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Spirited Nourishment for Creative Trailblazers

Simple Ways to Sprinkle a Little Soul Into Your Daily Life

By Suzanne Vadnais Monson

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(Feel free to reprint our Sparkers in your newsletters or send to clients just be sure to attach the copyright info and the link at the end of each sparker)

How Am I Impacting Our Relationship
Not What I Was Expecting
One Simple Thing: Celebrate the Slip Up
Just Do It
Time Flies: You're the Pilot
Follow the Clues
Be the Change
Today's Gift
You're The Expert
Your Wild and Precious Life
Fresh Starts
Go With The Flow
Imaginary Friends
Joy in a Jar

Make a Handcrafted Lunch
Soothing the Soul
One-of-a-Kind Resolutions
Visual Vitamins: What Are You Looking At?
Gifts That Make a Difference
Reinvent Yourself for Halloween
10 Step to Rewriting the Rules
Daily 5 minute Check-In
Color Your World – The Magic of Sidewalk Chalk
Baggage Return
Handle With Care
Go with the Flow
Enchanted Jewelry
Baptize Your Spirit
Nurture Yourself
Field of Dreams
Take Adventure Walks
Cook Up a Soul-full Meal


 

How Am I Impacting On Our Relationship?

Can you think of a relationship in your life that would benefit from an honest, current assessment? The power of direct feedback is finding out exactly how well you are doing by asking for input from the people you live and work with very day. Start by asking a family member or friend for feedback on how you impact your relationship with him or her for good or for bad. Ask if there is anything he or she would like you to start doing or stop doing or continue doing. No matter what he or she says, listen without defense. Your only job is to listen.

It may be hard to do this. No matter what happens, resist the temptation to butt in. Remind yourself to listen. You know how valuable this is and how difficult it is to tell someone the truth about what isn’t working. When your attention wanders to silently arguing or disagreeing with what you are hearing, take a deep breath and regain your focus. Come back to listening. Repeat this process until the person talking tells you they are done.

Thank them for sharing no matter how you feel about what you have heard.

Then it’s your turn. Tell the person you have been listening to what you heard them saying. Ask for clarification if anything is not clear. Do not attempt to explain or make excuses. Check in to see if what you heard is accurate by asking questions like, “I heard you say that you feel challenged when I question your ideas. Can you tell me a little more about this? Can you give me an example?” Or clarify a specific statement you are not sure you fully understand. Ask questions until you are clear about what was said.

Think of this as one of the most accurate tools you have for taking the pulse of your most valuable, enduring relationships. The health of these relationships requires that we stay current with one another. An honest, skillful conversation can re-charge any relationship by filling our well with meaningful information. When our accomplishments, talents, and positive actions are noticed and acknowledged and our missteps are addressed and resolved, we deepen our awareness of what matters most to the people we spend our time with every day.

Who is waiting for this kind of opportunity with you? Whose behavior or attitude is causing a serious problem? Who deserves your praise? Who is deserving of an apology?

What are you waiting for?



 

Not What I Was Expecting

How many times have you been unable to find something because you thought it looked a certain way, only to later discover it was there all along but simply looked different? I was looking for my potato masher the other night. I must have opened the drawer I knew it was in five times when it dawned on me I needed to clear some of the clutter out of the drawer to actually see what was in there.

The otherwise characteristic shape of the potato masher was obscured by all of the other utensils that had become tangled in the tines of the masher. Rather than standing out as a distinct shape, it was camouflaged by a collage of spatulas, whisks and large metal spoons. Only when I pulled everything out of the drawer and sorted things out did I find the missing tool.

What we are expecting to find informs how we conduct our search. I’m working with this idea to help redirect my daily life. When I am unable to find something I remind myself that I don’t know what it looks like. It’s thinking I know what to expect that gets me in trouble. If I make this simple statement I can redirect myself in an instant: “It’s here, it just looks different.”

Whether you’re searching for a kitchen utensil, or a job, or a life partner, imagine for a moment that how this shows up may be other than what you are expecting. When you expand your search, who knows what fresh gifts will show up?


 

One Simple Thing: Celebrate the Slip Up

How often have you abandoned a dream or goal? Maybe you had to put in long hours at work and were unable to do the drawing you planned to do in the evenings. Maybe you lost interest in a project after a few weeks. Or maybe you discovered you really didn’t want to scuba dive after taking six lessons. Regardless of the reasons why, not carrying through on your intentions can land you in a kind of developmental limbo that drains your vital energy.

In order to move forward, it can be helpful to revisit your goal on paper and go through an honest assessment. Begin by writing down your goal. Next, answer these questions without editing your response:

Why did I create this goal for myself?
Be honest and specific. Is this still true?
What has changed?
How would I adjust my goal today with this in mind?

Then revise your goal within the framework of one step you will take in the next ten days. Make it do-able with a stretch you have to reach for and give it a short-term time limit. Something like: I will create the outline for my book in the next 30 days.

These simple steps help you release the energy that’s tied up in dreams you are no longer actively engaged in pursuing in this moment and get you moving toward a goal that is current with a sense of urgency. You only have 30 days. Get moving!

