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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Wise Advice for Waking Up to Your Life

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Here’s a Damn Good Recipe for Failure & Unhappiness, for a life of misery.

Be self-righteous, wallow in self-pity, drown the day in fear and complacency. Look at your life and others with anxiety, jealousy, and hatred.

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Now here’s a More Delicious Recipe for Harmony, Peace & Happiness, for an extraordinary life.

Take it on the chin. Be flexible, resilient, forgive more. Work smart and hard and always look at life with confidence and gratitude.

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The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

When life feels like . . . .

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Repeat this little prayer. . .

a prayerRight now I am frustrated because I am not taking better care of myself. Which got me wondering about the payoffs I experience for staying stuck in my progress. For not waking up more and doing what needs to be done to change what I don’t like about my life.

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Dig deep for the payoffs for not moving towards your goals today. Ask yourself some BIG questions.

  • What am I avoiding? Hard work maybe? Self-discipline? A little pain now for bigger gains later?
  • Who am I punishing by staying this way?
  • Am I avoiding the true expression of my emotions? Are they too frightening to feel?
  • What if I am waiting for a guaranteed miracle? Who will bring it to me?
  • Perhaps being stuck is really manipulating myself and others?
  • Maybe I am looking for special attention? Wallowing in self-pity?
  • What will I miss most if I do succeed?

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Understand the difference between I will try and I will find a way  “Results are a function of your commitment. Most people are unaware that where they are is exactly where they want to be.”

 

 

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How to Get One Percent Better Every Day

