Winter Solstice

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Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate the Winter Solstice. As the shortest day and longest night of the year, the Solstice marks the turn from darkness to the rebirth of light.

Look around.

Light is EVERYWHERE this time of year. Sure, sunset is earlier. But as the sun dips below the horizon in a blaze of golden glory, small lights flicker to life on every street.

I don’t know about where you live, but around me there are a record number of holiday lights (Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, and lingering Diwali) hanging from the eaves of houses, framing windows, adorning bushes and trees. White, cool blue, and multi-colors twinkle as they form a tableau for other decorations.

It lights my way home, like a trail of twinkling breadcrumbs. I can see the lights in my yard from the top of the hill at the beginning of my street, beckoning me through the spaces in the evergreens.

Small, sparkling lights possess a hypnotic and calming effect. I can watch my Christmas/Yule tree lights for hours, their glitter reflecting off the shine of ornaments and metallic garland beads. The holiday season can be a source of both joy and stress, but spending thirty minutes by yourself in silence (or with some beautiful instrumental holiday music), melts any of the crazy away.

If you prefer, there’s the soft glow of candlelight, whether outside glowing in a serpentine path underneath luminaria bags, or inside your home atop the mantelpiece.

In the fireplace, the Yule log burns away the old year, building fresh promise upon ashes, transforming any pain and disappointment into hope and excitement for the new year.

During this most reflective time of year, there is much light in the dark. In fact, without the dark, how else would you see the light? Stars spread across the velvet sky, their ancient light providing mystery and wonder. There’s a full moon on Christmas Night, the first since 1977, an occurrence we won’t see again until 2034.

There’s a spark of magic in all this light, if you keep your eyes, mind, and heart open. That same spark of magic light lives in all of us. It’s there, whether or not you’ve felt it, seen it, or manifested it.

Here’s the key: You are your own light.

Winter Solstice

Don’t wait for someone else’s light to follow. Don’t wait for someone else to ignite your spark. Don’t wait for someone else to feed your fire. They can’t. They can inspire you, but kindling the spark? That’s all you.

 

“Light your fire and lead your own way.”

 

Have a Merry Yule, full of mirth and magic!!

By Syndee Barwick

YOUR JOURNEY–ONE STEP AT A TIME

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By Syndee Barwick 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu 

First there’s the over-the-top enthusiasm, like you’ve become drunk on your dream, gulping down scenario after scenario. Oh, the things you’ll do! The lives you’ll change! The book you’ll write! The business you’ll start!

But then doubt creeps in, reality slaps you with its harsh truths, and the voices of naysayers – whether others’ voices in your head or to your face, or your own inner critic – deafen you, drowning those sparks ignited by your soul.

How do you keep going in the face of contrarians and the constant barrage of negative cacophony?

Trepidation for pursuing one’s dream is something to which no one is immune. It’s hard-wired into our psyches, pummeled into us by society: “Get real.” You want to start your own business? Great! But how will you pay the mortgage? Want to write full-time because it’s your passion? Fantastic! But how will you keep the lights on? Oh, those pesky everyday obligations.

How do you get to your dream?

Journey of a thousand mile

Plan. Just like a road trip, map out your journey – including a myriad of alternate routes (in case of accidents, traffic, or whatever other occurrences that may waylay you), contingency plans, rest stops, site-seeing, opportunities to get gas and food, and what you’ll do once you reach your destination.

Even the best laid plans, the most intricate of schematics, can dissolve into ethers or a detour pops up. But the first step?

Visualize (dream) your perfect situation. What does that look like? How does it feel? How does it MAKE you feel? Why do you want this? Write it all down. It’ll help you map your journey.

Write out your plan/draw that map. Without one, how do you know where you’re going – and how do you know you’ve arrived?

Set up key milestones. Just like any other journey: what are the landmarks? What are the milestones? And how do you celebrate when you attain those?

The most important though? Action. Because all of your planning and map-making can be perfectly designed, but it serves no purpose if you don’t act.

So take that first step – then put one foot in front of the other, with your map in hand.

Because if you don’t take that first step, a year from now you’ll be exactly where you are right now: in the same place, doing the same thing, and not pursuing what it is you so greatly desired and dreamed. And it’ll be that way, year after year. Your dream only a wisp of memory in the dust you’ll be.

Your unique dream, your unique gift will be disappear with you. Only YOU can animate your particular vision and dream. Don’t wait. Take that first step today!

