Spiritual Friendships

Photo by P C on Pexels.com

Day 5

The last day of my Meditation Workshop was all about relationships. Specifically friendships and romantic relationships. Similarly to building your tribe, but more focused on actually pursuing the relationships and friendships you want in your life.

Because of this idea, I notice I’m always “on alert” when meeting new people. I’m looking for signs that we have similarities. It could be social justice or mindfulness or any one of many things. I recently met a woman at work who I connected with INSTANTLY. And not because I knew so much about her, but she matched my energy. Which is rare. I feel like I have a ton of energy, I talk a lot and I’m a doer. So, when I find someone who speaks animatedly like I do, I’m like a moth to a flame! And after talking for only a few minutes, we were exchanging contact information. I don’t see her often, but when I do, we greet each other with hugs and begin talking so much we lose track of what else is going on around us. THIS is a spiritual friendship. Just one example of one though. Another lightening bolt friendship happened while I was attending an event for an organization I volunteer with when I got to talking to a woman I’ve only talked to in passing once or twice. Again, she matched my energy immediately, but this time it turns out we are incredibly alike. Maybe more alike than any other friend I’ve made in many, many years. We became good friends shortly after! These are the people to surround yourself with. I’m aware that I cannot and should not be pushy. Friendships either happen or they don’t, but engaging is key. You will not curate your tribe if you don’t get out there and meet people and then talk to them, with meaning. So, what I do now, that I NEVER would have done before, is start to invite these people I’ve met to get together as soon as I see or hear of something I know they would be interested in. Or just lunch, as soon as possible! I can’t tell you how rewarding this is. These kinds of friendships are SO DIFFERENT from the friends you make because you both have kids on the same sports team or in the same classroom. Maybe that’s all you have in common! The question to ask yourself is “Who do I want to bring into my life as a friend who shares similar values?” Life changing.

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

I’m not expert on romance or intimacy but there were a few nuggets to take here. The idea is that most couples feel disconnected in some way and they want to be closer. We are connected but separate. If you want more connection you have to act that way. There’s a revelation! Yes, this is something Gretchen Rubin says about with happiness or confidence, etc. She says “Act the way you want to feel.” By the way, this REALLY works. If you haven’t tried it, I say give it a go. It’s kind of like fake it til you make it. Eventually, you will truly catch up to feel like what you were doing to “fake it.” A couple of other takeaways I found helpful were the following.

Precision – Pay attention to the other person. Have good manners. Be thoughtful and honest.

Openness – Equal importance is given to you and the other person.

Romance – Romance ends. But you can increase intimacy. It has no end.

I have to say these are ALL works in progress for me. I’ve been married to a great guy for 24 years and in that time I may have lapsed on a couple of these to say the least. I also think just that fact that our kids are older now and we can start spending some time away together resolves a lot of these issues. We can now plan a hike or movie without thinking about who am I driving where today. Because they all drive themselves! My life is not their life anymore. In some ways, that makes me want to cry! On the other hand, life is changing and our relationship is changing too. And that’s a good thing.

Have you built spiritual friendships? Are you wanting to connect in your romantic relationships? Try the following;

Seek out friendships with people with similar values, who enjoy the things you enjoy and align yourself with those people.

Take the initiative to meet up with these new friends. Don’t wait!

In your romantic relationships, try paying attention to the other person, being honest and thoughtful.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for being here!

True Self

Day 1/2

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I began my fourth Meditation Experience in July of 2019. This was my forth go around and was excited to get started. This time the focus was on relationships. I needed to work in some of these area more than others. And to be clear, relationships were an area that needed some work for sure.

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Deepak says “We are not our feelings. Our true selves are always fully awake”. I’ve heard this before explained as “we are not our thoughts.” Being authentic has been a focus for me ever since I started learning from Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra and Gretchen Rubin. How much time did I waste not being authentic? And surrounding myself with those who I truly had no connection with and not really enjoying the things that I loved and made me happy?

