tag archives: create the life you love

savoring slow as an act of self-care

happy-summer

Slow down and enjoy life.  It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

~ Eddie Cantor

I love the long days, warm sun and fresh air that summer brings.  The invitation to play, relax and have fun is in the air, but in a world that is in constant forward motion, it’s hard sometimes to not get overwhelmed by the rushed pace of life.

So instead, I choose to slow down.  That truly is the gift of summer.

Slowing down is the best gift you can give yourself when we are feeling overwhelmed.
Heck, it’s a great gift to enjoy every day of your life!

Slowing down reminds you about the importance of recharging, taking breaks, relaxing and lightening up.  It allows you to listen, to really listen to the messages in your heart.  A slower pace creates space and in that space you can reflect on what’s working in your life, what isn’t and make slow, mindful changes along the way.

I’m noticing that when I slow down, I start to see my life differently.  The things that I seem to think are urgent and stressful, well, they just don’t seem as bad when I’m savoring a slower pace.  The need to check off the “to do” list becomes less important and self-care, rest and honoring my energy get my attention.

Slowing down helps me stay connected to an inner peace that helps me better deal with the ups and downs in the day – like when the kids are having melt-downs, or when the kitchen sink is piled up with dirty dishes (again!), or when I’m starting to well up with frustration when I can’t seem to find time to write a blog post except late after the kids have gone to bed.

Slowing down helps me remember…it’s all going to be ok.

Today I’m sharing with you that I’m being more intentional about slowing down for the rest of summer and ways I plan on savoring it.

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Here’s what savoring slow looks like to me this summer:
1)  Unplugging

For the month of July I’ve decided to take a break from Facebook and any other Internet surfing that can easily cause distraction.  I’m feeling a deep desire to stay focused on things high on my priority list right now (like writing my new e-course) so taking a break from other time-stealers is a must.

2)  Limiting Photo Taking

Do I really need 5,000 photos of my kids at the park?  I’m giving my iPhone camera a much needed break.  Less photos mean less clutter added to my computer.

3) Tackling Lingering Projects

So you know those photos I mentioned?  My iPhoto is about to explode and I still don’t have my beloved 7-years worth of baby photos printed. I’m going to use some of my free time printing, deleting and savoring my favorite baby photos because it’s been on my mind way too long.  No expectations – just a fun project that I will work on…slowly.

4) Relaxing

When you get in the habit of always doing, it’s hard to not feel like you should be doing something at every moment.  When I feel that restlessness come over me and my mind thinks, I should be doing something, I’m reminding myself to relax.  Savoring slow helps me reconnect to my breath and feel more relaxed.

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5)  Being silly; Having fun

My kids are silly.  They put underwear on their heads.  They run around and dance naked.  They stuff food in their face.  They belly laugh and pillow fight and wrestle.  I can be silly, but I think I can definitely benefit from being silly more often.  Afternoon dance parties are one of our favorite ways to reconnect after rest time and if you’ve ever danced with 3 boys under the age of 8 you can be silly real quick.  When I’m in a rushed place, I can easily miss out on these moments.  Savoring slow helps me stay more present and connected to what really matters!

6) Eating Slowly and Sitting Down

I make most of our meals from scratch and that’s a lot of work. Sometimes I make the kid’s breakfast and then continue prepping our meals for the rest of the day.  I enjoy my mornings a little more when I make time to sit down and eat breakfast together, or enjoy a quiet cup of hot coffee by myself – depending on what I need most. Sometimes we make meals together.  Sometimes it takes longer when the kids are involved, but when you are savoring slow, you find these moments usually turn out pretty special (and become the ones you remember most).

7) Protecting Downtime

I’m planning a lot less and keeping our days more open for spontaneity, art, journaling and just plain old downtime.  We have our “out breath” activities of the day, but savoring slow and soaking up summer for me is about making sure we all get adequate downtime.

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8) Honoring a Morning & Evening Ritual

Taking a morning walk, drinking lemon water, journaling and setting an intention for a day of going slow is my focus this month.  This means going to sleep a little earlier and preparing for a peaceful sleep by sitting quietly before bed.

