Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Dreams

Hello Lovely Readers! I hope you are doing well! As the month comes to an end, let's take some time to review our January dreams and ponder our hopes for February. J'adore reflecting on my dreams each month and I find it keeps me focused as well! Considering joining me by writing your thoughts in your journal or posting your own dreams on your blog or Facebook page. Happy Dreaming!

January Dreams:

  • Decorate my 2011 Planner Pad: DREAM COME TRUE! I love how it turned out too! (See the above image.) The main background is from Boho magazine and it reads: "The desire of your heart. Deep inside if you there is a well. A deep well filled with dreams, visions, and ideas. Thoughts of who you are, of what you will become, of what you have dreamt about your entire life; aching to come out, to be heard. Today, I can promise you that if you listen to those things, they will become you... because they are you. They are the essence of what you were born to do, who you were born to be. So today I ask that you listen and believer. That still small voice inside of you of whispering. It's called your destiny. And today you will find it, because it has already found you. It's time." How amazingly beautiful and perfect is that??? The red yarn is from my retreat with SARK. One of the retreaters wrote this amazing poem about the color red and power and voice and writing and she gave each of us red yarn as a reminder.
  • Settle on my word/phrase for 2011: DREAM COME TRUE! I couldn't settle on one word/phrase so I am working with two for the year: Authentic Awakening & Magical Transformation! Authentic Awakening because I want to more fully step into myself and my purpose. Magical Transformation because my life and my businesses are going to transform and I am counting on some magical help from the universe to support the process!
  • Signed rental contracts for 3 newly renovated offices at Living Wellness of Niagara with fabulous, like-minded health & wellness professionals. I'm especially interested in massage therapists, holistic health counselors, naturopathic practitioners, life coaches, or creativity/spirituality professionals. (For more info, contact me at DREAM ON ITS WAY TO BECOMING TRUE! This month I had the pleasure of meeting with several amazing women who are interested in the spaces I have to offer. Nothing is set in stone yet, but several possibilities are brewing and I am delighted with the progress this month!
  • Celebrate my gramma's 75th birthday! DREAM COME TRUE!
  • Provide inspiring content and support brave dreamers through the Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle, starting January 14th. DREAM COME TRUE! There is an amazing group of women participating in the online circle and I feel very honored to have the privilege of guiding them on the journey toward their dreams!
  • Celebrate Megan's 13th birthday (OMG) and my niece's 4th birthday with two fabulous parties. DREAM COME TRUE!
  • Try out my new work schedule that leaves more space for seeing clients, as well as an every-other-week writing block. DREAM COME TRUE!
  • Save 40% of my earnings this month to put toward supporting my maternity leave/ the hot tub fund. DREAM COME TRUE! I'm so proud that I met this goal, especially considering I had to buy a new laptop this month!
  • Back to basics! Walk, write, sit, stretch. Daily movement (yoga or walking), daily meditation, and daily morning pages. Weekly Artist Dates. DREAM IN PROGRESS! It is thedaily part that gets me every time! However, overall I have been pretty faithful in my moving, breathing, sitting, and writing practices. I am struggling with some physical limitations right now (darn Sally Sciatica) and I am trying to simply allow it all to be a part of my practice.
  • Begin the process of finding an amazing yoga teacher to cover classes during my maternity leave and an inspirational therapist to work out of my office/cover clients during maternity leave. (If you know anyone, send them my way at DREAM COME TRUE! This happened so easily and effortlessly! I am so grateful for the professionals who are going to keep things running during my maternity leave!
February Dreams:
  • Be fully present and enjoy every moment of the many fun outings planned for this month: a ski/spa trip with our friends, the annual Sweetheart Dinner for Community Missions, the baptism of our dear friend's son, Girls' Night with the YaYas, Polar Bites fundraiser for the Buffalo Zoo, and a trip to Lasertron.
  • Again, save 40% of my earnings this month to put toward supporting my maternity leave/ the hot tub fund.
  • Complete final accounting for 2010 and meet with accountant for tax preparation.
  • Read more about natural childbirth. I just ordered Ina May's Guide to Childbirth; Birthing from Within; Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering; and Spiritual Midwifery.
  • Participate in my friend Kim David's Radical Self-Care Challenge.
  • Make a list of microMOVEments toward my new business ideas. Bonus: do something from the list.
  • Work on my two books in progress. Devote at least 1 hour this month to each of them.
  • Outline idea for trauma group that incorporates yoga and Living Wellness Lifestyle for Teens.
  • Research mixed media art class (in person or online). Suggestions are welcome & greatly appreciated!

Look Within: Further Resources

One of my current Vision Cards. I apologize for the backward text; I'm still learning the ins and outs of my new MacBook!

For my last post of the month on Looking Within, I'll be offering up delicious resources for you to explore as you continue your Living Wellness journey!

I have been struggling a bit with this post because there are so many fabulous tools out there to choose from! Please know that this is by no means a complete list, but here are a few of my personal favorites when it comes to inner reflection and exploration! Feel free to share your own favorites in the comments section!


The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hahn

A wonderful introduction to mindfulness! I adore everything I've ever read by Thich Nhat Hahn. Another favorite of his is Peace is Every Step.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

This book has changed many lives, mind included! If you are looking for inner reflection and exploration, this is a great place to start.

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck

Martha Beck has a fabulous writing style. I think she is simply hilarious! She explains ideas using tons of stories/examples and her style is very down to earth. Her books are packed with great, life-changing information.

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I read this book each morning before I start my day. Truly one of the most inspirational books I've come across. There is also a companion workbook that I love!

Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater

A great book about taking your yoga practice off the mat. Just gazing at this book brings me a feeling of peace.


Other Tools:

  • Check out Papaya for a gorgeous selection of journals and sketchbooks

  • It is helpful to use a time while meditating. If you are like me and don't own a kitchen timer, visit here for a free online meditation timer that you can customize.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Look Within: Practices

This week I'm offering up practices for our theme of the month, Look Within.

I believe that finding the practice that reconnects us with our inner voice or Authentic Self is a personal process. Some people find that running brings them back to their core. Others discover knitting does the trick. I believe what is happening in both of these scenarios is that we are in a meditative-like state. Sure running or knitting may not be what you think of when you picture meditation, but I consider any activity that holds your focus here in the present moment a sort of moving meditation. Other examples are yoga, painting, writing, and Tai Chi. This week let's play with a still meditation and a moving meditation.

Still Meditation Options:

To practice these options, find a comfortable seated position on the floor, a cushion, or in a chair. Close your eyes and begin by drawing your attention inward.

  • Candle-gazing meditation (here is a description of this technique). I find this practice very relaxing.
  • Counting breaths meditation: simply count your breaths. I usually decide ahead of time how many breaths I will sit for, 20, 50, or 100. You can also set a timer for 3 or 5 minutes. This is one of my favorite ways to meditate. It is simple and there is something to focus on (counting) which I find helps me quiet my mind.
  • Mantra meditation: a mantra is any phrase or word you repeat to yourself. One of my favorites is "be here now" which I shorten to "here" on the inhale and "now" on the exhale. Other ideas are "let go" or "be present." You can use anything that is meaningful for you. There are many Sanskrit mantras to choose from as well, such as Om or Sat Nam.
  • Lovingkindess meditation: this is the meditation I practice most frequently. It involves sending feelings of pure love and kindness to yourself and others while repeating a mantra. Here is a more thorough description.

Moving Meditation Options:

  • Yoga
  • Walking or Running
  • Cooking
  • Knitting
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Any activity where you feel totally absorbed in the task at hand!
Spend some time over the next week or so experimenting with different still and moving meditations. Take notes in your journal of how you feel before and after each practice. Discover what helps you look within and make it a part of your daily routine! I'd love to hear your thoughts on these practices - feel free to share in the comments!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Look Within: Journal Prompts

As we continue to explore Looking Within, I invite you to spend some time responding to the following Journal Prompts:

What do I want?
This seems like a simple question, but it is amazing how many of us are out of touch with our desires. Spend at least 3 minutes free writing your response to this question.

If time and money weren't an issue, I would...

While you are writing, try not to censor yourself. Don't worry about spelling or grammar, just allow whatever comes to mind to make it onto the page. Journal writing is very powerful, but it does not have to be a formal process. Simply write and compassionately observe what comes up!

I would love to hear about your Living Wellness journey! Please share your questions, thoughts, ideas, and insights in the comments section. Also, if you are looking to more fully explore your dreams, check out my Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle (starts today, but you can join at any time).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Living Wellness: Look Within

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you are doing well! As promised, this month kicks off a new feature on the blog called Living Wellness. Each month I will present a different theme to support you on your wellness journey. There will be weekly posts to encourage deeper reflection and exploration of the theme. The theme for January is Look Within.

January, the start of a new year, is the perfect time for reflection and reconnecting within. This week's post will focus on activities to help you look within. Carve out an hour or more for yourself, light your favorite candle, grab your journal and a cup of tea, and dive into some self-reflection!

