Miracles Begin with Gratitude

Miracles Begin with Gratitude

Are you ready for a new decade?  How will 2020 unfold for you?  Most of us have heard that thoughts are things and what we focus on expands. This is also true with gratitude.  When we are in a state of gratitude, we naturally move into a state of joy. Joy and gratitude are very high vibrations. When you can live in a state of gratitude and joy, your whole life will begin to shift which then allows miracles to occur! Plus, life is just so much more fun and interesting.

Each morning when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I take a deep breath and think about what I’m grateful for. It may just be my comfy bed or the way my cat purrs all night next to me. Then I name something else, and then another. It’s really amazing what this does for my energy level. It helps me get very excited about the day.

I suggest you create a morning ritual to raise your vibration and set the stage for miracles to occur.  Below, I share my 5-step daily practice.  It honestly will take just a few minutes, but the effects will be profound effect if you do it every single morning.

Give it a try:

  1. Close your eyes. Begin by grounding into Mother Earth, placing your feet on the floor and taking a few deep breaths. You can even do the 4-7-8 breath. Breathe in for the count of four through your nose, then hold for the count of 7, and then breathe out for the count of 8 through your lips, like you are blowing through a straw. Do this 4 times.
  2. Now connect with your higher self, God, the Universe and give thanks for everything in your life you are grateful for. Do this quickly, listing the people and things you are grateful for. This is so much fun and can be done very quickly. (It’s okay if you already did it in bed!)
  3. Next, I ask to raise your vibration to the highest level humanly possible. I do this while breathing deeply and smiling. You can even focus on the pink light of love.
  4. At this point, you can do your ask. Simply ask for what you want. Remember, the Universe or God cannot help you if you don’t ask. “Ask and you shall receive.” Believe it!  We don’t ask for enough miracles.
  5. And close your practice with “Thank you and so it is.”

That is it.  It take just moments to do. You can do the entire thing in bed before you even get up, or you can follow up with music, meditation, yoga, journaling, or walking in nature. The key is to make it a daily practice of staying in a high vibration, expressing gratitude, asking for what you want, and giving thanks.

In the Smart Women’s Academy, you can do this visioning work in module one called, The Dream, in my free Unlock Your Financial Power course.  Remember, if you aren’t clear about what you want, or if you are too busy or too stressed to even take the time to focus on what you want, what kind of messages are you sending out?  Remember, our thoughts are things, so focus on what you want and stay in a high vibration.

To really take this topic to the next level, I have two wonderful interviews for you this month.  I’m inviting six-time bestselling author, Ruth Klein, also known as the DeStress Diva, to come share her wisdom and tips on how to stay calm and focused through the holidays!  Be sure to read her article on how to nourish your body, mind, and soul during the holiday season.

In addition, we are airing one of our favorite interviews, A Year of Miracles, with NY Times best-selling author of Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul series, Marci Shimoff. You will be receiving a special holiday gift from Marci on December 26th, so watch your in-box that Thursday!

I want to thank you for being part of our Smart Women Community. We have some really important announcements coming in 2020, and I want to thank our generous donors and sponsors who make all of this available to you for free. Have a wonderful and joyous holiday!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts.

To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com

Are You Living the Dream and Not Realizing It?

Are You Living the Dream and Not Realizing It?

I vividly remember the day that I got the keys to my first apartment. It was a studio, probably 400-square feet and I LOVED IT. I had my OWN place. My own kitchen, my own bathroom, and my own front door where I could hang a wreath at Christmas time. It felt like I was living the dream. Until, I thought that having a one-bedroom would be nice.

A year or so later, a one bedroom in my apartment building opened up and I snatched that opportunity, moved down the hall and I LOVED IT. I had a proper living room, larger kitchen and a hallway to my bedroom! It felt like I was really living the dream. Until, my friends started buying houses and I thought it would be nice to own my own place.

Several years later my husband (actually, he was my fiancé at the time) and I bought our first house together. That house — our very first home purchase — was a brand new home. It was a townhouse with super eco-friendly everything, a staircase to the second floor (hello two stories!), three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and . . . (wait for it) a GARAGE. Not only was there storage, but we could park our car inside too.

I couldn’t believe that we had a newly built house. And, it felt huge and luxurious compared to the apartment. That felt like a dream house. A few years later, we had a baby and wanted to be in a different area and to have a slightly bigger house with a separate office. We’re living in that bigger house now. And, sometimes, I think about the next house.

Sometimes, I forget that I’m actually living in one of my dream houses right now

I lived in my dream studio, my dream one-bedroom, my dream first house. But, much of the time that I was living in those homes I didn’t realize that I was living my dream.

Recently, I caught myself being blinded to living my dream once again, but this time it was with time and my schedule. I noticed that I was feeling super crunched on time. Mind you, I create my own damn schedule. And, once upon a time, the idea of a flexible schedule was an unimaginable dream for me.

So then, I compared my current schedule with my “dream schedule” and I was shocked. They were almost identical. Here I was… LIVING MY DREAM schedule, in a home that was once a dream too, and I was blinded to what I was already living.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to tweak things, dream bigger, or create more. No! I LOVE dreaming and improving. But, while I’m dreaming for the future I’m also paying more attention to the dreams I’m living right now

So, let me ask you, what did you once only dream about and are now living?

Look around at your everyday life from your home and family to your smartphone (isn’t that little device awe-mazing?!). Something was once a dream and it’s possible you’re blinded to it.

When you focus on these things and tell yourself that you’re living a dream, how do they look and/or feel differently to you? 

Once I started focusing on my schedule as “my dream” I noticed a huge shift in my energy around time. Rather than feeling squeezed for time to do everything that I wanted to do, I felt deep appreciation for everything that I GET to do. I feel such awe for my beautiful home, too.

Can you look at one of your dreams that you’re now living and see it with awe and appreciation? 

As we head into the holidays, it’s always a wonderful reminder to think about what we’re grateful for, and it’s also a wonderful time for reflection, wonder, appreciation, and to be in awe of what we’re living right now that was once only a dream.

Writing articles like this one was once a dream for me. I feel such awe for this work and such appreciation for this connection with you. Happy holidays to you. Here’s to living our dreams.

 

Sarah Papp is a Master Certified Coach with a BA in Sociology from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the creator of the program, Unstoppable Ease, publisher of Ease magazine, and is on a mission to help women leaders stop hustling and instead lead with heart and live with ease.

To learn more about Sarah, go to sarahpappcoaching.com.

Nourishing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit During the Holidays

Nourishing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit During the Holidays

What is it during the holidays, in particular, that wipes out our energy? Most recently I was walking along the beach and thought of ways to nurture myself during this time. I thought of something and then realized that it only partially refreshed me. In other words, it refreshes me mentally, but not physically or spiritually.

So, I started thinking of the things I really like to do that hits all three touchpoints. Just the thought of taking action on these loving self-energy boosters brought a smile to my heart.

So, I would love to share a few of the ones that came up for me that morning and feel free to use them, or add your own. The more important thing is to remember to identify those loving self-nurturing things that hit all three touchpoints for you…mind, body and spirit!
Choose something that nurtures all three touchpoints for maximum energy and delight

For me, it’s dancing…in the living room, taking a Zumba class, a dance class.
Body: movement that allows for inhibited movement
Mind: thoughts are only on the steps, away from anything else going on in my life
Spirit: music and movement is a ‘high” for me.

Walking along the ocean, a creek, lake or pond – doing it for sheer enjoyment.
Body: My body breathes in lovely air quality and I remember to take deep breaths
Mind: Looking at water which to me is beautiful and peaceful bring my mind into a peaceful state. I’m also very present not to worry during this time.
Spirit: Once again, the negative ions of the ocean is refreshing and since our bodies comprise of mostly water, our internal and external spirits are in sync.

Ruth Klein is one of the most creative Integrative Brand Strategists and Productivity Coaches for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Authors and Professionals today. She is the president of the award-winning firm, Expert Celebrity™ Branding, a results-oriented performance strategic branding and marketing firm. Ruth helps experts, authors & entrepreneurs to become Expert Celebrities™ through the process of writing, launching & marketing their books & businesses.

For more information about Ruth, visit www.ruthklein.com

‘Parasite’ exposes the fallout of false intentions

‘Parasite’ exposes the fallout of false intentions

“Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”) (2019). Cast: Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Jung Ziso, Hyun-jun Jong, Jeong-eun Lee, Myeong-hoon Park, Seo-joon Park, Keun-rok Park. Director: Bong Joon-ho. Screenplay: Jin Won Hon and Bong Joon-ho. Web site. Trailer.

