Raksgina is Moving :) (link fixed)

If you can't view, click this link: http://youtu.be/bNeloAcoxcU

Hello, Just a note to let you know that raksgina.com will soon be GinaSchanel.com.

What does this change?

If you search for raksgina.com you will automatically be directed to the new ginaschanel.com.

If you normally get raksgina blog posts in your inbox, these will cease since this blog will be inactive.

BUT please, let's STAY CONNECTED :) Come on over to ginaschanel.com and sign up to receive the fab content I can't wait to share with you.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Just One Word

We're three weeks into the new year. How are those 2014 goals, resolutions and habits working out for you? Oh you don't believe in resolutions, so you didn't make any? Ok, I'll buy that. But...you know as well as I do that when we got near that New Year that little voice started in on how you were going to do this better and try that new thing and lose weight and work out more and eat healthier and do yoga everyday and not spend so much time on Facebook and…Yeah, I get it.  I didn't make them either. 

I did come up with my word of the year though. I thought hard about what kind of year I want to experience.  
How do I want to feel, who do I want to be, who do I want to connect with? 
 It took work but I was able to distill my thoughts down to the word of the year that will keep me focused, active and on purpose.

Give. That is my priority. 

Give with all its implications, beauty and uncertainties.
Because to give wholeheartedly means being vulnerable, putting myself out there, reaching and connecting with you and with others. It means opening, baring and sharing. Not knowing if what I have to give will be appreciated, well received or even noticed. But I can't worry about that. Because those are the fears that have stopped me before. Those are the fears that keep me safe but empty, lonely, paralyzed, wishing, hoping and planning instead of doing, being and giving. In this instance, safety is overrated.

image credit: tony-evans.com
I will give unapologetically, unequivocally, unexpectedly, unselfishly 
and I'm sure sometimes even unannounced, unsolicited, unedited, and even unheeded.
I won't be naive about it. This isn't a blind, Kumbaya, Pollyana, isn't-life-grand stance I'm taking. Obviously I get something from this too. Because I can't give fully without replenishing, refueling and immersing myself in what I need, love and inspires me. So you caught me. In giving I'm also receiving. Thing of beauty. But you can't give solely to “receive” because there is no telling what you will receive. No way to plan that. That's the adventurous part of it all isn't it?  
Opening yourself up to unimaginable possibilities. 
I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. Ok, 2014. Bring it cause I'm gonna give it.

What will you give in 2014? And what's your word for the year that will keep you focused and on purpose? Please tell me in the comments :)


5 BigTakeaways of 2013

Happy Festivus!
Whatever your holiday of choice is I hope you're festivities are off to a good start and that your 2013 is winding down nicely. So how'd you do this year? Did you kill it? Did you come close?
You may remember the last couple of years I've done a “Last 100 Days of the Year Challenge”.
I hit a rough patch these last few months of the year so I didn't fare as well as I would have liked. But even so I'm glad I took on the challenge because I came away with some valuable lessons, reminders and, of course, some “facepalm” moments.
Here I want to share with you some of my biggest takeaways from this project.

1) Get to the root of the desired outcome when you select a goal/plan/challenge and come up with alternatives that may achieve the same feeling of accomplishment you are seeking. This year we didn't get as much snow as early as we did last year so I wasn't able to accomplish my #5, which was to ski 5 times by the end of the year.
What I was really after was a way to get past my doubts and fears, and yes of course to get better at skiing, but my truest desire was to prove to myself I could do something that would push me outside my comfort zone.

2) Have your goals present at all times. For goodness' sake write you goals out and place them where you can see them everyday! No brainer, right?! Apparently , writing them in my notebook was not enough. There were many opportunities I could have done #4 (weekly date night) but I simply did not have “date night” on the brain! Seriously, how do you forget “date night”?

3) Thinking about it is NOT doing it. You will not get courage handed to you on a silver platter. So get over yourself and just do the work. Number 2 on my list was to “Blog more freely”. Meaning simply to write more, share more, open up more. Well, I didn't. I got as far as jotting down ideas, discussing them and or researching them. Yes time was tight, but it wasn't lack of time stopping me. It was plain ol' fear. Fear of looking or sounding stupid. So yes, I let imagined fear stop me. Lesson learned: playing it safe keeps things small, stale and boring. Note to self: stop playing small, get outside comfort zone and live a little...or a lot!

4) That thing that energizes you? Yeah, do that some more. One of my goals was to take a writing class. I did, I loved it and it went well. It wasn't easy since I'm quite intimidated by the blank page. But it was a great experience and I'm looking forward to more!

5) The gift of clarity. Although I didn't finish it, by simply having a list, I've gained clarity on how I want to kick off 2014. As time went on, I felt differently about the items on my list. Some items became less urgent and some took on more importance. Some led to new insights and gave me new perspective. This is not to say that I have all the answers but my discoveries made it ok to have questions. I'm excited about my findings and I look forward to going into the new year with more clarity and understanding about what I truly want from life, not just the next year.

What were your biggest 2013 takeaways? What will you do differently in 2014 or maybe the same? Any tips for me?
Like always, share the wealth!

Have an amazing last week of 2013 and see you in 2014!



No Ballet For Her (or Don't Fall In Love With Your Expectations)

She squealed with excitement and disbelief -it was actually happening! She could finally wear the tights, leotard with the flouncy skirt and the soft pink slippers! "Mommy look, so many ballerinas!" she said to me with the giddiness of the three and half year old she is. And for that high and exhilarating moment it really was all rainbows, pink tutus and unicorns. 

image credit: RawrSheepy
 Then, "Hello brick wall". Call it fear, nerves or, the only explanation that seems to work for me lately --she's three and a half years old. She simply would not have it. Fine with watching from the sidelines, there was no convincing, forcing, scolding or bribing her to the studio floor. Yes. I tried it all.
Even more shameful is how I let this scenario affect me. Thoughts like "How dare she not do this?", "She's SUPPOSED to take ballet!" and "What do I do now?!" invaded my head.
On the ride home she was quiet, which would normally be a welcomed gift, but this was different. She didn't know what hit her either. But she did know mommy wasn't happy.  

My heart sank and my gut turned as I saw in her little face that I was making this about me. Yes, of course it was about her enjoying a ballet class with other little girls but to a larger degree it had to do with what I wanted. This had more to do with my expectations, my hopes and the image I had envisioned in my head. Ultimately I knew she was going to be fine with or without ballet. I, on the other hand, had some work to do.


Why do we hang on so tightly to our expectations, our ideas of how the world should be? Why do we become so inflexible that we actually make our own moments difficult and drama-fueled? Why do we decide to have a bad day if not everything develops according to our rules?

Mind you I'm not advocating living a direction-less life. I strongly agree with the "stand for something or fall for anything" philosophy. But a little flexibility, empathy and understanding of different world views will open more doors and do more for you than a closed mind could ever do.

Much depends on the specific situation but, for the most part, insisting on your view alone as gospel breaks down to wanting to be right. Wanting to be right comes down to ego. Ego closes you off to the greater possibilities you could never even imagine. 

Now think, how handy would having one of those great possibilities be in this very moment? Are you willing to give it up simply because you have to be right? Or because things must be exactly the way you made them up in your head?

The next time your plans hit a little snag or a full out brick wall, take a moment to see what's really going on. Ask yourself if holding on so tightly to your expectation will actually propel you forward or hold you back. You just might have an infinitely better option waiting at the other end if you let go.

I don't know if in the future my daughter will take ballet or not. But I do know that I won't let selfish expectations get in the way of her or our happiness.
Thank you for the lesson baby girl. 

What expectations or ideas could you release to help make this moment better for you?


10 Things 100 Days. Can You Do It?

Click on image for more details about the 100 day challenge.

You ready for it? We're doing it again (go here for details). Starts this Monday. Last year a few of us were brave and shared our list of carefully curated "to do" items online and with each other. Nothing provides accountability and support like sharing your intentions out loud. 

Why should you do it? Because this is the best time of year for good solid reminder of the things you really want to get done in 2013. Can you name at least 10 things you want to do or experience before the end of 2013? Then sign on my friend. Let's do this thing. More details when you click here or image above.

But really, why should I do it? What's in it for me?

1. Clarity & Organization
The simple act of putting a list together allows you the time and space to get clear on what is important and what really matters to you. Sharing you list publicly pushes you to map out and schedule how you will get things done. It helps you organize your valuable time.

2. Accountability
You're responsible for yourself whether you go public or not. But the minute you put it out there and share your intentions with others something else kicks in. Sharing out loud comes with a sense of answerability to others. To your mates that find themselves in the same challenge. Thus building....
3. Community, Motivation & Inspiration
You are not in this alone. We all set goals or challenges for ourselves. We all go through phases of feeling like failures and like winners. And we all benefit from meeting others that can share different perspectives, progress, support, wisdom and inspiration.

4. Productivity
This one is easy. You will get stuff done! At least 10 very important things will get done. Things that you've been putting off or want to try or places you want to see. Basically, you'll be doing the things you really want to do. 

And the biggest reason of all; you will live deliberately.

I'm looking forward to sharing with you, see you on the other side!


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