I love music. It shapes my mood, lifts my heart, sets my foot to tapping, and serves as a backdrop for my life.
Right now, in fact, as I take a break in my work day to get my thoughts out onto virtual paper, I’m listening to a Songza playlist called Soaring Morning because I was in need of enlivening and “Soaring Morning” sounded like exactly the right fit.
The countdown to my 40th birthday continues, and today I’m sharing a list of my 40 favourite songs. These are the ones I sing along to when I’m driving down the highway across these open plains, I dance along to in my kitchen as I’m putting away the dirty dishes, I bop my head to when I hear them in the grocery store and I’m deciding between baby kale and baby spinach. They are the songs that I listened to on my clock radio in the basement bedroom of my parents house when I was a teenager, that I sang along to as I danced with my high school boyfriend, that I absolutely had to include on all of my running playlists because they make me narrow my eyes and go for it. They are the soundtrack of my life, entangled with the most important of my memories. Enjoy!
- ACDC – Thunderstruck
- The Knack – My Sharona
- Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
- Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ in the Dark
- Roxette – Joyride
- Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
- Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
- Poison – Talk Dirty to Me
- Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive
- ABBA – Take a Chance
- Madonna – Material Girl
- Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
- Kenny Loggins – Footloose
- Living Color – Cult of Personality
- Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
- Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird
- Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway
- Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
- Dixie Chicks – Ready to Run
- Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
- Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
- Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music
- Bruno Mars – Grenade
- Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven
- Usher – DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
- Pink – Raise Your Glass
- Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
- Heart – Barracuda
- Honeymoon Suite – Feel It Again
- Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
- The Killers – When You Were Young
- George Michael – Faith
- Ke$ha – TiK ToK
- Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
- Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
- Sara Bareilles – Love Song
- U2 – Desire
- Starship – We Built This City
- Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian
Which songs bring up your fondest memories?
Have you read The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte? I finished working my way through it over the weekend, with the assistance of my life coach and a group of like-minded women, and it was totally enlightening.
The premise of The Desire Map is that most of us go about setting our goals in a backwards way, by setting out what we want to accomplish, hoping that we’ll get to the feeling we want in the end. LaPorte proposes a different approach: figure out what you want to feel (a.k.a., your core desired feelings) and then establish your goals to align with those desired feelings.
The message of this book resonated with me completely because this is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been working on with my life coach (which is probably why she recommended the book). Over the past several months, I’ve been examining and shifting my thoughts, and my feelings have followed.
Using the workbook portion of The Desire Map, I worked through each area of my life, identified what was working and what wasn’t, brainstormed three core desired feelings, set out what I wanted to do, experience and have in each area of my life, and recorded four main intentions/goals for the year ahead. It took several hours of listening in on my thoughts, conversation with my life coach, and bouncing ideas off the four other women who were also working through The Desire Map. We discussed kids, joy, anger, and bangs, among other things, and really dug deep to come up with three words that would describe our core desired feelings for the year.
My three words? Abundance. Enliven. Confident.
Abundance to me is about feeling like I have enough time, money, and energy. Time for my kids, husband, family, and myself. Money to travel, have a comfortable home, no debt, choose exactly what I want to do for work without restriction, explore my interests, have freedom. Energy to exercise, explore my interests, and share with my husband and kids.
Enliven is about feeling active and vital, savouring the small things, feeling alive, being energized, feeling happiness and joy, being light, practicing gratitude and appreciation, being enough and growing toward more, being open to new things and people, feeling inspired and uplifted.
Confident is about feeling strong and powerful, not fearful, being sure of myself, owning my own opinion, owning my choices, being unswayed by others, knowing myself, making up my own mind.
Going through The Desire Map process was hard work and absolutely worth it. I feel so much more clarity about what I want to focus on over the coming months and know that I will dig through The Desire Map again.
What method do you use to set your goals? Are you familiar with The Desire Map?
It’s the first day of spring and there is fresh snow on the ground. I do live in Saskatchewan, after all. Snow is not a surprise. True spring, with trees budding and bulbs poking through the earth, will arrive in May in these parts.
Though cool weather is still my reality, I want to embrace the spirit of invigoration that comes with the season and really LIVE this spring. Here’s how I’m making invigoration a reality.
1. Clean and organize a single drawer. The idea of spring cleaning my whole house is overwhelming to me for some reason, and that’s not the feeling I want, so I’m picking an easy win and targeting a single drawer.
