Wednesday Wellness: Plan for Magic

Happy Mid-Week, Friends!  I started writing Wednesday Wellness because I noticed a lot of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey to wellness, complete with detours and lucky pennies along the way!

My friends, I started creative planning only a couple of weeks ago, and I have already noticed the magic.

I spent most of my life resisting planners and organizers, preferring the spontaneous creative INFP lifestyle.  But I did learn a few planning tricks in college and in grad school.  Then when I became a mom, I learned how mapping out the weekends got things done.  That’s how I came up with Plan, to Have Fun.

I discovered the crafty/ creative planning community and was delighted.  There are scores of stickers and embellishment products to add to the planner of your choice.  And there are MANY planners to choose from.  I use Leonie Dawson’s Shining Year.  People love their Passion Planners, Happy Planners, Erin Condren planners, Bloom, etc. You can get inexpensive versions at Target and Michaels.   Mochi Things has a nice undated planner that you can start using at any time.  I follow a few planners on instagram, and we post photos of our weekly spreads.  It’s inspiring.  I found a local group on Facebook, and signed up for a Loaded Envelope Swap.  I was so lucky to be partnered with a friend from high school, and we sent each other our #loadedenvelopes of #happymail: tabs, stickers, decorative paper clips and washi tape.

I  love the fun of adding stickers and embellishments, but that is not for everyone.   There’s great magic in just planning with pens! (Hello, Bullet-Journaling! #bu-jo) Writing itself, is a kind of magic.  I do think that organic handwriting is a bit more magical that electronic planning, but that’s me.  I rely on my smartphone for alerts, that’s for sure.  But I am excited to decorate my weekly planner!  I found a cute sticker for  keeping track of how much water I drink daily.  I found sticker kits on etsy with themes of Book Lover Girl, Office Girl, and Stargazer Girl.  I purchased some basic, functional stickers, and I still write with my trusty 4-color pen (pink, sky blue, purple, and  lime green) and gold calligraphy pen, as well.  This Mix Tape Washi Tape is the best, isn’t it? (See pic below.)

Here’s the thing.  Once I started planning creatively, the magic started to happen.  I was accomplishing my tasks and goals. I noted my gratefulness, and set intentions. Visually I could see that everything was possible. Not only that, but I saw that I had room for more.  Did you see that? Room for More.  Room for whatever I want.  Me time: read a book, write another book (!), listen to webinars, plan a vacation, follow more dreams.

During this time I also did some decluttering. I have resisted this forever, too, but once you start, it becomes easier.  I’ve decluttered at work, the kids’ rooms, my car*. (*in progress)  I have a ton yet to do at home, that’s for sure!  Don’t tell me about that Marie Kondo book, I tried reading it, but it didn’t work for me.  I keep things that give me joy.  The trouble is, that all of these things  bring me some amount of joy, or I wouldn’t have them!   Am I right?

I also started reviewing my finances.  I looked hard at what I can lessen or do without.  I  cancelled some monthly and annual subscription/ memberships and updated my credit card so that any auto-renewals won’t happen.  Are you ready for this?  So far, I am collecting over $250 in immediate refunds.  I have to decide about two more subscriptions. Maybe I can find something cheaper than McAfee, for example.  And Shutterfly’s ThisLife may be redundant now that we have Google Photos, right?  I stopped monthly drips to the tune of $173 a month.  Drip Drip Drip.  I decided to increase my 401k contributions, and since less take-home money is being taxed, I’m seeing an increase in my paychecks. Win-Win. (I am NOT a tax advisor- check with a professional if you are considering doing this.)

Here’s an example of my weekly spread before I start planning:blank_week

Here’s my current week:current_week

What magic can you start planning?

Do you use a planner?  Leave a comment and let us know!

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Focus

Wellness Wednesday is a series on wellness topics. I started writing this series when I noticed that many of my writer friends and creative types struggle with balance and wellness,  as do I.

I started a cleanse at the beginning of June. This is a dedication to clean eating, and every few days- drinking only this special tea-like product.  Something about being on a cleanse just helps me focus.  And when I can focus better, comes clarity- sometimes.

I also had the opportunity to work with life coach Reba Linker regarding my tendency to collect clutter. We spoke at length and she recommended a book for me to read. I ordered it right away- and even though I haven’t been able to start reading it just yet, just having the conversation and the mindset has already helped me.

