March Magic!

Happy March everyone! ¬†It sure is coming in like a lion ūüėČ ¬†But I’ve never been more excited about it. ¬†I’m very happy to see February go, mostly because it means spring is right around the corner.

I started thinking about the best way to welcome a new month and the coming of a new season.  How about with some magic!

I recently read a great article online titled, “33 Ways to Invite & Invoke More Magic Into Your Life” by Kara Maria Ananda, a Healing Arts Educator, Holistic Business Coach, Speaker and Writer. ¬†I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites, some of which I plan to focus on for this year.

  • Drink more water.
  • Dance, stretch, do yoga and move your body.
  • Play with children.
  • Go somewhere new in your own town.
  • Pay attention to synchronicity.
  • Get a massage.
  • Meditate.
  • Leave secret notes with positive messages¬†in public places for people to find.
  • Make art.
  • Read your favorite¬†books from your childhood.
  • Walk barefoot on the Earth.
  • Get all dressed up just because.

Check out Ananda’s article to find out even more ways to cultivate magic in your life.

And here are a few magical quotes from some books I’ve been reading lately. ¬†The first is from a book I just started called The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle¬†by Janet Fox. ¬†The other¬†two quotes are from the 2017 Newbery-winning book, The Girl Who Drank the Moon¬†by Kelly Barnhill, which¬†I highly recommend. ¬†The quotes from these books take two very different tones but they intersect in interesting ways, just like everything in life.

“In times like these, according to Great-Aunt Margaret, magic bubbled up, rising out of the confusion and strife of war. ¬†Troubled times stirred up magic like dumplings in a stew.”

“And there was something else, too.¬† This surging feeling in her bones.¬† This clicking inside her head.¬† This feeling as though she had an invisible gear inside her, pushing her, inch by inch, towards…something. ¬†Her whole life, she never knew what. ¬†Magic, her bones said.”

“Her grandmother had taught Luna…how a caterpillar lives, growing big and fat and sweet-tempered, until it forms a chrysalis.¬† And inside the chrysalis, it changes.¬† Its body unmakes.¬† Every portion of itself unravels, unwinds, undoes, and reforms into something else… ¬†“It feels like magic,” her grandmother had said…”

Magic is my word for the year, so it is always fun to see where it pops up. ¬†I think everyone can use a little more magic in their lives. ¬†It’s that spark that makes life meaningful and gives us hope.

How will you invite magic into your life this month?  Please share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Love Me” Owl

Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear readers! ¬†I thought I would share a new piece of artwork that is near and dear to my heart. ¬†How many of you are familiar with¬†The Love-Me Bird, a picture book by Joyce Dunbar?

I love this story, which is about a little songbird who goes around calling out, “Love me! Love-me!” in search of her perfect mate. ¬†Well, she never gets a response, which is sad at first. ¬†But then she decides to change her tune to “Love you! Love-you!” ¬†Before you know it, she finds her true love.

This is such a great message. ¬†It’s easy to have expectations, especially on a day like today. ¬†Everyone wants to be loved. ¬†But it’s often the love you give away that comes back to you.

Today and every day, I hope you feel loved. ¬†But don’t forget to share your love with others. ¬†You just might find what you’re looking for ‚̧

 

My 200th Post: The Good Things Jar

img_9393-2

Happy Friday! ¬†We made it ūüėČ ¬†I’m excited to announce this is my 200th post on this blog. ¬†That is quite an accomplishment, I must say. ¬†It signifies a commitment to my writing practice and to you, my dear readers. ¬†It’s important to celebrate all those milestones, no matter how big or small they seem in the moment.

One way we can do that is to create a Good Things Jar.  I first saw this concept posted on Facebook, but there are many different versions of it.  In fact, a friend of mine and fellow blogger recently posted about The Happiness Jar, a kind of gratitude jar, which was introduced by writer Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Good Things Jar helps you focus on something good that happened each week. ¬†You write it down on a slip of paper and place it in your jar. ¬†Then, at the end of the year, maybe even on New Year’s Eve, you can open the jar and read about all the good things that happened in 2017.

Alternatively, if you don’t have time or space for a jar, you can simply make a list and keep track that way, but it might not be as much fun. ¬†I realized I was actually doing this last year when I kept a list of “miracles” (big and small) that occurred to me or someone else I cared about. ¬†This was in response to my word of the year.

But whatever you decide to do, keeping track of your successes, what you are grateful for, and the general positives in your life is guaranteed to be uplifting.

May you have a year filled with many good things!

My Word for the Year: 2017

Bamboo Forest Illumination in Kyoto, Japan

It’s a new year, My Lovelies, and you know what that means. ¬†Time to pick a new word to represent 2017. ¬†This time, I had a little trouble choosing. ¬†A lot of words hold special meaning for me these days, some of them challenging, others encouraging. ¬†But ultimately, I realized I needed something dynamic and fun. ¬†Something that would get me excited to jump out of bed every morning and start the day. ¬†Something that would give me hope in a very complex world.

