Surrendering: the painful process of pruning

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How often do you pray for patience, and then without warning a situation occurs that demands an inner fortitude that a) you never knew you possessed and b) you wouldn’t need to tap into had you not asked for patience? I wrestle with this lately. But not patience so much as seeking to live out my word for the year: growth—which shows up as frequent “pruning” and a daily practice in humility. Merriam-Webster defines pruning as “to cut off or cut back parts of for better shape or more fruitful growth.” As a Christian, this can be a painful process of surrendering in any number of ways, such as letting go of a position, possession, relationship or some other desire to better align oneself to the image of Jesus. In my case: be careful what you pray for. Yet without a season of pruning, we carry around “dead branches” that hinder our ability to grow. And to eventually flourish.

What area of your life could use pruning?

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Time to grow: doing the right things, at the right time

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While in the process of doing “all the things,” I discovered: I can’t do all the things. After a year of searching for the perfect time management and goal planning strategies, I’ve taken a step back. In fact, I’m starting over. Why? Because I wasn’t making headway. The overabundance of resources at my disposal paralyzed me—until I discovered a practice that meshes with the way I’m wired and can be tweaked as needed (aka because life). In January, it began with a big picture mental image birthed from a vision board workshop, which advised a series of goal mapping. From there, I developed quarterly and monthly goals, followed by measurable action steps and a weekly task list (in progress). And with my big picture vision at the forefront, I plan to regularly assess what’s working and what’s not working to plot consecutive quarters and so on. Now I can do all the things. The right things. At the right time.

How do you manage all the things?

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.

Taming the monkeys: Part VI, the glue + tip #2

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Words we speak about an experience become the experience.
~ Derek Hough

In my post, “…Part V and thinking SMART,” I review nighttime routines and working smarter. Plus, I promise to reveal the glue that holds it all together: consistency. If you’re not seeing results, crushing your goals or manifesting your dreams, try sticking to a consistent habit, goal or practice until 1) either change occurs or 2) you need to try something new. Oh, and tip #2 that KM gave me at the start of my 45-day challenge? Quit complaining. The hard truth: complaining attracts negativity and misfortune. Don’t believe me? Try this at home (aka everywhere): Wear a rubber band on your wrist, snap it each time you complain and then switch wrists. But attempt to keep it on the same wrist for 21 days and watch what happens. Bonus: incorporate five minutes of focused gratitude into your morning routine. Check out these other resources: James R. Doty, simplemind.eu/how-to-mind-map/examples/goals, zapier.com/blog/smart-goals/.

Are you ready to attract abundance?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Showstopper alert: Kicking your booty back into gear

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I interrupt my “Taming the monkeys” blog series with a showstopper: What happens when we’ve planned our routines, morning (and p.m.—more on that later) and, well… life? Many of my past ramblings talk about going with the flow, practicing flexibility, yada yada. But sometimes. It. Doesn’t. Work. Out. And that’s okay. The other morning, smack dab in the middle of my a.m. ritual, my husband dropped a bombshell. Uhm, now? Although the unplanned convo ate into my schedule, I opted to stick to my free writing session and forgo the bed making, albeit a little less in-your-face confident. Although I felt knocked down a peg, I refused to allow the temporary derailment to define my day. Incidentally, all got resolved, and that evening’s 60-minute hot Pilates practice followed by 45 minutes of hot barre kicked the “token old lady’s” booty—which kicked me right back, or close to, that higher vibrational frequency I’ve been operating from for the past several weeks.

How do you handle the showstoppers?

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Taming the monkeys: Part II and tip #1

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As promised, the following several posts will cover two practical tips to incorporate into your daily routine to tame your monkeys and “unstick” yourself. The caveat: change requires action. It’s as simple—and as hard—as that. If you don’t feel “stuck” in your journey, then you may want to scroll to the next item in your feed. But for those readers who describe themselves as hamsters on a wheel, then I would bet you are the student ready for the “teacher” to appear. Because when presented with these two tips more than a month ago, I was that student. Tip #1: Each morning, for the next [pick a number—mine was 45] days, spend 10 minutes “planning.” What do I mean by planning? Bookmark this page to receive the next post where I’ll begin outlining the nitty gritties; i.e., what it means to me, how I’ve incorporated this practice into my days and links to help with your own planning.

Are you ready to change your life?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taming the monkeys with practical tips: how to ‘unstick’ yourself

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Thirty-seven days ago I felt stuck. Questions like: What am I doing with my life? Where do I even begin? wrestled each other in a mind full of monkeys. And then a new friend I met during a recent writers’ retreat—I’ll call her KM—“checked in” with me online. I dumped. She listened. And then she “counseled” me with sage guidance and a personal challenge—with contract—if I chose to accept. Although only eight days remain in my challenge, I’ll continue practicing the advice KM shared. I’m not only more grounded and less anxious overall, but the gains have spilled over into my daily habits and interactions. I knew the retreat was life-changing. But with my limited experience and expectations, I never could have guessed to what extent. Stay tuned as I share, over the next several posts, how to get unstuck by incorporating two practical tips into your daily routine… and change your life. If you accept the challenge.

Do you need to get unstuck?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How a life-changing adventure works

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Twenty-two days after I started a three-week factory reboot, I boarded a plane for a life-changing adventure—an opportunity to practice many of the concepts I’ve been studying and writing about: setting intentions, working smarter, finding your support system and establishing a vision. It began with a three-hour flight to SeaTac, my premier ferry ride and 100 miles behind the wheel of a rental car that transported me to Washington’s Port Townsend off the Puget Sound. For four days, along with a fellow tribe of writers, I immersed myself into all-things literary—from tips and tools to hone the craft, to one-on-ones with our host, to free-writing sessions—while making time to explore the idyllic town, savor tea at Pippa’s and sample my first authentic Thai cuisine. Although still processing where to go from here, I’m determined to hold onto the space I created there—a low-key, stress-free rhythm—because it’s only life changing if I allow it to be.

What kind of life-changing adventure do you crave?

Muscle mix up: how to avoid plateaus

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In “Flexing our muscles: use ‘em or lose ‘em,” I talk about unworked muscles and how they lose their strength, and may even atrophy over time. This means any type of muscle—our brains, physical bodies, creative outlets. Which brings me to the concept of “muscle memory” (according to Wiki): that with practice, the execution of a motor task becomes smoother and the muscle activity necessary to the task is performed without conscious effort. However, on that note, it’s also important to practice something called “muscle mix up.” This means to change a routine by stimulating different muscle groups in order to avoid a plateau and/or boredom of any activity in which we’re engaged. Whether it’s hitting the gym vs. the mat or reading vs. Sudoku, or painting vs. pottery or writing a Haiku vs. a screenplay, I believe that stretching our potential challenges us to achieve greater benefits. And we might just find a new passion while we’re at it.

How do you practice muscle mix up?

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A new way of thinking: what I learned on ‘sabbatical’

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After my last post, penned two months ago, the mojo I’d regained (see Change up the rules…) suddenly vanished without warning. I felt uninspired. Specifically: unmotivated to read or write. Worse yet: I feared I’d lost my love of the written word; hence, my sabbatical of sorts. But I never strayed far. I attended a writing workshop for six weeks to keep my finger on the pulse of creative plotting strategies. I also wrote an article for an online trade magazine. And, during it all, I picked the artistic minds of several writers and learned a new way to approach my writing: with permission to play. Not only does this concept eliminate the pressure to “get it right the first time” (be honest, does that ever happen, anyway?), but it also inspired a vision for one, three, five plus years down the road. Most importantly: I’m reading and writing again. As a wise yogi once said: Whatever we practice becomes greater.

What do you need to practice more?

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