Sep 30

Shall We Acquire More, Accomplish More, and Know More?

Roman 1st birthday partyA BRAVE NEW SOUL FREE TO ROAM

In a world where we are continually driven to acquire more, accomplish more, and know more, I wonder when we can actually say we are finished. As I reflect on times past I see from the very beginning we are on a mission.

First we learn how to roll over, sit up, crawl, pull ourselves up, and eventually begin to walk, if we are blessed with good health and normal development. Once we past those milestones we are also learning how to communicate, verbally and non-verbally. Hopefully we are taught good social skills, as well as morals that will help us along life’s journey.

As we enter into the educational system we will be taught not only the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, we also begin a new adventure dealing with peers. I have the great opportunity as one in the mental health profession as well as an instructor, to observe a variety of ages as they move along in their individual process. I find it amazing to see the same behavior with many adults, although somewhat more sophisticated.

I will equate life with those who are required to be in close quarters with others on a continual basis as some who are living in a large play pen. The residents include newborns that can do nothing but sleep or cry to let their needs be known. During the developmental process there are others who have learned how to sit up, crawl around and in the process can reach out towards another child and steal the pacifier out of their mouth and claim it as their very own. Of course, wailing will pursue from the victim, stirring up the other little ones to join in all with hope of adult intervention.

There are those in the mix that accidently throw up on someone’s favorite blanket, or takes another’s teddy bear insisting they adopted it as their own. The meek and mild will quietly watch; content to suck their thumb or a baby bottle. For those with stinky diapers, they don’t seem to mind, although their companions will think ill of their aroma. Of course there are those who are successful to pull themselves up, while strengthening their legs and secretly dreaming of the day they walk all by themselves. For the brave at heart, the time will come when they figure out how to climb over the netting and escape the confinement of the playpen, finally free to explore the big giant world out and beyond.

For some of those on the loose, with new found freedom, look around and being scared decide they want back in. As they attempt to climb over the top, and fling their body over the edge there can be casualties to those below during their landing. Others who are ready to go out in to the brave new world will begin to toddle off, normally corralled by one who is more mature.

We are all growing up in one way or the other. As we do, we will be adding more skills and talents to our lives as we venture forth. At times when we move too fast, lose our balance or fall down we may need a helping hand. As we mature we finally realize that life is always in constant motion. To be healthy and succeed we must be continually moving in one way or the other, while regrouping or advancing full speed ahead. For such is life, with all the more to see, more to hear and more to enjoy.

Sep 29

PROCRASTINATING ABOUT NOT PROCRASTINATING?

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TAKING TIME TO PLAY IS NOT PROCRASTINATING

Procrastination can take many forms, and delay any satisfaction of a job well done. What does it look like when we put-off taking care of business? What response do we get from others? How does it affect us emotionally and physically when we procrastinate?

“No pressure” she utters. What does THAT mean? Seriously, when someone wants to make a person panic, they only have to whisper “no pressure” as they quietly exit a room. Let’s take a step out of the “de-pressurized” shoes. Take a quick glance at what physical symptoms happen when someone negates words, with what you know is a falsehood, as soon as it leaves the lips of the fibber.

Hot Flash: Like you have been caught un- prepared on the verge of a conference where you are the key note speaker.

Increased Heart Rate: Does this count as my daily ration of cardio? Seriously I want to know!

Dry Mouth: Sally Sees Sea Shells Down by the Sea Shore. Does anyone have some water?

Classic Fight or Flight Syndrome: This is all due to a one word experience called “STRESS.”

If you find you are a victim of any of these circumstances maybe a little too often for comfort, I invite you to follow me into a new journey. Let’s explore the life of the procrastinator and see if it looks similar to ours. It is amazing to see all the stress that we create for ourselves as well as others. Even though we may be in denial, and at the last minute say there is “no pressure”, we all know we are lying to ourselves, and in truth, WE could be the fibbers.

No matter how many times I teach about procrastination, or the fact I wrote a book about it, I still can get frustrated when I know I put off doing something and it cost me more time and money in the long run. What is the answer? Awareness is the first step towards change. It is a long process to go from the acknowledgement of a situation to actually stopping an undesirable behavior.