In 30 days revisit your goal and start the process over. Ask the question: Why did I create this goal for myself? It’s amazing how easy it is to make progress when you check in and tell the truth.


Just Do It

In over twelve years of helping clients give birth to artistic projects of every magnitude, one thing stands out to me: resistance to getting started is our greatest obstacle. Just to keep you guessing, this resistance takes on many guises. Sometimes it takes on the voice of your mother calming telling you there simply isn't enough time in the day for creativity. Sometimes resistance looks like a child throwing a tantrum: No! I don't want to take out my paint set today and you can't make me! And still other times it can resemble a bully demanding to know just who you think you are to be wasting money on this crazy idea. When you figure out how to recognize the faces of resistance, the creative exploration you've been longing for is yours.

Here are some possible candidates that may be hi-jacking your creative expression:
" Societal judgments (being rejected, ostracized, seen as weird.)
" Inner judgments (that's bad, you could never be good at that, you're wasting time and money even trying.)
" Fear (it might be ugly, it might not work, no one will love me, I will look bad, stupid, crazy.)

What are the faces of your resistance? Write down their names. Doodle their faces. Make a collage that captures them. Have fun with this. Give yourself free reign to exaggerate the features that most intimidate you. Post the images somewhere you can see them for a week. Every time you see these images, imagine them getting smaller and smaller. Imagine their voices getting quieter and quieter. Continue with this until you barely notice the picture on your wall. Now you're ready to take it down and rip it into small pieces. As you tear the paper, visualize an image to symbolize your new creative freedom. Look for a charm that can represent this image. Tuck the charm into your pocket or string it on a piece of leather and wear it as a daily reminder.

Creativity is about the PROCESS, not the result. Taking daring leaps to do creative things that call to you - regardless of your lack of time, or money, or talent, is precisely what gives you the practice you need to develop as an artist. Do it. Let it be bad. Let it be good. Just do it.

3) One Simple Thing: Celebrate the Slip Up
How often have you abandoned a dream or goal? Maybe you had to put in long hours at work and were unable to do the drawing you planned to do in the evenings. Maybe you lost interest in a project after a few weeks. Or maybe you discovered you really didn't want to scuba dive after taking six lessons. Regardless of the reasons why, not carrying through on your intentions can land you in a kind of developmental limbo that drains your vital energy.

In order to move forward, it can be helpful to revisit your goal on paper and go through an honest assessment. Begin by writing down your goal. Next, answer these questions without editing your response:
Why did I create this goal for myself?
Be honest and specific. Is this still true?
What has changed?
How would I adjust my goal today with this in mind?

Then revise your goal within the framework of one step you will take in the next ten days. Make it do-able with a stretch you have to reach for and give it a short-term time limit. Something like: I will create the outline for my book in the next 30 days.

These simple steps help you release the energy that's tied up in dreams you are no longer actively engaged in pursuing in this moment and get you moving toward a goal that is current with a sense of urgency. You only have 30 days. Get moving!

In 30 days revisit your goal and start the process over. Ask the question: Why did I create this goal for myself? It's amazing how easy it is to make progress when you check in and tell the truth.


 

Time Flies: You're the Pilot

It's easy to lose sight of the relationship between our choices, our actions, and the outcomes we experience. So much happens in the course of a day, a week, a month…it can be downright mind-numbing. We set goals for ourselves and a month later we've completely forgotten what they were. The challenge is to keep up with the pace of our crazy busy lives without losing sight of the goals that move us in the direction of happiness.

By becoming responsible for the choices we make, we take our destiny into our own hands. Try this:
Reflect on an area of your life where you'd like to create a different result. Write down exactly what you'd like to change. Be specific. Next, make a list of all the choices you've made in the last 12 months that were in conflict with this desire. Revisit the decisions you made that moved you away from achieving the result you had in mind.

Next, imagine making different choices for every miss-step on the list you just created. Envision empowering choices that fill you with energy and a sense of pride. Write these choices down on a list entitled: Flight Plan for a Fresh Start.

When you feel ready, select two choices from this list you can make this week that will move you closer to the result you desire. Our lives as they exist right now are the result of every choice we've made up to this point. The choices we make - today, tomorrow, and every day after - will either keep us stuck repeating the patterns of our past or they'll move us powerfully toward fresh possibilities. It's up to you. Where are you flying?


Follow the Clues

When we really want to do something, it’s easy to get it done. We have lots of energy and enthusiasm driving us toward our goal. And when we don’t want to do something, it can seem like we’re dragging a 10 ton weight around with us. I recently discovered that the clues to finding our ways to succeed are all around us.

I’ve been working with a client for a little over six months who is looking for ways to balance creative expression and wellness with a demanding career. One of Maggie’s goals is to lose 20 pounds. We have explored a number of diet and exercise options with less than exciting results. In six months of diligent healthy eating and daily exercise, Maggie had only lost 8 pounds.

While noting that her energy level was better, and she was sleeping through the night consistently for the first time in years, Maggie was still disappointed. In a session where we explored past successes with weight loss, Maggie said she’d loved belonging to a gym. It had been over 15 years since she’d even visited a gym. She had a lot of preconceived ideas about what kinds of options gyms offered, but no current factual information. I gave Maggie the assignment of researching gyms before our next session.

