Advent of a new year: choosing your ‘word’

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Throughout a year loaded with more change than ever, my word for 2020—growth—continues to stretch and mold me. Yet, when I reflect on the past 12 months, I’m encouraged by the countless ways in which I’ve given my word a good workout. Perhaps it’s my age—reaching the halfway point in Club 50 membership can do that to a girl—or maybe it’s the date on the calendar that sparks possibility and expectation as we await the advent of shiny new beginnings. In either case, excitement stirs in my belly as I meditate on my word for 2021: a theme, of sorts, or call to action that captures the spirit of what I’m drawn to most, in this moment—a life of surrender. For me, this looks like creating a plan, but releasing attachment to future outcomes. And, instead, approaching each day with playful curiosity, while practicing resilience in the face of whatever comes.

What word or theme will you focus on in the new year?

Dwelling in possibility

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I dwell in possibility. ~ Emily Dickinson

As we draw closer to a new year, I spent extra time considering the message I desired to convey in this post. And I settled on a common thread I imagine weaves itself throughout humanity: expectation. In my own life, my family waits with expectation to celebrate the birth of Jesus (see “Regain the wonder…”). Others, throughout the world, prepare with expectation to engage in favorite traditions in the spirit of the holidays. Regardless of what this season might look like on your corner of the planet, I can almost guarantee each of us anticipates starting over. Yet, with many of the best-laid plans we envisioned for a new decade turned upside-down, it might prove difficult to wrap our minds around the hint of possibility. But herein lies the nugget—an idea to contemplate as we count down to 2021 and the clichéd clean slate. Without expectation, without hope: what remains?

How does your life reflect expectation for the new year?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Set it and let it go: how to be fully present

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This past week I attended a gong meditation at the yoga studio where I practice. If you’ve never tried a gong “bath,” I highly recommend it—if only for a bit of respite from the outside world. The benefits? I’ve read that the sound of the gong cuts through our mental chatter—the monkey mind—to create a meditative state of deep relaxation to promote healing and stress reduction. Talk about a win-win. Personally speaking, I also experienced an emotional release, including overwhelming gratitude that began in the mountains earlier that day to return full circle on my mat, tears streaming down my face. In addition, I learned that when we set an intention, it’s good to set it and let it: go. Oftentimes we get stuck on the expectation behind our intention, which can lead to disappointment. However, when we practice “setting it and letting it go,” we free ourselves to remain fully present in the moment.

What intention do you need to set and let go?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Where happiness + success intersect: overcoming the burden of expectations

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There’s something to be said about the correlation between loving what you do and doing what you love and vice versa. Similarly, theologian Albert Schweitzer once penned: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” And, recently, during an interview with WD magazine (March/April 2019), author Min Jin Lee talked about overcoming the burden of expectations. Which ultimately leads to joy. So how do we do this? In “Rekindle the excitement,” I pose the challenge to rediscover what makes us excited to jump out of bed each morning… by starting somewhere. Yet first we have to ask the question: If I removed expectation from the equation, including time and/or money, and if I could be or do that one thing I love doing, that brings me joy and spells success (in my book), what does it look like? And will I regret the not doing?

Are you doing what you love doing?

Photo source: pinterest.com.

Take a cup of kindness yet: a resolve that’s timely

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A part of kindness consists in
loving people more than they deserve.
~ Joseph Joubert

You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never
know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s that time when many of us take stock of the past 365 days, and we may even begin to sketch out New Year’s resolutions, goals or bucket lists. For me, the past year has encompassed myriad life events: change, challenges and loss. It’s also involved answered prayers, growth and new opportunities. And once again I await with expectation a blank slate in which to draft a new chapter. A word of advice, however, and a note to self: In order to set ourselves up for success from the start, we must allow for plot twists. You know: because life. Yet perhaps the first thing we must resolve is to extend kindness without delay. It’s a practice that’s always right on time.

How will your new year be different than the last?

Image courtesy of graphixchon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Preparing for a fabulous new year

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Preparing for a fabulous new year

[Image credit: chanpipat]

You may currently have all your resolutions, goals and “to dos” put in place for the New Year.  However, those lists may just as well be words on paper — rather than an action plan toward fulfilling dreams or simply navigating life’s choppy waters — if you don’t prepare yourself mentally.  It’s your mind that will either talk you out of it, or keep you on track.  Here are five tips to help you plan for a happy, successful and (hopefully) life-changing 2013:

  1. Begin each day with expectation that something wonderful is going to happen.
  2. Plan and prioritize.  If it moves you closer to your highest purpose in life, do it first.
  3. Let go of your results.  Remember, control the things you can.
  4. Turn off background TV or other distractions that pull your mind off track.  Focus on the job at hand.
  5. End each day with gratitude.  Write down at least one wonderful thing that happened.

How are you preparing for a fabulous New Year?

The sweet taste of success

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Have you ever wanted something so badly you swore you could taste it?  What about the times your mouth salivated as you anticipated that first bite of freshly baked chocolate chip cheesecake, homemade apple pie or a juicy cut of steak, only to finally sink your teeth in and discover reality didn’t even come close to your fantasy?  This can also happen with a job you’ve worked hard to attain, the expectation of a blind date or a long-awaited first kiss, the excitement over a movie you’ve wanted to see for months, a gift to be unwrapped or perhaps a dream vacation.  You may find yourself bored or disenchanted with one or all of the above.  But what about those other times when the end result supersedes your wildest desires?  What was your secret then?  Maybe it was because you didn’t let fear of disappointment stand in your way, or you kept an open mind and let life unfold in its time.  I have a few of those success stories tucked away, myself, when I need a reminder that wishes do come true.  You just have to believe.

Right now is there something you want so badly you can taste it?