Soundtrack Of Travel

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From the balcony of my workspace I hear the sounds of the street below. There are taxis honking and the faint hum of people greeting each other as they pass by.

And then it begins, “ Ah, cinco mil pesos!” a vendor shouts through the streets. The familiarity of this gentleman will become synonymous with my memories of Santa Marta for sure.

You would think that hearing this chant throughout the day, each day (he works Saturdays and Sundays too) would become annoying, but actually it has become quite comforting. He has a rhythmic way of shouting this out, almost like the melody of a familiar song, and the precision – wow, I hear him say this so many times a day so many days and each time it sounds identical to the last.

I can almost mimic him at this point because of his consistency.

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Carrera 2 traffic, both old and new

This is just one of the sounds that will remind me of this part of Colombia, together with the clip, clop of hoofs from the horse drawn carriages riding up and down Carrera 2 in Rodadero. Some were work carriages, some were giving tourists rides, but the sound almost always brought me to the window just to enjoy the sight of the old times combined with the current times.

This is part of the experience of travel for me. You see, in the US, the buildings are closed up, the street sounds are usually traffic and there is no sense of what is really going on in the community. You can tell people are busy, but you don’t know what they are busy with because everything is so buttoned up!

I may not know what this gentleman on the street is selling for 5 million pesos, but I know he’s a vendor. I do not know him but he has become part of my day and will be deeply engrained in my memories when I leave here.

When I lived in Belize I had a similar chant from below my 2ndfloor balcony apartment.

“Alejandro!” This chant was not nearly as rhythmic as my Colombia gentleman and did not have consistency at all. Sometimes it was drawn out, sometimes it was quick and other times it was welcoming.

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You see, I quickly figured out that Alejandro was a little boy and his mother would call his name in varying frequencies depending on the day or what the boy had gotten himself into.

My son and I still recall this memory fondly each time we think about our time there.

It is the sounds of a location, the pace of life and the ability to find yourself immersed in a new culture simply by listening to life around you. In many places around the world, houses and transportation are open so connection with the community is simply part of the fabric of the location.

Learning a new culture is not simply the one-on-one interaction with people but it is allowing ourselves to become enveloped by the community. To pay attention and listen to the melody of the streets and the people within them is to know life in the community.

One of the most beautiful gifts I take from my travels are the songs inscribed on my memory like an audio keepsake souvenir.

Thank you “cinco mil peso” vendor, for you have become part of this soundtrack of my time here in Santa Marta, Colombia.

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Vendors setting up for their day on Carrera 5
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Go Big By Going Home

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We’re at the beginning of a brand new year.

Everything is shiny and new and full of promise.

As we go big into our dreams and goals for the coming year I remind you (and myself) to also be present to home.

Home Is

Home is you, in all your glory. Home is where you are authentically you – no make up, hair messy and in your yoga or sweat pants – in all your glorious self without anything to prove or anyone to please.

Have you spent much time with that you?  Do you understand clearly all your cool features and talents? Are you leaving that you buttoned up in case it doesn’t fit into the world outside home?  Are you afraid that not everyone will find your uniqueness as cool as you do?

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So many goals and resolutions for the new year are focused on “reinventing” oneself or becoming a “new and improved” version of ourselves.

What if we recognized that we are pretty damn good just the way we are already?

What if we did not need to remake ourselves and instead decided to be courageous enough to share our authentic selves?

Authentic You, Authentic Goals

Our goals change focus when we do this. By discovering more of ourselves and being willing to share our unique qualities, we reach for more authentic goals. Instead of goals or standards set by society or some commercial that told us what we need to be “happy” or “better”, how about this year we follow what our unique DNA craves?

I am suggesting we make this year, not about reinventing ourselves, not changing ourselves because there is nothing wrong with us nor do we require a new version of ourselves. This year is about embracing ourselves in our truth, revealing instead of reinventing.

Knowing your heart and following it is not the easiest thing in the world (boy do I know this) however after years of trying not to listen to my heart, I can tell you it is the biggest gift I have given to myself and therefor to others.

Let Your Light Shine

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We are each pretty awesome and to know and feel that brings a whole different energy forward to everything we do. I’m not saying to be arrogant, however to live in a way that is aligned with what our values and hearts desire lights people up in a way that is noticeable, and that is pretty awesome in my book!

By going home to know ourselves fully we can then show up in the world BIG and share the gifts we have because we understand what they are and where they fit in to the world we live in. Let this year be the one we spend time fully understanding our thoughts, beliefs and who we truly are at home and be brave enough to share ourselves.

As we stand before a bright new year, remember, we are enough (actually, we’re pretty awesome) exactly as we are leaving 2018. We may have goals and achievements we desire for the year, but only by staying true to ourselves will those goals be worthy of our time and effort and become valuable gifts to those around us.

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Falling Leaves

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When I was a child I remember being told about a story where a man was tying leaves back onto a tree in the autumn. As a child I thought that no one would ever do that, but as I grow, I watch people attempt the same every day.

Change Is Scary

We happen to know that leaves must fall off a tree, there is no benefit to the tree or anyone by tying these back on the branches. In fact by doing so, especially in the regions that get snow, you could likely cause more harm then good.

Looking at the leaves as a metaphor though, how often do we argue with nature? How often do we feel that what is naturally happening should not happen and attempt to altar it?

From what I observe, it’s often.

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Attachment

I find that when I am attached to something my attachment does not leave room for change.

If this is a person, does that not allow them to grow?

If that is a location, does that mean progress is always bad?

If that is a goal, can it not evolve?

I’ve learned that attachment often harms more often then it actually preserves what I am attached to. I’ve learned that the more I hold loosely and observe what I love about something or someone, the more room I give it to breathe and become what it is designed to be or become.

Living In The Moment.

The less I am attached to something in its current form, the more I can simply appreciate it. I can always love those initial things that drew me to it and at the same time allow appreciation of how it transforms or evolves.

Does this mean I don’t enjoy permanence? Absolutely not! I l have favorite things that travel with me all over the world and I have many long-lasting relationships. I find that I enjoy more of these relationships by allowing them to be what they are in any given moment. If that is a day-to-day experience, or if it becomes a once-in-a-while experience, I don’t spend the time bemoaning the time I don’t have so I find more enjoyment in the time I do have.

Your Turn

I encourage you to take this time to reflect on the leaves you might be trying to tie back onto the tree. What might be in your life that you might be so attached to in its present condition that you might miss what it could become. Is there a change that has clearly taken place that you are not acknowledging because it will mean you’ll need to break out the rake?

Take some time to think about the trees in your forest and make sure you are allowing ample space for nature to breathe and follow its course versus trying to control it.

Seasons of change

Planting Seeds

When my kids were growing up I was always telling them to be careful what they told themselves. I was learning the power our thoughts and words have over our bodies and actions.  I didn’t learn this as a child and I wanted to provide them an awareness early on.

There were those times when they would say something derogatory to themselves in frustration and I would get on them about it. They would often brush me off and do the “yah, I know, my brain is listening to me” response thing that teenagers do. I do know that they truly heard me though there was never a chance they would have told me.

Your Brain Is Not That Smart

The power of our words is so very important to understand. Those spoken and even those, especially those, thought and left to play on repeat in our minds. The trouble here is that your brain doesn’t verify these thoughts, it just accepts them as truth.  These are the seeds we are planting each day.

When I begin to work with clients, along the road we often come to a point where it’s obvious there are stories they are telling themselves that are holding them back from what they want. Most times people are not even conscious of this, although sometimes they are, but they haven’t addressed it. It is at this time we discuss writing some new stories – planting some new seeds to cultivate.

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What Will You Plant?

What amazes me is how many people have so much trouble with the exercises for this. When I work with clients and we talk about how important self-talk is and there is never any doubt how important it is. I then send them off to notice something wonderful about themselves each day and they come back with shrugged shoulders saying they just had a really hard time with it.

It’s so interesting the resistance many of us have to say nice things to ourselves. So why when it comes to recognizing and celebrating positive things about ourselves do we have such struggle?

There has been so much engrained in us not to be boastful or brag. I understand not encouraging arrogance, but when did that turn into not appreciating or acknowledging anything nice and good about ourselves?

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So Now What?

I say that it is high time to put an end to this! I am telling you, that it is not only ok, but necessary to acknowledge your greatness. If you don’t recognize how fabulous you are, how on earth with you share it with others?

Think of all you can accomplish when you stop planting the seeds of doubt or negativity! When you think you are capable of doing things, you just do them; you don’t question, or explain why you can’t do them, you just do them. Once you learn to drive a car you don’t stand at the door with key in hand and wonder, you just get in and drive.

Your Mission If You Choose To Accept It

So for one week, I encourage you to listen to the stories, excuses or “not nice” things you tell yourself. Notice if you are always making self-deprecating remarks to make people laugh or to hide your insecurities. Pay attention to the thoughts you allow to move about unspoken in your head or out loud.

Then STOP!

For the following week (and forever more), every time you notice yourself doing one of the behaviors above, stop and turn it around. This is not as easy as it sounds, but I can guarantee you it will be worth the effort. If you are not sure you can do something, don’t say you can’t, just analyze if you would like to, find someone to help you accomplish it and give yourself a positive nudge and DO it!

If you find yourself consistently telling yourself negative things, stop and find something positive you can say. If you don’t like your hair today, instead of looking in the mirror and downing yourself, notice your eyes or your smile and how beautiful they are. Maybe your hair is just not cooperating today, so just look for what is. I’m not trying to Pollyanna you, just refocus on what is positive and the negatives become less important.

I hope you will take on this challenge because the seeds you plant each day are directly related to the bounty you will harvest. No one is served by you planting mean, doubtful or condescending seeds, especially not you!

I’d love to hear your experiences with this exercise. It is Spring and there is no better time to turnover the soil and plant a fresh garden.

-E

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Launching Point

The fall is often a time of new beginnings, and I am using it as a launching point for my newest venture. Please join me as I begin a journey that has taken both a lifetime to create and years to uncover and become what I believe is my calling.

Thrive Life is the name of my new company through which I help people discover how to live healthier, happier and more abundant lives through awareness, education and mentoring.

This is a multifaceted business through which I intend to offer the following:

• Entrepreneurial and business content is shared on Back to Business Mondays through all sites, including LinkedIn. I have compiled a host of business and financial resources and articles from renowned experts and soon I plan to have guest columns on various financial subjects.

• Nutritional Supplement products that I believe are the best on the market I share through my site www.Isotonix.com/ThriveLife together with articles and recommendations backed by science, medical personnel and client testimonials.

• Wisdom for Wednesdays is when I will share articles, quotes and book recommendations from some of the top leaders in personal development, goal setting and living your best life at this moment in time.

• Fitness articles and recommendations are compiled and shared on Thursdays through Twitter @ThriveLife and my company facebook page www.facebook.com/ThriveYourLife with the expertise of Jillian Michaels, Raphael Calzadilla, American Council on Exercise and more.

www.Shop.com/ThriveLife is a site that can save you money on the items you buy at the stores you already shop (from Walmart to Home Depot to Nordstrom and even Groupon & NetFlix). There are 3,000 brand name stores that offer cash back to their consumers simply by shopping through my site – you can earn 2-50% of the cash you spend, not in credits, or points, but in Cash! Weekly deals will be posted on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

• Beauty and skin care is an additional offering through my site www.motivescosmetics.com/ThriveLife. This is a value priced, top-shelf cosmetic and skin care line. As I bring on additional specialists in this field, you can expect to see advice and tips for everyday people in everyday life – not the red carpet.

Thank you for being a part of my journey, both to get to this launching point and as I move forward. Please enjoy the content, deals and products and contact me with any questions, issues or ideas. If there is any part of this business sparks your interest, or is in your field, please contact me and let’s talk about opportunities for guest posts or entrepreneurial development.

I hope to see you in my cyber world
-E

Email: ThriveYourLife@gmail.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ThriveLife
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ThriveYourLife
Nutrition: www.Isotonix.com/ThriveLife
Beauty: www.Motivescosmetics.com/ThriveLife
Virtual Mall: www.Shop.com/ThriveLife
Blog: www.ThriveYourLife.wordpress.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/thrivelife/

Setting the course

Youth and Beauty

I had a conversation with a friend the other day; she is a woman who probably has a couple years on me, but not many.  At one point she stated, “Although it hasn’t happened to you yet, when you lose your youth and beauty…..”  What she said after that, I don’t quite remember, nor does it entirely matter, but the initial phrase struck me and revisited me over the next days.

There were two reasons it struck me.  The first being, the woman sitting across from me making this statement is someone I consider beautiful.  I didn’t get the impression she felt bad about herself, this seemed just matter-of-fact and in no way to be insulting herself – a fact.   The second being that I feel that I have lost my youth, and I don’t consider myself beautiful – I’m fine, and maybe even attractive, but not beautiful and certainly have looked prettier in my younger days.

Over the following days, from time to time this comment would ring in my head – most of the time while looking in the mirror.  I got to analyzing this comment and overall feeling that most women seem to have sometime after 40 (some earlier, some later).

My conclusion is that I don’t think women do lose their beauty – I think they become more consistent between their outward appearance matching their internal essence.  I believe that is why I considered this woman who made the comment beautiful – maybe years ago she received a “cat call” or in some way received clear attention for her physical beauty.  However, those that spend any time with her, see the beauty about her – that her soul is expressed through her eyes and smile, her heart is revealed by her conversations and actions, her child-like excitement over someone else’s anticipated successes and growth is electric, radiant and the entire package is beautiful.

When I look in the mirror and see my reflection, I no longer see the attractive younger me – this is true.  I do believe for any of the outward beauty I had years ago, it was undeveloped and a bit awkward with any careful examination – luckily not something required for cat-calls!!  Today I see an attractive woman of substance.  I walk with confidence, I speak with conviction, I listen with empathy- not anticipation of my next comment, I laugh with my soul and cry with my heart.  True beauty.

As I lose my youth and youthful appearance, I believe I am revealing a beauty of greater substance and one seen and felt without the eyes.  We all like to look good and present well, but this beauty that comes with self-discovery and age is beauty I can own and be comfortable in because it is truly me, and a reflection of all that I am.

The next time you look in the mirror, I encourage you to see your full beauty, the one born through your experiences and knowledge of who you are and willingness to share yourself with others.  I believe this is where the most exquisite beauty lies in each of us.