Seeking Balance? Focus on Priorities and Fulfillment.

Over the past 4 months 4 different groups asked me to talk about two closely related topics, priorities and work-life balance.  Curious about people’s biggest challenges related to work-life balance  and what that means for their priorities I asked,- here’s what they told me.

70% said focusing on personal priorities exercise, or personal growth

50% juggling work, family, volunteering etc., or” feeling like I need to do it all”

100% find that competing priorities in the various aspects of their life

Many people experience a push-pull between competing priorities in life and this can throw us off. You like your work (or at least you need the job for the income). Or maybe deadlines at work keep cropping up, over and over. You say family first, sometimes more often than it happens. You want  and need to nurture your personal growth. Would you like  to have more time “dating” your husband/main squeeze, but stuff keep getting in the way? Time constraints and too many obligations can impact your ability focus on priorities and roles most efficiently.

Keeping on top of your priorities and finding work-life balance is more about fulfillment and finding the best dynamism between all the roles we play and priorities we have than spending the precise same number of hours and resources on our families, at work, as well as on ourselves. That is not realistic or practical.

What we are often trying to express when we say I want more balance in my life, or I wish I had more control over things… is an expression of desire for equanimity and sense of profound satisfaction with our lives as whole.  We need to refresh ourselves as we commit our time, our intellect, passions and talents to what we do day-to-day; the big projects and the mundane ones too.

Your best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often on a daily basis.  The right balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow. The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children; when you start a new career versus when you are nearing retirement. Your priorities change over time. There is no perfect, one-size fits-all, balance you should be striving for. The best balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.

Want to get a clear picture of your own work-life balance? Take the work-life balance quiz on my website.

If you are ready to stay on top of  your priorities please come to my Practical Priority Setting Workshop on June 18.

Can’t make the workshop? Come see me at the Mindful Spirit Expo on June 25 – 26.

Remember, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least“- Goethe


Union of Common Bonds Among All

“We are obliged to respect, defend and maintain the common bonds of union and fellowship that exist among all members of the human race.” ~ Cicero  

This seems a fitting thought, given the work needed to support the people impacted by floods and tornadoes this past month. To look beyond what separates us, and instead towards what common threads exist. To weave these into stronger fabric with give. Strength to bear the weight of our troubles and joys. Give to allow a smooth drape and flow, at once acknowledging each unique shape without pulling so tight the fabric pucker, pulls and separates.

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation’ the stress that steams from disasters is complex. It can be a growth stimulating experience for people or it can be a stagnating one. Some folks dig in and do things they never through they would. Other just get paralyzed.  Other become enraged. They are all “normal” responses along a continuum.  We all need help, which be found in various forms. The physical reality of clean up. Supplies for everyday living. A person to talk to, friend, family or perhaps a professional.

We are a resilient people. Resilience is built from many elements, one of most important, I think is the union of common bonds among people. Build those bonds, tend to them over time, and call upon them when needed.

Mindful Spirit Expo

Mississippi’s premiere Body, Mind, Spirit Expo. This event will expand your ideas and ideals on how you care for yourself as a whole. This includes learning about Personal coaching, acupuncture, chiropractic care, reiki, yoga, and chemical free living. You can experience energy healing, massage, sound healing and other wonderful techniques and services to support your best life.  There will be many exhibitors and an amazing line up of speakers with perception shifting information!

Yours truly will be one of the speakers, “It’s Not About Fulfillment. Its About Balance”, and an exhibitor at the Expo.  Come by I’ll have some practice resources for you to take away, just for stopping by. I’ll also have a surprise or maybe two to raffle off.

You can listen to Internationally known Intuitive’s, Patti Conklin speak about vibrational medicine and Jamie Roth speak about Reiki and becoming “The General Manager of Your Universe”, based on Jamie Roth’s new best seller book. Curious? Me too.

This event will be filled with exhibitors that have mind blowing and heart opening information that will take you to the next level of Living at your highest level of well being. It’s about connecting yourself as a WHOLE. Loving yourself completely, not as separate parts. When you connect as a whole, you can begin to creat the life you desire living. It’s like get organized, when you are organized you are in control. There is a space for everything and everything is in its place.

Where and When? 

June 25th 10a-6p and June 26th 11a-4p

1935 A Lakeland Drive (MS school of Therapeutic Massage) Jackson, MS. 39216

Buy your tickets’ ahead of time here:

Just the expo

Expo and the Speakers

Save a little and buy them together 

Can’t attend? You can watch any of the Speakers from the Mindful Spirit Expo LIVE from the comfort of your home. Speakers will be webcasted live throughout the two days of the Expo. If you can’t watch them all at the time they are live; the ticket price also guarantees that you will receive the link to watch the recorded presentation at a later date, convenient to you.


