My word for 2018

Paris is where you find yourself
— c.a.james (The Paris Darling)

Have you ever read The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte? It's a wonderful book/workbook that helped me understand that the way I want to feel is where to put my focus, instead of focusing on what I want to have or achieve.

If you're not familiar with the book, it asks the reader to explore the different areas of their life and identify how they want to feel. At the end of the process they will have 5 or 6 core desired feelings. Have you ever made a decision from a place of how you want to feel versus what you want to have or be? It's really insightful and even more helpful if you have already felt what you want to feel.

Unfortunately I have a hard time keeping track of that many core desired feelings - I end up forgetting half, or most, of them. To make things easier I chose one word, Paris, and lucky for me I already know how that feels.

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life
— Thomas Jefferson

Last November, I visited Paris for the third time (my last trip was 16 years ago - too long!) and I was reminded of the magic I feel - how magical I feel - when I am in Paris.

But, to be truthful, my first day in Paris felt like I was just in another city and I was worried that I had romanticized my last experience in Paris. Fortunately I realized that I was bringing who I was at home to Paris. I needed to let go, which meant surrendering to what I was actually feeling and let it come out. What came out was a lot of confusion, hurt and crying and after a couple days of tears and emotions, I was woken up at 4:00 am with this message from somewhere deep inside of me:


"I don't owe anyone - anything."


For a recovering people-pleaser this is scary and radical and my first thought was "Oh jeez, what are people going to think about that????"

But it wasn't surprising, or the first time, that Paris challenged me to raise my standards in the way I want to feel and how I want to be treated. After that morning, I started to have glimpses of how I really wanted to feel and the magic I had previously experienced in Paris returned.


Composed, self assured (confident in my own abilities and character), celebration (for who I am, my choices, and accomplishments - no matter how small), enjoyment, fun, pleasure, surrounded by beautiful things, living with a sense of occasion and style, elegance, manners, being present, slowing down, ease, abundance, and knowing that the universe is working for me.

I ended the trip knowing I had to figure out how to experience these feelings at home. The first step was believing it was possible without having to move to Paris in order to feel this way. 

Paris is my word for 2018 - my touchstone.

My reminder of how I want to feel.


Why the Scenic Route Life?


"If I keep going like this I am going to burnout. "

About a year ago I started a new business venture, but I wasn't feeling joy or pleasure. Instead I was feeling stress and pressure and that what I was doing wasn't enough. 

"I need more time, if I could just..."

If I could just. Those words were a signal that what I was doing wasn't working for me. Those words were an indication that what I was doing for my business wasn't in alignment with my life, with who I am. I was doing everything that the successful business coaches were telling me to do but nothing felt right. Everything felt like a fight - a struggle. I must be doing something wrong.

But there was nothing wrong with me. I was just making the wrong choices and not listening to my intuition, my inner voice. My body knew the answer but my brain wasn't paying attention.

Having enough of being ignored, my body woke up in the middle of the night in order to be heard, to write my truth. 

I can't do this anymore. I do not need to constantly set goals in order to be a "success". Success, for me, is time and breathing space. Joy and fulfillment. Feeling safe to express my truth. Celebration and enjoyment of my efforts. Free of stress and pressure.

The ones who go, go, go exhaust me. I am happy for their success but if I use their methodology I end up feeling like I am not enough and not doing enough. The Type A coaches that I follow and respect encourage me to go hard, crush my goals, push through the fear, don't lose momentum.

I thought I was a type A because I am good at working hard and being productive and they are so inspirational and I wanted to soak up their magic. But I am not like them. It's not who I am.

I am a scenic route kind of gal. I like taking my time, enjoying the view, making pit stops, savouring the journey, following my curiosity, rolling down the windows and breathing deeply. On the scenic route, I am grateful.

The fast lane, or freeway, makes me impatient, frustrated, angry, and nothing ever ends up feeling good enough. Go, go, faster, faster, get to the destination, keep your head down and ignore the distractions. Keep the eye on the prize. Hustle, crush, slay, nail it!

Ugggghhhhh! I crave 3 hour lunches and to end the work day when I say it's done. I want to create space for enjoyment and pleasure without the judgement of "must be nice". Sovereign boundaries and no more people pleasing. When I am sitting, not looking productive, please do not ask me what is next. Leave me alone. Let me be.

I didn't heed my inner voice because I didn't trust myself and I didn't know anyone who was successfully living a scenic route life.  I did end up eventually burning out and it took me a few months of doing as little as possible to recover.

A year later and here I am, once again, starting something new. Smarter and more aware this time. Following my intuition and making choices that align with my desire for a scenic route life. It will be a process of trial and error, of curiosity and discovery, and I am looking forward to the journey. It might take me longer, but I will reach my destination, in my good time.