Week 23–Let it go!

Well, Spring Break went way too fast!  I had it all “planned out” that I would knock off several chores on my list.  Hmmmmm!  That didn’t happen..  But guess what?  I’m not going to allow myself to feel guilty about it.  And no, I’m not using that excuse either to feel better about not getting everything done.  The fact is I concede that I have too much on my plate and will look forward to a little extra time when class is over. No, I’m not going to feel bad about that. I just let it all go and because I did, the Law of Less Effort fell into place  and amazing things did indeed happen.   Miracles everywhere!

After watching Mark’s video for week 23, I realized that the class had made more of an undeniable affect on me than I originally understood.   Yesterday I found myself deleting  my half-written response to a politically biased post on Facebook.  Normally, I feel the need to leave my two cents in that area quite often.  Now, I just catch myself, and immediately am able to make the self observation that this is just my ego wanting to make an appearance and  nothing else; and that everything I need to offer in that opinion is essentially meaningless because it doesn’t stem from my need to improve someone’s else’s circumstances but from my own need to be right!  How silly is that?  I found myself smiling at that and what a relief it was to now go forth with a need that truly doesn’t represent me.  What a weight off my shoulders!

I’m a worrier at heart.  Yes, it’s been with my forever and most likely won’t change, however, I can handle it better now.  That’s a relief worth weight 26 weeks for. It is. The coping strategies I’ve gained through the workshop, the readings and  the exercise sets have added a very valid and common sensible approach to handling the “small stuff” in life–something your friendly upbeat Facebook post will never ever do.

 

 

Week 21–It’s More Than A Smile, It’s a Miracle!

SolomonIt’s  been a rather eventful week for me. By now, I know better than to think that happened by chance.  It did not.  You see, over the past several months, I have begun to change the way I look at things.  And, in turn, as I’ve been reminded several times during our Master Key Program, when I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change.

Indeed the most rewarding of this vision is the reality that every wonderful moment that I am blessed enough to experience is an honest-to-God miracle.  As a Special  Ed teacher, I experience a lot of miracles.  When “Savanna” jumps out of line in the hallway to hug me and tell me she loves me at the risk of being reprimanded by her Kindergarten teacher “that’s a miracle.”  When “Daniel,” a 4th grader with Asberger’s writes 60 words in less than three minutes summarizing Chicken Little when he’s never written more than 4 words, that’s a miracle.  When all my students pass their chapter test this week, which was difficult, that was a miracle.

And then there are all the miracles I enjoy outside of work.  Miracles really are happening all day long. It’s just that I didn’t always see them as such.  Even the not-so-obvious miracles that led me down a different road are miracles….or at least that’s how I view them now.  Losing half my income was a miracle leading me down another path, forcing me to stretch myself and answer the question, “What is it that I’m pretending not to know? ”   It led me to enjoy new experiences, teach in a wonderful new school where I met wonderful new friends, introduced  me to a new business and to the Master Key program where I have learned to recognize and enjoy those simple every day occurrences for the miracles they are.

Buddha said that walking on water is a miracle.  I am sure Buddha meant this figuratively and that we all have the ability to walk on water.  Whether we walk on water or find ourselves walking through this dreary sludge called Life, is all in how we choose to view it. With eyes and a heart wide open,  we will see miracles all around us all day long.  I do.

Above is a miracle that showed up in my yard about six months before this photo taken. It was winter here in the Midwest, and he was cold, his hair was matted and he was looking for scraps of food against my back fence. I left food out for him by the back fence because he was afraid of me.  Within a week he was sleeping on my bed.  He surely is the  funniest cat I’ve ever had.  Tons of personality that has me laughing every single day. This funny furry four-legged guy is named Solomon. I know to many this is just another cat.  To me, he is a miracle.

Week 20–Nipping at my Heels

I considered this Week’s webinar more of an experience than an actual learning event–extremely powerful.   Powerful because it hit me right between the eyes.  The Dash experiment really knocked the wind out of me.  On it’s own, and looking at it, it wouldn’t have affected me very much.  However, actually doing the exercises (applying the knowledge) is what really opened my eyes and caused a real visceral response on my art.

