Day 17: Random Notes of Encouragement

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This weekend, beginning today at noon, is the 2nd Annual Pay it Forward Weekend, as promoted by a Facebook group on that social media site. This event fits wonderfully with my desire to experience a first every day, and I have three days to come up with ways to anonymously show kindness to others.

For today’s first, I came up with the idea of writing encouraging notes to post on random cars in a retail parking lot. I enlisted the help of my grandson, Dayan. We parked my car in a sea of other vehicles and discussed what encouraging words to write. We each wrote several notes and then something magical happened. Dayan began to draw on each note, beautifully illustrating our words with inspiring designs. I was so moved, I had him do the artwork on all the notes.

Then came the fun part.  I explained to my grandson that we would select cars randomly and carefully tuck the notes under the windshield wipers. I also gave Dayan the option of observing this part if it made him feel uncomfortable. He thought it over briefly and then decided he wanted to move beyond his comfort zone also. Yes! We divided the notes and off we went.

We moved quickly among the cars, letting our hearts guide us to the car whose owners most needed the encouraging words. When we met again a few minutes later, we were laughing, our hands empty and our hearts full. We have no idea how the notes were received. We don’t need to know. We moved as we were inspired to move. Whatever unfolds next, is BEYOND us!

Day 16: Sun Asanas

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I am not a get up before sunrise person. I am more of an awaken slowly and gently enter the day woman. Once my eyes are open and my feet are firmly on the floor, I have a ritual that I perform every morning. I move through the house, room to room, and open the wooden blinds covering each window, welcoming the morning sunlight. Even on overcast or rainy days, I invite the gray, feeble light to enter in and I express gratitude for another day.

Today’s first added a new ritual to my morning.  The Sun Asanas are a series of 8 yoga poses that are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day. These poses caught my attention a couple of months ago, showing up on pages I’ve liked on Facebook. While I am no expert in yoga, I was intrigued.

This morning, I got up early, before the sun, and opened all the blinds.  Lying back down, I stretched and watched for the first beams of sunlight to appear. As the bright golden rays streamed in through the windows and struck my bedroom door frame, I felt a stirring of joy within and a call to arise and greet this beautiful new day.

Standing on the rug in my living room, surrounded by a brilliance that was both fresh and ancient at the same time, I moved through the asanas, stretching and awakening my body and opening my heart. My body hummed with energy. I couldn’t help but smile. Good morning, sunbeams.  Good morning, world!

Day 15: Give Sincere Compliments Day

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My grandson, Dayan, is amazing at seeing the best in others and giving them sincere compliments. I’ve been watching him make people smile and melt hearts since he was old enough to talk. Today’s first, giving sincere compliments to as many people as possible, was inspired by him.

This was a fun experience, and also challenging. Being intentional about giving genuine compliments required a great deal of awareness. Sometimes, it is quite easy for me to move through my day and speak to people without really looking at them. To sincerely compliment others, you must look at them, and as Dayan has shown by example, find the best in them and be unafraid to speak up.  I also didn’t want to be “cheesy” or creepy about it, so I attempted to work the compliments into conversations as much as possible instead of tossing them out there.

I had a great time today, watching people, smiling at them, and then offering a simple compliment from my heart. The effect was enchanting. People smiled back. Said thank you. Laughed.  Offered a compliment in return. I felt lighthearted, grateful and expansive.

This beautiful quote sums up the day well:

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”  Steve Maraboli

Day 14: Buy a Chia Pet

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Today’s first was all about fun! I bought a Hello Kitty Chia Pet. Chia pets were first produced in 1977.  At that time, at age 19, I considered myself too old to purchase one, although the child in me surely wanted to.

I discovered, when I went to buy a chia pet, that they are only sold during the holiday season.  I had seen many on display over Christmas, but today, I had a difficult time locating one.  At my neighborhood Walgreens, I asked if they had any left. Several enthusiastic employees immediately sprang into action.  Obviously, they weren’t very busy with more important requests at the time! The hunt for a chia pet turned into a fun game, with all of us searching up and down the aisles for the elusive chia. One very young sales associate confessed she had no idea what a chia pet was so she was uncertain what she was looking for! At last, an excited voice called out from several aisles over, “I found one!” She triumphantly held up a Hello Kitty chia pet.  She apologized that the store had no other styles available, but Hello Kitty was fine with me! And being a seasonal product, the price was 50% off.

The gardener in me loves all growing things and it will be interesting to watch the chia seeds sprout.  The youngster in me wants to see Hello Kitty grow “fur”. Sometimes we need to listen to and nurture our inner child. Today, I did.

Day 13: Rev Up Class with Marc King

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Today’s first was a Keller Williams sponsored business class, led by Marc King, from Branson MO. Marc is an operating principal of the Branson and Fayetteville AR market centers and a coach with Keller Williams International.  I’ve attended classes with Marc but this was my first opportunity to be in a class taught by Marc. He is a personable instructor with a great sense of humor and keen insight.

One of my aha’s  this afternoon centered around the Big Why, defined as that which motivates us, inspires us and gives us great joy . Marc illustrated how most businesses market by sharing their “whats” and their “hows” but rarely, if ever, communicate their “whys”. Why are they doing what they do? What passion fuels their desire to create success? He encouraged us to be clear on our Big Whys and to do business with those who have Big Whys that are similar to ours.

My Big Why is to create peaceful, beautiful environments in relationships, homes and outdoor spaces, where people can be free to be themselves and connect with their purposes and desires. I can offer that as a realtor, as a mentor, as an instructor, as the person that I am becoming. Thinking big, I intend to create a retreat center, patterned after Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings stories, where people can step away from the busyness in their lives, find their true hearts and selves, and then return to the world with renewed passion and purpose. For now, I offer from a full heart.

If you view life as a precious journey, and believe that the growth of your soul is paramount, then we share similar Big Whys!  I’d love to hear from you, whether you want to become more fully who you are, have a story to share, or need to buy or sell a house.  I want to journey with you.  We are, after all, walking each other home and keeping each other company as we go.

Day 12: Back to Back Movies at the Theater

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Movies have been such an important part of my life. They speak to me, deeply, of life and the journeys we all must take. Some captivate me and I watch them over and over…and over, until I’ve taken in all that they have to offer to me.

Today’s first was watching two movies at the theater, back to back. This was a special treat because playing at my local theater was The Legend of Hercules and Saving Mr. Banks, two movies that connect me to favorites from my childhood. As a child, I loved the epic, hero type stories such as Hercules and Jason and the Argonauts. These movies invited me into a larger story of adventure and destiny. Watching them, something would stir in my heart and I believed there was greatness in me, too. Mary Poppins fired up my imagination and helped me to see how magical the world was. Umbrella in hand, I leapt from the top of my swing set, willing myself to fly.

Watching this current version of Hercules was pure fun. It made me think of my childhood and those Saturday afternoons at the neighborhood theater, where legends came to life and good always prevailed over evil. The cinematography and special effects were much better than in those old movies. Thankfully, good still prevailed!

I got a lump in my throat as soon as the opening score started for Saving Mr. Banks. What a wonderful telling of the story behind the Disney classic. It was nostalgic, hearing the familiar tunes created, and seeing the storyline for Mary Poppins come together. And the depiction of PL Travers and Walt Disney was excellent. Saving Mr. Banks is a film about knowing when to let go of the past and engage in life again.  I was deeply moved.

Once again, I was delighted with the way this day arranged itself. The movies were literally back to back with just enough time between them to move from one theater to another. I couldn’t have asked for two movies that more captured my childhood and to have them playing at the same theater at the perfect times was, well, magical!

Day 11: Be Left Handed for a Day

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According to wellness expert Peggy Hall, to keep our brains healthy and active, we must do things in a way we normally don’t.  She suggests occasionally using the non-dominant hand for everyday tasks. Learning something new or doing something routine in a different way stimulates the brain and creates new neural pathways, improves coordination and mental focus, increases learning and memory, and wakes up all the senses.

Today, I decided to be left handed, instead of right handed. To remind myself not to use my right hand, I wore a bright blue band on that wrist. Tasks that I normally don’t think much about, like brushing my teeth and applying make up, required extra concentration today.  I found that if I consciously allowed my left hand to lead the way, I could flow with it and accomplished what I needed to. Except for writing.  After one attempt, I decided to save writing in my journal for tomorrow.  Since I use two hands to type, that was not a problem.  Texting, however, I do with my right hand only.  Switching to my left slowed me down but I managed.  I also struggled with opening doors for clients today, as the keys just didn’t feel “right” in my left hand!

Several family members are left handed and I have a new appreciation for them.  Our world is oriented for righties, not lefties!  I asked my sister, Debbie, what challenged her most growing up left handed and what was the most fun.  Challenges included writing in a spiral notebook and on a chalkboard.  However, she liked the uniqueness and creativity that came with being left handed, and the surprise tactic of shooting with her left hand in basketball.

I’m relieved to go back to being right handed, although I can imagine all the new pathways that formed in my brain today! The additional benefit with switching hands was that I slowed down, raised my awareness of each moment, and focused more on each task before me.  I had a lovely day.

Day 10: An Eagle Has Landed

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Today’s first was supposed to be a visit to a vintage shop in Siloam Springs, AR.  I’ve driven past the store several times and today was the day I intended to stop in.  I did visit and while the shop was attractive and the merchandising well done, I was not inspired.

I was inspired though by a sight I have never seen.  Just north of Siloam Springs, in fields and trees near the highway, were American Bald Eagles.  Not just one or two.  Half a dozen of the huge, majestic birds perched in trees and swooped low over the ground.  And one beautiful eagle splashed in a massive rain puddle in one of the fields.  I have seen one or two American Bald Eagles before, on rare occasions, and the sight never fails to awe me. I have never seen so many in one location and have never seen one on the ground, frolicking in water.  His white, “bald” head was obvious and as his feathers ruffled while he splashed in the puddle, his white tail feathers were noticeable too. I couldn’t get a decent picture with my phone’s camera.  The picture with the post is one I googled, and the closest I could find to what I saw.

I am amazed at how this journey of firsts is unfolding.  The desire to experience new things each day has raised my awareness and has opened a door of opportunities that far exceeds what I have arranged.  I love that even though I have a plan, unplanned firsts are showing up, too, to surprise and delight me!

Day 9: Birthday Celebration at Five Guys Burgers

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Today was a double first!  For the first time ever, I am 56 years young today!  And to celebrate I chose to have an informal dinner at Five Guys Burgers Restaurant.  My family joined me there and it was a noisy, fun gathering!

Five Guys Burgers is new to Joplin and this was the first time my family and I have been there. The burgers were delicious. The atmosphere was bright and friendly.  We had a wonderful time together, capping off an amazing day! Happy Birthday, Me!

Day 8: 2014 Vision Board

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This is not my first vision board.  I’ve been creating vision boards for 10 years.  However, this is my first vision board for 2014!  I have never created this particular board before, at this time in my life. 

I love vision boards.  The process allows me to tune in to my desires for the upcoming year.  As I hold that vision and begin looking through magazines to find a visual representation of that thought, I am amazed at how the images show up.  It’s fun for me and inspiring and at the end I have a board to hang in my home office that I can look at multiple times a day.

My boards have changed over the years, as I have discovered more about who I am.  My early vision boards focused primarily on business and business goals.  There’s nothing wrong with that and this year’s board has a corner devoted to real estate.  Gone, though, are the goals that  specified number of transactions and volume.  My focus has shifted to personal growth and my vision boards the last couple of years have reflected that.  What I found last year, was that being intentional about my personal growth caused my business to grow too.

I’m excited about this year of moving beyond my limitations and boundaries….and my new vision board that captures that intention!