Working toward a goal with the help of others is a powerful tool toward achieving a desired outcome. Having a coach or accountability partner is a very valuable asset that will bring great results. Contact me for a free consultation.

Sep 28

Just for the fun of it…..

art charcoal drawing lion 9-28-53I decided to do something fun, just for the fun of it and go to the county fair this weekend. Having a birthday coming up reminding me I am now officially a senior, I still felt like a little kid all excited because I was going to go to the fair on Friday night! I watched the clock, counting down the minutes for school to get out so I would be off work. I made arrangements to meet a friend, another writer, at the gate at a specific time.

As part of the R. B. writers group, we agreed to previously enter a short story and our poetry. The reason I submitted my story was to be a participant in the creative writing division. Due to the fact I facilitate the writer’s group for our area, I thought it would be a good example to enter my writing at the fair. During the week I work to help those who desire to become authors in the future, as well as others who already have their book published. Being involved with a county event was a great experience. By being an example, I desired to encourage other writers to fully embrace their desire to become authors, writing while having fun doing so.

My excitement about going to the fair was actually not all about the artwork or even the writing I submitted. It was actually about the pure, totally spun out, chemically colored, plastic wrapped, melt in your mouth, not on your hips, pink cotton candy. I somehow justified previously that it was a good idea to pay five dollars for parking, ten dollars to get in the gate, to have the opportunity to buy a five dollar bag of cotton candy. I know it is totally pure sugar with no redeeming value, yet I was determined to purchase it, while desiring to capture some childhood memories. Once a year, walking down the midway and eating a bag of cotton candy, sticky fingers and all, a kid’s dream come true!

To my surprise, while walking into the area where the art and creative writing was displayed I saw two blue ribbons and a white one attached to my art and writing. Seriously, I was shocked, for I did not expect to find any ribbons, for I knew I hadn’t finished the piece. It was a charcoal drawing of a lion. This was a great lesson to learn that others may not see what we see, and they didn’t know what my expectations were. Obviously they liked what they saw, regardless of what my futuristic thoughts were.

I read these words after coming home from the fair. I felt they were relevant to this moment in time. “When buying from an artist/maker, you’re buying more than just an object/ painting. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks & months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You aren’t just buying a thing; you’re buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone’s life. Most importantly, you’re buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about.”
Nancy Conant
We all may have different passions to take care of in life. I encourage everyone to celebrate each moment as we progress toward fulfilling our passion.. Although I am celebrating my gift of life, as well as my participation at the fair, I realize when the sun comes up in the morning, it is a new day and time to start with new ideas and goals to accomplish for another day, living life to the fullest.

Sep 26

Have you got the time?

096“TIME IS LIKE A RIVER, NEVER STOPPING, CONTINUALLY FLOWING TOWARD IT’S DESTINATION”

Do you ever ask yourself, “Where did the time go”? For those who have a job, they may be watching the clock and counting the minutes until they go home. Others may be trying to fill the hours and wonder what they can do. Whatever the case may be, there are a variety of circumstances that can influence how we spend our day.

The reality is that no matter what we do, time stops for no one. One day I thought about the fact “This day will never return again.” From that point on I view the way I spend my time in a completely different light.
There is so much to accomplish in life no matter who you are. Yet it may feel like we never have enough time to get it all done. It is true, we won’t get it all done; in fact that is part of the good news. How can I say that? Simply put, we are not created to get it “All” done, only God can do that. Yet we are given choices everyday concerning how we spend our time.

Perhaps we do not have the luxury to come and go as we please; especially if we are working for someone else. Even if that is the case, we can still choose how we think as we spend our time making a living. When challenges arise and things do not go as planned we may be tempted to get anxious, frustrated or angry. After all, we have a time frame we need to accomplish this or that. Yet circumstances beyond our control can and will affect all of us in one way or another. As things continually change, as well as our expectations and desires, we may experience a variety of emotions.

To compensate, we might think we have to hurry up and take care of business. Trying to speed up, to “save time”, can cost more in the end. Some try to multi-task while others feel like they should be triple-tasking! Is that really possible? Some would say yes, I do it all the time, while others say there is no way; it is totally unrealistic to even think about doing more than one thing at a time.

