Your Beautiful, Messy, Crazy Life

The blog post you’re reading now, is not the first draft. Not even close. The first draft of what I’m writing now could hardly be recognizable as the same post that I started with. Usually when I write, I start with rambling. I write down anything that comes to mind until something pops up that interests me enough to direct my focus toward it. Then I start with jumbled words and sentences that squish together haphazardly to form an idea or a story, or whatever it decides it wants to be. Then I write and re-write, and hopefully out of the sculpting process, I’ll come up with something that is decent enough to share—but even then, I never know if it’s ‘complete’ because it’s always changing form.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, an idea will pop into my head, and I’ll scramble to write it down as quickly as I can, and when I do, it is complete. It’s five minutes of magic. But like I said, that is very rare, and if it happened like that all the time, then I probably wouldn’t value the beauty and ease of it as much as I do.

Creativity usually takes time. It’s good, then bad, then hopefully good again…it’s messy and crazy and beautiful as it stops and starts and ebbs and flows, and as a conduit for creativity, all you can do is play along and enjoy the ride.

Your life is one big, ever-expanding, expression of beautiful, crazy, messy, creativity. You are creating all.the.time. You create this moment, and the next, and the next. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but usually it’s always good again as it stops and starts, and ebbs and flows. You are a conduit for the ever-expansive expression of the Universe, so essentially, you’re playing with God. Or Buddha. Or Energy. Or Spirit. Or Goddess. Or whatever you want to call ‘IT’.

And it’s not a game of winners and losers. It’s a game of playing make-believe. A game of creating solution and dissolution. Stops and starts. Ups and downs. Twists and turns. There can’t be any winners or loser’s because there is no end to it all.

Think back to the darkest day of your life. The day you thought you couldn’t go on; in fact, perhaps you didn’t even want to go on.

What happened?

You went on.

And things got better.

And then, probably, things got bad again, and then better, then bad, and on and on it goes…

There’s no beginning or end; it’s all just creative flow.

This moment in your life is not the first draft of your masterpiece, and it’s certainly not the last. You’re somewhere in the middle of the creative process, and when it’s good, perhaps you share a little bit of that juicy goodness with others, and when it’s not so good, you keep sculpting. Or maybe you just crash and burn for a while as you catch your breath and get back on your feet.

And sometimes, on rare occasions or maybe not-so-rare occasions, you’ll be hit with a spark of insight or a shift of perspective, and you’ll experience five minutes of magic. And in that moment, you’ll remember who you really are.

And you’ll remember that you are not lost, because you’re right here,
playing a beautiful, messy, crazy game called life.

And it is perfect as is.

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Dear friends: Please join me this Saturday, February 27th from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. for a couple of hours of discussion, yoga, meditation and introspection on building a foundation for creating a life you love. Get all the details here.

Full Circle

Long story short….

Ten years ago I discovered and fell in love with yoga.

At that time, I was inspired by a professor who was infusing yoga into her University philosophy courses, and I wanted to do something similar. I thought the only way to take part in offering yoga studies as a part of higher education was to become an established professor in a related field, and then offer it up in courses that I was already teaching.

So, I saved up my pennies, studied for the GRE, and just before the application deadline, I changed plans and decided to take my time and money to further my education as a yoga teacher. (At the time, I had been teaching yoga because I was asked to teach, had dabbled enough in training and workshops to do so, but had never considered teaching yoga as a ‘career path.’)

The reason for the shift? I attended a workshop for the school of yoga that I would eventually study with, and within minutes of hearing their opening invocation, I knew it by heart. I sang along with it like I’d been singing it for years; tears streaming down my face. The decision wasn’t easy. My mind had all kinds of excuses why yoga teacher training wasn’t the best idea, but in the end, my heart won out, and so I signed up and changed my path.

As I immersed myself into teaching, my dream of bringing yoga studies into higher education faded away, and for a while, I forgot all about it. I stepped into teaching opportunities in nearly every studio and gym in my community, but I was continually drawn back to my job as a yoga course instructor at USU. (which, by the way, is totally unglamorous with it’s cold gyms, lack of props, and Zumba music leaking through the walls…) In spite of it all, I loved it, and still do.

