Playing Small

For years, I was told I was “too intense” and that I should “tone it down a notch” and other similar statements from people who were uncomfortable with me being me. I am loud, animated. I talk with my hands. I have been asked, more than a few times, if I am Italian or grew up in an Italian area (no to both of those). I get louder when I get excited, frustrated, insert any high energy emotion here. It is too much for some people.

I. Am too much for some people.

I am too honest, too blunt, too curt, too quick to express my emotion. I communicate things that are “supposed” to be held close. I “wear my heart on my sleeve.” I share my “secrets.” Those things that are supposed to be embarrassing. I hurt and get hurt. For most of my life and with most people, I have been okay with this. Even when it has cost me promotions, raises, new jobs, friends, lovers, and more. I have been okay losing people. I have been okay with the hurt. I have been okay with the price of truth.

Honesty has always been one of my key values. I will not look you in the face and lie to you. Not if you are my friend and not if you are an executive where I work and not if you’re a total stranger. I will tell you the truth as best I know it. And I will own it if I find out later that what I once knew as truth was not actually true. I am one of therose people who will actually answer the question you ask, whether you want the real answer or not. Please don’t ask me if those pants make you look fat. If they do, I will tell you they do. And I will forget to say it with pleasantries such as “maybe these would be more flattering?”

I have been told to ‘dumb it down’ and ‘take the edge off’ and ‘sugar coat it’ … I don’t really know how to do these things. But I tried. I tried hard for a long time. Failed miserably sometimes. Many times.

When I was a pre-teen, trying to short cut and half ass my chores the way kids do, my mother would tell me “character is who you are when no one is looking.” She would ask me If I wanted to be the person whose sheets were a crumpled mess under the cover? The person who had just wiped the dirty spots when I had committed to mopping the whole floor?

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that what she was really asking me was if I wanted to be the person who was hollow inside because I had built a shell but not a foundation? These days, the question would sound something closer to “do you want to live in alignment to your truth?” And the answer would be yes. Yes. I want to live in alignment with my truth. And my truth does not include any version of dumbing myself down so that you feel more comfortable in my presence. I know a lot about many topics and I know where to go, who to ask, about many more. I will no longer reduce myself for those who have chosen not to acquire this skill, this curiosity, for themselves.

I like that I am too much for some people.

Because …

I am perfect for my people. And they are perfect for me. Even when they tell me my butt looks fat in my jeans.

I would like to share with you one of my all time favorite passages, from Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course In Miracles.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

What will you do TODAY to let your light shine?

From the chaos …

Change, change, everywhere there’s change.

I am a fan of change. I know that sounds weird. After all, we are taught that change is scary and should be feared, right? We see articles and news posts, and memes all talking about how change makes us nervous and messes with our plans and and and …

But I rarely feel that way. Big changes, yes. My divorce was scary. Buying my house was scary. Moving my then boyfriend into my house and getting married again – scary. Going to the dentist – very scary. Other changes though, not scary for me.

When I got laid off in 2014 from the job I had held for the prior seventeen years, I was exhilarated. Anticipating the “what’s next?!”

Before the ink was even dry, I was texting one of my mentors. Overjoyed with possibility. Excited at the opportunities now laid out before me. I had her laughing at my sheer giddiness and unstoppable, excited chatter. My fingers tripping over each other as I bombarded her with messages.

I realize that I am an anomaly in this. That having the ability to get excited about what is around the next corner is a tad unusual.

Even the somewhat sudden prospect of moving this summer was exciting. Overwhelming and exhausting because of the amount of work. Triggering to ALL of my lazy genes. We weren’t planning to do this for five years! And I had close to five years worth of work I wanted to do on my house before that happened. But here we are.

And while I am able to take these big changes pretty much in stride, I find that I am not at all able to take small changes in any sense of the word.

My kitchen, for example, is organized in a very specific way. Cultivated over years of learning organizational tips and tricks. The dried parsley is always exactly here. The mayo is always exactly there. Ketchup in this spot. Coconut water nestled in this nook. I designed this to suit how I cook, so I could reach and grab, use and put back. All in one smooth move. Like a dance. Efficiency is important to me. I also designed it this way because I hate to shop. If everything is in it’s place, I can quickly open doors and cupboards and make a list on the fly. Mentally, I can be in the store and envision if that space is empty or not. Everything has a place and everything goes in it’s place after being used.

