Expanding Our Minds & Paving a Path to Freedom

I had so much, but felt so little.   I think it was a deeper desire for more meaning and joy, for I had become numb, deadened and desensitized to my life. I wasn’t depressed, I was discontent.  It wasn’t that my life was bad. I would have some nerve complaining about anything, considering those with real misfortunes.  My life was just too predictable in an annoying way and I had way too many people leaning on me for support. To top it all,  I was reliving the same problems over and over and over again, applying solutions that didn’t work.

shut down

I felt tired, disillusioned  and quite unfulfilled.  Everything was on replay. The things I collected, now collected dust and took up too much space – books, clothing, furniture – the clutter of “cherished” memories – did nothing but confuse me.

fuck

At the very same time, my parents, in their 70’s, living in a pretty remote part of Florida, were in need of some help. Their health was degrading. Actually, their lives were falling apart. The house in need of growing repair.  It was May when I got the call. Mom developed stage four lung cancer and dad,  tormented by anxiety and fear, slipped deeper and deeper into dementia. He was frustrated, angry and confused as well. They didn’t want anyone’s help, they didn’t want to see that they could no longer take care of themselves.

help
Every single day brought on a mini disaster as they continued to try to do the things they use to be able to do.  Fires in the oven, crucial medication missed, terrible falls in the middle of the night and countless visits to the emergency room. I dreaded every flight I took to see them.

I witnessed first hand what people do when they hold on too tight, when they cling to the past, when they shut down, when they isolate themselves. They were terrified to the point of paranoia.   They became delusional and just couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the inevitable – that everything eventually breaks down, fades away.  Everything in life is impermanent. We die a little each moment, with each breath we exhale. This is a part of the process of life. It is also why we must hold life preciously in our hearts, while we have the time we do.

giphy

Time does not stand still for anyone and while I was extremely sad,  I am grateful that I was able to comprehend the lesson and the wisdom in my parent’s painful decline. Clinging to what once was and wishing things were different does us no good and only has us suffocating and suffering more.

suppose

It was with this that I made the non-negotiable decision with myself, that I wanted more joyful moments in my life while my vision is not blurred with cataracts, my hands can still lift a pot to cook and my legs can carry me for long walks along the shore

beginning

We must be grateful for every second we have now and every gift of a moment we have from this second forward. We must learn, adapt and find new ways to stay relevant and useful. Purposeful while doing the best with what we have.

thank you

At the same time that I was keeping my head above the water with my parents in crisis and my freelance work, my husband, my darling, told me that he never took the lithium he very so needed to keep his bipolar illness at bay.

In and out of hospitals for much of our marriage, it was one roller coaster ride after the next.

The meds seemed to help keep him balanced, or so I thought.  It was the last draw and he lied to me and that hurt very much. He began self-medicating with drugs and then alcohol and then God knows what. Anything to soothe his mania I guess. He was trying to  help alleviate the heightened anxiety.  All of this crazy behavior around me was pushing me further and further into disassociating from all of my emotions.

struggle

2113

I did not want to accept the reality of all of this pain. He too, may have been on a path – while I was choosing to discard of  anything that no longer served me well. He may have been seeking the same, using different tools, a different approach. Somewhere along the way there was a huge disconnect. That’s the trouble with chemical imbalances and mental illness, you never know what’s real or what’s just a troubled mind gone off on a really wild tangent.

So, the only question to answer: What do I do now?

Forgiveness first, self-care second. I’ve been exploring the wisdom of Buddhism, the secrets of the Kabbalah and enjoying the calm and mind-clearing benefits of meditation and yoga. I am doing more of what I enjoy doing. Swimming in the ocean, bicycling, Soul Cycle, exploring new places, reading, long walks, dancing and time with my daughters and friends.

So far, I have come to understand and respect, that by becoming more curious about myself and how I think and in turn expanding my awareness by building my propensity to be mindful, to forgive and to give with loving kindness.  I feel healthier and more energized. By asking What am I to do now? What is the right thing to do next? I am guided by my heart and values that I hold dear.

mindful

With the current state of world affairs, I have been questioning just how sane we really are. Frankly, I am frightened of what’s to come and the media loves it that way.

My biggest concern is to have a strong enough mind that I don’t become brainwashed by all the bad news. I have always wondered how people followed someone like Hitler, let alone Trump. This truly concerns me. Reading books about the holocaust like Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl and watching movies like Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful, I still ask myself, how do these atrocities happen?  I have become so concerned that if the world completely fell apart, I want to make sure that I have a strong enough mind and spiritual base that I do not follow the herd.

Amazing-Viktor-Frankl-Quotes-87-For-Your-Insurance-Quotes-with-Viktor-Frankl-Quotes

This herd mentality is something I know I desperately need to avoid. I need to seek a more meaningful understanding of life, so that I can strengthen my mind and continue to think clearly. So that I can better understand the truth and the purpose of living and giving with intense gratitude each day. I know that clinging to fear of falling prey to stronger (albeit: unhealthy) minds. My mind should never be controlled by outside forces, including fear.

