The Art of The Pause…..

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“Learn to pause or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.” ~Doug King~

The holiday season is here, and many of us feel like we are on the brink of a breakdown. With the extra traffic, Christmas shopping, and everyone running around in a frenzy, the joy of the holidays has become burdensome. The holidays should be a time where the pace of life slows down, the present moment is treasured, and the idea of spending time with family is cherished. However, as years roll by, the holiday season has become congested with commercialization. We have stopped practicing the art of the pause.

The holidays are the perfect time to press pause and start living in the now. When you take the time to live in the present moment, you appreciate the beauty of life. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to enjoy the art of the pause. Below are three tips you can implement to start savoring the holiday season!

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  • Take a break from social media. This Christmas commit to being present with your family and friends by disconnecting from social media. When you are not posting every moment, you will savor it and not miss out on making memories.
  • Take some vacation time from work. Too many people have vacation days but never use them. Don’t let your vacation time build-up without enjoying the fruits of your labor.
  • Don’t buy gifts. Yes, it is tempting to want to get the whole world a gift; however, spending money you do not have only creates stress. How about this season you give your loved ones the best present of all your presence

 

 

Pursuing Your Dream

Pursuing Your Dream

 

How many times have you looked at your life and realize you are not living the life you desire? Did someone tell you that your dream was unattainable? Or did you let society dictate to you what was more important in your life?

When we are children, we believe we can be anything we desire to be in life. No matter how ridiculous our dreams may seem, as a child, we believe in our thoughts. As we shift into the teenage years, we start to let society dictate to us which journey will be profitable. We begin to focus on reality instead of the desire of our dreams.

The child inside of us starts to disappear because reality becomes more important than our childhood dreams. Our lives no longer hold enthusiasm or passion; instead, our adulthood has made us apathetic. We begin to forget about the vision we had to live a life full of wonder, passion, and excitement. Our dreams have become faint whispers needing a fresh breath. What can we do to resuscitate our passion for pursuing our dreams?

  • The first step to pursuing your dream is to reconnect with your childhood dreams. When I was young, I enjoyed writing, and I remember my Uncle Dave would always tell me I was going to be a famous writer. I remember in 2003 while living in Sicily, my love for writing reignited when I read Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” for open mic night. Four years later, I published my first poetry book. The little girl on the inside of me reconnected back with my lifelong dream to become a writer. It was up to me to answer the call!
  • The second step is to write a list of the the things that stopped you from pursuing your dreams. After you recognize the roadblocks begin to write a list of possibilities of following your dreams. (For example: Roadblock: I stopped pursuing my dream of painting because I didn’t think I was a great artist. Possibility: I can start taking art classes at a local gallery to brush up on my artistic skills.)
  • The last step is to surround yourself around people who are living your dream. When you surround yourself around like-minded people you are building a community of support. When you have a support system it fosters a life filled with enjoyment, creativity and success.

So pursue the life you desire instead of burying your dreams. Dreams are meant to be lived out loud!!!

The Art of Being Fear-less!

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Can you really be fearless? Is this concept even possible? In a world that profit off our fears, how can we FEAR-LESS!

One time in your life, you have struggled with or struggle with fear. Fear is something that paralyzes us from living our best life. For the past twelve years of my life, fear was my best friend. I often embraced it to stay mediocre, lingering in my comfort zone. I knew nothing unusual grew out of my comfort zone, but it was comfortable.

I allowed fear to keep me from making decisions because I was scared I would make the wrong ones. However, entertaining fear kept me from living the best versions of my life. I didn’t realize that indecision was a decision I made to live in mediocrity. My fears stemmed from the disappointment of my youngest daughter’s death. I wasn’t living, just existing. But something phenomenal happen, I stopped running from fear and began to face it.

How did I make this shift?

Well, this summer I went home to visit her grave. It was the beginning of self-empowerment, taking my power back and reclaiming my life. When I went to her grave, I no longer felt empty; instead, I felt close to her. For the first time in twelve years, I felt close to her, and this was the beginning of me learning the art of being fearless!

