Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Post Spotlight: Back to Gratitude

Hey guys!  I hope that your week is going well so far!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in a yoga fundraiser at Dhyana Yoga for BeGirl.World, an organization centered around empowering young ladies to get out into the world and broaden their horizons through travel.

I feel so strongly about the importance of travel, because of how it has shaped and continues to shape my life, so I had to support an organization that wants to make this a reality for the group.  (You can support too by clicking here.)  Not only did I support a cause that resonates with me, I supported my body through yoga, which I haven't done in a while.

Our teacher started the session by asking us to close our eyes and settle on an intention for the class.  I decided that my intention was that through every movement, I would acknowledge my body.  Through every exhale, I'd profess my gratitude for all that it does.

That class kicked my butt, but in a good way.  So much so, that I am still a little sore.  I'm grateful for that.

Photo by Chris Lofqvist

Post of the Hour: "Back to Gratitude"

About: How gratitude can heal you.

Inspiration: After I tweaked my knee, I got an important lesson about gratitude.

Favorite quote:  
I am grateful.

I am grateful for my knees for being an integral part of moving me from place to place.
I am grateful to my knees for supporting all of me throughout my life.
I am grateful for this pain.
I am grateful that my knee is telling me something that I need to hear.
I am grateful that I am still able to walk without much pain.  Things could be a lot worse.
I am grateful for the sign that I need to take it easy, otherwise I would be at the gym possibly causing more damage.  
I am grateful for the sign that knees are fragile, need care, and strenghtening.
I am grateful.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lassoing Time

Photo by angelamaphone
Let's talk about time today folks!

Time is finite.  There are only 24 hours in the day and 365 days in a year.  Everyone knows this.

I don't want to spend most, if not all, of my waking hours on work.  Yes, work is necessary, but I'd rather work on things that I enjoy, things that I am good at, and things that are aligned with my purpose.  I don't know too many people who would disagree with me.

By becoming more efficient with my work time, I will have plenty of time to truly enjoy my life.  I'll have time to spend with the people who are important to me, express my creativity, travel to meaningful places, and connect with, give back to, and help others.  

So how can we get there??

According to The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, a solution is available and below are just a few of his tips for ending the need for strict time management and getting things done in a lot less time.  

1.  Start the day with a written to do list of a few tasks.
Three is a bit hard right now, so I'll start out with no more than 5 tasks and cut down from there.

I also noticed that when doing something that I really don't want to do, it is easier for me to procrastinate.  If this describes you too, maybe breaking it down would be helpful to stay on task.  That way, you can spend less time working on it and can keep the rebel in check.  You're less likely to FIND distractions if you're on to the next thing.  

2.  Limit multitasking
It's been said that multitasking is the devil for many reasons with the two biggest ones being that it takes longer to complete things and the quality of work is likely to suffer due to the lack of focus.  Tim suggests cutting out multitasking completely and work on a task from start to finish.

This makes sense.  I admit that when I just buckle down, focus, and get it done, I am so happy that it is off of my desk.  But for someone who is on the phone, typing, listening to a podcast and taking notes, and doing research all at the same time, going cold turkey may not be the right move.  There has to be a middle ground to make this work.  

I decided to that breaking a task down into smaller ones might be the place to start.  See the example below.

Scenario:  It's Monday and the Quarterly Report is due on Friday.  It will take 16 hours, or 2 days, to complete it.  Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to get it done on time.  :p

Tim's Suggestion
To do Monday: Quarterly Report (8 hours)

To do Tuesday: Quarterly Report (8 hours)

To do Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: Other tasks (24 hours total)

My Intermediate Solution
To Do Monday:  
1. Section 1 of the Quarterly Report (4 hours)
2. Other tasks (listed out)  (4 hours)

To do Tuesday: 
1. Section 2 of the Quarterly Report (4 hours)
2. Other tasks (listed out)  (4 hours)

To do Wednesday: 
1. Section 3 of the Quarterly Report (4 hours)
2. Other tasks (listed out)  (4 hours)

To do Thursday: 
1. Section 4 of the Quarterly Report (4 hours)
2. Other tasks (listed out)  (4 hours)

To do Friday: 
1. Other tasks (listed out)  (8 hours)

In both cases, the report still takes 16 hours, but those hours are broken up, so as to allow time to work on other tasks and give yourself a break from something mundane, should you need it, like I do. 