And then one day, something clicked. I felt an almost urgent need to propose a Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program to the University. I had dabbled with the idea of teaching teachers for years, but the hope that I could offer it at the University felt like an impossible dream. Yet, I couldn’t ignore the urgency I felt in proposing the idea to my department.

So I did.

I found out later, that within the same month or so, another woman, who is now my friend and colleague would propose the exact same thing, yet from a different angle and with a slightly different approach. Her contributions and ideas meshed perfectly with mine, and together we received the permission to conceptualize, design and implement the very first Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program at Utah State University, and one of the only programs like it in the United States.

The moral of my story?

The Universe has a crazy way of ensuring that your dreams become a reality, and even if you forget about what you want, the Universe will not only remind you, but if you’re listening closely, and courageous enough to follow through on what you feel inspired to do, it will tell you exactly what to do, and when.

It’s impossible to know how it’s going to happen, because that is left up to the mysterious dance of the Universe and all of her crazy ways, and in hindsight the way we arrive is always such an incredible journey full of twists and turns. But I’ve always been curious about gaining a little more control over my part in the process, and figuring out if there are things I can do to speed things up a bit.  So here are some things I’ve discovered over the last two or three years of actively participating in creating a life I love:

• You’ve got to listen. Get quiet everyday as often as you can, because the only way you’re going to know what to do next is to tune into the present moment as much as possible. It’s like you always have a part of you tuned in, just in case inspiration hits—because you just never know when it’s going to pop up.

• You’ve got to know HOW to listen. Messages from the Universe don’t exactly pop into your head as a thought all the time…it happens, but the mind can be tricky, and easily misunderstood. So rather than trying to decode the clutter of the mind, a more effective way is to feel. Feel your own energy. Do you feel at ease or anxious when you do x,y,z? Does a decision excite you or make you feel nervous? Is it good-for-you fear or get-the-hell-away type of fear? These are things you need to know about yourself, and the only way to know is to feel, feel, feel.

• Trust. This one is HUGE. If something comes up and mentally it sounds like a crazy idea, but you know in your heart it’s the right thing to do, then trust your heart. This one is also really, really HARD. Because other people might think you’re crazy, or you might think you’re crazy, but if you trust what’s coming through you, you will be rewarded, big time. Every time.

• Trust. (Part two). Trust that everything that happens to you is part of the path that will take you where you want to be. So that means that even all of the stuff that seems like it’s taking you in the complete opposite direction? It’s not. It’s teaching you exactly what you need to know, in order to be exactly where you need to be, in order to manifest your dream into reality.

• Break down what you really want. This is about letting go of rigid ideas. Focus more on how you want to feel, rather than what you want your dream to look like. I really wanted to see a yoga studies program start up in a Higher Education setting, but what I really wanted was to introduce yoga to a larger population. So I focused on that aspect, which ultimately led me to what I wanted.

• Do the work. If the Universe comes knocking on your door with an idea or opportunity, you better jump at the chance. Roll up your sleeves, put in the time, and SHOW UP.

I hope you have a bigger-than-life dream that you’ve cast somewhere out into the Universe, and I hope that you’re anchored to the moment as that dream unfolds within each and every breath. And I also hope that you will NOT give up on it; that even if you have to set it aside for a while, you’ll hold it in your heart, and all along the way, listen for its call to you, because it searches for you just as much as you search for it.

Now go find it.
It can’t wait to meet you.

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Photo: Mystic Mamma

P.S. The Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program begins Fall Semester 2016 at Utah State University. Enrollment opens April 11, 2016. More information will be available soon…in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at eparkperry@gmail.com

The In’s and Out’s of Setting Goals

It’s the start of a new year, and I really wanted to write a post about goal setting, because I love goal setting…and goal getting…and goal planning and…pretty much all of it. But I couldn’t write the post.

Believe me, I tried. I started. I stopped. I wrote and rewrote…but I could.not.write.the.damn.post.

And I think it’s because it’s not really resonating with me this year, because as much as I love goal setting, and as I already mentioned, I especially love goal-getting, it’s not what I’m going for this year. I’ve got so much on my plate, and so much to care for and nurture already, that all I really want to do is focus on what I’ve got going on right now. In this moment.

Because I really believe that it’s about going in; not out.

Goals are always so far out there for me. And it’s fun to go after them; to chase after the dream and maybe even catch up to one once in a while. But I wonder what’s happening right here while I’ve got my sights set on something out there? I think sometimes I might be missing out on all the good stuff happening right under my nose.

So that’s what it’s all about for me this year. It’s about sinking into the stuff I’ve got going on right in this moment. These words. And next, it might be about savoring the glass of wine that’s sitting next to me. And then it might be about bath time with my sweet baby boy. And then next, then next, then next….who knows? But I can tell you one thing: I want to be there. All the way there. Not just half-assed with my head in the clouds thinking about tomorrow’s plans or yesterday’s conversation, or all the big goals I’m lining up for the future.

My goal this year is to see how far I can sink into NOW.

I guess I could say it’s about depth not breadth; dropping in, not out; experiencing the big things and the little things and the every thing’s in between. It’s about living in the only space that’s real.

Of course, I’ll keep a little bit of the dream cast out around me, and as I hold my awareness steady right here in this moment, maybe, just maybe, that dream will rise up from inside of it. Because there’s one thing I’m sure of: the only way any goal is achieved or any dream realized, is right through the middle of NOW; so that’s where I’ll be waiting.

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The Wonderful Things

A few weeks ago, I posted a follow up piece to ‘The Wonderful Things’ titled ‘The Single Most Important Thing I Do For My Kids Each Day’ (you can read it here.) This post is the original, which some of my readers have requested I re-post. This post was actually written a couple of years ago, but it is still something we do in my home every night. My kids are almost teenagers now, and they love it just as much.

I have recently started a new addition to our bedtime ritual. As I tuck each of my boys in at night, I share something wonderful that I had observed about them during the day. My boys call it ‘The Wonderful Things’. It has quickly become a much anticipated part of bedtime, and it is regularly talked about during the day as they wonder what behaviors will make it into the prestigious category of ‘The Wonderful Things’. I started it as a way for me to let them know that I appreciate their efforts. I believe that growing up is hard work and that the daily rituals that have become habitual and natural to me as an adult are still being learned and practiced at their stage in life.

What I did not expect is the enormous shift in their behavior. The moment they knew that I was paying attention, they started to pay attention. I started receiving more random hugs and offers to help. There is less resistance toward picking up dishes, brushing teeth, cleaning rooms, etc. I find it interesting to observe how the simple act of conscious awareness helps us to make the choices that reflect how we want to carry ourselves in the world.

I must admit, this new ritual takes real effort in observation, and as I am learning to be more aware of their behavior, I’m beginning to become more aware of mine. I quickly realized that I never take time to look at ‘The Wonderful Things’ about me. I’m very quick to notice the things that I do that are not wonderful, and in fact, those ‘not wonderful things’ stick with me for a very long time and shape the way I view myself.

My practice of observing the beauty and grace in my children has now evolved into seeing the beauty and grace in my husband, family, friends, nature, music, and even myself. And just like the shift that is happening in my children, I’m feeling a shift, too. The more aware I am of my own wonderful things, the more I want to express it. One of my favorite quotes is by Genpo Roshi, which states, “God, Goddess, Koan, mantra, anger, fear, hope, faith…I become that on which I’m concentrating.” I’m beginning to see how much truth there is in that quote.

I challenge my readers to take a day or a week, or a lifetime to shift your awareness. Make an effort to see only the wonderful things about yourself, your family, your friends, your children and your life. I promise you that what you will find is a different world entirely.

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Maybe You Were Meant To Fall

“Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall….”

These are the words that go through my mind whenever I go rock climbing. Yes, I’m secured to a rope. Yes, I have a trustworthy belay partner who would catch me in his arms if he had to. Yes, I’ve done this. Yes, I can do this….Yet, when I’m clinging to the side of a cliff; muscles shaking, fingers aching, and tiny footholds holding the weight of my body, all I can think is…

“Dear God, Please. Don’t let me fall.’

