Your Only Real Safety Net in Uncertain Times


Before COVID-19, you may have felt secure in your job. Or maybe you were certain you’d be taking a spring break or summer vacation across the country. Perhaps you were convinced there’d never be a shortage of toilet paper!

It’s always been the case that there is very little that is truly secure or certain in life, and the pandemic has spotlighted this fact for us all. Life is full of surprises. Always.

But according to Pat O’Donnell, environmentalist and former president and CEO of Patagonia (among many other accomplishments), there is one safety net we always have: OUR VALUES.

In his early years, Mr. O’Donnell left a comfortable and secure job as an engineer in San Francisco to flip burgers in Yosemite National Park because he wanted to do more rock-climbing. When asked how he made such a big decision, he responded that:

“Each choice I made was consistent with my values and my vision, at the time. That’s what I’d always come back to. Your values are your only real safety net.”

Yogic philosophy and Ayurveda suggest that values are what connects you to your Higher Self, what creates integrity and allows you to discover your dharma, or purpose in life. In fact, Ayurvedic wisdom goes so far as to say that one of the main causes of disease and suffering occurs when we don’t act in accordance with our values, our inner wisdom.

In other words, knowing your values and aligning your actions to those values brings fulfillment, joy and healthy living. 

Do you know what your values are? Do your actions and habits align with those values?

Despite the fact that we all have values, many of us go through life without clarifying or articulating what our values are.

Are you interested in learning more about clarifying your values and leanring how to live in alignment with them for a more meaningful life?

Contact me for a free Wellness Strategy Session and I can help! We’ll clarify what you value and what’s getting in the way of you acting on those values.

Design Your Holidays: How to Get What You Really Want, Part 2



Now that you’ve got your Guiding Light Statement, let’s create a plan that will move you closer to it. Below is an exercise to create action plans to help you map the way forward.

Same instructions here as in Part 1:

I recommend brewing a cup of your favorite herbal tea and setting aside 45 – 60 minutes to journal about the questions.

And if you don’t have the time right now for this exercise, open up your calendar and find the time within the next few days to do this for yourself. Set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Don’t forget to read my important message at the end of this article. 

Part 2: Action Plans

  1. Think about a time when you’ve experienced one or more or all of the things you wrote in your Guiding Light Statement. What was happening? Who were you with? What did you do or what qualities do you possess that caused this to happen? Were there any preparations or organization that helped? What made it possible?
  2. What challenges or obstacles might prevent you from having this experience this holiday season? Who or what might have a different opinion about/effect on how your holidays should go?
  3. So you have an idea of what might get in the way (#2). And an idea of how you pulled this off before (#1). Ask yourself, how can your knowledge and experience from past success help you work through any challenges that may arise? What qualities do you possess that will help you move towards what you want? Who can you turn to for support? What practices or techniques will aid you? You might even make a list of who/what won’t support you in this endeavor. Sometimes we look for support in all the wrong places. Let’s get clear on who or what can really support us and not place unrealistic expectations on those that can’t/won’t.
  4. For each challenge listed in #2, come up with an action plan based on your answers in #3 to help you move beyond that challenge. As part of your action plan, get as specific as you can about details like where, when, how often, with whom, etc.

Here are a few examples of action plans:

I am going to make a gift giving plan so that I am not doing all my shopping that week before Christmas when nothing is left or sizing is all wrong and I’m just getting whatever I can so there’s a gift under the tree. I will make this gift giving plan on Nov. 15th @ 9am, and will plan to have all of my shopping completed by Dec. 2nd.

I am going to let my family know that it’s important to me to have an earlier, lighter dinner by around 6pm. If they are not able to accommodate me, I will make my own dinners and eat by 6pm and then have tea with them while they are eating at least 5 of the 7 nights I will be with my family. Those two exceptions will be on Christmas night and the first night I arrive.

I will keep up my daily morning exercise and meditation routine 6 out of 7 mornings I am gone and will ask my husband to join me and keep me accountable.

I will limit my alcohol intake to 3 glasses of wine per week. I will let my family know when I am planning to have those glasses so that they don’t bother to ask me every night if I’m having wine with dinner.

I would love to hear your action plan!! Feel free to post your plan(s) on Facebook or Instagram (and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness). Or you can email me and share what actions you’re going to take this season!

IMPORTANT: Our patterns during the holidays run deep and we are surrounded by people who expect us to follow those patterns. So if at first you don’t succeed with your action plans, don’t despair or be too hard on yourself. This defeats the purpose. Instead, pat yourself on the back for taking these initial steps to creating a better holiday season. This is a great gift to yourself and those around you. Learn what you can this year so you can think about how to improve your action plan for more holiday cheer next year.

Design Your Holidays: How to Get What You Really Want, Part 1


We tend to believe that we don’t have much control over how our lives go. Yet, in my work, and in my own life, I’ve observed time and time again that this just isn’t true. While there may be a few things we have less control over, we can drastically transform how we experience life simply by getting clear about what we want and what we value. And then using those desires and values as a guide for making decisions and choices that will allow us to have a more joyful and meaningful experience of life.

And this is the case with the holidays too. In other words, if we determine what it is we really want this season and what we value about this time of year, we can create a plan that guides us into experiencing a more joyful and meaningful holiday.

I’ve created a two-part exercise to help you:

  1. Clarify what you really want, and
  2. Create a map that gets you there

Below is Part 1 with Part 2 to follow soon. I recommend brewing a cup of your favorite herbal tea and setting aside 45 – 60 minutes to journal about the questions.

And if you don’t have the time right now for this exercise, open up your calendar and find the time within the next few days to do this for yourself. Set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Awesome. Here are the questions for Part 1:

Part 1: Your Guiding Light Statement

  1. What would you like to experience this holiday season? How do you want to feel? In your body, mind and spirit?
  2. Why do you want to experience that? And why is that important?
  3. Ask yourself question #2 above at least 3 more times. Dig deep here. Why do you want these experiences and feelings?
  4. Create Your Guiding Light Statement: Now write a sentence or more that encompasses both what you want (what you wrote for #1) and why that’s important to you (your ultimate/last answer to #2, why it’s important to you). Try to keep it in the positive. So that rather than talking about what you don’t want, focus on what you do want to feel and experience.

Here’s an example:

“I want to have a joyful and effortless holiday season, where my body feels relaxed, my mind is at ease and my spirit feels connected. I want this because when I feel like this, I am able to laugh more, have more fun, be more present with friends and family, have deeper conversations and feel more connected to life.”

I recommend honoring your guiding light statement by writing it on a piece of paper and posting it somewhere you can look at it often. Draw, color or decorate any way that seems appropriate for you to keep it on your mind.