Complete the Year with Joy and Courage

Winter Joy Retreat:  Courage

I’ve never thought of myself as a courageous person.  Trauma – in multiple forms – distorted my life.  My muscles, my breath, and my soul constricted -permanently, it seemed. That’s how I journeyed through all my days for many, many years.

But I survived and persevered, which I now know requires an incredibly brave heart.

Often, I think we mistake courage as bold, brash, and big.  Yet it can be the tiniest steps that unleash momentous change or a quiet determination that inspires right action.

So let’s push away the conventional descriptions and look inside to discover the true meaning of courage for ourselves.

Complete Your Year with Joy and Courage

I’m so delighted the Winter Joy Retreat with Cigdem Kobu will focus on courage this year!

I’ve been feeling clutched by conflict, pulled in two directions yet paralyzed.  My intuition says it may be a minuscule shift in perspective that will liberate me. I suspect this year’s exploration of courage will bring the clarity I seek because last year’s online retreat was so powerful.

This special online event is only for women and takes place only once a year. These are a few of the words I would use to describe the sweet experience:

  • Nourishing
  • Deep
  • Illuminating

During the retreat, you receive a heart-felt letter each day that encourages you, makes you think, and invites you to explore all the nooks and crannies of the year’s theme.  There’s also a sincere group of intrepid women – 150 last year – following along and sharing their insights too.

Did I say it’s online?  You don’t have to travel through rain, snow, or sleet.  Just get cozy in your own room.  You can participate as much or as little as you wish in the discussions.

I’m very careful about what I suggest to you.  With that in mind, it’s easy to say I wholeheartedly recommend the Winter Joy Retreat, click here to learn more.   It runs from December 1 to December 22.  This is a partner link, which means – if you click and join – it’s a win for all!

Think about completing the year with joy and courage!  If you choose to join the retreat,  I’ll be there in cyberspace with you.  I can hardly wait!

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email.  If you can take a moment to share this post on social media, I would be very grateful.  With love, Sandra

The Secret to Equanimity: Everyone Is Another You

People in Hot Springs

“After all, all human beings are the same – made of human flesh, bones and blood.  We all want happiness and want to avoid suffering. Further, we have an equal right to be happy.  In other words, it is important to realize our sameness as human beings.” – The Dalai Lama

What would happen if you started to see people as another “you?”

  • Like you, they just want to be happy and they don’t want to suffer.  But they don’t necessarily know how to be happy so they engage in behaviors that bring the opposite of what they desire for themselves and others. Addiction, overeating, obsessive ambition, perfectionism – the list of confused behaviors is endless and they all stem from wanting happiness, but going about it the wrong way.
  • Like you, they have unconscious, deeply rooted patterns that govern much of their behavior.  Half the time, they don’t know why they do what they do or can’t control the storm of emotions that dominates their life.
  • Like you, their true nature is divine.  But they don’t realize it.  So they take their thoughts and emotions to be  real and as their entire identity.  Instead they could find spaciousness and ease by recognizing thoughts as ever-changing, refusing to hold onto them, and aligning with their true essence.

Deep down, everyone is really just like you with the similar confusions and the same incredible potential for good.

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A Holiday Joy Challenge

Holiday Joy Challenge


That’s the word one of my relatives uses to describe her experience of the holiday season from beginning to end.

I wonder, “Why?”

Why would anyone succumb to such a life-draining emotion – and all its tentacle feelings like resentment, anxiety, and repressed fury – for 2 whole months (or more)?

On the other hand, I realize It’s not easy to extricate yourself from the automatic holiday programming.

Thanks to neuroscience, we know our beliefs and resulting habits are deeply ingrained in the curves of our gray matter. Societal expectations, provocative marketers, and the presumptions (or even the demands) of our family and personal circle can reinforce unhappy holiday ways too.

So I really do understand how people get stuck in dread or another negative state of mind around the holidays.  But still, I wish every single person could have a holiday season they truly enjoy – whether that means going full tilt (keeping the environment in mind) or doing nothing at all.

Seriously, you’re not sentenced to a lifetime of holiday despair no matter how long you’ve followed the same routine. If the holidays bring you more angst than excitement, you can turn it around, little by little. Or even take a big leap if you’d like.

In this mini-guide to holiday joy, we’ll consider:

  • Getting in touch with what brings you joy.
  • Saying “yes” to you and “no” to what doesn’t work for you.
  • Replacing dread or whatever negative emotion disturbs you with joy.

And if you already love the holidays, this might make them even better.

Ready to go?

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How to Avoid the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

White Lily

In her best-selling memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, Bronnie Ware shares 5 disappointments people commonly express as they near death. See if any of these ring true for you:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Do one or more of these fit for you?  Then you know where to begin to avoid last minute regrets. And it would be good to start now because it takes time to change habits.

However, your regrets may have an entirely different flavor.  Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until you’re dying to know what you’ll regret. Just take an honest look at your life right now.

If you died this very moment, what would you regret? 

Grab a piece of paper and jot down what immediately comes to mind.  Then sit with it for awhile.

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