Sunday, September 16, 2012

The blog is moving!

Hi Lovely Readers!

I've moved the blog over to my new website Come visit me there!



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Forget Work-Life Balance: Let's find your Ideal Life Ratio

People always seem to be talking about this elusive idea of work-life balance. As an entrepreneur and currently sort of stay-at-home mom, this dichotomy feels hard to wrap my brain around. Are the 21 hours a day I spend caring for my baby work? (I co-sleep with a baby who wakes up about every 3 hours so I count that as an around the clock job.) Or do I count the 3 hours a day I go to my office/studio as work? Because there are a lot of days when those hours feel like a break! And the concept of life – does that include everything besides my work? What about when I’m reading Yoga Journal? That could be work because it might inform my teaching or it could be life because I’m at home sipping on a cup of peppermint tea while I read. Also, when you love your work it often doesn’t feel like work. Maybe you don’t need to “balance out” your time spent on tasks that pay the bills if they are enjoyable. Clearly I could go on but my point is this:  

I think the concept of work-life balance is outdated.

coffee + dark chocolate = essential work tools
I get the whole idea that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” My beef is that the word balance implies an even split and I don’t think that makes sense for most people.

Instead I’d like to start a conversation about the Ideal Life Ratio.

What’s an Ideal Life Ratio? Well I just made it up & I’m so glad you asked!

The Ideal Life Ratio is individualized, dynamic, and informative.

It takes into account all the pieces of your life that are important to you.

It changes over time as your lifestyle and priorities change.

Most of all it releases comparison and judgment and asks the question, “Is your life working for you?” If it is, fabulous! If it’s not, it provides a clear picture of where things are out of alignment.  

Play along at home...

1. Determine what parts make up how you'd ideally like to spend your time.

What are your priorities? You can keep it simple and echo the old work and life categories but I’d like to challenge you to break things down a little further. Consider categories such as work, family, friends, service, or self-care. If it’s for you, get even more detailed and break down the categories into the various parts that make up them up (i.e., work breaks down into researching, writing, meetings, big vision planning or self-care breaks down into physical activity, socializing, spiritual practices).  

2. Once you have a list of categories determine how much time you’d ideally spend on each item. 

For example, my current list is Work (20%), Family (70%), Self-Care (10%). I tend to think in terms of a week's time but please feel free to use whatever makes sense for you - a day, a month, a quarter. 

3. Now determine how much time you are currently devoting to each item. 

Do the two ratios match up? Fantastic! If not, make a list of small, doable action steps you can take to bring things into alignment. 

hard at work at last month's yoga & creativity retreat

Is your self-care time lacking? Schedule a coffee date with your best friend, book a massage, research yoga classes near your office, or block out an afternoon for yourself. Family time lacking? Commit to turning off your cellphone in the evening, stop checking email at home, use your vacation days, or schedule a family dinner. 

Your Ideal Life Ratio will change during different phases of your life. What is important is that it fits with what you want in your life at this particular time.

relaxing after a long day of mommying

I’m curious – what's your Ideal Life Ratio? What factors play into it at this point in your life? Are things aligned or do you need to make some changes?     

Monday, July 30, 2012

Determining the Value of our Work

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore what I do for a living.

And I’m pretty darn good at it too.

Recently I realized something is out of alignment and I’m guessing I’m not the only person struggling with this.

A few key events have helped me see that I’ve been undervaluing myself. (This article helped too. As well as my dear husband very bluntly telling me it’s crazy to give away my services for free.)

I realized that the danger in loving your work so much that you’d do it for free is that sometimes you end up doing just that! 

Furthermore, when our work allows us to use our true strengths it often feels easy. In fact, this is a sign that we are doing our right work. I truly believe this but at times I still tend to get stuck in the if-it's-worth-anything-it-can't-come-easy mentality. For me this translates to undervaluing myself and undercharging for my services. Yuck!  

So I'm off to reevaluate how I monetize my gifts, services, and products. Care to join me? Share your thoughts on worth and work in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I love hearing from you!

image credit

P.S. I definitely believe in pro bono offerings. But I’m learning now that they need to be intentional. Otherwise I risk draining my energy and becoming resentful of the gorgeous peeps I work with. So if you are considering giving away your time and talents for free I strongly encourage you to take some time and outline what your ideal pro bono gig looks like. 

P.P.S. For more on this topic check out Tara’s The Art of Earning or my friend Dani’s The Evil League of You.    

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What are you longing for?

Come home to yourself.
Come home to yourself.
Come home to yourself.

Come home to your Self.

Lately I hear myself saying this repeatedly while I teach yoga.

It seems to me that many people today are searching for something, existing in a constant state of striving toward some goal. Many times we can’t even put our finger on exactly what it is that we feel is missing. Heck, many times we don’t even slow down enough to notice how we are feeling!

What is it we are longing for? Eight consecutive hours of sleep? A fabulous international vacation? The perfect vegan dark truffle? We might look toward a new job, a robust savings account, the perfect partner, or a beautiful home to bring us contentment. How many of us have ever uttered the words, “I’ll be happy when…”

All of these things are wonderful goals to work toward in life. (Especially the 8 hours of sleep. Believe me I will be shouting it from the rooftops when Lainey sleeps through the night.) And I am all about going after your dreams! But hear me when I say this: achievements, be they personal or professional, aren’t going to bring you what you’re looking for. No shiny object can bring you true inner peace. 

Because all of our hankering for stuff and titles and money is really a yearning for something more – a certain feeling we are after. And the truth is this: whatever you are seeking is already within you. Now if we could just get quiet enough to connect with it…

I truly believe that there are countless ways to tap into this fount of pure, blissful peace within you. Please do whatever works for you. You’ll know it when you’ve got it. If you’ve never felt connected with this part of yourself before here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Meditation (actually everything on the rest of the list is just another form of meditation)
  • Yoga
  • Folding laundry
  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • Washing dishes
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Laying on the beach
  • Walking
  • Watching wild animals
  • Hiking a mountain
  • Staring at a river
  • Knitting
  • Holding a baby
  • Gazing at a fire
  • Running
  • Petting a dog or cat
What would you add? I'd love to read about it in the comments or on my Facebook page


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest Post by Jennifer Winarski: Intuitive Painting

Some of you might be thinking that an evening walk with Nik Wallenda would be a better choice than taking a painting class! 

I beg you not to take one. 
one of my intuitive painting pieces ~Mindy 

With that said, I encourage you try an intuitive painting class instead.  

What is intuitive painting? Well, to me it is acting on your whims. It is playing with paint like a small child. 

Have you ever watched children paint? 

They just spread colors willy nilly and they often make a mess. 
They experiment and they don’t give it much thought. 

I asked my 6 year old son what he thinks about when he paints a picture. He turned his head to the side, scrunched up his face and he replied “nothing”.  He simply plays with paint. When was the last time you had permission to just be who you are with zero judgment and no expectations? An intuitive painting class can provide a nourishing environment where one can feel comfortable to stop thinking and just have some willy nilly fun!

Jennifer Winarski
Creative, artist, homemaker and blogger.

P.S.  There are just 4 spots left for my Women's Yoga & Creativity Mini-Retreat on July 21st featuring an awesome Intuitive Painting workshop with Jenn! You can reserve your space by contacting me at or 716-939-0892.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Intentions & Aspirations

It has been months since I've put together a Monthly Goal Reflection post.

I haven't felt called to write my monthly lists of dreams and things to be accomplished.

Life has felt much simpler. I've been working on two major projects for the past few months, my newest online offering and my new website (coming soon!), and so it's been easy to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind. (As harried as my days can be, even I don't need a list with two things on it!)

As we move into Summer, I've been reflecting on my intentions for the season and a list of things I hope to experience. A different sort of take on the Monthly Goal Reflection, more of a Seasonal Intentions and Aspirations.

Throughout this year I've felt pulled toward aligning my work (and my life) more with the seasons, offering retreats and online courses centered around the natural energy of the season.

For Winter/ The New Year I hosted a Women's Mini-Retreat focused on envisioning our goals for the year and my Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle. For Spring I offered a Women's Spring Rejuvenation Retreat and Reflect, Release, Renew. For Summer I'm hosting another Women's Mini-Retreat, this one centered around connecting with our intuition through creativity.

Summer Beach
image credit
Really it is all about playing and having fun, my intention for this Summer. I won't be offering a Summer online course because I'll be focusing my energy on soaking up time with my family. However, I plan to write a series of posts about my summer play dates, including my solo adventures and my outings with the family. I'd love for you to join in on the fun by commenting on these posts and sharing how you're invoking the energy of play this season.

Here are a few things I hope to savor this summer:

How about you? Does the idea of play resonate for you this season? How will you bring more fun and adventure into your daily life? I'd love to hear your thoughts - feel free to share in the comments or over on my Facebook page.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reflect, Release, Renew: Connect with Creativity

Hello Beautiful Souls!

It's been quiet around here the past month as I've been focusing my writing energies on Reflect, Release, Renew, my newest online offering. Thank you for your patience! Today I'm sharing a post from the course and I'll be back again later this week with a new post filled with my Summer intentions and dreams. I look forward to connecting with you here! Please feel free to share your thoughts on today's post in the comments below.  

Connect with Creativity

We are all creative beings. Sometimes negative thoughts get in the way and we lose sight of that. So often I hear things like, "I can't draw." As if drawing were the only creative medium! Or, "I'm too old/ tired/ busy to worry about being creative." Creative practice is not another item for the to-do list. It's a way of being. 


Today spend a few moments thinking of all the ways you are already creative in your daily life. Make a list in your journal. Next, draft a new list of ways to bring more creativity into your daily life. Choose one to incorporate in the upcoming week.

There are literally countless ways to be creative! Here are a few ideas to get you started...

Examples of Creativity in Daily Life:

  • preparing a meal
  • arranging flowers
  • making up stories to tell your children
  • taking photographs
  • knitting
  • decorating your home or office
  • brainstorming solutions to problems at work
  • wrapping a present
  • writing a thank you note
  • putting on makeup
  • planting a garden
  • baking
  • throwing a party
  • styling your hair
  • sewing
  • dancing
  • scrapbooking
  • putting together an outfit
  • building a fort
  • mixing a cocktail
  • upcycling 
  • writing a blog

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A poem + a reminder

Hello beautiful souls!

I had a few moments to myself this afternoon and was feeling called to share this lovely poem with you. Enjoy!

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice -
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundation -
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do -
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Overflowing with Gratitude + 2 treats for you

I am overflowing with gratitude after yesterday's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G retreat!

I wanted to spread some of the love so today I have two fabulous (free) things to share with you.

1. The first video from my newest online offering, Reflect, Release, Renew. In it I guide you through a simple grounding meditation. It's a beautiful way to start your day with intention and it is only about 9 minutes long, making it easy to incorporate into your life! This is the first video I've ever recorded and I'm feeling a little sheepish about putting it out in the world. It is definitely moving me out of my comfort zone to post it here (as opposed to the private blog for the course) but in the spirit of growth I'm going for it! I hope you enjoy it!

2. I'm giving away a space in Reflect, Release, Renew! It starts May 1st and I am really looking forward to sharing it with the world! This class is all about simple but powerful practices to bring more mindfulness to your daily life. I craft my offerings around the seasons and for Spring I have included a focus on shedding what no longer serves us and making space for the new, a natural inclination this time of year. The course includes daily posts with videos, meditations, journal prompts, activities, and more - all designed to take 15 minutes or less. We will touch on a variety of topics - everything from noticing where our time goes to self-care at work to the power of unplugging. To read more about the course and sign up head over here. To enter the give away leave a comment on this post telling me what you wish to let go of this season. I'll randomly draw a winner on Thursday, April 26th at 9am (EST). You can enter anytime before then.

Here's the video and thank you so much for being here - I truly appreciate each and every one of my readers!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Filling the well

Recently I've found myself feeling out of sorts.


Mind racing.




The most fitting words I can use to describe this feeling are tapped out.