Time after time, climb after climb, this mantra played in my head, until one day, I fell.

And guess what?

It was the very best thing that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because then I could stop worrying (so much) about falling and focus on the climb.

Now here’s the lesson in this story:

You’re going to fall.
You’re going to fail.
You’re going to have to start all over…

Probably again and again and again.

And I think it’s important for you to know that falling, failing, and starting over is okay.

It’s better than okay.
It’s necessary.
It’s part of growth and expansion and witnessing the miracle of you expanding into YOU.
It’s about glorious evolution: Rise. Fall. Rise again. Bigger, Better, Stronger, Faster….

And here’s another scenario that’s happened to me, too many times to count:

I tune in. I do the work. I trust my heart. I trust my gut. I listen to my intuition like it’s my job. I meditate like a monk, pray like a priest, and do updogs and downdogs like my life depends on it. I step up; show up; and take action….I’m brave, goddamnit….

And you know what happens?

Sometimes, in spite of all my honest efforts, I still fall.

Do I like it?

Nope.

Do I recover?

Eventually.

Do I try again?

Usually.

Do I learn something?

Every.Single.Time.

I learn about listening. I learn about trying. I learn about falling gracefully. I learn about desire vs. want vs. need….but mostly, what I learn is that what I think I want is not always in line with what this life wants for me.

Because no matter how in touch you are; how in tune you are; or how anchored you are to the truth of who you are…sometimes you just don’t know what life has planned for you.

And sometimes you’re not meant to know.

Maybe you were meant to fall.
Maybe you were meant to fail.
Maybe you were meant start all over again and again and again…

You know why?

Because it makes you stronger.
It makes you wiser.
It carves out your courage like a motherf*cker.
It makes you more compassionate; understanding, and honest with yourself and others.
It helps you recognize what you are capable of; really capable of.

And it helps you remember that you don’t have to run the show, because you are being held and supported in the most loving way….

Every time you fall; you will be caught.
Every time you fail; you’ll be redeemed.
Every time you start over, the new beginning will be sweeter than anything you could have ever imagined at the onset.

So the next time you’re out climbing on the proverbial path of life; remember:

Sometimes you are meant to fall.

If only, to remind you,
you’ve been held all along.

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Make Stuff.

I am in awe of children. Not just because they’re amazing, funny, adorable and (mostly) sweet and kind and wonderful…

But because they are creative geniuses.

They create with reckless abandon: Free. Unattached. No rules. No expectations.

They aren’t worried about whether or not it looks ‘right’ or if anyone will ‘get it,’ appreciate it, love it or hate it.

They just do it because it’s fun. That’s all. It’s just fun.

I want to create like that.

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I have a wonderful idea and it looks beautiful and sparkly and perfect as it sits safely inside my head, and then when I try to bring it out, it looks…well…different. Sometimes it loses all of its luster and charm. Sometimes it’s been slaughtered to oblivion by my own lofty expectations. Sometimes it comes out okay, but looks nothing like it did in my imagination. And sometimes it surprises me and comes out even better.

It can be frustrating, but it can also be enchanting, mysterious, and the closest thing to magic that I’ve ever seen.

I wouldn’t consider myself a naturally creative person. I know creative people. I was raised with naturally creative people, and no, I am not one of them. However, that does not mean that I don’t also possess the possibility of creativity…I just have to work a little harder at coaxing it out. So my point is, everybody has the possibility of creativity. Everyone. Including you. The key is to nurture it, honor it, and practice pulling it out of your head and into the world.

What do you like to do? What do you admire that someone else is doing? What do you wish you could do if you had an unlimited source of time and money?

The fact that the desire is there—whether it speaks to you softly or yells out loud—the fact that it is there at all means that it lives in you; breathes in you; loves in you, and has chosen to be expressed through you.

You’ve just got to open yourself up to receive it, and then release it out into the world.

