questions. I feel called to function a certain way in my life, as a writer, but I constantly struggle with whether this is a true calling or if it is something I just made up. Secondary to that struggle is my battle with time, and where to find the time to carry out these crazy quests of my soul.

The phrase “it’s you” popped into my head. As in, it’s on you, your responsibility, to live out your dream. It’s your responsibility to the world to do whatever it is you are called to do that will help others.

No one else can do it for you. Whatever unique gift you have to share with the world, even if you are unsure of the specifics (like me), you are the only one who can deliver that one specific idea.

I think about Glee, and what if Glee never existed. What if the people who created Glee just didn’t bother, and went on with whatever else they were doing or were going to do. You might think of Dr. Seuss, Steve Jobs, a favorite author, or whoever else you see as a figure who has changed the world by being brave enough to share their ideas and gifts. continue…

Five Quotes to Remind You That You Can Do It!

We all have dreams. Things we want to do in life. For ourselves, for others, for the world. But sometimes it feels impossible. Everything we have to do can seem overwhelming, and fool us into thinking that we don’t have time.

But good news. We have something better than time. And it’s called a choice. I recently started watching Alex Beadon’s videos on You Tube, and the other day she said something that I have never heard before:

“Remember that this is your life, and that you are 100% in control of it, and that you don’t have to let it overwhelm you.”

As a person who has felt overwhelmed for years, this little gem came as quite a relief! I never thought of feeling overwhelmed as a choice before. I have felt victimized by the many demands on my time, preventing me from living the life I dream could one day be for me. continue…

What does zero have to do with achieving your dreams?

As kids, we all learned how to spell “good” and “God.” Wayne Dyer often likes to ask his live audiences: “What is the difference between good and God?” He then proceeds to hold up his hand, making a “zero” with his thumb and fingers.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but something that gets all mixed up in beliefs of how things should be. Speaking of how people think things should be, today’s post will be about one of my favorite topics: feeling the physical feelings of having already achieved whatever goal or dream you are working towards, as opposed to feeling down for not being further along. continue…

How To Motivate Yourself to Get Things Done

With so many distractions at our fingertips, it can be a major challenge to maintain focus on any one given task for more than a few seconds. Emails are constantly knocking on the doors of our minds, the internet is beckoning us at every turn, and our tummies are frequently in need of fuel. What’s a busy girl to do?

In this post, I share how to motivate yourself to park it in one place for at least 20 minutes, no matter what email has emerged or what snack might be calling you, personally, to come join it in the kitchen. Before we start, pull out whatever to-do list you are working from at the moment. Keep it handy. continue…

Stop Right There: Do Less, Accomplish More

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

We are busy. We have bottomless to-do lists and nonstop days. How’s a girl supposed to get it all done?

Ever think about how there might be pockets of time in the day that go unaccounted for? We work so hard to get it all done and be perfectly on time, all the while appearing fabulous. But what if we didn’t have to try so hard? What if, by choosing to do fewer things, we could achieve more, and have a few minutes to spare?

 

In this post, I will share 3 things you can give yourself permission to stop doing right now, giving you more time to be the awesome, sparkling goddess you always knew you could be. continue…

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You

“When we hide who we really are in order to fit in or belong, we are suffocating our souls.” Serena Dyer

Would you like to start leading a more meaningful life today, but sometimes struggle with balancing “real life” and following the seemingly complex spiritual principles out there? If so, Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You: My Experience Growing Up with Spiritual Parents by Serena Dyer is for you!

Spiritual Technology

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You is Serena Dyer’s recount of what it was like to grow up under the spiritual parenting of Marcelene and Wayne Dyer. Serena shares spiritual principles we read in Wayne Dyer’s books from her own perspective.

If Serena’s goal with this book was to take many of the spiritual teachings we have learned from her dad and relate them in a very practical way that we can incorporate into our lives immediately, she certainly succeeded! There is a light, easiness to reading her voice, and she breaks down the concept of living a life on purpose into its simplest components.

The main message I received from this book was to feel the feeling of what you want in your life as if you were already there. It can feel very confusing to do this, because what you want inside does not match what is outside (yet). continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

How To Not Think About What You Don’t Want

“I was taught that we become what we think about, like it or not.” — Serena Dyer

I have been reading Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You: My Experience Growing Up with Spiritual Parents by Serena Dyer (Wayne Dyer’s daughter) and loving it. I am about two-thirds done, and one of the main focuses has been on the major impact our thoughts have on whether things in our lives change to what we want or stay the same. 

While walking this morning, I was trying to focus on feeling the feelings of what I want, as if all my dreams had already come true. While working on switching gears when thoughts of things I don’t want started creeping in, suddenly it hit me that I don’t go around thinking about those things that I used to wish would go away that have already gone away. continue…

How to Go on a Mini-sabbatical This Week

A few weeks ago I started getting up at 4 a.m. I tried this a few years ago, but felt like I couldn’t sustain the insanely early hours, so it didn’t stick. This time around, I feel completely different about it.

I have gone back and forth about what to do with this time. The two hours before I have to start my job is just about enough time to get in 20 minutes of yoga, 20 minutes of meditation, and about 40 minutes of walking.

How early is too early?

I also would like to have a good hour or two in the mornings for my writing. I attempted to get up at 3 a.m. one Monday a few weeks ago. I was very excited about the idea of getting in three extra morning hours to work on my dreams.

