Born To Be Wild

Growing up, my Dad drove my brothers and me on hundreds of family camping and vacation trips. Every single journey began with the tapping of his hands on a wheel of a Ford wagon while belting acapella: Get your motor running / Head out on the highway / Looking for adventure / And whatever comes our way. Then and now he lives by example of always expressing a confident voice…always chatting up the stranger…always letting the freak flag fly…always choosing to live at the edge. It’s in my blood, and I love it. Of all of the countries I’ve traversed thus far in 2014, Iceland and Indonesia are the anchors of the beacons of living on the edge.

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“The Edge. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson

Core Strength

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Everyone has a range of abilities, but the things that we do just because we are good at them, or because other people value them, may not be the things that make us happy. These strengths are simply a means to an end. True fulfillment comes from building our lives on our core strengths, the ones we most enjoy using.

But how do we start to identify these specific abilities among all the tasks we complete every day? One good way is to ask yourself a series of open-ended questions, such as:

  • What do I love doing?
  • When am I happiest and most in-the-moment?
  • What makes me unique, in each area of life?
  • Try finishing these sentences: “I am really good at…”, “I find it easy to…”, “Faced with a challenge, the way I approach it is…”, “The talents that I use are…”

It may also be illuminating to ask your friends, family and colleagues where they believe your strengths lie.

Core strengths generally fall into the three key areas of play, personal and work. But of these, the personal area is fundamental. It might include optimism, generosity, energy, empathy, or honesty. These comprise the background of every activity you undertake.

The work area does not simply include paid employment, but all purposeful activity. Strengths in this area may include organization and planning, time management, leadership or problem-solving. In the play area, your strengths may include sporting talents, creative abilities, competitiveness, or social factors such as being a great host and putting people at their ease, or allowing others to open up and share their problems.

Look for common themes across the areas of your life.

Successful people exploit their strengths and avoid putting pressure on their weaknesses. But how best to bring your core strengths to the forefront of your life?

  • When possible, say no to tasks that do not play to your strengths. Your weaknesses are somebody else’s talents.
  • Take a step to bring one of your personal strengths to work or play. For example, your family life may benefit from some of the cheerfulness you show at work.
  • Keep taking small steps until there are fewer discrepancies.
  • Let go of activities you don’t enjoy. Anything which you approach with a feeling of dread, after a long period of procrastination, is not playing to your core strengths, so delegate when you can.
  • Aim to spend the majority of your time on core strengths.
  • Cultivate relationships with those who support you, show curiosity, and make you feel fired up.

Your talents are unique — nothing can take them away. But they will fade with time if they are ignored. The more you choose to honor and develop your special gifts, the more you enhance every aspect of your own life as well as the lives of the people around you.

Note: Original content by Jane Collingwood via this link but has been condensed and edited for this blog post. Image Credit: JBD / Iceland 2013.

Instant Memory

polaroid-z2300-instant-digital-camera-02By far, Instagram is my favorite form of social media sharing. There are moments captured on camera that I wish I could print in an instant. Well, the latest addition to the Polaroid instant digital camera line, the Z2300, features an integrated printer with ZINK® Technology, enabling users to instantly capture, edit and—in less than a minute—print full-color, 2″ x 3″ prints. The camera uploads images to any social media platform with no computer connection needed, and the 3″ LCD display allows you to view and crop images and apply filters or custom borders. Fun and brilliant, right?

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The 7 Chakras

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In the middle of a two week Balinese vacation, my friends and I spent two nights at the luxurious AYANA Resort and Spa. It was just the right amount of let’s-hang-out-at-a-fancy-hotel-before-we-settle-into-a-beach-house. It is rare for me to get a massage, but no one had to twist my arm when I heard about AYANA’s massage therapist, Cok (pronounced like cocoa), who gives a Seven Chakra Dhara Journey. You had me at Chakra.

7 chakraThis one-of-a-kind signature experience is drawn from time-honored traditions of Ayurveda combined with synergistic aromatherapy blends, gemstone therapy and chakra sound healing to relax your body, open your chakras and renew your spirit. Cok, my Hindu therapist, used pranic healing by visually projecting a color out of her hands onto my body and chanting internally a sacred tone that’s called a bija mantra, to transmit universal energy for my body as it chooses. There were moments when I heard her ring a bell near stones placed on my body and I smiled thinking if only my friends saw this now, they would have a chuckle at me. I loved the treatment and I wholeheartedly believe in it.

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Walking through the next door of your life is essential to your full existence. To be renewed and balanced in the moment is the beginning of infinite well-being. Learn more about your seven chakras with this beginner list. And, if you’re ever in Bali, wander through this doorway.

Image Credits: Jenny Graham

The Bulgari Resort

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The Bulgari Resort stands atop a Balinese cliff like a medieval fortress town, walled and secret. Each villa has its own garden, pool and outdoor living room that looks over the Indian Ocean. The construction of each piece of this luxury resort respects local techniques. Each stone is cut and chiseled on site by hand. This attention to detail is simply the beginning for my friends and I were lucky enough to witness all of the jeweled glory as we sat beside the ocean for a cocktail before strolling the property, eventually dining at the incredible Sangkar Restaurant. A rare gem, the resort is a divine experience.

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 We took an unknown path that paid off in major vacation moments.

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After small bites and cocktails, lounging cliffside by the pool, the only reasonable thing to do was to taste a five star meal under a full moon, of course! Day or night, the power of the stillness of this rock by the Indian Ocean is a feeling I will remember for a long time to come.

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Image Credits: Jenny Graham

SEKAA TARI KECAK {ULUWATU, BALI}

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A weeknight adventure in Bali is the Kecak Ramayana and Fire Dance in Uluwatu. My friends and I didn’t plan on attending, but our pal at the jewel of all luxury resorts recommended the ancient ritual dance on the Island of the Gods. Why not? Upon entering Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of Bali’s sacred directional temples protecting the island from evil spirits in the Southwest, we were given special sashes and sarongs to wear and ward off any evil influences.

uluwatu 2Like any brilliant drama, the dance itself tells a story, accompanied by a choir of chanting and singing men, with a woman named Sita at the center of it all.

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There were moments I felt as if I were back in college, sitting within Shakespeare’s Globe, for the performance is an absolute spectator sport.

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Throughout the evening, leading up to Sita’s reunion with her husband, Rama, the energy was palpable. An unforgettable dance of life alongside the Indian Ocean as it broke against an Indonesian cliff at sunset. I’m telling you, kids, you must go to Bali. For more on the Kecak dance story, click here.

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Image Credits: Jenny Graham

Sisterfields Cafe {Seminyak, Bali}

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Hands down my favorite Seminyak cafe to eat and linger the day away is Sisterfields. Located near Bali’s Seminyak Square, it was in walking distance from our Airbnb villa. From the clean design and chic decor to the divine food and drink, I adore this little spot located in paradise.

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A latte and a carrot-ginger-apple-celery-lemon mixed juice were my daily faves.

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The place is just damn cool. Easy breezy feeling and delicious real food. I even spotted my doppelgänger as I dined amidst the fun decor.

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Sisterfields is one of Bali’s best secrets. Now go tell all of your friends.

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Image Credits: #1. Christopher Leggett #2-#7. Jenny Graham