Lessons from Playa

It’s been two decades since I have travelled to one place for more than two weeks. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit over these years I was not able to get away for an extended period of time.

A few years ago I decided it was time that I get away more often. Not just for brief vacation getaways, but for a long enough period of time that I could experience a new way of life. So, last winter my husband and I made a plan that would allow us to spend a month in Mexico. We had been visiting Playa Del Carmen for a few years and my in laws had been enjoying their winters there for many years. I knew the Internet worked well and that I could keep up with any deadlines while I took a break from winter. We knew our way around Playa and felt comfortable that we could relax and enjoy life a bit.

As I write this I’m coming to the end of my third week in Playa and it has been a wonderful experience with lots of time to visit with family and to enjoy the sunshine.  We have had lots of visitors, which have kept us busy, but we have also had a lot of down time to relax, read and soak up the sun.

Before leaving Canada I made a schedule for myself so that I would not only be relaxing, but also that I could keep up with work commitments, start the running season earlier and enjoy the yoga practice that I had come to love at YogaShala 38. I wanted to make good use of my time away so that I could fully experience the new way of life that I had been imagining.

I am happy to report that I’ve been doing great at sticking to my schedule. Work is getting done. My running has adjusted to the heat. And my body and mind is so thankful to be able to practice yoga three mornings a week.

Being the planner that I am it became clear to me this week that I needed to find a way to integrate some of what I’ve experienced here in Mexico back into my life in Canada. While I’ve got a good life in Canada I find that I regularly get caught up in the mundane day-to-day rut of life. This often leaves me frustrated and my yoga and writing regime suffer because of it. I decided I wanted to overcome this and needed to draw out some key lessons from this adventure.

At yoga class on Monday the lessons began to flow clearly through my mind. Thinking about the external world in yoga class by the way is not a recommended strategy. It just happens to be one of the times that moments of clarity hit me. To summarize, I’d like to share the lessons that I will take with me:

1)   Explore and release the fear

Being constrained by our fear can limit our ability to explore life to it’s full potential. I can relate to this as I too have many fears that have held me back and continue to do so in various aspects of my life. Fortunately I’m the type of person that if I want something bad enough I will find a way to to move past the fear. Where there is a will, there is a way.

My desire to explore and learn has always pushed me forward. I have people in my life who challenge me to overcome my fears so that I don’t waste precious time. This isn’t easy and it does take risking stepping out of my comfort zone.

A good example of this was my fear of Mexico. Many years ago before visiting Mexico I echoed the media’s fear that it isn’t a safe place to travel to. It wasn’t until someone bought tickets for my husband and I to join them on a trip that I decided to take the plunge and jump on a plane. It was an amazing week in Puerto Vallarta and I fell in love with the culture, the food and the sun. On that trip I went places I never should have gone. Riding in the back of a pickup truck into the mountains while consuming too much alcohol. No, I wasn’t sixteen, I was in my thirties :) I threw caution to the wind and I was rewarded with the best fish tacos and ceviche that I have ever had, still to this day. If I had never been convinced to take that trip I would likely not be writing this blog today. I learned that Mexico, just like anywhere else, could be dangerous. But sometimes the rewards far out way the risks.  And life is too short.

Fear is just a state of mind that we can overcome. Understanding our fears and working through them allows us to explore things that we dream about.

2)   The path will provide

I’ve been slightly addicted to reading books about thru-hiking recently. If you read my last blog you may be aware of this. Most recently I’ve been reading Keith Foskett’s trilogy, which includes his adventures on The Camino de Santiago trail, The Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada and The Appalachin Trail through 14 states.  In all of the books I’ve read, thru hikers experience something called trail magic. Trail magic may seem like just luck but I truly believe that it is more than that. One of my favourite stories is when Fozzie (Keith’s trail name) ended up with a broken utensil on The PCT. At the time he was annoyed and frustrated until one of the other hikers reminded him that the trail would provide and sure enough not long down the trail he came across a spoon in the ground. It was just waiting there for him in the middle of nowhere. He still uses this spoon to this day.

