The Warm Hearth

hearth.jpg

A warm hearth

is a shelter,

a place that draws us in,

invites us to sit a while.

 

Its humble strength

allows us to come together,

to see each other

in a softer light.

 

It is here, at the hearth,

that we come home

to each other

and to ourselves.

 

As the amber flames

serenade us,

our bodies and souls sway, soften,

prepare to receive.

 

And when we allow it,

when we answer the call,

the flames stoke the fire

of our own inner divinity.

 

We become our own hearths,

drawing others in, inviting them to sit a while.

We come home to ourselves and to each other.

We cast a softer light.

 

 

 

Solving Conflict in Relationships

Have you ever inadvertently hurt a loved one with your words?

Me, too. Sometimes we act out of frustration, or we’re tired, or irritated by a loved one’s behavior. And when we address the situation, we only make things worse.

Nobody’s going to get it right all the time, but there’s a way to vastly improve your communications with someone and increase your chance of getting the outcome you want. That’s by deciding what you intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship before you speak. Then choose your words so they’re aligned with that intention.

Lots of times, we’re trying to get a point across to someone we love and instead, we send a message that we don’t respect them, aren’t listening to them, or don’t trust them. Why? Because we’re often focused on our side of the argument or on what the other person did wrong. What would happen if our communication started out of wanting to find a loving solution? What if, instead of being right, we focused on enhancing the relationship?

What’s Your Intention?

Pause for a moment. From a state of calmness, ask yourself: “What do I intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship?”

What Do You Want to Accomplish in Your Lifetime?

dreaming

I’m a planning junkie. In the last 30 years, I’ve tried dozens of systems, have read stacks of books about planning, have taken seminars and have used many of the planners on the market. I start thinking about planners in June. By July, I’m researching them. My fellow junkies and I spend hours discussing planner options in August. Sometimes we have to cut the conversations short because the excitement is too much for me and I honestly feel like I’m going to vomit.

I generally order next year’s planner in September. For 2019, I ordered a completely customized planner because I wanted to combine aspects of several of my favorite planning systems with some of the systems I’ve created for myself. Nerdy? Totally, but I fully embrace my nerdiness.

Ensuring my success

I always set goals in seven areas of my life: career, financial, health/wellness, family/relationships, free time, community and personal development. Then I set up a plan for achieving each of the goals. Because without a map, I’m not going to reach my destination–I’ll get lost somewhere along the way and look back later feeling badly that I fell into the trap of being busy and didn’t do what was most important to me.

Thinking big

When I went to set goals for 2019, I noticed something had happened to me over the last few years. My goals had gotten smaller. They weren’t reflective of my potential. And that made me feel pretty crappy. So  I added a new first step to my 2019 goal-setting process. To force myself to step back and to think bigger, I wrote a list of 100 things I want to accomplish over my lifetime.

Calling up my inner superhero

And you know what happened? It was really hard. At first, I couldn’t list more than three. That indicated to me that I definitely wasn’t thinking big enough, and that I also had lost touch with the part of me who, as a little girl, believed I could do anything. What happened to my bigness?, I wondered. I spent some time reminding myself of my capabilities. I wrote a list of things I have accomplished. I called up my inner superhero, and then I gave my 100 goals list another stab.

Saying goodbye to busyness

And this time, I felt an immediate internal shift. I wrote the list more easily, and I started working on some of the big goals immediately. I’ve already begun seeing results. I have renewed energy, which I brought into my goal planning session for the seven areas mentioned above, and I’m keeping the big picture in mind, which is enabling me to move more gracefully from one task to another. Keeping the big picture in mind also keeps me from loading up my to-do list with tasks that aren’t important and don’t help me reach my goals. I don’t believe in being busy. I believe in being purposeful.

I highly recommend trying the 100 life goals exercise. If you need help figuring out your life purpose, what you want to accomplish in the seven areas of your life, or in creating a plan to help you get there, book a coaching session with me. Together, we’ll help you move closer to creating the life of your dreams.

Nine: A Tribute to the Children I Would Have Raised

 

miscarriage

 

One. Would have been my parents’ first grandchild.

Two. Gabrielle. A girl.

 

Three. I didn’t tell anyone

about him until he was gone.

