100 Ways

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One of the best ways I’ve found to generate joy in my life is my gratitude practice.

I do it first thing in the morning as part of my morning ritual.

In my dedicated gratitude journal, every day.

I review the day before and create a simple list of 10 things I am grateful for.

Sometimes the items on the list are as basic as being grateful for my gratitude practice.

Other times they may involve something more complex, such as the day after my accident.

On that day, I was grateful for my life, that my children were snug in their beds at the time, and so much more.

Some days it is a challenge, depending on my thought management.

But it always helps me to see things differently.

To find the good, the joy, the beauty in life.

This has not always been easy for me.

In my former life, I saw the glass half empty.

But and what if were constants in my mind chatter and my word.

Now, I look forward to my gratitude practice, the opportunity to start the day with grateful eyes.

I kick started my gratitude practice by creating a list of 100 people I am grateful for.

At first this task felt daunting, so I wrote daily for a week, reflecting each day on my life.

I started with my present life and progressed backward in time…life with kids, life with my husband before kids, adult life before my husband, early adulthood, childhood…

I was amazed to find that when I was finished I had over 125 people on my list.

I am still adding to that list.

And you are on it:)

Wishing you well

Tracy

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The Intention Box

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After my Grandma Grace passed away I inherited a lovely box. It was given to her from a Shiseido rep when she worked the cosmetic counter of a department store.  Instead of housing the powder puff it used to, although it still holds the scent of Grandma Grace, it now holds my intentions, my dreams.

There is a certain power in writing down your dreams. It is as if by bringing the words out of your head and onto paper, you are presenting it to the Universe.  Placing your order with the Cosmic Waiter.

Periodically, I open the box to place a new intention in it. I never cease to be amazed that more often than not, my intentions have come to pass.

Pam Grout, author of E2 Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, shares that there is an order to placing an intention, a process for success.

  • Write down what you want as clearly as possible and then back off. It is your business to be as clear as possible about WHAT you want but leave the HOW to the Cosmic Waiter.
  • Write a start date as well as a “due date”. A beginning and an end.
  • Visualize your intention as often as you can.  As if it is already happening.  As if you have become the woman who is experiencing it.

Shine Brightly.

Tracy

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Photo Credit:  © Ruletkka Dreamstime.com Magic Box Photo

The Ripple

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“Only in stillness does the imperceivable become discernible” ― Bryant McGill

How many times have you had a problem that you were trying to solve only to come up with the same 5 answers? Like Ground Hog Day…asking the same questions, getting the same answers that just don’t work.

I recently learned this cool concept about casting a thought into stillness. It’s not the concept that is new, but the way it was presented that made soooo much sense. It has completely changed my daily meditation practice.

Imagine the ripple a rock makes when thrown into a still pond. The ripple is clear and distinct and has far reaching effects. Now, imagine throwing a rock into the choppy surface of the same pond on a windy day. The ripple made by the rock gets absorbed by the chaos on the windy surface making it impossible to differentiate.

So, we can apply this concept to our minds as well. When we are faced with a problem and are searching for an answer, it is much more effective to throw a question into a still mind, as in meditation (or your "presence practice"), where the question permeates out into the “infi-net”. A question thrown into our daily consciousness is likely to get swept away with the 60,000 other thoughts that consume our minds, many of which are the same thoughts we had yesterday, making it impossible to differentiate one thought from the next.

Try this…

  • Find a quiet place, anyplace you can be alone for 10 minutes – in a corner, in your bed, outside, in a closet…be creative!
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Ask a question such as “What is the most elegant solution to…?” (What questions work better than how questions.)
  • Quiet your mind, focus on your breath, count backwards, repeat a mantra, whatever method works best for you to bring your mind back to stillness.

The answers may not come immediately or in the usual ways, but be open to what comes into your awareness over the next few days in the form of thoughts, conversations, messages etc…

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

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Decide and Conquer

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“You just have to persevere. One day that door will open.  If you don’t persevere, you won’t be there when it does.”  Carole King

I spent much of my adult life feeling as if I was on “the edge of greatness”. As if I was waiting for a lightning bolt to strike down and then I would know exactly what to do and when.  I was so afraid that I was going to make the “wrong” decision.  That my very being depended on being perfect and making “good” choices.  So, I stayed in indecision, and nothing happened.

It took a long time to learn that the next step is only revealed after we take the first step, any step, as uncertain as it may feel. It takes forward momentum to make a change, to live more fully, to experience more joy in our lives.  It could be a very tiny step.  Maybe it’s a phone call, hitting the I’M IN button on a website, making a different choice at the grocery store.

Taking a step opens the door for new possibilities. It’s like giving the universe your RSVP.  It’s a YES!  I’ll be there.

The only “wrong” decision is not making one at all.

So, make a decision, take a step and walk through that door.

Wishing you well.

Tracy

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A Grand Entrance

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It is a story of transformation, of metamorphosis.  I share this story in hopes that there is a Mama out there who needs to hear it, that this story can help her in some way.  This is a very condensed version of what transpired.  I have gone through an incredible transformation since then and although I wouldn't wish the pain of it on anyone, I would most certainly wish the growth that has occurred because of it on everyone.

My son made a "grand entrance" in August of 2007.  He was born prematurely via emergency C-section (my birth plan said that I was going to have a natural, Bradley Method birth so this was quite unexpected) as a uterine infection caused my water to break.  He spent most of the first month of his life in the hospital.  Half of this time was due to his prematurity and the other half was because he turned blue in my arms and stopped breathing while at home in between.  After much poking and prodding they found that the breathing episode was caused by an odd UTI but they were never able to assure us that he wouldn’t stop breathing again.  Thus, I spent most of his first year of life awake, afraid that it would happen again or having nightmares that it did.

After my husband and family returned to work I was on my own during the day, feeling completely exhausted, overwhelmed and alone. The next challenge involved nursing a premature baby and consisted of weighing, nursing, tube feeding, bottle-feeding, weighing again and then pumping every 2 hours for the next month.  It was brutal but he became a champion nurser around his due date and also a champion screamer.  He literally woke up when he was due and cried almost non-stop for the next 7 months.  He was unable sleep longer than 2 hours at a time and required constant movement.  To say that he was colicky was an understatement.

His baby sister was born when he was 17 months old and he was in the height of what we soon learned was sensory processing disorder. Anything and everything startled him.  He was sensitive to light, sound, touch and movement.  Everything was over-stimulating and sent him into fits of crying.  Nursing baby in tow, we started seeing an OT who prescribed a “sensory diet” for him that included 6 weeks of sensory brushing every 90 minutes during waking hours.  He has been in and out of OT ever since along with periodic check ins with various specialists for other preemie conditions.

When he was around 4 or 5 I noticed that my son, who was seriously born at least 40 years old and is a highly sensitive person like me, was mirroring my least favorite negative traits and I realized that I needed to make some important changes in my life, to create a new legacy. I needed to learn how to love myself, take care of myself, live my truth and model empowerment for my children.  I then began breaking apart my life, dissecting it piece by piece, healing what needed to be healed, changing what needed to be changed.  I learned that nothing brings up your unhealed "stuff" like parenting.

I realized that a story is just a story.  It can be changed, retold, given a new twist.  The story does not define me.  The circumstances of my life have not changed but my perspective has.  The chaos of parenthood is still there, my past is still my past, what happened still happened, but now I can honestly say that I love and value myself, that I am living my truth.   It has been this "brutiful" unfolding (as Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery might call it).  I now embrace my perfect imperfection, warts and all.

One Foot Up was born out of my experiences, what I most needed in my darkest hour.  So many little miracles happened along the way and I am grateful to be able to share what I have learned with you.  It is my wish that I may help you in your darkest hour, that my words will give you the glimmer of hope you need to take the next step.

Fun. Flow. Freedom.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

*Do you need help telling a new story?  START HERE with this complimentary series of Life By Design Daily Affirmations.  These affirmations are designed with care to remind you of who you are, all that you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first affirmation is the most important.)  Enjoy!

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Yes!

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There has been a lot of buzz as of late about choosing a word of the year. Usually I have many but this year I chose Yes!  Actually, I have been dabbling in Yes! for several years, since I started breaking apart my life, but this year I’m all in!

At first it may feel a bit selfish to say Yes! A bit unnatural.  But once you get the hang of it you will wonder why you waited so long.  Yes! is exciting and terrifying all in one.  Yes! opens doors, renews relationships and frees you to be you.  Choosing Yes! gives your children permission to say Yes!  To be authentic.  To live their truth.

This year I say…

Yes! to my health.

Yes! to my family.

Yes! to my dreams.

Yes! to abundance.

And

Yes! to No!


If you haven’t yet, watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday interview with Shonda Rhimes, creator and producer of the award winning series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal to name a few.  She recently wrote a book called Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person(now on my must read list). She made the bold move two years ago of saying Yes! to her life and it changed her in ways she could not have imagined.  Her year of Yes! lead her to some incredible experiences she would not have otherwise had, losing weight, letting go of what no longer served her and most importantly, showing up for her children as the empowered, present mama she is.

Thank you Shonda! For being brave, sharing your story with the world and being you!


Fun. Flow. Freedom.

Shine Brightly,

Tracy

*Do you need help saying YES to youSTART HERE with this complimentary series of Life By Design Daily Affirmations.  These affirmations are designed with care to remind you of who you are, all that you are capable of and how much you rock.  (The first affirmation is the most important.)  Enjoy!

Photo Credit:  making choice © Eduardkraft  Dreamstime

A Fond Farewell To 2015

Year End Reflection “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer

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In the past few weeks I’ve taken some time to reflect on 2015, with compassion and gratitude. It was an eventful year.  A year full of many blessings, in disguise and outright.  And some real opportunities for growth.  I have come out of it with a greater understanding of myself and a new perspective on my life and the way I wish to proceed into the New Year.

With my previous awareness I would have called it a BIG YEAR. A year of the good, the bad and the ugly.  Accentuating the ugly.  It happened to be a year that was unusually full of circumstances.  Some created by me and others by the grace of the divine.  I am finally beginning to understand that it is only BIG if I label it as such.  If I call it BIG it becomes bigger than me.  It’s the thought about the circumstance that makes it bigger than me.  The circumstance is just a circumstance.  A circumstance is “the way something happens” as Encarta describes it.

In all of the decades of knowing this, by George, I think I am finally getting it! It hasn’t happened over night.  I still find myself getting stuck in the thought about a circumstance.  Grabbing ahold of that thought and telling myself a tall tale about that circumstance.  But, now, my recovery time is quicker.  I know that this is a never ending process.  The redirection of my thoughts.  The lesson of a lifetime.  But I am grateful for the awareness and the opportunity to practice.

So…get out your calendar from 2015, a pen and your journal. Take a close look at the events that unfolded.  Journal it out.  Do a mind-dump.  Then, find the good in each circumstance.  Find the hidden blessings.  Rewrite last year’s story with compassion for the woman who experienced those circumstances and thank her for where she is today.

Wishing you well

Tracy

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"We Can't Redo Life Mommy"

A Six Year Old’s Words of Wisdom "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." – Eleanor Roosevelt

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My son, who was born at least 40 years old, said this when he was 5 or 6.  I have spent the past 8 years writing quotes from my children on scrap pieces of paper to do what with I am not quite sure but this quote, “we can’t redo life mommy”, is posted on my wall so I can see it every morning when I wake.  He has surprised me from the moment he started talking with the depth of his thinking and the insight he brings to my world.  His first word was clock.  Not mum or dada or dog or tat, but clock?!?

I can’t remember the context from which the quote came but I do remember the impact.  Have I lived?  If I were to die tomorrow or 50 years from now for that matter, how would I want to be remembered by my children?  How did my life impact them and how did my life impact their children?  Will they want to follow in my footsteps or will I be a faint memory of brown hair and blue eyes?

As I pondered this quote I made a list of all of the ways I’d like to be remembered… as a loving, happy, present, caring, compassionate, patient, wise, strong, playful, fun, funny, forgiving, grateful, giving, tender mother who makes a difference in the lives she touches. Most importantly, though, I want to be remembered as a mother who loved her life.  I want to be an inspiration to my children to love their lives.  This might have been the moment when I started breaking my life apart, inspecting it piece by piece under a microscope, and vowing to live the next half of my life much differently than the first if only to be an inspiration to my children.  I don’t recommend doing this all at once, as I did, as it really rocks the world of those around you and once it’s out it can’t be stuffed back in.  I know this…I tried!  I’m still working on it but I love my life so much more these days as I make a conscious effort to live authentically in hopes that my children will do the same.

Wishing you well.

Tracy

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Photo Credit:  Brown thank you card on pink and blue small bottle © Creative commons stock photos Dreamstime

 

 

 

Nurturing Creativity

The Magic Of Coloring “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou

photo-2-2-640x480 My daughter and I took a trip to Michael’s the other day. As we entered the store we were met immediately with a display of coloring books and colored pencils designed for adults. My daughter, a prolific drawer, squealed with delight as we approached the lovely covers of over a dozen coloring books. I, myself, could not contain my “oooohhh” as I zeroed in on the beautiful books that featured mandalas in particular.

This morning I incorporated ten extra minutes into my morning routine to nurture my creativity. I set the timer, as I remember “the zone” pre-kid days, where hours would pass in the loving arms of inspiration. I carefully chose the colors that called to me and set off into the mindful activity of coloring. The stress of the morning quickly dissolved as soon as I put pencil to paper and I felt incredibly present as I chose the perfect pencil to represent each line. When the timer went off I was left with the lovely beginnings of my first mandala, free flowing ideas for my daily writing and a delightful start to what might otherwise be considered a dreary, rainy day.

I used to think that coloring was cheating and that to be creative I had to create something new but with this thinking I wasn’t being creative at all. The beautiful thing about coloring is that it can be done any time whether alone or with your children. What better way to spend quality time with your child than to create something beautiful. I continue to learn that I can do many of the things I used to do pre-kids in more compact amounts of time. A 30 minute walk, 15 minutes of yoga, 5 minutes of meditation, and 10 minutes of coloring now constitutes my morning routine. Yes, I have to get up at the crack of dawn but I start my day knowing that I have given to myself first. This in turn is a gift to my family and anyone else I encounter during the day.

Wishing you well.

Tracy

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The Dandy-lion

Beauty In A Weed “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” Maya Angelou

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There is nothing quite like being with a child to bring you into the present moment.  Our family is big on walks.  When my children were very young I walked daily if not more.  There were many variations on the way I walked.  Sometimes with one baby strapped to my body and holding the other, sometimes two in the stroller, sometimes one in the stroller and the other straggling behind or running ahead and on very special days pushing an empty stroller and carrying two babies.  You get the picture.  I walked.  Most of time during the early years I was a walking zombie.  Present enough to put one foot in front of the other but not really present to life.

On one of our walks my daughter says "ohhh, dandy-lion.  I wuv dandy-lion".  She walks over, picks one and hands it to me.  I stop, take her gift and look at it as if I am seeing one for the first time.  Sure enough, a dandy-lion is a PERFECT flower!  It is perfectly proportioned, like a mini me version of a mum!  All this time I thought dandy-lions were ugly weeds worthy of the compost pile.  My 18 month old has enlightened me.

An article rolled into my inbox recently touting the healing effects of dandy-lions.  Who knew???

Wishing you well.

Tracy

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Smile

A Simply Profound Gesture  "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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A few months ago my favorite yoga instructor said something so simple yet so profound.  It was the 3rd morning of a yoga teacher training weekend.  I headed out the door early that day, proud of myself I might add, with the intention of getting settled and centered well before the class started.  I wasn’t five minutes into the twenty minute drive (in a car that I cursed when I got into BTW) when the oil light came on.  Frustrated at having car trouble (and cursing the car yet again) I pulled over and texted her to tell her that instead of getting there early as I had planned, I was going to be late.  Her response was a single word.  “Smile!”  And so I did, through the whole car ordeal and into the studio.  I smiled.  It was a simple gesture with a profound effect.  It changed my whole perception about the incident as well as my energy around it.  I had a great experience that day and it trickled down to the others in the class and then that evening to my family.

It’s easy to smile at a passerby on the street, while reading a heart warming story or at a newborn baby.  Why not try on a smile for the day?  Put it on as you would your favorite jeans.  Try it out in the mirror before you head out the door, get it just right.  Share the gift of a smile with your kids, your husband, your mother in law, your friend, your dentist, a stranger on the street, the guy who cuts you off in traffic…

Wishing you well.

Tracy

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Photo Credit:  woman smiling © Liv Friis-larsen  Dreamstime