Days 44 to 47 – Rest and Backcountry Skiing (not an oxymoron!)

Yeehaw! When you need to rest, rest. It’s so much easier living full on when your have the energy to do it. I did NOTHING Days 44 and 45 except sleep in, get a massage, read, and drive to a sweet backcountry Alaskan powder hut. I went to bed those nights and slept HARD.

The day after driving to the hut, we all slept in because the shutters were still on the hut windows blocking out the light. Once up (at 10??!!!) the 8 of us (plus two dogs) made an epic breakfast of eggs, coffee with Bailey’s Irish cream (for breakfast?! Yes! St. Patrick’s Day!). We then donned our wigs to eat breakfast and head out to ski. But before that we had a morning work party and chopped wood, brought it back to the cabin with sleds, and put in a new door on the hut.

After all that we hiked up epic backcountry terrain (BTW if you’re ever cold put a freakin’ wig on your head. They are WAY warmer than hats!) and skied down amazing fresh powder. And I mean AMAZING. Plus the views were epic, the weather was spectacular, and the company was hilarious. Not to mention it was awesome to have two other women along the trip to balance out all that testosterone.

I am not a big skier. When I was younger it was too expensive and when I was older it seemed scary to fall going so fast. But I’ve slowly grown into it after I picked up a pair of tele skis, and am digging spending a lot more time on snow this season;) Plus, Alaskan powder makes in much less scary to fall!

I have a cool videos of us skiing (with me singing really bad operatic soundtrack on one), and will post here in an update. In the meantime, all I’ve got are the wig pictures above.

When I speak of resting, I can’t describe how key it was for me to take time for myself and listen to my body. Rather than forcing myself to go go go
the first day of skiing, I decided to sit atop a ridge as everyone did a lap up and down. I sat there and took in the views, the utterly beautiful silence, the glistening sparks of snow in the sky that looked like fairy dust, and felt the sun warming my face. Granted I was wearing five jackets but it was surprisingly warm on that Alaskan ridge in winter. It felt so good to REST. Plus at the end of the day I wasn’t too tired to don the wigs again and laugh for a few hours. I really was tired at the start. I could feel it intensely. Hiking was so hard. It was barely fun that day…but that all changes soon!

By the end of the day there were 9 of us and 4 dogs in the little hut. That wasn’t quick breeding – we just had more visitors. It felt so cozy falling asleep with every inch of the hut – including the kitchen floor – strewn with my friends and their pups. Even though there was no running water, we cooked on a wood-stove, and heated the place only with wood, it was relatively light work with so many friends.

The next morning was an earlier rise. But I felt fantastic after having a relatively restful day. So fantastic that I boot-packed (aka hiked) up to the summit of Hail Bob peak with everyone even though there was NO WAY I was going to ski down the steep corniced chute from the top (at this point in my skiing life, at least). I instead climbed back down, which many of the skiers said would be scarier for them than skiing down. Just goes to show its all relative!

We got back and there was an Alaskan moose meat chili ready for us after slow cooking on the wood stovetop all day. We all packed up (at this point there were 12 of us and 5 dogs) and I managed to have kept track of all my wigs (thank you, Ashland friends, for lending me wigs for this event;).

We toasted my 8 years of being cancer-free from renal cell carcinoma, gave group hugs, and headed back to Anchorage. That was after falling flat on my back and ass on ice as we packed up the truck. THAT was the most painful part of the whole trip! I always seem to injure myself in the front country.

Pretty full on for a weekend. But that’s kind of how it goes in Alaska;)

Note: Ana Neff is known as the Ziji™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Ziji Up! eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting

Days 41, 42 and 43 Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Living Full-On Every DayA part of me was secretly excited that my site was down for over 24 hours (all was good – it was maintenance). That’s because I was way too busy to write a post. And that’s the way it has been for the past 3 days, actually. I’ve been so busy, in fact, that I have only slept 10 hours since Monday (and I write this Thursday morning).

