The wild black raspberry season has passed at my homestead and this signals the next round of activities. This is the time for re-evaluating and revamping my personal schedule for the coming fall.
Some people get so discouraged because they have to come up with a new plan or schedule for their life. But I see two strange assumptions being made here. First, perfection! It's only the perfect plan that would NEVERr have to be altered and second, that perfect plan would have to be for a "perfect" life that NEVER changes, because if it changes, then guess what, you need another perfect plan. YIKES!! And really! A life that never changes, is THAT perfection? Sounds like death to me and at the very least, extremely boring.
I say, let's be real! Our life strategies and plans naturally have to change, flex and adapt because our lives and those we care about change. So it's time to start drafting some plans. You'll notice I said PLANS and not plan. Don't think that the first concept will be the THE concept. Like writing and other creative projects (and this IS creative), a few drafts are necessary to get NEAR perfection for the coming 6 or 12 months, if I'm lucky. Because life happens!
What's the process?
1. I Brainstorm and write down all the categories of my life.
2. I keep in mind that not every category has to be attended to every day, for example Financial Maintenance, or my Personal Projects.
3. With a weekly planning sheet, I plug in my scheduled responsibilities and events (those I can not alter) under the appropriate days.
4. In that same weekly planning sheet, I plug in my life categories under the appropriate days.
5. I make 3 different sheets with different set ups.
6. I decide to share with a buddy who also takes her life plan as serious as me, and I share all three of my plans and thoughts over lunch or coffee.
Whatever I do, I try to insert some fun into it, and in this case, coffee or lunch with my friend fits the bill.
it's really helpful to not isolate yourself in this or any other process if you don't have the best perspective on it going in. Don't isolate! Others will be inspired and you will be empowered!
Keep it fun!!
Phew! This past week I just got through a very stressful and challenging event with my young adult daughter. She got into an accident (not too bad) with our van on I94 expressway just
leaving Ann Arbor at rush hour. Thank goodness she and the other person were not injured, but my heart went out to her. Of course she was quite shaken up, and frightened. When you are in that state, it’s hard to gather your wits to first, find the immediate things needed (registration, insurance) second, to just keep it together to figure out what other tasks need to be done and
then, to DO them!
Despite the initial tears and confusion, she did GREAT, and I do believe this turned out to be a valuable learning experience on a variety of levels. One was the opportunity to see that she could handle this. My initial reaction was, “I’ll be right there!” but good for her, she declined that type of support. Instead, we stayed in close contact via phone and text, just making sure she took care of all necessary steps. Second, I know this impressed upon her even more that bad things can happen so stay EXTRA alert and EXTRA cautious when possible. Third, she could still drive! She forced herself right back into the “saddle” and drove the van further into Ann Arbor to the body shop. There were no cries for rescue. I met her there, we took care of the business and then I drove us home.
My baby girl looked like a wreck, but she kept going!! She knew that she had to follow up with the insurance and she did!! She knew she had to follow up with her dad, and she did!! That might have been the hardest part of the entire situation for her, but she did it and because SHE owned up to it instead of having Mama come in as referee, it all turned out MUCH more pleasant for everyone.
A big lesson learned on my end was this: Taking care of your young adult child, while it always means that we encourage and give advice, it does NOT mean that we should run to their side and take over the hard part of dealing with the difficult situations that they find themselves in. Allowing them, even insisting on them to deal with the uncomfortable, the scary and the unknown affords them more dignity and confidence in the end.
It is a Decision
So many of us wait, thinking that when all the pieces of our life fit together just right, THEN we’ll be joyful. Won’t happen. When our relationships are warm and fuzzy again, or the kids start doing better in school, THEN we’ll be joyful. I doubt it. And on and on go our excuses to not have joy. Joy has to come in the midst of our disappointments, challenges, and deficiencies or it won’t come at all! Noooooo! You cry! But YESssssssss, it’s true! True because we’re talking about REAL life here, and
real life is never wrinkle free!! It’s just like those lies they tell on the labels of dress shirts, “Wrinkle FREE!” Ha!! Not true in my house, but crisp or slightly not, we still manage to get ourselves together and take on each day. So whether we’re conscious of it or not, sometimes we make the decision to NOT be joyful because things just aren’t right yet, or we’re not right yet, or the world situation certainly isn’t right yet, so joy does not deserve to exist yet. I recommend forgetting the ‘YETs’, and start dwelling on the ‘NOWs”, the present moments. The NOW is our real life, the only life that counts, it’s the GIFT, and joy is inside.
