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Who are YOU?

One of the kindest people I have ever known is a friend of my sister’s, her name is Renee, and she once asked me the hardest question I had ever been asked.

I like to consider myself a somewhat self-aware person. We were having a conversation about dating and her gentle and direct question “what do you have to offer in a relationship” just about put me in a seizure. My response “I don’t know”. Of course, I knew, all the answers were there in my head, I just didn’t know how to say it.

It is the same for values. We all have them, but when faced each day with situations that call for us to respond to our values, we are stuck, uncertain what to do.

Values inform our thoughts, words and actions. The decisions we make are a reflection of our values and beliefs. The world sees who we are based on the values we use to make our choices. Had I been clear on my values, that answer may have been more natural. Answers in job interviews, at the parties, dating, elevator conversations, they are all easier when we know without question what our values are.

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How to figure it out:

  • What sets your teeth on edge on social media?
  • What makes your heart soar in life? What gets you excited?
  • What matters most to you?
  • When you are feeling the most satisfied, what is going on around you?
  • Write out as many values that you can as they come to you when the list is finished number them in importance 1-5.

Now, get creative and have fun. Perculate on these ideas for a while. Our brain forgets the mundane and dull. Remember that two-hour date you had with the monotone speaker that lasted 1 hour 58 minutes longer than it should have? Of course, you don’t. You can thank cognitive thinking for that, we don’t hang onto these moments. After walking away from the list, what still feels like a five for you is what calls you, only fives will do. Flesh out these simple words and give them purpose and meaning in your life. Go deep, use words that trigger something in you, and then go deeper. Remember your strengths and how these simple words can have meaning for you.

I will help you by showing you one of mine. Empathy is one of my values, and it is the hardest value for me. I jump to conclusions and solutions which is not very empathetic. So I had to flesh this out in a way that wasn’t all flowers and sunshine, or I wouldn’t be able to follow through.

“I honour the people I encounter by hearing them and putting aside my own experience and examine my attitude towards what they are experiencing. I am aware that their experience is separate from my own”

First, make the statement on the value then put it to work the best way you chose.

You can also use your values as tangible goals. For example, if learning is a value you have chosen, add an actionable plan to your new moon calendar. Pick up a new book on a topic you want to understand more, or you can order an Udemy course.

Do your best to think of your values in moments of stress but also in moments of joy.

 

 

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Need a Do Over?

This new moon is in Aries, and we move forward into Taurus. I think this is a significant period for projects of importance. Aries is the starter they have so much energy to spare that when you see an Aries in action, it is like watching an exorcism, that shit is powerful.  Taurus is the keep the eye on the prize kind of energy. Together they get shit done.

It’s no secret, you have to do the hard work. No matter what the work is for you. We are not Disney characters who get fairy godmothers to come along to do it for us. No matter how solid our circle is, not one of these souls was put on this earth to do our work for us. Our hearts, bodies, souls, and minds are our own responsibility.

Last year when I was writing the journal I put everything to practice. Everything was coming together. Then, I got to where I was going and I let things start to slip. This endless winter and political nightmare climate only contribute to that stuck feeling. Luckily, we are in a period that is a fresh slate for moving forward. I am starting from basics this new moon. I am the project.

I am going back to the basics of the Blue Glass Journal which are:

  • Gratitude
  • Movement
  • Money Awareness
  • Journaling every day
  • Following the new moon and full moon cycles

But before that, I need to return to home. I found it last year for the first time in 48 years. I didn’t fully move in. Now, I need to move in.

Like all projects, when we feel overwhelmed we don’t follow through. Here are the steps any good project manager follows:

  • Project Initiation
  • Project Planning
  • Project Execution
  • Project Monitor and Control
  • Project Closure

Why yes, that is boring as fuck. And, here is the thing, when you are the project, is there ever closure? Yes, with the understanding that there is always something new. Let’s break it down again.

