May 2017 – Shining Means – 15

karenika.comThis card says: When I choose to shine, I remember that all things can be said in a kind way. That we do not treat each other with mean words. When I shine, I remember to show how much I care not by worrying but by loving and smiling and loving some more. Always choose kind.

Even though I’ve never picked the word “kind” for a One Little Word, I think kind is one of my life-words. A lens through which I am always aiming to live my life. I don’t have many life words. The three that always seems to come are: kind, loving and brave.

I want to be kind. I want to be with people who are kind. I want to say everything with kindness. I want to receive everything with kindness. I don’t want to worry. I want to love. I want to be there. I want to sit with hard things. I want to encourage my kids to be brave and not hold them back by worrying. I want to be kind and brave. 

And I fail at both of these all the time. All. the. time. 

And yet, I pick myself up and try again. 

And I will again and again and again until I can get it right more often than I get it wrong. 

Because word might come and go and people might come and go and projects might come and go but what will not ever go away is the way you make people feel and the way you feel around other people. And I want everyone around my to feel brave and kind. I want to exude it and receive it.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 14

karenika.comThis card says: When I shine I am not thinking about tomorrow or yesterday. I am here, now, seeing the magic of this moment and all that it means to me. I am paying attention to the gifts of this moment and cherishing the facts that I am here now. I am remembering to live this very moment.

My word a few years ago was “present.” The whole point of choosing that word was to remember this one fact. To be here, now. 

This moment, right here, is so magical. In this moment, I am sitting on my couch with a blanket that’s warming my feet, some really comfy, soft tights that are colorful and listening to “I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons while I sip some coffee. David is in the other room, taking some alone time and Nathaniel is reading Calvin and Hobbes. Jake is traveling with his brothers and father. I am healthy. I am sleepy. I am content. 

There’s so much magic in this moment. This exact moment will never come around again. In fact, it’s already gone. I am in the next moment already.

And when I focus on what will happen three hours from now (I have to make lunches), or  two days from now (all-day work summit) or one week from now (David will be leaving for D.C) or a month from now (almost time to leave for Sydney again) or a year from now (both kids at the same school and David almost done with middle school!) I am filled with emotions that are related to that moment. My expectations, my worries, my focus changes. It’s not possible for me to hold on to this very moment and that other moment at the same time. 

It’s only when I am here, now that I can truly live this moment. Shining is only possible in this moment because it’s the only moment I have.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 13

karenika.comThis card says: When I shine, I listen with my whole body. I turn towards the person, maintain eye contact and hold them in our combined light. I do not focus on my reply or even on what I think about what they are saying. I focus only on them and on what they are saying right now. Right here. I listen.

This is one that I need to repeat 100 times. And I will still get it wrong. Listening means paying attention. It means hearing exactly what the other person is saying. Staying engaged with them and paying attention to their words, to the feelings under those words, to the facial expressions, the body and on and on.

None of which is possible if I am too busy thinking about my week or even forming my reply. If I am thinking,  I am not listening. I am not present. 

When I listen to respond, I am not really listening. I am not really open to what’s actually being said. As it is, we often listen with so many filters. The person says one thing and we hear something different. When you then add the “replying” to that, I’m really not listening.

There are rare times when I am not too busy thinking about my todo list or any other distracting thought. In those rare times, I’d like to at least listen with my whole body, mind and soul. 

And then when I can get good at that, I can work on getting better at doing in when it’s a time when I do feel rushed.

Learning to shine takes many, many, many days.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 12

karenika.comThis card says: I shine when I assume the best of other people and see what’s possible in every situation. This allows me to be in the most positive space when giving and receiving information. And allows me to approach conversations from a generative space as opposed to a me vs. you space which then allows the best of me to be.

I have found this to be true over and over again. There are two things here that are good for me to remember:

  1. People are resourceful and whole. This is one of the core perspective changes I learned when I did my coaching training. People do not need “me” to help them. They are whole and capable all on their own and can solve their own problems. What they might benefit from is my asking the right questions or creating the space for them to find their own answers. This assumption is important outside of the coaching/mentoring space because it helps me remember that there are many perfectly valid answers/paths through problems/life. So,
  2. When I assume the person in front of me has a valid perspective and when I assume they are good people, intending no harm, I am likely to be able to listen to them, hear their perspective, learn, grow and be grateful.