I was stunned at the excitement that oozed out of Maggie as she bounded in the door three weeks later. She’d found a gym, a 24 hour facility she could use when it worked for her, at a fraction of the cost she’d spent on a club membership 15 years ago. In the time that had passed since our last meeting she had lost an additional five pounds and was beaming. “I jump out of bed every morning at 4am jazzed to get started because I know I get to start my day doing something I love!” The gym Maggie has joined offers elliptical machines and incline treadmills along with a full assortment of free weights and Nautilus equipment. Maggie is in heaven.

I could give countless examples of similar breakthroughs I’ve experienced. We are often standing directly in the path of what would most help us refusing to budge. What are you struggling with that could use a fresh infusion of excitement? Try tapping in to your inner wisdom by asking yourself some questions and writing down the first thing that comes to mind. Follow the clues to your method for success.


Be the Change

It’s tempting to enter the world we inhabit at the turn of the 21st century with a heavy heart. We appear to be headed for disaster on so many fronts: global warming, escalating terrorism, natural disasters and senseless acts of violence. If you are exposed to any type of headline news, it is easy to let these bleak reports become your daily focus.

Each of us enters into this complicated landscape every day. Choosing to be the change we wish to see is not easy. I believe the key lies in finding ways to engage in making choices each day that move us toward something a little better. I’m not talking about grand, sweeping gestures like donating millions of dollars or moving to the middle of nowhere and living off the grid. I’m suggesting baby steps. Start with one thing you can do today to create balance. At the very least, your choices will move you and those you touch towards an improved situation. At best, our consistent mindful choices lead others to follow in our footsteps.

Viewed as disaster, circumstances threaten to overwhelm us. Viewed as possibility, we begin to see options and opportunities. Live in this uncertain moment, fully taking in the pieces that have meaning and value for you, and choose actions that spread your best self in all of its human splendor out into the world. Live in the knowing that the simple act of consciously choosing to make a difference has the power take you where you want to go. It takes courage to live in each moment. Take a deep breath, and make your best choice.


Today's Gift

I walk the same route every morning before my work day begins. I listen to the birds, breathe in the early morning fresh air, and notice the details of the world around me. I usually find comfort in the ritual of this daily exercise.

And some days I have to force myself to walk. It’s too muggy, or too cold, or I have too much work to do, or I just want to sleep in. On these days I look for little things to enliven my step.

Here’s what I found today:

  • A man walking with prayer beads, quietly chanting, greeting me with warm brown eyes when our paths crossed.

  • A pure black bunny.

  • A woman running along the lake in a perfectly coordinated outfit, smiling and inviting me to have a fabulous day.

  • A couple with the matching shelties, deep in conversation.

  • A woman marveling over how cool and dark it was.

  • A red fox, pausing three times to turn and yip some mysterious greeting.

  • The thick scent of pine trees.

  • A perfect pink sunrise kissing the horizon.

I am reminded that every time I muster the determination to put on my walking shoes and head outside I am rewarded. No walk is routine. There is always a gift. I only have to open my door and put one foot in front of the other. To help me stay present with my walking program, I make note of my favorite gift from each walk when I return. Some days all I need to do to motivate myself is read my gift list.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2007 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals

If you'd like to comment on this Sparker, visit the Coaching Toys Blog


You're The Expert

Today we are surrounded by materials offering advice on how to create a meaningful relationship, a fulfilling career, a deep sense of spirituality, and a drop-dead gorgeous body…all perfect for you. There are medical doctors, scientists, and esteemed celebrities offering testimonies based on years of research and testing that prove their program is the one for you. Who are you to disagree? After all, they are experts.

Before you hand your life over to a stranger, take a moment to consider this: there is only one you. No one else on the planet has your unique combination of genetics, life experience, dreams, and longings. When we base our choices on information given to us by experts, we run the risk of shaving off pieces of our one-of-a-kind selves to fit into a formula.

You came in the door with a host of personal tools for helping you live out your life in ways that have meaning. The challenge for many of us is that our ability to interpret the signals we get from our inner guidance is underused and underdeveloped. Let this sparker be your invitation to get acquainted with your intuitive knowing.

Begin by writing this affirmation and placing it somewhere you will see it (a bathroom mirror is perfect): I am open to all signs that I am moving in the right direction.

For the next 21 days repeat this powerful statement to yourself and take notes on anything interesting that takes place. In the process you will be rewiring your awareness to pick up on the nuances of your daily life that have the power to shift your experience. By paying attention to how you feel when you move into action on a new idea, you will develop intuitive muscle.

Trust the insights you have. In no time you will be on your way to creating a personal guidance system you can use to guide you through any uncharted territory.

 


Your Wild and Precious Life

Imagine you are walking through a quiet woodland. It is easy to move around. A high canopy of majestic trees dot the landscape and you can see clearly in all directions. Well groomed trails lead you through the forest. You stroll along the path feeling calm and at peace, listening to the songs of birds and enjoying the earthy aromas of the deep woods. The sound of moving water draws you toward a small stream.

