Keep Calm and Love Monday

keep-calm-and-love-mondayIt’s Monday.  I love Mondays.  The new week of hope and promise and abundance is about to begin.  We groove through a weekend filled with preferences and sleeping in and  music and family and chores and reading the newspaper and maybe even some dancing.  Then we land on Monday’s doorstep.  Today, as you enter into your Monday, smile often, look up and around, and realize how fantastic life is.  It is today and you are in it.  Pet the dog’s head before you head out the door.  Thank your barista for that mocha.  Tell her she is awesome for jump starting your morning everyday.  Let someone into traffic ahead of you.  Do something crazy fun. Dance for the security cameras.  Surprise your boss with a smile.   Take a walk on your break and look at the state of the clouds.  Call your sister and tell her you love her.  Send someone a surprise email.  Share some dessert with someone.  Write a letter, a real letter.  Play hopscotch at the bus stop.  And . . . always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  Because it is.  Your next breath, your next laugh, your next hug, your next decision. grow-786x305 Grow your Monday, intend some abundance, and harvest the beauty.

It is all one beautiful moment that is alive with promise: fresh and new and growing.

 

 

 

One New Thing: allowing the cat to stalk me

My One New Thing today: I allowed the cat to go on a walk with us — my dog and me.

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No, this is not my cat. It is my dog, Valentino.

Normally, I contain the cat to the house when I take the dog for a walk on the trails behind my house.  The thing about this cat is she was raised with a pack of dogs.  In the time she has been living with me, she has had 6 different canine roommates.  She has been observing dog-clan behavior her entire kitten life.  As a result she loves going on walks with whichever dog companion is living with me at the time.

Being on the trails while she is hunting us from behind is disturbing.  I never know when an unleashed dog is going to come bounding up the trail and she will go skittering into the woods.  How would she find her way home?  Is she smart enough to turn back around and march home?  Has she channeled enough of my old rough collie’s Zen in order to pull a Lassie-Come-Home moment?

But today Jane really wanted to join us (Valentino and me) — as evidenced by her running to the door when I picked up the leash.  I thought, What the heck?  We can stay in the neighborhood and she can play tiger-in-the-tall-cool-grass this morning as Val sniffs at every post, tree, blade of grass.

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This is my cat, Jane Eyre.

Well, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood today, and many neighbors were out tending to their yard work.  As Val and I walked and Jane stalked,  every neighbor commented on how we had a cat lurking behind us.  They all asked, “Is that cat yours?” I guess I never thought of this as being an odd cat behavior, but apparently it isn’t entirely common either.  The things you learn when you take time to reflect on your daily bubble.

As a result of this One New Thing (taking the risk to allow Jane some stalking freedom), I talked to three of my neighbors to whom I rarely ever speak.  It was a nice bonding moment over Jane’s Peculiar Cat Trick.  By being open to changing my routine with my pooch, Jane got to do her wild cat thing and I re-connected with some neighbors.

So, all’s good in the hood!  We all came home and — it being a weekend — we all  had a leisurely breakfast.  As I continue to add One New Thing to the mix, I continue to be surprised at the simple yet sweet consequences.  Who would have thought?

Walking Tall (with a little dog)

My Try-Something-New today . . . walking tall.

chicken crossing the roadYesterday, I was held up in traffic.  It was a beautiful day, and I was rushing home from work to catch some evening sunshine.  Traffic started to back up, so I looked ahead and saw a very tall woman walking a very small dog at a crosswalk.  What caught my attention wasn’t that she was so tall and that the dog was so little.  It was that she was walking with great confidence and really good posture.  She was looking up.  She wasn’t rushing across the 5 lanes of traffic.  She was sauntering like she meant it, like she was paying attention.  And enjoying her stroll with her little pooch.

As traffic resumed, I thought about how poised she looked.  I have crossed in heavy traffic at crosswalks before, but I know I have done so almost apologetically — like the proverbial chicken crossing the road.  Like I am so sorry, People.  I know I am holding up traffic. I sometimes feel self-conscious.  My posture probably sucks.  Scurry scurry.  Probably my head is down, and I know that I am moving more quickly than I would if I were walking across a sunny cow field or strolling in the shade along a riverside trail.  The thought occurred: Why do I feel like such a nerd for holding up traffic? 

So, today . . . I was out walking my little dog.  I came to a crosswalk that connects the interurban trail.  I stood on the side of the busy street and  . . . the first car went blowing by.  Okay, I won’t take that personally.  The other drivers saw us, and we, my tiny and strange-looking dog and I, walked with vigor and buoyancy across the street.  Now, I am not a fraction of an inch over 5’4″ — but I felt taller.  On the inside, that is.  One driver even waved hello.  Maybe because my dog is such a weird mixture of genetics but then again maybe not.  Maybe she noticed that I was paying attention to her and not being all hurry-scurry.  We smiled at each other.  I finished crossing the street.  She drove off.

