Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 12

Today was insane. I had back to back meetings but I was especially amazed at how much context switching I had to do all day. At some point in my day, I stepped back and thought about how in the last few hours I talked about 9 different topics at work, talked to each kid about their day and classes, ordered groceries for pickup later this week, on and off worked on a presentation for tomorrow am, prepped for book club tonight, wrote a letter to the head of my kids’ school, and replied to a parent in my younger son’s class.

I find that the hardest part of my life right now is the sheer number of things I am switching between. And one of the things I need to spend some time on is making that list and being intentional about the role I want to play in each of those scenarios. I feel like a lot of what I do now is do whatever’s needed. As opposed to being super intentional about my priorities, how I can best grow and how I can best serve.

So this long weekend I plan to take a step back, make a list and take a good long look at how I can be intentional.

Yes to choosing. Yes to stepping back.

#yearofyes

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 11

Today went by in a blur. Back to back meetings and no time to breathe in between. And now it’s 7pm and I am really tired and don’t feel like doing anything productive.

This is one reason I usually try to wake up early and pay myself first. Before the day has begun is the best time to do my personal work. Journaling, sketching, exercising.

The thing is, I’ve been having a lot of trouble waking up early in the morning lately. 8am is the earliest I can do, which is way too late to get anything productive done.

So my plan is to start going to bed earlier. Or force myself to wake up earlier for a few days so I can start getting tired earlier and reset my days.

I can’t tell if this need to hibernate in the mornings is a winter thing but I know that it makes me considerably more ineffective. And I also know that days I don’t pay myself down, I am definitely not the best version of myself. So here’s to hoping it works.

#yearofyes

Say Yes – 1

  • Weekly Intention: Since this is my first “real” week back to work, my intention this week is to try to make sure I can maintain a bit of the quiet and peace I still have in my head. And maybe to try and turn off the non-stop CNN.
  • This month’s intention is: January: Yes to Baby Steps: Start small. Make a plan for the steps you want to take and give yourself a lot of grace. Take a handful of steps. You got this. I like this. I’ve been thinking about this in the context of self-care. How can I take some baby steps? Last week, it was the smoothies, what can I do this week?
  • One way I will leap this week: I have a conversation scheduled today, depending on the outcome of that, I might be leaping. So i guess one way I’ll leap this week is showing up to that conversation.
  • One boundary I will set this week:  I will not work at night. I plan to do more walks, take more wind-down time.
  • One area where I will go deeper this week: I am still thinking about what I plan to do for my 100-day project this year. So I will spend some time on that this week.
  • What do I need to sit with this week? I need to journal this week. I can tell that my head is full and yet I seem to be resisting it for reasons unknown.
  • I am looking forward to: having a long weekend this coming weekend.
  • Focus on Core Desired Feelings (lighter, kinder, enough, magic, wild): I think if I start journaling I will feel lighter. If I turn off CNN, I will be kinder. I want to remember that I have enough money saved to buy some of the necessities I have. The magic of this week will be potentially setting up ethernet. And I am hoping that I will climb in the wild some time this week!
  • This week’s challenges: I have some challenging conversations to have at work and some choices I need to make.
  • Top Goals: 
    • Work:  talk to L, make a decision on presentation, prep for presentation
    • Personal:  I want to start journaling this week. That’s my top goal.
    • Family: Support the kids as they start their first real week.
  • This week, I want to remember: That it’s all going to be ok. Nothing matters as much as I make it matter. And things will work out.

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 10

As we close out the first week of 2021 (can it really be that it’s just been one week??) I have been thinking about all the things that happened in this one week. The huge, terrible things and the small wonderful things.

I am trying to take a moment to celebrate the small wins. To celebrate the moments we found equilibrium, the moments we got to hear a yes when we expected a no, the moments we got to hug each other or laugh together.

Part of choosing yes this year was sitting with what is and not trying to resist it. And that takes so much practice. There is so much internalized and external noise in how things “should” be so when they aren’t that way, there is so much judgement. I am trying to cut through the noise and see if I can find my own internal truth. What matters most to me. I am trying to connect with my own values and choices. So I can let go of others’ shoulds and build a life that is meaningful to me.

