You’ve got this!

flip-your-optimism-on

thenseenwordsproject.com

When some positivity is just what you need, flip your optimism to ON.

  • When things don’t feel like they are going quite right and discouragement is hovering and waiting to swoop into your heart, it’s time to flip your optimism to ON.
  • Replace those voices (the voices that tell you that there isn’t any hope or that you have already tried and tried but to no avail) with inner shouts of joy that say, You’ve got this!   
  • Let your little light shine and eradicate those dark  thoughts that try to convince you that success is for those other people who, of course, were bound to be successful anyway, right?  (Wrong!)
  • Your light?  Let it shine and shine some more.
  • Believe.  Trust.  Know.  You’ve got this.  You truly do.

When you think you can’t.

You’ve got this.  I used to go to the gym each night after work, the kind of gym that offered those maniac spinning classes.  I used to look in to the classroom and watch those spinning pedals and sweating bodies and think, “That looks way above and beyond my physical abilities.”  I wanted my body and my mind to perform like the spinners in that class, but it looked so exclusive — like it was for people who were in far better shape than I was, both physically and mentally — and kind of technical really, what with having to adjust your bike just so.

Well, I met the instructor, Scott, one day when he was coming out of one of the classes.  Scott asked me if I would ever be interested in trying a class.  He told me that spinning is for everyone, and that he thought that I would love it.

I decided to just try.

I decided to try it.  I went to that first class and Scott was there, ready to help me adjust my bicycle so my ride would be comfortable, write down the adjustments so I could do it on my own for my next class, and make sure that I had a full water bottle.

It didn’t take long into that first class and I was hooked.  Scott wasn’t one of those class instructors who shouted and berated exercisers to push beyond their perceived abilities.  His mantra throughout class was always positive: “You’ve got this!”  Scott understood that optimism and encouragement were what helped people to grow and to be excited about new challenges.  The class was not only fun but spiritual, too.  The hard workout put my head into a new place that out-rode (pun intended) the thoughts from the day that were still chasing me.

While we pedaled like crazy, added resistance, stood up, sat down, and stretched to cool down, Scott told everyone how great they were doing.  He adjusted all of his instruction accordingly:  for those who were struggling with a particular ride, he offered alternatives so that everyone’s workout would be rewarding . . . and he ramped things up for those who had been coming to the class for a while and wanted even more challenge.

Success is a good fit for everyone. 

It was one of those very rare classes that fitted everyone.  We all added some visible muscle during those classes, and we all grew a good measure of inner strength as well.  We learned that we could do our best and feel good about it — no matter what we each had accomplished in class.

I don’t know if I fell in love with spinning or if I simply so appreciated Scott’s much-needed encouragement.  Maybe both.  In the ways of time and change, Scott moved to Portland, and I moved to an island.  I live where there are zero spinning classes and the mountain behind my house serves as my combination elliptical trainer, spin bicycle, and treadmill.

The elevation gain up the mountain is a gentle master and is much less challenging than the spin classes.  When I am out walking, I think about the other challenges in my life that have nothing to do with breaking a sweat or making another loop before heading home.

 

Encouragement is key.

We all need someone or something in our lives that motivates us to reach for that light switch — that extension of ourselves that pushes us to exceed our own expectations.  I used to hear from Scott from time to time, but it’s been a while.  When I do hear from him, he always has encouraging words to say.   Scott is one of those people who helps others keep their optimism flipped to On.  Thanks, Scott.  I’ve got this!

How about you? 

  • What have you been wanting to try?  To explore?  To do just for the fun of it?
  • Think about what it is and imagine yourself doing it, sensing it, being it.
  • Take the first step — it can be a Baby Step or a Giant Step — but take the first step.
  • What have you got to lose? [Nothing, right?]
  • What do you have to gain?  [Exactly!  Everything!]
  • Find a Scott in your life to help you stay focused.  Ask for encouragement and for accountability.
  • Remind yourself: You’ve got this!  Tape this message up throughout your home, in your vehicle, at work.
  • Be a Scott to someone else.  When you give encouragement to others, it makes such a huge difference and, like any kindness, will be returned to you many times over.
  • Keep the cycle going.  Thank the Scotts in your life.  It will make their day and it will encourage them to give even more to others.

