Gratitude Challenge

One of the most expanding and enlightening activities I have ever partaken in was a conscious effort at increasing gratitude. I recently spent 21 days doing a daily semi-guided meditation with a friend of mine who was 5 states away for most of that time, and then an ocean away for the last few days. In that short expanse of time, I have experienced a deeper opening of my heart and soul and feel more connected than I would have thought possible simply by changing one small thing in your day – adding gratitude. 

Here are some moments of synchronicity I have enjoyed recently due to my increased awareness and focus on gratitude:

  • A parking spot in a busy parking lot right in front of the store I needed to go to.
  •  The outfit I wanted for the day, but was sure was dirty – hanging in the closet. 
  • Items I needed being on sale, as a surprise, at the checkout. 
  • A phone call from someone who had been on my mind. 
  • Rain when I needed to be working in the house, but would have been distracted by outdoor chores if it had been sunny. 

And so many more. I could list for days.

I intend to continue building on this feeling, this expansiveness. This growth. I want to continue to manifest the prosperity I have seen during this time since I began this gratitude meditation.

For the next 30 days, I intend to practice intentional, conscious gratitude every day. 

My Plan
I have delighted in noticing all the little things. A dancing dragonfly, a light turning green just as I pull up, having just enough cash in my wallet for the purchase I want to make, a post in my feeds about a book I’ve been thinking about, and so many more. I want to continue this delight as well as share it. Expand the awareness.

I will be taking a photo of one gratitude image every day (maybe more than one) and posting it to my Instagram (@Driftseed) account using the hashtag #GratitudeExpands. For those of you who do not have Instagram accounts, I will share to my Facebook (Mosaic Starfish) and Twitter (@Driftseed) feeds, as well. 

I invite you to join me. 

I would love it if we could make this a collective effort of sharing the things that delight us, or even frustrate us if they make us grateful or teach us a lesson. 

Will you join me? Beginning on the first of the month, will you post a photograph of something that makes you feel grateful and use the hashtag #GratitudeExpands? If you are on Instagram or Twitter, feel free to tag me, if you’d like (@Driftseed). You can also follow me on Periscope. I make be Scoping some of my gratitudes, as well. It’s such a fun new way to be social. 

Who is in? 

Come with me. In Light and Love. 
Namaste ~ 

Values Assessment

We often hear about direction, focus, path. Finding our passion, living our ideal life. Lately, the buzz word has been “alignment.” But how do we get into alignment?

Through our values.

Thy Word is a Lamp-2

It is important to ask yourself, What values are important to me? What values define how I want to live my life? Which values speak to me, on the deepest of levels?

I do this each year during my annual ritual, but also if I have a major life change.

You might think that values are constant. That what is important and a driving force never changes. And maybe on some level this is true. But I believe that as we evolve, our values evolve. Major changes in our lifestyles also impact our values. For example, maybe a healthy lifestyle wasn’t important to you last year, but a recent health issue has brought it to the top of the list. Relationship changes, job changes, housing – all can bring about changes in our values.

In the past I sought out someone else’s list and applied their words to me, to my life. And this worked, more or less. The last few times, though, when I sat down and to review those same lists, those words no longer had the same meaning, the same power, that they once did.

Words are spells. They carry magic. They have the power to heal, to restore, to rejuvenate, to bring peace. To encourage, motivate, and drive forward. I have come to need my words. The words that will be my spells, carry my magic, hold my power.

Conducting a Values Assessment
I review and select my values during my annual review ritual as I evaluate and set my direction for the coming year.

While my large list of values doesn’t change often, I create from that list a short list of values, to focus on for the year. I identify those and they become my guiding principles for that year. Maybe one year I need more focus on finances but the next year I need to return to a rest and rejuvenation period. I incorporate those values into a personal mission statement, create a paragraph or two around them. Then use that as my anchor throughout the year. To help keep direction in focus.

I weigh decisions against those values and mission. Daily I review my mission statement when I set my daily intention and make my plan for the day.

