What Happens When You Break Down – While Traveling The World

We’ve been through a lot together, this old broad and I. She is over 20 and I, well, let’s just say a wee bit over that. We both have a lot of miles on us, many of them have been together. We break down, patch ourselves together and get back up again. We just fit together. She has been everywhere with me, well almost. We travelled throughout the US and most of Europe, traveling across the Atlantic and down the Mediterranean. We’ve been over heated and gotten a little banged up along the way, but I think it has made us more resilient. This is when being old gets comfy.

I love being on the road. Really, I enjoy any kind of travel, car, bus, train, plane, as long as I’m seeing something new, it’s all good. Traveling by car has its own set of implications, from finding gas stations, to blowing out a tire, breaking down in the middle of nowhere, to backing up into a cement wall, and let me not forget…getting lost or as I prefer to say…I’m just misplaced (it’s not so scary that way.)

Taking care of a car that is broken down or damaged in some way, is frustrating for sure. But taking care of a body that has just stopped working is a whole other issue. Many people tell me that they just would not travel if they had a chronic illness or a pain in their ass. But for me, that is exactly what pushed me to sell it all and buy a plane ticket.
Being out of control with my health, is nothing short of frustrating. The ads on tv make me think there is a magic pill for everything. But…that just isn’t so. I am the magic pill. I have choices. I have resources. I have a drive to live an abundant life, whatever that may be.

Brought up in a natural living household where my Dad was a Chiropractor, I seem to look down that path first. Illness is never pleasant but at the same time, you can learn a lot about yourself, if you are willing to listen.
Wherever we go, my husband and I, the routine is making sure my supplements will last the journey. That my exercise needs are met by means of me packing my yoga socks and hand gloves as well as my resistance bands. If nothing else, keeping my body flexible, giving my blood some fresh oxygen, with plenty of rest, does a world of good.
I’ll also check out what natural therapies are available in that country or region where we are going. I have even been known to schedule appointments for therapies that I have not experienced before just to see what they might provide. Other countries have different wellness modalities than you might find in US, so it makes for interesting conversation, mindset and health opportunities.

Medical Tourism is a billion-dollar industry. Who knew? People travel all over the world travel to places that specialize in a certain surgery, a disease treatment or offer a natural care facility. It’s pretty eye opening.
Coming from the US, I always thought we had the best of everything. Come to find out, that is not necessarily so. There are state of art hospitals, dental offices, cosmetic surgery facilities, and doctors’ offices all over the world. So, using the excuse that I can’t travel because I have an illness or a pain in my ass, is just fear talking.

One year ago, I did indeed end up in the hospital for a four-night stay. I was absolutely freaked out because I didn’t speak the language. The hospital was not a gorgeous as the ones in the US, but the equipment was like something out of Star Wars. State of the art everything. The doctors all spoke English in varying degrees. Not all the nurses did but we communicated in other ways.

Upon my release from the hospital, I was asked by the Director how I felt my procedures and care was. I told him how safe I felt and that the care was exceptional. He smiled and said, “well we wouldn’t want you to die on our watch. There is too much paperwork with you being an American.” Even though there is a lot of truth to that, we both had a good laugh.

So, the next time your perusing through some travel magazines or watching the travel channel, wishing that could be you, go ahead and make it happen. Don’t just sit there and wish for SOMEDAY, that isn’t even a day of the week.

With love and light,

Merry Lynch

P. S. Don’t let life pass you by. Set an intention of how you want your life to unfold. Go ahead, use my FREE on-line program to get your life on track to all the abundance that life has to offer.

5 Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

In a survey conducted by Glamour Magazine, 64% of women said they feel pressured to be successful and that getting there is stressful. What a crazy way to live, don’t you think? Looking outside ourselves places undue pressure to keep up with the Joneses. By staying centered and present on your values and desires will help keep the stress at bay.

Maggie Doyne of BlinkNow talks about stress like this: “stressing about a problem is different from solving one.” For this reason, I created the Emotional Intelligence tool, Confidence in a Can, (and no…it’s not a bottle of beer). Confidence in a Can helps you to notice how you deal with stress and to define and deliver new ways to overcome it.

You can get yours here! On sale now through December 26, 2018, while supplies last!

Blake Mycoskie and CEO of Tom’s Shoes talks about stress, becoming a Dad, being an executive and how he decided to de-stress during this immense transition. The lessons that he learned can help guide you to enjoy a stress free Holiday season.

Lesson 1: Truly dedicate to unplug, even if for a day
Learn to be present. Your smartphone and email is not what validates you as being important. It’s your actions, your self-awareness and confidence that validates your importance in the world.

Lesson 2: Gratitude is a miracle tool
When thrown into new experiences or situations learn to notice the little blessings along the way. There must be something nice you can say or notice about your in-laws, isn’t there?

