It’s pretty damn simple really. It all boils down to how we experience our lives. How alive we are in the moment. How we show up.
How we experience life depends on how conscious we truly are.
The question is, how deeply awake we are as we experience our life. If we were radically honest with ourselves and woke up enough to notice, we’d admit that the majority of us are just sleepwalking children.
Everything we do is so habitual. Well, at least for me.
The God You Would Like to Believe In
Into the sixth week of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I am actually realizing that what we really want to do is what we are really meant to do and that the notion of striving, sweating, clinging, falling and staying small is just a terrible idea.
The notion that there really isn’t enough time in our days to do the things we want to do is ridiculous. In the “Recovering A Sense of Abundance” practice, Julia has us writing and thinking about the God consciousness that has remained unexamined since our early childhood. A God that will hold back anything from us is absurd. This includes the freedom for us to let go and live the creative lives we were meant to live.
She inspires us to awaken to our creative and generous genius God who wants us to have fulfilling, enjoyable and creative work. We are the ones who deny ourselves the luxury of designing a new life for ourselves. We do that. Not God. Now let’s get out of our way, shall we?
Embracing Great Souls & Wacky Assholes
I give my husband the credit for turning me on to this video from philosopher Tim Freke this morning. I am so glad I remained open (yet stubbornly so) to get back in bed to watch Tim explain how to become more deeply awake to our breautifully complex humanness and to our lives.
It’s remarkable how with a simple new thought, we can create a tremendously different new world for ourselves. It’s about waking up from this numbness we call normal. Waking up to our oneness and celebrating our individuality.
How to Have A REALLY Good Day
Keep it simple. If you want to have a good day, do some good. Take a good nap. Read a good book. Make a good meal. Have a good call. Watch a good movie. Workout Good. Have good sex. Have a good cry. You see all that good adds up.
More stoic wisdom from Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.
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.
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“.
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.
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.
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!!!!
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.
Until tomorrow . . . .
Surrender and Slow Down
Expect some pain today. When faced with problems during the day, I like to think of them as growing pains.
You see, the counter-intuitive (and funny) thing about embarking on the path of personal growth is that it’s not going to be all cake and cookies. Read: 7 Harsh Truths About Personal Growth.
However, whatever you do, don’t add to your pain and problems. Slow down, see life as it is, not worse than it is. Please don’t make it worse with a second arrow.
What’s a second arrow?
If we look at the way we move through the day, when something happens, when we have pain in our body, when somebody treats us in a way that feels disrespectful, when something goes wrong for someone we love, that’s the first arrow.
Our mind and body go into a reactivity that does not help to bring healing. We blame others, we blame ourselves. That’s the second arrow. – Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance.
What I’ve come to learn and accept is that there is always a solution of the highest good, but it may not be aligned with what we think we need. Our job is to surrender to the fact that the Universe has a plan far better than ours. I’ve found that the more I surrender to the Universe’s plan the easier it is to move through the discomfort of uncertainty. @ Read: The Universe Has Your Back
If you look at it this way, it becomes clear. If you don’t add value to another person’s existence, then you will not be missed when you are gone. Read: 13 Simple Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations.
Understand the Payoff
of Putting Things Off
The payoff you get for procrastinating is that you don’t have to do the work. You don’t even have to try. It’s so much easier to stay the same, to stay small. Hell, you’re use to it. It’s comfortable. You may not like it that much, but it kind of works. You know what to expect from your day. The work is easy. You are complacent, but you can deal with that. That’s the payoff.
Once you begin to realize that doing the same things you always do will give you the same results you don’t want, then you realize the hard part is starting. You have to put in the effort and be okay with stumbling and bumbling around for a while. It’s like walking through a dank and dark tunnel without a torch. Starting something new is really hard and frightening sometimes.
The Temptation to Control and Repair Everything Around You
When life is uncertain – and when is it not really? – I feel the need to try to control the people around me. It gives me a false sense of security. If I can control what they do, then maybe I can control some of the results. The outcomes.
And we all know, no one really wants us to control them. So, this only has me feeling more frustrated. I am wasting all that control energy doing something that is absolutely frustrating. The only thing I can control is me and my attitude. I must be like water.
Go with the Flow
Try this. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless. Be water My Friend.
In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature. This is the true meaning of ‘Be water’. It is the complete and unconditional acceptance of the self. Where the self itself melts and becomes formless, fluid and flexible. When you attain that state, you are water!
Four weeks into The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and I am drowning deep in dark emotional pain. Ugggghhhhh, I have protected myself from this real work for way too long. I knew it would be hard, I have avoided facing the truth about what I really fear for a very long time. Looking for short cuts, life hacks. . .rushing through self-repair is never really possible. And damn it, I knew that.
I raise my face to the sky, my mouth wide open, gasping for air. It feels like I am flailing about in the dark, deep cold water, like a helpless, frightened child that has yet learned how to swim confidently through life, exposed to the unwelcome and unknown that I have hidden from myself and the world around me. I do all I can do to avoid facing what is real, my own dark unknown vulnerable mind.
