Live Life To The Fullest

Valentines Day

2014-02-08 01.37.38

If you’re reading this on the day it goes out, it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, but even if you read this a few days from now, the message is timeless.

This year I am without an “official” Valentine. That is, a honey, sweetheart, partner, lover, … so, what’s a gal to do??!? Oh, my darlings, it’s really not so bad. In fact, I’ve already started to celebrate. There is the most beautiful bouquet of pale pink roses on a table in my boudoir. I spent at least 10 minutes surveying the floral selections until I found the bunch that truly called to me. Then, I perused the chocolate selection in our well-stocked grocery store. Dark chocolate with coconut, something I’ve loved since childhood, coyly waved at me from the shelf and I lovingly put it in my shopping cart.

imagesBut, wait – all of this started the weekend before when I attended an extravaganza in NYC hosted by one of my brilliant mentors, Mama Gena (www.mamagenas.com). While there, I took special care to dress for the occasion: black lace, cashmere, and lots of pearls. I participated in this event because I knew I’d be surrounded by a bevy of Sister Goddesses and I was not disappointed. Dear friends from previous classes and many women new to the School of Womanly Arts held me throughout the two days. (Side note: if you’ve never taken a course with Mama Gena, head on over to her website and see what’s cooking.)

Back to my Valentine Indulgences … this past Friday I went to hear my sister’s boyfriend sing and play his guitar at a local club. When he asked me to get up and sing with him, I did and it was great fun. At the bar, I chose exactly the perfect red wine for the evening and the bartender ended up gifting it to me. I’m dating these days, playing the field, but mostly I’m practicing profound self-care … and this makes me a luscious Valentine on February 14 or any day. The best news of all – you can do it, too! Welcome to Sassy, Sensual Living.

Goal or Desire?

Do you have mostly goals or desires and what’s the difference? The way I see it, a goal is something that you’d like to cross off your “to do” list, maybe something you’ve been putting off. It could be cleaning out your closet, organizing your papers for your tax return, or, even just getting your laundry done. There is certainly a feeling of satisfaction once it’s accomplished. It could even be accompanied by a sense of relief. And, that’s as far is it goes. It’s more of a mental exercise and often is accompanied by a “should” … I should get to that, I should take care of that, I should …One of the problems with should is that they are usually driven by what we think others expect from us. We get caught up in worrying how someone else might judge us.

desireLet’s look at desires … these are longings. Perhaps you yearn to live in a warmer climate, or to visit a particular country, or to become a florist (while currently, you are unfulfilled as an office manager, or … fill in the blank). These come from the heart and soul and completely from within us. Desires fill us with a sense of hope and happiness when we daydream about them. They are not always understood by others and sometimes, if we express them to someone, their reaction might be, “Why would you want to do that?”, or, “That’s ridiculous. You could never …”

That does not mean there is anything wrong with your desire. It simply means that you shared it with someone who just didn’t get it.

A desire might turn into a goal — this is the best possible combination. This is a way to integrate your head, heart, and soul. If, for example, you find yourself truly struggling in your job and thinking more and more about what you’d really like to do, it might be time to make a plan. Find someone who can help you take what you long for and figure out how to make it happen.

*We need both desires and goals in our lives. One is not better or more noble than another. Sometimes our “to-do” list of goals helps us keep a clear space so that we have room for getting in touch with our desires. Having no goals leaves us wandering aimlessly through our days and having no desires keeps us uninspired. Here’s a little exercise for you:
*Write down 5 goals. Notice if they are things that will improve your life and if they come from within you and not just from what you perceive someone else or others might expect from you.
*Make a list of 5 desires. Notice if it’s harder or easier to come up with what you want or even crave. Let yourself really get into it – no judgement.
*Figure out the best way to complete your goals.
*Decide which desire(s) you want to pursue because you need to and take the first step.
*Ask for help if you feel stuck

Let me share a personal example of all this. Recently, I decided I had too many books. Since I am a bit of a gypsy, every time I move, the multiple, heavy book boxes really make moving more complicated and difficult. I also feel like I have clothes in my closet that are just taking up space. I don’t wear them, I keep thinking I “might” wear them, “someday” and, they also add to my moving burden. So, I had the goal of getting rid of some books and clothes and it felt good when I was able to donate them.

