Tag Archives: planning

Two Essential Questions Before Saying “I do”

Wedding ringsBy: Sasha Stone

Recently I caused a minor Facebook frenzy with the following comment:

“It is my observation that marriage for my generation is irrelevant and represents the death of love. I have a few examples in my life that prove otherwise, which is beautiful and wonderful. What about you? What’s your experience?”

I will admit, I did this partially to provoke people. I knew it would strike a chord and married people would get defensive. I was curious to see what that defense would be, because honestly, I would rather my observation be inaccurate. No surprise, most responses had a lot to do with romantic notions of forever, family, and devotion. Those that said their marriage was thriving sited communication, honesty, and respect. This, though, was my favorite response of all:

“Marriage is not just a piece of paper. It is not a piece of paper to prove love. My husband proved that to me well before we got married — which is why we got married in the first place! However, it does open up a lot of options legally – think about health care decisions, financial combinations, term life decisions etc…”

Why my favorite? Because this is real. This has a purpose.

Since my divorce in 2009 I’ve kept a close eye on my views on marriage, observing any changes and fluctuations that might occur and why. In the midst of my divorce, I felt fairly certain I would never get married again. Not because I was bitter and jaded, and not because I didn’t want to have a family, but because marriage had lost its meaning to me.

I got married very young (age 25), and though in love, we hadn’t really spent any time discussing our motives for taking such a huge next step in our relationship. There was the practical consideration of me being able to stay in the U.S., and the idea of wanting to be together forever. Beyond that, we didn’t really look at the deeper currents of why, and consequently nor whether this move was truly in the greatest good for either of our lives.

Whether consciously or not, I think many people get married to hold on to that relationship and that person forever, no matter what, even if there are massive gaps in values, vision, and priorities. As though somehow, having that official certificate guarantees your idealized vision of love and that the person will be yours forever. Clearly, divorce rates indicate otherwise, but people still seem to think, for them it will be different.

What happens all too often though, for my generation at least, is the paper gets signed and the relationship takes a nosedive. I know that is not the case for everyone, but it is strikingly common. I could probably write a 1000 page essay on this topic, there’s so much to it. But I am going to stick my neck out and say the main reason this occurs is because despite our social evolution, we still cling and grasp onto the romance saturated view of marriage that is fed to us through fairytales, both classic and contemporary. Our starving mind (our hearts are usually wiser) latches on to that idea and laps it up voraciously. Then we get married, and our socially evolved self revolts, does not want to accept the illusion of this arrangement, and suddenly, desperately, wants out.

Last year, I had the honor of officiating a wedding for a beloved student and friend (yes, that’s right, minister Sash). I had to be very thoughtful about it because I didn’t want to be a fraud standing up there, guiding two people into an institution for which I hadn’t yet made peace. So I asked the couple tying the knot to answer two questions for me (an assignment they had to do separately, without consulting each other).

#1) Why are you getting married?

Seems straight forward enough, but many people answer this question with something basically along the lines of, “I love this person, I want to be with them forever, and I want to build a family and life with them.” That is awesome! I say go for it, but guess what, you don’t need to be married to do any of those things (at least not in the Western world). Love and commitment are beautiful and wonderful, but you can be married and completely not committed. You can also be fully devoted and not married.

Dig deeper. What are some REAL reasons for making this massive commitment? I find the answers that are deeply spiritual, deeply traditional, and/or deeply practical to be the most compelling. If you and your spouse-to-be have those reasons in common, then there is a much more substantial backing to walking down the aisle than simply the forever story. You have no idea what life is going to hurl your way, but if you have super strong convictions about why marriage is essential to the progress and evolution of your relationship and life together, then you have a firm foundation to stand on.

#2) Why are you marrying this person?

Ok, here is where you get to be romantic and gushy. Still though, I encourage you to dig deep. What makes this person so highly unique and dear to you that you are willing to make a lifelong commitment to them? Get it all down. Be extremely personal, reflective, and specific. Then, when you hit those rough spots in your relationship, come back to this document and remind yourself what a precious being you have the privilege of sharing your life with.

Of course, there are many more questions to ask oneself, but this is not intended to be a guide on finding the right partner (when I figure that out I’ll get back to you ;). My intention is simply to draw your attention to two basic questions whose answers are often taken for granted rather than sincerely discussed.

Yes, I do believe in Love. I believe in commitment, I believe in family, and I believe that humans are meant to live their lives in togetherness, not isolation. I want love, I want babies, and I want to experience the crazy journey of being with someone for a very long time. Would I get married again? Only if the reasons for it truly make sense, and that if I decide to take that step with someone, that we have been openly thoughtful about it and see eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart on the why.