Thankfully it only took a few days of this for me to realize I needed a plan to turn things around. I needed to find a way to get back to me and take care of myself in my present circumstances. Sometimes we think we will feel better when the kids are older or we earn more money or lose weight or find the perfect partner or whatever other excuse you'd like to insert here. Read: I'll be happy when ________________. We're waiting for someone or something out there to make us feel better when really it needs to come from within. The good news is we are in control of our inner environment. The bad news is that means we're responsible. As in, no more excuses! The idea is to find a way to support ourselves so that we can stay calm and centered no matter what is going on around us. We need to refill the well.

There is no one "right" way to do this. I'll share my process and I'd love to hear yours too - please chime in in the comments!

My steps for Refilling the Well:

1. Gather supplies and carve out time. My most crucial supplies are simple - silence, pen and paper.

2. Let it all out. I grab my journal and just write. As I so eloquently said in one of my therapy sessions recently, do a feelings dump. Lovely, huh :-) Pour it out. Forget about grammar. Or tact. Channel your inner whining toddler or pissed off teenager. This is for your eyes only, so don't hold back. Here's a real-life example from my own journal:

My brain is overloaded. My house is a mess. I have nothing written for my website - how embarrassing! It's been like a month (easy - maybe longer). I haven't blogged. I also feel sad that Lainey's getting so big. She stands up now! What is it that I want? I guess I just hate feeling like I am so wrapped up in surviving - getting through the day - that I miss enjoying my life. Maybe it goes back to intentions and attention. What do I want to gain from this day? From this life! After all how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. What is important to me? What is my purpose? My focus right now?

3. Identify the core issue and explore it more deeply. The question that seemed to be central to my struggle: What do I want my days (my life) filled with? Work through more journal writing, paint or collage about it, meditate on it, or talk it out with a friend. I decided to create a list to help me sort through my thoughts.

I want my days (my life) filled with...

  • family
  • a creative way to capture memories
  • time spent in nature
  • time spent reconnecting within
  • reading
4. Create a plan to make it happen. How can you support your own needs? What supplies do you need? What rituals and routines can you create to support your goals? Continuing with my example:

  • family: turn off my phone and the tv and be present with my loved ones
  • a creative way to capture memories: write in my gratitude journal using the My Daily Journal app on my iPhone, take pictures using my iPhone camera, write in my journal, spend time with my self-care basket (holds my visual journaling supplies), start a binder a la project life to record our days
  • spend time in nature: take walks at a consistent time (before Lainey's nap, after lunch, before bed are some of my favorites), look out the window and talk about the weather and seasonal changes with Lainey (helps me pause and truly notice)
  • spend time reconnecting within: relax during one of Lainey's naps (journal, meditate), go to yoga class, possibly sign up for 21 secrets to encourage more art journal time, schedule an artist date
  • reading: put a basket of books I want to read next to a comfy chair, read in the evenings instead of watching tv
5. List specific action steps to get you there. Things you can do immediately to move you toward your goal. These are most helpful if they feel easily doable and you are excited to put them on your to-do list. For me to bring my days more into alignment with my ideals, I listed:
  • schedule a few hours to myself asap
  • purchase binder inserts
  • register for 21 secrets
  • schedule yoga classes for April
  • find a basket and fill it with books
Within days of writing my list I carved out time to spend an afternoon in Starbucks sipping a chai latte and writing. I ventured to Target and bought some supplies that I plan to use to record our days. While there I discovered they had Smash journals! I have been dying to get one so I treated myself and I also got a few fun accessories for my self-care basket! I looked around the house and found a basket and filled it with books. I put it next to the rocker and I've already spent time there reading. I feel refueled already. Small steps truly do make a big difference!

It all boils down to taking the time to pause and reconnect within. To step back and simply notice. How are you feeling? What do you need? Are you content with your life? Are you moving toward your goals? Really listen. Figure out what it is you want and then craft a plan for making it happen. One baby step at a time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Permission Granted

Recently, I was watching a video by the lovely Liz Lamoreux and she happened to mention her daughter's babysitter was arriving soon. As I heard her speak those words a light bulb went off for me. I could have my very own babysitter for Lainy. Truly this thought had never occurred to me (it's funny how our minds shut out possibility).

