• Desire to Action,  Visioning

    Part Deux of Getting Ready to Get Ready

    Last week I introduced the concept of Getting Ready to Get Ready (GRTGR)  and outlined a little introspection process to help us move from GRTGR into action. I also called myself out on two of my favorite GRTGR activities:

    1. Learning – I want to start a blog, but I’m scared so I shop for a book on blogging instead. I want to write, but I’m scared so I sign up for another writing class instead.

    2. Planning – I want to start a business so I buy a business planner, read the intro and never follow through on yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily plans that I crafted so very lovingly. But, I decorate the hell out of that planner! It’s freakin’ gorgeous.

    Did you think about your favorite GRTGR activities? How can you tell when you’ve slipped from actually Getting Ready (valuable learning and planning) into GRTGR (avoidant learning and planning)? This is all about knowing ourselves, calling ourselves out on our avoidance tactics, and coaching our way through GRTGR into action.

    I also talked about the main reason we turn to GRTGR: because we are standing on the edge of our comfort zone and we want to step over the line because we’ve seen a vision off something really cool and enticing out there, but to get to that enticing nifty thing we have to venture into the dark forest that exists just beyond the border of comfiness. And the dark forest is, well, dark. And dark = scary. And we’re not sure we can navigate through it or that we’ll survive the journey because…monsters! And battling monsters is for heroes and rock stars. Not us. Not me. Nope. No sir. Thank you very much. I’m just not ready for that. I don’t have a flashlight. I don’t have batteries for the flashlight I don’t have. And I need to buy lots of flashlights and batteries and try out all the different combinations of flashlight to battery effectiveness. And, now I can’t remember why I started collecting all these flashlights and batteries in the first place, And, oh yeah, shiny nifty thing over there. But…darkness and monsters!

    If that sounds like every story, fairy tale, thriller, horror story, adventure, or romance ever written – it’s because it is EXACTLY the same as all those stories. The only difference is, in those stories, there’s a heroine who for whatever reason has been forced or chosen to venture into the dark forest.

    I LOVE reading these stories. Because I get to go on an adventure AND stay all cozy and comfy on my sofa at the same time. It’s a win win!

    Except when it isn’t.

    I think I need more coffee – brb.

    Here’s the deal, in those stories, the heroine who kicks monster butt is scared too. She’s not sure she can make it to the other side of the forest either. (In the stories I love to read, they don’t even have flashlights they have torches or a jar full of talking fireflies.) And yet, she ventures forth and she grows, she learns, she finds the magic within – on her way through the forest.

    The difference between me (when I’m in GRTGR mode) and the heroine, is that she doesn’t wait for the strength, knowledge, or the magic to show up before she begins. She steps into the unknown and figures the rest out on the way. And that’s what makes the story fun!

    Let’s look at the elements of the story and write our own so we can be the heroines of our own adventure:

    1. Call to Action
      What is calling your forward?
      What prize do you want to win?
      What magic are you seeking?
      How do you imagine finding ____________ (prize, magic, love) will change your life?

    2. The Dark Between Here and There
      What are you afraid of?
      What beliefs do you have about the things that live in the dark?
      What beliefs do you have about yourself that keep you fearful?
      What do you need to believe to take the next step?

    3. Trials, Challenge, and Conflict 
      What do you need to learn?
      What will it take to get you to believe in yourself?
      What strengths do you have that will help you through?
      Who are the guides and teachers in your life, who will lend you their strength and wisdom until it becomes your own?
      What are you willing to let go of?
      What are you willing to do that you’ve never done before?

    4. The Boss Battle 
      How will you know when you’ve won?

    5. The Elixir, the Prize, the Love 
      Imagine your happy ending.
      What’s different?
      What’s the same?
      What have you lost?
      What have you won?

    6. Happy ending! – every ending is a new beginning so …
      What’s your next adventure?

    I hope you have fun with this. I’m putting together some worksheets with these questions and the questions from last week so you can play with them some more. I love worksheets!

  • Desire to Action

    The December 2017 Theme is … Getting Ready to Get Ready

    Are you ready for this?

    Getting ready to get ready is a very specific brand of procrastination. I don’t want to label it as simple procrastination because I don’t think Captain Obvious hollering at us to stop procrastinating! is helpful. I think learning to recognize when we’re stuck in Getting Ready to Get Ready mode and unpacking the reasons behind our hesitation can actually be an informative and helpful process. When we recognize what we are doing and why, our hearts can open wider to our purpose and provide us with clarity and perspective about our desire.

    More specifically, I think Getting Ready to Get Ready can be defined as preparation and good intentions to get ready that have turned into stalling.

    How about a metaphor or an analogy – your dream, your purpose, your goal is the lead character in a musical and it’s standing center stage in the spotlight singing the power ballad to end all power ballads and suddenly, the spotlight (aka your focus) moves off the stage and starts wandering around backstage shining it’s light on the props, the costumes, the set pieces, the stage manager, the printer of the programs, the advertising, the logo, and anything else it can find backstage, in the rehearsal room, or at the bar across the street – anything other than center stage.. Because center stage is scary.

