I’m Baaaaack! {because it’s time}

Image by Joe Beck

I’ve been “gone”. I’ve been distracted, busy, crazy, stressed, lost & confused, creative, making things happen, transforming….all of that and more. I certainly haven’t been “here”. You may have missed me, you may have been busy yourself, you may not have noticed I was gone. But the point is that I did. I have missed myself.

In the past 5 months I’ve lost a cherished family member, got married, shopped for and bought a house, prepped a house to sell (twice – both full and empty), renovated a house to live in, packed, moved, unpacked, and spent lots and lots of money. And that doesn’t include the strain of the incredible events on our world and national scenes that have affected us all. I know most of us have been through a lot lately. I don’t know about you but, I”m pooped! And all of these things were lovely, crazy, sad, miserable, transformative; and also either necessary, out of my hands, or fully my choice. They happened, and now I get to decide how I feel, think, and believe about that, and myself and my life going forward.

One of the big things I noticed is that when life gets crazy the first thing I jettison are the things I do to keep sane and clear about who I am. My rituals,  practices, and meaningful life steps go by the wayside. Some of these things include making things (like dream boards or books), meditating, walking outside, taking catnaps, writing in my journal, drawing oracle cards, being silly. Some of these things I manage to do in shorthand – my prayers become my meditative time, I make a pretty image with a camera, I read in short spurts between crazed actions – especially funny books. This helps, but the truth is that after so many changes and not taking the time to really check in with myself I’m wondering who the heck I am now. That lost, ungrounded feeling isn’t fun. In the past not stopping this train has made me sick.

So, it’s time to get back to me – to explore how all of these outer changes have impacted my inner person and how I see myself. This may sound fluffy, or selfish, even ridiculous, but the truth is this is where the deep work is – inside. This where my behavior comes from – those unexamined beliefs can have a huge impact on how I react in situations and with other people. And the exciting thing is that I am really beginning a new life – new town, new husband, new home, new office. I’m a wife, I’m no longer a cat servant (at least for now), I’m the mother of a 20 year old(!), I’m starting from scratch with my garden, I’m a business woman…again!

As I work through this process more things will change to reflect this new place and person I’m becoming. I’m planning a revamp of my website, new offerings, courses both locally and online, more posts and ideas. And in general I feel a strong rekindling of my desire to help, to serve, to share with you insights, tools, practices, ideas, and concepts that really will help you deal with the tough stuff, and especially to uncover and bring to life your audacious dreams. This is who I am, and it feels amazing to be back!

Here’s to a new-ish me!! And a delightful New Year to you!

With Love, Cheryl

 

The Hurrier I Go….

Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.

Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.

It’s at this time of the year I remember my mother’s wisdom most. Our family was really busy at Christmas time with 2 stores to run and all of the holiday’s excitement as well. And yet Mom always made Christmas special – she loved it and created an amazing experience for us from food, to decorations, to presents, to fun things to do. Until I was a mom I had no idea how hard that was to accomplish. Or what a joy it is to make something so delicious.

I’m having an extra busy Christmas season this year. We’re fixing up the house we’re moving to, keeping the one we’re selling in pristine condition, packing, moving….Whew! And please, let’s not even talk about Christmas preparation! It’s pretty stressful and I tend to start rushing, running, getting breathless, not sleeping, always planning and thinking ahead. I’m certainly not spending time in the moment where I am so I can enjoy my life and this gorgeous season. And that reminds me of a saying of my Mom’s: “The hurrier I go the behinder I get”. It always used to make me laugh, but it’s true! My rushing and stressing isn’t making things go faster or more smoothly at all. In fact it made me sick and farther behind than ever.

