Mind the Gap

I love when I’m traveling in England and the government courteously reminds me to “mind the gap” when exiting a train or subway.

As a life-philosophy, you also want to “mind the gap” between what you say and what you do. When you meditate or spend quiet time with yourself, it’s easy to think kind, generous thoughts. To feel connected to the earth. And to will the energy of the Universe to allow you to do your best work.

But if you’re cross when someone crosses you, or immediately feel disconnected when things don’t go your way, then it’s time to mind a gap in your life. If someone crosses you and you snap, practice stepping back mentally from the scene and sending that person loving kindness for whatever is going on with them. And see yourself from a distance, like a loving angel, and think, “That poor girl! I wonder what made her cross?” It takes practice to be non-judgmental with the world and with yourself but what a nice practice it is.

If you struggle with this, here are four things that may help you close the gap. Continue reading

Mapping your energy

If you’re trying to bring more energy into your life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans prescribe making a fun, mind map in their book Designing Your Life.

It starts off easy! Think back on a time when you felt energized and engaged with life. Continue reading

What’s the best part of your day?

I love this exercise from Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. You do stuff everyday. Some of it you choose to do. A lot of it you have to do. Each day your energy flows around your tasks, sometimes up and sometimes down.

If you want to have more up-energy, try tracking your energy flow for a week. You can either set up an activity log, or better yet, just mark up your planner. At the end of the day, look at each thing you did and check off or highlight things that raised your energy.

What’s cool about us is that we’re all different. A high-energy part of your day could be: Continue reading

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

Relaxing into a schedule

If you’ve been thinking about doing something cool, set a deadline and put together a schedule. A deadline is effective even if it’s something only you know about; when you write a due date on a calendar you’re making a written commitment to yourself to get something done.

A cool benefit of having a schedule, besides meeting deadlines and getting stuff done, is the peace that comes from deciding what you’re working on and when you’re going to do it. You may feel like a schedule limits you. I would counter that when you schedule something, you quiet your brain and the idea stops nagging at you.

“Are you going to work on me now? Now? Now?”

Continue reading

The 8-week Sprint

A friend at work recommended a blog by creative guru Jessica Abel. I checked out her site and read through a long, long, long post about why I should pay her to help guide me through an 8-week sprint to get a creative project done. I read – and read, and read – and thought, “I don’t need a coach. I just need to do the work.”

Here’s the plan I came up with for my 8-week sprint. 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