Manifesting my Desire

For about a year I’ve been quietly searching for a small company to work with applying my business skills. Not consult, not freelance, but be hired.

I’m involved in some hella cool projects.

Like RevolutionK.org and AThousandThingsToTalkAbout.com to name a few. I’ve been leading group online programs, mentoring people in designing their life and connecting cool people through ChoiceDriven.Life  I’m documenting my nomadic life and my newest adventure toward fostering teens. I’m having a blast, I feel like I’m on Purpose and being used up in all the right ways!  I want to play with these things and enjoy them, I don’t want to have my financial needs influence what or who I charge inside of this sort of play. I also don’t want to invest any more time hustling for my next freelance gig, I’d rather invest that time playing.

So, I’ve been searching for the perfect job.

I had very specific criteria like it will be part-time, remote, and my employer will be focused on a mission I can align with. It will not take over my life, I will still have time for all my hella cool projects. It will use the full range of my business skills without draining me energetically.

I started off researching companies I was attracted to, whose missions I admired, and sending my resume to only those companies. It was fun, finding passionate companies and explaining how I could help them have an impact by simply being me.

After about 8 months, having had no interviews, no bites, being told a bachelors is required, that they wanted a ‘fresh perspective’ or that I was ‘overqualified’ I got frustrated and forgot about my dream job and my criteria.I also redid my resume to look ‘younger’ and started searching job boards, applying to most any job that was remote and part time. None of this felt fun, or authentic. It was driven by fear (what if my lack of degree is finally catching up with me) and scarcity (what if there aren’t enough jobs).

I strive to operate from creation and design (antiSurvival mode), not fear and scarcity (Survival mode).

So I took a break from the hunt and re-aligned with my Intention for 2017 which was to Discern my Desires. I went back to my commitment and Purpose, narrowing my search to only those that satisfied my Desires. I created a resume I was proud of and only applied for organizations that I could confirm fit my criteria.

Then, earlier this month, I discovered that I needed the stability of a job to begin down the path to foster and that really ignited my fire.

I’m sure you guessed it – it all paid off!

A week after the foster info session I found an opening with a yoga institute out of California. Today was my first day as their Business Manager. It’s remote, part-time and the entire team is super committed to their mission which I totally align with. Even their sales philosophy mirrors my own which is contrary to industry standards. I’ll be using a wide breadth of my business background with full flexibility in schedule. It’s exactly what I was asking for!

I’m beyond stoked to play with this new team AND have the freedom to keep playing with all of my hella cool projects including having the bandwidth to foster when the time comes.

This sort of patience and commitment to my own desires – this is not typical of me. It really is a reflection of the growth and evolution I’ve experienced and a manifestation of my Intention for 2017. So I’m taking my own advice and CELEBRATING this win!

FAQ with Sunni

For my birthday in July I asked my tag-along adventurers, friends, and connections on social media to complete an online survey for me. (Thanks to everyone who participated!) My goal was to understand the impact this blog, my email updates etc were having.

There were 3 questions asked many times. So, here you go, answers!

Common Question #1: How do you afford your life?

Answer: Video response!

Common Question #2: What can I do to help you? (or) What support do you need?

Answer: Connection and connections.

Connection

I know it seems like I’m always busy, but I’m really not. I keep busy with work and clients, but because I’m on the move so much it can get pretty lonely. Getting feedback from people on how/if my sharing impacts you, having friends reach out to stay in touch and send virtual hugs – these things are super valued by me.

Connections

I choose to be nomadic because it allows me to meet so many new people and experience so many new cultures. To fully immerse myself, and keep my life affordable, I barter for lodging wherever possible. I trade my strategic services for lodging which allows me to serve people who may not otherwise be able to afford my services. I’d love to trade with someone in Arizona, New Mexico or California for the Jan/Feb/March time frame. If you’re interested in bartering with me, or know someone who might be, you can click here to learn more. I’ve done this many times, so I’ll guide you through the process, ensure we have clear boundaries and agreements in place, here is what some of my past barter clients have to say about the experience.

Common Question #3:  What exactly do you do for money?

Answer: I work. Duh. 😜

Okay, for reals, I do several things.

I freelance as a Project Manager and Operations Manager for larger companies.