On the other hand, I have an appetite to travel as much as I can. I love seeing new places, finding out about the history of a location, and meeting interesting people. Last year I traveled quite a bit and this year it is my intention to do the same. I also desire to expand my transformational coaching business. One way to fulfill those desires is by creating a retreat in Tuscany in May. I contacted a wonderful company that knows the ins and outs of this endeavor and we’re on!

See if you can find the pleasure in this exercise. It can feel good to get things done as well as dream and fantasize. Pay attention to your goals and desires. They will give purpose to your life, especially if they come from deep within you.

Are You Running on Empty?

Don’t you hate it when you realize that your cell phone is running on a low battery? You hear that little beep-beep, warning you that you are in the “red zone”. You’re not sure when the power will be completely out and you say to the person you have called, “My battery is almost dead and I might lose you”. Your stress level mounts, however you start making a plan to solve the problem.

 

You go home and plug in your charger, or if you have a charger with you, find an outlet and plug it in. Or, you might look around for someone or someplace with a charger or charging station. Whatever it takes to juice your phone back up and be ready to rock and roll again, you’re on it.

 

What about when YOU are running on empty? You’re feeling tired and depleted. It feels like there’s a little beep-beep inside you telling you you’re running out of steam. You get a phone call and you wonder if you can even pick up the phone and give one more person your attention or will your battery run out. Do you have a plan? Do you know what to do or do you feel your stress level mount and feel helpless?

 

Good news – the solution is like the fix for your phone. You plug in! Here are a few suggestions for accessing your charger.

 

Go somewhere quiet – if you’re in your car, pull over on a side street or rest area. Somewhere you can safely park and sit for a moment. Or, if you are at work, close your door, go somewhere else inside or outside, whatever it takes to grab a little quiet. Once you’re there, just start watching your breathing. Simply observe the in and out of your breath and plug into your inner calming system. What’s amazing about this is that the solution to your being depleted is so simple even in the face of overwhelm!

 

Call a friend. Not your friend that always grumbles and whines and demands a lot of your attention, but the one that leaves you feeling better. The voice of reason in a crowd of complainers is your go-to girlfriend. Even better, if you can arrange it, call a group of ladies and create an impromptu coffee break, lunch date, or even “cosmos and compliments”.  I created this when I realized my gal pals and I sometimes needed to get together and lift each other up. We treat ourselves to a cosmopolitan or some other favorite beverage and we can only say nice things about each other. In fact, we go out of our way to highlight each other’s magnificence.

 

Find something to laugh about. I highly recommend investing in a few books by humorists that you find really funny. Or, for example, a compilation of New Yorker Magazine cartoons. Start a folder with funny quotes or observations that you can pull out and get a chuckle from when you need it.

 

There’s three ways to re-fill your tank, top off your mojo, and plug in and get more juicy and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Have fun finding other ways you can refresh and replenish.

Let’s Talk Underwear

“Underwear is simply another accessory – both practical and decorative.”
-Barbara L Cummings

What’s in your underwear drawer? Are there panties in there that you would really be
embarrassed about if you were in an accident? Does the idea of a matching bra and
underpants set leave you puzzled? Are you saving the one lacey little piece of something for
some “special” moment with a particular person (perhaps yet to be named)??

I say getting up every morning counts as a “special” moment and YOU are a particularly fine
person!

Here is your assignment:

  • Go through your underwear drawer and get rid of anything that you wouldn’t
    want anyone else to see
  • Go shopping – it doesn’t have to be a high-end lingerie boutique (although it is
    fun to look around in there!). TJ Maxx has lovely undies at very reasonable
    prices.
  • Buy at least one item that you consider outrageous.
  • Every morning, for a week, put your new frillies, lacies, whatever lights you up,
    on under your clothes and go out into the world knowing that you are especially
    yummy and luscious underneath and no one else knows! (If you are married or
    in a relationship, dress for yourself in the morning. I’d share it in the evening
    with that special guy.)

Have fun and let me know how it goes – I’d love to hear from you!

Go Get Your Flirt On

“Flirting is the gentle art of making someone feel pleased with themselves.”
-Helen Rowland

Do you flirt?

I highly recommend it – as the quote says, it really makes people feel happy and good.

