Hello beautiful ones!
Here we are, at the end of another phenomenal year. I find myself deeply grateful, reflective and hopeful for more growth and authentic fulfillment in 2014.
I found 2013 to be a great year of deepening my truth, expressing myself fully, leaning into more growing edges, evolving old fears, celebrating love, relishing in simple pleasures, community, family and learning to open my heart even wider. I have this little guy to thank for much of it. Meet my new puppy, Simi! He is outrageously cute and is teaching me so much. Here he is enjoying a zen moment on the beach in San Francisco.
As we wrap up the year, I invite you to reflect on the new territories you visited in 2013. How did you grow? What did you learn? What are you ready for next?
At the close of any cycle, it is important to make time for reflection, especially at the end of the year. Taking even 15 minutes for quiet space can provide the opportunity to tie up loose emotional ends, to realize how much you've actually accomplished, to feel complete within and to become clear on your vision for the coming year. You may want to go through old journals to see what your dreams were in January and to understand just how much you've transformed.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about 2013:
* What am I most proud of?
* In what ways did I grow the most?
* What moments proved my resiliency, courage and strength?
* What experiences lead to the most joy and fulfillment for me?
* What fears or old patterns did I move beyond?
* What is it time to leave behind so that I can be more of who I want to be in 2014?
* What is it time to forgive in myself and in others?
* What am I really clear on after this year that it's time for me to own?
My commitment to you is that I live and embody my own truth as courageously, vulnerably and joyously as I possibly can so that I can serve as an example and hopefully a source of inspiration for you to do the same in your own way.
Here's to an empowered, radiant and fully alive 2014! I have a bunch of new offerings in store to kick off the year including new radio interviews, a New Year Ritual, a workshop called "Sing Your Truth", new audio products, exciting classes and more. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!
Wishing you many blessings on your journey.
THE MAGIC IS HERE IF WE KNOW HOW TO OPEN UP TO IT...
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S., there is a lot of talk about gratitude. Thanksgiving is a holiday of harvest and abundance; reminding us to bask in the gifts of our lives and to generously give to others. It’s easy to experience gratitude when we are on vacation, or on a mountain top (literal or figurative), out in nature, with the breeze in our hair and our daily responsibilities far from the forefront of our minds.
But what about experiencing gratitude in the middle of a Tuesday? Or during a process of loss or uncomfortable growth? Or on one of those days where everything just seems to be going wrong? How can we connect to the magic of life that is here for us at any given moment and how does it benefit us to do so?
The secret to instant gratitude lies in the present moment.
Let’s face it – most of the time our focus is on the past or the future. We become consumed thinking about how things could have occurred differently in the past or we loose ourselves worrying about how things might come together in the future. How often have you replayed a past experience over and over in your mind? Or how often does your to-do list lure you into daydreaming or wanting to be somewhere else?
Residing in the past or the future is disempowering because we are only truly at choice in this very present moment. Living in the present moment empowers us because we can seize each moment as an opportunity to be at choice – with our thoughts, words, decisions, actions, beliefs and vibration. It is the only place where we get to change our mind and course correct. It is the only place where we get to notice gratitude, where we get to take a risk, to open and share ourselves. The present moment is actually where we get to heal the past and where we can truly influence our future – how perfectly ironic. Therefore, giving most of our awareness and attention to this very moment allows us to shift and mold our lives.
This very moment is where our opportunity lies to become grateful. It is our doorway to awakening to everything and anything that exists right now, right here, for us, as a blessing. When we focus on what is working and we awaken to what is truly available for us NOW, then we can begin to align ourselves with our ultimate life and truth. This is where the real magic takes place.
So how do we actually become present and once we are, how do we truly feel grateful and believe it? Awakening to the blessings of the present moment is a practice that requires life long cultivation. Just like practicing to speak up, learning to consistently act out of integrity and self love, being present to life’s magic requires that we strengthen a new muscle and make it part of our natural, daily approach to life. I find it’s something I’ve worked on for years and I sense I will continue to cultivate this practice for the rest of my days.
