Posts tagged joy
Reflections on a Snowy Winters Morn

Time goes faster the older I get. I didn't anticipate this as a kid sitting on my warm driveway soaking up the endless summer sun. I wish now I would have made a point of appreciating the freedom I had then, the clarity of thought, the uncomplicated simplicity of my life. But I was a kid, who knew that life would eventually roll along at so fast a pace it would seem there was no way to step off for a mindful moment?

My parents might have tried to tell me. But as a kid, who really listens to their parents?

I spent 2017 enjoying the moments directly in front of me, being 'present' as they say, and time didn't slow down at all. If anything, it seemed to move even faster. As I sit here reflecting on the year gone by, I so want to keep each precious moment of 2017 in my heart, relishing the cuddles from my sweet grand daughter, replaying the sound of her giggles and my husband's laughter as they played together, gazing up at the perfect blue sky of a summer day at the lake. Those little things fuel my soul and make my heart sing. I never want to forget them.

Another thing my parents may have tried to tell me way back when, is that everything changes, nothing ever stays the same.

The calendar turning to 2018 brings a brand spanking new chance to appreciate the moments right in front of me for another year. I know that I cannot recreate the ones I loved so much in 2017, but I have to remind myself there is no reason to think the new ones will be any less great.

I've learned at least one thing in my 55 years; you have to find your own joy. What things currently bring you happiness will change as you do, and as time goes by. Sometimes it means I have to dig deep for a silver lining and other times I have to fight to contain the awesomeness of the moment so I won't miss any second of it.

Life will be different for me this coming year as I can feel the winds of change blowing in. In the past I have tended to resist the unknown, to choose safe + familiar over new adventures, but I know if I do that I will become stagnant (again) and I do not want to waste this beautiful life of mine. So I will do my best to surrender to what will be.

In 2018 I will embrace what is, and graciously attempt to let go of what isn't. I will fill my heart with my own simple joys. I will continue to treasure all the moments with the members of my sweet family-- the little grand babies and nieces, my all grown up children and their significant others, the wise old ones (my parents), the one who is always my rock (my husband), and even with the ones that try my patience but give me the best of hugs. I will literally and figuratively "draw" out my own unique artistic talent by pushing past the self-critical voice I hear and find pride + promise in my work. And, I will allow my failures to be my lessons and my successes to be sweet reminders of my growth. I will shine in 2018. And if I am lucky, as I appreciate each wonderful moment, I will be able  to slow down time so I can enjoy life even more! .

Love + Blessings to you in the new year.





Is This Your Season?

Every spring I come back to Big Star Lake and its surrounding areas with a sense of anticipation. Not only for the warmer weather and the summer of fun to come, but to see spring renewal at its finest—or what I call the pop-up swamps. Low lying areas in the woods where the spring waters pool and become instant swamps teeming with new life and sound.

This year there were fewer pop up swamps for me to enjoy on my first walk through the woods. Maybe because we didn’t have a lot of snow to melt along with the first spring rains? Everything looked a little different to me, and yet a lot remained the same. The sounds around me for sure alerted me to the arrival of spring, as did the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, so welcome after winter’s chill. 

I wrote this blog post last year and never posted it, so I thought I would share it now.

Pop up swamps teem with the sounds of spring.

Amidst the frogs, birds, and insects I hear the wind whisper: Renewal. Resolve. Rejoice.

I feel it, too in my bones. Renewal, I mean. I feel freer as I walk down the dusty path my cloak of troubles billowing out behind me.

It can happen overnight this change from the quiet and safe of winter, to the jubilant and wild spring life.

The shift from hibernation to growth and change.

Like people, swamps house crazy potential within.

In just moments they can leap forward and take off, nearly out of nothing, to become vibrant pools of life.

The quiet work that has gone on underneath during the quiet of winter, paves the way for quick spring expansion.

If you listen closely you might hear the question in your ear: Who Are You Now?

Like the pop up swamps that form from the spring’s heavy rains and winters quiet snowfall—you are ready to burst forth in all your alive glory.