The combination of assuming people are all equally capable and equally wonderful, that allows for conversations that are generative, powerful and inspiring. Then I shine, they shine, we all shine.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 11

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means approaching the world in a collective way. In a way that assumes we are all in this together. That it’s not me vs. the world. It’s all of us together. We are one. Their suffering is my suffering, their joy is my joy. This allows me to be open + giving and to remember there are plenty of cakes to go around.

Oh this is one that I really remind myself again and again. We are all one. If they suffer, I suffer. If they rejoice, I rejoice. I have such a tendency to close off. To go into myself and assume that I am alone and get in my head.

What I’ve learned is that the way out of there is to help others. To show up and do what needs to be done. I have volunteered many times in my life and I always love it regardless of the task on hand. I love getting out of my head and doing something, however small.

Just like other people’s suffering is ours and we need to help fix things together, other people’s joy is also my own and i want to celebrate together. When good things happen to my friends, even if that exact good thing didn’t happen to me, I still want to celebrate. If it happens to her/him, it means it could happen to me, too. We are not each eating slices from the same cake so his/her slice will not prevent me from having a slice of my own. We each get our own whole cake. There are plenty of cakes to go around.

When I remember to look at fellow people as a people and remember that we are all in this together, then I shine.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 10

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means focusing outwardly. Showing people what full attention looks like and reflecting their thoughts + feelings without judgement. Being fully present in their light and letting them see it. Shining it back on them and celebrating them.

I believe everyone is amazing. We are all yearning to connect and be with other people. We are all suffering and trying to share in our common humanity. We are all walking each other home as the saying goes.

I believe that we make each other’s lives better when we show up and choose to be there for each other. When we reflect each other’s light back to each other. When I listen, truly listen and give the gift of my time and attention to someone else, then I am shining.

Then I am showing them how wonderful they are. I truly feel that I have something to learn from every person in my life and if I really listen to them, if I am really open to the gifts they are there to give me, I can receive them. I am grateful each time I choose to deeply connect. And I am even more grateful when I can see the good in each person. I am even more grateful when I can do something to show them their amazingness. 

Shining means creating the space to make this possible. Seeing and reflecting and showing and telling people about their light. 


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 9

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means making choices that bring out the best of you. Making choices that allow you to show, be, feel the best version of yourself. So you can show up and be kind. Be present. Be generous. Be open. Taking the time to be.

This one is a bit of a loaded one for me. There are so many ways in which I need to work on being the best version of myself all the time and if I don’t give myself the rest and care I need, it am definitely not my shining self.

This is what the whole nourishing intent is aiming for. Exercising, eating well, sleeping a lot, nourishing my skin, journaling, reading, learning, taking alone time, giving are all parts of the formula that allow me to be my best self. I need to do all of these regularly. I need to make sure there’s space for every one of them.

When I am well-nourished, I can be the best version of myself. I can show up ready to listen. ready to give. Ready to receive. 

Ready to be present.

It’s been quite a challenge lately. I’ve been tired and overwhelmed and when I am in this space, it’s much more difficult to show up and be patient. 

When I am shining, though, I am there. Both physically and mentally. I am present. 100%.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 8

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means letting go of who you think you “should” be and letting yourself be who you really are. Showing up as the real, authentic you and choosing to show up that way again and again. Always.

Oh man.

I know this one sounds like the same one as Tuesdays, but it’s even more. When I shine, I let others see my authentic, true soul.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that I am being vulnerable, though it can. It just means I am being myself. 100% myself. Whatever that means in each situation.

It doesn’t mean I am being rude, or loud, or putting others down. It means I am being myself and not apologizing for who that is. It means I am wearing what feels right, eating what feels right, and doing what feels right to me. Honoring my true self, my values, my perspective. With kindness, of course.

I often feel conflicted about my sense of belonging which makes it hard for me to be ok showing up as who I am in many situations because what if who I am is not enough? Sometimes I choose not to show up. Sometimes I choose to show up really guarded. Sometimes I choose to show up and do what needs to be done. And sometimes I choose to just show up, and be me. 

In those rare times, I am shining. I am not apologetic or rude or loud or quiet. I am just me. I don’t overthink or question everything I do or say. I just show up as me and hope that’s good enough. Those are the moments I want to have more of and the moments I feel I am actually my very best self.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 7

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means seeing the good in every situation. Understanding that nothing is clear or 100% white or black. Being able to look at it from multiple perspectives and allowing the space for there to be some good to come out of each situation.

