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Deeply transformational mundane activities

Come again? What in the world is a “deeply transformational mundane activity????” We read about and long for something to change us. That magical moment when, all of a sudden we are made new.

As a teen and young adult, I had the opportunity to go on regular spiritual retreats. So, I tended to “save” my transformational energy for those glorious weekends and weeks when I could really focus on my inner journey. But as those opportunities faded away, I was left to figure out my own growth and I was unsure how to facilitate it.

As a result, for far too many years, I kept “holding out” for the chance to take a retreat or vacation or go to some super-spiritual conference where I would finally experience that transformation again. Like I could order it up, add a side of glowing wisdom, pay in advance, and pick it up at my convenience.

I hate to be the one to break it to myself….but ummmm….that doesn’t really happen.

Bummer.

While I was trying to “survive” the day-to-day activities until said transformational event, I was missing out on thousands of opportunities in the “mundane” activities of life to facilitate that transformation I so desperately wanted.

Let me illustrate.Warrior 2

As you may know, I am a yoga teacher (and trainer for YogaFit Training Systems). One day I saw one of my students at the gym. She hadn’t been to yoga class in awhile, and it was great to see her. She said, “I’m sorry I haven’t been to class lately. I have been working with weights here at the gym so I can get strong enough to make it through your class.” Hmmm. I was befuddled. Why would she go to the gym to get in shape for yoga class? I asked her what part of class she found challenging. She said it was the crocodile (or chaturanga) poses. Ahh…I see. I replied, “You know, I think it’s great to work out at the gym. There are tons of benefits of being able to move weight outside your own body. However, if you want to get better at Crocodile pose….?” The light went on! “YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE CROCODILE POSE!!!!” She exclaimed.

Yes!

In that moment I was the teacher…and the student.

All of a sudden my own light went on. All that transformation I was waiting for so I could deal with the mundane daily activities of life? Yep. You guessed it. If I want to be transformed in daily life, that transformation is most likely to happen in those same mundane activities.

Now, I will say that going to the retreat or on vacation or to the super-spiritual conference is AWESOME! And I wouldn’t trade those treats for anything. BUT – much of my deepest transformation comes in the middle of the school pick-up line, working through a crazy morning at home, driving down the highway, and even preparing dinner. If life is pushing on me as I prepare dinner, I do my best to pull back and observe and see what I can learn here. And it seems that those lessons have more staying power than the fun retreat or serious conference. Why? Because I became strong enough for that “pose” of life by practicing it, right there in the moment.

Iridescent Dragonflies Facebook pageAnd this is why Iridescent Dragonflies is a thing. Once I fully embraced that my deepest transformations come from my own awareness and intentionality in the day-to-day activities of life, I realized that I am probably not the only one who is interested in finding the glorious, spiritual, transformation in the quiet moments as the day starts, shopping for groceries and checking email. And, if I like daily (or even hourly) reminders to pause and observe and intend to live from a more centered place, I thought I might as well share them in case you like them too. Those reminders happen on our Facebook page. If you haven’t been there, check it out and see if it resonates for you.

No wifi? No problem.

So I am at my local Starbucks to get some work done. I get this fabulous Caramel Macchiato, sit down, open up my computer, and proceed to try to login to the wifi only to realize that wifi is down for my entire region of the state.

Hmm.
No wifi. I am perplexed.
No wifi? What to do?
I find myself needing to use my critical thinking skills. I just sat down with 20 beautiful ounces of coffee and now cannot answer emails and stuff. What can I do as I sit here and sip this creation of amazingness?
I come up with two choices. First – write this blog post. ; ) Second, I decide that while this isn’t my original plan, it is also NOT the end of the world. I decide I can stay here, enjoy the moment, TALK to people, and notice what’s happening around me.
So…welcome to my unplanned exercise in mindfulness.
I hear the noise of the coffee grinding, the milk steaming for lattes, the beep of the scanner when people pay. I see people in line, some of them are talking to each other, others are staring off into space, some are on their phones. A young couple is hugging. Most of the people here right now have come in twos, which is kind of intriguing to me. It’s the middle of the afternoon. It seems more of them should be at work or something. But here we all are. There are 5 employees behind the counter, and watching their well-orchestrated movements to make a custom beverage every two minutes is fascinating! Such harmony and grace and efficiency!
Now I turn my attention to myself. I notice that the stress I was feeling about my inability to get stuff done is subsiding. My shoulders are relaxing. My breath is settling down. The expression on my face is softening too. I must look more open to conversation now. Three different people start up conversations about everything from the wifi, to shoes to helping next door neighbors! This is something I would have missed entirely if I was head-down completing tasks like crazy! When I take some time to look up from my computer, my eyes are able to release tension, too. It’s nice to get out of “computer head” for awhile!
Wherever you are right now, can you stop for 5 minutes to take a mindfulness break? If you choose to try this exercise, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you noticed. We can learn so much from each other as we share our stories of mindfulness. Perhaps you bring your attention to something that I never even considered before. Maybe I see something that has previously escaped your attention.
No wifi?