Here’s to paying attention to the conversations in my head so I can discern the difference and let go of the noise that’s not mine to carry.

Yes to listening. Yes to living my own truth and my own life.

#yearofyes

Weekly Reflection 2021 – 1

  • The Best Part of this Week: The best part of this week that I had intentionally blocked out my calendar for the week because I wasn’t sure if I would be working or not. That created a very slow transition to work this week and made it much nicer.
  • I celebrate: N getting his shiny machine working. D getting into advanced photography and J starting his LLC. Good week!
  • I am grateful for: The morning smoothie I’ve started drinking that is full of vegetables and good nutrition.
  • This week, I exercised: I am still off the bike because of severe sciatica (which is healing thankfully!) so I’ve done 3 arms, one pilates, one core, and one yoga class. I’ve also done two stretching classes. One more week and I hope to be back on the bike. Cross fingers.
  • This week, I said yes to: Resting. Going slow.
  • I said no to: adding last minute meetings.
  • I honored my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): I’ve been thinking a lot about my values and what it means to love someone and how everyone’s peace looks different and how I can serve the people I love and how much more I have to learn and all that I am grateful for. Much of this is on my mind lately and I am learning to reprogram the tapes in my head.
  • My mood this week was: I have been incredibly distressed with all that’s happening this week. I am angry and sad and disappointed.
  • I am proud of: I’ve been paying attention to my thoughts and doing a lot of self-work in my head lately. I am proud of being able to pause enough to notice my toxic thoughts. I know it won’t always be so.
  • I release: I release all of what’s making me anxious at this moment. All of the things I constantly find myself worrying about. All the balls I dropped. Tomorrow I get to start over.
  • Here’s what I learned this week: I learned a lot of facts about sleep this week and how crucial and needed it is.

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 9

I seem to still be moving slowly and not feeling inspired to do much. Instead of panicking I am trying to choose to say yes to what is and be here for it.

I spent the day reading two books, roasting veggies, and finally taking a bath after ten years of not being able to. It was bliss to sit in the warm water and close my eyes and just be here.

In the last week, I’ve been paying attention to random anxious thoughts that pop up ( and there have been many ) and challenging myself to do real-time CBT on myself. Naming it out loud when I am catastrophizing, etc. I am also putting myself on the spot and asking what the worst possible outcome could be and what the best possible outcome could be and really calling myself out to be here and follow the strain of thought to its end.

It’s been helpful more often than not.

Yes to slowing down. Yes to grace. Yes to naming anxious thoughts and yes to being present to it. Yes to life.

#yearofyes

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 8

I am still obsessively watching CNN and still full of rage and deep sorrow. And I decided that for today I will talk about something else because I can’t talk about what is going on without ranting.

A few years ago I decided to permanently stop dieting. I spent a too-large part of my life dieting and there’s incontrovertible proof that diets don’t work and they are harmful so a few years ago I decided to permanently stop trying to diet.

Walking into this year, one of the things I want to do better is the nutrition I get. I think sleep, exercise and nutrition is the trifecta that helps me feel better and live longer.

I don’t have too many bad habits but I do drink a lot of diet coke and eat chocolate too often. Instead of focusing on removing or reducing things which felt both hard and punishing at this moment, I decided to start by adding things.

I decided I wanted to add more veggies into my life. Just that for now. And I’ve gotten lost in the smoothie/protein shake world before so I am not doing that again.

Instead, I now blend half a bag of spinach, water+ice, and two oranges and one spoon of chia seeds. And then little boy and I split the drink each morning.

I can then eat whatever more breakfast I want. This is not a replacement breakfast. It’s just a guarantee that I get some greens first thing before my day gets too busy to eat well. And it tastes delicious!

Yes to adding more greens and yes to not punishing myself. Yes to being gentle with progress.