Lesson 3: You get to choose to see the best in people
“Sometimes the best defense is no defense at all.” Put aside the blame, the judgment, the finger pointing. You never know what the other person is going through.

Lesson 4: Take good care of others, but first take good care of yourself
In order to serve others, we must first serve ourselves. Just like on an airplane when the oxygen mask deploys, your oxygen gets put on first before helping others. The same holds true in life.

Lesson 5: Fall in love
Love brings about a feeling of being grounded and confident. Love offers a kind of euphoria where everything seems right with the world.

Confidence in a Can helps jump start that feeling of connectedness, by requiring you to be present in your daily actions. Through learning new ways of viewing the same old things (two sides to every coin), you learn how to be self-assured with a renewed sense of how to serve yourself and others.

On sale now through December 26, 2018 or until supplies last. Get yours here! Give your team the gift of confident communication!

When you value making a difference in someone’s life, you begin to live for the feels and create rich experiences and memories that last a lifetime.

Cheers to living stress free,

Merry Lynch

P.S. The holidays don’t always bring out the best in us. Make sure to share this with a loved one and lighten their load this holiday season.

Don’t forget to order your Confidence in a Can today, now on sale through December 26, 2018 or until supplies last. Bring the gift of confidence home and build a family of confident kids!

Potty Talk or Was It A Conspiracy

How do I get myself into these situations? Is there a secret world plot against me, do I have my head in the clouds, or do these things happen to everyone else and I’m the only one talking about them? Each time I see this photo in my cloud server it makes me laugh, so on this dark dreary day in Poland I thought I would share a laugh with you as well.

The year is 2001, just ten years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and freedom in Poland. It was a time of rapid growth yet the infrastructure struggled to keep pace. I had just expanded my business, opening a second location in Lodz, Poland. I know, sounds kind of crazy, but Lodz is the birthplace of my husband. One of his long time school friends was interested in a joint venture so we agreed and opened a replica of my Portland, Maine store in Poland.

It was pretty exciting, I felt pretty international, and certainly was proud of myself. It was something I had always dreamt of. The timing was perfect. The international trade show was upon us so I was able to fly over to Germany (where the trade show was taking place) and meet up with one of the partners (a husband and wife team).

The show, was of course gorgeous, and it was a lovely few days spent getting to know my counterpart in a foreign country. We decided to take the bus back to Poland as we were able to get a better connection. It was a long distance to go by bus but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell we were thinking but we made it in one piece, well not really.

The bus was full. My partner and I sat together. She spoke no English, nor did anyone else on the bus. Now that I think about, I find my most precious or precarious stories are the ones where I am the “token American.” Everything seemed to be going great. The movie that was playing on the tv screens was Shrek, but it was in Polish and the bus, full of all adults, was in a roar of laughter. The movie screens were real tvs and not video screens, you know the ones, small and fat bodied? Remember it’s 2001.

It was pitch black outside and it was the middle of January. There was snow on the ground and it was bitter cold. The road was filled with pot holes and there was not a light or another car, bus or truck to be seen. At one time the pot hole was so big that my body went flying out of my seat and my head actually touched the ceiling of the bus and one of the tvs fell from the ceiling crashing to the floor.

The passengers got up and started screaming at the bus driver. I was frightened. I thought for sure someone was going to start to throw punches but thankfully everyone contained themselves. It was over a ten hour ride with several stops along the way.

The first of which was at a restaurant. Everyone was told to leave the bus and go inside. My partner and I ordered some food and quickly ate it, not really knowing when we were leaving. Soon after the bus driver motioned us to go to the bus. So off we went, filing in and sitting back down in our seats.

A few miles down the road, one of the passengers started screaming. I had no idea what was going on. Finally, I figured out that at our last stop the bus driver left someone behind. I thought that stuff only happened in the movies, well now I know where they get their ideas from. Mind you we are on a two lane road, pitch black in the middle of absolutley no where. The driver slams on the breaks and proceeds to turn the bus around, screaming his head off.

Half an hour later we arrive back at the restaurant and the passenger gets on the bus and he and the driver have a big arguement. Tension overload. My nerves were shot. But shortly after, everyone settled down and off we went. With full bellies most people fell asleep while others sat chatting like it was two in the afternoon.

Several hours past and the bus begins to slow down and pulls off the road. No lights anywhere. Where are we, what is going on? The door to the bus opens and my partner motions me to get off the bus. I am lead down a path where a brick building sits. It has one light on inside. We all stand outside in the pitch dark. Being the “token American” everyone pushes me to go first. I’m still not sure if they were being polite or they knew what was about to happen.