Lainy's babysitter starts next week. I feel nervous and excited, guilty and relieved all at the same time.

That one sentence in the video was the permission slip I needed to ask for the help I had been craving. She does it, so I can too. Too often we are sitting around waiting for permission.

Today I'd like to give you your very own permission slip. Permission to ask for whatever you need.

Permission to rest.

Permission to go for it.

Permission to call in sick.

Permission to ask for help.

Permission to make the call.

Permission to say no.

Permission to say yes.

Permission to quit.

Permission to start.

Permission to love yourself exactly as you are today.

Permission to stop trying so hard.

Permission to create.

Permission to tell your story.

Permission to let go.

Tell me what you're needing and I will send you a permission slip via email or snail mail. Your choice. Leave a comment with your address or send me an email at and I'll send you your permission slip. Not because you need my permission (or anyone else's) but because I want to support you in whatever you are needing right now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Dreams

Time to review last month's dreams and plan for the upcoming weeks! I hope you'll join me in this practice!

February Dreams:

  • Participate in Darrah Parer's Slice of Life Project (I won a spot at a give away on Roots of She!): DONE
  • Indulge in Spa Day with my BFFs: DONE, complete with heavenly hot stone massage
  • Savor a date with my husband: DONE
  • Finish 2011 accounting and prep for meeting with accountant (ugh...): DONE
  • Take 2 yoga classes: DONE
  • Make a green smoothie: DONE. I blended up kale, blueberries, and bananas. And promptly spilled half of it on the cream carpet... sigh...
  • Read 3 chapters from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy book: DONE. Totally in love with this approach. I'm paraphrasing but one of my favorite quotes, "What if we think about our clients more as beautiful sunsets to witness and less like math problems to be solved." Swoon...
  • Complete my assignment from the website consultant: DONE. Very excited about this project!

March Dreams:

  • Finish current book & start another
  • Finalize Women's Spring Rejuvenation Retreat details
  • Write content for new website
  • Take 2 yoga classes
  • Clean & redecorate for Spring at the wellness center
  • Move more! Walk outside when possible, go to Zumba class, look into a jogging stroller
  • Clear off my desk at home
What are you dreaming of creating this month? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kale chips, chia seeds, quinoa, oh my!

I've been experimenting with some new healthy foods in my life.

I made kale chips today! They are super easy to make and delicious (honestly)!

Last week I picked up some chia seeds. I've been sprinkling them on my salad. I find them pretty bland in terms of flavor but they are packed full of good stuff like omega 3 and fiber.

Next up I plan to try out some quinoa recipes, likely this one or this one.

Healthy eating is as much about what you do eat as what you don't eat.

What beautiful nourishment will you add to your life?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February Dreams

January has been everything I imagined and more! Let's review...

January Dreams:

  • Host fabulous mini-retreat at the studio: DONE! And it sold out :)
  • Incorporate new morning and evening routine to bookend my day in mindfulness (inspired by Kimberly Wilson's Traquilologie): DONE!
  • Teach, encourage, + inspire during Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle: In progress!
  • Indulge in a massage + facial + pedicure: DONE!
  • Go on a date with my husband: DONE! First time out alone together in 7 months :)
  • Take 2 yoga classes: DONE!
  • Go on an Artist Date: DONE!
  • Finish Year in Review blog posts: DONE!
  • Ask for help with a referral to work with on my new website (!): DONE!
  • Pen financial goals for 2012: DONE!
In addition I completed my first TV interview, was invited to join a fabulous Mastermind group, and had an initial phone consultation about my new website! So basically January has been amazing!

February Dreams:

Each month to remind myself of my dreams I find an inspiring image, tape it into my Planner Pad adjacent to the monthly calendar view, and jot my dreams there. In the above picture you can also see part of my month and how I use highlighters to color code work and play time. This helps me ensure I have a balance between the two that feels right for me because I can see at a glance how much "me" time is scheduled. What are you dreaming of this month?