Life

How Do You Manage Your Life’s Bandwidth?

A Life Lesson I Learned From My Smartphone

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Photo by Alejandro Garrido Navarro on Unsplash


I was on the phone with my sister discussing an upcoming call about cryptocurrencies. She asked if I was going to tune in. I felt my breath quicken and my stomach churn, and it hit me. “I don’t have the personal bandwidth to take anything else into my brain right now,” I said.

My next call was to make a doctor’s appointment when up popped a message on my phone: “You’re almost out of storage.” 

Twenty minutes later Outlook sent me an email: “Your mailbox is nearly full.” And, I had to laugh out loud. No kidding!

Seriously, all three things happened within 45 minutes. Okay, okay I get it! I have no more bandwidth and am almost out of storage. The truth is I have a lot going on and that morning I realized just how overloaded I’ve been. I know I’m not alone on that score.

How has it affected me? Full disclosure, it was my cardiologist I was calling to make an appointment. My heart’s been racing enough to keep me up at night, I’ve been sighing heavily, often, and I’ve been forgetting things, like where I am and where I’m going. Pretty scary at times, actually. Fortunately, it looks like everything is fine physically and we’re altering medications which can also effect the ticker. All good. AND, he told me to slow down.

My Smartphone told me to “manage my settings” in order to deal with the dwindling amount of storage space, giving the choice to either buy more space or clean out existing apps/files to make room for what I want to keep and for when I want to add anything new. It’s pretty simple on a phone as you just go through your existing apps, examine how much storage they require and then decide if it’s worth keeping.

It got me thinking about the same rules could apply to my overloaded and over stimulated life. Time to make some room on my life bandwidth. I took a lesson from my Smartphone as I also pulled out my Marie Kondō's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Here’s a helpful 6-step process.

Place Everything in Front of You –

This is literal and metaphorical. First of all, think of your life as a big file cabinet, or dresser or basket or closet. Everything you’re working on, classes you’re taking, jobs you’re performing, all commitments, everything in your life is in that space. I’m calling mine a closet: my life closet. All lined up -- or actually kind of piled haphazardly -- are the four classes I’m taking, including all of the projects and homework involved, my work assignments, relationships, book clubs, writers groups and all other time commitments.

My life in a metaphorical closet.

Now, now take everything out of your life closet. Everything. Empty out your “space” by mentally removing them from your mind bandwidth.

One way is to list them out, don’t worry about the order yet, just get them all down. Or what I did, give every item an index card. Lay them out on the floor. Get them out of your head and onto the physical plane.

Sit in the Emptiness –

Interestingly, while I was going through this process I pulled a healing card for inspiration. The word on the card was Emptiness. I know, you just can’t make this stuff up. That inspired this next step.

Once you empty your life space and clear off your mental bandwidth, spend some quality time in the emptiness. Breathe into it for several moments. Take a look around at all of that room, the vastness of it, free from mental clutter. Feel the time open up as well, no deadlines, no ticking clock.

Just space.

There will be plenty of time to get back to all of those index cards on your floor. But, now is the time to honor your life space. What I discovered was how powerful my life energy is and how sacred my attention is in utilizing my life energy for my highest good.

Truly, take as much time as is necessary to truly honor how special and powerful your life energy is. Appreciate the sacredness of your attention because when it comes time to put things back in your life space, this will be vitally important.

Rank Them –

So, look at your list or your index cards. As on your Smartphone, give each item a value based on how much storage they require, how important they are to you in your life, timeliness and joy.

This is where you spend time with each thing. As Marie Kondō espouses, pick up each item and hold it, only keeping what brings you joy.

“The act of discarding things on its own will never bring joy to your life. Discarding is not the point; what matters is keeping those things that bring you joy." Marie Kondō

Conduct a Yes Survey

As you ponder each item in front of you, ask yourself these questions, or a version of these questions:

  • Does this bring me joy? If it’s not a hell yes, it’s probably a no.
  • Does this feel in alignment with my heart’s desire?

"Why go knocking at every other door? Go knock at the door of your own heart." Rumi 

  • Does this serve my highest good and/or the highest good of others?
  • Will this connect the dots between other items on my list?
  • Does it feel good in my body?

If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s worth your sacred attention and is deserving of valuable space in your life. If the answer is No to any of these, release them.

  • Is this a time and energy suck?
  • Do I keep losing interest or find myself not thinking about this?

The decision is obvious if you get a yes to either of these.

Give Yourself Permission

Once you’ve gone through this process with each life item in front of you, give yourself permission to delete, cancel, remove or quit the things that aren’t a 'hell yes' in the joy, alignment and soul’s calling departments.

This is where a lot of us stop ourselves. We’ve spent good money on classes or products or partnerships so there’s a part of us that can feel like a failure or a quitter if we don't complete them or hang onto them for good measure. But, the only person you’re failing or quitting is you, if you don’t end what isn’t doing you any good anyway.

So give yourself permission. Quit! Cancel! Delete!

Marie Kondō says to honor each thing before you release it, thanking it for it's contribution to your life. It helps. 

It really opens so much more time and space for all of the high vibrational in-alignment things in your life that you love. Keep doing more of those!

