The holidays can often be an overwhelming time... especially for women.
However, if we look beyond the frenetic buzz, there’s often a desire to replenish ourselves and create a fresh chapter in the new year.
We have the chance to start anew — with 12 months ahead to create and explore so many opportunities.
Some of us are focused on new work and creative projects while others are focused on family matters. Some are planning adventures to exotic lands while others are volunteering at local organizations. And some of us want to call in a new romantic love or find a new home…
But no matter what the details entail, for most women, merely checking off a glittery list of accomplishments is unsatisfying at some level.
The truth is that women have a unique way of creating that is naturally attuned and in synch with the flow of the universe.
(And I’ll be sharing 5 practices to help you tap back into this below.)
You may have gone down that goal-focused path time and again, and experienced some rewards — but if you’re anything like me, you likely found it to be an exhausting experience...
... sensing that there must be another way to honor our uniquely feminine longings.
That’s because our dreams include both who we want to BE and how we want to FEEL in the new year.
We want to find new ways to express our unique talents & make a contribution to the world around us.
We want to follow our passions & still be financially abundant.
We want to give & receive immense love from our close friends and family.
We want to feel fulfilled.
And we want a clear pathway for creating that reality, here & now.
While taking this journey year after year, I’ve paid special attention to some of the foundational practices that have served me in creating a deeply fulfilling life.
As I’ve participated in them consistently over time, I have found that my overall satisfaction with life has continued to spiral upwards, leaving me feeling joy-filled and happy (for the most part).
That’s why I’d like to share with you….
5 Practices for Creating More Presence, Purpose & Joy in Your Life
Practice 1: Cultivate a Holistic “Morning Ritual”
The way we spend our first morning hours sets the tone for the entire day ahead. So I encourage you to take a little time mapping out the elements which your ideal morning routine would include, and how long you need to spend on each item.
When I started to focus on my morning routine with the support from business mentor Eben Pagan, he encouraged doing this routine at the exact same time each day. But I found that I personally need a bit more freedom and flow.
My own routine typically takes at least 90 minutes, so I’m now often getting up earlier so I can feel spacious and not rushed. I include at least 30 minutes of meditation, preparing a healthy meal and drinking plenty of water, taking my herbal supplements, a shower, perhaps some yoga, and texting my close friends or family some little “love notes” to start their day. I also answer any quick and time-sensitive requests from my friends, family and team (for example, someone might ask me: Want to get together for a hike this week? If so, when?)
I find the more that I engage with this morning ritual on a regular basis, the more present I can be for all the many activities of my life... and the more I am able to enjoy it all.
Practice 2: Invite Spirit to Co-Create with You
Many of us are interested in collaborating more deeply with Spirit to co-create our lives, but it’s not always clear how to do that in a consistent way. This past year, my colleague and “soul sister,” Miranda MacPherson, suggested that I explore working with four key questions from The Course of Miracles.
Essentially, after you engage in a meditation practice to clear your mind and open your heart, when you are in a very still place, you simply ask Spirit to engage with you in dialogue. And then you drop in each of the following questions, like dropping stones into a still pond. Finally, you take notes on the answers that arise and then act on what you hear.
(Note: You can either ask for more general guidance, or if there’s a specific topic where you are seeking specific guidance, you can focus there.)
Here are the questions:
What wants to be received?
What wants to be known?
What wants to be released?
What wants to be done?
When doing this on your own, you may wonder if the answers you are receiving are truly coming from Spirit or from your mind. My suggestion would be to just do your best to glean clear wisdom. And then offer this prayer (as also suggested by Miranda): “Spirit, if I am moving in the wrong direction here, please interrupt me and make it obvious that I am off course. With grace and ease please!”
To really enhance your co-creative relationship with Spirit, I suggest that at least once a week, you ask these questions after meditation to get inspired guidance on your path.
Practice 3: Get a Sense of Who You Want to BE
& How You Want To FEEL
Most of us begin the new year by creating a long laundry list of intentions and resolutions. And many of us also fall off-track with those intentions within a few months.