    All those things backstage and in the rehearsal studio (maybe not in the bar) are important and necessary, but the problem is that your dream/purpose/goal is onstage in the dark waiting to sing and nobody, not even you, can see it.

    The moral of the story: you can only rehearse for so long. Supportive side-projects are probably somebody else’s job. Eventually, you have to step into the spotlight on the stage and sing your heart out so the people sitting in the seats waiting for you to show up can hear your music.

    What’s going on here? We have a case of the nerves, mixed in with an unhealthy dose of perfectionism, spiced with fear, and sprinkled with either a lack of confidence or a lack of clarity. (Yes, I’m sitting in a coffee shop while I’m writing this.)

    The truth is we are ready enough. The props are good enough. The printer can handle the programs and it’s time for us to make our entrance. If we’re waiting for our confidence to show up in full-force, we’ll be waiting forever. Taking another class, buying another notebook, redesigning our websites, brainstorming names for our Etsy shop, DIYing the hell out of our logos and stationery and business cards, getting multiple degrees, organizing our paints and paintbrushes, looking for the perfect pen, and so on and so forth.

    That was a partial list of my favorite Getting Ready to Get Ready activities. What activities would you put on your Getting Ready to Get Ready list?

    Waiting for confidence is boring and this busy-work (running around backstage doing ALL THE THINGS over and over again) is safe and distracting. We can put off doing the scary thing AND no one can tell us we’re being lazy because look at all these terribly important things we’re doing. What we are doing, in essence, is staying busy doing all the things except the one thing we truly long to do/be/have. We’re dancing around our dreams, but, “Hey! Look at us we’re dancing as fast as we can!”

    The good news is, when we notice ourselves Getting Ready to Get Ready, we can acknowledge that we’re standing at the threshold of our comfort zone and know that it’s the next step that will put us over the edge into the land of expansion and possibility.

    Here are some steps to help us take the leap:

    1. Recognize what is going on.

    2. What was your original intent?

    3. Get curious & identify the emotional reason for stalling.

    4. Name the desire behind the fear.

    5. Visualize and explore how you would feel if that desire were fulfilled. Stay with the emotion of fulfillment. Journey with it. Soak it in and roll around in it.

    6. Ask yourself: what can I do right now?

    7. Set a deadline.

    8. Do it.

    9. Check it off your list and keep on keepin’ on.

    10. And, when you feel yourself stalling again, go back to your visualization and live in it for awhile until you get so excited and jazzed about it that you can’t wait to get on the stage and hit that high note. This is an example of using your imagination for your own good.

    11. Rinse and repeat.

    We can be our own best friends, call ourselves in our well-intentioned bullshit, and coach ourselves through it.

    So that’s the intro to this month’s theme. I’ll be back later in December with some more stories, worksheets, resources, and other goodies to help us all step into our spotlight. If you have any questions or comments about Getting Ready to Get Ready, please leave them below or drop me a line.

     

  • Purpose

    An Update & Future Plans

    It’s been awhile. I’ve been absent from this publishing space in a hands-on-keyboard-hit-publish kind of way, but not in heart. In fact, I’ve been thinking about Romancing Your Purpose so so much and I’ve been creating things for you – which I’ll tell you more about below, but first a little update on…

    What’s been going on? 

    • Mixed Media Class
      I took a Mixed Media class at the Columbia Art League and it rocked my world. I haven’t painted or collaged or made messes in quite some time and I missed it so so much. This class was exactly what I needed to refill that creativity well with learning and possibilities.
    • Blog Upgrade
      The blog has moved from WordPress to Squarespace. Squarespace is more of an all in one solution so there’s less technical work for me to manage. I love learning about tech, but it was slowing me down. There will be ongoing upgrades to this space so don’t be surprised if you see different homepages for awhile while I test things out. All the content is still here and the main feature is the blog. I have plans to add more galleries to share art projects and things I’m making – and Squarespace makes creating beautiful user-friendly galleries super simple.
    • Camp Fireheart
      I went away to camp! I spent four days in Ben Lomond, CA at the Sequoia Retreat Center nestled in the Redwoods enjoying yoga, creativity, personal growth, spirituality, and self-expression with a beautiful tribe of sister-souls. I’d like to share more about this in a future post. For now, let me just say that it was a mind-body-and-soul-opening experience. 
    • Romancing Your Purpose Journal
      Lots and lots of my creative art-making and writing energy has been focused on the Romancing Your Purpose Journal – which exists at this point as an online class in development, the first draft of an ebook, and a set of journaling pages & printables. I don’t know what the final form(s) will be just yet. This is my creative baby right now and I hope it’s something that will bring value and insight to your creative journey in a purposeful way. There is a small and private FB group formed for sharing, connecting, and beta testing. And I recorded my
      first video using FB Live – which was super scary for me and waaaaay out of my comfort zone. Stage is easy, film – not so much. 
    • Making Stuff
      The mixed media class I took renewed my love of making junk journals out of cardboard boxes. The thing is, the more I make, the more of them I have taking up space in my closet which means some of them will need to find new homes. I’m thinking a little Etsy shop could help me help them get adopted by people who will love scribbling, gluing, pasting, and painting on their empty little pages.  
    • Lots of Planning
      It’s that time of year. Every year around my birthday (I just turned 52!), I get myself into a planning frenzy and this year did not disappoint. You know I’m a notebook addict, right? Now, I’m a sticker, post-it note, pretty pages, paper-clip, notepad addict as well. I’ve moved back into my KiKi K planner and decorated her like a madwoman – and – there’s method to the madness so, yes, along with all the decorating and sticker-joy there are also ideas and plans percolating – mostly for this blog.

