As the new year began a few months ago, I asked myself, “What would it take to make 2023 my best year yet?”
I spent some time journalling, thinking, daydreaming, connecting with friends and chatting with my partner about this question and the blessing of a brand new year. I also got a little more still and a lot more quiet so I could listen for the whisper and hear what my heart had to say. To what my heart was yearning for and wanting. To what would fill it up and make it overflow with joy in a way that would not only cause my heart to overflow but also help fill others’ hearts and lives with a little more joy, too.
To me, joy is what life’s about. I don’t really believe humanity is wanting more happiness, love, money, success or ________ (you fill in the blank). And I absolutely do not believe that a thousand more followers on Instagram, likes on FB or whatever it is on Tiktok will make this year even remotely better than it currently is.
We may think we want to be happier or have more money or more success but all of these things are fleeting and temporary. I’ve met enough people to know that money does not equate to happiness and fulfilment does not come from success alone. Not by a long shot. JOY, on the other hand, is a state of being – a state of awareness – and it doesn’t depend on anything tangible. It’s not just inexpensive, it’s free! Having more joy in life can change everything; from how we feel, to how we see & show up in the world…from how well we sleep at night to our level of health (emotional and physical). Experiencing more joy could even have a positive impact on our bank account and Instagram followers. ?
Sidenote: While we often think joy & happiness are similar in meaning, the true essence of these words are very different. Joy is an inner feeling. Happiness is an outward expression. Joy endures hardship and trials and connects with meaning and purpose. A person pursues happiness but chooses joy. Happiness is an end-goal for some while joy is something experienced on every step of a journey through life. Fulfilment does not come from happiness – it comes from experiencing joy.
Yes, rather than success, money or even more stuff from Homesense, I really do think what every single one of us is ultimately seeking & hoping for is to experience and feel more joy. More laughter-inducing, soul-filling, heart-warming, I’m in love with my life and living-with-abandon JOY, on a daily basis, whether experienced in solitude or among besties, family, acquaintances and strangers alike, whether drinking water or wine, whether dressed up to the hilt out on the town or at home in cozy flannel.
Joy is definitely the answer to making this year, the best year yet.
So….how do we turn up the Joy Meter? How do we find, create or experience more joy?
Well, I’m not sure that I could answer this question for you…but there are 4 things that I’ve discovered that have seriously cranked up the decibel level on joy in my life and I’d love to share them with you along with a little about my quest to experience more joy this year.
May the next few minutes help you turn up the Joy Meter in YOUR life.
1. Be willing to let go of who you’ve been to create space to grow into the person you could become.
A few years ago I sold a business I had for over 20 years; the Kelowna International Hostel (Kelowna, BC). It was time. Twenty years was a long time to own & operate a business like this – with thousands of travellers gracing the doorstep every year. After selling it, there was a void in my life though – an emptiness – that I felt deep inside. The hostel was a community. It still is. It’s just not my community. Starting the hostel was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Honestly, so was selling it. I needed to free up this space to create something new. While Covid temporarily halted some of those dreams & aspirations for what was to come after hostel life, the world has moved forward (thankfully!) and my dreams & vision for creating a new community are taking shape. What’s currently happening would not have been possible if I didn’t let go.
We’re a lot like this, too. We’ve got to let parts of ourselves go in order to create space to evolve and become who we could become.
What could you let go of to allow space for what could be?
2. Pay attention to to the tap.
Have you ever felt like an idea, thought or dream was tapping you on the shoulder, requesting your attention? I’ve felt a consistent tap on my shoulder for decades. (Yes – decades.) The tap has been muscle testing (applied kinesiology). I’ve always been intrigued by applied kinesiology (AK) and how it has been used in alternative health, naturopathic medicine and various modalities. AK has been tapping on my shoulder since I was about 20 years old. Over the years, I’ve taken a number of courses and studied different healing modalities, many that incorporate muscle testing into their technique. I’ve become a certified as a Heartmath facilitator, along with studying and receiving certifications as a practitioner of Reiki, Biomagnetic Pair Therapy, Bodytalk, Psych K and others. My goal has never been to open a practise to offer these modalities to the public. I’m just extremely curious about the body, health and our innate ability to heal. If stress is a major factor in illness, impacting everything from our mood to DNA expression (which, it does), then I’ve always wondered how we can better support our own wellness & enhance our health, vitality & longevity.
