Aligning with Your Sacred Yes

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In this post, I want to share with you about aligning with your sacred yes. I define the term as that which makes your heart sing and your face light up when you talk about it. It’s your purpose, your passion, the reason you are here on this earth as the creation that you are. Put even more simply, it’s whatever makes you say YES! with great enthusiasm.

Monthly I chat with people about this topic. I’ve found that many aren’t sure what their sacred yes is, much less how to align with it. Here are some ways to discover what your purpose is…and how to better align with it.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes title meme

Defining Alignment

Alignment is defined as “bringing something into a straight line or an easy agreement.” We are most familiar with spinal alignment associated with visits to the chiropractor. She adjusts the spine to bring it into alignment, for optimal health. As many people know, when the spine is out of alignment, we can experience pain.

On a deeper level, alignment means “discovering the essence of your being and the values by which you live”. We can live out of alignment with that essence of being or purpose. When our outer lives are out of sync with our inner lives, we live in pain as well.

Symptoms of living out of alignment include fear, loneliness, boredom, apathy, depression, confusion, restlessness, an identity crisis, feeling lost in life and and experiencing lack of motivation.

As we move into alignment, matching our desires or sacred yes with our actions and outer life, we shift into joy, peace, creativity, flow, excitement, happiness and fulfillment. We experience winks from the Divine, synchronicities and signs as guideposts that we are on the right life path.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes
Aligning with your sacred YES

Discovering Your Sacred Yes

So how can you discover what your sacred yes is? How do you know what your life purpose is? That’s part of the joy in the journey, discovering who we are and why we are here.

Consider these ways to learn what makes your heart sing and your face light up.

Live as Your Authentic Self

This is an important aspect of life’s journey…discovering who you are created to be and embracing that self. It seems easy and yet remembering who we are and in turn, why we are here, often appears elusive.

I believe children know, or at least live closer to their passions. Kids know what they like and don’t like. They connect with their gifts more naturally.

One of the most simple ways to align with your sacred yes is to embrace your unique gifts and talents. You instinctively do so when young. And yet, as you grow, you often lose that sense of self due the influence of others in you life. Parents or grandparents may attempt to steer you toward a different purpose. Or teachers may not understand what your gift truly is and dismiss it. Classmates may ridicule you for displaying you gift or, lacking understanding, they bully or pressure you to behave like everyone else.

Some of the saddest conversations I have with adults are those that reveal how they abandoned their dreams due to the opinions of others. The man who loved trees became an attorney because his parents discouraged him from a career as a forest ranger. And the woman who longed to be a ballet dancer grew too tall and too big, she was told. Both lost their way in life, disconnected from their truest selves.

Embracing Your Inner Child

The best way to discover your authentic self is to uncover that inner child, removing all the layers accumulated over the years that hid the gifts you were born with. How have you tried to fit in? Listening to others’ opinions about who you were, when did you silence your voice? What talents did you pack away, because others told you that you weren’t good enough? Pleasing others, when did you stop pleasing yourself?

Answering these questions, looking through photographs of your childhood, remembering what you loved as a child and hoped to do as an adult help you to reconnect with your authentic self. Be kind to yourself, as you dig deeper. Parent your inner child, if necessary. Practice extreme self care. Journal. And above all, wholeheartedly embrace that inner child and those gifts. Complete acceptance goes a long way toward helping you step into the person you are created to be.

Aligning with Your Sacred Self childhood
Aligning with your sacred yes – connecting with your inner child

Go Beyond Fear

While removing those accumulated layers, on the way to reconnecting with your inner child, it is common to encounter fear. Most often, in fact, the thing that keeps us from attempting that journey in the first place is the fear of what we will find.

Fear surrounds our hearts in layers as well. Keep going. Keep digging deeper. The fear of being alone is really a fear of connecting deeply with ourselves. My fear of the dark turned out to be a fear of accepting who I am and my intuitive gifts.

Once we see fear for what it really is, a form of protection, then we can face it. We don’t have to banish fear. Acknowledging it, thanking it for the protection offered and releasing it allows fear to bow and step aside.

Beyond fear, we find aspects of ourselves that we abandoned or locked away long ago. When my fear stepped aside, I found my inner child waiting, patiently. I connected again with playfulness and creativity and my desire to express myself through writing. And I recognized my intuitive abilities as gifts rather than a curse to hide away. For the first time in my life, I fully accepted myself exactly as I was, gifts, quirks and all. Doing so brought restoration and healing and alignment with my sacred yes.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes fear
Aligning with your sacred yes – releasing fear

Connect with Intuition

Although some are more so than others, everyone is intuitive. Call it instinct, gut response or a knowing, intuition is your inner guidance system.

Intuition allows us to know something directly without analytic reasoning. It creates a bridge between the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind and also between instinct and reason.

Learn to listen to your intuition. It becomes a deep knowing that goes beyond understanding, guiding you unerringly toward your purpose.

Free writing is a great way to tap into your intuition. Playing “random” games helps to build trust in your instincts. Meditation and energy work keep your energy centers open and your mind, body and spirit balanced.

Why is intuition important in aligning with your sacred yes? Because that powerful sense of instinctive knowing keeps you connected to your passions. When you know that you know, you are not easily persuaded to step out of alignment. You come to recognize what that alignment feels like, much as you know the rightness of your vertebrae lining up. Joy, peace and happiness replace uncertainty, anxiety and sadness. Moving out of alignment creates pain as a clue that something needs attention. Your intuition picks up on the subtle shifts before your emotions or body do. Pay attention to it.

I call it a disturbance in my spider sense, that feeling that something isn’t quite right in the web of reality around me. It is my signal to pause and go within and see what is pulling me out of alignment.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes intuition
Aligning with your sacred yes – intuition

Engaging Imagination

Imagination is an important part of aligning with  your sacred yes. Further defining what your unique purpose is involves following curiosity, imaginative play and creativity.

Try new things, to better understand what lights up your soul and what doesn’t. Paint, crochet, sing, travel. If somethings catches and holds your interest, continue to explore it. Writer and speaker Elizabeth Gilbert calls this the flight of the hummingbird. Hummingbirds, she says, flit from flower to flower, trying this and trying that. She shares:

“As a hummingbird person, you bring an idea from here to over here, where you learn something else and you weave it in, then you take it here to the next thing you do. Faithfully continue to follow the trail of the hummingbird and you just might look up and realize ‘I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.'”

Allow your imagination to open opportunities and bring possibilities. Play. Create many different things. Follow curiosity. Your sacred yes will appear.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes imagination
Aligning with your sacred yes – imagination

Sparking Joy

I love the phrase sparking joy, popularized by organizational expert, Marie Kondo.  When something sparks joy, it provides a little thrill of excitement. My granddaughter Aubrey called the feeling “ringing her bell” when she was tiny.

You know you are aligning with your sacred yes when you experience incredible joy. A feeling of intense pleasure and happiness, joy is a high level vibrational energy.

Joy begets gratitude. Aligning with your sacred YES invites joy and gratitude into your life, two powerful feelings akin to unconditional love.

When gratitude bubbles effortlessly from you, when “thank you” is your continual prayer, then you know you are living in alignment with your purpose. You are living as your authentic self.