Below are three lessons I have learned on how to fear-less:

  • Admit Your Fears. Running away from your fears do not serve you, but, when you admit your fears, God can help you face them. Many times we stay busy to stop us from facing our fears. ( I didn’t want to face my grief, so I stayed busy for the last twelve years). 
  • Face Your Fears. When you start to face your fears, you realize that most of the fears you have are not real. F.E.A.R is false evidence appearing to be real. Facing your fears are uncomfortable, but it makes you a stronger person.
  • Live Life Abundantly. God wants you to live your life abundantly, but you can’t do that if fear runs your life. You have to be willing to let go of the weight for God to carry the burden.

So, I encourage you if you have lost a loved one in your life take the time to face how you feel so you can heal properly. We all have fears but in order to fear-less we have to face the fears head on!

 

 

3 ways To Create A Memorable Summer!

 

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With summer coming many people are excited about vacation and spending time with their family. However, I am passionate about creating memorable moments with my daughter. Although I am going to visit my family, I have decided to shorten my trip and plan smaller trips throughout the summer for my daughter and me to enjoy. It is so easy to get caught up in focusing on visiting so many people during your time off, however, what is more, important you planning trips that make you happy this summer even if it means disappointing others. Vacation is about unplugging from your routine and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

My main focus this summer will be unplugging from social media, reading books I love and being present in the moment. We can produce the most fabulous things when we focus on the present moment.

Below are three ways to create a memorable summer:

1. Unplug. The present moment is the most important moment in our lives. This summer take the time to take a break from social media and savor the memories.

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2. Do what makes your soul happy. Too often we spend endless summers traveling to see family but have not schedule time to do what we desire. Make sure you schedule a personal trip in for yourself this summer, you deserve it!

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3.  Create Memories That Last For A Lifetime. Spend this summer exploring new places and spaces to produce memories that will last forever. The goal is to spend money on experiences not things.

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So, I challenge you this summer to do what makes you happy, focus on the present moment and create memories that will last forever!

Living a Life Filled with Joie de Vivre

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With the arrival of the Spring season, we are reminded to step back and allow ourselves the space to reset, refresh and renew some things in our lives. Spring is a sign of new beginnings, new life, and refreshment. Flowers begin to bloom, and animals start to come out of their hibernation stage. In this beautiful time, we are reminded of how important it is to live a life filled with joy.

In French culture, the term joie de vivre translates as the joy of living or the exuberant enjoyment of life. In a world filled with so many things happening on a day to day basis finding pleasure in the simple things is essential. Recently, I decided to take more time away from technology to become more present in my everyday life. I am finding joy in resting, reading and watching my favorite shows. I am more fulfilled with putting my focus on doing activities I love versus allowing the distraction of technology to consume my time.

After spending spending five years in Europe I learned to embrace the concept of joie de vivre. It changed my life in so many ways; I was happier less distracted and didn’t fill the need to consume. When I came back to the USA in 2006, I realized how much I desired the European way of life versus the American way of life.

However, since I have been living back in the United States for the last thirteen years I am learning to find ways to fill my life with joie de vivre. Below I have listed five ways you can incorporate the French idea of joie de vivre into your daily life.

1. Take a week off. Instead of heading out of town take a week off work to stay at home. Schedule time to do the things you love while you are at home like sleep in, watching your favorite show via Netflix or reading your favorite book.

2. Pamper Yourself. Whether it is scheduling a spa day, getting your hair done or simply walking in nature spend sometime connecting back to your soul.

3. Meditate. Meditation is a great way to enjoy the present moment. It is a great way to help you let go of the stress of everyday life.

4. Be Still. Slowing down and taking time to pause is a great way to incorporate the concept of joie de vivre. When you take a minute to pause it generates a sense of calmness into your life.

5. Make a “have fun list”. We spend so much time checking off our to do list just to feel overwhelmed because we realize there is still so many things to do. I think it is good to have a list filled with fun things you desire to do versus what you think you should be doing.

I hope this list is a beginning of you embracing the idea of joie de vivre. Comment below on which one you will do to create some joie de vivre in your life. 