Mindfully Fill Your Closet

Now that you’ve carefully and thoughtfully selected those, and only those, things in your life that answer all of those yes questions, it’s time to place them back in your life space.

Slot them in mindfully, allowing the room, time and care they deserve.

Now, take a step back and give it a good look. How does it make you feel? What a joyful and purposeful life you’ll have redesigned for yourself.

Now, when something new comes along, you’ll take much greater care in what you place in your life space. It’s very special in there; you’re creating with purpose and intention.

I know for me, my intuition now has a clear guide. If I don’t get a hell yes, it’s not getting in!

 

Here’s Another Clear Guide

If you want to further expand your thinking while elevating and operating your life at a higher level, please check out my simple 8-step checklist that will help you get there.

Click here to get the CHECKLIST right now


How Not Having Kids Shaped My Legacy

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

We all want to matter. It’s innate for us to want to leave a mark on this world that will have meant something when we’re long gone. For loving parents, having children is often a principal and driving force of their purpose and legacy. I’ve asked so many friends who are parents this question, and many have said their children are their legacy, which always makes total sense to me.

My grandmother would have been 114 this past week. I thought about how proud she would be if she could see all that her family is doing, her son and daughter, six granddaughters and seven great grandkids. I can just feel her joy as she watches the active and meaningful lives they’re all living. Her legacy is alive and well, and growing.

It got me thinking about the existentialism of legacy, if you don’t have children, which I’ve thought a lot about as a childless woman. Is your legacy only partially fulfilled, without offspring? It took a bit of a journey to arrive at how I feel about this now. So, this is my story.


EPIPHANIES WHILE GETTING PEDICURES
“Wow, look who’s a Grandpa,” I said. I was looking at Facebook on my phone while getting a Mani Pedi with my girlfriend. We were sitting in very high-backed white leather chairs, feet soaking in bowls of aqua glass about three-inches thick. They weren’t motorized tubs, which I kind of missed because I liked to hold my toes against the jets. But, the smooth glass felt good against the bottom of my feet. My manicure was already done and my nails were still tacky so I’d been careful when I’d clicked open Facebook so I didn’t dent my polish. My manicurist had taken such great care with every stroke of her tiny paintbrush that I didn’t have the heart to be the one to destroy one of her masterpieces.

The look on my friend’s china doll face was one of understanding because I had no doubt she knew where I was heading with my thoughts. The Facebook post made a happy announcement of grandfather-dom. And, the grandpa was my college sweetheart, my first fiancé, the owner of my cherry.

And, now here, all of these years later, like three decades later, he has three children and a grandson that bears his middle name as his first. Henry. That’s the name we always talked about naming our little boy, when we had one, of many, we said. Henry, and we’d call him Hank. I still think it’s a great name.

Now, when I looked at the sweet, squished red face of this baby whom I don’t know and never will meet, I felt a pit in my gut. Not because I felt I missed anything with the old boyfriend. But, because that’s something I’ll never know. I’ll never know the pull of a grandmother’s love, of that special feeling that only grandmothers know when their child has a child. Because here I was all these years later, looking at this flat photo on Facebook, and I’m childless. I can’t have children of my own, and will never experience that scene in that way.

There was a numbness that took over when I thought about it. A numbness that I’ve taken to mean acceptance, because really what else could I do? I refused to have a pity party so the numbness had become the norm. A small cotton ball near my elbow probably had more feeling right then than I did.

But, the truth was I think I was afraid to go beneath the numbness. Because staying numb kept me safe from feeling. I was numb so I didn’t feel. I always described myself as an emotional person, a woman in touch with her emotions. But, not about this. This. I’d grown to like my numb. Love it, even. My numb was loyal and steadfast, providing me a calming hum when she knows I need it. I know what to expect from numb. When the numb is removed what is there?

And, there it was. What I felt was a one-ness; what I felt was a projected alone-ness. Not lonely, but a sense of, it’s me and me alone. I see big family photos on social media of grandparents in their 80’s, with a huge brood of kids and grandkids and great grandkids, all wearing red t-shirts because they’re at some annual family reunion in Wisconsin, and I project ahead three decades me, myself and, and I think; I’m alone. A woman, a would-be matriarch without a family legacy.

And, even deeper than that was a longing to make a generational and meaningful contribution to humankind, and the question of what that is supposed to be.

There was a little girl next to me with bright green and blue nail polish. She was with her mother. It was sweet. But, I also realized that I don’t want that anymore. My friend — who also doesn’t have children — and I have often talked about how it’s interesting how many of our friends don’t have kids of their own. And, I think, you fill your village with some others who are on similar paths.

“Do you wish it was with you?” she asked, referring to the Facebook photo.

I shook my head. Nope. The pedicurist reached for my right foot. And, I was back in the world. And, that’s the moment when my shift in mindset started to settle into place as the question of legacy dug deeper into my consciousness. As a woman unable to have kids, does that lessen my purpose or make my existence as a woman less-than because I’m not fulfilling the natural legacy of my biology, of co-creating the next generation of life?

