Oops. A few technical difficulties at The Together Act headquarters today! So sorry for not knowing the alphabet:-) P was easier to write than O...so I had two partial posts in the cue... I think I'm back on track. We'll see. Have a super day!
The older I get, the more I realize that I know very little and very much at the same time. I’ve lived long enough to have experienced and collected gobs of information about several subjects. I’ve even become an expert at a few things.
And yet, I understand that from here forward...it’s all about how open I can remain.
Being open to something requires that we put what we think we ‘know’ aside and let a potentially new point of view be seen.
I’ve been considering the humans I know who are ahead of me by a few chronological years. I’ve watched and listened to them with intense curiosity.
What makes someone seem old and out-of-touch?
Why are some people more vibrant and interesting?
I believe one main difference is their willingness to stay open. Open to the possibilities life offers at every age and every stage.
Just think about how much we’d miss if we refuse to stay open…
I’m going to continue working to keep the following things wide open in my own life…
My heart - I know that love breeds more love. I have nothing to lose by offering love freely. I learned recently that it’s entirely possible to welcome 47 strangers into my heart without running out of love. In fact, quite the opposite is true. My heart is more full than ever before.
My wallet - I haven’t ever given generously due to old limiting beliefs about lack. Shifting now. There are endless ways that I can give to others. I’ll start small, if necessary. But I will start. Boulder offers many opportunities to help the homeless. I have an envelope in my car that I’ll keep stocked with cash. I will hand it out freely.
My mind - At the moment, my mind is wide open in many areas. I’m thirsty for information and ideas. Learning new skills and concepts is important to me.
I think I struggle with keeping an open mind in areas that are more routine. Like how my sons clean up their rooms:-) When ‘my way’ is challenged, I sometimes dig in and refuse to see the other side. That’s not an open mind. I’m going to work on this. Gently easing my mind open when someone offers a point of view that challenges what I believe.
Are you good at remaining open?
I'd love to know your thoughts on staying open to new things, especially as we age.
Thanks for being here. More tomorrow...
A while back, I discovered the Pomodoro Technique while seeking ways to improve my time management skills. I felt scattered and overwhelmed by my very long (and always growing) to-do list! I needed a method to keep me focused, minimize distractions and help me recognize just how much time I was spending on certain tasks.
I quickly fell in love with the the Pomodoro Technique, also called the Tomato Timer. It's ridiculously bare-bones and simple to use. It promotes specific increments of time for working and resting.
I readily embraced the idea of a finite chunk of time to actively work and then a designated rest period.
I use the free tomato timer on my laptop and my cell every single day!
I’m a bit of a timer nerd.
I work well under pressure. I take pleasure in knowing there’s only a certain amount of time to complete a task.
The Pomodoro method is super basic. There are only three options...5, 10, and 25 minutes. The 25 minute chunks are the work periods. Followed by a short or longer break.
If a task requires additional time, you just reset another 25 minute chunk. And so on...
Please note: taking the 5 or 10 minute break is crucial.
Initially, I would simply reset the timer for another 25 minutes and not bother with the break period.
Oops. Bad move.
I now realize that I’m actually happier, more focused and much more productive if I take the small breaks in between.
I love using the Tomato Timer for writing, bill paying, answering emails, decluttering a space, etc.
By using a timer, I’m able to better understand how long a task or job really takes.
My perception of time has often been skewed...I imagine something will take 10 minutes, when it actually takes 45:-)
I also find that I work harder during the 25 minute blocks. I can easily eliminate all distractions, because most everything can wait 25 minutes.
Then I use the short breaks to start another load of laundry, grab a glass of water and a snack, stretch, send a few texts, check Instagram or just breathe:-).
When the timer rings, it’s back to work. For me, the gentle discipline is helpful. I'm a rule follower...the timer rules.
What about tasks that require considerably less than 25 minutes?
For quicker tasks, I love The Fly Lady’s method.
Side note: If you aren’t familiar with this interesting woman, please check out her website. However wacky some of her methods appear, I have no doubt that if you try her tips...at least a few will stick. It’s crazy, but true. I first read her book (Sink Reflections) about ten years ago and I still practice things I learned from The Flylady, aka Marla Cilley.
Ms. Cilley relies on a 10 minute block of time for basically all everyday tasks. She might be a bigger timer nerd than I am:-)
I was skeptical at first, but actually so much can be accomplished in just 10 minutes!
