On Perfect Friendships

Ever read something and spit out what you are drinking with a good belly laugh? 

I just spit out my tea when I read this:

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We instantly connected and knew that if left unsupervised by responsible adults we could get into all kinds of trouble if we became friends.

So we became friends.

This made me laugh because it captured in words something so magical when it happens.  Life is richer... struggles more bearable... because they grant you total freedom to be yourself.  

I hope you have such friends! 

What are you tolerating Part Two

Now that you've had time to take stock of what you are tolerating I find it helpful to to think through what I want to do about it.  Really there are only four things you can do.

  1. Do/Fix It -- Don't keep waiting for a 'perfect' time just take care of ‘it’ now.  
  2. Delegate It -- Perhaps ‘it’ is not the best use of your time.  Can someone else take this off your plate?  For me this is the hardest.  Somehow I stubbornly think I can do it all when some of the things I'm tolerating can be removed if I'd simply delegate and give myself grace in the process.
  3. Dump It -- Sometimes it's best to accept ‘it’, let it go, and move on.  
  4. Dedicate Time to Eliminating It -- If 'it' can be eliminated do you want create a new ritual or habit to change it?  That decision makes all the difference.  

Look at the list of what you are tolerating and highlight the things that you can do/fix or delegate.  Then make a list of what you are choosing to let go of and dump.  Celebrate it.  Breathe deeply and move on.  Then comes the hard part.  Make a list of the top three things you’d like to commit to tackling during the next 100 days.  You can always tackle more later, but lets get some wins under your belt.  

This can change your life if you let it,  Onward!

 

 

What are you tolerating?

What exists in your life right now that isn’t quite the way you’d like it to be?   You know... those little things you put up with that you’ve been meaning to fix, but haven’t? Those things that you keep swearing you will to get to. . .   

Maybe it’s the clutter piled up in your office, bedroom or your car.  Maybe it's something in your home you've been meaning to fix.  Or maybe it is something bigger – like a home that doesn’t meet your needs for the season you are entering or a car payment that's too high for your budget.   

The things in our lives that are out of alignment are more than just annoyances.  They actually drain energy and distract us from crafting our best life.  

Why don't you grab a cup of tea and start to write down things you are tolerating.  Take a sheet of paper or open a word doc and begin to make a brain dump.  I've listed various categories to think about to help you get started.   Here we go!

  • HealthFinances
  • Personal Relationships/Family
  • Personal Environment (home, office, your "space" etc.)
  • Work/Business
  • Spirituality
  • Personal Development (self-care. personal growth, habits etc.)
  • Equipment/Technology

In a follow-up blog I'll discuss next steps to think about after you've made your list.  I'd love to hear how this exercise went for you!  

If you need help priming the pump here are some examples: 

  1. Messy closets
  2. Friendships that are not reciprocal
  3. Poor communication with your spouse/partner
  4. Appliances that need to be fixed
  5. Walls need to be painted
  6. Car needs a tune up
  7.  Don’t have a church home
  8. Need to improve my skill level on the computer
  9. Don’t like your job
  10. Not exercising
  11. Inadequate salary
  12. Unorganized reciepts 

     

     
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    Don't fall into this trap!

    Every single day on which you don’t start, you are ingraining the habit of passivity more deeply into your mind and body. — unknown

    I read the above quote a couple of times today and thought I'd share it with you. If you let passivity rule, you are doing nothing. Nothing to further your goals. Nothing to take control over your life. Nothing to turn your dreams into reality.

    In short, you are letting things happen to you.  Instead of going out there and doing things.

    I'm reminded of a Leonardo Da Vinci quote I like: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things”

    When you don’t start today, you probably won’t start tomorrow, either. Your future self is probably not going to be all that different from your current self — unless you start making the necessary changes today.

    “What is the single step that I can take today, which will bring me a little bit closer to my goals? Seriously, I want to know!

    A quote I'm thinking about...

     
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    Fail early and get it all over with. If you learn to deal with failure… you can have a worthwhile career. You learn to breathe again when you embrace failure as a part of life, not as the determining moment of life.

    — Rev. William L. Swig

    Wisdom right?

    Simple and profound

    I just finished reading this:

    In life and business, the person with fewest blind spots wins.
    — Thomas Oppong

    Simple and profound. Something I want to ponder... what blind spots do I currently have that are getting in the way of my goals?