Tips For Becoming Present:
1. Pause. Most of us function on auto-pilot throughout the day, running from one activity to the next, trying to cross everything off of the to do list. In this state, we are focused on what’s next. We completely skip over ourselves and miss the opportunity to experience the magic of our truth in any given moment. To get present throughout the day, simply pause. If you are walking, running errands, driving around, etc., simply stop what you are doing and press pause for a minute. In that minute, breathe and close your eyes. Tune in. Ask yourself: what do I feel right now? What is my experience of life right now? The words “right now” are your entry ticket to the present moment. There is no need to do anything about how you feel. Simply feel it, acknowledge it and become present to what your experience actually is.
2. Use your body. The body is an enormous asset when it comes to getting present. It is the number one doorway to this very moment. Wherever you are (paused or moving), ask yourself: how does my heart feel right now? How does my butt feel on the chair? What do I feel in my neck or back?
3. Breathe. Our breath is the most consistent miracle that exists for us at any time. When we are moving too quickly through life we forget to breathe. Allow yourself to sit still and simply focus on the ebb and flow of your breath. In and out. In and out. All you have to do in this very moment is breathe. That’s it really. Bring your awareness to your experience of the enriching inhale and the cleansing exhale. Try to keep your focus on your breath for up to 3 minutes instead of letting your mind wander. If your mind wanders simply catch it without judgment and return to your breath.
Once we learn to become present to ourselves and our experience of the moment, we can begin to truly cultivate gratitude. Here are some easy ways to do so:
Tips For Cultivating Gratitude:
1. Focus on the tiny things. It’s very easy to get stuck in “Stickin’ Thinking” when we are focusing on the big things, such as love or a new job, that we don’t yet have. The key to finding gratitude and cultivating abundance is to become grateful for all of the tiny little things that we normally take for granted. Ie: be grateful for your fingers and toes. Be grateful for your breath. Be grateful for your couch and the roof over your head. Be grateful for electricity. Be grateful for the person who held the door open for you earlier today. By acknowledging these tiny blessings, we suddenly begin to feel all of the miracles around us. There is indeed a lot to be grateful for.
2. Gratitude as a first thought. Before opening your eyes in the morning, train yourself to think of all that you are grateful for. You might be grateful for the cozy warmth of your bed, grateful for a full night’s rest, grateful for your family and the people you work with, grateful for the love of your pets, grateful for the delicious, nutritious breakfast you are about to consume, grateful for your connection to spirit, grateful for the fact that you get to take a hot shower. Having gratitude immediately upon rising will shift your energy and ultimately set the stage for generating more abundance and positive circumstances throughout your day.
3. Express your gratitude. Thinking carries it’s own vibration, but voicing our gratitude has an even greater impact. Throughout your day practice expressing your thanks to the postman, the grocery clerk, your neighbor, and most importantly your loved ones. Every year at Thanksgiving my whole family will go around the dinner table and we each get a chance to voice what we are grateful for. It is so wonderful just sitting in the energy of everyone’s gratitude. There is laughter, joy and sometimes, even tears. This open hearted sharing brings us closer together and connects us more deeply to our loved ones and the miracle of life.
4. Shift your energy with gratitude. Sometimes life will “derail” us. We have a plan, we have a dream or goal and somewhere along the way things don’t turn out as we expected (for more on this topic, you can read my blog about learning to let go of our attachment to expectation). When this happens, it can be incredibly frustrating, yet this is the precise opportunity to return to the present moment. Each experience is a blessing, a teacher, a gift. When we can become grateful, we can open up yet again to all that is going right. To do so, take a step back and begin to collect evidence for all of the positive aspects of your current situation. Really tap into the gratitude that you have for the people you met along your journey, the lessons you have learned and the new experiences you gathered. Notice how quickly your energy shifts by appreciating all the magic and gifts that are here for you NOW, even though things are different than you expect.
We are in the season of gratitude, the joyous time of year where we get to connect with our loved ones, have cozy gatherings and tune into ALL the abundance, wonderment and positive blessings that are here for us.