When the have-nots stare down the ample resources of the haves, there’s almost always sure to be a degree of envy involved. “How is it that they’ve come to acquire what we haven’t?” they might legitimately ask. “Why can’t we have some of that?” Those questions have merit, too. But how far are the have-nots willing to go to get what they seek? That’s a crucial issue posed in the new social satire, “Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”).

Times are tough for the Kim family. With money and work hard to come by, the foursome struggles to survive in their cramped, rundown apartment. Family matriarch Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang) seeks to earn money folding pizza boxes, a job at which she’s not especially suited, while her husband, Ki-taek (Kang-ho Song), a jack of all trades, will take anything he can get. Their son, Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi), a former military man, can’t seem to find a position that matches his skills, while his sister, Ki-jung (So-dam Park), an adept graphic artist and computer operator, languishes without a job. Things look bleak.

he Kim family (from left), son Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi), father Ki-taek (Kang-ho Song), mother Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang) and daughter Ki-jung (So-dam Park), struggle to eke out a living in an economically disparate society in director Bong Joon-ho’s masterful new release, “Parasite” (“ Gisaengchung”). Photo courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment.

However, when Ki-woo’s friend Min (Seo-joon Park) pays him a visit, a new door opens. Min, a college student who’s planning to embark on a year of overseas study, works as a private English tutor for a wealthy family, a job that pays quite generously. He tells Ki-woo that he’s recommending him to take over in his absence, an offer that his unemployed friend finds tempting but puzzling. Ki-woo doesn’t believe he’s qualified for the job, but Min reminds him of how well he scored on college admissions tests and that he could readily take over for him. Min explains that his teenage pupil, Park Da-hye (Jung Ziso), is the daughter of an affluent businessman, Park Dong-ik (Sun-kyun Lee), and a stay-at-home mother, Park Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo). Min adds that Da-hye’s mom is rather dim and gullible, someone who could be easily bluffed into hiring Ki-woo as his would-be successor.

Wealthy businessman Park Dong-ik (Sun-kyun Lee, left) and his gullible stay-at-home wife, Park Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo, right), get duped into unwittingly hiring an entire family of employees with dubious plans in mind in the hilarious new social satire, “Parasite” (“ Gisaengchung”). TPhoto courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment.

Though skeptical, Ki-woo agrees to an interview, during which he discovers that Min’s description of his prospective employer is right on target. He tactfully schmoozes Yeon-kyo, who’s quite impressed with Ki-woo’s alleged pedigree. His hopes and enthusiasm are further raised when he meets his student, to whom he takes quite a shine, an attraction that’s apparently mutual. It looks like the job is his.

During his visit to the Park family residence, a lavish home built by and once inhabited by a famous architect, Ki-woo also meets the family’s young son, Da-song (Hyun-jun Jong), an intelligent but hyperactive youngster with a penchant for creating colorful but bizarre works of art. Yeon-kyo boasts her pride in her son’s accomplishments but says she wishes she could find someone who could help guide him in his efforts, a statement that gives Ki-woo an idea: He says he knows a skilled art instructor who could provide Da-song with helpful coaching, someone with whom he could put in a good word. Yeon-kyo jumps at the chance, unaware that Ki-woo is talking about his sister, a relationship he doesn’t reveal.

Economically oppressed siblings Ki-jung (So-dam Park, left) and Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi, right) hatch a scheme to become employed by a wealthy family, a plan fraught with unforeseen consequences, in “Parasite” (“ Gisaengchung”) Photo courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment.

In no time, Ki-jung is working as an “art therapist” for Da-song, a position on which she sells Yeon-kyo after convincingly pointing out the recurring “troubled” imagery in her son’s artwork. And, thanks to a referral from Ki-jung, Ki-taek soon becomes the Parks’ new family chauffeur after the crafty art therapist sets up the disgraced now-former driver (Keun-rok Park) into being fired based on trumped-up allegations. Something similar occurs when Ki-taek manipulates the dismissal of the family’s long-time housekeeper, Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee), creating an opportunity for a glowingly recommended Chung-sook to fill the now-vacant caretaker position.

Given this good fortune, one would think the Kims would be grateful for their newfound prosperity. However, having gotten a taste of the good life, they look for new ways to feather their nest even further – and by even more nefarious means. And, when the Parks go away for a camping weekend to celebrate Da-song’s birthday, the Kims move in to their employer’s home to party down, unapologetically availing themselves of the comforts of affluence. They enjoy ample food and drink and celebrate their unforeseen luck.


Affluent but clueless housewife Park Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo) sets up her family for unexpected fallout when she hires a scheming band of domestic employees in director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” (“ Gisaengchung”). Photo courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment.

But the festivities take an unexpected turn when a late night visitor – Moon-gwang – appears on the doorstep, claiming she’s come by to collect something that she left behind in her hurried departure after her unforeseen termination. By giving the former housekeeper access to the house, the Kims set off a series of events that will change everything. It’s a situation further complicated by the Parks’ unexpected early return from their weekend getaway. Suddenly, all of the Kims’ gains are on the line, an ominous development that doesn’t bode well for the future as things go from great to disastrous in short order. Now what?

When seeking to improve one’s lot in life, is it acceptable to do whatever it takes – even if it means resorting to underhanded tactics? In all likelihood, the answer would depend on who one asks – and what their circumstances are. Those responses – and the outcomes they’re intended to engender – depend on one’s beliefs. And those beliefs, in turn, play an important role in what manifests, thanks to the conscious creation process, the philosophy that maintains we draw upon the power of those metaphysical building blocks in realizing the reality we experience. However, given that our beliefs faithfully materialize what we’re thinking and feeling, we had better be careful what we ask for, as the characters in “Parasite” find out for themselves.

The Kims, for example, believe that life has shafted them and that they’re perfectly entitled to, and justified in, pursuing whatever it takes to make up for lost ground. What starts out as a mostly genuine employment opportunity quickly transforms into a scam, one that pays off handsomely but that also is rife with pitfalls waiting in the wings. But, given the family’s history of desperation, they’re willing to take the chance to get the result that they believe they’re owed.

Similarly, the Parks are also anxious to get what they want, and they’re willing to do what it takes to obtain the desired result, even if they aren’t as diligent as they could be in investigating their prospective employees. In fact, as members of the affluent class, they probably feel good about themselves in offering employment to those in need, that their “generosity” makes up for whatever economic disparities set them apart from the working class that is otherwise unable to share in society’s good fortunes. Because of this perceived magnanimity, they’re able to sleep comfortably at night, even if they’re unaware that their actions have unwittingly contributed to the problems that caused such fiscal inequality in the first place.

In both of these instances, the families engage in the practice of un-conscious creation or creation by default. The Kims and the Parks each do whatever it takes to get their desired outcomes, regardless of the consequences or the impact on others. This approach to the manifestation process can indeed be a perilous one, because focusing on the result at all costs can lead to all manner of unanticipated – and undesired – side effects. This is particularly true where individuals prey on one another – like parasites – to attain what they want. It’s truly a path fraught with potential trouble – and disastrous endings.

A chief reason why this course is so problematic is that it lacks a fundamental component of effective belief formation and subsequent manifestation – integrity. By failing to be truthful with ourselves, our beliefs become “tainted” by considerations that can derail or thwart what we claim we seek to create. The Kims, for instance, say they’re looking for gainful employment, but all the while they’re secretly plotting to find ways to rip off their employers and acquire other perks. Given the deception involved, is it any surprise, then, that things can go awry? A little integrity could go a long way toward staving off problems, but such a result would depend on integrating it into the belief formation process from the outset, something a parasite is unlikely to do, as seen here.

This powerful cautionary tale serves up an important warning to anyone seeking to use the conscious creation process to improve his or her lot in life. It may be tempting to take short cuts, fudge matters or compromise our principles when convenient, especially if doing so gets us the results we want quicker, more easily or in greater measure. But we could also be playing with fire if we do so, even when we feel justified, potentially leaving us even worse off than when we started, and what would that get us?

Dissecting the struggle between the classes through the lens of human nature and personal motivations – regardless of class status – provides the foundation for this rip-roaring dark comedy, one of those rare films that grabs your attention and holds it from start to finish without letting go. Building on themes explored in such previous works as “Snowpiercer” (2013), writer-director Bong Joon-ho presents a riveting, ruthless offering that undeniably makes its point but without being heavy-handed or cartoonishly over the top. In doing so, the filmmaker dishes out a wealth of utterly hilarious humor about subjects that ultimately prove to be no laughing matter. Easily one of the year’s best, especially in its razor-sharp writing, the fine performances of its excellent ensemble cast and a thought-provoking message that should give us all a lot to think about, this superb release never disappoints and consistently satisfies.

“Parasite” is already generating considerable awards season buzz, a tremendous accomplishment for a foreign language film. Having deservedly captured Palme d’Or honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the event’s top prize, the picture is amassing ample clout as an Oscar contender in multiple categories, including best film, again, a remarkable coup for a foreign language offering. The picture is playing surprisingly widely on domestic movie screens, and it’s pulling down bigger-than-normal box office numbers for a non-US release. But, then, given the well-deserved accolades “Parasite” is garnering, those accomplishments are genuinely merited.

It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where so many unfairly go without. One would think that the fortunate would be more willing to share their abundance with those in need. What’s more, it’s understandable that the destitute would take drastic measures to preserve and protect themselves. However, when the downtrodden begin resorting to means like those used against them to obtain what they want, are they any better off in the end? One could say that they are themselves no different from the parasites who have oppressed them. And we all know what ultimately happens to parasites in the end.

Copyright © 2019, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

The Healing Powers of Bone Broth

The Healing Powers of Bone Broth

Bone broth has been all the rage these days but it is more than just a trend! Bone broth is the old way that our grandparents used to make soup. The bones from dinner were thrown in water with any vegetable ends and simmered on the stove for hours. While many have thought this a lost art, it has had a revival because we have learned that bone broth is one of the most
healing foods around.

The reason bone broth is so beneficial for the gut is because it contains substances like gelatin, collagen and glutamine that support and heal the gut lining.

Fall is the perfect time to put this gut healing tool into our everyday diet by adding it to soups. If you do not want to make your own bone broth, you can get bone broth pre-made at your local grocery stores but be sure to always get organic. We like the brands Pacific, Bonifide or Epic. You can use bone broth in any recipe as a replacement for any chicken or beef broth or stock or try the recipe below.

Want to learn more about gut health and how bone broth can help your gut? Visit us at Sklar Center for Restorative Medicine.

Classic Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Adapted from Detoxinista.com

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil , ghee or grass fed butter
1 yellow onion , chopped
2 garlic cloves , minced
1 pound organic boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large carrots , chopped (about 1 cup)
3 celery stalks , chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2-3 teaspoons fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups of bone broth (chicken or beef) from organic bones

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and gently sauté the onion, garlic, and chicken for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and the chicken is starting to lose its pink color.
  2. Add in the carrots, celery and green beans, thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and 4 cups of bone broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the soup simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm. Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Dr. Susan Sklar is a nationally recognized Harvard-trained physician and a fierce health detective who believes that you can age gracefully and feel great while doing so. She believes that that hormonal and other biochemical deficiencies cause humans to age and decline in ways that are not necessary or inevitable. She utilizes the cutting edge science of functional medicine to support the body to heal itself through the restoration of hormones, proper nutrition, lifestyle and appropriate supplementation.  After more than 25 years of experience as an OB-GYN, Dr. Sklar started the Sklar Center in 2007 as a response to the unmet needs of men and women who are looking for answers to the questions of how to feel good in midlife and maintain optimum health long term.  She is certified in the Bredesen Protocol for slowing and reversing cognitive decline.  Dr. Bredesen’s protocol is the most well-known approach for successfully tackling the problem of dementia.  She sees private patients at her center in Long Beach, California. To Learn more about Dr. Sklar, go to Sklar Center for Restorative Medicine.

Finding Yourself Again … At Midlife

Finding Yourself Again … At Midlife

I’ve lost myself at least 100 times. It didn’t happen overnight, it never does.

In my relationship, it started with little things. I started cooking—and eating—what my partner liked, even though I preferred other foods. My partner didn’t like symphony, so I didn’t renew my season tickets. By themselves, these are not big things—but combined with all the other ways I gave to others in my life, it’s no wonder I felt like I didn’t know myself anymore.

Maybe you can relate?

Maybe you’ve given slivers, or even chunks, of yourself up to:

  • Raising kids—yours, his/hers, the neighborhoods
  • Caring for aging parents—no one is ready for the role reversal thing
  • Being an employee—“sure I can take on an extra project—again”
  • Or maybe you’re the boss (the buck stops…) or a volunteer (you always say yes and they know it) or a BFF (you’re the dependable one!)

And so it happens, little by little you stop doing what you like to do, stop making time for self-care, put the pause button on your dreams. And you almost forget who you are. Yet in the quiet times you remember. You see something, hear something, smell something that pokes you. “I used to love to…” you hear yourself say.

Or you find a photograph of yourself, run across an award you won, stumble onto a note someone wrote you. And you notice your chest aches a little. That ache—that’s your heart talking to you. It’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. You’re still in there, still able, still willing. You just need to remember how. How to say no, of course. But more importantly, how to say yes. Say yes to your heart, and to the things you want for your life. Say yes to this being your time to thrive.

 Take the first step: See it to believe it. Making a shift starts with a vision. It begins with you imagining, and then believing in, and then manifesting what you want for your next chapter in life.

 So how do you do that?

First, you pause, if just for a moment. And if you can be a little patient, pretty soon it starts to happen. You begin remember who you were, once upon a time. You reconnect to the little girl in you. The one who hasn’t yet decided (or been told) that she’s not smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough to ask for—and get—what she wants for herself. Who hasn’t yet fallen into the habit of putting everyone else’s needs first.

Because before you were a spouse, parent, colleague, boss, caretaker, volunteer … you had a grand vision for your life. And it’s a pretty safe bet that over the years you’ve traded at least parts of that vision in. Some of your trades were upgrades and others were compromises. Some you made consciously, others happened when you weren’t looking, and sadly, some may have even been stolen.

If you just nodded, maybe it’s time for you to have a midlife awakening. Reconnecting to your vision: a guided journey. Are you even the slightest bit curious about what’s still possible? Do you want to know what part of those dreams are still alive in you? If so, there’s good news. I have a hack to help you find out. It involves your childhood photos. If you can, get out your old yearbooks, photo albums, and scrapbooks. If now doesn’t work, print or bookmark this for later and then make an appointment with yourself. Just you. This is a solo journey. Start sifting through your photographs. Take your time.

As you go through the images, look into your own eyes. What were you thinking about your future then? What did you want to be when you grew up? What made you happy? Did you have a favorite summer job? Were there hobbies you got lost in, instruments you loved to play? Parts of the world you longed to see? Really look at that girl in the photos. Allow her heart to join with yours. Wrap your arms around her and pull her close. Simply ask. Pick a favorite photo of yourself from the pile. Take a long look.

Now, close your eyes and take a deep, cleansing breath in through your nose and let go with a long slow exhale through your mouth. Do it a second time…inhale in, and exhale….and for good measure take a final deep breath in, deeply into your belly, and a long slow release of anything that could get in your way. With your eyes still closed, place your right hand over your heart.

Sit there a moment before you raise your left hand and place that on top of your right. Another deep breath might feel good right now so, go ahead. And now, with all the compassion you have given so freely to others all these many years, ask your heart this one sacred question:

What, dear heart, do you want?

Wait for a moment for an answer. It won’t take long.

Open your eyes.

Don’t should all over yourself.

The question “What do you want?” is the starting point for all of what really matters. Because there are no shoulds in that question. There was no qualifier about being practical. No talk about what’s it cost or who will take care of your parents or the grandkids. Just what do you want?

When I asked myself the question, I had a one-word answer. The word was teach. I wanted to be a teacher when I was a young girl, but instead, I followed the money and went into business. Then, at 53, when I realized I still wanted to teach, I became a coach. In the process, I discovered my bliss. It felt like coming home. It can be that simple if you let it. The message from your heart may not be career oriented. Your word might be freedom or travel or animals or God. When your heart whispers a message in your ear, she wants you to hear it.

So, how about it? What if you made a quick trip to revisit your earlier dreams and see if there are any worth resurrecting? If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

I can help you with one more step…

I want to gift you with a tool I call my “Wild Cards.” The Wild Cards serve as prompts to help you initiate a discussion with yourself. Use the cards for meditation, for journaling or in any other self-reflective process you like. When you direct your attention inwards, you begin to receive answers, and new possibilities begin to appear.

Sheree Clark is a Midlife Courage Coach, TV show host, inspiring speaker, and accomplished author. Sheree has written and presented on topics ranging from creating your life vision to overcoming career burnout. She appears in a weekly segment on KCWI channel 23, while maintaining a busy practice called Fork in the Road, where she coaches clients one-on-one and in groups on attaining creating an authentically fulfilling life.

To learn more about Sheree, go to www.fork-road.com

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