Daily doses of Miracles

I walked for hours with my daughter today at a beach strand line…the line of ocean debris that is left after the tides come and go. We walked seeking to find small ocean animals that may need a little saving–lots of snails beginning to shrivel from the sun beating down, but as we toss each one into the waves, I think of the sweet sea star story and how one by one we make a difference in saving them.

Then we came upon a very rare treasure—a giant barnacle. You can find plentiful shells covered in rows of tiny barnacles, but this barnacle was the size of my palm. It was huge!! I was eager to get it in the water and see if it would come to life and what it would do. My daughter dipped it into the fresh ocean water and we watched with anticipation. It slowly began to open its beak-like animal and it began to move its arm. It was fascinating. I was hooked. I wanted to find more and more. Sure enough, I came across more and more family-like structures that all seem to grow together on whatever they hold onto. We again dunked the barnacle families into the sea and watched. All the little home-like structures began to come to life. Movement. Life. It was amazing.

Life is full of tiny miracles that happen every day! We take so many small things for granted—take a breath. Take another one and think of the miracle it is to simply breathe. I definately have taken my lungs and breathing for granted. I had covid almost two years ago and my lungs still suffer every morning. I can feel the toll it has taken and I try to push my body to breathe more, to engage my lungs to breathe in and out, to fill with air, to be grateful for the miracle to breathe.

Nature is another reminder of the tiny miracles all around us—the timing of everything placed in nature always makes me pause. Look at the gorgeous panarama’s of nature everywhere you look. Trees dot horizon lines, mountains tower above valleys, the way the sun rises and sets, the timing of the seasons, the timing of everything. Look closely at the symmetry of flowers, the way a fern rolls and unwinds as it grows, the colors, the details…so many miracles. I am in constant awe of the seeimingly protected coast line that I live on. The forest of trees that reach for the sky and many are hundreds of years old, yet the way the coast is constantly misted with moisture always makes me humbly understand how perfect everything is timed. The temperature is a pretty constant cool and keeps the coast lush with the right amount of moisture to keep the forest flourishing. You walk the forest floor and it feels like a carpet of sponge. It is all a miracle in how beautifully everything is taken care of in the perfect timing of it all.

Your eyes that can see. Count that as another miracle. Your eyes are an incredible system: There’s the complicated process of irrigation, lubrication, cleaning and protection that happens every time we blink – an average of 4,200,000 times a year.-smh. The normal human eye has about 120,000,000 photoreceptors. -sta

YOU are an incredible miracle. No one will every exist like you. You are unique. This makes me think of another great treasure for life—Og Mandino’s The Greatest Miracle in the World book.

LOVE THIS.

“You are my greatest miracle… I love you and I am with you…. are you blind? No, you can see because there’s over 100 million receptors that I placed in each of your eyes enabling you to see all the magic of life from the snowflake, to a child, she’s a soaring eagle, and the look of love. Are you deaf? No, you can hear a baby laugh because I have built into each of your ears 24,000+ fibers which vibrates to the wind and yet you hear my breath and then you go to your favorite Opera house and Handle’s Messiah is playing and you are mesmerized. As you leave the theater children are at play…. and you hear, I love you!

You can move and travel the world and do great things to make the world better because you can stretch and run and dance and work for within you I have designed over 500 muscles with 200 bones and miles upon miles of nerve fibers which are synchronize to do magnificent things within. As you place your hand on your chest and feel the pulsating rhythm of your heart day in day out 36 million beats each year year after year. I, your God, put this heart in each of you and your heart pumps 600,000 gallons of blood each year through more than 600,000 miles of been any capillaries and arteries in each person. Within the 5 quarts of blood in each person are 22 billion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule there is an atom oscillating at more than 10 million times every second and with each second 2 million of your blood cells die to be replaced by 2 million more blood cells since your life began.

As you’re taking a deep breath of air you become cognizant that the breath of life is filtered through the 600 million pockets of folded flash which filter the toxins out of the air allowing you to have life. Furthermore, your brain manages and control of your body through the 4 million pain sensitive structures along with 500,000 touch detectors and more than 200,000 temperature detectors.

If not so you would not be in touch with yourself or your life and you would die if we were not touched by life and love through the over 4 million pain sensitive structures we are to be cared for and lovingly touched.

Are you feeble of mind? Can you no longer think for yourselves? I think not. Your brain is the most complex of my creations and within this 3 pounds is over 15 billion nerve cells more than twice the number of cells than there are people on earth. Therefore you can file away every experience you have in life including every sound you hear, every sight you see, and every experience you have from the first day that you were born to the last day of your life.

I have implanted in your life every sound you hear, every taste you smell, every reaction from birth till death so that I have implanted within each of cells more than 1000 billion billion protein molecules so that every incident in your life is there waiting only for your recall, providing you with endless capabilities of growth and learnings.

You are the most valuable treasure in the face of the earth what are you know who created you and there is only one of you. Never in all the 70,000,000,000+ human being to ever walk on this planet there has never been one exactly like you. Really never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you. From your father, and his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love more than 400 million and only one Infinitesimal cell joined within your mothers womb and these two cells now united in the miracle each containing 23 chromosomes and hundreds of genes which governed all your characteristics from the color of your eyes to the charm of your personality to every dimension of life I could have created 300,000 billion humans each different from each other but you are the priceless treasure the rarest of the rare.

When I first read this book it moved me so deeply with all the details of the many miracles within our lives, our bodies, the smallest miracles we don’t even give a second thought to.

Life is full of details daily that can move us to a greater understanding of the incredible gifts we receive every single day—-LIFE. Live it fully. Love endlessly. Give whole-heartedly and be grateful for the small things to truly appreciate the greatest things within your life.

Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

Connection.

I was recently walking a green space near my home with my husband and came across an incredible man. He was sitting on a fallen tree and his two dogs were dancing down the trail towards us. The man instantly greeted us and with his charm and wit, asked if I was the daughter, wife…puzzling with a smile. I instantly connected and liked this man. There was something about him that made me want more. He excitedly began to educate us on the trees all around us, “This is a hemlock, that is a spruce…this flower is a foxglove…” His passion was infectious and he was a joy to be with. He then got even more exuberant and pointed at the fallen tree he had just been sitting on, “This tree is exactly due North—true north!” he exclaimed with such enthusiasm. He took out his phone and went to the compass and showed us how exact it was. He then humbly said, “this is my prayer place.” We listened to him as he explained various trails nearby, and then told us about a fishing trip to Argentina, a visit to Scottland with fields of Heather…he was a wealth of places, stories, tips about local berries, bears and the conversation peppered with scriptures, enthusiasm and faith. It was a very fun conversation and we left the mountain better for it!!

I am never surprised by outcomes of happy meetings of various people. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a local spot to do some whale watching, take some research photos and start the day in nature. A few couples dropped in at the special point, but one woman in particular could not get enough of the whales. Every single time she would see a whale she lit up, boomed out a loud, “there it is” and pointed. Even if the whale was right there for all to see, she could not help herself. She was filled with an enthusiasm that was infectious! I told her that I loved it and she shared how she had been to the Oregon coast numerous times and had not had this experience. She was genuinely so happy to be there at that moment. She then shared how she had just been to the Galapagos and this was even better.

I get pretty excited to see every whale blow, but her enthusiasm made me reflect on how often we take it for granted that we get to enjoy the whales just about every day. It made me appreciate every blow even more and that when we get the opportunity to explore, see and enjoy all the beauty of the whales, to remember how special every moment is. It is all a level of connection.

Whether we are connecting with people, the planet, whales, the ocean, taking pictures of seals, watching an eagle, having a fun conversation with a stranger or a neighbor—it is all a beautiful gift of connection.

What I learn from these connections—how important it is to not lose sight of every connection we have. We are influencing people in one way or another. I remember having a phone conversation about a stressful home warranty issue with a telephone customer service person. I tried to go into the conversation with good energy, to create a positive situation, be respectful of the other person on the line and in the end, make lemonade out of lemons and the guy laughed, enjoyed our conversation and left the call with, “best call ever!” I smiled as he transferred me to another representative. Our connections, no matter how small, are important and matter.

What if Larry just sat on his log quietly and did not say a word. We would have probably just smiled and walked on our merry way past him. The sweet connection would have been lost. We would have missed the enthusiasm (God within) of this man and the knowledge he passionately shared. It is wonderful to know that there are people like Larry praying on a log and connecting with those who cross his path in one way or another. He is an influence for good. Thank you, Larry.

