simple shui | fiercing forward

want to know the best part about what i do?

it’s the company + conversation i discover around every corner.

from the blog to my travels to social media and each of you – i am always surrounded by grace and generosity.

i LOVE hearing fresh perspectives on shui, and i LOVE how beautifully it cross pollinates with other people’s passions. so, when ashley commented on this post, i was intrigued by her invitation to collaborate. and when we met for a conversation, holy love! here is a woman contagiously centered in her being – not only is ashley fierce, she claims and armors herself in ambition daily.

like ashley, i believe our lives ultimately consist of the daily decisions: the ones we think don’t matter immediately; the choices we habitually postpone; the commitments we put off until “next monday”; the decisions that would inch us toward something better but require mounds of courage. and yet, these seemingly small decisions are the portals to our creativity, energy, love, and genius – they are invitations + the embodiment of fiercing forward.

so, it is my pleasure and privilege to be featured over on Fierce Forward today, where we are talking about ways shui can get you out of a rut and shape your future. and if you haven’t met ashley yet, hurl yourself into her high octane world. whether you join her movement, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or like her tweets, here’s what i know for sure: she is inspiration + motivation + empowerment all in one – a tour de force who really does believe in YOU.

read the whole article here.

xo

 

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simple shui | gift well #4

i am a reader. i love being swallowed whole into the pages of a good story.

so, what makes a good book in my world?

one ::  i don’t want to put it down. which is to say, i often find myself muttering, “one more chapter and then i’ll go to sleep…” only to still be awake while the world around me slumbers because the story is worth sinking into like that.

two :: i am wooed by the sentences + phrases + beautiful language, making my soul drool…

three :: i am compelled within only a few pages to text someone and say “GET THIS BOOK. NOW!” {you know who you are!}

four :: pages are dog-eared. i’m writing in the margins. and i’ve highlighted a pathway of passages.

five :: there is always a before and after demarcation with a good book.

finally :: a good book lingers. like, the voices and story and experience stay with me in a way that years might pass, but when i pick up the book again and inhale its scent and flip through the pages, it all comes back.

so, what made my good book list this year?

here are a few to get you started. . .

 

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY | fredrik backman

this book gave me life over the summer. i can’t remember why i picked up this book, because i knew nothing about it.

it took over the rest of my day.

since reading it, i peruse the pages often, trying to memorize the universal wisdom woven into this unforgettable story.

these pages house so many of my favorite sentences to ever read — ones that caught my breath and made me pause  — but this. THIS sentiment was a revelation.

‘we want to be loved. failing that, admired; failing that, feared. failing that, hated and despised. at all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. the soul abhors a vacuum. at all costs it longs for contact.’

remember this. because i suspect it will be a faithful servant in the years ahead. . .

 

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR | paul kalanithi

there’s a conversation from this book that hitched itself to me as i read it:

“will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” she asked. “don’t you think saying good-bye to your child will make your death more painful?”

“wouldn’t it be great if it did?” i said.

i often remind myself that adversity shows true character, and this book rattled me to my core. the best teacher for life is death, because in its grasp, we become authentic + real + vulnerable – which is to say, fully alive. paul’s story is both beautiful and painful, and i believe a necessary read for everyone. making it one of my favorite reads ever.

 

MY LIFE ON THE ROAD | gloria steinem

i know the word FEMINISM gets in the way for so many, but here’s the thing about people’s stories + migrations: lives lived deeply + widely give us a chance to see the world twice. once, from our familiar perspective and comfortable, orderly understanding. and secondly, they tinder new insights because we can’t possibly see + know + breathe into every life possibility out there. we will always find ourselves in good company of the collective experience if we pay attention. and learning something new is the only way our brains grow, people, so stay open.

her journeys + conversations + lifelong loyalty to making the world a better place for women and men is reassuring and inspiring. and if nothing else, it rallies to life a universal truth: one person can make a mighty difference.

‘if you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them. if you hope people will change how they live, you have to know how they live. if you want people to see you, you have to sit down with them eye to eye.’

a one-size-fits-all piece of advice, yes?

whether you grab the stash for yourself or bundle a few as a gift, these stories share one star-worthy quality — they open up our capacity to accept + LOVE. and that is a gift in itself.

xo

p.s. if you want a few other good reads, check out my best design books gift guide here!

p.p.s. if you want to read my previous gift well guides, look here and here and here. all the ideas are still guaranteed happy makers!

p.p.p.s. feeling the pull to sift through your things and finally arrive back in the zone? i couldn’t think of a better way to shimmy into twenty-seventeen! consider one, two, or the bundle of simple shui workbooks for yourself — because a little work now, and your year will bode of beautiful things. when we keep things simple, life opens up! and these workbooks are your map to living out loud in the new year!

 

 

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simple shui | words from gibby

i am crushing hard right now on all the blogs + businesses + babes donating profits to positive change charities and organizations. i’m feeling it, too. it’s time our money matches our mouths. and i want nothing more than to be part of this LOVE squad, so from now until the end of the year, any Simple Shui workbook or consult you buy, i will donate 25% to one of the following:

carnations-f

the Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry through education, litigation, and advocacy. i can count on one hand the people i’ve met that made me swell with tears in their presence. and Morris Dees is never coming off that list, loves.

