Love Yourself First!

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”
– Lucille Ball
“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams”
– Oprah Winfrey

Think about Oprah’s quote –

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams”

So what is stopping you? As women we usually take care of everyone else first. Especially over the holidays, everyone else’s needs came first. Self-care and self-love are often difficult concepts for women.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”

So how would that look? . . .  to love yourself first. Well here’s an idea . . .

How about an exciting and inspirational retreat!

In my last blog entry, I wrote about my intentions for 2015.

One of the most exciting goals/intentions I have is related to my work with Figjam Workshops. We are planning a Fuel for Inspiration Retreat in Bali! 

I thought I would share a bit about the retreat with all of you. Who knows, maybe one of you reading this blog post might be interested in a Relaxing, Rejuvenating Retreat with a Creative Twist!

What a great way to practice some self-care and show yourself some love!

 

Bali Spa Retreat with a Creative Twist

Imagine yourself escaping winter, lounging in the sun in tropical paradise with a small group of women, sipping a cocktail by the pool.

This is a retreat with a difference. You won’t find a mung bean for miles – instead, you’ll find creativity, rejuvenating fun, connection to self and fabulous food.

 

 

We’ll indulge at the boutique Sama’s Cottages in the heart of Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali. We’ve reserved the whole gorgeous space – including a swimming pool, gardens and a private cottage with ensuite for each participant – for ultimate privacy and relaxation. It’s easy walking distance to Ubud’s vibrant markets yet blissfully peaceful.

Your Bali retreat package includes:

  • Fuel for Inspiration workshops plus high-quality art materials (ADD LINK)
  • Arrival dinner at world famous Casa Luna restaurant and departure dinner at award-winning Rondjji restaurant
  • All breakfasts, morning teas and lunches
  • 7 nights accommodation in a private cottage (fan-cooled or air-conditioned)
  • 3 spa treatments of your choice
  • Visit to the Blanco Museum and Gallery and a tour of a local temple
  • Return Airfare (Auckland – Bali) and transfers to and from accommodation (Conditions apply.)

Our leisurely schedule blends hands-on creative sessions with time to relax and unwind.

 

Register

Reserve your getaway today.

Contact us by email  or phone Deb at 021 258 0078 or Patti at 027 777 4735.

Dates

12 – 19 June 2015
(Depart Auckland 12 June; Depart Bali 19 June)

 

Costs

We are thrilled to be able to offer this amazing package for NZD $2799 to $2999. Contact us for specifics.
Space is limited to only 10 women.

 

 

Reserve your rejuvenating getaway today.

Contact us by email or phone Deb at 021 258 0078 or Patti at 027 777 4735.

 

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Retraining the Brain – Shifting Focus

The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting their focus onto joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133182.html#cRzVZOHjpM8tGpjB.99

Ellen DeGeneres


Continuing the posts on Neuroplasticity and getting rid of bad habits.   Now on to steps two and three:

2. Observe what the old habit or pathway is doing in your life.

3. Shift your focus.

Habits are hard to break, we all know that, but one thing that helps immensely is observing, really paying attention to how destructive the habit is. Whether it’s spending more money than I can really afford; biting the cuticles around my nails; or drinking more alcohol than I want to. By observing and really paying attention to the consequences, I can start to realign my focus.

The way I do this is by firstly focusing really hard on the bad habit, I shine a spot light on it, brutally.  I know this sounds counter-intuitive but hear me out.  By writing down and clearing out all the negative stuff that is part of the bad habit, it helps make room for positive change. Recent research published in the journal Psychology Today shows that writing down negative thoughts and negative past experiences and then ripping them up and throwing them away actually helps to change those thoughts and habits.

In Figjam Workshops Creative Empowerment Workshop, participants consistently say that doing this exercise has a remarkably healing effect.  Try it!  Take a big sheet of paper and write down all the negative effects associated with the bad habit, everything you can think of. And when you feel like you have gotten everything out, rip it up.  Stamp on it!  Scream NO at it! Burn it!  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

Then, Shift the Focus.  To create a new neural pathway, you need to focus on what it is you want. Start focusing on all the positives associated with not having that habit.  For example, healthy cuticles or healthy nails.  When I wanted to stop biting my cuticle, I rubbed lotion into my cuticles several times a day.  I kept my nails shaped, and focused on how much better my hands looked.  Yes, I know it sounds really simplistic, but in a way it is.  This is how neuroplasticity works.  It’s just about getting new neural pathways started. Remember what Dr. Rick Hanson says about self-directed neuroplasticity – it is ongoing. Our brains are changing all the time. We can choose what we focus on and what new neural pathways are being created!

I want to close with a fascinating TED talk by neuroscientist and inventor Christopher deCharms. A wonderful look inside the brain.

