Inspiration (Links I Love)

Do you feel the pull of summer on your goals and motivation? That beckoning to abandon your chores and just come out and play, like that neighbor kid when you were little? It’s not that I have let go of my goals, but the pressure to accomplish, strive, and go, go, go just seems to have eased a bit with the warm weather. I’m guessing the extended daylight lulls us into believing we have all the time in the world, so why not relax a bit more?

Podcasts

That is why I am forever indebted to and full of admiration for the people I look to as mentors. Among them: Rachel Hollis, Jenna Kutcher, Brendon Burchard, Jen Hatmaker, and Seth Godin. These people consistently put out great content no matter the time of year. Yes, they have people helping them behind the scenes, but still, they make stuff happen. Here’s some of what they’ve been making lately:

This week, Jenna Kutcher shared tips on blogging in podcast Episode 271: Why Your Business Needs a Blog.

Rachel Hollis has a podcast episode on bravery.

Brendon Burchard has a recent podcast episode about scheduling your dreams.

Books

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you will want to read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. I’m only halfway through this book, somewhere in the mid-seventies, and it is crazy to read about how he did business and that he even stayed in business. This man had courage and boldness, that is for sure! I’m listening to it on audiobook.

And if you’re interested in firing up your motivation and habits, then you will want to read Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. I read it at the beginning of the year and am going to re-read it this summer.

Fun Stuff

Ok, but since it’s summer, here are a few for fun recommendations. Sometimes you need to take a break so you can come back stronger.

Stranger Things 3 is now available on Netflix. Alan and I can’t wait to binge watch!

Summer seems like a good time of year for mysteries, so here are a few I’m reading this summer:

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves. Set in Shetland in midsummer, a woman goes missing during a wedding celebration. What happened to her and who on the island is a murderer?

The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves is a mystery set in a remote, quiet place called Valley Farm. A young ecologist is found dead in a lonely spot.

Season 6 of Endeavor on PBS. (I’ve watched the original Morse series, the Inspector Lewis series, and Endeavor is just as addicting.)

That’s it for this week! Have a great holiday weekend.

 

Girl, Stop Apologizing! (Book Review)

Have you read anything by Rachel Hollis yet? Have you listened to her Rise podcast? If you’re an entrepreneur–particularly a woman entrepreneur, you need to read this book. If you’re someone who dreams of something more, but is afraid to try, this book is for you. If you have goals, but are in “the dip”, as Seth Godin so aptly named the space and time in between starting and finishing, you need to grab a copy of Girl, Stop Apologizing.

What I love about Rachel Hollis is that she has been at the bottom, but she had dreams and goals like a lot of us do, but she didn’t quit. She didn’t give up. This woman has drive and she knows how to focus on what she wants and does not give up though all the disappointments, all the setbacks, all the negativity that would crush most people. She’s not superhuman, she’s just dedicated, and she shows us how to go after our goals.

There is practical, usable advice in every single chapter of this book, but not one word is dry or boring. You won’t find your mind wandering or read it just because you know you should. Rachel is a great writer! She is hilarious, outrageous, and unexpected.

Another thing I love about her is her honesty. She shares deeply personal, even humiliating stories from her life experience because she wants us to know who she is, where she’s come from, and how she got to where she is now. She does not hold back and because she’s so real, she builds trust with her audience, and makes us listen to what she has to say.

Rachel comes against the patriarchal ways of thinking that have held women back for thousands of years. She addresses downright lies about what women are for, how women should behave or what we should want out of life. It is very liberating, life-giving language that, even in 2019, women (and men!) need to hear.

Her chapter “Choose One Dream and Go All In” or “Ten Years, Ten Dreams, One Goal” is worth the price of the book alone. In this chapter, Rachel explains exactly how to go after your dreams. This is priceless information! Her chapter “Planning”, about reverse engineering your goal, or starting with the end in mind, was another chapter I found extremely practical and helpful.

So, yep, it’s another highly recommended, “You Need This Book in Your Life”, book review. Get it on Amazon or your local bookstore or public library, but definitely put this in your TBR pile for this year!

Inspiration (Links I Love)

This is where I will share my sources of inspiration from the past week: it could be from books, podcasts, blogs, films, artwork, food/recipes, etc. I hope you find some encouragement here as well!

Trees

Yes, you read that right! Trees. There is research to support what we know–that being outside does a body good. They help us de-stress, benefit our overall health, and even help us socially. Read this article!

Podcasts

This week I listened to some notable podcasts! How I Built This with Guy Raz is a podcast featuring owners/founders of successful companies like Burt’s Bees, Lyft, and Zappos. I am usually inspired by their stories of starting small and building something big and all the obstacles and struggles they had to overcome along the way.

My recent favorite is the episode with farm-to-table movement founder Alice Waters, who’s been cooking at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA since 1971. What a lovely woman with such a lovely vision for local, sustainable, ethical food. Listen here!

This What Should I Read Next episode featured Michele Cobb, publisher of AudioFile Magazine talking all things audiobooks with Anne. She gave some great recommendations and also talked about the free summer audiobook program for teens called SYNC. This is fourteen weeks of free audiobook downloads: two each week! If you have teens at home, see if they know about it.

Seth Godin’s podcast, Akimbo, had an episode that I wish every person would listen to, but especially entrepreneurs, small business owners, and thoughtful people everywhere. In the episode BREATHE, Seth talks about the status quo and the environmental crisis the world is facing as a result of marketing gone bad. Please listen to this one, think about it, and have conversations with friends and family. The planet’s future is up to us.

Books

I just finished On The Come Up by Angie Thomas. I listened to it on audio and the main character, Bri, a teen who has a gift for rapping, definitely grew on me as the book progressed. The narrator does a fantastic job of bringing all the characters’ personalities to life. The parts about her church experiences are very entertaining and I could definitely relate to some of it-especially the length of the services! Highly recommended–especially in audio. I listened to The Hate U Give also by Angie Thomas last summer and it opened my eyes to experiences that are part of everyday life for some people that are very different from mine. Also recommended on audio!

As far as poetry goes, I finished Otherwise by Jane Kenyon. I’ve been featuring plenty of her poems in Evening Poetry probably because the subjects she writes about: living in the country, her family, her religious upbringing, her mental illness, and her everyday experiences hit home. When poetry “gets you in the gut”, as my friend Britt wrote to me a few weeks ago, then you know it is speaking your language.

Music

English folk singer/songwriter/musician Kate Rusby’s album just came out!!! It’s called Philosphers, Poets and Kings and it is just the sort of beautiful, original music fans that like me love her for. This is a must listen!

Alright, that’s all for this week! I’d love to hear about what’s been inspiring you lately in the comments.

What I’m Doing About Anxiety

For the past few weeks, I’ve had higher-than-usual anxiety levels. Lots of activity and a full house are definitely part of it, plus the changing weather, and my ongoing post-divorce inner work/healing. Yes, I know, we’ve all got stuff to deal with and we have to do the best we can every day. So, here is a list of some of the tools that are helping me get my anxiety under control each day.

Calming Aromatherapy Blend:

(4 drops Cypress, 3 drops Lavender, 5 drops Sweet Orange essential oil.) When my anxiety seems to be peaking, this blend helps me almost instantly. I put it in my diffuser, sit down to work at my desk, and within 10-15 minutes I feel that tightness in my chest ease, the inexplicable sadness and worry lifts, and I come back to myself.

Calmsense:

I’ve said it before and will say it again: This blend of B vitamins and herbs really works to calm me down, boost my mood, and relieve stress. Whether for everyday anxiety issues or for situational anxiety, (before a performance, for example), it works for me within twenty minutes. You should have this in your natural first aid kit.

Walking outside for at least twenty minutes each day.

Just get out there! Your mood will lift, your ability to focus improve, your stress levels will drop, and your overall sense of well-being will rise. Feel the sun or rain or wind on your face, connect with your surroundings, and remind yourself that you are part of the planet, and the planet is part of you.

