life curation

My Top Three Goals For This Year

I’m still buzzing from the excitement of welcoming in a brand new year of life, but I wanted to share some thoughts I had over the past few days.

It’s easy to talk about the “stuff” that I want, but I spent some time getting real with myself and asking, honestly, what do I REALLY want for myself in the year to come?

My list is brief, but it perfectly captures what I think will be the most powerful things that I can do to create a wonderful new year.

kindness

1) Be more kind and generous

I always strive to be kind but I want to make this my signature personality trait. That will involve me regularly taking a more empathetic stance and avoiding “hasty” reactions. I’ve been working on these things for a while but I can always stand to improve. As far as generosity goes, giving is one of my favorite things EVER! So I’m looking forward to giving even more in the year to come.

writing

2) Deepen my commitment to my writing

I’d like to write a lot more. I already work on my craft frequently, but what if I wrote daily? I’ve decided to commit to writing 1000 words per day. This won’t include blog entries, thought that would be a wonderful way for me to rack up my word count. No, these words have to be in the form of entries in books that I will (hopefully) one day publish. It doesn’t matter if the entries are great or nonsensical: the point is to get in the habit of doing it daily. I decided a day ago to do this, so I’m a little behind. I’m keeping count, however, and I’m aiming to catch up soon. Just for fun, I’ll put the count in the bar on the right side of the page, so you all can see my progress as I go along. The end goal is 365,000 words before August 1, 2019. I can do it!

joy

3) Incorporate more joy daily

Joy is always my daily goal, and I have made it a point to share a lot of my daily joys on this blog. But a bigger commitment to experiencing joy daily is a goal that I can really get behind! I’m open to however it comes – big, elaborate displays, small, interesting surprises, and everything in between – and I am looking forward to seeing how joy shows up in my life daily. Of course, I’m going to make sure that I’m a vibrational match for joy, so that it has no choice but to set up permanent residence in my life!

 

life curation

Making Joy a Daily Practice

I’m still buzzing a bit from the Joy Challenge that I talked about incessantly last month. Mindfully choosing joy daily is going to be a never-ending exercise for me, and that’s okay: it’s worth the effort. Fortunately, I have a little tool to help me to keep the joy going during the months ahead!

joy

Amina Makhdoom Lynch, the creator of the Joy Challenge, generously gifted participants a copy of Rebecca Kochenderfer’s book, Joy Journal. The book is designed to engage you in joyful practices for 12 full weeks (3 solid months!) as you move from accidental/occasional joy practitioner to consistent joy creator.

This book is designed to get you into the habit of engaging a daily intention, reflecting on positive experiences and expressing gratitude. Each week opens with a few thoughts on the week’s theme, stories, encouragement, and examples to assist you in completing the week’s prompts.

I’m so thankful that Amina sent me a paperback copy: these are the kind of tools that I don’t enjoy when digitized. The act of writing (with pen and paper) and reflecting on my thoughts as I write has always been magical for me. So this lines up perfectly with my preferences.

If you need something to help you with staying in joy, this could be a great resource for you. Make sure you check it out!

life curation

Joy Challenge Update: How Things Are Going So Far

Hey friends! I figured that I would share a Joy Challenge update, since I’m a little over halfway through the month. I’ve been throwing myself into the challenge and really focusing on having a good time and reducing/eliminating my stressors. I’ve also been following my “highest joy”, including making reservations and buying tickets for events that I want to attend.

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I’d fallen behind in journaling about my joyful experiences, but as soon as I realized I’d been slacking, I got focused and picked up the pen again. It’s important to continue doing all of the steps, so I can get the most out of consciously enjoying myself.

This time around, the biggest focus for me was unapologetically pursuing joy. Many times, I “held back” from throwing myself fully into the activities that bring me pleasure, because I feared being viewed as too ambitious, too self-assured, or too  much of an “overachiever”. I’ve been penalized for these traits before (usually in the form of being denied things that I was qualified for – like promotions – or harsh criticisms), so I suppressed these attributes. But this shift to embracing joy and delight unapologetically has been SO good for me! I really feel like I’m hitting my stride and getting into a groove. This has been such a fun experience!