But now, the big changes have impacted the little changes.

I have gotten married and my husband has moved into this space. His children have have moved in. We have become a blended family.

Things no longer get put back in their place. And it is painful for me. It brings me actual, real, physical pain. Then I hear the screechy old woman voice coming out of my mouth and am unable to stop it. I am constantly mumbling, “this doesn’t GO THERE!” My palms sweat and I get a little shaky when I reach for my Berbere and it isn’t where it belongs. Thankfully, the Cinnamon has a different label or my eggs would have been quite nasty that day when the two bottles got switched around.

Blankets are not folded the same. they don’t tuck into the couch and chair quite as nicely as they once did. Towels get folded in all different directions instead of in the direction that allows them all to fit in the cupboard. If they get folded at all. Yes, I have seen the meme….. Thankfully I do not share my familial obsession about the direction of the toilet paper or we might just have mayhem over here. I am grateful when the new roll actually makes it onto the holder instead of being set on top of the old tube (or left empty altogether).

These may seem like little things. And they are little things – the littlest of things. These are what my mother used to call “Toothpaste Cap Crap” things (let’s call them TCC for short). Those itsy bitsy annoyances that turn massive. That feel like little pokes and pins. Because no matter how many times you communicate them to the other person or people, these things are never as important to them as they are to you. When they don’t get done “right,” no one else understands why you are suddenly a screaming meamy. There have been many nights where my new family is staring back at me with blank faces not at all understanding why I am upset to learn that we have three open, stale, (expensive, local) bread packages because three different people opened bread and put them in three different places – none of which are the one place bread belongs. (side note: I do find it interesting that these same people will look for items in the place where they should be, but will not put them back there when finished. this is not logical to me in the least little bit).

Coupled with an impending home sale and move, a race to find new housing before our summer vacation ends and school begins, and major drama at my current corporate job – these minor TCC issues have become massive. They are becoming the outlet for all of my stress. I am full daily. Add to that the nuances of children who are out of their element and having responsibilities they have never had to have before and I am becoming the very embodiment of the Wicked Stepmother from every Disney movie ever.

I have practiced detaching, releasing, communicating. I have pulled out all of the tricks I know. And now find myself asking my new family to explain to me what I need to say or do so that they actually hear me, understand what I am saying, and either follow directions or propose a solution. More blank faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t know” answers.

Honestly, it was beginning to feel like these were personal attacks. Refusals to follow instructions or provide an alternative. That’s what we are taught, right? I read in books and magazines that if we have communicated clearly, effectively, confirmed understanding, checked comprehension, and the person still does exactly what we asked them not to – then it is an unequivocal personal attack. It is intentional and it’s purpose is to inflict pain or frustration.


But what if it’s not?

What if we choose to interrupt that script?

Having a house for sale and frequent showings requires that our house be immaculate at all times. This is a challenge for children in general, but especially challenging for kids who are in a ‘new to them’ house and who haven’t really had a chance to create their spot for their stuff. Not to mention they are not used to picking their own things up at all. “Tornado hit the playroom” is their normal paradigm but not one I would allow even if the house were not for sale.

We have set, communicated and enforced the expectations. My husband makes me a more consistent parent to my own child, which I appreciate. Having been a single parent for many years has made me lax in which things I choose to enforce and when – usually based on volume of energy in the reserves coupled with the adage “choose your battles.” but children do need consistency so I appreciate his assistance.

We have tried practicing making the beds repeatedly while I sat and watched, explaining why bunching the sheets up here, or not tucking that in was leaving that lumping the middle. We have set kids in front of open closets with the clothes spilling out of drawers when I reached my limit and my husband suggested a different approach. We have taken furniture away from them altogether when they refused to respect my antiques.

I have done research, read books and articles, ‘interviewed’ my own bonus mom and friends of mine who have bonus children. (we don’t use the word “step” around here – look up the meaning of a step parent and you’ll understand why). We have had to sit one of the children down and have the “you don’t have to like me, or respect me, but you will NOT disrespect me in my own home” conversation when I refused to tolerate anymore of her nasty behavior, snide remarks, body slams and shutting the door in my face. I realize and appreciate that I am blessed that her father was supportive of me during that and he even did most of the talking.

Clearly, CLEARLY, this is personal. Right?

But what if it is not?

