Autumn’s Inspiration

DSC01008-3I started this blog years ago with the intention of fueling my own undernourished spirit. Job after job of soul crushing work depleted me. This blog has been life giving and worth every ounce of time I put in it. It’s led to connections, jobs, and podcast interviews. But more importantly, it pushed me to stop living in the lines and start shaking things up a bit.

And then one kid came. Then, another. My freelance writing career took off. I began to live the dream instead of just dreaming about staring out my window typing on a Mac laptop like Carrie Bradshaw.

But somewhere along the way I started to sacrifice my dreams a little. I became the mom that I saw everywhere. The mom who put her kids first and everyone suffered as a result.

I saw author Wes Moore on Super Soul Sunday, which you can view here, this past weekend and was reminded of all the magical, mystical, whimsical dreams I had for myself. In this wise sentence, he stirred something in me:

“I knew it was incredibly risky to go out, but I think I had to make a very conscious decision that I would rather flirt with failure than never dance with my joy.”

How many of us live just getting by because we were taught that there was a single equation for happiness and any diversion would ruin us, put us on the streets, and shame us for life?

Maybe those impediments are placed so we can grow into the fierce people we were meant to become. But if we use it as excuses to stay small and safe, we’re wasting space in the world. We’re wasting the unique, quirky, beautifully messy life we were given. We were given it all for a reason. When we don’t use it to heal others, speak, write, create, we are wasting it all.

I don’t know what my next chapter holds. I know that I will continue to write, make an impact, and pursue what’s scary. I know that I won’t give up on my dreams. The rest is all up to faith.

People let’s spend our energies fueling our spirit and investing in our purpose. Let’s stop overworrying, overjudging and overgossiping! Use it instead to create what you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it’s not perfect right now. Even if it’s not the greatest thing in the world. Do it. Do it because you were meant to do more than live in the lines.

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Itching for Meaning

Roses
At one point in your existence, you’re going to want more. The life you’ve been living will feel uncomfortable like a scratchy sweater, like a cold tiled floor in the winter. It will make you toss and turn at night, make you wake in a cold sweat. It will turn you into the miserable uncle you once despised.

Or perhaps, you’ve already lived this way for the past several years and life is now throwing stones at you for your attention. It’s the illness you were diagnosed with or the job you were laid off from. These are signs people! These are signs that you need to wake up. Life is not giving you a could shoulder, it’s desperately trying to get you back on track.

Where are you stagnant in your life?

What are you settling for that you shouldn’t be?

What have you outgrown but are too afraid to let go of?

Perhaps a trip, a reconnection with an old friend or an inspiring movie has triggered this change of heart.

I hope you’ll use it as fuel to begin living your dreams!

I just started reading Carrying On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. I could almost quote everything she says in her book. Everything is so spot on and inspiring:

Here’s my hunch: nobody’s secure, and nobody feels like she completely belongs. Those insecurities are just job hazards of being human. But some people dance anyway, and those people have more fun.”

I’m admittedly one of those people who feels full of insecurities, like the world is super cool and I’m one giant dork. But I’m starting to get okay with that. I’m starting to reach in and look for something more grounding, deeper and more meaningful.

This month, I’m finally facing one of my fears-public speaking. Join me and watch me be all red-faced and awkward but speak anyway at Moms in Hawaii and HMSA’s next Mom-O-Rama event.

Mom-O-Rama

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5 Reasons You’re Still Stuck

Cat starting out the window

It’s been several years since your last big idea. But you’re still reading or watching about other people’s dreams while yours fades in the distance.

If you’ve wondered why you haven’t “made it” yet. Scroll through the following list to see if you’re guilty of the following obstacles that are keeping you stuck.

1) You’re playing safe.

People who risk big are often the most successful and the happiest. Taking a risk means different things to different people. For some, joining toastmasters or a choir is huge in the department of facing their fears. For others, starting their own business is a risk worth taking. If you’re still stuck in the same place you were last year, you may be too comfortable where you are. True enjoyment comes from taking risks. Find out what would make your heart race and take the leap.

2) You’re on the wrong path.

Maybe you dream of great things. But the things you’re dreaming of has nothing to do with what truly matters to you. If you’re fantasizing about financial wealth, but your real goal is to help others, you’ll stay stuck in a false facade of what can really make you happy. The sooner you realize you’re on the wrong path and return to the one that will lead you to your true purpose, the faster you’ll be on the road to happiness.

3) You expecting something or someone to change.

Life doesn’t happen because you’re lucky. Life happens because you take the necessary action to fulfill your dreams. If you’re waiting for the circumstances to be right before you venture into your life, you will be waiting a very long time.