Part of answering the question, “What would it take to make 2023 my best year yet?” has been to pay attention to the tap. Well, not just to pay attention…but to take action. I’m so excited to (finally…after all these years) be delving more deeply into muscle testing with more training in the coming weeks. What I will do with this training, I’m not exactly sure. But I do know that 2023 is going to bring together special people with a number of personal passions, skills, gifts & sharing of all those things, within a greater community.
3. Have faith. Everything will and does work out. Always.
Over the years, experiencing heartbreak, loss, challenges & some very tough times, my faith has been tested and my confidence in the notion that “it always works out” has been low. Really, really low. But, looking back, every single time – no matter what the situation has been (and there have been a few!) – it always, always worked out. Without exception.
I remember being so sick with Lyme Disease a few years ago that I wanted to die. It was really that bad. The breaking point was when I had to GPS my way home because the brain fog was so bad. I just wanted to disappear.I had almost nothing left within me to keep going. Fumbling through doctor visits with doctors that knew little to nothing about Lyme, just like I barely knew my own name by that point, I embarked on reading every book I could find on the topic, once I got a definitive diagnosis. Reading was painfully slow because I had to follow my finger to read in order to stay focused because my brain was so impacted by Lyme.
In one chapter of one of the many books, I read about hyperthermia. This one idea resonated – Don’t ask my why, it just did. With that, I researched this healing technique and found my way to a clinic in Mexico – and a cure. There is a cure for Lyme and related co-infections from tick bites, and I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned along this journey. Initially, I wanted to erase the memory and entire experience with Lyme because it was just too raw and painful. The disease took so much from my life and spirit. But time does something to help understand a bigger picture. With that, I’ve come to accept and embrace the experience as an opportunity to help others suffering with Lyme.*
Upon commenting on a post or two in various Lyme Support Group pages on FB, thirty or forty people have reached out, searching for hope. They, too, have found their way to a cure. I’ve only spoken from the stage, as a professional speaker, about my experience with Lyme Disease twice – and much to my amazement, both times, the feedback was remarkable. Listening to the whisper within myself and in alignment with Brene Brown’s fabulous quote, “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide“, my book, Not Crazy, After All – One woman’s odyssey to recover from and find a cure for Lyme Disease, is well underway. Bringing it to life is one thing that will make this year the best yet.
*From my heart to yours; Sister, if you’re going through some tough moments these days, whatever you are enduring, please have hope. Have faith. Call a friend. Call me. Call someone when you need to talk or need help. You’re going to get through this. Your inner strength is a match for whatever is going on. I believe in you – know that you’re not alone. And it’s true that one day, you’re going to share your story of how you made it through, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.
And then there’s the wrong turns and dead-end alleys I’ve walked in my love life. Those of you who know me well, know I’ve made a few wrong turns. (Insert shame and embarrassment here). I ignored the whispers, warnings and red flags and ended up where I did not belong. But even when I was enduring the very lowest time of my life a number of years ago, on my knees, praying for a sliver of light and hope to come through the dark days, somehow (by the grace of God – or Universe – or whatever you believe in) a tiny, dimly lit path at the end of a very long dark, frightening road led me exactly where I am today. And where I am today is the stuff that dreams are made of. Seriously. I’m so flipping grateful for my life, how it’s worked out, who I’m sharing it with and more. I’m not sure I would have ended up here if it weren’t for those previous experiences. We’ve got to have faith. We’ve just got to find a way to keep the faith. If it hasn’t worked out yet, we’re not at the end – because in the end, it will always work out. Trust me.
4. Dream Bigger.
For the past year or more, I’ve been honouring the whispers in my heart (NOT the voices in my head! What I hear there could lead me off a cliff if I gave them too much air-time). The essence of what I am hearing in my heart is “dream bigger”. Much. Much. Bigger!
I think we could all dream a little bigger. Or a lot bigger!