I thought it would be less painful for everyone.

It wasn’t.

 

Four. She would have been born in May,

my favorite month.

Five. He’d be turning 22 now,

done with college.

 

Six. Stephen.

Seven and eight. The twins—

two sacs,

no heartbeats.

 

Nine.

The number of plants in my garden.

There are always

nine.

 

To learn how to support those who have suffered reproductive losses, visit https://LifePerspectives.com or download the free Safe Place app.

You Are Not Broken

When I hear people say that we’re all broken, I think about the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The misfit toys—all unwanted because of their imperfections—live on an island, away from the rest of the toys. They wait on the island  until their ruler finds a child who will love them.

We all have imperfections. Many of us go through trauma at some point in our lives. And all of us have moments where we’re not our best selves. These experiences are painful at best, excruciating at worst. But they don’t mean that we’re broken.

What if, instead of holding onto our brokenness, we saw ourselves as whole, as being in the process of getting stronger? What if we trusted that somehow, we could get through this?

My experience during dark times is that I needed to process the emotions—the anger, the fear, the sadness—but every day, I also needed to find some light. It was the light, the abundance of love in my life, that gave me the certainty that I’d somehow get on the other side of the situation, even if I didn’t know how.

We don’t have to be perfect, and we don’t need to be happy all the time. We just need to be doing our best in the moment, understanding that our best will look different when life’s going well for us than it will when we’re suffering. And if we’re relentlessly grateful for the brightness in our lives, we’ll bring more brightness in.

Misfit toys see themselves as not worthy. They’re focused on their flaws and are destined for unhappiness. And because they’re so fixated on flaws, they tend to magnify those flaws.

But those who find a spec of light even when they’re in jet-black darkness are taking an important action, one that will help them recover and become stronger. By finding a bright spot and focusing on it, they’re magnifying that brightness.

 

Try this:

Be Relentlessly Grateful

People who regularly practice gratitude sleep better, experience more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness, and have stronger immune systems. Nightly gratitude helps reduce anxious thoughts that keep us awake at night, and sets the stage for a more positive next day.

Before bedtime each night, write down three things you’re grateful for. In the morning, review your list before you get out of bed.

 

How We Spread the Very Things We Hate

The words we use have a ripple effect. They can either spread peace, kindness and compassion, or they can give fuel to the very hatred we’re trying to stop.

In short, we get more of what we focus on. So we can choose to put our words and energy toward the change we want or toward complaining about the problem.

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations,” said Mother Teresa, a missionary who dedicated her life to caring for the sick and poor. “I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

To get a better sense of what you’re putting out there, try this for the next week:

Before you speak or post something on social media, ask yourself:
✓ Is what I’m about to say focused on a solution or am I inadvertently giving the negativity more air time?
✓ How can I reframe my message so I’m creating meaningful change and helping others do the same?
✓What am I bonding with others over: problems or solutions?

Make the Most of Your Energy

Like many people, I sometimes end the day feeling that I didn’t make good use of my time that day—that I got some necessary little stuff done, but that I didn’t chip away at the initiative that’s most important to me. Or that I did make progress on the big thing, but the quality of my work wasn’t what I’d like.

In case you’re in the same boat, I wanted to pass along an easy tip from Dr. Isaiah Hankel, author of The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success.

Our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. To ensure that your expenditure of energy is aligned with your values, you need to know two things. First, your values (Contact me if you need help discovering them). And second, you need to know when your energy is high and when it’s low. Dr. Hankel suggests that you set an alarm for once an hour and simply rate your energy level at that time on a scale of one to 10. Do this for three days to see your natural energy pattern. And then rearrange your day so you’re doing your most important work during your high energy time.

For instance, if your high energy time is spent in meetings, block off your calendar so you’re doing creative work during that time instead and have meetings at another time. During periods of lower energy, you can do less important things–answering emails or organizing your papers, for instance. Low energy times may be the best time for exercise because it’ll give you a boost that’ll help you keep going at a higher level for a few more hours.

I’m interested to hear how monitoring your energy level and rearranging your schedule to get the most out of those high energy times works for you.

 

Read more about natural cycles.

