In Remembrance of You

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As I drove to my office this morning, the jacaranda trees were draping over the boulevard. It sent my memories floating back to a post a few years ago that spoke to the spark that came from these luscious trees. Good timing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Here it is reposted and updated just a smidge.

 

The jacaranda trees are in bloom, the landscape sprinkled with its almost indescribable purplish blue flower. It's one of the most beautiful sights in Los Angeles this time of year.

I saw several on a recent walk and stole a few moments underneath one of them, lying on the grass as discarded petals cascaded down on me. It felt a bit clandestine because I was lying on someone's front lawn. But, I didn't care. 

It was delicious and cool and the sweet aroma took me back to another time.  

My body sank into the ground and I was completely present with that tree. It was a reminder of how nurturing and grounding nature is. It gave me a glimpse into the invisible matrix that connects everything and everyone since the beginning of time, across nations and through our ancestral lives. 

With Memorial Day upon us, when we remember and honor those who have passed before us, it conjures memories of those and their histories, victories and tragedies, rights and wrongs, acceptances and denials, and how they intertwine with our own senses of self. Often, it's their voices we hear in times of triumph, strife or decision. How many times do you wonder about what another would say or think before doing something? 

I thought about this while under that tree, in that instant when I was sublimely myself. No deadlines, no internal or external expectations, no judgments, no rules.  

It got me thinking about the possibility of adding another meaning to Memorial Day. 

Remembering Yourself

Truly, the most important person to honor and remember is yourself. Remembering who you really are, at your core. Not the who someone expected, or told, you to be. Not the who society or the environment in which you were raised told you to be. Nor, the who that tries to emulate someone whom you admire.   

So, who does that leave? You strip away all of those expectations and put-upons and you're left with THE who, leading to one of the most eternal questions.

Who am I? Or more to the point, who is the real me?

As I sit here in midlife, this question takes on deeper meanings and is a guidepost often as I navigate my path.

A few thoughts to ponder:

When do you feel most present, the most settled in your being? What are you engaging in? What are you feeling in that moment? Not what are you thinking, what are you feeling?

When you hear the voices in your own head, pay attention. Take a few moments, without judgment, to identify the voices. Sometimes they will be masked in fear, self-criticism and ego. They make you feel bad, and out of your body. And, following them won't feel authentic, like it's not really you. You recognize it when you pay attention.

THE who voice, the soul voice, the one that is truly yours and yours alone will smack of wisdom, truth and courage.

Your own voice, your God voice, is weighted with the intentions of your Summum Bonum, or your highest good. That voice makes you feel grounded and present. Still and exuberant at the same time. Limitless.

I'm not saying that we don't learn from another's experiences and wisdom. We absolutely do. But, it's when we stop listening to our own wisdom, from our heart, when formulating our lives that we lose our authenticity, our true self.

Remembering who you are is also honoring the parts of you that have healed, memories that you've reconciled and lessons you have learned.  

Shed those skins so that you can continue to advance toward true self. And, watch as they continue to occur. Tiny little deaths followed by tiny little births every day.

If you pay attention, you can feel the constant endings and beginnings.  

At the end of the day, listening to you true voice, leading with your heart and allowing your heart to guide you will take you back to who you are. Every time.  

How are you going to remember and honor the real you today?

 

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Some Establishing-Shot Perspective

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It was a clear evening as I headed toward Pasadena for dinner. When I crested a hill on the freeway, the panorama made me pause. It was an expansive view, the roadways curving through the San Rafael Hills where homes were nestled in, and with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

I thought, if I were writing this scene, this would be a great establishing shot of Pasadena.

In classical filmmaking, the establishing shot is the wide or long shot at the beginning of a scene that sets the tone, and indicates where, and sometimes when (time period), the ensuing scenes are to take place. It can also provide an instant glimpse into the concept and/or character relationships in the story. 

