Does this really matter?

Does this matter?

IMG_4007

There are different types of weight that we carry around with us, both on the frame of our body and in our mind, heart, and soul.  Yes, there are those few extra pounds of body weight that remind us every time we step onto the scale and then there is the weight of our responsibilities, worries, and burdens that slow us down and drag behind us as we attempt to carry them through the day.  One way to lighten up our respective loads is to ask ourselves:

 Does this really matter?

This question can apply to many different things, events, and encounters throughout the day and is of greater benefit for your quality of life than simply checking to see what number shows up on the bathroom scale.  If there were a scale that quantified how heavy my heart is while carrying the various burdens and responsibilities that I lug around with me throughout the day, I would fear even stepping onto it.  Perhaps the sheer possibility to acknowledge such spirit weight would prevent me from getting out of bed in the morning. 

In an effort to lighten my spirit along with my body weight, I have begun asking, “Does this matter?  I mean, really matter?”  Here’s a good example of a recent situation where I am actively trying to turn a Yes response to this question into a No.

Yesterday, my neighbor came over to inform me that she had “accidentally” trimmed all of the beautiful green vines that laced and encircled my mailbox on my property.  I loved this entwining greenery and have admired its lushness every time I walked out to retrieve my mail.  This neighbor since moving in next door has adopted a scorched-earth policy and has been mercilessly hacking away at any living plant in her yard.  As disheartening as this has been to observe, I have accepted that it’s her yard and she can do with it as she wills.  But my property and my mailbox?  I wanted to scream!

When she came over to tell me that she had mistaken my mailbox for hers and that she had stripped away all the beautiful vines and plants to bare earth, I wanted to come completely unglued.  As I walked out to the mailbox with her so she could show me the carnage she had wrought, I had to quickly ask myself, Does this matter?  I wanted to shout, cry, and say bad words to her about the death and destruction that she has wrought on the neighborhood.  I wanted to tell her that she was a bad human being and that she had no business messing with my property.  That she had some kind of obsessive death wish on anything growing and living and that she should move to the desert.  That I was super hurt and angry.

But being a believer in the power of allowing my rational brain to catch up with my emotional brain in order to avoid an emotional hijacking, I surveyed the damage and told her that I wasn’t in a good place to talk about it at that time.  That I was going into the house to absorb.  And then gently told her to kindly stay the hell away from my property, my mailbox, and all growing plants that are between our two houses . . . and that if she had future intentions of annihilating any plants on our shared property line, to come talk with me first.  

In review, I handled the situation pretty well.  I actually delivered my message with an admirable deadpan that contained all of my frustration, hurt, and anger.  All because I paused to ask myself, “Does this matter?”  In the big scheme of life and its real global problems, the hacking away of some greenery by an obsessive neighbor is neither a global threat nor a personal tragedy.  It bugs the hell out of me, but I have to hope that I will eventually get over it and that Mother Earth will heal and replenish the victimized plants.  Amen.

One way I try to ultimately deal with annoyances of this kind and move on is to ask,

“At the end of my life, will I still be obsessing over this?”

At the end of my life, will I still be obsessing over the crazy neighbor lady with the pruning shears?  Chances are the answer is “No,” so I will let it go.  I have to let it go.  Or at least I will continue to work on letting it go.  And if I want to live an authentic life that is true to my beliefs, I have to let it go.  Otherwise my life will be predicated on another’s thoughtless actions and not on my own beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions.  I choose peace over strife, love over dislike, and forgiveness over a grudge.  Let the healing begin by answering, “Does this matter?”  And I send up a prayer: Please, Mother Earth send up some healing green vining shoots from this offensive massacre.  

How about you?  The next time you find yourself getting super annoyed by the daily coffee grounds scattered all over the kitchen counter by your house mate . . . does it really matter?  Or when that annoying co-worker steals the credit for your creative idea – again! – and makes it his own . . . does it really matter?  Or when you finish off that pint of chocolate ice cream at midnight while standing over the sink . . . does it really matter?  Go easy on others and on yourself.  