If you were to flirt, would you limit it just to men/the opposite sex/someone you might be
interested in?

You can flirt with anyone!

Try it on older men, younger men, babies, children, puppy dogs, the cashier at the grocery
store or dry cleaners, your mechanic, the waiter … the list is endless!

By flirting, you send the message, “Life is good, I feel good, and I want you to feel good, too!”
And, the best part is, even if you don’t feel quite as wonderful as you like to begin with, if
you start flirting, you will definitely feel better … and so will everyone that receives your
gift!

Go get your flirt on!

Doing

“Doing is a quantum leap from imagining.” Barbara Sher

I received this quote earlier this week in an e-mail and I just loved it.
As women of a certain age we start to wonder what our lives can look
like. For some of us, it might be the first time in a long time that
we have this luxury. For many years we might have simply fallen into
our roles as daughter, wife, mother, or sister. There was often
someone else defining our existence and often that was just fine — but
not always. Now, especially if we have had children and they are on
their own or we were married and that isn’t part of our life anymore
through death or divorce or we have been “orphaned” as our parents
have passed on, now we have a new opportunity to imagine what our
lives can hold.

Are You Frowning In Your Mirror?

Someone once said, “Life is like a mirror; if you
frown at it, it frowns back.  If you smile at it,
it returns the greeting.”  Is life frowning at you
or smiling?  Can you accept that you might have
started either the downward or upward curve?
That’s not a reason to bonk youself over the head
and pout in the corner – NO!  That’s good news
because if there are more frowns in your life
right now than smiles, you can do something about
it.  Figure out what it will take to lighten up a
bit and then, go about your business creating more
smiles. Enjoy what happens next!

I’m All Shook Up….

“We must wait for the water to settle; then, it
will be clear. Can you keep still until what is
needed becomes clear?” – Lao Tzu

Picture yourself in a situation that shook you up
either a little or a lot.  It could have been
something very personal, world-wide, or somewhere
in between.  Can you recall how you felt – palms
sweating, stomach churning, a sinking feeling in
the pit of your stomach?  How about your thinking
process?  Jumbled thoughts, half-formed sentences?
Sometimes we need to react quickly to take care of
the immediate problem.  What happens though is
that we continue to react instead of letting the
dust settle and then figuring out the best next
step.  Life is easier, with fewer regrets, less
fence-mending if we can just wait for a little
more clarity.  Everyone benefits and is happier.

Are you playing Safe or Small?

Women often say they wish they had my courage. They tell me they wish they had the nerve to do something I’ve done– like suddenly dye my hair  platinum blonde or take a road trip from Boston to Florida all by myself. They tell me they think I’m braver than they are and they say they are “too scared” to do what I do. I’ve even heard, “Aren’t you afraid? I just prefer to be in my own safe little world.”

My answer? “Yes, I’m afraid sometimes. That happens out on the road or in that world that you consider secure!” While I take my cue from Emily Dickinson and happily “dwell in possibility”, I am responsible and recognize that anything can happen, anywhere, anytime. There are no guarantees that everything will be fine if we just stay within the boundaries of what we “know”.

Let’s look at the definition of “safe”…

• Adj: dependable, certain, trustworthy, harmless, free from risk; protected from or not exposed to danger.

I understand that we must live in an “assumptive world” or else we would not get out of bed. Basically, even if we consider ourselves pessimists, in truth, we are optimistic and assume that the day will go reasonably well and a meteor will not come crashing down on us.

However, I have yet been able to track down the warranty on my life or anyone else’s. We simply don’t really know what might happen  next.

Another definition of “safe”…

• Noun: A strong, fireproof cabinet with a complex lock used for the storage of valuables

As soon as I read that it made me think of some people I know. They’ve shut down, locked themselves up and thrown away the key. I know it’s for “protection”, but at what cost?! Actress Geena Davis once said, “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”

So, what’s a gal to do? Let life have its way with us and tiptoe through an ever shrinking existence? Hell, no! Living a “safe” life is living a “small” life – one that will surely be filled with regret and resentment. Instead, I say LIVE A LARGE LIFE! Grab all the gusto you can! Take life by it’s coat lapels and give it a whirl and if something doesn’t “work out”, try something else!

 

“Safe” is a dangerous delusion. You are so much more – I know it!

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