1. 5 Positive Fallouts of Falling Well

    “Oh, no! Someone’s terribly hurt!” are the words that went through my mind last summer. My husband, Richard, and I had just returned to our campsite after fly fishing on the beautiful Taylor River near Crested Butte, CO and were happily ensconced in our chairs with mugs of strong tea and juicy camp novels. Above an enormous boulder flanking the backside of our site was what is considered to be one of the most challenging bike trails in the Rockies. To get to the top, bikers take car rides up, and then hold on for dear life as they plummet at lightning speed down the steep trail to the bottom, landing right near us.

    It was fun to get wind of the biker chitchat now and then, but our attention was really snagged when a LOUD crash permeated the still air. In a split second, I thought, “Oh no, someone’s terribly hurt!” but before I could barely register that thought, I heard a 20-something female voice belt out, “WOW!!! You really know how to fall well!” Admiration was clear but, frankly, it was not what I expected to hear. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the young woman who had fallen said to her riding buddy “Thanks. I’ve trained myself to jump off of the bike in the opposite direction of the fall at just the right moment, so the fall’s not so bad.”

    I have to say, being a basically Sunday-afternoon neighborhood biker, it had not occurred to me to put any forethought into how to “fall well.” But it struck me as a smart tactic, not only for this young woman, but also for all of us, especially if we want to push the limits and improve on what we’re already doing in our lives and work.

    After “Ring Around the Rosy” giggling when we fell to the ground at the end, to, in just a few years, stark terror at the fear of falling while trying to master our first two-wheelers. I remember telling my father (picture a tearful pout), (Read more…)


  2. Wandering Mind Syndrome: Good or Bad for Creativity & Success?

    Have you ever noticed that when you need to write an article, a report or a presentation, or even come up with a new and original idea or a better way of doing something, your brain often wants to play hooky? It will take you on many different desultory paths, revisiting where you went on your last vacation, thinking about Aunt Lulu’s upcoming birthday party that you’re hosting or even recalling that golf game where you almost got your best score ever. It will go anywhere but where you need it to go. When this happens, do what you would do with a child who wanders away from the homework table: gently and repeatedly take her by the hand, bring her back to her chair and help her refocus.

    The truth is, however, that this wandering mind syndrome is part and parcel to the creative process. As all artists know, some of it is a good thing, as it can take us to places and ideas we might not have directed it to go. But too much of it can just keep us away from our objective, i.e., to get that article written, the painting finished or that new method figured out. Know the difference.

    As you create, keep your end goal in mind and persistently maintain your focus while also paying attention to the quality of your mind’s wanderings. All the while remember: one wandering ain’t the same as the next.


  3. See You at the Finish Line: The USA Pro Challenge and YOU!

    The USA Pro (Cycling) Challenge was held in our beautiful state of Colorado last week. Racers from all over the world competed and Colorado was mighty proud when the winner, Tejay VanGarderen, was one of our own, hailing from Boulder. This was no small feat, as the seven-consecutive-days route, starting in Aspen and ending in Denver, was lauded as “American Cycling’s Most Difficult Professional Race Featuring Lung-Searing Altitudes (higher than they ever had to reach) and the First-Ever Mountaintop Finish Route.”

    Needless to say, the competitors did not jump into this race on a lark. On the contrary, thousands of hours of grueling training precede the race itself, from Interval to Circuit Training. In addition to building up physical stamina, a certain amount of finesse is also required.

    Here are 3 tips from the USA Pro Challenge that could be helpful to all of us, whether we’re a biker or not:

    1. CROUCH DOWN: When riders surge past both sides of you, crouch down a bit to stay upright and balanced.

    In Life: Even if you’re a confident person, usually striding tall through life, sometimes it could be of benefit to pull it in a bit so you can be in better alignment with others around you.

    2. LOOK FOR THE DIAGONALS: Riding right up, straight between two riders can be an instant invitation to (Read more…)


  4. Going in Circles: Success Strategy for Life and Work

    This 4th of July weekend, my husband and I were on a glorious 6-day tent-camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. The peace and quiet and sheer beauty of the surroundings calmed our minds and opened our souls in the way that nature can do.

    As a bonus, about two minutes from our campsite, we discovered the gorgeous alpine Lake Monarch. Around the lake was one of the most splendid hiking trails, winding us under the shading trees and through exquisite columbines and wild roses. As much as we enjoyed hiking around the lake, we also enjoyed being on the lake in our IK (inflatable kayak).

    Monarch Lake Colorado

    Being fairly new to kayaking, we’re still flexing our beginners’ muscles and so, amidst hearty paddling (synchronized as well as we neophytes could), we often found ourselves going into a spin out of which we could not come, no matter what. Although we tried our darndest, we realized that at a certain point, we just had to relax and surrender to the circular spin, smile and enjoy the stunning views and refreshing water––Nature’s Masterpieces.

    We all live in such a linear society where we’re so often rushing to get to some straight end point that it’s nice sometimes to just step off the grid and happily go in circles . . . to realize that “going in circles” does not have to have the rather negative connotation we usually give it, but that it can be a positive endeavor.

    There’s a freedom and a relaxation in the circular pattern. In art that’s often what brings about unity in a painting or sculpture’s composition: everything coming together as one. I think that’s exactly what we were feeling: being one with nature and the world. And if that’s what “going in circles” once in a while brings about, a betterment for both our lives and our work, sign us up again!


  5. Harrumph! What Are Your Intentions?

    Harrumph! WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?

    Every time my aunt’s zany brother-in-law saw any of my boyfriends at a family event, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Harrumph! SO, WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?” Naturally, the first time he said this I was mortified, but since my boyfriends thought it was a hoot, I learned to laugh it off, too. The query, however, became a family joke, emerging here and there.

    Emerge, recently, it did. I was having a lovely summertime garden lunch outside one of my best friend’s art studio. This friend is a highly decorated artist. No, not with a lampshade on her head, but with top prizes from just about every juried art show she enters. Before lunch we had looked at the painting she is currently working on.

    IT’S AN UPFRONT THING

    As we talked about life and our work during lunch, I told her how beautiful I thought this new painting was. She said, “You know, I think I have finally learned something about painting: if I decide what my intention is at the beginning of a work, I end up with a much more successful result.” I couldn’t resist and asked her, “For this new painting . . . what is your intention?” She said, “My intention was to capture the fresh smells and sensations and dewiness of a field of newly mown grass and hay in the early summer—when it’s so strong and liquid you can almost bottle it. . . . I didn’t want to just ‘paint a pretty picture’ that showed how it looked (which was more what my early paintings were about). I want it to have a richer feeling and deeper connection to my intention . . . and I won’t sign off on a painting now unless it does that.”

    This got me to thinking about intention and how we can apply this to our work and lives to end up with a “much more successful” result, too. (Read more…)


  6. BEWARE THE I’Ds of MARCH

    BEWARE THE I’Ds OF MARCH

    Turning the calendar page to March, I was reminded that one of the most acknowledged days in the month is March 15, also known as the Ides of March. The history books (okay, also the history online research sites) tell us that the “Ides” indicates the day that is the middle of a month. In March, that falls on March 15th. In more modern knowledge, this is also the day on which Julius Caesar was

    Julius Caesar

    assassinated in 44 B.C.E., having been forewarned of this by a seer. Thus, “Beware the Ides of March.” (Technically, this exact verbiage was penned by William Shakespeare, based on the original story by ancient Greek writer, Plutarch.)

    But when I flipped that calendar, what first popped into my wandering mind this year was (Read more…)


  7. JOIN DIANE SIEG FOR A LIFE-CHANGING COSTA RICA RETREAT & GET THE EARLY BIRD RATE

    Five Lessons from a Costa Rica Yoga Retreat . . . from Diane Sieg

    For the last two years, I have facilitated a yoga retreat on the Osa Peninsula at Boca Sombrero Resort. The unspoiled Osa is a remote area on the south Pacific side of Costa Rica where the rainforest meets the sea. On my first trip to Costa Rica, I was so impressed with the beauty of the jungle and ocean, the wildlife, and the people, I am returning for a third time in 2013! It is difficult to capture the full impact of our rich and colorful experience, but I wanted to share a few of the lessons learned.

    1. Practice Pura Vida

    Pura Vida literally translated means “Pure Life.” Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune, whether small or large. One of our retreaters had the chance to put the concept into practice immediately when she got to the airport and realized she’d somehow failed to book her flight! All the details of arranging child care, organizing work responsibilities and carefully packing for a week in the jungle had taken precedence over actually buying her ticket. Fortunately, she was able to get on a flight that same night and arrive only a few hours later than the rest of us. And more importantly, she was able to practice pura vida and recognize the whole incident just validated how much she really needed a vacation!
    The next time you make an honest mistake that proves your humanness, can you practice pura vida?

    2. Open to Grace

    With the overall theme of the retreat being Discover Your Inner Grace, we had ample opportunity to practice it all week. Opening to grace is a softening, allowing, and opening to the possibilities of what is, versus what you want something to be. Living in yurt huts for a week with outdoor showers, bathrooms, and the call of the wild reminding you where you are requires a softening to what is. Probably the biggest opening we had to make was getting up in the middle of the pitch dark night to go to the bathroom. With all the animal noises and (falsely) perceived threats from the jungle habitat, it was even more scary after one of our retreaters found a scorpion waiting for her in the bathroom!
    Where in your life could you open to grace, to soften, allow, and open to the possibilities instead of struggling and fighting?