What is it that really matters to you?  Align yourself with your beliefs and your awareness of what they are.  Revisit them.  Journal about them.  Live them.  Share them.  Write a manifesto or a mission statement that represents your beliefs.  Know thyself and imagine yourself getting on a quantum-physics scale that weighs your spirit.  Do you want it to read “light as the air found in a bird’s hollow bone” or do you want it to read “denser than a ton of blue whale blubber”?  (No offense to the beautiful blue whales of the planet that grace our oceans with elegance and beauty, but they sure are heavy.  And the amazing thing?  They float!)  It’s your choice, your process, your control, your letting go, your destiny.  What do you want this quantum scale to read? 

When you catch yourself getting caught up in the petty, annoying, silly frustrations of life, ask yourself “Does this matter?”   If you are able to answer with a “No” and add a laugh to your answer, you just lost an immeasurable weight from your mind, heart, and soul.  Be one with your mindfulness, and do not ally yourself with another’s thoughtlessness.  Forgive and move on.  You are the ultimate recipient of any forgiveness that you are able to give. (I know.  It can feel like a hard thing to task yourself with but it’s worth your focus and effort.  Promise.)

Time for some journaling.

Be still for a moment and relax.  I mean really relax.  Sit down.  Lower your shoulders from your ears.  Empty your hands and put your hands in your lap.  Take five deep breaths. 

What matters to you?

Make a list of people, pets, qualities, things, circumstances, events, dreams . . . that matter to you.  Just go for it.  Don’t filter yourself.

Now go back through your list and circle your top three or top five or top ten, whatever circling activity that makes you happy.  Let these circled items guide your decisions, shape your beliefs, inform your reactions, and create your relationships.  Let them become the things that matter.  Embrace, nurture, and live what matters.  

a brand new year

Advertisements

Pebbles in a Still Pond

water-1759703_960_720Trust the process.  Trust the ripples created by the pebble.  The ripples will travel to the right places.  They will find their ultimate places on the shore and will communicate their wants, their dreams, their source of desire. 
I will not forget to drop my pebbles in the water.  I will release my vibrational energy loose to find its vibrational match.  I trust the process.

Our Subsumed Lives

to subsumeto include or place within something larger or more comprehensive;   encompass as a subordinate or component element

When you were a child, what did you want to be when your grew up?  

seashell-754015_960_720If you are doing something quite different from what you imagined you would be doing, what happened? What swerved you onto a different path that led you away from your childhood dreams?  Or maybe you are still very much there, living the dream, without even realizing it?

There are many subsuming elements that our lives encounter, embrace, deny, or challenge.  Elements that distract us from who-we-are and steer us onto paths into what  feels to be a foreign country where we don’t speak the language and we don’t understand the customs.

When I was a child, I wanted to be Continue reading

Too Many Ideas?

nautilus_species_shellsDo you ever feel as if you simply have too many ideas?  It isn’t that life is too short to “do” or “finish” everything . . . it’s just that each moment is too tiny to absorb all of the expansion that wants to burst forth from each little second.  This gives me pause, and I wonder What am I doing with each moment?  Am I valuing it?  Living it?  Being it?

We are prompted Continue reading

What’s in your complaint box?

834px-complaint_department_grenadeWhat’s in your complaint box?  Any chance of turning those complaints around and thinking of them as blessings?

I’ve been doing an experiment.  Every day I write down as many things that I can think of from the day under the heading: Good Things That Happened Today.  It isn’t hard to think of things.  As with anything in life — when you pause to take an inventory — there is much more going on than that which skims the surface.

After I finish my Good Things list, I then write as many things that I can think of under the heading: My Takeaways on Life in the Current Moment.  When I pause to think of My Takeaways, all sorts of good things start to burble forth — things that hitherto felt like an obstacle or a challenge or a frustration.  It’s like magic.  The weird stuff suddenly starts to transform into a better place.

For example, imagine that you are making an offer to purchase what you perceive to be your Dream Home.  And we’re talking Dream Home, people.  You are convinced that this house is It.  It is exactly what you want to buy and to live in for the rest of your life — or at the very least the next decade.  In your Good Things list, you write: I made an offer on my Dream Home today!!!!!

But then life intervenes.  Another offer comes in on the same day as yours, but $10,000 higher than your offer.  And to make matters worse for you, their financing is in perfect order.  Guess whose offer gets accepted?  You feel bummed!  That was your house!  Not theirs!  

The days pass and you search for things to put down on your Good Things list.  You might even write under Takeaways: I learned that it is best to remove such high emotion from a business deal.  Something like this.  But then.  Something really crazy happens.  You read about an opportunity to go to Ireland and serve as an intern at this amazing art school.  It’s your dream!!  You apply.  You get accepted.  Guess what?  You’re going to Ireland for a full year!  Woot!

This adventure gets listed under Good Things.  In addition to recording this adventure to Ireland on your list, you write, I‘m so glad that that house deal fell through!  Thank you!!! on the line directly below your entry about the Ireland opportunity.  You see the correlation so clearly.  In fact — even better yet — you feel the correlation and you experience an understanding that calms your soul and quells your frustrations about the house deal falling through.  All is right with the world and you marvel at how things just work out!

You get the idea.  The seemingly bad breaks that occur in life have all the potential to set us up for something even better.  You just have to be looking.  Be aware.  Be open to seeing the “bad stuff” as “potential good stuff.”  That there are Takeaways, if you only look.  Life events aren’t always easy to dissect into lists, but I find that if I really stretch and embrace both the Good Things and the Takeaways . . . I learn a lot about me and how I can be happy in the flow of the present moment.

How about you?  Do you want to join me in my Good Things/Takeaway challenge?  If you want a PDF to download to get you started, just submit your email address and I’ll send it to you.  It’s fun to turn things around to a place that allows you to embrace that which seemed like such a bummer.

As for me?  Well, I thought that it was going to be smooth and perfect sailing as I prepared to go forth to Ireland . . . but the art internship fell through — something about something occurred, which meant I wasn’t going away to Ireland for a year.

Now, this unwelcome news certainly wasn’t expected, but I am learning as a result of my daily lists.  Instead of listing the loss of my Ireland trip in my Takeaway list, I recorded it immediately in my Good Things list.  After all, I am learning about this life stuff in a new way that is changing my mind and my heart.  I know that something good is happening right now . . . and I am trimming the unexpected starboard list of the boat that I thought was set to sail for Ireland.  It’s a good thing that there were life rafts on that boat!

And I am ready for the next adventure.

Who knows what’s next?  I don’t.  Be it a Good Thing or a Takeaway, I am learning that what works best is for me to be open.  To understand that I don’t have a bird’s-eye view of every little piece that has been set in motion.  To be me and to be happy and to have a light heart.  To stop complaining and to start paying better attention.

Are you an InstaGoogler?

passionately curious. einsteinAgain . . . Albert Einstein leads us by the hand and takes us to what it is about our own selves that makes us who we are.  What a remarkable person he was.

Question: What are you passionately curious about?  What is One Thing you enjoy learning about?  What is One Thing that you would like to spend some time exploring?  

What is the first answer that pops into your head?  Got it?  Next, download a [FREE] journal worksheet that will take you just a little bit further into and  farther down your Road of Curiosity.

I sometimes think that we have simply been so inundated with so much information.  

I love having Google at my very fingertips . . . but still.  Anything you want to know is just a Siri-command away.  Who wrote Stand by Me?  What is the Mariners – Angels score?  What are the health benefits of turmeric?

Are you an InstaGoogler?

Are you one of those Instant Googlers that reaches for your phone when you or someone else wonders something aloud?  Does having Instant Information at our fingertips or voice command rob us of deepening our curiosity?  Do we learn an answer and then dismiss it and maybe even forget it until the next Wonder enters the room?

I wonder.  Does having this wonderful advantage of instant information simply stuff us full of trivia and rob us of our passionate curiosity at the same time?  There is a difference — a chasm — between Knowing and Wanting to Know . . . a gap between Knowing An Answer and Wanting to Know more about stuff.  At least this is what occurs to me.  It seems that I know more and more about less and less than I used to . . . which is all good.  But still.  Don’t we truly want to know more, possess more knowledge, feel that depth-scraping satisfaction that only deep learning  provides?