What happened when I took in the stunning establishing shot of Pasadena on that evening drive, was I got a sense of scope, with an eagle eye view, of what lie ahead in terms of landscape and architecture, as well as greater clarity on the direction I was going to take.

It got me thinking about what it might look like to apply the same idea to life, pausing for establishing shots in order to gain some clarity and perspective.

What does that mean? To my way of thinking, it means to stop what you’re doing in a given moment and take an energetic step back to peruse the bigger picture. And, also it means to view a total landscape before getting started on something, whether it's starting your day or launching a big program.

I often like to pause for an eagle-like perspective. It keeps me on track toward a bigger goal and also helps me to refocus on the present moment.

It can take place in smaller as well as grander moments. Such as:

  • Taking a broader glance at what’s on your desk, reprioritizing the day
  • Looking at the year ahead with a wide lens, highlighting special dates and deadlines. Navigation is sometimes clearer from a higher vantage point.
  • Focusing in on health – paying attention to the signals in your body, asking ‘where am I and where do I want to be when it comes to health?’
  • Zooming in on your living space – arranging things so they feel fresh and comfortable, and getting rid of excess that doesn't belong.
  • Picturing your life – through a life establishing shot, looking at where things are working and where they’re not, whether it's a job, a relationship or an idea. A broader perspective helps to light the way for more of what’s working. Also, from that establishing shot, you can visualize the life you desire. 

Pausing often to take these brief life establishing shots not only add layers of texture to your roadmap, but they keep you aware and present to your own life story.

Why not give it a shot? 


It's the Mother Lode of Mother Loads

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You’ve hit the mother lode. This phrase floated into my mind this week as I started thinking about Mother’s Day approaching and what I might write about. The mother lode.

I know I hit the mother lode with my mother. Lois Jane Kirk Yantis is da bomb. And, the best mom on da planet.

Hitting the mother lode actually means “hitting the richest vein of something,” initially in reference to the richest mineral or ore. Mother Lode, famously, during the California Gold Rush was what the gold miners searched for, the densest area of hard rock gold deposits along the West Coast. It became the source of their hopes and dreams. Because when one hit the mother lode it could potentially change their life forever. You can just imagine the community chatter at the end of a long, laborious day of mining. “Did y’all hear? Henry hit the mother lode.” And, the room would nod collectively in reverence and hope.

It got me thinking about other things that have been given the auspicious honor of being called the mother, depicting it as a source for its life. 

To name a few -

Motherboard - the premiere operating system.
Motherland - the land that birthed people and nations, or the nation where one is born.
Mothership - the main vessel that serves as home for smaller ships.
Mother Nature - the spiritual origin of all of Earth’s nature.

When something is the mother lode, it’s the pinnacle, the thing that’s worth the price of admission. It seems to me it's the highest honor you can bestow on something. That of Mother-ness.

Mother lode also means “the origin of something valuable, of great abundance.” What a beautiful way to think about giving birth. Birthing a person. I can’t think of anything more valuable or abundant than that.

I don’t have children of my own so Mother’s Day has been a loaded event for me over the years. You could say it’s a Mother Load

I bought myself a Mother’s Day card this week while selecting one for my mom and sister. It read: “You’re such a badass mother that you didn’t give birth to a child… You gave birth to a legend.” If I were writing that I’d change the word legend to legacy.

Following that line of thinking, a mother lode is also the origin, or birth, of a legacy.

Mothering is birthright, whether you’re a mother to children, or not. We all give birth to ideas. And, if you birth creative projects or businesses or buildings or communities, then as the creator of your own offspring, you’re a resident of Motherhood too.

It also got me thinking about Self-Mothering, loading your own container with self-care. Creating your own mother-load.

How do you mother yourself? Hmm.

It helps to start by thinking about how good mothers care for their children and families.

