January 19, 2012

A New Beginning….and an ending….

As of today, my new website Euphoria Life Design Studio is up and running.  From now on I’ll be blogging there, and will gradually move over most, if not all of my content from here.  For those of you who are subscribed to my blog here- THANK YOU!  If you are an email subscriber, you will continue to get updates through my weekly newsletter- I have automatically forwarded you over.  If you are a wordpress subscriber and wish to continue getting updates, head on over to the new site and enter your email in the box on the lower right…. then make sure to click on the opt-in link in the email you receive!  If you are an email subscriber and wish to unsubscribe, you can do so through the links on the first email newsletter I send.

I have many cool plans for the new site, including a free download and eventually some group coaching, subscription, and telecourse offerings.  However, as I’m a part-time mompreneur, these will be rolling out gradually over the year.  It is my intent that as many people as possible can benefit from what I offer for free- so while I will make offers, I absolutely welcome you to enjoy my site in whatever way most appeals to you.

Please do share the site with those you love- through Facebook and Twitter, “like” Euphoria Life Design Studio on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

Thank you once again!

Lesley

January 4, 2012

2012- The Year of Euphoria

Euphoria: a feeling of well-being or elation (Merriam-Webster)

Yep. That’s it. My defining word for 2012. My Word of the Year.

Why, you may ask? Because I think it’s high time we decide that feeling awesome is not only okay, it’s our birthright. Psychology defines much of our emotional spectrum as innapropriate and disordered, which makes me wonder- are we supposed to simply feel “okay” most of the time? I tend to think that if we simply feel “okay”- neutral, blank, mildly good or bad- while it’s certainly preferrential to suffering or misery, we could be doing so much better. That’s what life coaching is about. It’s about creating lives that are more than “okay”. And when at approximately 9pm on November 1, 2011 I was overcome with this profound sense of wellness, of being exactly my most content and joyous and authentic self, I realized that euphoria was the perfect word for it. My goal.

The funny thing is that euphoria doesn’t work as a goal. Euphoria just is. I’ve realized that when I’m being my truest, most honest, at my very essence self and when what I’m doing is in alignment with who I really am, with my deepest intentions and purpose- BAM- there it is. Euphoria. Considering that it is a goal of mine to live fully as myself and to my deepest purpose (and to help others do this as well) it seems to me that euphoria is an excellent reference point. Euphoria is when I know who I’m being and what I’m doing is my right life. I’m pretty sure it’s not just me either, because I’ve been surrounded by whole tribes full of people living elated lives and they seem to be experiencing the same thing.

In fact, I’m so in love with this concept that I’m creating my coaching practice around it. Later this month I’ll be launching Euphoria Life Design Studio (you can “like” my facebook page here) with a new website. And a newsletter. And a totally fun playful offering of crazy-ass self-love (yours, not mine…. that would just be weird….) And I’ll be moving my blogging there. And I’ll have a toolbox full of resources (eventually). And a guide to my services. Stay tuned.

I have other guiding words this year (selected through Laurie Foley’s awesome Planning Kitchen offering), as well as a guiding animal (inspired by the awesome book What the Walrus Knows by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann, who has inspired me to reconnect with the meaning within my love of animals- and the ones that show up for me over and over again.). More on those in the coming weeks as I prep the new site!

I’d love to hear about your most recent or profound experience of euphoria in the comments. Has it been too long since you’ve been that awesome?

Until next week,

Lesley

ps. I do prefer to write slightly meatier posts (though hopefully they aren’t dry or tough!) however I’m keeping to “light snacks” for the next few weeks. I am also making a truly awesome “pay what you wish to invest in yourself” coaching offer available until the launch of the new site. Check it out here. Much love and thanks….and please share the euphoria using the links below!

December 31, 2011

Welcome to 2012. Thank you for 2011.

I wanted to start the year off with a huge thank you for reading and sticking with me throughout a crazy, wild, wonderful (even if inconsistently blogged) year. It’s been a year of HUGE accomplishments and changes, both inner and outer and I’m so glad you’ve been here with me, whether for the whole year or simply a single post.

I also would love to have you celebrate this exciting new year with me. So I have a few surprises coming- new website on 1/16, and until the launch, the best one-on-one coaching offer since last January’s free sessions. If you want to be first to know about everything, please click to subscribe by email over there on the right. If you’re on my email list, you’ll be moved over to the new site and will continue to get notification of my new posts in your email….plus you will be notified first of all my new offerings.

Everyone is asleep here, so I’m off to spend my last hour of 2011 in quiet reflection with a glass of something delicious and intoxicating. Kind of like 2012 will be.

