A Life with Soul

The soul that rests in each of us,
Is the angel that rests on clouds.
It lives quietly within us,
claiming no time or space of its own.
It restless comes awake some lives,
from the slumberous sleep of life.
It nudges you to start to seek or question,
and shakes life to draw attention to it.
We may see this as challenge, trauma, grief or loss,
we don’t often connect the dots.
But if we were to listen sooner to the signs from the soul,
pay heed with every breath.
We would find the Universe always in our favor,
and life, a more joy-filled endeavor.
– Niki Richardson

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You Are the Designer of Your Life

We often believe that people, circumstances and situations outside of ourselves are responsible for shaping the course of our lives. If we get a certain job…then life will be awesome.

If we marry a certain person…then we’ll be happy.

If…then.

And when we place those conditions on ourselves, we find ourselves constantly harboring the desire, but usually our mind is racing around the negative track instead of the positive one. Usually we’re thinking- “oh, how I want that job, and there’s no way I can get it.”

Or

“I would do anything for her/him to give me the time of day, but s/he’s out of my league. What am I thinking?

So we constantly talk ourselves out of our greatest dreams and desires.

And we wonder why life won’t give us what we truly want.

Our job in this life is to be the designer of our lives. And there are many stories of people who set their mind in a determined fashion and accomplished what they set out to do. Why them? And why not you?

Are they smarter? No

Are they prettier? No

Do they have more luck? No

Do they live a charmed life where everything goes their way? Yes

Why?

Because they dream of their desires with dogged determination.

An elite athlete doesn’t take no for an answer; doesn’t see weakness in his/her body. They just train and train and train both body and mind to accomplish their dreams.

A performer, a musician, a tech mogul, a billionaire– none of them started that way. They all have the same things in common with us; they’re human and wear their pants one leg at a time just like you and I.

So what sets them apart?

Single-minded focus.

The inability to see their dream fail.

For them, there’s no question, beyond a shadow of any doubt that they will get where they’re going

So what’s the common denominator?

Harnessing the power of the mind to accomplish your goals.

Most of us live our present from our past. We are shaped by, and molded in the life of our past.

What if we lived our lives from our future?

What if we intentionally shaped and molded ourselves into the life we desire?

What if, instead of lamenting our past, we celebrate our future like it’s already here?

I’m talking about the future that we want to create. Not the one that is a natural extension of our past.

Life is a gift. As far as we know it, it’s the only one we have. We owe it to ourselves to live it in the best way we know how.

So the next time you find yourself using memory lane to blame your present circumstances; take a hard 180° turn and walk into your future.

A simple mind hack to get this started is to take one deep desire/want; and start to imagine it done. Not the HOW. But simply living in a future where it is a reality. If you can train your mind to spend 5-10 minutes a day in your future state, providence will start to provide the HOW.

You don’t have to worry about the HOW.

You only have to focus on the WHAT.

We don’t have to have the correct circumstances to make our dreams a reality.

We only need to have a very vivid dream.

So go ahead- dream in high definition technicolor.

Your Kids Are Watching Put On A Good Show

So both my kids are swimming now. My 11yo is on the local swim team and swims 3x a week for 45min and my 7yo is still going through the levels classes for stroke development etc. Needless to say, their swim times DO NOT overlap and so yes, I either get to spend 3 hours at the pool or do two visits to the pool. I choose the latter. Luckily the pool is 8 minutes from home.

My 7yo has 3 more levels to go before he can try out for swim team, and then the times should overlaps and my time spent at the pool will drop drastically.

So last week was the end of level 3 and we waited eagerly to see if he graduated to level 4. I was sitting poolside reading (The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama— highly recommend btw!) and I observed a couple sitting a couple seats over from me. He was immersed in his phone, she– absolutely gorgeous with beautiful poker straight long hair looked practically angry. Her little 6yo adorable girl was in the same class as my 7yo.

Class ended and I asked if he graduated. He didn’t know yet. I quickly toweled him off, and he and I both skipped our way to the coach to get the verdict. “He’s really close!” She said somewhat apologetically. “Yay babe, did you hear that, you’re almost there!” Was my response. “We need to re do level 3 one more time. It’ll be done in no time!”

We walk back to our things, I start to change him. Gorgeous long haired girl has report in hand for her 6yo and I’m dying to ask her whether she moved up. But something holds me back from being my usual social self. It’s that look.