  • Where to start, so many options
  • How are you going to start
  • How the fuck are you going to keep the momentum (hardest stage)
  • How to determine if this is working
  • Goal reached

This is why we need to view every goal in achievable stages or we quit. “I want to lose fifty pounds” starts with “whoo hoo I have this!” which turns into “I lost twenty pounds!” which often (according to stats on weight loss is the point where we give up) turns into “I can’t keep doing this”. When we start with an attainable stage one, changing a dietary challenge, adding exercise, adding another stage…it becomes a lifelong change.

You can start where ever you need. I invite you to start or revisit your personal value statement.

Who are you? That question either makes you stand tall or freak the fuck out.

So, who are you?

Unsure? Stay tuned for tomorrow and I will show you how to solidify this important awareness. Once this is solid, everything else is easy to focus on.pexels-photo-58457.jpeg

 

Happy New Astro Year

The new moon (yesterday) signalled the start of the new year, in a couple days we will see the balancing of the seasons with the Spring Equinox. There is a lot of new beginnings this week. This new moon asks for us to commit to the most important and meaningful tasks on our lists. It asks us to stay focused to beat overwhelm and work towards some slow, peaceful summer dreaming.

This is an excellent time to take notes, go deep (in those pieces waters) go where it may be uncomfortable, possibly where we have been careful to stay away from. Remember, we are more than what hurts us, we are more than what has caused us to harm others. Each time we brave our wilderness (thanks, Brene Brown) we show ourselves compassion and each time we go there, we grow stronger, letting go of what has held us captive.

Once we let go, life becomes less complicated, less challenging, frankly, less sad. The problem is, being sad becomes comfortable after long enough, and even the idea of leaving the comfort of sadness can be terrifying. Get some proper counselling if you are at that place, it is okay to ask for help. Asking for help is the bones of this blue glass community.

This does not replace therapy if needed. My method to help get started is:

  1. Tell the story that keeps coming back. The one that hurt us the most, the drunken mess we repeat every time we are loaded. Write it out in as much detail as possible. No editing, no judgement, just write it out.
  2. Burn it, scatter the ashes in your garden. If you are not comfortable burning, soak it overnight until all the ink is unreadable. Shred it into your garden (it may become part of a birds nest) and let it become part of the earth.

Every shit thing (and all the glorious moments but who needs to overcome those?) that you have experienced really has made you who you are, it is not an overused cliche. But it doesn’t define you. Only you do that, rise above that shit to make yourself a warrior in your life, wear those scars in the form of success in all you do. One thing I have learned, one practice is not going to take away years of pain. But it starts the work. OR, it contributes to and finishes the work if you have been working on it for a long time.

All beginnings start from an ending.

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Try to work on what you need most for your new beginnings. What are you called to work on so you can be strongest? Is it your job, home, body, spirituality? What is calling you? In a few months, when you want to bask in summer glow and work a little less, what will make it the most peaceful and enjoyable for you?

Money Minding March

When I was planing March, I was faced with an ongoing challenge, where do I start? Because this piece is new to me, and there is so much I want to explore and share from the journal with you, it is hard to know where to start because I am excited about everything. I did what I do best, put the training hat on and designed a map for the full year to incorporate what I want to share in a way that feels well mapped and purposeful.

I received an email saying that ‘this works!’ in a bit of surprise and awe. It’s okay, I didn’t feel offended at all. I am not a therapist, but I am an observer, and my job as a process mapper is to learn how things are done. I studied women, a lot of women. I studied the ones who had it ‘together’ (not really) and the ones who were the hot messes (my category), and I asked a lot of questions. I put the answers together, created a plan and put it into practice. It got me out of bed, for good!

Money disconnect was a connection of most of the stuck women I interviewed. The women with money and the women who felt they were lacking in cash. The truth was, even the women with money felt lacking or disconnected from it. Only six of us (I was not one of them) knew how much money we really spent and had.

When we are fearful or avoiding money, we disconnect in other ways without even thinking about it. We spend to feel in control, instead of saving to BE in control. We eat more junk – avoidance. We lie to ourselves and our partners. There is so much fear.