Not all of this is due to something “stressful.” I had many amazing Freedom Junkie client calls, helped dozens of women with their lives and their health, and feng shui’d my house so that it looks like a freakin’ model home (it’s on the market, otherwise it would look like its usual bohemian madness self). I also brought multiple babies into this world in the wee hours, and that, albeit not ideal timing for sleep – is always a miraculous time of day. All this was not without the help of other amazing kick-ass women in my life, like my personal assistant Jenna, my medical assistant Claudia, and my organizers Kristin and Cathy (thank you!). But while those events fed my soul, the sum of the whole left me with my ass whooped. I was so whooped, I was brought to tears – yet I was too tired to cry. So I just thought about how good it would feel like if I did. Dang!

So what to do? I am guessing my future post about today – and perhaps even tomorrow – is going to be about Full On Rest. Amen.

from my morning snow run

I’m writing this as I head to Anchorage. Normally I would be super excited to get there. But being as tired as I am, I am not looking forward to having to build a fire when I get to the yurt, or shovel snow. So instead of focusing on that, I am going to book a massage (maybe even massages!), promise myself that if I don’t get to sleep in an hour after arriving I am also booking a hotel room with a jacuzzi tub for the night, and then I am going to plan a spa day with my Alaskan girls. They could use some pampering after all that backcountry skiing we’re going to do;)

It is funny how I have to give myself permission to rest. After ALL that stuff I accomplished, there’s still a little voice telling me I can do a bit more. But who cares if I could!? Just because we can do more, doesn’t mean we should do more. Yes, I am talking to YOU, fellow super-woman extraordinaire. YOU don’t have to either.

Well then, it is settled: today I am choosing to do nothing. I can be gentle with myself and do absolutely nothing. Let me rephrase – I need to be gentle with myself and do nothing. After all, on top of that sleep deprivation, I also passed through the anniversary of my first encounter with The Big C (8 years yesterday!). Yeehaw! C free baby! A cause to celebrate, but also an emotional experience to be reckoned with.

Which reminds me that I had another mole removed from my right shoulder Monday (Day 41), reminding me of my second run-in with the Big C. It was my four-leaf clover mole. I’ve had it forever. I even have a picture of it. But I wasn’t 100% sure if it was changing or not, and I would prefer not to dance with a melanoma again, so I had them shave it off. And to boot, this was at 7am. Ouch.

So yeah, I deserve every bit of rest I can muster.

Was it worth this degree of fatigue? I’ve already mentioned some Full On moments from the past 3 days. Thinking back on others, I also went for a morning run in the snow (while it was snowing!), and that woke me up big time and had me appreciate beauty first thing in the morning, which is always a blessing. I dipped back into my yoga practice, which escaped me for a bit these past few hectic months. I scored some sweet party wigs for a fiesta I am having this weekend, celebrating that 8th year of being free of my renal cell carcinoma, and visited with some girlfriends I hadn’t connected with for a long time (albeit on the phone!). Plus I spoke to my mom, every day, even though I was utterly exhausted.

So when I choose to focus on those moments, yes, it was all worth it. I’d rather have had some of those moments than been asleep. I’d have done it a little differently in hindsight, perhaps. But sometimes we just have these bursts of time where we barely make it over the finish line. And that’s just life. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do, and try to do it with as much grace as possible.

I am designing my life to have fewer of those stressful bursts, though. I know I can have both adequate sleep and kick-ass moments. “Sleep when you die” is not a funny phrase to someone who has had cancer twice;)  And in reality, this was just one of those times in life where all those things HAD to be done – and I did them! So I am celebrating the fact that I kicked some busy ass. And I am SO not doing that craziness again for awhile. Promise. We need to remember to fill our cup!

When we find ourselves in those moments of being stretched to our max, this is where Ziji comes in: knowing – no mater what – that you can do it. Because you have time and time again. And you’re still here, having everything you need inside you to move through this, with grace and courage and a kick-ass attitude.

Add a spoonful of self-love and compassion for this gal. I am heading to bed…after booking that massage!


Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download  her FREE Getting Clear Guide by signing up at! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training at

7 Steps to Master The Art of Doing Nothing

“L’arte de non fare niente”

As you practice saying the Italian phrase above with the accompanying hand gestures and exaggerated accent (hmmm maybe it’s just me who does that with Italian…), know that it means, “The art of doing nothing.” You might say, “Sure, I know how to do nothing!” We all “know” how to lay around and do nothing. But, as one of my favorite proverbs goes:

To know and not do is not to know (I think yoda or buddha or someone cool like that said it)

In order to Ziji Up, create, and live a wildly fulfilling life, you need to be able to slow down and rejuvenate. This allows the space to “download” inspiration from your higher power, get back in touch with who you are and what you want your life to look like, and restore the energy needed to do the work you need to do to make it happen (and be able to do it joyfully).

