Category Archives: Breathe

Four Questions to Jumpstart Your Life

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. ~~Alan Lakein

I felt like an air traffic controller this summer.  Both my sons worked two jobs, my husband traveled a lot for work and I took on a number of new  projects.  I should have installed a revolving front door—it would have saved on our air conditioning bill.  As September arrived, my husband flew to South America, my two sons returned to school and I took a breath. I love when everyone is home, but I love being home alone.  It gives me a chance to reflect on my life.

With this quiet time I asked myself four questions, an exercise that I do a few times a year.

  1. Am I doing things that bring me joy? 
  2. What’s working in my life… what’s not?
  3. What dream needs action?
  4. What help do I need?

 After answering these questions, I developed an action plan for the next couple of months.  The first question encouraged me to reject a job for a potential customer.  The compensation would have been lucrative, but I knew in my gut he’d be a difficult client. The moment I made the decision not to take the job, I experienced a sense of relief.

Each question gave me a concrete action to take.  Question 4 is one of my favorites.  I had a mound of ironing overflowing two baskets.  I hate ironing!  Action Plan…I’m sending our shirts to the laundry!  That decision had me dancing around the room.

Try these questions on for size and see if they help your develop an action plan. I call them my jumpstart questions.  They help me get moving when my battery is dead.  What’s your favorite question?

This Week:  Answer the JUMPSTART QUESTIONS.



Tips for Getting Unstuck

Nothing cures overwhelm and breaks through obstacles like action.~~Jack Canfield

I’ve been trying a lot of different yoga classes lately.  I’ve done bikram, fusion, hot, gentle, vinyasa, hatha—I think I’m trying to find my yogi niche.    I recently went to a candlelight vinyasa flow class with an instructor I had never practiced with before.  At the end of class, I knew I’d come back to this teacher’s class.  Unfortunately, she announced it was her last class.  She was moving back to Hawaii!

“The Chicago weather is too much for me.  Chicagoans are really rugged.”

I personally never really thought of Chicagoans as rugged, northern Minnesotans maybe, but not Chicagoans.

 “The winters with the cold and gray can be difficult.”  I offered.

“I like Chicago, the people are friendly, there’s a lot to do, but I appreciate the weather in Hawaii so much more now.”

I wished her well, and left the studio.  I’ve lived in this area all my life. I’ve often thought I’d love to live in a warmer climate, but if I moved, I’m sure I’d miss the change of seasons.  It’s easy to take for granted things in our everyday life.  Sometimes we need to shake up our life to figure out what’s important.  Moving to a new environment, ending a relationship, changing jobs are just a few ways to shake up your life.  There are times when we are so stuck that we need these major shifts, but why not try shaking up your perspective before you really get stuck in the muck of your everyday life?

Pick one area of your life that needs a pick-me-up and try the following:

  1. Identify what’s not working.  Spend some reviewing what’s not working and why.  Write it out, tell a trusted friend, get the whole story out.  How many times have you told this story, ruminated about it or just couldn’t get it off your mind?  For most people the answer is probably a sizable number.  This is your old story; playing in your life like a broken record.  If you look hard enough you could probably track threads of this theme back to your childhood, but this revelation won’t necessarily change anything.
  2. Develop a new story.  After today each time you catch yourself, talking or thinking about the old story STOP, take a deep full breath in and then a complete and full exhale.  Now change your rap.  Look for what’s working in the situation and see how you can grow that behavior.
  3. Find support.  Enlist people to support you who believe things can change.  As you discard your old patterns and adopt a new perspective, you need believing eyes.
  4. Do it now.  If you really want to get out of the muck, you have to take action. Do something different and new.

If you are faced with a situation in your life where nothing is working, then you are probably already stuck in the quagmire and a perspective change is most likely not enough. You need an earthquake.  Forget Northern Minnesota, maybe it’s time to move to Alaska.

This Week: Drop the old story and do one thing to weave a positive thread in your life.


“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh

The busyness of my holiday season has been completed as I just put away the last of the decorations and sat down to reflect on the past month and the upcoming 2009.  Whew!  How does the season carry me away with details, commitments and doing, to the point where I keep reminding myself that it was going to be different this year?  More accurately, how do I allow myself to be on automatic pilot?  At times, I feel I was not completely conscious and got blown in the winded impulses of the season, without checking my own vibes first.  Trying to make sure the kitchen was stocked when my children were home, the Christmas meal was organized, presents were bought and wrapped, holiday greetings were extended, traditions were attended to, and the list goes on and on.  BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE –  I remind myself.

Was I on auto pilot?  I was on auto pilot without being fully present in the moment with joy.  My head was on the next detail before completing the present detail and enjoying it.  Enjoying it…asking myself why am I doing this?  What is the joy I am receiving and giving by doing this?  A simple question is the key in opening up my joyful (or not so joyful) intention.  Then it is my CHOICE whether I decide to proceed with the “chore” or move onto something that elicits happier vibes.  Literally BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE in the joy of the moment or BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE into a shift consciousness.  Continue with joy or go onto something that elicits that joy with consciousness.  My CHOICE!

As the New Year is fresh off the press releasing 2008, it’s typical to look at the expansive year ahead and set some huge goals and resolutions.  The blank slate ahead seems to bring no limitations to change so that I can really make a difference. .. finally change into who I really am and start expressing myself more completely and honestly.

Although, haven’t I felt this impulse before?  What makes this expansive year different?  I am not sure other than it feels more palpable.

What if I stepped back and took a good look at the bigger picture and realized that I have already stepped into the creation of it?  I just have to take the next step.  The bigger picture is always there, one just has to get out of the way to start to see it, engage in it and enjoy it.

BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE in the moment with consciousness and focus on the vibes that made me feel good, one at a time.  The enjoyment and focus on the vibes that make me feel good with joy, love and fun, one at a time, turn into a day.  The day builds to days, then a week, and then a year.  At the end of 2009, it’s time to reflect again and know the progress of my 2009 goals and resolutions are just beginning from another new point they are expanded before me even further.   


This Week:  Remember creating our goals and intentions are moment by moment.  The small steps in creating build upon each other by CHOOSING what we want,  BREATHING in the choice and enjoying it.  See what happens by the end of the week!