Slowing down to be more productive

I just finished Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee, a product designer and student of JOY in the world. One of Lee’s last studies in the book is on the joy of being in nature. Participating in a natural life helps you slow down. It keeps you grounded. It helps you be meditative and at the same time lifts your energy. And it makes you feel healthier and happier which helps you be more productive.

Think about when you were a kid and everything outside felt new and exciting. I’ve been thinking about elements of nature and what we can do to be more observant of them to appreciate them more to get back some of that kid-energy.  Continue reading

Grouping items to create harmony

If you have a place in your house that feels scattered or drains your energy, try introducing a little harmony.

Think about how different a scattering of single leaves look compared to leaves grouped together on a tree. Or how loose petals of a flower look compared to the look of a full-headed flower. Or the look of singular flowers versus the look of a sweeping field of flowers.

You can create harmony by placing similar items together. By putting prints on a wall in matching frames. By grouping items together that are the same or complementary colors. Continue reading

Is clutter blocking your energy?

I challenge you this week to look around your house and clear one area that has gotten a little cluttered over the summer. We get busy and things pile up and stagnate. Putting things back in order takes a little time but you’ll feel calmer in your space. You can breathe. You can settle in. Your energy will lift just looking around.

Perhaps there’s a counter with supplies out at the ready. A table with this week’s mail. A nightstand with tissues, hand lotion, and a few unread books. An entryway filled with boots, coats, and umbrellas. A bookshelf packed to overflowing. A desk with open files, a coffee cup, and surplus pens. A closet filled to overflowing. Continue reading

How to be the world’s best guest

We have several holidays coming up. ‘Tis the season! If you want to be the world’s best guest, stick to these pointers from Southern Living. And there are bonus points if you’re planning on staying over.

Show up ready to have fun
The best way to be a great guest is to have fun. If you’re having a bad day, smile and check that at the door. Say hi to anyone who is new. Talk to young and old alike. Get interesting conversations going. Your phone stays in your pocket or better yet in a pocket or bag in another room for the duration of the party. And no complaining, please! You have chosen to attend this party, so bring your best-self there.

Either eat what’s served or pick out foods you like without making a fuss
If you have dietary restrictions, bring something you can eat as well as share. Continue reading

The Joy of Color

I’m reading a great new book: Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Lee opens the book with studies and thoughts about what makes a moment joyous and settles in on something quite simple: color.

If you want to change a drab day, a drab building, or a drab party, add bright, warm colors and you add a pop of joy to the world. Think birthday party balloons. Chinese dragon parades. Maypole ribbons. Hot air balloon festivals. Fields of wildflowers. Can you picture any of these in black and white? No! Just thinking about these colors brings up a bubble of joy.

“Color is energy made visible.”

Lee believes that energy is all around us and that bright colors have high energy that’s contagious.

If you need a little pop of energy, you could try something as simple as… Continue reading

How can we build a more loving world?

A few weeks ago I was part of a great discussion at a Democracy Cafe about ways we can create a more loving world. Wouldn’t it be awesome to live in a more loving world? How can we work as a team to make that happen?

Here was the #1 suggestion: Greet strangers with warmth.
Most people are kind when you’re kind to them. And while it can be intimidating to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, it’s a blast to meet as strangers and leave as friends. Most people are looking for community and connections and welcome a friendly smile. Trust that it’s never wrong to be kind. Continue reading

A life well lived

One of our speakers at the library last week, John Baugher, has a new book coming out about the joy of end-of-life care. I’m certain I’ve never heard anyone speak about end-of-life as being a joyous time. Most of us face end-of-life care, for ourselves or for others, with a certain amount of dread. But John’s decades of working with hospice have left him feeling otherwise.

But John’s talk didn’t center on the end of life. It centered on a life well lived. And not as a reflection – but as a daily practice. His question was:

“Was your life well lived – today?”

Continue reading