Many of us are too busy to do nothing, and when we do it, our minds are often on other things. We cannot relax and enjoy the nothingness, which – by the way – is what makes it “wasting time” and even “boring.” While doing nothing can indeed be a waste of time, it can also be an art form. Here’s how to become a master, and in the process melt away the stress and make yourself more productive when you actually do work (Note: some of these Ziji steps are modified from an old article by Leo Babauta’s in his “Zen Habits” blog, one of my faves).


When one is doing nothing in the truest sense of the word, it can be overwhelming, leading to uneasy feelings of imminent spontaneous combustion. Do small nothings at first. Start with 5-10 minutes at a time.


Find a time and place where there are not many distractions, noise, or people to bother you. Personally, I like to be outside in my backyard, or at a nearby beach, lake, or quiet park. When I’m in the home there are too many reminders of what I should be doing. However, if you are bothered by bugs and hummingbirds and other things that make noise when they move or could possibly land on you, stick to the house (just make sure you’re not at work or in a busy public place).


Doing nothing is hard when we are being called to do something. Turn off cell phones, the TV, computer, regular phones, Blackberries, and the like.


I know. The smart-asses out there will say you’re doing something – you’re sitting there or laying there, closing your eyes. But I mean doing nothing in the sense that if someone were to call you up and ask what you’re doing, you’d say “Oh, nothing.” Don’t let them call you up, though. 

After 5-10 minutes of doing nothing, you can quit and go do something. But try to do this every day, or as much as possible, because it is not possible to become a master without practice.


An important part of doing nothing in longer stints is being able to completely relax. If we are tense, then the doing of the nothing is really in vain.

•    Relaxing starts by finding a comfortable place to do your nothing — a soft patch of grass, a comfy chair, a plush couch, a lazy hammock, or, in my case, a warm granite slab. Once you’ve found this spot, lie in it, and wiggle around to make it fit your body better (or for an advanced maneuver, make your body fit it better). Think of how a cat lies down, and makes itself comfortable. Cats are very, very good at doing nothing. You may never approach their level of mastery, but they make for great inspiration.

•    Next, try the following breathing practice. If this sounds like meditation, cast those suspicions out of your mind. We are not here to do suspicion — we are doing nothing. Breathing, like other bodily functions, happens. Start first by breathing slowly in, and then slowly out. Now closely monitor your breath as it enters your body, through your nose (feel the air as it passes the tip of your nose), and goes down your throat, into your lungs, and fills your lungs. Now feel it as it goes out of your body, through your mouth, and feel the satisfying emptying of your lungs.
Do this for 5-10 minutes, if you can. When you start thinking about other things, such as how great your Ziji Life would be if you were doing something, just bring your mind back to that feeling of air passing through the tip of your nose every time. Don’t smack yourself. Just go back to the breath.

If you’re still not able to relax and enjoy doing nothing, you may need to do a little something first.

  • Try progressive relaxation, slowly tensing and releasing muscles from the tips of your toes moving up towards the top of your head (the top of your head is quite advanced, however).
  • You can also try a hot foot soak, putting some hot water into a tub/large bowl and adding some Epsom salts or essential oils like lavender or rose. Be sure to put a towel underneath the tub so you don’t worry about getting water all over while you’re trying to relax. Soak for at least 10 minutes, closing your eyes and letting go.
  • Leo Babauta also suggests self massage. In his words: “Try self massage. Start with your shoulders and neck. Work your way up to your head and even your face. Also do your back, and legs and arms. Avoid any areas that might lead to doing something (although that can be relaxing too).”

Now that you are relaxed, stop doing something and start doing nothing again.


Those who are in the beginning stages of the Art of Doing Nothing should not attempt this stage, as you are doing nothing for quite a while, and yet you’re sweating. But once you’ve become proficient at the above steps, the stage of the Bath or Sauna can be epic. For the following, have water or another preferred beverage nearby (see #6). Just make sure your hydration:dehydration ratio is healthy.