Are we kidding ourselves? What is the real purpose behind the desire, demands or expectations of multi-tasking? Is it to try to accomplish more in a certain amount of time, or to somehow magically save time? How do we save anything? In the area of finances, we could decide to open a savings account, decided how much we want to start with and then make the appropriate deposit. We then have the power to choose if we keep the money in the bank or make withdraws. If we start spending the money we had in the account the time comes when we have to make another deposit. Understanding these concepts is required for successful banking; there is always a process of addition and subtraction, while using basic principles of increase and decrease.

Taking the examples of saving and spending from the financial realm, now I will ask this simple question. “How are you spending your time? Once spent, we cannot go somewhere and gather more time to make another deposit. Truly we are spending each minute of our life as we take each breath and enjoy having another heartbeat. These are gifts from God that we call life. Remembering it is impossible to save time let’s spend it wisely. For time is like a river, it continually flows towards its final destination.

We can celebrate the fact we have been given this time and spend it accordingly. When you find yourself asking, “Where did the time go”, take a moment to stop and consider how you spent your day. Knowing this day never returns, I determined to spend it on purpose and with a purpose. It is my hope that by taking time to write this, you too will see the concept of “time” in a new light.

Sep 25

Procrastination with a purpose

126ONE IS BETTER THAN NONE

As a rule, the odds are high many will procrastinate when it is time to take care of business, especially when it is required to be finished later. Feelings of anxiousness can arise when we think about accomplishing a new task so we may put off dealing with it until later. This may happen even more often when the required task has not been attempted previously.

There is an interesting phenomenon we see in the therapeutic world referred to as an addiction to anxiety. In lieu of action, many suffer symptoms of anxiety due to the fact it is more familiar and therefore more comfortable than merely taking action toward the area that is unfamiliar.

There are some who wait for permission or approval from others. This can be habitual, although not a profitable. Perhaps while waiting for someone else, the window of opportunity closes, or the time frame for completion ends. Therefore, the negative consequences of procrastination falls on the one who waited, not on anyone who may have influenced their procrastination. Waiting others permission or approval before doing what is needed can be detrimental in many ways. The loss of great opportunities, missing the chance to succeed and building healthy a self–esteem is a few examples of negative consequences that occur when we procrastinate.

Here is an experiment to evaluate if one suffers from similar problems. Watch for scenarios for a week and notice if any anxious thoughts arise, and if so, what are they related to? Was there something that needed to be taken care of that was put-off for a particular reason? When this happens anxiety increases each time the thought came to mind? Some preferred low-grade pain and occasional heart-stopping panic attack, rather than experiencing the drudgery of small and simple daily steps in the right direction.

As strange as it may seem, when we fail to begin working on a task, it may not be the inability to start, or even laziness. We shall call it fear. Fear of failure or fear of success, fear of making decisions, there are many types of fear. It may have many of its roots in our childhood reality. Fear of not being good enough. fear of not finishing or making mistakes, even the fear of beginning can be huge!

Looking at a blank page or a white canvas can create tremendous anxiety. Knowing that creativity requires activity, and activity will decrease fear, I encourage those I work with to take baby steps towards their goals as they face the fear of the unknown. By doing so, it also allows energy to be released with freedom to create.

Sep 24

Do you count?

594Caught in a serious moment, deep in thought, messy desk and all, writing creatively.

When we are slow to speak and quick to listen, we are displaying wisdom in our lives. When we speak up, it is important to remember to let our ‘yes be yes’ and ‘our no be no’. One of our highest priorities; be true to our word.

Many times in the past I was asked to help with a project, or take on a responsibility. Unfortunately I said yes more than once. At the time I didn’t really think about the consequences, I just thought I would be helpful. Maturing, I learned a great lesson. It is wise to count the cost before making any commitment, in word or deed.