 

Money is our quiet killer. It is the root of all evil. Truth sister. Money sucks. And, when we have that idea of money, we really need to examine it. I will explore this more on the last day of March. This challenge is to just observe it. Observe it coming in, going out, and how you feel. If any feelings come up, track them next to the expense. If you give up after one day, you definitely need this. If you have unopened envelopes piled up, you need this, if you have a spouse that keeps care of all the money, you REALLY need this. Fuck. You are reading this, you need it. Do it.

I don’t have a pdf for you for this one, it may be best to get a small pocket journal, the wee one with the paper cover because you want this one in your wallet or close to your money. Keep a pen handy or, if you are an end of day tracker, an envelope to keep receipts.

Track every penny in and every penny out. Use all your truth for this one.

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Also, track all the invisible money. The coffee dates where a pal pays. Money is energy. We want to examine that too.

This is a technique that I learned from both Kate Northrup and Denise DT. Two women who know money energy well! I took Kate’s Money Love course, and I HIGHLY recommend it.

 

Your Love Story – February New Moon

Maybe I am feeling the effects the emotional high of all the lovers from Valentine’s Day yesterday.  I usually like to focus on the new moon for the upcoming period but this month, I find it really important to focus on what is happening right now, as a start for our next two week period. The journal asks us to consider what we can do about the wishy-washy areas in our life, feel free to go in any direction you like.

The more I learn about the transits and important astrological dates the more I consider getting the proper education for a better understanding, this shit fascinates me! From what I understand, this solar eclipse in Aquarius is pretty significant to our love life and critical new beginnings. We are going to feel the elevation.

This is like lunar moonshine!

Mostly, this solar eclipse is a story – a new moon/opening/portal/bright new beginning – and this one is about relationships – your love story. It feels like a somewhat auspicious time to do the work for what we want, and be willing to imagine an ending different than the one we had previously believed, the brand new chapter that we have been dreaming about but uncertain of, is possible. For our happily ever after, we need a solid once upon a time. Remember, work in a two week period can be work that sets up our future, six months from now, maybe even years from now.

What has been brewing in your heart? What of the impossible feat? How are you going to make this happen? What steps can you take in the next two week period to get your ‘once upon a time’ started?

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Brave Connection to the Beloved

February brings images of Cupid and that little fucker’s legendary bow, boxed candy, flowers, greeting cards and overpriced dinners for at least two weeks of the month. Valentine’s either gives you happy shivers or the uncontrollable urge to gag.

I admit I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. I think a day to celebrate love is simply lovely. Should we show affection all the other days? Absolutely.

This single girl is not going to ramble on about lovers and divine connection. This post is about the most essential beloved. Our first love, our self.  We all know the oxygen mask reasoning for self-care and survival. There is no denying the truth there, with that idea in mind, I am challenging you, inviting you to go deeper. With true self-love and awareness comes the ability to receive genuine love and feel it without question, appreciate it, and nurture it. The core purpose of The Blue Glass Journal is to connect to who we are and live fully to the best of our ability in our real life that often is messy and maybe out of control.

I am suggesting one of the hardest challenges you will face. And I invite you to do it with love and intention, as well as bravery because you probably have never been here before.

Starting February 1, which happens to be an incredibly powerful feminine energy day as the start of Imbolic (a two-day celebration of the quickening of the Goddess promising new life in preparation of spring ), I ask you to every day, not missing a day, write one different thing that you love and appreciate about yourself. No repeats. No skipping days. Every single day. One piece of you. Identify it, name it, feel it, connect to it each day for the entire month.

I invite you to look at your whole being, your physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, the hidden and forgotten. All the parts that make you the beautiful, complicated woman you are.

The Blue Glass Journal has a great deal of focus on gratitude. I don’t have to be gifted to guess that your journal has others as your gratitude points and not your own attributes. The research I did for the journal unquestionably showed me the benefits of feeling true gratitude in our lives. The list is long; happiness, satisfaction, increased serotonin, stronger health, stronger social relationships, deeper committed relationships, less stress, the list is long.

Continue the gratitude practice and add this one piece in, imagine what could happen at the end of 28 days of introspection of self.  The beloved is calling.

