Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Gave Up My Dream For That?

Early in our coaching series, we dumped some of our junk and ended energy sucks, but now it's time to take a closer look. Have you made space for what you want or are you still hanging on to things you think you need?

If you crave a new relationship, you may have to let go of an old one first. New clothes, clean out the closet, a new story, put that unworkable old manuscript away. Stop putting energy into what doesn't serve you. Evict the worn from your life and stand ready to accept the new.

This is not new age mumbo jumbo. It's a law of physics. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you create a vacuum in an area of your life, including your writing, the universe will absolutely fill it with something. Be choosy about what you allow to fill that space.

When you feel bogged down or stuck, chances are you're hording something you need to release. If you haven't used it in the past year, get rid of it. Start by tossing all those useless papers cluttering your desk and your ancient computer files. Getting rid of what you don't need or use will make that space you want for better things. Sometimes it's a manuscript we need to shelve in order to write a new one. If you're holding on to what doesn't work, you can not move on to what does. This is true in every aspect of life, not just writing.

Years ago, when I was taking a psychology class, we learned of a group of scientists doing a study with monkeys. Every day they filled immobile plastic jugs with small treats, and each day the monkeys opened the lids and enjoyed the goodies. One day, the scientists placed an orange in each container just small enough to slip through the hole, but too large for the monkeys to pull out with their hand grasping the fruit. What would the monkeys do?

The monkeys reached into the jugs and clutched the oranges, but couldn't extract them through the small hole. When the scientist moved closer, the monkeys screached, pulled at the orange with all their might, but refused to let go of their prize and thus couldn't escape. They were captured, sacrificing much desired freedom for fruit they thought they needed.

What are you clutching that stands in the way of your dreams?

"To pretend to satisfy one's desires by possession is like using straw to put out a fire."
                                                                                                        Chinese Proverb
Do you really need that orange?
What price are you paying to hang on to it?

Spend 15 minutes each day letting go of something you don't need and prepare to embrace something better. Write about it in your journal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life Is Great, Unless...

 Not if you're just going through the motions and dragging your sorry hiney around. It may be that you lack something to look forward to.
This is not a lesson on gratitude, though being grateful is important. We're talking about creating something that brings the energy of anticipation into your life. Do you recall being a kid, counting down  until the last day of school, and the warm air of summer freed you to sleeping in, bike rides with friends, gabbing to all hours, and  staying up late just because you could? Ah, the elusive joy of youth.
Get a grip.
Being young has little to do with it. It's the joy created by anticipation. Life was an exhilarating adventure because you made it so. Time to get serious about living and have some fun.
If you look at your week and your biggest thrill is falling into bed, something is wrong. It doesn't have to be that way. Everything is a choice. Choose to enjoy living. Choose to create something to look forward to daily. 
Here it is. Write a list of 20 things that you enjoy. Things you can plan to do that will put that spring in your step. Anticipate them and watch a grin spread over your face.
Here are some ideas:
Call a friend.
Enjoy a bottle of wine and watch the sunset.
Make love.
Meet friends for lunch.
Hug someone.
Read to a child.
Watch an old movie with your buddies or your lover and munch popcorn.
Ride your bike, your Harley or hike.
Sign up for a class you've been longing to take, watercolor, Martial arts, cooking, survival training. Whatever!
Pass out candy at work or buy flowers.
Maybe make Wednesday your special breakfast or coffee treat morning. Thursday you have Tai Chi, Friday it's dinner with friends or your sweety. Everyday needs to have something to look forward to.
Write your list in your journal and start implementing it. Jot down how you feel adding things to anticipate. Plan for something special every week and at the end of the month or year.
We love vacations in part, because we get juiced up anticipating them.

This week, I'm anticipating time with my grand-daughter. What about you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Easy Is A Choice--Make It.

Optimists. You know those people with the silly grin and always a kind word. Who wants to be Pollyanna? You do.  I'm not talking about the fake, like me, positive tripe. We're referring to the real deal, the ability to see the good in every situation, learn the lesson, and grasp the opportunity. Being positive is a skill you can learn and a habit you need. It's not difficult. (Positive thinking here.)

When you look for the good, you'll find more of it, and when you have that positive energy working, you'll learn your lessons quicker and with less difficulty. Why would you want to choose hard when easy is available?

Try this exercise:

Imagine three pieces of silverware held out before you.
A knife, a fork and a spoon.
Don't think, just choose one.

No fair grabbing two or more and if you can't decide, just pick the first one that pops into your mind.
You have your silverware. Good.
Here's what it means. This is a subconscious game to tell you how you currently create your lessons in life.  The knife: Your lessons come hard. Aggressive. Life has to cause pain to get your attention.
The fork: Lessons come a bit easier, but still require effort. The spoon: Your lessons come without effort. That is, you don't ignore or fight what life brings you. You're aware, get the lesson, change and move on. It's spoon fed.

When you search for the good, the lesson in every situation, you'll find it without life having to beat you up to gain your attention. The longer we ignore our lessons and opportunities, the harder the universe tries to wake us up, the harder and more painful the lesson. But you have the power to change.

Choose easy. Optimists know this. Life is good. Everything works out. I'm grateful for what I have. Look for the opportunity. What opportunities are you working to ignore? What truth are you hiding from? Notice the use of opportunity over the word challenge? Start by thinking in positive terms.

At the end of each day, recount in your journal any difficulties and look for the good. Change your words. What opportunities or lessons did you encounter? What could you have done or what can you do differently? Implement what you learn.

I'm working on this too. It's life long, but I know it works.
Life is easy and it's all good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trash Is As Trash Does.

We are all judged on how we look and act. I did an experiment at the shopping mall some years back, showing up in jeans, T-shirt and no make-up. I looked clean, but poor. I got zero attention from the store staff. No one would help me. I was invisible.  The next day, I went to the same stores dressed in my business clothes, and looking well turned out. When I walked in, I had more sales help than needed and they were incredibly accommodating. I'm not saying that I agree with the superficial nature of humanity, but it exists.
People look first and ask questions later. If you swear like a sailor, people will have an impression of you. If you borrow things and never return them, people will size you up on that. What you do determines how you will be seen and treated by others.
How do you wish to be percieved? Are you serious about your career? Then act like someone who is a success. If you say, "This is who I am and they can take it or leave it. I don't give a damn." That's not personal freedom, it's a self destructive lie.
We all care.
It's not enough to set boundaries for others, it's time to set standards for your self. This is not about all the shoulds. We're talking integrity. The higher the level you live at, the higher the level of your life. Some examples of integrity:
Tell the truth.
Be on time.
Admit your mistakes.
Honor your responsibilities by following through.
Take care of your body.
Give positive feedback.
Avoid offending.
Be grateful and stop complaining.
Stop talking and act.
Give to those in need.
Only spend time with those who treat you well.

Make your own list of five. What do you feel ready to implement? This will scare you a bit. If it feels comfortable, pick something else. I'll be working on being more honest with my self and speaking that truth. Easy to do with strangers, harder to do with those I love. If it feels like a risk, do it.

Make your journal your partner in this. Write down your list, your efforts, feelings and how things change.
Plan on implementing these changes for at least six weeks so they become good habits.
When one becomes second nature, move on to a new one.

Let me know how you do.
You deserve to be the person that is trustworthy, dependable, and loved.