Monday, September 22, 2014

Let all things take their course



photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson


Be patient. Everything is temporary. This too shall pass. 

These platitudes piss me off. 

I talk a lot about acceptance, and how it brings peace and lasting change, so it might concern you to hear me say that phrases above piss me off, but they do. They feel condescending to me, and while on the outside they seem similar to the concept of acceptance, something about being told what to do triggers me.

Staying at the center of the circle; however, feels right. It feels attainable and like it's my choice. It's not someone telling me what to do, it's my choice to stay there.

Think about a stressful situation. You're feeling anxious.  There may be sweaty palms or an upset belly. What would help you most in that moment - being told what to do (be patient, etc.), or remembering to stay at the center of the circle?

If you take 1 thing with you this week, take the knowledge that you can make that choice. You have that power. You can stay at the center of the circle. Staying there won't eliminate the stress, but it will change your experience of the stress.

...so that you are better able to let things take their course.
❤, Lara


CLICK TO TWEET today's Monday Motivator: Let all things take their course.




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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The girl named Blue




Dead center
The eye catcher
Surrounded by bystanders and passers
A little girl sits quiet
Apparently doing nothing

With her bright blue sweater
That perfectly matches how she wears her eyes.
Almost like the sky was placed in the face of this innocent soul

A dangling untied shoe lace
Escaping from the surface of her shoe
Tongue sticking out
Concentrated on showing it a proper way home again

I stand there and witness how people pass and how they just stand there
Leaving this girl alone
So I decide to help
Go over and introduce myself

To help her on her way
She smiles and says
thank you but I can manage myself
I insist on helping
But again she refuses my offering
This time she replies
It’s fine I like sitting here
With a challenge of my own
I can take in all the love
And then I can share it when the seasons gets cold.

I looked at her and replied
Love?
Here?
people only passing by
And none of these guys standing here
Has yet to look you in the eyes

The girl smiled

But you came over
Offering your kindness
From all the love you have inside
And all the people passing by
Have offered me a thousand smiles
And if it weren’t for these people just standing here
I would never have stood out in the crowd
And you would probably passed right by me too. 

Everything matters in the bigger picture
You saw helpless and lonely
I felt loved and challenged
And now I was able to share it with you

The warmest colour in the crowd was blue


Espen Stenersrød is a Norwegian writer and poet from Oslo. With two poetry collections behind him (Diary of poet,2012 and Lifecycle in Nihighnigma, 2013) he is now working on a novel and a new poetry collection. His poetry has been described as unique, attention grabbing and memorable. Espen enjoys writing deep, insightful poetry that examines the human condition from both a modern and universal perspective, balancing between hope and beauty and darkness and mystery.
Check out his website and buy his poetry collections on Amazon 
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Four elements for your creative business

Post by Beth Maiden for the Kindness in Business series.



The way I see it, everything we do in life is built from four basic elements: fire, water, earth and air.

This applies to all aspects of life, to our homes, our relationships, our relationships with ourselves, and of course to our creative lives and our businesses. Because we are humans, not robots, we will rarely have all four of these elements in perfect balance. But I want to show you how understanding the four elements and noticing which might be overpowering/lacking in your life can help you to identify issues, celebrate achievements, and get a little more harmony happening in your life and in your biz.

First, the elements themselves:

Fire

...is your inspired self. Your creativity. The spark of passion that makes you do the things you do. It's the "YES!", the "let's do this now!", the "I wanna be like that when I grow up, and the "I've got this great new idea and I can't wait to get started...".

Water

...is your emotional self. Your heart and soul and the things they long for. The very essence of you and everything you feel deep inside. The way you love, the expression of your soul. It's where you bring your heart into your business so that what you're doing is truly you.

Earth

...is your physical reality. It's your body and your health, your family and your home, your relationship with nature and your environment, your work, your money, your comfort. In your business, it's the bottom line: will it actually make you money? Can you physically deliver on your ideas?

