Picturing your space

As I get to work in our yard and gardens, I’m reminded how calming it is to get your hands in the dirt, to actually get “grounded.” Being outside in a garden touches on most of your senses – from the feel of the dirt in your hands, to the look of freshly trimmed perennials, to the smell of cut grass and early spring flowers, to the sound of surrounding birds. It’s a whole-body experience.

If you’ve never gardened, even a small flower box or barrel planter will give you the taste of setting a plan, purchasing what you need, and creating something beautiful.

AND if you don’t have room outside or know you don’t have time to keep up even a small garden, how about creating a paper one inside? Continue reading

Tripping over the truth

In Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of MomentsI love the concept of “tripping over the truth.” There are some truths in our lives we choose to not see. Then we trip over them and the pain of the stumble brings us insight we’d rather not acknowledge. But there it is. You didn’t see it coming but now that you’ve stumbled over it you recognize it as a truth that’s probably part of a larger pattern. Continue reading

“Never take chaos personally”

If you’re a planner, like me, you like linear patterns. If you do A, B happens. If you get a good education, you’ll get a good job. If you eat good food and exercise, you’ll be healthy. If you do work you’re called to, you’ll be successful. Life is logical and fair.

Except when it isn’t.

The Universe actually prefers chaos to straight lines. How many straight lines do you see in nature?! You tidy up; things get messy. Sidewalks crack. People age. The most natural thing on earth is that things we build up break down. Continue reading

Starting a Kindness Ritual

I’m listening to an excellent audiobook called The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, by Michael Puett. This is one of those books I’m going to have to read as well because there is so much content I want to digest.

Here’s the thought for today. We know that much of what we do is based on habit. What time we get up. What we eat. When we eat. How we get to work or school. How we function there.

Habit even shapes many conversations. I say this. You say that. And on we go with our day.

If you want to make changes to your world, you have to think of inventive ways to break habits because they are powerfully engrained in our day-to-day life because you repeat them over and over!

I think of habits as functional tasks. Michael Puett looks at them as ritual. For him, a ritual is something you do and repeat until it becomes the norm. And you mark it in some special way to treat it as unique each time.

And here’s his question: Can you make a ritual of being kind? You could also think of this as a “kindness habit” but the idea of ritual carries sanctity and reverence. This isn’t a kind gesture; it’s a new norm. Continue reading

Two tricks to stop procrastinating

I run the adult programs at our town library, and one of my favorites is a new Songwriting Workshop. The leader, Jud Caswell, has mad skills at being able to hear what someone plays and sings, then offering bits of advice that seem small but that help immensely.

Last week, Jud offered this advice to stop procrastination in its tracks:

(1) Make a shorter deadline
Jud told a great story about a friend he was coaching who just couldn’t make time to write, so Jud asked him to turn in a song by the end of the week. The guy said there was no way he could write a song in a week, so Jud said fine, then get it to me tomorrow.

“Write a song in a day? No way!”

“Fine then, write a song now. What’s knocking around in your head?”

The guy sat down and wrote his first song.

(2) Lower your standards
We all want to do wonderful, terrific work, but if your goal is to only do wonderful, terrific work you may never get started. Taking action gets you moving – and it almost doesn’t matter what direction you move in. Once you start, you get in the flow and can edit later.  Mark Twain famously wrote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” In his case, it was probably literal, but I love the concept of writing, or painting, or learning anything new with great abandon. We’re generally our greatest critic. The thought here is to get started and trust that you’ll clean up the mess later.

Jud also mentioned a writer who was asked if he wrote on a schedule or only if he was inspired. The guy replied, “Only when I’m inspired! So it’s a good thing I’m always inspired at about 9:00 every morning.”

I sincerely hope you’re inspired to try something new this spring. Doing work that comes from your heart makes all the stuff you have to get done so much more interesting.

Cheers.

Here’s a shot from a local Pub where I meet with other writers to talk about writing show tunes. As we build our tribe, we’ll take tips anywhere we can find them 🙂

 

 

The power of forgiveness

When I went through a divorce after years of a struggling marriage, my ex asked if I forgave him. I was confused. I didn’t feel that forgiveness was in my power. I didn’t feel any judgment toward him – I just needed to not argue anymore. But forgiveness was important to him so I said I didn’t hold anything against him and wouldn’t have changed a thing – we had had a great life with lots of friends and two wonderful little girls. We were just too different to stay together and it was time to part friends – but definitely to part.

When I walked away, I felt no bad feelings toward him. I just felt free and ready to get back into the world again, to get back to a positive, high-energy place.

Throughout my life, I’ve known plenty of people who are bitter about relationships and about splits and I see the bitterness weigh on them. It’s heavy. It steals their energy and their focus and holds them to part of the past that’s done. It makes them miserable and it can make them kind of miserable to be around. Continue reading

Creating Moments

You want to use your time wisely, to be buttoned up and efficient, to be trusted for your consistency. AND along with getting things done, you want to have memorable days where you feel engaged, joyful, amazed and motivated.

I’m reading the Heath brother’s new book, The Power of Moments. A key part of powerful moments comes when you feel elevated, when your senses are amped up with food, lighting, movement, and joy. These are out-of-the-ordinary times like weddings, sporting events, graduations, and musical events where you feel energy and joy around you. They’re moments that break the script, that you remember over days, weeks, years, and even decades. Continue reading