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Posts Tagged ‘living with joy and ease’

No matter where you are right now, or what you’re doing, pause.

Straighten your shoulders, lift your head and your eyes, and take a long,

s-l-o-w, deeeeeeeep breath in. Exhale gradually.

Now, do it again.

One more time.

There, doesn’t that feel better?

Before you resume your activity, notice what has shifted. How does your body feel? What’s different in your mind?

If you find your mind is still racing, and your adrenaline is still high, try a few more slow deep breaths.

As you breathe, focus on the act of breathing. Notice the air entering and leaving your lungs. Is it warm or cold? Dry or moist?

Close your eyes and listen to your breath. It’s an action that occurs unconsciously for us. Thank goodness, because sometimes we get so distracted by life and details that we forget to breathe. We end up taking short gulps of air, just enough to keep the body functioning. The lack of oxygen affects our ability to think clearly, and our stress load builds.

All it takes is a few minutes to pause, straighten our posture, and breathe like we mean it. And then the mind clears, the body grows calm, and we are able to move forward in a much more productive way.

Such a simple act. Such a profound impact.

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I was reading a book lately and came across a question that helped me shift my perspective. Like many people, I tend to take life too seriously. I get caught up in stress and worry about money and deadlines. I find myself trying to squeeze just a few more hours into the work day. And when something happens to change my plans, it can throw my whole day off.

Then I saw this question.

“Will it matter a year from now?”

Such a simple question. Yet each time I say it, I pause.

A year is a long time. It’s made up of 365 days. Each day has 24 hours.

Will this stressful situation matter 8760 hours from now? I doubt it very much. In fact, I probably won’t even remember it in a week, let alone a year from now.

Sure, some of the decisions I make now will have an impact on what I’m doing in a year’s time. Since that’s true, I’d better make sure that those decisions are based on what brings me joy rather than worry.

So how can I take this situation and shift it?

First, by realizing that it’s not as important or serious as I might think initially.

Second, by asking myself, what is needed to bring more joy into this moment?

And then taking action based on that.

It’s all about living with joy and ease – the Dream Bigger life.

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Last week, we were at Grand River Rocks, a local indoor rock climbing facility. As we harnessed up and prepared for a climb, a little boy caught my eye.

He was about 3 years old, barely knee-high on his father. He took one look at the 13′ high climbing boulder in the centre of the room and made a mad dash. You could almost see the caption above his head, “Oh, goody, something to climb!”

He scrambled up the side of that boulder without hesitation or fear. His arms and legs kept moving, his eyes focused on the next thing to grab and suddenly he was at the top, triumphant. He ran across the top and went down the stairs on the other side as fast as he could so he could do it all over again.

It was captivating for a number of reasons.

  • his joy and sense of adventure (everyone who was watching was smiling broadly)
  • his ability to approach the climb with no fear or hesitation
  • his body’s response to the demands of the moment (no thought, no planning, no strategy)

I have watched older children (8 to 12 years old), and adults, attempt that same section of the boulder and fall off halfway up. Why was it so easy for him?

He didn’t know it was supposed to be difficult. 

Think about that for a moment.

Young children see opportunities, not obstacles. They are excited about trying new things, not worried about failure. They see the world as a grand adventure, not a scary place filled with challenges.

As we get older, experiences condition us to view life differently. We often set ourselves up for failure in our minds, long before we even make the effort to try something. Maybe it’s time to reclaim the everything-is-possible approach of the 3-year old we once were.

What would you dare to do … if you knew you would succeed?

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I was notified last week by my publisher that my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, has received the Reader’s Choice Award. This is the top award category from iUniverse and is only given to books that have good sales AND have already achieved Rising Star and Editor’s Choice status. Three cheers for Dream BIGGER!

The recognition is also based on reviews on Amazon and similar sites. I’ve had positive reviews from readers ever since the book was published. It continues to make its way around the world, reaching out and touching many lives along the way.

I’m curious to know how many of my blog followers have read it. If you have, what was the highlight in the book for you? If you haven’t read it yet, hey, maybe it’s time you did!!

In other news, for those of you living in Waterloo Region, I’ll be sharing tips from Dream BIGGER in my workshop on October 25 in Cambridge, Ontario. It’s part of the Confident Women speaker series and I’d love to see you there.

My dream for the past two years has been to help 100,000 people achieve their dreams. With the book, the workshops and this blog, my dream is becoming reality.

What is needed for you to achieve your dream? How can I help?

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In Washington, DC, a 29-year old man decided he wanted to make a difference to the Monday morning commute. Along with a few friends, he created some posters with happy messages. The project called “Make DC Smile” involves holding up signs with messages like, “Honk if you love someone,” “Smile!”, “Be Happy”.

Massoud Adibpour says he started the project in order to change the attitudes of workers on their way into work. On Monday mornings, many people dread the return to work. He’s hoping that seeing the optimistic signs will give them a smile and make their day a little brighter.

What about you? What would make your Monday a little brighter? How could you brighten the day of someone else you know today?

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You never know where you’ll find joy and magic. If you search for it, you won’t find it. It’s something you come upon seemingly by accident, and only the most aware will notice.

I was out for a walk late one afternoon to clear my head. It had been a busy day, lots of distractions and demands coming from all directions.

As I walked, I soaked up the warmth of the sun and inhaled the smells of fall. With each step, I began to notice more details – the squirrel scurrying up the tree, the little girl skipping ahead on the sidewalk, the blue jays calling overhead, and the leaves dancing on their downward spiral.

Gradually my mind slowed down and emptied out, leaving stillness and quiet. With no thoughts left to clutter the space, I was able to be more present to the beauty of the world around me.

I strode up a hill, pushing myself to move a little faster with each step. Panting slightly, I reached the top and savoured the coolness of the breeze in the dense shade of the towering trees.

As I began to walk down the path between two houses, I heard a chorus. The closer I got to the cedar hedge, the louder the sound grew. It was as if the hedge was singing a song of joy.

I stood at the hedge and peered inside. At first, I saw nothing, as the song reached a crescendo. Then I noticed one sparrow, and another, and another. The hedge was filled with the tiny birds, flitting from branch to branch, camouflaged by the greenery, singing their little hearts out.

When they realized they were being watched, they grew quieter, like a symphony in diminuendo, only to expand in perfect harmony a moment later.

I walked away smiling, imagining sharing this moment with each of you.

It’s humbling to realize that such magic does exist around us every day. If we only take the time to notice.

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Part of the Dream Bigger attitude is recognizing how much good exists around us at all times. Even when your life seems to be crumbling at your feet, there are people and moments that can make your day.

I believe that the more we focus on seeing and enjoying the goodness, the easier it is to get through the challenges. That’s why I try to find lots of inspiring stories to share in this blog.

This video made me smile and reminded me of all the random acts of kindness I’ve received over the years. I hope it will do the same for you. And perhaps inspire us all to “give a little” to those around us this week.

Enjoy!

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