Make curiosity a rewarding habit.  Explore your Curiosity with this free journaling download.

To download a free (and empowering) journaling worksheet that will help you explore and enjoy your Passionately Curious Thing, fill out the contact information below.  [This will not add you to any mailing list for future journal worksheets — unless you specify that you would like to receive them.]  This journal exercise is a journey into your curiosity, your passions, and your area of interest that defines who you are.  It’s good stuff!

Life is simply so interesting and there is soooooo much to be passionately curious about.  Live life large and expand your curiosity’s range of motion.  Think like Albert and less like a Googler.  Be you.  Be interesting.  Expand who you are.

Stumping Miz Grammar

We learn best

theunseenwordsproject.com

It was once my privilege – and challenge – to take over teaching mid-year in a 7th/8th grade grammar class at a very small public school.  This school was the classic one-room schoolhouse, located in a remote, road-less area in the North Cascades of Washington state.  The children there had grown up navigating the trails of the high country, floating the rivers, jumping in the glacial-fed lake, and tearing up and down the dirt roads on their bicycles.  It was a land of no cell phones, video games, and Facebook – a place of isolated enchantment that could not and would not be fully appreciated until these students grew older, moved away, and worked in cities that involved the many technological trappings now associated with modern living.

You can well imagine that the students did not feel a passion for this grammar class – my predecessor having resorted to dry lectures and long homework assignments, and it was my job to take over and to inspire some interest for the subject.  Being a grammar nerd myself, I wasn’t prepared for the level of apathy that the students expressed.  I remember telling the students on the first day of class that I loved the subject of grammar so much, I took grammar workbooks with me on vacation so I could relax and just enjoy the fun of language.  They thought I was weird, maybe a little insane . . . but that was all good because I was committed to understanding why they weren’t more interested in the foundational components of their native language.  After all, this is grammar that we are talking about?!

We started the class by getting to know each other a little better.  Every Monday, we would each recount stories from the weekend while I grabbed key words from their telling and then write these words into the eight parts of speech grid that I had graphed out on the board.  Then we would play The Synonym Game and erase the word on the board with a different word that might convey the story’s meaning a little more vividly.  They began to see how word choice mattered – how you could use the adjective great and maybe use the word fabulous or resplendent instead.  It was a small step but it made sense to take what they knew – their experiences – and translate them into a Grammar Stew on the board that they shared.  I knew that we were growing stalwart grammar-ites when one student used the adjective ebullient in his re-telling of how happy he was that his grandma had come to visit.  It made me feel positively ebullient!

For homework, each student was to bring one question each day to stump me – Miz Grammar.  I wanted to demonstrate how remarkable grammar actually is . . . that no one has all of the answers – not even Miz Grammar!  I wanted them to see how language is an evolving work in progress.  Just ask the Apostrophe Protection Society!  We can’t stop language!  The biggest advantage in Stumping Miz Grammar was that this was a rural school and there was zero access to Google or the Internet.  This meant that the students had to use their textbooks to find the questions and answers to stump me.

I don’t know how I managed to stay ahead of the students, but it quickly became apparent that it was going to be tricky to stay ahead of their questions.  The students would see me at the post office on mail day and ask, “Miz Grammar, what is a gerund?”  “What is a dangling preposition?”  “What is an antecedent?”  They were becoming a team of grammar experts without the students even knowing it.  And how could they know if I knew the answer if they hadn’t done the proper research and found the correct answer themselves?

I kept all of their questions and, at the end of the school year, the students compiled the questions into categories and organized a community-wide, grammar-themed game show.  Parents were the contestants and prizes were donated.  In an effort to alleviate grammar anxiety – which was prevalent, I might add, what with their children being grammar experts by this time – the parents wore costumes and adopted various personalities as game show contestants.  It was a bonding experience for the community, and it was a source of great fun and pride for the students as they led the community down the road of grammar enlightenment.

It is funny how one little crazy idea can grow into something larger than imagined possible.  One of the students went on to become a published poet.  Another student majored in journalism and was the acting editor of a Chicago university’s newspaper during his tenure as a student.  Another student went on to become a freelance writer.  The pleasure that these students took in dissecting language into its most primitive parts gave me great joy as a teacher and as a grammar lover!

