test

Viewing entries tagged
Inspiration

7 Dreamy Destinations That'll Relax Your Body and Mind

Comment

7 Dreamy Destinations That'll Relax Your Body and Mind

A nutritionist, author and traveler dedicated to merging ancient healing wisdoms with modern western nutritional science, most of the wisdom I’ve learned has been in the field while studying alongside Ayurvedic doctors, Balinese bone healers, Shamans, herbalists and other specialists in from spots that range from South America to Asia. I credit a few special destinations with making a deep impact on my work, each of them perfect for relaxing your body and mind — making it easier to invite more serendipity into your life. 

1. Ubud, Bali. If you’re on your own personal Eat, Pray, Love journey, Ubud is for you! This central Balinese city is a healers paradise, and the place I wrote my first book, Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type. A typical day in Ubud is full of back-to-back vinyasa and yin yoga classes at the Yoga Barn, a delicious vegan brunch complete with a coconut the size of your head, an afternoon of creative writing, followed by your choice between Vedic astrology or conscious relationships workshops, completed with a night of sweaty ecstatic dance, a grounding sound bath and more fresh vegan cuisine. We call it Ubudtopia for a reason; mind-body healing is your full-time job in this paradise. 

2. Chiang Mai, Thailand. If ceremony and reflection are what you're craving, Chiang Mai is your place. You'll come face to face with an ornate temple dazzled with jewels in honor of the Buddha on each corner you turn. Ceremony is an integral part of everyday life in Chiang Mai, and you'll definitely walk into one at some point in your stay (especially if you live with a local Thai family like I did). Don't forget to visit the Sunday market for fresh fruit, elephant and Buddha souvenirs, along with a pair of oh-so-comfy Thai fisher man pants! 

3. Mykonos, Greece. This refreshing white and blue island feels as crisp as it looks (and it's the place I'm writing to you from). The deep ocean views stare back at you wherever you are, whether you're relaxing by the infinity pool, practicing your daily yoga flow, or indulging in an authentic Greek breakfast of fresh yogurt, honey comb, walnuts and figs. Mykonos is the perfect place to pamper yourself and let loose — all while having fun at one of the many beach lounges without the pretentious feel of south of France. 

4. Formentera, Spain. This off-the-beaten path island is the quiet sister of Ibiza, with private beaches and to-die-for restaurants operated by some of Italy's best restaurateurs. Fun fact: More people speak Italian here than Spanish. Formentera is referred to as "la isla azul" because you'll be surrounded by turquoise blue waters that match a Tiffany’s box no matter where you go on this small strip of land. Love a little bit of luxe on a relaxing, serendipitous trip? With it's harbor full of yachts, Formentera is for you.

5. Cusco, Peru. The city closest to the world-famous Macchu Pichu, Cusco is a spiritual mecca for anyone who needs a more grounded and shamanic approach to spirituality — Ayahuasca optional. Cusco's mountainous climate and ancient Incan ruins are ideal for the more adventurous traveler who loves a bit of historical depth in their journey of self-discovery, and doesn't mind a bit of altitude acclimation (the city is a jaw-dropping 11,000 feet above sea level). Even more, there are many orphanages in Cusco that are open to receiving help, which will truly complete your experience and remains the highlight of mine. 

 6. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Costa Rica is a top travel spot, but far fewer people venture to its neighbor country, Nicaragua. An up and coming hotspot, a trip typically costs a fraction of the price you'll pay to get to Costa Rica. San Juan del Sur is the most southern tip of Nicaragua and a total oasis in this country, offering rustic architecture, beachside sunsets and delicious Central American cuisine. In addition to lots of opportunities for yogis, there are also amazing ways to practice community service and get involved in town. I'll always remember the pre-school I helped build during the month I spent here.