9)  Letting Go

Some days I feel like sleeping in.  Some days I just don’t have the energy to make meals from scratch.  Some days I want to pack up a fast picnic, I don’t want the kids involved and I’d rather get the food ready instead of sitting down for breakfast.  The point is…letting go of rigid rules, “must do’s” or “should’s” is the true gift of slowing down. This goes back to “Relax and Breathe”.  Being kind to yourself and honoring your energy and the mood of the house goes a long way.

Savoring Slow Summer ReadingMy friend Shawn, creator of The Abundant Mama Project, is celebrating the launch of her book, The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow, now released in paperback.

Her book is beautiful and offers such lovely inspiration on how to intentionally seek out slower moments in your every day.

Shawn gathered some of her favorite bloggers for her Savoring a Slow Day book tour, and I’m happy to be a part of it!  You can visit the other wonderful blogger’s posts HERE.

If you want to stay connected over the summer, feel free to email me or visit me on Instagram.  I’ll see you back on Facebook in August!  (And you can still sign up for Laugh Play Love!)

Wishing you a beautiful season of slow…

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registration for Laugh Play Love now open!

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Registration for my NEW e-course, Laugh Play Love, is NOW open.  Join us and invite more laughter, playfulness and love into your daily life.

And not to worry – the course will be up for the next 3 months, so you will have PLENTY of time to dive in at your own pace.

So what are you waiting for?

Enroll for Laugh Play Love by visiting HERE.

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when it rains it floods (& new e-course!)

the sun comes back

The sun does eventually come out again and once the clouds part the landscape is more vibrant and alive.

~ Shannon Kinney-Düh

You know the saying, when it rains it pours?  Well in my case the past few weeks, when it rains it floods.

The Sunday before last, we woke up to a flooded basement.  On the positive side, there were only a few inches of water and all that got ruined was the carpet. Part of our basement is the laundry room and storage and the majority of the space is refinished – it’s where the kids play, where we watch movies and where my husband’s office is.  It’s one of the only areas in this house that we (my husband did all the work) fully fixed up (in the three years we’ve lived here).

The other positive is that since we’ve been on a “reduce clutter, create space” kick over the last several years, we don’t have any boxes in our storage room, the storage we do have is in plastic bins and everything is off the floor.  Other than some blankets that were waiting to be washed, nothing else had to be pulled out of the water.

The carpet excavation company came that same day, ripped out the carpets, left us with fans and handled other precautions throughout the week.  Everything has dried up nicely; the basement foundation is in great shape and no mold.  Even the custom cabinets can stay. Woo hoo.

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Playing in the basement before “the flood”.

All in all we lucked out.  Or we were somewhat prepared.  And I think that’s what I learned from this experience.  The importance of preparation – clearing out the stuff you no longer need or like having a good insurance plan.  The importance of not being attached to stuff – it’s all just stuff and in the end – it’s there for a short bit and then it goes away.  The importance of having an emergency fund – because there’s still a deductible that you have to pay when things happen – and things always happen. And the importance of having a sense of humor – because sometimes if you can’t laugh about it you might as well go insane.

Some of the other things that happened during the flood:  our riding mower died (had to put more money towards a new one), my husband found out some health warnings (in addition to some we found out a few months ago) and a family friend and former co-worker passed away.  A lot at once.

Did I feel defeated?

Absolutely.

Did I cry?

A time or two.

Did I drop the kids off at my mom’s one morning just so I could pick up my favorite food and go sit in a dark theater watching a movie (I LOVE going to movies alone, by the way)?

Oh, yes I did and it was awesome.

Have I felt unsettled?

Yep.  All the toys that usually have a place in the basement have been all over the house – Legos on the dining room table, library books on the back porch, train set thrown across the living room floor.  My husband had to move his computer to my art room table.  Feeling a bit…cramped.

Do I crave order?

YES.

Am I feeling completely grateful that I have another day on this earth?

A MILLION TIMES for sure.

I have gone through a wave of emotions.  And if I let my mind run crazy with “what if’s” and “how are we going to” and “why me” and “will we ever get ahead” thoughts – then I probably would let the feelings of overwhelm completely consume me.

But I can’t.

