Saving Your Life

“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”
― Melody Beattie

Melody Beattie has been such an important role model for me and countless others that deal with addiction and co-dependence.

She has a great page on Facebook with daily meditations. Today’s meditation struck me because I’m an avid journaller, I talk about that a lot here and in my book, This Way Up. In Beattie’s post, she talks about ‘Saving Your Life’ through journalling, such a great double entendre.  I know that journalling has saved my life, or at least my sanity, on more than one occasion.  Not to mention, I am saving my life, though words, a snapshop of my experience daily.

Beattie discusses why journalling is important to her:

Are you saving your life by writing about it in a journal?

Sometimes I use a file in my computer for my journal. If I’m rambling, ranting, or raving—writing something that could embarrass me if seen—I lock the file with a code. My words in my journal, whether it’s in a computer or a green Italian notebook, are meant only for me.

There are many ways to write in a journal. We can go on and on about whatever comes to us. That’s helpful, especially if we’re stuck. We can use our journal as a record, writing down what we did that day. It’s a good place to write our goals and to explore our fantasies and dreams.

We can write poems or short stories. We can write letters to God or our Guardian Angel, asking for advice. Or we can just say what happened each day, and then write how it feels.

People may think there’s a right and wrong way to write in a journal, but I don’t agree. There aren’t any rules about journals. It’s just a way to record and save our lives.

Do you think your life is worth saving? I do. If you’ve been neglecting to do that, ask yourself “why?”

God, help me be aware of and respect the details of my life.

Activity: Transfer your goal list to a journal, and begin writing your responses to the meditations and the activities as part of your journal entry for each day. Use your journal as a logbook, to record what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with as you pursue your dreams. Or use it as a way of exploring how you feel, who you are, and what you want to do. Save your life in whatever way makes sense to you.

Such a great reminder to me, and I hope to you too, to journal today and everyday if possible.

I want to close with a video of Beattie discussing Addiction and Codependency.  I love her messages, they really hit home.  This vid is part 1 of 3; if you find it useful or interesting, I hope you take the time to watch all 3. Such valuable information on the subject.

 

 

I’d love to hear about why you journal and how it helps you; and would love your thoughts of the video. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

Visualization on Goals

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
―Michelle Obama

That quote by Michelle Obama is quite fitting to me today for a couple of reasons.  I have been very busy with my own, very personal goal this week.  I leave for the US in only 10 days. I’ll be in the States on a book tour –  the realization of a long held goal and dream.  And one of the goals I have at the moment is to load all the visualizations and quick scans from my book on to You Tube. So as of today,  I have 15 videos loaded on to my You Tube Channel. No mean feat I can tell you!

I am also loading them on to my website, thiswayupbook.com, with each exercise loaded under the workbook tab, under it’s specific week where the exercise is in the book.  This has been such a steep learning curve for me, a 58 year old woman, with both sons living away from home. I’ve had to search up solutions to problems I’ve faced, watched endless youtube vids about how to load youtube vids onto youtube!  It’s been a mission . . . (*however I have asked for a lot of help from my sons who have done so much remotely, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that I’ve been able to do this alone, because I haven’t.)

But the main point I’m trying to make here is that I’m doing it.  I have the goal and I am steadily walking toward it. It hasn’t been easy, but it is so worth it, and as Michelle Obama says, I shall not be distracted from my goals.

I would like to close, fittingly, with a visualization about achieving your goals.  Special thanks to my son Devin for composing the music and overlaying it on the video. And special thanks to my son Lukas for creating the website in the first place.  Yeah, like I said, I didn’t do it alone…

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Creativity – Externalizing the Internal Stuff

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn

Get the Crap Out! That is what we oh so graciously call it in our workshops.  Shrek had it right: Better Out than In!

Sometimes shedding light on the negative stuff and the obstacles is difficult, but it’s always better to look at it and deal with it rather than pretend it’s not there.

The exercise is from Week Three, Day Two of my book, This Way Up.

Deb and I talk about the process in this video.  I’d love to hear your feedback, not only of the video, but also of the process if you have tried it yourself.

 

I would really love to hear you thoughts on this process.  And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Using Creativity to Externalize the Internal Process

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
― Pablo Picasso

My dear friend and business partner, Deb Brock, is such a creative being.  I love being around her when she is in Flow.  in the zone, just creating. Being able to get into that place, that zone, I think is key to connecting to that deepest sense of self. And when we connect to that deepest sense of self, that is where we find our answers.

Join Deb and I as we talk about Creativity and Externalizing the Internal Process.

 

 

 

I’d love to hear about your process, how do you get into flow, into the zone?  And as always, thanks for stopping by, I appreciat it!

Unfold Your Own Myth!

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

– Rumi


Unfold your own Myth! In a previous post I talked about moving toward the best version of myself, which feels like the unfolding of my own myth.

The only way that I know how to move toward that best version is to allow my own myth to unfold. And the only way that can happen in my life, is to create a sacred space with intention.

The myth that is unfolding right now in my own life is my book, This Way Up.  This week I received the final design for my cover, which I now use as the banner on the site:

 

ThisWayUpCover

 

I’m in awe – this is mine! This will be on my own book! I feel – no – I know that I am being led, that my myth is unfolding perfectly.

Caroline Myss explains that:

One of the most beautiful ways to understand the essence of Spiritual Direction is that you enter into a dialogue with the intent of letting your spirit reveal to you the story you are living that is your life.

I am humbled as I engage in this dialogue, as my myth unfolds.

Caroline Myss’s new clip on You Tube, ‘Spiritual Direction’ is rich and full.  It is long, but so worth the time.  Please do take the time to listen.  And take the time to create the sacred space to allow for the intention to unfold your own myth.

 

 

I’d love to hear about how your own myth is unfolding.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Insights from 2014

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it.
Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.

– Hermann Hesse


One of the things I love about starting a new year is making intentions. One of the intentions I usually make is to pay better attention. Which means that for the first few weeks of the year anyway, I’m paying closer attention to life, being more mindful in what I do. Wish it lasted longer than just a few weeks, but baby steps, right?

And along with intentions for the year to come, I love to look back on the past year and see what insights I’ve gained. One of my insights from 2014 is that I always feel better, more connected when I’m paying closer attention to the present moment. Another insight from this year is how much better I feel – body, mind and spirit – when I’m alcohol free.  So once again, I’ve decided to abstain from any alcohol for awhile.  This is not a new behaviour for me. Alcohol and I have quite a history. This isn’t a typical ‘New Year’s Resolution’ – this has been coming for quite awhile, I’ve been alcohol free for several months now. It just feels like alcohol doesn’t fit within the context of who I’m becoming.

I like reading the articles that come out in the new year about the ‘bests’ of the year that has passed.  And I love learning about other people’s insights from the previous year. So it’s no surpise that my favorite article is from The Greater Good Website.  Not only do I love that site! But the article combines those two things, the best of and insights gleaned. The article is based on the annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude – the science of a meaningful life. The article –  The Top 10 Insights from Science of a Meaningful Life in 2014  – is wonderful. It’s well worth reading the whole article, but for those of you who like things put in a nutshell, here you go:

  1. Mindfulness can reduce racial prejudice—and possibly its effects on victims.
  2. Gratitude makes us smarter in how we spend money. (Makes us better in all we do!)
  3. It’s possible to teach gratitude to young children, with lasting effects. (see the video within the article on the GG website)
  4. Having more variety in our emotions—positive or negative—can make us happier and healthier.
  5. Natural selection favors happy people, which is why there are so many of them. (So Be Happy!)
  6. Activities from positive psychology don’t just make happy people happier—they can also help alleviate suffering.
  7. People with a “growth mindset” are more likely to overcome barriers to empathy.
  8. To get people to take action against climate change, talk to them about birds.
  9. Feelings of well-being might spur extraordinary acts of altruism
  10. Extreme altruism is motivated by intuition—our compassionate instincts.

Each of these points is explained in depth in the article and is based on studies done in 2014.  As I said, well worth a read, helping us all work toward leading a more Meaningful Life.

I’ll close with a lovely short video about gratitude –

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

 

 

I’d love to hear about your insights from 2014. Or some of your intentions for 2015.

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

Want to Change a Behavior? Make a Plan!

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes  open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want.  No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

-Paulo Cuelho


No one will argue that bad habits are hard to break, but making a plan on how you will achieve it is half the battle.

Continuing the posts on Neuroplasticity and getting rid of bad habits, looking at steps seven and eight:

7.  Create a specific plan and choose what to do instead.

8. Transform the obstacles.

I’m a big fan of goal setting.  I believe that heart centered goal setting is life changing. As I say in one of my past posts, A Fine Balance:

In my 7 Tools,  I discuss Heart-Centered Goal Setting.  In order to really focus on true goals, you have to find out the deepest WHY of the goal, the emotion behind it. Work to discover WHY you want that particular goal, journal about it, question it. When you understand the deeper emotion of why your want that particular goal, the emotional need behind it, then you have hit the WHY.  You can FEEL the why in heart-centered goal setting.  And in order to feel it, you have to be paying attention and be present to the moment.  That ability to stay present actually helps to define a direction for the future.

By setting a definite goal and getting specific, it helps to build new neural pathways. You are engaged in what Rick Hanson calls Self-Directed Neuroplasticity. For example, I have a friend who is trying to watch less TV, she knows it is mind numbing, but it feels so addictive (According to several studies, TV is addictive!) Decide if you want to exercise or read a book or journal instead of watching TV. Focus on the new choice. The more you decide to read at 7pm after dinner, instead of watch TV, the more your brain expects that behavior.  Self-Directed Neuroplasticity kicks in, the behavior starts to change.

Sometimes it feels like you are trying to trick your brain, and maybe that’s exactly what it is.  In an article in a great website, Greater Good, it is argued that:

Ultimately, what this can mean is that with proper practice, we can increasingly trick our neural machinery to cultivate positive states of mind.

The second point, transforming the obstacles is really more of “tricking the brain” again. Look at the obstacles, at what is in the way of you changing the behavior. What have you been getting out of the old habits or pathways? Going back to trying to break the TV habit – it feels like a treat, to just blob out, numb out.  But often after a couple of hours of TV, the numbing out feels negative and kind of yucky, and a waste of time. So before the TV goes on, transform the lure of the TV (the obstacle is the old belief that it is going to be a treat) – but you know it becomes a burden. Identify that obstacle, that lure, and make the decision before the TV goes on to do something else.  Get your mind in the place of possibility. Begin that process of changing your brain by remembering the truth about the situation and transforming the obstacles.

I’m going to close with an old favorite.  Zig Ziglar on Setting Goals.  This is part 1 of 3, if you have a chance, watch all 3, they are inspirational and fun!

 

 

I’d love to hear about any bad habits you’ve broken, and how you changed the behavior.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  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.

 

 

 

Cultivating Gratitude

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thankgiving weekend has passed, but the thankfulness continues.  Daily I have so much to be grateful for, even in things that at first would not seem a blessing.  For example, over the weekend our car broke down about an hour outside of Thames while my son Lukas was driving it.  And at first I freaked out: How would I get the car back to Thames? What was wrong and could it be fixed before we leave in 3 days for Borneo? How much would it cost to fix?  But as the mishap unfolded, I saw so much to be thankful for.  First and foremost, Lukas was safe, no one was hurt, he was with a friend who had family in the town.  Lukas was leaving Waihi and only 2 minutes outside The Karangahake Gorge.  If he had been on the Gorge Road, there would have been nowhere to pull over and it would have been very dangerous. But he wasn’t, he was in a quiet town on a quiet street when the car died.  His friend was able to get his uncle to tow the car to his house where it sat safely overnight. My friend, Rick knew a good mechanic in Waihi and I was able to get in to see them first thing in the morning.  The mechanic was great, diagnosed the problem quickly and fixed it in an hour. And what could have been a major engine repair ended up being a corroded fuse which cost $2.00 to replace. (There was labor and a couple of extras of course, but relatively very inexpensive.) And we leave in 3 days, and have to drive to the airport at 3 AM to catch an early morning flight, and it could have happened then! But it didn’t. Lukas is safe, the car is home, it’s running fine and all is well.  So much to be grateful for.

Gratitude is a great feeling! And it’s good for you too. So much new research explaining just how good it is for you on so many levels. There is a great website about the science of gratitude and the science of a meaningful life. It’s my new favorite website!   Greater Good, The Science of a Meaningful Life. Take the time to visit the site and look around, it is magnificent! It’s a project through UC Berkeley (Yay, my old Alma Mater) and it has so much great information and wonderful videos.  It is worth taking some time to look around.

You can also become involved in their Gratitude Journal Research Project – Thnx4:

Thnx4 is a sharable gratitude journal. Take the 14-day gratitude challenge, learn more about yourself, and add to the growing body of research on the benefits of saying thanks!

Keeping a Gratitude Journal is one of the “Ten Ways to Become More Grateful.” Read this article by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. – the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

To close, I want to share one of the videos by Robert Emmons from The Greater Good Site, The Benefits of Gratitude.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Please share some of your recent Gratitude Stories, I always love to hear them.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.