Are you ready to up level your life and maneuver through this holiday season from a place of power and grace? Becoming present and cultivating gratitude are your ticket to doing so. My invitation to you is to take time throughout your day to notice where you are, to feel your body’s signals and to indulge in a deep breath or two. In the moments that you are off course pause, breath and find three tiny things in your life that you can be grateful about. I invite you to share what those things are in the comments below!
I am deeply grateful to connect with you here and to share my inspiration and passion with you. I acknowledge you for taking the time to invest in yourself and I wish you a most joyous, vibrant and deeply meaningful holiday season!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.
SEEING LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF 'THANKS'
And so again, Thanksgiving is upon us. The holiday in which we are reminded to give thanks as we celebrate time with family and the abundance of the fall harvest. Honestly though, gratitude becomes so cliche around Thanksgiving that it is almost easy to breeze right over it. We focus on having a big meal, on travel and on holiday shopping. Or, we are grateful for a day or two and then go back to normal. What would it be like to always see life through the lens of 'thanks'?
In my personal world, I have an enormous amount to be grateful for at this time. I just got married 10 days ago! Woo hoo!! It was the most thrilling, authentic and celebratory experience I've ever had and I can honestly say that I am over the moon happy. It's easy for me to look at life with grateful eyes right now. But what about those times when it's not easy? What about when life gives us lemons? What does it mean to possess an "Attitude of Gratitude" and how do we cultivate that?
THE HOBBLING BRIDE
Two weeks before my wedding I sprained my ankle. In a clumsy, frenetic moment in which I was running around scattered, I tripped and injured myself. I couldn't believe it. A sprained ankle before the wedding?! How was I going to dance or to walk down the aisle? What about the fabulous heels that I bought for the occasion? After a short lived solitary pity party in which I came to terms with the disappointment of adjusting to unexpected circumstances, I realized that a gift had been placed in my lap. Ironically, the thing I wanted most was to be well rested and grounded before my wedding weekend. The Universe delivered. Despite the pain and the frustration of hobbling around during one of the most important weeks of my life, I was given the chance to slow down. I slept a ton, caught up on my emails and actually enjoyed reading a book before my wedding. And thanks to my sprained ankle, I ended up wearing cowboy boots under my wedding dress, which is the most fun thing I've done in a while! It put me in the most festive mood! Most importantly, I truly began to see everything through a lens of gratitude. I leaned on gratitude and it came through for me, shifting my focus to the truly important things, showing me how much love exists around me whether I'm in heels or in my pajamas. I became grateful for my body that has the power to heal itself. I became grateful for my legs, my arms, my breath, my toes and for the strength and generosity of the people around me. It connected me to grace and spirit during a very special time in my life. That is the power of gratitude.
Possessing an Attitude of Gratitude means looking at the glass half full and focusing on all that is going well for you regardless of the current circumstances. It means seeing the gift in everything. During the week of my honeymoon, my extended family members in Israel experienced the frightening reality of being surrounded by political unrest - literally running into bomb shelters to protect themselves and their children. Who am I to complain? There is way too much to be grateful for. We take the basics for granted.
FOUR EASY TIPS
Cultivating gratitude is actually quite easy. It can be done within a matter of seconds, any time, any place. All it requires is having your focus on it. Like with anything in life, what we focus on becomes our reality. Here are a few of my favorite ways to open to gratitude and look at life through the eyes of 'thanks':
1. Wake Up Grateful. Before getting out of bed, mentally list 5-10 things you are grateful for. I recommend starting small and taking nothing for granted - be grateful that you have a bed, be grateful for your cozy comforter, be grateful to your body that breaths on it's own while you sleep, be grateful for the morning sun, etc.
2. Start A Gratitude Journal. At the end of each day list 10 things that you are grateful for in your life. Simply by taking note of this, actually writing it down every day, your whole life can change. Be grateful for the person who held the door open for you, be grateful for the smile from the stranger, be grateful that your pen still has ink in it, be grateful for your children's curiosity.