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  -Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning
Realize that Difficulty & Pain is Inevitable & Important
The path of life can be rough and uncertain and sometimes frighteningly dark. Nothing should really surprise us, in reality, all of us at any time, no matter how strong or lucky we think we may be, are susceptible to unwanted pain and problems.
Your Attitude is Everything
Not enough money to pay the rent, a loved one dying from a terminal illness or the ending of what was once a deep and loving relationship.  These are all painful moments that we will experience. The secret to growing through the painfully tough times in life lies in your ability to stay focused on a strong belief in yourself and your creator. Your attitude towards whatever life throws your way is everything. The only thing constant is change and while your circumstances evolve, use every ounce of energy you have to grow stronger through it all. Ten Simple Habits to Grow a Positive Attitude.
Learning from Pain is a Damn Good Strategy
Everything that occurs in our lives – the good, the bad, the easy, the difficult -is usable and workable and is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as a means for waking up and strengthening our core beliefs and values.
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Difficult People Build Patience
Give up trying to control others, especially those who cause you frustration and harm. They are in your life to help you build patience. You can’t change them, but you can become a more tolerant person from being around them. Remember, you can only control your own thoughts and reactions, no one else’s.
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Don’t Make it Harder Than it Has to Be
See problems for what they are, not bigger than they are. Do not forecast more gloom and doom in your life or you will make a tough situation harder than it has to be. When something bad happens to us we want it to be over quickly and we feel extremely vulnerable. We imagine what worse can happen? What bigger problem is headed our way? Is this the start of a bigger collapse? Accept your reality for what it is right now and remember it is a moment in time that will pass. It really will. Know that everything in the universe, including your problems and challenges, are transforming the world and you.
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It is all meant to be. Practice what Tara Brach calls Radical Acceptance. Move with the transformation, feel the pain, breathe deeply into it and let it help you grow for the better.
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Don’t Try to Predict the Outcome
Soothe your mind by moving and meditating and staying right here, right now in the moment, even if it is painful. You don’t need to suffer so hard, take one step and a time and don’t think too far ahead.  Bring your ruminating and obsessing thoughts that are stuck in the past or worried about the future back to the here and now.
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Everyone Has Something or Someone to Appreciate
Awaken each day by recognizing what good you do have in your life. You always have something to work with. It might be a beautiful day for a long morning stroll or a steamy cup of strong dark coffee or a new soft-covered Moleskin notebook to write in or maybe a good friend to see, sit and chill with. Recognize and acknowledge that these gifts are right here in front of you.
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Use Your Silence to Explain Yourself
When situations are really rough, there may be nothing you can do to change the current moment. Sometimes doing nothing is precisely what you should be doing to help the situation. Some problems must work themselves out organically, in their own time, by people and actions you do not have to handle.  You aren’t suppose to fix everything.
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Watch your words. You must think before you speak. Try to say fewer and fewer words throughout the day. Make it a challenge. Bite your lip. Sometimes we speak because we are nervous. We can’t stand the silence, it’s just too awkward. Words can drown out the pain, but they don’t.
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Nervous words are never really useful. Think before you speak, not every thought is meant to be shared and sometimes words are just noise and nervous energy that add to the pain.
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What You Do Really Does Matter
We might struggle with our significance, but what you do with your day really matters. You get to decide what you do with your day. From what you eat to what you wear to who you call and where you decide to show up. Ever minute is a decision that you get to make. Smart decisions start with a clear mind.
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Keep your mind clear and free from obsessive worry and concern. This can be done by simply focusing on your current moment. This moment right now. Just sit or stand for a second and realize where you are. I know, it’s not easy. We walk around worried while writing a scary script over our painful reality. Our brain’s non-stop problem-solving can be mind bursting. We continue to make up additional problems that may never occur. Isn’t it ridiculous how preoccupied we are most of the time?  The trick is to stop. Pick anything in your environment. Look it at as if it is the first time you have ever observed it. Stay here in this moment. Here is where your mind will be clear and free.
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Watch What Drives You Mad
Watch what moves you. What triggers you. Examine your heart as you respond to others. What feels like a big chore and what truly excites you? If you don’t like some of the things or people or places that trigger anger, rage, pain, sadness or frustration in you, you have an option to walk away. Not to go there.  Perhaps taking the crowded train during rush hour makes you panic, concerned or nervous? You can choose to walk, share a car or ride a bike to work. If you look in the mirror and only see the chubby parts, the stomach you wish was flat, the legs that you want to look slim and tone – then you have a choice. You can start right now. Choose to count your calories, move more instead of sitting and make a plan to lose the extra weight.
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It’s Better to Be Kind than Right
No one ever remembers if you are right, but they certainly remember if you are kind. You have an opportunity every moment to be kind. To be kind is to be soft, sympathetic, compassionate and loving. Kindness – a listening ear, the touching of a hand, a warm embrace, a sympathetic glance. These little moments of kindness can smooth out even the toughest wrinkles of life. Sometimes they feel genuine, sometimes not. It doesn’t matter.
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Put Yourself Under the Microscope
Be painfully aware of the why behind everything you do. Why you rush in the morning? Does all the nervous rushing make you feel energized and in control? Like you are doing more? What are you avoiding by rushing? Why do you check Facebook throughout the day? Does it give your mind a rest from all the hard thinking? Is your job fulfilling enough? Do you secretly wish you were somewhere else? Does feeling jealous of others make you feel awake and alive?  Is your life that boring?  Why do you obsess over whether your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you? Have you been completely honest with them? with yourself?
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Full Speed Ahead
Place yourself where you want to be. Don’t stay in the same place because it feels comfortable or because it is easy. You can’t grow while staying comfortably numb. Open up to the idea of exploring new spaces and environments to inspire you. Make new choices about where to eat, new bookstores to visit, new trails and parks to walk and hike. A new career to replace the shitty job you have. Placing yourself in new places that will open your mind to a bigger life and new opportunities. It starts with a small step, a simple self-seeking search into your heart and a strong, positive attitude.

Adding More Meaning -Moment-by-Moment

There is only one thing I know for sure. I’m not getting this moment back. Nope.  I am talking about this very single moment RIGHT NOW, this ONE. Yeah, it’s YOUR moment too.  Nope it’s gone. . . forever, unless by chance I read it again or you read it again – and if we do, it’s just a memory.

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All this angst about leaving a legacy. Creating a more purposeful life. Finding your so-called passion. Those are such big, big thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, it starts with adding more meaning to your little moments.

keithand becoming a little more self-aware with each one of these significant moments.

