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Ignited. a manifesto

Ignite.

That’s no small word.

And so when I chose it for my 2015 word of the year, I knew I needed to name it, to spell it out, to claim what I wanted from it.

Who would I be if I was ignited?  How would I be?  Vital. Vibrant.  Radiant. Connected. Warm. Energetic.  Living a life with great depth but not so much breadth.  Lit from within.  On fire.  Bright. Shining. Sparking.

Once I knew how I wanted to be, how I hoped to show up when I was ignited, it was easier to take the next two steps: to name what being ignited would allow me to have and what I had to do in order to feel and be ignited.

And though my New Year’s rituals (a word for the year, a vision board, and a wellness prescription) have been pretty well-established, this year, I found myself adding a new ritual: manifesto writing—claiming exactly how I wanted to be this year and what I wanted to do in order to feel ignited.

my 2015 manifesto

 

Now, I’ve got a blueprint, a gentle reminder of who I will be, what I can have, and what I must do in order to feel ignited.

Want to write your own manifesto for 2015?  Begin with your word for the year and then answer three questions with as much insight as you can (I answered these questions in short sentence lists that ultimately led to my manifesto).  Finally, piece together your manifesto in a way that resonates with and inspires you.

Who do I want to be in 2015?

How do I want to be in 2015?

What does it mean to me to be _______________ (insert your word here)?

What will being ____________________ allow me to have?

What must I do to be ___________________?

What will I do because I am ______________?

Friday Reflections

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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 ::  black bean and sweet potato chili, chicken and goat cheese corn quesadillas, sweet potato hash, delicious pan seared Brussel Sprouts (Happy gobbled them up. His dad was more tentative).

hearing ::  really beautiful dreams from children who participated in the local King Day for Kids program (including Happy whose dream is to be a zookeeper– a sudden change from “to be a dad” when he got on stage).  Also, a glorious mini-concert from a gospel choir.

smelling :: more Eucalyptus oil.

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seeing ::  Paddington.  I took Happy and one of his friends the other day and its adorable.  Also, Happy came home with a love note he received this week.  I can’t even.

feeling :: a little off kilter but content.  Happy had too days off from school this week which means I never quite found my work legs for the week but we had a lot of fun and meaningful time together and that feels super good.

wishing :: for some nice periods of uninterrupted time to really enjoy my students’ body image autobiographies.

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

spark your systems:: because your time matters

Spark Jan 2014

Does your life feel out of control right now?

Are you drowning in papers and lists that don’t have any rhyme or reason to them?

Are you putting off your dreams just to keep your responsibilities in check (somewhat)?

 It’s time to change all that.  And Spark Your Systems is the place to do it.

At Spark Your Systems, you will learn how to organize your life with intention as your guide so that you can make time for your dreams while taking care of your responsibilities.

Spark Your Systems teaches you an organizational, aspirational, and intentional process for managing life while incorporating your dreams.

You’ll leave this hands-on workshop with clarity about your priorities and passions and with a tangible system in place to help you embrace and achieve more of what you want.

February 5th from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Elemental Healing in Charlotte

$55 registration fee includes pre-workshop prep instructions and refreshments  

workshop testimonial

This workshop was the spark I have been searching for… I thought I was getting myself organized over and over again, and couldn’t figure out why it never worked. The fact is I was operating without a system. Turns out simply straightening up piles of paper doesn’t really help to prioritize projects or get you moving forward in a doable fashion.  This system of Rosie’s really works and taking time for the weekly review is invaluable. I have been to other Rosie workshops and loved them. They have helped me to create a focus, to determine a direction and, most importantly, have helped me say no, realizing that the other person’s emergency is not necessarily my emergency – all of which has given me more time to focus on actions and projects important to me, my family and my business.

This Spark your Systems workshop was the piece I was missing. Its the one that helped the most in terms of getting all of my stuff in one place and then having a plan of action that is really doable with almost instant results. If you feel as if all your balls are up in the air, this is the workshop that will help to keep your rhythm going so that nothing falls through the cracks. This system is manageable, easily adapted to any profession, and insures that every project, big or small, gets equal time. I’ve used the book of lists we set up in the workshop every day since – and have just finished my first weekly review planning session – so far so good. The best part is I am getting work and home things done, crossing things off the list, adding on new projects and am still able to plan time for myself! The 3 hours of workshop time has proved to be invaluable in terms of a hands-on experience. Pair that with all the little tips and tricks Rosie shared for making it all work during the workshop; and blog posts she shared after and you’ve got great follow up. I would and will recommend the Spark Your Systems workshop to everyone I know – I feel like a new person!  ~2014 SYS attendee

Practice Matters

everything is practice

We begin with an idea.

