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For the last few months I’ve been working a lot (read more). Often this has involved working straight through the weekend in order to meet key deadlines related to my book launch.
If you know me, you'll vouch that this isn’t my norm. I crave and savor my weekends and don’t like giving up my sacred Friday to Sunday evening sabbatical one bit!
So last Friday afternoon, after an especially intense week, I paused, tuned in and asked myself what I most needed. The answer: a juicy date night out with my sweetheart and a weekend totally --in every way--unplugged.
It was dee-vine. I spent a lot of time outdoors ... barefoot. Enjoyed spontaneous family activities. Made lentil soup (because I wanted to!). Had a hot date with my hubby. And didn't get on my computer or any digital devices once. Monday morning I was singing like a bird. I had given myself what I most needed. My cup was full.
Sadly, most families share they're plugged in all weekend (I recently heard a statistic that Facebook experiences the highest volume of traffic on Sunday morning). Many share that on Monday morning they're exhausted from their hectic weekend pace and slaving to never-ending to-do lists. To varying degrees, we can all relate.
What are weekends for? When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted over a weekend break? Stop and reflect for a minute, what do you most need this upcoming weekend?
We all desperately need time totally devoted to resting our bodies and our brains (solid science backs this up). We need space to unravel, unwind and come down from the stress of living in a 24/7 plugged-in world. We need downtime to integrate all that we're experiencing during the week---emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. To remember that life is a mystery to be lived, not a thing to be managed. Weekends should be primarily for rejuvenation and rest-—not for getting stuff done. We’re more than our to-do lists. And for someone who is continually challenged around being and doing (read more), I'm clearer now, more than ever, that I need Friday evening through Sunday night to just BE.
Interested in some support for releasing old habits and stepping into a new way of being? My newest life balance title Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life is available for pre-order now at a 30% discount. Live in Texas? Save March 20 from 6-9 p.m. for an unforgettable evening of self-renewal for parents as we celebrate the launch of my new baby (details here!).
Wondering how you can work with me and my team?
Photo: One of my favorite spots is relaxing in my hammock chair on my back patio with a tall glass of hibiscus mint tea. I love to hear our water fountain, birds singing and the occasional laughter of kids on bikes riding by our house.
January is not my favorite month. I don't like the cold, I love and need lots of sunshine and my birthday--January 7--often brings with it an array of emotions, which often include sadness around not having my mom and dad around to tell me about the day I was born.
But with all of that, the month also brings the opportunity for reflection and contemplation about the previous year (including things that "went wrong") and the lessons in truth I received from the last 365 days.
My 46th year was all about expansion and growth (mostly professional), a theme I see continuing into my 47th year. This morning as I sat quietly on my yoga mat, I took some time to pause and acknowledge the many gifts I received last year, including:
I wish my mom and dad were around to read my new book, but I take great comfort in knowing that their wisdom and personal journeys infuse many of its pages.
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Photo: The lotus garden outside of the meditation room at Omega Institute. I attended family week there with my son in August (amazing) and hope to be teaching there next year. Another wonderful gift from 2012!
Every year in January since I was about 30, I have created a vision board--basically a visual snapshot of what you want to experience in your life (athletes and top entertainers do this all the time to help them focus on and meet their goals). Martha Beck--life coach extraordinaire shares here on why vision boards can be so powerful and how to create your own.
Last year I didn't do a vision board. I just forgot. But this year, thanks to my good friend women's empowerment diva Deb Kern for creating the space for this to happen, I did.
Everyone approaches vision boards differently, but I like to choose one word that captures how I want to feel or what I want to experience in the coming year.
This year my word is MAGIC, which I'm defining as having other-worldly, "pinch me," fantastic, supernatural occurrences unfold on a regular basis.
Why? Professionally, I've got a superhuman job in front of me over the course of the next 5 months (a new book launch and two other large scale projects--any one of which is enough to send someone over the cliff's edge) and I know that in order to move into and through this period of incredible growth and expansion AND keep both my sanity and sense of joy--I'm going to have to have the unimaginable become common place.
One of the ways I am already experiencing MAGIC unfolding is through the amazing support that's flooding in from top-notch professionals, experts and colleagues (that was fast, I just finished my board on Wednesday!) Look forward to much more where that came from.
Got a word or mantra you want to invite into your New Year? Share it on our Live Inside Out Facebook community. It's fun to read what others are focusing on and to imagine us all collectively creating the most delicious stew imaginable as we pour our intentions into my big orange Le Creuset pot. I'll make the cornbread and salad, join me later this month for supper?