Follow the stream until you find a place that invites you to stop and rest. Take a sip of the fresh, bubbling spring water and look closely into the moss and ferns lining the bank. Something catches your eye. Moving into the stream you enjoy the fresh sensation of moving water splashing on your legs. Crossing to the bank beyond, you discover an exquisite garden. Entering the garden you find a lovely patch of earth holding a project you are currently working on. Imagine the project has reached full completion and now rests before you in its best possible state. Notice the details; see its perfection, realizing in an instant what you need to do to move forward with your plan for this undertaking.

Enjoy the feelings of contentment that fill you as you bask in the glow of this project brought to completion. Feel the delicious sensation of pride building in your body. Fully absorb the reason this project has appeared in your life right now. Visualize this energy having the power to dissolve any blocks, applying it to any area of your life currently in need of transformation. Imagine you have the magic ingredients needed to create the perfect business, develop the next big trend, write a best-selling adventure story or… Fill in the blank with one of your wildest dream ideas and play with it in this happy setting.

Open your eyes when you are ready to return. Wear the glow you're feeling now for the rest of the day. This is your one wild and precious life. Come back any time you need a fresh shot of inspiration.


Fresh Starts

In our normal everyday lives things happen that help us step back and see with fresh perspective. We are given a gazillion chances to begin again. Let this Sparker be a catalyst, a lively reminder to notice the mysterious synchronicities happening in your world.

What amazing thing happened to you when you locked your keys in the car and had to ask for help, or stopped to pick up the piece of paper blowing along the sidewalk that turned out to be a thought-provoking page torn from someone’s journal, or turned on the radio just in time to hear a song so loaded with significance it brought tears to your eyes?

The amazing truth is that every moment noticed is an opportunity to start fresh. Seeing, pausing long enough to actually take something in completely, is the recipe for fully engaging in our lives.

It is easy to get lost in the details of our days and become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks and responsibilities. To gain some fresh perspective, try this exercise for seven days. Write the following affirmation on a slip of paper: I carry fresh awareness everywhere I go. Post it somewhere you will notice it a couple of times a day. Go about your day as usual with this one change: stop whatever you are doing at three different predetermined times and look around. What do you see? What do you hear? Is there anything that piques your curiosity? Check it out!

At the end of the day take note of three things you noticed in a journal. Simply jot down what happened when you paused. At the end of the week review your notes. What strikes you when you review your notes? The gift of fresh perspective is often easy to see after some time has passed. You may notice that pausing helps you move through a challenge or pulls you out of a rut. Or maybe you notice how much a little break helps you energize and refocus. Give it a try and see what’s waiting for you to discover.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals

If you'd like to comment on this Sparker, visit the Coaching Toys Blog


Go With The Flow

How do you handle change? Think back to a time when you were in a new situation, changed jobs, moved, started a relationship, or took those often-awkward first steps toward an important goal. What comes to mind as you relive these squirmy moments?

For many of us, change brings out our biggest fears. Something about not knowing what is happening triggers our deepest insecurities. We lose our ability to focus on the present moment because we are convinced the sky is falling. We forget to breathe, lose faith, and imagine the worst.

During times of transition we are given the opportunity to learn more about who we are and the world we live in. What simple steps can you take to help ease yourself through change? Pay attention to activities that help ground you, little rituals that fill you with comfort and a sense that you can trust the flow of your life. When you catch yourself going off the deep end, remind yourself to choose curiosity over fear, and give this simple ceremony a try.

Visit a stream or river and sit quietly at its side. Meditate for a moment on how the moving water isn't worried about the constant state of flux that is the life of a stream. It simply drifts by on its journey to the oceans. Ride the current, swim with the possibilities, wash away your worries and ride the waves. If there is a particular situation you are having difficulty with, offer it to the stream. Find a leaf or feather to symbolize your issue. Place it on the surface of the stream, while repeating these words aloud: Let this gift symbolize my desire to flow with the changes in my life. If you don't have access to a real live stream, use your imagination to visualize completing this powerful exercise.

Though it is uncomfortable not having the answers or a sense of what the next step is, it is in the process of exploring new opportunities that we grow. Change. It's a given. Visualize yourself moving gently down the stream of your life.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Imaginary Friends

Did you ever have an imaginary friend, someone you daydreamed about playing with when you were younger? Try this fun exercise to welcome them back.

Close your eyes and imagine you are walking in a place that is filled with enchantment…maybe a woodland, a sandy beach, or along a mountain trail. As you walk, ask for help with something specific, like: "How can I create a retreat that inspires and engages my community?"

As you hold the question, imagine a figure moving towards you. What is the first thing you notice about the guide who has come to your aid? Is this a person you know, someone you have consulted for support or advice, or does your helper take the form of an animal or mystical creature? Be open to receiving guidance from anything that shows up to answer your call.

Take as long as you like to walk, asking any questions, or simply enjoying the company of your wise helper. When you feel ready to part, ask if there is anything they want to share. Thank your visitor and invite them to visit again.

Awaken to the world of inner guidance. The next time you feel alone with a weighty decision, close your eyes and ask for the help of an imaginary friend. See who is waiting to come to your aid. Don't be surprised when they show up on their own in dreams to share important information.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


 

Joy in a Jar

Our most direct link to the mind is through our sense of smell. Use this to your advantage! Create a place to store the smell of bliss.