It caused me to examine deeply my path, the mark I will leave on this world and my relationship with being childfree.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE IS 20/20
When I was a little girl, like nine or ten, when other little girls were playing with dolls and pretending to clean house and get ready for their husbands to come home for dinner, I was playing office. I have a specific memory of being at my grandparent’s house where I’d created a small office. I’d received a toy phone for Christmas and I was giving it a run. I sat with authority at my tiny desk, answering my toy phone with confidence.

As I glanced around my make-believe office from my helicopter and historical perspective, I saw that my dolls and stuffed animals were my co-workers and subordinates, all lined up behind me, in various shapes and sizes, as I bossed them around, telling them what to do. The seeds were being planted in my young mind of wanting to be a leader and reach for the corner office, which eventually I did do. And, what I loved most about that job was the nurturing, the mothering, working with and guiding those in my stead. Legacy?

When I dressed my Barbie, she was a seriously cool single chick, with a kick-ass job and social life with numerous Kens. Yes, she was looking for her truelove Ken (still is), but that didn’t stop her from having a full life.

In my 20’s, while friends were starting to grow their broods, I was growing my career, watering the seed that had been planted early on. I enjoyed watching them, but from afar in the sense that I didn’t feel connected to wanting that for myself, although I figured I probably would at some point, after all that’s what I was supposed to do. In fact, when I met my ex husband, we agreed that we both wanted kids, but even that felt a bit like fantasy, out of my reality.

I watched my sister struggle through numerous miscarriages and I felt deeply her pain and longing for children. Then, my niece was born and I fell madly in love with her, followed by her brother whom I was crazy in love with too. That feeling of overwhelming, protective, I’d-do-anything-for-this-kid love was the closest I’ve come to wanting some kids of my own. 

After I found out I was pregnant, my husband-at-the-time and I entered the fantasy phase of what to expect while we were expecting. I surrendered to the innate part of my womanhood that wanted to birth a human, to take part in the natural course of things, by the standards and traditions of those before me as well as the possibility of fulfilling the dreams of parents/soon-to-be grandparents. I became excited about it and was enthralled with the changes in my body. And, as I’d hoped, it brought my husband and I closer in what was a bit of a bumpy marriage at the time.

For the next several weeks we drifted into that zone where expectant couples live: eager announcements, morning sickness at the smell of paint and toast, books on the stages of pregnancy and baby names, nursery furniture, shower dates, endless chatty discussions about bodily functions with anyone who would listen. Cramping. Spotting. Sleepless nights. Ultrasounds. Ovarian tumor. Emergency surgery. No more baby.

What I gave birth to, rather than a bouncing baby boy/girl, was the numb. A numb that softened the mourning over how my womanhood had failed: failed my body the chance to fulfill it’s expected destiny, failed my husband, failed my parents/soon-to-be grandparents, failed my sister by not gifting her with the same kind of love I feel for her kids, and failed a family history that would not continue with me. Failed my legacy?

But, here’s what’s interesting. I think deep down after that happened, I knew I most likely would not have a child of my own. My husband and I never seriously talked about trying to have another child. And, the loss of this pregnancy is what signified the beginning of the end of the marriage. It opened a chasm in which to see the framework and scaffolding of it all and there were too many broken pieces to fix.

So, I was on my own again, alone. I was still buying into the ingrained pressure to have a child and that I would not be complete until that happened. So, I made a promise to myself, and declared it out loud to my close circle, that if I was still single and without the prospect of a mate when I was 42, I would look into having a child on my own.

Then, I filed that away and got on with my life, a life I relished in so many ways. A big move across the country, new jobs (including the one with the corner office), a deepening love and commitment to writing, new ways to expand spiritual growth that have taken me far outside of my comfort zone, traveling alone and with others, dating, not dating, big crying, big laughing and bouts of loneliness which provided the contrast necessary to be able to embrace the non-loneliness of being alone. Learning is revealed through contrast.

CHILDLESS MOTHER
As 42 approached, I kept to my own word. I wasn’t in a serious relationship that might lead to long term so I started digging and researching what it would take to have a child on my own. I read books, attended seminars on how to adopt children from Guatemala, Russia and China. I interviewed adoption attorneys on the adoption process in the United States as well as spoke with some of their clients about their personal experiences. I checked out the reputable sperm donation clinics in Southern California, going as far as filling out a profile as to what kind of “father” I would want for my sperm baby. I bought a two-bedroom home with a nice big yard.

Then, I woke up one day and realized I didn’t want it badly enough to do it alone. I’d done my due diligence and there was a true sense of freedom in that.

A few years later I had to have a hysterectomy, which closed the chapter on any lingering inkling that I might be missing out on something. My friend, the same pedicure friend, did a painting for me that showed the figure of a woman taking flight. On the back on the painting was a picture of Saint Majella, the Patron of Childless Mothers. Ah, this was truly a new chapter.

Childless Mother. This is something I could embrace. I loved nurturing people, and even though I didn’t have children of my own, I love kids and knew then and there that I would always have them in my life, somehow. Did this have something to do with my legacy?

It was another redefining moment as I looked at both motherhood and legacy through a fresh lens.

