What is it you plan to do?

As 2016 approached and even now, a couple weeks into this new year, a line I read years ago in a poem ("The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver) has been echoing in my mind:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver

I love that. The question ASSUMES so much — that we have but one life, that it’s a worthwhile life, and that we have a responsibility inherent in our existence (i.e., life is what you make of it).

That same question also DEMANDS just as much — that we take ownership of the time we're given, that we be intentional and that we sense the gravity (and grandeur) of our lives.

It’s such a heavy and beautiful question.

Now, take a second and read those words again. Does the question overwhelm you? Scare you into avoidance? Excite you to action? Inspire you to dream? Feel rhetorical? Any or all of those? Good. I encourage you to wrestle with those feelings and thoughts. Sit in that discomfort. Embrace the process and go where it leads ...

May the question inspire you in your goal setting, decision-making and hopes for this year. May 2016 be one of profound purpose, intentionality and joy.

(P.S. I’m available, if you’re looking for help along the way — just get in touch!)

Healthy Habits for Working Out

Do you have a healthy relationship with exercise? All in or totally avoidant, there's a balance to be aimed for and achieved.

According to the Huffington Post, 9 habits might set you apart:

  1. Know the difference between a good burn and true pain
  2. Take rest days
  3. Don’t exercise to eat, instead, eat to exercise
  4. Go with the flow
  5. Know what you like and do that
  6. But still mix things up
  7. Do it when and where you like
  8. Seek support
  9. Do it for the mental benefits.

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How does your workout routine measure up?

Inspiration for the Indifferent

Maybe you haven't been traveling through Patagonia like the couple in the video, but the path YOU'VE been been on? Like theirs, it comes to an end, fades, transitions. Maybe it already has. And YOUR FUTURE, quietly waiting, asks you:

1. Is it possible to be happy with THIS life?
2. Did you enjoy your story?

If you can't answer yes ... I urge you to start looking for a different answer. Do whatever it takes to know that you know that you know that joy is still possible. Start today. Go. Try. Be. Change.

Go travel. Make eye contact. Say "hello." Run a new route. Change your diet. Get foolish and engage a grand gesture. Stop living half-assed and quit making excuses (Revelation 3:15-17, The Message). Fear owns you. You're no good for anyone (including yourself) all stifled and hunched inward. Tradition, authority, rules and norms? Analyze them, shake them, change them.

One life. One chance at influence and time and transformation. Don't blow this.

Just live a better story, k? Need a little help or hope to get you started? I'm game. That's what therapy is all aboutGive me a call.

how NOT to give up on your new years resolutions

Remember those resolutions you came up with, coming down off the high of a delightful Christmas season and looking bright-eyed toward an emerging Spring?

Now, as a long, hot Summer plods toward a close, how are your early goals shaping up? If you’re like the majority of us, you’ve lost sight of, well, the majority of those goals. But you don’t have to beat yourself up about it.

Instead, join the mid-year resolutions club, give each other a high-five and get set to make change before the end of the year. Here’s how:

  1. Break Up Big Goals. Want learn to fish? Awesome. That’s a big goal, accomplished through a set of smaller, short-term, foundation-building goals, like getting a fishing pole, finding a watering hole, learning about bait, etc. It’s great to have an overarching goal, but success happens through checking off one related short-term goal at a time.
  2. Specify Short-Term Goals. Each goal along the way needs to be specific, measurable and time limited. Want to learn to fish? This week, research fishing poles — use, cost, etc., and plan to purchase one over the weekend. Before you know it, you’ve got significant momentum in the small things toward your big goal. That’s what we call progress.
  3. Remove Barriers. Think hard about what you’ve used as excuses in the first half of the year to avoid making progress toward your goals. Strategize how to eliminate those opportunities for avoidance. Wanting to get in shape and keep finding yourself saying your gym is too far away from you house? Change gyms. Want to drink more water? Buy a water bottle you actually like and can carry around with you. Too busy with carting the kids around to read that devotional? Ask your husband to cover the morning routine so you get 15 minutes to yourself. Make it easy to move toward your goals!
  4. Think and Act One Day at a Time. Trying to lose weight? It happens one eating choice and one exercise movement at time. Not only does this present-focus help us avoid despair, it also reminds us that healthy change is a gradual, habit-redefining process. This focus creates investment — in what we’re doing and who we are. Remember, you're worth each and every baby step in the right direction.

So, what do you want to change, develop, or create by the end of the year? Write it down. Start today. Let’s go.

And if you need a little extra help, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT — that’s what we’re here for!

On Why You Should Get Uncomfortable

In our society, we have come to believe that discomfort always means something is wrong. We are conditioned to believe that feelings of distress, pain, deprivation, yearning and longing mean something is wrong with the way we are living our lives.

Conversely, we are convinced that a rightly lived life must give us serenity, completion and fulfillment. Comfort means “right” and distress means “wrong.” The influence of such convictions is stifling to the human spirit. Individually and collectively, we must somehow recover the truth. The truth is, we were never meant to be completely satisfied.
— Gerald May (as quoted by Jan Meyers in "The Allure of Hope")