And, of course, I know better! I kept telling myself this was no way to do things, but I just didn’t listen to myself. Today as I’m feeling better and starting to rush around again I heard my Mom’s voice “The hurrier I go….” And I laughed and tuned in again to the world as it is right now. If you tend to get wrapped up in all there is to do in a busy season here are few tips I can share that work for me to come down to Earth, slow down, and, you know, get less “behinder” – or at least have more fun (and stay healthy) while I do my work:

  • For goodness sake – Breathe!!! When you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Or making life easier or more delightful. Pull in a nice deep breath and let it out, be grateful that it’s so easy, and available, and calming to just breathe.
  • While you’re breathing, wiggle your toes. Notice you have a lovely body, toes that move and support you. Lungs to breathe into. Legs to stand on, arms to hug someone with, a head to lay on your pillow when you rest. You can dance, and sing, and make things with such an amazing body.
  • Open your eyes (really open them) and look around. Where are you? What do you see? Do you see beauty, or something comforting? Do you see loved ones, nature, your home or office? Be where you are and look for the most delicious thing in that place. Let the experience of that object, person, situation, or sound fill you with joy! Rest there, in that joy; soak it up.
  • Next, think (calmly…) about what has you rushing about. First, I want you to assume there is an easier and more pleasant way to do whatever it is. Know that you will discover this easy, pleasant way when you allow yourself to let go of your preconceived notions of how things must go and what you need to do to make it happen. Let me say here you can (and will) certainly proceed the way you want to proceed, and if that means you will go on rushing, that’s fine. Hey, I’m with you. There are times that is the only way for me too. But I want you to be honestly aware that there are other choices, for sure. Other ways to make it happen that are different and probably a lot more fun. Ways that allow you to drop perfection, allow you to enjoy the process, allow you to ask for help, ways that honor your needs. These ways will certainly make the process better not just for you, but for everyone around you (just ask my poor sweet husband what a drag I’ve been the last few weeks!).
  • Brainstorm, make a list, allow yourself to dream of the perfect solution, write it down as if it has already occurred. And then step away for a bit. Sleep on it, rest. And come back to your dream process. Do you see new ways to do this? Is there anything that can be dropped, farmed out? Can you at least see how you can do what you want, achieve the outcome you desire, and still have fun, as well as a healthy body and mind? What would be the best outcome and a delightful way to get there? How can you make that happen?

I know I’ll be following this list of steps for the foreseeable future! I have my brainstorming done and now I’m going to take long rest and see how things look in the morning. I already feel more hopeful that I can make everything happen – and in a lovely way. I hope this is of help to you too. And I want to wish you delight-filled holidays and all of the pleasures of the winter season!

Lots of Love, Cheryl

Making Autumn Last Longer (a re-post)

Autumn in IWest Branch, Iowa

Autumn in IWest Branch, Iowa

I don’t know about the place you call home, but in Iowa Autumn is glorious! And thank goodness, because after it comes Winter and we need that glory to get us through a long white/grey, cold streak of days. I love the crisp air, deep blue skies, amazing colors, the smell and sound of the crisp leaves, raking (yes!), bonfires, hay rides, local football games on Friday nights. Even the windy, rainy days are wonderful for cozying up with a book. Soups! Hikes!  Alas, it seems so short. Every year I hope for a nice LOOOONG Fall season. This year I decided I was the one making it short and that is was up to me to extend that glory for myself.

What, you say? Yes, I CAN extend the season and I will tell you how to do it too. Of course, this is the first year, so it’s an experiment. But I have reason to believe, based on brain research (not to mention Eastern philosophy), that this will work. And if it isn’t perfect we’ll just tweak it for next year. The theory is that time is relative…you’ve heard that one? It all depends on our perception. A 5 minute wait in line always seems longer than 5 minutes of hot kissing, yes? So, let’s use this to our benefit!

