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

Things I’ve learned so far

I’m in a brainstormy mood tonight and decided to jot down things I’ve learned so far… Twenty was easy so I went to 30. Then I got to 33 which seemed like an odd number so I went to 35. The list was getting a little long but 35 seemed like a weird place to stop, so I rounded up to 40.

Thanks to all of my guides who are behind this list. Here we go. Continue reading

5 steps out of a rut

Feeling in a low energy rut? Here are a few ideas to spur your juices and lift your energy.

Think Creatively
Instead of saying I’m not creative, how about saying “I can be creative.” Even if you don’t feel artistic, you can always come up with a creative solution. It might be a puzzle you solve, a class you take, or a unique solution you find to a problem. If you need a push, take a trip or meet a new person. Or look at an issue you deal with every day and come up with a creative way to make your world a little better. What’s one baby step you can take? Continue reading

Get some sleep!

Our society seems to value getting by on very little sleep. How many times have you heard someone say, “Yep, I get by on five hours a night,” and you think, “I should be able to do that.”

But the thing is your body needs deep, uninterrupted sleep every night. Sleep is when your brain reorganizes and recharges. When you cut that short, you wake up groggy. You can’t answer a question until you’ve had at least two cups of coffee. You fantasize about taking a nap as you head into a late afternoon meeting. You have a heck of a time staying focused.  And good luck getting to the things you want to get done.

You may feel like you’re getting by just fine, but new medical studies show that a lack of regular sleep can have significant health implications – with brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, and on your over-all good health.

I loved a recent write-up in the Smithsonian about how even jellyfish have to sleep. This means that this sea creature becomes completely vulnerable for certain periods of the day or night – and yet has survived for millennia. Continue reading

Starting a new routine

In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, Duhigg explains that most of what you think you are deciding is actually based on habit. What time you go to bed. What time you wake up. What you eat for breakfast. How you dress for work.

You say decision. Your body says habit.

Your brain depends on you developing habits because habits require a lot less brain power than decisions. Your brain accounts for about 4% of your body mass but requires about 20% of your total glucose for fuel. When your body goes into habit-mode, your brain runs on lower power than when you’re sleeping. Your brain likes this because it frees up glucose to solve new problems. Continue reading

What are you leaving at the door?

“We all want to belong and to love each other.”

The Rev. angel Kyodo williams was one of my favorite speakers at the Good Life Project camp a few weeks back. Thoughts from her talk continue to roll around in my head.

Most of us give up something in order to belong. We dress a certain way. We speak a certain way – and don’t speak a certain way. We don’t want to offend anyone and we don’t want to make anyone angry. It’s all really civilized but it isn’t always real.

What would it be like if when you entered a room, you brought in your whole self? What if you brought everything in with you? Continue reading

The importance of asking for help

A participant in a talk I gave last week shared a great story. She’s a single mom who worked full-time while raising her daughter. For them, there was no question that household chores had to be divided or they wouldn’t get done. To survive, they made a list of weekly chores and put them into a hat. Each week they would draw to see who did what. And here’s the fun part. If you got something you really hated, you could attempt a trade. FYI: She said cleaning the cat box was always worth at least two chores in a trade. 🙂

Most of us who raised kids tried a mix of ways to get them to help out around the house – from charts and graphs to outright bribes! The “hat” method adds suspense each week. And I picture cheering as you draw certain chores or avoid drawing others.

This conversation got me thinking about how much most of us hate asking for help. We feel like we should be able to do whatever we’ve taken on and don’t want to appear weak or needy. At the same time, most of us love offering a helping hand. Think back on a time when someone really needed help and you came to their aid. Can you feel your energy rise remembering that? Continue reading