The peace of the pause

I wrapped up a big theater project last weekend and Monday morning felt like I’d hit a wall – face first! Every step, every thought took effort. What was going on? I was exhausted after 3 months of intense work, 6-7 days a week. And I was sad. Ending a show feels like the end of summer camp. You’ve had a great time with a new group of friends you know you’ll never be with again in that same setting. And while everyone is still around, you grieve the moment that’s lost.

AND to make you crazy, the songs from a musical run in a continuous loop in your mind for another week or so! Torture.

So this week I’ve spent time meditating on the challenges we met, the fun we had, and the show we produced. I’ve sent out thank you notes to add closure. And I’ve tried my best to be quiet to give myself time to pause for a couple of days between projects. Continue reading

The Power of Positive

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen writes about small steps she took each month to improve different aspects of happiness in her life.

Why?

Because research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, and more resilient. They’re more interested in others. They’re friendlier. And they’re healthier!

If there was a magic elixir to help you accomplish this, wouldn’t you be tempted? And wouldn’t you like to hang out with the happy people described above? So why not be in that group? Continue reading

We are terrible at listening to people we disagree with

“We are terrible at listening to people we disagree with.”

That was the topic of a TEDx speaker yesterday in Portland.

Chanel Lewis was visiting a local flea market, taking pictures for her Instagram account when she met two staunch Republicans who wanted to know what she was doing and why. She explained she was looking for unusual images. Somehow, that evolved into politics and she quickly discovered she had nothing in common with these two men. But she chose to continue the conversation with them because she’s practicing “internal quieting, and radical listening.” That’s where you turn off your inner murmur and just listen. Continue reading

The importance of mentoring

When we started rehearsals for a show I’m directing this fall, I saw the line-up of kids in the show and got a flash from the past. “Oh, my gosh. I’m Helen Todd.”

Helen cast me as Napoleon in The Nerve of Napoleon at the Little Theater of Alexandria when I was about 10 years old. You remember big moments like that in your life. And you remember the person responsible for giving you a break. A person who saw something in you that other people hadn’t seen. Who gave you encouragement. Who showed you how to do something. Who pushed you past your limits.

You had a mentor.

And now you can be a mentor. Continue reading

Making a Big Decision

When you’re faced with a challenge, you feel it first in your gut. Something is up. You think and think about it, but how do you decide when so many factors seem to weigh in equally? Back to your gut. This isn’t an intellectual problem – big decisions come from your gut. You want to be decisive. Why is making a choice so hard?

  • You don’t want to make a mistake.
  • You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
  • You don’t want to flip-flop on something you decided before.
  • You may not want to stick out in the crowd – or within your friends and family groups.
  • Habits are hard to break; it’s hard to start a new routine.

So look for common threads. 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

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading