What inspires you?

I went to a speech contest for my Toastmaster’s District tonight. There was a wide variety of speeches. Funny tall tales started the night off with great humor. There were passionate speeches, speeches that were serving a mission, and teaching speeches. The speakers were all good, brave, and inspiring. It got me thinking about what is inspiring. What inspired me? What inspires you?

Motivation is an external, temporary high that PUSHES you forward. Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which PULLS you forward.

~ Thomas Leonard

What is it that makes something inspiring? Why is it when we read or hear some message, we feel that pull to take action. Something inside us resonates with the message. One of the speeches tonight was about running. I have run for fitness and to train for events. I have completed several road races (enough to have a quilt made from the t-shirts) and 3 half marathons. I know the love hate relationship with running. I hate to do it but love to be able to do it. My husband is a kayaker and hiker but has never been much of a runner. I asked him if the speech had the same motivating effect on him. He said that it did make him consider giving it a try. Was the inspirational call to lace up the sneakers more of a call to me, because I know the sound of shoes hitting the pavement in a rhythmic pattern in the still, quiet morning? The feel of runners lined up for a big 5K event with the group excitement carrying everyone across the starting line when the pistol fires, runs in my veins. I have a running playlist on my phone and certain songs that have play during my train times will always be linked to running in my heart. Does all of this predispose me to be inspired by her speech, even though I have not run in a few years?

I want to inspire people to overcome their self limiting beliefs. I want to help people do what they may not; even believe is a possibly for them. Am I more likely to reach those people who have already experienced overcoming their own fears? Those who have moved past their own self doubt in the past, are they the spirits I can reach? I am happy to to inspire all of these people, but I also want to inspire those who have not had that experience before. I want to reach that person who is feeling my messages are for others…  who hasn’t tasted success. I want that sneaky inspiration to get beyond their walls and start to pull them out of the darkness. I want them to break the shell they have been in and grow beyond what they thought was impossible. Then I want them to share their stories to inspire others! We have all been there. I was the overweight kid, who had no athletic ability and poor self esteem. Somehow I have become a woman who has roughed it in the boundary waters, ran half marathons, kayaked on the Mississippi, hiked on Mount Reiner, traveled to 18 different countries (so far), and Co-authored 3 books.

I want to inspire you! I want you to feel the pull to do what you think or thought you couldn’t! I want to hear about you blazing trails, taking the trip of a lifetime, and surpassing your dreams! Be inspired fiends and inspire others!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
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Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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11 ways to Live Life to the fullest

As I write this, it is my birthday. What has happened over the past year?

New grandchild was born•Another grandchild is in a better situation•Traveled to England and saw Stonehenge•Traveled to the Netherlands and saw my grandfathers homeland•Lost my grandmother and a couple of friends•Purchased a boat as a second home in Florida•Had family photos taken with all four children and all four grandchild for the first time ever•Finished renovations on our home•Started renovations on our rental property•Helped my daughters move•Attended a writers workshop and started proposals on, not one, but three books•Started blogging•Traveled to Canada and explored Amethyst mines•Joined Toastmasters and became the club Secretary•Navigated changes in my day job•Began completing my coaching certification•Joined instagram•Had my 1 year wedding anniversary•Formed a deeper more loving relationship with my stepson•Watched as all three of my daughters became even more amazing women•Completed a 5k for charity•Took my stepson and a granddaughter to see the Grand Canyon•Served several holiday meals•Gained ten pounds•Entertained friends•Hosted gatherings to create community•Donated my time to fundraisers, raking leaves for seniors, and my local Buy-Nothing group•Broke my wrist and had surgery to put in a plate to repair it•Went dogsledding for the first time ever•Watched several movies•Cried a little and laughed a lot•Had more than a few glasses of wine•Baked goodies for others•Tried to make the world a brighter place•Listened to my friends and encouraged them when I could•Camped in three different states•Worked hard to be the best wife I can be•Worried about my family and strived to improve my relationships•Read several books•And many more items I cannot even think of right now.

It is amazing how much life can be packed into 365 days. I believe in using everyday to the fullest. We do not know how many breaths we will have in our life. Why waste any of them. I work hard and play harder. Striving to find joy in all aspects of my life, helps keep my focus positive.

It is interesting to reflect on a year. They seem to go by so quickly but when I look back, it has been a glorious year. Full of joy and a little bit of sorrow. The duality of sorrow amongst the joy helps us appreciate the joy. It takes the darkness so we appreciate the light. We need both.

How can we live our life to the fullest between the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities? Make them fun! Find the joy!

