In Defense of Tea

Are you a tea drinker? Is it a part of a daily habit or ritual for you?

Okay, so in light of everything going on in the US and around the world, there are certainly larger issues we could tackle this week. But I want to support you in your life journey, so I wanted to take a moment to celebrate an easy and delightful bit of self-care and ritual: tea!

Lots of cultures value tea highly, and drinking it is often a daily norm. But for many of us in the U.S., we come to tea later in life. Who knows – maybe it goes back to the tea party before the Revolutionary War, but for whatever reason, many of us do not grow up drinking tea.

My experience with tea was that it was a thing for “grown ups”. As a young Brownie (a Girl Scout), I attended my first tea party at age six and loved it, but we didn’t drink tea in my home growing up. In college, I had access to tea and housemates who drank it, so I would experiment with a cup of tea sometimes. But it really wasn’t until I was an adult seeking “afternoon tea”, aka a three course meal paired with tea, that I developed my passion for it.

With COVID-19, I found myself seeking additional ways to ground and center myself each day. I had a great morning routine, but I felt it might be getting stale. When Sarah Jenkins suggested adding tea or coffee to our morning routine or sacred start, I knew this was the perfect excuse to up my tea intake and feel like I was truly indulging.

Now, I carve out an extra 10-15 minutes each morning to steep and enjoy some tea. Some days it’s black, some days it’s herbal, some days it has milk or sugar in it. But it always delights. It forces me to pause, to savor. I pair it with a sacred or reflective book and enjoy a slow and beautiful start to my morning before the workday begins.

Tea comes in so many forms, and in so many flavors. You can keep it super healthy or sweeten it up. (This morning I made a candy cane latte…oh my goodness it was good!)

And if you don’t like any teas, you can enjoy a similar ritual, whether it’s coffee or another drink (something warm is ideal for the winter months).

I guess when I’m suggesting you make time for tea, what I’m really suggesting is that you make time for yourself. Finding a few minutes to pause is so therapeutic. You start your day centered instead of off balance, calm instead of rushed. Even if I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do, I would make it happen. (In fact, I get up at 4:45 a.m. once a week, but that’s another story.)

Do you drink tea? Why or why not?

P.S. My “More Steps Challenge” continues in our Facebook group, and I’ve been going live and talking to people about their walking goals. Join us there, or grab your copy of The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint, if you found this helpful.

Five Self-Care Tips For An Uncertain World

I’m honestly at a loss about where to start this post. All of the mindfulness practice in the world can’t change the fact that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, an American crisis of democracy, and that we’re dealing with the effects of systemic racism, made more plain every day.

On a personal level, I’m finding that calming my mind for yoga or meditation is extremely difficult, walking, while therapeutic, doesn’t solve anything once the walk itself has ended, and talking to friends or family may fan the flames rather than put out the fire.

I’m torn between the desire to veg out on the couch with a movie and the desire to throw all of my energy into work.

If I’m feeling this way, I know you might be too. So here are my top five self-care tips for an uncertain world.

1 Ground Yourself

Feel your feet on the floor. Take very slow breaths, and focus on your breath going in, holding for a moment, and going back out. If you can’t get any alone time for this, do it on the toilet. Seriously. (I used to do that when I worked a corporate job in a cubicle!) The best grounding is done outside, with shoes off, but any of this work will give you major benefits.

2 Savor A Hot Beverage

If you can carve out 5-10 minutes to do this, it’s an easy way to give yourself alone time that is just for you. Each morning, part of my routine includes a cup of tea. You may go with an evening cup, or a cup of coffee, or some hot chocolate. The ritual and experience of a hot beverage is so satisfying, relatively easy and affordable, easy to include in a healthy diet if desired, and a moment to indulge yourself.

3 Take A Walk

My daily walks have been giving me life for years. They are absolutely essential when the world is, pardon my language, a shitshow. I highly recommend taking your walk outside if at all possible. Freezing temperatures? Bundle up, and keep it short if you don’t warm up within 10-15 minutes. (Personally, by that time I’m usually feeling a lot warmer.) And if quarantine or safety or timing etc. keep you from getting outside, my next best recommendation is walking indoors while looking outside. (If you don’t have a treadmill, walking in a room will do!) Science shows us that looking at nature is calming, Getting outside is calming. If you need extra support or motivation for your walks, come join my free More Steps! Challenge on Facebook.

