The Practice of Core Desired Feelings

cdf-2017

I am a huge fan of using Core Desired Feelings to set intentions for the new year rather than resolutions that are doomed to be broken within a month—if that. If you haven’t checked out “The Desire Map” by Danielle Laporte, I highly suggest you do. It’s a game changer.

This year my core desired feelings are: Awake, Vibrant and Courageous.

awaken

Awake: This is such a critical one for me that I will be doing a separate post about it soon. I will awaken to my strengths and weaknesses, to my light and my shadow.To what is happening in the world locally, statewide, nationwide and worldwide. No more looking the other way, assuming that I won’t be personally impacted in my own little privileged bubble. I will awaken too what is happening in my body,mind and emotional and energetic bodies at any given moment. I will awaken to what I desire, what I need, what I need to give and what I need to receive. No more walk-in around with my eyes closed, head turned or numbed out to my feeling say what Glennon Doyle Melton calls my “easy buttons.” For me that are wine, sugar, mindless social media, TV, shopping. Awaken to all of who I am, to all of the world has to offer.

Vibrant: Feeling healthy, energetic. Again, not hiding behind my easy buttons. Allowing myself to shine and sparkle and saying no to anything or anyone who tries to dim my brightness.

courage

Image found via Pinterest.

Courage: I love that courage has its root in the word for “heart.” To me, it mean living, acting and moving from the true space of my heart, Speaking up when I need to. Using my voice politically. Writing the truth as I know it, as I experience it. Being uncomfortable or afraid but staying present and taking action anyway—going to new places, making that phone call, having that difficult conversation with someone or myself. It means being what Brené Brown calls “wholehearted.”

I created the image at the top of my core desired feeling to remind me daily of how I want to feel, then every choice I make is filtered through those feelings. I put it as the screen saver on my phone, printed it out and hung it in my office, in my yoga room.

How do you enter the new year? How do you want to feel? Feel free to leave a comment or a link to your post.

Happy New Year!

happy-new-year

Image found via Pinterest.

#MonthofFaves2016 ~ Challenges {The Year End Updates on Reading Challenges, Personal Goals, Resolutions}

amonthoffaveshome

How did you do? Are you going to do more challenges next year?

I started the year with my own personal reading challenge—read five of my own books before I could buy or borrow a new one. It lasted maybe two months. Good intention to read my own damn books, poor follow through.

I ended the year with two other challenges. #MonthofFaves2016 has definitely revived my blog. I feel more connected to it again and I found strategies that will help in the new year which include writing and saving drafts of posts on the weekend to then post during the week. And using the weekend to visit other blogs and connect there.

Two Instagram challenges revived that platform as well. I did a personal Gratitude Challenge for the month of November and I am finishing the year with the “winterwondergram Book Challenge. It’s been been fun creating photos and meeting people this way.

All year I have doing my own version of “Don’t break the Chain.” I filled my dry erase board with 365 boxes and marked an “X” in one for each day that I wrote. I have yet to break the chain. Yay, me! I plan on continuing it into the new year, perhaps making myself a little more accountable by needing to produce 500 words on my current WIP to earn the “X” during the week.

For meditation, I use Insight Timer and it keeps track of the amount of days in a row that I meditate. It is incredibly motivating plus I get to see the thousands of others meditating with me around the world.

Challenges work for me. I like to see the days add up. I like to see the progress. I like to feel the changes manifest as I remain consistent and motivated.

Check out the challenge here. 

 

 

#AMonthofFaves2016  ~ I Love … December

Favorite holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, home decor, places to go, holiday drinks, holiday eats, holiday themed reads

I love to decorate for Christmas. Usually, I wait until after Thanksgiving (one holiday at a time). But this year I needed to bring a little joy into my life so everything was up before my daughters came home from college for Thanksgiving. I’ve been playing Christmas music in the car and in the house all day and night. Already watching some of our favorite Christmas movies. ere are some of my favorite things that bring  me a little more joy to the season:

Favorite Christmas movies:

elf

“I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.”

the-family-stone

“You have a freak flag. You just don’t fly it.” 

a-christmas-story

“Fra-gee-lay..it must be Italian!”