She still hasn’t softened her look. Uh oh, the 6yo mustn’t have graduated either. She still looks mad! Husband is still immersed in his phone.

So after changing, we go to the entrance to register for another round of level 3. I had already registered him for level 4 in anticipation of him moving up, so I just have to move him back down to 3. Gorgeous lady is in front of me. She lets the front desk people know that she wants to register her daughter for level 4, as she has just graduated.

WHAT??

Your daughter moved up, but you haven’t smiled once?

Yes i know I’m being judgy here — I don’t know what’s going on in their lives and I ought not to make assumptions.

I practically high-fived my boy for a job well done.

He has come SO FAR!

He was so intimidated by the pool. And now he’s doing dives and jumps off the diving board and even attempted the big curly slide. Something he would have NEVER done ordinarily.

So much progress!

I don’t care that he will redo level 3.

It just means that he’ll excel when he gets to the next level and the next after that.

But honestly lady!

Smile at your kid.

At least when you’re interacting with her.

And definitely when she just graduated to the higher level of swim.

This really got the wheels turning for me.

Our kids are hyper-observant about what we do and say.

It’s not do as I say, it’s do as I do.

So what do you do?

  • Are they seeing/hearing you bicker a lot?
  • Do they hear you talk abruptly or rudely frequently?
  • Do you talk to your friends around them as if they aren’t there?
  • Do you complain a lot?
  • Do you cut people off or flip them off or rant in traffic?
  • How do you treat service staff?
  • Do you open doors?
  • Help little old ladies?
  • Ignore the homeless person who’s panhandling? Or use it as a point of conversation to teach them a life lesson?
  • How much do they see you on your phone? I think of this a lot– if they see me on my phone constantly- then when they do get their own phones – how can I ask them to minimize time on theirs?
  • Do they see you smile or frown a lot?

You get the picture?

Nature vs. Nurture here right? And in this case a little bit of both.

If you are constantly a certain way- especially if it’s habitual – how can you expect your kids to be different?

Kindness, smiling, managing our emotions, making good choices are all traits that can be learned. Leadership starts with leading ourselves.

These are hard to focus on when we’re constantly tired, when we’re working long hours, when work deadlines are piling up.

It’s easy to zone out and do what comes easiest- which is to possibly be short fused or snap or be irritable when they’re annoying you.

But it’s in those moments in particular that we need to push past the pain of discipline and become super aware of our thoughts, words, actions and beliefs.

After all we aren’t raising kids.

We are raising our next generation political leaders, business owners, community advocates and professionals.

But most of all, hopefully we are raising kind, compassionate and gentle men and women with a heart for their community and a commitment to do good in the world.

Your kids are watching more than you know.

Put on a good show.

Be A Magnet

On Thursday evening, I came home from work and kids activities feeling nauseous and barely able to lift my head for fear of throwing up. I thought it was food poisoning. I thought i would be back on my feet in 12 hours. But– i had no ‘ejections’ of any kind. Hmmm.

Friday- I stayed home and after I got the family off to school and work, I fell back into a deep sleep for nearly 5 hours.

My body was craving rest.

It’s been a hectic few months– between fundraisers I have to attend, kids activities, work, business, family, it’s been nonstop.

My 45 year old body needs attention too. Running, spinning, boot camp, yoga, dance. (More on the dance later.)

Nutrition and hydration are always top of mind.

I’ve been sleeping ‘fairly’ early — averaging about 6hrs 45min a night. Ok so that’s on the low side. I do make up for it by sleeping nearly 9 hours on Saturday/Sunday. Not ideal I know. Our bodies are creatures of habit and consistent good sleep is way better than inconsistent good sleep.

So– what was this knock-me-off-my-feet episode all about?

You see, when something like this happens to me, it’s always an opportunity to go deep and see why.

It’s never the thing you think it is.

It wasn’t food poisoning.

Or even the 24 hour stomach bug that it turned out to be, complete with fever and achy body.

It’s something more.

It’s a message to me.

From me.

From my Inner Guidance System.

It’s a message to slow down.

Not just the outer body shell that executes all the instructions of the mind.

Slow down the mind.

I have meditated off and on for over 15 years now.

But lately, the meditations were few and far between.

The only time I was truly meditating was during the twice a week 5am walk.

And while moving meditations are powerful.

Your conscious mind is still activated and keeping you safe from the 21st century versions of saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. That is; fight or flight is still activated.

