Personal Growth

R-E-L-A-X Some More!

 

Last week I shared 15+ ideas on how to relax almost anywhere in just a few minutes. Here are 15 more. Feel free to combine things! For example, if you need to talk and you feel like you want to move your body, invite a friend to walk and stretch with you. Try listening to soothing music while you sip a cup of tea—sitting outside if it’s nice! Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to make self-care a priority. Ready? Here are some worthwhile ideas:

Try a relaxation exercise. Take some deep breaths. Imagine that as you exhale, you are releasing negativity, baggage—anything you no longer wish to carry within you. You allow it to drain out of you, into the earth, where it will sink down to the core and be safely burned away. There are apps you can download with other guided visualizations.

Daydream. Allow yourself a moment to think of something that makes you feel happy. It could be meeting your idol! Or, remember a perfect moment in time and allow yourself to feel that contentment. Or, think of something you are looking forward to (exciting!) or someone you can’t wait to see (joy!). Instant mood booster.

If you like to travel, start planning your next trip.

Listen to music. Mellow music is great if you like it. Anything upbeat that makes you smile will work! Dance around a little bit if you need to discharge some negativity.

Roll a golf ball around under the bottom of your feet. And/or, scrunch and release your toes.

Brush your hair. Or give your scalp a little massage.

Squeeze a stress ball. Or putty. Or punch a pillow if you need to.

Organize something. If your desk or messy sink is bugging you, take a minute and tidy up. You’ll feel better and more in control.

Laugh. Have a joke book handy, or watch a short, funny video. Have you ever been in a “train” of people lying on their backs with each one’s head on someone else’s belly? Pretty soon one person starts laughing, and it makes someone else’s head bob, and they start laughing, etc. Even fake laughter can get real laughter started!

Write it down. Just the act of writing “I feel STRESSED” can dissipate the emotion’s intensity. You could journal, stream-of-consciousness style without editing yourself, to let it all out. And when you’re ready, you might also write down 3 things that went well in the last 24 hours, or one thing you feel grateful for each day. Keep things in perspective.

Work on a puzzle. A few minutes with a crossword or sudoku or jigsaw might help your mind shift and relax. Or doodle, or draw.

Read—something for fun! Not news or current events.

Cuddle with a pet. People are great, but there’s just something about a furry friend. They love us unconditionally, and they truly live in the moment. Petting them can actually lower our blood pressure.

Talk to a friend. Sometimes we need to vent, or we may need help changing the subject.

Do something nice for someone else. Reaching out, interacting, fostering kindness feels wonderful.

Be kind to yourself.

Practice self-compassion.

Do something just for fun.

Be silly.

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

R-E-L-A-X

 

Recently I was asked to give a brief talk on how to relax to a civic group that is feeling very stressed about current events and political developments. I figured the last thing anybody needs is pressure to add lengthy, complicated tasks to their to-do lists! So I came up with 30+ things that we can do in minutes from almost anywhere.

I’ll share half this week, and half next week. Some are geared toward breaking tension in a moment of anger or frustration. Others deal with more long-term, chronic feelings of being generally “stressed out.” Enjoy, let me know if you have any questions, or if you have another strategy that works well for you!

Breathe. This is the simplest and most effective thing we can do. Take a deep breath in, hold for a second, let a longer breath out. Exhaling engages the part of the nervous systems that calms and slows things down.

Step outside. Fresh air, sun, natural beauty—a change in perspective. Get out of your head! If you can’t get outdoors, look out a window—one with a nice view.

Go for a walk. If you can take a quick walk outside, even better. Or walk around indoors—get blood and lymph flowing, and change your focus for a moment.

If you feel especially aggravated, run in place for a minute. Or do some jumping jacks. Or jump rope!

Stretch. Reach up, breathe deep. Make gentle circles with your neck, shoulders, arms, hips—whatever you can comfortably manage.

Don’t make pain.

Do a few yoga poses if you know them. If you don’t know any, try this one: lie with your butt close to a wall, and put your legs straight up the wall. Rest your heels on the wall, and let it support the weight of your legs. Just lie there and breathe for as long as you like. It’s amazing how good this feels!

Try progressive relaxation. Start at one end of your body and purposely squeeze muscles in one body part at a time; then very deliberately release all that tension. Move on to the next part and slowly contract and release everywhere until you’re more completely relaxed all over.