There was a time when I would meet someone new and I would hear myself edit my conversation as I’m speaking! Maybe not tell the entirety of my story. And for what? What does not being authentic do for me? I think I’m meeting someone new, I’m looking for that bond or I’m thinking this could be a new friendship so don’t scare them away! Ha! When I stopped doing that, suddenly I had the best friendships I’d had in a long time. The right people just fell into my life. If I fall in that trap I stop and correct it, being my true self instead. There are places where I’m ALWAYS my true self. With my family, when writing, at yoga, and with my new friends. And it goes hand in hand with feeling my best.

Do you feel like you are your authentic self when meeting new people? This week try and catch yourself when you hear yourself not being authentic. You will be so happy with the results and the people you attract into your life! Thanks for being here!

Favorite and Life Changing Podcasts

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.

I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

Personal Development/Health and Wellness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood
Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.

Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.

Balanced Bites
This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.

The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman
This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!

Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra
Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.

Ten Percent Happier
If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.

The Sheri and Nancy Show
If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Personal Finance

HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

Photo by Elviss Railijs Bitāns on Pexels.com

Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)

Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.

My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan
Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.

27 Club
Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.

Rolling Stone Music Now
From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.

80’s Music Exposed
This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com


You Must Remember This
Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.

The Librarian is In
The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.

Lost at the Smithsonian
Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!

Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.

I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!


Day 4/5

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

There is a lot of talk about self care these days. And for good reason. I think as a society we are starting, very slowly, to realize that how important self care is and that “busyness” should not be a badge of honor.

Usually when we think of self care we think of exercise, spa treatments, meditation, sleep, etc. but Deepak asks us to think about where we put our attention. He explains that our creative energy come from joy. So, I asked myself “What brings me joy?” and do more of that. Pretty simple. It’s basically the same principle as The Happiness Project. (Read more on The Happiness Project here www.gretchenrubin.com. I knew I was on the right track. This lesson just reinforced what I already knew I had to continue doing.

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

It feels really good to value myself enough to make my own happiness a priority. As a mom, I put myself second. For everything. I lost myself so completely during my kids younger years I don’t remember doing anything for myself outside of the occasional trips to the salon. I never pursued my hobbies and interests, I didn’t read as often I as would have liked, I didn’t go out with friends very often and I didn’t volunteer outside of my children’s school. My world was small. It was all for them and that’s perfectly fine. I choose it and I WANTED it. But looking back, I could have stayed home with them and kept my sense of self by pursing some of these other options for myself. Maybe the build up of fear and anxiety wouldn’t have happen or at least not to the extreme that it did. Who knows. Lesson learned. The HARD way.

Are you finding joy in your every day life? Are you pursuing your interests and the things that give you the most joy? Try the following:

Try a Happiness Project! It’s a GREAT way to find and rediscover what you love. I have a series of posts about my Happiness Project. Check it out!

Please comment with your thoughts! Thank you for being here!

Don’t Impose

Photo by Anny Patterson on Pexels.com

There is a fine line between helping others and imposing our path onto them. I walk this line all the time because I’m SO PASSIONATE about what I’m doing and what I’ve learned. It’s the whole reason I write this blog. I suddenly, after never wanting to discuss what happen to me, I wanted to scream it from the rooftops to everyone I know. And at first that’s exactly what I did. I BOMBARDED my family and friends with “Did you know.. blah, blah, blah” Basically, “everything you’re doing is wrong” is what most people heard me saying I’m sure. I just get very excited about new things and the science is there to back it all up so I just felt the need to share. And I’m still doing that, the difference is I’m letting the people who want to know find me, instead of me telling everyone around me whether they want to hear it or not.