The bath must be nice and hot. Not lukewarm, but hot. Bubbles are also required, even if you are a man who is too manly for this. Other bath accessories, such as a loofah sponge, or bath gels, or aromatherapy oils, are optional.

Again, you must have all distractions shut off. Bathing is also best done if you are alone in the house, but if not, everyone else in the house must know that you CANNOT be disturbed. If they break this sacred rule, you must turn upon them with the Wrath and then get back to doing nothing.

Step into your bath, one foot at a time, very slowly. If your bath is properly hot, it is best if you get into it an inch at a time. For more sensitive body parts, such as the crotchal (is that a word?) area, it is best to squeeze your eyes shut tight and slowly lower yourself into the steaming water despite all instincts to flee. Once you are fully immersed (and you should go completely under, head included, at first), close your eyes, and feel the heat penetrating your body.

You may begin to sweat. This is a good thing. Allow the sweat to flow. You may need a glass of water as the sweat could dehydrate you. Allow your muscles to be penetrated by the heat, to be relaxed completely, and feel all your worries and stresses and aches and inner turmoil flow out of your body into the water.


Let the sauna heat up for at least 30 minutes, then walk in. You may need to sit on a towel to prevent the aforementioned instinct to flee, plus they are soft and fluffy and sanitary. Sit on the top level bench first to get the qi flowing, then move down to the lower bench if you start swooning.

Notice the beads of sweat forming, and imagine your body releasing all your tension and toxins. Let the sweat drip without wiping it off. Sip some water to replace the sweat. If you’re hard to sweat, toss some water on the rocks if it won’t cause an electrical fire of sorts. Try not to be one of those who does calisthenics in the sauna. This is Nothing sauna time. If you are near snow, get out when you can’t tolerate the heat anymore and roll in it (yeehaw!), then get back in the sauna.

A hot bath or sauna is even more awesome if followed by a bracing cold shower. Either way, get out of the bath once the water is no longer warm and your skin is very raisin-like, and get out of the sauna while you can still walk without passing out.


Doing nothing is also great when accompanied by involving some of the other senses. Good tea or coffee, wine, hot cocoa, and other sensual beverages go very well with the Art. It’s best to take these beverages by themselves, with no food, and without a book or other distractions. Focus on the liquid as you sip it slowly, savoring every bit of the flavor and texture and temperature in your mouth before swallowing, and feeling the swallow completely. Close your eyes as you do this. Truly enjoy this drink.

Foods are also great: dark chocolate, berries, rich desserts, freshly made bread, a juicy peach, the best soup ever, or whatever it is that you love. Be sure you eat it slowly, savoring every bite. Chew slowly, and close your eyes as you enjoy the food. Let it melt in your mouth if that’s applicable. Let the juice drip on your face. Feel the texture in your mouth. Yummmm!


Excerpted from Leo’s article, these are the “final exam” of mastering this Art. Don’t attempt these until you’ve practiced and become competent at the above stages.

  • Do nothing while you are waiting: waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, on a bus, or in the airport. Wait, without reading a newspaper or magazine, talking on the phone, checking your email, writing out your to-do list, doing any work, or worrying about what you need to do later. Just notice your breathing, or try one of the relaxation techniques above. Concentrate on those around you – watch them, try to understand them, listen to their conversations.
  • Do nothing when you drive. Yes, you must drive, but try to do nothing else. Don’t listen to music or news or an audiobook. Don’t multi-task. Don’t talk on your cell phone, don’t eat, and don’t do your makeup. Just drive. Concentrate on your driving, look at the things you are passing, and feel your breath.
  • Lastly, try doing nothing in the middle of chaos, in your workplace or other stressful environment. Just shut everything out, close your eyes, and notice your breathing. Try a relaxation technique. Do this for 5-10 minutes at a time. If you can do this, in the middle of a stressful day at work or with the kids, you will allow yourself to focus more fully on the task at hand. You will be relaxed and ready to concentrate to bring yourself into a state of flow.

Finally, the Art of Doing Nothing cannot be mastered in a day. It will take hours and hours of practice and hard work (doing nothing isn’t easy!). But you will enjoy every minute of it! Try it today, and let me know how it went for you below! Also, follow me in my Simplify 365 blogposts that I started August 1st, 2014, and watch me try to practice this reguarly…wish me luck!