have you taken stock of your life?

It is only when our life is in true alignment with our values, needs, wants, and passions that we can feel that we have true purpose, fulfillment and power.


When is the last time you took stock of your life?

And not just the stuff in your life. Although analyzing the things you surround yourself with on a regular basis is so important.

But when is the last time you took stock mentally?

When is the last time you stopped to see what was working and what wasn't. What was filling your cup and what was draining it?

We spend so much of our lives in motion that we rarely ever STOP and take time to check in. In this state of perpetual motion - how can we really know what is going on internally with ourselves?

Our lives are designed to move at an alarming rate. And not only that - but we are consumed by consumption. Information is constantly going in - but we rarely take time to pull anything out.

Lately I have been reflecting on this concept of taking stock a lot in my own life.
Both physical and mental.

Physically taking stock of my:
Wardrobe
Possessions
Diet

But also mentally taking stock:
What is draining me?
What is filling me up?
What do I need to remove?
What do I need to remain?
What am I curious about right now?
Do I feel fulfilled? {Emphasis on the FULL}


I find that it is easier to take physical stock of life
.
Perge the clothes that don’t fit anymore, or are worn out. Donate unnecessary furniture or belongings to free up space. Clean up your refrigerator to lose those few pounds that have been hanging around.

But when it comes to taking stock mentally - we just do not make it a priority.

Who really has the time to check in with their mental and emotional state on a regular basis?

Unfortunately very few of us feel that we do. Even though regular mental check-ins could save us years of worry, stress, doubt, fear, and un-fulfillment.


You see, it really isn’t your fault. You were never taught to STOP. You were only every taught to keep moving, keep learning, keep pushing forward at all costs to reach greater success, recognition, and financial freedom.

But when we are living a life that is not filling us up mentally and emotionally - all of the stuff that comes from it really doesn’t do us any good.

All of the money, success and fame will mean nothing if we are left empty in the end.

It is only when our life is in true alignment with our values, needs, wants, and passions that we can feel that we have true purpose, fulfillment, and power.


{So…where do we begin?}

Let’s start by taking stock of the stuff in our lives.

If you are not someone who takes stock regularly in your life - I suggest starting with the STUFF. The physical things in your life. It can be a more tangible exercise that will warm you up for the deeper dive into mentally and emotionally taking stock.

For women, your wardrobe is a great place to start. Our closet is a place of great love, and great weight. Feeling like we have too much, yet nothing to wear most of the time.

So here are a few quick questions to ask yourself when clearing out your closet:

  1. Does this make me feel sexy, confident and comfortable {in my experience - if anything doesn’t check these three boxes - it needs to go - because you aren’t going to wear it anyways.}

  2. Does this bring me joy?

  3. Is this part of my personal uniform? The style that helps express who I am. The style that helps me be the best version of myself?

If something does not pass through these questions - it is time to eliminate it from your life.


If you find that you need to add things back in to your wardrobe after a purge - take these questions with you when you go shopping. Make sure you are only buying things that will pass the test. And always remember quality over quantity.

Now that you have finished your wardrobe…


ALL THAT REMAINS IS WHAT YOU LOVE.


Doesn’t that feel amazing?

Now proceed to do the same thing for all of the stuff in your home. Remember to also consider these questions:

  1. Does this serve an important and vital purpose in my life?

  2. DOES THIS BRING ME JOY {this is arguably the MOST important question when taking stock}

Now lets move on to taking stock mentally and emotionally.

I find that the best place to start is to simply stop….and take a look at your life currently.

Don’t think about what you are going to start tossing out of your life. But take a pause and really look at where things are.

Begin with these 10 questions:

  1. What is currently filling up my cup? What gets me excited and raises my energy?

  2. What is currently draining me? What is sucking the life out of me?

  3. What am I curious about right now? What do I have an itch to explore or learn about?

  4. Do I feel fulfilled?

  5. Do I feel full?

  6. Do I feel complete?

  7. Do I feel POWERFUL?

  8. What am I passionate about and where is it coming into play in my life? {if you are unsure of what you are passionate about right now - proceed back to question #3 and get curious. Curiosity is where everything begins.}

  9. What am I really enjoying right now?

  10. What emotions am I feeling most strongly right now?


Once you have a firm grounding of where things are in your life, take a moment to breathe.

{5 deep breaths, in and out. Slowly. Calmly.}

When we stop to take stock of our lives, especially when we are looking at things from a more mental and emotional perspective - it can be freeing and illuminating. But it can also be heartbreaking and exhausting.