In all you do–Connect. Be a light for good. Do good. Be an influencer of good things.

Peace, Love and Light to you. -H

Variety:Spices of Life

We currently have a guest in our home who is staying with us for a month. He is a friend of my daughter’s from college. He comes from a different background and has grown up with lots of spices in his food. In our home, we are very plain compared to the basil, parsley, oregano, lots of pepper, bouge cheeses, etc….So, it was hilarious to see my daughter, her Dad and her friend joining forces to make our families traditional spaghetti. At our house they like it sweet and he is use to a more savory and spicy pasta. I sat back and laughed watching them all debate how in his mind, “spice is good. Spice is a great variety of life. It needs spices!” he argued. It was back and forth with my daughter stating her side and how this is tradition and she likes it her way. Finally, it was agreed that the spaghetti would be made the traditional way our family makes it & then he can add all the spices he wants in his bowl & that my daughter would at least try it.

The pasta was finally done & everyone was happy, but I was especially happy to see both sides pleasantly talk about the variations. He shared how the sweetness was delicious and different than what he was use to. My daughter tried the spices and was open to new flavors. But sometimes you just have to try the variety to see what you really like & how sometimes your traditional will always be your personal favorite. How can you truly appreciate or value something if you don’t try anything else?

When I think of spices of life—I think traveling to new destinations, seeing new places, shops, trying new food, even if they are new spots in your own backyard, community, state, etc. We have moved to a few different states (Idaho–both sides, Arizona, various places in Utah, two different locations in Oregon) and have seen various parts of California, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Nevada…we have a ways to go to see the various parts of this incredible world, but slowly we make our way. They are the places that make the greatest memories, the moments that stay with you. Think about it—your favorite memories and life moments—where were they??

SEEKING THE VARIETY: So, this post I am researching and giving you some fun activities and ideas to get you out seeking a variety of spices for your life!

TRAVEL: So does traveling lead to more happiness? Im sure many people would agree that the answer is yes. In fact, a survey by the travel company G Adventures found that 83% of people consider travel to be a very important part of life, and 68% of people say that new experiences are the happiest part of traveling. -Delivering Happiness.

Why are we happy when we travel? According to the blog In Pursuit of Happiness the answer is these six reasons: having a sense of accomplishment, learning about ourselves, becoming more interesting individuals, realizing that some things in life are less important than they really are, connecting with people and feeling alive. I LOVE that!!

I know for me, traveling to new places, even just a new trail, a new antique shop, a new activity, a new food place to try, a new destination…makes me come alive with wonder and curiosity. I so enjoy the newness of any new adventure. This past weekend our community had a kite festival. I had been waiting months to see this event & experience it. I even purchased a book on the history of kite flying so I would have a new perspective and understanding of the history. Always so much to learn. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that accumulated. Just the variety of people that were drawn to this event was fun to see. It was pure joy to see colorful kites blowing in the wind in every view of the ocean sky. To see huge whale kites, sharks, giraffes, modern spinners, angled shapes that twist with the breeze—beautiful! It was wonderful to see children pass by me with their homemade kites with big smiles & even bigger smiles when you commented on their kite. It was incredible to see kite fliers who created & choreographed multiple kites to musical compositions. Who knew!? To see such passion, strength and skill was extraordinary.

Travel Challenges: Visit a new city & ask the locals for all the musts to see. There are always local spots–whether its for great food, an incredible sunset skyline, a specialty shop, a unique food that is local, etc. Ask the locals for something special. They wont let you down.

Tour a new location on a bike or take some type of local transportation–trolley car, ferry ride, horseback, etc. See things around you from a different perspective.

Take a free tour of some type–whether it is a walking tour, a museum tour, local garden or historical homes. Find some free tours of interest to you.

Find local graffiti art and take selfies with your favorites. This is especially fun because there are always so many different messages, images, artists, etc. Find what you genuinely like.

Find local LOVE padlock bridges, gates or place to leave your loving mark. My little family did this while traveling through Nevada. There are locations all around the world and in different cities. Take a special padlock, write a message & attach it to a special location. Have fun!!

Send yourself or someone you love a fun postcard. This would be a fun memento to yourself and it would be a great way to remember the places you have seen and adventured.

Find the Unique or largest something of some kind challenge: Whether it is the largest croissant, a large local statue, big sign, giant rock coming out of the ocean, a manmade elephant, an octopus made out of recyclable plastics, etc. Find things wherever you are that you may not see somewhere else. Go out of your natural way to find the unique and extraordinary.

BEST VIEW: Seek out the best views in town. Humans are 90% visual beings, so it would make sense that we are moved by visual settings, things and places we see. No matter where you are, ask around for the best views in town. Whether it is on top of a hillside, the top of a building for an incredible skyline, a tall tower, a good whale watching spot, a beautiful beach to photograph, a forest path that leads to an open meadow. Seek out the places that you are drawn to. Maybe you like to take photos of graffiti and ask around for local art. Maybe you just want an idyllic picnic spot. Maybe you want to take a tram ride to a meadow of wildflowers. There are special spots everywhere. Seek out what you need to find.

NEW FOOD: Make it themed. At our house, we try to add some spice to our meals with a fun, new song themed with our dinner—ie: Italian, French, Mexican and have the fun music mixes playing while we saute meats, bbq steaks, boil pasta, broil breads, etc. Add some flair, decorate, try new dishes.

You could also do a fun share and care potluck with your neighbors. Have everyone sign-up to bring some fun flavors & try a bit of everything.

Also, try out some of your local dishes. Seek out and find a favorite thai or mexican dish, maybe find some place that has incredible desserts. Try it all. Find what you enJOY!

SOMETHING out of your NORM: Seek to find something that will help get you out of your norm. Find some activity that will challenge you on a new level—whether you have always wanted to go sailing, hike into a cave, golf from an ocean view, Tour and walk to the top of a lighthouse or maybe a haunted house. Maybe you have an obsession with Twilight & want to stay in one of the epic homes in the movie. Maybe you want to find Big Foot & need to find a museum to explore your curiosities. My neighbor wanted to stay at a hotel with alpacas & play with the babies on the property. Maybe you want to stay overnight in a treehouse. Maybe you have a list of waterfalls you want to see—The list of opportunities is endless. It is up to you and your imagination. Plan a trip and make something happen.

I hope this list gets you thinking, planning, and shaking things up to bring a little more variety and spice to your life. Your life only changes when you begin. Think about it—Everyone LOVES a good surprise. Life is full of surprises if we take the chance to seek and find them in all we do.

-Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

Digging Deeper w Yourself

The most satisfying journey is the journey you take inward with yourself. -Nitin Nameo

We often get stuck in the routine of life, often missing a deeper connection with things that are quite essential to our life journey. There seems to be a rushing clock of life that does not stop for anyone. My little family was talking last night about how our new surroundings, external experiences, new physical address, the old, the new and how quickly life has happened. We reflected about leaving our old home of 11 years almost a year ago seems to have been a distant dream. It seems like we were there years ago, but it has not even been a year yet. Time flies. Life quickly gets snatched into the reality of change. Every journey is different, but every single one is essential to growth, challenge, change, ultimately a greater version of who we are to become.

So, lets talk about one of the most essential journeys–the one to truly find ourselves. The kind of journey that takes you inward on a deeper level. The kind that takes time to truly seek within, but so often is neglected in the intertia of the day to day. Lets take a moment and relfect what we need.

A SPECIAL PLACE FOR PRAYER OR QUIET REFLECTION: As I reflect on my own journey, I instantly think of times where I was broken emotionally and what I did to get through those moments. I found prayer to be a place of calm. I have found special places in nature—an open field peppered with horses that I could just sit and ponder, pray and be taken to a place of peace. Another place I have found—in our new surroundings–a special rock that I sit and pray, ponder and seek calm at the ocean. I think having a special spot creates and opens a space of quiet, inner conversations and moments that open to personal reflection, deeper thoughts and questions that your soul yearns for.

