Have you started your own Record of Right yet?

This year we started collecting cold hard evidence of all the good stuff with a photo-a-week prompt. We can see with our eyes that right in the middle of our crazy, sometimes a little bit messy lives, that there’s actually a lot of awesome stuff happening. We do this because it’s easy to forget.

Do you ever feel bad because all you can remember is all the stuff that’s wrong?

Don’t.

It happens to everyone. It’s our natural default to steer toward the negative.

But keeping a record of right is the cure for kicking that default thinking to the curb.

Why?

Because we need pep talks and reminders. And the good news is our cameras are AWESOME tools to give us this gift every single day.

Practicing this disciple of taking photos of what’s right helps us live a fuller, more authentic life. It keeps us holding the good and the bad in the same hand, without having to go to extreme black and white thinking. 

I want to introduce you to one of my very good friends who’s having a lot of success documenting his 52 Records of Right. 

Please meet my sweet friend, Iggy!

John Iggy

My name is John Iggy, and I teach forth grade. Sharing my work with the “crowd” and watching a sparkle light up in their eyes while being immersed in a sea of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” is definitely the best part of my week.

It’s uplifting, heart warming, and just all around feels good. And it’s free!

Before beginning this journey I caught myself in a mental maelstrom, generated by the negative thoughts swirling in my mind. Thoughts so powerful in force, they practically paved my everyday life. They affected my work, my passion for others, my faith, and my relationships. Pretty soon I found myself desperately trying to live up to several unrealistic expectations that I had set. It was like I woke up had a bowl of “doubt” for breakfast, an “I gotta please everyone” sandwich, and finally a “pitty” casserole with a side of “failure” salad.

By photographing what’s right, I am able to pause if only for a moment and focus on all the positives that fill my life.

A sparkle begins to flicker and suddenly my perspective changes. That bowl of doubt becomes a bowl of courage (or cheerios), for lunch I enjoy an “I’m enough” sandwich (or pb&j), and I end the day with pasta… because I love pasta.

While photographing what’s right, I’m gathering evidence of the sheer beauty that surrounds my life, and I’m reminded every day of how lucky I am to draw breath and experience it all. 

I decided to participate in #52ROR because I love building connections with others. Even if no one hits the Like button or leaves a comment on the actual post, I know that something (even if its a small something) stirs and that something will snowball into a bigger more positive something, a kind of “chain reaction of awesome,” if you will. I know this because it happens to me every time I view someone else’s post, even if I couldn’t hit that like button or leave a positive comment myself.

Every time I log on I’m just in awe at some of the shots posted. To anyone thinking about participating, consider this: although you might never see it for yourself, just imagine how far your record of what is right will go!

Follow Iggy on IG: @john_iggy

Transform Your Year

Transform your year…one week at a time.

Life just overflows sometimes doesn’t it?
 
I mean, just when you think you might catch your breath, the next wave knocks you over.  And just when you think you’ve recovered from that one…here comes another.
 
It’s endless, right?

Sometimes it sounds/looks like this…and sometimes all on the same day:

Someone has the flu (that was me for 2 solid weeks after Christmas and why I didn’t get this launched when I wanted to, but DONE is better than PERFECT, so I’m not waiting until next January to do this), and the bills need to be paid and oh, the oil needs changing in the car and the dog needs a bath and why are all the carrots rotting in the bottom of the sticky veggie drawer?

The boss is being a major jerk, I’m exhausted from working too many hours, there’s 2 weeks of junk mail sitting on the counter that just can’t seem to make it into the garbage, and the phone rings with news that someone I love is in pain. The baby is crying and teething and the dishes are starting to stink and, man…I have so many emails to return. 

What day is it? 

And I forgot to return so-and-so’s call and great….the water heater just exploded. And I really want to meet Grace for lunch but I’m having a hard time remembering my name, which is obvious, because I just re-read this paragraph 3 times. My kids have been gaming for hours because I just can’t seem to slow down and everyone’s hungry and somehow I’m supposed to drop off at gymnastics and pick up from trap club in between and put that last load of laundry away and send out a reminder email that the fundraiser money is due tomorrow before I hit my pillow.

Then the arguing and blaming starts. Oh…and I forgot to workout and…forget it…I’ll just eat the rest of Ben & Jerry’s and call it a night. Or a life.

When it gets like that, all I can think about is Hawaii. Or Italy. Heck, just putting on my shoes for a run by myself will do

Sound familiar?

Sometimes, not all the time, but more than we want, it just feels like we can be living from struggle to struggle that seems to outweigh anything good in our lives.

The feelings of disappointment and discontentment start to leak in and the thoughts of “If only I had a blah-blah-blah” or “I wish I had a life like Suzie has” or “If I could just have that one comforter from Pottery Barn that I could snuggle deep into, or that new computer, or that different house, or that new partner, or that piece of cake, or that martini over there, or that day at the spa ….THEN I WOULD BE HAPPY”.  

(okay…if I had a day at the spa I WOULD be happy…)

Does it ever seem like everyone else has it easy and you have it hard? And life is just not treating you as kindly as everyone else?

Maybe it’s not that extreme…maybe it just feels like you KNOW in your head you have a great, beautiful life, but you just forget to see it because life is whizzing by at wharp speed.

I have felt all those things.  And on occasion still do.  I mean, if I’m being honest, there are days that just suck.  But I don’t have as many as I used to.

You know why?

I believe we can hold the good stuff and hard stuff together in the same hand.

How you and I see life and the perspective with which we live it is a choice.

Happiness is a choice.

Forgiveness is a choice.

Seeing what is right is a choice.

I’ve found that when I choose to look at what’s RIGHT and good and well in my life, instead of focusing on what’s wrong or bad or sucks or isn’t fair…my days are just plain better.  I end up loving people more too.  When I focus on what’s going well, what people ARE doing instead of what they AREN’T doing, how hard they’re TRYING instead of how they’re failing, how their heart is probably just as hurt and confused and in need of love, belonging and acceptance as mine is… I just see life in a new light. 

And when that happens…I am (and you can be) transformed.  Almost instantly.

When I practice the discipline of being aware of what’s good and wonderful, when I refuse to let the negative win my thoughts over (and trust me…there is always something yuck to focus on right?) when I embrace goodness and push negativity away consistently, my spirit is just happier. 

Joy comes in.  Peace comes in. Love has an opportunity to invade my heart.

And the more I practice it, the easier it becomes, and the easier it becomes, the more it becomes a part of my natural thinking and way of being.  And before I know it…I am more happy than not.

So, here’s what I’ve done.

I created 52 RECORDS OF RIGHT, which is a series of photo prompts I’ll be giving each week to help you get focused. If you are familiar with 365 days or 52 weeks photo projects – this is just like that. 

But it’s not just focusing on creating imagery - It will help you focus on the good in your life in the midst of feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied or disappointed. 

That takes intention which is so hard to do most of the time. 

  • It will help you practice the habit of positive thinking. But this will take you from just thinking about it or visualizing to actually seeing what’s marvelous and exceptional with your own eyes. Because once you see a truth, you can’t unsee it. The more you practice, the more natural it becomes. 
  • It will help give you a community of support to encourage you instead of keeping you in the victim struggle – you’ll fight to take back your power of how you feel because you are surrounded by people who are fighting the same fight alongside you.
  • It will help you have records – proof – of the awesome stuff so that you have a place to focus your gratitude and you won’t feel so overwhelmed by the struggles you face.

If you would love to join me in this project of intention and transformation – I have created this FB Group for you to have weekly inspiration and connection with myself and others. Join it here.

Or if you are an Instagrammer – you can join and follow me here for the weekly projects.

Make sure to tag #52ROR and @treacymize so that I can give you a virtual hug!

I’m excited to be together as we travel on this journey … fighting the good fight of keeping what’s RIGHT in focus.

Join me?  I hope you will!!

Keep your face turned to the sunshine!

Much love to you! 

Follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of goodness!

 If you’re new to The Light Room, don’t forget to check out 11 Amazing Days! It’s…um…amazing! (and free!)

 

Refocus Without Regret Planner

I’m so excited! I made something for you!!

I want you to have a free tool to get ready for 2014!

(or anytime, really.)

Now that the dust of the holiday season is settling, my thoughts immediately go into future planning mode.  Yours too? (or you wish they would…)

If so, you’re going to love what I’ve created for you. And you can use this anytime you like.  It doesn’t have to be just for January, but I thought the timing was perfect.

Instead of creating resolutions that are likely to fail, you will:

  • say goodbye to 2013 in a really honoring way
  • think about what you learned instead of what you DIDN’T do last year
  • show yourself compassion for past attempts that didn’t live up to your expectations
  • say hello to 2014 in a way that feels realistic and achievable, filled with hope
  • celebrate your new ideas and give yourself permission to explore and be curious
  • choose a word for the coming year that you can operate from and focus on living with intention instead of just hoping things go well

I really think you’re going to love it.

Introducing…

Don’t you find that when we begin to move forward, that annoying negative voice pops up with all kinds of objections, trying to tell you you’re dreaming, or worse, reminds you all the ways you failed in the past?