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Characters and a Very Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of our outlook on life, our happiness and our ability to contend with stressors.  Healthy relationships allow for individuality, bring out the best in both people, and invite personal growth. Developing meaningful relationships with family, friends and colleagues is a concern for all of us. Getting close to others, sharing our joys, sorrows, needs, wants, affections, and excitements is risky business. Each relationship we have with individuals at home, work, or play is most likely a combination of both healthy and unhealthy characteristics. All healthy relationships need to be maintained and take work. What supports our ability to get close to others in all types of relationships?  The 10 characteristics of health relationships listed below are not an exhaustive list. These are at the heart of healthy relationships and are expressed by both parties.

My Great Aunt Peg and Uncle John lived out these characteristics beautifully in their 62+ years of marriage. A marriage that I don’t believe really ended at death do us part but some how transcended the physical boundaries and separation imposed by the death of a beloved.   They were both characters. With John as the sly humorist and Peg as the straight woman. Some of the times I laughed the hardest was riding with them in the car on the way to lunch. Here are Peg and John before our last lunch together.

  1. Mutual Respect: You have admiration and esteem for each other as individuals. Each bringing perspectives, experience and skills to the world. There is a genuine interest in each other, which is explored and enriches you both. Inherent in this is taking care of yourself and have good self-esteem independent of your relationship.
  2. Trust and Honesty: You trust in each other and are honest with each other in all things. Other relationships are encouraged. You have the option of privacy with, for and from each other. You feel secure and happy when you’re together and alone—not sad, suspicious, angry, or deprived.
  3. Loyalty and Support: You are there for each other, unconditionally. Trust is not betrayed. You are authentic and open with each other, creating a positive, meaningful environment, where even the difficult is addressed with kindness.
  4. Dependability: You are able to count on each other and you follow through with what you say you will do. When you can’t follow through there is a good reason for this.  Forgiveness and understanding are present in the relationship. You each take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Fairness and Equality: Relationships are built on give and take; allowing your husband, friend, colleague, child . . . to influence you is important. Relationships are two-way streets; sometimes the traffic flows more heavily in a given direction, but over time the volume balances out. Being kind rather than controlling with each other is essential for a healthy relationship.
  6. Separate Identities: You maintain and respect each other’s individuality and what you share in common. You have activities apart from one another. You encourage each other’s growth.
  7. Good Communication: You are able to express yourself without fear or consequences and feel heard, understood and accepted. You respect each other’s ways of communicating and learn how to communicate so the other person hears what you are saying. You listen with an open heart and a desire to understand more important than judging each other or defending yourself.
  8. Resolve Conflicts Fairly: Conflict is a part of all relationships. Understanding each other’s motivators and stressors is important to managing conflicts. Fighting fairly and having a way to resolve conflicts is paramount.
  9. Playfulness and Fondness: You laugh and play together. In the midst of difficulties, you help each other to lighten up with humor. Laughter and fun play a huge role in a healthy relationship.
  10. Similar Values. When you make major decisions you fall close in line. Disagreement about some issues is normal but agreeing about the big subjects like how to spend money is important.

12 Tips for Getting Organized

Getting organized is as much a mental act as it is physical action. Here are 12 tips to help you get organized. These come from a conversation I had with Susan Stone, Professional Organizer, Living Peace, LLC. We talked about our favorite ways to get organized and help others do the same.

