Mindful Mondays – Week 13 – Perseverance

Perseverance. We have all heard the expression, “anything worth having is worth working for. Or how about, “good things come to those who wait”. Both sage bits of advice offer up a glimpse of what it means to persevere. At the same time, quotes such as these, leave us wanting more. More insights. More direction. Even more concrete steps to take in order to achieve whatever it is we are striving for.

I suppose the real magic lies in exploring each inspiring quote and then mashing them all together in an effort to see our lofty goals achieved. It is true, perseverance does require patience and so we wait for those good things to show up in our lives. However, the danger lies in the one who heeds this advice solely and ends up waiting in vain without ever having taken any form of action. I suspect the message here is more about the art of graceful patience then the bull headed approach of demanding our desires appear instantly before us.

If we can find ourselves in a place of gratitude and knowing, our desires will come to fruition in a graceful display of manifestation. Can you imagine if we simply received all things we ever wished for the moment we thought to wish for them? Chaos, I think, instead of graceful acceptance would prevail. Our experience would quickly become one of gluttony and excess. Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 12 – The Power of Choosing

Choosing to live your life in the manner with which you deem appropriate is a daily balancing act. Sometimes, we do not see the power of our choices until we suddenly feel backed into a corner, fearful to make a move in a new direction. The reality though, is that we always have a choice. We can choose how we react to our situation. We can choose to make a new decision or to live with the one we’ve already made. Choice is a certainty in life. When embraced, it can empower us to live our lives more fully, more engaged, more in the present moment.

The Power of Choosing

One of the important thoughts to consider when examining your selection of choices is to ask yourself if you are choosing situation X for satisfaction in the immediate future or for the far off future. This alone, will alter how you make many of your day to day decisions. Consider the following example. It is an hour past your regular lunch time. You are hungry. You are thirsty. Your patience and possibly your blood sugar may be running a little low. Choice one is a fast food restaurant that you have just enough time to drive thru. This choice will allow you to gobble something immediate to satiate your desire for food.

Choice two is to stave off your hunger with a bottle of water. The decision to stick to the values of your desired lifestyle is important to you. This choice will have you wait for a healthier option to present itself. If you previously made the choice to always avoid fast food then that option wouldn’t even be on your radar. A life choice had already been established, presumably with both the immediate and the far off future taken into consideration. If fast food is a regular part of your lifestyle, yet you desire to change that reality, then your choice will feel more immediate and quite possibly more agonizing. Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 11 – The Value of Having a Vision

A vision, goals, dreams are all part of living a fulfilled and happy life. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a family wedding. The day was spectacular. The sky was the perfect shade of blue. The sun was warm, highlighting the ceremony with an angelic beam of light through a veil of forest trees. A light breeze made the boughs dance with delight. And there was two people, so completely in love with one another that their happiness flowed out into the rows of wedding guests.

The bride had a vision of what the day should look and feel like. Her exceptional organizational skills served her well, but I believe it was her vision that guided each of her decisions along the way resulting in a memorable celebration. And let’s face it, there are several hundred decisions to make when planning a wedding. Along the course of wedding planning, she stayed true to her vision, keeping it close to her heart. The result was a beautiful and heart filled event that was the epitome of the couple themselves.

Having a vision is a large part of what helps those successful in life reach their successes. All of us have dreams and wishes but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could simply focus our attention on the goals we desire and watch them bloom into fruition? The great news is that we all have the power to create our own realities.

Reach your goals by having a vision.

What do you dream about doing, having, experiencing? It is exceptionally important to be true to yourself when answering this question. Try your desire on, and by that I mean, think about it. Daydream different scenarios. Test it out to see if this particular goal is the one to hang your heart on. Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 10 – Bucket Filling 101

I recently attended a family event and the topic of bucket filling arose during a conversation with my cousin. I was reminded of one my favored books, How Full Is Your Bucket? The authors Don Clifton and Tom Rath have devoted their lifetimes to the research and betterment of the human experience. They have successfully published titles that make an impact on how we interact with one another.

Bucket filling is the process by which a person improves another’s mood by participating in a sincere, appropriate interaction. The true  magic of bucket filling is that every time we fill another’s bucket, we fill our own at the same time. When our buckets are full, we invoke a sense of happiness. But when our buckets are less than full, negative emotions tend to guide our experiences.

Having read the original book several years ago, I wondered if I was still a successful filler of buckets. So, I picked up a copy of the revised anniversary edition and was delighted to discover that the majority of my daily interactions involve acts of bucket filling. After an imaginary high five with myself, I began to think about who else could benefit from these same lessons. I, of course, thought of all of you who follow my blog as well as those who have simply stumbled across one of my posts.

To fill another’s bucket all you have to do is have a positive interaction with them. A positive interaction could consist of a smile shared with a stranger. Or a simple but sincere “thank you” while meeting the eyes of the check out clerk at the grocery store. Telling a friend or a spouse how grateful you are to have them in your life goes a long way in eliciting not only positive emotions but also a connection that helps keep you in tune with one another.

In a work environment, sending a note to a co-worker who helped you with a task will build camaraderie for all those working together. Managers who regularly fill employees buckets, benefit from having happy, productive employees who work more efficiently.

If you ever find yourself feeling a little down, set out to fill another’s bucket. Your own bucket will benefit from this simple act of kindness. In a world full of negativity and discord, bucket filling could be the answer we’ve been looking for. Remember the Faberge Organic Shampoo commercial from the 70’s? “I told two friends about Faberge Organic Shampoo and they told two friends, and so on, and so on.” Bucket filling has the same cascading affect and whenever you create a positive interaction with another human being, they travel down their own road continuing to spread the positive vibe.

In my opinion, How Full Is Your Bucket? should be on every bookshelf throughout the world. This short but powerful book should be guiding healthcare workers, managers and top executives. The children’s version should be in every library and classroom. It could be used as a learning resource in how to treat others. Think of the trickle affect if it were mandatory for world leaders to read and apply these same lessons. How kind could our world become if we all just learned how to fill each other’s buckets?

Take the Positive Impact Test and see how you can improve your bucket filling skills.

Bucket Filling 101

 

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Mindful Mondays – Week 9 – Daily Meditation

Meditation is one of the quickest ways to improve your life. Or at the very least, it will help you improve your perspective about life. Which is really the goal we are after here. It is often thought that we must sit cross legged in a quiet room with the sound of babbling water soothing our minds in order to meditate.

This is not entirely the case. Yoga, for example, is an active form of meditation that millions of people participate in each day. For me, running without music is one of the easiest ways to connect on a higher level. The sound of my feet hitting the ground. The feel of my heart pumping in my chest. Running clears my mind and allows me to see things that previously were hidden from my view.

5 Ways to Add Meditation To Your Life

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Mindful Mondays – Week 8 – Being in the moment

Being in the moment conjures up the image of blue skies, happy yellow flowers, and people smiling with little awareness of life’s challenges. I can almost see a television commercial for it right now. Though the commercial is selling us on their product. Our lives too, will be full of ease and joy if we purchase that product.

In reality, “the moment” is where ever you happen to be along your path in life. If you are a parent to young children, that could mean an encounter with an overtired, cranky child. Or perhaps, a delightful time cuddling while sharing a story. To a business man climbing the ladder, you could be enjoying a company paid lunch while you meet with clients. It could also be a dressing down from your boss over a recent decision you made.

The moment is whatever you choose to make it. That is where our freedom of choice comes in to play. I swear one of the phrases that will run through my son’s head, as he ventures off to a life beyond our family home, will be my voice saying, “You always have a choice. You may not like your choices, but you always have the ability to choose.”

This is true for each and every moment of your day, your week, and your life. This is truly where being in the moment comes to fruition. I was reminded of this when we recently had to make the decision to bid farewell to our beloved family dog. I was heartbroken to see her go and the decision was a difficult one to make, but we had a choice. Flower began to suffer in the last stage of her life, making her days fill with anxiety, restlessness, and pain.

Be In The Moment

 

 

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Mindful Mondays – Week 7 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness. Is it a state of mind? A location? An experience? Being mindful is the act of being in any given moment with our minds, hearts, focus, and existence without judgement. Sounds simple right? The complexity of “simple things” in life often come without a navigation system. Sometimes they are down right elusive and when we do catch a glimpse of mindfulness, it may feel as if it is slipping through our fingers just as we recognize it.

One of the greatest joys of mindfulness is being in the present moment. The past has no bearing on the mindful moment. Just as our projections of the future have no ties to it. The moment is all that matters. This my friends is the true gift of mindfulness.

Being Mindful Everyday

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Mindful Mondays – Week 6 – Switching Gears

Switching emotional gears in the heat of a situation is similar to trying to put your car into reverse when you are already driving forward. Without taking the proper steps, both your car and your mood are not likely to change without some sort of grumbling or worse yet, a complete melt down.

Shifting your mood from anxious, angry, frustrated, or just down right unhappy is much easier to embrace in the moment once you have the necessary tools to complete the transition. Keep in mind, that all of the above emotions have a purpose in our life and are not inherently inappropriate all of the time. However, negative emotions can be socially inappropriate, become out of control, or even be self destructive. Whether it is to highlight our personal triggers, remind us of our own boundaries, or to simply let us know that we are tired and need to rejuvenate, the less than favorable emotions exist to guide us just as much as the happy ones do.

I like to refer to emotions such as fear, anger, and frustration as passengers in my car of life. They are welcome to join me in the car, provided they sit in the backseat. It is crucial for them to remain quiet and occupy themselves by looking out the window. They are most certainly not permitted to drive the car. In my world, they aren’t even allowed to hold the keys.

It is like this. Fear is an effective motivator. It lights a fire under us like few other emotions do. But, if fear blazes past the point of motivation, it transforms into the white flame of paralysis. This renders fear a liability instead of a motivating force. Using the following tools you’ll be switching gears and taking back control of how you choose to experience each day.

First we have to be aware of our moods and our triggers. A desire to changes our perspective is also key to revamping our day. Some things to consider when evaluating a negative emotion. Lack of food and water makes us all a little cranky. Lack of sleep will also change our perspective on any given situation. Just as important is purposeful movement. Your body not only desires but needs to move in order to be healthy both physically and emotionally. Now, I’m not asking you climb a mountain. I’m simply suggesting a brisk 20 minute walk will do wonders for your body, mind, and emotional state.

5 Steps To A Happier You

So here are 5 strategies that are sure to get you switching gears and get you moving towards a happier, healthier, more peaceful and enjoyable day. Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 5 – I Am Enough

I am enough. At first, this week’s phrase may seem silly at best, unbelievable at worst. Often times, we feel that we are not enough, this is especially true through the teenage years or when we are expanding ourselves by learning a new skill. The statement, I am enough, was provided to me by the brilliant therapist, Marisa Peer. A course created by her called, Living an Unconditional Life taps into what we as humans need to fill ourselves up with in order to go out into the world and be the best version of ourselves possible.

Being enough is a multifaceted approach to living a fulfilled life. I tend to think of it in line with going after big life goals. In order to attain a goal, you need to believe in yourself completely. In the beginning stages of working towards your goal, you are often the only individual who holds the belief. Sometimes we don’t share our goals with others for fear of retribution, which is an indication of self doubt. However, belief in yourself is the key to moving you forward toward that goal. The same can be said about being enough. It is a form of self belief that motivates you to move forward, allowing you to become the vest version of yourself possible.

So, today is the day that you will begin to build a rock solid foundation of belief in yourself. You can do anything you set your mind to. Goals, after all, are dreams with a plan. So take your dream, take your plan, believe in yourself, and take action to achieve what you are reaching for.

I Am Enough

Same steps as last week with a new phrase, “I am enough”. For added success in improving your self talk, keep up with the phrases, “I am kind”, “I am joy”, “I am gratitude”, and I am love, adding “I am enough” to your collection of good things you tell yourself.

Step One:
Wake up and remind yourself, “I am kind”, “I am joy”, “I am gratitude”, “I am love”, and “I am enough”. Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 4 – I Am Love

I am love. It is easier said than done to truly love oneself. Yet loving yourself is fundamental to how you view your own successes and failures in life. Human nature often finds us involved in a form of self loathing instead of self love. It happens so often, we don’t always recognize the pattern. Think about it. Have you ever intentionally put yourself down to make someone else feel better about themselves? Even the slightest of personal assaults has the potential to affect how you view yourself.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and scoffed at the reflection staring back at you? How about this one? Have you ever looked at another person and thought, “at least I’m not as fat, thin, tall, short, boisterous (or any other sort of judgement meant to boost your own self esteem) as they are”.  That one snuck up on you, didn’t it? You see, loving yourself fully makes loving others without judgement so much simpler as your bucket of self worth is already full so it is easy to give to others without hesitation.

Every time you treat yourself well, you are stock piling good vibes. These positive attributes will carry you through everyday life and will also help you lead by example on how to live a fully engaged life. How you love yourself is equal to how you love the world around you.

Same steps as last week with a new phrase, “I am love”. For added success in improving your self talk, keep up with the phrases, “I am kind”, “I am joy”, and “I am gratitude” adding, “I am love” to your collection of good things you tell yourself.

Step One:
Wake up and remind yourself, “I am kind”, “I am joy”, “I am gratitude”, and “I am love”.

I Am Love

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