No problem.

Great deals at the grocery store and other life-altering conversations

How do you shine your iridescent, full-color amazingness to the world? Are you a rock star and live your life bigger than big with an audience of millions? Or are you a baby-whisperer, influencing one child at a time? Or something in between? Do you engage in life-altering conversations multiple times each day? Yeah, me neither. At least, not that I know of.  More likely, I’m discussing the latest great deals at the grocery store. Which brings me to this (it’s kind of a stretch, but stay with me): I’d like to suggest that as we do the things that we KNOW shine our light, there are probably even MORE ways we shine your light everyday and have no idea that our sparkle-dust is getting all over someone! Let me illustrate:

I had an experience a few weeks ago that let me know that sometimes my words really do affect people in ways that go well-beyond any intention I may have had. I have a friend that I see pretty often. Every couple weeks we get together and chat about life and love and books we’ve read and of course, great deals at the grocery store (See? There’s connection!). You know how it goes, we have lunch or coffee or something and just chat. My point is, we’re simply getting together. It’s not like an appointment we make to enrich each others’ lives or a coaching session or anything. Just two friends, enjoying the company.

One particular day as we talked, she told me that she was upset because she had been betrayed by someone she had previously considered to be a true friend; you know, the type of person you would drop anything for. She was completely blindsided by this betrayal. But it was true and she was feeling the loss.

She said, “You know, I’ve realized I’m not really sad about it. I know now that I shouldn’t have trusted her with so much information, but after thinking about it, I realized I want to spend my time with people that encourage me and bring positivity to my life.” Then she said something that floored me…

“I want to spend more time with you because I like what you see in me.”

Wow. I was honored to have had this impact. Her comment made me take a step back and think. She wanted more time together because I see her iridescent amazingness and reflect it back to her. This makes her feel good about herself and helps her to see it too! This in turn, encourages her to shine her bright light even more brightly! Then everyone she encounters every day gets her sparkle-dust all over them! It’s a great thing!
Every word

This interaction really made me pause. It helped me to realize that: 

every word that comes out of our mouths has the potential to make tremendous impact.

What impact do we want to have in the lives of the people we encounter today? How can we both shine our iridescent amazingness AND reflect back other people’s iridescent amazingness back to them all at the same time? What do you think?

What do golf balls have to do with dragonflies?

What do golf balls have to do with dragonflies? You may be surprised to know that this last week I realized the answer is: EVERYTHING! Let me start at the beginning…

My Mastermind group is invaluable to me. It is a small group of like-minded business owners. There are 5 of us and we talk on the phone every week to discuss our progress, our challenges and our goals for the week. Each member takes about 7 or 8 minutes to share about their business and then the group spends 2-3 minutes giving feedback and encouragement to that member. Without my group, my business would probably still be a lofty dream!

Last week, I was feeling frustrated because my travel schedule has been kinda crazy and so I was behind on some of the bigger projects I have listed as goals. And while I HAVE been busy, I have also had PLENTY of time to stay caught up on my social media account and my emails – neither of which are nearly as important as the big projects I want to do. So, one of the members of the group encouraged me to start each day with a “Power Hour.” This concept isn’t new, you have probably used it yourself at some point. It’s where you block out an hour and get as many of the important things done as possible. No emails. No social media. No chit-chat phone calls. No texting. Just solid work on the stuff that is truly important. And amazingly, the emails and other stuff will still get done anyway.

This is where the golf balls come into the story. You thought I forgot about them, didn’t you? Well, I heard a story not long ago that perfectly describes the idea of putting the important things in your day first and the illustration uses golf balls. The story is by Elisha Goldstein, PhD.

“A professor stood before a philosophy class holding an empty jar. As the students took their seats, she began filling the jar with golf balls. When they reached the top, she asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then took a bag of pebbles and poured them into the jar, and they made their way into the spaces between the golf balls.

Again she asked the students if the jar was full, and they agreed that it was.

But the professor had another trick up her sleeve. She brought out a bag of sand and proceeded to pour the grains into the jar, filling up more of the remaining space. Again the question came: “It’s full now, correct?” The answer was a resounding “Yes.”

The professor then took a sip of her coffee and dumped the rest into the jar, filling up spaces that no one thought were there.

“So what does it mean?” the professor asked.

A witty student raised his own coffee mug and asked, “There’s always room for coffee?”

The professor, along with the rest of the class, had a good laugh. Then she said, “Imagine that this jar represents the space in your life. The golf balls represent what’s most important — family, children, health, friends, things that you’re passionate about — the things that at the end of your life you would be glad you paid attention to.

“The pebbles are essential but less important, such as your house, your car, maybe your job.

“The sand is all of the small stuff in life that we’re trying not to sweat.

“The coffee, well, you already answered that one.”

The professor continued, “There is room for all of this only if you put the golf balls in first. If you put the sand or pebbles in first, there won’t be room for the golf balls. The way we pay attention to our lives works the same way. If you spend your attention or mental space sweating the small stuff in life, you won’t have the capacity to pay attention to what is most important to you.”

Marie Forleo talks about this, too. She calls it, “knowing the difference between the urgent and the important.” And her videos are super-entertaining to watch, too! Check it out: MarieTV video.

It has been the difference between night and day. I still have lots to do, but each day I am honestly getting those big projects done!

I have PTSD from being….tickled…

Yep. That’s right. PTSD from being tickled.

Perhaps it would be best to tell the back-story on this one!

When I was a little girl, I think maybe around 4-6, I was over at my aunt’s house. It was around the holidays (as best I can remember) and I was playing with all my cousins. I was the youngest in the room and also one of only two girls in a sea of boy cousins. We were all having a great time when one of my cousins picked me up to fly me like an airplane. I thought that was AWESOME! So, there I was in the air and pretending to be Wonderwoman, when my cousin thought it would be fun to tickle me. And it was fun! For a little while, anyway. But then it got to be overwhelming and I wanted down. I started yelling at him to put me down. But I was also still laughing, because how can you not laugh when someone is tickling you, right? So, he didn’t realize how serious I was. I started to panic because I couldn’t do anything to escape the (now) awful tickling! I couldn’t hit or kick or run. My body had one defense left to get me out of the situation. It was not pretty, and this is not for the squeamish…I vomited. All over my cousin. Eww.

It did work, though. He put me down on short order!

But ever since then, when someone tickles me, it isn’t funny. I get downright ANGRY. The “I can’t think about anything except for how much I want to hit this person” kind of angry. In fact, I have a really hard time not punching the guilty party! If you know me, you will recognize how out of character this is for me. I would feel bad for hitting a punching bag under normal circumstances.

YogaFit WarriorsThis entire event came up for me at a yoga conference where I was attending a training on how to use yoga to help resolve PTSD and move it through and out of the body. It was fascinating. The YogaFit for Warriors program addresses PTSD, but it also gives us tools to work through all kinds of trauma. I have come back from this training a changed person and a better yoga teacher/trainer.

When I realized during this training how I am STILL carrying this incident with me and how deeply it STILL affects me, I realized something else so much more important. I realized on the tiniest of scales how deep and awful PTSD from war or abuse or severe accidents can be. This realization deeply moves me to do what I can to support the healing process for others. I know how much transformation I experienced in just one weekend of training, so I can only imagine how transformational regular classes could be to work out those deep-seated traumas.

These things are kind of funny, aren’t they? I went to this training wanting to learn how to help other people and I ended up finding transformation first. I guess that’s how it works though, huh? My instructor Shaye said it beautifully,

“We can only help others to the degree we are willing to do the work ourselves.”

Thank you Shaye, for sharing your countless hours of work. I am forever changed for the better, and I know a host of others are, too.

The meaning of life found in chocolate chip cookies

My daughter came home from school and announced, “I’m making cookies on Thursday afternoon!”

I had a friend over and we were working together. My friend asked her, “Why are you making cookies?”

My daughter says, “Why am I making cookies on Thursday afternoon? I dunno. Because I want to. I don’t need a reason.”

What wisdom.

Why do we wait for some special occasion to do fun things in life? There’s really no reason, right?

friends

During this same fun afternoon, me and my friend were fixing ourselves a beverage and decided to mix orange juice and coconut water. It was SO YUMMY! We were going on and on about how yummy it was and my daughter said, “You guys are so cute! You are getting so excited about orange juice and coconut water.”

But why not?

Why not be excited about whatever is happening RIGHT NOW?

Whether it’s making cookies on Thursday afternoon or working at the office or going on vacation or even having a challenge in a relationship, there is something to celebrate. The fact that we can make cookies, or have a job, or the chance for vacation, or relationships that teach us and stretch us. Every single one of these is a gift of utmost benefit.

What is happening right now in your life that you can choose to see the excitement in?

How to get your 2015 transformation

Amazingly, 2015 is already well under way. There’s a lot of hype the first few days of a year about goals, resolutions, intentions, word for the year, and the like. Everyone wants to see transformation, right? But, some of that new-year feeling may already be wearing off.

But wait!

Now that the real-ness of 2015 is upon us, let’s pause for a moment. What is it you really want out of this year? Is it a goal? An intention? Do you have (or want) a “word of the year”? What would make you say “2015 was a year of transformation!”?

It’s not too late!

 Leonie Dawson workbook
I have been working through this amazing workbook by Leonie Dawson and it is truly setting the stage for great-ness! I have spent more time dreaming, planning and creating the vehicle necessary to make this year everything I hope and dream than I ever have before.

Want to know what’s crazy?

We’re only two weeks in, I’m only halfway through the workbook, and I have already seen impact in people’s lives through this little blog and our Facebook page that brought me to tears, I have felt more at ease because I have a plan, and I have already brought in 50% MORE than I had hoped to make this month and I still have two more weeks of January! Talk about transformation!

Why am I telling you all this?

Because, Sparkle Bugs, I want you to know that you absolutely CAN create your own year of awesomeness! Want to develop your meditation practice? Or, integrate some self-care into your life? Or begin working with stones and/or oils? Or perhaps cultivate the simplicity and expansiveness of learning to live in the moment?

You still can!

Set aside some “me-time” and think and WRITE down what you truly want this year. You know, they really good stuff – not just losing 10 pounds or shopping less – but the things that matter. What would bring you deep, down joy? What would cause honest-to-goodness transformation in your life this year? Then brainstorm some ways to make that very thing happen. Will it take time? An investment in a course or some resources? Will you need a friend, partner, or group to encourage you to stay on track? And then, if this is truly important to you (which I’m thinking it is if you’ve come this far in the process), then make a commitment to yourself to follow through with it. Love yourself by putting your effort and energy into it. Then get all excited to see your results!
I believe 2015 holds greatness for me because I have done (and continue to do) the work to dream it, plan for it and create it. After you take your time to do this work (or if you already have), comment below and share your big dreams of transformation with us! Let’s celebrate and encourage each other through a transformational 2015!

A REAL conversation???

Her – “Nice day, isn’t it?”

Me – “Yeah, really beautiful!”

Her – “I love it when it starts to cool off!”

Me – “Me too. I really do like summer, but cooler weather sure is nice, too!”

 

Yes. This is a REAL conversation I had a few days ago. A glowing example of how to carry on a meaningful conversation…

or not!

I truly want to cultivate friendships that exist beyond just the surface. I mean, I discuss how to talk about more than just the weather with people on a weekly basis! Now I realize not EVERY conversation, EVERY single day is going to be an award-winning discussion about the meaning of life, but I like to have deeper conversations than the change in the weather.

Truthfully, this conversation was just fine. It was with a woman I had met only about 5 minutes prior. So, I am not beating myself up over here. But it did make me think a bit…

I had a wonderful conversation on the phone yesterday with a good friend from out of town. We immediately jumped in where we had left off months ago and before our 20 minute conversation was finished, we had both earnestly listened to each other, encouraged one another, and deeply complimented each other on strengths we see in each others’ response to the stuff of life.

Ahh! I felt refreshed and renewed when I got off the phone. I felt lighter.

It was awesome!

You know what though? It didn’t just happen. Nope. We had to be vulnerable. We had to talk about things that mattered to us and purposefully be open to the others’ feedback. It can feel really scary to open up like this. And I don’t recommend doing this with the next person you see in line at the grocery store (as a rule, anyway). But when I am sincerely looking to deepen a friendship, I have to take a risk. I know I could leave feeling silly, stupid, or misunderstood. But, I have also learned that it is worth it! The rewards for developing great friendships is amazing!

