the bliss of an answer

the bliss of an answer

I remember it clearly; the moment I realized this virus making headlines was going to disrupt “life as we know it.” I was standing in the kitchen of my little beach house and asked myself, “Is this the last carefree day I’ll have?”

I had no idea.

The last three months are hard to put into words. Yes, there has been sadness, and anxiety. Too much some days. There was brain fog. Days when it seemed impossible to focus. And there’s been anger, frustration and a sense of disbelief at what I see happening in our country.

And stress baking … soooo much stress baking. It’s how I cope.

This week, there’s been hope. Clarity. A new understand that I’ve only been paying lip service to what I called “my priorities” in the past.

My priorities have become crystalized. So much just simply doesn’t matter all that much in light of what is now obviously important. A life decision last week brought with it such calm, such a sureness of heart, that it’s clear to me I’d only be riding the surface of what I said mattered all along.

And the Universe is answering in grand style, as it tends to do when my stated intentions match my heart’s desire and my physical actions.

This week I realized my ease is returning. That day back in March wasn’t my last carefree day. Yes, there’s still mountains of uncertainty, but life is all about that, yes?

Our certainty comes at the intersection of what we think, what we say, what we do and what we desire. This is where ease lives, the flow we’re seeking.

At this intersection we find the grace and the courage and the strength to move head and face tomorrow.

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Meet the Author – Amy Hege Atwell

Meet the Author – Amy Hege Atwell

Having spent most of her adult life climbing the commercial retail ladder, author Amy Atwell dreamed of one day leaving the corporate world to run her own store The Painted Mermaid.  The arrival of her son, at age 43 gave her the confidence to just that.  A series of unexpected events put her magical world in jeopardy and send her down an unexpected path of self awareness, personal growth and enlightenment.  Her book 10 Little Rules for Mermaids was an important part of that journey.

Presently living through the shelter at home days of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 with her young son, Amy looks forward to returning to her loves of ‘picking’, ‘making’, merchandising and celebrating life with her shoppers and friends at The Painted Mermaid.  Until then, her love of cooking, writing, reading, yoga, great phone banter with friends, and most of all quality, one on one time with the 8 year old love of her life keep her safe, grounded, and hopeful.  

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the bliss of owning your story

the bliss of owning your story

“He can call you anything he likes. That doesn’t make it true.”

Those words pulled me up short. Spoken by a friend during a really rough time in my life, they drilled deeply into my soul.

Our story is so often conflated with other people’s stories about us that it’s easy to forget we are in charge of how we feel about ourselves, our lives.

I’d been telling myself various versions of other people’s stories about me for years, taking on their criticism and a side order of guilt.

“He can call you anything he likes. That doesn’t make it true.”

It only makes it true if I believe it, if I own it. This idea is one of the reasons why I founded 10 Little Rules … not just to publish my own book, but to give other authors a chance to tell their own story. In their words, not the words of anyone else.

It’s been an incredible journey these past nine years, and today we launch our next book into the world — 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, written by Amy Hege Atwell, owner of The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

On the surface, it’s absolutely delightful. And just like a mermaid, it dives suddenly and gracefully into hidden depths, re-emerging drenched in sparkles.

I’m proud to be associated with this book. It’s fun (and lord knows we could us a bit of fun these days) and it is empowering. As Amy said last week:

“I found myself a little – something – about the combination of all the world wide stuff happening and the timing as it relates a rollout, and quite frankly I have decided this is indeed the time to heavily promote ALL of our books. Not so much because of the hope and sunshine they offer, but the EMPOWERMENT. What better timing to show women in particular what they CAN do to drive strength and change within themselves and therefore the world. “

So today we launch pre-orders on this beautiful, soulful book, and I hope it does help … make you smile, make you think, make you feel a bit stronger about your own story and owning it with pride.

Namaste, Mermaids!

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the bliss of the silver lining

the bliss of the silver lining

There’s a vision board above my desk, with my hopes, wishes and desires for the year 2020. When I made it I was full of enthusiasm for a new year, and had several conversations with friends about what an amazing year it was going to be.