Air

...is your intellectual self. This is where you communicate your ideas, where you articulate your thoughts. This is where judge right from wrong, where you understand cause and effect, and where you strategise, rationalise and plan for the future. It's where you take the long view. It's your first year/three year/five year plan,  it's the pathway towards your goals.                           
                                                       

As a tarot reader I think a lot about the four elements.

People tend to go for tarot readings when they're struggling with something, and often, a tarot reading will reveal an imbalance - the lack or flood of one or more elements - creating disharmony in a querent's situation. Through identifying the elemental issues, I was able to work with the querent to establish ways forwards and help them to see how to become unstuck. I even developed a simple exercise for my querents to do, to help them to get things back on track. I find that my clients really appreciate this approach. Looking at life via the four elements becomes a way to nurture ourselves, ensuring that the different aspects of our selves are loved and cared for (and I'll wrote more about that on Kind over Matter in the future!)

Things got interesting when I started to apply this theory to my web design clients, most of whom are creative women with new business startups.

One might be all fire - desperately excited about their new idea...but with no earth yet to ground it in reality. Another might be full of air - with business plans and strategies...but lack water to bring in the soul. I wanted to help these women to articulate what was missing, celebrate what was working and nurture their businesses into something more rounded, more whole. [IMG: WORKSHOP] By the way, it is definitely, definitely okay to experience this sense of imbalance when you're working on your business! No-one, not me, not Leonie Dawson, not anyone I know has this all sorted 100% of the time. The short exercise I want to share with you is simply to help you learn to identify surplus or missing elements in your situation, so that you can address issues and aim for a more balanced place both in your life and in your business, and at the intersection of the two. You'll start with fire - looking at the idea behind your project, then water, the essence of your self that makes this all worthwhile. Then you'll think about practicalities in the earth section, and finally, you'll look to the future with the element of air.

WORKSHEET: Your starting elements 

Print out the worksheet and try it out! Don't overthink it - jot down the first things that come into your head. Let your gut lead the way and remember there are no right or wrong answers. Need an example? When I tried this out with my tarot business earlier this year it really helped me to work out what I needed more of to make my project successful. I wanted to develop an online course which people could work thorugh in their own time, which would enable them to develop their own unique approach to tarot. I'd never done anything like this before, and in all honestly, when I started writing the course, I felt all over the place! I worked through the simple four elements worksheet to help me to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of my idea. Here's how I got on:

1. Start with Fire.

My brilliant idea is:
An accessible online course which shares my approach to tarot and teaches others how they can develop their own.
My spark of inspiration was:
Other people's reactions to my blog - the emails I've received, the way people are excited by my approach and want to connect, to ask questions.

2. Water: Time for some flow.

What I love about this idea is:
It's empowering to others. It enables me to show off my work, but also to demystify tarot and place learning into the hands of each individual, which is something I really love to do.
This business is really me because:
It's facilitation. It's about sharing my passion, creating community, empowering others, making something people think is difficult or impenetrable into something anyone can do and enjoy.
When I create my product/sell my service I feel:
Proud. Hopefull for the buyer. Excited about the potential.

3. Let's get down to Earth.

I know this idea can make money because: [NB: I had crossed out 'know' and put 'hope' instead...which tells me a lot!]
Not sure. I don't know how to price this course. Is this something people expect for free?
The physical needs of my business are:
Laptop, internet, desk: a quiet space to work. I don't want to work at home all the time. Do I need a studio? Co-working space won't work for me - I need solitude for this project.

4. Now for Air: Wisdom, analysis, vision.

In the first year of this project I aim to:
Launch the course, do plenty of publicity and monitor how it goes. Invite feedback, tweak and develop.
Build my blog and 'learn tarot' pages so I establish a strong reputation for being a great resource for 'alternative tarot'.
In three years, here's where I want to be:
The course has been tweaked and improved and sells really well - has turned into an online community so learners can connect with each other.
I have an established reputation and am the go-to person for alternative tarot resources.
I'm developing a range of useful digital products and services, building on my learning from the course.
No longer running a physical shop - everything is online so I can travel and work.