Today I was so happy I caught myself before I made that mistake again. I was seriously contemplating doing something that sounded like a really good idea without thinking it through. I wanted to contact someone to inquire about a position that just opened up. As a writer, I have written articles for a local newspaper off and on for years. That position I referred to was for writing a column for the paper on a weekly basis. To have the responsibility that comes with it, deadlines, etc. there is a huge cost as well as a great responsibility. I was challenged by the columnist who had been writing it for nearly ten years to take her place. My first instinct was excitement. I quickly sent a message to my friend working for that paper asking who I contact? She responded shortly, informing me what to do.

Fortunately I am maturing, and with that maturity I am gaining wisdom. Therefore, I decided not to continue pursuing this opportunity without actually doing what I talk about. I took time to stop and count the cost. What exactly would be the cost/benefit ratio? Is it a paid position? How much time do I currently have to commit each week for research and actual writing time to create interesting articles? Could I be faithful to stay focused and do a good job, or would I get bored with the idea after a short time? Would this decision open doors for other opportunities for my line of work; or would it just add more work and take away other opportunities for my future?

I wrote about this experience to use as an example of “counting the cost”. The word cost implies something is not free. I realized this truth when I made the commitment to write a post here daily, if possible, knowing this too takes time.

What do I have that is more valuable than time? Nothing! Time spent is time never to be regained somewhere else or at some other time. We all have so many heart beats and so many breaths. The reality that I cannot add even one more heartbeat to my life reminds me to treasure each one I have.

When I take time to write these posts, it is with the hope they will help the reader gain some insight or encouragement as they too spend their own heart beats and breath. I highly recommend we become more aware how we spend this precious gift we have called time.

When I count the cost to any commitment in the future, I will keep in mind the commitments I already have and determine if I can put one more thing on my plate. Remember, when we add one thing to our schedule, we may be required to take something else away. I love to write and plan to complete the work I have before me. Can I realistically add another responsibility such as that and do it justice?

Part of counting the cost is to ask ourselves serious questions. Are there things on our plate that need to be removed to be able to make room for that which needs to be there now? Do we need a bigger plate or smaller responsibilities? Whatever our race, culture, gender, or age, we are all humans with limited capabilities. Remember, stopping to ponder, then count the cost before moving forward with yet another commitment will surely be time well spent.

Sep 23

Are you pleased with yourself?

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The beauty of the lone pink flower in the midst of all the yellow creates an appreciation for both. Being true to oneself is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves .

Have you ever spent time evaluating your current life style? I am hoping to celebrate another birthday next week, and as I reflect back on my life I see many things I would have liked to be different.

We know we can’t change history, but we can learn from it. To do so, we can begin by reviewing what we have done in the past, and decide what worked and what didn’t. We need to begin asking some very hard questions. We must be honest with ourselves. Are we really happy with how we are spending our time? Do we feel good about the progress we are making in life?

Knowing the answers to those questions I realize I must make positive changes now. I continue asking myself, “Am I growing & becoming a better person”? Do I laugh enough? Do I feel moved & inspired by my life? Not happy with the answers, I accept the fact I must be disciplined, as well as determined to make good choices that will bring forth good results.

I want to be able to say I am actually spending time on what I believe matters the most. I want my life to contribute to others in a significant way! I recommend we all take time to ask some serious questions like the ones above. We are the only one who can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Congratulations for making good choices.

Sep 22

What does it really mean?

All though we are on a self improvement kick, or trying to eat healthier, it is important to enjoy the good things in life as well. (In moderation, living a balanced life, one day at a time for example). Yet, if we want to work on ourselves, dealing with our stuff, we may need to look at the deeper things in life. Shall we wait and do that later too? 003We hear about the word procrastination many times but do we actually know what it means to procrastinate? According to some of the world’s most trusted dictionaries, the definition of “procrastinate” is, “To defer action; delay, especially intentionally or habitually.” Another way of saying “procrastinate” is, “The act of putting something off until a later time.”

Indecision, or mildly put, not making up your mind, can also cause one to procrastinate. That is, not taking care of business when needed, or not doing things you know you have to do. Fear of failure and fear of success can also cause one to delay. Distraction also has been a major problem for many. Lost momentum will slow things down to the point where one no longer desires to do anything. Perhaps that is when things just continue to sit on the back burner or bottom shelf.

