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I was thinking the other day about the peaks and valleys of life. How, at times, you feel like you’re on cloud nine and other times in the depths of despair. I suppose that’s the duality of life. You can’t have the good without experiencing the bad. Nor can you see the light without knowing the darkness.

Life at times can be taken for granted when things are going well and as result you expect it to stay that way. How many times do you take for granted the beauty of where you’re at in the moment? Your job is going well. Your relationship is healthy. You feel healthy and whole in your body and mindset. It’s as though you’re running on all cylinders.

But what happens when one of the cylinders breaks? What happens when something unexpected and out of your control throws you off kilter? I think that’s when the rubber meets the road. It’s when you have the opportunity to put into play all the tools and exercises we hold within us.

The low points are simply invitations inviting you to tap into your magic. Within each of us lies the power to step out of the valleys and into the highlights of life. Today I would love to share with you a couple of my most favorite tools I use to step into this magical way of feeling good. I do believe when you create your life through the lens of beauty, creative expression, and what lights you up… life actually becomes more fun.

So, let’s dive into a few of my favorite and easy tips for creating more lightness and loveliness in your everyday…

1. Create an environment to delight your senses

Take a look around at your environment. Does what you see invoke a sense of joy…or dread?

The thing is, when you create an environment at home or in the office (or even your car!) reflecting how you want to FEEL, the funny thing is you actually start to feel the way you want to feel. Take a look at the placement of your furniture. Look at the cleanliness and the organization of your home. Is there some room for upgrades? And I’m not talking about spending thousands of dollars at the furniture store. People who know me, know that when I moved from my home in the suburbs to downtown Milwaukee, my realtor had warned me that a lot of my furniture was going to be off scale when I downsized. It took me a couple of years to finally realize that yes, the huge desk I had in my home was simply overtaking my living room in my condo…but rather than going and buying an entire new set of furniture for the new place, I slowly began looking around at beautiful furniture consignment stores. And let me tell you, I have decorated the place in a whole new look on a very, very small budget. You’d be amazed at how some people decorate and re-decorate their home every couple of years… and you can benefit from that!

What about clutter? Let me share that for the past year I walked past my guest room closets and cringed knowing that if I opened one of them, things would literally tumble out just like in a cartoon! I kid you not I did not open that door. I FINALLY took about 2 hours to remove the clutter, vacuum, reorganize, and do a quick drop off to Goodwill. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?! I now LOVE opening up that closet. Who knew???!!!

Now, what do you smell in your environment? Odd question, right? The reason I ask is that it’s super easy to delight your sense of smell by simply using a diffuser or a candle. My sister got me hooked on essential oils and I like to pop lemon grass or lavender in my diffuser. There’s something about coming home to a home that just smells so warm and inviting and calming… and the feedback from friends is they love the relaxing vibe. Birdie likes it too 🙂

Finally, what sounds do you hear? Does what you hear create anxiety in you… or serenity? This one is so incredibly personal. For me, when the television is on, people are talking, and the radio is playing in the background… I get overwhelmed. But for some of you, it might be the ideal environment as you thrive on activity! If you are feeling anxious, take inventory of the sounds in your home with the tv, music, and even outside noise. Try the spa channel on pandora or check out noise canceling panels you can line your curtains with form Amazon. Sometimes it’s the creature comforts that can create a sense of tender loving care for your environment and yourself.

2. Decorate Yourself.

Every day is a new opportunity to create a life you desire… and a great way to start is to look at how you adorn your body. When you put effort into what you are wearing, even if it’s just putting on the scarf or wearing the pretty shoes you keep saving for a special occasion, there’s something special that happens. You hold your head a little higher. You walk a little taller…and you tend to make smarter choices in what you choose to think, say, eat, and accept from other people. Choosing to “decorate” your body in a way that feels GOOD is powerful. Say what you want, but from my own experience, people respond differently when I’m looking “schlump a dunk” versus putting just a wee bit of effort in. Again, I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a new wardrobe. Really, it’s simply organizing your closet and wearing the clothes that make you feel lovely. Refer to Marie Kondo for her organizing tips and tools for this one. She always says if it sparks joy, keep it. If it feels “meh” or draining, donate it or let it go.

3. Sit Down And Eat.

Another tip feeling better is paying attention to your dining experience. Are you eating on the fly, while talking on the phone, or walking down the street? Are you grabbing something to go and wolfing it down as you drive and steer the car with your leg……P.S. please don’t do that!

Are you sitting down watching one of the Real Housewives of Bravo TV while intending to eat just two slices of the pizza but eat nearly the entire thing?! (yes, this is from personal experience!)

A great way to start feeling better is to quite frankly, have some self-respect for yourself! Use the nice china. Use the cloth napkins. It’s worth it! Choose quality over quantity. Make a delicious breakfast. This doesn’t have to be an in-depth Martha Stewart experience…but just the simple art of setting the table even if it’s a breakfast bar in your kitchen. Take your time. Use your nice dishes. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big dish fan. So are my mom and sister. I realized while writing this that I need to walk the walk and pull my grandmother’s beautiful dishes out of the cabinet! You don’t need a party or holiday to treat yourself and your family well… so use the good stuff! P.S. If you don’t have china, you can get the BEST deals at consignment stores!

4. Stop! Breathe, Look, Listen.

Amp up the inner calm by simply taking moments throughout the day to absorb the present moment.

You might be thinking, “Ok, I’ve organized my environment, I’ve put on the new outfit, I’ve set the table, and I’m still feeling a little down!”… if so, then try this tip.

Simply stopping throughout the day…whether it’s in the grocery store line, stuck in traffic, or on hold with the airlines… just take those few moments to intentionally breathe.

Try this 2-3 times:

• Close your eyes (except while in the car!)
• Breathe in for four
• Hold it for four
• Breathe out for four.
• Open your eyes and look around and listen to what you hear not only around you but within you. List at least three things in that moment that you have the pleasure of feeling grateful for.

Gratitude is the secret sauce to feeling good… do you agree?

I was out with Birdie on our regular morning walk. My back was killing me. I overdid it with planting flowers on my patio… hauling stuff…decluttering my closet, etc. I’ll admit I was feeling sorry for myself! As we walked our regular route down the steps towards the War Memorial and I was lamenting on how I feel older and my body aches, I heard a little clanging and clinking. I stopped and turned to look to my right and there is the beautiful bronze statue of the Forgotten Soldier with the tags and the boots and the helmet. As the dog tags clinked against the boots, I just stopped and became very choked up with gratitude as I looked at the sculpture and the eternal flame burning in pool of water behind it. I just sat there filled with gratitude repeating “thank you thank you, thank you. If it weren’t for all of you, I wouldn’t have the opportunity today to be complaining about my back. I wouldn’t even be here.”

That moment was a gift because in a split second, my vibe completely changed.

As I proceeded on my walk, I felt uplifted and elevated. I began to list all the things I’m grateful for. And guess what? My back started to loosen up. Yes, the walk helped but the internal shift I know played a big part.

So, this week if you start to feel a little low and you don’t feel like rearranging furniture… or using an essential oil diffuser… or setting the table… or even putting on a nice outfit, please choose gratitude.

Within the act of appreciation lies the space to experience a sense of awe for life…for your life.

Love to you all. I’ll see you next week.

Meg