Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gone Fishing

You may have noticed that I've been absent from my blog for a couple weeks. I'd like to explain!

I'm in the process of helping my first nephew get ready to start college this fall. It has been a whirlwind of activity!!

That, on top of the house issues i've had this past month: a clogged sewer line, a botched plumbing job in my basement and an A/C failure, have kept me incredibly busy.

I'm taking time off to be fully present to the various tasks at hand.

I shall return, just as soon as I'm able!

Happy Summer!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Surviving the Avalanche

I had a tough week last week. I had two major problems in my household crop up. I found out that I have a plumbing leak under the concrete foundation of my house. I also had my air conditioning unit fail - during the hottest week we've experienced so far this summer in the Seattle area. Sigh.

The problems required troubleshooting and service appointments, yet nothing is resolved. Hopefully this coming week, all the repairs will be completed. Both issues, however, are pretty disruptive to normal schedules and life.

I also experienced some interpersonal challenges as well. Communication challenges in a couple of relationships and an ongoing, unresolved conflict with a couple friends.

In addition to all that, there were some really big projects that I am in the midst of.

As I said, it was a tough, taxing week. There was a point today, while I was on a long drive, when I had to wait for 30 minutes for an accident to be cleared off the road in front of me. Later I was stuck behind people driving 40 in a 55 MPH speed zone. There were several moments today on that drive where I literally thought I was going to scream. What should have been a 3.5 hour drive took 5.5 hours. The frustration I felt was incredibly intense.

Once I arrived home from that drive... I had to spend some time decompressing. I took a lot of deep breaths. I put on comfortable clothes. I did a little venting. I started to feel a little better.

I thought about what things might be like one week from now. These problems might be completely behind me by then. I went out to two weeks from now. I am fairly certain that these issues will be all handled in that amount of time. Then I projected out to 1 month from now. I'll be on to other issues by then - both positive and negative. After that I thought about my life one year from now. Will I even remember these problems by then? If I do, will they have the emotional 'charge' that they have now? I sincerely doubt it.

These are toady's problems, challenges and growth opportunities. My only responsibility is to take them as they come - one at a time and do the best I can to handle them well. So that is what I'm doing.

First, I'm going to have a good, long, restorative sleep! I'll face what comes... tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Deep Shift

This week started out really, really hard. Several unexpected problems cropped up and seemed intractable. I must admit, I was frustrated and a bit defeated.

Then... something happened.

I worked on keeping my attitude positive and focused. I was determined to do what I could do about the problems, and release the outcome. I stayed the course.

Within a short period of time, things began to shift.

One problem, was a mysterious water problem in the basement of my house. It took me 3 solid days of troubleshooting and testing to determine the basic cause of the problem. When I started this process, I wasn't sure I would be able to determine the cause. I did figure out the cause. Now I can call a plumber, and direct them to the immediate source of the problem. I saved myself a lot of money by doing the troubleshooting and testing myself. It was tense and frustrating, but now I'm on the path to a true and lasting solution.

There were a couple other major issues in my life that seemed really 'messed up' this week, and now, after careful attention and consideration, they seem to be straightening themselves out.

I can't emphasize this enough. Our attitude and our determination are THE most important determinant of our direction and success level. THE most important.

I could have just given up on these problems. I could have turned it over to other people to deal with. Instead, I focused, stayed positive and did all that I knew how to do to affect a positive outcome. It worked!

Get a hold of your attitude and your mind! It is the most powerful tool in your toolbox!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Slip Slidin' Away

I spent a delightful weekend with my niece at a water park. In addition to spending quality time with my precious niece, I was challenging my fears about going down large, scary water slides.

I'd been given a lot of advice about going to the water park. By far the best advice I was given was to 'relax' and just enjoy the sliding!

Resistance is futile! Especially when you are being propelled down a slippery slope by gravity and a lot of rushing water!

On the water slide, there is no holding on to the sides to keep yourself from going down. Once you start there is no stopping... you are going down!

No matter what scary twists and turns appear you have to ride it out. No matter what perilous drops occur you go over them. It's a great metaphor for life. Go with the flow!