I could write a whole book about the trail magic I have been blessed with over the course of my life. Trail magic for me is that moment that we meet a person at just the right time or when we are provided for in ways we never would expect. The Rolling Stone song “You can’t always get what you want” is so true.  Life will provide for us, when we need it.

Knowing that I will find what I need has allowed me to make decisions with greater confidence. I work for myself and I have for many years. Over this period of time there have been hard decisions to make. Decisions where I did not know what the path forward looked like and many times I’ve had to take a leap of faith.  Never once have I been disappointed. The path has always provided and in turn it made my next decision that much easier. It removes the worry and stress that come from the unknown. I’m not a religious person but knowing that what lies ahead will more than suffice certainly clears the path for me to explore my dreams with confidence.

3)   Small adjustments can make the world of difference

Yoga has brought so much to my life and without it I would not be the person I am today. The lessons that I have learned have been life altering and have built my confidence like nothing I have ever experienced. So when I have the opportunity to practice yoga in Spanish three days a week here in Mexico I listen carefully as I crave the learning that will present itself.

Although I have been practicing yoga for over ten years now I am by no means an expert and I still can’t do the splits.  My back still aches at times and I still shake when doing boat pose. There is always room for improvement in many of the poses.

For the average person watching me as I flow through a vinyasa into a warrior II and then into extended side angle pose you would think I look lovely. For me I can still feel the places I’m stuck in the pose and I know there is more, yet sometimes I just cannot get there. But for an experienced yoga teacher they can clearly see where I am stuck. So when I was in my side angle pose this week the teacher moved my hips just slightly down and forward. This movement shifted me about one inch. And all of a sudden, my spine aligned and I felt comfortable in the pose. My shoulders opened and my heart moved towards the sky. All of this because of an inch shift in my hips.

These small adjustments have happened a dozen times over the past few weeks in class and every time I have found more flexibility and strength. My spine has become more aligned with every slight shift of my hand or change of my breath cycle.

It brought me to thinking why do we try so hard in our every day lives to make drastic changes? These drastic changes can be difficult and overwhelming. Instead, why don’t we just make small changes, take baby steps. Small changes are easier to cope with and give us time to adjust before taking the next step. Sometimes drastic change may be required if there is a severe situation but most of the time if we just tweak things slightly we can have a large impact without too much disruption.

A practical example of this is when someone is trying to pay off his or her debt. It can seem so overwhelming to think about paying the full debt off. But if an extra dollar or two a day could be put away by changing a small habit such as not buying a latte, the money would start to add up without too much interruption. Breaking things down and adjusting slowly provides us with transition time and before we know it we find ourselves where we want to be.

4)   Patience and Perseverance

I have always struggled with instant gratification. Growing up my father would start to talk about a new car or a trip or something that we would get very excited about. Then we would wait and wait and wait. Sometimes years would pass before we would see all of the talk come to fruition. This drove me crazy and still does. But what I now understand is this is how my parents have kept themselves out of debt and were able to reach their goals. We live in a society of instant gratification and we have lost the ability to be patient.  I still give into many instant gratification desires but I have come to appreciate the need to be patient. And I’ve learned to find the balance.

Helping companies manage their money for a living has brought me in contact with many people who struggle with this exact problem. At the same time I have also come across many people who demonstrate patience and have chosen to persevere through it.  I have had the fortune to work with many startups in the last ten years, most of which struggle for cash and are never sure what the future holds. I’ve been inspired by many of these companies that keep going and don’t give in when times are bad. Many days I’ve gone home thinking, wow, I could not do that. But they do and they usually find a way. It still amazes me to this day and it provides me with inspiration that I can then share with others.