I apply these same skills when working with Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners to define a growth strategy, gain more clients and run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

As an Intuitive Strategist, I mentor people on a journey for self-discovery. So many people operate in survival mode, reacting to the things around them, acting out of obligation. I support people in intentionally and proactively designing a world that they love. One of my clients recently told me that I’d helped her to meet her true self for the first time. (#squee!)

How bad do you want it?

I spent the past week planning and prepping to shift my life to road-tripping mode. In the midst of my planning the Universe decided to ask me:

just how bad do you want this?

Since I spent the past several months hanging at my Partner’s place I’d accumulated a decent amount of belongings out of my storage unit. Also, last year I lived out of my Condo (aka suitcase) and revisited my Storage unit every 4-6 weeks.

With the endless roadtrip I’ll have lots of extra space (I mean, a whole car!), but I won’t be able to get to my Storage Unit regularly.

It took me about 20 hours to go through everything, put things away in Storage, choose what to go into the Condo and what to go into my car. I bought several tools to help me stay organized but ultimately didn’t need most of them. I was worried my trunk was going to be jam packed – it’s not.

Basically what I added to the car was:

– 1 bin of winter clothes
– 1 bin of occasional clothes (dressy, professional, beachwear)
– 1 small bin of craft and biz supplies
– 2 tiny bins of workshops in a box (1 woo woo and 1 biz)
– 1 carry on sized suitcase of linens
– 1 pillow
– 1 suitcase stand

I also put a decent soft cooler and a bag of kitchen supplies into my car. It really wasn’t that much. I’m pretty impressed with my minimalism. Honestly, if you knew me 10 years ago you’d be seriously impressed.

SO

I got everything packed up Saturday night. Sunday morning the plan was to go to church and then go to my parents for the night and then off to Jacksonville Monday morning.

Sunday morning I went bopping out to my car, and well, here’s what happened next:

What I ultimately discovered was, the mechanical issues weren’t a ‘sign’ that I shouldn’t go. Rather, they were an opportunity for me to show God/Universe/Spirit/Divine just how committed I am to taking the actions that align me to my purpose. So I pushed through, found a solution and I’m on my way!

Freedom from Obligation

A theme that’s been emerging in my world is the difference between Obligation and Commitment. For some people, they may be synonyms, but to me, they definitely are not. I’ve been doing one of my word studies to dig in and get them clear for myself.

com·mit·ment noun
the state or a quality of choosing to be dedicated to a cause

ob·li·ga·tion noun a course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound

 There’s one keyword that delineates them, to me.

Choice.

The more I dig into the etymology, history and meanings of the words, to me, commitment is choosing to bind yourself to something/someone and obligation is a thrust upon you and often feels like a burden.

This is important because I look at my life through the lens of choices.

Whenever I begin to feel obligated to something I pause to check in to see, is there anything about this ‘thing’ that I’m actually committed to? Can I connect to that commitment strongly enough that the feeling of burden lifts?

I find when I’m doing something out of obligation my heart isn’t in it, whereas if I can do it out of a commitment, it’s all heart.

One example is that I often skip buying presents for my friends on their birthday. But I’m known to randomly send gifts, cards etc when I feel inspired. I’m committed that they feel loved, but not obligated to do it in any particular way or on any specific timeline.

A small shift perspective can have a huge impact.

Another example. In March 2017 I’d been living a nomadic life for a couple of years and was starting to feel a bit like a fraud because I’d been in one place, my hometown no less, for several months. I was feeling obligated as a nomad to get back on the road and really pushing myself to make this happen. Funny thing is, when I related to it that way, as an obligation, I wasn’t able to get any traction. Everything I had planned didn’t come to fruition. This all became super clear when, three days before I was scheduled to finally leave town and go to Europe, My Guy experienced a major tragedy in his family. He said to me ‘don’t feel obligated to stay behind, you can go Europe‘ and my first thought was ‘hell no! I’m committed to you, I’m staying!‘.

That same conversation taught me another lesson, about my commitment to myself. Traveling and nomading is not an obligation – I chose this life and if it stops feeling juicy and awesome, if it starts feeling like a burden, then I will choose a different life. Once I again started relating to my lifestyle as a choice and commitment rather than a burden and obligation things started magically falling into place. By June 2017 I was back to traveling in a new and exciting way.

I wrote about Priorities and it’s still totally true. I continue to evolve and this conversation of Obligation and Commitment is just another layer to the onion of this round of evolution. My hope is that by sharing it with you, seeing my journey, will allow you to more deeply connect with your own.

Does this relationship between Obligation and Commitment ring true for you?

Are there things you’re doing out of Obligation that you can look for what you’re Committed to as a way to shift your relationship?

 

One scary moment

I was at a networking event in Sarasota last week, sharing with someone about my nomadic lifestyle, and their response was ‘that is really courageous‘. I said ‘thanks‘, because I wasn’t sure what else to say. My life doesn’t usually occur as ‘courageous’ to me so my first inclination is to blow off this sort of comment. But when someone points it out, especially a stranger, I’m reminded that it really is, courageous.

I love my life. I very intentionally created it to be what it is. And, the way I live is very far outside of the social norms and many people don’t understand it and it often makes people uncomfortable. There are plenty of times where it would be far easier to live a more ‘normal’ life. In fact, every time I choose to go deeper into this nomadic life, I become masterful at psyching myself out, obsessing and worrying about it in advance, but then, once it’s actually happening I’m totally chill.

I was reminded of reminded of this video of Will Smith speaking to a group of students, he says “The point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear”. This is so true! The time I’m obsessively worrying and stressing, nothing is actually happening that puts me in any danger or risk, I’m just planning, thinking about something (usually a trip or lifestyle change). Then, when the thing is actually happening, when there is some potential risk of all those things I was worrying about coming true, in the moment I’m not worried or stressed anymore.

How awesome would it be if I could discover the secret to skipping the step where I experience worry and fear?

In the movie The Bridge of Spies (great movie by the way) Tom Hanks plays a lawyer representing an accused spy, throughout the movie the lawyer is continually asking the spy if he’s worried and every time the spy responds with ‘would it help?‘. To which the lawyer always ponders and responds ‘no, I suppose it wouldn’t‘.

While I haven’t reached the point of enlightenment where I can just not worry, I can adopt the lesson from this book I recently listened to (amusing read by the way):

“I was a shy little girl and an only child, so on vacations, I was usually playing alone, too afraid to go up to the happy groups of kids and introduce myself. Finally, on one vacation, my mom asked me which I’d rather have: a vacation with no friends, or one scary moment. So I gathered up all of my courage, and swam over to the kids, and there was one scary moment . . . and then I had friends for the first time on vacation. After that, one scary moment became something I was always willing to have in exchange for the possible payoff. I became a girl who knew how to take a deep breath, suck it up, and walk into any room by herself.”

So, I guess I do live a pretty courageous life. I take the actions in the face of that fear, worry, anxiety etc. because I know that most people regret the things the didn’t do, but rarely the things they did do.

I use the hashtag #adventuresofSunni to remind myself, daily, that my life is one big adventure and there’s nowhere to ‘get’ only the adventure happening right now.

You have your own adventure. The thing you secretly dream about, worry about and perhaps haven’t yet taken action to make come true. It could be creating a digital nomad lifestyle, applying for a promotion, buying a farm, putting your jewelry hobby on Etsy. Whatever the thing is. I encourage you to focus on the adventure that is yours, dance with life, play with the universe.

Ask yourself  ‘would it help?’ and remind yourself that it’s just ‘one scary moment’, and then….jump!

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day in the US. This is a National Holiday intended to have us remember those who gave their lives in service of the country (commonly confused with Veteran’s Day.)

I’ve talked before about how I’m empathic, with so many people focused on mourning, tragedy, loss, confusion the energy is thick.

I have what I call my God Button, a spot just behind my jawbone on the right side, where I’ll feel pressure when Spirit is attempting to talk to or through me. When I ignore it, it develops into a migraine. Sometimes I don’t know what Spirit is trying to say….like today.

That headache finally started to dissipate about an hour ago when I started going through my contacts and sending a text to all my friends who have been deployed, lost family while on active duty etc. I simply said ‘you have my love and gratitude on this day’, a message that seemed cryptic and overly simplified at first, but based on responses is exactly what was needed. It’s a constant journey to learn how to listen and be of service. 

