February 21 ♥ Changing Gears without Changing Direction

So where have I been for the past 6 months? I’ve been changing gears. Some months ago, writing a weekly blog became just another to-do item; my heart really wasn’t in it. I had other creative avenues to explore. At first I thought I wasn’t “allowed”, that I had to honor an implicit agreement with my readers. “Should” was ever present. Once I decided to give myself a respite, I felt freer and lighter. I proactively had given myself permission to explore other creative pursuits. I didn’t put any expiration date on this exploration; rather I told myself I would know when it was time to reconsider writing the blog. Of course, there was a lesson here for me. It’s OK to shift gears. I’m one of those push-push-push types of people who just keep in motion and piling things on because I can. And I seldom stop to reconsider if I want to continue what I’m doing. Or change how I’m doing it. What I discovered was that I needed to take a break. That I needed to explore other creative outlets. That I wanted to refuel my creativity well from different angles. And the interesting thing is that while I consciously took time from writing Wednesday’s Wisdom, the blogs were also rambling around in my head, calling out to me in another form. So, while I was improving my painting and photography skills, and building two women’s networks, I was also writing a book in my head, though … Continue reading

Jan 25 ♥ 4 Ways to Kiss “Should” Goodbye

Should. Appears to be an innocent enough word. How many times a day do you use this word? On the surface it means recommendation, advisability, obligation, expectation. But it also has an implicit definition: the “should” comes from someone else’s point of view, not yours. How many times have you done something based on what other people expect? As in, “You should clean the house.” “You should dress in brighter colors.” “You should bake cookies, not buy them.” “You should lose weight.” Or the reverse. “You shouldn’t try for that more advanced job.” “You shouldn’t expect to be happy in your life.” “You shouldn’t take risks because of <fill in the blank>.” Should. It’s a powerful, judgmental voice. It implies that you don’t have your own answers. How have you been talking to yourself lately? How about making a shift? Making choices based on your values and needs, not those of others. When you feeling a should coming on, see if one of the following phrases resonates with you. Then use that section to help you discover the real motivation behind the should. Make a pledge to let go. With practice you can replace the other voices and contrary agendas around you with your own values-based choices. I feel a should or should not coming on… Whose voice is really telling me I this? Often we have unexamined values that we swallowed whole from our parents, schools, or other authority figures. Where is your should/should not really coming from? Is it … Continue reading

Jan. 18 ♥ 5 Lessons Learned from Living without the Internet

I had every intention of posting a blog last week, but I involuntarily had to quit the Internet. This is the story of the lessons that I learned. There had been a severe ice storm over the weekend and the tower that delivers my Internet connectivity was damaged. That tower lives on the top of an 11,000’ mountain, so the environmental conditions meant that it took 5 days until crews could safely ascend and make the necessary repairs. And during those long five days I had no Internet, social media, Netflix, electronic news, email…well, you get the picture. I had tried using my phone as a hotpot and depleted my data plan. I felt completely cut off. The first day wasn’t so bad, just a minor inconvenience. By day three I was actually feeling withdrawal. So much so that I drove the 25 minutes into town and camped out in a coffee shop multiple days. I was miserable. However, there were lessons to be learned once I began paying attention. A slower start to my day. I could wake up in a more relaxed manner since I couldn’t reach for my iPhone or iPad to catch up on what had happened in the last eight hours. I didn’t rush to check my email. Social media didn’t consume me. I actually started my day on my own terms rather than adopting the vibes out in the ether. More focused attention throughout the day I could maintain focus on what I was … Continue reading

Dec. 21 ♥ Advice for the Holidays: Live without Expectations or Resentments

‘Tis the season to have expectations: Everyone will get along. The food will be perfect. Every gift will be just what they wanted. Happiness will abound. Every family member will be on their best behavior. Ah, Norman Rockwell may be alive and well in our memories but that’s not the reality of our lives around the holidays. How often have you planned how an experience was going to unfold only to have your expectations rudely thwarted? And how often did you then let your frustrations come spewing forth onto those around you? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so certain that we know how the future will unfold? Why do we continue to believe we have so much power over life and other people? Want a recommendation for a more peaceful holiday, whichever one you celebrate: let’s all act as if we have no idea what will happen. Let’s recognize that we can only control ourselves; everyone else is on their own autopilot. Let’s relish being in the moment, however that moment turns out. I promise you, you can eliminate frustration, anger, disappointment, and sadness if you just let go of any preconceived ideas about how things should happen.   Now It’s Your turn What can you let go of this holiday season? What difference will that make to you? To your friends and family? … Continue reading

Nov. 23 ♥ Finding Gratitude when Bad Things Happen

Most people find it fairly easy to find gratitude for their blessings But how many of us can find gratitude for the bad things that happen to us? Or for the things we don’t want in our lives? Too often we respond as the victim when something bad happens to us. Or we concentrate on all of the things we’d like to be eliminated from our lives. Fair enough. We get to be human. We’re allowed to fell anger, jealousy, maybe even resentment. Sometimes our world gets turned upside down and we become totally numb. But the problem comes when we choose to stay in that mode, as angry, resentful, victim. My first husband died unexpectedly at a rather young age. I was lost initially in the throes of anger, disbelief, and traumatized shock. And I could have chosen to stay there. Everyone around me would have understood. I admit I was locked into this state for many months, and then barely able to function for many, many months after that. If someone had asked me to be grateful for the experience, I would have raged and sworn like a stevedore. Being grateful felt like insanity — for an extremely long time. And yet, over time as I processed my grief and came to terms with what had happened, I also began to open up to other opportunities: helping other women plan for surviving their spouses, which turned into empowering women in all aspects of their lives, which turned into … Continue reading