    3. Have a Beginner’s Mind

    Beginner’s mind is about approaching things with the gentle curiosity of a child instead of the harsh judgment of an adult. We all had new experiences on the Osa, whether is was surfing, river trekking, or performing handstands. With a beginner’s mind, we open up and expand our horizons without getting so frustrated about doing something we might not be very good at initially. I definitely had to use my beginner’s mind with my surfing lesson. Paddling out to beyond where the waves were breaking was exhausting, but getting up–even for a nano-second was well worth it!
    Is there an activity you have been wanting to try that you could practice beginner’s mind with, even if you aren’t very good at it?

    4. Flow with Nature

    Whether we were planning our surfing and beach walks around the high tides, sunscreen according to the day’s rain or shine, or using headlamps when the sun went down, we flowed with nature on the Osa. We were in the rainforest, so of course it was going to rain everyday (usually less than an hour), the ocean ebbs and flows with high tide and low tide every day, and when it got dark, we went to bed after enjoying a fabulous gourmet meal. Even the howler monkeys who woke us up with their loud roars every 5 a.m. became part of that natural flow. (Well, at least once I was convinced that one hadn’t made it’s way into our tent, which I thought initially). Howler monkeys are the LOUDEST mammals on the planet and to give you an idea, they used them for the sound effects in the movie, Jurassic Park.
    How different would your life be if instead of fighting and complaining about the weather or the lack of sunlight in winter, you just flowed with it?

    5. Embrace your Kula

    The meaning of kula is “family”, “group” or “self-contained unit”. While on the Osa, we had opportunities for endless activities from surfing to river trekking, massages, spa treatments and day trips–plus plenty of pool chairs and beach vistas to enjoy doing nothing at all. We all chose various levels of involvement from socializing to solitude, but came together for our twice daily yoga classes and four meals a day. We celebrated (3 birthdays) and we consoled (a misplaced passport, luckily found in a couple of hours). The kula held such a strong connection for us, providing a sense of support, commitment, and safety—reminding me how important it is for us all to feel like we are part of something bigger, no matter where we are.
    Do you have a kula in your life you are currently embracing?
    I know the 18 of us are all different people leaving the Osa than when we came. We grew, expanded, and strengthened not only in our bodies from our yoga practice but also in our minds and hearts from this rich experience. We leave with lessons from the Osa, where the rainforest meets the sea.
    For more pictures, please click here to go to my Facebook album of Costa Rica.

    Same time, next year? You bet! We are going back January 26-February 2, 2013. Register by August 31st and you can save $100!


  8. The Power of Habit

    HOW’S YOUR BASAL GANGLIA THESE DAYS?

    No, I’m not referring to a new spicy Middle Eastern recipe or the latest group dance done at summer weddings. What I AM referring to, however, has to do with your habits. Yes, your habits. And my habits. And everyone else’s.

    “Basal ganglia” is rolling around in my head right now because it is discussed in a new book I’m reading that has kicked up a lot of buzz as of late: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. This focus on habit is in perfect alignment with my lifelong study of Mastery: in order to do our very best both personally and professionally, it’s necessary to continually examine our habits and understand what prompts and perpetuates them. That allows us to see which habits are serving us well (e.g., reading recreationally on a regular basis) and which habits we’d be better off without (e.g., armed with a giant-sized spoon, digging straight into the ice cream carton whenever nobody’s looking [not that I’ve ever done that!]).

    . . . Now back to your “basal ganglia.” The B.G. is actually (Read more…)


  9. PEYTON MANNING: A TRUE MASTER

    Peyton Manning: A Bronco


    The Denver area where I live is all agog over the very recent signing of Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos. I am not a huge football fan (much to the chagrin of my football-phile family), but even I have been caught up in all of the excitement and hoopla around Peyton’s coming to Denver. I still can’t quite reconcile what professional athletes make compared to teachers or social workers, but that’s another issue. However, setting that aside for a moment, I have to say I was quite impressed with Manning’s approach when he flew to Denver to cement his contract. After the press conference and the answering of numerous questions, it was clear that our new quarterback was eager to do one thing: (Read more…)


  10. 4 Tips To Keep Your Passion Alive in Work & Life!

    4 Tips To Keep Your Passion Alive in Work & Life!

    Periodically Ask Yourself:

    1. What made me fall in love with ___________ in the first place?
    Make a list and actively appreciate those things.

    2. What is something new I can fall in love with now?
    A new hobby or skill set, a friendship, an organization, an interest?

    3. What can I eliminate that might be blocking my passion?
    Unresolved problems, negative people or forces, long-term upsets, low-value time-suckers, lack of organizational or leadership skills?

    4. What most excites me in life?
    Oprah Winfrey said “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

    Give yourself permission to explore your passions; the more alive you allow your passions to be in your life and your work, the more rewarding your experience will be!


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