I found that the fears that I had quickly dissipated. It is often true that our fears seem much larger than they turn out to be when we face them squarely. This proved to be true in my water slide adventure.

If you've never been down a water slide, I highly recommend it! It's a great way to prove some universal truths to yourself, most importantly that going with the flow is the true path to joy and freedom!

If you can't go down a water slide, then you'll have to find another way to embrace that truth!

Go with the flow!!

Monday, August 09, 2010

We're Starting Over Aren't We!

Last Monday I went in to my bank to cash a check. After I handled my banking, I was leaving the bank and one of the employees passing by said, "Have a great day!" Then he stopped and said, "Actually, have a great week! We're starting over, aren't we!"

His comment stuck with me as I got into my car and drove away. "We're starting over, aren't we!" It was Monday. A new week stretched before us. I liked his enthusiastic acknowledgement that we had a chance to 'start over.'

What if we could live every day that way? Realizing that each year, month, week, day or moment is a chance to let go of what has come before and 'start over.' I love this idea!

We get so hung up on what has come before. We get stuck looking over our shoulder at what is behind us. This slows us down and prevents us from moving forward fully.

Letting go of what has passed behind us, even if it was just 5 minutes ago, and moving fully into our future is a powerful way to live.

Happy Monday! We're starting over... this moment!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Finding What You Need

I've been doing a major cleaning project in my home. I have been going through drawers, medicine cabinets and closets to weed out old bath/body products and medicines.

I'm amazed at the stuff I'm finding. Some of it's expired. Some of it is way past expired. Some of it is perfectly good, but no longer of use to me. Some things are spoiled and rancid! It's amazing how all these things have lurked in drawers and closets for so long.

I'm being ruthless in my purging. I'm getting rid of more than I'm keeping. Some I'm giving away. Some just has to be tossed in the trash.

I'm feeling lighter and more care free with every toss.

Something interesting has been happening simultaneously. As I've weeded out and purged this stuff, I've suddenly started to be successful in my search for various articles of clothing that I've been wanting to replace for quite some time. New exercise pants, swim suits, sweat suits and a few other things. I've been searching for these items for quite some time with no luck. Now, suddenly, the perfect items have been presenting themselves to me without much effort.

I really believe that my willingness to 'let go' of things that are no longer right for me has made 'space' for me to find what I really want. They aren't the same types of 'things' but being willing to let go in any way makes space for something new.

I love that I get reminders in my real life of how this principle works. When these principles are reinforced, it gets easier and easier to practice them in more corners of my experience.

I'm delighted to be cleaning out so many old, outdated items from my home and my mind. I'm equally pleased to be embracing new, wonderful things and thoughts into my experience!

Try it! Find something that you can weed out from your physical space and use it as a metaphor for your willingness to let go of anything (internal or external) that no longer fits you and the life you want to live! Make way for the new!!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Handle it Quick

I got a cable TV and Internet bill in the mail this week. I was shocked to see that it was more than double the amount of last month's bill!

It appeared that my 'promotional deal' had expired a month ago, and the new plans I was included in were much more expensive.

Normally, with something like that, I would set it aside for a couple days before calling to deal with it. The annoyance I would feel about something like this and the hassle I was sure it would be to resolve it, would normally cause me to procrastinate a bit before I handled it.

Today, however, I decided to just do it! I opened the bill and within a few minutes I called the cable company to get started. I explained that I needed to make some changes to my account.

Within 15 minutes, I had things arranged exactly as I wanted them. My bill will be about $20 a month higher than it was, which was entirely acceptable to me. I knew my promo deal wouldn't last forever. The phone support person was really helpful and it was quite painless to resolve.

I could have ruminated about it for a few days and then made the call. I would have wasted a lot of thought energy worrying about how hard it was going to be to get it all straightened out. In other words, I could have wasted a lot of precious life force on something that would never happen.

How often in life to do we put things off, thinking they will be awful for us to deal with, only to find that they aren't nearly as difficult as we thought they would be?