So without further ado, my word for the year is…

MAGIC

 

And here are some quotes to express exactly what magic means to me.

“You can’t tame the spirit of someone who has magic in their veins.” –unknown

‚ÄúAnd above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.‚ÄĚ –Roald Dahl

“Magic is believing in yourself. ¬†If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing and even today words retain much of their magical power.” –Sigmund Freud

“Love is the closest thing we have to magic.” — from Aquamarine¬†(movie)

“It’s important to remember that we all have magic inside us.” — J. K. Rowling

“Magic is something you make.” –unknown

“Look for magic in daily routine.” ¬†–Lou Barlow

“By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere we go.” ¬†–Emmanuel Dagher

I hope you will find ways in the coming year to invite magic into your life. ¬†And don’t forget to come up with your own word for the year!

Check out the list of my past words here.

The Thing About Miracles


My word for the year has been “miracles.” ¬†As such, I’ve invited all kinds of miracles into my life, some intended and some not. ¬†It has been fun and exciting to watch them unfold and then document them afterwards.

One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t make them happen. ¬†You also can’t predict how they will work out. ¬†In fact, some miracles are actually preceded by sacrifice and loss.

I learned to meditate this year in order to help my insomnia and anxiety. ¬†But the road to relaxation has not always been an easy one. ¬†Mainly because mindfulness is easier said than done. ¬†I’ve had to let go of a lot of old behaviors that trigger worry and doubt. ¬†I’ve had to look my fears in the face and learn to embrace them like old friends.

But if you’re open to change, transformation is inevitable. ¬†And when you get your wings and another chance in life, the experience becomes truly miraculous.

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
–Judy Blume

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
–Louisa May Alcott

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” –Audrey Hepburn

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” –Jean de la Bruyere

 

 

 

 

Chaos and Courage


Yokohama

Hi my dear readers,

Sorry to have been away so long. ¬†It’s been a crazy, busy, challenging year. ¬†A roller coaster ride if you will. ¬†I just returned from a trip to Japan. ¬†My sixth visit. ¬†I never imagined ten years ago that I would be saying that! ¬†But my life has changed in amazing, unexpected, and positive ways by embracing this new life of adventure that comes along with marrying someone who is a different background than mine. ¬†I wouldn’t change it for anything.

At the close of this year 2016, there is a lot to think about. ¬†Big changes for this country and the world. ¬†What can we do about it but embrace it? ¬†Dive into the unknown and hope things continue to progress and change for the better. ¬†Continue to stand up and fight for the things we believe in. ¬†Hope in our future. ¬†If there is one constant in life, it’s change. ¬†We can expect it just like taxes. ¬†And when we begin to ride the tide of it, we see some amazing sights and begin to transform in unimaginable ways.

It is hard to let go of all the things we hold dear. ¬†The safe and familiar. ¬†For me, flying halfway across the world, living in a time zone completely opposite of ours, is always an adjustment. ¬†Japan in some ways is the complete polar opposite of the U.S. ¬†Their culture is polite, quiet, and small compared to our freestyle lifestyle, chatter, and super-sizing. ¬†But sometimes there’s a beauty in living a life different from your own. ¬†Like the city mouse and country mouse switching places for a day. ¬†You see the world through new eyes. ¬†You find out the way you always do things is not “The Way” but simply the way you always do things. ¬†You learn to adapt and find new things to treasure. ¬†You also better appreciate the familiarities of home.

On this particular trip, I embraced both flying alone and getting around Yokohama for three days by myself while my husband finished up his business trip. ¬†With the jet lag, feeling under the weather, and not knowing the language very well, I wasn’t sure if I could manage. ¬†But I took up the challenge anyway, even knowing how directionally challenged I am. ¬†I managed to ride the subway a few times, explore the city, shop, and eat out at restaurants. ¬†Sometimes not being able to talk was a welcome blessing. ¬†A quiet I don’t often experience at home. ¬†Other times, especially because I’m a Gemini and love to talk, not being able to communicate was frustrating, lonely, and even a little terrifying. ¬†But luckily, it’s very safe to walk around Japan alone as a foreigner. ¬†And if you’re lost or confused, someone will undoubtedly come to your rescue and try to help, even without knowing much English. ¬†As it turns out, I found many ways to connect with others. ¬†Laugher being one of the best universally shared experiences.

So I challenge each of you dear readers to end the year by stepping out of your comfort zone. ¬†Don’t wait until 2017. ¬†Do it now. ¬†Take that first step toward your dream. ¬†Meet someone new. ¬†Go somewhere foreign. ¬†Experience a different culture. ¬†Learn a new language. ¬†Talk to someone of a different background or faith and really get to know them. ¬†And if things become awkward at any moment, don’t walk away, embrace the moment, and simply LAUGH. ¬†Imagine the kind of world we would live in, if we all laughed just a little bit more. ¬†Feared a little less. ¬†Life is chaos, but we can all join in the dance.