As I mentioned earlier, it was in the middle of winter. There certainly was no heat in the brick (pardon the expression) shit-house. I enter, freaking scared to death, turn and lock the door behind me. Everything looks good. It’s clean and there is toilet paper. Things are looking up.

I proceed to pull down my pants and have a seat. A full bottom seat, you know the kind where your whole ass is touching the seat. I know many of you won’t sit down in a public restroom but…I did. It was stainless steel. Do I have to go any further?

Have you ever tried to lick an ice cube and your tongue stuck to it? Or maybe you did a dare as a kid to stick your tongue onto a piece of metal and you couldn’t release it? Hmmmmmm…well you get the picture. That was my lovely little bottom. I was stuck. Totally and completely stuck. I couldn’t move. Each time I tried, I ripped off another piece of skin. I couldn’t yell because no one could understand me or even get in through the steel door.

I sat there trying to move my bottom back and forth. Around and around to dislodge myself. It was horrific. What was supposed to be a quick little pee, turned into a ten minute skin mutilating experience. By the time I stood up, there was a layer of skin on the seat that I attempted to remove before the next person arrived. I had to dip my hand in the toilet to be able to wet the seat and scrape off the skin. As I pulled my pants back on I could feel the raw skin brushing up against my underwear and pants. It was excrusiating.

Yet, I pulled my act together, cleaned up by body parts and left the building. Everyone was standing in a line looking as though they were about to rip me to shreds. Afterall, it was freezing outside. I was mortified and now everyone hated me. My ass was sore and ached everytime I made the least little movement. All I wanted to do was cry and was hoping that Scotty (from Starship Enterprise) could just beam me up and make this all go away.

I was never so happy to see the sun rise as the buss pulled into the station in Warsaw, where I knew I would have a nice hotel accommodation to soothe my raw skin. Oh my gosh, I can certainly laugh about this now. And yes, the skin on my derriere has all grown back.

Is there a silver lining to my experience? Sometimes laughter is all you can do. Never sit on a stainless steel toilet seat, ever. Maybe think of flying instead of the overnight bus….

Laughter is the key,

Merry Lynch

P.S. You’ve just got to share this. My ass will thank you!

Want to have these life altering experiences just like me??? I know you do??? Get going on setting your intention of living a joy filled life with my FREE on-line, self-guided program on How To Set An Intention.

What Do You Say When You Look In The Mirror

Have you ever wondered why good things happen to some people and bad things to others? Why do some people seem to have it all or achieve whatever they set their minds out to do and others, maybe that’s you, seem to miss the mark? Well, think about this…your mind, just like Google, is always listening and mirroring back what it thinks you want.

You search for something on the internet and then all of the sudden you are seeing this information pop up out of nowhere. Then the ads that get delivered are showing this information over and over again. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what your mind does. You experience something with emotion and then BAM…you get more of that.

This is where the bulk of the problem starts. It’s was given to us at birth and will be with us until the day we die and yet it is thousands of years old. We rely on it, it keeps us safe and out of harms way, and guides us through our day without us even knowing it. The question I always ask is “what would life be without it?”

It’s the size of an almond and sits in the back of our brain. We refer to “it” as the sub-conscious but it’s real name is the amygdala. This tiny bite sized mechanism runs our lives, that is if we let it, which most of us do – unconsciously.

It (amygdala) likes the status quo. Wants everything easy going or not. It loves drama if you do. Likes it when our life is steady and predictable. Well what the hell ever happens when life is easy going, predictable and steady? Absolutely nothing! No growth, no excitement, no challenges, nothing new! Is that what you want? No one on their death bed ever said, “boy am I glad I did nothing all my life.” Think about that! On your tombstone, “Here lies Sally, she did nothing for the world.” I don’t know about you but that alone scares the shit out of me.

What about those dreams? The travel and adventure to foreign lands? Starting a business as you enter into mid-life? Where do you want to retire to? What does your life hold in store for you?

Now you know what keeps you stuck, you can never go back to not knowing. What are you going to do now? Remain on auto-pilot or take life in your own hands, put on your big girl/boy panties and live a life you will love to lead with all the crazy ups and downs, twists and turns or curve balls? Be present in your life, self-correct when your thoughts go elsewhere, show gratitude, and watch your words. You are listening.

So, the next time you look in the mirror, say out loud, “you are freakin’ gorgeous and I love you”. Say things like, “you have a brilliant mind and are full of amazing ideas” or maybe try this, “you are worthy of everything you desire because you my friend are a fabulous person.”

Say these positive messages with emotion, feel it even if you feel utterly ridiculous. Get out of bed, run to the bathroom, morning breath and all, and shout out to the world, “I love you to the moon and back, have a simply amazing day.” Then…quietly leave the bathroom, like nothing happened, while you silently giggle to yourself.

