My friends! Happy New Year! I made this video just for you to thank you and offer an alternative to making resolutions. You are amazing! Watch and see! All my love, xo Rebecca
This post could also be called “12 Presents of the New Year: Resolution-Free Zone.” No commitments. Just 12 words. Last night while watching “The Desolation of Smaug,” there was a scene (no spoilers here) where one character said to another: “Do I have your word?” Simple. We have all heard that before.
Here’s my New Year’s experiment whispered (because everyone is still sleeping in my house) in the video above. It’s so simple. You can make it fancy and artsy and magical. Or you can do what I did: write 12 words on index cards or separate pieces of paper. Stick them in envelopes and open one each month. If you don’t have 12 envelopes, fold them over. Tape them. Staple them. Glue them. I’m going to open mine at the beginning of the month because I like presents on a regular basis. And I am going to watch how that word shows up in my life. They can be whatever you want. I picked words like free, energetic, laughter, joy, creator, dancing and singing. You can do this alone or with friends and family. You can do this over champagne or tea. Another thing I like to do is write two annual letters, one looking back on the year and one dated a year later and looking back–pretending that all of these amazing things happened in my life. For more on that approach you can click here. Whatever you do to celebrate a new year, do I have your word that you will be kind, gentle and loving to yourself–like you would to your best friend?
I thank you for teaching me this year. For reading and listening and sharing and giving so much for the last 12 months. Congrats on making it to the end of 2013!
I recently finished 21 days of Chopra Center meditation on Desire and Destiny. This is my 3rd round of 21-day meditations in 2013. The last day focused on this: Your destiny is joy. If your destiny is joy, then how do you live your life every day to get there? Well, maybe you are there. And if you are not, what intentions and actions can you take to get there?
Something clicked for me during this last time. I realized that I’m there every day. Even as I look (with unabashed fear and excitement that sometimes makes my shoulder blades ache) at the summer 2014 publication of my novel, I know that right now, writing to you is my joy. Over the last 21 days, I realized that I’m doing what I love. My day job focuses on volunteering and education, my life focuses on love, family, friends, health, writing and faith. And lots of fun and laughter.
I’m sharing the story of two dreamers, who took intention and action as well as two tools to help you follow your own passions and take your joy to the next level. I’m going to use them this year. What if we used these tools together?
I met Fay Shaw and Katherine Carey through Jennifer Lee’s Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit. (I won a scholarship to participate in it last year.) I’ve never met them in person, but through facebook, I have watched these two women create businesses I love, admire and support.
FAY SHAW, Bitwise E-Textiles Fay makes soft things light up. She is an engineer and crafter who has found e-textiles to be the perfect intersection of her passions. She likes to build things with Arduinos and on the crafting side, she likes to knit, spin, and sew. (Yes, I had to look up “Arduinos” too, that’s why it’s hyperlinked.) She sells craft kits: you can make bracelets, or two of my favorites, a jellyfish or a firefly. I asked Fay three simple questions about her journey:
1. How does it feel to be the inventor of bitwise E-textiles running your own business? It feels really empowering to think of ideas and then bring them to life. I never imagined that I would run my own business and it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. What keeps me going is feeling a responsibility to educate people. There are so many ways to learn science and engineering; using art is one of them.
2. What brought you here? One year, I had taught friends how to make LED Christmas ornaments. They suggested I try to teach e-textiles workshops regularly. So I started to think of an interactive project and the light-sensitive firefly was born. It has a light sensor in its nose and turns on in the dark. All of the components are sewn together using conductive thread. I taught a few workshops and decided to make it into a kit and sell it on Etsy.
3. What keeps you pursuing your dream(s)? My greatest joy is when people work on their project and are delighted with how it works! I also love when students have come back to me with their own projects based on what I taught them. A woman came to a show with an LED bracelet she had created for her running group who ran an all-night race. A 7-year old, who had taken my class, brought in a dragon she made with a recycled sweater, LED eyes, and fiber optic whiskers! It feels really good to see people create something new from something I taught them.
Using art to learn science? Wow! My childhood experience with science could have taken a completely different direction! Fay regularly checks-in with a committed group of Washington-state entrepreneurs who met through the Right-Brainers in Business Group. What has struck me over the last several months of reading her check-ins (I’m an honorary member since I love Washington state), is that she shows up. She does the work that she loves. She takes ACTION. I invite you to take action and during this holiday season, consider purchasing one of her kits for yourself, families or friends. What a productive and fun way to spend time! Consider subscribing to her newsletter for updates on kits and workshops. Here’s where you find her: bitwiseetextiles.com and bitwiseetextiles.etsy.com.
KATHERINE CAREY, Katherine Carey Millinery Katherine is another passionate soul. She is a milliner creating the most gorgeous hats, for women and now, she’s working on her men’s line too. A native of Maui, she came to New York City to pursue her dream. While caregiving for her father, she began making hats by his bedside. Like a lot of artists and entrepreneurs, she has been pursing her dreams for some time while working another job. During the last two weeks, she took the final leap and launched her business full-time. I’ve watched her journey to Paris and create a board game in which each hat sold gets her closer to her dreams (and to paying her bills). Most of all, I have witnessed her faith. Katherine regularly asks people to send her love and prayers because she openly declares her passions, her courage and her fears. I have a special affection for milliners because my grandmother had her own shop. Katherine has so much love for what she does (and for her gorgeous cat, Pinto), that “big” success for her is inevitable. I’d venture to say, though, that she has created success and certainly joy, already. She is doing what she loves. Personally I’m in love with the Hudson Cloche below. Here are the best ways to explore Katherine’s world and to purchase her breathtaking pieces of art for your head and the heads of your loved ones: www.katherinecarey.com and https://www.facebook.com/kcmillinery.
So, perhaps now that you’ve read about Fay and Katherine, you say, wow, amazing people! They are so talented! Next, I invite you to declare, “So am I!” You are full of passions and talents. If you know it and embrace them, hooray for you! If you are getting that slight twist in the tummy, shoulder blade ache, want to stop reading because their passions make you anxious, I have a solution! I have two solutions! December is a great time for reflection. (If you are a regular reader, you know that I will find a reason to tell you that anytime is a great time for reflection.) Let’s focus on two easy ways you can get involved with your own life on a new level and elevate your game, your heart and your soul. Many of these resources are free.
Life Reimagined Have you visited www.lifereimagined.org? It’s a movement you can join for free that’s dedicated to helping people find and pursue their purpose in life. You can participate in a calling card exercise that helps you narrow down your passions. You can read about other people who have had their “life reimagined moments” and decided things like working for 30 years in a civil service job wasn’t their passion and now, they pursue marathon running or they open a pizzeria or sell the house and travel the world. Sometimes the transitions don’t have to be so dramatic. If you like what you see, consider reading the new book Life Reimagined, Discovering Your New Possibilities. The authors know their stuff. Richard Leider was named one of the top five most respected executive coaches in the world by Forbes and Alan Webber is founder of Fast Company magazine and former editor of the Harvard Business Review. I’ve met Richard and he is grounded in reality, simplicity and a passion for people finding their purpose. The book walks you through six practices: Reflect, Connect, Explore, Choose, Repack and Act. It’s quite logical.
The Desire Map just re-launched on December 3rd on a whole new level. It’s a completely inverted approach to goal-setting. It’s a show up in the world, take your time to choose your core desired feelings and let those feelings guide you through your life, your work, your love, every single day. It’s the birthing of a great heart idea by Danielle LaPorte. Here’s what others say about her:
“Danielle’s passion leaps off the page, and reading a few chapters of this book will ignite you into action.”–Gretchen Rubin The Happiness Project
“Danielle LaPorte is scary smart, yet so kind and practical that she kindles the fire in you without causing you to feel consumed by the flames…. Lean in and listen close. What she has to say is what our spirits need to hear.”–Martha Beck Steering By Starlight
I have used the Franklin Covey planning system for a decade. The Desire Map is my new guide. Danielle has launched a book, day planner, audio downloads, you name it. And if you are not ready to take the plunge, just sign up for her daily truthbombs, weekly newsletter or monthly digest. Here’s where you can learn more: bit.ly/desiremap.
Want to meet Danielle? Marie Forleo interviews her here calling it “Four Steps to Set Goals with Soul.”
I thank you, my friends, for reading about Fay, Katherine, Richard and Alan and Danielle. I thank you for celebrating passion, action and commitment. I invite you to step into your own light with a toe, then your foot, your leg, just hokey pokey yourself on over, dreaming is the gateway to joy. Live it every single day.