It is only when sitting in what your conscious mind can consider to be a completely safe environment that it can even remotely attempt to quiet down, and allow your subconscious mind to be accessed.

So today- after I sent my family off to their various activities.

I sat.

I primed my body with a powerful breathing technique by Dr. Joe Dispenza and then I meditated.

And through my meditation this is what I received:

Be A Magnet

Keep your vibration high

Keep your vision clear

Keep your intention focused

Keep your body nourished

And your soul satisfied

with the love you share

the company you keep

the gratitude you emanate

Be a magnet for the best and limitless possibilities of all time.

I came out of meditation with this profound sense of gratitude and love. I didn’t realize it but tears were streaming down my face. I had envisioned a wonderful world and it felt so real.

Peace

Bliss

Joy

Abundance

Love

So much love.

Isn’t this what John Lennon said when he asked us to Imagine?

Be A Magnet for all that is wonderful and good in the world.

Take a stand for love.

Love is truly magical.

Time Shows Up

So I ran into a friend at Target yesterday. I was there shopping for home supplies and she was in line for her prescription. I walked toward her to hug her but she paused me — ‘pneumonia…’ she whispered hoarsely.

This friend, I’ll call her ‘Kay’ is one of the most inspiring people I know. She had a vision to make a change in her community and not only did she rally the community behind her idea, she got government and community leaders behind it as well. This vision is becoming a reality. And the entire city and county in fact will benefit from Kay’s idea.

Kay will go down in history of our area as being THE WOMAN who brought value to our kids, tourism to our area and tax dollars to our city.

She’s my hero!

This summer Kay’s vision moved forward very significantly. There was an outward showing for the community. The public could see this idea become a reality.

When I saw her at the public showing- she said that her whole summer had been spent for the most part in getting ready for this preview. Her little kids, her inspiration for this vision and this idea were a big part of helping her. This was their summer.

This woman doesn’t stop. She at everything. She’s networking, doing 1:1 visits and volunteering at places that will help increase visibility for her vision, she’s doing all the right things!

AND

She’s running on fumes.

When life is that busy, it’s easy to continually put yourself on the back burner.

Because self care feels selfish!

I’ll sleep when I’m dead!

I’ll rest after my vision is a reality.

I can’t let my family down.

I can’t let my community down.

People are expecting me to be the face of the organization/project/company.

Sound familiar?

Some version of this is always going through our heads.

Until our body collapses in sheer exhaustion.

It’s almost always the case that after a big event, project, presentation etc. we experience major exhaustion.

Our body carries us through the process, but then the minute it’s done—

Collapse.

Illness.

Fatigue so deep that you can’t move.

Complete system shut down.

Your body has been carrying you on adrenaline the entire time.

You’re way past normal functions, your mind is in flight or flight and fighting for survival!

And once you release the breath breath you’ve been holding your mind recognizes that the danger is passed and it can relax.

And it does.

Every cell

Every nerve ending

Every emotion

Releases

Relaxes

Collapses

Takes you out of the game for a while.

Or a long while.

So how do you avoid complete collapse?

Make your self care non negotiable. It doesn’t have to be complex, you don’t have to spend hours on yourself. But you can.

Go ahead, I give you permission.

30 minutes a day is all it can take.

Breathe: before starting your car, take three deep breaths. Before exiting your car do it again.

Walk: one mile can take you less than 15 minutes. If that’s not an option, find a way to move your body. Park as far from your destination as you can – and walk.

Hydrate: (water not coffee!) aspire to drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. e.g. a 130 lb person would be drinking 65oz.

Nourish: higher intake of lean protein keeps you full longer and gives you sustained energy. A plant based protein shake blended with berries, greens and a good source of fat (think avocado or nut butter) is an ideal breakfast for the dats when you don’t have time to sit and eat a good meal.

Sleep: 7 hours at least

And probably the single most important thing is to have intention.

Don’t make your self care another checklist item on your to-do list.

Promise yourself that you will care for you.

So that you can care for your family, community and the world.

And yes, it feels like if you do these things for yourself you’re stealing time from other more productive things you could be doing.

I can promise you this.

