business + education

Designing rituals that celebrate life ::

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“Personal fulfillment begins with loving yourself, by aligning with rituals that reflect that”.

Do you take time for restoration in a manner that brings peace and raises spiritual symmetry?

It could include a warm bath, lighting a candle, writing, reading a good book, a long walk or quiet meditation. Moments that beckon for self-reflection, allow for soulful shedding, they are an accompaniment to un-stifled growth. Through self-designed rituals, I’ve experienced epiphanic moments that changed the course of a thought or idea that no longer served me.

Restoration rhythmically raises levels of consciousness making way for embryonic inklings + sparks; the doorway to the center stage of our lives.

What rituals do you prescribe to and what have you let go of? On Facebook or Twitter, answer today’s question by leaving your comments.

::  Yesterday, I was featured on Editor Jones™ in an interview on being an entrepreneur: read here. 

mindful kindness + artful filtering

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There’s an art to mastering thoughtful verbal and non-verbal language with the folks you love, in life + in the workplace. 

Words have the power to galvanize, they can also cause discord.

The spoken and written word, if misdirected can be verbal napalm. Interpersonal and social situations require skill and decorum. When at times, you lack the emotional eloquence required for cohesive interaction (OR) are feeling temporarily off kilter, go incommunicado. Take time out. Aim for a more even keeled, emotional space. 

* Having a bad day? Step away from email: Ego driven electronic sparring that amounts to having the last word not only is a waste of time, but of productivity. When communication is heading south, try a new approach; pick up the phone like a grown up, speak straight and with heart.

* Is it you, or them? Attempt to see situations from all sides, not just from a personal lens. Ask questions, clarify, listen…. go deeper. Scratch below the surface, you’ll uncover more than you assumed to be previously there. 

* There’s No I In Team. What’s your ultimate goal? Misguided intention and emotional bantering are not only energy zappers, but undermine solid communication. Take a breath, stop a beat and choose your words. Focus on the ultimate intention and a desired outcome that will be beneficial to all involved.

* When it comes to words: Filter, focus and condense. This follows the less is more rule. Say more by choosing fewer words. The saying, “the words get in the way”, is true and on point. When you’re getting positive feedback and understanding, stop. Your mission is most likely accomplished. A point well given is a point well taken. No need to beat a dead horse, (in a matter of speaking).

* Words hold power, body language can be just as impactful: What’s your body saying that your mouth isn’t? Keep the balance cohesive and in alignment. Like dancing, don’t go big unless absolutely necessary. Keep it low, keep it tight.

Master your skill set, play to your strengths. If the desire is favorable outcome, accord and unfettered communication, practice makes perfect. Even more importantly, just be kind. Kindness takes you further along in life than you can imagine.

:: simple gratitude ::

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 Yesterday morning I woke feeling grateful and appreciative. Grateful not because I was embarking on what I considered in the past to be a perfect day, but a day full of promise. 

The last five weeks life has been vastly different for me due to a serious injury. While I’m not the first person in history to break a limb and I acknowledge this is not a terminal disease; for those of you who know me through work and my active lifestyle understand that this has left me  feeling “shackled”. 

It’s a test of faith, will, surrender = the ultimate resolve. 

Each day that passes I get closer to walking; closer to normalcy, or the "new normal".  These strides, no matter how small, are progress: opportunity for lessons and change that can be for the better.

This my friends is a metaphor for life as we know it, an ultimate quest for peace + ease.

To the people in my life that have cooked, baked for me, brought flowers, vitamins, healthy fruit, have been my legs, walked my dog, made “hang in there” phone calls, sent texts and cards, made me laugh when I felt like crying:

I love you. Thanks for showing up and shouldering me.

For those of you who lend support by reading my blogs and are fans on social media, I promise to continue offering a source of inspiration.

I’m simply grateful + humbled. 

Be more of who you are :: Begin with healing.

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Who were you meant to be? 

The process of knowing your place in the world begins by sifting through untruths and letting go of who you are not.  It’s the first step to healing and the portal to emotional and spiritual expansion. 

Ask Yourself: What’s the one thing that you believe about yourself that may be holding you back? Perhaps they’re stories you were told, some passed down generationally. They may be physical, emotional or spiritual barriers.

That “thing” whatever it may be, is not your truth. It’s a story you’ve told yourself over and over again, it became a part of you. In order to move forward…the act of emotional untethering is necessary.

