Grow Your Life: Ways to Grow Your Relationships, Business, and You

“If a relationship is not growing, if a business is not growing, if you’re not growing, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, how many friends you have, how many people you love- you’re not going to experience real fulfillment. And the reason we grow, I believe, is so we have something of value to give.” Tony Robbins

Grow Your Relationships: Do something new together, share a secret, forgive, learn from the other person, focus on how you can give, let go of expectations, do something loving every chance you get, say thank you

Grow Your Business: Offer something new, have a certain percentage of profits go to charity, get better at what you do, accept that you can’t do everything, hire help, learn more about your business, write an article, try something new, start an online store, start a blog, take yourself seriously, get organized, commit to growth, set intentions, practice consistency, make and take action steps, be open to new opportunities, grow yourself.20150104_125116

Grow Yourself: Meditate, do yoga, exercise, practice awareness, learn things, do a detox, hire a coach, journal, reflect, laugh, take a class, do the things you’ve been meaning to do, value your health, value others, take risks, be honest with yourself and others, face fears, go after your dreams, read books, be open-minded, spend time in nature

6 Ways to Honor Yourself this Winter

“I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change
and life will find a way.”

Honor yourself this winter:

  1. Stay Warm. Wear warm clothing both outside and inside your home. Organic cotton and wool are the best materials because they allow your skin to breathe and sweat (one of the ways we detoxify). Keep your socks on in the house, or wool slippers, or both. Energy leaves us through our extremities. Socks and slippers make a huge difference keeping us warm.
  2. Take warm epsom salt baths, or even long warm showers if a bath is not available and then slather your skin with organic coconut, jojoba, or grape seed oil. 
  3. Drink lots of hot herbal teas. Nettle, ginger, and rooibos chai are my favorites this time of year
  4.  Winter is a time for reflection. Reflect on what you want to accomplish this year and outline your plan.
  5. Make your liquid meal a warm soup instead of a cold smoothie or juice, especially at night.
  6.  If you have a fireplace, use it. Gas or wood—there is something very nurturing about relaxing around the fire beyond just the temperature it generates.

Give An Experience Gift This Year!

We all have so much STUFF! We will probably always want more stuff, but research shows that experiences make us much happier than things do. So this year, try giving someone an experience instead of a sweater or watch. We all get tired of our things, but a wonderful memory will never get old. I have listed some ideas so you can give the best gifts this year with none of the wrapping! Double bonus as this also means you will contribute less to landfills!

Give a gift that will be truly cherished!

Getaway Experience:

Give a road-trip – Include a gas card or car rental, a couple of snacks, and a map.

Weekend Get-Away – Especially nice for parents, get a gift certificate to a hotel for a couple and offer to babysit their kids for the weekend.

Help them Fly away: You can buy a friend points on their favorite airline that they can use towards a flight.

Relaxation Experience: 99.5% of us rarely take the time to relax, so give an excuse to take some time to unplug and de-stress. Give a gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure, massage, ancient baths, korean spa, sauna, acupuncture, facial, or meditation or yoga class.

Entertainment Experience: We all like to be entertained. Tickets to a show, theater, comedy club, concert, or movie are usually safe bets.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Experience: Give a certificate for a restaurant, wine or beer tasting, or tour of a distillery.

Membership Experience: A gift that gives year round, the recipient will think of you gratefully every time they go. Memberships are available for museums, botanical garden, amusement parks, zoos, theaters, movie houses, and more. Chose based on your recipients interests.

Outdoorsy Experience: For those who love adventure and being outside consider lift passes to a ski slope, a park pass for a local national or state park, a bike or snowmobile tour, white-water rafting or rock-climbing experience, dog sledding, hot air balloon ride, or a sailing trip.

Kids Experience: Personally, I always worry if the toy or book I get for a child is something they already own. Which is why giving them an experience is a great option! A week at summer camp, a craft day, tickets to an amusement park, movie passes, or an ice skating, martial arts, or horseback riding lesson will be sure to put a smile on a young face.

Learning Experience: I am sure that most of us are familiar with the “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Who wouldn’t want to learn or expand a skill or area of interest? Give a class! Painting, writing, gardening, cooking, dancing, drawing, scuba-diving, or music lessons are all great options.

Helpful websites when looking for experiences to buy and give: Cloud9Living, GroupOn, Living Social, and Travel Zoo.

I think that when you give an experience, you are giving FUN. What could be better than that?

Happy Giving!

Just a Thought Before You Buy

 Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and the day after, Black Friday, is a day to go out and consume all the things we don’t. The focus shifts from appreciating all the gifts we already have in our lives to how we can get more stuff. I find this such an interesting contrast!

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Before we all dive head first into the holiday shopping I would like us to try to remember one simple thing: There is no direct link between more things and more happiness. So instead of getting stressed out about giving or receiving the perfect gift lets us take a step back and remember that the things are not so important. Consider a few questions to gain some perspective. What do we want to give to the world? Who and what do we want to support? What is the best use of our time? What impact would we like to make on this planet?

What do we really want to fill our lives with? More shoes and a bigger house? Or more love, experiences, people, growth, and a healthier world?

Okay, now make your wish and shopping list!

