I'm a Guest Blogger!

I was honored to be asked to write a guest blog post for my friend, fellow Lucky Star camper and writer Keri Wilt (who is featured in chapter 2 of my book A Beautiful Morning and is pictured below).

I have been enjoying Keri’s blog for over two years. She named it FHB and Me because her great-great-grandmother is Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and many other beloved children's classics. I don’t know about you, but I adored those books when I was younger. I re-read The Secret Garden after meeting Keri, and found even more meaning in it as an adult.

As Keri says, she "blows the book dust off [FHB's] inspiring words and legendary life, then mixes them with her personal stories for a multigenerational twist on the everyday." The post I wrote for FHB and Me is titled “Discover the Magic in Your Mornings” and you can read it here. Then take a moment to check out some of Keri’s posts—they are always thought-provoking and inspirational, and I find that they generate a lot of what she calls “head bob moments”! Enjoy!

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What if?

What if you believed you are worthy?

What if you accepted the praise rather than deflecting it?

What if you embraced the joy as much as you wallow in the pain?

 

What if you agreed that you are special,

that inside you lives a gorgeous spirit nothing can break,

that you are more than enough just as you are,

and that the only person you need to hear that from is you?

 

What if you trusted in the love that yearns toward you,

in the light that others to seem to see?

What if you believed that people you admire could admire you?

 

What if you stopped holding yourself back,

pushing yourself down,

making yourself small?

 

What if believing in yourself was as natural as believing in the sunrise?

 

What if you allowed the glory biding its time offstage to step into the spotlight?

 

What if you felt the terror and did it anyway?

What if you faced the pain and kept on going?

What if you took that leap of faith despite your crippling fear of heights?

 

What if you understood that mountains in your path are not meant to block your way

But rather to elevate you to a higher vantage point

From which you can see more clearly?

 

What if you gave up needing to know,

insisting on being right,

being afraid to fail?

 

What if you stopped hiding your tears—and your joy?

 

What if you opened yourself up,

laid yourself bare,

made yourself vulnerable,

and stayed that way without resisting

in order to feel the triumph of surviving your worst nightmare?

 

What if you shared it all,

gave everything away,

and expected nothing in return?

 

What if you LET GO?

What if you kept letting go every second of every minute of every day—

what do you think might come to you?

 

What if you relaxed,

and rested,

and laid down your heavy burden of "shoulds"?

 

What if you stopped trying so hard?

What if you stopped trying at all—and started allowing?

 

What sort of miracle do you think might brush against your cheek? What magic might land on your fingertips?

 

What if you opened the faucet all the way?

What if you unkinked the hose?

What do you think might pour forth?

 

What if you stopped insisting that you're all alone,

that you have no power,

that you're less than,

that you’re ordinary?

 

What if you believed you could make a difference?

What if you believed your life was vital in some way?

What if the teacher you seek is inside you?

 

What if you gave up?

What if you gave in?

 

What if you stopped swimming and started floating, trusting in your natural buoyancy and the path of the current?

On what golden shore might you land?

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Lighthouses: People + Books That Have Lit the Way for Me (Part 1)

When I began this quest for joy, I wandered all over the map, metaphorically speaking. At first I was stumbling along in the dark, but the books, classes, and coaches I’ve found as I searched have lit up the path like little lighthouses guiding me forward. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

(This is Part 1 of the book list, because if I tried to list each one that I’ve read and loved, we’d be here all day.)

Books

“Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn: the first book I remember reading on this path. It introduced me to the concept of mindfulness, which was radical to me at the time. Very gentle and straightforward.

“The Joy Diet,” Martha Beck: such simple, clear instructions for finding joy—and lots of great humor, too.

“Expecting Adam,” Martha Beck: the magic!! Oh, the magic. And the love.

Actually, you know what, I should just put “Everything ever written by Martha Beck,” including all of her columns in “O” magazine! They each have had a real impact on me. Other books are: “Finding Your Own North Star,” “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World,” “Steering by Starlight,” “Leaving the Saints,” and “Diana, Herself.”