If I’m left to clean up a messy kitchen after everyone has headed out for for the day, I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes.
Without rushing, I mindfully rinse and load the dishes, put away whatever needs straightening and wipe off the counters and admire my work.
It’s extremely rare that the timer beats me.
I love knowing that what seems like an impossible mess, can actually be transformed in a matter of minutes.
I’ve been using timer with my kids since they were little. Ten minutes of tidying goes a long way with three small helpers.
Plus, the timer assures children that they won’t be spending all afternoon cleaning up. And it also helps them appreciate how much time a job really takes to complete.
My son Henry and I recently cleaned out the refrigerator (like full-on, drawers and shelves out, complete wipe-down) in 10 minute increments.
We worked quickly and efficiently...hoping each ten minutes would be the last.
In the end, it took us about seven 10 minute chunks to finish the fridge. Now we know for next time:-)
Do you use timers to help keep you on task?
Do you have a favorite timer app?
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Thanks for reading. More tomorrow...
“Nature doesn’t hurry and yet, everything is accomplished.” I’ve always liked this quote by Lao Tzu. I first read it many years ago and it has long served as a powerful reminder to me when I'm lacking patience. Nature doesn’t hurry. The notion that nature could even hurry seems absurd. And further, makes humans look a little silly for so often being caught in a constant state of ‘hustle’.
What’s the hurry?
How does it help to rush?
Why is patience so hard sometimes?
There aren’t many things I regret from my children’s early childhood days. But I remember a lack of patience. I believe we hurried a lot.
We rushed, when probably we didn’t need to move quite so fast.
We hurried, when in hindsight...we would have arrived here, in their teenage years, unscathed...even if we’d slowed down a bit.
Little people move slowly sometimes. They dawdle and they meander. They’re taking it all in. While they aren't always patient themselves, children are excellent patience professors for the rest of us.
I remember urging my children to move faster.
I recall wishing the days would pass more quickly.
It's a shame, really. Lots of moments missed because I lacked patience.
After years of life experience, I’ve noticed that most adults are rarely patient.
They try. And then they squirm. And fret. And complain.
Our patience is short-lived. We’re good at being briefly patient.
Short red lights.
Swift moving lines.
24-hour turnaround time.
Patience is indeed a virtue. I want more of it.
Breathing helps. When I return to my breath I find it easier to wait.
Currently, my impatience is usually with myself. As I strive to continue growing and learning...ultimately to become a better human, I realize I want it all to occur now. I don't want to wait for the improved version of me!
I want the changes I’m working towards to happen and stick. I don’t want to wait. Time is passing. There’s only so much time for me to figure it all out.
And then I shift.
I remember that life is in the ‘figuring it out’. I offer slack to my impatient self.
Breathing helps. A build-in, instant reminder to pause. Allow the inhale, permit the exhale. Rushing would result in hyperventilation. That seems unnecessary. So, just breathe. Practice patience.
How’s your patience?
Thank you so much for being here for Write 31 Days. It means the world.
Yesterday, I shared the idea of building your momentum for a great day in the first 17 seconds. Well, the same principle can be used at night to help you release the day and enjoy a peaceful sleep. I’ve always loved sleeping. I’m happy when it’s time to turn in for the evening. But now, instead of being out like a light the minute my head hits the pillow...I keep myself awake for an extra moment and end my day with this simple practice.
I give thanks.
A quick (often repeat) rundown of what I’m most grateful for that day. A few seconds of breathing and releasing whatever feels stuck...stress or issues that certainly aren’t going to be solved right then. I replace thoughts of concern or worry or doubt with thoughts of things I love and am thankful for.
It might go something like this…
“I am so grateful and thankful for my children. I am so grateful and thankful for Matthew. I am so grateful and thankful for my good health. I am so grateful and thankful for my safe home...
...for the food in my kitchen
...for my extended family
...for the sunshine
...for my comfortable pillow
...for my dependable car
…for my friendships.”
The idea is that all of the gratitude leaves no place for the worries.
And even more than that, it changes your frequency (Say what? More on that in a few days…) or your vibe so that you begin to attract more to good into your life.
These shifts to the way I start and finish my day have begun to bring about cool changes in my thoughts.
It's much nicer to welcome the morning on a positive note and wrap up the night by letting go of the day with such a simple practice.
Do you have a nighttime practice for giving thanks?