 

Author bio: Kennedy Farr’s passion for writing first caught light at the age of four when she learned how to write her dog’s name P-e-p-p-y on a sheet of lined tablet paper.  Kennedy is a daily writer and blogger, a lifelong learner, and a true believer that something wonderful is happening right now in this very moment.  Kennedy lives view-high on the mountainside of an emerald-green island in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Celebrate Transition

last weeks of summer

theunseenwordsproject.com

Although I very much enjoy the heat and sunshine of summertime, I always look forward to the change in season.  The cooler temperatures, the colors of the leaves, the crispness in the morning air . . . these things are like a happy pinch to the soul, reminding it to appreciate the warmth and the sunglow, as it is soon to be replaced by gray skies and rainy days.  Rain, rain, and more rain.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, it helps if you like the rain.  Well, I like it a lot.  The rain sheds a whole new slant on life.  It draws your attention to how nature feels on your skin.  It replenishes the air with something indefinably sweet.  It helps you appreciate your inordinately high volume of cute rain boots, puddle jumpers, and lightweight coats.

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theunseenwordsproject.com

The rain encourages you to linger a little longer over that second cup of coffee.  In fact, it might be mid-afternoon and you think about having a mid-day cup to brighten the day. You lose track of where you last left your sunglasses because it has been a while since you needed them.

The muted colors and shifting fog also mark the fall and winter days.  There is an exquisite softness in the air that reminds you to pause for a moment and breathe before getting into your truck.  You wake up in the morning and you can smell the salt in the air.  The birds are quieter and the squirrels are more active.

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theunseenwordsproject.com

As much as I enjoy a beautiful autumn rain, I do appreciate these lingering weeks of summer.  The days when I go to work, having forgotten my raincoat.  The late-evening walks that spell out a crimson and peach sunset.  The warm afternoons when I forget that fall is soon to arrive.

It’s all so beautiful, isn’t it?  These periods of transition awaken us and embolden us.  We feel inspired to try new things when we feel nudged by nature.

What is one new thing you have been wanting to learn?  To try?  To do?  Visualize your New Thing inside the box below: 

Image result for square shape

Now visualize your New Thing outside the box:

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Maybe now is the time to prioritize your preference and just do it.  There is no time like the present to create your own season of transition and change.

3dRose LLC 8 x 8 x 0.25 Inches Fall Leaves Mouse Pad

http://amzn.to/2cuwL4a

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.

Life, Love, & Happiness . . . all is a Chancey Poker Hand

deck of cardsI knew an old timer who thought of life as a poker game.  His theory was that we are dealt only so many cards in life . . . that we have to discard the old for the new if we hope to improve the hand that we are currently holding.  He believed that life was all just a gambling game of chance, predicated on our willingness to release something for something else.  In other words: if you don’t like the cards you are holding, you might just as well go ahead and discard.  The new cards that are dealt back to you might make for a better hand.  And if that isn’t the case?  Well, you discard again until you like the hand you are holding.  I should probably add that this older fellow led a very uncomplicated life.

Whether you look at life as Poker, Bridge, Backgammon, or Go Fish . . . there is some truth to what this old guy had to say.  And before I break out in my karaoke version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,”  I just want to say that there is certainly an element of chance in every single moment of my life.  Like a deck of cards sitting before me on the poker table, I can actually feel the opportunities that are stacked up in front of me, beckoning and simply asking me to release my tight grip on my current reality and be brave enough to discard.

Paul_Cézanne,_1892-95,_Les_joueurs_de_carte_(The_Card_Players),_60_x_73_cm,_oil_on_canvas,_Courtauld_Institute_of_Art,_LondonThat’s the best part of taking a chance.  Any chance.  There is that little thrill that courses through our humanness right in that very second before we know that we have been dealt a bad hand or a good hand.  Research has shown that this “thrill” is actually what compulsive gamblers are addicted to.  It isn’t Winning that they are hooked on, otherwise they would walk away from the table when they have a nice high stack of chips sitting in front of them . . . it’s actually that feeling of not knowing whether they have won or lost that brings them back to the table.

I guess I have to give it to Kenny Rogers . . . or to whomever wrote the lyrics to that song about knowing when to hold them or when to fold them.   It is true.  You do have to know when to walk away.  Know when to run.  There is that expression that nature abhors a vacuum.  Experience tells us that this is true: when we create a hole or a gap in our lives, it is likely to fill up with something or someone else — perhaps with alarming similarities, but different nonetheless.

There are those pivotal times in life when we concede to discarding.  And receiving. When we [finally!] acknowledge that it’s okay to take a chance.  And if there are rules that define winning the game, it’s probably time to have a chat with Mr. Hoyle about writing in some exceptions.

