Finding Your Big Why

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I first heard about finding your big why ten years ago, in a Keller Williams sponsored class called BOLD. More than training on real estate, the objective of the class was to create a life worth living through shifts in mindset and daily practices that support who we are and what we desire to do.

At that time my big why focused more on an immediate desire…to take my oldest grandchild on a trip to Italy for his high school graduation gift. Looking back now, I realize that wasn’t a big enough why. However, we did travel to Italy four years later…Dayan, my daughter and me.

What I’ve learned since that class is to keep going deeper, to discover the BIG WHY beneath all the other desires and dreams.

I’m here to help you, in finding your big why as well.

Finding Your Big Why title meme

What is a Big Why?

So, what is a big why?

A big why is the strong motivation for doing what you do. It’s not just a goal or a wish, it’s more expansive than that. The big why connects to life purpose and it is what gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going, when life gets tough.

Your big why can change as you grow and as life shifts. However, it always aligns with who you are…your most authentic self…and with want you want to do and why you want to do it. Plus it grows beyond you, to include your impact on others and the world.

As a parent with young children, your big why is likely to focus on raising decent human beings. As the kids grow and you experience growth too, the big why shifts to something even BIGGER.

Ultimately, your big why helps you create a life that you love.

“He who has a why can endure any how.”  Frederick Nietzsche

Finding Your Big Why travel
Finding Your Big Why – travel isn’t my big why however it’s an important component of it

Finding Your Big Why Through Reflection

When finding your big why, a time of reflection is helpful.

Grab a pen and a notebook and start by asking yourself these five questions:

  1. Who am I, right now at this stage in my life?
  2. What lights me up and makes my heart sing?
  3. What do I do best?
  4. Where do I add value?
  5. What matters most to me?

Let’s look at each of these questions briefly.

It’s important to know who you are, who you really are. Detach from labels such as “parent”, “spouse”, “teacher”, etc. At a heart and soul level, who are you? Write phrases that begin with “I am….”. I am compassionate or I am a big thinker. I am drawn to nature or I am a solitary person.

What makes your face light up and joy bubble out of your heart? List those things. You know you are on the right track when people tell you that your face lights up when you talk about a certain subject.

What natural talents and gifts to you have? Are you creative? Do you come up with out of the box solutions to problems? If you feel stuck, look at what you excelled at as a child or teen. Those are natural abilities.

In situations, what values do you add? Are you clear thinking and logical? Intuitive and insightful? What strengths do you offer to others?

And finally, what is MOST important to you? Saving animals? Teaching others? Expressing compassion? If you could do anything, without money as a concern, what would you do?

Finding Your Big Why therese
Finding Your Big Why – Therese living her big why…helping others learn about Charleston

Charting Out Your Big Why

Dr. Margie Warrell says that our life’s work and purpose sits at the intersection of talents, skills or expertise, passions and values.

On another page in your notebook, draw a circle in the middle of the page and label it PURPOSE.

Draw four lines outward from the circle and connect them to four large circles. Label each one: TALENTS, SKILLS, PASSIONS, VALUES

Free write in each category. Add your talents, the skills that you have, what you are passionate about and your core values. Look for repetition. Look for overlap.

When I did this exercise writing popped up in three categories, letting me know that it is an important part of my big why.

Finding Your Big Why chart
Finding Your Big Why – chart out your talents, skills, passions and values

Asking Why

Now, armed with your reflections and greater clarity about your purpose, write down what you want.

Then ask why you want that. Write another sentence, explaining the why. Then ask why again…and again…and again, until you get to the Big Why.

Remember, you aren’t looking for inspiration here. You are looking for the motivation that powers you through discouragement, difficult circumstances or the desire to quit.

Here’s an example:

I want to travel and work remotely, from anywhere in the world, making a fabulous income. Why?

I want to experience solo adventures and also take my children, grandchildren and other family members on trips. Why?

I want to expand my perspectives and other people’s perspectives too. Why?

I want to see life in bigger, more meaningful ways and live differently. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

Finding Your Big Why charleston
Finding Your Big Why – my solo adventures are a way of living my big why

Living in Alignment with Your Big Why

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

That sentence is my big why. It’s evolved over the last few years.

Everything else in my life connects to my big why. Travel, blogging, what I post on social media, solo adventures, creativity, my plant based lifestyle, spending time with my family…all of it connects.