4 Read A Relaxing Book

One of the wild outcomes of the state of the world right now has been the realization that even a book of fiction can stress me out right now. (Yes, seriously!) I just finished a fantastic book for my book club, but the stories were hitting too close to real life (the struggles of immigrants, of lower-income folks) and I found myself dreading turning the page.

Luckily, I’ve still got other books that calm and center me. I try to keep two other books going at any given moment – a sacred or reflective book, for my morning routine, and a more practical or strategic book for personal development. (And, of course, my third book is fiction or fun, but I think I’ll be sticking to more mindless books in that realm for a while!)

5 Journal

I journal each morning, as soon as I get up, as a way of getting the cobwebs out, as outlined in The Artist’s Way. Whatever thoughts and fears are rolling around in my head get let out and recognized immediately, allowing me to go about my day with clarity. I highly recommend it – it’s been my practice for a couple of years now.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also want to join my group or grab your copy of my free resource, The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint.

What did I miss? Which of these do you find most helpful?

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

The Four Steps To Your Dream Life

Happy New Year! I’m so glad you’re here. This year has been a lot.

Are you feeling tired? Frustrated? Eager for a clean slate and a chance to start again?

This year has been especially challenging. Exhausting, honestly. So many stresses, so much more to navigate than I think any of us anticipated, whether due to job losses, sickness and death, racial justice struggles and politics, and of course the isolation imposed by COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions to keep us safe.

If you’re feeling disappointed that this year wasn’t what you hoped it would be, I feel you. I’ve been there too. I’ve had many years when I didn’t hit my goals or when I didn’t bother making resolutions, because progress didn’t seem realistic.

Thankfully, I’m in a much better place now. I’ve spent many years of work to get me here. I’m living the dream life I’ve created for myself – and though it may not seem possible yet, I believe you can create and manifest your dream life too!

Whether you’d like to establish new habits or find a new career, take charge of your personal life or get financial security, there’s a way to achieve it.

If that feels daunting or impossible, I’d like to help you. I’ve documented my own process and created a blueprint with the four steps to your dream life. I’d be honored to support you along the way.

You can head here for your free copy of the blueprint. It’s the roadmap to get you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re ready for the next step in your journey, head here.

P.S. I’ve started a new Facebook group, and we’ll be doing monthly challenges in 2021 to help us achieve our goals. January will be a “More Steps” challenge, so if you’d like to get more walking/outdoor time in your schedule, this one is for you. If you’re ready to work on consistency, supported by me and others on a similar journey, come join us!

Hello Childhood, My Old Friend

A mistake that I used to make, prior to my personal development journey and even early within it, was to think that I had a “normal”childhood, without much to complain about, so didn’t need to bother examining my childhood for “childhood wounds”, “limiting beliefs” or issues from my past that might explain my current struggles. (Quotes to note my discomfort with the idea.)

Oh my goodness – how wrong I was! SO MUCH of what I struggle with today is related to my childhood. Does that mean I had bad parents? Nope! On the contrary, I think I had great parents, and I’m super lucky for all of the blessings I had and have, and for how supportive and attentive they were while also fostering my independence.

But the deeper I go in my personal development, the more I see issues popping up that make MUCH more sense when I put them in the context of my childhood.

Issues around food insecurity, where I get oddly possessive about my food? The recipe was a passion for food + seeing emotional food eating modeled + a few episodes of a family member eating my leftovers. Hello, food obsession!

Over the top anger when someone doesn’t suffer the consequences of their actions? Oh, of course, I remember, that’s something I saw play out as a kid.

Some of my struggles and personality quirks can’t be as directly tied to one incident, but it’s easy to find examples of the behavior that contributed to my mindset on that issue.

It is 100% normal for our childhood experiences to shape how we interact with the world. And we can’t change the past. But it is our choice how we choose to move forward and act today.