On strips of paper write down every dream you have, every passionate desire you feel, everything you¹ve done to advance these visions into living reality, and anything wonderful someone else has said or done to help move you in the direction of joyful living. Select a jar that feels good in your hands and catches your eye, flea markets and thrift stores have an abundant selection of old jars brimming with character. Place the strips of paper in your jar and decorate it with things that inspire you. Make a joy collage on your jar! I design with stickers, glass paints, pressed flowers, fortunes from cookies, feathers, wrapping the jar with a favorite necklace or bracelet, tinsel garlands and ribbons, use anything that reinforces your sense of joy. Fill your jar with sweet smelling ingredients like small soaps, rose buds, lavender, orange peels, pine cones, rocks scented with a favorite essential oil, aromatic gifts you discover while walking in the woods. Be creative and let your nose lead the way. When you feel your hope fading, open the jar and take a deep breath. Pull out a few of the inspired strips and read them out loud. Inhale the joy you feel into every inch of your being.



Make a Handcrafted Lunch by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Making a bag lunch to take to work has been one of my favorite daily rituals for over 15 years. Even though we have a plethora of dining options, my husband and I enjoy the simplicity and comfort of knowing that our needs for nourishment are taken care of each and every day. No matter what happens during our often hectic workdays, a delicious lunch is always ready and waiting.

This is a fun way to add little personal touches and gifts that help us smile through any challenge. I may add a small card with a message of encouragement, or a packet of craisins and chocolate chips to spice things up. I peel and chop carrots as opposed to buying the “baby carrots” that just don't taste like carrots to us, and add favorite seasonal fruits for snacks.

Because there are so many circumstances over which we have no control, it is liberating to consciously take control of those we can do something about. When it feels like all hell is breaking loose in the middle of the day, having a handcrafted lunch can help you feel nurtured and nourished. It can take the edge off. It can even create a rare moment of peace.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Soothing the Soul by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

When the same old useful routine just isn't cutting it, we have many options. Pick up a fresh tool, try a new approach, or simply take a break. Sometimes, in the midst of what feels like murky confusion, we find the seeds for a fresh start.

Navigating through a recent bump in the road, I revisit journaling, a practice I have long trusted to carry me through any challenge. Only this time I came to my morning writing sessions resistant and stuck. Why commit to paper the same sticky thoughts and feelings? For weeks I kept at it using the familiar formula I'd used for years. It wasn't going well. My journal was turning into a rant-fest.

One morning I looked up from my sketchbook journal in exasperation and lingered over the silhouette of winter trees outside my window. Without even thinking about it, I began sketching them. For the next hour I focused my attention on capturing the details of the sweeping branches dancing across the frozen landscape. I felt refreshed and relaxed. No words required.

And that's when it dawned on me: I didn't have to journal the same old reliable way. The next morning I followed my intuition again and designed a collage cover that would inspire me to pick up my journal and add something on a regular basis.

In the six months since I returned to this practice that has consistently filled my well, I've created a template for a fresh journaling practice. I only have a handful of entries. Unlike previous journals, this book is not a perfect record of every thought I've had. What I have instead is a collection of moments I want to savor. There is a page with a colored pencil portrait of some lively rocks, a collage made up of elements gathered from an event I coordinated, and snippets of conversations with my niece. This is the material I find nourishing today.

One of the fabulous things about following our intuition is that it knows us better than any expert. It can be tricky navigating fresh territory, but the rewards are clear. Everything we engage from this perspective will be food for our unique and extraordinary soul.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


One-of-a-Kind Resolutions by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

The trick to New Year’s resolutions is to approach them in a way that has real meaning in your one-of-a-kind life. This year try something different. Rather than drafting a wish list of generic changes you know are “good for you” like lose weight, get to bed earlier, cut back on sugar, or exercise more, focus your attention on one specific change that will impact the quality of your daily life.

To get to the heart of your true desires, brainstorm with a creative meditation. Close your eyes and ponder this question: what is one thing I can do to add more joy to my daily life? Imagine you are opening a door to a landscape that will show you some possibilities. When you open the door, step into this magical world with your heart and mind wide open. What is the first thing you notice? Take notes on anything that seems important. Wander around until you feel ready to move on. Repeat the exercise a number of times and see what kinds of options appear on the canvas of your intuitive wisdom.

When you feel you have a list of ideas to base a fresh life change upon, go through the list paying attention to the ideas that make your heart leap with an inner “yes!” These are the changes that have the most juice for you. Pick the one that has the most energy and excitement. Brainstorm about some fun ways to bring this change into your daily life in little steps, planning one do-able step a day. Commit your plan to writing and check in with yourself every day. Enlist the support of a life coach or a good friend to help you keep the spirit of your intention for this life change alive.

Love yourself enough to make improvements in the quality of your daily life that have real meaning. It’s the secret to making resolutions that have a lasting impact.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2006 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Visual Vitamins: What Are You Looking At? by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

We spend countless hours each day looking at things that are the visual equivalent of junk food, things like television programs, billboards, traffic, and e-mail. Over 90% of the information we work with each day comes to us through our eyes. What would happen if you took a little time each day to gaze upon images that offer you some form of nourishment?

