Category Archives: Your daily zen

The One Bit of Business Advice that Works Like Magic

Do all things with loveThe past few months, this one idea has been transforming my business as if by magic. Best business advice?  Love the work, love every word you write, love every client (yes, even that client), love every task and challenge and success and setback. Love every invoice, and every payment. Love every time sheet, every tax form, every proposal, every call. And if you can’t find it in your soul to do that, get out of the way and make room for someone who can.

Dream Big. Act Accordingly

It’s not enough to think about what you want. That kind of wishful thinking misses the magic entirely.

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A friend of mine likes to argue with me about the merits of “thoughts become things.” I see the value of clear, focused intention, and the things I intend often appear seemingly magically. He doesn’t think it’s that “easy.”

I get his objections; things just don’t appear out of nowhere, at least in his world. I believe he’s missing the point, as do many of the folks who poo-poo the idea of intentional thinking and its role in your life.

No, I can’t just close my eyes, dream of a cheeseburger and it shows up in my hand. I can, however, dream of that cheeseburger, and make the focused effort to research the best cheeseburger joints in my county, and then book a table.

Voila. Epic cheeseburger in hand.

The difference is taking inspired action. I don’t just run out and get a fast food burger (although, yeah, sometimes that’s the dream). I imagine what I want, and set about finding just that; not shallow substitutes.

Sometimes this kind of thinking really can be magical. On our honeymoon trip a few years ago, we had a long drive through the Austrian Alps one day. At breakfast, my husband said “I think we should find a place around 3 o’clock to have a beer and drink in the view.”

We talked about the perfect kind of place we hoped to find…a little Swiss chalet nestled between peaks, with some outdoor tables and a friendly barkeep, and barely any other customers (we were deep inside our honeymoon bubble).

The drive was amazing; a new Mozart CD that I’d picked up in Strasbourg provided the perfect soundtrack to the mind-blowing scenery. At 2:59 p.m., we rounded the bend and there is was. THE perfect Alpine beer garden.

There was no wondering “is this the place we should stop?” We just looked at each other, laughed, and pulled in.

The point is this: If we had not put out that clear intention to find a place just like this around 3 p.m., we likely wouldn’t have stopped, instead forging ahead to get to the town where we hoped to find the perfect room for the night (which is another story of intention and manifestation of its own).

We intended to have this experience, and so we did.

Magic? Depends on how you define it.

The key is that you have to go out and make your dreams happen. You must decide what you want. Then you must take action to make it happen. If you dream about visiting the Caribbean, but then turn down your friend’s request to join her on a cruise, you can curse the Universe all you like for not granting your wishes. Or you can say “YES” and end up on a sugar sand beach with your toes in the crystal waters.

Your choice.

Dream big, and act accordingly!

Mindfulness and the Creative Life

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Some of you know me as Carol. Others know me as The Words Girl, or as the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. I have several platforms online, because I speak to different audiences on different topics.

But today I read something that dissolved those boundaries.

“Without really thinking it through, most people separate the practical side of their lives from their spiritual beliefs,” wrote Deepak Chopra in “The Most Overlooked Secret About Spirituality.”

“This separation is actually not valid. No matter what kind of experience you are having, that experience occurs in awareness. Therefore, spirituality needs to be clarified in terms of consciousness, which is real and practical, instead of religious beliefs. Beliefs can be very important to someone and have a deep personal meaning. But the source of every spiritual experience is consciousness,” Deepak continued.

I immediately became aware of my thinking (the “second attention” to which Deepak refers) and realized that I do my best work – in life, as a partner, mom, business owner, writer, editor – when I am in this state of deep attention.

“Your two levels of attention are constantly at work. While the first level deals with events in the everyday world, the second level governs and controls how your personal reality unfolds; it contains the control switch that pulls your attention wherever it goes, and what you pay attention to is all-important. How much focus you place on these two levels makes an immense difference in how your life turns out.” Deepak Chopra

There is no separation of my being; any separation I see or feel is self-imposed. Sometimes this is done to stem the chaos (e.g. “I can’t shop for drapes right now, no matter how tempting that sale email is; I’m on a deadline.”).

Other times the separation comes from “good business practice.” We’ve been taught to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people…and I assume that my business clients will not be well served seeing photos of the amazing bread I just baked.

But what if they are?

What if the separation only exists in my mind and the truth of who I am shows through in each thing I do, no matter how I categorize that doing… as work, play, love, spiritual practice, gardening.

The last two days I’ve spent a lot of time in my garden in our new (to us) home in North Carolina. As I trimmed away stray branches and cut down the undergrowth in our pine-forested front yard, I realized why I like gardening so much. It’s like editing. Looking at the whole and deciding what stays and what goes, until you are left with something that makes much more sense.

In the same way, I realize that baking and cooking is a lot like writing. Starting from nothing, adding this here and that there, until you have a delicious finished product you can share with the world.

The lines of separation blur when the attention is clearly focused, and life gets immeasurably sweeter.

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“It needs repeating that all of these are natural states of awareness that anyone can experience once they are pointed out,” Deepak continues.

“There is nothing mystical about first and second attention. Of what use are this information and the experiences that follow? Each person must decide individually, but in general, the value of being multi-dimensional is summarized by a New Testament promise: Knock and the door will be opened to you. This refers to doors of higher awareness, leading to greater creativity, intelligence, and love. A person also coordinates daily life better from a deeper level of awareness. Ultimately, the goal is to be so aware that all dimensions are in sync — in separation the mind gets out of joint with its true source, which is why worldly success isn’t the same as peace of mind or self-knowledge.”

The goal is to be so aware that all dimensions are in sync. As I move into that state of sync more and more often, I find my other “goals” – to grow the business, to serve my clients better, to publish and sell more books, to create a beautiful home space, to be a better friend, partner, mother, human being – become my reality.

Striving for financial success or social media acclaim seems rather hollow compared to this approach. My ego jumps up and says, “but don’t you want this post to be read and shared?”

I pause, reflect and answer, “Of course, by the people who need to see it. Only those people. The rest, it just doesn’t matter.”

It is enough that I am, that I exist in a space where mind, body and spirit dance this amazing tango each day. For this I am so grateful.