Personal development is the super power that gives us the tools to act more deliberately.

Does this resonate for you? Join my new Facebook group or contact me for a free exploratory coaching session, and let’s dive more deeply into this!

P.S. Two HUGE things in our world this past week. Ross’ new holiday ukulele album (it’s gorgeous!) is available for pre-order (you’ll pay half price if you purchase before it drops on December 7th, and you get a few tunes on the spot), and Ross’ online ukulele course is now available for purchase! Both are just in time for the holidays, whether as a gift for a friend or yourself. Please take a look and consider purchasing and/or sharing with your friends and family!

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

Ross and Jamie Featured On Podcast – NH Unscripted

“We never wanted to take on something that we knew we wouldn’t be able to do, that was just a complete pipe dream, but we always wanted to challenge ourselves as well.” – Ross & Jamie on NH Unscripted

Last week Ross and I got to meet Ray Dudley, host of podcast NH Unscripted, over Zoom. We shared so many fun stories with him, including the origin story, about Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater, the company we founded in 2010 in New Hampshire.

If you enjoy theater and musical theater, it’s a must-listen, but if you’re not, it’s also got lots of inspiration and takeaways for people who are motivated to do their thing and craft the life of their dreams.

Give it a listen where podcasts are found, including here, or give it a watch below.

And if you do, please let us know what you think! Lots of humor, lessons, and inspiration.

“So we just found a piano and just went for it. And there was a restaurant across the street – they were our captive audience…..we’d finish a song, and they’d start cheering!” – Ross and Jamie on NH Unscripted

Have a wonderful week, and take care of yourselves and those around you – if you’re an American especially, they probably need it this week.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

What if your success was inevitable?

Self-doubt is so, so common, and when you’re a business owner and/or a creator (or aspiring to be either), it’s common to find yourself plagued with doubts. What if this investment doesn’t pay off? What if I lose my clients? What if the economy goes south? What if I’m not as good at doing __ as I think I am?

It’s so easy to get on the doubt train, and when you get started, it can be so, so challenging to get off. And yet we know that those negative thoughts feed on themselves and sabotage our progress. What we focus on tends to be what we bring forth, or manifest.

So what if, instead, we make a conscious effort to change the conversation. When those worries and fears creep in, can we give ourselves a reset? Let’s try a mantra, or an affirmation – a phrase that you will repeat over and over again, in your mind and, if you dare and ideally, outlead.

Your success is inevitable.

Try it again.

Your success is inevitable.

So the big question: what would you do differently (in your business, in any area of your life) if your success were inevitable?

Ex. If you struggle with relationships, and you’ve been holding out on getting back in the dating game out of fear. What would you do if your success were inevitable? You’d keep trying, right? And maybe you wouldn’t put so much weight on a given date or interaction, laughing off the awkward coffee conversations knowing that sooner or later, you’d find the person of your dreams, and it would all work out.

Ex. If you knew investing $2,000 in your business now would translate to making $100,000 in your business next year, would you do it? I certainly hope you would! The cost/benefit analysis is clear.

So much of our success or failure, ultimately, stems from our confidence. If we believe with 100% confidence that we will be successful, that confidence is contagious. Our clients and potential clients see the way we ooze confidence and go yes, I want some of what she’s having! The people we date sense our charisma and our detachment from the outcome of a given moment and want to spend time with us. And while failure is really common, the sooner we show up and give it all, the sooner we take the next steps in our business and our life’s growth, the sooner we will get there. Instead of this do I or don’t I, will it work or will it not, we move on to the next step in our journey. If this particular venture is going to fail, wouldn’t you rather know now? I would!

I recently invested about $2,000 in a coaching mentorship. I’ve been loving coaching, feeling an incredible passion for helping people to achieve the life of their dreams, and I wanted some extra confidence to help me in building my business. I could have kept going it solo, but I knew that this calculated investment felt truly aligned for me – I was a little fearful, of course, as we often are before we commit to something or purchase something. But it was all I could think about, and I was super excited about it.