A Simple Clearing: In a brief statement, write down that belief and say silently, “I release all negative thoughts that do not serve me. They do not belong to me and never have”. Tear it up, burn it, relinquish attachment.  Be gentle with yourself, this process takes time.

In yoga, one of my favorite poses is at the end of practice. It’s called corpse pose. It allows for a time of surrender and for silence of the mind. Meditation is the gateway to self visualization, self actualization and is used as a powerful tool.

A Guided Meditation: Find a favorite space that you can access daily. This will be your sacred dwelling, a place where you’ll feel at peace for 5 to 15 minutes, daily. This space is where the mind will be quietly protected from the outside world.  It could be on a porch, your bedroom, or a corner of your living room; a place to lay or sit quietly, free from noise or distractions. 

Close Your Eyes: Take a deep breath slowly in, then slowly out, repeat this naturally. Let thoughts of the day float effortlessly away. You may fall asleep, or experience a state of lucidity. This is your time. You’ll emerge inspired, energized and nurtured. 

If someone were to ask what your vision is for yourself or others, what would it be? To be clear, this does not involve the thinking mind. Part of the practice of meditation is tapping into the higher mind; the mind void of preconceptions + limiting thoughts. 

A Self Visualization Tool: Visualize and focus on what you’ve seen in your mind’s eye through meditation + reflection. Perhaps you desire more peace, ease and fluidity in your day. Or maybe, the next great invention or business idea is brought to light. Even the simple wish of healing or prosperity for yourself or a friend can be given flight. The simple act of self visualization takes practice, focus and repetition.  It takes the quietness of the mind and release of diversion. Over time, it becomes effortless.

My hope is that this offering, will become part of your daily practice, will resonate with you and allow you a sense of purpose, clarity + renewal.

truth seeking, life balance + having it all ::

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Last week, the newswires were all abuzz with C.E.O. of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer’s pending pregnancy.  It dawned on me, if we were talking about an expectant father such as Bill Gates…well, we just wouldn’t be. Not in the same context. We wouldn’t be questioning his ability to balance career and familial obligation. We wouldn’t dissect whether parenthood would be a distraction from his very important corporate role in the world. He wouldn’t be chastised for placing his career potentially above family and questioned in regard to how well he’d juggle his responsibilities. One thing that I’m sure of - that in spite of all the staff, “help”, money, systems in place, etc., career + family is indeed a balancing act for anybody, yet also rewarding. Why must we choose between the things we love? 

For the longest time, I believed that having it all was possible, that life was a quest for balance. What I learned in reality was there is no such thing as a balanced life, particularly from a place of want. For those of us who desire more, life is full of concessions.

I was convinced that I did what I did for my family, out of fiscal need, financial sustenance + let’s face the straight up truth: as a member of the 99% club, let’s not forget the strength of a two income family. Like most, we do not own our home, (our mortgage company does), and at this very moment retirement is something we’ve planned for, but is a ways out.

disclosure + personal truth: The career path I followed was out of choice - for the accolades, the attention, the ego, feelings of grandeur and self worth. All the same logic a man would use to process his justification. While that may be acceptable (when well managed), it admittedly gave me a sense of completion in a way that family didn’t. I felt as though I was contributing to life’s bigger picture, really, my bigger picture. 

I had this notion that having the kick ass career, the partner / husband / wife, aka (family) would be the end all be all. The façade of the white picket fence, that when crossing its threshold, all problems of the day would magically melt away.

I do and still want to believe, that I was for the most part, present: that my family’s perception would not be to the contrary. What I’m quite sure about is that I'll never get that time back and that’s something I’m not particularly okay with. My son, I pray, is. 

First words, first steps, first bike ride, first mistake. All firsts.

disclaimer: I firmly believe that a woman or man, regardless of their role or responsibility, should aim for personal relevance and financial sustainability with the idea that: No matter what happens, there are options on the table at all times, with the ability to stand in your power. That’s a solid place to be.

While our “personal truths”, “beliefs”, “ideas" around family and career resonate with so many, or are even cause for contention: for those of you (men or women) who bust ass every day in or out of the home and want more for yourselves, while raising a family in some semblance…..

You go. 

Don’t ever stop.

Settling Into + Embracing What Is ::

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“It is what it is”. Not one of my favorite sayings. A blanket statement people use when they’re fresh out of pearls of wisdom. “It-is-what-it-is”, well no shiznit…genius.

