Joy.

My good friend, Jeanine, finally got her horse. He arrived Saturday and his name is Regal. He’s deep black and gorgeous. I drove past her house on Sunday and had to stop because I saw him standing outside the barn. Jeanine was napping in her little makeshift bed she assembled so that she could spend the first few nights with her new love. He had been with other horses his whole life and so going solo would be something new!

It’s actually hard for me to describe the sheer delight + joy that I witnessed in my friend that beautiful sunny afternoon. Jeanine told me all about Regal, her plans for getting him used to his new home, how she would be riding him on a regular basis (also something very new for him) and how she would give him warm sponge baths and groom his coat.

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Jeanine’s new beauty.

I haven’t really been around horses and so standing right next to such a strong and beautiful creature was a pretty awe-inspiring experience for me, even more so knowing this moment to be so precious to my friend. Jeanine showed me how to let him sniff my hand at first. I could already see Regal falling in love himself, totally at ease with Jeanine and allowing her to take his life into her own.

That might seem “over the top,” but that doesn’t stop me from describing it that way. You see, that’s how it is when you find a passion. When you are in love with something so much that everything else seems to fall away. I must have given Jeanine five or six hugs before I left. We talked about how it’s been a long time coming. She pointed out that she simply decided to DO IT NOW.

Get the horse now. Indulge in your passion, whatever that might be. Don’t wait and wait until conditions are “right.” Jeanine was done waiting.

Love that message! Yes, please. Let me have some of what you’re having. Passion can be contagious, I think. Witnessing it – in its most basic form – is a thing of beauty. Jeanine’s courageous move forward is inspiring to me on lots of levels. She’s jumping in, not entirely knowing if this horse will be “the perfect horse,” without knowing if she might experience some challenges down the road, which is sure to be the case. And that’s okay, because that’s also how it goes with passion. You’ve got to follow it, trust that you have the wherewithal to handle things that come up (good or bad) and just keep on moving forward, relishing in the beauty of the moment … the beauty + joy + excitement that only true passion can bring.

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You are invited.

How do YOU want to feel?

In your career. Your relationships. Your life.

That’s it. That’s the beauty of desire mapping. Figuring out how you want to feel and then doing things to make you feel that way. Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?

Right! Except it has the potential to radically shift how think about and approach … well, everything. I like to think of this exercise as simple but profound.

I first started exploring my core desired feelings about two years ago and it’s really created a beautiful shift in my life. In small + big ways. This is why I wish to bring this work to you. That’s why I’ll be hosting my very first Desire Map Workshop in January …

and YOU are invited.

liveyourdesires

You are invited to explore this process for yourself. You are invited to join our Soul Circle of Desire Mappers who are seeking greater clarity for the New Year. You are invited to give yourself this gift of time and space … to stop and reflect and recharge. I’m inviting you to invest in yourself and to do it within the company and beauty of our special group.

Desire Map the New Year
Saturday, January 31
10:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Twelve 17 Coffee Shop

I am keeping this inaugural Soul Circle of Desire Mappers intentionally intimate to really help support and facilitate this work. I have a feeling (no pun intended!) that these ten spots will go fast.

So if this special opportunity is calling out to you –

reserve YOUR seat HERE.

Can’t wait to share in this experience.

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I’m doing it.

I’m becoming a Desire Map licensee. And I’m ecstatic! The move feels right and good and so I’m going for it. Two years ago now I hosted my first workshop leading participants through the Desire Mapping process as created by the most awesome Danielle LaPorte. I had two participants (kind souls that they are!) and my friend, Kamar, who I drafted in last minute. I learned a lot from that experience and I’m taking it as a sign that I’m meant to grab onto this opportunity and run with it.

I believe in the Desire Map process. In short, it’s a whole new way of approaching goal setting in your life. Instead of shooting for the tangible outcomes, you set your goals and intentions based on how you want to feel along the way. How you want to feel.

I know. Revolutionary.