A little shimmer of a thing.  A hunch that maybe if we try X or Y or Z it will have meaning for us.  It will help us transcend or get to know ourselves or blossom.

We stretch out to it, awkward and unsure and shaky.  So shaky.  And in that stretching it might feel like something vaguely familiar.  Like something we are supposed to know or do or try or consider.  It might feel like it could be home for us if we just keep reaching for it.

So we decide to practice it.  To keep reaching for it.  To be open for what it offers.

Sometimes, we are only open to part of what it has to offer when we start.

Like when we take up yoga and we want the stretch and strength from it but maybe we aren’t yet ready for it to stretch our brain, for it to change how we show up in the world.  Maybe we aren’t yet ready for it to transcend us.  And then days or weeks or years later, we become open not just to what pigeon pose can do for us but what yoga can do for us.  We embrace the totality of the practice.  Yoga becomes how we live rather than just something that we do.

It can be like that with anything we practice—yoga, lovingkindness, running, openness, hope, engagement, community, commitment, wholeheartedness, presence, cycling, art, love.

And the idea with practice, for me, is that it is a consistent state, not a destination.  With everything, motherhood, writing, teaching, running, yoga, barre, cooking, being community, leading, creating, being in a relationship- EVERYTHING, I feel like I am still practicing.  Like there is still so much to learn, to consider, to tweak, to receive.

And so I keep practicing. I identify new practices.  I put my whole heart into exploring even while evaluating which practices are working for me and which ones aren’t.

Today, I am looking at my very best practices from 2014, ones that fed my well in some way and helped me operate from a more whole, happy, healthy place.  Next week, I’ll share what I am choosing to practice in 2015.

Embracing presence over productivity.  You might recall that this was something I really identified as a shift that I wanted to see for myself mid-way through 2014.  I was tired of ALL of the doing and just wanted to be more, especially because the me I most appreciate is the one who is present with and for people and experiences and not hyper-productive.  Just making this choice really shifted my mindset and made me linger with an idea rather than just barreling through because I had it (I am never short on ideas which means that I could technically never be done with crossing things off my list).

Stopping the work bleed.  Often, I ended the day with my laptop in my lap in bed and I started my day the same way.  When I decided to focus on presence rather than productivity, I let that go for the most part (with the very rare exception—like deadline work).

Morning workouts.  Stopping the early morning work sessions means that I don’t bag my morning workouts anymore.  Instead, I start my day with some awesome self-care—a workout, some tea, breakfast in the quiet of the day.  It is so much better for all of me.

Pure Barre.  One of those common early morning workouts is a barre class.  I would never have thought to sign up for it on my own but when I won a one month pass in a charity auction, I decided that I would go full tilt that month.  And I like it a lot—I love that it is no impact, that it is always a challenge, that it occupies my whole brain so I can’t be off in lala land while I am working out, and that it is total body.  It’s also so different from everything else I have ever done that it remains a novelty which is fun.  I don’t think there will ever be a class where my form doesn’t need to be corrected but I always leave there feeling really proud and satisfied.

Unscheduled Mondays.  This is really a continued practice from 2013, but it is absolutely my second best professional habit after my weekly review so I want to celebrate continuing it.  Not scheduling meetings on Mondays has really made sure that I feel in control and prepare every week rather than reactive and behind.  I get the most urgent things done every Monday and then anything else that week is gravy (in case things hit the fan).  It also lets me hang out in my workout clothes for the whole day which never gets on my nerves.

Tackling my sinus health.  It is terribly ironic that I am writing this while on antibiotics for a sinus infection but, to be fair, I really do have less sinus infections then I used to have.  Before last year, I had a raging sinus infection every 6 weeks.  Years ago, when I had my tonsils out, my surgeon suggested that I also have my sinus cavities shaved (that wasn’t the word he used but it is how I heard it and, hence, why I didn’t do it—BIG MISTAKE) because they are shaped in a way that invites infection.  My chronic allergies + unfortunately shaped sinuses meant constant sinus infections.  That is far more than you want to know about my sinuses, so now I’ll be brief.  I decided to tackle my sinus issues (as much as I have control over) in 2014.  I started oil pulling (basically swishing coconut oil), taking allergy medicine again, decreasing my dairy intake, etc.  Overall, I think I was down to 3-4 sinus infections last year from about 10 the previous year.  Hooray!

Saying hard things.  This year was peppered with super hard, make me slightly sick to my stomach hard conversations.  A lot of times we think it is just easier to let things go unsaid but that is only “true” until the things that go unsaid become too painful to live with in your daily life.  This year, I tried to really have the necessary hard conversations earlier.  Having the conversations didn’t get easier but living life after them sure did.