DEEPER QUESTIONS: I am often teased about all the questions I ask. When I meet new people, have intimate conversations, of course I am going to jump into questions—not just the, hi, so what do you do for a living type, shallow, hallow, aimless questions. I go for the deep, jump into the pool with me kinda questions. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable, but sometimes we have a deep dive convo that is priceless. I think these deep questions are especially essential for one self. Lets get started: What makes you come alive? My daughter’s favorite quote by Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What do you lose time doing? What lights you up or gets you excited? Those are a couple indicators of what makes you come alive. GO Do that! What could you give a 30 minute quality talk on with little preparation? I came across this question and love the idea because this is an instant guide to what your heart knows and is passionate about. This is often the stuff you research, read up on, know all about, want to share, take time to get educated on, etc. Think hard about what you are truly knowledgable about—is it trends, is it happiness, self help, a sport of some kind, politics, travel, baking, reality tv, creating memories, yoga, etc. This is also a great key to unlock personal directions of interest, possible career opportunities, etc. What was probably one of the most stressful experiences of your life & what did you learn from it? Stressful situations bring about instant reaction & it is a time where you learn so much about yourself, how you react to situations and what you take away from them. They are true growth indicators for your journey. Is there something you have always wanted to do but have not been able to yet? A big dream. A dream job. Created something…Why have you not done it yet? This one is a hard question because lots of excuses can pile up, so be honest with yourself. This is where you dig deeper, create baby steps and begin slowly. At least begin. Little by little big things are built. Brick by brick. Small keys open big doors. Begin. Celebrate each small win. What is something you FEEL sets YOU apart from other people? your strengths, your super powers, your creativity, your enthusiasm, your skill set, what sets you apart? How can you use that to your benefit? Do you feel you live your life more authentically by Love OR Fear? [These are the two primary emotions–which one do you live in mostly?] Those are both ends of the spectrum, so be honest with yourself on this one. Think of your day to day interactions, your thoughts, your emotions, your actions—do they seem to be living from an energy of Love OR Fear? “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. What is your definition of Happiness? I recently sent out a text to family and asked this simple question…or so, I thought pretty simple question. smile. smile. I had one person respond (out of probably ten) and that was my brother who is currently doing a lot of self-reflecting during a divorce. This is a real question you need to ask yourself. What does it mean to you. What are three things you wish you knew for sure? That is a great question that makes you stop and ponder. This also reminds me of Oprah and how she always would ask guests what they knew for sure. Think about it.

This is also a great stopping point to say—great questions bring about a greater life. period. There are plenty of questions out there. Google questions. See which questions make you stop and ponder. Take the time to ask yourself hard questions that help you ponder, pray, seek and find greater answers for your life. That is what we all need on our personal journeys.

ADVICE. Motto. Mantra: This is a tricky one. We all hear the phrase for many occasions–what is the best and worst piece of advice you have received. Whether it was for your wedding, a job, a life choice, etc. Think over the years of advice and write down some of your favorites that you have since tried to live by or appreciate. Some of my favorites: Give the love you want to receive. It is what it is, so its up to you how you react. Your life is what you make it–you choose. Get outside of yourself and be better in the service of someone else. Be aware of the energy you carry. Karma. Namaste. Live Love. Give Love. I also heard a fun idea—randomly ask a stranger, co-worker, friend, family…whomever you like what is a favorite motto or piece of advice they live by. Then try to take a day and implement it into your life. See how it feels. I just randomly asked someone and this is what they gave me…”Conformity kills character.” Be open to ideas. Share in finding those things you live by that will help you as an individual dig deeper into who you need to be or become.

When will you begin that long journey into yourself? -Rumi

Peace. Love and Light to you today. May your journey be yours in every possible way. -H

Creative Whirl

Creativity is always at the forefront of my mind. I think we all have more creativity at play than we realize. I find myself at the beach watching my husband and daughter get lost in the thrill of agate hunting, so I have found myself yearning to seek something else to do on the sandy, beach landscape. It first began with looking for heart shaped rocks, which then led to making rock towers and now I make cairns (The name originates from a Gaelic term that means “heap of stones.” It was likely first coined by Scots who used them to mark trails across grass-covered, hilly landscapes. In the Andes Mountains and Mongolia, rock cairns were used to mark routes to safety, to food, and to villages–zionpark.com) It is a simple exercise in patience, but also simple beauty.

Stacked rocks that seem to balance with a gentle touch. Who knew It could be so addictive. It is a game that my creativity likes to challenge. My mind whirls in movement as it seeks different colors, shapes, textures to build the ideal stack. It made me think of nature artists and artists who seem to have such natural flow in the land of art. I have sinced googled artists to find people like Andy Goldsworthy who seems to create such imagined art out of nature. His works are unique, sometimes seemingly unimageinable in the way he stacks, teeters, twists and constructs materials together to make such incredible beauty. [look him up—worth the visit–couple of his below]

I am always drawn to art, especially the artists who seem to have such depths that seem endless. So, needless to say, while flipping through Netflix, I came across the documentary called Sky Ladder, the Art of Cai Guo-Giang. His name was not a familiar one to me, but when I saw some of his art, I recognized it. He has so many incredible mediums and depths that his imagination whirls in, but my favorites were definitely what he is able to do with biodegradable gun powder to make such incredible stories and beautiful landscapes across a sky. It was like a chalk fest on another level, with depth and creativity I had never seen. It lit me up with imagination and wonder. I wanted to run out and buy a canvas and throw colorful chalk to experience a similar explosion of color. It was incredible.

Then the story began to talk about one of his personal quests, a project that seemed to propel him to another level of creativity and imagination. After multiple attempts and having various issues stop the plans in the making, the Sky Ladder seemed to become a personal mission, a larger limit, a project that many felt was unachievable and had many nay-sayers, but to him pushed him and the project into existence. It was a wonderful journey and story of how dreams, projects, art, inspiration and imagination can guide, push, propel us to new heights, fresh ideas, to see things from different lenses and to believe that anything is possible—if we simply believe.

It is amazing to me that such a story can touch another on such a level. I came away from that documentary ready to create—even on a small scale. To see someone so passionate, so driven to see his dream become a reality, was awe inspiring.

It took me back to a couple of years ago when I was inspired to create a lantern walk in my little community. I bought hundreds of lanterns and hung them on a path in a nearby forest. I created hearts out of light ropes, hung numerous lanterns of variety from trees, made luminary paths, and lit up a small park for the greater good. It all ended at a giant “LOVE” sign that was four feet tall to take pictures with friends and family. It was a lovely event that had probably about one hundred friends and neighbors in attendance, but the night seemed to have magic and wonder for all who experienced it. It was imagined, created for a larger purpose, inspired to bring connection, love and light to a community and the artist within me seemed to sing with ideas for months. It was a culmination of a creative whirl!

I am going to get all my lanterns and come up with another creative culmination that will spark a little more light and love on another scale in another community. Thanks Cai. You have inspired!!

FOR PERSONAL INSPIRATION: Watch the Netflix documentary or read this article and video about Cai https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002725/the-man-who-played-with-fire-

Go into your yard or outdoor space and find some medium to be creative with. Maybe start with a rock pile, leaves, twigs, chalk, water, bubbles, sand, anything you feel drawn to. Take some pics of your creativity.

Look up creative artists–whether they are caligraphy masters, nature artists, watercolor, musicians, photographers, painters, people who work with resin, natural materials like shells, etc. Find pieces that you are in awe of.

May you find something today that ignites a spark of something greater within you today.

-Peace, love and light to you. -H

Beyond your own Edge

I don’t care who you are, everyone journeys through struggles, ends up with personal scars, insecurities and victories that they begin to own for their life. Sometimes struggles are self-induced or sometimes external factors play a role, but in any event, struggles and challenges test us and push us beyond our own personal edge.

Which made me think of a great example of this which was watching the incredible people on the CBS show, Beyond the Edge. Even if you are not into adventure reality television, you can watch this and appreciate the relationships made, people climbing out of their comfort zones, getting dirty, experiencing a deeper part of themselves, all in the name of winning money for their desired charities. It was an incredibly fun ride to watch. *[There are some spoiler moments, but also lots of quotes from the cast talking about the experience. Just wanted to let you know]*

I LOVED learning about each of their personal journeys and the roads their life has taken them.