Getting up at 3 a.m. didn’t seem to work as well as 4 a.m. has, at least for me at this time in my life. I know there are people out there who do it, so who knows? Maybe someday. I found that I had a hard time sleeping because I was so preoccupied with waking up on time, and then later in the day my whole body felt off and very tired. So for now, 4 a.m. it is.

I haven’t run into the same issues with getting up at 4 a.m. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I have more energy all day after getting up at 4 a.m., even if I got to bed late the night before, than if I got out of bed with hardly any “me time” to spare during the weekday mornings.

Turning Early Morning Hours Into an Ongoing Sabbatical

Have I mentioned my obsession with the idea of a sabbatical? If I could do anything in life that I wanted, I would go to Europe for one year to write my first book, à la Emily Giffin. As it is, I have other things that call my attention away from writing, and taking a year for my writing is not exactly in my foreseeable future at the moment. continue…

What I Want for You

I have been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend all summer. Last year, around Labor Day, I decided to start reviewing my goals more frequently than once a year at New Year’s. I decided to start a seasonal review process, in which I would review, refresh, and revamp my goals and aspirations in the core areas of my life four times a year at the start of each season.

Time for a Plan & a Change

I am a planner, and I thoroughly enjoy the seasonal review process. Probably even more than I enjoy actually doing the things I say I am going to do! This summer has been okay, but I haven’t felt like I have been functioning optimally and doing the things that I really want to do.

I feel like I have been eating unhealthily, sleeping in late, and generally worrying and not feeling like the best version of myself. I had been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend as a time to really focus on getting back on track with my goals.

Yesterday, I got up early and set out to do the seasonal review. I knew deep down that there was no way I would accomplish the task of planning out the next three months in a few hours, or even in one day. I decided to be okay with that. continue…

Decide to Not Feel Bad & Fiction Friday

I have felt kind of bad all week for not writing. I have been a person who feels bad for not doing the things I say I am going to do, rather than either a) just doing them, or b) acknowledging that I have a lot going on and cutting myself some slack.

I have also been a person who desperately wants to write a book, and who has talked about writing a book for years now, but somehow, still, no book. When I woke up this morning, I decided I have a choice: I can either choose to feel bad about not writing, or just write and move myself, slowly but surely, into the category of people who actually write books rather than those who just talk about writing them (while feeling bad).

Feeling bad about not writing does no good. It doesn’t enhance my word count or my chances of success. All it does is bring about more bad stuff that I have no interest in. I get down on myself because I think I don’t have enough time to write. I just have to accept that I have whatever time is available to me and work with it. John Grisham managed to find time to write while he was still working as a lawyer, didn’t he? continue…

I Am Not Getting a Sabbatical Anytime Soon, & I Have to Accept That

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

I remember when I was younger thinking that older people who took sabbaticals were really boring. Ha! What I wouldn’t give for a sabbatical!

I have dreamed of taking a sabbatical for years now. I’m not even really sure what the official sabbatical duration is, but I am guessing it’s at least a few months. I actually took my own mini-sabbatical this past January.

I loved it. I loved every second of it. I took a nice long walk almost every day, I woke up early just because I was excited to have the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and I did yoga and meditated almost everyday. During the day I got to spend time reading and writing, and had the time to take care of the house and get things done. And felt relaxed!

Yesterday, I fell slightly ill and ended up sleeping for pretty much the whole day. Mostly feeling depressed about all of my nagging tasks and wondering how I would ever get them all done. Hence the first Blogust fail.

Why I Want a Sabbatical

I want to feel like I have time to write my book, make my blog a success, take walks, do yoga, meditate, and take care of all of my personal tasks (including planning a wedding). Not to mention crocheting. I love to crochet! When does a working girl have time to crochet? I would like to know? There are winter hats to be made, people! continue…

A Slice of Zen in the Kitchen

An organized, zenified spice collection has been a dream of ours for quite a while. Now that we are in our new house, we are grateful to have the space to organize them in drawers with the labels on top of the jars for easy access.

This project has been a long time in the making. I ordered the labels last year, but after I ordered a few jars in another style, I came to realize that they were out of stock and that I wouldn’t be able to complete the project with the original jars. Then our move happened, and labeling spice jars took a backseat to many other tasks.

The new jars came in last week, but I feared that I would procrastinate on the project for months. This morning, I didn’t think I would make the time today to label spice jars, but knowing that I had to organize a small area of the home for today’s Blogust post got me motivated.

I am only about halfway done with this project. In the time it took to watch a few episodes of House Hunters on Hulu and three 80’s movies on Netflix, I labeled about half of the spice jars. I would consider that a productive Saturday night!

This is only the beginning of the zenification of our kitchen. I have yet to finish the spice jar labels, and similar labeling for other stock kitchen items including oils, vinegars, dry baking ingredients, coffee, and nuts. I will go into more details in an upcoming post of where we got the labels on Etsy and where we ordered the jars from on Amazon in case anyone is interested.

Today’s post is pretty short since it is getting late on Saturday night, but I will be back with another post tomorrow! Happy Blogust!

Fiction Fridays: What I’m Writing & What I’m Reading About Writing

“Novel writing isn’t always about finding the right ideas. It’s about finding the time and the energy.” – 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet

My first Fiction Friday of Blogust has arrived and I haven’t written a single word of fiction. Since August first, that is. My current work in progress is up to 6,459 words. So that’s something.