#yearofyes

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 7

Honestly I am still watching CNN incessantly and not in a place where I can have optimistic thoughts. I don’t want to talk about anything. I had more meetings today so I muted the TV occasionally but it’s been playing in the background nonstop.

I am not sure what I am expecting by watching it nonstop. I know it just keeps my anxiety level high. And I have the luxury of turning it off. But I guess I am not ready to ignore things yet. I want to feel this. I think it’s important to sit with the discomfort of what’s going on.

So still saying yes to that.

Maybe it’s a mistake but it’s how I feel at the moment so I am honoring it.

#yearofyes

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 6

I had such lovely plans to write about things this morning. I saw this magnificent sunrise this morning and I was going to write about habits and shifting them with the seasons. I was going to write about veggies and finding ways to add more of them to my diet. I half-wrote those posts in my mind this morning.

And then things went to shit.

I had CNN on, I was watching the counting of the electoral votes and listening to the Arizona objections when insanity started happening and I had to check and recheck that the news was still showing the US and not some other country.

I grew up in a third world country. I grew up looking up to America, aspiring to be an American. Trusting and respecting and striving for the ideals that America represented. And while I’ve learned a lot in the last twenty years that has disappointed me, I still would not want to live in any other country. I love this country. And today, I was completely heartbroken, deeply disappointed, and full of rage.

I can write pages and pages but here’s what I am feeling the most: I do not plan to move on and forget about what happened, I do not plan to numb it because it’s unpleasant. I do not take the privilege of being an American citizen for granted. I worked incredibly hard for over 10 years to earn this and I will not squander it for a moment.

So yes to feeling and seeing and owning what happened today and yes to showing up again and again to ensure it will never happen again.

Never.

#yearofyes

2021 – Plans and Projects

I had regular goals for my blog for the last few years and that worked well for me until last October when I just gave everything up. At this point, I am not yet sure how I feel about 2021 and the blog so I don’t want to prematurely commit to things. But here are a few things I might like to try:

  • Art: I really enjoyed drawing for my book instagram account last year and might want to pick that back up, not sure what other art plans I have
  • Reflection: Monday and Sunday reflection posts helped me stay connected to my goals, keep track of my intentions, I will see if I can bring those back.
  • Storytelling: Stories from 2020 started out strong but like last year, I quit. This year, I did post short passages on my personal instagram account and I am thinking of continuing that for 2021 possibly. If so, that would be a bit of our storytelling. I also will continue to have Ali’s kits and use those to tell our stories.
  • Reading – I read like a lot this year. I continued to read netgalley books as well as audiobooks from the library and audible. I plan to continue this next year. I will continue tracking them on goodreads.

Until October, 2020 was going ok but I haven’t missed blogging so I am not sure if I will do any or all of these but we will see. All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I am giving myself grace while trying to keep myself motivated.

Here’s to a wonderful 2021.  Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to reflecting. Being intentional. Creating a positive cycle. Here’s to saying yes.

Daily Year of Yes

Year of Yes – 5

I couldn’t decide if I was planning to work this week or not so I blocked off my calendar before we all disappeared in December. I didn’t know it then but it might be the smartest decision I made in 2020.

This morning I decided that I would go back to work slowly. I have a daily meeting with my manager and I decided I would attend that and pretty much nothing else. So today, instead of my usual 10 hours of meetings, I had 2 hours of meetings. It meant that I could:

– stay on top of my incoming mail
– send some emails to do work
– eat lunch
– plan some of the work that is coming
– exercise
– stay calm and spacious all day

It was the most incredible start to the year. And I plan for it to be this way all week!

I might have to make a tradition of this every year. In fact, maybe I will do a week like this every 6 weeks or so to cleanse and catch up.

Yes to ramping up slowly. Yes to creating more space. Yes yes yes.