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Not every moment is a happy moment or a thoughtful one. Some are fucking ex·cru·ci·at·ing, others kind of blah and many are just wasted waiting for something big to happen. Like a trip or a vacation.
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Oh and once in a while we get those zone moments, where we are so lost in the moment we are one with it. Those are fun, but I am not sure we learn much from them. Maybe. I don’t know.
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I do know that I am very wary of the pleasant moments. These pleasurable moments are truly fleeting and kind of like a rest stop for pursuing a life that is substantial. It’s those struggling and suffering moments where the juice is – it’s how we grow. More often than not, creating something substantial feels like a bit of a pain-in-the-ass struggle. 

Luctor et Emergo (I struggle and emerge)

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I do believe we should get fined for wasting moments. Seriously, like a real penalty for sleep walking through life. That should be a thing. Maybe it already is – for when you sleep walk – wasting moments – you have nothing to show for your life.

Ridiculously Messy Moments

Slacky, hacky efforts, half ass attempts, ideas that flare and fade. My notebooks, computer and life – filled with so much of it. 
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False starts. Sucky first drafts. Thoughts that at first seem tremendous, turn into lost pages on my hard drive and coffee-stained scribble in dusty note books piled in the corner of my bedroom. 
 
Creating something more meaningful ignites when I continue to carve out time and care enough to consider all of the possibilities without giving that crazy critic in my head too much power, if any at all. I promise you, I am going to slaughter that nasty bitch who tells me I am destined to be boring, average and inconsequential. In the same moment, I will feed and comfort the darling who knows there’s something in here that wants to be born. 
 
In pursuit of making a life that is more meaningful, impactful, significant and substantial I must go back and revise old ideas, notions and believes, question everything I have ever learned or accepted as the truth. Time spent discarding memories, malware and malicious thoughts that chain me to that critic. It’s a process of freeing up my hard drive and only backing up what may be useful later or bolsters the foundation of my beliefs. A lot of house cleaning to be done here. 
 
Delete, delete, delete useless information while spending the time to entertain and play with creative notions and ideas that may, just, may turn into work that is really remarkable. 
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Making the time, space and room in my head and my life to do something I am proud of takes some deep ass consideration. Some real thought. 
 
It’s so much easier to drone on. 
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But it’s so dangerous and scary.
Time to wake up
What am I staying with that no longer serves me? What person, place, situation is holding me back from becoming a better version of who I was? What self-imposed slavery to something, someone, some notion is keeping me from breaking through these so called boundaries? 
 
To be continued. . . .

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

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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

 

Nine Ways to Strengthen Your Mind

This post ponders the idea of turning sour feelings. a.k.a. – a shitty state-of-mind – – into persevering resoluteness.

I am thinking about the alchemy of emotions. Turning fear into fascination; frustration into fortitude, pain into power and anxiety into assurance.

It’s about turning my life around. Drilling deep into my psyche to pull through life with courage and conviction.

What I believe to be True

When we do things thoughtfully we have a better chance at transforming for the better.

Think about it. . .How numb have we made ourselves to our heart felt emotions?

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When we are thoughtful we consider more possibilities. New ways of doing the same old things. Even the possibility of doing things differently. Disregarding old habits. Doing less of the busy and more of the productive. Challenging the status quo. Removing the habitual actions we have done in the past that no longer serves us well today.

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New decisions lead us to a new destiny. A better, more balanced life.

Beware of Bad Decisions

Unfortunately, even smart people make bad decisions when they are in a lousy state of mind.

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Good decisions come from clearing the head and pondering the problems. Becoming curious about why we are so dissatisfied with our lives.

What needs to change about our thinking?

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Real change, sustainable change comes from deliberate choices. What new choices can we make today?

 

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Problems are reversible when we get to the root of the cause.

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I want to change. . . .

Feeling Rushed & Overwhelmed

I despise the feeling of racing through my day. Moving so fast, juggling so much, attempting to “get it all done”. That rushed and over whelmed feeling leaves me discouraged and disappointed.

The Solution

Realistically predict the amount of time something will take me to do and add 60 minutes to that as a cushion. Build in some thinking time. Breathable time. Note to self: Realize life is a process, not just a checklist. It’s my pace, my life. If I can, I will always do it on and in my own time. 

Slow down, stay as organized as I can, surf the waves instead of fighting the tide, so that I get the work done and not drown in a sea of distraction. No matter who is pushing me to move faster.

