As we head into 2020

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions but in the past couple of years I’ve enjoyed picking a word as a sort of theme for the upcoming year. For 2019 my word was aligned, and I’ve decided to carry that word over for 2020. My intention is to make every decision based on whether or not it feels aligned for me; whether it brings forth my ‘Core Desired Feelings’ that I’ve discussed in prior posts: Connection, Quality, Simplicity.

This time of year can be challenging for many people and many feel pressure to create lofty goals, resolutions and plans for the new year. I encourage you to dream big, have a plan and take action, but do it all from the place of what feels right for you and you alone, not for anyone else. And pay attention to what your body is telling you – listen to your inner voice – it will never steer you wrong.

In the new year, I wish for more people to find inner peace and joy that spreads out into the world and creates lasting change. Below are three links I hope will be useful in getting us all closer to that worthy goal.

Recommended links:

A film about listening to each other – and the movement for change it inspired

Digital minimalism to bring you back to really living your life

Beautifully written wisdom from the natural world: what the planet needs now

The power of 3

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my affinity for the number 3. Perhaps it’s because I am one of 3 sisters. For many years, I’ve noticed how I like to do things in 3’s: 3 reps of a yoga pose, 3 beautiful Glassy Baby candles, 3 recommended links on this post (and I just listed 3!). I have 3 ‘CDFs’ – Core Desired Feelings – that drive my Desire Map Planner (see the first recommendation below): Connection, Quality, Simplicity. I used to have 5 CDFs, but one day recently I realized that it seemed time to drop a couple of them. Having three feels more spacious and open. As I mentioned last month, I am making a strong effort to prioritize creating more ‘white space’ in my life.

I’ve never been that great at math, but I do find number patterns fascinating. My birthday is 111. Recently I dreamt several numbers, which were all 3-digit numbers. I like to notice number patterns and wonder about their potential significance.

As the year draws to a close, it’s easy to get caught up in feeling like you ‘have to’ do so many things: celebrate the holidays in a certain way, see certain people, feel pressure to be happy and to make sure you reach all the goals you set out for the year. Goals and intentions are great, but at this point in the year, it’s a bit like cramming for a test to try to complete things that you haven’t yet.

I invite you to pick three things that truly matter to you to focus on for the final month of 2019. Don’t over-think it, don’t spend too much time on it, but tune in to your inner landscape and let those three things rise to the surface. Then let the rest go.

Wishing you a serene season of light, whatever your beliefs may be.

Recommended links:

Danielle LaPorte Desire Map Planner

Glassybaby Candles

The Wisdom Your Body Knows

Consistency

When I first began writing here, my intention was to write a post every week. It’s something I felt called to do , for myself. Whether or not anyone else read it, I felt called to do it.

But I have not written every week. Why? I’m not completely sure, but one reason is how strongly I feel about creating white space in my life – and truly, finally, doing that consistently. I’ve spent my whole adult life ‘doing,’ filling all my time. While I believed in theory in the concepts of ‘white space’ and ‘down time,’ I left myself very little of either.

Between having a full-time day job, teaching yoga and officiating at weddings, spending time with friends and family time, there hasn’t been a lot of down time. And I am fully aware of how fortunate I am to do all of those things, to have my health and to have a wonderful family and dear friends. Not having enough down time is a problem of privilege. But I’m also learning at age almost-64 that I don’t have to justify making time for myself, either.

At this point, making consistent time for myself is a higher priority than feeling that I ‘should’ write something here every week – or, for that matter, that I ‘should’ do anything. Writing because I ‘should’ is meaningless, and offers no service to others.

So my encouragement to you is that you make prioritizing down time for yourself a consistent aspect of your life. No matter what that looks like for you, make it consistent. For me, that means morning meditation and yoga, evening savasana. Figure out what it means for you and give yourself the gift of making it consistent.

Recommended links (simply because they’re inspiring to me):

Britt B. Steele: the real deal

Francesca Cervero: Always of service to the yoga community

Joy Harjo: first Native American to be named United States Poet Laureate.

Lessons from my dogs

I’ve often said that my dog Lucie, who was one of those truly special dogs, was one of my greatest spiritual teachers. She was pure love. Below is my favorite photo of me with her.

We always told her she was the world’s best dog.

Lucie and Miele (the Italian word for honey, pronounced Mee – el – a) crossed the country with us when we moved to Vashon Island, and unfortunately, Lucie died suddenly just before our house and studio were ready. Miele, now probably about 12, developed arthritis in the past few months and it’s been a lesson in aging gracefully to watch how she’s dealt with this new way of living. We are fortunate to have a wonderful school of animal massage on the island, and today Miele had her first session as a demonstration dog for the massage students. True to form, she was a big hit and hopefully will be able to go back often.

Miele giving a massage student a big wet kiss.

Our pets are with us for far too short a time, but in that time they teach us two of life’s most important lessons: Live in the moment, and always love. The simplest lessons are always the best.

Recommended links:

Northwest School of Animal Massage

Animal stories like these always make me cry

Fabulous dog photos guaranteed to make you smile

Simplify, simplify…

Most of us have heard the quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” This has always resonated with me, and my motto, if I have one, is “As soon as things get too complicated, all your problems begin.” The thing is, as we all know all too well, contemporary life is complicated by nature. But I do think there is a lot we can do to simplify, and it all comes down to awareness and intention.

There are millions of distractions and shiny objects out there. It’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole of something that doesn’t even matter to you. This is why it’s so crucial to stay as present as possible, so that you can recognize when this is happening and, with compassion, bring your focus back to what truly matters to you.

As Oprah would say, “what I know for sure” is that I feel so much better when I keep things simple. Whether it’s planning a yoga class, cooking a meal, writing a blog post – or whatever – tuning in to how something makes me feel and only doing what feels in alignment is the best way to keep things simple. In fact, my word for 2019 is ‘aligned.’ (2017 word was ‘home’; 2018, ‘experiment.’)

It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, so what feels aligned and simple right now is to go outside and read the Sunday New York Times. What helps you to feel aligned and to simplify your life?

Recommended links:

The Absolute Necessity of Doing Nothing

Be More with Less

Slow Your Home