Become the Picasso of Your Life

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In 2019, I realized to have a different year I needed to become the painter in my own life. So often I have allowed other people to paint their ideas, opinions, and theology for my life which resulted in forgery. Allowing others to paint on the canvas of your life causes fraudulent creations because you are letting them put their vision into action. It is essential to create a vision for your life and be the creator of it. When you put other people into the driver seat of your life it causes chaos. I am learning that when I have a vision, I can’t expect people to understand it or co-sign on it.

A vision is something that gives you clarity about the goals you want to accomplish. When you are not clear about the idea for your life society will cloud your judgment with their perspective. In 2019, it is time for you to take back the paintbrush and begin generating your life masterpiece.

Below I have three specific ways you can become the Picasso of your own life!

1.Create The Vision: Whether it is a vision board, vision journal or collage take the time to define your vision, this will help you see your goals clearly. Then you will be able to create action steps to accomplish them.

2.Stop Explaining Yourself: I have learned the hard way that sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut. When you prematurely share your dreams, aspirations or goals with others sometimes it can discourage you if their input is not what you wanted to hear. True, we want everyone to be excited about our goals, our life and dreams but understand everyone will not understand the blueprint of your life. God individually designed your life to fit you and others validation is never needed.

3.Creativity is Messy: Understand that the road of life is not a straight line but filled with dead ends, detours and u-turns. When you are handed a blank canvas to create the vision for your dream life know that being flexible is essential. Many artist create beautiful masterpieces by understanding the first stages are messy.

 

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How do you plan to become the Picasso of your life in 2019? (Leave your comment below…)

3 Simple Ways to Make 2019 Your Best Year…

3 Simple Ways To make 2019 Your Best Year....

With the excitement of a new year comes resolutions, goals, and everything under the sun to make 2019 your best year. However, I have three simple ways you can make 2019 a year of ease.

Step 1: Mind Your Own Business.

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Life is so much easier when you learn to focus on your own life and tune into the present moment. When you focus on fine-tuning your life, you will find no time to be worried about what others are doing including obsessing on what other people are posting on social media. You will be able to accomplish your goals quicker and see the beauty in your life.

Step 2: Stay on Energy Saving Mode…

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So often we are exhausted and burnt out from fighting battles that are not our fight. We spend too much energy overthinking, fearing and obsessing over things that create distress.  We feel the need to give our opinion to every situation just to be consumed with other’s problems. When you preserve your power for the essential things in your life, you will be at peace. Exhaustion, stress, worry, and anxiety will slowly drift aside when you put your emotions on energy saving mode.

Step 3: Don’t Join The Circus….

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Every clown or court jester that begs for your attention does not need to be entertain. Two thousand nineteen is not the year to sign up for anyone’s circus of foolery be adamant about setting boundaries and ignoring the distraction. To live your best life in 2019, you will have to learn the power of ignoring things that don’t require your attention.

Comment below and tell me, which step you will focus on this month to make 2019 your best year? 

Self Care Essentials: Finding Your Zen…

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“What you seek is seeking you.” ~Rumi

In the last month or so my life has been filled with the unknown, I have found myself looking for answers in this unfamiliar place. However, I have learned the answers lie in between the moments of letting go. This entire year I learned the importance of letting go and detachment from things I can’t control. When I let go there is a moment of peace that comes with detaching myself from the outcome. I have learned to be more in tune with my mind, heart and soul.

These moments of zen have taught me the importance of releasing the struggle and embracing the ease. I have spent my entire life in survival mode, trying to stay afloat so the pressures of life would not overtake me. As I was struggling to stay afloat  I found myself drowning from the pressure of trying to keep it all together. I realize now that this facade kept me from becoming free, free from thriving to my fullest potential.

However, when I decided to stop fighting the flow of life things began to fall into place. I was able see things more clearly and implement self-care into my life. Self-care has taught me how to be present in the moment. It has also taught me how to be still, let go and flow in uncomfortable situations. Self-care has been a great teacher in showing me how to reconnect with my true essence.

So, below I have listed self-care essentials to help you find your zen and tap into the peace of mind you deserve.

1.Tea, Anyone? : Green tea and other teas have been linked to having many health benefits. I often drink tea to calm myself when I feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. My favorite tea is Yogi Tea, this tea has a variety of teas that you can choose from to suit your needs. I often use the bedtime and ginger tea. Another great benefit is they add inspirational quotes on the tea bag label.

2. Candles: Candles can reduce your stress by adding some aromatherapy to your day. Here is a list of the best organic candles on the market Organic Candles

3. Music: Music is a great way to cultivate some calm in your everyday life. BMG Channel on YouTube is a great channel to listen to it has a variety of music for studying, relaxing etc.

4. Whoosah: Meditation is a great way to bring calm into your mind. The Calm App is an app I have used for years. It has various programs to help you get into your calm.

5. Selah: Taking time to hit pause in your life is a way to stop and listen to your inner self. Pause help you clear the noise, clear the clutter & reconnect with yourself.

So, which self-care essential will you use this holiday season ?, share your thoughts in the comment section!

Don’t Get Caught In The Hustle…

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As the Autumn season has made her appearance, it is time get in a position of slowing down. For most of us slowing down never seems to happen but it is essential to nourish our well-being. Slowing down is the pause we all need in our daily lives.

Yesterday, I attended a live book reading where Tayari Jones the author of An American Marriage help me understand why the hustling of life steals your joy. During the Q&A section of the event, I decided to ask her a question. I asked her, What advice do you have for writers who desire to see their book in print?

Her response was effortless, don’t stop writing and don’t get caught up in the hustle of writing. Her words were simple but yet profound. When I left the event her words haunted me; I spent most of the night ruminating over her words. Apart of me knew her words were like medicine to my new journey in writing. I did not want to get caught up in the hustle of selling and promoting my books. For the first time in my life, I wanted to enjoy the journey.

I wanted to create an intimate community with my readers. I wanted to see the sparkle in their eyes after reading my books. And I knew it couldn’t happen if I got distracted by trying to sell a book versus building relationships.

Slowing down helps us reconnect back to the essential things such as family, friends and living in the present moment. Unlike, hustling slowing down teaches us the importance of being patient and the power of gratitude.

So, what small changes will you implement to go from hustling to slowing down in this season?

Why road trips are great for writers….

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Imagine an open road filled with many destinations but there is no specific direction you want to take. Each road leads to an adventure where stories start to ruminate in your mind. The people you meet, the places you see and the things you do are all connected to a bigger picture. The bigger picture is the stories waiting to come alive. Road trips have the power to bridge the gap between creativity and inspiration.

I believe road trips are essential for a writer. Writers not only need time to write but they need a place of inspiration. Sometimes the best inspiration happens when you are living life. Last month, I decided to embark on an epic road trip with my daughter and best friend. It had been nine years since I went on an extended road trip. I was determined not to drive twelve hours to my hometown.

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However, in the end trying to fight the inevitable was useless so I let go, let God  and the road trip came to fruition.  As I reflect on all that took place on our road trip I realize how important it was for me to get outside my comfort zone. The trip was epic and fun.

Road trips are a great way to explore different cities, meet interesting people and reconnect with friends and family.  As a writer road trips help us reconnect with our five senses, live in the moment and gain clarity. Below are three reasons why road trips are great for writers.

1. You tap into your five senses. There is a great power when you tap into your five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell and touch play a major part in developing characters and the setting of the story. Road trips force us to pay attention to unfamiliar surroundings.

2. New Places & Faces. Road trips allow you to meet interesting people and explore new places. These two elements can help a writer develop characters and incorporate the place they visit into their story. Each person you meet may have a distinct personality trait you want to integrate into your character’s development.

3. Gain Clarity. Every writer needs time away to unplug and refresh their thoughts. Road trips help you relax, rejuvenate and reboot your thinking. When you take time to clear your mind your thoughts become organized. You will be able to come back to a writing project with a new perspective.

 

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