#yearofyes

UNRAVELING THE YEAR AHEAD – 2021

I want to start by saying that this is going to be a long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2021 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2020 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2021 into two posts. This is part II. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

  1. First, choose a word to guide you through the next 12 months. Pick a word that makes you feel expanded. Encouraged. Inspired. There’s no right or wrong answer so go with your intuition. What’s your Word for 2021? YES.
  2. If you truly embodied your Word every day in 2021, what would you do differently? I would welcome life with all that it has to give me. This year will come with a lot of unknowns and instead of feeling like a victim, I want to welcome all of life’s surprises and ups and downs. I want to lean into life, honor it, cherish it, suck that marrow.
  3. What one thing could you do each day to anchor your Word into your routine? I could have a mantra and also do a 5-minute meditation before I get out of bed.
  4. How does your Word make you feel? Excited and full of energy. Ready to conquer the day. Full of optimism and joy.
  5. Do you want any extra words to support your Word for 2021? Brainstorm here. Think about what you need in the different areas of your life: home… work… relationships.. Health… self-care… What would support your Word? I’ve been thinking about this and the words on my list so far are: lighter, kinder, braver, wilder, delighted and enough, content, spacious, connected. I will pick some subset of these.
  6. What are you looking forward to in 2021? I am looking forward to the vaccine, to being able to travel and go on adventures again, to taking David on college tours, to seeing my family, to hugging my friends, to the next steps at work, to slowly getting to feel normal life again.
  7. What are you feeling apprehensive about? That much of this might not come, that we will spend another year at home, that one of my family members might get sick, that there’s still so much unknown.
  8. What life lessons are you taking with you into 2021? That life is short and can turn on a dime. That we don’t get to choose what happens but we do get to choose how we react to it, how we receive it and what we do as a result. 
  9. What area of your life do you most want to develop in 2021? My attitude and my outlook. I want to fundamentally change how I see life and how I approach life. 
  10. What part of your self do you yearn to nurture in 2021? My body. I want to keep exercising and getting stronger. I also want to nurture my soul and be kinder to myself all the time.
  11. Fast-forward to December 2021. You’re sitting in a café, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be… 
    1. in your head? (work, dreams, goals)  At a job I love and where I feel secure, challenged and appreciated. I want to feel full, clear and fully content. I want to fully own who I am and have a job that honors that.
    2. in your heart? (relationships, family, friends)  I want to be kind and generous and full of abundance in my relationships. I want to feel expansive and patient.
    3. in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love)  I want to be happy, optimistic, grateful and full of joy. I want to say YES to everything life has to offer me and see the magic that my life is and continues to be..
    4. in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies) I want to be strong and dedicated and fully step into my abilities, my strength and honor my health.
  1. Okay, let’s take it up a notch. Use this page to describe what 2021 looks like in your ideal world. Be specific! What are your dreams for love this year? Work? Play? Where are you hungry for change? How do you want 2021 to FEEL? Use your answers from the previous pages to craft your ideal vision for the next 12 months. What would saying YES to your life look and feel like? Write out everything your heart desires for this new year. Be bold. I want this year to be full of joy. I want to be optimistic about how things turn out and what things mean. But not a silly optimism, instead a deeply seeded belief that there’s so much goodness in the world and that things will be okay. I want to support my husband in his incredible ventures. I want to support my kids in who they are and all they will become. I want to fully step into my own self with all the promise and possibility that it opens up. I want to be kind and supportive and generous to everyone, including myself. Yes would look like waking up full of energy and going to bed full of gratitude. Living every single moment of every single day.