Hope you’ll join me. Happy New Year!

Lesley

 

December 28, 2011

The Gift of Rest

I’m going to admit straight away that rest is a challenging topic for me.  I simply don’t allow myself to rest without having a reason or excuse.  Not that this means I spend every moment in action.  In fact, I often spend my time in limbo- in neither action nor rest.  Puttering.  Half-consciously playing games or browsing websites, moving things from one room to another, hopping from one little non-activity to the next.  My talent at avoiding going to bed when I’m tired rivals any toddler’s (and my own children’s, though they do seem to have inherited this skill).  I’ll literally sit doing something until I’m too tired to stop and go to bed.

But rest is an incredibly important gift to give ourselves.  It is at any time- however particularly any time we’re challenging ourselves to develop new habits, practices and thoughts.  Creating new neural pathways is exhausting.  Literally.  Physically.  Mentally.  Over the past year and a half I have experienced this deeply.  It comes down to the fact that when we’re well rested we feel better.  When we’re well rested our minds and bodies are stronger and more flexible and adaptable.  When we’re well rested challenges aren’t as challenging.  Rest takes the edges off.  Rest revives us.  Rest restores.

Our bodies tell us exactly how much rest we need.  And we ignore them.  Often when given the choice between resting and accomplishing something (or taking those non-action actions) we don’t choose rest.  We tell ourselves that the dishes need to be done, or the laundry can’t wait, or that our child will have lifelong emotional scars if we say no to the 274th request of the day (even a temporary no), or that while the baby is napping is the only time we can get anything done- but ultimately the choice is ours to make.  Listen to your body and rest?  Or ignore it and plug on.

As we finish this year, I am offering you the opportunity to give yourself this gift.  Rest.  Hear your body.  Maybe ignore your mind for once.  Find a really comfy spot- your sofa, a cushiony chair, your bed- and take some time when your body tells you to take it.  Rest.  Do nothing.  If this is too out there for you, plan to allow yourself extra sleep.  Go to bed a few hours earlier than normal, or refuse to set an alarm.  Both if possible.  Discover what it feels like to be well rested.  And let yourself get used to it.

Until next year,

Lesley

ps.  I actually had to make myself take a 30 minute rest to even write this- I was feeling so out of tune with rest after a good week of doing, doing, doing.  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.  And please share with anyone you know who needs the gift of rest!

 

December 19, 2011

The Gift of Play

Bird whistles rockWhen was the last time you truly played? Did something fun simply for the enjoyment of it. No goals. No plans. No expectations. But also, active. Taking action without intention, simply for the amusement of that action, maybe to see what would happen. Did you play at all today?

Sometimes as we grow up, we forget how to play. Many times our children serve as reminders- however, what is play to children isn’t always satisfyingly playful to adults. Play dances at the edges of our developmental abilities. It can be enthralling to watch this and participate in this with children, at their level, but as ever growing and changing beings our edges like the dance as well.

Playing, in whatever form it takes for you, has many benefits- it reduces stress (which is well documented as a cause of many physical ailments), it increases our creativity, mental flexibility and focus. Play gives us energy. These are our edges as grown up people- the places where we are often challenged. Especially as parents. But do you know any adult who couldn’t use more energy, focus and creativity, and less stress? (You know, I do think I actually know a quite a few…and guess what? They play. Often.)

There is one caveat here. If we go into play time looking for benefits, we’ve turned it into something other than play. An assignment. A project. Something we do because it’s “good for us”. Yikes. I’ve noticed that I have a strong tendency to do this with my creative pursuits. Recently I began painting. My intention was to just have fun with it, and I painted an image that had been in my head for a while. It was fun. I did some more painting. Then I got ideas. I decided that I wanted to paint some more specific images. I wanted to use them for another project I’m working on. Can you guess what happened? I stopped painting. Somehow I didn’t feel the urge to pull the paints out again. I had turned my play into a chore. A project. Something that needed to be done. So much for the fun, energy, creativity and stress relief. But it’s also a fun juxtaposition. Play is only play when it’s done for it’s own sake. For fun. For the love of what you’re doing. Yep. Work can even be play.

So, how will you give yourself the gift of play? I will be pulling out my paints and a fresh canvas. No fixing that bizarre looking lizard. No grand attempts to paint that flame on the canvas I painted black, unless it feels like fun. Just me and some colors and some brushes and a blank canvas. Slap some paint down and see where it goes. But play can be anything- taking a walk down a different street, getting lost (literally or figuratively), making designs in the dirt (or your mashed potatoes), seeing what happens when….., making up a story about the people in the car ahead of you, jumping on the trampoline. Yes, it CAN be with your kids of course, they’re some of the best people to play with…. but give yourself permission to play without them as well!