THERE’S MORE TO A FAMILY TREE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Not too long ago, my parents, sister and I did the Ancestry DNA test, sharing the interesting results with each other about our origins. My mom took the opportunity to fill in the family tree on the Ancestry.com site. She and my grandmothers had done extensive genealogy research into our family, going back to the 1500’s, stretching across Europe, so the family tree looked quite impressive; sprawling, uneven branches of life with names that have repeated and regenerated often.

My finger traced along our branch: my parents, my sister and her husband, their two kids, and me. And, again it hit me. My little branch was dangling out there, alone, like a stump. It felt like a stop. But, that’s when things became crystal clear.

A LEGACY IS A LIVING THING
What I felt next was a full embodiment of something that felt embryonic and full of promise and at the same ancient and foregone. What I felt was my purpose. As a creator, a writer and a storyteller, the messages and missions in my stories, those define my legacy. What became so clear also created a new sense of urgency. Because, now knowing this, writing is not only my passion; it’s also my responsibility: to my legacy, to my mark on the world. It’s my sense of belonging and my contribution to history, and yes, to my family tree. 

My legacy is now alive, and what I birth will live on long after I’m gone.

My grandmother, the one who would have been 114, her legacy stretched far beyond the future reaches of her offspring. She started teaching in the 1920’s, in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Kansas. In the 40’s she started college, taking one extension course at a time, whenever one was available in her small town and when she could fit it in while raising her family.

It took her until 1959, but she got her Bachelor’s Degree at the same time as her son, my dad. She went on to be selected as a Master Teacher, an honor bestowed to the top teachers in the state of Kansas. She was passionate and touched many lives during her career. Her legacy made a difference.

YOUR LEGACY IS REALLY NOT ABOUT YOU
My path to understanding my legacy may seem roundabout, but in fact, it’s the natural course of discovering your purpose. For me, it’s writing meaningful prose that will help people to think about things in a new way, to improve their lives. It becomes about them which is so much more meaningful. 

Your legacy is the impact you make and the imprint you leave behind. We all have a legacy. And, the truth is it can be either positive or negative. There are numerous examples of people who are/were notorious for doing bad things, things that have a ripple effect. They go down in history as such. 

Your legacy is how you’re remembered. The lesson is that when you’re aware you’re modeling your life for your legacy, you pay attention. When you take an active part in creating and living your legacy, it becomes a meaningful adventure.

HOW DO YOU LIVE YOUR LEGACY?
Take a look in the metaphorical mirror at your life. Ask yourself:

  • How are you an original? We all are unique, and what’s your special sauce?
  • What do you want to be remembered for?
  • How can you make a lasting impact on others? Look at the impact you currently have on people in your life, directly and indirectly. Don’t belittle the significance you have in your world already.
  • Will your lasting impression help or change the greater good? How?
  • What lessons have you learned that you find yourself organically teaching to others, whether it’s merely giving a friend, child or parent advice, or whether it’s a more global imparting of your knowledge?

Your own path of self-discovery, as mine has, will help answer those questions. Any or all of these help to comprise what is your legacy, your gift to the world. 

Give it space. Allow your legacy to find you as well. Sometimes we can be so busy seeking we miss what’s coming directly to us. 

Be a Living Legacy. And, remember that the actions you take, the words you speak, and the impressions you make launch a ripple that ebbs and flows, continuing long after you’ve moved on to the next action, word or impression. Armed with this knowledge, you’re empowered to take an active role in creating the legacy you were born to create. 

ONE LAST THING
The truth is, the inkling is still there, just once in awhile, when big things happen in the lives of the important young people in my life. I put myself there, what would that be like if I was their mom. And, here’s what beautiful. I can still be a nurturing mentor or influence with them. There are so many opportunities for that. I know this is part of my legacy too.

And, who knows? Perhaps my next life mate will have kids and I’ll still get to be a grandma, of sorts. How great would that be?

Most of all, I believe the best legacy is a life well lived, in service to others and to a higher calling. Create from there and you’ll be unstoppable while having a meaningful life.

 


Life Isn’t Like You Thought It’d Be, and That’s Okay

And, other advice for my younger self.

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I’m finding that some of my most treasured time these days is spent listening to, advising, encouraging, mentoring and enjoying young adults. It’s happened organically, sometimes out of the blue, as so often wonderful things do. I find myself, when in these situations, wanting to give them shortcuts, to tell them what I’ve learned along the way that might give them a leg up or that might save them from the angst or hardship or heartache that I went through when I was their age.

Then, of course, I realize I can’t “save” them but can perhaps shed some light on a different or experienced perspective. I still remember those loving influences early in my adult life, often recalling the gems, now metaphorical or thematic, that still guide me.

It got me thinking, as I’ve counseled these incredible, curious, bright, seeking, voracious people, is how often my words are echoes and whispers of what I would have told my 20-something self, given the chance.

So, on this birthday in the midst of my fifth decade I decided to do just that.

I had to laugh because once I got started it became a pretty darned long list of things I wished I’d known at the time, things that would have definitely saved me from a headache or two.

For the sake of time and space, here are 12, plus one from one my most trusted life guides.