And yes, there will be fear. You may be too terrified to even approach the possibility of bringing your ideas into the world. But let me tell you something:

It doesn’t matter if you can’t do it well.
It doesn’t matter if it’s been done before.
It doesn’t matter if you’re too old, too young, too big, too small, too busy or too scared…

Do it anyway.
You know why?
Because the joy is in doing it.
The joy is in the process of creating.

Create like a kid;
Make it messy.
Make it bold.
Make it unusual.

Make something that makes everyone who thought they knew you; think twice about how well they really know you.

Who knows what will manifest once you begin? Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will suck. Or maybe it will be better than anything you had ever imagined.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you create because you love to create—you were born to create. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Follow your passion and honor what pleases you, because when you do, you’ll unleash your potential and ideas will flow like an open faucet.

Paint.
Dance.
Sing.
Compose.
Bake.
Write.
Sew.
Garden.
Draw.
Cook.
Play.
Imagine.

Make up.
Make out.
Make love.
Make a baby.
Make something.

Anything.

Do it badly or do it beautifully.
For only you or everyone else.
Make it big or make it small.

Most importantly, make it fun.

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The Magic In You

Within the act of waking this morning, you have started something big. You have set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread like magic throughout the entire Universe. Everyone and everything that crosses your path will be affected.

Yes, you are THAT important.

As you grace the world with your presence, you become a force; your energy spreads, your desires search for their counterpart, and life unfolds to embrace you.

At the center of it all is you.

Every day you have a choice—a million choices—on how to move forward, how to respond, when to stay quiet, and how to act. With every choice, you can either be guided by habitual thoughts, old ideas, fear-based patterns or you can be guided by your heart, clarity and truth.

You have a choice to be guided by a force in you that is so big, so powerful, and so full of magic, yet so simple. It’s the simplicity of it that makes it easy to overlook, and sometimes difficult to recognize. It’s like the keys that go missing, and you search and search only to find that you’ve been holding them all along.

Those keys are your intuition.

And it is with you all the time.

And just like anything, your awareness, practice and dedication to it makes it stronger.

Here are a few ways to fine tune your intuitive pathways and clear out space so you can recognize its presence in your life.

• Care for yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. These basic components help keep you at an optimal level of functioning. Of course, life shakes things up and you won’t always be able to adhere to a strict and perfect balance; but always, always work toward it. If your body is tired, hungry or overworked/underworked physically, then it will overshadow the delicate and subtle energy of your intuition and make it difficult to feel and hear the truth that lives beneath your skin.

• Clear your mind. Monitor your thoughts. Be selective about what hangs out in there. Is it positive? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it the same damn thought repeating over and over again? Get it out. Bring your awareness to it, so that you can clean house. When your mind gets clear, intuition speaks the loudest, and it’s the only voice you need.

• Understand your emotions. Most of the time, intuition isn’t a thought at all, but a feeling. Get to know the way you feel. Emotions are usually attached to an outside event or physical response. Emotions don’t necessarily warrant action, they can come and go as you allow. A feeling that arises, unattached to any outside force is usually associated with your intuition. A feeling is a call to action; it needs you to listen and respond. Pay attention to the way you feel. Is it an emotional response or is it a feeling that comes from something inside; something deeper?

• Practice listening and act on it. Make a call to the friend who’s been on your mind. Take a rest day when you’re feeling run down. Try that new class that keeps popping into your head. When you practice, intuition appreciates the response and then gives you more and more to practice on. Start wherever you are—what do you feel like doing right now? How does your desire make you feel? If you feel open, spacious, or joyful, then it’s probably your intuition guiding you. Do you have the courage to act on it?

• Trust. Sometimes you may never know why you feel prompted to do what you do. We’re all connected, so sometimes your intuition is in service to someone else. Trust that the messages that come through you are a gift to you, but also a gift to the Universe, and sometimes you will see the purpose clearly, and sometimes you won’t. Trust that no matter what happens you’re right where you need to be, serving on the path you’re meant to travel.

This life that you’re creating with every breath, every thought and every action is your own beautiful creative offering. It is an offering to yourself and an offering to everyone and everything on your path.