This+always+cheers+me+up+so+i+tough+to+share_631eae_6131261

Do Today As You Would in The Future & Living a Life in Accordance with Your Values

future.jpg
People who are happiest and most content with their lives, know, without a doubt, that what they are doing right now and the friends they choose to connect with – are in complete alignment with what they truly value.
If you want your life to change for the better, the time to start living in accordance with what you value is right now.  And what you do now, will pretty much determine your future.
education

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

Most of our frustration and suffering comes from not living in accordance with our values.
moral_compass_by_commanderofthedead-d5qtfpf
You see, if what I value is personal time and the freedom to make my own schedule and do my own thing at my own pace and suddenly I place myself in a relationship or situation where I am required to give up the time, I may feel trapped, held hostage, and/or unable to do what I want or need to do, I get very upset and angry.
What this looks like
It could be my parents (I really love them so)  who guilt me into thinking it is my responsibility to leave my life by the curb and my daily pleasures so that I take care of them for long periods at a time because they didn’t “plan” on falling ill. They assumed I would come to their rescue I guess.
It could be a client who wants me to put in more hours (again taking from my personal freedom to schedule my own day) then we agreed to or change our strategy in the middle of a project because the strategy they paid me to create isn’t working fast enough.
It could be a good friend who decides that I am not giving enough to our relationship, so I give more of my time even though I would rather be doing something else.
Anytime I and you am/are not living in accordance with what we most value we will hit a block, feel stuck, disappointed and frustrated. We are angry at ourselves for not staying true to what we really believe and our values and this in turn this leads to more pain and confusion.
Watch Teal Swan explain this so perfectly in her video The Secret to a Happy Life.
C1XP4N2XEAAZWXQ
Understanding our values will become easier when we know what we like, enjoy or want out of our lives and how we expect ourselves to go about it all. Our values are like our set of rules for engagement.

But How do You Develop Your Values?

Most of what you value came from what your parents told you that your should value.
expiru
That is until you grew up and realized that you could develop a whole new set of values and evaluate those values as you grow older.