Take action now:

  1. Share your reaction to this article in the comments below.
  2. Send this to someone preparing to embark on the marriage journey. It might offer them a little guidance before taking the plunge.

Originally published on Sasha’s blog 

photo by: State Farm

Raise the Bar For Your Own Success

big_small_With any kind of happiness project or habits change, we need to figure out what kind of change at which to aim.

For instance, I think it’s important to be very concrete and specific about what you’re asking of yourself:  “Plan lunch with a friend once a week” instead of “Have more fun.”

Along the same lines, research suggests that some people have better success changing a habit when they start small. A series of small but real accomplishments gives people the energy and confidence to continue. For instance, a person who wants to write a novel might resolve to write one sentence each day. Or a person who wants to start running might resolve to run for one minute.

These little steps also help to shape the patterns of our days, to make room for the new activity. The habit of the habit is even more valuable than the habit itself; that is, being in the habit of going to the gym is more valuable than any one particular work-out (this is related to the tricky one-coin argument). Keeping a habit, in the smallest way, protects and strengthens it. I write every day, even if it’s just a sentence, to keep my habit of daily writing strong.

On the other hand, research suggests–and common experience confirms–that some people do better when they’re more ambitious. Sometimes, counter-intuitively, it’s easier to make a major change than a minor change. When a habit is changing very gradually, we may lose interest, give way under stress, or dismiss the change as insignificant. There’s an excitement and an energy that comes from a big transformation, and that helps to create a habit.

A person might be better off giving up sugar than giving up dessert at lunch. A person who wants to wake up earlier than the usual 8:00 a.m. time might find it easier to start waking up at 6:00 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m.

In some situations, and for some people,  lowering the bar helps; sometimes raising the bar helps. What works better for you? To aim big or to aim small? To make a small change that’s easily within your grasp, or to aim at a bigger, more exciting challenge?

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Letting Go of Over-Planning (VLOG)

We’ve all been told it’s best to get present and live in the “now”, but often I find myself living in the 500-years-from-now. If life is a journey and not a destination, how do we get into the moment and out of our obsession with that golden nugget in the future we think will solve all of our problems? Here are a few of my thoughts on the plight of the over-planner (me.)

Many thanks, as always, to Stefani Twyford of Legacy Multimedia for filming my vlogs and for her continued support as I trudge the road of “putting myself out there.” For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

More from Laura Max Nelson:

Change is Good, and It Happens Faster Than We Think

How to Find Balance by Losing It

How to Deal When You’re Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Life is What Happens When I’m Making Plans

life“If we actually believe half the shit we talk and write about, why are we worried? It’s all going to be what it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?” This was what I said to my best friend Cate the other day as we yammered on to each other about the woes in our life – you know, money woes, men woes, kids woes, work woes– whatever woes. Of course we attempted to add in our very aware and very spiritual observations, just to make sure that even though we were whining and worrying, we were being enlightened about it.

Such as me stating my desire to be in love – followed by self eviscerating examination as to why I need to be in love, judging myself for wanting to be in love; all of which is true. I do have issues with love (I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a very generalized statement- which is probably very true- most of us have issues with love) but I also want to be in love, because love is fun. I have a much better understanding of myself and what love means to me and my desire for love is pretty freakin’ normal.

Is it possible for me to hold both concepts: Desiring love because it’s normal to want to share your life with someone and desiring love because I have issues I’d like to work through regarding love? They actually work together, if I stopped trying to blow one of them up in the name of enlightenment and just have some fun with love, explore love, try on love. Do I have to wait until I have all my love stuff worked out before I can be in love? And if I do, how exactly can I do that? Seriously not looking for another class or seminar or book, I swear I’ve read them all, and I learn by doing!

I spent some time with another friend whose life is in a big transition. She has an entire list of things that need to happen before she can do the things she really wants to do. There is no room for either or, nor both simultaneously- it’s this way first and then she can have that. She’s not capable of seeing that it’s possible to have a mixed up convoluted version of both. Life is convoluted! There is life in-between the pages of your plan!

It’s true that sometimes you have to follow a recipe. Having a plan is a good thing; I like plans, but I spent an awful lot of my life planning and organizing and waiting for things to happen that were in my plan so I could do the next thing only to have wasted that time and missed out because I was so locked into my plan, which eventually blew up because I was, okay I admit it, attached to my plan.