Can’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, no, not enough, lack, fear, shame, guilt, has no place here….ever. Stop the endless negative chatter by fighting back in the mirror. Put your boxing gloves on and give the negative thoughts a good one-two punch. When the negative thoughts creep up, and they will, shut them up with a run to the bathroom.

Go ahead, what are you waiting for? Go tell yourself how hot you look for an ageless trendsetter. Let me know how it goes. Leave a comment below.

With love and wet juicy kisses,

Merry Lynch

P.S. If you are struggling to find words that feel authentic, sign up for my FREE How To Set Intentions on-line self-guided program. Begin today to change the language you use either in your mind or out of your mouth. Make the change today…your life will never be the same.

Listern to what Oprah and Michael Beckwith have to say about INTENTIONS

 

It’s All Just Crap – Or Is It?

Are there dreams that are in you still waiting to unfold? Is there more to life and more to you? Making a Crap Board might just be the ticket to your happiness. Read on to find out how.

I’m in my sweet spot when I’m facilitating workshops. My favorite workshop to host is a program focusing on VISION BOARDS. I just love them, always have. Vision boards have totally propelled my life into what it is today. I personally have used vision boards throughout my life whenever I have felt stuck, frustrated, off track, un-loved or un-worthy. Or on the flip side, I use them whenever I have a new idea, dream or goal and want to create a feeling around it to see if it fits.

Once I have finished it, I hang my vision board in the bathroom or bedroom where I can view it several times a day and hang out with it, until the feeling or vision becomes a part of me. By doing so, I can connect with the vision and trust, allowing it to bubble up inside of me.Things seem to unfold and opportunities seem to be placed in front of me when I trust and let go. Vision boards help that process to cultivate and come alive.

People have called me “lucky,” I call me “open.” I love the quote by Earle Nightingale “luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity”. If luck is about being prepared or laying the foundation, I can do that with a vision board. I can hold onto a vision and put things in place to allow for the flow to happen. It can be scary, I won’t deny it, once things begin to appear or doors begin to open. Because the next thing to happen is all about you. You are the one that has to grab onto the opportunity as it appears. There is a lot of negative head clearing that has to happen in order to feel worthy or ready for all the goodness the world has to offer.

Some people think vision boards are all fluff and are a silly waste of time. Where do you fall? Have you ever created a vision board? I have so many stories I have to tell of things that have happened throughout my life; from places I have lived, travels I have done, degrees or certifications I have attained, people I have wanted to meet, to clients I wished to have. All of which I can directly point to my vision board for the fruition of these happenings. Vision boards when done correctly are never fluff or a silly waste of time.

But for the non-believers…I suggest you do a Crap Board. First designed by neuro-scientist Mark Waldman, Crap Boards can relieve the mind of negativity and bring about space for new more positive thoughts to take hold. Take a deep look at the life you have. Write down everything you hate about it. In detail. Pull out magazines and cut out images and words that reflect how you feel about your current sucky life.

Don’t miss a thing, use this acronym so you make sure you have the all bases cover:

C – conflicts

R – resistance

A – anxiety

P – problems

Got it? List everything. All the people you are in conflict with, everything you are resisting or pushing against, the things that keep you awake at night or that have you in a constant state of worry, and then the never-ending list of problems. Take a deep look at the crap you are lugging around with you and holding onto for dear life.

Grab magazines and cut out images and words that best represent all of this crap and paste them on a board and take a good long look at it. How do you feel? That’s what you got. Now if I were you, I would take my Crap Board outside and burn it and go back inside and begin to build a vision of the life you want.

If you want to learn how to create a kick ass vision board that attracts, then sign up for the waitlist of my upcoming on-line program. I will provide you with the exact program that I used to create my location independent lifestyle, living a life I adore. You’ll get it all. Click the link below to get notified of when the course is ready and learn to unsuck your life.

I hope you’ll join me as I share my passion for creating vision boards and building a life you will love to lead.

To Your Passionate Life!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Can’t wait to get started? Then get going with learning the importance of setting intentions. Learn the ins and outs of linking words with your thoughts to create powerful statements that can get you going and growing toward your dreams. This FREE self-guided on-line program will help you to lay the foundation for a path to follow, even when no one is looking.

As always, if you enjoyed what you have found here, be sure to share it with a friend or loved one. We need to give a hand out and make the world a better place, one woman at a time.

Lack vs Abundance and Living in a Foreign Country

So, you know those little pet peeves that drive you crazy like an itch that won’t go away. This is kind of the same thing but different. By the way, this is not a complaint either. It is just something that as I begin to settle into my life in a foreign country that I either learn to deal with or make myself crazy and depressed about. I like to lean toward the “deal with it and move on” mindset rather than wallowing in my frustration, which by the way is my choice. UGH! That makes it even more frustrating. Anyway, getting back to my point…lack vs abundance.