Time to reflect

Which questions did I find the hardest? Quite clearly the 'earth' questions. I feel clear about my aims, clear about the what and why, my heart is really in this, I'm passionate about my ideas and know where I want to head. But when it comes to the meat of it - the prices I'll charge and the physical needs of my business, things get very hazy.
How can I bring more earth into my business? I can start putting practicality first - put the project on hold until I've found a decent studio/office space, for example. And that pricing issue - it's as though I'm scared of putting numbers on my product. It's time to get over this - this is a business and in many ways earth (or in this instance, money) is the most important thing. So I'll do some research, find out what others charge for similar products. I might also consider doing an online course - I've seen various things about finding your pricing 'sweet spot' and so on - this might help me to ground my ideas.

                    Try it for yourself!

WORKSHEET: Your starting elements

...and you need a little more information about the four elements, try this.
We'd love to hear how you got on! Which are your stronger elements, and which need more work? Got any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!


Hi - I'm Beth! I run two creative businesses which overlap in the most beautiful of ways: I write about all things tarot and provide readings at Little Red Tarot, and I help creative women develop their online businesses at Four Elements Web Design. 
I'm also the tarot columnist at the progressive queer website Autostraddle.com and am currently working on an online course for tarot beginners. 
I live on a narrowboat in the Yorkshire Pennines with two cheeky cats (of course!) and spend my spare time walking the hills, planning future travels with my girlfriend or mining the internet for beautiful music and writing. 
                   Website | Twitter  |  Instagram
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Hiking 650 Miles Across Spain Taught Me About Patience

Post by Shannon Lynberg for the Kind Kindred series.



photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Hold your horses.”

“Sew your pants on.”

These are the phrases my mom regularly told me growing up. I’ve never been one to have much patience.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve come from the mindset that “I want what I want, and I want it now!”

This way of believing and living has driven me to work hard for what I want. But it’s come at a great cost. Because being patient means you have to be comfortable with the unknowns. And living amongst the unknowns has been one of my greatest life struggles. It has caused me countless hours of crippling anxiety.

So when my fiancé and I decided to trek 650 miles across northern Spain, you better believe I freaked out. As someone who has never hiked more then 10 miles at a time, let alone with a 30+ pound pack, hiking El Camino de Santiago was full of unknowns.

How hard will it be?

Can I handle the pain and intensity?

Am I going to be OK with all the issues this hike brings up?

Will I survive?

What if something bad happens to me? Or worse, to Eric?

What if I give up?

Am I the type of woman who can do something like this
?

For weeks, leading up to the start of the hike, I tortured myself with these questions. I wanted the answers, and I wanted them instantly.

Like so many things in life, those answers were not mine to have right then. It was only through hiking the Camino, that I realized the importance of patience and letting things unfold as they needed to.

Here are some of the things the Camino taught me about patience:

1.) All you can do is take action on moving forward. 

You can’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. The only thing you can do is keep going. Up until my last step on the hike, I questioned my ability to finish the hike. It wasn’t until I was done, that I fully realized what I could do. Yes, there were moments and glimpses throughout the hike, where I saw what I was capable of doing. But if you truly want to know what happens in the end, you have to allow yourself to go through the experience, no matter how hard things get.

2.) You can’t force the answer. It will come to you when it comes to you. 

For me, doing this hike was about exploring myself, my thoughts, and my rela-tionships more deeply. It was about pushing myself and giving myself a space to deal with things in life I had avoided. So you can imagine all the things I ques-tioned. There were many times where I was mad at myself for not having the answer. For not knowing what I wanted. There were moments, where I was angry at the trail for not being over, and for not giving me what I thought I was searching for. There were days where I screamed at the hills we were climbing, for how much they pushed me and made me ache. It was only in these moments, or after these moments, where I found what it was I was looking for.

3.) You have to let go of your crutches in order to fully find what you want. 

