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Creating Your Best Life

My husband and I are geeks and really enjoy spending our free time doing the same thing we do in our profession. Exploring truth, self discovery, asking introspective questions, and taking a real true look out ourselves, what we want, and what may be stopping us.

We have a theme word for each year. The first year we began this now tradition in our home, the word was clarity. We got clear on what we wanted to for ourselves, and by the end of that year, we left our jobs where we were coaching and running self help groups and started our own transformational coaching and training company. Last year, as our word was fun, we finally took those latin dance classes we had been talking about, bought our beach chair membership and made the beach a priority, acted like a tourist in our own neighborhood, and made it over to Naples where we watched our dream come to life. We hosted our Shift Happens Weekend retreat which we created with love, and had a very successful transformational weekend for a group of amazing clients. This year, our word is simplicity.

That leads to the question, how can we simplify our life, get rid of clutter, and experience ‘less as more’?
The first step is clarity, as I mentioned earlier. Getting really clear on what is working and what is not, what is necessary and what is not, creates and simplifies life. Yum.

The second step is stillness. Getting quiet and listening to our own inner GPS. We all have every tool and all the guidance we need to create our best life. It’s a matter of trusting our own inner wisdom and paying attention. Yes, more of that please.

And the third suggestion is to live your life with passion. Do what you love and make that a priority.

Putting these three tips into play is a gentle plan to begin the year with authenticity and truth. It’s not overwhelming, and it’s just enough to begin a new year, have a fresh out look and get closer to a peaceful, guided life.

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The Best Presence to Give for the Holidays

Kindness, love, compassion and reflection come to mind as a top priority for exploring the the true meaning of the holidays. What truly brings us joy has little to do with tangible gifts, and everything to do with love and connection.

In our home this year, the holidays are going to be spent just the two of us. My daughter is going to spend time with her cousin, aunt and uncle, and we are staying in our little hide-away on the water. At first , I was sad, as we usually travel north to spend time with my husband’s family, whom I adore. And this year, we are staying put. And we get to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the new year. Some thoughts that arise are ‘what went well this year, and what would we like to change in the coming year, and how can I be more present?’ It’s in the present that everything is OK, we are whole, perfect and enough. And our presence with one another, for me, gives the holidays meaning. It’s about experiencing connection and love and allowing for forgiveness, kindness, patience and compassion. The holidays are about being, without judgment or expectations. Let’s be surprised this year, and set our intention to be in the moment, accept what is, and find the joy in now.

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How to Stay SANE During the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time for many. Many of us feel pressure to be everything to everyone, show up with a smile on our face, do our best to avoid conflict, and keep it all together.
I know for my best friend, this is the first Christmas without her dad, and there is no advice or words of wisdom that makes that OK, or any easier.
It’s very easy to put ourselves last at the holidays, making sure it’s brilliant for our kids, spouses, parents and co-workers, and silently suffering inside. All the ads make the holidays look like fun, a time to relax and receive, while the essence of the holidays is gratitude and compassion. Compassion all around, for ourselves and others…many send out holiday cards full of smiles, while on the inside they are hiding their truth. Imagine if we were all honest for the holidays? We didn’t over spend, over visit, over party, over sob, we just showed up real and gave ourselves a big hug. Wouldn’t that be nice? And because we live in the real world, here are a few things we can do to avoid the obligatory stress and overwhelm.

Self Care! Stay to your healthiest routine as much as possible. If you exercise daily, make that a priority. Get enough rest, stick to your normal bedtime, eat healthy, maybe even do a ‘before holiday detox’ in preparation for the temptations to come. Damage Limitation!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate. You don’t have to wear a cape. (Although all my bf’s know…I love a fabulous cape!)
Don’t be afraid to say no. Be authentic. If your schedule is full, it’s full. If you’re exhausted, take a rain check. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give anyone. It’s when we try to do it all, we loose our sanity, our health suffers, mental and physical, and we can fall into resentment.

Have a happy and a healthy…plan ahead as best you can, and have compassion for yourself. Any decision is the right decision when it comes from your heart. Check in with your truth and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel, and how lovingly you show up. Truth is the prettiest dress on the rack!

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We tend to put off our joy, as though it’s a special treat that we only deserve once in a while. And what ends up happening is we get to the end of a chapter in our life, and remark “I wish I would have done that when I had the time.” We always have the time, the issue is we don’t make the time. We’re saving it for the right time, which never comes to pass.

Joy is the practice of being light-hearted. It is our natural state when we let go of the reasons why we don’t deserve happiness. When we lighten up and let go of our stories, we experience joy. When we are present, we experience joy. When we breathe mindfully, we experience joy.

How can we bring more joy into our life now? Make joy a priority. Write a bucket list of short term goals, ones that you can incorporate into your life now. Commit to incorporating one item on your list into your daily or weekly schedule. Ask yourself the question, if I were enjoying my life 10% more right now, what would be different? Robert Holden, my teacher, and creator of the Happiness Project, asks this question in his 8-week happiness course.

It’s the little things that create the big feelings. We spend so much time waiting for the right time to take the cooking class, read the book, play tennis, and build the treehouse, that our joy lives on the back burner. The right time never shows up, because our happiness is rarely a priority. Yet when we are happy, and we make joy a priority, we are better company, a better friend, wife, husband and daughter. Joy is our birthright, and making joy a staple is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, and to the world.

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