Audiobooks.  I have loved audiobooks for my time in the car, but got away from them at the end of 2013.  I got back into them in 2014 and “read” so many more books that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

 ♦

What were some of your best practices in 2014?

a manifesto for this new year

beautiful you manifesto final

Friday Reflections

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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 ::  zucchini and mushroom tacos, a chickpea, cabbage and carrot soup, roasted asparagus, apples and oranges all the time, and the lentil and quinoa broth bowl at Panera (this is so, so good.  They also have a Soba noodle broth bowl).

hearing ::  thoughtful entrepreneurs envision their year at the final visionSPARK for 2015, a new book on tape (After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman), what impact Circle de Luz has had on one of our families, really creative ideas in a brainstorming session about some marketing projects for CdL

smelling :: Eucalyptus oil.

seeing :: Happy gleefully play basketball (he got a goal for Christmas), my beautiful new body image students (school’s back in session!).

feeling :: not so hot.  I’ve got a raging sinus infection and I am at the point in the cycle when I think the best treatment plan is to amputate my head.  But, surely, I’ll turn the corner any second.  Don’t mind me as I apply another layer of Chapstick to my nose.

wishing :: for a speedy recovery so I can continue with the new year momentum.

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

A Blog Year in Review

blog year in review

 

In my end of the year personal summit, one of the things that I looked into was what blog posts resonated with readers in 2014.  While my blog isn’t monetized, it’s important to me to feel like I am contributing something of meaning or use or relief to the world and writing here is one way for me to do that.   As it turns out, my top blog posts from this year covered everything from the useful to the personal.  Here’s a quick round-up in case you missed them the first time around or could find them useful in some way now.

Self-care for when life sucks  (March 2014).  Sometimes life bites.  And when life bites, we tend to abandon all of our own self-care so that we can nurture those we love.  But if we lose sight of our own care during that time, we can experience our own setback.  Here’s a little instruction guide for self-care when life is in the way.

if I only have one more chance to tell you (June 2014).  Teaching a seminar on body image is one of the great honors and responsibilities in my life.  I want our time together to do something more than just fill my students’ heads with definition and stats.  I want our time together to change them so that they can go out and change the world.  Given that, it should come as no surprise that near the end of each semester, I grow a little panicky about whether or not I have done what I intended in terms of helping my students increase their self-acceptance.  This past Spring semester, I frantically wrote down everything I wanted to make sure I had mentioned to my students.  That list inspired this blog post.

What must I do today to keep my baby safe?  (September 2014)  A look at the worries I harbor as the mother of a black boy.

Redefining Good (September 2014) A look at the pressure that being good places on us.

Create a Master to Do List  (January 2014).  A master to do list is an essential part of keeping yourself well-organized.  Here’s my process.

Write a wellness prescription  (January 2014).  A wellness prescription can be a game changer in taking better care of yourself this year.  Instructions on how to write one here!

A letter to my body image students on the last day of class (May 2014). I write each body image class a unique good-bye letter for the last day of class.  This one really resonated with people.

Ignite (and what to do if your word for the year won’t come to you)

soulfully ignited

In November, I started to scrawl potential words for the year in my little idea notebook.  They all felt really good, really close, but not like they were it.

And so I started thinking about what feeling they evoked in me, what my deepest desire was for my life RIGHT NOW and writing about that.

What I found was that what I most wanted right now in my life was a feeling of vitality, vibrance, radiance, connectedness, warmth.  I didn’t want my life to be broader or to have more things in it, but I wanted it to have more energy.  I wanted to feel more alive and to have an inner fire burning.  I wanted to be lit from within—something that I have vibrantly been before, something that I warmly am right now, but I wanted that flame to be hotter.  I miss the white hot nature of how I used to feel in life before I found myself in the middle place—that place where I am saddled with so much worry about the people for whom I am responsible in this life, that my wattage has dimmed.  The worry is going to be there; that is just the nature of my life right now.  But worry and wattage don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  And that is what I was feeling called to in choosing my word for this year.

But what was the word?  I still wasn’t any closer to finding it and was thinking of going with an old reliable one—a word that has been in Word of the Year Fight Club the last three years with my final selection.  Maybe I would finally choose my constant word bridesmaid:  Abundance.  I mean how great of a word is that?  Who doesn’t want a feeling of more abundance in their lives?

And then I got my sign.

Literally.

I was driving home from barre class and a good song came on the radio and I decided to take the long way home so I could hear it all.  As I came up over some railroad tracks, I noticed one of those real estate signs you can have made with the word IGNITE on it and that was it.  My word.  I knew it in the flash that it took to drive by that sign.

 ig·nite verb \ig-ˈnīt\

: to set (something) on fire : to cause (something) to burn

: to begin burning : to catch fire

: to give life or energy to (someone or something)

In 2015, I am choosing to be soulfully ignited.

