Start where you are

How’s this for a premise: “If a problem isn’t actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s reality.”

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans develop this idea in their new book, Designing Your Life; How To Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life as they apply “design thinking” to making important life choices.

When you’re organized, you don’t like to waste time. And what’s a huge waste of time? Worrying – especially when you worry about stuff you can’t change. This doesn’t mean you don’t have stuff you wish you could change – a grouchy boss, a noisy neighbor, an obnoxious family member. But if you can’t change them, then they aren’t a problem – they are reality. And you can’t outsmart reality or bend it to your will. It’s still reality. 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

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

The importance of showing up

Like any business, you have a brand. If your brand is strong, it might be “100% guaranteed.” Or “Always on time.” You may be known for having an open heart. A generous soul. A guaranteed laugh.

If your brand is feeling a little tarnished, you have the power to change that simply by showing up – physically and mentally. When you show up to a conversation, you listen with intent. When you show up to a function, you show up on time and fully take part. You make promises only when you know you can keep them. Continue reading

Ring bells. Light candles.

As much as I love organization, I’m not a big fan of organized religion. I hope you don’t take offense; I know many love the church. But I struggle with churches that: Continue reading

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