A Beginner’s List of Values

  1. Abundance
  2. Acceptance
  3. Accomplishment
  4. Accountability
  5. Accuracy
  6. Achievement
  7. Acknowledgement
  8. Activeness
  9. Adaptability
  10. Adoration
  11. Adroitness
  12. Advancement
  13. Adventure
  14. Affection
  15. Affluence
  16. Aggressiveness
  17. Agility
  18. Alertness
  19. Altruism
  20. Amazement
  21. Ambition
  22. Amusement
  23. Anticipation
  24. Appreciation
  25. Approachability
  26. Approval
  27. Art
  28. Articulacy
  29. Artistry
  30. Assertiveness
  31. Assurance
  32. Attentiveness
  33. Attractiveness
  34. Audacity
  35. Authenticityto be genuinely yourself at all times. If you value your authenticity and you are in a position where you feel like you have to be someone you are not, you may become very frustrated and upset, because you are living against your core value of being 100% completely you. The same goes for if you are feeling unaccepted for who you are and what you stand for. If your friends or aquaintances disapprove of you, then you may be inclined to feel disappointed. To live an unapologetically authentic life while surrounding yourself around people who appreciate your uniqueness is extremely fulfilling. Find them. 
  36. Availability
  37. Awareness
  38. Awe
  39. Balance
  40. Beauty
  41. Being the best
  42. Belonging
  43. Benevolence
  44. Bliss
  45. Boldness
  46. Bravery
  47. Brilliance
  48. Buoyancy
  49. Calmness
  50. Camaraderie
  51. Candor
  52. Capability
  53. Careif showing genuine care and consideration in your relationships is something you believe to be very important than you will be hard pressed to find compatibility with someone who doesn’t demonstrate a warm, affectionate, tender and kind reciprocation back towards you.
  54. Carefulness
  55. Celebrity
  56. Certainty
  57. Challenge when one of your core values is to be continually challenged by a life of learning, growing and expanding your consciousness, it is difficult to associate with people who are content with staying the same. 
  58. Change
  59. Charity
  60. Charm
  61. Chastity
  62. Cheerfulness
  63. Clarity
  64. Cleanliness
  65. Clear-mindedness
  66. Cleverness
  67. Closeness
  68. Comfort
  69. Commitment
  70. Community
  71. Compassion
  72. Competence
  73. Competition
  74. Completion
  75. Composure
  76. Concentration
  77. Confidence
  78. Conformity
  79. Congruency
  80. Connection
  81. Consciousness
  82. Conservation
  83. Consistency
  84. Contentment
  85. Continuity
  86. Contribution
  87. Control
  88. Conviction
  89. Conviviality
  90. Coolness
  91. Cooperation
  92. Cordiality
  93. Correctness
  94. Country
  95. Courage
  96. Courtesy
  97. Craftiness
  98. Creativity
  99. Credibility
  100. Cunning
  101. Curiosity
  102. Daring
  103. Decisiveness
  104. Decorum
  105. Deference
  106. Delight
  107. Dependability
  108. Depth
  109. Desire
  110. Determination
  111. Devotion
  112. Devoutness
  113. Dexterity
  114. Dignity
  115. Diligence
  116. Direction
  117. Directness
  118. Discipline
  119. Discovery
  120. Discretion
  121. Diversity
  122. Dominance
  123. Dreaming
  124. Drive
  125. Duty
  126. Dynamism
  127. Eagerness
  128. Ease
  129. Economy
  130. Ecstasy
  131. Education
  132. Effectiveness
  133. Efficiency
  134. Elation
  135. Elegance
  136. Empathy
  137. Encouragement
  138. Endurance
  139. Energy
  140. Enjoyment
  141. Entertainment
  142. Enthusiasm
  143. Environmentalism
  144. Ethics
  145. Euphoria
  146. Excellence
  147. Excitement
  148. Exhilaration
  149. Expectancy
  150. Expediency
  151. Experience
  152. Expertise
  153. Exploration
  154. Expressiveness
  155. Extravagance
  156. Extroversion
  157. Exuberance
  158. Fairness
  159. Faith
  160. Fame
  161. Family
  162. Fascination
  163. Fashion
  164. Fearlessness
  165. Ferocity
  166. Fidelity
  167. Fierceness
  168. Financial independence
  169. Firmness
  170. Fitness
  171. Flexibility
  172. Flow
  173. Fluency
  174. Focus
  175. Fortitude
  176. Frankness
  177. Freedom
  178. Friendliness
  179. Friendship
  180. Frugality
  181. Fun
  182. Gallantry
  183. Generosity
  184. Gentility
  185. Giving
  186. Grace
  187. Gratitude
  188. Gregariousness
  189. Growth
  190. Guidance
  191. Happiness
  192. Harmony
  193. Health
  194. Heart
  195. Helpfulness
  196. Heroism
  197. Holiness
  198. Honesty
  199. Honor
  200. Hopefulness
  201. Hospitality
  202. Humility
  203. Humor
  204. Hygiene
  205. Imagination
  206. Impact
  207. Impartiality
  208. Independence
  209. Individuality
  210. Industry
  211. Influence
  212. Ingenuity
  213. Inquisitiveness
  214. Insightfulness
  215. Inspiration
  216. Integrity
  217. Intellect
  218. Intelligence
  219. Intensity
  220. Intimacy
  221. Intrepidness
  222. Introspection
  223. Introversion
  224. Intuition
  225. Intuitiveness
  226. Inventiveness
  227. Investing
  228. Involvement
  229. Joy
  230. Judiciousness
  231. Justice
  232. Keenness
  233. Kindness
  234. Knowledge
  235. Leadership
  236. Learning
  237. Liberation
  238. Liberty
  239. Lightness
  240. Liveliness
  241. Logic
  242. Longevity
  243. Love
  244. Loyalty
  245. Majesty
  246. Making a difference
  247. Marriage
  248. Mastery
  249. Maturity
  250. Meaning
  251. Meekness
  252. Mellowness
  253. Meticulousness
  254. Mindfulness
  255. Modesty
  256. Motivation
  257. Mysteriousness
  258. Nature
  259. Neatness
  260. Nerve
  261. Noncomformity
  262. Obedience
  263. Open-mindedness
  264. Openness
  265. Optimism
  266. Order
  267. Organization
  268. Originality
  269. Outdoors
  270. Outlandishness
  271. Outrageousness
  272. Partnership
  273. Patience
  274. Passion
  275. Peace
  276. Perceptiveness
  277. Perfection
  278. Perkiness
  279. Perseverance
  280. Persistence
  281. Persuasiveness
  282. Philanthropy
  283. Piety
  284. Playfulness
  285. Pleasantness
  286. Pleasure
  287. Poise
  288. Polish
  289. Popularity
  290. Potency
  291. Power
  292. Practicality
  293. Pragmatism
  294. Precision
  295. Preparedness
  296. Presence
  297. Pride
  298. Privacy
  299. Proactivity
  300. Professionalism
  301. Prosperity
  302. Prudence
  303. Punctuality
  304. Purity
  305. Rationality
  306. Realism
  307. Reason
  308. Reasonableness
  309. Recognition
  310. Recreation
  311. Refinement
  312. Reflection
  313. Relaxation
  314. Reliability
  315. Relief
  316. Religiousness
  317. Reputation
  318. Resilienceto get back in the saddle, to bounce back from a bad moment, to keep on going. If resilience is what you value, you may become very short-tempered with people who give up quickly or enjoy a good pity party. 
  319. Resolution
  320. Resolve
  321. Resourcefulness
  322. Respect
  323. Responsibility
  324. Rest
  325. Restraint
  326. Reverence
  327. Richness
  328. Rigor
  329. Sacredness
  330. Sacrifice
  331. Sagacity
  332. Saintliness
  333. Sanguinity
  334. Satisfaction
  335. Science
  336. Security
  337. Self-control
  338. Selflessness
  339. Self-reliance
  340. Self-respect
  341. Sensitivity
  342. Sensuality
  343. Serenity
  344. Service
  345. Sexiness
  346. Sexuality
  347. Sharing
  348. Shrewdness
  349. Significance
  350. Silence
  351. Silliness
  352. Simplicity
  353. Sincerity
  354. Skillfulness
  355. Solidarity
  356. Solitude
  357. Sophistication
  358. Soundness
  359. Speed
  360. Spirit
  361. Spirituality
  362. Spontaneity
  363. Spunk
  364. Stability
  365. Status
  366. Stealth
  367. Stillness
  368. Strength
  369. Structure
  370. Success
  371. Support
  372. Supremacy
  373. Surprise
  374. Sympathy
  375. Synergy
  376. Teaching
  377. Teamwork
  378. Temperance
  379. Thankfulness
  380. Thoroughness
  381. Thoughtfulnessthe act of being thoughtful means to pay attention to the details, to think things through before doing them, to plan with more discernment. If thoughtfulness is an important value to you then you may be very frustrated going to places and experiencing things that are rushed, unmannerly or discourteous. 
  382. Thrift
  383. Tidiness
  384. Timeliness
  385. Traditionalism
  386. Tranquility
  387. Transcendence
  388. Trust
  389. Trustworthiness
  390. TruthIf you value the truth, you expect people to be honest with you and you earn and build their trust by being 100% real with them. When and if someone lies to you, you will suffer, because you value honesty in a relationship, whether it be a professional or personal one.
  391. Understanding
  392. Unflappability
  393. Uniqueness
  394. Unity
  395. Usefulness
  396. Utility
  397. Valor
  398. Variety
  399. Victory
  400. Vigor
  401. Virtue
  402. Vision
  403. Vitality
  404. Vivacity
  405. Volunteering
  406. Warmheartedness
  407. Warmth
  408. Watchfulness
  409. Wealth
  410. Willfulness
  411. Willingness
  412. Winning
  413. Wisdom
  414. Wittiness
  415. Wonder
  416. Worthiness
  417. Youthfulness
  418. Zeal

