Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution Page

Greetings MJWL readers! 

As you may have guessed by now, writing is my passion.  I express my thoughts, dreams, and emotions best with the written word.  So today I would like to share with you something I wrote that is not part of the novel itself, though the ideas shared below are the very essence of HOW I continue to create all that I want in my life.  (I will return to MJWL on January 2nd.)

Today's post is all about New Year's Resolutions, or "NYRs". I recently read that only 8% of us will keep our NYRs, and I found that disturbing.  At 8%, why bother?

Because for some reason the thought of a fresh, unblemished year has even the most jaded nay-sayers secretly pondering what they would like to tweak. Most of us want to succeed with our NYRs, we just don't know how. Well, what if I can offer you a way to virtually guarantee that your 2014 NYRs will work? Follow the 12 Steps listed below and collectively we can move the needle on that 8%.
12 Steps to Successful NYRs

Step 1. Find a quiet space where you can really think. "Quiet" is a relative term here. Your space could be on a peaceful mountain top or it could be the corner booth at your local Starbucks. Just find a space where you can really think, and grab a pocket of time where you will not be interrupted.  Turn your cell phone off for an're worth it.

Step 2. Begin at the end, and think from there. When you're at the end of 2014, where do you want to be? What will be different? With unlimited time (one year) and infinite resources (your mind), you are capable of extraordinary things. I encourage you to create compelling goals that truly inspire you. You will need NYRs that move you spiritually to pull this off.

Step 3. KNOW, with all that you are, that you WILL accomplish your NYRs. There is a tremendous difference between hoping and knowing. A hope says "Hey, if it's not too much trouble, can you make this happen for me?"  Knowing says "This IS going to happen. I know it with every ounce of my being." Knowing is a complete shift in energy, and is essential to the fulfillment of your NYRs.

Step 4. Choose NYRs that YOU truly want. YOU! This is critical. So often we set goals based on the well-meaning suggestions of people we like to please. If you allow others to choose your NYRs they are doomed to failure.

Step 5. Write it down. Yes, every goal setting article on the planet will tell you that you need to write down your NYRs. There's a reason for that. The action of writing it out adds a layer of commitment, and the list you create becomes a resource to guide you through the process. What would you like to manifest in your life? What will give your mind excitement and your soul peace? Figure it out, and write it down.

Step 6. Shhh...It's a secret! Most goal setting mantras will encourage you to share your NYRs with others so they can hold you accountable for your actions. I recommend the opposite.  Commit your NYRs to your own heart, but keep them to yourself. When you discuss your NYRs people will line up to share stories about others who tried the same thing and failed. Trust me. The only one who needs to know at this point is you.

Step 7. Go there! Right now! How does it feel? Try this. Close your eyes and picture yourself achieving your NYRs. What does it look like? How does it feel? Picture as many details as you can. If your NYR is to be debt free, see yourself holding a credit card statement with a zero balance. If you want to be in excellent health see yourself smiling in the mirror at your reflection, finishing a 5K, or holding the perfect tree pose in a Bikram's Yoga class. It's important to really feel what achieving your NYRs will be like ahead of time.

Step 8. Start stacking up the little victories. Most NYRs are difficult to achieve. That's why the reported success rate is so disgusting. So how do you keep from getting discouraged? By stacking up the little victories. Achievements, even little ones, should be recognized and noted. Each time you make a decision that leads you towards your goal celebrate in a small way. Even making a mental note of the moment and smiling to yourself will suffice.

Step 9. Prepare for impact. Any time you make a major change in your life there is going to be a ripple effect that touches others. What if those closest to you don't want you to change? If you decide to give up beer how will your Sunday football buddies react? If you eliminate gossip and negative energy from your life, how will that impact your favorite cousin who loves to dish on the family drama? If you elevate your life in any way there will be some who are unwittingly threatened by the new you. Get ready for this and know how to react. It may just be that they need time to adjust to your new energy, along with reassurance that you still love THEM for who they are.

Step 10. Say no to never! Whatever your goal is, it is best to not expect perfection from the get go. It doesn't have to be about 100% denial. That's why most diets don't work. Diets are about denying what you want, and will power will only get you so far. That's why you have to say no to never! Make it a lifestyle change, not a temporary adjustment. And know that it's OK to say yes once in a while. One of my NYRs is to increase my energy, so I made the decision to make changes to what I ate. Food became fuel for my body, not a crutch for my emotions. When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm not hungry, I don't. Some days, though, I really crave that piece of cheesecake, so I have it, knowing that to keep my energy high I will need to make it the exception, not the rule. I simply enjoy the "yes" and move on.