 ~

Are you struggling with finding your word for the year?

Take a minute to really capture what it is you want your word to guide you into being or feeling.  Write it all down.  Make sure it makes your heart leap.

Now, it is time for Word for the Year Fight Club.

Write down the words you are considering.  Look up their definitions.  Look up their synonyms.   See if something bubbles up clearly.  If not, look for signs (literal or figurative).  Talk about with a friend.  Heck, leave a comment here.  Let’s find your word for the year together.  Because once you’ve got it, you get to welcome everything it wants to bring to you and who isn’t ready for that possibility?

Friday Reflections

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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 ::  lemony lentil soup, sweet potato, squash and black bean enchiladas, roasted chickpea and broccoli burritos.  We are working our way through the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  The flavors are incredible!

hearing ::  thoughtful women grabbing hold of what they want for themselves at visionSPARK, brain blowing ideas in my own little skull.

smelling :: a new blood orange candle.  Gosh, I love the warmth and scent of candles, especially in the winter.  Also, all the fabulous scents from the Thug Kitchen recipes.

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seeing :: gorgeous works of synergistic art at visionSPARK.

feeling :: bright-eyed, wide-eyed, and open-hearted.  This new year has already been a great big eye opener for me.

wishing :: for a lovely start to the semester, to kindle the world with warmth, lush happiness.

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

10 Things I Loved in December 2014

10 things I loved in december 2014

 

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.

Dinner with the Neighbors.  We have great neighbors all around us. And, last year, one set of neighbors suggested we go out to dinner together to celebrate holidays and birthdays (as opposed to doing gifts) because we so rarely get to have conversations that are not in the yard or over delivering lemons or vanilla to one another.  And so we went to dinner to a little Italian place that we never go to and told funny stories and had just the loveliest of times.   

haircut

A New Hair Cut.  When I became a new mom, I chopped off my hair thinking it would be easier and, as it turns out, I was completely wrong.  But my curls are different these days, and I impulsively got the urge for a different do so I decided to try going shorter again.  I got an inverted bob haircut that I am still figuring out how to style (here’s a shot of it the day after the cut with how my stylist straightened it—I don’t have the patience or skill to do that- and then a curly day) but, overall, I am enjoying the change.

orange belt

An Orange Belt with Black Stripe in the House.  Happy started karate in September and is loving it.  He tested for his orange belt with black stripe (his first belt test) in December and it totally choked me up.   He was thrilled with his accomplishment and I was just so proud of him for working so hard for something he wanted. 

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The End of PT.  Speaking of working so hard, Happy did 16 months of PT and OT, sometimes with as many as three appointments a week, to help him out with structural and sensory differences and he “graduated” in December.  We adored all his therapists and the staff at his “gym” and were so grateful for their love and support.

The Nutcracker.  I have never told you all about that one time I took BF to the Nutcracker (because he would be so embarrassed) but I have alluded to it.  Suffice to say that it was a traumatic experience for not just both of us but the entire audience in attendance that day.  So imagine my shock when BF suggested that we take Happy to The Nutcracker this year.  Though I thought he was kidding, he wasn’t, and we went and had a wonderful time with no embarrassing episodes.  Such a lovely way to savor the season.

Celebrating the holidays.  Family-time.  Christmas pajamas.  Family movie night with all three of us watching The Polar Express (which I actually found quite creepy.  I know, I know, it was an instant classic. But I couldn’t get over that animation) from the bed.  Good food. Lots of laughs.  A last minute, crazy, desperate search for a cotton candy maker.  Good times.

Ringing in the New Year.  BF and I have been together for 15 years.  Before we started dating, we both had very memorable New Year’s Eves (like that time I went to New Orleans for New Year’s and came home with a bullet hole in my car) but we have NEVER done anything for New Year’s together other than watch the ball drop from home.  This year, however, our calendar for the 31st got super full—we went tubing for the day with Happy, had an incredible four course meal and then went to a party.  Don’t worry, though, we didn’t totally change our ways in one year– we were in bed to watch the ball drop!

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Thrive Necklace.  BF treated me to a necklace with my 2014 word for the year on it for my birthday.  It arrived a little late so I got to really enjoy it this month.  

Toasty Boots.  Speaking of birthdays, I got a gift certificate that I hadn’t used yet for my birthday so I gave it to BF to put towards some toasty cardigan boots for me for Christmas.  My feet have never been happier.    

A New Planner.  I was interviewing someone for a profile I was writing on her when she mentioned her Day Designer Planner.  Well, you know how I feel about planning.  So within 30 minutes of getting off the phone with her,  I bought the last Day Designer planner in our area for myself.  I have used my old system for so long that this new one is taking some getting used to, but I am liking it so far.