As a method of confirming your sacred yes, pay attention to your feelings. What are you doing, when joy overflows your heart? What gratitudes do you express? Write them down, in a journal or your daily planner. Watch for patterns.

Are you most grateful and joyful when writing? Drawing? Baking goodies for others? Does teaching or helping others obtain greater health spark joy?

On the contrary, feelings of anxiety, dread or obligation are indicators you are moving away from your sacred yes. Of course we all have responsibilities and chores that do not spark joy. However, living a life that primarily brings those lower energy feelings reveals a life out of alignment.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes joy
Aligning with your sacred yes – what sparks joy?

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes

I hope you have a better idea of what your sacred yes is.

My life shifted dramatically, once I moved into alignment, with my outer reality matching who I am and my purpose for being here. I am aware enough that I immediately feel the difference, when something pulls me out of alignment. Rather than circumstances and situations defining me, my strong sense of self and my belief in what I am doing guides me.

As my journey continues, I gain more clarity. Living life beyond the edges is so much more than a tagline for my blog. Going beyond is what I am here to do, so that others know that they too can live life beyond the edges of their own comfort zones, limiting beliefs and fears.

Are you living in alignment with your sacred yes?

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes
Living in alignment with my Sacred Yes!  I am a Dreamer shirt available HERE.

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Where’d You Go Bernadette Movie Review

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I missed Where’d You Go Bernadette when it played at the theater. However, the preview I saw before another film stayed with me. I appreciate Cate Blanchett as an actress. And the story line intrigued me.

Last weekend I watched this enchanting film via Amazon Prime. Check out my review!

Where'd You Go Bernadette title meme

Where’d You Go Bernadette Cast

This comedy drama stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne. Richard Linklater directed Where’d You Go Bernadette and co-wrote the screenplay, based on the novel written by Maria Semple. The movie carries a PG-13 rating, for occasional strong language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

 

Where'd You Go Bernadette family
Where’d You Go Bernadette – the family

Defining Motherhood

Bernadette (Blanchett) is an involved, loving mother completely devoted to her daughter Bee (Nelson). After experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and then a premature birth, Bernadette abandons a promising career in architecture to focus on raising her daughter with husband Elgie (Crudup).

As Bee considers leaving her little family to attend prep school out east, Bernadette realizes how much she’s shunned society and how small her world has become. She’s disconnected from Elgie, who spends long hours working as a developer for Microsoft. And she’s at odds with her neighbor Audrey (Wiig) who views Bernadette as an eccentric.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Elgie
Where’d You Go Bernadette – Elgie (Billy Crudup)

Trip to Antarctica

Before Bee leaves for prep school, she convinces her parents to take her on a trip to Antarctica. Although she wants to please her daughter, Bernadette hates the idea of being around other people, especially on board a cruise ship. She turns over all travel arrangements to her virtual assistant, whom she frequently rants to, and ultimately considers staying home. The stress over the upcoming trip keeps her awake at night and on edge.

Meeting with her old college professor, Paul Jellenik (Fishburne), Bernadette pours out her feelings. Paul listens patiently and then suggests that perhaps Bernadette needs to get back to work, pursuing her passion by creating buildings. Because, it is obvious to Paul that Bernadette’s life has stalled out. The big rundown schoolhouse that Bernadette and Elgie bought, to transform into their dream home, sits partially finished. That house visually represents her life and career. They both held great promise and yet Bernadette placed them on hold.

Where'd You Go Bernadette
Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go Bernadette

Awakened

Concerned about his wife’s erratic behavior, Elgie secretly meets with a therapist and plans an intervention for Bernadette. She slips away, literally running away from home. On a whim, she heads to Antarctica alone. Discovering her whereabouts, Elgie and Bee follow.

In the Antarctic, helping a scientist take water samples, Bernadette learns that the old research station is scheduled for demolition. Her creativity stirring, Bernadette offers to design the new structure. For the first time in a very long time, Bernadette feels excited about a creative idea. Gaining acceptance as the architect isn’t guaranteed and there is her family to consider, however, Bernadette pursues her desire.

As they track her down, Elgie realizes he’s less than supportive of Bernadette. And Bee reconsiders leaving for prep school. All three discover, in their own ways, that sometimes life needs to fall apart, before a better life can come together.

Where'd You Go Bernadette hug
Group hug in Where’d You Go Bernadette

My Thoughts on Where’d You Go Bernadette

This film falls under the “quirky” category for me…and I love quirky! It is humorous. I enjoy seeing actors in different types of roles and Cate nails this performance. And yet, Where’d You Go Bernadette is so much more than a comedy.

The family dynamics seem so exemplary of many today. Distance exists between the couple. And one parent overly focuses on the child. Bernadette takes parenting to extremes, believing she must sacrifice everything else, as a show of gratitude for having a child at all.

In doing so, she completely loses the most important parts of herself. Bee’s impending departure for prep school and the discomfort of the trip to Antarctica become mirrors that show Bernadette just how much she’s disconnected, not from society and her spouse, but from herself.

And that’s the inspiring message in this film. Sacrificing yourself for your children is not as important as showing those kids how to truly live, fully and with passion. We all want our kids to live their best lives. We must model what that looks like.

Where’d you go Bernadette? Deeply inward to find yourself again. It’s a journey so worth taking.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Antarctica

Check out these other reviews of Cate Blanchett films:

Cinderella

Thor: Ragnorok

Blue Jasmine

You can find the movie and the novel by clicking on photos below:

 

Purchase or rent.

 

 

Novel

 

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Dropping Keys

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A poem by 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz, snagged my attention recently. Known as “Dropping Keys”, the poem initially halted my scrolling because of the imagery. The key is my symbol for the year, a visual representation of how curiosity unlocks doors. Whenever I see my symbol, it is an energetic tap on the shoulder to pay attention to something important.

While the original wording uses the masculine pronoun throughout the poem, the version I saw used the feminine instead, which resonated deeply with me.

Below is the short poem, Dropping Keys, and the unpacking of my thoughts about it.

Dropping Keys title meme

Dropping Keys Poem

The small woman

Builds cages for everyone

She knows,

While the Sage,

Who has to duck her head

When the moon is low,

Keeps dropping keys all night long

For the

Beautiful

Rowdy

Prisoners.

Hafiz

Those powerful words make my heart beat a little faster, every time I read them. An increased heart rate is another aspect of my personal guidance system that brings my attention to something significant. I’ve sat with this poem for several weeks, reading it daily and allowing it to speak to me.

Here is the unpacking of the meaning, for me. Perhaps the poem will connect with you as well.

Living Small Lives

The small woman builds cages for everyone she knows.

The person living small, male or female, is one who attempts to control life and others. Fear and lack of trust keep her vision blindered and her breath shallow. She can’t see that beyond the fear and distrust there is a bigger perspective, a bigger life, available.

Thus the small woman attempts to control life as best she can. To make it more manageable, she builds cages for everyone she knows. Putting people into cages isolates them, undermines their abilities and reduces their impact. It’s an attempt to keep others small, for the small person wants people to be like her.

One of the most common ways to cage another is to belittle them. Have you thought about where that word comes from? Belittle…be little…means to make someone seem small and unimportant. It’s a word Thomas Jefferson coined, that originally meant to “diminish in size”.

The small woman, or man, belittles another with labeling, manipulation and imposed limitations.

“You are too much…too stupid…not attractive enough.” “I want you to remain quiet…to please me…to learn to fit in.” “You can’t do that…you aren’t capable…you don’t belong.”

Dropping Keys cage
Dropping keys…to the caged

Living in Cages

We might grow accustomed to living in cages, for a time. There is a false sense of security there. However, whether another cages us or we build those cages ourselves, the end result is that we stop growing. The outside world keeps going while time slows down for the imprisoned.

We aren’t meant to live small, caged lives. Eventually the spirit rebels against the constraints, the smallness, and yearns for a bigger existence. Rowdiness overcomes us.

I love that word. Rowdy is a noisy and disorderly desire to overthrow restraints. Rowdiness is the soul flexing, readying itself for growth. That restlessness we see in zoo or circus animals, as they pace back and forth in their cages? That’s what the caged soul begins to do, pace in restlessness as it seeks a way out.

Rowdiness questions, tests boundaries and pushes against the smallness. The beautiful rowdy prisoner watches for a key to drop.

Dropping Keys of freedom
Dropping keys…of freedom

Freedom to Live a Bigger Life

I know what living in a cage feels like. By choice, I remained in one for many years. Fear formed the bars of my cage as I allowed others to say how I would live and what I would do or would not do. I lost my voice and my smallness nearly made me invisible.

How grateful I am, for the rowdiness that crept in as my soul bumped against the edges of beyond. How thankful I am, for the keys that dropped to me.

Authors, speakers, films, music, ordinary people living extraordinary lives…all dropped keys to me. What I found, as I at last stepped to the door of my cage, keys in hand, is that the door was never locked. The keys opened up my soul, rather than the cage. They helped me recognize the fear guarding my door. Once I named it and overcame it, the cage collapsed. It could not contain me any longer.

The beauty of leaving the cage is that growth happens immediately. And that growth continues, as long as we remain aware of the callings within us. We can’t return to that cage, ever. We’ve outgrown it. We don’t fit anymore.

Dropping Keys unlocked door
Dropping keys…the door was never locked.

Becoming the Sage

While the Sage, who has to duck her head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.

In contrast to the small woman who cages, the sage frees those beautiful rowdy prisoners.

A sage is one who gains wisdom through reflection and experience. She’s lived enough life to figure out who she is and why she is here, and she’s busted out of that cage that kept her small.

The sage grows, sees with a bigger perspective and lives in an expansive way. She’s found her voice, found her purpose, discovered her passions and banished her fears. The sage doesn’t care what others think of her or say about her, and she never, ever allows another to cage her again.

As she journeys, the sage drops keys of freedom by fully existing as her wild, raw and beautiful self, showing the caged that life is so much bigger than that which constrains them. She uses her voice and creates art, music, poems, books, blog posts and films that stir the soul into rowdiness.

She is unapologetic about who she is and where she is going. Is she perfect? No, she is still growing and learning and following curiosity. But she is free. And that spirit of freedom is contagious. It too, is a key.

This is Your Key

If life feels small to you…if your soul is stirring and longing for something bigger to embrace…consider this post your key. The door to the cage isn’t locked…however, grasping the key gives you hope to hold on to as it propels you beyond.

I’ve realized recently that the whole concept of “going beyond”, that I’ve been given, is part of my purpose here on earth. I’m called to go beyond, and in doing so, I’m instructed to take others with me. Or rather, I’m called to set others free, so they can find their own way beyond…fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Go and live a big life, as the one you are created to be.

Does this make me a sage? Maybe. It is a role that is new to me and yet one I’ve been journeying toward for a while. Journey now with me, for as long as you want. There is a big, wide existence for all of us to explore and experience.

Dropping Keys sage
Dropping keys…a sage in a tartan.

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Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and 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.

In spite of unique and challenging life circumstances, the spring season is well underway. And with the month of April comes the holiday that celebrates rebirth and newness of life. I took time today to shift my spring vignettes. Following that old adage, something old and something new, I freshened my spaces for Easter.

Check out how the following areas transitioned, decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated title meme

The Dining Room Table

I have a small round dining table that is never used for meals. Instead, the cheerful little table holds various vignettes throughout the year. I walk by that table multiples times a day and the decor there brightens the room and my heart.

For Easter, I created a simple table setting. On a neutral woven runner, Easter themed plates anchored either end. My favorite wire cloches cover yellow ceramic baskets filled with artificial speckled eggs.

In the middle of the table rests my vintage wooden sieve. It makes a great container to create vignettes within. The black metal lantern from Decocrated is the focal piece. While at the grocery store today, stocking up on what I could, I saw a beautiful display of potted hydgrangeas. I love how even in the midst of grocery scarcity and concern about a pandemic, beauty can pierce the heart. Two of those small potted plants went into my basket. The light blue hydrangea rests within the lantern.

Vintage Easter

I switched out the Decocrated print in the 5X7 frame to another included in the spring box. It proclaims, “Love every little thing you do”. Spring flowers surround the words, creating a charming print.

The vintage pieces I added are from my mother-in-law’s Easter collection. the little chick egg holder, unknown age but at least 40 years old, holds a pale blue speckled egg. And Mom Moore made the cute ceramic bunny in 1961, making him almost 60 years old.

This Easter vignette makes me smile and reminds me of my sweet mother-in-law, who passed away 21 years ago.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated table
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – dining room table

Shelf Top

Also in the dining room is the bookcase that holds decor rather than books. The top shelf changes seasonally and the whole bookcase gets a makeover at Christmas time.

The wood and wire box, stood on its side, remains, along with the trio of ceramic trees from the Decocrated winter box. Tucked into the box is a spring candle ring layered behind a pink ceramic pot filled with more speckled eggs.

On the other end of the shelf, the Decocrated spring print, by artist Kelly Merkur, shares space with a vintage brass basket holding those adorable speckled eggs and one of the gold canisters from the Decocrated spring tabletop set. Beneath these vignettes is the pillow cover from the winter box, flipped to the rose colored side.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated shelf top
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – shelf top

Entry Table

And finally, the little chippy entry table transitioned into Easter as well.

Top Shelf

The gold tabletop set remains, however everything else changed. Covering the table is a hooked runner, created by my cousin Mindy, who journeyed on to heaven in 2015. Atop the runner is the tray from the Decocrated winter box. It holds the gold set with artificial flowers and a small white candle. And the second hydrangea that I purchased, in a delicate peachy pink color, takes up the other corner of the tray. Nestled against the base of the plant is a vintage ceramic bunny, sporting a spring wreath around its neck.

I love the cozy warmth of this vignette.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated tabletop
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – tabletop

Lower Shelf

On the table shelf below, the sign from the winter box remains, now keeping company with two vintage pieces, a bunny shaped bell and bunny candle holder. And the gorgeous plate that completes the vignette only comes out of safekeeping for a brief time in the spring. On the back of the plate important information tells a sweet love story. Walter Davidson, Greg’s grandfather, gave the plate to his future bride, Ada, shortly before their wedding in 1905. In fact, it was the first gift he ever gave her.