Think back to a time when you saw something that made you feel warm and tingly all over. Take some notes on what this was. Brainstorm on a sheet of paper or in a journal about these eye candy moments, sketching in color with pencils or crayons or pastels if you like. Keep these notes and sketches simple; limit each entry to a few descriptive words and a fast sketch. Something like this works great: Grandma's Garden …sketch of her begonias. Lake Superior …sketch of the harbor in Grand Marais. The woods around Interstate Park …sketch of ancient pine trees.

When you have a good idea of where you have found visual joy in the past, take a trip to the library. Intuitively check out books and videos on things you are curious to look at. Maybe the paintings of Claude Monet, or children's picture books, or travel videos to destinations you would like to visit. Wander through the library asking your intuitive monitoring system to let you know when it sees something it likes.

Take some time each day for a week to explore the materials you have selected. Let your eyes linger over images you find soothing, stimulating, or just plain enjoyable. When you surround yourself with images that feed your heart and soul, you are tapping into a source of instant soothing. Treat yourself. Add some of these images to your daily surroundings.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Gifts That Make a Difference by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Wracking your brains to come up holiday gifts that make a lasting difference in the lives of the people you love? Try this: create an internship in an area of interest for someone on your list.

I recently had the opportunity to help my 21-year-old niece secure a three-week work-study program with an art gallery. Nicole is planning a career in art history and was having a tough time finding a museum that would give a student with little experience an opportunity to go behind the scenes and experience hands-on gallery management.

Luckily for my niece, I teach a number of creative expression classes, some of which just happen to be sponsored by a premier art gallery in our area. With a couple of phone calls and introductions Nicole is on her way to seeing her dream come true.

To complete the gift, I offered my niece room and board during her internship. Money is tight for many of us these days, and even this isn't an issue, we are mindful of giving gifts that make an authentic contribution.>

For the past three weeks I have had the delicious opportunity to witness the power of gift giving that is on target. On more than one occasion my precious niece has said: “Suzie, this is the best present I've ever gotten!”

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Reinvent Yourself for Halloween by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Every Halloween I remember dressing up in homemade costumes I created myself. The store bought costumes always seemed so limited. I was a gypsy, a scientist, an alien from another planet, or a rock star, whatever seemed the most exciting and far away from my normal life. I would run around trick-or-treating in character, fully embracing every aspect of my new role. The fun was getting to be someone else for a night. Getting candy was a fringe benefit.

Dressing up as someone else gives us the opportunity to try on a life we can only imagine, a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. It’s fun and enlightening. All kinds of possibilities for who we are live in other people’s clothes!

Try this: this Halloween dress up as someone you want to be when you grow up! Be as wild or out-of-the box as you dare. Did you always want to be a movie star or an astronaut or the president of the United States? How would you dress for this role? As you pick out your ensemble, let your imagination take you to a place where you see yourself living this dream life.

When you go out to enjoy the festivities, take the ritual a step further and embrace the lifestyle of this new you. How would this person act? What would they eat? What kinds of things would they talk about? If you’re up for it, go to a party where you are virtually unknown in your ‘normal’ life. See what happens!

Open your eyes to a whole new you.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


10 Step to Rewriting the Rules by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

1. Write down all of the rules you have for yourself so you can get a good clear look at them.

2. Identify the authors of these rules. Who has said these things to you or about you or about others around you?

3. Break the list of rules down into two categories: the good and the bad. Write or draw or paint or collage how you feel about the rules. A small doodle next to the rule is fine, or a larger work for the ones that speak loudest to you can be helpful. We’re going for a visual cue here: what does this rule look like to you? How does it show up in your work? In your relationships? In the ways you do or don’t go after your dreams?

4. Take responsibility for your rules. Write new ones that serve you. This time, give yourself what you need to reach for your dreams and goals.

5. Make an action plan for yourself based on your new rules. Work five years out and come backwards to the present day. What is five years out? Four years out? Three years out? Two years out? One year out? What is six months out? Get at least one detail for each dream or goal you envision.

6. Make a map for yourself. Tape together two or three sheets of paper and draw out your action plan. Choose a theme that works for you, something like: a yellow brick road leading to Oz, an enchanted forest, a peaceful stream. Draw symbols for specific activities or otherwise capture your steps with color and shape.

7. Create little post it sized encouragements on your road map. Remember that treating yourself like a precious being will make you strong. How can you speak words of kindness to yourself when the going gets tough? Revisit some challenges you have experienced in the past and put your gentle reminders on the map.

8. Give yourself permission to be enough no matter what. Create a permission slip to be exactly who you are in this moment. Make it as colorful as you like. Keep the size to that of a dollar bill and put it in your wallet.

9. When you are attacked by the bad rule gremlins, open your wallet, or look at your road map, or revisit step two and three. If all else fails, invite your gremlins to visit the Mall of America.

10: Throw a party for yourself every time you willingly acknowledge the limiting power of ridiculous rules. Even if the celebration is only giving a little shout of hooray or a nod of acknowledgment, do it. Gremlins get nervous around happy people.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Daily 5 minute Check-In by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Research shows that a new behavior becomes a habit if we practice it for 21 days. For the next three weeks practice this do-able form of creative self-care by scheduling five minutes to go through this powerful exercise. Tune in to your intuitive knowing and write down the first thing that pops into your head. Use this affirmation to open the doors to your intuitive guidance system: I am open to all helpful information.