What are my words? These are the words that flowed from me as I sat to write this article:

  • At peace
  • Authentic
  • author of my own journey
  • Clarity
  • Commitment
  • Connection
  • Conscious living
  • Contribution
  • Courage
  • Discipline
  • Ethical
  • Evolving
  • Flow
  • Freedom
  • Generous
  • Honor
  • In Alignment
  • Influential
  • Inspired
  • Inspiring
  • Integrity
  • Intentional
  • Joy
  • Laughter
  • Loved
  • Loving
  • Loyalty
  • Meaningful
  • Nourish
  • Observant
  • Overflowing
  • Present
  • Purposeful
  • Resourceful
  • Restorative
  • Secure
  • Service
  • Simplicity
  • Spiritual
  • Tribe
  • Unique
  • Value

Here is an example of a prior year’s Key Values list and Personal Mission Statement:

Key Values:
FINANCIAL STABILITY AND INDEPENDENCE
CONSISTENCY
DISCIPLINE
INSPIRATION
CREATIVITY
RESOLVE
FORTITUDE
PRESENT MOMENT
BALANCE
SIMPLICITY
INTENTIONAL
CONSCIOUS LIVING

Mission Statement:
This year, I am using my CREATIVITY, RESOLVE, and FORTITUDE to generate enough revenue to be FINANCIALLY STABLE by the end of May, increase my revenue month over month by the end of the year, and finish the year with cash in the bank and a steady stream of income.

With my CONSISTENCY, DISCIPLINE and expertise, I will serve as INSPIRATION to others.

I will DOMINATE this year by remaining PRESENT in the current MOMENT and focused on the task at hand. I will continue my pursuit of a SIMPLE, INTENTIONAL life by LIVING CONSCIOUSLY while encouraging and leading others in their quest to do the same.

How useful is a Values Assessment and Mission Statement? 
Throughout the years, I have had people ask me why I do this, how it benefits me. They see this exercise as a lot of work. What I hear when they say that is fear. Fear of change, fear of success. Fear of knowing how out of control they have allowed their lives to become. And I get it. That was me once, too. The first time I heard about this exercise was in an old Stephen Covey lesson more than 20 years ago. The exercise felt challenging and restrictive.

Challenging, yes.

Restrictive, No.

I find this exercise very liberating. It takes a lot of guess work out of major life decisions. In the example above, the focus for the year was to improve finances. When opportunities arose that had significant expense, I weighed those choices against my goals. Having the mission statement in place and being reviewed reminded me what was important to me. It removed the stress and challenge of the decision. I could clearly ask myself “where does this purchase fit within the framework of my goals?” If the purchase fit, I made it. If it did not, I did not.

Simple as that.

When to conduct a Values Assessment
I recommend doing this assessment on a regular schedule. I review daily what I create annually. My annual review occurs on or near my birthday, what I consider to be my personal New Year’s day. But I have repeated the exercise when deciding whether or not to start a new endeavor, make a large purchase, invite into my life a person or people who would take a significant amount of time. I also review when I schedule vacations. Maybe this trip isn’t in line with the financial goals, but is intensely needed for one of the other areas of focus. Beginning of the school year is another time. How do I want to lead my child this year? What is the example I am and want to set?

How to conduct a Values Assessment
When I conduct my annual ritual, I spend a day or two preparing. The day of is spent alone, in solitude. Away from distractions. I light candles and have my journal. Have some tea, wine, and tissues ready. I review the outgoing year – successes, challenges, obstacles. I think deeply about the coming year and what I want it to look like. How I want to experience it. And what I want to outcome to be.  And then I write. What I write isn’t important. Just that I do write. Other people I know who do this draw, or paint, or create music. The purpose is to open yourself up creatively, spiritually, and mentally.

As I write what usually ends up being some version of an annual review, I pay attention to the words that come. That’s where I find what is important for me to focus on. In the  financial example, I noticed that year’s review included a lot of disappointments in not having had enough cash to do the things I wanted to do. So, that was changed – with intention – the following year.

You may not have a day to set aside to do this, that’s okay. Spend an hour. Your coming year certainly deserves an hour of your time. Or maybe for you a day isn’t enough. Spend a weekend. I did that one year. In a hotel room. With room service. And no responsibilities. It was probably the best review I did. Make a retreat out of it.

Drop me a note or leave a comment if you would be interested in more details or guidance.

Until next time ~ Namaste

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves…” Richard Bach

How did you feel when you read that Bach quote?

What emotions did it evoke?

If you are like me, you felt a little defensive. That knee jerk reaction, I don’t tell lies, especially to myself!

But … is that, too, … a lie? It was for me. The discovery of which served multiple purposes. It scared me, excited me, energized me and made me a little angry. Angry at the realization of so much wasted time. I hate wasting time. These lies keep us stuck in that place where we claim we don’t want to be.

