How to Play with your Word! (January)

My Word for 2016 is Flourish! (Image by Dominique Knobb)

Do you choose a word to inspire, enhance, and inform your new year? It’s a popular practice now – at least in my crowd. I’ve been choosing a word since 2010 and I’ve learned a few things along the way about how that word can really motivate me…if I let it. Year one went like this: chose a word, define it for myself, do some journaling about the word and how it makes me feel, promptly forget all about the word. Until December when I thought…what was that word??

The next year I did a fun, year- long practice with the lovely and talented Ali Edwards called, One Little Word. I recommend it highly. That got me thinking about how I wanted to interact with my word through the year and how I could use it to help me be the person I wanted to be by December (or March, or June). I’ve been playing around with this ever since.

I’m going to share with you the ideas that have been useful and meaningful to me in a blog post each quarter. These are suggestions for playing with, using, and learning about your word, and I’m hoping some of them will resonate and be of help to you. Plus, they’re just plain excuses to create something fun!

First, I create a sort of mantra with this formula: I am __________(your word), as I embody: ___________, ____________& ____________. (This could be whatever comes to you, or it could be words that relate to and support the theme of your word, etc. I used words that describe what flourishing this year means to me).

My mantra is like this: I am Flourishing, as I embody: opening up like a flower, boldly expressing the true me, a prosperous life, & actions that feel like thriving.

Next, I asked the questions below and journaled about them. Just fill in your word where I have the word flourish(ing) – this may take a little fiddling with the sentence, depending on your word, to make it work.

  • What does it feel like to flourish?
  • Have I flourished today? How?
  • What does my life look like when I’m flourishing?
  • If I’m flourishing how do I look?
  • When I’m flourishing I ________.
  • What plans do I have for this year that feel like flourishing to me?
  • What can I add to, or subtract from, my life to help me flourish?
  • What small action step(s) can I take now based on the answers to these questions?

These questions are meant to open you up to your word and explore what it means in your life now, and going forward. They can suggest steps to take in order to really live your word this year – starting now. Since I answered these I’ve been making lots of room in my life, starting with my home, by really clearing out the old weeds and debris that make flourishing more difficult. It was clear to me that for this word to take root I need a clear space. And does it feel GOOD!

I have several practices I use to embody my word during the year, they’re fun and also a big help in bringing me to the life I’m dreaming about. I’ll share more with you next quarter, but here’s a link for an inexpensive course with the truly delightful Jamie Ridler to create vision cards using the information you gleaned in the questions above. Creative and so,much fun! And a great way to keep these ideas front and center so next December you aren’t wondering, “What was that word??”

Lots of Love,


Goddess Inspired: Open Your Wings

Image by Rowan Heuvel

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”

C. Joybell C.

Each Monday I share a poem or quotation, an image or idea that I find lovely, or meaningful. Things that inspire and touch me. Maybe one will become your favorite too.

Goddess Inspired: Exposed Heart

Image by Marta Pawlik


“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” Neil Gaiman


Each Monday I share a poem or quotation, an image or idea that I find lovely, or meaningful. Things that inspire and touch me. Maybe one will become your favorite too.


Assume Love

Love Birds (image by Fabrizio Verrecchia)

Do you ever wake up in the morning and life seems grey and miserable? The sun may be shining, but you aren’t! Maybe you’re going over (and over) mistakes you made yesterday. Perhaps you’re dreading something you need to do today, or someone has done something that hurt or angered you. Whatever it is, you’re starting your day in a disturbed mood, and really, you’d rather not!

Here’s a practice I use that helps me change upset to peace. And it’s pretty simple…
Look on the things that are bothering you and assume love.

Let’s say your friend stood you up – again – you’re angry and hurt! Instead of making a big story out of how she always does this, or doesn’t respect you, take a moment and assume love. Regardless of what she did, assume she loves you, and you love her. Feel that love. Let that be the truth of the story.

You’re trying to lose weight but you ate that piece of pie anyway! Assume that eating pie was one valuable way to show love for yourself in that moment – assume love. The more you love yourself (vs being judgmental and mean) the more you’ll choose what’s truly best for you, and consequently acquire a healthy weight. Isn’t that version of the story at least as true as the one in your head that says you’re a fat slob who never does anything right?

Will you need to take steps, or set boundaries, or change your behavior in order to achieve your goals and care for yourself? Oh, yes! But assuming love doesn’t change that. It just makes it more likely to work, a positive starting place for a beautiful solution.

And it makes life so much more delightful right now!



The Fun of Un-decorating!

Cheryl's Holiday Decor 2016

Cheryl’s Holiday Decor 2016

I used to really hate putting my holiday decor away. It’s not nearly as fun to un-decorate as it is to decorate, right? It’s a chore, and a sad one at times, the excitement of the big winter holidays are over, and there’s a lot of winter weather still. January can be a long and cold, dark month in Iowa, so I need some fun ideas to spruce it up. And because I see myself as creator of my personal world (or at least a co-creator) I like to challenge myself to try and enhance less than fabulous experiences too. Hey, sometimes it even works!!

By the beginning of a fresh, new year I’m really ready to lighten things up anyway, aren’t you? So instead of seeing un-decorating as a chore, I decided to have a little fun with it. Using a process of editing, removing, restyling, and releasing, I focus on the way the world outside gives me clues about how I want my inside world to look and feel at this time of year. That’s an energy I can use to help me enjoy what might be a boring chore. Here are the steps I use:

  • First I take photographs of my favorite display areas. It’s fun to record how I decorated this year! I might get all arty, and then save them in a file on my computer.
  • Next I go area by area, in short bits of time, removing the things that no longer feel right and are ready to be set away for another year. Santas go; a whimsical snowman might stay for a while. Trees are removed but their vintage ornaments are displayed in a bowl. The key is to take it slowly, make it fun, and do what feels good to you right now.
  • As you remove things consider if you really still want them. If not, let them go! Creating more space in your life is good for the soul! And it means you have less to pack away. I used to worry a lot about packing my holiday stuff in an organized manner, so all like things were together (and I still do that when it makes sense, like in special my ornament boxes), but now I just pack items in the holiday bins as I remove them. So much easier! And next year it will all work out just fine when I get things out to decorate again.
  • As I go along I create new vignettes on tables and bookcases. These are usually very fresh and spare, inspired by the New Year and the winter landscape. That space and light feels just right now for me. Having said that, there needs to be warmth too for those long winter nights, so I put out my velvet pillows, soft throws and lots and lots of candles! You can take pictures of your new vignettes too – it’s a great way to enjoy your home, to love and appreciate it.
  • This is a decorative and lifestyle transition, from Christmas to Winter, so I think about how I want to live in winter months and what I want to do. This encourages me to plan some fun things to do and consider how I want to be. I clear a place to set out a big puzzle, or find favorite books to read. I organize outings and plan soup dinners with friends. I also make sure to plan some quiet time at home alone for introspection and peace – because that is what winter is for.

This is a process you can do with many seemingly dull home chores. By considering why you do them, and the outcome you really want (why DO we clean toilets?), you can add more fun to the chore, and more pleasure and meaning to your life. Take the time to move things around or spruce them up as you go. Your home is where you spend a good deal of your time. It supports you, and is a stage you create to experience daily life. Investing time and thought into what you want it to be is always going to pay off well!

There are no rules about how (or when) to organize, arrange, or decorate your home that supersede what you want and need to have in it to bring you fulfilment and joy. Let the home chores you do be another way to express your fabulous self. And have fun!