    That’s the update. Onwards to…

    Future Plans

    I’d like to change things up in this space. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make this blog valuable to you. Less of me just blah, blah, blahing about my life and a more deliberate focus on Purpose & Meaning – which was my original intent, but that intent wasn’t fully formed into a vision yet. Which is why visioning is so valuable! Value has become an important word for me – and an important goal.

    Of course, this is a blog, so there will still be posts about me sharing my process with about the things I’m working through, with, and on. I hope those posts have value because they’re coming from a real person doing her best to live her real life in a purposeful and meaningful way. I think it’s important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly – that way we all know we aren’t alone when we hit a snag. And by snag, I mean major mid-life crisis or huge life transition.

    So here’s what I’m thinking…

    Monthly Themes! Tada!

    I’m brainstorming monthly themes related to reconnecting with purpose and meaning in our lives.

    • How we do that.
    • How we avoid it.
    • What it looks and feels like.
    • How we can be more deliberate and thoughtful about what we want, what we create, and how we go about creating it.

    There will be one to two posts on each theme. One will be introductory and another will be more of an exploration. Other types of posts on the theme may include some journaling prompts, time for a Q&A – this could be live, and a worksheet or something you can print to explore with on your own.

    Eventually, I may wrap this all up in a monthly email – with the whole shebang from the month along with a little bonus – to those of you who are willing to allow me space in your inbox – which I know is precious so no fluff or bullshit. Again, I want this to be valuable to you. And easy. And simple. And fun. And somehow personally and deeply meaningful. And supportive. Maybe transformative on occasion. Did I say fun?

    There will also be random posts unrelated to the theme on occasion. Cuz, spontenaity, baby!

    December 2017’s will be…

    Getting Ready to Get Ready

    Is anyone familiar with this pastime? Some highlights include

    • when getting ready crosses over into Getting Ready to Get Ready territory and how to tell the difference between the two
    • the pros and cons of Getting Ready to Get Ready (Yup, there’s some value there too.)
    • how to be honest with ourselves about the need to move forward even when we’re not ready
    • productive and unproductive ways to Get Ready

    Wrapping Up

    I’m glad to be reconnecting with you here. I’ve been writing this post in my head for over two months now, and finally, here I am with my BICHOK. 

    Feedback on the themes idea is more than welcome. Also – suggestions for themes on creating a meaningful relationship with purpose are always welcome. Leave a comment or drop me a line. 

  • Visioning

    The Visioning Process in Process

    I’ve been doing lots of musing this past week about what it would look like – feel like – to truly follow my inner guidance system instead of trying to make my process fit someone’s else’s system. What would that feel like? You know I’m a planner addict and I love to have a plan and follow a plan and I absorb planning systems like I absorb water. I committed to using the Best Self Planner for a year as an experiment instead of jumping around and using 21 different planners in 12 months like I usually do.
    There are a lot of things I like about the Best Self Planner. What I like the most is that it isn’t focused on lists (even though it is, it isn’t) or time. It’s focused on goals, baby steps, and learning as you go. There’s space for gratitude in the morning and the evening and space for self-reflection every day. That’s cool.

    Here’s what’s happening. Visioning works better for me than goal setting does. This isn’t just about semantics. It’s about the initiating the process from the inside out instead of the outside in. Visioning, for me, is about engaging with that still small voice and trusting yourself – and working from that place instead of an external “I need to reach this benchmark” place. Yes. I have benchmarks in the vision. And when I look at past visions, I’m stunned about how many of them I’ve reached. Working with yearly, quarterly, and weekly/daily goals has always made me feel like I’m a round peg trying to hammer myself into square holes. Instead of feeling peace, I feel anxious.

    So…I’m switching some things up. I’ve renamed some sections in the Best Self Journal and it already feels like a friendlier place to be. I also created a little vision book that fits in the journal to give myself space to write, doodle and collage my vision. Then, I can take it into the journal weekly and daily.