You are probably still feeling a little hesitant. A little …. doubtful. So let me ask you this question, have you used any of these phrases today? This week? Within the past hour?

I am too busy.
I don’t have enough money, time, resources.
I am not smart enough.
I am not thin enough.
My housework has to come first.
I don’t know how.
I can’t ….

Lies. Every one of them. All lies.

These are just some of the lies that keep us from reaching our goals, keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone. Keep us from trying. Keep us in a web of self-prepetuating circumstances. And we tell them to and for ourselves.

The one that I tell myself the most often is “I am too busy.” Granted, I have a LOT of things I want to do before I sing my last song, but with some focus, discipline, structure and priority I can do a lot of them. Maybe even all of them. At least if I stop adding to the list.

What am I too busy doing? Typically household maintenance – laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.

Sound familiar? These are the things we tell ourselves that we ‘have’ to do. Do they need to be done? Yes. Absolutely. Unless you have an endless supply of money and can buy new everything all the time.

The truth is, these tasks can be batched to save time and allow us to focus on the things that bring us joy and passion. Or you can bring abundance to your life and the life of someone else by hiring someone else to do them for you. Maids, personal chefs, dog sitters, lawn care specialists can be found in all price ranges.

Don’t tell yourself, or allow others to tell you these lies anymore. Just stop.

I could write for hours on this topic, and maybe I will. Each one of these lies and the many others could be a post in itself. Instead, I am going to focus on just one. The one that has come to be my current pet peeve.

It’s hard.

That’s right: “It’s Hard.”

I hear it from people who want to start their own business on the side of their current job and responsibilities – “it’s hard!”
From people who want to quit drinking or smoking – “it’s hard!”
From people who want to change their dietary habits, begin exercising, lose weight – “it’s hard!”
From people who want to stop fighting with their significant other and enjoy a peaceful life – “It’s hard!”

Yet people do it. Everyday. Each of these things. And more.

In all fairness, you might be thinking that these activities are hard because someone else told you they were hard. A friend, a parent, a spouse. Maybe even a coach or mentor.

Why are you choosing to believe them? They are not you. If it was hard for them, allow them to keep that choice for themselves. Choose a different path, your path. Choose a different word: exciting, invigorating, motivating.

Maybe you need a helping hand, new tools, some education to accomplish what you set out to do. Go get them.

I want to share a few things I have learned over the past few months. I consider them tools. After all, words can be tools, too – if used when you need them.

1) It is only hard if you say it is.

2) It is only hard if you allow it to be.

3) It is only hard if you make that your choice.

Yes, I wrote it. I said it. Your choice. You choose.

Every day someone else on this planet gets up and has the same issue you have, the same thoughts, the same doubts, the same hurdles. Some succeed, some do not. Ever wondered why? Some will use the word attitude, but attitude is a choice, isn’t it? What will you choose?

That is what it all comes down to, isn’t it? The choice. We choose to tell ourselves that something is hard rather than going out and making it happen.

That’s all from me for tonight. I am very busy, I have laundry and dishes to do {insert winky face here … }

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The Choices We Make

Inspired by Bertha.

My friend Bertha (who is actually my friend Jane’s sassy alter ego) recently posed a musing  on Jane’s Facebook page: “The only way to stick to a budget…whether it’s for time, money, or a diet…is to include things you love.” This musing prompted Jane to ask the question, “How do you budget for the things you love?”

A question I thought very valuable and provoking because I don’t budget for these things. What I have done instead is created an active change to my thought process. A change that is, truth be told, still being cultivated. It is an on going process that takes continued practice because it is contrary to the things we see in mainstream media and different from how many of us were raised.

Budgeting to include the things I love can sometimes be seen as an implication that to have time, money, diet, etc I have to typically exclude those loved things. Whereas I actually see this as choosing.

This is the change in thought process – the choosing.

When I used to diet, I excluded certain foods. I had reasons for their exclusion – donuts, corn chips, cheese dip, these things are not going to get me to the shape I want. Sitting on the couch instead of taking a walk isn’t going to get oxygen into my lungs. Watching violent TV and movies isn’t going to get me to the mindset I want. Nagging, depressed friends aren’t going to help me move forward with my goals and dreams. Random, uncontrolled spending isn’t going to get me out of debt and into my freedom goal.

The change is in the choosing.