How do you settle your mind down for sleeping?
Do you often wake up worrying in the middle of the night? What helps?
I love knowing how others handle these human realities. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
So happy you're here.
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Oh, this one has been game-changing for me! I've adopted an awesome new wake-up protocol. This manageable practice sets the tone for your day in the first 17 seconds after waking up. It seems (according to The Law of Attraction) that our minds do a reset while we sleep and upon waking, we have the beautiful opportunity to start fresh. The stream of negative thoughts and constant worries has lapsed. During the first few moments of consciousness, we can set an intention, give thanks and start a positive flow before we're even out of bed.
This practice has been incredibly helpful to me. I quickly became aware of how automatically the stressful thoughts from yesterday would reappear and take hold in my mind in the morning. It's not hard to change the cycle...it requires less than a minute of your time and a new set of thoughts.
How to do it?
But...I caution you that it’s not always easy. You might find that you only make it a few seconds before the old, worrisome thoughts worm their way back into your mind. That’s okay...gently start again.
Below is a recording of Abraham Hicks sharing how to start your day with the 17 second practice. I believe the instructions start at about 7.50 minutes in, but I'd suggest listening to the entire video.
I'd love to know if you’ve ever tried this exercise.
If not, please do and report back here:-)
I'd love to know what kind of day you have when you start with this practice?
Thank you for reading. I've reached the halfway mark! This Write 31 Days challenge is much more fun knowing you're following along.
This one's for you, babe. I believe there is an art to listening. The unselfish act of allowing another person to speak freely and completely is a gift. Sometimes I have trouble giving that gift. I don’t think I’m a terrible listener, I just usually adopt a more continuous interaction in a conversation. Constant banter, if you will:-)
My amazing husband, on the other hand, is from the school of let a person finish their total thought before you utter a single sound. This has caused some tension in our home over the years. Especially as he tried to teach our children not to interrupt...while I have a tendency to do just that.
Matthew feels that you can’t possibly know what someone is going to say without letting them first finish their sentence. I sometimes disagree...I mean, when you’ve lived with people for decades, you might truly know what they’re about to say before they actually spit it out.
However, I know that’s not really the point.
I now realize that one of the most loving gifts you can give to someone is your complete attention.
Not your attention until you think of something super important to blurt out prematurely.
Your full attention. Nothing less.
So, I’m committed to changing my faulty listening ways.
I feel that I know Matthew extremely well. We’ve been married over 20 years. Our communication is open and honest. I often think I know what he’s going to say before he’s finished saying it...so I chime in with my (often congruent) thoughts prematurely.
I take my turn before it’s given and in doing so, I unintentionally shut him down.
And now that I’m paying more attention to this bad habit of mine, I’ve noticed that I’m sometimes way off base with what I thought he was going to say. I cut him off before he can finish his thought and my interjection takes the conversation in a different direction than the one he was heading.
It’s time to zip my lips and bite my tongue. At least until I find a new listening groove.
I want to be a better listener.
I don’t feel I quite as guilty of this with my friends and clients as I am with my immediate family. Though, if I am, please tell me!
With family, we’re so close that my mind tends to race ahead (clearly not staying present and in the Now:-) and want to jump in with my two cents.
Bad habit. Not proud.
Time to improve my listening game. Starting today.
Are you a good listener in everyday conversations?
Any tips for a girl who’s trying to reform her listening skills?
Thank you so much for following along.
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Kindness. So simple and yet sometimes not my first instinct. I'm thinking the Dalai Lama has this one right..."Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." He has a point. Kindness is a choice.
I'm also good with "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." Makes sense to me. No wonder the Dalai Lama always looks so chill and happy. He lives and breathes kindness. Life goals.
I’m renewing my commitment to choose kindness. Over and over and over until it becomes the only choice I know. Sounds easy, but I know it’s not.
In general, I consider myself a nice person. I try to help others. I strive to make those around me feel acknowledged and appreciated. I tend to think the best of people.
But, am I always kind? Embarrassingly, no.
I certainly slip and choose the grouchy response or the crabby voice. Sometimes the un-kindness is directed at others...and sometimes it’s directed at myself.
As a result of cracking myself wide open during the past four years, I’m more aware than ever of how it makes me feel when I’m not kind to others. It feels yucky. And my guess is that it doesn’t make them feel all that great either.
The same crummy feeling occurs when I’m unkind to myself.