Favorite Christmas decor:

treasure-box

This is the treasure box I remember from my childhood where I used to keep a picture of Randy Mantooth and other “valuables.” I love that is a family heirloom. It is out year-round but I fill it with ornaments at Christmas.

tryptic

This is something I bought this year because I just kept being drawn back to it in the store. I think I’ll put it in my yoga room after the holidays.

mantle

I love our fireplace mantel!

christmas-birds

These sweet little birds sit on a shelf in our guest bathroom and they make me smile each time I see them.

Favorite gift to give the neighbors:

potpourri

Instead of baking cookies or bread or giving fruit cake or bread, we make these each year. Making sure to save at least one for ourselves because it smells delicious.

Holiday Stove Top Potpourri

1 orange

3-4 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

sprinkle nutmeg

1 T cloves

Quarter the orange.

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan.

Fill pan with water.

Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting.

Refill water as needed.

Favorite Christmas album:

jewel-joy-a-holiday-collection

 

What are favorites things about the holidays? Please share in the comments or link to your post.

Check out the challenge here. 

#AMonthofFaves 2016 ~ Keep It! 5 Purchases That Were Totally Worth It

#IRegretNothing  what did you buy this year – big or small – that you love, bought more of, got your monies worth

Well, we (and by “we” I mean my awesome husband) finally ripped up the cat-pee stained carpet in my office and put down dark wood laminate flooring. Best decision ever. We waited so long because it was so much work to take literally everything out of this room including 2 loaded bookcases. But it gave me a chance to thin my collection and now the room smells nice and is spacious and clutter free—leaving more room for all kinds of creativity to swirl around me.

cuisinart-immersion-blender

The second thing I bought is little but I love it. I finally bought an immersion blender and I use it often to make healthy, delicious pureed soups. Just sauté whatever veggies you like, add a combo of spices and some veggie stock/broth. Once the veggies are soft, use the immersion blender to puree it. So yummy!

Check out the challenge here. 

#MonthofFaves ~ 5 Must Haves for Winter Survival 

Shout out your favorite brand or stores or favorite items.

winter-scene

Image found via Pinterest.

My little space heaters are vital in the winter. This one corner of the house where my writing room is on the ground floor and my yoga room above it, are always so much colder than the rest of the house. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on the one in my yoga room, head downstairs to feed our cat and dog, brew a cup of tea, sit in my nook to write my morning pages then head back upstairs to my now warm, cozy yoga room to practice and meditate. Same for my office where I write. I no longer have a laptop at the moment, so I must come in here to write. I light a candle, turn on the heater, have a cozy blanket draped over me and I’m all set.

Cozy blankets are another must-have all winter long. I have them in the family room where we watch TV, in the living room, in my office, in my yoga room.

My teapot gets a lot of use in the winter. Not only does it keep me warm but I find that I eat less junk if I have a cup of tea to sip instead.

I am making an effort to get outside more this winter. My natural inclination is to basically hibernate which just promotes a vicious cycle of lethargy. I bought a pair of thin thermal long underwear and top this year so hopefully that will allow me to venture out to the park near us more frequently. Actually, even once would be more frequent than usual. I also got a membership to Planet Fitness, my theory being that when it is too icy to walk at least I can out of the house and get some exercise.

my-cozy-nook

My nook by the fireplace is by far, the coziest spot in the house. I have a basket next it filled with books, notebooks, pens, mindful coloring books and colored pencils. Light a candle, brew some tea, (or pour a glass of wine) drape a blanket over me and I’m in for the night.

What are your winter must-haves? Please share in the comments or link to your post.

Check out the challenge here. 

#AMonthofFaves201 ~ Reading Outside My Comfort Zone

Surprise Find(s) This Year.

comfort-zone

So, here’s the thing I am realizing—I don’t often venture out of my reading comfort zone. I like the literary stories that I like, the authors I like, the inspiring spiritual stories I like, the memoirs I like, the books about writing that I like.

in 2017, I am going to expand my reading. I am going to venture out of the bubble of my comfort zone. Try genres I usually shy away from (maybe sci-fi, paranormal romance, historical non-fiction, classics) and find authors that aren’t on my amazon suggested list. It’s so easy to become isolated within the things we like, within a community that agrees with everything we believe. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we move beyond those spaces. Books are meant to crack open our world, expand our views but only if we let them, only if we invite them into our lives.