So I went for it. And I was so passionate about it, showing up with enthusiasm each week for my studying, my business and my clients. I know that investment will pay off in dividends as I’m now a more confident and skilled coach ready to work with more clients, create new offers and help people achieve their goals.

So I challenge you today: what would you do if your success were inevitable?

Leave me a comment, write about it in your journal or send me a message and share. Don’t let fear hold you back- there is so much you’re capable of. The world needs you.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Please Be Careful With Yes

“You can’t have yes without no…if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it.” – Shauna Niequist

Are you careful with your yeses?

I used to give out my yeses with ease, but the problem is it can really burn you out. As I’ve tried to cut back on stress and live a more intentional life, I’ve had to become more intentional with my yes.

It’s so easy to say yes to please someone, to avoid an awkward conversation or to believe we have time for all of the things.

News flash: We do not have time for all of the things.

When you say yes to everything, you’re saying no to other things. If you agree to volunteer at one event this weekend, it might mean missing date night with your partner. If you agree to babysit your sister’s kids, you might not have time to get your homework done or write your book or get your home renovation project complete on time. If you clean your son’s room before your party, will you have time to cook everything on your list?

Supply your own examples and it will quickly become obvious how true this is. We’ve got 24 hours a day, and most people need 8 of those to be asleep. Even if you can walk through life as a zombie, you’ve still got the same 24 hours as everyone else. So let’s get more intentional about how we use that time.

Say no and see what the universe allows you to say yes to. (Hint: sometimes it’s conscious – if I say no to x, I’m saying yes to y. Other times, you’ll find you say no without knowing what’s next, just because it feels right. And sometimes life delivers a big and beautiful surprise, soon or not so soon, when we do that.)

Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect is brilliant, and when I first read it, I felt like I could have written it – it resonated so much. I’m now on read number two (after many months away from it) and it’s just as brilliant. If this resonates with you, or if you just want a book that encourages you to slow down and savor things a bit more you’ll definitely want to read this.

Practice saying no this week. What can you say no to?

Please comment here with a story of saying no, whether it’s a plan for the future or an anecdote of how it served you in the past. I’d love to hear how this is inspiring you or making you think!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Top Tips For Facing Your Fear

What a wild time to be alive, friends! I hope you’re prioritizing your own health and well-being. There’s so much stress and vitriol in the world, and if we let it consume us, it really will.

I read this quote this week and it really resonated with me. It can be really helpful to stop and articulate, with words (out loud or in writing, or even with imagery) how we’re feeling and what we’re fearing. Putting a name to it can make it easier to face. 

Here are some of the things I’m fearing right now: 

  • I won’t build my business to the level I dream about
  • I won’t be able to visit family and friends for a long time
  • I won’t be able to attend my friend’s wedding
  • I won’t be able to safely share my views & background and be my authentic self under our next administration
  • I’m not doing enough to help the causes I care about
  • My BIPOC and LGBTQIAA+ friends and those with disabilities (basically anyone that isn’t a white male, TBH) won’t be safe in the near future

Putting it down makes it clear that that’s a lot to navigate! No wonder I feel stressed sometimes, despite my healthy habits. 

Here are some of the things I’m pursuing to clear my fears: 

  • Daily work on my business & accountability checks with my mastermind & mentors
  • Weekly calls and video calls with friends and family, plus emails and text check-ins
  • Daily and weekly work to encourage voting, educate those around me and assist anyone with questions
  • Supporting the causes I care about, financially and with my time and energy

It’s so, so important to not only articulate what’s on our minds, but, when we’re in the right headspace, make a plan with concrete steps to feel better. If we’re feeling scared of the unknown, what’s one thing that’s within our control that we can make progress on? If we’re frightened that x might happen, what’s one step we can take that will listen the blow if it comes true? 

For instance, if we’re afraid that a wildfire could burn our house down, we should pack an emergency bag & create a plan. 

If we’re afraid of the outcome of an election, we should vote and encourage our friends to do the same, and lend our support to the causes and people we care about if we’re able to do so. 