Give yourself reflexology/massage your hand. Press around in the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger. “Thumb walk” down toward the base of the thumb. When you find a point that’s tender or sensitive, hold comfortable pressure and take a few deep breaths. And/or pull on and massage your outer ears.

Chew gum. It’s centering and can be calming for the brain.

Splash some water on your face. Rinsing your face is calming to the vagus nerve, a cranial nerve that is involved in calming internal operating systems down.

Enjoy some aromatherapy. Lavender, chamomile, and fruity/citrus (orange, lemongrass, bergamot, neroli) are good essential oils to use, or something warming and earthy like frankincense. Use what YOU like! Put a drop on a tissue and smell it; don’t put it directly on your skin.

Sniff some favorite flowers or herbs or citrus fruit if you don’t have essential oils handy. Peel an orange or a tangerine and enjoy the freshness!

Sip something soothing. Green tea is said to contain L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. But it can also contain caffeine, and that is not so relaxing. An herbal tea might be better. Or warm milk. Hot cocoa might be ok, but we don’t want to overdo sugar—it can make us more irritable!

Take a warm bath. Add bubbles or Epsom salts if you like.

Meditate. Take 5 minutes to sit or lie down quietly and focus on your breath. Free apps offer short guided meditations that are easy to follow.

More ideas next week. Be well!!

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Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth &Reflexology

Why Do We Sleep?

 

Would it surprise you to know that our bodies and minds are just as active when we sleep as they are when we’re awake—maybe even more so? We’re not aware of it because we’re asleep, but critically important things happen in this “second state.”

The website howsleepworks.com states, “Sleep appears to be an essential physiological process for humans and for most other animals. When deprived of sleep, we function less effectively, feel tired and irritable, make more mistakes, are less creative and, if taken to extremes, ultimately die. In the same way, as a feeling of hunger reminds us of the basic human need to eat, a feeling of sleepiness reminds us of our essential need to sleep.”

Here’s a partial list of what we do when we’re asleep:

We shift into “rest and repair” mode. Our central nervous system has an autonomic mode that takes care of the internal processes that keep us alive. In our waking hours, we are largely in “fight or flight” mode, aware of potential threats to our wellbeing and worn down by daily stressors. During sleep, our bodies can focus on stabilization and maintenance: repairing and renewing tissues and nerve cells, neutralizing toxins, and restoring normal levels of chemicals throughout our bodies.

Wounds heal. Laboratory rats deprived of sleep show inferior healing capability, develop skin lesions, lose body mass, and struggle to maintain their body temperature, ultimately dying of sepsis or “exhaustion.” In humans, sleep is now associated with increased levels of growth hormones that contribute to tissue repair and regeneration (healing small muscle tears, for example).

The immune system gets a boost. It’s actually sage advice when folks tell us to get lots of rest when we’re sick or injured. Sleep-deprived rats had substantially fewer leukocytes—the while blood cells that help fight infection. Sleep deprived humans had less than half of the protective antibodies after receiving an inoculation as compared to people who had a healthy amount of sleep.

Brain power increases. Sleep is credited with increasing our brain plasticity—our ability to change and reorganize neural networks. REM sleep is so important, that when babies don’t get enough of it, it leads to developmental abnormalities later in life. During REM, we experience muscle “atonia,” a temporary paralysis of our muscles. It’s believed that this allows our brains to form new synaptic connections without risk of hurting ourselves by accidentally moving the wrong way. In other words, sleep allows conscious thought and motor activity to take a break so that the brain can work on other important functions.

Information is sorted and stored. Experts have long believed that new neural connections are made in the brain during sleep when external stimuli are minimal and no new information is being taken in. New research supports that during sleep, we convert short-term memories into long-term ones, and we re-consolidate long-term memories. Different kinds of sleep facilitate specific types of memories: visual memories vs. motor learning, emotionally neutral vs. emotionally charged memories, “declarative” memory (facts and events) vs. “procedural” memory (how to do things). This would explain why we have different sleep stages!

Brain power is boosted. Sleep seems to have a great impact on higher-level cognitive functions such as reasoning and decision-making. Getting enough sleep primes us for learning, “encoding” new memories more efficiently. When we learn something new, we perform the new task much better the next day after a good night’s sleep. By contrast, sleep deprivation leads to poor judgment, more accidents, and injuries.

Our brains clean house. There is evidence that during sleep, we “weed out” unnecessary and redundant memories and information, dumping information overload and keeping and sorting the important stuff.

Our mood improves. By contrast, sleep deprivation increases emotions like rage, fear, and depression. Sleep, especially dreams, facilitates creativity, flexible reasoning, and higher levels of understanding and knowledge.

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Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

I Appreciate You

 

Many people adopt a word for each new year. I had not given much conscious thought to choosing a word for 2018, though I think setting an intention is a really good idea.

In general, I’ve been committed to sustaining a sense of internal peace no matter what is happening in the world around me. After reading “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer I adopted the mantra “I will not allow anything to interfere with my sense of inner peace.” Sometimes it works!

As of January 1st, I was invited to join a group committed to being kind and thoughtful. While I always try to be nice when the opportunity presents itself, this 50-day challenge compels me to actively seek out opportunities to lift people up every single day. So this is like a step up in positivity—from just being at peace to being mindfully kind.

These ideas of calm and thoughtfulness are important especially now as the political climate is so acrimonious. It can be challenging to maintain peace or offer kindness.

And then, unexpectedly, I received more inspiration from a new client. I’m continually blown away by the amount of trust people place in me. They allow me to invade their personal space and place my hands on them, even when they don’t know me. When I do my job right, and they allow it, they go into such a state of deep relaxation that they make themselves really vulnerable. Talk about “surrender”!!

This client did just that, and then he allowed another level of vulnerability as he opened up to talk about some emotionally charged stuff. One thing led to another in our conversation, and we admitted that we could not do each others’ jobs (he’s an attorney, his partner is an OR nurse, I’m a bodyworker). But that’s OK because we all do what we’re best at.

In the course of this lovely conversation, he said, “We all have something to offer. I don’t think we appreciate each other enough.” Wow. How true is that?

So there’s my word: appreciate. It’s not enough for me to be at peace, and it’s not even enough to be thoughtful. I will endeavor to be appreciative.

Even when times are troubling, I appreciate the lessons embedded in the experiences. I will try harder to appreciate people’s talents and gifts, even when they get on my last nerve! I appreciate the opportunities to learn and practice and grow as a compassionate person.

If you are reading this, please know that I truly appreciate you!

Category : Blog &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth

Let’s Fika

 

There is such a thing as the sock-of-the-month club. It’s true! Each month a fun pair of socks arrives with a letter telling the story behind the featured footwear.

I’m not a member, but my dear friend Carolyn is—and she loves it. January’s sock letter delighted her so much, she wondered if it could inspire a blog. And it did!

This month’s sock design was inspired by a Swedish daily ritual called “fika.” Loosely translated, fika means “coffee break.” It can be a noun or a verb.

Fika is a chance to take a minute for yourself, to enjoy a coffee or tea (and usually a sweet treat), maybe connect with friends (although it’s perfectly fine to fika in solitude). Apparently, in many Swedish companies, this break is mandatory—sometimes even one in the morning AND one in the afternoon!

The thing about fika that makes it such an awesome coffee break is that it’s not really about the coffee—it’s about the break.

Here in America, we’re likely to pause only long enough to grab a cup to go and hope it powers us through the day’s demanding schedule.

Fika is all about slowing down, taking a true break, making the time to either have a reflective moment to yourself or a nice conversation with a coworker or a loved one. Time to savor.

I had a wonderful moment of bliss in a coffee shop recently. It was on a yucky, overcast wintery day. I struggled with whether to treat myself to a pastry until I was informed that the blueberry crumb cakes had just come out of the oven and were still hot. The decor was lovely, the mellow jazz was perfect, my latte was delicious, and I was enjoying a new book I had just received for Christmas. I had a fika.

The Sock Club letter says, “we hope that as the new year starts, you can join us in our resolution to pause for a little bit each day and be thankful for friendship, for coffee, and for fresh pairs of socks.”

Now that’s a worthwhile resolution if I’ve ever heard one! If you would like to join me for a cup of friendship, let’s schedule some time to fika!!

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

Be a Kindness Ambassador

 

Two thoughtful friends of mine have established a challenge: 50 Days of Kindness. Whoever would like to participate is tasked with deliberately doing something kind for 50 days (the number of repetitions needed to establish a new habit), sharing ideas and experiences with a like-minded Facebook group, and noticing how being intentionally kind feels (emotionally and even physically).

The idea has great merit. Even if you’re a generally nice person, committing to this challenge brings kindness into specific focus—sort of like keeping a gratitude journal enhances thankfulness more than just being a grateful person in general.