Don’t hold yourself back. There is no time like the present to burst forth with the real you.

Conditions are right for forward motion and incoming joy.

The lowlands are the birthing spot of the swamps—just like the low times in our lives are opportunities to learn soul lessons we not only recover from, but flourish from after we get through the tough parts.

Without darkness there would not be knowledge of the light.

It helps if you stop resisting or constricting during times of darkness and instead allow yourself to be open to the feelings that come. Scary, yes. Uncomfortable, yes, but it is not necessary to rid yourself of them immediately. Accept the emotions, sit with them for just a little to uncover their true lessons. The heartaches of your low times will help you appreciate the upcoming moments of joy, and help you fully understand your journey later.

We build things from the ground up for a reason. Rock bottom is, if nothing else, SOLID ground to grow from.

When you feel stuck in life or in your progress:

1). Do not be afraid to ask for help, to take help or to offer help.

2.) Be open to other perspectives on your situation but remember no one outside of you can “fix” you.

3.) Expect to have some internal work to do to be able to let it go and get through to the forward motion part.

4.) Let go of all planned outcomes and surrender to organic change.

5.) Give yourself a break.

Maybe this spring will be the season of your renewal, your growth, and your expansion into the best version of you. I am eternally hopeful that it will be mine.

A New Year's Message from A Grateful Me

Hello lovely reader:

As another year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the twists and turns my life has taken in the past year. As a girl who once attempted to plan out her life, it is almost laughable that a lot of what happened is nothing I would have ever planned. Some of it is nothing I ever imagined I'd even experience and yet it has to be one of the best years ever. Maybe not in the way most people would measure a successful year --- like by how much money I made, or how much I grew my new business, or what new stuff I was able to acquire. Instead I am measuring it by how much happiness was in it, how much love I felt and how easy it was to be fully me.

In 2014 I practiced being present to all the little things that mattered (and even to the ones that didn't seem to matter). I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss a thing. I rejoiced in both sunny and cloudy days, in planned fun and in unexpected detours, and I was able to find the sunny side of nearly every situation. As a result, I felt calm, peaceful and happy nearly all the time. Where I once would have let the unexpected get me down and stress me out, I went with the flow, stayed peaceful within, and paid attention to the greater meanings. And there were plenty of life lessons.

Even when it wasn't all rosy I looked forward to each day and the new possibilities. I watched for signs and remained open to opportunities. The times I was able to spend with my love, my family, my trees, my magic friends, my students and with my words were among the best moments of my life.

I have also experienced great kindness this year. Compliments I never saw coming (which to me are delightful affirmations that I am on the right track), and connections that rekindled or were made for the first time which turned out to be exactly what I needed next. I have been blessed to learn so many new and exciting things, and to put into practice what I have learned to empower others. Not only have I been able to guide them to personal wellness, I get paid to help them feel better in their own bodies. How lucky I am to have arrived in this beautiful place!

I made a lot of time for me in 2014. And as a result I feel like I can breathe again. My three words to live by were Clarify, Cultivate and Savor and in looking back, I believe I really did infuse them into my year.

Clarify: I let some things go this year along with the worry and fear and control I once clung to, and they were really important things: friendships, opportunities, job offers,  responsibilities. Clarifying and letting them go left me feeling lighter and freer.

Cultivate: I have learned some important life lessons in 2014 with the help of some incredibly talented friends and students. Their honesty and willingness to allow me to grow with them has lit my path ahead. One really big lesson that took me many tries to learn was saying "no" to furthering other people's dreams, and fully saying "yes" to furthering mine. I learned to believe in myself again and that is huge.

Savor: Part of appreciating what is right in front of you is being present to the beauty of everything.  For me that requires downtime to rejuvenate.  I made time to "turtle in" this past year and that allowed me to be the best version of myself. The people in my life deserve the best I have to offer and in order to give it to them, I require a lot of unplanned creative "me" time. I have learned that me being overwhelmed is awful for everyone around me. Keeping myself clear and bright allowed me to shine my best light ever in 2014. I think maybe I accomplished something I have always attempted --- to lead by example.

