So I jumped on the bandwagon and spit in a tube to see what wondrous secrets my dna may be able to tell me that I don’t already know.
Well, it was pretty anti-climatic, but still super cool to see, not just how accurate my parents were, but where some of my physical attributes come from. It was also quite interesting to find out most of my dna matched “distant” relatives live out west in the warmer climate and wonder how my closer relatives got that part so wrong 😉
100% European, predominantly Polish … no surprise 😂
When I was ready to live in my truth, it felt like home ~ Lisa J.
I had something profound happen to me last night that seemed like the cherry on top of a lovely day. If you’ve kept up on my blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed an underlying theme. I enjoy writing about how I’m finding my way to my happiness, and now that I’ve revamped the definition of my happiness, my path to my truth. It is also my practice and my joy to inspire others to look from a different perspective, believe in who they are, and listen to their hearts and the quiet voice from within.
In an earlier post, “This is Me, This is My Why”, I gave a short summary of my crazy life, which was a small glimpse of my sometimes chaotic, rocky, dark and unsteady, but purposeful journey. During these years of my life, never did I realize I was developing awareness or learning lessons that would have led me to where I am now, and it is a common occasion when I don’t realize just how far I’ve come.
Last night, I stumbled upon a “Life List” I wrote back in 2006, and as the name implies, it is a list of 60 things I wanted to accomplish in this life. However, the profound and fascinating part to me is not necessarily the list, but that I truly don’t ever remember making this list, why I made this list, or even that it was here in this house. Last night it served as a giant reminder, sign, smack in the face, whatever you want to call it, as to how much I’ve grown and changed, but yet, not changed, in the last 12 years.
While the entire list is not completed, like visiting Australia or New York, many, many of them are, and I honestly didn’t realize I was checking them off. This is truly something extraordinary that makes me realize my true nature, even when I thought I lost it so many years ago, stayed with me through dark and light, good and bad, so when I was ready to live in that truth, it felt like home.
The entire list is lengthy, so I won’t name them all, but I will touch on the ones that are significant and eye opening to me. The truth is though, to truly understand why this is so profound, you must understand where I was in my life when I wrote it. With no question, I had no idea where, or what, my life purpose or meaning was, or even what I was doing with myself or how to live without drama or madness; however, the items on this list were as important to me then (which I didn’t realize) as they are now, and made it full circle to becoming the foundation of this blog that I only began in July of this year without consciously realizing.
The below consists of various practices I apparently had hoped to accomplish, and many achieved, and you can see, at different periods over the last 12 years, and those I did not even think to begin to practice until this past July:
Forgiveness (2018); Be more confident (ongoing); Quit smoking (2011); Positivity (2018); Meditate (2006 and then never again until 2018); Remove the negative and take control of my life (2017-18); Get my Bachelors (2020, I’ll be 41); Pray more (2018, which I neverthought I would do again); Face my fears (2018); Stop worrying about getting everyone’s approval (2018); Start running/exercise (2013); Coach (2011-2014); Volunteer (started at the animal shelter 2010); Travel to places I’ve never been (2006-present); and Inspire (hopefully, 2018). I can say without a doubt, this list got lost never to be thought of again until last night, but MOST of them happened within the last 12 years, without me even realizing.
I continue to be in awe that these items were written so many years ago and although I consciously did not see them every day, I was subconsciously checking them off one by one. That in mind, and as powerful as this is to me, I’ve decided to make a new list, but this time around, I plan to make it visible every day:
1) All the stuff from the first list that is ongoing, or I have not yet accomplished, like learning to Salsa;
2) Get married;
3) Write for a living;
4) Co-Create with one of my closest friends;
5) Own a business (this was also on list #1);
6) Practice self-care (eat better, exercise, meditate);
7) Appreciate and be grateful for everybody and everything, small and large in my life;
8) Travel, and travel more;
9) Walk with faith;
10) Love lots…
Your mind is a beautiful, mysterious and incredible thing. What we desire in this life is attainable if we desire from a place of passion, truth and love. Sit down, have the thoughts, say them out loud, make a list, plant the seeds in your subconscious, and your true nature and path will reveal itself, even if it’s 12 years later.