On this hike, my crutch was listening to music. Before we started, I didn’t think I would have the patience with myself, or with the trail, to hike without listening to music. For the first few weeks, I listened to music nonstop. Then one day my earphones broke. After going one full day of hiking without listening to my iPod, I bought new ear phones. Two days later, I lost them. I immediately bought a third pair, and the right ear bud fell off. I took it as a sign that I needed to hike without music. For the last month of the hike, I only listened to music 10% of the time. I would occasionally listen to a song through my busted ear phones, but over time, I didn’t feel like I needed music to get through our daily hikes. By letting go of my crutch, I was able to go deeper inward and really tune into how my body was feeling. Not having music to distract me forced me to strive to find patience with myself and the trail.

4.) Things don’t happen to you. They happen for you. 

This was one of my biggest realizations during our hike. As the days went by, I started to see why I needed to go through some of the harder, more painful moments. Each one lead to something bigger and more purposeful. I could see how each and every moment stacked onto each other to make up the entirety of my experience. Without those harder moments, I wouldn’t have had the experience I had.

5.) You have to practice living in the moment. 

When you are hiking 20-30 miles a day, you don’t have time to think about what’s next. You are focused on the here and now, putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, and breathing. As someone who often thinks about the next thing, and all the things I have to do, this was one of the greatest lessons towards patience that I learned.

It’s so easy to let the feeling of impatience make us want to speed up time so we can figure it all out, get to the next thing, or get past the rough stuff. But when we are truly living from a place of being patient with ourselves, with those around us, and with our situations, we allow ourselves to feel it all, experience everything fully, and find what we need.

Am I the most patient person in the world now that I’ve learned that patience is in fact a virtue? Not by a long shot. But I am more aware of when I am living from a place of impatience, which reminds me not to fall into my old ways and learn how to better apply what I learned on the trail to everyday life.


Shannon Lynberg is the head adventurer at the Life Adventurista, and I help big dreamin’, adventure seekin’ women figure out what freedom means to them & learn to leap (or tiptoe) outside their comfort zones & create their own adventures - around the globe and in their own backyards. 
You read more about her travel adventures on 
2 Travel Everywhere and her hike on the Camino de Santiago at Love on El Camino.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Choices

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.



wood sign created by SignsWithAPorpoise on Etsy.com

For every choice we say "yes" to, we have to say "no" to something else. Often times, the choices that I make actually seem painful. This is one of those weeks...

~Do I say yes to somebody that I love when it will cost me money and time that I really don't have? No.
~Do I drag myself to the grocery store when I have a monster migraine? Yes, I need to nourish myself.
~Do I confront somebody who has lied to me and hurt me repeatedly, no matter how much love and support I heap upon them? This is tricky, but no for now. I just "can't" go through it again. I may change my mind next week.
~Do I watch Netflix or do the dishes? Ha! With my iPad, I can do both!
~Do I get gas at night or in the morning? Sometimes the little things just do me in.

These are the weeks where I snuggle down in my sofa and reach out to people when I need help. Where I make sure to tell my people that I love them, because sometimes that's all we seem to have. This is when I really pay attention to my food because it's easy for me to slip into eating as a coping mechanism. It's when I breathe through the feelings and know that every decision I make is for the greater good. It's about taking care of myself while honoring my commitments. It's about making the decisions through the filter of love, starting with self love. Finally, I know that I won't always make the best choice, but I also know that the more I trust my gut, the more I can trust myself. And with that, I'm up off my sofa...I've got some living to do!

To healthy and happy,
Lynn


Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Storms don't last forever



photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson


Ever get the feeling that your dreams are just too big? That maybe you should just play it safe?

Yeah. Me, too.

Today I'm reminding myself that storms don't last forever. It's so easy to get caught up in the storms. My storms look something like, "this is too hard" or "this is scary" or "am I really cut out for this"...

Sound at all familiar?

Thankfully, what's also present (albeit less familiar), is the time when those storms pass. When life is smooth sailing, and things seem to be heading in the right direction. We seem to naturally remember the storms more than the calm - after all, we are human! Today I challenge you to find some calm. Take a moment to remember a time when you truly felt it, and sit with it again.

After all, you weren't built to just sit in the harbour.
❤, Lara


CLICK TO TWEET today's Monday Motivator: Storms don't last forever.



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