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Feeling Tired & Exhausted

Serving others, really helping those you care for  is our true purpose. I believe it is the most important thing we can be doing. To be of service. However, becoming a slave (persona non-grata) to everyone’s whim is simply enabling and demeaning to myself.

Solution

I choose to review every request for help I get today. I will no longer run myself into the ground for anyone or anything. I will take breaks throughout the day. I am not a puppet, I pull my own strings. Oh, and I rest at the end of the day. Sometimes in between projects too.

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Feeling Insecure & Helpless

One of my best traits is that I am always learning something new, discovering new ways to do my job, developing more skills and increasing my worth. One of the worst things I do is say I can do something before I have mastered the skill. Yup, I do that and it is wrong. This lets people down. I over promise and under deliver.

Solution

I will never overestimate my talent or skills again. I will practice and become better, while only taking on paid projects that I know I can manage and execute.  I will be very careful to accept money for something I am still learning. I commit to asking plenty of questions and never saying I understand something, until I truly do.

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Feeling So, So Scattered

I am the dive right in type and I believe this is a good character trait to have, but I must learn to evaluate the waters before I jump in to the next project or relationship.

Solution

I promise to consider the possibility that I might not have the time to add anything else on my plate. I must have a plan before I attack. I must really look at what needs to be accomplished and not blindly beginning doing the task at hand.

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Feeling Frighteningly Frustrated

Why do I rush? Who is pushing me to move any faster? Is it the warped sense of time that this global interactivity thrusts upon us? Must everything be done in an instant?

Solution

Hell to the hasty and heedless. No more rushing. It is time to calm my heart’s dark waters.  I will take pauses, collect from deep thoughts and breathe deeply through it all. Especially the most difficult projects.

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Feeling Like a Victim

Okay, I will own it. When I am in a lousy state I tend to repel those around me. I bark at people. I speak to them like they are inferior. This in turn has them on the defensive and they return the favor. They bark back.  It becomes one big ugly dog fight.

Solution

I promise to stop taking on the world. Not everything is my problem to solve. I speak my truth more assertively and clearly without dictating or treating others unkindly. Sure I point out the elephant in the room but without embarrassing anyone. I will remember, it pays to be more patient.

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Feeling Super Guilty

Us alpha types, we just like to stay ambitious. We have so much to do – to accomplish. Then soon come the distractions once again. The texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls. The favors asked.  In an endless loop of “I don’t have time for this!” I begin to feel guilty. I get confused about doing the right thing vs doing the “what I want to do thing.” Oh I hate disappointing others.

Solution

I leave room for interruptions. I prioritize helping those that I know need me. I question how important their requests might be. I help by empowering, not by doing it for them. I understand my responsibilities with each role I have in life. Mom, marketer, wife, daughter, writer, creator, friend – while giving my 100% imperfect effort to each role.

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Feeling Scammed

You know, I am a bigger believer in that we know who we should and should not get involved with – but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. We give people second and third chances. We continue to pick the worst friends, business partners, clients. People that let us down.

Solution

I hold my standards higher. I listen to my instinct the first time around and I promise to be realistic about the people I am getting involved with.

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Feeling Sad and Down

Luckily my regression to the mean is happy. Not happy in a ceremonious and demonstrative way, but in a satisfied way. I am not a high maintenance human. I require little to keep me satiated. However, sometimes, when I feel a pity party coming on, I can go places dark.

Solution

Move more and laugh more, while getting out of my own way. I make a thoughtful decision to have more fun with problems.

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This Day Was Made for Adventure

Last night I closed my eyes before falling to sleep and made a decision. I want every day to feel more exciting and adventurous.

 

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Or in other words. . . .

A common song sung to a great melody is another way to find beauty.The Art of Writing, Lu Chi’s Wen Fu.

So, today showed up again. In all it’s predictable glory. The same usual sunrise, just slightly different.

Another clean and clear slate of a day to paint on. To set things right, to improve and to create a new. Another breath, another moment proceeding another moment. This day was made for adventuring.

Today I have made a decision to expect more from myself and more from this day.

Every moment today will be held accountable to demonstrate the wisdom I need right now.

I will look for evidence that the people around me really do care.

I become more conscious of the choices I make today.

This process begins with turning worry into wonder. Anxiety into action.

