Before and after

You have points in your life where everything was going in one direction, then “this” happened, and your life headed off in a new direction. You know what I’m talking about? Those big “before” and “after” moments.

For me, this would include the day in 8th grade I decided to try out for cheerleading which changed who I hung out with in high school, what I did with my free time, and how active I became in my class.

Another big turning point was my decision to go to the University of Virginia. This meant I met certain wonderful, life-long friends, chose a certain major, and hated being at the University so much I chose to go hiking for 3 months with an Outward Bound program. This, in turn, was another HUGE turning point because that’s where I met the person I married and had children with. Continue reading

Wishing v. Working

When people tell you to “follow your passion,” it sounds so easy. “Just follow your passion and everything will turn out great.” Make a wish and it will come true. Right?

What you don’t hear is that it takes work to make your wishes come true.

I don’t want to downplay wishing. Dreaming big schemes is the first step to creating a new reality. But once you come up with a terrific vision, how do you get from “energy bubble” to “done?” Continue reading

Taking on too much

I started working at a “regular” job about 3 weeks ago after doing freelance work for 17 years. I have freelance work I’m still wrapping up. And I continue to run two web businesses. And I’ve given 3 talks on Organizational Zen in as many weeks. AND we held auditions this week for a musical I’m directing that includes a cast of 16 kids and 14 adults.

I’m not eating much or sleeping enough because I don’t have time. I’m in new environments with new routines. I’m meeting dozens of new people. And I’m learning new skills and testing old ones at work and at the theater.

I feel swamped and somewhat out of control like I can’t catch my breath. I missed a call last week – which I HATE. And I feel like I really, really just want to take a nap but I can’t because there’s too much to be done! Continue reading

Words can start a revolution

“Every conversation won’t change your life. But any conversation can.”

Like much of what I’ve posted for the past week, this idea came up at the Good Life Project camp last weekend. I’ve been thinking about this in a couple of ways.

  1. Listen – new ideas and insights can turn your head.
  2. Start a conversation – you never know what you’ll learn.
  3. Speak up – your voice is a gift and it’s important to speak your truth.
  4. The world is mysterious. And being open to the idea that new thinking can come from anywhere is one of the most delightful mysteries.
  5. You don’t always plan change – sometimes it just falls on you.

Continue reading

Giving in to organization

If you resist getting organized, feeling like organization might box you in or make you less creative, consider this: Continue reading

The art of deciding

You may think you make a lot of decisions, but most of what you do each day is driven by habit. What time you get up. What you eat for breakfast. What you do for exercise. How you get to work. Even the conversations you have can be driven by habit. “You say this. Then I say that. Then you say this.”

So it’s no surprise that when you have to make a decision, it can be hard on your brain and rather unsettling – especially if it’s a decision that leads to big changes – like where you live. Or go to school. Or who you date or marry. Or what you do for work.

I like living a Zen life and feeling unsettled is very un-Zen. So how do we make decisions easier? Continue reading

On your deathbed…

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a gathering at a beautiful old house in New Hampshire where the family gets together each July 4th weekend. One of the senior members of “the clan,” Dale, passed away this year and his grown children held a wonderful remembrance for him.

When you’re trying to prioritize what’s important in your life, it’s helpful to write your obituary. Your obit marks your final deadline. How do you want to be remembered?

What this weekend celebration reminded me of is that it is also helpful to think about a final ceremony. I know you’re not ready to pass, but when you are, what do you want the ceremony to be like? Continue reading