Who sold us that script anyway? And why do we want to keep running it? It’s painful. It is painful to think that your closest people really do not love you after all simply because they hang their shirts backwards. Or have their underwear hanging out of the drawers. Or whatever. Why would we choose to feel like this?

What if we all, collectively, try this for a few weeks: the next time someone does something you have asked them not to do (within reason of course, I’m talking toothpaste cap crap here, not a complete violation of trust and boundaries) what if we ask them, kindly, what they were thinking or feeling when they did it? What if, instead of assuming they meant to do us harm, we assume they did not mean to do us harm? Human nature being what it is, many of us will need an explanation for the behavior though. So go ahead, I encourage you, have a conversation. two ears, one mouth. You might learn something.

I did. I learned a lot.

I am going to insert a disclaimer here… do not beat yourself up for not being perfect at this any time in the near future. That script has been running a long time, it has dug deep grooves. But I strongly encourage you to see what happens when we knock it out of its tracks.

Just my pennies ~

p.s. I’d love to hear how this works out for you. Come on back and comment.


I blinked, and just like that two months were gone.

Two months ago, a bit on a whim (If you’ve been here awhile, you’ll recognize this theme), we decided to sell our house.

A multitude of reasons went into the decision and I am sure that I will write about them in the coming months, but it was a good decision. Other than the timing. Our daughters were just about to arrive for the summer, school was almost out, we were aligning our schedules to one of my businesses so we could really crank it up with a steely focus. And just like that, we hit the pause button. On everything.

We began working with a ferocity dedicated to emptying the house we had just filled, packing and cleaning, and noticing all the things you notice when you’ve decided to leave your home of fourteen years. Repairs were made, contractors called. Frustrations and successes and celebrations. Shew!

And now it’s been listed for three weeks as of today.

You forget how much time actually goes into the showing of a house. People want to see it at all hours regardless of whether that is convenient to your schedule or not. Dinner plans? Never heard of ya. Oh – and I work from home, not just for me, but for my corporate job too. So there’s that added layer of fun. However, I have met the library in the town to which I will be moving and it is rather lovely, exactly what I imagine when I envision a library – unlike my current library which is rather utilitarian and cold. I have had the opportunity to explore and find all sorts of neat like parks and activities I never knew were there. I am getting really excited about the move.

Oh yeah, the move. My first since 2002 but my 45th in my entire life. I was hoping to only have to move one more time – straight into the RV that has been my plan for the past six years or so. Yes, RV. Airstream to be exact, though recently I’ve met some people who lived in their Airstreams for awhile and they had some other suggestions. I’ll be accepting those suggestions at a time when my brain can handle the details. More on all of that later. It’s a fun story. I should definitely tell it.

And the summer is gone.

And the plans for a particular fall trip are gone.
(I needed to pay for the trip out of the revenue from work I ended up putting on hold for this life change)

And the kids are one summer older.

And another chapter in the book of life closes.

I was scrolling my socials briefly this morning and see the kids that have been my son’s schoolmates and friends since they were infants. Their changes and growth, their upcoming expeditions. And in some ways, I am sad. I was looking forward to seeing them all graduate together. Mostly because I had that. I changed elementary schools often, but I started school and ended school with the same kids. And many of us are still in touch – the way only small town kids really stay in touch. I was looking forward to college experiences, girlfriends, boyfriends, marriages. I had visions of parties in my current (very large) back yard. But that isn’t how life works out. He isn’t friends with many of those kids anymore, they’ve grown apart. some have become the antithesis of friends, a few have even become his bullies. Sadly. It’s painful when that happens. I remember the feeling well. That growing apart can feel like your heart has been ripped out. And when you suddenly become an entity that thinks differently than your friends do? Former friends become derisive in their interactions.

And that’s how life goes. We grow apart. Ebb and flow.

We know we have made the right decision.

We are looking forward to new schools, new neighborhoods, new friends, new experiences. And even a reconnecting with old friends. We’ve had some of that too. People whose company we really enjoy and who enjoy ours, reaching out to interrupt our busyness and remind us to visit. (Much Gratitude)

We are looking forward to the forced opportunity to simplify. The new house is half the size of our current house. We are struggling already to decide which furniture to choose. Where to place it. Who gets which room. Where my office will be. We look forward to a massive garage sale next year to purge the extraneous unwanted stuff. We look forward to practicing living in a smaller space. I can already tell that the step down from the space we have to the space available at that house is necessary. The more I look at the situation, the more I come to the conclusion that just going from this house into an RV would have been a big mistake. (Blessings)

We are looking forward to living in a house owned by someone else. To simply make a call when something breaks. To have someone else maintain the lawn. For it all to be someone else’s responsibility. But also to have the flexibility to fix it ourselves if we feel inclined. We seem to have gotten really lucky with our landlord (and he with us based on some of his comments). It’s a cute place, in an area where I’ve always wanted to live. Hiking, kayaking, biking, and activity trails within walking distance. We are getting really excited. (Freedom and Time).