  • Unconditional love - loving us, relentlessly, no matter what
  • Provides physical care - when we’re sick or need to be fed or nurtured.
  • Listens to our ramblings - in only the way a mother does, with rapt attention.
  • Motherly advice - often knows better than we do what’s best for us. And often repeats it until we get it. 
  • Offers support - sometimes both financial & spiritual
  • Makes time - often dropping everything when we need her

Now, how about if you took each of the above to load up on some deep self-mother love? With unconditional love, caring for yourself physically, listening to your heart and soul, heeding your own wisest counsel, staying in tune with yourself financially and spiritually, and making and taking time for yourself.

So, after you remember or honor your own mother on this Mother's Day, how about honoring the motherhood in yourself.

Now that's hitting the mother lode of a mother load. 

 


Allow This to Be Your Guide When Feeling Overwhelmed

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A recent discussion with my niece solidified my inklings around this thought changer. It was her birthday and we got to talking about how we were both feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her, with her increasing responsibilities at her new job. And, me with my numerous projects in various stages of incompletion or development. 

It hit me after we hung up about how much overwhelm is self-inflicted. I know for me, when I involve myself in the energy of the too-much-ed-ness, the I-have-a-full-plate-ness, the I’m-so-busyness, I become the overwhelm. It starts to define my presence, the monkey mind takes over and internal chaos ensues. Fun, right? 

So, I determined it was time to step back. To reflect and feel into what’s going on. The word that sprung to mind, and the notion I was noodling for this post before my niece and I spoke, is Synchrony. Or more to the present point, being out of sync. To me, that’s the epitome of the overwhelm.

The truth is, we also know the feeling when we’re in sync with life. It's different for everyone. To me, it’s when things connect, when they make sense, they're in flow, when I'm in flow. There’s a vibration to it. A sustaining resonance. The word even sounds rather mechanical or even musical.

Synchrony 

When something is synchronized it hums, like a well-oiled machine. Hmm. Now, I get what it means when someone says “we’re humming along.” Or, “Things are going well. I’m humming.”

It means synchronization and synchronicity is in play. Events, situations, projects or opportunities align themselves in such a way that they connect, they fit. And, when you pay attention by honing in with your intuition, then you’ll start making choices that are synchronistic for you and your life.

"I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path." ~ Dalai Lama

So, how does this help as you’re feeling overwhelm? How do you get back to the hum? To my way of thinking, reprioritizing things using your energetic intuition, synchronizing with your soul, might be the way to go.

Feeling Into It

I decided to do some “synchrony testing” with my list of projects. The same can be done when making a decision or a life choice. Through experimentation, what it does is allow flow. Allowing flow means synchrony takes the driver’s seat. The rightness falls in line by surrendering to life’s flow in the moment and by listening to your own energetic wisdom.

"Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life." ~ Eckhart Tolle 

My dear friend, Lisa Greenfield of Truth in Hand, suggests a form of body testing when you’re choosing between options. You write the thing or things you’re considering on separate pieces of paper or 3x5 cards. Lie down on a flat surface (I lay on the floor) and one by one, place each paper just below your rib cage, on your solar plexus. Your solar plexus is your soul’s power center. 

As you do, ask the question, "Is this (...) the most synergistic choice right now?" Whether it’s a career move or choosing between two houses, whatever it is. I asked which project is the top priority in alignment with my purpose.

It’s subtle, but as you pay attention to your body’s reaction to each one, you may notice either a settled or unsettled feeling in your stomach. Or a calm comes over you. Or you feel your engine getting revved up with excitement.

How does it resonate?

What feels in sync with your current goals or your greater purpose?

Another method is to muscle test the idea. My dear friend, Ferrell Marshall of Spotlight Coaching, uses this technique and taught it to me.

Stand squarely. Hold the piece of paper to your heart. Or simply ask the question you’re weighing as you hold your hands to your heart, right over left.

  • Is this the right job for me?
  • Am I to go to Paris?
  • Or on a safari?
  • Is this a healthy relationship for me?
  • Is today the day for this conversation?
  • Should I take this class?
  • Is this the right time to launch my seminar?
  • Is this my top priority project?