3. Be Grateful For What Is To Come. It is incredibly rewarding and uplifting to be grateful for all that is coming our way. Yes, having gratitude for those things that haven't happened yet! This is especially powerful when we are feeling down or sorry for ourselves with regard to a certain situation. For example, being grateful for your soul mate who is making their way towards you at this very moment can turn loneliness into excited anticipation and hope. Being grateful for the unknown possibilities and surprises of the coming year can turn year-end gloom into wonderment, spontaneity and possibility. All that is coming our way is a gift. It's easy to forget this. Think of how grateful you are for the friends you have in your life now whom you didn't yet know ten years ago. Imagine all of the wonderful people you will know and love in a few years from now!
4. See The Gift In Everything. Yes, everything. See the gift in your health crisis. See the gift in your relationship crisis. What are these things awakening you to? What blessings and opportunities are being divinely handed to you? Sometimes it is our most challenging interpersonal relationships that establish the playing field for personal growth by teaching us surrender, forgiveness, authenticity, compassion and empowerment. Aren't you a better, more grounded and loving person because of this? Haven't these dynamics helped you in other areas of your life? See the gift in your loss. Even grief can present the opportunity to relish in the precious moments that were had with another. There is always opportunity to see the blessing and to be grateful for what you've had and currently have. Magic is all around.
ONE MORE TIME
I was recently exposed to a very simple gospel song titled "One More Time". The lyrics are "One more time. One more time. He's allowed us to come together one more time". Regardless of whether you believe in God or if God is male, female, etc., the message within these lyrics is clear: be grateful that we've been given yet another opportunity to come together again at this time. It's miraculous and special and beautiful that life has worked out such that we can share in this experience together right now. Be grateful.
So I invite you to be grateful this holiday season. Be grateful for the people around you at the table. Be grateful for the food that nourishes your body and brings you together. Be grateful that you have a home and a table to sit at. Be grateful that you have money to spend while you are amongst the overwhelming holiday crowds. Be grateful that you have legs to carry you through the stores. Be grateful that you have people to give gifts to and people to receive love from. Be grateful that you can breath in the fresh holiday air one more time. Practice looking at life through the lens of "Thanks". I'll bet you'll be thankful you did.
I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to my amazing coaching clients, group and workshop participants, my readers and Facebook followers. I am in awe of your willingness to show up and evolve yourselves daily. It is a true honor and joy to be on the path with you. Thank you to my phenomenal community of friends and colleagues who provide connection, inspiration, laughs, support and truth as I express myself and my purpose fully in this life. Thank you to my beautifully loving family and to my newly extended family who cheer me on and provide a sense of home, foundation and love. And most of all, thank you, thank you, thank you to my most special husband, who is the rest bed to my heart, the perfect companion to my soul and the most illuminated mirror of love in my life. It is a blessing to walk the path in partnership with you.
Wishing all of you and your loved ones a most joyous, illuminated and nourishing holiday season!
Happy, happy Thanksgiving!
AN INVITATION TO MARVEL AT YOUR LIFE
And so the end of 2011 is upon us. What a powerful year! Did you feel it? I find the end of the year to be one of the most meaningful times, moreso than the beginning of the year. As these last days of December present themselves, many of us finally have a little downtime to take care of things around the house, relax and enjoy friends and family. It is a poignant time of year to marvel at your life and an important time to assess where you are at and where you are going.
YEAR END REFLECTION: MAKING TIME TO LOOK BACK
Reflection is a powerful tool towards achieving inner peace and clarity of vision. It can create a sense of closure as we shut the door to 2011 and strengthen our sense of possibility as we open the gates to 2012. I dedicate time before December 31st each year to honor my journey over the last 365 days and to marvel at my life. When we really take time to look back over the year, we often realize just how many mini miracles occurred and how much we've grown. Even if we have had an immensely difficult year, reflection at year's end allows us to close one chapter of life and welcome in an easier ride in the coming year. Often times it is getting clear about what didn't work that ignites the passion in us to shift our experience moving forward.
I invite you to take some quiet time to yourself to reflect. My favorite place to do this is at the beach or in my bedroom early in the morning with my journal. Here are some questions to inspire your process:
* What would you like to acknowledge yourself for?