We look forward to seeing what’s next after this.

Until next time ….


Cheap is more than money – Cultivating an abundance mindset

Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions. What are your actions showing you? Do you have positive beliefs, abundance beliefs? Or do you perpetuate negativity? Maybe you aren’t even aware of it.

Here are a few phrases I hear often. What is your impression of these as you read them? What emotions do they evoke from you?

– I don’t like to spend my money on extravagant things.
– I am happy being cheap.
– I am not cheap, I am frugal.
– I am doing better than I deserve to be.
– I don’t have the money for that.
– There never seems to be enough.
– Oh, s/he’s not so bad.

For the longest time, I wouldn’t buy certain name brand products. I felt that they were overpriced. Until friends had the same shirt that I had bought three or more times because the less expensive brand had worn out. And they had ultimately spent less money than I had. So who really saved in the long run?

On the other hand, I won’t buy other name brand products because their high price tag conveys a value that their product does not have.

That’s the key word. Value.

I have learned to value my money and my time and the time it takes to make my money. I do not want to squander it on wasteful things. I have also learned to pay for services I previously would not have paid for if it brings me value or helps me achieve my goals. I am more likely to take myself out to a good dinner (or get takeout) when I have worn myself out and know I won’t cook and will eat junk food instead of a proper meal.

A few years ago, I would not have hired someone to work on my website no matter how much money I was making. Beyond being too cheap to spend the money, it was also a source of pride for me. People told me how easy it is to do it myself. I felt like I should have control over what the presentation of my ideas looks like. Then the website sat. For four years. Sure I added some minor things and made some adjustments. But in the long run, I have no desire to learn how to do the work and don’t care how easy it is. My being cheap has held me back from going where I wanted to go.

I now see hiring others to do work that I will not do as an opportunity to help people. When I hire someone to help me achieve my goals, I am making available time that I can use in creative or revenue generating activities or better yet – for my family. I put funds into the life of someone else that may allow them an opportunity they would not otherwise have. I allow someone else to cultivate their skills while I cultivate mine. I create partnerships and teams, even if only for a short project. I allow others to shine – to operate from their highest self. Hiring them allows me to ‘do me’ better.

Creating confusion.
Another thing I have learned is that using the word cheap confuses the universe. If you are trying to manifest abundance into your life, but are still using words like “cheap,” you are still in a place of lack thinking. Try reframing these statements to value conscious statements. You want value. Value in your products, in your time, in your entertainment. And in your people.

Wait, cheap refers to people, too? Yes.
We collect people because of common interests, common activities, same place/same time. This is human nature. We are hard wired to build tribes. But for some reason, we feel like we need to keep them well past the times when they provide value to our lives or we to theirs. Historically this was important because of safety issues. These days, though, it’s just another way to be in lack. Afraid you will not find new friends. Or maybe you have never even thought about it. I know I had not until a few years ago. People came and went through my life. Sometimes I would struggle to hang on to them. Even if they drained me or made me feel bad. I kept people who were close to me even if they were cheap. Cheap in thought, word, and deed. I certainly do not need martyrs in my life, but I do not need people who do not choose value either. Is this the kind of people I want to have in my “five”? It is not. I want people who know and own their own value, their own truth and who project it back out into the universe.

What about clients?
Clients, too. There is this culture that tells us that we need to cling to clients who continue to buy our products or services. But I do not want cheap clients. I want clients who find value in the work we do together. Who enjoy using the products I sell. Who do not call and complain about every little thing. Who make an effort.

I used to work at a large corporation who had a massive client who the very embodiment of cheap. The client undercut their payments wherever they could. They required a significant amount of specialized work needed only for that client. The company (and others like it that worked with this client) had to hire teams to specialize in supporting this client. In the long run, this client was and continues to be a financial drain. Yet, the top line revenue looks really good on the books. Most of the employees would have fired this client years ago. For good reason.