Better Things to Ponder, Metacognition & The Story Telling Mind

I agree with Teal Swan, the reality is that for the most part people are not emotionally safe to be in relationship with. That includes me right now. For the moment, I should wear a warning sign for although I may be smiling on the outside, on the inside, I am a grieving ball of swirling pain and confusion. WARNING: Imminent Danger. Wounded. Hold Space. Step Back. Let Be.

kirkdale_buckland

I wonder how many other people are walking around like this today.

hellRight now, I have placed myself in stealth healing mode. I am recalibrating, retreating and reflecting and yes, I want limited contact with the outside world.

love

We all have our painful struggles. I just really want to learn, grow and take responsibility for my part. To grow stronger while strengthening my very own locus of control. This will enable me to go forward in life choosing people, places and things that are better for me. Better decisions come from a stronger mind. Forgive and let go.

recalibration.png

 

 

The Deep Dive

On Suffering. To Be a Warrior Against What Is.

 

I am a huge believer in disrupting and innovating to repair what doesn’t work in society, especially when it comes to the use of technology. As for matters of the heart, there is a different type of disruption that must start with acceptance and approval of whatever situation you are in right now. That’s right. Find the good in the bad. The opportunity in the obstacle.

demons.jpg

Spending all of our mental energy bargaining with the universe for what should be, how it could be, when the fact is, sometimes you have to give up the resistance to what is.

This is the problem I have with trying to pray away the pain. Praying is beautiful, but it doesn’t change what is. True change begins when we accept what is and when we are ready, we take action in a new direction.

Note to self: you can’t and don’t control everything.  When we suffer, we spend all of our energy fighting what has happened. Wondering how we could have prevented it from happening. The healing begins when you realize you cannot change the outcome of what has already happened. You don’t have to like what is occuring right now, but when you can find the reasons why it might actually be good for you you begin to accept and realize that the remedy has begun. From Teal Swan.

feelings.jpg

Better Things To Ponder

A better life begins with better thoughts. If you can open up to realize that your thoughts may actually be crappy ones, then you can begin to think more clearly. Yeah that’s right, from crappy to clear.

From “101 things more worth thinking about than whatever is consuming you right now.  “From Essays That Will Change the Way You Think  book by Brianna Wiest.

Brianna.png

No. 1

So, if you don’t like where you are in life, stopping complaining and start creating.

The way it will feel to have the life you want. The place you’ll live, the clothes you will wear, what you will buy at the supermarket, how much money you will save, what work you’ll most be proud to have done. What you’ll do with your weekends, what color your sheets will be, what you’ll take photos of.

A Magical Medicine Bag

indian-symbols-mandala-source_ama.jpg

Over the past few weeks, in an attempt to heal myself,  I thought about the idea of a Medicine Bag. I have made one myself, that I have been carrying around and using each morning to reflect on the parts of me that need healing.