LynnCoreDesiredFeelings

my core desired feelings.

It’s easy and it’s not so easy. When’s the last time you really thought about how you want to feel and then actually did stuff that allowed you to feel that way? If you haven’t tried it, you ought to. It’s a fun way to think about your life and your daily flow. It’s a great mindset to start cultivating.

Stay tuned for the first official Desire Map event hosted by >>> yours truly! 

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Alight

I don’t know about you but I’m way more productive and happy when I care less about things. It’s not like I don’t give two shits about whatever might be at hand, but when I start trying to achieve a certain outcome or begin second-guessing my actions, that’s when I get stuck in the muck.

And I don’t know about you, but I much rather be free floating and jamming it at the same time. In the zone, if you will. It’s like that inner confidence swells and I just am. I’m being who I am. I’m being who I want to be. I’m being what comes most natural. And it feels f*cking awesome.

I feel myself slipping into this mode more and more, if even for small segments of time. The more I do it though, the easier it seems to be. It’s like I’m one of those beautiful metallic blue damselflies that float from reed to reed along the rivers of summertime. They’re touching down and releasing their magic but then they’re off to the next spot in the next glance.

damselfly
the beautiful damselfly. one of the best things about summer.

So I’m going to be my own way these days and float from place to place and person to person – touching down with sincere connection but not thinking too long or too hard about it. These days I’m intuiting my way.

I Only Bring Love to the Drop-off

I said this in a text message to my friends half-jokingly, but the more I think about it, the more these words have helped me to “rise above” the drama that is our elementary school drop-off. It started when a fellow parent mentioned that “people” were talking about me on Facebook. I was like, what? They didn’t mention me by name – on the PTO Facebook page – but referrals to the “woman who gets out of the car and opens her trunk in the drop-off line” definitely pointed to me. I do it everyday dammit. And I’m proud of it. What I have to admit, however, is that I started to not feel proud in my actions and I even began to question my judgment. My friend did too as she succumbed to the advice – park in a parking spot and walk your kids across the moving traffic if you intend to exit your car. Bullshit.

It’s kinda funny (but not really) – this is our fourth year at this school and I don’t recall there being such an “issue” with the drop-off. Of course no set-up would ever be perfect and you always have to be careful with kids when in any kind of “parking and moving cars” situation. They even did some “improvements” to the set-up a few years back and it helped. Still, even with piles of snow stealing many of the usual suspect parking spots (not to mention the “illegal” ones being harder to access with snow), I honestly don’t recall there being such a hoopla. Don’t ask if I ever got a ticket for parking in one of those illegal spots!

I classify myself as being pretty efficient, so it really never occurred to me that my “exiting my car each morning to hand out back-packs, etc. to my kids as they each exited the car” (pretty efficiently, I might add) pissed some folks off. My first reaction to the parent who mentioned “the talk” on Facebook was like f-that. I’m going to continue to get out of my damn car, there’s no way I’m going to have the kids pile multiple bags on the floor (on top of their feet) in our four-door sedan. Yeah, that would make getting out of the car that much better. Not.

It’s been entertaining to see this situation evolve. Rather lengthy descriptions of the “how-to” of the drop-off regularly appear in the weekly newsletter – last week we even had a drawing – even more helpful in my opinion. My “geographer husband” pointed out how the illustration could have been drawn more “true to scale,” or something like that – you know, from the guy who makes maps for a living. His “grand scheme solution” (echoed by several other parents I’ve commiserated with on the subject) is to “switch” the bus/teacher parking lot with the drop-off parking lot. Everybody’s got an opinion. And maybe that’s the problem?

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I think this is a pretty good drawing!

While I didn’t actually “request to be added” to the PTO Facebook page, I did rely upon several of my “close confidantes” (each of whom probably spent more than an hour reading through the comments and such) to confirm that I probably “didn’t want to go there.” So I didn’t.

Instead, I ponied up some of my “yogic wisdom” and attempted to not attach to the drama of the drop-off.

