Today is a New Beginning

Are you feeling tired? I am.

Some days it is difficult to get up and face the reality that is now.

So what do you do?

You get up.

You smile.

You put one foot in front of the other.

You do whatever good you can do.

You speak a kind word.

You reach out to those in need.

You treat yourself with kindness.

You do whatever good you can do.

That is all that is required.

For. this. day.

Love you, mean it,
Steph

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Season for Non-Violence Day 6: Simplicity

It seems our lives have become more and more complicated. We have a modern convenience for almost everything, but we’re busier than ever. Sometimes more important things get lost in the shuffle.

I am slowly but surely coming to the realization that less truly is more. In my life, less stuff brings fewer distractions. I am paring down, releasing what I no longer need whether physical, mental, or emotional.

It isn’t always an easy process and yet I find it necessary.

Have you looked at your life in search of ways to simplify? It’s something to consider.

Love you, mean it!
Steph
human, being

 

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Season for Non-Violence Day 5: Believing

Listen to yourself. Listen to the words you say.

Do you believe them? Do you practice them?

I love this Gandhi quote, and it is so true.

“To believe in something and not to live it is a lie.”

It’s worth taking time to take a look (or a listen) to your words compared to your actions.

And while we’re on the subject of belief, let’s talk about non-violence. If you believe in it, do you practice it? In action? In speech? In self-care? In all you do? It really is a way of life — not just something to put on a bumper sticker.

Weigh your words and go in the direction they indicate.

Believing the best in you.

Love you, mean it.
Steph
human, being

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Season for Non-Violence Day 4: Caring

I don’t care. Have you ever uttered those words?

Often the words “I don’t care” are spoken in anger or frustration and may not be true at all.

Sometimes “I don’t care” is more of an attitude than a statement. It is an underlying thought that colors action. Perhaps nowhere is it more prevalent than in how we care for ourselves.

We hear a lot these days about self-care, in fact, last February I did a series on the subject. (See below for links).

Why?

Because people, women in particular, seem to readily neglect caring for themselves while they care greatly for others.

Is this true for you? Guys, you don’t get a pass here. Men need self-care also.

Think about how you treat yourself. Do you eat healthy food? Do you get some exercise? Do you take time to do the things you enjoy? Do you talk kindly to yourself?

Self-care because you're worth it | steph marks

Simple matters these but oh, so very important.

Be kind to one another. Be kind to yourself.

Care.

I care about you.

Love you, mean it.
Steph
human, being

Here are the articles I wrote on self-care:

The 3 R’s of Self-Care: Relax, Rethink, Renew
An Expert Talks About the Art of Saying “No”
7 Shades of Self-Care
5 Simple Self-Care Tips to Add This Weekend

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Season for Non-Violence Day 3: Appreciation

2-4-6-8, who or what do you appreciate?

No, really. Think about it.

We’re all so crazy busy these days, and it’s easy to forget what we have. Family and friends who love us. A home to go to at night. Perhaps beloved pets. Our health. A hobby or talent you enjoy.

No big deal, right?

But do you really appreciate the people and things in your life? Maybe things aren’t perfect. Do what you can to fix that. But in the meantime, learn to feel and show appreciation.

Appreciation defined | steph marks

Every. Single. Day.

And what does this have to do with non-violence? If you learn to appreciate all things, you may be more likely to consider your actions and behavior toward other people and things.

Think about it.

I appreciate you!

Love you, mean it!
Steph
human, being

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Season for Non-Violence Day 2: Smiling

Smiling? Non-violence? Really?

Yes.

Have you taken a look around? There are a LOT of frowny faces looking back at you or more likely, not looking at you at all!

Are people really that unhappy? Angry? Deep in thought?

Smile at them.

Um, why? They might punch me.

Unlikely, but they just might smile back at a friendly face.

You rarely know what’s going on with someone else when they’ve got that frown going on. Do we assume they are a grouch and steer clear? Or do we freely offer a kind gesture of a smile?

Let’s give it a try. Let’s smile … and mean it. Smiles have energy. They can touch a soul.

Here’s a quote from Miss Dolly to remember:

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. -- Dolly Parton / stephmarks.com

Yeah, I know it’s kind of cheesy, but it gets the point across.

Share some smileage today. It will make you feel good.

Love you, mean it!
Steph
human, being

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Season for Non-Violence Day 1: Courage

Courage defined. steph marksYour life.

Is it bold? Is it daring? Is it brave?

Courage. Its root word is cor which means ‘heart’ as in from the heart. That takes the edge off the bold and daring part but brave, maybe we can keep.

Ah, but courage. BWA-HA-HA I am a scaredy cat. And that has taken a toll on me. As I grow older and see missed opportunities, I am saddened.

That scared business has kept me from speaking out, from standing up, from doing work I believe I am here to do, because well, what if someone doesn’t like it or doesn’t like me? But wait …

… if you’re not pissing anybody off,
you’re probably holding back.

Is this true for you? Yep, it’s time to start meddling. Are you brave? Courageous? Do you do your thing without fear of pissing anybody off? I sincerely hope so.

But if not, why not?

Inside each of us is an ember, a spark, just waiting to ignite our passion, our purpose to a blazing brilliance. Will we let the fear of others’ opinions hold us back? Will we withhold our light from the world because ‘they‘ might not like it?

Here’s what I know for sure: there will ALWAYS be detractors, naysayers, doubters, and downright haters when we stretch beyond the limits of business as usual.

So what? Think of how much has been achieved in this world. Think of Gandhi, Dr. King. The list is long and varied but one thing they hold in common is this:

Anyone who has achieved any measure of greatness in this world felt the fear and did it anyway because they could not NOT do it. steph marks

What is most important? Your work? Your commitment? Or your fear?

Give that some thought, and then consider joining me as we strengthen our courage muscle and learn to live non-violently.

Love you, mean it!
Steph
Human, being

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Here Now or There Then

Here Now or There Then. Steph MarksWhere are you? 
I am not talking about physical location.
Check in.
Where is your head? Your mind? Your thoughts? Your heart?

I love my morning meditation practice. Today was no exception. I love the richness of the silence, the depth of the stillness that surrounds me as I sit, breathing in and out.
Intentional. On purpose.

I would love to tell you that in meditation my mind is laser focused on that breath — in and out — and my mind remains unengaged with thoughts that wander in.

Alas! I cannot tell you that, because, well, it would not be true.

Eek! Steph MarksIt’s a madhouse up there in my head sometimes. To do’s and to don’ts. Worrisome thoughts. Did I remember to …? What should I make for dinner? Did I take care of that thing?

You get the picture.

Where are you? Steph MarksBut here’s my question for you today:

… whether in your meditation or in your daily life.

My theme .. my word(s) — for the year 2106 was originally mindfulness. But I went to something more specific, something that spoke more clearly to me:

Here Now. Steph Marks.

I have spent so very much of my life being There, Then. How about you?

Now let’s be clear. There is NOTHING wrong with remembering things that happened in the past or dreaming and planning and looking to the future in terms of what you want your life to look like,  BUT

spending all of your time THERE, THEN is not productive. Worrying about what was or wishing for what could be depletes your energy for creating a life you love.

You cannot change your past. It is a done deal. No exceptions.
The future has not happened yet. It does not exist.

How much time have you lost being chronically elsewhere in your mind?

The point of power is in the PRESENT. Right here, right now is
where we do our work,
where we implement change,
where we make a difference in the world.

So again I ask: Where are you? Steph Marks

Take a look. An intentional look. An inquiring look.
This is not an exercise in which you beat yourself up for being elsewhere.
NO!
This is a time to assess, to determine
WHERE. YOU. ARE. right now
and decide if that’s where you want to stay.

Right here, right now. Steph Marks.I highly recommend Here and Now.

An old friend used to say, “Life is a gift; that’s why they call it the present!” That always made me smile.

When you think about it, that’s exactly what it is.

Open your gift of the present, and be here now.
Share your gifts with us.
Make your presence known.

We can change the world from exactly. where. we. are. Right here, right now.

Let’s do it!

Love you, mean it!
Steph

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Don’t Do It!

2015->2016.Steph MarksThe end of the year is a great time to to take a look at where you are in life — to pay attention to what asks to stay and what begs to go.

The beginning of the year is also a great time to do this.

And so is today.

We don’t need a special occasion or holiday to look at where we are in life and decide if it’s where we want to be.

Today is as good a time as any to take a look — maybe the very best time — since it means we are paying attention to our life and listening to what it has to say to us.

My life is speaking LOUDLY to me right now. It is not using its inside voice.

On Monday morning, I found this image, from Patti Digh, waiting on my Facebook page:

Stop Doing Things You Don't Want to Do. Patti Digh

 

 

 

 

 

STOP DOING THINGS? WHAT????????

And I stopped to breathe that in for a moment, to just be with it.

Something inside me lit up. Like fireworks. Like spotlights on a stage. Like fierce lightning that rips open the night sky as a storm approaches.

So difficult it seems but  is really so. damn. simple.

STOP.

Whose life is this anyway?

STOP.

There are no shoulda-woulda-coulda’s.

STOP.

There is no cosmic measuring stick.

STOP.

There is no switch to swat my bare legs all the way home.

There is only my heart. and my soul. and my deep inner sense of being that is tired, oh SO tired, of dancing to drums and dreams and rhythms that are not my own, that are not of my own choosing (and yet, who chooses them but me?)

Stop Sign. Steph MarksEight words to FREEDOM.
STOP DOING THINGS
you don’t want to do.

Honor my Self.
Honor my desires.
Honor my life.

And so I have begun to STOP DOING THINGS I don’t want to do.

It feels wonderful. delightful. delicious. and kind. So very kind.

Thank you, Patti Digh, for your ever-illuminating insights and your willingness to open our eyes as you keep yours open.

Love you, mean it!
Steph

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Want Change? Do Sh*t Differently

Shriek! Steph Marks.I don’t like living this way!

OMG, how many times did I say that to myself the last couple of months of 2015? Hell, I even wrote it on my whiteboard. Must have been some serious sh*t happening there.

And what was it all about?

Things that the year before I said I was going to do differently.
And here I was doing the same damn thing … again.
I made a Facebook video recently in which I ventured,

“if you want your life, when you come to the end of 2016, to look different than it looks here at the end of 2015 — guess what! gonna take a little work on your part, gonna take a little thought to decide what (if anything, of course) you want to change, and then how do you do it? what’s it gonna take? and then put a plan together and be willing to work your plan.”

Here’s the Cliff Notes version:
Want change? Do. Sh*t. Differently. Steph MarksI got a little bit of response on that. It’s so freaking obvious, and yet it was like an A-HA moment of epic proportions!

And of course we’ve all heard that famous quote attributed to Einstein or Carl Jung or somebody smart that goes something like this,

“Doing the same things over and over expecting a different result is
the definition of insanity.”

I’m freakin’ nuts then, because alas and alack, I do this. Maybe if I try it one more time, just like I’ve always done it, things will turn out differently.

NO. THEY. WON’T.

Check the history. Check the lineage of the activity.

How did it turn out last time you did it that way? And the time before that? And the time before …

<heavy sigh>

Well, huh, it always seems to turn out the same. Imagine that!

Rote defined. Steph Marks.We glide through life on autopilot  living our one precious life by rote (and my pun-laced brain, at hearing this, cannot help but shout, That’s all she rote! That’s all she rote!<another sigh> It’s true).

Do you realize how incredibly sad this is?

Do you realize how very much we miss of this incredibly beautiful world, this unbelievably beautiful life when we live this way? Distracted and caught up letting who-knows-who do who-knows-what to run the show.

One of my favorite writers and people on the entire planet is the adorable, hilarious, and occasionally cranky Anne Lamott. For the last several weeks, one of her quotes keeps shoving itself in my face on — you guessed it — FACEbook. Here it is:

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.

almost! Steph MarksOh.My.God. This.is.SO.me.

Almost.

Wait! I’m not 65 yet. I have a few more years (3) till then.

It’s not too late! It’s not too late!

I can still make changes. I CAN mix it up. do differently all those things I hated repeating ad nauseum.

And yes indeed, sisters and brothers, if you — if I — want things to be different at the end of 2016, at the end of the month, at the end of the week, at the end of THIS VERY DAY, I need only look to myself — to that wise and creative soul inside me — to make that change.

Know this: No one can do it for you. No one else.

So … are you seeing yourself in what I’m saying here? I truly hope you are not — I’m pretty sure I am the only one on the planet with this maddening affliction.

BUT if you are, I urge you … I beg of you … don’t wait too long.

Today is the very best day I can think of to do things differently. Steph MarksI’m starting TODAY. Won’t you join me?

Love you, mean it!
Steph Marks

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