4) You’re burnt out.

Perhaps you’ve run out of steam and inspiration on the path towards the life you want. The key is to mix things up, take a break, reimagine your vision. Change won’t happen while you’re emotionally or physically drained. Things will happen when you take care of yourself and feel refreshed enough to go after your dreams.

5) You haven’t taken any baby steps.

Big dreams do require big steps. But they also require small ones too. Skipping steps won’t get you there faster. Hard work, patience and continually chipping away at the small tasks (from paperwork to research) to get to the larger ones will eventually lead you to your dreams. Sometimes we need to face the small fears in order to give us courage for the really scary ones. If you haven’t made any changes in years, it’s time to reflect on whether you’ve taken all the necessary steps to get there.

Need help finding your purpose? I’d love to help! I offer phone and in-person dream coaching for those who need direction in following their dreams.

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What Oprah Taught Me

Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend San Jose

No I didn’t come home with a car. I didn’t leave with a photo, a “favorite thing,” or a dream fulfilled.

But when I left Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend, I was inspired, invigorated and hopeful that I would not only aspire to the dreams I had for myself, but that it was possible I could exceed my own humble desires. That’s pretty big and better than a new car if you ask me.

So I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you here. You my loyal readers. You who look just like me to get inspired, to turn the rut of ordinary day to day into a magical, meaningful party. I hope these insights will take you through the rest of the year and inspire you to fulfill all of your dreams in (can you believe it’s almost the end of the year?) 2015!

1. “There is no life without a spiritual life.”

We’re all searching for meaning and connection. Whether you use the word, “spiritual” or not, the older you get the more likely you are to question whether there’s anything more than a Starbucks coffee drinking life. There is! Oprah says that “there is no life without a spiritual life.”

Spirituality, the belief in something greater than yourself, is all about meaning and connection. The more problems we experience, the more fear and uncertainty we have, the greater the calling toward love and spirituality.

2. You are responsible for your energy.

What is your intention behind your question, your action, your decisions? That is what you are responsible for because whatever you bring to these situations is what will come back to you.

3. Stay out of other people’s energy fields.

At the same time, realize that you’re not responsible for anyone else. You can’t control your partner, the grocery clerk, your friend, your family member. All that effort will drain the life out of you and pull you away from your own dreams and desires.

4. “Your life is always speaking to you.”

A lot of people have questions about why they’re here. But surprisingly they’re looking for the answers in all the wrong places (and people). The key is to spend time in silence and seek the answers within.

5. “The single best way to change your vibration is to be grateful.”

Want more happiness, joy and love in your life? The secret isn’t to catch these things externally. Oprah says it’s all about finding these things in your own life. If you’re breathing, she says, you have something to be grateful for. And the more energy you spend feeling grateful, the more things you will have to be grateful for.

6. Surrender.

When you’ve done everything you can possibly do to fulfill your dreams, let go and surrender. It’s only when we release control that life has the freedom to gift us with dreams much greater than the ones we made for ourselves.

In future posts, I’ll also share insights from the other amazing speakers like Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Inspiring People: Q&A with Yoga Teacher Amanda Webster

Amanda Sunrise header image

People who pursue their passion inspire me. With their courage, determination and faith, they’re blazing the trail for other dreamers to follow their dreams.

In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a celebrity designer, successful author, Olympic medalist, and my favorite design bloggers.

Today, I’m featuring someone who I’ve admired for a long time. Amanda Webster is a yoga teacher and co-owner of Yoga Adventures Hawaii in Kailua, a business that offers yoga workshops and retreats. As a student in several of her classes,  I know she lives by what she teaches and I’m honored to have her here sharing her wisdom and path she took to follow her dreams.

Amanda Webster

Please describe what you do.

I teach heart-centered yoga classes, workshops and private sessions that range from upbeat to serious, restorative to powerful, and everything-in-between. I believe yoga helps us to identify the intentions, habits, and limiting beliefs about ourselves and others, and to recognize the value of consistent self-inquiry, growth, and expansion of universal awareness both on the mat and off. My strength as a teacher is building community and meeting people where they are by teaching from the idea of “vinyasa krama,” the breakdown of yoga into manageable steps to explore the gradual unfolding of the self in a way that reflects the intelligent unfolding of nature’s inherent rhythm. This is an awareness that benefits you off of the mat, too, which is where the real power of yoga exists.

I am also fortunate to co-host yoga retreats with my business partner Michael Graney. We make a great team, inspiring people to expand their boundaries and constricting beliefs, and to recognize how yoga can improve their welfare beyond the yoga mat!

