Ticket to Freedom

Awareness of my being is my ticket to freedom…when in pain, anger, frustration, exhaustion, jealousy, despair, boredom, desperation, or fear.

Much too easy to say from my desk chair, yet I have found this to be a lifeboat in the most terrible situations.

When I stop, notice my breathing, pull into an awareness of the trillion cells keeping me alive, and shift my thoughts to the incomprehensible majesty of the Universe, my sanity returns…with power…to meet life on its terms.

“Attachment (to anything temporal) is based on fear and insecurity – and the need for security is based on not knowing the true Self. Chasing security creates anxiety; it ends up making you feel hollow and empty inside, because you exchange your Self for the symbols of your Self.” -Deepak Chopra

No One Is Listening

No one is listening when we…

  • nag

  • preach

  • repeat ourselves

  • brag

  • make excuses

But, we keep doing it, with irrational hope, ignorance, or annoying arrogance.

Suggested alternatives (only if we want to be heard):

  • Ask more questions.
  • Mirror emotions.
  • Listen without interrupting.
  • Drop our agenda and just be present.

Transformation of the Unappreciated

I never liked Phantom of the Opera…until I understood it was about my own struggle with the dark side.

I dissed Sci-Fi…until I found it could teach me essential things.

I mocked country music…until, okay, I still mock country music.

I hated tomato juice…until I tried it.

I ignored animation…until I laughed my way through Toy Story and Shrek.

I never made the effort to learn enough about other cultures…until important people came into my life from other cultures.

I undervalued my enemies…until I knew they were like me.

I didn’t appreciate other points of view…until I listened carefully.

I can become bored with my partner…until I look at him as an eternal, masterfully-created being.

I wonder how much wonder, joy, insight, pleasure, and happiness I have missed because I confidently and callously refused it.

Disabling the “Shut Down Switch”

While teaching a management class, one of the participants continuously spouted off condemnations against his boss, his company, stupid coworkers, and the “tragically unmotivated younger generation.” When solutions were offered for one of his complaints, he shut it down with a standard reply; It won’t work. Tried that. You can’t fix stupid.”

He reminded me of me; of the times I refused to listen to anyone who challenged me to take responsibility for change.

As much as we hate a Know-It-All, sometimes the Know-It-All is us.

To keep myself from throwing cold water on others’ suggestions, I am learning to say:

Tell me more about that.
What am I missing?
What else?

By disabling my shut-down switch, I listen, learn, and grow up.

Got a Chaos Management Plan?

Do you have a chaos management plan (CMP)? Not just for North Korea but for the other times when your life is “nuked” by relationship, financial, or circumstantial violence.

We can’t be lulled into thinking we don’t need one, especially if we are currently quite impressed with ourselves and our “cool.”

It doesn’t take much for the props that make us feel cool to fall away and our inner deficits to be embarrassingly exposed.

My simple CMP:

  1. Accept what is.
  2. Forgive myself and others for the chaos.
  3. Invest in inner strength more than props.
  4. Expect chaos and smile at the future.

My Insomnia is a Mental Junk-Food-Junkie

The author of Alphatudes, The Alphabet of Gratitude, wrote the book because she suffered from insomnia. Instead of counting sheep, Michele Wahlder decided to go through the alphabet and count all the good things that began with each letter. Before she made it through “D,” she was sound asleep.

So brilliant.

For those of us whose minds go on a feeding frenzy at the wrong time of night: chewing on our screw-ups, problems, and random mental junk food, and/or regurgitating every conversation and event from the last decade, this tactic may be worth a try.

Even if it doesn’t put us to sleep, we will have fed our ravenous, nocturnal mind a much more nutritious bedtime snack.

Image result for insomnia quotes

August.

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, and 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.

 

 

Why “I Understand” Is Not Enough

If we want someone to hear our side of the story, we can’t start with it. We must start with their side of the story, so they know we get it.

If someone communicates to me in this manner, I find no need to defend myself (because they are defending me) and I can listen to the other side of the story with ease.

For example, if someone felt as if we had disrespected them when, we feel they misunderstood us and were overreacting, the following would get us the best result…

  1. I understand that you felt disrespected.
  2. I never want you to feel disrespected.
  3. I am so sorry that you had to go through that experience.
  4. (Then (and only then), the other side of the story)

If, instead, we merely say, “I understand,” be prepared for the other person to roll their eyes.

 

 

Living “Palms Up”

Preparing people for depositions, attorney, Bob Goff instructs his clients to sit with their palms up. He maintains that following this simple instruction works to prevent defensiveness, reacting in anger, or tensing up when stakes are high. Good advice…not only for depositions, but for life.

Rather than approaching life with clenched fists, open palms signifies a non-threatening posture of acceptance and openness.

A palms-up morning routine of meditation is now my reminder to offer up all that I have for good, trusting that what I have will be multiplied to meet the pressing needs around me. By doing so, I replace the feeling of overwhelm with a feeling of confidence in the abundance of the Universe.

Here’s to a palms-up kind of day! Cheers!

What Difference Does It Make?

Craving significance is a huge part of our human condition.

When we understand how our work matters, everything changes. We have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We have a reason to overcome obstacles. We have a reason to keep going when pain is unbearable.

One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to acknowledge the difference we make. Great managers do this. Good people do this.

“If it breathes, it needs encouragement.” -Charlie Chaplain