This action truly did not require any measure of courage.  To be clear, I am not paranoid about crossing the street!   But making a conscious shift in attitude is what caught my soul’s attention.  It caused me to wonder about all of those times I have felt apologetic for simply being human.  Like making a mistake at work or blurting something without thinking.  Like burning the birthday cake or backing into my neighbor’s parked car.  All of these ouch moments that only mean that I am human.

Paying attention means walking tall.  And walking tall means giving up on my apologetic default.  And giving up on my apologetic default means making small connections here and there.  It allows me to embrace that small part of myself that sometimes feels like a pain in the ass.  Maybe I am the only one who feels this way on occasion.  But there you have it.  I write this and take the risk so that it might speak to someone else who also hurries across the street.  Walk tall.chicken in road

Wear who you are on the inside on the outside, too.  You are an ultra-cool person with so many experiences.  There is boldness in claiming who you are.  And rewards in looking up.   And gifts in walking tall.

Recognition: I See You

canaries I see you.  When was the last time that you took a moment to recognize another person’s hard work?  Another person’s perseverance?  Kindness?  Generosity?  Talents?   Honesty?  Thoughtfulness?  Sweetness?  Creativity?  Spontaneity?  When was the last time that you paused to say, “You’re awesome!” or “I like what you said at the meeting this morning.”  Such a simple gesture.  Still it means so much.

Can you remember how good it felt the last time someone took the time to recognize you?  Your talents, your effort, your creativity . . . your you-ness.  Maybe it is good to be reminded of how good it felt so we feel more inclined to share those good feelings with others.  Pay it forward with simple gestures of recognition.

dulyposted_respect-gratitude_quoteTake a look around today and see if there is something that unsung hero is doing . . .  something that might seem so small or insignificant to that person but that has the potential to make such a difference all around.  Maybe you see someone picking up a piece of garbage in the lunchroom or you see someone offering up their seat on the bus.  A parent tying his child’s shoe or someone holding the door open for a stranger.  I don’t know.   There are so many ways to make the world a brighter place.

It doesn’t take much.  A smile.  A high five.  A Way to go!  A You’ve got this!  An I see you.  So simple, right?  I want to put an I see you into my daily life.  An appreciation for someone else’s thoughtfulness.  I see the ripples that these small acts spread across the water. Each act promises great significance.

And the fun part?  We all benefit.  Recognition.  Gratefulness.  Appreciation.  All of these words take on immense proportions in relation to their original state.    I see you.

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It only takes one person to change your life: you, beautiful you

it only takes one personChange.  What does it mean?  When we change we transform something, someone, ourselves into something or someone different.

Whew.  This is quite the mouthful of limitless profundity.  Change, glorious change.  And it all starts with you.

Change is transformation.  It indicates movement and growth.  Spirals and pinwheels and vortices.  A maelstrom of tilt-a-swirl.  Sometimes, change means contributing beyond yourself.  Other times, change means discovering something really surprising about yourself.  We experience change when we laugh and when we cry. When we offer our seat to someone else on the bus.  When we say hello to the lone kite flyer in the park.  When we sell our house and try the nomadic life on for a time.  When we say yes to Adventure.  When we say no to Adventure.

No matter our perceptions of the moment, change takes us to where we are right now.

A question: Do you take change for granted?  I realize that it would be metacognitively implosive to cultivate enough mindfulness in order to keep track of all of the changes in your life, but what is your awareness of the many changes that take place in a week, a day, an hour, a snippet of a moment?  Am I paying attention to the changes in my universe?  Should I be writing them down?  Mapping them forward on life’s path?  Am I over-thinking all of this?     

One last question: Where do you want to go?  What small, sustainable change might you make today to take you where you want to go?

Wait, one last question: What is holding you back?  What is keeping you from making that change?  “It only takes one person to change your life ~ YOU.”  Have fun today appreciating the changes that you are creating and experiencing and fulfilling.

You are a beautiful person.

The Try-Something-New Challenge . . . want to join in?

old vintage clockIs there something that you have been wanting to learn?  To do?  To try just once to see what it would feel like?

Is the Fear of Failure holding you back?  Is a lack of resources holding you back?  Is there someone in your life who is telling you that you don’t focus and you never finish anything?  Is there a voice in your head that always gives you bad advice?  Don’t start.  You have so much to do around the house.  You have to get up early in the morning. You haven’t done laundry for a week.  The garage is a disaster.

Do you feel like you simply do not have enough time, precious time, to even think about starting something new?

The bad news:  You don’t have enough time.  The good news: You do have enough time.  You CHOOSE which news you want your inner soul to hear.

