I just love it when synchronistic events take place.
Just like when you are thinking of a friend, and then they call you minutes later. Or, you are wondering lyrics to a song you heard and it plays on the radio just then.
This happened twice yesterday when I was running errands around town.
The first incident occurred upon my arrival to The Studio, Christine MacShane's awesome art haven here in Chico, to pick up a galvanized beer bucket for our IPM party last night. As I pulled up, she was looking for a key to the side office, and couldn't get a hold of Steve by phone to get one. Since I knew where Steve keeps all of the property keys, I was able to locate the missing key and make a copy for them within minutes.
Second, I stayed to chat a bit with Christine while I was there. In the first few minutes of our conversation, she brought up insights about this upcoming transition to Florida that just made my heart smile. Literally, I had just been thinking about Florida as I drove to her studio, and she had no idea that some of her simple words seriously validated my thoughts from just minutes prior.
Again, way fun!
While many of us brush of these "coincidences" in our daily interactions, I find them very meaningful. I think they are just reminders that we are in alignment.
As I drove back to my office, ice bucket in tow, I reflected on how incredible the power of being in personal alignment can be.
When I'm in that space:
- I feel great.
- I meet other people who are witty, insightful, and fun.
- I recognize messages in the world around me... and acknowledge ideas as they spark in my head.
- And, I know when to take action on those ideas.
This week's focus is all about alignment BEFORE action.
Then, from this place of internal harmony, we can leverage our own energy for maximum impact in anything we choose to do.
The box activity then came into my train of thought.
Considering that it's Christmas time--and I'm fully in the spirit--I created a beautifully-wrapped box (like in the image above) to help me in this exercise.
Part 1 goes like this.
Imagine what your life looks like six months from now. Based on how you visualize the many areas of your life (using some of the goals and dreams created in the first week of this course), create priorities on which to place your focus. Create a list of the aspects you see in your life half a year down the road. Then:
- Mark an A by the goals/dreams which are of highest importance to you
- Mark a B by those you will want to move toward, but are less important
- Mark a C by those that are still important in your lifetime, but not necessarily relevant to the next six months
For many of us, this is a familiar activity to help us navigate the usually-insurmountable list of to-do's in any given day.
Part 2: Enter, the box.
The box is what makes this activity different.
I like to take my list, and break it down even further.
Let's start with just the A's.
If there are actions that I can take now, or this week, that will help me move toward any of these goals, I make a note next to the phrase. It might involve doing some research or making some calls. Ideally, I want to have fun in the process of these endeavors (thus staying more in alignment as I take action).
Sometimes, though, I'm just not sure what action to take right now... or what the next step should be on the journey to that goal.
I then put that item in the golden, pretty box (Yours could be any design or color that you'd like).
This is my God box, or my Universal Manager box, or my angel box... any of the above.... all with the connotation that I'm not responsible for action right now.
By placing these items in the box, I am confirming with my heart that these are of importance to me, but I don't have to worry about the outcome. I can trust that the right people, the right information, and the right unfolding will take place as I am ready.
I do this with all of the items on my A list.
Then, I read through all of the others under the B and C categories. I throw those all in the box, too.
This activity has many purposes.
First, it cuts down on the sense of obligations I have for the week ahead. We live in a fast-paced world, and there are many other everyday items that will need to get done in order for my house to stay clean and my projects to get done at work. This helps me simplify my priority list!
Second, with this smaller to-do list, I feel more free. When I feel more free, I tend to be more buoyant, more effortlessly happy, and more inspired.
This naturally leads to Part 3 of this activity: Get out and enjoy life!
Use your zest, your passion, your enthusiasm to have fun during the day! Really, this is just another way of saying use your energy to get into alignment.... then enjoy it!
For it's really in this place of inner harmony that I can more easily experience those unexpected, synchronistic moments. I can more readily hear the messages that help me move in the direction of my dreams. And, I can definitely be excited when the call to action does arise.
This last step comes at the end of the week, which I'll revisit in a few days, where you re-open the box and take a look at the items on the list and re-evaluate priorities once again.
But, why get ahead of myself? For now, I'm going to stick with Part 3 and relish being alive!!
What have I been doing with more time in alignment?
Baking, no doubt!
Here is my favorite go-to recipe for Mini Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes (makes 24-30)
- 1 1/3 cup flour, sifted
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup almond milk (or whole milk)
- ½ cup espresso, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Butter cream:
- 1.5 sticks butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 cup mascarpone, softened
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about five minutes. Add the egg.
- In a cup, add the milk and vanilla to espresso.
- Slowly add the flour mixture and liquid to the butter, sugar, and egg. Alternate adding the flour and liquid in segments, ending with the flour mixture.
- Fill mini baking cups only ½ full and bake for 9-12 minutes.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add vanilla. Then, add the powdered sugar and dark cocoa powder. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Just before finishing, add the mascapone and beat until incorporated (but not more)
- Frost cupcakes when cool. Add any decorations of choice.
Note: You can make just a vanilla mascarpone frosting by omitting dark cocoa powder and adding the same amount of powdered sugar instead. Both options delicious!