Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hope In A Jar and The TEN Shamandments

First off that's prob'ly the worst title for a post in blogging history and secondly I have no idea how I am going to tie the two together. Yikes. 

Do people even still blog any more? I am feeling so out of touch with all the new apps and gadgets, I think the new thing is Vlogging - it's like video blogging and then there is this other thing Perisope? Is that right? Wait lemme look it up...

Good thing you aren't reading this in real time it's taken me ages to find it. So it's an app that let's you broadcast live video and let's followers comment in real time. These all seem like really cool things however I am a strictly behind the scenes kind of girl, so if you're looking for videos and live broadcasts about stuff, you will have to look elsewhere as I am old-school. 

He Who Shall Not Be Named calls me a Luddite. I still read books on paper, Yo!

So speaking of books, one of my old time fave girlie-girl books is called Hope In a Jar by Beth Harbison.

Such a cute story that I think would make a great film but this isn't a book review post, I just stole the title because it fits in with my Virtue of the Month for December. Now might be a good time to mention that I am really sick, so I am at home hopped up on cold & flu medication and like that great Prince tune croons -- forgive me if I go astray.

Oh what the hell since we're here, lemme tell you about the book. I'll just give you the cliff notes off the back - A Hilarious touching novel about friendship, Love's Baby Soft perfume, Watermelon Lip Smackers, bad run-ins with Sun-In, and the healing power of "Gee your hair smells terrific." Hope in a jar: We all need it. 

If you're anywhere close in age to me, all of that stuff will ring nostalgic. Oh Sun-In, how orange you turned my tresses. The book is about these two best friends who had a fight in high school and now on the eve of their 20th high school reunion their paths once again cross and hijinx ensue. An amazingly fun beach or holiday read if you're looking for a laugh and some light entertainment.

As an aside, the cosmetics company Philosophy makes a moisturizer called Hope In A Jar, and yeah, I'm not too proud to admit that I tried it after reading the book.

Okay, best be getting on with the post I intended to write.

When the month of October dawned I was determined to make it awesome!

And baby it was! It was the month that I got to fly to New York my favorite city and I got to meet Tracy Anderson, my favorite trainer and hang out with some of the coolest women I have ever met in my life, talk about blessed. The virtue for October was Believe. It became apparent through circumstance and self-reflection that I hadn't really believed in myself so the Believe Jar was born. It worked such wonders in my life that I held it over for November you can check it out HERE. Now it's just a part of daily life. Can't get on with my day until I drop a note in the believe jar.

The fact is, believing in myself has made that much of an impact that it has become one of my ten personal commandments, or what I like to call the Shamandments.  

I'll get there in a second, so stay with me here.

It's one thing to think up a monthly virtue or a behaviour that you'd like to cultivate and write it on the calendar for the month, but it's quite another thing altogether to really live it. Making that believe jar helped me to practice believing in myself in a physical way. I had to physically write down on a piece of paper (yep, Luddite) one thing that I believed about myself every day and add it to the jar. It's hard. If you've never done it I'd suggest trying it. I got my BFF's from the Metamorphosis Social Club (thanks for that Title Nat) Natalia and Sophie to try this with me and they struggled too. It's easy to pick ourselves apart and find fault with who we are, much harder to find nice things to say about ourselves. So, it is a practice I will continue. I will have to empty the jar now tho because it's stuffed to capacity.

It got me thinking about what other virtue I might like to practice in a physical way that would sew some light into my life... and Hope in a Jar was born. Plus what better time to be hoping or making wishes than at Christmastime? 

I also think that hope and belief go hand in hand. For example you might believe that you have potential but what about success? 

You can't fake your way into that. You can't say "I believe I am successful" if the standards by which you measure success (whatever they are) are not being met. But you can hope for success can't you? Hope is a very positive feeling and who couldn't benefit from more positive in their lives right?

So HOPE is my virtue for the month of December.

I feel the need to expound upon this concept a little further and tell you why I chose hope. I believe in the law of attraction - that what we think we become, what we believe we achieve etc. Using positive intention I've attracted a good many things into my life and the evidence of this work has never been more apparent in my life than with the believe jar. I believed myself into a writer's room on a TV show, which has been a long-standing goal for me for the past three or four years and I even made it a new years resolution for 2015. I'm in a room and could not be happier! 