All that life really requires of us is that we go forth and live it.  There is not a lot of thinking or haggling involved with it.  Or is there?   [Shifting back into OverThink drive now . . .]  But it sometimes seems that if  you overthink or strategize life, you are doomed to passivity.  Passivity, like counting cards, has its place but it has no depth, no growth, no change, no underbelly.  It just exists with predictable outcomes.

Jokers and trump cards.  The King of Hearts and the Queen of Spades.  Existence and living.  Risk and chance.  I don’t know exactly how this all spells out into my strategy for poker playing — not being very artful at this game — but I am thinking it’s time to look at what I have chosen to hold and maybe do a little discard here or there.  Change is bound to be good because, if we believe Kenny, every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser.  [My apologies if this song gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day! :)]

 

 

Try Something New: Leave a Little Note

I was thinking today that I haven’t made a concerted effort to Try Something New for a while.  Being a firm believer in the good consequences of this practice, I thought I would go for sweet and simple today.  While running errands throughout the day — everywhere I went, I left a little note of encouragement for someone to find.

I didn’t spend a lot of time coming up with an elegant message.  I just scribbled an acknowledgement that the finder was doing a good job . . . that he or she was an important part of the grand scheme . . . that we all appreciate his or her smile . . . that life is good because he or she was in it . . . this sort of thing.

It might seem simple and I cannot even begin to imagine who found the little notes, but I do hope that whoever found them felt appreciated.  That they felt as if their life is testimony to contributing and doing significant things.  That they are visible to me, even though I can’t physically see them.  That they feel the genuine sentiment behind the words of a stranger.

Life is a lively event and, some days, I really have to scoot to keep up with the flow of things — but these little notes took but moments to write.  How about you?  Do you want to join me in leaving an anonymous note or two?  I am going to be in town again tomorrow, and it is my goal to leave at least three little notes.

little note on table

As I was leaving Dr. K’s office today, I picked up a business card that was on the counter.  The lovely person behind the counter said, “You should read what’s on the back.  I love what it says.”  I flipped the card over and this is what I read:

expect miracles

After a day of leaving notes, I felt as if this was such a sweet and pleasant thing to read.

My final note of the day for you, Gentle Reader:

Expect Miracles!  

Allen Wrenches & Due Diligence

moving

Whew. Almost done!

It has been a few weeks since moving in to my new home, so I decided to drag out the last of the last and unpack some of the final boxes that have been cluttering the living room.  I set a goal.  I was determined not to stop my efforts until at least three of the offending boxes were distributed and emptied.

These remaining boxes are those that are filled with the unsorted and the unwanted semi-useful things you discover you have at the end of any move . . . things like salsa jars of nails and screws, odd assortments of pens, paper clips, and rubber bands, virgin flat sponges awaiting the magical release of hydration.  Headsets that may or may not function, mystery remote controls, loose buttons, loose batteries that might work so you best keep them.  Plastic cutlery, paper doilies for making Valentines, a voice recorder with no corresponding USB cord, candles, napkin rings.  And those dratted twist ties.  Why do we save so damn many twist ties?

You know the mix.  Stuff that doesn’t really “go with” any of the other “themed” boxes at the tail end of a move.  Stuff that we call “junk” but feel compelled to move with us. Stuff that we throw into boxes as the carpet cleaner is arriving, all while chanting to self, I will survive this move!

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And so it begins . . .

After such an epic move, three boxes isn’t so much.  Victory would be mine today.  I started with Box #1.  But lo.  Midway down in the box I found an unassembled Desktop Foosball Table in its glossy unopened box.  What a waste to not be having fun with this, I thought.  This foosball table was a gift from someone who loves me, who knows how I love foosball, who wants me to have fun in life.  I decided that it was time, right then and there, to do something that I never do: assemble something on the spot. By myself.  Drop everything and just do it.  My unpacking screeched to a stop.  It was time to assemble.

I am one of those personality types who does not read directions.  When I get a new phone or fancy appliance, I conscientiously file its new manual neatly with the others from various small and large appliances — in the event of dysfunctional emergency.

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Yikes!  There are a lot of pieces!

Truth, I think I am directions-phobic.  I know that it must sound weird, but when I start reading directions, I stress.  My stomach knots up, and I feel panic-y.  Why?  I don’t know. I have the native intelligence to read and comprehend the required steps.  Still, it feels more intuitive for me to find my way, experientially so, than by reading that tiny, tiny print in the directions.