We can’t eliminate the possibility of the things we fear, in many cases, but we can eliminate the fear by tackling it head on with the pursuit of new things, as Susie Moore says. Taking concrete steps feels good, mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Can you relate to any of these? What is one thing you can do today to face your fear?

Twenty Years of Yoga: It’s Time To Celebrate!

Today I’m celebrating a huge milestone – I’ve been a yogini (a female practitioner of yoga) for twenty years!!!

I realize this post is going to age me a bit, but I am so stinkin’ proud that twenty years later, I have a consistent yoga practice and continue to feel the effects that yoga has brought to my life.

I first tried yoga at age sixteen. I went to a private day school in middle and high school (founded by hippies, very pricey, super privileged for sure) and we were required to play sports to fulfill the state’s gym requirement. In the fall of my junior year, the nurse offered yoga as a sports elective, and I was thrilled to do that instead of field hockey (which I loved, but which took up far too much of my otherwise available for theater and music time).

I quickly learned that I already had a great deal of flexibility, which would suit me well, and I also found it tough but enjoyable to sit in silence and close my eyes, particularly around my classmates and friends.

When the nurse decided not to offer it the following year, I was pretty devastated. But I was able to design my own sport by taking yoga and aerobics classes at my local gym instead. I was exposed to several different teachers, realizing that there are lots of styles and approaches to yoga, and some of it is much more strenuous than others.

So began my yoga journey! I’d stretch a bit and try poses on my own, but my class consumption varied widely during college. After college, I picked up a yoga video and then found myself gravitating toward other forms of exercise that incorporated some yoga into the mix. (Yes, Yoga Booty Ballet, I’m looking at you!!! My one and only informercial purchase!)

Over the years, I took advantage of free or affordable yoga whenever possible. A class at a retreat I was working. A series of classes at the same church I accompanied services for. And during my one and only corporate-like stint working at a co-op, I took advantage of the once per week, $5 yoga classes.

When we hit the road in late 2016 in our RV, I was armed with my favorite workout series to date (ChaLean Extreme will date me again) which included some yoga in the mix. I also began experimenting with yoga videos on Amazon Prime and Netflix – I’d download them to my phone when we had good wifi.

In 2018, my husband Ross (with my booking assistance) began improvising music live for yoga classes. This was an incredible gift, because in addition to making money from each of the attendees (shared with the instructor and studio), I got to attend the classes for free! That meant that for a long stretch, I got to take about one yoga class per month, each with a new instructor. The project even inspired Ross to record an ambient music album perfect for relaxation, meditation and yoga. (Link here)

With COVID-19, we have had to put our in-person yoga efforts aside, but the incredible gift of the pandemic for me (if I can say that) has been developing a more consistent yoga practice. My instructor, Tracy, was one of my favorite instructors from almost ten years back at that church job. Nowadays she teaches lessons remotely, so her Vermont location is no problem for me, and her suggested fees are extremely reasonable (and there’s no charge if it’s a hardship for you). (Link to her)

Being in a tiny RV, I can’t do yoga unless my husband is awake and about, but I’ve nevertheless gotten into a routine of yoga and meditation three nights per week, and it has been essential to my stress management, particularly over the last several months as tensions have heightened, from racial justice issues to politics and more. I’ve also tried a few other instructors when my schedule allows, and I’ve experimented a bit with free meditations too.

Previous to the pandemic, I struggled to make yoga a consistent part of my routine. I had no problem doing some stretches before bed, and I always loved the time I gave it, but since it doesn’t feel like “exercise” in the same way that some other forms of movement do, I always made it an extra, if I have time sort of thing.

What I’ve realized this year is that I am much more prepared to face the world when yoga is a mandatory part of my routine. And I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to set that time aside, and that Tracy has made it so affordable. (I even do yoga on those days when she takes time off! It’s now that much of a habit.)

So today I celebrate twenty years of yoga, but not just that – I celebrate twenty years of continuing to fine-tune my practice and develop consistency in my health habits. Habits are a cornerstone of my life and work, and I’m so thankful to have realized how essential yoga is to that for me.

Have you tried yoga? How did/do you like it?

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.