A yearly ritual

I am feeling especially alive and awake this morning and it is early here.  It’s still dark outside.  But it’s worth getting up for this special, luxurious energy bath.

This treat has become a yearly ritual.  Yes, I keep being drawn back every year to this conscious community, who delights in playing together, hosted by the dynamic Adela Rubio.   I think this will the third year I will be hanging out with Adela and these other wise souls  for 21 yummy days of dancing and exploring ones authentic essence.

If your wanting to:

  • Embody your power and brilliance
  • Access clarity and confidence in all your choices
  • Unleash your creative  flow in everyday moments
  • and so much more

I highly recommend you check out this link and join the party.  It’s a great way to start the day and an even better way to begin the New Year.   Be warned though:  This could rock your world and change your life!!!  I know that it has mine.  Thank you Adela!!

The Gratitude Book Project is available NOW!

And not only is the book  now available, I was greeted by this awesome email this morning from Donna Kozik, the editor of The Gratitude Book Project !!!!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious news!

YOU, Jan, are now a
Bestselling Author on Amazon.com!

Yesterday at 7:02 p.m. Pacific time, our book became
the #1 bestseller in the category of

Books –> Health, Mind & Body — > Self-Help — > Success!

We also broke into the top 300 books being sold on Amazon — #204!
(Given that we were #180,000+ yesterday morning, that’s quite a climb!)

Here’s a screen shot of “our shining moment.” (You can see the #1 to
the left of our cover and below that how Mr. Stephen Covey became #2.)

The Gratitude Book Project #1 on Amazon
I got my copy and it is like snacking on a bag of potato chips where you can’t stop after eating  just one, only in this case it isn’t full of empty calories that go straight to your hips.   This “snack bag” of gratitude doesn’t just last one day and then its gone either,  but it keeps on giving you tasty bite size morsels to savor all throughout the year.

Plus, when you get your copy here the proceeds go to benefit these four charities: Make-a-Wish Foundation, Women to Women International, Feed America, and the ASPCA .

Treat yourself to a healthy snack of gratitude buy the book today!  You will be grateful you did. Warning though: Reading this book my cause you to ask yourself the question:  “What am I grateful for?”  Answering that question may change your life!

Walking Washington D.C.

The last time I was in Washington DC we were hindered by a car.  We were mainly driving through on the way home from burying Buddy.  So we hadn’t really made plans to be a tourist.   With these combined impediments our stay was brief…a drive thru experience.  We spent more time looking for a parking spot than we did seeing the sites so I remember promising myself I would return one day minus the car.

That was nearly twenty years ago. This time around we didn’t plan on being a tourist either.  We were just coming for a weekend conference and flying back home without taking any side trips into D. C.   Bunnie invited us to share her room and experience.  Years ago we had set the intention to return and here was an invitation.  How could we refuse this opportunity, now that we are both “self-employed” why not an impromptu trip?

So here we are in delicious D. C.  walking and walking and walking some more.  If you plan to do a lot of walking packing a good pair of walking shoes is recommended.  We didn’t plan on this trip so we left our walking shoes at home and had to find a substitute at the Payless store down the street from our hotel.  I do recommend walking Washington D. C. Your feet may wear out if you aren’t in great shape.  By the end of each day my tootsies were whining and fussing at me. But you will see so much more of the city.

I also left my camera at home and packed extra light for this trip.  Washing out stuff in the sink works.  And I am finally learning to use the camera feature on my cell phone.

I am curious how many times have I attracted some gift or fulfillment of an intention into my life, but then let it slip away.

How often do we miss out on our most splendid opportunities because we either don’t recognized the gift when it appears or we  believe we aren’t well enough prepared to receive it?  We hesitate too long.  We say no to shaking-up our predictable routines.  We choose convenience over substance.

So here’s some of my take-a-ways from this spontaneous adventure in our capital city.  Remain open to opportunity.  Pack lightly.  Walk more.  Give life a chance to surprise you.  Take a risk.  Follow your heart.

Pintango Gelato,
Cooling off and sharing a sensational Gelato with Bunnie
Lincoln Memorial ,
Resting my toosties at the Lincoln Memorial

Making Peace With the Out-of-Balance Paradox

With the world spinning as fast as it does these days it’s easy to end up feeling a little like a kid stepping off a merry-go-round, dizzy, disoriented, and pulled off kilter.   As kids we loved that dizzy spun-out feeling, as responsible grown ups we don’t have time for such nonsense.  We want to be in control, have more focus, feel more calm and collected, and remain centered and grounded.  And we’d prefer it all wrapped up in a tidy bow call work/life balance.

Here at our house we’re in the midst of remodeling and reorganizing our life and our space.  So it’s not surprising to note that the crazy chaos connected with these projects has caused me to feel a little off kilter.