I wanted to reach out via this post and wish you a wonderful new year filled with love + light and to encourage you to make the changes necessary to bring forth the best YOU! Thank you also for reading my blog. Although I write for me (because that is how I process, grow and learn) I am grateful for every person who comments on the blog (or in person) to say that my words resonate. I am a word girl, and I understand that coming upon the right words at just the right time can be life changing. It is an honor to hear that a few of my posts have found their way to the right people at the right time this past year.

Namaste: the Spirit in me sees, honors and appreciates the spirit in you. Have a happy and blessed new year. My words for 2015 are Freedom, Growth & Joy in case you didn't notice. Have you chosen yours yet? I would love for my readers to hear what direction your life will be taking this next year.

--Terri Spaulding

P.S. Just in case you were looking for inspiration and/or ideas on how to make 2015 a year of forward motion, here is my latest newsletter with upcoming opportunities to come grow with me. Feel free to share this link anyone who might interested. Word of mouth, personal recommendations, and shares are the way I find my proper audience. Many, many thanks in advance.


Why Not Now?

Are you guilty of the putting off doing something you've always wanted to do, until "this" happens....or until "that" happens?

Maybe your excuse is you will do it after you retire, have a certain amount of money saved, your baby turns two, your children graduate from high school, you get that next promotion, or you lose ten pounds?

How often do we stop ourselves from doing the things that really matter to us and delay experiencing joy for some time in the uncertain future? I bet we can all admit to regretting not having done something when we had the chance.

The reality of our procrastination of joy is that we could get time off from work to travel now, or pay for a vacation next month with credit, or take out a loan to buy a cottage while our kids are still young enough to want to go there with us (if we really wanted to). Think of it another way, would we figure out a way to make something happen if we knew our time was limited and we'd never get another chance? 

What holds us back from living life to the fullest when we can? Are we simply being financially responsible? Are we afraid that if we allow ourselves joy right now, we won't have anything to look forward to later? Do we fool ourselves into thinking that our workplaces or our families cannot function without us for a week or two? Or are we just better at dreaming, than actually doing?

We can use lack of time, shortage of money, responsibility to our jobs, or being over committed as our excuse for why we don't do things... but aren't we really our own roadblocks?

I was guilty of putting things off for years, and I convinced myself that when "this" happens.. then "this" can finally happen. Big things, and little ones. I even put off much needed relaxing time because the house wasn't clean or the laundry wasn't done (yet). Now I want all that time back because I have learned those things are never actually done.

The truth is we cannot control what happens in the future, nor do we know how we will feel when we get to that point in the future. Maybe what we once thought would be important to us "then" isn't even relevant anymore.

I'll bet you can think of some examples from your own life where you put something off...until. Or when someone you know worked hard to put away money to use for fun after they retired only to pass away unexpectedly.  Or maybe you heard about a couple who waited to travel the world (as they'd always wanted) only to have one of them become ill and no longer able to travel together at all?

The moral of the story: don't deny yourself the joy of now.

I once grumbled about spending $150 to fix a water stain in our first house's ceiling-- a necessary thing to get done before we attempted to sell that house --only to be completely amazed at how much better the place looked after we did it. Why hadn't we just done that while we lived there so we could enjoy the view?

So stop putting off the things that matter most. Take that vacation. Start that new hobby. Get that boat, or fix that ceiling. Feed your soul with the big and little things you want to do right now. We can't always be worried about the what if's and prepare for the what then's, or we will miss all the joy of the right now.

We have the power to alter, redirect and begin to enjoy our lives at any moment. So, what are you still putting off for someday?

Are You Open or Closed?

How often do you discount your own thoughts and intuition? Daily?

When a niggling voice inside seems to want you to do something and you hear it but you talk yourself out of it anyway, why do you suppose that is?

Maybe you need to get out of your head and into your heart.

If you are living in your head (closing off your heart) you may second guess yourself often or rationalize that you are making things up, and start to tell yourself you can't possibly see, hear or believe in something your inner self just "knows". You think yourself right out of the correct decision for you.

