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Friday Reflections

FullSizeRender[3]Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little sensory exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for the last week:
tasting :: mushroom ravioli with sautéed spinach, pumpkin seeds, roasted purple carrots, parsnip fries, pan roasted flounder, fennel risotto, lobster mac and cheese, lemon orzo soup, udon noodles, tempura vegetables, dumplings, charred peppers, guacamole and pimento cheese with the perfect homemade chips, a brownie with ice cream and caramel sauce (and a candle for wishing!).    
hearing ::  really thoughtful conversations around race and culture, lots of people singing Happy Birthday, creative ideas in a community problem solving session.  
smelling :: an eggnog latte candle and a soy milk scented hand lotion.
seeing ::  my dearest friends (in just a perfect confluence of events, I really got to see lots of my dearest people in the same week.  Filled my well).    Also: a gorgeous red shouldered hawk who kept me company outside the shack this week.
feeling ::   the sensation of hanging upside down in an air fitness swing.   Daunted and hopeful.  This week has been filled with some big ups and some big downs.  They’ve left my head full, my heart warm and pulsing, and my soul stirring.  We’ll see where it all goes.   
wishing ::  for a lovely weekend that focuses on my sweet little family.
Photo on 11-14-14 at 9.08 AM #2 Photo on 11-16-14 at 11.26 AM Photo on 11-19-14 at 12.41 PM #2
Unrelated:  two things got scratched off my birthday list this week:  an Air class and going two weeks without cardigans (a little more photographic evidence).

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

41 things to do before turning 42

41 things
So, every year in anticipation of my birthday, I write a list.

Do a set of fifteen regular pushups. Take my parents to visit family in Puerto Rico. Complete a century bicycle ride. Raise at least $5000 for cancer research. Work with turtles.

It started as a simple dare. Find something to do outside of your job, I told myself in that third year of teaching when my work hours stretched from 6 am until 10 pm, or you will end up celebrating your sixtieth birthday wondering where your life went. But when I sat down to consider what hobby I might take up, so much interested me that I had no idea where to start. I wanted to try it all, and so I invented a system that would let me, at the very least, try most of it. My first list was written in the days leading up to my 25th birthday. Scrawled across the pages of a journal, I listed the 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 26.

Back then, it was mostly a practical venture. I started to run, paid off student loans, saved money, increased my retirement savings. Each year, the list grew a little more daring, balancing the trivial with the important, the safe with the stretches. I learned to paint with watercolors, went kayaking, sang karaoke even though I have no business singing (it was in Brazil and so my hope was that the language barrier covered up my lack of melody. Just to be clear, it didn’t.). I took other risks like submitting my poetry and non-fiction essays to literary magazines and performing in The Vagina Monologues. Each checkmark on the list made me feel more alive.

Indeed, I was living more fully—with both practical challenges and extraordinary experiences informing my growth. Learning to swim made me safer. Learning CPR helped me to keep others safe. Scale a 5.7c peak in rock climbing? Made me reach deep inside for the reservoirs of strength and endurance. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I channeled my need to do even more than serve as his chemo companion by joining Team in Training and raising close to $10,000 for cancer research.  It is not just my athleticism that has changed. I have helped my family, traveled and experienced other cultures, made new friends, engaged in my community, developed artistic skills, invested in issues that are dear to me, become better read.

To be honest, some of my exploits have been at odds with my skills or personality.  Parasailing reminded me how scared I was of heights, but I stayed up there the whole time, singing quietly to myself. Competing in a duathlon against some of the area’s finest athletes (when I signed up, I noticed that it said Finest in the title of the event, but I thought they meant well-organized and not really competitive) forced me to get in touch with the reality that I was doing the event to impress myself and not anyone else. And while it would seem that these were failed experiments, I think it is impossible to fail at anything on the list. I have never completed all the tasks on any year’s list, my interior monologue telling me I should have begun the list in my teens so I could have had a chance at a clean sweep. But the fact that the list exists lures me to want to check things off, look it over, and make plans.

I know that I live better and more dramatically because the list exists. At the end of each ‘birth’year, I evaluate the past list. I recall each experience and think about its significance to me. I consider who I have been and who I am becoming, and I decide whether an unmet goal should go on the next year’s list or if its lure is no longer calling me. The list is not just a ritual. It is a formula for how I can make life happen in the midst of deadlines and duties. Regardless of what I come up with for the lists, each year is cloaked in adventure, compassion, self-improvement and satisfaction. It is a gift to myself, a celebration of life, a list that keeps me living out loud.