Photo by shattha pilabut on Pexels.com

I recently overheard a conversation between two people, congratulating themselves, while eating peanuts, on what healthy snack choice they made. Inside I was bursting at the seams wanting to say, “Peanuts are are not nuts, they are legumes and they are inflammatory! Also, what kind of oil are those cooked in? Mostly likely canola, which is a processed oil known for causing heart attacks!” My brain was spinning, but I didn’t say anything. Because, it’s not my place. Deepak says we don’t know what other people’s path entails. We need to let nature take it’s course. I needed to let go of ego control and judgement! Whew, that resonated with me!!! As an Upholder (see Gretchen Rubin), I’m just programmed to do what is “right” and follow the “rules”. So, when I read about a way to improve my health and well being that maybe isn’t widely known yet, I just jump aboard and do it. I needed to stop trying to “fix” everyone. On the other hand, helping people is what I’d signed up to do! The difference is when I’m asked, or if it comes up in conversation with me directly, I will speak up, but I will not jump into a conversation just to tell someone they are wrong. Deepak says we should “envision that everyone’s mind/body state is perfect just as they are.” That’s so important to remember. And one that I work on constantly.

Do you feel like you try to control others actions? Do you feel like you are judgmental? Try reframing these feelings and tell yourself that others are on their own path and are right were they need to be. Once we release ego control we become more relaxed. I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for being here!

The Four Tendencies

I can’t tell you how much self-knowledge has changed my life. It makes everything so clear and EASIER. Knowing yourself enables us to pursue all those things in life we want to pursue, it allows us to tackle problems and makes change. One of the ways to do this is to know your tendency, as laid out by Gretchen Rubin in The Four Tendencies. You can find it here. https://amzn.to/2VfHJ46 This is just one small slice of your personality, but an important one. Your tendency shows how you respond to expectations, both inner and outer.

I’ll start with Upholders because I fall into this category! Upholders easily meet inner and outer expectations. They like to do lists and generally can do what is it is they want to get done. They are doer’s and rule followers. On the downside, they can be rigid and can seem like a killjoy. They also experience “tightening” which is when they go beyond the rules to make more rules. They can be told they have a “extreme personality” (oh yes, I’ve been told that) I tip a little bit to Questioner, but not much. One more thing, this is the second smallest group.

Questioners only meet expectations that fit their criteria. If they believe it to be true or from an authority they trust they will meet the expectation. So, everything becomes an inner expectation. They tend to analyze to death and have difficulty making a decision. They can end up in “analysis paralysis”. Questioners also don’t like to be questioned. I can vouch for all of this, as my husband is a Questioner.

Obligers are the largest group! Most people are Obligers. They meet outer expectations but have trouble meeting inner expectations. They can meet the work deadline, but have trouble sticking to their exercise program. Obligers do well with an accountability partner. They will meet the expectation if someone else is expecting it from them. Accountability partners or accountability in some form are key for Obligers.

Rebels are the smallest group. Rebels only do what they want to do. They tend to not meet inner or outer expectations, unless they want to. If someone tells them to do something, it makes them not want to do it more. Rebels do not like to-do lists. They can do anything they want to do. Usually, reframing the situation works well for Rebels. Forming the expectation into something they want for themselves is key.

Not only is self knowledge important, it’s also so helpful in all your relationships. Now that I know my husband is a Questioner, I can see when his tendency is showing up immediately and most of the time, it doesn’t get under my skin because I take a moment to pause and think “ that’s his Questioner personality coming through”. I really think it helps in friendships, families and coworkers as well. Once you know the structure, it’s pretty easy to identify someone’s tendency and therefore you can more easily understand where they are coming from. If you want to know your tendency you can take the quiz here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/ When you are done come back and leave a comment telling me your tendency! Can’t wait to hear! Thanks for being here!

I am

Photo by Kristin De Soto on Pexels.com

Day 14

Stream of Consciousness with the prompt “I am.”

I am:

A mother, a wife, a daughter. A reader, an activist. I’m a health coach, a library aide. I’m caring. I’m a seeker. A music lover. A patron of the arts. History lover. Admirer of Gretchen Rubin, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mark Hyman, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Oprah. I am an animal lover. I am pretty, strong and smart. I’m a doer. I have a lot to give and get out. I feel something big. Don’t know what yet. I am a writer. I am an author of books. I am an influencer.

The goal was to just write and let if all flow.

It’s funny what comes out when you are prompted this way. If I was to do it on my own, in my own time, the list would be much longer. I shocked at the amount of things I left out as I am definitely more than this. But I think it’s revealing that this is what came out first. On that particular day. At that particular time. It’s funny to see Gretchen Rubin and Oprah lumped in with Mick, Keith and Freddie! But that’s just where my brain was at the moment. It’s like a little poem of me.