Updated to add the pdf if you don’t want to add it to the journal or are not using the journal. Connecting to the Beloved (1)

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January, 2018 New Moon

cropped-girl-writing-in-a-diary-picjumbo-com.jpgAlthough we are still in the energy of Capricorn, the new moon to full moon cycle will take us into the golden sign of Aquarius. When I implemented the lunar planning cycle, I was overwhelmed with wanting to do so many things and uncertain how to pick what to do first. One thing I knew for sure, my January laundry list of goals seemed attainable and manageable until I tried to put the many of them into practice. Some didn’t make it past the first day.

One approach to deciding what project to start is an excellent old-fashioned project management approach. When companies are choosing what plan to work on first, often the smaller projects that may not seem significant get first attention. Why? Because they are the fixes that the customer is going to notice first. What change or project will be something that you can use for motivation to move forward? Need to organise your entrance way?

I attempt to make the new moon sacred. I have been intending to use Danielle LaPorte’s cleansing bath ritual but keep forgetting – it is in my planner to do it this new moon! Her mixture is 2-3 cups of Himalayan salt (or Epsom), 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 12 drops of lavender. Ha! Remember when I said I would never suggest you take a bath! Insert ‘fuck it’ sticker here!

I always light a candle and meditate on my desires and thoughts on the path I need to be following.  Fire is an integral part of my process, but it may not be yours. Fire is energy and life, it is unforgiving but also protective. The same candle will burn the page that I will write out my ideas, thoughts, and goals for the next two weeks.

My friend Jen joked that we can have two weeks off the diet this way. I think it is safe to say, eating well should be part of our life every day. I struggle with it and have been a member of Weight Watchers for 23 years on and off. Food is what goes into my ‘Journal what I need” space.

The idea to use the sun sign energy each month came from Christina from Radiant Astrology it is a suggestion only but may help decide where to start.

The energy that comes from Aquarius is innovative, idealistic, pragmatic, community-based, humanitarian, science led and fun. They are quirky visionaries who dream up grand schemes. It is a fixed sign which is always good for considering goals. One thing Aquarius folk dislike is drama

I am curious about what is on your new year’s goal or resolution list.

Here are some questions you can ask to get started in thinking of what you want to achieve in this lunar cycle:

  • What am I ready to share?
  • Where do I need balance?
  • What mastery am I ready to begin?
  • Are there outstanding responsibilities I have been putting off?
  • Is my money in order?
  • Who have I not been spending enough time with?
  • Who robs me of my energy?
  • Does an area of my community need my help?
  • Am I having enough fun?
  • Am I saying fuck it enough?

Come on over to The Facebook Group to let us know what your first lunar plans are going to be.

 

The Blue Glass Journal

The idea for the Blue Glass Journal started one day after juggling a journal, a food journal, and a planner. This bundle of books spurred me to try to find one that fit all of my needs. I explored many varieties and styles, getting more and more frustrated. I found myself giving up journalling/planning, the last straw was being annoyed at the latest $108 (after shipping and exchange) journal that didn’t leave me room for writing, but instead had check marks on things to do to live my best life.

  • Look at the pretty flowers, see beauty all around
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Don’t be an asshole

Check, check, check.

So I decided to get to work to see what other women thought. What followed was one of the most educational experiences of my life. I interviewed friends but felt I should talk to people I didn’t know for clarity. I got fortunate, I had a great response from the women of the B-School collective.

Being stuck and not moving forward was the common theme. When we got to this point in the conversation, voices changed, there were long pauses in our conversation. The result of being so stuck was fear. Crippling fear. I dug a little deeper to learn what that fear does to our emotions, our bodies, our relationships. There are few areas of our life that don’t get affected when we are afraid that we are not living our ‘purpose’. My god. I travelled across the ocean and woke at 5 am to meditate with Buddhist nuns to try to figure out my purpose. Many years later I really heard what was said to me at Plum Villiage. There is no fucking seeking our purpose. Truth, a nun said that to me. Okay, her expression that said she was so sick of white women coming to the monastery to seek clarity to find their ‘purpose’ said it to me, she simply repeated Thay’s teaching of the Buddha to not seek without, it is within. It is in us. We are born with it.