The day that I was invited to join the challenge, I reflected on a simple kindness I had shown someone the day before. I had run into Target for a few things, and the checkout clerk shared with me that it was her last day. I asked her, do you have another job lined up, or are you going back to school in the new semester? No, she replied, I’m seasonal help and this is just my last day. She was looking for another job.

So I said with a smile, “Well thank you for being here, and all best wishes for whatever your next chapter will be!” She seemed genuinely pleased to have been heard and acknowledged.

I thought about how my kindness was so ordinary, that I would actually feel sort of funny about sharing it on the group’s Facebook page. I don’t need to receive praise for it, and I don’t think it’s particularly inspiring.

But, one of the other group members posted how she finds grocery stores to be great places to share kindness, even if it’s just giving someone an uplifting compliment, or passing up a great parking space so that the person behind you can have it. Simple, right?

Sure enough, later that day I went to a grocery store, and there was someone right behind me as I drove down my chosen parking aisle. Because of what I had read, I was inspired to pass up a primo parking space so that the person behind me could have it. I parked a little farther away, which helped me get some extra steps in for my fitness—a win-win.

I hope the person behind me felt lucky to score a parking spot so close to the entrance. I felt pretty good about performing a random act of small generosity. I always try to do something nice when I have a chance. But now, I will try harder to do a least one thing every single day.

What if everyone we knew joined in this challenge? The world would be a kinder place. At least each of us would experience 50 extra acts of thoughtfulness—whether we give, receive, or observe others, we all benefit!

If you’d like to be a kindness ambassador, here’s a link to the Facebook group. www.facebook.com/groups/177744486156215/

The challenge officially started on January 1st, but don’t worry—you can jump in at any time. The world needs more kindness every day!!

 

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

Let’s Stop Wasting Food!

 

The first time I went to Trader Joe’s, I was so drawn in by the variety and the cute packaging and the great prices, that I bought and bought and bought.

Now, YEARS later, I still have some of those cute packages in my pantry. What was I thinking?

Truth is, I wasn’t. Those impulse buys led to a lot of food waste, and according to experts, we all do it. In fact, in our country, some 40-50% of the food we buy gets thrown away. And grocery stores reject food before we even have a chance to buy it, because it’s too “ugly.” Restaurants, hospitals and schools are notorious for throwing food away—more than we ever see.

This is, obviously, a waste of food. It’s also a waste of energy in growing, harvesting, packaging, shipping, pricing, displaying it, etc. We add to the deforestation of our planet to grow more food we don’t need. And the wasted food breaking down in landfills adds to the greenhouse gases that are heating up our planet.

But, there’s good news: we can all make some fairly easy changes and help eliminate food waste. Here’s how to start:

1. Buy ugly! Some grocery stores have started offering perfectly good but less-than-perfect-looking produce in discounted bins. Maybe we can pressure our local grocers to do that!

2. Shop smart. We can also do more to grow our own food, and shop at farmer’s markets to support local growers and cut down on packaging and shipping. But wherever we shop, we need to have a plan and stop buying more than we need. And start USING what we buy.

Think about the week ahead—could you use half of a roast cauliflower in an Italian dish tonight, and the other half in an Indian curry tomorrow?

3. Eat leftovers. Store things in airtight containers and keep them toward the front of the fridge. And then don’t forget to eat them—such easy and delicious lunches or dinners for busy days!

4. Store properly. Some fruits and veggies do better on the counter than in the fridge. Keep fruits and veggies where you can see them in the fridge so you don’t forget to eat them! (By not over-buying, we can avoid clutter.)

5. Check expiration dates. Usually “best by” dates are for freshness, not safety. Use common sense. Of course it’s not worth getting sick by eating spoiled food, but it’s also a waste of money to toss something before its time.

6. Make soup. If some produce is just a bit past its prime—maybe a pepper whose skin is starting to wrinkle, for example—toss it in a pot to make a nice soup or veggie broth. If you can’t eat a whole carton of fruit before it goes bad, freeze it and keep it for a future smoothie or baked delicacy.

7. Eat leaf to root. Carrot, celery and radish greens, for example, have nice flavors for salads and sauces. Crush extra herbs and add a little oil; store the mixture in the fridge to extend their shelf life.

8. Monitor what you throw away. Literally, make a list. Put a value on what you’re tossing with a $, $$, $$$ system. This can be very motivating to change our buying and eating habits!

