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LJ, Shine+ Leadership Coach sits outside on a rock smiling

40 Lessons from my 40th Year

I turned 40 this week. It feels expansive and delicious. Ripe with possibility. Like a tree that’s got deep roots and enormous branches. Rooted. Expansive. So many blossoms that will turn into so much fruit that I can share with so many other beings. Not to mention providing shelter and shade. What a joy!

I took some time to reflect on the biggest lessons in a year of unbelievable transformation. Some of these I “knew” but this past year dropped them deeper into my true knowing. Others felt like “duh” of course! They might sound trite or like platitudes but if you really sit with and feel them, I have an inkling they’ll resonate. My intention is to revisit this list regularly so I remember not only the lessons but the experiences that brought them to me. I could write stories about every single one of these lessons! (Maybe I will!) That way, this is also a remembering— appreciation of how much I can learn when I’m present and curious about life. 

  1. I celebrate the small things and the big things. Laughter-filled car rides to school are just as important, memorable and worthy of gratitude as the big trips and business milestones.
  2. There will be pain. It makes the pleasure that much more potent. If I can be with pain without getting in my head about it, I don’t have to suffer.
  3. The most important things are often unexpected and unplanned. When I accept rather than resist them, they have the potential to transform my life!
  4. I have everything I need. I am the one I’ve been searching for all my life. I don’t need saving. I’ve got this.
  5. Possibility is everywhere. When I want something, I can express my desire, get curious about it and see what happens. I don’t need to chase after it! I can trust myself to make the right moves and welcome in beautiful things when they’re ready to show up.
  6. Gratitude for the small things makes it easier to focus on what’s needed for my big plans to become reality. Think puzzle pieces: sometimes I can’t tell exactly how the picture will look until enough pieces are in place.
  7. My family—blood and chosen—is absolutely the most important part of my life. Be present with them. The future will reveal itself in time.
  8. Time stretches when I consciously choose how to spend it and stay present.
  9. Reprogramming limiting beliefs is simple. Identifying blindspots is harder.
  10. The grass I water is the greenest.
  11. I’m amazing at creating what I want but I need to be more specific and focus on what I actually do want—not on avoiding the things or feelings I don’t want.
  12. Like certain activities in the bedroom, most other experiences can be exquisite if I fully relax, enjoy, and drop into my body and the moment.
  13. My mind is like a blender. I do not need to keep it running and making noise just in case I need it.
  14. Everyone wins when I let go of my preconceptions, especially when it comes to the people in my life with the longest histories. Listen to and feel them in the moment. That’s how I show love and stay connected.
  15. I create my own safety. And freedom. Nobody else can give them to me.
  16. Connect with the trees. Get quiet and feel them. Their energy is healing.
  17. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I am good enough. In fact, I’m wonderful.
  18. Focus on what comes through your heart and let your mind translate it. My mind is neither objective nor wiser than the rest of me.
  19. Disappointments often hold the greatest lessons. Notice what actually happened in the moment that went “wrong“ and learn from it.
  20. My greatest suffering is created by my expectations, not the event.
  21. When I repress or run away from my feelings, I miss out on the exquisite beauty of being human.
  22. Patience. Listen, watch, feel. Be here.
  23. Happiness: make big plans, enjoy small things.
  24. The difference between medicine and drugs is the reason and the energy with which one takes them.
  25. Where my attention goes, my energy flows. Focus on failure and I’ll get it.
  26. My weird is my magic. No more hiding it!
  27. My insatiable curiosity means I will always be entertained. Who cares what other people think!?
  28. I am a teacher. I trust my gifts are remarkable and others want to learn from them.
  29. Go deep and be patient. Gardens don’t grow overnight. Flourishing takes time and nurturing.
  30. Carve time out to be alone and just BE.
  31. Inspiration comes through when my mind is clear, while I’m doing things like walking by the river, dancing, or making pottery.
  32. Chill times with the kids are the best times if I’m fully there for them.
  33. My nervous system thinks that anything new or unexpected could kill me. I have the tools to soothe myself, and bring myself back into safety in my body.
  34. I can accomplish unbelievable things. I can get my doubting mind out of the way and simply do the things.
  35. Illness, death, and loss are all part of life. I can handle them if I’m willing to accept that they happen.
  36. Repairing my relationship with money has changed how I relate to myself and other people.
  37. Surrender and submission are not the same. When you surrender with sovereignty to one you love and trust, you can feel held in ways your inner control freak couldn’t imagine.
  38. Listen more. I don’t need to fill the silence.
  39. Follow the energy, not the habitual pattern.
  40. Living with my heart open means tears come more easily, but more often than not they are tears of joy!

I would LOVE to hear what your top lesson from your year has been so far.

Send me a DM on Instagram or LinkedIn

Love always, 


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