So, always know that you have this space to come back to. So pause. To breath. To remind yourself that you are whole. That you are loved.

And even if your life isn’t going quite to plan right now - everything is figure-out-able. Nothing is set in stone. You will never be stuck. And you always have power over your own life.

Now lets move on to couple simple questions:

  1. What do I want to remove?

  2. What do I want to remain?

  3. What do I want to cultivate?

After really digging into the 10 questions above - this should be the easy part. If you really put in the work - it will be clear to you what you want to remove, remain, and cultivate.

It really comes down to putting in the time, and being honest with yourself.


Because this is just about you. And your life.

This is not about your spouse. This is not about your kids. This is not about your parents. This is not about what anyone else thinks about you, your life, or how they think you should be living it.

No one. And I mean NO ONE - Will ever know how to live your life - better than you.


So if you feel at any point that you haven’t been honest with yourself - go back to your 10 questions. Keep coming back to them as long as you need to. Until you have a true, clear picture of your life. And then HAVE FUN!

Have fun tossing out the things that don’t fill you up. Have fun keeping the ones that do fill you up - without any guilt or shame. And have so much fun realizing what you need to cultivate more of in your life.
And that should be the area you focus most on…


…that which you can now bring into your life, because you have created so much space for it to live and grow.


And in the end…

When all is said and done…

And you have put in the work…

All that remains is what you love.

And this is always the way it should be.

do you want {m o r e ?}

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Do you want more?
When do you know it is enough? ⠀


The Mexican Fisherman: ⠀

"The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. ⠀

Inside the small boat were several large fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. ⠀

The Mexican replied, 'Only a little while.'⠀

The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish. ⠀

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. ⠀

The American then asked, 'But what do you do with the rest of your time?'⠀

The Mexican fisherman said, 'I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.'⠀

The American scoffed, 'I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could eventually buy several boats. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small fishing village and move the Mexico City, the LA, and eventually NYC, where you will run your expanding enterprise.' ⠀

The Mexican fisherman asked, 'but how long will this take?'⠀

To which the American replied, '15 to 20 years.'⠀

'But what then?'⠀

The American laughed and said that's the best part. 'When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich; you would make millions.'⠀

'Millions?' asked the fisherman. 'Then what?'⠀

The American said, 'Then you would retire. ⠀Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evening, sip wine, and play guitar with your amigos!'⠀⠀

{ do you know why you want more? }

the capsule {wardrobe} l i f e.

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I have always found the idea of a capsule wardrobe to be appealing. 

I am one of those people who never feels like they have anything to wear.
Even among a sea of perfectly
curated clothing. 

I guess it is more the paradox of choice.

Too many choices weighs you down. Down to the point of feeling empty.
Like you have nothing
even when everything is staring you right in the face. 

A capsule wardrobe eliminates choice. 

Not completely.
Just the endless choice that debilitates us as we stand wide eyed and empty
into the all consuming dark pit
of our closets. 

I have a tendency to fill my closet up.

Fill it up with things I only
half enjoy.

A sale dress from that boutique I really can't afford.
3 t-shirts, a bathing suit cover up, and new sandals
from a Target
binge
{therapy} session. 

It is as if the act of filling it up
is supposed to
make me feel whole. Put together.

Not. A. Single. Piece. Missing.
Or out of place. 

But really a full closet of only half loved things, leaves you right back where you started -

naked and empty. 


What appeals to me most about a capsule wardrobe is the idea of
subtraction. 

The idea of removing everything mindless and
unnecessary. 

Leaving you with only the things you love. 

Only what you love. 
That is all that remains. 


Can we apply this same idea to life?

Subtracting the unnecessary. 

Leaving us with only
the things we love?

Because doesn't a space only partially full
of things we love

feel fuller

than a space filled up
with things we hardly like?


 

 

 

 

my eulogy: the sometimes moments of joy

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Recently someone asked me a question. And it isn't a question I haven't heard before - and honestly not something I haven't thought about. The question....

{what do you want your eulogy to read}

This question came about from a discussion on fulfillment. {how do you feel fulfilled} 

Because fulfillment cannot be measured. 

even though we try...

We measure life's fulfillment by wealth, success, things. As if everyone can find a fulfilled life by checking off the boxes on the same simple to-do list. 

But the reality is that fulfillment can only be found from within. 

Fulfillment is a self journey. And no one persons path to fulfillment will look the same. We all have different values that drive our life forward, and that root us to this world. 

But for many...they may not realize this until it is too late. 

When I first started thinking about this question - I found myself falling into the same trap. What would my career look life? What success would I have? What would I leave behind? 

And my eulogy started out quite long. A lovely essay of all I was to live, accomplish, and change in our world. 

But then I caught myself. Was that all my life was to amount to? A list of accomplishments, accolades, and successes? 

There had to be something more, something bigger worth fighting for. 

And that is not to say that the change and love I wanted to shower throughout my life time wasn't important. But it wasn't going to make or break a life well lived. I was just creating my own checklist to start ticking off. 

So I started cutting out the things that didn't really matter.

And my eulogy whittled down to one. simple. phrase. 

I know what you may be thinking - How can you encompass an entire life into one sentence? Don't you want more than that? Don't you want to be remembered for more?   

But I realized that that was the problem. We always want more.

And today, I choose to see that life is about so much less. It is about the small moments. The simple successes. The pockets of time we steal to just live and love those around us. 

And because of that...

My eulogy will someday read...

"She lived a life full of joy, and helped everyone she came in contact with do the same."

Because in the end, there will never be enough.
Enough money.
Enough success. 
Enough recognition. 
And above all else...
Enough time. 

and in the time I have...however long that may be. I want to seek one simple thing...

joy. 

and in every moment that I manage to find it...

I want to give it away to everyone around me

because at the end of my life...nothing else is really going to matter

except for those
sometimes simple, sometimes complex
sometimes quiet, sometimes loud
sometimes calm, sometimes exuberant
sometimes personal, sometimes shared

sometimes moments

of joy. 
 

thoughts on becoming: regain a sense childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe

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Why becoming is better than being.
Why it's ok that you don't have it all figured out. 
And how to regain a sense childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe in our adult lives.

I was reminded of this quote recently:

{Becoming is better than being}

Having studied art in college - I was always driven by process. Usually much more invigorated by the act of creating, than by the end product. ⠀

But as I transitioned into my professional and personal adult life, this love of process seemed to fade. Instead it was replaced by a need to produce. Results, income, success. ⠀

Things felt more like the means to an end - a ceaseless hamster wheel moving us ever so slowly in a forward direction. ⠀

It took me a while to realize I had lost my love for the process. ⠀

We have heard before that even in goal setting - we often times reap more benefit and satisfaction from the pursuit of a goal, than from reaching the goal itself. Even to the point of feeling empty or lost once a goal is reached. ⠀

Yet we still put continuous pressure on ourselves to keep pushing forward towards the next goal. The next raise. The next thing. ⠀

And we forget to savor the beauty of the in-between. ⠀

That beautiful phase of process where we are becoming that which we wish to be. ⠀

In the recent weeks, I seem to be falling further and further behind on my to-do list and my goals. And that has caused a heaviness. A feeling of less than. A feeling of incomplete. ⠀

As I start a new day, I am looking to instead find the beauty, the grace, and the excitement of the process once again. ⠀

We will never actually be where we are going. Because once we accomplish one goal - once we reached one destination - we are already on to the next. ⠀

If we are constantly waiting to feel complete from finishing our next big goal - we will all be waiting a long time. ⠀

Instead, find the quiet peace within the process. Knowing that each day we are inching closer and closer to where and who we are meant to be. ⠀

*

You are not yet the person you are to become
{and it’s ok}

From the time you were little, you were pressed with the question - {what do you want to be when you grow up?} As if we all should know the answer to this lofty question from the time we are only in grade school. 

I can remember feeling the weight of this question from such a young age. At first it can be exciting as a child - you can do and be anything you want to - all things are possible

But as the years carried on, my concept of this question changed quiet drastically.
{I can only do ONE thing for the rest of my life?}

The weight of choosing just one thing was limiting to me.

As a child I lived off of make believe and creativity. 

One day I was a famous artist painting beautiful works or art on used restaurant napkins or scraps of wood I found in the garage. 

The next I was a great mountain climber, scaling the walls of my backyard jungle gym with bungee cords and rope. 

But as the years dragged on, one by one, my dreams seemed to fade away. If I could only have one, what was the point of spending time imagining the rest? 

For many years I tried sticking to one thing to only ever come up short - feeling a little bit less year after year - wondering what was missing. 

And the truth is - I lost my gift of make believe. I had lost my imagination of possibility for my future. I had gotten stagnant and bored in my one thing.

This happens to the best of us. We lose sight of our childhood gift for creativity and possibility as we age. And for many of us, we get stuck. Stagnant. Bored. From the pursuit of only one thing. 

We get the job. The house. The family. And then….

we stop living. 

We stop dreaming of possibilities. We stop learning new things. We stop using our creativity. We label play and make-believe as childish and settle into our adult lives with contempt and worry. 

But the truth is that we don’t have to live that way. We can choose to live a life of possibility, a life of adventure, a life of creativity, a life of never ending learning. 

Because you are not yet the person you are to become. And if you are one of the lucky ones, you never will be.

*

So how do we regain a sense of childhood curiosity, imagination, and love for make believe in our adult lives?

here are my top...

10 Rituals to do just that.

 

01. Slow Down

As we get older, we start to process information faster and faster, and the general pace of our life picks up to unhealthy speeds. So our first ritual is simply to slow down.

Find space in your day. Even for just a moment. Sit on a park bench, go for a walk, look at a painting in a museum for 5 minutes straight. Slow down your current pace. Because in all honesty, you just can't keep going at this speed. And take a moment to really notice what is around you.

 

02. Try something NEW

As we get older, we often lose our adventurous sprit - our tendency to be spontaneous. In light of this try something new. And better yet, try something that scares you {not terrifies you, but scares you just a little bit}

Hike up a mountain, jump out of a plane, invest in a life coach. By simply trying something we haven't done before - we will automatically invoke that childhood curiosity and excitement.

 

03. Learn something NEW

Along the same lines of trying something new...learn something new. It is so easy to get comfortable in the repetitive nature of our day to day living. We get up and do the same things, got to work and do the same tasks, come home and watch the same shows. So try shaking things up by learning something new.

Try a yoga workout in the morning. Take on a new task at work that is outside your comfort zone. At night - trade your TV time for learning a new language.

When we learn something new, it ignites parts of our brain that grow lazy over the years. Learning something new will ignite that same excitement inside of you that you felt when you rode a bike for the very first time! 

{make learning new things a bigger priority than getting new stuff}

 

04. Get outside

As we get older, we tend to spend more and more time indoors. Whether that be behind a desk, or behind a TV screen. With the exception of walking to the mailbox, or the occasional yard work - most of us do not make outside time a priority. 

But we need sunshine and fresh air to function, and to scare away mild depression. So start making it a priority to get outside every day. And I mean more than just your walk from the car to your office. 

Go for a walk on your break. Eat your lunch at a park bench. Play a game of soccer outside with the family in the evening. Just get outside and breathe in that fresh air. 

 

05. Play Adult Make Believe

Spend some time each day, or each week getting lost in some helpful thoughts of make believe. Visualization has been proven time and time again to have amazing benefits for our brain, and our overall wellbeing. So, just like when you were a kid pretending to scale a great mountain wall or become the next Picasso - take some time to visualize your goal and dreams. 

One exercise I like to play is to think of "my best self" - that is to visualize what it would look like when I was the best version of myself. You can start by thinking of a time that you really felt at your best - or think of what you want your best self to look like in the future. 

 

06. Reframe boring situations

We all find ourselves in boring situations or doing mundane tasks throughout our day. Whether it is waiting in line at the grocery store, or entering figures into a spreadsheet. But we have control over how we choose to see these activities. 

So, how can we reframe some of these mundane situations? First, look for meaning in even the most menial of daily activities. What lessons can you learn? 

Second, ask more questions. Whether that be out loud to those around you, or just get more inquisitive about your surroundings within your own head. Find a sense of wonder in what is around you. 

Third, look for tiny details that others may miss. Look around. Really see what is around you. What interesting details can you find or learn from your surroundings? 

Lastly, make more social connections. Trying talking to those around you. Strike up a conversation. You may learn something interesting or make a new friend. And if you are alone in an office, listen to a podcast. Make a connection with someone new that way. Listen to someones story or advice and let it enrich even the most boring of tasks. 

 

07. Live in the Present

When we were little, we spent very little time worry about the past or stressing about the future. It was all about the here and now. What we were doing in that very moment took up 100% of our attention. We had laser focus that is so hard to harness once we get older. 

As adults we have information and tasks flying at us from every direction. So it is easy to be thinking about the to-do list waiting for us at home, while we are trying to have a thoughtful meeting with a client at work. 

So how do we remedy this? With greater mindfulness. Or rather - just awareness of what we are doing, and where our thoughts are. 

For just one day, try to do only a single task at a time. That means, if you need to finish a report for work, close out all other windows - including your email. Focus on just that one task - everything else can wait. If you are having a conversation with your spouse, put down your phone, and focus on every word that is coming out of their mouth. If you can't completely shut down your running mind, ask questions about the situation or make observations about details you may otherwise miss. 

The point is to do less at a time - stop trying to multi-task, it doesn't work - and focus {really focus} on every task throughout your day.