October 20, 2013
Do more of what makes you happy.
1. Eat the ice cream first.
2. Use the good dishes for YOU.
3. Dance in your underwear.
4. Laugh with your kids.
5. Draw, paint, get craftsy.
6. Take a cooking class.
7. Join an adult league for softball, soccer, etc.
8. Go on an adventure.
9. Hunker down and get lost in a book.
10. Go out with friends for some good face time.
I have a friend who put herself out there and took back up singing, something she’s missed. Tonight after her first rehearsal in many years, she posted: “It felt so. damn. good. Like, better than a piece of really good chocolate cake or a fabulously cold martini or a mind-blowing orgasm, good. I feel like I released a deep breath that I’ve been holding inside for 10 years. Ahhhhhhhh…”
That. That is the deal here. Do more of what makes you feel alive, what makes you feel like you can breathe. Do more of what makes you happy.
Have you seen this?
A mysterious billboard in Michigan. All it read is, “I’m concerned about the the blueberries.” As this ADWEEK article details, it was put up by a business man after a trip he took to Alaska. He met a 21 yr old tour guide who was concerned there wasn’t going to be enough rain for the blueberry crops that year. It struck him that this young kid was concerned about other people’s issues and not focused on only his own issues.
So Blueberries are metaphorical here. Blueberries are, “the concerns and the hurdles and the struggles that all of us deal with in a day.”
From the article:
The goal was essentially to make people see the world from the perspective of others. While vacationing in Alaska, Shaltz met a young tour guide who, when asked how things were going, said, “I’m concerned about the blueberries.” Specifically, he was worried there wouldn’t be enough rain for the state’s blueberry crop.
At first, Shaltz felt like the 21-year-old was naive to be worried about such a specific issue, but he began to respect the young man’s perspective and found himself wishing that others could be motivated to think about what’s concerning the people around us. “We all go through the day and we see people who have blueberries—their own issues—and we don’t do anything. Even when it’s not about rain, when it’s something we can impact, we show just how desensitized we’ve become. We aren’t as helpful to the common man in even the small things in life.”
I’m concerned about the blueberries too. I’m thinking about my friends near and far, my family, my co-workers, even the people in my community that I pass in the grocery store but never know what they might be dealing with in their own lives. This reminds me to do what I can, even if it’s just to extend some patience or kindness to those whose paths I cross today.
Be Kind. Be Concerned About the Blueberries.
October 18, 2013
I hate operating reactively to things. It puts me on my heels. I don’t feel like I make good decisions when it’s instant reactions. I feel off-kilter and wobbly. I grow more tense, anxious, worried and frustrated. Every decision feels of equal importance. I lose my perspective. I’m not myself.
Lao Tzu gets it. Being reactive isn’t being present; it’s fear or anxiety about the future based on the past.
When I’m operating from my center, the decisions are clear, not rushed. I feel confident and at ease. I can assess situations, concerns and needs accurately and swiftly. I can prioritize. I feel like I have a magic wand. I feel a bit like She-Ra.
One of the things that keeps me most centered is a good long yoga class on Sundays. A way to close out the past week and embrace the week ahead. For that hour or so, there’s no digital devices, there’s no thinking about what to do next. There is only focus on the pose in that moment. It requires me to be absolutely present. It’s a wonderful reset button for me.
I have other tools to help me keep my center, but I have noticed the absence of a good long yoga class on Sundays. I remember how centered it kept me. I’m working my way back to a regular routine.
What’s your reset button? What keeps you centered?
Find it, and make it a priority, it will resolve a lot of stress and anxiety and keep you operating at your best, it’ll make you feel like the Princess of Power you are 😉
October 17, 2013
Patience is a virtue. Some days my patience is all worn out by 9 a.m. As a teacher I find I have a lot of patience for my students. I get that things I’m teaching are new to them and they are learning. They are cramming a lot of new data into those craniums. Some days the brain is all maxed out by the time I get them. I get it.
I notice I don’t grant myself that same amount of patience. I sabotage myself. Like Tiger Mom, I set the bar so immeasurably high that I begin to already list the rationalizations for why I’ll fail, and then I never take any action. I keep myself ‘busy’ instead – reasonable excuses for why I’m not able to work towards my goal. I’m changing that. I grant myself patience when I know I’m being persistent in pursuit of my goals. If I’m not taking measurable action consistently, then I know I’ve not earned any patience. Trying and failing earns me patience. Hiding does not.
So I grant myself patience. I know if I try again tomorrow, that it’s worth the effort. That I will be pushing past my comfort zone and I’ll fail a lot. But I remember too, I will get better if I persist.
Patience and persistence. It’s both of these things, not just one or the other.
Each day you decide – a step closer or further away from your dream. Step closer.
October 16, 2013
We award gold, silver and bronze to the top three in each Olympic sport. At the Kentucky Derby they award cash for win, place and show. Three is how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop according to Mr. Owl.
A common practice to boost the happiness in your own life is, at the end of the day, to jot down three things you are grateful for/wins you had that day/things worth celebrating. These can be big or small. Engaging in this daily practice that takes less than a minute is that it shifts your thinking toward the positive in life. And that focus gives us something to build on. Big wins are built on the cumulative effects of small wins.
I find this especially helpful when I find myself in a shit mood that I can’t seem to shake. I stop and list three things I’m grateful for. It keeps me from spiraling into a worse mood. It reminds me that really what I’m pissy about is temporary. It helps me redirect my energy.
As a daily practice over time, it helps me capture the beauty of life in each day. That might sound a little corny or over the top, but really it does. I enjoy the journals I’ve kept where I can go back and see what little things were the highlights of the day. I notice patterns too – a lot of my three things involve teaching and my students, and a fair amount involve food (specifically Salted Carmel Mochas, goat cheese – who doesn’t love it?, and fresh berries).
Steal away a regular moment to stop and take notice of your life. Appreciate the bright spots. Maybe do it as a family over dinner. Jot it down right before bed.
As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Don’t miss it.
October 15, 2013
What’s the price you paid for breakfast this morning? I don’t mean just in dollars. If you had coffee and nothing else, what’s the long term price you pay for fueling up on caffeine? If you got up a bit earlier and made yourself some eggs, was it worth the price of less sleep? Did you eat alone? with your loved one(s)? Was the price you paid worth the breakfast you had?
The things we want all cost us in some way. It’s not just in money. It’s our time. It’s our mental and emotional energy. It’s the tradeoffs. Some might say it’s the sacrifices we make. I’m not sure I agree with the terminology. Sacrifice makes it sound like we are giving something up. It’s saying, “I have to do X” instead of saying, “I choose to do Y.” And for some, sacrifice turns into martyrdom. Sacrifice also makes it seem like we are owed something – because we sacrificed so much for it.
I remember being a teen and wanting some pretty big ticket items. My mom encouraged me to work and save for it. After many hours of babysitting or office work, I’d save up and sometimes, after I did all of that, I no longer wanted the suede outfit with the fringe like Cindy Mancini rocked at the last party (please someone tell me they caught the reference I just made). Sometimes though, I happily ponied up the cash for the object of my desire. I remember I coveted this one pair of Daisy Duke shorts.
They had white eyelet ruffle on the edge and three rows of grommets on the side with white satin ribbon that laced up about 1-2 inches up the side. They were AMAZING. I totally saved up from babysitting, had my mom take me to the mall and came home with the most awesome pair of short-shorts ever. I lived in them for an entire summer. They were totally worth the price. They were worth the hours I traded watching kids. It was never a sacrifice; I was willing to pay the price.
For anything you want, ask yourself the following three questions:
1. So what is it that you want? financial stability? travel and adventure? a luxury brand car? to be home every night at 5?
2. What’s the price to be paid? what’s the tradeoff? what’s the impact to the rest of our life?
3. Are you willing to pay that price?
Number 3 – that’s the question you really have to answer. We all want our dreams, but we aren’t always willing to pay the price for them, and that’s the difference.
Pay the price – happily, and then go rock the hell out of those short-shorts!
p.s. If you didn’t catch my reference, you are now obliged to go watch Can’t Buy Me Love.
October 14, 2013
Today’s post is coming in at the 11th hour literally. It’s 11:16 pm. I’ve had a full day: work, my teaching gig, a stop by store #1, gas fill up, then home to tackle more projects before the weather turns, a trip to store #2, cook up some steak and chicken for protein for lunches for the Mr., some house cleaning and I’m now sitting down to blog.
All I can really say is that when you’re tired, no wait, exhausted in the middle of a project, you need to summon Dory.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING.
It’s not a blind or aimless swimming – no sense being a hamster spinning your proverbial wheel, but when there’s a lot to do, there’s nothing except to do it. Don’t analyze, just turn that part of your brain off and get with the flow.
Dive in, swim, keep swimming.