I kept delivering the bad news to my heart, my mind, my hands, my spirit.  Financial struggles, too many jobs, juggling household chores, burned out from work, distracted by pets.  All of this mindspeak was proving to be so exhausting to my Inner Spirit that I simply stopped trying to express any creativity.

Until lately.  I have undertaken a personal challenge: Try something new every single day.

In the beginning, this challenge verified the bad news –> it was something that felt overwhelmingly huge and impossible.  When am I going to have the time to try something new every single day?!  My days already feel like pasta in a pot of water — on constant boil and threatening to spill over onto the clean stove top at any given second.IMG-20120104-01935.jpg. wooden spoon

But.  I read once that if you lay a wooden spoon across a pot of boiling  pasta that it won’t overboil.  No more messy stove to clean up.  So, I tried this trick and it works!  Pretty amazing and soooo simple, right?

This Try Something New Challenge to myself has proven to be that magical wooden spoon.  I not only have enough time to Try Something New, I have plenty of time.  I don’t understand the way that time has expanded, but it has.  The hard part was starting.  The easy part is enjoying the rewards.  It has been so. much. fun.

I originally intended on focusing on one single something new to try for the 30 days.  Develop some consistency and build some sense of habit by adding only one thing.  All sorts of ideas came to mind.  Play piano every single day.  Ride my scooter to work every single day.  Eat a healthy breakfast every single day.  Work out every single day.  Do one or all of these things every single day for 30 days.

But I found that this wasn’t working.  I couldn’t decide on one-single-something-new.  As I was casting about for that perfect one-single-something-new, I discovered that was working was trying something uniquely different every single day.  Examples?  I started piano lessons — and have been pretty disciplined regarding playing everyday.  I went dancing at a casino — great stories as a result of this adventure.  I broke out the new orange-and-white kitchen towels that had been preserved in their pristine state in my kitchen drawer — now brightening my kitchen and thoroughly broken in with the hues of red wine, carrot juice, and tomato sauce.  I introduced myself to a stranger — and we have since become acquaintances.

You get the idea.  I called an ex-boyfriend just to say hi.  I bought Swiss chard at the vegetable stand.  I wrote a long overdue letter.  I told someone about my current writing project.  I had dinner at a restaurant that I have been wanting to go to.  I took photographs of garbage.  I painted a Jackson-Pollack-inspired painting and then added all sorts of 3-D items.  I started reading my horoscope.  I started blogging.

So. Many. Fun. Things.  Now?  I make sure that I squeeze that Something New into my waking hours.  I have effected change.  The ripples have been spreading.  There have been some really fun and surprising and happy results by expressing some willingness to shake things up.  bigstock-Zen-stones-in-water-27418907

Would you like to share in this challenge with me?  Is there something new that you have been really wanting to do?

Please, leave a reply and post your One New Thing and share how it is changing your world.  We all would love to hear about it!

Who’s your Inner Baby? What do you love to do?

hold-on-to-your-childhood-cause-its-the-only-one-youve-gotWho’s your Inner Baby?  This is a super fun video (1:16) to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfxB5ut-KTs

We have all read and heard a lot about our Inner Child.  But what about our Inner Baby?  Much gets lost in translation between Babyhood and Toddlerhood.  And on it goes.  Toddlerhood and Tweenhood.  Tweenhood and Teenhood.  Teenhood and Adulthood. Some sense of autonomy or responsibility or conscience or something escalates our levels of self-doubt into radical stages of us double-guessing ourselves.  We gain in experience while our increased awareness of Other lends to added confusion of Self.

I am not a psychologist.  I have not researched what happens to us developmentally while we are growing and being alive.  But I do wonder where my Inner Baby went to.  It is as if something really innocent does get lost as the expectations of society are incrementally imposed.  My sense of spontaneity gets diverted into embracing the ways of politesse.  My sense of joyful random has been  funneled into sit-up-straight-and-behave.

IMG_3680.JPG. paint potsAm I the only one that feels this way?  For example, am I the only one who still gets in trouble every time I go to the museum?  I don’t understand this phenomenon, but every. single. time. I go to the museum, I get scolded for something.  That door isn’t an exit.  Don’t get too close to the painting.  Don’t touch the painting.  Step away from the sculpture.  Don’t take a picture.  Now.  I do know that the doors that are marked in bright red as fire exits are not the acceptable way to locate the restroom.  And I know that breathing on and touching paintings are taboo.  And while I might be checking my phone for the time, it does not follow that I am going to aim and shoot with a damaging flash.  It is really kind of exhausting.

Someone once told me that the reason that I get scolded is that I have long, curly hair.  While I am open to this theory, I do believe that there is something else — perhaps some kind of mischief vibe — that I am giving to the museum’s VSRs.  Maybe it is my Inner-Baby vibe being unleashed without me even realizing it?