Everyone felt it … there was something in the air … somehow 2020 felt “different” from the start. The possibilities were endless.

It’s different, alright.

Early April, I considered taking my vision board off the wall, knowing the year I expected and hoped for was not in the cards. No graduation trips, no girls weekend in the spring with my three girls, no wedding shower for my oldest and her fiance, maybe even no big wedding in the fall. My excitement for 2020 was replaced with sadness and loss.

Then I took a closer look, and realized the only thing that changed was the “hows.”

In the vision board workshop I hosted in January, we discussed the key element of envisioning, then manifesting, the life you truly desire; it’s letting go of “how” your desires will manifest, and let the Universe and its brilliant serendipity figure that out.

Our job, instead of planning each how along the way, is to set the intention for our desires, let it go, then take whatever inspired action moves into our awareness. This goes for the physical things we want, as well as the spiritual and emotional.

This is hard enough to do in a “normal” year. We have a set understanding of “how” things are supposed to happen. You want a new job? You update your resume, scour the job sites, ask your network. Reasonable — yet what if you took that intention of finding a new job with you wherever you went, even to the Farmer’s Market, say, where you meet someone and strike up a conversation that leads to a mention of someone looking for your exact skill set?

Never in a million years would you have put “Go to Farmer’s Market” on your to-do list for finding a job … yet how often does this kind of serendipity happen?

So back to my vision board — I was someone convinced that my vision for the year was totally upended by the pandemic. Then I took a closer look …

  • closer connection with my husband? That was certainly happening.
  • more connection with family? My daughters and I are closer than ever, never hesitating to jump on FaceTime when we need to an extra dose of love, and keeping up a daily stream of texts; our extended family has Zoom chats every Saturday night.
  • the guest room redecorated and ready for company? Just about complete, including a new paint-by-number done as “stress therapy”
  • more faith? Faith has been my touchstone during the last few months, in a way I’ve never felt it before.
  • a clean and organized home? Well, the year’s not over yet …

It’s been an astonishing thing to learn these lessons. Even with my surface level awareness of letting go of the hows, the reality comes as a shock. I would never wish for the situation the world is facing today … yet I realize it doesn’t spell the end of our dreaming, our desires for ourselves and the ones we love.

Maybe this is what my grandmother said when she always searched for silver linings in her challenging life. She wasn’t in denial; she simply had faith.

I’ve learnt it is entirely possibly to be grateful and sad at the same time; happy and sorrowful; strong at heart yet anxious; looking forward to the future while struggling with the present.

It is entirely possible that I just may get the year I envisioned after all …

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the bliss of a good list

the bliss of a good list

Among the things my youngest daughter and I share is a love of a good list. We’ve both been known to add something we’ve already done to our list, just for the pleasure of checking it off.

When everything’s clicking, it seems like a dance … action, check, action, check … the movement is fluid and we are in flow. With that flow, comes the joy.

Yet what happens when the list stops bringing you joy? When checking off those items seems more trouble than it’s worth and a slog instead of a dance?

“It’s important when we’re facing something that’s really hard for us, whether it’s doing taxes, paying bills, or visiting a challenging relative, that we lovingly support ourselves through the process,” writes Madisyn Taylor in the Daily Om. “The more supported we feel, the easier it is to open our minds to the idea that we could change our way of looking at the situation.”

Yes ma’am. More bliss often starts with a simple shift in mindset.

“In truth, most of the chores we don’t like doing are intimately intertwined with our blessings,” Madisyn continues. “When we remember this, we feel gratitude, which makes it hard to stay in a dark mood.”

Funny how it all circles back to gratitude. So today I have a better list. Instead of letting my long list of client projects bring me stress, I will offer gratitude. Instead of the “work” that needs doing in the garden, I will offer thanks for those beautiful flowers and veggie plants. Instead of being annoyed at the paperwork that needs completing for the mortgage refi, I’ll humbly recognize my good fortune to have this home near the ocean.