This week, I turned 41 so it now time to start scratching things off a new list.  Here’s the list…

1.  Create a vision board.

2.  Spruce up the backyard.

3.  Take an aerial yoga class.

4.  Read 30 books for pleasure.

5.  Read 5 books to support personal/ professional growth.

6.  Try 6 new restaurants.

7.  Replace carpet in master bedroom.

8.  Take singing lessons.

9.  Take a workshop/training.

10.  Hear an author speak.

11.  Find the perfect kitchen rug.

12.  Open a 529 account for Happy.

13. Give up Coke for 41 days.

14.  Tweak personal style.

15.  Update Happy’s journal and then write at least one entry per month.

16.  Set up a Little Free Library.

17.  Offer a 2 day retreat in Charlotte-area.

18.  Go trampolining.

19.    Get skin checked.

20.  Hit 100 Pure Barre classes.

21.  Ride water.

22.  Finish the attic reorganization.

23.  Do Thai Yoga.

24.  Have a family picnic.

25.  Plant a garden.

26. Start running again.

27.  Speak at at least 5 colleges.

28.  Get a new book contract.

29.  Take Happy ice skating or roller skating.

30.  Further develop workshop and retreats.

31.  Listen to live music.

32.  Take a cooking class with BF.

34.  Go on a retreat.

35.  Go on trip with mom and dad.

36.  Take Happy on a hike.

37.  Outfit the back deck.

38.  Take a computer or technology class.

39.  Try boot camp.

40.  Go 2 weeks without wearing a cardigan.

41.  Attend a trivia night.

Creating Your Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Give Thanks

With the calendar now in November, we have officially hit the most wonderful time of the year.

Wait, did you just pause when reading that?

While the holidays should be a lovely time for family togetherness and personal reflection, it often doesn’t turn out that way.  An overscheduled calendar, demanding relatives, and financial strain can sometimes make what should be a merry season not so merry.  The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are five intentional ways to approach the holiday season so it is, indeed, a bright spot this year.

Reminisce.  The best way to consider how you want to approach the upcoming season is by looking back.  What have been moments over the years that you have just loved?  What are things you wish were a part of how you celebrate?  What traditions do you follow now?  How do you decorate? How do you honor others?  How do you take care of yourself during this time?     

Know what you want.  The first step for having a holiday season that brings you joy is knowing what you and those you care for most need to feel happy, healthy, whole, and loved this holiday season.  After looking back, it is time to really focus on this year.  What feeling do you most want to have this year?  What do you wish for your loved ones?  What experiences would allow you to have a glorious time this year?  Maybe you want more simple moments or less expenses, more decorations or more quiet time, more time to serve others or fewer places to be.  Maybe some traditions need to be let go or new ones need to be started.  How would you like to honor people in your life?

Know your limit.  Soon, invitations, holiday greetings, and wish lists will start rolling in.  Before they do, get really clear about how much you can and want to do.  How many nights do you want to be away from your house each week?  Will you accept every invitation that you are offered or pick and choose the ones that bring you the greatest joy or sense of connection?  What can you afford to spend on gifts without putting yourself in debt or stressing yourself out?  Really determine your limit and then find ways to keep to it.  Come up with creative gifts you can make.  Be honest when you turn down an invitation. Honoring your truth and circumstances is a way of honoring others.

Set boundaries and expectations.  Is one of the reasons you hate the holidays because you always see the aunt who insists on commenting on your weight, children (or lack thereof), or job?  This year, it’s time to teach Aunt Doris how to treat you (politely, of course). When she starts in, simply look at her and say, “this isn’t a productive conversation for us to have” and change the subject.  Moreover, if you are going to be doing things differently this year, set expectations early and clearly with family members.  ** Look for more on this one next week!   

Take care of yourself.  When things get busy, it is easy to let our own self-care go in order to make time.  We eat less healthy, drink less water, sleep less, move less, and give ourselves less of what we need in order to give others more.  Here’s the catch, though: that solution actually drains us and leaves us less able to care for others long term.  Make sure there are several things you are doing every day, even when things are frantic, to care for you.  A healthy and whole you is always a happier you.    