1. Don’t dim your light or dumb yourself down for anyone. This one’s big and happens way too much.

You may find yourself in situations when you feel others are cutting you off or belittling your opinions or points of view. Two remarkable young women in the last two weeks shared stories about this happening in their jobs. If you feel someone is trying to sniff out your light (you know who the light-sniffers are) know it’s usually because they’re afraid of their own. They feel threatened by you because they only want to shine too. By standing powerfully in your own presence, fully, you really allow them to do the same. They still may not be comfortable around you, but that’s okay.

You were brought into this world to shine in your own unique specific way. To use your gifts as no one else can. The God source in you is infinite and powerfully bright; when you dim it in order to make others feel more comfortable or less insecure, you also dim your God source. You cut off your divinity by being less than who you are. And, over time those external voices can start to become your own negative self-talk.

2. Women, help other women. This goes hand in hand with the above. Nothing is more disheartening than when you see a woman not giving other women a chance or opportunity to be seen, heard or hired, because of her own insecurities and limiting personal power. The thing is when a woman clips another woman’s wings, she clips her own. We need to help each other. It goes for men too, but I see it as an epidemic with women. 

3. Don’t hide your gifts from the world for fear of not being enough, or worse, of being too much. Playing small is doing you and the world a disservice.

4. Trust your own inner voice, your God voice. It is your best and highest counsel. Seek its wisdom every day. It always knows what's best for you and the situation you're in. Get quiet and listen. Often. 

5. Life isn’t like you thought it would be – Let go of what it’s supposed to look like. Surrender to the flow of life and you’ll be less disappointed and more engaged by life’s twists and turns. They’ll be a part of what is beautiful about life.

Michael Singer talked about this in his book The Surrender Experiment. He was as a ponytail-wearing yogi in college when he made the decision to surrender to life, to be present with each moment and to see what was being asked of him in that moment. And, he’s had a very big, roller coaster life where he built several businesses, one of which became a billion dollar public company that went through serious trials and tribulations, things you and I will hopefully never experience. And, he became the best-selling author of The Untethered Soul. All the while, surrendering to what life brought his way. “Over the years I had come to see that I really had no idea where life was going to put me. And, in truth, it was none of my business. My job was to simply continue surrendering and serving what was put in front of me.” BTW, he's still a ponytail-wearing yogi. So relax, let life flow.

6. When you mess up, own up – and as quickly as possible. This is a repeat from my birthday post last year, but worth repeating. It keeps your side of the street clean so you don’t keep stumbling over obstacles you create, or co-create. And, don’t ever throw others under the bus. The blame game keeps you small.

[Last year's post: On Being Born to Run... and to Create and Play and Love and...]

7. Give credit where credit is due. Honor and champion others for their ideas and contributions. It fosters trust, loyalty and authenticity in your relationships.

8. Don’t ghost on people. In other words, don’t just disappear or not respond when you’re afraid of rejecting someone or if you don’t want to do something. When you do ghost, it’s the ultimate rejection. Just state your truth and move on.

9. Make your life’s mission about how it will make an impact on others. When you do that it will be the guide post and touchstone for a meaningful life. It becomes your legacy.

10. Self-love is the most important love. It’s the strongest foundation from which to build any relationship. The only foundation, actually. You really can’t fully love others until you fully love yourself.

11. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. And, think. It’s pretty simple. Be with people who fill you up.

12. Focus on your attitude. You often can’t control what happens. The only thing you can control is how you react to it.

Fellow birthday girl, my beloved Mom, who turns 80 today, has a wonderful life full of wisdom, laughter and love. By the way, Mom is rehearsing to sing a solo ("Hello Dolly") in her theatre company's upcoming show. I mean, this woman! Happy Birthday, Mom! So, of course I asked her what she would tell her 25-year-old self. She said:

13. Don’t worry about the small stuff. And, be more patient. Things usually work out for the best.

The simplest thing I would tell myself is Life is meant to unfold. Learn, educate yourself, continue to seek and strive for excellence, but life is going to happen the way it’s going to happen.

And, everything will be okay.


7 Re's to ReAwaken Your Life

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By Cindy Yantis

A day spent at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena was more than I expected it to be. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. I was there recently with my dear friend, Ferrell Marshall, who wanted to go for inspiration. She's currently in the one-woman play "The Belle of Amherst" in which she brilliantly portrays Emily Dickinson. I joined her at the last minute because I had an inexplicable yearning to be outside in that beautiful nature. I felt like a bear reemerging after a long hibernation.

Because of Emily Dickinson’s lifelong fascination with roses, we focused particularly on the massive rose garden enlivened with over 1500 rose varieties and hybrids, examples include the Passion Rose, Jump for Joy Rose, Exquisite Rose and the Marilyn Monroe & John F Kennedy Roses, which with a stroke of garden humor were placed next to each other.

Breathing in the fresh growth and deepness of new that surrounded us and greeted our hungry senses at every turn, I had a new feeling of life within, a rebirth and renewal.

The Power of RE

It got me thinking about the power of the Re words. I’ve reflected about this before and it hit me again at Huntington Gardens how deeply ensconced Re’s are in the development of spring, and therefore in our lives at this time of year. For sure, in my life right now.

The truth is I have been hibernating, more than usual in fact.

