The thing about Joy is that it feels elusive to most of us. Joy is a word on Christmas stockings and coffee mugs. Joy is rarely something that you hear described or acknowledged on a daily basis.
Why is that?
Joy is like a lever. It has the power to change a whole room. It can elevate our experience, it can get us out of our own heads, and into the ether of life itself. Joy exists in moments, not chapters. Joy can be fleeting and difficult to pin down. Like a golden snitch of emotion, we are constantly seeking it but don't quite know where to find it.
Joy gets us a bump of engagement in our own lives. It is a connector, a bridge to our true selves, and to what we really want and feel.
Joy doesn't have to be the rapturous romance of novels and movies, it doesn't have to be the moment you win the lottery or marry your dream lover.
The beauty of Joy is that it is everywhere. It can be as simple as a belly laugh. It can be as obvious as a sentimental thought, or a touching...
"You disconnected your TV service? Are you crazy? I can't imagine! I've thought about it, but couldn't actually do it..."
These are some of the common exclamations I hear when I share that I've shut off my TV service. I probably would have said the same types of things until quite recently.
But, yes. I disconnected my TV and I've never been happier.
In the months and weeks leading up to the election, I began to see the toxic energy spewing from our TV as a force of evil in my house. Every time I turned it one, one or more of us would end up indignant, frustrated, sad, disgusted (you name the negative emotion). It reached a point where I realized that we were inviting this negativity into our house. It was our own fault that we chose to encourage its presence. I shouldn't feel so indignant at its negative impact when I myself pressed the buttons to allow it in!
And so, we turned it off. The day before the election.
I had resigned myself to whatever outcome was going to pass, and so...
Is there a book sitting on your coffee table or bookshelf that changed your life? A book that vibrates with power. Pure transformational energy.
There are a couple of books like that for me. One of them is The Desire Map (check it out here) by Danielle LaPorte. A dear friend of mine shared this book with me during a very dark time in my life, and things have not been the same for me since! (Thank you Tracy!)
Before I read Danielle’s book, this is how I felt about goal setting and my life:
Then, I read this book and almost overnight, big changes started to happen for me.
I realized… that by ignoring my own desires, neglecting my inner dreams and my goals of my youth, that I was depriving myself (and those I care...
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein
With the recent election, two very different and very distinctive world views have painfully taken their place upon the world stage. While there are clearly nuances on each side, it is the fundamental dichotomy that I find most fascinating. Is the world about hope and love? Or is it about pain and struggle? Is it a miracle? Or is it mundane and predictable?
While I acknowledge these are gross generalizations, they are useful for purposes of this discussion.
As Einstein so crisply states, 'there are only two ways to live your life'...one views the world through the rose-colored lens of possibility, of a god-touched potential that we have yet to fully explore and discover.
The other fixates on the drudgery of life that can bury us, defeat us, and snuff out our potential before we have yet to get started.
Whatever is happening TO you, is also happening FOR you.
Catchy, right? Sounds good. Seems likely to be true. And might explain so many of the things in our lives that don’t go as planned.
If the things that happen TO us, are in fact happening in order FOR us; to learn valuable lessons, flex unused emotional muscles, discover alternative narratives about ourselves, or just generally help us rediscover ourselves…then perhaps we can give ourselves a break, and not feel the need to ‘react’ in our moments of stress, hardship, or chaos.
In the world of business and policy, every action is boiled down into its relative ‘theory of change’. If this…then that. If I make this business decision, then I will ultimately reap increased profits. If we alter this practice, then our systems will function better.
So if we apply the theory of change to this rather enlightening concept, it would look something like this. If I am suffering right now, then I...
The choices we make define the quality of the life we live. These choices often defy what we know to be our own, innate wisdom. While we tend to attribute many of our trials and tribulations to things ‘beyond our control’, there is also, always a significant aspect of our own experience that is the direct and unequivocal result of our own choices.
Good choices. Bad choices. Choices of inaction. Choices made out of frustration. Unconscious choices that stem from our muscle memory of untapped, unexplored and misunderstood feelings and memories.
In the Ayruvedic tradition, these types of negative choices are known as “crimes against wisdom”, and are thought to be the source of many other imbalances we experience in our life.
In defaulting either to conscious, or unconscious options that are ultimately damaging to ourselves (booze, sex, bad relationships, passive aggressive behavior, etc), we are undermining our own happiness.
We know what feels good. We know...
There are many parallels between organizational management, leadership principles and personal development themes and concepts. One commonality relates to the ways in which individuals and organizations gravitate towards ‘busy-ness’ as a standard for productivity and success.
Busy-ness relates to workload, schedules, capacity, quality, etc. This can be measured by how full your Outlook calendar looks, how many meetings you attend, how many projects you have undertaken, how many activities you are involved in, how many widgets you are making, etc.
On the human impact - end of the spectrum you can measure things like; how little free time you have, how poor your eating habits have become (as a result of your busy-ness), how many personal or family commitments you miss, or how hard it is to fit exercise or self-care into your day.
How much do you have on your plate, and how successful are you at managing and navigating those things? And...
My deepest desire is for everyone to live the highest expression of themselves. - Oprah Winfrey
Imagine a world in which every last human had the opportunity to grow and evolve into the very best version of themselves.
Imagine that they had food, loving care, education and stability as children. Imagine that they had opportunity, mentorship and resources to explore and expand into their most amazing selves.
What would the world be like if this were so? What sort of challenges would we face? Or rather, the question would more appropriately be; what challenges could we NOT face? If every human had the chance to contribute the strongest, most developed version of their human experience, how could the world not evolve into a better place?
This too is my deepest desire. That every child should have the opportunity to grow and develop into their best potential, and that they should then bless the world through the sharing of those gifts.
When I consider our global challenges today. When...
I’m reminded of a folk tale about a chicken and a pig trying to decide what each should bring to a big party they’re throwing. The chicken says he’d be happy to bring some eggs for the party and he suggests the pig bring some bacon.
“That’s not quite fair,” the pig responded, “For you, it’s just a contribution, but for me it’s everything.”
Giving another person your trust is something like being the pig, and handing over your own flesh for the party. A bit graphic, I know. But for someone who has experienced loss or betrayal, this is just how raw trusting again can feel.
Trust requires safety. Trust is built in tiny little increments that eventually add up to a solid foundation. It's important for both parties to understand, recognize and appreciate what is at stake for the other.
The risk of 'having your bacon fried' because you brought too much to the party, or perhaps you brought it too early is a very real and...
"In this world, you will have trouble"
There is no question that challenge and pain are an integral part of the human experience. In fact there are times when the pain is so great, the obstacles so daunting, that we are paralyzed in their presence. We wring our hands, we lose sleep, and we separate ourselves from those who love us as we wrestle with these demons.
“There are things we try to pray our way through, and there are things that ask us to wade our way into them”, says Rob Bell, (one of my favorites). There are things that we must trust and pray that we will have the strength
I’m a natural-born fixer. I trouble-shoot. I figure it out. I put things back on the right path when they go awry. But there are things that cannot be simply ‘figured out’. There are things that must just be felt and acknowledged…despite their incredible weight and pain.
In my own life I have experienced illness and betrayal that have brought me to my...
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