I did feel something in me that needed to get out and it’s this blog. One day I just felt the need to get it out of my body. That’s where the “I have a lot to give and get out” comes from. It’s here and I need to get it out to the world. And I’ve talked about this before, but that wasn’t something I ever wanted to do even a few months prior. I was absolutely cringe when someone would talk about how far I’d come. Whether it was my doctor or a family member. They would start with “remember when you…” and my body would just shut down. I couldn’t and wouldn’t hear it. It was like reliving my pain. And one day that just left me and it was replaced with this sudden need to talk about it all the time and get my story out to the world. Unexplainable to me.

Try it! Share your “I am” free flow in the comments! Thanks for being here!

Your Environment Matters

Day 4

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Refuge – a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble. Day 4 of the Mindfulness Challenge was creating an environment that is both positive and inspiring. This includes your physical space, the activities you participate in, the people you surround yourself and your social media. There was a lot to be learned for me here and some was reinforcing what I was already working on.

First, where is your refuge? For me, it is most definitely home. This is my space to recharge my batteries. Being out in the world “doing” requires time to recharge as I’m sure with a lot of us. I have to say that being with people and “doing” is the MOST energizing thing for me, yet I resist it. My new attitude of saying yes as often as possible made this abundantly clear. As much as my social life was giving me energy, I also need that time to recharge. And I need my environment to be a place of inspiration and calm. This also falls into the change I made regarding improving my home life. Small things can make a big difference. Clean something or removing clutter can bring instant calm and happiness.

Photo by Kokil Sharma on Pexels.com

This presentation reminded me so much of Gretchen Rubin’s book Outer Order, Inner Calm. A fabulous read! You can find it here. https://www.amazon.com/Outer-Order-Inner-Calm-declutter/dp/1473692687/ref=sr_1_5?crid=BWI3TPK0SEDW&keywords=outer+order+inner+calm&qid=1585062485&sprefix=outer+order+inner+%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-5 Clutter creates anxiety and I certainly didn’t need any more of that in my life! The goal for me was to do small things DAILY to boost this sense of calm and happiness. Here’s just an example of some of the changes I made.

Keeping the sink clear of dirty dishes

Filing away all papers and mail as soon as I open them

Taking the trash out immediately

Making my bed every morning

Photo by theformfitness on Pexels.com

Your environment also includes any activities you are involved in. Trying something new creates all kinds of benefits like the thickening the cortex of our brains. You can learn more about the science behind that here. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-learn-something-new_n_5890b0bfe4b0c90eff0021fc The goal here was to find an activity that brought me happiness, I found interesting, and was satisfying to my soul. I decided yoga would be my thing. I had practiced yoga on my own, at home, and probably doing the poses all wrong. In fact, I know I was. But at the time, I was not a “class” person. After discovering the importance of group exercise with an EDUCATED trainer, I was off and ready to try new things. I LOVE YOGA. My first class was a free outdoor class which checked a couple of boxes for me. One, it was outdoor exercise, two, it was a group setting, three, it was with a skilled instructor and four it was a form of exercise and meditation. How could I not go? I’m so thankful to a friend of mine who suggested this class for me. It really got the ball rolling for exercise outside of the safe zone of my therapy and fitness center. Which had to happen eventually. I needed to see what I could do out in the world. First of all, yoga, real yoga, is hard. Let’s make that clear. I was not the best at yoga in the beginning. But what I loved was that I could do it, modified in the beginning and I was learning correct form, which is the most important thing in the end. I did those classes once a week for an entire summer then signed up for the membership at the studio that offered the summer program. I fell in love with this studio and it’s instructors immediately. These classes were a little harder, but I felt so safe there. It was painful at times. I really had to call in my practice of “exposing myself slowly”, telling my body this is the new normal, get used to it. It took a long time, and after about a year of yoga three or four times a week, I have seen huge progress. So much tension has left my body. Yoga provides two other benefits that were so important to what I am trying to achieve in my life. One, mentioned here on Day 4 was learning something new. I had to really concentrate on what the instructor was saying. I was learning new poses and positions for 75 minutes. Mindfulness is a MUST! It was serious brain retraining! And two, the meditative side of being in a yoga class. When you are holding a pose you have to stay mindful to maintain it. Outside distractions just slip away. Every class ends with Savasana, a total relaxation pose to end the practice. Sometimes my instructor would read a poem, other times just quiet music, but I always felt transported during this time in class. My body is wiped out, I’m completely exhausted, it’s hot, I’m extremely sweaty and now I’m just lying there taking it all in. It’s SO GRATIFYING. It’s hard to explain how much I love it.

