Category Archives: Stuff

Give a Piece of Your Heart

Our senses are direct lines to our memories. Certain smells can put you right back in your grandma’s kitchen, or singing around the campfire. Then you are bombarded with the feelings you experienced there.

Songs can take you back to a time with someone special, or a place with great memories. You can travel there in your mind with the music, can’t you? All the memories may not be happy, but they are part of who you are today. Be grateful for them.

Today, as I walked outside in my beautiful autumn-fied neighborhood, I heard a song that took me back in time. I smiled, a lot. It felt good to relive the feelings. It also inspired me to look back at some old writing I’d done, and came across this poem, called ‘you have my heart’.

To me, it’s a reminder to how all our connections with people, no matter how long or short, can have an impact on us. They can leave an imprint on our life story. How truly fortunate! We may not always know how we affected someone else, but often times we can make all the difference to them at that time and place. If you have children, then surely you feel that they are pieces of your heart walking around in the world.

Just as we leave pieces of ourselves with others, think about the people who have helped, inspired or supported you in your life. Isn’t it miraculous that you connected with those people when you did? They left a special piece of themselves with you.

So here’s my poem, dedicated today to all of you who have connected with someone who left their name on your heart. Blessings to each of you for accepting a piece of my heart each time you find inspiration in what I share.

 You Have My Heart

 A humble beginning

chronicles the merging

of two hearts into one

 

Hope and promise

beckon what waits ahead

in the story that is theirs

 

In the blink of an eye

the years pass by

adding chapters

 

Joy and pain

share the pages

leaving their marks

 

Through it all

 is clearly written

you have myheart

 

The last page turns

in all great books

much too soon

Go share your amazing self with someone today.


Want Some Inspiration?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Want to Feel Inspired?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Do You Have a Bucket List?

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Visiting the Great Wall in China is on my bucket list!

 

Everyone daydreams about the things they long to experience in life. Some people make plans for a handful of them. A rare few even accomplish most or all of what they set out to do.

What sets these accomplished dreamers apart?  Well, for one, they took the time to put it down in writing, all their hopes and dreams, wishes and life goals. It sounds too easy, but in fact the simple act of writing something down makes it more real. The continued process of looking at and thinking about these wanted experiences pushes us each to take small steps to making them so.

There is power in the pen. It is, after all, mightier than the sword.  If you would like to wring the greatest amount of memorable events from your life, as I do, start with some urgent daydreaming. What would you do if money or time were not an issue? Let go, and just write down all the wild and spectacular yearnings that spring to mind.

Would you win a Nobel Prize? Find a cure for AIDS or Cancer? Become President of your country? Write a blockbuster novel? Sail around the world? Nothing is too big, or too ‘out there’. I’ve been making such lists for upwards of twenty years, and from time to time my list changes; some I have completed (Yea!), others I decide to take off the list, still more I add or tweak.

Here are some items high on my list right now:

1.      Speak five (or more) languages fluently. (I’m currently at 1 + .5 + .5)

2.      Travel to each of the continents. (4 and counting)

3.      Write an inspiring play (or screenplay) which is produced and receives abundant accolades. (ideas are percolating)

4.      Donate at least one million dollars to causes close to my heart. (5% in so far)

5.      Go skydiving with my daughter or a friend. (in the talking stage)

6.      Take my entire family on a cruise to Hawaii. (35 people or so presently- must happen without someone wanting to kill another family member)

7.      Live in NYC for a year. (near Central Park, of course)

8.      Invent something that makes life easier for millions. (I’m an idea person)

9.      Learn to play the piano. (it’s been on my list since I was 7, but I don’t have a piano- yet)

10.  Spend a week (or a month) studying with the Dalai Lama. (that would be so cool, and enlightening)

11.  Walk on the Great Wall of China. (I have pictures- so awesome)

12.  Have pen pals in 10 or more countries (3 sponsored kids in 3 countries currently)

These are some of my most wanted right now. But without the list, I feel sure that I would not be as far along as I am. And this doesn’t even take into account the things I have already completed!

Lists are great tools, sometimes tedious, but always helpful in leading us on the path to completion of the items listed. Why wait? Isn’t today the perfect day to make that list of life experiences you’d like to accomplish? If not now, when?

I’m reminded daily of the great adventures I plan to take. Whenever possible, I take another step in direction of one of them. Before I know it- I can cross it off the list. I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and have a host of memories to ponder or share with others.