I have dreamed of, and many times attempted, writing young adult fiction for several years now. I even got up to 17,000 words once a few years ago. I mostly feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but then visions of Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling writing frantically drive me to wonder: what if? continue…

A Glass of Wine in the Bathtub and a Mid-week Pick-Me-Up

“All I want to do right now is have a glass of wine in the bathtub, pay a cleaning service to clean the kitchen, then order pizza and eat cookies all night.” – me, about ten minutes ago

The middle of the week is my Monday. I know this. I have observed it about myself in the past, yet somehow I am still blindsided by the overwhelming feeling that I will never get caught up that often hits me on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So far, I have eaten four cookies over the past two days. Um, and several handfuls of M & M’s. Not my shining moments of self-control. And I still want to order pizza. The cleaning service is a bit ridiculous, I will admit. But the glass of wine in the bathtub might win.

Taking 100% Responsibility

I am pretty sure the times I feel overwhelmed I am not taking 100% responsibility. I learned about taking 100% responsibility from chapter one of Jack Canfield’s book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Jack Canfield says to take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether or not we think we are responsible for everything in our lives is irrelevant. Take responsibility for it anyway. Taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives means we are coming from a place of being empowered rather than the place of playing the victim.

Oh and have I played the victim! In the moment, it feels easier to try to blame everyone and everything outside of myself for my present moment misery. Too many things on my to-do list? Not enough time to get it all done? Why not repeat over and over in my mind how everyone but me is responsible for it, rather than just doing it? continue…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: Where to Start?

It’s after 8 p.m. on my first Wedding Planning Wednesday, and after a long day of attempting to get things done from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., still not a single step forward on wedding planning has been made. Unless listening to my “Wedding – Pre-ceremony” playlist on Spotify counts? At least it is a relaxing list (think Relaxing Instrumental Jazz Ensamble).

Do I even want to have a wedding?

This question keeps entering my mind as it goes in circles about where to start. Yes, I definitely want to get married. But the months of planning? Not sure I am up for the challenge.

The biggest advice I seem to be getting from people is either to to get a wedding planner or to elope. The ones who recommend the planner are deadly serious, while the ones recommending eloping are (mostly…i think) joking. We aren’t interested in eloping, so hire a wedding planner it is!

My answer is yes. I do want to have a wedding…but I want someone else to make all the decisions! continue…

10 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Follow Your Dreams

When I set out to lose weight over five years ago, one of my strategies to keep me mentally on track throughout the day and prevent afternoon vending machine binges was to write out a different quote for each day of the week on a piece of paper that I kept with me at all times. Anytime I felt the urge to get up for a vending machine break at my job, especially around 2 p.m., I read my quote and most of the time it was enough to keep me from going off track that day.

I decided to use a different quote each day because I didn’t want to become immune to the inspirational effects of reading the same quote over and over everyday. Also, there are so many inspiring quotes out there, who can choose just one? I rotated through about seven to ten quotes that made me want to lose weight more than I wanted to eat a chocolate bar for a period of about two months.

Collecting & Storing Quotes

I collect quotes from random places. I first experienced the joy of quotes in high school, when my best friend started writing down quotes. Ever since then, I have dreamed of creating an organized collection of quotes that have inspired me to refer back to. Currently I have a notebook in Evernote that isn’t very organized, but is my go-to place for storing quotes.

There are so many times I come across an inspiring quote on a TV show, TV commercial, movie, or even a billboard. I try to get them down in the moment, otherwise it is hard to go back to the middle of a movie to capture the inspiring words. I also try to write down quote originals from people in my personal life when someone says something particularly inspiring or memorable.

The Power of Quotes

The right quote can have the power to, at a moment’s notice, pull you back on the track of the more disciplined version of yourself you envisioned on Sunday night when you were planning out your future.  You know, the thin, glowing, happy version of yourself. Her. continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

How Not Taking Action Towards Our Dreams Is Selfish

Recently it dawned on me that our inspired ideas, or our dreams, are our way of receiving guidance to make other people’s lives better. I am not really talking about sleeping dreams, although they could be too. I am talking about the ideas that won’t leave us alone and keep nagging at us to get up and do something.

For me, this is writing. I have felt called to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Following a more traditional career path, I got lost in the time it took to pursue other goals, neglecting what I am pretty sure I am supposed to be doing with my life. I feel that I have the capacity to help other people through written words. And this idea will not let me go or leave me alone.

Our Dreams Are Our Guides to Help Other People

Sometimes I wonder: what if everyone (myself included) did the things that came to their minds as exciting ideas, that could likely help others? Beyond writing, I have had a few others on my list for several years now that I just have not taken action on. The reasons are all similar: not enough time, what if no one likes it.

I have heard people talk about self care actions such as taking time to exercise as selfish, but have you ever considered that not setting aside time to pursue a dream could be just as, if not more damaging than neglecting self-care? It took me a long time to debunk the judgment that exercise is selfish, and today I would like to share why I think it is selfish to not follow our dreams. continue…

Giving Up Something Rather than Giving Up

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.” – Paulo Coehlo

While writing early the other morning, it occurred to me that anyone who has written a book almost certainly had to do a substantial amount of unpaid, self-motivated work before being rewarded or even recognized for their efforts. This doesn’t just apply to authors. There is no question that people who have managed to turn their passion into a living had to seriously give up a few things along the way. continue…

Meditation Mondays: All the Words Are Already Written

Yesterday I had the best meditation I can remember in a while. I know we aren’t supposed to judge our meditation sessions as being either good or bad, but sometimes they feel more luxurious, probably more likely on the weekends. An ideal meditation session for me is 20 minutes, with the first half spent going through in my mind what I am grateful for and then my intentions, and the second half spent melting into the floor and the space of nothing.