I realized that the minute Autumn began to make its appearance I already was mourning its end – and dreading the long Winter to come. Of course it seemed short; it was over before it even began. This year I’m living in the moment and the season! Here is how:

  • Sloooooowwwwww down. Good advice anytime but especially if you want time to also go slower. Breathe! Ahhhh, take in that delicious air. Feeling better already.
  • Pay attention. Savor the things you love about this time of year. Look at the trees and sky. Smell the spicy scent of fallen leaves. Notice the pumpkins and Halloween decorations. Spend time in front of the fire on a stormy day. Cheer on the local team at the football game. Immerse yourself in Fall-nees. Yum!
  • Make a list.What do you delight in about this season? Make a list and enjoy the heck out of each thing on it. I love my fall clothes. Most of my favorite clothes best fit this in-between season – and in my favorite colors too. Brown tights, denim skirt, cowboy boots; leggings and tunics; Dresses with patterned tights; so many cute jackets it’s embarrassing! When it is 20 below I won’t be venturing out in any of these ensembles. I’ll have to rock it right now!
  • Schedule it. Each year I want to capture the glorious colors and beautiful harvest landscape. And each year I don’t take the time. Crazy! This has gone on for years. What was so important that I rushed through my favorite season? Dishes? Bills? Laundry? Tomorrow I’ve scheduled in a nice long photo shoot walk. And next week I’m hitting the backroads to see what I can discover there. Make a list of what you want to do this season and schedule it in. Walks spent kicking up the leaves in the woods, check. Your favorite soup on the stove, yep! A bonfire, haunted house, pumpkin patch – take the family and invite friends. Rake and put the garden to bed, sure (this one sounds a lot like work but I love it, could be the hot cocoa I bribe myself with).

How will you enjoy the season? I’d love to hear! I’m off to stir my potato cheese soup and pull a good book off the shelf to read in the lamplight while the wind whistles outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warmer, I already have my tights and skirt and sweater picked out for my ramble in the leaves.

Wishing you Autumn Bliss!

Cheryl

Imagine This….

Image by My Life Through a Lens

I was thinking today about Imagination and the Presidential Race, as one does…

I wondered if Bernie Sanders imagined himself the beleaguered, scrappy, but honest and appealing, underdog. And if that is why he achieved what he did. And then I wondered who of the current candidates could really imagine themselves as President of the United States of America. Who could see themselves living in the White House, vetoing bills, appointing people to important positions, talking with other world leaders, working with Congress, going to Camp David? I wondered if that person would be the winner in this surprising and sometimes ugly contest.

And that, of course, set me thinking about what I can imagine for myself and my life. As Goethe said (or perhaps not quite; apparently an Irish poet named John Anster published a translation of Goethe which was a bit loose and poetic, and this is his version of an excerpt from Faust – info from Quote Investigator):

“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it…”

Or more to my purposes, here is a quote by William Arthur Ward:

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.

Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about this, and it isn’t a new thought at all! It is a telling consideration though. What do you imagine for yourself? Do you have sweet, hidden dreams you believe you’ll never truly achieve? Can you see yourself living the life that includes those dreams, or are you content to just…dream. When I asked myself this question I could definitely see ways I’ve let myself play the beleaguered, scrappy (but honest and appealing!) underdog in my own life. And that’s perfectly fine – if it’s what I truly want.

I love/hate these sorts of revelations! I don’t like feeling that I’m failing myself, or especially others. I don’t like thinking I’ve “ruined” my life by not doing things “right”. I don’t like thinking I could be President by now – had I only dreamed it! – but instead I’m just a goddess dreamer. These are the nasty thoughts of my dear, inner Mongol Horde, of course (read about the Horde here). Happily, I am a multitude, so I have other feelings and thoughts about this as well. What I love is that with each revelation I can make changes that are delicious to me and make my life the delightful romp I want it to be!

This all makes me think about the actual intentions and dreams behind the actions I take each day. Because you can definitely take action and not be aware that you’re creating something you don’t really want. Here is more of the quote by Goethe/Anster:

“Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!”

This could be about being lazy *gasp* and finally getting off your behind to take action – but I think it’s more about being unaware of your true beliefs and motivations behind the actions you are taking today. As I tell my clients (and really most anyone who will listen) awareness is everything – in making changes, living a life you adore, knowing who you are and what you want, and in pursuing that All-American goal of happiness.