Wondering what we do and how you can work with me and my team?
Photo: my 2013 MAGIC vision board.
As a life balance teacher, I'm always questioning how I can help myself and others come into greater equilibrium--not just around work and life, but around feeling and thinking, being and doing, and giving and receiving.
Yesterday morning I found myself standing in my front doorway staring out at a beautiful oak tree. Bathed in sunlight, I held a cup of lemon ginger tea in one hand and my to-do list in the other.
I was waiting for a friend that I was helping out of a financial jam, and beginning to wonder how crucial this hot list of tasks I was holding--that had seemed so important earlier in the day--really were.
The moment felt big and pregnant (ever have those?) and I had the strong sensation that I was being asked to stop everything … and become present to what life was trying to tell me.
Over the last few days, I’ve been surrounded by close friends and dear acquaintances who are struggling with big stuff. Life or death stuff. Fork in the road stuff. Questions that don’t have easy or quick answers stuff.
One of my son’s teachers lost her 19 year-old son in a fatal car accident right before Thanksgiving (this touched me deeply as my brother was the same age when he died). A close colleague is struggling financially to pay even her basic bills. Another friend has been battling depression and is in limbo around her life purpose and direction. One of my childhood friends is navigating the holidays with her kids after the loss of her husband 5 months ago. Another dear friend, a mother to two young kids, is working herself to the bone and having a hard time seeing a way out of a never ending cycle of overwork.
Standing here, frozen in this moment, I'm racked with the questions, "What can I do? How can I best help?" And as I write personal notes to them, leave messages and emails, offer prayers and resources--I'm reminded that this work, however small and insignificant it may feel--is more important than any task, deadline or to-do. Being here for each other is the most important thing there is.
So my prayer as I move through December--a time when we're all a bit more tender--is “Guide me how to best serve and help my brothers and sisters who are in my life right now." Because we don't have to go to Africa or a low-income area or a disadvantaged school to find people in need.
Help is needed right here, right now and often those whose paths we cross daily are hurting and in dire need of a kind word or deed. But unless we drop the "Gotta get it done" mentality long enough to be fully present and *really* see those around us, we'll miss the call for help altogether. Like I almost did this past week.
Have you heard about the I CHOOSE LOVE public service campaign? It's a reminder that when we come from love--one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet--we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we're really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more and order a tshirt (at cost).
I love to hear from, connect with and meet Live Inside Out readers at our events. I invite you to:
Note: this post was modified from a post that ran in December 2011. It felt especially timely right now.
Yesterday, sitting arm to arm with my husband in the sanctuary of our church, I found myself wiping away tears every few minutes. My heart was swollen--it physically ached. At the end of the service while singing Angels We Have Heard on High, I could barely look at the group of young boys and girls gathered at the front of the room without sobbing.
I realized that this was the first time I had allowed myself to truly feel the depth of emotion Friday's shooting in Newtown, CT had stirred within me.
"Can you imagine how much pain this poor boy must have been in to feel his only course was to act out in this way?" our spiritual director Tim said during our service on Sunday. "The world is not a bad place, but it is sick. And it needs healing."
While violence like this seems so ugly and unimaginable it leaves most of us paralyzed, feeling helpless and hopeless about how we can help-- what I know in every cell of my being is that when one of us chooses love over fear we infect our entire collective "body." When one of us prays or holds the vision for larger healing--we are all affected (read more from medical pioneer Dr. Larry Dossey's research on the power of prayer).
So what can we do in these coming days and weeks--besides praying and lighting candles--to soothe our country's torn heart and to nurture our collective soul? We can remember that we're more interconnected than we could ever imagine and that when one of us puts loving kindness and compassion at the forefront of our lives, we all benefit.
December Challenge: Want to "do something" to infect the world with more love and compassion and send healing to your brothers and sisters in CT? Get off your butt and see who in your community needs your help. Call your local United Way or ask your friends/co-workers who needs help in your community. Or, just pause and look around you. Take the time and effort to reach out to a friend, colleague or neighbor who is struggling and could use some emotional support (read more). I have been so busy preparing to launch my new book, I had cancelled our annual volunteer trip to serve the homeless Christmas dinner through the wonderful Mobile Loaves & Fishes. But this morning, I changed our RSVP from "too busy, I'm sending a check," to "we'll be there with pies in hand and are available all evening."
I love to hear from, connect with and meet The Journey readers at our events. I invite you to:
Photo: Serving the homeless and healing the world bit by bit.
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