Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life Lessons


To be honest, the answer isn't jumping out at me. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like to admit my struggles publicly or dwell on painful experiences, and this question is asking me to do just that. But maybe, the answer to this question lies in my feelings about it. It's okay to have limitations and acknowledge them. It's not only okay, it's essential. To feel guilty or ashamed for being imperfect or making mistakes is something like a tree beating itself up for dropping its leaves in the fall.

Imperfections are part of what make us human. Nobody's perfect. No one. Not friends or relatives who are blessed beyond their wildest dreams, not celebrities, not our mentors or heroes. After all, we're all human. Simply put, perfection is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation to strive for. Expecting perfection is a setup for disappointment and frustration.

The following example illustrates how early in life this pattern can take root. At the age of two years old, my parents dressed me in shoes with laces. My little brain would look down and see that one side of the bow and tie was longer than the other. It wasn't perfect - and in my little world, lopsided laces it were NOT OKAY!
Lopsided loops like these caused serious chaos in my childhood home,
until I learned a few magic words.

This caused endless meltdowns - hissy fits, tantrums, fixations - until my Dad taught me the following mantra:  "One's too long and one's too short but I can manage". Thank goodness for an attitude shift and a little common sense.

These days, it's someone's bossy tone of voice or selfish behavior that's more likely to set me off. Until I remember..... hey, I've acted that way too. Probably a lot more recently than I'm willing to admit. A dose of humility and a generous helping of compassion go a lot further than rigid, unforgiving expectations. 
By letting go of the perfect ideal, we free ourselves to appreciate the imperfect reality. When we look at ourselves and the world with forgiving, loving eyes, life is more friendly and fun. I started learning this lesson when I was two, and 33 years later, I'm still working on it.

What life lesson did YOU learn the hard way? 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What gets you going?

Question of the Day:


^^This!! ^^

Please don't misunderstand me. My past is filled with awesome moments. The fabric of my life is woven with precious memories and experiences I wouldn't trade for the world. But (as I shared in yesterday's post), the past is the past. No matter how good or terrible it was, it's moment in time has come and gone. 

What excites me about life, really, is my ability to create what I experience NOW. And the moment after that, and the moment after that. 

I've always been a dreamer. My very first post on this blog alludes to that. Some people live in the dark restrictiveness of what can't be. I live in the light of what could be. Nothing makes me happier.

What lights your fire? What gets YOU excited about life? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sensible Advice

Question of the Day:


To paraphrase Wayne Dyer, our lives are like a boat on the water. The boat isn't driven by the wake, or the trail, that's left behind it. It's driven by present moment energy that is being generated by the engine of the ship. 

                           In the same way, our lives are being driven by the energy we generate in every present moment. In other words... "wake up and drive your own boat!" :)

What's the most sensible thing YOU'VE ever heard someone say? 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Question 2: Comparisons

Question of the day:


This is an interesting question. At first I thought, "who don't I?" Comparing oneself to others is a basic human habit, isn't it? But an answer like that is evading the question. And I intend to actually answer, so, I must think for a minute.

Here are some general categories of people I compare myself to:

*Other bloggers. Bloggers are fascinating people. I love their humor, wit, creativity and honesty. Sometimes I can't bring myself to write anything because it seems like i just don't have anything as relevant to say. When I'm in comparison mode, I'm believing that my life just isn't as interesting or pretty. As I'm writing this now, I'm (correctly) thinking, "that's total BS". Wow. It's amazing how deluded our thoughts can be if we don't keep them in check!

*Stellar co-workers. I recently realized that I'm *a bit* of a perfectionist. At work, I gravitate toward other people who dedicate themselves to doing a good job and being effective. When we work well together, I believe it's because we possess similar strengths, skills and talents. Comparisons in this sense end up fueling better work.

 *Crappy co-workers. What bugs us in others is often a reflection of some aspect of ourselves. I used to hate it when someone would tell me that. But the truth is, NO ONE is perfect! We all have blind spots, make bad decisions, screw up and make mistakes. It's about owning and embracing all pieces of ourselves, no matter how un-pretty. On some level, my terrible boss is a reflection of me. That's a big pill to swallow.