Me too.

But I didn’t want to give up on planning and dreaming and reaching and really grabbing hold of the awesome stuff yet to be discovered.

That’s why I’ve designed the worksheets in Refocus Without Regret to guide you through a process of letting go, showing yourself compassion and embracing whatever your heart is desiring.

And that’s it! 

Download your FREE copy here of REFOCUS without Regret! 

Yay!  Much love to you for 2014!!  I’m excited to hear what you think!

(Feel free to share with your friends and family who you think would benefit from starting off the year replacing negatives and refreshing their hearts!)

Follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of goodness!

What We See Is A Choice

This morning, I was driving my son to school.  On the right side of the narrow road is a large gravel parking area where the teens race through, and there is always a huge cloud of dust. And even though I’m in my car with the windows rolled up, I always feel like I’m going to suffocate when I drive in it.

But today was different.

Instead of looking at the dust cloud, I decided to look THROUGH it and guess what I saw?

Beautiful rays of sunshine coming through.

It affected me so greatly that I had to stop and take a photo and it got me thinking.

How often do we focus on the wrong stuff in life when we could be focused on what’s great? What if we looked beyond, or deeper, or THROUGH the problem and could see new light trying to make it’s way into the clearing?

It made me wonder what kind of solutions would show up in situations where we could only previously see suffocating difficulty? 

Photo tip: the next time you notice a bunch of dust, get in the middle of it and look toward the sun…you’ll see awesome rays like these!

What if the thing that you can only see as a setback is really the gateway to something beautiful? Maybe you only need to look in a new way.

Because what we see is a choice.

Choose to see the beauty.

The solution.

The things that are good. 

Right in the middle of your ONE AMAZING, SOMETIMES CRAZY MESSY LIFE

It’s there. 

What light will you choose to notice today that is fighting to get through? 

Hope your day is fantastic!

 

What am I up to these days?

…I thought you’d never ask…

What’s currently happening in and around The Light Room:

 

{for the love of cake photography workshop}

The class was awesome! Look at these incredible images my mostly non-photographer students took! Using nothing but their iPhones and some clever editing techniques, they created some really tasty results!  {And the cake wasn’t bad either.} I’ll definitely be teaching this again. If you’re in the Sacramento/Foothills region and you’re interested in attending, please let me know and I’ll make sure you are notified when it comes around again.  Or you can follow along on Facebook and get notified there as well.  

 

{The gifts of imperfection}

I signed up for this little e-course workshop with Brene Brown. (you know I’m her #1 fan right?!) This 6 week art journaling class helps you let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you ARE. Class started Oct. 20. (you might still be able sign up!?) Week one is fantastic so far.  Really neat course. I’ll post more photos of what I do as it goes along.

 

{no excuses workouts bootcamp}

A couple weeks ago, I traveled to Boulder, CO to shoot some new team photography for Breakthrough Health & Wellness and also to attend their really fantastic weekend retreat. It was phenomenal. In addition to being special friends with CEO, Jonathan Roche & his wife Karen, I’m a lifetime bootcamper. It makes me happy to have a team I can workout with anywhere, anytime (all of the 20-30 minute workouts are live online. If you can’t catch it live, you can grab the recordings). They are a really special group of coaches that truly care about the hearts of people. Bootcamp starts every 8 weeks. The final bootcamp of 2013 starts November 4. Grab your spot and use coupon bch10 for $10 off until Friday. (This is not an affiliate link…it’s just a rockin’ way to live life and I wanted to pass along a really great opportunity to start each and every day with joy and movement. Your brain (and body!) will thank you! (special thanks to Tierney (their holistic nutritionist – oh yeah!) for sharing this photo with me!)

These are the amazing coaches. Stephanie, Erik & Jonathan. Stephanie Louden is an amazing woman. She’s overcome some serious health issues and leads us to having great relationships with ourselves. She’s an Azusa nutrition and health grad and I absolutely adore her. We can count on Boston’s Erik Hajer to bring passion (and great music) to his workouts and he’s the team’s guru for inspired action. Jonathan Roche leads this team with a really unique mix of no-nonsense empathy. All award winning athletes and inspiring world changers. Love them all so much! I hope you’ll join!

Follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of goodness!

If you’re new to The Light Room, don’t forget to check out 11 Amazing Days! It’s…um…amazing! (and free!)

Lighten Your Load

I was running today and listening to one of my all-time favorite songs.

It’s amazing to me how much music can get me focused and inspired and this song always does it for me. 

 

Suitcases by Dara Maclean 

“How can you move when they’re weighing you down?