I could not have told you who Ray Lewis or Coach was or anyone else on the show for that matter, but I genuinely enjoyed hearing about the inspiring snippets from their lives. At one point in the show there was a snake near Ray Lewis and he began explaining to one of the others about why he has a thing with snakes. As a young boy Ray’s mother was dating a man that was abusive towards his mother and Ray struggled deeply with the abuse. One day the man caught a snake in the yard and threw it on Ray. In fear and desperation Ray tried to call out to his mom, but nothing came out and from that day on Ray talked with a stutter. That was also a turning point for him. He knew he wanted to do all he could to be a man that could stand up for himself and his mother. Ray began a journey to build himself into the man he is today and not allow others to abuse his family. There were so many journeys—P talked about losing her husband, Craig shared his pain of losing his son and dealing with the loss daily, Jodie being a single mom, Lauren Alaina’s body issues, Eboni’s personal insecurities and overcoming them, and Colton was on yet another television journey to share his own story. So many of them were vulnerable with one another and the connections were so valuable and lifelong friends were made. It was wonderful to see different people, from different backgrounds coming together to touch others lives, but having such an incredible impact on one another.

I LOVED hearing them talk about going beyond their own comfort zones.

“Every celebrity went on a journey,” says Goldman.[produce] “It’s easy to be nice when things are going your way, but who are you when you’re exhausted, starving, and in pain? That’s when your true colors come out.” -TV Insider

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: This is such a great point!! It is so true. It is easy to be nice when you are in your day to day, comfortable life, but when you are exhausted, starving, in pain…what happens? How do you handle the stress? Think about it. How do you handle stress and being pushed beyond your limit? It was incredible to see these people take on such a challenge & they all have very comfortable lives, so it was definitely out of their comfort zone and they all handled it with such strength and dignity. So good. Would you??

“The day before we started principal photography, all of the producers looked at each other with the sinking feeling that this celebrity cast might see where they were living for up to two weeks — the harsh jungles of Panama — and just bolt,” he said in a statement. 

“To the contrary, we were amazed by how these icons pushed themselves to their breaking points, showing incredible mental fortitude and physical tenacity,” added Goldman. “And all for an incredible cause: to raise money for charities that are near and dear to their hearts.” -People

“I learned something about fear,” Singletary admitted. “I’ve interacted, been around fear, been in fear, but not being able to see your hand at night and you’ve got to get up and go to the bathroom … By the time I left that jungle, I felt it belonged to me, and I was no longer, really, afraid. It was like, ‘This is my jungle now.’ That was something I really wanted to achieve when I got there and being able to leave with that was very empowering.” -Coach. [mediavillage.com]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: Fear. What strikes fear in you? Public speaking, trying a new sport, darkness, spiders, talking to a stranger, going back to school, dating, getting uncomfortable, etc. What makes you uncomfortable? When you come across things that make you stop, ask yourself, “what am I afraid of?” You may need to evaluate what you are truly afraid of & begin to take small steps in overcoming & “owning” the fear. Not giving it your power. Taking your power into your own hands. Like Coach said(my own summary)…By the time I left, I owned it. OWN YOUR FEAR.

…when they asked me to do it, my first response was yes. I was like, “That sounds like something I would never do on my own.” There are certain things that I want to do, like being out in the jungle for two weeks and really physically challenging myself and emotionally and mentally. I’ve been trying to say yes to things that are incredible opportunities. And Beyond the Edge was just something I would never plan or do or be able to do on my own. And so I was just like, “Yeah, let me add this to the list of things that I’ve done in my life.” -Jodie Sweetin [parade]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: I love her perspective how she looked at the opportunity and said yes because she knew enough about herself that she knew she would never do something like this experience on her own. She wanted and invited the challenge. She invited opportunities to say YES. What can you say YES to? Think of things you normally wouldn’t do & begin saying yes. Those are the opportunities you will truly grow from & learn so much about yourself.

Eboni admitted that she was “so Type A” and “way out of my comfort zone.” She explained that as a child, while everybody else was playing sports, she was competing in pageants. However, Eboni began to see that she had valuable skills that she could offer her team, including helping them to organize their rowing by counting out loud during adventure one. This was a skill that she learned at summer camp. When she balanced on a 60-foot slack line in adventure two, she was using skills that she had learned in classical ballet classes. Eboni shared that she had brought her grandfather’s Bible with her to the jungle because “it is really a spiritual compass for me. This book is to remind me who I am … Because I might forget because this is not my comfort zone.” -Williams [screenrant]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: What skills do you feel you own? What are you good at and could offer to the world? How could you utilize those skills and benefit others? [ie: I have a very strong input strength–I LOVE to learn and gather info. I have soo much info from research over the years, so I am working on creating a course for my local Community Education to hopefully benefit others in the community] You have skills, strengths, talents…how can you use them? How can you Step beyond yourself to improve your life and the lives of others.

“As hard as it was, it really became fun, but it was the most challenging thing, I think… that we’ve ever done, physically and mentally,” Lewis said. “Harder than a football Super Bowl?” asked anchor Denise Koch. “Yeah, cause usually after the football Super Bowl I come back home to my bed,” Lewis said.

I LOVED seeing a group of strangers come together in so many incredible ways.

“I can echo what everybody said,” added Underwood. “But while we are all individuals there, there was a weird comfort I had, sleeping in the jungle and knowing that there were eight other people who, sort of, had my back. If a monkey [came] in, they would step up. We leaned on each other, not only to survive, but through the competition aspect of it, the emotional part of it, and just getting what we needed out of not only the show but the experience of coming together and working together. That’s what made this experience so special and worth all the jungle trauma.” [mediavillage.com]

Not having all of the comforts and all of your usual distractions really allows you to open up to people in a way that I don’t think we often do in normal life, certainly not these days with phones. I just gained so much respect for people who I didn’t maybe know their whole story. I didn’t know where they came from. We all just shared who we were. Every day, I had a moment with someone out there that changed me. And I am so grateful for that. -Jodie [parade]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: How can you connect with someone today? Can you start a conversation with a stranger? Can you just smile and connect with someone? I think we are changed by the people we meet, the conversations that connect. My husband and I have recently moved to the coast and it is so fun to just strike up conversations with people walking the ocean. You meet all types of people from different places, with different history, stories to share, places they have been. Connections are a gift. Look for them.

“I immediately just fell in love with every one of these people,” Morgan said. “I’ve used Paulina as an example a lot. I don’t know if it weren’t for this show if Paulina and I may have, and Ebony as well, we may have never met each other. In fact, if we had met each other at some event or some function in New York, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have spent much time together because we all, I mean, it this is the truth. And I’m being transparent. We all have these preconceived ideas about who people are and the lifestyle they live. This supermodel and this famous lawyer TV person probably would’ve never come over and talked to this country, boy. But here we got to really know each other. For me, the biggest thing was the emotion of the experience. It wasn’t the physical aspects. I could have stayed there for another month. I would’ve had a house built.” -Craig [CMT]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: I loved Craig’s comment about the likelihood of meeting, let alone talking to certain people. We all have these preconceived dials within us that may limit or challenge us to not talk to people that look different from us or look closed off or unreachable. There are so many people of all types all around you. Look at everyone as a life lesson for yourself. Don’t judge. Connect. Reach beyond your edge of reason or knowing and just be there. Begin a conversation and see where it goes. You will be better for it.

In adventure one, when the contestants had to slog through a 5-foot deep muddy bog (which was thick like quicksand and almost the length of a football field), Eboni panicked when she became stuck and could not touch the bottom. She felt as though she had lost the ability to control her limbs and said that it was “a paralyzing thing.” She called out for help. Ray told Eboni to trust him, and he pulled her out. At The Lanterns, Eboni cried and shared, “I am somebody who didn’t necessarily grow up with the father figure. And to have every man here step up with protection is a big deal for me. I haven’t always felt safe. I’m not used to really being able to trust anybody but myself.” She then explained that something about the conviction in Ray’s voice when he told her to trust him made her feel that she could. -Eboni Williams [screenrant]

“I’m a little bit in love with everybody here. These are my new best friends. This is my new extended, chosen family.” -Eboni Willimans [Screenrant]

“It was amazing to feel connection with people again, because we’ve had a lot of disconnecting and disconnection in the last few years,” she added. “So to be able to get dropped off in the jungle and to find true, genuine love and connection, it was really inspiring.” -Lauren Alaina [CBS8]

Singletary coached Lewis when he worked as a linebacker coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2003-2004. “His hut was right next to mine,” says Singletary. “So, we were in talking distance, where we woke up in the morning talking and went to bed at night talking. We had a lot of really interesting dialogue.” Asked if Lewis still calls him “Coach,” Singletary says, “No, no, he calls me Papa. So, we had a lot of really great dialogue about life, about God, about football, about the disparity in our country.” -Coach [Patheos]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: We can all do better at connecting with people we care about. We have people who live with us that we could connect with a little better. Do something—anything—even something small to make a deeper connection. Write a note. Have a conversation. Reach out to a distant loved one or someone you know could use your loving support. Make your moments more meaningful and rich with care.