But if I may backtrack a little, year and years ago, my best friend Yania was single, had been through her share of rotten relationships and she'd just lost her dad. It was a tough time for her. She could have allowed herself to spiral downward into a very dark and lonely place, but instead she did the work that generated the life of her dreams. She started a journal called Hope for my Partner. In it, she started listing the things that she hoped her potential future mate would have. She hoped that he'd have a love of the outdoors, that his enjoyment of physical activity might spark her own, that he'd have sparkly eyes that crinkled at the corners when he smiled (I dunno if that was actually a hope) but the man she attracted, the guy who is now her husband and the father of her child has these remarkable blue eyes that transform his whole face when he smiles and yeah, he trained the Austrian snow board team - the guy is super sporty and outdoorsy.

The point is that it worked! Her "hopes for my partner" journal really worked. Yan if you're reading this, I hope I didn't bastardize the story too badly - can I have a pass on account of the cold meds??

So don't tell my Manager or my Agent this, but when I was looking for representation both in LA and here in Toronto - I did the same thing. Hopes for my Manager, Hopes for my Agent - I hoped that they'd love the work they did, hoped they'd see the potential in my voice and be eager to match that with other creative types etc. So you may have guessed I not only have reps but I love them! Like love love them! They rock. When I hear other people complain about how shitty their agent is, or how they don't do squat for them (hey I used to be that writer) I just say nope, I love my agent, she's the absolute best. Because she is as I hoped she would be - she's simply amazing.  

So... Hope in a Jar this month anyone? Who's with me? Imagine what we ca dream up together. It's going to be fabulous. Let me start early by saying I hope I feel better by tomorrow so I can get back into the writer's room and not make anyone else sick! Yikes.

Hopes and beliefs, it's a pretty weak segue into the Shamandments but nevertheless that's what's next.

If you're a reader who's been with me for any length of time, you'll no doubt be familiar with the Shamandments from Mastering The Method -  THIS is where they all started with Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project. They grew into more than five and revolved mostly around my workouts with the Method. But since then I have grown and evolved - like you do - and I thought it was high time to update those personal commandments.

There's this amazing quote by Steve Jobs that says: 

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

I just love that. But you need to think about it, you need to consider what your own heart says, what rules does it want you to live by so that you can be your most authentic self. I came up with some rules that suite me. Feel free to steal, use or borrow any of the following and make them your own, nobel reader.

The NEW Ten Shamanments

1) Be Shannon (This is Gretchen's golden rule, mine too with good reason, don't try to be somebody else you'll never find happiness there)

2) Find a reason every day to believe in myself

3) Write it down (that's the tricky part because it makes you actually have to put number two into practice)

4) Act the way I want to feel (I think this is also one of Gretchen's rules)

5) No being a hateful meanie to myself

6) Do my best and forget the rest (I think this dove-tails nicely with #1)

6) Make it my own. Whether it's my workout, my diet, my look or my life, personalize it to suit me and then I can own it)

7) Let love be the boss of me rather than fear

8) Set achievable goals. It's the first step to self improvement.

9) Remain humble no matter what your achievements or successes, simple living leads to higher thinking.

10) Feed the hunger in my belly, not in my head. (This is a holdover from the original rules, I kept it because I need to practice it daily. Emotional eating is a killer and we need to be vigilant.)

So that's it, that's all. Welcome to December (well nearly) I'm going back to bed. I do realize that this isn't my most eloquent or well-written post but you have my good intentions and all of my heart. Hope to see you again soon.



  1. I hope you are feeling much better today. I like the idea of both jars- made one of each. Can't hurt, right? I love Beth Harbison,and I too still read many of my books on paper. Something about having them in your hands.
    Btw- you inspired me to pull out all my old Tracy dvds and I started Meta again today. I've been through Meta twice before and after having not done Tracy for the last six months today was killer.I am hoping to return to streaming after Christmas. I truly had a feeling of pure joy after the workout this morning, and normally I hate all things cardio. I didn't realize how much I was missing it.
    Love the New Shamanments :)

    1. Hi Kelly, I hope you're doing well with your Hope Jar and Believe Jar. Also, now that it's after Christmas, can't wait for you to get back to streaming - this week's class from Dec 23 is AMAZING so so great. Happy holidays.

  2. Shan,

    I am so moved by this post I have read it several times.
    As you know, we started a Hope jar for Nat - and as you mention, we struggled.
    But, I didn't do one for myself.
    I totally wimped out, hiding in my existing set pattern of negative beliefs about myself.
    Beliefs which are so strong, I don't even acknowledge them as beliefs - simply facts.

    How often do we actually stop, and (I mean that in both the mental and physical sense), and really think about what we want? What would we like our lives to look like?
    I am very, very guilty of this, I love my job so find it easy to hide in work, and not pay due attention to what isn't working in my life.
    However, what we resist persists, and so the things which bothered me two years ago.. which I still have not dealt with… they are still here, but now have grown in size.

