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Why Do I Meditate?

Why Do I MeditateOften when I speak at an event or facilitate a group on branding, marketing or leadership development I talk briefly about meditation and I always have people who want to learn. I will, then, either do a quick session after I speak to those interested or schedule to come back to the group. I’m always happy to help people learn this tool that I have found so beneficial. What I get asked MOST often though is WHY do I meditate? What do I get out of it? Does it WORK? Let’s dive into my why:

Why Do I Meditate?

Not to be an Asshole: Literally. I meditate so I am less of an asshole. My first impulse, because I’m scrappy and the last child in my family bullied by older siblings, is to punch out with biting words or thoughts. I’m a jerk. I HATE this about myself and after years of therapy and countless self help books on how not to be so mean I realized that I could just calm that the fuck down. Seriously. I can chill out and if the thought arises I can just NOT SAY IT, but that takes the work of a jedi master and I needed a tool.

Hence, meditation. It gives me the second pause to not say the thing that will crush my opponent. Seriously, no one needs to live on a battlefield every damn day. Snarky isn’t funny and it isn’t cool. It usually is at the expense of someone else and I don’t want to hurt other people.

Destress the Hell Out: Life is stressful. Seriously stressful. In this month alone I have had a banking fiasco (digging out now), found out my daughter might have gestational diabetes – goodbye Lucky Charms, and they found a change in my left breast and I have to have more tests. Seriously. It’s only the 19th of January and life just keeps happening.

Mediation helps me breath past some of that and stay aware, but not panicked. I can sit with more anxiety and just let it pass then I ever have been able to do before. Life doesn’t stop coming at you when you start meditating, but your response can be a little less frantic and your clarity of thinking improves.

Be A Nicer Human: Ok, so we covered that I want to be less of an asshole, but I also want to be a better human. I want to say nicer things. Meditation, in real life, allows me to speak with more love and kindness because I am more aware of my words. Stuff isn’t just flying out of my mouth like a rapid fire crazy person.

Pre-meditation I would just say whatever. Now, although I am still clear and speak my mind I am choosing my words more carefully to consider the other person. We are all on this damn planet together and I don’t want to cause harm to any other person -we all have enough of our own shit going on that we don’t need to pile it on with each other. So words matter and if meditation can help me slow them from spewing out of my mouth carelessly that is a huge win.

Who Do You Want to Be When I Grow Up: I know that if I want to be a Ghandi or Martin Luther King type person (don’t worry, I know I am far far off) I have to do the things that create that foundation and, for me, that is meditation. The ongoing practice of sitting quietly with myself and not freaking out over what my silly mind brings up even for just 15 minutes brings a sense of strength and calm to my life.

I want to be that person who stands with competence, baddassery, and kindness in the midst of raging storms and meditation makes that even a little bit more possible. It’s a practice, like yoga or tae kwon do, you don’t master it in one sitting it takes time. Time spent practicing this is better then running around shopping needlessly, gossiping, panicking or running around like a chicken in the yard. I can’t BE like MLK unless I PRACTICE being like MLK every single day.

In short, I want to disrupt my natural tendencies to judge, react and panic. I want to bring calm and fluidity to my life with grace. The only way I have found that works for me is to meditate everyday. It isn’t a big thing. I’m not perfect… but I don’t expect to be. It’s a practice and every moment I’m off the cushion and life is shredding us up I get to practice over and over.

Ask me your meditation questions and I’m happy to answer. I’ve been doing it for over 25 years and have some really practical tips for busy working mom’s, stressed out partners, doing it anywhere, finding a practice that works… whatever you want to know I will answer. Until then, you can also friend me on Insight Timer and I’ll cheer your practice on.

My #9MagicGoals for 2017

#9MagicGoalsIt’s time. Goals. #9MagicGoals You know that I’m a big advocate for writing goals. Life is what you make it and by setting the intention to do something (anything) we are saying that we want to have a voice in how our lives go. I’ll write more and more about what goals are and answer any questions you might have, but let me dive into mine for 2017 – not to show off, but to keep myself accountable and show you what I’m thinking. If you get inspired join Do Good Work.

My 2017 Goals – The Magic 9

Sit 365 – #365DaysTogether

I’m joining over 37,000 people who use Insight Timer by committing to doing a meditation practice everyday. I use the app to time my meditations (they have nice bells) and I use some of the guided meditations (friend me there so we can cheer each other on). My commitment is to do it everyday – but that can be 3 minutes in the car, 15 minutes with a guided meditation, 20 minutes of lovingkindness or anything that works for that day. It isn’t about the length, but is instead about finding time to become present every single day for the year.

How hard will this be? I’m hoping that it is as easy as brushing my teeth (which I do 2-4 times a day), but figure when it gets busy or I’m just not that into it it will be like choosing a piece of fruit instead of a brownie hard.

Finish Writing the Book #FinishtheBook #WritingLife

Damn it. I started this journey of writing a book 18 months ago on being Relentlessly Authenic and this year it is getting it done. One hour a day, 5 days a week. I’ll be using this method to get my butt in the chair. I’m finishing, damn it.

How Hard? Obviously hard because I haven’t done it. Deep breath and just get to it hard.

Pitch 52 Ideas #Pitch52Ideas

I want to do new things and the only way I know to really make that happen and shake things out of the trees is to pitch them into the universe. I will be pitching articles to magazines, projects to people and organizations, speaking gigs, writing proposals for consultant work, book concepts – anything that I want to make happen. Some things will stick and others won’t. There will be lessons in learning to pitch better, how to craft my story better, how to price myself, how to pace myself and disappointment. I’m super excited about this BIG idea!