Make no deliberate moves but rather rely on your organic energy to move you. If your body sways forward the answer is yes. If your body sways backward, it’s no. If it wavers with no definite move, it’s a maybe or a not right now.

I’ve tried both methods of testing. The first and vital thing they both do is to get you present and out of the monkey mind that feeds on the chaos. From that slower in-the-moment place, I have made decisions based on what my energy flow was telling me. I know it sounds a little woo-woo. But, all I can say is it they’ve often been decisions that felt right and in sync for me at that time.

And, it eased me out of my overwhelm, so there you go.

To quote my niece when I asked her, at 28, what advice she’d give her younger self:

“Be real and be open with yourself, and with others.”

Another way to stay in synchrony and in flow.  Great advice, Peanut!

 

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash


The Power of Re

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I overheard a woman speaking the other day in the elevator. Well, didn’t exactly overhear, it was a confined space and she was speaking loudly. She kept talking about how exhausted she was and that she needed to regenerate. She must have used the word regenerate ten times. At some level I could relate. In fact, the other nodding heads in the elevator gave credence to this articulated common denominator.

I love me a good “Re” word. Case in point, there are 26 of them in this piece.

It got me thinking about the impact of a good Re. It can be powerful and allows you to live your life rather than your life living you. It’s taking control of your life.

The power of the Re is that it places new energy in a new way toward, well, toward anything.

There are a lot great Re words, but here are some powerful ones to Re whatever needs a redo or a rethink or a reframe. I could go on…

  • Reinvent yourself by getting back to your foundation, what you love and why you do what you do.
  • Reinvest your time in a new and charitable way.
  • Reclaim your dreams, keeping them alive by articulating them on a regular basis.
  • Rejuvenate your attitude, turning can’t into can and don’t into do.
  • Refocus your energy by pausing, taking a deep breath, perhaps meditating or journaling.
  • Readjust your thinking, allowing yourself to come at a project from a fresh angle.
  • Retool your personal brand, your resume, your career intentions. A fresh approach can bring fresh results.
  • Recharge your physical battery; exercise, take walks midday or even rearrange your commute on the way to work.
  • Reignite your vision, like gently blowing on cooling embers. It’s always there, gently wake it up and bring it to life by pursuing it in thought and action, a little every day.
  • Redesign your plan; remove what’s not working and try something else.
  • Reframe your perspective, adjusting your view to gain new intelligence.
  • Refresh your relationships by reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. And, by being present in every exchange.
  • And, Refuse to quit on yourself.  

"Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit." ~ 
Napoleon Hill

Oh my, there are just so many. Review. Release. Renovate. Redecorate. Recreate. Reimagine.

Every day, you have an opportunity to hit the reboot button, in whatever way you choose.

In the way our skin renews itself every 24 hours, embracing the Re allows us to do the same thing in our lives. And, the good news is you can do and redo it again and again.

It’s truly the cycle of life. Or, in this case, the recycle of life.

 

[Photo by s w on Unsplash]


When Your Soul Speaks, Listen

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“Does your soul have a message for you today?”

That was the question the meditation teacher asked during session.

It turns out my soul did. It often does, when I’m paying attention.

Usually, the messages are so simple I almost miss them. Or I judge them. Or second guess them. That morning, I decided to just shut up and receive what was given to me. By my soul. Yep. I wasn’t judging it, or questioning whether it really was my soul guiding me, nor was I second guessing it, “Are you sure that’s all?” or “What am I supposed to do with that?”

It was pretty simple. I got quiet. Inhale. Exhale. Body against the chair. Sink in. Inhale. Exhale. When thoughts came that started to take me somewhere else, I floated back to my breath. Inhale. Exhale.

Then, I asked the question of my soul. “Do you have a message for me?”

Inherently, I knew to trust the first thing that came. And, here it was.

“You already have everything you need within you to receive the answers you seek.

