Jan 25 ♥ 4 Ways to Kiss “Should” Goodbye

Should. Appears to be an innocent enough word. How many times a day do you use this word? On the surface it means recommendation, advisability, obligation, expectation. But it also has an implicit definition: the “should” comes from someone else’s point of view, not yours. How many times have you done something based on what other people expect? As in, “You should clean the house.” “You should dress in brighter colors.” “You should bake cookies, not buy them.” “You should lose weight.” Or the reverse. “You shouldn’t try for that more advanced job.” “You shouldn’t expect to be happy in your life.” “You shouldn’t take risks because of <fill in the blank>.” Should. It’s a powerful, judgmental voice. It implies that you don’t have your own answers. How have you been talking to yourself lately? How about making a shift? Making choices based on your values and needs, not those of others. When you feeling a should coming on, see if one of the following phrases resonates with you. Then use that section to help you discover the real motivation behind the should. Make a pledge to let go. With practice you can replace the other voices and contrary agendas around you with your own values-based choices. I feel a should or should not coming on… Whose voice is really telling me I this? Often we have unexamined values that we swallowed whole from our parents, schools, or other authority figures. Where is your should/should not really coming from? Is it … Continue reading

Jan. 18 ♥ 5 Lessons Learned from Living without the Internet

I had every intention of posting a blog last week, but I involuntarily had to quit the Internet. This is the story of the lessons that I learned. There had been a severe ice storm over the weekend and the tower that delivers my Internet connectivity was damaged. That tower lives on the top of an 11,000’ mountain, so the environmental conditions meant that it took 5 days until crews could safely ascend and make the necessary repairs. And during those long five days I had no Internet, social media, Netflix, electronic news, email…well, you get the picture. I had tried using my phone as a hotpot and depleted my data plan. I felt completely cut off. The first day wasn’t so bad, just a minor inconvenience. By day three I was actually feeling withdrawal. So much so that I drove the 25 minutes into town and camped out in a coffee shop multiple days. I was miserable. However, there were lessons to be learned once I began paying attention. A slower start to my day. I could wake up in a more relaxed manner since I couldn’t reach for my iPhone or iPad to catch up on what had happened in the last eight hours. I didn’t rush to check my email. Social media didn’t consume me. I actually started my day on my own terms rather than adopting the vibes out in the ether. More focused attention throughout the day I could maintain focus on what I was … Continue reading

Oct. 25 ♥ Apologize, But Not Too Much

I’m sorry. Oops, sorry. I’m sooooo sorry. Sometimes we use these phrases to avoid conflict and offset potential anger: “I’m sorry to bother you but…”. We think this helps keep the peace and ensures that people will continue to like us when this actually creates an imbalance in our relationships because we are putting ourselves in a submissive position. Or maybe we’re so eager to foster cooperation and community that we apologize just so we can move on. What we’re really saying is that our honesty takes a back seat to getting along. The common denominator here is that we’re giving away our power, freely and willingly. When we apologize inappropriately the implicit message is that there’s something wrong with us and that we don’t know what we need. We somehow don’t measure up. When we do this often enough it becomes our truth. So what’s the remedy? We need to say what we mean, without apology. Instead of “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you”, try, “Would you repeat that, please?” Feel the difference? We need to apologize only when it is necessary. Like when we hurt or disappoint someone. And we need to stop using “sorry” as conversational filler or when we have no control over what happened. There are great gifts waiting when we stop over-apologizing: improved self-respect and self-awareness, and more honest relationships with others.   Now It’s Your Turn Pay attention to how often you apologize and stop and reflect on why you’ve said, “I’m sorry” … Continue reading

July 27 ♥ Don’t Throw Stones at Every Dog that Barks

Ever have one of those days where you’re distracted by everything? You know you have things to accomplish. You know you need to focus. Yet every shiny thought that flashes into your brain diverts you. Social media, phone beeps and dings, a steady flow of email, interruptions, random thoughts…all compete for our attention. Distractions are everywhere, and they’re not going away any time soon. As much as we we’d like to disconnect, that also isn’t feasible. So what are we to do? Here are 5 ways I’ve found to help reduce the distraction in my life. Empty the trash. Not the wastebasket variety but the mental kind. Take a blank sheet of paper, set a timer for 5 minutes, and then just write down anything that pops into your brain. No censoring. Just rapid writing. At the end of the time period notice how you feel. If you’re like me, you’ll probably feel cleansed. I find that such a brain dump pulls all of the detritus out of my brain, leaving room for the thing I need to focus on. Oh, and throw away the paper you wrote on – the final adieu to the distractions. Clear physical desk clutter. Remove the piles from your desk and keep only the one thing you will be working on. I often put the extraneous files and papers on the floor behind me so that they are effectively out of sight. Clear digital clutter. Only have one application open on your computer at … Continue reading

November 25 ♥ The Importance of the Big Picture

I had the glorious opportunity to participate in a photography workshop at the Bosque del Apache here in New Mexico. I was really excited to experience thousands and thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese taking off in the early morning light. I’ve been here before and been awed by the cacophony of so many wings beating and birds calling out as they rise to greet the day. The sunrise begins as the skies fill with the silhouettes of so many birds streaking across the multi shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and blue of the sun’s appearance. It is a most joyous and awe-inspiring event. And yet. My intention was to capture the birds in flight – to get that perfect photo, one that captured all of the wonder of this happening. This would be my prize! But the reality is that capturing birds in flight is the most difficult of photographic feats. Unsurprisingly I quickly became frustrated with my skill and my equipment. Time was slipping away and I hadn’t gotten my memorable shot! In the past I would have beaten up on myself for much longer than the 5 minutes I spent that morning. What changed? I realized that I really was there to enjoy the magnificence of the birds in their seasonal visit to the Refuge – the big picture. And if I got a good shot, so much the better. My frustration had been blocking my joy. And I’m not going to put up with that any … Continue reading