The common threads were simply:

  • Lack of gratitude
  • Lack of money awareness
  • Lack of movement (specifically in our hips)
  • Lack of paying attention to important aspects of our life

The importance of living life and accomplishing what we want to accomplish needed to be incorporated in the journal. Every new year, I make a vision board, a list, goals and I get excited. By February, I lose my journal, lose steam, lose desire, the list is endless. Sometimes September will renew that excitement with that little new year boost, but never enough to find the planner. The overwhelm stops me in my tracks.

I turned to some experts to seek out how chakras, tight hip flexors, blocked energy or chi, money worries, the biology (it is) and psychology of not having gratitude, keep us locked in 1990 for fifteen years. Everything in the journal, I did myself. When I was at the lowest point of my life, these tools got me out of bed, that is proof enough for me that this works. Then, I got some unexpected inspiration and had to change the entire plan! My biggest challenge is making lasting change and getting things done. I have a list of things to do, and I just don’t know where to start so I leave it for tomorrow, or if it is food related…Monday. A brilliant woman named Beth did some coaching with me, and she would send me new moon prompts. So I incorporated the prompts and gave myself to the full moon to get things done. The moon is constant. There is no putting off its cycle. Then, Christina came along and suggested I incorporate the energy of each sun sign during the period. Not knowing much about astrology I struggled with the authenticity of it because I am not an expert, but I learned for the journal I didn’t need to be an expert, just have enough understanding to explore with the idea. Throughout the year, the experts that helped me learn and understand how to get unstuck will contribute articles, or FB live sessions to share their wisdom.

The disappointment for me came from my lack of publishing experience, the integrity of accessibility was lost in the development, and the font is so small. My sincerest apologies for that.

I designed the journal so that it is your space. Your life. Your tool. But I also wanted it to read like you were sitting with a friend. I hope that you feel it. I also hope that if you decide to use the journal (or not) that you join the community and find support, humour, and joy for daily living.

Because we are real women, who have tough days. It comes with beautiful ‘fuck it’ stickers.

From my heart to yours, my greatest desire is that you feel connected to your beautiful, messy, complicated, and purposeful life.

By simply giving a few minutes a day:

  • Giving gratitude
  • Having money awareness
  • Movement
  • Journalling what you need
  • Using the moon cycle to accomplish goals or plans

I also included some essential ideas that I learned along the way and through my life coaching accreditation to help move forward. None of which include taking a bath.Spiritual Stock Caroline White Photography DSCF1672_

 

 

Happiness, is it a Realistic Goal?

I recently interviewed 32 women between the ages of 35 to 73 and read the survey replies of 112 women between the same ages in response to a request for some insight into my target market for The Blue Glass Journal. Okay, so this is not precisely a Gallup poll outcome, but it is as important a result as any I can find because I found our similarities when we are in a time of pointing out our differences. These are women with real-life struggles and joys, women who may or may not work, may or may not be married, may or may not be mothers, and may or may not have been assigned at birth the gender they identify as.

Naturally, my questions brought together a targeted response, but one thing stood out, for the most part, we all want to be happy. The line “I just want to be happy” was overwhelmingly used.  If you google “what percentage of women are happy” you won’t be pleased with the outcome.  Articles about why we are unhappy being married (happier being single…I don’t exactly think that is right either), dissatisfied with our jobs, unhappy raising kids, unhappy with all that we gained from our efforts for equality (duh, like we are even close to what we need to achieve), unhappy with our sex lives, unhappy with our bodies, all these depressing articles pop up, assaulting my pollyanna dream bubble.

I think that we are lucky if we are happy 60% of the time. There are so many variables and complications in life that make that our reality. This is not all doom and gloom though, I think we have been manipulated to believe that it is possible to be happy all the time.  What I learned through all the conversations with these women who shared their truth and insights is that if we focus on gratitude, the love in our lives, and stay connected to our being, it can feel like we are happy 90% of the time. I will gladly take a solid 60% happy and a 30% gratitude and love connection.  That 10% is manageable when we have these kinds of happiness odds.