How that plate survived over the years, and through many, many moves, is beyond me. I am grateful to have it and very careful with it.

Easter Vignettes lower shelf
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – lower shelf

The Decocrated Spring Box

It’s not too late to create spring or Easter vignettes, using your own decor pieces and Decocrated. The boxes arrive four times a year, with the change of seasons. Each box is filled with six to eight wonderfully crafted pieces that mix well with any decorating style. (Read more about this subscription box company in this post.)

And best of all, the Decorated boxes come right to your front door. You too can create vignettes, that tell your unique stories.

Click this link for the Decocrated spring box, and use this discount code for 10% off the price of your first box: CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10

During this time of uncertainty and sheltering in place at home, I love creating these visual reminders that spring brings the hope of renewal and the promise of new life. That’s the story I want told in my house.

Angel the Cat
Angel looks at me like, “Really, Mom? Decorating again?”

 

 

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Creating Spring Vignettes 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.

Here in the Midwest, spring is fickle, showing up warm and pleasant one day and giving the cold shoulder the next. Additionally, many people are sheltering in place, to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, limiting traditional spring activities.

The good news is, we can welcome the season into our homes by creating spring vignettes with Decocrated. With this subscription box company, spring is delivered, literally, to our front doors.

For more information about Decocrated Curated Home, check out my recent review. And then discover the versatility of decorating with the spring Decocrated pieces.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated title meme

The Spring Curated Home

Decocrated staff works year around, researching trends, watching HGTV and scrolling through Pinterest, curating the best in home decor so that their clients look like decorating pros. Subscription boxes ship out at the beginning of each season, offering fresh decor pieces to incorporate into any decorating style. Each season’s pieces mix well with previous boxes and items you already own.

The spring collection is built around a palette of dusty blues and soft blushes, with accent colors of green, black and gold. It’s the perfect transition from the cozy colors of winter to the soft stirrings of spring.

Spring’s featured artist is Kelly Merkur. Kelly believes that femininity and strength coexist beautifully and she draws inspiration from that truth. Color is an important element of her work and she enjoys creating art through experimentation without restriction.

Kelly Merkur Spring Decocrated Artist
Kelly Merkur Decocrated Spring Artist

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated

My home is more than 120 years old. Over the years we’ve updated portions of it, adding central heat and air, opening up rooms and building a front deck. However, the house retains its vintage charm. The ceilings are high, the windows huge and the original wood floors bear the marks of time.

My decorating style is eclectic, a combination of farmhouse, modern and vintage. I absolutely love combining pieces in fresh and interesting ways, creating vignettes that tell stories.

Decocrated perfectly supports my decorating style. Opening each box is a delight as I pull pieces out and oooooh and aaaaah over them. My creativity fires up as I mentally sort through what I already own, imagining a variety of fun combinations.

Using items from the Decocrated spring box, I focused on three primary areas: the entry table, the armoire and chair next to the entry table and a top shelf on a bookcase.

Entry Table Spring Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – the entry table

The Entry Table

Beneath a 1914 E. Ingraham pendulum clock, that works only when it wants to, rests my little entry way table.

Top Shelf

The small chippy table next to my front door is fun to decorate. I change the decor on its two surfaces at least six times a year, in accordance with seasons, holidays and my mood.

For this season of rebirth, I began by using the pillow cover from the winter Decocrated box as my foundation. The flip side of the cover is a plain, deep rose color, perfect for the pieces from the spring box.

The abstract framed art piece from Decocrated is the focal point with its vibrant colors. I added a couple of my own books, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Books make excellent risers, stacking to create height. I chose these two books for their soft colors, which match the print well. And, I smiled when I realized both books contain the word “magic” in their titles. Perfect.

A small vintage brass basket filled with speckled eggs rests atop the books.

The gold tabletop organizational set from Decocrated completes the vignette. Perfect for sorting artist brushes and pencils, organizing office supplies or holding flower buds, the set is versatile. Separate the pieces or group them together. I used three of the canisters in the tray, adding artificial flowers and a white candle.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated table top
Table top vignette

Lower Shelf

For the lower shelf on my chippy table, Decocrated’s metal lantern with a black finish anchors the vignette. Dress this piece up with floral picks or down with a simple candle. I added a white pillar candle and a playful candle ring.

The fourth gold canister from the tabletop set finds a home on the lower shelf. I dropped a sprig of artificial flowers into it. And the tabletop sign from the winter box completes this vignette. The opposite side features a cozy winter print. This side simply states, “there may be no thing greater than a life well loved.” What a great daily reminder.

Beneath the vignette a vintage doily covers the shelf.

Lower Shelf Spring Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – lower shelf

The Wooden Chair and Armoire

Next to the entry table, and wedged into a corner between two long windows, is a large wooden armoire. It features various drawers and shelves, one of which holds a television. A vintage wooden chair props open one of the armoire doors.

The Decocrated spring box contains a burlap tote, with the words “It’s what’s inside that counts” printed on it. I love it! For the past year I’ve consciously reduced plastic use. This roomy bag is perfect for toting groceries home from the store or holding my laptop and vast assortment of notebooks, pens and journals when I’m on the go again. It means a lot to plant based me that the bag is fashioned from sturdy burlap and a faux leather strap.

I hung the burlap bag from the top of the armoire door. Grouped on the wooden chair beneath the bag is my straw gardening hat, and a pillow sporting a teal blue cover. Decocrated provides two such pillow covers in the spring box. A standard 16″ or 20″ pillow insert fits within each cover.

The other teal blue pillow found a place among small pillows topping an old folded quilt, in my grandfather’s WWII army trunk. I moved that rusty trunk in front of the armoire during the holidays and I’ve left it there for now.

I enjoy looking at this whole area, seated across the room in my favorite chair. The flow of colors and textures appeals to me and I appreciate how the Decocrated pieces blend with my own. And, that bag is easily grabbed on my way out the door, making it practical as well as decorative.

Armoire Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – armoire and vintage wooden chair

Bookcase Shelf

This three shelf bookcase, in the dining room, holds very few books. I commandeered it from Greg a couple of years ago, removing the books so I could create more vignettes on the shelves. I rearrange these shelves with the seasons and holidays, as I do most surfaces in my house.

Currently the lower two shelves hold travel related items. The top shelf switched over to a playful spring vignette, featuring items from the winter and spring Decocrated boxes.

Included in the spring box are two 4″x6″ prints. One is double sided, with “Live in Color” printed on the abstract side and on the other, an artistic heart with “Home is Where My Heart Is”. The welcome postcard also doubles as a cute print.

I framed the “Live in Color” print and tucked it into a rustic wood and metal tray, stood on its side. Greg makes these and they are so cute! The trio of ceramic trees, from the Decocrated winter box shares space perfectly with the print. I love those trees and intend to use them throughout the year.

The Decocrated magnetic chalkboard is fun and practical. It’s accompanied by six colorful art magnets that perfectly secure note cards, shopping lists, or photos. For the spring vignette, the board has a home on the top shelf of the bookcase. The “Love Every Little Thing You Do” postcard inspires me, as do the two artist cards from my trip to Edinburgh.

I’ll be moving the board into my creative studio soon, where it will keep me organized with notes, inspirational quotes and dates to remember.

Completing this spring vignette is a rustic wooden birdhouse and two bright red ceramic birds. A simple red and white linen defines the space.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated bookcase shelf
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – bookcase shelf

Get Your Decocrated Spring Box

I enjoyed creating these spring vignettes with Decocrated. The pieces are so versatile and work well with any decorating style. I love that I can keep using them, season by season, incorporating new Decocrated items with the ones I have. Plus, I can include my own decor pieces and vintage finds just as easily. Stay tuned for Easter vignettes, featuring vintage holiday pieces and Decocrated spring decor.

It’s so simple to receive Decorated subscription boxes, right to your door. You too can create your own vignettes, that tell your unique stories.

Click this link for the Decocrated spring box, and use this discount code for 10% off the price of your first box: CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10

I’d love to see what you create!

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated pillows

 

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The App That Helps Your Life Shine

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

Thank you to SHINE for gifting me the premium Shine App for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Apps are available for everything. Need help planning meals, selling used clothes, entertaining the kids, learning a new language? There’s an app for that.

When I received an email with an invitation to experience the Shine app, the subject line caught my attention.

New Year’s Goals? This top-rated app makes you 3x more likely to achieve them.

This is a life shifting year for me. My goals are BIG. My goals are many! If there’s an app that offers a greater likelihood of reaching those goals, I’m all in.

There is one. Let me introduce you to the app that helps your life Shine!

The App That Helps Your Life Shine title meme

Meet the Founders

Shine was founded in New York in 2016 by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi. Marah and Naomi met at work and decided to create the Shine app after experiencing the benefits of supporting and encouraging each other through the stress and anxiety that can accompany life. They believe in making support for mental and emotional health available and easily accessible for all.

Their creation is built around the additional belief that we are stronger when we take care of ourselves, together. Today Shine’s global community numbers more than 4 million individuals in 189 countries. It is the largest and most diverse group of people practicing daily self care.

I have the powers
The app that helps your life shine – affirmations

What Does the Shine App Do?

Shine is for anyone who desires inspiration on a daily basis. The app supports mental and emotional health and offers encouragement for reaching goals, practicing self love and self care and forming new habits that shift mindset, all in a non-judgmental way. This isn’t a kick in the butt approach. Rather, it is a let us walk alongside each other journey.

With Shine receive daily self care strategies, support from a diverse community and access to an audio library of 500+ original meditations, bedtime stories and soothing music to help lower stress and anxiety.

The App That Helps Your Life Shine
The app that helps your life shine – question of the day

Shine App Details

Here’s what you need to know about the app:

Availability and Pricing

Find Shine in the App Store for iOS or in Google Play Store for Android.

Shine is free to download and offers two memberships: free and Shine Premium. The cost for Shine Premium is $53.99 for a year membership or $11.99 for a monthly one.

The Free Membership Benefits

  • read the Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • discuss questions with the community
  • listen to a Daily Shine episode
  • log a gratitude daily
  • listen to free meditations throughout the week
  • explore free offerings in the library such as morning, afternoon and evening quick hitters

Shine Premium Benefits

  • read Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • full access to 500+ audio tracks in the library including meditations, music and bedtime stories
  • log your mood each day and receive recommended content based on how you are feeling
  • save favorite messages and meditations to build your own tool kit
  • real time advice
  • receive an invitation to join the Shine Squad, a private invite-only community, to deepen connections and get real time support

Learn more and download the app by visiting this LINK

The App That Helps Your Life Shine intention
The app that helps your life shine – intentions

My Experience with the App that Helps Your Life Shine

I’ll start by saying, I love this app. It is perfectly in alignment with who I am and who I am becoming. It doesn’t require huge chunks of time to incorporate the app into my daily life. The exercises, meditations and audios are all under 10 minutes.

I appreciate the daily check in feature which asks what I want to focus on, allows me to write out a gratitude and supports me by offering a post to read or an audio to listen to. There are weekly challenges to take part in, if I so desire, discussion questions that connect me to the community and affirmations and meditations to support me on my journey.

Today featured articles and audios on growth, learning styles and giving myself permission to experience a learning curve, if necessary. It was the perfect way to start my busy day!

This afternoon I listened to the Midday Mood audio. It guided me through movements and breathing exercises that grounded me and energized me for the rest of the day.

Tonight I’ll listen to Evening Vibes to calm my brain and soothe me toward sleep. All of these are included in the free membership. I can also listen to a bedtime story, ambient music or a meditation as part of the Shine Premium membership.

The app is helping me reach my goals by supporting who I am exactly where I am on my journey, encouraging me to be kind and patient with myself and giving me the mindset tools I need to succeed in life and in business.

The Daily Shine
The Daily Shine

Try Out This Amazing App

Are you looking for a simple yet highly effective way to receive support and encouragement on a daily basis? Do you appreciate the convenience of an app on your phone? Then the Shine App is for you. Give the free membership a try. Or jump right in and receive access to the vast library of helpful materials.

Let the app that helps your life shine assist you in broadcasting your light for all to see. The world needs your great heart and your bright light. Imagine what we can all do, shining brillianty together.

Shine App Logo

From your computer download the Shine App HERE.

On your cell phone go HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower?

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Am I the only one who wonders this? Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Seriously, the majority of my big ideas, my creative ideas and solutions to challenges come to me as I shower. Is it the flow of water? Is it the solitude? Or am I imagining a connection?

Allowing curiosity to guide me, I researched to discover the answer to my question. As it turns out, there are reasons why creativity sparks while we shower.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower title meme

Creating an Environment for Creativity

Several factors come together in the shower, creating the perfect environment for flashes of creativity, ahas and problem solving.

I’ve noticed that there are four scenarios that ramp up the creative sections of my brain. Ranking them from least likely to spark creativity to most likely, they are:

  • driving alone in the car
  • when I’m in the alpha state between sleep and wakefulness, and similarly, when I’m in a relaxed, meditative state
  • walking in nature, alone
  • showering

The commonalities between those scenarios are solitude, no distractions, a relaxed state of mind and genuine happiness. Take away any of those factors and I am much less likely to come up with something clever or profound.

That’s why driving in the car is less conducive to creativity. On a gorgeous day, when traffic is light, my music is playing and I don’t have pressing appointments or a need for speed, my mind generates wonderful ideas. Throw in heavy rain, backed up traffic and urgency and I get nothing. In fact, I’m so focused on driving or weather conditions that music is a distraction that must be silenced.

And that is another consideration. The more intensely we focus on creativity or coming up with solutions, the more evasive they might become.

We’ve all experienced trying to remember a name or wracking our brains for information that eludes us. We give up and go into the kitchen to bake cupcakes and suddenly, 15 minutes later, the name or the info pops into our heads. When we stop trying so hard, what we seek surfaces.

Here are the reasons a shower helps as well.

Creativity

Solitude in the Shower

Admittedly, we are not always alone in the shower. It’s no surprise that creativity tends to avoid us during shared showers. However, showering alone creates the first step in ramping up creativity.

There’s no one else to listen to, tend to, carry on conversations with. We can sing if we feel like it, talk to ourselves or simply savor the silence. Alone we disconnect from everyone and everything else for a few minutes, except for the spray of hot water and the routine of shampooing hair and scrubbing skin.

Additionally, while showering we are not scrolling through Facebook or answering texts or posting to Instagram. Our outer world narrows down while our inner awareness and consciousness expands, creating the perfect incubator for fresh ideas.

And in that shower stall, we are less likely to encounter distractions.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Solitude creates space for creativity to emerge.

Free From Distractions

The small shower space insulates us from the outside world for a short time. Distractions that shift our attention disappear. This frees the mind to roam and flit from idea to idea, which is a great way to birth something amazing. Free from distractions, the brain gathers thoughts and ideas and connects them in interesting new ways.

The subconscious that busied itself problem solving can surface as the mind wanders, bringing solutions into awareness for consideration.

And the shower is an excellent location for daydreaming.  It’s the perfect time to wonder “what if?” and follow curiosity to see where it leads. With no one to judge our thoughts or ridicule our ideas, we can dream big and relax into the realm of unlimited possibilities.

No Distractions
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? No distractions.

A Relaxed State of Mind

The sound and warmth of the water, the clean scent of shampoo and the simple routine of showering soothe the mind into a relaxed state. The prefrontal cortex…the brain’s command center for decisions, goals and behavior…relaxes, clearing away old thought pathways while creating new ones.

Ideas arise that the conscious mind might otherwise dismiss. Crazy ideas, outrageous flashes of creativity and huge, scary possibilities form. The more we open to the “what ifs”, the bigger the ideas get.

I personally believe that the flow of water contributes to generating ideas while we are in a relaxed state of mind. Flowing water surrounds us in positive energy. It’s why the ocean inspires and waterfalls energize. In that small shower space, with water flowing over us, the mind that is open and relaxed is receptive to creativity.

When we are relaxed the brain responds by increasing the happiness factor.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower relaxation
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We experience a relaxed state of mind.

Increased Happiness

While it’s not the strongest source of creativity, higher levels of happiness do spark creativity. Warm, relaxing showers encourage the brain to release the feel-good happiness hormone, dopamine. The more dopamine flowing through us, the more creative we become.

Dopamine also triggers alpha waves that ripple through the brain. They appear to increase creativity levels. And as a bonus, that blast of dopamine creates euphoria. When we are euphoric, we feel like we can pursue and develop creative ideas, even the wilds ones that push us beyond our comfort zones.

Happiness
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We feel happy.

Capturing Creative Ideas

I love that the idea for this post came to me in the shower. The questions that accompanied the idea activated curiosity, which led me to answers.

It’s important to act on the ideas we receive. Muse loves an active partner to co-create with. Capture ideas and look through them often, expanding on them until one takes hold and compels action.

My favorite form of keeping track of ideas is a simple notebook. I fill pages with all manner of creative ideas. As they develop and become goals or intentions, I transfer them into my planner and add them to digital vision boards.

I also use the voice dictation feature on my phone to capture ideas when I’m driving and the notes app is handy too. A small journal on my bedside table allows me to jot down ideas that arrive in the middle of the night.

Researching for this post, I discovered a wonderful item called Aqua Notes. These waterproof notepads with pens mount in the shower! Never lose a wonderful idea again.

Barry Kaufman, a cognitive scientist and co-author of “Wired to Create” , found during a study that 72% of the population receive creative ideas in the shower.

I am in that 72%. Are you? What’s the best creative idea you’ve had while showering?

 

Click on image to order your Aqua Notepad!

 

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Developing a Curiosity Mindset

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Curiosity, the strong desire to learn something, is a worthy trait to develop. Perhaps because curiosity is my word for the year, or perhaps because I’m naturally a curious person, my thoughts often turn to this characteristic.

Why is curiosity an excellent companion for life’s journey?

What a great question! It reveals a curious mind. Read on to learn the answer and for tips on developing a curiosity mindset.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset title meme

Why Develop Curiosity?

Curiosity is considered a genius trait. Many inventors, artists and creatives, such as Einstein and da Vinci, exhibit intelligence combined with insatiable curiosity. Is curiosity limited to a few?

No, we can develop the sense of curiosity all of us enjoyed as children. We are born, curious. Watch a child at play or listen to them, asking myriad questions. Curiosity is part of our nature.

Why, as adults, is it important to reconnect with curiosity and develop it?

  • Curiosity keeps the mind active and sharp. Asking questions, seeking answers and exploring new ideas all expand reasoning abilities, perspectives and awareness.
  • The brain signals the release of dopamine, a feel good chemical, when we encounter new experiences. We feel happier when following curiosity. And curious people experience positive emotions more frequently, greater satisfaction with life and lower levels of anxiety .
  • Curiosity increases powers of observation. The brain makes new pathways as we gather information and connect it in fresh ways. Not surprisingly, curiosity also fosters learning and academic achievement.
  • Adventures are born when we follow curiosity to see where it leads. And it opens doors to amazing possibilities. A life lived with a curiosity mindset is fun, exciting and never dull.
Developing a Curiosity Mindset Adventures
Blessed are the curious, for they will have adventures. Dayan in Paris.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset

Try these suggestions for developing a curiosity mindset.

Say Yes, Instead of No

Something happens to us as adults. Growing up, many of us lose the sense of adventure we once enjoyed, when an opportunity arises. It is too easy to quickly reply no when something new presents itself or we want to be careful and weigh all the pros and cons.

Try saying yes more often. Instead of overthinking opportunities or playful creative projects, say yes and see what happens. Yes opens us up to receive more. Yes frees us. Saying no stops action and closes us down.

Of course certain situations require a negative answer. However, answer with a yes as often as you can and life will shift, dramatically.

Play

One of the most important traits I’ve reconnected with in the last ten years is the ability to play. Playing lightens moods, boosts creativity and sparks curiosity. It is no surprise that children engage so frequently in make believe while they play. They are acting out of curiosity and learning while playing.

Color, draw and paint. Get out the board games or better yet, make up new games to play. Use imagination to make believe. Stumped for ideas? Watch children at play and take notes!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Play
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – play. During my outrageous birthday activities, I spent the night in a blanket tent in my office. It was fun!

Stay Open

One of my favorite mantras is “open to everything, attached to nothing”. A closed mind, heart or perspective severely limits curiosity. If we think we know everything already, we have no need for curiosity. An open mind and heart naturally question and then seek answers. When we remain unattached to outcomes as we question and seek, our curiosity can lead us far indeed.

So many of my adventures and playful games ignite my curiosity and lead me to exciting discoveries. A good example is the 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday. I’m still reaping extraordinary benefits from following curiosity as I enjoyed new experiences.

Wonderment

Staying open inspires wonderment. And wonder, in turn, births the desire to discover. Ask why, how, who, when, what if and I wonder what would happen if I did this? A curious mind generates an endless sense of wonderment about the world, the universe, ourselves, other people and those BIG questions about existence and purpose.

