July 2010

We recently learned that our beloved cat, Oliver, is ill. And this time there will be no reprieve.

This tough little guy is the beloved neighborhood cat – everyone knows him and plays with him. He even snagged a turkey dinner by charming a family down the street.

He struts around the cul-de-sac displaying his false bravado, walking like a bulldog with
long orange fur when viewed from head on. And his body shows the wear and tear from defending his territory. Most prominent is the chunk missing from one ear.

But, underneath this exterior, he has a gentle soul and a penchant for winning over the most adamant humans. He has a purr that keeps me awake at night along with his snoring, and he’ll rub noses if I make kissing sounds at him. Each afternoon he walks me to the curb and patiently waits while I cross the street and gather the mail.

So how do you say goodbye to such a friend?

I’ve decided that I am going to enjoy every remaining moment with the little guy. I will make time to play with him, to scruffle his favorite “itchy” places, and to share my garden bench while I sip my wine.

So the cycle of life continues.

Oliver the cat

What’s on your “to be” list this week?

pen and Post-It pad

Most people create some form of a “to do” list, whether it’s on paper, in an electronic device
or in their head, just to keep themselves focused. And, most of these lists are loooooong, and getting longer. Our culture often equates the length of a “to do” list with personal importance. The busier someone is, the more important they must be. The more they are juggling, the better.

But what if we re-frame this idea? What if, instead of asking “What’s on your “to do” list?” we ask, “What’s on your “to be” list?”

Sometimes we are so tied up with “busyness” that we neglect our “being-ness”.

When was the last time you thought about what kind of person you want to become? What characteristics or values do you want to strengthen: graciousness, patience, lovingkindness, self-care, generosity, honesty, being in the moment? Others?

So, let’s stop the busyness for just 15 minutes. Surely out of the 1440 minutes in one day you can find this small amount of time to focus on who you are becoming

Find a quiet space and still your mind; a breathing exercise is listed at the end of this article to help you quiet the internal chatter. Now close your eyes and really think about who you want to become. What will your best you look like? How will the best you show up in the world? What gifts will the best you bring to everyone you meet? Sit with this vision of the best you. Appreciate who you want to become.

So, what can you do to move toward your best self? What can you do this week to take the next step toward the best you? What will be on your “to be” list this week?

You are more than your to do list. Just as a “to do” list helps us stay focused on the next step, a “to be” list helps us to stay on track to becoming our best, and truest selves. What you focus on grows stronger and becomes your reality.

Remember, be-ing is just as important as do-ing.

How can you integrate a “to be” list with your “to do” list?

You become what you think about.

~ Earl Nightingale

motivational speaker

breathing exercise for instant ahhhh…

Sit comfortably, with your feet on the floor, eyes closed, hands resting loosely on your lap.

Then follow this repetition for 5 minutes: breathe in for a slow count of 8, pause, breathe out for a slow count of 8.

With each breath, imagine peace and calm coming in, and stress and tension flowing out.

Robin Recommends:
woman pointing in agreement

This is one of my favorite books because it complements my journaling activities, combines both introspection and other women’s stories, and allows me the flexibility to change-up how I use the framework.

Each week I am presented with questions to ponder, which lead me to my intention for the week. And cleverly, each week contains three elements: “Let go of”, “Have to”, and “Could do”. Over time, I have come to see patterns in my responses to these three phrases. Insights I would have missed otherwise.

The beautifully designed pages have also ignited my creativity as I write in my own journal. I delight in using colorful markers to express my answers to the 5 probing questions and 3 elements for each week. Swirls and arrows, calligraphic letters, swathes of color, all lend an emphasis to my words.

Jennifer Louden, also a personal coach, sprinkles her unique wisdom about how to create a life-organizing process throughout the 52-week planning guide. This book is very much in tune with the flow of my life.

As she says, you can share a virtual cup of tea with her here.

The poem of our lives proclaims

there’s something still ahead

to be discovered if we just

have time.

Rush, and we miss it.

Wait, and it finds us.

from The Past Won’t Stay Behind You, poetry by Samuel Hazo