  2. Now let’s give those dreams and plans some shape. Use the grid to start plotting the details of 2021. Use words and pictures, dates and anniversaries. Include actual events and made-up dreams, too. Be playful. Doodle your heart out. Back in 2013, our January OLW assignment involved setting intentions and I really enjoyed that, so I thought maybe I can do that instead. 
  • January: Yes to Baby Steps: Start small. Make a plan for the steps you want to take and give yourself a lot of grace. Take a handful of steps. You got this.
  • February: Yes to the Unknown:  Be open to new things this month. Listen more, watch others. Be willing to take some steps into the unknown and assume the best. Be brave. 
  • March:  Yes You Can:  This is usually your hardest month. No break, still too cold. It feels hard to make it through this month but you can. Yes you can. Keep going. 
  • April: The Quiet Yes: Be still. Listen to the whispers of your soul. See what your heart is telling you. Listen to the conversations in your head. Hear yourself.
  • May: Yes Just Yes: Time to be bold. Jump in. Dare to go all in and see what happens. What happens if you say yes?!
  • June: Yes to Light: Breathe in the fresh air. Summer is here. Smell the water. Go outside. Sit in the sunshine. One more school year is over. Celebrate your life. 
  • July: Yes to adventures: Create some adventure. Go places. Do things. Hug your people. Take chances.
  • August: Yes to Life: Time to get organized again, transitions are coming. Eleventh and Seventh grades.  Get organized, plan, prepare and do what you need to do. Write down all your dreams. Make plans. 
  • September: Yes to Possibilities: Time to root and surrender. This is a hard month for you. Transitions are rough. But you also turn 47. It’s magical to get to have another year. Remember the growth mindset. Let go of your preconceived ideas and embrace the possibilities. 
  • October: Yes to Connection:  Reach out to others. Connect with your people. Make new connections. Say yes to more things. 
  • November:  Yes to Rest: It’s ok if you need to start slowing down. Give yourself grace. Year is almost over. Can you do one more thing, take one more step in the direction of your dreams? What do you still want to say yes to?
  • December:  Yes to Celebration:  You’ve come a long way. It’s time to celebrate. Honor. Be grateful. Thank 2021 for all that it gave you. Fully bask in how far you’ve come so you can bid it farewell. Celebrate all your yeses.
  1. List 3 unhelpful beliefs about yourself you’re ready to release 
    1. That I am not strong.
    2. That I am not beautiful.
    3. That I am not worthy of belonging.
  2. List 3 duties or commitments you feel ready to let go of in 2021 
    1. I am not going to do the weekly album this year.
    2. Letting go of the need to blog daily
    3. Moving from weekly photos to monthly.
  3. List 3 skills you’d like to learn or improve in 2021
    1. Stitching maybe
    2. Drawing always
    3. Coding maybe
  4. List 3 books you intend to read this year: as always, i know i will read many. 
  5. How could you bring more calm into your life (and head) this year? More journaling and meditation, sitting by the fire, flowers, candles, nature always bring me calm. And take baths!
  6. List 3 things about yourself you positively love 
    1. My empathy and kindness
    2. That i am always trying to be a better version of myself.
    3. My deep and endless love for my people.
  7. List 3 ways you could be kinder to your body this year 
    1. Take care of my teeth and gums.
    2. Exercise and hydrate.
    3. Put cream on my skin.
    4. Rest!
  8. List 3 ways you could connect with loved ones in 2021 
    1. Call mom and Yona on a schedule, more regularly.
    2. Make a weekly date with Leslie and Monthly date with Jess
    3. Dial into the zooms every time.
  9. List 3 people you could extend compassion to
    1. My husband and kids.
    2. Myself.
    3. Every single person I come in contact with can always use more compassion, cause can’t we all?
  10. How could you bring more love into your life this year? I could look for the good, spend time celebrating, practice self-love, hug and touch more, and date nights!
  11. List 3 interests/hobbies you would like to explore more in 2021 
    1. Sketching + photography + journaling + stitching
    2. Hiking + camping + climbing + meditation + biking
    3. Not sure yet.
  12. List 3 ways you could feed your imagination this year 
    1. Reading
    2. Leaning in and saying yes.
    3. Travel + adventure
  13. List 3 ways you could bring more passion into your world this year 
    1. Saying yes to adventures and new things
    2. Yes to date nights and time together
    3. Making things happen. 
  14. List 3 dreams you would like to manifest this year (personal or professional) 