When my inner voice speaks harshly or is critical, it stings. And yet...in this situation, I've created the unkind thoughts and then directed them at myself! What's up with that?
Kindness isn’t difficult. And I do believe that practice makes it easier.
Being kind is basic and fundamental.
Kindness is contagious.
And, let's face it, kindness feels good whether we're giving or receiving.
Kindness can be found in the smallest act and also in the most grand gesture...but I think it’s the little stuff that really makes a difference in our everyday lives.
We're conditioned to be nice on someone’s birthday. Or to turn on the kindness when someone's in a tough spot.
But what about all of the days in between? That’s when a dose of kindness really matters.
Hold a door.
Offer a smile.
Lend a hand.
The Golden Rule still applies. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
Be kind. It’s cool.
Maybe think of one new way you can be kind to others today...go out and try it! And while you’re at it, choose a kindness to offer yourself:-)
Do you have a signature way of being kind to yourself or others?
Thanks for being here this month. Have an awesome Saturday!
Today’s post might freak a few people out. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone...I’m just exploring my truth and sharing it here. Initially, when we’re introduced to a concept or idea that’s entirely new and different, we tend to tuck it away in our minds...figuring maybe we’ll want to learn more later. Then sometimes, a ‘tucked away’ idea keeps appearing in our path. We can’t seem to avoid it. That little seed of a concept takes root in our thoughts and begins grows.
And finally, there’s an ‘aha’ moment when we realize that we’ve become curious enough and it’s time to learn more.
This is where I am with the Jade Egg.
I keep reading about this magical stone and how it can improve vaginal health and provide other wellness benefits.
As a gemstone, Jade has the following properties...
"Jade is a symbol of serenity and purity. It signifies wisdom gathered in tranquility. It increases love and nurturing. A protective stone, Jade keeps the wearer from harm and brings harmony. Jade attracts good luck and friendship. It stabilizes the personality and promotes self-sufficiency. Soothes the mind, releasing negative thoughts. Stimulates ideas. A “dream stone”, Jade brings insightful dreams. It aids emotional release, especially of irritability. Jade encourages you to become who you really are."
Caryl Haxworth, Charms of Light.
So, I’m on a mission.
Gathering information. Seeking expert opinions. Eagerly researching this ancient, secret object.
You might be familiar with these egg-shaped stones made of jade. They’ve been in the spotlight since earlier this year when GOOP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog) interviewed Shiva Rose and introduced its readers to Jade Egg Practice 101.
In the press, Gwyneth Paltrow caught a lot of flack for GOOP’s post on jade eggs. As with many non-mainstream practices, there is controversy surrounding the use of a jade egg. Some say they’re safe and some say they’re not.
My feeling is simple...this is a highly personal decision.
I’m not for or against the use of jade eggs, I’m merely interested in exploring the topic further.
Shiva Rose has the following to say about the benefits of a jade egg practice...
“Jade eggs can help cultivate sexual energy, increase orgasm, balance the cycle, stimulate key reflexology around vaginal walls, tighten and tone, prevent uterine prolapse, increase control of the whole perineum and bladder, develop and clear chi pathways in the body, intensify feminine energy, and invigorate our life force.”
I haven’t ordered a jade egg yet.
When I do, I’ll be ordering from Layla Martin.
A dear soul who specializes in all things sexual wellness, recommended that...when I'm ready...I purchase my jade egg from Layla Martin. Note: Just peeking at (that dear soul's) Morgan Day Cecil's website and Instagram will make you feel more sensual and empowered.
If you’re feeling bold, Layla Martin has quite a collection of informative videos on YouTube.
Okay, back to the jade egg.
I'm almost ready to place my order...here's why:
~ I had years of cervical issues. My first abnormal pap was over 10 years ago. I’ve tested positive for Human Papillomavirus many times. In the past decade, I’ve had several colposcopies, two LEEP procedures and a Cold Knife Cone Biopsy. Not pleasant.
My last pap was clear and normal! Woohoo! I want to keep it that way.
~ I delivered two big babies (9lbs, 9oz and 8lbs, 15oz;-) vaginally (my first was a c-section...9lbs, 11oz). As a result, I deal with some occasional incontinence...think trampolines, jump ropes and hysterical laughter.
~ My mom dealt with the prolapse of some internal organs after a hysterectomy. She then had vaginal mesh surgery.