What’s on my list looks pretty much the same … yet how I go about them, and recognizing why they are the list in the first place, is how I turn that to-do stress into a balm for my heart.

For more thoughts on achieving more bliss in your life, enjoy 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life.

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Rule #3 for a blissy life … a book reading

Rule #3 for a blissy life … a book reading

There’s a lot of strangeness in these days … Jumanji-level strangeness … that can throw us off balance and make us think we don’t know the rules for getting through it.

Yet when we pause and turn down the volume of everything that’s distracting us with fear, confusion and anxiety, we remember we really do know the rules. Like Rule #3, Feel then Decide.

This simple rule helps us get past surface emotions and knee-jerk reactions by turning down the brain noise and letting us hear our hearts again.

Enjoy this reading from Carol’s 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life … and sign up for our newsletter for more book readings from all our 10 Little Rules authors!

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getting hijacked by emotions

getting hijacked by emotions

Sunday was not a good day.

Sunday’s only problem was that it was followed by Saturday, a day I’d been looking forward to since last fall.

Saturday was meant to be my daughter and her fiance’s wedding shower. It didn’t happen as planned (thanks, relentlessly unprecedented spring of 2020). It happened online.

Our Zoom shower was fun, no doubt … more than 30 family and friends joining in, we even had fun games thanks to my younger daughter, the maid of honor. We all toasted the couple with their signature cocktail, had goodie boxes sent or delivered courtesy of the groom’s lovely mom … for the time it lasted it was great fun.

Then it ended. And I was overcome by sadness, missing the people I love and had planned on being with. Trying to remain positive for my daughter’s sake (that’s what good MOBs do, I’m told), I stuffed it away to deal with later.

On Sunday.

I woke up sad, and that made me angry. Cranky, out of sorts, short-tempered and just ugly. Until about mid-day, when I realized I was breaking my Rule #3 — Feel, then Decide.

I had forgotten to feel. Because I didn’t get past my surface emotions, I didn’t have the relief of allowing myself to truly feel what was going on. Around mid-afternoon, I finally gave myself that gift. I got to source (Rule #1), I listened to my heart (#2), and I FELT.

I felt a physical “click” inside my chest when I did, a tangible and visceral opening of some sort, when my feelings made themselves known — kindly, gently, yet insistently.

I felt true sadness, and grief for the loss of what didn’t happen. At first, I felt selfish letting myself “go there.” After all, I am healthy, I am not financially desperate, the people I love are doing fairly well … really, compared to so many others, nothing was terribly wrong.

Yet it’s not selfish at all to feel what you’re feeling. We are all grieving something or someone, the missed events, the cancelled proms, the graduation parties that aren’t happening. We are grieving for our own losses, and for our collective losses.

We are sad.

And sad is okay. Because once we get past our short-tempered, cranky, snappy behavior and understand it’s happening because we are sad, we can take better care of our own hearts … and the hearts of those who happen to have the bad luck to be in the path of our initial emotions.

It’s okay to be sad; it signals that it’s time to wrap up in some love and ride it out. Today it’s raining, but my outlook is a bit sunnier. I received a reminder on my phone that it’s time to check in for my flight home … a flight that I never took in the first place.

Instead of making me mad, it gave me a little smile. It’s a reminder that before long I will be flying again, seeing family again, loving them in person.

I’m still sad … and also deeply grateful for these people I miss, the celebrations we’ve had together and those to come.

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a little bit of bliss …

a little bit of bliss …

These are strange days.

When we are faced with the unknown, it’s too easy to feel like we don’t have the rules we need to get through it. In truth, the rules for how to live our lives haven’t changed; we just get distracted by confusion, anxiety and fear.

Carol Pearson, founder of 10 Little Rules, is about to release a reading from her book 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, to help us all remember we do know the rules … we just have to feel our emotions, then decide how to move ahead with them. Enjoy the teaser below, then sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the full reading. Stay strong!

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