Friday Reflections

Ariadna shares her Circle de Luz experience

Ariadna shares her Circle de Luz experience

Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little sensory exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for the last week:
tasting :: a boatload of soup and other mild foods like grilled cheese, mashed potatoes and applesauce as a stomach bug hit our house.  I didn’t get it (I washed my hands like a crazy woman), I just ate what I prepared for others.  
hearing :: one of Circle de Luz’s amazing alumnae hijas speak about her CdL experience and loads of holiday cheer as Circle de Luz hosted our annual Holiday Giving Party!      
smelling ::  the smell of fallen leaves and fall setting in       
a week without cardigans
seeing ::  myself in something other than cardigans.  I issued a little challenge myself to try to go cardigan less for a week and, who would have thought, I pulled it off.  And because I knew no one would believe me, I took photographic evidence!
feeling :: so grateful to all the amazing people who make Circle de Luz the amazing organization it is, our supporters, and, most of all, our sweet, sweet girls who honor us with their presence.
wishing ::  to offer some valuable insight when I speak this weekend at the National Renfrew Conference for Eating Disorders.

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

My Favorite Reads in My 40th Year

My favorite reads in my 40th year

With my 41st birthday approaching, I am looking back at the books I read in my 40th year and sharing with you a few that you might enjoy reading, too.  My tastes are eclectic but perhaps the variety offered in this list will lead you to something you’ll love reading, too.

Missing You by Harlan Coben.  My commute to the university is about 40 minutes long, and audiobooks have helped me not mind it at all.  I most enjoy listening to mystery/thriller type books while I am driving and tops on that list are books by Harlan Coben.  I usually listen to his Myron Bolitar series of books, but this stand alone was great.  I really appreciated the female main character, Kat Donovan, and this timely look at cat-fishing and dating online.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  I discovered Liane Moriarty last year and have now read four of her six books (two of them were on my favorites list from last year).  From page one, Big Little Lies is not a whodunnit as much as a who bit it.  From page one, you know a murder investigation is underway but you don’t know who died, how, and what lead to that moment.  The book takes you on a satisfying, redemptive journey to that answer.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.  Rowell’s Eleanor and Park was on last year’s favorite list (stop now and go read if you haven’t), and Attachments is equally satisfying but in a different (more light-hearted) way.  Set in 1999 amidst the great fear of Y2K, a computer security employee at a newspaper is charged with monitoring emails to make sure employees are following the company’s rules of engagement (no personal emails!).   Soon enough, computer snooping leads to love of the most unrequited nature.  What do you do when you fall in love with someone whose emails you are paid to read and she has no idea you are reading them (0r that you exist)?  A fun, well-executed premise.

Dare Me by Meg Abbott.  A super satisfying beach read (well, that’s where I read it), Dare Me looks at the dark side of competitive cheerleading, lust, envy, and power.  I watched Glee and couldn’t help but picture Quinn and Brittany as the tension built between the main character and her best friend.  There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls, the book’s tagline reads.  Never truer than in this book.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart   Described as a modern suspense novel, We Were Liars details a critical summer in the lives of four best friends.  Unique narration, a broken family, a mystery, and an unspeakable discovery make this book a shocking page turner.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  I heard Diffenbaugh on NPR when this book first came out but I was worried that the book’s subject matter– the book begins just as the narrator is released from group foster care on her 18th birthday- might be a little too close for me to be able to get through it.  I’m so glad that friends kept recommending because, wow, it was gorgeous and heartbreaking and redemptive and touching.  Really briefly, Victoria Jones is released from foster care on her 18th birthday and finds work with a florist.  Victoria happens to know the Victorian Language of Flowers and that skill is one that makes her incredibly valuable to her clients.  Why does she know the Language of Flowers?  Alternating between the present and past tense, the book shares how Victoria became who and how she is and where she is going is a revelation.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.  Another beach read that I just could not put down. CRA focuses on the super rich in Singapore and their beliefs, buying habits, and behaviors.  It follows a young couple from different backgrounds as they realize that while love might be enough for them, it is not necessarily enough for those around them.  Call it a modern, Asian Romeo and Juliet with more comedy than tragedy.  One of my favorite parts? The footnotes.  Yes, a novel with footnotes.  You’ll like them, too.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. An African-American hairdresser in her mid-forties is in the midst of a rough patch when her almost ninety year old white client asks her for a ride to Ohio.  In the car, they both examine their lives and the choices that have brought them to this moment.  Inspired by a family story the author learned later in life, this one got me at my throat.

How about you?  What books do you have to recommend?

 

 

 

It’s time to claim your dreams.

excites your spirit

At twenty-five, I was an obsessive high school teacher and coach.  While my work was incredibly rewarding and fun, I didn’t have much fun outside of work.  And then I got sick and laying around on the couch for weeks made me realize that there was more that I should be doing- and wanted to be doing- than just working all the time.