Yesterday I realized that I could simplify the first half even further, going though anything I want in my life as if it were already here. I do this a lot, but realized there is no need to separate what I want from what is already here during meditation. Why not act as if already?

Meditating for Creativity

That part was fun, but the really great part was the second half. I have read many times that one of the great benefits of meditation is the creation of increased receptivity for creative ideas. The nothingness portion of meditation is where creative ideas might come to us. Or, by creating a bit of space between the constant recurring thoughts, we might increase our chances of receiving creative ideas at other times throughout the day.

During my meditation time, I suddenly felt very content that the creative ideas I hope for are already out there somewhere, I just have to tap into them. I realized that any words I might dream of one day writing are already written. There is no need to strive or fret that creativity might never touch us. It is out there, waiting to connect with us and be used for the greater good. continue…

A Year Ago on Awaken & Begin

A year (and three days) ago, the first post was published on Awaken & Begin. Starting a blog was a dream come to life in itself, and continues to be part of a much larger dream.

So far, Awaken & Begin hasn’t produced a penny of income, has attracted less than 50 likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter, and less than 10 subscribers. And I am still smiling. continue…

Book Nook Review: Angels of Abundance by Doreen Virtue & Grant Virtue

“Positivity is the language of heaven.” – Angels of Abundance by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue

I have long believed that living life on purpose is the way to go. After reading countless self-help books, one thing is crystal clear: each individual person has a unique purpose in life that is waiting to be fulfilled.

I have struggled with anything that hasn’t felt purposeful. But I have also come to realize that we get to choose to assign purpose and meaning to those things that previously didn’t feel super purpose-filled, on the path towards living our dreams.

Doreen & Grant Virtue’s book Angels of Abundance: Heaven’s 11 Messages to Help You Manifest Support, Supply, and Every Form of Abundance is an excellent, practical guide on what it takes to live a life that was previously only imaginable. The thing I admire most about Doreen Virtue is that she doesn’t sugarcoat it; she never for one second pretends that it doesn’t take hard work and sacrifice to pull it off. continue…

The First Step Counts

“Some will. Some won’t. So what…someone’s waiting.” (SWSWSWSW) – Jack Canfield

Time is on our side. In the dimension of dream pursuit, there is nothing but time. Within all that time that patience buys is a stacking effect. It may not always be obvious, but it is there, waiting to work in our favor.

A person who enjoys any amount of success had to work for it over a period of time. The amount of time it takes to get there varies on an individual basis, but the principles of patience and “one by one” were almost certainly involved. A self-made millionaire had to save their first dollar, a popular blogger had to get their first subscriber, and a person who has worked for significant weight loss had to lose pound number one.

One by One

What if the millionaire decided a dollar wasn’t enough to save, or the blogger gave up because they didn’t have a thousand subscribers, or the weight loss person got frustrated by having lost only one pound? The first dollar, subscriber, and pound count as much as the millionth, thousandth, or tenth, if not more. You can’t get to a million without first passing one. continue…

Is It Selfish to Pursue a Dream?

Sometimes I look around at the good others are doing in the world and I think I am not doing enough. At least this is one of my derailing thoughts when I am focusing on pursuing a goal.

There I am, happily affirming that which I dream to see in my life, and suddenly I feel selfish. I get the idea in my mind that it is frivolous and almost irresponsible to be chasing lofty dreams when there are people who are already helping kids and other people who need help now.

I then have to remind myself that the simple act of mentally focusing on what I hope to one day create doesn’t harm or detract from anyone. Perhaps someday I will be able to write a book that will change someone’s life. What if all (or even one of) the authors who have inspired us gave up before organizing and sharing their ideas?

Rearranging Thoughts & Transformation

We can completely transform our lives by choosing different thoughts. First, we have to become aware of the recurring thoughts, and understand their flaws.

The reason I know this is because I have tried it on for personal use on several occasions. The most tangible result was a 10 pound weight loss about eight years ago. continue…

The Most Powerful Way to Realize a Dream

When it comes to pursuing our dreams, there is a certain without a doubt knowing that must take hold. This supersedes all of the logical reasons it won’t work out, which well-meaning others may intentionally or inadvertently pass along to us.

It doesn’t matter if someone else has an opinion that you are not qualified, or that it is just not likely. And how, exactly, are they so well-versed in fortune-telling? I would like to know.

The opinions of others cannot hold us back. They might be a convenient scapegoat, along with other excuses of not enough time or money (all excuses I have used). But the real doubter, the only doubter who even has a say in the matter, is ourselves. continue…

How I Set Goals for Summer: Seasonal Review

The summer seasonal review will round out my first year of doing seasonal reviews. I have really enjoyed the process of reviewing my goals roughly every three months, corresponding with the changing seasons. I feel much more in touch with my goals than I did with the concept of New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by a too frequent review such as weekly or monthly.

As with each of my seasonal reviews, I will be reviewing my affirmations by my core value categories. If you are interested in establishing your own core values (highly recommended!) I would suggest Tina Su’s Discover You Now ebook. There is an exercise in this book that led me to establishing my own core values. This was the first step in defining what my goals are, because I had to figure out my major life categories before determining specific goals.