Learning objectives are important.  They are the brass ring on the carousel, the t-shirt at the end of the marathon, the cake from the cake walk.  But what I had intuited as necessary at the beginning of this grammar journey proved to be true: you have to build a learning community before learning can happen.  These amazing students created a Culture of Grammar.  They built a team first and then, without even realizing it in the process, mastered the actual objectives of the course . . . and had fun while doing so.

Am I proud of these students?  Yes!  It is our goal as educators to infuse a love of learning while learning.  Like metacognition, or meta-anything for that matter, it’s all about being within the moment while being in the moment.  These students taught me far more about life than I ever taught them about grammar.  They taught me about community and to trust myself when in the midst of a challenging and seemingly dismal situation.

It’s good to know that we don’t know everything.  We are refreshed and invigorated when we enter the unknown territories in which we find ourselves and embrace the evolution of learning and growing.  Just ask Miz Grammar!  She knows!

13 Steps to take when you don’t know something that you’re expected to know:

  1. Just say it.  Admit that you don’t know.
  2. Research. Find your answer.  
  3. Look for new sources and ask experts.
  4. Lean on your community.  Like a 3-legged stool, every “leg” in the community is essential.
  5. Learn more than you started out wanting to know.
  6. Share your knowledge.
  7. Share your passion for knowledge.
  8. Offer your knowledge and experience to someone else.  
  9. Be a mentor.
  10. Laugh a lot.  Laughter doeth good like a medicine — especially when you are feeling stressed about a deadline or an expectation.
  11. Don’t give up.  There is likely an answer available.
  12. If you can’t find the answer, create one based on all of the above.
  13. Become The Expert!   
become the expert

theunseenwordsproject.com

My Rights of Insanity, False Starts, & Finding Straight Grain

1072Albert Einstein has shared some powerful words with us: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” and “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Elegant, round, large, profound words.

And pretty simple, right?

I was listening to a friend today talking about a couple she knew who are in a polar relationship with some conflicting dynamics.  As an outsider, my perception of Major Problems was glaring and blaring.  The relationship sounded as if it had the words Selfishness and Dislike and Disrespect stamped all over it.  And before I go further, I want to say that I am not proud of my initial reaction to the story.  This couple in no way deserved my hasty judgment.

1082The husband stayed at home with the baby.  The wife didn’t like it when the husband wanted to get out for a few hours in the evening for some alone time.  After all, as he said, “I can only clean the house so many times during the day.”  The wife, being the breadwinner, quashed his request to take the car and go have fun.  Well, the wife didn’t want to be left all alone with the baby.  So?  The husband stayed home, deferring to his wife and ignoring his wish to be around adults with whom he could talk and share . . . all which emphasized the core problem that his wife was someone who he didn’t qualify as being an “adult with whom he could talk and share.”

You get the idea.  It was easy for me to sympathize with the husband.  I don’t know why I found myself rooting for the him, as I am guessing that the wife has her own personal emotional challenges regarding the relationship.  I was surprised when I felt myself getting emotionally involved in the story and siding with the husband.  I started saying things like, “Wow!  Let the man go out and have a little fun.” And . . . “She sounds like a control nut.”  And then . . . “Why do they even stay together if they are so unhappy?”

I caught myself mid-comment.  All of this, coming from someone who was a Master Enabler and Chronic Co-Dependency Queen in relationships past.   As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I thought back over the years when I stayed in relationships that were no longer in our respective best interests.  Relationships where we no longer cared about growing or contributing or loving one another.  Relationships that focused on Take and no Give.

It is always easy to look at others’ relationships and “know what I would do.”  It is also easy to look back at my own personal hard times and now know what I would have, should have, could have done differently.

Hindsight is a lovely thing.  It is the frosting that covers the burnt cake called Delayed Action.  In my situation, the obvious thing to do in these relationships was to cut the cord and repair to a different bubble, a different space.  A paradigm shift was certainly in order.  By staying in “the same level of consciousness” that created the problems, I was exercising my Rights of Insanity . . . by “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As you can easily imagine, consequences were paid and lessons were learned.    Changes were made and “different results” were wrested from me.  Not always a happy ending at that time but a different ending, nonetheless.