I wanted to learn how to surf and to change my own car tire.  I wanted to start running and relearn CPR.  I wanted to do something really special for my parents and learn how to swim.  Those things weren’t just going to happen to me.  I needed to make them happen. And while I waited for years for other people to invite me to those experiences, I didn’t have to wait any more.  I was in charge of my life.  Whether or not I had a good time or traveled or experienced new challenges was on me.  I could budget my time, energy, and money to give myself the experiences I so admired from my friends’ stories or had dreamed about trying.

Rich experiences didn’t have to be a dream if I was willing to be intentional. 

And so, because I have always been most motivated by capturing my dreams in writing, I sat down and wrote a list.  Twenty-five things to do before turning twenty-six, I scrawled and then thoughtfully numbered different experiences I wanted to have or things I wanted to do.  That first list was both practical- get re-certified in CPR and First Aid- and expansive- travel.  I read twenty-five books and finally got my North Carolina’s driver’s license.  As I tackled each item on the list, I scratched it off with great satisfaction.  My life was expanding outside of work and it, ironically, made me better at my job because it made me a more well-rounded and happier person.

Fifteen years later, I still make a list every year.  With those lists as my guide, I’ve traveled to other countries, learned how to surf and stand up paddle, run races, read scores of books, rescued a great dog, tried Rolfing, yoga, Pilates, rock climbing, snow shoeing and kickboxing, cycled numerous century rides, raised thousands of dollars for causes I believe in, worked with endangered leatherback turtles in Trinidad, treated my parents to a few adventures, paid off my student loans early, been to Major League baseball spring training in Florida and Panthers Training Camp in Spartanburg, seen whales in the ocean and more.

I have never completed any year’s list, and while that might seem like it would be a defeat for a former workaholic, it isn’t.  My annual birthday list is a daring, inspiring suggestion and I know that whatever I accomplish from it is a gift.  What’s not accomplished is given a quick review when I write the next year’s list to see if I want to try again but that’s all.  The birthday list, put simply, is a gift to myself that has made every year richer and encouraged me to appreciate that the journey is the goal and that I am more in charge of my journey than I sometimes realize.

Want to write your own birthday list?  Now’s the perfect time, even if your birthday isn’t right around the corner.  Craft your own list with these steps and start living with greater intention.

  • Decide how many items to include on your list.  When’s your birthday?  If it’s almost a year away (or happening shortly), craft a full birthday list.  Otherwise, pro-rate your list.  If your birthday is six months away, create a half-list or a quarter list if it’s just a few months away.
  • Brainstorm all possibilities.  Make a list of everything you have ever wanted to do or thought you should try and ask others for suggestions, too.
  • Claim this year’s items.  Make your final list and then pencil in a month next to each item when you might try to scratch it off your list.
  • Whenever you plan your to dos, look over your birthday list, too, to make sure you are making the necessary plans to help your accomplish your dreams.
  • Enjoy celebrating your life and growth over and over again!

Friday Reflections

a super serious SWAT team police officer

a super serious SWAT team police officer

Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little sensory exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for the last week:
tasting :: roasted broccoli and cauliflower, butternut squash soup, crab and wild rice casserole, mixed greens, pears and cranberries with a lemon honey vinaigrette, berry muffins,  pancakes, the perfect soft-boiled eggs, steamed broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, and some Halloween candy.     
hearing :: beautiful toasts as we celebrate an engagement in the family    
smelling :: hay breath from the horses at Triple Play Farm.  Seriously one of my favorite smells ever.  A new lavender hair product for Happy.  Citrusy candles warming up the house on a rainy day.      
seeing ::  the geniuses at the Genius Bar as they helped me navigate computer issues and phone issues.  Also, how cool is it that their job title is Genius?  Also: trick or treaters.  
feeling :: so touched by my dear Body Image students as I read their Beautiful You journals.  Sweet, dear, earnest hearts.  So honored to walk alongside them!
wishing ::  for a really successful fundraiser next week for Circle de Luz.

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

intention matters

begin with intention

With a new year approaching, you have likely thought about your goals. But have you thought about how you most want to feel in your life so you can allow that desire to guide you?

Have you thought about how to give your dreams and visions clarity and feeling?

Have you thought about how to capture your goals and dreams in a way that actually inspires you to move forward?

At visionSPARK, you’ll imagine the possibilities for your life and your year, gather inspiration, and then chart your vision with thoughtful support.  You will leave with clarity about your priorities and passions for 2015, an inspirational vision board to display, a touchstone word to root you and reinforce your commitment during the year, a gentle and personal call to action to guide you and the motivation to manifest the life you imagine.

photo[12]

visionSPARK:: because intention matters   

3 options:

 Friday, January 2nd from 9 am to 12:30 pm 

 at Triple Play Farm in Davidson

 Saturday January 3rd from 9 to 12:30 

 at Elemental Healing in Charlotte

OR

Saturday, January 3rd from 2 to 5:30 pm 

at Elemental Healing in Charlotte

 $60 registration fee includes pre-workshop workbook, supplies, and refreshments.

Use EARLY at checkout for  $10 off until 12/1/14.

photo[1]

 What Past Participants Have to Say

I attended Rosie’s VisionSPARK workshop with the hopes of setting some clearer work goals for myself. Those hopes were met and far surpassed. Just by spending time with Rosie I felt smarter, more grounded, and more capable. One of her coolest gifts is the ability to listen to women and extract the truth about what they are feeling. I think this has something to do with her amazing insight and incredible vocabulary… Rosie is like a modern day shaman and midwife; she sees your best potential and then helps you deliver it to the world.

Michelle Icard, Author and Founder of www.MichelleintheMiddle.com

Rosie’s welcoming presence, her insistence that we all deserved to and could live up to our full potential, and the support of the other participants, were the encouragement I needed to start moving forward again… Rosie shows you how to open your mind and heart to the possibilities of your own life. In a few short hours, we learned how to identify, then neutralize, the fear and negativity that stood between us and our desires…Thanks to VisionSPARK, I’ve been more creative, more willing to step out of my comfort zone, and kinder to myself in general. Signing up for one of Rosie’s workshop is one of the best gifts you can give yourself!

Lisa Rubenson

Having the opportunity to spend some time intentionally setting my focus for the new year through this workshop was a gift. Not only was the actual workshop time valuable, but the prep time also made me realize that Rosie’s mantra of organizing your thoughts around who you want to ‘be’ (instead of what you will do) will truly ground you in your specific purpose going forward. Having Rosie as our ‘Vision Guidess’ was ideal- she has an intuitive way of knowing exactly how to help you zero in and boil down your thoughts and ideas into that one main important point on which you will focus. I would highly recommend this workshop!

Donna Scott

On a crisp cold NC blue sky day, Rosie lit up the room with her warmth and spirit! It was a wonderful experience to listen to her words and to the words of the other women who shared this workshop with me. Rosie has a nurturing touch which guides others to see the real uniqueness that each person has to give to the world. I left with a peacefulness and knowledge of actions that would help me travel through my 2104 journey.

Laura Mulkeen

Dreaming about and planning for the future can be done alone, but it’s so much more creative, inspiring and fun when in the company of other women! Rosie encourages and leads in a gentle, yet get-it-done, manner — and workshop participates jump in with affirming support. The information and exercises are practical, while the experience is joyful and uplighting!

2014 visionSPARK attendee

What a great way to envision a new year! The VisionSPARK workshop with Rosie encouraged me to reflect, focus and articulate my desires in a fun and interactive way. Bravo!

2014 visionSPARK attendee

Ten Things I Loved in October 2014

Photo credit: Ginger Wagoner, Photosynthesis Inc

Photo credit: Ginger Wagoner, Photosynthesis Inc

At the end of each month, I take stock of the previous month.  What went well?  What did I learn?  What brought me a simple joy?  These monthly reports are a way to encourage myself to take delight in the littlest of things.  I find that Ten Things I Loved allows me to always see the silver lining, even when there are hard moments in a month.  And taking joy in the simple things is paramount to how I want to live, making 10 things an invaluable tool for me.  Here’s this month’s simple pleasures.

Professional

Circle de Luz Recognition Ceremony.  We inducted the Class of 2020 into Circle de Luz!  They are lovely girls with super sweet parents, and I feel so humbled that we get to walk alongside them for the next six years. 

Circle de Luz and Social Venture Partners partnershipCdL is so fortunate to have been selected as an investee by Social Venture Partners Charlotte.  In addition to a significant grant to support our work, we receive so much from them in terms of capacity building support from input and feedback to volunteer support.  It has been incredible already!

New Project.  I am working on a new project that blends Beautiful You with yoga and loving the creative process with imagining it!