What can you do when you’re tied to the ground?

You carry your burdens, heavy like gravity,

Just let them go now

There’s freedom in release

You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases,

It’s a new day, throw away your mistakes

And open up your heart, lay down your guard

You don’t have to be afraid.”

 

Especially the crescendo at the end where she sings, “JUST RUNNNNNNNNN…….”  Seems I’m usually at some clearing or large open field when that part comes on and I can just taste that freedom and want to run forever. 

I never want those moments to end.  Running is like fresh air to me.  My shoes are some of my best friends.  When those puppies go on, I know I’m about to have a great day.

 

But, if you’re like me, it can be so easy to lug a suitcase around without even knowing it.

We pick up our burdens without meaning to, perhaps even knowingly, thinking, “I’ll just take this a block or two….” and then several hundred miles later, our arms are about ready to fall off.  It’s just human nature to pick up the junk.

 

Here are 10 things you can set down if your life is feeling a little too heavy:

  1. Pessimism & Cynicism – Which is really just the fear of being disappointed.
  2. Negative Self Talk – Tired of getting lectured? Turn the station off.
  3. Judgment – Nothing weighs you down like a good dose of judgment.
  4. Trying to fix what’s wrong – It’s helpful to know what’s wrong, but the key isn’t in trying to fix that. (see below)
  5. Blame – All that is, is a discharge of discomfort. Ditch that.
  6. Sarcasm – I can enjoy a good banter as much as anyone in the right situation, but mostly, sarcasm is a form of aggression and it’s such a silent killer. Let it go. Connect authentically instead.
  7. Sedentary Days – Endorphins are your friend. Being sedentary is not.
  8. Sugar – Did you realize sugar causes the blues? Yep. Moderation, people.
  9. Dare I say it… caffeine – (maybe not for YOU…but maybe for someone you KNOW…caffeine restricts blood vessels and can create irritability after the high has worn off – and you don’t sleep as well – I’m currently 30 days caffeine clean and sober.  Haha!!  If this doesn’t apply to you…it’s okay…just keep on goin’…..)
  10. Destination Disease – Let go of that thinking that says you can’t be happy unless you finally arrive at _________________.  That’s a lie. 

 

Research shows that focusing on what you CAN do, instead of what you CAN’T or SHOULDN’T do, switches you into positive, forward movement and momentum.

 

The key is working in your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

 

EVEN BETTER than those ideas above, are 15 things you can PICK UP that will lighten your load:

  1. Your camera! - Go gather evidence of the 10 top things you’re grateful for.  Have them printed and stick them up around your house.  For some fun display ideas, check this out.
  2. A new pair of running shoesGet outside and go for a walk or run.  Just the act of being outdoors always lightens my heart.
  3. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly – I just finished up a 6 week class with her on the power of vulnerability – I can’t get enough. Totally changing my life. (the little promo video is awesome)
  4. A green smoothie – extra nutrition feeds the brain and a healthy brain is a happy brain (over simplified, but you get the idea) For yummy recipes, go here.  I just did the 30 day challenge. It was awesome.
  5. Focus on your strengths – mental focus on what you’re good at increases positive momentum. Send your heavy bags packing…they are not what you need.
  6. Laughing watch this video if you need some help – and laugh at yourself while you’re at it…life doesn’t have to be so serious!  Seriously….
  7. Deep Breathing – super cleansing.
  8. Turn up the music – I started having Pandora Music on in the background on a regular basis. Have a little dance party right there in your own little space all day.
  9. An extra nap
  10. Coffee/tea/water time with a friend and connect. (I know, I know, I know.  I just said above to set the caffeine down. But some of you hate me for that…so keep drinking it.  Haha!  The point here is to connect… but if we’re going to be really authentic here – let’s just say that this one, the caffeine part, might be the hardest on the list for me personally. I love coffee. It really is a cup of love in my book. Especially when I’m with my Dad.  And I’ll probably always want it until the day I die. But…sadly…coffee doesn’t love me. I feel like jilted lover at the moment, even though I’m feeling much more grounded and calm on a daily basis without it…moving on…so, be prepared to hear about more coffee addiction adventures if you decide to hang with me here in The Light Room…)
  11. Welcome in comfort. When we blow it, too often we’re pushing comfort away. Go get some (and not the French fry kind…) I’m talking, good conversation, prayer/meditation time, inspiring quotes, blankies, love.
  12. Forgiveness – Nothing lightens a load like that. Give it. Receive it.
  13. The practice of empathy – Be nice to yourself. Giving and receiving a little bit of empathy goes a long way. (Empathy says: “me too, I get you, I’m with you”)
  14. A Shift in Perspective – Instead of working so hard to get somewhere so that you will be happy, choose to look for happiness on your way there.  It’s about enjoying your journey.
  15. Where you left off in 11 Amazing Days – I’ve heard from so many that they started it, but didn’t finish.  I’m guilty of that too with other things.  If you need a quick place to turn to get your mind in a new space, go back in your email and start over. It’s so….um…amazing!