Tell me how YOU are playing in the comments, or tell me what you’re doing about that ever so grown-up tendency to turn play into work. How are you turning work to play instead? And give others the gift of play (and good health, energy, focus, and creativity!) by sharing with the buttons below.

PS. If it’s the only way it will happen, schedule some time devoted to play. Pencil it in. Leave some time open for whatever strikes your fancy. Or, drop what you’re doing right now. Go play. I mean it. Go play!

December 13, 2011

The Gift of Nurture

This week’s gift is one that I know all of you amazing mamma’s out there give to others- generously, beautifully, wonderously- every single day of your existence. You are the goddesses of nurture. Holding your families in nearly every thought with love, concern, appreciation and understanding. Or at least that’s your intention and your touchstone- what you come back to even when life feels hectic, out of control, too much ….. and well, normal.

Nurture is also what we do. Giving hugs. Making meals. Showing our kids how- when they want to try something new or do what we can do. Patching up boo-boo’s with compassion, validation and a kiss. And being present with their heartaches… also, with compassion and validation. And knowing when a hug or a kiss won’t be helpful.

But we often do not nurture ourselves. We forget to do the things that make us feel loved and supported. We don’t keep ourselves in our loving, appreciative, understanding thoughts. Sure it feels wonderful to have someone else nurture you in some way- making a favorite meal, providing you with a clean bathtub and a warm towel, giving you a hug after you slip in the dog slobber on the tile floor and land hard- but we can provide ourselves with the same. (Okay, maybe not a hug, but a chance to rest or that hot bath after the last one…)

I challenge you to come up with a list of 3 ways you can nurture yourself this week, starting now. I have a friend who has filled a jar with pomegranate seeds, to be treasured at will. I like to do yoga or meditate outside. Or go to a beautiful natural spot and just breathe in the beauty. Take a walk, or a run. Just be alone. Nap. Borrow any of these, come up with your own and report back in the comments! For bonus points, tell me what you’ve appreciated about yourself today.

Know someone who could use the gift of nurture? Share the love using the links below….

December 6, 2011

The Gift of Permission

Your permission slipWhen I first considered what gift I’d like to give myself this year, permission was the first word to come to mind. What do I want permission for? To be more of a thriving creative force in the world. To do work that excites and fulfills me. To stop being critical of myself and seeing criticism in the words and actions of others. I am the only person who can give me permission for these things.

But why permission? There’s a formality to permission. A granting from an authoritative source. My generation, and those before it, have been trained deeply to look to an authority, someone who knows a great deal about a subject, someone who others also look to for information and guidance in that area. And the fact is that you are the best and absolute authority on you. Only you know your private thoughts and your inner workings. Only you truly know your greatest joys and fears. Only you know what is best for you.

Granting yourself permission is not only allowing yourself that thing that you want, it is declaring authority over your own life. There is no single more powerful thing you can do for yourself. Even if today you’re only granting yourself permission to take a walk in the woods, an extra long hot bath, or half an hour to release your inner artist. Giving yourself permission is empowerment.

So, what will you give yourself permission for today? For the holidays? For the new year and the rest of your life? Let me know in the comments!  Do you know someone who would benefit from giving themselves this gift?  Share the love. (links are right below!)

December 6, 2011

Gifts to Yourself- A holiday blog series

Sorry, forgot to wrap it....As much as some of my previous holiday posts may contradict this- I LOVE Holidays. Particularly ones with lights, their own music, stories, food, and traditions. But it’s also a time of year when many of us get so caught up in our duties as the creator of holiday joys that we forget to care for ourselves. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be posting holiday gifts to give to yourself. They will be linked below, so this is one place you can find them all, but if you subscribe to my blog over there on the right where it says “Get Updates by Email”, they’ll come right to your inbox each week.  They won’t cost you anything. They have no calories. They won’t even take much time. Play along and let me know in the comments…. there may be an extra gift for you from me when you do. Enjoy.  And share the love.

