Category Archives: Sacred Business

The Story Behind the Magic of Growing with Gratitude

I’m sitting here, sweating, because I can’t make it any cooler, but I am grateful to be in clothes that are soft and comfy, sitting on my couch that is covered in a beautiful and vibrant tapestry, and trusting that we’ll return to the regularly scheduled fall weather soon.

I’m sitting here and thinking about how much I love Growing with Gratitude. I love it for the simplicity, for the community, and for the opportunity to slow down a bit and shift how we come into a season that tends to be pretty hectic.

I’m sitting here and remembering how Growing with Gratitude came to be. Do you know this story? It’s magic.

hannah-and-xandra-riFour years ago, the sweet Mary McConnell came to visit the States and Hannah Marcotti put together a visioning night. This ended up being a gathering of women who had become close in online community, but I had not met them before in person.

This was a huge edge for me – getting on a train to go to a city I’d never been to, to spend an evening with women I had not met in person. It may have also been my first time away from Chloe, probably so.

It was a night of visioning, of laughter, of vulnerability. I cried at Ruth’s feet as she wrote the word trust on my arm.

I gave myself the next day to explore Providence and the next night alone to myself in a hotel room. Even then, I knew I needed time to ease back into ‘real life’ after events like this.

I had come to Providence knowing there was an inking of a program in my mind. I may have even known it was going to be around gratitude. What I did not expect and could never have imagined was that within 36 hours I would have all of the content done for the month-long course. All the quotes, all the prompts, all the pictures, everything in order. It felt like a divine download, truly. I don’t know that I’ve experienced anything like it since.

Each autumn while I’m still in the gentleness of the season, I know the hectic time is just around the corner, and I know it’s time to share this offering again.

And so it is. We start again, for the fourth time, in just two weeks.

You’ll see me sharing some of my favorite parts of Growing with Gratitude, some of the why behind it, over the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to share with you right now the magic that began it, and invite you to come experience the magic that gratitude can gift us, if it lights up your soul.

Simplicity

Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by an ever growing to-do
list?  You know, where you cross one thing off, and add two more?

This can turn into a big problem really fast because that
overwhelm gets you feeling stuck.  Not only don’t you get the
day-to-day things on the list done, but you lose sight of the
thing that matters most – taking care of yourself.  Good self
-care is crucial to preparing for pregnancy, having a pregnancy
full of joy, and being a new mama without feeling like
everything has gotten away from you.  Also, when we don’t find a
way to get the basics taken care of, including that all
important self-care piece, our stress goes through the roof, and
things start to unravel left and right.

Here’s the deal – even if you’re not a systems person, you need
to have some sort of guide to help you accomplish the needs so
you can also make time for the wants.  Without a plan, you’ll
likely find it next to impossible to work, get the laundry and
errands done, clean, feed yourself and your family healthy and
nourishing foods, and find time for the things in life that you
love.  This is an ugly spiral, and I’ve been there, and I’m here
to help you stay on the path to health and happiness, instead of
the spiral of overwhelm and inaction.

Prioritize – Know that you can’t do everything all at once, all
in one day, or even sometimes all in one week.  At the start of
the week, make a list of the top 3 things that need to get
accomplished, and focus your tasks each day on getting those 3
goals met.

Be flexible – Life is going on around us all the time, and
unexpected things happen that require our attention.  Knowing
this, and being okay with this, will help you to move with ease
through whatever comes your way.

Simplify – From cleaning to food to self-care, things can be as
easy or as complicated as you make them, so take this
opportunity to choose that path of simplicity.  You don’t need
to cook an elaborate meal every night of the week, clean the
house from top to bottom every day and carve out hours of you
time each and every day.  Pick some family mealtime favorites
and keep your kitchen stocked with the needed ingredients, pick
one room or cleaning task to focus on each day and rotate
through them, and enjoy the simple things – a cup of tea while
everyone else is sleeping, or your alone time in the shower.

Focus – When the time comes to work on a particular project,
whether it is at work or at home, let all of your focus be there
for whatever amount of time you can give it.  Throw yourself
into it full force, and you will get the best work done.  Turn
off distractions – television, phone, extra windows on your
computer.  Set a timer if you need to, and just let that time be
for one specific thing.  When you are done, you can take a break
or move onto the next thing on your list.

Enjoy – Find ways to bring pleasure to all that you do.  Let’s
face it, sometimes we love what we’re doing, and sometimes we’d
rather be doing anything else.  When you can incorporate some
element that you love, the whole experience gets better.  If the
kitchen isn’t your favorite place but you are determined to cook
more, put on your favorite music, invite over your best friend
(or your best little helper), and be open to experimenting and
having fun!

These tips will help you start to feel the simplicity and joy in
your life no matter what you are doing – taking better care of
yourself and your family through fresh and wholesome foods,
making your space a cleaner and more enjoyable place to live, or
finding time to tune in and make time for you.  Remember that
making the shift to lasting habits isn’t always easy and it
certainly doesn’t come overnight, but it doesn’t need to lead to
overwhelm if you keep it simple.

Where do you find yourself getting stuck and overwhelmed?  I’d
love to hear from you, so please leave a comment here or in the Sacred Becoming Sanctuary.

Loving the Process

Have you ever experienced walking in the wind?  There are two things that can happen – you can walk into the wind, pushing harder and harder to take the smallest steps.  Sometimes you have to use all of your energy to keep yourself from falling over.  Other times, you may be lucky enough to have the wind at your back.  In these moments, it can feel almost as if you’re gliding, floating.

 

When you try to make change in your life, whether it’s small or large, it can often feel like walking in the wind, and most often like walking into the wind.  It can feel like an upward battle, as if the world is pushing back, trying to keep you from your goals – deterring you and not supporting you.
What is really pushing back though?
It is certainly a force like the wind – powerful and unseen, but it most always resides within you.  It often comes from fear – not just fear of failure, but fear of success.  Fear that you don’t have enough time or money to make your goals reality.  Fear that you will not reach your goals, or that there will always be more goals and that you will be left feeling unsatisfied in your life.  Have you experienced this?
Now think for a minute what it would feel like if you had the wind at your back.  In this place, you accept the person that you are right now, you recognize where you are and where you want to be.  You know that there is a path to get you there, and you feel the full support from yourself and from those who love you.  You can see and feel what it will be like to reach your goals, and you believe in them, and in yourself.  With the wind at your back, you feel confident that you can reach your goals and love your life.

The key to feeling the wind at your back is simple – love the process.

 

It is so easy to get caught up in self-doubt, in feeling like each step towards your goals is a struggle that you have to force yourself through instead of one that you approach with love and compassion.  I want to show you how easy it is to love the process, to love your life, and to reach your goals.

 

  • Set goals that have meaning for you You are the one in charge of creating the life that you want, so create goals that lead you to that life.  When you can deeply connect to the why behind the goal, it has so much more power to push you forward.  For example, if you want to reduce your caffeine intake as you prepare for pregnancy, you could look at it in two ways: Setting a goal to stop drinking coffee may feel like deprivation of something you love, it may feel like walking into the wind; but setting a goal of creating a healthy space for your baby by shifting away from the things that may harm him will likely send you running in that direction.  You’ve gone beyond the what and focused on the why.

 

  • Find compassion for yourself Making change, especially big change, is difficult, and it can take time.  Release the expectations that it all needs to happen overnight and that you must be perfect in your new habits 100% of the time.  You would likely support a friend who ate that slice of pizza for lunch and regretted it by reminding her that it’s okay to deviate from the plan once in a while, and that is doesn’t represent failure.  Learn to tell yourself the same thing.  We often push against ourselves by being our own worst critics.  When we can let this voice go, or quiet it, we open space to be our biggest fan.

 

  • Have fun – Life should be fun, no matter what.  It makes the good times even better and it gets us through the difficult times.  When making change, it is so important to have fun with it, or you’re likely not reaping the full benefits of the changes that you are making.  If you’re trying to spend more time in the kitchen cooking whole, fresh foods and that’s just never been something you’ve enjoyed, invite some friends over and make a party out of it.  When you’re surrounded by those you life, even the things you like least in life become more enjoyable.

 

I hope you are able to feel more prepared to walk with the wind at your back, pushing you along, instead of struggling as you walk into it.  If you would like support as you learn to love the process, I’d love to be that support for you! Let’s chat.

 

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Support, Community, Love

I had a fantastic 4 days at a conference this weekend for holistic practitioners, and I just had to share one of my big aha’s with you! Be sure to check out this video to see some great highlights from the conference.

I often go through my day to day life with a lot of things on my mind, and many things on many to-do lists.  I get to check off some items, but some things, often the ones that I know deep down are most important, get pushed to new lists and are left for another day. This was even the case with the changes that I wanted to make towards living a healthier life for a while.

Does this sound like you?

I experienced the secret to moving the most important things to the top of the list and getting them done when I was at this conference this weekend, and I want to share it with you.

This may sound obvious to some, but I didn’t really grasp the importance until I experienced it – support and community.  There is something very special about being in a room with 250+ people who you just know love and support you and will do anything they can to help you realize your dreams.  In an environment like this, it’s easy to become clear on the path that you want to take and it’s even easier to feel that you can actually make it happen!

I don’t have a community of 250+ people to offer you, at least not yet, but I want you to know that I’m here to support you and cheer you on as you tune into what you are ready to make happen as you journey towards your sacred becoming.  Sometimes all we need is someone who is there to cheer us on and stretch us when we need it, and we can make big things happen!

Join the community on Facebook here.

Peace, love, and wellness,

Xandra

Getting Unstuck

I’m fresh out of a rut so I wanted to share my top tips for getting unstuck with you.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.  We oversleep, it’s raining and we planned a day outside, an appointment gets cancelled…life just happens.  It’s easy in these moments to sink in and feel despair.  Knowing that our plan can’t go forward as we expected often makes us feel like we have to abandon it completely, and sometimes we do.  There are other times when we just need a fresh approach.

Top Tips for Getting Unstuck and Out of Your Rut

  1. Change location – sometimes taking a break is all you need.  Take a bathroom break, or just go do something else for a few minutes.  When you return to the task at hand, you may have a fresh view of it.
  2. Check your fuel gauge – Often when I have a lot to do I get sucked into my work and I forget something very important – food!  These are the times when I tend to start feeling stuck and irritable because it’s my body’s way of telling me to refuel.  Make sure it’s real food – not just some chips or cookies.  Fruit is a great choice because it will often give you a natural boost in energy (try some grapes or a banana).
  3. Get Moving – Get that stress out of your body! If you can’t make it to a yoga class (my favorite) or the gym, just take a walk for a bit and release some of the tension.  This can be especially helpful if you’ve been sitting at a desk for a long time.
  4. Celebrate What’s Going Well – It’s so easy for us to get quickly swept away with all that we’re not getting done but we tend to forget or ignore our triumphs.  Even if they’re small, revel in them! When you break it down, everything is really a small step, without which we’d never reach our big goals.
  5. Surround Yourself with Love – Find support in your friends when you find yourself in a tough place.  They can be a great sounding board for your frustrations, and they can offer suggestions that you may not have thought of on your own.  Sometimes putting it out there is all it takes to make it melt away.
  6. Write It Out – Journaling can be extremely healing and useful.  You may start writing about how stressed you are about not being able to get things done, and out of that may spring the idea you’ve been waiting for all along!
  7.  Breathe – Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath in through your nose.  Exhale through the mouth.  Release all that is not serving you.  Repeat as needed.
  8. Take Time for Yourself – We need to remember to slow down and make time for ourselves.  It’s easy to get caught up in our responsibilities for work and for others, but we are first and foremost responsible for ourselves.  Do something that makes you happy – read, watch a movie, look at pictures that make you smile.
  9.  Be Silly – Even if you don’t feel silly, be silly anyway.  Turn up some music and dance around like crazy.  Laugh at yourself.  Give yourself a funny hairdo or put an outfit together of pieces that just don’t match.  Sometimes we need to let loose and embrace the lighter side of life to bring balance back to our lives.
  10.  Sleep – Our bodies heal when we sleep and sometimes when we’re in a rut, we’re in need of healing.  If you don’t have the opportunity to nap, try some of the other tips in the meantime and promise yourself that you’ll leave plenty of time for sleep that night.  Trust me, you’re likely to feel better in the morning.

Whatever you do to get out of your rut, remember that we all have them and they all pass with time.  Sometimes they hang around a bit longer and sometimes they’re gone in a flash.

Balance

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been feeling out of balance in my life.  I’ve gotten a few suggestions for better time management and I’ve put together a system that I’m hoping will work for me to get things done without feeling overwhelmed – I’m calling it the Rule of 3.

Balance can be hard to find but here’s how I’m going to start.  Each night before I go to bed, I’m going to make a to do list for the next day with 9 things on it:

3 things to do for my business

3 things to do around the house

3 things to do for me

Even if the things are relatively small (doing a load of laundry or running the dishwasher for example), I think that by doing this, I’ll be able to get more done and feel less stressed.  It’s been working so far.

A recent list looked like this:

Write blog

Write ideas for next newsletter

Prepare for meeting with client

Clean floors

Clean out fridge

Change sheets

Read

Write

Yoga class

Of course other things come up in the day (playing with Chloe, grocery shopping, meals, etc) but by prioritizing 3 things in each category that I really want to focus on for the day, I’m not running around feeling like I need to tackle a mile long list in one day.

What do you do to prioritize and get things done, while making sure you’ve included time for yourself?  Share in the comments below.