3.  Light the fire.
Tim mentioned a scenario that we have all encountered: the I-have-got-to-get-this-done-before-I-leave-for-vacation scenario.  Whenever there is a tight deadline, like COB (close of business) on the Friday before your vacation starts, no matter how much you need to get finished or what gets thrown your way, you're become some kind of workhorse warrior and manage to get it done.  We get laser focused on finishing the task, because there is no other option.  We tend to function better and do better work when the boats have been burned and there is no other option but to finish it or die.  Ok, maybe not dies, but you get the point.

Tim suggests shortening your schedule and creating tighter timelines, which helps you to become more focused on completing the task, producing greater quality work as a result, and finishing tasks faster, which leaves more time to do the things that you like.  

I know you're saying, "That sounds all well and good for some spoiled socialite, but I can't do that.  This doesn't even take into account the constant interruptions that come up for me!"  The book goes into great detail about how to systematize and ultimately eliminate them, but I just haven't gotten to that point yet.  :-)  For that reason, I highly recommend checking it out.  It has really revolutionized the way that people work and do business.  


How do you manage your time?  What are some of the things that you've incorporated that have worked out the best for you?  How have these tips / tools affected your work and/ or personal life?  

As always, your input is valuable and very helpful to the community.  Please feel free to comment and share as well.  Thanks and enjoy the rest of your week!

Here are some quotes that help me put it all in perspective:
He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” – Victor Hugo
You cannot run at full throttle when applying your mindset to all of the different things running through your head. Focusing is the key to manifesting your desires.” – Stephen Richards
Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.” – William Penn
Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.” – Frank Knight
Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Freedom Felt

Photo by Alice Popkorn
I started working on this piece a couple days before my birthday.  I posted a sneak peek to get some feedback on what I'd written so far.  It is my pleasure to FINALLY share the finished product.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as that moment felt to me.


XOXO


-------------

                                                              

I took myself to lunch today.  Alone.  

I travel by myself often, so I am used to eating and exploring alone.  This time is different.  I am home.  I don't have the visage of security and anonymity that you get when you're out of town.  When you're away from home, fear of how others view you and what they may think about what you do doesn't matter. You feel more comfortable being authentic.  You can be anyone you want to be when no one knows you. 

It can be harder to be alone at home.  The minute that you get back, the every day mask gets reattached to your face.  You become more sensitive, but you hide it behind the mask.  

You're not quite as anonymous as before.  There is this need to invite someone to come with just to avoid the solitude.  To escape the voice in your head that tells you that you are standing out for all the wrong reasons.  You are different.  Something is wrong.  Someone may see you and think that you are some lonely cat lady with no friends.  That inner voice can be relentless.

So here I am, two days before my 37th birthday at a cute little restaurant around the corner from my job.  Alone.  As I was being ushered to my table, I notice a table 3 women in the corner.  One of the women is staring at me in wonderment.  I  smile softly to ease the rising discomfort.  The waitress clears the second place setting and smiles.  I bask in the sunlight from the window nearby, then I take out my notebook and start writing.

Any time I've eaten at this restaurant, I've only ordered an entrĂ©e.  It's a rarity that I get an appetizer with my meal, but since I was taking my favorite girl out to lunch, I thought that the occasion deserved a little something extra.  If the restaurant wasn't a BYOB, I may have even ordered a glass of wine.

I sip my water and glance around to find the same woman staring at me.  I ignore her and continue writing.  I can hear them talking.  *whisper whisper* "..by herself."  *whisper whisper*  "She's writing." *whisper whisper*  
I found it amusing and a little sad that dining alone or being alone in general is frowned upon or not normal.  I wasn't expecting that from the ladies.

It turned out to be a very pleasant experience.  Instead of focusing so much on the reaction of others, I focused more on being in the moment.  I heard the music, thoroughly enjoyed every bite of my food, and wrote until my heart was content.  Surprisingly, I felt a sense of freedom.  For a moment, I felt as if I wasn't working a full-time job.  I didn't even notice anyone else around me.

I had control of my time and space.  I was able to spend my time doing what I wanted: to eat great food at a cute spot.  In that moment, I felt freedom.  There was quiet.  There was light.  There was peace and everything just ... was.  It was everything that I've ever dreamed.  

Have you ever had a moment where you felt freedom?  Was it your hope to experience it in that way or was it unexpected?  What have you done to feel that way again and more often?

We'd love to hear from you.  As always, your comments are very helpful to the community, so become a part of the discussion!


Photo credit lurve: Photo by Alice Popkorn

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Post Spotlight: Much Ado About Goals

Travel season is coming to an end... for now.  I'm currently in North Dakota wrapping up my work trip today.  My rebalancing act starts when I get back.  I can't wait to get back into the groove!