I only write affirmations at this point. I write about 3 to 5 in each core value category, and I read through them immediately when I wake up in the morning most days. I quickly scroll through them on the Evernote app on my phone. Any actionable steps related to achieving something in one of my core value categories go on my reminders or rituals lists. If you want to read more about my use of affirmations, click here.

Of note, my life has gone through a few dramatic (good) changes over the past few weeks and months, with a recent household move and engagement! These are all exciting changes, but have also caused my many lists to explode and call for the creation of a few new lists. I am still working on catching up to everything, as I have fallen out of some of my routines while we figure out where to put everything in the house and now where to have a wedding. I hope to stay on track with my personal goals while remaining flexible with the many upcoming changes.  continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about the theme of scarcity in our culture. The aspect of scarcity that I (and I suspect many others) identify with most is scarcity of time.

Not enough time to write, not enough time to read, not enough time to sleep. Not enough time is often the go-to excuse for just about whatever isn’t getting done: exercise, eating right, following our dreams.

I use the not enough time excuse anytime I am feeling sorry for myself for not being as awesome as I aspire to be. As aware as I am of the fact that this is nothing more than an excuse, and that I have the ability to overcome this perceived scarcity, it’s just too easy to fall back on.

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

One of my affirmations in my core value category of abundance is “I am enjoying an abundance of time each day.”  I am getting better on my journey towards this eventual reality. I am starting to realize that just because I don’t find the time one day to work on one of my projects doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. I am learning to take advantage of pockets of time in the day as they present themselves, and to let go of the time when other activities inevitably come up.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown mentions that she believes it’s not that we need an abundance of time, but enough time. I do believe she is on to something with the whole “enough” philosophy, although I don’t see anything wrong with my affirmation for an abundance of time. It may just be a matter of semantics. In my mind, enough time is as good as an abundance of time.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by Daring Greatly) for overcoming the issue of scarcity of time: continue…

Motivation to Get Up On Time

I have struggled with getting up on time forever. This week, I managed to get up on time on Monday, and told myself I was going to do the same the rest of the week. Today, I share my feelings on the whole issue of getting up in the morning.

What Does On Time Mean?

Determining what time I need and want to get up in the mornings during the week has been a constant issue for me for the past several years that I have worked from home with a login time of 6 a.m. For the most part, I have aimed to get up at 5 a.m., but have also gone through phases of convincing myself that 5:30 a.m. would give me more time to rest, and others where I attempted to get up at 4 a.m. to have time in the mornings to write.

I don’t want to get up early just because I have to go to work. I want to get up because I am ready to start my day. Many mornings in the past I have stayed in bed beyond my appointed wake-up time out of dread for the upcoming day. That is no way to start any day. continue…

Mondays vs. Fridays: Which Day of the Week is the Best One?

There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I often wonder: how do other people do it all? I didn’t used to. I used to think everyone else had it all together and I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get everything done, but now I know better.

The Friday Curse

Pretty much every Friday I enter into the weekend with the hopes that this weekend will be the one that I finally get it all together. The one where I finally have a breakthrough and make actual progress towards my goals. This mentality is dangerous and has caused me to not enjoy a lot of weekend activities in the past, because I always wanted to be getting something done.

I have definitely gotten better about it, but I still hold onto a modicum of hope that This Weekend will be The Weekend. The one to beat all the others out, because it is the one where I finally figure out how to manage my life while pursuing my personal goals.

And then Sunday happens. I have gotten much better about Sundays, but there was a time when all I wanted to do was cry on Sunday around 5 p.m., because it meant Monday morning was right around the corner. And I still hadn’t figured out what to do with my life. continue…

Meditation Mondays: An App to Keep Your Mind on Track

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it. ” – Pamela Bruner

I love using the Meditation Timer app on my phone each time I meditate these days. I used to use the regular timer on my phone, which annoyed me because it was like waking up to an alarm. The benefit of using the app is that the alert sounds are very peaceful, and also turn off on their own (as opposed to an alarm that requires you to physically turn it off). The Meditation Timer app allows you to set as few or as many minutes as you would like to spend meditating. I even use it as a timer for daytime naps now too!

I use the timer because it is very easy to fall asleep during meditation, and usually I don’t want to spend more than about 20 minutes meditating. On the other hand, it helps me to know I am getting my 20 minutes in, because it is also easy to feel like 20 minutes of meditation is an eternity. Some days there isn’t a full 20 minutes in sight to lay down and “do nothing”, and the timer comes in handy at these times as well. You can choose to time 5, 10, or any amount of minutes for a meditation session.

Breaking Up a Meditation Session

The way I have come to think of a meditation session is broken into two parts: the first half I spend going through what I am grateful for, and then my core values and any related affirmations/dreams/goals/intentions. Some days I go through everything, and other days I just want to focus on one thing, like “I am living in our new house.”

About halfway through, I recite in my mind “I release my intentions out into the universe. I trust in the infinite organizing power of the universe.” This signifies the start of the second half of my session, which is where I focus on having no thoughts at all, only breathing.

Sometimes I will think the words “in” and “out” corresponding with my breath just to block out other thoughts. I also sometimes substitute other words like “let” (inhale) “go” (exhale), or “peace” (inhale) “love” (exhale). I attempt to have a completely empty mind, but when thoughts inevitably enter, having specific words to focus on really helps. continue…

Believe in Someday

The other morning I woke up with the most wonderful thought: I am in control of the choices I am making that are shaping my life. I know I am not completely in control of what happens outside of myself, but I can certainly take control of my thoughts and choices.