The clincher part of this story is that I did attach. I started to feel bad about my “routine” of handing out bags to my kids while in the drop-off line. I became “self-conscious” each day as I zoomed in at exactly 8:41 (bell rings at 8:45) and slowly inched up among the long line of cars. For the record, I also don’t recall there being that many people dropping off in the morning, cars have never snaked that far back before. But then again, I could be wrong since in past years, I was tending to “zoom in” at 8:44. Don’t ask if I’ve received any “excessive tardy” letters either. I’m much improved this year – with a typical five-minute cushion. Except when the drop-off line eats up several of those minutes. Dammit. But I digress.

Seriously, I even started feeling a little stressed as I approached the drop-off. Unlike my friend who, after consulting someone “in the know” when it comes to the finer details of the drop-off procedure, decided that since “optimally” they want parents to “stay buckled” in the drop-off line, she would follow suite by parking and walking the kiddos across the moving lanes of traffic. Great idea, huh? So, I’m one of those “rule bender” parents who does NOT stay buckled, but instead, carries on with the “handing out of the bags” scenario described above.

These days, the drop-off is even more entertaining now that teachers are directing traffic (the good souls they are – I give them credit for trying). It’s kind of cute, seeing the principal waving cars to move up along the line, which really, in my opinion is the biggest problem associated with the drop-off. Folks not pulling ahead so that the entire line is filled, but instead, stopping right in front of the doors. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect, so I think the best solution here is a combination of paying attention to the “general flow” the principal and teachers are trying to achieve, while at the same time, doing what’s right for your own situation. Doing what’s best for you and your kids.

At least that’s what I’m doing. And despite only jokingly mentioning to my friends that “I only bring LOVE to the drop-off,” I’m finding this mantra to be quite helpful.

I’ve continued to exit my car to help my kids, even doing so in full view of the principal (I thought, here’s her chance to set me straight, if she’s gonna do it) and it’s all been good. I’ve payed extra attention to whether “other parents” exit their cars in the line, and while most “stay buckled,” a good portion do get out to help the little ones and to help with a bag or two. The point here is that we’re all doing what feels best to us and our individual situations.

If we all approach the drop-off with a little love and an extra dose of patience, things might actually improve. Which I do think is happening. For me personally, I’m not thinking about what other people might be thinking about me. I’m saying hi to my “friendly fellow parent peeps” as I usually do and I’m refraining from “talking smack” about the drop-off. It’s just not worth my time and energy. And it’s not worth yours.

So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let us all bring a little more love to the drop-off. It just might make it an uplifting and pleasant situation for everyone.

P.S. My “rule follower” friend recently texted me and said, “Done with the damn parking lot. Kids almost got run over.” So, she’s coming over to “my side” as a “rule bending” parent who exits her car because that just happens to be the best thing that works for her every morning at exactly 8:41 a.m.

Good or Bad.

I read a great post the other day from Jina Schaefer of the Healthy Happy Truth – I love her tag line – not your typical wellness guru. Love that! She boils all the complexities of food down to one simple concept – it’s either gonna help you – or – hurt you. Period. Done. That’s all folks! Brilliant.

Jina extrapolates the concept to pretty much anything in life – your relationships (with yourself and others), choices you make about your body, what you choose to spend time on, how you treat your kids, how you respond to annoying situations – you name it!

Right now I’m thinking back to my “Little Debbie saga” in December and how this mantra could have helped snap me back into reality even quicker. Every night when I was eating my Little Debbie’s I should have been asking myself – is this helping or hurting me? Is it good or bad for me? It might have been “helping” by allowing me to burrow in to my nasty little habit that felt comforting (and delicious?) at that moment. In the long-run though, it was definitely “hurting” my health (on so many levels) and making me look like I was preggo (which I most certainly am not)!