    Here are some of the sections I’ve renamed:

    On The Weekly Page:

    Habit/Activity is now Areas of Focus

    My areas of focus for this week are:

    • Visioning
    • Fantasy Fiction Formula – this is a book on writing fantasy. My W.I.P. is getting a fantasy face lift.
    • Course Work – I’m working on a Romancing Your Purpose workshop.
    • Blog Post – 🙂
    • Art – the mixed media collage class I signed up for starts this week. Eeeeep!

    The space where you are supposed to rank how you feel (and why) on a scale of 1 to 10 is now Weekly Vision.

    What were your 3 Big Wins for the Week is now, Guidance. I drew three cards from the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck: Guidance for Letting Go, Wisdom Awakening, and Future Unfolding.

    This week:

    1. Letting Go: let go of conscious or unconscious attachment to beliefs and relationship patterns that hold me back from shining my light in the world.
    2. Wisdom Awakening: Accept your visions, ideas, and inspirations are important to your creative and spiritual growth. The vision is possible.
    3. Future Unfolding: You are doing well. That which is worthwhile takes time to build. You are creating something of worth.

    The section where it says to review your goals and assess your progress will be reserved for dialogue with my Future Self who knows what’s what when I may not.

    And finally, What Was the Biggest Lesson Your Learned This Week – is now, What’s Better?

    Also, the weekly pages are set up so that you fill out the Habits/Activity section at the beginning of your week and you write out the rest of the sections at the end of the week after you’ve put check marks next to your Habits/Activities. I’ve split the order of things up more. Today, Sunday which is my beginning of the week, I wrote about my Areas of Focus and filled out the Weekly Vision, and the Guidance section. I will write out the Dialogue and the What’s Better at the end of the week. I may or may not put check marks next to my Areas of Focus.

    The dialogue section and the What’s Better section come from Mark Forster’s How to Make Your Dreams Come True.

    On the Daily Pages:

    Things are staying pretty much as they are with only two sections renamed.

    Lessons Learned is now, Dialogue.

    Wins is now, What’s Better.

    I want to keep the visioning process flowing between weekly and daily. There’s plenty of open space on the Daily Pages to write and muse and doodle and that’s another thing I love about this planner.

    I also created a mind map and wrote out my Future Self Vision and taped that into my visioning book which fits very neatly into the Best Self Planner:

    All of these little edits and hacks feel more aligned with a process that works for me which is encouraging. It’s always a work in progress. It’s important, I think, to have a process that matches your guidance and flow. It’s the difference again, between feeling pushed (pushing yourself) and feeling pulled and drawn towards your dream. Either way, action is required, this way just feels better to me.

    I’m curious to know what systems and/or processes you have that keep you moving towards your passion and purpose.

    • Do you keep spreadsheets?
    • A journal?
    • Do you have a favorite planner?
    • Have you invented your own system?
    • Are your dreams and goals color-coded?

    Please share. These systems fascinate me and always motivate me so I’m sure others will be interested too.

    Happy visioning, y’all.

  • Life & Transition

    The Art of Rearranging Your Heart

    I’ve been having a hard time of it lately.
    I’m in the midst of one of those life transitions that requires me to rearrange the way my heart beats in my life. My daughter is going to college. This is a happy thing. She’s going to school at the university where I work. This makes me an extremely lucky mama to have her so close. But, she won’t be living at home anymore. Which will be a big change for all of us. So – I’m having a lot of emotions which seem to be surfacing at odd times. And I’m practicing quite a bit of escapism. Binge-watching Netflix, playing tappy tappy games on my iPad, reading lots of fiction – at least three novels a week – that sort of thing. This is me trying to take care of myself by avoiding taking care of myself. It may work for awhile, but ultimately it isn’t helpful.

    Oh, and … I’ve been drinking and binging on chips and dips too. This is very old ingrained self-protective (destructive) behavior. Ugh! I thought I was beyond this, but I’m not. Which means I’m also confronting the truth that addiction is likely to resurface in times of stress. Why is this the first thing I run to?

    During times of stress not only do I return to self-destructive behavior, but I also abandon healthy behavior and I abandon my purpose. I think I haven’t properly adjusted the bandwidth settings of my life so I can keep on keeping on in the midst of stressful situations.

    So this is an opportunity to practice feeling all the contrasting feelings that are jangling around – feeling them and moving with them through my days to the best of my ability. And I need to know and accept that, for the next few weeks (or however long it takes to adjust) while I’m moving daughter into the dorm and my husband and I are acclimating ourselves to the empty nest (a term which I kind of hate quite a bit right now) – things will be jangly. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it. All my best intentions have been tangled up in the jangly-ness of life.

    The good news is, the time I spent in self-protection/destruction mode was shorter than it was during the last stressful event. A few weeks compared to a few months or years.

    Transparency & Boundaries

    I was wondering how to write about this. Is it too personal? Would it be helpful?