    1. Alaska!
    2. Maybe Climbing Whitney
    3. Feeling settled at work.
  15. How could you bring more creative energy into your life this year? 
    1. Maybe a december daily like book for the year, I have to think more on this.
    2. More drawing and reading combos.
    3. Maybe cooking more.
  16. List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your mornings 
    1. Exercise + meditation + calling mom in the mornings. 
    2. Journaling for 15 minutes (to set intentions)
    3. Sketching/Art for 15-20 minutes.
    4. Being outside more, stretching.
  17. List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your evenings (I added this because I want to do both mornings and evenings.) 
    1. Stretching, removing make up and flossing in the evenings. 
    2. Journaling for 15 minutes (releasing and gratitude)
    3. Reading + disconnecting. 
    4. Taking an evening walk.
    5. Taking a bath.
  18. List 3 ways you could cherish your home this year 
    1. Buy flowers
    2. Cozy blankets
    3. Light candles.
  19. List 3 ways you could connect more deeply with nature in 2021 
    1. Camp and hike. And climb in nature.
    2. Sink my feet into the sand and into the ocean.
    3. Climb trees.
  20. List 3 places in your city, town or neighbourhood you want to explore
    1. All the beaches.
    2. San Fran.
    3. More socal this year. 
  21. How could you bring a sense of groundedness into your life this year?  
    1. Regular yoga + meditation + journaling
    2. Doing more stretching
    3. Being out in nature, taking walks.
  22. Using your favourite tarot or oracle deck, draw one card for the overall theme of the upcoming year and then a card for each month of 2021. I don’t like to do this so as well as the monthly above, I will list a bunch of things I can do this year.
  • Yes to calm: journaling, meditation, candles, sitting outside, music, tara brach
  • Yes to the outdoors: Hiking, Climbing, swimming, waterfalls, sand, ocean
  • Yes to healthy living: Cook more, eat more veggies, more water, walking, sleep
  • Yes to routine: morning and evening routines
  • Yes to being active: stretching, strength, yoga, peloton. climbing
  • Yes to new adventures: travel, climbing trees, 
  • Yes to art: draw, paint, photography, 
  • Yes to stories: week in the life, story albums, december daily, OLW
  • Yes to romance: dancing with Jake, date nights, 
  • Yes to family: family dinners, project with N, project with D, vacation
  • Yes to connection: emails/calls with friends, write letters, call mom, call yona
  • Yes to optimism: write what went right, celebrate, donate, thank yous, send gifts
  • Yes to learning new things: podcasts, new classes, nonfiction books
  • Yes to joy: dance, listen to music, celebrations
  • Yes to adventure: book vacations, try new things.
  1. 2021 will be the year I finally become an optimist!
  2. I will nourish myself with fresh, unprocessed food, a positive attitude, good friends.
  3. I will make more time for myself and the people I love. 
  4. I will recharge my batteries by resting, exercising, and sleeping more.
  5. This year I will open my heart to possibility.
  6. I will pay more attention to the good.
  7. I will learn more about leaning in, saying yes, leaping.
  8. I will release my attachment to my stories and my past and my anxiety/worry.
  9. I wish for 2021 to feel magical.
  10. This year I will say NO to worry, stress, negativity, things that drain me.
  11. This year I will say YES to LIFE with all of its gifts.
  12. What is your secret wish for 2021? Declare it here! My secret wish is that this year I fundamentally change the way I see life. That I pay attention to the good, internalize it and really see it. That I stay optimistic and step fully into my life.

I wholeheartedly believe that everything is possible in 2021!

As always, I mention many of these same thoughts from last year and here, here, and here. I am pretty sure these themes have been in my life in some way or another for many years. I know that they will likely still be around in 2021 and 2022 and onward. What I’d like to do this year is to make a dent. To move things forward a little bit. Every forward step I take moves me in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for.


Close your eyes for a moment and imagine stepping into the shoes of you from December 2021, one year from now. You are one year older and one year wiser and you’ve lived every day of 2021 fully and completely. You have a message of encouragement about 2021. There’s stuff you want to share… stuff you’re eager to tell yourself. When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen, and write a letter from your future self, starting with Dear Karen: I am so proud of you. Keep going, you got this!