Purposely practice misfortune to free yourself from fear

Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly fortunate person, you likely have more than you think you do. If you have the time and the means to read blogs today, you are a fortunate person. It is possible to get so comfortable in our good fortune that we lose sight of how fortunate we really are. We may not be wealthy, but we are comfortable with where we live, our cars, our laptops, our iPhones, indoor plumbing, electricity, and running water. We are so comfortable having all of these conveniences that we live in fear of losing them. What if these things weren’t available to us as readily as they are today?

What brings this subject to mind is my car, which is becoming a rather prolific source of blog fodder lately. It has had a vibration, been noisier than usual and a rather alarming clunking sound has gotten worse over the last week. It has gotten to the point that I was a little afraid to drive the thing. It had to go into the shop. I have no backup vehicle. I live on the outskirts of a small city where a vehicle is a necessity if I need to do any sort of regular daily errands. Luckily we live within walking distance of the school, but the city center and all of my kid’s activities are a 20-minute drive away. Writing all of this down illustrates how incredibly fortunate we are. Today, however, I will be practicing misfortune. Continue reading “Purposely practice misfortune to free yourself from fear”

Permission to show yourself a little love

Self-care isn’t necessarily an elaborate ritual that you have to perform every day. Self-care, in its purest form, is giving your body what it needs when it needs it in order to perform at your very best. Knowing what your body needs involves staying tuned in to the subtle signals it gives you throughout the day. This means staying present and checking in with yourself often.

What is self-care?

You know how the flight attendant instructs you to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others in case of an emergency? Self-care is kind of like that. It is taking care of yourself so you can perform better for everyone else. If you helped everyone else with their masks first, you would pass out and be unable to help as many people as you would if you helped yourself first. Taking the time for self-care is not selfish, it is essential to keep you performing at your very best.  Continue reading “Permission to show yourself a little love”

I Stopped Caring In Order to Become More Compassionate

“Impassivity with regards to the events, brought about by the exterior cause.” —Marcus Aurelius

The other day I made an epic decision. I decided to stop caring so much about everything and everyone around me in order to become more compassionate. I realized that I spent a large amount of my time being frustrated about what people around me were doing and how it affected me. In short, I cared too much.

I cared about people in traffic–you know, the ones who can’t drive; about the other moms; what the other moms thought; what my family thought; about people who made my day difficult–on purpose or by chance; about random rude people; noisy people; annoying people; construction; you get my drift. All of this caring was diminishing my cheerfulness and actually making me quite a sour person. It suddenly occurred to me that if I didn’t care about this stuff, it wouldn’t matter.

This doesn’t mean that I became an unfeeling cynic. Quite the opposite. I realized that by not allowing external events to affect me so deeply, I would actually open myself up to more compassion. Suddenly, the person who was rude to me became someone who was having a really bad day. Because I didn’t care that they were rude to me, I was able to see this clearly. Continue reading “I Stopped Caring In Order to Become More Compassionate”

The best-laid​ plans

I was frustrated this morning.

Yes, me. Even though I often write about reducing stress, focusing on what is important, taking time out, sleep, self-care, meditation, gratitude, and good nutrition. All of these things have the ultimate goal of reducing frustration and increasing joy. And I walk my talk. I know about these things because I do them. So what happened?

Continue reading “The best-laid​ plans”

Shoulding on the Holidays, part 3: Comparison

I got sucked into it just this morning. I was looking at one of the piles of catalogs and store ads that come in the mail this time of year, and there was a picture of a well-dressed couple in an embrace looking so utterly happy. It wasn’t so much a conscious thought as it was a feeling of…well I guess it was envy. What was I envious of? The moment? The well-dressed man? Her perfect hair and svelte figure? Their embrace? The fact that this couple actually got to go out and take a picture together and look happy about it? Whatever it was, it was ridiculous. And actually kind of funny. I was looking through the mail while my coffee was brewing and thinking about this very blog which I already knew would be about comparing ourselves to others. While doing all of that my brain had the capacity to compare my life to those people’s, and they were probably models.

The last two weeks we have been talking about “should-ing” and how shoulding sucks the joy out of the holiday. “Shoulding,” in a nutshell, is focusing on what should be happening rather than what is actually happening or worrying about what you should do rather than what you want to do. Yes, since you are an adult there are some things you really should do. You should clean your house once in awhile and you should go to work, but I’m talking specifically about those things you “should” do around the holidays. You should get the Christmas lights up, you should prepare a big dinner for everyone, or Continue reading “Shoulding on the Holidays, part 3: Comparison”

Shoulding on the Holidays, Part 1: Guilt

Welcome to holiday season pregame. Otherwise known as the week of Halloween. I absolutely love this time of year. I love the festive feeling, the events, decorating the tree, Christmas music, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, turkey dinner…I could go on. I even like dealing with the Elf on the Shelf. Having a little girl in the house makes everything that much better. I do understand that not everyone likes this time of year, though. For many, the holiday season spells added stress and anxiety. I heard someone just the other day say that they were already dreading the long checkout lines and crowded parking lots. My mom has given up on most of the holiday traditions because “It’s a lot of work and what’s the point?” Many people experience a sharp let down when their high expectations of the holiday didn’t turn out exactly right. Others merely tolerate the season with a “meh”, or more appropriately a “humbug”, attitude. If this is supposed to be such a joyous season, why do so many people find it so miserable? How can you enjoy the season and hopefully inspire joy in others at the same time?

Continue reading “Shoulding on the Holidays, Part 1: Guilt”

Compassion

In view of recent tragic events, I want to address the feeling of helplessness and anxiety that many people are feeling. It is easy to believe that the world is a scary place where travel, gathering in crowds, and letting our kids walk down the street are acts of courage. There is a wide disconnect in our culture. Rather than reveling in our sameness we admonish our differences. Finger pointing and blame are things adults take part in. Not just any adults, but the very people whom we elect to lead us! A dark cloud looms over us like an ominous harbinger waiting to drop the next tragedy. What can we do to help? First, just asking that question helps. Second, initiating small acts of kindness helps those around you which produces a ripple effect. Third, don’t worry about what you can’t control.

Continue reading “Compassion”

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