 

We are created to run, to be free, to do GREAT things during our short time here on earth.  Set down your suitcases and just runnnn.  Don’t let anything hold you back.

Spread the sunshiny power of light!

Making Friends with your Enemies

I hate winter.  Hate it.  HATE. IT. 

I’m not bitter (okay…maybe just a tiny bit).  I just don’t like it.  I don’t like grey skies.  I have things to do, and I don’t like being cold while I do them.  I don’t like being damp all day when I have to run errands in the pouring rain.  I don’t like slipping on my deck on the frost.  I don’t like having to run out to my car in bare feet (ever heard of slippers, Treacy?) to start my car 20 minutes before I leave so that the windshield will defrost.  I don’t like the sun going down at 4:30pm.  I don’t like cold tile on my feet.  I don’t like shivering while I wait to hop in the shower.
 
Wha-wha-wha!!!!  And I could go on. 



I have a case built against winter so thick it might never thaw. 
 

And yet, winter is here. 

As much as I wish it wasn’t, as much as I hate it…it’s part of my daily living.  And the more I try to push it away, the more stress, depression, angst and overall dissatisfaction I experience. 
 
And striving…it causes so much striving.  Living in a perpetual state of wishing I had something different that I can do nothing about is as about as inefficient and hopeless as it comes. Have you ever thought about how much energy it takes to strive continuously for a change that just will not happen in your own timing?



Yeah…maybe you’ve been thinking about that.
 


Your enemy. 

The one that won’t leave. The thorn in your side. The one that keeps you up at night, fretting, boiling, stewing.  The one that taunts your thoughts and coaxes your mind into the dark abyss of dissatisfaction. That one. The one you can’t forgive. The one you can’t figure out.
 
Whether it be a season, a program that doesn’t work for you, your stubborn weight loss, or a person in your life that will not leave your mind…you cannot get free.  But it’s there.  They are there. Staring you in the face. Day in.  Day out. 

Is it your schedule, your kids, your boss that lives to make you miserable, (or just plain doesn’t care about you), your employee, your house, your dog that keeps peeing on the ash bucket in the garage day after day, after day, after day?? 
 
I know some of these are silly and exaggerated examples…but we all have some kind of thorn in our sides…a sort of catch in our craw.  Heck…the whole world can feel like an enemy on certain days. 


 
The point I want to talk about is how are we, you and I, going to get away from being victims to “our enemies”?



Are you going to waste your days, your precious hours, giving in to negative emotions? Believing things that may not even be true? Disregarding and discounting the gifts that await you in this enemy that plagues you?
 

{screeching hault!}

“What did you just say?” 

Ya.  I just called your enemy a potential GIFT.

(and let me just put this out there for good measure – I’m not speaking about ultimate harm of one to another – abuse, neglect and those types of things. I’m talking about annoying thorns in our sides. ALTHOUGH, if you talk to people who have lived through and overcome heinous crimes, say Corrie Ten Boom for example, true survivors, they will tell you there is some kind of gift they personally have received in their sufferings. I’m not really going that deep here, but we could…because once again…HOW WE EXPERIENCE OUR SETBACKS AND SUFFERINGS IS ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE AND ATTITUDE) 

moving on…



See, I believe ANYTHING is possible.  However, and very likely, it may not be all within your control.  (like with me and winter.  Winter is here whether I want it to be or not.)

“If you don’t like something, change it.

  If you can’t change it, 

change the way you think about it.” 


         - Maya Angelou

 

Here’s my solution:

 

Find a way to embrace that which causes you pain.


Become friends with it.


Actively LOOK for the positive inside of the negative.  

 

Here’s what I mean: As fall started to come to an end, and I had to tuck my tank tops away (sniffle, sniffle) I started having anxiety about the cold.  My mood changed.  I started responding with “Eh-so-so” when people would ask me how my day was. I JUST WANTED TO BE HAPPY!!!  And I was letting THE WEATHER dictate if I was going to experience joy or not. How crazy is THAT?! 

Talk about giving power away to something silly.

But we do it. all. the. time.