It all starts with thoughts. After my sudden epiphany, I realized that within 30 minutes of being awake I had probably already had about 50 to 100 thoughts about things I don’t even want in my life. This was all during my yoga time, which I intend to be a time for focusing on only what I want.

We Can Choose our Thoughts

Thinking thoughts only of what we want is not the most natural state of mind for many of us. Controlling our thoughts is a constant practice that requires constant correction. It takes some extra effort, but I believe it is possible to carve a path dominated by good thoughts. continue…

Book Nook Review: Assertiveness for Earth Angels by Doreen Virtue

“Your need for other people’s approval puts them in control of your happiness. No one deserves that power over you.”

Have you ever caught yourself using the word “sorry” excessively, talking too quickly so you don’t take up someone’s else’s precious time, or being a people-pleaser? When I first read the table of contents of Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to Be Loving Instead of “Too Nice” by Doreen Virtue, I was tempted to skip ahead to a few of the chapters with my name on them. Not too far into the book I was wondering: how does Doreen Virtue know me so well? continue…

Spring Seasonal Review: How I Planned Out My Goals for Spring

I am so excited that my long-awaited spring seasonal review is finally here! The seasonal review is my new system of goal-setting and reviewing that I came up with this year, in which I review the goals I set for the previous season, and look forward to changes I would like to make in the upcoming three months. This is my alternative to setting annual New Year’s resolutions. If you would like to read more about my thought process behind my seasonal review, click here. continue…

Anyone Can Learn Anything

I have been hearing the advice for years to read everything you can get your hands on if you want to be a writer. I have been a casual reader, but didn’t really grasp the intention behind this advice until recently.

Setting out to accomplish any large project is usually majorly overwhelming, and the largeness of a project can be what sinks us before we even start. I am a person who wants to write a book, but how do you write a whole book? I still have no idea. There is plenty of logical advice out there, but when it comes down to it, every time I have tried to start I have gotten overwhelmed by the thought of writing a book and quit before giving it a fighting chance.

I get excited that maybe I will read three books in my genre and then I will have a grip on what it is to write a young adult series book. Ya, right. Just to finish one book typically takes me at least a week. I also get discouraged that I want to have written a book like last year already. Why bother starting again if I couldn’t get it done before now?

These are the questions that trap me into thinking I’m better off not bothering. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Trading in Thoughts

“He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” – Romans 4:17

Lately I have been consciously trading in some of my constant recurring thoughts for some better ones. I have relied on my meditation time as the primary pocket of good thoughts during the day to bring about my dreams, despite predominantly negative thoughts, or thoughts of what I don’t want, throughout the rest of the day.

This is not good enough. Just twenty minutes a day or less of uninterrupted peace is no longer enough for me. I need constant peace. And it starts with my thoughts.

Thinking About Not Living the Dream Kind of Seals the Deal

My constant recurring thoughts for the past five to ten years have been primarily about things I didn’t want. Although I have a lot of good things in my life right now, there are still some results from my past limiting beliefs and thoughts in my present reality.

I recently listened to one of Wayne Dyer’s latest books, Wishes Fulfilled. After reading Wayne Dyer’s books over the years, I have noticed that one of the common themes to his message is that thinking about what you don’t want is pretty much a recipe for continually getting what you don’t want.

It seems so obvious. But why would anyone think about things they don’t want to keep entering into their life? continue…

A Day To Celebrate Love Begins Within

“I learned that life must be lived fearlessly. When you don’t love yourself, you live in fear.” – Anita Moorjani at I Can Do It! 2013, San Jose

What if Valentine’s Day weren’t just a day to celebrate romantic love, but a day to celebrate loving ourselves? Our world could use a whole lot more emphasis on self-love.

More Emphasis on Self-Love

Our culture doesn’t exactly focus on the importance loving ourselves. We learn to conform to the acceptance of others, and many of us become experts in people pleasing. It makes others happy on the surface, after all, so what’s so bad about staying in line?

I would have to argue: everything! How can we learn anything new or get inspired if everyone is just the same as everyone else? If every time someone else complains, judges, or is negative, we just silently bob our heads in unison? Or when someone’s opinion makes absolutely no logical sense, to stay mute?

I bring up these points primarily because this is how I have lived my life for far too long. Silently appearing to agree with every negative external force, screaming on the inside that something is terribly wrong here. How can there be so much anger? continue…

Giving Up is No Longer an Option

“Well you always throw away the first pancake.” – Reba on Malibu Country

The other night I watched a movie called A Case of You about a writer (my favorite kind of movie!) and it got me thinking about my dream of being a writer. This thought frequents my mind, but it often gets pushed to the backburner.

I have almost finished or barely started reading so many books about writing with titles like Writer with a Day Job, The Right to Write, and No Plot? No Problem! (written by the founder of NaNoWriMo), not to mention On Writing by Stephen King. To say that I am slightly obsessed with being a writer would be an understatement.

The Fear of Starting

A Case of You begins with the main character (played by Justin Long) agonizing over the first sentence of his book: starting, loathing, deleting. Some of the sentences were mediocre, others seemed really good, but they all had one thing in common: they all got deleted.