It’s another great day in the life of me, a world-renowned dreamer. Better get to it then. See you on the road.


How Do You Present Yourself to the World? Part 1

 

This is not something we generally think about. Or even think that we need to consider. But it is a critical question to spend some time on.

You may have heard others talk about people in terms of their ‘business persona’ or their ‘outside of work persona’, which may be radically different. Or you may also have heard people describe the masks or the hats that they wear in reference to their different roles and the face to the world that each may require. Does it seem strange to you that there should be a difference?

I used to feel that there was a clear shift in my demeanor when I put my mom hat on, versus when I was away from my family. When my kids were younger, I didn’t put much thought into this, but as they got older I started to wonder why I would choose to act so differently. With my kids, I felt as if I had to be ‘on’ and in charge of making sure everything got done and nobody got lost, or hurt. I felt like I was missing the enjoyment I allowed myself when I wasn’t wearing my mom hat.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy doing things with my kids, but that always in the back of my mind was the feeling that I had to remain vigilant, and not let myself relax in the moment. Looking back, I realize this perhaps  robbed me of some of the joy of raising three fantastic kids.So, somewhere about twelve years into the process I decided not to be so strict with myself. Obviously as a parent I worry that I am doing my best, but I do not want to worry so much as to not live and enjoy the rest of my life. I was wearing my mom hat almost exclusively.

Having multiple hats or masks to wear and keep straight can be exhausting, and really when you think about it, not very authentic. Part of the energy drain comes from trying to juggle all the hats and keep straight the behaviors, vocabulary, and presentation that each one calls for.At work, it isn’t always best to share personal stories, and most people talk and act very differently there than at home or when hanging out with friends. At home, it may be OK to drink out of the milk carton (except at my house), but not at a friend’s house. Seems pretty simple, but is it? Consider this…

Have you ever met someone who seems so real, authentic and comfortable in their skin that it flows into all that they do. When you work with them, or meet them outside work you get the same person? And you feel safe, that whatever they say or do is because they meant to do or say it? How awesome does it feel to be around someone who greets life from who they are inside?I know I am inspired when I spend time with people like this. It doesn’t always mean we agree on everything, but that as a person, we are both respected and acknowledged. This is a person who has hung up the hats and put away the masks. And has so much less clutter in life as a result. This is a person who will say no if the request isn’t right, and you are appreciative of their honesty.This is a person who can command the attention of a room without saying a word, because they live and speak from the place within that is their truth. This person would naturally do the same thing no matter where or with whom they are.

Personas, then, seem necessary when we are not sure who we want to be, or when what we spend our time doing does not mesh with who we really are. This leads to feelings of discontent and longing for something else, even if we can’t quite put our finger on what that is. If that is you right now, it may be time to do some soul searching for those activities and people who make you feel alive and useful. It’s the way we were created, to do something in the world which means something- if even only to ourselves.

For now, let your thoughts run wild as you consider what it means to be YOU. Next time, we will follow up with what to do to help you clear your vision and combine some of your hats.


Improve Your Environmental Life

 

Going green is the current trend. From hybrid cars to reusable bags to recycling, we all have ways we can easily pitch in to help reduce our carbon footprint. This is an important component of our Environmental Wellness, but in truth it encompasses much more than this.

More specifically it means to lead a lifestyle that is respectful of our environment, not only the natural environment, but also those species living in it. Respect for others living in our environment, whether two, four or more legged is just as necessary as respect for the physical environment itself.

The world is getting much smaller every year; things that happen in other parts of the world have an effect on our air, water and wildlife as much as what we do here. We are all neighbors. As neighbors it behooves us to think and act in ways which shows that we respect our neighbors right to use all the magnificent wonders this spinning globe has to offer.

Makes sense, right? It’s the battle cry of politicians and environmentalists over time, “Let’s leave the world a better, healthier place for our children and grandchildren”. But now we need to think about those children in China and Africa and everywhere.

And we all have to do our part. But what is the most important thing you can do? Well, start with a mindset shift. Think using the golden rule, but applied to all of God’s creatures.

This picture reminds me of a story about a relative of mine, who had a farm and a bar in Minnesota. It was off the beaten path in the land of 10,000 lakes, but I was fascinated as a child because I learned that on the roof of this bar there was grass growing. And one of the animals on their farm was a goat. In a marvelous cycle of ecology the goat kept the grass on the roof trimmed, gained nutrients, and the dirt and grass provided much needed insulation for the building in the harsh winter weather.

A perfect example of respecting nature, animals, use of heating fuels and recycling all in one.  Every creature and plant has its purpose, which leads to growth and health of other creatures, which leads to more health and growth in the natural world, which eventually leads to us humans. We have all seen how reducing the population of honey bees can lead to poorer fruit, flower and vegetable crops due to insufficient pollination. It’s all related. As are we.

Time to think about how what we do every day effects this precious cycle of life. For our children, grandchildren, and all the creatures that delight us out in their world.  Plant a tree, turn down the A/C by a couple degrees, ride a bike or walk when you can, unplug things when not in use, stop paper bills and statements; the options are endless. Be bold, be thoughtful, be respectful, but take action. You will feel better, not to mention your neighbors may follow your lead.


Strategies for Crossing Items Off Your To-Do List

 

What to do first? Oh right, make my to-do list for today. That will be #1 on the list. That way, when I finish my list, I can cross off item #1.

Great, but then what? Now there’s actual stuff to be done.

Well the key, I think, to crossing off items on your to-do list is in how you make your list. Many times lists will be filled with big plans such as:

  • Do the taxes
  • Clean out the garage
  • Go grocery shopping

On the surface, these items may seem simple enough, but how does it feel when you look at them? Do you feel energized, excited that you’ll be finishing up all of them before lunch? Or do you think, WOW, I’ll be lucky if I cross off anything today, and feel a bit overwhelmed?

Right, I’d feel discouraged as well. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just has to be broken down into easy do-able steps. That way you can cross off each step of the bigger task individually. Let’s look at the daunting tasks above more closely.

  • Do the taxes

How does one begin this process? Even if you have an accountant who does taxes for you, there are mini-steps you have to do. You need to get all your receipts and forms together. You need to know what deductions you are able to claim. You need all the pertinent names, addresses, and possibly social security numbers of your employers, dependents, charities, mortgage companies and banks, and so on. Each of these could be mini- steps on your to-do list. Let’s do the next one, too.

  • Clean out the garage

What’s involved here? Your items may differ, but essentially it may include having boxes or storage bins to organize like things into, having plenty of garbage bags handy, as well as boxes for donated items. You may work in sections; clean up tool drawers, hang bicycles on walls, throw away damaged boxes, empty out the moving boxes that have been stacked for the last 2 (or 10) years. You get the idea. Break down the deed into as many steps as you can think of, and write each one on your list.

Let’s take a look at a new, longer but more approachable list. Or several lists, actually. If you break down a tough project into more than say 10 items, it might be better to make it its own list. So here’s our new To-Do List:

Things to Cross Off (once completed)

  1. Make my list
  2. Write down items needed from grocery store
  3. Double check refrigerator and pantry for possible needed items
  4. List possible meal plans for the week
  5. Add items from meal plan needed
  6. Check the store sale ad for good buys to add to list
  7. Assemble coupons, recyclable grocery bags, checkbook and car keys
  8. Brainstorm any other errands that can be done en route to grocery store- add to list
  9. Spend a half hour in garage organizing thoughts on what needs to be done. Start a list
  10. Purchase 5 storage bins for garage clean up
  11. Take a break with a cup of tea (or a beer…) after completing 6 items on the list
  12. Pull together medical receipts and insurance papers in a tax file
  13. Gather all the income forms, W-2, 1099, Dividends… into another tax file
  14. Obtain necessary tax forms from the IRS, the post office or tax software

And now, go ahead and cross off item #1. You deserve it.

Now the list has quite a few more items on it, but when looking at individual tasks, they certainly seem more achievable, don’t they? Some people may benefit by allowing a certain amount of time for each task, as a guideline, as I did in #9. That way, you set up the expectation that things will not take all day, and better your chances of staying on task. Be realistic, and flexible. You may add or delete items on your list as you go along. But you should find yourself happily crossing off numbers and feeling a sense of accomplishment fairly quickly.

See? That was easier than you thought, right? I know, some days are better than others. That’s why there is a built-in reward (see #11). And you can be creative. Kids do so much better with larger tasks if they have mini-steps too. Get the whole family involved. And good luck; hopefully you’ll be getting a tax refund, so you can buy more stuff to put in the garage!