9. Eat it up. Make one meal per week a clean-out-the fridge challenge. You can do an internet search for recipes using ingredients on hand. Be creative! Isn’t that how meatloaf was born?

10. Donate. If you find stuff in your pantry you know you’re probably not going to use, give it to a food pantry. Ask local farmers if they can take any types of scraps to feed to their livestock or use for fertilizer.

11. Compost. I learned how to make compost buckets—it’s easy, the food scraps break down super fast in our Florida heat and sunshine, it doesn’t smell, and it’s simple to use the wonderful rich soil for fertilizer. If you want to learn how, just ask me! See pics below!

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre recently showed Anthony Bourdain’s inspiring new documentary “Wasted: The Story of Food Waste.” Here’s a link to the trailer; hopefully the film will be available to all of us at home soon!

 

 

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Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

Happy Holidays!

I think most of us, at least in theory, love “the holidays.” What a wonderful season! Starting with Thanksgiving at the end of November, December celebrates Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and many others. So many opportunities to celebrate love and friendship and family and gratitude!

Sadly, our culture has put so much emphasis on more, especially shopping and especially for Christmas, that “the holidays” have almost become a stressful time of the year. We feel like we are failing if we don’t get more decorations, more gifts, more special foods “for the season,” more parties and pageants and festivities, etc.

Perhaps the best strategy is to simply tune out all that noise to the best of our abilities, turn a blind eye to the endless ads, let go of other people’s expectations, and create space to focus on what is really important to each one of us.

The best present of all is simply to be present. Breathe. Relax, even if you think you don’t have time to. Go outside for a walk with a friend. Play with your children and give them the gift of your time, even if the house is a mess and the meal is not planned and tree is not perfectly trimmed. Call a loved one you haven’t seen for a long time and give yourself this moment to talk and laugh and get caught up.

I read an article in early November about the “holiday season” as it relates to retail—what people will be selling and buying: trends, strategies, predictions. Of course, that’s what business analysts do. But we don’t need to buy into it. We don’t need to start thinking about Christmas in November. We really can just enjoy November in November, right?  And I hope we can enjoy December in December. One day at a time. One holiday at a time. One moment at a time. My wish for you is to that you may be fully present, peacefully celebrating love and gratitude and all our many blessings.

Happy holidays to you!!

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

Gratitude Is Good for Us

 

We all know that saying “thank you” is good manners. But did you know that being truly grateful is actually good for your health?

Needing to give thanks and be thanked is as vital to us as needing to be respected and feeling connected to others. In fact, gratitude helps build community, experts believe, because when we appreciate the goodness we receive, we feel compelled to give back.

Establishing an actual gratitude ritual improves our outlook and even our physical health in numerous ways:

We feel happier. Robert Emmons is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and is a pioneer in the field of gratitude research. In one of his studies, subjects who wrote down one thing they were grateful for every day for just three weeks reported being 25% happier for six full months afterward. In another study, people who wrote thank-you letters to someone who had done something important for them (but were never properly thanked) reported significantly decreased symptoms of depression for as long as a month later.

We enjoy better health. A gratitude practice has been linked to improved kidney function, reduced blood pressure, a drop in stress hormone levels, and a stronger heart. This is likely because when we truly appreciate our health, we take better care of ourselves. Grateful people avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, exercise an average of 33% more, and sleep an extra 30 minutes per night.

We have more energy. In Emmons’s gratitude journal studies, participants who regularly wrote down things they felt thankful for consistently reported feeling increased vitality. (Control subjects who kept a general diary enjoyed no such increase.) No solid conclusion was reached as to why this is, but it may have to do with their increased physical health. When we feel better, we have more energy. I personally think our mental state has as much to do with it as physical health. It’s very common for people with depression to feel lethargic. On the other hand, being in a great mood is very energizing!

We’re more resilient. When we consistently appreciate kindness and the good things around us, we rewire our brains to seek out the positive in any situation, even dire ones. That makes us better at recovering from loss or trauma. “A grateful stance toward life is relatively immune to both fortune and misfortune,” Emmons says. We truly count our blessings instead of only seeing the negatives.
We are nicer. When someone expresses appreciation, the recipient experiences a surge of dopamine. When we feel good about doing good, it makes us want to do more good! So when we thank a loved one, a neighbor or a coworker, he or she feels grateful in return, and the back and forth continues. We almost can’t help but pay gratitude forward!