Allow curiosity to fuel wonderment and then go where the questions lead. Recently I took a jump rocket to my grandchildren to try out, for a brand. It was simple fun, jumping on the pump to launch the rocket into the air. The kids enjoyed seeing how high they could make the rocket go. What I love most is that after I left, two of the kids continued to play, adapting the launch sequence, making their own rocket and creating a funny video to showcase their work. What a fine example of curiosity driven wonderment!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Wonder
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Wonderment

Read Widely and Watch a Variety of Films

We all enjoy favorite genres in books and movies. Developing a curiosity mindset is furthered by expanding reading and viewing selections beyond the usual. If you typically read fiction, switch to non-fiction for the next book. If comedies are your favorite, try a documentary or a sci-fi film.

Moving away from the usual sparks curiosity by capturing interest or creating a desire to know more. Watching a historical drama always leads me to Google. Curiosity compels me to fact check and see if that amazing scene has any historical truth to it. And that in turn may lead me to a book at the library about the topic. I love the trails I follow, chasing after curiosity. There’s no telling how far it will go and what I will learn.

Try New Experiences

Don’t be afraid to try many experiences as you journey through life. Dabble in this. Take a class in that. Flit from art medium to art medium. There are certainly times to focus on one thing. Just don’t limit yourself and stay there too long. We create ruts when we do the same things, in the same ways, for a long time. Boredom sets in. Creativity is stifled. We lose interest.

Trying new experiences is what launched my blogging journey in 2014 and how grateful I am.  I continue to allow curiosity to guide my writing and my life.

Are you curious about painting? Gardening? Deep sea diving? Experience whatever you wonder about. If you love it, stay with it. If you don’t love it, no harm done. Move on.

Try New Experiences
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Try New Things
Jonathan acted in plays and sang in musicals. Now he plays the sax in the band. And, that’s not the first instrument he tried. Don’t be afraid to try many things.

Go Beyond

The sentence that currently shapes my life is this one: Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. It’s become the tag line for my Cindy Goes Beyond blog.

Going beyond is the path to greater curiosity. Fear stops so many things, including creativity and curiosity. Limiting beliefs keep us stuck in patterns from our pasts. And comfort zones…those keep us safe, we think, and dull. If we are afraid to go beyond what we know, then we won’t make it past that self imposed boundary.

Replace fears and judgments with curiosity.

Allow curiosity a trial run. Follow it in a new direction that begins with the question “what if?” and see where you end up. When you feel uncomfortable, pause, consider why the discomfort is there, and then go slightly beyond it.

Here’s an example: You eat the same foods all the time. Curiosity taps you on the shoulder and you wonder what a dragon fruit tastes like. Comfort Zone tells you not to bother. You don’t know how to prepare a dragon fruit and you probably won’t like it anyway. Curiosity beckons. Going beyond means watching a YouTube video about cutting up the fruit, making a purchase and creating a dragon fruit smoothie, which you love. Curiosity says, “I wonder what else we could try?”. And off you go, on another new adventure. Those adventures don’t ever have to stop.

Follow Curiosity When it Beckons

Following curiosity is one of my favorite life experiences. I don’t usually know where the path goes after it disappears around the bend and what I’ll encounter along the way. How freeing it is not to know. Having to know everything before you go, stops you from ever going.

Developing a curiosity mindset means following curiosity, whether it is to Google, into nature, to the library or to another country. Trust. Follow. Explore. You will discover treasures.

Following curiosity
Following curiosity leads to discovering treasures, such as this painted rock.

Travel

Travel is following curiosity on a big scale. Going beyond your neighborhood, your town, your state or your country to explore new places is a life changing experience.

Seeing the way other people live, tasting new foods, hearing a different accent, dialect or language, feeling the sun on your skin on the other side of the world expands the heart and mind in massive ways. I believe that travel enriches our lives, increases wonderment and creates empathy for others.

And travel is addictive.

Curiosity whispers to me constantly and points toward a distant land. I want to follow. I desire to go beyond my boundaries. Staying open and unattached, I take step after step beyond the edges, with travel as my lofty goal.

Are You Developing a Curiosity Mindset?

When I realized curiosity was my word for 2020, I expressed great delight. I’ve always been a curious person, although for many years fear kept me caged. That is no longer true. I love following curiosity and going ever beyond, growing and shifting into the person I am  meant to be, one adventure, one experience at a time. This year is already taking me far beyond. There truly is no telling how far I’ll go! Listen to my song for this year, to get that reference.

Are you a curious person? How are you developing a curiosity mindset?

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Travel
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Travel. At Heathrow Airport, London, England.

Check out these books on curiosity:

 


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JoJo Rabbit Movie Review

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

During the weeks leading up to the 92nd Academy Awards, I enjoyed watching all of the Best Picture nominated films. Nine outstanding films offered nine important messages about society, determination, war, peace, acceptance and inclusion. For a brief summary of each worthy film and to discover which one won the Oscar, in case you don’t know, read my post Best Picture Winner.

I found truths to appreciate about all nine films. Joker impacted me the greatest, with its bleak portrayal of a man struggling to find his place in society. This film though, JoJo Rabbit, really pulled me in to the story and stayed with me. So much so, that I want to share a more in-depth review.

This is a spoiler free review of the unique film, JoJo Rabbit, an anti-hate satire that uses dark humor to pierce the heart, and lodge there.

JoJo Rabbit title meme 2

JoJo Rabbit Cast

This history inspired drama, with comedic overtones, stars Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johannson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant and Archie Yates.

The screenplay, written by Taika Waititi, was inspired by the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film received five more Academy nominations, including Best Picture. JoJo Rabbit carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate profanity, intense scenes and mild violence, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

JoJo Rabbit JoJo and Yorkie
Best friends, JoJo and Yorkie
Imaginary friend
JoJo Rabbit and his imaginary friend.

JoJo’s Big Dream

Ten year old JoJo Betzler (Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Johannson) in a little town in Germany during WWII. His father is absent, fighting in another country, leaving JoJo the little man of the house while his mother works to provide for them.

Often left on his own, JoJo longs for connection and a cause to fight for. More than anything, this earnest and patriotic boy wants a place in Hitler’s Nazi army. He idolizes the Fuhrer so much that Adolf (Waititi) appears as JoJo’s imaginary friend. JoJo poses his many questions to Hitler and in return, the Fuhrer offers advice and commentary on the boy’s life, cheering him on when necessary.

And it is often necessary. JoJo and his best friend Yorki (Yates) dwell on the fringes when they attend a training camp for Hitler youth. Led by Captain Klezendorf (Rockwell), his second in command Finkel (Allen) and Fraulein Rahm (Wilson) the camp employs unusual techniques to teach their young comrades obedience, loyalty and intolerance.

Although JoJo strives for excellence, the older boys torment him. He earns the nickname, JoJo Rabbit, when he refuses to kill a rabbit on command. After he runs off into the woods, Hitler appears to offer a pep talk. He tells JoJo that rabbits possess excellent qualities such as speed and sends the boy sprinting back into camp.

JoJo leaps into the circle of boys as Captain Klezendorf holds aloft a live grenade. Full of adrenaline fueled courage, JoJo grabs the grenade and dashes off with it, barely tossing it before it explodes. That’s the end of youth camp for JoJo, who returns home to recover from his serious injuries.

JoJo Rabbit mother and son
The bond between mother and son.

The Secret Upstairs

JoJo recovers slowly from the accident, which leaves him with scars on his face and a limp. Feeling he’s ugly now, the lonely boy seeks seclusion at home. Even Hitler’s chats don’t cheer him up.

Rosie uses humor and a mother’s love to pull her son out of his isolation. They ride bicycles and take long walks together. She attempts to broaden his perspective by speaking truthfully about the war efforts.

“The Reich is dying. We’re going to lose the war and then what are you going to do, hmm? Life is a gift. We must celebrate it. We have to dance to show God we are grateful to be alive.”

At home alone one day, JoJo hears suspicious noises upstairs. Stealthily tracking down the sounds, he pauses outside his sister’s room. She passed away recently. Her bedroom remains untouched. Unexpectedly, JoJo discovers a young woman, Elsa (McKenzie) secreted away behind a false wall. Hidden there by Rosie, JoJo is shocked to learn Elsa is Jewish.

Everything JoJo learned about the Jewish race appears to be wrong. Elsa doesn’t have horns or evil intentions. Although he and Hitler plot to get rid of her initially, JoJo decides to write a book about the Jewish people, with Elsa supplying the information. The more the boy learns from Elsa, the more confused he becomes. She seems nice. And like him, she spends a great deal of time alone. A friendship blossoms between them.

When the gestapo shows up at the house, led by Captain Deertz (Merchant), JoJo no longer wants to rid himself of Elsa. Instead, like his mother, he seeks to protect her. How much longer will they be able to do so? And at what risk?

JoJo Rabbit group meeting

Elsa
Elsa, living life hidden away.

My Thoughts on JoJo Rabbit

I attended the viewing for this film with no idea of the story line, beyond the Germany setting during WWII. In fact, it’s likely I would have missed this movie had it not received a Best Picture nomination, deeming it “not my style of film”. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to change my opinion.

This is a quirky, oddly hilarious at times, completely heart-warming film with amazing portrayals by a talented cast. I can’t praise it enough. From the strange relationship between JoJo and Hitler to the tender one between mother and son to the growing friendship between German boy and Jewish girl, this movie captivated me. I laughed and I teared up. And at one point I wanted to wail with sorrow. While JoJo Rabbit appears lighthearted on the surface, it impacts the heart deeply and it broadens the mind.

I love Waititi’s brilliance as a screenplay writer, director and actor. He moved me and unsettled me. I eager anticipate anything else he creates.

JoJo Rabbit Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi is from New Zealand.

The Takeaway

The scene that I cannot forget is near the end of the movie. The town is under attack as the war draws to a close. Fraulein Rahm thrusts rifles into the hands of young boys with these instructions: “Shoot anyone that doesn’t look like us.”

I can’t forget that line. Shoot anyone…kill anyone…that doesn’t look like us. One can easily substitute other words. Ridicule anyone…ignore anyone…bully anyone…attempt to control anyone…hurt anyone…shame anyone…that doesn’t look like us.

With a single line Waititi powerfully reminds us of what it means to be human and to love humanity, whether they look like us, like me, like you, or not. Movies like JoJo Rabbit give me hope that we are growing, and can continue to, even though we have a long journey yet ahead.

Let me know if you’ve seen this unforgettable film and share your thoughts.

JoJo Rabbit anti hate satire
An anti-hate satire

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Making Kindness the Norm

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February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Random Acts of Kindness Day originated in New Zealand in 2004.

The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the global need for kindness. This unique holiday encourages us to practice kindness in random ways with friends, family, strangers and animals.

The Foundation’s mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. This is the Foundation’s Random Acts of Kindness Week with the theme of Making Kindness the Norm.

I love the emphasis on kindness, defined as expressing friendliness, generosity and consideration. And I appreciate that practicing kindness is not limited to one day out of the year. Consider making kindness the norm every day, with these tips.

Making Kindness the Norm title meme

Kindness Provides Health Benefits

This morning I followed curiosity down an interesting trail. Aware of Random Acts of Kindness Day, I wondered if expressing kindness towards others offers any health benefits to the giver. It does!

Kindness and empathy help us to relate better to others and develop positive connections with family, friends, animals and even total strangers that we encounter. Beyond improving relationships, kindness can make us healthier in these ways:

  • releases the “feel good” hormone serotonin
  • eases anxiety and boosts self esteem
  • releases the hormone oxytocin, which benefits heart health by lowering blood pressure
  • reduces stress by helping us get outside our own lives while we focus on others
  • produces oxytocin which also lowers inflammation in the body, a condition linked to disease
  • prolongs life by helping to strengthen relationships, which in turn supports heart health and positively raises mental outlook

We don’t practice kindness to create better health. We practice kindness to better the lives of others, in small and large ways. The health benefits are a wonderful “perk”! Energetically, what you put out into the world flows back to you. Kindness does good and produces good in the body.

Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm Now
Making Kindness the Norm…Now

Making Kindness the Norm

Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website  for lots of activities that promote kindness. They offer a fun challenge that promotes kindness as the norm at home and in communities. The challenge involves completing a series of kindness activities to fill in 60 hearts. Activities are worth one, two or three hearts, depending on how challenging they are.

Activities include random acts of kindness, writing prompts, self care and even coloring pages.

“Imagine a world where we can succeed by being nice, where we all look out for each other, where we pay it forward and where kindness is the norm.”  Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Additionally, the site offers classroom activities, quotes, posters, inspiration and an extremely cool 2020 Kindness Calendar with a suggested act of kindness for every day of the year. I absolutely LOVE that. All these resources are free and downloadable.

Leaving Encouraging Notes
Making Kindness the Norm – leaving encouraging notes
Be Kind
Be Kind

Ways to Practice Kindness

On this day, on every day, these are simple ways for making kindness the norm:

  • volunteer at a animal shelter, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a school
  • ties scarves around trees in cold weather and tuck gloves into hats and place on benches
  • donate your time, your money, your wisdom
  • walk the neighbor’s dog
  • babysit for free for a single mom or dad
  • carpool to work
  • smile at everyone
  • high five a stranger
  • shop for a shut in
  • call your grandparents
  • clean house for an older family member
  • send an encouraging text
  • mail a card to brighten someone’s day
  • give out hugs
  • in a drive through pay for the person behind you
  • leave change in a laundry mat or taped to a vending machine
  • hide encouraging notes in random places
  • allow a car to cut in front of you in traffic
  • run errands for someone who is ill
  • invite a lonely person out for tea or coffee
  • give groceries to a shelter pantry
  • donate clothing to a community closet
  • give garden produce away
  • pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods
  • use less plastic
  • compliment a stranger
  • visit a nursing home
  • write reviews for local businesses, organizations you care about, products you love
  • practice cyberkindness to counteract cyberbullying
  • BE KIND to EVERY KIND
Making Kindness the Norm Helping Children
Making Kindness the Norm – helping children
Kindness is Love
Kindness is Love

Be Kind

Scott Adams said,

Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Let’s create ripples that circle the globe, on this day, during this week and throughout the year. Join me in making kindness the norm, every day.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Check out these related posts:  Random Acts of Kindness Week 2018

Kindness is Contagious – Pass it On from 2017

Kindness Find 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.