This is the trick to life isn’t it?

Being able to see things from multiple perspectives and understand that there is no such thing as “the truth” is one of the biggest lessons I have learned as I grow up and it’s something I have to remember again and again and again.

I’ve also learned that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed good outcome. Sometimes what you think is good turns out to have challenging side effects and a “bad” outcome turns out to be a blessing in disguise. So here, too, there’s no black or white. It’s all the shades of gray all the time. 

I am trying to learn how to be more open minded all the time. Sometimes even realizing that I am being close minded is a challenge and other times it’s easy for me to be open and able to see that I am holding on to a perspective.

To me, shining means realizing that everything, all the time, is going through my interpretation of what things mean. There are very few “truth”s in the world and almost everything is what I make it out to be. So when I am shining I can see the good in everything. I can see that there are many ways to look at a situation and I can find the perspective that is the most empowering and choose to believe that one.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 6

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means telling the truth. always. Kindly but still only the truth. Always the truth. Not being afraid of being honest. Not lying awkwardly. Telling the truth with as much kindness as possible. Shining means being high integrity.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve recently had a situation where I ended up being dishonest and awkward about a situation just because I was worried about putting the other person in a difficult spot. This instance made me feel bad for weeks and I am still thinking about it today because it just doesn’t sit well with me that I had to bend the truth so much. After spending some time thinking about it, I decided that I would never again do this. I would tell the truth in the kindest, most straightforward way and if that made the other person a bit uncomfortable, I’d have to live with that. 

I don’t want to put anyone in a situation they don’t want to be in, but I realized that the path I took in order to avoid awkwardness on the other person’s side still ended up making everything awkward anyway. If I had just been straight with her, it would have been no more awkward and I wouldn’t have felt like I was lying the whole time. All I get to say is the truth, in the kindest way possible and how others choose to interpret that is not on me. 

Soon after I made this decision, I was tested with another situation where I wanted to turn down an offer but I was worried the other person would be offended and this was someone I love so I didn’t want to hurt them. But I bit the bullet and I was honest. I turned it down really gently, thanked the person and offered an alternative. And it worked out.

I believe that when I am being my honest, kind self, I am making room for others to be their honest, kind selves too. We all get to shine.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 5

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means loving unbounded. Loving everyone. Loving all the time. With flaws and all. We are all flawed. We all could use kindness and help but most of all we all deserve love. Shining means having that love be visible to all.

Oh man, this is the easiest one. What could shining mean but love. Just unbounded love.

Pouring out of everywhere. I want love to come out of my pores. When I shine, that’s what happens. I love everyone, I love everything. I love my life. I love life itself.

We might not like everyone, We might not like everything someone does but we can love them. We can love all people. 

Does this seem a bit woo-woo? Maybe it is. but it’s how I want to feel. When I shine, it’s how I feel. I want my friends and family to be able to see the love in my face. To see it come out of my eyes and my words and pour all over them. 

I can’t do this very often but when I can, I am in such peace. And when people do it to me, I feel so incredibly lucky. 


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

May 2017 – Shining Means – 4

karenika.comThis card says: Shining means forgiving everyone, all the time. Forgiving the people who love you. Forgiving random people that come in and out of your life. Forgiving your family. Forgiving friends. And most of all, forgiving yourself. You can’t shine with all that guilt.

The older I get, the less I believe in grudges. The less I believe in judging others. The less I badmouth anyone. I am fully stepping into a live and let live way of living. Life is so hard and most of us are doing the best we can. It really doesn’t help to judge others. We are here to help each other.

If someone messed up, it doesn’t help to hold a grudge. When I choose to shine, I choose to forgive. Without asking for anything in return. I forgive fully and completely. If that person meant it, well then I can choose new friends. But in general I think very few people are malicious. People just mess up.

All. the. time. 

And so do I. I mean well. But I am human. I am fallible. I disappoint others. I disappoint myself. I mess up. I hurt people. I drop the ball. I am not the best version of myself. So very often.

But when I am shining, I pick up the pieces, I apologize, I forgive myself, I forgive others and I let it all go. I choose to believe in leaving the guilt and anger behind and choosing the light.


Shining Means is a Monthly Project for March 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.