Talk. During a family meal, pose a question to get a conversation going. “What did you learn today? What kindness did you witness, what was the most interesting part of your day? What do you hope to accomplish is year?”

Plan a trip. It does not have to be a month long cruise around the world, although it can if that is accessible to you. Take a day trip to a nearby town to explore. Go camping in a state park. Plan a family get away to a historic part of the country or go on a romantic weekend retreat with your love. Whatever kind of trip is right for you, it’ll  give you a break from the routine. It refreshes you and gives you a pause, to enjoy.

Get outside. Go for a walk; feel the sun on your face, hike, run, play, sled, whatever is enjoyable to you.

Laugh. Find the joy in life and share it. One of my Yogi friends is passionate about her mantra: “Feel joy and share it!” It is a beautiful sediment!

Accept yourself  Be kind to your self, love yourself as is. If you want to work on things about yourself, fine, but know you are perfect just as you are.

Notice the positive things  A beautiful tulip in the spring, pretty snow in the winter, a child laughing, the hug of a loved one, a delicious fresh and healthy meal. There are always positive things to be grateful for.

Play. Work is important, it gives us purpose and allows for money to pay for our life, but play is important too. Whether it is paint night with your friends, hopscotch with your child, or bowling with your league, playing is an important part of living life. Just because we grow into adulthood does not mean we should stop playing.

Love. Love your family, friends, furrbabies, coworkers, neighbors, strangers walking down the street; allow that love to flow from you to others, even if you only share a smile with that person.

Create. Create art, community, recipes, games, whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Children create works of art, games, even imaginary worlds. Just because we grow older, does not mean we should stop.

Share  Share stories, thoughts, or journal, even if this means just sharing with yourself.

Learn. Learning should never stop. We can learn formally from classes and seminars, but we can also learn informally from others, watching interesting programs, taking tours, or looking things up in books or on the internet. Learning things enriches our life and helps us grow.

I am wishing you a life full of joy! Thank you for reading my blog today!

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
https://stacycrep.com
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
https://emyminzel.com
The Adventure Sisters on Facebook
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Stacy Crep on Instagram
@stacycrep

STOP Shoulding Yourself

We all are so busy telling ourself what we “should” be doing, how we “should” be acting, what we “should” be saying that we make it impossible to live up to the expectations we set for ourselves. When we can’t live up to the expectations we set for ourselves, we start beating ourselves up. We start telling ourselves things we would never tell our friends. We call ourselves names like “failure”, “lazy”, and “dumb”. We hold ourselves to standards we would never hold our friends to. How do we stop this practice and heal our relationship with ourselves?

I have started to write this blog three or maybe even four times. It is a topic I feel strongly about. So why am I having such a hard time getting the words out? Why am I having trouble expressing myself around this particular topic? Does it have anything to do with the fact that I feel I “Should” write this blog? I want to help people with the blogs I write. Inspiring others to find ways to improve their relationship with themselves, is a huge part of my mission in doing this. Perhaps, because of that, I have my own list of “shoulds” around this topic.

I am the queen of high expectations! My husband will try to tell me I am high maintenance, but I am not. I am high expectations. For myself and everyone around me. While attending Buddhist meditation, the monk shared this teaching. He told us that we get upset with others because of the expectations we set for them.  Then because we have these expectations of others, when they don’t live up to them, we feel frustrated. If we didn’t have these expectations of others we would not be upset when they don’t live up to them. He illustrated this with a story of meditation. If you are editing in the forest, you do not get upset with the bird because you do not expect the bird to be quiet. You do not think you can control the bird. If you are meditating at home and others in the home are making noise, you feel frustrated because you feel they should meet your expectations. But I digress. I really want to talk about the expectation, like this, that we place on ourselves.

How many times have I told myself I did not get enough done in a day? I am constantly saying I “should” exercise more, meditate daily, practice my yoga, and keep the housework caught up. If a friend of mine was telling me she felt badly for not doing all of these things, I would tell her to stop being so hard on herself. Why is it that the expectations we hold for ourself are so much harder than what we expect from others. Eat the right things, say the right things, do the right things. We set expectations for ourselves that no one could live up to, and then we beat ourselves up when we are not able to accomplish it all. Stop it! Just stop! Love yourself the way you love your friends. Give yourself the same respect you have for those dear people in your life who trust you with their concerns.

Everyday we all “should” do the best we can in the time and space we are in. We “should” forgive ourselves. We “should” love ourselves. There will be times when we can not live up to these expectations. There will be times that we can not do our best, love ourselves, or forgive ourselves… but there will be moments that we can. There will be blessed moments of clarity when all seems magical and we can be the best version of ourselves. The rest of the time we must be patient as we continue toward our own wellness. The blessed time when we love and accept ourselves as is.