When I broke my wrist on Christmas Eve it meant there were a lot of things I couldn’t do, the most crucial being – at least to me – I couldn’t type because I couldn’t pronate my left hand. So, it made writing – my passion and my why – very complicated. Sure, I could “voice type” straight into a document and write longhand (thank god I’m not a lefty). But, instead, I decided to take it as a sign to stop for a while and to surrender to all that my rehabilitation meant on a deeper level. 

I slowed way down, took a couple classes, did some reading, plenty of soul-searching and spent a lot of quiet time alone. Staring at the wall. A. Lot. Of. Time.

My rehabilitation and recovery (two delicious Re words) allowed me to hibernate deeply in my own truth. And, the reality of my truth is much simpler than the reality I was living before I broke my wrist. 

Related: How A Broken Wrist Changed My Life

So, this brings me back to this season of Re. What I love about the Re is that it brings a fresh lens, attitude, appetite and perspective to whatever you’re doing at any given moment. Or more to the point, a refreshed way of being.

Here are 7 RE's that come to mind to reawaken you:

Re-calibrate your spirit by getting back in touch with nature. It can be really simple. Walk barefoot in the grass. Gaze at the sun. Sink your hands into the soil. Bury your face in a cluster of lilacs.

Reaffirm your goals that are most important by getting rid of those that aren’t.

Reclaim your dreams by keeping them alive every day. Talk about them. Write about them. Take action.

Reignite your relationships by devoting time and energy in those that mean the most to you.

Rejuvenate your system. Get 8 hours of sleep. Meditate. Clean up your diet. Replenish your supplements.

Refocus your game plan by clearing out the extraneous projects; and

Remind yourself about what you love & why you do what you do.

Tis the season to Revivify your life. What Re’s can you add to your list?

Emily Dickinson wrote, “We turn not older with the years, but newer every day.” It makes me wonder if Emily was sparked by the Re as well. I like to think so.

BelleIf you’re in Southern California this week I highly recommend seeing Ferrell Marshall in her luminous performance as Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst. It closes 4/23. Tickets available here.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Giving Thanks Starts Here

By Cindy Yantis

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of the month and from then on it was an annual tradition.

His declaration was stated during our nation’s civil war and the underlying message is so apropos today.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise… And I recommend to them that… they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become… sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” Abraham Lincoln, 1863

It feels good to tap into the early remembrance of what Thanksgiving means on a grand level and to honor and be in gratitude for the core values of us as a national people. At the end of the day it always comes down to that.

It all begins with what we’re grateful for in our own lives. And, to my way of thinking, giving thanks for those same tenets that Lincoln mentioned, on a personal level are a good place to start: “peace, harmony, tranquility...”

So, traditions of giving thanks abound, in a myriad of ways. And, it’s really something to celebrate. 

What are you thankful for? Take a few moments to really give them thought and voice.

To name a few...

I’m grateful for my family and friends, and for people in my life who are my greatest teachers, often giving me lessons that are very hard to receive at the time but end up being necessary and transformative.

I’m grateful for a curious mind and for having a platform on which to invite others to explore and reach a little beyond themselves as well.

I’m thankful for you.

It’s pretty simple. And, necessary. And, important.

Light-thank you

 

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com. Please visit us on our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/ThoughtChanger  


Rewriting Your "Down in the Dumps"

By Cindy Yantis

Someone recently said they were feeling down in the dumps. I could relate. I’ve definitely been down in there too. Most of us have at one time or another.

Down in the dumps. What does that actually mean? It’s so colloquial that the meaning is different for everyone. It's used for describing a myriad of feelings: sad, disappointed, sick, mournful, regretful, wanting. It certainly equates a state of mind or being. 

What’s actually down there in those dumps? If the dumps are different for everyone, are they a reflection and creation of the beholder, self-imposed and self-decorated? 

So I started thinking, if the veritable dumps are a creation from self, then perhaps there's a way to redecorate, reframe and rewrite the dumps. Perhaps they could be a place of reflection, of self-examination. Perhaps there could be some treasure to Downinthedumps arise from the doldrum. Sometimes retelling or rewriting a scene can change the whole story, just as reframing your thoughts and changing your cognitive mindset about being down in the dumps can help to provide the ladder to climb out or the pathway through.

Most likely, it's rather nebulous down there. We just know it's a "place" we go when things are off or out of alignment. At times, I think of them as dark, dank, lumpy, cloudy, smelly, trashy, where I'm stuck, maybe blue, maybe invisible, maybe exhausted, maybe immobile. At other times is just rather blank and still.

When you find yourself in the dumps, what do they look like? Feel like? What kind of texture are they? Is it a room or a vast cascading cloud that permeates everything? What captures your mind and energy? Is it worry and doubt? Is it futurizing a scenario that hasn't happened yet? Is it beating yourself for not being enough?

The reframe starts in this state of awareness, a recognition of what's happening in your energy, mind and body.

Next, turn on the light. Take a look at your dumps with a little light on the subject. Often a new set of lenses will appear as you see clearly. It's the first step to rewriting the scene, to retelling your present story. Take a look around through this new lens. Several interesting things can happen once the light is on.

For me, things often appear smaller and clearer because I'm able to see the edges, the shapes of what's really happening rather the hugeness of what I might have created in my mind. The problem or issue is simpler, more concise.