Leaves aren't quite changing, but fall is coming soon.  New summer wrap up post coming up next!  Have a great day everyone!


In the meantime, check out this week's post spotlight.  :-)

Photo by Kfuot001



Post of the Hour: "Much Ado About Goals"

About: The importance of setting goals the right way

Inspiration: It was the beginning of spring, the perfect time to set goals

Favorite quote:  Now some of you may be wondering what my beef is with resolutions.  Actually, I have no beef at all.  I'm glad that people thought about something that they hope will change in the new year, BUT a resolution is just a start.  People tend to make them and then stop there.  In essence, it's simply a wish.  You wish that you would lose weight or quit smoking or cut down on spending.   


After the wishes are made, people wing it and hope for the best.  "This is my last pack of ciggies and then I'm going cold turkey."  "I will only eat vegetables and drink water for the rest of my life.  Yeah... I'll be skinny in no time."  "I'm cutting up all of my credit cards.  That should keep me from spending."  Clearly, all of these are pretty extreme.  They are desperate plans: not well thought out or realistic.  


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Touch of Hope


So much is going on these days.  People are angry.  They are hurting.  Fear and sadness is being spewed all over the internet and it is catching on.  Everyone is fighting.  The negativity is closing in.  Then, I came upon this quote by entrepreneur and author Brendon Burchard:

Do not say there is no hope; for breath is hope, this moment is hope, that there is a sky and a single human alive with a soul burning with love is hope.

Do not say hope is lost; for hope is incapable of disappearing or diminishing. Hope is an eternal spring flowing through humanity, sourced by an infinitely deep and divine well. A refusal to step into its cooling waters does not diminish its reality or power any more than an oblivious husband lessens the beauty and strength and grace of his wife who is admired by all. 

Those words were like sun rays peaking through dark clouds.  Bask in those rays.  Close your eyes and lift your arms to the sky.  Open your heart cavity to hope.  Feel the warmth of the rays and breathe it all in.  
Reading that quote in the midst of all of that chaos was a breath of fresh air to me.  I felt reinvigorated.  I hope that it did the same for you too.

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Nikhil

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reminder

I needed this reminder more than anything as of late.  Maybe I am not the only one who could use it, so I will share it in hopes that it touches those who need it too.

You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.  ~Mary Manin Morrissey  (Click to tweet)
One morning, I was laying in bed when my cat Chessie climbed up and walked behind me.  She parked herself flush against my back.  The Universe took that moment to implore me to have more faith.  It was then that I felt supported.  

Our responsibility is to fulfill our purpose.  Allowing fear to stop us means that our faith isn't big enough.  Your faith needs to be big enough to move around fear.  Know that the Universe is truly in your corner and will provide you with whatever you need to make that happen.  

#messagefromthedivine

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Post Spotlight: Ode to Aging

Hello hello!  I hope that all is well!   I apologize for missing my last post.  It was as a result of poor planning on my part.  :-(

I'm out on assignment in St. Paul, Minnesota.  This marks my third week out of town and I am exhausted.  On and off of planes, red eyes, layovers, home for just enough time to wash clothes and repack, and I'm back out again.  Life of a working jetsetter, what can I say!

With all of this travel, I've been reminded  a lot about aging: from an issue with my knee and phantom aches and pains, I'm getting older and things are changing.  During this time, it is so easy to complain and live in the past wishing for what used to be, but that only makes you feel worse.

I wrote this post as a reminder that although things have changed and are continuing to do so, there is still so much that our bodies do for us.  There is still so much for which to be grateful!

I hope that you enjoy this post.  New post next time!

Photo by Jamelwoodward

Post of the Hour: Ode to Aging

About: Learning to appreciate your body during its transformation through the aging process

Inspiration: Noticing that the body changes as you get older and loving yourself anyway

Favorite quote:  So what we could probably stand to lose a little weight.  Yeah sure, we could be healthier, but this is not about neglecting our health or putting the blinders on to our body's signals to problems.  This is about loving our bodies unconditionally!  This is about forgiving ourselves for the choices that we've made in regards to our bodies and our health.  This is about letting go of the pressure that we put on ourselves to fit in this perfect little box when it isn't possible.  We are perfect now! 
  

Read the rest here!  


Photo credit lurve: Photo by Jameslwoodward

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sneak Peek: Freedom Felt

Photo by Alice Popkorn

I've been working on this piece, but haven't quite finished it yet.  I wanted to share part of it and see what you guys think so far.  
---------
I took myself to lunch today.  Alone. 