I have certainly chosen Insanity, by Einstein’s definition, and stayed far beyond the expiration date that was stamped on the underside of a few relationships.  There are times when I don’t like to admit this . . . times when, now having moved on and past, I don’t really care about the outcomes that took place . . . times when I feel as if these relationships have helped me to build healthier, positive relationships in the present.  There are times when regrets have dogged me and times when regrets have vanished into the stratosphere without a hint of a vapor trail.  Times when my past feels as if it has been a surreal dream and times when I simply don’t think about it at all.

14621623115_0028bf42b1_bI laughed at myself when I told my friend, “Aren’t I a fine one to be saying what this couple should do?”  The truth: I don’t know what they should do.  I have barely been cognizant of what it is I should-would-could-can-will do.  Einstein’s words inspire me to reach for a different level of consciousness, even if it might mean digging myself into a deeper hole or painting myself into a corner  or climbing up to the roof and pushing the ladder to the ground.

It takes courage to stretch for a different level of consciousness.  Shakespeare wrote in Lady Macbeth, “”But screw your courage to the sticking place, And we’ll not fail.”  Lady Macbeth is saying to stretch, push, and pull your courage as far and deep as it will go — just as one does when screwing a screw into a wall or a beam.  You keep screwing until the screw simply won’t accept one more twist of the screwdriver.  Sometimes you have to go that deep.  And to know when to stop.

IMG_0878Anyone who has tried to screw a screw into a wall stud knows the difference between trying to do so into a piece of welcoming straight-grained wood and into a gnarly knot.  You start to twist the screw in and then . . . nothing.  Stopped at mid-screw.  You know you have hit a knot.  Depending on how badly I want the screw to be in that exact spot for various functional or artistic reasons, I persevere.  I really reef on that screwdriver.  I break a sweat or I invite a blister.

Other times, I back the screw out and try a different spot with the hope that I will find straight grain.  Eventually, success is mine and the screw is in the wall — and not necessarily where I originally wanted it.  All that remains is to fill the holes that litter the sheetrock and dab some paint over the dried spackle.

One time I tried to install a toilet paper roll in my powder room.  Something this elementary.  By the time I completed the job, the wall was simply riddled with false starts.  It remains a testimony to not reading the directions that came with the device.  The T.P. holder is crooked and rickety.  I think I am the only one in the house who can change a roll of toilet paper and not have the dang holder fall off the wall.  It is also a testimony to remember Lady Macbeth’s words and to rise to courage.

But it is Onward, I say.  The next time I hear someone telling me a story about another couple’s relationship, I am going to stop my ears and remember Albert Einstein, Lady Macbeth, and the hideous mess I made of my powder room wall.  All is well but all will be even better if I prevent myself from making hasty judgments by resisting my Rights of Insanity.  Thank you to Albert, Lady Macbeth, and Home Depot.  Life is good when I heed the words of the wise: do something different, don’t resist change, don’t listen to my judgmental self, be courageous, and abide by a different level of consciousness.

The Way Things Stack Up

Stones pyramid on sand symbolizing zen, harmony, balance. OceanThe way that things stack up don’t always make sense.  You look at a rock cairn and you see dissimilar shapes and textures and sizes.  What doesn’t naturally fit together neatly and perfectly into one whole structure has the potential to allow for balance to offset the dissimilarities in size and shape.

Cairns represent a balance that requires delicacy and a measure of hope. They offer natural beauty presented in a random-deliberate-natural sort of way.  A lot like life.  They do not ask for some added adhesive that will make the balancing act a little easier.  The rocks defy gravity by leaning on each other. Cairns have the potential to  stand for a very long time.  They represent the possibilities that I might have overlooked otherwise.

I am thinking that cairns in the right setting appeal to me.  I do like to see them on the beach below high tide such that the tide will roll in and eradicate the evidence of man — restoring a different natural order.  The ocean is persistent that way.

I have an old scale that I bought at an estate sale.  This scale has seen better-balanced days.  In order for the pointer to balance the beam, I had to add several tiny antique French coins in one of the weights pan.  The coins bring everything up to true.  Balance.  What is it exactly?  We seek it.  We desire it.  We believe that we would appreciate how it feels . . . if we could only be certain that we are actually experiencing it.  There are books and poems and songs written about balance.  Still, I do not know exactly what it means or how it feels in my life.

Vision Board 058We weigh decisions.  And justice.  And mercy.  And priorities.  And options.  We weigh fairness and love and life.  We somehow intuit when something isn’t feeling quite right, so we start to mess with the scale.  We add more coins.  Or we pick up a different rock to add to the cairn.  We deliberate.  Or we sometimes say the-hell-with-it and just give it a go.

Life’s events tumble together, and my carefully-constructed towers of well-thought-out plans are strewn all willy-nilly.  Sometimes I am left with the oddest of pieces to balance back together again.  I see the beauty in the pile of rocks that are before me, and I seek guidance and allow my intuition to lead me.

I recently read a great Irish proverb: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”   I so agree.  A good laugh is like medicine and a long sleep restores the body and the soul.  Along the vein of cairns, I was thinking about which life blessings provide me with balance: laughter, sleep, forgiveness, appreciation, humility, kindness, patience, travel, adventure, discovery, learning, courage . . .

The way that things stack up at times doesn’t always make sense, but I continue to attempt to counterbalance with those things that point me to true.

 

 

 

 

Balance in Creativity: “a harmonious adjustment”

036Today required some awareness for the need to balance.  Balance requires the art of focus — from my brain, my heart, my body, my soul — and I do recognize that I sometimes choose to focus on that which temporarily tips the scales toward chaotic creativity.  Ideas are large — sometimes enormous — and time and resources are sometimes limited.

This is certainly not to complain.  I have learned that ideas can stay alive and healthy while balancing them to a place that still feels right, do-able, and rewarding.  When I pay attention, I am better able to balance.  Anne Frank wrote in her diary: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out.  Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart” (Frank, 2001-2010).  Her words.  Wow.  Full Stop.  Re-read.  Amazing, aren’t they?

Although my ideals and subsequent ideas may sometimes appear to be “absurd” or even “impossible” to incorporate into my daily living, the idyllic life-learning environment for me is an amiable, generous, and benevolent experience.  In my own personal learning journey, much of it can be defined as being those sparks in time that have engaged my brain’s limbic system – that most primitive part of the brain associated with basic needs and emotions.  When I link emotional brain to rational brain, all sorts of amazing creativity rises to the surface.

It is then when all creative Hades busts loose.  I am all over the map.  Folders are created.  Documents are saved with obscure titles and then stored willy nilly in the new folders.  Ideas are scrawled on Post-It notes.  My Idea Notebook is flipped open.  I grab a Sharpie and start scribbling on a vision board.  Scraps and notes are slipped into a drawer of the antique fruit dryer.  I text myself obscure reminders.  I eat pasta.  I write on my bathroom mirror in lipstick.  I decide to apply for another degree program.  I go dancing to tame ideas into a basic rhythm.   It is on me alone to skim that which appeals best to my creative hand.  All the while, swimming in ideas that all feel so great at the time . . . but what to do with all of them?  Where to store them for my eventual return?

Vision Board 075James Allen wrote: “A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer of the man with his surroundings.”  This quote is in accord with the importance of becoming self-actualized in order to reach individual and unique maximum potential.  Allen’s idea that there is “a harmonious adjustment” between our internal and external worlds is in absolute alignment with my life philosophy.

Alignment.  This requires focus.  This is to say that I must explore both worlds in order to achieve authenticity and balance in my living and in my learning and my believing. We are most convincing when we truly believe what we express to others. When we are passionate about our beliefs, toaster ovenothers respond to the energy we exude.  We live more fully.  We laugh more readily.  We love more easily.

By acting upon our beliefs, we show others that we mean what we say, and our energy ripples outward into the world. We are each given unique abilities and a purpose that we bring to the world. Like a puzzle piece, we each have our own place and are equally important to the complete picture. By sharing our passion with the world, we may help to awaken others to their purpose, guiding them to find their place in the puzzle. (Daily OM, 2010).

041