What was previously invisible might show up now. The real reason for being down there in the first place. Dig deeper. 

Colors may begin to appear, deep vibrant colors. 

Do questions arise once you turn on the light? Can order be created from the jumbled chaos? Do the valleys appear as deep now that you’re actually taking a good look? Are there ideas hiding there? Can a pathway be cleared to ease your way through?

The reality of time can present itself with the light on. In other words, ask yourself, "Is there anything I can do in this moment about this situation?" If the answer is yes, then do it. If the answer is no, then let it go and come back to it when it's time. Like, if the thing you're worrying about is next Tuesday, and it's Saturday. Stay in Saturday. Do Tuesday when Tuesday comes. 

Perhaps with the light on you can ask yourself what you’re really needing right now. Many times the first answer can be pretty simple, like just taking a first step. Here are some things that have worked for me:

  • Reach out to a friend or coach.  
  • Give yourself needed alone time – sleep, meditate, journal, exercise, be in nature.
  • Get out in public - go to an event, a MeetUp or museum, whatever speaks to you.
  • Make yourself a to-do list to get out of your head.
  • Get back to work.
  • Set a simple routine and stick to it.

After taking some of these steps, describe what it looks and feels like around you now? Is the scene different? Is your outlook fresher? Is your inner dialogue more authentically positive? If any of that is true then you've successfully reframed and rewritten your down-in-the-dumps!

Sometimes the light may be rather dim, a flicker even. That’s okay. A flicker of light can mean hope in an otherwise hopeless moment. Keep on turning up the dimmer switch.


Exploration & Risk: Sexy Bedfellows?

By Cindy Yantis

Yes, it's a scary, sexy killer combo.

Free risk

When I pulled the word prompt card of the day, these two were stuck together. Exploration and risk. Are they meant to be linked? The two words often appear together when talking about science, business and space: Exploration and the risk assessment thereof.

But, it got me thinking about how a marriage between the two ideas offers an interesting allegory for life.

I think of exploration as a road of discovery. Forging around corners of the unknown. Being open to newness. Trying things on for size. Dipping into an experience before fully committing. Digging deep in the microcosm of a thing and then connecting the dots and meaning therein.

So, an explorer? An explorer is a seeker, a questioner, a non-settler. Can an explorer ever really be settled, or are they not happy unless in the field of exploration? Always looking around the next bend?

Risk on the other hand, to my way of thinking, takes exploration to the next level. To safely explore is coloring within the lines. Certainly nothing wrong with that, although often the outcome can be rather beige.

However exploration with risk, skating on the edge of discomfort, where  a choice made could be dangerous in terms of success or failure, yet doing it anyway: that’s risky exploration and is about being truly alive.

Risk-takers often jump without a net, the ultimate in self-trust. They dance in the precipice between staying small and living large.

The time that comes to mind for me is when I made the big cross country move from Michigan to LA to pursue the arts. I had never lived more than three hours from home and I was leaving my comfort zone and everything I knew to forge and explore the bumpy road of discovery. It felt like a big risk because I was heading into the unknown in a much bigger way than I'd done before. I could fail, fall flat on my face. But, I went anyway and it was such an exciting, temperature-raising time in my life.

Risk doesn’t have to be through grand public gestures. Internal risk involves leaping outside of our comfort zone. In fact, the switch often has to happen there, internally, before the great things transpire in our world. 

Within greatness, exploration and risk abide.

The pillow talk between these two bedfellows is passionate and limitless and at times volatile, volatile only in terms of their mutual vibration, vibration that pushes them beyond what or who they were before. Surrendering to this powerful marriage means to continually step up, to grab onto exploration and risk and go, simply go. It’s momentum and marks the powerful agreement that this undeniable nuptial demands.

Now that’s a tête-à-tête I want to be a part of. I’ll even share the pillow.

Related:

Surrender to Surrendering

3 R's for Being Successful

Pick a Lane! Follow the Road, Baby

Living in the Space of Possibility

 


How Discernment Leads to a Life on Purpose

By Cindy Yantis

The word prompt of the day is discernment. It’s simply defined as the ability to judge well. There’s a certain amount of rigidity to the word, but when one is discerning there’s a trust of self that organically takes place, which actually is an opening for truth. If the discerning instinct is ignored it can lead to an error in judgment, a missed opportunity, a feeling of in-authenticity and even heartache.

I also think of discernment as a deliberate process. Sometimes it’s so clear it can happen in an instant, but often it’s not so clear. For big things that matter, there’s much more that goes into discernment. To my way of thinking, consideration of factors (what, when, who, where & how), listening to your own cues, allowing an organic flow to guide you and trusting divine timing are most critical. Making a choice, taking a step – or deciding not to – from that place is powerful discernment indeed.

It got me thinking about living a life with perspicacity, a deeper meaning for discernment. Such a great word! In other words, honing the skill of perspicacity will lead to a life guided by insight, intuition and intelligence.