    This is a blog about connecting with purpose at mid-life and beyond. And this transition is one of those life events that mid-life flings at us. We’ve all accumulated a collection of these transitions by now. And we all navigate them in different ways. They’re all different and all the same. They are transitions that require us to rearrange our hearts and the configuration of our lives in some way.

    Both my daughter and I were having a hard time. I was crying and trying to hide it from her and my husband. She was crying and trying to hide it from both of us. Finally, we cried together and talked and things got better for all of us. We weren’t alone anymore. Not that any of us were ever alone in the first place. But, we were expending a lot of energy trying to protect ourselves and everyone else from our feelings. It wasn’t that helpful. It just led to a lot of silent suffering and stuffing down feelings using any means necessary – food, alcohol and video games for me.

    Instead of trying to take care of everyone else by stuffing down my feelings – or not writing this post – I’m learning it’s best to share from my heart. This is what’s happening. This is how I feel. This is how it’s changing the way I’m showing up for myself and others right now. But, what’s the difference between transparency and healthy boundaries?

    Since I’ve never been adept at establishing boundaries, I truly don’t know the answer to that question. I think the truth may be that it’s flexible and negotiable (sometimes). Maybe? I have a lot of questions.

    Do transitions derail you? Yup.
    How do you navigate them? Awkwardly and imperfectly.
    How do you stay present? I don’t always. I’m practicing.
    What falls away? The things that keep me sane on normal days like meditation and yoga.
    What shows up? My addictions. Yikes!
    How do you rearrange the pieces of your heart? By hook and crook. With force. With love.
    Do you engage in self-sabotage and tell yourself it’s comfort? Oh, hell yeah. I’m a freakin’ contortionist.
    Do you try too hard to protect other people from your truth? Yes, and it’s exhausting and it doesn’t really help anyway. I’m not as stealthy as I think I am.
    Can you let yourself grieve? Ugh.
    Can you let yourself celebrate? Yes. Sometimes. Criminy Crackers! I even need help with this. I need all the help I can get.

    I’m learning that it’s better to ask the questions instead of trying to ignore them. I’m trying to ask the questions and answer them with kindness and curiosity instead of judgment, but I’ll be honest, I tend to be aggressive and hard on myself before I remember to take a breath.

    Logistics

    Transitions rarely come about without a lot of logistics. Moving, learning new skills, meeting new people, rearranging your finances and your budget. So we’re navigating strange waters both internally and externally.

    Life doesn’t demand much of us, does it?

    How do you manage the external logistics, to do lists, and communications and tend to the internal landscape? It’s a constant push pull.

    Birthing and Letting Go

    And the roles in our lives shift or how we show up and play them changes significantly. Not always by choice. This motherhood thing – let me tell you – not for sissies. Protect them with all our heart, but not too much. We have let them breathe and grow and make mistakes.

    And we have to do the same for ourselves. Let ourselves breathe and grow and ache and make mistakes.

    This isn’t just a motherhood thing. I’m gonna get all woo woo here and say that we’re always birthing in some way. Then learning how to let go – always letting go. We’re always engaged by choice or by default in multiple cycles of evolution.

    Showing Up

    Sometimes just showing up is the best we can do. There’s a yoga teacher that I follow named Jessamyn Stanley. At the beginning of class she says, “You’ve already done the hardest part. You showed up. You got on the mat.”

    I’m writing this post to say, “I’m on the mat.” I’m writing this post to encourage you, my lovely friends, to show up too. Let’s get on our metaphorical mats with all our feelings. Let’s be open to the questions when we don’t have the answers. Let’s be truthful and present with our loving and our letting go.

    The other options – tubs of french onion dip and bottles of wine – really aren’t options anymore.

    Damn!

    But they aren’t.

    Wrapping Up

    I’m in the midst of rearranging my heart. It’s awkward, imperfect, and it hurts. But, here I am. This is me.

  • Desire to Action

    From Desire to Action: Part 4 – Action

    We have arrived at Action!
    And here’s what I want to say about action: It’s required.

    Without action, all of the other stuff that I wrote about in the first three posts in this series is just dreaminess and wishing.

    One of my favorite acting teachers used to say, “Do the doing truthfully and for a purpose.” Acting is all about action. That’s why it’s called acting. Watching people simply emote and whine for two hours is the worst! The actors who are committed to the action of the character, to the purpose-drive-goal of the character, the ones who commit fully to the behavior and let the emotion take care of itself – those are the actors who take our breath away. They’re the ones we believe.

    Translation – we will believe in ourselves and believe it’s possible to live a purposeful life when we commit to the action of our purpose. We have to do the doing. But, instead of jumping into to do lists and five-year plans with quarterly breakdowns, I want to explore a different kind of process for connecting with purpose-full action.