Opportunity?

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Opportunity

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” – Milton Berle

Are you missing opportunities in your life?

Do you wish you could get the next great opportunity in your life?

Have you ever looked at another person and thought “wow they are lucky”?

Do you realize “luck” most of the time has nothing to do with it?

Its about you and how you are.  To create opportunities in your life you need to work on you.  Don’t envy the other person, emulate them.  Watch what they do, see how they are.  Most of the time it has to do with your personality.  Show you care about others and try to learn new things, you will find yourself getting those missed opportunities.

There are many things you can do to cause these opportunities to show up.  Read a few “self help” books.  My personal favorite is “How to win friends and influence people“.  Join a club or these days they are called “Meetups”.  Get involved in an activity or sport you like.  Join Toastmasters to gain better speaking skills.

Try these things for a year (I know it seems long, but years pass quickly) and see if opportunities don’t show up for you.  I’d guess it would be a lot sooner.

Let me know what you like to read that has helped you in your life.  Let’s get those opportunities coming your way!  Write to me with any questions and I’ll try and point you in the right direction.

A little Kindness goes a long way

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Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

~Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Kindness

The world needs more kindness. 

We need to care for and care about one other, regardless of our similarities – or our differences. While you are unique, your neighbor is, too. And so is that woman sitting alone in the coffee shop, reading. Or that older man sitting on the bench, under the tree, feeding the birds.

Everyone faces their own journey, complete with highs and lows, triumphs and struggles. Some you those can see, while other challenges are internal. With that in mind, give people a little extra time or attention – it goes a long way.

Recently, I read a story about a mother whose son has Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Taking her one-year old son, Kaden, to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach, Florida, Katie Myers was moved to share her experience on social media when a young boy assisted her son in doing the things he wanted to do at the aquarium – and could not, because of his disease. Katie Myers’ post has received more than 246,000 “likes” and over 57,000 shares. All because the young boy who assisted Kaden didn’t see his differences, but rather his sameness – his desire to have fun, explore, and learn.

That motivated me to share this story

Kindness. We all need it. Spontaneous acts of kindness bubble up from the soul, touching those around us. Its beauty is that it sticks with us, and we get to pay it forward.

See and listen with your heart, as well as with your eyes and ears. Many times, the regular five senses don’t reveal the whole story.

Kindness doesn’t cost a cent, but it does demand a quick investment of time, heart, and emotion. Take a chance, and put yourself out there. Open your eyes, ears, and heart. Someone is going through a challenging time, whether or not they admit it.

Tell us some of your stories about when you committed a kind act or someone did for you.

Save money, live on less than you make

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Live on less than you make

What if I told you that your salary is now ONE MILLION dollars?

What would you do?  Would you save it or spend it?

Would you make changes to your lifestyle?

Would you go out and buy and new car, house, clothes, gadgets for around the house?

Most people would spend. Unfortunately, that’s the norm in this status-obsessed, consumer culture in which we live. If you’re like most people, the television you watch has an impact on your unconscious. You want to have the things and lifestyle of the stars on the shows: the biggest house, the most expensive car, the trendiest clothes. Some of this is our fault, a lot is not. Marketers are clever – they know how to tap into our lizard brains and zap us into desiring stuff and lifestyle we can’t afford – or need..

Recently, I heard a story about a football player who signed a $3.6 million contract. Most sports players take that money and live a life of flash and excess.

Not Ryan Broyles.

Admission: I’m not a sports fan. I have no idea what teams are in the NFL, NBA, or MLB – and I certainly have no idea who the players are. However, when I heard this story I will never forget Ryan’s name.

He and his wife have chosen to live on $60,000.00 a year. Awesome! What do you think about that? Talk about living below your means. Ryan is smart –  he can save the rest of his income for the future. When his football career ends, he’ll have plenty of money with which to retire or do whatever he wants for the rest of his life.

Could you do that? Can you live on less than you make?

If your answer is yes, then you’ll have enough money in the bank to retire when you want.  YOU could save a million dollars.

I challenge you to look at your lifestyle, and see if you can make adjustments in how you live to spend less than you earn.  Start small. It’s easier. Make a lifestyle choice to buy less. You need to train your brain. It needs to be rewired. Pretty soon, you’ll find you need to buy less. Enjoy what you have – and remember: we are not our stuff. Save more, be more, do more.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment if you like.