Speaking PlansI love speaking at colleges, conferences, and businesses but have dialed that work down a bit in recent years while Happy was in preschool.  With him in kindergarten, I can travel a bit more and have already started to make plans for the spring as well as work out all the details for a November 16 talk at the national Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders Conference.    

Personal things

Time at the elementary school.  From having lunch with Happy to perusing the book fair, I’ve enjoyed spending time at the elementary school with Happy.  When I volunteer with his class, I am reminded of just how much I LOVE schools (old high school teachers die hard).  Seriously, there’s just something so sweet inside those walls, and it is an honor for me to go in and try to be another positive voice in a kid’s ear.

Soccer.  I loved soccer season when I was young; I loved it when I was a high school coach.  I love it as a mom.  Happy enjoyed fall ball with a new group of friends, and we enjoyed cheering for them and getting to know a new group of parents.

Catching up with old friends.  I was able to meet up with some different friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile over appetizers and lunches and it was just so good.  We laughed.  We cried.  We dreamed.  About all you can ask for, right?

Halloween Festivities.  Our town does a Halloween March where all the downtown merchants give out candy and it is just the sweetest tradition.  We enjoyed it and Halloween with one of Happy’s besties and his family.   

Panthers Game.  I was super lucky to be invited to go to the Panthers vs. Seahawks game by a dear friend.  Great conversation, a super close game, and a glorious fall day that felt like summer.  Good times though the Panthers lost.     

The Language of Flowers. By far my favorite read of the month. It tells the story of a foster child who has aged out of the system and finds work with a florist where she flourishes (see what I did there?) because she happens to know the Victorian Language of Flowers.  Why does she know the language of flowers?  Chapters alternate between present and past to give you a full understanding of what has informed who Victoria Jones is.     

So, what did you love in October? 

you have more control than you realize

shaped by your own choices

I realized how much intention mattered in my mid-twenties as I lay in an emergency room.  It was my second ER visit in days and, as fate would have it, the same emergency room doctor treated me.

Feeling my lymph nodes, he said, “I’m happy to keep seeing you if you’re happy to keep landing yourself here.”

I was instantly offended. I had a double ear infection, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and a sinus infection.  I worked in a high school where germs were plentiful.  I hadn’t done this to myself, I bristled.

Except maybe I had.  I was a chronic workaholic, an overcommitted community member, the kind of person who sacrificed herself for the good of the group.  You are nodding right now not because you knew me then but because you know you.

Finally healthy a few weeks later, I could see how my behaviors didn’t serve me.  It didn’t help me to skimp on sleep, food and fun.  And, ironically, it didn’t help the people I wanted to support.  I got so sick because I wouldn’t take a sick day from teaching to go see the doctor and rest when I first started feeling badly.  Ironically, after the second ER visit, the doctor wouldn’t clear me to return to work for weeks.  Not taking a day of rest early in the semester meant my students were without me for weeks in the days leading up to their state exam for my class.  My perspective shifted.  I had to deliberately take care of myself in order to live my purpose.

Over the next few years, I changed my approach to life. Perhaps the most significant thing I did was begin to live with intention.  Starting each day on purpose has changed everything.  It has made me more authentic, more healthy, more balanced, and, go figure, more happy.

Now, I am gearing up for what is my personal Super Bowl:  my late November birthday followed by the New Year.  I use this period of transition to deliberately reflect on the last year and then envision and articulate my intentions so I can claim what I want from the new year (of my life and on  the calendar) and then put into place the tools that will help me realize those dreams.

Because living with intention has made such a difference in my life, it is now my mission to support those who want to make their life happen (as opposed to reacting to what comes to them).  Over the next couple months, I’ll be sharing tools and tips to support your intentional living journey here so that we can all look back at 2014 with a gratitude for what it has taught us and given us and anticipate what we can create in 2015.

This week, I hope you’ll take the time to answer these three not-so-simple questions with a simple sentence (on paper or even just in your head when you have some time to yourself— think:  working out, showering, drinking coffee, or commuting):

  1. Who am I at this time in my life?
  2. How do I want to be in the world?
  3. What is my intention just for this day (or this moment)?

You are welcome to share your answers here (sometimes claiming them to someone else can be really powerful) or just use them as gentle guides to build your self-awareness and push you towards your greatest intention with clarity and conviction.  There’s so much we cannot control in life but one thing I’ve learned is that, despite what I though at twenty-five, we can create an empowered life for ourselves.