My improved life comes from making conscious choices while making a commitment to change the way I see the ordinary wonders of the world.

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How to Make An Ordinary Day an Adventure

Ask a stranger a question.

Don’t plan out every minute. Leave a little room for spontaneity.

Travel home on a different route tonight.

Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Experiment. Create something. Anything. Get into maker mode.

Endorsing Our Human Skills

I have become so wildly obsessed with staying on top of technology, trends and the critical skills for my career and profession that I somehow have forgotten about the most important skills of all. Human skills. Hell, LinkedIn should consider endorsements for human skills. Imagine. What does Jane know about kindness? Consideration? Compassion?

Building Trust is a Skill

In the middle of reading Kevin Kelly’s book The Inevitable something really important resonated.  While technological advances in artificial intelligence and robotics will replace many jobs, careers and professions, trust is something very difficult to replace. Trust between you and me. No amount of AI instances can reproduce this in bulk. No you simply can’t cut and paste someone’s faith and assurance.

Human skills. It takes practice and talent to be human. I even wonder if we are born with the essential skills of empathy and kindness or if some of us are just smart enough to learn them.

The Human Skills Workout Routine

Regardless of how we become aware of our human skills, it wouldn’t hurt to practice, to train each day. Much like hitting the gym or a spin session at Soul Cycle we can develop a human workout routine. Unless you are a hermit bunkered down somewhere waiting for the apocalypse to announce itself, than you are given opportunities throughout the day to practice these skills. Some obstacle courses are harder, some weights are heavier. The cranky husband, the entitled child, the angry mom. The nasty passenger on the train. Yes, they are all there for us to develop our human skills and strength.

Oh and how we are blessed with the circuitry currents and tools to practice these human skills.

  • hands to hold on tight
  • hearts to give patiently, freely and compassionately
  • ears to listen intently
  • lips to speak softly and gently
  • a mouth to smile wide at the world
  • eyes to see behind the masks and hardened armor

Empathy is the current that connects us all. To tap into the sympathetic nervous system that is wired to feel each other’s pain.  To feel it effortlessly.

Empathy is the engine that powers all the best in all of us. It is what civilizes and connects us all. For more of this wisdom, listen to Meryl Streep’s 10 Life Lessons here.

Who knows, maybe these skills will even outweigh, out run and succeed any technological disruptions in our lives. The more human you can be, the more sympathetic and compassionate, a human of good character, then the more relevant and necessary you will become.

 

Somewhere along the line, in this thing called life, I believe I have suppressed my true human skills in order to be accepted, liked and maybe even appreciated. Sometimes protecting my heart, so I won’t get hurt. How mixed up can it be. I’ve held back so much in order to attempt to keep the chaos in order. To control things beyond my grasp. Trying to keep the waters calm. This has not served me well.

It is  time to wrangle up the pieces of me for a reassembling. All the humanness that is me. The time is now, to begin again. To retrain my human soul.

Perhaps to even soar.

About the artist.

Born in 1975 in Seoul, Korea, Choi Xooang works in sculpture and installation. 

To Choi, the body is a vessel through which we perceive and express ourselves, and one that provides him with an ideal medium to explore the possibilities of the human condition. What might seem brutal at first glance is actually Choi’s method of dealing with life’s wounds and scars, and even in his most grotesque work, his figures seem to evoke our awe and sympathy.

Love Everything That Happens

This lesson is a hard one. A difficult thing to do. Not impossible, but definitely challenging.

Learn to love everything that happens to you. Everything. Loss, love, pain, joy, anger, disappointment. Everything.

To do great things we must be able to endure tragedy and setbacks. Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is The Way.

Obstacles prevent us from being inflicted with ennui. Believe it or not, we can turn a bad moment into fuel to  restart, reset and ignite – new careers, new partners, new friends – a new life.

  • Remove expectations and the thinking that there is a way things are “suppose” to be.
  • Accept things as they currently are.
  • Love everything that happens. Everything.
  • Turn what you must do into what you get to do.
  • Face the truth with unending calm and cheerfulness.
  • When faced with obstacles, love (and seize) the opportunity to prove yourself.

Roar back at the world.

We don’t get to choose what happens to us all of the time, but we get to choose how we feel and react to it. 