How to Start Moving Toward Someday

Imagine that you’ve been given one day each week — a full 24 hours — to do what you please. What would you do with it?

Would you learn the skills you need in order to move into a satisfying career? Take up a hobby you’ve said you’d get around to “someday?” Spend more time with friends and family?

Creating Windows of Opportunity

The time is there–it’s just a matter of using it differently. According to the 2017 Digital Future Report’s survey, Surveying the Digital Future, Americans spend an average of 23.6 hours online each week. This is double the 9.5 hours each week reported in 2000.

There are a lot of necessary and worthwhile uses of technology for sure. Maybe being a part of a Facebook group gives you a sense of support and social connectedness, so you consider your time in the group well spent. But if, like many of us, you feel like your life isn’t where you want it to be and that you’re always too busy, maybe you can see some part of this 24 hours as a gift of time, and a chance to make some changes that will help you move your life from O.K. to fabulous.

Getting there needn’t be as difficult as it may seem. But it does take some pre-planning and small, consistent steps in order to reach your goal.

Four Steps to Creating Your Dream Life

  1. Decide what you want. What’s most important to you? What do you want to accomplish? Is there a passion you’re dying to pursue?
  2. Figure out a path. What do you need to do to get yourself there?
  3. Break it down. List the individual steps involved in getting you from where you are now to where you want to be. Make sure each step is small enough so that it can’t be broken down futher.For instance, if you’re want to write a book, “find an agent” isn’t a task. You’d need to break it down further, so perhaps the tasks relating to finding an agent are researching agents for similar books to yours, reading The Writer’s Market to learn which agents specialize in the type of book you’re writing, and pitching five agents per week.
  4. Plan it and do it. Write down the individual steps as tasks in your calendar, being realistic about how long each task will take to accomplish. Completing each task moves you that much closer to your goal.

Life is so damn short. But spending your time consciously enables you to bend time a little and start to use your energy to create something spectacular.

 

Read more inspiration for creating your future.

 

Gifts

It is only when an oyster is invaded

that its inner surface

produces a natural protectant—

strong, lustrous nacre.

 

As nacre builds, layer by layer,

the oyster transforms into

something bigger than itself,

something that, only now

can reveal

its gift to the world.

 

Read You Are Not Broken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Habits, New Life

Daily habits. They may be hard to form, but once they become routine, we hardly think about them. A case in point: brushing your teeth. Remember how hard it was to learn to put the toothpaste on the brush without getting paste all over the counter, to grip the toothbrush properly, to move the brush in the right motion? And now, it’s something you just do every day, often while doing something else.

Having a daily habit that’s ingrained in you can be a good thing. But what if it’s a habit that’s keeping you in your present situation instead of pointing you to where you want to go?

Forming a habit

Forming a new habit doesn’t have to be daunting. All you’re doing is one small thing every day, taking a baby step. Here’s how to form a new habit and help yourself move closer to the life you want to create for yourself.

  • Set a goal. Make it specific and measurable. For instance, lose 10 pounds in two months or start a new career by the end of the year. Choose one habit that will help you move closer to your goal. Just one habit. It could be drinking eight glasses of water per day or replacing one hour of TV time per day with an hour learning a skill that you’ll need in your new career.
  • Start now. Start this new habit right away, and be consistent about it. Don’t take on more than this—just focus on this one thing.
  • Track it. Tracking habits help us build momentum and see our progress. Plus, some of us get a high from checking a box off every day. Keep track in your planner, on your phone, or however else works for you.
  • Repeat. You’ll know the habit is ingrained in you when you feel like it’s become so integral to your day—like eating lunch or putting shoes on—that you don’t have to track it anymore. That’s when you can stop tracking it and start working on another new habit.

 

Becoming Aware of Habits

Try to become aware of the habits that are keeping you in your current situation. To help yourself deepen this awareness, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Do this for five minutes, then switch the toothbrush to your dominant hand and finish brushing your teeth. Think about your other daily habits with this awareness in mind

What my Clients are Saying

“Wendy helped me uncover habits that were holding me back and form new ones that are helping me create the life I want.”

–Mark C.

Need more help identifying habits that are no longer serving you and replacing them with ones that move your closer to your ideal life? Book a coaching session with me today.