However, I’m a determined little soul…and after about a week of being crabby, I started looking for the beauty in winter.  Something in me told me that if I were going to survive this season, I had to become friends with it.  So, I CHOSE to let the light in. (let that sink in for a minute)  I didn’t wait for it to come to me…I actively, purposely and intentionally made a CHOICE to let it in. 

It was already waiting for me.

I took my camera and went looking for something, ANYTHING, that was beautiful.  I looked.  Nothing.  Nada. Everything seemed dead and brown. But then…I saw it. It was dewdrops.  They seemed like tiny kisses of refreshment.  It was small, but I took out my macro lens and focused intensely on individual drops.  And I pondered what drops of dew do for us.  (haha!  Dew-do!) And all at once I saw more.  And more. And more beauty.  I started thinking about how necessary it was for winter to come.

And what I’ve noticed, is that once I began being open to changing my mind about winter, so many new things and opportunities have crossed my path.

As I became willing to see winter in a new light, these things showed up:

 

I read this great blog post by my friend Laura Cotrill about winter.  Absolutely beautiful and I felt a sense of relief as I considered her words about embracing the season of winter and hibernation. She said,

“[A] myth from society is that we are not worthy unless we are always in bountiful harvest. In nature it is impossible to be in a state of constant harvest.”  

It was the permission I needed to rest without guilt.

I did some planning and dreaming and intention setting using Susannah Conway’s planner, Unraveling the Year Ahead to get some clarity on what happened last year and what’s ahead. And guess what? You can do it any time of year…it’s not only good on January 1st. Check it out. It’s free. 

I began taking baths at night, soaking, resting, caring for myself.

I put some of my bigger projects on the back burner so that I could take a break mentally and recharge my vision. 

I started working with Jessica Drummond and participated in a healthy, strengthening winter cleanse, recovering as I nourished and healed my seriously needy adrenal system.  You can listen to an awesome, free, very empowering call here about the cleanse. It was awesome for me!  

I began documenting my days, one photo at a time with ProjectLife365. It’s been so interesting for me to see how my mind is changing and being more creative as I participate. Join me! (and guess what…you don’t have to start on January 1st.  Jump in wherever you are!)

I’ve been sleeping longer, stretching and breathing deeper.

It’s the first time, maybe ever, that I’ve been enjoying this season.  I’m actually looking forward to winter next year, because I have a game plan.  I’m better understanding it’s place in this world and my life. I don’t know that I’ll ever love winter, like some talk about “loving your enemies”…but I’m learning to become friends with my enemy.

I’m learning to notice what’s good about it, instead of being bitter about the things I don’t care for and can’t change. 

It made me wonder what your thorn is.  What you could come to embrace as a friend, if you’d crack the door open and let in some light.  Would you see a new side?

Could you be influenced by a different aspect of the thing that you’ve only come to dread? 

Is there a gift in there for you like there was for me in winter?

I have a hunch there is. 

And I have some cool ideas about befriending your thorn.

Tomorrow I’m going to be asking for a very small group of people to participate in a test of sorts for 5 days, starting next week (read: f-r-e-e mini workshop).  It’s going to be a little experiment, taking you through a mini documentation process that I use myself, using photography (and you don’t need a fancy camera, either!). Let’s see if it’s possible to shift our perspectives using art, community, collaboration and compassion.  It’s going to be super neat. 

I’m going to use this research to build and enhance the next phase of The Light Room. So, if you’re interested in getting an insider peek at what I have up my sleeve, keep a look out for tomorrow’s email with all the details. 

(big intake of air…..) 

And LASTLY… as a reward for those of you who made it to the end of this post… ;o) 

I thought you might enjoy this yummy recipe I am using for almost every breakfast lately.  Thanks, Jessica, for allowing me to share this from your Winter Cleanse Program. I loved your information about seasonal cleansing and am looking forward to the next one.

Hearty Breakfast Museli 

4 servings 

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 grated granny smith apples

1-1/2 cups almond milk

1 cup plain Kefir 

1/4 cup honey (optional)

1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped dates

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Juice of an orange

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Toasted, sliced almonds for the top, sprinkled on right before serving (optional)

Mix in a bowl all together and let sit overnight.

I love having breakfast waiting for me in the morning.  I always seem to be rushing around and love having something quick and ready to grab. It’s also great warmed up. Pop in the toaster oven while you take a shower!  ENJOY!!

Happy Love Day!

 

If you’re new to The Light Room, you might like reading some of the previous newsletters that I’ve sent out!  ;o) 

I used to think I wanted to be a labor & delivery nurse 

Whoever thought I’d find sunshine in the mud pits (complete with photos covered in mud)

What are you thankful for? (and photos I took when my nephew was born!)