So when I decided a few years ago that I wanted to spend more time away, exploring and living life I was met with mixed emotions. Many people were very supportive and excited for me. But there were also others that would shake their head and ask me how I ever expected to do this. Why would I want to and shouldn’t I just get a real job and work like everyone else.  I refused to give in. Why would I give in now when I’ve worked so long and hard to get to this point?

Of course life presented itself as it always does. My path had decided that I would take a new direction. My husband went back to school and wanted to pursue his own career. No time off for him anytime soon. My sister’s husband became ill and she needed our support. I didn’t want to be away having a good time when she was at home dealing with the challenges that she faced. Through all of this time I wondered, when, when will I get back to doing what I want to do?

So I chose patience. Three years later, my brother in law is healing and my sister is able to get away. My husband ended up with a job that takes him away from home a few times a month but it also allows him to take extended periods of time off. And soon enough we were planning this month away.

As the time approached for me to leave I started to get the regular comments. Four weeks, how do you think you can manage that? Oh, wow, what do you think you are doing? Lucky you, how is that possible?

What I know that not everyone saw is that I’ve wanted this for a long time. I’ve set my life up to make it happen. I’ve been patient and I have persevered.

We may not be able to do what we want to do today but taking small steps, being patient and persevering in the face of what crosses our paths are all things that have rewarded me with the life that I have. Anything is possible.

5)   Observe and Allow

Over the years I’ve gone through periods of too much work and I’ve also gone through periods where I was operating at optimal efficiency.  When I’m working too many hours I’ve learned that I don’t have time to allow for the things that I really want to be doing.

Observing my life as an outsider has become a regular practice for me. This is another one of those lessons that yoga has taught me. I watch how I act in situations and I notice what I may or may not say and then I reflect. At times I have to allow myself to be unhappy about my observations but I also get to feel good about what I’ve done.

So what happens when I finally get what I’ve been waiting for?  When all of that patience pays off? For me, creating space to allow for creativity and reflection is an essential part of what I want. So when I finally arrive in a place that I want to be, I spend a lot of time noticing how I feel. Am I enjoying myself? What do I want to do today? What should I plan for tomorrow?  Am I already thinking about the next adventure? This is always a balancing act for me. I am motivated by my ability to get to where I want to go but I have learned to appreciate where I am. Learning to be present in the moment.

So as I relax this final week and enjoy the fruits of my labour, I again look forward to my return to Canada. I start to wonder how I can take this level of peace back into my regular routine.  I have learned that practicing yoga in the morning has a positive impact on my energy levels. Exercising in general in the morning has changed my eating habits, keeping my intake to liquids only until lunch.  Reading daily has brought me newfound excitement and anticipation for future adventures. Driving is a waste of time. Walking everywhere feels really good.

We spend too much time as a society hitting the fast forward button. It’s nice to hit pause so that we can see where we are and how we are feeling. Taking time for ourselves and allowing ourselves to observe is a great gift not only for our well-being but to our family, our friends and the world we live in.

So as I navigate the next few weeks I will aim to stay true to who I am. I will keep up my three day a week yoga practice. I will read and write regularly. And I will be patient for the next adventure. Knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.

Stacey

The Book Club

Writing a book is a journey. This is something that hits me every time I set a plan to work on my writing. I’ve been talking about writing a book for as long as I can remember. But yet, I still haven’t completed the task.

I had made some great progress about two years ago but my writing fell off the radar over the the last year, year and a half. I had pushed it out of mind, focussing on other things that were getting in the way. Most commonly my old habit of taking on too much work and allowing the stress back into my life. When this happens everything else gets pushed away as I focus on trying to get through the weeks and the many tasks that fill my to do lists.

Fortunately I am quick to realize this behaviour pattern and I’ve become better at committing to my desire to get back to sanity. This involves choices: difficult conversations and reductions in revenue. But the trade-off I’ve learned also pays off. It creates more balance in my life. My relationships are more enjoyable and I am actually better at what I do because I have the mental space to think past the end of my nose.