I know the feeling of attempting to start “chapter one” of some crazy idea I dreamed up in my head. What if it totally sucks and I pour all of this time into it and then it ends up being nothing? This is my ego trying to talk me out of doing something that makes me happy. continue…

I Should…I Mean I Choose

“Communicating in ‘have-to’s’ and ‘shoulds’ are ineffective self-leadership.” – The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.

I should do yoga. I should have gotten up earlier. I shouldn’t have said that, or done that. I should read more. I should do more. I should be a better person.

Does anyone else talk to themselves in shoulds as much as I do? I am willing to bet I am not alone in the should department. As I am writing, I am even trying to restrain myself from either thinking or typing the word should on auto-pilot. continue…

Everything In It’s Own Time

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

I am majorly into planning and organizing. Sometimes I fear that that means there is something psychologically wrong with me, like I have control issues. Actually, it is more that I fear other people might think that about me. I feel like I know the difference between trying to control everything and letting go.

Or so I think. This week I am listening to the Hay House Start the New You Now webinar, and I am so grateful to have the time each day to do some soul-searching. I am discovering that in order for me to accomplish the things I have planned, there are many more changes I must create within myself first. Namely, my constant thought track. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” – Wayne Dyer

When I am trying to focus during meditation, I think of the word “in” as I breathe in, and “out” as I breathe out. This helps control my thoughts. Beyond the in/out mantra, I have experimented with other simple words to focus on to overcome the monkey mind during meditation. Today, I have a new one. continue…

The Illusion of Being Trapped

As humans with the power to be free, we do a pretty good job of treating ourselves like those poor animals behind bars at the zoo. We have not been trapped by anyone but ourselves. Those bars that surround us? The key to the door? We have the key.

Not to be super negative. Life is not all that bad, after all. But, everyone would like at least something about their life to be different, better. Some have bigger changes to make than others.

Releasing the Limits

We often live as if we have boundaries, as if there are limits to the amount of awesome our lives can become. Sometimes this way of living can seem easier. It might seem easier to stay in the cage, playing it safe.

But really, I have to ask, is it really easier? Is it really so hard to inch a toe out there? It is scary for sure, but harder than remaining unchanged in a less than desirable situation? Hm, I would have to think twice about that.

The hardest part is allowing ourselves to believe it is possible, to believe that the boundaries we have been told our whole lives are there don’t actually exist. Those bars? They have a door built right in, and to walk through that door, to unlatch it with a simple “click”, much easier than it seems. continue…

There is Time

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

If you couldn’t already tell, I am kind of obsessed with personal productivity. Ever since I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done several years ago, I have felt hopeful that it is actually possible to get on top of things and live a calm, peaceful life, free of the burdens of running late, losing things, overdue tasks, and unrealized dreams.

I have felt “on the cusp” of this state of awesomeness for several years now. Whenever I bring it up, other people tell me there is no such thing. I don’t buy it though. I know it is possible. It just takes dedication and time.

Time

I believe that thinking there isn’t enough time is a surefire way to run out of time. I am pretty much always in a constant state of mind that there isn’t enough time.

I worry that I can never get it all done, because I have to stop working on my project to make dinner, wash the dog, or socialize, to name a few interruptions I have slightly resented for taking away the time I could work on my dream to get it all done.

I know that I can’t get everything ever all done, but I also know that I can get caught up and stay caught up for the rest of my life. I am very certain this is a possibility. continue…

Awaken, Begin, and Continue: The ABCs of Getting Things Done

Right now I have a drawer next to me filled with mail to go through, scans to process, and projects to complete, not to mention a to-do list with multiple tasks and projects I am dying to complete. I get distracted sometimes during the afternoons though, and the piles and lists seem to sit there untouched, day after day.

The Significance of Continue

The “continue” is silent in Awaken & Begin. As challenging as it is to get out of bed in the morning excited to start a new day, or to get up the motivation to work on something new or old, it is even more challenging to persist in our efforts towards our dreams or the completion of a project. continue…

Why I Will Not Be Setting New Year’s Resolutions This Year

“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late, and never to sick to start from the scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury

It’s New Year’s Eve, the day of celebrating, wearing party hats, and sharing New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s is a time of hope for the future. Unfortunately, that hope is often short-lived and quickly forgotten about midway through January.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Tend to Fail

Lately, I have not been very fond of the concept of setting New Year’s resolutions. A year can be an overwhelming period of time for pursuing any one goal. More than that, the concept of New Year’s resolutions is hardly personalized. It is something we do because it is conventional, not necessarily because it works. New Year’s resolutions probably do work for some, but I know from personal experience that it is easy to set goals on New Year’s Eve that don’t even have a fighting chance come February.

There is so much to do in our lives. There is so much that is left undone from year to year. We are busy, and we have so many obligations and expectations we feel the need to fulfill. Our long term goals might get relegated to the back burner as time moves forward, leaving our hopes and dreams in the dust. continue…

A Mini-Sabbatical

Today is officially day 1 of my 30 day mini-sabbatical. Although I wasn’t planning on posting anything until Monday, I figured I would outline my plans for my time since it is so heavily on my mind and I am so excited about it.

First of all, I have to say that this is truly a dream come true for me. I can’t even count the number of times I have wished that I could get a month off to focus on myself and my direction in life. I know I am so lucky to get this chance, and I do not take it lightly. continue…

A Month (or at least a moment) of Authenticity

I am about to be ecstatic, because tomorrow at 3 p.m. PST I will log off from my job for 30 days! The last time I had this much time off from work was before I started working full time for real in 2007.