How many times have you heard it or thrown it out, when there’s complete loss for words? It’s a great go to when we’re unable to wrap our mind’s around an experience that’s a complete suckfest, or seemingly insurmountable.  Annoying as all hell, but a true statement.

My “it is what it is” goes like this: July 4th – “Independence” Day: I decide to take a noon (haven’t worked out in a week and I deserve it) run.  Just blocks from my house, running shoe catches an edge of precarious Seattle sidewalk; “pop” goes the knee, down for the count. E.R. diagnosis: tibial fracture, torn meniscus, 10 percent chance of surgery, but advised to opt for the “holistic” healing process… possibly 4 months down time. 

Not the worst that can happen, but still a tough pill to swallow.

If you’re like me, you’re not a spectator who sits idly by on the sidelines; the preference is to participate in humanity. Having to rely on people, responding to your needs is a pride swallowing siege. 

I’m a decider + a doer, a caretaker. That’s who I am. I can do the wife, mother and best friend thing. I’ve never taken my freedom for granted and never have felt quite at ease in personal confinement.

Loss of work, unable to attend The World Domination Event in Portland, more importantly - officiate my friend’s wedding on the Oregon Coast, most likely postponing my 50th birthday celebration in Maui… haven’t quite grasped that and let's not forget -- loss of income.  Rather than crumble, my choice is to repurpose this indefinite hiatus, as a “universal nudge” that’s forced me to move into a new methodology + state of being.

Do adverse experiences bring you closer to enlightenment? {Boy, I sure hope so}.

From where I sit: Couch surfing lends new meaning to exploratory, masonic-mission of physical, emotional and spiritual proportions. 

What's the best way to navigate challenge?

Know it will be as hard as hell, but you will get through it. Live in the moment. Replenish spiritual stamina. Do one thing that you adore, daily. Embrace your fears, but manage them. Run your show, but from a place of gratitude. Get comfortable; ask for what you require. Be gentle with yourself and others.

Simply breathe, one moment to the next. Om. Shanti. Cradle what is. 

 

revelations :: the freedom of going to the well + trusting your instincts

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Do you find yourself longing for approval at every turn? Searching for answers and discovering in hindsight, that you had exactly what you needed? Defending what you do and why you do it?

These are just a few examples of what we encounter, when we’re not in a place of knowing and trusting ourselves.

I personally experienced this last night, on a flight at cruising altitude from Washington D.C.: doubt, panic and tears streaming like a flood zone, with "what the F$%?s" playing like a loop of bad studio music through my brain. Finally, I regained composure and pulled it together.

Thank god for revelations…

From my arsenal of personal perspective, the worst decisions that I’ve made, were based on someone else’s advice, that is, when I already knew at a visceral or gut level that I was on the right track.

Well meaning, people at times and with the best of intentions are chock full of advice. I’ve made it my personal policy, not to offer unsolicited advice on a situation or scenario, unless that is, you’re my child, my husband, you request it, or the situation is dire. Why? It may inadvertently create deviation from what you know to be true for yourself: the truth that will open portals of meaning + moments of insight for personal growth.

Soulful Offerings: 

* You are your life’s coach. Harness the skill and learn to tap deep into your personal well of knowing + trust. This is a practice that takes clarity and repetition until the results are such that you have proven to yourself (and nobody else), that only you know, what’s best for YOU. There will be a level of comfort and ease when you get to this place – an overall sense of well being + confidence. Believe in the realness of this moment, because it’s just that, for real.

* Find people in your tribe to draw wisdom from. Identify those sage individuals that really “see you”. They’re the people that may lend themselves, offer the insight and the gift of being ever-so-slightly removed enough to add value as they really wish you to succeed. 

Give it the name of your choosing: North Star, Sacred Ambition, or Calling. Glimmers of insight, lucidity, strokes of creative clarity, intuition + genius ~ at your beckoning. When they arrive, ride their wave to freedom.

 

:: contractual beliefs + the proverbial “Plan B”

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It’s said that “Plan B” is the just-in-case-things-don’t-work-out-for-me plan we design for ourselves, when “Plan A”, seems out of our reach or impossible. “Plan B” is aka: “our escape hatch”.

“B” my friends, is for backup. At those times when we’re hanging on by a thread; when life is a struggle or careers are temporarily flat lining, we go for “B”. Why? "B" is our safety net.

What are Soul Contracts? They’re beliefs and agreements we’ve made with ourselves both consciously and unconsciously. Times that we’re sorting and sifting, when events in life seem “iffy” at best.  Ask yourself: What contracts or agreements have I made that are allowing me to shift focus and energy away from “Plan A”?