This coming year I am going to do just that.

Check out the challenge here. 

#MonthofFaves2016 ~ #WeekendReading {Picking Favorites} 

Let’s support each other by sharing your favorite post, book, or something else, mentioned on other #AMonthofFaves participant blogs.

~ Tamara of Traveling with T really piqued my interest with her reflection of “All is Not Forgotten” by Wendy Walker.

~ Love the inspiring changes Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves made this year! And I love the graphic in her header:)

~ I really like how Akilah of The Englishist gave herself specific categories of diverse books to read this winter. It’s making me want to get out of my reading comfort zone!

~ Kailana of The Written World motioned using a bullet journal as one of her favorite things. I have pinned some things on bullet journals but have yet to implement them. Maybe that will change in 2017…

~ I absolutely relate to Kristen’s (of We Be Reading) desire to seek solace and joy in books when we are in a difficult and challenging emotional space.

Check out the challenge here. 

#AMonthofFaves2016 ~ 5 Fave “New to Me” Author Discoveries or Audiobook Narrations This Year

amonthoffaveshome

Here are 5 new-to-me authors I discovered this year. Loved each and every one of them!

“A Little Life” a novel by Hanya Yanagihara

Made me rethink what I think I know about male friendship.

“Imagine This—Creating the Work You Love” by Maxine Clair

Made me rethink how I go about my own creative work.

“The Chronology of Water” by Lidia Yuknavitch

Made me rethink what a memoir could be and what writing can do.

“The Empathy Exams” essays by Leslie Jamison

Made me rethink the role of empathy in my life.

“Blackout—Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget” by Sarah Hepola

Made me rethink how much I drink and why.

#AMonthofFaves2016 ~ Best Changes We Made This Year

To your Day / Life / Routines / Blog / Habits

writing-chart

I’ve made two big changes this year, both incredibly beneficial (so hopefully that is motivation to keep them going!).

The first is my “Don’t Break the Chain” challenge. I created 365 boxes on a dry erase board and put an “X” on each day that I wrote. I’ve managed to write every day this year. Now, some days it was just morning pages. Other days it was merely one sentence in my WIP. But, the point is, that I wrote something every single day of 2016… so far. Next year, my plan is to make it a little more challenging. Maybe I need to write 500 words on my WIP at least 5 days a week to earn that “X.”

meditation

The second thing I did (and it’s only been since November 9) is meditate every day. Most days it is for at least 15 minutes. 2 days it has been for 5 because the day was so crazy and I just needed to fit it in. I have resisted meditation for years. Even when one of my favorite writers and writing teachers, Natalie Goldberg,  promised that meditation was the secret to writing, I still resisted. But now I am kind of in a groove. I feel like meditation creates space for all of my thoughts, all of my feelings. Nothing is being squashed or pushed aside. Meditation is holding sacred space for all for me. I find myself calmer, less reactive, more mindful, more focused…all great benefits for a writer.

What are some changes you’ve made this years or plan to make next year? I’d love to hear about them.

Check out the challenge here. 

#AMonthofFaves2016 ~ 5 Books on My Winter Reading List 

Which books are your must read this winter?

5-winter-reads

I don’t usually make a list of books I intend to read. It’s more intuitive for me, picking up what calls to me or maybe something I see on-line or in the bookstore.

But here is a tentative plan for my winter reading (and I totally reserve the right to change my mind at any time!):

I chose 5 different genres: novel, short stories, spiritual, memoir, writing craft/process

~ “The Exquisite Risk- Daring to Live an Authentic Life” by Mark Nepo (I chose this for the book club I lead at our yoga studio.)

~ “Thrill Me- Essays on Fiction” by Benjamin Percy (I love his storytelling and his incredible work ethic.)

~ “Half Wild” stories by Robin MacArthur ( a back cover blurb compared her to Annie Proulx, Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor so how could I not buy it?)

~ “Love Warrior” a memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton (I fell a little in love with her after “Carry On, Warrior” and following her blog.)

~ “The Book of Strange New Things” a novel by Michael Faber (Can’t have a winter reading list that doesn’t include at least one big, juicy novel. The flap copy calls it a “monumental, genre-defying novel more than ten years in the making.)

What’s on your winter reading list?

Check out the challenge here.