The ‘Right’ Way to Meditate

Meditation is a massively powerful tool.

It’s not only for the Woo Woo or Mystical types. It can be used to quiet the Monkey Mind, to get in touch with your Self and your body.

I like to think of Prayer as the practice of talking to the divine, and Meditation as the practice of listening.

Who couldn’t benefit in hearing more from the Divine?

We are a society that is masterful at distracting ourselves. You are excellent at staying busy, keeping your mind occupied with friends, tasks, thinking about what you need to do, thinking about what you could have said differently in that meeting, watching Netflix, etc etc etc. All of that is engaging the Mind, distracting it. The impact is that you don’t allow space for God to speak to your Soul.

As with everything I do (and teach) I am all about ignoring any rules and finding what works for each unique individual.

All of my adult life, when faced with a challenge I would drive to a body of water and sit. Friends assumed these were my thinking spots, but I wasn’t really thinking, I was just….being. In retrospect, I was listening. I was meditating for years without even realizing I was meditating! I had this notion that there was some ‘right’ way to do it.

There is no ‘right’ way to meditate.

You can likely find dozens, if not hundreds of definitions for meditation. I assert, there is no “correct” definition. With my clients I keep it super simple and we relate to meditation as time spent alone with yourself, focusing your thoughts and energy on one thing.

You can turn virtually any task into a meditation by practicing the focus of your thoughts and energy. For example, I have a client who meditates while folding laundry, she focuses her thoughts and energy on the task at hand, thinking about how the clothes protect her family, help them express their creativity, how fortunate they are to have clean clothes and such a vast wardrobe etc. I have another client who meditates in the shower, spending 3 minutes focused on the feel of the water on his skin, the sensations, the steam, the smell, etc. See what I mean? There’s no ‘right’ way!

If you want to begin a practice, I suggest you start with 3 minutes a day. That is 180 seconds, I have full confidence that you can do this!

I recommend that you start simple. Sit in a comfortable position, set a timer for 3 minutes and spend it focused on your breath. Other great places to begin are by doing a mental body scan and yet another approach can be to repeat an affirmation or mantra to yourself.

If you feel like you need some assistance (no shame in that!), here are links to some resources that I find helpful.

Guided Grounding Meditation
Guided Breath Meditation
My go-to mantra (queued to start with 3 minutes left in the track)
Calming, relaxing music
Body Scan Meditation

It’s called a meditation practice for a reason. It’s not about getting good at it, improving, perfecting etc. It’s about a commitment to practice, regularly.

The point of all of this is to spend time intentionally being alone with yourself. To build a muscle around being able to quiet the Monkeys to allow God to speak to you, because you are listening.

Developing a Meditation Practice is just one of many tools I use when working with my clients in developing a Life Strategy for their world. Contact me if you’d like to learn more about what a Life Strategy is.

Ritual Intent

 

rit·u·al
ˈriCH(o͞o)əl/ noun
1. a solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a set order.

I’ve never thought of myself as ‘routine oriented’, however I’m realizing that I have micro-routines. Rituals really. There’s something grounding and calming about doing things in the same order daily. I have a morning ritual that involves an elixir, gratitude, intention setting, meditation and stretching. I have a bedtime ritual that involves a chat with my Partner, reading, games, music and meditation.

Since going nomadic my most precious ritual is Creating a Sacred Space.

My Spiritual time took me to a stream in a Redwood Forrest

For years now I’ve had a weekly spiritual practice where I set aside one day a week to focus on soul expansion, typically Sunday. On this day I do not work and I spend at least a couple of hours doing some activity that expands and feeds my soul. Sometimes I go to a spiritual center, church or group meditation, other times I go hiking or to the beach and meditate. I also use this day to clear out my space, this could mean cleaning my physical home, my calendar, my computer, cleaning up some relationships – whatever I need to do to go into the upcoming week feeling light, empowered and aligned. I also sage my home and work with my meditation beads, stones and crystals.

I maintain this spiritual practice as a nomad, it doesn’t always happen on Sunday, but one day each week I focus on soul expansion and cleaning my space. I noticed that I couldn’t expand my soul or clean my space until I was first grounded, so I added a ritual to ground in each house I stay in.

Every time I arrive at a new house I use this ritual to declare the space as my Home, a safe and supportive space, and lay out a Sacred Space for myself. To do this, I always pack my Woo Woo Bag, a small bag containing spiritual tokens and tools.

Now, this may be too Woo Woo for you…so, don’t do it my way, make it your own! Perhaps you’re catholic and you use prayer and a small statue of Mother Mary. The actual items, and even the motions, aren’t where the juice is.

The juice is in the intent.

The intent behind the Creating a Sacred Space Ritual is to create a relationship with the space I call home in a way that has me feel safe and connected.

I start by clearing the space.
Sage smudge stick

I burn dried sage. Many people use sage to cleanse and usher out bad energy. Sage does this naturally so I allow the herb to its thing and I focus on bringing in the good. Before I went nomadic I used a smudge stick, now I carry loose dried sage leaves. As it smokes I speak my intention for the space. If possible I do the entire home, at the least I do my bedroom. Typically the intentions I create for my bedroom include Peace, Connection, Relaxation, Joy, Safety, Coziness, Love. For the kitchen I might say Laughter, Nourishment, Community.

If this is too Woo Woo for you, you may try simply walking through the house and praying over each space, or expressing gratitude.

The intent is to get connected to the space you’re calling home.

Then I set up my Sacred Space.
My Sacred Spot in Oakland, CA

I have a small collection of stones and crystals I travel with that I lay out. I set up a small oil infuser, a wooden deity that I bought at a temple in Thailand and lay out my two mala beads along with my traveling succulent plant. If I’m staying awhile I might lay out a scarf or hang a small strand of Tibetan prayer flags. When I look at these things they make me feel grounded.

If this is too Woo Woo for you, there are many other objects you could use. Anything that you associate with your spirituality. It could be a cross, Bible or Koran, even a photo of your family. It’s the intent.

That’s it.

The whole ritual takes me about 5 minutes.

It’s a small thing, yet it brings me much comfort and makes a big difference in my ability to relate to each new bed as Home. It gives me a physical location to return to in order to ground my metaphysical self and stay aligned and connected as I roam this planet.

Even if you live in a space permanently, reacquainting weekly will help you not take your space for granted and get connected in a whole new way.

Making Friends with Video

I’ve started a YouTube Channel!

As I look at how to document my journey in a way that feels good to me and really shares the juicy bits with you, video is seeming more and more appealing.

My current temporary roommate, Andrea, agrees and has been encouraging me to not only share but to be sure to share the process. I often wait until I’ve identified a lesson or a point before I share and she’s explained that what she really wants to see (and suspects you do to) is my process of arriving at the lesson/point – not just the lesson or point itself.

The real tipping point for me came when I had a reading with Molly MacCartney (a new barter client). One of the messages she delivered from Spirit had to do with me utilizing video more and being willing to get even more vulnerable with you guys.

So. Here goes nothing! Let me know if you like the video updates, I’m eager for feedback.

Here’s my first update:

Train the Monkey

The core foundation of living an intentionally designed life comes down to your ability to Train Monkeys. Yup, you read that right.

Not that kind of monkey. This kind.

You know the ones, we all have them. They live in your head and talk to you all day and night long, an ongoing dialog of judgements, assessment, chatter, obsessions, idle thoughts. The challenge is that the Monkeys don’t stop talking unless you train them. Unless you do the work and build a muscle around training those Monkeys they can be so loud that you can’t connect to Source/God, they just talk right over whatever Source is trying to say to you.

It may be time to consider new management in that head of yours. This was the case for my recent client, Samara. She was consistently stressed, surviving her life, hopping from one fire to another in her home and business. After some investigating we identified that the root of her challenge is that she was allowing her Monkey Mind to run her life and desperately missed experiencing a connection to Source/God.


Step 1 : Find the Monkeys

You can’t train something if you don’t know where it is or how to find it.

monkeymineThe most basic part of your brain is the Reptilian Brain or Lizard Brain, located physically in the cerebellum. This is where your impulse lives, fight or flight responses, this is your survival instinct. The Monkeys certainly interact with the Lizard Brain, but they live in a distinctly different place in your brain.