So I started to ask myself what is it that I need to create space and motivation to continue on with writing again? Reading was always a good first step for me. I have a huge interest in biographies and I have always found the stories inspiring. So I recently plunged back into my reading, looking for the much-needed rejuvenation of my writing career. And of course I have found it. Girl in the Woods and Wild, the last two books I read were both about women hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I was inspired by the bravery these women showed both in their hiking and in their writing. And that’s when it dawned on me that I needed this break from my writing so that I could re group. My book needed to be more honest and open than I was allowing it to be. If these women could do it, why couldn’t I? Why was I hiding?

It became clear there was another emotional layer that needed to come off if I wanted to walk confidently towards my goal. Again I turned to my trusted sources. Yoga classes, my coach, my family, my friends and a new found addition of a holistic healer. And sure enough the layers started peeling away. And just like an onion can do to you, I shed a few tears during this unveiling. Instead of hiding this time however I engaged. I changed my mental attitude and immediately I saw the results in front of me. I started to listen to the stories I was telling others and myself. And I began to make a conscious effort to make these stories more positive. There is enough negativity out there, why was I creating more?

I also realized that I needed to engage in a community that could help me facilitate my goals. Sitting at home waiting for someone to talk about books was not working. I needed to get out there. I’ve always struggled however with after work events, especially in the winter. Nothing can compete with my cozy living room and a good book. Instead, I searched out things that would fit into my life well. I joined goodreads, which gave me insight into so many readers’ opinions. I felt I was part of something, even from my living room. And then I searched out online book clubs. This is when I came across The Girly BookClub, a book club that spans across 9 countries with 40,000 members. I quickly signed up for the Ottawa Meetup that was being hosted by the Ottawa chapter of the Girly BookClub. I read the book right away and waited in anticipation of my 1st meeting. As the meeting approached I contemplated not going as I could hear the fireplace calling me on a chilly January night. But I didn’t give in. I went. And it was fun. I met three lovely women and enjoyed excellent conversation about the book and many other topics. It started to open my mind to the possibilities and perspectives of others. Something I didn’t get while hiding at home.

I’m not fully back on track yet but I’ve taken some big steps in the right direction:

-       Reducing my working hours

-       Saying No and not feeling guilty

-       Juicing (I know it sounds strange but it is rewarding on my levels)

-       Planning some writing time

-       Signing up for a half marathon

-       Positive talk (self and others)

-       Joining the book club

My next step is to spend a month in Mexico, regrouping. Clearing myself of the daily habits that life at home brings. I plan to start training for the half marathon while strengthening my yoga practice. Writing will also become a regular part of this time away. I always find time in other places provides new inspiration and clarity that I cannot seem to replicate at home.

I’m keeping my eye on the goal but at the same time I’m learning to appreciate the journey that I’m on. And I know it is part of the process. Every step I make provides me with a newfound confidence and this inspires me to keep going.

After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.

Stacey

The Process

I am still working away on my book in between various other things that are keeping me busy these days. I was thinking yesterday about how much time we are actually given in life. And I wondered how many people spend their days doing what they want.

My mom and I were comparing projects this past weekend and we realized how we start so many things and then get bored and move on to other things. Hoping in this process that something gets complete. And always looking for the next thing that will satisfy our desire to learn. For example, I've been working on this book for a couple of years now. I also keep very busy working in my bookkeeping business. I recently wrote a blog for one of my clients at Klipfolio on the need for real time financial metrics. I have also taken up colouring and re-painting my hand me down furniture with my latest discovery - fat paint.

I'm trying to be patient with myself when I know I have writing deadlines but I'm busy painting. I realize that these are my deadlines and sometimes a break is required in order to generate more creative energy. It is none the less a balancing act that I'm learning to enjoy. And I'm finding that the time and space is important to my writing process.