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Because here’s what I’ve learned about life so far:
* Everything changes.  The good times, the bad times – they come and go.
* Going with the flow and staying flexible in the midst of changes just feels better.
* Letting go of the past, being in the present moment, while preparing for the future makes the ride more enjoyable.
* Asking for help, finding support and receiving that love is just as powerful as giving.
* Laughter helps.
* Dancing helps.
* Relaxing, breathing and lightening up all help.
* Sitting alone in a dark theater watching a great movie totally helps.
* And focusing on the gratitude reminds you that even in the midst of the chaos, the storm, the floods…you have your breath, you have much to be grateful for AND there really is beauty once the storm clears.
There’s always an opportunity alongside the challenge – even if it’s hard to see it at the time.  The storm will clear again.

When you are moving through the flood, don’t give up.  Your life is too precious and your gifts are needed in the world.

We need you.

So get some rest when you need to.  Drink more water.  Eat well and nourish your soul.  Ask for help and FULLY RECEIVE the goodness that others are so open and willing to give you.

LAUGH more.
PLAY more.
And LOVE your life along the way…

(See below to learn about my new e-course – Registration is now open!)

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This summer, I’m going on a journey to awaken creativity…and I want you to join me.

I’ve created a new course and I’m excited to announce it to you – my Free Spirit Life family. (By the way, you can take this course even if it’s not summer in your part of the world!)

 

laughplaylove copyLaugh Play Love

I’ve been busy…filling this course with rich content to help you connect with your inner heart and explore seven vital areas of your life at your own pace. There’s no timeline, no pressure. Just great lessons you can savor and enjoy over and over.

There’s something special here for both beginners and graduates of Inside Out. You’ll find the balance and connection you need to create a life where you can freely laugh, play and love.

Please click HERE to learn more about Laugh Play Love.
I hope you’ll join me. Let’s fill this summer with joy!

when you feel like you don’t belong

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You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

~ Maya Angelou

I went to a party recently and old feelings of not being “part of the group” came up.

Do you ever feel that way?

Have you ever been in a group but feel like you don’t really belong?  Or that you are on the outside looking in? Or that you just don’t fit in?

Those are the feelings that came up after trying to talk with someone at the party who puts off this vibe that she doesn’t want to talk to me.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve tried talking with her and I leave the conversation feeling the same way every time.

My old self may have obsessed about this experience with thoughts like, What is wrong with me?  Why doesn’t she like me?

It felt quite liberating that when those old feelings did indeed come up, I was able to laugh (not instantly, but soon after) and remind myself, Shan, not everyone needs to like you.  And just because she doesn’t want to talk to you doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.

I was happy to see that rather than obsessing about it for days and wondering What can I do to make her like me?, I was able to realize that it’s not me, it’s her thing.  I was able to let those negative thoughts go and stay grounded and kind towards myself (and her).  Instead of letting my mind call her names or talk badly about myself, I simply became aware of the emotional trigger.  Old feelings of “not being good enough” crept in, and yet, I let those feelings come – and here’s the big thing – I let those feelings go.

So often we experience highs and lows in our day.  We meet a variety of people.  Some we click with and some we don’t.  And it’s so easy to focus on the lows or the difficult people.  The highs feel good.  When you are feeling great and you are in your comfort zone or surrounded by your peeps – ah – easy.  But when you are feeling insecure or find yourself in a new experience – ugh – it can be tough sometimes.

It sucks when you feel like you don’t “fit in”.

It hurts when it feels like others are deliberately excluding you.

Making assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling doesn’t help the situation. It’s good to speak up when you need to, especially when you want clarification or find yourself in a situation where someone isn’t treating you kindly.

When we worry about stuff that happens and can’t LET IT GO…that takes up mental and emotional space (and often times physical – look around your house – what stuff are you still holding onto?). The space in our minds or in our hearts (or in our homes) gets filled up with negative thinking and old habits (or junk) that ultimately creates blocks (and dust).  It becomes quite draining.

Those mental and emotional blocks depletes our vital energy.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.  You won’t always feel like you belong.  And that’s ok. You will find your tribe.  In the meantime, don’t change yourself to “fit in” but rather, be yourself.  And be kind to yourself along the way.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Becoming yourself is part of the journey.  Embrace who you are.  Who you really are.  You are complete and whole and imperfect and that’s what makes you…YOU.