Yes, it’s good to seek knowledge and experiences and connections that enrich your life. But, the truest answers to your deepest questions are not discovered externally. Those are found within your own inner and higher wisdom, through your direct connection to the greater knowledge that is source, God and universe. This is your truth, always.”

So simple. And, such a great reminder to trust. And, to not complicate things by seeking outside of ourselves.

Certainly that’s not a new concept, that you have everything you need within you. But, it was the message I needed to hear, right then.

The next morning I asked the question again and got another answer, equally as simple and perfect for what I needed.

That’s the beauty of this short and sweet daily practice. Each time the answer is different, the message is appropriate for what you need right then, on the day in that moment.

It happens when you’re in your body, as your breath connects you to being fully present and the mind is focused on listening and being open to receiving.

In that space, with the curiosity of a child, simply ask your soul what it wants you to know, in that moment on that day.

What’s interesting is that you can tell when it’s your soul speaking. If it sounds or feels like judgment or punishment, it’s your ego, not your soul. Soul speak comes from your highest wisdom and you know it when you hear it.

“Wise souls speak loudly in silence” ~ Unknown

What a profound way to create the day, on message. On your soul’s message. It paves the way for your divine purpose to unfold.

Simply, reverently, freely.


Soaring Above Your Personal Glass Ceiling

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On a recent flight, I ran across a story about the first female pilot to fly for a major US airline. In 1973, Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, at age 24 literally soared above that glass ceiling. Today, American Airlines continues to honor her feat by bestowing an annual $50,000 grant, aptly titled The Bonnie Award, to mid-career female filmmakers who are blazing trails and breaking through their own glass ceilings.

It got me thinking about my own personal glass ceilings and how great it feels to be looking down through the glass floor rather than up through a seemingly unpenetrable glass ceiling, where you can see it, sometimes feel and taste it but you just can't quite get there.

Some of the barriers were societally or industry-imposed and some were created and built by me. Can you relate?

Personal glass ceilings aren’t those imposed by society or industry, but rather are our own barricades that hold us back, barriers we place there out of fear. How to tell? If you’re constantly coming up with excuses for not getting what you want, then that's likely a sign that they are blocks you’ve placed there yourself. In other words, you become your own glass ceiling. Yikes.

When you think about it, even though it was a societal and industry glass ceiling that Bonnie Caputo burst through, she wouldn’t have stood a chance at piercing through the ceiling if she’d put her own fears and excuses in front of her. “They’ll never promote me because I’m a woman.” “It’s never been done before so why try.” “I have to be better than I am to do this.” It's certainly possible those thoughts were prevalent during insecure moments, but they never became her personal glass ceiling.

Shattering a glass ceiling sounds kind of messy and dangerous. I mean the notion conjures up the vision of being cut to bits by shards of sharp, cruel edges. The same kind of sharp cruel edges that come from imposing a harsh inner critic upon your dreams. Another yikes. 

When put that way, how about a reframe on breaking through your own glass ceilings. Perhaps as you continue to blaze your own trail, the energy from your own heat will dissolve the barriers. Hmm, it’s a thought.

"I never thought I was breaking a glass ceiling. I just had to do what I had to do, and it never occurred to me not to." ~ Marian Wright Edelman

And, as more and more of us rise up and dissolve through more and more of our own personal glass ceilings, it stands to reason the societal and industry glass ceilings will dissolve as well.

Here are some heat-generating tools to aid your trailblazing journey upward:

  1. Be optimistic - “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. Set intentions & goals - and write things down. There's power in committing the words to paper. 
  3. Work smart and be diligent - one day after the next.
  4. Do things that scare you - stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Each day stretch a little bit further. You can break it down into bite size pieces that way.
  5. Recognize fear - give it voice and then forge ahead anyway. Often it's not as bad as you've made it out to be in your mind.
  6. Keep track of your progress - you'll surprise yourself when you recognize the baby steps that have grown into bigger ones. All of a sudden you're there and the glass ceiling as disappeared.
  7. Be assertive about your own worth - you are your best advocate and it starts with your own self-talk.

