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Stepping into Visibility

Photo by Hannes Caspar
The authentic self is the soul made visible. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about visibility after a two-day retreat dedicated to bringing my business to the next level.

For women, visibility can be a very mixed bag. And until this past week I hadn’t quite connected the dots around how our beliefs and fears about personal visibility so deeply impact our ability to put ourselves (and our heart-centered businesses) out there.

I grew up in the West Village of New York City in the 80’s. As a pre-teen walking the streets of NYC I attracted a lot of unwanted attention from men.

How to Overcome Perfectionism

Photo by Jonathan Jacobsen
Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~Harriet Braiker

My neighbor came to my door while I was baking my first loaf of gluten-free bread. She said she admired our diets and told me how she was doing more to eat less sugar.

“I’d heard from a lot of people that it makes a lot of sense for them,” I said, “but I just didn’t think I could cut another thing out. I mean, after getting rid of dairy, wheat, caffeine and sugar, what would be left?”

She laughed a little and said, “Well it’s all about just cutting yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect or anything.”

Here’s my confession: I have this compulsion to be perfect. Everything I do has to be just so, or I don’t want to do it at all. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.

How to Find Your Purpose

Photo by Shannon
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we give to our life. ~Anais Nin

What is MY purpose?

This is the recurring question I would ask myself over and over: searching, seeking, arm-wrestling with each day, in a quest to find where my place was in this grand universe.

I would look around and feel a bit left behind; others seemed to be intensely purposeful, wholeheartedly embracing a career, a path . . . why couldn’t I? What is my path?

I have read dozens of books over the years, complete with countless worksheets and self-development exercises to expand my sense of belonging in the world.

How to Stop Gossiping

Photo by Satu Knape
It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people's business. ~Dolley Madison

A few months ago I was speaking to my husband about a friend of ours who had made a purchase we thought was misguided. We spoke at great length, giving our opinion on why we thought it was a bad decision and questioning his judgment.

I remember feeling a little uncomfortable and a bit sad afterward. I felt upset, but I couldn’t quite figure out why.

A day or two later, my 30 Day Challenge group posed its usual question: What’s your challenge for next month? Immediately my heart said, Stop gossiping.

I balked at this; I got a little defensive even. I didn’t gossip! That was the kind of thing reserved for petty high school girls with nothing better to do. That wasn’t me. That’s not a real challenge.

New Year Resolutions: Look Within

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo

I’m thinking about 2013.

… and have no goals. This is a radical declaration for me.

Historically, I spend a few days in December reflecting on the past year and envisioning the New Year. I would carefully organize my goals into categories of personal growth, finances, career, family, wellness, travel, and refine to ensure each one is specific, measurable and timely. I assess the goal like a test tube subject to be sure that it has all the appropriate elements of a ‘great goal.’

After circulating my Official New Year’s Goal Document to my BFF and husband as accountability allies, I move onto a vision board with inspiring words, favorite quotes, dreamy magazine cutouts.

I take goal setting very seriously.

5 Steps to Fulfillment

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Editor’s Note

I loved this article. Reading it has brought a sense of peace into my otherwise rushed life. I felt my mind slowing down as I read. It’s so simple, yet graceful and so relate-able. Enjoy.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. ~Oscar Wilde

This winter took a lot out of me. The weather was milder than normal here in the Northeast, but my personal life was stormy and chaotic.

By May, when the harsh winds of conflict died and life returned to normal, I was still reeling. I found myself shuffling through my daily routine, feeling flat and disengaged.

It was, in part, a natural reaction to the stress of the previous months. One can only go full-force for so long, until the inevitable crash occurs.

But there was also an element of sheer boredom. Life felt dull and bland. Monotonous.

5 Tips to Avoid Overextending Yourself

Photo by Jon Jacobsen
To overextend yourself is to invite defeat. ~G. William Domhoff

A few years ago, after my husband and I got hitched, we flew to Italy and had a wonderful vacation, and when I got back I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family and many of our friends. Early that day, my jet lag really kicked in, I was exhausted and couldn’t believe I’d offered to do this. Never again, I thought.

This is probably one of the best times to talk about overextending yourself. The holidays are here, and between shopping, baking, parties, and volunteering there seems to be hardly enough time for a regular work day, let alone exercise, laundry and cooking dinner.

I want to stress that I’m going to deal with general, low-level problems of over-committing ourselves. That is one symptom of what can be a larger problem for some of us. It certainly was for me; about six years ago I was extremely codependent. If you’re interested in more information on that, you can check out Codependents Anonymous’ Checklist.

Regardless of how much you struggle with codependence or taking on too much, these tips can help make things a little easier.

6 Questions to Access Your Inner Wisdom

Photo by Jon Jacobsen
You can do anything you want to do in this lifetime. ~The Dalai Lama

One bone numbingly cold winter morning in January 2003, my husband Tony and I were carefully making our way to work, which was no easy commute.

At the time we were living in Kiev, the capital city of the Ukraine where winter months are so frigid, it hurts to draw a breath.

We had moved there to take up teaching positions in an international school after having been living in an ashram in India.

Initially we had been excited by the thought of such a dramatic change of scene, but the reality of it was proving to be brutal.

Flow – The Secret to Happiness

Flow is the natural, effortless unfolding of our life in a way that moves us towards wholeness and harmony. ~Charlene Belitz & Meg Lundstrom

The majority of the books that sit on my shelves are ones that I have read, or deliberately decided not to read after losing interest after a page or two. So I was a little taken aback when I found one sitting smack dab in the middle of various dog-eared novels that I hadn’t read yet—The Power of Flow.

In all likelihood it was a transplant from my parent’s extensive self-help collection, one that must have snuck into one of my boxes. Yet, I hadn’t noticed it until I was—conveniently—experiencing stagnation in many areas of my life.

I’d say this is what “divine timing” is all about.

I spent the next few hours swimming in the pages, recalling all the times in my life when things seemed to fall in to place and doors opened without any physical effort on my part–the times when I was completely and totally “in the flow.”

How to Come Alive

Photo by Rosie Hardy
Editor’s Note

This is such a simple, elegant and inspiring article. Make sure to give this a read. You'll be glad you did. :)

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

No quote has ever had more of an impact on me than this one.

When I first read it, I was working in the accounting department of a government contractor in Virginia. I was commuting back and forth to the 3-bedroom house on ½ acre that I’d just bought and I was doing it in a sporty little Mazda 626.

I was making a respectable salary. I had parlayed my college degree into a “successful” career, and I was understandably proud of myself.

But I was not alive.

I was just one of hundreds of thousands of bean counters who sat in traffic a couple of hours a day to get to a cubicle in a maze of other cubicles to sit for another 8 to 10 hours a day trying to make numbers add up.

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