I want to share my appreciation for Paul and Maria in Warrenville, IL. I appreciate you listening to me talk about my blog and my mission to help others find wellness.  I appreciate you sharing your stories with me. I wish you blessings and personal wellness in your lives. You both have such potential; I can see it within you! Don’t “should” yourselves.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister
https://stacycrep.com
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
https://emyminzel.com
The Adventure Sisters on Facebook
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Stacy Crep on Instagram
@stacycrep

In Their Shoes

I recent listened to a group of family members discussing what it is like to work in customer service. As a nurse I also have been in jobs where pleasing people is a part of the role. I have seen people be extremely rude and even verbally abusive to people working in stores, all in an attempt to get their way. I am ashamed to admit, when I was younger, I also had occasion where I lost my patience with people just trying to do their jobs. What can we do and how can we think to help us have empathy for those who cross our paths in the course of a day?

Think about how different the world would be if we all followed the Golden Rule. Treating others the way we would like to be treated could help transform some of these frustrating interactions to be better. The Golden Rule is in some version in almost all major world religions. If we could see ourselves in that person, we would act the way we would want others to treat us, if we were working that job.

Nisargadatta Maharai said, “ The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love”. We are better able to give love and acceptance, when we see that we are that other person. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you feel empathy for what it must be like to be in that place and having to deal with that situation?

Today I challenge you as you walk through your day to imagine yourself in the shoes of those you cross paths with. I would be curious to hear how this changed your perspective on the world around you. Did this make any impact on how you dealt with people or situations? No matter which side of the counter you are on, there is room to try and see the other person’s persecutive. Eckhart Tolle said, “If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others”. Try seeing yourself as the other person in a way to gain acceptance.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your day be filled with love and acceptance.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:

Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

The Adventure Sisters on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

Stacy Crep on Instagram

@stacycrep

Are You Positive?

What do you practice daily? This question showed up in my facebook news feed as a video by a young boy. I was so impressed with the wisdom of this youngster. I shared the video to our Adventure Sisters Facebook page. He was asking people if they had a daily practice. He went on to tell them that, whatever they practiced daily, they would become expert at. He gave example like; joy, anger, and complaining. He gave example of how practicing complaints and anger could make you very skilled at these things. It was really amazing insight for such a young person. Obviously an old soul resides in that young body. You can see his video on the Adventure Sisters Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

So what do you practice everyday? I think it is a good thing for us to look at and really talk about. Our brains are predisposed to see the negative around us. When you think about it from a survival stand point it makes sense. If you are always looking for the danger (aka the negative) you will be able to flee to safety. The habit forming potential of negative thinking is probably something we have all experienced. So how do we shift our focus? I consider myself a pretty positive person. Am I really, though? If I sit back and watch myself, do I complain as much or more then I express joy and delight? It is winter where I live. I do not tolerate the cold as well as I do the heat. I think I probably complain more in the winter then I do in the summer. Winter is beautiful. I love the way the fluffy white snow sits on the prickly branches of the evergreen trees. There is a simple serenity in the the near black and white color palate of winter in the north. So why do I spend my time bitching about the cold?

Others expect negativity from us as well. Have you every been excitedly telling someone about the positive things in your life and you get a sense of disapproval from them? So you throw in a couple negative aspects. The other person will accept you now. If I told you: I love my job, I work for a great company. I have supportive collaborative teammates. My boss has my back and helps mentor me to further success. I get paid well. My benefits are good. I get plenty of vacation time and my job perks are out of this world. Would you feel jealous? Would you feel I was bragging? Would you think I was trying to convince you or me that my job was great? Would your eyes glaze over and would you secretly be plotting my death? Would I notice this look in your eyes and feel the need to think of a couple of negative things about my job in order to feel a little less like a crazy person?

Do we not want our friends and family to be happy and have lots of blessings in their life? We say that we do. What is it that makes us not want to trust happiness, joy, good fortune, and miracles? Of course nothing is perfect. Given the opportunity, we can find something to complain about in any situation. But the opposite is true too. Given the opportunity we can find something good to talk about in any situation. I challenge you to be Pollyanna. (Do you know who that is?) Look for the silver lining. Turn that frown upside down. Make a decision to be the happiest person in the room. Embrace the madness of a positive attitude. “It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed” ~ Thomas Moore.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your daily practice bring you joy!