So after that experience, I did start looking at regrets–those passions I haven’t followed in my life. Yes, it is fear and the “milestone” birthday this year that really caused me to push harder this year.  I no longer have the luxury of kicking the can down the road.  And indeed, time is a luxury which I have tossed away and on some level still do.  “Live every day like your last.”  Those words carry so much more than they did ten years ago.

With a revised DMP in hand, I move forward.

That’s where fear or the pain of not doing something was greater than doing it. I am catapulted forward by the discomfort of time lost nipping at my heels.  I will not, no I AM not to be a casualty who has left her Hero’s Journey behind her. That’s not a threat, nor an empty promise.
And we always keep  our promises.  That’s my definitive motive of purpose encompassing True Health and Legacy. And I’m sticking to it.

Fear is indeed a great motivator.

Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. Wayne Dyer

 

 

19–The Power of Non-Verbal Communication and Lady Gaga

As a former etiquette instructor, the importance of non verbal communication through gestures and other body language is widely understood.  How we greet others sets a definite tone.  In fact, I’ve often understood that the larger part of communication is conveyed through physical expression.  How we stand, how we gesture and our facial expressions convey a great deal to others about our own self confidence.

In 1992 I remember listening to a new young motivational speaker named Tony Robbins.  I as well as much of the country had been taken by the young, well spoken, handsome man who set the nation ablaze ( pun intended) with his Firewalk seminars.  I remember listening to his audiobook, Awaken the Giant.  It was the first time I had heard about Neurolinguistic Programming and I was fascinated.  He shared the story about how he would redirect someone’s thoughts by gently changing the physical dynamics which in turn changed focus of their thoughts.  Later as a teacher I used this often with my students in class.  It was especially helpful when addressing student issues regarding disappointment, unhealthy student interactions.

I also often used body posture exercises in class to help students focus better when challenged with testing.  We stretched, jumped, danced, played tactile games in order to better focus and stretch our minds. We also practiced breathing exercises as well taking in deeper breathes which increased the oxygen to the brain.  Somewhere along our evolutionary path we have forgotten how to breathe!

Most important, we use our body to communicate to ourselves and for ourselves. If I’m feeling low or lethargic, I can switch it up quickly just through movement.  Whenever I felt the need to get myself in gear, or switch up my mindset, I would turn on Pharrell William’s website 24-hours of Happy. Watching all the various dance scenes following one after another filled with the L. A. Street culture, professional or not, was so much fun!

Before I end,  I want to once again return to our ever constant friend, Kindness, which has been addressed in several of my earlier blogs.  It’s been a strange past week to be sure and I found myself needing to anchor myself more often with as many signs of Kindness as I could find. And, of course, they were everywhere.  But I wanted to come back to  a moment last Sunday during the SuperBowl when during the half time show, Lady Gaga, who many expected to make a political statement, took the very high road of opening her act with  a gorgeous out-of-the-ballpark rendition of God Bless America.  I can’t say I was a huge fan of this woman’s, but I certainly am now!  In the meantime, during the week, I ran across a video taken a few years ago with Lady Gaga and the Dalai Lama.  And well, it’s worth a share.  Take a listen:

Week 18–Trading Up Your Reality for a Lifetime of Happiness

If you’ve been reading these posts, you know that I’ve focused my writing, as many other Alliance students have, on the virtues of Gratitude, Kindness–all extensions of the state of  Happiness.  Focusing on acts of kindness and gratitude throughout the day truly add to the Shift that’s taking place  in myself and many others in our program.  In fact, it is absolutely the energy behind the focus of this MasterMind Alliance that propels me forward into making this shift in my reality.

Focusing on daily kindnesses with an entire class of 300 plus, truly does take the appreciation of all things wonderful to a new level.   I am blessed to work with children every day at school, and I delight more than ever in their wonder, their innocence and connection to their True Self. I’m having so much fun with them that what challenges I might face with behavioral problems I might have with them are remedied and forgotten much more quickly than a year ago.  When I encounter students that exhibit this behavior I imagine what kinds of thoughts, fears, worries, might have caused them to behave that way.  Although I’ve always been empathetic to these children’s concerns, my desire to relate and hopefully affect these children in a way that causes them to look within, to make choices to bring out their Best Self has deepened greatly.  I am more patient.  I observe and listen longer.  I put a comforting hand on their back or around their shoulder.  I hug often.  I smile endlessly and laugh just as much.  I’m happy and best of all and that makes them happy.  My desire to teach them to look within to find their happiness has become my obsession.  If they can find their own happiness under the direst of circumstances, imagine what they will achieve for themselves and for others!