Meditation/Yoga/Prayer/Pranayama:

Pick one or do all of them, but whether you are praying, practicing yoga, meditating or doing breathing exercises like Pranayama, you will benefit with lowered stress levels and a calmer, more positive outlook. I enjoy meditating and practicing yoga with the YogaGlo app on my phone.

Watching something that makes you laugh.

I can get so serious and stuck in my head, trying to solve problems and get work done, that I forget to take a break and just laugh. Whether it’s I Love Lucy episodes, a movie like Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah or a TV show like The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, a good laugh session will do wonders for your mood and you’ll stress less.

Reading books on contemplative prayer and mindfulness:

Peace of Mind by Thich Nhat Hanh

Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

I would love to hear about what tools you use to help yourself when you are feeling anxious.

I’m Thinking About Trees (A Poem)

I’m thinking about trees, the ones standing 

at the back of the house. Maples, in particular. 

And how they are so clearly trees and 

are not in the habit of having identity crises. 

They aren’t wondering if they should perhaps

be like the evergreens next to them, or, 

maybe, like the apple trees in the orchard. 

After all, those pines don’t stand naked and 

exposed during the coldest months of the year. 

After all, apple trees have pretty pink blossoms 

in spring and all those juicy apples in fall. 

No, the maples stand sure with their trunks straight, 

while their branches grow out their new green leaves. 

They don’t seem to care if the wind blows fiercely 

against them. They just dance along—their branches 

swaying and bending, their leaves shimmying 

with each gust. They have two aims: to root down 

deep into darkness and to grow up tall toward 

the light.

If anything looks like a prayer to me, 

it’s how a tree lives its uncomplicated life. 

How it gives itself to each day completely, 

as only a tree can. How it stands rooted 

no matter what comes and never tries to be

something it’s not. A tree is itself: a tree.

Poem by Kim Pollack /©2019 All Rights Reserved

Monday Meditation

I sat cross-legged on my yoga mat one morning at the beginning of practice and began to cry. The instructor was guiding us toward the place we wanted to be and told us to focus on that, rather than the stuff in our heads, and the things that were wrong.

I was weighted by much that was wrong–real and imagined. Things I have continually heaped on myself since my divorce and things that I wanted to change about my own life and surroundings. Ways I attempted to control circumstances so I could bring order to places in my mind and body that I felt were lacking. I was a mess–full of anxiety and wrapped tightly into a cocoon of sadness and guilt and darkness.

On the mat, I began to moved through the poses. The focus was on strength and the idea was that we are stronger than we think we are. The poses became more intense. I shook in holding poses, (planks, especially) and felt fatigue hitting me in waves as I did yet another vinyasa. But as I continued through the difficulty of the practice I felt stronger and calmer and more assured that my life was a thing of complicated beauty.

Off the mat, several hours later, I began to meditate on empowering thoughts. Then I wrote them down. You know what? All that anxiety and guilt and regret and need to control my surroundings just melted away! It was such a relief!

This was so helpful to me that I wanted to share my list with you. I encourage you to make your own–it’s actually kind of fun and I think you’ll feel anxiety slip away and a sense of calm and strength center you.

I Can

I can be my best self today.

I can tell the truth today.

I can enjoy my life today.

I can be kind and generous to myself today.

I can be kind and generous to others today.

I can bring ideas and solutions to work today.

I can accomplish what I need to today.

I can listen today.

I can say I’m sorry today.

I can release the past today.

I can learn today.

I can be enough today.

I can matter to others today.

I can love people today.

I can take care of my body today.

I can take care of my soul today.

I can love my children today.

I can love my husband today.

I can stay in the light and not hide today.

I can be a good friend today.

I can drink enough water today.

I can get outside and let Nature embrace me today.

I can laugh today.

I can communicate better today.

I can improve on yesterday today.

I can say no when I need to today.

I can say yes when it’s wholehearted today.

I can make mistakes and grow today.

I can be God’s child today.