2. Download ten new songs and create a new life soundtrack to celebrate this season of renewal.
3. Eat an Easter Creme Egg or some Mini Eggs.
4. Sweep off the front step and put away the winter mat.
5. Buy some tulips, for at home and at the office.
6. Bake a lemon meringue pie and enjoy sharing and eating it.
7. Go for a walk. Throw on some splash pants if need be.
8. Roast a bunch of asparagus. I like use olive oil, salt, and pepper and finish it off with a touch of balsamic vinegar.
9. Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water and add a slice of lime or lemon.
10. Practice a sun salutation or two (or ten, or one hundred and eight).
11. Enjoy a pretty sunset.
12. Whip up a batch of white sangria.
Do you have any spring traditions? What are you itching to do now that the days are getting longer and warmer?
1. I get migraines. Like the one I had tonight. Sleep, the dark, and ibuprofen help.
2. When I was about 12, I was holding one of those sparklers that go on the top of birthday cakes and the tip of it fell off onto my hand. I still have a giant scar in the webbing between my pointer and middle fingers on my left hand.
3. I really dislike shopping for clothes.
4. I consider the number four to be my lucky number, even though I don’t really believe in luck.
5. I weight almost thirty-five pounds more than I did when I started this blog.
6. I’ve stopped reading celebrity gossip blogs because they weren’t adding anything good to my life and freed up time to do stuff I really enjoy, like blogging and meditating.
7. My current favourite breakfast smoothie is a thin mint smoothie: milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach, and mint extract.
8. I love Hawaii and dream of owning a house there one day.
9. I’m not very girly, but I do love sparkly eye shadows from Urban Decay.
10. My current obsessions are chalkboard anything and touches of gold.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
I’ve noticed a big shift in my outlook on life the past several weeks. The sun seems brighter, I’m smiling more, and I feel greater appreciation for those around me.
A lot of the gratitude I feel flows from the work my staff does and how they are present at the office. My staff has a big part in my day-to-day life, since I spend so much of my time at work, and the fact that I work with such great people makes me happy. In short, I’ve got some fantastic team members and really could not do my job without them.
A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Dental Assistants Week. I wanted to do something special and personal to celebrate the work that my dental assistant does. I used a multi-pronged approach: We went out for lunch as a team, I brought my staff coffee, and everyone made a list of 10 things that they appreciate about my dental assistant and we presented the lists to her.
As my assistant opened her gift and began to read what the team had written about her, I could see her begin to glow. Her smile got wider and brighter, and she told us that the appreciation lists were the best work gift that she has ever received. Score!
Check out the worksheet I made to document our appreciation for her.
I definitely think that the process of practicing gratitude as a team was a worthwhile one. I’ve often read that people feel unappreciated at work and will leave jobs for that simple reason. Not only do I want to avoid turnover, but I also want to encourage the people around me to recognize each other for the work that they do in order to create a more harmonious, happier place to spend our days.
In what way are you recognized for the work you do?
Sometimes the daily grind feels like a little too much, but not in a “life is full” kind of way; more like in an energy-sucking, soul vampire kind of way. Your stress levels rise and that need for escape and for downtime will surface and this statement will pop out of your mouth: “I need a vacation.”
I’m delighted to report that this statement hasn’t crossed my lips in quite some time. Right now, I’m working with a fantastic life coach and have really worked at shifting my life so that I’m not feeling overwhelmed, I’m not drowning in stress, and I’m taking care of myself on a daily basis through meditation, yoga, regular exercise, and a gratitude practice. My need for a vacation has morphed into the desire for one. It’s less about escaping and more about living life to the fullest.
Holidays away are fantastic. There is something life-affirming and heart-opening about venturing afar, seeing new things, and removing yourself from your usual routine. I’m partial to beach destinations myself.
Vacations don’t typically happen at the instant that you want them to, though. They take planning, money, and a break in your schedule.
If a holiday isn’t in the cards for you right now but you feel like you need a lift, then you’re in the right place, because here are 10 things you can do RIGHT NOW to feel good, pretty much instantly.
1. Take 3 deep breaths, in and out, belly-deep.
2. Go outside, or simply look out the window and absorb nature.
3. Drink a glass of water. You can throw a lemon slice or a couple of berries in there, too.
4. Turn on a song that you can sing or dance to (or both). I’m currently loving Shake It Off by Taylor Swift.
5. Write down 10 things that you appreciate or feel grateful for. If 10 feels too hard, start with 3.
7. Practice legs-up-the-wall pose.
8. Step away from the couch, computer, or TV and move your body in whatever way feels good.
9. Stretch. You might want to start with your neck and shoulders.
10. Smile, or laugh. Even if you have to force it, it often turns into the genuine article.
What gives you an instant boost? What’s your favourite vacation destination?