  • What is one goal you have today?
  • What is working today?
  • What is not working today?
  • What is one thing you can do today to help nudge yourself toward accomplishing your goal?
  • Record one sign or insight you noticed today.

Quickly record anything that feels important. Take more time if you have it and want to elaborate. Don’t edit, simply capture the first thing that comes to mind.

Over the course of 21 days you will have many aha moments. You will be mindful of how you respond to the circumstance of your daily life. You’ll notice what gets in your way. You’ll be aware of what habits you have developed that keep you stuck. You will have a record of what kinds of things are helpful to you.

Then comes the good stuff. After 21 days, devise a plan for living at a kinder pace based on the information you have gathered. Some questions that will help you in shaping this plan to meet your changing needs are:

What needs do you have that are unmet in your present daily life?

Is there some type of daily activity could help you remember to check in with yourself?

What is creative self-care? How would you define this?

How can you imagine including creative self-care into your schedule?

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Color Your World – The Magic of Sidewalk Chalk by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

One of my favorite summer rituals is playing with sidewalk chalk. This chunky art material comes in endless colors, is fun to play with, inexpensive, and it washes off in the rain. Something about drawing with sidewalk chalk brings out the kid in all of us. Try some of these ideas:

Write affirmations or draw designs that inspire you on the sidewalk leading up to your house. Change them every time it rains! Sprinkle inspirational poems or quotes randomly around your neighborhood. Be the mysterious chalk artist in your corner of the world. Create mesmerizing murals, decorate clay pots, design a border for your driveway you may just be inspired to turn into a permanent work of art with paint. Write HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the sidewalk outside a friend's house, or office! Do it the night before their birthday so it is the first thing they see in the morning. Add some fun designs to your birthday greeting, like a cake with lots of candles, stars, squiggly lines, or stacks of presents with colorful wrapping paper.

Think of all the people who walk down your street on an average day. What would lift their spirits? I like to leave surprises for the mail carrier, the meter reader, the person who delivers my packages, even the door-to-door salesmen.

Experience the Zen art form of coloring your world with sidewalk chalk. Leave temporary works of art everywhere you go.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Baggage Return by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Gather up all of those urgent requests, outrageous demands, and toxic messages you've been storing in your beautiful mind and deliver them back to their rightful owners. Ready? Imagine you have the perfect suitcase to hold a particular piece of mind-numbing garbage you've been carrying. You know exactly what it is. Squeeze it into the suitcase along with some sizable weights, (bricks and rocks work great) and close it, firmly securing the latches. Pick up the suitcase. Notice how it feels. Move around in your home with the heavy baggage, paying attention to how it hinders your body movement, how your posture and alignment are compromised. When you have had enough, put the suitcase down and close your eyes. Imagine walking up to the person who handed you this unwanted gift. Find the perfect words to express what you are returning and why. As you walk away, focus your attention on how you feel without this burden. Jump up and down, do a little dance, turn a cartwheel! Celebrate this fresh moment. When you're tempted to pick up another suitcase, check the luggage tag.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Handle With Care by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Be especially kind to yourself when you feel fragile. Despite what you may have been lead to believe, treating yourself like a precious being will make you stronger, not spoiled. How often have you been reluctant to have compassion for yourself because you felt you didn't ‘deserve' it? Examine where this message came from. Take a moment now to close your eyes and listen. When you have made a solid connection with this old message, hold out your hand to the child who is standing there. Find the right words to assure them they deserve to be loved no matter what. Even if you feel you have really messed up, especially if you feel you have really messed up, try being a supportive companion for yourself. Try this: on a sticky note write an affirmation which helps you remember you are a precious being who deserves to be cherished. Stick your note where you will see it often. This one works wonders: treating myself like a precious being will make me stronger.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Go with the Flow by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

How do you handle change? In transition we are given the opportunity to learn that we are never truly safe if safe means sheltered from the impact of change. It is difficult to leap into the unknown each day. It is challenging to find fresh ways to define ourselves. And it is the most fundamentally human process we will ever engage in. Change. It's a given. What simple steps can you take to help ease yourself through times of transition? Design mindful rituals that fill you with comfort and a sense that you can trust the flow of change through your life.

