“Alice came to the fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire cat. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘It doesn’t matter.'” – from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It is important to have a general idea of where we are going in order to know which road to take. With the new year just ahead take some time to set your intentions for how you want to act adn what you wish to do in 2011.
Our lives can feel fragmented in many ways. It’s as if we don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves to identify with or believe in. There are so many contradictory voices, feelings, and dictates vying for control that we become scattered in all directions. There’s no focus, no grounding, no equilibrium. To cope we often put on the proverbial blinders, plodding ahead to get through the day. We’re pretty much on autopilot.
Taking the time to step back from one’s self, and one’s mind we can bring attention to the various “to do’s” (priorities) voice and feelings clamoring for your attention. Clearing away the clutter becomes possible. You can make sense of all the information coming your way, silence the mental chatter and make conscious decisions. You exercise personal agency and pare down to the actual priorities of real importance; those inline with your genuine selves and core values.
Clearing away the “mental clutter” and focusing on key priorities, demands investing in yourself and interests to make the most of your assets, experience and quirks. You’ll live with integrity and replenish the resources necessary to care for yourself and loved ones.
The first step is becoming aware of the “mental clutter” taking up space and hogging your attention. Then you can shift you attention to your real intentions. Mindfulness is a practice that cultivates our ability to focus attention and intention simultaneous on a single item. Be that item cooking a nutritious meal, assessing a perceived threat or just enjoying a Sunday afternoon game of basketball with your daughter. Go here for Ten Simple Tips for Mindfulness in Everyday Life.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” – Lawrence Lovasik
Spreading kindness always generates more kindness. Let’s make the most of this holiday season and spread some kindness around.
We are in the heat of the annual holiday, BUY-BUY-BUY, GIVE-GIVE-GIVE message frenzy. Feeling the pressure? Me too. So this year, I am paying more attention to what I want to tell my nieces and nephews in 10 years about the holidays. It is not about what I bought, gave or was given, but about experiences. Here are the highlights so far:
- Bubbles of laughter erupting from a certain 9 month old niece while riding around with her Uncle on the John Deer.
- The fun had deciding on what decorations to make with the nephews, for the tree at Christmas- construction paper garland anyone?
- Putting up a few pints of sweet onion marmalade with my Mom.
- “Group cooks” to help get ready for the neighborhood bake sale.
- My husband picking out pajamas for the PJ’s for Papa project.
My sister does something really neat for her two boys, she collects these types of experiences on index cards and stores them away to give to the boys when they are older. She gives out index cards to family and friends to asking us to jot down memories, and the like from our visits with the boys. What a great addition to photos and other keepsakes, these little pieces of life jotted down.
It is these types of experiences that keep us connected to our families, communities and friends. Yes, I enjoy getting a thoughtful gift as much as the next person, but I treasure the memories of putting together puzzles and making decorations with my family.
What experiences do you want to remember about this holiday season?
“Don’t discard your fantasies as merely wishful thinking. Honor them as messages from the deepest part of your being about what you can do and directions you can choose.” –Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
In times of change, it is important to live your life passionately with integrity and clarity. Wisely investing your time and resources to create your best life, optimal physical and mental well-being or finest work has real returns in the short and long-term.
Do You Want to Make the Most of 2011? If you answered yes, even if you just whispered yet, I invite you to join us at the Powerful Living Workshop. This is an intimate workshop for 15 people during which you’ll clarify your vision and goals for 2011 and make a practical action plan to realize them. You’ll even play a little, creating a vision board that is a tangible reminder of what you want.
Who should attend? Anyone interested in taking charge of their destiny and ready to focus on their goals in 2011.
What You Will Get From It?
- A clear vision for your life in 2011.
- A practical action plan about the goals you most want to accomplish in 2011.
- A tangible picture of your vision and goals- a vision board.
If you are Really Ready to Kick off 2011 join the Powerful Living Group . . .
An exclusive 3-week group for 10 people to help you get the most from your workshop plan. You’ll benefit from personalized attention, accountability, and the momentum of the group as you move forward to put your plan into action.
Who should attend? People extraordinarily committed to their success and open to being held accountable for the results they produce by a coach and a group of like-minded, success-oriented people.
What Will You Get From It?
- Substantial progress towards your most important goals for 2011.
- The power of committing to actions and being held accountable by a supportive network.
- A shared sense of endeavor. . . the energy of the group is far greater than the sum of individual energies.
- Real concrete help in achieving your goals.
“So many fail because they don’t get started – they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin.”- W. Clement Stone
Don’t wait until after the holidays to start your new year. Take time now to consider what is you want to say about your life one year from now. Maybe it is something along the lines of one these statements spoken by some of my clients:
- “Making the difficult choice to leave a long time job, even though it was draining the life out of me, has opened up new and more interesting professional options for me.”
- “It was the most exciting year, because I took a risk and finally applied for the promotion.”
- “‘No’ became my favorite word. I used it judiciously and found I could give more of myself, at work, home and my church.”
- “Now 20 pounds lighter I am, 100% happier and confident , I unabashedly look forward to the coming year because I released the smart svelte woman inside.”
- “My family and I spent more time on the simple things, playing games, making a regular sunday afternoon family trip and when the crisis with Dad’s health happened we are able to draw on the strength from those simple joys to get through some very hard days.”
- “I can see how my values thread through all I do and why when I did not pay attention to them, my life fell apart. Now every important decision I make connects to my priorities and values.”
Season’s greetings, by now your Holidays are in full swing spending time with, sending cards, buying gifts for family, friends, colleagues, and/or neighbors. Instead of a season of joy it can feel like a season of obligation, especially when spending time with folks whom well work your nerves. Most people’s internal monologue just takes off at maximum speed. Are you responding to invitations and inclinations from a place of joy and desire or from duty? How will you keep your boundaries intact, when you can’t avoid someone who pushes your buttons? How to survive and even thrive this season?
Here are 10 tips for enjoying the Holiday season with a greater sense of ease and joy.
- Be gentle with yourself and others. There is no perfection in when family dynamics are involved. I have to remind myself of this every year.
- Say No. Prioritize the social, business and other events on your calendar. There is no hard and fast rule that all the celebrating and well wishing must be done before Dec. 31. You can bring over into the New Year if you wish.
- Gratitude and giving back. Doing something for someone else, like collecting coats for people in need, volunteering your time and talents at a nursing facility can help keep things in perspective. That can be just thing when the holidays start to rub you the wrong way and heck might just set the tone for how you operate in the year to come.
- Take a time out. If your buttons are pushed, step away, firmly, politely. You can say along the lines of: “I am not able to continue this conversation right now, so I am going to excuse myself.” If you have never done this before, it get’s easier after the first time.
- Hydrate, and not just with adult beverages. Between the change in weather, heating winter air is drier, which impact hydration so to does the amount of sugar we eat. Dehydration can make you cranky and frankly ill. So drink your fill of water each and every. Try adding one more glass to your normal intake.
- Timing. Decide ahead of time how long you will spend at an event. It is much easier to maintain boundaries after you have set them.
- Be impeccable with your word, meaning take the time to think before your speak. Taken from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, this can be a real life saver. Consider do you mean what you are able to say? Will you regret it later?
- Simplify. Easier said than done, I know, but try. Cut down on the number of gifts exchanged and instead try to create some experiences and memories. When it comes to kids and families this can be a bit challenging, but one of best gifts my sister and her family received was a “game night”. A board game and two types of popcorn.
- Quality over quantity. Okay I have a sweet tooth and recommend you don’t get between me as a good piece of dark chocolate, and the key word here is “good”. Deciding that I am going to enjoy the bounty of the season I also decide ahead of time how much I’ll indulge and stick too it, making the indulgence even more delicious.
- Remember you are only responsible for yourself, your actions and reactions. You are not responsible someone else’s actions or reactions.