 

Spread the sunshiny power of light!

 

The Mud Run

I have only one friend that is truly happy all of the time. I’ve never seen Wendy (hello my little yellow friend!) get angry. She might talk about being angry, but I’ve never witnessed it. It’s possible that people think the same thing of me, and most of the time I’m not angry. I’ve made a pretty good life at choosing happiness.  But every once in a while, it happens, and this is about a day just a few weeks ago when I was FUMING MAD. This is the dirty, honest truth.

As I’ve been on a fitness path (and funny thing, it tends to mirror my path of happiness – interesting, right? And we aren’t talking Cross Fit or P90X or Insanity per se – although there’s nothing wrong with those programs – I just train for life. It’s my way of living. I do a quick and simple 30 minute workout 5-6 mornings a week with 4 amazing coaches, I eat reasonably, I’m a “water nazi” (thank you, June!) and I’m really, really nice to myself; and consequently those around me.)

An.Y.Way. (I have a feeling I’ll be apologizing for digression a lot.)

As I’ve been on a fitness path, I’ve had these goals to do certain events. I love mud runs. It feeds the Survivor Wannabe in me. Last year I did my first 5K mud run with 2 girlfriends. I signed up on a whim because I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be that I walked the whole thing. My lone goal was to finish. It was such a challenge. I had no idea what my body was capable of. When I crossed that finish line, I started floating on air and it took me several months to come down.  

And what’s more perfect that that, you ask?

Doing it again this year with my family, who’s jumped into the fitness boat with me. I collected a team of about 12 people and I was ELATED to be doing it again. I couldn’t be happier running with my husband and 2 of my big kids, and a handful of some good friends.

 

Backfire #1

Let’s just say I had some brewing expectations about the upcoming experience. I mean, I had just attended Tough Mudder and watched my son cross the finish line and I was so amazed and refreshed as I watched how people worked together as a team…so I was excited about that element and expected that would happen on this day as well.  Wrong.

Being the veteran of the group, I decided to pace myself at the beginning of the race. I didn’t want to get winded too early (because as hard as I try to be a fabulous runner, I’m just not…I tire easily), so while everyone sped ahead, I kind of hung back while I “saved my energy”.

 

And then, Backfire #2

They never stopped.  

 

Backfire #3

I kept saying to myself, “Surely…they’ll wait for me at the next obstacle.”  See where this is going?

I continued to fall farther and farther behind. And with each obstacle I did alone (which for me and my personality type, being together is what makes things FUN) my attitude got worse and worse. My negative thoughts began to set up shop.

I started becoming bitter towards this “darling couple” I was running next to. I kept hearing them say sweet things to each other like, “How ya’ doin? You need to slow down? You ok? You’re doin’ awesome! Keep going!!” And with each encouragement, I got more and more angry.

 

Backfire #4

I began to entertain harmful wishes on my teammates, but I didn’t entirely loose hope. SURELY. At least my husband will realize I’m in the desert all alone, slogging mud everywhere, alone, and he’ll wait.  I know it.  But, no. He never did.  And my morale continued to decline.

I tried talking myself into thinking, “You’re strong enough. You can DO this! You’ve done it before. Just pick it up and you’ve GOT this.” But the alone thing was more than I could mentally handle. 

 

At that point, Backfire #5 showed up. 

Something inside me started to give up (big mistake). I began walking. Actually, it was more like stomping. The anger and self pity turned up another notch and I wondered if all of the myriad of cuss words that were swirling in my head were visible on the outside. I lit some candles for my pity party right there on the trail and I attended all by myself.

 

Have you ever tried to run and pout at the same time?

It’s harder than regular running. At about mile 2, I was seething and as I began to get to the part of the Sahara Desert where I could see the crowd in the distance waiting at the finish line, I contemplated breaking from the line of ants I found myself in, and just quit. It wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t get to scream “Wheeeeee!” with anyone after I climbed that ridiculously tall cargo rope thing that had a slide on the other side that made me loose my stomach.

But I couldn’t quit.

Because then I started hearing things like, “How are you going to speak to people to about The Light Room, and choosing happiness, when you won’t even do it.  This is when it matters.  When it feels next to impossible. So what are you going to do…you can’t quit. You have to find a way.” 

The problem was that I let my negative voice and my long list of Big Fat Lies take over.  I gave them reign over my attitude and over my inner joy. But the bigger problem was that I had let it go too far. The voices overwhelmed me. And even though I wanted out, I couldn’t find the way. 

But I’m a solution finder. It’s what I do.