Our McNair program assistant – Kim Whitney (who knows me well!) – sent me this HILARIOUS picture that pretty much sums up the Little Debbie debacle.

littledebbie

Now I’m not sure if it’s really this “little bitch” making me fat or me choosing to put shit in my body that’s making me fat. It’s the latter, but of course! And wouldn’t you know it, but you barely turn around after the Christmas season and they’ve already stocked up for Valentine’s Day. AND, they’re on sale! Now that’s convenient!

vdaylittledebbies

Valentine Little Debbies! Just what you need for the special “holiday.”

So I “technically” might be off of my Little Debbie habit these days, that’s not to say that I’m not perpetuating certain habits that are clearly in the “bad” and “hurt me” categories. For me, my triggers definitely come during that time between when the kids go to sleep and when I go to sleep. For some reason, I think since “I’ve made it through the day” that I’m “entitled” to eat a little sweet treat or sometimes it doesn’t even have to be sweet – maybe some cheese + crackers + wine? That sounds good, doesn’t it? All while kicking back to a “relaxing” episode of Frontline on PBS.

I’m going to start using this mode of thinking more often – even beyond the food choices I am making. I’m going to think about the things I choose to spend my time on, how I might respond to a certain situation – I’m going to ask myself – is this going to help or hurt me? Will this be good or bad for me? And with this simple pause, I just might start reversing some of my not-so-good behaviors.

Jina wrote another recent post talking about how if there are things that you absolutely love to do, but just might not be the best for you, that you shouldn’t try to totally stop doing those things. Just do them in moderation, and maybe, just maybe, do a little less each time you do.

So what this might translate into for me:

  • not filling my glass of wine to the top
  • having a few M&M’s instead of 20
  • maybe even having a cup of tea instead of those M&M’s?
  • watching one episode of Project Runway and vedging out on the weekend instead of two or three or….
  • spending quality time with my kids playing games or reading together, or just listening to them – really listening to them and being present with them – instead allowing my mind to be going in a million different directions when I’m with them
  • spending quality time with my husband even though hitting the pillow is very enticing after a busy day – being mindful and giving him some of my time and energy is important to keep our relationship growing instead of stalling out during this crazy time of child-rearing and just trying to “hold it together” on a daily basis

Help or hurt. Good or bad. Let those thoughts pop into your mind the next time you are doing something that might be a little “questionable.” Even if you go ahead and do “the thing” – you’re going find yourself becoming a little more mindful the next time you do.

Your Daily Flow

I’ve been going deeper into this whole EAT SLEEP MOVE theory of mine. The theory is simple: make sure you do these three things pretty well and you’ll be able to really rock it out in all other areas of your life. So what does this mean in practice? And what do I do when I walk someone through an EAT SLEEP MOVE session?

STEP ONE >>> lay it all out. What do you all got going on? Chances are, you’ve got too much.

Depending on your situation (usually related to your money situation), you may or may not have a lot of what I call “wiggle room” to play with in your schedule. I also don’t really like the term schedule. I prefer to call it your “daily flow” – doesn’t that just sound better? Your daily flow can be nice and easy. It might spike up with intensity from time to time, but in general, the goal is to keep your flow flowing – smooth and effortlessly.

With “wiggle room” comes the ability to choose to either add things to your plate or take them away. Sometimes both needs to happen and this is something that tends to surface once we start prioritizing our items.

STEP TWO >>> pick out your BIG ROCKS. We start prioritizing what’s most important. Note: this may not (and should not) include everything that you do (or want to do or need to do for that matter). This is where the going sometimes gets tough. Some items just won’t make the cut. They all can’t and that’s the point. Our goal, however, is to make sure that the EAT SLEEP MOVE categories remain among your top priorities. Getting good sleep, eating well and exercising regularly become your non-negotiables. These things happen no matter what.

When I sit down with someone and start examining their “flow” for the week, what I’m typically looking for is open space. I like to draw “bubbles” around any open space I can find. The more bubbles (or blocks of time) you have the better. Again, the challenge is usually not having enough bubbles.

The goal becomes to create more bubbles.

And this leads to the hard choices. For the students I work with, they generally can’t ixnay their classes or part-time jobs (sometimes bordering full-time even) for that matter. For people with kids, they can’t ixnay their kids. This question does comes up though (kidding)!

Then there’s the big picture question of your work and what you are trying to achieve in your career. It often happens that you don’t have enough bubbles to support forward movement with those “big picture” type goals you have. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily minutiae and just trying to keep yourself afloat.

The real goal is to start leading with intention. No you can’t control every little thing in your daily flow (and shit comes up, that’s for sure), but you can choose how you respond and you can choose how you intend to move through your day, every day.

STEP THREE >>> examine how you operate. What this means is thinking about when you tend to be “most productive.” Are you a “night owl” or a morning person? Do you like to workout and then bust out your homework or manuscript? We are thinking about our energy and how best to put it to use. Ideally, we want to match up those “productive zones” with as many of our “bubbles” as possible. What can you fit in where in your day that makes the most sense, that is time efficient and that leads to you feeling your best – and basically rocking it out?

STEP FOUR >>> create a “flow” that feels good. Once we have our “big picture” in mind that includes our non-negotiables, our bubbles, our ideal time frame for making things happen, like exercise, then we start to put it all together. The most important thing to realize at this point in the process is the reason behind being mindful in creating our daily flow. Yes, we are putting together an “idealized” version of a weekly schedule according to what’s most important and how we can best operate and maneuver. But, what we are not doing is creating any sense of rigidity in our mindset or our daily flow.

We want to keep the flow exactly what it is – a flow. Of course we can’t know what might come up from day-to-day, what projects, kids’ needs and activities, what emergencies might need tending to etcetera. What we can do is respond to such things with the greatest of ease because we are prepared to do so.

That’s the beauty. By establishing – at least in our mind’s eye – an “ideal” way of moving through our days – we can actually start to feel more in line with our intentions, our goals, our best work. We can actually start to progress in those areas that are usually left by the wayside albeit of huge importance to us in the long run.

So we build our flow knowing that stuff comes up. Our baseline self-care (EAT SLEEP MOVE) comes in by helping us to become more adept at meeting daily challenges while still keeping with our flow. When the small stuff starts to fall away (and you’ll be amazed that once upon a time you even gave this kind of stuff a second glance), there becomes all kinds of room – in our days, our heads, in our lives.

And the best way to feel is to feel spacious all around.

STEP FIVE >>> be fluid and flexible. Make it a practice to explore and situate your weekly flow on Sunday’s (this way you won’t feel anxious come Monday AM). You’ll have a list of your big-ticket items (maybe a big paper that’s due, a test, or work project to be presented), you’ll have your EAT SLEEP MOVE categories designated and you’ll have your bubbles distributed throughout as much as possible.

Try to keep some time blocks completely OPEN FOR NOTHING. Just open space. That could be for an hour in the morning before you really get going with your day. That could mean taking a half-hour after lunch just to read the paper and chill before you get back to work or go to class. That could also mean reserving that hour before bed for some light reading or basic downtime with no electronic devices in sight. Having time and space in your schedule or daily flow that is totally open and without any agenda = true magic. Magic for the mind, body and soul (however cheesy that might sound).

Move through your days and think about how you are feeling at different points throughout. Notice when you are feeling energetic, when you are feeling super productive and “in the zone,” notice when you are feeling relaxed and happy, notice when you might be feeling tense and anxious or irritable even. It’s all part of the mix. Through our intentions and using this kind of “mindful approach” to creating our days, however, we can begin to smooth out some of those more irritable and challenging times and replace them with times of greater ease, contentment and general “rocking it out of the park” kind of feelings.

Each week we come back and center again around what’s most important. We set our intentions and then we simply go with it.

Click HERE to explore the EAT SLEEP MOVE Challenge in the New Year.