              Believe me, I’ve asked myself that same question.                       

Shift focus + recalibrate. Aim for what you soulfully, 100% want:        

“Plan A” = Authenticity, Aspiration, Adoration.

Metaphorically kick “Plan B” to the curb.

Aim for “Plan A”. Work where the least amount of effort will have the greatest affect. This theory is golden. It’s time well spent when we’re doing what we love + right where we should be.

 

co-creating your dharma + desire ::

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Dharma or (Destiny): Our true place in the cosmic process. Desire: The true meaning - “of or guided by the (sire) stars”.

What is Desire? Have you ever experienced the rush of desire; that feeling of passion for someone or something you cannot wait to wake up to or that experience that brings you joy? The healthy exuberance of creative possibility, or the excitement of the artistic unknown: a life that’s self-actualized by your own design is attainable, if you’re in tune with your dharma, destiny or calling. Have you wondered why some people make what seems so out of reach, so undeniably effortless? The answer: Unwavering Belief + Desire. They’re not seeking outside approval, nor do they spend time scrutinizing the actions of others; so steadfast about what they desire, they're unrelenting at setting their own bar, bunkering down and staying their course.

Co-creating a life you take pride in, is to be willing and open to the potential for possibility or failure, but in the inherent knowing that your power lies deep within. It’s all there and always has been. To seek external approval is as to deem ourselves unworthy and undeserving. It is the furthest point from “the divine”, that we can be. It can automatically throw walls up for failure. The onus and responsibility to guide our own course, is on us and only us. To do right by ourselves not only betters us, but betters society as a whole and solidifies the concept of self-sustainability and interconnectedness.

To follow our heart’s desire, hold every encounter every experience with reverence, as it is our dharma or cosmic blueprint; that demonstration of faith and strength sometimes shows itself, in the unknown.  It too, can even be in the uncertainty that a shred of proof exists. We have the potential to become the co-creators and Rembrandts of our lives.

                         You can do this. I PROMISE.

     "We can either watch life from the sidelines OR ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE…. Either we let SELF-DOUBT and FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, OUR POTENTIAL IS LIMITLESS."           ~Christopher Reeve                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                

career complacency, mediocrity + passion

Body: 

What led me to here.

Picture this: The scene, circa mid 1990’s, Donna Karan suit, Joan + David loafers. Hair: executive blonde with a Jennifer Aniston, sort-of-blowout. I once negotiated my salary with a C.E.O. on a paper napkin… priceless.

6 a.m., toxic aftershave, coma-induced flight to JFK. Swank digs in Manhattan at the Soho Grand Hotel (or) flight to Philly, town car to Wilmington, luscious suite at the Hotel DuPont. Week long, brand strategy marketing meetings with global directors and their teams. I organized + conducted futuristic “think tanks”.  Not to mention the three hour, mind numbing “get it done”, conference calls that doubled as house cleaning sessions - thanks to the home office. Add a high octane diet coke chugging, micro-managing boss, who lived on no sleep – with a new born baby no less, you get the picture. Clawing and scraping for the rush of accolades + kudos… pure ego.

I got great at pushing paper, generating quantitative and qualitative reports that more than likely, no one ever read. I got good at justifying my corporate existence. Email after email, meeting after meeting. Five years later, I jumped ship, just two years before the S.S. Corporate Titanic sank. The positions that were created were dissolved. Non-sustaining business practices as usual: old school ideologies in this case, did not stand the test of time.

That said, we do, what we gotta do. I knew this job would not last forever or at least, I wouldn’t. I was certain that I'd learn alot about what I did or didn’t like within the confines in which I'd thrive. So I sucked it up, and milked that job like it was the career from heaven above; treating it like the Harvard Business School education that I never had. I was exposed to an evironment of working with top executives, professional athletes, inventors and thought leaders for Fortune 500 companies. The hours ranged from 60 to 80 hours a week, (I had a toddler), and I was paid handsomely for my absence.

The big upside: I learned a lot about myself in that; unless I could see the direct value correlate to the end result it meant nothing to me, utterly and thoroughly, soul-less. It taught me to think longer range, bigger picture, grow thicker skin and shoot straight from the hip.

To repurpose your blood + sweat, knowing at the end of the day, that lessons are learned, you’ll remain unscathed and all the approval you sought or thought you sorely needed, was always or never there; that in itself, got me to here. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

 

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