~ I want to continue having a healthy, passionate sex life with my hot husband.
~ I’m doing the real work to improve my life in many areas. Why not include increased vaginal health?
Okay. I’m in!
My apologies if you’re squirming while reading. I’m certainly not trying to make you uncomfortable. As I explained on day one of this Write 31 Days challenge, this month is about Simply Now- knowing, learning, yearning.
Currently, I want to learn more about the jade egg.
Go ahead. Let me here it.
Are you curious?
Do you already use a jade egg?
If so, please share your thoughts!!
Thank you for following along.
Sometimes the stars align and you’re fortunate enough to be in the presence of someone truly incredible. A human being so passionate and raw, so honest and humble, so full of life and conviction, that you are in awe. I recently had such a blessed experience.
I’ll save you the time it takes to Google her...here’s a link to learn more about this amazing woman.
Jade was a speaker at Nine Revolution. Another of the many reasons why that week-long retreat was so powerful for me.
She is a gifted photographer, an empowering speaker and a total rockstar.
Instead of recapping her story (since you can learn more about her online), I want to share how her presentation affected me.
The female body is...
What do you think when you read that sentence-starter?
Do you imagine something positive? Negative?
Do you see a model-perfect figure? Or a saggy, lumpy shape?
Are you proud or embarrassed?
As a speaker, Jade is utterly captivating. Even without seeing her photographs, I would have been deeply moved by her words.
But it was the slideshow of images Jade shared in her presentation that made me realize...I've spent far too much time judging women’s bodies.
Including my own.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a harsh critic of my physical form. I’ve wished it different countless times. And in countless ways.
I’ve judged others. I’ve been jealous of women who have what our American culture has deemed ‘the perfect body’, ‘the sexy body’, ‘the fit body’. I’ve been too quick to pass judgement on women who don’t fit the socially accepted norm.
Shame on me.
Then I witnessed Jade’s photographs and my entire perspective shifted.
The intimacy of the images had a profound impact on me.
Every single woman was so stunningly beautiful that big joyful tears fell from my eyes as I viewed each new slide.
What is wrong with us? What’s happened to our society?
How have we taken something as precious as the human form and twisted our thinking so that it’s something to shame? Or hide. Or apologize for...
The female body is a work of art.
Regardless of size, color or shape.
My eyes are wide open. I see things from a completely different angle since Jade’s talk.
I’m actively choosing to celebrate women and their majesty. When I feel my mind beginning to compare, I pause and remember Jade’s images.
We are ALL divinely gorgeous beings...regardless of cellulite, stretch marks, saggy breasts, skinny arms or lumpy bottoms.
I’ve begun celebrating my own body. I’m consciously erasing the internal tapes that have been on repeat for decades. I’m now seeing myself with a fresh perspective. I welcome my own image in the mirror. I give myself grace and most surprisingly, I see beauty.
How do you feel about your own body?
Do you compare it to others?
Are you comfortable in your own skin?
I welcome your thoughts...
Check out Jade's A Beautiful Body Project.
Thanks for following along on Write 31 Days.
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You may have already experienced this feeling even if you weren’t aware that it’s really a ‘thing’ and having a 'moment'. Not that our culture needs to latch on to any new issues...but I do find the Impostor Syndrome very interesting.
Do you suffer from this condition?
The Impostor Syndrome is easy enough to self-diagnose. It can be described as...the nagging feeling that you aren’t qualified to be doing what you’re doing.
When doing what you do best, you find yourself feeling like a fraud.
An unqualified phony.
You question your skill set, your knowledge and your abilities, making it hard (if not impossible) to move forward and thrive. This is so silly, because 9 times out of 10...the Impostor Syndrome is entirely imagined.
The outside world isn’t thinking you're an impostor.
No, it’s your own mind that fabricates this idea in a desperate attempt to keep you safe. And small.
Marianne Williamson said it best.
'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."
Do yourself and those around you a big favor and step into your power!
Let go of any feelings that you’re not the real deal. You are.
If you feel called to do something, do it.
Don’t you dare hold back because you feel you’re not entirely qualified.
Do you shrink instead of rising up?
Does that little voice get the best of you when it’s your turn to shine?
I'd love to know your story...
If you're new here, this is Write 31 Days.
My topic this year is Simply Now- knowing, learning, yearning.
I'd love to have you follow along. Sign up here.
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,