While reflecting on all of this I am thankful that I have the time to enjoy the things in life I really want to enjoy. I'm able to pick and choose what I want to do. And I can say that I spend my days doing the things I really want to do. And when I find myself doing something I don't want to do I question myself. I find the purpose and then I redirect.

Patience in the process. I'm learning this as I go. 

DON'T WAIT TO RETIRE

For those of you who don't know me I decided many years ago that I didn't want to wait until I was 55 or 65 to retire.  I thought that was leaving too much to chance and I started to contemplate a world where we all worked a little bit but for a longer time.  Why work ourselves to the bone until we are so tired that we cannot physically or financially afford to do anything at 65? Why not enjoy life as we go so that we can really soak up what the world has to offer in the prime of our lives.

Looking back, these thoughts started when I was young, likely about 20 yrs old.  I thought it was just me being lazy at the time so I continued to plough forward, eventually getting an office job working five days a week. This was better than working weekends but something still wasn't right.  I started to hate Monday's to the point that I felt ill on Sunday nights thinking, here we go again. Another week, another dollar, another spin on the treadmill of working life.

Fortunately, I become self employed not long into my career and with the help of my life coach I started what we called YIN Mondays.  I was able to not work on Mondays, something I still enjoy. I have gone through ups and downs with time management in the past few years trying to get to the place I want to be. I can finally say I think I've made it.  Some weeks are busier than others but overall I work about 20 hours per week.  This is the perfect balance for me and I find myself enjoying things more and I'm more focussed when I actually do sit down to work. I also never get to the point of mental exhaustion and can handle all faucets of my life as they come at me.

Recently I've had people asking how I managed to do this and what I do in my down time. Here are my tips:

1) Decide what you want to do.  This may involve a phased approach over many years. Baby steps are good. Dream big.

2) Budget, Budget, Budget. Figure out how you can make your plan work while still feeding yourself and paying the bills.

3) Learn to be picky. There is only so much that I can do in 20 hours a week so I have to be sure I'm doing what I want to do.  This takes practice and trial and error.  Don't be afraid to say NO.

4) Find hobbies, other interests or ways to give back. Pursue your interests, take trips, volunteer.  Learn to love the life we have.

And that is it.  Simple right? Give it a try and let me know how you are making out. We only have one life so let's enjoy it!

Stacey

Energy

A client gave me a book a couple of weeks ago.  E- Squared by Pam Grout.  The book is about the energy that is around us.  There are nine experiments in the book and I've just started the second one. 

I have believed in these energy theories for about fifteen years now and I've known about them for about fifteen more. Every time I experience the coincidences of the energy in the world I'm amazed.  Once we become aware of the energy we can choose to go with it or we can change it.  It is very empowering.  Simply by changing our attitude or our thoughts in any moment, we change our view and the outcome.  By making a different choice we create a different energy.  It really can be an experiment.  There is no perfect answer, it's just a day by day balance.

I often use my breath to shift energy.  I use it to heal thoughts or feelings that are negative and I exhale the stuff that isn't doing me any good. By sending our breath into various parts of the body we can make things feel better.  By exhaling any yucky stuff we are keeping inside we can also rid ourselves of toxins.

I challenge you to start to notice coincidences.  Notice something you were looking for and then what you found.  Notice your thoughts and the energy they are creating around you.  Become aware of the circumstances that you are creating by thinking a particular way. Just notice yourself and the energy you bring in each part of your day.

Slowly you may choose to learn more on this topic but even spending a few years noticing things is a journey in itself.

Sit back and enjoy how life happens.

Stacey 

Success

I recently read a quote on Twitter from Richard Branson:

            “ Money is a poor indicator of success”

It reminded me of something that has been on my mind for many years.  What is the definition of success? And why do we as a society default to the size of our bank account when determining if we have become successful?

I have contemplated this topic many times and yes money always comes up as an indicator but it seems like it is more of a possible by product instead of the key definition.  It does cost money to exist in our society but how much money one makes, spends or saves, has 0 to do with their success rating.

