Wedding for One

Dreams, Synchronicities, and Celebrations

A Blog Post in 3-Installments

Part I: THE PROPOSAL

Sometime last year I dreamed that I was getting married. This interested me for several reasons. For starters, dreams of weddings can mean many things. Weddings might symbolize the union of two parts of ourselves, union with the divine, or of course … a wedding dream could mean someone is getting ready to propose. Then there’s the simple fact that as an unmarried woman, I couldn’t help but pay attention to a dream that I was tying the knot.

And then there was this: The dream wedding not only showed me getting married, it provided a date for the wedding: February 3. More interesting still, there was no groom.

Intrigued, I recorded the dream in my journal and titled it: “Wedding for One.”

Some months later, I was attending a dream conference. It happened to be June, the prime season for weddings–but since I had just lost my mother, it was funerals, not weddings that were on my mind.

Nonetheless, I woke one morning in my hotel bed from another wedding-related dream. In this one, I received a marriage proposal. I told the dream to Sherry, my friend and conference roommate.

Later that day I ran into my dream teacher, Justina Lasley, who is the founder and director of the Institute for Dream Studies (IDS). I had first met Justina years earlier when I enrolled in her dream certification program, from which I graduated in 2011. Now, Justina took me aside and told me there was something she’d like to discuss with. She was ready to make some big changes in her life, she told me, and she asked if I would consider taking on the directorship of her Institute.

I was surprised, flattered, and very interested. But I told Justina that I would need to think it over, as this would be a big decision.

It wasn’t until that evening, when Sherry and I met at the end of the day for dinner in the hotel restaurant, that I had time to think about the matter further. When I told her what Justina had offered, Sherry exclaimed, “Wow! What an exciting business proposal.”

A proposal! I hadn’t realized until that moment that my dream had come true. Sure, it wasn’t a marriage proposal, but it was an invitation to a new beginning, nonetheless. The fact that this proposal came so soon after I had faced a heart-wrenching ending–my mother’s death–made it feel like a special gift.

As usual, I marveled at the way dreams come true—often in unexpected ways. But this particular dream wasn’t done with me yet.

…to be continued…

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This blog post is the first in a series about what happens when we follow dreams and synchronicities…

…Stay tuned for the next installment of “Wedding for One: Dreams, Synchronicities, and Celebrations.”

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Spoiler alert:

If you want to know whether or not I accepted Justina’s proposal, click here. Otherwise, enjoy the suspense until the next post in this series is published.

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To an admiring—B(l)og?

Say your name.

That’s this week’s Theme at “The Daily Post.” I’d tell you mine, but that’s just the problem. I feel like I’ve been saying it a bit too much lately. Here’s why:

Feeling Froggy

These days I’ve been feeling a bit like the frog in Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I’m Nobody! Who are You?” The poet writes:

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

You see, since the publication of my new book Joy in Every Moment I’ve been posting to Facebook and tweeting on Twitter so often, that sometimes it feels like I’ve been at it–well–“in every moment”!

Some authors resist the part of the job that entails self-promotion, but I’m not dragging my feet.

Perhaps it’s just that I’m the daughter of a salesman, so I’m okay with approaching strangers with an outstretched hand and offering my wares. You see, my dad recently retired after 60+ years of selling building supplies to contractors on Long Island. Before that he sold Scripto Pens on summer vacations from college. And here’s what he taught me:

Selling isn’t hard work if you believe in your product.

And in this case, I do.

After all, I’m selling nothing less than Joy! And Joy empowers us to live our days consciously, fully, and without regrets.

So, I’m not holding back! I’m going to keep preaching to that bog…or blog as the case may be.

To quote another of Dickinson’s poems:

‘Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I,
Have ventured all upon a throw!
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so—
This side the Victory!

Spread the Joy

If you believe, as I do, that spreading Joy is important, I hope you’ll help me get the word out about Joy in Every Moment. Here’s what you can do:

  • Read the book! If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will consider reading Joy in Every Moment. You can find it online for $10! Retail it’s $12.95. That’s a bargain!
  • Tell your friends about Joy in Every Moment on social media
  • LIKE” my author page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter (@tziviag) and invite your friends to do the same
  • Review Joy on GoodReadsor Amazon
  • Bring me to your city or town to talk to your book club, yoga community, professional group, local bookstore, or library.

Thank you for helping to make the world a little bit more JOYful!

P.S. Thanks, Dad!

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This Post is a response to “The Daily Post.” Say Your Name

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You’ve got the power—in your pocket. (Or why you shouldn’t Google away another day)

“The fact is, we now have amazing power (literally) at our fingertips. But how often do we go online and lose ourselves (and our power) in a brain daze?”

I recently picked up my smartphone to call my daughter to ask her for the address of a restaurant we both liked. She replied, with a trace of bemused impatience in her voice, “Mother, it’s always nice to hear from you … but you are holding a computer in your hand. You can find out anything you want. You don’t need to ask me.”

I got the message she intended: I used my smartphone to Google the address of the restaurant in question, and later used my phone’s GPS to direct me there.

But I got a bigger message, too.

I, and likely you, too, have a powerful network of knowledge and information within arm’s reach. Mine’s in the outside zipper pocket of my purse. Yours may be in your pocket, on your kitchen table, or beside your bed.

9911The fact is, we now have amazing power (literally) at our fingertips. But how often do we go online and lose ourselves (and our power) in a brain daze: We log on to answer an email and end up watching cutesy videos of kittens chasing laser beams, mindlessly checking Facebook feeds, or wandering from one marginally interesting blogpost to another. But in the end we come away no wiser and no happier than we were before.

The power to choose

Instead, we can choose to use this amazing technology to learn to live better, to get tips on staying healthy, to explore consciousness, to connect meaningfully with loved ones, or to listen to talks by world leaders, spiritual masters, or motivational speakers.

We can learn how to save a few dollars with Groupon—and we can learn how to save plants and animals that are headed for extinction.

We can use social media to crack wise, and we can use our posts to spread wise and hopeful, helpful, loving, or supportive thoughts. We can complain about politics, or dig deeper and research the complexities of of an issue that disturbs us.

And then, too, we can turn it all off and turn inward for five minutes—or 20—or 40—instead. (We can even download apps to help us meditate or practice other forms of mindfulness.)

The point is, not only do we hold a powerful computer in our hands … we hold a choice in our hands. It’s up to us how we will use this amazing technological gift.

So, before you Google away another day, take a moment to see where you want that smartphone to take you. Set an intention for the time you spend when you’re online. What do you want to learn or experience in that vast web of knowledge?

As for me, I think I’ll try to find a lovely restaurant where I can meet my daughter for lunch so I can thank her for inspiring me to use my power well!

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Joy in the Airport? You must be kidding!

 

Maybe I should have called my book: “Joy in Every Moment: Except for that Moment When You Look at The Departure Status for Your Flight and See the Word…Delayed.”

Joy in (Almost) Every Moment

When I told family and friends that the publisher for my newest book, Joy in Every Moment, was sending me on a book tour, they congratulated me and told me how lucky I am.

But here’s the thing: A book tour means travel, airports, flying, and rental cars. In this case we’re talking 3 cities and 6 flights in 5 days! And I may have written a book about Joy, but I am not a joyful traveller. American AirlinesIn fact, a more honest title for my book would have been: “Joy in Every Moment: Except for that Moment when You Look at The Departure Status for your Flight and See the word…Delayed.”

Forget the present moment. When I travel, I’m calculating time, adding and subtracting minutes, trying to make “Good Time,” and rueing every obstacle that comes between me and an on-time arrival: Traffic, lines of passengers with over-stuffed luggage that won’t fit into overhead compartments, maintenance alerts that keep airplanes grounded on the tarmac, tailwinds…you name it.

But since I was traveling to promote my book about finding joy in every moment, I couldn’t turn into Anxious Nasty Travel Lady muttering at rental car agents who are checking my car in too slowly, or cursing airline agents who deliver the bad news about a missed connecting flight–then admit that I’m on the road to promote a book on finding happiness in the present moment!

So, I texted a friend for advice. She replied: “Read your book!”

Gulp.

Yes, I took my own medicine. Before I left home at 4:30 a.m. to catch my first of six flights in five days I asked myself: “What does mindfulness mean to me today? How will I connect with Joy in airport terminals and on cramped, crowded and/or delayed flights?