    The Lovers: Doing & Being

    I’ve heard this so many times I don’t know who actually said it the first time – “we are human beings, not human doings.” Purposeful action is not about busy-ness. In fact taking action on our purpose very often requires that we let go of things. We’re used to taking action in our comfort zones. They can keep us very busy. And I’ve learned the hard way over the past 3 – 10 – 25 years that I can stay distracted from my purpose by getting downright crazy-busy inside my comfort zone. And, here’s the kicker, this often happens when I am feeling the call to expand my comfort zone. Sometimes, when I am feeling the urge to move into unknown territory, my comfort zone actually shrinks! I retreat and hide and don’t want to come out, but I do want to come out and play, but I’m afraid, and I feel safe in here, and I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I want to find out, but I’m scared so I get really really really busy…but what I truly want to do in my heart of hearts is go outside, cross the boundary, and BREATHE.

    The trick is taking one step at a time. The other trick is doing the doing that will move us towards our purpose. Purposeful action is very different from being busy. How do we know what the next step is?

    We Can Be Our Own Teachers

    We don’t want to throw a lot of external action on top of all the things we’re already doing. As I said before, we may even have to let go. What I’m exploring is working from the inside out. Instead of mapping a bunch of stuff out – which I LOVE to do. I have a planner addiction. But, instead of drafting quarterly goals and checking boxes, I’ve been sitting and thinking and trusting and allowing. And letting the still small voice make the action plan. And, since I’ve been doing that, I’ve been writing more, sharing more, and learning more.

    I’ll be honest this a personal tug of war. One day, I’ll sit in meditation and I’ll listen and I’ll receive guidance. And I’m so grateful for this. It’s a wonderful thing.

    And, zing! I’m off.

    But, then I’ll forget. And I start pushing and trying to do it all by myself with sheer will and grit and I get desperate and I look for help everywhere and I’ll try to do All The Things and I’ll get confused and frustrated. And, finally, I’ll remember, “Oh, yeah. Sit down and be still and listen.” I’m learning that I don’t have to do this all by myself. I have an internal support system waiting for me to sit my ass down and breathe. Mindfulness practice has changed my life in so many ways over the past two years, but I’m still not used to it. I forget and go back to my old ways.

    So I’m practicing. All the time. Life is practice.

    Visioning

    This is the process. I call it embodiment. Embodiment means spending time with the woman you want to be. Let her/you teach you what the next step is. Let her help you figure it out. Going back to pull theory from Mark Forster’s How to Make Your Dreams Come True, a clear vision of your future-self living with purpose and feeling fulfilled will lead you to the next step and pull you forward. And by clear, I mean sensory and embodied.

    So this future-self, the woman I want to be, who is she? How does she feel when she’s sipping a cup of coffee or tea in the morning and thinking about her day? What does she see? How does her body feel? How does she feel in her body? What does her normal average day look like? What does she want to do next?

    For me, this visioning practice has been much more fruitful than traditional goal setting. I think that’s because it’s a process of working from the inside out.

    Go inside and spend time with the woman you want to be. Listen for the next step – this is working from the inside out. Then you take the next step – which is working from the outside in – and the landscape is altered just a bit. From this new place, pause and listen for the next step – working from the inside out … and so on and so forth. Just like breathing.

    Trust

    This means we have to trust ourselves. Because this future self who’s enjoying a lovely romance with her purpose has probably done some things that we’re afraid to do. I mean, holy hell, what if she’s into public speaking!?!

    So we have to trust. If she is into public speaking and public speaking terrifies us, I bet she didn’t go to sleep one night terrified of public speaking and wake up the next morning completely unafraid having mastered the art of telling a good story in front of thousands of people. So what was her first step? Trust that and just take that first step. That’s all. This will move us one step down the hallway where we can ask her what she did next.

    We will probably never be fearless, but we can learn to trust ourselves and believe in ourselves by taking one step at a time. Just one.

    So what do you think? Are you willing to give it a shot? Maybe a 30-day experiment?

    Love

    There’s a lot to be said about this. And I have plans for exploring the connection between love and purpose lots more on this blog, but for now, I just want to say that the guidance received from the visioning process always comes from a place of love. The still small voice and the voice of our future self – the woman we want to become – is loving. If we hear, “You just have to get off your fat lazy ass and get a freakin’ life!”, shut her down. That’s ego. That’s old programming. And, most importantly, it’s not helpful.

    I heard Sharon Salzberg give a talk and she named that critical berating voice Lucy. It’s a wonderful talk which I can’t seem to find again to share the link with you. But, I will keep looking and hopefully be able to share it with you. BTW – Sharon Salzberg is kinda brilliant. (Understatement!)

    Wrapping Up

    And there we are. We’ve wrapped up the series. Are you still awake? Still reading? Have questions? Have ideas to share? Please reach out and post a comment. I’d love to engage in some cool conversations with maverick mid-life women who are exploring their own path.

  • Travel

    Natali’s Bohemian Style!