Can you describe the journey that led you to where you are today?

I always felt a quiet pull towards yoga, but growing up in the Midwest, yoga was something that was just catching on in the celebrity realm. In college I ended up switching majors from pre-medicine to community health to behavioral psychology, eventually working as a behavioral therapist and case manager for autistic children. In 2008, after moving to Hawaii from Los Angeles and giving birth to my oldest son, I took my first class at the Windward YMCA and IMMEDIATELY knew yoga was “my thing.”

As an introvert, I hated speaking in front of people, though I recognized that this work would require me to make many essential shifts that could only make my life and relationships better. I often joke that diving deep into the yoga practice is like jumping into a rabbit hole, meaning it is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time and once you jump there is no turning back! For me, as a student and teacher of yoga, that exploration is the journey….

What was the greatest obstacle/challenge that you had to overcome to get to where you are?

The most challenging part of this work, both past-tense and currently, is finding a balance between the finances/marketing side of yoga as a business and the philosophical components of yoga. This includes marketing events without feeling like a salesperson and earning enough money to make ends meet while allowing yoga to be accessible and affordable to your clients…all while upholding the heart of yoga as a non-dogmatic practice characterized by self-inquiry and unity through adherence to the eight limbs of yoga.

It’s like this: Yoga students often see great value in their practices and have much appreciation for their teachers. An amazing yoga experience is like the satisfaction you feel after eating a delicious, well-prepared 5-star meal. However, students would prefer to only pay fast-food prices for that meal, they only want consider the final product. For teachers, often the work is the reward, but we cannot sustain the 5-star quality on a fast food budget. Many of us who teach yoga as a living are like the fast-food employees making minimum wage and struggling to cover basic living expenses; we need to be paid for the work that goes into preparation in addition to the final product.

Basically, if yoga (or anything) is such an important component of your life, the amount of resources you devote to the development of your practice should proportionally reflect the value it has on your life. It feels taboo to even approach this subject, but there are some really inspirational people in the wellness industry beginning to intelligently bridge that gap. I’m still working on it!

What do you love most about you’re doing?

When we establish a practice (such as yoga) that routinely brings us to the state of connectivity through quiet mind, we see, speak, act and relate with more awareness, intention and love…experiencing this huge shift as an individual and developing a community as people practice together, THAT is why I love what I am doing.

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Feeling stuck?

I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit. It’s that bored, shadow feeling that creeps up on me after a huge project has been completed, an overwhelming challenge has been successfully overcome and a lull falls where a high once was. It’s a good thing, but it’s also a little unsettling.

With that being said, I know of many people who’d rather the lulls, the routine, the comfort of knowing what comes next. That’s not me. That’s why I’m a writer. I love weekends checking out my calendar and inbox to find up what’s up for the following week.

For those of you who feel stuck, however, I’ve written up a new post over on LinkedIn. It’s my first one and don’t know if it’s something I will continue to do. But I hope you’ll let me know what you think.

Click on over to read my 5 Powerful Untruths That Keep You Stuck.

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What Your Soul is Trying to Tell You

{Etsy art by ScissorsPaperMouse}

{Etsy art by ScissorsPaperMouse}

A psychic once told me, “You will be a writer. But you will also be other things.”

A sign for Year of the Snake in Vegas said people born in the same year as me end up as, “teachers, psychologists, writers…”

I have only ever really wanted to be one thing. Besides I had already tried out two of the three.

But here’s what I learned about life.

It keeps going. It’s not about getting comfortable in where you are. That’s part of the journey. But the key is to see everything as a lesson, as an opportunity to grow, to stretch yourself past what feels oozy cozy comfortable.

I’ve been writing for the past 7-years. It’s still fun and I enjoy what I do. But lately, I’ve been feeling a strange urge. It’s kind of a whispered longing, a question mark, a paper cut like annoyance.

“If only…” it says.

If only you were to open your wings.

If only you were to be brave.

If only you were to do what you long to do.

If only you weren’t so afraid.

But I am terrified. I am scared of opening myself up vulnerable just like I was 7 years ago.

But you know what scares me more?

Not doing it.

Staying where I am.

Watching everyone else face their own fears as I settle into what feels familiar.

If you are contemplating change as well, you might find solace in these words of advice taught to me by coaches, books and movies:

1. If you say, “No” to this, what will you say, “yes” to?

2. “The soul suffers more from the everyday conditions of life when they do not nourish it with the solid experiences it craves.” – Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

3. If Not Now, Then When? – album title by Ethan Johns

4. If not you, then who?

5. Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?

G’mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger. – The NeverEnding Story

6. “You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
– L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

7. “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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