Travels and adventures continually push me beyond my fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Blogging and posting on social media are forms of writing that allow me to creatively express my truths and stories. My plant based lifestyle fuels my body so that I have the energy to do all the things I want to do. And I live my life as an example to my children and grandchildren, not so they do what I do but so they see what it looks like when someone follows their passions and lives an expansive life.

Every thing I do is in alignment with my big why. If it’s not in alignment then I’m pulled out of my purpose and my passion. There is a deep knowing that forms in the gut, an instinctive knowing that I can tap into, when I’m feeling out of the flow of my own life. That knowing guides me back into alignment with myself. It helps me say YES! to new opportunities and no to what does not align.

What is Your Big Why?

Using the info above, I hope you can craft your own big why. I’d love to know what yours is, if you want to share it in the comments below.

Write your big why and keep it in a place that is easily seen every day. My big why has become the tagline to my blog…and my life. Plus, I’ve written it as an affirmation as well.

“I am living life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my example and my writing, I can help others do the same.”

Go deep within, to discover your big why, and then broadcast it outward, into the world. Let it powerfully motivate you and influence every part of your life.

And if you have any questions, please ask me!

Finding Your Big Why cindy
I’ve living my Big Why, which has become extremely important during my Year of the Wild Woman.

 

Helpful Books from Amazon:

 


 

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Welcome to Fall with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

With a bit of disbelief, I realized September arrives this week. Where has the year gone, truly? I’m excited though. I LOVE the season that for me begins September 1 and concludes January 9, my birthday. It’s the season of cooler weather, my favorite scents and colors and holidays!

Although it’s still HOT in SW Missouri, I started the fall decorating this week. My Decocrated Fall box arrived, and with the opening of that box, magic ensued!

Welcome to fall with Decocrated I say. Check out what was inside the newest box and see how I used these pieces in my fall decorating.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Fall 2021 Box

If you’ve never heard of Decocrated Curated Home, check out my initial review HERE. This subscription box company specializes in curating home decor that mixes brilliantly with what you already own and use. The boxes arrive to your front door four times a year, in time for each new season.

Plus Decocrated members have access to the online Decoshop and add-on boxes that come out around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and 4th of July.

As summer melts…literally…into fall, this box celebrates the season with warm tones and a bit of spooky vibes. The color palette uses rusts, greens and black combined with warm woods and gold finishes. I’m thrilled that a couple of the pieces include a harvest moon. The moon is my symbol for the year and these pieces feel like winks to me.

Adriana Cullen is the Deco Creator for this season.

Take a look at this short video unboxing…and then see how I used the new Decocrated pieces.

Where the New Fall Items Went

I enjoy creating vignettes…displays that tell a story…in my home. I have several key spots that I decorate.

Lugging my boxes of fall decor into my bedroom, I spread everything out on my bed and then began the process of creating vignettes. My decor is never exactly the same, two years in a row. I enjoy starting on a vignette and then adding pieces that appeal to me.

For this fall, I did not purchase any additional decorations or items. I used what I had on hand.

Here’s where the new fall pieces landed.

The Moon Mirror

This pretty mirror can hang on the wall or prop up on a shelf or dresser top. It’s versatile enough, and the design subtle enough, that I can use this mirror year around in different parts of the house.

I chose to hang the moon mirror on the wall, above my small bookcase that sits between the living and dining areas.

I redid the whole bookcase, changing the look to fall. The black lantern is from the spring 2020 Decocrated box and the woven basket from the fall 2020 box. That’s one of the fun aspects of the boxes. The items mix and match with previous or new Decocrated pieces, as well as with items you already have.

Click this link for more about the small crescent moon art.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated mirror
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – moon mirror

Wooden Ladder and Leaf Print Tea Towel

The tall shelves in the dining room became home to the wooden ladder and one of the two tea towels in the box. This little wooden ladder is cute! It free stands or props against a wall.

I draped the leaf print towel over one of the rungs and added a simple orange berry wreath. Joining in this vignette are the metal clock and metal and wood arch from the summer Decocrated box, the flocked pumpkins from last fall’s box and the wooden lantern from the Christmas 2020 add-on box.

The second shelf holds an assortment of items I already own.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated ladder
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – wooden ladder and leaf print tea towel

Metal Pumpkin, Wood and Metal Candle Holders, Wooden Beads, Web Tea Towel and Art Card

The rest of the new items grouped together on my little dining room table.