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Your virtual environment is also important, I learned. I didn’t take this action seriously until about a year after I did this workshop. Recently, I did a digital de-clutter, which I will talk about later, but at this point in my life, I was just wasn’t ready to hear it or do it, so I made small changes, like changing my home screen to something inspiring, I deleted a few apps to de-clutter my phone’s home screen, and narrowed down some pages on my facebook feed. These were all positive changes, but the big digital declutter came later..

Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com

And then came human connection. This is were I learned about tribes and how our social connection is the key to happiness and longevity. Even though I have talked about my tribe earlier, like I said, that was something that happened and I realized later that I was building my tribe without knowing it. This is where I learned the importance of social connection. Tribes make us feel safe, reduce stress and bring us joy! So, one of the actions suggested here, which I did immediately was to “curate your social circle”. Literally make a list of the people you see most often, because emotions are contagious and weed out (I know that sounds harsh) and decide who we really want to keep in our circle. We need to keep the positive energy flowing around us. If we surround ourselves with negative people, it will drag us down and zap our energy. Finding inspiring people became a goal. In my notebook I wrote the following:


All of which became focuses for me over the next year. And I still am always on the hunt. I recently discovered hiking. It’s a new passion of mine. I’m in the process of researching hiking groups but at the same time, I’ve been hiking with my husband on Sunday’s and it’s been really nice. My plan is to keep that up, but also find a group of ladies to hike with during the week when I have time. Like yoga, this will give me social connection, exercise outside, connecting with nature and mindfulness. Yay!

How can you change your environment to be more positive and inspiring? Try the following:

Clean something

Remove clutter

Try something new (maybe a class)

Thin out your social media feed to what inspires and uplifts

Curate your tribe. Make a list of the people you surround yourself most often and decide who stays and who goes to keep positive energy around you. Find new groups and volunteer opportunities that fit your goals.

I can’t wait to hear about it! Thanks for being here!

18 for 2018

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

In December of 2017 I was a new listener to Happier with Gretchen Rubin. In this episode Gretchen and Elizabeth talk about creating a list of 18 things to accomplish or complete in the year 2018. This is not a New Year’s resolution list, nor is it a vision board, it is simply 18 things you want to DO in the coming year, big or small. Some things might seem trivial to you, but the idea is to get things done to create happiness and unload the to-do’s into action. I loved this idea. The Upholder in me literary jumped at making my list. The minute the podcast was over I started making my list. It looked like this.

Take an online mindfulness class.
Find the perfect crossbody bag.
Plan a fun adventure with Nathan before he leaves for college.
Purchase a Swell water bottle.
See as many exhibits as possible.
Organize my linen closet.
Have Carney family heirlooms framed.
Frame my National Book Festival poster.
Go on a bird walk with my Dad.
Purchase a receipt organizer.
Return to my book club.
Learn to sketch.
Buy new outdoor cushions and pillows before Nathan’s Graduation party.
Buy a new birdbath.
Go to lunch with friends regularly.
Have the fireplace cleaned.
Visit a used bookstore.
Plant perennials.