For many years I did believe that money meant success. With this definition in mind I found myself unhappy and irritated with my daily routine. I quickly learned that the road I was travelling on was not one that was not aligned with my core values. 

So I decided to redefine success in my life.  And it looked like this:

-       Working less

-       More time for family and friends

-       Always being able to do the things I really want to do

-       Exercising a minimum of 5 days a week

-       Being confident in my interactions and decisions

-       Being honest all of the time

-       Being helpful

-       Finding joy in every day

As a result of my new definitions I’ve been able to change my life.  I am working less and enjoying more.  I find myself spending my days doing things I choose to do instead of things I have to do.  And a surprising result is that financially my bank account has not suffered in the least.

It is important that we recognize that success is different for everyone and the ways we choose to create our successes are also unique. Before we judge someone or put a defining box around them we should recognize that we all travel down different paths and we all have different needs. 

I challenge you to challenge your thoughts.  How are you defining success? How could your definition change to further improve your life? Does this definition align with your values? Make a small change and see what happens.  Don’t limit yourself by money!

And Have Fun

Stacey

Happy New Year!

Now that 2014 is behind me and I'm settling into 2015 I'm trying to maintain my state of balance while I reflect on what happened last year and what I want to see happen this year.

I tend to get anxious around this time of year.  I think of all of the things that happened in the previous year and then I set out to plan all of the things I want to redo or establish in the current year. If I don't keep some sort of awareness through all of this I find myself getting nervous with what I feel I must do.  And this can leave me in a bad state.

So to reflect I summarize 2014 as follows:

- Positive career changes for both my husband and I. 

- More time spent with family and friends and each other (my husband and I).

- A lot of time spent at the gym and cooking good food.

- An awareness of how precious life can be and how quickly life can change.  There are so many lessons that came with this.  And so many to still learn. 

- For the first time in my life I feel that I was living a balanced life for the majority of the year. When I felt I wasn't, I knew exactly what I needed to do to bring it back into balance.  And I had the ability to do it.

Looking forward to 2015:

- Publish my first book.

- Continue to do the work I like to do with the people I enjoy working with. 

- Continue to improve my health.  My goal here is to be healthier every year. Eat more vegetables and get back to running more often.

- Be patient with myself.  I'm very hard on myself and this can have damaging impacts on reaching my goals.  I will forgive myself more often and focus on always doing my best.

The ups and downs of the holiday season can leave us in unbalanced state.  By keeping it simple and setting a few goals I find it easier to get back into balance.  So if you are finding yourself feeling yucky grab a pen and paper.  Jot down a few things you learned last year and are thankful for and then pick a couple of things you want to work on this year.  A fun exercise is a vision board.  Grab some magazines and cut out pictures or words that resignate with you. Glue them to the board and watch the magic happen.  Every year I did this, all of the items on my board became reality.

Set some goals, relax and enjoy the journey you are on.

Stacey  

Winter

As soon as the clocks go back in the fall, the winter hits us and we all start talking about it. We talk about the darkness, the cold, the snow, the depression we feel. Every year it's the same conversation. You would think that we had never been through this.

The weekend after the clocks went back this year I was driving to Rockland. The snow was falling and I realized how beautiful this time of year can be. A sense of calmness came over me and I began to recall all of the things I actually enjoyed about winter:

- The holiday season that comes with winter means time spent visiting with family and friends

- The need to keep warm by the fire. Cooking, relaxing, warm clothes and blankets.

- Vacation time in the south! (ok it's not winter but it's still fun to do in the winter)

- Winter activities: skiing, snowshoeing, skating and tobogganing. 

The difficult thing about November and December is that there may not be enough snow for the fun activities I note above.  Instead it can be just plain windy and cold. In an attempt to overcome this pre snow slump, my husband and I decided it was time to go for a run outside in the brisk fresh air last weekend.  I won't say it was a mistake but I certainly realized how different running in the cold can be.  It had crossed my mind to never do that again until spring but instead I got right back out there on Sunday and did it again in a slightly warmer temperature.  I am thinking of it as a new challenge to overcome and I'm sure it can only help me to improve my endurance.

