What Are We Going to Make Today?

Even when we think we don’t have a creative bone in our body, our minds and bodies are urging us to build, uncover new paths, journal, write, paint, draw, cook, garden, make someone smile or laugh, take pictures, or simply make something clean and shiny. We are created in the image of a creator.

I thought my life was mostly over before I gave myself permission to create and enjoy my creations.

I hope you will create today. Create joy for someone. Create joy for yourself.

Create joy in the limited time we have in this fertile place.

Preventing Your Own Flowering?

On this day, many are excited about their new lives and prospects, while others are disappointed that their lives have not yet become what they envisioned.

Sometimes, the disappointment is only about timing. Wait for it.

At other times, it is about nourishing our own growth.

Nothing flowers without nourishment, yet we often prevent our own flowering by…

  • refusing to sit in the light (to feed our spirit)
  • moving so fast through the motions of living (that our roots can’t go deep into the rich soil of our gifts and calling)
  • running from, and complaining about, the rain (refusing, instead of seeking, discipline, insight, and instruction)
  • blaming others for our bad luck (instead of owning the roots of our problems)

Today, I will patiently tend my own mysterious growth.

Dream Power

A few nights ago I had all of the out-of-control dreams: cars and people that wouldn’t cooperate, etc.

I woke up tired; but, alas, aware that all of it was about my buried fears.

The next night I read Neil Gaiman before bed and dreamed of doing daring things for the right reason.

I woke up buoyant; ready for whatever life had in store.

Words in books have saved my sanity more times than I can count.

Words in the unlikely books that I have read accidentally or reluctantly have done the most good.

When I talk to someone who is disillusioned and depressed, I pray they will read or listen to books that will fly into their dreams to fuel their hopes, change their mind, and expand their world.

But, What Should I Expect?

AUGUST.

au·gust
[ôˈɡəst]

ADJECTIVE
respected and impressive:
synonyms: distinguished · respected · eminent · venerable · hallowed · illustrious

Who says we can’t make this month impressive, distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, or illustrious?

However we arrived here (even if July dumped us unceremoniously) on the doorstep of August, we made it. There is no mistake about it.

Maybe we should remind each other to treat August as it deserves.

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Just Taking Inventory

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person,

but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”

– Byron Katie

I don’t know if you have ever tottered upon the edge of insanity after someone or something completely smashed your life into a thoroughly unrecognizable, splintered mass, but just in case you are ever there, here is the only path to heroic coolness:

Step One:

Believe that what is IS.  (Reality isn’t up for negotiation.)

Step Two:

Decide the Universe will provide the needed resources to master what is. (You are more powerful than you have ever dreamed.)

Step Three:

Embrace what is. (Refuse yourself access to the if-only or it’s-not-fair or why-me regions of unproductive and self-defeating thinking.)

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Help! I’m Poisoning Myself!

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Ironically, many of us worry a whole lot about eating and drinking “clean” while we are actively mentally poisoning ourselves.

The most important thing I can do today to stop my own poisoning is to root out any traces of hatred in my life.

Where to start looking?

  • Accusations I make about others: Usually I have found the things I react to with the most venom are:
      1. greed
      2. selfishness
      3. arrogance
      4. carelessness

(Coincidentally, these are all things that I struggle with myself. Oops. Revelation.)

  • What I talk about:
    1. who disappointed me
    2. who I don’t like
    3. who frustrates and angers me
    4. who I am jealous of

If I can first, be aware of these two areas, and second, catch and release the accusations and negative words, poisoning myself will happily cease.

The Purpose of Challenging What We Think We Know

The surest way for me to start feeling bad is to start thinking about what I don’t like about others and how they treat me.

The purpose of Byron’s Katie’s inquiry work is not denial, but to insure I am not moving away from the better part of myself which is free of untested bitter judgments, opinions, projections and assumptions about what is not right with someone else.

Because, once I clear the emotional, reactionary clutter, and focus on the only thing I can change, i.e. myself, rather than the things I cannot, i.e. others, life then becomes much more…

  • sane
  • manageable
  • pleasant
  • loving
  • clear
  • peaceful
  • hopeful

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The trouble is that I multiply my suffering (instead of alleviating it) by questioning other people’s minds instead of my own.

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Fast Track to that Empty Feeling

When I have awakened with that sickening, empty feeling it has usually been because I wanted what I wanted and did what I did…

  1. Without thinking about the impact on someone else (motivated by greed or selfishness)
  2. To make myself feel or look superior to someone else (motivated by insecurity and ignorance)
  3. To spite someone else (motivated by jealousy, bitterness, or hatred)
  4. Without regard for tomorrow (motivated by immaturity and impatience)

If happiness is not connected to growth, it is always short-lived.” – Shawn Achor

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Noble pleasure sometimes takes us by surprise.

But sustaining noble pleasure has to be intentional. The detours to emptiness are far too seductive and far too numerous.

“Joy is what we feel on the way to our potential.” -Shawn Achor

The Big Deal about Thinking Small

“…the sage always confronts difficulties and never experiences them.” -Tao Te Ching

In context, this is about thinking small; taking the one next step instead of worrying about the entire obstacle.

“Take on difficulties while they are still easy; do great things while they are still small.”

When I break down my biggest challenges, I always find one small thing I can do right now. If I stare at the massive undertaking, my morale is swallowed up by fear and distaste for the pain it will require to complete.

Yesterday, I stared at a project before planning my escape to the bed or the refrigerator, but, instead, kept my confront-the-difficulty, just-do-one-small-thing-every-day commitment.

The small price for the big pay off:

  • Incremental progress
  • No guilt

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What? The Scale Doesn’t Balance?

When it comes to morale and relationships at home and at work, Shawn Achor, in his book, Before Happiness explains why one good word or deed does not erase one bad word or deed.

Barbara Fredrickson’s and Marcial Losada’s extensive research showed that to improve moral and productivity after one negative interaction, it takes three (to be exact, 2.910) positive interactions!

As a boss, partner, or parent I often patted myself on the back for my heroic apology or good deed to make up for a slip-up. That was way too optimistic.

Much more was needed due to the human brain’s proclivity (for survival purposes) to focus upon, and to remember unpleasant experiences longer.

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https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work

Most of us have lots of work to do to get that scale balanced!