  1.  Eat an elephant. How do you eat an elephant?- one bite at a time.  One change at a time is all that is needed to organize a space and your life. Small steps make the changes in your life as well as in your space. Pick small one thing that needs to get organized  – papers, computer files, clothes, linen closet, kitchen, mail, children’s room, and work on that one thing until it is sufficiently organized and you are content.
  2.  Mail Call. Open your mail every day, or make a weekly appointment with yourself—and don’t break it!—to open all your mail and pay all your bills.  Get rid of all your junk mail immediately. Shred all items with your name and other identifying information away.
  3.  Dinner Date. Set up a weekly appointment with yourself to do the food shopping. You can create a meal plan for the week and use it to write your grocery list. You won’t need to go to the grocery store all the time.
  4.  Play a rousing game of “HA! I already…!”.  Reframe the act of sorting through the saved bills from 10 years ago as a celebration of  “HA! I already paid you!”. Stacks of college notebooks = “HA! I already graduated!” You get the idea.
  5.  Play Ball. Put the ball in other people’s court when you can with the goal to have no papers on your desk at all. To that, act on all your open files; do your part and you won’t have to think about the project, task or question—until the others get back to you. Put the papers you have acted on in a Pending File with a note as to the action taken, when and with whom. Then create a follow-up date and automatic reminder in your calendar- if necessary.
  6.  Virtual Reality. Anything that you can keep as a document on your computer, do. Do not print out anything—unless you will need it outside your home or office. Always back up important information from your computer onto discs or a backup drive!
  7.  Get back that lovin’ feeling.  Susan Stone, professional organizer suggests falling in love with your space again. “Like any good relationship, the one you have with your personal space requires time, attention and the commitment to discovering the very best it can be.”   She suggests starting with one room, name it “something juicy and delicious,” then go about courting it, by seeing the good in it and letting go of what you don’t need.
  8.  Swap and Shop. Hold a clothing/tool/furniture/book swap with some other women. Bring the items you no longer use, but are still usable and trade with others.  In my experience women seem to do this more than men, but fella’s have at it too.
  9.  Start a pass along group. You could do this with books you are done reading and not likely to ready again. This is something I started doing with my Mom and other folks I know who share similar tastes in reading.
  10.  Create a Starter Kit. Too much kitchen stuff, well how about putting together a “starter kit” that could be given to a person starting out on their own, or even folks transitioning from temporary to permanent housing? The same could be done for linens in good shape, furniture etc.
  11.  Snap! Go through your items quickly and make snap judgments—your gut instinct is generally a good one. Then repeat the process. You are likely to find more items you can live without. If you are holding onto something in case you “might” need it in the far off future, get rid of it!
  12.  Bring in the Professionals. If you need a more of a push to get organized, an experienced personal organizer can be a wonderful resource. The National Association of Professional Organizers can help you locate providers in your area. Professional organizers can help separate you emotionally from the possessions you no longer need and that clutter our minds as well as our space.

Everything In Its Place And A Place For Everything

“Organization is about crafting the life you want and what you need to support that life”, Susan A. Stone, Professional Organizer, Living Peace, LLC.   Don’t just move things around, hide them in the shed, or tuck them in a drawer.  It’s not about buying boxes, labeling them and putting stuff into them, tucking them in closet and file cabinet, never again looking at them. To get organized you need to answered the question “What to toss what to keep and why?”

Getting organized is as much a mental act as it is physical action.  Organization is a system or method used to support you functioning effectively and efficiently in a given environment. Organization supports to you to be more productive in the space and time you have.  You are in control when you are organized.

“Everything in its place and a place for everything”, Isabella Mary Beeton, in The Book of Household Management, 1861; this idea marries beauty and function. An organized space is incredibly soothing.  An organized mind is calm and creative. You are the boss of your life.  You are the boss of your stuff.   Here are two examples of form and function marrying beautifully:

Julia Child’s kitchen is now a national treasure on display in the Smithsonian Museum. It was a treasure to her because it was simple, practical and therefore beautiful. On the pegboard were outlines of everything. It would be clear to anyone where each pot and pan belonged.  In it form and function elegantly married and she could focus her exuberant energy into cooking.

Racecar cockpits. I have never been in an NASCAR® or Formula 1™ vehicle, but I imagine the cockpit is designed such that everything the drivers needs is quickly, instinctively accessible. When you are roaring around a track at speeds at 180 miles per hour and up, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to find something.  The design is all about making performance the best it can.

“Clutter is the dark side of abundance” declared a friend of mine.  We tend to feel anxious in a chaotic space. Getting organized can too feel overwhelming.  “I don’t know where to start”, sound familiar? To me there are two primary reasons why this is the case. One, living a world of throw-away items and quick fixes we tend to accumulate quantity instead of things that are lasting and perfect. Those items so right you don’t need anything else.  Two, life changes over time, for better or worse, during those periods or when our time is absorbed by multiple priorities, we often discover that our life systems and methods for organizing no longer fit. This misfit generally leads to frustration and disorganization. Let’s be honest we are our own worst enemies when it comes to getting organized. We all tend to keep things because ‘some day I’ll need that’- even if we have not used it in 6 months, or 6 years.

 How to start getting organized? Susan advises always begin organizing with a vision for every room and space, ask yourself “What is my goal for this space?” Know where each item is going to be in that space. If something does not fit your needs or goals, you may need to let it go. This includes the inherited pieces of china and glassware.  If it is important to you get it in your life and use it.  It is just stuff. If something breaks that is not a reflection on your love for your Grandparent. You will not lose the memories of that person, just an object.

Insanely Good Fun

There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good.”  ~Edwin Denby

Yep! So guess what has been added to my last round of fitness choreography? The Charleston! guaranteed to make you smile, get your heart rate up and tone your body all at once.