Time.Shows.Up

The Storm before the Calm

You cannot plant seeds or plants into soil that hasn’t been stirred up or amended. You cannot stick seeds for new growth into existing soil beds that already have plants growing. There is no space or nutrients for this new growth. In the same way in order for you to have growth, in order to step into the next best thing, you too need to be stirred up, amended and woken up from your status quo so that you can Be, Do, Have the next best thing in your life. It feels like the storm before the calm for you because you’re being shaken out of your reverie. Human nature doesn’t like change. It is resisted. Hence change has to come in a way that makes it a necessary one, often one that is seemingly out of your control. However the more self aware you get, the more you will realize that you do get early warning signs about the change. You usually ignore or overlook them because they aren’t as painful or uncomfortable. Only once we get to that level of discomfort where it is untenable, then that is when you are willing to change. Your job is to get hyper aware and heed the early warning signs for yourself and then change will become second nature and you won’t resist it; rather you will welcome it. 

The Birthright Gift

The Voice of VocationAt the leadership orientation that I spoke of recently, we were given this essay to read. And for reasons that aren’t quite clear, it moved me to tears. I don’t know if its because we were so close to, and therefore one with nature, or because of the introspective and thoughtful nature of the work we were doing, but as I read this essay, my eyes welled up with tears. I was grateful that everyone was engrossed in their own reading and thoughts and so didn’t see the little salty drops trickle down my face.

For longer than I can remember, I have wondered about my purpose in life; I knew there was more to life than the one I was leading. I was a lost soul in my 20s truly dragged far far away from my birthright gift, of my own doing…it’s because I gave my power away. Life became more centered in my 30s – true happiness, peace, home, marriage, kids, roots, community all happened in this incredible decade. And now, poised on the springboard as I am – 8 days away from entering my next decade I am beyond ecstatic – I KNOW that this is the decade that I will ‘find out the path to authentic service in the world.’ For it’s as Frederick Buechner says “vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

The work that I have been doing, and continue to do will surely bring me closer to my birthright gifts. My true vocation of how I will best serve the world. In no particular order, these are some of the things I have embraced which I believe will help me find what I am truly meant to do.

1) Be Mindful: This is key – living in the here and now. As human beings, our nature is such that we’re always planning for our next best thing. Goals are good and worthy and important, but equally important is living in today. Expressing gratitude for where you are on this road and acknowledging that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, because there’s a purpose to that experience.

2) Simplify/Learn to Say No: The first thing my business coach did when I started to work with her was to make me aware of all the things that I was doing that didn’t really add value to my life; commitments that I made to other people – that took away my commitment to myself and my family. I quickly learned how to say NO…and it is powerful. And what’s more, I realized that the world didn’t fall off it’s axis because I said no. It’s continuing to spin just fine. She recently sent me a link to Jonathan FieldsThe Good Life Project as he interviewed world renowned blogger Leo Babauta who spoke of transforming and simplifying his life. It was inspiring to listen to and made me realize that my own journey is on track as I minimize my ‘outside commitments’ to stay true to what I really want to/need to do.

3) Make more space in your life to explore, create, write, question and spend time with yourself in quiet – you cannot be creative if you don’t give yourself a physical and mental clutter-free environment. My darling husband sent me a great link on Life Hacker on Why you need more margin in your life

4) Conscious Living: We are such a minute speck in the cosmos and I believe that we have been given a responsibility – a gift…we are expected to steward the gift of this planet earth wisely. In fundraising, if you don’t steward your donors and their gifts, you probably won’t get a second meaningful gift from them; this world isn’t so different. If we just focus on how to live OUR best life consciously rather than unconsciously going through our daily motions without thought (read more on that at Zen Habits) then by extension we will be stewarding this beautiful planet we call Earth.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means – but this is not something you can take on overnight. However it is something you can make a decision to do/start and then once you make that decision – as then, as has been told to us by Nike over and over again – Just Do It™.

Change is Constant! Embrace It!

I’m Raising My Bar

Today is the start of a new world for me; something that i have been working on for quite a while now. I am excited to unveil parts of what I am about to take on in a big way this year.

You may or may not know, I am passionate about helping you realize your fullest potential. Yes, I don’t know you yet, but if you’re here now, then you’re going to get to know me, and I hope I’ll get to know you.

I have journeyed for a while now into a wondrous area of development of self – a path fraught with scary revelations and exciting realizations of myself and have emerged (am emerging) into a true version of myself – one that I really like; one that I really want to share.

I’m a student of personal development and I adore people – and the marriage of these two things makes this next phase a natural one. I will roll out more of this during the next few months.

So here I am, poised on this precipice – about to dive into my #Next Best Thing – helping you Raise Your Bar #LetsRaiseTheBar

Will you honestly give me your thoughts/feedback? It would mean the world to me