    That's what I'm thinking about tonight.

    Controlled by principles

     
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    I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately.

    For anyone who has ever attempted to wallpaper or tile a room thinking you didn't need a plum-line because you are sure you have a good eye... you know exactly what happens. And so it is in life.  Without principles it is easy to convince yourself things that are “grey” are really “white.”

    Lately I’ve witnessed some friends making choices that fall in what I call the “grey” camp. It has saddened me.  Their choices actually hurt people.  

    For me the antidote is to surround myself with people who know me, who believe in me, and call me to craft my best life.  And... call me on my stuff when I am deceiving myself.  Do you have a tribe around you to help you live.    

     

    Do words matter to you?

    Do words matter to you? They do to me. I'm always picking up a new word. Here's one for today: 

    met·a·cog·ni·tion ( ˌmedəˌkäɡˈniSH(ə)n )  

    it means thinking about thinking. Metacognition; it's what I do... I'm owning it!

    Any new words you're picking up and want to pass along?

    You choose what defines you

    Nobody sees your past except you.
    To you, mistakes feel ever present. 
    BUT, nobody knows them. 
    These things are not branded on your skin. 
    They are only with you if you choose to carry them. 
    Hardships aren’t meant to be secrets — they have made you who you are. . .
    . . . they simply don’t define you!

    I read this a while back and wrote it down in my journal. I saw it today and realized how good it was and wanted to share it with you in case this was a message you needed to hear today. Unfortunately, I am not sure of the source.

    Make today amazing!

    Tribe of Mentors

    Last November a new book Tribe Of Mentors by Tim Ferriss came out.  These days I usually read books on my kindle app but I decided to buy the hardcover.  I'm really glad I did.  I know it is a book that I will return to time and again and it deserves a space on my shelf. 

    At first it was a bit hard to switch to reading ebooks.  I missed handling a book and writing in its margins.  But I got used to it and now I rarely buy a physical book.  Partly because we live in such a small condo and partly because I've learned to enjoy the convenience of having my growing library at my fingertips no matter where I am in the world.  

    I'm now more than halfway through and it has not disappointed.  The book is a collection of wisdom from a wide variety of influencers and leaders.  I'm discovering new books to read, podcasts to follow and quotes to add to my quote notebook.  I usually wait to recommend a book when I finish it, but this one I can whole heartedly endorse.    

    I

    Copy of Mise-en-place

    Awhile back I read Anthony Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential. One part of his memoir I think about often.  He writes: "Mise en place is the religion of all good line cooks."

    "As a cook, your station, and its condition, its state of readiness, is an extension of your nervous system," he continues.  "The universe is in order when your station is set up the way you like it: you know where to find everything with your eyes closed, everything you need during the course of the shift is at the ready at arm's reach, your defenses are deployed."

    He goes on to describe what chefs call the ‘meez’ as "carefully arranged supplies of sea salt, rough-cracked paper, softened butter, cooking oil, wine, back-ups, and so on."  Without a well-tended meez, Bourdain warns, you'll soon find yourself spinning in place and calling for backup.

    Perhaps I’ve been thinking of this because I’ve been traveling for several weeks now and it’s easy to feel out of sorts.  Thankfully a friend introduced me to packing cubes.  They make a world of difference as I unpack from one hotel room to another.  Honestly, I don’t want to remember the mess that was my suitcase prior to using them!  Re-packing isn’t a stressful process.  I simply zip up the cubes and put them back in their place in my suitcase.  Voila!  And, I find joy in nestling them into a drawer or two.  

    Bourdain learned the hard way that planning is the essential ingredient to any dish.  He shared how he envisions the perfect execution of the dish before he even begins.  We can learn from that.  We may not be line cooks but each day we too can take the time to prepare. 

    Each day we have a choice. Do we rush in; check email, respond to requests, troll Facebook. Or, do we breathe deep, imagine our day and think about not only WHAT we need to do, but WHO we need to BE today? Do we create an intellectual mise-en-place as it were?

    I want to develop the habit of thinking about how to calibrate each day around the important vs the urgent.  It’s a challenge worth working toward!  Plus, it bakes in reflection into my daily rhythm – which is always a good thing.  I want to heed Bourdain's advice:  “Do not f--- with a line cook’s ‘meez’!”

     

     

     

     

    Celebrating Life!

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    This time of year we can't help looking at the year behind us and reflecting.  I had many highlights this past year.  But the one thing that will have the longest lasting impact on my life is that I became a grandmother on May 27, 2017.  This little bundle of joy has captured our hearts.  

    Her daddy wrote the most tender letter he posted on Medium.  It's so beautifully written I wanted to share it with you.  


    You weren’t exactly born yesterday, but five days is close enough to it to count.

    These past few days have been a blur of waking in the dead of night, holding you, and beginning by slow degrees to absorb the magnitude of all that your arrival means. Six days ago it was just your mother and I, and now here you are; a new life, full to bursting with all the potential of the life you will live. It amazes me to think that even now there are people going about their day whose lives you will bless in some way, just as there are people going about their day who will someday cause you pain. I have wondered every day since you were born what art your hands will shape, what hearts your words will touch. It’s as though I can see the causes and effects of your new existence rippling out across the globe. In small ways and, perhaps, large as well, this world will quite literally never be the same again.

    As I wonder about your future I find myself also aware of the fact that I might not always be present to witness it and share it with you. Of course, we always assume our lives will continue forward unbroken, but the only certainty we have is the moment we live in now. Holding you and beginning to know you these past few days has been an incredible gift, one I hope to continue to enjoy for decades to come, but I’ve decided to set down a few of the things that I hope to be able to share with you in person as you grow into your own woman, so that you will have them with you whatever the future holds.

    So, although I hope to read it to you myself, one way or another I’ll ensure that this letter reaches you on your 18th birthday.

    This life we live is too wonderful to waste. Every breath is a gift, even the ragged ones.

    If your mother and I have done even half of the job we hope to do, this statement will come as no surprise to you. As you stand at the threshold of independent adulthood, I’ll add a question to it: What ought our response be to this truth? A life lived in pursuit of that question would be a worthy one indeed.

    I regret to say that the world will not be kind to you for being a woman, at least not the world I am familiar with today. You have likely already faced discrimination: The easy dismissal when your male peers are given a chance, the snide implication that your passion and conviction are the result of your hormones rather than a disciplined mind and a mighty soul. It is not fair, but each of us inherits a battle already underway. This is one of yours, just as it was your mother’s, your aunts’, and your grandmothers’ before you. Take courage from their example.

    Men will try to point you towards your place. Women will criticize you in an effort to avoid allowing the power of your living example to compel them to ask difficult questions of their own life. Always remember that the only voice that should compel your silence or your action is your own conscience. Never forget that the shape of your soul is not female. It is human. If anyone ever tells you otherwise, laugh in their face and move on.

    Never allow anyone to shame you in your body. I do not mean only in its appearance, it’s most external qualities. I mean also in your enjoying the essential daily sensations of being fully alive. Eat fantastic food, drink rich wine, explore new places, laugh from your stomach, and wrap your arms around other people as often as you can. Don’t allow a pious man to tell you that enjoying the fullness of your senses or the experience of pleasure is sin, any more than a feckless man tell you that escaping unrestrained into them is freedom. Neither could be further from the truth.

    Be kind to yourself. You will have days when your soul knows you could have done more, done better, pushed harder, or held your own standard higher. Some will tell you to use failure as a fuel for your next attempt, but frustration and self-criticism are not clean burning coals. They might get you where you want to go, but they’ll kill your engine in the process. Instead, breathe deeply, and let those days serve as a simple reminder that you are human, and that you, like all the rest of us, require a daily measure of grace to survive. Be sure that the things you fight for and pursue are worthy of you, and let that confidence compel you forward.

    I would be remiss if I did not speak also of faith. It is an uncomfortable subject for many these days, but I hope by now you’ve discovered that it is both a necessary and fulfilling one. Those who do speak of God often reduce complex mysteries to binary certainties, talking of religion and belief the way one would speak of sporting teams, as though the only relevant question was where one places their unquestioning loyalty. Religion thrives on rules, exclusive boundaries, and spiritual equations, always attempting to define in advance what is right and wrong in all circumstances, but God always looks past the surface to see the heart of things, and the heart is rarely a simple or easily defined place. Identifying with a religious system becomes difficult if you use your mind and allow your conscious to draw you into questioning its most sacred truths, but in my experience, you will find God waiting for you in the midst of duality.

    Always remember that you are more than a collection of accidental matter. You were created with loving intention that your birth is even now helping me to begin to understand more fully. You were shaped by a consciousness that exists beyond time to be a singular, unique expression of beauty and truth. Faith is more than an adherence to a set of rules. It is the lifelong quest for deeper connection and relationship with the God who shaped your soul, born out through the daily choice to live as best you know how, to give of yourself for the sake of others, to steward all that has been entrusted to you, and through it all to become something profoundly greater than you are now. Keep seeking and searching. Follow the music, and never allow yourself to become so comfortable with what you know that you forgot how much you have left to discover.

    I am grateful that I, as your dad, am allowed as many prayers for you as I like (and you can be sure I take full advantage of that), but if I were restricted to choose only one, it would be this: that throughout the whole course of your life you will always remember who you are. You are a spark on this cosmic ocean, fully known and fully loved. Your worth is and always will be defined by the universally unique expression of the creative mystery that you carry inside you. That worth can never be increased or diminished. It can only ever be stewarded.

    I have just now reached a point in my life that you also will experience some day, when the awareness of physical loss, the procession of time, and the tension between order and chaos to which all things in this world are subject can begin to be felt as a present reality rather than a theoretical problem for tomorrow. I am determined to walk towards that growing horizon full of wonder and fascination rather than terror and regret. I encourage you to cultivate that posture now. There are some things you can do to extend the time you have on earth; rest, nutrition, care of self, commitment to a worthy purpose. No doubt humanity will discover more in time. None of them are worth very much if the hours you gain are consumed by fear of what will follow after.

    Time passes more swiftly than we ever expect. It is so astonishingly easy for days spent checking off our lists to become years spent going out and coming in, keeping things clean, following up, and getting by. Do whatever you must to ensure that the pace of your life does not catch you by surprise and leave you wondering what has become of the time you were given.

    There is more I could say, but the truth and mystery of life can never be fully captured by words. It must be experienced, so I encourage you to go and do just that.

    Know that I love you with all my heart and that wherever your path leads you, I am looking on with the fiercest pride imaginable.

    Happy Holidays!

    I have a lot planned for the coming year and how to Skill-up for the coming year.  Stay Tuned...  I am taking a break from posting during the Holidays in order to enjoy time with D.

     I wish you and those you love a Merry Christmas and a Healthy, and Blessed New Year!

    I wish you and those you love a Merry Christmas and a Healthy, and Blessed New Year!

    What I'm currently reading

    Are you someone who reads one book at a time before going to the next one?  Or, are you like me and have several going at the same time?  

    If I'm only reading one book at a time I get paralyzed and have a hard time finishing it.  I discovered long ago to have several books handy to match whatever mood I'm in.  

    So here's what I'm currently reading:

    The Inevitable.  This book was highly recommended by two people I respect.  They know me well. It's given me a lot to process about our changing future as it relates to technology.  This book feeds the 'geeky' part of me that want to understand my world better.  Sadly, it probably won't make it onto my Bookshelf.  I'd love to discuss the ideas with someone who'd read it, but I'm not sure it's a book I'd return to more than once.  

    What the Mystics Know.  This is the most current Richard Rohr book and I'm a fan.  Why haven't I added any of his books to my shelf yet?  Gotta fix that!  Anyway, Rohr helps nurture and feed the part of me that years to understand the ways of God and know Him better.  However, this book has been slow going for me.  It reads more like a devotional.  I'll finish it, but not quickly.

    H is for Hawk.  This is the first time I've read anything from this author.  I read a review in the Economist and it caught my attention: "One part memoir, one part gorgeous evocation of the natural world and one part literary meditation...  The discovery of the season."   This book is feeding the read a book for pure enjoyment of reading vs feeding my idea bank.  So far I've not been disappointed.  

    Sistine Secrets.  I don't normally order physical books these days.  When I do it's because I have a gut feeling that I'll either gift it to someone, it will deserve a space in my library, or I'm going on a trip and want something to read when I don't have power or tired or reading on my iPad.  I'm leaving tomorrow for Eastern Europe so I'll let you know what I think of it once I get started.