* How did you grow this year?
* What was your most brave moment in 2011?
* Where did you practice expressing yourself authentically?
* What was the highlight of your year?
* Who/what are you most grateful for in 2011?
* What do you need to forgive yourself for?
* What is the greatest lesson you learned this year?
* What word embodies the overall theme of your year?
* What parts of your life from 2011 are you going to continue to cultivate in 2012?
MAKING ROOM FOR 2012: CLEARING PHYSICAL & MENTAL/EMOTIONAL CLUTTER
During the process of reflection it is common to gain some clarity on next steps. As we prepare to set intention and clarify our New Year's resolutions, it is important to make room for all of the good things we would like to invite in. Clearing clutter and "Releasing Rituals" are powerful, simple ways to create room for abundance, love, health and manifestation in the new year. I just finished going through my closets, desk and computer to get rid of everything that is no longer relevant to my life now. It feels fantastic! I feel lighter, more aligned and excited to really set intention and start manifesting my dreams come January.
In terms of physical clutter clearing, I recommend doing a quick "once over" on your closets, kitchen cupboards, bathroom drawers, desk, file cabinets, garage, etc. As you do this, ask yourself:
* What am I ready to let go of?
* What represents an old version of me that I do not want to embody moving forward?
* Would the future version of myself that I want to become utilize this item?
* Do I use/wear this item more than once every 6 months?
* Do I really need this?
In addition to physical clutter, releasing mental/emotional clutter can really free us up and make us ready for the new year. I recommend conducting a simple ritual to release what you no longer need. You can write the answers to the questions below on a piece of paper and safely burn it or throw it away. Or you can vocalize your feelings/answers to the ocean, a tree, an expansive valley or vista point. Nature has the strength to hold it all for you so you can let it go. Some questions to ask:
* What belief systems or "stories" about myself/my life no longer serve me that I can release?
* What spoken or unspoken "agreements" have I made with myself or others that are holding me back?
* What anger am I holding onto?
* What do I need to express?
* Who do I need to forgive?
NEW YEARS BLESSINGS
2012 is becoming more widely regarded as the year we will collectively shift the consciousness of our planet and evolve the world. Many of us feel that we are being called to step fully into our most actualized selves. As we stand at the doorway of this powerful time in history, I invite you to reflect on where you've been so that you may identify where you need to go from an empowered, celebratory place.
Wishing you and your loved ones a most incredible 2012! May the coming year be filled with abundant health, activities and people that bring you joy, empowerment, success, clarity, creativity, inner peace, balance, laughter, ease and love. May you be fully expressed, feel alive in your body and feel that your life is on course with your purpose and dreams!
As I close out 2011, I am extremely grateful. Thank You to all of you who read and forward my newsletters and blogs. THANK YOU to my amazing clients and workshop participants. I am blown away by your willingness to show up, risk, learn and remain committed to your process of evolution. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. New Years blessings to you! Thank you also to my unbelievable family, friends, teachers and partner. You inspire me daily and remind me what living an authentic, healthy life is truly about.
See you on the other side!
BALANCING HOLIDAY CHEER & PERSONAL YEAR-END RESTORATION.
This is an especially interesting time of year. On the one hand, the holiday season is incredibly festive and illuminated. Everywhere we turn we see the bright, joyous lights of the holidays marking this special time. We gather, attending and hosting numerous holiday parties, engage the extroverted parts of ourselves and raise a glass to life.
On the other hand however, these are the shortest days of the winter season. The winter solstice falls on December 21st, reminding us that the darkness of winter is here for a reason. As night falls early, nature's cycles beckon us to slow down, to rest, reflect and hibernate during this time of year. Many of us regard January as our time to re-engage our ambitious, get-up-and-go approach to life, naturally making the end of December our time to go inward and recoup before we pick up the pace again.
Earlier this week in my monthly women's group, we discussed this paradox of being pulled towards external exuberance and internal restoration simultaneously. Many of us expressed feeling overwhelmed by holiday party obligations, shopping, hosting duties and year-end deadlines. While we love to see our friends, families and co-workers, we were quick to admit that we were craving a few quiet nights at home before 2012.