In order to learn more and be aware of my own motivations today I asked myself – “When I’m eating this cookie am I fulfilling my dreams of losing weight?” And then I wondered – is losing weight REALLY a dream of mine, or am I actually happy the way I am and can quit striving for the “ideal” weight? Why do I want to lose weight? Can I really see myself and my life as a thinner person? These are pretty important questions if I don’t want to “lament o’er lost days” and weigh the same next month. Or perhaps I just don’t need to beat myself up anymore over a goal I don’t really care about.

Or I may look out there at all of the courses that offer a way to “Make 6 Figures!” and wonder what I really want. Do I want to make 6 figures? Why SURE! Do I want to live the lifestyle that many of these thought leaders live? Probably not. I don’t care that much about world travel. I like working from the local park – a far off beach isn’t necessary. I don’t care about being on Oprah or convincing people I’m the only true expert in something. Honestly – I feel my clients are the experts in their lives. But I do want to help people as a career, I know I can help people, and I do want a continuing income I can live well on. Can I imagine that life? What does it look like? Is it different from the one I have now? How?

And then after I ask myself lots of questions and clarify what my dreams really are I can get in touch with what Cassie Parks calls my “future self” and figure out what the two of us DO want. Usually that process of getting in touch with the future me who is living exactly as I want to live, and doing just what I desire to do, yields some good ideas about next steps to take. So, naturally, then I can get off my duff and “Begin it, and the work will be completed”! OK it may take a bit more time, but beginning truly does have a magic of its own – plus it’s the only way to get here to there.

So, as you can see I have some contemplative days ahead while I scrutinize my reasons for my actions. But I’m still wondering…I do believe that “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” At the very least I believe that if you can’t imagine it then it will be pretty hard to bring it into your life – for real. And that still begs the question – who in the Presidential Race can really imagine themselves as President? And more importantly (at least to me) – what can you really imagine yourself being? Make it good!

Dream on!

Hugs, Cheryl

A Decor Story (Or the Magic of a Deadline)

I love my "new" bathroom

I love my “new” bathroom

Have you ever planned something, invested in it, thought about it, wanted it – and then just never took the time to do it? Because, well, there were other things to do – ones that were more vital (to other people), ones that were easier (reading that book), ones that you “should” do first. I’m here to tell you this can go on for a long time, in this decor story…about 5 years.

But I’m not going to beat myself up, much. I just try to allow myself to be aware of the choices I make and why. I find it ironic that suddenly, in one weekend, I got a project done (with my sweetie’s help, of course) that I put off for years. It’s hilarious really! But that is the magic of a deadline. I just came up with reasons to put off the joy of redecorating a room and enjoying the outcome until I needed to do it for someone else. (Hey, it’s super helpful to know what motivates you, yes?) I’m moving soon and selling my house so my upgrade now is in the hope of pleasing a buyer.

But, what if I considered allowing myself to be more motivated by my own desires and enjoyment. What if I scheduled the work, and planned it, and then actually did it? What if I put my desire for a beautiful home first (and didn’t live with an ugly, outdated bathroom for 5 years…)? Sounds decadent – right?

I think this is a lesson many of us could learn – despite all of the beautiful homes on Pinterest, in design magazines, and on cable shows – do you have the home of your dreams? And just so you understand – I think the home you’re in now can be the home of your dreams – it doesn’t have to be a mansion or a villa in Italy (though, go for it, if that’s what you truly desire!). I think you can have a version of what you want now – regardless. The main thing is that it feels like you, feels like home, feels the way you want it to feel, and supports the life you want to live.

My bath redecoration took two of us most of one day and part of another – a totally worth it expenditure of time. It was also inexpensive financially. I painted, bought a new cabinet, 2 towel racks, and a light fixture. The rest of what I used were things I already had around the house. That small investment yielded a room I enjoy so much more! It also gave me incentive to get rid of toiletries and things I never really use to streamline my bathroom storage. And I really hope the new owners of this house enjoy the pretty, updated space as much as I do!