Get in touch with your breath

I truly believe that the breath is one of the most direct routes to looking within. Close your eyes and begin to simply notice your breath without trying to change anything. Notice where you feel your breath as you inhale and exhale, observe how quickly or slowly you are breathing, and how deep or shallow your breaths are in this moment. Also, compassionately observe your mind and body. Notice what you are thinking and how you are feeling in this moment. Then begin to gently deepen the breath, inhaling and bringing breath deep down into the belly and exhaling emptying the lungs completely. After a few moments of deep breathing, open your eyes and notice the profound impact of this simple practice.

Review 2010 & Plan 2011

Reflect on the year that has just ended. What were your favorite moments? What did you learn? How did you learn it? What were your accomplishments? For a more extensive review, work with the prompts from Reverb 10. To help jog my memory of the year, I usually do this exercise with my planner nearby and review month by month.

Next, dream up what you'd like your life to look like in 2011. One way to do this is to list your goals/dreams for the year. When creating goals/dreams, I try to include at least one item from each of the areas of my life: physical health, relationships, life's work, service, spirituality, creativity, style, self-care, environment, and finances. You can read my 2010 year in review and 2011 goals here.

Another option for planning for 2011 is to create a Vision Board with images and words of your dreams and goals. Here is an example of one of my Vision Boards. Christine Kane offers a great e-book on Vision Boards. Visit her website and register (top right corner) to get a free copy.

Today I also came across this idea for planning for the new year. Go with whatever sounds most delightful to you! Have another creative way for planning for 2011? Share it with us in the comments section!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Year in Review

2010 was an amazing year! As I sat back to reflect on the year's highlights I was surprised and delighted at how long the list was. Here is a sample of my 2010 highlights:

Here are what I listed as my 2010 goals back in January:

  • Cultivate a meditation practice: Work in progress!
  • Get more regular exercise, specifically walk outside a 2-3 times every week: Varied throughout the year. There were several months where I did great with this, especially the warmer months.
  • Write a book proposal & send it out into the world: No, but I did start writing my book and I even read an excerpt to my writing group which felt like a BIG step.
  • Spiff up blog & websites: No, never made this a priority...
  • Attend a retreat of some sort: Yes, I retreated with SARK!
  • Learn to knit: No, I'm not sure where this goal even came from since I have awful hand-eye coordination :-)
  • Cultivate unconditional self-acceptance (do you like how I just threw that one in there): Work in progress!
  • Create a beautiful backyard garden: I did create some beautiful pots of flowers for the backyard, but no garden.
  • Eliminate clutter, especially from my bedroom & closet: Yes, I definitely did this although the clutter seems to magically regenerate!
  • Open a specialty boutique within the wellness center: No, I did start researching this but again it wasn't a priority.
  • Complete Level 4 & 5 yoga trainings: Yes!
  • Publish yoga practice CD: If you read this blog regularly you know this has been hanging over my head for months! Transfer to 2011 to-do list...
  • Record & publish meditation CD: No, I figured I better publish the first CD before I go and record another one :-)
  • Organize a yoga retreat: Yes and no. I held two retreats at the studio, but I intended to organize a retreat off-site. Putting this on hold for now because I am guessing I won't be up for any travel for a bit once the baby arrives.
  • Expand the Do Yoga. Do Good. Initiative - I am so excited for the book club coming in February!!!! Yes, the book club was fun! I am definitely dreaming of a more formal non-profit in the near future.

It is funny how when reflecting on 2010 I felt like I accomplished quite a bit, but it didn't necessarily match up with the goals I created at the beginning of the year. I guess this is the nature of goals; they change just as everything else does! That is why I enjoy Monthly Goal Reflections so much! However, I am still setting some goals for 2011 now.

Here goes:

  • Attend Professional Development conference in Psychology
  • Publish Yoga for Living Wellness CD (and have a party when I finally do - lol)
  • Complete a first draft of Living Wellness book
  • Clean out the basement
  • Read all of Martha Beck's books (I'm probably 25% there already)
  • Continue to cultivate daily meditation practice
  • Draft plan for new website & purchase domain name
  • Rent newly renovated office suite to fabulous, like-minded health & wellness professionals
  • Explore mixed media art
  • Attend additional yoga training
  • Enjoy 12 weeks of maternity leave
  • Research starting a non-profit
  • Host a retreat at Tree of Life Yoga Studio
  • Begin publishing podcasts & vidcasts
  • Write more content on blog
  • Daily physical activity
  • Participate in 2 courses through Goddess Leonie's Goddess Circle
  • Save 40% of my income each month until baby is born
  • Donate monthly to my favorite charities
  • Continue to make self-care a priority after baby is born while also understanding it may look a lot different than it does now
  • Monthly dates with all the important people in my life (hubby, daughter, friends, and family)
Have you taken some time to reflect on 2010 and plan for 2011? I would love to hear what you are dreaming of!