For most people the Monkeys live in the Neocortex and play in the Limbic. The Neocortex is where thought and language take place. The Monkeys live here and just chatter away, a constant dialogue, talking to you all day long. The Limbic is essentially where judgement and emotions come from and this is where the Monkeys love to play as they’re great at judging you, the world around you, your actions, others actions, everything really; they also get riled up by emotions, they feed on them.

The part that can’t be easily explained by science and biology is your Higher Self. For me this is my soul and how Source/God speaks to me. Once I built a muscle around training the Monkeys and could choose when to quiet them, that’s when my Higher Self started getting more air time in my head and heart. Over time I even started to receive what I call Downloads, thoughts planted in my Mind that I’m clear are not my own, rather messages and directives from Source/God. Thing is, you won’t be able to find this place inside you until you spend some time getting to know the various players.

I suggest you start by spending some time, perhaps a week, noticing when they Monkeys are chattering. See if you can identify when it’s the Monkey Mind versus your Lizard Brain responding to something. Don’t attempt to change it, just notice.

Samara realized that her Lizard Brain would trigger a fight or flight response to the fires and challenges she faced throughout her day in her home life and business. Then, once the threat had passed her Monkey Mind would dominate the rest of her day.

Step 2 : Get to know the Monkeys

It’s difficult to train something you have no relationship with. To train an animal you must first earn it’s trust.

With that in mind, spend some time getting to know your Monkeys. What do they talk the most about? What are their common complaints? What do they love to judge? What emotions get them going?

Again, spend a week focusing on this. Just notice, don’t attempt to change.

Samara’s Monkeys spent most of their time analyzing if she’d handled the daily emergencies ‘correctly’, assessing if she was going to be able to leave work on time to be with her family. They also judged her for not spending more time with family and, at the same time, judged her for not handling the business more efficiently.

I feel it important to note here that there are times when the Monkeys help you. They remind you to turn off the stove, buy toilet paper, they think about relationships, self-image etc. and a certain amount of this is healthy. The Monkeys also judge and assess your environment and help you sort things out, for example as you navigate a networking event your Monkeys are determining which people you want to connect with and which ones aren’t a fit. The goal here isn’t to eradicate the Monkeys! They often help and support you in life, no you don’t want to make them go away, you want to develop the ability to choose when you interact with them and when you quiet them. As you’re noticing the focus of the Monkey chatter, also notice when they help you and when the conversation moves into obsessive and no longer serves.

Again, don’t try to change it, just notice (I KNOW, this can be HARD – just trust me)

Step 3 : Give the Monkeys something to do

If you want a group of monkeys to quiet down, throw some bananas or toys into their cage. You want to start including some practices or techniques to distract your Monkeys.

The most effective thing is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Meditation is different than prayer. Consider that prayer is talking to Source/God and meditation is listening. By this definition, regardless of your religious affiliation, meditation can be incorporated into your daily routine.

There are many, many types of meditation. I always suggest that those new to the practice start with deep breathing for just 30 seconds twice a day and slowly increase to five minutes twice a day over a couple of weeks.

For some, the addition of meditation is all that is needed, this simple addition has a butterfly effect and things fall into place. However, for those who are more analytically inclined, additional practices and tools are required.

In Samara’s case we added some new boundaries as well as time management techniques in addition to meditation. She set boundaries with her clients and vendors around when she would address their ‘fires’ and she implemented some focused time daily to manage the business operations which helped to avoid internal fires. She also had a conversation with her family about her guilt over not being home more and made some agreements with them that freed her up to worry less.

Another practice is to simply change the conversation. When the Monkeys get on a rant about something that is self-deprecating, and you notice that it’s happening, change the conversation. You do have control over your thoughts. One thing that works well for me, when I notice the Monkeys going on about something disempowering I focus them, instead, on making a mental list of ten things you’re grateful for, or ten people you love and why, or ten items on your bucket list…you get the idea.


This is not an overnight shift. It takes time to Train Monkeys. It isn’t easy, it will take discipline, commitment and intentionality. Thoughts lead to actions which lead to results. If you’re determined to design your life, to intentionally create a life you love, you must first start by designing and intentionally creating your thought life.