I LOVED seeing them push their personal limits for a good cause outside of themselves

We’ve seen you toy with the idea of leaving the game a couple of times so far. Were there any inciting incidents that led to those moments?
It was a lot of things every day. We all went through stuff and said, “Oh my god, it’s just too much. I can’t do this. I’m done.” Everyone has those moments. You wonder, “What the hell am I doing? What if something happens to me like this is really dangerous? What if I hurt myself and have to go home, or something happens to me permanently?” I don’t know that it was ever one specific thing. But there were moments of being really homesick. Thinking, “I want my family. I want to be safe. I want not to be scared. I don’t want to step down out of my hut, and there’s going to be a snake there.”

But also, you made such a commitment. For me, playing for Girls Inc, I was so determined to live up to the ideals of what that charity is about: Creating strong, determined, smart leaders in young women. That really kept me going a lot, along with my girls. I am out here to raise money and raise awareness about this. And so I have to show up and be that. That really kept me going for a lot. -Jodie [parade]

“There was no whining,” Morgan said. “I know you might not believe this … that’s the truth. It was the opposite. There were moments when everyone there, they could have whined. And no one would’ve said anything when Paulina was absolutely soaking, drenched, wet, and woke up shivering. She had a positive attitude. When people got hurt, every time something happened, they were upset that they may have let people down. It was unbelievable. I think it’s keeping perspective of why we were there.” -Craig [CMT]

It was a good series and I highly suggest the watch—even just to see good things done to make a difference for a number of charities—all done by incredible people who created an unbelievable experience together.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: We can all learn through struggle. It is how your perspective in the situation challenges and changes OR breaks you. It is your choice. Like Ray Lewis said during the show–[I am writing it from my memory, so it is not exact] Comfort Zones are the deadliest space to be. If you don’t step out of your norm—nothing changes.

They all talked about how uncomfortable this experience was but they were also so grateful for the opportuntity to step away from their daily routine, away from technology, to connect with others and have the whole journey to learn even more about themselves while doing something so good.

How can we take this into our own lives? What can we do to step out of our ordinary, to get uncomfortable and shake up something that will challenge us to become even better?

Here are a few ideas to get you started and moving BEYOND your own EDGE:

Start some sort of personal challenge [Fitness, self care, bucket list, summer project, reading, gratitude, etc]

Go somewhere new–variety shakes things up and gives you new perspectives.

Try a new workout and push your body beyond its current limit.

Take a class—educational, dance lesson, community education, art, etc.

Learn a new skill like an instrument or a foreign language

Listen to a new type of music or better yet go to a live concert that plays a new style

Watch something you would normally not watch–documentary, foreign film, series

Take a day and commit to saying hello to everyone you pass on the street or on a walk

Think of a project you have always wanted to do and just begin [ie:write a book, article, knit a sweater, enter an art contest, build an engine, learn an instrument, make a movie, etc]

Try something good for you—begin to meditate, take a yoga class, learn about mindfulness, go on a nature walk, drink more water, try an app that helps with stress, get a massage, etc.

Get out in nature—so many benefits, try a new hike in your area, walk a green space, buy a plant to put it in your yard, walk barefoot on the lawn, have a picnic, watch the sun rise & set for a week.

Hope these ideas get you started in some good directions to help you get beyond your current state. We all need to be challenged to some degree to enhance our life, to grow and become better. Do those things that will help you move beyond your own limitations.

Peace to you today. -H

Little things BIG wins

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things. -Charles Chestnutt

Today is a great day to share some personal gems I have come across in the past week. The picture above illustrates that so well. When you find little treasures on a beach, you pile them in your pockets and carry them home. I do that with rocks, agates and life gems of wisdom that seem to endlessly abound from so many great places. Seek and find them. Here are some of my favorites I found. enjoy!

My husband and I have been listening to Matthew McConaughey’s book, Greenlights while we have been commuting here and there through life. It has been a fun ride learning about his journey. At one point he was talking about roofs and how they are a man made thing and that we need to not create ceilings for ourselves, the dreams we have, the lives we live. We need to look beyond.

Reach beyond your grasp. 
Have immortal finish lines and 
turn your red light green 
because a roof is a man made thing.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

I love this thought, of how we, as individuals seem to construct personal limitations of what we can do. We begin to tell ourselves that we can only rise so high or go so far in life. That if we step beyond our own boundaries we will not be safe. We begin the life lies that end up ruining so much that life has to offer. When we begin to believe that we are powerful beyond measure, that is when miracles begin and life opens doors to greater places within us. Love that. DONT put a ceiling on yourself. Reach beyond within your own mind for those higher places your seek.

The easiest way is to dissect success, is through gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working. Appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969

Gratitude has this incredible power to almost fix anything. When we feel an energy lag in our life or feel things are not going quite right or we hear complaints or whines—-gratitude has a beautiful chime that can wash away and change the energy in a moment. It is almost like an instant switch, a brighter light that turns on a new perspective, a greater awareness, a place that awaits for a simple, thank you to help balance everything.

We are all made for every moment we encounter. Whether the moment makes us or we make the moment. Whether we are helpless in it or on top of it, the predator or the prey, we are made for that moment.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

A few of our family mottos: Just show up and play full out. Always do you. Say yes to things that will challenge or help you grow and always look for opportunities to be of service–especially when we get stuck in ourselves. Life is a series of moments & it is how you make them, how you respond, what you say in the moments and the feelings you follow. Life can try to trip you up, throw curves and hurdles, highs and low points, but it is how you handle it. Do you come out stronger? Do you break, but then figure out how to rebuild a little better and brighter. It is also more importantly, the energy you carry and live by. As Matthew says, the predator or the prey, your energy of who you are, what you allow to propel you, the insecurities you let own you, the thoughts you think, all play a factor in your life. You either make the moments count to your best ability or you don’t. You walk away feeling energized or you feel let down by the encounter or experience. Moment by moment, life takes you on a ride, it is how you live it that makes the moments matter most.

Those were a few of my favorite lines. The book is full of fun stories, wild rides, colorful language, great insights, an enjoyable read. The audio book is Matthew reading, so he makes the stories truly come to life. Highly recommend–you will take away some good things for your own life. Even his energy and charisma is contagious.

Speaking of CHARISMA—this takes me to another treasure to share. A podcast, called The Good Life Project. This is a great place to find incredible interviews with all types of people who have come from various places, projects, books, institutes, award winners, etc. You will definitely find some worthwhile interviews of great things to learn.

I recently listened to the podcast with Zoe Chance, teacher at Yale, author of Influence is your Superpower. When I ask people which influence skill they’d like to develop, the most common response by far is “charisma.” When I ask them to define it, they tell me, “It means people pay attention to you” or “It means you have a lot of presence.” But why do we pay attention to charismatic people? What are they doing? A dictionary definition of charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others,” but as a tool for influence, that language is awfully vague. Yes, charisma gets people to pay attention to you, but it’s not just any kind of attention. You wouldn’t say a guy running through the office in his underwear is charismatic. People who try to make themselves the center of attention just become annoying.

The first paradox of charisma is that trying to be charismatic has the opposite effect.

Most of us, most of the time, aren’t consciously trying to be the center of attention. But we can fall into this trap subconsciously, focusing on ourselves in ways that are anti-charismatic. Humor me for a moment and try this exercise.

In each row below, guess which group uses the word “I” more often.

Leaders…or followers?

Older people…or younger people?

Richer people…or poorer people?

Happy people…or depressed people?

Angry people…or fearful people?

Better students…or worse students?

Men…or women?

According to analyses of formal and informal conversations, speeches, emails, and other written documents, people in the groups listed on the right-hand side tend to use “I” and other first-person pronouns more frequently and by a large margin. In a book called The Secret Life of Pronouns. He found that people who feel they have less power or lower status tend to use more self-referential language. Sometimes the gap has a basis in reality—followers must take orders from leaders, and the poor are less powerful than the rich. But unconscious linguistic patterns derive more precisely from feelings of personal power—or lack thereof. -Yale Insights

A few of her other tips: Just ask for what you want, Be okay with saying No and the magic question to always get what you need…WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?