You can too. Even if you have a small business and that client is your only client. If your clients consistently violate your boundaries or force you to push them beyond where you would like to go, you can dump them. I give you permission.

Creating opportunities
Since I have begun work cultivating abundance mindset, my opportunities have grown exponentially. Each opportunity better than the last. Sometimes it is hard to say no or to quit them when they are no longer serving me or my long game. This too is a form of cheap. Of fear. Of lack thinking. Knowing what your values are, what your mission is, is critical. It provides the foundation for you to build a solid life onto. Abundance mindset starts at the bottom and works all the way up. It is easy to be pulled off course or distracted when you don’t know which direction you are sailing your ship.

Cultivate abundance through awareness.
How do we cultivate abundance mindset? It begins with awareness.

Watch your language for the next few days. How do you speak to yourself? I used to call myself frugal often. In reality, I hadn’t established my thoughts on value.

Be aware of your feelings towards money and material items. How does it feel to buy an item, spend that money, hold that item? I used to have a lot of guilt and dread around spending money. Which I would then soothe through buying a lot of little baubles, ironically.

Take a look in around your home, do you keep items “for a special occasion?” What is the special occasion you are waiting for? Is that item being ruined by sitting and waiting? I used to do this with candles, fancy foods, and bath products. By the time that occasion that was special enough rolled around, the item was old, junky, ratty or spoilt.

Observe yourself in your mindset. Don’t judge yourself, just notice. If you journal, I recommend journaling about your observations, it will help you identify the root of these thoughts and help with the removal of them.

If you have made a conscious effort to define your values, compare you observations to your values. Are they in alignment? If not, make changes.

If you have never defined your values and are interested in guided work on doing this, feel free to drop me a note. I am in the process of building a course to help people get clear and granular on how to define their values. I would be interested in hearing from you.

Are there other actions you can think of that will help you cultivate abundance mindset? Do you have stories of being a reformed “lack thinker?” Or if you just want to dialogue about the topic, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next time …

In Light & Love

Declutter the decluttering – a reframing exercise; notes from a reforming organizer

Welcome to Spring!

Everywhere I turn I see another article about declutter this, organize that, buy these fancy new containers here, look at this new decorating style, here is another minimalist/simplicity/organizational book on SALE today only!

What if, just for a moment, we consider the possibility that we are not all the same?

“Clear the clutter! Clutter is a sign of dis-ease. Clutter outside is a sign of clutter inside. Clutter is a reflection of what is going on in your head. And clearly, that cluttered space is just not good.”

So much judgement. Negativity. Fear. Why?

What if, just for a moment, we stop buying into that old inaccurate assessment that a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind. Okay, maybe it does, but a cluttered mind does not mean incompetent mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a minimalist at heart and am striving to reduce my material possessions on a daily basis. But minimalism isn’t about having less stuff. It’s about valuing the stuff you have. Whether that stuff fits in a back pack or you need a big house to hold it all.

What do you value?

I am a messy desk person. No matter how many bins and organizers and folders and pretty this, functional that I buy. My desk always returns to a state of mess. When I was younger, I accepted this about myself. I am a creative and all the creatives I knew were messy. Then I grew up. And people started giving me organizational tips and techniques. Judging me. Questioning my performance at work because my work area was what they called “sloppy.” Judging me. I was asked how could I possibly find anything? How could they find anything if I was out? That last question got me. Convinced me to judge myself. It made logical sense and I began a journey into organization. One that I am very good at.

I can take the ugliest, messiest of spaces and transform it into a glorious machine. Everything has a place and everything is in that place. I structure it so that everything you need can be within an arms reach – thereby making you more efficient, right?


At least, that is what the experts say.

What if the experts are {{GASP!}} wrong?

What if we actually are more efficient when we live in our natural state?

As I write this, I look around my desk. I have been taking part in a self experiment. I have been allowing my creative side to win over my organizational side. I have been accepting me, in my natural state.

What began two weeks ago as a large pile of papers in my office and another pile in the kitchen (the *important* stuff) none of which was not being actioned – because my focus was on finding it a proper home – has turned into a very small pile. Well, five small piles actually. The five items I have left to action out of this huge pile of “stuff”.

Because instead of spending my free time and my mental agility on organizing and cleaning or stressing because my office was a mess, I simply set about the task of completing the work that needed to be done.