Amor Fati – a love and appreciation of fate.

132 (Random) Life Lessons Learned

 

life lessonsContinuously watch your state of mind for the quality of your thoughts are everything.

  1. It doesn’t get any easier, you just get better.
  2. You can’t just change your attitude, you need to also change your behavior.
  3. “Inconsistency of the mind does not suit a wise being.” – Seneca
  4.  Hurt people hurt. More often than not, it’s not about you at all.
  5. Youth is not an age, Youth = Freedom. It is emancipation from boredom and prescription.
  6. Clarity is key. Clearly define what you want and need. Clarity comes from mindfulness.
  7. Practice makes permanent. If you want to improve, you must commit to full-on daily and deliberate practice.
  8. Strive to become the best and most useful version of  you that you can possibly be.
  9. Lighten up, spark joy and create love. Repeat.
  10. Continue to weed the garden of your mind of negative thoughts.
  11. Reframe your problems. Ask better questions.
  12. Both poverty and wealth are the offspring of thought.
  13. We grow because of disruption.
  14. We are in conflict when we are not living out our values.
  15. Life is an immense privilege and never to be taken for granted.
  16. Practice compassionate, loving kindness with all.
  17. Suffering shakes us out of complacency and motivates us to look for a happiness not dependent on circumstances.
  18. Be on the lookout for quick flashes of inspiration.
  19. Remain humble but have enormous faith in yourself.
  20. Be deeply grateful for everything you have.
  21. Succeeding is a byproduct of full on effort.
  22. See the problem for what it is, not bigger than it is.
  23. Remember that what you do speaks so loudly that people cannot hear what you say. -Emerson
  24. You are not in this alone, you are co-creating everything with the universe.
  25. A good plan will give concrete form to your desire.
  26. Follow the leaders you love. Learn by copying those you admire.
  27. Move from careless to thoughtful; from inattentive to pondered; from unintentional to purposeful.
  28. Still, deep breaths clear and calm the mind.
  29. Stop the automated negative thoughts.
  30. Quit talking about your problems and start thinking about your solutions.
  31. Commit to give the best quantity and quality of service that you can possibly give.
  32. Nourish yourself daily. Nourish and feed yourself with the proper rest, food, people and thoughts.
  33. Be relentless, persistent and positive. Always.
  34. Beware of your emotional guidance system. What emotions are driving you? Fear? Joy? Rage? Love?
  35. Be truthful with yourself. Do not be self-deceptive.
  36. Be real about your weaknesses. Consider how you may improve your personality.
  37. Fear of poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of someone or something, old age and death are at the bottom of most worries.
  38. Watch what you tolerate.
  39. Stop spending without thinking.
  40. The worst parts of us are the doorways to our most authentic selves.
  41. Begin with a beginner’s mind, know what you want and shake the earth to get it.
  42. Something good is going to happen today.
  43. You are responsible for your life. No one else is in charge, but you.
  44. “For the love of bustle is not industry, it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind.” – Seneca
  45. Scratch your own itch. Design and build things that you want and need.
  46. Shield yourself from the negativity of others.
  47. Raise your own standards of who you should be. Rise to the occasion.
  48. There is no need to hold on to old beliefs. Re-examine your life, your values and your goals.
  49. Consider the every day heroes in your life.
  50. Do not let your thoughts make you weak and worried. Develop strong and healthy thoughts.
  51. Practice radical acceptance of the world and strive for gradual improvement daily.
  52. Do not underestimate the power of the pause. Practice silent meditation for ten minutes a day.
  53. Better to respond than to react. Always chose the most empowering response.
  54. Unprocessed pain is a dangerous condition.
  55. Let go of ideas that don’t resonate with you and your limiting beliefs about yourself.
  56. Regardless of how modern we seem, we still remain ancient.
  57. There is nothing good except that which is honorable.Seneca
  58. Don’t marinate in the culture of speed. Skip the fast life, savor the good life.
  59. Hope is not a strategy, fear is not an option, luck is not a factor.
  60. Let go of your judgement and open your heart.
  61. It’s not failure. It’s a key moment in your development.
  62. Practice pattern interrupts. Beware of running but never arriving; ruminating but never thinking; hearing but never listening; striving but never reaching.
