What are you reading? Top 5 from 2020

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Assuming you agree 2020 proved to be a year like no other—at least in our lifetime—you might find yourself in one of two camps: during the past 12 months, you read more than ever (whether to escape reality or to preserve your mental health or all of the above); or, you remained unable to read anything other than your pervading news feeds (understandable). Regardless of which camp you reside, if one of your New Year’s goals includes reading [more], check out my Top 5 from 2020:

  1. Greg Olsen’s “Lying Next to Me“—for fans of suspense
  2. Gay Hendricks’ “The Big Leap”—addresses limiting beliefs & finding your “zone of genius”
  3. Scott Allan’s “Do it Scared”—shares techniques to charge forward with confidence
  4. Alice Feeney’s “Sometimes I Lie”—takes readers on a psychological thrill ride (eked into 2021)
  5. Tina Radcliffe’s “Finding the Road Home“—for lovers of stories with heart, humor & faith

What book did you read last year and recommend?

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Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

Just keep swimming

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After nearly a month of illness at the beginning of the year, I’ve made several lifestyle changes. More sleep; less commitments. More yoga; less worry. More leafy greens; less processed foods. Reading more and writing a new book (which hasn’t made it from my imagination to paper… yet). Getting more organized and less cluttered; spending more time serving others. Doing the good stuff while eliminating the bad stuff, all in the name of balance. I start each day with positive intention; I end each day with gratitude and an asana. But now I’m sick again. Up until January, I had not been sick for over three years. Yet even though I’m doing everything I should be, there are still no guarantees. Once again, the single thing we can control is our response to any given situation. And at the end of the day, we only have three choices. We can tread water (get nowhere), sink (give up) or just keep swimming.

What’s your choice when the water rises?

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you don’t know what you want, how do you choose?

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For the past couple of months, I’ve been waffling on making a decision about my writing career—or pursuit thereof. In an attempt to help, a friend asked me to list the top five things, in random order, that make me the happiest. That’s easy: 1) spending time with my love, 2) reading, 3) writing, 4) yoga and 5) laughing with friends and family. Then he instructed me to pare the list to four: okay, still pretty easy. Then to three: no sweat. Then two: uh oh, now it’s getting tricky. And then one. Do I dare admit that writing didn’t make the final cut? Or that it almost (but not quite) tied with my second-to-last choice? Does that mean my vocation is not my true passion? No, I think it means I’m better at prioritizing than I give myself credit for. And that when push comes to shove, I’d rather spend time reading with my love. P.S. The decision was a no-brainer.

What’s your go-to decision-making tactic?

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A soul-weary, dried-up muse

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[Image credit: digitalart]

My muse is dried up and I feel soul weary. I want to write, I need to write … I have to write. But I don’t know what to write. So what is the remedy? Do I force myself to stare at a blank computer screen/piece of paper until inspiration strikes? Do I chalk off my dreams as silly whims? Do I give myself a break and identify that what I’m going through is a season and all seasons eventually change? Each of us processes setbacks differently. Reading, for me, is a perfect escape from reality. I think I’m going to read until I can’t read anymore—or until my muse is unstopped and I can fill up that one void only writing can satisfy. And just like anything else I’m going through—whether an emotional, mental or physical challenge—I need to remember to be gentle with myself. It could be that my soul is simply preparing for a much-needed breakthrough.

How do you recover from setbacks?