*My family Growing up, my sister was "the pretty one" and I was "the smart one". Turns out, we're both pretty and we're both smart, and confining labels are ridiculous and crippling. I always thought my mom was "the tough one"  and my dad was "the nice one", but perceptions change with age. My mom is a woman of strength and determination. She has grit. I used to reject those traits, but now I realize what a gift they are. I strive to own them. And I often compare my use of them to hers.

*My friends I should start by saying I have awesome friends. They're unique. SPECIAL. In their own individual way, each  has depth and soul. Some possess razor sharp wit and make me laugh until I cry.  Some have wisdom beyond their years. They are dreamers, believers and creators and do-ers. They're unbelievable. We're like a garden of exotic flowers - different and beautiful in our own right.

Orchids don't wish to be anthuriums, and hibiscus don't strive to be torch ginger. While this is most often the view I take of my friends, I'd be lying if I said I don't occasionally compare how I'm stacking up.   Love. Love. Love. Love my beautiful garden of friends!

*Visionaries Some people would question how or why I would ever compare myself to Wayne Dyer or Oprah Winfrey. My reason is because it inspires me. Yesterday, I was sitting alone at Starbucks. The elderly man next to me was reading the paper. We did what people normally do - ignored each other. About 30 minutes later, we made eye contact and I made a casual remark. He responded and began talking. I listened politely for a while. It seemed like a very one-sided conversation and I considered closing it down. But I thought of my heroes, my inspirations, and wondered, what would Wayne do in this situation? I realized that Wayne would treat this man with respect and dignity. In that instant, I wanted to hear his story. I opened my heart and listened with attention. We connected. I learned about his past, his present and his future. I shook his hand and thanked him for his service to our country. He was visibly surprised and clearly delighted that a stranger bothered to listen and care. It wasn't hard, but it was intentional.  I confirmed that his presence on the planet mattered. The man and I hugged before parting ways, and I believe we are both better off for it.

Without a doubt, comparisons abound! The greatest realization I have from writing this is that comparisons can be tools of limitation or liberation, and it's up to ME to decide the form they take. 

What about you?
Who do YOU sometimes compare yourself to?  And what forms do they take in your life? 

Introducing: 365 Thought Provoking Questions. Post 1

Okay, okay.... I admit it. I've been bitten by the Pinterest bug. I didn't get it AT ALL when my friends started pinning. I tried to get into it and it just seemed dumb to me. That is, until my sweet tooth discovered thousands of decadent sugar bombs have been pinned and re-pinned. Let's just say I've seen the light. 

So tonight, while I was hanging around in Pinterest land, I landed on a list of 365 thought provoking questions. This is AWESOME since I've more or less been blocked when it comes to posting here. Fresh inspiration is just what I needed. I think I'll take a stab at answering each question on the list, post by post. Without further ado....

I had to laugh when I realized the answer was "about 15 minutes ago". 

For about two weeks now, I've been drooling over these bad boys: 
Nutter Butter Butterfinger Cheesecake Bars

Today, I decided I needed to make them. They're ridiculously indulgent, coming in at a whopping 231 calories a bar. (Based on 16 servings per batch). In case anyone is interested, they can be found here:

Mine ended up looking like this: 

Yes, they were good. :)  It's a small miracle that I only ate one!

When was the last time YOU did something new? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Advice from Auntie O

About two weeks ago, I caught a re-run of Oprah's Master Class. I've seen it at least once before, but this time, I was riveted. I took notes. It was as if her words were aimed directly to me. She seemed like my wise old auntie offering sage advice.

A quick re-cap of what was shared that day:

"You are worthy."
"When you do well, people notice."
"Luck is the moment of preparation meeting opportunity."
"Believe in divine order - everything that has happened in your life is preparing you for what is to come."
"Don't pretend to be what you're not."
"Anyone pretending to be anything other than who you truly are will never ever reach your personal potential. It can't happen."
"The universe speaks to us first in whispers. It's subtle and if you don't pay attention it gets louder."
"We are more than we appear to be."
"Grow to greatness."
"You are not alone."
" Everyone just wants to know 'Did you hear me? Did what I had to say mean anything to you?"
"Stay true to your calling."

And last, but not least...

"What is real, what is lasting, is who you are and the gift you were meant to bring. No one can take that away from you."