Know what I’ve found?

More clarity. More focus. More progress.

In the mess, I have found me. My focus, my clarity, my free time. I am in the process of accepting me, as I am. This is one of those areas where I have made an agreement with myself to “do me” as the new buzzword says. And stop trying to live in an office that perpetually looks ready for a magazine article. That was so exhausting. And honestly, I could never find anything. I could never remember which bin or folder the items I needed had been sorted into. My filing cabinet had multiple files with the same name on them because I would forget I had already created one. When really I didn’t need the file at all, I needed to do the work and get rid of the paper.

I can tell you exactly what is in each of those five piles, what needs to happen with it, and by when. That, is organization. That is efficiency. That is me doing me, being me, allowing me.

I can’t tell you how many Friday nights I spent with the music blaring, the room gutted and me trying to organize it all. What a waste.

Gone is the stack of receipts waiting to be entered into my budget. They are in my budget and tossed in the recycle bin. Why in the world did I listen to people who told me to block time in my calendar to do this??

Gone is the stack of camping options for the kids this summer. Instead of spending hours pulling them together and looking at them, I grabbed the one for the closest camp, scanned the schedule, picked the week that works best and booked their camps. Last year, the same task took a week of back and forth and maybe they will like this program or that program? how far is this drive? day camp or overnight? This year? Finished, in less than fifteen minutes and it only took that long because the camp system had a glitch.

Gone is the pile of research topics for a side project. Scanned into my Evernote, tagged, and searchable for when I get to that stage of the project. Which is a few months away. A few months without those papers cluttering up my space.

Also gone? The three different list taking tools I had. I don’t need them. I’ve actioned the work. Rather than spend hours making the list, setting the list up in a way that would be accessible wherever I was, I just did the work.

I have to insert humble apologies to former coaching clients right here. Yes, for some of you, I was wrong to make you do all those lists. Others of you though, it was perfect. I will be making lists too. Lists are a must in this day and age. We have too many things to do to keep all of that in our heads. With the piles of extraneous paper gone, I have need for small lists. Project lists. Not massive, multipage, task lists. I see the difference now.

I read a book awhile back that taught how to roll socks and towels so that energy could flow. The book set me on edge, angered me. I couldn’t understand why at the time. I get it now. Rolled and stood on edge is not my natural state. I had reached the apex of trying to roll myself into someone else’s methodology and my psyche could not take even one more “too” or technique. My psyche rebelled.

Now listen, I am in no way advocating allowing your house to fall to pieces. No ma’am, no sir. I am advocating being your true you.

What standards are you trying to live to that are outside of who you are and want to be? Where are you placing your value? Where are your techniques and efficiencies actually holding you back?

I have been nearing this buzzword, buzz phrase actually, a lot more lately. I am adopting it into my own lexicon. “Do you.” Who are you? Accept that. Be that. Do you. Stop the comparisons and the modeling and the attempting to fit your star shaped peg in someone else’s round hole. Glisten, glow, be free. Be you.

In Light and Love ~

#GratitudeExpands – 30 day Gratitude Challenge

In August 2015, I launched my first #GratitudeExpands 30 day Gratitude Challenge and invited all of you to participate. To send me comments and notes, to post to your socials using the hashtag #GratitudeExpands and to even tag me (@Driftseed everywhere except Facebook) if you feel compelled to do so.

I would like to invite you to participate again, or for the first time if you’re new. Beginning May 1st 2016, join me in spreading the overwhelming magic of gratitude and appreciation.

Feel free to share this post, as well as any social posts you see from me with #GratitudeExpands, with link back and appropriate credit, of course.

Find out how I started this by reading the original post here:

Say “Yes” to your dreams

Ten years ago, I walked into a yoga studio for the first time. And fell in love. I was at home and comfortable with myself in a way I had never felt before. My soul sang. The “type A” voice in my head shut up and listened. The voice of the teacher was clear and heard by every molecule of my body. I felt at peace for the first time in years.

I had been having panic attacks. Bad ones. The kind other people can see and feel. I was projecting energy in every direction. It had been getting worse for weeks and weeks and my friends were getting scared for me. They didn’t know how to help, what to say, what to do. I was at work when a phone call came in from a friend who was just back from Afghanistan. He heard the disconnect in my voice, the spaced out, stressed out, non-existence I had been disappearing into and he said these words to me: “Go to yoga. Don’t think about it. Don’t study it. Don’t analyze it. Pick a studio, today, now, while we are on the phone. Sign up and go. I’ll pay for it if I have to. Just go to yoga.”