Here's one of my favorites: Visit a stream or river and meditate for a moment on how the moving water isn't worried about the constant state of flux that is the life of a stream. It simply drifts by on its journey to the oceans and back again. Ride the current, swim with the possibilities, feel the powerful pull of the undertow, wash away your worries and ride the waves. Visualize yourself moving gently down the stream of your life.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Enchanted Jewelry by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

What do you want more of in your life? Create a piece of jewelry to symbolize your desire and focus your intention. As you think about this, let your intuition guide you to the perfect elements to include in your touchstone. It can be anything that appeals to you. Hold the items you have selected in your hands and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths and visualize what it is you are hoping to accomplish. Take your time and really experience this possibility in vivid detail. When you feel ready, imagine you are channeling this powerful energy into the beads you are holding. Open your eyes and assemble your amulet, asking for intuition to guide your hands as you work to create a piece of personal magic. If making jewelry is new to you, look for The Best Little Beading Book or visit www.beadstylemag.com. Try some of these ideas: make a crystal dream catcher, a necklace or bracelet with specific gemstones, or a key chain composed of shells and wooden beads. Let your creation remind you of what you intend to attract whenever you see it.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Baptize Your Spirit by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Feng shui masters recognize the power of moving water to stimulate chi, the unique life force that flows through everything. Try this simple ceremony to open up new channels of energy and renewal. Take a few moments to sit quietly beside a fountain or natural stream. Listen to the gentle sounds of moving water. Imagine this dynamic source of Nature’s finest cleansing energy washing through you, dissolving any blocks and releasing all stagnant patterns. When you feel ready, dip your fingers in the water and touch anything you want revitalized. Some ideas: dip your fingers in the water and touch the top of your head, asking for the blessing of an open mind. Dip your fingers in the water and touch your eyes, asking for guidance with clear visions. Dip your fingers in the water and touch your lips, asking for assistance in speaking the truth. Dip your fingers in the water and touch your heart, asking for guidance to live with an open heart. Dip your fingers in the water and touch your feet, asking for courage to walk your true path. Experiment. See what fresh starts you are inspired to create.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Nurture Yourself by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Start your day with something nourishing. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, the idea is to spend a moment involved in something that feeds you and starts you off with a clear sense of who you are and what matters most to you. It is easy to lose sight of this as we commute to jobs, care for loved ones, answer telephones, meet deadlines and scurry around trying to get everything done. Take fifteen minutes to prepare for your day with a little breakfast for your soul. Some suggestions: write in a journal, light a candle and meditate, make a cup of tea and read a page out of an inspirational book, listen to soothing music and stretch, select jewelry and clothing that help you feel your most empowered, write a daily inspiration in one word on a small stone and carry it in your pocket, slip outside and greet the day with a brisk walk, smell an essential oil that offers an aromatherapy you are craving. Create a practice you can begin your day with that will leave you feeling pampered and energized.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Field of Dreams by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

When I’m feeling lost, one of my favorite rituals is watching the movie, Field of Dreams. This powerful piece of movie magic reminds me that truly living my best life is all about listening to The Voice and finding the courage to act on what it tells me. What is The Voice? In the movie, it’s God. It is something out in the cornfield guiding Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to dig deep, take risks, go the distance. In life, as in the movie, we are challenged every step of the way. We think we’re ready. We’ve put our ducks in a row, padded our bank accounts, and prepared our families for our intuitive adventures. Inevitably life happens and messes up our neat plans. It is in these moments that we find out who we really are. Do we go the distance or do we make it personal? The choice is always ours. Watching the movie always helps me remember this. I laugh. I cry. I walk into the corn with Terence Mann (James Earl Jones). Watch this movie when you need an inspired reminder.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2005 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Take Adventure Walks by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

Begin by asking for intuition to guide you to a perfect walking path. Start moving the instant you get an image of where you should go. When you feel drawn in a direction, turn that way. Notice what catches your eye and move toward it. Investigate what appears. Look for openings. When you think you see the hint of something intriguing, follow your instincts. Feel the solid connection of your feet on the earth. Listen to your heart beating, to your deep breathing, to the questions and curiosities that fill your mind. Take any concerns you have along with you and shake them out as you walk. Listen to the birds. Notice any smells that you encounter. Take some deep breaths when you find a scent you enjoy. Try anything that occurs to you when you are adventure walking, it is an opportunity to step outside of your normal routine for a few moments. Walk until you are ready to return home.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2004 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Cook Up a Soul-full Meal by Suzanne Vadnais Monson

This is a delicious way to invite the practice of mindful eating into your daily life.
It is about bringing full consciousness to the process of selecting the meal, gathering ingredients, preparing and eating. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. What we want is focused time. If your thoughts wander off to work or worry, shepherd them back to your preparations. This is a scared ceremony. Your presence is required. When you finish your preparations, bless your meal. “You are invited to enter my body and fill me with the precious energy I need to do my best work.” This is one of my favorite blessings.

As you enjoy the food you have gathered for this simple ceremony, envision the energy of what your eating filling your body, mind and soul with dancing light. Feel it sprinkle over your shoulders, sparkle across your eyes, tingle down your spine. Know that paying attention to what you eat has the power to change your perspective. When you most need to be revitalized, put this inspired practice into play. This is one simple, soul-full way to fill your well.

Sparkers - Filling The Well © 2004 Suzanne Vadnais Monson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/Fillingthewell.html Suzanne is the creator of an inspirational deck of cards called Enrichuals


Check out the Coaching Toys blog where a new Sparkers is posted every week. Your chance to share your experience with others. Or email your comments to marcy@coachingtoys.com

 

 

 

 

Suzanne
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Disclaimer

Sparkers Creative exercises, while mostly fun and enriching may occasionally tap into unresolved issues or discomfort. This may signal some healing to attend to. If this should happen for you and you feel you need help contact a professional counselor. Coaching, while powerful it is not a substitute for therapeutic intervention.

 

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