Or how often do you hear a voice deep inside telling you that you are making a mistake and then go on and ignore it anyway --only to hear the voice later berate you for what you knew was not right for you in the first place? Your knowing inner voice can easily be drowned out by your own mean thoughts, and what you perceive others think is the best decision for you. 

The secret to trusting your intuition is to learn to hear your inner voice. It all starts with tuning inward.

What if I explained this by saying that you are thinking with a closed mind --maybe even a closed heart. Instead of allowing your spirit to soar with possibility you operate from a safe (yet fearful) place which ends up holding you back. What if your true inner voice and knowing cannot manage to break through the busy, action-filled, goal-oriented, accomplishment-based, self-critical shield you put around your heart to protect yourself?

If that sounds frustrating, futile and exhausting; it is. I've been there. Wouldn't you feel better if you could open up and crack through that shield  learning to hear, trust and accept your inner knowing?

When we operate from a place of fear (even if we don't yet associate the place we are coming from as based in fear) we will make decisions that go against our own intuition, and I guarantee we make life much harder than it is supposed to be.

I learned it the hard way. For me it was about attempting to work backwards from the future. I desperately feared being incompetent, unworthy, a burden to others so I worked way too hard to stay ahead of the game. I wanted to keep those I felt responsible for safe and failure free: my family, my children, customers, co-workers, pretty much everyone. I turned my focus outward when what I really should have been doing was focusing inward on me. This I now know only spells C-O-N-T-R-O-L FREAK and ends in FRUSTRATION. I was blocking my own ability to follow my intuition and flow easily with life. I was running away from myself instead of toward the inner me,  and I was making life too hard. It is not supposed to be that way, for anyone.

Question of the Week #50 / Are You Thinking with A Closed Heart & Mind?

If the answer to this question is yes, please do not ruminate for one more minute about getting help. Just do it. You are worth it, and it is not selfish or weak to need help. There are many qualified life coaches, therapists, and energy healers who can and will direct you to resources that will resonate with you and work for you.

Running away from our fears by attempting to control the outcome of our lives, something we have no real control over, is exhausting and causes us to miss out on all the JOY life is supposed to hold. 

My wish for everyone in 2014 is to open up and begin living life the way you were meant to.  There is no time like the present to begin, it really is all we have.



Saying No: My Joy Generator

Some days you just have to go on an adventure with friends.


A while back I wrote a draft of a post about my inability to say no, but never actually posted it. It was originally titled "My Get Up And Go, Got Up And Went".

Since then I have learned to be better about saying "no" and more adept at sticking to it. Just like any changes to a lifelong routine, it takes continual effort but I'm happy to say there has been forward progress. In the course of my new work week I run into many people who struggle with the same overachiever problem--especially others who are HSP's (Highly Sensitive Person).

The good news is with a little focus and effort, it does get easier! It really does. I feel better about saying "no" to things that interest me (heck, what doesn't interest me--except maybe math) especially when I give myself permission to change my mind later and say "yes" if the timing is right. Getting the extra responsibility off my shoulders and off my to do list is not only a load lightener but a joy generator-- something many people could use more of.

Ready to try it? You can do it, you can say "no" to things others want you to take charge of--it is not only empowering and confidence building, it also allows more time for what gives you JOY.

Here is the post I originally wrote when I was struggling, see if it resonates with you. 

Everyone seems to be putting up posts lately about learning to say no. To eliminate the things that are putting undue stress on you, and to focus on what makes you happy. Most of them say to cut back, to stop saying Yes and to slow down.

Here's my problem with all this advice. What if everything I am saying "yes" to, is something I totally want to do? Even worse, what if they are all things I feel compelled to do. Like now. Like right now. I seem to have a sense of urgency about these things, which in itself also scares me a bit.

It is making me lose my mind. Okay not my mind really, but everything else: receipts, lists, papers, my get up and go, especially my memory.

I am used to doing things myself, used to taking charge. That trait can be both a strength and a weakness. This time it might be a giant weakness. What I want/feel the need to accomplish is more than one person can do alone, especially when I get diverted by others asking for my help accomplishing the things on their lists. I have confidence I can help them but what I need to ask myself is "do I really want to take the time to help someone else achieve their goals when mine are still sitting there waiting to be worked on?"