These things come to mind: Discernment determines the next step

  • Slow & steady wins the race – take the time necessary to make a fully informed choice   
  • Know your own heart and mind
  • Be clear on what you value
  • Pay attention to the verbal & non-verbal cues
  • Commit to your choices

A lot of people do and say what feels good in the moment. In many instances this is all the acumen needed to move forward. However, discernment is taking it a step - or several steps - further, particularly in life’s big processes. "Yes, it feels good, but does it align with what I value?" "Does it align with my endgame or vision of purpose (whether it’s a life purpose, or a vision for a specific project/process)?" Or, "Will it distract me from what I really want and what's really good for me or the circumstance at hand?"

Moving ahead with something just because it feels good but doesn’t align with those things can create a false sense of fulfillment that can be fleeting and can derail you from your path or your true desire.

Patience is a virtue for a reason. It’s natural when something awesome presents itself to want it all right now! But the course of things, the natural order, the organic process of… takes time and a honed sense of judgment.

For example, 12-step programs only work when each step is fulfilled before moving on to the next step. Jumping from step one to step 12 will never work because it’s the foundation, knowledge, experience, steadiness and progress through the eleven prior steps that allows a full understanding, acceptance and power of the final step. Which is why they espouse a one-day-at-a-time mantra, as well as a tenet of progress, not perfection.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Progress and Not Perfection

It’s the same mindset and principle for many of life’s processes, from getting an education, to building a career, to going through the stages of grief, to falling in love, to exploring a new opportunity, to recovering from a trauma or drama.

The good news is it's often malleable, not carved in stone. Choices can be changed based on new information and deeper knowledge. It's really about slowing down in the moment, taking time, checking alignment and making a discerning choice. 

Related:

In Alignment - A Life Philosophy 

How to Never, Ever Give Up

What You Believe In Creates Your Reality

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


5 Things to Ponder This Weekend

 

File Aug 14, 10 32 23 AM

 

Here are a few things to ponder this weekend...   

1. Talk about a bucket list!

Best get started now! Check these out...

Bucket list

 

2. For Lit Junkies... Oz-tee

Check out these very cool te es. You can wear your favorite story. Really. The entire text of the book is on the tee. I'm thinking WIZARD OF OZ!  Litographs

 

 

 

 

 

3. Interesting Read:  

Brain_pickings_Brain Pickings is one of more interesting blogs out there. Writer Maria Popova dives intensely into a topic and captures it richly. Her "subjective lens on what matters in the world and why." It's definitely one of my regular reads.

 

 

4. Watch & Choose:   AmazonPilotSeason

It's Pilot Season on Amazon and they're letting us help choose their next original series. You watch the three finalist pilot episodes and then vote. It's fun to be part of the process. I have my favorite. Which is yours?

 

5. Quote to ponder:

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Pablo Picasso 

 

Have a great weekend!

If you enjoyed this Thought Changer, please click the little green Sharethis button below this post and thank you for sharing!

And, please visit us on our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/ThoughtChanger  

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com

 

Interesting Read: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/the-women-of-hollywood-speak-out.html


Growing Your Legacy Like a Garden

By Cindy Yantis

Signals from nature never cease to amaze. One morning I was greeted by the most gorgeous blooms on the rosebush next to my driveway. I couldn't resist cutting a stalk to take to my office. So for a week, each morning new buds opened and the pink roses expanded. But what I found so remarkable was that on this one thick stalk were 28 separate buds. Truly. Twenty-eight. The strength of the base stalk fed the buds and maturing blooms in a way that a matriarch might feed her family, or in the way people seed and grow their ideas.

Oddly enough it got me thinking about legacy. We all have a legacy, whether we know it not. We will all be known and remembered for who we are, what we've done or what we leave behind. Legacies sung or unsung, global or insular, significant or mundane. 

My Legacy bouquet
My Legacy Bouquet

The beauty of knowing this is that we have the choice to fully participate in and cultivate the kind of legacy we wish to build and leave for others. 

Jack Nicklaus rose to fame as the world's greatest golfer, but he feels his true legacy is his contribution of hundreds of world-class golf courses all over the globe that people will enjoy for generations to come. 

Bill Gates built his fortune as a pioneer in the computer software industry, which is most certainly a large part of his legacy. But, his legacy bouquet grows exponentially through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where they generously transform lives. 

And, to that point, there doesn't have to be just one bud or bloom or focus when it comes to legacy. Which, to my way thinking, thanks to the rosebush, removes a lot of pressure. 

So, when the question arises for you - "What do I want my legacy to be?" - there doesn't have to be just one final answer. Just think, by allowing yourself to be that healthy stalk, feeding and nurturing each bud along the way as they grow and impact others, your true legacy or legacies will evolve and lead your way.

How do you want to be remembered?

What's your gift to those most important to you? To the world?

What kind of impact do you want to have on others lives?

How can you expand your own legacy bouquet so that its seeds will carry on long after you're gone?

Most importantly, how can you live your legacy now? 

Just imagine the garden you will grow!

 

Related:

Pick a Lane, Follow the Road Baby

What's Your Born Legacy

The Impact of Being a Precedent Setter

Do You Matter? 5 Ways to Have a More Meaningful Career

If you enjoyed this Thought Changer, please forward or click the SM icons or little green ShareThis button below this post and thank you for sharing!

And, please visit us on our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/ThoughtChanger  

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com