Last year I took a week off hoping that I could have some time back for myself that I felt I so desperately needed, but the week came and went with a few blinks and I was left feeling chaotic, scattered, and burdened by the constraints of expectations and responsibilities once again.

Well, here comes round two! I know that there is a way for me to fit my writing into my days that I work if I really really really try. Anything is possible. But I have just not gotten myself motivated to consistently do so. I have felt strongly that I am a writer for years, but struggled to match my dream to the expectations that I felt other people placed on my life and how my “success” in life was defined. continue…

Winter Seasonal Review

quote - brian tracyIt’s that time of the year again. Well, a little late, but who’s counting? This past Labor Day weekend was my very first official seasonal review, and I decided that my next review would be on or around the Friday after Thanksgiving.

As I have mentioned before, the seasonal review is born out of a failed attempt at a weekly review, which was one of my New Year’s resolutions last year. In a nutshell, the idea of the weekly review was to wrap up loose ends from the previous week and spend time planning out the upcoming week. This was honestly just too much for me to commit to week after week. Instead, I have been working on developing habits to review things as I go daily, with a more reflective review about every three months.

Components of the Seasonal Review

My vision for the seasonal review was to revisit the idea of New Year’s resolutions more frequently than once a year. The seasonal review is a time to reevaluate goals. It is a chance to reset and get back on track more than just once a year after the overindulgence of the holidays.

I need look no farther than my hipster to see what I need to be doing. In fact, as I was looking back on my fall seasonal review post, I noticed that my ideas for what the seasonal review should consist of are entirely covered by my existing hipster categories. Here’s a few highlights from my second ever seasonal review: continue…

Sleep Drama

My first alarm goes off, I am rudely awakened in cozy pitch black. Do I really want to get out of bed, I ask myself? Maybe I will just lay here for ten or fifteen more minutes, then I will get started with this day that is like the others. Ten or fifteen minutes go by, and I continually pop my head up to check the time on my phone, each time recalculating how much time I have left and re-deciding if I should just skip yoga and meditation today and stay under the covers until the last possible second.

I am usually okay on Mondays, I guess because I have a renewed sense of energy after getting rested up over the weekend. But the remaining days of the working week typically go something like this, unfortunately. Some days I am good and just force myself to get out of bed right away, but I am sad to say that more often than not I cannot seem to get it together enough to want to get up at 5 AM. continue…

Reflections on Blooktober

There are still four days left on October, but I figured I would go ahead and get put my thoughts on Blooktober out there, since today is the due date of the book proposal contest that I was entered into.

I slowly started to accept over the past week that I was not going to be a contest participant, even though I wrote at least two posts about my determination to do so. I guess I could be slightly embarrassed since I said I would but now I am not, but more than anything I just feel relieved. continue…

Meditation Mondays (On Tuesday!): Things to Bring to Meditation

I totally failed to post yesterday! First Blogtober fail. So I am making it up by posting twice today. Hopefully the Blogtober gods will forgive me.

I like to keep things as simple as possible. One of the reasons I really like to do yoga, walks, and meditation as part of my personal health and well-being plan is because they require very little, if any, equipment, and can be done just about anywhere you go. I usually do yoga in my pajamas in the morning, followed by as much meditation as possible (20 minutes is the ideal amount of time for me), also in pajamas.

I really have no excuse not to meditate, but just like everything else, it can get neglected, despite how easily accessible it is to take just a few minutes to calm the mind. Although you really don’t need anything to meditate, here are a few things I have found help enhance the experience for me. continue…

Hipster Series: Turning Goals into Dreams into Reality

“All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I have read a lot of books that talk about how to write and achieve goals. I have kept goals on 3 x 5 index cards and on 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper in a 3-ring binder. Once again, one of the biggest limiting factors for me has been having a portable list of goals.

A 3-ring binder is just not practical for me to carry around everywhere I go. A small stack of 3 x 5 index cards can be handy, but what if you have 15 goals and then an additional 15 affirmations to carry around? I always liked the idea of giving each goal its own 3 x 5 card or notebook-sized sheet of paper. I liked the space that giving a goal its own sheet of paper creates. I didn’t want to just cram all my goals onto one or a few sheets of paper. I wanted them to be able to breathe. continue…

Blooktober Kickoff

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

Fall is in the air! This year, for me, this means Blooktober during October, and then NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. More about NaNoWriMo later.

What is Blooktober?

I participated in Blogust this year, posting everyday during the month of August. I will admit that I did take some liberties in what is technically considered posting everyday, as I ended up missing days and having to go back and post later during the month of August. In the end, I completed all 31 posts within the month.

In September, I lost my writing and posting momentum that the challenge of participating in Blogust fueled. I am glad that I gave myself some in-between time, but I also feel that I am ready for another challenge. I wasn’t sure if I would participate in Blogtober (posting everyday during October), but I now know that I must. Sometimes, there just comes a point where you realize it is now or never. I am sensing that this is one of those times for me. continue…

The Joy of Starting

Or the agony; take your pick. Sometimes it is fun to jump into a project, while other times the initial enthusiasm is met with a crippling paralysis due to the many, many choices we are presented with any time we want to do anything new.

So you want to take up yoga? How do you choose between the 25 different yoga studios (or videos) and variety of styles available? How about starting a blog? There are a seemingly infinite amount of choices in font, color, layout, images, etc. continue…