7. Arambol, Goa, India. Do drum circles, hatha yoga, contact dance, and Tantra festivals call your name? If so, head to Arambol, Goa. This hippie town in the north of Goa (the southern tropical beach city of India) is for the more experienced traveler who seeks authenticity and flavor from their vacation without the frills of a typical yoga getaway; think beach huts with no electricity and ecstatic dance around a banyan tree. An Ayurvedic Practitioner, Arambol is the place I go to unwind and relax after an intense panchakarma experience. I’ve hosted retreats in Arambol and participants tell me they'd never imagined that this side of India even existed. 


About the Author

sahara-rose.png

Sahara Rose is the author of the The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda and has been called “a leading voice in the millennial generation into the paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra. She is a Certified Ayurvedic, Holistic and Sports Nutritionist and specializes in making Ayurveda easy to understand and follow so everyone can benefit from it's ancient wisdom. Discover your mind-body type with her quiz and follow her adventures on Instagram and her podcast, Highest Self Podcast.

Connect with Sahara: Instagram, eatfeelfresh.com

Comment

Here's What Happened When I Flipped My Way Through the Work Week

Comment

Here's What Happened When I Flipped My Way Through the Work Week

I was super inspired by the idea of Serenflipity cards since the first time I heard about them. While I’m a person who loves to try new things, I find myself stuck in ruts from time to time. Sometimes, my creativity suffers; other times, I find myself caught up in a comfortable routine and naturally stop pushing myself to grow. 

Though I’m nearly two years into my journey as a small business owner and try to take advantage of my freedom I have to design my life each day, the ability to work from anywhere can be oddly paralyzing — both locally and globally. In an effort to add some pizazz back into my daily patterns, I decided to put my deck to the test by flipping a new card each day of the work week. Here’s how it went.

Day 1:Cancel as much on your calendar as you can. Then, sneak out and say YES to at least one random thing that comes your way.

This card couldn’t have come at a more perfect time; I’ve been feeling super stressed and in need of downtime, something I'm still learning to treat myself to. While I couldn’t cancel my morning client calls, I shuffled around some of my project work and took the afternoon off of work. A friend stopped by and we ended up catching up for hours over cocktails on my back patio. I laughed so hard my abs hurt, and went to bed with a big smile on my face that night instead of stressing about the next day. Carving out time to have fun with friends is important, and I need to make myself more available to do it!

Day 2: "Identify a big fear and see if you can take one action to confront it.

One of my biggest fears is that something will happen to someone I love who lives far away. I moved to California almost a decade ago, but still feel guilty about missing out on precious time with my family and friends on the east coast. Though I can’t control what might happen to someone I care about or always visit on a whim, I can definitely connect with them in meaningful ways. Today, I called my Mom and Dad and caught up with two close friends over text. Just taking the time to check in on each person and hear about what's been happening in their lives made me feel really good.

Day 3:Ask a stranger for a mantra and live by it for a day.”

I work from coffee shops often and usually chat with people I don’t know during the course of a day. Today, I decided to ask the barista for her mantra, which was “we are what we repeatedly do.” Though I’d heard this before, I found that having a reason to actually apply forced me to put it into practice and think about each action I took.  It's fascinating how small things that can subtly transform into habits have the ability to shape who we are and how we live. Little things can define us, so we should consider them carefully.

Day 4: “Wear something unexpected or outside of your usual style today, whether it’s an accessory or a full ensemble.”

This card was so much fun for me! I recently bought a pair of futuristic-looking, all white sneakers from an Aldo shoe sale but felt self-conscious about wearing them as they’re pretty far outside of my standard style. Today, I whipped them out proudly. I got a couple of compliments and a couple of questions (my neighbor thought they looked like space shoes!) but wore them all afternoon around San Francisco. I felt like I was drawing attention to myself, which was uncomfortable, but it felt good to try something new and different. Why not?

Day 5:Keep a smile on your face all day long. Take note of how people respond and how this makes you feel."

I actually smiled when I flipped this card (how fitting!) because I've been focused on being more joyful and genuinely positive for a few years. This card reminded me that smiling often comes from a place of gratitude — and that finding things to feel happy about makes it easier to connect with other people in a truly authentic way. Though this card is a perfect nudge to uncover even more positive stuff, it also reminded me that it's not always easy for people to see what's great about themselves or their lives. While staying upbeat per usual, I found that I felt extra patient with others, noting that struggles aren't always visible on the surface. I also felt extra lucky that I have so much to smile about!

Though I can’t tie a transformational moment or specific life change to my experiment using the cards this week, I feel refreshed and inspired after having tackled a mini-challenge during each work day. I started to really look forward to my flip each morning and trying to accomplish whatever the card said. Small shifts can inspire big waves, and sometimes all it takes is a sentence to get started.


About the Author

Krista Gray is a web producer and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco. When she's not working with clients through her company GoldSquare, she loves reading, traveling and learning new things.

Connect with Krista: Instagram, Twitter, goldsquare.co
 

Comment

4 Fun Things to Do With Your Friends When You're Bored With Brunch

Comment

4 Fun Things to Do With Your Friends When You're Bored With Brunch

I have an unpopular opinion: I hate brunch. I always end up hangry from having to wait too long. The restaurants are usually too crowded and rushed, making it hard for me to properly catch up with people. And, let’s be honest, I want way more champagne in my mimosa than I ever get. But I get the appeal. It’s nice to have a relaxing way to spend a weekend morning, an excuse to spend time a little more luxuriously with people you love. I just think there has to be a better way to do it than over a $20 plate of dry eggs.

Here are a few activities you might try swapping out brunch with to shake up your weekend mornings (er, afternoons).

StockSnap_G9CLJC5580.jpg

1. Go on a Mystery Day Trip. Unlike going to happy hour, when you meet your friends for brunch you have a whole day ahead of you. So, instead of getting toasted, why not get out of town? Try swapping off which of your friends chooses the place and plans the trip so it’s not too much of a burden for anyone (and a bit of a fun surprise for the rest of you). Bring some breakfast sandwiches or granola bars for the car, and get your normal gabbing done while playing tunes on the ride. If you don’t have a car, have your friends pool their normal brunch budget to rent one for the day.

Then, spend the rest of your day exploring. Nearby hikes, quirky small towns; there are likely plenty of cool places within an hour or two of where you live that you haven’t experienced yet. Don’t be afraid to get sidetracked on the way and enjoy the journey, and get excited to come back with more memories than just what was on the menu.

2. Start a Spiritual Get Together. You don’t have to be a churchgoer to benefit from having a regular spiritual community. If you haven’t found a formal congregation that fits your needs, why not create your own group of spiritual misfits who are trying to figure it out together? What this looks like will really depend on the interests of your group, but it’s a great place to try out practices of different religions or new ways of opening your mind and seeing what sticks. Maybe one week it’s a group sound meditation and the next you’re having a solstice celebration, or every month you read a book by a different spiritual leader and discuss.

Gather some friends regularly with the intention of exploring the spiritual world and see what sort of growth and conversation it leads to.

3. Have a Learning Party. I bet you have loads of badass friends who know how to do cool things that you could only dream of doing, so why not use a chunk of weekend hours to teach each other some new tricks? This can be super low-key—you don’t need to create lesson plans or anything—and definitely doesn’t have to feel like you’re going to school on a Saturday. You should think of fun skills that everyone’s jazzed to learn!

Your artsy friend can teach everyone a bit of hand lettering and then you can sit around writing Insta-worthy inspirational quotes. The audiophile in the group can teach about podcasting by making a fun podcast of all your normal brunch chatter. Your international playgirl friend can share her tips for traveling on the cheap, and you can all sit around musing about your next trip and booking flights together. You’ll get closer to your friends by learning more about what they love and pick up some great new skills for yourself.

4. Do Brunch, but DIY Style. Okay, maybe this is cheating, but I think cooking together is such a powerful way to spend time with people that it deserves to be said. Just because I avoid going out to brunch, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate mealtime with people I love. I’d just prefer to do it at home where I can make my mimosas as strong as I like.

So try out moving your weekly brunch into your home, and see how you can make it a little playful and fun! You could pick a theme every week—from childhood throwback to international flair—and have people bring something to contribute. You could go explore a farmers market and scrounge together a picnic brunch. You can do brunch 'Chopt-style' and have everyone bring what’s left in their fridge from the week to whip up something inventive together. By doing this, you get to make the meal an adventure in and of itself. 


About the Author

Erin Greenawald is a freelance writer, editor, and content maker who is passionate about elevating the standard of writing on the web and helping people share their message with the world. Erin never says no to tea and a croissant with a friend—old or new!—and she loves any flip that encourages her to find some serenity in the crazy world around her.

Connect with Erin: Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium

Comment

Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Talking and Start Doing

1 Comment

Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Talking and Start Doing

We were somewhere in the middle of the Grand Tetons, far from any trail, with a backpacking leader who’d suddenly become ill, and who we realized had led us far from our intended route in her gradually-building delirium.

Suddenly, the theory behind wilderness survival became a reality for myself and the three hikers with me. I mustered my best topographic map-reading skills, hiked up to a ridge, and attempted to establish just how far we’d run off course. Turns out, it was really far. With no cell signal and a sick leader, we weren’t going to be able to make it to the next rendezvous point to meet up with the rest of our group by the time the sun went down.

So after making a plan, we started doing. I can’t think of a time when I was more motivated to bring theory to life: we had to make sure our leader’s condition didn’t get worse; construct a temporary shelter; find and purify water; cook a meal using the limited supplies we had; and get to the rendezvous point, stat, the next morning. The story ends positively: we did make it back to did make it back, with our sick colleague back in good health after a night of rest—and I learned that the version of “doing” I had been thrust into would be a huge help to problem solving in my daily life. Here's what I remember each day and how you can apply the same style of thinking to whatever you're working on, be it a new business, personal goal or goal setting.

Motivation follows action (not the other way around)

We often think that mustering enough motivation to accomplish a task is our biggest hurdle. This was certainly the case for a friend of mine in law school. She was a talented student, who’d had a previous career before coming to law school. She often understood complicated concepts that others didn’t. But when it came time to tackle a big task—especially preparing for a final exam—this friend spent a great deal of energy working up the motivation to start. She’d address household tasks, help others, or run errands. All things that needed to be done, but none of which got her closer to her goal.

Getting stuck thinking and talking about a big goal, while not taking any concrete steps towards it, almost guarantees that motivation will falter, not grow. On the other hand, any “small win”—something that gets us incrementally closer to our goal—can have a positive effect, opening the path for more small pieces of progress that will help us reach a larger goal.

StockSnap_0FYSS4XW5O.jpg

Motivation can be triggered by our surroundings

Our brains love patterns, and our environment is one pattern that we respond to almost unknowingly. Imagine that you’ve set a goal to watch less TV in the evenings so that you can focus on a passion project or side business. Yet, each day when you come home, you’re so exhausted that you head for your favorite spot on the couch, which happens to be near your TV. Willpower is a finite resource, and we don’t have much of it left at the end of the day, so it’s no surprise that you end up flicking on the TV more nights than not.

So how can you move closer to your goal of changing a habit, if talking to yourself about change isn’t enough?

According to author James Clear, making small changes to your environment can have a powerful impact on what you’re able to accomplish. For example, moving that favorite couch so that the most comfortable place to sit is near your computer, desk, or whatever tools you need to get started on that project could have a bigger impact than all the pep-talks you can muster. You've got this!

Talking too much about your intentions can get in the way of action

It might seem counterintuitive, but talking about your big goals and dreams can get in the way of accomplishing them. Though it’s important to have a network of support when striving towards your goals, it turns out that if you come up with a solution or plan of action and discuss it with a trusted friend, that can have the same satisfying effect on your brain as actually doing the task and the hard work it entails.

In other words, your brain reaps a reward from simply making the announcement that you’ve decided on an approach or on a big goal—and sometimes that means you can lose motivation to strive towards that goal.

This definitely doesn’t mean you should silently toil away, never announcing your ambitions to others. Instead, it means you may want to make sure you’re capitalizing on small wins, or concrete steps forward, instead of only relying on the momentum from announcing your goal, to make concrete progress.

Rumination can ruin forward progress

Reflecting on an experience and what you can learn from it is helpful. Ruminating, though, can send you into a downward spiral that doesn’t solve the problem you’re thinking about, instead making you feel worse. 

In order to break away from this destructive self-talk habit, and help our brains refocus, Nicholas Petrie suggests drawing a visual of all the things you can control, along with those you can’t. He advises writing the items you can control within a circle, while placing major stressors you can’t control outside the circle. This act of “doing” can help calm your mind if it’s in an endless cycle you can't seem to stop.

You can also try another concept called 'grounding'. This means making physical contact with an object in order to bring you into the present moment. It can be anything (like a favorite object) that connects you to the world as it is right now. You can even place both of your feet flat on the ground, sit up straight, and take a deep breath as a grounding practice. 


katie-crank

About the Author

Katie Crank is an attorney, social worker, and writer. She helps communities address decarceration, trauma, and the paths that lead women to justice system involvement. Katie also writes on the topics of health, productivity, and dog foster & adoption.

Connect with Katie: Linkedin, Instagram, Contently, Medium

1 Comment

How I Serenflipped My Way Out of a Brush With the Law

Comment

How I Serenflipped My Way Out of a Brush With the Law

Tonight, SERENFLIPITY got me out of a ticket.

I was driving home from a long session shooting videos, and may have crossed over a divider a few seconds too late. Before I knew it, blaring lights and sirens were following me, shouting to get off at the next exit.

Crap. My first moving violation. Ever.

I pulled over, shaking and a bit nervous. Was I to play the tearful and helpless girl? Pretend I didn’t know what happened? I’m not a fan of using my femininity to get out of situations, so I decided to just be straight-forward and apologize.

I rolled down the window, and two cops towered over me, demanding the usual protocol that I’ve seen in movies.

“What do you do?” the cop asked me, as he looked at my license.

“I’m an entrepreneur,” I responded, figuring that was pretty safe.

“What do you create? Is it secret?” the other cop asked snidely.

“Well, I created these adventure cards that help you have more fun and serendipity in your life.” I responded, a little wary of how that would go over with two serious cops about to smack a fine on me. After all, fun and adventure aren’t the things you want to bring up with a cop who’s just pulled you over…

“No way…” the first cop lit up, as he responded. “Like what kind of adventures?”

“Here, I’ll show you… You guys can even pick a card to do.” I held out the deck to the two towering gentleman standing over me on a random exit in downtown LA.

They leafed through and started smiling.

“You better get on Shark Tank with this!” the first officer exclaimed. “Look, I have to find the oldest person I can and do something nice for them. It won’t be hard to find old guys back at the office!”

“Yeah, I wish people were nicer and did nice things for us. We’re not bad people,” the second officer joked as he flipped his card. “Hey — I have to buy the person behind me in line a coffee…”

“Well, you better stand behind him when you go get coffee,” I suggested to the first officer, and we all laughed.

“Listen,” the first cop got serious again. “You get yourself on TV with these cards and we’ll call this a warning. But I better see you on Shark Tank – deal? I’m gonna hold onto this card!”

Deal. Thank you, LAPD for the vote of confidence in my start up, and reminding me that simple acts of human connection and kindness can make even the most annoying situations into something serendipitous and positive. And for giving me a whole new edition to build: SERENFLIPITY for the glove compartment!

Comment

Five Steps To Turn Serendipity Into Your Superpower

1 Comment

Five Steps To Turn Serendipity Into Your Superpower

Serendipity is an under-rated thing. It gets a bad rap as haphazard luck or a happy coincidence. A pleasant surprise that uplifts us from our usual routine. A random encounter where the stars aligned. A fleeting moment that comes out of the blue, only to disappear.

But serendipity is not a “thing.” Or an “accident.” Or a “random encounter.” Or just a cute John Cusack movie. It’s actually a skillset – and it’s something that can make us smarter, happier and more connected.

When it comes to serendipity, there’s a whole new field of interdisciplinary research emerging, and studies segment people into “non-encounterers”, “occasional encounterers” who stumble upon serendipity now and then, and “super encounterers” who constantly see happy surprises in even the most mundane of situations.

I’ve become what researchers would call a “super-encounterer”, not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve built my serendipity superpowers over the years. These are definitely not skills I studied in any classroom, but rather gleaned through experience, many of which involve solo travel and times of personal growth. Both of these types of experiences forced me to let go of behaviors and beliefs that blocked me from letting in new things.

But you don’t have to travel far and wide or go on a soul-search to discovery your serendipity superpowers. It’s often as simple as changing what you see, where you go and how you show up.

Here are my top five tips for turning yourself into a serendipity superstar:

1. Believe you are surrounded by serendipity – and expect it every day. One of the first steps to attracting more serendipity is to actually believe that you are surrounded by it. Consider it selective attention – like when you’re pregnant, you start to see baby bumps everywhere. Or when you’re stressed out, you start to see more annoyances and blocks everywhere.

What we see is what we get – and if we choose to focus on a recent serendipitous moment, and look to see at least one of those moments each day, we start to attract more serendipity, and will find it popping up all the time.

One of my favorite ways to build this skill is to keep a journal of “random” things that happen each day – mine include everything from running into someone, to little phrases or sayings that pop out (a recent favorite was when I was having a "founder's moment" and got cut off by a giant truck with “THE PROFIT IS COMING” written on the side), to texts of the “woah, I was just thinking about you!” ilk. The dots connect over time, and I am always amazed when I look back.

Bottom line – believe you’re surrounded by it. Look for it. Write it down. Get more of it.

 

2. Celebrate the unknown, the incorrect and the idiotic. Many of the greatest discoveries come from accidents and failures. It’s easy to write off something that didn’t work, blame someone, and move quickly onto the next – but the biggest “aha’s” come from diving into the failures and actually having fun with them, instead of trying to find the next success right away.

Being in a state of “I don’t know” is one of the most powerful places we can be. I once worked for a guy who would respond to my pressing questions with a thoughtful, “yeah, I don’t know.” I was shocked – I figured someone with a higher authority was paid to “know”, but he taught me the importance of “not knowing.” Of collecting information, asking a ton of questions, exploring all the angles and then coming to a decision.

Not knowing can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially to this A-type New Yorker. But actually enjoying the state of “not knowing” is where serendipity finds me. Some of the best ideas I’ve built with clients have come out of jokes, and even going so far as to exploring the absolute “worst” idea we could ever have. We fell about laughing, one upping each other with horrifying add-ons – until someone had a spark and found a nugget of inspiration that led us into the creation of an award winning product. Some of the greatest personal experiences have come from literally not knowing what country I was going to next, and leaving my plans open to the travel gods. In fact, it started a decision making pattern, where I decided to not know, and to do the first thing that was mentioned 3 times by 3 different people. I was never led astray, but rather into incredible encounters and the exact situation I needed to grow.

 

3. Do the uncomfortable. It’s easy to turn down an invitation in favor of staying home to watch Netflix on the couch with takeout – but magic doesn’t happen when we’re cracked out on Narcos and Lo Mein. (Well sometimes it does, and I guess that’s what Tinder is for, but that’s another article…)

Say yes to what’s in front of you, especially that uncomfortable invitation. It’s there for a reason. The less you want to go, the more magic is bound to happen. And seriously, if you want to get a super dose of serendipity, go alone. That’s right – go to a party alone. Without a wingman. And if you don’t have an invitation to turn down, take yourself out to dinner (and don’t stare at your phone the whole time.)

Every time I’ve forced myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve had to surrender to what’s in front of me, and I’ve had to get curious. It means making conversation with strangers instead of standing by the cheese plate rehashing my day with a friend. It means staying five minutes longer than I want to, and sometimes hiding out in the bathroom for a few minutes when it feels like too much – and then falling into conversation with a handsome stranger. It means getting lost in a foreign country and stumbling across a beautiful village and into a heartfelt conversation.

Or it simply means opening myself up and into the positive potential of a new experience – instead of closing myself into what I already know. A few years ago, I felt creatively stuck and decided to spend 90 days traveling solo through India and Southeast Asia, following adventures my friends wrote for me instead of a guidebook. I was terrified. But the more I got into the habit of saying “yes” to the adventure in front of me, I started to open up in a new way and incredible things started to happen. (Fast forward to two years later, it’s become the foundation of my business, a product designed to foster adventure and serendipity every day… who would have known?)

Learning to trust, and being willing to be vulnerable is scary, but it’s also where we get out of ourselves and into the magic.

 

4. Say “thank you.” There are tons of studies and life-hacks around the life-changing effects of gratitude, and for good reason. Shanti-shanti as it may sound, it shifts our outlook and our energy, and attracts more positive things to come our way.

Saying thank you (whether to “the universe,” God, the person sitting next to you, or to the highway as you drive to work) for the little nods and coincidences is just as important as saying “thank you” for the promotion or the clean bill of health. It’s easy to get into the mentality of “well, he was perfect, except for…” or “the job seems great, but…” – simply acknowledge that something serendipitous just came your way and take it as a sign that more good things are on the way. “Thank you” is essentially a prayer that says, “that was awesome, I really dug it, and please bring me more.”

I’ve built this skill by writing a gratitude list each morning, and even putting little reminders in my phone to take 30 seconds and think of 3 things I’m grateful for. The real game changer has come in the past month in finding things I’m grateful for in really annoying situations.

Take a recent travel plan: my flight was 6 hours delayed on New Years Eve and then I couldn’t find the place I was staying once I arrived. To offset the irritation, I practiced finding a few “thank yous”, which included being able to go to my favorite yoga class that morning (instead of sitting in the airport), having an interesting conversation with an Uber driver who introduced me to a videographer, making time for a conversation with a friend in the airport, arriving in town just in time for dinner (and getting picked up straight from the airport as a result), being with friends who put me up for the night when I was lost, etc. Really cool connections and opportunities have been happening as a result.

The “thank yous” seem to build resilience to get out of a negative mindset, which only clouds me in my worries and prevents me from seeing the bigger picture – or what great things are in front of me. Taking a minute to find a moment of gratitude shifts me back into being in the unknown – which is where there’s space for serendipity to come in.

 

5. Share it to grow it. Serendipity isn’t a “thing” or even an “action” – it’s a flow that we get into. And it does take work – sometimes it’s as simple as leaving the house with a good attitude and talking to someone, or picking up the phone and listening (and really listening, not Facebooking and listening), in order to dive into what can seem like a consistent stream of unbelievable encounters.

Note that many of these experiences are encounters – which means that they involve other people. We multiply our magic by sharing it with others – whether it’s saying what we’re looking for, or helping others fulfill what they’re looking for. And sometimes serendipity comes from something as simple as a status update and discovering that you’re in the same country as an old friend. A big part of Serenflipity is asking people to share those serendipitous experiences on social media for just that reason – to foster more connections, to share cool experiences that uplift others (and potentially bring serendipity to them), and to encourage an environment of experimentation. Because we all need a little push to peel away from our habits.

---

So, it’s that time of the year where we might be faltering on our New Year's Resolutions and about to dive back into old habits. Instead, I invite you to dive into bringing more serendipity into your life.

All you have to do is decide to see yourself as a serendipity super-magnet, have fun not knowing the answer, go to parties alone, say thank you, and share it with others. No calorie counting or guilt-tripping necessary!

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for bringing more serendipity into your life – please share below!

1 Comment

Comment

A Crazy Beautiful Lesson

It’s hard not to wear a blissed out grin all around Ubud. Of all of the places I’ve been, it’s the one where I feel the most connected and cocooned, yet inspired and introverted. It’s a town that stretches those who want to be stretched, ahead into the possibilities of new ways of living and back toward the depths of buried circumstances one may care to keep dusty. In the ark of my 24 hours (thank you, Kate Plumb!), I learned that a day of smiling takes a lot more than simply grinning at everything from rice paddies to happy babies.

It starts with those gaping grins, which are simply a vehicle to connect. Smiling has been a super-tool in my trusty solo-traveler tool belt, as it’s led me to new encounters and new people. However, it’s hard to stay on the surface of such a smile forever — the “how are you”s and “where are you from”s get weary after a while. My morning started with light smiles and instant depth (this is Ubud…) with three lovely ex-pat ladies, whom I would later meet for the afternoon. Gaping grins continued to dot my day, ever the energy booster during a dull moment, but a smile that I’ve often taken for granted slowly began to take its place.

It started in the home of a Mayan Astrologer, who began our session with dancer-like gestures to paint new dimensions of time, and an immediate break for a quick downward dog fix to soothe her back. My old snap smile, the one with the quickened pace and raised eyebrow, popped in as I sat nervously in half lotus anticipating the next few hours. As we talked about hidden talents, personal challenges and cycles of my life, my snap smile softened, but not into that familiar gaping grin. It moved lower and deeper, as I shared hopes and fears that melted into her predictions. She nodded with her hands over her heart, draping them out, over and around the air and sighed. With a deep, knowing smile.

My face softened and slowed (a relief to my sore, over-used cheeks), and I realized that I was smiling without moving a muscle. Just falling into the slowness and lightness I felt swirling through me. Our conversations moved deeper, to a point of that gripping softness that often precedes a tear. But it wasn’t a tear of extremes, like sadness or joy, just simple presence and purpose that settled into a wordless, toothless upturn.

Through my many temple visits, I’ve seen a lot of Buddhas and have wondered more than a few times why there aren’t more grinning, giggling statues for a teacher so happy and enlightened. But from settling into the deeper, more balanced, less ecstatic smile, I stumbled upon that smile that’s authentic connection. I felt that deep smile when I hugged a fifteen year old who shared with me what she was going through with her friends and family, and when I fell into deep relaxation during yoga nidra (also known as yogic napping… or my new favorite type of yoga!). I felt it as my unexpected companions and I giggled over a smorgasbord of raw desserts and social media mental-health pacts. (I have promised to only “like” ugly pictures if I Instagram before meditation.) I felt it as the brightness of a rising full moon drew me to the window in the middle of the night.

A day full of smiling doesn’t mean constant euphoria. It can be a happy, giggly high. A way to get out of yourself and into a conversation. Armor in an uncomfortable situation. Genuine compassion and care. Inner knowledge and understanding. Softness so guttural that it cracks perception and expectation.

In all these roles, it’s an alchemist. Resentment breaks into a glint of gratitude. Skepticism melts into a modicum of compassion. Fear sprouts into the seeds of new friendships. So smile at your smiles… See what happens and what you discover from smiling for the entire day. Either way, it’s good for the soul and sagging jowls!

Originally published on yestoexcess.com

Comment