To be a BIG INFLUENCER, she says to do one thing with every person you encounter—CHOOSE to like them. It may be hard, but find SOMETHING to appreciate about that person.

Finding a Happy, HEALTHY BALANCE with Positive Psychology. Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project also shared some great tips about a MODEL FOR NOURISHING…a well being theory called PERMAV [Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishments, Vitality]

Pursuing these things is the best way to happiness…not just pursuing happiness.

POSITIVE EMOTIONS: Negative emotions are inevitable but you need to learn how to move through it to avoid getting stuck in this state.

ENGAGEMENT: Being fully absorbed. Finding flow in something you are aligned with. Ask yourself, “What makes me lose track of time?” Do more of that!

RELATIONSHIPS: Studies show LOVE is the key ingredient for positive relationships. Those can be chosen family, biological, friends, partners…romantic love, companions, compassionate love (could be a stranger you feel empathy or compassion for), attachment (relationship for a length of time–ease or connection) He suggested doing an exercise of Arthur Erin—2 people, 36 questions that connect. He also suggested doing a Friendship Text Roulette—flip randomly through your contacts and send out a loving message(s).

MEANING: Purpose. In service of others, something that benefits something or someone beyond yourself. You will experience the Givers Glow.

ACCOMPLISHMENT: or Achievement. We are more alive and better beings when we are actively setting a goal or seeking to achieve or do something. The movement towards something that allows us to feel we are alive and on purpose. The feeling of progress and competence is incredibly powerful. Accomplishing things that truly matter to you as an individual. Not just going up some ladder of success. Doing the things that matter to YOU. It is about rising up your own ladder. Accomplishemnt tied to a personal reason of why is what we are looking for.

The above is all BRAIN, thoughts….But what about the BODY? You need to have the body in alignment with the thoughts and actions or you are missing something huge. They feed back to one another and if you don’t connect the two, it will be a dis-service to you truly feeling alive and flourishing. That is why they added VITALITY.

VITALITY: The feedback mechanism. The way the mind and body communicate with each other. So, what can we do for the body to help it truly come alive? It all comes back to simplicity. No hacks, new pill or diet fad–the basics. Nutrition and nourishment—how we FEED the body. Also, MOVEMENT. We are not built to be still…not moving. Have some MIND STILLING practics and good SLEEP.

ALL good TREASURES to be found. Little things that can make an overall BIG difference in our lives. DO GOOD. BE GOOD. LIVE WELL.

Peace. Love and Light to you. Always SEEK good things that lead to HAPPINESS. -H

The Creator in all of us

Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you express this creative potential, you can start changing the world. -Paulo Coelho

Last night I attended a Creativity Boot Camp, which was a fun creative outlet that led to this post. I do believe we all have creators within us and I want to bring that to the forefront of anyone questioning their potential, their ability, their purpose, direction, etc.

Lets think about a great creative—off the top of my head, I go to Mozart. There are stories about him walking outside and his mind being filled with inspiration, complete musical pieces swirling around and landing within him to bring into this world.

He also had a bit of a muse…a starling bird he named, “Star.” According to Linda Lynn Haupt & her new book, Mozart’s Starling, On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang an improvised version of the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Sensing a kindred spirit in the plucky young bird, Mozart bought him and took him home to be a family pet. For three years, the starling lived with Mozart, influencing his work and serving as his companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.

I genuinely love the beautiful idea of inspiration simply flowing and being readily available to someone who invites in creativity, whether it be bird or man. What an incredible gift. I do believe we all have the ability within us. We just have to be available and willing to be inspired.
BE OPEN TO POSSIBILITY.

TIPS that I CREATED from my Class:

Happy Brain. Happy Life.

UTILIZE YOUR BRAIN and its POWER: begin by taking care of yourself and creating a high performance mind. Get enough sleep, Eat great foods, Exercise, Take time to meditate, walk or wander, Continue to always learn and surround yourself with people smarter than you.

TIPS for your BRAIN According to Harvard Health:

Mental Stimulation: Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, try “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.

Exercise: exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic, and adaptive, which translates into better performance

Also suggested good nutrition, lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar and cholesterol, avoid tobacco and alcohol, and care for your emotions and build your social circles. All good things for better brain health. 

LEARN FROM MASTERS: Whether that is reading a good biography, talking to people online who are experts in their field of study, joining a group of some kind or merely reaching out to someone who is doing what you desire to do and learning from them by asking questions, inquiring on how things are done, etc. DONT be afraid to reach out—they are just people! I was trying to create a musical screen play & who better to ask questions than the screen writer from the movie Mamma Mia. I literally did my homework and found a way to get in touch with her for her thoughts and advice on how to move my idea forward. She was an incredible human being that was open and willing to help share direction. It was a wonderful and meaningful exchange. Remember: they are just people and people usually love to help, if possible. Learn from the masters.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”- Marie Curie Learning: taking the time to get even better at something. They say if you do something for 15 minutes a day, some say 10,000 hours to become an expert, some say that it is the quality of time practiced over quantity, etc. I believe if you want to get good at something—begin. You will not learn anything if you don’t begin. Begin. Practice. Become.

“Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

PLAY: Creativity opens a space of opportunity. We often live in schedules and rigid deadlines, so offering a space of time to just let go, get creative, play in some way is incredible nourishment for the soul. Play is so important as a child, so why or how does that change so much as an adult. It doesn’t. It is just worked out of us or responsability works it right out of us & the spontaneity and play we seek gets lost in the day to day. When play is part of the day to day, then everything is better. Creativity becomes part of the equation and a bigger part of a greater solution to a better, balanced, happier life.

A creative exercise I found online: Tim Brown’s amazing 2008 TEDTalk Tales of Creativity in Play in which he talks about this next exercise. Created by Bob McKim of the Stanford Design Program, the 30 circles exercise is simple in practice and quick to complete. Each participant is given a piece of paper with 30 blank circles on it, a pencil and 3 minutes on the clock.  You are challenged to fill in as many circles as possible- with the aim being quantity, not quality. Maybe all your circles are variations on a theme, perhaps they are all emojis … your one goal was to fill out as many as possible. Then, after the exercise, share and reflect what similarities there were and encourage collaboration. The motive behind the 30 circles is to stop yourself from self-censoring. When you go for quantity, you don’t have time to think your idea is bad, you can edit later. This is the stage where creativity flourishes.

Real life example of work, play and the benefits: Look at Google and its foosball tables and beach volleyball. Having fun and playing around engage the creative side of the brain, helping people work better. A Stanford study found that getting up and walking around unleashes creativity, and even something as simple as zoning out and daydreaming can set the creative fires ablaze, according to neuroscience. -Inc

CONNECT: “Creativity is just connecting things.” – Steve Job Your mind needs to learn how to connect ideas, senses, emotions, a collection of experiences to take you to a new way of thinking. Creativity is an extension of everything within you.

A creative exercise from the class: You find a picture online that you are drawn to—aka a room that tells a story, a person in an old photograph, a scene, etc. You then begin to create a list. The list begins telling the story, creating characters, touches the senses in some way…the story of the picture begins to have pieces that then fit together and connect in some way. It comes alive.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein

CURIOSITY: See where the ideas land. Make lists of brainstorming ideas as a starting point. The leader talked about Mindmapping in various ways. Whether you are creating characters for a story, creating an interior design project, contemplating a new way of doing something….begin with a map of ideas. Get curious. Think outside every box, come up with crazy, imaginative and over-the-top out there ideas and then begin to build your creative directions.

A creative exercise we were given in class–“Driving with Ben” the idea was to get curious and see things from a different perspective…a car ride with Ben Franklin. The premise was that Ben just popped into this time period and you were showing him around town. What would you show him? What would he wonder about? What would he be curious about? Objects, inventions, spaces, architecture, cars, textures, etc.

“Variety is the spice of life. We all want surprises.” -Tony Robbins

VARIETY: You have heard the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” Well, it is, especially if you are desiring growth, creativity, you want to step out of your norm or the daily grind of life. Begin trying a variety of things that challenge, inspire, push you beyond your current state and help you stretch to various parts of you. Whether you want to challenge your body and desire to enter a fun run or maybe you want to enter a piece into an art show or maybe you want to explore a new town for a possible photo shoot—variety is the spice of life. When you chase new experiences there is only space for personal growth and creativity.

