It starts with an idea, a vision in your head of where you want to be and what you want to accomplish.  It permeates in your brain, taking over until you can’t get the thoughts out of your mind.  You are pretty sure you are up to the challenge, but how can one ever be sure?  You spend time writing it down, you formulate the words to describe how you need to push yourself and now it’s on paper. Finally the thoughts and ideas of what direction you want your life to go in are ready to be spoken.

Your close friends suspend judgment.  They listen.  They watch you light up as you describe your dream.  They answer you with, “Yes, you can do this“, followed up by, “Yes, I see you doing this.”

That’s all one needs to begin the journey of self growth.

You commit to months of preparation, knowing that risk has advantages and disadvantages.  But it is out there.  The dream once inside your head for years is out there for the world to know.  How does one go back now?  You don’t.  Forward is the only option.

So you push through the fear, the uncertainty that creeps in when you are tired and frustrated.  Maybe this isn’t such a good idea?  Your best friend begs to differ.  She reassures that it is a good idea and you will be great.  Oh, that’s right, you think to yourself, “I am capable of creating my world exactly how I want it to be.” To ward off future doubt, you surround yourself with people who support, uplift and see you where you want to be.  They are necessary to your survival.

And the day comes when you are ready to take it all on.  You are prepared, confident and at ease.  You accomplished your greatest desire- not only did you set a goal, but you saw it to fruition.  You worked through the uneasiness and fear, knowing the feelings of success and confidence would propel you forward in your life.  You can never go back to who you once were. Why would you want to?

Growing.  Getting better.  Challenging yourself to accomplish great things.  Do it.  Take the Risk to Grow.  I did, and

Tonight I am not the same girl.

Opportunity knocks at your door.   You are seeking excitement and pleasure.   Which do you choose: a vacation or a shopping spree? If you have the opportunity for an experience rather than stuff I might re consider your need for more stuff.  On the Oprah show a few weeks ago, she spent the show focusing on happiness.  A happiness Consultant reported that “stuff” can bring you happiness for up to 9 months; an amazing experience can bring you happiness for a lifetime.  Telling and re- telling of your adventures, showing pictures, re-living the experience continues to fill your being with joy.  Though my months of living in Honduras was over 15 years ago, I am consumed with joy and excitement when I tell those stories of adventure.  ( got an hour? ok maybe 2, I don’t want to leave out the good details!)  My kid gets a bike and he is thrilled.  He has stopped talking about it after a few weeks.  He still remembers every moment of our family vacation to the Dominican Republic last year.

Set up a Joy Fund, just like a Vacation Fund and a Rainy Day Fund but a Joy Fund is for experiences that you choose for a more joyful being.  You are worth it.  You are deserving.  Yes You!!!

In one of my favorite, definitely worth reading books called Flow by M. Csikszentmihalyi, he explains the following;

“One of the most ironic paradoxes of our time is this great availability of leisure that somehow fails to be translated into enjoyment.  Compared to people living only a few generations ago, we have enormously greater opportunities to have a good time, yet there is no indication that we actually enjoy life more than our ancestors did.  Opportunities alone are not enough.  We also need the skills to make use of them.  Surrounded by an astounding panoply of recreational gadgets and leisure choices, most of us go one being bored and vaguely frustrated.”

Get excited!  Seek the experience!  Grab a friend and go snowshoeing deep within the woods.  Go skiing and stop to breathe in the scenery.  Book a last-minute vacation anywhere outside your comfort zone (and maybe your time zone too).  Talk about it. Re-live it.  Show pictures.  Carry the thoughts, the memories in your heart and let them resonate within your soul.

Need a slower pace experience?  Only 2 rooms left at the Women’s Retreat of Rest and Renewal.  Come renew your self and nourish your spirit.  March 12 and 13th.  Grab the last room! We are waiting for you.

Seek the Experience.  Leave the stuff behind.

It really is your choice on how you see your world.   Glass half empty?  Or half full?  Take a minute to reflect on your thoughts throughout the day.  What do you focus on?  Do you focus on the positive events, thoughts, people, children in your life?  Or do you get sucked into negative gossip, anger, jealousy, and “not good enough” thinking?  I came across this wonderful Native American story and I wanted to share it with you.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said,” My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?

The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one you feed.”

Feed the good wolf.

PS Ladies!  Rooms are filling up for the March Retreat, sign up now and start feeding that good wolf!  Peace, joy, relaxation, calmness, happiness will all be yours after a weekend at the Spa with other like-minded women.

I  wanted to share with you the joy I felt this morning and every Sunday morning as I hold hands with my son on his way to Sunday school.  We walk together smiling; he is excited to be there and I am peacefully happy giving this gift to my son.  Faith.  Not important to me what faith community you are connected to nor how you worship.  Just simply having faith is good for your soul. 

Is your faith strong?  What source do you pull from when times are tough?  When life unexpectedly throws you curveballs, do you sit in silent prayer and ask for strength?  Or is it a simply mantra that you repeat over and over.   Oriah in her book The Invitation asks:

“I want to know what sustains you when all else falls away”

What does your inner strength look like?  The greatest gift I will give to my children is faith. ” Have faith son when life pulls you down, believe there is a higher power out there looking after you.”  “Beautiful daughter, don’t cry so hard nor for so long, ask for divine guidance to hold you.”    Years ago, one of my friends who was given 6 months to live had shared with me that he had wished he had given his school aged children faith, it was not important to him so he didn’t pass it on to his children.  Now he was trying to process with them his dying and leaving them; how he felt faith would have been so important to hold them in their grief for years to come.

Faith.  It means something different to each one of us.  Allow your faith to become strong.  Bring it into  your daily life.  Call for divine guidance when you’re hurting and depleted.  The nourishment one can feel from having a strong faith can be life-sustaining.   Quiet prayer.  Joyful praise in singing.  Feeling a sense of community in worship.  In solitude, giving thanks.  It is there ready for you to embrace it.  Wherever you are on your journey, faith and you can be hand in hand.  Faith is there through accomplishments, regrets, sadness, defeat and betrayal.  What truly sustains you when all else falls away? 

In my home there is a paper on the fridge that is never taken off, it simply says

“The Lord Sustains Us”.  And that is exactly how I feel always and in all ways.  May your faith provide you peace, joy and a nourished soul.  That is my wish for you.