Take care of it.
Be selective.
Listen.
Practice.
Honor it.
And be brave.

And if you’re still not exactly sure what intuition is or how to tune into it?

Try.

Your willingness to try is a force so powerful, it’s the only force you need.

Now go and set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread throughout the entire Universe.

Because you are THAT important.

And the world can’t wait to receive the magic in you.

xo,

e.

This post is also the topic of a KSL Studio 5 segment that aired on Friday, October 9th at 11:00. If you missed it, you can catch the replay right here. (If it’s not showing up just yet, check back a bit later…it will be up soon!) xo.

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The Single Most Important Thing I Do For My Kids Each Day

If you’ve got kids, I know you’re busy, and I don’t want to add one.more.thing to the long list of things you already do for them each day. However, this one simple thing that I do seemed to take on a life of its own and turned into something that not only improves my kids’ lives, but mine as well.

Every night when I tuck my kids in bed, I tell them ‘the wonderful things’ that I noticed them doing that day. It’s usually nothing big—it’s helping me take in the groceries or doing homework without being asked—what’s big is the message behind it; the message that I see them. I recognize what they’re doing, and I appreciate it.

When I started this a couple of years ago, I wasn’t expecting anything; I just wanted to make sure that I focused on the good things they were doing, because, ahem, I admit, that sometimes I was way too quick to notice the not-so-good things, and I didn’t want that to be the main source of attention they were receiving from me.

‘The wonderful things’ quickly became the highlight of our bedtime routine, but it wasn’t forgotten the next morning—they thought about it all day, and worked on ways to add to the list.

If you decide to do this, don’t be discouraged if you can’t find three wonderful things (I tried to go for just one wonderful thing, but they insist on three), and I’ll be honest; sometimes I can’t think of anything. Sometimes the day is so busy that I just haven’t had the time to notice specific behaviors.

If I can’t think of anything, I make it light and fun; I laugh about it or make up something silly. Or, I apologize for not noticing and ask them to tell me something wonderful that they did that day. The important thing is that there is dialogue around their achievements and that the focus is on the good stuff, not the bad.

If they’ve had a particularly hard day and the behavior has been, well…less than angelic…then we talk about how they handled it; we talk about how they let it go or if they learned anything from it. Sometimes the wonderful thing is that they are talking about it with me in that moment.

The most important thing is that you shift your focus away from the negative and place it on the positive, because whatever you focus on becomes bigger. And when you make it a point to talk about it, you’re holding yourself accountable for your awareness. The very best part is that your kids will take ownership of their behavior because they know that they’ll be recognized for it, and that is worth every second of one.more.thing to do for your kids.

xo,

Emily

PS: I wrote about ‘The Wonderful Things’ when I first came up with the idea a couple of years ago…if you’d like to read about it, you can check it out here.

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Indescribable Moments of Perfection

I breathe in, and before I breathe out completely, the moment has ended.

It is another end to another long day.

I have fed, cleaned, changed, cared for, failed, endured, triumphed, loved, enjoyed, denied, resisted, began and ended, again and again and again…

Together we sink into the wide, deep chair that sits next to his crib. His scent intoxicates and hits me like a memory—he smells like heaven.

The moment we settle, I pull him close. Both arms engulf his tiny frame as I pull him against my heart and we fit like two hands holding.

He nuzzles his downy hair beneath my chin and I breathe the longest breath I can contain, because I know, that by the time that breath expels from my body, the moment will be over.

He loves holding his own space already.

He pushes away and sprawls out wide like a puppy waiting for a tummy rub. We enjoy the last few moments of another day together this way.

These are the moments worth living for—the indescribable moments of perfection;

A lover’s kiss.
Morning light.
The scent of rain.
Waves crashing.

These are the moments that remind you that you are loved.

Words can’t quite grasp it; and really, they don’t have to—because you already know. You may not be able to explain it or define it, or even remember the details of whatever it is, or was, or will be. But you know it when you’re in it. You know it when you smell it, see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, and breathe it in like a melody you’ve been in love with all your life. And it’s because of these moments that you keep trying, failing, loving, regretting, fighting, forgiving, winning, laughing, crying and everything above, below, and in between.