Following the whisper, we’ve been wandering down various paths, feeling and leaning into possibilities and opportunities for the future, to see if they may be the answer to the heart’s urging to dream bigger. It has been exciting, frustrating and confusing – seeking and searching without a whole lot of clarity for over a year. We were led to Salmon Arm. Then to Sicamous. And then Malakwa (Gosh – no!!! Not Malakwa – even if it IS the home of The Burner Restaurant). And then we found it…or it found us. Or, perhaps, a little of both.
With the intention to bring more joy into our lives, we have decided to sell our homes in Kelowna and we are moving to Vernon! We found a character home on .7 of an acre right in town that will become our home – not only home for our mail, bikes & that record player & vinyl I’ve been carting around forever – but also home to our dreams! We’re going to spend the next year creating a lavender farm complemented with bee hives, gardens and more! We’re building a workshop & garage for Ian to work on his Sprinter van & projects and a sanctuary for friends to gather – for retreats including sound-bath healing / singing bowl events, star-lit & candle light yoga sessions on the deck, DIVA Retreats, business bootcamps, inspiring workshops, alternative healing gatherings, book writing groups & so much more! There are two suites in the home that we’re eager to offer to guests & retreat attendees! While there are so many current ‘unknowns’, big dreams are meant to become reality! It just takes a little time. But it starts with a dream – your dreams & mine – so let’s dream just a little bigger!
At any point in our lives, we can get comfortable and complacent OR we can dream bigger! The world would be a lot better if we dream bigger and share our dreams with those around us. That’s called purpose. Bluezones has been studying longevity and how to live better, longer. Find more about them here: BlueZones
They have discovered 5 regions of the world where there are the greatest number of centenarians (people who live to be 100 years of age). And they have uncovered 9 things that these remarkable humans have in common, including having a sense of purpose (aka fulfilling their big dreams!) and more. Check out these four golden girls in Regina, SK, living well and loving life at a combined age of 404 years! The local news heard about this fab-4 tribe and interviewed them. Check them out here: Living to over 100!
What would happen if we surrounded ourselves with the same kind of unconditional support, kindness and love, like these 4 wisdom-filled women? Could we live better & longer – maybe even to 100? What could be possible? Imagine that!
Our most recent DIVA Retreat took place in January on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Bucerias, Mexico. It was all about Dreaming Bigger! We gathered to create space in our lives & hearts to listen for the whisper inside, experiencing the most amazing week at our ocean-front villa, with incredible experiences including sound-bath healing, salsa dancing, renting our own sailboat, daily yoga, workshops & tons of free time to relax & connect with other fabulous women & within ourselves.
What if we surrounded ourselves with the right people, not just once a year on a retreat but every day? How could we elevate one another? How could we help one another reach potential, experience more joy & make the world better and brighter? To learn more about our upcoming DIVA Retreat (Late fall, 2023), click HERE to subscribe for updates.
So…what would it take to make this year your best year yet?
- Could you get clear on your answer to this question? Really clear.
- Wouldn’t it feel ah-maz-ing months from now – on New Year’s Eve – if you took action now to bring your dreams & aspirations to life?
- Could we let go, even just a little, of who we are in order to allow space for who we could become?
- Could we pay attention to the tap & keep the the faith, again – just a little?
- And, could we dream bigger?
I guarantee, our lives would feel incredibly glitter-ful (and who doesn’t want more glitter in their lives, right? Right?!) and we’d experience a lot more joy on a daily basis if your answer is yes. Even if your yes is just a whisper.
With Love, Crystal xoxo
*If you or someone you know is suffering from Lyme Disease, please feel free to reach out. I’d be honoured to share some information and wisdom gained that could offer a whole lot of hope! My contact information is below.
Crystal Flaman is an international keynote speaker and social entrepreneur, inspiring people & organizations to not only be the best in the world but also the best for the world!
Not sure of your purpose in life or your gifts & talents? Get in touch!
Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Believe in your dreams. Do what you love and be fearlessly you.
If you would like to learn more about how to make this year your best yet or to have me share this message with your team, in person or on a virtual platform, please contact me. Thank you.
You can find me here: www.crystalflaman.com and [email protected]