So, how do you feel about your recent conversations? Deeply engaging and fulfilling? Yay for you! Not so much? Don’t fret about it, but instead create an opportunity to have one of those amazing conversations asap! It will require effort, it will require vulnerability, it will be WORTH IT! Tell me how it goes in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Intentional New Year’s Fire

I want to be super intentional about 2015.

I know I have likely said this in years past, and probably have forgotten I said it within a few weeks (or even days). But I’d really like to change that this year, once and for all. I recognize that I have lacked making a plan so that I could follow through with success. So, I have taken some steps toward that end this year.

Leonie Dawson workbookA few weeks ago, I ordered a Life+Biz Shining Year workbook from Leonie Dawson. It is truly a beautiful creation with beautiful artwork and it is so well thought out as it guides you through celebrating 2014 and releasing the parts that you are glad to see go and then planning and making goals for 2015. It is divided month to month and is so artistically done that it makes you want to do all the work to put your plan in place. I just love it!

Then the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw a post from Elizabeth Gilbert (who is such an inspiration to me) where she talked about a New Years Day ceremony she does each year to release the previous year and welcome the new.

new years papersnew years fireMy friend Amanda and I were so inspired we decided to create our own ritual this year! So, we talked to our husbands and kids and presented the idea. Not everyone was into it, but those of us who were began making preparations! Here’s the ceremony we created. We wrote the things we want to let go of from 2014 on little pieces of paper and then took them out to the desert and burned them in a clay pot.

new years rocksThen we wrote all the things we hope for in 2015 on small stones and ceremoniously piled them up. We each added our own little flair to it – my husband flung his stones out into the desert and I anointed mine with essential oils.

During the 2014 releasing, I doused my little pieces of paper (and myself) with DigestZen oil so that all the things that no longer serve me could be digested and done away with. After stacking my little stones, I dropped several drops of Elevation oil on them (and me) so that they could elevate into being.

It was such a powerful experience! I really felt like I was able to detach from the parts of 2014 that had been hanging on for too long and I also felt like I was throwing the seeds of my desires for 2015 out to the world so that they can grow and come back to me. This is quite possibly the strongest effort I have ever put into the beginning of a new year. I am hopeful and expectant for the amazing experiences that await me!

So tell me, what do YOU plan to bring into reality during 2015?

Happy is the New Healthy

Bringing a little happiness into our daily life goes a long way toward living our full-color iridescent lives. And truly, happiness is a choice we make every moment of every day. As far as I can tell, no one does this better than my friend Dave Romanelli.

Dave has been talking about and living in the deliciousness in the moment for years and years. And guess what? His new book is called, Happy is the New Healthy and is all about enjoy life RIGHT NOW!

Here’s a bit from Dave about Happy is the New Healthy:

I am so excited to share with you my brand new book Happy is the New Healthy.

But before I tell you more…here is some kicka$s Native American wisdom as you head into the holidays. It came from the heart of a Native American healer who goes by the name Bob Bear The Medicine Man. Dave and Bob Bear

I met Bob Bear on my annual retreat to Sedona, Arizona (see below for more) which is the healthiest, happiest place in the nation, and widely considered one of the most spiritual places on the planet.
Bob Bear said, “Don’t need for things.
“The Great Spirit knows what you need and will provide.
“Your job here is not to need.
“Your job here is to DREAM in a way that lifts, heals, and inspires the world.
“Do your job, dream big, and magic will rain down on your life.”

YES!!!!!!!

For anyone out there who is stuck on their needs…

“I need more money.”
“I need more love.”
“I need more time.”

How about taking a little advice from Bob Bear The Medicine Man and daring to pry open your mind and embrace the greatest dream of all:  the dream for total and complete happiness. To wake up each day feeling full in your heart and spirit…that’s what we live for!

Maybe you are already there.

But if you are ready to make 2015 the year of less needs and more DREAMS (which, by the way, is an incredibly liberating shift)…that’s the idea behind Happy is the New Healthy.

The premise of the book is to flip the wellness paradigm on its tightly toned a$$ and shift the priorities from losing weight, doing fancy yoga poses, and seeking the latest juice cleanse to…
…loving more deeply, living more passionately, and saying YES to the full fury of life.
If you are in the mood to celebrate happiness…and Happy is the New Healthy sounds like your kind of philosophy…

Get your copy of Happy is the New Healthy!