Each year, I select a theme to help keep my compass pointing north through the coming year. My 2014 theme was choices.

As the New Year approached, the leading contender for my 2015 theme was joy. This came from the discovery and commitment made during 2014 that if I couldn’t do the bigger work I’ve found myself doing in the world with a joyful heart, then I would choose not to do it.

This bigger work includes serving as CEO of the Community Resilience Institute, empowering individuals, families, schools, and communities to keep hope alive as they recover from tragic losses and maneuver their way to a new normal of resilient living. 

The rub is that this work has become work that I cannot not do. It runs to the core of who I am and the truth of why I am here.

Over this past year, as I grew my message to post-crisis communities that resilient living represents a way of being and doing that goes beyond times of adversity, I walked my own path of creating a deep well from which to draw as I lived and worked with purpose and with joy.

Toward the end of 2014, a friend in one of my virtual support groups (thank you Sarah Rudell Beach!) shared her take on the word abundance and graciously allowed me to run with it… 

AbunDANCE

Seeing this word instantaneously unleashed torrents of reminders of how I want to live in the New Year – and beyond…

Reside in possibilities. Keep hope alive. You have enough. You are more than enough.

Your heart is made to serve so when you follow your heart, you serve in more meaningful ways.

Life is about making every moment count – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – for yourself and others. Think abundantly BIG about how you want to walk in service to others in ways that nourish you.

Living your life’s purpose isn’t the pathway to inner peace and joy, but rather cultivating peace and following your bliss is how you find and live your greatest purpose.

Joyful service comes not from seeking to please others but from being true to the whole of your self.

Creativity comes not from making what you think others expect or will like but is inspired by innate curiosity and a heart overflowing with loving compassion.

Following joy in each moment will help you stay present and create more experiences that you truly want in your life. Dance your way to more!

Dancing to your authentic beat attracts fellow seekers who follow curiosity, savor possibilities, listen to inner wisdom, act boldly with courageous trust, and generously co-create a more abundant future for all. 

The more light you unleash, nurture and share from within, the brighter the world in which you live will be.

When you dance like no one is watching…shining your unique light with love and joy…miracles happen and lives are transformed.

AbunDANCE reminded me that staying connected to following my joy nourishes how I want to feel within and outside of work… content, loved and loving, and vibrantly ALIVE! The more I feel these feelings, the more I choose to prioritize relationships, activities, and perspectives that fuel abundant living. In other words, I effortlessly make better choices that rejuvenate me.

This past year has provided extraordinary experiences of attracting brave hearts – dear hearts – who share my passion to strengthen those who’ve experienced traumatic loss. We have discovered new ways to connect to each other, to our work, and to those we serve. This has led to an impressive list of successes during the first year of our nonprofit status, including the Resiliency Matters TV show, our first national Thriving Lives conference, and providing post-crisis response and THRIVE community work to people across the country. 

We enter the New Year with open hearts, great hope, and ample space for welcoming additional partners dedicated to working together for the greater good.

Being guided by abunDANCE will help me guide our team in a way that pressing needs will be met, aching hearts will be healed, and our individual and collective light will shine forth as a beacon through any darkness. 

Whatever your work in the world, may you join me on this journey of more deeply understanding and living this truth: It is possible to cultivate deep, abiding joy as you seek to remedy the injustices that break your heart.

You can joyfully do high impact work to meet serious needs. In fact, following and dancing to your bliss holds the key to making our world a better place.

Think about it. Nobody else in this whole wide world has your vision, your voice, or your solutions. So build, heal, play, live, and shine as only you can.

Can we have this dance? 

Making an Impact in the New Year
For the past few years, as part of my new year planning, I’ve selected a phrase or word to remind me of how I want to show up, day in and day out, in order to become more of who I want to be.
 
This word helps keep me headed toward my north star.
 
A few years ago, my theme was Best Life Design. This theme nourished me as I focused my efforts on offering events and services to help entrepreneurs make a living in way that holistically fueled their best life and allowed them to make a greater impact in the world.
 
Two years ago, I was guided by Service. This word came through strongly as I wrote a book about the wisdom of my life’s greatest mentor. Walking with Justice teaches that it is our service to others that defines the quality of our lives. It was this focus on service that nudged me to step forward when my community needed guidance after the loss of three teens to suicide. This work led to the founding of the nonprofit Community Resiliency Project, for which I serve as director.
 
