Flourish and Go on Vacation

“Relationships and engaged living honor the richness of your need of one another as human beings, feeding your capacity to appreciate others and notice the enrichment, stimulation and positive challenge they bring to your life. It is about living with a widely cast net.” Robert Taylor

Not trying to be too silly, but I am leaving for a cruise vacation today and won’t be able to post for awhile.  The vacation does make sense with regard to flourish.  Like last year’s cruise, the ocean, music and enjoyable people created the perfect environment. I will see friends and intend on making new friends and building on those relationships. Leaving for vacation I also notice how much I already miss my wonderful family, pets and home, even though I will only be gone a week.

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FLOURISH NOT CLUTCH

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While I write this I admit I am feeling a little anxiety.  Getting ready for a trip and my mind instantly wants to worry about what to pack, how to get everything done, how the kids and pets will do while I am away, and you name it. Clutching on to this energy is completely robbing me of the sense of excitement or feeling my life flourish as I have this tremendous opportunity to enjoy a cruise of a lifetime with a wonderful person, dozens of friends, and warm sunshine.  As I start to let go of the anxiety my shoulders start to relax and I can see myself sitting up straighter and my emotions shift to a more pleasant place.

This works! Today I am going to flourish.  Take control of your environment, pull the weeds, and grow.

Flourishing without Weeds

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-7-39-59-am    Pardon the metaphor, but this is like tending to a garden.  Since I am to create an environment in which I flourish, I will have to spend time culling out the “weeds”. Is there anything I am clutching on to that isn’t good for me? In fact, clutching in general is not healthy for my 2017 environment. Robert Taylor’s article suggests that when we stop clutching or holding on to regrets, we actually live longer.

I do experience clutching from time to time.  I find it hard to let go of things much like a hoarder does.  There is a fear of letting go of something or someone and then finding that the decision was a mistake.  Maybe my fear is making a mistake.  Or maybe I am just taking much of life far too serious.  To flourish in 2017 I will have a second word to work on this year: Clutching. Without knowing it, I started on Flourishing last year when I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  It is a similar activity. Letting go of the things and eventually even people that do not bring you joy. Time to re-read the book and go through my closets one more time.

 

Flourish in 2017

I really like choosing a word of the year rather than a New Year’s Resolution. For this year’s word, I have chosen Flourish.

“To choose to flourish is an intentional act to increase your well-being in a profound way, improve your health and extend your longevity. Now imagine choosing flourish as your daily word for 2017 to anchor your life and sense of purpose. To choose to flourish is a bold affirmation of your life and continued emergence as a person.” Robert V. Taylor

STEP ONE

The article recommends putting the word in a place you will see daily or even making your passwords include the word flourish.  As soon as I finish writing this piece today I am going to tape my sign to my bathroom mirror. Next I am thinking I should read these recommended books: Martin E.P. Seligman, “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing,” (Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011), Kelly McGonigal, “The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More Of It.” (Avery, New York 2013) and Robert V. Taylor’s  “A New Way to Be Human” (New Page Books).  

I have never thought of the word Flourish with regard to mindfulness thought but rather to do with a garden.  It is interesting to picture my life, my soul and my emotions not happy but rather flourishing.  Just think, some things grow better in their own unique environment rather than in other environments.  I significantly changed my environment over these past few years and without noticing or putting my finger on it and at times mislabeling it happiness, I was flourishing.  Now I will notice and now I will practice the determined life of mindfully creating an environment to flourish.

 

 

The Dictionary of You: What Word Would You Be? What Words Would We Find There?

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-50-40-amThe Dictionary will first define you as a noun: a person, place or thing.  Next, will come your adjectives, you know, what kind of you, which one of you, how many of you. Then there is the all important verb. This is the word that reveal what’s happening.  Are you running? smiling? impacting? Did you eat? Did you hurt? Your next job is to figure out just what your synonyms and antonyms are going to be in this dictionary.  What or who is similar or opposite?  Now for the REAL point of the activity: How would your Mother, your Father, your spouse, your co-workers, and your friends write this entry?  Do you see where I am going with this yet? I can already guess what you are going through as you read.  I would even bet you find it easier to write how you think others would define you and you would have a much tougher time defining yourself knowing full well that it will be published and everyone, yes, everyone will read it.

One of the most difficult parts of the Journey is knowing who you are and finding the Courage to let everyone else know it too. So start here: take a few minutes to think about how people who are important to you would define you.  We will talk later about what comes next.

Looking For Paris

Looking For Paris

Sitting alone with my coffee on a nice back porch in Suburb, USA and I wonder…”Where is Paris?”