I’m definitely keeping this lesson in mind as I move into my new home. In fact, I’m visiting there today to line up some help and take measurements so I can plan, and invest, and give myself a deadline to make this the space I want to live in, and love my life in, for the next phase of my journey.

Do you have a space you’ve put off making yours, making lovely, making useful? How can you remedy that and create a dream come true? I hope you’re inspired to do something important, create a deadline –  just for you!

Love, Cheryl

Here are before and after pictures:

Before-ish, at the beginning of the process

Before-ish, at the beginning of the process

 

A very messy work in progress

A very messy work in progress

 

I removed the old cabinet over the toilet and added a picture from another room instead. Pretty and much less clutter!

I removed the old cabinet over the toilet and added a picture from another room instead. Pretty and much less clutter!

The sink area with a new light and medicine cabinet/mirror unit.

The sink area with a new light and medicine cabinet/mirror unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aphrodite: Goddess of the Month

Aphrodite {Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Self-Worth}

Image by Morgan Sessions

This is my first Goddess of the Month post and it came about by accident – as some of the most delicious things do. I’ve been used to receiving a Goddess Reading from the amazing and wise Amy Palko (and I highly recommend them! You can sign up here). This month it didn’t come and I found I really missed my monthly guide. The readings are insightful; and they give me an idea of areas in my life, or in myself, to look for more inspiration or learning that is really relevant to my life right now. So, I decided to choose a goddess (all by myself) and access my own intuition to see what she has to tell me. I used my trusty Goddess Oracle cards (by Amy Sophia Marashinsky), drew a goddess card and wrote about what Aphrodite meant to me, and what I felt she wanted me to know more about this month.

Below is the result. I decided to share it here – in case you’re looking for some goddess guidance, or a new (fun!) practice for accessing your deeper self. Or you just might want to answer the questions at the end – they’re important ones to visit now and again to help you sustain love for your life and remember to take joy in it!

Aphrodite (or Venus) was born of the sky and the sea. Her beauty and allure are undeniable. She is a goddess of Love and Beauty, she rules Compassion and Passion. She is one of the top players in Greek mythology. Originally a Mediterranean Mother Goddess, she was later was added to the Greek pantheon. The Greeks “demoted” her and married her to Hephaestus, arguably the least favored, loved, or respected god of all. Love married to craft, to engineering, to the God of the Forge; Beauty united with the Beast. It tells you a bit about how the Greeks perceived Aphrodite’s kind of Love, the dark and the light of it. Unsatisfied with her husband, she was constantly having trysts with other gods – most notably with Ares/Mars the God of War. Love and War, they don’t play well together, but they have a passionate relationship according to the ancient Greek mind.

I also looked at the way astrology sees Venus (the Roman version of Aphrodite). Along with beauty and love she rules self-value, the money you make for yourself, life balance, art, relationships, your connection to your inherent gifts, the social graces, and romance. This is no silly, jealous woman. She brings energy to the parts of life that must be attended to so you can enjoy it and connect meaningfully with others.

She can seem a bit capricious, but she’s having fun and wants you to as well. Love is serious, but it is also playful; it is necessary, but also desired; it is delicious, but may seem to open you to pain. It’s about that opening though, the allowing of love (even if it may be painful), that brings joy, and zest, and value to life.  It’s about seeing the value in yourself, loving yourself. It’s about sex, and flirting, and pleasure. It’s about creativity and making a beautiful life. It’s about supporting yourself well, in many ways, including financially.

What is love? And beauty? What does balance look like to you? What makes a good relationship? A perfect home? Can you see Beauty and the Beast in yourself? How do they play out in your life? Do you have compassion for both?  How do you express your creativity? When do you play? Do you flirt (with others, with life, with love)? How do you feel about your finances? Do you support yourself in ways that make life feel delightful?

These are questions Aphrodite asks. Answer them for yourself. These questions have the ability to open our eyes to the most amazing life we desire to live, and offer ways to make adjustments (slight, huge…) so we can make it happen now.

Sending Love!

Cheryl