I began the weekend sorting through the seasonal laundry pile a.k.a tower of terror. You know that pile in the closet behind the hamper where the bulky winter sweaters go when you don’t feel like dealing them just yet, because, this is California and summer weather starts in February?  Bueller?  Ok, well I kept a few and donated most.  Also I did another book and cd purge and identified 40 items to trade in =$20.  Not bad. I did also find an older copy of that book ”Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” so I’m returning the newly purchased one for $12. See?  I’m also saving money.  No really, I gathered all the loose coins that accumulate in the bottoms of bags and purses- and found another $20.  Go me.

At the day job, it was time for me to again update another cycle of productivity onto a historical spreadsheet.  I have come to dislike this activity, as the spreadsheet keeps crashing. It is now entitled “Backup_Recovered_Productivity Analysis 2015-2016 (repaired)” – you see what I mean.  It’s a ton of manual input.  I decided to wear my glasses instead of contacts for this update, and lo and behold, it went much faster, easier, and was much less frustrating.

wink

Also during this cleanse, which I have done many times before, you get really good at setting goals. Like, on Saturday I am going to have Cheez-its.  Or, on Sunday we are going to International House of Pancakes.  (How else should one break fast? I mean, c’mon.)  Look at that-  two goals accomplished. Check. Check.

You also get really good at meditating. Visualizing my new favorite fish tacos.  Light white fish, beer battered, white sauce and cabbage with lime in a corn tortilla.  I can just feel the cool cabbage on my teeth and the taste the white fish on my tongue.  Feels like I am on vacation in Southern California, or maybe Ensenada, Mexico. Can you hear the birds?  Do you want a Sangria?

During this special time that is the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, I have thought a lot about milestones and goals. My oldest advanced from 8th grade (ok- graduated) and we celebrated his achievements.  I’ve calendared their summer activities and I’m planning the family vacation.  It’s what we do.

Soon after I had ordered my weekly planner for this year, I started following a lovely biz-wellpreneur on Facebook. Well, I decided I just couldn’t wait until next year to get her special weekly planner, so I just bought the one for 2016.  I know it‘s mid-year, but it’s a great time to re-focus, right?  Solstice and all…

It was shipping from Australia, so I resigned myself to wait. Imagine my surprise when I received an email message this morning with tracking information indicating it had arrived at the post office in my town!  Amazing!

It’s the first day of summer!

 What are you focusing on?

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Friends!

Taking a page from my new Bloom planner, I’m reflecting on how I bloomed in 2015 and how I plan to bloom in 2016.

How I Bloomed in 2015

This year included many memorable moments, including the blessing of world travel to Guam, Italy, France, and Spain.  2015 saw my book promotion and getting to know so many cool authors and booklovers.  I watched my children continue to do well in school, bees, music and dance.

I went zip-lining for the first time ever, on Guam.  It was thrilling, though I could barely let go of the cable on my first run! Seeing the Vatican and the Colosseum for the first time was especially memorable and meaningful.

I read so many enjoyable books, including The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell, The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone, Lifeblood by M. Kate Allen, The Little Book of Manifesting Big: The Gift of Your Own Power by Reba Linker, Author Identity: Build Your Brand. Sell More Books. Change the World. by Angie Mrozcka, Tea & Madness by Cee Streetlights, Jane Blond: International Spy by Brianna Schatt and Stan Schatt, Christmas Confessions and Cocktails by Vicki Lesage,  Love: It’s Own Testimony the Poetry of Ralph Hall.  Still listening to  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and reading along with my dear son (it’s been like two years).  Went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the entire family- what a blast to share the experience with our young padawans.

How I Plan to Bloom in 2016

Next year I am going to continue work on my jukebox musical, start the island novel, oh, and start and complete my latest book project idea!   I am going to make time for creating art and music (other than writing).

I would like to travel someplace I’ve never been, as well as bring the kids to a familiar, favorite place.

I would like to try painting with acrylics.

I would like to practice and rehearse music so that I am prepared to perform.  Maybe another mini-recital, maybe near the end of the year.

I would like to make peace with my things and continue donating many of them away, recycling when possible.

I would like to eat, sleep, and exercise better.  Meditate more.

My word for 2016 is Believe.

How have you bloomed in 2015?  How do you plan to bloom in 2016?

Wishing you Peace in the New Year,

D.