Mid-year check-and-balance: planning for the road ahead

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Mid-year: we meet again. Although vastly different than I would guess most of us envisioned at the start of 2020, I still think it’s important to review our aspirations and perform a check-and-balance; in other words, What goals need to stay, pivot (e.g., change) or go? For instance, I learned if I plan to remain in alignment with my vision, I must begin treating my passion for all-things fairytale like a second (albeit part-time) job by sacrificing the necessary time to hone my craft—from participating in writing courses, planning workshops and online readers’ and writers’ groups, to subscribing to craft-related blog pages and podcasts. But I also realized I’ve neglected other areas essential to my vocation. By taking stock, we can better see the big picture, break it down into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle our intentions over the remaining two quarters. And sometimes, we simply need to pencil in “white space” to dream about those happily-ever-afters.

How has the first half of 2020 informed your second half?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

New year new decade: 7 steps to success

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In my post, “It’s not too early…” I share a link on strategies to attract everything you want in 2020. With two months remaining in 2019, I challenge readers (and myself) to begin now. To recap: 1) Identify what you really want and be sure you really want it; 2) visualize your future self doing what it takes to get there; 3) believe that you can do it; 4) clarify your intention and give it your attention; 5) prepare for when the slope gets slippery; 6) hold yourself accountable, but be gentle with yourself and 7) practice gratitude every step of the way. It all sounds simple, right? I think where I struggle the most is at the beginning: What do I really want? Going forward into this new decade, the key for me is to keep it simple and straightforward. And one (major) “want” only. Otherwise, it looks a lot like self-sabotage and my best intentions go up in smoke. Every time.

What do you really want?

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.

Be a wo(man) on a mission: gratitude with intention

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Since I misplaced my mojo (see “Don’t let anything dull your sparkle…”), I’ve been on a mission to get “unstuck.” For the past few posts, now, I’ve talked about how I’m rebooting my mojo—by recommitting to a mantra, challenging myself (again) and changing the rules. Here’s another tip I’ve begun to employ: gratitude with intention. On Jan. 1, I opened a brand new journal I received from my BFF, as well as a book of 365+ gratitude prompts a dear friend gifted me for my last birthday. Thus began a daily look at my life through the lens of gratefulness. Unfortunately, just like any routine, over time this practice started to become stale and simply something to check off my to-do list. However, once I took on the mission of locating my missing mojo, I began to approach my morning journaling sessions with intention vs. habit. This has also spilled into my everyday life—through tiny attitude adjustments that make a world of difference.

What’s your mission?

The difference between happiness, joy

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happiness-vs-joy
Recently I heard an apt description of both happiness and joy. In a nutshell: happiness comes to us; joy is inside of us. It stands to reason, then, that happiness is created by external and oftentimes fleeting or fickle people, places and/or things. If we base our happiness on our spouse, job, car or health, and our relationship dies, we’re laid off, we total the car or get sick, it can be hard to put on a happy face (until the next whatever it is). Also, if everything external is temporary, then there must be something more that creates internal joy. For me and for many others, this source of joy is spiritual. For others, it’s a mindset to choose happy, while at the same time setting the intention that nothing or no one will steal their peace away. And, it doesn’t hurt to take the focus off ourselves, whenever possible, to invest in the lives of others (see ‘A rebirth of sorts…“).

Are you happy… or joyful?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

Pantser, planner or a little of both?

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Pantser planner

 

If you’re a writer, the term ‘pantser’ is as familiar to you as the beloved setting where you daydream about all the writing you wish you were doing. Basically, it means to ‘fly by the seat of your pants.’ Writers like this generally begin with a basic plan, then let the story write itself. In life and in writing, I tend to follow the ‘planner’ route; i.e., I like to know what, when, where and how something will happen. Although this rarely transpires outside the confines of my laptop or notebook, I find comfort in staying between the lines. I might consider my living and writing style more middle-of-the-road, however, a ‘plantser’ who performs a little of both—more so now that simplicity is my New Year intention. A loose outline, whether for the day or the next blog or that story idea I’ve contemplated and picked apart for months, simply sets the stage for magic to unfold.

Are you a pantser, planner or a little of both?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

An easy(ier) life

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An easy(ier) life

I have likely arrived at the ‘beating a topic to a pulp’ phase. Yet, when you find something that works, you want to spread the word—it’s about my intention this year to simplify. It’s taken me about 10 days to settle into my routine and, not only have I enjoyed several rewards of living more simply—which is a mindset, as well as a tangible practice—but the side benefit has been increasing balance (last year’s goal). Three words: ditch the multitasking. Yes I’ve written blogs on the topic (e.g., Multitasking equals write thinking); however, checking off a few extra items in the planner does not a simpler life make. But since I’ve put my Clear-Cut Chore Chart in motion, I ‘located’ extra time to do the things that re-energize me—like reading and writing more, coloring and doing puzzles—while maintaining my well-being and home, and cultivating family, friends and outside pursuits. Five words: work hard and play hard.

How’s your New Year’s intention working out?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Sweet and simple pleasures

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Keep-it-sweet-and-simple

Recently, while shopping at Dollar Tree, I picked up a little plaque—black background covered with white chalk-like printing in varied fonts. Although a ribbon adorns the top for hanging, it resides propped up on my desk at home. The words etched on the plaque are simple reminders: Love one another, always tell the truth, sweet dreams, say please and thank you, share, play nice, work hard, say your prayers, keep your promises, laugh often. My intention to simplify this year (see ‘keep it simple…‘) encompasses not only my words (let them be fewer), but my schedule (say yes less, rest more), righting wrongs as they occur (rather than harboring bitterness) and recognizing simple pleasures daily. Beginning on day six, I received a hand-written thank you card in the mail—a simple gesture, yet one that seems to be a lost art. I hope to chronicle these treasures throughout 2016, a way to recognize and better appreciate life’s simple sweetness.

What is a recent simple pleasure you’ve encountered?

Photo courtesy of people-equation.com.

Turn the page to begin anew

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Turn the page begin

The first blank page of 2016 arrives with good intentions: Simplicity. Balance. Happiness, health and wellness. Just when we thought it was safe, in creeps remnants of discouragement. Wait, didn’t we leave that behind at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve? As I folded and put away a couple days’ worth of clean laundry this morning, I reflected on how, when not managed immediately (or within a reasonable amount of time), the wash and myriad household tasks pile up much like the residual of unkind words, broken promises and unrealized expectations—all of which weigh us down with disappointment, regrets or hurt. I suggest, instead, we do what we can in an allotted period of time; i.e., spend XX minutes each day working on housekeeping tasks or making an effort to right a wrong, and then be done with it. Let it go, whatever it is. And with intention, choose to travel lighter, unburdened. Then turn the page to begin anew.

How did your New Year’s Day transpire?

Image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

All things are possible

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possibilites

Miracles occur daily. From the sun rising to setting to opening our eyes each morning, we witness marvels on a day-to-day basis. Even the seed of hope we plant in our hearts—to bring about transformation in our lives and the lives of others—is a miracle waiting to happen. My post, Be the change, focuses on being what we want in order to manifest more of what we desire; i.e., if we covet more love, we must be more loving, etc. During the past four weeks, as I’ve bid adieu to my forties and jumped headlong into the fifties, I’ve engaged in a personal makeover of sorts. It entails reflection, prayer and specific assignments that challenge me daily. In the process, I’ve discovered forgiveness, healing and growth, as well as an understanding that, as we change, it’s possible to effect change around us. But this requires living with intention and being true to ourselves. Always.

What possibilities do you hope come to pass in the New Year?

Image courtesy of Greenleaf Designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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