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur laoreet cursus volutpat. Aliquam sit amet ligula et justo tincidunt laoreet non vitae lorem. Aliquam porttitor tellus enim, eget commodo augue porta ut. Maecenas lobortis ligula vel tellus sagittis ullamcorper. Vestibulum pellentesque cursus risus, in ultrices odio. Morbi dui metus, fringilla quis urna vitae, fringilla tristique nibh. Donec ultrices est ut dapibus dapibus. Nunc fermentum viverra risus, et mollis ante commodo sit amet. Vestibulum eu enim nec lectus volutpat dignissim vel sit amet dui. Maecenas sodales mi non nibh egestas gravida. In in dolor orci. Mauris viverra eu enim eu luctus. Praesent vel orci pulvinar, semper augue et, interdum sapien.

    Pellentesque quis sodales tellus. Pellentesque at aliquet magna. Mauris vel nunc lobortis, imperdiet velit vel, congue massa. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae. Vestibulum pellentesque cursus risus, in ultrices odio. Morbi dui metus, fringilla quis urna vitae. Nulla lacus magna, mattis sed semper sed, tincidunt sit amet sapien. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras neque sem, congue eget iaculis eget, mollis sed lacus. Donec ante nibh, ornare ac eros at, accumsan rhoncus lectus. Praesent finibus et quam id gravida. Donec et velit id arcu commodo tristique congue ac ligula. Proin a tempus justo. In aliquet libero ac lobortis faucibus. Quisque facilisis tincidunt posuere. Aenean finibus tortor dictum nisl semper, ac sodales odio volutpat. Maecenas ultricies hendrerit nisi nec varius. Phasellus vel lectus sed mauris rhoncus tempor sit amet non risus. Aenean eu fringilla diam. Mauris iaculis facilisis sem sit amet blandit.

    • Etiam eget enim vitae elit!
    • Nam semper nulla at turpis!
    • Donec vestibulum ante at nibh!

    Aliquam dignissim, nisi ac luctus blandit, ipsum est accumsan leo, a dignissim nibh ipsum ut nulla. Nam sit amet arcu ligula. Morbi sed quam et sapien faucibus pharetra ultricies ac neque. Vestibulum quis pulvinar urna. Praesent sodales purus in accumsan fermentum. Etiam euismod, neque at tincidunt auctor, magna erat tincidunt nisl, venenatis tristique arcu massa sit amet ex. Phasellus consequat placerat enim, vitae sollicitudin urna ornare at.

    Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

    Duis nulla purus, scelerisque a augue ut, tempus rhoncus erat. Nam massa mauris, accumsan eget fringilla sed, placerat nec mauris. Mauris blandit odio sit amet mattis ultrices. Fusce luctus porta mauris malesuada posuere. Proin sagittis pellentesque augue quis congue. Proin feugiat quam eget eleifend imperdiet. Maecenas commodo nulla et ipsum bibendum, id lacinia dolor varius. Pellentesque id orci laoreet, sollicitudin ante vitae, aliquam mauris. Praesent in turpis tortor. Integer ac lacus orci. Nulla vitae felis urna. Donec at nunc semper, efficitur felis tincidunt, finibus tortor. Pellentesque nec est eu risus suscipit vestibulum. Nulla convallis non tortor at fringilla. Maecenas at elit justo.

  • Desire to Action

    From Desire to Action: Part 3 – Declaration & Commitment

    I’m on vacation! Hoo-rah! I’m in Traverse City, MI staring at East Grand Traverse Bay from the balcony of our condo. It’s 6:00 AM and everyone else is asleep. It’s a little chilly. I’m drinking coffee that’s gritty with grounds because I’ve lost the ability to actually brew coffee without a one-cup-coffee-pod brewing system. But coffee is essential so I’m drinking it anyway. The lake is still and looks luminous, like a sheet of glass reflecting the sunrise.
    And that’s why I’m two days late getting this blog post written and posted so here we go…

    We’re talking about Declaration and Commitment. (Eeeeek! Another c-word.) Last week I wrote about Choice and Experiment. I guess it stands to reason that if choice is difficult then commitment may be a psychological conundrum as well. So let’s dive in, shall we?

  • Travel

    Start Day Positive

    Cras eget elit convallis est condimentum congue non id sem. Proin metus dui, eleifend id mollis quis, pulvinar in metus. Nulla pharetra sapien ultricies dui blandit, eget condimentum tortor rhoncus. Donec gravida leo neque, ac consequat diam dignissim ut. In ligula felis, tempus vel est ut, pellentesque fermentum ligula. Proin at dui sagittis, rutrum velit in, fermentum nisl. Donec sagittis, risus vitae mollis pretium, tellus turpis feugiat mi, ac cursus nibh metus quis tortor. Integer ultricies ullamcorper nulla, nec consectetur mi hendrerit eget. Donec at elit vel ex pulvinar vestibulum. Cras tristique molestie leo malesuada sollicitudin. Nunc nec lorem id mi consequat rhoncus ac eget purus. Sed massa orci, volutpat sit amet velit sagittis, placerat euismod felis. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Etiam interdum nulla vitae neque porta interdum quis a velit. Ut semper maximus vulputate.