Step 11. Review your NYRs often. Life is busy, so to keep my NYRs front of mind I read them every day.  I keep them folded up and tucked into a book next to my bed. I read them when I wake up in the morning and they ignite my soul. I read them again before I fall asleep and they help my subconscious work out the details that will bring these NYRs into my life.

Step 12. Rinse and repeat. Once you have finally achieved your once elusive NYRs, and have proven to yourself just how powerful you can be at manifesting what you want, make new goals! It doesn't have to be January 1st to sit down with pen and paper and decide what you want to accomplish next.

I wish you all light, love, and tons of success on your path. Enjoy the process, and have a wonderful 2014 and beyond!  And may this be the year that you...

Believe in forever.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 142 of 365

One day at a time, or imagination unleashed?

I am pondering two great truths today, two beliefs that are symbiotic in my life but also apparently in philosophical conflict.

Should I live for today, you know, “one day at a time”, or should I believe in the future. Hmmm…that’s a tough one.

All of the enlightened masters point to power of living for today.

Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha

Even songs exalt the beauty and necessity of living for today.

There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today.” Cast of Rent

I believe in my heart that I have to live for this moment. It is a waste pf precious time and energy to get lost in the good, the bad, and the ugly of yesterday, or to wait impatiently for the promise of tomorrow.


I also see the remarkable value of goals, and dreams, and excitement for the creative process.  If I only lived for this moment I would do what was necessary for survival in this moment and this moment alone. What about the brilliant future I have planned? What about the novel I am creating?

therin lies the rub.” William Shakespeare – Hamlet

You see, I am also of the mindset that to accomplish great things you have to have great thoughts, and a wicked imagination. The story of Alex and Lea, Rachel and Leo has been percolating in my imagination for over three years now, and living for today and today alone will not bring the words onto paper. I have to see the completed novel, which I do.

By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” Franz Kafka

So what’s a writer with big dreams, living in the real world, supposed to do? For me, it’s simple. I embrace both. I try to squeeze as much juice out of today’s orange as I can, while working each day towards the goals I intend to manifest.

Big dreams have always been a way of life for me. Allow me to share a quick personal example before we get back to the story of MJWL:

In High School I was a pretty good athlete, and this talent translated into several local scholarship offers. For me the fear of spending another 4 years in the Northern part of the US (think cold, gray, long winters) superseded the idea of getting a solid education at a fraction of the cost. I wanted warmth, year round. So I did what any big dreamer would do. I researched Division 1 schools in the South that had the sport I wanted to play, selected the college I wanted to attend, and reached out to the coach at the University. I never once considered that it was not possible.

Besides believing in my dreams I also believe in the synchronicity of the Universe. It just so happened that this coach had recently lost his star athlete (who played my position)and was in desperate need of a solid replacement. Within days I was on a bus, taking a 28 hour ride to Florida in pursuit of a new reality. I tried out, signed some papers, and within 14 hours was on another bus back home with a scholarship offer in my hands.

I believed in the power of my dream, and backed it up with immediate action. Symbiotic.

OK, so back to the reason I am here…to share with you MJWL. Here’s an excerpt from the early part of Alex’s journey:

She was in the deepest, longest part of REM, peacefully dreaming of walking a chestnut brown horse down the beach. Barefoot and dressed in a white cotton sun dress, her companion bareback with halter and lead, they strolled silently down the coast, watching the sun begin its sizzling entry into the horizon. The waves gently caressed her ankles, and a salty breeze blew her blond, curly hair and the horse’s red mane in swirling crescendos. 

Alex looked behind her at her steed, smiling at the simplicity of the moment. She didn’t know the mare, in fact, she knew she didn’t own a horse in her waking moments. Didn’t matter. The breathtaking beauty of the pure white blaze against the soft, chestnut forehead, with gentle, knowing eyes smiling in response to her gaze brought tranquility to her heart that superseded her sleeping brain’s need to make sense of her surroundings. 


Alex dropped the lead and grabbed her chest as she felt one enormous heart beat slam against her ribcage. She waited anxiously for the next beat to sound, hoping to hear it but praying it would not be as malicious as the last. With trembling hands clutching her chest she looked into the eyes of the mare once more, hoping to find support, or even a measure of empathy to guide her through the moment. 

Although it marked a difficult moment in her existence, Alex knew that it was not over for her. Her heart and soul still had places to go, connections to make, love to embrace. For you see, Alex, did, and always will…

Believe in forever.