I should be better about asking for help, I have good ideas about things that should happen, things that one person cannot accomplish alone.  I should also say no to things that don't fit with my bigger plans as well. Yet, I stink at both.

I changed my thinking around after this draft and concentrated on the positive of telling myself I would know the right times to say no, and the right times to ask for help. So far, it's working.  I've been getting better at both and life seems to be a lot more joy filled lately.

Take your power back, begin by nicely saying "no".

Danger Joy Ahead

Another aha moment. The only thing that has ever held me back from being all I was meant to be, is me. 

In Susan Jeffers’ book Embracing Uncertainty I ran across a ”What If” exercise she suggested her readers do. It was about facing your fears of uncertainty about the future. If I remember right, you were supposed to list your “what if” worries to help you figure out if you could handle the possible outcomes — and by getting those fears out, you could analyze whether or not you could indeed handle them, change them, or do anything about them  (thus eliminating their power). And then you were encouraged to simply let them go.

Before last November when I had my own version of a “breakdown” aka “spiritual awakening”, I used to practice what Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, calls foreboding joy. Essentially I would imagine the worst case scenario of whatever was in front of me, so that I would not be vulnerable “unprepared to handle it” if my current state of happiness or safety changed on me. I would consider all possible outcomes to make sure I could indeed handle things ”if”, and more often than not I was preparing myself to handle negative outcomes. Talk about setting myself up for failure, not to mention the potential for the direction of my thoughts to attract more negativity into my life.

It seems so clear to me now why I felt like my life was spinning out of control— and why the joyful moments I felt were so fleeting. I was trying to control outcomes to situations that would likely never even occur. I was pushing away my current joy and fearing what might (or might not be) coming next.

So when I ran across the exercise in Embracing Uncertainty I adapted it for my new way of positive thinking about future outcomes. My What If list now represents what I need to be prepared to handle when I am a HUGE SUCCESS. I need to be ready for the JOY I know is coming my way.

How freeing it was to dream of my future in a way that concludes with success and happiness. I am truly in awe of how completely heart expanding positivity can be.

Question of the Week #36 / What is on Your ‘What If ‘ List?

Create the life you want. Imagine it. Attract it. Don’t be scared to dream really big, I wasn’t.

Terri’s List of Positive What If’s:

  • What if I have more than enough money and never need to worry about where it comes from again?
  • What if I have a million blog readers?
  • What if I am able to live life with ease and joy, every single day?
  • What if I am paid more money than I know what to do with and have lots to give away?
  • What if I earn huge amounts of income just by being the me I was always meant to be?
  • What if I use my natural talents to help others find their way to happiness and fulfillment?
  • What if I have all the time I need to learn more about the things that matter to me?
  • What if I remain gloriously happy every single day?
  • What if I’ve discovered the secret to living a joy-filled life and can help others find it?
  • What if I write a book that makes the best seller list?
  • What if all my dreams come true?

For more about learning to live life in the positive I suggest  the following books (some have been nothing less than life changers for me):

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers

End The Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan Jeffers

Embracing Uncertainty, Susan Jeffers

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz

Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff


Joy Meets Girl

 When is the last time you were able to do something so totally joyful that you lost yourself in that moment?

As adults we sometimes squash our own joy. We over think, feel vulnerable and hold back from doing what we might otherwise do for fear of being rejected or ridiculed by others.  Thoughts of do I look silly, will actually make us feel silly. We become inhibited by the thought that someone watching may form an unfavorable opinion of us.

At what age do we go from the joy of doing something -just for the fun of it - to worrying about what we might look like to someone else and denying ourselves that joy?

Have you ever watched a kid dance? Freely, openly, moving whatever body part feels right to the music? Have you judged them or simply appreciated (even celebrated) their obvious joy in that honest expression?