This story may seem trival to you, yet it’s a real thing to me. Cultural differences can really throw us for a loop. This thing I am trying to get used to is “food.” No, not in the cuisine or what people serve when I am traveling or living abroad, it is the food itself…oddly enough.

The refrigerators are small, and the apartments are even smaller. But for today, I want to unload my thoughts of “lack or abundance” around the refrigerator. Mainly, refrigerators are small because most families live in less than fifty square meters, which for you Americans is about the size of your living room and kitchen together. But the refrigerators are also small because the food is fresh and eaten right away and because you shop mostly every day for the food that you are going to eat either that day or the next.

There are farmer stands on many corners throughout Polish villages and cities where you can purchase plucked right out of the garden goods. Which by the way, is by far some of the best fruit and vegetables that I have ever eaten. Poles eat food by season, so fresh is today fresh, not traveled half way around the world begin picked before it’s ready fresh. My favorites are the strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes. Burst in your mouth kind of flavors.

Ok, so getting back to my lack or abundance conversation. The refrigerator is empty, well maybe not really empty but certainly not jammed packed like my refrigerator in the states was. We buy delicious food and eat it. And my problem is??? My mind immediately goes to, are we broke? My oh my, those negative voices come screaming out of knowhere.

I remember back to the days when on Thursday afternoon I would go to the grocery store with my mom and dad. By the time we got to the cash register the shopping cart was brimming with food items. Once home with our goods it became the never ending saga of where to put all the food as the refrigerator was never empty. And…on top of this we had a freezer always full with a cow or pig. Don’t you feel sorry for me?

No, seriously, it’s a head game. Living in a foreign country you come up against all kinds of things you never really gave a second thought to before. Only I get to choose to look at my refrigerator from lack or abundance. But man, oh man, leaning toward abundance when you see lack is tough sometimes.

Yes, I am up for the challenge to be mindful and present of all of my thoughts. To keep the ones I like and get rid of the thoughts that no longer serve me or hold me back. I truly believe that abundance is everywhere. I believe that the world is full of possibility and opportunity, and that it is on my side wanting me to step up and be the best version of myself. So as I open my refrigerator door this morning, seeing more white space than food items, I am reminded that my eggs are from the priest, the fresh butter is from the neighbor down the street with the cows, the jam from the cousins fruit garden, the bread I will eat I made with my hands, and there in lies the abudance. The white space is just that. Which one do you see?

I’d love to hear your comments or stories about lack vs abundance.

Adundantly yours,

Merry Lynch

P.S. If you like what you read here, don’t be shy about sharing. We can lift one another up by spreading the love. And as always, sign up for my newsletter, so that you never miss another posting or program offering to inspire you to be the best version of yourself and live a life you will love to lead. As my gift to you for signing up, you will also recieve my Success Defined workbook to begin designing, crafting and living your best life now.

It’s Dark There

More than four years ago now my husband and I began a journey. This past June of 2018 we purchased an apartment (condo) in the city of Lodz, Poland. Just in case you’re wondering, I do not speak the language. Well, that is not entirely true. I can say hi, bye, kiss me, I love you and where is the toilet; which gets me pretty much anything I need. If you know anything about Poles these few words will take you a long way.

I have learned many things about myself during this time on the road and have observed where I hold myself back and where I rentlessly bound forward.

The interactions I have had concerning the place in which I call home, at least for now, has been nothing short of fascinating. When people find out that we haved moved to Lodz, Poland from San Diego, California, their eyes widen in wonder. Many Poles are not able to even travel to the United States due to the cost of the Visa they need. The images they have painted in their minds is one of white, wide sandy beaches, palm trees and endless ocean views that keep them dreaming of a time when they would be able to experience it for real. So they look at me with their heads cocked like a cute little puppy and shake their heads in disbelief.

I ask, “what does America look like” in their mind, in one word. Each time the answer is either “bright” or “opportunity.”

It’s my experience that most people feel that way about American. And for Poles having been trampled on for centuries, the words “bright” or “opportunity” is certainly a fair response when looking at America. But today, Poland is an economic power house with a public transportation system second to none (even for EU standards), endless opportunites (although the Poles struggle to see them), great food and yes of course, vodka (afterall the potatoes are the best – which makes the vodka “gluten free” – BONUS!). The grass is always greener, do you think?

Now, let’s reverse this. When they ask me the same question, “give me one word to describe Poland” my initial reaction comes from my childhood and the word “dark” comes blurting out of my mouth. I remember being in school and watching the news about the “iron curtain”. All of the images were black and white, so that is where my thoughts go. To many Americans that have never traveled to Poland, their response is generally the same. It’s dark. The sun doesn’t shine, people are dressed in black, it’s scary, and the people have empty blank stares.