“Loving What Is,” Byron Katie: Man, she’s tough. And so right: “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering, it’s our thinking about the problem.” This is a book I need to read over and over, because “The Work” really does work, but I have trouble consistently practicing it.

“The Gifts of Imperfection,” Brené Brown: I love me some Brené Brown! She is so smart and funny. If you haven’t watched her TED talk on vulnerability, do it now! As a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, I really appreciated this book’s advice about owning and embracing who we are.

“The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle: I’m still working my way through this one. Brilliantly simple yet also kind of a lot to wrap your mind around. Hmmm … funny I wrote that, seeing as how the whole premise is that you are not your mind; you can only connect with your true nature when your mind is still. See what I mean?

“The Untethered Soul,” Michael A. Singer: I read this just before I started “The Power of Now,” and it was an excellent introduction to the concept Tolle expounds upon. It’s very easy to read and presents the idea that we are not our minds clearly and concisely. It also presents some fascinating thoughts on opening your heart, energy, nonresistance, etc.

“Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear,” Elizabeth Gilbert: The first book inspired me to live my life more fully and the second inspired me to be more creative. Her concept that ideas come to you, and if you don’t want to or can’t bring them to life, they move on to someone else—and the story she tells about her personal experience with that—wow!! It will definitely motivate you to take action! Her practical advice is wonderful, and her honesty and compassion shine off of every page.

 “A Gift from the Sea,” Anne Morrow Lindbergh: I first read this as a young girl, and was struck by the beauty of the writing. I’ve re-read it countless times, and each time something new speaks to me. It’s like a little handbook for living. She compares the phases of a woman’s life to different seashells, and she’s just spot on with every observation.

People

Carla Robertson: Carla is a life coach who specializes in nature-based coaching. I discovered her as a fellow participant in an online class several years ago. When I went to her website (www.livingwildandprecious.com), I immediately connected with a tagline that was on there at the time: “Less worry, more wonder.” Yes!  I had a magical weekend retreat with her and several other women in St. Francisville, LA a few years ago, where I discovered quite a few things about myself. She has also helped me cut to the core of some practical issues and figure out a way to handle them.  Her blog is very insightful, and her Instagram feed is beautiful—so many tiny miracles in nature!

Sonia Sommer: Sonia is a Master Healer who, as she puts it on her website (www.soniasommer.com) “bridges the gap between woo woo and doable.” She combines physical, mental, and spiritual tools to help people feel their best in all of those aspects. Her Feel Awesome Again online course taught me all sorts of techniques I’d never heard of before—and they really worked. Her newsletters are full of helpful ideas and fascinating exercises. She has some great tip-filled videos, made even better by her wonderful Australian accent!

Anna Kunnecke: Anna is a life coach who helps women “declare dominion over their gorgeous lives” (www.declaredominion.com). I’ve taken several of her courses and subscribe to her weekly newsletter. She has excellent practical advice about how to improve your life by getting organized, adding beauty and bliss to your day, and making wise decisions. Also, as a “heathen mystic,” she can teach you how to protect your tender parts. Her guidance on how to be an EFBA (Epic Fucking Badass) is just awesome.

Martha Beck: As you’ve probably guessed by now, I really, really like Martha Beck (www.marthabeck.com). Her books opened the door for me into the world I’m now exploring, and the teleclasses I’ve taken have been transformative.  She combines clarity and integrity with extraordinary compassion and snort-milk-up-your-nose humor. Just listening to her talk soothes my soul, and when I actually implement her advice—wow. Life-changing.

Koelle Simpson: Koelle is a life coach and “horse whisperer” who offers Equus Coaching®: “a unique experience with horses that offers an individual the opportunity to gain a visceral understanding of how their inner dialogue affects their relationships and everyday life.” (www.koelleinstitute.com) I haven’t had a chance to work with her yet, but attending one of her Equus workshops is one of the top items on my wish list. For now, I just enjoy reading her newsletter, but she is up ahead on the path, giving me something to look forward to!

I highly recommend all of these people and books. I hope that one or more of them will help light your way, too.