I often travel by myself, so I'm used to eating and exploring alone, but this time is different.  I am home.  I don't have the visage of security and anonymity that I do when I travel. 

When you're away from home, fear of how others view you or what they may think about you doesn't matter.  You feel more comfortable as your authentic self.  You feel like you can totally be who you are when no one knows you. 

However, the minute that you arrive home, you reattach your daily mask and matching body armor.  You're not quite as anonymous as before.  It can be harder to be alone at home.  

For many, it's a habit to find someone to do things with or not do them at all just to avoid the solitude.  To escape the voice in your head that tells you that you are standing out for all the wrong reasons.  Something is wrong.  Someone may see you.  People will think that you're some lonely cat lady with no friends. 

You know that internal voice can be relentless.

So here I am, two days before my 37th birthday eating alone and writing at a cute little restaurant around the corner from my job...

---------

Does this resonate with you at all?  Would love to hear your feedback!

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Alice Popkorn

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post Spotlight: Layers

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 37 years old.  

I can't tell you how good I feel about the way my life has progressed.  My cup runneth over with so much love and joy.  I leave for a trip to the  Bahamas tomorrow to celebrate the nuptials of my big sister.  I'm so excited and happy to be able to share in her special day.  

So much is happening right now.  I've been so busy on a new project, writing, working, and travelling, so today we'll do a Post Spotlight.  Who knew that something so mundane as mopping a floor could lead to a profound "a-ha".  

I'll be back here on the first Wednesday of July with a special new post.  I can't thank you all enough for your support, comments, emails, words of encouragement, and for sharing my work.  Wishing you all the love and peace that your hearts can handle.  XOXO


Post of the Hour: "Layers"

About: Giving special attention to truly heal, forgive, and let go

Inspiration: Mopping my floor

Favorite quote:  
I thought that I was fine.  I can say an ex's name with out breaking out a voodoo doll or wishing for his penis to fall off.  I can think about a past relationship and take responsibility for my own mistakes.  I can see them or talk to them and be civil.  I can think of exes and honestly wish the best for them.  I moved on and they did too, but there was this thin film that I didn't know was there.  It recently came up when I took it upon myself to focus on true forgiveness and healing in my life.

Read the full post by clicking here! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Didn't Understand... Until Now

Photo by Sven Manguard

I didn't understand you.  

I was pretty young when I tried to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  I didn't make it very far.  I lost interest after reading the part about wishing for blond hair and blue eyes.  I didn't understand what you were saying or why it was important.  So I stopped.

Sometime later, after reading the first 2 pages of Alice Walker's The Color Purple, I had decided that I was over trying to read what I considered old and depressing stories by us.  I didn't want to read stories of child molestation, self-hatred, rape, prostitution, abuse, hating men, and extreme poverty.  

I was sick of those things being the only stories that we told.  I refused to immerse myself in any stories where children and innocent people experience and / or exist in the darkest, basest recesses of society that begets unconscionable social behavior.  Especially when it involved people of color and women.  It just wasn't for me.  

In adulthood, I had met so many who read your work, related to it, and adopted it into their being, which surprised me.  I still didn't understand.  My feelings had not changed.

I slowly came back around to you.  I enjoyed some of your poetry, and took to heart so many of your quotes that I had found around the Web.   I gained an admiration for your way with words, but I still couldn't bring myself to read more.

After watching your interview on OWN, I felt so proud of you.  I learned more about your story and thoughts.  You emerged as someone who deserved the utmost respect for all that you've done for people of color and for women.  I was riveted by the story you told, but even still, I couldn't bring myself to read your books.

When I opened up my Facebook page on May 28th, I saw such an outpouring of love and statements on how much you and your work had meant to many of my peers, celebrities, and dignitaries.  It touched me in a way that I didn't expect.  What I saw was your legacy.

You are no longer here in body, but in spirit you are here always, woven into the very fabric of our history, of our struggles, of our humanity, and of our future.  It's amazing to see all of the people who you've touched and inspired through your honesty, through your experiences, and through your life.  I look at all the pictures of you with your head thrown back in a bout of laughter.  Victorious.  

That's when I got it.  I finally understood.  

Your darkest hours happened, but you didn't allow them to define you as less than or unworthy.  Those experiences made you strong.  

Despite pain and struggle, you've emerged as a priceless gem, shining as a beacon of hope for every single one of us.  Smiling brightly and in victory.

Thank you for your gift.  Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for your grace.  May God bless you, Ms. Angelou, as you have blessed all of us.  Rest in Power.