Category Archives: Life Hacks

Surrender & Self-Love in February

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago for my gym, Muv Training, for its February newsletter. When they published it, I reread it, and was satisfied with how it had come out.

But then a few days later, I was wandering around in one of my ‘Cup of Comfort’ trances, and the lessons I had pointed to in that Muv article came back to smack me in the face.

What’s a ‘Cup of Comfort’ trance? Oh, yes, I haven’t published that story yet.cup of self love sketch

Well, a year or more ago, I was wandering around half an hour before work. I wanted a tea, or a coffee, or a hot chocolate. But I wanted a comfy seat, too, and a quiet atmosphere, and not too expensive. I was on foot, and checking all the cafes within reach and open in the time allotted was a formidable task. But as I flipped through my mental Rolodex, I realized none of them would give me what I wanted.

Because what I wanted was a ‘cup of comfort,’ that feeling of being warm, and cozy, and comfortable. And cherished.

hygge sweater cup of coffee

Tea, or coffee, or even hot chocolate, would not be able to do that.
So I went to work early, in a bit of a huff, I’m sure, munching on that bit of mental floss and how I could learn from it.

What happened this last time was the same search, but in the car–more choices, dammit!–and without the time limit–I was on my way home, and only limiting myself on the amount of money to spend as I once again flipped through the mental Rolodex of cafes open.

But this time, I’d just read my own words on self-love and self-care, and I realized, as I parked and contemplated Noraneko, parked and walked around Hawthorne, peering through windows, that what I was really searching for, what that Cup of Comfort held, is Self-Love.

Oof, ya.

I’d been trying my best to not go out, not spend money, create brilliant works of culinary art at home on a shoestring budget, and have that suffice. But my self-love well was getting low, and somehow, I wasn’t recharging it.

I went home with this realization, feeling at least sufficient enough to turn down the warm interiors on Hawthorne. But once home, how to replenish?

well of love margaret agnes rope stained glass

Self-care? I got a massage (on an account I’d long since had to deactivate), but that did not work. I tried bonding with the cats. That did not work. (Their pee on my rug thrice this week made me irritable.)

I could have gone to the gym, but didn’t. I might’ve gone to the show I had tickets for, but didn’t–it was miserably wet and icy Friday night.

I watched Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. I traced how Harry found his way to the friends he needed. By chance! And I was reminded of the hardest piece of belief and trust and faith.



Have you battled such demons? Made similar discoveries? Do share.


Images via VidyaSury, DailyMail, & Pinterest (by the way, Margaret Agnes Rope, incredible stained glass artist of the Arts & Crafts movement–who knew?!?) 

Reframe for the New Year

What if instead of “I Will”, your goal/intention/resolution for 2017 was “I Am”?

I Am

Stories that Don’t Serve Us

I had a cluster of interesting nonfiction reads at the end of last year, and I was caught by Brene Brown’s idea that we all “make up stories” to explain to ourselves why certain things happen.

And it is entirely possible to tell ourselves different stories.

These stories we tell ourselves, such as, ‘because I’m boring,’ or ‘because I’m unattractive,’ frame the events in our lives. How to reframe?

Instead of ‘he didn’t call me back because I was boring on our first date,’ why not, ‘he didn’t call me back because he’s busy or didn’t feel a connection. Did I, really, or just want him to call me?’

obviously so excited

Instead of ‘she didn’t smile back at me because I’m unattractive,’ why not, ‘she didn’t smile back at me because it’s a scary world, and we’re conditioned to be distrustful nowadays’?

These stories are something we control, but they also have a powerful effect on our moods. So why wouldn’t we shift the story, and give ourselves the benefit of some confidence? (couched in self-awareness, and self-honesty, of course!)

Goals in 2017

For your goals for the year (or resolutions, or intentions; whatever works for you), why don’t you try changing the WILL/WON’T to AM/AM NOT?

I won’t smoke–>I’m not a smoker

I will get in shape–>I am a healthy body ready to get healthier

I won’t judge–>I am open to understanding people outside my experience

See how this makes the task or action more of a piece of your identity? That is a key way to reframe those unhelpful thoughts we have, and those unproductive stories we tell ourselves. It’s like the opposite of negative thinking, where a person gets caught in a cycle of “I’m not good enough,” when really, it’s the circumstances that are not good.

This is how we seize the reins to reframe our year!

My Goals

I’ve whittled my end-of-year ruminating down to two intentions and a word:

1) Let my heart-light shine forth without expectation of reward (No, not that Heartlight. Well, actually, why not?)

2) Be open to learning from previously dismissed sources, such as astrology

** SUFFICIENCY ** (where I caught my word is in the link)

If you meditate, try meditating on that last one. Tell me what comes up.

More on that word soon. Happy 2017.


Images via Pixabay & Pinterest

Taking Stock at Solstice

winter solstice astronomy stones

Christmas time is coming, yes, but Winter Solstice is also almost here: December 21st, when we have the longest night of the year, and the Northern Hemisphere is tilting the most away from the Sun.

The dark of midwinter is a great time to sit quietly and think about things. Not wanting to spend money is also a good motivator for listening to the silence, and mulling over what 2016 has taught me.

People are doing the best they can.

People need to feel heard.

I want to be more open to possibility.

Yak Trax are awesome for walking on ice.

Ha! But they are

I’ve puzzled over why I seem to have a stream of short relationships, intense but guttering out quickly. I go in cycles of protecting myself against hurt by not allowing myself to be vulnerable, then slide into my natural vulnerable state and get whomped upside the head.

It affects my writing life less than it used to, but it is still a challenge. This winter, I am issuing a two-part counter-challenge to myself: to be open to more things that can tell me about myself, and to let my heartlight shine forth, no matter what others appreciate about it or don’t.

#1 I have always scoffed at astrology. As Brene Brown says, ‘I’d roll my eyes so far back in my head, I’m surprised they didn’t get stuck back there.’ I just got out of a system that has a pat answer for why everything happens; I don’t need to jump into a new one!

But my woo-woo friends in Portland tell me that it’s less of a belief system than a searching out of signs, a listening to intuition, and delving deeper to understand your and my human needs.

Well, that sounds good!

So I looked up my sun sign, moon sign, and ascendant sign. I invited a couple friends to talk to me about how they see astrology, how they use it, how it helps them see better into their own dark corners.

Maybe it will show me a new way.

#2 In addition to the December reading of Brene Brown, I feel drawn to the approach of Tosha Silver. In her book Outrageous Openness, which I borrowed from a friend, she gives lots of fun, satisfying stories to show her approach to life, which is:

“Divine Order says that the perfect solution to any problem is already selected if you allow yourself to be guided;”
And for which she had a mantra:
“Please show me your Divine Will in this matter and send a clear sign that gives the proper direction. And if for some reason I’m about to head the wrong way, please, please stop me.”

I’m going to give it a try.

Do you have an intention for 2017? Do you plan to make New Year’s Resolutions? Or do you do an Annual Review?

Done well, these are all ways to take stock and reflect about your year, and remind yourself what you really want out of life. They all have three basic components: remember the past, evaluate it in relation to how you want your life to be, and form a goal for how to help it get there.

I’ve got two intentions and a Word (from The Soul of Money book). What have you got?


Images via Pinterest