All of a sudden, I heard my coach, Jonathan, say, “Turn your face to the sunshine.” I even yelled at him in my head because the sun was BEHIND me and I could not even follow his advice. It seemed no matter what encouragement came my way; I found a way to tear it down. 

And this problem remained; I had to cross the finish line and I was out of breath, out of will and I didn’t care anymore. But, I did have one last shred of hope and I knew Jonathan was right. I needed to find some sunshine.

So, after I slid down that slide of mud, I started asking myself what I needed. I had the answer.  I needed a team.  I needed someone I could pace with. And if I couldn’t have the team I wanted, perhaps I could join another team.

And how many people do you need to have a team? Only 2.

 

All of a sudden, I saw it. 

In front of me, was another woman running solo and she had on a yellow shirt. And for whatever reason, I heard the whisper again … “turn your face to the sunshine”… I thought, her shirt is yellow, she’s alone too, and I’ll just follow her. And this nameless, faceless woman became my surrogate team. (She had no idea.) I started to follow her.

And once I made that critical decision, everything changed.

I started focusing on my breathing, and staying caught up. I started saying things to myself, like, “Just one step further. Follow the sunshine. Keep up. Don’t stop. If you just follow, you’ll cross the finish line. All you have to do is finish. The only thing you have to do in order to finish is just put one foot in front of the other. Follow the sunshine.”

That woman had no idea what a gift she was to me.

It kind of reminded me of that part in Top Gun where Tom Cruise has to follow his wing man all the way back to the air craft carrier.  His only job, at that moment when was he was in despair, was to follow the wing tip of his fellow fighter. 

So, I just followed her. When I wasn’t strong enough to pull it together for myself, when the voices and the Big Fat Lies had overtaken me, the only thing I could do was follow someone who was going where I wanted to go; because I had lost my will and my way.

I finally did cross the finish line and I wanted to tell her what she had done for me, but she got lost in a sea of people and I never did find her.

Maybe she was an angel.  For sure she was MY angel. 

The rest of my team was waiting for me. I finished a full 10 minutes behind everyone else. They were busy experiencing the elation I had experienced the year before, and here comes sour Treacy…crossing the finish line in a huff and with a snarl on her face. I mean, was I really about to let them off the hook that easy?  

It was truly pathetic. And my husband was grieved to learn about my experience. The whole team was…and it was one of those situations that had they known, of course they would have waited for me. But I finished, and this year, that was enough.

I had to celebrate finishing, because I ALMOST didn’t. 

We made our way to the rinsing off station, where it was just rows and rows of hoses hooked up to water trucks. We started to spray each other off and I decided right there that I would let the water rinse off the mud and my anger. 

By the time I was clean, so was my head and that’s the end of that.

I quickly forgave and moved on. Because the truth was I truly did want to have a good day, and I had been robbed enough by my cruddy attitude on the trail.  I wasn’t going to let it have any more room in my day with people I cared about. 

I know how hard it can be deal with your Big Fat Lies.

Your theories. The stories that you make up about yourself and others and I know that sometimes they DO take over. And no amount of positive “mumbo jumbo” helps on days like that. The rehearsed mantras fall flat; the affirmations and recollections of evidence fall on deaf ears (brains). At least they did for me – and I’m pretty good at pulling myself out of those darker moments. 

So, on days like these, see what you can do to find someone who is going where you want to go, team up and finish your race. It doesn’t even have to be anything formal; you don’t have to inform anyone that you’re following them if you don’t want to.  And just put one foot in front of the other until you get there. Crossing the finish line is important.

Burn the bridge to quitting. 

I promise, crossing the finish line (especially when there is a great fight to do so), whatever and wherever that is for you, feels 10 times better than the relief of quitting. 

Your Big Fat Lie and negative voice will try to convince you otherwise and that’s when you have to really just ignore the voice and press on until you cross the line to victory.

I don’t know about you, but most great battles I have faced, whether its physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. are mental games.  Perspective truly is everything and it really does matter what you choose to do with your thinking in those moments. It’s the difference between winning and losing…and I want to win. 

How about you?

Press on and turn your face to the sunshine,

{even if you have to substitute a yellow shirt for a sun}

If this post resonates with you and you’re struggling in this area, refer back to Day 6 in 11 Amazing Days.

If you haven’t finished 11 Amazing Days, no worries.  Pick up where you left off.  But do yourself the favor and finish.

If you have finished, will you share your New Theory with me from Day 10?  I’m collecting “ah-ha” moments and would love to hear about yours.

And lastly, if this blog made you think of someone you care about, please share this message with them!  It might be the nicest thing you ever do. Because when we’re down, we need stories of hope and possibility.