Can I please complain?

I really pride myself in being positive.  But there are a few things that are just bugging me right now.  Maybe it’s the freaking cold.  Maybe it’s that it is too icy to run in the dark (screw it, I’m going tomorrow a.m.).  Maybe it’s just because I’m a Scrooge.  Who cares?  Here’s my s*** right now:

1. When I call to try to fix my internet service, don’t make me talk into the phone regarding my problem.  I don’t even want to talk about my problem.  I want it FIXED.  So, let me punch a few buttons (not too many) and get it done.

2. Please don’t pull in front of me on the side roads when it’s so slippery.  I’m often trying to drink some hot tea or water and I am sick of spilling on myself.  That’s what they have blinkers for!

3. Do not, in any case, take my parking spot when you see MY blinker because I’m waiting for the spot.  Just don’t do it.  I will retaliate.

4. Please send me your holiday cards even if I didn’t get mine out last year.  I still want to be on your list even if I am last year’s holiday card failure!

5. When I unsubscribe to junk emails I want to be unsubscribed.  End of story.

6. I need more wine in those wine glasses when I go out to dinner this holiday season.  Please don’t skimp Mr. and Ms. Bartender.

7. I need more people who want to go out for wine and dinner this holiday season!

8. I really would prefer it if the snow could come only once per week.  It takes me a day to recover from the work of shoveling and then 6 days of rest.  OR, my kids could pick up those really nice shovels I have and do something with them (that’s a message to the boys in my house!).

9. I don’t need any more junk mail or inserts in my newspaper.  I am running out of room in my recycling bin and nothing is more frustrating than to have the service refuse to take my extra recycling if it’s not in the “bin.”  Really?

10.  Please put your headlights on by 4:00 pm in the frozen tundra.  I have trouble with that dusk thing and I like to be able to see you (not you, but those you who I don’t know) before you slide into me!

I thank you.  I thank you for this morning rant.  I thank you for reading my s***, when you are so inclined and I can’t wait to get that holiday card that you’ve likely put in the mail for us!

Enjoy the “warm up” today!!!

Am I motivated or inspired to [fill in the blank]?

I’m struggling with this.  I’ve been using these words interchangeably.  But, I think I am wrong and using them the same way has caused me to push myself and those I love in the wrong direction … maybe toward me when that was not the right path.  Last night I realized that these two words are different.

When I try to motivate myself, to do something, I’m really pushing myself to do something I don’t want to do. The same is true for others in my life … when I have to push them in a direction it’s because they really don’t want to do what I’m asking from them.

Inspiration comes from a completely different place than motivation. The word inspiration means to be in spirit. When you’re tuned into your spirit, when you are inspired to be with someone or do something, the feeling is drawn from a very different place.  It’s passion.  And, fulfillment is the end result.

Motivation, on the other hand, usually has a lot to do with growth but maybe a bit less “real” than that which is inspired.  It’s often what you are supposed to do.  What others are doing.  It may be a good idea but is it what you are passionate about?  Does it feel like a burning desire that emanates from the core of your being?

When you’re inspired:

  • It feels effortless.
  • You have to hold yourself back from starting right now.
  • Your passion feels steady.
  • You feel it in your bones.
  • You just know.

Inspiration isn’t something we get … it’s something that comes from within.  It’s paying attention to that inner voice.  It’s about taking the time to realign your desires with your direction.  Look, it’s great to be a motivated person.  I certainly am.  But being inspired is something entirely different.

I think I’ve been pushing people in my life to be motivated to either be with me or do things that I thought were “right.”  But, the truth is, if they are not inspired, it’s work.  It’s a chore for them and eventually a chore for me.

So, ask yourself this question:  What do you really want? Not what should you want, not what you think might be a good idea for you to want. What lights you up?  What fuels the passion in you?  Once you’ve got a grasp on that, stay with it for a little while. Bathe in it, savor it, taste it … visualize it.  Once you get there, you know that you are inspired in that direction.  It’s 100% better than trying to motivate yourself in that direction, right?

There are so many ways to find inspiration in our daily life.  It doesn’t require a lot of money or time.  The only requirement is that we open our eyes to the amazing things in front of us every day.  I promise, it won’t take long to find that which inspires us!  And then, the inspiration will fall into your lap.

Have a great day!

BTW:  I am not inspired to warm up my car.  Any takers?  🙂

 

She said, “Take time to marinate in your awesomeness.”

I’ve been exhausted this last week.  Physically and emotionally exhausted.  I can even say that there were a few days where I went to bed at 9 and had to drag my sorry a** out of bed at 6:30.  So not me.