Not just the city, but more importantly, the feeling I had while I was there.  Is it an elusive state of being you can only capture while you are there?  It quite possibly could be as fragile as a bubble that floats lazily through the air and then, when you blink, it is gone.  So I am looking for that place inside myself where you feel like getting out the house, having all of your senses awakened by the accordion music of the frenchman in the marketplace and the fresh baked bread.  So sit down that cup of coffee, jump in the car and drive through the burbs and Voila! I am chasing the bubble through traffic lights, drive-thru fast food stops, mega-malls and streets lined with cookie-cutter houses and no, I cannot find Paris.screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-55-54-am

Resolute: Adult Children

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I had never put enough thought and planning into how to help and participate in the lives of my grown children the way you do when they are little.  Now I am at a place in life that I want to be resolute in the way I interact with them.  They are precious to me and I am very proud of them.  Each one is distinctly different and bring me so much love and satisfaction as a Mom.  From time to time though, life’s events create a need to think through my responses to them and how I choose to spend my time and money.  I bite my tongue sometimes too much and other times I speak without thinking.  All I really want is to be the best Mom for each of them.

So I am going to be more thoughtful.  One issue I find is how to help them financially.  I don’t like seeing them struggle and so I sometimes find myself helping them either too much or not enough.  The decision to help will be evaluating whether or not the need is based on a life choice or something truly out of their control.

Secondly, I want to help guide them with a financial plan that will lead them to a retirement one day that won’t leave them struggling.  Maybe launch a small Roth or Investment if they continue to contribute.  I don’t know, still thinking through that one.

 

Resolute: Forgot to Be Resolute!

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Okay, I am a backslider. Actually, I became so resolute in just enjoying the calm and not fretting over making any big changes, that I became too settled.  I even stopped writing for awhile.  Truth be told, I also started spending too much time following the crazy presidential primaries.

It really is hard to make significant changes in your life and your habits.  Being “Resolved” to making true change happen has been a tough one for me in many ways. How about you? I accept that some things in me are changing so slowly, that at times I haven’t noticed the changes.  I realized yesterday that I have laughed out loud every day now for at least a year.  Letting of pain, anger, control and regrets makes a lot of space in my spirit for happiness.

I am going to pick myself up, forgive myself, and make more time to write and stay strong in my resolve. You don’t give up either.

REMEMBER A BACKSLIDER IS MILES AHEAD OF A QUITTER!

Resolute: Regrets and the Crystal Ball

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Being resolute in the present has its’ challenges.  Especially when you keep looking back on the past and tossing that big old “Regret Salad” around! It is confusing.  How do you learn from your mistakes and past decisions without falling over the line into regretful thinking?

Let’s take this step by step with an example problem.  I continually tell myself that I am flat out grieving my decision to sell off all my share of the acreage and cabin in the woods.  At the time, I was retiring and struggling with a very difficult marriage.  Money was getting tighter and tighter.  I had come to a fork in the road.  Sell my house, sell the land, move somewhere new all together, live in the cabin on the land, or what? I chose to sell my house and the land and move to a new and more affordable place.  I find myself missing the cabin most of all.  That leads to me just beating myself up for selling and constantly searching for a way to recreate the feelings I experienced on the land.

So can I learn something from this regret? Let’s start with forgiving myself first.

Step One: Be Resolute in my forgiveness of myself for selling the cabin and the land. “I forgive myself.  It was the best decision I could make with the information I had at the time.” Now can you think of a regretful decision you made? Would you have made a different decision with different information? As I write this blog it has occurred to me that I would NOT have made a different decision.  It would have taken a crystal ball to have seen into the future.  Guess what, I don’t own a crystal ball.

Step Two: Be Resolute in the blessing the past and the past mistake or regret or decision.  “Thank you land and little cabin for every memory and lesson I learned.  You were one of the best times of my life and even the sad times taught me so very much.”  That little cabin taught me so much.  It taught me that I loved the feeling of freedom experienced in open spaces with big land and the comfort of a small town. I loved looking forward to seeing family and friends drive down that little country road and pull into my gravel drive. The anticipation and preparation of their arrivals brought me so much joy each and every time. I learned that I loved nature.  The cows, the baby calves appearing with their unsteady little legs, the surprise visits of deer, bear, wild cats and nightly howls of the coyotes, oh, and I almost forgot, the raccoon that snuck up to the deck to eat the dog food. I loved the antique bed on the sleeping porch and my solitude there. The decision to leave the cabin taught me that I did not want to live out there so far from family isolated with my ex.  It was not a place I wanted to share with him.  It revealed even more of his temperament, his moods and his integrity. So, like a friend that one day you must say good-bye to, I say good-bye to you little cabin.

Step Three: Now Step Two was hard.  Stay Resolute and make a new resolve. In this instance, the next thing to do is decide if I enjoyed that lifestyle enough to seek out that same lifestyle or something similar.  Or do I set out on a whole new adventure? Also, be resolute in the present. You know, be happy with what you have right now. Where I live right now lets me breathe a little financially. More important, there the lights of my life, my three grandchildren, my children, and my Dad are close by.  There is an endless list of reasons I am happy to be right here. But I am sure I do not have the answer yet to my next decision.  I will just be okay for awhile not knowing that answer and accept that as my resolve.

So forgive yourself. Then remember that whichever road you took, you made that decision with the best information you had at the time. Bless that time and be grateful. Now, look at the new information and make a new decision. A different choice. And be grateful for where you are in your life today.

Do you have a regret or decision you made that still needs to be worked through?