All that we’ve ever looked for has been within us all along. That is the lesson of Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist.

In Power of Slow terms you might find this quote to be the same thing. When we love the moment, we unleash exponential possibilities.

Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. -Corita Kent

How will you love the moment today?

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My dad occasionally sends me really cool stuff that he finds along his cybertravels. This one made me weep (I’m a sucker for Tim McGraw anyway). This young girl, Stacy Westfall, rides her horse with neither saddle nor bridle. She doesn’t speak, but gives her horse commands using her bare hands and legs.

May the power of slow embrace you with warmth and joy and remember to always live like you were dying…and, oh, this one’s for you, Dad. I love you with all my heart.

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Try one new thing

May 19, 2010

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Sometimes all we need to shake up our routine to bring in more awareness is to do just one thing differently in our day. Perhaps it is taking a slightly different route to work or eating joghurt with fruit instead of your mainstay of a bagel with cream cheese.

My fitness studio is doing some renovations so I was obliged to use the red, not my beloved blue, lockerroom. It felt a little irritating at first until I realized I could experience my gym in a new way. I even made a friend at my locker!

Needless to say, the ensuing Pilates class was fabulous. It made me realize that trying new things enriches our lives. It doesn’t have to be a major change that contributes to our collosal shift in thinking.

What one thing might you do differently today?

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The Gift of a Year

January 3, 2010

The Christmas gift I enjoyed most this year was a used book my sister sent me. It was simply perfect as my sister had gushed for almost an hour on the phone about the effects the book had on her earlier this summer. The Gift of a Year: How to Achieve the Most Meaningful, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Year of Your Life by Mira Kirschenbaum walks you through the steps to take a year for yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to shave your head and enter a nunnery. Nor does it mean leaving your friends and family in the dust literally. It is about focusing on the one thing that’s been ‘missing’ in your life.

Looking back on 2009, I lived the gift of a year without really knowing it. I merely decided to fulfill my childhood dreams by doing things differently. Acting in German television shows, doing commercials and video skits, I enjoyed my year immensely. Now that I know what to call what I did (gifting myself a year), I  decided this year would be the year of beauty for me personally (my husband and I name each year something by selecting a focus. Last year was the Year of the Book. This year is the Year of Entertainment). Whether I commit an act of beauty, marvel at the beauty of nature, or surround myself with beautiful people, I have decided beauty, both inside and out, might be just the thing to keep my focused and in alignment with my truest purpose.

So it was perfect timing when I came home after the long six-hour drive from the Swiss Alps to our home nest where a copy of Shannon Honeybloom’s new release, Making a Family Home was waiting patiently by the wood pile. The book’s premise is to be conscious about how you design your home by taking into consideration the sensory aspects and the hidden meaning behind the space. In flowing prose, Shannon conveys her own struggles with raising three small children in her Austin home. The isolation, the challenges, the taxing nature of early parenting can all be alleviated by using the home as the basis on which to build our lives. Beauty, joy, love and warmth are what nurtures our souls. The lovely photography by Skip Hunt augments the book’s message: home is where the heart is. Fill your house with love, no matter the location.

How will you gift yourselves this year?

Space Awakening

September 8, 2009

You may have ignored its calling, but its crisp edges slice your skin as you enter it. The cool of fall may have only peeked once or twice through the late-summer haze. But its undertones can be heard, if ever vaguely, beneath the sound of the cicadas.

Oddly, I have welcomed its siren-like beckoning this year. Perhaps it has to do with the heat wave that swaddled us interminably during our vacation in Virginia. I am ready to release the heat to far-away plains that have waited patiently for its return in the Southern Hemisphere.069_69

Just as the seasons teach us the ebb and flow of life, so does the space awakening process I developed while living in impossibly small places during my entire married life. We enter; we depart. We carry in; we carry out. While I never reach the perfect balance, I have learned how much negative energy clutter holds for me. As a result, the space awakening process liberates the energy tangible items hold.

If you feel ready to engage in this de-cluttering process, here are a few guidelines to help you on your way.

Three-step Space Awakening Process:

For Beginners: Toss out three things you no longer need. They can be as simple as three old pens that no longer work or three items of clothing that no longer fit. Silently thank the pens for their service, then say good-bye.

For the Intermediate: Go to one drawer and empty it. Evaluate what you’ve been keeping and why. Then, if you really don’t need it, give it away or a give it a toss.

For Advanced Declutterers: Identify every item in a room you no longer need. Hold a yard sale, sell it on eBay or give it to your local charity.

Liberate your space from the things that do not serve you. Help other family members to do the same. As you consciously lighten your load, you will invite new things to enter your life. Just as surely winter follows fall, your life’s rhythm will be in more harmony with your surroundings than ever before.

Power tools

June 2, 2009

Sunday is a day of rest like no other in Germany. A fairly traditional society, Germany observes more religious holidays than any other European country I know (with, perhaps, the exception of Spain). I live in Bavaria, which is the most conservative state in the nation. Hanging your wash on the Lord’s day is enough to get you expelled from the city walls. Or so I thought.

Last Sunday my husband and father-in-law attempted to finish the porch they had worked twelve hours to assemble the day before. Mind you, we were looking at not only a Sunday, but also a Monday holiday with great weather and a job to do. I grew increasingly concerned that we wouldn’t be able to get it done because of the no-noise law on Sundays and holidays.

My husband and father-in-law decided to bend the law a little and turn on the circular saw. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Now I would have turned a blind ear to the light knocking of the hammer. They were being really quiet. But when they whipped out the saw, I got nervous.

They’re gonna get us! I scowled and fretted about it for the rest of the day.

My in-laws suggested we apologize for the noise, which we did the next afternoon. Approaching whom I thought would be the most difficult neighbor to address, I gave her a kind smile, which she promptly returned. I power toolsapologized profusely for the noise and for breaking the day of rest. She sang my father-in-law’s praises, saying how helpful he had been while my husband and I were away for a week’s vacation. They had moved in to care for the kids, for the house, and, as it turns out, for the entire neighborhood.

“What’s a little noise? You had to do what you had to do. Take care now!” She grinned and gave a little wave.

I was stunned.

My father-in-law had quietly laid the groundwork, chatting it up with neighbors, sweeping up the debris in the common driveaway after a major storm knocked leaves everywhere, and spent time with each of them in some way. He made his presence known and spread positive energy.

And I realized all this time my worries were nowhere else but in my own mind. Kindness pays. Worrying does not.

That’s a power(ful) tool I’ll take with me on life’s journey.