She Should Run is a non-profit that aims to get more women into elected leadership roles. ummm, all the YES! i’ve been saying it a while, but i am picking up my drum + banging wildly now — we need more ‘V’ in DC (and locally)!!!

the Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community. because LOVE will conquer hate — that much i know to be true.

xo

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simple shui | a thousand thanks + #tbt

i came across this photo of me the other day – my first headshot.

except.

i didn’t really need the head shot for anything yet. it was me thinking my ducks needed to be in a row, you know, just in case. i had wildly BIG ideas of what i was doing and how i was going to become part of the thought-leader generation. what you don’t see in that smile is the consuming self-doubt and case-gone-bad of imposter syndrome. i carried it all around with me, hoping + praying i wasn’t too far out of my own jurisdiction as i blogged and networked and had wildly BIG ideas.

this morning, i opened an email from a client who hired me for a second consult. as i read through her objectives, i made notes – suggestions + tips + ideas, all of it a comfortable sixth sense to me. but when this photo was taken, i hadn’t weaned myself off notes + books. i hadn’t even officially been certified. i could have rocked more confidence – i have plenty of other degrees to back me up, but nothing made me feel ‘good enough’ to call myself a shui consultant.

so, what’s the point here?

amanda headshot

well, for me, it’s so easy to get caught up in the transaction of right now. i know, present moment is all we have and too much future-tripping is a guaranteed anxiety attack. but sometimes, you gotta take kamikaze leaps and careen into bold choices that would have your future self giving you high fives + fist bumps.

because the truth is, i am still not where i hope to be, but oh moses! i’ve created + curated some of the best experiences of my life with this journey.

i had no idea that i’d be published + shared like crazy on MindBodyGreen. . .

or that i’d be invited into the Dallas Design District as a shui expert + presenter.

no clue that ABC Carpet & Home would follow me + reach out to me. . .

or that i’d write + publish my own workbooks.

wouldn’t have guessed i’d find myself in the glorious company of gala darling and teaching her audience a shui curriculum written by yours truly. . .

or that i’d constantly feel inspired by and make friends with some of the most intelligent + merciful women and men on the planet – my clients and collaborative partners — who are creatively genius as directors, writers, designers, photographers, media consultants, and corporate superstars.

it would have felt surreal to know i’d be interviewed for magazines and symposiums. . .

or co-create + teach courses with one of the most delicious people ever.

the very idea that simple shui would be read around the world. . .

and eventually become a brand + lifestyle instead of a blog name.

if i had known, i wouldn’t have pumped the brakes as often – haha!

i still get asked how much money i make, if i am doing well for myself, who exactly my clientele is. as if these are the only real measurements of success. and i suppose i understand the curiosity behind it, because money certainly makes more things possible. but…

the landmarks + stops i’ve had along the way?

the memories i unleash and relish in quiet moments?

the rare privilege of working from home while building an empire?

the mistakes i’ve made and bumps + bruises i’ve endured?

the interactions + magic + juicy lessons that have cross-fertilized over the last 10 years, making shui a sixth sense?

those are my everything.

my internal drumbeat is to keep moving and figuring out what’s next, but when i saw this photo? i have all the feels for her and i’m a thousand shades of proud. for not giving up, refusing to give in, and despite the temptation so many times along the way, i am madly in love with her for not quitting on us.

for anyone just getting started or looking around and wondering if what you’re doing is ‘worth’ it – let it go. don’t try and control what’s going to happen – because that’s how the fun starts. and waiting for you on the other side is the bounty and magic and thrill worthy of the best celebration!

xo

simple shui | how metaphors mark the spot

i keep beads all around our house. rosary. tibetan. mala.

but not for religious reasons or rites.

yet when people come into our home or see pics on my blog, the beads say something to them.

specifically, these necklaces represent the meanings they associate with beads.

you know, prayer. meditation. religion.

however, it’s usually one remark or question later, and they understand what the beads represent to me.

most of my strands have 108 beads. some more; others less.

and most days, it feels like i have 108 things to do. some more; others less. add in my lovelies and their 108 things EACH, and that breathless climb threatens to wear me out on the daily.

the beads are mindfully woven throughout our home to remind me i can only do one thing well at a time.

much like a ritual where a prayer bead is held one at a time, until the entire strand is circumvented.

feng shui + simple shui + metaphors + house + happy home
one thing at a time reminds me that when i stay present…

take my time…

say NO to some things…

i almost always have time to say YES to the things that matter most.

the beads have never been about religion or higher powers or anything of that nature.

every single strand — and now perhaps you’ll see why i love collecting them — pulls me back into the full-strength of this moment + right now.

and that’s why metaphor is everything in shui.

because metaphors are the reminder to show up spectacularly for ourselves.

xo

p.s. on this same note, i almost always return home from my trips with a new set of beads. so, while my beads are a collection of reminders to breathe + notice + be more awake, they also hold travel energies in place so i am never more than 12 months away from an exciting new adventure!

p.p.s. in live with what you love, i share why LOVE + METAPHOR are necessary ingredients for our homes. and there are several exercises included to help get you + your house in tip-top metaphorical shape. if this sounds like the bee’s knees, check it out here!

 

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