It is for the betterment of society that we learn these rules of etiquette.  What a crazy mob scene life would be if we didn’t have this cultural structure  to monitor our words and our actions.

But.  I watch this video, and I can see my inner child being mirrored back to me when I am doing something that I love that is fun and spontaneous.  I love to dance, so this video speaks to me very vividly.  And I can see my Inner Baby when I get out there on the dance floor and shake it.

What do you love to do?  

What is it that you see yourself doing in front of a magic mirror such as the one in the video?  I will refrain from MoonWalking my way through Chihuly’s glass series the next time I go to the museum, but I am going to have a good laugh imagining myself doing so past the docents and the stationed visitor reps.  Time to unleash my Inner Baby and have some fun!

 

Are you caught in Yo-yo Land?

cool swirly yoyoPROMPT: Is there something in your life that you keep doing over and over again — even though you say that you don’t want to do so?  Something that you know is b-a-d for you?  That is blocking your Bliss?  Is there something that you keep returning to, even though you have vowed that you never would? Are you trying to lose weight, and you have fallen victim to yo-yo dieting?  Do you keep going back to that unhealthy relationship that you know will never allow for mutual respect?  Do you return each morning to that unrewarding job with the maniacal boss?  Up and down and all around — going in loops and circles and reversals?

Is there something that you feel mysteriously and inexplicably tethered to — unconsciously or otherwise– that keeps reeling you back in?

We have all heard the metaphor that life is a river.  That you can never step into the same river twice.  That fighting the current expends a great deal of misspent energy.  That if you go with the flow, things will feel easier.  That there are eddies and currents that will befuddle your senses.  That there are drops in the river that will surprise you.  That there are Class IV rapids that will tip your raft and divest you of not only your luxuries but your essentials.  That any ol’ dead fish can float downstream — it takes a live one to go against the current.  Still waters run deep and narrow waters cut deep.  That a waterfall is the unfortunate realization that you have made one helluva big mistake and are in for the ride of your life.

You get the idea.  There are so many wowza metaphors for rivers.  Why?  Because they are cool and powerful and unpredictable and demand a great deal of respect from anyone who ventures into its current.

yellow and blue yoyoBut a yo-yo?  Is a yo-yo cool enough to be a metaphor for life and its crazy trajectories?  Just look at the names of yo-yo tricks: the Sleeper, Rock the Baby, Breakaway, Braintwister, Man on the Flying Trapeze, Around the World, Walk the Dog, Invisi-Whip, Buddha’s Revenge.  Look at all of this coolness that can identify life’s mysteries, demonstrate really amazing skill of movement, and explain how to resolve personal problems.  Feeling stressed?  Walk the Dog.  Feeling restless?  Take a trip Around the World.  Feeling like life has become boring? Be a Woman on the Flying Trapeze.  Feeling unmotivated?  Crack the Invisi-Whip on your Sleeper.

At this point, is anyone else ready to simply drop everything and go buy a yo-yo?

As impressive as some of these tricks may appear to be, I am not so sure that I want to continually be reeled back to Point A.  Or Point B.  Or L-M-N-O-P.  Wait, I just realized: I don’t want to be the yo-yo.  I want to be the Yo-Yo Slinger.  I want to be the one spinning the yo-yo into cosmic fantastic-ness. InternetSlang.com defines YOYO as “You’re on Your Own.”  Well, we are on our own.  I am on my own, the Yo-Yo Master Herself.  Spinning tricks and following the arc.

Lest I get lost in Yo-Yo Land, I pull myself back to my original question:   Is there something in my life that I keep doing over and over again — even though I say that I don’t want to do so?  I might want to pay attention to this.  Or at the very least, get out of Reversal Mode and distract myself properly by buying a yo-yo and googling some youtube videos on how to learn some of these very cool tricks.  I might not only surprise myself with an aptitude that defies gravity but divert myself from the unhealthier tether points in my life.

Yo-yo_player_Antikensammlung_Berlin_F2549

So, how does The Art of Yo-Yo actually translate and guide me on the trajectory of

Life Wisdom?

  1. Around the World –> Get rid of some stuff.  A lot of stuff, actually. Be ready to travel.  And travel light.
  2. Double or Nothing –> Become more habituated to taking risks.  Try Something New every single day.
  3. Over the Falls –> While knowing that life has its share of waterfalls, do not fear the unknown around the bend.
  4. Dizzy Baby –> Don’t be fearful of the tricks of the current.  You will eventually pop out of the eddies.
  5. Stop and Go –> Take time to pay attention and cultivate mindfulness.
  6. Hop the Fence –> Jump the grooves in life.
  7. Forward Pass –> Create your own trajectories and work your own magic.
  8. Wormhole –> Be the Yo-yo Master, not the yo-yo.