Thursday, February 10, 2011

Choosing to LIVE FULLY NOW

sledding with kes

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.  
~Henry David Thoreau

Happy February!  Um...where did January go?  Seriously, I know it's such a bore to repeat the phrase, "Time is flying by!"  But, man seriously, time IS really flying by!

As promised I'm here to share some words about big changes I'm making in my life...and although I don't really feel like I've got quite a grasp on how to explain them...well...I'm gonna try.

After a month of listening more, journaling more, painting more, and reflecting more, (as well as stumbling, making mistakes and taking on too much), I've noticed some messages in my heart that are ready to manifest - and those messages have inspired me to prioritize my intentions for this new year.  

Intention #1:  
To Live Without
My quest last year to Reduce Clutter; Create Space has helped shaped my new mantra for this year - To Live Without.  I get a magazine each month called Living Without, and it shares tips and inspiration around living a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle.  I have to admit I've never liked the title.  It sounded so depressing to me.  Who wants to "live without?"  I mean, come on, isn't that kind of limiting?  I want to live life to the fullest (and eat pizza) - shouldn't I get to have it all?

And then it hit me.  I've always had an issue with lack.  That I knew.  But, I kinda thought I was over it.  I mean, I used to think I wasn't good enough, or that I didn't make enough, or that I didn't have enough.  I couldn't possibly start teaching, coaching, making art, or writing because I didn't know enough.  You get the idea.

So the phrase, Living Without, was actually bringing up old feelings of lack for me.  I also think it's probably why I have a hard time staying within my weekly grocery budget and continue feeding my Whole Foods addiction, because I want to prove to myself we now indeed do have enough and I'll never have to live without again.

But...something has changed.  My year of reducing clutter has helped me get to this moment, where I not only am embracing living without, but I'm feeling happier and freer with less.  And I'm actually starting to experience a whole new meaning of wealth that goes way beyond a dollar amount.

So this year I'm letting go of more stuff (mental, emotional and physical junk), so that I can expand beyond things and allow space for the infinite possibilities that await.

sledding with ash

Intention #2:
Build Foundation - One Step at a Time
The fourth session of my Inside Out e-course ends this week.  And while I ask the explorers in class to dig deeper and dream bigger, it's only fair that I do the same!  It's the first class I've led while having two children and I have to say, the transition of working from home with a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old has had its set of say the least.  There are days when I think I'm crazy for trying to manage a career and mommy-hood.  But, again, after trial-and-error over the last month (and some tears), here's what I'm learning...

I need my creative outlet and connection to community just as much as I need to stay home with my children right now.  I also know that I have to continue striving to be present during both.  When I work, I need to focus on work.  When I'm with my children, I need to focus on my children.  It's that simple.  HA...simple?  Yay right.  It's anything but. Yet I'm willing to try, explore, fumble and discover ways that work best for my family and me.

So I am looking at this year as a time to build foundation - for my family and my careerI'm choosing to stay home with my children while they are so young because I want to be fully present with them during these foundation years.  This will require that I learn how to simplify my lifestyle even more, and find the balance that allows me to have dedicated work time during my week.  When I try to work around the children I feel crazy, frustrated and irritable.  As a creative person with more ideas than there are hours in the day, this is going to be a challenge for me.  But I know that I must be patient, and that what I really need right now is space.  This is a precious stage in my life and my children won't be young forever.  


Intention #3:

Sacred Kitchen - Sacred Life
I'm reading a book that is changing the way I prepare, eat and think about food.  It's called The Sacred Kitchen: Higher Consciousness Cooking for Health and Wholeness by Robin and Jon Robertson.  They have reminded me that my energy goes into the food I cook.  So if I'm cranky and resentful because I have to make dinner, then that cranky energy will pass on to my family through the meal I've prepared.  It's a fact that we have to eat every day so why not look at making dinner as a celebration?  I also really love exploring my creativity in a whole new way through cooking. 

organic food box

I am determined to stay within my grocery budget, eat organic, wholesome food and explore new recipes, as well as make my own!  I went ballistic on my kitchen this past week and cleaned out the pantry, fridge and all the cabinets.  I donated every last bit of plastic and items I never use.  I've been reading about canned foods and have switched to dry beans, and I'm now on a mission to digitize my recipes on my iPad so I can eliminate the paper and cookbook clutter, too.

Working to create a solid foundation in my kitchen seems to compliment conscious living in all other aspects of my life, and if nothing else, it just feels so darn good.


Intention #4:
Return to Stillness
I took a great e-course during the month of January called Picture Winter with Tracey Clark.  Each day I received a new photo prompt that inspired me to look at things in a new way.  One assignment was to capture an everyday household item.  The example in Tracey's photo was her coffee maker.  It got me to really pay attention to the items I use the most throughout my day.  Then I captured this picture.

Meditation Cushion

NO...this is not a household item I use every day!  In fact, it has been sitting in the corner of my bedroom just waiting for me.  It quietly speaks to me at night..."come sit on still...enjoy this quiet time after a long, busy day.  I'm here for you."  And I quietly reply back, "I'm too tired tonight.  Tomorrow...I'll sit on you tomorrow."

The household item that I use all the time is my iPhone, and in capturing this photo I had to be honest with myself and ask, "If I can find many times throughout my day to check Twitter, Facebook, and my email, then why can't I find just 5 minutes to sit on my meditation pillow?"

And that's when the shift for this new year started to manifest in a much greater way.  I'm making shifts like this one, taking time for meditation every night (although I still fight the "I'm too tired" excuse), and checking my phone WAY less, so that I can eliminate the chaos, clutter and insanity!

And you know something?  I realized that our society does not value "downtime."  We look up to and respect the people who do it all, have it all - the type-A, multi-taskers, go-getters, over-achievers, moneymakers, breadwinners, jet-setters.  Meditate?  Do nothing?  Just be?  Live in the present?  Rest?  Slow down?  Live without?  It may not be what mainstream America values, but I think there's value in stillness, and by god, I'm gonna try my best to get me some.

So with one small step at a time, I am embracing the authentic parts of me - the creative-entrepreneur-wanna-be-painter-art-maker-yoga-pants-wearing-zumba-dancing-breast-feeding-baby-wearing-mommy-loving-married-loving-dark-chocolate-eating-coffee-drinking-Modern-Family-watching-e-course-making-soul-searching-sacred-kitchen-making-deeply-connecting-stillness-craving-living-without-foundation-building and willing to make mistakes along the way.

Yes, life is moving by at a rather rapid pace, and I don't want to miss a thing.  I believe life is worth LIVING.  I'm choosing to take steps every day to live it to the very fullest.  And I'm pretty convinced now that I don't have to do more, be more, and have more to live a full life.

Playing in the snow

Most importantly, all this deep reflecting has helped me prioritize what's truly important to me.  I'm choosing to live the life I want to live NOW, and whether it's cooking in the kitchen, teaching a class, picking up toys, sitting in stillness, or playing in the snow - I'm gonna have fun doing it.

Are you with me?

Your Personal Reflection:  What small steps can you take, starting right NOW, to fully experience YOUR life?


  1. Looking pretty wonderful post-baby Shannon : ) Love the photos!

  2. Shannon, you have changed my life. I am so glad I signed up for your e-course and I have been discovering so much. You ROCK! Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking chances and being our sherpa, even while you are finding your way too.

  3. Thank you for this text, you made my own thoughts more clear with it :-) I totally agree with what you say!

  4. Special thanks to each of you for taking the time to read and share. I adore you so.

  5. Amazing post Shannon. Thank for sharing so much of yourself so I can grow and learn so much. I especially relate to you 2nd intention. It is so hard to balance and stay mindful with career and kids. I'm working hard on the patience part of it all.

  6. Thanks for this post! I just read a book that I really liked, The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need. I think you might like it :)

  7. I was silently cheering you on whilst reading this post. Very happy for you.

    I've also recently been experiencing an increase in changes and 'aha' moments. And the amazing thing lately has been experiencing so many moments of synchronicity that seem to be telling me I'm going the right way. An hour or so ago I just ended my blog post with "...enough for now. And I'm learning that 'now' is really all we have for sure." So it seems I was connecting with your post and personal reflection question even before I read it. :-)
    Kat X

  8. Shannon - I love your insight and find what you write so inspiring. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. Have a fantastic day.

  9. This post really resonated with me Shannon! Thanks for sharing your intentions with us. Your pictures are absolutely georgeous. You radiate positivity!!

  10. Always! You have the most beautiful and thoughtful posts! Do you mind if I link to this over at my space?
    How can I live life to the fullest-hmm, Megan from ROOTED advise that I should change things I don't like and if I can't change it, change how I think about it. I am still working on how I think about cleaning. Cooking can get me the cranks too, but I totally get the idea about feelings being translated into food. So there is a change. I am also working with the idea of living with less without feeling deprived, guilty, weird. It's difficult to fight the habits, naysaying voices in my head and the community and culture at large.
    Thanks so much for all of this food for thought.
    Hugs and kisses to you and your sweeties,

  11. What an amazing, inspiring post! Thank you!

    For me, this year is about letting go. I've been getting rid of clutter and things I don't use or love, but that are taking up space in my house. Some things have been harder than others to let go of, yet once they are gone, I feel lighter and freer and so much happier! I'm sure this applies to more than just the material items in my life.

    It's also a year for using up. I have collected things for so many projects, and I've decided no more buying until all projects on the shelf are complete. This may take more than a year to complete, ha ha!

    I'm so thrilled I found your blog!
    Thanks again for that wonderful post!

  12. I say yes, yes, yes to all of this. I feel blessed to know you and to have the chance to grow by your side! Thanks, beautiful Shannon...

    Manon xxx

  13. Thank You so much for sharing, you are the most inspiring person I know, and have made my day once again. It's so nice to know that there are others out there that are going through the same things I am. You're the best!

  14. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments. This was a hard post for me to write and I'm happy to see you resonate with it.

  15. I think it's SO important - when we try to make profound changes in our lives - to allow for the tears and the mistakes... It's such hard work to find and listen to the voice of your authentic self, and what it needs, and to stick to it through all the challenges and temptations life throws at us...

    I'm still trying to find out what my soul needs, through the clutter of daily life, but I'm chipping away at it :) It's hard to make choices and not feeling like you made the wrong one or you're missing out on something else...

    I admire you so for the hard work you're putting in! Your words inspire me, & those photos are so light-filled, they make me take a deep breath :)

  16. Shannon, you are amazing!
    When I had a four months old and a two years old in the house I was so overwhelmed!
    You have the energy to make everything make sense AND be a wonderful guide/support for all of the inside out class. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for everything!

  17. wow - what a journey Shannon! I so understand it. I know it, have been there, the frustration with juggling, but also the need to earn - and trying to do both - hah! The best thing is being able to do what we love to earn! I have grown more into this over the last year and yes, you are so right the quality of life is better than the money if I am happy and energised doing what I love!

    I always think how amazingly well you are doing and I also understand the determination. Community and art are both VITAL to me too :)



Thanks for sharing!