But as a starting point this year, I want to encourage you to first focus on the woman you want to BE in the new year. What’s really most important to you? What do you want to be known for? What’s the contribution that you want to make to your family, your community and our planet? When you begin to answer those questions, they can serve as a rudder to steer you in the right direction... without getting overly focused on exactly HOW those things may manifest.
For me personally, I want to be known as a trustworthy friend and an open-hearted leader who sets aside quality time for the people and causes that I care most about. And how you want to FEEL?
For women, how we feel is equally important, if not more important, to what we accomplish. We value the journey itself, and we want it to be as aligned and enjoyable as possible.
So instead of making a certain amount of money, you may want to feel abundant, and that feeling could be manifested from a wide variety of events (both external and internal).
Instead of losing weight, you may want to feel attractive. Instead of setting a certain exercise goal, you may want to focus on feeling vital and amazing in your body. As you focus on the feeling states you want to experience, you allow the Universe to help create those experiences with you, perhaps in ways that you never imagined.
And as you do so, you will feel more and more deeply aligned with your purpose in a uniquely feminine way!
Practice 4: Practice Joy Breathing to Revitalize Your System
There are so many things that can throw us out of balance on any given day. We receive unexpected news, we are faced with a huge traffic jam, we get into a dispute with a loved one or a colleague… the list goes on and on. So it’s important to have at least one practice available that you can use to quickly restore balance to your system and come back to your center.
I personally engage in a practice that I call “Joy Breathing,” which I’ve adapted from some simple heart-centered techniques developed by the Heartmath Institute. I’m happy to share it with you here. If you weave this practice into your morning ritual each morning for next week, you will have it at your fingertips when a challenge arises. This whole process should take no more than 1-2 minutes.
Slow down and create some sacred space for yourself. Start by taking a few, deep breaths. If you are in a safe place, close your eyes or relax your gaze. Tune in with your body and your being. Notice the feeling state that you're in right now.
If there's any feeling of stress or anxiety, acknowledge it. Then imagine that as you exhale, you are releasing as much of that energy from your body as possible. If you're in an open state, a good state, also acknowledge that, and be present with that feeling.
Now, shift your attention to the heart area and imagine that you are breathing directly in and out from your heart. As you're breathing in, imagine that you are breathing in a state of joy. On the exhale, you can continue to release anything that feels like a lower vibration, a lower frequency than this state of ease or joy.
Ask yourself, “What color would be most helpful to restore me to a space of joy and calm right now?” Allow yourself to intuit that color, allowing it to fill your body and flow into the space around your body.
And next, slowly open your eyes. Come back to your setting where you are in this moment.
As you come out of this brief meditation, notice if there's been a shift in your inner state of being. Then take a moment to commit to leading the rest of your day from this state of joy as much as possible.
Express Your Love
Most of us are aware of the benefits of cultivating gratitude on a regular basis, but I want to encourage us to go even farther. I was gifted with a T-shirt recently that bears the slogan, “I LOVE my life!” I often wear this shirt to bed, and when I do, my husband often asks me, “So what are you loving about your life right now?”
There are so many aspects of my life that I really DO love, and I appreciate the opportunity to stop and notice those things and then EXPRESS them. It’s joyful for me to then take it even further and send out little love notes to those people that I am really appreciating a lot (often as part of my morning ritual). I also find value in expressing my LOVE to the Universe and all the abundance and magic that is showered upon me (usually as part of my early meditation).
My colleague Lynne Twist often says, “What you appreciate, APPRECIATES!” So I want to encourage you to place your attention on the bounty you already have in your life, knowing that the more you really love (or at least accept) your current reality, the better it will continue to get… and the more joy and passion you will feel on a daily basis.
Taken together, these 5 rituals can create a very strong foundation for the year ahead. You’ll feel more present in each moment and more available to the experiences unfolding each day. You’ll allow your innate love and passion to flow with this easy practice to restore you back to balance when things go awry.
And you’ll have a deeper sense of your true feminine purpose and what truly matters.
Here’s to a great year ahead!
PS - Are you adopting some of the practices above? I'd love to hear your experience with them below...