How hard? Not. I LOVE pitching new ideas. What is hard will be following through on the wins and dealing with the loses.

Celebrate All the Things #Celebrate

Since we don’t have little ones anymore in the house I stopped celebrating. We don’t toast the wins, cheer the successes or even observe the holidays much. This. Has. To. Change. Our capacity to find happiness in the everyday is directly in correlation to how we celebrate our lives. Party hats are happening and joy jar is getting dusted off.

How hard? Surprisingly, I think kind of hard. Like parallel parking on a slope in the rain hard without drivers assist in a stick shift. I forget to celebrate and that makes life pretty grinding.

Run 500 Miles #Run500Miles

I asked my husband if in a year I could run 100 miles. He said yes. It sounded easy. I humpfed off and came back singing I Will Run 500 Miles in my best one hit wonder Proclaimers voice. It’s cumulative throughout the year and is walk/run because I’m not crazy.

How hard? The most I can run right now is 1.6 miles so… bring it on!

Make Art Everyday #ArtEverday

I am doing the #DrawEverydayDrawEveryway book with my daughter and think that this won’t be that hard. I have found real love in sitting down and drawing, painting, and creating art from last year’s goal. I still have TONS of art supplies to go through. The reason for doing this isn’t to become a famous artist, but I know that creativity works best in all areas of my life if I am creative everyday. Ideas beget ideas.

How hard? Just have to make time and be fine when I have a little time and when I have just a few minutes to count it all.

Simply Simplify – Be Unjumbled

This one is a biggie. This is about redoing this website to be simpler, distilling my message and my offers. Simplifying my home, clothes, possessions. Creating a cadre of 15 meals that I can make without thinking. This includes really looking at my arrivals and departures – when I was explaining this last part to a friend this is what I shared, “both my personal things being a mess: where are the keys, how many bags do I really need to carry, can I leave unhurried, can I arrive calm… and my energy – what am I bringing into the room and how am I leaving. Is there clarity and a sense of calm/kindness or am I arriving like a wrecking ball and leaving like a tsunami? Arrivals and Departures – mindfully simple and unjumbled.”

How hard? This is ongoing. Refining who I am and pairing it all down. I’d say this is as hard as it was to create the perfect schedule in college. Remember? Not too busy, but not too relaxed. A mix of fun extras along with those dreaded core classes that were boring AF.

Document My Story – #ExperiencesNotThings #TellYourStory

This is about taking more photos, writing more stories, writing more poetry and noticing what is happening right now and documenting it. This is something I want to do to relish what I have created – my life – and not compare it to anyone else’s life. It is not my love language or my skill. I am doer not a documenter, but I want to add this to my life so much that I am making it a 100 day goal through The Finders by creating one letter sized paper to capture my day. I’ll be posting some of them on Instagram.

How hard? Super hard. I have a busy life (we all do) and making time to document instead of just do is like making me work without my right hand. It’s just not normal for me and I feel like I’m forcing myself up a giant Ozark craggy hill. I can do hard things, I am yelling, by the way.

Gather Together – Building Belonging

I want to intentionally get together with you, you and you. I want to have coffee, do a project together, develop a task force, form a group, bring together the tribe – whatever it is. This is part of my special sauce and this year I am focusing on it because we are better together.

How hard? Just remembering to make time for old and new friends.

#9MagicGoals

I know that there are three magic things that need to happen to make your goals materialize.

  1. You have to make them – goals don’t just happen. You have to actually decide what you want to do, explore or have in your life.
  2. You have to proclaim them – the power of saying your goals out loud to other people will help you keep them present and you accountable.
  3. You have to work them – every. damn. day.

Let’s do this 2017. Let’s create life and work that is meaningful and broad. We can do hard things and make shit happen.

 

One Word 2017: Kindfulness

kindfulnessIt’s time to share my One Word: Kindfulness. I unveiled it to my newsletter list this week and the Do Good Work Facebook group. After really thinking about what I want to unveil next year this mashup of a word kept coming back and it feels right. I have sat mediation for over 25 years and I need to take that off the cushion into real life. The timing seems right.

About Kindfulness

What is this mashup word? It is a mix of Kindness and Mindfulness. It is where I try to gather myself together to be present and be kind in real time. Most situations need more kindness not more angst. My tendency as an INFJ on the Meyers Briggs is to tighten up and my heart gets a little harder and a little colder. That isn’t healthy for me or for those around me. I don’t want to pretend everything is a-ok when it isn’t, but I want to be clear with my words and actions in a kind manner. Not fake, but not mean. Kindful.

Mindful Kindness in Action

What does it look like to be mindfully kind?

  • Gathering myself together when I enter a room/meeting/am with someone and being truly present.
  • Listening more than talking and when I am talking I am conscious of my words.
  • Giving more than taking.
  • Being aware of my own energy and what I am bringing to the table.
  • When frustrated, dealing with my own fear/anger/shit about it before unleashing it on the world.
  • Less venting.

Work It

The whole idea of the One Word only works if you actually work it. Picking the word isn’t the hard part. Remembering it is part of your world for the year is actually harder. This year instead of monthly themes/ideas using the word I am focusing on a quarterly dive.

  • January/February/March: Words – how Kindfulness works through my words
  • April/May/June: Actions – how Kindfulness works through my actions
  • July/August/September: Stories – gathering/creating stories of kindfulness
  • October/November/December: Amplification – boosting kindfulness into my world

I’m excited to dive in and continue to share how this One Word manifests itself during the course of the year in my work and personal life. Join the Do Good Work group if you want to be on this action for your own life!

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