It sort of goes back to that old myth “Wait until you’re ready to have kids.” Is anyone ever really ready to have kids? You might think you are and then you have one and you’re like “Shit I was not ready for this!”

Last year I had a plan and almost nothing in my plan actually happened, at least not exactly. But here’s the interesting thing: all the things my plan represented happened, but not in the way in which I had actually planned them. Huh, go figure.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 5.51.28 PMWhich brings me back to my original question – if I were to live my life, with the understanding and acceptance that my life is going exactly as it should because I am following my true souls desire and trusting in that, and then of course planning (you have to plan a little) but being very clear about what my desire really is and then being open to what might come that isn’t in my master plan- but is my ultimate, true plan, then everything is going to be okay.

In my own life I have come to see the beauty in the chaos of plans unraveled. People often desire balance. We are often told to find it as if it’s something to look for. We like it when things happen the way we think they should. It makes us feel like we have balance and everything is under control. And sometimes that works- but really let’s get real, how often does it really happen that way?

Life is full of duality for which I don’t think you can find balance per se – balance means to equally distribute, and I don’t feel like my humanness equally distributes. It flows from one to the other and it holds each as possible and not possible and all possible. When I hold to tightly to one way another invariably gets jealous and puts a monkey wrench on my plan, thus causing me to feel completely out of control and unbalanced, and things start to fall apart. Once I finally allowed myself to live and breath and accepted that life is utterly unbalanced, I have no control, and only strive to know and to learn my true souls desire, have I found a steady wire to walk on.

6 Tips To Start Balancing Your Life Like a Boss

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.23.25 PMAs an entrepreneur with two young daughters and who holds family time as sacred time, runs a small tech-firm by day and, by night, works passionately building a second venture with a mission to empower others, I am constantly being asked, “How the heck do you balance it all?”

The truth is …. I don’t! And, before you click off this article thinking ‘well, thanks for nothing, lady’, just hear me out here! Nobody does. The word “balance” itself implies that some sort of destination has finally been met where the weight of one’s life has been distributed evenly in every regard: career, family, health, personal growth, relationships, self-care, etc. And, in this line of thinking, since you’ve already arrived, there is no need for improvement in any of these areas. But, it just doesn’t work that way! Even if all things are perfectly balanced for a moment (hooray!) – don’t blink because it just takes one of life’s infamous little curve balls to be thrown our way to completely knock everything out of whack.

So, instead, I personally work towards balancing my life. That little “ing” at the end of the word is oh so important. It implies that an action is taking place. And, balancing your life takes a lot of action. Daily action, even. It’s about developing a strong sense of awareness and checking in with yourself and your beloved ones on a regular basis to identify any areas that can use improvement. Are you getting enough quality times with the kids? Is your spouse feeling loved or neglected? Is your career or business running as smoothly as you would like? How are you feeling physically? Emotionally? Stressed? Are you feeling fulfilled at a soul level?

Keeping all of the balls in the air is no easy feat … especially if you are diving fully into the person you want to be. And, frankly, some days will be better than others. As humans we can only try our best. But, it is important to work consistently towards that sense of balance so that you can help others, take care of yourself, and make your impact in the world as stress-free and full of joy and love as possible.

When any one area of your life is significantly off-balance, it throws you off in every other aspect, taking you out of your “A” game and making you feel a little less awesome than you actually are.

Here are a few guidelines that will help you to maintain the harmony, peace, and balance in your life that we all yearn for!