Weekly Inspiration (Links I Love)

This is where I will share my sources of inspiration from the past week: it could be from books, podcasts, blogs, films, artwork, food/recipes, etc. I hope you find some encouragement here as well!

Podcasts

The Brendon Show

The best quotes I heard all week and possibly all month so far are from Brendon Burchard’s podcast The Brendon Show. This is what he said in the episode entitled Best Of: How to Deal With Self-Doubt.

“We don’t think of doubt as a choice, as a decision”. (Brendon Burchard)

We think doubt just happens to us, Brendon says, “(but) You’re choosing it. Be aware: the next time you’re choosing doubt, say, ‘Oh, wait, I’m choosing doubt. Why am I choosing doubt right now? How is that going to serve me?’”

I honestly never looked at self-doubt as a choice before—I just assumed it was part of life. Thank you, Brendon for enlightening us!!!

If you struggle with self-doubt as an entrepreneur, creative, or just in everyday life, you definitely should listen to this episode and put these truths into action!

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/brendon-burchard/the-charged-life-with-brendon-burchard/e/60370867

Getting Bookish with Shawna and Lizz

I listened to a new podcast called Getting Bookish with Shawna and Lizz. In this episode they interviewed Tiffany who started a fire when she was interviewed on What Should I Read Next a few months ago and talked about her Literary Society. Of course hundreds of book lovers wanted to know what on earth was a Literary Society and how could they start their own.

In this episode, Tiffany shares all about Literary Society. I should mention that her interview with Anne Bogel prompted me to start the FLX Literary Society and our first meeting is on May 23rd! You can find out more on our Facebook page or email me at FLXLiterarySociety@gmail.com

Books

If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or in charge of an organization, and you have never heard of Seth Godin, stop whatever you’re doing and go to his website. Subscribe to his podcast Akimbo and to his daily blog. Buy his books. Sign up for his courses. Seth is a genius in the entrepreneurial, marketing space. He will challenge you, open you to new ideas, push you to do good work and ship it. And then to do it better.

I just finished reading Seth’s latest book This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See. There is so much practical and inspirational food for thought and action to be found within these pages. I’m going to write a more in-depth review soon, but I had to mention in now.

Chapter 9-11 were quotable throughout and worth the price of the book alone. Some of what you’ll find in chapter 9: “Everyone always acts in accordance with their internal narratives. You can’t get someone to do something that they don’t want to do, and most of the time, what people want to do is take action (or not take action) that reinforces their internal narratives.

Marketers bring change and a lot of folks are resistant to change, Seth shares, and there are two ways behavior can be changed: our desire to fit in and our perception of our status.

I wish I had understood this twenty years ago! Anyway, I’m not going to tell you anymore before my review–go get yourself a copy and start learning how to market better.

I’m loving the quiet simplicity of Wendell Berry’s poetry collection Given. I shared one of these poems for Evening Poetry a few days ago and there are more to come.

If you’ve never picked up and read a Wendell Berry book, then crawl out from under your rock and get reading!

I am currently reading The Art of Loading Brush and even the introduction moved me. Another one of his I recommend is Our Only World. He is a plain-spoken, intelligent, reasoning writer with love for people and the planet. Everyone needs to hear what he has to say.

Instagram

One of my favorite accounts for poetry, book quotes, and photos from the UK is Sarah Clarkson’s Instagram. She is an author, book lover, and was homeschooled, so she is definitely a kindred spirit. I was inspired to start Evening Poetry because of her. During Lent, she would do a Live video each evening and read poetry. Her latest book is Book Girl, which is, well, about books and reading.

Another favorite is Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Instagram. She has a Live video each week where she makes a recipe from one of her cookbooks. I am purchasing her latest cookbook, Eat What You Love, after checking it out of the library. I made a few recipes and there are dozens I want to try. For gluten-free, dairy-free folks, cookbooks like this are valuable and a real boost for when you’re feeling a bit glum about the work and monetary investment of this lifestyle. After a quick glance through the cookbook, I was inspired to keep it up!

OK, lovely readers, that’s some inspiration for your weekend. I’d love to hear what’s been inspiring you lately.