I took a chance and wrote a piece about why I left my high-powered (and soul-sucking) PR career to teach yoga…and was THRILLED when Marie Claire accepted it!
Then Cosmopolitan picked it up…!!
Then Elle picked it up…!!
Then Dr. Oz picked it up…!!!
And then Redbook picked it up!!!
OH HAPPY DAY!!!! I’m so thrilled to share my story with even more seekers, the growing tribe of people that are looking for more than a paycheck. Who want to make a difference, serve the world in their highest way, and find more fulfillment as they do. Keep seeking, seekers! We’re all in this together! <3
Back in my corporate days, I dreaded the annual year-end review with my boss. Who doesn’t? But sitting down with her to go over what I’d accomplished and set goals for the year ahead gave me major anxiety. Of course, this probably had something to do with the fact that my boss was a lunatic known as “Vomiting Vicky” 😉
Now that I’m out from under her corporate dictatorship, I actually love finding some silence and solitude to sit down with a cup of tea and reflect and set goals for the year ahead. Here’s my take on the previously dreaded, now delightful process: I hope it works for you too!
If you’ve taken a workshop with me, you know I custom-blend corporate tools, yoga tools, eastern thinking and western thinking to create what I’ve found to be the most effective (and enjoyable) processes. So…I guess tou can take the girl out of the corporate world, but this girl is taking the best of the corporate world with her. And one of the most effective tools I still use is this year-end review…with a twist. I hope it works for you too.
Got questions? Comment below or message me on social media! I love to chat about this stuff!
1: Release the Upper Back with Eagle Arms
Bring the arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle, elbows at shoulder-height. If this is enough of a stretch for the shoulders/upper back, stay here. If you need more of a stretch, drop the left elbow below the right and twine the forearms, pressing the back of the palms together. The key to releasing the upper back muscles is to keep the elbows lifted–equal height to the shoulders–and the shoulders as relaxed and low as possible. Take five to ten deep breaths and switch sides.
2: Release Tight Neck Muscles with a Gentle Stretch
Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and hold for 5-10 deep breaths. You can then gently turn the gaze toward the floor and hold there for 5-10 breaths. Don’t forget to do the other side too!
Bonus: Schedule “Breathing Breaks” throughout the day! Set your phone or calendar to remind you several times through the day to take cleansing and calming breaths!
Call me nosy, but I love to know about the writing processes of other writers. How do they do it? What are their challenges? Any secret tips? How do they work…and what can I learn? To that end, I’m happy to participate in summer blog tour sponsored by Sheri Andrunyk of IC Publishing, as a writer talking about her writing process.
Last week, author Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, gave us an inside peek at her writing process (click over if you missed it).
I connected with Heather after we were both quoted in this Forbes article on how to leave your unfulfilling job. Then, last week, we met in-person and she is just as utterly lovely, radiating wonderful energy, as she seems. If you haven’t met her yet, Heather is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather’s firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life, and her book is an ingredient list that teaches people the steps to self-love and radiance. Connect with her on her blog or Twitter: @HeatherHansTV
How do you start your writing projects?
It depends on the project. For my book (Where in the OM Am I? One Woman’s Journey from the Corporate World to the Yoga Mat) it was a percolating process—different ideas or a passing thought would pop into my head for months and I’d file them away for later. Then I finally sat down and started writing. At first, it was all inspiration-driven—no boundaries, no discipline, no schedule. Sometimes, I wouldn’t write for days and then I would sit and write for hours and hours, sometimes late into the night. These were the best times. I felt totally connected—like a conduit for the words that were flowing through me and out onto the page. It was the actual experience of what you read about some “real” writers who are total artists, at one with their craft.
But it wasn’t (and isn’t) always like that. For smaller projects, for instance an article or blog post, it’s usually more structured. I have a topic in mind (or assigned) and I write to it. There are those moments of inspiration and flow, but the process feels different overall—more “assignment” and less “when the Muse shows up.”
Now I’m writing my second book and so far it’s been more functional and structured. Is this because I’m a more disciplined writer now or because the Muse is on vacation? (It IS July after all!)
I’ve been considering this topic a lot lately: do you need inspiration to write books? Is it possible to be as disciplined and structured with the book process as it is with articles? If it is possible, is it desirable? Isn’t there something wild and lovely about waiting for inspiration to strike (“The Muse has arrived!” I can imagine a mental courtier announcing with a ceremonious thump of his ornamental staff), and then flow with it?
Of course, that necessarily means we have to wait for the Muse to arrive (aka inspiration to strike)…which could involve a lot of waiting and therefore be inherently limiting.
I visualize this like surfing—waiting for a wave or creating your own waves. If it is possible to create your own waves, are they just as good as a wave that just came to you from its own organic origins?
I’m puzzling through this and would love to hear your thoughts!
How do you continue your writing projects?
I need to keep myself fresh and invigorated, which usually means mixing it up with a change of scenery (cue me, taking my rescue dog Peluda for walks throughout the day or going to the gym). But once I’m on a roll, I find it easier to keep rolling. I keep going back and finding loose threads and weaving them in until it’s as tightly knit as possible.
Once that’s in place, I go back over it and over it and over and over it, rewriting, refining, rewriting, refining, until I
want to pull my hair out…uh, I mean until I feel a wonderfully delightful sense of being “done.”
How do you finish your projects?
It’s a carefully concocted mix of incredible discipline…and delicious treats. (Sometimes, more treats.) The finishing stage for OM was definitely the hardest part for me. By then, I was four years into the process and I was energetically drained. I had to really dig down—deep down—to stay steadily with it through those last few months.
The treats are the better part. I like the sesame seed sticks and baked cheese sticks from Trader Joe’s. I also like the gummi bears and black licorice. If I’m dreading something, I pour myself little bowls of whatever I want, set them beside my laptop, and get to work.
What’s one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could benefit from?
Find a practice that re-energizes, focuses, and refreshes you. My yoga practice was key to writing my book. Perhaps you prefer running, knitting, painting, tai chi…whatever it is that helps you release stress and help you focus, find it and do it.
When you feel overwhelmed, break it down into more manageable bites. Reward yourself for small steps (treats!). Breathe deeply and often. Remember that there is only one thing that is going to make you feel better and that is to actually do it. So sit down, take a deep breath, and do it.