I remember the towel bar that I put up in the bathroom.  I was so proud of the initial efforts: buying it at the harware store.  I borrowed a drill from a colleague and found a level in the garage.  I then spent untold perfection-istic algebraic minutes trying to perfectly level the bar by performing algebraic feats of ratios, circumferences, and order of operations . . . only to find, when cleaning up my mess, that there were clear directions in the box with a handy-dandy paper guide that you tape to the wall — which would have made everything so much easier in the leveling process.

Instead, I solved my equations, measured, leveled, and drilled.  I persevered.  Three new and unnecessary holes dotting the wall later, the bar was finally mounted . . . quite level actually . . . but unfortunately with clean up that required a session of spackling, sanding, and painting.  Sometimes it’s not easy being green.

This is what I learned from my DIY foosball table assembly:

  1. Before undertaking any project of this magnitude, find your reading glasses.
  2. Organize your resources. If the directions say that you are going to need a flathead screwdriver, track down the screwdriver before you begin.
  3. Don’t be intimidated by technical terms like “Allen wrench.” Google is my friend.
  4. IMG_2811

    All of the necessary hardware

    Lay your hardware out in an organized fashion. Try not to lose or squander resources.

  5. Appreciate clairvoyant hardware-packaging people who include one extra washer and one extra tiny screw. (See #4.)
  6. Rely on previous experience. Washers are provided for a reason.
  7. Some steps are best done collaboratively. It does no good to screw one of four screws in really tightly and then have to back it off to fit the others.
  8. Rely on finished-product pictures that are provided. Foosball is about winning.  Situating all red team members on the defensive end of the playing field creates no offense to win.
  9. Too much zeal during assembly can result in split and broken pieces.
  10. When all 4 pieces split upon application, it might not be about your zeal. It might be about a lesser-quality product. (See #9.)
  11. It’s okay not to ask for help.
  12. You can break a sweat using an Allen wrench.
  13. Just because you don’t ask for help and you strip a screw head doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. (See #11 & #12.)
  14. Having opposable thumbs is fun and highly advantageous.
  15. Being determined is rewarding.

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Nice, huh?

Why I feel so accomplished after assembling a miniature foosball table all by myself is a bit of mystery to me.  And a bit comical.  I think it must have more to do with “finishing something” with only a set of directions and my wits than it does with conquering assembly with an Allen wrench – my new favorite tool, by the way.

I also feel like its assembly honored my loved one who gave it to me.  I must write her a note and thank her for the foosball fun.  Thanks, AW!

The little lesson from this: I can slow down and manage the steps required to meet my end goals.  Life isn’t all about speed.  I think I am intimidated by, and sometimes disappointed in, my own lack of follow-through at times.  I might speed across the finish line, but how many washers, screws, and essential pieces do I deem unnecessary and then discard or lose along the way?

As I was cleaning up my post-assembly mess, I tossed the Allen wrench into the Rubbermaid catch-all under the laundry room sink.  I paused.  And fished it back out.  It is now on my desk to serve as a reminder that I’ve got this.  I can survive taking the time to read directions, even if it makes my stomach wrench (no pun intended.)

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Let’s play!

Am I happy with the results of my efforts?  Yes.  Did I learn something?  Very much yes.  The Boxes of the Unsorted in my living room still beckon to me.  I am now wondering what other lessons await my due diligence.  I will tuck my Allen wrench talisman into my back pocket for luck and will persevere until all is sorted and stored.  Life is good. I’ve got this!

How big is your Brave?

How big is your Brave?  

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  She also said, “Do at least one thing every day that scares you.”  Eleanor Roosevelt was not one to ignore our human need to be brave.  Bravery.  It calls to us and it asks us to listen.  And to act.  To do that which intimidates us yet still draws our attention, rallies our inner forces, and knits our talents together.  To simply be who we are and to not worry about what others may say or think.  As my wise, wise sissy tells me, “What another person thinks is none of your business.” Truth, Sis.  This is one of the many reasons I appreciate you.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  Do the thing you think you cannot do.”  I strongly suspect that Eleanor was one heck of an advocate.  I surely would want her on my team.

This song (video below) by Sara Bareilles is inspiring to me.  And it is so sweet, too! Firstly, I very much like the concept/quality/action/trait (I don’t know what to call it) of Bravery.  When I act in Bravery, I am stretched in ways that preclude my ego and encourage me to stand up and take a stand.  For others.  For me.  And for those who don’t have a voice.  When I am Brave, I give myself permission to say or do something that might lead to judgment or reprisal . . . but I say or do it anyway because my moral compass is in the driver’s seat.  Being more of an introvert, afterward, I am always a little surprised and shook up that I took a stand without even really thinking about.  It just felt like the right thing to do.

I also like that the video below chose dancing on a public street to symbolize Brave Expression.  Have you ever danced in public when others are looking at you and saying, “Huh?”  Or have you ever been the first one out on the dance floor?  Or do you dance for the security cameras just because they are there?

See, that’s the thing.  Dancing is one of those forms of personal expression that can be intimidating to a lot of people.  I think this is true because dancing taps into a part of our inner soul and allows it a splashy escape to the outside world.  Very few people think that they, themselves, are amazing dancers.  Am I a fantastic dancer?  No, not really.  Do I love dancing?  Yes!  This is why I don’t want to wait for permission and squander some awesome dance music while waiting for someone else to break the ice and get the party started on the dance floor.  I guess I feel that there is a shortage of live-band, dance-worthy music in my life. . . so, as a rule, I’m not going to miss a single second.  It is so fun to dance!

pencil stubClick on the aqua-blue link below for your free journal download.  It is written with the idea of inspiring Brave in your life.  An action of being Brave provides one of life’s rewards that leaves a shadow of inspiration behind.  It doesn’t feel like it stays for very long, but I think that it does.  I believe that being Brave grows us from a deep part within.

Your Amazing Aqua-Blue Journal Prompt:

Your Brave. journaling prompt

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.  Life is meant to be grown.]

Sara Bareilles – Brave

Try Something New: What’s Stopping You?

IMG_3357Is 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? Does it feel like a lack of resources is underwhelming your life?  Is there someone in your life who is telling you that you procrastinate 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 to even think about starting something new?

You make the choice.

Well, there’s bad news and good news.  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.  You choose.

I kept delivering the bad news to my heart, my mind, my hands, my spirit, while forestalling the good news for an unspecific time in the mythical future when “I had more time.”  I was living in a steady hum of constancy that was focusing on everything that wasn’t quite right with my life: playing an elaborate shell game with finances, juggling too many jobs with school and homework, barely keeping up with household chores, and feeling like my life had all the fun sucked out of it by some cosmic vacuum cleaner.  All of this MindSpeak was proving to be so exhausting to my Inner Spirit that I simply stopped trying to inject newness or creativity into my day.

It felt like I was buried by life’s stuff.

I wasn’t merely stuck.  I was buried.  I would find myself paying bills online while listening to a class-assigned podcast while brushing the dog while folding the laundry while feeding the cat.  I was all over the place.  All of this multi-tasking madness. . . until I thought to add a new personal challenge to the day’s mayhem: Try something new every single day.

In the beginning . . .

In the beginning, this challenge verified the bad news –> it was something that felt like an added extra that felt to be overwhelmingly huge and impossible.  My MindSpeak went into hyper-mode: 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.

The Wooden Spoon Trick

IMG_3360But I was so craving Different in my life.  Better.  More centered and mindful.  I remembered reading that if you lay a wooden spoon across a pot of boiling  pasta that it won’t over-boil.  The pasta can boil merrily away with no more messy stove to clean up.  So simple and easy . . . and it works!  This Wooden Spoon trick reminded me that life need not be so overly complicated.  Just try . . . and do . . . and lay the spoon across the pot. And try again.  It is absolutely possible to turn a moment of my day into a gesture of mindfulness.  I can make it happen.  I will make it happen.  I scrawled across the top of the wall-mounted white board in my office with my blue marker: You’ve got this!  Try Something New!  Today!  I mean it!

It has proven to be a bit of an experiment to see how it works.

I originally intended on focusing on one single something new to try for the 30 days — in an effort to create a positive new habit.  My thought: develop some consistency and build some sense of discipline by adding only one thing for an extended period of time.  Like one of those scary-clown jack-in-the-boxes, all sorts of ideas came popping up out of my mind’s Procrastination Department.  Play piano every single day.  Save on gas and ride my scooter to work every single day.  Eat a healthy breakfast every single day.  Work out every single day.  Sort through one box in the garage and get rid of stuff.  Do one or all of these things every single day for 30 days.

What did these things have in common?