“We live in a rainbow of chaos.”- Paul Cezanne

The Art of Acceptance

Greetings all and happy fall, unofficially. ¬†I’m still celebrating the end of summer myself, but with the appearance of the full harvest moon, one can’t help but start to prepare for autumn.

With the changing seasons afoot, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to talk about a powerful little word called acceptance. ¬†We have to accept all kinds of things every day as part of life. ¬†We accept going to school and work. ¬†We accept paying bills and taxes. ¬†And late at night in the quiet of our beds we even accept that death will come for us some day. ¬†Actually, that last one is tricky. ¬†Do we really accept it or do we spend our time avoiding it and pretending it isn’t going to happen?

A couple of months ago I started a meditation practice. ¬†More on the specifics of that in a later post! ¬†One of the cornerstones of mindfulness besides staying in the present moment, breathing deeply, and sitting in silence, is the idea of acceptance for all that is. ¬†Now don’t freak out! ¬†Luckily, it doesn’t mean accepting your current situation forever. ¬†But it does mean surrendering to the moment and accepting it just as it is. ¬†For me, that sometimes means accepting that I didn’t sleep well the night before and have a long day ahead of me.

To be honest, I couldn’t wrap my head around this concept at first. ¬†What do you mean accept it? ¬†That sounds like giving up. ¬†That sounds like accepting hurt and pain and doing nothing about it. ¬†On the contrary, it’s the opposite. ¬†When we accept our current situation, we’re guaranteed to feel empowered. ¬†We put ourselves back in the driver seat of our lives. ¬†We allow our feelings of pain to take a passenger seat on the journey, but we do not let them drive. ¬†Essentially, we may experience pain, but we don’t have to suffer. ¬†And that’s a big difference.

‚Äú[Acceptance] simply means that you are¬†acknowledging¬†reality,‚ÄĚ said psychotherapist Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, RSW in an article on radical acceptance published in Spirituality & Health. “You are acknowledging what happened or what‚Äôs currently happening. Because fighting reality only intensifies our emotional reaction,” she said.

And there’s more. ¬†When you take the time to accept something, you gain the power to transform its energy. ¬†Think of yourself as an alchemist, if you will ūüėČ ¬†It may not happen today or tomorrow, but your situation will change, guaranteed. ¬†In fact, I bet if you think back, you can come up with some examples from your life.

I’ve been a runner for most of my life, but recently I had to accept that maybe my running days were over. ¬†I’ve been experiencing heel pain, even when I walk, so running was quickly out of the question. ¬†I started swimming instead, but still missed running. ¬†Then I went to see a foot doctor. ¬†I fully expected the worst and even worried about needing surgery, but as it turned out, I have over-developed calves, from running, and needed to work on specific stretches for my heel as well as exercises to help strengthen my other leg muscles. ¬†Then the real surprise. ¬†I was told I could still run. ¬†After I had already given it up. ¬†Just as I was beginning to enjoy my new activity of swimming. ¬†Say what? ¬†In the aftermath, I’ve decided to go for balance, running less and incorporating other enjoyable forms of exercise. ¬†But the lesson is clear. ¬†Things do change. ¬†Often for the better. ¬†But first you have to accept the way they are.

And I know what you’re thinking. ¬†What about when they don’t change? ¬†I came across a great quote recently by Lucille Ball.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

This resonated with me and I hope it also sparks something in you.

If you’re still grappling with the concept and need something more tangible, try this exercise:

Step 1: Imagine your pain in detail.  Give it a color.  Rank it on a scale from 1-10.  Does it have hard or soft edges?  Where does it reside in the body?  Is it flat or is it 3-D?

Step 2: Focus on your body now.  Start with your toes.  Wiggle them.  Relax your feet.  Move through each part of your body, slowly relaxing it, all the way up to your head.  Release your thoughts and even let your brain relax.  Breathe in and let go.

Step 3: Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Focus on the present moment.  Imagine your heart is open, filled with empty space.  Imagine only the space.  Then imagine your pain AND the space.  Keep this up.

Step 4: After an increment of time, say 10 min. or more, wiggle your fingers and toes, and then open your eyes.  Now think about your pain again.  Imagine its color, size, intensity, etc.  Has your pain changed?  Does it feel different?  Even if it feels the same, how has your relationship to the pain changed?

Wait another hour and check in with your pain again.  You might be surprised how different you feel!

If you’re interested in more, check out an audio version of a specific dissolving pain exercise here.

Acceptance isn’t easy. ¬†It takes time. ¬†It’s an evolutionary process. ¬†But when we begin to make space in our lives for acceptance, we open a doorway for all kinds of miracles to shine through.

 

 

 

 

 

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