  63. If you knock on the door of opportunity, you will find it is work who answers.
  64. Listen and consider, “What is really asking for your attention right now?”
  65. Get in the habit of asking “What is the best that can come from this situation?”
  66. Be motivated by kindness.
  67. When you are overwhelmed, remember to trust the process and do what is important right now.
  68. Each second of life is a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh
  69. No longer lost in thought, you are no longer a creature of mindless habits.
  70. Develop a posture that is both alert and at ease.
  71. Nurture a mind that is without hostility or ill will.
  72. Say no with a smile.
  73. We have a choice, step forward into growth or back into safety.
  74. Try to handle the tough times with more grace.
  75. “The wise person does nothing reluctantly.” -Seneca
  76. Question – “Are you committed to making everything in your life hard?”
  77. Precrastination – doing things today that don’t need to get done.
  78. Desire is not the issue, attachment is.
  79. When you score a big hit, don’t wish it was a home run.
  80. Our bodies will tell us if we are truly happy. It’s when every part of your body feels like its smiling.
  81. Truly happy feels expansive, relaxed, calm, content, peaceful and open-hearted.
  82. Drugs, cigarettes, binge eating and alcohol are shortcuts to happiness.
  83. Resilience = bouncing back from a difficult time.
  84. Our hearts are meant to become an endless sea of compassion.
  85. Seek the valuable gifts hidden in your problems.
  86. Don’t let fear keep you inside your comfort zone.
  87. Nothing is ever as good as it seems or as bad as it seems.
  88. Mastery takes a minimum of 10,000 hours, 3,333 days or 9.13 years.  That’s four hours of dedicated practice a day.
  89. It is not the one that has too little but the one who craves more who is poor. Seneca
  90. We must control our perception. Consider what is happening and then how you perceive it. Is it bad? Is it an opportunity?
  91. Appropriate action takes place when you do what needs to get done when it needs to get done.
  92. Less show, more soul.
  93. Take your finger off the panic button.
  94. Consume less, create more.
  95. Almost everything is a blessing in disguise.
  96. Start small. Overwhelming yourself with huge goals only sets you up for failure.
  97. Replace your vision board with a calendar.
  98. Try shit. Be an experimenter in the lab of life.
  99. Don’t believe everything you think.
  100. Get so good they can’t ignore you. Cal Newport.
  101. Be worthy. Discover how you can you create extraordinary value and serve as profoundly as you can.
  102. Make self care your #1 habit. It is non-negotiable.
  103. Deal with your emotions. R.A.I.N  = Recognize, Accept and Allow, Investigate with Interest and Nurture yourself. Tara Brach
  104. Beware of group think and the delusion of the masses.
  105. Your ego is deceiving you.
  106. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
  107. Review and resolve your inner conflicts.
  108. Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don’t need.
  109. Develop a life long commitment to learning.
  110. Always helpful, never harmful.
  111. Get the best tools.
  112. Stop spending time with the wrong people.
  113. Stop running from your problems.
  114. Stop lying to yourself.
  115. Stop trying to be someone you are not.
  116. Let go of the past.
  117. Worry will not strip tomorrow of it’s burdens, it will only strip today of it’s joy.
  118. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
  119. What do people thank you for? Do more of that.
  120. Vulnerability equals courage.
  121. Everything is impermanent.
  122. Give up some control. Don’t always fall prey to action bias. Let some things unfold.
  123. Practice some form of daily movement and meditation.
  124. If you don’t start, it doesn’t happen.
  125. The improved mind is at peace with itself.
  126. Be more selective. Deliberately say no.
  127. Don’t mistake absence of evidence for evidence of absence.*
  128. Almost everything is non-essential.
  129. Reflect on what is draining your time during the day.
  130. Expect the unexpected.
  131. Be aware of how you spend your time. Chronos, quality of time vs Kairos, quantity of time.

I am curious, what lessons have resonated with you? Anything to add to the list?

*Simply put, it means that if we don’t know that something exists, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t; it only means we don’t know one way or the other, we just haven’t been made aware of it yet so it’s not part of our knowledge.

Inspired by the following books –
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics)

Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!

Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

The Art of Thinking Clearly