From experience I’ve learned this chaotic phase is often an essential part of the creative process. I’ve learned that holding on too tightly and trying to white knuckle my way through these periods is counter productive. I’ve learned getting there is easier when I point my feet downstream and let the creative current carry me where it will.  I’ve learned it’s useful to reframe my experience from frustrating, scary, and uncomfortable to exciting, fun, and exhilarating. I’ve learned to call it an adventure.

It may seem counter-intuitive and a bit of a paradox, but true-life balance contains both the messy and the tidy.  With this perspective I’ve found it easier to deal with the temporary discomfort of that all too familiar out-of-balance feeling.  Do I get caught up sometimes in the tornado? Sure, I still find myself in the struggle sometimes.  But I now know how to say, “Whoa! Stop!”  I can then gently remind myself to take a deep breath and point my feet back down stream.

Kitchen Sink Enlightenment

I used to hate doing dishes. It was such a dreaded chore.  To be honest there are still some days where I am less than enthusiastic about this chore.  But then that is the problem you see.  I’ve learned that when I THINK of dish doing as a chore it’s NOT fun.  And I’m definitely for having fun.

So I got a bit curious,  “Could I actually learn to not just tolerate doing the dishes, but could I learn to love this daily ritual?

“Awe YES!!!  I believe I might be on to something!”

What if I reframed doing the daily dishes from a chore to a ritual…a sacred practice?  I was intrigued by this idea, which seemed pregnant with possibilities.  I mean, where and when did I learn to think of this daily routine as just a chore to tick off my list?  I could choose to think about doing the dishes differently.  I could invite a new experience. I could choose to show up with a smile instead of a frown.

It’s amazing what you can discover and experience at your kitchen sink.  Here are a couple of things I’ve happily stumbled upon.

I’ve frequently found myself slipping into that magical meditative “zoned-in-place” where creative ideas and other Aha’s percolate up into my consciousness.  Who would have guessed I’d find inspiration in dirty dishwater?

I’ve surprisingly found slowing down enough to actually wash the dishes rather than just popping them quickly and mindlessly in the dishwasher to be an all to rare blessing in today’s fast paced stressful environment.  Taking the time to slow down and be fully present to this delicious sensual experience, to mindfully notice the simple pleasure in a sink full of yummy suds and the intimate warmth of the water caressing my hands has fed my soul.

I’ve learned even after having experienced many peak experiences at my sink it is too easy to become complacent and fall back into old habitual ways of thinking.  All habits are hard to break. Thinking habits seem especially stubborn.  I could choose to get down on myself for having slipped, but that is definitely not fun, so here’s what I’ve chosen to do instead.

I first need to become aware of my funky monkey thinkin’…I’ve also sometimes heard this called stinkin’ thinkin’.  Becoming aware can be tricky, but it does get easier with practice.

I then ask myself an empowering question. Are we having fun yet?  Asking the question in this way helps me to keep it feeling light and smile at myself.  It helps me avoid the street marked Getting Down On Myself .

Finally, I recommit to choosing what I really want (i.e. to have fun & experience joy) by choosing a more exciting thought.   What have you discovered at your kitchen sink lately?

Smiles and Cartwheels

Why am I feeling like doing cartwheels?  Because I am excited to finally have the bare bones of my new wordpress site up.  Here is the big lesson I relearned in the process of attempting to get my site up and running.  Settle for “good enough.”

I often coach people to chunk stuff down when they are tackling a major project and take baby steps.  I encourage them to follow their heart.  I suggest they get moving on just the next one or two steps without having to have all the answers or know what all the steps will look like.

It’s nice to have a clear plan all mapped out, but sometimes for right-brain-creative type people this is a luxury that will keep us from fulfilling our dreams.   Too often, I am slow to heed my own advice.  This was one of those times.

My inner Artiste had taken charge of this project and she was holding on with clenched fists. She wanted my site to look just so.  She wanted me to put my best foot forward.  She wanted it all exactly how she wanted it. She and Miss Just-get-r-done were not talking to each other.

Finally last week, with the support of some friends from SARK’s Dream Boogie Community I broke this impasse and said, “Enough! Something needs to shift.  You two need to talk and come to an understanding.”

So I sat Miss Artiste and Miss Just-get-r-done down to have a chat.  And were they ever surprised!

They discovered they weren’t really at odds with each other after all. They had a lot in common. They both wanted the same result, a beautiful home on the web where Gratitude could invite her friends over for heart opening conversation, discovery, and adventure.

We are officially putting out the welcome mat. Keep coming back to see how we continue to spruce up the place “just so.”

After rereading this post in August of 2012 I decided I wanted (needed?) to write an update to this “first post.”   It had left me with a peculiar sort of half-smile plastered across my face.  I decided an addendum to what I shared here was in order.  You can read those updated musings here