Our conversation gave me pause and had me realize just how overwhelming this time of year can be for many.
How do we get the full festive holiday experience while honoring our physical, emotional need to slow down?
In sitting with this inquiry, I feel we have the opportunity to celebrate the light while cherishing the hidden gifts of darkness. If we choose to be mindful about it, we can create balance this holiday season.
CELEBRATING THE LIGHT
Christmas and Hanukkah fall at the same time this year. Each of these holidays is marked by lights. As Christmas nears, we are surrounded by the quintessential holiday lights that remind us that something special is going on. It is a time for celebration, faith and cheer. As a child I remember walking down "Christmas Tree Lane" in my neighborhood and counting all the houses that were covered in lights. Although I am Jewish and do not celebrate Christmas, I remember feeling a sense of excitement and wonderment as we passed others who were sharing the delight of the lights and holiday season. It is a deeply joyous, spiritual time for many.
Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates the miracle of light. Pause for a moment and take in this obvious blessing that we sometimes take for granted: the miracle of light. It is my favorite Jewish holiday of the year. In addition to the festive, social aspect of this holiday, this holiday is my favorite because for 8 nights we take time out to light candles and celebrate light. Lighting candles is ceremonial, sacred, meaningful. We do it during rituals, when we meditate and in honor of our birthdays. It is an opportunity to pause, become grateful and remember to be in awe of life. I also see it as a chance to celebrate how illuminated my life is and how brightly the inner light of my friends and family shine.
Here are some questions to stimulate your appreciation of the light all around you at this time:
* How can you truly celebrate the light of life this holiday season?
* What are you grateful for?
* Who and what are you in awe of?
* Before going to a holiday party, pause and ask yourself: What am I REALLY celebrating tonight?
* What miracles exist in your life? How are you blessed?
* How can you spread the holiday light to someone in need?
* In what ways do you have faith? What restores your faith?
* What are you praying for?
CHERISHING THE DARKNESS
Darkness is something we often want to run away from. To many it represents fear, hardship and confusion. I invite you to consider a different perspective: the beauty and blessing of darkness. Darkness can also represent stillness, rest and peace. It is by contrast to the dark that we actually can see the light. Imagine the beauty and stillness of a starry night out in nature, away from the city lights. It is stunning how many stars are actually visible across the backdrop of the dark night sky!
Darkness also represents going inward. While this is scary for some, in truth, it is one of the most beautiful, powerful practices we can engage in. It is through going inward that we get clarity, return to a place of trust vs. fear and restore our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical tanks. It is by going inward, reflecting and resting that our creative ideas suddenly re-emerge and our capacity for others multiplies ten fold. Ironically, it is through the inner peace and stillness of darkness that we access and strengthen our inner light.
On a physical level, darkness makes us sleepy. Melatonin, a hormone that makes us tired, is secreted upon exposure to darkness. As night falls, this hormone is released, allowing us to easily fall asleep. As the days shorten, we are called to go inward. Nature demands it of us. It is our time to rest, replenish, reflect and restore. To learn more about melatonin and other variables that impact your sleep/wake cycles, download my free article on
The Six Secrets To Splendid Sleep.
I invite you to turn your phone off and schedule time on your calendar for napping, meditation, alone time, baths, massages and personal pampering amidst the holiday buzz! Here are some questions to get you started:
* How can you create in-between moments of stillness amidst the holiday rush?
* Will you commit to sitting in silence for 5-10 minutes first thing every morning until 2012?
* Before entering a holiday party, sit in your car for 3 minutes and practice deep breathing. Go inward and ask yourself: What am I really feeling? How can I experience this party in the most balanced way?
* What can you say NO to? I give you permission to set boundaries!
* What does your ideal quiet night at home entail? Promise yourself one night like this before 2012.
* When you take a few moments and quiet yourself, what do you hear?
* What does your intuition tell you that you need?
May your light shine bright and your tanks be full.
Wishing you balance, joy, celebration and personal time for rest and restoration this holiday season!
I welcome your comments!