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9 strategies for surviving the holidays with an open heart





The holiday season can be a mixed bag – joy, laughter, generosity, drama, triggers, conflict.

For some it’s a season to look forward to; for others it’s a season to dread. No matter how you feel about the holiday season there are practices you can engage in to survive the holiday season with an open heart.

1. burn your to-do list

You know the list that has been running your life for the last month, year, decade? Burn it along with your Yule log. It has no business following you into the holidays, they are stressful enough.

If it’s really important you will remember it.
It will get done.

 

When the holiday spirit moves you into action, let yourself be moved. Until then, watch the fire burn.

2. schedule what matters

Over the holidays, schedule days to be completely off – nothing wiggles into your day{s} off except for what opens your heart.

It’s a day to spend time in nature, read the book you’ve been wanting to read, make green smoothies, call someone you want to call, sip herbal tea sweetened with raw honey, feel what you are feeling, write gratitude cards, do some belly breathing, share a meal with a person who opens your heart, go for a run, lay in Savasana.

If you don’t schedule what matters, the holiday stress may swallow you up and spit you out in the New Year.

3. sleep

Block off time in your schedule for extra sleep so your mind and body can recharge and recover.

When you block it off, schedule it in and make space for it, it’s much easier to stick to it. Putting it in your schedule makes it official and gives you permission to keep your commitment to yourself.

4. indulge

Indulge in things that nourish your soul – soaking in a bubble bath, creating a rockin’ playlist, throwing paint on a canvas, making snow angels.

When your soul is full, it’s easier to not fill up on things that make you feel gross {one more Nanaimo bar will compliment this bottle of Merlo perfectly!}

5. return to your roots, with love

When you spend time with family consciously choose to share happy stories, fond memories, and good times. No matter how small or fleeting those things were, they were there.

Often we’re so caught up in the drama we forget the peace.
Pay attention to the peace and it will grow.
 

Listen to positive songs from your past, reminisce over delightful photos, bring out the childhood book you loved and read it again.

6. gratitude

Make gratitude a daily practice – cards, text messages, phone calls, flowers, thoughtful gifts you can afford.

Think of all the awesome things in your life.
These things didn’t happen without the love and support of others.
Acknowledge and appreciate the good.
7. examine expectations

Expectations of how we should be, our family should be, the holidays should be are crazy-making.

When we expect to give the perfect gift, get the perfect gift, cook the perfect turkey, or have the perfect conversation we miss the messy, beautiful, imperfection of life.

It’s the imperfection that makes life real and interesting.
Honor it.
8. slooooooow down and tune in

You have a reliable internal guidance system. How is your body feeling when you say yes to making 6 dozen squares, hosting a 30-person dinner party and providing gifts for everyone? Are you light and energized? Are you heavy and exhausted?

Say yes to what you want to say yes to.
Say no to what you want to say no to.
Invite the people you want to invite.
Bake what you want to bake.
 
If you don’t want to buy presents, try giving the gift of your presence instead.
9. hire a pro

Holidays can be a rough time — emotions run high, triggers are flying, people are crying, drama is soaring.

You may be able to manage it and you may not.

If you can’t manage it on your own there are professionals who can help you. Reach out to your favorite psychologist or local distress center. You are not alone.

 

For better or for worse, the holidays only come once a year.
Follow your heart, do what matters, remember to love.

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Posted on Nov 20, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings

5 ways to boost your energy





There are soulful goals you want to achieve, places you want to explore, and passions you want to pursue. In order to live a life you love, you must do more of what you love.

But, wait! Who has the time? I get it, life can be crazy.

Living by your sacred yes and honouring no will help you create more time.

But really, I think the bigger issue is energy. Maybe you don’t need more time, maybe you just need more energy.

Here are five ways to boost your energy so you can step more fully into your great life.

1. Be mindful.

Practicing mindfulness will help you avoid getting lost in stories of the past and wound in anticipation of the future. Living in the past or the future for too long zaps energy and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Play with this practice to bring you into a state of mindfulness.

  1. Notice three things you see and say them out loud.
  2. Notice two things you hear and say them out loud.
  3. Notice one things you smell and say it out loud.
  4. Now, take deep three breaths and focus on the sensation of your breath moving through your lungs.
  5. Repeat the process until you settle into the present.

More mindfulness means more energy.

2. Spend time in nature.

Nature is energizing and healing. By soaking up the sun you’re welcoming a natural dose of Vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin into your cells.

Feeling depressed? Difficulty focusing? Struggling with weight? Low energy? You might be experiencing Nature Deficit Disorder.

The solution?
Go outside.
Get grounded.
3. Develop an intimate relationship with your body.

Every body is different. What works for my body, might not work for yours. Despite the plethora of gurus shouting about what to eat and how to exercise, only you can know what your body truly needs. Notice what makes you feel light, energized, inspired, and nourished.

Does your body feel rested and refreshed after six hours of sleep, or do you need eight?

Does your soul feel energized when you dive into the pool and fall into the hypnotic rythmn of your stroke or does it want to bump and grind in a pole fitness class?

How about breakfast? Notice what your body feels like after you enjoy a hearty breakfast compared to sipping green juice and watching the sunrise.

Does coffee make you anxious?

Does sugar make you crazy?

Noticing what nourishes your body will boost your energy and your health.

4. Consciously create rituals.

How we live each day is primarily a result of unconscious ways of being and subconscious rituals – the food we eat, the way we talk to our children, whether we pour ourselves a drink at the end of the day or go for a run, how we spend our money, the way we deal with emails, how we feel in relationship, what we think when we look at ourselves in the mirror. More than 40% of the actions we take are based on subconscious rituals.

What kinds of rituals will add energy to your life?