Since Sunday I have not been as bothered by being outside. I have found it rather refreshing instead. Today I've been told walking only for two weeks - no gym. So it seems I will be experiencing much more of this fresh air.

If I still haven't convinced you that being outside in the winter can actually be fun then you are in luck.  I also think yoga is important at any time of year so I've found this video called Yoga for the winter blues by one of my favorite Utube yoga teachers.  Give it a try and see if it helps to ease the pain of this season that we choose to endure year after year. Because it is a choice. 

On a final note I recently come across this video and it occurred to me that we could really take advantage of winter in order to connect with ourselves. The concept that we are connected to nature resonates with me.  Any time that I've spent outside in nature has brought me a sense of peace and I find I'm more connected to myself and to those around me. The folks at We Are Wildness have got it figured out.

So don't hide inside for six months. It's doesn't have to be all about winter tires and shovelling.  An added bonus - outdoor winter activities can be one of the highest calorie burners out there.  Get out there and explore and enjoy the beauty that winter has to offer. Take advantage of the opportunities. 

 

And keep warm,

Stacey

 

What comes around goes around

A few years ago one of my clients had taken myself and a colleague out for a Christmas celebration lunch. When it came time for paying the bill we were advised that the bill had been paid by a gentleman that was also there having lunch. We approached him to thank him for this kind gesture. He explained that he was happy to do so and he liked doing these sorts of random things. We were in awe by this. I have never forgotten that day and find myself thinking what it would be like if more people did this.

I believe that what comes around goes around. Karma is an energy that I believe in and am aware of when I make decisions on a daily basis. I have had many bad times on my journey much of which I believe I created myself during times that I was less aware of this karmic world that exists. But, I've also had many more positive experiences which I attribute to my parents karmic actions as well as my own. In general I try to live a kind life that can have positive impacts on others.

I do not have money floating around that I'm trying to figure out what to do with. However I feel it is important to share that what I am fortunate enough to have. We pay taxes which is definitely a contribution to our society but we don't have a direct choice of what we want to do with this money. I make a commitment every year to give money to various charities but I have also started giving money directly to those who might need it. It may only be a couple of hundred dollars here and there but for those I choose to give to I hope it makes one of their days easier. Some of these people don't even know where the money has come from. They are just people in need that have good friends that have requested some assistance for them.

Recently I came across this TED Talk video 
http://www.ted.com/talks/joy_sun_should_you_donate_differently?utm_source=twitter&source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

It is very inspiring to know that there are others that just want to give. I liked the concept of helping others directly without controlling the way they used these funds. It is unconditional giving at its best.

Giving doesn't always have to be about money. Time is one of the most valuable things we can also give. Cooking for others or donating your clothes are also ways we can give. This time of year is always challenging for many people but there are so many ways we can help.

I challenge everyone to think about how they give and to find a little bit more time or money to give to others. We are all a part of this big world we live in and what better way to get the karmic energy flowing but to do it yourself.

There is no guarantee that karma will solve all of our problems in times of need. This is not how it works and should not be the intent for giving.

I am so thankful for the life I've been given that I can have no other choice but to help others that are in need.

Please if you can, give.

Welcome to Balancing Me

I've been working hard over the last 20 years to find myself.  I can't say the mystery is solved but I will say I'm much more balanced than I've every been.  As a result I am mentally ready to take on the next 20 years of my life.  

I have decided that semi retirement is the way to go.  Part of this retirement strategy is writing.  Writing about my journey.  I am working on my book and have built this site as a sneak peak.  I hope you will enjoy it and will check back in regularly for tips and tools on navigating this crazy world of expectation that we have found ourselves in.

Thanks for checking in.

Stacey