 

art · life curation

What’s Inspiring Me This Month

Happy Sunday friends! I was just reflecting on what I’ve been enjoying so far this month. As you all know, I’m participating in the Joy Challenge, so I’ve relished any opportunity to enjoy myself.

it's timeto shop!

I am constantly inspired by the things going on around me, and ht epeople that I interact with daily. However, there are a few things that have been especially inspiring to me this month, and I want to share those things with you all. They are as follows:

Mashonda Tifrere’s Instagram:

Perfect, poised and beautiful

Mashonda is a stunningly beautiful recording artist that is now a curator and art champion. Her organization, ArtLeadHer, focuses on supporting female artists, curators and collectors, giving them a platform and visibility in the male-dominated art environment. Mashonda recently curated a show in honor of International Women’s Day, and I’m positive that we will continue to see more incredible things from her in the near future.

globe

Jeannette Maw’s “What’s On Your Wall?” podcast episode:

You already know I’m a Jeannette fan, as I’ve written about her before on this blog. However, I found myself going back to this podcast several times since it was released in February. Listening to it impressed upon me the importance of visually surrounding yourself with that which inspires you. Make sure that what adores your walls brings you delight: whatever you observe, you create. As a side note, I think it’s important to mention that I posted affirmations along my wall in my old job, a while before I got my current dream position. I suspect that those visual reminders were powerful in helping me to create my current situation. I actually could stand to restart this practice: there are some more things I’m longing to create, and using my wall décor to help me get what I want is easy and fun.

fape-architecture-art

National Gallery of Art’s (NGA) Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) recordings:

I attended my first FAPE event in 2015, and I enjoyed it tremendously. This year, I couldn’t get to the museum, but I watched the event via live stream on NGA’s website. I have since listened to several of the archived FAOE discussions on NGA’s website. If you’d like to stay abreast of the cross-cultural discussions surrounding art, diplomacy and culture, this series is a must.

life curation

April’s Joy Challenge: Join Me!

Happy Sunday, my friends! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend so far.

Whenever I come across something that I think you all would enjoy or find useful, I make sure to share it here. It’s my pleasure to share something with  you today that I can personally vouch for: I participated in this event last year, and I saw major changes in my life within 30 days!

Joy

(photo courtesy of Orfordville Lutheran Church)

Every April, Amina Makhdoom of Lunch With Cinderella hosts the Joy Challenge, a 30 day program designed to help participants reach their goals through the magic of including JOY in their day-to-day lives. Amina’s group is an amazing, encouraging group that helps keep joy at the forefront of the conversations being held.

Since I’ve completed the challenge, I can confirm the quality of the content and the efficacy. Amina has even won the Best Law of Attraction Program Award for the Joy Challenge. Best of all? This program is free of charge, and it is a great way to get a feel for the work that Amina does.

I’d love for you all to join me for this April’s Joy Challenge! You can sign up here for the challenge. I can’t wait to see what magic you create during the month!

life curation · relaxation

All About Tea . . .

Have you all been following me on Instagram? If so, then you’ve seen that I’ve been posting daily tea pictures ever since I found out that January is National Hot Tea Month (Southern Season said so!)

I’m a tea enthusiast so I’ve been having a ball with the tea theme. I’ve been challenging myself to post a different tea every day (only one day missed, and not because I didn’t drink tea, but because I simply forgot to take a picture!) And, since I’m also a tea hoarder, it looks like I’ll be able to get through the month of January with no tea duplicates (and no, I didn’t have to purchase any new tea to make it happen!)

allfreedownload

(photo from All Free Download)

Did you all know there are tea consultants that you can employ to help you with selecting tea? Yes, there are experts that write about, teach about and work within the complex and beautiful world of tea. One of my personal favorite tea consultants is Jo Johnson, though, I didn’t learn about Jo through tea organizations or events. I saw her in this incredible video that discusses aging. Every woman in the video is striking, beautiful and vibrant, but there’s something about Jo’s presence that pierces your soul and holds your imagination captive. She *looks* like the kind of woman that floats around in her workshop, dispensing custom blended teas while chatting about adventures during her younger years and sharing invaluable life lessons.