A series of sun salutations to greet the morning? Using half of your lunch break to go for a walk? Greeting your kids enthusiastically by exclaiming I’m so happy to see you! Drinking a glass of warm water with lemon every morning? Lighting a candle and slipping into a hot bath at the end of the day?

Rituals are used all over the world, by all kinds of people, in all kinds of ways. While there’s tremendous variety in the types of rituals performed, they all have one thing in common — people who perform rituals report feeling better about their lives.

5. Explore.

Try new things – routines, habits, schedules, driving routes, meditation practices, book genres, foods, entertainment, music, fitness classes, words, ways of relating, clothing styles.

Just because you’re trying something new doesn’t mean you need to commit to it. Exploring different options will help you deepen your self-awareness.

What do you like?
What do you dislike?
What brings you pleasure?
What would you rather avoid?
 

Make it playful – explore one new thing each week.

Curiosity, exploration, and self awareness can add energy to your life.

Your great life is waiting for you.
Boosting your energy will help you live it fully.
 

Only love,

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Posted on Nov 13, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings

13 messages to inspire your great life





The first time I saw Carrie Seid’s art I cried. By stretching soft silk over hard metal she captures what it feels like to be human.

Carrie’s sculptures are stunning in real life, but just in case you’re not able to make it to her studio in Tuscon, today is your lucky day {especially if you’re beginning to think about what to procure for your friends and family this holiday season}.

1_Genius printCarrie and I decided her art and my words would blend together beautifully {like peanut butter & chocolate; matcha & raw honey; gin & tonic}.

The result? A collection of thirteen artistic pieces designed to inspire you to live your great life.

 

Hop over to our online shop to explore Carrie’s art and my words – pillows, prints, and bags. Oh my!

love & art,

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Posted on Nov 3, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings

four good things about pain





Pain is inevitable.

In the past, I constructed my life to avoid pain at all costs. Through distraction, chronic busyness, and various types of numbing I managed to successfully navigate away from pain, but in the process I ended up avoiding life.

I would try to predict the future and if there was a possibility of getting hurt I’d squirm away. Never letting true vulnerability settle in, I defaulted to what was safe, predictable, and familiar.

On my twenty-fifth birthday I had an awakening moment and I understood the truth — in trying to avoid pain, I allowed fear rule my life.

Even though I know better now, there are still times I try to interfere with the unfolding of life, especially if pain is possible.

These four points remind me to live, and love, fully even if pain is inevitable.

creativity

Your best work will often come from your most painful moments. Dance, write, sing, paint, photograph, spin, weave, craft. When you create from the darkness your creative expression is rich and dynamic.

connection

When we express our pain we are more able to connect with others. In sharing our bumps, bruises, hurts and wounds we feel less alone. We all have a story and we have all been though pain; our experience of pain and what we decide to do with it is unique, interesting, and connective. Sharing our stories remind us of the truth, we are all in this together.

gratitude

Illness reminds us to appreciate health. Blackouts help us to appreciate electricity. Drinking dirty water helps us to appreciate having clean water to drink. Once we have navigated through pain, we are more able to appreciate how good it feels to live and love once the pain has passed.

self-awareness

Your pain can open you into knowing who you are and how you want to live. My clients share stories of how their pain shaped their self-awareness, forced them to connect to their intuition, deepened their trust in themselves, developed their character, gave them the courage to make a change, opened them up to a new way of living, and blossomed their sense of resilience.

Gemma Stone LoveWhen we try to avoid the pain of life we become susceptible to depression, anxiety, fear, living on autopilot, and addiction {drugs, food, sex, shopping}.

The more you allow yourself to fully live, knowing pain is part of the gig, the more free you are to live a life you love.

Get your heart broken.
Make the call.
Take the risk.
Try anyway.
Fall down.
Be judged.
Commit.
Start it.
End it.
Fail.
Quit.

 

What if the pain of your life ends up becoming the best part of the story?

xx,

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Photo credit :: the ever talented Catherine Just.

 

 

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Posted on Oct 30, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings

sometimes, we don’t get what we want





This is the final post about my crowd-funding experiment to raise money for the publication of my book The Art and Science of Designing A Life You Love.

In 30 days we raised $11,133 – from the bottom, middle and top of my heart. Thank you.

Asking for help is hard for me.

I was recently given a writing prompt, I feel vulnerable when…

I wrote … I ask for help.

Crowd-funding is all about asking for help. Sharing this campaign with you felt risky and vulnerable. I needed to settle into my fears — fear of failure, fear of being too vulnerable, fear of asking for help.

In the last ten years, I’ve been able to muscle through most of my goals independently and privately. Some dreams have come true and others have fallen flat because I was too afraid to ask for help.

Even though we didn’t reach $20,000 I feel really good.

I connected more deeply with my readers. I interviewed interesting people and made my sister cry {in a good way}. I moved through difficult writing moments and finished my manuscript by my deadline.

The campaign ends tomorrow.

If you’d like to pre-order the book, you can do so here.

If you’d like a copy of the book and 12 snail mail love letters from me, go here.

If you’d like the book and a one-hour life design consult with me, here you go.

If you’d like to come to the great life redesign retreat in April, this is for you.

I also wrote a pithy post about all the ways we can have a life design party, check this out.

Here are the life design interviews I shared during this campaign ::

Melsha Shea
Briana Waldeck
Kyra Bussanich
Tanya Geisler
Jen Louden
 

Life has given us each have a precious responsibility. To live as fully, freely, and deeply as we can. To move from survive to thrive, from fear to love, from false to true. To follow our hearts and listen to the whispers of our souls.

You are worthy of living a life you love. I hope this book helps you do just that.

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Posted on Oct 26, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings
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