 

 

Too late for My Hero’s Journey? Nope!

This has been an amazing week!  I attribute much of it to my new and ever growing positive approach and willingness to create a different and not so comfortable path in order to get closer to my Future Self, my Authentic self.  The small things that happen in the moment take on a new meaning to me.  I love it!   I live alone and have for years.  After so many years, you would think I would have been accustomed to it.  Yet, that was not the case.  It actually became worse, and yet, now that I have confronted the demons that want to keep me swaddled in Fear, I welcome my own company.  I enjoy the person I am and who I continue to become.  I’d call that a Hero’s Journey.

Every morning when I get up and continue to switch up my habitual routines of the past that don’t support my DMP, I kinda smile, because the discomfort of not following through on those not-so-good-for-me routines reminds me that I’m becoming my Best Self.  I actually look forward to that discomfort.  Crazy, huh?  Yes, Myself and I have had some rather heated discussions.

I’m loving the transition I am making.  Yes, I’m 60 years old, not 40, not 30, and I’m no longer dwelling on the fact that I didn’t do this 30 years ago.  (Okay, maybe there are moments but I dismiss them quickly.)  I’m rejoicing in the fact that I am doing it now.  One of my great passions is to help others over 50 make that transition as well.  Our society really does a number on this age group; and when you don’t have the tools to reconnect with the knowledge that your Best Self comes entirely from within and not from without, it creates a lifetime of despair for too many of us that have so many gifts to share with others…with the world.

Interestingly, our church Sermon Series for six weeks is dealing with Fear.  They polled 5000 church members and asked them what they considered to be their greatest fears.  Last week the Sermon was about Isolation and Regret–the greatest fear of those over 50.  This week the focus was on the greatest fear of people under 50–the fear of failure . Do you see the irony?  Those that were too afraid to take risks in their earlier life ended up regretting not taking the risks they  once feared.

So take the risks, pull away from your Fear, embrace your discomfort and follow the full circle of your Hero’s Journey.  There’s no better place to be.

 

Week 17–New Day, New Week

The Kindness Experiment was great fun for me. To me it was an easy task.  However, when I moved on to Week 3 to focus on Organization, well, that one seemed to take a different path. It wasn’t that I didn’t encounter organization in everyday life, it was just that it didn’t occur in my own personal life, in my own home, any more than it did before the week started.

This didn’t just happen to me.  Subby has convinced me not to move forward into this area and so I didn’t make a plan.  I didn’t make it  my focus.  Absolutely, I focused on aspects having to do with organization at work where I work with others, but not for myself, the one who matters most.  At home, I am scattered, unruly, disorganized and drained. So I listened to Mark’s Intro to Week 17 video again and I realized that I had chosen not to give myself permission to be organized, to be that different person on my own and only for myself. I let Fear get the better of me on that one because it could.  It also made me realize that there are some adjustments I need to make or add to my DMP, because clearly I need to adjust for this inability so that I continue to grow in this area in order to grow in my life.

I really had to “Sit” through this one quite a bit this week.  I have put too much on my plate, too much on my mind, but most of all, I have too little emotional and physical support.  I’ll be honest. I’m lonely. Not for friends, but for family. I realize I’ve often taken on so much in these past few years, because it distracts me from my ache for family.  I ache for the comfort of being with family, of being an integral part of a family, the giving and taking of it all. I grew up as a very family-oriented gal, adoring family reunions where others didn’t,  spending a great deal of my young adult life caring for aging grandparents (I was blessed to have all four until age 30) and parents, and then as a single mother whose child is grown and gone. This being alone, no, not just alone, but being “familyless” has been very difficult for me.  I thought time would take care of it, but no, time actually makes it worse.  The fact is being without family doesn’t suit me at all.   And God help me, I don’t need one more cat.

Thank goodness there are new days, new weeks to look forward to.  I’m going to rework my DMP this week…no…today!   Also, I am permitting myself to focus on Organization–in my own home for me–one more time.  New Day, New Week!