Here’s what I came up with:

The Travel To-Do List

I took out my Travel Checklist, and along with to-do items such as “Pack phone charger,” “E-mail hosts,” “Check seat assignments,” I added the imperative to: “Enjoy the Journey.”

Count smiles

Everywhere I went I looked for smiles, and I found them: The whistling airport shuttle driver who brought me from the parking lot to the terminal, the woman cooing to her baby on the check-in line, the baby being coo-ed at, and the man in the business suit laughing as he spoke into his bluetooth as he stepped out of his designer shoes in the security line… each one had a radiant smile. And it’s true. Those grins are contagious.

Only connect

I gave myself a little job for my journey. My self-imposed assignment was to make three meaningful connections with people in the airport. This ended up being the best part of my travels. I made it a point to pause and talk to three people I met along the way. I asked the woman who sold me my souvenir postcards in an airport gift shop where her beautiful accent was from, and she shared a story about growing up in Ethiopia. I asked the TSA agent who checked my license and boarding pass how he was doing, and he told me it had been a tough few days for him. The line was short, so when I asked him why, he told me. Then I got into a conversation with a woman behind me on the security line who turned out to be on her way to a family funeral. The line was long and slow, so I even had time to learn about her work teaching autistic children, and all the little things she does to help them and their parents feel happier. We enjoyed our conversation so much that we barely noticed the line’s glacial movement forward, and by the time we piled our shoes, belts, and 3 ounce bottles of liquids into plastic bins we felt like close friends.

IMG_0528Laughing all the way

The bottom line is this: I have never had such fun traveling–in spite of the fact that on Day 2 of my tour, the battery in my rental car died just as I was about to  head to the airport for my next flight, I encountered several flight delays including one on the tarmac (my least favorite kind) while the plane’s wings were de-iced, and countless other (potential) irritations.

 

P.S.

Oh, and by the way, the book readings and signings were wonderful, too. More on that some other time. Meanwhile, I’ve got to sign off now, so I can book my next trip.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life wherever you go. My new book helps lead the way!

 

 

 

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My Top 10 Books to Inspire You

Tzivia Gover Author PicksThis post was written in response to a question posed by the librarians at Boston Public Library, where I’ll be speaking about my book Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life Thursday, January 14, at 6 p.m. as part of the Boston Public Library’s Author Talks Series. 

Q: What are the 10 Books that Inspire You Most?

It wasn’t easy to come up with my “Ten Favorite Books to Inspire You”—but it was fun to give the question some thought. As a writer I have an entire village of favorite books that inspire me on my shelves. (I live in a relatively small space, otherwise I’d have an entire metropolis of favorites!) But which ones might inspire you as well? To narrow it down, I began by flipping through the pages of Joy in Every Moment, my latest book, which includes quotes from many of the books that have inspired me to live my best life—one moment at a time. Then I added a few more to come up with a highlights list that includes books of poetry, philosophy, self-help, psychology, and fiction. I hope you find something here to inspire you! Enjoy.

  1. The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel: The fictional character, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, inspired me to “choose the better story”—a reminder I turn to again and again.
  2. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman: I re-read this book-length poem with a group of friends almost every year on the Fourth of July (the anniversary of the book’s publication). It takes us about two hours to read the entire poem aloud, and each time I feel inspired to try to do my part to live up to Whitman’s vision of true equality and democracy.
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A psychiatrist imprisoned in a concentration camp comes away recommitted to his belief that we can live positive and purposeful lives filled with meaning—no matter what the circumstances. Now that inspires me.
  4. You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay: As a young woman, this classic self-help book inspired—and empowered—me, to wake up to the role our thoughts play in manifesting our lives.
  5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jung: My dreams are a constant source of inspiration to me. Jung’s work helps me to explore them, trust them, and find meanings within them.
  6. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo: With joy as the organizing principle for getting one’s house in order, this quirky little book inspires me to experience my surroundings in a richer way!
  7. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler: This book inspires me to grab my pen, nearly as soon as I open my eyes in the morning—and start to write.
  8. Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: I turn to this book again and again when I need to be inspired to live from my heart in a time of great challenges to our magnificent planet.
  9. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed: Pearls of wisdom wrapped in humor and humility and delivered with gloves-off, gut-wrenching candor—that’s what I call inspiration.
  10. Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chödrön: I have this book in paperback and in an MP3 file on my iPod so I can read or listen to it any time, including at 4 a.m. on nights when I can’t sleep. This book inspires me to face difficult situations and emotions with a loving heart.