    In sodales leo velit, ac malesuada quam consequat in. Cras elementum feugiat tortor, nec vestibulum turpis consequat eget. Nam massa risus, ultrices et lacus id, maximus tempor tortor. Sed non sapien vitae sem dictum accumsan. Nulla scelerisque felis eget dolor scelerisque dignissim. Proin dictum euismod egestas. Suspendisse potenti. Praesent ullamcorper augue ut turpis sodales, ut luctus mauris mattis. Suspendisse accumsan ex arcu, in viverra odio hendrerit ac. Pellentesque tincidunt tortor nunc, vel commodo neque convallis aliquet. Cras mattis nec mi non sollicitudin. Vivamus semper euismod lectus sit amet ullamcorper. Nullam in nibh malesuada, vehicula sem sit amet, semper velit.

    Cras pharetra, mauris sed feugiat accumsan, nisl quam rhoncus erat, non pulvinar urna velit non libero. Ut interdum suscipit fringilla. Donec semper volutpat libero, sed sollicitudin lectus tempus at. Sed congue lacinia tortor. Integer lacinia felis ac odio dictum tempor. Nullam massa mi, pulvinar interdum rutrum sed, pharetra nec dui. Integer a sapien sit amet purus finibus tincidunt. Morbi ac sapien sapien. Phasellus odio ipsum, vehicula hendrerit suscipit vitae, imperdiet ac tortor. Duis auctor facilisis efficitur. Vivamus non tortor pretium, bibendum velit ac, sagittis neque. Fusce varius ut ipsum sit amet viverra. Sed volutpat mauris non ex volutpat, at sagittis sapien dignissim.

    Maecenas faucibus feugiat congue. Nam fringilla eros at ante consequat, at commodo nisl ultrices. Morbi ac purus sed erat pellentesque efficitur. Proin tempor quis purus sed vulputate. Cras pharetra luctus mi, vitae ultricies risus scelerisque a. Praesent faucibus sed elit eu aliquam. Morbi congue ipsum mi. Integer urna eros, efficitur a tellus nec, ornare volutpat urna.

    Proin rhoncus congue nibh ut egestas. Vivamus a feugiat felis, a pharetra sapien. Nullam consequat, neque ac aliquam tristique, diam tortor pharetra lacus, quis laoreet ligula mi eget neque. Nullam non est mi. Integer eleifend neque non mauris elementum fermentum. Curabitur vitae tempus justo. Nunc fringilla ac tellus nec fermentum. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Proin aliquet, ligula sed sollicitudin pharetra, velit mauris lacinia quam, eu tincidunt diam mauris eget justo. Quisque dictum risus a tincidunt cursus. Mauris non gravida sapien. Quisque eu magna dictum, faucibus ligula eu, rhoncus orci. Integer bibendum nulla id dui tristique, a rhoncus eros euismod. Curabitur in dapibus magna. Quisque nec ipsum odio. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

    Donec ut arcu dignissim, rhoncus lectus nec, sodales elit. Integer ex metus, imperdiet eu odio sed, rhoncus ultrices orci. Proin condimentum sodales lorem id ultrices. Aenean venenatis magna sem, ac sodales enim congue nec. Sed ut bibendum ex. Aliquam in purus ac augue mollis dapibus. Curabitur sit amet dictum leo, eget finibus dui. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Suspendisse vitae tellus eget arcu pretium dictum. Nam tempor efficitur nulla in mollis. Maecenas orci neque, ullamcorper eu felis sodales, tincidunt luctus dui. Fusce est metus, semper sit amet erat a, molestie finibus arcu. Nullam interdum gravida ex a ornare.

  • Desire to Action

    From Desire to Action: Part 2 – Choice

    Choice is the most difficult step for me. I always want to choose everything which means I end up choosing nothing. The thing that upsets me about making a choice is that by saying ‘Yes’ to one thing, we have to say ‘No’ to other things. I tried to do it all for a long long time and just ended up wearing myself out.
    This is how I ended up in the principal’s office at the start of every semester during high school. I wanted to be on the dance team, the yearbook staff, the creative arts magazine staff, the speech team, the Latin Club and I wanted to audition for every show. This meant I had to get the principal’s permission to take an extra class during my lunch hour. Which meant I had to to get a teacher’s permission to eat lunch in their classroom and I had to promise to keep my grades in passing range. I started class at zero hour – the class before classes started – and ended each day after rehearsal around 9:30 PM or later depending on the show. I traveled to all the football and basketball games and the speech tournaments on the weekends. I didn’t know if I was coming or going, but all of it was important to me. Frankly, I don’t remember a lot of it.