Friday, October 29, 2010

My SARK Adventure

The Sanctuary at Omega

Last weekend I drove to The Omega Institute to attend a writing workshop with the one and only SARK!

It was kind of a long drive (6 hours) to make on my own, but I knew it would be worth it. I stopped at the public library and picked out 6 books on tape to keep me company. I have never listened to a book on tape before and was surprised when I put the first one in and saw it was 13.5 hours long! I didn't finish it during the drive and for the first time in more than a year I miss having a commute - I'm dying to hear how the story ends! (It's The Condition by Jennifer Haigh.)

So the book kept me occupied and the drive was pleasant. The trees were still bursting with brilliant colors. (I was afraid they might be past their peak.) I arrived at Omega around 5pm, checked in, and headed to my cabin. I shared a room with a sweet woman named Neena who showed me pictures of the 6 (!) dogs she and her husband foster. I enjoyed a delicious dinner and then it was time to meet SARK! (Actually, I spotted her in the dining hall during dinner but was nervous to approach her.)

my cabin

SARK had meditated on our names and made us each a name tag with an adjective that came to her as she thought of us. Mine was "Willing Mindy," which I had a tough time interpreting... There were less than 20 people in the group (I was certain there would be hundreds!), mostly women, but two brave men were there as well.

SARK is just as amazingly fabulous as I imagined she would be! All weekend long she told us enchanting stories. She gracefully held the space for our group and supported us on our own transformational journeys.

We were each assigned a mentor for the weekend. Mine was a beautiful soul named Creative Susan and we were definitely a perfect match! We have a lot in common in terms of our backgrounds and our current writing projects.

We actually didn't write very much, which may be surprising because it was a writing workshop (based on SARK's book Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper). We did talk a lot about strategies for writing and how to move forward on our projects.

My top take-aways from the weekend are:

  • Work on our Creative Dreams is meant to be delight*full (delight is where the best work happens)
  • When teaching a techniques use stories to inspire people
  • Action before inspiration (just do it)
  • Develop habits of completion
  • We all have something fabulous to offer the world (you never know what impact your story might have)

The last thing we did as a group was something called Stand and Receive. Each person took turns standing in front of the group and the group called out things they admired and appreciated about the person. I found this to be pretty powerful. I think we should start doing it at birthday parties with the people we love! Just imagine being surrounded by people all calling out fabulous things about you! We definitely need more of that!

I got lost on my way home. But after an entire weekend of SARK talking about transforming our stories, I couldn't bring myself to be annoyed. Instead I focused on the beautiful mountain views, the great book on tape, and the sweet girl at the gas station who gave me perfect directions to get back on track. My intentions for the weekend centered around resting and rejuvenating myself and I definitely returned home feeling like I had pressed the reset button.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Few Marvelous Things This Monday

I have been totally defunct on my blog posting this month. Mostly because I have been allowing myself to get caught up in the whole idea of not having "enough" time to put together something "good enough" to post. Does that ever happen to you? You want to do something "perfectly" and therefore end up not doing it all? I think people can live their whole lives like this, never writing at all because they are afraid of writing poorly or never painting or sewing or whatever other creative dreams we might not act on because we are afraid of doing it poorly.

Well I am blasting through that fear this morning. I only have a few minutes but I am determined to write something!

I returned home last night from my retreat with the fabulous SARK. I have so much to say about the experience, but for right now I am still soaking up all of the deliciousness of the amazing workshops, beautiful people, and gorgeous scenery. I'll be pondering my top take-aways later this week and posting them here.

For this morning I'd like to share a few things I think are just marvelous!

  1. For getting your gratitude on: Goddess Leonie created this fantastic FREE pocket gratitude diary and I picked up this brand new book over the weekend
  2. For chilling out: I am currently obsessed with Brett Dennen's music (I listen on
  3. Another reason to meditate and a plethora of eco-friendly cushion options (maybe I just need the right cushion and I'll suddenly morph into a devoted meditator!)
Have a Magnificent Monday :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How little productivity can you stand?

Hello Dear Readers!

I hope you are doing well!

Here in Niagara Falls it feels like it has been raining for days and it is COLD! Vrrr... It is one of those days when I just want to stay wrapped up under the covers in bed and read or watch movies all day. Unfortunately, life calls and a movie marathon is not in the cards for me today. However, I am practicing doing as little as possible. Sounds so funny, huh?!?

