The Wisdom of a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue

33 Things to Help You Thrive in College and Beyond

1. Choose a college that is a nourishing and good fit for YOU, and quiet the noise of what you believe the outside world is preaching. Listen to your intuition. College is a formative time which will strongly inform your future happiness and wellness, so choose wisely. 

2. Get used to being average. Being at the top isn't always attainable. Plus, it can be lonely up there. 

3. Stay in touch with those you love, and who love you in return. It will help keep you anchored and centered, especially when life turns you on its side. A weekly text or phone call is sufficient. Trust me, you will lose your way every once in a while, and it is a gift to have a safe place, literally and figuratively, to land. 

4. Get to know your professors, especially your favorite ones. They are experts in their field and welcome interaction and inquiry. They're also good people for recommendation letters down the road. Show them who you are and ask them about their journey. It's a win-win exchange. 

5. Face your fear. Go through it. See it as evidence that you are growing and pushing outside your comfort zone. 

6. Live in the ring, not on the periphery. Take calculated risks, and be willing to be vulnerable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is where the gold is. Staying safe feels good in the short run, but it doesn't further you on the road to growth and success. Take the class that interests you but is outside of your major, talk to that person that you have been wanting to get to know but haven't had the guts to approach, speak up in class even if you feel that you don't have anything to offer, switch your major to what truly lights you up, choose to stay sober at a party and leave early instead of drinking too much and having regrets in the morning. 

7. Have the hard conversations. Dig deep. Your relationships will reflect this. 

8. Food is fuel, use it as such. Too often, food becomes an emotional buffer that creates a crazy train of short-term feel good, and long-term battle of not being at peace within your own body. Be smart about balance and moderation. And remember, lots and lots of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

9. Question everything, especially those thoughts and beliefs that cause you suffering. You're free to change, and to be fluid with what you think and believe. Nothing is off the table. 

10. Love fiercely.

11. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It's not personal. Some people are going to like you, and some will not. And it has nothing to do with you! It's all about them. Love 'em anyway. Everyone is fighting their own internal battle. 

12. Your health and safety are more important than anything. 

13. Sleep. It is sacred. Honor it. You need it. Without it, you will crash and burn.

14. Find opportunities to grow.  You know you are growing when you are uncomfortable.  Live in the discomfort and know that you will eventually get on the other side of it.

15. If something isn't working for you, shift gears. Pivot. Baby steps. That one small step has the ability to change the trajectory of your life. Be intentional about your daily practices and choices as your daily patterns create your life. 

16. Make time for quiet and reflection. Every.Single.Day. Get your thoughts on paper and outside of your head/body which allows for a different perspective. Shame thrives in the dark. No more hiding. 

17. Choose your friends wisely as they will influence your choices and who you become. I heard recently that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend most of your time. Set the bar high.

18. Celebrate differences and everyone's unique gifts. You will be surrounded by people who are good at things that you aren't, and vice versa. Instead of comparing, consider appreciating the differences. It makes the world better, and you feel a helluva lot better. "Comparison is the thief of joy." Amen. 

19. Ask the question "Who Am I" and have fun living into it. There are a lots of parts within you that are begging for attention and cultivation. Have fun getting to know the light and the dark, and integrating ALL parts of yourself. Nothing is off limits. Learn how to work with it all, and lean into you. And know that you never totally arrive. It's a forever quest to get to know yourself. Welcome to the journey! 

20. Long-distance relationships don't have to hold you back from getting to know others, and experience all the growth opportunities that present themselves on a regular basis. Keep growing. If your signifiant other is the one, they'll be there at the end of the road. Promise. Give each other the breathing space needed to evolve and grow. Everyone wins. 

21. Speaking of relationships, do them in person. Snapchat, insta, and any other similar apps don't count. Be real. See their faces. Read their body language. Learn the nuances and navigate the awkwardness and wonder of in-the-flesh conversation. Drink them in! This is where true connection resides. 

22.  Failure means that you are trying. Failure = learning. Don't give up. Ever. 

23. Along with your major and university requirements, branch out and take some classes that are outside the norm and that are of special interest to you. Expose yourself to new ways of thinking and being as you will develop parts of yourself that you didn't even know existed. You might even turn on a light within that guides you on a whole new path. Regardless, it broadens you and makes you more whole. In the end, that's what it's all about. 

24. Don't be afraid of not knowing. Whether it be a major path or pursuing a relationship. Venture into the discomfort and figure it out. Explore. You'll come out on the other side with more clarity and dimensionality. Substance over fear. 

25. Consider tracking your online time, and limiting your phone/social media time to 2 hours a day. You'll feel more rooted and connected to others, less preoccupied with the what appears to be real but isn't, and more at peace. Meaningful connection is not online. Instead of the internet, go for the innernet. 

26. Focus on the process, not the outcome. There are so many learnings in the actual doing. Stay present and don't carry the anxiety of the future and trying to live up to expectations. Same is true for the past. Drop the guilt. Lighten the load and shed the excess baggage so you can focus on the experience. 

27. Serve. Contribute to the greater whole. Make a difference. It's not all about you. Bring your gifts to the world and shine!

28. Forgive. If not for any other reason than for yourself. It will free you. 

29. Your thoughts are not facts. They are the result of you making sense of your life experiences, the family from which you come, your friends, your DNA, and any other influences. If they are no longer serving you, question them. And if needed, create some new thoughts that nourish and motivate you instead of diminish you. 

30. You cannot control people or circumstances. You can only control your thoughts about circumstances. Manage your emotions and what you make things mean so that you are able to respond as you choose to whatever crosses your path. Contrary to popular belief, you are not at the whim of others; in fact, only you are responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. No one can make you feel or do anything. This is your ultimate superpower. Use it to your advantage. 

31. Life is hard so why not choose your hard, instead of the hard choosing you? Be proactive. No victim mentality. Own it and take accountability for what you create. Life doesn't need to happen to you. Make it happen for you. It's all in how you approach it. 

32. Expand your perspective, become friends with all walks of life. Different cultures, religions. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. Learn about other perspectives. Ask questions. Be curious. 

33. Be yourself very well. Rock it out. Confidence comes from being authentic and showing up. Find your people. No more fear of failure. Get moving and start shining! The world needs YOU!

Cheers to the journey! x

The Power of Reflection

Is it just me or did the first three months of 2018 fly by in the blink of an eye? It feels like five minutes ago I was sitting by the fire with my feet up enjoying a hot mug of coffee and commiserating with my sweet husband about life and those things that were at the top of our to-do/dream list for the new year: What we wanted to create in our businesses, making time for our family and one another, syncing up with some of our favorite people for dinner, taking a vacation or two, doubling down on our daily exercise/mindfulness routines, and mapping out our eventual move to Denver, CO in June. Just to name a few. 

Since coming home from a blessed spring break week in Florida with our crew (minus Ben who was frolicking in Tanzania with giraffes and lions), and having a health scare that crystallized those things that are truly important, I’ve been feeling a deep desire to look up, breathe deeply, and soak in what has transpired since that day in front of the fire. 

So much to process, and to help me do so, I came up with 14 questions that I think put things in perspective, and provide context and a clear path moving forward. I recommend this kind of reflective exercise in whatever stage you are on your journey. 
14 Questions: 

1. What was my vision for 2018, and am I on the right path? 

2. What were my goals and have those shifted? In what way?

3. Am I pleased with my daily routine, and am I staying true to what is healthy and good for me? Is this routine getting me closer to realizing my goals? Or do I need a reboot?

4. Where am I experiencing resistance? What am I avoiding? What do I keep putting off and reassuring myself that I will get to at some point? 

5. Do I end the majority of my days feeling satisfied? 

6. Am I loving well? Where am I lacking courage and the willingness to be vulnerable? 

7. Am I being present? With my children, with my husband, with my Mom, with my siblings, with my dear friends? 

8. Am I serving my clients and the needs that they have to the best of my ability? Where can I do more? What can I do differently? Better? 

9. What do I long for? What am I jealous of in others? Why? 

10. For whom am I grateful? Have I told that person recently? 

11. What have I learned about myself this year that I didn't know before? 

12. Do I need to reassess my daily social media time? Is it overshadowing other more important and worthwhile things? Am I keeping the comparison beast at bay or is it stealing my joy? 

13. What do I want to do more of, and what do I want to prune out going forward? 

14. Am I being ME very well? 

I answered these questions in my journal, and I undoubtedly will have them percolating in my mind and heart in the days ahead. Good questions cultivate substantive reflection and conversation and plant the seeds for growth, clarity, and action. Since life is moving at a fast and furious pace and it shows no signs of slowing down, do yourself a favor and take some time to reflect and ask thought-provoking and meaningful questions. Who knows what you might learn about yourself and decide to implement in the days ahead. Being mindful and setting goals helps us be intentional and focused in our lives. What are you waiting for?