Jo’s expertise allows her to instruct her clients on how to best pair different teas with appropriate foods, and she has the credentials to prove her capabilities. She also connects “avid tea enthusiasts with buyers & sellers of unique product offerings”. So if you’re looking for a rare and special tea, she’s the one to contact. You can visit her website here:

A Gift of Tea

I hope you all join in on the National Hot Tea Month festivities! After all, it only comes once a year!

Until tomorrow, take care.

life curation

Preparing for 2018: Before Setting Your Goals …

Hello friends! Thanks for stopping by. In a previous post, I discussed the fact that I prepared for the things that I wanted during 2016 and 2017. I also touched on the fact that things don’t have to already be perfect in order to create a better reality in the year to come.

Today, I’m talking about goals. If you’re expecting the same kind of chatter that you would get from your average Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat “life coach”/”guru”, I’m going to disappoint you. I don’t repeat the words and sentiments of charlatans that make their living spouting off cliches and charging $97/$197/$997/any figure ending in “7” for exclusive “workshops” to tell you what you’ve already heard. I also have no interest in positioning myself as an “expert” in anything but how I choose to live my life.

Goals are as personal as fingerprints: no two people desire the exact same things. Because of this, I can only give you some general advice on setting goals for 2018. But this is the advice I’ve followed, and it worked for me, so take it for what it’s worth.

-It’s okay to start out vague. Most of the time, we are told that our goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Results-Focused, Time Bound). The truth is, our biggest dreams are usually fuzzy and not very specific at all. That’s because our big dreams often are some general emotion that we want to feel (happiness, joy, love, contentment and satisfaction, secure, confident, etc.,). The problem with SMART goals is that the concept disregards the WHY behind the goal. Every goal is rooted in how it will make us FEEL. So it’s far more important to understand the desired FEELING than to have a SMART goal.

Improvisation News

(plucked from @ImprovUpdates on Twitter)

-It’s important to be honest about how you feel while aiming for particular goals. As the phrase goes, “Happy endings do not come from unhappy journeys”. To the greatest degree possible, avoid taking “unhappy” journeys in an attempt to “justify” your success. In other words, you don’t have to be uncomfortable in order to deserve good things. We often take to heart the phrase “no pain, no gain”. Yes, we can learn a lot from our pain and missteps, and yes, there are often sacrifices that must be made when going for our big dreams. But don’t torture yourself on the path to reaching your goals, simply because you *think* that the only way to get to the goal is to do it the “hard way”. The “hard way” isn’t always the best way. Personally, taking uncomfortable actions doesn’t work for me: the action must either feel neutral (doesn’t make me feel happy but doesn’t cause discomfort) or feel good to me. If the action doesn’t feel good, then it doesn’t serve me in the accomplishment of my goals.

-Get very acquainted with how you want to feel when you reach your goal, and tap into that feeling regularly. What I found is that regularly activating a particular emotion can reveal the fact that I’m much closer to my goal than I initially thought. Some emotions are harder to activate than others: activating a feeling isn’t always a clear, easy-to-do task. How can you feel “secure” when you don’t know if you will have a job next week? How can you feel “love” if you’ve never had a nurturing, satisfying romantic relationship? In cases where it’s hard to generate certain feelings, your best bet is to find someone that easily exhibits that emotion and emulate them and associate with them. Birds of a feather …

If the previous points resonate with you, try putting them into action before you get specific about what you want to realize during the upcoming year. Getting clear on your feelings prior to pinpointing your goal will help you get much closer to what it is that you really want.

 

adsff

life curation

Preparing for 2018

Happy Monday, beloveds!

Can you all believe that we are THREE short months away from 2018? I’m blown away by how quickly 2017 has passed! This has been a monumental year for me: so many milestones, so much growth!