It’s the images from the movie, “Schindler’s List” or the horrific stories of the Holocaust and of families being separated and never heard from again. It’s about loss of life and loss of control. But that isn’t the Poland of today, yet many of us are still plagued by the images or stories we heard as children. How do we go about letting go of these images and prejudices and begin to build new friendships and paths?

Images are saved in our memory to keep us out of harms way, always on the ready in the fight or flight mode. Yet, often times, these images or memories we have held onto for dear life, no longer serve us and actually end up hindering us from doing something different, learning something new, experiencing a new way of life.

As I travel the globe and settle into my new home, I challenge myself and I will do the same to you; to look toward the light. The next time a negative thought crosses your mind-take notice, a new opportunity crosses your path and your turn the other way, or a chance to get into dialogue with a stranger represents itself and you pretend your busy or looking at your smartphone; grab onto it, take the opportunity, make a different choice and say “yes”. Turn the dark into light by changing one thought, one word, one day and interaction at a time.

When the negative images, voices or thoughts creep up, take a moment to pause and intervene with these questions or thoughts:

Acknowledge your negative images, voices or suspicions. Just notice them without judgement.
Take note of your surroundings. Are you in danger or are you just about to experience something new and are a little nervous or unsettled? Thank your negative mind, we all have one, and tell it that you are “ok” and that you are choosing a new experience.

Then LEAP OR RUN torward the chance to do something that scares you. To do something that will begin to replace the negative images that hold each and everyone of us back in some way shape or form.
Because, once you choose to do something different you can never go back to the way you were. It’s never “dark.”

Leaping affectionately toward the light!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Finding it hard to dispel those negative thoughts? Try doing something different by learning about the power of intention with my FREE self-guided, on-line program: Live Life Fearlessly Through the Power of Intention. Take the leap, dare to build the life of your dreams. It’s just a click away.

Less Is More

I had a boss that once said to me, “less is more.” I understood what he was saying but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to implement it. Now, in a totally different space and time in my life his words still ring true about everything. Less is more, in regards to the stuff in our homes and certainly our storage units. Less is more, in our wardrobe. Less is more in office correspondence. Less is more in a confrontation. The list goes on and as far as traveling, I can assure you that less is more, not in the amount of plane tickets you have, but in the amount of stuff you lug around in your suitcase. This lesson has come to bite me in the ass a few times and I hope to have you avoid the same mistakes.

What is it that makes us drag a heavy and often oversized suitcase around with us as we travel? With the Weather Channel and other travel related sites that offer extended forecasts we’re able to view exactly what we’re in for. Still, many of us find it difficult to pack in the first place and definitely bring way too much stuff with us. Who are we doing this for anyway?

As airlines pile on the baggage fees rising upwards of $75 per bag it becomes more and more important to scale down not only the size of our bag but the amount of clothing, shoes and accessories we drag along with us. Sure, I like to look stylish wherever I go but then somewhere along the line, I realized that most likely I was never going to see these people again so WTF. Why was I so compelled to bring a different outfit for every moment of my trip?

This all goes back to what’s in your closet to begin with (but that is a post of another day), capsule wardrobe anyone? General rule of thumb, less is more. Yes, it’s true, in every sense of the word. Trust me on this one. I know you want to bring everything in your closet so that you’re ready for anything. I get it, but it really doesn’t work that way. You won’t wear half the items you bring, and you’ll still have to lug it around. Worst of all you’ll be out of style anyway.

I have experienced being out of style and more than once and in more than one country. Man, is that an uncomfortable feeling. Still, I’m fortunate to be able to travel a lot and have worked hard to perfect my packing skills and pare it down. Now, I can pretty much go anywhere with a carry on, whether for business or personal.

But things were different more than twenty years ago when I attended a trade show in Munich, Germany. I got to experience first hand just how important this packing right stuff is. This was my first trip abroad by myself. I was petrified to say the least and I was attending an international trade show. Thankfully, I was a participant and not a vendor. It took me weeks to figure out what I was going to bring for clothing and I was really excited at what I had packed. Being proud of my belongings, I zipped up my luggage and off I flew.

My first morning at the trade show I walked around observing what was happening. It was very much unlike American trade shows, everyone was sipping on champagne and no one had a clip board full of order forms in their hands waiting for their next victim to enter into their showroom space. I was confused as my past experiences participating in American trade shows was all about taking orders. I spent the morning gathering catalogs of vendors that looked interesting to me and hurried off, being way to afraid to open my mouth and speak. I was in a foreign country after all.