I'm typically huge on productivity, probably to a fault. But because of some things going on in my life right now I have been forced to slow way down. I've been doing things that would have been unheard of a few short years ago such as doing the bare minimum needed to get through the day and waiting until the last minute to complete projects (gasp). And you know what? Life is going on just fine. No one has fallen apart yet because I opted for a nap over cleaning the toilets. Life feels so simple right now. I know this won't last but in the meantime I am appreciating that it is not the worst thing in the world to be forced to slow down.

Looking to slow down a bit? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Take a nap
  2. Practice Yin Yoga
  3. Focus solely on sipping your tea or coffee
  4. Take a Bed Day (spend the day in bed, you can work while there if you'd like)
  5. Single task
  6. Meditate
  7. Say no
  8. Leave the dishes in the sink
  9. Focus on what is truly essential (hint: it is not all truly essential)
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Dreams

I cannot believe it is October already! September feels like it flew by! Let's review...

September Dreams/Goals:

  • Seamless start to the new school year for my family: Yes! It has been a seamless transition and we have had a great school year so far!
  • Publish Yoga for Living Wellness CD: This is in progress, but I did take the step of creating an account with the company I want to work with for publication. I'm still finalizing the details.
  • Create all new marketing materials for Tree of Life Yoga Studio: In progress. I did settle on a slogan, "breathe your way into balance" and spent time on new brochures.
  • Host first-ever Vision Board PLAYshop at the studio on September 16th: Postponed
  • Launch my first online course, Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle: Yes! I am so excited about this course! You can still join if you'd like by visiting the website.
  • Renovations finished at the wellness center + 3 new offices rented to like-minded professionals that will add to our center's community: I wish I could say this was done! And I wish I had more control over this project, but I am at the mercy of my contractors... Hopefully they will be done soon!!!
  • Gather another fabulous group of women for the Living Wellness Lifestyle for Women starting September 23rd: Postponed - starts this Thursday!
  • Buy new houseplants for home + re-pot office plants: Yes, to new houseplants. No, to re-potting.
  • Plant some mums at home + office: Yes, but my mums died already... I have such a black thumb for someone who loves plants and flowers.
  • Play board games around the warm fire on a cool night: Yes, we did enjoy board games and a fire. Perfect Fall activities :-)
  • Work with LonoWood Art Company to create the perfect sign for Living Wellness of Niagara: In progress!
  • Add some variety to my physical activity routine - maybe swimming laps or a free weight routine in addition to my typical running + yoga: I did look up a free weight routine, but I haven't given it a go yet. I've been sticking to running or walking and yoga. Maybe it is not so bad to just stick with what works for me.
  • Ponder taking a solo Fall retreat... Yes! I am registered for a writing retreat with SARK at the Omega Institute! SO excited!!!
  • Shop for new picture frames and update family photos around the house: In progress. I picked up some new picture frames, but I haven't decided on which photos to print yet.
  • Purge more clutter when I transition from summer clothing to fall wardrobe: Done!
  • Spend time every week working on my book - schedule it in pen in my planner! Done! This week it is my turn to share at Women Who Write - I am a bit nervous!

October Dreams/Goals:

  • My first radio interview - tomorrow at 3:30pm! You can listen here
  • Go apple picking with family
  • Finalize Yoga for Living Wellness CD
  • Finalize new marketing materials for studio
  • Print family pictures to fill new frames
  • Host first-ever yoga birthday party at the studio
  • Bask in every glorious second of writing retreat with SARK
  • Celebrate Tree of Life Yoga Studio's two-year anniversary with a festive party!
  • Get tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra while they are in town (been talking about doing this for years)
  • Cultivate regular meditation practice by starting with 5 minutes in the morning
  • Brainstorm + develop a new regular blog posting more focused on wellness content
I think that is it for me this month. Right now I feel in need of a restful, low pressure environment and I am planning to honor that as best I can. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that not every moment or every week or every month can be filled to the brim with doing and producing. Fall reminds me that it is natural to take some time to slow down and turn inward. Life occurs in cycles, just as the seasons do. Sometimes (for me at least) it can be challenging to allow myself to just be without any emphasis on getting things done, but this month I'll be giving it a try!

Image Credit
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