The Most Important Thing to Be Grateful For

Kit Night artist

Look at the familiar with fresh eyes – Kit Night

As most of you know, gratitude can play a key role in our having a satisfying, successful life.

It’s one of the reasons I am grateful that I started my newsletter on Wednesdays–writing about gratitude is almost a requirement on this day before our Thanksgiving holiday.

This year I have been pondering the idea of starting to give thanks at the source.

The source I am talking about is ourselves. We have to focus on our own nurturing in order to create and sustain a healthy body, mind, and spirit. read on>>

One Sure Way to Bring Joyfulness to Thanksgiving

acorn2 free DSC02129We all love Thanksgiving, right?  It’s such a great holiday that even people who did not grow up here in the United States typically embrace Thanksgiving.

And, the day itself can have it’s challenges and stresses–too much to do, at one time, with lots of cooks in the kitchen. And the kitchen is hot.

Here’s my request for each and every one of you: find a way to remind yourself to pause for a moment to think DEEPLY of the things you are grateful for. Go beyond the usual things like family, friends, pumpkin pie, and cable TV.

What about deep abiding love that you have worked hard for?  Or a connection with a long lost friend? Or running water that comes out of the tap clean, fresh and the exact temperature you would like it to be?

Your reminder can be setting an alarm on your phone (or regular clock!), wearing a special piece of jewelry or sweater so that you will pause when you notice it, or a doorway you walk through, or a smile on someone’s face.  If you make a plan to have something trigger you to pause, chances are that you will.

Then allow that pause to resonate with the core of your humanity, to fully feel Joyfulness.

The Pineapple Theory of Creating Joyful Work

You can create JOY in the "stuff you gotta do"

iStock_1096099_Sm smiling pineappleI love my work. I am lucky that I get to do stuff I like most of the day.  The people I work with treat me well. I hope they think I treat them well.

And, there are parts of my day that I do not enjoy.  Since one of my main focuses in work (and life) is Creating Joyful Work, I spent some time pondering this potential conundrum.

It’s kind of like eating pineapple. I LOVE pineapple, especially when I can find a really fresh one with lots of flavor.*  Then there’s the process of cutting off the rind and getting all the tough bits out without wasting too much of the delicious fruit, when all I want to do is sit down to a large bowl of luciousness.

Don’t Should on Yourself

personal-growthI love this phrase because really… who is the hardest on me?  Me!

Since I heard this phrase and started thinking about the things I “should do” versus the things that are true to my core values and not a result of my programming, I realize how often I am doing, or even thinking, things that are not in alignment with who I am.

In addition, when I asked myself where that program came from, I usually made that up too, then blame the other person so I don’t have to take responsibility for being so hard on myself.

Ahh, the joys of the human psyche.  I am sure there are more levels to this, but for now it’s Friday afternoon and I am just going to focus on letting go of the shoulds.

What about you?  Are you hard on yourself?  What programs are you ready to let go of?

5 Minutes Each Day Will Accelerate Your Life!

Your "One Big Thing" Can Take Just 5 Minutes

raised-hands-iStock_5414695_XSm-300x199Every day do One Big Thing.

Here’s the catch, OBT usually takes just a few minutes! “Big” refers to getting outside of our comfort zone, not to taking a long time or investing a lot of resources.

Here’s how I started. To stay focused on the projects and tasks we deemed important, my colleague Todd and I send an email to each other at the end of the day. The email states how well we did in terms of planning our day and sticking to our plan; then finishes with whether we did OBT that day.

How Joyful Was Your Week?

One quick action will ensure it, or increase it!

Idaho-328 squareBefore you transition into weekend mode, please take one minute to write down one instance of Joyful Work from your week – either created or acknowledged.

You can share in the comments below, send an email to a friend, write it on a Post-it so it greats you on Monday morning…or?

Just do it!  You will feel more joyful, I guarantee it!

The Warm Spot that Enhanced My Yoga Practice

iStock_49664044Sm meditating on dockI practice yoga that is very, very mellow.  The focus is relaxation and rejuvenation. Many of the postures take place lying on the floor and are held for a long time so the body has a chance to let go.  I like to do a little each night before I go to sleep for obvious reasons.

This is fine in the summer when temperatures are warm.  In the winter lying on the floor late in the evening is not very inviting.  I looked into getting one of those long hot-pads like massage therapists use, but discovered they are a bit expensive.  I did not want to invest a lot into something I was not sure would make a difference in my practice.

The Power of a Question Mark

What do you truly want?

Opening our hearts in order to be more available to give love and support is a little scary.

Opening our hearts in order to be more available to receiving love and support is a LOT scary.

Being more available to receiving love and support usually involves making a request. Most of us have a hard time making requests, especially direct requests.

The good news: It gets easier with practice.

Doodling for Creativity, Health and Productivity

The value of a stick figure

stick man medI used to think that I am not creative because I cannot draw or paint. Even my stick figures are pretty horrid.

Then a couple of decades ago I realized that my love of cooking and entertaining, even if it started with a recipe, was creative.  I even began to see my career in high-tech as having some creative aspects to it. As a consultant, one of the most exciting aspects is getting to create goals, project and methodologies for my clients. (It’s also one of the most daunting aspects, but I save that discussion for another time.)

As I better understand creativity, I realize it is present in every aspect of our lives… not just creating a painting.  It can be with us in most activities–from driving a new route to getting to know a stranger. More important, it is a good way to strengthen our physical and mental health, and it’s easier than we think.

One Easy Request That Most Of Us Avoid

It's a fast track to deeper relationships

kitten looking up, very gracefulWhy do we human beings have such a hard time accepting support?  Recently I went through a challenging family  process, and the minute I talked with an expert, I felt the weight of the world life from my shoulders.

I was no further along that 60 seconds prior, but I FELT lots more peaceful and hopeful.  I knew that others had traveled a similar path and come out okay.  Perhaps even stronger.

However, that was easy because it was a situation I did not know much about.  Most of the time I avoid asking for help and support. I want to be independent, capable, self-sufficient.  Mostly, I want to avoid feeling like I owe others.

That’s the big joke. One of the best ways to deepen a relationship is to truly be of service. We humans like to help. We like to feel useful. I believe it’s a rare situation where the helper feels like the person they have helped owes them. It’s one of the best ways to deepen a relationship is to truly be of service.

So this week I will ask for support at least one time when I REALLY do not want to.  Who wants to join me?

Joyful regards,

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