It is a glimpse of Grace.
…a slice of light.
…a sliver of recognition.
It is the grandest of all things caught in the quiet; the small; and the tender.

It is the remembering.

The indescribable moments of perfection in your life are the reminders of where you’ve been, where you’re going, and the opportunity to experience it here. Right here. Right now.

Don’t wait for it to come to you.

Call it up in every moment.

Fight for it. Live for it. Breathe for it. Love for it.

This is your life, and within it, is everything. Everything you can imagine, and so much more.

Look inside and draw it close.

Search for the indescribable moments of perfection in the tiniest moments and smallest spaces; in open vistas and grand adventures. Call it up and let the magic of the moment sparkle and shine from your eyes as a reminder to others to search for what belongs to them also.

And when you find it, take it all in, like a long, lost lover;

One inhale.
One exhale.
One more reason to love.

And be grateful.

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Do What You Love and the World Will Love You Back

A few years ago, my husband and I joined some friends for a ski weekend at a resort nestled in a small community. At the end of the day, we gathered in the lodge for good food, good beer and live music. The mood was mellow as we enjoyed the satisfying fatigue that comes after a full day of skiing. The band consisted of a few local folks who likely traded their time playing music for dinner and a beer. It was an eclectic group of middle-aged men dressed in flannel shirts and work boots, and one unassuming woman. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name…) As they took their place in the corner of the room, guests continued to talk among themselves.

As the band began to play, the energy of the room shifted. The tiny clusters of conversation that scattered around the room all stopped to listen. As the members synced up with one another, their energy enveloped the entire room and we couldn’t help but be drawn in.

And then this incredible, powerful, woman stepped up to the mic. This woman, who moments before could have disappeared into the shadows, stood with so much presence that even the pause of silence before she cleared her voice demanded full attention.

She began to sing.

Raw. Radiant. Robust.

I was hooked.

The energy of this woman and this band continued to light up the room, and every person was dancing, moving, grooving, and enjoying the power that comes from a group of people who share what they love to do with others.

And that is the key. They were in love with what they were doing. In love with the music. In love with the performance. In love with each other and each of us. That kind of passion and joy is what draws people in. As an audience, we couldn’t help but be in love with them, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re sharing your gifts with 3 people or 30,000 people…It’s about going all in with whatever lights you up, and not being afraid to show your enthusiasm for it.

Whatever you ache for, excites you, brings you pleasure, lights you up, and opens your heart is your thing. That’s your gift; it’s the thing that you are here to express and share with the rest of us. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or fits in with the norms of society. If you love it, that’s the only sign you need.

And what if you’ve never discovered passion like that?

Keep searching, because it’s there.

Sometimes we deny ourselves pleasure for so long that it begins to atrophy, and we’re not even sure what we want or enjoy anymore. If that’s the case, you’ve just got to start working out those pleasure centers of your body—just like building a muscle, you can build up your relationship to pleasure. Start by indulging in the little things that bring you joy. What would you like to do now? Do whatever small thing is possible at the moment. Maybe you want to eat ice cream for breakfast, or go for a drive just because it feels good to get away. Maybe you want to watch a cheesy movie, or doodle on a scratch pad. Whatever it is; do it like it’s the most important thing in the world—because when you meet it in the moment—it is.

Place pleasure at the center of your day. It doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all of your obligations, just shift your perspective to recognize that your joy and pleasure is critical. It is what leads you to the gifts you have to bring to the world.

And once you’ve found something you love; go all in.

Step through all the fear, all the doubt, all the insecurity and excuses and reasons why it doesn’t make any sense…and share it with the world, because that is when you draw people in and give them the gift of you.

Step into what you love.

Share what you love.

Be what you love.

And the world will love you back.

mandala2This beautiful Sun Lotus Mandala is a wood carving created by my talented friend, Mike Langenheim. Check out more of his work at www.michaellangenheim.com