Do I choose to spend this $50 on these shoes today? Or do I choose to add that $50 to my debt resolution pot so I can be financially free?

Do I choose that donut and the sugar high/crash that will come with it and the icky feelings later? Or do I choose this apple with nut butter that tastes even better and gives me nourishment?

Sit or  walk?

Clean the garage or build the website?

This or that? Every decision is a choice.

All of these things are choices. Which will you make today?

To read more Bertha-isms, find Jane at http://janecarrollauthor.com

The perfect quote came through my feeds this morning: 

Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your closet. It’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living.” Peter Walsh

So True.

When I tell people that I am a minimalist, they often look around at my big house and all my stuff with a raised eyebrow. Justifiably. I have a too big house for the inhabitants and way too much stuff. Throwbacks to a past life, all of it. It, collectively, is on it’s way out the door. 

And I was moving along quite nicely with that. Purging and clearing clutter, emptying cupboards, leading and participating in challenges aimed at having fun while getting rid of the junk – scroll through the old posts, you’ll see them. I have a very lovely shelving unit set up in the garage where I have placed many items that are currently for sale somewhere in the internet (mostly a Facebook garage sale page…) It was fun, exciting, inspiring. Beyond the physical clutter, I was purging old beliefs, negative thoughts, negative people. I was setting up my inner circle of those most trusted and valued contributors. People to whose lives I could also contribute, reciprocal relationships. 

But then something happened. 

I stalled.

Or more correctly, I allowed a very large item of “clutter” into my life. And that item of clutter is the very definition of that quote above. It is getting in between me and the life I have chosen. It it in between me and my family time, my business building time, my workout/health time. It is between me and time with my friends. It is between me and the physical clutter congesting my house. It is between me and my garden – well, this thing plus the snow is between me and my garden, but the snow is heading out. Maybe it’s time for this clutter to head out, too. 

This item of clutter does have a perk. It does contribute to my life in one way. There have been a few lessons learned that were certainly assets, but as an on-going facet of my life, it contributes in only one way. And I can get that perk elsewhere. The lessons, too. 

Because, and most importantly, this item of clutter is getting between me and my authentic self. 

By choosing to allow this clutter into my life, I have actively chosen to set aside all of those other things. I have chosen to set aside myself. And that cannot be tolerated. 

More to come … 

Come With Me

I have embarked on a grand new adventure and am looking for three people to join me this month.

Three motivated, dedicated, and driven people who have a passion for living a healthier life, believe in creating a lifestyle of holistic wellness, will act with integrity, and who aspire to create more financial freedom. 

I am accepting applications for NEW Wellness Advocates to join my team. If this is you, you must be willing to commit to working a minimum of 10 hours per week, online. This is work that you can do from anywhere at times that are convenient for you. I will not be tracking your calls or monitoring your performance. If you are the right person for this opportunity, you are a self starter who is driven to succeed. My role will be to assist you in your endeavors, share my knowledge, and connect you with other members of the leadership team who can help you cultivate the skills that will help you be a success in this opportunity. 

This is an opportunity for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset to earn money while learning about and teaching the benefits of essential oils. The potential for earning is driven by your direct actions and includes both passive and residual opportunities once your own foundations have been built. You will be your own business owner, but with the support of a leadership team who wants you to obtain success as defined by you.
My team is a part of a larger team whose primary interest is to nurture the individual and their natural skill set. Each of us in leadership already have successful businesses in some area of wellness and are complimenting those businesses with essential oils. We are hand selecting the people with whom we grow our team. 

A background in or experience with essential oils or holistic wellness is not required. Our leadership collectively has the necessary experience and is interested in sharing it with the right people. 

What is required from you is a passion to help others live a more healthy life, an interest in essential oils, aromatherapy, and holistic wellness, and a desire to invest the time in your own progress and success.

If this is you… and you are NOT already a doTerra Wellness Advocate, complete the contact form below and I will respond to you within 24 hours to schedule an introductory call. I will be meeting personally via phone or web chat with every person who expresses interest in this opportunity. 

**Neither I nor doTerra guarantees any specific level of success or income from this opportunity. The income of each Wellness Advocate depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill.

Crosspost: MorningCoach.com

I don’t mention it as often as I should, but I guest blog over at MorningCoach.com. This is an older post, but it was republished just this past weekend. I hope you hop over, check it out, and enjoy. While you’re there, please also check out the other guest blogger writings: http://goo.gl/ca7NJe