We improve relationships. Similarly, a large study showed that people in a partnership who felt appreciated were more likely to appreciate their partner in return, and enjoyed longer lasting relationships. If we are grateful for the things that are going well, we are calmer and less likely to fly into fight-or-flight mode when something challenging comes up. We can’t be thankful and resentful at the same time.

How to Journal

One of the best ways to experience the rewards of being grateful is to write a gratitude journal. Emmons says that recording our thoughts, whether by hand or electronically, helps us focus on them. That which we focus on grows. Here’s how to grow the goodness of gratitude:

Create a journal that’s specifically for reflecting on gratitude. Have a special notebook or a separate file/document on your computer.
Write consistently. It doesn’t have to be every day, but it does need to be at least once or twice a week.

Be a little deep. A simple list of nice thoughts is not very inspiring, and those types of journals are easy to abandon. Give some thought to what you truly appreciate, write a bit about it and really savor it.

Write freely. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. This is just for you to express your appreciation.

Think about others. This is an opportunity to think about nice things other people have done to support us. Emmons says, “It’s not all about us. This may be the most important lesson about trying to become more grateful.”

My challenge to you (and myself!) is this: in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s start a gratitude journal. I intend to write a little each day between now and Thanksgiving (November 23) about people’s kindness and life’s gifts that I’m truly grateful for.

It doesn’t have to be much—just a sentence or two each day unless you feel particularly inspired on a day when you have more time. Are you up for it? I know it’s a busy time of year, but the benefits are many. And then we’ll have even more to be grateful for!

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” —Rita Schiano

Source: “What Gratitude Can Do for You,” by Louisa Kamps, in TIME Special Edition: “Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness”

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Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

On Being Spontaneous

 

Here in St. Augustine, autumn weather has finally arrived. Refreshing cooler, drier air gives us a much-needed break from the uncomfortable sticky heat of summer.

One day on Facebook, a friend remarked how absolutely gorgeous it was outside, and encouraged everyone to get out and enjoy. A friend of hers replied “I would, but no time. On my way to yoga!”

That same day, another friend posted a photo of her adorable cat curled up on her lap, and asked, “how can I possibly leave to go work out?”

I was struck with a “Seize the Day!” reaction. Maybe you don’t have to leave to workout right this minute, I thought. Maybe if a pet or a loved one is offering us a moment of perfect, genuine affection, we could just allow ourselves the time to take it in with appreciation.

Maybe instead of rushing to an indoor yoga class, on a particularly beautiful day we could go for a nice walk and do some gentle stretching afterward at home. Or do our own impromptu yoga routine outdoors!

I mean, I understand the importance of setting goals and being disciplined. If you’re committed to a yoga practice or workout routine, I’m not suggesting that you consistently blow it off to indulge in whimsical pursuits.

But don’t we all say life is short, and it’s the small, quality moments that count? Can we allow ourselves a little flexibility to be human BEings instead of human “doings”?

My Seize the Day attitude was put to the test about two days later. I was exercising on my garage elliptical, enjoying a pretty good workout thanks to the cooler temperatures. I spied a neighbor across the street who is only in town part of the time. I had a little thank you gift for him, and I hadn’t been able to connect to give it to him in an embarrassingly long time.

He was outside starting to put a piece of furniture together. Then his partner drove up. Now I had a chance to deliver the gift and say hi to both of them! But I didn’t want to interrupt my great workout. Besides, I had a full day planned, and I would have to “ruin” my perfectly ordered schedule if I interrupted myself to go across the street.

Could I be that spontaneous?

I decided yes. If I would advise others to enjoy the small moments that life presents to us, then I needed to be flexible enough to do the same. I paused the elliptical, ran inside and got the gift, and went over and enjoyed a wonderful, short visit with my neighbors. It was actually perfect timing, as they had questions about hurricane damage and roof repair options.

I was able to modify my schedule easily. I completed my workout with a happy heart and rearranged my day a little to accommodate the slightly later finish time.

This is just a small, somewhat silly example of creating time to experience joy. The point is, I always have a to-do list. I often feel anxiety about getting everything done to the best of my ability in the time I have available to me. I feel like I can’t relax and be happy until later, after a sufficient number of items is checked off my list. And that IS silly.

It’s a beautiful day. Whether you’re doing something on your list or modifying your list to allow for spontaneity—I hope you, and I will appreciate the beautiful moments we have in this day.

 

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Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth