The Small Joys Make Life Great

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By Dawn Onley

I have always loved a good bath. Hot, sudsy water. Soaking salts. Bath bombs. Silky oils. Aromatherapy teas. Candles. Complete tranquility. A delight to my senses. It has become such an indulgence for me that I go all out in treating myself to luxurious bath products and creating a true oasis, even if it’s just for a moment.

It gives me joy to look out the window and see a radiant bluebird perched on a limb.

For lunch, I love fixing myself a salad, filled with organic goodness, thankful in advance for the love I’m feeding my body and mind. Or hydrating with the pure delicious taste of country well water.

I love that very first sip of coffee and the anticipation of trying out a new recipe.

These are a few of the small joys that are part of my routine that make a big difference in the quality of my life.

We all have things that we do that we enjoy. The key is to stay in that moment as long as we can.

The dirty laundry can wait another day. We can clean the windows and dust later. Yes, it’s important that the children get their time with us, but it’s equally important that we save some time for ourselves to do the things that we love.

Right now is the best time to read another chapter.

To sip on some homemade lemonade.

To walk barefoot through the grass.

To thank God for this lovely week.

Praying hands

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The View from the Mountaintop

By Samantha McKenzie

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“If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.”   Edmund Hillary

Climbing a mountain can be full of twists and unexpected turns. If you’ve ever taken on this challenge, you know there are many, many obstacles to overcome.

Sometimes there’s pain involved. There are objects that impede your path. Often times there are steep hills and slippery rocks to get over. If you’re not very careful, there will be accidental trips and falls. Sore muscles usually come with the territory.

But most people who take on this difficult task, move through the challenges and make it all the way to the top. They reach their peak, they make it to the summit, they arrive at their destination.

mountain-womenLife is quite the same. It is full of surprises and curve balls. With all of the best laid plans, things don’t always work out the way we wanted them to. Sometimes this causes a set back. Sometimes it causes you to scream. You consider quitting, but you don’t. Something inside of you just won’t.

When there’s a goal in mind, many of us rise to the challenge and face life’s obstacles head on.

Let’s admit too that the view from the mountaintop is breathtaking.

The reward from the life you live will be as well.

As you continue to move toward your goals, don’t be discouraged. If you fall down, get back up. If you get lost, find your compass. If you get tired, take a break, and then get back up and complete the journey.

On the way to your own personal summit, be sure to manage through the trials and see the journey to the end. The view from the mountaintop is breathtaking…and the reward is always greater.

Onward…

 

 

We Get to Decide…

“We are the ‘they’ we’ve been waiting for.” – Dawn Onley

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By Dawn Onley

We don’t need to wait for them.

And by “them” I mean anyone outside of ourselves.

To protest wrongful acts.

To stand (or kneel) for what we believe in.

To start a new thing.

To change.

Heck, to be happy.

Sure, it’d be nice to have the support of others to help us maneuver life’s rocky terrain. To be our cheerleaders. To help pick us up when we fail. Yes, it’d be great if we didn’t have to go at it alone — if we could galvanize people who feel exactly the same way we do and move forward in a unified front.

In fact, some of us have already been blessed to have this.

Still, it’s not required.

It’s never been about others.

It’s up to us to become the best version of ourselves. I complete me. You complete you. Anything extra is icing on the cake.

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We get to create our lives. We get to decide who we want to be, what we want to believe, who we’ll choose as friends, who we’ll love, where we’ll live and work, who has earned our vote, the causes we’ll support, etc. It’s one of the greatest gifts of being an American.

There is no need to wait for someone else to act before we act. I had to remind myself of this recently. I can avoid watching the NFL, as I have done since the season began and will continue to do until Colin Kaepernick is signed to a team. It is my way of standing up for his right to protest and for what the protest is about in the first place.

It doesn’t matter if I stand alone in turning off the TV for games or whether hundreds of thousands of people protest in this way — in the sense of whether or not I should do it.

I decided that what someone else does or doesn’t do is not really my concern. I can’t become so consumed with what “they” are failing to do at the expense of what I should be doing.

I have a whole list of things that I need to be doing – and I am, and I will.

It’s up to me to live a meaningful life. Beauty is, I get to define what that means. And so do you.

What’s In Your Head Space

By Samantha McKenzie

Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night with a mountain of things racing around in your head? Have you ever noticed that there are reoccurring thoughts that take up quite a bit of time in your mind? It happens when you’re casually walking down the street or when you find yourself dazing off during a conference call.

Related imageMaybe it’s a person who you can’t seem to get off your mind. Maybe it’s a past situation that went awry, and you keep replaying the conversation (like over and over again). It pops up, goes away and then returns without invitation or permission. It grips you. It shakes you up. It won’t let you go. Before you know it, worry sets in and you realize “it” has consumed a large part of your mental day.

Do a spring cleaning on your mind. Clean out your mental space as often as you can. If you find yourself thinking about a person, call them up and talk it out. If there is something that is unsettling in your life, find a way to resolve it. If you’re not ready to have a face-to-face, then write it down, get it out and let it go. Don’t allow your head space to be a drop off site for life’s crap or a repository for all things you don’t want to deal with.

Learn how to declutter your thoughts. Give your mind a break. Find ways to come to terms with your experiences and accept the decisions that are beyond your control.

Close out a few chapters, find clarity and set your sights on creating your own endings.

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Change is a Gift. Embrace it.

Resistance always takes the form of fear. That’s the overriding thing.” – Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art.”

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By Dawn Onley

There has been a lot written over the years about change. It’s hard. It’s good. It’s necessary. It’s disruptive. It’s inevitable. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a process. It signifies growth. It’s the essence of life. It’s terrifying.

We resist change. We embrace change. We surrender to change.

Change exposes our vulnerabilities and fears, in some cases leaving us wide open to judgment, doubt and ridicule – and most of this is self-inflicted. This is how we can become conditioned to stay as miserable as a fish washed up on shore, with all life oozing out –a certain death — over the chance at creating a better life for ourselves.

“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty,” according to Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

What I’m learning is nothing is ever certain to begin with. People deal with all sorts of curve balls that life throws their way, everyday.

I’m learning to embrace change, to see it as a gift. To welcome the uncertainty.

Consider this: What if clinging to unhappiness for fear of change is keeping you and I from experiencing the greatest freedom and joy we’ve ever known?

What if that bold move puts a chain in motion and leaves us successful beyond our wildest dreams?

What if one day you decide to take a chance on love and I move closer to the realization of my dreams? And what if it all works out?

How do we ever learn what’s beyond the bend if we’re scared of change? How can we see the bright future if we’re hell bent on focusing on the same overcast skies?

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Change is needed to grow. A change of scenery. A change of attitude. A change in direction. A change in decision. Change is scary, sure. But nothing is scarier than feeling stuck. What if our unwillingness to change is suffocating our future?

We should choose better for ourselves, starting with the best chance at a great life. And this starts with change.

Leo Buscaglia said “change is the end result of all true learning.”

Amelia Earhart said “the most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Albert Einstein said “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

President Obama reminded us a decade ago that “we are the change that we seek.”

Imagine this: we hold the power. It’s been within us all this time. It starts with a dream, and then a decision, and then an action. We hold the key.

Are you ready? I am.

Let’s go!

There are 7.5 Billion People Living on Earth and 7.5 Billion Opportunities

By Samantha McKenzie

There are 7.5 billion people living on Earth. That means there are 7.5 billion people to ask for help. There’s an incredible amount of opportunities for these human beings to assist us in this thing called life. You are not alone.

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There are billions of people who can join us in the fight against racism. At least half of them can join in the struggle for equal wages. There are millions who share our pain and our joys. There are people who have been through what you’ve been through. People who came out on the other side of it all. There are people out there who have the solution.

We’re really not alone. We’ve got 7.5 billion neighbors. We just haven’t been looking far enough. What if we united on just one cause, like homelessness. Could we end it? Shouldn’t we try?

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What if you knew you had 7.5 billion people to help you kick your addiction or help you get over the loss of a loved one? Would it make you feel supported? Would you be more thankful? Buried in this massive number, I believe, is the cure for cancer, the leader of the next free nation, the child you should adopt, your next business partner, your soulmate.

Within the 7.5 billion population there are opportunities for all of us. Chase after them. Expand your perspective and learn another language while you’re at it. Let’s set aside our differences and unite on the things that really matter. Let’s just reach out and start by holding hands…

Click on the World Population Clock and meet the rest of the human family.

Take Off…

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By Dawn Onley

A recurring thought keeps bumbling about my brain these past few weeks: “Dawn,” it reminds me in a familiar voice that sounds a lot like my own. “When you send up a prayer, make sure you’re ready when God answers.”

Don’t brood on it and don’t forget about it. Don’t leave it hanging out there in the great ether. Don’t just pray without ceasing. Open your eyes to follow where that prayer leads you. Prayer requires persistence, urgency and follow-through.

Make sure it’s resolved. Stay with it. Listen for the answer. Follow where it leads.

And then … take off.