I didn’t argue, I didn’t quibble. While we talked, I surfed the Internet and found a few studios. One was starting a new sixteen week session the following Saturday, I signed up.

I walked into the studio two days later wearing baggy shorts and a ratty tee shirt. It was all I had for “workout clothes.” The owner took one look at me and guided me to some pants I couldn’t afford and gently suggested that next time I wear something more like this. No judgement. Just guidance.

I walked into class with a rented mat, a jumble of nerves, and a whole lot of fear. The teacher came over, knelt down, helped me unroll my mat, introduced herself to me, Her name was Jana, and she welcomed me. In that way that goes beyond words. An opening of the heart. A caress that touches your soul. The voices in my head fell silent, smiled, and welcomed her back. By the second class in the session, I knew I wanted more. I wanted the ability to bring this same kind of peace to someone else.

We went to work learning the basics – four corners of the hands and feet, how to build a foundation. What the asana is called (in Sanskrit, thank you very much), how to move into the posture, proper alignment, how to breathe. She was the best ujjayi teacher I have had to this day. Normally, my inner reaction would have been to rush, to hurry, to ‘get it’ and move on. Something about this woman, this studio, this practice – Anusara if it’s important to anyone reading – made me pause and listen. I, was in heaven. I studied at this studio for a few more series, but the drive was quite long and took too much of my time. Created problems at home. Jana moved back to Florida (I think) and I never had that same teacher/student connection at that particular studio. But my connection to yoga has never died.

Even when my practice on the mat has been non-existent, my practice off the mat has deepened and grown. You see, the thing that gets missed a lot of times these days is that yoga isn’t an exercise program, it isn’t a ‘work out.’ It’s a connection. To self. To the bigger picture. To the inner and outer. To the world, the body, the mind, the spirit. To growth and improvement. To acceptance of limitations, but also the desire to move through them. Recognize them, embrace them, accept them. They are a part of you and are not to be feared. Some are to be overcome, but some just want to be heard. It can be a very deeply spiritual practice, yet it does not interfere with any religious practices you might already have (unless those practices aim to do harm to self or others).

Despite becoming popular in recent times in the west, yoga has a long history dating back thousands of years. Documented (written) history dates yoga between 5,000 to 10,000 years old, but yoga roots deep in oral tradition as well. Handed down through the ages and brought to the United States in 1893 by Swami Vivekananada through a speech to the World Parliament of Religions. Paramahansa Yogananada deepened our western curiosity in 1920 when Babaji sent him to “spread the message of oriya yoga to the West.” The 1950’s and 60’s saw a surge of yoga occur in California. The interest has continued to increase and now includes multiple variations of yoga being taught around the world.

And now, well – in September, after ten long years of on and off mat practice and study, I have finally committed to stepping onto that path which captivated me so many years ago. In September, I will join the ranks of those working on their 200 hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) training.

Why now? When I have so many other things going on? You may ask. Well …. because.
Because, for the first time, the class schedule works with my schedule.
Because, for the first time, I have the money in my budget to buy the books and take the classes without worrying if it is taking food off the table.
Because, by the time the classes start, I will have wrapped up three of my projects and have no (current) intention of taking on more. A little break will be needed, fo sho.
And because the universe is conspiring with me to make it happen.

My husband, son and I discussed everything as soon as I returned from the information session. We all agreed that I would do this. I don’t know who was more excited – them or me. I filled out my application and have it all ready to submit. I loaded up my Amazon and Audible carts with the books I need. Then I get an email from Audible. Most items in my wish list are on sale. Three of my required texts purchased for less than $8.00. Two of the books are coming from Amazon, total cost of all five books? $10.81. It’s a sign. I read it, took it’s advice, and now send back much gratitude.

Over the years it has seemed like there have been little stepping stones to this path. A new studio with a better schedule. A teacher I was particularly called to. A better paying job that would allow me to afford the tuition. Baby steps all of them. This is the first time all of the dots have lined up.

And so, with gratitude for the opportunity, I say “yes.” Wholeheartedly, “YES” … and Thank you. See you in September.

Do you have a dream? Something that peaked the interest of your soul? Either immediately or through practice? Is it a part of your life? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next time …

In Light and Love ~