A creative exercise I found online: Go to a bookstore or library and explore a section completely unrelated to your job or the books you normally read. Choose a book and read it to see what new knowledge you can glean. Learning about disciplines that are different from your own can introduce you to new ways of managing your work.-Indeed

“Some wander to get lost and some wander to find themselves.”

WANDER: Wandering to me is simply just letting yourself explore, seek, find, spend time mostly alone, for the sake of just simply being. Seek and find your inner creator. Notice details around you, fall in love with the quiet steps in all you do during a good wander. Use your senses to instill the sights and sounds you experience. Be present to the gifts that abound around you.

A creative exercise I found online: Go on a field trip out of the office. Explore a local garden or walk around downtown to see what new ideas or concepts you discover through a change of scenery. Even the act of having a meeting in a new place can spark original ideas. -from Indeed

KEEP THE MIDSET of BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE: OR better yet, “I’M POSSIBLE” It is a view point. You can look at obstacles, growth, change and say it one of two ways—IMPOSSIBLE or I’m POSSIBLE. It does matter what you believe. You can tell yourself many things. What are you telling yourself. Are you saying you don’t know how to be creative…you are not smart enough to start something…you don’t have the skills, etc. Evaluate those ideas and statements that you are telling yourself. Get your ideas flowing with positive talk…I’M POSSIBLE thinking…

Think about this–how can you truly begin to create and imagine and brainstorm IF you are only thinking small thoughts and ideas OR even worse, negative thoughts and ideas. Nothing creative comes from a small, inner creative critic. The very definition of To Create is to bring (something) into existence OR cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s action.

HOW can you bring anything into existence IF you cannot see the impossible, the bigger dreams, the ideas that desire to be brought into this world because you are stuck in a small place within your own mind. Free the ideas, bring out the I’M Possible and create possibility in all you do.

A creative exercise we were given in class: “10 Ideas a day”. Write down 10 ideas of something you want to create, learn, adventure into, inspiration, anything that gets your ideas bubbling.

CREATIVITY COMES IN MANY COLORS & SPACES FOR EVERYONE: Sometimes you need to step away for the creativity to come. Inc did an article on people finding creative moments and these are some of the many situations shared: “So I take a three-mile walk, and it’s during that hour away from my desk, when I have my best creative ideas. My head de-clutters and I start thinking clearly, and coming up with ideas.” “I find I get my best ideas when I’m making food! I think it’s because when I make food I tend to forget about everything else. I get lost in the process of the making and I think that gives my brain a rest. When it’s resting, my brain gives me its best ideas.”-Kat Quinzel. “I solve problems for my business under water. No phone. No internet. No talking. No noise pollution. Just the sound of breathing through my regulator, the calming lull of the ocean and my thoughts. The deeper and darker I’m able to go (safely, of course), the more hyper-focused I must be of my surroundings and actions, and thus, the more hyper-focused my thoughts become. There’s nothing like going down to 120 feet, looking down past the drop-off into the abyss, and thinking of a solution to a problem I’ve been struggling with for a while.” -Brain Li. “My best ideas generally take place when I’m at a quiet milkshake shop late at night, with an excellent-tasting milkshake and a comic book. It sounds odd, but it always works! I love milkshakes and I love comic books, so the combination of both definitely gives a surge of all kinds of positive energy and motivation. And I’m sure the giant-size carb boost and creative reading material help. The more chocolatey the shake, the better!” -Michael Freeby Photography. Other creatives mentioned while walking their dog, listening to music, mowing their lawn, swimming and I would say in the shower or the 3am magic hour.

Hope these ideas help instill and inspire your inner, creative greatness. Just begin. Move towards your own brilliance and shine.

Peace. love and light. -H

The Ups and Downs

My beautiful daughter is experiencing her first year of college and the past couple of weeks has been a genuine ride of emotions. So many firsts in this first year—that I could truly understand the quote, “Life is a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs, its thrills and terrors, and every once in awhile it just randomly breaks down.”

My daughter has been in tears multiple times in the last couple of weeks. She is in tears without knowing why she is feeling so down. It breaks my heart and the mom part of me just wants to take her off the roller coaster and give her a needed break.

Emotions are a real thing, so when I was reading the book, HEAL, by Kelly Noonan Gores there is a part about depression and anti-depressants: “Its true for antidepressants and other psychiatric medications, which we now know can actually promote long-term experiences of depression.”

It is a crazy thing to think about—our body may get a natural dose [or lack of something that causes] depression, so society goes to the doctor & they prescribe an anti-depressant. The body COULD naturally create a solution on its own through balancing natural chemicals that come from being in nature, exercise, service, etc. [granted not all situations can naturally, but…]I thought it is interesting how because the body takes the anti-depressant it almost becomes dependent on the person taking it, so it promotes depression in the body, so the med has something to fix. It begins an inevitable cycle of depression that stays in the body. Wow!

Something inside me clicked. I have been reading about Oxytocin (Kissing, love chemical) because my daughter has been recently experiencing her first real relationship that involves kissing, so another aha moment chimed in to how this chemical is playing in her system. Then she is a week before her period, so she has her usually monthly hormone cycles kicking in and then you throw in additional stress hormones into the mix and my poor daughter is going up and down with cycles of emotion and internal chemicals. No wonder she is a mess. Her body cannot keep up with everything.

This got me needing and wanting to figure out some solutions to find natural ways to help balance out the body in times of stress, emotions, the ups and downs of life.

I have been telling my daughter to do those things that are going to help balance her out—Get outside and into nature. Do some body movement, exercise, even yoga. Eat healthy foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. Get outside of yourself and serve someone to receive the natural, endorphins of chemicals in the body. Listen to upbeat, mood lifting music. Read something positive like affirmations. Take a warm shower, be in water. Be still & meditate.

DIET: In the book, HEAL, Lifestyle medicine expert Dr. Mark Emerson explains how, through diet, many Americans are poisoning themselves into disease…we are ingesting things we are just not designed for, such as genetically modified foods, chemical pesticides, processed foods, preservatives, refined sugars and factory-farmed animal products, to name a few. All of these kill our microbiome, disrupt our hormones and inflame our gut. Our body deals with these offending items as best as it can, but there’s going to come a point where chronic, repetitive bad behavior catches up with us. That’s what he calls the tipping point. “Cancer doesn’t happen overnight; its a progressive, decade-oriented thing. It takes awhile to get cardiovascular disease. It takes a while to develop diabetes. Its just the sum of the parts of all the harmful things we are exposed to or doing to ourselves. It’s a toxic environment that we’re introducing to the inside of our bodies, and that’s manifesting in different diseases.”

He recommends eating a whole-food, plant based diet. “A whole-food, plant-based diet means eating unprocessed, predominantly plant-based food. That means vegetables and fruits and whole grains and legumes, essentially all the foods that are nutrient rich with phytonutrients and antioxidants. Eat food as grown: eat it how it comes out of the ground.

The PHYSICAL BODY is also meant to help us process emotions

Remember: Your body needs to be your best friend. Act like that. Say kind words, think positively about how it works and is able to process, play, work,

“The truth is, the body never attacks itself, and the body loves itself unconditionally. It’s working for you all the time, no matter what, and it’s your best friend.” -Anthony William

Occasional FASTING: “They are finding that seven days of fasting can result in a year’s worth of repair on the digestive tract. According to Kelly, scientific research has shown that after three days of fasting, all of our major organ systems start self-cleaning. Your liver will dump all its old bile and regenerate fresh bile, and your heart will clean itself. The reason fasting works is that we spend so much energy every day digesting food. When we remove that task from the daily agenda, our body’s natural intelligence immediately uses that freed up energy to repair any damage to the tissues of the body and reset itself by dumping toxins in a big way.” -Heal

NATURE: Seeing nature has healing effects, but getting out into is even better. “The actual contact with the great outdoors is even more remarkable. Earth’s surface possesses a limitless amount of free electrons of a negative charge. Many studies have shown that when our bare feet come in contact with the earth’s surface (also called grounding or earthing), we absorb a large amount of these antioxidant negative ions through the soles of our feet; these ions have the power to neutralize free radicals and thereby reduce chronic or acute inflammation. -Heal