I had to take some time to think of the little things that made my 2017 spectacular, and I’ve already started setting myself up for an incredible 2018. As it turns out, you CAN pave the way for a spectacular year to come, and paving that way doesn’t require, nor does it have to involve:

-getting major cash windfalls

-meeting “the one”

-dropping tons of weight/getting to your ideal body

-landing in your dream career

Yes, all of those things are wonderful and can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the following year. But these shouldn’t be prerequisites for living well. Living well is about establishing a day-to-day (even a moment-to-moment) cultivation and appreciation of everything that gives you joy, fulfillment, peace and delight.

I know for a fact that everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” in order to create a wonderful life. For that reason, I’ll periodically share what I’m doing to pave the way to a spectacular 2018. I’ll try to make this a weekly series and I’ll aim for consistency. These weeks leading up to the end of the year will give you all a behind-the-scenes peek into how I am setting myself up for a fabulous year to come.

I hope you all will try some of these exercises with me and see the difference that preparing for the next year can make! I’d love to have some company on this journey. If you’re interested in practicing some techniques for a fabulous year to come, let me know in the comments below.

life curation

Choosing Joy

The road to a joyful existence hasn’t always been an easy, smooth one.

I only got to this place after spending nearly a decade without focusing on what emotions I was choosing. When you don’t mind your emotions, they will RUN your life.

My default method of operating included ignoring my emotions and focusing on the “work” in front of me.

Yeah, that wasn’t a lot of fun. Stuff got “done” but I wasn’t nearly as satisfied as I expected to be.

So, instead of checking in on my emotions, I set my goals higher. Maybe, just maybe, if the accomplishment was big enough, I’d feel satisfaction when I got it.

Then one of my biggest accomplishments – finishing my degree – happened. And I only felt slight satisfaction, not the deep, exhilarating feeling I anticipated.

Fortunately, I came across a lot of conscious creation guides. When I found out that tapping into and improving our feelings was key to satisfaction, I didn’t believe it.

Then I tried it.

It worked.

choosejoypinterest.png

So now, I choose joy, almost every day. I create feelings of joy by asking, “What would bring me joy right now?” I have a mental list of things that bring me joy. And whenever I need to, I tap into one of those things.

That could mean making a cup of rooibos tea. Or taking a nap. Or eating a piece of chocolate. Or walking around the block. Or calling a friend.

For me, joy comes from a series of small, delightful actions that give me moments of satisfaction. When you put a lot of moments together, you eventually get a body of experience.

In my case, I’ve been building a strong body of experiences, all attesting to the fact that I’m actively creating a joyful existence.

On the days that I don’t choose joy? Well, those days just ARE what they ARE. I don’t judge myself for them. I honor my feelings and allow it to be whatever it will be.

This life can be a good one, if we take time to mold our lives to what we want them to be.

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of Pinterest).

life curation

Maintaining Joy: Gratitude Journal

I don’t recall where I heard about this first: perhaps it was from an Law of Attraction podcast, or maybe a YouTube video. But I’m thankful for whoever shared this tip with me first.

Most of us forget how good our lives truly are. We could have 10 or 20 amazing things happening at once, but we focus on the one thing that isn’t going our way. The fact is, most of us have lots to be grateful for, even when life doesn’t feel 100% perfect.

To stay in the mode of appreciation and joy, I keep a gratitude journal. For every day, I list 3 things that I appreciate and feel thankful for. I try my best not to repeat gratitudes, but if I must, I don’t get upset about it. The truth is, some days are duller than others: I won’t always be able to name a “new” reason to be thankful.

I make an entry for every day, but I often forget days here and there, and I have to try to remember what went well for me on the days where I skipped an entry. During the earlier part of this year, I missed nearly two weeks in my journal, since I was traveling and living in the moment. In those cases, I simply do my best to remember as much as I can, listing my appreciation in no particular order.

I’ll be finishing my current journal this year, and I’m already looking at a few other designs. I’m considering purchasing this lovely set of four journals, all with soft, beautiful watercolor designs.

Do you maintain a gratitude journal? Please let me know in the comments below!