A Medicine Bag was a special, sacred container for various objects, or amulets, of supernatural power used, or provided by, a MedicineMan or Shaman, to carry ‘medicine‘, or symbols, of animal spirits good luck, protection and strength in battle. The Medicine Bag contains both symbolic and ritual items.

Now, if I had a magical medicine bag, it might contain . . .

  • A pair of glasses to see the world and all of humanity with radical loving kindness.
  • Soft, beautiful, expanding wings to strap on your shoulders. Magically, they allow you to soar above this world for a new perspective, to glide and to guide.
  • Detoxing tea to help remove the sticky, stuck pain cells of the body. The bitter cells that hold anger and resentment. Those cells that may grow up to become cancer, should they not be softened and removed, eliminated from the body. Drink a small cup a day to keep the crazy rage and illness away.
  • A softening salve for the heart. When applied, a hardened heart becomes mysteriously able to renew itself. This curative balm begins to mend the heart, putting back all the pieces so it may pump and flow again, while helping the love juice of life flow to every healthy cell in the body.
  • A wondrous cape of self confidence that makes one feel resilient, competent, relevant and real. Ready to take on the world with love and enthusiasm. When worn, you know you cannot and will not fail.
  • The compass to help you find your true north.
  • A pill to help you process past issues. Not a numbing pill, but an enlightening pill.
  • The death clock, a countdown tool to remind you that your days are numbered here on this earth with a daily alarm to help you remember to live each day to it’s fullest, doing all the good you can do. Touching everyone that comes your way with heartfelt love and acceptance.
  • A super powerful magnet to attract the people into your life who will play and work and love and live with you on this journey. Your like-minded citizens of the world. Your tribe.
  • A prescription of forgiveness serum to help heal past relationships, to let go of old pain and to open your mind and heart to the healing of this mystical moment.
  • Golden keys to unlock yourself out of imprisoning stories, stories that make you smaller and hurtful.
  • Some type of delicious crystalized candy to expand your mind with the metacognition for awakened awareness of what is truly important.

Metacognition awareness and understanding of one’s own thought process.

meta.jpg

Healing The Stories that Imprison Our Heart

Our suffering arises from fear-based stories that are often outside our awareness. These include stories of our deficiency or importance, of being a victim, of being unseen or unloved, of facing failure or rejection. This is true collectively too. We have shared stories of bad “others” that fuel wars, shared stories of the value of continued growth in consumption and production that destroy our earth, shared stories of our human right to enslave and violate other animals. We have the capacity to bring the stories that separate and imprison us into the light of awareness, and with great compassion, loosen their grip. These two talks look at the ways fear-based stories create suffering, and how awakening from them reveals the freedom of our true, and universal, belonging.  A meditation from Tara Brach.

158a9a0509aca713933876f527cf3731

Prepared & Active

Let Fate find us prepared and active. Here is the great soul – the one who surrenders to Fate. The opposite is the weak and desperate one, who struggles with and has a poor regard for the order of the world and seeks to correct the faults of the gods, rather than their own.” Seneca, Moral Letters 107.12

Whatever happens today, let it find us prepared and active: ready for problems, ready for difficulties, ready for people to behave in disappointing or confusing ways, ready to accept and make it work for us. Let’s not wish we could turn back time or remake the universe according to our preference. Not when it would be far better and far easier to remake ourselves.   – The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

stoic

 

SaveSave

The Expensive Cost of Feeling Safe & Secure

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.

The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.   – Agnes de Mille.

demille

I have always felt very uncomfortable the moment I began to feel even slightly comfortable.  Some of my dearest friends have called me out on this. They say I have “commitment issues”. Maybe. Who knows. I just like the momentum of daring, trying, risking – smartly. Exposing myself and my mind to something new.

Aesop-Quotes-12.jpg

Today’s post is a passage taken from week seven “Recovering a Sense of Connection” from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The passage below resonated with me. Why? Because I fool myself daily because while I think I am taking risks, I am not taking big enough risks. The type that will catapult me to the next level of living adventurously.  Here we go. Let me know if this rings true with you as well.

We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining. The success of a creative recovery hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action. This brings us squarely to risk. Most of us are practiced at talking ourselves out of risk. We are skilled speculators on the probable pain of self-exposure.

I’ll look like an idiot,” we say, conjuring images of our first acting class, our first hobbled short story, our terrible drawings. Part of the game here is lining up the masters and measuring our baby steps against their perfected craft. We don’t compare our student films to George Luca’s student films. Instead, we compare them to Star Wars.

We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly. Instead, we opt for setting our limits at the point where we feel stifled, smothered, despairing, bored. But yes, we do feel safe. And safety is a very expensive illusion.

quote-about-life_9007-2

In order to risk, we must jettison our accepted limits. We must break through “I can’t because. . .” Because I am too old; too broke; too shy; too proud? Self-defended? Timorous?

Protect your magic

Usually when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.

artists

life is either

Every Level of Life Demands A Different You

So why did I start this blog in the first place? I started because I knew I had to grow. I knew I had to grow emotionally, spiritually, professionally and physically. I knew that if I didn’t grow and change and adapt, I would be stuck.