Got some things lurking on your to do list that you've been putting off? Tackle one today. Knock it out of the park! Do it NOW!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A New Route

A couple weeks ago I was driving home from my mother's house. It is usually a 4 hour drive. On this particular day the traffic was horrendous.

One portion of the drive that usually takes 30 minutes took me 1.5 hours! I'd heard on the radio that I would be facing similar traffic for my entire drive. I was really frustrated.

It was 4pm so I decided to take an upcoming exit and stop at one of my favorite places to eat. They have tremendous turkey burgers! I considered eating dinner and seeing a movie to let the traffic die down. I took my road map into the restaurant with me so I could see if there were any alternate routes available to me.

To my surprise the very exit I had taken yielded a perfect route through the countryside and would take me directly home. Under normal circumstances the freeway drive would have taken me 2.75 hours from that point. With traffic as it was, I'm guessing it would have taken me more than 5 hours to get home. My new route that I discovered took me 3 hours, but it was scenic, uncrowded and gorgeous!

This new route was perfect! My willingness to explore a different option and take it saved me an incredible amount of frustration and wasted time.

There was a time in my life where it wouldn't have even occurred to me to check out an alternative. I would have simply stuck with the route I knew and suffered through the traffic.

I'm grateful that I've cultivated the ability to change gears when I need to. I say 'cultivated the ability' because this is not something that I have always done or known how to do. I've had to practice the willingness to shift directions and try something new.

My spontaneous route discovery, in response to changing conditions, is my reward for all the work I've done to make this ability a part of the way I approach my life. It enhances and enriches my days in more ways than I can describe.

I know that my willingness to 'take a new route' in the outer circumstances of my life is also indicative of my willingness to take new routes inside myself. I can think in different ways. I can make new decisions. I can alter my outer course in greater ways than simply driving a new road on a trip I've taken 100s of times.

We can practice cultivating this ability to move in new ways by changing our routines. Drive a different route once in a while. Switch the order of your morning tasks. Change which pant leg you put on first. Find someway to shake up your ordinary routines and let it shift you through and through!

Explore new routes! Make your life a great adventure!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Very Wise 5-Year Old

Sometimes we look outside ourselves for something or someone to change our mood. We focus on the outer world and expect it to conform to our preferences and needs. We hook our moods to our outer circumstances. This is a recipe for a very unstable and unhappy life.

I saw something in my cousin's facebook post the other day that really made sense to me.

He was writing about his 5 year old daughter. She was taking a shower, and singing a little song to herself,

"If you want to laugh... just tickle yourself, tickle yourself."

Out of the mouths of babes. This little girl has the secret! We are totally capable of altering our own moods and changing our own state of mind.

We have the power within us to shift from the inside out. She didn't sing,

"Go find someone else to tickle you,"

now did she?

Have you tickled yourself lately? Have you found something that feeds your soul and makes your heart sing and done it... just for the heck of it?

We need to become inner directed. It will serve us well to stop looking to other people or outer circumstances to set our internal tone! We have the ultimate authority and responsibility for our state of mind and mood!

Tickle yourself!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Therapeutic Rebellion

Some of you have noticed that I have been 'away' for the past week or so. I didn't expect to take a break. Midweek last week I just hit sort of a wall. It was a type of mental block. I felt like I needed to take a bit of a rest from some of my daily tasks. That's what I did - and it felt great!

I had nothing urgent that I needed to attend to. I knew that the earth would not stop revolving if I stopped doing a few of my daily chores. Guess what? It didn't!

I did some special projects that I normally wouldn't have had time to tackle. I spent a lot more time than usual taking walks and hiking. I spend a lot of time thinking and writing. It felt good to just let my brain off the hook for a little while.

It was like a mini-vacation. I got a ton done, but it was different from my usual list of tasks.

It's important to give ourselves little 'time outs' once in a while. We need some 'down time' - whatever that means to us. If you're very cerebral like me, you might need more physical activity to balance it out. If your work is physically demanding, you might need to lie in a hammock once in a while!

Listen to what you need, and to the best of your ability - give it to yourself!

My little rebellion is over. I'm back!