May these books inspire you, too. Or better yet, may you be inspired to share with others your ten most inspiring books!

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[Originally Published by Boston Public Library http://www.bpl.org/press/2016/01/08/author-picks-tzivia-govers-top-ten-books-to-inspire-you/]

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Paying Homage to the Old Year While the New Year is Still New

101 Wonderful Things? Start Counting

This time of year, most people are looking ahead to the New Year. But I like to look backward, too. Winter in general, and January in particular, are ideal times for reflection.

For many years now, at some point between the end of December and the first week of January, I make a list of 101 Wonderful Things about the year that just passed. 

This may seem daunting, but I practice almost every evening by making lists of 10 Wonderful Things about the day that just passed. These need not be big ticket items, instead they are the little details that make a day delightful: The way the sun filtered through the bare branches of a tree, the compliment offered by a co-worker, or the rich aroma of the soup you had for lunch.

So, while the year is still new, I invite you to give it a try. See if you can list 101 Wonderful Things about 2015. Or, if that seems like too big a challenge just now, try making a list of 10 Wonderful Things about today. And then do it again tomorrow. And the tomorrow after that. If you make this a habit, a year from now you’ll see how easy it is to make that New Year’s List of 101 Wonderful Moments.

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Here at AllTheSnoozeThat’sFitToPrint we’re resolving to do New Year’s Resolutions differently. Today’s post is one in a series on mindful ways of creating New Year’s Resolutions that work.

You can read the first post when you click here. Then just follow along.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life in 2016. My new book helps lead the way!

 

 

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Who Says it’s New Year’s Day?

There’s Not Just One New Year

Who says Jan. 1 is the start of the New Year? I’m no historian, but as far as I can make out Jan. 1 was chosen more or less at random Julius Caesar, when he decided the Roman calendar needed a little updating, back in 45 BC.IMG_5615

The year never feels particularly “New” to me on the first of January, but it does feel as if the year is turning in the fall, when crops are being harvested. That’s when it’s time to celebrate the Jewish New Year, which gives me another opportunity to consider my New Year’s intentions and reflections.

But perhaps if I lived in an Asian country I’d feel ready to begin anew in February, when the Chinese New Year is celebrated.

Rather than debate the merits of the various options for a New Year’s celebration, I choose to honor as many as I can in order to support my New Year’s intentions, and I invite you to consider doing the same.

Here’s how:

  • On Jan. 1 set your intentions for the coming year.
  • During the period between Jan. 1 and Feb. 8 (the Chinese New Year) reflect on the year that just passed, and visualize what you want to move toward in the year to come.
  • On Oct. 2, the start of the Jewish New Year, renew the intentions that you set on Jan. 1. The Jewish New Year is also a time to seek forgiveness for any wrongs you’ve committed, so you might also take this time to forgive yourself for ways you’ve fallen short of living up to your New Year’s intentions. Then gently encourage yourself to try, try again.

No need to stop here…learn about New Year’s celebrations and traditions in other cultures, and see if you find inspiration for supporting your own quest to renew yourself again and again, all year long.

I am wishing you a Joy-Filled New Year. May you Renew, Refresh, and Recommit to being the best you can be.

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Here at AllTheSnoozeThat’sFitToPrint we’re resolving to do New Year’s Resolutions differently. Today’s post is the final installment in a week-long series on mindful ways of creating New Year’s Resolutions that work.

You can read the first post when you click here. Then just follow along.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life in 2016. My new book helps lead the way!

 

 

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Resolve to Remind Yourself

What is it about New Year’s resolutions that makes them so easy to forget? Let’s face it, making resolutions is easy. Sticking to them–not so much. Here are some tips to help support you in succeeding at keeping your New Year’s intentions:

  • Touch in. Keep a touchstone (an object to remind you of your intention) close at hand in a pocket or pocketbook. Each time you see it, remind yourself of your New Year’s intention.
  • Home in. Take a picture of your touchstone, or of some other image that reminds you of your intention, and make iIMG_1020t the Home Screen Image  on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Be alarming. Add a label to your alarms and alerts on your smart phone or other devices that reminds you of your intention. So, rather than having an alarm that says “Wake Up” your label might read, “Wake Up to Joy,” to remind you of your intention to live joyfully.
  • Drop anchor. Another good way to stick to your resolution is to anchor your intention to something you do every day. For example, each time you brush your teeth, focus on lovingkindness, if that is your intention. Or meditate for each morning while your coffee is brewing, if you are aiming to bring more mindfulness into your year.