Last year, my theme was Ministry. Our community work was challenging me to learn and practice new ways to guide others through grief and adversity. This focus on ministry pulled me toward being a more vibrant instrument of peace and healing. I am very much a work in progress.
 
Over the past month, I’ve been letting “my word” marinate, trusting that it would show up with its special juiciness before the ringing out of the old and in of the new.
 
And it did.
 
Choices.
 
In my community resiliency work, I’ve often reminded parents, teachers, and leaders that they always have a choice. Regardless of the increasing noise and chaos of our society from outside in, we can choose to take a deep breath from inside out.
 
We can choose to say: “No matter the pace and dysfunction out there, within this home, within this classroom, and within community, we choose peace. We choose love. We choose acceptance, compassion, and kindness. We choose to create an environment in which we thrive.”
 
Over the past year, I’ve personally and powerfully witnessed in both my community and servant leadership work how hungry people are to be seen, heard, and affirmed. They thirst to know that they matter and are needed. This validation was the greatest gift my mentor gave to me as a young lawyer – and it was life changing.
 
You likely will find the next sentence to be an oversimplification or a profound observation…
 
If you want to thrive, then make more daily choices that allow you to thrive.
 
The truth is that our choices, day in and day out, move us closer to or away from a condition of thriving.
 
Our daily choices, big and small, represent our quest for wholeness. They also serve as a powerful manufacturer of the natural consequences we experience in life. 
 
We can choose who we are, what we think, how we feel, how we act, and the difference we’re going to make in the world.
 
My wish for you in the new year is that you become more aware of the power of your choices and intentionally make better and better choices that fuel your health, wholeness, and service to others.
 
Do you set a theme for your year?
 
I’d love to hear your insights!

Dr. Mollie’s Musings, August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014

Musing as August is closing its doors with a wish that you are taking in the beauty of the season.   A few highlights in my memory making department…Hosted my husband’s Swiss exchange brother & family in Iowa and savored seeing friendships started in one generation solidify into the next.   Met our exchange daughter […]

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Dr. Mollie’s Musings July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014

Just back from an excellent Alaskan adventure… Extraordinary place to celebrate 4th of July (and 23rd wedding Anniversary!). Favorite vacation read: The Untethered Soul. Combination of expansive vistas around every corner and intimate RV travel provided perfect setting to do plenty of big envisioning…and applied mindfulness practice! Adding to the fun, we met up with […]

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Dr. Mollie’s Musings May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014

Springtime at the orchard…trees in blossom and outdoor playtime. #family Special to have all 12 of my siblings gather to celebrate niece’s wedding…the sisters. #Love Facilitated @ResiliencyProj forum for community that lost youth to suicide…hundreds of neighbors moving toward hope, help and healing!  http://CRProject.org One more week until our Thrive & Serve Retreat. I’m being […]

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Where is Your Heartbreak Calling You?

April 18, 2014

As I was preparing to travel to a small community that lost a child as the fourth person to suicide this year, I heard about the shooting and loss of lives at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City.   Heartbreak.   Since writing the story of my life’s greatest mentor (a Jewish judge) a […]

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Dr. Mollie’s Musings April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

Why so quiet in March? Three consecutive weeks of “spring break” with my kiddos’ 3 different school schedules. #playtime Designed balance of travel and staycations. It's not about world travel…it's about heading up the road with fresh eyes! The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page. ~St. Augustine #perspective […]

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Dr. Mollie’s Musings March 2014

March 6, 2014

Musing about…choices and transformation. When lecturing at the UI Law School recently about non-traditional careers…I shared advice reflected in this gem (via @LissaRankin). If you prefer poetry… “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” ~Rumi A thriving life is one designed by you, from inside out. Perhaps you’ve had a life experience…an illness, job […]

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Dr. Mollie’s Love-filled Musings 2-14-14

February 14, 2014

Last month I shared my 2014 theme: Choices. Some of you wrote to share your themes, including: Collaborate; Expand Your Boundaries; Healthy; Faith Over Fear; Peace; Soften; Connect; Reinvention.   You inspire me! Want to share your 2014 theme or how clearly seeing your choices created a better outcome? I’d love to hear about it. […]

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Making an Impact in the New Year

December 31, 2013

For the past few years, as part of my new year planning, I’ve selected a phrase or word to remind me of how I want to show up, day in and day out, in order to become more of who I want to be.   This word helps keep me headed toward my north star. […]

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