But I found that these ideas weren’t working — and they weren’t very inspiring either. And besides, everything that I was thinking of involved fulfilling some obligatory should: be healthier, practice music, save the environment, clean the garage.  All of which are very lovely ideas, but still . . . This challenge was supposed to be fun and invigorating.

As I was casting about for the best way to implement my challenge, I discovered that was working was trying something different, unique, and unexpected 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.

IMG_3317You get the idea.  I called an old friend 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 had been wanting to check out.  I took photographs of garbage.  I added kale to my morning smoothie.  I had fun with some color and painted on canvas.  And another new thing for me? I set aside judgment of “what is good” when I was done painting.  I simply valued the experience and the time spent swirling color around.

IMG_3355I started reading my horoscope.  I subscribed to a new-word-of-the-day website.  I started blogging.  I bought three tiny wooden tops, which are proving to create a really relaxing “stop point” during work and study time at my desk.  I spin the tops and, while they are spinning, I do absolutely nothing.  I learned that an absence of activity can feel pretty good.

My Try Something New Challenge has proven to be that magical wooden spoon on the pasta pot.  I not only have enough time to Try Something New, I have plenty of time.  Life’s harried pace has reduced its boil a bit.  Not completely, but a bit, nonetheless.  Nothing is boiling over and making a spilly mess that I have to clean up.

It feels like I have effected change.  Like the motion of the little tops, the vibrational ripples have been spreading.  There have been some really fun and surprising and happy results from being willing to shake things up.   I don’t understand the way that time has expanded, but it has.  What I learned about this personal challenge: The hard part was starting.  The easy part is enjoying the expansive feelings of reward and appreciation.

You’ve got this!

Vision Board 058Would 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 enriching your life.  We all would love to hear about it!

Life is a lively event.  

Try something new, spin some tops, & effect the ripples of happifying change.

What’s stopping you?

Leap & Land with a Bang

Check out this BBC video of mobula rays and their artistic, acrobatic, and aerobatic show.  They are spectacular.  Who knew that rays could leap — and land — so amazingly?   Their landing sends a huge boom through the water.  The higher they leap, the bigger the bang upon landing.  It is believed that the rays that make the biggest impact, give themselves the best odds of standing apart from the herd and of leaving with a mate.

Watch these fabulous flying rays (3:12):

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150512-watch-these-giant-rays-fly

Mating rituals aside . . . when in a group, how do you stand out from the crowd?  How do you get noticed?  How do you draw attention to yourself?   This is not about ego-grabbing narcissism that demands every speck of attention in a social setting.  This is about expressing yourself in your immediate world such that you get noticed, feel understood, and build the best opportunities to connect with others.   Connection . . . it truly is what makes the world go around and is what gives significant meaning to what we do when we aren’t in the midst of connecting.  We, as humans, need connection . . . why not do it with a figurative bang?

So, taking a cue from the mobula rays . . . the higher the leap, the bigger the bang upon landing and the better chance to stand out from the crowd.  What is one thing you can do today or tomorrow or the next day to get noticed?  To make a difference?  To be you?  To exercise your unique you-ness?  Give yourself some credit for being important in the grand scheme of things.  Leap spectacularly and land with a big bang.

Being able to think of something that you will actually do might be a stretch for us introverts.  It might feel unnecessary or unbecoming or way out of one’s wheelhouse.  But why not try one little thing, make a change-up in your wardrobe.  Skip down the sidewalk to retrieve your mail.  Engage with the barista as you wait for your Americano.  Leaping is different for everyone; it is something only you can define for yourself.

Think One New Thing.  Leap and land and leap all over again.  It looks like these mobula rays are expending a tremendous amount of energy to go flying out of the water.  This is something that I think we sometimes want to avoid: The water feels so comfy.  I don’t think I can leap very high.  I’m not very athletic, after all.  Landing might cause me pain.  Someone might laugh at me or think I am weird.  Simply put? Expend the energy.  Your life will become different because of it.  I promise.

And the thing about leaping is that there is gravity on this planet.  You will land.  With a bang. Why not make it a Big Bang and stand out from the crowd?  Take a stand for you.  For a friend or a colleague or a student or a child or a stranger.  And for the world that surrounds you.  The Universe will thank you for it.

pencil stubClick on the sky blue link below for today’s journal prompt.  Have fun discovering (and making!) your leap!

Leap high and land with a bang. journaling prompt

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.  Life is meant to be grown.]