Here’s the thing about personal glass ceilings, as you break through one and continue to evolve into the person you’re meant to be, there will be more ceilings and barriers to dissolve. Because as we break through and start to get used to the air up there, we just keep rising and discovering and reaching for the next height or accomplishment. And, each one is a breakthrough!

So, keep soaring. Keep looking for higher personal ceilings to breakthrough.

Keep moving toward your heart’s desire.

And, take a moment to look back from time to time to appreciate your journey. Honor the accomplishment, no matter how large or small.


Time for Spring Cleaning - of the Mind

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Spring is in the air. I had the pleasure of experiencing the first week of Spring in four different states. On a cross-country road trip with my sister, we drove a car load of my family treasures that were stored at her home in Austin to my home in Los Angeles, passing through West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. I'm still mining the rich gems from that trip...

When I got home, I entered into some Spring cleaning in order to make room for said treasures. That meant cleaning out closets and drawers. It was at times mindless work, but I found my mind was anything but "less". In fact, it was just the opposite. I had to pause to journal because I had so much to capture from my amazing sister road trip.

So, pen poised over the page, and nothing came. It’s not that my mind was blank, it’s that my mind was racing. I felt the need to go from mind-full to mindful, which meant I needed some clarity.

Mind chatter is non-stop. If it’s not about the to-do list, it’s about a conversation we had or want to have. If it’s not about the email we need to answer, it’s about how we’re judging ourselves for it. And, everything.

If it’s not about the ache in our back or knee or shoulder, it’s about the movie we watched last night and our commentary on it; or the birds chirping or the lawn mower too loud at 6 am, or the cat sitting nearby, or what we’re having for breakfast, or how fat we feel, or how great we feel; or about the article we read on student activists, or the full moon, or the latest tech darling, or the rise of consciousness, or the fall of cryptocurrencies. We’re thinking about everything except nothing, which is kind of the goal when trying to clear the mind.

I realized when my thoughts were speeding around themselves, that my mind is like that cluttered closet or drawer, where things are placed to possibly be categorized or dealt with later. And if someone calls or starts a conversation, I need to store what's on my mind at that the moment so I can get back to it later.How many thoughts do we keep in there, just in case we might need them at some point, no matter how obscure the thought, or seemingly useless the information.

It got me thinking, clean out the closet or drawer, clean out the mind!

I took a gander into the storage shelves and was kinda surprised (and not) at all that was in there, besides the obvious stuff like pens, paper and tape. I also found: old glue, flower food, loose change, a 2016 calendar, recipes, gum (no idea how old), keys (no idea what for), batteries (probably dead), picture hangers, lens cleaner, magnets, cat toys, old coupons, menus (to places I’ll never go), loose nails, loose paperclips, 3 lighters, a door stopper, etc.

All stuffed in there haphazardly with the idea that their day will come; each item holding a glimmer of hope that it will be taken out and used for what it was meant to be. Not a chance of that happening while mired in the recesses of that closet!

The same can be said for our minds. There’s so much junk in there that the clarity gets buried alive, the brilliant ideas jumbled amidst the quagmire of waste. What junk are you stuffing in your mind that is not serving you and your highest good?

Clean out the closet, clean out the mind. Oh my, what to do with all of that open space? 

Empty everything out at once – It’s best to start with a clean canvas or an “empty drawer.” Meditation, the practice of clearing the mind, is a great way to start. If this has proven a challenge for you, start with just a few minutes. When the chatter comes in, focus on your breath. In, out. In, out. John Viscount in “Mind What Matters: A Pep Talk for Humanity” says the moments in a still mind are deeply healing and peaceful. He says, “In the silence between your thoughts, you will tap into the larger universal mind. This is where some of your greatest work on Earth will be accomplished and you won’t even know you’re doing it.”

Examine the contents – Pay attention to each voice participating in the mind chatter. Only then can you determine which are dedicated to raising your consciousness and which are ego-driven to keep you stagnant or small or stuck. Michael Singer in the book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself takes it a step further by saying “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it…If you watch it objectively, you will come to see that much of what the voice says is meaningless…a waste of time and energy.”

Give it a wipe down – Clean out the dust and cobwebs once it’s empty. Lose a bad habit; clean out your email, in other words, delete almost everything and unsubscribe from almost all of them; let go of an unhealthy relationship that clouds your mind; have the conversation you can't stop thinking about; or exercise to release negative and low vibrational energies.

Let the space breathe – Go off the grid for a while. Disconnect your phone, put down your pen, no email, no television and no social media. Spend time with just yourself. Don’t busy your mind with more incoming junk. Stay in the space between your thoughts. Listen to your breath, feel the energy in your body. I plan to do this a lot more often!

Be very selective about what you put in there – Now that you’re space is open and clear, you have complete choice about what you allow into your mind space. Be intentional. Only invite stimuli that will nurture your clarity. Monitor what your read, see and speak. Once you're mindful of this it becomes a way of life.

Do away with the Junk Mind – You don’t need it anymore. At this point in organizing a closet or drawer, this is where you would compartmentalize the items as you put them back in the drawer, in nice little neat compartments or dividers. 

But, with a clear mind you actually de-compartmentalize, doing away with the need for separation of thoughts and conflicting voices. With a clear mind, complete alignment with your oneness and universal purpose is not only possible, it’s unstoppable.

Get into daily cleaning - It's an ongoing process. When you see the thoughts gathering to dump into the junk mind stop, breathe and assess. Go back to #1. Meditate and get clear!

And, the bonus? You get to know your Self like never before, stripped bare and clean, open to all possibilities. Just think of the choices you can make from that place?

Happiness? Joy? Love? Peace? Contribution? Friendship? 

Genius.

Related: Start Today, Live Life Anew


Stick to Your Lane

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"I'll have what she's having." ~ When Harry Met Sally

I often marvel at my successful friends. I'm blessed to be surrounded by people who are riding at or near the top of their game, continually reinventing themselves and expanding their capacities for the big lives they're meant to live. 

And, as a person who is continuing to unfold and evolve herself in midlife, watching them brings on a myriad of thoughts and emotions and actions. For one thing, it can be intoxicating! And, riveting. And, thought-provoking. 

And, inspiring. And sometimes I think, maybe if I emulate a few of the things they're doing then that might possibly work for me too. Maybe they know something I don't and should. "I'll have what she's having." 

Ever been there?

Where someone you admire is on a certain track and you wonder somewhere in your always-seeking brain, if you should be on that track too? 

The upside of that is that you can learn a lot: tried and proven tips and techniques to apply to your own work and career path.

The downside? It can lead to that never-a-winner game called Comparison. Where you start looking at your life, comparing it to that person you admire or a career path you might covet or even envy. As Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." It's also the thief of success and certainly of self-fulfillment. Iyanla Vanzant said, "Comparison is an act of violence against the self." It only leaves you in a puddle of dissatisfaction and frustration. 

Hey, it's human to go there. I was there recently, after rejoicing in a friend's big successes, I caught myself in the downward spiral of comparison. Then, it went on to other fabulous friends who are kicking ass too. I started to question what path I was on, if perhaps I should be refocusing in some similar directions. Questioning all things like timing and choices and that started to lead to tiny thoughts of regret. Ugh. 

Well, there's one I did know for sure, and that was this train of thought was going nowhere good.

So, I got quiet. I did some deep work around it with some comrades who held me to my own fire, kept me accountable. I went underneath it, digging for the truths I've relied on over and over again. Then, in the midst of the quiet, when the competing inner voices had been silenced, I got the message I was meant to hear.

And, it was loud and clear: "Stay in your lane."

Stay in your lane.

And, it was an aha. Because the truth is whenever I've ventured over into someone else's lane for awhile, the lane of another writer or creative businesswoman where I want what she's having, I find that, beyond being inspired by them, I'm left chasing my tail and spinning my wheels. Why? Because it's their lane. It's not mine.

As soon as I step back over into my lane I'm reminded of what I do and what I love about what I do. Stay with that, my higher wisdom told me. Ground yourself in there, in the loving impact of your own lane.

It reminded me of a piece I'd written a couple years about a similar topic: 

In a “60 Minutes” interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Award-winning creator of the musical HAMILTON, Lin-Manuel talked about attending a school for gifted children. He said he looked around and everyone was smarter than him, he was “surrounded by genius, genius kids.” The interviewer asked him, “So why do you think I’m sitting here talking to you and not one of your classmates?” He said, “I picked a lane and started running faster than anyone else.”

“I picked a lane!” That lane led to the intense hard work and dedication that made him a true pioneer, recreating the modern Broadway musical. And, man is he ever in his purpose. His lane just continues to widen and elevate him and everyone around him.

This time around, it made me think about how sometimes we can lose direction when we try to run in a lane that doesn't lead to our own purposeful work, so much so that we lose sight for a moment of what that was supposed to be. 

When I got that concise, powerful message I felt something shift in my thinking, back to what's in alignment for my truth. The simple truth is I don't want to be in anyone else's lane. No one should. 

It’s just so simple. We make things so complicated at times and comparison, that pesky devil, robs us of living our most intentional and satisfying life. When seeking outside of ourselves - outside our lane - we follow someone else’s lead down their road, ending up chasing a goal or dream that was never ours to begin with. Then, we lose our way, our path becomes less clear, albeit hidden behind something other than our own truth. We then try to override our most meaningful intentions by trying to make them fit a different outcome, rather than simply trusting the truth and power of our own lane.

So, how to get back there? Get still, find your footing again. Then, deal with what's right there, inside you and in front of you. Listen to your own wisdom. Remind yourself what you love and where you're amazing. Remember the reasons you share what you share. Discuss it with your support team, those who know you and have your highest best interests at heart. 

And, follow your heart's deepest intentions.

So, good reminder, yes? I say stick to your lane. And, I'll see you along the way. 


Wise Women, Wise Words - 31 Quotes That Make Us Think

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In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month.

Wise words...

ON LOVE

"To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous." Elizabeth Gilbert

“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line.” Lucille Ball

“Choose people who lift you up.” Michelle Obama

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

ON SUCCESS

“Done is better than perfect.” Sheryl Sandberg

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” Ayn Rand

“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM

 

ON CHOICE 

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” JK Rowling

“We can choose to be perfect and admired. Or to be real and loved.” Glennon Doyle Melton

"Each day is a clean slate. How you fill it is up to you." Cindy Yantis (I couldn't resist!)

ON POSSIBILITY

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” Audrey Hepburn

"I dwell in possibility." Emily Dickinson

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”     Golda Meir

 

ON VOICE

“We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Coco Chanel

ON TRUTH & WISDOM

"If you have a longing in your heart to hear a deeper truth, there's a mysterious way in which that truth will find you." Marianne Williamson

"Turn your wounds into wisdom." Oprah Winfrey

ON INNER STRENGTH & POWER

“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa

"If you don't know where you're magnificent, no one else will either." Andrea Quinn

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Margaret Thatcher

ON HUMANITY & COMPASSION

"Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." Pema Chodron 

“Until the great mass of people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” Helen Keller

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait for a single moment before starting to improve the world.”       Anne Frank

ON BEAUTY

“I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful.” Drew Barrymore

“Look your best – who said love is blind?” Mae West

"Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." Coco Chanel

 

ON LIFE

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” Katharine Hepburn

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” Shonda Rhimes

“Owning your story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” Brene Brown

"Well behaved women seldom make history." Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

 

The inspiration and wisdom are endless. I literally could go on forever. So, just rejoicing in women, well behaved or otherwise, today, and always.