Joy is Not About Self-Satisfaction

“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.”
― John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life 

Standing in awe, looking out in the West Fjords in Iceland

Standing in awe, looking out in the West Fjords in Iceland

When was your last moment of self-forgetfulness?

Stop Pondering, Do Something

“Each day is an adventure in discovering the meaning of life. It is each little thing that you do that day – whether it be spending time with your friends, running in a cross-country meet or just simply staring at the crashing ocean- that holds the key to discovering the meaning of life. I would rather be out enjoying these things than pondering them. We may never really discover the meaning of life, but the knowledge we gain in our quest to discover it is truly more valuable. ”
― Jack Canfield

Hiking in the Alps

Hiking in the Alps

Four Things to Do Every Fall

Every change of season we see the shifts all around us in nature. The leaves are popping with color before they fly away.  The fall is the beginning of going within as the days get shorter and colder. It is a time to harvest the work done so far, to reorganize, communicate what we want, and set boundaries that serve us.

Fall is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and looking more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.  What do you really need? Where should you be putting your energy? It is a good time to take a week or two and do a fall cleanse, nourishing the lung and large intestine with the right foods and deeper breathing.  Acupuncture and other alternative therapies can help with any seasonal transition. I see many people suffer colds this time of year as the body adjusts to the changes around them.

As someone who loves the summer, I have a difficult time saying goodbye to the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and the potential for a day at the beach. Fall is a time for letting go. 

Things to do for fall:

1. Focus on deep breathing to nourish your lungs

2. Organize, Organize, Organize: prioritize projects in an excel sheet, clean out closets, get your finances in order, throw stuff out, and accomplish the tasks that have been sitting on your to do list. 

3. Cook yourself nourishing meals with all the fresh produce being harvested right now. Make extra and freeze to enjoy this winter. 

4. Get outside and play in a forest, near a waterfall, pumpkin patch, or apple orchard!

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The Seeds You Plant in Your Mind

“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”  James Allen

The idea of the mind as a garden has always resonated with me. Just as we weed our gardens we must do the same for our minds. We must weed out the negative thoughts, prune away the things that are not serving us, and plant and nourish what we want to see bloom in our lives. 

Sunflowers in the Sky!

Sunflowers in the Sky!

“Think for a moment of a tomato plant. A healthy plant can have more than a hundred tomatoes on it. In order to get this tomato plant with all these tomatoes on it, we need to start with a small dried seed. That seed doesn’t look like a tomato plant. It sure doesn’t taste like a tomato plant. If you didn’t know for sure, you would not even believe it could be a tomato plant. However, let’s say you plant this seed in fertile soil, and you water it and let the sun shine on it.

When the first little tiny shoot comes up, you don’t stomp on it and say, “That’s not a tomato plant.” Rather, you look at it and say, “Oh boy! Here it comes,” and you watch it grow with delight. In time, if you continue to water it and give it lots of sunshine and pull away any weeds, you might have a tomato plant with more than a hundred luscious tomatoes.

It all begins with that one tiny seed.

It is the same with creating a new experience for yourself. The soil you plant in is your subconscious mind. The seed is the new affirmation. The whole new experience is in this tiny seed. You water it with affirmations. You let the sunshine of positive thoughts beam on it. You weed the garden by pulling out the negative thoughts that come up. And when you first see the tiniest little evidence, you don’t stomp on it and say, “That’s not enough!” Instead, you look at this first breakthrough and exclaim with glee, “Oh boy! Here it comes! It’s working!”

Then you watch it grow and see how your thoughts create your desire.” Louise Hay

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Nobody Knows What They Are Doing

“Unless you are already dead — mentally, emotionally, and socially — you cannot anticipate your life 5 years into the future. It will not develop as you expect. So just stop it. Stop assuming you can plan far ahead, stop obsessing about what is happening right now because it will change anyway, and get over the control issue about your life’s direction. Fortunately, because this is true, you can take even more chances and not lose anything; you cannot lose what you never had. Besides, most feelings of loss are in your mind anyway – few matter in the long-term.” Thomas

I remember being a teenager thinking about my future and seeing it clearly defined. First A (college degrees), then B (career), then C (marriage, house, 1.5 kids). The future was bright, clear, and guaranteed. I was following the steps, getting good grades, and ensured 5 gold stars at the end of finish line.

Now, it seems the finish line is in fact a bar that is continually rising higher and higher above all of our heads. The steps have disappeared. We now realize that life is not guided by a certain set of rules that guarantees A,B,C or X,Y, Z.

So, we are all just winging it. Floaters and dreamers trying to make the best next step with the knowledge we have, a bunch of educated guesses. The advice available around relationships, health, career, and finances is varied, ever-changing, and conflicting. Our relationships, career, health, and finances fluctuate and we can’t predict with certainty how any of it will turn out. We make the decisions we think are best for us and many times they are shots in the dark.  Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t but being able to go with the flow and having faith that things will eventually turn out okay will get you through a lot. No one knows it ALL so get really good at a few things, think outside the box, take risks, and keep moving forward with an optimistic attitude.

Don’t let “I don’t know” stop you. Neither does anyone else. We are all just figuring it out. And when in doubt “fake it til you make it.”

“The number one goal should be to try to become a better person, partner, parent, friend, colleague etc. — in other words to grow as an individual.”