The trade show was the largest stationery show in the world at the time and I was totally blown away by what I was seeing. The products were exquisite and the packaging was so skillfully crafted. There not only was the finest stationery in the world but also writing instruments, briefcases, leather goods, everything beautiful and wonderful for the desk top.

After some time of walking around this huge arena I took my catalogs and headed to the café, in the auditorium, for a cup of coffee. As I sat glancing through the catalogs totally clueless to the words on the pages, Italian, French and German, of which I don’t speak, read or understand, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was afterall, in a foreign country by myself, and nothing tragic had happened so far. Having gone through the morning without any terrifying experiences, I sat sipping on an espresso with beautiful product catalogs in my hand, feeling very international.

Just then a gentleman approached me and asked if he could share my table, as there were none left. But he asked me in English. I was mortified. Before I answered his question, politely as I could, asked him how he knew that I was American. His response was, “you obviously are, the way you are dressed gave you away” And although he did not mean this in a bad way, my heart sunk and I motioned him to sit down.

I brought my finest professional clothes with me. I thought I was the bomb. I felt confident in how I looked when I left the hotel in the morning and yet, bam, I was outted. After that somewhat horrific experience where my ego totally burst into a million pieces, I get it. Fast forward to today, having spent several years traveling pretty extensively, I get it that people or cultures have different looks, ways of walking, talking or gesturing, their hair color or shape of their eyes or faces, can all point toward a different region of the world. And now that I have had time to scrape my ego off the floor and put it where it belongs, which is in the garbage, I am able to enjoy my personal style and travel much lighter.

So whether I am traveling for a few days or a few months, I pack light and make sure to leave room in the suitcase for the new outfits I will purchase along the way. Because by not having to pay all the added luggage fees I have money left over to pick up a few key items to add to my wardrobe. Like, Espadrilles in Spain, Merino wool sweaters in Italy, leather handbags and shoes from Poland or a custom-made perfume from France; there is always room in my small piece of luggage for a unique piece. So the next time you book a ticket, have a look at what your destination is famous for, then leave that all behind and buy it on your journey. It will mean so much more and oh, what a story you will have to tell.

Becoming aware of and doing some research before you begin packing, will help you to feel more confident as well. I always am filled with anticipation about how my wardrobe will be enhanced on my next venture. So empty out your closet, down size to right size, create seasonal capsule wardrobes that you LOVE and get out and see the world.

By the way, the man that sat with me as we sipped our coffee in the trade show arena, was a buyer for a large department store chain in California who ended up being one of my largest clients. Lesson learned, always be willing to laugh at yourself and stop carrying around all that luggage. You’re already gorgeous. Be confident in your own skin. Less is More.

By the way…have a look at how to pack light here! Hope it helps you along your journey.

With a wink and a kiss,

Merry Lynch

P.S. If you like this post, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your journeys. And…as always…sharing is caring. Don’t forget to GET ON THE LIST and download my FREE Success Defined workbook and begin crafting your escape plan today!

The Ugly Ones

They are behind locked gates that only the chosen ones are allowed in. Some are ornate, and others are small handmade structures, but all are gems in their own right. I’m referring the small plot of land called the “dzialka”. Since arriving in Poland in 2014 I have craved to get behind the gates and see what lies beyond.

Poles naturally are drawn to farm the earth. It is something that was taught to them since the late 1800’s when Dr. Jan Jalkowski founded the Society for the Natural Lifestyle. It seems funny to me that back in the 1800’s there was a society for natural living. I thought they already were living naturally but apparently, they experienced the same types of things that we do today only without technology. History certainly does keep repeating itself.

From Dr. Jalkowski’s work and passion for the outdoors, he began programs on these small plots of land that were mostly wetlands or wastelands that were turned into allotments of land to create healthy ways of living, eating and socializing.

Today, there are over 1 million plots of land in the dzialka communities throughout Poland. In September my husband and I were invited to visit a dzialka on the outskirts of Lodz. Instead of being in a community of many dzialka this one was by itself, set back off the street. It was a little gem. A kind of gnome place where I imagined little people to be wandering about tending to the garden. I felt like I was in a fairytale.

The property boasted a cute small two-bedroom cottage with a small bathroom and kitchen area. There were grape vines, raspberries, black berries, multiple kinds of apple trees (Poles love apples), porzeczka-black currents (that is used to make naleweka, a polish alcoholic liqueur made from fruit, nuts or tree bark or pine needles – very healthy for you by the way), flowers and herbs everywhere. I didn’t want to leave.

I love to bake so I couldn’t wait to see what we were going to be sent home with. I walked the property with the owner, who only spoke Polish, and she had me taste everything that was growing. She brought along with her three large empty bags and as we rounded the corner where the row of apple trees began, she motioned me to start filling the bags up.

Poland is the world’s largest exporter of apples, a very proud heritage. Poland boasts eighty-four different varieties of apples, some grown for desserts and other are for processing for food items such as juices, applesauce and other delectable treats.

The trees in the dzialka were covered with big red or yellow apples, a kind of red apple that I had not seen before. The color was like that of a cherry. It was a bit overwhelming. Where do you begin. I started pulling the apples off the tree. She came over and shook her head no. I was so confused. She then picked up an apple from the ground, one of the ugly ones, and told me to eat it. The juice ran down my chin and the taste were bursting in my mouth. It was sweet and sour all at the same time. So, I began picking the apples up from the ground.

I got back to where my husband was sitting and told him of my experience. He asked our hostess, “why not pick the apples from the tree?” She replied, “they are not ready.” BAM! The ripe ones have already fallen and are the sweetest and may have bruises and are often times, the ugly ones.

The same is true for all of the fruits and vegetables. Just like us, they are not always perfect in shape or color, size or proportion, yet just like us, they have something special, something only they can share.

The apple pies, applesauce bread, naleweka and other goodies that I created from our trip to the dzialka proved to be amazing. So, the next time you happen into the grocery store, farm stand or your own garden, be thankful for the ugly ones, the ones with the imperfections, bumps and bruises, for therein lies the richness of life, just like you.

With love and light,

Merry Lynch

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Are you brave enough?

Traveling through Poland a country that has been ravaged by war over and over again makes it seem like there are stories to be told in every corner, town and village. No matter where we go, people share the memories, the losses, the triumphs. This time the story is of one woman’s bravery and the vines.

I often wonder if I would be brave enough to endure such hardship. I wonder if I would risk my life or that of my family for a neighbor, friend or stranger who is be taken away to a concentration camp. I wonder if I would just give in.

These thoughts came flooding in my mind as we (my husband and I) found ourselves driving through the countryside in the village of Dlugiesiodlo. This is horse country. Since the 16th century Poland has been breeding Arabian horses and has used them extensively throughout their cavalry with much success.

We happen across a horse show for young teens and watched as these majestic creatures pass by. Now mainly appreciated and owned for their beauty, the Polish Arabian horse can bring upwards of $100,000 at the Autumn Arabian Auction in Janow Podlaski.

As the horse show comes to an end we follow the horses and their riders to the stable to get a closer look. The horses are handled with kit gloves and well attended. The young female riders busy themselves by braiding the mane and tails of their horses in a loving way. There is a deep connection between the rider and the horse. The Arabian’s are brilliant and very inquisitive, preferring humans over other horses.

We walk around the beautiful property and come across a lovely stone home covered in ivy. In some places the ivy is so thick that it has even covered the windows. I wonder why the owners would not cut the vines back? Maybe they’re too old or simply not bothered by the darkness that lay inside the home.

As I stand and ponder, which I often do, an older gentleman exits the door. He notices me standing there staring. He begins to talk to me, in Polish of course, and I grab my husband to come translate. He tells the story of his aunt who lived in the home during World War II. She was the brave one.

Nazi’s were on the hunt for Jews. The Nazi’s scoured every inch of Poland pulling Jews out of their homes and off to the concentration and extermination camps in Auschwitz and Birkenau where over 1.1 million people died. This home was no exception.

Imagine the terror. You live alone in the country, surrounded only by fields and woods and then comes the knock on the door. A banging really. You rush to see who is there and the Nazi’s, in full uniform, come bursting through your door. Rummaging in every closet, every nook and cranny, opening every door. Your heart pounds. You are overcome with fear. But the vines know. It’s in God’s hands now.

The Nazi’s leave nothing to chance. They ransack everything as the woman stands in silence praying to be spared. They yell and threaten. She is alone and vulnerable. But the vines know.

Finally, the ordeal is over. The Nazi’s have left. She stands still making sure there is silence and that all is safe. She runs up the stairs to the second floor. Quickly opening the door to the bedroom that was pillaged by the army. Everything is in a shambles. She glances at the window, it is closed, the vines know.

Gathering up her strength she runs to the window and opens it. They are safe. The vines knew. The vines that covered the home were so thick that the Jewish neighbors were able to hide behind them as they stood on the edge of the balcony, holding their breath for dear life. They survived this time.

So, as I ask if the vines will be trimmed to allow light in the room, the man just shakes his head “no.” The vines will keep them safe. The vines will remain. The image of this home and the story he told still shakes me to my core. The fear this young woman must have felt overwhelms me. What would I have done? How brave would I be?

To bravery,

Merry Lynch

P.S. If you enjoyed my journey through the Polish countryside you may also enjoy this:

Poland, a place to visit and fall in love

Don’t take offense, it’s a cultural thing

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