SILENCE! This is strongly recommended. Why? It is a purposeful state of being! I mean no music, no TV in the foreground or background, no earbuds , and no, not even that audio tape talking you through states of blissful bliss - just silence (at least from all those factors you have control over). It allows your thinking to happen, creativity to drip, flow and then eventually burst through with a calmness that settles deep within. You take the opportunity to be with only yourself. Silence is a key element in all of my Morning Beginnings. Honestly, I don't even turn the music on in my car until after my meditation/prayer and exercise has been done for the day. And although it didn't feel so "right" at the beginning, it certainly does now. Be at peace with yourself!
Usually our main goals require the accomplishment of a number of base goals that we would be happy to ignore. They’re BASE and so the reason is obvious! They’re not exciting or glamorous enough! There’s nothing beautiful to look at or show off to family or friends. So, though we don’t want to admit it, our ultimate goals can be rather surface-minded. We seek that “instant” gratification of the “look”, the final product, the happy feelings that come once we achieve THAT goal. We desire an accomplishment that causes a “Wow” response from ourselves but even more from our families and friends. This is natural, so no shame! However, our journey to the “Wow” will be more sure when we strengthen our foundations first.
It’s true! The achievement of increased self-discipline is not so dazzling. It is not immediately acknowledged by others, nor necessarily encouraged, but it IS one of the base essentials needed to achieve those more gratifying results. Of course, what IS acknowledged is that person with the hard, lean body, or the person who is joyful or the person who has suddenly gained success in school or career. The person is praised, and admired. And it is fun and gratifying to receive that praise. I know!! I get that!!
However, no one is there to gush over us during the PROCESS are they? . That’s the hard part and this is when we could use the most applause and encouragement, right? Here is where we start taking charge of ourselves and actually carry out the work….like going to bed on time, getting the paperwork done, exercising, and eating right. But, count yourself lucky if no one is hanging around with negative and discouraging comments about your new life habits. If there are people like that in your life, no worries! You’re growing strong and more sure as you move ahead, while, at the same moment, the doomers are standing stock still.
You can never give up on yourself! Only in believing in yourself can you then move forward. The first
essential step is to start each day in as purposeful and peaceful a manner as possible. Before your
day starts in full throttle, you need time to be quiet, to think, to reaffirm your intentions for your
general life and for that particular day ahead. Depending on your life responsibilities, this will take
different forms and happen in different places. For me, each day has to be a bit different on how I do
it, and I don't even have a regular job schedule or children to tend and teach. Life is just a
challenge for everyone who chooses to live it. So the main message is stop fretting over the details
and over whether what you do today will sustain throughout the next and future days. Focus on the
moment, focus on the day you are in. With all your life energy (chi) zeroed in on what you are trying
to achieve in the present moment, it will definitely inspire you to do whatever is needed in the future.
So no worries! Stay in your moment.
Asthma is a part of my personal reality. For the past 20 years I’ve been dedicated to keeping a strong attitude and body so as to require the use of inhalers as little as possible, and this has worked pretty well. My main issue that wasn’t working was when I was indoors with any cat. This was always a deal changer. Inhaler would be a must, and exiting the area would be a requirement because pretty soon the inhaler would cease to have its effect.
However, for the past five years, even around cats, I’ve hardly noticed my asthma! Heck, I’ve been living with a cat for three! I had a really winning formula going there for a while. With regular cardio exercise plus the elimination of wheat, and then eventually all grains, a HUGE difference was seen in my asthmatic and allergy symptoms. Then when I included garlic, avocado, walnuts and spirulina into my daily diet, that clinched it!! I wasn’t thinking about whether I would need my inhaler or not. It was all so good.
Menopause makes its entrance! So now a new phenomenon occurs. Just as my menopausal symptom (hot flashes) has started to rear its ugly head, my asthmatic symptoms have returned! I admit, I’ve felt a bit betrayed here, but what can you do but deal with it. So first I think! Well, I surmise that it’s all the new hormonal activity that must be occurring within. Vulnerable body systems, too, are usually the first areas affected when your body falls out of balance and my respiratory system would definitely fit that description, so lucky me!!
Based on further reading, and observing how my body reacts to what, here is my evolved approach, and usually it works! Here are the critical points:
Good news, though!! With intense exercise, I find I can have 10 more grams of sugar with total safety, which provides the regular motivation that I need to either go to the gym or do my kick boxing or zumba videos at home.
Despite all this new juggling, I’m grateful!! I’m breathing, usually with no inhaler, so I’m thankful for that. I look forward to the time now when I get through an entire day FORGETTING about my breath because no wheezing or heaviness is detected. It will come, and at least, I know I can TOLERATE being with a cat, even though, at this point, I can’t say I’m thriving. Anyone want a cat?
Many of us suffer when having to face new people, new situations, new relationships, new homes, new jobs, new schools, and ….well you get the idea!
“New,” implies switching from something familiar and time tested to moving on to something NOT known, NOT tested, NOT reliable or sure. In other words, NEW implies we’re CHANGING to a new reality of some sort, and this terrifies many people.
Let’s stop this NOW. Change is something we need to face with a smile. This is what life is all about and always has been! ADAPT, EVOLVE or DIE! From the moment we take our first breath of life, transitions are happening. Actually, BEFORE we take our first breath of life (inside the womb) we are growing and developing (definite change). Change happens for either the better or the worst, all through life, and only ceases once we DIE. So, I say, we EMBRACE this continual and dynamic process to get more joy and interest out of life.
No doubt, it is challenging taking on the “change” concept. The reality continues in my life, as it does in yours, but it’s usually a very positive journey when I keep these 5 tips in mind and apply them. .
Life rituals are those steady beats in life (as in music) that keep us moving smoothly, naturally and almost effortlessly once truly learned and ingrained. Rituals help us get over daily obstacles, temptations and moments that just aren’t inherently that peaceful or good for us. They are a way to LOVE ourselves– which everyone should work on and not just on Valentine’s Day.
Rituals help me avoid the idea that I have to over eat or take in way more sugar than I should. One ingrained ritual in my life currently is to make a pot of Bengal Spice Tea in the evening, (around 10:00pm) which is the time my husband usually comes home from work and eats dinner. I want to spend a cheerful time with him, but for the sake of my health and weight it cannot consist of eating more food. So, instead of that time feeling like a difficult chore of craving resistance, I enjoy my husband’s company AND a pot of my spicy and somewhat sweet hot tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners included!).
Another ingrained ritual is my morning prayer / meditation time. This starts me on the right foot for the day, clarifies my focus and mission. It doesn’t always happen in the same places, however, due to scheduled commitments, BUT it does happen!! My meditations happen at home, in my car, on the treadmill and the sauna at my gym. The Ritual is that it DOES happen and, rightly so in the morning, before all the other business and stress of the day begins.
Rituals can be added on to, replaced with ones more salient to your life, or just changed up for the entertainment of it all. I, have just taken on a NEW ritual lately. Granted, it has only been for 4 days, but I LIKE it!! When I’m at home and eating a meal, I’m usually tempted to get a sweet to round it off. Not good! On the good end though, I’ve been wanting to get back to my piano playing. So, I decided to trade the BAD in for the GOOD, and once a meal is done, I get right on the piano and practice away. I now have three pieces (simple ones) that I’m working on this very minute! For me this is pure joy.
Rituals are a wonderful practice to add to your life; seek them, and incorporate them. If they don’t feel right, then ditch them and try another one or two. Look for those rituals that bring you joy, and direct you to LIFE, nothing but a THRIVING LIFE!
February 15, 2017
About a week ago I wrote an article for parents doing homework with their young children. One of the points mentioned was for the family to have a consistent “Study Time”, no matter what! This is major! Promoting such a tradition and practice nurtures and strengthens the family MANTRA that learning is to be valued at all times, by all family members, every day of the year. It can take away the negative stigma of school requirements, because, hey, this is just what our family does. Every day we take time to read, learn new ideas, do and learn new skills, together as a family……..AND we LIKE it! Or we soon will!!
Whether there is homework that must be completed with your child, or not, here are 10 helpful tips to grow a strong and positive FAMILY Study Time Environment:
7. Allow independent study on projects of interest, as appropriate.
8. Get ideas from all of your children on what types of FUN study projects they would like to pursue together or independently (in the common area) when homework is not an issue.
9. Answer this question, parents! What do YOU want to learn more about? There is knowledge you could pursue in short snippets of time (10-15 minutes) when you’re not needed by the young ones. Look up some recipes you’ve been meaning to pursue, or read an article in the newspaper (current events!) or review foreign language flashcards. Really there is no limit to ideas, just be sure it is interesting and engaging to you!
10.Be Consistent and have FUN! A positive attitude AND daily commitment to the Study Plan will “speak” volumes!! SHOWING and DOING, count much more in the eyes and psyche of your children than yelling and lecturing them about what they SHOULD be doing and getting angry that they’re not doing it. Consistency to the plan will rocket your credibility in the education department to the moon.
Don't get discouraged! The joy will come!