  • Be your beautiful authentic self. You have to let go of any preconceived notions of what your life is “supposed” to look like. Definitely steer clear of comparing yourself to others. We all have different paths, circumstances, and dreams. What works for others might not work for you. Instead, focus on what you stand for. What is the impact YOU want to make in the world? Learn to be totally comfortable in your own authenticity. If there’s an area of your life that you are not completely satisfied with, then put in the work to change it! But, only do it because it aligns with your soul’s calling, not because it will make somebody else happy. You will never feel peace living the life somebody else has envisioned for you.
  • Accept with Gratitude. Life isn’t perfect. It gets messy sometimes – for all of us. So, we all need to learn how to dance in the storm. Your house is not always going to be spotless, you won’t be able to attend every single social event, you’re inevitably going to let your spouse or your kids down every once in awhile, and you may need to pass up on some seemingly awesome business opportunities. Being okay with that, accepting the imperfections, and seeing the beauty of your life with intense gratitude no matter what will give you that sense of balance even in chaotic times.
  • Prioritize. At this moment, what is most important to you? What or who lights you up? Are you spending a good amount of your time with the people that you love deeply and working on the projects you feel most passionate about? If not, where might you be a little off balance and need to pay more attention? Is there something sucking up a lot of your time that just doesn’t serve you or drive you closer to your vision? It may be time to cut back in some areas. (Yes, I’m talking to you Facebook and TV!)  And, most importantly, are you carving out some time for yourself too? Remember: If you crash and burn from not taking care of yourself, you won’t be any good to anybody else either.
  • Plan. Schedule everything! And, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to opportunities. Spontaneity sounds lovely, but reality is that if you have big dreams include balancing all aspects of your life, you must plan accordingly! I use technology to my advantage here with digital calendars that sync up to my apple products. Everything from date night to kids schedules to business meetings and workouts to when I am going to write (which is also planned in a separate editorial calendar) all get put on the schedule. I then have reminders pop up to keep me on task.  Take some of the pressure off yourself by extensively planning your days. Take time to step back and look at your big picture. Then take a step back in and plan out all the details. Whatever works for you, just use it consistently.
  • Check your Slices. A fun activity is to do is a goal wheel where you draw a circle and divide it up into even sections, like a pie cut into slices. Each section represents an area of your life. Perhaps your “slices” would be named: family, career, fun, personal growth, spiritual, relationships, self-care, money, etc, or whatever resonates with you. How much energy are you putting into each area and how satisfied do you feel? It’s normal to have a slice or two that are totally dominating while others are just a few puny crumbs. Identify this and work to even things out.
  • Reevaluate from a Birdseye View. Make sure you pop your head out of the weeds and grab yourself an aerial view of your life on a regular basis so you can get a good honest look at where you’re at. Where are things going well and where do you need to revamp or recharge? If it’s not easy to get your head out of the muck to really evaluate things, than hire yourself a personal coach to help you hone in.  A coach is one of the best investments you can ever make! But, if you just can’t afford it right now, at least get yourself a network of peers, friends, or family members who can help guide your way on. Multiple brains are better than one and sometimes it takes an outsider to really call us out on our sh*t.

Don’t worry about achieving perfect balance because that will never happen –  life just isn’t designed that way. However, making a conscious mindful effort to regularly check-in and evaluate things will help you tremendously in the delicate act of balancing.

How do you find balance in your life? Please feel free to share and discuss in the comments below!

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For more from Dawn, sign up here for Dawnsense delivered right to your inbox!  Please also join the Dawnsense Facebook community for more inspiration and support and visit her website to catch up on past blogs and videos.

Do You REALLY WANT What You Want?

"Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. " -John Lennon

I’ve been kidding myself for years about writing a screenplay or novel.  Sure I’d talk about it.  Or kick around possible plot lines and dialogue in my head, but never actually wrote anything down.  I never had "time".

So I realized something…

I didn’t really want to do it.  How did I know I didn’t really want it? 

I never did anything to get it done!

I didn’t plan to fail, I failed to plan.

Now I have many friends who have become published authors, some of whom have hit the New York Times Bestseller list, or have had major Hollywood studios option their stories.  Do these people magically know how to bend the space time continuum and add more hours to the day?                                                                 

NO! But I’ve noticed they all have something in common:

They commit to sessions of scheduled time in seeking their goal.  Some write only an hour a week, some an hour a day.  But they’ve all finished their books by doing.  They make time.

Manifestation of any idea or goal requires action

Major goals, whether it is writing a book or finishing a degree or learning to play an instrument can seem overwhelming.  Breaking it down into smaller, doable steps will put you on the path to your goal.  Then committing it to a calendar is literally making a date with destiny.

Unfortunately too many of us think that goals and objectives are yearly matters and not daily rituals. This leaves many of us spending too much time on the minor things and not on the real details which are actually important in reaching our goals.

So now I’m setting aside uninteruppted time to make my writing a reality.  And in this planning process I’ve also realized  it’s okay to alter the goal and allow things to evolve.  Looking back over the blogs I’ve written, I feel a charge from this type of writing, rather than narrative storytelling. The screenplay /novel thing is not for me at this time.   And that’s okay.  

They say success consists of 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.  Is it warm in here or is it just me?

 

World Travel Guide

Hi, everybody, if you like travels just as we do and ever wondered why we all need change so badly, see new places, do something exciting, feel the adventure or just go for relaxation or business needs, this travel guide is your true companion. Feel free to read more about travels, advices, travel tips, travel news, reports and reviews via – cheap travel deals and here cheap travel deals

online travel guide

Hi, everybody, if you like travels just as we do and ever wondered why we all need change so badly, see new places, do something exciting, feel the adventure or just go for relaxation or business needs, this travel guide is your true companion. Feel free to read more about travels, advices, travel tips, travel news, reports and reviews via – travel deals and here travel deals

Exploring Our Readiness

My sharing for today, a courtesy of DailyOm.com

October 23, 2009
In-Between Times

It could be argued that life is more about the time spent waiting for something to happen than it is about something happening. What this means is that the big events in our lives are preceded by many days and nights of dreaming, planning, organizing, and waiting. The times of waiting in between the big events actually constitute the majority of our lives. These in-between times are anything but uneventful. In fact, they are rich with possibility and filled with opportunities for reflection and preparation. Like a pregnant woman awaiting the birth of her child, we have a finite period of time in which to prepare internally and externally for the upcoming event that will define a new chapter in our lives.

When we find ourselves in an in-between time, we often can’t help but feel impatient for the impending event. We just want to get to the future and have the new baby, the new job, or the new house. And yet, there is a reason a pregnancy takes nine months to fulfill itself. Nature provides the expectant parents with this time so that they can prepare the nest. This preparation plays out on many levels. Materially, a space must be created in the home and resources must be set aside for the baby’s future; psychologically, a shift must occur in which the psyches of both parents agree to be responsible for a new life in the world; and emotionally, the heart must open wider to embrace and fulfill a new love.

Whenever you find yourself in such a time of waiting, you might want spend time exploring your material, psychological, and emotional readiness. For example, if you are preparing to move to a new city, you could make a list of things you’d like to do in the city you will be leaving behind, and go to your favorite places and spend time with old friends. This way, you will remain fully engaged in the present as you await your future, savoring the in-between time as a vital experience in itself

For more information visit dailyom.com

Do It Yourself (And Then Share How You Did It)

Do It Yourself (And Then Share How You Did It) – How Women Are Changing Personal Finance
There’s a voice coming out at the forefront of personal finance that is newly communal. Economic news and forecasts have us talking: strangers or friends, when we get together we start asking, “How are you keeping it together? Where are you shopping and saving these days? What are your tips and tricks?” Where once money was as taboo a topic as sex in polite circles, personal finance has become a community conversation.

Women are great in community. Whatever the task, we don’t just do it individually, we accomplish it ourselves, literally. There is collaboration to our conversation. In contrast, when I listen to men talk about money (my husband and others), it is direct, and geared to results. I hear them share their triumphs in definitive actions: We cancelled the cable; we canned an employee. Women involve the village. We dole out resources and suggestions every time we get together.

As a result, the strength of our own experience depends upon our collective experiences. The burden of proof has evolved from, “Are you a Certified Financial Planner?” to “What have you done to maximize your money, and how can I do the same?” Experience is the new education, and conversations at cocktails rally around the woman whose business is wavering, as we offer up personal contacts we know could help, and approaches we’ve taken in our own efforts.

I call this Mastering Money Through the Feminine Principle. Women understand that our actions have a ripple affect on our community. By harnessing this impact, we can use our role in community to motivate ourselves when we are lacking.

Take A Walk – How to Be a Good Resource
It may be puzzling to know how to be a resource for people when you’re facing your own financial strife. Fear too often paralyzes output. If you can barely maintain your own life right now, let alone think about Suzy wanting to start a nail salon, this is the kind of time when it’s most important to be a part of a community.

The silver bullet is to get outside yourself, whether your problem is financial or otherwise. Do this by getting in motion. Move your body. Go for a walk. Physically move yourself out of the stuck place you are in. The physical activity sounds unrelated. But I assure you that when you get your body moving, your ideas begin to flow. Everything that has been jammed and locked will start unfolding and moving around your system. So that when you do get together with your girlfriends or your neighborhood group, you can speak to what your issues are. Their ideas and support will come pouring in, and believe it or not, your issues will affect someone else’s, to get theirs moving too.

Here’s an added tip to build your resource foundation. Leave your problems behind for a moment, and get curious about your surroundings. Start thinking in ways you can be a resource for others. Do you know what is happening in your town? Your neighborhood? Try this awareness exercise: Take a drive or a walk and look at the new businesses coming in. Notice those that are closing. Go to the public library and log on to their Internet. Look at Craigslist activities and help wanted ads. Be curious. Your intent is to get an understanding of what is going on around you, so that you can be handy for the advice when the ask rolls your way. You don’t have to solve anyone’s problems. But when you are aware of your community, you are stronger for it, and so, as a result, is your community. Tap into the world around you, and change it for better.

 

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