I don’t want to be stuck and I don’t want to stay the same. It’s not serving me well.

quote-istock_000014717397xsmall

At each level of your life, the world demands a different you. A better you. The more (healthy) risks you take in life, the more life asks of you. Life asks for an improved version of you. What does that look like? It looks like YOU with more skills, more love, more patience and more self-awareness.  Not just a new wardrobe.

Growing and moving in this positive direction requires that you adopt a proactive mindset.  Stephen Covey’s Proactive vs. Reactive language choices. From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“.

proactive vs reactive

There is something remarkable about growing better each day and discovering parts of yourself you never knew existed. This won’t happen if you aren’t willing to try new things, meet new people and put yourself out there.

Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Visit inspiring places.  This starts with a wish list. I urge you to write down ten things you wish you were doing right now. Trips you wanted to take, classes you wanted to attend, movies you wanted to see, books, etc. It all starts with a desire.

Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Trust me, if you listen attentively enough, everyone is inspiring in some way, shape or form. Some may inspire you to change your attitude because you don’t like the way they behave. Yup. Even some of the most negative people in your life are teaching you something. 

thankful.jpg

mixed emotions

 

teachers

Turning Things Inside Out

Sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at your negative emotions and try to turn them inside out. Ask yourself what’s good about constantly being worried and afraid? Maybe it’s saving you from taking too big of a risk, like living beyond your means right now? The fear is real. Don’t negate that. But remember to find out why.

Ask yourself what’s good about feeling like you may become irrelevant? Maybe that’s you telling you to start learning new skills.

Ask yourself why you are so mad and frustrated that you still haven’t lost those sticky, pudgy 15 pounds? Maybe that’s you really telling you to become more disciplined with your life. To be more proactive rather than reactive about your life. 

Growing With Your Pain

I am learning so much from Pema Chodron (she is a very wise Buddhist nun). I carry this little book with me wherever I go. It fits in my purse and I read her wise advice throughout the day.

the-only-way-to-ease-our-pain-is-to-experience-it-fully-learn-to-stay-with-uneasiness-learn-to-stay-quote-1

A Fugitive From My Feelings

Oh this whole emotional growth,  this is a big one. A difficult, frustrating and challenging part of my growth. Something that gives me the feeling that I might just start having those frightening panic attacks again. Nooooooooooooo!!!!

panic

 

Instinctively I KNOW that the doors to my life are going to bust wide open when I begin to start facing my feelings. I mean actually feeling them for the first time. You see, for most of my life, I was a fugitive from my feelings.

For those of you who are looking for alternative ways to feel fully alive and present in your life, yes 100% radically accepting life as it comes while putting your best vibes forward, I strongly, highly . . . no I URGE you to listen to Tara Brach’s podcast. Listen to any of them, but one of my recent favorites “Sure Heart’s Release

I would love to know “What Are You Unwilling to Feel?” – comment below. 

I am currently studying how to undo my maladaptive processing of emotions. An article I found here.  Also, a smart and easy technique to Pause, Breathe & Reflect into your sadness and pain here.

Until tomorrow  . . . .

 

The Rhythm of Life Unfolding

Trying to figure out why certain things happen in life is like attempting to piece together a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle while having only a few pieces of the puzzle in your possession.

jigsaw

You cannot fully understand the present situation using the logic of your finite mind. Just know that a bigger picture exists, even though it is not possible for you to see it at this time.

people_jigsaw

Trust, for all that is happening is an act of love; ultimately you will discover the blessing. Have patience! You will look back on this period of your life and be thankful for all this is occurring now.  The Matrix card from The Magadalene Oracle

your

Respecting the “timeliness” of an action. 

Welcome to “Indian Time.”’

It’s not easy to explain what Indian Time is. It’s more complicated than assuming everything will be late (though, that’s often a safe bet). I’ve heard Indian Time described as “the time it takes for moss to grow on a stone,” or as one elder put it “the time it takes to do things in a good way.”

courage

It’s an enigmatic idea based on a uniquely cultural relationship with time. Simply put, things happen when they happen. There are not 24 hours in a day. Time is unlimited, impossible to cut up into chunks. 

god

If something is to happen at 11 am, it might happen at 11:01 am or 12:26 or 1:11 pm. It will happen when it will happen. The universe has its own heartbeat, and who are we to speed it up or slow it down? To some, it’s an excuse to be late. To others, it’s a way to avoid ulcers.

do-one-believe-the-road-signs-there-is-no-one-way-if-its-your-truth-then-its-the-right-way-there-are-many-paths-beyond-the-rules-of-limited-thinking-trust-your-instincts

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
Dalai Lama

sophrosyne

Every single moment gives us an opportunity, a choice. Close the gap of what you are capable of doing and what your actually doing. Be the best you, right now. How do we live consistently as the best version of ourselves?  Read: The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly

Greatness-is-a-Matter-of-Conscious-Choice

Inspired by human potential thought leader Bryant McGill author of Simple Reminders

bryant-mcgill-bigger-mistake-opportunity

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

Repeating this mantra softly to myself has helped me sail through the hours of overwhelming tasks in a day. It has stopped me from rushing and I hate rushing. Rushing just sucks. It makes life feel hasty.  I want to savor life. Even the boring parts.

