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Living Wholeheartedly: An Experiment

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Last year the fabulous Seth Godin recommended an audio program by Brene Brown that changed me in so many profound ways. I consider that recommendation and then listening to the audio program one of the highlights of 2013. It is called "The Power of Vulnerability," and I can't recommend it more.

Her work inspired me so much that I pinned her "10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living" on my bulletin board. Ms. Brown is a sociologist, and her guideposts are based on data and research. When she interviewed hundreds of people to do her research, she found a small group that was "shame resilient" and lived wholeheartedly. Her guideposts show us all how it's possible to live wholeheartedly, so I decided to work on her advice to live more wholeheartedly, and here are the results on my experiment.

Cultivating Authenticity -- Letting Go of What People Think
This guidepost is a challenge for me. Not because I don't live authentically, I try to every day. I live my life as authentically (and honestly) as possible; however, it is not always easy. Being an immigrant, there are always expectations of keeping one foot in each culture. There's the culture of your origin and the culture of your new home. Along the way, all immigrants make choices about how much to assimilate and how much to hold true to the culture of their origin. Worrying about how I am perceived by both cultures sometimes leaves me feeling like I don't fully belong to either. In the new year, I will try to be more true and proud of my unique culture -- one I have created and blended for myself with acceptance of who I have become as a hybrid of two unique cultures.

Cultivating Self-Compassion -- Letting Go of Perfectionism
I realize tying perfection to self-acceptance is a losing battle. We all are imperfect, yet we should be kind to ourselves and give ourselves the gift of self-compassion. This year, I promise to accept myself where I am and not wait for the perfect me to show up.

Cultivating A Resilient Spirit -- Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
The past few years have been personally challenging, and I found myself watching more TV than usual. It was an escape and a numbing tool. Starting today, I am going to give myself a weekly allotment of TV time (like my kids had when they were little) until I stop using TV to escape. I can cultivate my resilient spirit simply by knowing I am not powerless. Neither are you!

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy -- Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
Finally, a guidepost that is easy for me. I have practiced gratitude for 10 years now, and I have found many ways to incorporate gratitude in my life. Last year, I wrote a blog about it, and I was surprised that it was one of my most popular blogs of the year. I'll continue cultivating gratitude in the year to come as it has led to many good things for me.

Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith -- Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
I totally trust my intuition. Meditating every day really helps me develop faith and trust in the way my life unfolds. But truth be told, I really don't like living in a state of limbo. It is not easy for me to be comfortable in a state of uncertainty. I will continue my meditation practice as it helps me sit with the unknown and be OK with it.

Cultivating Creativity -- Letting Go of Comparison
Oh, this was a fun experiment. I am very creative with marketing ideas and my work, but I don't consider myself a creative/crafty person. Last year, I decided to try my hand on a few creative projects. I made a photo book for my daughter for her graduation. I also finished writing a novel. My novel was collecting dust half-written and I pushed myself to finish it. I have to say creativity for the sake of creativity had quite an energizing effect on me. This year, I plan to find new ways to tap into my dormant creative energy and give myself permission to play and fail.

Cultivating Play and Rest -- Letting go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
I love my sleep, and there is seldom a night that I get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, so check off rest off my list! Play? Now that's a different story. As a purpose-driven entrepreneur juggling work and family (like so many of us do), I thought playing is a waste of time. Nudged and encouraged by Brown's guidepost, I asked my daughters about their favorite game and they said they love CandyCrush. I downloaded it (and a few more games) and have enjoyed playing them ever since. Playing made me happy for sure, and I plan to find more ways to play in the years to come.

Cultivating Calm and Stillness -- Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
This was an easy one for me. I have been meditating for 15 years and value calm and stillness more than anything. I will continue to practice and teach meditation.

Cultivating Meaningful Work -- Letting Go of Self-Doubt and Supposed To
I love my work and think it is extremely meaningful. I help authors promote their books, and writing and publishing books is every writer's ultimate dream. Helping authors realize their dream? What could be better?

Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance -- Letting Go of Being Cool and Always Being in Control
I definitely need more laughter, song and dance this year. I tend to be a serious person and will need to work on lightening my mood and making room for laughter, song and dance in my life! Since I have accepted myself as a work in progress, I will surely try!

I wish you all a fabulous new year. May you live it wholeheartedly. I know I am trying to.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

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