Get creative and have fun finding different ways to build Resolution Reminders into your day.

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Here at AllTheSnoozeThat’sFitToPrint we’re resolving to do New Year’s Resolutions differently. Today’s post is part of a week-long series on mindful ways of creating New Year’s Resolutions that work. You can read the first post when you click here. Then follow along.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life in 2016. My new book helps lead the way!

 

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Making New Year’s Resolutions…40 Days at a Time

A Year is a Long Time

364 days (365 for 2016, which is a leap year) is a long time for sticking to a new habit or behavior. So rather than make a New Year’sIMG_1016Resolution for an entire year, try committing to 40 days at a time, instead.

Why 40 days? Studies show that it takes about that long to establish a habit. It’s also a long enough time to create a healthy challenge, but not so long that it’s unsustainable. Still, if 40 days seems like too long, try committing to your resolution for 21 days at a time, instead.

Here are some tips for making those resolutions stick one day (or 40) at a time:

  • Be specific. Rather than say, “I want to be more mindful,” try: “In order to be more mindful I’ll meditate for 12 minutes a day for 40 days.” If you want to be more grateful, resolve to make a gratitude list containing 10 items every evening before bed for 40 days.
  • Choose a touchstone. A touchstone is an object, such as a feather, shell, stone, coin, or piece of jewelry, that will remind you of your commitment. Your touchstone should also be small enough to carry in a pocket or purse, to keep your reminder close at hand for the duration of your 40-day commitment.
  • Aim for progress, not perfection. Be gentle with yourself. If you forget you resolution for a day or two, simply return to, and re-commit, as soon as you remember.
  • Celebrate. Mark the conclusion of your 40-day commitment on your calendar. On Day 40 celebrate your success, and repeat the process for the next 40 days.

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Here at AllTheSnoozeThat’sFitToPrint we’re resolving to do New Year’s Resolutions differently. Today’s post is part of a week-long series on mindful ways of creating New Year’s Resolutions that work. You can read the first post when you click here. Then follow along.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life in 2016. My new book helps lead the way!

 

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A New Year’s Reducing Plan

Perhaps in the wake of the season of gift giving and receiving, you’re feeling like you’ve consumed too much: Too much food and drink, as well having bought too much and accumulated too many gifts. In these quiet days we have an opportunity to take stock, value what we have and let go of what no longer serves us.

New Year's is the perfect time to do some mental housecleaning.

New Year’s is the perfect time to do some mental housecleaning.

Looking around our houses this time of year, with rooms cluttered with gifts, cards, and baskets of cookies and sweets, one thing is clear: It’s easier to acquire than to let go. But just as our shelves, table tops, closets, and drawers fill up with dusty old tchotchkes and worn out clothes that no longer fit us, so too can our minds and hearts get cluttered with old stories and beliefs that are taking up space without serving any useful purpose.

As we approach 2016, take a mental inventory. List 3 (intangible) things you want to let go of. Perhaps there’s a belief that is far past its sell-by date; perhaps you’ve collected some resentments, or old myths you’ve created about your life that no longer bring you closer to the truth of who you are capable of becoming.

As you clean up your house this week, discarding bags of wrapping paper, sweeping up pine needles that have fallen around the Christmas tree, or even doing daily chores such as washing dishes and taking the trash to the curb–think about the habits of worry or negativity, or the old beliefs you are going to let go of as 2015 draws to a close.

As what no longer serves you falls away, you can make room in your heart and mind for new possibilities and fresh starts.

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Here at AllTheSnoozeThat’sFitToPrint we’re resolving to do New Year’s Resolutions differently. Today’s post is part of a week-long series on mindful ways of creating New Year’s Resolutions that work. You can read the first post when you click here.

Joy CoverAnd now for a word from our sponsor:

Bring more JOY into your life in 2016. My new book helps lead the way!

 

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