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:

Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

The Adventure Sisters on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

The Adventure Sisters on Instagram

@adventuresistersbwca

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, like so many beautiful areas, may be at risk from exploitation. If you feel so moved please sign the petition below to save this amazing natural resource!

https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/tell-department-interior-and-bureau-land-management-protect-boundary-waters

7 Techniques to Keep Spiritual Ego in Check

Have you ever run across a spiritual teacher who believes they have all the answers. They may even bad mouth other spiritual teachers? Perhaps they do things or treat people in ways you do not agree with? This is what I call spiritual ego. It is when a person believes they have all the answers and use that to justify their actions. It may even cause a falling out between people.

Spiritual ego is certainly not something that just happens to spiritual teachers. Any of us can fall prey to our own spiritual ego. How can you avoid this?

1.     Know you do not have all the answers.  There is a lot of mystery in spirituality. Accept that the mystery is a part of it.

2.     Be willing to listen to others view points. We all want to share the things in our own spirituality that give us peace, comfort, or joy. Others do to. By listening we may hear or learn something that deepens our own spirituality.

3.     Accept others where they are at. Everyone is at their own place on their spiritual journey. They are at the exact place they are meant to be in this time and place. Just because their journey is different than yours does not make it wrong.

4.     Don’t judge. There are many types of spirituality out there. They range from giant organized religions to highly personalized, individual relationships with a greater power. If you study major religions you will see there are more similarities than differences. Recognizing that we are all the same, in the most basic ways, is a huge step to laying your judgments aside.

5.   The golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”. This has always resonated with me. Did you know most of the world religions have a version of this.

6.   Allow for expansion. When we allow ourselves to expand it is easy to be more inclusive. We allow change within ourselves and open to the possibility of becoming a bigger better version of ourselves.

7.   See yourself in the other. When we allow ourselves to see aspects of us in the other person, it creates empathy and understanding.

Spirituality is a beautiful thing and can be very comforting. Believing we have all the answers can be dangerous and can lead to spiritual ego. I know atheists who are more kind, giving, loving, and altruistic than some religious people I know. Be open to others individuality and personal journeys. This will help you to keep your own spiritual ego in check.

6 Actions You Can Take Today to Make the World a Better Place.

I would like to introduce you to my Adventure Sister, Emy Minzel. She wrote todays blog post about some ideas she is passionate to share with you.

The overload of information we receive every day can feel overwhelming. We watch the news, read the papers, and surf the web taking into our subconscious an abundance of negativity every day. Even when we close our eyes at night the thoughts that keep us awake are usually cringe-worthy, disheartening and can lead us to feel helpless. This leads me to wonder, what can I do today that will help make this world a better place?

Start at home – Make sure to water your own grass, so you aren’t comparing ‘lawns’ with your neighbor. I am not actually speaking of grass, but using it as a metaphor for our closest relationships. The family, partners, and friends we spend our days with. If you are putting in time to keep your relationships healthy and maintain a low stress environment everyone around you will be happier.  They will then go out into the world with a higher vibration, having the Butterfly Effect on the Universe.

Pray – Speaking of the Butterfly Effect… Praying and meditation help to raise our energetic vibration. It has a calming side effect that will sooth your mind, body and soul. This in turn will raise the vibrational frequency your body may emit that can help to promote a calming effect on the world around us.

Play – Enjoy time doing what makes you happy. It could be camping, fishing, cooking, travel, hiking, music, or anything that floats your boat. Make time to do it. As often as you possibly can. Not just once a year on vacation. Remember to enjoy children and pets every day. I love to get down on the floor to play with them. They are pure energy. Embrace the silliness! We all love to laugh and play. Any mess is worth the memories.

Recycle – The world really needs you to give a shit. Recycle your plastics, glass and metal. This will reduce the amount of garbage in landfills, waterways, and oceans. It’s a very small chore or expense that we should be invested in. Call it earthly maintenance, like brushing her teeth. It’s imperative for the future of our children.

Volunteer/Donate/Share – There are plenty of organizations close to home that need all kinds of help. If you don’t have time to volunteer, donate money or goods. If you don’t have money, speak the name of your favorite charity often to friends and acquaintances.  This helps charities recruit more volunteers and donations. Advertise for your favorite charitable cause.

Focus on Blessings – Quit your bitching. Appreciate blessings all around you, including family, friends, pets, career, or even that your car still runs. If you choose to complain all day every day, you choose to not appreciate the wonderful world around you. The quality of life you live depends on what you focus your energy on. Choose to see your blessings. Be thankful for them. Now prove it.

So, there you have it, I know there is so much more, but this is where I have started. I may not be able to donate a million dollars to my favorite charity. What I do have is a little time and a heart full of good intentions just waiting to come out. I know you do too.

 ~Emy Minzel, Adventure Sister