Studies show that grounding for as little as twenty minutes a day can impart tremendous health benefits, which include improved sleep, faster wound healing, reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, reduced pain, and of course, reduced inflammation.-Heal

“Forest Bathing” or taking a walk outside while tuning in to nature. A study concluded that the practice is linked to stress relief, lower anxiety, lower blood pressure and more. -Heal

Spending time in the mountains in higher elevations our blood actually becomes more alkaline. The alkalinity is a key factor, because we know when our bodies are alkaline they are less hospitable to opportunistic viruses, bacteria, colds, flus, things like that. -Heal

Water, whether swimming or soaking is also good for us. The minerals in the water, such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, bromide, iodine and sulfate all get absorbed into the skin. They have a detoxifying effect and have been known to speed up wound healing, reduce pain, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, stimulate lymphatic drainage, and alleviate skin disorders. -Heal

Even being near water, “Our brains are hardwired to react positively to water…being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.” -Heal

Young blonde woman meditating in the park

BE STILL: “Ancient practices such as yoga and meditation are two ways to help bring our bodies back into balance. Science is now proving that these aren’t just spiritual practices; they have real, quantifiable, beneficial physiological effects on the body as well. Yoga improves balance, endurance, flexibility, circulation, and strength, as well as greater body and breath awareness. Meditation relieves stress and anxiety, strengthens your immune system, and releases healing chemistry in the body.” -Heal

Life is an ebb and flow of so many directions, feelings, emotions, not to mention that we are each individuals with very different paths, chemicals, experiences, stories. We need to be gentle with ourselves and do those things that are going to call on a higher place within us to help us break through barriers of depression, anxiety, stress and fear. A place that can lift us spiritually. A place that can feed and nourish our bodies and souls with what they need on every level.

Life will have its ups and downs, but it is how we handle the journey that will truly matter in the end. Make it a path full of good things that will truly fill you up with what you need. xoxo

-Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H

In Search of Real Giving to find Happiness

I truly saw my most impactful experience of giving as an outlet of joy when I was in the 9th grade. I had a teacher take a group of us (students) to the zoo where we met up with a large group of homeless children. It was an incredible experience that will stay with me my whole life. I was a young girl surrounded by children in a different circumstance, but wanting and needing the exact same things. These kids wanted the same toys for Christmas, they were happy seeing animals in a zoo in the dead of winter and eating sandwiches on a cold, pavement floor. It didn’t matter. Joy was everywhere that day. I specifically remember one, little girl who clinged to me for safety the whole day. By the end of our zoo day, she did not want to leave my side. It was hard to know that I would let go of her hand and she would be swept back into a different reality of homelessness. I will be forever grateful for that memorable day and the gift of service it shared with me.

I just finished reading an incredible book that was so well written, researched and done incredibly in-depth on many levels. I was drawn to the book in hopes of better understanding our innate need, desire, and reasons for giving. The book, “The Giving Way to Happiness” by Jenny Santi is full of stories from around the globe (wealthiest people, celebrities, givers of good) in interviews that help unlock reasons for giving. She packed it full of psychological research, stats, interviews, stories, so much that you will definitely finish feeling like a well of knowledge was given. Its a great read.

I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments, quotes, stats and a few stories. Hope you enjoy! Hope you feel like reading further.

THE MEANINGFUL LIFE

“I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose…When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” -Ellen Degeneres

“It is clear that meaning in life contributes to a happier life. Dr. Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research concentrates on what makes people feel happy and fulfilled, concluded that happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. The Pleasant Life is relayed when we fill our lives with the sensual pleasures, such as food, good sex, and nice things. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfillment. The Good Life is achieved through discovering our signature strengths and using them to obtain gratification. The Meaningful Life goes one step beyond this, and happens when we use our unique strengths in service of something larger than ourselves.” “To live all three is to lead a full life.” says Seligman.

“High levels of meaning in life predict low levels of psychological distress and high levels of happiness and self-esteem, and the relationship between meaning in life and psychological well-being is substantial.”

“Meaning must be found and cannot be given.

“When you have a sense of purpose, you never get up in the morning wondering what you’re going to do with yourself. When you’re ‘In Purpose’ that is, engaged with and working toward your purpose, life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful. You become more mono-focused, like an arrow flying toward its target, and your mind feels somehow taut and strong, with less space for negativity to seep in,” says Steve Taylor

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain

A few of My HIGHLIGHTS and favorite cannot miss stories: Story of model Petra Nemcova pg 1 & here will to serve, Viktor Frankl story pg 39, From Russia with Love–the story of Natalia Vodianova (famous model) pg 43, Incredible power couple who created The World Economic Forum pg182, John Foster story and so many more. Lots of good stories woven within the pages. Ric O’Barry story on pg 80

Goldie Hawn and the Hawn Foundation

Highlights from Goldie Hawn pg 48–When Goldie is asked, “How is the happiness you get out of your charitable work different from the happiness you get from your career?” “It’s quite different. One is self-centered, and there are lots of happy things that can happen to us that way. You know, you can get enough money to buy a new house; you can buy new shoes. These are all fleeting aspects of happiness. they don’t last. They’re like ripples on the water. They come and go. As long as the money is there, you’re happy and you’re okay. but when you’re really working toward making a difference, you get a deeper, deeper level of satisfaction, because it’s not for you. It’s for something bigger than just you, and the people that you meet along the way are your soul mates. They fortify you. They thrill you. They make you happy. And when you get into it, you really that you’ll attract people who are doing things aligned with your vision. Your connection to them also brings you lasting joy.”

She also says, “Those who are looking for happiness will find it in giving. “That has been researched time and time again. It really brings people out into the light from the darkness. It’s a very important aspect to continue to exercise in our lives–how you give back, how you think about humanity, how you consider yourself of value. You can go and be of help; you are engaged in the world. This helps people become happier. Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person. You’re engaged. You’re alive.”

Super Happiness pg 116–The story of the Grameen Bank, which was started by the incredible Professor Yunus. He is known as “Banker to the Poor” & a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He never set out to become a lender, he just saw a problem and a solution. “Every time I see a problem, I create a business to solve the problem. This leads to “Superhappiness,” he says.

[I am jumping around a bit on these quotes—his whole philosophy is helping others as a community and economically] “Human beings are built in a different way. There are two things inside of us: selflessness and selfishness.” “Making money is happiness; making other people happy is super happiness. But if you don’t know that yet because you haven’t tried that, so you think there is only one happiness–making money.” “All I’m saying is take a bit of it; find out. Then if you know the super happiness, you can decide which happiness you would like to go through, or you mix both: You have happiness from making money, and the super happiness from touching people’s lives and changing the whole world. You have the capacity of changing the whole world. You didn’t know that because you are too busy taking care of yourself.”

So many great tidbits of great giving throughout.

Another great story: Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, who cofounded Paul Mitchell hair products in 1970, was raised in a European immigrant community in downtown Los Angeles. His mother once told him and his brother the three had just twenty-seven cents between them, but with food int he fridge, a backyard garden, and happiness, they were rich. For a time, DeJoria lived in his car while selling products door-to-door. He said, “One Christmas, when I was six years old, my mother took us to see the window displays and decorations in the big department stores in downtown Los Angeles. It was a big treat for us. We saw puppets that moved and trains that circled…It was really special and added to the Christmas spirit, but it didn’t cost anything. That same year, my mother gave my brother and me a dime. She told Bothe of us to hold half of it and put it in the bucket near a man who was ringing a bell. We did, and then we asked my mother why we gave him the dime (at the time, a dime could buy you three candy bars or two soda pops). My mom’s reply was, “This is the Salvation Army that helps people who are really in need. Remember boys, no matter how much you have, there is always someone who is more in need than you. Always try to give, even if it is a little.” Needless to say, that stuck with me in my adult life. Whether it’s feeding thousands of orphans in third world countries, saving whales, helping the homeless find employment, protecting our waterways, resting young girls from prostitution, teaching and supplying families in Appalachia with equipment to grow their own vegetables, or any other worthwhile endeavor….giving back is a practice and joy I want my family to continue.”

There is a lot of the book that has depth, direction and additional stories, so if you enjoyed some of these stories, then you will find additional jewels throughout this book.

Overall, the point is to truly find purpose in giving. It will not only impact your life and health, but those you touch in the service of giving. It is a good all around.

Peace. Love and Light to you today. -H