Week 1- The Gift of Permission

Week 2- The Gift of Nurture

Week 3- The Gift of Play

Week 4- The Gift of Rest

November 21, 2011

I Refuse to Survive the Holidays

Every year around this time I start noticing the magazine articles, tv talk show blurbs, and even blog posts about “how to survive the holidays”. While I know these can be incredibly helpful when you don’t know how to deal with your rude Aunt Marge or have backed yourself into a corner by saying yes to every event invitation that comes your way- complete with requisite cooking and gifting tasks (“gifts must be handmade” says the invite- oh yes, that sounds cool- until you realize you need to not only figure out what you can make, but actually make it, by next week.)…. this year every one of these tips has me both laughing and groaning. Putting “the holidays” and “survival” in the same sentence brings up images of harried women on a remote island, trying to forage and craft a “lovely traditional holiday” while competing in immunity challenges and plotting votes to exile their tribe sisters. The idea of “surviving” the upcoming holidays just seems equally absurd to me.

I have survived the holidays. Worn out, sick, grumpy and making up ugly holiday stories about how I can never do enough and my efforts are always thwarted or aren’t appreciated. No more. I plan to CELEBRATE! I will grab hold of joy and wave it boldly through the streets. I will appreciate everything around me and be delighted. Small things. Big things. Giving in delight and doing what is fun. Survive the holidays? No thanks. I think I’ll have fun and celebrate instead.

How? By refusing to do things that don’t feel good and running with what does. I’ve ordered Thanksgiving dinner. On Black Friday, I might go out – not to shop- but to observe the absurdity of it all and smile at everyone I see. Funnier than reality tv. My kids and I will snip paper snowflakes and cover things in glitter. It will be ephemeral and euphoric (or not ;-D, then I’ll stop). Impromptu holiday movie parties, with appropriately themed snacks featuring the 4 food groups- candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Because it’s fun. I’ll plan a day to wrap gifts, because I love creating beautiful packages, complete with holiday chick flicks. I will take my daughter to do her holiday shopping- she’s so excited to do it. Perhaps we’ll make a day of it. And that’s probably it. No pressure. No obligations. No trying to be Martha Stewart or Mrs. S. Claus or June Cleaver or Molly Weasley (I mean, the woman has a wand. No muggle should even attempt that one!) Likely I’ll strike several of these things from the list. And I’ll do it gleefully. And joyously. And while singing out whatever tune strikes my fancy… whether it’s Deck the Halls, Caught in a Mosh or Blah, Blah, Blah. Because I’m celebrating…. life and love and light and everything. And celebrating feels good. If not, it’s not celebration.

So, what about you? How will you ditch survival and celebrate?

Lesley

ps. Somehow I feel like I’m missing out on that whole plotting thing…. but hey, I bet I can find some kind of joyous plotting to do…. hmmm….

October 25, 2011

Sour Milk and Self-Respect

It’s my first restful morning in a week or so.  I spent the weekend alone, working on our SC house.  Today I am back home- home being where my heart is, with my family.  It’s so great to snuggle them all again and wake with my baby in my arms.  (Said baby is 7 years old, but still my baby- as are my nearly 17 year old and 11 year old- all incredible, phenomenal, independent, brilliant and creative people.  Geez, I’m so freakin’ fortunate!).  But here I am taking care of my normal morning rituals- coffee, writing, laundry and dishes (you know, the sound of all that swishing water is really soothing….).  I pick up my cup to have a sip of my coffee and I realize something tastes “off”.  A little sour.  Perhaps my cream has gone a bit funny.  And what do I proceed to do?  I continue drinking it.

It’s a few sips later I realize that I’m not enjoying this- and that I am, in a very funny under-the-radar way, ignoring my lack of enjoyment AND the unpleasantness of the taste.  Because I don’t want to waste coffee- or cream.  Cream that is unpleasantly sour.

Time for the mental face-palm.  I’m WHAT?  Drinking yucky coffee because I don’t want to waste it?  It’s YUCKY!  It’s already wasted!  Even further, I’m having an inner debate over whether or not to throw out the (not quite yet stinking) cream.  But it’s ORGANIC!  It’s disrespectful of the cows! I am not the least bit kidding when I tell you this went through my mind.  WTF, woman!  Where is your self-respect?  (says my inner, irate goddess-cheerleader self, while my still small voice of truth sits behind her smirking).

Now I’m off to get a new cup of coffee and dump the souring cream- with all due respect to the lovely cows who made it.  But I want to offer you this thought, or question, to toss into your awareness.

Where are you allowing your default mindsets and unexamined beliefs to override your self-respect?

Today I discovered that I believe SO DEEPLY in lack; of material things like coffee and cream, the money to buy them, the resources to provide them, and mostly in my own worthiness; that I continued to drink sour coffee.

Where are you continuing to drink sour milk?  (Anyone remember that old SNL skit with the family tasting the sour milk?  It was my intent to provide a link, however I can’t seem to find it on the interwebs… )

To good laughs and fresh cream in our coffee…..

Lesley

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