 

 

I’d love to hear about any bad habits you’ve broken, and how you changed the behavior.  And if you do use the ‘Write and Rip’ technique – how it worked for you.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

 

 

Paying Attention to the Coincidences

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133182.html#cRzVZOHjpM8tGpjB.99

Alice Walker


Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous! (God, Goddess, The Source, Higher Power – use whatever word evokes power for you.) It’s my connection to that higher self or higher power that helps me when,  as Alice Walker reminds me,  I start thinking I don’t have any power.
One of  the ways I know I’m connected to that power is when I am paying attention to the coincidences. And one of those lovely coincidences has been happening in the last few days.
On Saturday,  I got together with my friends to do a fun, informal goal setting night where we had a lovely dinner and discussed what we anticipated our lives would be like in 2019.  During the evening, one of the things we talked about was finding new streams of money through Social Entrepreneurship,  or creative fund raising.
On Sunday, I attended an amazing event in Auckland called The Auckland Writers Festival (Thank you Trudi!)  During one of the events, I heard four amazing women speak: Eleanor Catton, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Sandi Toksvig and Jessica Jackley. As Jackley spoke, I got chills as she elaborated on Social Entrepreneurship and what great ‘givers’ New Zealanders are.  I sat up and paid attention.  And then on Monday morning, while reading the NZ Herald online, an article jumped out at me, again about New Zealanders and their generosity, with a link to an incredible website called Give a Little.
Givealittle is the free, safe and easy way to receive online donations for charities of all types and sizes.
In three days I had heard about the amazing generosity of many people in New Zealand and the wonderful giving being done, often anonymously, through various ways of giving, micro-financing, social entrepreneurship, etc. I was paying attention.
So on Tuesday, I went to our office at Figjam Workshops and my business partner and I set up an account at Give a Little.  We published the information on our page on Facebook, and we are getting the information out there.
When I pay attention to the little coincidences around me, and when I remember to act on those little nudges, then I am connected to my power.
Although I enjoyed every aspect of the Auckland Writers Festival, the highlight for me was hearing Alice Walker.  What an amazing woman!
So I’d like to finish with a video clip of Alice Walker speaking at Google.  Please take the time to watch and be inspired!
Please let me know what you thought of the video. And I’d love to hear of any ‘coincidences’ that you’ve experienced lately.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

Creating Creative Confidence

“Everybody has creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.”

― Paulo Coelho


Why are so many people so afraid of the idea of creativity?

In our Creative Empowerment workshops, one of the most common things we hear from people is that they are not creative, not one of “those” creative types. And this is often said with a look of terror in their eyes. What is it about creativity that is so frightening?

Perhaps it’s the idea that to be creative is to relinquish control.
I agree with Matisse – Creativity takes courage. 
As Pablo Picasso points out – The chief enemy of creativity is good sense. We are all told consistently to hold on to our good sense. To allow oneself to put aside that part of us that is in control, that is logical and rational is a scary thought.  But Einstein explained:
“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”

For those of us who have worked so hard to keep everything ordered and in control, the thought of relinquishing this control is scary.  But I love the image created by Lady Gaga about letting go to access one’s creative spark.

“When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time. ”

The reality is that we are ALL born creative!  Yes some of us are more artistic than others, or more talented in certain areas.  But all of us are creative.  The sad truth is that many of us have been shamed out of even trying to access our creative spark.  Some of us have even been taught out of our creativity. Sir Ken Robinson explains this beautifully in his numerous TED Talks!

One man has made it his life’s work to help others build their creative confidence.  David Kelly, of IDEO, explains how people lose their creative confidence and how he and others are working to help people regain that confidence.  Please take ten minutes to watch this inspiring TED Talk. It helps to reminds us that we are all creative, every one of us.

 

 

Please let me know what you think David Kelley’s talk.  And I’d love to hear how you build your creative confidence.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

What motivates us at work?

“It seems that most of us thrive by feeling a sense of purpose. ”

– Dan Ariely


What motivates us at work?  What is it that drives us? Many people believe it is how much money you make.  But that didn’t make sense to me, there are too many other factors involved. Then I saw this quote by Dan ArielyIt seems that most of us thrive by feeling a sense of purpose. And I thought – yes that’s it.

And an experience last week at my work – Figjam Workshops – illustrated that beautifully.  Last week, my business partner Deb and I finished facilitating a 5 week Creative Empowerment Workshop for a group.  And during the closing circle, one of the participants said that during the workshop he had an epiphany, and that the workshop had changed his life!  Needless to say, Deb and I were in tears, and we looked at each other and both felt it – This is why we do this work!

It’s not for the money! Working for a charitable trust will never make us rich, as a matter of fact, by the end of the year when funding has run out, we usually find ourselves working several weeks for no pay at all.  We do the work because we love it.  And we love it because we feel an incredible sense of purpose.

Dan Ariely, professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, has this to say about motivation at work:

“So when we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it — meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc. And the good news is that if we added all of those components and thought about them, how do we create our own meaning, pride, motivation, and how do we do it in our workplace and for the employees, I think we could get people to both be more productive and happier.”

In this stimulating and entertaining talk, Dan Ariely explains What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

 

 

I’d love to hear about what makes you feel good about your work.  And as always, thank you for visiting, I appreciate it.

Why are happy people happy?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values,
your values become your destiny”

– Mahatma Gandhi


I’m a happy person.  In my deepest core of being, I believe people are good, that things will work out and that essentially life is good!  I’m an optimist, what can I say?  I often have people say to me, “How come you are so happy? Why are you such an optimist?” And to be honest, I don’t have a pat answer for that.  So this weekend, when I got asked that, I decided to do some research, and I found some pretty interesting stuff.

One article I particularly liked was on a very cool blog called Successify! The creator of Successify, Dr. Kris Heap, credits Chiara Fucarino for the article. So I say thank you to both of these women for an amazing list.  The list boils down to the fact that happy people have positive habits.  They claim that there  are 22 things that Happy People do that create positive habits.

1. Don’t hold grudges.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

3. See problems as challenges.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

5. Dream big.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

7. Speak well of others.

8. Never make excuses.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

11. Avoid social comparison.

12. Choose friends wisely.

13. Never seek approval from others.

14. Take the time to listen.

15. Nurture social relationships.

16. Meditate.

17. Eat well.

18. Exercise.

19. Live minimally.

20. Tell the truth.

21. Establish personal control.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

For the full post and explainations of the 22 habits, do go visit Successify! It’s a great site.

But according to Gandhi, (and honestly, who’s gonna argue with him?) – Habits themselves come way down the list, following actions, words, thoughts and beliefs. So I decided to explore each of these in turn.  On my next blog post, I’ll explore beliefs, both positive and negative, and how they impact us.

But in the meantime, I’d like to leave you with a song. When I was thinking of a happy song, I was brought back to 1968, I was 10 years old, at Lincoln School, in the 5th grade. Our teacher, Miss Brown, let us listen to 45s in the class sometimes.  And I loved this song.  It made me happy – it’s just a happy song!

 

 

I’d love to hear about your habits – are they positive or negative?  Do they make you happier or bring you down?  And as always, thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

Trusting Your Gut!

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

– Alan Alda


I just returned from a trip down to Dunedin to help get my son settled into his new flat.  It was a wonderful experience.  Incredibly busy, but really wonderful.  My favorite piece of the trip was our long, fantastic, heart-warming, intellectually-stimulating, emotionally-connecting dinner at Etrusco.  We spent 3 hours talking and sharing on such a rich and deep level.  It was one of the best nights of my life!

One of the many things we talked about was some new research that is out:  multiple Brain Integration Techniques (mBIT)

“The latest scientific research shows you have three brains!  You have complex and fully functional brains in your heart, your gut and your head.”

At 55 years old, I would have to say that the most important learning I have done in my life is learning to Trust My Gut!  I have learned that I have to leave the city of my comfort and go into the wilderness of my intuition, as Alan Alda so eloquently puts it, to truly live my life to the fullest.  The latest neuroscience findings about multiple brains and what they have to offer for increasing intuitive abilities, helping to make wiser decisions, and generally living a fuller more connected life seem to echo my experience.

Even Richard Branson, super successful businessman, has echoed this sentiment:

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.”

I think one of the great goals of life needs to be integrating these three intelligences. One of the things I have emphasized repeatedly to my own children is to learn to listen to their gut,  to pay attention to what their intuition is telling them.  School does a decent job of developing the intellect, the head brain.  But it sorely neglects the heart and the gut.  So as a mother, I want to nurture my sons understanding of integrating the three.

I want to close with a fabulous TED Talk by Mae Jemison. Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go into space. She has become a voice for a new vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.

 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Trusting Your Gut, and how you integrate your three brains.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

Inspired Action!

“Inspired Action is any action you take based on an inside nudge.”

– Dr. Joe Vitale


I just spent four wonderful days with my son Lukas in Dunedin.  On a walk around the gorgeous Dunedin Botanical Gardens, Lukas was saying he is enjoying university so much and is so busy, that he hasn’t set aside time to think about his goals in a long time. So, we started talking about the old conundrum: can one stay present in the moment and really enjoy everything that is happening now, but still have an eye on the future? And then today, I had a similar conversation with my friend Victoria, about keeping the faith and staying present, even in the face of an uncertain future. And all of this reminded me of my last post A Fine Balance. Leanna, one of the authors of the blog The League of Champions, and I were discussing trying to live in the moment and at the same time keep one’s goals in mind. And in response I wrote the post about keeping a balance between going with the flow and directing your own life; about the peace in acceptance of what is, but the empowerment in knowing what you want and being willing to go after it.  And of course the importance of Paying Attention and Being Present in the moment.  I think that we can be present as well as focus on what we want in the future.  And as I discussed in that last post, Heart-Centered Goal Setting is one of the keys to the balancing act.

But there is another equally important key. So I decided to write a follow-up post that describes the next step in the process – Inspired Action.  As Joe Vitale explains, inspired action is an action taken based on an inside nudge, based on our intuition. The 7th Tool described in my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation is: Uploading and Downloading from the ‘Source.’

 I send up information that I want to attract to me.

I am open to inspiration from the Source that flows back to me.

We need both steps.  We need to know what we want to move toward, to attract to us; and we need to be in the moment and open to the inspiration that flows back to us, urging us to take inspired action.  If we pay attention throughout the day, our intuition often nudges us. And it is only by being present and paying attention to those nudges that we can then take inspired action.  However, if we are not present, in the moment, we can easily miss those soft whispers from our intuition.

Here is a short clip by Esther Hicks (Abraham) about Inspired Action:

 

I hope you enjoy listening to Abraham.  And I’d love to hear about your experience with Inspired Action.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

What a Lovely Surprise!

Thank you Magnolia Beginnings for nominating me.  I am honored.

Do take the time to visit her blog, it’s inspiring and fun.  http://magnoliabeginnings.org/

 

The Rules for Award participation are:

▪   Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

▪   Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.

▪   Tell them 7 facts about yourself.

▪   Nominate 10 other blogs you like for this award.

▪   Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

So a few things about me:

  1. I have two magnificent sons, Lukas and Devin, who light up my life.
  2. I live in a wonderful home overlooking the sea with a stream in the backyard, so I am surrounded by water.
  3. I recently completed my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation, and it is with a publisher in the UK.
  4. I love my job.  I facilitate workshops for Figjam Workshops Charitable Trust:  http://www.figjamworkshops.co.nz/home
  5. I have dual citizenship in New Zealand and USA.
  6. I love to sit on the beach and read in the summer.
  7. I love to sit by the fire and read in the winter.

Now I am happy to share with you some very interesting, or should I say lovely, blogs I have found and followed.

http://vinylrecordface.wordpress.com/

http://arganesh3.wordpress.com/

http://margekatherine.com/

http://sayyestohappy.wordpress.com/

http://ajourneyofthemind.wordpress.com/

http://ofloveandcreation.wordpress.com/

http://lifeisyourpieceofart.wordpress.com/

http://loismccullough.com/wp/welcomegate

http://youwerebornthatway.com/

http://ministryofhappiness.wordpress.com/

 

Thank you again Magnolia Beginnings  http://magnoliabeginnings.org/  I appreciate the award!

 

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much Genie for nominating my blog for this award. This award is for the bloggers, whose writing has touched the nominator. I am grateful to Genie for the nomination, her blog is about healing and spiritual growth:
http://geniespeaks.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/versatile-blogger-award/

The rules for this award are as follows:
Rules:

1. Thank the person, who nominated you – include a link back to their blog.

2. Tell seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate 10 other bloggers.

4. Display the Award

Seven things about me:

1. My family is the most important thing in my life and I love my gorgeous sons Lukas and Devin, my husband Jeff, my sister Karin and my neice Chelsea.

2. I was born and raised in Northern California and imigrated to New Zealand 20 years ago. I have dual citizenship

3. I recently finished writing my book:
A Woman’s Guide to Transformation
It is now with a publisher, hopefully published by the end of this year.

4. I absolutely love my work – facilitating workshops with my dear friend Deb through our business Figjam Workshops. (www.figjamworkshops.co.nz )

5. I totally believe in the 7 Tools of Transformation that I write about in my book and I try to use the tools on a daily basis. (https://patticlark.wordpress.com/7-tools/)

6. I believe we are all creative beings and are all capable of changing what we want to change (read or listen to any of the recent talks on Neuroplasticity)

7.  I absolutely believe that Happiness is a choice we can all make on a daily basis!

It was hard to narrow down my list to only 10 bloggers to nominate because I enjoy so many of the blogs I have been following.  I have chosen these 10 blogs because they inspire me:

Vinyl Record Face   http://vinylrecordface.wordpress.com/

Lois McCullough: http://loismccullough.com

Smirk Pretty  http://smirkpretty.wordpress.com/

Of Love and Creation  http://ofloveandcreation.wordpress.com/

Paradoxical Wisdom  http://paradoxicalwisdom.wordpress.com/

Known is a drop Unknown is an ocean  http://arganesh3.wordpress.com/

Be fearful of  Mediocrity  http://afirmin.com/

Mountain Top Journals  http://mountaintopjournals.com/history-2/

Between Fear and Love  http://betweenfearandlove.com/

Inside Out Cafe  http://margekatherine.com/

 

Thank you again Genie!