Yesterday, I decided that it was time to get out of my funk (hard to get out of a funk in this freaking weather).  So, I planned some fun things: a run with two friends in the 5 degree temps, lunch with my Dad and then later in the evening 7:00 p.m. hot yoga  (p.s. only in Minnesota does it take 35 minutes for me to start sweating in hot yoga!).

During savasana (the time when I’m supposed to relax … and I don’t), she told us to take some time to marinate in our awesomeness.  I immediately thought of a salad (clearly I was hungry).  Why would I marinate in my awesomeness?  That’s what I encourage others to do.  That’s not what I do for myself.

Then, it dawned on me … why don’t we marinate in our awesomeness? We should be congratulating ourselves for who we are and what we do (even the little or not-so-great things).  Instead, we focus on what we don’t do or don’t do well.  All the while encouraging others (which, of course, is a great thing to do!) but not ourselves.

Then, I heard this in the quiet of my mind:

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.  Dalai Lama

Ok, now this 60 minutes is getting me somewhere.

Not only should we marinate in how great we are, but we should focus on us today!  We should not worry about our decisions or failures yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.  I (maybe we) need to remember to be thankful and peaceful and loving (of ourselves) today.  This is so easy for me to do for others … but not myself.  Sound familiar?

So, in the 10 seconds before my mind wandered to my grocery list, I congratulated myself for my decision this week, for taking care of myself, for allowing it to feel emotional and for not beating myself up (too much).

I want to remember appreciate me each day.  I don’t want to have big expectations about what’s to come.  I don’t want to have any regrets about what didn’t work out.  I just want to enjoy me and the flaws in my day today … even if I’ve got 10 flaws before 8 a.m.!

Appreciate you and the awesomeness of your day today! Have a fantastic start to your week!

I think my moral compass may be off.

The other day I saw a woman I know crying.  I say that I know her, which I do, but I typically don’t enjoy spending time with her.  I find her to have a big ego and she’s very competitive.  I also find myself avoiding her when I see her.  However, the other day, when I saw her crying, something hit me: Everyone, even those with big egos, can be hurt.  They can be hurt so much that they cry.

An obvious statement, I know, but what made me feel so unsure about my own moral compass was – how did I judge her from the outside, rather than thinking about the fact that she was likely just like me on the inside?  How selfish of me …

As if that wasn’t sobering enough, Nelson Mandela dies.  The absolute king of not judging from the outside.  How did he do it?  Why aren’t I doing it?

Now, we know I am no Nelson Mandela but the idea should be in the fore of my mind. I should be careful about judging those I don’t care for.  I should be forgiving the stuff I don’t like about people and focusing on that which I do like (even if it sometimes is very little!).  I really want to work on this life skill.

That’s all.  It’s been a long week and I’ve got a few more in front of me.  I (and my brave assistant!) will be moving to a new firm in a week (that was the big decision) and looking forward to new life adventures and likely meeting a bunch more cool people!

Have a great weekend!

 

My radio silence.

I’ve not written in a couple of days.  Earlier this week I had to make a big decision about something in my life and I just wasn’t sure which direction to go.  I should have written about it … it might have helped.  But it was one of those not-for-public-consumption decisions that I had to make first, then execute, then I could talk about.

Here’s something I learned in the process – I’m not entirely honest with myself.  I tend to want to avoid any indication that I’m unhappy.  Even to myself.  So, for example, in this case, I didn’t know what decision I was going to make until the very moment I was faced with the decision.  And, then as I was sitting there, through a face full of tears, I realized that I had been so unhappy for so long that the decision was obvious.

How did I not see it a year ago?  What was I hiding from myself?  I really try hard to make situations in my life actually work.   Why?  Because I like to avoid the appearance (maybe just to myself) of “failure.”   But, here’s what I’ve said before (and why I didn’t use it on myself this last year, I’ll never know!) – there’s no such thing as failure.

I love the story about Thomas Edison who was approached by a reporter and asked: “How does it feel to have failed a thousand times?” The great inventor responded, “I have not failed a thousand times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those thousand ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”  After several thousand more of these “successes,” Edison finally found the one that worked and then invented the light bulb.

This last year I was so afraid that if I admitted that a decision I made wasn’t working, that I would appear as a failure.  I was so afraid that I simply ignored my own feelings and pretended to myself that it was OK.  That’s the worst kind of pretending … when we do it to ourselves.  Instead, I should have been confident enough (if even to myself) to acknowledge that this “success” was not going to be the right one, and move on.  I didn’t.  But, maybe it gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself.  I guess being the young age of 51, I still have a lot to learn.

Failure is an imaginary thing; it’s just the outcome of everything and anything we do. It’s really just an attitude about results that are different from the ones we anticipated.

I’m going to welcome myself back to my blog and my feelings!  It only took me a year to find them. 🙂

Have a great day and stay warm!

 

 

I wonder if Santa has stress this time of year?

The holiday season is in full swing now  and, no matter how much you like the holidays, there’s no question that some stress comes with the territory.  This is a period where many of us get stressed out meeting the multiple expectations, desires and demands on us, including spending more $$ than our credit cards will enjoy.  Oh, and let’s not forget the part that I also heap on my plate … the need to engage in some activity that requires me (and my kids) to volunteer with the less fortunate.

So, what is the trick is to enjoying this time and keeping ourselves sane (that assumes I was sane to begin with!)?  Here are some ideas I’m going to use to avoid the typical stress I have during this time of year … any thing resonate?

1. There’s always the fear that someone will get you a gift or send a card and you won’t have reciprocated.  Don’t let this force you into reciprocating.  There are only two words that you need to remember to use — “Thank You.”  Said with meaning and the deepest of gratitude, will go a long way.

2. There is no such thing as the perfect gift!  When in doubt about what to buy – don’t.  Instead, donate something to your favorite charity and tell the person  you’re not giving gifts, but instead are donating money to something worthwhile like educating homeless children or taking care of stray animals.  No one can resist helping others this time of year.  One year, we all gave money to other organizations rather than buying gifts.  It was fantastic!

3. Remember, saying no to a party invitation is not the end of your social life (what social life?).  There will always be more. We all need to rest and a night in front of the TV with my hand in a box of cereal can be just the mindless rest I need.

4.  In keeping with #3, if you overeat and over drink too much, remember, tomorrow is another day. Key here: You can lose whatever you might gain in these next three weeks.  It’s ok.

5.  Enjoy yourself! Give yourself permission to have fun and drop the words “have to, obligation, duty and tradition” from your vocabulary.  If you skip a work out, just let it go!

Let’s remember, the holidays are meant to be like a mini-vacation, not a season from h***.  How we choose to participate is up to us, but we do have choices.

So, I’m not going to allow the hustle of it all to get in the way of some quiet time with my family and even for myself.  I’m sure Santa never did — look how jolly he seems to be and he eats lots of cookies and likely never makes it to the gym!

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Yup, we went to MOA last night.

I’m not a shopper.  And, I’ve never gone out on Black Friday.  However, last night we (well, really me) decided that we should go to the MOA (Mall of America for my outstate friends!) on Thanksgiving evening.  I had to start prepping him at 4:30 p.m. on the idea of how “fun” it would be.  He was quite against it but I had a feeling I might be successful in my quest.

We went to a movie with my dad and then out for Chinese food (our traditional Thanksgiving meal) and while he was hungry, I decided to pounce.  I told him how  interesting it would be (my dad laughed).  And, what a new experience we could have (my dad laughed again) hanging out at night at a mall.   I think I used up a lot of chips but eventually, he turned to my father and said that he was like a turkey with no choice but to be put in a deep fryer for cooking … I knew at that point we were going to the MOA!

As we drove out there we passed Target and Best Buy.  And, with their parking lots totally packed, I could see the nervous look on his face.  I anticipated his fear of the unknown masses at the mall and I assured him that if it was bad, we would just leave (I had no intention of doing so, but he at least looked relieved).

As we walked in we were pleasantly surprised that it was not that crowded.  However, there was one thing we quite quickly noticed … we were the oldest people there!  Where were you all last night????  The MOA was filled with young people (teens), parents with kids in strollers (I would never have dared with mine!) and us!

I tried to fluff up my hair and put on some Chapstick (I don’t have lipstick, so flavored kid stuff’s gotta do) so as not look too grandma-ish.  But, I don’t think it helped.  And, other than a quick return at Macy’s, a drink at Caribou, looking at toasters (oh, such a sexy purchase) and a grandchild gift … we didn’t know what else to do with ourselves.   We had such a fun idea but no idea how to execute!

I guess that shows our age (or our interest in shopping!).  We eventually walked back to our car, noted the time of 10:45, prided ourselves it making it so late in the evening and headed home.  And, so the AARP folks start the holiday season!

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday.  I was blessed with another year of taking the kids to serve Thanksgiving lunch to those less fortunate than us.  It puts it all in perspective.

Enjoy the rest of your (shopping) weekend!

This blog is not about being thankful.

That would be the typical blog for today, right?  Being thankful for the abundance of what we have?  But, you don’t need me to remind you of that.

Today, I want to remind you to be selfish.

If you’re anything like me, and some of you are, you take care of every one else first.  You do, do, do but not for you.  I’m often too afraid to be selfish and worry that it will take away from those I take care for.  But, if I’ve learned anything thus far, it’s that taking care of myself has to be at the top of my list.

You’ve all heard of the Airplane Oxygen Mask Theory, right?  Where you need to take care of yourself first (your mask goes on first), before you can give to others.    The notion is that when it’s only when you take care of you first, that you are able to help others.

When you feel like you are lacking, the answer is not always to give to feel better.  When you are depleted, it’s often best to do something for yourself.  It can be as simple as taking the paper and a cup of coffee for five minutes alone or with your favorite family member, after you cooked, cleaned and entertained everyone else all day!

Last night a friend took me aside and, knowing that I’m not a lover of the holidays and am going through some transitions right now, offered me a quiet place to spend some time this weekend.  My first inclination was to use my “I’m fine.  I don’t need any help,” line.  But then I realized that I am in need of a little R & R.  And, I am the most service to the most people if I am rested and nurtured enough to use to my gifts and talents, rather than running ragged responding to every single request in my Inbox (so to speak).  So, instead I said, “Thanks! That would be great!”

It’s ok that sometimes my hands are needed to put on my own oxygen mask.  And the same is true for you.  So, in the midst of being with those you love … take a moment for yourself.  You might even find that it will give you more focus and energy to appreciate the abundance of what’s right in front of you!

Have a great being thankful day!  XO

This was my LEAST favorite grocery store, until my visit there last night.

I guess I should qualify this title.  COSTCO is my least favorite grocery store, with its dizzyingly (real word?) tall aisles, the long, long lines and having to throw my raw chicken right in to the back of my car with no bag …. but this isn’t a blog about COSTCO.

Last night I went to Rainbow.  I didn’t want to leave the house but needed to pick up the stuff for baking today (we always bake bread for the homeless on the day before Thanksgiving).  Of course, as I wandered the aisles, I found more things than we needed … but that’s life.  By the time I’d gotten to the checkout, I’d spent close to $200.00.

As I was frantically trying to bag my own groceries (because there were a million people behind me) I dropped my entire carton of eggs, which broke all over the floor, my cart and some of my food.  S***!

The manager immediately comes over, assesses the disgusting situation, and proceeds to have the area cleaned and all new food brought to me.  How nice!  But, that’s not even the best part.  As I’m standing there (playing on my phone, of course) a woman walks up to the service counter with three little kids and hands the service employee something and the employee gives the woman and her kids two bags.

I can’t help myself and I walk over and start chatting with the service counter woman.  She tells me that last night the woman didn’t have enough money for her groceries and the store kept the groceries overnight (actually, giving her some items free because they knew she would come back) and that’s what she was picking up.

Wow.  How nice. By the time I’d finished this conversation, my groceries were cleaned up, repacked and ready to go.

I still am not in love with the lack of carpet, the fresh fruit and vegetable department or the long lines.  But, I did fall in love with the way in which they helped me and helped her.  Today, I’m going to pay it forward somehow.

Have a fantastic day!

 

Is “Thank You” enough?

There are three periods of time every year that give me pause.  One is a semi- religious/spiritual period (and I will address that when the time comes).

The second is the period from the birth day of my two sons (when my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer) to the anniversary of her death.  It’s a short six weeks and I often use that time to find quiet ways to connect with the people I love and think of her.

The third is this period, from Thanksgiving to New Years — the “holiday period.”  I used to hate (I hate that word “hate”) this period.  Now I call it my “Gratitude Time.”  It’s my quiet tradition.  One I’ve not really shared with anyone thus far.

When I separated from the kids’ dad I found that I had to share the children with him.  I also found myself alone on the holidays when everyone was with someone else or traveling.  I was devastated and began to dislike (better word!) the holiday period.  Then, I recall one day realizing that I was the only person who could solve this problem.  And, the only way to do it was to take the focus off me … to find gratitude, not sadness.

I started to remind myself that despite life’s challenges, hardships or loneliness, there is always so much for which to be grateful.   Once I did this, I not only began to feel grateful, but I began to meet people, strangers, who confirmed this idea!

What I try to do (and it’s not perfect) is to make a specific intention to thank those people in my life who have sent love my way.  Sometimes I do it silently.  Sometimes I do it in person.   I can’t tell you how good it feels and how it takes the focus off of me during this period and on to the truly important things in my life.

So, let me say thank you to those I may not see in the next month or so.  Those of you who read my blog.  I’ve had 2,000+ hits in the last sporadically-written 45 days.  You inspire and push me to find a better place for my thoughts and actions.  Thank you for taking me into your homes, sending my posts to your family and friends to read and for your loving comments about my million++ flaws.  There really is much to be thankful for (including my crazy “meeting” story for tomorrow!).

And with that, I’ll leave you with this quote, which I’m sure you’ve heard … but I need the reminder:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you…that would suffice.  Meister Eckhart

Thank you!  Have a wonderful day.