    I have another friend who really has really benefitted from keeping a journal (think that may be an americanism of a diary?). Its not something I've done, as seemed just another thing to feel bad about not keeping up when I get busy or can't be bothered, but on reading this I am going to start.
    This seems as good a time as any, and I think I have an unused notebook at home in a draw.

    I too believe that by doing and believing we become.

    I really needed this post today - to give me the kick up the arse to put my metaphorical money where my mouth is, and set about being mindful to change - so thanks my lovely.

    Love the new Shadmandements

    Though how the hell you are finding time to write this blog, along with everything else is beyond me!!

    1. Hi Sophie, I am finding it so interesting to come and read this so much later after you've had your foot operation. I wonder how you're keeping up with the journal/diary. Can't wait to catch up in the new year and find out. Big hugs.

  3. Hiya! I have been doing TA on and off for 4 years. I recently started again (about 6 months) and I have been doing her mat workout and precision toning. Should I move on to metamorphosis? I am feeling like I am "phoning it in" and need a kick :)
    What would you do?

    1. Hey Dara, Yes, I would absolutely do Metamorphosis. On the days where I am feeling tired or can't get into streaming, I will chose an old meta workout and do that. They always get me! I think you'll love it and it would be great to start it for the new year - new year new you, right? Good luck and keep me posted.

  4. First off, hope you are feeling loads better. I used to poo-poo the flu, until I got it two years ago as an adult, and wanted to stop the world so I could get off. My hair even hurt. So I empathize, and hope you are well on your way to better.

    And this post ... it ... it ... fills me with words. All sorts of words, and I can't really unjumble them as of yet. But I can sort of put together a virtual, internet high five. I agree with the process, the sentiment, and I guess, most importantly to me at this very second, the work.

    I practiced yoga since 18, and taught for about 10 years. So the eight limbed path sort or bored into my being at a pretty young age....thank goodness, it's pretty awesome, and I needed it. And, was always sort of a senior citizen in a younger body (i.e., I was VERY concerned about retirement savings in elementary school....obviously, I was SUPER COOL with the all kids)...and latched onto the idea that I want to, as best as I could in the moment, work on my soon as possible. Before time flies on by. Even if it's messy. Messy is fine.

    But it's work, man. It's good. It's great, but happiness isn't like a thing that just is in you like blood, or comes wrapped in a box with a big bow as gift. It's little steps, and pointed action, and kindness, and awkwardness, and falling/'s the stuff you mentioned with the jar and the rules, and your growth.

    Babbling. Like I said. Too many words. Thanks for yours.

    Healthy wishes for you my friend,

    1. GIRL! I had to post an addendum after reading the TA blog tonight...So wonderful. And Mitch Hedberg AND Alan Turing quotes!! I want to squish you to pieces.

    2. Hi Myla, I love that you always get it. Always. We have got to get together some way some how some day - just hang out and walk our dogs, you know? I love that you're working on your stuff too.
      I love how much we share. Happy hols buddy. Those twinkly likes and that sparkly drink got me all misty.

  5. Shan - wow. I love the new Shamandments. For some reason, you always seem to come along and articulate things that are fleeting around in my feeble brain . . . . you pull it together and deliver it powerfully - right when I need it. Love ya and congratulations so much on being featured on TA's blog - that is magical stuff. xoxo Donna

    1. Love you Donna, I recently reread these as I want to print them and put them up in my office and realized that they are numbered wrong. Musta really had the flu bad when I wrote this. Lol
      Happy new year.

  6. OMG! Congratulations on the TAmily Tales! It was a wonderful read! You are so authentic and warm I'm so blessed that I get to read your words and "know" you!

    1. Gia! Hi!! I always love hearing from you. So sorry it's taken me so long to get back here.
      Thanks for sharing space with me when you have the chance to - I love that. I love that we sort of "know" each other, you know? xoxo

  7. Shan I'm so impressed by the results from your Believe Jar! Just saying you believe it can sometimes be enough to trick your inner self into ACTUALLY believing it! And from belief comes writers rooms!

    Oh yes, and the TAMily tales, I was SO proud to see you delivered by Tracy to my inbox. As I said to you, I KNEW you'd be on there one day, there's no way you could not be, not with your dedication to her method and your lovely self coming across so beautifully on Instagram and in person with her. Sounds like she values you as a person and friend now so that must be really nice to hear.

    Hope your snot production has tailed off and that you are feeling 100% again soon! Congrats on everything that's happening at the moment, you deserve it :-) x

    1. Hello my girl,
      Always love to hear from you and thank you for your kind words, you're always so thoughtful. I cannot wait to read your new book, I hope the writing is going well! Let's def catch up in the new year and all my love to your mom and dad, hope mom is feeling okay.