I once had the opportunity to dance my heart out in the middle of Calder plaza at lunchtime with a friend. At first we questioned if we should GROOVE with just the two of us because we felt on “display”.  My inner voice had started its chatter, the one about what if someone is watching, especially when my friend verbalized the same question. But immediately I heard a louder, stronger voice that said “You’ve been looking forward to this. It is a beautiful day, everything is set up. Just dance your heart out. Who cares what anyone else thinks — they’ll just be envious they aren’t out there dancing with you.”

And so we did. We danced, laughed, moved around in joyful expression and spread our arms to the sky in delight. It was heavenly, especially on a lunch hour.

The reality is that many people were indeed watching us — it is after all a natural focal point to hundreds of windows from office buildings that look down on Calder Plaza — yet it didn’t matter one bit. We didn’t pay any attention. We didn’t let our thoughts run away with the moment. We let our inner joy take the stage. Afterward a tourist taking pictures of the Calder asked if we would dance again so he could take our picture, and of course, we did. I wish we had that picture he took!

On that particular day I opened up to joy, and I am so thankful I did, as a life altering seed of change took root in me.

Joy is contagious. Make sure you not only cultivate it, you remember to help spread it.

Self Pride: Do You Have It? / Question of the Week #21

photo13My sister Shelly coined a phrase long ago when my babies were little. When they did something "good", she welled up with tears and announced that as an aunt she had "proud heart." We still use those words today when a child surprises us with their talent, strength, judgment, or general goodness.

But how often do we do we have "proud heart" for ourselves, celebrating our own accomplishments? I will admit it is not very often for me. I may momentarily feel a surge of pride when I master a new skill or situation, but it is quickly replaced by what comes next. There is no time spent lingering on that pride, or basking in its glow. There should be.

Who ever told us we cannot revel in some self-love? Did somewhere along the way we learn or assume that doing so would mean we were being selfish, or boastful?  Or is it just my personality to evaluate myself and feel like whatever I had just done was not "good enough" or not the best I could have done, therefore I did not deserve the kudos?

I may never know how I learned to operate through life by looking ahead and moving forward. It might just be who I am. But I am thinking that we all need to direct some "proud heart" at ourselves and linger in it for a while. If not us, who really will?

And who knows what a little "proud heart" directed at ourselves could bring out in us; more confidence, curiosity, strength, heck it might even allow for a bit of swagger, and some swagger never hurt anyone's self-esteem.

Question of the Week #21 / What have you accomplished lately that you are proud of?

If nothing is coming to mind, maybe you need to move out of your comfort zone and attempt something new. Maybe you are stuck in your old routine, and fear is keeping you from experimenting in a new direction. Maybe you just need a shake up -- in a good and creative way. How about investigating whatever it is you have been thinking about doing --- maybe now is the perfect time to start that something new.

If you have been playing it safe for too long now, maybe you cannot even come up with ideas of what new thing to I will give you some to think about:

  • Take a class in something that interests you
  • Volunteer for an organization you think is doing good things
  • Organize an event for a charity you believe in
  • Help someone in need doing something you know how to do easily (make them a dinner, work in their garden etc.)
  • Participate in doing something fun with your body : Yoga, GROOVE, Zumba, walking with a group, join the local gym
  • Read a non-fiction book about a topic you are interested in
  • Start a new hobby --beer making, rock climbing, photography, painting
  • Grow a garden
  • Try some new recipes to add new food groups into your diet
  • Begin journaling via a blog (making it private or public)
  • Join a networking group outside of your field to meet new people
  • Take lessons to learn to play the instrument you always wished you knew how to play

The list of possibilities to get your creative self flowing is endless. Once you give yourself permission to try some new things you might actually find so many things interesting to you --you will have to make a list of what to try next. And who knows, you may find yourself loving and feeling "proud heart" on a regular basis.

My "proud heart" showed up this week as I realized how taking the GROOVE Facilitator training last weekend really moved me out of my comfort zone. It showed me not only that I can dance, but I can teach others the joy and freedom in dancing like no one is watching. I cannot wait to share this with the world --- my heart is proud of the changes I have made to bring me to my current place of happiness.

Now what about you?