In what areas do you have a tendency to procrastinate the most? In a poll taken, the number one response was in the area of exercise, with eating right coming in a close second. There are so many areas affected by procrastination making it difficult to say what is truly number one. When asked the question, “Can you stop procrastinating?” a majority responded, “Yes, if I put my mind to it tomorrow!” Few responds stated they did not know, and others “No.”

I believe that we have the tools to make the changes we desire in our lives. For those who do not, there are many around us that are willing to help create a good support system. Whatever definition of procrastination applies to us individually, it is now possible to make positive changes to begin moving in a new direction.

Sep 21

Did you lose your balance?

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Having fun drawing her portrait, taking time to relax in between work and school.

I always get amazed when I ask someone what they do for fun. Many times I see their face draw a blank as they pause for a moment and then say something like, “I will have to think about that for a moment”. As we continue to talk, they are surprised after a short time I ask, “Did you think about it long enough”? Their response is usually, “think about what?” I repeat the question, “What do you do for fun”? The majority of time they will say, “Oh yeah, uh…… I don’t know.”

Because we put off what can bring relaxation and pleasure for multiple reasons, especially as we get older, we may forget we need to have fun. In fact, we may forget how to have fun as well. We can actually procrastinate doing things that bring enjoyment, which may bring up feelings of anger and resentment toward ourselves as well as others. Self-recriminations arise, feeling like a failure even in the area of not having any fun. The key to freedom and healing is to give ourselves permission to start over again.

Balancing our length of to-do lists with realistic expectations, we can make appointments with our self to block out time for rest and relaxation. Written, or unwritten, we may need to shorten the list to feel good about ourselves; otherwise we may end up with a lot of half-finished projects and no time to play or have fun.

It is important to remind ourselves to be gentle with ourselves. Giving our self permission to have fun learning, and be patient while growing in talent takes time. It is awesome to see the fruit of the labor of our hands. I enjoy taking time off duty and paint or draw. I like to be creative. I understand if I do not like the way something I turned out I can toss it, or keep it to see progress in the next painting. It is O.K. to make mistakes; we all do, many times.

There is a lot of empty canvas in the world. Canvas can represent a variety of things in life. As we take time to express ourselves and explore the beauty that is all around us, we begin to feel the freedom we can only experience when we relax and give our self permission to have fun. This life is not a dress rehearsal. Therefore, enjoy the abundant life we have before us. If there is a struggle with procrastination contact me for a free consultation.

Sep 20

WHAT IS BOTHERING YOU?

ViviLnk

Living on a spinning ball of dirt and water, things are constantly changing, so why do we fight so hard to keep things the same?

How do we deal with the things in life that bother us? Once we recognize what they are, what are we willing to do about it? I believe each day we make decisions concerning areas that are irritating us, one way or the other. At what point are we willing to make a change? Are we willing to leave things the way they are, hoping upon hope they will change later? Do we just accept them as fate? Or, are we willing to pay the price it may take to make a change?

It is easy to say we need to change this or that, then keep doing the same things over and over again. I have found using ‘Choice Theory’ in the therapy world to be a very effective tool. It explains how we make choices to fill one of our five basic needs. These needs are defined as survival, love and belonging, power and respect, freedom, and fun. Every human being, no matter what age, gender, race or culture, has the same basic needs.

Knowing we need to make choices that will create change, are we willing to do so or do we leave things status quo? Do we remove ourselves from negative circumstances that are influencing us, or stay in the same situation? Are we willing to do what it takes to create a more positive quality world in our lives?

Although it seems too simplistic, it is accurate to say, “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to get what we got”! If we want something we’ve never had, we have to do something we’ve never done.

Personally, I don’t want to stay with the status quo, it is destructive to my health, my relationships, and my occupation. I am working to change my circumstances. I know that is easier said than done, and at times I’m not sure I really even mean it when my actions are louder than my words.

It is important to remember we all need encouragement and help from each other at times. As I write about change, I am the first to say, I too am working on changes in my life in many areas. There are times  we all need to have others in our lives to help as we go through transitions. The good news is that together we can help each other to reach our goals one step at a time.