What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

Alan Watts likes to ask his students, when doing career counseling, “What would you do if money were no object?” He hopes to get them thinking about what they really enjoy about life, what pursuits they truly want to devote energy toward, and how they want to spend their days.  Because after all, “what we do with our days is what we do with our lives.” (Annie Dillard)

On one hand, it is quite important to ask ourselves what we would do if we didn’t need to earn money.  When we do that, we tap into the things that drive us to align our actions with our values, we find meaning in the everyday, and we teach our children to do the same.  And a society full of people who are doing what they feel called to do is one that is setting itself up for a foundation of peace and vitality.  …

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Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Prairie Grown

Eva, my four year old, and I took a little field trip last week 50 miles to the south of our home in the St. Croix River Valley to my family’s other organic farm.  Twin Organics is located just outside River Falls, Wisconsin and is owned and operated by my twin brothers, Jacob and Andrew Helling.  Jacob and Andrew were instrumental in helping Hillside Prairie Gardens resume larger growing practices in 2010 and are now branching out to their own place to grow organic veggies for restaurants in the Twin Cities area.  They’ve rented 5 acres these last two years on what used to be a grass fed cattle operation, and they share space with a group of jovial Kenyan farmers wielding hand tools to the north and Clover Bee Farm, an organic CSA and market grower, to the east.   They won’t stay here forever, but for now, it’s the home of Twin…

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Why to Love May in Minnesota

Why to Love May in Minnesota

I live in Minnesota.  You may have gleaned that bit of information from other blog posts on this site by now, but in case you are new here, the land of ten thousand lakes is the place I currently call home.  Right now it’s May. A glorious month in a state that has a long winter and a spring that usually gets either a slow start or a false one.  That’s what we had this year: a false start of a spring.  It was almost 90 degrees for one day in April, with lots of days in the 60s and 70s to boot.  Things started growing fast, buds popped out and flowers started hinting at blooming.  We rejoiced, threw open the windows, got the boats ready, tilled up the fields….and then it got cold.  The starter’s gun fired a second shot.  A chilly few weeks of rain punctuated with a few nights in the low 30s made us a little nervous.  But we covered things up and life went on, despite the curveball that climate change likes to throw now and then.  We toed the line again, and and now it’s 75 degrees, we are running strong and the forecast for the next ten days looks just about perfect. Continue reading “Why to Love May in Minnesota”

Review Season

Review Season

Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first. -Anna Quindlen

It’s annual performance review time for a lot of people right now.  Every spring in companies around the globe,  work from the past 12-14 months is complied, analyzed and formulated into a number that dictates a merit based pay adjustment for the following year.  Accomplishments are acknowledged, and opportunities for growth are identified. Depending on the outcome, it can be stressful, status quo, or the best half hour of the year.   The review process is a huge part of modern business culture, and one that is probably not going to change anytime in the near future. The question that comes to mind today is this: How can we take the score – the outcome – from the previous 12-14 months, and keep it from dictating how we feel about our worth, both to ourselves and to our employer? Continue reading “Review Season”

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

Today is April 22nd, and it’s the 46th April that has recognized an ‘official’ day to honor the Earth.  As the day fades into night, the moon is full and shining over the waters of our little lake.  We have a full length window in our shower, (weird, I realize….the former owners of our home had some slightly odd design ideas..) and as I washed off the day’s grime after putting my daughter to bed, I felt like a moon goddess being purified as the water shimmered under the tawny light.  (or something like that…at any rate, the perk of having a full length mirror in your shower that looks out over a lake is a great view of the lake.  It’s worth noting that we have no close neighbors.)  So let’s start with that.   Continue reading “3 Ways to Live Earth Day”

Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of Grief

Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of Grief

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. ~Paulo Coelho

*Jane started coaching with me in 2010 or so.  She came into our coaching relationship as a former heart disease patient, just looking to keep up the healthy habits that she’d put into practice after a cardiac surgery ten years prior.  With a clean bill of health and the okay from her cardiologist to simply visit him annually for a regular check-up, her goals stemmed from the desire to support her husband in eating healthier as he struggled with some of his own health issues.  She embraced gardening, got really creative with whipping up interesting dishes from quinoa and millet, and loved to share her new finds with me in the realm of healthy eating.  She struggled with her goal to get to the gym even though she always felt better after going, and…

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5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

Have you ever woken up late, rolled out of bed with your heart pounding, and started rushing around trying to get everything you need ready to start your day? Yeah, me too. Not an awesome way to begin a new day of life. When I get up late and frantically try to cram in all the things I like to do at the beginning of the day (i.e. put the coffee on, make a nice breakfast, practice yoga or run, and sort out the day’s to do list… before I power up the computer for coaching appointments or get my 4 year old daughter up and moving) I start the day feeling frazzled, drained and fuzzy headed. What I want to feel at the beginning of the day is calm, gently energized and clear minded. Because every day is a new day, right? Each and every morning offers up a new opportunity to make the choices that will set up a day full of actions that invite the feelings that we want.  So how can we ensure our success in starting the day off right and feeling how we want to feel? Continue reading “5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better”

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments.  Usually  people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to.  Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again.  It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.

But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things.  Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful.  I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling.  In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it.  Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year.  His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too.  But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.”  I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears.  Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give.  He just didn’t find it acceptable.   When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control.  I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”

Questioning Beauty

Questioning Beauty

Guest post by Melissa Kirby of Wildfire Wellness

Tonight at the health food store where I work, I had a random conversation with a stranger about chocolate (imagine me, imagine that). Her eyes were beautiful, her cheek bones piercing.  She couldn’t have been more than 80lbs.  She physically ran to the store, which meant she was limited with what she could purchase because she had to be able to carry it back home.  Through our conversation, it was evident that she was struggling with a number of things in life, yet she hung on my every inch of chocolate wisdom. She complemented me on my hair and then she said, sighing, “You are so pretty – you make me feel so ugly. Thank you for helping me.  Thank you for listening to me.” Speechless and somewhat shocked by her words, all I could do was give her a hug as we parted ways in gentle tears. I found myself thinking back to looking in the mirror that morning;  I had joked to myself that my…

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Sunrise

Sunrise

There is something magical about watching the light of a new day spread its fingers across the sky as the horizon changes from black to dusky pink to tangerine orange to glowing yellow.  Maybe it’s the ancient rhythm that persists despite increasing human impact.  Maybe it’s the spectacular color show that sometimes comes with it.  Maybe it’s the opportunity to live another day on an incredible planet.  Maybe it’s witnessing something that is infinitely bigger than we are, but of which we are still a part.  It’s probably all of those things and more.  Living on a small lake with a view out the kitchen to the east has afforded me plenty of opportunity to reveal in the first new colors of the day.  I am grateful for the daily opportunity to put myself in the way of beauty.  After all, it’s going to show up whether I notice it or not.  I think it’s better to notice.

As Cheryl Strayed once wrote, quoting her mother:

There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.

Continue reading “Sunrise”