The black and white fabric runner from last fall and the gray and white wooden runner from spring 2021 form the foundation for the rest of the pieces. I tucked the cute spider web tea towel into last fall’s crate and filled it with orange, cream and gray fabric mini pumpkins. The sign on the crate is interchangeable with the Harvest Moon one, currently hanging in my rustic box. (See photo above.) For Halloween, I swap out those plaques.

At the other end of the wooden runner is the clip frame, from the spring box, holding the art card with a fall quote. On the reverse side, the card features a full Harvest Moon. That side is perfect for Halloween.

Next to the art card is the dark green metal pumpkin with a wooden stem. The pumpkin looks so cute with the colorful wooden beads draped over it. Those beads will find a place to rest year around.

And finally, taking center stage, are the wood and metal candle holders. I absolutely love these items! The combo of wood and gold metal is beautiful. I’ll also use these year around, swapping out the color of candles. After dark last night, I lit the candles for a short time and they created a warm glow that the metal and wood reflected. It was so cozy.

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated table
Welcome to Fall with Decocrated – table top vignette

Get Your Fall Box

Do you enjoy this time of year too? And are you ready to decorate for fall?

Grab your fall Decocrated box and welcome in the season!

Click this link, Decocrated Fall Box, and use my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off the seasonal box or off of the yearly subscription.

Once you are a member, there are additional items that can be purchased from the online shop, and special boxes available too, like the upcoming Halloween and Christmas add-ons.

Enjoy this cozy season we are entering into. And share your fall decorating ideas in the comments below!

Welcome to Fall with Decocrated shelves
Welcome to Fall with Deocrated – small bookcase

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes Month Challenge

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

How fun this month, to receive an invitation to join in on a challenge. A friend of mine on social media decided, during July, to say “yes” to something every day.

I was immediately intrigued. During my Year of Firsts, in 2014, I experienced a Yes Day. I’ve since done that a couple of times. However, I’ve never experienced a yes month.

My first yes for this challenge was accepting the invitation to participate. Check out what I’ve said Yes! to so far and join in on the fun.

Yes Month Challenge title meme

Why Say Yes?

Saying yes opens us up to new opportunities and experiences. And saying yes shows that we are willing to move beyond comfort zones and fears. It’s too easy to utter “no” as our default response to opportunities, requests and invitations. Plus fear crowds in, giving us all kinds of reasons why we should say no instead of yes.

Saying yes allows us to stop procrastinating and to adopt a growth mindset as well.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who just soared into space this week, shares this:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes…then learn how to do it later!”

Saying yes also ramps up creativity and invites playfulness.

Yes to the trip
Yes to a solo trip and to afternoon tea while there.

Yes…And

In 2015 I attended a writer’s conference in Philadelphia. I enjoyed an improv class there that taught me a valuable lesson.

The instructor led us through a series of conversations. The first one involved saying “no” to all questions asked. No quickly shut down conversations and possibilities. Next we said “yes…but”. Those words limited conversations as well and made communication awkward and difficult. However, when we answered each other’s questions with “yes…and” conversations and creativity flowed. High level energy filled the room.

I witnessed that day how powerful the word “yes” is. It leads to collaborations, more invitations and fun experiences. Yes moves us forward, gets us out of ruts and shifts us into the flow of life.

Of course, there are times to say no. Inappropriate requests are met with no. Overextending oneself repeatedly halts with no. And boundaries are set with no. When no becomes an automatic answer though, it’s time to shake things up and open life back up with yes.

Yes Month Challenge river
Yes Month Challenge – my first yes after accepting the challenge…a walk along the river

The Yes Month Challenge

My online friend Jen, Go Family Adventure on social media, decided to say yes every day during the month of July. She chooses to say yes to things she’d typically brush off, put on the back burner or say no to.

I love her idea of a month long challenge and said “yes, I’ll join in”.

We are sharing our yeses in our stories on Facebook and Instagram. I believe Jen began on July 1. However, I began saying yes on July 5. That’s the beauty of a yes month challenge. It can begin on any day of the month. Simply continue saying yes daily for 30 days.

When I do one of my games, such as my birthday celebrations, I plan it out. Activities are written on slips of paper and dropped into a jar, where I randomly draw one out every day.

For the yes challenge, the idea is to stay open and see what invitations arrive. Opportunities can be as simple as “Want to grab lunch?” to the more complex “Want to collaborate on this project?”

What I’m finding is that multiple opportunities to say yes appear every day. I’m just more aware of them during this challenge. Some days, I say yes to one opportunity. Some days I’ve said yes multiple times.

Yes Month Challenge picnic
Yes Month Challenge – yes to a spontaneous vegan picnic for one

My Yeses

A week into the Yes Month Challenge, I realized I began saying yes! several days before my invitation to join in.

I booked a solo trip to a city I’ve never been to before. Several times I almost backed out of the trip, before I even bought my airline ticket. However, I recognized it was time to push myself beyond my comfort zone and any fears I had about traveling solo. I said yes! and booked that trip.

Other yeses during my first week include:

  • a walk along the river, something I have not done in a while
  • a spontaneous picnic for one in my backyard garden
  • attending the Boss Baby 2 movie with my grandkids, sister and her granddaughter
  • trying something new at one of my favorite restaurants
  • working a 1000 piece puzzle that arrived serendipitously from Scotland
  • planning an afternoon tea time in Charleston during my trip, after a city brochure I received in the mail made me aware of the possibility
  • caring for my teething eight month old granddaughter one afternoon, so her parents could work

And today I said Yes! to writing this post about the challenge.

The fun, for me, is that I do not know ahead of time what invitations or opportunities will arrive. More yeses have shown up, than those I’ve listed above. Being open to possibilities brings more opportunities to actually say yes to.

Yes Month Challenge shrooms
Yes Month Challenge – shroom bowl from The Veggie Table

An Invitation to Say Yes

Saying yes involves trust.

Fear wants you to believe that you will end up doing something you don’t want to do, if you say yes. Not so. You still chose what’s right for you. Fear wants you to believe it is safer to say no. There’s a difference between safety and holding back.

“Jump off this building?” That’s an easy no.

“Speak before this group?” That’s a no because you are afraid…to speak in public, that you will make a mistake, that no one will want to hear what you have to say. What happens if you say yes instead? You move beyond your comfort zone. And you might make a mistake. No one cares. People can learn and receive value from what you have to share.

By saying yes to opportunities, invitations and new experiences we say to the Divine that we trust. We trust that good is intended for us and that we can grow through the experience.

Boss Baby 2 movie
We all said yes! to seeing Boss Baby 2…and we enjoyed the shared experience. Photo shot before movie started.

Will You Say Yes?

Consider this post your invitation to join the Yes Month Challenge. If a month long challenge seems too intimidating, try a Yes Week or a Yes Day. You can start on any day and end the challenge whenever you want. Have fun with it. Invite your children or a friend to join in. Write about your experiences.

It’s your choice. I hope you’ll join me in saying yes!

Let me know if you accept the challenge. And please share some of your yeses with me!

Yes Month Challenge cuddles
A very easy yes, cuddling this sweet girl.

Check out these inspiring books from Amazon:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes Journal by Shonda Rhimes

The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer

I Dare Me by Lu Ann Cahn

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Year of the Wild Woman

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

A fresh, new year brings with it fresh, new possibilities and opportunities. For me it also delivers a new theme or word, a symbol and a song. These components serve as guideposts for the upcoming year.

I adopted these practices many years ago. It took me several years to realize that the companions for the year long journey chose me, rather than the other way around. Knowing this deepens my appreciation for the incredible way that life works. And, looking back at my journey over the years, I can see the progression and growth that occurred, as captured by my words, symbols and songs.

This year, 2021, is the Year of the Wild Woman. I’m extremely excited about what will unfold during the next 12 months.

Year of the Wild Woman title meme

Year of the Wild Woman – the Words

I’m typically given one word for the year. However, this year there are two…Wild Woman.

This is how the words initially came to me. Working in my garden one summer day, literally down on the ground digging in the dirt as I planted flowers, a phrase popped into my mind.

“It’s time to release your inner wild, your wild woman.”

I sat back and considered those words. “Okay,” I thought, “how do I do that?”

And thus began a journey of exploring what it meant to BE a wild woman and how to release her. You see, my inner wild woman went underground a very long time ago.

Wild Thing

When I was a teen in high school, I used my own money to purchase a pair of jeans and a jean jacket. The back of the jacket featured a magnificent lion, and the words “Wild Thing”. On the jeans the word “wild” appeared on one back pocket while the word “thing” appeared on the other. I happily wore my new jeans and jacket to school…exactly one time.

I was made fun of all day. My male friends, and many boys who weren’t even remotely my friends, teased me about being a “wild thing” or made suggestive remarks. I went home and tossed the jacket into the back of my closet, never to wear it again. I ripped the back pockets off of the jeans and continued to wear them occasionally.

What I learned that day was that being a “wild thing” was not acceptable. Wildness equaled partying, loose sexuality and out of control behavior, none of which were true about me. Although I possessed an inner wildness, and an untamed, freedom loving spirit, I pushed those deep within and learned to accept domestication.

Definition of Wild Woman

As I’ve learned what it means to be a wild woman and how to unleash my inner wildness, two books have guided me. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ll share more about both in upcoming posts. I love this definition of a wild woman by Clarissa:

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.”

I recognize that the journey toward releasing my inner wild woman actually began about ten years ago. And I also recognize that it is indeed time to fully free mine. While I’ve known about her for a long time, I felt I wasn’t allowed to live freely as her. My growth in the last decade makes me feel that I can do that now.

In October of 2020, I suddenly realized I didn’t know my word for 2021. I asked, out loud, what my theme and/or word was. Then I laughed as the words “wild woman” popped into my head. Of course. The conversation with the Divine that began in a garden, which seems highly appropriate, concluded with these words: “Wild Woman…be who you are”. And that’s the best way I can describe what a wild woman is. She is someone who completely embraces who she is as her truest, most authentic self, and lives in that freedom.

Year of the Wild Woman shake
Year of the Wild Woman – shaking loose all that is not soul

Year of the Wild Woman – the Symbol

With the theme for 2021 established, I opened myself to possibilities for the symbol. The symbol is important to me. It connects strongly with my word or words, in this case, and it serves as spiritual taps on the shoulder as I journey through the year. When I see the symbol, it means I need to pay attention.

I considered the lioness as a possible symbol, or even the cheetah, which plays a role in Glennon’s book, “Untamed”. But no, those weren’t for me. “What about the tree?” I asked. I love trees and feel very connected to that symbol. “It’s the tree, right? How about a tree?” No tree for this year.

The symbol that came to me, through repetition and synchronicity, is the moon. The moon symbolizes feminine energy, receptivity, regeneration, intuition and mystery.

My legal name, Cynthia, is Greek for “moon goddess”. Moon goddess….wild woman…that’s perfect. As one of my 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I purchased a moon necklace. I’m excited to wear it this year.

As I have the last three years, I drew a representation of my year, using the wild woman and the moon elements. It rests on my bedside table, a daily reminder of who I am.

Year of the Wild Woman art
Year of the Wild Woman art.

Year of the Wild Woman – the Song

For a brief time I considered “Moon River” for my song for 2021. That song kept popping up, so much so that I even watched the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s again, which features it. I still love it and choose it as my secondary song.

When I seriously paid attention to what song chose me, I knew it was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

This song means a lot to me. My granddaughter Aubrey introduced the song to me years ago, as a favorite of hers. I used to do tai chi to this song. Although it may seem like a strange song to perform tai chi to, it works beautifully for me.

The fire element pairs well with my moon symbol. Fires represents creativity, passion, rebirth, desire and purification. Energetically, the fire of creativity and the moon of receptivity play important roles in my life already. And when you are “on fire” you are excited, passionate and enthusiastic. Yes, make it so.

The Journey Continues

Although 2020 made me a bit cautious about new years and what they can bring, I’m excited and optimistic about 2021. I feel like this year promises a great deal of personal growth. Not everyone will understand or even like that growth, however freeing my inner Wild Woman is the invitation and my soul is responding.

My granddaughter Aubrey asked me recently what my word is for 2021. She’s known since her toddler days that a new one accompanies me every year. When I told her “Wild Woman”, her eyes widened a bit. Curious, I asked her what those words mean to her. Without missing a beat she replied, “Yaya in the backyard, naked.”

I laughed. She’s not wrong. However, what I love about Aubrey’s answer is this. She didn’t say that a wild woman is out of control or bad or wrong. Her honest answer suggests a woman who is experiencing untamed joy and passion. Naked represents uncovered and unashamed. It’s natural and connected to nature.

I think this girl, who exhibits her own inner wildness rather well, nailed it.

Join me during this Year of the Wild Woman. We can all learn and grow together.

Year of the Wild Woman Cindy

 

Wild Woman Finds on Amazon:


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.