I don’t want to to do this real work. I don’t want to know that I am broken. I don’t care to admit that I am confused, anxious, uncertain, vulnerable, frightened and angry. That’s not who I want to represent me. I want to skip past these ugly emotions. Run from them, crucify them. So what do I do? I strive too hard to heal. I don’t want to do the real digging, fear-facing work. I don’t want dig too deep into my truth to find a fearful young child who must let got and feel all of these unwanted emotions.
Who the hell wants to do that? Yet, I am inspired by the possibilities, by the words of Albert Camus
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.”
It’s not easy being real with myself. It doesn’t feel good to actually observe the thoughts that ruin my plans each day. To actually accept how much pain I feel and inflict on myself each morning, as I awake with feelings of lack, insecurity and an incredibly raw feeling of being very, very lost and uncertain about where my life is going. It hurts me and in turn, it hurts others. Some how, some way, I must bring these feelings along for the ride, learning to befriend the parts of me that I find undesirable.
The key to reaching our potential while feeling less shut off and shut down is linked to the ability to be able to see clearly who we are and what we’re doing. Going even beyond that, to the why we do what we do. What triggers our emotions and actions. What pain is behind the purpose.
It could possibly begin with opening up to the Five hard truths you need to accept about yourself.
Our inner critics negatively control the outcomes of our decisions. Our critical and suspicious thoughts place a black cloud and huge road blocks before our well-intentioned plans. We ruin the day before it begins when we don’t become honest with how we really feel and who we really think we are.
Underwater photography by Harry Fayt.
A 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.
Adding More Life to Our Years
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Real improvements never happen without changing your behaviors. A change in outcome is a benefit of changing habits, attitudes and skills you acquire.
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.
- Write down your specific problem clearly and completely. A good statement of the problem often points to its own solution.
- Ask “why” the problem happens and write your answer.
- 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.
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.
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.
The Goal: A Completely Transparent & Unclouded Mind
I am not an online shopper. I don’t buy much stuff at all. But this week I’m anxiously checking my mailbox daily. I’ll try (almost) anything to tame my unsettled and restless monkey mind.
What did I order, you ask? A brain boosting mushroom (minus the visuals ) coffee with lion’s mane (supposedly good for memory and in a category of safe, smart drugs or nootropics) as well as chaga and Rhodiola which was used by the vikings to calm the nervous system while enhancing immunity from Four Sigmatic.
I am also creating my own filters so I can focus on. . .
Paying Attention to What Matters Most
As I listen to Jason Silva at The Sydney Opera House explore the exponential growth of technology and how it is shaping our personalities, I realize how much a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention. Recommended reading: from Kevin Kelly The Inevitable, Understanding the Twelve Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future.
How Time Totally Trumps Money
With all there is to be distracted by. . .hell, time moves oh too quickly.
So as I focus on what to study, read, learn and create, I tell myself, I can always make more money, but I can’t create more time.
On Writing More Clearly & Nobly
Studying Lu Chi’s Wen Fu: The Art of Writing
From Catalogue of Genres
A body of writing may take any of a thousand forms,
and there is no one right way to measure.
One whose language remains muddled cannot do it;
only when held in a clear mind can the language become noble.
All the power that we need is within us and will set us free from a life of regret. All unnecessary worry and anguish melts away when we become more self-aware of our strengths and our weaknesses and realize that our greatest moment is the one right in front of us. Our lives become more peaceful and our minds become stronger. Our lives become better when we become more self-aware.
“He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.” Ralph Waldo Emerson “Self-Reliance”
Spend time considering who you are inside. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What makes you happiest?
Do you feel stuck? Unmotivated? Confused? I know in the past I have and this is what helped me become more self-aware and in turn happier and a more effective version of myself.
Uncork your truth. Tell someone how you really feel about life. Share your frustrations and pain. If you know someone who is having a difficult time, create the space for them to share their thoughts. Communicate effectively.
Observe yourself. Video yourself explaining who you are and what you stand for and what you value. Then watch, learn and listen to yourself. Examine what rings true and what seems false. What might you change about yourself or think about more deeply. Remove the falseness from your speech and heart.
Ask others. Ask people you respect and trust to share what they think you are great at and what needs improvement. Are they right? Weigh in on the feedback and think about how it will help you grow.
Try stuff. Consider what gets you even slightly excited and try to do more of it. It doesn’t matter what it is – exercise, cooking, writing, drawing, taking photos – if you feel the slightest inclination or curiosity about something, explore it and see where it goes. Self-experiment and do more of what you get lost in and what makes you happiest. Ditch the rest.
Consider the long game. Work backwards in time. Reflect on your future and inevitable death. Discover what you want to leave behind for future generations to come. What do you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for inspiring others and would love to discover what you want to leave behind. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy
The Quest: How to know the truth.
Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.
2. Awareness of The Likability Bias
The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.
It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.
3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions
The Quest: How to have better outcomes.
I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question “What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”
I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”
I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.