This idiom also applies to anything you do. It has helped me improve my days.

When properly learning something new

quote-the-only-skill-that-will-be-important-in-the-21st-century-is-the-skill-of-learning-new-peter-drucker-81-53-26Any new skill that you are trying to learn should first be practiced slowly.

Performing any action too fast will have you sacrificing technique which will in turn slow your development. It will also limit the greatness you could have achieved.

 

Adding More Life to Our Years

 In my playbook, every day is Thanksgiving and I bet a lot of you reading this feel the same way. As we remain grateful this holiday, let’s take a moment to consider how fleeting life really is. . .memento mori.

memento-moriA Life That Matters 

(A Non Religious Funeral Reading)

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant, male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched,empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

– Unknown

Adding More Life to Our Years

time-is-more-valuable-than-money-sayquotable

How do you add more life to your years? How do we know if we are living to the max, giving the most we can give?  Do we just go by feeling? Do we continue to list and review our accomplishments? Add more to our resume? Create a bucket list of things we want to do sometime in the future?

What can we do right now to add more life to the moment in front of us?

We might listen to our heart more. Perhaps address the “psychic” pain of every day life and make adjustments to our day. Change what we don’t like about our living.

Perhaps we stop saying yes out of habit or obligation and start to consider what we really want to contribute during our lifetime. Volunteer maybe? Start a blog perhaps? Train for the marathon? Save up for the excursion?

Or better yet, maybe we wake the hell up. We stop sleep walking through life. No more numbing the brain with another glass of wine after dinner or taking the same route to work each morning. Perhaps we establish a healthy morning ritual to renew our sense of aliveness.

Could it be we create a new purpose. Develop a mantra to make people smile. Yeah, maybe that’s a purpose in life. smile

 How about we begin to take on more of life. . . .
  • Tackle the world’s bigger problems. Become an agent for change.
  • Learn something new, every day.  There are so many free ways to learn.
  • Do something selfless, make things easier for someone else.
  • Or maybe only respond to things that make us say Hell Yes! and say no to the rest.
Inspired by Derek Sivers and this post here

 

How to Elevate Your Everything

einsteinitsnotthatimsosmart

This post is for me, but if you read something that resonates with you, please let me know. Comment below or send me a tweet @marketcouncil.   I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Way You Do Anything, is the Way You Do Everything

I’m thinking about why my successes are not more consistent.

Why my life seems so yo-yo-ee.   A bit up and down. 

roller-coaster

Why I haven’t achieved all that I want by now. Why I don’t have more time for wonder and wander. Why I work so damn much.

How come I still hold on to the last ten pounds of weight? Where is the additional savings in my account? How come I don’t laugh more, have more fun each day?

I’m thinking about how I can improve so that I can have deeper relationships with my friends and family, more sacred moments with less worry and more time for self-care.

I’m thinking about how I can execute for more excellence in my life. How I can improve my life in ways that really matter. 

Perhaps I need to raise my personal standard of performance.

I am inspired by Bill Walsh’s tenets of mental toughness. His dedication to focusing on what should be one, how it should be done and when it should be done.

It’s the deceptively small things that when done every day, make transformation happen.

The counting of each calorie, taking advantage of promotions when shopping, putting aside a few dollars a day to build up our savings, dressing the part for a big meeting or interview, taking a moment to breathe, going to the gym instead of sleeping another thirty minutes and planning the night before to get closer to completing a project I am about to launch.

It’s about making the call, sending the text, holding on to that hug. It’s about realizing that life is so fleeting. Make the time to smile, breathe and enjoy – in-between all the work.

It’s a commitment to never slack off, to maintain the effort each day and to return and perhaps raise the standards that initially fueled my success. To push past my self-imposed limits and test my endurance and performance each day.

Bill’s Tenent’s of Mental Toughness

  • Maintain a ferocious and intelligently applied mindset directed at continual improvement.
  • Demonstrate respect for everyone you meet. Everyone is your teacher.
  • Be deeply committed to learning and practicing what you learn.
  • Be fair and honest with yourself and others.
  • Demonstrate good character.
  • Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, relentlessly seek the latter.
  • Show composure and self-control, especially under pressure.
  • Demonstrate loyalty to your core values and beliefs.
  • Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
  • Be willing to go the extra distance for what you know is important.
  • Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
  • Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
  • Seek poise in yourself and those you lead.
  • Put other’s welfare and priorities ahead of your own.
  • Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
  • Make sacrifice and commitment your trademark.

And may I add –

Be soft, gentle, curious and flexible and feel the freedom of racing like a Mustang.

wildhorsesrunning-mustangmonumentcaaronmillar

The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us as we live.

The Importance of Self-Reliance & Taking Responsibility

This post is about taking responsibility.  Responsibility requires constant readjustment combined with increased clarity and purpose.

leonardo-divinci

Real improvements never happen without changing your behaviors. A change in outcome is a benefit of changing habits, attitudes and skills you acquire.

there-are-no-laurels-in-life-just-new-challenges-quote-1

True success, steady ongoing, sustaining success, is systematic. It’s made of incremental improvements in the way things are done.  It is a (daily) relentless attempt to eliminate the unnecessary activities, delay and waste.

Where we decide to put our energy decides what we will actually accomplish.

 

For me, it begins with identifying the obstacles and problems; tackling the issues I have been ignoring.

I commit to trying to get to the root of the problem.

Asking Why????

  1. Write down your specific problem clearly and completely. A good statement of the problem often points to its own solution.
  2. Ask “why” the problem happens and write your answer.
  3. Continue asking “why” to the previous answer until you or others agree that the problem’s root cause has been identified.

I will use today as an opportunity to do what I have needed to do.

bubbles_the_snow_leopard_1_o

Elevating My Everything

  • Triple check my work for errors before publishing, sending or presenting.
  • Be more considerate of everyone’s time and attention.
  • Review my priorities and ask myself, is this really necessary? What tasks can I eliminate?
  • Review and measure the outcomes of each day.
  • Give credit to those who have contributed to my success.
  • Thank others for their help.
  • Look and ask for feedback and follow up when that feedback makes my performance stronger.
  • Don’t react to every little thing that happens.
  • Make note of the important tasks at hand and the follow up that must be done.
  • Watch for signs along the way and know how to read them.
  • Stay calm, composed and true to my mission of self-improvement.
  • Never stop and never get lazy.
  • Pay attention, focus deeply and never get distracted.
  • Try not to get side-tracked.
  • Seek to work with the very best.
  • Raise the standards around me, including my environment.
  • Practice what I preach.
  • Attempt to decipher the urgent from the important. Do the important first.
  • Refrain from enticing short-cuts.
  • Respect others, especially when I know they are giving 100%
  • Continue to do what really worked in the past.
  • Learn new ways of doing what I have always done but also sticking to what really works.
  • Devote myself to a daily discipline of focused work.
  • Be extremely patient.
  • Learn to utilize what is around me.
  • Work with a mix of humility, acceptance and strength.
  • Face my biggest problems head on.

Ego is the Enemy

Do not wait to elevate your everything. Raise your standard of performance, make everything you do better and better.

From Emerson’s Essay on Illusions. . .

`Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show my spirit.’ `Not so,’ says the good Heaven; `plod and plough, vamp your old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine by and by.’ Well, ’tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in all humility, and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads were Time and Nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays

Feature illustrations Lion-Comp & Bubbles the Snow Leopard from Daryl at Cargo Collective.

 

better

On Self-Renovation & Expanded Versions of Ourselves

According to one of my favorite thinkers, change must happen individually, before it can happen on a grander collective scale. Oh to be the change we want to see in the world.

. . .society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him.Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on New England Reformers

only

Our ability to really influence our reality around us first calls for purposeful self-transformation. Renovating the way we think.

. . .for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost. . .

It starts by being brutally honest with ourselves and realizing there is no need for any of this thinking, if we don’t have each other.  Sure we could live like hermits. . . or

RWS_Tarot_09_Hermit

understand that we need and belong to one another, love says – we are not our own.

holding-hands

To be a greater, more expanded version of ourselves.

Note to self, read this bookDiamond Minds

I think the hardest part, the most difficult, is letting go of our ego. First we must know what should be changed, the thoughts that lead to unwanted emotions of anger and pain. Things that can get in the way of real progress. We might study ourselves and thought by thought, we must address the behavior we want to change.

It’s difficult to acknowledge the pain.  To take responsibility for the problems we cause in our lives. The hurtful things we say, the anger and lashing rage, the shut down of communication. The selfishness and greed.

gas

Self-awareness can be very difficult for this reason. Our ego does not want us to acknowledge our own faults.

Here are some signs that your ego is in control (inspired from Simple Life Strategies)

1. You get a cheap thrill from gossiping about other people’s problems.

2. You have a power surge to the brain after winning an argument. You just knew you were so right about that.

3. You compare yourself to others who you feel are better or worse off than you. This takes the focus off of you. An easy way out.

4. How dare he, she, they treat you that way? Haters are just going to hate. No, not really. Sometimes it’s just not you.

5. You feel a tinge of jealousy when you see other people having a real good time. Especially on Instagram and Facebook.

6. You go on and on about yourself before addressing anyone else in the room.

7. You’d rather look great than try harder next time.

8. You’re often upset when your not recognized at work. We’re not in pre-school anymore people.

9. You create impossible goals and then beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. This is where I live.

10. You blame others when things fall apart in your life.

Self-awareness starts by admitting our mistakes, looking at our behavior, taking responsibility for our actions.

So I begin by acknowledging my part in all of this.

For not knowing or understanding ourselves is like grabbing the tail to direct the head of a dragon. First we most know.

game

Next on my reading list

ryan-holiday-3

The Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday