I’m obsessed with skies, I think from living in Colorado for 10 years. The skies there are magical. When I lived there, I told myself that I’d always remember to look up–I never wanted to take those beautiful skies for granted.
Inspired by Colorado skies, I wanted to create a crazy romantic lavender sky for this Field of Dreams greeting card. I used the Hero Arts Heroscapes Sunflower Field stamp set to create the field of flowers, and, to create an ethereal look, I used a trick with white ink to make the flowers glow. Here’s how I made the card:
I used the beautiful Brutus Monroe Stained Glass die to make this faux stained glass birthday card. The windows on the final card are translucent and shimmery like stained glass illuminated by sunlight.
I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape.
I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.
“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.
Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.
Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.
How to Practice Gratitude
At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.
Most of us don’t just fall into our dream jobs or instantly have the lives we want. In fact, most people who succeed have been quietly working at it for a very long time. They’ve been making steady progress.
The good news is that success is replicable. By following these three steps, we can each create the lives we want for ourselves:
Picture it. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then act as if you’re already there.
What does it feel like and look like? Imagine a movie of your ideal life playing on a screen and then step into it. Let yourself experience the joy of this new life.
Plan it. When you’re in this joyous state, list out the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal. Begin with the end in mind, as the late leadership expert Stephen Covey said.
Take intentional action. Take your list of steps and break them into bite-sized tasks, then put each of the tasks onto your calendar.
The idea here is to keep the tasks small. That way, you’re taking baby steps toward your goal while still managing your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s this steadiness that leads to success.
Whatever you want to accomplish, there is no perfect time to begin. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goals.
We often use the epitaph “rest in peace” when referring to those who have died. It’s a lovely thought, and one I think we should extend to the living. What if “live in peace” was what we all wanted for ourselves and for others?
Live in Peace
If “live in peace” guided our actions, what changes would we experience in our day-to-day interactions? Imagine:
a business negotiation where the intention was to find a solution that benefits everyone and to put goodness into the world
a conversation with a loved one where kindness was the starting point
a day-to-day interaction—at a restaurant or while commuting, for instance—where your best and kindest self drives your actions
“Live in peace” is my intention for this week. I’m eager to see how pausing to set this intention will change my words and actions.
Will you join me? I’d love to hear how “live in peace” changes your experiences in your work, within your relationships, and in your day-to-day life. Please leave comments here or in my Facebook Group.
More and more, clients are coming to me saying that they’re overwhelmed by the negativity they feel around them, particularly in politics and in the media, but also in their homes and workplaces.
They wonder how they can keep it from invading their lives. “You absolutely can,” I tell them, and then we explore how.
The first step in cultivating peace is realizing that we have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves. So how can we create that inner peace?
Three Areas Where You Can Create Peace
There’s a lot more to this, but let’s look at three areas that my clients are struggling with: jobs, families and the negativity they’re feeling, especially related to their exposure to the media.
Peace in your job. “I need a new job” is usually the first thing I hear clients say when they’re stressed about work. “Maybe you do,” I say. “And maybe you don’t.” We start to look at ways they may be unknowingly contributing to the toxicity they feel at work.For instance, how do you respond when your boss makes an unreasonable request of you or talks to you in a disrespectful way? Do you silently fume and accept that you need to be loyal and then go home and complain about it? What actions do you think you can take to ensure that you’re feeling respected while still being viewed as a team player?If you’re feeling constantly exhausted and overworked, what can you do to change that? What does “hard working” mean to you—does it have to involve constantly pushing, or can you find a gentler way to accomplish the same amount of work without driving yourself into the ground? What are some things you can do to create balance in your life so you’re not exhausted before you even head into the office? For instance, how are your exercise and nutritional habits? What do you do to create joy for yourself?I think it’s also useful here to quickly review your prior jobs. Did you feel this kind of stress in each of them? If so, is there a possibility that you’ve been repeating unhealthy habits at job after job?
We have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves.
Peace within your family. What’s your daily life like at home? Is everyone rushing around, gathering only for meals? Is your house a mess? Does one person do most of the work at home? Are you yelling over the sound of the TV? Do your conversations start from a place of love, respect and a desire to connect, or are they adversarial and about being right? What’s one thing you can do today to make a shift within yourself, and therefore lessen some of chaos you feel at home?
Peace when exposed to the media. We all know that when we eat a healthy diet, our bodies and minds feel better. The same is true with the media we consume. Do you stand in front of the TV yelling when you disagree with a politician featured on the news? What kinds of posts do you make on social media–are they examples of your frustrations or of the world you want to live in? What changes can you make to your daily media diet? For instance, can you replace your hour of watching TV news with a quick scan of headlines in the newspaper or at a news website, diving deep only on the stories you care most about? What can you do for yourself during that extra hour you now have in each day? Is there a way you can get involved with an issue you care about, thus working to solve the problem rather than just raging about it and therefore giving it more of our collective attention? Is raging a good use of your time and energy?
Peace Can Only Live Outside of Us if It Lives Within Us
Everyone’s circumstance is different, and I’m not saying that you need to take all of the actions listed above to create peace for yourself. But if you consciously make one small change, you may be pleasantly surprised by the sense of peace that overcomes you. Peace isn’t something “out there”: It can only live outside of us if it lives within us.
I’m a horrible eater. I believe in dessert before dinner. I find it difficult to eat vegetables without making the face your 2-year-old makes when you give her broccoli for the first time. And I’m ever-so-slightly addicted to Diet Coke.
My children complain so much about my Diet Coke habit that I no longer keep it in the house. Rather, I stop by a liquor store every day, pick up a can of Diet Coke and slide a dollar to the guy behind the counter. He asks no questions, which is just the way I like it.
“You’ve got a dealer,” my friend Jackie said when I told her about my Diet Coke outings. “Yup,” I said, without feeling the least amount of guilt. Because when it comes to food, I don’t do guilt. Rather, I have the opposite problem: forgiveness.
“I totally deserved that chocolate cake,” I’ll say to myself while scraping the last bit of frosting off my plate. “I deserve another slice, too.”
While I don’t feel guilty about the way I eat, my dietary habits have resulted in me feeling less physically vibrant than I’d like to feel. I’m tired much of the time, and that bothers me because there are so many things I want to do—if only I had the steam. So, in an attempt to regain some energy, I’ve decided to make some dietary changes.
Keeping it simple
I’m not trying a specific diet. I’m not joining a group. I’m not downloading an app. Rather, for the next two weeks, I’m just going to try to make one big change: eating mainly whole foods.
I expect to complain a lot. I’ll try to keep it to myself, but I may not have enough willpower left to stick to my no-complaints intention, so my apologies to my friends and family in advance.
As for exercise, I don’t believe in hard core. I hate going to the gym, and I’m not planning on exercising so much that I hurt myself or am so exhausted that I can’t exercise the next day. I’m pretty much going to continue what I’ve been doing for years–walking five days a week and doing a gentle hatha-style yoga class twice a week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the different styles of yoga, hatha is essentially one step up from sleeping.
Today is day one. I’ll weigh myself just to get a baseline. And while I’d be delighted to lose five pounds over the next two weeks, I’m only 5’2″, so five pounds in two weeks is a bit of a stretch.
I’d like to say that I’m excited about the next two weeks. But honestly, I’m kinda dreading it. I’m only writing about it because going public may help me follow through with this dietary change.
If any of you would like to join me in this endeavor, or on any self-improvement effort you choose, I’d love to have the company. Please leave comments here–I promise to cheer you on and to listen to your complaints. And I’d appreciate it if any of you threw me some extra love for the next few weeks–I could use the support.