Your Personal Reflection:

Are you wasting your time and energy obsessing about the past?  Or worrying about what others think of you?  What negative thoughts or old habits are depleting your vital energy?  Take a moment to observe something in your life that you are ready to let go of.  Take a deep breath.  Exhale.  Close your eyes.  Smile softly.

And remember, you are enough.  
It’s time to let your inner beauty out into the world.

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your life is an adventure

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We never quite know where our life path will take us next.
Get your helmet on and as best you can…enjoy the ride.
Your Personal Reflection:

Adventures can be exhilarating, but the unknown of what’s to come can be really scary.  What part of the adventure are you on today?  Are you feeling excited about the new things emerging in your life?  Or are you scared as hell?  A little of both?

What can you do – in this moment – to prepare for the adventure you’re on and to face the fear of not knowing how it will unfold?

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learning how to shed self-doubt

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This is me, making my latest video, while the kids watched an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  One take, unedited and thankfully I had the stuffed sheep as my sit-in so I could set the focus!  It’s all a part of being a mom

Are you in need of some quiet or inspiration or a boost to your energy? Take a few minutes to watch the video I made just for YOU.

In the video I share part of my story, what brought me to this moment and why I created A Free Spirit Life and Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery.

I share how I’m learning to shed outward distractions, negative thinking and old habits. I share how I let self-doubt grip me for years. And how I learned to release those inner fears so I stopped believing “I wasn’t good enough” and started embracing a life that is truly unlimited.

You can overcome the obstacles keeping you stuck.
You can learn to embrace the mess and imperfections.
You can find more joy, peace, and happiness in your daily life.
You can live more connected to your intuition and creativity.
You can learn to trust and follow your heart and how to find your inner courage.
You can learn how to break free of fear so you can leap towards a bold, abundant life.

I’m still learning.
I’m still stumbling and fumbling and tripping along the way.
Let’s do it together.

Watch the video to learn more of what has helped change my life from one gripped with fear, to one that’s like…what the hell…let’s go for it.

What is going really well in your life?
What are the habits that keep repeating?

What are you ready to break free from?

Email me and share a little of YOUR story.  I want to hear from you!

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take good care of your heart

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you can change your life

Maybe you want to get rid of the clutter in your life.
Maybe you want to connect to other like-minded women.
Maybe you want to make space in your busy life to nourish your creativity.
Maybe you want to invite more peace, simplicity and ease into your day.
Maybe you want more stillness and less busy.
Maybe you want to find time to do what you love.
Maybe you want to feel more joy.
Maybe you want to nurture your inner dreams, or be more present, or live with intention and purpose.

Whatever it is, YOU CAN change your life.

Start today.

Join us for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery!

This 5-week online experience has helped hundreds of women face their fears so they could find the courage to live a more authentic, connected, abundant life.
To learn more, visit here.

Questions? Email me and I’m so happy to chat more.
Class begins January 26th!

Winners Announced:

Thanks to those of you who took the time to share my new Being a Mom music video!

The winners of my random drawing for 3 spots for the next session of Inside Out are:

Debbie Hines, Jessica Naccari and Karen Skelton!

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how to find peace this holiday season

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I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.

~ Confucious

Thank you for being here!  I hope you are enjoying some nice family time and a happy holiday weekend (for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving).

Not sure how you feel about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I’m kind of tired of the emails, the commercials and the ads that are fighting for my attention and trying to get me to buy, buy, buy, more, more, more!

There is just so much NOISE out there
And sometimes, I find that the constant distractions in the world make me feel cloudy, stressed, confused and even lost. Do you ever feel this way?

Life throws a lot at us. It’s quite easy to get knocked off center again and again and again. And I’m seeing that part of the practice in mindful living is learning how to get back there, because it’s in this peaceful, present moment space where your pure love, JOY and contentment are always within reach.

Not outside…but within.

So what exactly does it mean to find center?

Your very essence – who you really are – is at your center. When you find center, it’s like going to the place where you feel at home. It’s when you feel most present. It’s when you feel in the flow. It’s where you feel…peace.

Making a connection each day to this inner place will remind you what matters most in your life.
When you get distracted and stressed and overwhelmed, it’s important to have awareness of your center – and know how to get back there.

Whether you are full of joy during the holidays, or they bring you dread, it’s all too easy to get swept away by outward pressures to be more, do more, buy more, and give more. When we fight feelings of not doing or being enough, it’s almost inevitable we’ll end up over-committing or over-eating or over-spending to feel better in the short term.

Finding center and remembering what matters most is about being a part of life, but not getting consumed by it.

We can go to the mall or buy gifts for friends and family, without spending our grocery money. We can create a “to do” list and set intentions to make gifts, but we can also be realistic that we can’t do it all. We can indulge in sweets and the fun food of the season without bursting at the seams and feeling sick afterwards. We can volunteer and be of service without sacrificing our own needs. We can say “no” and let go of “shoulds” and feel ok with not over-doing-it, because we come from a grounded place of love and peace (not a confusing place led by regret, worry and fear).

This is what happens when you stay connected to center.

The more you become aware of your center, and recognize what knocks you off or triggers you, the easier it is to get back to a more grounded, compassionate place. It’s this connection to center that helps you feel an inner peace, when the anxiety and overwhelm creep in. It’s this connection to center that allows you to feel more calm, even when the outer world is seemingly moving at lightening speed.

It’s this connection to center that reminds you how to love and how to be kind – to others AND to yourself.
Be kind to yourself this holiday season.

Eliminate the noise.
Slow down.
Find stillness.
Connect to your center.
Free your spirit.
Love yourself.
Change your life.

I appreciate you deeply…

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Interested in learning tools & techniques on how to stay connected to your center?

Join us for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery!

Learn how to listen to and trust your intuition, and how to cultivate the courage you need to live out your inner dreams so you can be yourself and create a life you love living every single day.
Visit HERE for all the details.

You will receive a FREE Inside Out audio book at the end of our course just for signing up!

(Gift certificates available and past Inside Out grads get a discount.)

i love happy art journaling challenge (& podcast #3)

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I had an amazing day yesterday.

I spent the morning at the farmer’s market with my boys, then took my 3-year-old to gymnastics. Both boys took a long nap at the same time (which never happens) and I listened to a podcast and got really inspired about some new creative business ideas.

Later, the kids played together after we picked up my 6-year-old from school. I made butternut squash soup and roasted beet salad for dinner.

Everyone was in a great mood.

Of course, it’s not always like this. But yesterday, everything just seemed to flow.

After dinner we went on a family walk in the woods and around our neighborhood lake. I was walking a little faster then the boys and at one point I just stopped to watch them. The sun was setting. The lake was still. The temperature was perfect. The baby on my back was waving to his daddy and brothers and in that moment I felt completely elated. Peaceful, really.

It was a moment of pure bliss…joy…HAPPINESS.

And then I thought, “I never want this moment to end.”

For a few seconds my mind started freaking out as it tried to grasp time and space.

I caught myself.
Took a breath.
Returned to the moment.
Simply watched the boys walk up the hill.
Listened to the sweet sound of their voices.
Felt complete gratitude in my heart.
And soaked it up.

My mind tried to hold on to what felt like a perfect moment to keep it forever.

But we know that’s impossible. Life is ever changing. It’s all so temporary. So to try to grasp and cling and hold on to any moment sets us up for potential sadness, disappointment or anxiety.

The practice is to see the happy in the every day moments of life.

To appreciate them. To feel them deeply. To not miss all the beauty and joy that is happening around us all the time.

 

Life is a gift.

YOUR life is a gift.

To celebrate this gift called life, I’m hosting a challenge this October to inspire us all to slow down and see the happy in our crazy, busy days.
Please join me for the FREE I Love Happy Art Journaling Challenge for Moms (moms-to-be and grandmothers, too) in October.

Together, for two weeks, we will celebrate the special every day moments of happy in our day, while we nurture our creativity and connect more deeply with our intuition and inner wisdom.

VISIT HERE to watch the new Mothering with heART video podcast #3 for more details about this fun, free art journaling challenge!

To join the challenge, click the link below:

Yes! Sign me up to join moms from around the world for the I Love Happy Art Journaling Challenge!

Hug your loved ones.
Stop gripping the past.
Stop reaching for the future.

And see your happy right here and NOW.

I appreciate you.