We’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions per se, but we love that this time of year offers an opportunity to reflect on what areas of our life need shifting. The long nights and short days of the winter naturally lend themselves to reflection and dreaming, and the promise of spring around the corner begs the question "how do I want to grow this year?"
The first step is to get really clear about what we want to change – and more importantly why you want to change it. This will help you stay motivated in those moments when you're tempted to give up. We’ve also found that it helps to focus on the feelings you want to experience rather than getting overly attached to a particular outcome or process. In our experience, the journey often looks very different than we expect it to, and if we're closed off to new possibilities we might miss the "on" ramp all together.
We’ve got a few tools we use to help with this process. For years we bought Leonie Dawson’s “Create Your Shining Year” Workbooks, which offer practical tips to help you get crystal clear about your goals. She’s also a talented artist so her workbooks include lots of pretty pictures to make the process extra fun. We’ve also benefitted from many of the tools provided by our good friend Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios. These days we have our own creative process, but you may find those resources of use if you’re not accustomed to sitting down and setting goals in a fun and creative way.
Once you’re clear about where you want to be, seek out a guide who has already traversed the same (or a similar) journey. Finding a teacher and investing in support is crucial when we want to make a significant change in our lives – because we all inevitably run into one of two problems (or more likely, both!) – lack of clarity about how to move forward, and/or resistance to moving forward. And who better to help you move through those blocks than someone who has overcome them themselves?
Many of us struggle with the same issues (who couldn't use a little stress reduction!) which is why we thought we’d share five resources that have helped us navigate some of life's biggest challenges.
Few things will change your life as much as a regular meditation practice. However, knowing how to meditate, and having the discipline to do it every day, is often where people get tripped up. For this reason it can be helpful to train with an instructor and be part of a meditation community. Amy had an informal meditation practice for many years but on the recommendation of Meghan Telpner, she attended a formal training in Vedic meditation with Thom Knoles two years ago. After committing to a daily practice of twenty minutes, twice per day, she experienced a profound reduction in stress. While everyone can benefit from a regular meditation practice, we particularly recommend this course (or one like it) for mothers, entrepreneurs, and anyone who regularly finds themselves feeling frazzled or overwhelmed.
- The Art of Money
We're often struck by something Louis Hay says about money. That it "is easier to teach a workshop on sexuality than it is on money... people get very upset when their beliefs about money are challenged." We all receive strong messages about money while growing up ("Money doesn't grow on trees") and we almost all experience disempowerment or shame around money at some point in our lives. These experiences can unconsciously affect our decisions. Healing our relationship with money, in our experience, is an ongoing project. But the first step is becoming mindful and honing some practical skills to help navigate this relationship. We love that Bari Tessler's Art of Money course encourages us to do regular "body scans" as the first step in developing a more conscious and mature relationship to money. We also love that her guidance on fostering a positive relationship with our finances includes "money dates" and chocolate. ;) We particularly recommend this program for any woman who is self-employed (cleaning up your relationship with money is an essential process for any entrepreneur), who experiences conflict about money in their romantic relationships, or who would like to change their spending patterns. ($88/month for 12 months)
- The Power of Anger
If you're a peace-loving person like we are, knowing what to do with anger can be tricky. It can sometimes seem like the only options of how to deal with anger are to explode (which hurts others) or implode (which hurts ourselves). As women we are socialized to "be nice" which can seem synonymous with keeping quiet and not complaining, even when our boundaries or ethics are being deeply violated. We've seen first-hand how this repression can lead to depression, addiction and sometimes unexpected and hurtful outburts (when the "top blows" so to speak). In this course, Ariole Alei teaches us the purpose of anger, how to recognize it, and how to use anger creatively and constructively. We recommend this course for all women, especially those who struggle with feelings of rage or depression. ($97)
- Fertility Management Secrets of Divinely Empowered Women
Few things have had such a profound effect on us as our decision to ditch the pill. For Kim, it meant an end to the need for anti-depressants, for Amy, it led to improved immunity and menstrual health, for both of us it has lead to profound changes in how we treat our bodies, how we communicate with our partners about sexual pleasure, and how we feel about ourselves as women. For this reason, of all our current course offerings, the Fertility Management Secrets program is the one closest to our hearts - it supports women in coming off the pill, adopting effective natural birth control, healing our hormones, digestion and immune systems, improving our romantic relationships and sex lives - all done within the context of a caring community of women. ($167/month for nine months).
The Awesome Life Detox
We haven't actually taken this course yet (it's brand new) but since it's offered by Meghan Telpner, we have no doubt it will indeed, be awesome :) She's addressing all those "nooks and crannies" that often get overlooked - our physical space, finances, the "stuff" we hold onto. The nice thing is it's only ten days long so even though she's covering a lot of content it feels totally manageable. Plus, it's a group program so there's the collective energy to draw on, and a sense of accountability. In our experience, that's the real key to making successful change - having others witness the transformation and help keep us on track when we feel stuck or overwhelmed. ($78)
Whether it’s one of these teachers or someone else, we wish you all the best in finding a loving mentor who can help guide you on the path to living your best life in 2015.