I love a list and a challenge. Something in my Upholder personality loves to make lists and check things off of them. I ended up completing all but number 9, (because I was being overly ambitious about my capability to hike for any extended amount of time) and number 10, for no good reason (that should go on my 20 for 20 list!) And hmmm, that fireplace did not get cleaned. Another for my 20 for 20 list. But overall, I did really well. Gretchen says “things that can be done anytime are often done at no time.” That’s the truth! I easily could have done any of these things (maybe not the hike) at any time but then did nothing. Why? Get it on a list and get it done! I can’t tell you how good it felt to get all these nagging and some fun things completed! Another tip, is to know your tendency. I’ve spoken about this before. Once you know, it’s much easier to complete lists like this. For me, being an Upholder, this type of challenge is fun and I have no problem completing, however, a Rebel, Obliger or Questioner may want other strategies to help them complete their list. All tendencies have strengths and weaknesses. Once you know yours life becomes much simpler. You can learn more about the tendencies here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/

Do you have a things you want to get done or accomplish but they seem to never happen? I hope you will join me in the New Year with a 21 for 2021 list or if you want to start now, make yourself a very short list to complete by December and then you will be ready for a new list in January!

Thanks for being here!

Seasons of Life

Day 13

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Happy Days = Happy Life. So simple, but so true. Increasing my every day happiness had become a goal along with everything else I was doing. It also seemed to just happen naturally when I started focusing on the things that would help me grow and heal. Like Gretchen Rubin says, I was “living in an atmosphere of growth.”

Deepak asked what three things I was doing in my life that made me happy. That was easy:

1 Meditation
2 Exercise
3 Reading

My mainstays. I’ve talked about them before. So, what was making me unhappy and stuck in the past (besides the obvious pain issue)? And for me that was worrying about what other people think. And when I say other people, I mean former “friends” who I considered friends, but turns out were not. I had recently made a big change in my life by removing my daughter from an activity and enrolling her elsewhere. This may sound like a small thing, but she had been spending over 20 hours a week with with the same friends and teachers for over 10 years. And that means I became friends with many of the moms as we watched our children grow over the years. When we left, I assumed I would stay friends with most of them, but that was not the case. Turns out when you make a change that is good for you or your family, not everyone is along for the ride. A major change makes people look at themselves. And then can get judgy. For example, sometimes when I tell someone I eat a Paleo diet, they start telling me all the reasons why they could never do that. I certainly didn’t ask. They just are feeling judged by my changes. This unhappiness due to the changes I made didn’t last. I was upset for a time, but now I’ve moved on and realized I have my tribe and I’m all the better for it. Those were not my people. I will say two of these friends stuck with me and we still see each other often. So, after the fallout I was left with the right people and that’s the way it should be.

Photo by Evelyn Chong on Pexels.com

Next I was to look forward to the next 5-10 years at what changes that will be made in my life and some positive outcomes of those changes. Here’s what I wrote:

1 Being empty-nesters (good and sad)
2 Downsizing
3 Volunteering more

The idea of being empty nesters is both thrilling and devastating. On the plus side, we will be done paying for college, I will have more time for all the things I enjoy, I won’t be locked into the “school schedule” when making plans, among other things. Then, there is the obvious sadness that comes when your kids leave. Every time my son comes home from college on break and then leaves I am sad all over again. I’m so proud of him and excited for his future, but I can’t help getting teary eyed when I see a little boy and his mom in the library or at the store. It brings back all those memories of me and my son when he was little.

Downsizing! This is something to get excited about. I can’t wait to downsize our home! I’m so looking forward to a cozy space, not the oversized house we have now. Don’t get me wrong, our house is beautiful and for a time it was functional (although excessive). But this house no longer serves our needs. I’m already giddy about having a smaller mortgage or NO mortgage to speak of. It will be life changing and I can’t wait!

And the third positive outcome I see is the ability to volunteer more. I’m very happy with my volunteering life right now. I’m heavily involved in a cause I care about deeply. I devote quite a bit of my time to it. But I can see how I will be able to do more and step into other causes I care about too in the near future.

Have you thought about how you spend your days to make yourself happier? Try the following:

List 3 or 4 things in this current stage of your life that make you happy.

Is there something in your past that is keeping you stuck and unhappy?

List 3 or 4 things that you see making you happy in the next 5 -10 years.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments! Thanks for being here!