I had a different post in mind just a few minutes ago, but it’s funny how our paths sometime lead us in a way we don’t even realize. As you may already know, I have started a pretty exciting journey in the world of writing, specifically children’s books. This along with my subject of today, was something I never expected to step into, and while that is a story in itself, it is not the reason behind this post. This post is actually about how sometimes, even when we are confident in our walk, we tend to get distracted by the outside world that, at times, begs the question…Why Me?
This question can rear it’s ugly head in various chapters of our lives, especially during the hard times. We find ourselves asking out loud or in a whisper to our higher power, the universe as a whole or whoever will listen, Why Me? I won’t lie, I have had this question weigh on my heart many times, and in those thoughts the emotions that overtake me consist of mostly anger, the feelings of unjustness, and the repetitive notion that I need an answer.
Unfortunately, even in these low moments, the moments that can break us, the moments that can make us question our faith, our love and even contemplate the reasons behind it all, what we don’t realize, the answer to Why Me is always Why Not?
It feels so harsh, but it’s true, and while maybe I will post more elaborately about this side of things, the above serves as more of an introduction to a more positive point, give me just two more minutes…If this is true for all the times we feel we get the short of the stick, doesn’t that mean it can be flipped to answer the same question in a different context? The answer…Why Not?
That’s where I was tonight. I had typed in a title for a different post altogether when I got distracted (which happens often, ;)) and I found myself engrossed in yet another publisher’s website reading submission guidelines word for word and paging through the bios of author after author. Suddenly I felt myself slipping into that same mentality, “Look at all these crazy talented writers, they’ve been doing this forever, that’s not me, Why would they choose Me?”
I know I’m not alone with these thoughts. Have you ever seen a successful person, or a person doing exactly what you’ve only dreamed about doing, and think to yourself, “Wow, how nice for them, I’ll never see that kind of success, why would I ever think that could be me?” Don’t be shy, you can nod, it’s ok, we all do it. It’s self-doubt, or this insane idea that successful, in every definition of success, people are superhuman not of this earth. What we don’t realize is that the answer is always the same…WHY NOT?
If you really want to dive deep into this subject, I can go on and on about how we may not always be a direct cause for the negative or positive in our lives, but we are absolute contributors, that is not why I write this post. My point and my message to not just you, but to myself, is if we can ask ourselves the question, Why Me, why can’t the answer be the same for both scenarios. WHY NOT?
So next time you catch yourself daydreaming about that dream job, that mountain to climb, creating every day, loving, laughing, enjoying life to the fullest in whatever way is the most true for you, and you start to ask yourself , Why Me? Before you spiral into the ocean of self pity and excuses, respond with the only answer that can set you free from the envy and the anger…WHY NOT? The catch however, is once you answer this question within your heart, the true test is what you do next.
Why Me? Why You? Well, because Why Not? is only the first statement to the story of your dreams and when you believe it in you, what you once thought was impossible becomes more possible than you could have ever imagined.
Side note example: After I started this post I read an article about how a 25 year old became the first Asian Indiana State Representative when the odds were stacked against him. Why him? Well, Why Not! Believing in yourself, your mission and your heart is not just a meme we find on social media, but the real deal, and once you commit to those beliefs, you can achieve more than think you can 🙂
I’ve been somewhat MIA from my blog world lately, but for good reason. In my writing journey there have been many projects I have started, many projects that have inspired me, and many projects that rekindled my love of expressing myself through the written word. However, there has never been a writing project this big that I have started and finished, until now.
I have been knee deep in a collaborative project with a beautiful friend, creating a world of color, laughter, courage and dreams in a children’s book. I am so excited that I had to announce to everyone I know that after ten days and 12k words, early this morning I typed “The End” and we officially have our very first book!
This writing project has been the most inspiring and fulfilling I have ever done, and I am convinced it is because when you create with like-minded people with much different gifts to offer, it ignites a blinding light from inside. We are all blessed with a gift, unique to each of us, don’t wish for another’s, nourish your own and then work together to do amazing things!
Now on to the “fun” part of editing, querying and hoping this project finds its way into the hands of someone who sees what we do. To all the artists, writers and creators, believe in your gift, listen to your heart, keep writing, keep creating, as the world needs to hear your voice.
My journey of self-discovery started years ago, and I wasn’t even aware. The components to what would allow me to find my true path in this life as the true me would show themselves throughout the course of my walk before I understood what it all truly meant. I say this because I believe that is true for all of us. There are light bulbs that go on in our hearts and in our head many times during our journey, but it takes experience, love and self-awareness to begin to listen. Today after yet another profound discovery about myself, I was drawn to pick up an old journal and out dropped a single piece of paper with the following written on it, front and back. This was written 10 years ago, before I read the Universe Has Your Back, before I read a single self-help book and at the start of what I will call now my journey to my truth…
I am about to turn 30 and I am amazed even still with the events, people and personalities that surround me. In my opinion my life is “low key”, I don’t party, I have limited friends and for some reason as a few have said I am still a drama magnet… For so long in my life I was such a negative, unhappy, unpleasable person. … I see things different for the most part, a genuinely happy person yet still unpleasable. …., and I am still amazed, shocked and uneasy with the amount of sadness, pain and insensitivity.
I think the one major thing in my life that has massively changed is the ability to forgive. It has set me free but leaves me questioning why we are so shocked at the behavior of our children. ….we live in a society of revenge, hatred and negativity. …. Blame drugs, blame TV, blame others, but really, they learn from watching us, as individuals and as a whole.
Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend and telling her that I was lucky to have not lost, in death, anyone close to me. My “luck” didn’t last long after that conversation, and it continues to remind me every day is precious and beautiful, and to be negative and unforgiving is a waste of time and energy because what you do here, now, reflects who you are after death, and how do you want to be remembered?
While this may sound like rambling to you because honestly that’s what it was at time, this was the beginning for me. How did I want to be remembered, what legacy was I to leave behind, specifically for my children? From that point forward, I was searching for the answer. While there have been many challenges along the way, and lessons I needed to learn, I find that one thing is for certain, forgiveness is the key, and love is the answer.
My journey will continue and will be ever evolving because I believe that is life, and while I am much farther along than I was 10 years ago, I know I still have a lot to learn. My wish for you is that you listen to your heart and the lessons, fill your life with love, and live with good intentions in the journey to your truth.
It was months ago when my dear friend and I had dinner and talked about this crazy idea of taking off for the weekend to experience self-discovery by way of a Women’s Work/Life Integration Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center hosted by Jennifer Connelly of Triple W Forum. After discussing the program, the travel and all it would entail, we laughed and promised we’d investigate it, but honestly, we both knew the possibility of actually following through was slim for many reasons. However, the idea of experiencing clarity, centering and relaxation on the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the beautiful fall, continued to nag at me as the weeks passed by.
It was a morning on my way to work when the nagging turned into a question of “why not”? Why not travel to a mountain top of serenity?; Why not take time to focus on the one person that gets lost in the hustle…Me?; Why not go to a place filled with like-minded and inspiring women?; Why not go with the intention to find clarity for my heart, my mind and my soul? Why not? I couldn’t think of a good answer, so the second I shut the car off, I sent my friend a message and our journey began. Before we knew it, and after a few clicks of the keyboard, we were off on an adventure that would change our mindset, our hearts and set us on a course of incredible change.
It was an 11-hour drive through the most gorgeous scenery, filled with the colorful paintbrush of nature, and while it rained the entire ride, we barely noticed as we were engrossed in conversation, excitement and wonder for what was to come. Upon our arrival we were in awe of the view and the facility, which spans thirty acres of mountainous forest. After check-in, we explored the gift shop located near registration, and while entranced by the calming smell of incense, I of course, could not leave empty handed, believing I could read not just one, but two, inspirational books while we were there. We were then ready to head to our room which was a short trip down the winding mountain and, just our luck, located right next door to the Shankara Ayurveda Spa. We were pleasantly surprised with our lovely newly renovated room, comfortable beds and spectacular picture window that framed the landscape. Sleep turned out to be difficult only due to the anticipation of the weekend before us.
Waking Friday with excitement, as our schedules were full of 1:1 coaching sessions with Jennifer, massages, Ayurvedic lunch, and our initial group sessions with the 18 other women who chose to ask themselves Why Not? We were ready, even though we had no idea what to expect, but what we discovered is that sometimes, that’s the best way to make beautiful changes in your life. Walk without fear through the opportunities that present themselves.
While I want to include each and every detail in order to give all the events and experience justice, it may start to look like a novel, so from here on out I thought I would touch the highlights to leave some sense of mystery, so that, next time this retreat comes around, you ask yourself, Why Not?
TRIPLE W FORUM (Jennifer Connelly)
So, who was the brilliant mind behind this inspirational weekend? While I believe she would humbly list her tribe and her people, as we cannot walk our paths without the support of an army, our MC and our guide, Jennifer Connelly, showed up as a light for us all with breathing techniques, visualizations, yoga, including at sunrise, forest bathing and the Birkman Method, teaching us information about ourselves we didn’t even realize existed within. If I tell you nothing else about Jennifer, I will tell you this, she is without a doubt living in her truth, doing exactly what she was meant to do in this life.
The concept and flow of the events allowed for the program to be engaging, relaxing, and filled with tools for your tool belt to take with you on your journey home, and to think, she did it all right there on the mountain top. Facilitating the retreat with kindness and ease by way of her company, Triple W Forum, which she founded in 2009 as a way to provide a “transformative platform for professional and personal development for individuals and organizations” she provided an experience I will carry with me always, and plan to have again next year.
As part of the retreat activities we had the pleasure of being introduced to three wonderful speakers. Each bringing something a little different to the table, they presented us with thought provoking questions and practical solutions for implementing positive change in our lives.
Our first speaker was Walter Crawford, Personal & Life Development Coach at Crawford Corner, who with his easygoing and fun personality gave us insight on how expectations show up in our lives. We explored how to recognize these expectations, if they are fairly placed, how to assess their value, and understand that communication is key in managing any expectation in your life.
We then heard from Mary Beth Sawicki, founding partner at Trilogy Effect, a boutique consulting firm that works with people to surface potential. Mary Beth was a sweet soul who gave us a plan on how to face and resolve upsets and incompletion in our lives. Through her personal story (that I will be following up on) she took us through the steps of addressing our upsets by identifying, distinguishing and assessing the situation for what it really is, and moving forward in a positive way.
Last but certainly not least Ellen Burton, Leadership Coach of EJ Burton & Associates, and now Author of “The Civility Project: How Corporate Culture Impacts Wellness, Productivity and Profit” gave us her genuine take on Reverence and how kindness increases your prosperity. In an interactive presentation, Ellen took us through the emotional side of both a negative and positive workspace and how each affect productivity and essentially profit. Wrapping with the conclusion that kindness, respect and civility are the best practices for overall performance.
While each brought a special light to the group, we were also given the opportunity to meet with them one on one for the insight and advise in what was happening in our own individual worlds.
While I am beyond grateful for each of the events and people I have discussed above, the most incredible part of the retreat were the connections made with each and every individual who attended, participants and coaches alike. Getting to know the courageous women, and man, who showed up as their vulnerable, true selves is an experience that I will not forget. Inspired by their lives, their reasons, their passions, and their openness, my heart will forever be changed. Each of us there for our own personal reason, each of us there with very different stories, but all of us there to better ourselves so we can live as the best versions of us.
THE ART OF LIVING RETREAT CENTER
In addition to the Triple W retreat activities we also found plenty to do around the Center itself. Not the traditional cabin in the woods, The Art of Living Retreat Center practices and encourages the practice of Ayruveda, which in Sanskrit means “The Science of Life.” Ayruveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs.
Specifically, you will not only find traditional American massage offered at the spa but the Ayruvedic massage therapy as well, which incorporates oils and rhythmic soft tissue massage that not only nourishes your muscles but also your nervous system.
Additionally, their food is an Ayurvedic diet, which is fresh (without pesticides, additives and other chemicals), seasonal, and as often as possible local. I was nervous about this part because I’m such a picky eater, but it turned out, the food was delicious, and it was even better to know I was eating clean.
Now, if you weren’t enjoying a massage or eating in the large beautiful dining room overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, you could choose to attend one of the Center’s yoga or meditation classes, a guided tour of the grounds including a look inside the grand meditation hall, or make an appointment to create pottery (check out this post for info on Karen, who re-kickstarted her beautiful craft on one of these retreats), or hike the paths within the surrounding 30 acres of nature.
I really didn’t think there would be words to describe my weekend of self-discovery, but I sure did find them. To say the least, this trip was worth every cent spent, every schedule changed and every hour in the car. The experience was one I will carry with me as I walk in the version of me I like best, and I look forward to the next time. I cannot thank the coaches, Jennifer, Triple W and all the amazing connections I made on this journey as I was finding my truth on the mountain top.